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.