Aug 29 2007

Ahmed Zakayev Testimony Destroys Litvinenko Timeline

I ran across a transcript of Ahmed Zakayev’s testimony to UK authorities during the time earlier this year when Russian investigators went to London to interview people, under UK authority supervision, regarding the death of Litvinenko. Zakayev is a Chechen rebel in exile and lives across the street from the Litvinenko house at the time of the poisoning. It is important to remember that the assassination theory has Litvinenko poisoned in the Millenium Pine Bar between 4:30 and 5:00 PM, well into the evening. Any traces of Po-210 prior to that time linked directly to Litvinenko destroy the conventional wisdom surrounding the current claims by UK authorities. I have found such a discrepency.

First some words about Zakayev (AZ) and his relationship with Litvinenko from his testimony:

AZ: I, Ahmed Zakayev, am the foreign affairs minister of the Chechen Republic, temporarily located in London. After the British court ruling concerning my illegal persecution by the Russian authorities, the British authorities offered me political asylum, and I am currently living and working in Britain.

AZ: And in the spring of 2002 I met with Alexander Litvinenko here, in London, and after that we kept in constant contact and cooperated together. I was also the representative of the government commission for the investigation of war crimes committed on the territory of Chechnya by the Russian occupying troops. And Alexander Litvinenko was inducted by me into that commission. And we worked very productively with Sasha; he helped us very much.

He possessed an enormous amount of information. In fact, with the help of Alexander Litvinenko we identified the people directly in charge of the operations in the Chechen Republic. … And he also worked in our information agencies. He published articles, lists of Russian soldiers and leaders of the Russian military’s special forces who were involved in these crimes. Practically right up to the last days of his life we were working in exactly that direction.

Clearly close associates fighting for the Chechen rebels. Now to the key information:

R: Did your activities at any point include the spreading of harmful or poisonous materials or substances, including polonium-210?

AZ: No, I had never had any contact [with such substances] until the death of Alexander Litvinenko. After his death, it was established that traces of polonium had been found in my car, and it was investigated by Scotland Yard. Precisely the back seat where Alexander Litvinenko was sitting on that unfortunate day. That was the first time in my whole life that I encountered polonium-210.

This much has been known to those of us who follow this story closely. But what has been assumed is this ride home came after Litvinenko left the Pine Bar – and, in some stories, visited some other security firms. The Po-210 would not hit immediately and could take a few hours for Litvinenko to start feeling effects. Early reporting of the timeline had Litvinenko contacting Zakayev to pick him because he was starting to feel ill. But from Zakayev’s only testimony none of this works out:

AZ: In October, I met regularly with Alexander, I can’t say whether at home, at work, around town. If the day in question is November 1, the day of Alexander Litvinenko’s poisoning, that day I picked him up in town. I was in town after lunch, we talked on the phone and after lunch we went home. We came home together, I dropped him off at home, and drove off, and that was all. On the 2nd, he was supposed to come over in the evening, but that evening he never arrived.

This totally destroys the timeline, unless Zakayev has a totally different concept of ‘lunch’ and ‘evening’ (recall this is November in London, where it can begin to get dark around 4-5 PM). Another timeline item to note is Litvinenko’s 3:00 PM meeting with Scaramella where he had just come from some meeting, and was hungry. It is completely possible Litvinenko went home and then was contacted by Scaramella to meet him with the urgent news (per the ealry reporting) of the potential threat on Litvinenko’s and Berezovsky’s life. And as I noted in this previous post this morning, Litvinenko supposedly went from the Scaramella meeting to Berezovsky’s office to copy the files he was given – leaving little time to be driven home by Zakayev, and then get back to the Millenium Pine Bar around 4:30 PM. This timing around the Scaramella meeting is alluded to with the call from Litvinenko (then the subsequent meeting and drive home)

AZ: On November 1, when he called me, I was attending my English class. Sasha told me that today he would be receiving information about who was behind the murder of Anna Politkovskaya.

Clearly this is BEFORE the Scaramella meeting, or else Zakayev would have mentioned getting the information from Litvinenko (he had the Scaramella files and supposedly copies he made at Berezovsky’s office) I should point out Zakayev seems to stumble on the point of the papers – first saying it was after November 1st, then apparently correcting himself:

AZ: And after the first [of November], after that phone call, I was in town, and we talked on the phone, and when we went back home together on November 1st, Sasha had some kind of papers with him that he had gotten, according to him, from Mario Scaramella.

So, was Litvinenko trailing Po-210 prior to the Pine Bar meeting? Looks like it. And that destroys what we have been told to date as the timeline of events. Zakayev’s story shifts and is apparently in conflict with itself, telling me it is a cover story. More if time permits, but here is an interesting tidbit regarding Litvinenko, Berezovsky and Lugovoi:

R: We are going to move on to questions about other people, Lugovoi and Kovtun. Do you know them?

AZ: I know one of them, Lugovoi. I met him once, and Alexander Litvinenko reminded me of that when I was [with him] in the hospital. When Sasha told me that he had met with Lugovoi and with Kovtun, I asked who they are. Sasha said to me, “you know one of them – Lugovoi, you met him at Boris Berezovsky’s birthday party, we sat at the same table.” And when I saw his press conference, photographs [of him], on television, I recognized him, I had seen him once.

Is Boris Berezovsky acquainted with Lugovoi and Kovtun?

AZ: I think with Lugovoi, yes, because I met him at [Boris Berezovsky's] birthday party.

Clearly all those who are at the center of this, and who were contaminated, exist in the sphere of one Boris Berezovsky – not Putin.

One response so far

One Response to “Ahmed Zakayev Testimony Destroys Litvinenko Timeline”

  1. BarbaraS says:

    These people should have got their stories straight. If I was a cynical person I might think Litvenko was prompting Zapayev on what story to put out by telling him he met Lugovoi at Berezovsky’s birthday party. I still think all three of them were in cahoots with each other in a smuggling ring to bring a dirty bomb to Russia and bring down Putin’s government. After all, Berezovsky has said he was planning this repeatedly and he still might succeed.