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It can be.  One crucial report appeared in the Sunday Times on 3 December 2006, and another in the same paper on 10 December.

In the first, Lugovoi gives his timeline for 16 October:  after flying in to Heathrow on a plane operated by the Russian carrier Transaero, he and Kovtun went with Litvinenko to Erinys.  After the meeting, they ate at the Itsu.  Nobody to my knowledge has queried the claim that the meeting at the Itsu came after the meeting at Erinys.

What is however left out of the 3 December Sunday Times story is the critical fact that on 30 November a Transaero plane flew into Heathrow, was inspected, and declared free of contamination.  It would appear far more likely that this is the plane which brought Lugovoi and Kovtun in to London on 16 October, rather than the plane which took the pair back to Moscow on 18 October, which was also operated by Transaero.  But this is a matter the inquest can easily check.

Nobody has ever suggested that Lugovoi and Kovtun visited Erinys except on 16 October.  If then the British evidence turns out to support the claim they and the Russian investigators have made that they were clear of contamination when they arrived in London, it would seem probable that one of two things must be true.  Either the contamination at Erinys does,as Lugovoi has repeatedly claimed, derive from some incident at the 16 October meeting - or someone else left the contamination there.  Both possibilities create major problems for the conventionally accepted version of how Litvinenko died.

Another feature of the 3 December report which is critical is that it is suggested that Litvinenko visited Berezovsky's office to copy the famous e-mails from Scaramella immediately following the meeting at the Itsu, and left contamination on the photocopier.

The 10 December report, which followed the discovery of extensive contamination in the Pine Bar, shows the focus of suspicion being moved from the supposed meeting involving Lugovoi and Kovtun before the meeting at the Itsu, to the meeting with Lugovoi and Kovtun after it.

It also shows the beginning of the adjustment of the claims about the radiation trail.  So the claims about contamination on Scaramella are revised.  However, both the contamination at the Itsu, and the contamination on the photocopier in Berezovsky's office, were incompatible with the claim Litvinenko was first contaminated in the Pine Bar:  a fact none of the highly-paid Sunday Times journalists were professional enough to point out.

It was only subsequently that it was claimed that the contamination at the Itsu dated from the 16 October visit by Lugovoi, Kovtun and Litvinenko.  And even then the contamination on the photocopier remained as an unexplained anomaly.  If in fact Litvinenko was not leaving contamination at the Itsu on 1 November, but was leaving contamination on the photocopier in Berezovsky's office immediately afterwards, then the finger of suspicion should have been directed at Berezovsky.

In Sixsmith's study, there is a flat-out contradiction, with Litvinenko's use of the photocopier being placed before the Pine Bar meeting on one page, and after it on another.  The timeline was not finally `sorted out' until Alan Cowell's August 2008 book The Terminal Spy, when the use of the photocopier was placed after the meeting in the Pine Bar.  In fact, given the problems with the claims about the e-mails, which you discuss, the more likely explanation is that the whole notion of Litvinenko copying the e-mails is a fabrication.

The problem with the claims made by the Russian investigators to Epstein, as you rightly point out, is that it is not clear that a single incident is going to be able to explain all the radiation traces associated with events on 1 November.  Notice however a very interesting fact.  In the 10 December report, there is mention of contamination in a teacup - but no mention of a teapot.  This is also the case with the Panorama programme, broadcast on 22 January 2007.

In the May 2008, in which a good deal of this ground was covered, it was noted that the report of contamination in a teapot only appears in an ABC report on 26 January, when it is suggested that the teapot had been identified in the second week of December.  However, in the Sixsmith study, it was suggested that the teapot had been identified at the outset, along with the teacup.

A teapot is an enclosed space.  A teacup is not.

by djhabakkuk (david daught habakkuk at o two daught co daught uk) on Wed Dec 12th, 2012 at 07:26:46 AM EST
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