When nation-states engage in covert actions,
such as assassinations, bombings and CBW attacks, do
they use free-lance terrorists groups to camouflage
their participation? If so, are there instructive examples
of disguised state-sponsored terrorism?
Yes, since the purpose of a covert action
is to hide the role of the state, their intelligence
service specialize in disguising their participation.
A convenient element in the disguise kit is to involve
a free-based subversive or terrorist group on which
the event can be blamed. Some covert actions have been
highly successful, such as the
operation in which German intelligence smuggled Lenin
and 30 other exiled revolutionaries into Russia in 1917
and which resulted in the Bolshevik coup detat.
Other covert actions proved less successful, such as
the Kennedy Administrations attempt to overthrow
Castro in Cuba in Operation Mongoose in the early 1960s.
In that case, the White House task force, called the
Special Group Augmented, assign such "planning
tasks" as using biological and chemical warfare
against Cuban sugar workers; employing Cuban gangsters
to kill Cuban police officials, using anti-Castro dissidents
to sabotage mines and, in what was called Operation
Bounty, paying cash bonuses of up to $100,000 for the
elimination of government officials, but they were never
successfully carried out..
There is no shortage of examples of nations
using Mujahideen groups of Jihadists for camouflage.
Consider Brigadier Mohammed Yousaf, the Pakistan intelligence
officer who organized the Mujahideen in Afghanistan,
autobiographic account, The Bear Trap. (Leo Cooper,
London, 1992). In it, he describes how Pakistans
military strategy to drive the Russians out of Afghanistan
in the nineteen-eighties required the creation of an
elaborate smokescreen through which Pakistan
could officially deny
it was training, arming, recruiting, organizing and
directing the anti-Soviet campaign of ambushes, bombings
and other attacks in Afghanistan (and later the Soviet
Union itself.) He asserts that even the most senior
generals in the Pakistan army had no idea of the
extent to which Pakistan, with immense logistical support
from the CIA, was planning and staging these attacks
and acts of sabotage. Pakistan subsequently
used Mujahideen called Lashkar-e-Taiba-(Army of Pure)
and Jaish-e-Muhammad (Army of Muhammed) for a similar
guerrilla war against India in Kashmir.
Arab countries and Iran have also have
made use of extremist groups, including Hizballah, Fatah,
the Islamic Action Front and al-Qaeda, according to
Janes Intelligence Reports. As a consequence,
it is not always possible to separate the work of a
free-based group from that of state intelligence service.