Mario Scaramella

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Mario Scaramella (born 23 April 1970[1]) is an Italian lawyer, security consultant and academic nuclear expert[2] who came to international prominence in 2006 in connection with the poisoning of the ex-FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko. As responsible for intelligence analysis and production on KGB and military GRU espionage in Europe, he served as an investigator and adviser to the Mitrokhin Commission.[3][4] Scaramella was a suspect by the Italian justice department for calumny[5]

While working for the Intelligence and Mitrokhin Dossier Investigative Commission at the Italian Parliament, Scaramella claimed a Ukrainian ex-KGB officer living in Naples, Alexander Talik, conspired with three other Ukrainians officers to assassinate Senator Guzzanti. The Ukrainians were arrested and special weapons including granades were confiscated, but Talik claimed that Scaramella had used intelligence to overestimate the story of the assassination attempt, which brought the calumny charge on him. Talik also claimed that rocket propelled grenades sent to him in Italy had in fact been sent by Scaramella himself as an undercover agent.[5]

Career[edit]

Academic background[edit]

According to sources, between 1996 and 2000 he served as a full professor of international and environmental law at the Externado University and the University of Nuestra Señora del Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia where he served also as advisor to the Head of National Police Gen. Rosso Serrano Cadena. He also held a post as Academic Director at environmental crime institute at the University of Naples and Full Professor of public law. Until 2006, Scaramella was best known for a memo claiming that a Soviet submarine left nuclear mines in the Bay of Naples in 1970. IAEA and IMO official reports confirmed Scaramella statement. He claimed that his team of experts had long been involved in investigating the smuggling of radioactive material by the KGB and its successors.[6]

The Environmental Crime Prevention Program[edit]

Between 2000 and 2002 he was appointed by the Assistant Administrator of United States Environmental Protection Agency Steven Hermann as secretary general of the organization Environmental Crime Prevention Program (ECPP), then signed on 12 October 2000, a Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation with the Secretariat of the Basel Convention on the Environment, which is part of the United Nations Environment Programme. One of his few public appearances was in 2002 at a security related conference, among with the CIA Deputy Director for Analysis and Production Mr. Gannon, for giving a lecture on "space anti-terror technologies".[7] ECPP's observership's status to the United Nations London Convention/Protocol meetings was withdrawn in July 2007.[8]

Poisoning[edit]

On 1 November 2006 Scaramella met the ex-Russian FSB agent Alexander Litvinenko for lunch at Itsu, a sushi restaurant in Piccadilly, London. Scaramella has stated he ate nothing and drank only water at the restaurant. On 1 December 2006 he was taken to University College Hospital, and it was confirmed that he has been exposed to Polonium-210, the substance which was thought to have been eaten by Alexander Litvinenko at the aforementioned lunch, and which killed him.[9] Although Scaramella initially denied having the substance in his body, his lawyer made a statement on the same day saying that they would make no comment until the results of the tests were finalised.[10] A room at Ashdown Park Hotel, in Sussex, where Scaramella is thought to have stayed whilst in the U.K. has been sealed off due to possible contamination.

Some news outlets have speculated that Scaramella may have been Litvinenko's assassin.[11]

On 3 December Italian Senator Paolo Guzzanti was quoted after speaking with Scaramella by phone, saying health officials had told Scaramella the dose of polonium he had received is usually fatal. Guzzanti told Reuters:

"They also said so far, nobody could ever survive this poison, so it is very unlikely he could. But, if he doesn't collapse in three months, there is a kind of hope ... They said that every six months ... the radioactivity decreases by half".[12]

Latest news inform that he was only exposed to minute traces of polonium.[13]

Litvinenko's brother Maxim, who lives in Italy, told that Scaramella wanted to use his brother as a source for his research into Italian politicians and their alleged links to the Russian intelligence services. According to Maxim, one of the things Alexander Litvinenko did for Scaramella was sit down in front of a video camera in early 2006 in Rome. Litvinenko said that the video should not be leaked to the press. However he went on saying, in front of camera, that former FSB deputy chief Anatoly Trofimov warned him in 2000 that he should not move to Italy because Prodi was "one of their men".[14] Maxim said he was paid €200 in cash to translate on the day Scaramella recorded the video. Scaramella paid Alexander Litvinenko €500-600 to cover travel expenses.[14]

Arrest[edit]

On 24 December 2006, Scaramella returned to Italy where he was immediately arrested by DIGOS, a division of the Italian national police. He is charged with calumny,[5]

The Mitrokhin Commission[edit]

According to prosecutor Pietro Salvitti, cited by La Repubblica and who has indicted Scaramella, Nicolò Pollari, head of SISMI indicted in the Imam Rapito affair, as well as SISMI n°2, Marco Mancini, arrested in July 2006 for the same reason, were some of the informers, alongside Mario Scaramella, of senator Paolo Guzzanti. Beside targeting Romano Prodi and his staff, this "network", according to Pietro Salvitti's words, also aimed at defaming General Giuseppe Cucchi (current director of the CESIS), Milan's judges Armando Spataro, in charge of the Imam Rapito case, and Guido Salvini, as well as La Repubblica reporters Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe D'Avanzo.[15] The investigation also showed a connection between Scaramella and the CIA, in particular through Filippo Marino, one of Scaramella's closest partners since the 1990s and co-founder of the ECPP, who lives in the US. Marino has acknowledged in an interview an association with former and active CIA officers, including Lou Palombo, who worked 22 years for Langley's agency, and Robert Lady, former CIA station chief in Milan, indicted by prosecutor Armando Spataro for having coordinated the abduction of Abu Omar, the Imam Rapito.[16] Russian sources have stated that he was working to discredit the Russians and may have been the one who actually poisoned Litvinenko European Tribune - Community, Politics & Progress.. Scarmella also wanted to discredit Italian Prime Minister Prodi by accusing him of being a KGB agent because of Prodi's criticism of US foreign policy in Iraq and elsewhere.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Mitrokhin al veleno. Intervista a Mario Scaramella" (in Italian). L'Espresso. 30 November 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-06-20. Retrieved 2006-12-08. 
  2. ^ "Sushi bar man is nuclear waste expert". The Evening Standard. 2006-11-25. Archived from the original on 2009-02-10. Retrieved 2006-12-08. 
  3. ^ "Prodi takes action on KGB 'smear'". BBC. 2006-12-01. Archived from the original on 2012-11-09. Retrieved 2006-12-02. 
  4. ^ Barber, Tony (2006-12-01). "Prodi to sue over allegations of KGB links". Financial Times. Archived from the original on 2007-01-27. Retrieved 2006-12-02. 
  5. ^ a b c Popham, Peter (2006-12-28). "Scaramella questioned in Rome over arms trafficking allegations". London: The Independent. Archived from the original on 2008-09-06. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  6. ^ Milmo, Cahal; Popham, Peter and Bennetto, Jason (2006-11-29). "Litvinenko 'smuggled nuclear material'". London: The Independent. Archived from the original on 2008-01-14. Retrieved 2007-01-24. 
  7. ^ "THE GLOCAL STRATEGY Priverno - 15–18 May 2002". Archived from the original on 2 June 2002. Retrieved 30 November 2006. 
  8. ^ CONVENTION ON THE PREVENTION OF MARINE POLLUTION BY DUMPING OF WASTES AND OTHER MATTER, 1972 AND ITS 1996 PROTOCOL, International Maritime Organization, Ref. T5/5.01, 24 July 2007.
  9. ^ "Pair test positive for polonium". BBC News. 2006-12-01. Archived from the original on 2007-12-22. Retrieved 2006-12-08. 
  10. ^ "UK finds two more polonium cases in spy probe". Yahoo! News. 2006-12-01. Retrieved 2006-12-08. [dead link]
  11. ^ "Tracce di polonio su due aerei British Airways Un amico della spia uccisa accusa Scaramella" (in Italian). La Repubblica. 29 November 2006. Archived from the original on 2012-03-14. Retrieved 2006-12-01. 
  12. ^ "Radioactive substance found in Russian spy contact". Reuters. 2 December 2006. 
  13. ^ "Italian emerges as an odd footnote in Litvinenko case". International Herald Tribune. 2006-12-08. Archived from the original on 2009-02-12. Retrieved 2006-12-11. 
  14. ^ a b "Italy gives Litvinenko contact withering welcome". Reuters. 2007-01-05. Retrieved 2009-01-13. 
  15. ^ Il falso dossier di Scaramella - "Così la Russia manipola Prodi", La Repubblica, 11 January 2007 (Italian) Archived March 14, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "In Italy, the rise and fall of an impresario of espionage". International Herald Tribune. 2007-01-09. Archived from the original on 2008-09-05. Retrieved 2007-01-10. 

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