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By Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa
Editor’s note: Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking Soviet-bloc official ever to defect to the West. In December 1989, Romanian President Nicolae Ceausescu was executed at the end of a trial whose accusations came almost word-for-word out of Pacepa’s book, “Red Horizons,” subsequently republished in 27 countries.
After President Carter approved his request for political asylum, Pacepa became an American citizen and worked with U.S. intelligence agencies against the former Eastern Bloc. The CIA has praised Pacepa’s cooperation for providing “an important and unique contribution to the United States.”
A few weeks ago I read “America’s Marxist Picnic,” a touching story by WND’s David Kupelian, which illustrates how much the U.S. government hated Marxism a generation ago.
David’s father was one of America’s top rocket scientists, and he became deputy undersecretary of defense for strategic and theater nuclear forces under Ronald Reagan. During the 1970s, however, the U.S. government considered withdrawing his top secret security clearance because some informer had reported that, during his teen years, his mother had attended an Armenian church picnic where a pro-Soviet speaker gave a talk.
That story moved me. My father also worked for America – not as a top rocket scientist, but as service manager of the General Motors affiliate in Romania. Working for America became a crime when the communists took over Romania at the end of WWII and my father was soon killed by the Red Army.
Today the Communist Party is abolished in Romania, which re-became a trustworthy ally of the U.S.. Meanwhile, the formerly cursed Communist Party USA is throwing its full support to the current president of the United States.
I wrote to David. That’s how this interview was born.
Editor’s note: Ion Mihai Pacepa was interviewed by WND Managing Editor David Kupelian.
WND: Gen. Pacepa, it’s an honor to talk with you. Please tell me, did America win the Cold War? If so, why are we fighting Marxism in our own country today? And if not, what really happened?
Pacepa: Yes, we won the Cold War, but unlike other wars the Cold War did not end with an act of surrender and with the defeated enemy throwing down his weapons. But no, we are not fighting Marxism in our country, because the American people have not yet been warned that their country is being contaminated by Marxism. A few conservative luminaries like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly have warned that Marxism is infecting the United States, but neither the Republicans’ “Pledge to America” nor the Tea Party’s “Contract from America” has mentioned the word Marxism.
So far, to the best of my knowledge, only your “Marxism, American-Style” (June 2012 Whistleblower magazine) and PJ Media’s “Say No To Socialism” have called attention to the looming dangers of Marxism, a heresy that killed some 94 million people and transformed a third of the world into feudal societies in the middle of the 20th century.
There is still a widely popular belief in the U.S. and Western Europe that the nefarious Marxist legacy was uprooted in 1991 when the Soviet Union was abolished, just as the Nazi legacy was extirpated in 1945 when World War II ended. That is simply wishful thinking. There is a considerable difference between these two historical events.
In the 1950s, when I headed Romania’s foreign intelligence station in West Germany, I witnessed how Hitler’s Third Reich had been demolished, its war criminals put on trial, its military and police forces disbanded and the Nazis removed from public office. I also saw how West Germany’s economy was being rebuilt with the help of Marshall Plan money and how the country had become a multi-party democracy and a close friend of the United States. In 1959, when I returned to Romania, West Germany’s Wirtschaftswunder (economic miracle) made it the leading industrial power in Europe.
None of those things have happened in the former Soviet Union. No individual has been put on trial, although its Marxist regime killed many more millions than the Nazis did. Most Soviet institutions, under new names, have been left in place and are now run by many of the same people who guided the Marxist state. The KGB and the Red Army, which instrumented the Cold War, have also remained in place with new nameplates at their doors.
“Communism is dead,” people shouted in 1989, when the Berlin Wall began to come down. Soviet Communism is indeed dead as a form of government. But Marxism is on the rise again, and people are not paying attention. Why not? Because most people do not seem to be familiar with the undercover forms of Marxism we are facing today.
Hiding the ugly face of Marxism behind a smiling mask has become a Marxist science, which I described in a large piece recently published in PJ Media. Here let me just say that until 1963, Marxism was mostly camouflaged as “socialism.” The 1962 missile crisis generated by the socialist República de Cuba gave the socialist mask of Marxism a dirty name in the West and few Marxists wanted to be openly associated with it anymore. They therefore began hiding their Marxism under a new cover called “economic determinism,” which became all the rage among leftists who no longer wanted to be labeled socialists.
Economic determinism is a theory of survival rooted in Marx’s “Manifesto” (another theory of survival), but it pretends that the economic organization of a society, not the class war, determines the nature of all other aspects of life. Over the years, economic determinism has assumed different names. Khrushchev’s dogonyat i peregonyat (catching up with and overtaking the West in 10 years) and Gorbachev’s perestroika are the best known.
I wrote the script of Nicolae Ceausescu’s determinism, which was hidden behind the nickname “New Economic Order.” Most Americans, who are not used to dealing with undercover Marxists, have problems recognizing one. In April 1978, President Carter publicly hailed Ceausescu as a “great national and international leader who [had] taken on a role of leadership in the entire international community.” At the time, I was standing next to Ceausescu at the White House – and I just smiled.
Three months later, I was granted political asylum in the United States, and I informed President Carter how Ceausescu had been feeding him a pack of lies. The admiration for Ceausescu’s undercover Marxism had, however, taken on such a life of its own that the U.S. Congress, dominated by President Carter’s Democratic Party, brought the United States a sui-generis version of Ceausescu’s economic determinism. That move generated double-digit inflation. The U.S. prime rate hit 21.5 percent, the highest in U.S. history, and people had to spend long hours in line waiting to buy gas for their cars.
Laura D’Andrea Tyson, former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Clinton and later an economic adviser to President Obama, has kept that undercover Marxism alive in the U.S. She even wrote her Ph.D. dissertation on the merits of the allegedly “mixed” socialist-capitalist economies in Ceausescu’s Romania and Tito’s Yugoslavia. Two American presidents went to Bucharest to pay tribute to Ceausescu’s Marxism disguised as economic determinism. None had ever gone there before.
A few months ago, when the devastating economic crisis in Greece exploded, economic determinism lost credibility and our Democratic Party replaced it with “progressivism,” which is the current cover name for American Marxism. The real Progressive Movement was born after the U.S. financial crisis of 1893, which the country tried to solve by redistributing America’s wealth. The progressives pushed through the first federal income tax and they created a string of labor standards that opened up the floodgates of corruption and financial excess that generated the Great Depression. A new Progressive Movement, dubbed the New Deal, led to steep top tax rates, strict financial regulations, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, eventually generating the current economic crisis.
Today’s Progressive Movement was born in New York’s Zuccotti Park. It was first known as the “Occupy Wall Street” movement and advocated the abolition of “capitalist America.” The Democratic Party strongly embraced it and made “Progressive” its new byword. “God bless them,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told the U.S. Congress. “It’s young, it’s spontaneous, it’s focused and it’s going to be effective.”
WND: You have said, “In the Soviet Union, the KGB was a state within a state. Now the KGB is the state.” Please explain that.
Pacepa: General Aleksandr Sakharovsky, the Soviet gauleiter of Romania, who afterwards rose to head the almighty Soviet espionage service for 15 years of the Cold War, used to tell me that “every society reflects its own past.” Sakharovsky, who was a Russian to the marrow of his bones, believed that someday “our socialist camp” might wear an entirely different face, and that even the Communist Party might have become history, but that would not matter. The party was a foreign organism introduced by Lenin into the Russian body, and sooner or later it would be rejected. One thing, though, was certain to remain unchanged: “our gosbezopasnost” (the state security service).
Sakharovsky used to point out that “our gosbezopasnost” had kept Russia alive for the past 500 years, “our gosbezopasnost” would guide her helm for the next 500 years, “our gosbezopasnost” would win the war with “our main enemy, American Zionism,” and “our gosbezopasnost” would eventually make Russia the leader of the world.
Sakharovsky was right. Marxism triumphed in feudal Russia, which had been a police state since the 16th century’s Ivan the Terrible. There Marxism evolved into a secret samoderzhaviye or autocracy, the historical Russian form of one-man totalitarian dictatorship, in which the new Marxist tsar’s political police first exterminated the entire leadership of Lenin’s Communist Party and then, behind a facade of Marxism, quietly took precedence over the original tools of ideology and the Communist Party for running their country.
Only a handful of people working in extremely close proximity to the Soviet and East European rulers knew that after Lenin died his Communist Party gradually became a scramble of bureaucrats, playing no greater role in the Soviet Union than did Lenin’s embalmed corpse in the Kremlin mausoleum.
So far, Sakharovsky has proved to be a dependable prophet. His successor, Vladimir Kryuchkov, who later authored the August 1991 coup that briefly deposed Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, clearly shared the same fanatical belief in gosbezopasnost. Kryuchkov’s successor, Yevgeny Primakov, who was an undercover KGB officer under Sakharovsky, rose to become Russia’s prime minister.
On Dec. 31, 1999, Russia’s first freely elected president, Boris Yeltsin, stunned the world by announcing his resignation.
“I shouldn’t be in the way of the natural course of history,” Yeltsin explained, speaking in front of a gaily decorated New Year’s tree and blue, red and white Russian flag with a golden Russian eagle.
“I understand that I must do it and Russia must enter the new millennium with new politicians, with new faces, with new intelligent, strong, energetic people.”
Yeltsin then signed a decree “On the execution of the powers of the Russian president,” which stated that under Article 92 Section 3 of the Russian Constitution, the power of the Russian president should be temporarily performed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Yeltsin also announced that a special presidential election would be held around March 27, 2000, and he made a strong appeal for people to vote for Putin, who was “a strong person worthy of becoming president.” For his part, the newly appointed president signed a decree pardoning Yeltsin, who was rumored to be connected to massive bribery scandals, “for any possible misdeeds” and granted him “total immunity” from being prosecuted (or even searched and questioned) for “any and all” actions committed while in office. Putin also gave Yeltsin a lifetime pension and a state dacha.
To me, that had all the appearances of a KGB palace putsch.
Indeed, as of June 2003, some 6,000 former KGB officers were holding positions in Russia’s central and regional governments. Among them:
Vladimir Putin, elected president of Russia; Vladimir Osipov, head of the Presidential Personnel Directorate; Sergey Ivanov, defense minister; Igor Sergeyevich Ivanov, minister of foreign affairs; Viktor Ivanov and Igor Sechin, deputy directors in the Presidential Administration; Vyacheslav Soltaganov, deputy secretary of the Security Council; Viktor Vasilyevich Cherkesov, chairman of the State Committee on Drug Trafficking; Vyacheslav Trubinkov, deputy foreign minister; Vladimir Kozlov, deputy media minister; Gennady Moshkov, first deputy transport minister; Nikolay Negodov, deputy transport minister; Vladimir Strzhalkovsky, deputy minister for economic development; Vladimir Makarov, Leonid Lobzenko and Igor Mezhakov, deputy chairmen of the State Customs Committee; Sergey Verevkin-Rokhalsky and Anatoly Sedov, deputy taxes and duties ministers; Anatoly Tsybulevsky and Vladimir Lazovsky, deputy directors of the of the Federal Tax Police Service; Alexander Grigoriev, general director of the Russian Agency for State Reserves; Alexander Spiridonov, deputy chairman of Russia’s Financial Monitoring Committee; Vladimir Kulakov, Voronezh governor; Viktor Maslov, Smolensk governor.
Can you imagine a democratic Germany run by Gestapo officers?
Putin is indeed trying to make Russia the first intelligence dictatorship in history. In 2004, nearly half of all top governmental positions were held by former officers of the KGB. The Soviet Union had had one KGB officer for every 428 citizens. In 2004, Russia had one intelligence officer for every 297 citizens.
A new generation of Russians is now struggling to demolish the barriers Soviet Marxism spent over 70 years erecting between themselves and the rest of the world, and to develop a new national identity. If history – including that of the last 22 years – is any guide, these Russians, who are now enjoying their regained nationalism, will not truly turn westward. They will struggle to rebuild a kind of an Old Russian Empire by inspiring themselves from old Russian traditions and by using old Russian ways and means.
This does not mean Russia cannot change, but for that to happen, it will need help. In order for us to help, we should first fully understand what is now going on behind the veil of secrecy that still surrounds the Kremlin. Man would not have learned to walk on the moon if he had not first studied what the moon was really made of and where it lay in the universe.
WND: Gen. Pacepa, you are credited with playing a pivotal role in waking up the Romanian people and inspiring the overthrow of the tyrant Nicolae Ceausescu. Why is it that a communist nation like Romania could hear and heed your message, but not America?
Pacepa: Emil Constantinescu, the second post-Communist president of Romania, once said:
The missiles that destroyed Communism were launched from Radio Free Europe, and this was Washington’s most important investment during the Cold War. I do not know whether the Americans themselves realize this now, seven years after the fall of Communism, but we understand it perfectly.
The serialization of my book “Red Horizons” by Radio Free Europe was just one of the missiles fired against the Romanian version of Marxism during the Cold War years. We need a kind of Radio Free America. Let’s hope that others, many others, will join our efforts to help the new generation of Americans – who have no longer been taught real history in schools and know little if anything about America’s 44 years of war against Marxism – to understand the deadly danger of this heresy.
American essayist George Santayana, an immigrant like me, used to say that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Let’s hope that others, many others, will help America understand this truism.
WND: Many Americans would roll their eyes at the phrase “Marxism in America,” even though with every passing year we are becoming more and more Marxist. Why are so many Americans so blind?
Pacepa: They are not blind. They just do not really know what Marxism is. Few Americans will roll their eyes hearing the world “Nazism.” Why? Because the hideous crimes committed by Nazism were publicly exposed and their main authors were publicly tried and hanged. Unfortunately, there was no trial of Communism, although this Marxist heresy had killed 10 times more people than Nazism killed. Nazi archives have been opened to the public, who could learn about Nazism’s atrocities from the horse’s mouth. Most Soviet archives are still sealed.
Stalin was famously quoted as saying: If it is not written, it did not happen. But Marxism did happen, it generated a dreadful empire of gulags and it spawned a 44-year Cold War. Let’s open that Pandora’s box. The United States of America is a unique country of freedom, built by people who came to this land of opportunity in search of religious, economic and personal freedom. Once Americans know the truth, they will never allow themselves to become puppets of Marxism.
WND: General, you were the head of Romania’s Presidential House – the equivalent in the U.S. of being White House chief of staff and director of the CIA, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security – but you ultimately defected to the West. You radically changed, and gave your loyalty to America. What woke you up? What changed you?
Pacepa: Michelle Obama once confessed in front of television cameras broadcasting her statement worldwide: “For the first time in my adult life, I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.” When I was Michelle’s age I also liked to believe that history started with me. It took me a very long time to see the light. Power can generate blindness and it did in my case. It took me many more years to find the courage to renounce my exorbitantly luxurious existence and to face up to the truth about the hidden face of Marxism. Communist rulers have always been very generous with their spy chiefs – that is until they tire of them and kill them off.
It was noon when the U.S. military plane that was bringing me to freedom landed at Andrews Air Force Base outside of Washington, D.C., on that memorable July 28, 1978, and I was sitting up front in the cockpit with the pilots. It was a glorious, sunny day outside, which only magnified the fireworks popping off inside of me. For many, many years I had learned to hide my personal feelings. For that was the way of life in a Marxist society, where the government had its informants everywhere and where microphones covered you everyplace you went, from the office to the bedroom. But on that unforgettable day I had an overwhelming desire to dance around in a jig all by myself.
I was a free man! I was in America! The joy of finally becoming part of this magnanimous land of liberty, where nothing was impossible, was surpassed only by the joy of simply being alive.
It was my desperate hunger for freedom that woke me up.
WND: What will it take for Americans to wake up?
Pacepa: A “Campaign of Truth” like the one unleashed by President Harry Truman in 1950. I still keep the declassified version of his NSC 68/1950 on my desk. That 58-page document put together by the U.S. National Security Council set forth the strategy of exposing and containing Marxism and Soviet Communism.
“The issues that face us are momentous,” the document stated, “involving the fulfillment or destruction not only of this Republic but of civilization itself.” Truman reasoned that Marxism and Soviet Communism were the mortal enemies of freedom and religion – of all religions – and he believed their expansion could be stopped only “through a concerted effort” that would place the superiority and strength of what he called “truth and freedom” before the peoples of the world.
Marxism is now threatening our country again. Let’s unleash another Truman-style campaign of truth. Let’s remind the leaders of the Democratic Party that Truman was a Democrat. Let also remind them that John F. Kennedy, another Democrat, was ready to start a nuclear war in order to protect the United States from the danger of Marxism. And let’s remind America that the peace and freedom of the world depend on the economic power of United States and the united resolve of its public opinion, as was always the case.
If our capitalist economy and national unity go, so will our prosperity, our security and the peace of the world.
WND: Thank you, Gen. Pacepa. It has been enlightening.
Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest intelligence official ever to defect from the Soviet Bloc, served as acting chief of Communist Romania’s espionage service and top adviser to President Nicolae Ceausescu. He has written several books, including “Red Horizons: The True Story of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescus’ Crimes, Lifestyle, and Corruption” and “Programmed to Kill: Lee Harvey Oswald, the Soviet KGB, and the Kennedy Assassination.”