They are falling like flies. Today it was Pierre Gemayel's turn.
Pierre Gemayel was the youngest Minister in the Lebanese cabinet and a member of the Phalangist Party (Maronite Christian, also called Kataeb). He was driving his car in a Christian area of Beyrut when another car rammed his. The murderer jumped out of it and fired a burst of bullets in Gemayel's vehicle. Pierre Gemayel died a bit later... He was the son of Amine Gemayel (who once was Lebanese President) and the nephew of Bashir Gemayel (assassinated in September 1982, a couple of weeks after having been elected President too). He was also and mostly, like all the previous Lebanese politicians and journalists assassinated in the last months, a vocal opponent to the Syrian domination in Lebanon. Last but not least, he was a relatively junior (translate by expendable...) in a government fighting for survival. The Lebanese constitution obliges a government to resign if at least a third of the Ministers resign. Six of them, all linked to the Hezbollah (a pawn in the Syrian game), resigned last week, hoping to force the government out to provoque new elections. The pro-Syrian parties had in mind to take advantage of the recent popularity of Hezbollah and Amal after the last war against Israel. To reach a third of the total Minister count, they made a cynical calculation: they need to kill three, or, by killing one, to freighten the others into resigning... The whole question will be wether this will give more popularity to the anti-Syrian parties.
After this small reminder about the horrors of Middle-East politics, I would like to come back to my last post. I mentionned the character of Mario Scaramella. First, I would feel extremely nervous in his situation. Most of the people who seem to have information about the murder of Anna Politkovskaya or at least the involvment of the Russian services in it are disappearing. Violently... Who is next on the list? But it is also interesting to know who is "il professore Scaramella". I had the curiosity to search around. Mario Scaramella was until recently the head of the ECPP. The Environmental Crime Prevention Program is presented by Scaramella as a UN agency, but it is in fact an intergovernmental program. It regroups about 25 countries, the most active ones being Italy, Angola and the Samoa. Though its seat is in Washington, most of its activities take place in Naples. Scaramella presents also himself as a professor of the University of San Jose California, as well as an (unidentified) Colombian university. Unfortunately, there is no mention of his name on any website belonging to the famous American university. So who is Mister Scaramella?
He appears a couple of times in the Italian press (Il Corriere della Serra, as well as the weekly newspaper Espresso). He was a consultant in the Mitrokhin Parliamentary Commission, intended to study the consequences of the publication of the Mitrokhin Archives in Italy. In this position, he claimed that he could locate the nuclear mines that a "November" class submarine would have dropped in 1970 in the Naples gulf. The sub in question, the K8, was actually lost in the Bay of Biscaye the same year, and 20 of its torpedoes were indeed never found. For this, he said that he had the help of Russian officers who were responsible for the 1970 operation. Nobody knows really why and in which quality he was a consultant for Sismi in this Commission. As far as I know, his public references are limited to the use of satellite imagery for the monitoring of environmental crimes.
It's in this other quality that Scaramella was involved in another curious affair. He led an investigation on the illegal dumping of waste by a camorra clan in a lake of the Herculanum area. After this succesfull investigation, he went with two police agents to a suspected villa. There, the trio was actually shot at by camorrists. After returning fire, they managed to arrest one and to discover an important weapon cache in the villa. This episode led itself to many questions about what a simple consultant was doing there, in the company of armed agents in civilian cloths...
I have no other information on Mario Scaramella, but I think it is a somewhat colorful character. And a strange contact for Alexander Litvinenko in his research for the murderers of Anna Politkovskaya...