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December 08, 2006

Litvinenko: Signs Point To Lugovoy

It looks like the case is all but solved -- at least as far as the immediate assassin. Who was pulling his strings is still unresolved. Although Putin is still the obvious candidate.

This is strong evidence he was poisoned at the Milennium Bar, and that he either contaminated the sushi bar later due his high exposure or else (if the sushi bar meeting happened first) the poisoner tried to poison him there but failed, again leaving behind traces of the Polonium.

As Alexander Litvinenko was buried yesterday investigators revealed that they now suspect that the former Kremlin spy was poisoned in the bar of a luxury London hotel when he met two Russian businessmen. All seven bar staff working at the Pine Bar in the Millennium Hotel that night have tested positive for polonium-210, the radioactive isotope that killed Litvinenko. Health authorities are trying urgently to contact the 250 customers using the busy bar on November 1.

...

Health experts said they were surprised to find that the levels of radiation found in the seven bar staff approached that found in Litvinenko’s wife, Marina. Professor Pat Troop, of the Health Protection Agency, said there was no short-term danger to the bar staff but conceded that there was a “very small” long-term risk of cancer.

Michael Clark, of the agency’s radiation protection division, said last night that it was possible that Litvinenko was poisoned by a contaminated cigarette or drink.

A cigarette-- or multiple cigarettes in the same pack -- might explain why he was leaving traces as he moved about, as I so astutely noted earlier.

A minute quantity of polonium-210 placed in Litvinenko’s glass would explain how he ingested the radioactive poison that led to his agonising death three weeks later.

So too, presumably, would smoke from a poisoned cigarette.

The vapour that evaporated from the drink would have been inhaled by anyone in the area, with a greater concentration for his Russian companions and staff, who would have been in the bar much longer.

Now we come to where the Polonium was found where Litvinenko did not visit -- pointing to his killer.

Investigators believe the poison cocktail was likely to have been manufactured in a guest room at the hotel, a short walk away from the US Embassy. Significant traces of polonium-210 were found in a fourth-floor room, which was occupied by a visiting Russian. Police believe that the killer may have stalked Litvinenko in London that day and had first tried to poison the ex-KGB colonel in a sushi bar. That failed but the poisoner left ample traces of the deadly radioactive isotope in the Piccadilly restaurant.

...

Traces of polonium-210 has been found at Parkes Hotel, Mayfair, it was confirmed last night. It means that radiation has been found at all three hotels where Mr Lugovoy had stayed since flying to London on October 16. The Parkes was the first he stayed at.

The radioactive isotope has also been found at Risc Management, a security firm in Cavendish Place, visited by Litvinenko with Mr Lugovoy and Mr Kovtun on October 17.

Now why was is the Polonium trail following Lugovoy around to every hotel he stayed at, as well as on the airplanes he took to from Moscow to London and back?

Allah links the article I did about the nuke theory, in which it is postulated Litvinenko was part of a plot to refresh the Polonium triggers in missing Russian suitcase nukes and, presumbably, nuke London (or an American city). And then accidentally poisoned himself.

I suppose nothing in this new information disproves that, except... well, even if we assume that Litvinenko was some sort of late-convert Islamic terrorist true believer (and Allah's link notes that his conversion to Islam still isn't fully established), it would be difficult to recruit a Russian agent into the plot.

Sure, money and all that, I suppose. But if that's the case, why hasn't the Kremlin sweated it/beat it out of him yet?


Oh, And... An earlier report stated that the other Russian "businessman" meeting with Litvinenko -- Dmitry Kovtun -- has fell into a coma due to radioactive poisoning, immediately after being questioned by Russian and Scotland Yard investigators.

That report has been denied.

Reports last night that Mr Kovtun had suddenly collapsed in a coma in Moscow with radiation poisoning were denied by his lawyer, hours after the Interfax news agency claimed that Mr Kovtun was in critical condition in a clinic. Mr Kovtun had spent the past two days at the clinic talking to Russian prosecutors and British detectives.

He joked that on the night “the only poison we [he and his business partner Mr Lugovoy] gave Litvinenko was alcohol”.

Correction: I quoted the report about him falling into a coma before coming across the denial.


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posted by Ace at 09:48 AM

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