Andrei Petrov and Valentin Zorin
Academician Anton Surikov Confirms Professor Peter Dale Scott's "Prishtina Dash" Hypothesis
In his recent ground-breaking essay "The Global Drug Meta-Group: Drugs, Managed Violence, and the Russian 9/11," Peter Dale Scott takes a further step from our conclusion that the so-called 1999 "conspiracy" in Cote d'Azur between the Chechen warlord Shamil Basaev and the head of Yeltsin's administration Alexandr Voloshin had to do with the prior surprise arrival of Russian paratroopers in Prishtina. The "mad dash" of Russian motorized column reached the Slatina airport on June 11, 1999. Several days later a colorful company began to assemble in Adnan Khashoggi's villa near Nice. As has been established since then, besides Voloshin and Basaev this group included:
- four co-owners of the "consulting" agency Far West, Ltd.(FWL)--recently renamed as Far West, LLC--which did business with private military companies KBR Halliburton and Diligence LLC among others;
- these co-owners were also former officers of the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Soviet/Russian General Staff (GRU). They were Ret. Colonel Anton Surikov (Turkish citizen Mansur Natkhoev) and Ret. Major Ruslan Saidov (Turkish citizen Ugur Mehmed). Two other co-owners of FWL, Alfonso Davidovich Ochoa (Venezuelan and German passports) and Yakov Abramovich Kosman (Israeli and German passports), were former (?) secret agents of GRU. 1
- Alleged leaders and bankers of an international drug trafficking organization delivering huge quantities of Afghan heroin to Kosovo Albanian retail networks in Western and Central Europe: Alfonso Davidovich, Yakov Kosman, Anton Surikov, Ruslan Saidov.
- Supposedly, at least three "controllers" of the Abkhazian heroin "line": Ruslan "Malysh" Tsveiba, 2 Gary Aiba, head of the influential veteran organization and former mayor of Sukhumi, 3 Sultan Sosnaliev, deputy minister of Abkhazian defense. 4
In our June 2005 investigative essay "Bad Actors in IPROG: The Devil's Dozen," we linked the meeting at Hashoggi's to the new geopolitical situation in the Balkans after the Prishtina dash:
“What could such a motley lot have been negotiating in the summer of 1999? We believe that these negotiations were related to a dramatic change in the situation in the Balkans. It included the NATO occupation of Kosovo, the KLA coming to power, and the famous dash by the Russian armored column to Prishtina and their seizure of the main airport, which promised an extended presence by Russian troops in Kosovo and even the possibility of a Russian sector in the province. Thus the international narcotrafficking, targeting Europe, faced a radically new situation, that opened new possibilities; but this also required new agreements between the regulators and curators of narcotraffic, and therefore, new guarantees or protection from the highest instances. 5 ”
Building on this reading of the “conspiracy” in Nice, Professor Peter Dale Scott went further and all but suggested that the Prishtina dash itself could have been be driven by the imperatives of drug trade. He observed that
“Within a year of the troops' arrival, by 2000, according to DEA statistics, Afghan heroin accounted for almost 20 percent of the heroin seized in the United States – nearly double the percentage taken four years earlier. Much of it was now distributed in America by Kosovar Albanians.”
It is significant therefore, he continued, that
“The `Pristina dash' by Russian parachutists in 1999 during the Kosovo crisis (the purpose of the `dash' was to force NATO to guarantee for Russia a separate sector of responsibility in Kosovo) was organized by the head of the General Staff, Anatoly Kvashnin, and his deputy, Leonid Ivashov, without the knowledge of minister of defense Igor Sergeyev and most likely without Yeltsin's knowledge.”
While the question of whether Sergeev did or did not know about Kvashnin's operation remains a matter of some debate, there could not be any doubt that Yeltsin and his closest circle did know and sanctioned it. Virtually all sources, including Ivashov, confirm this. It is also clear that Kvashnin could not communicate with Yeltsin directly, but only through the powerful head of his administration Alexander Voloshin, the most trusted member of “the Family.” It can be assumed therefore that had the Prishtina dash was conceived, at least in part, as the means to establish a secure hub for moving Afghan heroin to Europe through the network of the Russian Ministry of Defense, Voloshin would have been in the know from the very beginning and would actually be the guarantor of the Kremlin “roof” (protection) for Kvashnin and the “obshchak” of the GRU and Ministry of Defense. 6
On February 8, 2006 Pravda-info, the Internet newspaper that belongs to Far West, LLC, published Anton Surikov's article "The Government of the United States Is Seriously Concerned about the Safety of CIA Analyst," in which he reveals the following information about the then executive director of Far West, Ltd. and the alleged leader of the drug “meta-group,” the military oligarch Vladimir Ilyich Filin.
"When V. I. Filin, who was at that time in Belgrade, learned about the advance of [Russian]peace keepers towards Prishtina he, together with Colonel V. S. Kovalchuk 7 , went to Kosovo on their own risk, unarmed and without bodyguards. They arrived there several hours before our paratroopers. They used this time to get in touch with the field commanders of KLA and received personal guarantees from Hashim Thaci and Ramush Haradinaj that there would be no provocations against the Russian peacekeepres on the part of Albanians." 8
It goes without saying that under the conditions of the strictest secrecy that surrounded the planning and the execution of the Prishtina dash, Filin could not be acting other than on Kvashnin's personal orders. Yet Filin retired from the army in 1993. His ties to Kvashnin were therefore informal, outside of the chain of command. Yet his role in the operation was clearly planned in advance. Moreover, it is clear that Filin had been not only acquainted with Thaci and Haradinaj but must have had some leverage with them in order to obtain such extraordinary guarantees at the moment when these KLA leaders were themselves caught by surprise. As we know now, Filin's own relations with the KLA operatives and business fronts dated back to 1990-93, when he and Alexei Likhvintsev, future co-owner of Far West, Ltd, were on a special and very sensitive assignment in East Germany to sell the property of the Western Group of the Soviet Army. It was then that the first shipments of Afghan heroin were moved to Europe through the Ministry of Defense installations and sold to Kosovo Albanian drug dealers. It has been also reported that another member of Filin's group, Yakov Kosman, served as financial adviser to Hashim Thaci in 1997-2000. 9 Finally, it is also noteworthy that Ramush Haradinaj is widely believed to have been the key CIA man in the KLA hierarchy and that Filin's and his associates' own ties to the US, British, and Saudi intelligence have been recently the subject of substantial interest in Russian press. 10
To conclude, in conjunction with the facts already known, Anton Surikov's information about Vladimir Filin's involvement in the Prishtina dash operation provides important evidence in favor of Peter Dale Scott's suggestion that this geopolitical operation had a secret drug dimension and could have been even primarily motivated by the imperatives of the global drug trade now inseparable from those of geopolitics.
More on Davidovich, see: in Vadim Stolz, “Conversations with Armen. (Excerpts)” <http://left.ru/burtsev/ops/armen_excerpts.phtml>
Tsveiba was listed by Georgian authorities as guilty of "genocide" during the Georgian-Abkhazian war 1992-93. Killed in January 2000.
Aiba was assassinated in Sukhumi in 2004. According to printed sources he was close associate of Ruslan Saidov, who at the time was involved in anti-Russian activities in Abkhazia. Circumstantial evidence suggest that in Abkhazia he worked in close coordination with another member of the alleged criminal society, Audrius Butkevicius , who at than time was in Georgia , organizing the "revolution of the roses" on behalf of KBR Halliburton and the "Dick Cheney cabal" in Washington.
On the Abkhazian connection of the so-called “Chechen group” of narco-traffickers, see Anton Surikov's paper “Crime in Russia: international implications.” Published in 1995 by Brassey's for the Centre for Defence Studies, University of London. Surikov's account is disinformation in respect of names and affiliations.
See in Russian, “Bad Actors in IPROG: The Devil's Dozen.” Left.ru (June 2005) <http://www.left.ru/2005/10/burtsev127.html>
“Obshchak” - criminal argo for thieves' shared monetary fund. It is widely believed that every powerful state organization in Russia supports such a fund with the proceeds from racket or protection of criminal activities. According to secretly taped conversations which Sergei Petrov, former member of the alleged criminal society led by Vladimir Filin, submitted to German and French law enforcement bodies in the fall of 2003, the Afghan heroine business directed through Kosovo by Filin's network brought about $200-250 million per year into the coffers of the GRU “obshchak.” See, the Hilton transcript <http://left.ru/burtsev/ops/hilton_en.phtml>
Colonel Valentin Kovalchuk is the head of Filin's personal security. Believed to have accompanied Filin and his family in their recent relocation from Lausanne, Switzerland to San Paolo, Brazil. As the reason for this move, Filin cited his fear of criminal persecution by the US law enforcement for his and Ruslan Saidov's alleged role in smuggling strategic cruise missiles X-55 from Ukraine to Iran and China in 2001.
Anton Surikov, "The Government of the United States Is Seriously Concerned about the Safety of CIA Analyst." Pravda-info, 02.08.2006 <http://forum.msk.ru/material/power/7495.html>]
See, Yasenev's Memo <http://left.ru/burtsev/ops/yasenev_en.phtml>
On Haradinaj's war crimes and involvement with drug trafficking, see: "KOSOVO LIBERATION ARMY"Freedom Fighters or.... By Banja Luka. Reporter Magazine, issue 190, December 12, 2001 <http://www.kosovo.com/ramush.html>. On Filin's group, and, in particular, Anton Surikov's ties to Western Intelligence, see: Yasenev's Memo <http://left.ru/burtsev/ops/yasenev_en.phtml>; Vadim Stolz, “Did the CIA Order "People's" Referendum in Russia?” (In Russian), Left.ru (January 2006) <http://left.ru/2005/15/referendum132.phtml>; Valentin Zorin and Vadim Stolz, “Saidov's Rehersal,” Left.ru (January, 2006) <http://left.ru/2005/15/rehersal132.phtml>; “Bad Actors in IPROG: The Raid” Left.ru (July 2005) <http://www.left.ru/2005/11/burtsev128.html>