‘The Terror Network’ Reincarnated

Dursun Aydemir - Anadolu Agency/AFP
Dursun Aydemir - Anadolu Agency/AFP

During the Cold War, Red terrorist groups proliferated throughout Western Europe.

Claire Sterling detailed in her 1981 blockbuster The Terror Network: The Secret War of International Terrorism how, with the help of the Communist bloc intelligence and their surrogates in the PLO and Cuba, these groups organized a sophisticated network able to provide everything from arranging travel to Cuba and Lebanon for training to guns and fake passports.

Ion Mihai Pacepa, a former Romanian Spy Chief and the highest-ranking Soviet bloc official ever to defect to the United States, detailed in his 2013 book Disinformation how the task of carrying out KGB chairman Yuri Andropov’s “Operation ‘Tayfun’ (Russian for typhoon), aimed at expanding international terrorism into Western Europe” was divided up and assigned to the Communist governments under Soviet control:

  • Czechoslovakia: “charged with supplying terrorists with an odorless plastic explosive (Semtex-H) that could not be detected by sniffer dogs at airports. In 1990, Czechoslovakian president Vaclav Havel acknowledged that the Communist regime of his country had secretly shipped 1,000 tons of this odorless plastic explosive to Palestinian and Libyan terrorists. According to Havel, a mere 200 grams was enough to blow up a commercial plane in flight. ‘World terrorism has supplies of Semtex to last 150 years,’ Havel estimated.”
  • East Germany: “had to provide the terrorists with arms and ammunition. According to secret documents found after the fall of the Berlin Wall in the archives of the East German Ministry for State Security, colloquially known as the Stasi, in 1983 alone its foreign intelligence service provided the PLO with $1,877,600 worth of AK-47 ammunition.”
  • Cuba: “mass-produced concealment devices for transporting the plastic explosive and weapons into the target countries. In 1972, I spent a ‘working vacation’ in Havana as the guest of Raúl Castro, at that time head of Cuba’s military and security forces, and visited what proved to be the Soviet bloc’s largest factory for manufacturing double-walled suitcases and other concealment devices for use in secretly transporting weapons. General Sergio del Valle Jiménez, Cuba’s minister of interior, told me that smuggling arms to ‘anti-Zionist terrorist organizations’ was one of his main jobs.”
  • Romania: “[tasked] to produce false Western passports needed by Andropov’s ‘freedom fighters.’ During my last six years in Romania, the DIE became the Soviet bloc’s main manufacturer of forged West German, Austrian, French, British, Italian, and Spanish passports, which were regularly provided to international terrorist organizations and groups. The DIE also handcrafted a large collection of entrance visa stamps from all around the world, needed by terrorists to travel to their target countries.”

The result: “In the mid-1970s, a wave of terrorism inundated Western Europe.”

Andropov’s most famous protégé, Vladimir Putin, was in on this. Masha Gessen writes in The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin:

Still, it was in the West—so close and so unreachable for someone like Putin (some other Soviet citizens posted in Germany had the right to go to West Berlin) —that people had the things Putin really coveted. He made his wishes known to the very few Westerners with whom he came in contact—members of the radical group Red Army Faction, who took some of their orders from the KGB and occasionally came to Dresden for training sessions. “He always wanted to have things,” a former RAF member told me of Putin. “He mentioned to several people wishes that he wanted from the West.” This particular man claims to have personally presented Putin with a Grundig Satellit, a state-of-the-art shortwave radio, and a Blaupunkt stereo for his car; he bought the former and pilfered the latter from one of the many cars the RAF had stolen for its purposes. The West German radicals always came bearing gifts when they went east, the former radical told me, but there was a difference between the way Stasi agents received the goods and the way Putin approached it: “The East Germans did not expect us to pay for it, so they would at least make an effort to say, ‘What do I owe you?’ And we would say, ‘Nothing.’ And Vova [a nickname for Putin] never even started asking, ‘What do I owe you?'”

The Terror Network became a mainstay within the foreign policy branches of the Reagan administration. Ronald Reagan responded to the immediate threat by updating America’s elite counterterrorism commando units. But he knew that swatting mosquitoes was useless if you do not drain the swamp. The source was the Soviet Union, and he took it down. Once the Soviet Union collapsed, most of these groups shriveled up and folded, forcing the thugs to take refuge in the classrooms and printing presses of bourgeois society—some of them even went into the electoral politics they tried to overthrow.

With this in mind, consider this story from CNN: “Source: Belgium terror cell has links to ISIS, some members still at large”:

Authorities investigating the aftermath of the raid in which the men were killed found materials used to make bombs, including chemicals for the powerful explosive TATP, but the suspected terrorists had yet to assemble those weapons. They also had grenades.

Cell members had discussed attacking police in wiretapped phone conversations, but Belgian investigators still did not know what they were intending to target for sure, the source said. The discovery of police uniforms after the raid suggested the possibility they may have been trying to gain access to sensitive sites.

The source characterized the cell as one with organized structures, a logistical support network and links back to Syria and Iraq…

Thursday night’s raids were a dramatic culmination in a chain of Belgian police investigations into an alleged terror cell that included people who had fought in Syria, [Belgian federal prosecutor Eric] van der Sypt said…

The raids came as authorities monitored people returning from Syria, said [Thierry] Werts, the prosecutors’ spokesman.

Police had arrested, questioned and searched Neetin Karasular, a Belgian suspected arms dealer allegedly aligned with ISIS and suspected of providing weapons to Amedy Coulibaly, the man who attacked a Paris kosher supermarket.

Karasular knew Coulibaly’s wife, Hayat Boumeddiene, who is also a terror suspect in France. Karasular’s lawyer Michel Bouchat said his client was facing local firearms charges and had no connection with any jihadi groups or terror plans.

In the process, police turned up names that solidified their suspicions about known persons, the Western intelligence source said.

Last weekend, they arrested two more men at the Charleroi airport — as they returned from Syria — squeezed them for information then decided to act quickly, the source said.

“The investigation made it possible to determine that the group was about to carry out major terrorist attacks in Belgium imminently,” Belgian prosecutor spokesman Werts said.

Authorities believed the suspects in Thursday’s gun battle had been providing documents and weapons to men returning from Syria, the intelligence source said. A senior Belgian counterterrorism official told CNN that the alleged terror cell is believed to have received instructions from ISIS…

The Belgian raids came against the background of a terror trial of dozens of men suspected of recruiting jihadists or trying to go to Syria to fight. An Antwerp court was to return verdict this week but postponed it due to the Paris attacks.

These terrorists, and their friends in the Islamic State/Al-Qaeda, are the mosquitoes to be crushed, but the swamp is their backers in Qatar, Turkey, and elements of the Saudi regime. Iran operates parallel networks through Hezbollah and Hamas.

The Red Terror Network was brought down by killing the mosquitoes and draining their economic and ideological swamp. The Islamic Terror Networks can be destroyed the same way.


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