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I think this certainly is going to be an epic inquest.

At issue are going to be fundamental questions not only about the conduct of the Russian state and security services, but about the capacity and integrity of the British intelligence services, and also the British police.  Also at issue are fundamental questions about the ability of the `Fourth Estate' in Britain to subject claims made by the intelligence services, and the police, to critical examination.

In this regard, it is of interest to look back to a crucial excerpt from the request by Italian prosecutors to use wiretaps of conversations between the head of the `Mitrokhin Commission', Senator Paolo Guzzanti, and Scaramella, in connection with the first aggravated calumny case against the latter.  This excerpt, which David Loepp translated in response to my diary back in May 2008, has turned out to be particularly rich in significance:


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.)

Several points have become clear:

  1.  The `London meeting' with documents `countersigned by Bukowsky, Gordievsky, Svorov and Palombo' is the meeting held at the offices of the IMO on 26 July 2004, which was discussed in the first of our current series of diaries.  This was largely devoted to a presentation by Scaramella designed to demonstrate that the so-called `sistema' composed for former KGB and GRU officers which supposedly controlled Russia uses organised crime to pursue covert agendas directly contradictory to the overt agendas of the Russian state.  This presentation was supported by twelve separate declaration from Litvinenko.  The claims made in the presentation and declarations were indeed largely endorsed by Vladimir Bukovsky, Oleg Gordievsky, Vladimir Rezun (aka `Viktor Suvorov') and Louis Palumbo.

  2.  A central thrust of these claims, and others made later by Scaramella and Litvinenko, was to demonstrate that the `sistema' was a major sponsor of jihadist terrorism, and supporter of `rogue states'.  The keystone of the arch were a variety of changes rung on the `nuclear weapons lost during the Cold War to be consigned to Bin Laden' scenario referred to at the end of the passage from the request by the Italian prosecutors David Loepp translated.  Also important here were attempts directly to link Putin to the notorious Ukrainian mobster Semyon Mogilevich, supposedly a key intermediary in the plot to equip Al Qaeda with nuclear or radiological weapons.

  3.  We already knew from a report from the U.S. Madrid Embassy from January 2010, disclosed by WikiLeaks in December 2010, that the Spanish prosecutor to whom Litvinenko had been feeding information swallowed the general theory of the `sistema' hook, line and sinker:  including the argument about its use to pursue covert agendas.  The comments by counsel for Marina Litvinenko at the 13 December hearing add to the body of circumstantial evidence suggesting that MI6 did also.  As noted in this diary, they suggest that at the time Litvinenko ingested polonium, he and Lugovoi were due to travel to Spain to provide the prosecutor with `evidence' about links between Putin and the mafia, and that are likely to have been doing so at the instigation of MI6.

  4.  Accordingly, a key question becomes how much of the disinformation which we know Litvinenko and Scaramella have developed on the supposed plot by the `sistema' to equip Al Qaeda with nukes was fed to MI6 - and how much they swallowed.

  5.  It is relevant here that in the list of sources for his disinformation operations given by Scaramella to Guzzanti in the above extract we find some of the people who have played a critical role in shaping the conventional wisdom in Britain about how Litvinenko died.  In addition to Gordievsky and Yuri Shvets, whose roles we discussed in this diary, Scaramella himself was presented as an independent and objective source in a BBC `Panorama' programme on 22 January 2007, and in the study The Litvinenko File published by the former BBC Moscow Correspondent Martin Sixsmith in April that year.  The claims by Shvets were recycled in the July 2007 study Londongrad by Mark Hollingsworth and Stewart Lansley.

  6.  It may be of moment here that both MI6 and Sir John Scarlett, at the time head of the Joint Intelligence Committee, gave their imprimatur to the claims about Saddam Hussein having sought uranium from Niger that played a large role in making possible the invasion of Iraq.  One of the more egregious intelligence failures in British history led to probably the catastrophic British foreign policy error since 1945.  The inquiry conducted by Lord Hutton exonerated Scarlett, clearing the way for him to take over as head of MI6.  In heaping the maximum possible amount of blame on the BBC, it had a profoundly demoralising effect on current affairs at the Corporation.
by djhabakkuk (david daught habakkuk at o two daught co daught uk) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 09:33:06 AM EST
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