Saturday, May 28, 2016

The darkness of the lowly truths: 9/11 and Russia – connecting the dots - with long quotes



The darkness of the lowly truths 

9/11 and Russia – connecting the dots

The darkness of the lowly truths is dear less to me
Than elevating lies…
A. Pushkin
Тьмы низких истин мне дороже
Нас возвышающий обман…
А. Пушкин
It’s now nearly 15 years since 9/11. The American people finally deserve to learn the full, unvarnished and ugly truth”, demands in its editorial The New York Post. 
"The KGB-FSB continuity does not extend merely to espionage; it also includes all of the traditional KGB activities: active measures, disinformation, propaganda, assassination — and terrorism... The main difference today is that the Kremlin strategists have determined that it will be far more effective — for many reasons — for them to run their terror operations as deniable assets under the banner of Islam. 
There is another major difference; while Putin and the Russian Politburo continue to use terrorism as a form of asymmetric warfare against us, our leaders insist on pretending it isn’t happening. In fact, they insist Putin & Co. are our trusted “allies” against terrorism. The Obama administration is continuing the course set by George W. Bush in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks." 
One can only lament the psychological and political powers of denial and self-deception. 
This article below is not about the "fingerpointing" and "warmongering": "The Russians did it!" This article is about what is on many people's minds: the Russians had the capability and the motivation to have it done and this hypothesis has to be examined and investigated very thoroughly and methodically. 
  • Igor Sergun served as a military attache in Tirana in 1998-99 and engineered a plan to capture the Pristina airport on 12 June 1999. The airport itself and the neighboring with Russia airspace were blocked, no reinforcements could come in and no one could get into the airport. Apparently, the precise purpose of this Russian maneuver, except for the mini-strategic bravado remains unknown or under question but the incident itself has to be mentioned. Sergun’s initiative in this affair was described gingerly, in very brief bits and pieces and many years later in the Russian press. It is not clear what impact, if any it had on his career in the military-diplomatic field, which was completed soon after, at some point in 1999, but the overall impact was quite positive for him (he got a special medal for his service) and his stellar performance and rise in the field of Russian military intelligence continued unabated. This was quite a difficult time for Russia: financial default of 1998, bitter emotional reaction to what they saw as a defeat in the Yugoslav wars, the threat of continuing instability in Chechnya and, on a larger scale a threat to the territorial integrity of the country itself, which appeared to be unraveling. Bin Laden’s and others’ sponsorship of “Islamic International Brigade” (read: Chechen rebels and terrorists, including foreigners) could be a significant factor in the emerging events. However something happened during Mr. Sergun’s tenure in Tirana that did change the course of these events. It is not known (just like practically everything else is not known about him, at least in the open press) if he played any role in those events but it would be surprising if he did not. One might even wonder if the case of “Albanian returnees” and other “returnees” were on the top of the list in his military-diplomatic mission and of his agenda. The mechanics of his hypothetical involvement, again, are not known. The end results however, soon became evident; the tactic of setting up his enemies against each other which he probably learned and used during the First Chechen war, did serve him well on a global stage too. The Second Chechen War was launched by the Russian Federation, starting 26 August 1999, in response to the Invasion of Dagestan by the Islamic International Brigade (IIB). On 1 October, Russian troops entered Chechnya.[21][22] The campaign ended the de facto independence of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and restored Russian federal control over the territory. The war attracted a large number of foreign fighters.” Not as large as it could be if Al Qaeda got really involved. The Russian success in the Second Chechen war led directly to Putin’s rule in Russia for the last 16 years. “After Yeltsin’s retirement, Acting President Vladimir Putin won the March 2000 election largely on the strength of his continuing war against the Chechens and Islamic “terrorists.” "“September 11 was an unexpected gift for Mr. Putin," Martagov says. "From then on, he started calling the fight against the Chechen separatist movement in the North Caucasus a ‘fight against international terrorism.’ If before he was perceived in the West as [someone using aggressive jargon] like ‘strangle, kill, wipe out,’ after the events of September 11 he managed to enter the league of those combating international terrorism.” Since 9/11, Russian officials have repeatedly made implicit connections between Chechen separatists and Al-Qaeda, blamed for the 9/11 attacks. Afghan and Arab fighters have routinely been reported as battling alongside separatist forces in Chechnya. Chechen militants, likewise, have allegedly been found among terror cells in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Central Asia, and, more recently, Iraq. One year after the 9/11 attacks, Chechen fighters were reported to be seeking refuge in Georgia's remote Pankisi Gorge."
Mark Galeotti relayed the opinion of one of the Sergun’s colleagues that “Sergun was acutely aware of what the Kremlin wanted to hear from him” (and I would add: “and of what the Kremlin expected from him”), and apparently he did not hesitate to please the boss (or “a father”, if you wish to wane psychoanalytic: reduce it to the symbolism of psychoanalytical concepts). This tactic is old, simple and even primitive: “Don’t worry, we will soften them up for you”. The source told him further that “it was exactly this skill of Sergun’s that was very helpful in restoring the GRU’s authority and strengthening of its positions after the protracted period of disfavor”. Sounds about right. He practically revived the GRU, brought it back from the dead. It is logical to assume that his successful operations (including the false flags of Islamic terrorism) as well as his Kremlin attuned ears were “very helpful” too in reviving the GRU’s former glory and fortunes and were good for his own professional advancement also. Galeotti comments that the Russian Intelligence suffers from the excessive politicization. To make a comparison, it is tempting to conclude that this feature becomes almost the universal trend and the problem for many intelligence agencies and probably was frequently so historically: it is rewarding and gratifying not just to serve but “to please a father”. The complete and robust, muscular independence of intelligence analysis, especially the strategic one, remains an elusive goal, despite all its obvious values and advantages. 
Sergun, apparently, played very complex and sophisticated games: with himself, with the political powers and with the world. Just like his “friend” Bandar, Sergun was “a man with chutzpah”. In Sergun’s case, he was a man with a lot of chutzpah, but also with the first class brains, ability to solve and manage combinations and complexities, cynical sense of humor and utter ruthlessness. I never met him, of course, and this is an entirely impressionistic and subjective assessment. 
Sergun and Bandar had a meeting on July 30, 2013 in Moscow. The precise subject of their conversation, revolving around Syria, just like the details of their acquaintanceship and common dealings, if any, are not known. 
 Were they “the good old friends?” For how long did they know each other? Did they conduct any “common bidniz’? Was 9/11 a part of it? Did the Saudis supply money and manpower and the Russians – brains and experience? Ask Bandar at the “28 Pages Trial”. He will surely tell you.
It is known however, that the next day, on August 1 2013, reportedly and based on the later leaks to the Russian press, Bandar “got thrown out” of the Putin’s office in Kremlin after threatening him with Chechen terrorism against the 2014 Olympics in Sochi if he does not agree to the concessions on Syria. “Bandar has had long ties to Jihadist terrorism. Bandar, on a pre-Sochi Olympics trip to Moscow, offered Russia a lucrative weapons deal if Russia ceased its support for Assad. Bandar also told Putin that if Russia rejected Saudi Arabia’s offer, Saudi-backed Islamist terrorists in the Caucasus region would be free to launch terrorist attacks on the Winter Olympics in Sochi. Putin reportedly ordered Bandar out of his office in the Kremlin.” So much or so little for Sergun’s “military-diplomatic preparation” and his acumen as a spymaster. 
Essentially, Bandar tried to blackmail Putin with Chechen terrorist threat to 2014 Olympics to extract concessions on Syria, claiming the American support of this position and also dangling the carrots of oil cooperation and weapons deals. If this is a reflection of general approach and attitude, then it is practiced not only with the opponents but with the “friends” or "pseudo-friends" also, only in much more subtle and perverted ways: “I’ll kiss you on the lips and plunge a knife into your back…” Another example of the attempted blackmail is the Saudi threat to sell $750 billion of US bonds in response to the investigation of their role in 9/11. 
Soon after the Moscow encounters of July 30 - August 1 2013, in January of 2014, it was claimed, in the Russian mouthpiece “Global Research”, in an article “Global Terrorism and Saudi Arabia: Bandar’s Terror Network” that “Bandar bin Sultan has transformed Saudi Arabia from an inward-looking, tribal based regime totally dependent on US military power for its survival, to a major regional center of a vast terror network, an active financial backer of rightwing military dictatorships (Egypt) and client regimes (Yemen) and military interventor in the Gulf region (Bahrain).  Bandar has financed and armed a vast array of clandestine terror operations, utilizing Islamic affiliates of Al Qaeda, the Saudi controlled Wahhabi sect as well as numerous other Sunni armed groups.  Bandar is a “pragmatic” terrorist operator:  repressing Al Qaeda adversaries in Saudi Arabia and financing Al Qaeda terrorists in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere. While Bandar was a long-term asset of the US intelligence services, he has, more recently, taken an ‘independent course’ where the regional interests of the despotic state diverge  from those of the US.” 
In his “swan song”, one of the last and very few public pronouncements, on the subject of the “globalisation of Islamic terrorism“, titled “Global Security: Radical Transformation or Creation of New Rules for the Game?”, Mr. Sergun shared his observations: “In general, under the slogan of struggle for ‘pure Islam’, international terrorism is becoming a form of transnational crime. In fact, it has become a lucrative business with capital turnover running into billions, with drug trafficking, hostage taking, smuggling weapons and precious metals.
In search of additional sources of funding, jihadists purposefully develop links with nationalist organizations, pirates and separatists.
Thus, we should expect that, in the short term, the level of terrorist threats in the world would remain high enough.” 
It is difficult to resist the feeling that he described his own achievements. It is an interesting (if uncomfortable for some) question to entertain, if Sergun doubled in the Middle East-European drug trade (which is not the unusual “branching out” for intelligence services) and (hush-hush, just in passing), had some hard core drug problems himself. “On February 1, [about a month after Sergun’s mysterious death on January 1 or 3, by some reports – murder in Lebanon – M.N.] a joint international law enforcement sting lead by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) dubbed “Project Cassandra” made a major drug bust of Hezbollah’s Business Affairs Component (BAC), a department of the Lebanon based terrorist organization responsible for drug trafficking and money laundering.
The operation targeted Hezbollah’s narcotics distribution from Europe to the United States. Over the past year the Drug Enforcement Agency has uncovered what it calls, “an intricate network of money couriers” who transport millions of dollars from drug sales from Europe to the Middle East.” Further exploration of this subject, related to some long standing claims and problems with the Russian Anti-narcotics agencyrecently disbanded, and its embattled former chief, Victor Ivanov, especially in the light of Litvinenko death inquiry, might be a related and relevant, but a separate issue. 
Deep duplicity and smiles covering hatred and disgust is the name of this old, sophisticated Darvinistic game in the Middle East, its “rules” are as old as the Middle East itself. Russia has a long historical experience of playing this game. It is in the Saudi’s interests to drive a a wedge between US and Russia, to get a larger piece of the Middle East power pie. It is in the Russia’s interests to drive a wedge between US and Saudis to diminish the US global political and economic power. 

The same is true about the Russian efforts with regard to the US and the Pakistanis
Recall the visit of ISI chief, Mahmood Ahmed and his meeting with the US officials exactly on 9/11/2001 and the emerged later (dis-, mis- or conveniently popped up?) information that he authorized $100,000 wire transfer to hijackers in August of 2001. 
"Another key figure on the money trail is Ahmed, also known as Shaykh Saiid.
(...)
Ahmed is suspected of being the paymaster who oversaw the financial end, sources said. Ahmed was named by Bush as a suspected associate of terrorists, and is the subject of a global manhunt.
Ahmed got as much as $15,000 from Atta and two other hijackers, Al-Shehhi and Waleed M. Alshehri, in the three days before the attacks. Officials in the United Arab Emirates have said they believe Ahmed left there Sept. 11 for Pakistan."

The FBI has said that the hijackers returned money back to the paymaster so they would not be seen as "thieves" before their martrydom. Seems plausible."
It does not seem very "plausible" to me. Suicidal terrorists-hijackers concerned about the "theft" of money wired to them? Did it ever occur to the FBI that the money transfers forth and back could serve as a system of communications between the hijackers and their coordinator and between themselves, with the exact amounts of transfers as the codes, with the Arabic numerals transliterated into Arabic alphabet letters?  

"Mahmud visit to United States
General Mahmud was known to visit the United States regularly during his time as the head of ISI consulting senior officials in the U.S. administration in the weeks before and after 9/11. In fact, he was with Republican Congressman Porter Goss and Democratic Senator Bob Graham in Washington, discussing Osama bin Laden over breakfast, when the attacks of September 11, 2001 happened.[5] He was immediately called into meetings with American officials where demands of Pakistani cooperation were made and he was told to convey this to the Pakistani government. Joe Biden recalled the meeting: "I met with him to deliver a message, that if he didn't, didn't stop supporting the Taliban we would take him out." [6]
Views on American War in Afghanistan and removal from ISI
General Mahmud Ahmed opposed the US invasion of Afghanistan.[citation needed] He was retired from his role in the ISI on 8 October 2001, just prior to the US invasion of Afghanistan. He was replaced by Lieutenant General Ehsan ul Haq as the Director General ISI. On October 9, 2001, The Times of India reported that "US authorities sought his removal after confirming the fact that $100,000 were wired to WTC hijacker Mohamed Atta from Pakistan by Ahmad Umar Sheikh at the insistence of Gen. Mahmud".[7]
He is now a member of Tablighi Jamaat and preaching the teaching of Islam."

Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a man who allegedly wired $100'000 to hijackers, at, allegedly Gen. Mahmud request, is the most mysterious figure, with multiple aliases, backgrounds and connections, surrounded by the complex and massive disinformation and multiple cover stories. "Master of Disguise: Saeed was ideal for this task because of his ability to trick authorities and move money undetected. Saeed used a variety of names for himself to sow confusion, and since it is difficult to spell Arabic words in the Roman alphabet, the problem was only compounded (this article uses Saeed Sheikh because it is closest to his born name; but Omar Sheikh and Sheikh Saeed are also used quite often). Consider the different names he has been referred to as in newspaper stories: Sheik Syed, Ahmad Umar Sheikh, Ahmed Omar Sayed Sheikh, Umar Sheikh, Sheik Omar Saeed, Omar Saiid Sheikh, Sheikh Omar, Sheikh Omar, Shaykh Saiid, etc... He had numerous credit cards, false passports, three social security numbers, three dates of birth, four addresses in the US, a bewildering trail of e-mail accounts and cell phone numbers, and so on. [Newsweek, 10/15/01, Rediff, 2/13/02] His ISI connections enabled him to get false passports for people. [Hindu, 5/13/02] He opened bank accounts using many of his name variations, and on occasion he would even use completely different names such as Chaudhry Bashir and Imtiaz Siddique. [The News, 2/13/02]" 
"Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, in his book In the Line of Fire, stated that Saeed was originally recruited by British intelligence agency, MI6, while studying at the London School of Economics. He alleges Saeed was sent to the Balkans by MI6 to engage in jihadi operations. Musharraf later says, "At some point, he probably became a rogue or double agent".[5]" 
"ISI Director Mahmood Ahmed, who is found to have had several telephone conversations with Saeed (see Summer 2000), is replaced (see October 7, 2001), and the story soon disappears from view (see September 24, 2001-December 26, 2002)."

Was it ever considered that Saeed, behind the covers of "multiple agent" affiliations, was first of all and most of all a Russian agent? He was in the ideal position of being the hijackers' coordinator and financier with the additional "fringe benefit" of the role as a driving and splitting wedge between the ISI and the US intelligence. 

Was the 9/11 connection with Dubai, a financial, intelligence and organised crime center for Russians and Chechens around the time of 9/11, explored sufficiently? 

"Lawyers for Dubai Islamic Bank  [which was named as a source of financing for bin Laden - M.N.] told a magistrate judge Friday that it likely wouldn’t be able to produce some information about its role in funding the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks because a fire in an offsite warehouse destroyed tens of thousands of records.
Victims and family members of those killed when attackers flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are pushing U.S. Magistrate Judge Frank Maas to force the bank to turn over paper transactional records..." 

The 9/11 Commission Report stated that "...the origin of the funds remains unknown... Most of the transfers originated from the Persian Gulf financial center of Dubai, UAE... To date, the U.S. government has not been able to determine the origin of the money used for the 9/11 attacks."

I wonder if the Saudi majority of 9/11 hijackers and also the presently emerging conflict between US and Saudis were and are a part of these Russian efforts at driving wedges also. 
With all this, the external (Russian) efforts at sowing the discord might be, probably, a relatively minor factor in comparison with the deep, intrinsic, historical problems of today's Middle East and Arab states which are at the heart of the divisions and the disagreements with the US. It is reasonable to ask a question if the Arab Gulf theocracies (just like their Persian neighbors across the pond) use international Islamic terrorism as a foil against the threats to their very existence.  The global security landscape had indeed been “radically transformed” and the “new rules for the game were created”. They are called the false flag of Islamic terrorism exploited by the Russian intelligence
The Cold war has never ended, it entered a new stage. While the West was lulled and elated by the false sense of victory, the Russians, led by the new generations of the KGB-FSB-SVR-GRU elites, ever more cynical, deceitful, determined and aggressive, free from any old ideological constraints and armed with the newly acquired powers of the "free markets" and rights to private property - the old, invincible, all encompassing powers of money; in alliance with the Russian and international organised crime, continue the fight. 

Let’s look at some of the evidence – admittedly circumstantial – that links Bandar to 9/11.
Of the alleged 19 hijackers, 15 were Saudis. CIA sources have confirmed testimony from Michael Springman, the former head of the US Visa Bureau in Jeddah, about the Saudi “muscle hijackers”: They were CIA agents, presumably with a background in Saudi intelligence, who came to America on CIA “snitch visas.” These were special visas that the CIA offered as a reward to Saudis who spied for the US. (Saudi Intelligence is so closely connected to the CIA that it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins.)” They might be very close but not the same. Given the high degree of resentment in Saudi society and, probably some of it in the SIA toward American culture and the ways of life, is it possible that those “muscle hijackers” were resented also as “American spies” or double agents (besides this, no country, whatever the closeness, likes to be spied on) and someone in SIA, possibly Turki or Bandar, wanted to get rid of them and sent them to the US on “snitch visas” under the pretense of preparation for some “work” in Chechnya, for example? Picture the Russian analog of 9/11 with the planes crashing into the Kremlin (if they could get there). Is it possible that the whole scheme was conceived in the heads of some GRU officers, thought out and planned very carefully, as their custom is (and this operation was certainly very carefully, professionally planned and executed) and then “sold” this idea to Zawahiri – bin Laden – Al Qaeda, playing on their (engineered and enhanced by the GRU with the “Albanian returnees” affair) resentments? And they in turn sold it, or to be precise, just “the Chechen part” of it, to Turki – Bandar – SIA? Everything, of course, is possible, especially in the intelligence world. In this case scenario, the hijackers, in fact, were the Russian agents, most (but not entirely) likely  without even knowing this themselves, who thought that they are Al Qaeda or SIA agents and simply blindly, without questioning, in a robotic fashion, followed their superiors instructions and orders, as their (terrorists’) custom is; be it Zawahiri, KSM, or someone else, be it directly, or most (but not entirely) likely  indirectly from the Russians. 
The point is not to identify the executors (or executioners) only, the point is to find the real masterminds, organizers and managers. To find the real culprits is the objective of the continuing 9/11 investigation. It would be most ridiculous and bizarre to admit the possibility that any of the US government agencies, be it CIA or FBI or some “demolition crews” had anything to do with this planning and organisation, even hypothetically, and these “versions” have to be discarded as the overt or covert disinformation and the attempts to provide or to enhance the “cover”, including the Putin’s claim of proof of the US government’s involvement in 9/11 “on satellite photos”, reported by none less than “Pravda”. There are some signs indicating that massive, deliberate, orchestrated, prepared in advance (by Russia?) disinformation campaign accompanied the 9/11 events from the beginning, just like, possibly, the pre-orchestrated “warning fatigue” induced by the various world intelligence agencies, friends and foes alike. 
"Moderate elements of the Taliban are reported to have given the USA advance warning of the attacks.[74] The BBC reports that Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, the Taliban’s Foreign Minister, sent the USA an advance warning of the attack following a tip-off he received from Tohir Yo‘ldosh, the leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Like al-Qaeda, the Taliban allowed the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan to place training camps in Afghanistan. Tohir Yo‘ldosh was reported to have been concerned that if al-Qaeda was not stopped prior to launching the attacks, the USA would retaliate against all of Afghanistan, which would have a negative effect on his movement’s efforts." 
"Russian President Vladimir Putin publicly stated that he ordered his intelligence agencies to alert the US in the summer of 2001 that suicide pilots were training for attacks on US targets. [Fox News, 5/17/02] The head of Russian intelligence also stated, “We had clearly warned them” on several occasions, but they “did not pay the necessary attention.” [Agence France-Presse, 9/16/01]The Russian newspaper Izvestia claimed that Russian intelligence agents knew the participants in the attacks, and: “More than that, Moscow warned Washington about preparation for these actions a couple of weeks before they happened.” [Izvestia, 9/12/02]"
How and what exactly did they know? As some astute observers noted, no warnings came from the Saudi IA, which "is very close to CIA" and from the ISI, which was called "the top" of the 10 best" world Intelligence  Agencies (at least for 2015). 
We have to recognize the criticisms of the 9/11 Commission Report and to take into account even those which dismiss it outright as “a piece of fiction“. The questions of “who really done it” and the main among them, regarding the attribution and responsibility, remain, essentially, unanswered. We have to try to answer them, not just for the sake of the truth, which is important in and by itself, but also for the sake of the correct understanding and analysis of these and other events, correct orientation, planning and prevention. 
  • The Albanian Connection: “The first of the “Albanian returnees”Ahmad Ibrahim al-Sayyid al-Naggar was arrested on July 2, 1998 as he stepped off the plane in Cairo, having been deported from Albania with the help of the CIA.” The others followed soon and “a massive criminal trial in an Egyptian military court  was held from February to April 1999.” This trial led to the great turmoil within the EIJ from which Zawahiri eventually emerged victorious and strengthened his leadership position. “Dissent among EIJ members to this change of direction and abandonment of the taking over Egypt as the group’s primary goal, was so strong that “in the end, Zawahiri pledged to resign if the members failed to endorse his actions. The organization was in such disarray because of arrests and defections, and so close to bankruptcy, that the only choice was to follow Zawahiri or abandon al-Jihad.” These arrests, trials and imprisonments were a turning point: Al Qaeda turned vehemently against the West and, specifically, against the US. Both bin Laden and Zawahiri issued their fatwas (“In Afghanistan Zawahiri wrote the 1998 fatwa for the “International Islamic Front for Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders,” calling for the killing of Americans and their allies, both civilian and military, which was signed by representatives of several jihadi organizations, including EIJ.[35]”) and the terror war started, with 1998 United States embassy bombings, then the 2000 millennium attack plots and USS Cole bombing on 12 of October 2000. In the case of the USS Cole, a “visit card” might have been left. “Former CIA intelligence officer Robert Finke said the blast appeared to be caused by explosives molded into a shaped charge against the hull of the boat.[3]” The English word”cole” sounds almost the same as the Russian word ” “кол”, which is a “shaped charge”. Someone somewhere might have a predilection for leaving the linguistic “visit cards”. Another example of this predilection might be "The plot is also known as Oplan Bojinka, Operation Bojinka, Project Bojinka, and Bojinga. FBI officials described Operation Bojinka as "48 hours of terror".[3] Several news media outlets, including Time Asia,[4] incorrectly stated that the word Bojinka means "loud bang" or "explosion" in the Serbo-Croatian language.[5] Bojinka is similar to the Russian word "боженька" (bozhinka,[6] sometimes transcribed as "божинька"), which is the diminutive form of the Russian word God, "бог"."
These terrorist acts were the precursors and lead directly to the 9/11/2001. “In late 1998 or early 1999, bin Laden summoned Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to Kandahar and gave approval for Mohammed to go forward with the plot.[14]” Russia, however, was apparently saved from what appeared at that time as the almost inevitable break-up. When Zawahiri assumed the command of Al Qaeda after bin Laden’ death, he continued to counsel ‘patience and insistence’ in Chechnya
  • Zawahiri, the “real brains” of al-Qaeda, was formed psychologically and ideologically by the Sadat’s assassination, likely organized by the KGB (or GRU). He had close ties with Egyptian military intelligence (heavily influenced by Russian intelligence prior to Sadat’s expulsion of the Russians and purges) officer, Abbud al-Zumar, who organized the Sadat’s assassination, and Zawahiri eventually became the Zumar’s successor in Egyptian Islamic movement. Zawahiri spent some time in the southern Russia (from December 1, 1996 until April 1997) and later, in Afghanistan, had contacts with the GRU officer who, apparently was later implicated in Yandarbiyev murder (or was a part of this plot, or was discovered accidentally as a visitor to the Russian embassy in the course of the investigation – it is not clear from the description of this episode) as was demonstrated by computerized analysis of the officer’s photograph. It is tempting to assume that the so called “Al Qaeda” (whose existence as well structured and defined paramilitary group or groups was and is questioned by many observers) was the creation of the Russian (military) intelligence from the beginning as their front organisation, after Zawahiri’s “priming” or conversion, his introduction to bin Laden and formation of Zawahiri – bin Laden group in 1998. Was Zawahiri directly instructed by the mentioned above GRU officer to proceed with this merger, according to the GRU plan? It is also possible that they tried to influence (“обработать”) bin Laden (as well as others) directly, in bin Laden case capitalizing on his assumed resentments about his older brother Salem’s mysterious death in the US. 
In this regard, what is the significance of "Osama bin Laden - Richard Chichakli - Victor Bout - Taliban - UAE - Dubai - Ariana airlines" connection? 


"In 1993, Richard Chichakli becomes friends and business partners with Bout. In 1995, Sharjah airport hires Chichakli to be the commercial manager of a new free trade zone now being heavily used by Bout. Chichakli, a Syrian by birth, has an interesting background. He claims to have been friends with Osama bin Laden while studying in Saudi Arabia in the early 1980s. He will later claim that he used to “sit around and eat sandwiches and sing songs” with bin Laden and his siblings, back when “Osama was OK.” In 1986, he moved to Texas, became a US citizen, and served in the US army until 1993, specializing in aviation, interrogation, and intelligence. He will later claim that he not only served in the US military, but also spent about 18 years working in intelligence (which, if true, would mean he was an intelligence agent when he was friends with bin Laden)." 
"According to the Los Angeles Times:[21] With the Taliban's blessing, Bin Laden effectively had hijacked Ariana, the national civilian airline of Afghanistan. For four years, according to former U.S. aides and exiled Afghan officials, Ariana's passenger and charter flights ferried Islamic militants, arms, cash and opium through the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan. Members of Bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist network were provided false Ariana identification that gave them free run of airports in the Middle East. According to people interviewed by the Los Angeles Times, Viktor Bout's companies helped in running the airline.[22]"
"The Taliban sources report that it was Bout who secretly flew Osama Bin Laden and his family out of Afghanistan prior to the massive U.S. bombing of Tora Bora in late 2001. Bout, a Bukharan Jew who was born in Tajikistan when it was a Soviet Socialist Republic, had been involved with the Bin Laden family in logistics for their construction activities, as well as with the Bin Ladens’ West African diamond business. 
Bout regularly flew personnel, equipment, and “security tools,” i.e., weapons into West Africa on behalf of Osama Bin Laden and his Saudi interlocutors as part of a joint Israeli-Saudi plan to break the Lebanese Shi’a-Hezbollah monopoly on the West African diamond trade. The plan involved the recruitment by Mossad agents of Bin Laden loyalists to displace Shi’a from the diamond trade in countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea. The Mossad used Bout to convince his old partner Osama Bin Laden to help in supplanting Shi’a influence over the West African diamond trade."
"Bout leaned forward. ''I woke up after Sept. 11 and found I was second only to Osama.'' He put his hand on the papers. The truth, he said, was much bigger than his personal story. ''My clients, the governments,'' he began. Then, ''I keep my mouth shut.''
Later he said, ''If I told you everything I'd get the red hole right here.'' He pointed to the middle of his forehead." 

Thus, “Al Qaeda” appears to be a KGB (as a generic term, more specifically and more likely – GRU) created myth, for the purposes of deceiving, misleading and distracting of their opponents. Practically, it came into the public discourse after the 9/11, having been born out of the success of this operation. It would also be logical to assume that it was not and is not the only front organisation created by the KGB (GRU) but is a part of their network and a part of their more general and broader strategy

The related issue are the roles of the players: it appears that bin Laden was an ideological banner, “the prophet”, and mostly “the cashier and banker”, while Zawahiri was the operational leader and manager, but, in fact, for all the GRU’s intents and purposes, a Russian agent. It is possible that bin Laden was not told or was not aware of the details, “nuts and bolts” of the operations, which is in line with his initial denials of complicity in 9/11 until 2004 (or 2008 in other sources). In a way, hypothetically, he might be more of a convenient scapegoat than a culprit. “He wouldn’t impress me as somebody who would be a leader for anything. Actually, at that time, I thought he couldn’t lead eight ducks across the street… the Western media has blown him out of proportion; definitely, definitely”, opined Bandar, who might have had his own reasons for this (mis?)characterization. 
Marc Sageman, a psychiatrist and former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officer, said that al-Qaeda is now just a “loose label for a movement that seems to target the west. There is no umbrella organisation. We like to create a mythical entity called [al-Qaeda] in our minds, but that is not the reality we are dealing with.”[47]
The modern al-Qaeda organization is the combination of bin Laden’s financial resources with al-Zawahiri’s ideological and operational leadership.
  • “The Egyptians”: Zawahiri, Mohammed Atef Al-Masri (former Egyptian Air Force serviceman and police officer), Saif al-Adel (former Egyptian military colonel, “one of the masterminds of the Sadat assassination… He joined the Egyptian Military around 1976 and became a Colonel in the Special Forces as an Explosives expert, possibly being trained in the Soviet Union.”) and others, associated with Egyptian Islamic Jihad, appeared to play a disproportionally large role in Al Qaeda. “It was also at this time [In the mid-1980s? – M.N.] that some saw “the Egyptians” of the EIJ begin to exert an influence on Osama bin Laden, who at the time was known as a wealthy and well-connected fundraiser for the jihad in Afghanistan. Egyptian filmmaker Essam Deraz, “bin Laden’s first biographer,” met bin Laden in the “Lion’s Den” training camp in Afghanistan and complained that the Egyptians “formed a barrier” around bin Laden and “whenever he tried to speak confidentially to bin Laden, the Egyptians would surround the Saudi and drag him into another room”. “In June 2001 [note the timing! – M.N.], al-Qaeda and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (which had been associated with each other for many years) merged into “Qaeda al-Jihad“.[5] However, the UN states that there was a split in the organization when the merger was announced.[3]… In June 2001, al-Qaeda and the Egyptian Islamic Jihad merged into an entity formally called jamaa’at Qa’idat al-Jihad,[5] with the leadership of the EIJ having “the majority” – six of nine seats – of al-Qaeda’s ruling council (shura).”[38][39] However, Sayyed Imam Al-Sharif has claimed that only 9 people from the organization, including Zawahiri, actually joined al-Qaeda.[40] Consequently, it is often considered synonymous with al-Qaeda (for example, by the US Treasury Department),[41] although some refer to it as a separate organization with al-Zawahiri as its leader and global jihad’s main ideologist.[42]” This particular role and influence of EIJ and its operatives might indicate that the roots of Al Qaeda can be traced to the Sadat assassination, circumstances around it and its participants, in sum, essentially to the Russian intelligence. It might not be dissimilar to the present days structural roots of ISIS: disaffected and unemployed former Iraqi military and intelligence officers who also had close ties with the Russians. It is worthwhile mentioning, as if in passing, that Mohamed Atta was an Egyptian. Did someone somewhere like that movie so much?
  • The Bosnian connection: Zawahiri, just like KSM and many other jihadists, had a Bosnian passport and was able to travel there freely, where the contacts with Russians might have occurred. “If it had not been for the Dayton Peace Accords, 9/11 would probably have been planned in Bosnia, not in Afghanistan,” said Richard Holbrooke. We do not really know for sure where the 9/11 was planned, but it looks like it did have deep operational roots in the murky and chaotic undercurrents of the Bosnian war. “The Bosnian connections to the greatest mass murder in American history are just as direct. Khalid Sheikh Muhammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, fought in the Bosnian jihad and was given Bosnian citizenship. Two other 9/11 bombers, Khalid al Mindhar and Nawaf al Hamzi, also fought in Izetbegović’s army.[22] The British journalist Eve-Anne Prentice of The Guardian and German journalist Renate Flottau of Der Spiegel reported meeting Osama Bin Laden in Izetbegović’s office during the war,[23] and Bin Laden was even given a Bosnian passport by Izetbegović’s foreign ministry.[24] When asked to respond to allegations that he had met bin-Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, Izetbegović’ evasively replied “During and after the war I met with thousands of people coming from the Islamic world but I can remember the faces and names of only a few.”[25] The Bosnian politician Sejfudin Tokić has claimed that Council of Europe officials had told him of the existence of a photograph showing Izetbegović with bin-Laden.[26]”
  • The Hamburg cell hijackers planned to go to Chechnya but instead, for some reasons (it is doubtful that it was just a chance encounter) went to Afghanistan to meet with Al Qaeda people. “As late as 1999, the four core members of the group had intended to wage jihad in Chechnya, where Islamic jihadists were then and are now rebelling against the parent country of Russia. The 9/11 Commission Report notes in Chapter 5 that “according to bin al-Shibh [who is now in U.S. custody], a chance meeting on a train in Germany caused the group to travel to Afghanistan instead. An individual named Khalid al Masri (or Khalid al-Masri) approached bin al-Shibh and Shehhi (because they were Arabs with beards, bin al-Shibh thinks) and struck up a conversation about jihad in Chechnya. When they later called Masri and expressed interest in going to Chechnya, he told them to contact Abu Musab in Duisburg, Germany. Abu Musab turned out to be Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a significant al-Qaeda operative who, even then, was well known to U.S. and German intelligence, though neither government apparently knew he was operating in Germany in late 1999.”
    Bin al-Shibh, Shehhi and Jarrah visited Slahi in Duisburg, where he convinced them that it would be best to train in Afghanistan first, because further experience would be useful, and anyway it was difficult at that time to get into Chechnya. Slahi instructed them to travel to Karachi, Pakistan, then to the Taliban office in Quetta, Pakistan, where they were to contact a man named Umar al Masri. Atta and Jarrah left Hamburg during the last week of November, 1999. Shehhi left by himself around the same time; bin al-Shibh followed two weeks later.
    “Umar al Masri” turned out to be a nonexistent person. The name was a code word that instructed members of the Taliban office to escort the men to Kandahar, Afghanistan, where they were convinced to join the al-Qaeda network and wage jihad against America. They met with Osama bin Laden himself and swore their loyalty to him. Mohamed Atta was chosen by Bin Laden as the leader of the group that would attack America; Atta would contact Bin Laden several more times before the attacks. The men then returned to Germany to enroll in flight training school, and later moved on to flight training schools in the United States at the recommendation of one of their instructors based in Germany.
    The members of the Hamburg Cell were a boon to the 9/11 plot, which Khalid Shaikh Mohammed had proposed to Bin Laden in 1996. The Hamburg students were fluent in English, educated, accustomed to the Western lifestyle, radically Islamic, and capable of learning to pilot aircraft. “Bin Laden and Mohammed Atef wasted no time in assigning the Hamburg group to the most ambitious operation yet planned by al-Qaeda,” the 9/11 Commission Report says.” It might be useful to keep in mind that Hamburg apparently is an intelligence services hub and a hotbed of Russian military intelligence activities. D. Kovtun, a Russian military intelligence officer, one of the accused in the murder of A. Litvinenko, lived and operated in Hamburg. It is conceivable that Hamburg cell hijackers were vetted, monitored and then selected there by their invisible GRU handlers. “The core group behind the 9/11 attacks was Al Qaeda’s so-called “Hamburg cell,” led by Bosnian jihad veteran Mohammed Haydar Zammar, reportedly the man who recruited Mohammed Atta, the ringleader of the 9/11 attacks.[27] Zammar has been variously described as the “patron” of the Hamburg Cell, the man “under whose tutelage” it operated,[28] and “a sort of surrogate father to the pilots surrounding Mohammed Atta.”[29] Ramzi Bin al-Shibh, “coordinator” of the 9/11 attacks, was seen in Bosnia in the summer of 1996.[30] Other 9/11 participants have been reported to have Bosnian connections as well.[31]” Zammar, a German citizen born in Syria (for a change from Saudis, Egyptians and Yemenis; which might be a significant one, due to the close, established long ago Russia – Syria relationship) was a recruiter for the Al Qaeda (and the GRU?), who lived in Boston at the time of September 11 attacks, was extradited to Syria from Morocco (but not to the US or Germany, despite the US assistance in capturing him in late 2001), reportedly spent some time in the Syrian prison, “was released as part of a prisoner exchange between the Islamist Syrian rebel group Ahrar al-Sham and the Syrian Government in September 2013” and within days joined ISIS in Raqqa. 
  • There are some indications that someone in FBI hierarchy might have stymied the efforts to investigate the plot prior to 9/11, pointing to the possibility of more moles. "Robert G. Wright, Jr. is an FBI agent who has criticized the FBI’s counterterrorist activities in the 1990s, when he worked in the Chicago division on terrorists with links to the Middle East… 
    Three months before 9/11 he wrote the following:
    “Knowing what I know, I can confidently say that until the investigative responsibilities for terrorism are removed from the FBI, I will not feel safe. The FBI has proven for the past decade it cannot identify and prevent acts of terrorism against the United States and it’s [sic] citizens at home and abroad. Even worse, there is virtually no effort on the part of the FBI’s international terrorism unit to neutralize known and suspected terrorists residing within the United States.”[1][3]
    After his revelations circa 2002–2003 he was demoted.[1][4]"
This, below, is the summary of the possible 9/11 - Russia connections, in order of significance, as I see it. Circumstantial they might be, irrelevant they are not. These are the disparate dots that have to be connected themselves in order to provide some coherent explanation or the attempt at it. 

The impact of 9/11 on America as a culture and society was enormous, and the psychological impact probably more significant than any other. The "lowly and ugly truths" have to come out. 
Without it, it will be no healing and no closure

After this monumental counterintelligence failure, caused by the self-induced ("Oedipal"?blindness, FBI has to come up with the new 9/11 follow-up report, summarizing the recent findings and the continuing investigations that are fit to be disclosed. 

Michael Novakhov
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