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Alleged Russian Spies Arrested. What If They Were Muslim?

One of the spies

Many in the Islamophobosphere claim that Muslims are secret Taqiyya imposters, seeking to “Islamize” America under the guise of living “ordinary lives.” In his The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades), Robert Spencer wrote:

When Shi’ite Muslims were persecuted by Sunnis, they developed the doctrine of taqiyya, or concealment: They could lie about what they believed, denying aspects of their faith that were offensive to Sunnis…Closely related to this is the doctrine of kitman, or mental reservation, which is telling the truth, but not the whole truth, with an intention to mislead…Remember that the next time you see a Muslim spokesman on television professing his friendship with non-Muslim Americans and his loyalty to the United States. Of course, he may be telling the truth–but he may not be telling the whole truth or he may be just lying. (p.79-81)

In fact, last Fall, four actual U.S. Representatives in the House accused the Council on American Islamic Relations of infiltrating Capitol Hill “with undercover spies.” Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia said:

If an organization is connected to or supports terrorists [and] is running influence operations or planting spies in key national security-related offices, I think this needs to be made known. So I join my colleagues here today in calling for action.

Their “evidence” was a book written by P. David Gaubatz and Paul Sperry entitled Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America. The book is based on Chris Gaubatz, the son of David Gaubatz, posing as a Muslim convert to inflitrate and expose CAIR as “part of an organized crime network.”

Yet, last Sunday, 10 people were arrested on charges of being part of a deep-cover Russian spy network. These people lived like “ordinary Americans while secretly reporting to Moscow.” The Washington Post reports:

Details that emerged Tuesday about the alleged spies’ lives added to the mystery of a network that prosecutors say extended from Manhattan to Seattle and the heart of the Washington area. Though utterly unremarkable to their neighbors, the suspects allegedly buried stashes of money and wrote messages in invisible ink as they sought to collect tidbits about U.S. policy and secrets.

Other details about the spies include:

Indeed, the alleged agents lived in the suburbs, went to parties and rooted for American sports teams. Eight men and women, authorities say, were “paired off” by Russian intelligence as married couples, and at least three of those four couples had children in the United States.

Two of those arrested in Arlington, a couple known as Michael Zottoli and Patricia Mills, took their young son on walks each evening in Seattle, where they lived until last year, neighbors said. Zottoli worked for an investment firm; Mills was a stay-at-home mom. The family lived in a neat and carefully decorated fifth-floor apartment.

“How would you ever think somebody next door would be involved in something like this?” said John Morrison, a neighbor. “You wouldn’t think a spy would care about what color curtains or about making things look nice.”

Mikhail Semenko, the third Arlington resident, helped neighbors at his apartment complex dig out after last winter’s massive snowstorms. On his Facebook page, he lists a New Jersey Devils hockey player as one of his “likes.”

“He’s warm, not calculating,” said Slava Shirokov, a co-owner of the Virginia travel agency where Semenko worked. “It’s straight from a movie.”

Those familiar with the case say that the details revealed in court documents do indeed read like an old-fashioned spy novel. According to prosecutors, the spies’ real purpose was to:

…infiltrate academic, policymaking and government-connected circles. Semenko, for example, often attended events sponsored by embassies and nongovernmental organizations.

Donald Howard Heathfield, an international business consultant who lived with his “wife,” Tracey Lee Ann Foley, and their two teenage sons in Cambridge, Mass., sought membership in more than 30 professional, academic and business associations — including one linked to the Department of Homeland Security, according to his page on LinkedIn.

More direct hints emerge in court documents. When agents covertly searched Foley’s bank safety deposit box in 2001, they found a series of photographic negatives of her. The name of the company that produced the negatives had been excised on all but one. Authorities identified the producer of the final negative as TACMA, a Soviet film company, court documents said.

Last Fall, we had actual Members of Congress accuse CAIR of implanting “spies” in the U.S. Congress, while there were individuals living as “ordinary Americans” but actually spying for a foreign government. These people were actually doing what many in the Islamophobe sphere accuse ordinary American Muslims of doing: posing as “ordinary Americans” but being something else entirely. Why, that’s Taqiyya!

But, what if these alleged Russian spies were Muslim? Think of the absolute hysteria of the Islamophobes: they would be claiming that they were right all along about Muslims; they would be calling on investigations and racial profiling of all American Muslims; they would be screaming Taqiyya! from the tops of their lungs.

Meanwhile, there were actual spies living in America who were recently caught. And the Islamophobes are silent…because the arrested spies are not Mooslims. Forgive my Canadian: pathetic, eh?

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  • minoria-maturin

    There are millions of Muslims in Russia and there have been terrorist attacks there that have killed HUNDREDS.

    If the 10 spies from Russia were MUSLIM then the Russians themselves would say:”They decided to do the same in the USA what they have been doing in RUSSIA.”

    Not all Muslims in Russia are terrorists,but there is terrorism from Muslim organizations in Russia,but it is under control.

  • morris Wise

    Every individual and nation has many secrets, that is why there are millions of spies. The lowest type of spy is the Peeping Tom who starts out life looking through the keyhole of his parents bedroom. Many of them evolve into the highest level of spying which is the spy who discloses military secrets to the enemy.

  • Muslim

    Read the O.E.D. definition of Terrorism without fear or favour & see how Loony Lawrence is exposed as either intectually lazy or egregiously selective.

    Multi-international award-wining investigative journalist John Pilger exposes the double standards in books like “Hidden Agenda” with rarely discussed concepts such as state terrorism.

  • Zatti

    There is so much good information here, I am not immediately finding a link to the series, “What If They Were Muslim?” These deserve a link all their own. Is it also possible to create a list of these posts, only, at Twitter? I would love to make such a link a favorite. Thanks.

  • My father

    And if they were lawrence they’d be easily recognised as dim-witted loons with terrible English and even worse manners, masquerading as Christians…:P

  • NoName

    Another baseless accusation which shows the stupid and retarded mind behind. This smart wannabe kiddo cannot differentiate rethoric question and a ‘real question’. If this is what you called as an ‘academic level’, well, shame on you skowronek 😛

  • http://googlemail lawrence

    If they were Muslims,they would be easily caught with their insignia of beards and skull caps and no brains in their skull underneath.They even fail to stop terrorism in their own Muslim countries.Look at Pakistan.

  • Skowronek The Lark

    “But, what if these alleged Russian spies were Muslim? Think of the absolute hysteria of the Islamophobes: they would be claiming that they were right all along about Muslims;”

    That’s an academic question. Muslims are too dumb to spy. They only know violence.

  • jock

    If they were Muslim, we’d probably be censuring them for not observing proper hijab and ‘acting immodestly’…..:D

  • Mossizzle

    Spencer is in need of a cold, moist slap.

  • mirele

    @eslaporte: good point. I’d point out that the current charges against the Russians do not include actually getting their hands on classified information. Instead, they’ve been charged with various things like “failing to register as a foreign agent” and “money laundering.” Those are serious charges, but they’re not the classic “spy” charges.

    I’m most concerned about the children, who are now finding out or will find out what their parents were up to. That’s going to mess with their heads.

  • eslaporte

    What is bothersome to me – personally – is that a major portion of my Master’s project last year contained two case studies of Serbia and Russia – and their relationships with the European Union – with recommendations for policy. I also continue to follow with great interest the Russia-EU relationship and write about it on my blog. I also write letters and mail out my viewpoints, globally, to especially EU related organizations, like the Commission.

    I understand that these “spies” were doing research and writing reports from souses locatable on Google and other search engines. They also sent their reports out to others. There were NO attempts to obtain classified information – and the “spying activity” was actually LESS than the rather deep research that I did for my Master’s project, which has also been published to the Internet.

    So – can I now expect a knock at my door – and being hauled before a judge for the “crime” of my academic and research interests? This – folks – can be a serious development for those of us that engage in these fields and living in the US – and this – along with the recent Supreme Court ruling that giving advice intended to steer terrorists out of terrorism is – aiding terrorism! Peace groups and their activists can go to prison for 15 years for trying to get terrorists groups like the the PKK to use peaceful means instead of terrorism!

    These developments have frightening prospects for freedom of speech, thought and expression. The US appears to be moving in the direction of authoritarian regimes that use their criminal justice systems to control speakers and speech it does not like. A common tactic of authoritarian regimes with little respect for human freedom is to claim security and counter-terrorism interests against academics and political speakers alike.

    These people don’t really appear to be “spies” …

  • Adam

    If they ignore this, than obviously they care nothing for the west.

  • Adam

    Why not e-mail this to robert spencer and Scamela Geller? In fact, blast this across teh blogspere, even send it to little green footballs.

  • DrM

    Better question : what if they were “israelis”? Hold on to your passports when you’re in Dubai.

  • Dan

    The sentiment would have been much different if this occurred during the Cold War.

  • mindy1

    Good god, Russian spys? i thought the cold war was over

  • froger29

    If they were muslims…. Peter King would be on Glenn Beck right now pushing legislation to tap every American Muslim’s phone right now

  • islamispeace

    Another great article by a rising star of LoonWatch! Onward Loonbusters!

  • langsammer

    Not so fast, maybe these so called Russians are in fact SEKRIT MUSLIMS!!

    Its easy to figure it out if you understand taqqiya, just ask ’em, if they deny they’re Muslims you can be sure they’re Muslims (Taqqiya orders Muslims to lie to infidels about their religion)

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