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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.” His new book, “Disinformation,” co-authored with professor Ronald Rychlak, will be published by WND Books in 2013.
The view that the latest wave of Muslim outrage worldwide, including the murderous assault on the U.S. embassy in Libya and new threats from Iran, is somehow a “spontaneous” reaction to the low-budget film “Innocence of Muslims,” has been revealed to be political naïveté at best, and ignorant or intentional scapegoating at worst.
After all, even the president of Libya, Yousef El-Magariaf, stated that “no doubt” the attack had been “preplanned,” emphasizing that the terrorists had chosen a “specific date for this so-called demonstration.”
However, the day of our ambassador’s murder, Sept. 11, 2012, also happened to be the very day the Kremlin celebrated a significant anniversary – 125 years since the birth of Feliks Dzerzhinsky, the founder of the KGB, now rechristened FSB.
My past experience at the top of the Soviet bloc intelligence community gives me solid ground to state that the Muslim attacks on U.S. embassies and the assassination of our ambassador to Libya, carried out with Soviet-made rocket-propelled grenades, Kalashnikovs and Molotov cocktails, were just as “spontaneous” as the May Day parades in Moscow – and that they have the same organizers.
In 1972, I had a breakfast with then-KGB chairman Yury Andropov in Moscow. The Kremlin, he told me, had decided to transform Arab anti-Semitism into an anti-American doctrine for the whole Muslim world. The idea was to portray the United States as a war-mongering, Zionist country financed by Jewish money and run by a rapacious “Council of the Elders of Zion” (the KGB’s derisive epithet for the U.S. Congress) intent on transforming the rest of the world into a Jewish fiefdom. Andropov made the point that one billion adversaries could cause far greater damage than could a mere 150 million. Even Muhammad, he said, had not limited his religion to Arab countries.
The KGB boss described the Muslim world as a waiting petri dish, in which we could nurture a strain of hate-America, grown from the bacterium of Marxist-Leninist thought. Islamic anti-Semitism ran deep, he said. The Muslims had a taste for nationalism, jingoism and victimology, and their illiterate, oppressed mobs could easily be whipped up to a fever pitch. We had only to keep repeating, over and over, that the United States was a war-mongering, Zionist country anxious to take over the whole world.
The KGB community threw millions of dollars and thousands of people into that gigantic project. Before I left Romania for good in 1978, my Romanian espionage service alone had sent some 500 undercover agents to various Islamic countries. Most of them were religious servants, engineers, medical doctors, teachers and art instructors. According to a rough estimate received from Moscow, by 1978 the whole Soviet bloc intelligence community had sent around 4,000 such agents of influence to the Islamic world.
How much influence did this effort have? No one can say for sure, but over 20-plus years of cumulative effect through disseminating millions of Arabic translations of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion” in Arabic throughout the Islamic world and portraying the United States as a criminal Zionist surrogate should have made some dent. Witness the 1979 takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, the 1998 destruction of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and the atrocious September 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. itself, which killed almost 3,000 Americans.
Up until 1978, when I finally got the guts to break with the evil Soviet empire, I was witness to the Kremlin’s intelligence efforts to transform the Muslim world. In 2006, I told American columnist Kathryn Jean Lopez about these efforts, and a few days later I described them in a piece she published in the National Review under the title “Russian Footprints.” Last March, that article was republished on the website of historian Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum and editor of the Middle East Quarterly journal, under the title: “Why has Pacepa been ignored on the cause of global terrorism and on the cause of the Arab Israeli conflict?”
Because repetitio est mater studiorum, allow me to take the liberty of repeating, here and today, some of the points I made in that earlier article. Now they really seem to hit home. These points are further developed and documented in a new book, “Disinformation,” that I have co-authored with Prof. Ronald Rychlak, scheduled to be released by WND Books in early 2013.
Hijacking commercial airplanes: a KGB weapon of choice
As far back as 1969, Andropov introduced a new arrow into the KGB’s quiver: the hijacking of El Al airplanes. Andropov had begun his unprecedented 15 years as KGB chairman just a few months before the 1967 Six-Day Arab-Israeli War, in which Israel humiliated the Soviet Union’s most important allies in the Arab world at that time – Egypt and Syria. In those days, the governments of those two countries were in effect being run by Soviet advisers. As new KGB chairman, Andropov decided to repair the Kremlin’s prestige by internationally humiliating Israel.
Before 1969 came to an end, Palestinian terrorists, trained at the KGB’s Balashikha special-operations school east of Moscow, had hijacked their first El Al plane and landed it in Algeria, where its 32 Jewish passengers were held hostage for five weeks. The hijacking had been planned and coordinated by the KGB’s Thirteenth Department, known in Soviet bloc intelligence jargon as the Department for Wet Affairs (wet being a KGB euphemism for bloody). To conceal the KGB’s hand, Andropov had the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (created and financed by the KGB) take credit for the hijacking. During the next two years, various Palestinian terrorists (trained by the KGB) took credit for hijacking 13 Israeli and Western passenger planes and for blowing up a Swissair plane in flight, killing 47 passengers and crew. All these hijackings were masterminded by the KGB.
It is surely not accidental that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were committed by Islamic terrorists using hijacked airplanes.
Terrorism – the Kremlin’s main weapon against its ‘Main Enemy’
“In today’s world, when nuclear arms have made military force obsolete, terrorism should become our main weapon against American Zionism.” That is what Andropov began preaching in the early 1970s. The huge political “success” brought about by hijacking airplanes prompted him to expand international terrorism and directly target the United States, which the KGB had for years called the “Main Enemy” (glavnyy protivnik in Russian).
In 1971, Andropov unleashed operation “Tayfun” (Russian for “typhoon”), aimed at expanding his anti-American terrorism into Western Europe as well. He even established a “socialist division of labor” to mobilize the whole Soviet bloc in support of his new international terrorism. The Czechoslovakian intelligence service was charged with supplying an odorless plastic explosive (Semtex-H) that could not be detected by sniffer dogs at airports. In 1990, Czech president Vaclav Havel acknowledged that the former communist regime of his country had secretly shipped 1,000 tons of this odorless plastic explosive to Palestinian and Libyan terrorists. According to Havel, a mere 200 grams was enough to blow up a commercial plane in flight.
“World terrorism has supplies of Semtex to last 150 years,” Havel estimated.
For their part, the East Germans had to provide the terrorists with arms and ammunition. According to secret documents discovered in the Stasi (the KGB’s East German counterpart) archives after the fall of the Berlin Wall, in 1983 alone the Stasi provided secret terrorist organizations in West Germany with $1,877,600 worth of AK-47 ammunition.
The Cubans were charged with mass-producing concealment devices for smuggling the plastic explosive into the target countries. In 1972, I spent a “working vacation” in Havana as the guest of Raul Castro, at that time the head of Cuba’s military and security forces, and I visited what proved to be the Soviet bloc’s largest factory for manufacturing double-walled suitcases and other concealment devices for use in secretly infiltrating weapons into various non-Communist countries. Sergio del Valle, head of the Cuban security forces, told me that smuggling arms to terrorist organizations was one of his main jobs at that time.
Romania’s slice of the pie in that joint venture was to produce false Western passports needed by Andropov’s “freedom fighters.” During my last six years in Romania, its political police, the Securitate, became the Soviet bloc’s main manufacturer of forged West German, Austrian, French, British, Italian and Spanish passports, which were regularly provided to various international terrorist organizations and groups.
In the mid 1970s, a wave of terrorism inundated Western Europe. Tayfun’s first major accomplishment was the assassination of Richard Welsh, the CIA station chief in Athens, on Dec. 23, 1975. That was followed by a bomb attack on Gen. Alexander Haig, commander of NATO in Brussels, who luckily was not injured, although his armored Mercedes limousine was damaged beyond repair. Then in quick succession came a rocket attack against Gen. Frederick J. Kroesen, commander of U.S. forces in Europe, who also escaped alive; a grenade attack against Alfred Herrhausen, one of the most pro-American chairmen of the Deutsche Bank, who was killed; and an assassination attempt on Hans Neusel, the pro-American state secretary at the West German Ministry of Interior responsible for internal security affairs, who was wounded.
When the Soviet Union collapsed, those terrorist operations fortunately went poof, and scores of KGB-sponsored terrorists were arrested in the former East Germany. Peter-Michael Diestel, who became East Germany’s interior minister after the fall of its communist government, acknowledged in 1990 that Schönefeld Airport in East Berlin had for years been a KGB “turntable for terrorists of all kinds.” Christian Lochte, a senior official in the West German counterintelligence service, stated that the KGB and its East German surrogate, the Stasi, had done “everything possible to destabilize this country and the rest of Western Europe as well.”
Andropov: Father of today’s anti-Semitism and international terrorism
In discussing Andropov’s legacy, Western Sovietologists usually confine themselves to recalling his brutal suppression of political dissidents, his role in planning the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia and his pressure on the Polish regime to impose martial law. In contrast, the leaders of the Warsaw Pact intelligence community, when I was one of them, looked upon Andropov as the father of the new era of international political influence designed to revive anti-Semitism around the world, and to turn the Islamic world into the deadly enemy of American Zionism.
In August 1998, two months after Andropov pupil and former KGB general Yevgeny Primakov became Russia’s prime minister, Gen. Albert Makashov, a member of the Duma, alleged that the Jews were being paid by American Zionism to ruin the Russian motherland, and he called for the “extermination of all Jews in Russia.” Over and over again, Russian television screens showed him screaming at the Duma: “I will round up all the Yids [pejorative for Jews] and send them to the next world.” On Nov. 4, 1998, the Duma endorsed Makashov’s pogrom by voting (121 to 107) to defeat a parliamentary motion censuring his hate-filled statement. At the Nov. 7, 1998, demonstration marking the 81st anniversary of the October Revolution, crowds of former KGB officers showed their support for the general, chanting “hands off Makashov!” and waving signs with anti-Semitic slogans.
The grisly decapitation of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl in 2002 epitomizes Andropov’s legacy. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, carried out the gruesome murder of Pearl for the sole reason that Pearl was an American Jew.
No wonder the deeply anti-Semitic and anti-American Andropov became the first head of the KGB to move up and sit on the Kremlin throne. In 1989, Andropov also became the only KGB chief to have his office transformed into a shrine. Western journalists were invited to visit the Lubyanka and piously escorted to view Andropov’s conference room with its marble fireplace, his private office with another fireplace, and the adjoining bedroom with its Spartan furnishings of bed, refrigerator and table. From the press descriptions, the rooms all sounded just the way I remembered having seen them the last time I was there. Even more remarkable is the report that Andropov’s shrine has survived the fall of the Soviet Union.
Today’s Russia: History’s first intelligence dictatorship
Post-communist Russia has indeed been transformed in unprecedented and positive ways, and a young generation of intellectuals is now struggling to develop a new national identity for that country. Nevertheless, in spite of what we read in the newspapers, hear on TV and are told by the State Department, Russia is not yet a democracy. In fact, Russia has become the first intelligence dictatorship in history, and it should be dealt with accordingly.
On Dec. 31, 1999, Vladimir Putin – at one time the KGB counterpart of my old self – who a few months earlier had maneuvered to become Russia’s prime minister, enthroned himself in the Kremlin as supreme leader, following a KGB palace coup. Whereupon Boris Yeltsin, Russia’s first freely elected president, ceded the field and on national TV announced his resignation: “I understand that I must do it,” he said, “and Russia must enter the new millennium with new politicians, with new faces, with new intelligent, strong, energetic people.” Yeltsin then signed a decree transferring his power to Putin. For his part, Putin signed a decree pardoning Yeltsin – who was said to be involved in huge bribery scandals – “for any possible misdeeds” and granting 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. Quid pro quo, as we would say.
During the Cold War, the KGB was a state within a state. Under President Putin, the KGB, rechristened the FSB, is the state. Three years after Putin plunked himself down on the Kremlin throne, some 6,000 former officers of the KGB – that organization responsible for having slaughtered at least 20 million people in the Soviet Union alone – were running Russia’s federal and local governments. Nearly half of all other top governmental positions were held by former officers of the KGB. Having taken care of that, the newly appointed President Putin brought back good old Stalin’s national anthem, which had been prohibited since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Although the “new” anthem did have new lyrics, they had been written by the same old poet, Sergey Mikhalkov, who had written the original words praising Stalin, Lenin, the Communist Party and the “unbreakable” Soviet Union. Yelena Bonner, the widow of Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrey Sakharov, called the revived Soviet anthem a “profanation of history.” Putin disagreed, saying: “We have overcome the differences between the past and the present.”
On Feb. 12, 2004, Putin declared the demise of the Soviet Union a “national tragedy on an enormous scale,” and in July 2007, he predicted a new Cold War against the West.
“War has started,” Putin announced on Aug. 8, 2008, just minutes after President George W. Bush and other world leaders, gathered in Beijing to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, were shocked and surprised to learn that Russian tanks had rolled across the Russian border into Georgia.
Is it too far-fetched to suggest that this new Russia calls up the hypothetical image of a postwar Germany being run by former Gestapo officers, who reinstate Hitler’s “Deutschland Über Alles” as national anthem, call the demise of Nazi Germany a “national tragedy on an enormous scale” and invade a neighboring country, perhaps Poland, the way Hitler set off World War II?
In Russia, the more things change, the more they seem to stay the same
During those days when Andropov was head of the KGB and I was at the top of the Soviet bloc foreign intelligence community, there was a banner in my office proclaiming, all in upper-case letters: CAPITALIST ESPIONAGE REPORTS HISTORY. WE MAKE IT. In the Soviet bloc, our omniscient dictators did not want us to send them information. They already knew better, and in fact they frequently took offense when we intelligence chiefs tried to tell them something new. In one classic example of that mindset, there still exists an intelligence report sent to Stalin in May 1941, predicting that Hitler would attack the Soviet Union in June 1941. On this report, Stalin scribbled a note saying: “You can send your ‘source’ to his f—ing mother. This is a dezinformator.” On June 22, 1941, Hitler did indeed invade the Soviet Union, which paid a heavy price for Stalin’s misuse of the country’s foreign intelligence service through giving it no other function than to tell the world how great he was. Ten million military men and 14 million civilians were killed. Five million more were taken prisoner by the Nazis.
Stalin and his successors in the Kremlin continued to use their foreign intelligence apparatus to embellish their own rule and their own stature, through the simple strategy of changing the historical past and the visible present, in order to fit in with their plans for the future. Within our Soviet bloc intelligence community, that was called dezinformatsiya, and it was presented as an eminently Russian and wondrously effective science. During the Cold War, more people worked for dezinformatsiya than for the whole Soviet army and defense industry put together. Few outsiders knew about it, because it was submerged in secrecy.
This secret practice and this invisible disinformation army were revived under Putin’s presidency, as described in great detail in the upcoming book on disinformation that I co-authored with Prof. Rychlak. Totalitarianism always requires a tangible enemy, and the United States, which during the 47 years of Cold War was portrayed by the KGB as its “Main Enemy,” has continued to be painted by the Putin administration as the country’s principal foe.
Soon after President Putin and his ex-KGB officers began running Russia, they moved their country back into the encampment of the Soviet Union’s traditional clients – which had been the deadliest enemies of the United States. Putin started out favoring precisely the three governments labeled by the U.S. as an “axis of evil” – Iran, Iraq and North Korea.
In March 2002, Putin quietly reinstituted Russian sales of weapons to Iran’s dictator, Ayatollah Khamenei, and began secretly helping that nation’s terrorist government to achieve the production of nuclear weapons and to develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear or germ warheads to any target in the Middle East and Europe. In August 2002, Putin concluded a $40 billion trade deal with Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical regime in Iraq. Then, just before September 2002, while the United States was preparing to mourn its victims of the previous year’s terrorist attack, Putin received North Korea’s despicable dictator Kim Jong Il in Moscow, with grand honors.
Next, the ex-KGB officers installed in the Kremlin began arming the anti-American Arab terrorists, just as they had done in the Soviet Union’s day. On July 12, 2006, militants of Hezbollah (“Party of God”), an anti-Semitic Muslim fundamentalist organization, launched a powerful rocket attack against Israel, followed by a 34-day Israeli offensive against the attacker. Most of the Hezbollah weapons cases captured by the Israeli military forces during that offensive were marked: “Customer: Ministry of Defense of Syria. Supplier: KBP, Tula, Russia.”
In October 2010, the same Russian-supported Hezbollah conducted a drill simulating the takeover of Israel. The European Union-sponsored Gulf Research Centre, which provides journalists an inside view of the Middle East area, found out that Hezbollah’s military forces were armed with a large quantity of the “Soviet-made Katyusha-122 rocket, which carries a 33-pound warhead.” Hezbollah was also armed with the Russian-designed and Iranian-made Fajr-5 rockets, which can reach the Israeli port of Haifa, and with the Russian- designed Zelzal-1 rockets, which can reach Tel Aviv. Hezbollah also possessed the infamous Russian Scud missiles, as well as Russian anti-tank missiles AT-3 Sagger, AT-4 Spigot, AT-5 Spandrel, AT-13 Saxhorn-2, and AT-14 Spriggan Kornet.
Last March, U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney branded Russia as America’s No. 1 geopolitical enemy. While saying that the greatest current threat to the world is a “nuclear Iran,” the presidential hopeful lambasted the Kremlin for consistently “standing up for the world’s worst actors,” referencing the Russian veto of the U.N. Security Council resolution on Syria.
Russia’s outgoing president at that time, Dmitry Medvedev, stated that Romney’s remarks had a Hollywood flavor, and he urged the American to check his watch. “It is 2012 now, not the mid-1970s,” Medvedev said.
America needs a realistic foreign policy
The current U.S. policy toward Putin’s Russia is called “Reset,” erroneously translated by the State Department as peregruzka, meaning “overcharged.” There are quite a few meanings for “reset” in dictionaries, but all tend to signify restore (except in Scotland, where “reset” is the legal term for knowingly and dishonestly receiving stolen goods.)
Russia’s intelligence dictatorship is, however, a brand new political phenomenon, and we need a brand new foreign policy to deal with it. Otherwise, we may face a new Cold War, one that threatens to be not only cold, but also bloody.
I do not know what our new policy toward Russia should be. I have no access to classified information, and no wish to play the armchair general. The know-it-all talking heads in the American media are no wiser than I am. I do, however, have good reason to suggest that our administration and Congress take a serious look at President Truman’s NSC 68/1950.
The NSC 68/1950 report of the National Security Council did not blame movies or books for the Cold War’s ideological and terrorist attacks against the United States. That down-to-earth 58-page document described the challenges facing the United States in realistic terms.
“The issues that face us are momentous,” NSC 68/1950 stated, “involving the fulfillment or destruction not only of this Republic but of civilization itself.”
Therefore, NSC 68/1950 focused on creating a “new world order” centered on American liberal-capitalist values, and it contained a two-pronged political strategy: superior military power and a “Campaign of Truth,” defined as “a struggle, above all else, for the minds of men.” Truman argued that the propaganda used by the “forces of imperialistic communism” could be overcome only by the “plain, simple, unvarnished truth.” The Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberation (soon to become Radio Liberty) became part of Truman’s “Campaign of Truth.”
If you still wonder how the United States was able to win the Cold War without firing a shot, here is one explanation from Romania’s second post-communist president, Emil Constantinescu:
Radio Free Europe has been a lot more important than the armies and the most sophisticated missiles. The “missiles” that destroyed Communism were launched from Radio Free Europe, and this was Washington’s most important investment during the Cold War. I don’t know whether the Americans themselves realize this now, seven years after the fall of Communism, but we understand it perfectly well.
President Constantinescu’s metaphor is not overreaching. According to Romania’s post-communist media, in 1988 and 1989, when Radio Free Europe was serializing my book Red Horizons, the streets of Bucharest were empty. The Romanians were eager to see their glorified tyrant naked, the way he really was – an illiterate drug smuggler and international terrorist who had made a personal fortune by secretly selling weapons and Romania’s people for Western currency. On Christmas Day of 1989, Ceausescu was executed by his own people, at the end of a trial whose main accusations came out of my book. Now Romania is a member of the European Union and NATO.
Lt. Gen Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking Soviet bloc intelligence official ever to defect to the West. His new book, “Disinformation,” co-authored with Prof. Ronald Rychlak, will be published by WND Books in early 2013. The entire September issue of WND’s monthly Whistleblower magazine is dedicated to “Disinformation.”