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ABC News Exclusive: Murder in a Teapot
ABC News ^ | January 26, 2007 | Brian Ross and Maddy Sauer

Posted on 01/26/2007 9:35:08 AM PST by Ben Mugged

British officials say police have cracked the murder-by-poison case of former spy Alexander Litvinenko, including the discovery of a "hot" teapot at London's Millennium Hotel with an off-the-charts reading for Polonium-210, the radioactive material used in the killing.

A senior official tells ABC News the "hot" teapot remained in use at the hotel for several weeks after Litvinenko's death before being tested in the second week of December. The official said investigators were embarrassed at the oversight.

The official says investigators have concluded, based on forensic evidence and intelligence reports, that the murder was a "state-sponsored" assassination orchestrated by Russian security services.

Officials say Russian FSB intelligence considered the murder to have been badly bungled because it took more than one attempt to administer the poison. The Russian officials did not expect the source of the poisoning to be discovered, according to intelligence reports.

(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.abcnews.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs
KEYWORDS: litvinenko; nuclearpoison

1 posted on 01/26/2007 9:35:09 AM PST by Ben Mugged
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To: Ben Mugged

Putin has been busy.


2 posted on 01/26/2007 9:37:17 AM PST by BurbankKarl
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To: Ben Mugged

I'm a little Teapot, Short and Stout...........


3 posted on 01/26/2007 9:40:43 AM PST by Red Badger (Rachel Carson is responsible for more deaths than Adolf Hitler...............)
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To: Ben Mugged

Tea for two anyone?


4 posted on 01/26/2007 9:40:59 AM PST by pbear8 (Pray for our troops.)
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To: Ben Mugged; A. Pole; Cheburashka

And remember all those kegebuns and putinoids who reflexively and predictably insisted that it was anything else, from a criminal chechen dust-up to suicide? 160 years ago there was "an NCO widow who whipped herself" [an official explanation concocted for the incoming inspection by the corrupt officials who had her whipped]. This quotation from Gogol became idiomatic.


5 posted on 01/26/2007 9:41:58 AM PST by GSlob
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To: Ben Mugged

the "hot" teapot remained in use at the hotel for several weeks .....

How many others got ill or died?


6 posted on 01/26/2007 9:55:21 AM PST by showme_the_Glory (No more rhyming, and I mean it! ..Anybody want a peanut.....)
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To: Ben Mugged

Another "Teapot Dome" scandal?


7 posted on 01/26/2007 10:02:32 AM PST by Don Corleone (Leave the gun..take the cannoli)
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To: showme_the_Glory

The radiation from the polonium warmed the tea it was reported. Wouldn't the fellow who put the stuff in the tea be almost as bad off as the victim?


8 posted on 01/26/2007 10:11:15 AM PST by Thebaddog (Labrador Retrievers are the dog's dog)
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To: showme_the_Glory
How many others got ill or died?

I wonder how much danger the pot held after it was emptied and washed.

9 posted on 01/26/2007 10:13:36 AM PST by Minn
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To: GSlob

I remember all too well. I thought at the time it was amazing that what sounded like KGB disinformation had found its way onto FR.


10 posted on 01/26/2007 10:58:52 AM PST by hellbender
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To: GSlob
So when was the teapot contaminated? November 2? November 10? November 20? November 30? December 10? The day before it was tested?

How many people were served by it before it was taken out of service? How many of them show signs of poisoning? How many times was it washed? Anything else in the same dishwasher show signs of Polonium? How about the dishwasher itself? Pretty crappy food service if they don't wash pans, plates, silverware, tea pots after every use. Sounds like the place to go to get ptomaine. If you want ptomaine.

Stunning incompetence on the part of the investigators, as admitted by the investigators themselves. Based on the facts quoted in the story, no one can be sure what week it was contaminated, much less what day and by whom.

And since this story came from "anonymous sources", what reliance can be put on the story at all?

Russians might have done it. They might not. I will wait for reliable information. Others who are controlled by their own prejudices will continue to manifest symptoms of Putin Derangement Syndrome. Being controlled by your prejudices never brings happy results.

One thing is sure. FSB knows whether they did it or not. Either way, they must be having a good laugh at this story in Moscow.
11 posted on 01/26/2007 11:26:21 AM PST by Cheburashka ( World's only Spatula City certified spatula repair and maintenance specialist!!!)
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To: pbear8
Tea for two anyone?

Don't you mean "Tea for two-ten"? (Ducking quickly)

12 posted on 01/26/2007 11:27:59 AM PST by ssaftler
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To: showme_the_Glory

Anyone else served from the same teapot till it was emptied and rinsed. Those served after that would get progressively smaller doses. A smart assassin would not have much tea prepared in it [to minimize the traceabilty], so it is likely that the amount was small and the teapot was rinsed pretty soon after the intended use.


13 posted on 01/26/2007 1:12:55 PM PST by GSlob
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To: Cheburashka

One could have bet any money that it was FSB, even before or without an investigation. Kegebuchaya von' oozes out of the whole story - the smell test alone is sufficient. What is more amusing is to watch our own kegebuns on FR going through the motions.


14 posted on 01/26/2007 1:18:27 PM PST by GSlob
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To: GSlob

another article says some 128 people were discovered to have had 'probable contact' with the teapot, including 8 hotel staff members. Only 13 of those tested at a level which had any known long-term health concerns. This is from ABC's web site.


15 posted on 01/26/2007 4:39:32 PM PST by WoofDog123
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To: WoofDog123

Well, with radiation poisonings- if one gets something like 10% of lethal dose [LD] or less, there would be preciously few symptoms. So, if the teapot was rinsed from the old [used, radioactive] tea, it would not generate a mass poisoning trail afterwards.


16 posted on 01/26/2007 5:27:29 PM PST by GSlob
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To: GSlob

right, speculation I read was that the glaze of the teapot had absorbed some of the radioactivity, something the assassin(s) may not have anticipated (it isn't clear they expected the polonium to be identified ever, at all).


17 posted on 01/26/2007 6:13:09 PM PST by WoofDog123
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To: GSlob; Ben Mugged
A smart assassin would not have much tea prepared in it [to minimize the traceabilty], so it is likely that the amount was small and the teapot was rinsed pretty soon after the intended use.

A smart assassin would have prepared the Polonium to make it very soluble in water.

If the polonium was still “off-the-charts” after being in use for several weeks after the poison was administered the polonium would have to have been strongly adhered to the inside of the teapot.

Unless the teapot had not been washed at all it is inconceivable that it would still be easily detectable after three or four washing and uses.

The only two ways this makes sense to me; one is if the Hotel did not wash the tea pot at all between the poisoning of the teapot and the police discovery of the teapot, the other is if the compound the Russians used was only slightly soluble in the tea and the poison adhered tightly to the teapot (at least in the US this would be the more likely, but then I am not familiar with the cleanliness standards in UK hotels).

But anyway I believe that the agent performing the poisoning may not have chosen the correct pathway for the administration of the poison. The poison may have been in powder form and been intended to be sprinkled on food in which case it may have adhered to the film that is commonly found in frequently used teapots and coffee pots.

18 posted on 01/27/2007 3:21:08 PM PST by Pontiac (Patriotism is the natural consequence of having a free mind in a free society.)
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To: Pontiac

It adhered to the surface [as it should]: the amount used was small, say, on order of 100 micrograms, as clean aqueous solution, and the teapot surface absorbed quite a lot of it [before becoming saturated]. Sitting there in absorbed state, it would be released rather slowly - it is unconceivable that the hotel would not have washed the dishes for months. To clean that teapot would have taken an aggressive treatment involving etching/dissolving the teapot surface material in corrosive solutions. Ages ago, when studying the chemistry of radioactive tracers, washing the things was one of the more "joyful" parts of the lab work.


19 posted on 01/27/2007 4:08:53 PM PST by GSlob
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To: GSlob

"One could have bet any money that it was FSB, even before or without an investigation. Kegebuchaya von' oozes out of the whole story - the smell test alone is sufficient. What is more amusing is to watch our own kegebuns on FR going through the motions."

Funny how they all seem to have avoided this thread like the plague -- or polonium.


20 posted on 01/27/2007 4:28:55 PM PST by Sam Hill
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To: Sam Hill
"Funny how they all seem to have avoided this thread like the plague -- or polonium."
Well, "Cheburashka" popped up. But it is indeed funny and amusing. For general benefit [pro bono] in the early part of the polonium affair I formulated 3 basic rules on them:
1. Not a single words passing the lips of a kegebun could be trusted [and that includes the pauses they need to catch the breath or to swallow the saliva];
2. Not a single constructive deed by a kegebun can be trusted either. If a kegebun malingers a suicide - mistrust it and make sure by a double tap to the head. To their destructive capacity, however, one can give full faith and credit.
3. For the purposes of Rules 1 and 2, kegebuns are all those associated with the infamous organization, its predecessors, successors, assignees, creditors, lessees, etc [collectively, KGB], and all those associating with and/or pushing its agenda.
21 posted on 01/27/2007 4:44:10 PM PST by GSlob
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To: Red Badger
" I'm a little Teapot, Short and Stout...........

Nah...that is Khrushev...and he's been dead for years now.

22 posted on 01/27/2007 5:14:39 PM PST by albee (Okay. so he missed aThe best thing you can do for the poor is.....not be one of them. - Eric Hoffer)
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To: albee

Khrushchev was affectionately known as 'zhopa s ushami' [= "a-hole with ears"], and not as a teapot.


23 posted on 01/27/2007 6:21:09 PM PST by GSlob
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To: GSlob

Ya ponyemayu po russki. On tozheh bil svolatch.


24 posted on 01/27/2007 7:43:37 PM PST by albee (Okay. so he missed aThe best thing you can do for the poor is.....not be one of them. - Eric Hoffer)
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To: albee

Well, the basic etiquette requires using commonly understood language on a public forum. Thus, when necessary, transliterations could be provided, but - as a common courtesy - they ought to be accompanied by translations.


25 posted on 01/27/2007 7:47:32 PM PST by GSlob
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To: BurbankKarl; Ben Mugged
The official says investigators have concluded, based on forensic evidence and intelligence reports, that the murder was a "state-sponsored" assassination orchestrated by Russian security services.

Putin has been busy.

Why is Russia allowed to be in the G8? If they're going to act this way, it should revert to being the G7.

26 posted on 01/27/2007 8:16:35 PM PST by Paleo Conservative
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To: GSlob
"Well, the basic etiquette requires using commonly understood language on a public forum."

You had no way of knowing that Russian was my first language and I was just showing off.

27 posted on 01/27/2007 9:21:49 PM PST by albee (Okay. so he missed aThe best thing you can do for the poor is.....not be one of them. - Eric Hoffer)
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To: albee

That's why I immediately provided the English translation. If you can get 'zhopu s ushami' without it - good and well. If you know the old joke from which it came - even better. And if you did not happen to know these - the translation was supposed to take care of the situation.


28 posted on 01/27/2007 9:50:10 PM PST by GSlob
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To: GSlob

Please explain "kegebun" and "Cheburashka"


29 posted on 01/29/2007 4:56:55 AM PST by Pontiac (Patriotism is the natural consequence of having a free mind in a free society.)
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To: Pontiac

"Cheburashka" is a FReeper screenname [post #11 on this thread is his/hers]. "kegebun" - dissident slang, derived from "KGB", and meaning, literally, "KGB-effer", or "effing KGB-[person]". Post # 21 explained who, and what, they are.


30 posted on 01/29/2007 6:15:05 AM PST by GSlob
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