April 23, 2013

Dagestani jihadist group issues statement on Boston bombings

Vilayat Dagestan, a jihadist group that is part of the Caucasus Emirate, an al Qaeda-linked group operating in the North Caucasus, has issued a statement on the Boston Marathon bombings.
The group released the statement on its main website earlier today, citing "speculation" in the press that one of the bombers "could be affiliated with the mujahideen of the Caucasus Emirate, in particular, the mujahideen of Dagestan." The statement has been translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
The organization's statement references Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of two brothers responsible for the bombings, who reportedly traveled to Dagestan and Chechnya last year.
Vilayat Dagestan does not deny any connection to Tsarnaev, nor does it say that he was known to them prior to the bombings. Instead, the group says that it is "at war with Russia" and "not fighting against the United States of America."
Moreover, Vilayat Dagestan says that if the US government is "really interested in discovering the true organizers of the explosions in Boston, without being complicit in a Russian show, they should focus on the involvement of the Russian special services in the event."
US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal say that a number of jihadist groups based in the Caucasus and Chechnya are being investigated. However, the investigation is still in its earliest stages and it is not yet known whether any of them played a role, directly or indirectly, in the Boston bombings.
It is far too early to draw any firm conclusions one way or the other, these officials say.
According to NBC 4 New York, Tamerlan Tsarnaev left New York for Russia on Jan. 12, 2012 and returned on July 17.
Subsequent reports indicate that Tsarnaev traveled to Dagestan and Chechnya during those months and it is this trip that has drawn suspicion.
In August 2012, one month after returning to the United States, Tsarnaev posted a page on YouTube. Videos disseminated by Vilayat Dagestan were among the jihadist propaganda and messages posted by Tsarnaev.
By itself, of course, this does not mean that Tsarnaev became associated with the group during his 2012 trip to Dagestan. US intelligence and counterterrorism officials are currently attempting to build a dossier of Tsarnaev's overseas connections, including any possible ties to Vilayat Dagestan, according to authorities contacted by The Long War Journal.
Warning from Russian government
Vilayat Dagestan's attempt to blame the "Russian special services" for the Boston bombings is inconsistent with the available evidence on Tamerlan Tsarnaev's sympathies and ideology.

In early 2011, the Russian government warned the FBI about Tsarnaev's suspected ties to Chechen terrorists. The FBI issued a statement concerning this warning late last week.
The FBI said it was informed by a "foreign government" that Tsarnaev "was a follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country's region to join unspecified underground groups." This government requested additional information from the FBI on Tsarnaev.
The FBI added that its review of the available evidence at the time "did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign, and those results were provided to the foreign government in the summer of 2011." The statement concludes: "The FBI requested but did not receive more specific or additional information from the foreign government."
The Washington Post and other press outlets have reported that the warning "came from the Russian government," which was "concerned about Tsarnaev's potential ties to Chechen terrorists."
It is not known if the Russian government had any specific information tying Tsarnaev to terrorists.
The evidence that has come to light since the Boston bombings shows that Tsarnaev was at least sympathetic to the jihadists' anti-Russian cause. It is not known if there was more to the sympathies.
In its statement on the Boston bombings, Vilayat Dagestan says that "by the order Doku Umarov, the Emir of the Caucasus, it is prohibited to carry out strikes on civilian targets." But terrorists acting under Umarov's orders have struck civilian targets repeatedly in the past.
The United Nations reports, for instance, that Umarov was one of the "main organizers" of the deadly Beslan school siege in early September 2004 and the attacks on Moscow metro stations in March 2010.

At this point, the inquiry into Tamerlan Tsarnaev's background and activities is wide open. The possibility that he made contact with any one of several groups remains under investigation. It is also possible that he had no substantive ties to these jihadist organizations.

READER COMMENTS: "Dagestani jihadist group issues statement on Boston bombings"

Posted by Nic at April 21, 2013 2:25 PM ET:
" Instead, the group says that it is "at war with Russia" and "not fighting against the United States of America. " And am I to believe this statement because terrorists have such great track records in the credibility department?
Posted by DonM at April 21, 2013 5:13 PM ET:
A key question about Tamerlan Tsarnaev is; where did he get the money to travel to Moscow and then on to Dagestan and then come back? Perhaps his father sustained him while there, but he was not in great financial shape either. The family in the earlier years were on public assistance. He dropped out of community college for lack of funds, was subsequently unemployed, and had a wife and 2 year old daughter to support.
Posted by David at April 21, 2013 5:46 PM ET:
I think they are trying to say that the Russians recruited him using a false flag approach. It sounds like a difficult thing to do, and risky, and I don't know how much help the Russians could hope for if it goes as the Russians had (presumably) planned, which I guess it did, if you believe this idea. They would have had to bring him to a fake training camp, etc. It sounds like a "Mission Impossible" episode.
Posted by Mike at April 21, 2013 7:25 PM ET:
One thing that doesn't add up: if the FBI had information that this guy might have been a terrorist, and they went as far as to interview him and his family before his trip to Russia, why then did they need the public's help to identify him and his brother?
Posted by blert at April 21, 2013 8:49 PM ET:
I'd be more skeptical if the KGB (nee FSB) didn't have a decades long reputation for employing Chechens for 'wet work' and all-round criminality.
In America, it's unthinkable for FBI agents to run their own criminal gangs. No so in the Soviet Union. In today's Russia mobsters talk about having political/ FSB protection in their own phrase: "having a roof."
Three decades ago, Brezhnev's son-in-law, Yuri Churbanov ran the biggest organized crime ring in the USSR. He was made a Major General -- by the big man, himself, of course.
For reasons obscure to me, the KGB took a liking to Chechen 'contract hires' -- for wet work.
Certainly the Chechens already had a nasty reputation in the USSR -- still left over from the Czars. Further, it was a rare Chechen who could pass as a White Russian -- if they could speak Russian at all. So, when shuttled around for a KGB hit, the stooge would be a man alone -- map-less and dependent.
Should anything go amiss -- then the KGB could scrape the 'help' up off the pavement -- and fob off the event as just another instance of rogue Chechen insanity.
For KGB/ Communist Party mobsters, the Chechens made for very pliant muscle. They'd be given the grunt work, of which there was much. Under the Communists, the big money was in contraband -- such as strawberries, bananas, oranges -- imported at state expense from overseas -- and then converted to Soviet Mafia profits by way of paperwork mix-ups -- such as 'losing' entire train loads of fruit.
None of the above should lead you to believe that the Soviet Mafia was above merchandising hash, opium, heroin, etc. -- with particular emphasis on getting such goods to Holland. (Sort of a 'drug Casablanca' in the heyday of the USSR)
All of which means that Alice might find it very deep at the bottom of that particular rabbit hole.
The KGB has been caught out using 'right-wing' Grey Wolves in Turkey to assassinate the Pope. It almost worked. They ran the op by way of Bulgaria (a cut-out) ... working hand in glove with Moscow at all times, of course.
The West, generally, missed that particular scam -- for years -- until all of the tumblers fell in to place. Those first making the connection were, naturally, labeled kooks and paranoid.
When you're talking about the KGB/ SVR/ FSB you can't get too paranoid. At no time in history has this crowd ever done anything straight. Even when the NKVD was running around the Soviet Union murdering by the million -- they had their propaganda arms blaming the hapless victims.
Russians assume that the rest of the planet operates this way. Hence the screwy paranoia of Putin. Like Stalin before him, every time he receives a concession he's thinking, "It must be a trick."
The KGB always used 'sincere' perpetrators when pulling their ops. Mehmet Ali Ağca only realized that his string was being pulled by Moscow y e a r s after the event.
Like their use of Chechens, the KGB inserted an assassin who didn't speak ANY of the local languages -- into Rome -- making him utterly dependent upon KGB assets at every turn.
Had he not been caught, the KGB would've liquidated him for sure. (See "Godfather II")
Notably, in the Boston marathon op, the perps were psyched into suicide -- lest they fall into the hands of the FBI.
In sum: Dzhokar Tsarnev has followed the NKVD/KGB/FSB script (for Chechen assassins) right down to the letter.
The local crazies can't seem to place them within their 'training operations.' They smell a rat -- and the very likely gambit of having these two suck America into Moscow's world view -- particularly WRT Chechens.
As for Chechen jihadis -- this marathon op is the worst imaginable for their cause. It means that Western funding will utterly dry up. It means that jihadis in Syria will be de-funded. It means that the FBI will be compelled to assess FSB files with more credibility. It means that the US President 'owes' Putin a favor. It also means that any Iranian pressure goes to the back burner.
What a bunch of coincidences.
Posted by mike merlo at April 21, 2013 11:02 PM ET:
Hoover had a history of employing subcontractors & those 'other than' FBI to 'perform' or undertake tasks on behalf of the FBI. The Feds even to day use those that are not Federal Agents or Employees. They are often characterized under the 'rubric' of 'informer/informant.'
Posted by kit at April 21, 2013 11:56 PM ET:
You make me feel really dumb. However I just think it was really simplistic what these kids did...don't over think it. I think they had feeling of; I can't understand the American way of life, I don't fit in & so on with a little radical islam mixed in=lets show these people what it's really like where we are from. It's just my opinion nothing more.
Posted by JT at April 22, 2013 8:00 AM ET:
Mike - It appears that the FBI asked for public help to FIND these guys. Nothing shows that they didn't already know who they were. The car jacking appears to have found them, using the car owner's cell phone that was in the car.
i.e.,putting out the photos pushed the bombers into action and "stupid" act of letting the car owner go.
Posted by Paul T at April 22, 2013 8:38 AM ET:
Boston FBI agents did not "run" Whitey Bulgar, but it certainly aided the gangster & some even went to jail for complicity
Thanks for Informative post
Posted by CN at April 22, 2013 9:25 AM ET:
we absolutely have to go after the ideology of koranic jihad more than after individual groups or perpetrators.
love muslims, expose islam.
being PC is costing lives.