I want to thank Migeru for pointing out an exceptionally bad piece of reporting by Fox news in his comment Saturday. Just for the hell of it, let me play editor and kick ass in the Fox newsroom.
Scaramella, [...], is also linked to an investigation of Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi, long thought to have had ties to the former Soviet espionage apparatus.
Scaramella is more than linked to several investigations concerning Prodi. He set out to frame Prodi. Framing people with false charges is not the same thing as an investigation. It's called character assassination. Scaramella indicated that Litvinenko and Limarov had revealed to him that Prodi worked for the KGB. Both categorically denied ever having made that accusation. Scaramella then sought to create bogus financial transactions through San Marino that would have linked the Nomisma, a company founded by a group of people that included Prodi, to the Soviet Secret Services.
Further accusations are based on deliberate and fraudulent misrepresentations of the acts of the Berlusconi Mitrokhin Commission, presided over by Senator Paolo Guzzanti. The Italian right wing's continuous use of the authority of institutional offices to concoct illogical and non-existent links rivals Joe McCarthy's 1950's witch-hunt. It's too bad this malicious trash finds its way into the international press.
Prodi,[...], once was the target of an investigation into KGB infiltration of the Italian government[sic]
Romano Prodi was not the target of any investigation but the object of several smear campaigns both on the left and right. He was asked to testify before the Mitrokhin Commission, instituted during the Berlusconi government. He was interrogated in the 58th hearing on April 5th, 2004 (see below).
The Mitrokhin Commission investigated alleged KGB activity in Italy based on the 261 scraps of paper Mitrokhin wrote concerning Italy. Mitrokhin composed notes based on documents he archived for the Soviet Services over a period of several decades. Most of what he wrote was severely dated by the time he turned his notes over to the English.
Emblematic of the value of Mitrokhin's notes was the English parliamentary debate on whether to press charges or not against a very old lady who had effectively spied next to nothing for Moscow in her distant past.
Of the 261 scraps of paper, immediately published by the D'Alema government in October 1999, almost nothing was interesting or revelatory. It appeared the Soviets were far more concerned about Berlinguer's activity as General Secretary of the Italian Communist Party, as well as the Vatican. Much more than any "Italian government." It made good gossip and brushwood for a good deal of satirical writing.
That information revealed how the KGB had successfully recruited 261 leading Italian politicians and journalists.
261 scraps of paper mentioning Italy. Priests, politicians, professors and reporters were named. Fifteen paid informants. Twenty confidential sources. Twenty individuals who were "cultivated.". Four individuals were regularly spied on. All of the spied victims were prominent members of the PCI (Italian Communist party), most notably Enrico Berlinguer. Most of the people fingered as spies or confidents had no problems defending themselves. Or didn't even bother.
Curiously, Scaramella reportedly was meeting with Litvinenko at a London sushi restaurant to tell the former KGB agent that his name was on an assassination list that he'd uncovered.
Both Guzzanti and Scaramella have declared that the list was sent by Euvgenij Limarev. Limarev has categorically denied the charge. Further Limarev details in an interview that it was Scaramella who had asked him about a Russian security agency called "Pride and Dignity" that allegedly had Guzzanti and Scaramella on its hit list. Limarev looked into Scaramella's story, found that "Pride and Dignity" existed and wrote back that Scaramella's hypothesis was plausible. Scaramella then turned it around, making Limarev the source of the tip off- and threw in the names of Anna Politovskaja and Litvinenko as icing. Limarev had never mentioned the two. It's fairly easy to uncover one's very own assassination list.
In short, it is still not known who is Scaramella's real source if not himself, nor why he named Limarev. Or why he sought to associate Guzzanti and himself with the good name of Politovskaja.
Limarev was also indicated by Guzzanti as the source of charges against Prodi as a KGB agent. Limarev denies ever having made such charges.
Prodi's political opponents, meanwhile, have launched several investigations into his financial and political dealings.
Right wing political opponents do not launch investigations, a particular solemn expression usually associated with justice. Right wing political opponents launch smear campaigns. As pointed out by the Repubblica last week, the proper term is "character assassination", not "investigations."
To the contrary there are and have been investigations by judiciary authorities into the activity of Scaramella. Lengthy transcripts of damning conversations between Guzzanti and Scaramella have been published simultaneously by the three major dailies, Corriere della Sera, la Repubblica and la Stampa, the past days. Considering that the President of the Senate, Franco Marini, has reprimanded the press for publishing the transcripts today (Monday), we can expect further welcome transcripts in the days to come.
Senator Guzzanti cannot be investigated without authorization by parliament. Further not even the parliament can investigate one of its members. However, Guzzanti can be sued for slander if it can be proven that he did so outside of his official Senate functions. Backed by the Mitrokhin Commission and many of its secreted hearings and acts, Guzzanti has no problem defending himself and launching whatever accusation he wants.
Scaramella, of course, can be investigated. He as yet does not enjoy the privilege of impunity. Berlusconi should see to it that Scaramella be elected to parliament as soon as possible. He would be a welcome addition to the eighty-odd parliamentarians (the vast majority representing Berlusconi's personal political entity, Forza Italia, or his coalition) found guilty, let off for statute of limits or on trial for criminal activities before their election. That's one tenth of the Italian parliament.
I suggest the following correction: There is a major judiciary investigation launched by the Naples Procura, now transferred to the Rome Procura, into the financial and political dealings of Mario Scaramella.
One investigation probed the former economics professor's research company, which accepted millions of dollars worth of government contracts, and shared a Moscow office with the KGB.
Sounds like Curt Weldon's Russian links to me.
Once again the word "investigation" is abused. But that's not all. Here goes.
Nomisma, an economic consultant firm, was founded by a group of economists among whom Prodi in 1981. When Prodi was designated head of IRI in 1982, he resigned. Nomisma is presently owned by a hundred financial institutes and businesses both foreign and Italian. Almost all major Italian bank groups have shares in Nomisma. During his Mitrokhin hearing, Prodi was interrogated about Nomisma's contract with the Russian economic research institute, Plechanov, of the Academy of Sciences in 1989 (pages 44 to 50). Nomisma at the time had sought to set up a business school but the project fell through for lack of funding.
Nomisma, like many research and consultant firms throughout the world, has government contracts. A shared "Moscow office with the KGB" is a malicious falsehood.
But that's not all. Here's a conversation between Scaramella and Guzzanti in the Repubblica complete version, published on December 1st. The conversation took place in January 2006.
SCARAMELLA: Do you have some details on the meeting with the Boss?
GUZZANTI: The news had a strong impact. When I go to see him I always say things by word and at the same time pass a note under his nose with the same things written that I'm saying, and in the note- that he reads and rereads underlining the important points, writing 1, 2, 3, like he does- there are those things we discussed as future [possibilities]... He nodded gravely like someone who not only..., better yet, when I said, "You know, the problem with this affair is that if we go to trial then it's (incomprehensible)... we're saying something which we have to demonstrate", and he surprised me a little, ... but I figured he wants to play on the offensive. He said: " Hey, one moment! Anyway we force them to play on the defensive." I found this to be an extremely positive reaction. (...) And I replied: "Look, ... I'll bring you results and then (incomprehensible)."
SCARAMELLA: I'll work to reinforce what we have. If we need more, I've got channels. (...) There are three possibilities: 1) the States, where I was told fairly clearly if what was managed in a certain way, then it gets friendly [original in English] on the other side. So there are serious limits, but they can be forced. 2) San Marino. San Marino has got a sluttish bank that does the dirty stuff: it's the Cassa di Risparmio. Certainly you know that Nomisma has substantial shares in the Cassa di Risparmio, that is the Cassa di Risparmio is the owner of a sizable piece of Nomisma. [False, my note]
SCARAMELLA: I know that in the past the financial links [with the Russians] were through San Marino. So there's a specific investigative lead where certain elements could emerge, even for exposure. I got, for example, Monday, the Procura of Bologna that, indirectly, could become the recipient of certain information, not directly, but indirectly.
GUZZANTI: When do you have the meeting?
SCARAMELLA: With De Nicola [Bologna prosecutor] on Monday in Bologna at 11. So it could be, indirectly, not explicitly naming names, but dropping a lead: "Look the money from Moscow. From the Cassa di Risparmio it ends up in a principle firm." And then it leads to Nomisma. It's another one of those steps that then tomorrow on a judiciary level...
I'll pause for now. Readers may get the idea of what kind of investigation Fox is referring to. Even if the conversation does not finish here. As for the Boss, I'll leave it to readers to figure that one out.
Suspicions about Prodi date back to 1978, when tipped off police to the exact whereabouts of kidnapped Italian Prime Minister Aldo Moro. Police eventually bungled the rescue operation, and Moro was murdered by his Red Brigade kidnappers.
Prodi later offered remarkable testimony to investigators, claiming he learned of the location during a Ouija Board seance.
The Moro tragedy is far too complicated to discuss here in a few short paragraphs. But for the sake of precision, Aldo Moro was not Prime Minister at the time. The police did not bungle a rescue operation. They were ordered to search the town of Gradoli rather than the street, via Gradoli, in Rome, where Moro was held prisoner at the time. Given that then Minister of the Interior (Francesco Cossiga) ran a crisis group whose members were all in the subversive Masonic lodge, P2, one may pose legitimate questions on the Italian government's conduct during the affair.
Prodi had been previously interrogated by the Parliamentary Moro Commission about a spiritual séance in which the word "Gradoli" was spelled out. The only suspicion about Prodi in the Moro affair dates back to the fertile imagination of Guzzanti and reporters for the left-leaning weekly "Avvenimenti" since a 1999 speculative article. "Avvenimenti" is generally not an authoritative news source.
Here's a partial transcript of Prodi's testimony in the 58th hearing of the Mitrokhin Commission (pages 51 to 54). Sit back and enjoy it as one of the most expensive commissions in Italian parliamentary history takes you through the looking glass.
FRAGALA'. Another theme that is of particular interest for our Commission and certainly also yours [Prodi]. Concerning the famous event of a spiritual séance in the house of professor Clò in Zappolino near Bologna, a leftist weekly particularly well informed, on October 19th, 1999, after the revelation of the scandal on the Mitrokhin dossier-
PRESIDENT GUZZANTI (head of the Mitrokhin Commission): What weekly?
FRAGALA': Avvenimenti- I was about to say it- then directed by the reporter Fracassi of Paese Sera, now I believe by Honourable Diego Novelli, former mayor of Torino. Well, this magazine particularly well informed on these themes, on October 19th,1999, published an investigation, writing numerous pages on the Mitrokhin question in relation to the Moro Affair. In fact, as you know, from the Mitrokhin question three very significant pieces of evidence emerge concerning the link- or at least the monitoring- that the KGB had with the Moro kidnapping: the famous grant holder Sokolov, discussed by professor Tritto, the matter of intoxication against Secretary [of the Democrat Christians] Zaccagnini (operation "Sphora"), and last, the most important head of the KGB spy network in Italy, Giorgio Conforto, alias agent Dario. Well then, on this argument Avvenimenti wrote (I cite two agency dispatches of October 19th, 1999): "Maybe the ghost that revealed to Prodi and the other participants in the spiritual séance that Aldo Moro was prisoner in via Gradoli was none other than the KGB itself that used this system to cover the source of the leak, that is Morucci and Faranda." Avvenimenti writes this in the issue that will come out tomorrow which tackles several aspects of the Mitrokhin dossier, re-elaborated in English from Soviet sources, especially concerning the Moro case. Avvenimenti writes, "Giuliana, daughter of Giorgio Consorto, codename Dario, and KGB agent since 1932, hosts in her home Morucci and Faranda, who oppose the hardliners in the Red Brigades and want to save Moro's life. A friend of Giuliana Conforto, Luciana Bozzi, rented the house in via Gradoli to Balzarani and Moretti. A group of Moro's friends, among whom Prodi, gather in Zappolino in Emilia in the house of a medium, and through contacts with a ghost, discover the name of the location where Moro is held prisoner. What would the KGB have done," asks the weekly Avvenimenti, "if they had known where Moro was held prisoner? Who knows, it's almost complicity, many would have said, if it were discovered that it was the KGB behind the leak. And it was necessary to keep suspicion far away within the Red Brigades that it was Faranda and Morucci behind the leak so as not to endanger their lives and that of Giuliana Conforto. In this way," Avvenimenti concludes, "someone came up with a brilliant idea: to dress up the KGB in the sheets of Zappolino's ghost. The only error that was made was by Cossiga's secret services," Avvenimenti says, "that exchanged via Gradoli for Gradoli and since word of the search near Viterbo ended up immediately on the radio, Moretti and Balzerani heard the news and had time to abandon their hideout," [...]
The question concerns this source which is not on my political side of the fence. Given that the Aldo Moro Affair continues to be a black hole in the history of the Republic [...] and given that none of us could ever imagine or believe that a group of professors and illustrious deans of economy, Catholic to boot, could ever have organized a séance in Professor Clò's house, I believe it's the moment- historical I might add- to tell us if Avvenimenti is right, or anyway reveal the unpronounceable source of the via Gradoli leak that you then felt opportune to cover up with the expedient, so often used, of a séance.
PRODI: On this matter we- and I say "we" because we were all interrogated- have fully answered the Parliamentary Investigative Commission on the Via Fani Massacre, and there is absolutely nothing to add to what has already been said. Everything has been done with much care and attention.
FRAGALA': So, then, on everything said by Avvenimenti in 1999, that is after you made your declarations to the Parliamentary Investigative Commission on the Via Fani Massacre and to the Commission on Terrorism and Massacres?
PRODI: The declarations are complete, exhaustive. You can read them in the records.
FRAGALA': Excuse me, President Prodi. On this affair I naturally have all the records and I was one of the members of the Commission on Terrorism and Massacres who listened to your séance colleagues while they insisted that the name, "via Gradoli", came out of a plate that whirled over the various letters, absolutely untouched by any of you. I only want to ask you one question, in light of what you have said in this ulterior circumstance of clarifications that I've attempted to represent by invoking an investigation by a weekly which is not on my political side.
Given that all you participants in the séance have represented the event as a game one famous rainy afternoon, in which illustrious deans- even young at that- of economy, had decided to amuse themselves by having a séance to see where the Red Brigades were hiding, and given that you have represented that as the immediate scope, by questioning the ghosts of La Pira and Sturzo, it was supposedly revealed the indication of a geographic location; such was true that all of the participants in the séance, including your wife, professor Clò and so forth, have said that an atlas was opened to try to individuate the place where Moro was held prisoner; I ask you why you did not stop when the plate formed the word "Grado" which indicates a geographic location, but continued? Why?
PRODI: It's written in the interrogation.
FRAGALA': There is no answer because the question has never been asked. Why didn't you stop with the geographic indication of the word "Grado" that, as you know, is a city where Moro could have been held prisoner? Why did you continue after "Grado?" This question has never been asked.
PRODI: It's never been asked and I have no answer to give you.
FRAGALA': He doesn't know it.
PRESIDENT GUZZANTI: President Prodi, I'm obliged to tell you that we know plates don't move around by themselves. They have never moved and they will never move by themselves and therefore this version on which you insist, is in my opinion and in the opinion of anyone blessed with common sense, should be taken as is. Plates don't move by themselves. It doesn't exist.
NIEDDU: That would be a matter open to discussion.
FRAGALA': Especially on the part of militant Catholics because the Church forbids spiritual séances. Séances are a sin for Catholics.
CAVALLARO: Honourable Fragalà, you're saying something that is not true because the Church does not prohibit séances. The Church invokes prudence.
PRESIDENT GUZZANTI: That's a question that personally doesn't interest me nor does it concern the commission.
FRAGALA': Now we're defending spiritual séances.
GAMBA: Mr. President, our colleague Fallica intends to ask one question and he asked me to be able to anticipate his turn, on which I am in agreement.
PRESIDENT GUZZANTI: Please, then, intervene, honourable Fallica.
FALLICA: I thank you, Mr. President, and colleague Gamba for his courtesy. Going quickly back to the last question colleague Fragalà asked, can you tell us, President Prodi, if there could be a link or an interpersonal relation between some of the subjects who participated in the séance and professor Stefano Silvestri, record number 14 of the Mitrokhin Report?
PRODI: Certainly not.
FALLICA: Perfect. Thank you.
DATO: It didn't appear to me that it was an ascertained fact that it concerned Silvestri. It's only one of the hypotheses.
FALLICA: It was a question, not an assertion.
PRESIDENT GUZZANTI: Senator Dato, if you wish to intervene, please do.
DATO: No, absolutely, it's just that honourable Fallica affirms as certain that which is not certain as such.
FALLICA: I repeat that it was a question, Senator Dato. That's a sentence with a question mark at the end. "Can you tell us?" And the professor answered by saying that it was to be excluded.
Postscriptum. In the latest episode of the Scaramella soap opera, Mario has declared in an exclusive direct telephone call to prime time national news (RAI TG1)from the stage of his London hospital bed that he has over five times the lethal dose in his body. He asserts that he was not contaminated but victim of an assassination attempt. This follows previous check-ups both by Italian and English doctors that found no significant levels of Polonium on him. Given previous Italian cases, such as Michele Sindona's self-inflicted murders (the last one, alas, overdone), it might be a good idea to find out if Mario's alleged Polonium poisoning came from the same Russian source or a Neapolitan souk.
Mario is very resourceful.
Senator Paolo Guzzanti has dramatically affirmed that Mario is going to certainly die. If he doesn't he'll be a cripple for life, subject to constant chemotherapy and marrow transplants.
Mario's lawyer, Sergio Rastrelli, has declared that before he died, Litvinenko had given Mario a list of Italian politicians and reporters who work for the KGB-FSB. Mario intends to reveal their names in the near future.
Other than the utter crassness of this impostor who uses the dead for his personal intrigues and glory, we do hope Mario will be miraculously cured. That way he can affront eventual charges brought against him, especially in court, in all serenity.
I have compiled my own list of names without availing myself of Litvinenko's ghost. I apologize before hand to all those valiant reporters, ethically averse to horseshit, I've failed to include.
There are no Fox reporters on the list.