Washington DC, September 14 — In the wake of the terrorist atrocity at a school in Beslan, North Ossetia, in the Russian Federation, Russian President Vladimir Putin has made remarks to the western press which expose the key role of the US and British governments in backing Chechen terrorism. Whatever Putin’s previous role in events regarding Chechnya, his current political posture is one which sharply undercuts the legitimacy of the supposed Anglo-American “war on terror,” and which points up the hypocrisy of the Bush regime’s pledge that it will make no distinction between the terrorists and those who harbor them — since Washington and London are currently harboring Chechens implicated in terrorism. All in all, Putin’s response to Chechen events has, with the third anniversary of 9/11, brought the collapse of the official 9/11 myth measurably closer. The hypocritical terror demagogy of Bush and Blair has now been undercut by the head of state of another permanent member of the UN Security Council.
On Monday September 6, Putin spoke for three and one half hours with a group of some 30 western correspondents and Russia experts at his dacha near Novo Ogarevo outside Moscow. There is no official transcript so far, but accounts have been published in The Guardian, The Independent, and Le Monde. The Washington Post waited until Friday, September 10 to publish an article, but left out the most significant remarks. There are now signs that the Anglo-American press is beginning a new campaign against Putin as a dictator, stressing the obvious in order to silence his attacks on the US-UK sponsorship of Chechen terror.
Putin, a KGB veteran who knows whereof he speaks, told the gathering that the school massacre showed that “certain western circles would like to weaken Russia, just as the Romans wanted to destroy Carthage.” He thus suggested that the US and UK, not content with having bested Russia in the Cold War, now wanted to proceed to the dismemberment and total destruction of Russia – a Carthaginian peace like the one the Romans finally imposed at the end of the Punic Wars in 146 BC, when they poured salt into the land of Carthage so nothing would ever grow there again. (Le Monde, September 8, 2004)
“There is no link between Russian policy in Chechnya and the hostage-taking in Beslan,” said Putin, meaning that the terrorists were using the Chechen situation as a pretext to attack Russia. According to a paraphrase in Le Monde: “The aim of that international terrorism, supported more or less openly by foreign states, whose names the Russian president didn’t want to name, is to weaken Russia from the inside, by criminalizing its economy, by provoking its disintegration through propagating separatism in the Caucasus and the transformation of the region into a staging ground for actions directed against the Russian Federation.”
“Mr. Putin,” continues Le Monde, “reiterated the accusation he had launched in a veiled form against western countries which appear to use double-talk. On the one side, their leaders assure the Russian President of their solidarity in the fight against terrorism. On the other hand, the intelligence services and the military – ‘who have not abandoned their Cold War prejudices,’ in Putin’s words — entertain contacts with those the international press calls the ‘rebels.’ ‘Why are those who emulate Bin Laden called terrorists and the people who kill children, rebels? Where is the logic?’ asked Vladimir Putin, and then gave the answer: ‘Because certain political circles in the West want to weaken Russia just like the Romans wanted to destroy Carthage.’ ‘But, continued Putin, “we will not allow this scenario to come to pass.’”
Le Monde continues: “This is, according to Putin a bad calculation, because Russia is a factor of stability. By weakening it, the Cold War nostalgics are clearly acting against the interests of their own country.” In Putin’s words: “We are the sincere champions of this cooperation against terrorism, we are open and loyal partners. But if foreign services have contacts with the ‘rebels,’ they cannot be treated as reliable allies, as Russia is for them.” (Le Monde, September 8, 2004)
In Guardian correspondent Jonathan Steele’s account of the meeting with Putin, this is the Russian President’s response to the US and UK on the question of negotiating with the Chechen guerrillas of Aslan Maskhadov: “Why don’t you meet Osama bin Laden, invite him to Brussels or to the White House and engage in talks, ask him what he wants and give it to him so he leaves you in peace? You find it possible to set some limitations in your dealings with these bastards, so why should we talk to people who are child-killers?” (London Guardian, September 7, 2004)
As Michel Chossudovsky pointed out some years back, the Chechen leaders Basayev and Al Khattab were trained in the CIA-run camps for Islamic fighters in Afghanistan. In 1999, Putin rode to power on a backlash against Chechen terror which he had in all probability staged himself – thus judoing a long-standing US-UK capability. The key point is that the Russian press is now openly denouncing London and Washington as centers for terrorist control. This can blow the lid off the 9-11 hoax.
On Saturday, September 4, Putin had delivered a national television address to the Russian people on the Beslan tragedy, which had left more than 300 dead, over half of them children. The main thrust was that terrorism constitutes international proxy warfare against Russia. Among other things Putin said: “In general, we need to admit that we did not fully understand the complexity and the dangers of the processes at work in our own country and in the world. In any case, we proved unable to react adequately. We showed ourselves to be weak, and the weak get beaten.”
“Some people would like to tear from us a tasty morsel. Others are helping them. They are helping, reasoning that Russia still remains one of the world’s major nuclear powers, and as such still represents a threat to them. And so they reason that this threat should be removed. Terrorism, of course, is just an instrument to achieve these gains.”
“What we are dealing with, are not isolated acts intended to frighten us, not isolated terrorist attacks. What we are facing is direct intervention of international terror directed against Russia. This is a total, cruel and full-scale war that again and again is taking the lives of our fellow citizens.” (Kremlin.ru, September 6, 2004)
Around the time of 9/11, Putin had pointed to open recruitment of Chechen terrorists going on in London, telling a German interviewer: “In London, there is a recruitment station for people wanting to join combat in Chechnya. Today — not officially, but effectively in the open — they are talking there about recruiting volunteers to go to Afghanistan.” (Focus — German weekly newsmagazine, September 2001) In addition, it is generally known in well-informed European circles that the leaders of the Chechen rebels were trained by the CIA, and that the Chechens were backed by US-sponsored anti-Russian fighters from Afghanistan. In recent months, US-UK backed Chechens have destroyed two Russian airliners and attacked a Moscow subway station, in addition to the school atrocity.
Some aspects of Putin’s thinking were further explained by a press interview given by Aslambek Aslakhanov, the Chechen politician who is one of Putin’s official advisors. A dispatch from RIA Novosti reported Aslakhanov’s comments as follows: “The terrorists who seized the school in Beslan, North Ossetia, took their orders from abroad. ‘They were talking with people not from Russia, but from abroad. They were being directed,’ said Aslambek Aslakhanov, advisor to the President of the Russian Federation. ‘It is the desire of our “friends” – in quotation marks — who have probably for more than a decade been carrying out enormous, titanic work, aimed at dismembering Russia. These people have worked very hard, and the fact that the financing comes from there and that they are the puppet masters, is also clear.” Aslakhanov, who was named by the terrorists as one of the people they were going to hold talks with, also told RIA Novosti that the bid for such “talks” was completely phony. He said that the hostage-takers were not Chechens. When he talked to them, by phone, in Chechen, they demanded that he talk Russian, and the ones he spoke with had the accents of other North Caucasus ethnic groups. (RIA Novosti, September 6, 2004)
On September 7, RIA Novosti reported on the demand of the Russian Foreign Ministry that two leading Chechen figures be extradited from London and Washington to stand trial in Russia. A statement from the Russia Foreign Ministry’s Department of Information and Press indicated that Russia will put the United States and Britain on the spot about extraditing two top Chechen separatist officials, who have been given asylum in Washington and London, respectively. They are Akhmad Zakayev, known as a “special representative” of Aslan Maskhadov (currently enjoying asylum in London), and Ilyas Akhmadov, the “Foreign Minister” of the unrecognized “Chechen Republic-Ichkeria” (now residing in the USA). (RIA Novosti, September 7, 2004)
“SCHOOL SEIZURE WAS PLANNED IN WASHINGTON AND LONDON”
This was the headline of an even more explicit unsigned commentary by the Russian news agency KMNews.ru. This analysis blames the Beslan school massacre squarely on the U.S. and British intelligence agencies. The point of departure here is that Shamil Basayev, the brutal Chechen field commander, has been linked to the attack (something that Putin advisor Aslambek Aslakhanov yesterday said was known to the Russian FSB, successor of the KGB). The article highlights the recent rapprochement of London and Washington with key representatives of Aslan Maskhadov: Britain’s giving asylum to Akhmad Zakayev (December 2003) and the USA welcoming Ilyas Akhmadov (August 2004).
KMNews: CHECHEN TERROR BOSS ON US STATE DEPARTMENT PAYROLL
KMNews writes: “In early August, … ‘Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Chechen Republic-Ichkeria’ Ilyas Akhmadov received political asylum in the USA. And for his ‘outstanding services,’ Akhmadov received a Reagan-Fascell grant,” including a monthly stipend, medical insurance, and a well-equipped office with all necessary support services, including the possibility of meetings with political circles and leading U.S. media….“What about our partners in the ‘anti-terrorist coalition,’ who provided asylum, offices and money to Maskhadov’s representatives?” asks the Russian press agency. Citing the official expressions of sympathy and offers of help from President Bush, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, and State Department spokesman Richard Boucher, KMNews warns: “But let’s not shed tears of gratitude just yet. First we should ask: were ‘Special Representative of the President of CRI’ Zakayev or ‘Minister of Foreign Affairs of the CRI’ Akhmadov, located in Great Britain and the USA, aware of the terrorist acts that were in preparation? Beyond a doubt…. And let’s also find out, how Akhmadov is spending the money provided by the Reagan-Fascell Foundation. We note: this Foundation is financed by the U.S. Congress through the budget of the State Department! “Thus, the conclusion is obvious. Willingly or not, Downing Street and the White House provoked the guerrillas to these latest attacks. Willingly or not, Great Britain and the USA have nurtured the separatists with material, information and diplomatic resources. Willingly or not, the policy of London and Washington fostered the current terrorist acts.” “As the ancients said, cui bono? Perhaps we are too hasty with such sweeping accusations against our ‘friends’ and ‘partners’? Is there a motive for the Anglo-American ‘anti-terrorist coalition’ to fan the fires of terror in the North Caucasus?” “Alas, there is a motive. It is no secret, that the West is vitally interested in maintaining instability in the Caucasus. That makes it easier to pump out the fossil fuels, extracted in the Caspian region, and it makes it easier to control Georgia and Azerbaijan, and to exert influence on Armenia. Finally, it makes it easier to drive Russia out of the Caspian and the Caucasus. Divide et impera! – the leaders of the Roman Empire already introduced this simple formula for subjugation.”
KMNews: TERROR SUPPORTERS “ON THE BANKS OF THE THAMES AND THE POTOMAC”
KMNews continues: “Alas, it must be recognized that the co-authors of the current tragic events are to be found not in the Arab countries of the Middle East, but on the banks of the Thames and the Potomac. Will the leadership of Russia be able to make decisions, in this situation?” “Yes – if there is the political will. The first thing is that black must be called black, and white, white. It is time to admit that no “antiterrorist coalition” exists, that the West is pursuing its egotistical interests (spreading its political influence, seizing fossil fuels deposits, etc.). Our own coalition needs to be formed, with nations that are genuinely interested in eliminating terror in the North Caucasus. Finally, it is time to change the entire tactics and strategy of counterterrorism measures. It is obvious that catching female suicide bombers on the streets of Moscow or carrying out operations to free children who are taken hostage, are, so to speak, the ‘last line of defense.’ It is time to learn to make preemptive strikes against the enemy, and it’s time to carry combat onto the territory of the enemy. Otherwise, we shall be defeated.” (Source: KMNews.ru, September 7, 2004)
Izvestia stresses the probable ethnic composition of the terrorist death squad, and its likely role in exacerbating tensions in the ethnic labyrinth of the Caucasus. Izvestia finds the targeting of North Ossetia in the Beslan incident “not accidental,” pointing to the danger of “irreversible consequences” for interethnic relations between Ossetians, Ingushis and Chechens. “Russia is now facing multi-vectored threats along the entire Caucasus,” the paper writes. (Izvestia, September 3, 2004)
In the wake of Putin’s speech, prominent Russian commentators discussed the recent terror campaign against Russia in terms of a possible “casus belli” for a new East-West conflict. Several commentaries have reaffirmed Putin’s key statement, that international terrorism has no independent existence, but functions only as “an instrument,” wielded by powerful international circles committed (in part) to the early destruction of Russia as a nuclear-armed power.
A commentary in the widely read Russian business news service RosBusinessConsult (RBC) was entitled “The West is unleashing Jihads against Russia.” In language seldom heard since the end of the Cold War, RBC charges that the recent wave of terror attacks against Russia, beginning with the sabotage of two airplanes and a terror bombing at a Moscow subway station, and culminating so far in the Beslan attack, was immediately preceded by what RBC calls “an ultimatum from the West,” for Russia to turn over the Caucasus region to “Anglo-Saxon control.”
ANGLO-SAXON TERROR ULTIMATUM TO RUSSIA FROM THE LONDON ECONOMIST
“Some days prior to the onset of the series of acts of terrorism in Russia, which has cost hundreds of lives, a number of extremely influential Western mass-media, expressing establishment positions, issued a personal warning to Vladimir Putin, that Russia should get out of the Caucasus, or else his political career would come to an end. Therefore, when the President on Saturday spoke of a declaration of war having been made against Russia, this was not just a matter of so-called ‘international terrorism’… One week prior to the first acts of terrorism, the authoritative British magazine, the Economist, which expresses the positions of Great Britain’s establishment, formulated the Western position concerning the Caucasus, and above all the policy of the Anglo-Saxon elite, in a very precise manner,” RBC writes.
CZECH NGO BLOWS UP RUSSIAN TANK; BRITISH EXPERTS TRAIN CHECHEN GANGS
The RBC commentary goes on to cite the Economist of August 19, which contained what RBC characterizes as a virtual ultimatum to Russia. RBC notes that “the carrying out of such a series of coordinated, highly professional terrorist attacks, would be impossible without the help of qualified ‘specialists’.” RBC notes that at the end of August one such “specialist,” working for an NGO based in the Czech republic, was arrested for blowing up a Russian armed personnel carrier. Also, British “experts” have been found instructing Chechen gangs in how to lay mines. “It cannot be excluded, that also in Beslan, the logistics of the operation were provided by just such ‘specialists’,” notes RBC.
The RBC editorial concludes: “Apparently, by having recourse to large-scale terrorist actions, the forces behind that terrorism, have now acted directly to force a ‘change’ in the political situation in the Caucasus, propagating interethnic wars into Russia. “The only way to resist this, would be for Moscow to make it known, that we are ready to fight a new war, according to new rules and new methods — not with mythical ‘international terrorists’, who do not and never existed, but with the controllers of the ‘insurgents and freedom fighters’; a war against the geopolitical puppet-masters, who are ready to destroy thousands of Russians for the sake of achieving their new division of the world.” (RBC, September 7, 2004)
In a related comment, the Chairman of the Duma Foreign Affairs Committee, Dmitri Rogozin, declared in an interview on Sunday September 5: “I think those behind the terrorism are those who would like to see Russia totally discredited as a power…. I think that the aim is to destabilize the political situation in the country and plunge Russia into total chaos.” (Ekho Moskvy, September 6, 2004)
Western press organs have responded to the school massacre with a campaign to blame, not the terrorists, but the Putin regime and Russian society. This disingenuous policy has further stoked Russian resentment. On September 6, Strana.ru headlined, “Western Press: The Tragedy Is Russia’s Own Fault,” commenting that “unlike official politicians, journalists do not want to admit that the bombings and hostage-takings in our country are acts of international terrorism.” Another example of this Putin-bashing was the article by Masha Lippman in the Washington Post of September 9.
A basic reason for the US-UK surrogate warfare against Russia is the great Anglo-Saxon fear of a continental bloc of the type which emerged during the run – up to Bush’s Iraq aggression. The centerpiece of the continental bloc is the German-Russian relationship. Washington and London fear that Russia will soon agree to accept euros in payment for its oil deliveries. This would not just prevent the Anglo-Americans from further skimming off oil transactions between Russia and Europe. It would represent the beginning of the end of the dollar as the reserve currency of the world, a role which the battered greenback, weakened by Bush’s $500 billion yearly trade deficit and Bush’s $750 billion budget deficit, can no longer fulfill. If Russia moves to the euro, it is expected that the Eurasian giant may be quickly followed by Iran, Indonesia, Venezuela, and other countries. This could put an end to the ability of the US to run astronomical foreign trade deficits, and would place the question of a US return to a production-based economy on the agenda. The oil-euro question is expected to be discussed at the upcoming Russian-German economic summit.
RUSSIA TO PAY FOR OIL WITH EUROS?
In a half-page article published in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and headlined “Realizing the Strategic Partnership,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov predicted key progress in the energy sector. Lavrov said that numerous proposals by Moscow on how to expand cooperation in the sphere of future-shaping high-tech branches of the economy will be put on the agenda of the September 11-12 German-Russian economic summit in Hamburg. Russia calls for the development of “mutually beneficial cooperation in aerospace, information technology, telecom, biotechnology, development of new materials, laser technology, and nanotechnology. Lavrov wrote that Russia expects a breakthrough at the Hamburg talks — which will also deal with the energy sector. (Frankfurter Allgemeine, September 3, 2004)