Never Ask the Wolves to
On Aug. 16 we read in Pravda.info the comments of Vladimir Filin, a self-described Marxist and former GRU officer living in Kiev, well-connected to KGB structures, supposedly aligned against Putin, marching in the "revolutionary movement of all enslaved peoples" (especially those in Finland, according to his Live Journal blog). Filin's business interests reach from the poppy fields of Tajikistan to the lumber mills and chicken farms of Brazil. He has been accused of narcotics and arms trafficking, with supposed connections to subversive political activities (like coup-plotting). He is the president and chairman of a private intelligence company called "Far West, LLC." As it happens, he has a reputation to maintain in the world of political-military gossip
Perhaps you've heard or read about the Maltese-flagged freighter named Arctic Sea, which recently disappeared in the Atlantic Ocean and was subsequently recovered after various contradictory reports. According to Filin, the Arctic Sea had been loaded with four X-55 cruise missiles while docked at the Baltic Sea port of Kaliningrad. The missiles were without warheads, as the warheads were shipped separately on another vessel . Filin alleges that the warheads were customized for carrying Soviet-produced biochemical material previously "shipped to Iran from Russia by air."
According to Filin, the contraband aboard the Arctic Sea was masked by timber loaded in Finland, and the ship's destination was Algeria, where representatives of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard were waiting to take delivery. Filin wrote: "Russian specialists would arrive in Iran within the near future, who would prepare the aviation system of Iranian Su-24 aircraft to use the X-55 in combat conditions and train representatives of the Iranian armed forces in the operational use of the system." The reason for the transfer of biochemical material to Iran, along with modified warheads and missiles, is to give Iran a counterstrike potential in the event of an Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear weapons facilities.
In this way Russia strengthens Iran while weakening the position of Israel and the United States. It goes without saying that Moscow envisions the destabilization of the Middle East and the disruption of its main centers of oil production and shipping. Should Iran unleash biochemical warheads against Israel, there would be a further escalation of violence with the result that oil prices would reach -- according to Filin -- $200-$300 per barrell. The consequences, of course, would be devastating for the oil-dependent Western economies, which are already suffering from widespread financial troubles.
On the Russian side, however, high oil prices would empower the Russian state while stabilizing the Iranian clerical regime under a defiant nationalist banner. Moscow also envisions the closing of the Strait of Hormuz, a massive mobilization of terrorists, and a fresh violence in Iraq. According to Filin, "Upon learning of the Arctic Sea and its cargo, a major Western state that favors a strategic partnership with Ukraine, was prepared to intercept the ship. But fearing this would cause a serious international scandal that would disrupt the 'reboot' of its relations with the Putin regime, the [aforesaid] state decided to act informally, which it did."
In other words, the pirates that siezed the Arctic Sea off the coast of Sweden were American special forces (disguised as Swedish police). This embarrassing episode, according to Filin, enraged the Kremlin which subsequently lashed out at the pro-American regime in Ukraine. For reasons unstated by Filin, the Kremlin believes that Ukraine was responsible for alerting the Americans about the Arctic Sea and its cargo. Consequently, Russian President Medvedev wrote a scathing open letter to Ukrainian President Yuschenko, calling his policies "deliberately anti-Russian." This resulted in heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine.
But the reader must stop and set all this aside. In Russia all facts are attended by a bodyguard of fiction. Wild opinions bearing the character of insanity, mixed with conspiracy theory, mixed with rumor, mixed with fantastic speculations and a dash of truth -- leaves everyone hypnotized by an illusory parade of vivid images. In Filin's account of the Arctic Sea, everything is probable except for the concluding details; and nothing is independently verified. The story is about a superpower struggle involving the Middle East, but ends up centering on the conflict between Moscow and Kiev. The president of Ukraine, who was poisoned by the KGB five years ago, is fighting against pro-Russian forces in the Ukrainian government. He struggles against pro-Russian voices in the Ukrainian media. He struggles against a parliament dominated by Russian agents.
Is it not outrageous that American special forces siezed the Arctic Sea? Is it not outrageous that Ukraine's president should take the side of the United States? One may assume there were negotiations between Moscow and Washington, and a resolution of the matter. (Perhaps the missiles would have to return to Russia.) But the truth of the matter?
If you want to find the truth about Russia, if you want to penetrate the reality of Russia's KGB regime, then you should not seek the truth among the paid minions and military hangers-on of the Soviet past. The truth, in our time, is more likely to come from people who have no ties to Russian military intelligence, no professorships, no large book deals, and no part in Moscow's ongoing disinformation campaign. On the American side, the situation is no different. The deepest truths do not appear in the major media, at the offices of the CIA or NSA, or within Congress, or the State Department.
The fictionalization of minor events, and the building of myths from these and other building blocks, has become a way of life with us. Self deception is our preference. What we know about Russia is its role as the motherland of modern terrorism. What we know about Russia is that its economy is dominated by the minions of the KGB and other Soviet structures. What we know about Russia -- and should never forget -- is that America has been targeted for destruction by Russian strategists. This is not speculation, but fact. It has been testified to by defectors like Sergei Tretyakov, dissidents like Marina and Victor Kalashnikov, and by the Russian General Staff which confesses its hostility to the United States by war preparations that cannot otherwise be explained.
To drive home the point, I would like to conclude with recent comments from a disillusioned Russian democracy activist, who described to a friend the political situation in Russia (in the following terms): "Putin and the opposition are part of the same team. To be exact, they are two teams, but they are sharing power. The borders between the first and second are very fuzzy."
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