Terrorism Used to Be Simple. Now Its Just Another Putin Propaganda Tool.

by | Mar 29, 2024 | The Truscott Commentaries

After the fire at Crocus City Hall on March 26, 2024. Image: Press center of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia for the Moscow region, Wiki Commons

Terrorism Used to Be Simple. Now Its Just Another Putin Propaganda Tool.

by | Mar 29, 2024 | The Truscott Commentaries

After the fire at Crocus City Hall on March 26, 2024. Image: Press center of the Ministry of Emergency Situations of Russia for the Moscow region, Wiki Commons

ISIS-K quickly took responsibility for the terror attack on the Crocus City Hall concert venue outside Moscow, with evidence. Putin however decided to use it as a propaganda tool against Ukraine and the West.

Republished with permission from Lucian K. Truscott IV

Somewhere in the mountains of eastern Afghanistan, the leaders of ISIS-K, an offshoot of the Islamic State, must be lamenting that it has gotten to the point that you can’t even carry off a good old fashioned terrorist attack without a bunch of confusion and madness about who did it and why. Since the attack last Friday on a concert venue on the outskirts of Moscow that killed 140 and injured dozens more—which ISIS-K quickly took credit for—Vladimir Putin and the head of his security service, the FSB, have sought to put the blame for the attack variously on Ukraine, the United States, Great Britain, and a combination of those three.

Arrests of eight alleged terrorists were made within 24 hours of the attack. Seven of those arrested were from Tajikistan, which borders on the mountainous region of Afghanistan where ISIS-K is known to be headquartered. The other arrestee is from Kyrgyzstan. Both countries were formerly part of the Soviet Union.

The United States formally warned Russia on March 7 that the CIA had intelligence that a terrorist attack by Islamist extremists was planned for some time in the near future in Moscow, probably at a large gathering place like a concert venue. This is the kind of early warning that a civilized nation with a rational leader would normally welcome and move quickly to have its security services act on and stop.

That country is not Putin’s Russia, which is otherwise involved outside its borders in its war of aggression on Ukraine and murdering political dissidents at home. Several days after a private warning was delivered by the CIA station in Moscow, including the information that the group likely to attempt the attack would include radicalized Tajiks associated with ISIS-K, Putin accused the United States of lying about the threatened attack and attempting to “intimidate and destabilize our society.”

On Tuesday, Alexander Bortnikov, Putin’s head of the Federal Security Service, “singled out the United States and Britain” when he told reporters in Moscow that “the special services of Ukraine have a direct relation to this,” according to a report in the Washington Post. This was after Bortnikov told a meeting of security chiefs from Russia’s former republics in October that Russian intelligence was in possession of information that ISIS-K had amassed 6,500 members and was capable “in the near future” of pulling off terrorist attacks outside of Afghanistan.

After Putin put the blame for the attacks on Ukraine and denounced the United States, here is what Bortnikov said about the warning the CIA gave Russia earlier this month: “We responded to this information and took appropriate measures to prevent such things. Unfortunately, the actions we carried out in relation to specific groups and specific individuals—this information was not confirmed at that time.” Bortnikov went on to accuse the CIA and British MI-6 of interfering in the interior affairs of Afghanistan and recruiting radical Islamists from Syria, Iraq and African countries and moving them to northern Afghanistan.

Since the attack last Friday, it has emerged that the terrorists entered the concert hall around 8:00 p.m. and shot up the place and left eleven minutes later after starting a fire with gasoline they had carried in with plastic bottles. Russian police were not notified of the attack until 8:33 and did not arrive at the concert venue until 9:06 p.m. The Washington Post reported that a journalist on the scene said Russian special response police teams did not enter the concert hall until 9:36 p.m. This report was quickly denied by a spokesman for the Russian interior ministry, who told reporters they should “only trust official statements.”

This kind of bureaucratic nonsense reflects the squeaks and pops of the moral collapse of Putin’s regime in Russia. When their stories don’t make sense, they say believe us anyway.

The attack on the Moscow concert hall was carried out by men wearing civilian clothes carrying AK-47’s and wearing backpacks filled with extra ammunition clips. When the terrorists, still carrying their arms, were stopped at a police roadblock near the border with Belarus several hours after the attack, they did not shoot it out with the police but gave themselves up. There is at least one report that one of those arrested for the attack told Russian security agents that he was paid to take part in the attack, even though livestream video taken by the terrorists showed them shouting Islamist slogans such as “kill the infidels.” Islamic terrorists are not exactly known for throwing up their hands and yelling “I give up” when confronted by law enforcement.

It didn’t take long for the lunatic fringe of the Twitter/X-verse to come up with their own secret agenda behind the attack. The terrorism was planned by the CIA and executed on the orders of President Joe Biden, said one far-right post. Others quoted a years-old statement by Donald Trump that “Barack Obama created ISIS.”

This kind of insane bullshit bolsters Putin’s line that the terror attack in Moscow was carried out by Ukraine with the help of U.S. and British intelligence.

Seymour Hersh reported in his Substack column that his intelligence sources tell him that the U.S. still has intelligence capabilities when it comes to ISIS, including the ISIS-K network in northern Afghanistan. According to Hersh, it most likely comes from “signals” intelligence gathered from communications between ISIS cells in northern Afghanistan and Western Pakistan, which are actively engaged in competition with the Taliban for recruits and control of the mountainous region of northern Afghanistan. “The data is assumed to have come via American gear that was installed on a mountain range in Pakistan,” Hersh reported yesterday after speaking with his intelligence sources.

It’s hard to put in words how iffy all this is. There is even a theory out there that the terror attack on the concert hall was a “false flag” operation of the Russian intelligence services on the orders of Vladimir Putin, engineered to give him another line of propaganda against Zelenskyy and Ukraine. Putin has been accused of false flag acts of terror before. Shortly after he became Prime Minister of Russia in 1999, Putin is alleged to have secretly ordered the bombing of several apartment buildings in Moscow and another Russian city, after which he blamed the bombings on Chechen rebels, giving him a reason to start the second Chechen war in August of that year. By October of 1999, Putin had been elevated to president of Russia and was carrying out a full-fledged invasion of Chechnya, including the savage bombing of Grozny, which killed thousands. In 2003, the U.N. declared Grozny the “most destroyed” city on earth.

We have entered the anything-is-possible era, both in this country and abroad. Where is Donald Trump going to come down on all of this? We won’t know until he opens his mouth at yet another of his unhinged rallies. Having pretty much tapped out Republican donors to his campaign and superPAC domestically, Trump is said to be on the hunt for foreign money to pay for both his campaign and the mountain of legal fees he faces.

Could Trump be casting about for Russian money? Stranger things have happened. Trump is said to be in talks with Paul Manafort, who went to jail for his connections to Russian oligarchs and Putin pals like Oleg Deripaska during Trump’s 2016 campaign, of which he was the chairman. Of course, Trump pardoned him, giving Manafort manifest reasons to use his funny-money connections to further the ambitions of his patron.

Terrorism used to be, for want of a better word, simple. A terrible murder of innocent civilians would occur; the world would react with horror; pledges would be made by other countries to come to the aid of the country that was victimized; intelligence about terrorist threats would be shared between spy agencies; the so-called “war on terror” would go on with everyone cooperating.

Apparently, those days are behind us. We are in a new world where a murderer and terrorist runs one of the most powerful nuclear armed nations in the world. Incredibly, he has friends and admirers in this country, including one presidential candidate and a significant portion of the Republicans in the House of Representatives.

All bets are off. Madness is upon us.

Lucian K. Truscott IV

Lucian K. Truscott IV

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist and screenwriter. He has covered stories such as Watergate, the Stonewall riots and wars in Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels and several unsuccessful motion pictures. He has three children, lives in rural Pennsylvania and spends his time Worrying About the State of Our Nation and madly scribbling in a so-far fruitless attempt to Make Things Better.

You can read Lucian Truscott's daily articles at luciantruscott.substack.com. We encourage our readers to get a subscription.

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