Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Display:
I am grossly ignorant about Italian politics -- and also very conscious of the need not to jump to conclusions in these murky affairs.

But the natural hypothesis to which your comments seem to lead is that by 'security services' Scott-Clark and Levy mean the SISMI.  While the SISDE's categorical 'no' is hardly definitive evidence that they were not gathering information about Litvinenko and Scaramella, Pollari's ambiguous reply would seem strongly to suggest that the SISMI was.  And the past activities of the SISMI to which you have referred do incline one to think that it could very easily have collaborated with the Mitrokhin Commission -- despite Amato's denials.

I certainly don't think Scott-Clark and Levy are lying, so we can assume that a 'wealth of documentation' really existed -- although of course the possibility that documents are being fabricated, or the reporters have simply accepted claims about what they say, cannot be ruled out.  (I do not know whether they read Italian, or had the services of someone who did.)

So -- why should this have been shown to two foreign reporters?

Particularly given the record of the SISMI, and the many problems of the suggestion that Talik instigated Litvinenko's murder, disinformation seems overwhelmingly likely.

There would seem to be two possibilities -- although these are hardly mutually exclusive.

It could be that the instigators of the disinformation are in Italy -- and that the purposes it serves are Italian.  Your conjectures as to the possible purposes are obviously immensely better informed than mine.  But to an ignorant outsider, what you say about Pelizarro points to the possibility that it could be convenient to suggest that certain activities of the Mitrokhin Commission were due to the 'loose canon' Scaramella, Litvinenko, and Limarev -- so diverting attention from the responsibility of others.

But then, Scott-Clark and Levy could simply have started investigating Litvinenko's activities in Italy -- an obvious enough line of inquiry -- and someone in Italy could have decided that it would be sensible for SISMI to point them in certain directions and found means of engineering this.

But then again, it could be that SISMI -- or whoever -- are involved in a disinformation operation instigated by people outside Italy.  What would seem to make this at least possible is the fact that the accusation against Talik looks like another in a series of false trails, designed to prevent people asking obvious questions about the death of Litvinenko.  One such false trail was based upon the famous emails -- of disputed provenance -- which Scaramella was said to have brought to London, which refer to the organisation named 'Dignity and Honour':  Sixsmith sleepwalks along this route.  

Another highly dubious trail laid not long after Litvinenko died had the former KGB operative Yuri Shvets claiming that Litvinenko was murdered because of a 'due diligence' dossier he produced on a prominent Kremlin figure:  Tom Mangold on BBC Radio recycled this interpretation, without mentioning that Shvets has been associated with Berezovsky.  Mangold worked for the BBC 'Panorama' programme for many years, and an exchange of emails relating to an article he was writing recycling British intelligence disinformation about Iraqi WMD featured in evidence to Lord Hutton.

It also worth bearing in mind Epstein's suggestion that one of the purposes of the request for Lugovoi's extradition was to prevent people taking seriously his account -- according to which Litvinenko was working for MI6, and that organisation used private security companies to attempt to recruit him.  The disinformation supplied to Scott-Clark and Levy at the London end looks as though it was designed to stop them contemplating the possibility that at least some of what Lugovoi says is true -- if so, it succeeded.

In that case, the original source could very well be within the Berezovsky circle -- note that Scott-Clark and Levy seem to have talked extensively to Goldfarb, whose history as a Soviet-era human rights activist makes him an ideal channel for disinformation.  The source could also have been in British intelligence, or indeed the police, although both seem less likely.

The list is I agree puzzling.  Just possibly, Scott-Clark and Levy could have been referring to materials already in the public domain as a result of the court hearing concerning Talik, which the 'security services' just happened to have collected.  But if the material relates to Scaramella one would indeed tend to conclude that the information came either from him or from his lawyers, through the Mitrokhin Commission or through a private security company.

I agree that if anyone has the documentation referred to in the La Repubblica transcript of the taped declaration by Litvinenko on March 3, 2005, it is likely to have been sourced through Scaramella.  The denial by Litvinenko that he knew what he was signing is obviously likely to be in some sense true -- but he could have been giving himself deniability, should he want later to disassociate himself from claims he had actually made by blaming Scaramella.

It would certainly be interesting to be clear as to whether we have adequate reason to believe that the supposed tape from October 2005 in which Litvinenko discusses Mogilevich exists.  If it does, it could well be a pack of lies.  But then even what Litvinenko said was pure disinformation, the fact he said it could be of very great relevance to the mystery of how he died.

The only publicly accessible information relating to this Ukrainian Moriarty-figure which Scott-Clark and Levy mention is the suggestion by Talik in court proceedings that the purpose of his framing was to get him to provide information on Mogilevich -- by which they may have meant to play the role of a plausible source of disinformation.  It is not clear whether these are the same proceedings where the tape of his threats against Litvinenko is reported to have been played.  But whether or not they are, this information is presumably in the public domain, and it would be interesting to know precisely what Talik said.

I certainly agree that one needs to weigh all information in this case with caution.  But I also think that one needs to put these shenanigans in Italy alongside Litvinenko's dealings with private security companies in London -- in particular Erinys.  This company could well be interested in Mogilevich, for all kinds of reasons -- including his involvement in RosUkrEnergo.  They could also have been the victims of disinformation by Litvinenko.  Never underestimate the gullibility of today's Brits.

by djhabakkuk (david daught habakkuk at o two daught co daught uk) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 11:25:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have covered the issue of the services manipulating reporters in this diary, The Italian Uranium Forgeries- Adventures in Manipulation. I refrained at the time of expressing my point of view why Buongiorno and Farina wrote their articles on Rocco Martino. The tone of their articles and the paradoxical false newsbit on Rocco's possible fate leave little space for interpretation. Rocco got the message loud and clear. So did we.

As the reporter and editor Giuseppe Fava once wrote, "One of the jobs in our business is, to put it banally, to read newspapers. Now, usually- and I'm not saying always- it isn't difficult to read what the papers write, it's more difficult to read what they don't write. It's more complicated, but it's usually more instructive."

Formally, neither the Sismi nor the Sisde collaborated with the Mitrokhin commission. In the parent scandal, the Telekom-Serbija commission scandal, I suspect that the Sisde worked as a spoiler.

The Sismi were most likely aware of Scaramella's frauds and may have played a role indirectly through the illegal Mancini, Tavaroli, Cipriani networks.

Whatever the two state services may have gathered was on their own initiative without concerning the commissions. Of course, if they were to feel the urge to share it with reporters, it would likely follow the same old script I described in the above mentioned diary.

The "sources of proof" are only available to the investigative judge and his office as well as to the defence. It is only with the trial that "sources of proof" are accepted as evidence and then made public. Since Scaramella never underwent a public trial, whatever documentation concerning him and his alleged crimes could only have come from him or his lawyers.

Transcripts of Talik's conversations as well as his testimony could have been admitted as evidence in the Teramo trial, and therefore are public. But the evidence would only be pertinent to the trial which excludes all irrelevant Litvinenko files.

Thus any Litvinenko files shown to the Guardian reporters most likely originated as we have come to agree: through Scaramella or to whom he may have given them. The only other possibility is that some of them may be extraneous forgeries thrown in with the package deal. That is standard fare.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 01:57:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have found the references to Mogilevich in conversations between Scaramella and Guzzanti. They are summarized in the Prosecutor's request of authorization to use wiretaps involving a member of parliament as a source of proof. (The authorization was denied on February 19th, 2008).

I will give a full translation of relevant passage as soon as possible. In brief, the source is Scaramella who attributes the accusations to Litvinenko. Scaramella links Mogilevich, Bin Laden and various mafias to an effort to recover phantomatic Soviet nuclear weapons that Mario asserts are in the Bay of Naples.

The prosecutor notes that Scaramella's claims to Guzzanti are in contrast with wiretaped conversations between Litvinenko and Ganchev as well as between Talik and his wife.

With the caveat that Litvinenko may have later signed claims similar to Scaramella's claims, it does cast a shadow over any document allegedly by Litvinenko that may have been shown to Scott-Clark and Levy.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 05:43:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The following passage may be found on page 7 of the request for authorization to use wiretaps:
3) - 4) - 5) - 6) - 7) - 8) - 9) conversations that took place on number [omissis] on December 1st, 2005, at 16:10:08 # 833, 16:43:40 # 848, 17:13:02 # 856, 17:56:45 # 860, 18:15:48 # 861, 19:56:22 # 867, 20:20:50 # 873, containing precise references to the campaign organized by Scaramella and Litvinenko to support the thesis of a conspiracy to assassinate Guzzanti, attributing the responsibility to TALIK and elements of the Russian mafia, the camorra and Russian and Ukrainian secret services, with the indication of relevant documents acquired by Scaramenlla and sent to Senator Guzzanti, or to be acquired and transmitted. The conversations are of particular relevance if confronted with intercepted conversations in the acts between Litvinenko and Ganchev on one part and between TALIK and his wife on the other, having as their object the same facts albeit their reconstruction appears quite different, as noted in the motivations behind the arrest warrant emitted against Scaramella (Scaramella calls Guzzanti and tells him that at least ten different press agencies in Ukraine have mentioned the assassination attempt against Guzzanti, including the declarations of Litvinenko as referred by him. Litvinenko received dozens of calls from Ukranian reporters and Litvinenko mentioned Talik's name. Guzzanti tells Scaramella that he received a letter in Russian from Litvinenko; Scaramella will send the translation which corresponds to the registration but omitting all references to Mario Scaramella. Guzzanti notes that there is a problem since in the letter Litvinenko asserts that he works for the Commission; Scaramella says that Litvinenko had in precedence undertaken activity concerning nuclear [?] in Italy that they [the commission] had acquired; at the London meeting, official missions, documents countersigned by Bukowsky, Gordievsky, Svorov and Palombo. Conversations intercepted between CUCHMA (he lost the elections against Yushenko) and MOGILEVICH/FSB. SHVEZ, ex-president of the KGB took the material [?] to the USA. Scaramella tells Guzzanti that in Ukraine there is an agency, "the fifth element," probably close to Berezovsky, that follows the work of a commission similar to the Mitrokhin Commission that investigates facts of Soviet Union espionage. This agency had interviewed Litvinenko, and Scaramella sent the article to Guzzanti. In the interview Litvinenko talks about the Ukrainian aspects and also mentions Guzzanti (indicated as Paolo Guzzante), Talik, etc. They study the article together even if it is in Russian or Ukrainian. A passage on Simon Moghilevic and an agreement between the camorra to search for nuclear weapons lost during the Cold War to be consigned to Bin Laden, a revelation made by the Israeli. According to Scaramella the circle closes: camorra, Moghilevic- Russian mafia- services- nuclear bombs in Naples.)

The Naples Bay nuclear weapons hoax was a favorite of Scaramella. Lou Palumbo, an ex-CIA agent worked as a consultant for the Florida based Incident Management Group. Lou introduced Filippo Marino to the IMG where Marino rose to become senior consultant. Marino is Scaramella's associate in their company the ECPP.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 07:20:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It would be interesting to find out in what Ukrainian publication(s) the Litvinenko allegations appeared (November 2005).

It is not the first time the Ukrainian press was used as a conduit for bogus information in tandem with the Berlusconi commissions.

by de Gondi (publiobestia aaaatttthotmaildaughtusual) on Fri May 9th, 2008 at 07:30:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely fascinating.

I think that SHVEZ, who took the material to the U.S., is probably the same person as Shvets who was the source of the disinformation about how Litvinenko died which was recycled uncritically in Tom Mangold's programme on BBC Radio.

by djhabakkuk (david daught habakkuk at o two daught co daught uk) on Sat May 10th, 2008 at 02:39:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Display:

Top Diaries

Occasional Series