Dec 05 2006

Litvinenko Update

Major Update: Breaking news: The Arsenal stadium has become an new contamination site:

Traces of polonium-210, the radioactive isotope that killed Alexander Litvinenko, have been found at Arsenal’s new stadium.

Scotland Yard has been searching for clues since the former Russian spy was poisoned and the stadium in Highbury, north London, was checked before the Premiership match against Spurs on Saturday but the game was given the go-ahead.

However, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) have confirmed Polonium has been detected at the ground.

HPA spokeswoman Katherine Lewis said: “Minute quantities were found at barely detectable levels at localised areas. There is no risk to public health.”

Localised areas! Note the plural. There were rumors that Lugovoi had asked Berezovsky for seats at his box and was denied. It will be very interesting to learn where this contamination was.

– end update

The news media seems all atwitter to learn Russia is a soveriegn nation and UK police cannot just walk in an arrest Russian citizens. The lack of thinking this kind of reporting exposes is stunning. Litvinenko and others have been wanted in Russia for years and hiding out in the UK – but now people are surprised Russian law is like UK Law? Laughable.

Some interesting notes from my catch up reading this PM. I found the fact a UK representative might have tripped up and leaked a detail on the Litvinenko contamination quite interesting:

The alleged radioactive poisoning of Russian security service defector Alexander Litvinenko, a British national, has strained tensions between London and Moscow. Before his death on November 23, the former agent accused the Kremlin and the president of ordering his murder, a charge that Moscow dismisses.

Speaking on the high-pitched media coverage of the poisoning case, Ambassador Tony Brenton said papers could write whatever they liked.

Brenton said it was premature to make guesses as to who may have put radioactive polonium-210 in Litvinenko’s food and who orchestrated the murder, before the outcome of the probe was known.

We know the autopsy was done on Friday and I am sure there are some preliminary results out now awaiting final confirmation on test results. But it would be interesting if Litvinenko’s poisoning was from oral ingestion. Then the question is did he contaminate his own food? I keep going back to the theory that there was a big spill of the Polonium 210 at the Millenium Hotel which contaminated Litvinenko, and then in a secondary fashion Scaramella. It is at this ‘spill’ that Litvinenko and Lugovoi would have been contaminated. From there we can envision many accidental ways to ingest the material.

push the Putin assassination theory into the dustbin:

Security experts say it is unlikely Putin was involved in Litvinenko’s killing, but they say it is possible it was the work of rogue elements in the security apparatus that Russia inherited from the Soviet KGB.

Some in the Kremlin believe Litvinenko’s death is being manipulated for political capital by Boris Berezovsky, a Russian millionaire and implacable Putin critic now living in London.

The thinking is the Putin theory is the least likely of many possibilities:

…Alexander Rahr, a leading Russia expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations, a Berlin-based think tank, Tuesday told United Press International via telephone from New York.

He added that there were three main theories of who was responsible for Litvinenko`s death, the first being that Putin wanted to silence one of his most outspoken critics; the second that conservative forces in Russia wanted to hurt Russia`s relations with the West so that Putin would be forced to call back elections and establish a dictatorial regime; the third being that Russian exile oligarchs wanted to destabilize the Kremlin in a way that would allow them to return back home and reclaim their lost wealth. That third theory would include in the range of suspects Boris Berezovsky, the exiled oligarch, in whose house police found traces of the radioactive isotope.

Of course there is also the smuggling angle. What I find interesting is the search of another set of hotels supposedly visited by Lugovoi. If we find a Polonium-210 trail every time Lugovoi visited London recently, and each trip includes contact with Litvinenko and/or Berezovsky, that would indeed be huge progress towards resolving this puzzle. Here is some information on Lugovoi’s recent London travels and meetings:

The three witnesses are businessman and former KGB and FSB colleague Andrei Lugovoi, and businessmen Dmitry Kovtun and Vyacheslav Sokolov, who spent several hours with Litvinenko in London’s Millennium Hotel on November 1.

Lugovoi seems like the most interesting witness.

In the last month before Litvinenko’s death, his former KGB and FSB colleague had met with the deceased four times in London.

It is not clear if this is four meetings across three trips (10/17, 10/25, 11/1) or four trips. We will have to wait and see if such a connection can be established.

But one thing is clear, the Litvinenko dosage was unbelievably expensive. We now have one hint at the price of ‘the bullet’ under the assassination theories:

According to information leaked from the post-mortem examination, Litvinenko died from a dose that could cost 30 million euros. This seems a bit too rich for a murder.

Actually it seems ridiculously rich for a murder, especially of a marginal character like Litvinenko. And here is something that would point to a dirty bomb plot (which is a variant of the smuggling theory)

About two years ago, Berezovsky told the world that Chechen separatists had acquired a portable nuclear bomb and lacked only one minor detail. That “minor detail” could be polonium-210, which can be used to detonate a dirty nuclear bomb, experts say.

Frighteningly interesting, to say the least.

49 responses so far

49 Responses to “Litvinenko Update”

  1. jerry says:

    Here’s someting I saw about the documents and Sasha’s suspicions:

    “It emerged last night that before becoming seriously ill, Mr Litvinenko told a journalist contact: ‘Mario said he wanted to sit down to talk to me so I suggested we go to a Japaneese restaurant nearby.’

    ‘I ordered lunch but he ate nothing. He appeared to be very nervous. He handed me a four-page document which he said he wanted me to read straight away. The document was an e-mail. I could not understand why he had come all the way to London to give it to me. Several hours after the meeting I started to feel sick.’ ”,,13509-2461837,00.html

  2. Lizarde1 says:

    AJ the papers are getting the name Sokolov and Sokolenko mixed up: From the Telegraph
    And Andrei Lugovoi, another ex-spy who met Mr Litvinenko on the day he fell ill, said he had been contaminated with polonium. He denied that he and two associates, Dmitri Kovtun and Vyacheslav Sokolenko, who also met the Mr Litvinenko, were involved in his death.

  3. topsecretk9@AJ says:

    due to the only sources that could obtain the PO in the stage it was in – was Russian government.

    I think the source was Russia – and I think Russia has no qualms about trading in this stuff – but I don’t think it was a Russian assignation attempt (although, if Litvinenko were alive today and pulled off a coup on Russia – I think he’d have a big target on his back)

  4. Enlightened says:

    Well, it’s not hard to imagine that PO cannot be found in a pure form unless it is within days of processing, and only a Russian governmental agency had access to the pure stuff, and it was common knowledge that Putin and Litvinenko were enemies. So when and if the PO is found to have had some lead in it – I might reconsider the botched smuggling angle. In the meantime – I’ll stick with the Russian government hands being decidedly dirty in this.

  5. crosspatch says:

    “IIRC Lugovoi also met with the British at Brit. Moscow Embassy, why?”

    I thought that might be to obtain visas for his family to go with him to London for the football game. Which in and of itself smells fishy. What if something was supposed to happen on that trip and in case things went bad, Lugovoi would already have his wife and family in London.

  6. Lizarde1 says:

    It has been reported elsewhere that Lugovoi was in that room in the British embassy making a statement to the British early on – it was in a REuters press statement that I linked sometime this morning.

  7. crosspatch says:

    “and only a Russian governmental agency had access to the pure stuff”

    Not true. The Russian nuclear industry has been privatized.

    * Rosenergoatom (REA) – nuclear power generation (restructured in 2002),
    * TVEL – producing nuclear fuel,
    * Technabexport (Tenex) – foreign trade in nuclear fuel,
    * Atomstroyexport – foreign trade in equipment.

  8. clarice says:

    CP–there is no “private” in Russia. Do what Putin wants or be stripped of your assets and given a berth in Siberia. It would be interesting to see which oligarch owns these and where their plants are. IIRC Krasnodarsky is the leaked site of this PO.

  9. crosspatch says:

    Okay, what I ment was that the operations are not owned by the government are are corporations (thugopoly if you prefer, thats fine) that have been cash strapped and might be looking for ways to make some extra cash for certain “investors”.

  10. Lizarde1 says:

    But Clarice, don’t be a sap!, just because something is owned by the government does not mean the government has total 100% control over it – laptops for example owned by various branches of our Federal government are being lost almost daily…and what about the little bits of bio hazards that disappear from time to time here. I don’t buy the idea that the Russian government is so good they can prevent stuff from disappearing or being subverted by employees.

  11. crosspatch says:

    I am still waiting for our resident troll to link all this to Haliburton and Cheney.

  12. crosspatch says:

    “I don’t buy the idea that the Russian government is so good they can prevent stuff from disappearing or being subverted by employees.”

    I see that kind of thinking all the time about our own government. On one hand people seem to think the government knows every pizza delivery place you call and everything else about you yet on the other hand they are so incompetent we have an FBI 10 Most Wanted list that has had people on it for years. People complain that we can’t find Osama in This-or-that-i-stan after 5 years but have no problem that we would have never found the Unibomber unless his brother turned him in.

  13. topsecretk9@AJ says:


    –I am still waiting for our resident troll to link all this to Haliburton and Cheney.–

    ME TOO! and frankly can’t believe it hasn’t happened yet (at least that I’ve seen – haven’t been to DU lately though)

  14. crosspatch says:

    More information on Russian nuclear energy ministry:

  15. Enlightened says:

    IMO the PO was produced in Russia. Due to it’s highly volatile nature, IMO the Russian government is aware of every speck produced. The obvious fact that KGB/FSB is linked to this event, IMO reverts back to the RU government.

    I don’t think the RU government would give a shit if Litvinenko was accidentally poisoned by smuggled black market PO unless it can be linked back to them. Either way – smuggled illegally for sale, but oopsy – spilt a little bit on a Putin hater, or smuggled illegally to painfully murder a Outin hater – and perhaps others – there is going to be a link at the source of the PO.

    I don’t think for a nanosecond that the RU government is not involved somewhere along the chain of command from source to exposure.

  16. Enlightened says:

    Well, maybe a stray pellet from Cheney landed in Litvinenko’s California roll in the Sushi bar built by Halliburton.

  17. crosspatch says:

    On a more cynical note, maybe the message is:

    “Greetings from Krasnokamensk”

  18. topsecretk9@AJ says:

    –I don’t think the RU government would give a shit if Litvinenko was accidentally poisoned by smuggled black market PO unless it can be linked back to them. Either way – smuggled illegally for sale, but oopsy – spilt a little bit on a Putin hater, or smuggled illegally to painfully murder a Outin hater – and perhaps others – there is going to be a link at the source of the PO.—

    OR Enlight….it was smuggled without Government knowledge of it’s true destination in order to do more than embarrass the Putin Gov’t.

    See, one thing to remember – Putin has a keen interest in concealing the P210 coming from Russia – even he wasn’t involved in an assignation…if Russia is dealing in this stuff, they do not want it to be “known”

  19. Carol_Herman says:

    Again. What’s the method of detection? A blue light?

    A camera with film? Black & White. And, the shutter left open?

    On the autopsy, do they remove Litvenenko’s nails? At some point, for ingestion, what would be UNDER his fingernails?

    How did his wife and kids get contaminated? Daddy kissing them? Daddy rubbing his hands thru their hair?

    And, we’re to believe this was putin’s BUNGLED assassination? And, he was after “only one man?”

    What do the INSIDERS in this circle, think?

    Wouldn’t people who had been spectacularly poisoned, want to know WHY? And, WHO? And, HOW “whoever did this” got to them?

    What’s beyond the spin?

    While in the USA, Gates is up on the HILL. At a senate hearing, (in front of the committee.) That’s all you need for Advice & Consent? Or you have to go to the FULL SENATE for a floor vote?

    Gates says “we’re losing in Iraq.” And, he will let iran have her nukes. He’s also announced that the USA will no longer be responsible for the Gulf region. Israel? Iran’s nukes are “her” problem.

    While Bush #43, using the team that got Bush #41 booted out of the White House, after one term; was (according to Woodward’s new book), in touch with BANDAR, in1997. All hot and bothered at reclaiming his dad’s name!

    And, ya know what else? The saudis KNEW they’d never pay for 9/11. Even with their fingerprints all over the financing. And, Saudis and Egyptian terrorists, involved.

    Is politcs that convoluted?

    At least, here, we became aware of a terrorist method, and instead of innocent citizens getting so sick, they’d be diagnosed with cancer. NOW? At least we’ve got an informed WORLD!

    Has all our trust been shot to hell?

  20. Lizarde1 says:

    Carol – Disillusionment with authority is part of growing up?