From: MSN NicknameEagle_wng (Original Message) Sent: 4/7/2006 2:32 AM
Mossad Agents Eliminated in the Northern Caucasus
The counterintelligence service of the CRI spotted two agents of the Mossad in 2005. Both were Chechens. They were eliminated after being revealed. Information about this fact is included in the official answer that AIA received from the Chechen rebel leadership, after making a request for the secret services’ activity in the region. The answer was received through the Kavkaz-Center Internet agency, which is considered to be the main trumpet of the anti-Russian forces in the region. In the document that we received, Israeli intelligence is mentioned as being among the main foreign secret services acting in the Northern Caucasus…
Israeli Trace in Chechnya
The first time the official representative of then independent Chechnya was informed about the Mossad’s activity in the republic was in June 1997. Abusupian Movsaev, who headed the National Security Service (SNB), in an interview to the Russian Profi newspaper, made this announcement. Later, in 1999 – 2001, the Chechen mass media published several reports on the arrest of Israeli agents in the territory of the republic. In December 2001 the head of the Security Council of the Russian Parliament, Viktor Iliuhin, implicitly confirmed this claim. Without revealing the sources of his information, he said that the Mossad is engaged in human intelligence in Chechnya.
Although Tel-Aviv and Moscow never confirmed this information, it is known that since the second half of the 1990s, the Mossad has been showing a growing interest in the situation in the Caucasus. This interest was caused by a “pilgrimage” to Chechnya of the Islamic Mujaheeds from all over the world, including the Arab countries (according to Russian sources, there were Palestinians among them, mainly from Jordan and Lebanon). This fact actually promoted the activating of contacts between Israeli and Russian secret services. The only proof of the Mossad’s operative interest towards the Chechen topic is connected to Efraim Halevi’s visit to Moscow, in the autumn of 2002. He came to Russia with a delegation of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Halevi was then head of the Mossad and of the National Security Council. In one of the articles in the Israeli Ha-Aretz newspaper it was mentioned that during Halevi’s meetings with his Russian counterparts, including Vladimir Rushailo (who was then the head of the Security Council), the parties discussed a mechanism for the exchange of data about the Arab Mujaheeds acting in the northern areas of Georgia adjacent to Chechnya’s border. However, then, as well as now, the Mossad is not the only secret service that takes an active interest in the situation in this region.
Special Services’ Crossroad
From a report based on materials of the Chechen separatists’ counterespionage it follows that in 2005 not only Russian and Israeli secret services conducted their activity in the Northern Caucasus, but also many other states: “first of all the intelligence structures of Britain, the USA and Germany. The secret services of France, Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia were involved to a smaller degree”. Compilers of the report note that in the Northern Caucasus also “operate agents of the secret services of Uzbekistan”. And the most interesting part is that: “for the last two – three years there is certain activity shown by the Chinese secret services, which are mainly acting in Daghestan and are engaged exclusively in gathering analytical information without any action”.
In the abovementioned interview, Abusupian Movsaev noted: “the Chechen Republic has turned into a busy crossroad where interests of various secret services are interlocking, both western, and eastern”. In April 2000, several months after the beginning of the second Chechen war, Movsaev accused western intelligence services, in particular those of the USA and Britain, of rendering assistance to Russia in its struggle against the forces of local resistance. Strangely enough, official representatives of the Kremlin then asserted almost the same allegation, only on the contrary blamed western services in assisting Chechens.
Even during the first Chechen campaign (December 1994 – August 1996), Moscow tried to prove that foreign special services were the main origin of destabilization in the Northern Caucasus. As their major argument they used data about the support of Chechen Republic independence adherents on behalf of their fellow tribesmen abroad (primarily in Turkey and the Arab countries), and also by several western humanitarian organizations. However, the Russian leaders had no convincing proof of the theory of a “foreign plot”. Aspiring to acquire confirmation as quickly as possible, the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) lost one of its most valuable agents inside the CIA. In November 1996 the FBI arrested an officer of American intelligence, Harold James Nicholson. Before that he worked for many years in the CIA quarters in the Far East and in Eastern Europe, sometimes even heading the spying networks. In 1991 Nicholson was recruited by Russian intelligence, and in several months prior to the end of the first war in the Chechen Republic, he actively “researched” CIA activities in the territory of this republic.
FSB Accuses Turkey and Iran
Against the background of military actions in Daghestan in the summer of 1999 and the second Chechen campaign which followed after that, frequent reports on the participation of foreign intelligence in the activity of Caucasian supporters of radical Islam started to appear again in the Russian mass media. A part of such publications was ostensibly based on SVR and Federal Security Service’s (FSB) data. For example, one of such publications, referring to the confidential report of Russian intelligence noted: “Special services of Turkey, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia give the greatest attention to the republics of the Northern Caucasus, Tatarstan, and Bashkortostan (regions of Russia with the highest percentage of Muslim population). Through the last years several cases of infiltration into the territory of the CIS by agents of special services and by emissaries of the Islamic centers under cover of repatriate- representatives of Chechen, Circassian, Kabardin and Balkari Diaspora were noted”. However, no concrete proof of that was presented. Since the beginning of the 1990s, Moscow has not published any indisputable fact testifying to connections between foreign intelligence services and local opponents of Russian authority. Moreover, as it follows from the communiquйs of the FSB, throughout all this time no official staff member of any foreign secret service was caught in the Northern Caucasus.
In February 2000 FSB officers arrested a citizen of Turkey, Ali Yaman, in the Chechen Republic. Several Russian mass media rushed to declare the capture “of a staff employee of a foreign special service”. On this basis, the former head of Soviet Foreign Intelligence, Leonid Shebarshin, said with confidence that: “There are people connected to the American, Turkish, and British secret services in the ranks of the Chechen militant troops”. However, in the FSB communiquй on the ending of litigation against Yaman in October 2000, there is no mention of his connections with any foreign intelligence service. He was sentenced to three years of imprisonment, as “with a weapon in hand he directly participated in military operations against federal forces in the Chechen Republic”. By the way, a similar case took place in the first Chechen campaign. In January 1995 a citizen of Turkey, Iskhak Kasap, was detained in Daghestan. Representatives of the FSB declared that he carried out tasks for Turkish intelligence MIT. However, no real confirmation of that was found and soon Kasap was deported home.
The absence of officially submitted proof has not prevented the head of the FSB press-service, Alexander Zdanovich, to declare in April 2001 the activating of foreign intelligence in the Northern Caucasus. As the main example of it he mentioned again the Turkish secret services. And the next year saw a peak in terms of the number of statements by Russian officials about connections between the intelligence bodies of foreign countries with the Caucasian opponents of the Kremlin.
Moreover, in this connection the usual list of countries (the USA, Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan) was unexpectedly joined by Iran.
In May 2002, the deputy chairman of the pro-Russian government of the Chechen Republic, Beslan Gantamirov, accused the Iranian secret services of “financing terrorist activity in the territory of the republic”. A month later deputy head of the local FSB department in the Volgograd area, Vladimir Svetlichni, declared that Iranian intelligence “assists separatists in Southern Russia”. Even after a brief acquaintance with the specificity of work of the Islamic republic’s secret services, such charges cause obvious bewilderment. Since the 1990s, Iranian intelligence showed increased interest in the Southern Caucasus, in particular, Azerbaijan. In the neighboring Russian territory they paid certain attention to several areas, adjoining the Caspian Sea, in particular Daghestan and the Astrakhan area. In parallel, in Southern Russia the secret services of Tehran trace the activity of Iranian immigrants, especially those of Azerbaijani origin, and also follow the activity of its traditional opponents – in particular Turkish intelligence. However, the official leadership of Iran, in practice, never supported the Caucasian opponents of the Kremlin. Besides its unwillingness to spoil relations with Moscow, the reason is that Tehran is not interested in the destabilization of the Caucasus. Interethnic and religious conflicts in this region bear a potential threat to the national security of the Islamic republic itself.
Despite the inconsistency of some statements of Russian officials on this issue, during the last two years they have continued to put forward new charges addressing the foreign special services. In August 2004 President of Ingushetia Murat Ziazikov spoke out on this issue on one occasion. In the past he occupied a number of supervisory posts in the FSB structure in the Northern Caucasus, and in the spring of 2002, actively supported by the Kremlin, he headed one of the republics of this region. In an interview to the Russian edition Sovershenno Sekretno, Ziazikov practically accused foreign intelligence of participation in the actions of the Islamic Mujaheeds in Ingushetia in June 2004.
And, finally, the last statement on this issue was declared three months ago. In December 2005, the head of the local department of the FSB of the Stavropol territory (Northern Caucasus) Oleg Dukanov accused the agents of foreign special services of “kindling separatist moods among the inhabitants of the republics of Southern Russia, conducting terrorist acts, destruction of facilities of security bodies and armed forces”. This implied that the intelligence services of the various countries of the world conduct large-scale military actions in the Northern Caucasus. Actually the secret war in this region is conducted mainly between the Russian special services (FSB and military intelligence – GRU), and also between them and the local anti-Russian underground, and, in particular, its counterintelligence structures.
The Hidden Front of Jihad
The report, acquired by the AIA, states: “According to the data for 2005, the Chechen special services have exposed, arrested, or shot 23 agents of the Russian secret services among Chechens. Some of them were re-recruited. Throughout this period of time 6 agents of Russian nationality, 4 Daghestanis, 3 Ingush, 2 Uzbeks, 2 Kabardins, 2 Tatars, 1 Karachai, 1 Ossetian, 1 Bashkirian “were seized or eliminated”.
Accordingly, during the last year the counterespionage of Chechen separatists revealed a total of 45 people suspected of connections with the Russian secret services.
The hunt for agents of the Kremlin started in the Chechen Republic with the coming to power in the republic of supporters of independence in the autumn of 1991. Its first victim was considered to be KGB Major Victor Tolstenev who died in November of the same year. Created soon after that, the National Security Service (SNB) of the republic concentrated its efforts on counteracting the Russian secret services. The head of the SNB, Abusupian Movsaev, declared later: “I perfectly realize that Russia will send its agents to us, to carry out special operations in the territory of the republic. And we shall be engaged from our side in gathering intelligence information, which interests us”. In November 1998 the leadership of then independent Chechnya even created a special commission engaged in legal proceedings in the cases of those inhabitants of the republic who cooperated earlier with the Russian authorities, and first of all with FSB and GRU.
Under the conditions of constant Russian – Chechen confrontation, and especially against a background of military actions in the republic, not infrequent errors of the SNB in revealing the agents of the opposition were inevitable. Many people have been executed on fallacious charges in connection with Moscow’s secret services. However, activity of the Chechen counterespionage had not a few real results. As a rule, any reports on such occasions were interpreted by the Russian authorities as “disinformation” or “provocation”. However, there are known cases when Russian high-ranking officers of secret services were apprehended by Chechens, and that forced the official representatives of the Kremlin to recognize the facts.
The first such case took place several weeks prior to the beginning of the first Chechen campaign, in November 1994. The special services of the Chechen separatists captured a Lieutenant Colonel of the Russian Federal service of counterespionage, (the progenitor of the FSB) Stanislav Krylov. He headed the personal guard of one of the leaders of the pro-Russian opposition in the republic. The testimony of the captured officer was shown on Chechen TV, becoming the first real confirmation of the activity of Russian secret services against President Jokhar Dudayev, who did not submit to Moscow.
Less than a year later the Chechens ambushed the present head of Russian military intelligence GRU, Valentin Korabelnikov. At that time he was second in the line of command of this special service and stayed in the Northern Caucasus with a special confidential mission. As a result of the attack, the officer who accompanied him was killed, and Korabelnikov, who received numerous wounds, was lucky to escape capture.
Right at the beginning of the second Chechen campaign, in October 1999, the Chechen separatists captured three high-ranking GRU officers all at once. The leading one was one of the most valuable and professional officers of the military intelligence, Lieutenant Colonel Zuriko Ivanov. Before that he participated in military conflicts in Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and during the first Chechen war he supervised the personal guard of the head of the pro-Russian puppet administration of the republic, Doku Zavgaev. For several months there was no information about Ivanov and his fellow officers’ lot. Only in March 2000 the head of the press-service of the FSB, Alexander Zdanovich, officially declared, that “a group of GRU officials was executed by the Chechens”.
The abovementioned facts are just the most notable cases of this type of event. They came about as a result of secret-service work of the Chechen counterespionage, of the corruption of the Russian security structures, and also of the rivalry between various Moscow secret services. The Chechens quite often effectively used the last two circumstances for their own ends, in particular, which testifies to the cases of Korabelnikov and Ivanov.
In only the first year of the second Chechen campaign, according to Vladimir Putin, the GRU has lost in total more than 400 of its employees. And according to the data of the deputy chief of the FSB, Vyacheslav Ushakov, after the first three years of the second war, over 200 of his subordinates did not return from the Chechen Republic. Such a high level of losses among representatives of the Russian secret services, in many respects, is a result of the secret activity of their Chechen colleagues – opponents. By the way, since 2004, the Kremlin’s official representatives have not ever published data on FSB and GRU losses in Chechnya. The current announcements on these losses, thought, appear in the Russian mass media on a regular basis…
Pavel Simonov, Sami Rozen, AIA
Department of Cooperation and Mass Media,