This is the second article in a two part series. Part one was published on on August 11, 2009. In that article, Peter Dale Scott argued that, as a result of outsourcing, networks of private military and intelligence contractors (PMCs and PICs) are now in a position to influence or even determine U.S. foreign policy, and have clearly a profit motive to steer America into more and more grandiose and expensive foreign adventures, like the unnecessary war in Iraq. In this second part he explores the transnational aspects of the networks he previously discussed (inhabited by low-profile PMCs like SAIC and Diligence LLC), and their covert operations which have contributed to destabilization and conflict.

Diligence LLC’s Russian Connections: Alfa Bank and Far West Ltd

What we have been talking about until now is advocacy disguised as expertise. But overseas associates of Diligence LLC and its allies have also been accused of false-flag operations intended to provoke war.

Consider first the transnational connections of Diligence LLC. The Chairman of Diligence from 2001 to 2007 was former U.S. Ambassador and arms negotiator Richard Burt, of Barbour, Griffith and Rogers and McLarty Kissinger Associates. Burt, a neocon who once called the SALT agreement “a favor to the Russians,” is also on the Alfa Bank’s Senior Advisory Board in Moscow.

Alfa’s clout in Washington dates back into the mid-1990s, when its oil company, Tyumen (TNK)

was loaned $489m in credits by the US Export-Import Bank after lobbying by Halliburton; ….The [Clinton] White House and State Department tried to veto the Russian deal. But after intense lobbying by Halliburton the objections were overruled on Capitol Hill. [which then was Republican-controlled] ….The State Department’s concerns were based on the fact that Tyumen was controlled by a holding conglomerate, the Alfa Group, that had been investigated in Russia for mafia connections.[1]

At some point in time, the leaders of Halliburton and Diligence, Alfa’s allies and “roof” in Washington, allegedly made contact with a shady group in Russia with Alfa connections, a group that, back in 1998, incorporated itself as the Russian firm Far West Ltd (now Far West LLC). [2]

Vladimir Filin, the president of Far West, once described his company’s activities and backers in a press interview. Far West, he said was

connected with the secured transport of commercial shipments from Afghanistan, where we have an office, to ports on the Black Sea.  …But the most commercially attractive route seems to be that from Bagram to the US air base in Magas [Manas], in Kyrgyzstan. By the way, it is quite near the Russian air base in Kant. A significant flow of shipments passes through Magas, there is a niche there for commercial shipments too.  This is very profitable.  It is much more profitable than routing commercial shipments from Afghanistan  through Tajikistan.  Therefore last year we completely withdrew from all shipping through Tajikistan and closed our office in that country….

Who our partners are is a commercial secret.  I can say that they are four private firms from three countries, Turkey, Russia, and the USA, which engage among other things in shipping. One of these firms is a sub-division of a well-known American corporation. This firm is a co-founder of our agency.[3]

A hostile critic of Far West, “Yuri Yasenev” (a fictional name on the Internet), identified Far West’s U.S. partners as

– «Kellogg, Brown &Root» (KBR Halliburton) – in Colombia, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Georgia, and Iraq.

– «Diligence Iraq LLC» (controlled by the Kuwaiti Mohammed as-Sagar) – in Iraq.”[4]

More specifically “Yasenev” charged that Far West’s chief business, in Colombia and elsewhere, was drug trafficking, an activity which Filin himself attributed to the Americans controlling Bagram.[5]

Some of “Yasenev”’s charges against Far West – but not these ones – were publicized in America by the Hoover Institution scholar John Dunlop. Dunlop transmitted nothing of what “Yasenev” said about Far West’s connections to KBR and Diligence LLC, as well as to the intelligence services of Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States. Dunlop did not mention Far West itself at all by name. But he relied heavily on “Yasenev” to support his claim that some of Far West’s members planned in advance for what has been called “the Russian 9/11:” the series of false-flag terrorist attacks in 1999 that led to the election of Putin as Russian president and also to the second Russian war in Chechnya.[6]

The basic facts of the Russian 9/11 have been well summarized by the historian David Satter:

On August 5 [1999], a Muslim force led by Shamil Basayev, a Chechen guerilla leader, entered western Dagestan from Chechnya, ostensibly to start an anti-Russian uprising. On August 9, Stepashin was dismissed and Putin became prime minister. On August 22, the force withdrew back into Chechnya without heavy losses, amid suspicion that the incursion had been a provocation. At the end of August, Russian aircraft bombed Wahhabi villages in Dagestan in seeming retaliation for the incursion and this was followed, days later, by the explosions that obliterated the apartment buildings in Moscow, Buinaksk and Volgodonsk.

According to Satter, along with other observers east and west, “the weight of the evidence supports the view that the bombings were not the work of Chechen terrorists but rather the action of the Russian government undertaken to justify the launching of the Second Chechen War.”[7]

What we may call this “first-cut” false-flag explanation for the August 1999 incidents – that it was “the action of the Russian government” – was refined by other observers, notably John B. Dunlop of the Hoover Institution and Jamestown Foundation. According to this “second cut” refinement, the August bombings and Dagestan incursion were both planned in Adnan Khashoggi’s Riviera villa the previous June, by a meeting of Chechen Islamists together with a Kremlin representative.[8] According to Dunlop the meeting was actually brokered by a retired GRU officer called Anton Surikov, who we know from other sources to have been an officer of Far West Ltd. In Dunlop’s words,

On the day following the initial incursion of rebel forces into the Dagestani highlands in early August of 1999, the investigative weekly Versiya published a path-breaking report claiming that the head of the Russian Presidential Administration, Aleksandr Voloshin, had met secretly with the most wanted man in Russia, Shamil’ Basaev, through the good offices of a retired officer in the GRU, Anton Surikov, at a villa belonging to international arms merchant Adnan Khashoggi located [in Beaulieu] between Nice and Monaco.[9]

Dunlop blamed the plotting on three protégés of the Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky – Valentin Yumashev [Yeltsin’s son-in-law], Alexander Voloshin, and Roman Abramovich – all of whom at this point were members of Yeltsin’s “Family” in the Kremlin. He neglected to mention that Anton Surikov had spent time at the London Centre for Defence Studies; and in addition had admittedly had contacts with former CIA officer Fritz Ermarth.[10]