[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] I [/yt_dropcap]n all likelihood, the peoples of our Western countries are not shielded and protected against actions, operations and manipulations typical of the most modern psychological war. Operations which, after all, also come from our current opponents: States, non-State actors, large global companies, State and non-State opposing agencies and international organisations. The State does no longer exist there, but there are global mainstream communicators that have taken its place. As I will do later on, it would be interesting to analyse the communication and advertising agencies dealing with seemingly non-commercial issues.
Those who managed the end of the Cold War – that often, in the marginal countries of the Western bloc, had been an operator and an opponent in the context of the Cold War, probably not recognized as such – decided that, after the anti-Soviet propaganda, there should be no longer people’s psychological and information protection.
A huge mistake that generated others: in fact, the Cold War is not over and it has only changed its nature and modus operandi. The Islamist jihad is a global enemy (also for Russia and China) and globalization is a kind of Hobbesian bellum omnium contra omnes (“war of all against all”) that does not take prisoners, even if possibly not a single shot is fired.
Or rather, shots are fired in the disputed regions, not in those where a master has already been assigned.
When the Democratic Republic of Germany collapsed, it had a debt totalling 22 billion marks, equivalent to one thousand million Western marks.
It was like the sale of a bankrupt company – favoured by the one-to-one exchange rate with the Western mark, which destroyed Eastern companies from the day until the morning. Nevertheless the old Soviet East sold us many failed politicians, managers and officials – in the specific meaning attributed to this term by the intelligence world.
Oleg Gordievsky – a great Soviet intelligence officer who defected silently, as a double agent, from the KGB in 1972 and was later ordered back to Moscow, and physically taken there with the so-called techniques used at the time by the intelligence services, as early as 1985 – told us that currently the Russian Federation has more intelligence agents in Great Britain than at the time of the Soviet Union.
Anatoly Golitsyn, a British citizen since 1984, wrote an extraordinary book on estern Soviet destabilization, New Lies for Old.
I do not mean that the Russian Federation is just a mask of the old USSR. Quite the reverse, but I wish to underline that the universal and global world is still today a lie – and also a danger.
This is not the right time to analyze Golitsyn’s book – we will do so in a future article – but its underlying concept is interesting: there is no ideological tension between a political system and another – as the foolish Westerners believe – but a structural and geopolitical clash, which does not consider the ideologies with which current and old worlds are “covered”.
To create this covering, we must at first preserve the national traditions, which are a substantial part of national interest. Without national interest – and hence without the corresponding identity – we are brutally sold to the highest bidder. This is exactly what is currently happening in Italy.
Furthermore, if the people are exposed – without psychic and cultural protections – to all the strangest trends, often well-designed and developed in the current thought manipulation centres, the people are sold to the global mass training and disinformation agencies.
The gender obsession produces people who do not reproduce themselves – hence are perfect for the new Western geopolitics, aimed at replacing those who have lost the war, known as globalization, with the African or Asian “poor” in an engineering frenzy manipulating peoples, cultures and economic systems, on the basis of foolish GDP growth forecasts – the only ones these fools understand.
If there is no product innovation, which now costs too much and has no longer a market in new Western poverty, there must be process innovation, which is carried out, above all, by paying the labour force ever less, down to a point of indifference that is the one accepted by a part of migrants.
Here is the social engineering idea underlying these follies, which we will pay dearly. Therefore what matters is only what the GDP is worth and what the average productivity is worth, without adding taxes. Hence the democratic regimes accept only the great transhumances – but the ideologies supporting these and other similar actions are always valid. Consumption unification, cultural de-Westernization, as well as education and training destabilization, which do not allow the mainstream discourse to express itself in its fullness.
However, as the great liberal masters of the “Austrian school” taught us, society is always a natural organism, which does not left itself be tampered with impunity by the societal “engineers”, those who move populations today in the Middle East and are about to do so also in Western Europe.
The mind, which is always identity-based, never works like that. The same applies to the mechanism of the brain amygdala that enables us to distinguish between the “friend” and the “enemy”, as in the title of a great essay by Carl Schmitt.
Hence believing that social communication can quickly transform people’s primary reactions is a mistake fraught with very severe dangers.
Because, in essence, the political notions are always the same, namely that there are no universal friends, but enemies who are defeated or otherwise weakened.
Inimicus and Hostis, the personal enemy the community’s enemy, are absolute but always changing criteria.
Therefore it is the urge for war that the West – implicit but anyway foolish servant of its enemies – always destructures in its own peoples who find it hard to accept the superficial ideologies of multiculturalism or anyway of defeat, such as the teenagers who, in Turin and Manchester, lay their hands on their necks, as if to surrender to the enemies before their coming.
If the great jihad wave comes – and we can rest assured this will happen – there will be no information manipulation that will spare us: many people will react, others will surrender to the enemy without fighting, while others will still try to negotiate.
There is no manipulation – although very strong as the one currently in place – which can unify behaviours in a phase of extreme danger.
This is the true psywar against the West that the Western countries wage carefully, but only against themselves, even as if it were in their own interest. We are those who wage against us the psychological warfare of our enemies.
With the damned offspring of the 1968 movement who is currently in power, we have created a multicultural myth that is influenced exactly by the ideological system which has enabled the 1968 ideology to last.
America was behind the riots of the 1968 French young people. The United States retaliated against the favourable exchange rate of the franc against the devalued dollar, which anyway needed gold or hard currencies to be, at the time, the universal means of payment in France.
The rest must be silence now for the immigration, anti-marriage and anti-sexist ideology (and what does it mean?) or anyway against those traditional ideas which create a cultural barrier, a wall against the current, self-styled modernity.
A Soviet defector, who had worked in India, always recommended – in his lectures – people’s psychological and cultural stability.
With a view to justifying himself, he showed a picture in which he was with the well-known Mahatma Maharishi, the reference point of the Beatles and of many stars of the 1960s and 1970s.
What does pseudo-Indian mysticism have to do with the KGB? A lot. Because, as the defector explained, if we instil anti-science trends in the West, we will have to do with young people who will not study “serious things” – hence a country will not have a ruling class living up to the challenges is shall meet.
Not to mention the drugs trend, which is now deeply rooted throughout the West.
Furthermore, the escape from Piazza Cavour, Turin, causing a toll of 1,400 injured people, eight of whom very severely, is another extremely serious sign.
Few units of the law enforcement – now reduced significantly after a sequence of Ministers all yielding and obedient to the resulting 1968 ideology; very few funds for security and defence – an image of “fascists” in uniform, often supported by politicians, as shamefully happened in the case of the two Italian marines, unjustly detained in India, or in many negotiations in the Middle East, which were handled with excessive respect for the criminals who agreed to mediate.
Italy, a State founded by cowards like the fearful Don Abbondio, the character of Manzoni’s historical novel The Betrothed. Appease and quieten, as the Father provincial of the Capuchins told to the uncle Count in that novel.
A constant apology for having being “fascists”, a term equating all the dictatorships of the 20th century – and here again there is a serious historical mistake – and above all for frustrating our strategic ambitions in the Mediterranean which today, unlike what happened during the First Republic, we can no longer afford.
The crazy Western operation against Libya, which was still ours with Gaddafi – a Colonel of Sirte we had selected, with our intelligence services, in a hotel in Abano Terme – has hit the mark. We do no longer count anything exactly where we were princes.
Libya, Tunisia – the first to be destabilized, coincidentally, by the nonsense of the “Arab Springs” – and Egypt, placed by the United States in the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, from which it was freed by a great leader of the intelligence services, namely Al Sisi.
The destabilization of the Maghreb region means our own destabilization – and we must be aware of it.
Hence some additional concise considerations are now appropriate:
a) we have no ideology against the jihad, other than the stupid repetition of a foolish song by John Lennon. Thanks to these indolent and incompetent politicians, we have nothing shielding our people against the enemy propaganda, which in fact spreads with our support.
b) We are those who, for ignorance or interest, passively accept the propaganda – which we do ours – accusing us of being the ones who starved the African black peoples. Instead of telling the truth, namely the Central-African youth bulge or the small economic boom of those who remain in Africa with fewer competitors, less marginal population and even fewer people asking for help or charity. Immigration is a transfer of marginal peoples who in the past, as colonizers, we could have kept in the countries of origin. As some scholars have noted, immigration is a form of “indirect strategy” of the poor against the rich. From their viewpoint the countries favouring the exodus are fully rational; they impoverish an excessive workforce they cannot integrate and send it to the “bad” colonialists.
c) All the information operations of the European West are such as to dangerously weaken the demographic threat of Islam or, anyway, of Africa.
d) Is this really the final strategy of mainstream communication? Or is it an anthropological engineering operation that ultimately creates more problems than it believes it can solve? Is not the notorious “populism”, which these poor-wretched pseudo-intellectuals declare to be a danger, the electoral reaction of those who have everything to lose with their crazy globalization? And how do they intend to proceed, with increasingly technocratic governments, which obviously last from the day until the morning, or with governments really ruling but without the naive idea of fixing the situation and then returning to business as usual?
e) Moreover, in the imagination of the Africanism spread by google or the various social media, as well as by stars online, shall we also be those who wait for their commercial and political moment of the global spreading of our way of life? Nevertheless, currently have we not the money to manage – possibly with some misinformation – the perpetrators of the jihadist threats against us? Finally, are we able to respond to the image that the global jihad has conveyed about us? No, we are not. And, once again, there is a strategic mistake at the root of the issue.
f) As early as the time of Brzezinsky, the West has believed in Columbus’ principle “buscar el levante por el poniente” (to try to reach the East through the Atlantic Ocean by circumnavigating the earth westwards) – namely to use the jihad against the Soviet Union. To surround, as Brzezinsky said, the USSR “with a green belt of Islamist republics”. Hence the Afghan jihad became global, with its first major migration to the West, during the Balkan wars of the early 1990s, having Alja Izetbegovic’s Bosnian Republic as axis – and in Sarajevo Osama Bin Laden was like one of the family. Nobody at that stage ever thought that the jihad support to the crazy policy disrupting former Yugoslavia was expensive, dangerous or ambiguous. At that time no one thought it was better to have a Russian-Serbian axis of the endless jihadist madrasahs, from Kosovo to Tuzla up to Sarajevo and beyond. At that time al-Qaeda filled a void and the stupid common sense of many Western analysts and decision makers did the rest, with a correlated exaggeration of our psychological and political strength and stability.
g) Hence what happened? Simply the West has never realized that the jihadist Islam was about to accomplish the program of its continuity, after Russia and after the United States. As in the lyrics of a song at the top of the Afghan hit parade: “We have destroyed the Kremlin, we will also destroy the White House.”
h) The lack of psychological protection put in place by the West with its masses has done the rest. Throughout the West, we live as if we were still in the phase of economic expansion – which is not the case, as we all know. Moreover, currently the mass psychological control tools are only linked to immediate, sexual, subjective and autonomous self-satisfaction. And also symbolic – it is a great synecdoche in which the part is used for the whole. Theorizing consumerism when there is little to be consumed and, above all, when there is a polarization of social classes no longer allowing any American, social-democratic or liberal “dream” to come true, is pure madness.
i) The current social communication has eliminated all identitarian discourses, dismissing them as “fascists,” and has created a space that will be filled only by what the Western mainstream leaders call “populism”, while the immigrant masses are exposed to the systematic propaganda of the sword jihad. They have arrived as poor in a country which is going to become poor, and they react like all those whose dream has been spoilt.
j) Indeed, the public communication system has brought the ever increasing and widespread dissonances together into a set of predetermined subjective and instinctive models: gay marriage, gender, the “Other” from a different ethnic group, the migrant. It is worth noting that the current manipulated ideological discourse includes both the acceptance and the refusal, both vague pacifism and rampant rage. We have responded to an identity crisis of our peoples with the 1968 ideology typical of a provincial high school. The greater the need for a new ideological and mass identity bond, the more decision-makers and mass culture big agencies have reacted with preconceived ideologies, always modelled on private consumption – that does no longer exist. Advertising can certainly afford to portray the world as if everything were a young, wealthy, happy and “normal” middle class. Politicians cannot do so, otherwise they will lose any contact with voters, with their own militants, the people and their own ideals. The opposite of the current identity is not the subjective consumption – on which, however, today’s political communication is shaped – but a new identity. In this regard, it is worth noting that the current political systems are always late, proud of their crazy belief in communication manipulation. Europe’s myth came as a huge weight just after the failure of the French referendum on the European Constitution of May 29, 2005. The machine of “democratic wars” collapsed when in February 2003 the then US Secretary of Defence, Colin Powell, showed to the UN the notorious “vials” of chemical weapons allegedly available to Saddam Hussein’s regime, which, as stated by the Secretary of State, was the State part of non-State jihad, namely al-Qaeda. Positivist and primitive manipulation of the public and, indeed, scarcely professional manipulation, but there is ultimately an interest in voiding Iraq to favour Saudi Arabia and redesign the Middle East.
k) Indeed the US victory in Iraq was a major strategic gift to Iran, which got rid of its traditional Sunni opponent. Furthermore, the first Governor of Baghdad, after the defeat of Saddam’s forces, organized the road traffic in a chaotic Middle East city like Baghdad by enforcing the same rules applied to Boston’s road traffic. The whole world had to like the West, but it is hard to understand that the world is not all in the West. And it does not want to be so. The fact is that understanding the world means above all intus legere, to read inside the Other and not necessarily homogenise him/her by force. If you do not read inside him/her, he/she will always be the Other and the enemy.
l) Hence, as is also the case with finance, the current psycho-political sequence is the creation of a series of “altered states” we cherish the illusion of being able to manage. The first altered state is that of body identity, which becomes transient and indefinite. The second one is the rejection of reproduction, considering that the insanity of “social engineering” will replace current populations with migrants who, however, have other identities that the current decision-makers do not see and, indeed, interpret – according to the criteria of vulgar Marxism – only as “poverty” and “need”. The third one is the disruption of the traditional non-State social units: family, civil society and the State – entities that are replaced by fluid pre-political identities, but capable of becoming – according to the delayed-action 1968 ideology currently much in vogue – “a distribution mass”, just to use Elias Canetti’s terminology. Today, however, there is nothing to distribute and hence a token, a “symbol is created – but, indeed, leaders not even create it – which only allows the repetition of the association game, as well as its duration which is considered indefinite. Opportunity and not career, gig economy but not employment, temporary income but not wages and salaries – everything today is token, but not substance.
m) Symbol, replacement, partial satisfaction, repetition. This is the chain uniting communication and economy. And it is by no mere coincidence that, in this phase of Western political communication, everything repeats the well-known “victories” of the past. The liberation of the black population in North America. Partial, like all “liberations”, was the female or feminist issue, after the old suffragettes and the big boom of female employment. The students, now considered only mass of manoeuvre for all “liberations”. It springs to our mind when in the 1970s the Canadian federal government theorized, in one of its documents for internal use, that child education should imitate the Maoist “cultural revolution”. Hence, today every social class has not employment as a goal, but mainstream communication. Everything must be covered by weapons of mass distraction having the sole purpose of changing the discourse and providing predefined identities to people who, however, must no longer have the real identity that has always objectively characterized them. No longer workers, but “citizens”, no longer unemployed, but people “looking for a job”, no longer housewives, employees, teachers, but only “career women”.
n) Hence the creation of a much subtler neo-language than the one theorized by Orwell in 1984 is part of the operation for creating a fictitious reality. It is the neo-language creating reality, by obsessive repetitions (think of contemporary music) and prohibitions of repeating what has been known for long time.
o) Currently Plato’s dream of the dialogue The Republic has come true. Poets – who, in fact, in Plato’s vision are those who remind us of the City history and heroes – have been excluded from the perfect New City. In the globalist model – which, however, currently the West has not even the financial, military and strategic possibilities to create, although continuing to think of being capable to do so – we need to forget not only our own identities – which are all “fascist” – but also those of the others. Hence hilarious explanations of the jihad are provided, according to which it is allegedly the war of the poor (and possibly “exploited”) Muslims of the Third World. Or the self-reduction of our own traditions is theorized – a diminutio which is used as a form of “acceptance” of the usual African or Middle East “poor”, which results being a communication and media self-destruction which is unparalleled in the modern Western world.
p) We are still blamed for being “rich” – and possibly now no longer so – and all our wealth allegedly comes from the cynical exploitation of the Third World’s natural resources that we “steal” from the “poor”. This is obviously a way to create mass acceptance for our future poverty – a way to artificially justify globalization and finally a way to justify our enemies. It is worth noting, however, that contemporary social communication is based on three pillars: firstly, the loosest atheism, that is the loss of a criterion going well beyond temporary or silent “distribution masses” – as Canetti would call them – and hence a criterion justifying the lowest instinct as the only law, a law that seems subjective but is biological and universal. “Materialist” atheism is a way of avoiding any vertical value, any kind of identity affecting the spirit and hence also culture.
q) Secondly, youth. Contemporary society is an organization of “juvenation”, of the eternal permanence of all individuals among young people or among those who believe to be so. As everyone knows, young people, women and, to some respects, children, are the trendsetter groups in advertising. Thirdly, hate for “high” culture – in short, tradition – and this is the core of the issue, all the identities existing before the contemporary world. Rousseau plus Orwell, Eden without God that created it, eternal childhood against the dangers and disappointments of maturity. These are the images of the contemporary world according to its deep communication model.
r) We could add to the three pillars also the leader’s myth, but only provided that the leader is obviously insignificant. His/her current role is not to act as katèchon, as the one who “postpones the End Times”, but only to represent the weaknesses, ignorance and puerile pathos of the masses. He/she must be “good,” exactly as “good” is the Antichrist in the Shiite theology of the End Times. It is only when he/she cries that currently everyone loves the Leader, not when he/she exercises his/her power, which must be possibly subjected to the mainstream one. Currently culture, politics and science are categories of Repetition that creates hypnosis.
s) Hence today the Islamic jihad is the “full”. Supreme Leader, identitarian violence, omnipotence of religion, which we believe to fight with few talentless, third-rate Voltaires – a stable, very motivated and warring mass, while we are peaceful and almost powerless, now only creating vague tribes, not States or communities. We believe we can fight this “full” with our “void” – the refusal of strong thought, natural identities or political traditions – with the even comical obsession for an economy that is still getting out of our control, as well as with the eternal present of primary instincts instead of critical thinking and of idealistic and superior models of human behaviour. We will not manage to fight this “good fight”. As the recent jihadist operations in Europe have demonstrated, we just want to stop, to be subservient and enslaved, so that they will probably stop and quit it. As worthy heirs of the Left anti-militarism and, indeed, of so many Catholics, we put our hands behind our heads, as a sign of surrender to every noise or violent act. We are now devoid of self-control, as recently happened in Piazza San Carlo, Turin and a mere paper bomb is enough to generate 1,527 wounded people. Hence the psycho-politics of mass and low-quality consumption, applied to today’s politics, is a complete failure. The identity of citizens, not producers, creates illusory images of themselves. The Other, to be incorporated and homogenized, does not want to do so, regardless of our giving in shamefully – as already happened too many times. The void we have created to “accept” the non-West is precisely the space that the Other will fill and occupy.
Central Asian Jihadists’ Use of Cryptocurrencies in Bitcoin
On August 13, 2020, the US Justice Department announced that it seized $2 million in Bitcoin and other types of cryptocurrency from accounts of three Salafi-Jihadi extremist groups, including al Qaeda and the Islamic State, relied on to finance their organizations and violent plots. According to their statement, the U.S. authorities seized over 300 cryptocurrency accounts, four websites, and four Facebook pages all related to Sunni-Jihadi militant organizations. Indeed, the disclosed criminal case documents indicate that this was the largest-ever seizure of cryptocurrency by US intelligence agencies in the context of terrorism.
US counterterrorism agents analyzed transactions of cryptocurrency on the blockchain, a secure form of public ledger for the online funds, and employed undercover operations as well as search warrants on email accounts to establish a money trail of Sunni terror groups that was detailed in an 87-pages of the Washington DC federal court report
The revealed papers indicate, in some instances, al Qaeda and its affiliated terrorist groups in Syria acted under the cover of charities ‘Al Sadaqah’ and ‘Reminder for Syria’. In this regard, it should be noted that some al Qaeda-linked Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi groups also have frequently acted under the umbrella of the charity ‘Al Sadaqah’ for bitcoin money laundering and have solicited cryptocurrency donations via Telegram channels to further their terrorist goals.
But that doesn’t mean that Islamist terrorist groups from the post-Soviet space raised funds precisely through this charity ‘Al Sadaqah’ of al Qaeda, whose accounts were seized by the US Justice Department. It has become a tradition in the Islamic world that charity organizations and foundations widely give to themselves the names ‘Al Sadaqah’ and ‘Zakat’, as the Quranic meaning of these words (Quran 2:43; 63:10;9:103)exactly corresponds to the purposes of “voluntary charity”. Analysis of the finance campaigns of al Qaeda-affiliated Central Asian militant groups demonstrates that they frequently raised cryptocurrency donations through charities called ‘Al Sadaqah’ and ‘Zakat’.
In order to explore the scale of the Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi Jamaats’ crowdfunding campaigns, we analyzed their social media activities where they raised Bitcoins, dollars, Russian rubles and Turkish lira over the past two years.The methods and sources of the Uzbek and Uighur Islamist militants’ crowdfunding campaigns in bitcoins are about the same as those of their parent organizations, the global Sunni terrorist groups ISIS and al Qaeda.Due to the inclusion in the list of terrorist groups, they carry out sophisticated cyber-operations for solicitation of cryptocurrency donations.
Before “mastering” the complex technology of cyber-tools in order to raise bitcoin funds in cyberspace, Central Asian jihadists used the simple ‘hawala’ money transfer system (informal remittance system via money brokers).Sometimes they have resorted to conventional ‘hand-to-hand’ cash transfer channels, where trust, family relationships or regional affiliations play an important role.
According to a UN report, Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi terrorist group Katibat Tawhid wal Jihad (KTJ), Katibat Imam al Bukhari (KIB) and the Islamic Jihad Group (IJG) leading jihad in Syrian Idlib province have close financial ties with its cells in Afghanistan. The UN Security Council’s Sanctions Monitoring Team states that “regular monthly payments of about $ 30,000 are made to Afghanistan through the hawala system for KTJ.”
The UN report asserts that “similarly to KTJ, KIB sends financial assistance, from its cell in Istanbul, through the hawala system to Afghanistan. Funds are brought in by informal money exchangers for Jumaboi from Maymana, the capital of Faryab. The original source of this income is the smuggling of fuel, food and medicine from neighboring Turkmenistan.”According to the UN report, “suffering material losses, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU)and Tajik militant group JamaatAnsarullah (JA) are forced to engage in criminal activity, including transportation of drugs along the northern route in Afghanistan.”For the Uighur jihadists of Turkestan Islamist Party (TIP) from China’s Xinjiang province operating under the umbrella of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) in northern Syria, “funding comes primarily from the Uighur diaspora” in Turkey, Central and Southeast Asia.
Dark Web & Bitcoin: New Endeavor of Central Asian Terrorists
With the development of digital cryptocurrencies as Bitcoin, Central Asian jihadists actively began to exploit this innovative financial transaction system to support their attacks and other terrorist activities. It is known that al Qaeda-backed Salafi-Jihadi groups of the post-Soviet space are seeking to purify Islam of any innovations (Bid’ah) and strictly following the Sharia law. They live similarly to how the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his companions lived in the seventh-century and always oppose any form of Bid’ah, considering it to be shirk and heresy. However, the Uzbek and Uighur Wahhabis did not shy away from using bitcoin innovation.
The first advertisements of Central Asian terrorist groups crowdfunding campaigns accepting bitcoin for Jihadi purposes in Syria appeared on the Telegram channel in 2017. In November of that year, a self-proclaimed charity group al-Sadaqah began a fundraising campaign on the internet from Western supporters to help the Malhama Tactical, the first private military contractor team from Central Asia working exclusively for jihadist groups in Syria.Al-Sadaqah in English on Telegram, explicitly relying on the English-speaking western sponsors, called on them to make bitcoin donations to finance the Malhama Tactical and the Mujahedeen fighting against the Assad regime in northeastern Syria.
As we have previously analyzed, Malhama Tactical is a private jihadi contractor operating in the Idlib-Aleppo region of Syria. The group, founded by an Uzbek jihadist Abu Salman (his real name is Sukhrob Baltabaev) from Osh City of Southern Kyrgyzstan in May 2016, is closely allied with Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), the strongest militant factions in northern Syria. The Malhama Tactical is known to have regularly conducted military training for jihadists of HTS, Ahrar al-Sham, Ajnad al Kavkaz and the Turkistan Islamic Party.After the death of Abu Salman in August 2019, Ali Ash-Shishani, the native of Russia’s North Caucasus became the new leader of Malhama Tactical.
In 2017-18, al-Sadaqah charity on Telegram called on followers to donate via a “Bitcoin wallet anonymously and safely for the Mujahedeen brothers of Malhama Tactical”. The charity group urged potential cryptocurrency contributions to benefit from “the ability to confuse the trail and keep anonymity”.
We do not know how much bitcoin money al-Sadaqah managed to raise for the activities of the Central Asian Muhajireen. But according to Malhama Tactical’s report on the internet, crowdfunding has been “fruitful.” In an effort to explain how donations were spent, Malhama Tactical has advertised extensively to followers on 17 October 2018, in a video posted on Telegram, that a new training camp had been built and purchased airsoft rifles, night vision devices and other modern ammunitions.
Since 2018, Uzbek and Uighur militant groups KTJ, KIB and TIP have begun an agitation campaign to fundraising bitcoin money on the Internet. Judging by the widespread call for Bitcoin donation online, their need for anonymous, secure, and hassle-free funding streams have made cryptocurrencies of some potential value to them. These properties are the anonymity of fundraising, the usability of remittance and transfer of funds, the security of attack funding, acceptance of funds, reliability, and volume of web money.
And every time they announced a crowdfunding campaign, they clearly declared for what purpose the collected bitcoins would be used. For example, al Qaeda-linked KTJ’s most recent call for bitcoin appeared on Telegram in May 2020 as a banner that asks to “Equip a jihadist”. The poster showed a masked jihadist and the exploitation of the Quran’s Hadith in Uzbek, calling on the believers to prepare and equip a fighter going on a raid for the sake of Allah.
Another picture shows a jihadist with a Kalashnikov AK-74 in his hand, over whose head enemy planes and helicopters fly. The picture gives a symbolic meaning about the empty-handed jihadists in Syria, fighting against the Russian and Syrian powerful military aircraft to protect the Islamic Ummah. Then goes on with KTJ’s call to make donations in bitcoins and rubles to purchasing equipment and ammunition for the Central Asian Mujahedeen in Syria. On the bottom it was displayed the long address of the virtual wallet for Bitcoin donations along with KTJ’s Telegram and web contacts promising the anonymity of potential donors.
On June 18, 2020, KTJ militants published the opinion of the well-known ideologue of modern jihadism Abu Qatada al-Falastini in Telegram from whom they asked whether the crowdfunding campaign of Bitcoin for the purposes of Jihad contradicts Islam. As it is known, there are still ongoing disputes among the world’s top Islamic scholars about whether cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, are deemed Sharia-compliant.
Abu Qatada from a religious point of view justified the acceptability of using Bitcoin to protect the Islamic Ummah and wage holy Jihad, but at the same time warned against full confidence in Bitcoin. In his opinion, the enemies of Islam can destroy this cryptocurrency in the future, and if it loses its current value, and then the devout Muslims who have invested their savings in Bitcoin could go bankrupt. Abu Qatada al Falastini is a greatly respected Salafi thinker among Central Asian jihadists and he gave a pep talk to KTJ when it pledged bayat (Oath of Allegiance) to al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri in 2015.
On June 25, 2020, KTJ posted another Crypto Crowdfunding campaign announcement on its Telegram channel to provide Uzbek jihadists with modern military gear and equipment. For clarity, the group published a picture entitled “Perform jihad with your property” in Uzbek, which indicates the prices for military clothing and weapons. For example, the AK-47 Kalashnikov assault rifle costs $300, unloading vest for AK-47 cartridges – $20, Field Jacket – $50, Military Combat Boots – $30.In total, $400 will be needed on the full provision of one Mujahid with weapons and uniforms. On the upper side of the picture is a Hadith quote about “He who equips a fighter in Allah’s path has taken part in the fighting.”
A month later, the group’s Telegram channel reported that it had managed to raise $4,000, for which 8 sets of weapons and uniforms were purchased for the Uzbek Mujahedeen. Also, KTJ’s media representative announced that the group is stopping the fundraising campaign for this project.
Other projects of the Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi groups were the Bitcoin crowdfunding campaign for the purchase of motorcycles for Inghimasi fighters (shock troops who penetrate into the enemy’s line with no intent to come back alive), cameras, portable radios, sniper rifles and night vision devices. For each project, a separate closed account was opened on the website of jihadist groups in Telegram, after which the Bitcoin and Monero accounts, as well as contact information, were closed.
Another crowdfunding project posted on January 29, 2020, in Telegram, called ‘Helping captive Muslim sisters’ and claims to raise money to free Kyrgyz, Tajik and Uzbek ISIS women hold in the al-Hol refugee camp in northeast Syria controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. The KTJ jihadists posted pictures of Central Asian women with their children holding posters “We need help” in Kyrgyz, and asked the fellow Muslim believers to raise money to ransom them from the captivity of the Kurdish communists. It was not clear to us how much money was raised as a result of the crowdfunding campaign since this channel was later blocked by the Telegram administrator.
The annual largest crowdfunding project for the Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi groups is being implemented on the eve of the Muslim holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, during which believers pay Zakat (obligatory tax) and Sadaqah (voluntary alms).According to the Quran, recipients of the Zakat and the Sadaqah include the poor and needy, debtors, volunteers in jihad, and pilgrims.
The websites of the Central Asian Jihadist Jamaats revealed that their crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for the jihad was particularly active during Ramadan. Ramadan is known as a holy and generous month, but this year was especially generous to notorious al Qaeda-linked Central Asian extremist groups. KTJ, KIB, Uighur’s TIP and Russian-speaking North Caucasian militant group Liwa al Muhajireen wal Ansar (LMA), that pledged allegiance to HTS, have boosted their military budget during Ramadan.
To avoid the risk of being blocked or tracked, they created a temporary mirror group called ‘Zakat’, where the donation money was received. Zakat’s wallet received donations from Central Asian labor migrants in Russia in the amount of $150 to $220 each time to purchase livestock, which was then slaughtered in sacrificial prayer on behalf of the donors. After Ramadan and the holidays of Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, the ‘Zakat’ mirror group in Telegram was closed.
The Central Asian Islamist extremist groups have asked their supporters to make Bitcoin donations mainly at the following two virtual wallet addresses:
Our analysis confirmed that multiple transactions were made to these bitcoin addresses. In addition, other transactions were made in digital currencies, the addresses of which were blocked on Telegram.
In conclusion, the significance of the crowdfunding campaigns in bitcoin should not be given exaggerated importance, even though they have improved the position of the Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi groups in Syria and Afghanistan, and boosted their budget. Central Asian Salafi-Jihadi terrorist groups’ technical abilities are not currently suited to bypass the financial controls of international counterterrorism organizations and discreetly conduct money laundering.
The history of their activities has shown that small Uzbek, Uighur and Russian-speaking Islamist extremist groups from the post-Soviet space and China have been assimilated with more powerful global Sunni terrorist organizations such as ISIS, al Qaeda and HTS. And accordingly, their potential for crowdfunding campaigns in bitcoin should be viewed through the prism of their global parent organizations.
In any case, the governments of Central Asia and Russia do not have sufficient mechanisms and leverage to combat illegal cryptocurrency transactions on the dark web by global Salafi-Jihadi movements waging jihad in the Middle East. As noted at the beginning of this article, such opportunities to monitor and investigate jihadist crowdfunding activities are available to the US government and financial institutions. For example, the U.S. Treasury“ has access to unique financial data about flows of funds within the international financial and commercial system,” which is invaluable for tracking illicit flows of money.
Consequently, Central Asian governments must rely not only on Moscow but also actively cooperate with Western counter-terrorism and financial institutions to disrupt the Salafi-Jihadi group’s external crypto crowdfunding sources.
The Afghan intelligence services
Still today the Afghan Intelligence Services’ ability to collect information is definitively scarce. This is mainly due to the limited specific training of staff and the very scarce and even improper use of the most recent technologies.
The Afghan Intelligence Services collect information mainly in major cities and in the areas most controlled by the government and this often leads the decision-makers who use this “complacent” or rhetorical intelligence to make severe evaluation errors.
The National Directorate of Security (NDS) does not correctly disseminate its news in the traditional “information cycle” of a Service and therefore it leaves decision-makers with scarce, incomplete and often inaccurate information. Established in 2001 and heavily supported by the United States, the NDS is based in Kabul but is strongly supported by Germany, GBritain and obviously the United States. It should be noted that its first Director was Mohammed Arif Sarwari, one of the leaders of the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan, i.e. the old “Northern Alliance”.
It was precisely the NDS that in 2015 caused the fall of Kunduz into the hands of the Taliban, who were, indeed, a full invention of the Pakistani Intelligence Services, which were in search of an Afghanistan that could only play the role of “depth area” for a possible nuclear or even conventional confrontation with India. Ironically, it is from the Pakistani Intelligence Services that the United States received the largest or almost total amount of news and information precisely, or apparently, against the Taliban. Quos Deus lose vult, dementat.
Moreover, the current relations between the NDS, the National Security Agency of Afghanistan (NSA), i.e. another Intelligence Service in Kabul, the Defence Ministry and the Interior Ministry show a very poor ability of communication and exchange of news between them, which makes them often be late in their operations or even useless.
Or sometimes voluntary collaborators of what Westerners would call the “enemy”, but for some operatives or executives of the NDS or of the other Afghan Intelligence Services could also be an “Islamic brother”. Sometimes it has happened.
In the case of Kunduz, the very evident and aggressive Taliban operations were deemed ineffective or irrelevant. Nobody took seriously the news coming from the most reliable “sources” among the rebels. No agency of the Afghan Service took seriously or even studied the Taliban operations in Kunduz.
The NDS, however, was established mainly with the support of the American CIA.
But there is a strategic and conceptual problem that should not be overlooked at all: all NATO countries that participated or still participate in military operations in Afghanistan have very different ideas about their role in the war against the “rebels” and in the country.
The Resolute Support Mission, composed of about 13,000-16,000 soldiers from 39 NATO countries and from other countries, operates from Kabul, Mazar-i-Sharif, Herat, Kandahar and Laghman, and focuses mainly on the training of Afghan forces, as well as on military consultancy and assistance, hoping that the local Afghan forces will reach a level capable of ensuring at least fictitious national independence.
At least until 2014, akey year for the new relationship between NATO and the Afghan government, the Italians – who are still training the Afghan police very well – went there especially not to displease the usual U.S. Big Father that the Italian strategic system still sees as unquestionable and unassailable.
This participation “to bring democracy” has led to some positive effects for Italy, especially on the technological-intelligence level. But it has never been enough.
Nevertheless, the silly servility and sycophancy of Italian politicians, who closely resemble the character of Nando Mericoni played by Alberto Sordi in the movie An American in Rome, is still largely widespread. Italian politicians – even starting from the text of the Constitution – do not know or do not want to understand the eternal rules of foreign policy and strategic thinking, of which they know nothing yet.
Certainly you cannot obtain votes, additional funding and small favours from foreign policy. This is the level of Italian politicians, especially in current times more than in the past.
France, as long as it stayed in Afghanistan, interpreted its presence in Kabul as a way to control Asia’s intermediate axis so as to avoid Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Iranian and even American expansion.
The Brits went to Afghanistan to fight against a “terrorism” of which – like everyone in the West-they do not know the organizational and doctrinal roots or even the purposes, but see as the maximum destabilization of their unreasonably “multi-ethnic” and hence inevitably “multipolitical” societies.
This is the terrible case of a propaganda that stifles even the ruling classes that should be immune to it.
Certainly this was not even true in Afghanistan because the bad guy, namely Osama bin Laden, was often elsewhere. He was considered the only mastermind of the aforementioned “radical Islamic terrorism” – or whatever can be defined with this rather rough terminology – and hence to be killed, like a horse thief in the Far West. As has precisely happened, the killing of Osama bin Laden did not change anything.
He had to be killed because he had killed American citizens. True, right. But foreign policy is never the extension of any country’s domestic criminal law.
There was even Germany present in Afghanistan to contemplate its military decline, but above all to show – even eighty years later – that it was no longer a Nazi country. As Marx would have said, le mort saisit le vif.
In short, the varied presence of NATO and of the initial coalitions of the willing in the War on Terror had no clear ideas and probably did not even know where it really was.
Meanwhile, since 2014 – the year of the actual withdrawal from Afghanistan by the United States and its attack forces (after rigged elections, but in any case, whenever the United States participate in operations abroad, it always has acoitus interruptus)– the Taliban have started their great and real campaign to conquer the territory and, above all, the Afghan “souls”.
In 2015 NATO and the United States had planned to keep 13,000 military plus 9,800 U.S. soldiers for counter-terrorism activities. Later, however, the withdrawal from the Afghan territory – coincidentally after the great Battle for Kunduz – ended in December 2016, but leaving alive and operational as many as 8,400 soldiers on the ground.
Currently as in the past, the real problem for Afghanistan is Pakistan. General Musharraf, the former Pakistani President from June 20, 2001 to 18 August 18, 2008 (note the dates) and perpetrator of the 1999 military coup, clearly stated that the Inter Service Intelligence (ISI), i.e. the Pakistan single intelligence structure, supported and trained all terrorist groups in Pakistan so as to later send them to Afghanistan, with a view to carrying out “terrorist” attacks on NATO, Western and Afghan targets.
In 2015 -a key year for Afghanistan – in an interview with The Guardian, Musharraf clearly said that the ISI had always “cultivated” the Taliban mainly to destabilize the government led by Karzai (a man also linked to India) but, in particular, to carry out harsh actions against India.
Pakistan keeps on supporting terrorist groups operating in Afghanistan and in other parts of the world – not only the Taliban, but also the other groups.
Rahmatullah Nabil, the Chief of the NDS -i.e. the new Intelligence Service affiliated to CIA but entirely Afghan – also officially showed documents proving that the funds long granted by the United States to Pakistan to “fight terrorism” shifted to the Pakistani Service ISI, precisely to train, recruit and support terrorism.
Hence the forgetfulness – so to speak – of the Afghan governments with regard to intelligence comes from far away.
At the time of the Soviet invasion, the KGB and the GRU created their two local counterparts, namely the Khadamar e-Aetela’at Al-Dawlati (KHaD) and the Wazeelat e-Amniat-e-Daulati (WAD), respectively.
The two agencies disappeared when Najibullah’s government fell in 1992, pending the great Russian crisis. As a result, however, also the Afghan State in all its forms collapsed. Therefore also the two agencies linked to the Soviet intelligence Services evaporated.
What there was, anyway, in the Afghan Intelligence Services before the Soviet invasion?
The first governments that had just come to power, after Russia’s arrival, organized four agencies: Kargarano Amniyati Mu’asasa (KAM), i.e. the “Workers’ Intelligence Service”;Da Afghanistan da Gato de Satalo Adara (AGDA), i.e. the “Agency for Safeguarding Afghan Interests”, Amin’s real longa manus, and the aforementioned WAD and KhAD.
The President of the time, Noor Tarakai, had little power, while Hafizullah Amin made sure that both the Communist Party (or, more precisely, the Afghan People’s Democratic Party) and the Agencies were divided in two, always following the policy line of the Khalq and Parcham factions.
The Khalq (meaning “masses” or “people”) was directly supported by the USSR. It was largely made up of Pashtuns and was particularly popular among the working classes.
The very superficial Marxism shown by the faction was often only a way to defend the Pashto world from the pressures of other ethnic groups.
The Parcham (meaning “flag”) was the most widespread faction of the party in the urban classes and in the middle and upper classes.
Eternal separation between rural and urban areas, a typically Maoist and classic crux of every practical and extra-Western interpretation of Marxism-Leninism.
The Parcham reunited laboriously with the Khalq faction during the 1978 Revolution, but it really came to power only after the Soviet operation, the local coup, i.e. Operation Tempest 333 of December 27, 1979, when the Alpha divisions of the KGB quickly took the Tajbeg palace and assassinated Hafizullah Amin.
Meanwhile, it was Amin himself who had ordered the assassination of his predecessor, Mohammed Taraki.
In the intermediate phase of his regime, Amin also had many Afghans assassinated – and not only his known opponents.
A possible, future “Cambodian” twist of Afghan Communism? Probably so.
At that juncture the USSR intervened since it did not want ideological deviations or Afghan approaches to Chinese Communism, as practiced in Vietnam or, precisely, in Khmer Rouge’s Cambodia. Hence Operation Shtorm 333 was carried out which, apart from Amin’s assassination, lasted approximately three months, to definitively “settle” the remaining issues.
With specific reference to the Afghan intelligence services, Hafizullah Amin mainly used the AGSA, but also the KAM, only to settle his scores. The two agencies, however, received technical assistance and training from East Germany and the USSR.
Nevertheless, the shift between the different ethnic groups is precisely the key to understanding the Afghan intelligence services prior to the U.S. and NATO operations. I believe that, in any case, ethnic factionalism – probably dating back to the old political-tribal faith – was the key to the functioning of the new Afghan Intelligence Services, even during the naive Western administration.
In January 1980 the KHaD fully replaced the KAM.
Furthermore, the KHaD was placed outside the administration of the Interior Ministry, dominated by the Khalq and then immediately transferred to the office of the Prime Minister, who later also became National Security Minister.
The Directors of the Afghan Intelligence Services always reported directly to the KGB and, in 1987, the standard situation was that the Afghan Intelligence Service employed almost 30,000 operatives and officials and over 100,000 paid informants.
Each element of the Afghan Intelligence Service had at least one KGB “advisor” behind them. As also shown in Syria, Russia paid but did not trust it too much.
Between 1983 and 1993, the Pakistani Intelligence Service ISI -established by a British officer – trained, with the support of CIA, almost 90,000 Mujahideen to send them fighting the USSR in Afghanistan.
The KHaD had also the statutory obligation to “defend the Communist regime” and “unite all Afghan ethnic groups under one single political system”, especially in collaboration with the Ministry of Borders and Tribal Affairs.
Again in the 1980s, the KHaD always had both East German and Soviet instructors and numerous secret mass executions took place.
About 60,000 Afghans were sent to the USSR between 1980 and 1984.
Again in those years, as many as 10,000 KHaD officers received special training from the KGB.
In an old confidential document, CIA also estimated that the total cost of the Soviet engagement in Afghanistan was over 15 billion roubles, plus additional 3 billion roubles for the period when it did not directly occupy Kabul.
Since currently the 1979 rouble is still worth 22.26 Euros, in principle we can calculate a Russian occupation expenditure of 233 billion and 930 million, plus the extra three billion roubles.
The KHaD also created tribal militias on the borders, while the KGB organized the internal tribes on its own, mainly for sabotage and to spread dezinformatsjia.
After the USSR’s final collapse and the arrival of the United States, however, a new Afghan Service, the NDS, was immediately created.
It was made up mainly of former KHaD agents and Mujahideen. Indeed, there was no other population available.
The Service, however, was known to be bad or even very bad: its operatives and analysts were selected only on a tribal level or by simple political affiliation.
They never went to school for education and training. They had no serious training centres and they did not professionally check their networks of informants.
Even the United States, however, spent a lot of money in Afghanistan: the Congressional Research Office has calculated a 1.6 trillion dollar spending in Afghanistan and Iraq only for the “War on Terror”.
The Afghan Service costs the USA 6.4 billion dollars every two years.
And spending always tends to increase, regardless of the poor results reached.
What about China? First of all, China wants the political stability of Afghanistan, which is a neighbouring and Islamic country. In particular, it controls Kabul to prevent Uyghur jihadism from finding a safe and secure place there. It prevents the Uyghurs from having contacts with the Taliban. It has already happened.
Everything will happen when the United States definitively leaves Afghanistan, since China now regards that country as an essential pawn in its relationship with India, while – through Pakistan – China strengthens its relations with the Taliban, which the Chinese view as the next and inevitable masters of Kabul. This forecast is really easy to make.
Moreover, China provided 70 million per year to the Afghan government to support its counter-terrorism efforts, while there have long been Chinese soldiers in Badakhstan and, above all, in the Wakhan Corridor, where it is said that China has already created a military base and has even already deployed a brigade of the People’s Liberation Army.
China has also put pressures on Kabul for Afghanistan to accept its satellite positioning system, instead of the GPS developed and managed by the United States.
Some Chinese troops, however, have also been stationing in Tajikistan for long time, again to protect the Wakhan Corridor.
Since his rise to power in 2014, however, also Ashraf Ghanihas thought to immediately improve his relations with China so as to use, first of all, China’s influence on Pakistan to avoid the Pakistani support to the Taliban – which is unlikely – as well as ensure that China begins to invest significantly in Afghanistan, now that the civil and international war is on the wane.
The China-Pakistan Corridor, one of the first axes of the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative, is now worth 62 billion U.S. dollars of costs alone.
There is also a new railway line leaving from the port of Gwadar, the axis of China’s projection, and arriving in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan and beyond.
In 2016 China also signed an agreement with Afghanistan for the Belt & Road Initiative, with the promise of 100 million U.S. dollars for infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, which have not been provided yet.
Trade between Afghanistan and China is fully asymmetric and, until Afghanistan is completely pacified – certainly by others and not by China -we believe that that the issue will not be very relevant, at least for China.
And until the triangulation between the Taliban, Pakistan and China – which has still many doubts about the reliability of the Pakistani “students” operating in Afghanistan (precisely, the Taliban) -is not even clear, the Afghan economic revival – if at China’s expense – will be slow or unlikely.
The way in which the Chinese intelligence services operate
Since the time of Empress Wu Chao, who created the first Chinese intelligence service in 625 A.D., much has changed, but we could also say that some traits have not completely changed, as we might believe at first sight.
Later there was China’s extraordinary adventure in the modern world, which began with the fall of the last Emperor Pu Yi, who was also guilty of collaborationism with the Japanese in Manchukuo and ended his days artistically drawing the phrase “today the people are sovereign” at the court of Mao Zedong.However, as early as 1934, the British intelligence Services deciphered MASK, the code used by the Komintern to encode information from Moscow to Shanghai which, at that time, was the CPC’s pole.
However, it was in 1957 that the United States began to fly its U-2s over China, starting from Peshawar.
In 1966, two years after the beginning of the Great Cultural and Proletarian Revolution, there was the great purge of the intelligence services in China carried out by the very powerful Kang Sheng. He was the mover of the fall of Liu Shaoqi, Deng Xiaoping and Lin Biao, but then he was associated with the “Gang of Four” and hence suffered the usual damnation memoriae. A man of Mao Zedong who knew too much, but died in his bed.
Then, as is well-known, in 1971 Li Biao was killed while fleeing to the USSR with his plane.
Not surprisingly, again in 1971, Kissinger began to deal secretly with China. Lin Biao’s death was the seal on the definitive strategic separation between China and the Soviet Union – which was what the United States was interested in.
In 1973 the first CIA “station” was created at the U.S. liaison office in Beijing, while China took the Paracel Islands and CIA left its main station in Taiwan.
In 1975 the first Chinese Electronic Intelligence satellite (ELINT) was launched, but the following year saw the death of Zhou Enlai, the true master of Chinese foreign policy and Kissinger’s friend who protected Mao from his mistakes.
The Armed Forces returned to power: with the support of all the military, Deng Xiaoping quickly put Hua Guofeng aside and became the CPC Secretary, but reforms were still being studied. Initially Deng was not as reformist as currently believed in the West.
Hence in Deng’s reformist phase, the U.S. diplomatic recognition was shifted from Taiwan to the People’s Republic of China – and that was China’s real goal at the time.
Shortly afterwards, China also opened diplomatic offices in the United States.
In 1981, however, the Americans developed programmes for controlling the Chinese agents operating in the USA, while Deng Xiaoping himself started China’s nuclear rearmament.
The China National Nuclear Corporation was established in 1988.
Ten years later, in 1999, the Chinese Armed Forces built a base for intercepting military signals in Cuba but, in 2002, the Chinese cyber attacks on some U.S. networks – known as TITAN RAIN – began, while the FBI even opened a liaison office in Beijing, with assignments also extended to Mongolia.
In 2004, China put the Nanosatellite I into orbit, but there was also a further cyber attack – probably of Chinese origin – on the U.S. Army Information Systems Engineering Command, as well as on the Naval Ocean Systems Center, and finally on the space and strategic installation in Huntsville, Alabama.
In 2010, Google suffered an AURORA cyber attack. A long, powerful and initially uncontrollable attack.
Probably also Symantec, Northrop Grumman, Morgan Stanley and Dow Chemical were hit by AURORA cyber attacks – albeit this fact is not confirmed.
Hence data collection, mainly economic and technological intelligence for China, but also a complex relationship with the United States to be penetrated informally, but not to be damaged too much.
In any case, the reins of the Chinese Service (or rather, the intelligence services) were held by the State Security Ministry.
A legal difference should be underlined: while, legally speaking, the KGB was a Central Committee’s Department, the Communist China’s intelligence Service was a real Ministry.
The Interior Ministry was represented by the Public Security Ministry but, in general terms,it should be said that – unlike the old Soviet ones – the Chinese intelligence Services are less obsessive in their relationship with possible “sources”, anyway preferring ethnically Chinese people.
Furthermore, the Chinese Foreign Service seems to prefer sources that – unlike what happened with the Soviet KGB – have no money or personal crisis problems, which become dangerous or ambiguous.
Again unlike the old Soviet ones, the Chinese intelligence Services do not willingly pay for news and information. They do not blackmail and they do not extort. Quite the reverse. They do not pay at all. If anything, they help Chinese abroad for relatives or other matters.
Hence rarely do the Chinese intelligence Services pay for the data they receive.
The Chinese intelligence Agencies are therefore interested in people who,only rarely, come within the range of attention of the enemy intelligence Services. Operationally speaking, this is an excellent choice.
Again unlike the old Soviet ones, China’s intelligence Services do not organize rezidenture abroad. They also rarely hold clandestine meetings and almost never use covert communications.
“The floating bird is existence, if it dives it is non-existence”. The mind is like the moon: it is reflected in the water at a speed that man does not perceive. The mind should not be stopped, but left free to grasp the void, the invisible, the Nothing.
The Chinese intelligence Services, however, organize closed areas where a “source” finds itself – with its pace and needs – providing the materials needed by the Chinese government.
The width of the network, however, is such that the slow and non-invasive pace of Chinese operatives is capable of reaching the same – or even larger – quantity of sensitive material collected by a Service that does not follow the Tao, i.e. the natural flow of events and people.
Moreover, the Chinese intelligence Service often operates with real academics, real students, real journalists and very real businessmen.
The cover is often irrelevant, but also very true. Indeed, it is considered a cover attracting excessive interest – like jealousy which, as Karl Kraus used to say, “is a dog’s bark which attracts thieves”.
Obviously, in this respect, the Chinese intelligence Services have a significant advantage, since they can legally use real journalists and real academics, while in the West – including in Italy – it is forbidden to use “journalists, clergymen, parliamentarians and town councillors” as agents. Stupidity has been tormenting the intelligence Services with a ferocity worthy of a better cause.
Hence no one who can really be useful. This leads the Western intelligence services to fabricate useless complicated “stories” that are often easily discovered by the adversaries.
Not to mention the forty-year defamation of the intelligence Service – as is the case in Italy – which causes other damage.
For the intelligence Services, the Chinese technological companies operating in the West must be economically self-sufficient and, indeed, make profit, without weighing on the Service’s or State’s coffers.
An often predatory “Western-style” profit is also allowed, at least as long as this does not negatively affect intelligence operations.
Therefore, the Chinese companies using up technology and data – which are the primary material of current Chinese intelligence – must be the most obvious and natural enterprises, without hidden compartments or ambiguous operatives that the host country’s intelligence Services can discover – albeit possibly not so easily.
Another problem in the control of Chinese operations in the West is the difficulty – and, indeed, we could say the reluctance- with which our companies, including SMEs, report the often harshly blackmailing cyber attacks, or even the crises resulting from fraud and scams often carried out by managers and employees.
The obsession of being always listed on the Stock Exchange makes companies, including the small and medium-sized ones, excessively afraid of disclosing such adverse operations.
According to Leonardo-Finmeccanica, during the Covid-19 phase, there have been 230,000 malspam operations worldwide, 6% of which in Italy.
This year 51% of all Italian companies have suffered one or more significant cyber attacks, with a 125% average expansion for the domains called “Covid”.
In China, however, there has recently been a change of the State system.
While in the past, before globalization, also thanks to an “imperial” psychology, the Service had above all to defend borders and, to some respects, also the “purity” of the Chinese ethnic balance, today – considering the global economic role played by China – the Service has to deal with 1) the security of raw materials supplies from abroad and 2) the stability of the productive system in a phase of great social transformations.
Hence the necessary current complexity of the Chinese Party’s and State’s decision-making system: the top level is the National Security Leading Small Group (NSLSG), which also has many informal strategic decision-making mechanisms within the Chinese ruling class. An elite that has always been more informal than we might think.
Certainly, at institutional level, there is also the Politburo Standing Committee, but there is still Hu Jintao, a man still essential to the power architecture of Xi Jinping, who listens to him carefully.
There is also the Foreign Affairs Leading Small Group, which is less involved in relations with the United States – of which the aforementioned National Security Leading Small Group is in charge – but mainly controls the work of the Agencies and connects them.
In addition to the intelligence Services’ role, a fundamental role is also played by the various and often excellent academic and non-academic think tanks.
Also the results of these structures are assessed by the Small Groups.
But how is foreign policy decided in China?
First of all, there is the CPC but, more precisely, the “Politburo Central Committee”, in addition to the aforementioned Politburo Standing Committee (PBSC).
With its 204 members and 167 “alternate” members, the Central Committee meets once a year.
The “Politburo Central Committee” is composed of 25 members, elected by the Central Committee. It meets once a month and five of its members do not usually live in Beijing.
The PBSC, the Central Committee Standing Group for Foreign Affairs, meets once a week and has nine members.
The Meeting is often coordinated by the Central Committee’s Foreign Affairs Office.
Within the Standing Committee, the Foreign Affairs Office has a specific area responsibility, but we should not think that Chinese Communism is authoritarian, at least in the childish sense of the term.
The bigger the issue, the wider and freer the discussion. The leader’s policy line is always to buildthe broadest consensus among his advisers.
With specific reference to the thorniest issues, the leader often appoints a “first collaborator” but usually the “central” meetings are routine for minor issues, even geopolitically, while the leader speaks and decides on the essential issues: the relations with the United States – still a constant obsession of the Chinese intelligence Service – with Japan, Taiwan or, most likely, the Russian Federation.
The policy line at the top of the decision-making system – and this also pleases Xi Jinping – is still the old and stable policy line developed by Jang Zemin, which was defined in 1999: “collective leadership, democratic centralism, individual preparation and decisions that always result from meetings”.
In this way, the Standing Committee and the Central Committee’s Foreign Affairs Office prepare briefings and distribute them among the Central Committee’s offices.
Often there is no voting, but discussions are held until consensus is reached.
For example,a rare case of voting was when North Korea conducted a nuclear test in 2009 and China had to decide whether to withdraw its support for the country. Seven negative votes were cast against support for North Korea.
The establishment of the aforementioned National Security Leading Small Group (NSLSG)mainly followed the U.S. bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade.
A fact that has marked China’s recent political history.
Hu Jintao, whom the PSBC defined as a “main personality”, leads a complex office: eight Ministers from the State Council; two from the Foreign Ministry; the National Security Minister; the Minister of Commerce; the Taiwan Affairs Office, the Office dealing with Hong Kong and Macao; the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office and finally the Information Office.
There are also two Party’s bodies: the Propaganda Department and the International Department.
The Armed Forces are represented by the Defence Minister and the Chief of Staff.
Therefore, the Chinese intelligence Services have a completely different style and modus operandi compared to the Westerners’ intelligence practices. They also have a complex and technically refined organization of political control over the Services’ operations, and finally a different finalization of the Chinese Agencies’ operations in the West, at least for the time being.
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