Exclusive: Earl Grey Killed Litvinenko. You Read It Here Last.


By now, you’ve all read the latest crackpot teapot story. So without further ado, I’ve written to one of the hacks who recycled this crap – Justin Penrose, ‘crime reporter’ of the UK ‘Sunday Mirror’.

Dear Justin Penrose,

I have just read your story about the alleged ‘Killer Teapot’.

I put it to you that this story is blatant propaganda and irresponsible, scaremongering journalism, since Scotland Yard is currently saying nothing of the kind. I checked if you didn’t.

As everybody knows, this story, which is doing the rounds, was sourced from an ‘Exclusive’ planted in ABC news.

To be clear, let’s read it together, Justin. Quote:

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.

So. ‘An Official says Police say . .‘. That’s not the same thing as ‘Police say’. A good journalist might have bothered to find out who that official is. It is Oleg Gordievsky (MI6) – a prime source of press disinformation in this case to date.

The ABC teapot story originates from an interview with Oleg Gordievsky in Moscow Komsomolets. And, when pressed, Gordievsky admits that it is his ‘personal theory’. But you left that bit out, didn’t you Justin, and wrote, quote, ‘Detectives are convinced . . . ‘ Is that blatant lying or what?

Gordievsky, the ‘Teapot’ source, is the same source who told the Times only last week about the killer being a ‘mystery man with a limp’ and ‘Polonium used to heat up Sasha’s tea’. (Actually against the laws of physics.) I suggest you knowingly used a discredited source.

Now let’s question your other irresponsible claims.

Quote “The “hot” teapot was at London’s Millennium Hotel with sky-high readings of Polonium-210″ “. . . it was STILL IN USE at the posh hotel in Mayfair until December 10 – six weeks after the poisoning.”

1. Polonium, which is unable to penetrate skin or paper, cannot penetrate porcelain. For there to be any residual Polonium in the teapot it would have to be in solid, metallic form – not in a form you can pour into a cup.

2. Even if this were true, the radioactivity in the teapot could not be dated back to the time of the alleged killing. Radioactive decay can only be timed back to the date of the material’s manufacture.

3. Your story is patently not true, since the amount of Polonium needed to kill someone is so small you can’t see it. An amount producing ‘Sky High’ radioactivity would not merely have poisoned a few thousand guests, it would have immediately fried their insides. Including Litvinenko’s.

This story is pure bunk and you owe at least readers an apology and correction. You may well have caused unnecessary distress.

Since you call yourself a ‘crime reporter’, Justin, perhaps you would like to explain why you allege that it was a murder. Here are some of the reasons why no one would ever use Polonium as a murder weapon.

1. It doesn’t silence anyone, as the noise made by Litvinenko demonstrates.
2. It places the poisoner at as much risk as the victim.
3. Because it’s slow-acting, it leaves the victim ample time to identify and accuse poisoner and to instigate revenge.
4. It leaves a glowing and incriminating trail.
5. It’s ridiculously expensive and difficult to obtain.
6. Professionals use fast-acting toxins that don’t leave traces.
7. It is risky, imprecise, difficult to both handle and to administer.
8. No one has ever used it before – obviously.

Your story goes on to brand Mr Lugovoi as the ‘killer’ and includes the line : “Despite the evidence against him, he is likely to escape prosecution because the Russians will not extradite him.”

First, what evidence? Hundreds of people in 48 countries were contaminated, which doesn’t make them all assassins. While any assassin knowingly handling radioactive material would have taken precautions. Reality check here.

Do you honestly believe Mr Lugovoi was trailing around London with a teapot just in case Sasha wanted a ‘hot drink’ ?

Your subsequent statement is totally misleading too. For your information, Russia and Britain signed a new memorandum of understanding on extradition. The Russian prosecutor would be only too willing to extradite Lugovoi for Berezovsky, assuming Scotland Yard has a case.

Wake up and smell the Earl Grey!

This open letter to you is also published on the Internet at ‘Medialens’ forum.


21 comments to Exclusive: Earl Grey Killed Litvinenko. You Read It Here Last.

  • this is more complicated than mexican soap operas and alfred hitchcock’s movies together.

  • too old to die young

    For your information, Russia and Britain signed a new memorandum of understanding on extradition…

    No, they signed “Memorandum of understanding on co-operation between the Office of the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation and the Crown Prosecution Service of England and Wales.”


  • copydude

    If you click the link in the post, you’ll see what the Russian Prosecutor understands by it. And if Berezovsky didn’t have the same understanding, he wouldn’t be waging the current PR campaign to ‘protect the exiles’.

  • too old to die young

    I do know what this Memorandum has to do with Berezovsky et al, but that’s not the point here. Russia doesn’t extradite, period.

    Конституция РФ, Статья 61
    1. Гражданин Российской Федерация не может быть выслан за пределы Российской Федерации или выдан другому государству.

  • […] Copydude writes an open letter to Justin Penrose, a UK Sunday Mirror reporter who has written on Aleksandr Litvinenko’s death. Veronica Khokhlova […]

  • copydude

    Quote: ‘I do know what this Memorandum has to do with Berezovsky et al’

    One of the first commissions of the new Russian prosecutor was to visit the UK with a team of lawyers, with the express purpose of extraditing Berezovsky. It is this initiative which resulted in the ‘Memorandum of Understanding’.

    Article 7 of that understanding – you provided the link – implies leeway which could be exploited to ‘mutual benefit’.

  • Well, the whole affaire seems rather “potty”…

  • Mark Adkins

    I think, Vilhelm, you mean “a tempest in a teapot”.

  • mariposa


    Did you e-mail this to Justin Penrose? And if not, here’s his email address: justin.penrose@sundaymirror.co.uk.

    You say, “since Scotland Yard is currently saying nothing of the kind. I checked if you didn’t.” I’m curious, John, who did you speak with at Scotland Yard?

    Thanks in advance.

  • Hi dude,

    Frankly, what do you expect from someone working for the Sunday Mirror, or for any English newspaper for that matter? With a few famous exceptions, British written press is a disgrace for the profession. Nobody with a sound mind would believe what is written in these pieces of junk called the Sun or the Sunday Mirror…
    So long…

  • copydude

    Hi Mariposa,
    Police central info (+44 (0) 207 161 3500) will only refer any question on Polonium to: Media enquiries, HPA London press office on (+44) 20 7759 2824

    As also stated by Andrew Johnson in the Independent, Jan 29th,’Scotland Yard Police yesterday refused to comment on the reports’

    Thanks, I did indeed e-mail Justin. If he replies, I’ll let you know.

  • Mariposa

    Hi John:

    Your story seems a rush to judgment when Justin Penrose may have a particular source at Scotland Yard that you and Andrew Johnson at the Independent don’t.

    I also emailed Penrose. Don’t know if he will bother responding, but who knows. I referred him to your websites.

  • Seva

    Hi dude,

    I think your blogs are the best about the Litvinenko case.
    I was thinking a lot about it too and have a theory, which explains all publicly known “facts”. Litvinenko tried to copycat Yushchenko. At first in October 16 he contaminated Lugovoi and Kovtun to set The Kremlin Trail, and on November first at the meeting with Scaramella took a dose by himself. When he realized that the dose was too high, he converted to Islam to be a martyr. The “hot” teapot was planted at London’s Millennium Hotel to fix the “poising” which went wrong..
    What do you think?

  • Dr. Jeckyl

    I wonder if The Sun used the same source for this story published on 12-2-06, here is the quote – “Detectives are convinced Mr. Scaramella was “nuked” as he breathed in particles coming from the former Russian spy’s food at their sushi bar meeting”
    source: http://www.thesun.co.uk/article/0,,2-2006551066,00.html

  • Seva

    Actually, I noticed that well-established timeline of the events was changed in all media in December:
    Originally, Litvinenko met Scaramella before meeting Lugovoy.
    “November 1
    Lunchtime: Litvinenko meets Mario Scaramella, again at Itsu; receives documents relating to Politkovskaya’s death
    4pm: Litvinenko meets Kovtun and Lugovoy in the Millennium Hotel, Grosvenor Square; joined by Vyacheslav Sokolenko. Later Litvinenko falls violently ill
    November 3
    Litvinenko admitted to Barnet Hospital, under a pseudonym. Doctors diagnose gastroenteritis
    November 7
    He tells doctors his true identity; claims he might have been poisoned”
    source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/11/26/npoison226.xml

    BBC Jan 27, 2007 05:58:32 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/6179074.stm
    “1 Nov – Alexander Litvinenko meets two Russian men at a London hotel and then meets Italian academic Mario Scaramella at a sushi bar in Piccadilly. Hours later he falls ill and is admitted to Barnet General Hospital”

    The only source for that change is Oleg Gordievsky. The obvious reason is, that the original timeline can’t explain why Scaramella was contaminated, so Gordievsky invented “new facts” as he did many times before and after.

  • too old to die young

    5. It’s ridiculously expensive and difficult to obtain.


  • Mr. Hyde

    Oleg Gordievsky=Triple Agent?

    A triple agent pretends to be a double agent for the target organization, but in fact is working for the controlling organization all along. Usually, he keeps the trust of the target organization by feeding information to them that apparently is very important but is in fact misleading or useless.

  • copydude

    Thanks for all the comments. Here’s another I received concerning Gordievsky:

    “Gordievsky removed from his prevoius story on Radio Liberty Russian Service a forged EU passport of his “real killer” being photographed in Heathrow because there is no passport control for EU passengers from Hamburg. It is strange that Gordievsky didn’t know about that. It seems he never left Britain for a long time. But you never knew he said that for the Russians from UK press because that nonsense was censured for British readers. Then he removed from his “theory” a forged Lithuanian passport after a Lithuanian paper pressed him.”

    Later it emerges that Lugovoi flew from Hamurg to Gatwick, not Heathrow. Gordievsky is disinformation central.

  • Seva

    “..Litvinenko affair, that’s worse than anything that has happened in the Cold War. I don’t recall anybody ever accusing Brezhnev of killing anybody abroad. ”
    Stephen F. Cohen Professor of Russian and Slavic Studies at New York University
    Source: http://www.washprofile.org/en/node/5814

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