With good reason, media attention has been focused on President Barack Obama’s curious absence from the Paris march against terrorism. Obama became a “Where’s Waldo?” character, whose whereabouts were unknown. Observers looked for him at the march of world leaders in France, hoping to spot him somewhere. But where was Russian leader Vladimir Putin? This may have been the bigger story.
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, a source of concern in Europe, may have been a factor in his absence. But it’s also true that Putin has documented pro-terrorist credentials that should have made him persona non grata at any such event. Instead, Putin sent Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Paris to represent his regime.
Putin was a KGB spy for many years and ran the FSB, the successor to the KGB, which trained the notorious terrorist once based in France known as Carlos the Jackal. Carlos, a name given to him because of his roots in Latin America, has been linked to communist-run international terror networks that always had an Islamic component and a strategy in the Middle East that includes the destruction of Israel.
The name “Carlos the Jackal” is well-known globally because he was the reported godfather behind such attacks as the murders of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972, and the seizure of hostages at a meeting of the oil-producing countries, known as OPEC, in Vienna in 1975. But less well-known is the international terrorist support network organized by the Soviet Union and Cuba which backed him.
President Obama may want people to believe that Russia and Cuba are no longer involved in terrorism, but hearings conducted by Congress in the 1980s, such as “The Role of Cuba in International Terrorism and Subversion,” cannot be ignored. Castro was given a role in the “Liberation of Palestine” account made by the KGB, the hearings showed, as well as promoting communism in Latin America and Africa.
Before that, in 1974, the House Committee on Internal Security produced a report, “Terrorism: A Staff Study,” analyzing Soviet, Chinese and Cuban support for international terrorism.
Today, the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) now runs the West Bank, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) continues to call Israel the “Zionist/Imperialist Project,” a typical Soviet term.
Tragically, the Senate and House committees or subcommittees on security and terrorism were dismantled and there is no such body in Congress today that specifically examines international terrorist activity and its U.S. support networks.
Former KGB officers and intelligence analysts say the PLO was created by the Soviet KGB, and that the PLO’s long-time chairman, Yasser Arafat, was an agent of the Soviet intelligence service.
Indeed, Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking defector from the former Soviet bloc, says KGB dissident Alexander Litvinenko, who was living in London, was killed by the KGB because he spilled the beans on how Soviet intelligence spawned Islamic terrorism and trained al-Qaeda leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri.
But there is another fascinating aspect to the story that brings this matter up to date. Although a Marxist terrorist for much of his life, Carlos converted to Islam and is now serving a life sentence in a prison in France. He announced in 2003 that he had pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden.
While Obama seems preoccupied with the rights of terrorists and whether they are being treated properly, French Special Forces kidnapped Carlos in Sudan in 1994 using a practice known as “rendition,” a practice used by the Bush administration against terrorists that has only reluctantly been embraced by the Obama administration.
In what Obama might describe as a violation of his terrorist “rights,” Carlos was reportedly injected with a tranquilizer, bound, stuffed into a sack, and transferred to France, where he was put on trial, convicted of murder, and sentenced to life in prison.
Putin, in response to the Charlie Hedbo massacre, said through a spokesman, “Moscow strongly condemns terrorism in all its manifestations,” adding, “Moscow is sure that no terrorist acts can be justified.”
Moscow’s words need to be “parsed,” as the saying goes.
The American author Claire Sterling’s 1981 book, The Terror Network: The Secret War of International Terrorism, still stands as the authoritative analysis of the international terror networks that emerged in the late 1960s under the sponsorship of Russia and Cuba. Carlos was a key Soviet KGB operative in this effort.
Sterling identifies Carlos as someone who was under KGB control and running a terror network directly out of Paris in 1974 and 1975. He killed two French agents who tried to capture him and fled France, moving around in various Arab countries and what was then East Germany, where a young KGB spy by the name of Vladimir Putin would be based. Carlos continued carrying out attacks in France and other nations through his terror network.
Carlos was born in Venezuela as Ilich Ramirez Sanchez. His first name was given by his Marxist parents as a tribute to Soviet communist leader Vladimir Ilych Lenin. Carlos “studied” at Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow, notes Jill Dougherty, once CNN’s Moscow Bureau Chief.
In fact, according to former KGB officers, the “university” was essentially run by the KGB, which used it to recruit foreign students as agents or terrorists.
The authoritative Black Book of Communism: Crimes, Terror, Repression, which was published in France, states categorically that Carlos worked for the KGB, carrying out terrorist activities on its behalf.
Carlos also “studied” at the Tricontinental Conference in Havana in 1966. A conference of this kind and scope, Sterling wrote, “had never been seen since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917, and the world would never be the same.” She noted that its “General Declaration” urged close collaboration between the Soviet-style “Socialist countries” and the “national liberation movements,” in order to mount “a global revolutionary strategy” against “American imperialism.”
This is the strategy that resulted in hundreds of acts of terrorism across Europe and in the United States through such groups as the Weather Underground and the Puerto Rican FALN.
Numerous reports put Carlos at the KGB-supervised Cuban terrorist training camp known as Mantanzas, where he “studied” guerrilla warfare, sabotage techniques and bomb-making.
Former KGB agents, including Alexander Litvinenko and Konstantin Preobrazhensky, confirmed published accounts that Carlos was in fact an agent of the KGB. The 1991 book, KGB: The Inside Story, by Christopher Andrew and former KGB officer Oleg Gordievsky, also confirms his terrorist training by the Soviets and Cubans.
Interestingly, when a TV movie was aired in 2010 about Carlos the terrorist, the Kremlin propaganda channel Russia Today (RT) ran a story saying his KGB connections were murky and had been “questioned” by the movie director. However, the director of the film did say, “He (Carlos) grew up in a Marxist family in Venezuela; his parents sent him to Lumumba University in Moscow; then he was expelled from the university for bad behavior. Then he re-emerges with a gun in his hand in Jordan at the side of the Palestinian from the PFLP, led by Wadih Haddad, who was a KGB agent. So what exactly were the KGB connections of Carlos? It’s a very difficult subject.”
The director was quoted as saying, “it is debatable whether Carlos the Jackal, a supporter of radical Islamism, had KGB connections.”
Such a claim only makes sense from the perspective of a network that serves Putin’s propaganda interests and wants to distance Moscow from the carnage the Soviets inflicted, with the collaboration of the Cuban communists, on Europe and the United States.
The KGB connections of Carlos went far beyond the PFLP. What’s more, the late Herbert Romerstein, an expert on security and terrorism, had noted that the “expulsion” from Lumumba University was a diversion. He said that Carlos had left Moscow with a letter of introduction from a representative of the PFLP stationed in Moscow, and had joined that Soviet-backed Arab terrorist organization.
Carlos is in prison, but Mahmoud Abbas, the chairman of the PLO, has a similar background. . Abbas, who is also president of the Palestinian Authority, did his Ph.D. work at the KGB’s Patrice Lumumba University, where he wrote a report claiming that there was no Holocaust, and that the Jews murdered during World War II were actually killed by Zionists working with the Nazis.
The Obama and Putin no-shows in Paris were eclipsed by the attendance of Abbas, who is now seen internationally as someone opposed to the terrorism his organization has sponsored and carried out for decades. It was a clever propaganda display that Putin must have enjoyed.