Dec 09 2006

Tea Cup Mystery – Final Clue

Many people are making a lot out of a tea cup at the Millenium Hotel in order to conclude that an assassination attempt must have happened at the Millenium Hotel Bar (despite all the other contaminated sites and people which precede the meeting of Litvinenko with Lugovoi and Kovtun):

POISONED former KGB spy Alexander Litvinenko WAS murdered by radioactive tea, it was revealed yesterday.

Scotland Yard detectives have quarantined cups and saucers which show signs of being heavily contaminated with polonium 210 from the Pines Bar at the Millennium Hotel in Mayfair, Central London.

They are convinced that is where Litvinenko was slipped the fatal dose in a cup of tea during a meeting with former KGB colleague Andrei Lugovoi and his business partner Dmitri Kovtun.

Seven bar staff who served them have been sent home showing signs of radiation poisoning. Colleagues say four are already suffering from a “flu like” illness.

A senior Counterterrorism source said: “It’s now a near certainty Mr Litvinenko was poisoned by having polonium 210 slipped into his drink at the hotel, probably while distracted by a phone call or other interruption. The contaminated staff are those who cleared up the crockery and took it to the kitchens.

“We’ve found a cup almost certainly the one poisoned as it has such a high radiation read out.

First back to chemistry 101. Litvinenko had a large amount of Polonium-210 in his system. Polonium can only be disolved or suspended in an acid solution. When free disolved its radiation effect will effect the solution it is in. I doubt the amount of material we are discussing would not show some physical conditions in a cup of tea, if not something alteration to the taste. The tea cup and its contamination exist. So is this the only possibility that fits the facts? Of course not. It is just another in a long list of events where the news media jumped to conclusions to fit their assumed results. And each time they have had to recreate a new scenario with every new fact that has come out. I am not of the opinion whatever the media says will be valid for less than 5 days in this story.

So let’s work on the smuggling ring assumption and see how this plays out. The tea cup, first off, doesn’t have to have come from the bar but could have come from a room. And we have a room of interest on the 4th floor (supposedly 441) where there is a serious contamination and where speculation has it the poison was mixed. The tea cup may be the clue which finally determines whether this was assassination attempt or a smuggling effort gone wrong. And here is why.

It is clear we have a single cup which as very strong indications of a Polonium-210. So strong that it did not lose its contamination signature from washing (which usually cleans off low levels of Polonium 210 from most surfaces). What will scientists do next? They will determine how much Polonium 210 would be needed to leave that kind of signature on the tea cup’s porcelain (a substance known to resist penetration by stains, etc). I predict the results will show that the amount of Polonium-210 that would replicate this ‘burned in’ signature will be many times larger than that found in Litvinenko’s system.

We still have the contaminated room to fold into the story line and here is what I think happened. As I mentioned many times I think there was a smuggling effort which was either combining or dividing Polonium ‘shipments’. This is because this is the third hotel linked to Lugovoi trips to London and meetings with Litvinenko which shows contamination in many rooms (not one). I think on this third known round of smuggling, something happened to one container and there was a desparate need for something to hold Polonium-210 in while the container was fixed or a new one brought in. That would be a tea cup (what us yanks would call a coffee cup) that was in the room and at hand. That is why the tea cup had strong marks on it from contamination.

This makes much more sense than the assassination theory and I will explain why. We have two vessels that supposedly where exposed to the same material – a cup and a human. To leave a signature on a porcelain cup that resisted multiple washings would imply a dosage so strong that Litvinenko should have had his insides burned to a strong degree. I cannot see the same amount of material leaving a strong mark on porcelain and not just destroying the soft tissues of the intestines.

Now I could be wrong because I have not run any chemical equations or anything, but it is like saying an acid that could mark porcelain and would not melt a human being’s insides. So if the amount of material to mark the tea cup was larger than that found in Litvinenko we have another indication this was a smuggling ring. I would suspect police had (or will) test the trash containers, etc to see if anything else was used to deal with the contamination leak in the hotel room. It would make sense that towels might have been used and thrown out. The tea cup should have been thrown out. But I do not think these people, who were the transporters, knew what they were dealing with at all. If they were simply transport for Berezovsky and Zakayev, they would have been told as little as possible.

Which also makes sense with what we see. The bungling could have been due to deliberate ignorance. An assassin would know is weapon and how to be careful with it. A smuggler for hire may not know much except the barest minimum. I would expect the determination on what dose of Polonium-210 would be required to leave a trace on a tea cup to have been done by now. And I doubt it will be leaked to the news media.

And make sure to check out the map/timeline with this story at the Telegraph. It clearly shows what I believe are three rounds of smuggling Polonium 210 into London. Each time Lugovoi is overseeing the activities and Litvinenko seems to the Berezovsky’s messenger for status, etc. And it appears multiple people are transporting small amounts of the material which is why more than one room ends up being contaminated at each site.

Update: The FBI is confirming part of my theory by stating those who handled the material (the ‘assassins’ in the minds of the myopic media) did not have the training (or were even told anything) on how to handle the Polonium-210:

The assassins who poisoned Alexander Litvinenko in a London hotel bar may have exposed themselves to a potentially fatal dose of radioactivity, according to an FBI assessment of the killing.

Officials from the FBI, which has been asked to offer technical assistance to the British investigation, have concluded that the killers were not professionally trained to handle the substance. This suggests the use of radioactive material made the killing “as much a message as a murder”, according to FBI sources.

Yeah, right. Or the transporters in a smuggling ring where never told what it was they were transporting – precisely. I doubt anyone would send an assassin out with a weapon that could be traced right back to the source and not explain to them how to avoid getting everyone caught. Sounds more like the FBI leading the news media than them giving a straight response. So the master mind never told the assassin what they had in order – which would make sure the trail never led back to the mastermind! You would think someone who could get their hands on 30 million euros of Polonium would be a bit smarter than that.

Update: No traces found on the plane which took Kovtun from Hamburg to London on Oct 31st. My guess is they will be checking other planes and when/if Kovtun came back to Hamburg after going to Moscow on Nov 3 from London.

136 responses so far

136 Responses to “Tea Cup Mystery – Final Clue”

  1. Snapple says:

    Here is an article about all the people who died because they investigated the apartment bombings. Like I wrote before, the police arrested some FSB guys with a bomb. They claimed it was a terrorist drill.

  2. mariposa says:

    Great article, Clarice — it really outlines that the Russian state is back up to its old dirty tricks. After generations of systematic suppression and corruption, they don’t understand the fair trade and competition part of commerce in capitalistic societies but they want as much outside investment as they can hoodwink into their economy.

    Basically, it’s a lot like Louisiana. 😉

  3. clarice says:

    Yes, it is. That’s a reasonable analogy.

  4. Gotta Know says:

    “It could be Litvinenko was contaminated in some final major spill, but I doubt it. His contamination level is so far beyond anyone else it appears intentional. He was murdered, just not by putin.”

    Crosspatch I’m not convinced. This stuff is so strong that you’re talking about 3 specks rather than one speck. He could have been murdered but he could have just contaminated himself. Jury is still out on that one, seems to me.

  5. crosspatch says:

    The “biological half-life” of polonium is something like 36 days. That means a combination of radioactive decay and natural elimination results in a reduction of radioactivity of 50% every 36 days. It varies for different elements. Stronium, for example is easily bound to bone and stays in the body for many years. Polonium is rather quickly eliminated and rather quickly decays.

  6. jerry says:

    Hey Blinkers, I told you way back that the Scramella 5x-lethal was nonsense. 🙂

    I will say that the smuggling issue is entirely unresolved, despite good signs that it was an assassination.

  7. clarice says:

    “An imprisoned Russian dissident has given The Sunday Telegraph revealing testimony in which he names a serving state security colonel as a key figure in the poisoning of the former spy Alexander Litvinenko.

    Mikhail Trepashkin

    Mikhail Trepashkin, a lawyer being held in a penal camp in the Urals, gave his information via an intermediary after the Kremlin refused to let him be questioned by Scotland Yard detectives who have travelled to Moscow. In testimony that he fears could put his own life at risk, Mr Trepashkin named the colonel as one of four FSB security service officers who appeared in masks alongside Litvinenko at a 1998 press conference, when the former agent accused his superiors of ordering the assassination of the oligarch Boris Berezovsky.

    The Sunday Telegraph has been told the colonel’s full identity, but is not publishing it for legal reasons. Mr Trepashkin, 50, who has repeatedly expressed his desire to speak to British police, said: “They need to be speaking to this serving FSB officer. I believe he is of key importance to their inquiries.”

    He also gave details of how he thought the plot to kill Litvinenko in London with a lethal dose of radioactive polonium 210 would have been hatched. The “hit” would have been planned over a long period, he said. “They needed to follow him and find out how he lived and what security arrangements he had. They wanted to make the death look natural. What they did not reckon with was that the polonium 210 would act so quickly and leave a trail.” He had further information to corroborate his claims, he said, but would reveal the full details only in an interview with British police.

    Mr Trepashkin is also a former agent of the FSB — the successor agency to the KGB — and was jailed in 2004 for allegedly disclosing state secrets. His supporters insist the charges against him were to prevent his disclosing evidence of FSB involvement in a series of apartment bombings in Russia in 1999 that killed 300 people.”

  8. crosspatch says:

    That is absolutely hilarious. The guy has been in prison for 2 and a half years. How the heck would he know who poisoned Litvinenko?

    THAT is pure comedy.

  9. Weight of Glory says:

    “They needed to follow him and find out how he lived and what security arrangements he had. They wanted to make the death look natural. What they did not reckon with was that the polonium 210 would act so quickly and leave a trail.”

    You see, this is what I cannot accept. I simply cannot buy into the idea that these assassins were so careful to shadow him, find out his security detail, develop a plot that is so detailed and intricate, to dot all the “i’s” and cross all the “t’s”, only to see it all come crashing down into a mess of an international situation because they introduced PO as the weapon of choice, a weapon that by his own admission they had no experience or knowledge in its administration (killed him to fast) nor in its transportation and handling (leave a trail). Sorry, makes absolutely no sense!

  10. clarice says:

    Read the report, if you hadn’t. He was one of the hooded FSB agents who stood by Litvinenko in Russia when he blew the whistle on the apt bombings. All the other FSB agents there, turned but him. He says the perp is one of those agents.
    He takes a big risk speaking out. He most certainly will now be moved to a maximum security prison where he will suffer beatings or be killed.

  11. clarice says:

    Trepashkin was my attorney and was penalized for honestly doing his job.
    – Tatyana Morozova who lost her mother at the Guryanova St. bombing

    Trepashkin is in the same situation as the dissidents of the Soviet times.
    – Elena Bonner, human rights activist

    The arrest of Mikhail Trepashkin raised concerns about the undue influence of the FSB.
    – the US Department of State

    There have always been martyrs–people who seek the truth. Trepashkin is just one of them.
    – Mark Blumenfeld, landlord in the bombed building

    In the best case scenario, they will jail him for a long time.
    – Tatyana Trepashkina, Mikhail’s wife

    There remain credible allegations that Russia’s FSB had a hand in carrying out these attacks.
    – US Senator John McCain

    Persecution of those who want to find out the truth does not add to Mr. Putin’s credibility among those who have been willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.
    – Christopher H. Smith, US Congressman

    He has been incarcerated since October 2003, and… has suffered from beating, sleep deprivation and hunger.
    – Tom Stoppard, Vanessa Redgrave and others

  12. Snapple says:

    Amen to all that Clarice.

    I have some background about Putin’s critics on my blog. People think these people are “crazy,” but a lot of them have been killed.

  13. clarice says:

    Trepashkin has an impeccable reputation and seems to have support from all parts of the political spectrum.

  14. clarice says:

    I saw your blog, snapple. The Telegrpah article tonight has more–Read the case of the Brit businessman Curtis to get an idea of what’s going on even now even in the UK.

  15. mariposa says:

    Mikhail Trepashkin is one of the good guys. He is desperate to speak with British investigators, and his lawyer’s stated that, but now Trepashkin has suddenly been moved to a higher security prison.

    I am amazed, and think it’s remarkable that this interview with him emerged at all.

    In my opinion Trepashkin’s discovered something (why do you think prisons are called “institutes of lower knowledge” CP — a lot of information about crimes flows through them, which would make sense) — someone has told him something, or just through previous knowledge he’s managed to connect some dots. However he’s done it, I believe he knows something.

    Clarice, Trepashkin has very bad asthma. His attorney voiced the concern that what will most likely happen is he will suffer a fatal asthma attack — “natural cause of death.” .

  16. clarice says:

    Yes,I am afraid for his life. He is a very brave man.