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The Skies Are Still Threatening

Thursday, 31 January 2002 12:00 AM

On Dec. 25, 2001, Moscow-based Pravda published this statement from an FSB/KGB spokesman: "The FSB considers it below its dignity to respond to Boris Berezovsky’s claims about FSB participation in the explosions in Moscow apartments in September 1999.”

The FSB has really serious reasons not to take Berezovsky to court in this case. That’s because Berezovsky, former Moscow insider, obviously accumulated much serious evidence on the FSB’s role in the September 1999 events. And this very probably could lay a bridge to the September 2001 events in New York and the role of the Russian secret services in this case also.

Within a month, however, Moscow responded with a heavy strike. As Radio Free Europe-Radio Liberty (RFERL) reported on Jan. 25, FSB Director Nikolai Patrushev said during his visit to Chechnya on Jan. 24 that his agency has information linking Berezovsky to "Chechen terrorists" and will formally ask foreign security services for any information they may have on the embattled oligarch's involvement in such activities.

Patrushev said the FSB is preparing an international warrant for Berezovsky's arrest as well as for materials "containing documented facts regarding Berezovsky's bankrolling of terrorists." The documents will be handed over to the "foreign partners" of FSB, added Patrushev.

He described as "nonsense" Berezovsky's repeated claims of having proof that the FSB organized the August-September 1999 bombings of apartment buildings in Moscow and Volgodonsk. Sophisticated revenge and silencing of enemies are the traditional modes of operation of the former Soviet/Russian secret services, a mode that one of the authors had a bitter experience with.

Remarkably, during the last two weeks, Moscow actually took a series of steps "silencing the enemy,” including:

The cheers from Moscow to America reached their highest level in mid-November 2001, during the meetings between President Bush and President Putin in Washington, D.C., and Texas. Then, step-by-step in December 2001–January 2002, the tone of the Moscow media and Moscow officials lost its sweetness and became a little harsher. In the last two weeks of January, it reminded one of a viper’s hissing.

Moscow went crazy at that time for the following reasons (each item confirmable from numerous "angry” articles in the Moscow newspapers, as well as reports from international agencies, for the period Jan. 11–25):

These statements were echoed by those of China’s Premier Zhu Rongji and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Chief of General Staff Fu Quanyou.

There is no special need to quote statements and articles of Iranian officials and media. And, evidently, no need to give detailed proof that the "Beijing-Moscow-Tehran trio” is considering ways to expel the "Western invaders” and to recover its broken web of influence over Central Asia.

On Jan. 10, the Beijing-based magazine Qingnian Cankao, belonging to the Chinese Communist Youth League and usually voicing the concerns of the Chinese leadership, published the article "U.S. Deploys Troops in Kyrgyzstan and Intends to Contain China and Russia.” Some Beijing-controlled papers in Hong Kong published similar articles.

Moscow is now holding continuous talks with Beijing, Tehran and Baghdad on forming a "united front” against any U.S. strike on Iraq. Tehran and Baghdad are even reconciling, after many years of open hostilities; they are exchanging prisoners and the visits of high-ranking officials.

Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Tariq Aziz spent several days in Moscow, then traveled to Beijing and back to Moscow. Warnings, in unison, from Moscow, Beijing and Tehran – "America, don’t expand your anti-terrorist campaign … or deal with new terrorist strikes” – accompanied his trip.

In particular, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov on Jan. 24 warned the U.S. against moving the anti-terrorism campaign to Iraq. "Russia does not accept an automatic spreading of the anti-terrorism efforts to any other state, including Iraq,” he told reporters after talks with Tariq Aziz. Ivanov stressed that U.S. action against Iraq would "encourage the terrorists, instead of crushing them.”

This in effect coincides with the warning in the Nezavismaya gazeta article "Iraq Under the Gun Sight” on Dec. 27 (see the authors’ NewsMax article

Ivanov’s warning was repeated on Jan. 28 by Dmitry Rogozin, chairman of the Russian Duma’s International Commission. Remarkably, the same person (according to analyses published in the New York-based Russian-language weekly Forwerts) is in charge of work with Moscow’s "fifth column” abroad, including the U.S. and Canada.

That same day, Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen told his Iraqi counterpart, Tariq Aziz, that China does not support the expansion of military action in the war on terrorism. Just one day before, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami warned "foreigners” against interfering with Iraq's territorial integrity. This comment was an apparent reference to the threat of U.S.-led forces attacking Iraq. Khatami's comments followed talks with visiting Iraqi Foreign Minister Naji Sabri.

Still, many "sleeper” cells in the U.S. and Europe remain available for action. All of us should be extremely vigilant in February and March.

Dr. Thomas J. Torda has been a Chinese linguist specializing in science and technology with FBIS, and a Chinese/Russian defense technology consultant with the Office of Naval Intelligence.

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On Dec. 25, 2001, Moscow-based Pravda published this statement from an FSB/KGB spokesman: The FSB considers it below its dignity to respond to Boris Berezovsky's claims about FSB participation in the explosions in Moscow apartments in September 1999." The FSB has really...
Thursday, 31 January 2002 12:00 AM
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