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Thursday, August 23

Can Al Qaeda-linked 'humanitarian' group backed by U.S. succeed where Pussy Riot failed?

Global Research, my favorite Canadian anti-globalist organization, has worked itself up into a lather again about imperialist America's latest capers in the attempt to unseat President Vladimir Putin. But this time the Finnish government was left holding the bag.

Before turning to the Finns, a little background from Global Research's August 22 report, America's Longstanding Campaign to Destabilize Russia by Eric Draitser (See the website for links provided in the writing):
The shootings and bombings in Ingushetia and Dagestan this week rekindled a longstanding, brutal campaign of violence and terrorism in Russia’s Caucasus region – one that has seen more than its share of terror stretching back to the Chechen “rebellion” of the 1990s.
The complex network of terrorist organizations that operate under the banners of “separatism” and “independence” for the Caucasus region, has been at the center of the destabilization of Russia for the last two decades. Within hours of the deadly attacks, the Kavkaz Center – an organization known to be the propaganda mouthpiece of terrorist leader Doku Umarov – released an article characterizing the attacks as heroic acts and referring to the dead as “Russian puppets.”

Though this would seem to be not in keeping with the Center’s stated mission “to provide reporting of events…and assistance of journalistic work in the Caucasus,” this is, in fact, very much par for the course for an organization that is funded by the US State Department and Finland’s Foreign Ministry.

Kavkaz Center has a long track record of supporting and legitimizing terrorist actions throughout the region, rationalizing atrocities committed in the name of “resistance.” In fact, Kavkaz engages in perpetual upside-down logic, referring to Russians as “terrorists” and terrorists as “heroes.”

Additionally, it is essential to note that Emarat Kavkaz (Umarov’s terrorist organization translated as “Caucasus Emirate”) has been listed by the United Nations as an organization associated with Al-Qaida.

Kavkaz Center has been described by Umarov himself as “the official information organ of the Emarat Kavkaz.” This, of course, supports the claims made repeatedly by Moscow of the connection between Chechen and other extremists in the region and Al Qaida, a claim which, until recently, Kavkaz Center continued to deny.
Believe you me, Draitser is just getting warmed up, and I had to interrupt a rather longish rant about U.S. imperialist machinations just to put together the above summary, in order to more-or-less prepare you for the Finnish angle. From a Voices of Russia report by Margarita Bogatova, dated June 15, 2012:
KavkazCenter, a Chechen extremist website has been funded by Finland’s Foreign Ministry and the US State Department, Finnish prosecutors revealed during a probe into the activities of the site’s owner Mikael Storsjo. Recently, a court in Helsinki handed down a four-month suspended sentence to Storsjo for assisting Chechen terrorists to enter Finland illegally.

The owner and sponsor of the site was first arrested and jailed last year on charges of assisting illegal immigrants. Later, he was acquitted as the court claimed that this was an act of humanity as he was helping migrants who were at risk in Russia. Moreover, Storsjo accepted no money for his assistance. This year, prosecutors managed to prove that he assisted more than 20 people to flee Russia. They included relatives of Chechen warlords Shamil Basayev, Doku Umarov and a certain Matsiyev who was allegedly involved in the Beslan school siege. [Pundita note: aka Beslan school massacre]

According to Finnish political analyst Johan Beckman, the site was sponsored by Finland’s Foreign Ministry and the US State Department.

"Finland is supporting and funding terrorist underground networks, has been was exposed in the course of the Storsjo investigation. We analyzed all the relevant documents and saw who these migrants really were. With tacit backing of Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala, Storsjo has illegally brought hundreds of people, some of whom are criminals, to Finland His website is more than just a web page it is the mouthpiece of terrorist leader Doku Umarov."

Moscow needs to provide evidence of the crimes it believes these alleged terrorists have committed to be able to extradite them and if it wants a tougher punishment for Storsjo.

Finland keeps declining Moscow’s extradition requests. This particular case echoes England’s refusals to extradite Ahmed Zakayev and Boris Berezovsky to Russia, says Alexander Mikhailov a member of the Council for External and Defense Policy

"Finland is acting in line with its national laws and can only press charges if it has evidence of these people’s wrongdoings. The mere fact that they are living in their country and conducting public and cultural activities is not the reason to bring charges against them. There is nothing Russia can do about this".

The KavkazCenter site has been shut down in Lithuania at Russia’s request and deemed illegal in many other countries, including Finland, which, however, hasn’t stopped its businessman from sponsoring it.
One of the interesting things about the situation is that for all its use of internet technology, the U.S. Department of State still hasn't gotten the main point of this era in communications, which is that it's really hard to pussyfoot around with nobody among the unwashed masses noticing.

But it's not just State, as Draitser points out. It's also the same cast of bipartisan American characters that was behind the 'color' revolutions, and which ran into accusations of meddling in Egypt earlier this year.

As I advised on the very first day of this blog's existence, in the post I titled Not Clockwork Orange Century, this fishbowl era is one of those times when the wisest course for the American government is to play it straight. To date, Washington has ignored my advice. That's really a shame, because when you look through the following list of known, probable and suspected plotters in the Beslan School massacre, you won't find an American name. You will find names associated with American allies who are well known for sneakiness. Yet ultimately, we're the ones who're always left holding the bag.
Shortly after the crisis, official Russian sources stated that the attackers were part of a supposed international group led by Basayev that included a number of Arabs with connections to al-Qaeda, and claimed they picked up phone calls in Arabic from the Beslan school to Saudi Arabia and another undisclosed Middle Eastern country. Two English/Algerians are among the identified rebels who actively participated in the attack: Osman Larussi and Yacine Benalia. Another UK citizen named Kamel Rabat Bouralha, arrested while trying to leave Russia immediately following the attack, was suspected to be a key organizer. All three were linked to the Finsbury Park Mosque of north London.

The allegations of al-Qaeda involvement were not repeated since then by the Russian government.

According to the Russian government, the following people were named as planners and financiers of the attack:

• Shamil Basayev – Chechen rebel leader who took ultimate responsibility for the attack, he died in Ingushetia in July 2006 in disputed circumstances.

• Kamel Rabat Bouralha – British-Algerian suspected of organizing the attack, who was reported detained in Chechnya in September 2004.

• Abu Omar al-Saif – Saudi national and accused financer, killed in Dagestan in December 2005.

• Abu Zaid Al-Kuwaiti – Kuwaiti national and accused organizer, who died in Ingushetia in February 2005.

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