Processing Distortion with Peter B. Collins: Black & White Evidence Negates Tsarnaev Verdict

Peter B. Collins Presents Attorney John Remington Graham

Based on a recent blog post by BoilingFrogsPost contributor Paul Craig Roberts, I interviewed Jack Graham about his novel filing with the court in the Boston bomber trial, using the government’s own evidence to show that Dzhokar Tsarnaev was carrying a white backpack that did not show signs of a pressure cooker inside, and that the evidence used to convict depicted a black backpack. Graham brought this exculpatory evidence to the trial court’s attention in an unusual affidavit from Tsarnaev’s aunt in Chechnya, but it was ignored. He roundly criticizes the tactics of defense counsel Judy Clarke, along with prosecutors and the media for a show trial detached from facts and evidence.

*John Remington Graham is a veteran attorney who has served as a prosecutor and public defender. His affidavit is included in this post by Dr. Paul.

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Porkins Policy Radio- Gladio Operations in Russia’s Backyard, Chechens & Al-Zawahiri’s 1996 Imprisonment in Russia

On this week’s episode we continue our roundtable discussion on Gladio B with Sibel Edmonds and Tom Secker. Picking up where we last left off, the three of us explore some of the reasons for Russia’s presumed intransigence in the face of mounting NATO and Gladio operations in their backyard. As a case study for this we look at Ayman Al Zawahiri’s little-discussed imprisonment by the Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in Chechnya in 1996 while traveling with four diplomatic passports and a laptop. We discuss why the FSB captured him as well as why they let him go. We also explore the recent uptick in violence in Chechnya and how this relates to an increase in NATO operations meant to destabilize Russia.

 *For MP3 download click here

*For the first episode of this roundtable click here

The New Great Game Round-Up: October 6, 2014

Terrorist Attack in Chechen Capital Spells Trouble for Russia, Azerbaijan's Real & Not-So-Real Crackdowns and More!

*The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Caucasus region between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

At the beginning of this week, the presidents of the five Caspian littoral states gathered in the Russian city of Astrakhan to attend the fourth Caspian Summit. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the question of how the Caspian shelf should be divided has been dispute and although Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkmenistan made some progress at the recent summit, they remain divided on this key issue. While Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbajev were talking about a "breakthrough", Turkmenistan's leader Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow reminded everyone of the disagreements when he reiterated that "Turkmenistan believes that the construction of pipelines under the Caspian Sea is the sovereign right of the states through whose section of the seafloor they pass." Berdimuhamedow was of course referring to the construction of the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline, which is vehemently opposed by Russia and Iran. Moscow and Tehran will have a hard time convincing Berdimuhamedow and Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev to give up on this pipe dream but they accomplished another important objective in Astrakhan:

Russia and Iran Lock NATO Out of Caspian Sea

Iran and Russia have built unanimous consensus among the Caspian states, which also feature Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, over the inadmissibility of a foreign military presence in the Caspian Sea, ruling out any future possible deployment of NATO forces in the basin.

A political declaration signed by the presidents of the five Caspian states at the IV Caspian Summit held in Astrakhan, Russia, on September 29, “sets out a fundamental principle for guaranteeing stability and security, namely, that only the Caspian littoral states have the right to have their armed forces present on the Caspian,” according to a
statement by Russian President Vladimir Putin in the wake of the summit.

Azerbaijan's Real & Not-So-Real Crackdowns 

Especially Azerbaijan, close U.S. ally and NATO proxy, had long resisted any notion of formally banning external forces from the Caspian. After Baku had finally given in to pressure from Moscow and Tehran, the United States and Azerbaijan lost no time in pushing back against the Caspian Five joint statement. The Aliyev regime downplayed the statement and the U.S. State Department said it doesn't intend to change anything about its military cooperation with Baku. So it remains to be seen how much this declaration is actually worth. The U.S. and Azerbaijan maintain very close ties. Last week, Azerbaijan Airlines successfully inaugurated its first direct flight to the United States marking "the culmination of several years of close cooperation" between the two countries. As previously discussed, Baku relies on the Gülen movement to remind American lawmakers of Azerbaijan's importance and Hizmet's promotional work for the Aliyev regime has not been affected by Azerbaijan's "crackdown" on the CIA-backed movement:

Azerbaijan: Wary of Breaking Ties with Gülen in US?

Azerbaijan’s recent
crackdown on institutions and individuals allegedly linked to the influential Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen may not have halted promotional work by Gülen-associated organizations in the United States for the Azerbaijani government.

But why the Gülen movement would continue to promote Azerbaijani causes in the US despite the takeover of Gülen-associated educational operations in Azerbaijan remains unclear.


As yet, small and mid-size Turkish businesses in Azerbaijan identified by researchers as run by Gülen sympathizers do not appear to have been similarly targeted.

This demonstrates once again that there was no real crackdown on the Gülen movement in Azerbaijan. SOCAR, the state-owned oil and natural gas corporation of Azerbaijan, which works hand in hand with Hizmet, is reportedly already trying to reopen the Gülen schools in the country after they had been placed under SOCAR's control and eventually closed down a few months ago due to pressure from Turkish President Erdogan. Aliyev doesn't want to disgruntle either his close ally Erdogan or Gülen's puppeteers in Langley but, currently, he is probably more concerned about what his friends in Langley and Washington think of him. The crackdown on the U.S.-backed Azerbaijani opposition has not gone unnoticed in the United States, some people are even calling for sanctions on Baku. Last week, U.S. President Barack Obama criticized Azerbaijan's crackdown on NGOs and while Obama was trying to pronounce the name "Azerbaijan", the Azerbaijani authorities were trying to divert attention from the fact that they have made more politically motivated arrests this year than ever before by arresting a few actual criminals:

Azerbaijan Arrests Alleged ISIS and Other Islamic Fighters

The arrest of 26 Azerbaijanis for allegedly joining armed Islamic groups in Syria and the wider region may help Azerbaijan place its strategic importance to the United States above criticism of its growing autocratic reputation.

The September-23 detentions mark this Caspian-Sea country’s largest operation against alleged Islamic extremist fighters since reports began to circulate over the past year about
a steady flow of recruits from Azerbaijan for the uprising against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Azerbaijan’s Ministry of National Security said that the detainees have joined several paramilitary groups in Pakistan, Iraq and Syria. Some were alleged members of Azeri Jamaaty, a jihad group in Syria made up of Azerbaijani nationals.

The arrests were reported on the same day that
US President Barack Obama mentioned Azerbaijan among the countries notorious for crackdowns on civil society.

Given that there is no shortage of Azerbaijani veterans of the Syrian conflict, the Azerbaijani authorities could probably conduct more operations like this if they wanted to but Baku is doing its best to support NATO's war against Syria and prefers to go after dissidents. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) recently called on the Aliyev regime to release the jailed civil society activists and, much to the dismay of Baku, honored one of them, Anar Mammadli, with the Vaclav Havel prize for civil society activism. Ali Hasanov, a key aide to Aliyev, immediately condemned this "outside pressure on an independent state." The mounting criticism is not having the intended effect and seems to encourage the Azerbaijani authorities to come up with new police state measures and to ignore the critics: 

Azerbaijan Questions its Future with "Failed and Unfortunate" Euronest Parliamentary Assembly 

Azerbaijan has branded the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly a "failed and unfortunate initiative" and has challenged its fellow member states to explain why it should remain a member.  

The Chairman of the Azerbaijani Delegation to the Euronest PA, Elkhan Suleymanov, has written to his colleagues as a "last resort" telling them that the body, constituted in 2011, is now "bogged down by indecision, platitudes and double standards."

Azerbaijan was last week angered by a European Parliament motion calling for the release of activist Leyla Yunus, who is presently embroiled in a criminal case involving the alleged embezzlement of tens of thousands of euros from a string of NGOs with which she was involved with in Azerbaijan.

Bad News for Georgia's Ex-President Saakashvili

Neighboring Georgia is facing criticism from Europe as well. Georgia's efforts to hold former president Mikheil Saakashvili accountable for some of his crimes are not met with approval in most European capitals, where a few equally corrupt and criminal individuals hold a protecting hand over their friend Saakashvili. Therefore, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe criticized not only Azerbaijan's crackdown on civil society activists but also Georgia's "political prosecution" of members of the previous government. During his time in office, Saakashvili has gone to great pains to please his friends in the West, first and foremost his "friends" in Washington, and he is now reaping the benefits of his work. At least that was Saakashvili's plan but his friends in Washington have apparently other plans:

Saakashvili denied to get business visa in the U.S.

The U.S. has denied a business visa to Georgia's ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili, Georgian Alia newspaper reported on September 30, citing Saakashvili's United National Movement party.

"The veracity of the information will soon be cleared. Supporters of the ex-president's party are disappointed. The U.S. political elite is disillusioned with Saakashvili, he has, in fact, no support at the White House anymore," the paper wrote.

Saakahsvili lives in his uncle's house in one of the skyscrapers in Brooklyn's Willaimsburg district. Saakashvili has recently hosted the ex-head of CIA David Petraeus at his house, and plans to meet with the former French president Nicolas Sarkozy.

Perhaps, Saakashvili should consider a move to France to support the comeback of his friend Nicolas Sarkozy. Returning to Georgia is not an option. Although there are still some Saakashvili supporters who are willing to take a hit for their former president, Saakashvili's return to his home country would most likely end in jail. The criminal charges against him keep piling up with no end in sight. Georgian officials are now wondering how Saakashvili managed to amass a fortune of between $200 and $300 million and, even worse, the exhumation of Saakashvili's prime minister is going ahead:

Georgia Orders Zhvania Exhumed

A prosecutor in the former Soviet republic of Georgia has ordered the body of the late prime minister Zurab Zhvania to be exhumed, nearly a decade after his death in murky circumstances.

Zhvania was a top leader of the Rose Revolution protests that paved the way for Mikhail Saakashvili to become president in 2004. Zhvania died a year later. An autopsy determined that he died of carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty space heater in the Tbilisi apartment where his body was found, but suspicions of foul play have persisted.

Predictably, the Associated Press failed to mention the noteworthy video with the title "Saakashvili killed Mr. zurab zhvania", which was leaked in March of this year. The video shows photos from Zhvania's autopsy and highlights suspicious marks on the dead bodies of both Zhvania and Raul Usupov, a young regional official who was found dead in the same Tbilisi apartment along with Zhvania. Therefore, the exhumation of Zhvania could spell more trouble for Saakashvili. The Georgian authorities are always good for a surprise. Usually it is an unpleasant surprise for the opposite side. The Russians can tell you a thing or two about it. Only recently, Foreign Policy's report about Georgia's offer to host a training camp for "Syrian rebels" and other "anti-IS fighters from multiple countries" caused a stir in Russia: 

Moscow Opposes Idea of Training Camp for Syrian Opposition Fighters in Georgia

The creation of a training camp for
Syrian opposition fighters in Georgia will damage security in South Caucasus, the Russian Foreign Ministry said Thursday.

“Moscow noted recent media reports about plans to create a US training camp for Syrian opposition fighters in Georgia,” the ministry said in a statement. “Such a decision, if made by Tbilisi, will do serious damage to stability and security in South Caucasus.”

Terrorist Attack in Chechen Capital Spells Trouble for Russia

Russia's Foreign Ministry took note of Tbilisi's subsequent denial of the training camp offer but reminded the Georgian authorities that Russia will follow this issue very closely. Battle-tested Chechen jihadists are the driving force behind the battlefield successes of the ISIS mercenary army, which is wreaking havoc in the Middle East, and Moscow fears that a similar force could be unleashed in the North Caucasus. As Veronika Krasheninnikova, the head of the Center for International Studies and Journalism at Russia Today, pointed out, there has been an "exceptional level of military and political activity in the South Caucasus" in recent months with Georgia's offer to host a training for "Syrian rebels" being the icing on the cake. According to Krasheninnikova, this indicates "that a second anti-Russian front is being created in the South Caucasus." Something is brewing in the Caucasus and those who were not convinced of the threat until fairly recently changed their mind most certainly after the attack in Chechnya:

At least 5 police killed in suicide blast outside concert hall in Chechnya, Russia

At least five police officers have been killed and another three sustained injuries in Russia’s Republic of Chechnya as they attempted to detain a suspected suicide bomber. The young man detonated improvised explosive when police attempted to search him.

The incident happened ahead of a concert dedicated to City Day in Grozny, which is home to over 280,000 people, most of them Chechens. According to the Internal Affairs Ministry, police forces noticed a suspicious man outside a concert hall. 

"Police officers who were manning metal detectors at the entrance of the concert hall noticed a suspicious young man. When the police officers decided to check the individual, the man blew himself up," a local police officer told RIA Novosti news agency.

Although the man did not succeed in perpetrating a devastating attack inside the concert hall, this incident sends a very strong message to the Russian authorities. For one thing, the attack occured during Eid al-Adha and for another, it struck the capital of the relatively calm and stable Chechen Republic. In contrast to neighboring Dagestan and other republics in Russia's North Caucasus, which are still struggling to contain the violence, Chechnya had not seen any terrorist attacks in over a year and Grozny has become the symbol of Russia's victory over the foreign-backed insurgency. In a recent Voice of America article, Mike Eckel described the situation in Russia's North Caucasus as follows: "After two wars waged by Russia since 1994, the North Caucasus has become relatively stable, free of all-out war and major terrorist attacks." The suicide blast in Grozny indicates that this is going to change and the attack is not the only worrying sign in this regard:

Fears of Radicalization Among Muslim Youth Rising in Russia

There is an increasing risk of
radicalization among Muslim youth in Russia, Russian News Paper Kommersant reported on Wednesday.

A large group of Muslim youth attacked a police bus on September 26, as the police arrested a man, who drove into an officer, after being told to move his car, parked in a no-parking zone, Kommersant reported. As a result of the riots, 30 people have been arrested, World Bulletin reported.

“30 people were detained to prevent a breach of the peace and because they resisted police officers. A court imposed on them an administrative penalty and fine”, said Andrei Galiakberov, Chief of the Moscow Police Department, as quoted by World Bulletin.

The North Caucasus is of course not the only region in Russia, which is vulnerable to Islamic extremism. Crimea's Tatar population is currently experiencing first-hand how serious the Russian authorities take this threat. Lately, a Crimean Tatar news channel was cautioned for broadcasting extremist content and two Crimean Tatars were kidnapped under mysterious circumstances by unknown men in military uniforms. Members of the Crimean Tatar community have pressured the local authorities to launch an investigation into the abduction but it would not be surprising if the Russian security services had something to do with it. The Russian authorities take no chances when it comes to the radicalization of the Tatar population, regardless of whether it concerns Crimea or other parts of Russia, and they spare no-one, not even the "grandmother of Tatar nationalism":  

Nationalist Sentenced for Urging Tatars to Oppose Moscow's Crimea Annexation

A court in Russia's republic of Tatarstan has handed down a one-year suspended sentence to a radical nationalist who had called for fellow Tatars in Crimea to oppose the Russian annexation of the peninsula, claiming violent persecution of Muslims in Russia.

Fauziya Bairamova, 63, nicknamed the "Grandmother of Tatar nationalism" by Russian media for her decades-long radical stance, was also banned from changing her residence without informing the authorities, according to a city court verdict Thursday, which she posted on her Facebook page.
   

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Christoph Germann- BFP Contributing Author & Analyst
Christoph Germann is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. You can visit his website here

The New Great Game Round-Up: April 13, 2014

Russia Prepares for More Unrest amid Victory in Chechnya, Turkmenistan-Where Western Pipe Dreams Meet China's New Silk Road, Kyrgyz Opposition Does Washington's Bidding & More!

*The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Caucasus region between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

Russian President Vladimir Putin emphasized in his letter to European leaders that there will be an increasing risk of siphoning off natural gas passing through Ukraine’s territory if Gazprom has to cease gas deliveries to Ukraine for lack of payment. Instead of returning to a reasonable dialogue with the Kremlin, Washington's European lackeys will use the opportunity to argue for turning to other gas suppliers. Although it will take years before the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) opens the Southern Gas Corridor, some people in Brussels are convinced that the Southern Gas Corridor is the solution and refuse to give up on the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline. Never mind that this project could trigger a military conflict with Russia. Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan are improving their relationship for the sake of the Trans-Caspian pipeline and Turkmen President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov has already given his blessing. Unfortunately, the Turkmen leader has a knack for supporting the wrong pipeline projects:

Turkmen President: 2015 Start for Pipeline Work

Turkmenistan's president has demanded that construction work begin in 2015 on a pipeline that will carry natural gas from his energy-rich country to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

Gurbanguli Berdymukhamedov said all the agreements required for the project's launch should be completed this year, state media in the Central Asian nation reported Friday.

A memorandum of understanding between the four countries linked by the TAPI pipeline was signed in 2010 and a supply deal was completed in 2012.

Turkmenistan: Western Pipe Dreams Meet China's New Silk Road

Washington has been promoting both the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline and the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline since the 1990s. As early as October 1995, Berdimuhamedov's predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov had signed an agreement for the TAPI project with Unocal managers in New York City. While infamous war criminal Henry Kissinger, acting as an adviser to Unocal, attended the ceremony, no Afghan was present because nobody had deemed it necessary to invite any Afghans. Almost two decades later TAPI's fate still depends substantially on the situation in Afghanistan and there are no indications that the construction of a pipeline in the war-torn country will be feasible in the foreseeable future. So Turkmen gas will not reach Europe or India anytime soon and primarily flow to China. Last month, Berdimuhamedov ordered to accelerate the industrial development of Turkmenistan's gas fields in order to increase exports to China and the two countries continue to strengthen their strategic partnership with cooperation in other areas as well:

Turkmenistan, China to form trade and economic zone along Great Silk Road

A meeting of businessmen from Turkmenistan and China was held on March 24 in Beijing in order to expand and strengthen economic and trade cooperation. The event was organized by the Embassy of Turkmenistan in China, together with the China Committee for Promotion of International Trade, the People's Daily Online reported.

The main objectives of the forum is to attract potential investors and partners for joint projects, exchange of ideas and experiences in economic and trade fields.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping started his now famous Central Asia tour last September in Turkmenistan, he stressed that China attaches great importance to its partnership with the energy-rich country. During his trip Xi visited four 'stans and met all five Central Asian leaders securing one deal after another. Beijing pledged funding for energy and infrastructure projects to the tune of over $50 billion. Thanks in part to Xi's Central Asia tour, China's influence in the region is ever-increasing and the modern-day Silk Road is making good progress:

China's trade with Central Asia reaches levels of region's trade with Russia

China’s importance as a trading partner, investor, and financer of infrastructure projects in the Central Asian region is rapidly rising. After a decade of rapid growth, Chinese trade with Central Asia has grown to levels commensurated with the region’s trade with the Russian Federation, finds the paper titled “Central Asia Trade and Human Development” released by UNDP on April 8.

In terms of trade flows, there are obvious complementarities between Chinese manufactured exports and Central Asian comparative advantage in the primary products that China imports.

Moscow has no time to worry about this development and is itself looking to boost trade with China. In order show the wannabe cold warriors in Washington and Brussels that Russia does not depend on Europe for selling its gas, the Kremlin is considering to sign a major gas deal with Beijing. This deal has been discussed for years, but up until now the two sides have failed to reach an agreement because Gazprom is hoping for a price of $10-$11 per mmBtu (million British thermal units) and the Chinese would prefer to pay less. By way of comparison, China is believed to pay $9 per mmBtu to Turkmenistan. If the Russians lowered the price, the deal could be signed within weeks:

UPDATE 3-Russia says long-sought China gas supply deal is close

Russia said on Wednesday it was close to signing a deal to sell
natural gas to China, a long-sought agreement which President Vladimir Putin could use to show Western sanctions over Crimea cannot isolate his country.

The deal is the Holy Grail for Russia after at least 10 years of talks and Moscow hopes it can be signed when Putin visits China next month.

As talks between state-controlled Gazprom and Chinese officials continued in China, Arkady Dvorkovich, a deputy prime minister, said the sides were close to sealing a deal that would also involve
construction of a pipeline to carry 38 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year.

Russia Prepares for More Unrest amid Victory in Chechnya

Since Russia anticipates more fallout from the Ukraine crisis, precautionary measures are being taken. Russian companies are testing if their Asian clients would agree to using euros as a settlement currency instead of the dollar. But as long as long the Obama administration sticks to harmless sanctions, there is no need to adopt such drastic measures. Meanwhile, President Putin, learning his lesson from Washington's "Brown Revolution" in Ukraine, urged the Federal Security Service (FSB) to keep a close eye on the countless NGOs in Russia:

Putin says West may use NGOs to stir unrest in Russia

President Vladimir Putin told his security chiefs on Monday to ensure
Russia does not follow what he said was Ukraine's example by letting the West use local civil rights groups to foment unrest.

Accusing the West of funding radical groups in
Ukraine that helped to topple President Viktor Yanukovich, he expressed concern that Russia also faced a threat from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) "serving foreign national interests".

Much to the dismay of Washington, Russia's Constitutional Court recently upheld the "foreign agents" law. So the work of GOLOS, Memorial and other regime change NGOs will not get any easier. According to President Putin, Russia's FSB did a good job in counter-intelligence by foiling the activities of 46 foreign intelligence members and 258 agents in 2013. This week, FSB chief Alexander Bortnikov also finally confirmed the death of Chechen terrorist leader Doku Umarov. Bortnikov stated that the leader of the Caucasus Emirate had been killed late last year and that this information had been withheld from the public until now "for specific operational and political reasons". Ramzan Kadyrov, the head of the Chechen Republic, seized the moment to brag about the elimination of terrorism and Wahhabism in Chechnya:

Kadyrov: Chechen cities safe enough for police to be unarmed while off duty

“The warlords have been eliminated and armed gangs wiped out. The militants have no social base inside Chechnya they might rely on. In a situation like this the police should be aware that the nature of their work and of their tasks is changing. It’s time to get used to a peaceful life, to pay more attention to theory. As for practice, they have had enough of it,” Kadyrov said.

But Kadyrov pointed out that the North Caucasus insurgency has not been defeated and is now wreaking havoc in neighboring Dagestan. Moreover, the Russian authorities are concerned about jihadists gaining strength in Central Asia. Both Putin and Bortnikov alerted to the threat of Central Asian terrorists destabilizing not only their home countries but possibly also Russia. Last week, a Russian court sentenced a Tajik Hizb ut-Tahrir member, who had been arrested last year for planning an attack in Stavropol, to 17 years in prison. As Galim Fashutdino, Voice of Russia's correspondent in Tajikistan, explained in the Russian press, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in Central Asia is fueled from abroad:

Islamists stepping up their activities in Central Asia

"Salafism in Central Asia is linked with a number of groups abroad. And as regards the Turkmen Salafis, they found themselves in the focus of attention of analysts only last year, when it became clear that the Turkmen Salafis are fighting in Syria and that there many of them there. There are 190 Tajik Salafis in Syria, and the number of Turkmen Salafis in the country is much higher. And they have contacts with both the Caucasus and Turkey. And as regards Tajikistan, it has established direct contacts with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, while Kyrgyzstan has close contacts with Pakistan’s Karachi."

Kyrgyz Opposition Does Washington's Bidding

Since Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are not willing to sever their ties with the petro-monarchies or Pakistan, both countries will continue to struggle with this problem. A YouTube video showing five Tajiks burning their passports in Syria, where they joined the al-Qaeda mercenaries from ISIS, attracted some attention in Tajikistan this week. In the meantime, another group of Hizb ut-Tahrir members was detained in neighboring Kyrgyzstan. Moscow would prefer more stability in the region and has therefore vowed to support the two 'stans with military aid. Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Antonov reaffirmed this again:

Russia to donate military equipment for Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan

Russia intends to deliver gratis military equipment for Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan for several billion rubles in total, in next few years, Deputy Minister of Defense of Russia Anatoly Antonov said.

At the same time, he did not elaborate on what kind of military equipment will be delivered and the amount of the delivery.

There are of course some strings attached. Dushanbe had to extend the contract granting Russian military presence on Tajik territory and Bishkek had to kick the Americans out of Manas. Because the United States cannot afford losing its vital air base, which has played a central role in NATO's drug trafficking and jihadi operations, Washington is stepping up its intelligence operations in the country. Perhaps the Americans will resort to the tried and tested colour revolution in order to fight Russian influence in Kyrgyzstan. A few days ago, police broke up a rally in the Kyrgyz capital and detained some 200 opposition activists:

Police Break Up Opposition Rally In Bishkek

The Bishkek protesters called on President Almazbek Atambaev to revise plans to allow Russian companies to take over the transit center at Manas airport after NATO troops withdraw from Afghanistan later this year.

The opposition held similar protest rallies in several other towns and cities across Kyrgyzstan.

They are demanding that presidential powers be limited, that deals on Kyrgyzstan's joining a Russia-led customs union be revised, that a jailed former parliament speaker be freed, and that a major gold mine be nationalized.

So the Russian and Kyrgyz governments can look forward to more trouble in Kyrgyzstan. Furthermore, tensions with neighboring Tajikistan and Uzbekistan pose additional problems. Dushanbe's move to deploy a paramilitary group of about 150 men near the Kyrgyz-Tajik border did not inspire the Kyrgyz authorities with confidence. Kyrgyzstan plans to set up four new border posts on the border with Tajikistan and deploys more border guards:

Kyrgyzstan increases number of servicemen on borders with Tajikistan, Uzbekistan

Kyrgyzstan is increasing the number of border guards on the border with Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, State Border Service Chairman Raimberdi Duishenviyev said at the meeting of Ata Jurt faction on April 11.

“The latest conflicts on the borders showed our special task forces are ready to give rebuff and to protect the border, but we are increasing their numbers stepping up security measures,” he explained.

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Christoph Germann- BFP Contributing Author & Analyst
Christoph Germann is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. You can visit his website here

The New Great Game Round-Up: December 8, 2013

Georgia-NATO & Russian Missiles, EU-Russia Quarrel over Pipelines, Chechnya Fights "Syrian Rebels" & More!

*The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Caucasus region between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

Ukraine, the largest country in the post-Soviet space, aroused Brussels' and Washington's anger by refusing to sign the European Union Association Agreement. Instead Kiev gave in to pressure from Russia and preferred to renew talks on joining the Moscow-led Customs Union. However, because the country is eyed not only as a future EU member but more importantly as a significant addition to Washington's North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Ukrainian government has now to deal with Orange Revolution 2.0. So another Russian neighbor of great interest to the EU and NATO, Georgia, assured its friends in the west that they will not have to worry about similar developments in the South Caucasus:

Georgian president says Russia cannot stop moves towards EU

The Georgian president Giorgi Margvelashvili says Russia has no means of influence that could divert Georgia from its course toward integration with Europe and interrupt the signing of the Association Agreement next year.

Georgia, NATO & Russian Missiles

At the EU's third Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Georgia initialed the Association Agreement, a preliminary step before it is expected to be signed next year. U.S. Secretary of State and professional warmonger John Kerry hailed this as "historic" and the United States can hardly wait for the process to be finished. In the meantime, the former Soviet Republic is doing its best to please Washington in order to join the U.S.-led North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Georgia will reform its military according to NATO standards and offered to participate in the post-2014 mission in Afghanistan as well as in NATO's latest excessive project, the NATO Response Force (NRF):

Rasmussen: NATO to Include Georgia in Global Strike Force “Georgia, has offered to join the Response Force in the future, and been accepted. I would therefore anticipate that Georgian troops would be made available for the force as of 2015,” Rasmussen said, adding that it would be the first time “Georgia has joined NATO’s rapid-reaction team.”

As Rick Rozoff has noted, "Global Strike Force" would be a much more accurate name since the purpose of the NRF is to deploy air, naval and infantry ground forces "anywhere in the world, at short notice, for a comparatively prolonged period of time". Of course, Tbilisi wants some reward for its willingness to sacrifice Georgian soldiers: 

Georgia Expects NATO Membership Nod Next Year At the next NATO summit Georgia expects serious consideration of its future in the alliance, Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili said in an interview with Rustavi-2 TV Channel.

Discussions are underway on this issue, according to the president.

Although the North Atlantic Treaty Organization praises Georgia's contribution and successful reforms, President Margvelashvili might have to wait a little bit longer. NATO's public face, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, regularly states that Georgia is "very close" to the military alliance but a few weeks ago he had already reassured the Kremlin that no Russian neighbor will fall prey to NATO's relentless expansion as early as 2014:

No NATO Membership For Georgia, Ukraine in 2014 – Official

Ukraine has decided to abandon its long-standing bid to join NATO, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told journalists in Brussels on the eve of a Russia-NATO council meeting. The Georgian government is still interested in closer cooperation with the alliance, but will not succeed in becoming a member in 2014, he said.

However, as everybody in Russia knows, forbearance is not quittance. So Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov addressed the issue after a recent NATO-Russia Council meeting in Brussels when he was asked about Russia's relationship with its neighbor in the South Caucasus [emphasis mine]:

Lavrov on Ties with Georgia, 'Borderisation' and NATO Expansion Lavrov said that NATO enlargement, not only in the context of Georgia but in general, represents “continuation of Soviet-old inertial logic of the ‘cold war’.” “It implies not only preserving the dividing lines, which we have all committed to remove, but it’s also implies moving them [these lines] further to the East, which fundamentally contravenes commitments that we have undertaken at the highest level on indivisibility of security,” Lavrov said. “No one should take steps creating risks to the security of partners.”

Moscow was not amused by NATO's Steadfast Jazz Exercise, the largest military drill since 2006, which Secretary General Rasmussen described as a "graduation test" for the NATO Response Force. In early November, about 6.000 personnel from all 28 NATO member states and three partner nations (Sweden, Finland and Ukraine) improved their interoperability on land, sea and in the airspace over Poland, Lithuania and Latvia. In light of this, it is not hard to guess why Russia will deploy more S-300 missile systems in Belarus [emphasis mine]:

Russia plans to bring more S-300 air systems to EU border in Belarus Moscow is set to supply Minsk with more S-300 complexes to strengthen the external border under a project of merging the countries’ air defenses. The systems are to be deployed close to the Belarus border with NATO’s Poland and Lithuania.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to strengthen the joint air defense system with Belarus and to start forming similar systems with Kazakhstan and Armenia. After the 2008 South Ossetia War, Russia began rapidly arming its Southern Military District covering the territories around the Caspian Sea and Black Sea. This policy continues to this day with military vehicles and a ballistic missile system, which proved highly effective in the war against Georgia, being the latest additions:

Missile brigade of southern military district armed with missiles Iskander The missile brigade of the Southern Military District has brought into service the set of operational tactical missiles Iskander-M on Thursday, the press service of the Southern Military District told Itar-Tass.

When former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili launched the war in August 2008 on Washington's orders, the Kremlin knew that this would not be the last attempt to destabilize Russia's North Caucasus. And NATO's current multinational training exercises in Germany only reinforce Moscow's decision to strengthen the Southern Military District:

Germany: U.S. Trains NATO Allies For War In The Caucasus

Battalions of Czech and Slovenian troops, a U.S. headquarters unit and a host of other forces, including U.S. National Guard troops from California, have been war gaming around the clock inside Hohenfels’ sprawling battleground known as “the box.” Rather than training to take on the Taliban in Afghanistan, they’re working on other combat scenarios, such as taking on a conventional enemy force in the Caucasus region. “We don’t know what the future threats are going to look like, but we do know one thing; we aren’t going to fight it alone,” said Brig. Gen. Walter Piatt, head of the Joint Multinational Training Command. “We’re going to fight with our partners. If we don’t train together we’re never going to do it live.”

EU, Russia Quarrel over Pipelines

As if there was not enough potential for conflict in the region, the European Union refuses to give up on its dream of importing gas from Turkmenistan via the Trans-Caspian Pipeline. Apparently, only few politicians in Brussels have realized the consequences of choosing the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) over Nabucco-West. Since TAP is no real competition to Gazprom's South Stream and will affect the Trans-Caspian project detrimentally, Russia welcomed this decision. However, Brussels' ongoing efforts to promote a pipeline running under the Caspian Sea and bypassing Russia really infuriate the Kremlin:

Sergei Lavrov: “The European Union is pushing the Trans-Caspian pipeline project on Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan” He said the EU forgets that such issues should be solved by the Caspian littoral countries not in Brussels.

Despite state-controlled Russian energy giant Gazprom, one of the biggest profiteers from Nabucco's demise, threatening war with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan over the project, the EU sticks to the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline in accordance with Washington's interests. Provoking Gazprom and Russia appears to be the new game in Brussels. In late November, the largest extractor of natural gas broke ground on a $2.7 billion pipeline in Serbia, part of its South Stream pipeline project. But this week, the European Commission called on all EU members involved in the project to renegotiate the terms of their deals and threatened to intervene [emphasis mine]: 

EU Recommends Member States Renegotiate South Stream Pipeline

Marlene Holzner, a spokeswoman for EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger, said on December 5 that the agreements signed with Russia's Gazprom contradicted European legislation. "In case that Russia says we do not want to renegotiate this international agreement, then we have to advise the member states that they just will not apply this agreement because it is not according to EU legislation," she said. "If they go ahead we may have to start infringement procedures."

Gazprom reacted "surprised and disappointed", criticized that the European Commission voiced concerns only after construction works had begun and emphasized that these works "will proceed as scheduled" while remaining regulatory questions can be clarified. Serbia is also in no mood to be bullied by mad politicians in Brussels:

Serbia "won't renegotiate South Stream agreement" "There will be no new talks between Russia, Serbia and other countries participating in South Stream about the construction of the pipeline, as all the agreements have been made at the inter-state level, and there will be no delay in works or moving of construction deadlines," the head of Serbia's state-run natural gas enterprise told Tanjug.

Another chapter in the ongoing EU-Gazprom battle are the pending antitrust claims which the Russian energy giant hopes to settle as soon as possible. President Putin accused the European Union of attacking Gazprom in order to extend its influence over Eastern Europe. Considering this, the economic situation was probably not the only thing inspiring Putin's plan of reducing dependence on the European market [empasis mine]: 

Russia Invests In LNG Project To ‘Diversify’ From Europe

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to expand tax breaks to more deposits that will supply gas for the Novatek-led liquefied natural gas project in Russia’s Yamal peninsula, according to the Kremlin’s website.

Putin has urged domestic companies to develop seaborne liquefied natural gas (LNG) and diversify away from cash-strapped Europe where demand for gas has weakened.

Chechnya Fights "Syrian Rebels"

Vladimir Putin has to deal with multiple important issues right now but with the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi rapidly approaching, the security situation in the North Caucasus is of course one of the most pressing. So the Russian leader urged the Federal Security Service (FSB) to stay on top of developments in the threatened region. Turkey's new policy regarding Prince Bandar bin Sultan's Wahhabi gangs could lead to more work for the FSB:

Turkey deports 1,100 European fighters to countries of origin Turkey has sent a report to European countries saying that it has deported 1,100 European citizens who came to Turkey to join al-Qaeda-linked groups fighting in Syria back to their own countries amid increasing allegations that Ankara is turning a blind eye to terrorists using its territory to cross into Syria, according to the Habertürk daily.

Jihadis from Russia's North Caucasus represent a significant percentage of the foreign terrorists fighting against the Syrian government and might take their struggle back home. Especially the presence of one female fighter from Chechnya among the "Syrian rebels" made headlines in Russia and highlighted this problem once again:

Chechen Official Fired After Daughter Found Fighting in Syria

The top migration official in the southern Russian republic of Chechnya has been fired after it was disclosed that his daughter was fighting alongside rebel forces in Syria’s civil war.

Ramzan Kadyrov, the Head of the Chechen Republic, explained the matter in his own unique way: 

“[Dadurkayev’s] daughter is among the Wahhabis and bandits who spill the blood of civilians and blow up Islamic holy sites in Syria,” Kadyrov wrote on Instagram, a social networking website the Chechen leader regularly uses to make public pronouncements.

Kadyrov has so far managed to maintain peace and stability in Chechnya by suppressing the Islamist insurgency, which is now largely confined to the Republic of Dagestan. In order to contain the threat of battle-tested terrorists from Syria, the Chechen leader decided to set up a special security unit:

Chechnya Sets Up Security Unit to Fight Syrian Radicals Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said Wednesday that a special security unit is being formed in Chechnya to deal with Syrian radicals both on the North Caucasus republic’s territory and abroad, if necessary. Kadyrov said the move came as a response to numerous online videos in which Islamists battling government forces in Syria threaten to move to the North Caucasus when the Syrian war is over and engage in terrorist and subversive activities in the volatile region.

According to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu, terrorism is Russia's "main foe" and one key threat to Russia's national security besides the above mentioned NATO expansion. Regular attacks on security forces, police and civilians in the North Caucasus confirm Shoygu's assessment:

Russian FSB Officer Killed in North Caucasus ShootoutOne Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) officer has been killed and one wounded in a shootout in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus, investigators has reported. The two officers were attacked Monday evening in the town of Baksan in the republic of Kabardino-Balkaria. Unknown assailants opened fire on them from a rifle at a crossroads and then escaped.

Although more than 200 militants were "destroyed" and over 250 detained in Russia's North Caucasus in the first nine months of this year, the Russian Prosecutor General's Office is not content with the performance of local law enforcement personnel:

Russian Prosecutor General’s Office slams North Caucasus law enforcers 

Its criticisms includes such flaws as poor financing of regional and municipal programs on prevention of extremism and terrorism, inefficiency of anti-terrorism commissions, reluctance of local autonomies in protecting facilities from terrorists, inadequate evaluation of religious groups by the Russian Justice Ministry and lack of reports on reception of money from foreigners.

Moscow's law enforcers on the other hand improved their performance after the horrific terror attacks on the Moscow Metro in 2010 and Domodedovo International Airport in 2011. In recent months, arrests of supposed terrorists and extremists were the only noteworthy terror-related incidents in the Russian capital:

Group of 15 ‘religious extremists’ arrested in Moscow, explosives, weapons seized Moscow police have arrested 15 members of Takfir Wal-Hijra, an extremist organization. The cell had a stash of weapons and explosives, which was seized in the police raid. The cell was exposed and busted thanks to ongoing investigations into crimes not related to terrorism, the Interior Ministry reported. Members of the group were involved in various acts of crime to fund their activity.

Among the busted groups was also one Central Asian criminal organization consisting of more than 40 members, who were involved in illegal financial activities across Russia, particularly in Moscow and Russia's Perm Region. Police seized over $5.4 million and alleged that the group's funds had been used to finance Hizb ut-Tahrir, known as conveyor belt for terrorists:

Russian Police Uncover Islamist ‘Terrorist Finance’ Gang Russian police said Monday they have detained seven leaders of an ethnic Central Asian criminal group engaged in illegal banking, that they believed was financing an international Islamist terrorist organization. Police claim to have found evidence proving that the group financed the Hizb ut-Tahrir (Islamic Liberation Party) international political organization that was officially banned in Russia in February 2003. The suspects laundered funds through financial channels “in the interests of natives of Central Asia illegally based in Russia,” police said. It was not possible to independently verify the police claims about the alleged group’s activities.

# # # #

Christoph Germann- BFP Contributing Author & Analyst
Christoph Germann is an independent analyst and researcher based in Germany, where he is currently studying political science. His work focuses on the New Great Game in Central Asia and the Caucasus region. You can visit his website here

The New Great Game Round Up- September 15, 2013

SCO Defies Washington, Cold War Heating Up, Arms Race Reloaded & More!

*The Great Game Round-Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. We document the struggle for influence, power, hegemony and profits in Central Asia and the Caucasus region between a U.S.-dominated NATO, its GCC proxies, Russia, China and other regional players.

Prince Bandar bin Sultan's threat, to unleash the Chechen terrorists under his command during the Winter Olympics in Sochi next year, is taken seriously in Moscow. So Russian President Vladimir Putin was particularly enraged by accusations of "so-called widespread abuse of citizens’ rights in the North Caucasus" voiced in the Western media and by human rights organizations. Putin blasted the biased coverage and highlighted Russia's struggle against foreign-funded terrorists: [Read more...]

The New Great Game Round Up-May 19, 2013

A Setback for Doku Umarov's Caucasus Emirate, the Saudi interest in Kyrgyzstan, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan=the Rising Star of Militant Islamist Groups & More!

Doku Umarov's Caucasus Emirate suffered a setback this week [emphasis mine]:  

Terrorist ‘military emir’ killed in Russia’s North Caucasus

A key militant leader, described as the right-hand man of the Chechen warlord Doku Umarov, was killed by special operations soldiers in a shootout in the North Caucasus, the Russian National Anti-Terrorist Committee said. [Read more...]

The New Great Game Round Up-May 19, 2013

The Banning of Wahhabism, Radical Islamism in Central Asia & Caucasus, the CIA- Boston Terror Connections & More

The Great Game Round Up brings you the latest newsworthy developments regarding Central Asia and the Caucasus region. This week we start with a story which was widely covered in the mainstream media:

US 'spy' Ryan Fogle expelled after CIA refused to stop recruiting, say Russians

He was caught while allegedly attempting to convince an FSB agent focused on fighting terrorism in the troubled north Caucasus to work for the CIA.

Russia highlighted that this is not an isolated case: [Read more...]

The EyeOpener- Who is Graham Fuller

BFP VideoIn the days of hysteria immediately following the Boston bombing, an unlikely media darling emerged. Ruslan Tsarni, the alleged bombers’ uncle, known to the press as “Uncle Ruslan,” gained notoriety for the ferocity with which he denounced his own nephews and their alleged Islamic radicalism. It isn’t hard to see why the press focused so closely on “Uncle Ruslan.” He said precisely what the so-called “authorities” wanted to hear about the suspects in precisely the way they wanted to hear it. However, far more interesting than the sudden popularity of “Uncle Ruslan” is his background and ties to other organizations.

Lately, a real narrative has begun to emerge from the background noise of the Boston bombing story that paints a very different picture from what we have been told. We have the uncle of the bombing suspects emerging as a media darling for his denunciation of the brothers, who just so happens to have worked with USAID and was living and working at the home of a top CIA official, Graham Fuller, who has actually advocated “guiding the evolution of Islam” to destabilize Russia and China in Central Asia. Now we have several of the pieces of the puzzle that Edmonds’ predicted in the past few weeks falling into place: that the bombers were likely being run by the CIA; that the event would bring focus on radical terrorism who have hitherto been painted as “freedom fighting allies” of the US; and that the case may be used as leverage to make new inroads on the Syria standoff between Washington and Moscow.

And several of the pieces of this puzzle revolve around Graham E. Fuller, former National Intelligence Officer for Near East and South Asia, a proponent of political Islam, an inspiration for the Iran-Contra affair, a character reference for CIA darling Fethullah Gulen, a former RAND analyst, and the father-in-law of the Boston bombers’ uncle.

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Podcast Show #108: Dissecting Boston Terror Attack, Syria, Russia and Much More

The Boiling Frogs Show Presents Pepe Escobar

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In this episode of the Boiling Frogs Post Show Peter B. Collins hosts a lively round-table discussion with Pepe Escobar and Sibel Edmonds. Please join us in this riveting episode of twists and turns, theories and predictions on the Boston terror attack, Spain, CIA, Syria, Russia, and Central Asia-Caucasus terrorists made in the USA.

Pepe Escobar, born in Brazil, is the roving correspondent for Asia Times and an analyst for The Real News Network. He is an investigative journalist with three decades of experience in covering politics and conflicts around the globe. He’s been a foreign correspondent since 1985, based in London, Milan, Los Angeles, Paris, Singapore, and Bangkok. Since the late 1990s, he has specialized in covering stories and cases from the Middle East to Central Asia, including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was in Afghanistan and interviewed the military leader of the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, Ahmad Shah Masoud, a couple of weeks before his assassination. Mr. Escobar has made frequent visits to Iran and is the author of three must-read books: Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War, Red Zone Blues: A Snapshot of Baghdad During the Surge, and Obama Does Globalistan.

Listen to the Preview Clip Here

Here is our guest Pepe Escobar unplugged!
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The EyeOpener- Sibel Edmonds on the Boston Bombing: The US Roots of “Chechen” Terrorism

BFP VideoFBI whistleblower and BoilingFrogsPost.com editor Sibel Edmonds joins us to discuss the recent Boston bombing hysteria and the potential geopolitical implications of the American public's "discovery" of Chechen terror. We discuss Sibel's work exposing the US/NATO roots of so-called Chechen terrorism, and what the FSB's involvement in this twisted tale might mean in terms of future Russian-US relations.

 

For background of this interview, please see the previous episodes of the Gladio interview series: Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, Part VI.

SHOW NOTES:

USA: The Creator & Sustainer of Chechen Terrorism

RT interviews Tsarnaev brothers’ mother

FBI Press Release: 2011 Request for Info on Tamerlan from “Foreign Government”

Terrorist incidents in Chechnya 1970 – present

Terrorist incidents in Dagestan 1970 – present

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USA: The Creator & Sustainer of Chechen Terrorism

Boston Terror: Don’t Let the Media Fool You … Again- Climb Up the Chain and Meet the Real Masterminds of Global Terror.

Here we go again- Déjà vu. Out of the blue we have a ‘terror event,’ a couple of pop-terrorists, and a new buzz-word nation-Chechnya. There they go again: USA Media tales made-in-government: Muslims, terrorists, fanatics, freedom-haters … this time from another exotic-sounding land-Chechnya.

They are going to tell you about the new frontiers in the so-called Islamic Terror Cells: The Caucasus and Central Asia. They’ve been planning this for a long time. In fact, the plans were in motion as early as the mid-1990s. Since 2002, despite the gag orders and attacks, I have been talking about: Central Asia & the Caucasus. I have been talking about our operations-grooming our very own terrorists in that region. I have been talking about Chechnya. In fact, just recently, I talked and talked and talked about it on record: [Read more...]

Podcast Show #56

The Boiling Frogs Presents Paul Thompson-Part III

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This is Part 3 of our three-part one-of-a-kind interview series with author and researcher Paul Thompson. For additional background information please visit the complete 9/11 Timeline Investigative Project at HistoryCommons.Org.

Paul Thompson joins us to discuss one of the most blacked-out and censored aspects of Al-Qaeda-CIA connections: The partnership and alliance between the CIA and Al Qaeda and their joint operations in Central Asia, Balkans and Caucasus throughout the 1990’s. Mr. Thompson talks about Al-Qaeda’s Balkans operations, running training camps, money-laundering, and drug running networks in the region, Ayman Al-Zawahiri and his residence in Bulgaria in order to help manage the Al Qaeda effort in nearby Bosnia, the Al Qaeda cells in Chechnya and Azerbaijan, BCCI and more!

ptPaul Thompson is the author of the Terror Timeline, a compilation of over 5,000 reports and articles concerning the September 11, 2001 attacks. His research in the field has garnered over 100 radio and TV interviews. Mr. Thompson holds a psychology degree from Stanford University obtained in 1990. For the complete 9/11 Timeline Investigative Project visit HistoryCommons.Org

Here is our guest Paul Thompson unplugged!

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Digging Deeper in Years into Wikileaks’ Treasure Chest- Part I

A Fairly Short List of Goodies for Wikileaks Santa

 

wikiI have been waiting. I have been searching and reading. I have been waiting impatiently while searching and reading the initial pile of recently released Wikileaks’ documents, specifically those pertaining to Turkey. I have received many e-mails asking me impatiently to comment and provide my analyses on this latest international exposé. I am being impatiently patient in doing so, and here is a brief explanation as to why:

There’s so much I don’t know. I don’t know how real this entire deal actually is. If truly ‘real,’ I don’t know how far and deep the involved documents actually go. Many of my trusted friends tell me it is indeed real. A few trusted friends and advisors are ringing cautionary bells. I am truly pro transparency, and considering the abusive nature and use of secrecy and classification, I am mostly pro leak when the information in question involves criminal deeds and intentions.

During the previous release (Afghan Files), in my gut I was a bit bothered by the direction of some of these released documents - pointing towards Iran - which was generously milked by the US mainstream media. But then again, that was only based on some gut feeling, and I didn’t want to pour out analyses and opinion solely based on ‘some gut feeling.’ So far, some of the first cache of the recently released documents is strongly pointing towards Iran, and that too is bothering the heck out of me. But again, in my gut, and that alone is not sufficient to make me sit and analyze and interpret. So this is why I’ve been impatiently patient, waiting for more. Meanwhile, while I am restraining myself and being uncharacteristically patient, I am going to go on record and tell you what I expect to see if this whole deal proves to be completely genuine, and if the obtained files go as far as they say they go. [Read more...]

Did You Know: The King of Madrasas Now Operates Over 100 Charter Schools in the US?

Fethullah Gulen Takes the Great Game a Step Further

gulenThe Controversial Muslim preacher has now extended his tentacles into schools in the United States, where he controls and operates more than 100 charter schools within a calculatively set up maze of dubious NGOs. Fethullah Gulen, whose organizations’ net worth is estimated to be somewhere between $22 billion and $50 billion, owns and operates over three hundred Madrasas around the world, including Pakistan, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. While Gulen’s suspicious and secretive Madrasas have been shut down and or restrained in countries such as Russia, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan, based on these governments’ justified suspicions that his schools had more than just education on their agendas, his rapidly and secretively expanding charter school empire here in the US has gone quite unnoticed and unacknowledged.

In less than a decade Gulen’s Islamic network in the US has established over 100 publicly funded charter schools in 25 states. What makes this eyebrow raising phenomenon a very disturbing case is the fact that despite official documents and publicly available data Fethullah Gulen is going out of his way to deny his connections to these schools. The question is why? Here are a few excerpts from a USA Today article in August 2010:

The schools educate as many as 35,000 students — taken together they'd make up the largest charter school network in the USA — and have imported thousands of Turkish educators over the past decade.But the success of the schools at times has been clouded by nagging questions about what ties the schools may have to a reclusive Muslim leader in his late 60s living in exile in rural Pennsylvania.

Top administrators say they have no official ties to Gülen. And Gülen himself denies any connection to the schools. Still, documents available at various foundation websites and in federal forms required of non-profit groups show that virtually all of the schools have opened or operate with the aid of Gülen-inspired "dialogue" groups, local non-profits that promote Turkish culture. In one case, the Ohio-based Horizon Science Academy of Springfield in 2005 signed a five-year building lease with the parent organization of Chicago's Niagara Foundation, which promotes Gülen's philosophy of "peace, mutual respect, the culture of coexistence." Gülen is the foundation's honorary president. In many cases, charter school board members also serve as dialogue group leaders.

…lawmakers, researchers and parents are beginning to put the schools under the microscope for hiring practices — they import hundreds of teachers from Turkey each year — and for steps they take to keep their academic profile high.

The schools' unacknowledged ties to Gülen, they say, mock public schools' spirit of transparency.

My regular visitors are familiar with my on and off coverage of Fethullah Gulen and his movement. Others who have not read our previous commentaries and updates on this topic can check them out here, here, and here . I can sit and write volumes on Gulen’s history and his ‘real’ operations, but I am going to limit the length of this piece and provide you with a list of significant facts and background relevant to this particular post without going into other details: [Read more...]