Two Degrees of Separation:Tsarnaev Brothers Had a CIA Connection
By Dave Lindorff
May 03, 2013 "Information Clearing House" -"This Can't Be Happening!" Let’s do a little exercise. Forget nationalities and identities for a moment.
Imagine you are a police detective investigating a horrific bombing in your city -- one in which several people were killed and hundreds were injured. You have a captured suspect whom you are sure was one of the bombers, and another was killed in a shootout, but both are young and not very sophisticated.
They might have acted alone, of course, but knowing how these things work, you are also looking for leads to try to determine who else might have been involved, and especially who might have been behind the incident.
As it happens, your two suspects are immigrants. They were brought to your country at a young age by parents who were refugees seeking asylum from from a region of the world riven by civil war, brutal repression by a larger power, and that was a breeding ground for terrorists who had been known to have launched terrible attacks against civilians, including schools and full movie theaters in that larger power.
Now supposing you discovered that the national intelligence agency of a rival nation to that larger power had actually provided support to the terrorists that were attacking it, and that, moreover, the two young men who were your suspects were related to an uncle who had for three years been married to the daughter of a top member of that intelligence agency -- the latter a man who had had a long history of active involvement in that agency’s major covert operations.
Wouldn’t you be deeply suspicious about the nature of the connections between the two young men and this intelligence agency? Of course you would!
Well, let’s put some names to this scenario.
The troubled region in question is Chechnya, a region of the former Soviet Union which sought independence from Russia after the collapse of the USSR. The Russian state crushed that secession effort with incredible violence, but found itself still fighting a long and vicious guerrilla conflict against Chechen fighters who didn’t hesitate to take their battle to the Russian heartland in the form of terror strikes. The Chechen guerrillas were supported by the CIA as the US adopted a covert policy of backing efforts by former regions of the old USSR to break free of Russia.
Just as the US long covertly supported terrorist actions by right-wing Cuban groups inside Cuba, and as it currently supports terrorist activities inside another rival state, Iran, by a terrorist organization called MEK (for People's Mujahedin of Iran or the Mojahedin-e-Khalq), it has also supported the guerrillas in Chechnya. This explains why former federal prosecutor and arch neocon Republican Rudy Guiliani found himself sputtering in disbelief in a CBS interview a few days after the Boston Marathon bombing as it became evident that the suspected Boston bombers were two young Chechens.
As former FBI official Coleen Rowley observes, “I almost choked on my coffee listening to neoconservative Rudy Giuliani pompously claim on national TV that he was surprised about any Chechens being responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings because he’s never seen any indication that Chechen extremists harbored animosity toward the U.S.; Guiliani thought they were only focused on Russia.”
She said, “Giuliani knows full well how the Chechen ‘terrorists’ proved useful to the U.S. in keeping pressure on the Russians, much as the Afghan mujahedeen were used in the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan from 1980 to 1989. In fact, many neocons signed up as Chechnya’s ‘friends,’ including former CIA Director James Woolsey.”
Now it turns out that the two young men suspected of having placed the exploding pressure-cooker bombs at the finish line of the marathon, the slain Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, and his imprisoned younger brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, have an uncle, Ruslan Tsarni (he changed his name from Tsarnaev after immigrating to the US), who was until 1999 married to Samantha Ankara Fuller, daughter of a high-ranking CIA operations officer named Graham Fuller. (Fuller, who has called any suggestion of links between his former son-in-law and the CIA “absurd” retired from the Agency and went to work with the Rand Corp., where he focused on the Middle East.).
Fuller, reportedly at one time a CIA station chief in Kabul, Afghanistan, also worked over the years as an operations officer in such intelligence hotspots as Turkey, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, as well as Hong Kong.
Uncle Ruslan at one point during his marriage to Fuller’s daughter, was running a curious organization called the Congress of Chechen International Organizations which listed as its address Fuller’s home in Rockville, MD, a Washington DC suburb. (The CCIO ostensibly provided charity aid to Chechnya, though the true nature of that "aid" was probably something else.) Tsarni, in the organization’s Maryland registration document, listed its activity very generically (and uninformatively) as “ordinary business.” It appears that Ruslan Tsarni also, during the 1990s, reportedly worked as a consultant in Kazakhstan, another former Soviet republic, for US AID, an organization that has often served to provide cover for CIA operatives.
Now I know that the world is full of coincidences, but then this is no matter of six degrees of separation. This “coincidence” puts the two Tsarnaev brothers at just two degrees of separation from the CIA household of Graham Fuller.
Going back to our imaginary police detective, I should think this would have to raise suspicions about links between the Tsarnaev brothers and the CIA.
The most charitable theory, to me, would be that this Boston bombing may have been a particularly nasty example of blowback. Certainly there is reason to look carefully at the possibility of some US effort having been made to recruit at least Tamerlan, the older Tsarnaev brother, to work against Russia -- an effort that might then have backfired if he later turned against his American “handlers” for some reason, such as, perhaps, the ant-immigrant policy of the Golden Gloves organization which suddenly changed its rules about allowing legal immigrants to participate in the boxing contest, preventing him from having a second shot at the national title, or the INS, which blocked his efforts to obtain citizenship over an arrest (no conviction) for once allegedly slapping his girlfriend.
There are, of course, also darker possibilities, which an honest and thorough investigator would want to follow. A key would be knowing what if any contacts there were between either of the Tsarnaev brothers and the CIA.
As I have written earlier, there remains the bizarre presence at the marathon finish line, before and after the bombing, of men who appear to have been working for the Texas-based private mercenary firm Craft International.
US mercenary firms like Xe (formerly Blackwater) and Craft International have a close and incestuous relationship to the CIA. Such organizations tend to recruit their personnel from the ranks of US and foreign special forces units, which both tend to have close links to the CIA. Craft International, in particular, which was founded n 2009 by the late US Navy SEAL unit member Chris Kyle, reportedly has a number of SEAL veterans in its ranks. The CIA has increasingly relied on Navy SEALs for its covert special operations actions, most notably the assault in Pakistan on the hideout of Osama Bin Laden.
While the CIA is not supposed to engage in covert activities within the United States, its tight relationship with a para-military organization like Craft International means that the Agency could do the same thing indirectly by relying on a private contractor like Craft, which would not face the same legal restrictions. Indeed, for all we know, Craft could be simply a dummy CIA front, like Air America was during the Vietnam War era. In that regard, it is interesting that the address listed for Craft International in a Business Week listing (2101 Cedar Springs Rd., Suite 1400, Dallas, TX), is the same address given for at least four other businesses, including Hayman Capital Management, LLC, a hedgefund firm headed by a J. Kyle Bass, Japan Macro Opportunities Off-Shore Partners, a Cayman Islands-incorporated firm, a Bruce Davis, listed as “registered agent” for a firm called Solidus Bancshares, Inc., and HW GP, LLC, business unclear -- suggesting that the location may be more of a “drop-box” kind of office than a functional business operation address. That would point to the possibility of a dummy corporation or front company.
I don’t have any specific information that would allow me to suggest that the CIA had anything to do with the Boston bombing. I cannot say the same thing about Craft International, however. Certainly there is some very troubling evidence in photos, visible on our site, showing some disturbing similarities between the markings on an exploded backpack which the FBI says contained one of the two pressure-cooker bombs and the backpacks being worn by the Craft International personnel photographed at the marathon finish line.
Our hypothetical police investigator would certainly want to look into these potential connections, as well as the suggestion of a possible link between the Tsarnaev brothers and their CIA-linked Uncle Ruslan. A good start would be to check into Uncle Ruslan’s actual historical relationship with his two nephews. Ruslan Tsarni was quick to go to the media to denounce his young kinsmen as “losers” who had “brought shame” on all Chechens, and to try and separate himself from them. But he was not always so deprecating of the children of his own brother, Anzar Tsarnaev (who is in Dagestan, where he vigorously denies his children’s guilt). In fact, Tsarni himself says it was Tamerlan’s relatively recent reported turn to Islam which led him to cut himself off from his nephew. What their relationship was prior to that is not clear and certainly bears scrutiny.
Not that I’m expecting some detective to look into all this.
The FBI, for its part, cannot be trusted here. It’s quite possible, after all, that at least Tamerlan Tsarnaev was set up by a Bureau provocateur in a plot that was meant, like many before it, to be “disrupted” by the FBI but that spiraled out of control (or got taken in a new direction by another agency?). And the Boston Police, meanwhile, have been so wrapped up in their exciting manhunt, and their “lockdown” of an entire city, that they are unlikely to want to ask probing questions about why this bombing happened. They're too busy basking in uncritical applause from local Bostonians.
As for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, he has already endured an unconstitutional 16-hour interrogation by the FBI’s crack interrogation team, the so-called High Value Detainee Interrogation Group, all of it conducted while he was hospitalized in serious condition, sedated and chained to his bed, and despite having his repeated requests for an attorney blatantly denied. He has now furthermore been arraigned for the capital crime of terrorism with a “weapon of mass destruction” for his alleged role in the bombing. Given all this, he is unlikely to tell his real story, at least for public consumption. More likely, he and his legal team will prefer to try and cut some kind of a deal, saying in open court whatever is demanded by prosecutors, in order to have the death penalty taken off the table.
So we’re left to wonder: why would two intelligent and talented young men with no particular grievances against the United States or the Americans among whom they lived much or most of their lives, have decided to blow up and kill and maim a bunch of mostly young people like themselves in an event that had no political significance?
There are leaked reports that Dzhokhar, during his FBI interrogation, said he and his brother had been “angry with the US about the Iraq and Afghan wars,” but even if he really did say what the FBI is leaking that he said, there has been nothing reported about their prior histories suggesting that either brother had been particularly exercised about those two actions -- no reports for example that Dzhokhar or Tamerlan had ever participated in even one of the anti-war demonstrations which have been commonplace in liberal Boston, or attended the Occupy actions in that city. In fact, if anything, Tamerlan, allegedly the dominant figure of the pair, to the extent that he had been political at all, had seemingly been more focused on the suffering of his native Chechens and fellow Muslims in Russia, which would make an attack on the US a peculiar turn indeed.
Look, I said before I’m not a conspiracy theory fan, and maybe this bombing in Boston was just a case of two angry young brothers who flipped out, egged each other on, and decided to go out with a bang. But it would be naive and irresponsible not to make note of these bizarre links, through their Uncle Ruslan Tsarni, of the Tsarnaev brothers to the CIA, and of the apparent presence of the Craft International personnel at the marathon finish line, not to mention the uncanny similarity in attire between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and the Craft mercenaries at the marathon bombing scene. (Besides, my late father, a retired electrical engineer and a Jungian analyst, used to say that many seeming coincidences are actually synchronicities, and can have much more meaning than simply being a highly improbable accident.) Also begging an answer is the question of where the two brothers, neither of whom had obvious access to wealth, got the money to spend on fancy clothes or, in the case of Tamerlan (who with his wife and small daughter, on the basis of his publicly available information, qualified until this year for welfare assistance), owned a late model Mercedes-Benz sedan.
These issues demand our attention because our increasingly national security obsessed government has been using each tragedy like this to further curtail our freedoms. We have to pay attention all the more because none of this is being investigated or even reported on at all by the corporate media, which seem content to just report on official statements and leaks and call it a day's work well done.
Copyright © 2013 This Can't Be Happening!