Limarev, who has always come across as courteous and lapidary, began to doubt he had actually met the real Guzzanti. In short, Scaramella may have presented another person to Limarev as Guzzanti. Eventually the two arranged a meeting in France (full address with photo courteously supplied by Guzzanti) where the two came to the tentative conclusion that they are both real. Guzzanti then proceeded to write his version of the encounter. Two days after Limarev- unlike Gordievsky- denied having said what Guzzanti attributes to him, laconically pointing out as he had done on other occasions that he had taped the entire five hour rendezvous.
But what gets me in this comic sideshow is that Guzzanti is a well-known impersonator, specialized in voice impersonation. It's one of his rare redeeming qualities that he passed on to his two offsprings, Corrado and Sabina, and may still earn him a back row seat in paradise next to Vlad the Impaler. So when Limarev remarks that the two Guzzantis did not have the same voice nor mastery of English, it occurred to me that Guzzanti could just as well have impersonated himself in those previous meetings.
But whether Limarev met Guzzanti or someone impersonating Guzzanti or Guzzanti impersonating Guzzanti one observation remains unchanged. Whoever he met was always a false Guzzanti.
President Guzzanti is the central figure in this "strategy of groundlessness." He absolves two roles: not only is he President of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry but also the principal advocate of accusations which, as a reporter, he amplifies through the press. The outcome in the Commission is that one attends a game in which one finds the reporter when seeking the President and vice versa. This tangled web of media and institutional power makes it impossible to arrive at a consensus on the affair as a whole, much less make the slightest progress in ascertaining the facts1
Interim Minority Report, the Mitrokhin Commission, December 2004, quoted in the final Minority Report
of March 23rd, 2006, page 1
In conclusion, the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the Mitrokhin Dossier only increased confusion rather than ascertain facts and resorted to insinuation rather than define areas of known facts. It did not investigate with a free spirit devoid of prejudices but burdened every step with preconceptions and manipulative behaviour. It lowered a parliamentary commission to the level of the most irresponsible scandal-mongering newspaper, thus wounding its prestige. It has constituted one of the lowest and most humiliating moments of our institutional history2
The minority report of the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry Concerning the "Mitrokhin Dossier"
Limarev e Scaramella
In the past weeks a certain amount of attention has been dedicated to Evgueni Limarev, a Russian now living in France. Limarev was hired by Scaramella and led to believe that he was collaborating with the Italian parliamentary "Mitrokhin" commission during the last legislature (2001-2006). Articles in the French and British press as well as the Berlusconi press had given him as missing or under French protection, or fearing for his life in the month of December. Limarev subsequently denied ever having been in hiding or under protection.
Limarev first came to international attention when Mario Scaramella and Paolo Guzzanti declared he was the author of two emails that Scaramella had taken to London to show Litvinenko on November 1st, in coincidence with the poisoning of the latter. The two used the Italian Senate to stage an international press conference on November 21st to launch their accusations.
On the same day, the Corriere della Sera published an article3 by Virginia Piccolillo reportedly detailing the contents of the two emails (all bold mine):
"Watch out for colonel Valentin Velichko
[President of Honour and Dignity]. His agents are probably involved in the assassination of Anna Politkovskaya and in the planning of homicides in Russia and the Baltic States at the behest of the FSB/SVR."
These are the documents Mario Scaramella showed Alexander Litvinenko for his appraisal. Two emails sent by Evgueni Limarev, ex-instructor of the KGB protected by the French Services, son of a general employed by the Russian secret services. The Mi5 is studying them. Also to dispel any suspicion that Limarev's junk alarm on an imminent attack against the former president of the Mitrokhin Commission, Paolo Guzzanti, and its consultant, is part of a conspiracy
The first mail explains that Guzzanti and Scaramella are in the eye of the SVR and the "dangerous" Velichko because of Litvinenko. Limarev explains: "Russian intelligence believes you are trying to obtain Italian citizenship for him thanks to services rendered to the Mitrokhin Commission, a commission that Moscow considers a provocation." And they believe that "the arms traffic with the Ukranians was not an assassination attempt against Guzzanti but was invented by him, backed up by Litvinenko and organized by friends of Scaramella in the services
." Then Limarov warns against Velichko and his men. He throws in the connection to the death of the Russian journalist. He mentions Ubilava Anatoly, Velichko's deputy, who supposedly had "a man in Naples the past month" to prepare "the final action."
The second mail gives the identikit of the presumed assailant, Igor Vlasov, an SVR official. An email that's unconvincing. It's obvious the need to verify it with Litvinenko. Was it a deliberate move? The Mi5 wants to find out. And now another mysterious death comes up: the Russian diplomat Igor Ponomariov, who died officially of a heart attack just before a meeting that Scaramella participated in.
Limarev promptly denied having authored the emails as reported in the press. He released a lengthy interview to the Repubblica on November 27th (passages translated by Migeru and myself). The day before Repubblica had published an interview with him that had been conducted in February 2005 at the height of the Mitrokhin Commission press campaign. According to Limarev, Scaramella was the actual author of the original charges contained in emails previously sent to him for verification. Limarev further declared that Scaramella had added in names and events he had never discussed.
A peculiar "news" item was furnished by Paolo Guzzanti on December 21st (published in the Giornale December 22nd edition) that dovetails with previous false charges made by Scaramella and himself, as well as Ms. Piccolillo's piece. Guzzanti now attributes the allegations to General Oleg Gordievsky, a double agent who defected to Great Britain in the 80's. According to Guzzanti's version of Mr. Gordievsky, Limarev was part of a KGB scheme to kill Litvinenko and lay the blame on Scaramella.
Gordievsky had previously released an interview to the English press fingering a certain "Volodya" who was present in the Millenium Hotel at the time of the poisoning and could be tentatively identified on airport tapes as sitting near Dmitry Kovtun on the plane to London. Recent reports indicate that Gordievsky's original revelations have some grounds. Gordievsky supplied further details in a recent interview.
Given Gordievsky's prescience in placing Litvinenko's poisoning at the Millenium, it would involve a serious act of faith to believe Gordievsky had gone so far as to directly implicate Limarev in the Litvinenko murder. Nevertheless, it appears he did so in an interview to the Moscovski Komsomolts.
Limarev's February 2005 interview caused a major political stir in Italy. In short he claimed that there was a covert organization that worked outside parliamentary control with the intent to frame prominent political opposition figures much in line with ex-Sismi spy Pio Pompa's written declaration "to use any method, even brutal, against Berlusconi's enemies."
Further, Limarev's interview revealed that a holding, the Finbroker of San Marino, was also organically involved in contriving scams for the Mitrokhin Commission. The Finbroker had come to national prominence during the Telekom Serbia investigations by the Turin public ministers. It had effectively been the only proven channel for kickbacks from the sale of the Telekom Serbia. Fittingly, the kickback led to MP Italo Bocchino, prominent democrat fascist (Allianza Nazionale) inquisitor on the same parliamentary commission, an eloquent touch to one of the most squalid smear campaigns in republican history.
Here is a translation of Limarev's 2005 interview4, recently available in the original Italian on line on this site.
It was Alexander Litvinenko, a friend of Boris Berezovsky, who called me in January 2004. He asked me if I was interested in meeting with the Mitrokhin commission of the Italian parliament. Litvinenko and I are not personal friends. He explained what he intended to do. He had received intelligence material and he wanted to use it with the Italians who had the intention to get to the bottom of everything Vladimir Putin's system implied. Litvinenko told me about Mario Scaramella, a retired judge who had become Commission president Paolo Guzzanti's right hand man. Alexander finished his call saying that he would give my number to Mario who would contact me. That's what happened. I spoke with Mario. He invited me to Naples at the end of January 2004. I finally met Scaramella. He's young for a retired judge but I'm not suspicious since he's escorted by armed bodyguards who never leave him a minute. He puts me up in a hotel at his expense in Naples- if I recall, the Metropole- a hotel full of Americans. I'm told they're NATO personnel. Everyday Mario comes to pick me up at the hotel with an escort of two or three SUV's. He takes me to an "Infrastructure" full of law forces. Police or Carabinieri, I don't know. Anyway Scaramella appears to be the real boss in the "Infrastructure." Everyone salutes him when he passes by. If it's not in the "Infrastructure" we work in different apartments. Rather small. Only two or three rooms. I saw five or six of them in that period. Covers. They told me: Don't worry, you're safe, we can arrest whoever we want.... Well! I have no reason to doubt it! Mario is enthusiastic after my first briefings. He's interested in past and present activity of the KGB in Italy and I show that I know more than Litvinenko for the simple reason that Alexander, in the KGB, had always worked internally while I had been outside running around the world.
So at the end of January, I seem to be the contact Mario Scaramella was looking for. He said I'm the man he needed. Then he added it was time to meet Guzzanti. I had understood from the numerous daily calls they made to each other- dozens a day- that the relation between Scaramella and Guzzanti was close, but when I met Guzzanti at the end of January and the first days of February 2004, I understood their relation was far more closer. Mario followed the orders of Guzzanti and if there was some difficulty, he would talk with the president [Guzzanti] who would immediately remove any obstacle. They share the same legal structure which isn't the same legal structure of the Commission. Mario explains to me that he works for the Enviromental Crime Protection Program (ECCP). The special representative for Italy is a certain Livio Ricciardi, who at times paid some of my expenses. They don't have an office. Mario told me that there's just a post box, 503 Naples 80100, a fax (081-2482201), a web site (www.ECPP.org) set up in 1997 by personal agreements between individuals who in their respective countries have institutional support in matters concerning military, environmental and civil intelligence. All you have to know, Mario, then Guzzanti, told me, is that behind the ECCP there are Americans and Italians with security objectives. Once and a while he dropped the name of Dick Cheney in my presence, but I never saw any papers linked to Cheney. However, I was told that I could count on Cheney's team in the White House, on the collaboration of the American environmental security agency (and there are traces of that in the documents I'm shown) and, informally, on the American secret services (no documents to confirm that). They tell me they want to gather intelligence and to conclude grandiose projects whose existence was never demonstrated to me. In short, I'm told that the ECPP has as its official activity environmental protection and a department of un-official activity whose organizational level precludes offices, seats, protocols, and which is financed for tens of millions of dollars partially in Italy (with funds from a center for environmental protection of the Carabinieri, I was once told) and in part through the Republic of San Marino through a holding, the Finbroker, that I later found had been behind the work of the Telekom Sbrija commission. I was also given a sort of code. Here it is: "Italian Secret Services" was in restaurant argon. "Italian Mitrokhin Commission" was "car." "Other Italian authorities" was "bus." Then, "GRU" was "hotel." The French Secret Service", "wine." "Mi5" and "Mi6", "Danube." "CIA" and "FBI", "airplane." "FSB", "museum", and so on.
After the first meeting I saw Scaramella four times in San Marino, seven times in Naples and a few times in Geneva. I saw Guzzanti on two occasions in Rome and Naples. When we finally get down to work, things turn sour. More than ask for information, Scaramella wanted me to vouch for his stories which appeared grotesque to me. I was supposed to confirm that a submarine of the USSR had lost its atomic weapons in the Gulf of Naples. That, in short, there was a nuclear risk in Italy because of KGB activity, and the protagonist would be the Italian KGB network, some of whose members were in the Mitrokhin list. They showed me a list of personalities they had worked on and some photos. Here's an incomplete list. These are some of the names: Pecoraro Scanio (Verdi). Cosimo Giuseppe Sgobio (Comunisti italiani). Alfonso Gianni (Rifondazione). Umberto Ranieri (Ds). Antonio Rotundo (Ds). Oliviero Diliberto (Comunisti Italiani). Francesco Giordano (Rifondazione). Eugenio Duca (Ds).
I had never met a single one of these men in my life, but even a child would have understood at that point what was going on. The Mitrokhin dossier was for Scaramella and Guzzanti no more than a market to accumulate political dividends, blackmail the people involved, and do good business to get financing from governmental and non-governmental organizations. It was clear to me that the functions of this structure, the ECPP, that involves other state structures had nothing to do with the Mitrokhin commission and its mission."
Other than a detailed description of events involving his person, Limarev made several accusations:
1. The use of the Mitrokhin commission against political adversaries;
2. The fabrication of false charges and false testimony;
3. The use of blackmail against people involved;
4. Winning contracts awarded by the government or NGO's;
5. The involvement of the ECPP with other state structures;
6. Covert and possibly illegal activity under ECPP cover;
7. An operative link with the San Marino holding, Finbroker.
The Minister of Interior, Giuliano Amato, reported to the Oversight Committee for Intelligence Services (Copaco) January 24th, that after a thorough investigation neither police forces nor intelligence services were found to have worked for the Mitrokhin Commission. Given his institutional role Amato did not enter into discussion of the said commission's modus operandi nor Scaramella's conduct, now object of several on-going criminal investigations. The minister's declarations contradict reports in the major national dailies.
The existence of covert structures has in no way been dispelled, contrary to assertions in the Italian rightwing press. In fact the existence of the ECCP and its operative link to Finbroker are not in discussion. Scaramella may have set up scenographic parlours much along the lines of an elaborate sting operation (the Big Store scam popularized by George Roy Hill's The Sting) to dupe erstwhile Russian expats. Limarev is not the only person to testify to Scaramella's shows of force and power. People in San Marino, the oldest republic in the world, have something to say.
As well as the numerous victims of Scaramella's wrath for having refused to take part in his scams. Take for example the case of Aleksandr Talik.
In October 2005, Scaramella denounced four hapless Ukrainians of trafficking grenades with the intent to assassinate Senator Guzzanti and himself for the "KGB". By accrediting this bogus plot to the KGB Scaramella sought to bolster the argument that Guzzanti's Mitrokhin commission was of some concern to the Russian power elite. By creating the impression that Guzzanti and Scaramella were on a hit list, he sought to further credit the false charges against a prominent Italian political figure- most likely Romano Prodi- as a KGB agent.
Scaramella alleged that Talik was behind the assassination plot. Here are his verbatim accusations, October 14th, 2005, at 12:30 PM to the investigative police at the "Dante" commissariat in Naples.
| Sono in rapporti con Aleksandr Litvinenko, colonnello Fsb attualmente a Londra, con Euvgenij Limarev, del Svr, attualmente in Francia, e con ex personale dell'ambasciata ucraina a Roma (...) Sono venuto a conoscenza che un ex ufficiale del Kgb, Aleksandr Talik, unitamente a tale Krok Sena, sono coinvolti in un progetto di aggressione che riguarderebbe la mia persona o più probabilmente esponenti del mio ufficio e impiegherebbe armi non convenzionali, in arrivo in queste ore sul territorio italiano provenienti dall'Ucraina. Nell'impossibilità di poter verificare personalmente i fatti, ho informato riservatamente il presidente della commissione Mitrokhin Paolo Guzzanti, che ritengo potenzialmente minacciato. Specifico che le stesse fonti hanno già riferito ai carabinieri di Avellino, un anno fa, della concreta minaccia per la mia persona e le persone con cui lavoro collegata a un'operazione di intelligence dei servizi speciali russi ed ucraini. Minaccia di cui mi parlò Euvgenij Limarev.|| I'm in contact with Aleksandr Litvinenko, FSB colonel in London, with Evgueni Limarev of the SVR, actually residing in France, and with ex-personnel of the Ukranian Embassy in Rome (...) It's come to my attention that an ex-official of the KGB, Aleksandr Talik, together with a certain Krok Sena, are involved in a plot of aggression against my person and probably also against exponents in my office. They may use non-conventional arms which are arriving in Italy at the moment from Ukraine. As it is impossible for me to verify personally these facts, I have informed confidentially the president of the Mitrokhin [Commission] Paolo Guzzanti, whom I believe is personally menaced. I specify that the same sources have already informed the carabinieri of Avellino last year of the concrete menace to my person and those with whom I work in connection to intelligence operations undertaken by Russian and Ukrainian special services. Menaces that Evgueni Limarev told me about.|
Now Scaramella may have let petty grudges get the best of him. You don't accuse someone such as Talik to the police. Investigative police can very quickly find out that Talik had known Scaramella for some time but just couldn't bring himself to be a Scaramella shill in concocting false evidence or participating in bizarre financial projects. Whatever, Talik ended up in Scaramella's black book. And just for a final touch, Scaramella "revealed" to the police where Talik kept his stash of illegal weapons.
Investigators reportedly have also acquired from the Senate acts that refer to a false document allegedly signed by Litvinenko. The document is supposedly classified according to recent testimony by the same Paolo Guzzanti during the trial against the four Ukranians. On October 9th, 2006, Guzzanti swore before the court,
|Scaramella ha redatto un rapporto segretato che costituisce il quadro politico e pure criminale, se vogliamo, di questa e altre vicende. Questo rapporto è custodito in una cassaforte del Parlamento ed è stato redatto, insieme, dal dottor Agostino Cordova e dal professor Scaramella. Contiene informazioni compromettenti per un personaggio politico circa il possibile attentato. || Scaramella filed a classified report that constitutes the political and criminal framework, if you wish, of this case and others. This report is in custody in the Parliament's safety vault and it was compiled both by Dr. Agostino Cordova and professor Scaramella. It contains compromising material for a political figure concerning a possible assassination attempt. |
A fairly novel way to create evidence in a criminal trial.
It has emerged from Scaramella's interrogation by public ministers in Rome the existence of an email in which Scaramella invites Litvinenko to sign an attached document containing false charges and assume the exclusive paternity of the accusations.
In the email, now in the hands of investigators, Scaramella asks Litvinenko to print out and sign an attached letter. The letter reportedly depicts a confused construction of international events in which Putin, Cecheny, the KGB and various mafias are thrown together to accredit the plot that the Mitrokhin Commission represents a menace and that its protagonists must be fore with eliminated. One suspects that the two cases are the same thing.
If ever the Senate turns over this "classified report" it will be interesting to see if Litvinenko, or someone in his stead, dotted his "i's".
If that's not enough for this ridiculous comedy racket there was a coup de theatre5 a few days ago in the trial for the four smugglers. The Naples investigators supplied cell phone taps and traffic for the defence- evidence that had mysteriously been misplaced until now. It appears that Scaramella continuously called the Ukrainians on their cell phones and hung up as they drove down the Adriatic with their rusty antiquated grenades. The poor fool (Scaramella) had the cell phone numbers of his would-be assassins and was making it perfectly clear to the police who were eavesdropping on the whole comedy.
But in the meantime four men have been sitting in jail for fifteen months.
... And they believe that "the arms traffic with the Ukranians was not an assassination attempt against Guzzanti but was invented by him, backed up by Litvinenko and organized by friends of Scaramella in the services."
1Di tale 'strategia dell'infondatezza' è perno il presidente Guzzanti, che svolge due ruoli: non solo è presidente della Commissione parlamentare d'inchiesta ma anche il sostenitore della tesi accusatoria, che come giornalista poi amplifica sulla stampa, con la conseguenza che in Commissione si assiste ad un gioco di rimandi per cui dove si cerca il Presidente si trova il giornalista e viceversa.Questo intreccio di potere mediatico e potere istituzionale rende impossibile pervenire ad una 'condivisione' dell'intera vicenda, ma rende persino difficile anche ogni piccolo progresso comune sulla via dell'accertamento della verità.
Commissione parlamentare d'inchiesta concernente il "Dossier Mitrokhin" e l'attività d'intelligence italiana, Documento Conclusivo sull'attività svolta e sui risultati dell'inchiesta presentato dai commissari del centrosinistra, pagine 1.
2In conclusione, la Commissione parlamentare d'inchiesta sul dossier Mitrokhin non ha apportato verità ma aumentato la confusione; non ha definito gli ambiti di conoscenza ma ha insinuato; non ha ricercato con spirito libero e scevro da pregiudizi ma ha riempito di pregiudizi e strumentalità ogni suo passo. Essa ha posto al livello del più irresponsabile giornale scandalistico una commissione del nostro Parlamento, ferendone così il prestigio. Essa ha costituito uno dei momenti più bassi e umilianti della nostra storia istituzionale.
Commissione parlamentare d'inchiesta concernente il "Dossier Mitrokhin" e l'attività d'intelligence italiana, Documento Conclusivo sull'attività svolta e sui risultati dell'inchiesta presentato dai commissari del centrosinistra, pagine 7.
3Le email portate dall'Italia parlano di un attentato a Guzzanti e Scaramella
ROMA--«Guardati dal colonnello Valentin Velichko. I suoi agenti sono probabilmente coinvolti nell'assassinio di Anna Politkovskaya e nell'elaborazione di piani di omicidi in Russia e negli Stati baltici su ordine e per conto dell'Fsb/Svr».
Ecco i documenti che Mario Scaramella ha mostrato ad Alexander Litvinenko per un parere di attendibilità. Due email inviate da Evgenij Limarev, ex istruttore del Kgb protetto dai servizi francesi, figlio di un generale in carica nei servizi segreti russi. L'MI5 le sta leggendo. Anche per fugare il sospetto che l'allarme-patacca di Limarev su un imminente attentato all'ex presidente della Mitrokhin, Paolo Guzzanti, e al consulente sia un elemento del complotto.
La prima mail spiega che Guzzanti e Scaramella sono invisi all'Svr e al «pericoloso» Velichko, proprio a causa di Litvienko. Limarov spiega: «L'intelligence russa pensa che stiate cercando di ottenere per lui la cittadinanza italiana per i servigi resi alla Mitrokhin, commissione considerata a Mosca una provocazione». E credono che il «traffico d'armi degli ucraini non fosse un attentato a Guzzanti, ma sia stato inventato da lui, supportato da Litvinenko e organizzato da amici di Scaramella nei servizi». Poi Limarov mette in guardia su Velichko e i suoi uomini. Butta lì il collegamento con la giornalista russa uccisa. Parla di Ubilava Anatoly, luogotenente di Velichko, che avrebbe avuto «da un mese un uomo a Napoli» per preparare «l'azione finale».
La seconda mail fornisce l'identikit del presunto attentatore: Igor Vlasov, ufficiale dell'Svr. Mail che non convincono. Ovvio il tentativo di verifica con Litvinenko. Era una mossa voluta? L'MI5 vuole appurarlo. E ora spunta un'altra morte misteriosa: quella del diplomatico russo Igor Ponomariov, stroncato ufficialmente da un infarto poco prima di un meeting a cui partecipò anche Scaramella.
Virginia Picocolillo, Corriere della Sera, 21 novembre 2006, pagine 27 .
4Evgueni Limarev put up a translation of the full article generously supplied by Carlo Bonini on January 28th. Limarev makes extensive comments to the text and reproaches Giuseppe D'Avanzo and Carlo Bonini for not having kept to their alleged agreement (available on the site). Limarev asserts that the two reporters were bound not to publish the interview without prior consent.
I have left my translation and comments as is and refer the reader to his site for fuller information.
Limarev is surprised that there is no international coverage of the Gordievsky interview to the MK. He is not aware of the European Tribune.
5Repubblica, January 17th,2007, page 29, Scaramella, autogol al processo contro i suoi presunti attentatori by Carlo Bonini.