Drug Cartels, Managed Violence and the Russian 9/11, Part 3
Allegations of Drug-Trafficking and Far West, Ltd
Satya Center is proud to present the third and final installment of author Peter Dale Scott's ground-breaking article on The Global Drug Meta Group, a lengthy investigation of the role of international drug dealers, intelligence services from major powers, Russian bankers and powerful global businessmen in the perpetuation of the global trade in heroin and international terrorism.
Scott reveals that drug dealers enjoy close relations with influential international bankers, weapons merchants, intelligence agents and military officers whose web of interconnecting interests can only be described as a "cartel".
Scott reveals that these drug cartels play a pivotal role in international relations, shaping the geo-strategic landscape in their own best interests while attracting political and military leaders of major countries around the world into partnerships of convenience designed to further the ideological, military and economic interests of the elites in those countries.
This series of articles focuses on the individuals connected to one global drug cartel, dubbed the Global Drug Meta Group by Scott, and describes a meeting at billionaire Saudi Arabian arms merchant Adnan Kashshoggi's villa in 1999 that arguably laid the groundwork for the terrorist bombings in Moscow called "The Russian 9/11", which triggered massive escalation of the war in Chechnya.
Read Part One and Part Two of this Series for essential background information!]
Far West, Ltd., Halliburton, Neil Bush and Afghani Narco-Traffickers
Yasenev links Saidov, Surikov, and others to their former service in a drug-interception group in Afghanistan, under a Leonid Kosyakov who now headed a company called Far West, Ltd.:
Leonid Leonidovich Kosyakov, b. 1955, Ukrainian citizen. Until 2005 resided in Arab Emirates and Switzerland. Citizen of Ukraine. Retired from the service in May 1993. Presently the president of Far West Ltd. In 1983-85 Kosyakov was in command of a special group in Shindand (Afghanistan), assigned to intercept caravans with drugs. In different times under his direct command served Filin, Lunev, Likhvintsev, Surikov, Petrov, as well as Saidov
Yasenev also presents testimony that this group developed into what the Russians call an OPS (an Organized Criminal Society) responsible for massive drug-trafficking:
These accusations were made by the former officer of the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine Sergei Petrov (alias Serge Rodin, French citizen).
According to his testimony:
"The OPS [organized criminal society] was involved in drug trafficking since the beginning of 1990s:
-from 1995 the OPS transports heroin (produced in Afghanistan) from Tajikistan to European countries via Russia with the assistance of the Russian Defense Ministry.
- from 2000 the OPS is involved in smuggling Colombian cocaine to Russia through the seaports of Novorossiysk and St. Petersburg under the disguise of import shipments from Latin America.
Among the OPS contacts in Novorossyisk is Saidov; in St. Petersburg it used to be Roman Tsepov.
- Received profits are used for personal enrichment of the OPS leaders, the officials at the Ministry of Defense who provide them with "the roof" [protection], and for financing extremist activities."
In November of 2003, Rodin contacted the law enforcement agencies of Germany and France. Their investigation did not result in any actions against Filin, Likhvintsev, and their partners.
In January 2004, Rodin was blown up in his car in South Africa.
Yasenev's charge of a military organized crime group under Filin had been reported a year earlier by Russian journalist Nikita Kaledin:
There is a powerful military organized crime community which from 1992 through to the present has controlled substantial drug flows from Afghanistan to Russia and Europe and is also involved in laundering "dirty" money and is actively involved in Russia's political life. The community is controlled by former intelligence officers, Afghan war veterans, and now drug barons Vova Filin and Lesha Pribalt. The former lives in Switzerland, the latter in London. Both make quite frequent trips to Moscow, Dushanbe, Nazran, and Khankala....
Filin and Pribalt literally flooded Russia with heroin. The Kremlin could not tolerate this abomination any longer and ordered a mighty "Chekist raid" [i.e., ordered the FSB to shut down the operation] against the narcobarons. However, it is rumored that the raid has ended up with the agreement that the latter would 1) share their profits; 2) help in the facilitating the peaceful referendum on the constitution in Chechnya; 3) bring some order to the drug market by liquidating the leaders of ethnic criminal groups."
As if in fulfillment of the third point, Surikov in 2001 denounced the leaders of an influential Tajik heroin cartel, including the mayor of the Tajik capital, Dushanbe. (Tajiks until then had been one of the ethnic mafias who most dominated the trafficking of Afghan heroin through Russia.)
Far West, Ltd, Halliburton, Diligence LLC, New Bridge, and Neil Bush
The connection to Far West, Ltd, of Filin, Likhvinsky, Surikov, and Saidov (along with Alfonso Davidovich) has since been stunningly corroborated by a news story on the Pravda-info website about Far West, Ltd, and Kosyakov's resignation from it.
At a meeting of its stockholders on 2 May in the Hotel Ritz Carlton in Dubai "Far West Ltd." accepted the retirement of the president of the Agency Leonid Kosiakov, who moved to government service in Ukraine. Vladimir Filin, member of the Editorial Board of "Pravda-info," was elected the new president, at the same time retaining his previous position as executive director. The meeting of stockholders, in accordance with its charter, selected new members of the board of directors of "Far West Ltd.," which will now contain 9 members. Besides Vladimir Filin, Anatolii Baranov and Anton Surikov, it will include four more members if the Editorial Board of "Pravda-info": Audrius Butkevicius, Aleksei Likhvintsev, Natal'ia Roeva, and Ruslan Saidov, and also Valerii Lunev, a veteran of the Armed Forces, and Alfonso Davidovich, a political scientist from Venezuela.
Far West, the story said, specializes in consulting work on questions of security in conducting business in regions of the world with unstable environments and hiring personnel for foreign private military companies [last three words in English]. Its head office is located in Switzerland. In addition, the Agency has a network of representatives in OAE [United Arab Emirates], Afghanistan, Colombia, the autonomous region of Kosovo, the autonomous republic of Crimea, Georgia, and the Volga Federal District of the RF [Russian Federation].
Recently Filin gave Pravda.info some details about Far West's work, and revealed that the firm had been co-founded by "a sub-division of a well-known American corporation." He said that the company's new contract is connected with the secured transport of commercial shipments from Afghanistan, where we have an office, to ports on the Black Sea. In Afghanistan there is a well-known U.S. air base in Bagram. It is connected by an aerial bridge with a number of other US air bases. For example, with the largest base in Frankfurt-on-Main, that's in Germany, with an intermediary landing in Chkalovsk, in the Moscow area. But the most commercially attractive route seems to be that from Bagram to the US air base in Magas, in Kyrgyzstan. By the way, it is quite near the Russian air base in Kant. A significant flow of shipments passes through Magas, there is a niche there for commercial shipments too. This is very profitable. It is much more profitable than routing commercial shipments from Afghanistan through Tajikistan. Therefore last year we completely withdrew from all shipping through Tajikistan and closed our office in that country."
Who are your partners?
"Who our partners are is a commercial secret. I can say that they are four private firms from three countries, Turkey, Russia, and the USA,which engage among other things in shipping. One of these firms is a sub-division of a well-known American corporation. This firm is a co-founder of our agency."
We can assume that Pravda.info is an inside source for information about Far West, for the two organizations seem in fact to be two different manifestations of the same group. Among the directors of Far West on the masthead of Pravda.info we find first of all Anton Surikov, followed by Anatolii Baranov, Aleksei Likhvintsev, Ruslan Saidov, Vladimir Filin, Natal'ia Roeva, and Audrius Butkevicius.
Also on the Pravda.info masthead is Boris Kagarlitskii, who as we saw at the outset is a main source for the Western accounts of the meeting in southern France, by Patrick Cockburn, Nafeez Ahmed, and John Dunlop. Many of the Far West directors, notably Anton Surikov, are or have been also associated with Kagarlitskii at the Russian Institute for Globalization Studies (IPROG).
Although Filin and Pravda.info did not identify the foreign private military companies with which it worked, another source did:
Filin and Likhvintsev do business with foreign private military companies (PMCs):
- «Meteoric Tactical Solutions» (South Africa) – in Angola;
- «Kellogg, Brown &Root» (KBR Halliburton) – in Colombia, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Georgia, and Iraq.
- «Diligence Iraq LLC» (controlled by the Kuwaiti Mohammed as-Sagar) – in Iraq."
Their cooperation with these companies began in the end of 1994 in Angola on the initiative of Victor Bout, who was involved in the shipments of Soviet-made arms to the antigovernment group UNITA in exchange to raw diamonds. Apparently, Bout became interested in Likhvintsev's contacts (L. worked in Angola in 1986-87).
Later, in October of 1998, Filin, Likhvintsev's wife Liudmila Rozkina (b. 1966) and Anton Surikov (at that time he worked in the Russian government) established the company Far West Ltd., with the office in Lausanne, which officially does security consulting for business ventures in countries with unstable regimes. De facto, this is a legalized form of recruiting mercenaries for PMCs.
Furthermore Yasenev claims that some of Far West's work with Halliburton is apparently approved by the CIA for geopolitical purposes:
In 2003-2004, Filin and Likhvintsev worked on the Georgian project, financed by KBR Halliburton, apparently, with the approval of the CIA. The project had the goal of weakening the competitors of Halliburton in the oil business and, in a broader context, of facilitating the geopolitical objectives of the United States in the Caucasus. The OPS man in Georgia is Audrius Butkevicius, former Lithuanian minister of defense, presently advisor to Badri Patarkatsishvili.
Diligence LLC, a private military company (PMC), could be described as a CIA spin-off:
Diligence was founded by William Webster, the only man to head both the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Mike Baker, its chief executive officer, spent 14 years at the CIA as a covert field operations officer specializing in counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations. Whitley Bruner, its chief operating officer in Baghdad, was once the CIA station chief in Iraq.
Its partner in Diligence Middle East (DME) is New Bridge Strategies, whose political clout was described by the Financial Times:
New Bridge was established in May  and came to public attention because of the Republican heavyweights on its board – most linked to one or other Bush administration [officials] or to the family itself. Those include Joe Allbaugh, George W. Bush's presidential campaign manager, and Ed Rogers and Lanny Griffith, former George H.W. Bush aids.
Joe Allbaugh, the co-chairman of the company, was also head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), on the day of the 9/11 attacks, and indeed until March 2003, the month that the U.S. invaded Iraq.
The Financial Times wrote that the success of New Bridge in securing contracts had to do with their relationship to Neil Bush, the President's brother:
Two businessmen instrumental in setting up New Bridge Strategies, a well-connected Washington firm designed to help clients win contracts in Iraq, have previously used an association with the younger brother of President George W. Bush to seek business in the Middle East, an FT investigation has found.
John Howland, the company president, and Jamal Daniel, a principal, have maintained an important business relationship with Neil Bush stretching back several years. In Mr Daniel's case, the relationship spans more than a decade, with his French office arranging a trip for Mr Bush's family to Disneyland Paris in 1992, while his father, George H.W.Bush, was president.
On several occasions, the two have attempted to exploit their association with the president's brother to help win business and investors.
Three people contacted by the FT have seen letters written by Neil Bush recommending business ventures promoted by Mr Howland, Mr Daniel and his family in the Middle East. Mr Daniel has also had his photograph taken with the elder Mr Bush. Such letters and photographs can be valuable props when doing business in the Middle East.
Mr Daniel's Houston investment fund, Crest Investment Corporation, employs Neil Bush as co-chairman. Crest Investment also helped fund Neil Bush's Ignite!, an educational software company. Mr Daniel sometimes introduces himself as a founding backer of Mr Bush's company, a Middle-Eastern businessman who has met him said, and has persuaded the families of prominent leaders in the region to invest.
Until recently, news stories about the international backers for Neil Bush's firm Ignite! have focused on Taiwanese businessmen, and Middle East billionaires, such as Defense Minister and Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum. But it was a surprise to learn in September 2005 that "Exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky was in Riga along with Neil Bush, the brother of the U.S. president, to discuss an educational project with Latvian businessmen." In an interview with Interfax, "Berezovsky pointed out that he is one of the shareholders of Ignite! Inc., an educational software company. U.S. President George W. Bush's brother Neil Bush is the company's chairman and chief executive."
The U.S. Contribution to the Afghan-Kosovo Drug Traffic
Much remains to be learned about Far West, Ltd., its personnel, and the American firm which co-founded it. Reportedly it was founded in 1998; and already had Surikov and Saidov as directors when they attended the meeting in Khashoggi's villa in July 1999.
I suspect myself that the meeting did indeed have to do with destabilizing Russia, as Dunlop claimed. But I believe also that the group at the meeting was more concerned with facilitating drug-trafficking than with strengthening the Kremlin. I believe further that they also discussed the Russian presence in Kosovo, and the imminent increase in the flow of Afghan drugs through Kosovo.
That this flow is huge has been attested to by many observers. Russian sources estimate that from 1991 to 2003 the same group shipped to Western Europe up to 300 tons of heroin and sold it to wholesale buyers of Kosovo Albanian nationality. In the same period they sold up to 60 tons of heroin to Azeri and Roma (gypsy) wholesalers in the Volga and the Urals Federal Districts of Russia. The group's total receipts for heroin in 1991-2003 are estimated to be $5 billion.
The chief narco-baron of the group is said to be Vladimir Filin, who is also the head of Far West. Here is a relevant interview Filin afforded to his colleague Alexander Nagorny at Filin's own alternate organization, Pravda.info:
There have been reports in mass media about the involvement of the U.S. military in Afghanistan in drug trafficking. I asked the well-known political scientist and specialist on organized crime Vladimir Filin to comment on this.
-Vladimir Ilyich, is it true that Americans are involved in drug business?
-Yes, they are in ideal situation for this. They control the Bagram airfield from where the Air Force transport planes fly to a U.S. military base in Germany. In the last two years this base became the largest transit hub for moving Afghan heroin to other US bases and installations in Europe. Much of it goes to Kosovo in the former Yugoslavia. From there the Kosovo Albanian mafia moves heroin back to Germany and other EU countries.
-Why such a complex arrangement?
Drug traffickers enjoy relative safety in military bases. There is no serious control there. German police cannot work there. However, outside of military bases German law-enforcement is in effect. True, any police can be bought. But the level of corruption in Germany is not as high as, say, in Russia. This is why it is more convenient for Americans to establish distribution centers in other places. I believe that, in time, such centers will move to their military installations in Poznan, Poland, and also in Romania and Bulgaria. Poland is already a EU member. Romania and Bulgaria are expected to be in 2007. Corruption in these countries is almost as high as in Russia.
-How big is American drug traffic to Europe and who is behind it?
-About 15-20 tons of heroin a year. When Poznan become open, I think it could rise to 50, even 70 tons. Behind this business are the CIA and the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency). Actually, this is what they did already in Indochina in the 1960s-70s and in Central America in the 1980s.
Under the circumstances I consider Filin to be no more reliable than his opposite number, Joseph D. Douglass, the author of Red Cocaine: The Drugging of America and the West. But legitimate questions abound as to why the USA empowered the KLA to take over Kosovo.
I will close with a question I have raised before. One has to ask why in 2004 some U.S. bureaucratic sectors in the Bush Administration were still using the KLA's very special background to deal with the difficult situation in Haiti:
In 2004 a USAID Report confirmed that "Training and management specialists of the Kosovo Protection Corps, a civilian response unit consisting primarily of former Kosovo Liberation Army members, have been brought to Haiti"
Why would AID bring veterans of the Kosovo Liberation Army, "a major force in international organized crime, moving staggering amounts of narcotics." to train and manage the Haitian Army, an organization traditionally "corrupted by Colombian cocaine kingpins"?
Whatever the answer, it is hard to imagine that AID in 2004 did not have drugs somehow in mind.
 Pravda.ru, 7/30/01. Surikov's accusation was noted by Maureen Orth in the March 2002 issue of Vanity Fair: "To find out, I track down in Moscow the only Russian official who has spoken on the record about this issue. Dr. Anton V. Surikov is chief staff of the Committee of Industry, Construction, and High Technology in the Russian parliament. Last spring he told the Moscow News that the mayor of Dushanbe was a major drug dealer. That interview precipitated not only a denial from the mayor but also, according to Surikov, a demand that the Tajik journalist the mayor erroneously believed was Surikov's source be arrested." In the same interview, Surikov also noted that, "as early as the mid-90s, the Russians were`buying heroin and transporting it from the northern part of Afghanistan to Russian military bases in Tajikistan by truck and helicopter.'"
 According to Yasenev, "Lunev is responsible for security and `strong arm operations'. For his operations he hires the former and active duty officers of Russian secret services, including spetsnaz. In 1990-91 Lunev took part in overthrowing the regime of Zviad Gamsahurdia in Georgia." Lunev thus helped install Shevardnadze, who in 1991 supported Yeltsin against Gorbachev.
Анатолий Баранов и Антон Суриков вошли в состав руководства агентства «FarWestLtd» - 2005.05.03.
 Those in both organizations are Anton Surikov, Vladimir Filin, Ruslan Saidov, Anatolii Baranov, Audrius Butkevicius, and Natalia Roeva. This list differs from the paravda.info list only in the omission of Likhvintsev.
For Bout's involvement with blood diamonds, and the US failure to deal with this problem, see Douglas Farah, Blood from Stones: The Secret Financial Network of Terror (New York: Broadway Books, 2004), especially 44: "Intelligence officials say Bout [following 9/11] flew U.S. clandestine operatives into Afghanistan and badly needed ammunition and other supplies to the Northern Alliance. In exchange, they said, his past activities would be ignored." For more on Bout see Nick Kochan, The Washing Machine: How Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Soils Us (Mason, OH: Thomson, 2005), 36-61.
Cf. Robert Baer, Sleeping with the Devil (New York: Crown, 2003), 15: "In the early 1990s, Osama bin Laden's main supply sergeant was Victor Bout, a former Russian military officer who had served in Angola, where he got involved in arms trafficking and oil. ...Bout had a reputation for delivering anything, anywhere, including the nasty stuff."
 Georgian tycoon, close associate of Boris Berezovskii. Cf. Klebnikov, Godfather of the Kremlin, 262: "Often Berezovskii acted in Chechnya through Badri Patarkatsishvili, the Logovaz partner who, according to the Russian security services, had long served as the company's primary intermediary with organized crime groups." Klebnikov reports (161, cf. 331) that Moscow police heard in early 1995 from a gangster that "he had been approached by Berezovsky's aide, Badri, with a contract for Listyev's assassination." (In February 1995 Listyev, the director of Russia's most important TV network ORT, was shot dead in his apartment building.)
 Diligence, LLC Press Release 12/8/03, http://www.diligencellc.com/DME_announce.html.
http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=9375. "Mr Daniel's Houston investment fund, Crest Investment Corporation, employs Neil Bush as co-chairman." Ed Rogers, Diligence's vice chairman, was one of George H.W. Bush's top assistants when he was US president. On resigning from the White House, he negotiated a lucrative contract to act as lobbyist for the former Saudi intelligence chief and BCCI front man Kamal Adham, at a time when American and British prosecutors were preparing criminal cases against him. Rogers used Khashoggi as a go-between to secure the contract, which was canceled after White House criticism of it (Truell and Gurwin, False Profits, 362-64).
 Interfax, 9/21/05. Cf. http://www.mosnews.com/news/2005/09/22/berezovskyriga.shtml: "Berezovsky is meeting Neil Bush on business, as the U.S. president's brother is a stockholder of Berezovsky's educational company Ignite, the spokesperson [for Belokon Holding] said."
 Alexander Nagorny "Narcobarons from the CIA and MI-6" Pravda-info 2004.09.13 http://www.pravda.info/kompromat/1203.html.
59 Anthony Fenton, "Kosovo Liberation Army helps establish `Protectorate' in Haiti," citing Flashpoints interview, 11/19/04, www.flashpoints.net). Cf. Anthony Fenton, "Canada in Haiti: Humanitarian Extermination," CMAQ.net, 12/8/04; http://www.cmaq.net/fr/node.php?id=19240.
US Government, Meta Group, and Global Terror
How the U.S. Restored Narco-Barons to Power in Afghanistan, 2001
It is clear that the Blair and Bush Administrations did have drugs in mind when in 2001 they developed a strategy for ousting the Taliban in Afghanistan. Their plans focused chiefly on Ahmad Shah Massoud, overcoming the long-time resistance in Washington to supporting this known drug trafficker.
Massoud of course was also the most successful guerrilla opponent of the Taliban. A more naked example of a U.S. drug ally was Haji Zaman in Jalalabad.
When the Taliban claimed Jalalabad...Zaman had fled Afghanistan for a leisurely life in Dijon, France. Just a few years at the top of the heroin trade in Jalalabad had given "Mr. Ten Percent" a ticket to just about any destination he could have chosen. In late September 2001, British and American officials, keen to build up an opposition core to take back the country from the Taliban, met with and persuaded Zaman to return to Afghanistan.
The informed Indian observer B. Raman was outspoken about the U.S. use of narcobarons to oust the Taliban. Citing the subsequent failure to curb opium production, he wrote:
There are disturbing reports from reliable sources in Afghanistan that this marked lack of success in the heroin front is due to the fact that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the USA, which encouraged these heroin barons during the Afghan war of the 1980s in order to spread heroin-addiction amongst the Soviet troops, is now using them in its search for bin Laden and other surviving leaders of the Al Qaeda, by taking advantage of their local knowledge and contacts. These Pakistani heroin barons and their Afghan lieutenants are reported to have played an important role in facilitating the induction of Hamid Karzai into the Pashtun areas to counter the Taliban in November, 2001. It is alleged that in return for the services rendered by them, the USA has turned a blind eye to their heroin refineries and reserves.
A third major narcobaron selected by the CIA, according to Raman, was Haji Abdul Qadeer.
Haji Abdul Qadeer was the CIA's choice [in 2001] as the Governor of the Nangarhar province in which Jalalabad is located. .... During the first Afghan war against the Soviet troops in the 1980s, he played an active role under the control of the CIA and the Directorate-General For External Security (DGES), the French external intelligence agency, in organizing the heroin trail to the Soviet troops from the heroin refineries of Pakistan owned by Haji Ayub Afridi, the Pakistani narcotics baron, who was a prized operative of the CIA in the 1980s. Abdul Qadeer and Afridi became very close associates in running this drug trade with the blessings of the CIA. Amongst others who were associated with this trade were Haji Mohammed Zaman and Hazrat Ali.
If Raman is correct, therefore, the CIA not only blessed but controlled the flow of drugs from Afridi, Zaman, and Abdul Qadeer into the hands of Soviet troops like Vladimir Filin and Aleksei Likhvintsev.
IV. The Meta-Group, the War on Terror, and 9/11
U.S. Geostrategic Goals and Chechnya
In the 1980s CIA Director William Casey used narcotics to achieve two goals, the immediate goal of weakening the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and the long-term goal of financing Islamist resistance to break up the Soviet Union. According to the partisan but well-informed observer Yossef Bodansky, Director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, the U.S. still pursues the goal of weakening destabilizing Russia.
As if reliving the "good ol' days" of Afghanistan of the 1980s, Washington is once again seeking to support and empower the most virulent anti-Western Islamist forces. The US crossed the line in mid-December 1999, when US officials participated in a formal meeting in Azerbaijan in which specific programs for the training and equipping of mujahedin from the Caucasus, Central/South Asia and the Arab world were discussed and agreed upon. This meeting led to Washington's tacit encouragement of both Muslim allies (mainly Turkey, Jordan and Saudi Arabia) and US "private security companies" (of the type which did the Clinton Administration's dirty job in the Balkans while skirting and violating the international embargo the US formally supported) to assist the Chechens and their Islamist allies to surge in the Spring of 2000 and sustain the ensuing jihad for a long time.
Washington's motivation is oil pipeline politics and the economy. Essentially, Washington is determined to deprive Russia of a viable pipeline route through spiraling violence and terrorism, the political fallout of media accusations of Russian war crimes. In the calculations of the Clinton Administration, a US-assisted escalation and expansion of the war in Chechnya should deliver the desired debilitation of Russia.
The Clinton Administration believes that the spiraling violence in the Caucasus will scare Western investors and oil buyers from making deals with Russia. Meanwhile, with the sudden US attempted rapprochement with Iran, the Clinton Administration is heralding the Azerbaijani southern route (with a little detour in Iran) as seemingly feasible. And so, in the Summer of 2000, the Clinton Administration keeps fanning the flames of the Islamist jihad in the Caucasus through covert assistance, tacit encouragement of allies to actively support the mujahedin, as well as the orchestrating of an intense media campaign against Russia and its conduct in Chechnya.
The Caucasian Common Market project of Khashoggi, Lord McAlpine, and James Baker, can be seen as contributing to this goal. While these western investors may have sought profits as the result of their investment, they were perhaps more anxious to see the reduction of Russian influence, thus providing a more secure environment for the new Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline which western oil companies count on to deliver oil from the Caspian Basin to the Mediterranean.
As the State Department noted in 2005, the involvement of U.S. firms in the development and export of Azerbaijani oil is key to our objectives of diversifying world oil supplies, providing a solid base for the regional economy, and promoting U.S. energy security.
The Bush Administration committed an estimated $1.5 billion to the Caspian basin area, including an $11 million program to train a "pipeline protection battalion" for the special Georgian unit created to protect the Georgian section of the BTC pipeline.
The Meta-Group's Geostrategic Goal: Maintain the War of Terror
The fact that the United States will use drug traffickers as geostrategic assets does not at all mean that Washington and the traffickers will necessarily have the same agendas. In theory at least, the contrary should be true. Although the United States may have used known traffickers like Zaman and Qadir to regain access to Afghanistan, its stated ultimate goal, and the one assumed by the mainstream media, was to reimpose its own kind of order. Whether the country is Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Colombia, or Kosovo, America's national interest is said to be to install and then protect pipelines. And pipelines require peace and security.
The prime geostrategic goal of the drug traffic in Afghanistan is precisely to prevent peace and security from happening. It is true that the international illicit drug industry, like the international oil industry, is polymorphous and flexible, relying on diversified sources and markets for its products in order to maintain its global dominance. But for the global drug traffic to prosper, there must always be key growing areas where there is ongoing violence, and state order does not prevail.
However, in speaking above of America's stated national interest, I do not assume that a U.S. government will always represent that national interest. Something else has happened in recent decades, the growth of the drug trade to the point that it now represents a significant portion of national and international wealth. And it has to be said that the American free enterprise system, like every other dominant political system in a current nation with world pretensions, will tend above all to represent the interests of the wealthy.
Thus Bush Administration policies cannot be assumed to reflect the national goals of peace and security, as outlined above. On the contrary, its shocking underfunding of Afghanistan's recovery, like its complex and destabilizing interventions in Georgia, suggest that it, as much as the drug traffic, hopes to utilize instability – as a pretext for maintaining unstable U.S. bases in countries like Uzbekistan, whose people eventually will more and more object to them. These policies can be said to favor the interests of the drug traffic more than the interests of security and orderly development.
A test of the Bush Administration's true intentions in the War on Terror came as early as November 2001. The Americans had learned, correctly, that Osama bin Laden was holed up in the caves of Tora Bora. While storming the caves was a difficult military challenge, surrounding and isolating them was well within the capacity of U.S. military strength. However General Franks, the United States commander, entrusted the task of capturing bin Laden to two local commanders: Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman.
As we have seen, Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman were not only drug lords, they were earlier part of the 1980s heroin trail to Soviet troops that had been organized "with the blessings of the CIA." Thus the U.S. could hardly plead ignorance as to these men's activities and interests, which clearly involved making sure that the writ of Kabul would never extend to their own Nangahar Province. For the drug trade to thrive in Afghanistan, it was necessary that the influence of Osama and the Taliban be preserved, not extinguished.
The folly of using Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman was brought to Franks' attention at the time:
Military and intelligence officials had warned Franks and others that the two main Afghan commanders, Hazrat Ali and Haji Zaman, couldn't be trusted, and they proved to be correct. They were slow to move their troops into place and didn't attack until four days after American planes began bombing – leaving time for al-Qaida leaders to escape and leaving behind a rear guard of Arab, Chechen and Uzbek fighters.
The failure to use U.S. troops cannot be attributed to the motive of appeasing local sentiments:
Pir Baksh Bardiwal, the intelligence chief for the Eastern Shura, said that he would welcome a massive influx of U.S. troops. He believed that the Pentagon planners were making a grave mistake by not surrounding Tora Bora.
A U.S. journalist who was there, Philip Smucker, claims that the treachery of the local commanders went beyond their slowness to surround Tora Bora. He describes hearing how one lower level commander whom Ali had assigned to guard the Pakistani border, had acted as an outright escort for al Qaeda.... "Ilyas Khel just showed the Arabs the way out of the country into Pakistan".....That Ali had entrusted [Khel, who had once served under the military commander of Osama's friend Younis Khalis] suggested to us that the escapes were part of a much broader conspiracy to assist al Qaeda right through to the end.
How high up did this conspiracy go? Certainly Ali's failure to capture Osama could have been and was predicted. But if capturing Osama was indeed the U.S. goal (as announced at the time by Colin Powell), the real question is why the task was not entrusted to U.S. troops.
In the wake of 9/11, Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI translator, has claimed to possess information linking the American 9/11, and much else, to massive drug-trafficking which has corrupted high level U.S. officials. Among other things, she has claimed that the U.S. has never gone after top-level drug traffickers, because this would upset "certain foreign relations." But it would also expose certain of our elected officials, who have significant connections with high-level drugs- and weapons-smuggling – and thus with the criminal underground, even with the terrorists themselves.....
After Ms. Edmonds reported improprieties to her FBI employers, she was fired. She has appealed her firing, but the Bush administration has invoked the unusual claim of the "state-secrets privilege" to prevent the lawsuits she has filed from being heard in court. At this point we know little more than that what concerned her involved arms-dealing, drug-trafficking, and Turkey.
It is I think a matter of national priority to learn more about the American links to Far West, Ltd., the group accused of staging the Russian 9/11. It is a matter of more than purely historic interest to learn if that group's Islamist and American connections could have supplied a meeting-ground for staging the American 9/11 as well.
For at present America faces in Afghanistan, what Russia faces in Chechnya, a war which is favorable to drug trafficking but increasingly deleterious to national well-being. The Bush Administration continues to use 9/11 to sell its Asian adventures to the American people. Meanwhile elements profiting from the flow of Afghan drugs continue to grow stronger and more dangerous to the well-being of both countries.
Concluding Question: The Meta-Group and the United States Government
It seems clear that the meta-group, with its influential connections on at least three continents, was powerful enough to effect changes, through the Russian 9/11, in Russian history. The question arises whether they could similarly effect changes in American history as well.
As we have seen Russian sources claim that the U.S. Government has had access to he meta-group, for such especially sensitive projects as the assassination of Abu al Walid al-Hamadi. They claim the meta-group's involvement in a number of U.S.-sponsored regime changes in eastern Europe, from the overthrow of Ceausescu in Romania to the recent deposition of Shevardnadze in Georgia. The Wall Street Journal attributed the latter to the work of "a raft of non-governmental organizations . . . supported by American and other Western foundations." One of these was the Albert Einstein Institution, funded by both the NED and the Soros foundations, which helped to create the dissident youth movement Kmara in Georgia. Audrius Butkevicius, the meta-group member now resident in Georgia, is said to be closely connected with the Albert Einstein Institution.
To this we should possibly add the so-called tulip revolution in March 2005 that ousted long-time leader Askar Akayev in Kyrgyzstan, (It was after this event that Far West opened its office in Kyrgyzstan.) Nagorny claims that the coup was organized by British intelligence and Chechens in Istanbul, with the "technical assistance" of Americans. Since then the heroin traffic through Kyrgyzstan has allegedly almost trebled.
Returning to a question raised earlier, it also seems possible that the U.S. government might contemplate using Hizb ut-Tahrir and the meta-group for political changes in Russia itself, even while combating the Islamism of al-Qaeda elsewhere. This would be far from the first time that the U.S. Government had used drug-trafficking proxies as assets, and would do a lot to explain the role of the U.S. in 2001 in restoring major drug traffickers to power in Afghanistan. Dubious figures like Nukhaev, Khodorkovskii, and Khashoggi have already shown their interest in such initiatives; and western business interests have shown their eagerness to work with these allies of the meta-group.
It is fitting to think of most U.S. intelligence assets as chess pieces, moved at the whim of their controllers. That is however not an apt metaphor for the meta-group, which clearly has the resources to negotiate and to exert its own influence interactively upon the governments it works with.
Since first hearing about the meta-group's role in the Russian 9/11, I have pondered the question whether it could have played a similar role in the American 9/11 as well. At this point I have to say that I have found no persuasive evidence that would prove its involvement. The fact remains that two informed and credible witnesses, Sibell Edmonds and Indira Singh, have spoken independently of the importance of international drug trafficking in the background of 9/11.
The Bush Administration has paid Sibell Edmonds the tribute of silencing her on the grounds of national interest. She has nonetheless made it clear that what she would talk about concerns that part of the world where the meta-group has influence:
SE [Sibell Edmonds]: It's interesting, in one of my interviews, they say "Turkish countries," but I believe they meant Turkic countries – that is, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and all the 'Stans, including Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and [non-Turkic countries like] Afghanistan and Pakistan. All of these countries play a big part in the sort of things I have been talking about.
CD [Chris Deliso]: What, you mean drug-smuggling?
Indira Singh, who lost her high-tech job at J.P. Morgan after telling the FBI about Ptech and 9/11, was even more dramatic in her public testimony at a Canadian event:
The False Dilemmas of 9/11 Theories
I said earlier that by suppressing awareness of the role of drug-trafficking in our society, we give drug traffickers a de facto franchise to exert political influence without criticism or opposition. An example of this is the discussion of 9/11 in America, which usually fails to consider the meta-group among the list of possible suspects.
I have tried to suggest in this paper that in fact the meta-group had both motive – to restore the Afghan opium harvest and increase instability and chaos along the trade routes through Central Asia – and opportunity – to utilize its contacts with both al-Zawahiri in al Qaeda and the CIA in Washington. It is furthermore the best candidate to explain one of the more difficult anomalies (or indeed paradoxes) of the clues surrounding 9/11: that many of the clues lead in the direction of Saudi Arabia, but some lead also in a very different direction, towards Israel.
Here it is worth quoting again the well-informed remark of a Washington insider about the meta-group's predecessor, BCCI: "Who else could wire something together to Saudi Arabia, China, Israel, and the U.S.?" The current meta-group fills the same bill, for it unites supporters of Muslim Salafism (Saidov) with at least one Israeli citizen (Kosman).
The meta-group's involvement in the Russian 9/11 of course does nothing to prove its involvement in the American one. However awareness of its presence – as an unrecognized Force X operating in the world – makes previous discussions of 9/11 seem curiously limited. Again and again questions of responsibility have been unthinkingly limited to false dilemmas in which the possible involvement of this or any other Force X is excluded.
An early example is Michael Moore's naïve question to President Bush in Dude, Where's My Country: "Who attacked the United States on September 11 – a guy on dialysis from a cave in Afghanistan, or your friends, Saudi Arabia?" A far more widespread dilemma is that articulated by David Ray Griffin in his searching critique of the 9/11 Commission Report:
There are two basic theories about 9/11. Each of these theories is a "conspiracy theory." One of these is the official conspiracy theory, according to which the attacks of 9/11 were planned and executed solely by al-Qaeda terrorists under the guidance of Osama bin Laden....Opposing this official theory is the [sic] alternative conspiracy theory, which holds that the attacks of 9/11 were able to succeed only because they were facilitated by the Bush administration and its agencies.
Griffin of course is not consciously excluding a third possible theory – that a Force X was responsible. But his failure to acknowledge this possibility is an example of the almost universal cultural denial I referred to earlier. In America few are likely to conceive of the possibility that a force in contact with the U.S. government could be not just an asset, but a force exerting influence on that government.
My personal suggestion to 9/11 researchers is that they focus on the connections of the meta-group's firm Far West, Ltd. – in particular those which lead to Khashoggi, Berezovskii, Halliburton and Dick Cheney, and Diligence, Joe Allbaugh, and Neil Bush.
Leonid Leonidovich Kosyakov, b. 1955, Ukrainian citizen. Until 2005 resided in Dubai and Switzerland. '83-'85 - in command of a special GRU group in Shindand, West. Afghanistan, assigned to intercept caravans with drugs. In different times under his command served Filin, Lunev, Likhvintsev, Surikov, Saidov, and Petrov. Ret. in '93. Owns big travel company in Dubai. In the spring of 2005 was appointed to general's position in Ukrainian military intelligence (GUR) and stepped down as the official president of Far West Ltd.
Vladimir "Ilyich" Filin, b. 1960, Kiev, Ukraine. Ukrainian. Doctor of sciences (1982). In '83-84 served in a special unit of GRU in Western Afghanistan, assigned to intercept caravans with drugs. In 1993 retired from GRU in the rank of Lt.-Colonel. A British citizen since 2000. In 2004 Filin was listed as political scientist and expert on "revolutionary and guerilla movements in the developing world" at IPROG, the Moscow Institute for Globalization Studies.
Anatoly Baranov. Journalist. Under Masliukov-Primakov cabinet served as public relations executive director, Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG. In 2002 bought forum.msk.ru. Owner of Pravda-info. 2003 - Press secretary to the deputy prime minister Alyoshin (military-industrial complex). "Coordinator of media projects" at IPROG.
Audrius Butkevicius, Lithuanian. Presently resides in Georgia. Former Lithuanian minister of defense. Sentenced for bribery. Has close ties with Albert Einstein Institution. Member of Far West Ltd. board of directors and the editorial board of Pravda.info. '94 - visiting scholar at Centre for Defence Studies at King's College London (together with Anton Surikov and Igor Sutyagin, now in prison for espionage).
Alfonso Davidovich Ochoa (b. 1948), Venezuelan, resides in Munich, Germany. Has German and Venezuelan citizenship. In the 1970s went through special training in the USSR and East Germany. Was close to the Cuban General Arnaldo Ochoa Sanchez. In the past used passports in the names of Jose Rodriguez, Captain of the Cuban Army, and Jose Alva, Colombian citizen. Responsible for FWL office in Bogotá.
Alexei Likhvintsev ("Abdulla," "Pribalt"), b. 1959, Lviv, Ukraine. Ukrainian. British citizen (2000), resides in Britain (Scotland?). '84-85 special GRU unit based in Shindand, West. Afghanistan). Nov '87-Jan '89 - military advisor in Angola. 90'-'93 - together with Filin on assignment to sell the property of the Soviet Army in East Germany, did business with Kosovo Albanian companies. '93.
Valery Nikolaevich Lunev (b. 1960, Belorussia). Belorussian. '83-84 - special GRU unit based in Shindand, West. Afghanistan. Married to Dzhokhar Dudaev's relative Fatima (b. 1970). Retired from the military in March of 1995. Lunev is responsible for security and "strong arm operations". For his operations he hires the former and active duty officers of Russian secret services, including spetsnaz. Resides in the Netherlands, has Dutch citizenship. In 1990-91 Lunev took part in overthrowing the regime of Zviad Gamsahurdia in Georgia. Has extensive contacts in Tajikistan.
Ruslan Shamilievich Saidov (b. 1960, city of Khasavyurt, Dagestan). Avar Chechen-Spanish. Has Turkish passport in the name of Hungar (?) Mehmet and passport of Arab Emirates. '83-84 - special GRU unit based in Shindand, West. Afghanistan. Later, assignments in Lebanon and Syria. Ret. Major of GRU '93. Resides in Turkey since '95 and in Dubai. Advisor to Necmettin Erbakan - '96. Business partner of the Islamic Bank of Dubai and Habib Bank. Since mid-90s Saidov formed stable relations with the Saudi businessman Adnan Hashoggi, Prince Turki al-Faisal and Prince Na'f. Close to Basaev and Khattab.
Anton Victorovich Surikov , "Mansur" (Ancestral name: Mansur Ali-Hadzhi Natkhoev), b. 1961, Sukhimi, Georgia, USSR. Ethnic Adygei. Son of a leading figure in the Soviet military-industrial establishment. Resides in Moscow. Has Turkish and, possibly, US citizenship. Doctor of sciences. '84-served in a special GRU unit, based in Shindand, West. Afghanistan). '90-96 - Institute of USA and Canada. '92 - 93 - deputy of the Abkhazian minister of defense, makes friends with Shamil Basaev, commander of the special battalion trained by GRU. '94 - visiting scholar at the Center for Defense Studies, King's College London. '96 - ret. Colonel. Also on IPROG staff.
Yakov Abramovich Kosman (b. 1946), resides in Nice, France. Has German and, possibly, Israeli citizenship. Involved in real estate operations and banking. Has contacts with Kosovo Albanian criminal societies in European countries. In 1997-2000 he served as financial consultant to Hashim Thaçi, the chief commander of KLA. The new president of Far West, Ltd.
 Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (New York: Penguin Press, 2004), 536: "Massoud was a drug trafficker." Cf. 345, 430, 458, 516, 519.
 Philip Smucker, Al Qaeda's Great Escape: The Military and the Media on Terror's Trail (Washington: Brassey's, 2004), 9. Ironically, this decision by British and American officials (the latter almost certainly CIA) may have contributed to bin Laden's escape from Tora Bora in December 2001. Cf. CNN, 12/29/01: "Abdullah Tawheedi, a deputy head of intelligence in Afghanistan, says he has received `reliable information' that the terrorist leader paid a `large amount' of money to buy his way out of Afghanistan. Tawheedi named Haji Zaman -- a well-known independent military commander -- as the man responsible for taking bin Laden across the border to Pakistan. Ironically, Haji Zaman had recently been fighting against bin Laden and his al Qaeda organization. But Tawheedi says he believes Haji Zaman was apparently persuaded -- by money -- to help the terrorist leader."
B. Raman, "Assassination of Haji Abdul Qadeer in Kabul," South Asia Analysis Group, Paper No. 489, www.saag.org/papers5/paper489.html: "11.With an Afghan passport, Afridi, a Pakistani national belonging to the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), voluntarily traveled to Dubai , where he allegedly negotiated with American authorities the terms of his voluntary surrender and from there he boarded a cargo flight to the US in December 1995 to hand himself over to the US drug control authorities. He was sentenced to three and a half year's imprisonment. After serving his sentence, he returned to Pakistan in August,1999. He was arrested by the Pakistani drug control authorities and prosecuted in a drug smuggling case pending against him. The court sentenced him to seven years imprisonment in the middle of 2001. Hardly had he started his sentence in a Karachi jail, when he was got released by the ISI, reportedly at the request of the CIA, after the war against the Taliban and the Al Qaeda had started on October 7, 2001, and allowed to proceed to his home in the Khyber Agency." Cf. Asia Times Online, 12/4/01; Peter Dale Scott, "Pre-1990 Drug Networks Being Restored Under New Coalition?" http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~pdscott/qf5.html.
 A possible explanation for the release and recruitment of major traffickers in 2001 would be the desire to combat the influence in the traffic of narco-barons who supported the Taliban, such as Bashir Noorzai and Juma Khan. The fact remains that the Taliban had effectively suppressed the planting of opium, a major event in drug suppression that has now been completely reversed by the U.S. invasion.
 Yossef Bodansky, "The Great Game for OIL," Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy, June-July 2000, pp. 4-10, http://news.suc.org/bydate/2000/Sep_28/11.html. Kagarlitsky's article itself can be seen as an important part of this campaign.
 U.S. Department of State, Congressional Budget Justification: Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year 2005, 363; quoted in Michael T. Klare, Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Petroleum Dependency (New York: Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt, 2004), 137.
Christopher Deliso, "The Stakes Are Too High for Us to Stop Fighting Now," interview with Sibel Edmonds, http://antiwar.com/deliso/. For a survey of the Sibel Edmonds story, see David Rose, "An Inconvenient Patriot," Vanity Fair, September 2005: "Much of what Edmonds reportedly heard seemed to concern not state espionage but criminal activity. There was talk, she told investigators, of laundering the profits of large-scale drug deals and of selling classified military technologies to the highest bidder."
 The Iraq War is also beneficial to the drug traffic. See the following story from the Balochistan Post, quoting the London Independent: ""BAGHDAD: The city, which had never seen heroin, a deadly addictive drug, until March 2003, is now flooded with narcotics including heroin. According to a report published by London's The Independent newspaper, the citizens of Baghdad complained that the drugs like heroin and cocaine were being peddled on the streets of the Iraqi metropolis. Some reports suggest that the drug and arms trafficking is patronized by the CIA to finance its covert operations worldwide."
 "In June 1992, independent Lithuanian Minister of Defense, Audrius Butkevicius, hosted a symposium to thank the Albert Einstein Institution's key role during the independence process of the Baltic countries" (Thierry Meyssan," The Albert Einstein Institution: non-violence according to the CIA," http://www.voltairenet.org/article30032.html). Cf. Paul Labarique : «Les dessous du coup d'État en Géorgie», text in French, Voltaire, January 7, 2004.
 Saidov, in his own words, was in Andijan at the time of the subsequent turmoil in the Uzbek Fergana Valley, which straddles the drug route through the Kyrgyz town of Osh: "`In May 11-18 I was in Uzbekistan, in the Fergana Valley, where I witnessed the suppression of the people's uprising in Andijan by the dictatorial regime of Islam Karimov,' - says the Dagestani historian Ruslan Saidov" (http://www.muslimuzbekistan.com/rus/rusnews/2005/05/rusnews30052005_5.html).
 Khashoggi is perhaps the most famous example of a Saudi-Israel connection. One of the few in the United States who has dared to discuss the 9/11 clues pointing towards Israel is Michael C. Ruppert, Crossing the Rubicon: The Decline of the American Empire at the End of the Age of Oil (Gabriola Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2004), 259-68, 578-79.
Peter Dale Scott, a former Canadian diplomat and English Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is a poet, writer, and researcher. He was born in Montreal in 1929, the only son of the poet F.R. Scott and the painter Marian Scott. He is married to Ronna Kabatznick; and he has three children, Cassie, Mika, and John, by a previous marriage to Maylie Marshall.
His prose books include The War Conspiracy (1972), The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond (in collaboration, 1976), Crime and Cover-Up: The CIA, the Mafia, and the Dallas-Watergate Connection (1977), The Iran-Contra Connection (in collaboration, 1987), Cocaine Politics: Drugs, Armies, and the CIA in Central America (in collaboration, 1991, 1998), Deep Politics and the Death of JFK (1993, 1996), Deep Politics Two (from JFKLancer, 1995), and Drugs Oil and War (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, March 2003)
An anti-war speaker during the Vietnam and Gulf Wars, he was a co-founder of the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at UC Berkeley, and of the Coalition on Political Assassinations (COPA).
Peter Dale Scott's last book was Drugs, Oil, and War (2003). For the past three years he has been living in Berkeley and Thailand, while writing a book on oil, drugs, and 9/11. His website contains much more of his investigative reporting and biographical information.