‘Operation Gladio B’–the continuation of the old NATO Gladio program–covers a tangled web of covert operatives, billionaire Imams, drug running, prison breaks and terror strikes. Its goal: the destabilization of Central Asia and the Caucasus. In this presentation to Studium Generale in Groningen on November 19, 2014, James Corbett lifts the lid on this operation, its covert operatives, and the secret battle for the Eurasian heartland.
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The Secret War: Gladio and the Battle for Eurasia
by James Corbett
November 19, 2014
CENTRAL ASIA AND THE CAUCASUS
Central Asia is a vast expanse of the map whose defining characteristic is its ability to defy characterization. Stretching from the shores of the Caspian Sea in the west to the border of China in the east, and from Iran and Pakistan’s doorstep in the south to Russia’s in the north, it encompasses everything from the snow-capped slopes of Victory Peak in Kyrgyzstan to the remarkable “door to hell” in Turkmenistan’s Karakum Desert to the sprawling grasslands of the Kazakh Steppe. Settled by migrants from the Persian, Turkic, Chinese and Slavic civilizations, its inhabitants speak Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Russian, Tajik, Uzbek and Turkmen and include Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus and Buddhists.
The much smaller Caucasus region, a narrow land bridge sandwiched between the Black and Caspian seas, is equally diverse. The region contains over 50 ethnic groups and is home to three local language families and several dozen languages, from the obscure Bohtan Neo-Aramaic tongue with less than 500 native speakers to the more widely spoken Azerbaijani and Armenian languages.
Despite the rich history and culture of the region, it is still completely off the radar screens of many in the west. “Tajikistan,” “Abkhazia” and “Astrakhan Oblast” are hardly names to conjure by in the popular imagination, after all. Those names that do resonate are related to specific stories that have been given coverage in the western media; Dagestan equals “The Boston Bombing” to many Americans, for example, and many Europeans will recognize Chechnya as “that place that Russia is at war with.”
Just because the -stans, Oblasts, republics and autonomous regions that make up this part of the globe are not well known to the average western citizen, however, does not mean that they are not important squares on the global chessboard. And just because they may not be on the radar of the general public does not mean they are not on the radar of some of the richest and most powerful players in global geopolitics.
As one example of this interest, I present to you the U.S.-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce, an organization that sounds about as important to global geopolitics as the Groningen Chamber of Commerce. But look at its list of current and former advisors, chairmen and directors: former Vice President Dick Cheney, Bush family advisor James Baker III and his son James Baker IV, Henry Kissinger, Brent Scowcroft, Richard Armitage and, of course, former National Security Advisor and perennial Washington insider Zbigniew Brzezinski. This Chamber of Commerce boasts some of the most influential figures in US foreign policy in the past half century amongst its ranks. What is it they see that the general public doesn’t?
There are two answers to that question. The first is the old real estate sales line: location, location, location! The region’s key location in the backyard of some of the key powers of the Eurasian landmass, Russia and China foremost amongst them, has made it a geostrategic prize stretching back thousands of years. Dominated at different times and in varying degrees by Persian empires, Chinese dynasties, Mongol invaders and Soviet forces, the region has a rich history of being acted upon and a relatively short history as a geopolitical actor in its own right. Its position has long made it a key transport route, from the Han Dynasty’s famed Silk Road connecting China and Persia thousands of years ago to President Xi Jinping’s 21st century equivalent seeking to connect China to Turkey and beyond.
But more important even than its location and strategic value are the region’s vast, largely untapped resources. The oil and gas fields of the Caspian Sea region are particularly sought after, containing the third-largest reserves of any fields on the planet. Azerbaijan in the Caucasus and Kazakhstan in Central Asia both have direct access to Caspian Sea oil, with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan providing ample gas reserves. The dream of a Trans-Caspian pipeline has been in the works for years now to transport Central Asian reserves across to the Southern Caucasus and the so-called “BTC” pipeline funneling the energy through Azerbaijan and Georgia to Turkey has been equally prized as a way for Europe to find an alternative to Russia’s increasingly-threatening stranglehold over energy known as Gazprom. The region also contains strategically important deposits of uranium as well as industrially useful minerals including copper, manganese, turngsten and zinc.
Another equally important, although seldom acknowledged, resource in the region revolves around the extensive opium trade, especially in Afghanistan. The Afghan opium trade is estimated to bring in as much as $200 billion a year, accounting for as much as 92% of the world supply. As we shall see, control of this region involves domination of that especially lucrative business and all of the attendant economic benefits that result from it.
The importance of a long-term US presence in the region to establish western dominance over this location and its resources is no secret. It has been written about extensively by the think tanks that typically serve as the mouthpiece for NATO’s foreign policy interests.
Take for example a 1992 analysis of the region from RAND’s National Defense Research Institute entitled “Central Asia: The New Geopolitics.” It was written shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union while the newly independent republics of the region were still orienting themselves to their new geopolitical reality and it was penned by Graham Fuller, a former CIA station chief in Kabul whose name will come up again later in our study. He wrote:
“It is primarily Central Asia’s strategic geopolitical location—truly at the continent’s center—and the broadly undesirable course of events that could emerge if the region were to drift toward instability, that constitute the primary American interest (in the region).[…]Thus, given the potential for untoward developments in the region for Western interests, modest hands-on American influence in the region is desirable.”
By 2004 the need for this “modest hands on American influence” had gained momentum. In an article published that year by the Cambridge Review of International Affairs called “The United States and Central Asia: In the Steppes to Stay?” Svante E. Cornell of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute raised some of the key reasons for increasing US involvement in the region:
“As US engagement in Central Asia becomes more permanent, it will increasingly become a factor in both regional politics and the domestic politics of the several Central Asian countries. That role raises a host of questions. Chief among them is how regional powers such as Russia and China will react to the US presence. A second concerns the implications both for the political development among the region’s states and for the future of radical Islam.”
And in 2011 the Project 2049 Institute, which includes Zbigniew Brzezinski’s son on its Board of Directors, published a document proclaiming “An Agenda For the Future of U.S. – Central Asia Relations” which contains this interesting passage:
“U.S. policymakers have been careful to avoid the metaphor of a “Great Game” in Central Asia. Yet it has been often invoked by others, not least by observers in Moscow, Beijing, and other neighboring powers. The U.S. must continue to reject this metaphor, for such notions are based on flawed assumptions and fraught with risks for the United States.”
NEW GREAT GAME
So what is this “Great Game” metaphor that is so upsetting to the Western establishment? The “Great Game” refers to the struggle for supremacy between the British and the Russians. The Game broadly took place from the signing of the Russo-Persian Treaty of 1813 until the Anglo-Russian convention of 1907, but although the term was coined in the early 19th century it didn’t hit the popular imagination until Rudyard Kipling’s Kim was published in 1901. It was three years after that, in 1904, that The Geographical Journal published an article that articulated the reason that these great powers were engaged in the struggle for this piece of the globe.
The article was called “The Geographical Pivot of History” and was written by Sir Halford John Mackinder PC, the Director of the London School of Economics that was founded by the Fabian Society and folded into the heart of the British establishment in the University of London in 1900. (The cornerstone of the School’s Old Building on Houghton Street was laid by King George V himself). Mackinder is considered the father of the study of geopolitics.
“The Geographical Pivot of History” is the document that is often said to be the founding document of geopolitics and constitutes the first formulation of what would come to be called the “Heartland Theory.” This theory starts from the division of what Mackinder called the “World Island” into inherently divided isolated areas. Each of these areas has its own part to play in the unfolding of world history, with the area he called the “Heartland” of the central Eurasian landmass being the pivot point from which a civilization could derive the geopolitical and economic leverage with which to dominate the world as a whole. This was summarized in a famous dictum from his 1919 work, “Democratic Ideals and Reality”
“Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;
Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island;
Who rules the World-Island commands the World.”
Looking at the map of what Mackinder had in mind for the Heartland it’s apparent that the “heart” of this Heartland is indeed the Central Asia-Caucasus region. This is what Russia and Britain were so intent on wresting from each other in the 19th century Great Game: control of the region from which the building of a world empire would be possible. And this is why the Project 2049 Institute and others desperately want to downplay this idea. They don’t under any circumstances want anyone to believe that the US and its NATO allies are intent on regional domination or the formation of a world empire.
But fast forward to 1997. In that year, Zbigniew Brzezinski released his book “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives” (evidently Brzezinski wasn’t so shy about calling world domination for what it is). Brzezinski does not mince words about the Eurasian Heartland and how important it is to American “global primacy”:
“For America, the chief geopolitical prize is Eurasia. For half a millennium, world affairs were dominated by Eurasian powers and peoples who fought with one another for regional domination and reached out for global power. Now a non-Eurasian power is preeminent in Eurasia—and America’s global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained.”
He goes on to refine Mackinder’s “Heartland” notion down to a specific area he calls the Eurasian Balkans. This area is precisely the Central Asia-Caucasus region. He explains its importance thus:
“The Eurasian Balkans, astride the inevitably emerging transportation network meant to link more directly Eurasia’s richest and most industrious western and eastern extremities, are also geopolitically significant. Moreover, they are of importance from the standpoint of security and historical ambitions to at least three of their most immediate and more powerful neighbors, namely, Russia, Turkey, and Iran, with China also signaling an increasing political interest in the region. But the Eurasian Balkans are infinitely more important as a potential economic prize: an enormous concentration of natural gas and oil reserves is located in the region, in addition to important minerals, including gold.”
The use of the metaphor of the Balkans is doubly evocative for students of history; it represents not only the strife and ethnic conflict we saw in the “Balkanization” of Yugoslavia toward the end of the 20th century, but also the powder keg of tensions that ignited the First World War at the beginning of the 20th century. Brzezinski predicted that the first great war of the 21st century would take place in this area of the globe and four years later, in the first year of the 21st century, the United States and its NATO allies invaded Afghanistan beginning an occupation that became the longest military operation in the history of America. Meet the New Great Game, same as the Old Great Game. This time it’s NATO against China, Russia and what might be loosely termed a ‘resistance bloc,’ but the idea is almost the same: dominate Central Asia-Caucasus and use it as pivot point to dominate the world.
The Old and New Great Game are similar in many ways. The Old Great Game sprang from British fears that Russian incursion into Central Asia would threaten to topple their hold over the crown jewel of the British Empire, India; the New Great Game springs from the fear that Russian and/or Chinese dominance over Central Asia and the Caucasus would prevent NATO from achieving its goal of “full spectrum dominance.” The Old Great Game involved the British invasion of Afghanistan in 1838 and attempt to install a puppet regime; the New Great Game involved the NATO invasion of Afghanistan and attempt to install a puppet regime. The Old Great Game relied heavily on espionage, spycraft and subterfuge to undermine Russia’s sway over the Heartland; and as we shall see, the New Great Game also heavily relies on covert means to undermine Russian and Chinese influence in the region.
To understand the way that subterfuge is being used in the New Great Game today, we must first understand an important clandestine operation which is commonly known as “Operation Gladio.”
In very broad and rough terms, “Operation Gladio” was a NATO plan to use “stay-behind” paramilitary armies to counter a potential Soviet invasion and occupation of Europe. Although this is the way that “Operation Gladio” is commonly understood today, almost every part of that description is technically incorrect.
Firstly “Operation Gladio” was not a name for the overall program, which involved 12 NATO member nations (Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Turkey) and four neutral countries (Austria, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland), but specifically its most famous incarnation in Italy. In Belgium the operation was codenamed “SDRA-8.” Sweden had its “Projekt-26.” In Greece it was “Lochos Oreinon Katadromon” and here in the Netherlands it was “GIIIC” later rebranded as “G7.”
Secondly, the operation was not inherently a NATO one. It was first coordinated in 1948 by a trans-Atlantic body based in France known as the “Western Union Clandestine Committee.” After the creation of NATO in 1949 the body was folded into the organization’s Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) under the revised name of the Clandestine Planning Committee. The plan’s origins stretch back even further, arguably to the creation of British MI6’s “Section D” in 1940, a ramshackle group of recruits from England’s North Sea coast that would wage sabotage and guerrilla warfare in the event of a Nazi invasion of the British Isles. The central role of the CIA’s “Office of Policy Coordination” and the Special Operations Branch of MI6 in establishing the operation, as well as the training of stay-behind forces alongside British SAS units at Fort Monckton and American Special Forces at the infamous School of the Americas, needs also to be stressed.
Thirdly, although the individual stay-behind programs were organized in Europe, the scope of their operations were not limited to Europe and strayed far from any supposed mandate to prepare for a Soviet invasion. As we shall see, “Gladio” operations included and include everything from drug running and money laundering to terror attacks and political assassinations.
I will not get into the specifics of how these stay-behind units operated in the various countries or the various incidents they have been implicated in. If any part of the “Gladio” story is well-known, it is the operations in Europe and their role in such events as Italy’s “Years of Lead.” These topics have been covered in great detail by very capable writers, filmmakers, historians and researchers, and I’ll refer you to some of the most valuable English language resources on the overall program, including Allan Frankovitch’s groundbreaking 1992 documentary, Gladio: The Ring Masters, Daniele Ganser’s seminal work, NATO’s Secret Armies, Richard Cottrell’s Gladio: NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe, and the various resources available at sites like operation-gladio.net.
What is important for our study today is the strategic doctrine employed by the Gladio operations known as the “strategy of tension.” This doctrine involves the creation, encouragement or exacerbation of political, religious, ethnic or other forms of conflict in order to incite fear in a population and manipulate public opinion. An oft-cited example of the strategy of tension are the “Years of Lead” that rocked Italy with a wave of terrorist atrocities from the 1969 bombing of the Piazza Fontana to the Bologna railway station bombing of 1980. The story of the links between NATO Gladio operations and the various paramilitary groups whose bombings, kidnappings and assassinations terrorized a nation is a fascinating one, but far too detailed for today’s study. The takeaway point is that the national psychosis caused by spectacular terror attacks can be used to turn public opinion against certain groups and make actions that were formerly politically inconceivable virtually inevitable.
It is not difficult to see how this strategy could be used in some form in a region as linguistically, ethnically, culturally and religiously diverse and divisive as Central Asia and the Caucasus. Indeed, as Brzezinski points out in regards to his “Eurasian Balkans” concept:
“Every one of [the Eurasian Balkans] countries suffers from serious internal difficulties, all of them have frontiers that are either the object of claims by neighbors or are zones of ethnic resentment, few are nationally homogeneous, and some are already embroiled in territorial, ethnic, or religious violence.”
With regards to the Central Asia-Caucasus region in particular, Gladio operations in Turkey are of primary importance. Noting that the Turkish Gladio operations relied on cooperation with the nationalistic, racist, baldly expansionist Pan-Turkism movement, Daniele Ganser describes the Turkish secret army as “more violent than that of any other stay-behind in Western Europe.” He describes the origins of the Turkish stay-behind, known as “Counter-Guerrilla,” this way:
“Under the headline ‘The Origins of “Gladio” in Turkey’ the Paris-based Intelligence Newsletter reported in 1990 that they had obtained ‘one of the recently declassified original strategy documents engendering the Western European “stay-behind” or “Gladio” network: US Army General Staff’s Top-Secret March 28, 1949 Overall Strategic Concepts.’ In an adjoining document, JSPC 891/6, section ‘Tab B,’ a specific reference is made to Turkey highlighting how the Pan-Turkism movement could be exploited strategically by the United States. Turkey, according to the Pentagon document, is an ‘extremely favourable territory for the establishment of both guerrilla units and Secret Army Reserves. Politically the Turks are strongly nationalistic and anti-Communistic, and the presence of the Red Army in Turks will cause national feeling to run high.’ Intelligence Newsletter thereafter correctly related that the Turkish secret army called Counter-Guerrilla was run by the Special Warfare Department and consisted of five branches: ‘Training Group, including interrogation and psychological warfare techniques; Special Unit, specialised since 1984 in anti-Kurd operations, Special Section, special operations in Cyprus; Coordination Group, also called the Third Bureau; and Administrative Section.’”
The violent atrocities committed by Counter-Guerrilla are beyond the scope of this investigation, but include a September 1955 ‘false flag’ bombing of a key Turkish target in Greece which was blamed on the Greek police, participation in three military coups against Turkey’s own government, the torture of political opponents in the torture villa of Erenköy, and assorted robberies, assassinations, kidnappings, sabotage, and other terrorist activities.
In the vicious Turkish nationalist movement, with its interest in uniting all of the Turkish peoples into one Pan-Turkic nation, NATO found a convenient ally in its quest to counter Soviet influence in the Caucasus region and to gain a toehold in the Eurasian Balkans. In order to understand how this alliance operated, let’s examine one particular person who has been identified as one of the top Turkish “Gladiators”: Abdullah Çatlı.
Probably the single most famous members of the Counter-Guerrilla, Abdullah Catli’s remarkable and highly improbably career tells a story of assassinations, terror attacks, drug running, daring prison escapes and international intrigue outrageous enough to make even the most imaginative Hollywood script writer blush. Beginning as a petty street thug with the nationalist movement, Catli rose through the ranks to become a brutal enforcer for the dreaded Grey Wolves “youth organization” connected to the Turkish Gladio movement. By 1978 he had become the second in command of the organization and a top Counter-Guerrilla operative, implicated in multiple high-profile assassinations, including the murder of Abdi Ipekci, the country’s most well-known newspaper editor. Forced underground by his growing notoriety, Catli became an important international Gladiator, participating in the 1981 assassination attempt of the Pope. He traveled with Italian Gladiator Stefano Della Chiaie to Latin America and Miami in 1982 and then headed to France where he planned the bombing of the Armenian Genocide Memorial at Alfortville, and the failed assassination attempt against activist Ara Toranian.
In 1984 it seemed that the long arm of the law had finally caught up with him. Paid by his Turkish intelligence handlers in heroin, Catli was arrested in Paris for drug trafficking and sentenced to seven years imprisonment. In 1988 he was sent to Switzerland, where he also wanted for drug trafficking, but in March 1990 he was sprung from prison in a nearly unbelievable prison break that involved the use of a helicopter. Le Monde Diplomatique in an explosive report on the Turkish deep state referred vaguely to the “mysterious accomplices” who helped him to escape, but others have specifically identified the escape helicopter as a NATO vehicle. In subsequent years, while still an international fugitive on INTERPOL’s “Most Wanted” list and wanted by the authorities of multiple countries for a series of crimes, Catli returned to Turkey where he was recruited by the police for “special missions” and entered and exited the United Kingdom and the United States with complete impunity.
This is the character profile of a Gladio operative: a person above the law, working in support of something identified in Turkey as the “deep state” that transcends the ordinary rules, laws, or even the constitutions of any individual governments. In the case of the Turkish deep state, there is an intimate connection with the greater Gladio operation and the shadowy NATO and Pentagon operations branches associated with it.
Returning to the question of Gladio interference in the Central Asia-Caucasus area of operations, one lowlight from Catli’s ignoble career is particularly instructive. In 1995 Catli participated in a planned coup attempt against Azerbaijani president Helmar Aliyev, the father of the country’s current president. The planned assassination failed, but Catli (predictably) was not caught or brought to justice for his participation in the scheme. But while the assassination itself did not result in the death of Aliyev, it did have a desirable effect for NATO’s designs on the South Caucasus. From that point on, Azerbaijan began to leave the diplomatic orbit of its old Soviet-era Russian masters and has since become a staunchly Western-oriented nation with an all-star roster of power players on its US-Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce and ongoing projects with ChevronTexaco, BP, Pennzoil and other major oil conglomerates. In fact, the country has been a NATO partner and prospective member of the alliance for several years now, a potentially important NATO ally in Russia’s backyard, and one with access to the prized Caspian oil and gas fields and pipelines.
OPERATION “GLADIO B”
But all careers, no matter how remarkable, come to an end, and the end of Abdullah Catli’s career was, perhaps fittingly, as spectacular as his career itself.
At approximately 7:25 PM on the evening of November 3, 1996, a Mercedes 600 SEL crashed into a truck near the Northwestern Turkish town of Susurluk, killing three of the four passengers. But this was no ordinary car crash. Among the dead: a senior police chief, a former beauty queen, and Abdullah Catli. The survivor: a Turkish MP who came away with a fractured skull and a broken leg.
A 1998 L.A. Times report on the crash described the scene this way:
“Strewn amid the roadside wreckage was evidence of Catli’s collusion with the Turkish secret service. Along with several handguns, silencers, a cache of narcotics and a government-approved weapons permit, Catli was carrying six photo ID cards, each with a different name, and special diplomatic credentials issued by Turkish authorities.”
The importance of this crash to the course of Turkish politics is difficult to overstate. For many, it conclusively confirmed the “deep state” connections between terrorists like Catli and the upper reaches of governmental power that many had long believed existed. The resulting scandal led to a series of investigations and reports, as well as arrests, convictions, resignations, reforms, promotions, and the death of several Susurluk investigators in car crashes eerily similar to the Susurluk crash itself. And according to at least one key FBI whistleblower, Susurluk marks the beginning of a transition from the original Gladio operations using ultranationalist operatives and a Gladio “Plan B” involving Islamic terrorism as the conduit for the strategy of tension.
The whistleblower in question is Sibel Edmonds, hired by the FBI to work as a translator in the Washington field office in the wake of 9/11. She worked with agents around the United States helping to translate intercepted communications in a number of counterintelligence cases, including Agent Joel Roberts in the Chicago field office whose targets included Abdullah Catli and some of his Gladio associates. While there, one of the translators she was working with was Jan Dickerson, who had worked for both the American Turkish Council (ATC) and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations, organizations that the FBI publicly confirmed were targets of FBI counterintelligence operations. Her husband, Douglas Dickerson, was a Major in the US Air Force who had served in Ankara working on weapons procurement for the Pentagon in the Central Asian region. In December 2001 the Dickersons visited Edmonds and her husband at their home in Alexandria and attempted to recruit them into a Turkish spying ring that had penetrated the FBI, the Pentagon and the State Department. She refused and her complaints about the Dickersons and their involvement with Turkish lobbying groups eventually led to her firing. After years of fighting this dismissal and attempting to go on the record with her knowledge, first through official FBI channels and eventually through the court system, the FBI was eventually forced to admit that her claims had “some basis in fact,” a judgement later bolstered by a Department of Justice’s Inspector General report that concluded “many of Edmonds’s core allegations relating to the co-worker were supported by either documentary evidence or witnesses other than Edmonds” and noting that “the evidence clearly corroborated Edmonds’s allegations” about Jan Dickerson’s work problems. Despite all of this, a little-known evidentiary rule known as the “State Secrets Privilege” was invoked by the Justice Department to remove her First Amendment rights and prevent her from going on record about many of the specifics of her case. This led to her being labeled “the most gagged person in American history” by the American Civil Liberties Union.
Edmonds paints the story of the FBI’s counterintelligence operations against a Gladio network that had contacts and operatives in the United States but protection from powerful Washington players like some of those on the board of the US-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce and similar organizations. After the turning point at Susurluk, these operations started to focus on Islamic terrorists and radicals, who presumably could equally well be used to maintain a strategy of tension and help accomplish foreign policy goals in Central Asia and the Caucasus.
Again, it is important to look at the careers of some of those who have been identified as being part of this “Gladio B” operation. However, we have to note that unlike in the case of Abdullah Catli, we have no official, independent confirmations of the existence of this Gladio B network or its various operatives. Here we are relying on information in the public record which corroborates Edmonds claims and paints a vivid picture of the intersection between Muslim extremists, drug runners, terrorists and money launderers with the upper levels of the US State Department, Pentagon and NATO.
One such person is Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Imam who fled political prosecution in Turkey for advocating that an Islamic state replace the existing Turkish government. Interestingly, he fled to the United States, eventually settling in Pennsylvania. He then set up an educational foundation, the “Gulen Movement” and within four years had opened up 350 madrasas in the Central Asia-Caucasus region. His network would go on to include Islamic schools in over 140 countries, with an estimated net worth of over $20 billion.
In January 2001 a Turkish prosecutor, citing an Ankara University report whose author was subsequently assassinated, claimed that “there is a link between Gulen and the CIA” which included agency help in securing passports for the school’s English teachers in the Central Asia-Caucasus region. This claim was bolstered by former Turkish Intelligence Chief Osman Nuri Gundes, whose memoirs revealed that 130 of these “English teachers” in Kygyzstan and Uzbekistan alone were actually CIA operatives, issued special diplomatic passports under a program codenamed “Friendship Bridge.”
Interestingly, the Washington Post attempted to deny the allegations by seeking comment from Graham Fuller, who you might remember as the author of the “Central Asia: The New Geopolitics” report we referred to earlier. Fuller was a former CIA station chief in Kabul who claimed that the idea of a Gulen-CIA connection was “improbable” despite admitting he has “absolutely no concrete personal knowledge whatsoever about this.” Even more interestingly, Fuller himself wrote a letter of reference for Gulen that was used in Gulen’s ongoing legal battle over his immigration status in the US.
The remarkable rise of this Imam with no particular background or accomplishments to become the head of a multi-billion dollar Islamic school network operated from a secret compound in Pennsylvania that appears to be working with the CIA in the highly sensitive Central Asia-Caucasus region appears to fit in line with what we know about the “deep state” actors in the covert battle for influence in this highly prized square of the chessboard.
Another extremely interesting figure is Yasin Al-Qadi. He was an alleged financier of Islamic terror that was the subject of an intensive investigation by FBI Agent Robert Wright. Wright’s investigation, codenamed “Vulgar Betrayal,” discovered evidence that implicated Al-Qadi in a terrorist finance ring centered in Chicago that linked to the 1998 African embassy bombings, but when he proposed a criminal investigation, his supervisor flew into a rage, yelling “You will not open criminal investigations. I forbid any of you. You will not open criminal investigations against any of these intelligence subjects.” Wright was taken off the Vulgar Betrayal investigation one year later and the investigation itself was shut down the following year. In 1999 and 2000, the UN placed sanctions on Al-Qadi who was identified in UN Security Council resolutions as a suspected associate of Al-Qaeda.
At the same time, Al-Qadi was also a key investor in a company called Ptech, which marketed “enterprise architecture software” designed to provide complete god’s eye views of an organization’s structure, from transactions, systems and processes to inventory, transactions and personnel. Ptech’s client list included some of the most sensitive databases in the country, including those of DARPA, the FBI, the Secret Service, the White House, the Navy, the Air Force, the FAA, and NATO. According to Ptech’s own business plan, the company had a contract to work on modeling the FAA’s “network management, network security, configuration management, fault management, performance management, application administration, network accounting management, and user help desk operations” that was operative on the morning of 9/11. After 9/11, Ptech’s offices were raided and the company’s CEO and CFO were eventually indicted, and Yasin Al-Qadi was placed on a special terrorist finance watchlist by the US Treasury Department.
Despite being watchlisted by both the UN Security Council and the US Treasury Department, Al-Qadi continued to operate internationally, with an Albanian passport and spending time in Turkey. He has since been revealed to have engaged in numerous meetings with then-Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the Turkish Intelligence Chief. Earlier this year the ex-Istanbul police chief revealed that Erdogan had helped Al-Qadi to enter the country several times despite being banned by the Cabinet.
Another figure of importance whose name comes up in connection with this investigation is Ayman Al-Zawahiri, formerly Bin Laden’s right hand man and the current nominal leader of the Al-Qaeda organization. According to Edmonds he appeared as a figure in several FBI counterterrorism investigations in the 1990s, turning up in Turkey, Albania, Kosovo and Azerbaijan. His travels to the Balkans in the mid 1990s make sense given Al-Qaeda involvement in the so-called Yugoslav Wars, but his involvement in Turkey and Azerbaijan is of particular relevance to this study. Edmonds claims that he worked with the Turkish arm of NATO and NATO itself during this period, meeting several times with US military attaches in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Other tantalizing connections present themselves in figures like Hüseyin Baybaşin, known as “Europe’s Pablo Escobar” for his heroin operations smuggling heroin to the UK. After his imprisonment here in the Netherlands for drug smuggling he contacted Edmonds with details about Turkish NATO involvement in the drug smuggling operations he had been a part of.
There are numerous such leads, connections and clues in this investigation that point to a deep NATO/US involvement in covert operations that tie back to this important area of the globe. But what does it all mean.
It would be a satisfying conclusion to this investigation to present to you the definitive proof, documents or testimony positively linking the increasingly deadly terror attacks and incidents taking place in the Central Asia-Caucasus region to a Gladio “Plan B” group being directed by NATO and the Pentagon. Everything that we have seen today has demonstrated that:
a) there are vital strategic interests for the US and its allies in the Central Asia-Caucasus that make it a prime target for covert operations;
b) such “strategy of tension” operations have been conducted in the past by people we definitively know were linked to NATO’s covert army;
and c) that there are a number of influential people operating in and around the region and in close cooperation with the Turkish deep state, American intelligence, the Pentagon and NATO who seem to be involved with ongoing operations today related to the fostering of religious sectarianism in the region.
As I say, it would be a satisfying conclusion to definitively state that persons A, B or C were connected to events X, Y, or Z, but obviously this is not possible at this time. The very nature of these covert operations means that, without some explosive new evidence or surprising new testimony from other whistleblowers, it is unlikely that Gladio B will be revealed in the way the original Gladio operations were. This does not mean, however, that we are completely powerless to identify these operations or to counteract the psychological effects that they are aiming at producing in the public.
The characters, events and storyline painted in this presentation are almost completely available in the public record through various news reports, government investigations, think tank documents, court filings, interviews and dozens of other sources. Those parts of the story that cannot be independently verified, like some of Edmonds’ claims, can be corroborated by the sources in the public record. The task of piecing these bits of the puzzle together is a nearly overwhelming one, but it can be accomplished by a concerted effort by an informed and motivated public.
This is the principal of “open source investigation” which I am attempting to further in my work at CorbettReport.com. Next week this lecture will be published to my website along with a hyperlinked transcript sourcing all of the documents, reports and other evidence used in the creation of this presentation. From that point, the public is encouraged to use that source information to begin investigating other aspects of this case and to see how this narrative meshes or clashes with other pieces of evidence in the public record. Members of The Corbett Report community are of course invited to participate in this investigation by posting their own comments, analysis, links and replies on the posting of this lecture at CorbettReport.com.
This task is critical because in the quest to control the resources of the Central Asia-Caucasus region, a strategy of tension is being employed. We see a nearly daily parade of terror attacks in the Northern Caucasus region on Russia’s doorstep and in the “New Silk Road” area of Chinese interest. Just this month, the head of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (often seen as a counterbalance organization to NATO) claimed that instability in the region was being deliberately fostered by the West, citing a disproportionate increase in US embassy staff and influx of Western-backed NGOs into the region. “The West crudely interferes in the internal affairs of other governments, trying to manipulate public opinion, economically and financially affecting the government and population,” he said.
If this is indeed the case, then one of the key ways to counteract this effect is to simply retain our skepticism when it comes to spectacular terror attacks in the region. With an increased awareness of covert operations, false flag attacks, and other acknowledged instruments of terror in the strategy of tension, we thereby disarm the effectiveness of these tools. The psychological manipulation that these geopolitical machinations rely on is only possible if the populace is kept in fear and ignorance, and the answer to that can only be understanding and openness.
Thank you for your time.