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US Companies Linked to Vice-President Cheney Supervised the Transfer of Ukrainian WMD to Iran

On 27-30 November 2006, the Russian news agency Novyi Region published a three-part investigation, signed by Valery Briusov, of the illegal sale of Ukrainian KH-55 cruise missiles to Iran in 2001, which contains new and quite sensational information. 1 According to the news agency, the new information-- which includes copies of the SBU internal correspondence--comes from a “former officer of the SBU” (Ukrainian Security Service), who has accused the Ukrainian leadership in suppressing the report on the investigation prepared by then SBU Chairman Alexander Turchinov in the spring of 2005. In April of that year Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko acknowledged the illegal sale of strategic cruise missiles KH-55 to Iran and China from Ukraine. But Turchinov soon was fired and so far only one member of the criminal group was tried and sentenced to prison, while another suspect, Oleg Orlov, extradicted to Ukraine from the Czech Republic last spring remains “out of his mind.” The news agency quotes its source as rhetorically asking:

Is it believable that two petty middlemen were able to carry out such a grandiose operation, during which several great powers for the first time in history blatantly violated the holy of holies: the international agreements on the non-proliferation of strategic arms? Where are the rest of the people involved? Where are the crews of the heavy transport planes loaded with those missiles, which took off from the airport near Kiev and flew to Iran and China instead of Zhukovskoe, near Moscow? Where are those who allowed these flights? How could these planes cross the borders of several states? Who received them in Iran and China and where did they get afterwards?

Clearly, someone was very interested in hushing up the “affair with KH-55s.” The article then quotes a list of companies which allegedly took part in the conspiracy. The quote comes from a “fragment of the secret letter” by Alexander Turchinov to the Secretary of the National Security Council (NSC), Petr Poroshenko, dated by August 25, 2005 (facsimile of page 4 of the letter is attached):

...under the cover of credit lines for “ZAO Atomstroyexport” (Russia), and [they? - burtsev.ru] guaranteed to the Iranians and the Chinese the transfer of necessary payments through the controlled investment firms CTF Holdings Ltd, AB Holdings Ltd (Gibraltar), ARS Nova Ltd, Volgen Trading Ltd, Alfa Star Ltd, Investworld Ltd, (Cyprus). Isofert Trading INC, Transchem International INC (Panama), EMM Arab Systems Ltd (Cyprus) were used for transactions with the Chinese.

The company Far West Ltd (Switzerland) provided, under the control of Diligence LLC (USA), the general management of this operation and the contacts with the Iranians through its branch office in Tehran.

Тесhnocalty INC and SP-Trade INC, controlled by KBR INC (all from USA) were used for payments to S.H. Heritage Holding Ltd (Cyprus), which acted as financial middleman in contacts with the Iranians, who were represented by SATAK Co Ltd, controlled by the Committee of Foreign Operations of the High Command of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Department 140/16 of the Organization of Defense Industry of Iran. 2 

This information was obtained from Israeli National Police by the SBU delegation that visited Israel in the summer of 2005. The head of the delegation was General Mikhail Kozhemiakin, one of Turchinov's deputies. The Israelis were happy to share with the Ukrainians what they knew about the KH-55 deal.

In his letter to Poroshenko, Turchinov argues that the list of the companies obtained from Israeli intelligence suggests that this large-scale operation was sanctioned by the governments of Russia, the United States, and Iran. He also points out that the conspiracy assigns Ukraine the role of the chief perpetrator of the crime and that Ukraine's reputation may be badly damaged as the result. To avoid this, he proposed that the NSC considered giving the Ukrainian Parliament the documents that reveal the real organizers of the KH-55 sales.

Instead, in September 2005 Turchinov, Kozhemiakin, and Poroshenko were fired, subjected to smear and threatened with criminal prosecution. It seemed that the “affair with KH-55” was forgotten for good.

The article then quotes a memo from August 2006 by the deputy head of the SBU, Nikolai Kurkin, to his boss. Kurkin writes that he received a request by the first deputy of the Secretary of the NSC, Yurii Tereshchenko, who is also the head of the Ukraine’s State Service on Export Control (SSEC), for a copy of Turchinov's report on the illegal sales of KH-55 to China and Iran that Turchinov sent to Poroshenko in August 2005. According to Tereshchenko, the report was not discussed by the NSC and its text had disappeared, with only the cover sheet left, a copy of which Kurkin attached to his memo. Kurkin concludes by arguing that since Turchinov's report contains “information that is damaging to Ukrainian state leaders“ and considering frequent leaks of secret information from the NSC it is not advisable to give Tereshchenko a copy of the report.

According to the source, the SBU then was given the oral order to destroy all the documents received by Kozhemiakin's group from the Israelis and to inform the NCS that “Turchinov's report never existed.” The source also explained that the SBU officers made copies of Turchinov's report as precaution and sent them to a number of addressees, including in the United States.

The Organizers

The article points out as organizers of the illegal sales a group of former high-ranking Soviet bureaucrats: Yury Masliukov, Leonard Vid, and Alexander Fain. The story begins in the 1980s, when the Soviet government resumed its military-technical cooperation with Iran.

In 1986 Mikhail Gorbachev signed a secret executive order by the Politburo “On shipments of special equipment to Iran in 1986-87, sending military specialists to Iran, and receiving Iranian specialists for training in the operation, use, and repairs of special equipment.”

In accordance with this decision, Iran received, among other things, the first party of the ballistic missiles “Scud.”

Yurii Masliukov was the one responsible for preparing this decision and carrying it out. At that time he was the chairman of Gosplan and of the Military-Industrial Commission at the Council of Ministers of the USSR. The Commission coordinated the work of the Soviet military-industrial complex, as well as the export-import of arms and dual technologies, both legal and not.

Masliukov's experience and connections in the international arms trade and military-industrial espionage can be appreciated from this description by one of the owners of Far West Ltd, Ruslan Saidov, describing this aspect of Masliukov's activities.

In the past there was an organization called COCOM--Coordinating Committee for Multilateral Export Controls. This international organization controlled Western exports to East Bloc countries. CoCom had 17 member states—all Nato members (except Iceland, Japan, and Australia). Five neutral countries and New Zealand closely cooperated with this organization. The leading role in CoCom was played, of course, by the United States. The Soviet Union responded by creating an effective system against the CoCom embargo. It included foreign trade organizations, KGB, GRU, industry, and the Academy of Sciences. Thousands firms were created abroad (some of them continue to operate today), billions of dollars were budgeted for these activities. This work was deemed so important that it was presided over by Yury Dmitrievich Masliukov, first deputy of the prime minister.

Masliukov's first deputy was one Leonard Vid. He also took active part in the preparation of the Politburo decision on Iran. After 1991 they parted. Masliukov became a high functionary in the CPRF (presently he is State Duma deputy) and, from time to time, held important positions in the government under Yeltsin. Leonard Vid went to private banking and became the chairman of the Alpha-Bank (retired in 2002).

Company Far West Ltd was registered in 1998 in Switzerland by a group of former GRU officers and agents (GRU--The Main Intelligence Directorate of the General Staff). Among them was Anton Surikov, who at that time was in charge of Masliukov's secretariat in Evgeny Primakov's government (Masliukov served as Primakov's vice-premier, 1998-99).

According to a number of open sources, Far West Ltd operates in the “gray”and “black” arms markets. It has branches in Iran and Ukraine, among other countries. The article alleges that the company has been used to cash in on some “special connections” that Masliukov and Vid cultivated back in the Soviet period of their careers.

Interestingly, Masliukov's business relations with Vid also continued in quite respectable areas: a significant number of military enterprises in Izhevsk and Votkins (Masliukov represents this region in the State Duma), including the factory producing the ICBMs Topol—the main weapon of Russia's strategic nuclear forces—keep their accounts in the Alpha-Bank.

Another long-time associate of Masliukov, Alexander Fain, is the General Director of the Alfa-Eco Group (biggest shareholder of Alfa-Bank). When Masliukov presided over the Soviet military-industrial complex, Fain was a chief designer at one of the enterprises engaged in a nuclear related military production. It was thanks to the efforts of Fain, supported by Masliukov, that Alfa-Group landed the contract to serve the accounts of Rosatom enterprises, including Atomstroiexport that builds the famous Busher station in Iran and another nuclear station in China (in Tianwan).

The article describes close relations between Alfa Group and the circle of Vice-President Dick Cheney. The highest level management of Alfa Group includes US citizens linked to the Anglo-American intelligence community. The leaders of Alfa Group have close contacts with Dick Cheney and the management of Halliburton.

The best known example of these relations was the $600 million credit that the Tyumen Oil Company (TNK), controlled by the consortium of Alfa Group and Access Industries Inc, received from the American Exim-Bank after the political lobbying by Dick Cheney. The deal was followed by TNC's strategic alliance with Cheney's Halliburton in the reconstruction of the huge Samotlor oil fields and the inclusion of several managers from Diligence LLC in the leadership of Alfa Group.

Diligence LLC is a so-called private military company (PMC) created by former officers of the CIA and British MI-5. In fact, it is a private intelligence service that serves the interests of the financial-industrial groups linked to the Republican party. The head of Diligence LLC, Richard Burt, is also a member of the board of directors of Alfa Capital that serves the accounts of Russia's most sensitive military-industrial companies and Rosatom.

In addition, Diligence LLC is a partner of another PMC--KBR Inc, subdivision of Halliburton.

The Conspiracy. A reconstruction.

The article reconstructs the events of 1999-2001 as follows.

In 1998-99 the neocon wing of the Republican party, led by Cheney and Rumsfeld, designed a strategy for establishing the US control over the Persian Gulf region that envisioned military interventions in Iraq and Iran. A war against Iraq was much easier to justify than against Iran because of the bad reputation of Saddam's regime after its aggression against Kuwait. To obtain a casus belli against Iran was much more problematic. There were no international sanctions against Iran and, their despite the ferocious anti-Israeli rhetoric, the Iranian leadership conducted a very cautious foreign policy, aan the Iranian intelligence services were effective. In short, presenting to UN mythic evidence of WMD in Iran would not work, real were needed. Iran had to be trapped and caught red-handed in violating the regime of non-proliferation. But how to lure Iran into the lethal trap?

According to the source, it was obvious that the WMD were to be "leaked" from the territory of the fSU. But how to convince the Iranians to take the bait? Only a private company with financial resources and unique connections could help Cheney, and this company was Alfa Group.

The Iranian leadership and intelligence knew and trusted Masliukov, Vid, and Fain. After all, they lobbied Soviet arms sales to Iran and also served the credit lines for the Busher project (Vid and Fain). They were well positioned to convince the Iranians to accept the unexpected "present." Alfa Group had a dense network of offshore companies to hide the financial transactions of the deal while Masliukov had the Far West Ltd people, experienced in black market arms deals, to carry out the operation. When the Republicans won the 2000 elections and Cheney became the vice-president, the conspiracy got under way.

The Spoiler

The operation to create a casus belli against Iran lasted over one year and was the result of a unique confluence of business and political interests of several powerful groups in the United States, Russia, Ukraine, Iran, and China. It was carried out without a hitch, and by 2002 the Cheney-Rumsfeld group had in its sleeve the joker to be used when the moment comes. Iran indeed had violated the international law on WMD and deserved a good bombing. But then something went wrong.

The Baptist pastor Alexander Turchinov was an outsider to the intelligence community and its con games. His appointment as the head of the SBU was the result of the complex and short-lasting power sharing arrangements between the “orangist” factions in Kiev (Turchinov is Yulia Timoshenko's man).

When Turchinov became acquainted with the SBU dossier on the KH-55 affair, he realized that it was a colossal conspiracy which painted Ukraine as a country capable for any crime if it pays, including arming with WMD the newly appointed enemies of mankind--”Islamic terrorists.” He was pro-American, as all “orangists,” but he could not agree with this role for Ukraine. So, according to the source, Turchinov began his own investigation and sent Kozhemiakin to Israel, because he knew that only the Israelis were interested in the truth. After all, no matter what would be the results of Cheney's game, the Iranian made KH-55s would be falling on Israel. Kozhemiakin and his group received a warm welcome in Israel and were given all the information known by that time. And the Israelis knew a lot.

Prior to Kozhemiakin's trip, Turchinov put some pressure on Ukrspetsexport and GUR (Ukrainian military intelligence). There were people in these establishments who knew the details of the deal. A certain bureaucratic struggle began and it was reflected in the press.

As early as in April 2005 Turchinov apparently found out that the Far West partners, Alexei Likhvintsev and Leonid Kosiakov from GUR and Valery Lysenko from Ukrspetsexport were directly linked to the KH-55 affair. There had been also new details about the role of Alfa Group, which was mentioned in the famous parliamentary inquiry of deputy Hryhoriy Omelchenko in January 2005, there surfaced also the names of two Panamanian offshore companies: Isofert Trading INC and Transchem International INC, belonging to the oligarch Viacheslav Kantor , protege of Mikhail Friedman, owner of Alpha Bank, in the Jewish Congress of Russia.

Then came the most unexpected and revealing reaction to the first publication based on Turchinov's investigation. The head of Far West Ltd, Vladimir Filin, publicly accused Valery Lysenko in receiving a huge bribe of $3 million from his company (FWL) for facilitating the secret deals of Far West Ltd with Syria and Iraq.

After this confession, it became clear that the KH-55 deal was gone public in a very different way than its organizers hoped to use it. The role of KBR Inc and Diligence LLC, who supervised the operation both in Alfa-Group and Far West Ltd, became visible, as well as Cheney's ears behind them. Turchinov requested a meeting of NSC and that was the end of his career in the SBU. The article concludes by observing the ironic outcome of Cheney's conspiracy: the Islamic Republic received the WMD thanks to US neocons and some leaders of Russia's Jewish Congress.


Other publications (in English) on this affair from burtsev.ru <http://left.ru/burtsev/index_en.html>

Filin-"El Buho" Is Getting Nervous <http://left.ru/burtsev/ops/filinnervous.phtml>

"Consulting" Agency Far West, LLC Paid $3 Million Bribe to Ukrainian Official For Illegal Arms Deals with Syria and Iran <http://left.ru/burtsev/ops/lysenko.phtml>

Far West, Ltd. Leaves Europe Under the Threat of Criminal Persecution. Renamed Far West, LLC <http://left.ru/burtsev/ops/filin.phtml>

“Far West, LLC” Co-Owner, mentioned in X-55 Scandal, Accuses US Military Intelligence of Using the Hawala Network for Money Laundering and Personal Enrichment <http://left.ru/burtsev/ops/hawala.phtml>

New Information on the Involvement of Far West, Ltd in Illegal Arms Smuggling <http://left.ru/burtsev/ops/x-55en.phtml>


1  Pt. 1 <http://www.nr2.ru/kiev/93615.html/print/>, Pt.2 <http://www.nr2.ru/kiev/93830.html>, Pt. 3 <http://www.nr2.ru/dnepropetrovsk/94036.html/print/>

2  The Instrumentation Factory Plant or Department 140/16 <http://www.nti.org/e_research/profiles/Iran/Missile/3876_4098.html>

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