Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – Former head of the CIA’s bin Laden Unit, Michael Scheuer, joins Mike on the Dudemaker hotline to discuss the Boston Bombing, how it was handled by the FBI and CIA, our relationship with Russia and Chechnya and much, much more, check out our exclusive transcript right here…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Say hello to our friend, the one and only Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA’s bin Laden Unit and an all-around very knowledgeable source on all manners of foreign affairs. Michael, as always, it’s a pleasure, my friend. How are you?
Michael Scheuer: I’m very well, sir, thank you. Thanks for having me back. I have to say, just on your last discussion, I teach at Georgetown University and I’m supposed to have the best and the brightest in the country in their graduate school. I believe they are according to the grades, but I have to tell you, in terms of knowledge of American history and what the amendments are for, whether it’s the Second Amendment or the Third Amendment, those youngsters are just not taught by their teachers what those are about.
Mike: That’s how you wind up with people saying: It’s okay. The SWAT team can come in. The governor said it was an emergency. You guys on the radio need to shut up. I say there’s a reason why the Third Amendment, especially in the Boston area — General Gage and the royal governor at the time, Hutchinson, are the ones that said: Yeah, we’ve got a bunch of troops here that need food, so you guys on A Street, you get Battalion 143. You guys on Water Street, you get Battalion 47, and so on and so forth. No questions asked. If you resist, you know what’s going to happen with you. They had very fresh experience. This was a very real threat to them.
Scheuer: You remember General Gage, when he went to Lexington and Concord, was out to seize their weapons.
Mike: That’s right, and thus one of the causes of the Second Amendment. I am always glad and happy to have you on the program. I immediately thought of you last week. On Friday’s show we were talking about this. I said: I know Michael Scheuer and I, in one of our discussions here on the show, he had brought up Chechnya, said something about Chechnya, so I know he has knowledge of them with his experience with the CIA. From what you know about the Chechens and the Tsarnaev brothers, is there a chance they were sent here by Chechnya or is it just a coincidence?
Scheuer: Well, it’s not a coincidence in the sense that the movement in Chechnya and all of those six republics in the Northern Caucasus has progressed over the past two decades from a nationalist-oriented separatist movement to very much an Islamist movement. A lot of Arab fighters have gone there to support the Chechens. The Saudis and our other so-called allies on the Arab Peninsula have sent schools and money and missionaries there. Islam in the Northern Caucasus, which was once even less than moderate has become much more aggressive, not only because of the factors that I just mentioned, but also because the Russians are absolutely brutal in handling them in terms of indiscriminate slaughter of families and towns and that kind of thing. The idea that Chechnya and the Northern Caucasus are generally a hotbed of Islamist militancy should not come as a surprise to us at all.
Mike: Is it fair to say that Islamic militancy has risen, I think that’s what you just alluded to, in those Northern Caucasus as a result of the brutality of Vladimir Putin and his predecessors?
Scheuer: And Yeltsin. That in part is it. Another part of it is that they have always been very nationalistic and didn’t want to be part of Russia. The people from those six republics, for example, were expelled on trains to central Asia by Stalin in the ‘30s and ‘40s. They have a great animosity toward the Russians. But our allies, so-called, on the Arab Peninsula are really responsible to a significant degree. When unrest occurs in a Muslim country, the Saudis are the first on the scene, not with guns but with schools and kindergartens and preschools. What they’re doing is inculcating into those moderate or semi-Muslims a very hardline Islamic faith, far harder than Osama bin Laden’s, for example.
Mike: Wow! Harder than bin Laden’s? In your experience, how is it if they are questioned about it, and maybe they aren’t, how does the House of Saud then defend that? What is their justification? Are they providing humanitarian aid? Is that what they do it under the cover of?
Scheuer: That’s what they say, sir, and that’s what the American government, under both parties, tells the American people. The reality is that the Saudis, like the Israelis, like the Chinese, have lobbies in this country that control the American government to some extent. The Saudis, of course, have two things going for them: oil and their willingness to help us in the oil market, and, I believe, next to China they own the second-most of our debt. What the Saudis want, the Saudis get. One of the things that has never been explained to the American people, and if you remember, the section was deleted from the 9/11 Commission report, the Saudis’ now 30- or 40-year-old campaign to Islamicize Muslims around the world, including in North America.
Mike: Just to review here, the Chechens are already, by and large, predisposed to being radicals because they are separatists or nationalists, as you call them. They didn’t want to be a part of the Soviet Union.
Scheuer: That’s correct.
Mike: They didn’t want to be Russians. They ultimately did win their freedom. Why are they still radicalized today if we had mass secessions in 1991 and the Soviet Union broke up and Vladimir Putin and his cronies no longer had any constitutional authority over the Caucasus, then under what pretense do the Russians continue to antagonize the Chechens?
Scheuer: The Russians talk a good game about decentralization, but they continue to see that in Chechnya and Dagestan — there are six different republics or states in the Northern Caucasus, all of them now in revolt against Russia. The Russians continue to try to wipe out anyone opposed to a Russian-dominated government in those six countries. They’re very effective, of course, and always have been at keeping the media out of covering that. There’s virtually nothing in the American papers over the past decade about anything in the Northern Caucasus.
Mike: We are woefully uninformed or underinformed, as the case may be. Just dealing then with the Tsarnaev brothers — I think I saw this somewhere the other day – there are not very many Chechens that are actually in the United States. I think I saw the number was less than 1,000 that have actually immigrated here. Are the Chechens content with antagonizing and fighting the Russians, or because of their radicalization do they now take up the cause of other radicals in using the excuse of our intervention, which is a pretty good excuse, to justify their actions? Are they after us now?
Scheuer: To some extent they will be, sir. What we saw in Chechnya and the other republics there in the Northern Caucasus is what we’ve seen in North Africa, what we’ve seen in Nigeria. These causes start out with almost overwhelmingly local grievances at hand. They grow from that to a regional kind of orientation. Then they actually grow into an awareness of themselves being part of a broader Islamic world. The propaganda of the Islamists, of Al-Qaeda and groups like it, is extraordinarily effective with young men. Two years ago, the Islamist movement in the Northern Caucasus declared war on the United States. They have been waffling back and forth whether they mean it or not. The general growth of anti-U.S. government feeling in Muslims in Africa, in the Northern Caucasus, in many places of the world, is growing.
Mike: Michael Scheuer, formerly of the CIA’s bin Laden Unit and, as he told you earlier in the interview, an instructor at Georgetown University is on the Dude Maker Hotline with us. Can we begin the process of at least extricating ourselves from responsibility for radicalizing Muslims and Islamists in North Africa and other parts of the other hemisphere, if you will?
Scheuer: No, sir.
Mike: Even if we mind our own business in foreign policy?
Scheuer: Oh, yes, if we do that, but we’re not going to, sir. Until there is a calamity in the United States of some magnitude greater than 9/11 perhaps, we are going to continue along the path that we’re on. What’s really odd about it to me, one guy like me thinks we should change one or more of our foreign policies. Who cares? Ultimately the American people decide that. What I can’t, for the life of me, not figure out is why the leaders don’t want to tell the American people what this war is about, if only to better alert them to the long and dangerous and bloody and costly war that we’re going to be involved in and are involved in if we keep the same foreign policies.
Mike: Is the war ultimately about the North African oil that we need?
Scheuer: It’s about oil, sir. It’s about our relationship with the Saudis. The Saudis are viewed as a tyranny across the Islamic world. We’re their big supporters. It’s about our support for the Israelis. When you say those things, those are simply facts; they’re not opinion. You can argue whether we should support the Saudis or the Israelis, and everybody is entitled to their position on that, but to fail to recognize, or worse to mislead the American people by saying our relationship with the Israelis and the Saudis is not a problem for us is both a lie and it leaves America open to attack.
Mike: Indeed. I don’t know if you’ve seen, and from what I know of you you probably haven’t, but there was a film made a year and a half ago that stars Robert De Niro and Jason Statham. It’s called Killer Elite. It unfolded with the CIA and with the British Special Forces, the SSA, SGA, something like that.
Mike: It unfolded a plot that was very intriguing and has every stamp on it that it could actually come true. A Saudi baron, a Saudi prince had lost a son in one of the desert wars and it was as a result of British Special Forces. He desired to contract private entities that were known assassins to strike back at the British Special Forces. Of course, at some level the American CIA becomes involved and there’s all manner of collusion. You find out, by the time you get to the end of the movie, almost everything that happens in the Middle East that we call foreign policy or foreign affairs or our dealings with other nations, the problems that occur that we claim we have to put our stamp on and address, and the British likewise, all have to do with either money or oil or a combination of the two. As long as the Saudi guy has the oil, we have to do what that guy says we have to do. Even in our sick culture, there is still fiction that is being written that is very close to the truth that you just said.
Scheuer: It’s absolutely the case, sir. When I worked at the agency, there were two entities that you could not say no to: the Saudis and the Israelis. Even if it was information that they wanted that would hurt the United States, if we refused, someone from those governments would call the White House and the White House would force us to give the information to either the Saudis or the Israelis. That goes to show a little bit that Madison perhaps overestimated our ability to control faction and lobby in this country.
Mike: He was also only dealing with 3 million people at the time.
Scheuer: Yes, that’s absolutely the case, sir. I think he never suspected that Americans would be so susceptible to being suborned by foreigners, even for money.
Mike: And boy are we. Michael Scheuer from Georgetown University, former head of the CIA bin Laden Unit and the proprietor behind nonintervention.com, an all-around good guy, a nice gentlemanly fellow and always a great, informative guest. Michael, as always, thank you for your time.
Scheuer: It’s always a pleasure, sir. You’re very kind to me, thank you.
End Mike Church Show Transcript