From G-Men to Pig-Men: The FBI's Stalinist Homeland Security Theater

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“The creatures
outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig
to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

~ George Orwell,

A few days
bombs ripped apart two apartment buildings Moscow
, residents
of Ryazan — a town 100 miles southeast of the Capital City — were
alarmed to find several suspicious-looking figures loitering near
a 13-story apartment complex. After police arrived on the scene
they extracted three large sugar sacks from the high-rise. An examination
of the sacks found that they contained hexagen — the same high-yield
explosive that had been used in the Moscow terrorist bombings just
a few days earlier.

The police
arrested two of the mysterious strangers, who immediately produced
credentials issued by the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB),
the successor to the KGB. Within a few hours high-ranking FSB officials
intervened to free their operatives, claiming that they had been
involved in an innocuous “training exercise.”

“This was not
a bomb,” insisted then-FSB Director Nikolai Patrushev. “The exercise
may not have been carried out well, but it was only a test, and
the so-called explosive was only sacks of sugar.”

There was at
least one lapse in efficiency on the part of the FSB: The agency
neglected to retrieve the detonator, which remained in the custody
of the local police. Leaving aside the fact that tests had confirmed
the presence of hexagen inside the “dummy” bomb, Patrushev didn’t
explain why the FSB would attach a genuine detonator to phony explosives.
Nor did he explain why the Security Organs insisted on collecting
the “sugar sacks” and keeping them under armed guard at a nearby
military base.

account didn’t satisfy one of the paratroopers given that peculiar
assignment. The soldier smuggled a small sample collected from one
of the sacks to a laboratory, and the resulting analysis confirmed
that the substance was hexagen, not sucrose.

The Ryazan
“training exercise” took place on September 22, 1999. During the
previous two weeks, hundreds of people had died in the Moscow apartment
bombings. The FSB, acting with what could charitably be called indecent
haste, destroyed both of those crime scenes before critical evidence
could be collected.

Shortly thereafter,
six Chechen
separatists (five of them in absentia) were accused of plotting
the terrorist rampage. Invoking the need to avenge the innocent
dead, Moscow carried out a punitive invasion of Chechnya, a
predominantly Muslim province whose population has long sought independence
from Russia

This series
of events struck many in Russia as bit too tidy. In a house editorial
published the day before the “training exercise” in Ryazan,
the Moscow Times observed
that “the bombed-out
shell of the apartment block on Ulitsa Guryanova was destroyed in
a controlled implosion, reducing to rubble the remains of the building
and irreparably buying beneath it any remaining traces of evidence
— just ten days after the explosion. Workers at Kashirskoye Shosse,
meanwhile, began clearing the rubble from the site as early as September
13 — the day of the bombing.”

As the Times
pointed out, the FSB’s insistence that the case had been “solved”
was impossible to reconcile with the fact that “untold traces of
chemical residue, fingerprints, technical fragments, [and] hair
and DNA samples that were present at the [bombing] sites are now
irrevocably lost.”

“Is this ignorance?”
the Times. “In the capital city of a country where
the current Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, was once its top security
official, the assumption sells the FSB short. The Federal Security
Service has the equipment, the know-how and political clout required
to perform a proper investigation.”

Imputing guilt
to shadowy Chechen separatists “has proved both viable and convenient
for federal authorities,” the Times observed. “Are they playing
it safe and making sure no other options show up?”

The case made
by the Moscow Times was skeletal and circumstantial; the
discovery of the FSB’s abortive apartment bombing -cum -“training
exercise” on the following day put some substantive flesh on the
bones of that theory. A few months later the “theory” was fleshed
out even further when former
Russian Prime Minister (and career KGB officer) Sergei Stepashin
that the invasion of Chechnya that took place subsequent
to the bombings “had been worked out in March,” and that the military
campaign “had to happen even if there were no explosions in Moscow.”

The London
Independent, which published Stepashin’s accusations, noted
that they were an admission against interest, since the former Russian
Prime Minister “played a central role in organizing the military
build-up before the invasion” — and would thus be morally and legally
liable for his role in the criminal conspiracy.

When we review
those events in Russia from more than a decade ago, it’s difficult
not to see parallels to the
federally controlled “terrorist plots”
that figure
so prominentl
y in the official
of the Homeland Security State ruling America today.

There are at
least two significant differences, however. First, the FSB prefers
to plant real bombs, rather than the dummy devices favored by its
American counterpart, the FBI. Second, at least some local police
and media organs in post-Soviet Russia, unlike their counterparts
in America, have achieved a measure of independence from central
government control. Although they are ruled by a gangster state,
many Russians display an admirable cynicism regarding official fictions,
an attitude Americans must acquire in a hurry if we want to arrest
our descent into unalloyed totalitarianism.

Six years before
he blew the whistle on the FSB’s false flag bombing campaign in
Moscow, Sergei Stepashin played a significant role in a key event
in the development of America’s police state apparatus: On July
4, 1994, while Stepashin was head of the FSB, he signed a cooperation
pact with FBI Director Louis Freeh.

The agreement,
which was signed at the Lubyanka Square headquarters of the KGB,
envisioned close collaboration between Russian and American secret
police in combating terrorism and international organized crime
— that is, unsanctioned use of the same criminal means employed
by the political elites that control those security organs. Thus
it should hardly come as a surprise to see a strong similarity in
the priorities that govern those secret police agencies, or the
methods they employ in the service of official fictions. This family
resemblance has been displayed to good advantage by two recent terrorism-related
cases in the state of Oregon.

Stalin’s regime
made an official hero out of Pavlik Morozov, the Ukrainian child
who betrayed his father to the secret police. In the case of Mohamad
, the Somali-born U.S. citizen cast as the patsy in the
FBI’s most recent pseudo-terrorism plot, the roles were reversed,
with the father of the 19-year-old Oregon resident calling the political
police to express concerns about his son’s political and religious

At the time,
Mohamud hadn’t done anything that could be defined as a criminal
act by even the most emancipated definition. This changed after
the young man was radicalized by two specialists from the FBI’s
vast and experienced corps of professional provocateurs, who successfully
engineered a supposed terrorist plot and manipulated Mohamud into
what he was told was a powerful explosive device at a Christmas
tree lighting in Portland

"Our investigation
shows that Mohamud was absolutely committed to carrying out an attack
on a very grand scale," intoned FBI Special Agent Arthur Balizan,
who gets the “Producer” credit for the most recent Homeland Security
melodrama. "At the same time, I want to reassure the people
of this community that, at every turn, we denied him the ability
to actually carry out the attack.”

Even the Devil
can cite scripture to his purpose, and even a Fed is capable of
telling an isolated truth in the service of a larger lie. Balizan
was entirely correct in saying that the FBI “denied” Mohamud the
ability to carry out an attack, because the Bureau — following a
familiar and tiresome script — supplied both the motivation and
the means for this plot, once a suitable stooge had been identified.

Balizan insists
that nobody was ever in danger as a result of the Bureau’s most
recent charade. While it’s true that those who assembled in Pioneer
Courthouse Square for the Christmas event were never in peril, the
same can’t be said for those who attend the Salman al-Farisi Islamic
Center, where Mohamud occasionally joined in worship services. Shortly
after the FBI closed the trap into which it had lured Mohamud, the
Muslim house of worship was the target of an arson attack — a bit
of blow-back that was both eminently predictable and entirely useful
to the FBI’s purposes.

The evidence
presented in the
FBI affidavit
offers no reason to believe that Mohamud intended
to harm anyone before he fell under the influence of two undercover
operatives from the Bureau’s Homeland Security theater troupe.

surveillance of the teenager’s e-mail suggested that Mohamud was
in touch with someone residing in northwest Pakistan, “an area known
to harbor terrorists.” The affiant, FBI Special Agent Ryan Dwyer,
recounts that Mohamud and his correspondent “communicated regularly,
and in December 2009 I believe, using coded language” — presumably
understood only by the wise and perceptive people employed by the
Bureau — “they discussed the possibility of Mohamud traveling to
Pakistan to prepare for violent jihad.”

Mohamud allegedly
tried to contact another Muslim radical to make travel plans, but
sent his e-mails to an inoperative address. Shortly thereafter,
an FBI undercover operative contacted Mohamud and did what a federal
operative will always do in such cases: He acted as a “terrorism
facilitator” (a term actually used by a federal prosecutor in an
earlier FBI-orchestrated plot), carefully nourishing whatever spark
of potential radicalism he found in his subject.

This is the
same template from which the FBI has created dozens or scores of
ersatz terrorist plots. There is one critical and telling detail
in this case that distinguishes it from the others: Prior to being
approached by the FBI’s provocation squad, Mohamud attempted to
travel to Alaska to work at a legitimate job, but was
prevented from doing so when the Feds — who had him under surveillance
— put him on a no-fly list
. The teenager was then approached
by a covert FBI operative who “hired” him to carry out a terrorist
attack, providing
the unemployed young man with $3,000 in cash

Attorney General
Eric Holder insists that Mohamud “chose at every step to continue”
with the bombing plot orchestrated by the Feds — once other avenues
of employment had been cut off, that is. And since the FBI’s undercover
operative conveniently “failed” to record the original contact with
Mohamud — which took place after he had been prevented from taking
the job in Alaska — there’s no way to assess the extent to which
the Bureau controlled his “steps” from the very beginning.

The confected
bombing plot in Portland came just days after federal prosecutors
sought a “terrorism enhancement” to the prison sentence given to
Pete Seda, an Iranian-born resident of Ashland, Oregon who was convicted
on tax evasion charges. Seda, an arborist and prominent peace activist,
was president of the Oregon branch of the Al-Harimain Islamic Foundation,
a Muslim charitable organization that has been accused of disbursing
money to jihadist groups overseas.

Seda was accused
of “laundering” a $150,000 donation from an Egyptian businessman,
most of which was converted into traveler’s checks and allegedly
sent to Saudi Arabia. The Regime claims that the money ended up
in the hands of Chechen rebels.

All of this
allegedly took place in early 2000 — shortly after Russia
invaded Chechnya, slaughtering thousands and creating a humanitarian
crisis that attracted understandable concern from Muslims world-wide

The key witness
for the prosecution was an accountant named Thomas Wilcox, a former
IRS employee who claims that Seda instructed him to falsify an important
tax record in order to conceal the nature of the transaction. Wilcox
also testified that in his opinion Seda was never “intentionally
dishonest” in managing the charity’s funds, but this testimony was
suppressed during the criminal trial.

Another witness
against Seda was Daveed
, a former intern-turned-salaried employee at
Al-Harimain. During his year with the foundation, Gartstein-Ross
supervised the group’s prison outreach program, which provided Korans
and other religious literature to inmates. Seda,
who is close to Gartsein-Ross’s family, encouraged the young man
to attend law school.

Seda wasn’t
aware that his helpful young protege was a paid federal informant,
who would later testify that the foundation was using its literature
program — the same one he supervised, remember — to promote a “harsh”
and “militant” view of Islam. Even then, under cross-examination,
testified that Seda was opposed to terrorism as an offense to both
his religion and to common human decency

During Seda’s
criminal trial, the court disallowed “evidence” provided by the
Russian FSB purportedly illustrating that the money sent to Saudi
Arabia wound up in the hands of armed rebels. Yet the Feds were
permitted to use essentially the same testimony in the sentencing
phase of Seda’s trial in order to demonstrate that he was “philosophically
and financially” linked to Chechen terrorists.

FSB Lieutenant
Colonel Sergey Nikolayevich Ignatchenko recorded his original testimony
at Lubyanka Square on December 3, 2008, and provided it to the U.S.
Justice Department for use at Seda’s criminal trial. The deposition
was taken according to the terms of the Russian Federal Criminal
Procedural Code. Obviously, no defense counsel was permitted to
cross-examine the witness during that deposition.

Citing communications
intercepts and other intelligence sources, Ignatchenko accused the
Al-Harimain foundation of funding people connected to Islamic insurgencies
in the Balkans, Central Asia, and the Indian subcontinent. However,
he never mentioned Seda’s name or the name of anyone directly connected
to him, nor did he describe tangible institutional connections between
Oregon’s branch of the charity and those allegedly involved in jihadist
activities overseas.

cross-examined via video feed during the November 23 sentencing
, Ignatchenko admitted that he no information directly
connecting Seda to any terrorist group in Chechnya or anywhere else
on the planet. “I never knew about him, I never heard of him,” Ignatchenko
told the court. Nor could he connect the funds received by Chechen
rebels to Seda’s charitable foundation in Oregon: “We didn’t know
which country it [the donation] came from.”

Under cross-examination,
Ignatchenko was also forced to admit in open court something he
had acknowledged in his original December 2008 deposition at KGB
headquarters — namely, that the evidence supporting the theory that
Al Harimain had provided financial support to Chechen rebels doesn’t
exist. As he acknowledged near the end of his original deposition:

have to mention that according to Russian FSB standards that are
currently in effect, recordings of various communications that were
not used for preliminary or court hearings are erased after 5 years.
Therefore, the communications I referred to are retained only as
hard copies…. However, I have an audiotape of recordings made
after 2001 and I can provide it to our American counterparts. I
can assure you that the deciphered communications I mentioned in
this interview are original and I quoted them almost verbatim.”

So this key
piece of recorded evidence isn’t available, because it is more than
five years old. However, the
helpful man from the KGB
(as the body that employed Ignatchenko
was known during the first several years of his career) can provide
recordings made a year after the crucial events allegedly
occurred, because that recording — which is also more
than five years old — somehow still exists.

This leaves
us with irrelevant hearsay testimony offered by a fellow who lists
his home address as 2 Bolshaya Lubyanka — that is, just down the
street from KGB headquarters. But the Feds insist that this is good
enough to establish Seda’s connection to terrorism, you see, because
Chekists are just as honest as their counterparts in the American
FBI. Oddly enough, that last part is entirely true.

3, 2010

Norman Grigg [send him mail]
publishes the Pro
blog and hosts the Pro
Libertate radio program

Best of William Norman Grigg

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