The public inquiry into Alexander Litvinenko’s death has heard that the ex-Russian spy may have been poisoned with polonium “not once but twice”.
Alexander Litvinenko died from radiation poisoning in a London hospital in November 2006 at the age of 43, nearly three weeks after drinking tea laced with the substance.
Russians,Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, have denied any involvement.
Alexander Litvinenko may also have been poisoned in October 2006, counsel to the inquiry Robin Tam QC said.
He had fled to the UK where he became a vocal critic of the Kremlin and worked for the UK’s intelligence service MI6.
Alexander Litvinenko had recalled feeling unwell around the time of a meeting at a security company in mid-October and “vomiting on one occasion about two or three weeks before being hospitalized”, Robin Tam said.
“Hair samples that are available indicate that Mr. Litvinenko may well have been poisoned twice and that the first occasion being much less severe than the second.”
The two men suspected of killing Alexander Litvinenko made three trips to London in the run up to his death and brought Polonium to try to kill him each time.
The judge-led inquiry was officially opened by presiding judge Sir Robert Owen at the Royal Courts of Justice.
Judge Robert Owen said Alexander Litvinenko’s death from radiation poisoning in London in 2006 had attracted “worldwide interest and concern”.
Alexandr Litvinenko’s widow Marina says he blamed the Kremlin as he lay dying in hospital, but Russia denies any involvement.
Her lawyer has described his murder as “an act of state-sponsored nuclear terrorism on the streets of London”.
Alexander Litvinenko was poisoned with radioactive polonium-210, following a meeting with two Russians at the Millennium Hotel in central London.
Dmitry Kovtun and former KGB bodyguard Andrei Lugovoi – whom the UK police have identified as suspects in the case – have been invited to give evidence via videolink from Russia, Robert Owen said.
Andrei Lugovoi told Russian television station LifeNews TV on January 27 that there could be no fair trial in Britain.
“They classified the materials, saying Litvinenko co-operated with English intelligence. How can it be investigated impartially after that?” he said.
“This is why we pulled out in protest – we want it to be investigated but we want it to be impartial and, moreover, we want it investigated in Russia.”
Judge Robert Owen said sensitive evidence had established there was a “prima facie case” as to the culpability of the Russian state in Alexander Litvinenko’s death.
The judge said the use of polonium could have killed large numbers of people “or spread general panic and hysteria among the public”.
“The issues to which his death gives rise are of the utmost gravity and have attracted worldwide interest and concern,” he said.
Judge Robert Owen was originally appointed as the coroner at Alexander Litvinenko’s inquest but he called for a public inquiry because the inquest could not consider sensitive evidence due to national security fears.
The UK government resisted the move at first but later changed its stance last July, amid worsening relations with Moscow over the crisis in Ukraine.
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Russian spy Anna Chapman has proposed marriage to NSA leaker Edward Snowden via Twitter.
Anna Chapman was short and sweet: “Snowden, will you marry me?!”
The tweet came just as the world began to wonder if Edward Snowden was still in Anna Chapman’s country of Russia – where he’s been holed up in a Moscow airport for days – or if he’d managed to sneak aboard the flight of Bolivian President Evo Morales headed for South America.
Latin America, specifically Venezuela, is thought to be Edward Snowden’s last hope for asylum after withdrawing his petition to Russia Tuesday.
Since her own espionage controversy – along with nine others accused of spying in 2010 – Anna Chapman has led a busy life.
Anna Chapman was immediately catapulted into the limelight as her pictures were splashed around the world.
Russian spy Anna Chapman has proposed marriage to NSA leaker Edward Snowden via Twitter
The daughter of a senior KGB agent has become a celebrity in Russia since she returned in the summer of 2010.
She has previously appeared on the catwalk at Russian Fashion Week in Moscow clothed in a skin-tight leather ensemble.
Anna Chapman has also modeled, edited a magazine, given lectures and now runs a foundation.
Last year she appeared on the catwalk in the Mediterranean city of Antalya, a top Turkish vacation destination.
The controversial temptress has made many tongues wag since her name was first splashed across the front page of magazines and websites worldwide.
But Edward Snowden, at least in his pre-international controversy days, claims to have elicited some leering himself.
“I like my girlish figure that attracts girls,” Edward Snowden wrote as an 18-year-old.
That figure later won Edward Snowden an attractive dancer Lindsay Mills.
And though Lindsay Mills may not be a globetrotting diplomat’s daughter, if you look at her in just the right light she does resemble Anna Chapman.
The FBI has identified the American known as Misha who helped radicalize the Boston bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev.
Family members of Tamerlan Tsarnaev have described Misha as the guiding influence in the elder bomber developing radicalized views.
Speculation as to who Misha is has varied wildly in the past week, with some suggesting he is the mastermind behind the marathon bombings while others believe he could be a Russian spy – sent to identify and keep tabs on young men like Tamerlan Tsarnaev who are at risk of turning to militant Islam.
To date all that is known about Misha is that he is an Armenian man in his 30s with distinctive red beard and that he has disappeared – no longer living in the Cambridge, Massachusetts area.
However, family members have been telling reporters that in the years before the Boston Marathon bombings, Tamerlan Tsarnaev , 26, fell under the strong influence of a new friend, a Christian who converted to Islam and who steered the religiously apathetic young man towards adopting strong Islamic views.
“It started in 2009. And it started right there, in Cambridge,” said Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s uncle Ruslan Tsarni to CNN from his home in Maryland.
“This person just took his brain. He just brainwashed him completely.”
Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in a police shootout Friday, April 19. His younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, was charged Monday with using a weapon of mass destruction to kill, and he could face the death penalty if convicted.
Under the tutelage of a friend known to the Tsarnaev family only as Misha, Tamerlan gave up boxing and stopped studying music, his family said. He began opposing the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev turned to websites and literature claiming that the CIA was behind the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001, and Jews controlled the world.
According to Ruslan Tsarni, Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s radicalization happened right under the nose of his mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva.
Ruslan Tsarni said that Misha was around 30-years-old and that he was an Armenian who, unusually for such a largely Christian people, had converted to Islam.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s relationship with Misha could be a clue in understanding the motives behind his religious transformation and, ultimately, the attack itself.
Although The Daily Beast claims that now officials know more about Misha he might be a less important part of the case than previously thought.
During his hospital room interrogation, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev told FBI agents this week that he and his brother were influenced by the internet sermons of Anwar al-Awlaki, the American-born preacher who was killed in a US drone strike in Yemen in September 2011.
There is a long trail of hardened terrorists who have acknowledged coming under his sway. Among them are Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-American who attempted to set off a car bomb in Times Square in May 2010, and Nidal Malik Hasan, the US Army officer who killed 13 people in a shooting spree at Fort Hood in 2009.
The charismatic cleric was seen by the Obama administration as a uniquely dangerous terrorist because of his sermons, his intuitive grasp of US culture, and a burning desire to strike his birth nation.
As authorities try to piece together that information, they are touching on a question asked after so many terrorist plots: What turns someone into a terrorist?
Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev emigrated in 2002 or 2003 from Dagestan, a Russian republic that has become an epicenter of the Islamic insurgency that spilled over from the region of Chechnya.
They were raised in a home that followed Sunni Islam, the religion’s largest sect. They were not regulars at the mosque and rarely discussed religion, said Elmirza Khozhugov, 26, the ex-husband of Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s sister, Ailina.
Then, in 2008 or 2009, Tamerlan Tsarnaev met Misha, a slightly older, heavyset bald man with a long reddish beard. Elmirza Khozhugov didn’t know where they’d met but believed they attended a Boston-area mosque together.
The FBI has identified the American known as Misha who helped radicalize the Boston bombing suspects Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev
Misha was an Armenian native and a convert to Islam and quickly began influencing his new friend, family members said.
Once, Elmirza Khozhugov said, Misha came to the family home outside Boston and sat in the kitchen, chatting with Tamerlan Tsarnaev for hours.
“Misha was telling him what is Islam, what is good in Islam, what is bad in Islam,” said Elmirza Khozhugov, who said he was present for the conversation.
“This is the best religion and that’s it. Mohammed said this and Mohammed said that.”
The conversation continued until Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s father, Anzor, came home from work.
“It was late, like midnight,” Elmirza Khozhugov recalled.
“His father comes in and says, <<Why is Misha here so late and still in our house?>> He asked it politely. Tamerlan was so much into the conversation he didn’t listen.”
Elmirza Khozhugov said Tamerlan’s mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, told him not to worry.
“Don’t interrupt them,” Elmirza Khozhugov recalled the mother saying.
“They’re talking about religion and good things. Misha is teaching him to be good and nice.”
As time went on, Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his father argued about the young man’s new beliefs.
“When Misha would start talking, Tamerlan would stop talking and listen. It upset his father because Tamerlan wouldn’t listen to him as much,” Elmirza Khozhugov said.
“He would listen to this guy from the mosque who was preaching to him.”
Anzor Tsarnaev became so concerned that he called his brother, Ruslan Tsarni, worried about Misha’s effects.
“I heard about nobody else but this convert,” Ruslan Tsarni said.
“The seed for changing his views was planted right there in Cambridge.”
It was not immediately clear whether the FBI has spoken to Misha or was attempting to.
While Misha is a very common name across the former Soviet Union, Dan Amira makes the point that “there can’t be that many bald, red-bearded Armenian Muslims in Boston”.
Respected national security writer Laura Rozen took to Twitter to speculate that Misha could be “the kind of mole Russia plants to keep on eye on émigré communities of concern”.
Indeed, she theorizes that Misha could even be the source that tipped off Russian security services to Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s conversion to radical Islam in 2011.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev became an ardent reader of jihadist websites and extremist propaganda, two US officials said. He read Inspire magazine, an English-language online publication produced by al-Qaeda’s Yemen affiliate.
The young man loved music and, a few years ago, he sent Elmirza Khozhugov a song he’d composed in English and Russian. He said he was about to start music school.
Six weeks later, the two men spoke on the phone. Elmirza Khozhugov asked how school was going.
“I quit,” Tamerlan Tsarnaev said.
“Why did you quit?” Elmirza Khozhugov asked. “You just started.”
“Music is not really supported in Islam,” he replied.
“Who told you that?”
“Misha said it’s not really good to create music. It’s not really good to listen to music,” Tamerlan Tsarnaev said, according to Elmirza Khozhugov.
Tamerlan Tsarnaev took an interest in Infowars, a conspiracy theory website. Elmirza Khozhugov said Tamerlan was interested in finding a copy of the book The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, the classic anti-Semitic hoax, first published in Russia in 1903, that claims a Jewish plot to take over the world.
“He never said he hated America or he hated the Jews,” Elmirza Khozhugov said.
“But he was fairly aggressive toward the policies of the US toward countries with Muslim populations. He disliked the wars.”
One of the Tsarnaev brothers’ neighbors, Albrecht Ammon, recently recalled an encounter in which Tamerlan argued about US foreign policy, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and religion.
Albrecht Ammon said Tamerlan Tsarnaev described the Bible as a “cheap copy” of the Quran, used to justify wars with other countries.
“He had nothing against the American people,” Albrecht Ammon said.
“He had something against the American government.”
Elmirza Khozhugov said Tamerlan Tsarnaev did not know much about Islam beyond what he found online or what he heard from Misha.
“Misha was important,” he said.
“Tamerlan was searching for something. He was searching for something out there.”
However, the Boston bombers mother, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, denied reports that her sons had been radicalized by a mysterious convert to Islam named Misha.
“Nonsense. He was just a friend,” Zubeidat Tsarnaeva told ABC News by phone today shortly before she sat down with FBI investigators for a second day of interviews here in the restive region of Dagestan, in southern Russia.
Zubeidat Tsarnaeva said Misha knew a lot about Islam and that it was interesting to learn from him, but denied his views were extreme.
She said their relationship with Misha, an Armenian with a red beard whose identity and full name remain a mystery, was short because he moved to another part of the United States since. She would not say where.
Throughout his religious makeover, Tamerlan Tsarnaev maintained a strong influence over his siblings, including Dzhokhar, who investigators say carried out the deadly attack by his older brother’s side, killing three and injuring 264 people.
“They all loved Tamerlan. He was the eldest one and he, in many ways, was the role model for his sisters and his brother,” said Elmirza Khozhugov.
“You could always hear his younger brother and sisters say, <<Tamerlan said this>>, and <<Tamerlan said that. Dzhokhar loved him. He would do whatever Tamerlan would say.”
“Even my ex-wife loved him so much and respected him so much,” Elmirza Khozhugov said.
“I’d have arguments with her and if Tamerlan took my side, she would agree: <<OK, if Tamerlan said it>>.”
Elmirza Khozhugov said he was close to Tamerlan when he was married and they kept in touch for a while but drifted apart in the past two years or so.
He spoke to the AP from his home in Almaty, Kazakhstan. A family member in the United States provided the contact information.
“Of course I was shocked and surprised that he was Suspect No. 1,” Elmirza Khozhugov said, recalling the days after the bombing when the FBI identified Tamerlan Tsarnaev as the primary suspect.
“But after a few hours of thinking about it, I thought it could be possible that he did it.”
Katia Zatuliveter, an alleged Russian spy admitted a 4-year relationship with married British Liberal Democrat MP, Mike Hancock, but denied she deliberately targeted him during yesterday hearing.
Katia Zatuliveter, 26, also had a string of affairs or “flirtations” with other political figures including a Nato official and a Dutch diplomat.
The alleged Russian spy is accused of trying to access secret defense information from Portsmouth South MP Mike Hancock, for whom she worked as an assistant.
Katia Zatuliveter, the alleged Russian spy admitted a 4-year relationship with married Liberal Democrat MP Mike Hancock
Katia Zatuliveter admitted opening MP Mike Hancock’s “private and confidential” defense select committee letters, and allegedly influenced questions he asked in British Parliament.
On October 18, Katia Zatuliveter launched an appeal against British government efforts to deport her and insisted she was not a Russian agent.
Katia Zatuliveter told during yesterday hearing that she first met MP Mike Hancock in 2006 when she was 21 and studying international relations at St Petersburg University.
MP Mike Hancock attended a conference in St Petersburg and Katia Zatuliveter was assigned to “chaperone” him.
MP Mike Hancock first met Katia Zatuliveter in 2006 when she was 21 and studying international relations at St Petersburg University
Katia said they went for a drink in the lobby of his hotel on the night they met, but she resisted to his advances.
“He told me he wanted to sleep with me. He went up to his room and he brought a CD and some money.”
Katia Zatuliveter refused to sleep with the MP or take the money.
“He made it very clear from the beginning he was interested in me. He tried to kiss me. He was very charming during this time.
“I was not getting much attention from men during this period.”
Later Katia Zatuliveter travelled to Moscow to meet again MP Mike Hancock, but told the court her intention was to practice her English before an exam and not to sleep with him.
Jonathan Glasson, for the Home Office, said: “The real motivation was so you could develop a sexual relationship wasn’t it?”
Katia Zatuliveter replied: “I could prepare to do an exam in St Petersburg or I could go and spend a few days with a native speaker.”
Jonathan Glasson went on: “You knew exactly what was going to happen didn’t you, and it didn’t have anything to do with practising your English? It was to develop a relationship with Mr. Hancock.”
Katia Zatuliveter answered: “No it wasn’t.”
Katia Zatuliveter and Mike Hancock relationship began in June 2006, and that year she moved to Britain.
She worked part time for MP Mike Hancock three or four days a month and applied for, and was given, a Parliamentary pass.
In 2008 Katia Zatuliveter began working for MP Mike Hancock full time as a Parliamentary researcher, with access to his Parliamentary email account.
Katia Zatuliveter then moved in with Mike Hancock at his central London flat, where she opened weekly correspondence from the select committee including letters marked “private and confidential”.
Katia Zatuliveter said: “I was able to read them, but I was not interested.”
Jonathan Glasson said: “You have been reporting from Londongrad, from the heart of British democracy, the UK Parliament.
“You were much more than a researcher for a backbencher MP. You have ensured that the Russian Intelligence services have eyes and ears in the House of Commons, you were someone who would ensure that questions were asked in Parliament.”
“You were pleased to be getting attention from a man who was in a powerful and influential position?”
Katia Zatuliveter replied: “I know he is not particularly powerful, he is a back bench MP, why are you trying to portray him as a senior government minister?”
After the appeal, the Special Immigration Appeals Commission will rule whether Katia Zatuliveter can stay in Britain or will be deported.
Katia Zatuliveter also claimed she had no idea the MP Mike Hancock was married until the end of their affair.
She also admitted taking money from him.
According to lawyers for the Security Service, Katia Zatuliveter knew MP Mike Hancock was a womanizer and used that knowledge to get close to him.
Jonathan Glasson said Mike Hancock was “potentially vulnerable” to the Russian intelligence services because allegations of his extra-marital affairs “have circulated for many years” and were published in the British press.
Katia Zatuliveter denied any knowledge of this, but later, she recalled he told her he had an ex-girlfriend in Moscow.
The court was told that MP Mike Hancock was chairman of the All Parliamentary Group on Russia.
And it also told that Katia Zatuliveter had contact with a suspected Russian spy – given the name “Boris” by the court – who has since been expelled from Britain.
“He was a Russian intelligence officer, wasn’t he?” Jonathan Glasson said.
Katia Zatuliveter replied: “That’s what I was told by MI5, so I don’t know it’s true. But they also said that I was, so I don’t know.”
Katia Zatuliveter claimed she broke off contact with Boris on Mike Hancock’s advice after he tried to arrange a meeting with her.
She said there was “no truth” in MI5’s allegation that she was an agent for the Russian intelligence services by April 2006.
Katia Zatuliveter said: “I am innocent and I don’t believe I should be deported without having done anything.
“I am legally here, I have a work permit until August 2012.”
Katia Zatuliveter was served with deportation notice in December 2010.