Friday, December 08, 2006

Russians: Other Players

I'm loving the internet. I feel all Veronica Mars. On to the remainder of the cast:

Litvinenko met four men on November 1, the day he fell ill. Some are witnesses, some are suspects, and all have tested positive for exposure to polonium-210.

Italian security consultant Mario Scaramella (left) met Litvinenko at Itsu sushi bar in Piccadilly to warn that he had recieved an email saying that the two of them and Italian Senator Paolo Guzzanti were in danger. Guzzanti headed and Scaramella was an advisor to the Mitrokhin Commission, a McCarthyesque body set up by former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi to investigate Russian ties to Italian politicians. On Dec 1 the Italian press published intercepted phone calls of Guzzanti telling Scaramella to collect false information linking center-left Premier Romano Prodi to the KGB.

Andrei Lugovoi, a former FSB operative, met Litvinenko four times in the month before his murder. Their final meeting was 1 November at the Millenium Mayfair hotel. Scotland Yard has been attempting to interview him in Moscow, but the meeting has been delayed numerous times. There are news reports that Lugovoi is suffering organ failure from polonium poisoning, but his lawyer, another ex-FSB officer, Andrei Romashov, denies it.

Lugovoy once was a bodyguard for former Russian Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar(left). Gaidar was found unconscious on Nov 24 while at a conference in Ireland. He recovered, but doctors suspect he had been poisoned. Gaidar and his ally, the oligarch Anatoly Chubais, have blamed "adversaries of Russian authorities," but did not name the FSB directly.

Businessman Vyacheslav Sokolov was at the Millenium Hotel meeting, but there is not much information on him in English.

Dmitry Kovtun (left), a business associate of Lugovoy, was also at the Millenium Hotel. There have been media reports that he is in a coma, and the Russian Prosecutor General has open a case investigating the attempted murder of Kovtun. Romashov initially dismissed the reports of Kovtun’s illness as lies.

Others persons of note:

Lord Bell of Belgravia, aka Tim Bell, handled the Thatcher’s media campaign in 1979. Later he became an adivsor on "the promotion of democracy" to the Iraqi government. Berezovsky has been one of his clients for the past four years, and Bell has been handling media inquiries regarding Litvinenko.

British toxicologist John Henry was first to suggest that the mysterious illness of Ukraine president Viktor Yushchenko (left, before and after) might be dioxin poisoning [note: Boris Berezoksky helped bankroll Yushchenko’s campaign]. When Litvinenko became ill Goldfarb contacted Henry, who initially suspected thallium poisoning and worked pro-bono on the case.

Svetlana is a Russian woman in London who claims to have information regarding a smuggling operation involving nuclear material.

Russia's Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika and Deputy Prosecutor General Alexander Zvyagintsev claim to be cooperating with Scotland Yard and the 9 British police in Moscow pursuing the investigation

Other major defectors who have been in the news include Yuri Shvets, [major in the KGB from 1980-1990; sought asylum in the US in 1994], Oleg Gordievsky [highest ranking defector ever; colonel in the KGB, London bureau chief, rezident, and a British double agent; he betrayed by Aldrich Ames, arrested by the KGB, escaped, and fled to the UK in 1985], and Vladimir Rezun [GRU worker, defected to the UK in 1978, publishes books as Vladimir Suvorov].

So there you go. The Russian Secret Service is being accused of staging a series of bombings in order to justify invading Chechnya. Oligarchs and mafioso are working with ex-spies and Bush's brother to "promote democracy." Someone or some group is poisoning them one by one. And journalists who delve into any of this are gunned down in the streets.

All I can say is, good luck to Scotland Yard.

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