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Thanks for all the extra input, De Gondi - I'd read at least some of all that but could never have summed it up so neatly! Also glad to see I'm not the only one here who finds Italy's latest-generation spy-antics hilarious, in a black-comedy slapstick kind of way.


Ah - now for the latest-latest!

... Seeing as how the "Mario-did-it" version has already produced such very aggrieved screeches both in public from "our Mario" himself and from Forza Italia's Senator Guzzanti, and - I assume - even more loudly from behind the closed doors of the boys over at SISMI, long-time M16 double agent Oleg Gordievski (see below) has now jumped into the breach - in what sounds to me suspiciously like damage-control mode(???) - with a brand-new mysterious trail for us all to follow with bated breath - this time featuring a nameless Russian whose identity Gordievski declares he "doesn't know" while nonetheless providing a quick rundown of the purported poisoner's life-story and bank-balance :


Oleg Gordievsky, the most senior KGB agent to defect to Britain, said that the attempt to kill Mr Litvinenko had been state-sponsored.

It was carried out by a Russian friend and former colleague who had been recruited secretly in prison by the FSB, the successor to the KGB. The Italian who allegedly put poison in Mr Litvinenko's sushi "had nothing to do with it".


Mr Gordievsky, a former KGB station head in London, who still refers to the FSB by its former name, insisted that he did not know the identity of the Russian would-be killer.

But he assumed that the man was a former associate of Boris Berezovsky, the former oligarch and Yeltsin confidant, who has been granted political asylum in Britain.

"He used to be in Mr Berezovsky's entourage and was imprisoned in Moscow. Then suddenly he was released, and soon after that he became a businessman and a millionaire. It is all very suspicious. But the KGB has recruited agents in prisons and camps since the 1930s. That is how they work."

The man came to London, posing as a businessman and a friend. He met Mr Litvinenko at a hotel and put poison in his tea. That was before Mr Litvinenko had lunch at a Japanese restaurant with the Italian he knew as Mario, who had arranged to meet him because he said he had information about the murder of Ms Politkovskaya, a close friend.

"Why should this Italian do it? I know him. He is a solid, respectable man. And Sasha was already feeling unwell before the lunch. He was poisoned before he met the Italian."

Mario Scaramella, a consultant for a commission investigating FSB activities in Italy, was last night reported to be in protective custody "terrified for his life".

"Solid" and "respectable" aren't quite the words I'd have chosen for Scaramella myself..? Ah well...

So it's byebye "Italian-connection", I guess? Must admit I'm somewhat relieved to see "our Mario" scoot back into the shadows - Italy's national reputation for cloaks-daggers-and-venom was quite bad enough already.


Oleg Gordievsky:
Former deputy head of the KGB at the Soviet Embassy in London and a highly successful double agent for MI6. He joined the KGB in 1963 and was posted to Copenhagen, where he became disenchanted -- a fact noticed by MI6, which recruited him. He was the KGB's Resident-designate in London in 1982, but he was suddenly ordered back to Moscow and arrested in 1985. Although suspected and interrogated he was allowed to go home and contacted MI6, which managed to smuggle him out

(Source: Times - same link)

"Ignoring moralities is always undesirable, but doing so systematically is really worrisome." Mohammed Khatami
by eternalcityblues (parvati_roma aaaat libero.it) on Mon Nov 20th, 2006 at 05:04:44 AM EST

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