If, as many expect, Secretary of State John Kerry comes up as empty as all of the U.S. leaders before him who have tried to broker Middle East peace, it will be due in no small part to the lingering influence of an extinct superpower.
Like his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas was handpicked, trained and funded by the KGB to head the Palestinian Liberation Organization and help advance Soviet-style communism in the Middle East in the wake of the defeat of proxies Egypt and Syria in the 1967 Six-Day War with Israel, says a top Soviet bloc intelligence officer at the time.
When Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev and his KGB director, Yuri Andropov, sought to build up Arafat’s international stature as a peacemaker, they called on America’s “favorite tyrant,” Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, to go to Washington and convince President Jimmy Carter that Arafat was a trustworthy negotiating partner.
Ceausescu’s top spy chief, Ion Mihai Pacepa, accompanied the Romanian dictator on that trip to Washington in 1978, the same year he defected to the West.
He recalls that Brezhnev and Andropov were convinced that the newly elected American president would “swallow the bait.”
Pacepa tells the story in a new documentary by WND Films, “Disinformation: The Secret Strategy to Destroy the West.”
The film is accompanied by the newly released book “Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism,” co-authored by Pacepa and Ron Rychlak.
Between 1972 and 1978, Pacepa was Ceauşescu’s adviser for national security and technological development and the deputy chief of the Romanian foreign intelligence service.
As a Soviet bloc insider, Pacepa worked face-to-face with KGB chief Andropov to develop disinformation operations designed to undermine the U.S. and spread communism throughout the globe. The plan included fanning the flames of hatred for Jews, and by extension Israel and the U.S., by spreading anti-Semitic propaganda in the Middle East.
Arafat, Pacepa says, was “a product of the Soviet science of disinformation.”
The KGB, for example, destroyed the records of Arafat’s birth in Egypt and replaced them with fictitious documents stating he had been born in Jerusalem.
“It amazed me at what great lengths the KGB took to transform and Egyptian-born Marxist into the Palestinian-born terrorist, Yasser Arafat,” Pacepa says in the film.
Throughout most of the 1970s, Pacepa has said, he was responsible for giving Arafat about $200,000 in laundered cash every month.
‘A great leader of a great country’
Pacepa recalls accompanying Ceausescu to Washington where, he says, the Romanian leader “convinced Carter that he could persuade Arafat to transform his PLO from a terrorist organization into a law-abiding government in exile.”
When Ceausescu arrived, he was feted by Carter as “a great leader of a great country,” according to a transcript.
But one month prior to the Washington meeting, Pacepa had brought Arafat to Bucharest for instructions on how to behave when he met with Carter.
“You simply have to keep on pretending that you’ll break with terrorism and that you’ll recognize Israel – over, and over and over,” Ceausescu told Arafat.
Ceausescu, for his part, envisioned that the disinformation plot might bring the Nobel Peace Prize to both Arafat and himself.
In 1994, Arafat did win the Nobel, but the award was followed by more acts of aggression against Israel. In 2002 alone, as the documentary notes, there were 13,000 incidents of terror against Israelis by the PLO.
In his remarks at the welcoming ceremony for Ceausescu April 12, 1978, Carter praised Ceausescu, declaring that because of “the strong commitments of [Ceausescu] and the independence of the people, Romania has been able to serve as a bridge among nations with highly divergent views and interests and among leaders who would find it difficult under some circumstances to negotiate directly with each other.”
Carter said he shared Ceausescu’s belief in “enhancing human rights” and “the freedom of our own people.”
He said Romania “has been instrumental in pursuing the goals” of the Helsinki conference on human rights, particularly in “building the mutual confidence factors that can let the nations of Eastern Europe and the nations of Western Europe understand one another better and build up legitimate trust through that understanding.”
But when Ceausescu was executed by a people’s court along with his politically powerful wife, Elena, after a bloody revolution in 1989, he left behind a legacy of megalomaniacal totalitarian rule in which his Securitate – bolstered by an army of informants numbering one of every 20 Romanians – instilled fear in the people. Independent thought was crushed, as the many Christian leaders who suffered imprisonment learned firsthand. While the Ceausescus lived in luxury, the Romanian people were impoverished by a stifling collectivist system in which many died for lack of food, heating and medicine.
Pacepa defected to the U.S. in July 1978. Just two months later, he received two death sentences.
In September 1978, an irate Ceausescu issued a bounty of $2 million for Pacepa’s death. Arafat himself, along with Muammar Gadhafi, put a price of more than $1 million each on Pacepa’s head.
In the 1980s, Romania’s political police, the Securitate, employed infamous hit man Carlos the Jackal to assassinate Pacepa for $1 million.
Carlos couldn’t find Pacepa, but he bombed the headquarters of Radio Free Europe in Munich, West Germany, which had broadcast news of Pacepa’s defection.
In 1999, Romania’s Supreme Court canceled Pacepa’s death sentences and ordered his properties returned. The government refused to comply, however.
Pacepa continues to live in the U.S., describing himself as a proud American citizen.
NOTE: Order Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa’s brand new book, “Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategy for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion and Promoting Terrorism” or get both the book and DVD, “Disinformation: The Secret Strategy To Destroy The West” together – and save!