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Were a Russian journalist and an ex-KGB officer murdered over an investigation of the
Beslan terrorist attack?
Former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko, who passed away late last week from what many
intelligence officials have indicated they believe to be a state-sponsored
assassination, was likely the victim of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service,
Sluzhba Vneshney Razvedki (SVR), well-placed sources tell RAW STORY.
Specifically, two former Cold War CIA officers, who still on occasion provide consulting
work for the CIA, point to the S Directorate of SVR, which is in charge of black
operations and other allegedly highly illegal transnational activities. They believe
that the murders are closely tied to terrorist activities within Russia, and likely do
involve Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Russian bombings bear all the hallmarks of such operations, including the most
well-known of these bombings, in which a car bomb was detonated in front of an apartment
building in the city of Buynaksk that served as military housing for Russian soldiers,
killing more than sixty residents. The attack was blamed on Chechen separatists and was
used to justify attacks on suspected Chechen sympathizers and alleged co-conspirators,
as well as on Chechnya itself. Other bombings soon followed, leading to then-Prime
Minister Vladimir Putin declaring war on the separatist region, which had gained de
facto independence following the breakup of the Soviet Union.
But it was not until the failed Rayzan bombing attempt that the suspected role of the
Russian government in the bombings began to be alleged publicly. In mid-1999, a group of
agents of the Russian Federal Security Service, or Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti
(FSB), were found placing explosives at an apartment complex in the city of Rayzan. The
FSB is the Russian equivalent of the FBI, and it and the SVR are the two arms of what
used to be known as the KGB. The materials used in this incident were similar to those
found at the other bombings committed throughout 1999, but th FSB denied any involvement
in the previous terrorist attacks and described the Rayzan bombing plot as a domestic
A source in one of the Western European intelligence organizations suggests that "Annas
heart never left Beslan," and that up until the moment of her death the journalist was
pursuing evidence that might prove "embarrassing to the Kremlin."
However, one British intelligence officer, who wished to remain anonymous given that the
investigation is still ongoing, suggested a different possibility. "You should start,"
says this source, "with the Italian." The Italian in question is Mario Scaramella, the
contact whom Litvinenko met at the sushi bar to discuss the case of Anna Politkovskaya.
Scaramella, an expert on the former Soviet Union, does indeed appear to have both a
relationship with the Russian FSB and some knowledge of radioactive materials. According
to an account by BBC International Monitoring, originally from an Italian source, in
2004 Scaramella brought to the attention of Italian police an attempt to smuggle highly
enriched uranium into Italy:
"During the month of September 2004 I was approached by a Ukrainian national, whom I
know by the name of Sasha, who wanted to sell me a briefcase containing radioactive
material, and, more precisely, uranium for military use." There is enough testimony by
Giovanni Guidi, a Rimini businessman, and by other defendants - Giorgio Gregoretti, Elmo
Olivieri and Giuseppe Genghini - to fuel a spy story [preceding two words published in
English] worthy of a novel by Le Carre. Involved is a briefcase containing five kilos of
highly enriched uranium, half of which would be enough to build an atomic device, which
remained for months in a Rimini garage. A briefcase, however, which eluded
investigators, and which managed to get back into the hands of the Ukrainian national,
who perhaps is still in Italy. Together with another briefcase having a similar content,
and a third believed to conceal a tracking system. The entire kit geared to the assembly
of a small tactical atomic bomb.
A mystery story fuelled by information supplied the Rimini police department by a
consultant of the Mitrokhin committee, Mario Scaramella, who, acting on behalf of the
agency presided over by Paolo Guzzanti, was trying to track illegal funds from the
former USSR that had transited through [the Republic of] San Marino.
Scaramella is also said to have connections to the deputy chief of the FSB, Viktor
Komogorov, who is alleged by Chechen sources to have been conducting an internal FSB
investigation of Litvinenko.
Read the rest here:
More here at Larisa's blog, At-Largely: