Absolutely Must Read! Part 3: Former KGB Colonel Victor Kalashnikov on the Dangers of Putin Worship, Russia’s Anti-Western Alliance With Islam, and the Kremlin’s Grand Strategy
By J.R. Nyquist
The following paragraphs serve as “background support” for Victor Kalashnikov’s thesis. Many readers of Part 2 may not have understood Victor Kalashnikov’s statement about the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2001. So it is time to review and explain. It is necessary to remind readers of the ABM Treaty and of the military strategy of the old Soviet Union which remains the policy of Russia today.
At the end of Part 2, in the course of our discussion, former KGB officer Kalashnikov offered the following observation. “What happened on 9/11 was just an omen of things to come,” he warned. “At the time of 9/11 America’s dispute with Russia had reached its peak. George Bush was going to leave the ABM Treaty.”
The Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty restricted the number and placement of units for intercepting ICMBs (intercontinental ballistic missiles) and SLBMs (submarine launched ballistic missiles). Since Russian military power largely depends on ICBMs and SLBMs, the mass deployment of ABMs would effectively reduce Russia to a third rate military power. Kalashnikov points to Russian President Putin’s warning about Bush’s announced intention to exit from the ABM Treaty by the end of 2001. At the time Putin warned, “If you do this you will not be able to defend against new threats.” According to Kalashnikov, “You had been warned that new security challenges will emerge. But you did not listen in the summer of 2001.”
Kalashnikov’s strategic interpretation of 9/11begs a subtle question. There is no reason a nuclear attack requires an ICBM or an SLBM. A nuclear weapon might be delivered by a terrorist rather than a missile. The United States has fairly open borders. Drugs and people are regularly smuggled across that border. And readers will note that as early as 1999 the name of Osama bin Laden was associated with nuclear terrorism (since terrorism expert Josef Bodansky’s claim that al Qaeda had as many as twenty nuclear weapons “stolen” from the former Soviet Union).
Kalashnikov’s suggestion of a Russian connection to 9/11 is far from whimsical. And he is not the first former KGB official to see a connection. In the summer of 2005 a former KGB/FSB officer named Alexander Litvinenko said he had firsthand knowledge of a connection between Russian intelligence and al Qaeda. In fact, he identified the second highest official in al Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, as a “longtime agent of Moscow.” In July 2005 a Polish journalist sent me the following translation of Litvinenko’s interview with fakt.pl, which took place after a terrorist attack on the London subway.
FAKT: Alexander, who, in your opinion, is the originator of this [London] terrorist attack?
A. Litvinenko: You know, I have spoken about it earlier and I shall say now, that I know only one organization that has made terrorism the main tool of solving political problems. It is the Russian special services. The KGB was engaged in terrorism for many years, and mass terrorism. At the special department of the KGB they trained terrorists from practically every country in the world. These courses lasted, as a rule, for a half-year. Specially trained and prepared agents of the KGB organized murders and explosions, including explosions of tankers, the hijacking of passenger airliners, strikes on diplomatic, state and commercial organizations worldwide.
FAKT: Could you name … some of the terrorists prepared at the “special courses” of the KGB-FSB?
A. Litvinenko: The bloodiest terrorists in the world were or are agents of the KGB-FSB. These are well-known, like Carlos Ilyich Ramiros, nicknamed “the Jackal,” the late Yassir Arafat, Saddam Hussein, Adjalan (he is condemned in Turkey), Wadi Haddad, the head of the service of external operations of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Hauyi, the head of the communist party of Lebanon, Mr. Papaionnu from the Cyprus, Sean Garland from Ireland and many others. All of them were trained by the KGB, received money from there, weapons and explosives, counterfeit documents and communication equipment for carrying out of acts of terrorism worldwide.
FAKT: Some may object that each of the listed figures, and the forces supporting them, were engaged in solving their own political problems.
A. Litvinenko: Certainly, all these figures and movements operated under their own slogans; however, none of them especially hid their “intimate” … relationship with the Kremlin and Lubyanka. There is a simple question: whether the Russian special services would train and finance people and groups that were not supervised by Lubyanka and did not serve the interests of the Kremlin? You understand perfectly, they would not. Each act of terrorism made by these people was carried out as an assignment and under the rigid control of the KGB of the USSR. And [the terrorism] … is not casual after the disintegration of the USSR and [reform of the KGB]….
FAKT: Every terrorist you have named is from ‘the old staff’ of the KGB. Could you name someone from recent history?
A. Litvinenko: Certainly, here it is. The number two person in the terrorist organization al Qaeda, who they are crediting with the series of explosions in London, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is an old agent of the FSB. Being sentenced to death in Egypt for terrorism and hunted by Interpol, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in 1998, was in the territory of Dagestan, where for half a year he received special training at one of the educational bases of the FSB. After this training he was transferred to Afghanistan, where he had never been before and where, following the recommendation of his Lubyanka chiefs, he at once … penetrated the milieu of bin Laden and soon became his assistant in al Qaeda.
FAKT: Could you hint at least, where this data comes from?
A. Litvinenko: I can. During my service in one of the most secret departments of the FSB, top officials from the UFSB of Dagestan, who had directly worked with Ayman al-Zawahiri … were called to Moscow and received high posts.
FAKT: What can you say concerning the acts of terrorism in London ? From what region and with what forces was this strike directed?
A. Litvinenko: In reply to this question I can definitely say that the center of global terrorism is not in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan or the Chechen Republic. The terrorist infection is spread worldwide from Lubyanka Square and the Kremlin cabinet. And until the Russian special services are outlawed, dispersed and condemned, the terrorism will never stop: bombs will blow up and blood will be shed. Terrorism has no expiration date…. I would like to repeat, that all the terrorists, whom I have named, were supported by the heads of the Soviet and Russian special services – Yuri Andropov, Vladimir Putin, Nikolay Patrushev and others. These people are the main terrorists…. And until we condemn them … global terrorism will continue.
Such was the fakt.pl interview with former FSB-KGB officer Litvinenko, which corroborates Kalashnikov’s suggestion above, and helps to explain why Litvinenko was fatally poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 in 2006, and why Kalashnikov himself has suffered from mercury poisoning. (Please note: Kalashnikov’s wife also suffers from mercury poisoning, and the mix of symptoms suffered by the Kalashnikovs suggests the possibility of other, unidentified elements in their poisoning. In fact, if there are any medical doctors reading this who would take an interest in their case, please write to me at email@example.com.)
Strategists in the West have a blind spot, especially as Russian disinformation has been successful in diverting investigators and political analysts from investigating Litvinenko’s claims. After Litvinenko’s assassination by Kremlin agents in 2006, the major news media produced a series of documentaries about his background. None of these mentioned Litvinenko’s statements about the FSB connection to al Qaeda. None dared restate Litvinenko’s accusation that Putin was the chief terrorist, or that the FSB was the main headquarters of international terrorism.
Why was the media unwilling to discuss Litvinenko’s testimony (and the possible reason for his assassination)? The reason is instinctively grasped by anyone who has worked as a journalist writing about Russia. If your writing threatens to expose Russian machinations, your career is going to suffer. A journalist who doesn’t know this (is a journalist) who doesn’t know his journalistic ABCs. If you write about Russia, be careful not to touch on certain themes.
Another former KGB officer I recently interviewed was Konstantin Preobrazhensky, who wrote an intriguing article titled “Russia and Islam are not Separate: Why Russia backs Al-Qaeda.” According to Preobrazhensky:
Mohammed Atta, the pilot of the first plane to crash into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, had met with a senior Iraq intelligence agent in Prague, Czech Republic, five months before the attack. But Iraqi intelligence was just a client of Russia’s intelligence service. It brings a new understanding to the fact that President Putin was the first foreign President to call President Bush on 9/11. One my conjecture that he knew in advance what was to happen.
In his article, Preobrazhensky credits Litvinenko’s testimony that Ayman al-Zawahiri and other al Qaeda terrorists were trained in Russia. (There is also Czech testimony that Atta was trained in Communist Czechoslovakia during the 1980s). Even more important, this training took place in secret and has been hidden from the world. Every journalistic attempt to expose this secret has resulted in no reaction, no further investigation from the journalistic community. We are left to suppose that Litvinenko’s claim and Preobrazhensky’s support for that claim are owing to the malice of two Russian malcontents. But this is far from the truth. The former head of Communist Romania’s foreign intelligence service, Ion Mihai Pacepa, made the following statement which was quoted inFrontPage Magazine on 1 March 2004:
September 11, 2001 was directly rooted in a joint Soviet/Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) operation conceived in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day Arab-Israeli War. The object of this joint operation was to repair Moscow’s prestige by turning the Islamic world against Israel and by creating a rabid and violent hatred for its main supporter, the United States. The strategy was to portray the US, this land of freedom, as a Nazi-style “imperial-Zionist country” financed by Jewish money and run by a rapacious “Council of the Elders of Zion” (the Kremlin’s epithet for the US Congress), the aim of which was allegedly to transform the rest of the world into a Jewish fiefdom. In other words, the heart of the joint plan was to convert the historical Arab and Islamic hatred of the Jews into a new hatred of the United States. We threw many millions of dollars at this gigantic task, which involved whole armies of intelligence officers.
Like other former Soviet bloc insiders, Kalashnikov emphasizes the connection between terrorism as a new form of warfare and Moscow’s overall strategy. “Lenin created a new kind of terror policy,” Kalashnikov explained. “Terror was the starting point for Bolshevik state strategy. Organized terror is the cornerstone of Soviet statehood.” Kalashnikov further stated, “Moscow wants the ABM Treaty back, otherwise you will face more trouble.”
Moscow’s message to Bush was misunderstood, however. For it was Bush’s curse to have, at his beck and call, a hapless and intellectually compromised set of advisors. With regard to terrorism, the American intelligence community has been clueless. The analysis of the CIA suffers from a general incompetence because American intelligence analysts are educated in graduate schools where a realistic appraisal of the Russian threat is generally frowned upon, and where neo-Marxism enjoys a veto over careers and advancements. American analysts are therefore indoctrinated to dismiss any notion of a Soviet policy of terrorist conspiracy, or to dismiss any claim of Russian involvement in the terrorist phenomenon of today. Just as journalists are trained to avoid a certain species of anti-Russian statements, so are the analysts of the CIA and Pentagon. In brief, there has been a tendency to willfully misinterpret Russian strategy, and this tendency has a common root in American academic culture.
With regard to American academic expertise, Kalashnikov told me, “I have a friend in America, a Russian journalist, Vladimir Baranov. And he is reporting on the Tsarnaev brothers [i.e., Boston Marathon bombers]. He mentioned this American anti-terror expert … who said the linkages between the Chechens and al Qaeda are unimportant. But this is total nonsense! Chechnya is under Russian military intelligence!”
Kalashnikov is disgusted by America’s analysts. “What I would suggest,” he said, “is that your anti-terror expert read Vladimir Lenin who provided the textbook for terrorists: How they should set up combat units; who is to be killed first and second; what strategy and tactics to adopt. Lenin developed a complete theory for using terrorism to take power and govern a huge state. That was the beginning of Soviet strategy, statehood and government, as well as international policy.”
Kalashnikov further warned against expert opinion. “Too much academic wording comes about when we use words like ‘socialism’ and ‘communism.’ Lenin was a practical politician who discovered new methods for power. He discovered that terror was the most effective tool in politics.”
And so the idea that Russia or the KGB could have no connection with 9/11 is absurd for someone who knows the role that terrorism plays in Soviet strategy.
Watch for Part 4 of this series to learn what Victor Kalashnikov has to say.