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Chechens and American Hawks, an Interesting Alliance

In an important column, [1] Justin Raimondo explores further the Chechen connection, which is not only the path to the older Tsarnaev brother’s radicalization but a Cold War leftover inside the Beltway and a cause dear to many neoconservatives. Because the Chechens are anti-Russian, they have many friends in Washington. Enough perhaps to influence the FBI to take Russian warnings of Tamarlan Tsarnaev’s terrorist connections with a grain of salt.

Raimondo:

The problem is that the Chechen “freedom fighters” are US allies [2], along with their ideological compatriots in Libya and Syria. When the Chechen rebel “foreign minister,” Ilyas Akmadov,” applied for political asylum in the US, the Department of Homeland Security nixed the idea – but were overruled by a bipartisan coalition of political heavyweights [3], including Madeleine Albright, Alexander Haig, Frank Carlucci, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Ted Kennedy, and John McCain. In a letter of endorsement, Albright gushed that Akhmadov is “devoted to peace, not terrorism.” McCain wrote: “I have found him to be a proponent of peace and human rights in Chechnya.”

snip

Although support for the Chechen independence movement is bipartisan, that troublesome little sect known as the neoconservatives has actively backed the Chechen cause from the get-go: an impressive list of prominent neocons [4], including Bill Kristol, sits on the board of the Chechens’ principal US propaganda outfit, the American Committee for Peace in the Caucasus [5] (formerly the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya [6]). According to Glen Howard [7], head of the Jamestown Foundation, a neocon outfit focused on Central Asia, the Chechens aren’t Islamist terrorists, they’re just cuddly “nationalists” rebelling against a Russia that has gone “fascist.” “The Russians are trying to treat Chechen separatism through the prism of 9/11 and terror rather than as a nationalist movement that has been defying Kremlin rule for 200 years,” says Howard. This analytical premise, however, doesn’t seem to apply to, say, Afghanistan [8].

This may explain why the FBI didn’t put Tamarlan Tsarnaev under surveillance after Russian intelligence informed them that he held six(!) meetings with a Chechen Salafist militant during his trip to Dagestan. There may well be  a lot of  opportunities for self-radicalization via the Internet for alienated young Sunni Muslims, but in this case there is also a real trail to leading to established foreign groups with a record of terrorism. The trouble seems to be that the FBI ignored it, despite specific warnings. Why?

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#1 Comment By Aaron Gross On April 24, 2013 @ 11:01 am

Why? Why don’t you send out a reporter to find some evidence, and then report the evidence? I mean, instead of baseless insinuations of conspiracies? This reads like one of those hint-hint articles by Philip Giraldi.

#2 Comment By William Dalton On April 24, 2013 @ 11:20 am

According to an interview conducted with an ex-CIA operative on Charlie Rose last night, Tamarlan Tsarnaev did not remain under FBI surveillance because, after interviewing him and others, there was not sufficient evidence to believe he was planning to break the law. Without that the law does not permit the FBI to put people under surveillance and, besides, the number of people who might raise the same concerns as did Tsarnaev is so great as to make it cost prohibitive to keep them all under surveillance.

On the other point, I would note that the treatment accorded to anti-government forces in Chechnya due to the influence to neo-cons in the government is a carbon copy of what we did with respect to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and what we are doing today in Bashar Assad’s Syria and in the Islamic Republic of Iran. One man’s “terrorist” has always and continues to be the other man’s “freedom fighter”.

#3 Comment By quaker78 On April 24, 2013 @ 1:14 pm

This argument is especially disengenous because if Raimondo or TAC found out the government was routinely tailing residents based only on tips from non-allies, or even allies, they would be inconsolable in their, feigned as this post makes clear, fury.

#4 Comment By John Halligan On April 24, 2013 @ 1:18 pm

The neocons subscribe to the idea that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.The hatred of Russia is because of the pogroms in the late 19th century.The Bolsheviks are not an issue because of Lenin’s who,whom.Trotsky was also a “hero” to many of the early neocons and some current ones.

#5 Comment By Fran Macadam On April 24, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

” One man’s ‘terrorist’ has always and continues to be the other man’s ‘freedom fighter’.”

Didn’t used to believe that in my starry-eyed idealistic patriotic days. Amazing what actual experience of war and working within its corporate backers will teach, if you can bear to lose your illusions.

Remove the letter “r” from “free” and you will be even
closer to the truth, as to the motives of those elites who control our foreign policy.

#6 Comment By cka2nd On April 24, 2013 @ 2:33 pm

John Halligan says: “Trotsky was also a ‘hero’ to many of the early neocons and some current ones.”

Yes, but Trotsky and his supporters split from the forebears of the neo-cons in 1940. The latter became Cold War Liberals by the time of the Vietnam War and eventually neo-con supporters and architects of U.S. foreign policy from Europe to Asia and Latin America. They owe far more to Henry “Scoop” Jackson than they do to Leon Trotsky. Right-wing attempts at drawing some kind of connection between Trotsky and the neo-cons tend to rely on selective mis-readings of Trotsky and ignoring the last 50 years of neo-con practice and theory.

#7 Comment By James Canning On April 24, 2013 @ 2:48 pm

On a related note, there is an interesting letter to the editor of the Financial Times today, noting the open support given by some members of the “Irish-American” community in Boston, for many years, to terrorists operating in England and Northern Ireland.

#8 Comment By James Canning On April 24, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

Great piece, and important.

A number of the most ardent supporters of Israel in the US, also support Islamic insurgents and terrorrists operating within the Russian Federation! Should be amazing.

#9 Comment By T. Sledge On April 24, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

Americans are cognitive dissonance anthromorphized: always thinking of themselves as masters of realpolitik, and at the same time always finding a “hero” or a “good guy”, when in reality they are looking at two sons-of-bitches.

#10 Comment By Madison Rpt On April 24, 2013 @ 4:01 pm

@Aaron Gross – “Why don’t you send out a reporter to find some evidence, and then report the evidence? I mean, instead of baseless insinuations of conspiracies?”

Hardly “baseless”. Evidence is supplied in the article, the links work, and from what I can see it is sufficient to justify McConnell’s statement that it “may be the reason why the FBI didn’t put Tamarlan Tsarnaev under surveillance”.

It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that the neocons pressured law enforcement or intelligence to exempt obvious suspects from appropriate scrutiny and enforcement.

For example, back in 2007 the Wall Street Journal published an op/ed piece crudely comparing the FBI and federal prosecutors to Nazis for going after the AIPAC spies. The result was that the government backed off, AIPAC continues to operate as though it were a domestic lobby, and if history is any guide there will be more incidents of espionage and interference in the American political process, with consequent damage to US national security.

That neocons may have intervened on behalf of a Chechen immigrant community that they openly championed is entirely credible. In due course we’ll find out whether it is true.

#11 Comment By TomB On April 24, 2013 @ 4:36 pm

cka2nd wrote:

“[Neo-cons] owe far more to Henry “Scoop” Jackson than they do to Leon Trotsky. Right-wing attempts at drawing some kind of connection between Trotsky and the neo-cons tend to rely on selective mis-readings of Trotsky and ignoring the last 50 years of neo-con practice and theory.”

Strongly but respectfully disagree, with the other thread here on the attempted re-evaluation of George Bush making this a particularly propitious time to so disagree.

As opposed to any merely *political* things Scoop Jackson provided the ne0-cons (such as jobs, titles, resume enhancers and etc.) name me what *substantive/ideological* ones he implanted in them?

The evidence instead is that the neo-cons *came* to Jackson because he could *get* them those (“mere”) political things allowing them to advance their already existing ideology.

And what was that ideology that had so much in common with Trotsky? Nothing less than what the permanent state of the world should be in: Trotsky’s “permanent revolution,” and permanent world-*wide* revolution” to boot.

And what do we see as the workings of the neo-cons once Mr. Bush brought them to largely into power and influence? Nothing less now than a state of region-wide turmoil lasting for over a decade now with no reason to see it stopping, especially given our policies adding fuel to those fires.

And no, this can hardly be seen as an unintended consequence: Remember that famous interview with Mr. Bush where, obviously parroting what the neo-cons had been telling him, he talked about how he was openly *against* the stability that had long and previously existed in the Mideast. That *instability* was what was really desired because of course it would lead to a region-wide (democratic) revolution.

And then there’s the neo-cons leading the charge trying to get us at odd with Russia (to the point of agreeing to go to war on behalf of … little Georgia), and now with China too.

Henry Jackson (“the Senator from Boeing”) wasn’t hardly known as any intellectual theorist, and the idea that he imputed neo-conism to the neo-cons is just backwards. After all only two or three of them (Perle, Wolfowitz) actually worked with Jackson, and it’s clear they had already been well marinaded in the political theories of people like Trotsky and Leo Strauss.

Thus, it’s clear that the reason we saw what was after all just a couple of neo-cons associated closely with Jackson wasn’t that Jackson took them in a tabula rasa’s and then turned them loose. But that they went to work for him because they saw his political positions as being helpful to advancing what they already believed.

And after all that’s the usual way it works in Congress with staffers: In general they already know their politics and they ain’t applying to work for those members whose politics they hate.

#12 Comment By Hunsdon On April 24, 2013 @ 5:12 pm

cka2nd: Hitch and Trots?

#13 Comment By Justin Raimondo On April 24, 2013 @ 6:08 pm

This came in this morning: an article in Izvestia claiming that documents provided to them by a member of Georgian intelligence show Tamerlan is attendance at a “seminar” sponsored by the “Caucasian Fund,” which is supposedly associated with the neoconnish Jamestown Foundation:

[9]

I can’t vouch for it, but run it through Google and see for yourself.

#14 Comment By Kirt Higdon On April 24, 2013 @ 6:55 pm

Another possibility, which should be looked at by someone outside the FBI, would be that the FBI gave Tamerlan a pass because they thought they had recruited him and were running him, while he was actually playing them. It was such lethal miscalculation concerning a double agent which led to the massacre of CIA agents at Camp Chapman. Do I have any evidence for this in the case of Tamerlan Tsarnaev? No. Is it a possibility which should be investigated? Definitely.

The possibility that the elder Tsarnaev was connected to the Cambridge triple murder on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 is also an intriguing one and that is being looked at.

#15 Comment By Michael N Moore On April 25, 2013 @ 8:10 pm

TomB said: “Henry Jackson (“the Senator from Boeing”) wasn’t hardly known as any intellectual theorist, and the idea that he imputed neo-conism to the neo-cons is just backwards. After all only two or three of them (Perle, Wolfowitz) actually worked with Jackson, and it’s clear they had already been well marinaded in the political theories of people like Trotsky and Leo Strauss.”

In my opinion Senator Jackson had a very clear project: Find Jewish intellectual careerists and get them to move American Jewish opinion from pacifism to an alliance with the military-industrial complex.

Their first issue was demonizing the Soviet Union over immigration. The second issue was fanatical support for the Zionist project. The second issue took root beyond anyone’s wildest dreams and US arms merchants can now rely on steady sales in the MiddleEast for the forseeable future.

#16 Comment By Saty13 On September 12, 2013 @ 10:23 pm

If there are “so many” people in our country as suspicious as Tamerlan Tsarnaev (that is, suspicious enough to warrant Russia issuing a warning to the FBI and CIA about him) that we don’t have the resources to keep an eye on them all, then why the hell are we allowing more potential Islamists into the U.S.?

I’m a Democratic liberal, but even I’m not so lost in my love of multi-culturalism to recognize the danger in a “problem culture.”