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Monday, September 11, 2006

Russia and Islamic Terror: The View from Inside

Global Politician offers readers a series of excerpts from the book Spetsnaz written by KGB defector Victor Suvurov. They highlight Russian involvement in international terrorism and are particuarly apposite on the somber anniversary of 9/11.

"…Soviet secret police, the KGB, carries out different functions (than the Spetsnaz) and has other priorities. It has its own terrorist apparatus, which includes an organization very similar to spetsnaz, known as osnaz. The KGB uses osnaz for carrying out a range of tasks not dissimilar to those performed by the GRU's spetsnaz. But the Soviet leaders consider that it is best not to have any monopolies in the field of secret warfare. Competition, they feel, gives far better results than ration."

"…Osnaz apparently came into being practically at the same time as the Communist dictatorship. In the very first moments of the existence of the Soviet regime, we find references to detachments osobogo nazhacheniya-special purpose detachments. Osnaz means military-terrorist units, which came into being as shock troops of the Communist Party whose job was to defend the party. Osnaz was later handed over to the secret police, which changed its own name from time to time as easily as a snake changes its skins: Cheka-Vcheka-OGPU-NKVD-NKGB-MGB-MVD-KGB. Once a snake, however, always a snake."

"It is the fact that Spetsnaz belongs to the army, and Osnaz to the secret police, that accounts for all the differences between them. Spetsnaz operates mainly against external enemies; Osnaz does the same but mainly in its own territory and against its own citizens. Even if both Spetsnaz and Osnaz are faced with carrying out one and the same operation, the Soviet leadership is not inclined to rely so much on co-operation between the army and the secret police as on the strong competitive instincts between them."

"…Thus if it is relatively easy to recruit a man to act as a 'sleeper', what about recruiting a foreigner to act as a real terrorist, prepared to commit murder, use explosives and fire buildings? Surely that is much more difficult? The answer is that, surprisingly, it is not."

"A Spetsnaz officer out to recruit agents for direct terrorist action has a wonderful base for his work in the West. There are a tremendous number of people who are discontented and ready to protest against absolutely anything. And while millions protest peacefully, some individuals will resort to any means to make their protest. The spetsnaz officer has only to find the malcontent who is ready to go to extremes."

"On another occasion a group of animal rights activists in the UK injected bars of chocolate with poison. If spetsnaz were able to contact that group, and there is every chance it might, it would be extremely keen (without, of course, mentioning its name) to suggest to them a number of even more effective ways of protesting. Activists, radicals, peace campaigners, green party members: as far as the leaders of the GRU are concerned, these are like ripe water-melons, green on the outside, but red on the inside-and mouth-watering. So there is a good base for recruiting."

"The spetsnaz network of agents has much in common with international terrorism, a common center, for example-yet they are different things and must not be confused. It would be foolhardy to claim that international terrorism came into being on orders from Moscow. But to claim that, without Moscow's support, international terrorism would never have assumed the scale it has would not be rash. Terrorism has been born in a variety of situations, in various circumstances and in different kinds of soil. Local nationalism has always been a potent source, and the Soviet Union supports it in any form, just as it offers concrete support to extremist groups operating within nationalist movements. Exceptions are made, of course, of the nationalist groups within the Soviet Union and the countries under its influence."

"If groups of extremists emerge in areas where there is no sure Soviet influence, you may be sure that the Soviet Union will very shortly be their best friend. In the GRU alone there are two independent and very powerful bodies dealing with questions relating to extremists and terrorists."

"…The GRU's tactics toward terrorists are simple: never give them any orders, never tell them what to do. They are destroying Western civilization: they know how to do it, the argument goes, so let them get on with it unfettered by petty supervision. Among them there are idealists ready to die for their own ideas. So let them die for them. The most important thing is to preserve their illusion that they are completely free and independent."

"Although the vast majority of spetsnaz is made up of Slavonic personnel, there are some exceptions…And spetsnaz contains Turks, Kurds, Greeks, Koreans, Mongolians, Finns and people of other nationalities."

"The Soviet Union condemns the civil war in Lebanon. But there is no need for it to condemn the war. All it has to do is hold back the next transportation of ammunition and war will cease."

"Apart from military and financial support, the Soviet Union also provides the terrorists aid in the form of training. Training centers have been set up in the Soviet Union for training terrorists from a number of different countries."

"Every terrorist is studied carefully during his training, and among them will be noted the potential leaders and the born rebels who will not submit to any authority…Of equal importance are the students' weaknesses and ambitions, and their relationships with one another. Some time, many years ahead, one of them may become an important leader, but not one approved by Moscow, so it is vital to know in advance who his likely friends and enemies will be."

"The reward for the GRU is that a terrorist doing work for spetsnaz does not, in the great majority of cases, suspect he is being used. He is utterly convinced that he is acting independently, of his own will and by his own choice. The GRU does not leave its signature or his fingerprints around."

"Even in cases where it is not a question of individual terrorists but of experienced leaders of terrorist organizations, the GRU takes extraordinary steps to ensure that not only all outsiders but even the terrorist leader himself should not realize the extent of his subordination to spetsnaz and consequently to the GRU."

"The overture is a series of large and small operations the purpose of which is, before actual military operations begin, to weaken the enemy's morale, create an atmosphere of general suspicion, fear and uncertainty, and divert the attention of the enemy's armies and police forces to a huge number of different targets, each of which may be the object of the next attack."

"The overture is carried by agents of the secret services of the Soviet satellite countries and by mercenaries recruited by intermediaries. The principal method employed at this stage is "gray terror", that is, a kind of terror which is not conducted in the name of the Soviet Union. The Soviet secret services do not at this stage leave their visiting cards, or leave other people's cards. The terror is carried out in the name of already existing extremist groups not connected in any way with the Soviet Union, or in the name of the fictitious organizations. The GRU reckons that in this period its operations should be regarded as natural disasters, actions by forces beyond human control, mistakes by people, or as terrorist acts by organizations not connected with the Soviet Union."

"The terrorist acts carried out in the course of the 'overture' require very few people, very few weapons and little equipment. In some cases all that may be needed is one man who has a weapon nothing more than a screwdriver, a box of marches or a glass ampoule. Some of the operations can have catastrophic consequences. For example, an epidemic of an infectious disease at seven of the most important naval bases in the West could have the effect of halving the combined naval might of the Soviet Union's enemies."

"There is a marked increase in the strength of the peace movement. In many countries there are continual demand to make the country neutral and not to support American foreign policy, which has been discredited. At this point the 'gray terror' gathers scope and strength and in the last days of peace reaches its peak."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Victor Suvurov(real name V.Rezun) is not a KGB defector...he's GRU defector.
I'm a sptznaz corporal, officer in nearest future...
here a some true facts, but realy wrong deduction