Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I really don't have much to say here, beyond two things. One, it seems that at least Gordievsky is a Her Majesty Secret Service employee, and he could not veer off the corresponding message. Rather, there might have been a tension between Scotland Yard's story and MI6 story, and if this is the case, MI6 has won hands down.

Second, today there's an article in a second-class Russian business newspaper "Vzglyad" ("Vedomosti" and "Kommersant" are the first class; "Vzglyad" tried to enter that elite group, but seems to have failed). This is actually a report from an interview given to RIA Novosti by the FSB Deputy director Viktor Kolmogorov, head of the FSB operative information and international relations service. He says the following:

We are ready for cooperation and interaction with them [British security services] but the first step should be made by Britain. We expect them to apologize for unfounded accusations as we are absolutely uninvolved in what they accuse us

In a Russian version of this material we can also read:

Комогоров констатировал, что в настоящее время говорить об эффективном взаимодействии ФСБ России и спецслужб Великобритании нельзя, так как "у нас сложились определенные отношения в связи с "делом Литвиненко".

Kolmogorov stated that currently we cannot say about efficient interaction between Russian and British secret services, because "certain relations appeared because of Litvinenko case"

"Они обвиняют нас в чем-то непонятном, хотя совершенно беспочвенно, совершенно надуманно", - подчеркнул Комогоров.

"They accuse us in something unclear, though absolutely groundlessly and artificially (can't find a better word here - S.)

"Этого конструктивног&# 1086; взаимодействия не хватает. Мы рассчитываем, что эти времена пройдут, но первый шаг в нормализации отношений между спецслужбами Великобритании и ФСБ России должны сделать англичане, а не мы... Англичане сделали шаг в сторону от нас, пусть делают первый шаг и навстречу", - считает представитель ФСБ.

"We miss this constructive interaction. We count on these times passing, but the first step in normalizing relations between British secret services and FSB should be made by British,not us... British made a step away from us, let them make the first step towards us also" - thinks FSB representative (read Kolmogorov - S.).

Он пояснил, что в настоящее время спецслужбы Великобритании не участвуют в мероприятиях, проводимых по линии ФСБ.

"Они блокируют все наши инициативы, кроме них, этого не делает никто. Это связано с надуманным "делом Литвиненко", которое они придумали и которое имеет политический оттенок, и не имеет под собой никаких оснований для обвинения ФСБ по этому делу", - сказал Комогоров.

He explained that currently British secret services do not participate in operations of FSB.

"They block all our initiatives, no one but them is doing this. This is connected to this unfounded "Litvinenko case" which they invented and which has a political tint, and does not have any foundations to accuse FSB in connection to this case"m said Kolmogorov.

The FSB head was changed after Medveded became a president. The new head, Alexander Bortnikov, was actually accused by the "The New Times" magazine of being an immediate organizer of Politkovskaya murder. "The New Times", beyond having an outward reputation of a very liberal outlet (for example, they have Valeria Novodvorskaya as a columnist; she started calling Putin's regime totalitarian a couple of years before Kasparov started doing so), was accused of being used in internal struggles between Russian secret services.

Reading through the materials, it seems that the FSB is very confident. It would be interesting to see if any semi-official response by the MI6 follows.

by Sargon on Sun May 18th, 2008 at 04:01:21 PM EST
I have been puzzling over the relationship between Gordievsky and MI6 ever since I first read the diaries that de Gondi posted on these matters last year, and in particular the discussion between him and you of Gordievsky's Moskovsky Komsomolets interview, sections of which you translated.  You suggested that Gordievsky's statements were likely to be made on behalf of British intelligence -- de Gondi expressed scepticism.

I have also been puzzling over the relationship between Gordievsky and Scaramella:  should we believe Gordievsky's asseverations that the accusation that Prodi was a KGB agent was a lie produced by Litvinenko to get money from Scaramella, and that Scaramella's claims that Gordievsky was the source were without foundation?  These seemed reasonably plausible until Gordievsky went back to smearing Prodi in the MK interview -- after which they became rather less so.

If in fact Scaramella was justified in claiming that Gordievsky was the source, and we also had good reason to believe that anything Gordievsky did or said was done on behalf of British intelligence agencies, one would have adequate grounds for believing there was high level British official involvement in the Scaramella-Litvinenko smear campaigns.  

What we would have reason to suspect would be the involvement of senior elements of MI6 in a coordinated 'information warfare' campaign, involving elements in a number of countries, with targets in a number of countries, in support of the neocon dream of a 'global democratic revolution'.

It this possible?  Given the role of the current head of MI6, Sir John Scarlett, in disseminating the bogus intelligence which made the invasion of Iraq possible, it is hard to say a confident 'no'.  Also worth noting is that his predecessor Sir Richard Dearlove is a signatory of the declaration of principles of The Henry Jackson Society -- a British neocon group.

But there are reasons to believe that all is not sweetness and light between Gordievsky and MI6.  There was, for one thing, a seriously weird story which appeared in the Daily Mail last month.  

It appears that Gordievsky was accusing an old friend who was a former Russian military intelligence officer of being the instrument of a Kremlin-inspired assassination attempt.  He also accused MI6 of ordering Special Branch not to investigate the alleged attempt.  

The identity of the former Russian military intelligence officer was not mentioned.  But the two former GRU officers who have been involved in this circle are Boris Volodarsky and 'Viktor Suvorov' -- real name Vladimir Rezun.

It is also I think difficult to make sense of the Gordievsky/Volodarsky subversion of the official British version -- their denial that Litvinenko was poisoned in the Pine Bar -- in terms of a division between MI6 and Scotland Yard.  If as Epstein suggests, and as seems likely, a cover-up is going on, then the driving force is likely to be within MI6 -- not within Scotland Yard.

Given the multiple implausibilities of the official British version, an overriding interest of those trying to maintain the cover-up would seem to be to have everyone singing from the same song-sheet.  This is what both Gordievsky and Volodarsky have signally failed to do.  For this, I can see two possible reasons.  

One is that -- as has not been widely noticed -- the accounts of the timeline which have been leaked to journalists actually make Berezovsky an obvious suspect:  indeed, although Sixsmith does not realise it, his account of the timeline suggests that Litvinenko was contaminated in Berezovsky's office.  I do not myself take this too seriously, because I have come to think that very little of what has been claimed about the timeline can be accepted without question.  But others may.

The other possibility is that the British authorities do have information about an earlier meeting -- which Gordievsky and Volodarsky want to see made public, and MI6 do not.

A particularly fascinating element in the wiretap request is the reference to 'the London meeting'.  Given the figures involved, this could have been the same meeting as was described by Gordievsky in the La Repubblica interview de Gondi discussed -- or there could have been more than one meeting.

Of the figures mentioned, 'SHVEZ, ex-president of the KGB' is, as I have noted, likely to be the former KGB officer Yuri Shvets, who is associated with an organisation in Washington called The Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, as also is Major General Oleg Kalugin.

On Shvets, some material from a story by Catherine Belton which appeared in the Moscow Times not long after Litvinenko's death is interesting:

In 2002, he landed a $400,000 contract from Berezovsky to transcribe a set of audiotapes that appeared to implicate then-Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma in the killing of journalist Heorhiy Gongadze and in sanctions-busting arms deals.

Shvets said he no longer does any work for Berezovsky. But the connection did provide him with an introduction to Litvinenko, he said.

Shvets said Litvinenko introduced him last year to Scaramella, who has courted controversy with his claims that the Soviets left nuclear mines in the Bay of Biscay and that Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi had links to the KGB.

The story also refers quotes a lady called Karon von Gehrke-Thompson, who is described as a 'business partner' of Shvets.  She surfaces making a very interesting comment on Epstein's story.  An extract:

Mr. Epstein: I know through Paul Stubbs (MI6) that your analysis on the polonium 210 trail is accurate as are your findings on evidence withheld from the Russian prosecutors by the Crown Prosecution Service. You are on target. I can asset without equivocation that based on my year-long collaboration with the CTCU and what I learned through that collaboration from senior investigators at the CTCU that your analysis and your conclusions are indisputable.

If accurate, her story suggests that there are divisions both in MI6 and Scotland Yard -- and underlying unhappiness in both which may make the cover-up vulnerable.  CTCU is Counter-Terrorism Command, which was headed by Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, who was in charge of the Litvinenko investigation.  

One of the functions of the Command, according to the Scotland Yard website, is:  'To assist the British Security Service and Secret Intelligence Service in fulfilling their statutory roles.'  If the agencies get into deep water in 'fulfilling their statutory roles', it may be that a policeman's lot is not a happy one!

The 'Svorov' referred to in the wiretap request may well be Suvorov/Rezun, I think -- particularly as according to the tapes quoted in La Repubblica he introduced Litvinenko to Scaramella.  It has been suggested that he is a long-term British intelligence asset, which would not surprise.

That said, the wiretap request brings one back to the same problem one has with Gordievsky.  It could be that this meeting occurred with the full knowledge and collusion of MI6.  But it could simply be that we are dealing with networks involving Berezovsky, Washington neocons, elements in Italian intelligence, etc etc.  There are all kinds of connections:  so, for example, Alex Goldfarb and Nathan Sharansky were I think both part of the circle round Andrei Sakharov.

My own guess, for what it is worth, is that Lugovoi is right in claiming that connections were forged between Berezovsky and his circle and MI6 back when he was a key player in Russian politics.  Because he and the other fugitive oligarchs control so much money, and because elements in MI6 and elsewhere bought into their claim to be virtuous liberals fighting the dark forces of 'communists' and 'hardliners', it may well be that the leadership of MI6 have ended up associated with people whose activities they not understand and cannot effectively control.

The same thing happened with the neocons and Chalabi -- who used the rhetoric of the 'global democratic revolution' to get his American friends to topple Saddam on his behalf, and, it is widely believed among members of the official American intelligence bureaucracy, that of the Islamic Republic of Iran.  

The involvement of Erinys with associates of Chalabi is interesting in a number of ways -- not the least important is that it suggests that those involved on the British side may be easily gulled.  But then, this is what the self-professed former MI6 agent Vyacheslav Zharko said Litvinenko told him:  that we are mugs.

by djhabakkuk (david daught habakkuk at o two daught co daught uk) on Tue May 20th, 2008 at 05:23:18 AM EST
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