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Palast writes: "The answer regarding the intelligence failure is, to paraphrase the famous journalist Yogi Berra: it's amazing what you don't see when you don't look."

FBI agents search homes for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects in Watertown, Mass., 04/19/13. (photo: Reuters/Brian Snyder)
FBI agents search homes for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects in Watertown, Mass., 04/19/13. (photo: Reuters/Brian Snyder)


FBI Spiked Chechen Jihadi Investigation

By Greg Palast, GregPalast.com

06 May 13

 

ollowing the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, I received documents marked "SECRET" from the files of the FBI's Washington field office. The information in those files will make you sick.

When the bombs went off at the Boston Marathon, I grabbed those FBI files - and a plane for Kazakhstan, bullying cameraman Rocco D into joining me. [Rocco, no fool, won't let me print his full name.]

After we landed, word came that two Kazakh teens, friends of the bombers, had been arrested by Boston police and, yesterday, charged with hiding evidence of the bombers' guilt.

Here in Astana, Kazakhstan's capital, televisions everywhere run endless loops of the bombs going off at the Boston Marathon, the screams, the blood, the victims... and the questions.

And first question: How do a couple of wholesome Call-of-Duty-playing American kids get the idea they should murder and mangle their neighbors to avenge the Muslims of Chechnya-whom the victims probably couldn't find on a map?

The second question: How did America's trillion-dollar intelligence apparatchiks wave off warnings from Russia about one of the bomber's connections to the Chechen militants?

The answer regarding the intelligence failure is, to paraphrase the famous journalist Yogi Berra: it's amazing what you don't see when you don't look.

And that's related to the how young Muslim-Americans came to kill other young Americans over Chechnya.

According to the secret memo, long before the Boston bombing, even before the September 11 attack, the FBI shut down an investigation of a group that ran a summer camp in Florida for America's Muslim teenagers.

No, we shouldn't be spying on Islamic campers. However, besides the usual swimming and soccer, these youngsters were encouraged to join the Chechen jihad. The kiddies were treated to videos praising Chechen bombers (who seized a school and hospital then killed their hostages). The group also produced an educational film praising, "that compassionate young man, Osama bin Laden".

Hey, it was a family affair. Camp Jihad was run by the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), whose operation just outside Washington DC was directed in the US by a man the FBI called "ABL" - Abdullah Binladden, Osama's brother.

When the Kazakh friends of the Boston bombers were arrested, I went back to that "SECRET" memo. It fell into my hands in November 2001, just two months after that "compassionate young man" Osama killed thousands in my office building (I once worked at the World Trade Center).

Why would my own government spike an investigation that might have saved lives in New York in 2001 [and in Boston in 2013]?

My producer at BBC Television called the FBI. They did not deny the authenticity of the secret documents. Well, then, if the US government has evidence someone may be illegally recruiting killers for Chechnya (as well as the Bosnia war), why in the world would you shut down the investigation and hide the findings?

The official answer was even more chilling than the secret memo itself. The FBI spokesman told us at BBC:

"There are lots of things only the intelligence community knows and that no one else ought to know."?

Well, what else are we not supposed to know?

We got the answer on November 9, 2001, when I received a call at BBC's Newsnight desk in London from a US intelligence agent via a "clean" phone. The spook confirmed that, beginning as early as 1995, the CIA and other US spy agencies were told to stand down from investigating the bin Laden family in both the US and in France.

Several insiders repeated the same story: US agencies turned a blind eye to the bin Laden-terrorist-Chechen-jihad connection out of fear of exposing the US government's half-assed-and half-illegal-support for these terrorists.

Our government gave ABL a pass (and safe passage back to Saudi Arabia) because Presidents Clinton and Bush were more than happy that our Saudi allies were sending jihadis to Afghanistan, then, via WAMY, helping Muslims to fight in Bosnia then, later, giving the Russians grief in Chechnya.

The problem is that terrorists are like pigeons - they come home to roost.??As Joe Trento of the National Security News Service, who provided crucial help to our investigation, told me, "It would be unseemly if [someone] were arrested by the FBI and word got back that he'd once been on the payroll of the CIA... What we're talking about is blow-back. What we're talking about is embarrassing, career-destroying blow-back for intelligence officials."

It's utterly unlikely the young Boston bombers were on the CIA payroll, but it's more than likely the elder brother's connections here in Central Asia could be traced back to US-protected killers of years past.

The sleight-of-hand to keep public eyes off the US juicing Chechen terror is almost fun to watch. There's surprisingly little official scrutiny of the media's new heart-throb, Ruslan Tsarni, the bombers' uncle. The Washington Post, praising Uncle Ruslan's "I LOVE AMERICA" schtick, noted,

"[Ruslan's] performance will be sewn into the rotation of TV news from here on out. Later, on MSNBC, Tom Ridge spoke highly of the message of 'promise and hope' sent by Tsarni."

I would venture to guess that this was not the first time Mr. Ridge, first director of the US Department of Homeland Security, had heard Ruslan's messages. Ruslan founded the Congress of Chechen International Organizations and has lucrative work here in Kazakhstan as a USAID contractor and oil industry lawyer.

There is zero-and I mean zero-evidence that Uncle Ruslan or the CIA hired these two sad-ass kids in Boston to blow up their neighbors. The point here is that the FBI is too concerned about making sure that "no one else ought to know" about our government playing footsie with terrorists-and too unconcerned about the blow-back that blows up in Boston.


 

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+34 # pzykr 2013-05-06 09:19
if you read "in search of enemies" by former cia officer john stockwell (who commanded the cia angola operation in the 70s) you will come to understand that blow-back is not a bug in the system: it is a planned feature. the purpose of the cia is to instigate, not to prevent, wars. richard clarke, in his testimony to the 9/11 investigation committee stated that the us administration wanted to take the counter-terrori sm effort to a military level -- it had been being treated as a "law enforcement issue" -- but that the will in congress was not present to militarize the fight. nor was it present in the american public. richard clarke stated "we needed a lot of body bags" in order to generate the will in congress and in the american people to militarize the "global war on terror" (tm).
 
 
+4 # Johnny 2013-05-09 13:07
The "New Pearl Harbor" that the Project for the New American Century demanded.
 
 
+21 # mjc 2013-05-06 09:51
Uncle Tsarni certainly knew how to handle the media who camp to his doorstep and the damning of the two nephews was certainly complete, with no evidence of concern for the family, even calling them enemies of the Chechen people. All of course to prove that Tsarni was a patriot, lover of this country, etcetera. And every police official went out of their way to praise the cops AND the FBI which makes one really wonder what happened at the shoot-out that killed Tamerlan. The eye-witness who saw a different version is now completely out of the picture. But one could easily go back to just how the bin Laden family were removed from this country on Sept 12, planes flying to various locales when no other planes were allowed to fly. As you pointed out, terrorists DO come home to roost if they get help from our so-called intelligence agencies. Super-concentra ted government is the norm these days and our CIA and FBI and even local police departments are quite willing to forget that their is a Bill of Rights or even a Constitution. Getting the latest batch of jihadist allows those documents to be overruled.
 
 
-1 # RufusT 2013-05-06 10:28
One might think from this piece that as soon as word of the Boston bombing occurred, Palast and his camera man hopped a plane for Kazakhstan, instinctively sensing that there might be a related story there.

The reality is that Palast was already scheduled to be in Astana, the country's glitzy new capital, there to speak at a "Eurasia Media Conference" lorded over by dictator Nursultan Nazarbayev. (See:
http://eamedia.org/en/programms/ Especially "Session #5"

By attending such a conference as a featured speaker, Palast unwittingly (one might hope) helped provide legitimacy for an authoritarian regime in a country where all the dominant media are controlled by immediate members of Nazarbayev's family or close associates. A place where no oppositional press is allowed to exist; a country where all opposition is repressed.

This guy, supposedly a critical journalist, readily speaks at a dog-and-pony show "media conference"? One must ask if he would have gone to speak at such an event in South Africa under white apartheid rule? Would he go today to speak on a similar occasion sponsored by the Israeli establishment, despite Palestinian BDS calls?

While he has done some decent reportage in the past, especially in regard to domestic US political shenanigans, he should be soundly criticized for his current opportunistic behavior.
 
 
+4 # Walter J Smith 2013-05-06 23:43
Nice axe grinding, Rufus.

Which payroll(s) are you on?
 
 
+3 # fuzzbuzz 2013-05-08 13:34
Agreed.

Also interesting to note how he stresses the cause as "blowback", thereby implying mere incompetence on the part of the federal agencies, and thwarting any possible implications of deliberate crime.

Logically speaking, the only reason (I can think of) for the FBI not to investigate the elder brother after being tipped would be because he's on the CIA payroll.

And are we supposed to just ignore all the other inconvenient facts? Like, for example, the presence of Craft mercenaries? And the "drills" that preceded the bombs? etc etc
 
 
+1 # trini-boy 2013-05-06 10:30
While I do NOT doubt that U.S. intelligence knew of these
goings'-ons' where is the empirical evidence? There was NOT one shred of empirical evidence to back the "assertions" in this article!-? OK, I "get" that there is a "Jihad" against the USA and its citizens; but, we must NOT just cite rhetroic without empirical facts when discussing/deba ting this most critical and profound issue of "our" times!! This is NO different than the McCarthy hearings of the 50s'!!
 
 
+7 # Walter J Smith 2013-05-06 23:50
Evidence?

From the article: "According to the secret memo, long before the Boston bombing, even before the September 11 attack, the FBI shut down an investigation of a group that ran a summer camp in Florida for America's Muslim teenagers."

and "Camp Jihad was run by the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), whose operation just outside Washington DC was directed in the US by a man the FBI called "ABL" - Abdullah Binladden, Osama's brother."

And: "Why would my own government spike an investigation that might have saved lives in New York in 2001 [and in Boston in 2013]?" .... "The official answer was..."There are lots of things only the intelligence community knows and that no one else ought to know."?

There is plenty more.

And here's some you also apparently missed:

"...to paraphrase the famous journalist Yogi Berra: it's amazing what you don't see when you don't look."
 
 
+9 # larrypayne 2013-05-06 11:01
Palast still supports the government conspiracy theory that OBL and his rag-tag band of amateur airmen brought down the three towers even though no concrete evidence has ever been provided to prove it.

The Boston bombing is similar in that the public has not been provided with any concrete evidence that the brothers placed the bombs. If they have security videos that show the brothers doing it, why don't they release them? Everything that we have been told about the event has come from law enforcement sources and law enforcement in Boston looks more like a police state operation than ever before.
 
 
+7 # babaregi 2013-05-06 11:03
"The problem is that terrorists are like pigeons - they come home to roost.??"

Can't you just hear the cooing of pigeons all over the place?
 
 
-11 # hamzawalker 2013-05-06 11:16
Yogi Berra was a baseball player and team manager, not a journalist.
 
 
+13 # djgreeneyes 2013-05-06 12:56
Quoting hamzawalker:
Yogi Berra was a baseball player and team manager, not a journalist.

Mr. Palast was being "tongue-in-chee k." He knows exactly who Yogi Berra was.
 
 
+3 # Johnny 2013-05-09 13:13
God forbid that anyone but a journalist could say something reasonable.
 
 
+7 # BKnowswhitt 2013-05-06 11:25
Good reporting. More to connect the dots with. USA led hegemony in the region and history of it continues with Obama who is really just 'Bush Lite' on foreign policy. Goes to what is going on covertly today by the CIA FBI and authoritarian run branches of the military industrial complex of the good ole 'God Bless America' right wing and corruptly run USA ..............
 
 
+7 # BKnowswhitt 2013-05-06 11:34
I have to laugh at the guy screaming 'empirical evidence. The entire point of all of this is that this 'evidence' presented here is part of the greater evidence which builds the case against the CIA the Right Wing Military Industrial Complex etc etc running the show for the Republic Of America - for which it stands one Nation 'Under god' (God help us!) with Liberty & Justice (Just Us) for ALL ....... wake up pal connect the dots .........
 
 
0 # larrypayne 2013-05-06 12:36
Palast is building a case against the Bin Ladens and the Saudis in the 9/11 attacks more than anything. The big lie needs constant renewal. Evidence against Israel and Mossad is much greater but Palast and most other "investigative" journalists choose to ignore that.
 
 
+1 # Johnny 2013-05-09 13:15
Palast knows who butters the bread of U.S. and English journalists.
 
 
-6 # Old Uncle Dave 2013-05-06 11:34
Even Greg Palast pronounces the Tsarnev brothers guilty without any evidence or trial? Sad, very sad.
 
 
-9 # larrypayne 2013-05-06 12:25
Even Greg Palast? Don't believe a thing the empty hat man says. His main goal is to promote Greg Palast and he doesn't let the truth get in his way.
 
 
+2 # Johnny 2013-05-09 13:23
This is a simple defense of the 6th Amendment to the US constitution and the foundation of Anglo-American jurisprudence since the Magna Carta. The popular response to it on this page speaks volumes about how the totally controlled media have succeeded in brainwashing the idiot masses to repudiate their most basic freedoms.
 
 
+15 # Anarchist 23 2013-05-06 11:45
The 'war' on terror is really against you, the American people. Don't believe it?...wait!
 
 
+14 # curmudgeon 2013-05-06 11:47
This is pretty chilling...Greg speaks to truth.

The ABL ties are quite telling. One needs to remember that Bin Lauden and the mujdaheen he controlled and paid with Saudi and CIA monies(via the Pak ISI) killed or otherwise eliminated all moderate Afghani religious teachers, sheiks, government officials as well as Russians.
 
 
+7 # HowardMH 2013-05-06 11:49
Subject: Putin's speech

We can learn from this,I hope it is not too late

On February 4th, 2013, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, addressed the Duma, (Russian Parliament), and gave a speech about the tensions with minorities in Russia:

"In Russia live Russians. Any minority, from anywhere, if it wants to live in Russia, to work and eat in Russia, should speak Russian, and should respect the Russian laws. If they prefer Sharia Law, then we advise them to go to those places where that's the state law. Russia does not need minorities. Minorities need Russia, and we will not grant them special privileges, or try to change our laws to fit their desires, no matter how loud they yell 'discrimination '. We better learn from the suicides of America, England, Holland and France, if we are to survive as a nation. The Russian customs and traditions are not compatible with the lack of culture or the primitive ways of most minorities. When this honorable legislative body thinks of creating new laws, it should have in mind the national interest first, observing that the minorities are not Russians.
The politicians in the Duma gave Putin a five minute standing ovation.

NOTE: It didn’t take him 45 minutes in front of a stadium full of screaming supporters or 50 selected supporters standing behind him to give him courage to do it either.
 
 
+6 # dascher 2013-05-06 13:26
You are praising Putin for his calling minorities in Russia "primitive"? You must truly be an ignorant fool. Mr. Putin has plenty of primitive blood on his hands... and do Obama and Bush and Clinton and Bush daddy and Ronnie and ...

Putin's tough talk in the Duma, after his opposition has been intimidated for 20 years is truly admirable. Perhaps he should be the new leader of the 'free world'.

Give me a break.
 
 
+3 # mjc 2013-05-07 11:40
There are plenty of red-blooded Americans who would make the same arguments about ANY immigrant and ARE making those as we write. It is what used to be called "jingoistic" in this country but in social studies classes was referred to ethnocentrism. Putin believes tolerance for differences in culture are suicidal apparently, a sad commentary on the former Soviet Union and perhaps the reason he and other Russians could justify their failure as a nation.
 
 
+9 # MsAnnaNOLA 2013-05-06 12:19
See Sibel Edmunds coverage. pzykr is right blowback is a feature not a bug. They want to feed the military industrial complex with war justified by fake terror.
 
 
+4 # pzykr 2013-05-06 17:01
thanks for the sibel edmunds hint. don't know how i could have missed her story: must have been when i was really sick... also thanks for validating my earlier comment, though i need to post a correction... i misquoted richard clarke: he said, "_they_ needed a lot of body bags" NOT "we...". if he'd been down with the plan he wouldn't have been fired, shuffled off to cyber-terrorism and obscurity. he was the go-to guy for how many administrations ? he started being the top counter-terrori sm guy under george hw bush.
 
 
+12 # griffey1 2013-05-06 14:53
The government at all levels, & in all offices is obsessed with keeping things secret from the American public. You can get more pertinent news from Al Jazeera than you can from our own media. From what I can see, the main job of our intelligence agencies is to keep any adverse information about our policies from reaching the American public.
 

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