Lenin and Stalin: The ultimate masters of terror and deception
One of the more difficult tasks for the layman is evaluating the salvos over the worth/worthlessness of one defector or another as they whiz by. Was that heat or light and then it's gone.
Of course, evaluating defectors in and of itself is also one of the more difficult tasks for intelligence experts and professionals. What about when one defector weighs in about another? After an interview with Romanian defector and DIsinformation author Ion Mihail Pacepa sharply dismissing Soviet defector and New Lies for Old author Anatoliy Golitsyn appeared at WND.com this week, I put out some feelers and received the following response from Jeff Nyquist, which I found of great interest. Nyquist is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Inter-American Institute and author of Origins of the Fourth World War. (His interview with me about American Betrayal is here.) Jeff gave me permission to publish his discourse, adding: "I only hope that Mike Pacepa will not be seriously offended by it, since I wish him well. I wrote this largely off the top of my head, defending those who were not able to defend themselves, so all errors of fact or memory are entirely mine."
I will comment at length, if you will indulge me. Pacepa seems to have been influenced by Christopher Andrew and he is probably in contact with CIA personnel who also take the standard agency line on Golitsyn. Pacepa may also have been offended by remarks made by Angleton or Golitsyn after his own defection. As you probably already know, defectors are often jealous of one another, and I've witnessed this firsthand. It almost seems, from specific remarks made by Pacepa, that the Romanian spy chief has never bothered to read Golitsyn with anything approaching comprehension. It is a longstanding temptation of human beings to comment on things they know little about, especially when they rely on the judgment of people they have mistakenly believed to be experts. It is also possible that Pacepa read Golitsyn's book, but his prejudices got the better of him; for it is a rare gift to read the words of a hated rival with an open mind. That is why it is best for those who seek truth to set aside hatred and jealousy, or favoritism. Yet there is also another possibility; namely, that Pacepa may be morally afraid to admit the truth of Golitsyn's predictions. And I think he may have good reason.
To illustrate my point, there is a large number of intelligence professionals and scholars who are negative on Golitsyn simply because they never read his book. But if they were to read it, and believe in its value, I do not think they are likely to say so publicly. About eleven years ago I had a friend in common with the Watergate Burglar, James McCord. Our mutual friend was Dr. Robert Jenson, a retired physician and U.S. Army colonel. One day Bob asked McCord if he had read Golitsyn's book. McCord said he didn't need to read the book. He'd known Angleton and Golitsyn when he worked at CIA and he said Golitsyn was a "drunk." Bob was persistent and said to McCord, "What would it cost you to read the book? You're retired, right?" Bob was a persistent man. So McCord read Golitsyn's book and called Bob to discuss it. "So what did you think?" asked Bob. McCord said he was surprised at the quality of the book. "It's true," said McCord. When asked what he meant by this sudden reversal of his opinion, McCord said Golitsyn's analysis was "obviously true." Bob then suggested that McCord had an obligation to educate his former colleagues and friends in and out of the agency. McCord said he was not a good candidate for such an assignment, given his role in Watergate. Bob then asked me to call McCord and encourage him to become active on this topic. So I talked with McCord and while he expressed a genuine appreciation for Golitsyn's work, he also thought that anyone promoting this work was headed for difficulties. He laughed nervously at the idea, referring to his own Watergate adventure. "I've gotten into enough trouble for one lifetime," he said. Undoubtedly McCord was talking sense. The subject is trouble for anyone who dares to pick it up. I know this from firsthand experience, and it doesn't matter how good your research is, or how nuanced your appreciation for Golitsyn's faults. If you credit him with anything but lunacy in his analysis, you're going to get (metaphorically) shot down. Every writer or radio personality who thinks of getting involved in this subject should be warned, because it's definitely not for the faint of heart.
Golitsyn's work is not the basis for a cult, though some enthusiasts would make a cult of it. Neither are Golitsyn's predictions holy writ. They are brilliant educated guesses, based on a deeper understanding of classic strategic ideas. One must always question the analyses and judgments of strategists; for this is what Golitsyn really was. Strategy is a complex subject, with a history all its own. It differs from sociology and psychology insofar as it deals with the difficult terrain of intentionality, enemy objectives, and secret plans. To mock a strategist as a "conspiracy theorist" is to confuse someone like Robert Welch with someone like Sun Tzu. "All warfare is based on deception," wrote the ancient Chinese strategist. This latter idea is not "conspiracy theory" as advocated by anti-Semites and 9/11 Truthers; for if these persons were to make predictions based on their "theory," they would produce mixed results (with no great degree of reliability in their projections). Whatever event you offer for analysis to an ideologist of the John Birch Society, you are going to get a variation on the same theme: "The Conspiracy did it." The strategist, as opposed to the conspiracy theorist, is interested in predicting the moves of a particular opponent. He is interested in understanding what his enemy is planning, what the enemy's moves signify. There is game play in his analysis, but it is not "conspiracy theory."
To properly understand this, I would suggest that conspiracy theory is an ideology in its own right; that is, an all encompassing cause which proposes to thwart designated "evil ones" who have upset an otherwise perfect world. Such ideology is a kind of primitive demonology and not strategy at all, though many excellent scholars readily confuse these two things because the strategist's "enemy" is seen to resemble the demonologist's "demons." At the top echelons of the Communist system, as Pacepa implies, Communism was is strategy and not an ideology. It was designed by Marx for seizing power and establishing a dictatorship in his native Germany. Marx never believed in Marxism. Mao Zedong famously said that Marxism-Leninism was "more powerful than a machine gun." This aphorism shows that Mao also saw Communism as something other than Truth. Also, the fact that Marxists think all religion and economic theory is a swindle merely gives their own game away. Their cynicism is akin to that of the thief who is chronically paranoid of being ripped off. But you see, they really do believe that someone is trying rip them off; and the Russian official who speaks cynically of Western capitalists and who innocently imagines that all businessmen are gangsters at heart, has confessed a form of belief. The psychological complexities here defy the simple analysis offered by Pacepa, or the even simpler analysis of Golitsyn. Here we find the reason why Golitsyn is held in such contempt by his former colleague; for Golitsyn does not say that Marxist ideology is dead. This element in his writing has caused many to dismiss him as a simpleton. It is doubtful, of course, that he was actually so simple. It is also doubtful that Communism, as an ideology, is dead -- because its usefulness as a weapon is bound to recur again and again, especially because somebody is bound to believe in it. As Machiavelli rightly said, "a deceiver will never lack for dupes." The strategists in Moscow and Beijing know this perfectly well.
I am not a conspiracy theorist and neither is Bukovsky or anyone else who attempts to raise awareness regarding "planned" changes in the Soviet system during the period 1989-90. Those who acknowledge there was a plan may not agree as to who got control of the USSR when the plan miscarried in 1990. Golitsyn thought the Communist Party remains at the center of the web. Bukovsky and Pacepa believe the KGB got control. Victor Kalashnikov thinks the generals have the upper hand in Russia. I have listened carefully to all these opinions and admit there is no easy way to tell the answer, though I have my own educated guesses -- not a doctrine, theory, or hypothesis. Just a guess. As the game continues to be played, certain events will clarify the situation. What is unmistakable is that a game is being played, and this assertion is not a "conspiracy theory." It is not, on my part, "Golitsynology." To be accurate, we should correct the record by saying that Golitsyn did not make "prophecies," as Pacepa claims in his interview. Jeremiah made prophecies. UFO contactees make prophecies. Golitsyn made educated guesses as a longtime student of Soviet strategy. And, despite those errors which human beings cannot help making, he was nonetheless a brilliant student of his subject.
Let me clarify further, and I hope this is not boring you: The strategic culture of the CPSU and Russian secret police does not signify a theory. It is factual history, very different from the history of anything else on earth. It is a history of doing things that most of the rest of the world cannot do with the same degree of acumen. If an historian reads Lenin's "What is to Be Done," where Lenin refers to his plan for a conspiratorial political party, and if this historian traces the history of the Communists up to the present, would you label him a "conspiracy theorist"? I think he would be insulted if you did so. History is not theory.
The Russian secret police have long employed methods of "controlled opposition," agents of influence, active measures, the falsification of reality and history. George Orwell famously portrayed these methods in his book, 1984. Would Golitsyn's critics call Orwell a conspiracy theorist? Golitsyn's writings closely follow Orwell's analysis on many points. This merely shows that a deeper understanding of the totalitarian system doesn't require that you have lived under it, or that you have worked inside the disinformation department of the KGB; for many who live under such a system -- or even worked for it -- do not understand the strategic principle of the thing. Strategy is like playing the piano. You have to practice, you have to study, and you must have aptitude.
You yourself, Diana, have given us a well-documented history (with in-depth analysis) of the Soviet penetration of Washington D.C. in the 1930s and 40s, showing how U.S. policy was guided and hijacked by Russian agents. I do not think you should be degraded as a "theorist." In your own case, fact is not to be confused with theory. Neither are your logical inferences to be confused with "wild speculation," though your critics seem hardly able to tell the difference. As in the case of Golitsyn, you discovered and analyzed part of the strategic history of the USSR, and understood the basic tactical and strategic methods, aims and practices. You then used this analysis to understand the trajectory of our own culture and its crisis. Golitsyn merely applied his own historical knowledge to understanding a given strategic trajectory. If his 148 falsifiable predictions had been 50 percent wrong, we might merely say he was better than every other analyst but wrong as much as he was right. If his predictions were, indeed, almost 94 percent correct, then we'd better take a closer look at his methodology. In fact, a Polish politician named Antoni Macierewicz did exactly this after Russian spies were suspected to be using Polish military intelligence as a front for manipulating Polish political parties. This information was related to me by a Polish friend, who said that Macierewicz had done something extraordinary. While briefly heading Polish military counter-intelligence, Macierewicz had Golitsyn's book, New Lies for Old, translated into Polish. He even wrote an introduction to the book in which he stated that if Poland hoped to be free of Russian domination, then Poland's counter-intelligence professionals would have to study Golitsyn's work. And for the record, I am told that Macierewicz paid a price for attempting to oppose Russian penetration of Polish politics, as did the Kaczynski brothers. The Polish translation of Golitsyn's book was printed, but the Russian reaction was so quick and effective that Macierewicz and the government he worked for was defeated and the entire printing of Golitsyn's book was destroyed (except for a handful of copies). I'm sure that Christopher Andrews and Pacepa would say that Macierewicz was a "conspiracy theorist" and a "Golitsynologist," and I am told he had a seat on President Kaczynski's plane which crashed in 2010. Only he didn't get on the plane, and so he survived.
The day after the crash I spoke with a Polish friend -- a journalist -- who personally knew many of the people on that aircraft, and he was in no doubt that the crash was an assassination. He did not have a "conspiracy theory." He had what you would call a "gut reaction" from living at the center of Polish politics for many years. The day of the crash I spoke with him for two hours about the people on that plane and what many of them had done in opposing Russian control of their country. He knew from firsthand experience that Russia's grip on Poland has remained a very real thing. And so it was no surprise when my friend did not return home to Poland as planned. He remains abroad to this day, afraid to return, just as a wise German Jew would have done in February 1933.
While we are on the subject of politically inconvenient persons, In her last book (published while she was alive) Anna Politkovskaya suddenly turned to her readers and asked if the Soviet secret police had not been behind the changes in Russia from the outset. Yevgenia Albats, who was on a commission to reform the KGB resigned her position and wrote a book asserting that the August Coup of 1991 was staged and the changes in Russia were planned and organized by the KGB. But I'm afraid that Mike Pacepa must shake his head and say that these two Russian writers were/are "conspiracy theorists,"
Since 1989 former Stasi, STB and UB officers have privately asserted that the changes in Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia were ordered by Moscow and that important intelligence files from the Warsaw Pact countries were moved to Moscow months before the fall of the Berlin Wall. These assertions do not relate a conspiracy theory. They signify history. Of course, it is a history that nobody wants to know about. Such a history destroys our comfortable childish illusions in the most devastating way imaginable. It takes away our supposed victory over Communism, destroying our ideological preconceptions, throwing us into an altogether darker world than we imagined ourselves to be part of.
I assume you have read Andrei Codrescu's book, The Hole in the Flag. Now please make a note: Codrescu accidentally stumbled upon credible evidence that Moscow planned and carried out the overthrow of Ceausescu. This is the heart and soul if Codrescu's beautifully written book. Should we call Codrescu a conspiracy theorist? Pacepa wrote, "Other of Golitsyn's predictions ... were based on what people wanted to hear, and some just happened to become true." Codrescu's experience just happened to come out in a way that confirmed Golitsyn -- like that of Yevgenia Albats. Funny thing, that. Like 139 out of 148 falsifiable predictions! All 139 "just happened" to come true. This really does stink, if you pardon me. To say, as Pacepa does, that most "of Golitsyn's acumen ... was laughable," especially the part about the Sino-Soviet split, and then to refer to personal knowledge of the conspiracy and death of Lin Biao, is to admit a naivete which partly explains why Pacepa's superiors trusted him with "need to know" only. Why would a Romanian intelligence official be told anything about a major strategic operation of Russia and China? Pacepa truly elevates himself to the top of the Communist Bloc food chain. The conspiracy and death of Lin Biao probably was not part of a coup attempt backed by the Russians, though I have not studied it closely enough to say definitively (and I doubt anyone has done so from this angle); yet there exists multiple defector testimony that the crash of Lin Biao's plane was staged, that Lin Biao was dead before he was put onto the plane, and that the Russians -- in possession of the crash site -- knew that the crash had been staged by the Chinese -- but they said nothing. In other words, Moscow collaborated in the presentation of the crash as if Marshal Lin was attempting to flee to Russia. But as I said, more than one source familiar with Communist China from firsthand, gives us a different version of events; and that means, at the very least, that Golitsyn's analysis of the Sino-Soviet split should not be laughed off. For if we examine the Chinese financial and economic strategy of the last 30 years, and if we consider how it complements Russian strategy and follows the pattern outlined by Golitsyn, we should have second thoughts about condemning Golitsyn as a fool. In this event it may be that Nixon was the biggest fool of all. What do we make, afterall, of the trillions owed to China? Was it strategy, or something that "just happened"?
The fact that Czech defector Jan Sejna, a former protege of Khrushchev, publicly warned of a Soviet plan to "fake the collapse if the Warsaw Pact," further solidifies Golitsyn's position (even though Sejna had similar misconceptions about Golitsyn as Pacepa does). Then, of course Bukovsky got hold of the CPSU documents to prove there was, after all, a plan to fool the West with dramatic changes in the Soviet Bloc. Bukovsky says the plan went awry, and that is what KGB Lt. Col. Victor Kalashnikov also claimed when he told me about the discussion he had with the KGB Chairman in late 1991. But the KGB Chairman did not think the setbacks at the time were fatal to the plan, and was eager to move forward with the infiltration of European businesses and companies. According to Kalashnikov, the KGB worked to repair the damage and to exploit new opportunities in subsequent years, together with a more powerful general staff. Now we have a more dangerous situation, says both Bukovsky and Kalashnikov. We are facing a more efficiently managed power that will stop at nothing. Pacepa agrees with this final point, yet he doesn't want to give Golitsyn any credit.
Pacepa is guilty of attacking Golitsyn unfairly, I think, as many others have done. And he has subtly attacked and degraded James Angleton too. It's worth making a note: Those who knew Angleton sometimes get irritated when Angleton is referred to as James Jesus Angleton. The addition of his middle name is meant to discredit. Angleton did not use his middle name, and his friends did not use it. So why are we constantly seeing it used when he is referred to in articles about intelligence history? It was the staple of Tom Mangold's lamentable smear, written under the title Cold Warrior: James Jesus Angleton the CIA's Master Spy Hunter. Pete Bagley refuted Mangold's history when I last spoke with him. And when you consider Bagley's work on the Nosenko case, and what KGB Gen. Kondrashev told Bagely after the fall of the Soviet Union, it is rather remarkable to know how right Angleton was and how wrong his critics in this episode. KGB Gen. Kondrashev asked Bagley, "How could your service have believed in that man [Nosenko]?" How indeed? But everyone was supposed to! On the other hand, they weren't supposed to believe Golitsyn.
I think Pacepa was making a fool of himself by referring to "Golitsyn's so-called predictions," or by asserting that Golitsyn has "generated an imagined Russia that left us unprepared to deal with the realities of that immense realm...." What could Pacepa possibly mean by this? Nobody in power, and no one at CIA, took Golitsyn's work seriously after the fall of the Berlin Wall. The standard line of our intelligence services in 1991 -- with Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen firmly in place -- was to dismiss Golitsyn as a "conspiracy nut" exactly as Pacepa has done. It is bizarre for him to say that "I have no reason to believe Golitsyn's predictions."
Of course, what Pacepa says about Communism as an ideology needs to be appreciated. What he says is partly true. For that matter, Vilfredo Pareto asserted long ago that all ideology is a nullity which merely expresses one's temperament. It merely clothes our instinctual irrationality with the veneer of rationality. What does it matter that the Communist experiment, once tried, eradicates belief in itself as Gustave Le Bon predicted over 115 years ago? Communism was a nullity when people did believe in it. It makes absolutely no difference whether revolutionaries believe or not. It is what they do that matters, and what they do follows from their nature and not their ideology, which is merely an excuse. Let us focus on the revolutionary strategy rather than focusing on the revolutionary doubleplusgood-duck-speaking. Then we may begin to think strategically ourselves. For unlike the revolutionaries who merely seek power for power's sake, we actually do believe in something.