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Putin wanted Blair to gag poisoned spy
The Sunday Times ^ | December 3, 2006 | David Cracknell, Mark Franchetti and Jon Ungoed-Thomas

Posted on 12/03/2006 1:25:58 AM PST by MadIvan

THE Russian president, Vladimir Putin, has expressed his anger at Britain’s failure to gag Alexander Litvinenko in the final hours of his life, the cabinet has been told.

Margaret Beckett, the foreign secretary, told ministers that the Russian government had “taken exception” to the poisoned former spy’s deathbed letter accusing the Putin regime of murdering him.

This weekend a potential suspect — Andrei Lugovoi — admitted he had been contaminated with the radioactive poison polonium-210 but insisted: “I’ve been framed.”

Beckett, who spoke to her Russian counterpart before Thursday’s cabinet meeting, said the Russians had “seemingly failed to understand” that Litvinenko was under police supervision rather than in custody.

Amid signs that his death could cause a diplomatic row, Tony Blair concluded the cabinet meeting by saying “the most important issue” was likely to be Britain’s long-term relationship with Moscow.

Another minister present said: “It caused some alarm that this case is obviously causing tension with the Russians. They are too important for us to fall out with them over this.”

Putin’s aides see Litvinenko’s letter, in which he described the Russian president as “barbaric and ruthless”, as a carefully orchestrated public relations stunt, timed to coincide with the leader’s appearance at the Russia-European Union summit in Helsinki.

Foreign Office officials yesterday confirmed the Russians had raised the issue of Litvinenko’s letter with Beckett and British diplomats. Until now, the government has admitted only that the Russians had agreed to assist Scotland Yard with its inquiries.

John Reid, the home secretary, told the cabinet “not to make assumptions” about Litvinenko’s death, pointing out that the former spy had been “involved with” organised crime as well as the KGB, Chechens and exiled Russian oligarchs.

With more than 200 people tested for suspected radiation contamination and 3,000 calls handled by NHS Direct, Patricia Hewitt, the health secretary, said there was a risk the NHS could be “overloaded”.

Reid said the contamination by polonium-210 — a highly radioactive isotope, which has so far been found at 12 sites in London — could have come from more than one person.

The potential suspect Lugovoi told The Sunday Times he was the mystery businessman who had visited locations across London since tested positive for radioactivity, including the Sheraton Park Lane hotel. According to other sources, he also went to the offices of Boris Berezovsky, the dissident Russian billionaire.

The radioactive trail suggests that Lugovoi, also a former spy, was contaminated with polonium-210 as early as October 25, about a week before Litvinenko was poisoned, probably at a sushi bar in Piccadilly.

Lugovoi denied he and two business associates, Dmitri Kovtun and Vyacheslav Sokolenko, were involved in any plot. All three men met Litvinenko on November 1, the day he was poisoned. “We suspect that someone has been trying to frame us,” said Lugovoi. “Someone passed this stuff onto us . . . so as to point the finger at us and distract the police.” He also suggested they could have been contaminated by Litvinenko.

Lugovoi, who has been in contact with Scotland Yard, said he had flown to London from Moscow on October 25, checking into the Sheraton Park Lane. It may explain how the hotel was contaminated, as Litvinenko did not visit it on November 1.

During a second trip to London to watch the Arsenal-CSKA Moscow football match, Lugovoi, Kovtun and Sokolenko met Litvinenko at the Millennium hotel in Mayfair. Yesterday police mounted a search for polonium in the part of the Emirates stadium where Lugovoi had been sitting and gave it the all-clear.

By the time of the meeting at the Millennium hotel, Litvinenko is thought to have already eaten at the Itsu sushi bar with Mario Scaramella, an Italian security expert. Yesterday the bar’s manager was contacted by police for a second time.

Litvinenko fell seriously ill shortly after this meeting with Scaramella. As he lay dying, he said he believed Lugovoi was a key suspect.

Alexander Goldfarb, Litvinenko’s friend, said: “He obviously suspected Lugovoi. He suspected Scaramella too, but he suspected Lugovoi more. That is why when he was ill, he never put that meeting with Lugovoi and his associates into the public domain. He wanted to lure him back to London when he got better.”

Scaramella was yesterday at University College hospital after he tested positive for radioactivity. He was said to have no symptoms of radiation sickness, but Sergio Rastrelli, his lawyer, said: “The doctors have told him polonium always has potentially lethal effects. He either inhaled or ingested polonium. He was not contaminated by Litvinenko.”

Litvinenko’s wife, Marina, who has also been contaminated, is showing no sign of illness and her level of radiation is described by police sources as “absolutely minimal”.

Police sources confirmed the dose administered to Litvinenko was “at least 100 times” the amount needed to kill somebody.

The sushi bar is the most likely place that Litvinenko and Scaramella were poisoned, but detectives do not know how the radioactive material was administered. They are not ruling out the possibility that the two men were poisoned separately elsewhere.

Detectives have told ministers they are closing in on a suspect. They say he is a businessmen who travelled from Moscow to London before November 1 but refuse to say whether Lugovoi is the suspect.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; Russia; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: 200610; 20061025; alexandergoldfarb; blair; espionage; goldfarb; litvinenko; london; lugovoi; millenniumhotel; moscow; poisoning; polomium; polonium210; putin; russia; scaramella; sokolenko; spies; spy; uk
Message to Putin: up yours.

Regards, Ivan

1 posted on 12/03/2006 1:26:03 AM PST by MadIvan
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To: Mrs Ivan; odds; DCPatriot; Texican; Watery Tart; Deetes; Barset; fanfan; LadyofShalott; Tolik; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 12/03/2006 1:26:34 AM PST by MadIvan (I aim to misbehave.)
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To: MadIvan
Vlad the Poisoner

... Next? ...
3 posted on 12/03/2006 2:45:14 AM PST by Bon mots
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To: MadIvan

Interesting. Thanks for posting.


4 posted on 12/03/2006 3:26:10 AM PST by PGalt
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To: MadIvan
" ... Vladimir Putin, has expressed his anger at Britain’s failure to gag Alexander Litvinenko ... "

Tony Blair has taken seriously the assignment of an honest attempt at governing and leading.

This may be the first in a string of world leaders that have said, "F*** it ... let's get it on."

This is the kind of stuff that keeps nukes in their silos ....

or sets them off.

5 posted on 12/03/2006 3:42:58 AM PST by knarf (Islamists kill each other ... News wall-to-wall, 24/7 .. don't touch that dial.)
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To: GarySpFc; spanalot

Ping


6 posted on 12/03/2006 4:01:08 AM PST by Donna Lee Nardo (DEATH TO ISLAMIC TERRORISTS AND ANIMAL AND CHILD ABUSERS.)
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To: MadIvan

7 posted on 12/03/2006 4:11:18 AM PST by SkyPilot
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To: MadIvan
Mr. Blair is neither a poodle of George Bush nor Mr. Putin. Plus, in generally free countries, the leader cannot stop such freedom of speech.

Sorry to keep asking these questions, but apparently organizing a webpage is very difficult. If http://www.freerepublic.com/~jedimasterpikachu/ is very disorganized on your screen, can you freepmail?

8 posted on 12/03/2006 4:17:56 AM PST by Jedi Master Pikachu ( FRhomepage on IE is very ugly. Firefox was used to make. Can you help?)
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To: MadIvan

Facinating Stuff. Thanks for posting it.


9 posted on 12/03/2006 5:02:12 AM PST by Iowa Granny
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To: MadIvan

Who do these people think they are? Time to build more ICBM's.


10 posted on 12/03/2006 5:40:34 AM PST by MARKUSPRIME
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To: Iowa Granny

I used to think Putin was a squirrely litle bastard. Now I am of the opinion he is an evil, squirrely, litle bastard.


11 posted on 12/03/2006 5:45:33 AM PST by CalvaryJohn (What is keeping that damned asteroid?)
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To: CalvaryJohn
Now I am of the opinion he is an evil, squirrely, litle bastard.

Yes. Very evil. Very squirrely. Ultimately so.

12 posted on 12/03/2006 5:53:54 AM PST by Iowa Granny
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To: CalvaryJohn
I used to think Putin was a squirrely litle bastard. Now I am of the opinion he is an evil, squirrely, litle bastard.

Ya mean that Texas belt buckle Bush gave him didn't work ?
13 posted on 12/03/2006 7:28:21 AM PST by uncbob
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To: MadIvan
Putin wanted Blair to gag poisoned spy

Suffocate him, eh? And he wanted Blair to do the dirty work. Glad he didn't.

;)

14 posted on 12/03/2006 7:40:25 AM PST by the invisib1e hand (* nuke * the * jihad *)
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To: MadIvan

F the Russians


15 posted on 12/03/2006 8:04:19 AM PST by spanalot
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To: CalvaryJohn

Well, a squirrel is a relative of the RAT, which he resembles both in appearance and behavior. Rats will gnaw through anything in their way, including sometimes, wire mesh.

I was never one of those who really believed Russia in general, and Putin in particular, was our friend.


16 posted on 12/03/2006 8:48:17 AM PST by MizSterious (Anonymous sources often means "the voices in my head told me.")
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To: spanalot

So, where are all the KGB trolls?

Why gag him if Putin didn't do it?


17 posted on 12/03/2006 10:18:44 AM PST by b2stealth
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To: MadIvan
the Russians had “seemingly failed to understand” that Litvinenko was under police supervision rather than in custody

Talk about a culture clash!

My feeble theory so far. The perp thought the Brits wouldn't figure out the cause of the spy's death. (It did take 3 weeks and a few misdiagnosis.) That's why the contamination in London wouldn't be an issue.

When the contamination was discovered, at some later date, the source wouldn't be known, and wouldn't be linked to the spy's death. And, obviously, the source had no compunctions about the exposure of innocents in London.

Some truly evil, sick bastard with what motive? The English always have the best whodunnits!

18 posted on 12/03/2006 10:48:51 AM PST by GVnana (Former Alias: GVgirl)
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To: MadIvan

Where will the poisoning assassin strike next?

SS


19 posted on 12/03/2006 10:57:58 AM PST by Sword_Svalbardt (Sword Svalbardt)
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To: b2stealth

"Why gag him if Putin didn't do it?"

Only a Russian would have the audacity to commit such crimes and cry like a baby when accused of same.
They have no reverence for life - that is why Russians kill more hostages than terrorists.


20 posted on 12/03/2006 11:33:39 AM PST by spanalot
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To: MadIvan

Bumping your message to Pootie Poot.


21 posted on 12/03/2006 1:17:54 PM PST by dixiechick2000 (There ought to be one day-- just one-- when there is open season on senators. ~~ Will Rogers)
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To: All

bump


22 posted on 12/03/2006 11:01:18 PM PST by Sun (*MERRY CHRISTMAS!* And during this beautiful season, let's all pray for good to win over evil soon!)
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To: MadIvan

23 posted on 12/04/2006 7:46:15 AM PST by Silly (Still being... Silly)
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