A Desperate West Steps Up Its Covert Actions As Delusional Thinking Persists

The CIA is working overtime to push the lie that they warned the Russians about the 22 March terrorist attack and the Russians ignored that warning. Simply not true. As I noted in my previous article, the USG warning issued on March 7 only specified 48 hours. I have no idea when that “clock” started but let’s assume it was Friday the 7th and ended on Sunday the 9th. Since the “predicted” action did not take place there are at least two possible explanations — 1) the intel was bogus or 2) the stepped up Russian security at the Crocus City Hall on March 8 thwarted the attack.

Unless the intel stipulated that if the attack did not occur in that 48 hour window it was moot, then it was incumbent on the U.S. State Department and the Embassy to re-issue a warning to AMCITs that the threat still existed. They did not do this. That’s the problem. If the US intel still thought this was a real threat then why did the USG go silent?

Which brings me to the fact that both Sy Hersh and The NY Times came out with articles in the last 24 hours attacking the Russians as inept and accusing them of ignoring the warnings. This sure smacks of a coordinated info op to me because the essence of the argument is based on false claims. Let me explain starting with the claims advanced by NY Times reporters Paul Sonne, Eric Schmitt and Michael Schwirtz in their piece, Why Russia’s Vast Security Services Fell Short on Deadly Attack:

“When it informed Russia privately about the potential terror plot, the C.I.A. was adhering to 2015 guidance known as “duty to warn” directives, requiring the intelligence establishment to inform “U.S. and non-U.S. persons” of specific threats aimed at “intentional killing, serious bodily injury and kidnapping.”

“These directives are relatively rare, but the United States is obliged to issue them, even to adversaries, and has done so with both the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Iranian government in the past year. The warnings aren’t usually made public unless U.S. authorities think the threat could impact American citizens, which was the case in Moscow. . . .

“In its March 7 public warning, the U.S. embassy said the risk of a concert venue attack in Moscow was acute for the next 48 hours. U.S. officials say it’s possible Russian authorities pushed hard around the 48-hour warning period but later grew more relaxed and distrustful when an attack didn’t occur.

“It is unclear whether U.S. intelligence mistook the timing of the attack or the extremists delayed their plan upon seeing heightened security.

“In the subsequent days, internal Russian intelligence reporting — which the Dossier Center said reached the Russian National Security Council — warned specifically about the threat that Tajiks radicalized by ISIS-K posed to Russia. The reporting pointed to the involvement of Tajiks in disrupted plots in Europe and attacks in Iran and Istanbul in recent months. The reporting didn’t mention the Western warnings or a possible Moscow attack.”

There is a factual problem here — the “Duty to Warn” doctrine did not commence in 2015. It started in the Fall of 1989. I was there at its creation. To repeat, in the aftermath of the bombing of Pan Am 103 there were rumors and reports that the U.S. Government warned its employees not to board the doomed flight. That was not true, but it gained some currency in the popular media. The decision was made to come up with a policy for warning the public. My boss, Ambassador Morris Busby, led the effort. The decision was made to provide a public warning if we had credible intelligence but had low confidence it could be prevented. In tandem with that the threat information would be shared with the foreign government where the threat existed. Ideally, if we had credible and specific information, then it would not be necessary to alert the public because the culprits could be interdicted and the plot foiled. Otherwise, a warning was issued and the host government informed of more details via intelligence channels.

That is how the system is supposed to work. But the NY Times and Sy Hersh, fed by intelligence sources, became unwitting pawns in an intelligence op designed to smear the Russians and blame Putin for not preventing the 22 March attack. If U.S. authorities really believed that the terrorist threat remained active and viable then why did they fail in their “Duty to Warn” American citizens in Russia about the danger and re-issue a new warning? All we know is that the U.S. Government apparently no longer believed the threat to be credible because no additional warning was made. Real simple.

Now, on to “Delusional Thinking.” A recent article in a Swiss publication — What if Russia wins the war in Ukraine? — is alarming because the analysis and policy prescriptions are based on falsehoods and wishful thinking. The author, Mr. Georg Häsler, genuinely believes that Russia will move to invade Europe once it finishes with Ukraine. I classify this as a bizarre political version of a porno fantasy — those nasty, beastly Russians are going to forcibly penetrate European territory and compel the conquered people to do unspeakable things. Russia must be stopped or else all is lost.

Mr. Häsler presents “five overlapping stages” of how Russia will destroy Europe that, upon reflection, reveal that Häsler has no sense of irony and is engaged in classical psychological projection:

“Establishing an alternative world view — Putin established the narrative of a NATO that threatens Russia back in February 2007 in a speech to the Munich Security Conference: «I am convinced that today we have reached a point where we should seriously rethink the entire architecture of global security.» It was the start of a renaissance in Russian power politics.

“Increased subversion in the target area of an attack — Latvia and Moldova could become Russia’s next targets.

“Sabotage of critical infrastructure — Critical infrastructures in the West are already the target of acts of sabotage. Underwater cables and pipelines have been attacked several times in recent years. Targeted cyberattacks against power plants or financial industry data centers are also a possibility.

“Covert military operations by armed groups — Nevertheless, Russia will delay a conventional invasion of a neighboring country with ground troops for as long as possible. A staged uprising in communities with a Russian majority is more likely, for example in the Latvian region of Latgale, which borders Russia.

“Short war of aggression – if the West does not react — Russia could use this weakness in 2028 to invade Latvia following a call for help from the Russian ringleaders in the country. The Kremlin has learned from its mistakes in Ukraine and is leaving nothing to chance. The attack would be carried out with a clear superiority of forces.”

Four of the five stages are exactly what the United States and its NATO allies have tried to do to Russia. The West has tried to paint Russia has a relentless, ruthless imperial power even though Russia, unlike the United State and the United Kingdom, has not been engaged in regime change in other countries. In fact, Russia helped Syria fend off a joint U.S./U.K. effort to overthrow the government of Bashir Assad in Syria.

In the aftermath of the 2014 Western backed coup in Ukraine, the United States and NATO poured tens of millions of dollars in aid and military training into Ukraine, which was used to attack civilians in the Donbass.

Sabotage of critical infrastructure? That got a belly laugh. Talk about clueless. The destruction of the Nordstream pipeline by the United States (according to Sy Hersh) and Ukrainian attacks on the Kerch Bridge with British and American missiles are some of the more prominent examples of the West’s efforts to sabotage Russia’s infrastructure.

And lastly we have “covert military operations.” The West is funneling foreign fighters into Ukraine with the goal of defeating Russia.

The troubling aspect of Häsler’s article is that he appears to fervently believes what he is writing is an accurate picture of the future. Sadly, he’s not alone in the West. Until the United States and NATO come to grips with their responsibility for triggering the war in Ukraine, they will continue to encourage provocative actions that could lead to a global conflagration.

Larry C Johnson is a Managing Partner of BERG Associates, former CIA Officer and State Department Counter Terrorism official.