“The bourgeoisie will have to be put to sleep. So we shall begin by launching the most spectacular peace movement on record. … The capitalist countries, stupid and decadent, will rejoice to cooperate in their own destruction. They will leap at another chance to be friends.” – Dimitri Manuilski, professor at the Lenin School of Political Warfare in Moscow, 1930
One of the hottest books of 2013 was written by Lt. Gen Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking Soviet bloc official ever to defect in Cold War history, whose explosive exposé of Soviet “disinformation” strategies was turned into a blockbuster film.
However, other defectors have also tried to make Americans aware of the serious dangers posed to the West by Russia, though it is increasingly portrayed as America’s friend and ally.
One such defector was Anatoliy Golitsyn, a spy who defected in 1961 and who made over 200 predictions about specific strategies Russia would employ to deceive the West – most of them supplied to the CIA in the form of “memoranda,” and later published in a book titled, “New Lies for Old.” According to intelligence expert and author Mark Riebling, 94 percent of these predictions have come to pass. Among them:
Liberalization of the Soviet bloc (including the apparent separation of independent republics from Moscow). “Glasnost” and “Perestroika” would be deployed as buzzwords to deceive Western media.
Reunification of Germany and the demolition of the Berlin Wall.
Democratization of the Russian government (three separate branches: presidency, judiciary, and legislative – each with defined powers).
Disarmament talks and “peace” advocacy.
Renaming of the KGB.
Westernization of culture (press, plays, books, religion all permitted).
Regional unions promoted and advanced on several continents for the purposes of eradicating sovereignty and hastening East-West “convergence.”
WND reached out to Gen. Pacepa to get his take on Golitsyn’s famous analysis and predictions, as well as to judge whether or not his predictions are still relevant for American policy in today’s geopolitical climate.
WND: Was Golitsyn correct in his predicted events regarding Soviet disinformation?
PACEPA: No. Golitsyn’s so-called predictions generated an imagined Russia that left us unprepared to deal with the realities of that immense realm, which extends from the North Pole to the 35th parallel, encloses 12 seas belonging to three oceans, and it is estimated to have 55,000 nuclear warheads.
I understand your frustration with the secrecy still surrounding Russia, but I have no reason – none – to believe Golitsyn’s predictions. During the old Soviet days the West invented Kremlinology, a discipline of trying to decode whatever was going on behind the Kremlin’s wall of secrecy by, for instance, comparing the annual photos of the May Day parade to see which Politburo member stood closest to the ruler. It did not work – the sudden collapse of the Soviet Union caught us all by surprise.
Afterward we had Putinologists, like you, who are doing their best with the meager information available, but it is nearly impossible for outsiders to put themselves in the shoes of a man whose career was spent in the darkness of Soviet espionage. No one was able to predict that Putin would transform Russia into the first intelligence dictatorship in history.
Now we have Golitsynologists. Of course, I have high regard for people who have had the guts to renounce their privileged lives in the political police of communist countries, and I respect Golitsyn for that. Eventually, however, he was encouraged to use his imagination instead of just sticking to the facts he knew, and he ended up making predictions that his chief intelligence handler, James Jesus Angleton, the head of the CIA’s counterintelligence staff, wanted to hear.
The official British intelligence historian Christopher Andrew, one of the world’s most credible experts in KGB matters, described Golitsyn as an “unreliable conspiracy theorist” who “confused the CIA with a series of increasingly extravagant conspiracy theories” that ultimately did the agency “more harm than good.” Angleton, the CIA’s counterintelligence czar, whose main job was to handle Golitsyn’s case, was in fact fired on Christmas Eve of 1974, and his staff was reduced from 300 to 80 people. Afterward, Angleton sought the assistance of William F. Buckley (once a CIA officer) in authoring “New Lies for Old,” which advanced the idea that the U.S.S.R. planned to fake its collapse to lull its enemies into a sense of victory. Buckley refused, and later he wrote a novel about Angleton and Golitsyn, “Spytime: The Undoing of James Jesus Angleton.”
This does not mean that the KGB was not involved in disinformation. During the Cold War, there were more people in the Soviet bloc working for KGB disinformation operations than for the Soviet army and defense industry put together. The Soviet bloc intelligence community alone had well over one million officers and several million informants around the world. All were involved in deceiving the West – and their own people – or in supporting this effort.
To them should be added the vast number of people working for the international organizations that the KGB secretly created abroad in order to spread disinformation. These organizations pretended to be independent international entities, and they published their own newspapers in French or English. Some of those in which I was involved include: the World Peace Council (with branches in 112 countries); the World Federation of Trade Unions (with branches in 90 countries); the Women’s International Democratic Federation (with branches in 129 countries); the International Union of Students (with branches in 152 countries); and the World Federation of Democratic Youth (with branches in 210 countries).
There is no evidence that Golitsyn ever set foot in this highly classified empire of disinformation, or that he had access to any real disinformation operation that could have constituted a credible base for his so-called predictions. None. Zero. Zip. Golitsyn spent almost all his professional life in KGB schools, where he heard about the “science of dezinformatsiya,” and he built his “predictions” on the foundation of whatever he learned about it in those schools. Some of Golitsyn’s prophecies were based on common sense, like his forecast that the KGB would be renamed. Anyone even peripherally familiar with the Soviet political police knew that it changed its name whenever it developed a sticky image problem. The Cheka, as it was initially named after the 1917 Revolution, was renamed in sequence GPU, OGPU, NKVD, NKGB, MGB, MVD, KGB, FSB – and the acronyms would certainly continue.
Other of Golitsyn’s predictions, like “disarmament and peace,” “westernization of culture” or “reunification of Germany” were based on what people wanted to hear, and some just happened to become true. (“Paul the Octopus,” an eight-legged creature from the Oberhausen Sea Life Center in Germany, became famous for predicting that Germany would win the 2010 World Soccer Cup. )
Most of Golitsyn’s acumen, however, was laughable. His claim that the “Sino-Soviet split was a charade to deceive the West” is just one example. I know for a fact that in 1971 the KGB organized a real coup against Mao, led by China’s vice-president, Marshal Lin Biao, who had spent five years working for the Comintern in Moscow (1937-1942), where he was recruited by the NKVD, later re-baptized KGB. The coup was discovered and Lin Biao tried to escape to Moscow, but his airplane was shot down over Mongolia. Consequently, Mao purged the Chinese army and security police of most Moscow-educated personnel. My former boss, Romanian tyrant Nicolae Ceausescu, did the same after learning from Mao about Moscow’s attempted coup.
WND: What do you think about Golitsyn’s “New Lies for Old” and Mark Riebling’s studies stating that 94 percent of Golitsyn’s disinformation predictions have come to pass?
PACEPA: I have never believed in fortune tellers, and Golitsyn – who did indeed help our intelligence community catch several significant KGB spies – unfortunately ended up becoming a kind of Delphic Oracle.
I read both “New Lies for Old” and Riebling’s studies, and I realized that neither author even knew what disinformation was. No wonder. In 1978, when I was granted political asylum in the United States, I found out that most people in American intelligence, the military, academia and the media did not know either. Even today, when the word “disinformation” is on everyone’s tongue, few of its glib users know that disinformation did not figure in any Western dictionaries for most of the Cold War years. As late as 1986, two years after Golitsyn published his “New Lies for Old,” the word “disinformation” was not listed among the 300,000 entries of “Webster’s New World Thesaurus” or even in the 27 volumes of the “New Encyclopedia Britannica,” for it was wrongly believed that disinformation simply meant misinformation. That was another result of Soviet disinformation.
While writing my answers for this very interview, my Microsoft Word 2010 software underlined the word “disinforming” and suggested replacing it with “misinforming.” In fact, these words are as different as day is from night. “Misinformation” is an official government tool – official propaganda. “Disinformation” is a secret intelligence tool. Suppose that the Kremlin’s current foreign intelligence service fabricates some “documentary” material likening the American liberation of Iraq to the Mongol sack of Baghdad in 1258. If that material were published by an official Russian media outlet, it would be misinformation, and the West would take it with a grain of salt. If, on the other hand, that same material were made public in the Western media without mentioning that the story had originated in Russia, that would be disinformation, and its credibility would be substantially greater.
In April 2003, the Western media were inundated with hundreds of horror stories about the looting of the National Museum in Baghdad. Television stations around the world showed the weeping deputy director of the museum blaming the Americans for allowing the destruction of “170,000 items of antiquity dating back thousands of years.” That was disinformation. Eventually it was established that museum employees had hidden the supposedly looted treasures in a safe place long before the Iraq war started, and that they were now safe and in American protective custody. New museum officials later listed only 25 artifacts as definitely missing, but the damage had been done: Millions of people around the world still talk about the devastating images of empty display cases repeatedly seen on their television screens, accompanied by accusations that the Americans allowed such a loss to happen.
WND: Though KGB planners may have intended to direct the staged events of liberalization, as well as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the deregulation of Russian arts and media, did planners lose control of these events? Is there any likelihood that the resultant fervor was uncontainable and that Russia really is now a different country, posing little or no risk to America?
Russia is indeed a different country, but it poses great, not little, risk to America, for it became the first intelligence dictatorship in history. Golitsyn never dreamed – much less predicted – that. Gen. Aleksandr Sakharovsky, who was chief intelligence adviser to Romania before becoming the Soviet Union’s spy chief for 14 years of the Cold War, did predict it.
In the early 1990s, I described Sakharovsky’s real prediction in a Wall Street Journal article. During the years I was at the top of the KGB community, he repeatedly told me “every society reflects its own past.” Sakharovsky believed “our socialist camp” might someday wear an entirely different face; Marxism might have been turned upside-down, and even the Communist Party itself might have become history, but that would not matter. Both Marxism and the party were foreign organisms that had been introduced into the Russian body, and sooner or later they would have to be rejected in any case. One thing, though, was certain to remain unchanged for as long as the Russian motherland was still in existence: “our gosbezopasnost” (the state security service). Sakharovsky used to point out that “our gosbezopasnost” had kept Russia alive for the past 500 years, and “our gosbezopasnost” would guide her helm for the next 500 years.
Sakharovsky has proved to be a real prophet. On Dec. 31, 1999, the head of the gosbezopasnost, Vladimir Putin – at one time the KGB counterpart of my old self – enthroned himself in the Kremlin following a KGB palace coup. Whereupon, Russia’s first freely elected president, Boris Yeltsin, ceded the field and on national TV announced his resignation: “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 transferring his power to Putin. For his part, Putin signed a presidential 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 Putin, the KGB, rechristened the FSB, is the state. Three years after Putin enthroned himself in the Kremlin, 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. Once that was done, President Putin brought back good old Stalin’s national anthem, which had been prohibited since the collapse of the Soviet Union, and on Feb. 12, 2004, he declared the demise of the Soviet Union a “national tragedy on an enormous scale.”
Is it too far-fetched to suggest that this new Russia calls to mind 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?
Unfortunately, the U.S. policy toward this brand new Russia was called “Reset” (erroneously translated by our State Department as peregruzka, meaning “overcharged”). This is on a par with Golitsyn’s “predictions.”
WND: Are KGB operatives still directing Russian foreign policy, and if so, what is Putin’s connection to the democratic deception and coup discussed in Golitsyn’s original CIA memoranda?
PACEPA: Forget Golitsyn. Once again, he never, ever predicted that Russia would become an intelligence dictatorship.
Three years after Putin’s palace coup of Dec. 31, 1999, however, former KGB officers were holding some of the most important positions in Russia’s central and regional governments. Among them: Igor Sechin, deputy director in the Presidential Administration; Vladimir Osipov, head of the Presidential Personnel Directorate; Vyacheslav Soltaganov, deputy secretary of the Security Council; Sergey Ivanov, defense minister; Viktor Vasilyevich Cherkesov, chairman of the State Committee on Drug Traficking; 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; and Viktor Maslov, Smolensk governor.
WND: Is Russia still controlled by communist ideologues who want to destroy the market economy, or is any brinkmanship now witnessed more crude and simply aimed at destroying America?
PACEPA: Russia stopped being controlled by communist ideologues 70 years ago, but few if any of our political leaders were aware of that. The Soviet Union has been wrongly defined as a dictatorship based on the mass appeal of Marxist ideology and on the strong arm of the Communist Party. In other words, Soviet communism has been regarded, both in the West and within its own borders, as a form of government that, although dictatorial, ruled the country through a political party and based its decisions on a political ideology.
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.
Seen in its historical perspective, Marxism was such a raw, ill-defined and malleable system of government that one could make of it whatever one wished. Had it succeeded in France or Germany, Marxism would have evolved into another Paris Commune or neo-Prussian military dictatorship and come to an untimely end like those precedents. There was no way for any horde of communist bureaucrats to sustain a form of government, for 70 long years, that utterly denied the motivational forces that have kept mankind alive throughout history: private property, competition and individual incentive.
It so happened that Marxism triumphed in feudal Russia, whose traditional instrument of power, the ruler’s secret police, had a proven record of keeping even the most despotic governments in power. There Marxism gradually devolved into a samoderzhaviye, the historical Russian form of one-man totalitarian dictatorship, in which, behind a facade of Marxism, the new tsar’s political police quietly took precedence over the original tools of ideology and the Communist Party for running their country.
Out of the seven members of Lenin’s Politburo at the time of the October Revolution, only Stalin and Trotsky were still alive when the massacre was over. (The latter, already expelled from the country, would be killed two years later.) The man named by Lenin in his testament as the most capable of the younger generation, Georgy Pyatakov, was also shot. In a truly Byzantine scenario, those who had carried out the purges and could claim that they had acted only on Stalin’s orders were themselves then liquidated. By the time the purges came to an end in December 1938, thousands of NKVD officers had also disappeared. Like the tsars before him, however, Stalin remained above the fray and retained the people’s loyalty to their “Little Father” in the Kremlin.
WND: After the 2008 financial meltdown, former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev quickly pounced, making the following comments to the Western press: “The model that emerged during the final decades of the 20th century has turned out to be unsustainable. … It was based on a drive for super-profits and hyper-consumption for a few. … I have no ready-made prescriptions. But I am convinced that a new model will emerge, one that will emphasize public needs and public goods.”
Are Gorbachev’s comments related to the democratic deception and long-range coup described by Golitsyn?
PACEPA: No. Gorbachev’s comments are part of glasnost and its pupil perestroika – the least known but one of the most successful disinformation operations in history, which was, also, never predicted by Golitsyn. I describe glasnost in a new book, “Disinformation,” co-authored with Prof. Ronald Rychlak, and in a large piece recently published in PJMedia, but I’ll describe it over and over again until it is finally understood, for glasnost is now putting down roots in our country as well.
You probably think Gorbachev invented the word glasnost to describe his effort to lead the Soviet Union “out of its totalitarian state and to democracy, to freedom, to openness.” If so, you’re not alone. All of the Western media and most of the Western experts, even in intelligence and defense establishments, believe that too – as does the committee that gave Gorbachev the Nobel Peace Prize. The venerable “Encyclopedia Britannica” still defines glasnost as: “Soviet policy of open discussion of political and social issues. It was instituted by Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s and began the democratization of the Soviet Union.”
But glasnost is really an old Russian term for polishing the ruler’s image. In the mid-1930s, half a century before Gorbachev’s glasnost, the official Soviet encyclopedia defined the word glasnost as a spin on news released to the public: “Dostupnost obshchestvennomy obsuzhdeniyu, kontrolyu; publichnost,” meaning, the quality of being made available for public discussion or control. In other words, glasnost meant, literally, “publicizing,” i.e., self-promotion.
During the years I was at the top of the KGB community, glasnost was the code name for an ultra-secret intelligence tool of the KGB’s “science” of dezinformatsiya. Its task was to transform the country into a monument to its leader, and to portray that leader as a god.
I first learned about glasnost in March 1953, when four million weeping people gathered in Red Square for Stalin’s funeral. At that time, I was already a Soviet bloc intelligence officer. I was, however, not yet aware that a Russian tyrant’s image was so important that he would go to any lengths, even to the point of killing and imprisoning millions, rewriting history, destroying institutions, manipulating religion, and changing traditions, all in an effort to beatify himself – or to demonize his opponents.
Some 20 years later, I was successfully running an enormous glasnost machinery, the main purpose of which was to hoodwink the rest of the world into believing that a two-bit communist Dracula called Ceausescu was an admirable, pro-Western leader. In April 1978, President Jimmy Carter hailed Ceausescu as a “great national and international leader” who “has not only brought tremendous progress to Romania, but also has taken on a role of leadership in the entire international community.”
I was standing next to the two of them at the White House, and I just smiled to myself. Three months later the United States granted me political asylum, and I informed President Carter how Ceausescu had been feeding him a pack of lies for many years. In actuality, I told him, Ceausescu’s image as a friendly, peace-loving pragmatist who was eager to do business with the West was a circus projection that had been meticulously handcrafted by the KGB and my own service, in a test run preparatory to trying the same trick with the ruler in the Kremlin. I even wrote a book about that disinformation, “Red Horizons,” and on Christmas Day 1989 Ceausescu was sentenced to death by his own people at the end of a trial whose main accusations came out of that book.
By that time, however, piles of Gorbachev’s “Perestroika: New Thinking for Our Country and the World,” which was supposed to transform the Soviet Union into a “Marxist society of free people,” had taken the place of Ceausescu’s memoirs in the Western bookstore windows. Now “Gorby,” the new man in the Kremlin, was touted by Washington as a nascent democrat and political visionary. So much for institutional memory.
WND: Is America currently ruled and/or governed in any sense by individuals with official connections to Russian disinformation strategists? If so, please elaborate.
PACEPA: I have never been a conspiracy theorist, and I do not believe that any American in his sane mind would ever sell his soul to Russian disinformation strategists. Factual evidence also shows no signs of conspiracy.
Our country seems to be on a self-inflicted perilous course, and we should not blame others for our own blunders. An April 2009 Rasmussen poll showed that only 53 percent of Americans preferred capitalism to socialism; 27 percent were unsure, and 20 percent strongly opted for socialism. After 45 years of Cold War and 11 more years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, quite a few Americans began imagining that capitalism was their real enemy, and they felt the system of government should be transformed into socialism by redistributing the capitalists’ wealth. The leaders of the Democratic Party obliged.
People love free lunches, and millions of young Americans who are no longer being taught real history in school, cheered. During the 2008 election campaign the Democratic Party easily filled entire stadiums with people demanding that the wealth of the United States be redistributed. Some of these electoral gatherings looked like religious revival meetings – over 80,000 people were gathered in front of the now famous “Greek temple” resembling the White House that had been erected in Denver. They were galvanized by the prospect that a Democratic administration would force rich Americans to pay a part of everyone else’s health care, mortgages, loans and school tuition.
The Democratic Party won the White House and both chambers of the U.S. Congress, and American capitalism began being replaced by a kind of European socialism. No, there is no Russian conspiracy, and there was no Golitsyn prediction.
Our country is on a self-inflicted perilous course, and we should have the vision, the wisdom and the guts to end it by ourselves, before it is too late. The economic collapse of the Soviet Union dramatically proved that stealing does not pay, even if it is committed by the government of a superpower.
WND: Did Syria pose a credible risk of nuclear confrontation between Russia and the United States? What, if anything, should Americans know about the seemingly staged “casus belli” in Syria?
PACEPA: I have no access to classified information and no wish to play the armchair general, but during the years I was national security adviser to Romania’s president I learned the crucial importance of a long-range foreign policy. It does not seem our administration has one right now. The U.S. called off its attack on Syrian chemical weapons facilities at the demand of, and with help from, Putin. The U.S. signed a deal with Iran which seems to favor the interests of Putin, who is Iran’s chief arms dealer. And the U.S. administration quietly tolerates Putin’s current machinations aimed at preventing Ukraine from joining the European Union.
The recent temporary closing of 21 U.S. embassies in the Middle East shows that we also have no long-range policy for dealing with the terrorists who are now close to having nuclear weapons to hurl at us. Former CIA Director James Woolsey just published a Wall Street Journal piece documenting that even the ridiculous government of North Korea could now detonate a small nuclear weapon above the U.S. mainland that would collapse our electric grid and the infrastructure that depends on it – the communications, transportation, banking, finance, food and water necessary to sustain the lives of 300 million Americans.
I do not know what the new U.S. foreign policy should be, and the know-it-all talking heads in the 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 National Security Council Report 68, or NSC 68/1950, which set forth the strategy of containment and became our main weapon in the Cold War.
That 58-page document is not based on Golitsyn-style predictions, and it does not blame YouTube videos for causing terror attacks. It describes the challenges facing the U.S. in cataclysmic terms: “The issues that face us are momentous,” the document states, “involving the fulfillment or destruction not only of this Republic but of civilization itself.” Therefore, NSC 68/1950 focuses on creating a “new world order” centered on American values, and it contains 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 (later to become Radio Liberty) became part of Truman’s “Campaign of Truth.”
No wonder historians remember Truman as the U.S. president who “prevented the coming of a third war” and “preserved from communist oppression much of what he called the free world.”
Order “Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategy for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion and Promoting Terrorism” or the companion film, “Disinformation: The Secret Strategy To Destroy The West.” Get both the book and DVD together – at a very special reduced price.