Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Russians: Millantatore di Credito

As usual, new names are in bold.

Copies of the email “security consultant” Mario Scaramella had shown to Litvinenko were published in the UK. The email was written former FSB agent Evgeny Limarev, and accused Colonel Valentin Velichko (left) and his group of ex-FSB officers, Honor and Dignity, of sending out hit squads across Europe.

The organization, founded in 2003, was ostensible to introduce law and order in the country with a view to establishing a dictatorship of law, where everyone is equal before the law. It also accuses them of being involved in the assassination of journalist Anna Politkovskaya.

For his part, Velichko has told the press that the group will punish those who rob Russia and the Russian people. There is a long list of so-called oligarchs, officials and politicians who used to make decisions in favour of certain clans. The press has been unable to track Velichko down in recent days.

Limarev (left) fled from his home in the French Alps and went into hiding when his name became public. His homepage, instructs the media to email him regarding dossiers of Alexander Litvinenko, Mario Scaramella, and his future book

The Italian press, meanwhile, has dubbed Scaramella a millantatore di credito—someone who claims to know and have done more than they actually have. One example they cite is a firefight he claimed to have had with the Neopolitan mafia. The only evidence the police found of a firefight were sixteen bullets that Scaramella’s bodyguard had shot into a parked car. One of his sources, former FSB agent Oleg Gordievsky, has publicly called him a pathological liar and a megalomaniac. Italian police are now investigating Scaramella for arms smuggling.

Dmitri Kovtun and Andrei Lugovoi are both being kept at a sealed off clinic run by Russia’s Federal Medico-Biological Agency. Both have left a trail of radiation behind them in early November – Lugovoi across London, and Kovtun in Hamburg, where he stopped to visit his family. The German police have opened a criminal investigation into Kovtun. The UK and Russian police name both men as witnesses, but have not publicly called them suspects.

The Russians continue to seek the extradition of Akhmed Zakayev and Boris Berezovsky.

Interpol has joined the investigation, as has Israel. Israel interest is based upon the presence of a number of oligarchs who have defected there, including Yukos executives Leonid Nevzlin, Mikhail Brudno, and Vladimir Dubov.

Other right wing groups the media is watching include

The Military-Strong State Union headed by General Leonid Ivashov, who was implicated in the assassination of oligarch Anatoly Chubais.

The International Union of Armed Forces and Law Enforcement Veterans, headed by an officer called Dmitry Kamchatkin, and is associated with nationalist party Motherland and the old Russian Communist Party.

Mikhail Trepashkin passed a letter from the prison colony in Siberia claiming that “a very serious group was formed in the FSB at the highest level to get rid of Litvinenko and a number of other people, on the basis that those who are not for us are against us.”

Others are beginning to suspect that the murders are a sign that Putin is losing control, and that rogue elements in the secret services are battling for control.

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