In a diplomatic cable dated August 6, 2008, regarding a meeting between U.S. and Russian experts on the export of Man-Portable Air Defense Systems (MANPADS) from Russia, the State Department expressed its concern about "Russian ammunition, sold to Venezuela ... found in possession of the FARC" Colombian terrorist group.
Four days later, in another cable, the State Department reiterated its concern regarding "recovered Russian-origin ammunition in Colombia, the ongoing Russian sale of advanced Igla-S MANPADS to Venezuela," which "have all reinforced growing concerns about the risk of increasing proliferation of arms to terrorist and criminal organizations in the region."
When "questions and comparisons were raised by the U.S. side about Russian ammunition, sold to Venezuela, and found in possession of the FARC," the cable states that the leader of the Russian delegation, a Col. Oleg Skabara, "first suggested that the ammunition did not come from Russia, but was probably a sale from 'unlicensed production,' a suggestion that it was manufactured in a third country without appropriate permits from Russia."
When the U.S. delegation did not buy into Skabara's explanation so easily, indicating "that the ammunition carried factory stamps, and that we provided this information," the Russians tried to brush off the accusation by asserting "that the meeting was to discuss MANPADS, not ammunition, and that these are different weapons and the approach, scale, and control applied to them are different."
Again, Russia only offered feeble assurances that it was in the process of "carrying out an investigation," and restated its position that the scenario of Russian MANPADS supplied to Venezuela making their way to the hands of FARC terrorists was "impossible."
However, such a scenario is not as impossible as Skabara would have one believe.
Prior to the arrest of Russian arms seller Victor Bout, the infamous "Merchant of Death," Bout told undercover DEA agents posing as FARC members — including DEA agent Louis Milione who recalled the conversation — that he would supply them with a vast assortment of weapons: "Anti-personnel mines, fragmentation grenades, armor piercing rockets ... all within the context of speaking about a shared ideology of communism and fighting against the Americans."
Another concern brought to the attention of the Russians, as mentioned in the same cable, was that of "Russian-made Eritrean MANPADS discovered in Somalia."
The Russian side responded only by stating that its "relationship with Eritrea is not strong, thus Russia cannot guarantee any further useful information on this issue."
When the "U.S. delegation then reiterated a request ... for a detailed list of all Soviet and Russian MANPADS transfers to Eritrea and the HOA [Horn of Africa] in general," the cables state that the "Russian delegation responded that this was impossible, as all records of MANPADS transfers prior to the year 2000 were destroyed in accordance with Russian laws governing classified information."
In another cable, then-U.S. Ambassador to Italy Ronald P. Spogli observed that "Putin's Russia bears little resemblance to communist ideals." Nevertheless, Spogli noted that "this fact has not deterred Italian communists and other radical left politicians from being openly pro-Russia on the basis of ideological solidarity."
Among the most well-known and active of Italian communists and radicals is the terrorist organization Red Brigades/Communist Combatant Party (BRCCP), which originated as an offshoot of Renato Curcio's Red Brigades (Brigate Rosse in Italian) founded in 1969. During the Cold War, Red Brigades members were known to travel across the Iron Curtain into communist Czechoslovakia, where they would receive instruction at the KGB-run special training center in Karlovy Vary.
Between 1999 and 2003, the BRCCP claimed responsibility for the assassination of three Italians, including Massimo D'Antona, an advisor to the cabinet of Italian Prime Minister Massimo D'Alema. Although D'Antona was a member of Italy's left-wing political apparatus, his assassination embodies the original objectives of the Red Brigades, as laid out by Renato Curcio: "Faced with working-class terror, the bourgeoisie by now has an obligatory course: to reestablish control by intensified repression and progressive militarization of the state."
Through the application of terror tactics, the steady erosion of a state's existing power structures into an unbearable repressive regime has historically been the method by which communists and other terrorists have sought to foster dissent and instigate armed revolution.
This is no different from what the Red Brigades/BCCP and Islamist terrorists have endeavored to accomplish. Just as the Red Brigades relied on Soviet aid, weapons, ammunition, and training for its survival, this diplomatic cable reveals the Italian communists' continued solidarity with Moscow.
In one recent cable dated February 18, 2009, in what is described as an "action request for Posts in Abu Dhabi, Amman, Cairo, Kuwait City, Manama, and Riyadh," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton relays instructions requesting them to "raise with appropriate government officials our [U.S.] concerns about Russian plans to transfer the S-300 long-range air-defense system to Iran."
Clinton reemphasizes this point: "In the spirit of our bilateral cooperation, we request your government's support in urging Russia to not transfer a highly sophisticated air-defense system to Iran."
In the cable, Clinton even specifically names Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov as having "brushed off U/S ... concerns over such a transfer." It also states that Lavrov "did not reiterate Russia's year-long position that the S-300 transfer depends on Iranian behavior," which indicates that Russia is planning to move forward with the weapons system transfer regardless of Iran's current actions.
In the following sequence of talking points, listed in the cable and below, Clinton outlines the history behind the weapons transfer along with Russia's unwillingness to cooperate with U.S. concerns:
• In 2005 Russia signed a contract to sell the modern long-range S-300 air defense missile system to Iran.
• In 2006, after it was exposed that Iran was not in compliance with its international nuclear obligations, Russia assured us it would not complete the transfer until Iran changed course.
• Despite these assurances, we are concerned that Russia is in a position to deliver the S-300 to Iran as soon as a political decision is taken.
• Moreover, when we raised our concerns in recent senior-level conversations with Russian officials, we were not reassured by the Russian response.
Meanwhile, as if the news of Russia's armament of Iran is not alarming enough, another cable made reference to the resurgence of the once pro-Soviet Tudeh Party within the government of Iran. In the cable it is stated that an unnamed Iraninan "former non-Marxist revolutionary activist" has avowed that Iran's "Tudeh (communist) party is reorganizing support among factory and government workers, and intellectuals."
These "many former Tudeh sympathizers," the activist claimed, "hold positions in the bureaucracy and elsewhere."
It should be noted that the Tudeh was the party to which Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh belonged before he was overthrown by the CIA in the 1953 d'etat, which the CIA warned would lead to blowback — and such was the case in 1979 with the Islamic revolution and the taking of American hostages.
The reemergence of the communist Tudeh Party and the increased Russian arms sales to state sponsors of terrorism — Iran, Venezuela, and possibly Eritrea — along with expressed solidarity of Italian communists with Russia, reads almost like a page from the Cold War.
This would all seem to vindicate the claims made by Sergei Tretyakov, one of the highest-ranking members of the Russian FSB (successor to Soviet KGB) to defect the United States, who stated that Russia currently views the United States as a "target."