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Adnan Khashoggi & the 1999 Trial Run in Moscow

June 1, 2008 0

By Alex Constantine(Originally, Adnan Khashoggi Linked to 9/11 Terrorists, Part 21)

Two years before the towers in Manhattan crumbled under the weight of global political corruption, a spate of bombings in Russia left relatives andvictims, CNN reported on September 10, 1999, "searching for answers."

At least 90 bodies, including seven children, were dragged from the wreckage of a bombed-out apartment building in Moscow in early September 1999. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, in a televised speech, suspected terrorism; if so, he said, "we are facing a cunning, impudent, insidious and bloodthirsty opponent."1

CNN reported: "Russian President Boris Yeltsin declared a day of mourning on Monday for the victims of Russia's last three explosions and bombings - the Moscow blast, the bombing of a shopping center near the Kremlin and the September fourth car bomb that demolished another apartment building in Buinaksk, in the southern Russian region of Dagestan"

By the third week of September, the death toll rose to over 200. Chechenforces were behind the bombings, proclaimed Yeltsin, a belief shared by YuriLuzkhov, the mayor of Moscow. Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo oversawthe investigation and announced that the Russian government "will consideritself within its rights to use all resources at its disposal to rebuff theaggression."2

And none of this added up. The harried Russian proles were quick to acceptthe governemnt's explanation that Chechens were responsible for the blastsin Moscow and the Caucasus. But the Asia Times editorialized, "it is highlyunlikely." And no one stood to benefit by the ourbreak of bombing but but,well, Yeltsin

In a statement of denial, Chechen leader Shamil Basayev stated, "We hadnothing to do with the explosion in Moscow. We never kill civilians. This isnot our style."

Provisions anticipating the Patriot Act were proposed. The Duma considereddeclaring a state of emergency. Until the bombings, the public hadsteadfastly opposed such measures, but even Yegor Stroyev, speaker of theFederation Council, the upper hall of parliament, had to admit that he'dfirmly opposed emergency measures in the past but after the second Moscow explosion, well, there was an obvious "need to consolidate the legal base for combating the rampage of terrorism and crime."3

Still, there were the usual skeptics. Viktor Ilyukhin, a Communist leader,dismissed the bombings as provocateur actions: "Political hysteria is beingfanned artificially, including by way of explosions to cancel parliamentaryand presidential elections through a state of emergency."4

Day by day, the true, sordid details emerged in Versiya, Novaya Gazeta andUK's Independent to erode Yeltsin's credibility. It developed that there wasmore to the bomb plot than the government had revealed that its trueorigins lay not in the Russian satellites but in a meeting of conspiratorsheld at the flat of Adnan Khashoggi

"It is clear that apartment explosions in Moscow would not have happened ifsomebody in the Russian political elite did not want them," Novaya Gazetaopined on January 24, 2000. "One by one, pieces of puzzle were put together.

But there were a few details that were lacking. They began to clear inJanuary, when Zhirinovsky and Chubais finally broke up. And at the sametime, some of the participants started to tell their version of events. Inthe Versiya newspaper, there was an article about the meeting of [Alexander]Voloshin with [Shamil] Basayev in France." Basayev was the radical Muslimleader who planned the violence on Dagestan. "This did not happen in Paris,as some of the newspapers reported later, but on the villa of AdnanKhashoggi, Arabic millionaire, on the Mediterranean."

French intelligence agents monitored the meeting and details surfaced inthe public print. Khashoggi denied that he had attended the meeting. But Itsmain participants - Anton Surikov, "formerly" of Army special forces, andAleksandr Voloshin, Yeltsin's Chief of Staff - offered no comment. Whenreporters asked Surikov, he claimed that he hadn't travelled abroad inyears, especially not to France. This did not quite square with the publicrecord, however, Just a few months before, he was in Washington, D.C. tomeet with Yuri Maslukov, Russia's deputy prime minister, and MichelCamdessus, managing director of the IMF. Surikov had also flown to France on a couple of occasions - once in December 1994, and again in the summer of 1999. He had departed on June 23 aboard an Aeroflot bound for Paris, in fact, and returned from Nice on July 21, nearly a month later.5

A book on the Russian spy agency, Spetzsnaz GRU, written by formerintelligence agents, reports that when the rebels entered from Chechnya, thegovernment's forces were "commanded not to enter into battle with them and not to hinder the movement of the rebels."6

The 1999 bombing campaign punctuated an uneasy period of calm. From August 1996 through August 1999, Chechnya had been relatively still. "Hostilities resumed following a bold incursion from Chechnya into neighboring Dagestan by an 'international' force of Wahhabis," John Dunlop at the Hoover Institute reports, "whose titular leaders were the legendary Chechen field commander Shamil Basaev and the shadowy Arab commander Khattab. In September of 1999, there occurred the notorious terror bombings of large apartment complexes in Moscow, Volgodonsk and Buinaksk which served to infuriate the Russian populace in a way similar to the American public's reaction to the events of 11 September in this country. On 23 September, Moscow once again commenced the bombing of Chechnya, and the second Russo-Chechen war of the past decade was on."7

Alexander Voloshin, who attended the meeting at Khashoggi's villa, is asingular political figure in Russia, outspoken in his support of the UnitedStates, in temperament comparable to an American Cold Warrior, Al Haig orDonald Rumsfeld. On October 23, 2003, the Guardian reported that VladimirPutin's chief of staff was at the center of "a furious row" between Moscowand Kiev "after he reportedly suggested Russia might bomb Ukraine if it didnot back down in a diplomatic tiff over a small island between the twoformer Soviet states. Alexander Voloshin, the head of the president'sadministration, made the remarks while he was briefing Ukrainian journalistsat the Kremlin. The row is over 100 metres of sand."8

In the end, however, Voloshin was forced out of government not for his tiesto the meeting at Khashoggi's villa, or to terrorists, but to Big Oil:

Putin's powerful chief of staff resignsVoloshin's resignation over arrest of top oil tycoon widens politicalscandalPakistan Daily TimesNovember 1, 2004

MOSCOW: Moscow press reported Wednesday that Kremlin's powerful chief of staff had resigned in protest of the arrest of a top oil tycoon in awidening political scandal on the eve of Russian parliamentary elections.The Vedomosti business daily said that President Vladimir Putin had accepted Alexander Voloshin's resignation on Monday night after meeting for several hours with top Kremlin officials.

Newspaper reports said that Voloshin had handed in his resignation onSaturday only hours after Russia's richest man, Yukos chief MikhailKhodorkovsky, was hauled in by secret service men at gunpoint in a Siberianairport and flown to Moscow for questioning.

Voloshin, 47, is seen as one of the last figures in the Kremlin to have hungon from the era of Putin's predecessor Boris Yeltsin and a leader of anadministration clan known as "the Family" that battled the hawkish"siloviki" camp of former secret service agents that recently emerged inPutin's court. He was seen as a strong backer of big business and aninstrumental Kremlin aide who managed to skilfully mediate between thevarious administration factions and parliament lawmakers on key economicreform issues.

His potential resignation had been rumoured in Moscow for months as theFamily ‹ which supported big businesses including Yukos ‹ was being squeezed out by the "siloviki" clan.

Western investors said that Voloshin's resignation ‹ if officially confirmed ‹ would mark an escalation of political instability on the eve of December 7 parliamentary elections.

"Assuming Voloshin's departure is confirmed today, this will only underlinethe seriousness of the political crisis resulting from Putin's decision todeal with the political problem of Khodorkovsky using KGB methods," theUnited Financial Group wrote in a research note. The investment house noted that Voloshin "seems to have made himself indispensable to Putin as a discreet but effective administrator with a good grasp of the reform policyagenda and adept at arbitrating between competing interests." Besidesheading Putin's administration, Voloshin for the past four years has alsoserved as chairman of the board of the United Energy System electricitymonopoly that has been struggling to undertake reforms for the past fouryears.

But the United Financial Group predicted that Putin would probably try toseek a balance within his administration and was unlikely to give the postto any of the top members of the secret service Kremlin factions.Voloshin became deputy head of Yeltsin's administration in 1998 and became chief of staff the following year. He was attributed with drafting economic portions of Yeltsin's speeches. Putin kept Voloshin on his post when he took the presidency following Yeltsin's abrupt resignation on December 31, 1999.9

NOTES

1) Jill Dougherty, "At least 90 dead in Moscow apartment blast," CNN report,September 10, 1999.http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/europe/9909/10/russia.explosion.03/

2) STRATFOR.COM, "Who gains from the Moscow apartment bombings?" Asia Times,September 14, 1999. http://www.atimes.com/c-asia/AI15Ag01.html

3) Ibid.

4) Dougherty.

5) Boris Kagarlitsky, 'We Donít Talk To Terrorists. But We Help Them?'Novaya Gazeta, [translation by Olga Kryazheva, research intern, Center forDefense Information, Washington DC], January 24, 2000.http://geocities.com/chechenistan/conspiracy.html

6) John B. Dunlop, 'The Second Russo-Chechen War Two Years On," Presentationat U.S. and World Affairs Seminar, Hoover Institution, October 17, 2001.http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:nGpCwJsA3z0J:www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1233969/posts+Voloshin+and+khashoggi

7) Ibid.

8) Nick Paton Walsh, "Russian official condemned for joke about bombingUkraine," Guardian, October 23, 2003.http://www.rusnet.nl/news/2003/10/23/currentaffairs04.shtml

9) http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_30-10-2003_pg4_1

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