We continue from Russian Bounty on U.S. Soldiers in Afghanistan; Unit 29155, Part 1.
The Stasi archives that pertain to the 1986 West Berlin discotheque bombing reveal that the participants were known to the Stasi, and one, Musbah Abdulghasem Eter, was a Stasi agent. The most provocative open source comes from (AP) Report: East Germany Allowed Libyan Attack On Discotheque. Quoting,
WEST BERLIN (AP) _ Ousted East German leader Erich Honecker and his secret police chief allowed Libyan terrorists to carry out the 1986 discotheque bombing that killed two American soldiers, a leading newspaper reported today…The report in the West Germany paper Die Welt was the latest in a string of disclosures on relations between international terrorists and Honecker’s Communist regime.
Multiple sources state that while the Stasi provided no active assistance, it was instructed not to interfere. Still other discountable sources, remnants of the Communist propaganda machines, describe an outraged Stasi on discovery of the involvement of their agent.
Surviving KGB veterans claim that terrorism was forbidden by KGB policy, though it had many relationships with groups that did use terror. When specifically asked about the Berlin disco bombing, they uniformly deny. Yet Soviet compartmentalization was so extreme, few had complete understanding of their own times. The opacity allows for rogues and cliques.
The Stasi, though an independent intelligence and security agency, was not ocean-going-with a world view. Their native concerns were restricted to Eastern Bloc security, and external espionage in West Germany. Libya meant nothing to them. It would have been a remarkable exception in their society of ultimate control, to allow foreign conspirators to commit a terror act in West Berlin, which at that time was a West German enclave, completely surrounded by East Germany.
So the plot was allowed to proceed at the behest of a power with a world view. The choice most compatible with Occam’s Razor is a person or power center within the Soviet Union, but not the Kremlin itself. This was early in the tenure of Mikhail Gorbachev as General Secretary. He had no sympathies with terror or grudges with the West.
The order probably came through a backdoor channel, as simple as personal acquaintance of the resident KGB, or as elaborate as the Gavrilov Channel, a backdoor phone line between the CIA and the KGB, who proposed it in 1983. But who was at the Soviet end of the channel? Vladimir Putin doubtless knows. I’ll trade him a Starbucks gift card for the answer.
In his absence, the only hint is in the rapid change that came with the assent of Gorbachev to General Secretary. Early in his tenure as General Secretary, his challenge was to gain dominance over an elderly and conservative Politburo, which he did by shuffling and forced retirements. During this period, someone on his way out, or some clique with personal losses in Afghanistan, may have had a need for revenge against the U.S. The Soviet-Afghan war began in 1978. U.S. arms deliveries to the Mujahedin began in 1980, though deliveries of the Stinger MANPAD did not begin until after the Berlin disco bombing.
This rogue or clique-based authorization of terror without approval of the Party is an early marker of breakdown of the Soviet system. In 1991, the breakdown became almost total. Russia’s short experiment with democracy was aborted by those who sought to reconstruct a country more related to traditional Russia.
To build a country out of the wreckage, they grabbed all the myths they thought serviceable, which included paternal government, Slavic nationalism, Orthodox Christianity, militarism, and a “great power” myth. Unit 29155 is simply reassignment of the mythic role of the Yasha Group.
If the bounties are a fact, (change to my highest class of real world certainty, the almost-fact) the builders grabbed the wrong myths, and repurposed them in the wrong way. The error is above and beyond a clique or single individual who may have authorized. This is Russia today.
Next: Towards an understanding; techniques to counter; balms for our souls.