Dec 17 2006

Ridiculous Assassination Theory

The assissination theories are really getting strained and bizarre with the latest ‘speculation’ from Yuri Shvets. His theory is pretty lame with lots and lots of wholes in it:

Yuri Shvets, an ex-spy based in the United States, said Mr Litvinenko, who died in a London hospital on 23 November from poisoning by Polonium-210, had been employed by a British company to provide information on five potential Russian clients before they committed to investment. He had helped the former KGB man with information on one of the five.

In an interview with the BBC, Mr Shvets said the report had led to the British company pulling out of a deal, losing the Russian figure potential earnings of “dozens of millions of dollars”. Neither the Russian nor the British company was named, but asked whether the report had lead to Mr Litvinenko’s death, he replied: “I can’t be 100 per cent sure, but I am pretty sure.”

Actually I am sure this is a ridiculous theory. This mystery Russian may have lost a ‘potential business opportunity worth dozens of millions. Let’s say it was $48 million dollars in potential business (4 dozens). The value of the Polonium-210 which Litvinenko ingested alone was $25-50 million. The Polonium-210 trail spread across Russia, London and Germany could easily be the same amount. And the price to pay the smugglers and the assassin would not be cheap. But let’s just use the $25 million dollar number and do some math.

So this guy loses $48 million in business, which may have translated to $5 million in profit after all the costs are accounted for. So what kind of businessman would spend $25 million in profit to pay Litvinenko back for helping him lose $5 million??

The problem with this theory is the guy is throwing away a material that would recoup his losses 5 times over to kill one guy, who could be taken out for a couple grand if you could find a desparate drug addict or street thug. This is the gold brick problem with these lame assassination theories. Who would use a gold brick to kill someone?

Yuri Shvets just wants more than his 15 minutes of fame and is feeding the media’s conspiracy theorists dreams.

Addendum: Let me extend my comments on this before I go in and read the comments people have posted. This story relies on a timeline that is just plain unrealistic. Because of a report supposedly submitted on Sept 21st we find, 3.5 weeks later, Polonium-210 successfully being smuggled into London (this is the date of the Knightsbridge hotel contamination and the earliest reported visit of Lugovoi and Kovtun to see Litvinenko). Now it is not possible to, on a lark of vengeance, go out and get large quantities of Polonium-210. But even if you had iPolonium-210 sitting around (remember the half life situation) then it is not reasonable to assume you could develop a sophisticated smuggling effort, involving many people, to get the material into London in 3 short weeks. And that doesn’t even include developing a way to deliver the poison. Journalists, for some reason or another, have suspended all inquisitiveness on this matter.

Now we have an unreasonable time frame on top of the ridiculous issues a potential bussiness opportunity lost verses the cost to get Polonium-210 for revenge. But let’s not beating this dead horse here. As I have been contemplating this matter it is clear we the evidence to date is not only around a smuggling effort, but a large one. First off we have these three hotels contaminated in multiple rooms on three different dates with Lugovoi coming into London and meeting Litvinenko. We all know that even the amount needed to kill Litvinenko was a thousands of a gram so why three trips? One trip and you can bring in a gram on one person? If you can hide a thousandths of a gram you can hide a gram of this stuff. So multiple trips are not necessary, especiall after the material is in on Oct 16th.

Why multiple rooms at each hotel? Most people do not understand that it takes special equipment to divide material up into thousandths of a gram. So we have trail of Polonium 210 that just doesn’t fit the assassination concept because the dosage could be brought into one place on one trip, because of its size alone.

And why hotels? If the material was destined for the UK why not rent some flat or something and do whatever was being done in these hotel rooms in much more private conditions, without traces due to travel and hotel records? Combining the multiple rooms and keeping in mind the amounts of material that could be worked on in a hotel room setting it seems to me we are dealing with mulitple grams of the material – not thousandths of a gram. I can see people dealing in grams and half and quarter grams in a hotel setting. Once you get below a quarter gram you don’t need multiple people to move the material around.

So I see much larger amounts coming in on each of the dates we are dealing with in these hotel contaminations. This starting amount is divided up in each room and given to a person to take it on its next leg of its travels. With 4-5 rooms per hotel being contaminated that means 3-4 points of departure (assuming one room is Lugovoi’s and hosts the incoming material). What worries me is where could these f3-4 destinations be. Recall that the hotel makes sense as a way-point for people transitting in and out of the UK. Otherwise one would think to use a different location than a hotel.

The other thing to remember is, if Lugovoi did coordinate the movmement and distribution of this material (a common theme in both scenarios), it is doubtful he himself would move the material across the borders and that planes would be used. It would be better to use trains and ships than planes given the level of security on airlines. The Chunnel and Ferries are really nice because people take their cars with them into the UK from mainland Europe.

Recalling that a gram of this material is like a few sugar packs, it is clear there is no reason to use multiple carriers unless distribution to many points is implied as part of this entire effort. The interesting question is whether this was in liquid, salt or solid form. The first two forms may be easier to transport, but if you want to move grams the volumes become quite large. I would assume an increase of 10-100 to 1 for the salt or liquid forms. This may be why there are so many people involved and so many sites. This too really flies against the assassination theory where Litvinenko’s deadly dose of thousandths of a gram translates into only 10ths of a gram in these forms. Something easily smuggled by one person on one trip and not something someone would divide up.

66 responses so far

66 Responses to “Ridiculous Assassination Theory”

  1. lostinthedrift says:

    While logic and science are necessary to understand this, we should perhaps remember that humans are prone to irrational reactions. Someone unbalanced, with Po-210 in their possession who had just been trumped by Litvinenko and knew they were going down, could do it.

    Look, there is no evidence for this, it’s just one of the many scenarios, that at least I can’t falsify from sheer evidence. It’s not the most likely, IMO. I consider an accident, demonstration or even test run more likely. Simply because, while an accident also calls for something out of the blue that we have no evidence for (but would have, or could falsify, if we knew the exact traces left in the different spots), the many transports with Po could lead to carelessness, and only a crack in a glass vial could lead to disaster (anyone who’ve worked in the lab knows that).

    That said, we do have (for me compelling) circumstantial evidence of that this death was related to a smuggling operation – namely the alerts, risk assessments from Reid, orders to people staying in contaminated hotel rooms to seek medical attention and the sudden order to purchase protective masks for the police.

  2. AJStrata says:


    Actually the reporting indicates a large amount of Polonium 210. You have 3- 4 hotels with somewhere around 10-15 rooms contaminated. Add in 3 jets, 3 other offices, Zakayev’s car, Litvinenko’s house and his two hospitals, the Hamburg sites, Litvinenko, Scaramella, Lugovoi (and his family), Kovtun, 7 Hotel staff and two policement, clothes and sofas and rugs and teacups and dishwashers, a soccer stadium, urinals, etc….

    And these sources had to be above the natural levels and still detectable after weeks of traffic. The only difference is how much more, but this trail tells me it could easily be many multiples the amount in Litvenenko when all is said and done. The internal poisonings stay steady. physical sites lose their contamination with traffic at a rate depending on the form of the material. Suspended in liquid will disperse slower. A dust will disperse really quickly.

    If it was in dust or solid form, this is a huge trail. Think talcom powder and how quickly it will disappear on a rug or a seat or something.

  3. Barbara says:

    Gotta Know

    The assassinologists say he did not go to either Lugovoi or Kovtun’s room at 10:00. They say he refused. As far as I remember he refused at 4:30 but nothing has been reported that he refused at 10:00. My theory is that the accident happened between 12:00 and 3:00 and Lugovoi or Kovtun called Litvinenko to come and help them find a new container for the polonium and that is where he was at those times. I doubt he told the authorities where he was then because it would betray the whole smuggling operation. The only person Litvinenko blamed for the poisoning was Putin and that was said by Goldfarb after Litvinenko was dead. So, you that’s when the spin started.

  4. mrmeangenes says:

    Quick follow-up. (I was playing Devils’s advocate just for drill, and had come up with a high-tech way of poisoning $ with Po.)

    I checked with my go-to guy,who is quite familiar with nuclear materials, and he says the method described would work…..but the fact the bills had a blue glow in DAYLIGHT would be a dead giveway-as would any method of poisoning payoff money with Polonium.

  5. mariposa says:

    “Mariposa, [ … ] Sorry, to pick on you.”


    Thanks for your apology. I have to admit that I was somewhat stunned by your tone with me yesterday, since I believe it was the first time you’ve even “spoken” to me here at all.

    But it was just one of several times I’ve been told, at least implicity in your case, that I was wasting the forum’s time, etc. That probably has something to do with me adopting a “condescending” air myself — for which I’m sorry too — trying to break through static does that, and so I guess the frustration of it got to you as well.

    Again, thank you.

  6. AJStrata says:


    The site would be much the worse without your comments. And no, that actually was not the first time I have posted back to you – by a long shot.