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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
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