The CIA's jihadist formation team
by Wayne Madsen
By 1980, the Central Intelligence Agency had decided that it would use the most violent of Muslim jihadists to help bring down the Soviet Union. Target number one was the pro-Soviet secular government of Afghanistan, a land where men and women were co-equals, jihadism and Islamist radicalism was banned, and which was much more democratic than the CIA-backed Islamist regimes that followed it.
The formation of the jihadist "Arab Legion" that would go to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets and the socialist Afghan government was largely conducted out of the CIA station at the U.S. embassy in Cairo. There, CIA officials, using Saudi-supplied cash and lots of it, worked with Egyptian intelligence officers, many covert Muslim Brotherhood supporters, to select the most radical Islamist mercenaries to head off to Pakistan and then across the border with Afghanistan to take on the Afghan and Soviet armies. President Jimmy Carter's radically anti-Soviet national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Polish nationalist, actually began supporting the Afghan mujaheddin against the ruling People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan six months before the Soviet invasion of the country. The mujaheddin had already been attacking Afghan military and other government installations with the encouragement of the CIA. When Secretary of State Cyrus Vance objected to the U.S. policy of supporting Afghan terrorists, he was forced out of the Carter administration as a result of pressure on Carter from Brzezinski.
Chief among the CIA's support team in Cairo were Omar Abdel Rahman, the "blind shaikh," who was later convicted for his involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing; Dr. Ayman al Zawahiri, now the reported chief of "Al Qaeda," which was, according to the late British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, a database of the CIA's Islamist contacts, mercenaries, and financiers around the world; and Osama bin Laden, the wealthy scion of the founder of the Saudi Bin Laden construction firm.
In 1980, the CIA chief of station in Cairo in 1980 responsible for organizing the Islamist Arab Legion for the Afghan front was Murat Natirboff, who, in 1980, was 59 years of age, relatively old for an active station chief. Murat is the Russian derivative of the Arabic word "murad," which means "will" or "purpose." Murad was the name of the son of the 16th century Moghul emperor of India, Akbar. The Natirboffs had strong Muslim roots in the Soviet Union. The family had fled the Northern Caucasus in the 1920s during the Russian civil war. Eventually, they settled in the United States. Murat's brother, Elmourza "Elmo" Natirboff, was a pilot for Bahamas Airways and a veteran of the Soviet Air Force during World War II. "Elmo" was the co-pilot for World War II Soviet ace pilot Boris Sergievsky.
It is clear that Natirboff was central CIA cog in formulating a pan-Islamic "jihad" against the USSR. In the mid-1980s, Natirboff turned up at the U.S. embassy in Moscow where his official job was "counselor for regional affairs." In fact, Natirboff was the CIA's station chief and his main target, in addition to spying on Soviet activities against the CIA-supported mujaheddin in Afghanistan, was to stir up Islamist opposition to Communist rule in the predominantly Muslim republics of the USSR, including those in the North Caucasus. The restive region was where another CIA officer, Graham Fuller, was making contact with Chechens and other Muslim groups in hopes of starting a Muslim "second front" against the Soviets from within their own "soft underbelly" of the Caucasus region. Fuller would appear in the news later. The nephews of his former son-in-law, Tamerlan and Dzkokhar Tsarnaev, were charged with carrying out the Boston Marathon bombing. Ruslan Tsarni, formerly Tsarnaev, was married to Fuller's daughter, a marriage obviously born out of Fuller's dalliances with anti-Soviet Muslim operatives during and after the Afghanistan campaign.
In Moscow, Natirboff was front and center in the espionage charges brought against U.S. News & World Report reporter Nicholas Daniloff in 1986. Daniloff got involved in a nasty espionage operation that involved David Goldfarb, a Soviet Jewish "refusenik" and Natirboff. Daniloff was eventually released by the Soviets after he pleaded nolo contendre to the spy charges.
The North Caucasus-American "grandfather" of Al Qaeda, Taliban, and ISIL: Murat Natirboff, CIA station chief Cairo, 1978-80.
David Goldfarb is said to have refused a KGB request that he help frame Daniloff. However, David Goldfarb was merely the Jewish refusenik connection to the CIA and Natirboff, which combined with in the Muslim radicalization program, were central elements of the CIA's overall operations to destabilize the Soviet Union. David Goldfarb's son, Alex Goldfarb, was the attorney for ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko and exiled Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky. Alex Goldfarb issued forth statement after statement accusing Russian President Vladimir Putin of being behind the radiation poisoning of Litvinenko in London in 2006. In fact, and as originally reported by WMR, Litvinenko, who had joined with the Chechen Islamist guerrillas battling Russian forces, was killed by Berezovsky in order to place blame on Putin.
Alex Goldfarb, an Israeli national who claimed to have been a former radiation specialist in microbiology at Kurchatov Research Institute of Nuclear Energy when he declared that Litvinenko was assassinated by a radiation weapon ordered into London by Putin, never wrote a single paper dealing with nuclear physics or nuclear chemistry. He also claims to have been a lawyer. The truth of the matter is that Goldfarb, like his father, were participants in a Mossad and CIA operation to use Muslim radicals to bring down first the USSR and then the Russian Federation. David Goldfarb worked with the CIA Islamophile Natirboff while his son worked with the Chechen liaison operative Litvinenko. Lording over Alex Goldfarb was George Soros, who funded Goldfarb's medical research in New York, and Berezovsky, who, along with Soros, funded Goldfarb's front NGO, theInternational Foundation for Civil Liberties, an anti-Russian government organization. In 1994, Goldfarb ran Soros's Russian Internet Project, which developed the Internet across the Russian Federation. In 1995, Goldfarb was involved in Soros operations in Georgia aimed at overthrowing the Georgian President, Eduard Shevardnadze, the last foreign minister of the Soviet Union.
When Berezovsky was found dead in his bathroom of his Berkshire, England manor house, Goldfarb was strangely silent about the suspicious death that even involved British police dispatching a nuclear, chemical, and biological hazardous materials team to the estate. Berezovsky's death came after the exiled oligarch sent a letter to Putin, in which he apologized to the Russian leader for his past actions and requesting to be allowed to return to Russia. Berezovsky was also in a position to brief Putin on the anti-Russian activities involving Goldfarb, Soros, and other exiled Russian Jews, some of whom were providing support to Chechen and other Islamist groups via countries like Turkey, Ukraine, and Georgia.
The CIA was able to cobble together an anti-Soviet/Russian coalition that involved Muslim jihadists and Jewish Zionists. The effects of that dangerous duo have been felt since the fall of the socialist Afghan government and the USSR: the 9/11 attack; joint Israeli and jihadist support for the Islamist rebels in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen; and the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris in early 2015.
All of these operations grew out of the CIA's station in Cairo in 1979-80. Natirboff's deputy in Cairo was Charles T. Englehart, a veteran of the CIA station in Karachi, Pakistan, a country that would become a central player in deploying the Arab Legion of jihadists into Afghanistan. The Cairo station's number three man was Mati Lohuaru, a German native and Arabic speaker who had been assigned to the CIA stations in Beirut and Kuwait, the latter of which helped fund the Arab Legion.
A key mujaheddin support figure from 1979 to 1980 was CIA case officer in Islamabad Gary Schroen. Ironically, Schroen, who was CIA station chief in Islamabad from 1996 to 1999, was tapped after the 9/11 attack to lead a CIA team into Afghanistan to find and kill Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden reportedly escaped from Tora Bora in Afghanistan into Pakistan after a battle with U.S. forces. But what were Schroen's actual orders from Langley with regard to the leader of Al Qaeda and his one-time comrade-in-arms against the Soviets? Was it "find and kill" bin Laden or "find and help him to escape?"
Another Arab Legion player was Jackson Sigler, the CIA station chief in Jeddah from 1978 through 1980. Sigler was a central player in arranging for Saudi financial and other support for the Islamist fighters being recruited around the Arab world to head off to Pakistan to join the mujaheddin forces gearing up for the anti-Soviet operations in Afghanistan. Sigler's deputy in Jeddah was Charles E. Waterman. Waterman, a national intelligence officer for the Middle East, was fired by the CIA in 1985 for leaking top secret CIA information to "Middle Eastern interests." Waterman was a strong believer that the U.S. intelligence community should have been organized along Israeli lines, which he considered to be more successful. When he was investigated by the FBI, Waterman was protected by the CIA's general counsel Stanley Sporkin, a friend of director William Casey and a pro-Israeli asset within the CIA. Sporkin was later nominated by Ronald Reagan for a federal judgeship amid howls of protest from Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
However, Waterman was also a confirmed Arabist but one tilting toward the Saudis and Gulf monarchies. According to Robert Dreyfus's book "Devil's Game," Waterman did not feel that the Wahhabist-oriented Muslim World League (MWL) and World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) were anything to worry about. Waterman, who knew the group supported Islamic student movements around the world, was happy that "charitable" organizations like WML, WAMY -- both linked to the Muslim Brotherhood -- fight against "left-wing students" and the CIA was fine with that.
Waterman's success in helping recruit Arab volunteers for the mujaheddin would later pay off handsomely. Waterman's K Street lobbying firm, Jefferson Waterman International (JWI), would help client dictators around the world evade international sanctions. Among JWI's clients were the Croatian leader Franjo Tudjman, the Burmese military junta, Gambia's brutal dictator Yahyah Jammeh, and Liberian dictator Charles Taylor.
A not-so-insignificant "gem" of a Charles Waterman memo from the Reagan years.
There are strong suspicions that current CIA director John O. Brennan harbors loyalty toward the Saudi Wahhabist/jihadist cause. While that may be surprising to some people, consider the fact that in 1980, an anti-Russian from the Islamist hotbed of the North Caucasus was the CIA's point man in Cairo responsible for organizing the muhajeddin mercenaries, some of whom would later form the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Brennan appears to be following a long CIA tradition.