Monday, December 4, 2006

Pig-Men on Patrol

“No question, now, what has happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, man to pig, and pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

George Orwell, Animal Farm

The first reaction of most people to the sight of a police patrol car in their rear-view mirror is a reflexive twinge of anxiety.

This is true even for those with clean records and a clear conscience: Policemen – even the best of them – are heavily armed agents of the State who exercise broad discretionary powers to deprive people of life and liberty.

It's not difficult to imagine how the irrepressible unease most people feel over being shadowed by a cop would be greatly magnified by the knowledge that the patrol car in question contained a patrolman who was a decorated former officer of the KGB. In his former occupation, the police officer now riding the anxious motorist's rear bumper served a stint managing “detention facilities” for the masters of the Soviet gulag.

After coming to the United States, this patrolman had been employed for an unspecified amount of time by a CIA front company now notorious for its role in “extraordinary rendition” of terrorist subjects to torture chambers abroad – some of which, incidentally, are dungeons in former Eastern Bloc countries that were once operated by the KGB.

This is not a hypothetical exercise.

Not a welcome sight in the rear-view: Lt. Colonel Emin Gadzhiyev of the Second Chief Directorate, Soviet KGB (ret.) tries on his Broward County (Florida) Sheriff's Department Uniform

Ten years ago I wrote a lengthy and detailed profile of Emin Gadzhiyev, a former Lt. Colonel in the Second Chief Directorate of the Soviet KGB who came to the United States in 1989 and ended up in Broward County, Florida.

In the mid-1990s Gadzhiyev was studying to become an American police officer, a goal he achieved in 1999. He spent a few years with the Broward Sheriff's Office while also working for CTC International Group Inc., a West Palm Beach-based business consulting group that also employed former CIA, FBI, IRS and Drug Enforcement Administration personnel, in addition to veterans of British Intelligence (and most likely other foreign intelligence agencies).

CNN's financial news affiliate reported in 1999 that CTC acted as a sort of investment Sherpa for U.S.-based corporations considering joint ventures in the former Soviet Union.

It's likely that Gadzhiyev's gig with the CTC grew out of his earlier engagement with a Florida-based CIA front called Premier Executive Services, for which the ex-KGB agent supposedly compiled a large dictionary of Soviet counter-intelligence terms. Yes, it's possible that Gadzhiyev did just that, and nothing more. But it should be pointed out that Premier Executive Services has been deeply involved in the "extradorinary rendition" of terrorist suspects -- including some completely innocent people -- into the hands of Soviet-trained torturers in countries like Syria.

The Pain Plane: Premier Executive Services, a CIA front company that employed Emin Gadzhiyev, operated a fleet of executive jets like this one to deliver terrorist suspects to off-shore torture facilities in Syria, Egypt, Romania, Poland, and elsewhere.

Gadzhiyev had considerable expertise to offer in both fields -- international business, as well as detention and interrogation. He was well acquainted with both security personnel and key criminal figures (but I repeat myself) in energy-rich Soviet Central Asia, a region whose resources are greatly coveted by the American Power Elite.

A native of Azerbaijan, Gadzhiyev claims that he had to flee the Soviet Union after uncovering widespread corruption and ties to organized crime among his KGB superiors in that former Soviet republic.

That claim is entirely plausible, since the KGB – by what ever designation it has been known, from the Cheka to its current incarnation, the FSB – has always controlled the most powerful elements of the Russian/Soviet underworld. When I interviewed him, Gadzhiyev claimed that the KGB under its founder, Feliks Dzherzhinsky had effectively eliminated organized crime, before the agency mutated into something less commendable than it had been at its founding. Gadzhiyev also emphasized that his break with the KGB was prompted by his disillusionment with the agency's corruption, rather than its “ideals.”

The flavor of the KGB's “ideals” is offered by an interview given by its founder on Bastille Day, 1918 to the periodical Novaia Zhzin:

“We stand for organized terror - this should be frankly admitted. Terror is an absolute necessity during times of revolution. Our aim is to fight against the enemies of the Soviet Government and of the new order of life. We judge quickly. In most cases only a day passes between the apprehension of the criminal and his sentence. When confronted with evidence criminals in almost every case confess; and what argument can have greater weight than a criminal's own confession.”

Gadzhiyev, as far as I can tell, never disavowed the founding ideals of the secret police agency he served with such distinction. His employment application for work with the Broward County Sheriff's Office proudly listed the KGB and the CIA as former employers and references, and mentioned the “Red Star of the Soviet Union” among his professional commendations. He earned the Red Star for his role in a scheme to steal classified Space Shuttle technology during a conference in Baku.

So at the time of his arrival to the U.S., Gadzhiyev's professional background consisted of exemplary service to the world's most capable terrorist organization. Which is most likely why he was recruited to work for the CIA.

A 1999 story by the Broward-Palm Beach New Times reported that Gadzhiyev's work with the CIA front Premier Executive Services involved compiling “a 400-page dictionary of Soviet counterintelligence terms,” which, as noted above, seems like a pretty sterile exercise in busywork. During the same period he worked as a consultant with federal and local law-enforcement agencies “in investigating cases involving organized crime figures from the republics of the former Soviet Union....”

His employment application, as noted in my 1996 article in The New American, listed three FBI agents as references.

When I spoke to him in December 1996, Gadzhiyev insisted that the KGB and its satellites were not allies of Russian organized crime syndicates, but rather their devoted enemies. He also pointedly mentioned that there were many other ex-KGB operatives in the United States who should be recruited into the ranks of U.S. Law enforcement and intelligence organs:

"I'm not the only one out here.... I know many others, [including] some from the Second Chief Directorate, from organized crime units, from the militia ... not only from the former Soviet Union, but from the East European Bloc as well, who are working odd jobs or working with computers. There's a tremendous resource that's not being used."

After speaking with Gadzhiyev ten years ago, I bounced his suggestion off Sergeant Mike Smith, head of the Philadelphia Police Department's Russian Organized Crime Task Force.

Sgt. Smith observed that "it is extremely difficult to know how much we can trust anybody who has been connected to any of the Soviet security services. Many of the most vicious KGB officials have set up private security firms in Russia, which offer 'protection' from the mafia but are actually working in collaboration with them. It's possible that some of the Russian gangsters might import the same tactics here."

Smith also described an unsettling example of KGB operatives attempting to co-opt the militarization of local police agencies throughout the United States:

“[In 1995], a law enforcement agency in San Francisco got a visit from a group calling itself the Moscow Police Organized Crimefighting Regional Department -- supposedly a SWAT team-style elite unit to battle the mafia. They were supposed to go on a multi-city tour to consult with various law enforcement agencies. But we checked with an intelligence source and learned that the original members of that group had been replaced by former KGB operatives who are now involved in organized crime.”

Although “we were able to derail that particular venture,” Sgt. Smith pointed out, “with the kind of travel that takes place today, it's difficult to know how many other situations of this sort we might find."

Of course, it's not just the ease of travel that gives rise to “situations of this sort.” Much more important is the increasingly Sovietized nature of our own law enforcement and intelligence system, which is now a militarized, centralized entity under the authority of a lawless executive exercising (as Lenin put it) “power without limit, resting directly on force.”

The relationship between pre-Soviet America and post-Soviet Russia is akin to that described at the end of Orwell's Animal Farm, in which revolutionary “Pigs” and the oppressive Farmers had morphed into indistinguishable human/porcine hybrids.

One illustration of this alarming reality was offered in the 1999 New Times profile of Gadzhiyev, which described his former employer, the KGB, as “a centralized monstrosity that was essentially the equivalent of the CIA, NSA, FBI, and INS rolled into one. With more than a dozen divisions under its umbrella, KGB headquarters in Moscow controlled spies overseas, border guards, counterintelligence officers like Gadzhiyev, and the infamous `thought police,' who threw dissidents like Andrei Sakharov into gulags.”

Under the 2004 National Intelligence Reform Act, the Director of National Intelligence (or “Intelligence Czar”) presides over a vast monolith with exactly the same organizational schematic followed by the old KGB. A provision of that act permits the Intelligence Czar to employ any federal agency for the purpose of covert operations; another permits the Czar to re-allocate congressionally authorized funds for any purpose he sees fit.

In similar fashion, the Department of Homeland Security has (in principle) plenary authority over every law enforcement body within our borders. It's likely that in the event of a jurisdictional dispute, the Commissar for Homeland Security would defer to the Commissar for National Intelligence.

The apparent assassination of ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvenenko has made vivid the murderous potency of the supposedly moribund Soviet intelligence apparatus, and illustrated to good effect the difficulty of navigating through that tenebrous and deceptive realm. Litvenenko, as Justin Raimondo points out, was typical of his "ex"-Chekist comrades in his eagerness to use his professional contacts to enrich himself through illicit means -- such as smuggling radioactive materials like the Polonium 210 isotope that was used to kill him, and compiling compromat (blackmail material) for use against rivals and political enemies.

(That Litvenenko was a bad guy doesn't mean that Putin and his faction are any better, of course, and just because Putin's a bad guy doesn't necessarily mean that he ordered Litvenenko's assassination.)

Recall, once again, Emin Gadzhiyev's words to me ten years ago: "I'm not the only one out here.... I know many others."

How many of Gadzhiyev's comrades are active in this country, working both sides of the law on behalf of the Pig-men of the Power Elite? What role do they play in helping to craft the institutions of our Homeland Security State? What politically exploitable mischief could they be planning for the purpose of breaking down the remaining opposition to full-fledged totalitarian rule?

Obiter dicta

For several years, various commentators have claimed that former Russian Premier Yegeny Primakov and former East German Stasi commissar Markus Wolf have been employed as advisers or consultants for the Department of Homeland Security. While this is certainly (and lamentably) plausible, I've yet to see any suitable confirmation of this account. Primakov did address a seminar on Homeland Security-related issues sponsored by the Center for International Strategic Studies in Washington, but that's the limit of what I've been able to confirm.

Emin Gadzhiyev, to the best of my knowledge, is no longer employed by the Broward Sheriff's office. He apparently moved to eastern Tennessee about a year ago, and that's where the trail -- at least for me -- grows cold.

He earnestly claims to be pursuing "the American dream," and if he is sincere I wish him well. But as a wise friend of mine frequently says, we can "never, ever trust a Spook" -- particularly one who worked the Soviet side of the street.

On another note -- I provide regular commentaries on global affars for The Ex-Pat Show, a weekly syndicated radio program produced by, and featuring, my hermano Tai Aguirre. Please check it out!


Anonymous said...

I remember reading the article in TNA. The "former" agent was on the cover of that issue.

With his qualifications and apparent connections, I still wonder why he wanted a gig that would pay him maybe 15 bucks an hour, require him to work weekends and holidays, work different shifts, and put up with all the other nonsense he'd be subjected to.

It appeared to me he was a bored foreign agent exploiting a naive host nation. While doing this he was building his US resume and cultivating even more leads and connections. He sure as heck didn't learn anything in the academy he didn't already know.

Perhaps his graduation from whatever shake and bake academy he attended was a prerequisite for attending conferences and seminars on Russian Organized Crime. That would've been an easy assignment for him to complete. Now he has moved on to bigger and better things while another agent has picked up where he left off.

On the other hand, he could be a retired Lt. Colonel looking to change his ways.

I wonder if he applied for U.S. citizenship. The last time I checked there was a question on the application that asked if the applicant was ever a member of a Communist party. No matter, I suppose, if he has FBI references vouching for him. He MUST be a swell guy.

Tom Eddlem said...

Yep, never trust a spook. I seem to recall having said that on many occasions in the past. But Will's obviously talking about someone else because this person he described is "very" wise.

I'm the kind of guy who will seize upon something people like Will Grigg has been saying for years, and utter it with an astonished and urgent sense of originality.

Maybe I know this wise friend, and stole his line. Hmmm.

kishnevi said...

I live in Broward County.
Nice frisson you provide me there. Glad he's moved on to other pastures, but the rest of the LEOs around here aren't too much different. There is currently an uproar about a police shooting of an unarmed man a few days ago; the strongest justification provided was, "Well, he had just been arrested for something the day before."