Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I am also very much looking forward to comments by blackhawk and sargon.

At a guess, I would think that when they arrested 'Sergei Schnaider' the Russian authorities knew who they were dealing with -- although one cannot be certain.

I think there are indications that both on the Russian and Ukrainian sides there is a will to get rid of this rather curious intermediary structure in the gas trade to and through the Ukraine.

But the worlds of business, politics and crime became so intimately entangled in the chaos produced by 'shock therapy' that someone like Mogilevich may very well have compromising connections with/compromising information on, all kinds of people.

Accordingly, he both may have powerful protectors -- and also a lot of other people, who may have no desire to protect him, may feel he has to be handled with kid gloves.

People like Mogilevich -- also Berezovsky and Chalabi -- are experts on corrupting people, which is one of the reasons they are as dangerous as they are.

A very important breach in the wall of orthodoxy has come with a long article by Mary Deyevsky in the Independent this morning.

It takes up and elaborates the arguments made by Epstein in a most interesting way.

About one aspect, however, I have mixed feelings.

The hypothesis to which she inclines is that Litvenko's death was an accidental result of a polonium smuggling operation.

While this seems to me perfectly possible, I also think that it is perfectly possible that he was deliberately murdered -- only if he was, it was certainly not in the Pine Bar.

She mentions complaints by the Russian authorities that 'sting' operations mounted by Western intelligence agencies in relation to nuclear smuggling amounted to 'provocations'.

It would seem to me perfectly possible that the dealings of Scaramella and Litvinenko with Talik involve this kind of operation, and not beyond the bounds of possibility that MI6 could have been involved.  On the part of Scaramella and Litvinenko, however, a disinformation operation would almost certainly have been involved.  It is not difficult to imagine that there might be people who decided that either kind of activity might justify removing Litvinenko from the scene.

Equally however there are strong grounds to believe that the 'evidence' on the basis of which Berezovsky was granted political asylum was disinformation in the production of which Litvinenko was heavily involved.  If in fact, as has commonly been suggested, Litvinenko was becoming something of a loose canon, the general British assumption that Berezovsky can be ruled out as a suspect for lack of motive collapses.

The quite extraordinary credulity of large elements of the British elite about Berezovsky is to my mind a major puzzle.  Ironically, there was a very good piece on this by Stephanie Marsh last July in the Times.

by djhabakkuk (david daught habakkuk at o two daught co daught uk) on Fri May 2nd, 2008 at 05:28:39 AM EST
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