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According to a Moscow Times editorial, the Kremlin has destroyed evidence at
explosion sites where nearly 300 Russians have been killed in recent
terrorist bombings. In one instance, at the obliterated apartment block on
Ulitsa Guryanova, vital clues were lost when security officials employed a
“controlled implosion” to bury the remains of the building. This was done 10
days after the terrorist attack.

Compare this performance to that of the Oklahoma City bombing case, in which
five weeks elapsed before the site was imploded. Russian officials are in a
hurry to get past the evidence, to wage a subtle propaganda war against a
mysterious undeclared enemy. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, former
chief of Russia’s secret police, has stated that “there is no doubt” that
the Moscow bombings are linked to the Islamic incursion in Dagestan.

And who is behind the Islamic incursion?

In terms of assigning blame for the incursion, Prime Minister Putin
initially zeroed in on two key countries — Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. These
countries were said to be supporting the Islamic warriors in Dagestan and
Chechnya. In response to this charge, Saudi Arabia denied giving support to
the Islamic warriors. In a curious reversal, Russian officials welcomed this
denial.

If the Kremlin was not fishing for a scapegoat, if it had positive evidence
of Saudi and Pakistani involvement, then why would the Kremlin welcome the
Saudi denials? Perhaps some further enemy of Russia is to be assigned
ultimate blame (in the fullness of time). One has to wonder. Perhaps that
enemy is America, which has already been blamed for “looting Russia” and
orchestrating NATO aggression against Russia’s Serbian “brothers” in Eastern
Europe.

The immediate leaders of the Islamic incursion into Dagestan are Shamil
Basayev and Habib Abdel Rahman Khattab. According to Russian reports,
Basayev and Khattab did not receive support for their incursion from the
people of Dagestan. The war is not an uprising of unhappy native Moslems.
Instead, it is portrayed as an externally supported invasion of Russia. It
has been claimed that Basayev and Khattab are relying on Islamic fighters
from all over south and central Asia, as well as Chechnya.

Basayev is a Chechen leader and Khattab is a Saudi-born Moslem veteran of
the Afghan War. It is a strange fact that Basayev and Khattab come from
conflicting Islamic traditions. Khattab comes from the Islamic
fundamentalist tradition, which greatly differs from the liberal Sufi
tradition of Basayev’s Chechens.

The inconsistencies of the alliance between Basayev and Khattab point to the
fact that their Islamic cause is only a mask. Underneath that mask lies a
secret network of KGB agents established during a Communist sponsored
Islamic revival which was initiated by Gorbachev’s Politburo in the late
1980s. Aiming at a controlled regeneration of Islam in Soviet Central Asia
and the Caucasus, Gorbachev authorized the opening of Mosques and the
publication of Islamic periodicals. Islamic holy men were admitted into the
Soviet army to comfort Soviet Moslems. Mullahs were even put on Soviet
television.

It can be argued that the Communist-directed Islamic revival of ten years
ago was part of a long-term preparation for a controlled civil war. This
civil war now masks a general Russian mobilization of military and secret
police resources. Tens of thousands of arrests have already taken place
throughout Russia. Untold numbers of troops have been secretly mobilized. A
state of undeclared emergency prevails in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and other
former Soviet republics. And while this internal crisis supposedly absorbs
the Russian military, Moscow’s bombers nonetheless find time to aggressively
probe U.S. air defenses in Alaska, as they did last Friday. When the United
States sent fighters to intercept the Russian bombers and drive them back,
the Kremlin howled with outrage. The bombers weren’t violating Alaskan air
space, said the Russians. They were merely traveling to the extreme tip of
Russia. It is an odd time to be renewing the gamesmanship of the Cold War.
In truth, military preparations and mobilizations continue throughout the
former Soviet Union. As these words are written the Russian and Ukrainian
Black Sea fleets are engaged in joint military exercises.

We must not take today’s turmoil in Russia at face value. The calculated
bungling in Russia’s past military campaign against Chechnya should be
obvious to anyone who knows the competence of the Russian General Staff.
Chechen independence is therefore a sham. Economic and geographical factors
alone make real independence a virtual impossibility for the breakaway
province. The old KGB structures held the region tightly for decades. All
opposition was systematically crushed. In fact, the only opposition possible
in that region would be an opposition created by the KGB itself for use in
the future as “strategic camouflage.”

American observers need to be wary of outward appearances when it comes to
modern Russia, which is a country founded on deception. It must be
emphasized over and over again, that Russia’s undeclared state of emergency
now masks extensive war preparations. The Russian people are now being
psychologically prepared for a war that might extend far beyond the borders
of the Russian Federation.

On Dec. 20. Mr. Putin — who is now Russia’s prime minister — delivered an
address to the Russian people on the occasion of the 82nd birthday of the
Bolshevik secret police. He spoke of the glorious traditions of the KGB. He
praised the efficiency and sophistication of the sword and
shield of the Communist Party Soviet Union. We all need to remember that the
KGB always maintained that the “main subversive forces” opposed to Russia
were based in America and Great Britain. We should not be too surprised,
therefore, if America is ultimately blamed for the civil war in Russia.
Everyone knows that the CIA armed the Islamic warriors in Afghanistan. By
extension, the CIA could be blamed for the Islamic warriors in Dagestan.

In recent days we’ve been treated to a series of sinister hints. One
Russian official, speaking vaguely, recently said that “the giant would soon
be destroyed in its lair.” Behgjet Pacolli, a businessman accused of
laundering millions in cash for the Kremlin, declared, “It’s all a big joke.
Today the joke is not understood, but in a little while you will get it.”

I fear that some of us already know the punch-line.

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