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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Global Bust-Out Series (Chapter 8): Boris Berezovsky and the “Nexus” Between Organized Crime, Terrorism, and the Global Oligarchy

The Global Bust-Out Series (Chapter 8): Boris Berezovsky and the “Nexus” Between Organized Crime, Terrorism, and the Global Oligarchy
Posted on 26 August 2013 by Mark Mitchell

Tags: Adnan Khashoggi, Alexander Litvinenko, Bank of Credit and Commerce International, BCCI, Boris Berezovksy, Boris Yeltson, polonium, Shamil Basaev, Vladimir Putin

In earlier chapters of this series, we learned about an incredible enterprise known as the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), which was operated by oligarchs with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood in partnership with royal families and government officials who were among the Muslim Brotherhood’s principal sponsors. We also learned that the BCCI enterprise operated with the consent, protection, and involvement of the regime in Washington even though BCCI not only counted among its partners numerous organized crime syndicates and most of the world’s leading terrorist organizations, but also was itself a transnational organized crime syndicate involved in everything from the trafficking of narcotics and nuclear weapons components to the funding of terrorism and the perpetration of destructive financial crime.

In addition, we learned that BCCI counted among its important business partners some of the leading figures of the American establishment, including Michael Milken, who was, during the 1980s, the most powerful financial operator of Wall Street. As we know, Milken and some of his closest associates, in league with the BCCI enterprise, perpetrated the “bust-outs” of numerous savings and loan banks, thereby contributing to the devastating savings and loan crisis that began in the late 1980s, and which ultimately cost taxpayers more than $2 trillion in bailouts—a portent of bigger and better things to come.

Also involved with these bust-outs were (see earlier chapters of this series) some of the nation’s leading organized crime figures, such as Carlos Marcello, who was then the top Mafia boss in the city of New Orleans. Meanwhile, we know, BCCI was involved with a global network of brokerages, most of them operated by people with ties to organized crime, and most of them specializing in the bust-outs of small to medium-sized publicly listed companies. As a judge remarked after BCCI shut its doors in 1991, the BCCI enterprise singlehandedly “shattered the integrity of the global financial system.”

And, of course, history did not end in 1991, when BCCI was shut down.

That same year, 1991, a Muslim Brotherhood leader named Hasan al-Turabi (also a top official in the government of Sudan) appointed Osama bin Laden to serve as chairman of an outfit called the Islamist International, and Osama bin Laden’s most important mission in that capacity was to help lead a Muslim Brotherhood initiative—“The Financial Jihad”—to replace the BCCI enterprise with a global financial network that would exceed the BCCI enterprise in scope and destructive power. That mission was largely a success, and by 1996, the Muslim Brotherhood (with the help of Osama bin Laden, among others more important than him) had built a global financial network that was also a transnational organized crime syndicate involved in all of the activities—from terrorism and destructive financial crime to the trafficking of narcotics and sophisticated weaponry—that had characterized the earlier BCCI enterprise.

Moving forward, I will sometimes refer not only to the “BCCI network” that operated in the 1980s, but also to the “ongoing BCCI enterprise” that continued to operate in later years. This terminology is, in fact, not quite correct because even prior to 1991, BCCI was just one of many similar outfits in a global market manipulation and money laundering network. In addition, BCCI was not necessarily the most important outfit in the network. But most of the outfits in the network did business with BCCI, and BCCI was a common denominator linking most of the financial operators and criminals in the network. Similarly, in 1996, earnest FBI agents discovered (or, rather, rediscovered) what they described at the time as a “global market manipulation and money laundering network” and most of the people involved with the network had formerly been involved with the BCCI enterprise.

In other words, there existed as of 1996 a global market manipulation and money laundering network that was operated not only by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood (most of them, including Osama bin Laden, formerly involved with the BCCI enterprise), but also numerous others formerly involved with the BCCI enterprise, among them the leaders of multiple terrorist organizations (spawned by the Muslim Brotherhood), most of the world’s leading transnational organized crime syndicates, numerous rogue intelligence operatives, multiple royal families, some of the most powerful people on Wall Street, and other elements of the global criminal oligarchy. All that had changed since BCCI days was that the network had come to include some new players, notable among them a select number of Russian oligarchs, elements of the Russian intelligence services, and some newer organized crime syndicates (in Russia, the Balkans, and other former east-bloc nations) that had emerged upon the global scene after the fall of the Soviet Union.

In subsequent years, this network remained in business, the only difference being that it came to include still more new and younger players, meanwhile innovating new and eminently more destructive financial weapons (e.g. self-destruct CDOs, an innovation of Michael Milken and associates) that were used to bust out major financial institutions and national economies. Indeed, we will see that this same network contributed mightily to the great meltdown of 2008, and we will see that this same network is presently threatening to deliver a repeat performance. This might be why the president of the United States was, in 2011, moved to take the unprecedented step of formally declaring a state of “National Emergency” in response to certain conditions that currently prevail in the American financial markets.

See Chapter 1 of this series for more on the “National Emergency,” but I will remind readers that President Barack Obama, in 2011, stated that he had formally declared a state of “National Emergency” because there was a clear “nexus” between the world’s leading transnational organized crime syndicates, the world’s leading terrorist organizations, and the intelligence services of several unnamed countries. The president explained further that this was a “National Emergency” because transnational organized crime syndicates (and, we can confirm, others in the “nexus”) had not only “penetrated” the “legitimate” financial sector, but were “undermining markets” to such an extent that they now posed a serious and imminent “threat to the stability of the global financial system.”

The president did not quite put it this way, but what he meant was that there presently exists a global market manipulation and money laundering network (or “nexus”) that is inhabited by transnational organized crime syndicates, leading terrorist organizations, rogue intelligence officials, and “legitimate” financial operators who do business with all of the above. In addition, we can assume that when the president said that miscreants in this network (or “nexus’) were “undermining markets,” he meant that miscreants in the network were, in fact, “undermining the markets.” Put another way, they were perpetrating all manner of schemes that can broadly be defined as short-side market manipulation (i.e. manipulation that was “undermining markets”). And the president was right: this was (and still is) a “National Emergency.”

Unfortunately, the president seems to have declared this “National Emergency” so as to usurp for himself the “emergency” powers to handle the “National Emergency” as he sees fit. Furthermore, it seems that the president intends to handle the emergency by doing precisely nothing whatsoever. For example, the president’s administration has yet to prosecute any of the transnational organized crime syndicates that have (in the president’s words) “penetrated” the “legitimate” financial sector. In addition, the president’s administration has yet to prosecute any “legitimate” financial operators, and nor has the president prosecuted any of the other criminal oligarchs who are (in league with organized crime syndicates, terrorist organizations, and others in the “nexus”) “undermining markets” to such an extent that they now pose a serious “threat to the stability of the global financial system.”

Later chapters of this series will discuss in much greater detail our current predicament, but by way of introduction to that discussion, it will be useful for us to first review some history so far as it concerns a Russian oligarch named Boris Berezovksy, who veritably epitomized the “nexus” between transnational organized crime syndicates, terrorism, and the global criminal oligarchy. This history has already been well-documented by others, but it is necessary for me to repeat some of the more salient facts not only because these facts have been widely ignored by the major U.S. news organizations, but also because knowing these facts is essential to any proper understanding of the threat that is presently posed to the stability of the global financial system. Indeed, we will see that this history (like the related history of the BCCI enterprise) is entirely pertinent to any discussion of the great meltdown that occurred in 2008, and the financial crisis that continues to the present day.

* * * * * * * * *

In 2013, Boris Berezovsky died, apparently having committed suicide, at which point the major U.S. news organizations, concerning the life and times of Boris Berezovsky, reported precisely the same party line. According to this party line, Berezovsky had been one of Russia’s most “prominent” and “successful” oligarchs, but had been forced to move to London in 2000 when Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to press criminal charges against him, not because Berezovsky had committed any crimes, but simply because Putin was a tyrant intent upon persecuting all those who challenged his power.

The major U.S. news organizations suggested further that upon moving to London, Berezovsky ceased to be an oligarch (there are no oligarchs in London, according to the major U.S. news organizations). Instead, Berezovsky (according to the media party line) embarked upon a new career as a Russian “exile” and “dissident” in the mold of the heroic Solzhenitsyn, and during all his years in London (with frequent trips to the U.S.A. where he had purchased many of America’s leading politicians, though the purchased media never mentioned that) Berezovsky was employed full-time either exposing corruption or otherwise waging his larger campaign for freedom, democracy, and justice for all.

There was, however, more to the story, and much of it had been told by journalist Paul Klebnikov, who, in 2000, published a book (title: “The Godfather of the Kremlin”) reporting that Berezovsky had built his business empire in partnership with leading Russian and Chechen organized crime syndicates. Klebnikov’s book also described the key role that Berezovsky played in orchestrating the rise to power of Vladimir Putin. Indeed, Klebnikov suggested that Berezovsky, who was then the wealthiest and most influential man in Russia, played the most important role in orchestrating Putin’s rise to power, though he had help from other oligarchs and elements of the Russian intelligence services.

Putin had spent his early years working as a Russian intelligence operative in East Germany, and later assumed the leadership of the Federal Security Service (FSB), previously known as the KGB. In 1999, Putin became prime minister, and he was anointed president a few months later. (In 2008, Putin became prime minister again, and in 2012, he was reelected as president). In Russia today, it is almost unanimously accepted that Berezovsky and his allies orchestrated Putin’s rise to power, but it is also true that soon after Putin assumed the presidency in 1999, Putin threatened to file criminal charges against Berezovsky and a few oligarchs who were close allies of Berezovsky, at which point Berezovsky and a few other oligarchs (e.g. Vladimir Gusinsky) left Russia, and settled in foreign countries.

Pundits and journalists in Russia have opposing views about Berezovsky and his “exile” in London. One view has it that Berezovsky elevated Putin to the presidency, but in doing so, he miscalculated, failing to realize that Putin would not return the favor by allowing Berezovsky and his associates to continue looting Russia, and would, to the contrary, crack down on the oligarchs and strip of them of the power they wielded over the Russian government. The other view has it that Putin’s move against Berezovsky was a ruse, intended only to score political points, and that Putin and Berezovsky secretly maintained close relations. In support of the latter point of view, pundits and media in Russia report that Putin and Berezovsky continued in the years following 2000 to hold secret meetings, and that Berezovsky continued to have business dealings with elements of the Russian intelligence services.

In further support of the latter view, pundits and media in Russia also note that oligarchs and crime syndicates that were among Berezovsky’s closest business partners, and which, along with Berezovsky, played important roles in elevating Putin to the presidency in 1999, continue to this day to operate in Russia with the apparent protection of the Putin government, and in partnership with the powerful Russian intelligence services. Therefore, it cannot be possible, or so it is argued, that Berezovsky, during his years as an “exile” in London, genuinely desired to remove Putin from the presidency.

It might even be (in the view of some Russian pundits) that Berezovsky moved to London not to lead a dissident movement against the Putin government, but to serve Putin as some sort of master spy, seizing control of the dissident movement so as to defuse it, and meanwhile leading the expansion of Russian influence into Britain and other Western nations. Alternatively, some suggest that Berezovsky had been an agent of Western governments at the time when he was the most powerful man in Russia, and Putin became aware of this, one reason why Putin forced Berezovsky to leave Russia, even though it was Berezovsky who had orchestrated Putin’s rise to power. We will see that there is no question that Berezovsky was an asset of Western governments, including the regime in Washington, but the nature of his relationship with Putin after his move to London remains a matter of debate.

Either way, the party line put forth by most major U.S. news organizations is patently false, and it says a lot about the state of the U.S. media that the only mainstream journalist to report the truth about Berezovsky was Paul Klebnikov, author of the 2000 book (“The Godfather of the Kremlin”) and other writings about Berezovsky’s criminality. Even more disturbing is the fact that Klebnikov (who had reported receiving death threats from Berezovsky) was, in 2004, gunned down on a Moscow street, and when he was killed, many of his fellow American journalists did not see fit to report that Klebnikov’s seminal work had linked Berezovsky to organized crime.

For a long time, the last word on Klebnikov’s murder was a 2007 story in Forbes Magazine (the magazine that had employed Klebnikov at the time when he was killed), and this story, authored by a journalist named Gary Weiss, did not even mention Berezovsky’s name, much less the fact that Klebnikov had devoted most of his career to exposing Berezovsky’s criminality. Only after Berezovsky himself was dead did Forbes Magazine publish a story suggesting that Berezovsky had, in fact, been a likely suspect in the murder of Klebnikov. There could be no greater evidence of the timidity of Forbes magazine’s editors than that they could not bring themselves to name a likely suspect in the murder of their own reporter until after the suspect was dead.

All the more appalling was that Forbes had previously given the last word on the subject of Klebnikov’s murder to the journalist Gary Weiss, who was meanwhile helping direct the activities of an outfit called The Klebnikov Project, which had been established by some of America’s most prominent journalists, ostensibly to investigate Klebnikov’s murder, and ostensibly to send a strong message that America’s most prominent journalists would not tolerate the murder of one of their own, and would indeed expose any and all miscreants who would dare so much as threaten a journalist or otherwise seek to infringe upon the freedom of the press. Incredibly, not one of those prominent journalists, in the many stories that they published about Klebnikov’s murder, reported that Berezovsky had threatened to murder Klebnikov, and nor did they report that Klebnikov’s seminal work had not only exposed Berezovsky’s ties to organized crime, but had also linked Berezovsky to multiple murders.

In addition, of course, not one of those prominent American journalists reported that Berezovsky was a likely suspect in Klebnikov’s murder, which was quite in contrast to journalists in Russia, where there is still a free press, and where numerous journalists had not only exposed Berezovsky’s ties to organized crime and had not only indentified Berezovsky as the likely suspect in Klebnikov’s murder, but had also linked Berezovsky to the murders of other journalists besides. All the more incredible was the fact that Gary Weiss, the prominent journalist who helped direct The Klebnikov Project (and who, until after Berezovsky’s death, had the last word in Forbes magazine on Klebnikov’s murder) had previously been employed by the lawyers of none other than…Boris Berezovsky.

Not only that, but Weiss (the journalist who hijacked The Klebnikov Project, an outfit ostensibly devoted to protecting freedom of the press) had been employed by Berezovsky’s lawyers to help quash freedom of the press. More specifically, Weiss (the journalist who also hijacked the Klebnikov Project, which was ostensibly investigating the murder of Paul Klebnikov) had been employed by Berezovsky’s lawyers to provide assistance to a libel lawsuit that Berezovsky had filed against…Paul Klebnikov. In addition, Weiss had been employed (by Berezovsky) to lead a smear campaign aimed at trashing Klebnikov’s reputation.

As part of this campaign, Weiss had authored dozens of anonymous internet reviews trashing Klebnikov’s book, and in these reviews (which DeepCapture reporter and computer technologist Judd Bagley traced to Gary Weiss’s IP address) maintained (falsely) that Klebnikov had fabricated the information in his book linking Berezovsky to organized crime. And if you think we have a free press in this nation, consider that The Klebnikov Project (set up by America’s most prominent journalists to expose those who threaten freedom of the press) not only failed to expose Berezovsky (who threatened the free press), but was, in fact, enthusiastically supported by none other than…Berezovsky.

Meanwhile, many of America’s leading news organizations (e.g. the Wall Street Journal) had come to be owned by people (e.g. Rupert Murdoch) who were among Berezovsky’s closest associates. In addition, the major U.S. news organizations seemed to view with total approval or indifference the fact that Berezovsky (who, after all, was some kind of democracy activist) had meddled in our own democracy, becoming one of the largest donors (or, rather, buyers) of both the Democratic and Republican parties. Equally important, the major U.S. news organizations completely ignored the massive damage that Berezovsky and his mafia associates did to the U.S. economy during all those years while Berezovsky was ostensibly employed full-time as a Russian “exile” and “dissident” in the mold of the heroic Solzhenitsyn.

* * * * * * * * *

In any event, though the information has never appeared in any major U.S. news organization, it has been widely reported elsewhere, and confirmed to be true by numerous prominent investigators, that Berezovsky did (as Klebnikov reported in his book) build his business empire in partnership with leading Russian and Chechen organized crime syndicates. It has also been confirmed to be true (as Klebnikov reported in his book) that Berezovsky, more specifically, built his business empire in partnership with the Mogilevich organization (led by Semion Mogilevich, often referred to as “the most dangerous mobster in the world”) and a Chechen organized crime syndicate who leaders were (in addition to being mobsters) notorious terrorists, trained by trained by Osama bin Laden’s operation and by U.S. military contractors who took their orders from a faction of the regime in Washington.

Berezovsky himself admitted to investing more than $1 million with a Chechen terrorist named Shamil Basaev, who had once planted a radioactive materials in a Moscow park, informing the Russian police that next time the radioactive materials would be exploded as a so-called “dirty bomb,” thereby afflicting thousands of people with deadly radioactive poisoning. In 2004, Basaev did one better by leading a horrific terrorist attack on an elementary school in Beslan, Russia. That atrocity resulted in the deaths of more than 300 people, most of them young children, though there is debate over whether the children were killed by Basaev and his associates, or by Russian police who stormed the school in a botched attempt to rescue the children whom Basaev was holding hostage.

That same year, 2004, of course, Klebnikov, was murdered. That murder has never been solved, and nor have the murders of numerous Russian journalists who reported extensively on Berezovsky. One of those journalists was named Anna Politkovskaya, and when she was assassinated in 2006, it was widely assumed in Russia that her mistake had been to report the same story that Klebnikov had reported. Politkovskaya had been regarded as being Russia’s best investigative journalist, and the American media establishment conferred upon her numerous awards for her reporting and for her efforts to maintain press freedoms in Russia. However, America’s free press failed to inform the public that Politkovskaya’s seminal investigative reporting had been about Berezovsky’s ties to Chechen organized crime and his role in securing the presidency for Vladimir Putin.

Politkovskaya worked for the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which is one of the world’s finest media organizations. I cannot help but note the irony of the fact that U.S. newspapers (which operate in a country that boasts of having a “free” press) no longer publish much in the way of investigative reports, and seem to be in large part captured by a ruling oligarchy, while Novaya Gazeta (operating in a nation said by the U.S. media to be something close to a police state) employs dozens of full-time investigative journalists who have not only defied and exposed their own ruling oligarchy, but have done so with little in the way of financial reward.

That is a bitter reality, but, in addition, it seems like something close to absurdity when you consider that the U.S. media gives favorable treatment to the same Russian oligarchs whom Russian journalists have exposed as being criminals and mobsters. Of course, those same Russian oligarchs are also important business partners of America’s leading oligarchs, and make no mistake: the American oligarchy (and their Russian counterparts) influence what you read in the (American) papers. They also influence what you see on cable news. Strangely enough, the only television news network in the United States that provides accurate and in-depth reporting on important subjects like government corruption and Wall Street miscreancy is RT News, which is operated by… the Russian government.

* * * * * * * *

Paul Klebnikov of Forbes magazine was a rarity. He was an American journalist who investigated the oligarchs. He investigated only Russian oligarchs, but he reported that Russian oligarchs had extensive business in the United States, and their business partners in the United States—certain American oligarchs—were not so different in kind. Klebnikov was an American journalist who knew that all oligarchs (distinct from entrepreneurs) earn their billions from destruction, not from creation. He was a rare American journalist who understood the threat that the global oligarchy posed to the global financial system, and he was the rare American journalist who recognized the threat that the global oligarchy posed to freedom in all the nations of the world.

Klebnikov was, moreover, one of the only American journalists to investigate the ties that bind many oligarchs to transnational organized crime syndicates. He was the rare American journalist who, moreover, understood that there exists what amounts to global organized crime syndicate that has wrought destruction not only in places like Russia, but here in the United States as well. Klebnikov investigated this syndicate and, of course, he was rewarded with death.

The prevailing theory advanced by the Western press was that Klebnikov was murdered by Chechen gangsters who did not appreciate his second book, this one written in Russian and titled “Conversations with a Barbarian,” which was about a Chechen mafia boss named Khozh-Ahmed Nukhaev. Perhaps it was, in fact, Nukhaev who killed Klebnikov, but what the Western press failed to report was that Nukhaev was one of Berezovsky’s most important business partners. Even worse, the major U.S. news organizations failed to report that Nukhaev’s organized crime syndicate (whose other leaders are notorious terrorists, trained by Osama bin Laden’s operation and U.S. military contractors) has a massive presence in the United States, and even operates its own lobbying outfit in Washington.

The lobbying outfit is called the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya, and this lobbying outfit, established by a Chechen organized crime (and terrorism) syndicate, not only operates with the full approval of officials in Washington, but also has a board of directors that includes some of the most prominent former officials of the U.S. government. Which is an important fact related to an important story that Paul Klebnikov published about this same Chechen organized crime syndicate and Boris Berezovsky. This story was also reported by Politkovskaya, among other Russian journalists who were subsequently killed, and the story goes like this:

In the 1990s, Berezovsky developed close business ties to the Chechen organized crime syndicate, the top leader of which was a mobster named Movladi Atlangeriyev. Among other things, this organized crime syndicate provided protection services to Berezovsky, helping Berezovsky fight off other organized criminals who threatened the companies– Logovaz and AvtoVaz—that were the early foundations of Berezovsky’s business empire. One leader of the Chechen syndicate, Mogomed Ismailov, served as the head of Berezovsky’s security service.

Another leader of the syndicate was Nukhaev (the subject of Klebnikov’s second book). Nukhaev was granted a significant stake in LugoVaz, and later the Chechen organized crime syndicate (sometimes referred to as the Lozanskaya Gang, though it goes by other names as well) helped Berezovsky and another oligarch, Roman Abramovich, gain control over the larger portion of Russian’s massive aluminum and other mining industries.

The aluminum industry was so infested with organized criminals that there were pitched gun battles and dozens of murders as competing syndicates fought for control. This was known in Russia as the “aluminum wars” and the winners were organized criminals who handed control to Berezovsky and Abramovich. One of those organized crime figures was named Michael Chernoy, who remained a partner of Berezovsky and Abramovich. It was widely reported that Chernoy (like Berezovksy)had business ties to not only Russian and Chechen organized crime syndicates, but also elements of the Russian intelligence services.

Notably, Chernoy (like Berezovksy) also had close ties to at least one faction of the regime in Washington. In addition, Chernoy was the lead sponsor of an organization called The Intelligence Summit, which invited spymasters from around the world to discuss their tradecraft. Former CIA director James Woolsey sat on The Intelligence Summit’s board of advisers until he resigned, citing Chernoy’s ties to Russian organized crime and various murders.

Chernoy, through Berezovsky, was also a business partner of a hedge fund manager and oil trader named Martin Schlaff, who had been one of Vladimir Putin’s closest associates since the 1980s, when Schlaff worked for the East German Stasi in Dresden and Putin was a KGB operative in that city. It has also been widely reported that Schlaff was a key financial advisor to Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, and brokered a deal that saw leading Israeli politicians allowing Qaddafi to provide financial support to Hamas, the jihadist outfit that controlled Gaza. Schlaff has also been alleged to have paid bribes to successive Israeli prime ministers.

All of these people—Schlaff, Berezovsky, and Chernoy—have, in addition, had dealings with Semion Mogilevich, the Russian organized crime boss who is often referred to as “the most dangerous mobster in the world.” A 1996 classified FBI report (since made public) implicated Mogilevich in everything from market manipulation, narcotics trafficking, and prostitution to the proliferation of radioactive materials. European governments and numerous overseas media reports have stated that the Mogilevich organization has extensive ties to Al Qaeda, and the Mogilevich organization, on at least one occasion, at offered to procure for Al Qaeda highly enriched (bomb grade uranium.

The White House national security staff has identified the Mogilevich organization as one mafia outfit that not only has ties to the Russian intelligence services, but has also “penetrated” the “legitimate” financial sector (i.e. Wall Street), hence our “National Emergency.”

The FBI now lists Mogilevich as one of its ten “Most Wanted” criminals. But while the White House has described the Mogilevich organization as contributing to the present “National Emergency,” the FBI has failed to arrest even one member of the Mogilevich organized crime syndicate, though many members of that crime syndicate reside in the United States, and all members of that crime syndicate are, of course, criminals. Meanwhile, Mogilevich has hired a lobbyist in Washington, and if you think the republic is in great shape, consider that the lobbyist for the world’s most dangerous mobster is William Sessions, formerly head of the FBI (the outfit that publishes those “Most Wanted” lists).

In 2008, Moscow police arrested Mogilevich. There was a brief story in The New York Times, and that was the last time the name “Mogilevich” was mentioned in that newspaper or by any other major American media organization . The American media did not report that the FBI made no effort to extradite its “Most Wanted” criminal. Nor did the U.S. media report that the arrest in Moscow was a farce—that Mogilevich was quickly released, with the Russian Interior Minister announcing that the charges against the world’s most notorious mafia boss were “not of a particularly grave nature.” Indeed, that was true. The only law enforcement agency that has charged Mogilevich with any crime is the U.S. Department of Justice, and the DOJ indicted Mogilevich for nothing more than perpetrating a relatively routine fraud at company called YBM Magnex.

As of 2013, reports from Moscow suggest that Mogilevich may face no charges whatsoever. This is not a surprise, given Mogilevich’s importance to at least some elements of both the Russian government and the regime in Washington. In 1999, Mogilevich was the central figure in a massive scandal that saw Russian organized crime working with not only elements of the Russian intelligence services and Russian oligarchs, including Berezovksy, but also elements of the regime in Washington, to launder upwards of $10 billion through the Bank of New York. Also linked to the Bank of New York scandal, of course, was Berezovksy, and we will see that the money laundering through the Bank of New York was indeed not only condoned, but also facilitated by a faction of the regime in Washington.

* * * * * * * *

There is more to the story that got Klebnikov killed. As mentioned, this same story was reported (in part) by Russia’s leading investigative journalist, who was also killed. Indeed, more than 30 Russian journalists have been killed since 1999, and many of them had reported elements of the same story. It is a story (also told in Wikileaks diplomatic cables, and by numerous media outlets in Europe and Russia) about the ties that bind Chechen organized crime syndicates to not only the Russian intelligence services, but also to elements of the regime in Washington. It is, moreover, the story of how Boris Berezovsky orchestrated the rise to power of Vladimir Putin, and how he might have done it with help from Chechen mobsters who are also known as “terrorists” with ties to Al Qaeda.

In 2000, Al Qaeda operatives traveled to Russia to meet with a Chechen organized crime (and terrorism) syndicate that had informed Al Qaeda that it was able to acquire nuclear weapons. The Chechens who met with the Al Qaeda operatives (but did not ultimately deliver the nukes) were members of the same syndicate that was then in business with Berezovsky. The meetings between Al Qaeda operatives and the Chechen organized crime syndicate were reported in cables sent to Washington by the U.S. embassy in Moscow, and the FBI subsequently indicted an outfit called Benevolence International, alleging that Benevolence International had been involved with the Chechen organized crime syndicate and its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons for Osama bin Laden.

The director of the Benevolence International office in Chechnya was a man named Saif e-Masry, and he was not only a top Al Qaeda operative, but also a member of the Chechen crime syndicate that had tried to acquire nukes for Osama bin Laden. The headquarters of Benevolence International, meanwhile, was in Chicago, and the FBI reported not only that the Benevolence International office in Chicago was an “Al Qaeda front,” but also that that the Benevolence International office in Chicago had been involved in the effort to acquire nuclear weapons for Osama bin Laden. However, no Benevolence International official ever did any jail time, and Benevolence International was allowed to remain open for business. At the time when it was dealing with the Chechens, Benevolence International was even partly funded by the U.S. government.

Other members of that same Chechen organized crime (and terrorism) syndicate operated in Chechnya under the auspices of an outfit called the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO), which was based in the suburbs of Washington, DC. As we know from earlier chapters of this series, both the IIRO and Benevolence International were founded by leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood, most of them Saudi billionaires. One of the IIRO’s co-founders was Osama bin Laden. Another was Abdurrahman Alamoudi, a key figure in Osama bin Laden’s organization who (see earlier chapters) was employed as consultant to multiple U.S. government agencies. During the 1990s, Mr. Alamoudi also worked at the White House as an advisor to President Bill Clinton.

The IIRO, meanwhile, received funding from the U.S. government, and it, too, remains open for business to this day, despite the fact that the United Nations (and earnest U.S. government investigators) have described IIRO offices in multiple countries as having been “Al Qaeda fronts.”

The most important of the Muslim Brotherhood billionaires (a co-founder of both the IIRO and Benevolence International) was Sheikh Khalid bin Mahfouz, who was not only Saudi Arabia’s most prominent banker, but also one of history’s most destructive financial criminals. In the 1980s, Sheikh Mahfouz had been the largest shareholder and executive director of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), and he was later sentenced to pay a fine of around $250 million (a fraction of what he had looted) for his BCCI crimes—crimes that had (in the words of the judge who sentenced Sheikh Mahfouz to pay the fine) “shattered the integrity of the global financial system.”

In later years, Sheikh Mahfouz became quite active in Russia, and he was among the oligarchs who, along with Berezovsky and others, looted the Russian financial system, which collapsed in 1997.

Later chapters of this series will describe the looting of Russia in greater detail, and in those chapters we will see that many others linked to the collapse of the Russian financial system were, like Sheikh Mahfouz, formerly involved with the BCCI enterprise. We will also see that numerous American oligarchs were linked to the looting of Russia, and many of those American oligarchs had similarly been involved with the BCCI enterprise during the 1980s. For the purposes of this chapter, though, it is enough to know that one other person linked to the looting of Russia was Adnan Khashoggi, who built his business empire with finance from Sheikh Mahfouz, and who was also a key figure in the BCCI enterprise during the 1980s, when he was linked (along with Sheikh Mahfouz and others) to the savings and loan crisis that devastated the U.S. economy and ultimately cost American taxpayers upwards of $2 billion in bailouts—a portent of bigger and better things to come.

* * * * * * * * *

In 1999, two years after the collapse of the Russian financial system, Berezovsky and few other Russian oligarchs orchestrated the rise to power of Vladimir Putin, and this was accomplished with help from the Chechen organized crime syndicate that was a partner in Berezovsky’s financial empire. Notably, this same Chechen organized crime syndicate had formerly had involvement with the BCCI enterprise, and some of the leaders of this Chechen organized crime syndicate (e.g. Shamil Basaev) were, of course, terrorists, trained by Osama bin Laden and Co. (and also trained by U.S. military contractors who took their orders from a faction of the regime in Washington). This was the same Chechen organized crime syndicate that allegedly worked with Benevolence International (co-founded by Muslim Brotherhood billionaires, some of them formerly involved with the BCCI enterprise) in an attempt to acquire nukes for Osama bin Laden.

Professor Peter Dale Scott, then of the University of California-Berkley, described the various figures involved in the machinations that resulted in Putin gaining the presidency as a “Meta-Group” that resembled the BCCI enterprise. That is to say, Professor Scott noted not only that some of the people in the “Meta-Group” had formerly been involved with the BCCI enterprise, while others (e.g. Berezovsky) were business partners of former BCCI figures, but the “Meta Group” resembled the BCCI enterprise in that it often pursued political and geopolitical objectives that had the advantage of being profitable (with the profits enabling members of the Meta Group to accumulate further power for themselves, and the power, in turn, delivering still more profits).

I will not repeat everything that has been reported about this “Meta-Group” and its machinations to deliver the presidency to Vladimir Putin, but I will repeat some key facts, and introduce some additional facts, many of which have been noted not only by Professor Scott, but also by Paul Klebnikov, former Russian intelligence officials, officials of numerous countries around the world (none of them in Washington), and leading journalists almost everywhere other than in the United States. In every case, the people who seriously investigated the facts have concluded that Berezovsky and others in the “Meta Group” elevated Putin to the power by instigating the second war in Chechnya, which began in 1999, and which rallied the Russian public behind Putin’s candidacy for the presidency.

Klebnikov and all the others (including former Russian intelligence officials) alleged that in the lead-up to the second war in Chechnya, elements of the Russian intelligence services orchestrated several terrorist attacks, and attributed them to Chechens. Since then, it has been concluded even by the Russian courts that the Russian intelligence services did stage at least one Chechen “terrorist attack”, a bombing that killed an unspecified number of people and collapsed a bridge. The FSB says that it was merely a training exercise to prepare Russia’s intelligence operatives for real Chechen attacks.

In September 1999, residents of an apartment complex in the Russian city of Ryazan discovered explosives in the basement of their building. The Russian government initially attributed the explosives to “Chechen terrorists” and vowed to arrest the terrorists in short order. But when all evidence pointed to the explosives having belonged to the FSB (the former KGB), Russian government spokesmen admitted that the FSB had planted them. As in the case of the exploded bridge, however, the spokesmen claimed that the FSB had planted the explosives in Ryazan as a “training exercise” to see if local officials were vigilant in the face of the terrorist threat emanating from Chechnya.

The Russian government also insisted that the explosives were not real, which seemed to contradict the findings of police officers who had initially examined them with equipment that detected Hexogen, an explosive that had been stockpiled by the Russian intelligence services but would have been almost impossible for Islamic terrorists to have obtained without the assistance of rogue officials of some government. Meanwhile, in August 1999, a few weeks prior to the Ryazan incident, an army of several thousand Chechen soldiers had invaded Dagestan, and proclaimed both Chechnya and Dagestan (which neighbored Chechnya) to be independent Islamic Republics.

Citing the alleged terrorist attacks and the invasion of Dagestan as justification, the Russian government ordered the Russian military to invade Chechnya, where the Chechen “rebels” were based, and so began the second war in Chechnya—a war that rallied the Russian public behind strongman Vladimir Putin’s campaign for the presidency.

The invasion of Dagestan was led by two men. One was an Islamic fundamentalist from Saudi Arabia who went by the name Ibn al-Khattab, and who had been trained by Al Qaeda. The other was the notorious Chechen terrorist Shamil Basaev. As noted earlier, Basaev had received training at Al Qaeda camps and he had also received training from U..S. military contractors. Recall also that he had once (in 1995) planted radioactive substances in a Moscow park. When Basaev and Ibn al-Khattab led the invasion of Dagestan, the Russian military invaded neighboring Chechnya, where the rebels were based. This, of course, ignited a terrible war, and as noted by Klebnikov and countless others, there were excellent reasons to believe that this war was orchestrated by Berezovsky and other oligarchs.

One reason we would be justified in at least raising questions about this war is that Berezovsky (who was then the Russian government’s modern-day Rasputin) had, of course, boasted of a long-standing relationship with Basaev. Not only was Basaev a member of the same Chechen organized crime syndicate that had helped Berezovsky build his business empire, but Berezovsky had long led Russia’s negotiations (many of them with Basaev) for the release of people who had been kidnapped for ransom by the Chechens. Berezovsky always insisted that he was just trying to help secure the release of hostages, but as Klebnikov reported, former Moscow police officials who monitored the negotiations concluded that “Berezovsky served as a banker for the Chechen kidnappers, rounding up and transferring the ransom payments from the Russian side…” Klebnikov cited taped conversations that seemed to support the allegation that Berezovsky was essentially helping the Chechens run a kidnapping racket.

Meanwhile, Berezovsky had been forced to admit that he had once “donated” $1 million dollars to Basaev. When pressed to explain this donation, Berezovsky claimed that it was for the “reconstruction of a cement factory.” That is possibly true, but it seemed strange to some people that Berezovsky was building a cement factory in Chechnya for a guy (Basaev) who was one of the world’s most notorious Islamic terrorists, and who was about to lead the invasion of Dagestan, thereby igniting a second war in Chechnya (which was already in ruins as the result of an earlier war).

In 2004, as noted, Basaev ordered what turned out to be one of the most horrific terrorist operations of all time. That operation saw Chechen terrorists take more than 1,000 people hostage at a school in the Russian city of Beslan. Russian security forces stormed the school with tanks, incendiary rockets and other heavy weapons. Ultimately, more 300 people, including 186 children, were killed (either by the terrorists or the Russians, depending on who is telling the story). Nobody has accused the Russian government of complicity in the Beslan hostage-taking, but, of course, elements of the Russian intelligence services were accused of orchestrating the 1999 terrorist attacks that were cited (along with the invasion of Dagestan) as justification for Russia entering into the second Chechen war. We will see that there is some justification for asking whether elements of the regime in Washington were also involved.

As Klebnikov wrote: “The fact that Berezovsky, together with other members of the [then Russian President] Yeltsin inner circle had long maintained a secret relationship with Chechen extremists gave rise to the suspicion that the 1999 apartment bombings had been organized by the Russians themselves.” Klebnikov suspected the same of the Dagestan invasion, and he was far from the only one. The French newspaper Le Monde reported that the Russian arms export monopoly (now headed by Sergei Chemezov, who features in later chapter of this story, wherein we will discuss his ties to the regime in Washington) had provided Basaev’s men with weapons before they invaded Dagestan..

The French newspaper also reported that in the summer of 1999, just prior to the invasion, Basaev and other Chechen commanders (a.k.a. terrorist/mobsters) had traveled to the French resort town of Biarritz to meet with Berezovsky and Alexander Voloshin, who was then Yeltsin’s chief of staff, and was among those trying to ensure that Putin would be Yeltsin’s successor. Berezovsky responded that he had not met a Chechen commander in Biarritz, but had gone to Biarritz to meet with Vladimir Putin, the president in waiting.

The Le Monde story was remarkably similar to other stories about Basaev meeting with Russian officials in France. For example, the Russian newspaper Versiya reported that the French secret services had monitored a meeting in France between Basaev and Russian government officials, including Alexander Voloshin (the chief of staff named in the Le Monde story). A Russian intelligence official named Aleksander [a.k.a. Anton] Surikov (who was himself placed at the meeting) later corroborated this story, and it was also corroborated in a book (“Blowing up Russia”) that was co-authored by a Boston academic named Yuri Felshtinsky and Alexander Litvinenko, a former Russian intelligence operative who was (at the time when he co-authored the book) employed by Berezovsky. The book asserts that the meetings between Basaev and Voloshin occurred, but unlike some media stories, it does not mention the presence or involvement of Berezovsky.

In addition, the many reports are consistent in stating that the result of this meeting was that Basaev agreed to lead the invasion of Dagestan, while the Russians (including, in most accounts, Berezovksy) at the meeting agreed that they would arrange for the Russian government to respond by invading Chechnya, thereby precipitating a second war in Chechnya. The Russian officials involved in this meeting included not only Alexander Voloshin, but also the above-mentioned Anton Surikov, who was an official of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service, and also a board member with company called Far West, LLC. Surikov, as mentioned, has confirmed that the meeting occurred, but he has not elaborated on the outcome.

Others who attended the meeting were, like Surikov, board members of Far West, LLC. Importantly, Far West, meanwhile, had been linked to the drug trade, and it was, at this time in 1999, operating as joint venture business with Halliburton, the big U.S. contractor. Far West, LLC also had dealings with Diligence, LLC, a U.S. military contractor that was, at this time in 1999, providing training to the Chechen separatists. Those same Chechen separatists were, of course, also mobsters and narco-terrorists, and they had received some additional training from Osama bin Laden & Company.

Notably, U.S. military contractors were, at this time in 1999, also training the Kosovo Liberation Army, and President Clinton had ordered to the U.S. military to go to war in support of the Kosovo Liberation Army’s campaign against the army of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic. Like the Chechens, the KLA was a narco-terrorist organization (founded by Albanian organized crime figures) and the KLA received training not only from U.S. military contractors, but also from members of Osama bin Laden’s organization who were operating in the Balkans under the auspices of the IIRO.

Others who attended the meeting with Basaev and Berezovksy in France (all board members of Far West LLC) were: Ruslan Saidov, who had extensive dealings with the Habib Bank, which controls what used to be BCCI’s operation in Pakistan; Alfonso Davidovich, a Venezuelan banker, who was formerly involved with the BCCI enterprise, and who was widely reported to have business relationships with the Cali Cartel and the FARC (i.e. a narco-terrorist outfit in Colombia); and Yakov Kosman, an Israeli-German businessman who was, at the time, the top financial advisor to Hashim Thaci, leader of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA).

Every account further states that the meeting between Basaev, Russian government officials, and the others, including Berezovksy, took place at a villa near the French resort of Nice. And all of these accounts (citing French secret service sources, among others) report that the villa belonged to the former BCCI figure Adnan Khashoggi, a long time associate of Berezovsky. It was Khashoggi who hosted the meeting. And it was likely he who brokered the discussions about the invasion of Dagestan.

Khashoggi, meanwhile, was involved with both the IIRO and Benevolence International, whose offices in Chechnya were, of course, managed by members of the same Chechen organized crime (and terrorism) syndicate that had invaded Dagestan. Meanwhile (see earlier chapters of this series), the IIRO’s offices in the Balkans were managed by Al Qaeda operatives who were training the Kosovo Liberation Army, and the White House employed several IIRO officials (including Mr. Alamoudi, who was key figure in Osama bin Laden’s organization) as advisors to President Bill Clinton (who, of course, had just ordered the U.S. military to go to war in support of the Kosovo Liberation Army’s campaign against Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic).

At this time, of course, not only was the Clinton administration quietly sponsoring the Chechens who had invaded Dagestan, but the Chechens had established their lobbying outfit in Washington, and Berezovsky was already one of the biggest donors to both the Democratic and Republican parties. Khashoggi, too, was big donor to the Republican-Democratic Party, and he had been on close terms with every U.S. president since the days of Richard Nixon. Others in the “Meta-Group” had close ties to Washington as well, and it is possible that their goal in orchestrating the invasion of Dagestan was not only to elevate Putin to the presidency, but also to curry favor in Washington.

In any event, the rest was history. Putin unexpectedly cracked down on Berezovsky and some of his associates, including the Chechens, and the U.S. government (along with the official U.S. media) reported that the crackdown was evidence that Russia, under Putin, had become a tyrannical police state. Meanwhile, Berezovsky and his associates, among them the Chechens and a host of former BCCI figures, including Sheikh Mahfouz (one of Osama bin Laden’s most important business partners) and Khashoggi, achieved still greater favor with the U.S. government, which treated them all as if they were themselves prominent members of the American establishment. The U.S. government also welcomed these criminals, mobsters, and terrorists to the United States, where, of course, they were never be arrested for the crimes (such as busting out the global economy) that they perpetrated in partnership (as we shall see) with elements of the regime in Washington and some of America’s leading oligarchs.

* * * * * * * * *

After Putin and Berezovsky allegedly had their falling out, Berezovsky moved to London where he and other “exiles” formed a peculiar group called “The London Circle,” which frequently advocated for reform in Russia and for the removal of Putin from the presidency. Until 2006, one member of “The London Circle” was Alexander Litvinenko, the former intelligence (FSB) operative who was employed by Berezovsky (and who later co-authored a book alleging that Basaev and Russian officials had conspired together in the terrorist attacks and the invasion Dagestan that resulted in the second Chechen war, though this book did not mention Berezovsky’s role in any of these events).

In 1998, while still employed by the FSB, Litvinenko had held a dramatic press conference announcing that the FSB had ordered him to assassinate Berezovsky. Many people (including Klebnikov) found his story improbable, and speculated that it might have been intended to benefit Berezovsky, who had been working closely with Litvinenko in his dealings with the Chechens. At the time, Litvinenko was also moonlighting as Berezovsky’s bodyguard, and Berezovsky had just been embarrassed by the publication of compromising information about some of his business dealings related to his part ownership of the Russian airline Aeroflot.

There were, more specifically, suspicions (never proven) that the compromising information had come from the FSB, and there were reports that Berezovsky’s allies in the Russian government wished to remove the head of the FSB, Nikolai Kovalev, and replace him with someone who was more amenable to the Berezovsky clique’s agenda. The scandal surrounding Litvinenko’s announcement seemed to serve those purposes. When Litvinenko said he had been ordered to kill Berezovsky, Kovalev was forced to resign, and Vladimir Putin was named to replace him as head of the FSB, which was the first big step in Putin’s rise to the presidency a year later.

According to Klebnikov, “most knowledgeable observers concluded that the alleged FSB plot to assassinate Berezovsky was a fabrication.” Sergei Kiriyenko, who was then Russian prime minister, told Klebnikov that it was “some sort of a trick” devised by Berezovsky in furtherance of his ambitions to greater power in Russia. All of which left many observers surprised when Putin and Berezovsky later had their falling out. Most Western media assume that Putin and Berezovsky had become bitter rivals, but some in Russia think that the two men remained secret allies. According to this theory, their dramatic falling out (which occurred immediately after Berezovsky orchestrated Putin’s rise to power) was another conspiratorial “trick” aimed at covering up the true nature of their relationship and the role that Berezovsky and Chechen terrorists played in elevating Putin to the presidency.

Meanwhile, numerous credible sources (including, for example, most Russian accounts of the 1992-1993 war in Abkhazia, where Basaev and other Chechen terrorists had their first exposure to battle) have come close to proving that the Chechens had long-standing ties to the Russian military and intelligence services. This is an opinion shared by earnest U.S. diplomats (distinct from the official spokesmen in Washington), who inadvertently shared their opinions with Wikileaks.

As for the nature of the relationship between Berezovsky and the Russian intelligence apparatus (led by Vladimir Putin), I do not have further insight, except to say that the relationship had a strange history, and it became only more surreal after Berezovsky (once the most powerful oligarch in Russia, the man who made Putin president, and also the man most widely credited with the wholesale corruption of the Russian government, not to mention the bust-out of the Russian economy) suddenly assumed a new identity as a conscientious reformist, dissident, and exile.

The weirdness reached its peak in 2006, when Berezovsky’s employee, Aleksander Litvinenko (the former FSB officer, then living with Berezovsky in British “exile”), was poisoned by radioactive polonium and died. More specifically, Litvinenko was killed with polonium 210, and it was a matter of grave concern that this radioactive substance was smuggled into Britain. In 2003, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had listed polonium 210 as one of the ten radioactive materials that were of “greatest concern” because they could be used by terrorists to make a “dirty” bomb. The amount of polonium 210 that killed Litvinenko was enough to have built a bomb that would have been capable of contaminating a large segment of any major city with cancer-causing radioactive poison.

Litvinenko had devoted much of the three years prior to his death to advancing the theory (reported also in his book, “Blowing Up Russia,”) that the Russian intelligence services had ties to Chechen terrorists and orchestrated the 1999 terrorist attacks in Russia and the invasion of Dagestan to elevate Putin in the presidency. However, as I mentioned, Litvinenko did not name his employer, Berezovsky, as having any role in the supposed conspiracy.

Just prior to his death, Litvinenko had promised to release new evidence that (according to Litvinenko) linked the Russian government directly to Al Qaeda. After his death, the Russian government announced that it was Litvinenko and Berezovsky who had ties to Al Qaeda, and that Litvinenko had accidentally poisoned himself with the radioactive polonium while building a dirty “nuclear bomb” for Osama bin Laden. The British government (and most of the Western media) blamed the Litvinenko murder on the Russian government.

Many also blamed the Russian government for the murders of Anna Politkovskaya and other journalists who had close working relationships with Litvinenko and had been killed that same year (2006). However, another theory (and one worth seriously considering) is that Litvinenko was killed by Berezovksy or other agents of the regime in Washington. The British government has reported that the prime suspect was an FSB official named Andrei Logovoy, but he was one of Berezovsky’s long-time coconspirators, with close ties to the regime in Washington. Litvinenko’s father, meanwhile, has reported that Litvinenko feared that he might be killed by Berezovksy, and had been threatened by Berezovsky’s mysterious publicist, Alexander Goldfarb, who was also a microbiologist and “political activist” linked to the Soros Foundation various other U.S. government-sponsored programs to unseat governments in Eastern Europe. (Goldfarb, however, has not been accused of wrongdoing by any law enforcement agency).

Shortly before Litvinenko was killed, Basaev (the Chechen terrorist at center of the supposed conspiracy) was killed, and many of the Chechen organized crime figures that had played a role in building Berezovsky’s business empire were also killed. It seems likely that all of these killings were likely part of larger effort to witnesses to the machinations leading to the Chechen war. This might also explain the mysterious “suicide” of Berezovsky this year.

Nukhaev, the Chechen mafia boss (and Berezovsky business partner) who had featured in Klebnikov’s second book, and whom the Western media suspected of ordering Klebnikov’s murder in 2004, has since disappeared (his whereabouts remain unknown). However, other members of this same Chechen organized crime syndicate are known to be residents of the United States. They were (and are) still operating their influential lobbying organization (the American Committee for Peace in Chechnya).

Meanwhile, the Russian government has stated repeatedly that Berezovsky had ties to “Chechen terrorists” (many of them trained by Al Qaeda) and that Berezovsky might have coordinated the invasion of Dagestan, but the Russian government insists that Putin was unaware of this at the time when Berezovsky was serving as Putin’s consigliore-in-chief. Russian Deputy Interior Minister Arkady Yadelev has announced that Litvinenko, prior to his death, had visited Chechnya to kill witnesses who linked Berezovsky to the terrorist leader Basaev.

Previously, of course, Litvinenko (who was then employed by Berezovsky) was among those leading efforts to expose ties between Basaev and the Russian intelligence services.

Since it had been widely accepted by almost everyone that Basaev had ties to Berezovsky, and it has also been widely accepted that Berezovsky worked with elements of Russian intelligence to orchestrate Putin’s rise to power, it is unclear why Berezovsky’s employee (the former intelligence officer Litvinenko) would have advertised Basaev’s ties to Russian intelligence, and it is unclear why the Russian government would have advertised Basaev’s ties to Berezovsky. It seems as if they were all telling basically the same story, and at the same time sowing confusion as to the specifics and their implications.

Meanwhile, the new “Godfather of the Kremlin” is widely reported to be Roman Abramovich, who was Berezovsky’s most important business partner (for a time, Abramovich and Berezovsky effectively ran a joint-venture that controlled many of Russia’s biggest businesses and its most lucrative commodities, including oil and metals) until recently when the ruling family of Abu Dhabi (formerly among the founding shareholders of BCCI) was chosen to broker a division of their assets.

Many reports described Putin and Abramovich has having something like a father-son relationship, with there being some dispute as to who is the father—Abramovich or Putin. Abramovich and Berezovsky, meanwhile, fought a $3.2 billion lawsuit, with Berezovsky claiming that Abramovich forced him to sell his shares in their joint ventures at below-market prices, and Abramovich claiming that he had to pay $2 billion simply to finance Berezovsky’s activities as Russia’s “political godfather.”

More specifically, Abramovich says he had to pay $2 billion in bribes and luxurious gifts that Berezovsky and Abramovich used to cement their relationships with the Russian government. So Abramovich, who is now Putin’s “son” or “father”, claims that he had to pay $2 billion so that his business partner, Berezovsky, could be Putin’s “godfather.” Why Abramovich would admit this remains an unanswered question, but it fits the pattern of admitting to corrupt relationships, while at the same time sowing confusion as to the precise nature of those relationships and their implications.

At any rate, while there remains plenty of confusion with regards to Russia, there is enough clarity to say with a high degree of certainty that Russian oligarchs and associated mobsters and terrorists (all of them either ignored by the major U.S. news organizations or, in the case of the oligarchs, described by the major U.S. news organizations as “prominent businessmen”) pose a threat to what is commonly referred to as “civilization.” In addition, there is no doubt that President Obama was right to say that there remains a “nexus” between Russian organized crime syndicates, the Russian intelligence services, and various terrorist organizations, though the “nexus” seems also to include elements of the regime in Washington and the president himself, not to mention many of Wall Street’s leading lights.

Therefore, we need to examine this “nexus” in greater detail. Indeed, it is matter of some urgency that we identify all of the miscreants in this “nexus” because the “nexus” presently poses what is, without doubt, the single biggest threat to not only the stability of the global financial system, but also pretty much everything else that matters—e.g. our freedom, our democracy, and the future of our kids. This will become more than apparent to readers of the next chapters in this, the Global Bust-Out Series, wherein the other miscreants in the nexus will be identified and more full exposed, while the damage that they have done will be more precisely explicated and quantified. So please stay tuned to (motto: “We are the red pill”).

To be continued…

Mark Mitchell spent most of his career working for mainstream news publications before joining