Over the past few years, conversation about Russia has taken a front seat. But the conversation has largely focused on the insignificant and even irrelevant.
In order to set the record straight, we must first understand that today’s Russia is a mafia state.
This has been very well documented by a legion of peer-reviewed articles and academic papers as well as popular books such as Karen Dawisha’s Putin’s Kleptocracy and Misha Glenny’s McMafia.
This is an incredibly important point that, somehow, has remained largely unexplored, particularly by the mainstream media. Discussions about the Trump administration and Russian subversion, while covering elements of Russian intelligence, have generally failed to clarify the now near full assimilation of the Russian mob and the Russian state.
In addition to this, there has been very little (if any) discussion about the role of the former Soviet Union’s puppet organizations and front groups. On its face, this is an astounding oversight, particularly given the role that former Soviet front groups now play, in relation to the changed face of Russia. From a common sense perspective, it’s irrational to believe that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian Federation would have abandoned its global intelligence assets.
There’s a wealth of articles to be found on Russian subversion for the purposes of advancing Russia’s geopolitical goals. What’s lacking is a concise, high-level analysis of Russian objectives from the perspective of Russia as a mafia state. There is little discussion about how former Soviet fronts such as the Stasi, West German Red Army Faction, ETA, Irish Republican Army and Liberation Tigers and puppet leaders like Fidel Castro, Muammar Gaddafi, and Kim Il-sung adapted to the changed tactics and strategies of Russia and became partners in global organized crime. Moreover, there is also almost no discussion of Russian subversion and how it relates to groups involved in global organized crime that were previously unrelated to Russia.
As long as this analysis is absent from the public discourse, the general public will be unable to understand either the scale or complexity of Russian subversion. In fact, it’s not especially difficult to demonstrate, with some historical perspective.
Consider, for example, how long the Irish Republican Army had cooperated with the Soviet Union, well before “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. From Decoding the IRA, by Tom Mahon James J. Gillogly:
For the disingenuous or naive historian, it might be easy to overlook such information. But for anyone who has studied Soviet/Russian subversion, it’s a safe assumption to assert that for all intents and purposes the IRA was virtually controlled by the Kremlin during the Cold War, or at the very least they were a partner.
There is much evidence to suggest, also, that elements of the IRA have long since shifted their operations to adapt to Russia’s new normal as Russian organized crime has had little difficulty finding a home in Northern Ireland. In fact, you may recall that Whitey Bulger’s ties to the IRA are no secret. As elements of Montreal’s old Irish “West End Gang” seem to have renewed their interest in drug trafficking, it bears noting that Bulger’s Winter Hill Gang appears to have connections with them. (Source: Montreal’s Irish Mafia: The True Story of the Infamous West End Gang, by D’Arcy O’Connor)
But Whitey Bulger’s reach has not been solely limited to criminal gangs. In fact, Bulger’s influence and has mirrored and intersected with Russian subversion in corporate America. With little difficulty, any amateur researcher can dissect Bulger’s influence in The Boston Consulting Group, Bain Capital, McKinsey and Company, PepsiCo, Accenture and Hewlett-Packard, to name just a few. The difficulty isn’t in finding the connections, it is in accepting that the scale and reach of global organized crime has become as great as it has.
Another key Kremlin front group that Whitey Bulger’s network intersects with are the vestiges of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), also known as the Tamil Tigers, another group that began as a political organization, only to wind up becoming an instrument of organized crime. The LTTE have a long history of credit card fraud, arms trafficking, money laundering, extortion, passport forgery, human trafficking and drug trafficking (notably, in Montreal). The LTTE has historical links with additional Russian intelligence front groups/partners, such as Abu Sayyaf, Al Qaeda, Taliban, PLO, PFLP, North Korean People’s Army and even the infamous arms dealer and Russian intelligence operative, Victor Bout.
Subversion via the Tamil Tigers has expanded to terrifying levels, successfully targeting companies such as Accenture, PepsiCo, Google, and Microsoft, to name a few. The subversion often consists of elaborate pay-off schemes and rackets portrayed as altruistic endeavors. For example, in July of 2007, PepsiCo created an environmental training institute in Pammal, India in partnership with M.K. Stalin. Stalin and his father Muthuvel Karunanidhi (who named his son after Josef Stalin), have not only been involved in corruption, they have both been openly supportive of the LTTE and possibly even linked with the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. You may recall that PepsiCo’s CEO, Indra Nooyi, who is from Chennai, India (as is M.K. Stalin), actively led PepsiCo’s lobbying efforts against adoption of the Magnitsky Act and supported The Russia and Moldova Jackson-Vanik Repeal Act of 2012.
As we have much, MUCH ground to cover, I have broken up this article into multiple parts.
Part Two coming soon!