Washington’s “Civil Society”: CIA Financing of Chechen and Caucasus Regional Terrorists
Through a myriad of «civil society» organizations, the United States has been financing Chechen groups inside the autonomous republic, in Russia, and abroad. However, large portions of U.S. assistance money has «bled» over to support Chechen and other North Caucasus terrorist groups, which the U.S. State Department and U.S. intelligence agencies insist on referring to as «separatist guerrillas», «nationalists», «insurgents», and «rebels», instead of terrorists.
The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has continuously refused to refer to Chechen and Islamic Emirate terrorists operating in Russia as «terrorists». NSA analysis reports of signals intelligence (SIGINT) intercepts of Russian police, Federal Security Bureau (FSB), Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and Russian military communications, including radio, landline and cellular telephone, fax, text message, and fax, have, since 2003, referred to Chechen and North Caucasus terrorists as «guerrillas». Prior to that year, TOP SECRET Codeword internal NSA directives stated that Chechen terrorists were to be called «rebels».
Imagine the surprise if the United States began referring to «Al Qaeda» as Islamist guerrillas and rebels instead of terrorists. Yet, that is exactly how the NSA and CIA have referred to terrorists in Russia that have launched deadly attacks on airports, trains, subway stations, schools, and movie theaters throughout the Russian Federation.
U.S. «humanitarian» and «civil society» assistance to radical Islamist groups has, for the past three decades, filtered into the coffers of terrorist groups celebrated as «freedom fighters» in Washington. This was the case with U.S. support for the Afghan Mujaheddin through such groups as the Committee for a Free Afghanistan during the Islamist insurgency against the People’s Democratic Republic of Afghanistan in the 1980s and the Bosnia Defense Fund in the 1990s. In the case of Afghanistan, U.S. and Saudi money ended up in the hands of insurgents who would later form «Al Qaeda» and in Bosnia U.S. funds were used by Al Qaeda elements fighting against Yugoslavia and the Bosnian Serb Republic and, later, Al Qaeda elements supporting the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in its war against Serbia.
After revelations that an entity called the Caucasus Fund was used by the CIA-linked Jamestown Foundation of Washington, DC to sponsor seminars on the North Caucasus in Tbilisi from January to July 2012, Georgian authorities moved to shut down the fund. The reason given by Georgia was that the organization had «fulfilled its stated mission». Caucasus Fund and Jamestown Foundation events were attended by accused Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, a citizen of Kyrgyzstan born to parents from Dagestan. Jamestown had previously held a seminar in Tbilisi on «Hidden Nations» in the Caucasus, which, among other issues, promoted a «Greater Circassia» in the Caucasus.
U.S. «civil society» aid to groups fomenting terrorism, nationalism, separatism, and irredentism in the Caucasus is either direct through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) or covert through organizations funded by the Open Society Institute.
Much can be learned about U.S. backing for terrorist groups operating in the North Caucasus from information gleaned from the tranche of a quarter million leaked classified State Department cables.
A November 12, 2009 Confidential cable from the U.S. embassy in Moscow implies that the Carnegie Center NGO in Moscow be engaged to stymie Russia’s political and economic goals in the North Caucasus, particularly by taking advantage of 50 percent unemployment in Ingushetiya and 30 percent in Chechnya. Areas of high unemployment in the Muslim world have served as prime recruiting grounds for Wahhabist and Salafist radical clerics financed by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the emirates of Sharjah and Ras al Khaimah. Dagestan is cited in a June 8, 2009 embassy Moscow cable as Russia’s «weakest link» in the Caucasus region.
A Confidential September 16, 2009 cable from the U.S. embassy in Moscow indicates that Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon was urged to push the concept that the Ramzan Kadyrov government in Chechnya had «neither control nor stability». The NGO Caucasian Knot told Gordon at a meeting at the U.S. embassy that «foreign fighters» were joining a jihad in the region and that there was a «Hobson’s Choice» between «terrorists» and «corrupt local government». Apparently, the Obama administration decided, likely with the strong support of then deputy national security adviser and current CIA director John O. Brennan, a confirmed Saudiphile and a participant in the Hadj pilgrimage to Mecca, opted for the terrorists.
Other leaked Confidential cables provide in-depth details on U.S., British, and Norwegian support for exiled «Chechen-Ichkeria» leader Akhmed Zakayev, a close friend of the late exiled Russo-Israeli tycoon Boris Berezovsky. A July 29, 2009 Confidential cable from the U.S. embassy in Oslo quotes the head of the Russian section at the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, Odd Skagestad, as telling the American embassy there that Zakayev was the «legitimate representative of not just the Chechen exile community, but of Chechens in Chechnya», although he added that «Zakayev is on various INTERPOL lists» for suspected terrorist links. Skagestad stated the Norwegian PST, Norway’s FBI, ignored INTERPOL arrest warrants and permitted Zakayev to visit Norway from his place of exile in London.
The Oslo embassy also stated that the Norwegian head of the «Chechnya Peace Forum», Ivar Amundsen, was very «tight lipped» about his activities and that he was a close friend of the late renegade ex-Russian intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko. Zakayev has also received significant support from the governments of Denmark, Finland, and the Czech Republic, where there are active Chechen exile community. The Kavkaz Center, located in Helsinki, Finland, runs a pro-Caucasus Emirate website provides an important public relations service for Emirate leader Doku Umarov’s terrorist cells in southern Russia…
Ruslan Zaindi Tsarnaev, the Maryland-based uncle of suspected bombers Tamerlan and Dzokhar Dudayev, established the Congress of Chechen International Organizations, Incorporated, in Maryland on August 17, 1995 and in the District of Columbia on September 22, 1995. The Maryland entity’s status was forfeited and is not in good standing, likely because of delinquency in filing required fees and forms. The District of Columbia corporate entity was active for 17 years and seven months. Interestingly, the DC corporate status was revoked at around the time of the Boston Marathon bombings. Ruslan Tsarnaev, also known as Ruslan Tsarni, a graduate of Duke University Law School in North Carolina, worked for USAID in Kazakhstan and other countries in preparing them for vulture capitalist enterprises such as derivative financing and hedge funds.
The Maryland address for the Congress of Chechen International Organizations is listed in Maryland corporate records as 11114 Whisperwood Lane, Rockville, Maryland 20852, which is the address for Graham E. Fuller.
Fuller is a former Russian-speaking CIA official, including station chief in Kabul and vice-chair of the National Intelligence Council during the 1980s Iran-contra scandal, with which Fuller was heavily involved. Fuller has been active in events sponsored by the Jamestown Foundation, including keynoting an October 29, 2008 conference titled «Turkey & the Caucasus after Georgia».
Fuller’s daughter, Samantha Ankara Fuller, is a UK and US dual national who is listed as a director of Insource Energy, Ltd. of the UK, a firm owned by Carbon Trust, a not-for-profit company «with the mission to accelerate the move to a low carbon economy». According to the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority’s Financial Services Register, Samantha Ankara Fuller’s previous name was Mrs. Samantha Ankara Tsarnaev. She was the wife of Ruslan Tsarnaev and ex-aunt of the two accused Boston Marathon bombers. At the time of her marriage to Ruslan Tsarnaev, Fuller was an investment adviser to Dresdner Bank, J P Morgan Ltd. in the UK, J P Morgan Securities, and J P Morgan Chase Bank, according to the UK Financial Services Register.
Ruslan Tsarnaev is the vice president for business development and corporate secretary for Big Sky Energy Corporation, headquartered in Calgary, Canada with the headquarters of its Big Sky Group holding company located in Little Rock, Arkansas.
North Carolina court records indicate that the Tsarnaevs were married in North Carolina in 1995, the year Ruslan established the Congress of Chechen International Organizations in Washington, DC and Maryland, and divorced in 1999. The divorce was granted in Orange County, North Carolina.
It is noteworthy that the Washington DC corporate registration agent for the Congress of Chechen International Organizations is Prentice-Hall.
Prentice-Hall is owned by Pearson, the publishing and educational firm based in London that owns the Financial Times and fifty percent of The Economist Group. In 1986, the Economist Group bought the New York-based Business International Corporation (BIC), the CIA front company for which Barack Obama, Jr. served as an employee from 1983 to 1984, and folded it into the Economist Intelligence Unit.
The other uncle of the alleged Boston bombers, Alvi S. Tsaranev of Silver Spring, Maryland, not far from his brother Ruslan’s home, is apparently affiliated with another Chechen exile organization, the United States-Chechen Republic Alliance Inc., with an address of 8920 Walden Road, Silver Spring, Maryland 20901-3823. The address is also that of Alvi S. Tsarnaev. The registered officer for the organization is listed U.S. Internal Revenue Service filings as Lyoma Usmanov. The organization is registered as a charitable organization engaged in «International Economic Development».
In the book, Power and Purpose: U.S. Policy Toward Russia after the Cold War, by James M. Goldgeier and Michael McFaul, the latter the present activist and neo-conservative U.S. ambassador to Russia who has directly intervened in Russian politics to seek the ouster of President Vladimir Putin from power and stir up secessionist, religious, and political extremists throughout the Russian Federation. According to this book, former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski was Usmanov’s sponsor in the United States: «Brzezinski helped to establish and finance Chechen representation in the United States headed by Usmanov».
Another U.S.-based group that has championed the Chechen movement, regardless of the presence of terrorist entities, is the American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus (ACPC), formerly known as the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya. The ACPC was founded in 1999 by Freedom House, a Cold War right-wing group that has been financed by the National Endowment for Democracy and USAID-funded groups. The ACPC has defended the political asylum in the U.S. of former Chechen Foreign Minister Ilyas Akhmadov, accused of past terrorist links. The ACPC and Freedom House work with the Jamestown Foundation, founded in 1984 by CIA director William Casey, along with high-ranking intelligence defectors from the Soviet Union, Romania, Poland, and Czechoslovakia.
An October 17, 2008 Sensitive cable from the U.S. embassy in Moscow outlines the priorities for USAID and NGOs in their operations in the North Caucasus. The cable states that the North Caucasus Program was active in North Ossetia and Kabardino-Balkaria and was working with local NGOs. The cable states explicitly that USAID’s mission in the North Caucasus was to «advance critical U.S. interests». USAID-specified «hot zones» included Chechnya, Ingushetia, and the Elbruz region of Kabardino-Balkaria. The USAID North Caucasus Program focused on four key regions: Chechnya, Ingushetia, North Ossetia, and Dagestan, plus Krasnodarsky Krai, Adygea Republic, Karachay-Cherkessia, Stavropolsky Krai, and Kabardino-Balkarskaya Republic.
USAID’s network of NGOs in the region are identified in the cable. They are: International Rescue Committee (IRC), World Vision, Keystone, IREX, Children’s Fund of North Ossetia (CFNO), Russian Microfinance Center, UNICEF, ACDI/VOCA, Southern Regional Resource Center (SRAC), Center for Fiscal Policy (CFP), Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Institute for Urban Economics, «Faith, Hope and Love (FHL), International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), and the Fund for Sustainable Development (FSD). Many of these groups have close links with the CIA, particularly World Vision and IRC.
The interests who are linked to the Boston Marathon and terrorism in Russia run the gamut from NGOs, to CIA front companies and non-official cover (NOC) agents, foreign intelligence services, and Western energy companies.