Monday 4 December 2006

Scarlett's MI6 Comes to the Rescue in Litvinenko Case

by Trowbridge H. Ford

Thanks for having the guts to post my article about the West's Russophobes wanting to pin the murder of Alexander Litvinenko on Moscow - what is becoming an all-out effort by Britain's MI6 which started it all by allowing Agent John Scarlett, now its Director General, to bring out Vasili Mitrokhin's Archive and family in the first place.

The Mitrokhin Archive did not turn out to be what he expected, an exposing of the KGB's remaining, undisclosed spies, especially in Italy, and he became increasing disillusioned, especially when Christopher Andrew's The Sword and The Shield appeared. Instead of identifying spies like UCHITEL aka Romano Prodi, it put Anglo-America spin on everything from the Soviets getting the bomb to Pope John Paul II's torpedoing the USSR.

Increasingly Mitrokhin discussed his disappointment with fellow defector Litvinenko, and ultimately, it seems, Mitrokhin was either killed by British agents or killed himself, a process which resulted in Scarlett, the discredited chairman of the JIC, who saw to the outing of former UNSCOM WMD weapons inspector Dr. David Kelly - what led to his assassination - being named unprecedentally the new SIS director in order to keep the killing from going out of control. And note that it took Andrew 10 days to write an obituary for the disillusioned defector though he had allegedly died from pneumonia.

When Litvinenko threatened this whole process by going to Gerard Batten, a British member of the European Parliament in Brussels, and his threatening to tell all about Mitrokhin's undisclosed information and complaints, his assassination was arranged with disinformation from especially Rome, the means apparently from Israel, and the opportunity in Britain - what the assassins were so confident they could pull off without any blowback. Unfortunately, they did not figure on their activities being retraced by the alpha residue from the polonium-210.

In this context, the British intelligence services were obliged to get other defectors to claim that the Russians were simply behind the murder. Oleg Gordievsky, who had been recruited and run by Scarlett and MI5's director Eliza Manningham-Buller, claimed that it was just a repeat of what they had done to Georgi Markov back in the 1970s. (And note here that Andrew's explanation of Markov's murder is without any reference to Mitrokhin's Archive. (Notes, p. 640, number 78)

When this disinformation did not stem claims and suspicions of a darker plot, Scarlett and Manningham-Buller were obliged to pull out all the stops in the hope of stemming the hemorrhaging. Julia Svetlichnaja, a Russian national, Ph.D. student at London's University of Westminster, claimed that Litvinenko might have done himself in because of all this threats of blackmailing those who various illegal activities had been exposed in more recent KGB files he had garnered.

More important, Yuri Shvets, the Tass reporter who had helped cover up the assassination of Olof Palme after he emigrated to the USA, volunteered to the FBI who he knew had killed Litvinenko. Shvets knew all about the spying for the Soviets by the Agency's Rick Ames and the Bureau's Robert Hanssen - dismissing it simply as self-serving efforts by most egotistical persons - what earned the greatest gratitude from the American intelligence community because their spying had prevented the assassination from triggering WWIII.

Shvets, also claimed in Washinton Station, that Vitali Yurchenko, a genuine defector according to him, had told of a similar poison murder by the Soviets. Actually, Yurchenko was the cleverest alleged defector, selling the Americans with some throwaway admissions and deceptions, while determining Ames's bona fides and taking back double agent Valeri Martynov to his doom in Moscow for plotting the USSR's destruction at Palme's expense.

Now Shvets is being most secretive about who he is claiming killed Litvinenko, though it must be military prosecutor Alexander Volevodz, the alleged "mafia enforcer", who tried to get high-flying Russian banker Alexander Konanykhine sent back to Russia in 1997, frustrating what the Clinton administration and Yeltsin's oligarchs wanted. Shvets' claim, though, just seems a bit of retaliation against a foe he has already bested.

Where this will all end up is anyone's guess, but I suspect that Brits, as usual when it comes to troublesome murders, will conclude that the vengeful Litvinenko sought too much through his extravagant claims, and, as a result, killed himself - just like Dr. Kelly - but this one was much cleaner, requiring no new Hutton Inquiry.