Act of Valor; or, A War Without a Narrative…

Narratives, tropes, and videotape.

… but with a Chechen-Jewish Drug Smuggler Named Christo

Let me state up front that I don’t think the filmmakers meant anything by the “Christo” character.  I do think they stumbled haplessly on a hornet’s nest of anti-Semitic tropes – and thereby hangs a tale that matters.

Act of Valor is a moving, gripping film, all the more so for being enacted by real Navy SEALs.  (Full disclosure: this reviewer is a 20-year Navy veteran, and while definitely not a SEAL was privileged to work with some.)  The one major flaw I found with the production, per se, was the rather annoying sound track, which could have dispensed with the hackneyed crescendos at suspenseful moments.  What the SEALs do needs no audience-cues or embellishment.

And they do incredible things.  The movie conveys well the deceptive simplicity of their narrowly-scoped tactical operations.  Naval Special Warfare is the unique funnel through which attack submarines, amphibious assault ships, and special-purpose aircraft are brought to bear on strange, one-off combat problems for which they weren’t necessarily designed.  The whole Navy – indeed, all the special ops capabilities the United States has – makes up a big bag of tricks for the SEALs to reach into.

Yet when the SEALs are on-scene conducting their operations, doing what no one else can, it all depends on them.  Training and expertise are indispensable, naturally.  But the on-scene surprises, the multi-vector firefights, the heart-rending collateral damage, the fallen comrades – that’s where the valor comes in.

It doesn’t come in with a trumpet fanfare.  The SEALs are effective in the movie because they evince valor so realistically.  They are terse, focused, making every yell and profanity count – which is what highly-trained men sound like in combat.  Valor isn’t something you emote your way through or sit around thinking about.  It’s just what’s left when all the props have fallen away.  And it requires a context if it is to matter and be detectable: a life saved, a mission accomplished, a job not given up on, a shipmate not left behind.

That, it turns out, is the poignant weakness at the heart of Act of Valor’s premise.  The ambiguous real-world context of the war on terror is the greatest narrative disability of all.   The film’s story, with so much gripping tactical realism, seems to be built on a strategic hallucination: that it’s Chechen underworld gangsters who are likely to be masterminding a terrorist insertion into the United States.

Hezbollah is all over Latin America; Hamas is showing up there; Iran’s paramilitary Qods force is reported to be operating out of Venezuela; Hezbollah and Somali Islamists have already sneaked illegally across our border from Mexico; the great majority of drug criminals in Latin America are Latin American – yet the production team for Act of Valor decided to make the villains in the movie Chechens, and make the Chechen drug smuggler a Jew.  Why in the name of Jumping Jehoshaphat did they do that?

The Jewish character’s name is Mikhail Troykavitch, but his nom de narcotics in Latin America is “Christo.”  This seems a little studied, but perhaps is merely a coincidence.  (If you’re not getting it, all Western names containing the syllable “Christ” in any form map back to the name of Jesus Christ.  The “Christ” comes from the Greek christos, meaning “anointed.”)  I say let’s assume nothing about a Jewish criminal naming himself “Christ” and move on.

Other reviewers have pointed out Christo’s rather cartoonish hooked nose and eyeglasses, so we need not belabor that.  I was struck forcibly, however, by a disclosure early on about Christo’s Chechen associate, Shabal – the terrorist who blows up children while assassinating the US ambassador in the Philippines, and then plots to put suicide bombers with high-tech explosive vests in cities in the United States.  Shabal, we are told, was connected with the 2004 massacre of schoolchildren in Beslan, in southern Russia.

The insertion of a Jewish character into this mix begins to rise to a remarkable level of haplessness with the Beslan tie-in.  Perhaps the filmmakers were unaware that there is a well-worn theme among some factions in Russian politics of Jewish complicity in the Beslan massacre.   (A relatively printable fulmination represented at a Pravda forum here; more colorful ones can be found in Russian.) The baseless allegation is periodically inflamed by reports that alternately suggest Israel is sympathetic to the plight of Chechnya, and in league with the hated, Russian-approved government there.

The flames are fanned further, however, by 9/11 Truthers who believe a Russian Jew, Boris Berezovsky, was connected with the 9/11 attacks.  The same Berezovsky, who had business interests in Chechnya in the 1990s, is also quoted all over the net by the conspiracy-minded as boasting that he “caused the war in Chechnya.”  Those of fevered imagination can’t decide whether the Jews are abetting Chechen terrorism or allying themselves with Moscow, but in any case, you can’t make a criminal a Chechen Jew and give him an underworld buddy who blows up kids and had a hand in the Beslan massacre, and not open up a big, sweaty bottle of single-malt anti-Semitism.

“But, good grief,” you might say.  “Can’t anybody ever make a Jew a bad guy?  What, screenwriters are supposed to look under every rock for exotic anti-Semitic tropes they might be inadvertently evoking?  Seriously, we have to be that careful?”

And the proper response, the pointed, relevant response is: Why shouldn’t we have to?  Look at Act of Valor itself.  About whom were the screenwriters at least that careful?  Consider the interview on Christo’s yacht, in which the SEAL senior chief is interrogating the drug smuggler.  Note what the senior chief says out loud, and what he doesn’t.  He barks at Christo, “But you’re a Jew!” – by which he is suggesting that it’s odd for Christo to be in league with a terrorist like Shabal, whose goals are presumably hostile to Jews.

Then the senior chief asks Christo, “You know what he is?”  Well, we all assume we know what Shabal is, having seen him in a video near the beginning of the movie, calling on Allah while waving an automatic weapon.  But the SEAL doesn’t say it.  He doesn’t say “Muslim radical,” he doesn’t say “Islamic terrorist,” he doesn’t say “Islamist” – he doesn’t fill in the blank at all.  The question hangs there, answered in every viewer’s mind but not on the screen.

In the real world, meanwhile, the transnational terrorists who keep popping up far abroad, especially in the Western hemisphere, are Arabs, Pakistanis, and Somalis.  But Act of Valor gives us Chechens and Filipinos.  (There is a brief interlude at an airfield in Somalia, but no Somalis in the terror gang we follow in the story.)

This political correctness wouldn’t be as noticeable if the filmmakers did not seem to have taken the long way around the barn to shoehorn a Jew into the story.  The contrast can’t help standing out, and it is right to point it out.  It would be wrong to accept it without cavil.

It is almost as if the filmmakers were consciously determined not to appear to give a Jewish character kid-glove treatment – as if to say: “Fears about negative depictions of Jews are outdated and overblown.  Jews are just like anyone else; we can make some of them villains.  The evils of the past don’t mean we have to whitewash the present.”

But, of course, the world hasn’t changed that much.  If it had, we could make Lebanese-Arab Hezbollah Muslims or Yemeni-Arab Islamist jihadists into our main screen villains for a movie, without self-consciousness.  The truth is that this world is pretty much as it has ever been, and a political recognition of that – an unspoken one would be fine – is what is missing from Act of Valor, because it is missing from America’s official, public dialogue on the war on terror.  The breathtaking nature of the SEALs and what they do makes the movie a thrilling ride.   But the story comes off as thin, not because the SEALs’ missions don’t matter, but because there is no strategic-level narrative, no “Why We Fight,” tying them together.

Our enemies in World War II were basically living caricatures, armed with tanks and aircraft carriers.  Writing a narrative in which they were the enemy wasn’t difficult.  It was harder to write our narrative in the Cold War, but even then it was easier than it is today to define what the problem was, and how to bring the nation-state to bear in solving it.

Today’s war is a war without a narrative: a war in which there is only an endless series of “battles,” which we cannot afford to lose but which don’t bring us any closer to winning.  We don’t have an actionable concept of what winning would look like, and we certainly have no strategy to get there.

In a sense, the SEALs are the perfect force to follow in a movie about a war like this one.  A number of reviewers have complained about the shallowness of the plot; some even consider it to be laughable, no more than a cheap device to get a particular SEAL team from one operation to the next.  But the joke is on them, because that is pretty much how a war looks from the perspective of a SEAL team.  One of the most realistic aspects of the movie is precisely the narrow immediacy of the pretexts for moving the SEALs around.

SEALs don’t run extended joint-force campaigns, they don’t take and hold territory, and they don’t hand the president enduring, decisive political victories.  For those activities – the kind that form a coherent narrative – you must, to paraphrase T.R. Fehrenbach, put your young men in the mud and give them enduring, decisive political objectives.  But that is not the war on terror as it has been waged for the last four years.  Act of Valor has a plot like a police-procedural TV show because that’s what the war on terror has become.

The war was losing strategic steam by the end of the Bush presidency, and has settled into a tactical police-action posture under Obama.  The throw-away “Chechen-Jewish-drug-smuggler” character has about it the whiff of a Law & Order episode; it comes off as a quasi-random composite, of the kind writers can just make up when the narrative is as open-ended as the face of human crime.

Wars against well-defined enemies preclude such literary license, which is quite clear if we imagine writing a story like this about World War II.  The Nazis were Germans; there was no getting around it.  Today, we have worked hard not to define an enemy; we have no enduring, decisive political objective; and we have no positive strategy.  So we end up with as much literary license as we can handle, and no end in sight to the conflict.

Seen in that light, it is perhaps even more remarkable that Act of Valor is so compelling.  I admit to not even registering the thespian inadequacies of the SEALs, because – as many readers can probably also say – they looked real to my eyes.  The actors in G.I. Jane looked like actors playing SEALs; the SEALs in Act of Valor are authentic.

I saw one review in which the writer supposed that the SEALs “don’t really talk that way,” but I’m not sure what he meant: the SEALs talked as military men talk.  SEALs tend to be very intelligent, well-read, and understated, with a somewhat mordant sense of humor and a natural, unforced patriotism and warrior’s honor.  That came through in the movie.  To ask for something else is to miss the point.

When one of the SEALs is killed after throwing himself on a grenade, the scene is depicted accurately, without gratuitous gore, and the other SEALs react, but continue their mission.  At his funeral, the team’s wounded SEALs make a powerful visual, gathered around the casket, but equally powerful is the quiet dignity and courage of the assembled family members.  The SEALs would have it no other way.

Critical reviewers have denigrated the voice-over by the SEAL chief (NCO, E-7) whose narration frames the movie.  They suggest that the narration and its content – which is focused on the heritage passed between generations of fighting men – are simplistic or hackneyed.  It didn’t strike me that way.  The SEAL’s voice, with its Midwestern accent and unpracticed cadence, sounded familiar and authentic to me.  It sounded like the voice of a sailor.

Tethering the story to the SEALs’ family lives cements the film’s message.  The silly, tortured ambiguities of politics and the war on terror are mostly offstage.  The reality that grounds these men is captured in the face of the SEAL lieutenant’s baby boy in the final seconds of the movie.   Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard:  in a war without a narrative, there is still valor.

We sleep soundly in our beds at night because rough men stand ready to do violence on our behalf.   (Attributed by George Orwell to Winston Churchill)

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air’s Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, and The Weekly Standard online.


36 thoughts on “Act of Valor; or, A War Without a Narrative…”

  1. I just wish someone would make a real WWII Submarine movie… with real WWII submarine exploits…

    Or maybe a movie about the Charge of the Taffy 3 escorts at the Battle off Samar…

    Though I doubt anyone really wants to see a squadron of old WWI era four piper destroyers and cruisers chasing German surface raiders and U-Boats in the South Atlantic. Not as sexy as the North Atlantic convoys… Though the last big Murmansk run might be as story. (near and dear to my heart because my namesake fought in those little entanglements.)

    Humm… I probably won’t see it until it hits DVD.. maybe not then. I get wary when real military folks start doing “real” stuff on the screen – big or little… It is better to be a bit of a mystery. Can they really do that? -um maybe,,, How does that work? – betcha it doesn’t really look like that.

    Methods, tactics, and real capabilities I always shy away from, maybe its the son of a 3-guy/2-guy… sort of outlook.

    The villian I am not happy about. It should have been a real villian, not a PC-TV fake from Gadzookistan….

    The rest. We shall see… I have a supreme level of respect for Special Forces folks… Navy/Marines, Army, and Air Force… They do dangerous stuff that helps keep us free. They are aces all, in my book.


  2. Your prayers have been answered, MF….

    I fact there IS a great WWII submarine movie. It is an utterly gripping portrayal of what the “Battle of the Atlantic” was like for the real human beings who participated in the claustrobic cat and mouse game of submarine warfare. It is nothing like the juvenile “Starship Troopers” stuff epitomized by “Act of Valor”.

    The movie (originally shown in several installments for TV) is the German movie, “Das Boot”. It also has a wonderful haunting soundtrack.

    1. US Navy doofus… My grandfather was hunting and sinking (2) that I know of, a possible 3rd… U-Boats….

      I saw Das Boot… in German (with subtitles my German is a 4 year old’s with 49 years between lessons.)

      It was fine. But I am talking Sugar Boats… Gato Boats… Mush Morton – The REAL “Run Silent Run Deep”. not the phoney Burt Lancaster/Clark Gable stuff…. R boat training in the Atlantic…

      But then I suppose you aren’t all that interested in the worlds finest Navy… and its exploits…

      Maybe even the age of sail… Constitution vs Guerriere or Java… or both since they were famous victories in the War of 1812.

      US Navy ship stuff…


  3. Here’s the problem, J.E., the novelization by a former Seal team leader, Couch, and a fmr Navy Captain, makes it quite clear that ‘Christo’ is Chechen with both sides of his family, in the resistance movement, they
    also suggest he’s American educated with degrees from Wharton, which
    seems a litle unlikely in the 1980s, in the book, the description of Shabal
    is made in broad strokes, without that accusatory line by the master chief

    It’s much more likely that the middleman would be someone like El Shukrijumah, a Saudi resident of South Florida, who spent time in Central
    America, or other such figures.

    1. Thanks, mc. I hadn’t read the novel, and honestly, as I was doing web research for this, it didn’t come up in any of the commentary I found. I listened to boring interview videos with the director-producers and the screenwriter in search of a clue about the Christo character, and didn’t come up with anything.

      So, truly, thanks for pointing this out. It is exactly right that the middleman was more likely to have been from one of the usual-suspect groups. Frankly, it was more likely to be a Latin American drug smuggler, one who probably did business with both the cartel organizations in Mexico and the US, and with Hezbollah, which is heavy into the drug trade in Central and South America.

      There IS a Chechen criminal underworld, and it could be operating in Latin America. (It has made its way to New York and Southern California, in very small dribbles.) But the chances that it would be in league with a Chechen terrorist are vanishingly slim, as are the chances that a Chechen terrorist would be interested in attacking the United States. The focus of Chechen insurgents is Russia. Their rhetoric against the US is perfunctory — and indeed, the US is all over Central Asia now, and the Chechen insurgents have yet to attack us, in spite of the relatively soft target our forces would make.

      Meanwhile, the chances that a Chechen criminal operating in Latin America (or anywhere else for that matter) might be a Jew are even slimmer.

  4. christo is a drugdealer
    he is chechen and russian “before” jewish
    both chechen and russian have anti-american interests
    chechens have military/terror interests, including anti-russian
    post soviet russia has enterprise organized crime interests
    he grew up with shabal
    he gives shabal crap about shabal’s muslim name
    then explains hes going into hiding
    so clearly not ideological
    during interrogation he focuses on (shared) anti-american interests
    he assisted current operation, but may not have assisted any others

    also, IMO its much more realistic for a chechen to lead people from southeast asia rather than middle east / south asia. and not chechens because it was a suicide operation.

    the film is EXTREMELY clear on quote “jihadist” including a video made by shabal making allah references. maybe references to muslim countries too, but i dont remember exactly.

    1. Welcome, A B. Apologies for the delay in your post appearing; there’s a one-time “approval” requirement that keeps down the spam. Any comments you want to make will post automatically now, so don’t be shy.

      Agreed that the movie shows a video early on in which Shabal speaks as an Islamist terrorist. I mentioned that in the review. But the senior chief doesn’t state what Shabal is — indeed, the film never gets an American on camera saying that he or anyone else is an Islamist terrorist. Which is, in fact, what he is.

      I wrote in the response to miguel cervantes about the unlikelihood of the various features brought together in the Act of Valor story. But there is another point to make about the extreme unlikelihood of there being a Chechen Jew smuggling drugs in Latin America. It is so unlikely because of the very small population of Jews that were in Chechnya in the last 50 years (no more than 1000), their unique, isolated ethnic character (the “Mountain Jews” of Chechnya), their employment as farmers and small-time merchants, and the fact that virtually all of them were airlifted out of Chechnya by Israel in the 1990s, after the post-Soviet fighting began.

      The typical profile of a Chechen syndicate criminal is of a man born into a Muslim family who is not particularly observant and will do business with anyone.

  5. “Today’s war is a war without a narrative”

    You can’t have ‘a narrative’, if you refuse to identify your enemy. You can’t have a narrative, if you simplistically limit your identification of the enemy to “bad men who want to harm us” while refusing to identify the ideology which motivates them. You can’t have ‘a narrative’, if you refuse to identify the logistical factors of which the enemy is comprised.

    An effective strategy starts with accurately identifying who we fight and why.

    The narrative’s analysis consists of:
    The motivational ideology; Islam
    The Imams, Mullahs and Madrasses which inculcate Islam’s jihad against the Dar al-Harb (anyplace not ruled by Muslims)
    The terrorist networks; Islam’s foot soldiers
    The sympathetic financiers of Islamic terrorism
    The rogue nations; which supply logistical support to the terrorist networks
    The covertly hostile nations; which protect the rogue nations from reprisals

    The primary ‘covert nations’ are Russia and China. The secondary covert nations are those nations who out of appeasement and liberal ideology seek to avoid conflict at almost any cost; i.e. the European Union, Canada, New Zealand, etc.

    A successful strategy would incorporate the following aspects;

    To hold Islam responsible for the actions of its adherents.

    To recognize that Islam is theologically incapable of reform.

    To recognize that Shariah law is fundamentally incompatible with democracy, representative government, minority rights, and Western values.

    War with Russia and China would quickly escalate into a nuclear exchange so direct action against them is a political non-starter. But neutralizing the rogue nations removes that covert tool of aggression. War, for cause, should immediately be declared upon Iran and Iran’s oil facilities, government centers, military infrastructure and nuclear research and development facilities destroyed. NO boots on the ground, just bomb them back into military irrelevance.

    After having made a lesson of Iran, a new Pax Americana nuclear doctrine is announced. America recognizes that any country can have nuclear electrical power capacity, under close international and unimpeded supervision. But no country currently lacking nuclear weapons technology will be allowed to develop or purchase WMD, as they represent a clear and present danger to the human race.

    None of the above will happen, which shall result in far worse consequences for the world.

  6. Thanks, JED, for the best take on the movie’s Jewish problem and plot problems that I’ve read. This is a war that too many Americans hope they can just sit out; pay no attention and the enemies will lose interest. I deplore it while I pray that nothing will wake them suddenly from slumber.

  7. I saw the movie when it came out on Friday, and was stunned by the announcement about the Christo character in the middle of the movie. I went back home and wrote a pretty intemperate post accusing the whole movie of being antisemitic. As a Navy friend of mine noted, I’m extremely fond of the Navy, so that scene hit me in an emotional spot.

    Unsurprisingly, I immediately got pushback on my post. Most people thought I must have made a factual mistake. (As you know, I did not.) Others thought that I was reading too much into Christo’s Jewishness. And that’s where things get a bit muddy. Christo’s Jewishness creates precisely the problems you state, plus it feeds into ancient tropes about rich Jews destroying the Christian world. One could argue that he’s George Soros, but only a fool would try to equate Soros to someone funding hardcore terrorists trying to bring weapons of mass destruction into America. In any event, Soros is not the enemy the SEALS are fighting.

    But my post did elicit some information, and that came directly from the Senior Chief himself, who contacted me through an intermediary. (And I have confirmed that I was hearing from legitimate sources.) At the production level, the problem was one of pure amateurism. In order to make scene in which the Senior Chief interrogates Christo real, he was given information and asked to conduct the interrogation as if it was real. One of the pieces of information he got was that the actor playing Christo was Jewish. In a real interrogation, he would have used that to try to reach Christo and break him away from his alliance with a Jihadist childhood friend.

    Roger L. Simon has said that the scene was badly written, muddy, and amateurish, which was a problem that slightly plagued the whole movie. In terms of breaking Hollywood’s hold on war movies — or, rather anti-war movies — the movie is a good thing, though, so Simon suggested noting the problem and then moving on. After all, every dog is allowed one bite (or, before lawyers took over, used to be allowed one bite).

    Anyway, FWIW, here are links to my original angry post, my slightly calmer post, and my backing down post:

    (P.S. The SEALS get a pass. I’m still less then thrilled with the higher powers that didn’t catch this “amateur hour” mistake; or, worse, who used the mistake to their advantage.)

    1. Thanks, Bookworm. That indeed sheds an interesting light on it, to know that the senior chief was given information about the character and then improvised his interrogation in a realistic way.

      It isn’t surprising that the “Jewish” comment seems to have come without any real forethought. I guess the error was in the melding of the information about the Christo character and the actor, Alex Veadov. As miguel cervantes points out, Christo was apparently not described as Jewish in the novel.

      So it all does seem unplanned. If a non-Jewish actor had been playing the role of Christo, it might well have not even happened.

      And I agree, the producers should have caught this and corrected it.

  8. How dare anyone accuse any Jewish person of being a terrorist.

    Signed Andrew Adler

    1. of course, P, you miss the diff between a single real-life example and a literary representation.

      Irene Adler

      1. We don’t usually make such subtle distinctions with people who have Moslem names.

        I think this guy should be trussed up in an orange suit and waterboarded until he reveals the names of his contacts in the Netanyahu clique. Or perhaps we should withold the dole we pay the Israelis until Bibi renders up Adler’s unindicted co-conspiritors.

        1. you get an opinion, P, just the same as Adler does…. and neither one of you deserve to be tortured…’s an effective quality-control technique, perhaps, but sometimes folks just can’t do much better than they do.

          I tend to doubt that Adler is working for Netanyahu,P, but if you have information proving any linkage you should contact the Secret Service right away…..they need to interview you.

          back on Planet Earth, It was pretty amusing to learn that Adler had to resign from a newspaper that he himself owns…..

          people at the New Republic never quite succeeded in booting the old bigoted friend-of-rodents that owned it.

          1. I suppose you and Adler are also entitled similarly. Can’t ever remember NR ever calling for the assassination of our president by foreign agents though. Moreover extremist elements from the foreign outfit concerned have a track record for assassination. And if one of these creatures just happens to act on Adlers suggestion, I can’t wait to see you, Adler etc falling over each other to blame it on a lone rogue. And so it goes in excuses land.

            1. you’re right, P if the president is killing by by anyone, it’ll be because a guy in an Atlanta newspaper with a circulation of approximately 600,000,000 put out a fatwa Khomeini-style and it’s like an open contract with a free lifetime subscription to the lucky winner………

              You can bet, P, that it’ll be some 73 year old from the Sandy Springs branch of Hadassah does the job and not some white Christian ultra-nationalist with a military background or an Islamist with a grudge against the entire world-wide Zionist/Crusader imperialist world.

              1. Just like that alumnus of an extremist yashiva who assassinated Rabin after the Adlers of the time declared Rabin a “rodef”.

                Hopefully it won’t come to pass.

              2. Rabin was holding any high office in the US, IIRC, and Adler didn’t call for the assassination of Obama but said it was an option.

                you’re really trying too hard with this, P…..and it’s not gonna take you where you seem to wish it will.

  9. One is reminded in Perez Riverte’s Queen of the South, there is a similar dynamic, sans the war on terror, but showing the transnational nature of said enterprises, the wife of a Mexican drug dealer, inherits the business,
    makes contact with the Russian mob, through an ex army officer, running
    establishments in Morocco, in Spain.

    1. A B — apologies once again — the filter spams anything with 2 or more links in it. Unfortunately, I can’t set it to allow approved commenters to use 2 or more links without an intervention.

  10. obviously no problem, just wanted to put out some stuff in response to those who expressed some concerns

    you deserve credit for allowing anonymous comments, when not everyone does

  11. I am not taking issue with your analysis, but I think your expectations are a little high. This is a Hollywood-produced movie. We are lucky that in the movie the terrorists are Muslims, and not a sect of snake-handling Christians in Idaho. The movie also connected the bad guys to Chechen terrorists, who everyone (except a few insane antisemites) acknowledges were Muslims.

  12. another thing from interrogation i had forgotten, paraphrased >
    ‘You haven’t seen Star Trek? … That’s insane’

    senior chief rapidly shifts from deferential, to making fun of, to deadly serious.

  13. Geharty (sic) suggests Christo might in the vein of Victor Bout, the arms dealer that Nicholas Cage based his character on, (and in the Inspiration for Zakhaev, the villain in Call of Duty) or on Semion Mogevilich, another free wheeling Russian gangster, among others

  14. shabal video >
    “explanation” (of chechen position) for americans, refers to americans siding with russia against chechens, specifically discusses american “occupation” of “muslim countries” and repeated references to muslim, allah, as well as directly threatening america, and something about getting rid of “safety” in america, and speaking to american people directly as “you” ‘you will experience’ etc.

    allah u akbar i think is in the video, and definitely during praying in somalia

    (interestingly, the trailer use of “jihadist” is NOT in the film)
    – but constant use of “jihadist” “jihadists” and “jihadis” by navy and cia
    – reference to christo doing “cocaine for soviet/russian arms” and 707 (202 pax) aircraft full of arms
    – senior chief calls christo a smuggler later, as opposed to “dopedealer”
    – references to ukraine and 2 shots of christo in ukraine
    – “muhammed abu shabal, the son of shabal. your father’s name was yevgeni.”

    shabal asks Mendelssohn (jewish) and guy says brahms (not jewish)

    interrogation >
    – ‘how is it youre working with the jihadis?’ “arent you jewish? and shabal is…?”
    – references shabal being smart and accomplished, and he has accomplished because of his beliefs – “i dont necessarily share his beliefs”
    – ‘this is shabal, this is me, this is america in between’
    ~ also re star trek – “i wouldnt know” “you havent seen star trek?” “no” “thats insane”

    – the video of christo’s family was taken in costa rica, and certainly cost of living is much lower in central / south america even compared to former soviet bloc, not to mention climate, and considering he is supplying military grade arms to drug cartels, theyre content to give him a comparatively small supply of drugs for him to sell or trade

    – also shabal participated in attack in phillipines and was ‘going back and forth between training camps in phillipines and indonesia’ where there is going to be a lot less focus (and in indonesia, support?) than middle east and north africa

  15. and in interrogation, christo specifically says
    ‘we have similar/common/shared interests’
    referring to anti-american interests
    after talking about how shabal is a childhood friend and they grew up together, im pretty sure even referencing that they grew up (soviet russia and chechnya) with those anti-american interests / background

  16. exact quote >

    So how is it that you’re working with these uh jihadi folks then? You are Jewish right? Shabal is, what?

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