Nov 30 2006
Major Update: BTW, this story has two plausible story lines because the driving assumption behind this media theory is that the only transport mechanism was bodily fluids from Litvinenko. If Litvinenko had particulate contamination on his body or clothes or whatever, all the evidence in the Hotel room would make Litvinenko the source of the contamination, which he passed onto the Russians he met in the Hotel Bar. This is what I mean by speculating beyond what we know. And what we need to know is what the timeline actually is, since now I am seeing reports that the Russian meeting at the Hotel preceded the Sushi Bar meeting with Scaramella. And we still have no placement of who contaminated Berezovsky’s offices – and when. Now we have reporting from the not so believable Independent that the Sushi Bar was the original site of poisoning – not the Hotel. Seems like the media has totally lost it on all these scientific and forensic details.
Major Update: OK, one more item to throw into the pot. We have more than one transport mechanism. One is Litvinenko himself. He could have transported it externally or internally. I think the evidence shows both with the contamination being from something on him instead coming out of him (bodily fluids – see #10 below). But authorities are now confirming the obvious – someone else was a second transporter of the contamination.
Security sources have told The Times that some of the 12 locations where traces of radioactivity have been found were never visited by Litvinenko. It is thought that an office at 58 Grosvenor Street and the Sheraton Park Lane hotel were used by one of three Russians understood to be key suspects in the investigation. Counter-terrorist detectives are tracing their movements. Special Branch officers have studied CCTV footage to spot them among passengers at Heathrow. The suspects also frequented some of the 12 other places that experts have examined but say are free of any traces of polonium-210.
Passenger seats on BA flights that the men are known to have travelled on in the past five weeks have shown exposure to radioactivity. Experts say it is unlikely that they will be able to say if the polonium-210 found on one jet was left there by a passenger travelling to London or on a return journey.
One possible set of candidates who transported the contamination are the Russians who met with Litvinenko in the Millenium Hotel. Scaramella is another candidate. As is whoever drove Litvinenko to the hospital. But there could be someone who, just like Litvinenko, was contaminated and did not know it – but did not ingest the Polonium-210 accidentally. This could be Berezovsky or anyone with Litvinenko when he was contaminated. – end update
This was a comment to a previous post I decided to make into a post since it establishes some framework that must be adhered to in any speculation. The truth is the media reporting is contradictory with evidence and common sense. The following are elements that must be consistent with any theories or ideas.
First off, there are no traces of contamination prior to the Sushi Bar yet (with the exception of Berezovsky’s offices which may or may not be prior to the Sushi Bar). That means there is not evidence of contamination traces coming into the UK – yet. We know from the Sushi Bar and the Millenium Hotel Bar (and Berezovsy’s office) that contamination was travelling external to Litvinenko’s body. Either through bodily fluids or particulate contamination from the moment he came into contact with the Polonium. Or both.
Timing is everything an you cannot violate the science to come up with theories. So here are the things that must fit into the timelines:
(1) Option 1 is particulate contamination which means the trail starts the minute the carrier moves and the particles start dropping like bread crumbs. The more sites the more bread crumbs required at the point of contamination. This puts physical contamination beginning with the initial contact.
(2) Option 2 is the ingestion of Polonium without any external particulate contamination. This means the only way to contaminate a location is for the Polonium to spend two hours traveling through the body until it starts ‘leaking’ through some bodily fluid. This would put physical contamination 2 hours after contact. Note that bodily fluid transfer could come with DNA material for identifying the carrier.
(3) Option 3 is a combination of 1 and 2. This is where early contamination is purely particulate until the Polonium in the body begins to seap out. Now you get particulate and bodily fluid transfers. This combination could be all Litvinenko or Litvinenko creating the bodily fluid trail and someone else creating the particulate trail.
(4) Forensics will know which site had which form of contamination.
(5) No one who contacted Livtvinenko ingested the Polonium in their body (all clear of contamination so far). However, these people could become a secondary tansfer mechanism by either getting particulate or bodily fluid contamination from Litvinenko.
(6) It is clear one or more of the Russians Litvinenko met in the Millenium Hotel (after the Sushi Bar meeting with Scaramella) were contaminated externally by Litvinenko. This is obvious because Litvinenko was already contaminated before he got to the Millenium Hotel (Sush Bar and Berezovsky’s office visit both predate the Millenium Hotel meeting). The traces found in their rooms, their airplane seat and the overhead bin clearly show clothes picked up the contamination – most likely the jackets worn by the men and placed in the overhead compartments for flight. Contamination on a flight can only be clearly linked to the post contamination period after Nov 1. There MAY be an in-bound contamination, but there is no way to tell.
(7) The farther the contamination spreads the more source material was present during the initial contamination. We just don’t know if it was all ingested or a combination of ingested and particles on something external to Litvinenko.
(8) The particulate contamination may be from Litvinenko or not. Contamination from Litvinenko, even if passed on to someone else, should have some biological tag which could trace to Litvinenko (e.g., DNA).
(9) We need to know when the Berezovsky offices were contaminated. It happened either prior to or after the Sushi Bar event. It is clear they were contaminated prior to the Millenium Hotel meeting with the Russians. Timelines that put the Russian meeting as the first incident are in complete violation of the reported timeline.
(10) The bodily Fluid transmission method is highly UNLIKELY because of what we see at the hospitals – no contamination. Yes, the urine showed the Polonium. But no other traces from the sweat, saliva, etc showed up. This tells me the dose ingested was not large enough to seap far from the stomach and intestines. Also, the internal damage was not systmec. If the radiation was seaping through out the body we would have seen external signs of damage in the pictures of Litvinenko (swollen eyes, etc). But we did not see radiation burning throghout his body. If the ingested dose was small, then the trail of exposure had to come from particles dropping off onto venues and people he contacted. This is key. I do not think from what I have seen right now in the distribution pattern that it shows the contamination trail coming from Litvinenko’s bodily fluids. That means there may be another pool of Polonium out there still.
Here is one scenario that fits all of this. Litvinenko and Berezovsky together get Polonium-210 on themselves externally. Berezovsky goes to his office and contaminates that area. Litvinenko goes off to meet Scaramella and at sometime that day accidentally ingests some of the contamination he has on him – poisoning himself accidentally. He continues to trail Polonium around all day, even into Zayakev’s car which is how Litvinenko is taken to the first hospital. Question: what happened to the contamination on Litvinenko? Did washing his clothes simply flush the Polonium into the sewer system?
People should have fun speculating, but if the theory violates any of these conditions then there should be a really good explanation as to why and some hard evidence to prove it. For example, there is no evidence or reporting showing any contamination on in bound flights. There is only the possibility of contamination on the outbound flight(s) of the Russians Litvinenko met at the Hotel. There is no indication the contamination happened on flights to Moscow or too/from some other city.
Another example: this Guardian story is all rumor and speculation and has no substantiating evidence to makethe theory being proposed any more probable than any other scenario that excludes Russian agents. Until we have something that clearly tips the story down one path or the other it makes no sense to buy into the media hysterics.