In October 2015, I posted an installment of Update Brazil with Jeff R. Nyquist and Allan dos Santos. They interviewed author and political researcher Trevor Loudon on the communist infiltration of the U.S. government that occurred over many years.
The accepted and popular history of communism is that ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall. But those of us who research and study the history communism know that nothing could be farther from the truth. If anything, socialism (i.e. communism) has only strengthened its grip on the West. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone, considering who are current president is, and the fact that we have a full-blown big “C” communist running for president on the Democrat ticket (i.e. Bernie Sanders).
Many people believe modern-day Russia has abandoned its communist past. But as I attempted to show in my aforementioned article, former KGB officer Vladimir Putin has never relinquished his communist roots; nor did Mikhail Gorbachev, for that matter. In 2000, Putin reinstated the Soviet national anthem when he took the helm of the Russian Federation (cf. Soviet Union). Many of the symbols of the Soviet regime still remain in place to this day.
Now, CNS News reports Vladimir Putin stated on Monday that he rather likes communism.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday he still likes the ideas of theoretical communism “very much,” and recalled that unlike many others he had not publicly destroyed his Communist Party membership card, but still keeps it at home.
“In contrast to many functionaries I did not throw my membership card away or burn it in public,” he told supporters in the southern city of Stavropol. “I still keep it at home.”
The Itar-TASS news agency quoted the former KGB official as saying that he had been rank-and-file member and not an office-bearer of the Communist Party.
“I cannot say that I was a hardline advocate of the communist ideology,” he said. “Yet my attitude to all this was very delicate.”
Putin said that while serving in the KGB he liked – and continues today to like – communist and socialist ideas “very much.”
Referring to the “Moral Code of the Builder of Communism” – a set of 12 rules every party member was expected to follow – he said the “wonderful ideas” resembled the Bible in many ways.
However, the reality was different in practice.
“The practical embodiment of these wonderful ideas in our country was very far from what the utopian socialists had proclaimed,” he said.
The comments came as Putin critically addressed, for the second time in five days, the legacy of Soviet founder Vladimir Lenin.
Last Thursday, he caused a stir by saying, during a meeting of the Presidential Council for Science and Education, that Lenin had been responsible for ideas that led ultimately to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Putin said then that Lenin’s ideas like providing regions with autonomy “planted an atomic bomb under the building that is called Russia which later exploded.”
In his address in Stavropol on Monday – to activists of his Russian Popular Front movement – Putin reiterated those points, recalling that Lenin and his successor Joseph Stalin had disagreed on the matter, with Stalin arguing in favor of a unitary state.
Stalin was overruled, and Lenin’s model that allowed for the possibility of territories seceding led to the Soviet Union’s eventual breakup, he said.
(In his 2005 state of the nation address, Putin famously described the collapse of the Soviet Union as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century.”)
Putin also criticized Lenin for the execution of Russia’s last royal ruler, Tsar Nicholas II, along with his family and servants in 1918, and for killing large numbers of Orthodox priests.
“Why did they kill Dr. Botkin?” he asked, in reference to the slain court physician Eugene Botkin. “Why did they kill the servants, people of proletarian origin by and large?”
“What for? Just for the sake of concealing a crime,” Putin said.
Not too long ago, a friend of mine pointed out something that I had never noticed before. Aeroflot, one of the largest and oldest airlines in the world, is the flag carrier of the Russian Federation. It was founded in 1923. It is now a quasi-private enterprise. Aeroflot was the official national airline of the Soviet Union. Aeroflot is still considered the de facto national airline of Russia. Interestingly, Aeroflot still retains the hammer and sickle on its official logo to this very day, which can be seen below under the “A” and “E” below.
Another example of communist symbolism still present in Russia today is that of Mosfilm, one of the largest and oldest film studios in Russia and Europe. It, too, was founded in 1923. Below is a screencap of the opening credit for Mosfilm that appears in the 2012 Russian film “White Tiger.” Clearly present is the hammer and sickle being held aloft by the two statuesque figures of a man and woman (i.e. “the workers”), and the red star shining atop a building spire in the background.
Now, imagine, if you will, modern-day Germany still retaining the symbolism of the Third Reich. What do you think the international reaction would be? And yet the Soviet regime, which is responsible for the deaths of millions, has never been held to account for its monstrous crimes against humanity and its own people … quite the contrary.
Bill Gertz at the Washington Free Beacon has written a fascinating piece on the CIA being fooled by scores of double agents who pledged their loyalty to the agency, but instead reported back to the communists during the Cold War right on up into the present day. As I have said for years… the Cold War never ended, it shifted. Now Benjamin B. Fischer, the CIA’s former chief historian, analyst and operations officer, is verifying what I have long said. That is cold comfort, I assure you.
The duping of the CIA included at least 100 fake recruits in East Germany, Cuba and Russia. For decades, these double agents supplied false intelligence to senior U.S. policymakers that ranged all the way to the presidency. And it’s still happening. Fischer writes, “During the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency bucked the law of averages by recruiting double agents on an industrial scale; it was hoodwinked not a few but many times.” Is anyone surprised by this? Trevor Loudon and I have both said for years that the agencies and our governmental leaders couldn’t pass a background check to clean a toilet. It was true then and it is true today. These double agents weren’t thoroughly vetted. They were hurriedly turned and because of sloppiness, we invited the enemy into the midst of our intelligence agencies. It’s mind boggling. In an article last week, Fischer stated, “The result was a massive but largely ignored intelligence failure.” How’s that for national security? Feeling warm and fuzzy yet?
Fischer wrote in the International Journal of Intelligence that this wreaked havoc within the agency. I’ll bet. What’s worse is that the CIA dismissed the infiltration by communists and the disinformation as insignificant. No one, including congressional oversight committees, pushed for reform in the agency when this was uncovered either. Their vetting processes still suck and they aren’t listening to the likes of Fischer. The man was a career CIA officer. He joined in 1973 and worked in the Soviet affairs division during the Cold War. He sued the CIA in 1996, charging he was mistreated for criticizing the agency for mishandling the 1994 case of CIA officer Aldrich Ames, a counterintelligence official, who was unmasked as a long time KGB plant. It was a case of blaming the messenger instead of the spy. This was during the Clinton Administration, so it does not come as a surprise.
From Bill Gertz:
Critics have charged the agency with harboring an aversion to counterintelligence — the practice of countering foreign spies and the vetting of the legitimacy of both agents and career officers. Beginning in the 1970s, many in the CIA criticized counter-spying, which often involved questioning the loyalties of intelligence personnel, as “sickthink.”
The agency’s ability to discern false agents turned deadly in 2009 when a Jordanian recruit pretending to work for [the] CIA killed a group of seven CIA officers and contractors in a suicide bombing at a camp in Afghanistan.
Double agents are foreign nationals recruited by a spy service that are secretly loyal to another spy agency. They are used to feed[ing] false disinformation for intelligence and policy purposes and to extract secrets while pretending to be loyal agents.
Double agents are different than foreign penetration agents, or moles, who spy from within agencies while posing as career intelligence officers.
Lord only knows how many moles we have within our agencies.
Predictably, the first major double agent failure was in Cuba. The Cubans are notorious for using a variety of traps for agents from honey traps to straight up blackmail. Cuban intelligence officer Florentino Aspillaga revealed a massive failure when he defected to the CIA in 1987. No less than four dozen recruits over 40 years had been secretly working for communist Cuba while on the dole of the CIA. They easily supplied disinformation to the CIA, endangering agents and scuttled operations left and right. This is the same government – Castro’s government – that Obama just reinstated relations with. Now, instead of being made fools by the communists, we just crawl into bed with them. It’s the other definition of coming in from the cold. Then came the revelation on Cuban state television which confirmed the existence of 27 fake CIA agents. You would think that would have set off alarms in the agency and caused them to adjust their vetting procedures. But you’d be wrong. Instead, the intelligence failure was covered up by congressional intelligence committees. You see, the enemies within go way back. We willingly let the enemy in our doors and let them set up shop in our intelligence agencies and abroad. Is it any wonder we now have a Marxist in power who colludes with communist dictators and tyrants, as well as Islamists?
In East Germany, all the recruited CIA agents working there were found to be double agents working secretly for the Ministry of State Security spy service, also known as the Stasi. All. Of. Them. Noodle that for a moment. According to Stasi officers, they failed at placing agents in the CIA. But there wasn’t a single CIA op on their turf that they weren’t able to detect using double agents and counterespionage operations. Fischer said the controlled East German assets “rendered U.S. intelligence deaf, dumb and blind.”
Markus Wolf was an East German spymaster. He wrote in the late 1980’s: “We were in the enviable position of knowing that not a single CIA agent had worked in East Germany without having been turned into a double agent or working for us from the start.” Wolf brashly claimed that, “On our orders they were all delivering carefully selected information and disinformation to the Americans.” He tagged a CIA officer working in West Germany and then dispatched double agents for him to recruit. Nifty.
Evidently this double agent snafu spanned move than 20 years and I contend, it is still occurring. Fischer said that former intelligence officials such as Bobby Ray Inman, who was a CIA director, confirmed the intelligence failure as did former CIA Director Robert Gates. He came right out and said that the CIA was “duped by double agents in Cuba and East Germany.” Wolf had complete control from 1961 to 1989 on the intelligence that the CIA garnered from the communists there. He played us.
And then there was the Russian double agent screw-up. The last one took place after the Soviet Union collapse in 1991. This came to light after the 1994 arrest of CIA counterintelligence officer Aldrich Ames, who spied for the Ruskies from the 1980’s until he was caught. He actively assisted the KGB and made fools of the CIA by exposing all Soviet and Eastern European intelligence operations. The Russians passed a mixture of false and accurate data through a series of double agents. Ames’ operation began in 1986 and went on until 1993.
While that was going on, the KGB sent a false defector to the CIA named Aleksandr Zhomov. He easily hoodwinked the CIA into thinking he could give them information on how the KGB had unmasked and arrested almost all CIA recruited agents during the mid-1980’s. We paid this plant an estimated $1 million. The whole front played out by Zhomov was to protect Ames from being discovered.
More from Bill Gertz:
In 1995, the CIA admitted that for eight years since 1986, it produced highly classified intelligence reports derived from “bogus” and “tainted” sources, including 35 reports that were based on data from double agents, and 60 reports compiled using sources that were suspected of being controlled by Moscow.
The false information reached the highest levels of government, including three presidents — Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton.
The CIA’s inspector general urged reprimands for several senior CIA officers and directors William H. Webster, Robert M. Gates, and R. James Woolsey.
The three former directors claimed they should not be blamed for the compromises because they were unaware of them.
Fischer said the CIA defended its recruitment of bogus agents by asserting that even while controlled the doubles provided some good intelligence.
Are you beginning to see why I say you cannot trust the Russians or the Cubans? And you can’t trust those who form alliances with them such as Barack Obama. The CIA has been broken for some time. There are good people there even now. But the bureaucratic policies in place are strangling them and keeping them from doing competent work. To survive as a nation, we must have spies and we must have verifiable and trustworthy intelligence. Otherwise, we become sitting ducks for our enemies. You’d think we would have learned that by now, but some of these people are so stupid, they have reached rock-bottom and have started to dig.
One of the problems for the CIA concerning their Soviet operations was that they could not recruit agents to work for the agency. They had to take walk-ins and volunteers. They compounded this by not vetting them thoroughly. It was a prime opportunity for moles and double agents to infiltrate and they did. It’s bad enough this was taking place during the “Cold War,” but it is still going on. That’s unforgivable.
It gets worse… the CIA knew these agents were fraudulent and they allowed the division in charge of Soviet affairs to cover up the loss of all its bona fide agents. No one was held accountable either. No real inquiry was conducted.
“Mitigating the dismay at the total corruption — moral, intellectual, and political — of the agency is my surprise that a man in Fischer’s position saw the reality so very clearly and so reports it,” said Angelo Codevilla, senior fellow at the Claremont Institute and professor emeritus of International Relations at Boston University.
Kenneth E. deGraffenreid, a former senior White House intelligence official during the Reagan administration, said Fischer and other former intelligence officials have revealed that large-scale communist intelligence service operations to undermine the CIA show “the story of Soviet-era espionage operations that we’ve understood to this point is probably deeply flawed.” Ya think? Many of us have been screaming this for years. They should read Trevor Loudon, Diana West, Cliff Kincaid and James Simpson’s works.
“What we thought was true from the Cold War spy wars was largely wrong, and that says that the counterintelligence model we had was wrong,” said deGraffenreid. “And therefore because we’ve not corrected that problem we’re in bad shape to deal with the current challenges posed by terrorists and spies from Iran, Russia, China and others.”
Bill Gertz should be applauded for bringing this travesty to light and exposing it. He’s done incredible work here.
Take it from the CIA themselves: “Intelligence officers have a saying that the only thing worse than knowing there is a mole in your organization is finding the mole.” The same goes for leadership. How can we defend our country if we can’t even police our own intelligence agencies? And it goes far beyond them as well. All our government agencies and the federal government itself are infiltrated with communists and Islamists… from NASA, to our universities, to our military, to the seats of power in Congress… the U.S. is facing an existential problematic threat from within. The CIA is not the only one that has been duped here. The whole nation has been by Barack Obama and his comrades.
Juxtaposing two recent articles published within 24 hours of each other on Cuba is instructive.
First, a Wall Street Journal article titled “Amid Thaw, First Authorized U.S. Yacht Sails to Cuba on Hopes of Travel Surge” reads:
The 78-foot Still Water docked in the marina late Wednesday after a four-hour jaunt. Aboard the sleek yacht were three crew and 12 passengers eager to see Cuba before the sharp economic and social change that many Americans expect to sweep the country as a long-frozen U.S.-Cuba relationship thaws. Some also hoped to sniff out business opportunities that such a transformation might spawn.
“Being born in the 50s and being indoctrinated the way we were, it’s interesting to be able to see this,” said 57-year-old passenger Jack McClurg, who manages his personal investments from Colorado and sails the Caribbean in his own 115-foot Italian-made yacht. “I’m just wanting to see this change happening.”
… Though Presidents Barack Obama and Raúl Castro agreed in December to restore diplomatic relations between their countries, the trade embargo remains largely in effect. But officials and entrepreneurs in both countries are chipping at its edges, hoping to marry U.S. investors with Cuba’s hope to revive its economy.
“The genie of free enterprise is out of the bottle and it is a powerful genie,” Jose Viera, a retired senior Cuban diplomat, assured the yacht’s group in a private briefing. [Emphasis mine]
With tense bilateral ties recently renewed after five decades, and top US diplomat John Kerry due in Havana in days, Cuba arrested some 90 activists on Sunday.
Cuban security forces rounded up marchers — about 50 with the Ladies in White dissident group and around 40 other activists, some wearing masks with the image of US President Barack Obama, according to an AFP reporter.
One protester slammed Obama, and said the December announcement to normalize relations between the former Cold war foes had bolstered Havana’s crackdown on dissidents.
“It’s his fault, what is happening,” said former political prisoner Angel Moya, speaking about Obama.
“The Cuban government has grown even bolder,” he added before being detained. [Emphasis mine]
This is just the latest in a series of crackdowns on dissent in Communist Cuba, where in July the Cuba Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation (CCDHRN) documented 674 political arrests, the highest number since June 2014.
To travel to Castro-run Cuba is to give a regime still dedicated to the violent overthrow of the capitalist order your sanction. We should not be sanctioning a great evil.
Robert Conquest has died at age 98. He was a gigantic hero of truth and the voiceless.
On a professional note that is also personal, Robert Conquest’s tremendous body of work — and, I would add, the consternation and controversy his work engendered amid the “intelligentsia” — has been and will remain a guiding inspiration.
In many ways, American Betrayal is itself a paean to Conquest.
Some relevant passages from the book follow.
British historian Robert Conquest is one such magnificent exception. Conquest’s special branch of Soviet history might well be called Soviet exterminationism—a new “ism,” perhaps, but one that fittingly encapsulates the history of mass murder Conquest has immersed himself in, cataloging and analyzing the boggling scale of murder and tragedy deliberately wrought by the Communist regime in Russia. His macabre exercise began, most notably, with his history of Stalin’s purges of the 1930s, The Great Terror. The book came out in 1968, a time when no other historians were even acknowledging the existence of this hulking wound of a subject, a time when, amazingly, Joseph E. Davies’s twenty-seven-year-old pro-Stalin tract, Mission to Moscow, was still the first and last word on the subject. Noting the Conquest book’s uniqueness in 1968, Andrew and Mitrokhin called it “a sign of the difficulty encountered by many Western historians in interpreting the Terror” (emphasis added).45 When Conquest finally marshaled the available research and put a number on the horror— twenty million killed during the Stalin period—it was as though the historian had additionally become a cold-case criminologist and, further, by implication, a hanging judge. As crunched by columnist Joseph Alsop, commenting in 1970 on a particularly callous review of the Conquest book and its themes, those twenty million souls killed by the regime represented one-eighth of the entire Russian population “of that period, in peacetime and without provoking a whisper of protest.”46
How could that be? Without understanding the extent of Communist pen- etration into the decision-and-opinion-making echelons of the West—and, as important, into the decision-and-opinion-making minds of the West—the question is baffling, a mystery without clues, a historical brick wall. From our vantage point, blanks and all, it is almost impossible to comprehend how it could have been that our relatives and forebears, apparently sentient, apparently decent Americans, could have looked on in neutral silence as the Soviet state, year after year, starved and brutalized and enslaved millions of its own people to death—news of which did indeed spread throughout the West despite Soviet censorship and prevarication, although it remained outside consensus.47 Dalton Trumbo, as we’ve seen, took pride in the silence on the Hollywood front. He’s hailed as a martyr of idealism. Historians, as we’ve seen, looked the other way, strenuously, to protect their precious “basic symmetry.” They remain figures of respect and authority. How—and when—did these and other inversions of logic and morality, common sense and common decency, begin to take place?
On his real-life return to the USSR, [journalist] Eugene Lyons would see and eventually understand. He writes of finding the familiar old mind games, the sifting techniques, no longer effective on his return. “With every week after my return I came to feel more ashamed of my mealy-mouthed caution while at home,” he writes. “Deep under those excuses I had made for myself, I now was forced to admit, had been the subconscious desire to remain persona grata with the masters, retain my job. I was protecting my status as a ‘friendly’ correspondent. And at that I had just about crawled under the line.”60
There Lyons was to stay at least long enough to participate in a seminal event in Soviet crime and Western turpitude: what Robert Conquest would much later identify as the very first successful implementation of the “Big Lie”—the concerted assault on truth to form world opinion, in this original case, to deny the regime-engineered Famine in the Ukraine. It was a Faustian turning point.
On the face of it, this [deception] might appear to have been an impossible un- dertaking. A great number of true accounts reached Western Europe and America, some of them from impeccable Western eyewitnesses . . .
But Stalin had a profound understanding of the possibilities of what Hitler approvingly calls the Big Lie. He knew that even though the truth may be read- ily available, the deceiver need not give up. He saw that flat denial on the one hand, and the injection into the pool of information of a corpus of positive false- hood on the other, were sufficient to confuse the issue for the passively in- structed foreign audience, and to induce acceptance of the Stalinist version by those actively seeking to be deceived.
Flat denial plus a corpus of positive falsehood: Sounds like another black hole of antiknowledge, another corroding attack on the basis of the Enlightenment itself. Conquest describes this concerted effort to deceive the world about the truth of the state-engineered famine, Stalin’s brutal war on the peasantry, as “the first major instance of the exercise of this technique of influencing world opinion.”61
This instance, then, was a seminal moment in the history of the world. The seminal moment, perhaps, of the twentieth century, a moment in which history itself, always subject to lies and colorations, became susceptible to something truly new under the sun: totalitarianism; more specifically, the totalitarian in- novation of disinformation, later expanded, bureaucratized and, in effect, wea- ponized, by KGB-directed armies of dezinformatsiya agents.
More than three decades later, in 1968, when Robert Conquest came along with his testimonies, his figures, and his footnotes attesting to the colossal horror of the Soviet regime, first regarding the Moscow show trials, and then, in 1985, with his testimonies, his figures, and his footnotes attesting to the Terror Famine in the Ukraine, there was no need to meet in a hotel room with a Soviet censor and work out a conspiracy of denial and drink to it with vodka. Nor was there consciousness of such a need. The legacy of denial had become so powerful in the interim as to have become imperceptible and stunningly effective. “The main lesson seems to be that the Communist ideology provided the moti- vation for an unprecedented massacre of men, women and children,” Conquest wrote, but class was incapable of learning.70
“People accepted his facts, but they didn’t accept his conclusions,” British writer Neal Ascherson said to the British newspaper The Guardian in 2003, perfectly crystallizing the intelligentsia’s permanent reaction to Conquest.71 This facts-sans-implications formulation is key. It sounds so reasonable. Come, come, dear boy; no one is rejecting your facts, just your conclusions. There may indeed be extreme “food shortages,” but widespread mortality is due to diseases associated with “malnutrition,” not famine. Facts, yes. Conclusions, no. However, such facts are conclusions because they are crimes. Soviet exterminationism is Soviet exterminationism (emphasis on Soviet), just as Nazi genocide is Nazi genocide (emphasis on Nazi). Reject the conclusion and the facts, the crimes, become meaningless. Indeed, such facts demand judgment, just as such crimes demand a verdict. As Conquest put it:
The historian, registering the facts beyond doubt, and in their context, cannot but also judge. Die Weltgeschischte ist das Weltgericht—World History is the World’s Court of Judgment: Schiller’s dictum may seem too grandiose today. Yet the establishment of the facts certainly includes the establishment of responsibility.72
The Left tried to drive a wedge between the facts as Conquest marshaled them and the conclusions as he drew them, making efforts to taint both due to his evident “dislike” of purges, terror, and death camps—or, as Eugene Lyons might have put it ironically, his middle-class liberal “hang-overs of prejudice” against dictatorship, mass slaughter, and the crushing of the human spirit. Conquest writes:
It was believed that a “Cold Warrior” became opposed to the Soviet system be- cause of some irrational predisposition . . . The idea seems to be that if one can show that opposition to the Soviet threat was in part based on dislike of Soviet actualities and intentions—that is, “emotions”—then the opposition cannot have been objective. But, of course, the Soviet system was indeed disliked, even detested, because of its record and intentions.73
What Conquest’s detractors dismissed as “emotions”—namely, “dislike of Soviet actualities and intentions” (including twenty million killed by Stalin)— was in fact a historian’s verdict of responsibility regarding such crimes. Visceral feelings aside, it is a judgment based on evidence, logic, and moral analysis. These are the same underpinnings of any rational investigation into Nazi “ac- tualities and intentions” and subsequent finding of their detestable nature. No one would pause over the following slight reworking of a Conquest line quoted above: “The main lesson seems to be that the Nazi ideology provided the motivation for an unprecedented massacre of men, women and children”— but insert “Communist ideology” into the sentence and boy, look out.
“No one could deal with this,” he writes of his Great Terror research, “or other themes I wrote of later, unless judgmental as well as inquisitive; and those who denied the negative characteristics of Soviet Communism were deficient in judgment and in curiosity—gaps in the teeth and blinkers on the eyes.”74
To be able to “deal with” the evil of Communist extermination history, then, as Conquest writes, is to be judgmental as well as inquisitive. This suggests a continuum between such fruits of curiosity and academic labor—the repugnant facts of Communist extermination history—and our judgment of them. The gap-toothed and blinkered ones, however, set out to interrupt this continuum, to sunder these facts from their conclusions, to explode the whole logical exercise that begins in facts and ends in conclusions into senseless fragments—to decontextualize it (and everything else while they’re at it). Yes, the Nazi system killed six million people (fact), and yes, the Nazi system was evil (conclusion); and yes, the Soviet system killed twenty million people (fact), but how dare that “cowboy” Ronald Reagan call the Soviet Union the “evil empire”?
Like postmodernism itself, this massive inconsistency on Nazism and Communism doesn’t make a shred of sense. If making sense were the goal, the phrase “evil empire” would have been a trite truism, a hoary cliché long before Ronald Reagan uttered the words, which, like the most potent incantation, drove tribes of intelligentsia the Western world over into fits of mass hysteria and rage—against evil Reagan, not the empire. If the words today no longer conjure the same teeth-gnashing indictment of Old West simplicity they once did, they still manage to strike a spark or two of faux outrage. Also, the quotation marks of irony have yet to fall away.
I went back to the original Reagan speech recently, realizing I’d never heard or read any more of it than that signature phrase. Reagan was addressing evangelical Christians at a time when the so-called nuclear freeze, which we now know to have been a colossal Soviet influence operation,75 was under debate in Congress and Reagan was proposing to deploy Pershing missiles in Europe. Two weeks later, he would announce his Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), which, even as it became the obsession that would drive the final Soviet dicta- tors to exhaust the Communist system in their futile efforts to compete, was endlessly caricatured in Western media as a “cowboy’s” comic-book ray gun of choice straight from Star Wars—no doubt a Soviet-encouraged moniker.
The speech is surprisingly mild. I was surprised to learn that by the time Reagan gets around to mentioning the “evil empire,” he was not inveighing against the USSR directly but rather against the creed of moral equivalence, at the time the very definition of intellectual chic. It’s hard to convey the intensity of the drumbeat for moral equivalence in those days. It was background noise and op-ed commentary, the premise of debate (“Resolved: There is no moral difference between the world policies of the United States and the Soviet Union,” Oxford Union debate, February 23, 1984) and the endings of movies (Three Days of the Condor , Apocalypse Now , Reds ). The era Reagan was trying to end was one of entrenched belief in “ambiguities” between capitalism and Communism, between liberty and tyranny. It was too much for one man to do, even Ronald Reagan.
“We’re all the same, you know, that’s the joke,” East German agent Fiedler remarks to British agent Leamas in The Spy Who Came In from the Cold, le Carré’s stunningly successful 1963 novel that instituted the le Carré brand. This joke was an old story by the 1980s, the conventional wisdom, the Establishment point of view. It still is. By 2008, le Carré was confiding to The Sunday Times of London, over fragrant, amber-colored glasses of Calvados, as the waves crashed at the foot of the cliffs below the author’s Cornwall home, that he had himself been tempted to defect to the Soviet Union.76
“Well, I wasn’t tempted ideologically,” he reasserts, in case there should be any doubt, “but when you spy intensively and you get closer and closer to the border . . . it seems such a small step to jump . . . and, you know, find out the rest” [ellipses in original].
The rest about the twenty million killed? Heavens, no. The Times explains:
This is maybe less surprising than at first it seemed: we are in true le Carré territory, nuanced and complex, where the spying is sometimes an end in itself and where there is rarely an easy, Manichaean split between the good guys and the bad guys. Defecting was a temptation the writer resisted, to our good fortune [em- phasis added].
To each our own. What is remarkable here is less the “news” about le Carré than the ease with which the reporter absorbs this point of moral cretinhood, conveying the author’s view as a beguilingly piquant eccentricity even as it skirts the charnel houses the man found himself fascinated and not repelled by. Such enthusiasm would not have greeted a thriller writer who expressed a temptation to “jump . . . and, you know, find out the rest” about, say, the Third Reich.
If an unhealthy attraction to the Soviet Union was still respectable as re- cently as 2008, imagine how outrageous the phrase “evil empire” sounded twenty-five years earlier. This is what Reagan actually said:
In your discussions of the nuclear freeze proposals, I urge you to beware the temptation of pride—the temptation of blithely declaring yourselves above it all and label both sides equally at fault, to ignore the facts of history and the aggressive impulses of an evil empire, to simply call the arms race a giant misunder- standing and thereby remove yourself from the struggle between right and wrong and good and evil.77
Reagan’s exhortation to face “the facts of history” was a broad challenge, his reference to “the aggressive impulses of an evil empire” an “Emperor’s New Clothes” moment. The cataclysmic histories of Ukraine, Finland, Bessarabia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austria, Korea, East Germany, Vietnam, China, Cuba, Angola, and on and on were not the shining raiment becoming an empire of peace. Reagan was challenging us to acknowledge the implications of this fact, to fight the paralysis of “moral equivalence,” and see not two bullies in a playground, as the East-West struggle was repetitiously framed, but one aggressor seeking to impose a totalitarian system over as much of the world as possible. Good and Evil. Reagan may have had to struggle to explain this to the West, but the Soviets, as Robert Conquest reminds us, looking back from the vantage point of 2005, were never unclear, morally or otherwise, about their intentions:
The Soviet Union, right up to the eve of its collapse, was committed to the con- cept of an unappeasable conflict with the Western world and to the doctrine that this could only be resolved by what Foreign Minister Andrey Gromyko de- scribed, as officially as one can imagine (in his 1975 book The Foreign Policy of the Soviet Union) as world revolution: “The Communist Party of the Soviet Union subordinates all its theoretical and practical activity in the sphere of foreign relations to the task of strengthening the positions of socialism, and the interests of further developing and deepening the world revolutionary process.”78
As Conquest added, “one could hardly be franker.”
And he is gone from us now. A permanent loss. R.I.P.
There are 4 Americans in prison in Iran for which there have been countless calls and efforts for their release. Major Garrett of CBS asked Barack Obama during a press conference if he was content with leaving those Americans behind to which Obama responded by shaming Garrett for even asking the question.
It should also be noted that the Palestinian Authority demanded that thousands of terrorists in prison in Israel be released for a scheduled round of peace talks between Israel and the PA. Barack Obama forced Israel to comply for face financial extortion. Israel complied where later many of those terrorists were re-arrested in Qatar. The betrayal continues. The secrets were effective.
Mojtaba Atarodi, arrested in California for attempting to acquire equipment for Iran’s military-nuclear programs, was released in April as part of back channel talks, Times of Israel told. The contacts, mediated in Oman for years by close colleague of the Sultan, have seen a series of US-Iran prisoner releases, and there may be more to come
The secret back channel of negotiations between Iran and the United States, which led to this month’s interim deal in Geneva on Iran’s rogue nuclear program, has also seen a series of prisoner releases by both sides, which have played a central role in bridging the distance between the two nations, the Times of Israel has been told.
In the most dramatic of those releases, the US in April released a top Iranian scientist, Mojtaba Atarodi, who had been arrested in 2011 for attempting to acquire equipment that could be used for Iran’s military-nuclear programs.
American and Iranian officials have been meeting secretly in Oman on and off for years, according to a respected Israeli intelligence analyst, Ronen Solomon. And in the past three years as a consequence of those talks, Iran released three American prisoners, all via Oman, and the US responded in kind. Then, most critically, in April, when the back channel was reactivated in advance of the Geneva P5+1 meetings, the US released a fourth Iranian prisoner, high-ranking Iranian scientist Atarodi, who was arrested in California on charges that remain sealed but relate to his attempt to acquire what are known as dual-use technologies, or equipment that could be used for Iran’s military-nuclear programs. Iran has not reciprocated for that latest release.
Solomon, an independent intelligence analyst (who in 2009 revealed the crucial role played by German Federal Intelligence Service officer Gerhard Conrad in the negotiations that led to the 2011 Gilad Shalit Israel-Hamas prisoner deal), has been following the US-Iran meetings in Oman for years. Detailing what he termed the “unwritten prisoner exchange deals” agreed over the years in Oman by the US and Iran, Solomon told The Times of Israel that “It’s clear what the Iranians got” with the release of top scientist Atarodi in April. “What’s unclear is what the US got.”
The history of these deals, though, he said, would suggest that in the coming months Iran will release at least one of three US citizens who are currently believed to be in Iranian custody. One of these three is former FBI agent Robert Levinson.
Solomon told The Times of Israel that the interlocutor in the Oman talks is a man named Salem Ben Nasser al Ismaily, who is the executive president of the Omani Center for Investment Promotion and Export Development and a close confidant of the Omani leader Sultan Qaboos bin Said.
The latter tells the fictional tale of John Wilkinson, a successful American businessman who fails in all of his business endeavors in the Gulf until he meets Sultan, who explains to him, according to the book’s promotional literature, how to forgo his hard-charging Western style and “surrender to very different values rooted in ancient tribal customs and traditions.” Those mores have been central to the murky prisoner swaps surrounding the nuclear negotiations, Solomon said.
Solomon said he identified Ismaily’s role back in September 2010, when Sarah Shourd, an American who apparently inadvertently crossed into Iran while hiking near the Iraqi border, was released, for what were called humanitarian reasons. She was delivered into Ismaily’s hands in Oman and from there was flown to the US — the first release in the series of deals brokered in Oman. One year later, in September 2011, her fiancé and fellow hiker, Shane Bauer, was set free along with their friend, Josh Fattal. The two men were also received at Muscat’s Seeb military airport by Ismaily before being flown back to the US.
The US began reciprocating in August 2012, Solomon said. It freed Shahrzad Mir Gholikhan, an Iranian convicted on three counts of weapons trafficking. Next Nosratollah Tajik, a former Iranian ambassador to Jordan — who, like Gholikhan, had been initially apprehended abroad trying to buy night-vision goggles from US agents — was freed after the US opted not to follow up an extradition request it had submitted to the British. Then, in January 2013, Amir Hossein Seirafi was released, also via Oman, having been arrested in Frankfurt and convicted in the US of trying to buy specialized vacuum pumps that could be used in the Iranian nuclear program.
Finally, in April, came the release of Mojtaba Atarodi.
The facts of his case are still shrouded. On December 7, 2011, Atarodi, a faculty member at the prestigious Sharif University of Technology (SUT) in Tehran — a US-educated electrical engineer with a heart condition, a green card and a brother living in the US — arrived at LAX and was arrested by US federal officials.
He appeared twice in US federal court in San Francisco and was incarcerated at a federal facility in Dublin, California and then kept under house arrest. The US government cloaked the contents of his indictment and released no statement upon his release. His lawyer, Matthew David Kohn, told The Times of Israel he would like to discuss the case further but that first he had to “make some inquiries” to see what he was allowed to reveal.
In January, shortly after Atarodi’s arrest, his colleagues wrote a letter to the journal Nature, protesting his detention. “We believe holding a distinguished 55-year-old professor in custody is a historical mistake and not commensurate with the image that America strives to extend throughout the world as a bastion of free scientific exchange among schools and academic institutions,” they said.
Solomon, who compiled a profile of Atarodi, believes that the scientist, prior to his arrest, played an important role in Iran’s missile and nuclear programs. Atarodi, he said, has co-authored more than 30 technical articles, mostly related to micro-electric engineering and, in 2011, won the Khwarizmi award for the design of a microchip receiver for digital photos. “That same technology,” he said, “can be used for missile guidance and the analysis of nuclear tests.”
Solomon further noted that the then-Iranian defense minister and former commander of the revolutionary guards, Ahmad Vahidi, attended the prize ceremony and that Professor Massoud Ali-Mahmoudi, an Iranian physics professor who was assassinated in 2010, was an earlier recipient of the prize.
“There is no doubt in my mind that Atarodi came to the US at the behest of the logistics wing of the IRGC [the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps],” Solomon said.
On April 26 Atarodi was flown from the US to Seeb military airbase in Oman, where he met with Ismaily, and onward to Iran. “The release of someone who holds that sort of information and has advanced strategic projects in Iran is a prize,” Solomon said. The US, said Solomon, must have already received something in return or will do so in the future.
Thus far, US-Iran prisoner swaps have been conducted in a manner utterly distinct from the old Cold War rituals, in which, as was the case with Prisoner of Zion Natan Sharansky, spies or prisoners from either side of the Iron Curtain walked across Berlin’s old Glienicke Bridge toward their respective home countries. Instead, with Iran claiming it knows nothing about the whereabouts of former FBI agent Levinson, for instance, and the US eager to show that it will not barter with hostage-takers, the deals have taken the form of a delayed quid pro quo.
There are currently three US nationals — Levinson, Saeed Abedini, and Amir Hekmati — still believed to be held in Iran.
US President Barak Obama raised the issue of the imprisoned Americans in his historic September phone call to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor, Tony Blinken, told CNN that aside from the nuclear program it was the only other issue that was brought up in the call.
The interim deal in Geneva did not include any reference to prisoner dealings. Richard Haas, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, told CNN, “you’ve got to decide how much you’re going to try to accomplish, and just tackling all the dimensions of the nuclear agreement is ambition enough.” A spokeswoman for the National Security Council added that the “talks focused exclusively on nuclear issues.”
The omission prompted the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice, Jay Sekulow, who is representing Pastor Saeed Abedini’s wife Naghmeh, to charge Obama and US Secretary of State John Kerry with turning their backs on an American citizen. On the center’s website, he called the decision “outrageous and a betrayal” and said it sends the message that “Americans are expendable.”
Abedini, who was born in Iran and later converted to Christianity, was arrested earlier this year in Iran for what would seem was strictly Christian charity work and sentenced to eight years in prison. He was recently transferred from Evin Prison, a notorious jail for political prisoners in Tehran, Sukelow wrote in a letter to Kerry, “to the even more notorious and brutal Rajai Shahr Prison in Karaj.”
Amir Hekmati, a 31-year-old former Marine from Flint, Michigan, who allegedly obtained permission to visit his grandmother in Iran in 2011, was charged with espionage and sentenced to death in 2012. In September, Hekmati managed to smuggle a letter out of prison. Published in the Guardian, it contended that his filmed admission of guilt had been coerced and that his arrest “is part of a propaganda and hostage-taking effort by Iranian intelligence to secure the release of Iranians abroad being held on security-related charges.”
Levinson, a 65-year-old veteran of the FBI, was last seen on March 9, 2007, on Kish Island, Iran. According to Solomon, Levinson was stationed in Dubai at the time as part of a US task force comprised of former officers operating in the United Arab Emirates, training officials there to combat weapons trafficking, and was tempted to come to Kish for a meeting.
The last person he is known to have had contact with, and with whom he shared a room the night before his abduction, according to a Reuters article from 2007, is Dawud Salahuddin, an American convert to Islam, who is wanted in the US for murder. According to a New Yorker profile of the Long Island-born Salahuddin, he showed up at the home of Ali Akbar Tabatabai’s Bethseda, Maryland door in July 1980, dressed as a mailman, and shot Tabatabai, a Shah supporter, three times in the abdomen, killing him. From there he fled to Canada and on to Switzerland and Iran.
Salahuddin has indicated that Levinson had come to Kish to meet with him.
In September, Rouhani denied any knowledge of Levinson’s whereabouts. In an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, he said that, “We don’t know where he is, who he is. He is an American who has disappeared. We have no news of him.”
This is highly doubtful. In 2010 and 2011 Levinson’s family received a video and photographs respectively of him in captivity. In January of this year the AP reported that “despite years of denials,” many US security officials now believe that “Iran’s intelligence service was almost certainly behind the 54-second video and five photographs of Levinson that were emailed anonymously to his family.” The photos and the videos traced back to different addresses in Afghanistan and Pakistan, suggesting, perhaps, that Levinson, the longest-held hostage in US history, was imprisoned in Balochistan, a desert region spanning the borders of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
On Tuesday, Levinson’s son Dan wrote a column in the Washington Post calling Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif “well-respected men committed to the goodwill of all human beings, regardless of their nationality.”
Several hours later, White House Spokesman Jay Carney published a statement saying that the US government welcomes the assistance “of our international partners” in attempting to bring Levinson home and, he added, “we respectfully ask the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to assist us in securing Mr. Levinson’s health, welfare, and safe return.”
As was the case with the Geneva negotiations, and as is likely happening with the upcoming round of talks regarding Syria, there is good reason to believe, and in this case to hope, that the movements played out under the spotlights of the international stage have been choreographed well in advance, perhaps in the sea-side city of Muscat, under the careful tutelage of Salem Ben Nasser al Ismaily.
VIENNA—Tensions in the nuclear talks between Iran and six powers have boiled over in recent days, producing heated exchanges among foreign ministers as Washington and Tehran struggled to overcome remaining hurdles to a final agreement, according to people involved in the talks.
The German and British foreign ministers returned to the Austrian capital Wednesday evening as Western diplomats insisted a deal was still possible in coming days. However, time was running out for the agreement to be sealed before a deadline this week which would give the U.S. Congress an extra month to review a deadline.
People close to the talks have warned that the longer Congress and opponents of the diplomacy get to pick over an agreement and galvanize opposition, the greater the political risks for supporters of the process, which aims to block Iran’s path to nuclear weapons in exchange for lifting tight international sanctions.
U.S. officials have insisted this week they don’t feel under pressure to get a deal by the congressional deadline, which arrives at midnight Thursday (6 a.m. Friday in Vienna.)
Over the past day, Western officials and Iranian media have outlined tense exchanges between the negotiating teams that took place Monday evening, at a point where the talks appeared close to stalling. At the time, negotiators were working toward a Tuesday deadline for a deal.
Later today, the U.S. Air Force Secretary had this to say:
Russia is the biggest threat to US national security and America must boost its military presence throughout Europe even as NATO allies face budget challenges and scale back spending, US Air Force Secretary Deborah James said on Wednesday.
“I do consider Russia to be the biggest threat,” James told Reuters in an interview after a series of visits and meetings with US allies across Europe, including Poland.
James said Washington was responding to Russia’s recent “worrisome” actions by boosting its presence across Europe, and would continue rotational assignments of F-16 fighter squadrons. Deeper details are here.
Meanwhile, Adm. Paul F. Zukunft, commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, said the United States is practically a bystander in the region.
“We sit here on the sidelines as the only nation that has not ratified the Law of the Sea Convention,” Zukunft told a gathering Tuesday at the Navy League’s annual Sea Air Space exposition and conference at National Harbor, Maryland. “Our nation has two ocean-going icebreakers … We’re the most prosperous nation on Earth. Our GDP is eight times that of Russia. Russia has 27 ocean-going icebreakers.”
The U.S. has only two, he said, practically conceding the Arctic to foreign nations, Zukunft said.
“What happened when Sputnik went up? Did we say ‘good for you but we’re not playing in that game?’” he asked. “Well, we’re not playing in this game at all.”
Beneath the Arctic is about 13 percent of the world’s oil and nearly 30 percent of its natural gas. And on the seabed is about a trillion dollars’ worth of minerals, Zukunft said. Coast Guard mapping indicates that an area about twice the size of California would be considered America’s extended continental under the U.N. sea convention not signed by the U.S.
‘This test marks a major milestone for the B61-12 Life Extension Program, demonstrating end-to-end system performance under representative delivery conditions,’ said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Dr. Don Cook.
‘Achieving the first complete B61-12 flight test provides clear evidence of the nation’s continued commitment to maintain the B61 and provides assurance to our allies.’
The B61, known before 1968 as the TX-61, was designed in 1963 by the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.
The B61-12 LEP entered Development Engineering in February 2012 after approval from the Nuclear Weapons Council, a joint Department of Defense and Department of Energy/NNSA organization established to facilitate cooperation and coordination between the two departments as they fulfill their complementary agency responsibilities for U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile management. More details here.
John Sununu, former New Hampshire governor and Bush chief of staff has written a poignant book: “The Quiet Man: The Indispensable Presidency of George H. W. Bush.” While I did not always agree with President Bush’s policies and he was far too Progressive on taxes and the Constitution for my tastes, there is no denying he was a great leader in his own right. Far more so than the Marxist we now have leading the country.
When H. W. Bush came into office, he followed one of the greatest presidents to ever lead the nation – Ronald Reagan. Even with the wild success that Reagan brought us with Bush as his VP, when Bush took office the Democrats controlled both the Senate and the House. The Iran-Contra affair was front news and Bush had an uphill fight ahead of him. As I’ve contended many times, the Cold War never ended… it shifted and Bush still had his hands full with the Russian bear. Bush was a master diplomat and strong military strategist – the Gulf War and dealing with Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega are testimony to that.
Sununu contends that Bush’s presidency was misunderstood and underestimated. I agree with that. The man accomplished a great deal not only in foreign policy, but domestically. But he was not arrogant about it and went about leading the country quietly and competently. He managed to control Congress and heal the rift there somewhat, although I think far too much concern is placed on placating the other side. Bush salvaged a failing savings and loan program and managed to get major legislation passed even with liberals blocking him at every opportunity. There is no doubt that Bush reduced the deficit, albeit in a very unpopular way by raising taxes. He deregulated energy companies, passed the Clean Air Act, pushed through a major crime bill, touted child care legislation and saw the Americans with Disabilities Act come to fruition. All of those were major accomplishments, although not all of them were the right move in my opinion.
In this major reassessment of George Herbert Walker Bush, the 41st president of the United States, his former Chief of Staff offers a long overdue appreciation of the man and his universally underrated and misunderstood presidency.
“I’m a quiet man, but I hear the quiet people others don’t.”—George H. W. Bush
In this unique insider account, John H. Sununu pays tribute to his former boss—an intelligent, thoughtful, modest leader—and his overlooked accomplishments. Though George H. W. Bush is remembered for orchestrating one of the largest and most successful military campaigns in history—the Gulf War—Sununu argues that conventional wisdom misses many of Bush’s other great achievements.
During his presidency, the Berlin Wall fell and the Soviet Union collapsed. Bush’s calm and capable leadership during this dramatic time helped shape a world in which the United States emerged as the lone superpower. Sununu reminds us that President Bush’s domestic achievements were equally impressive, including strengthening civil rights, enacting environmental protections, and securing passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 1990 agreement which generated budget surpluses and a decade of economic growth.
Sununu offers unparalleled insight into this statesman who has been his longtime close friend. He worked with Bush when he was vice president under Ronald Reagan, helped him through a contentious GOP primary season and election in 1988, and as his chief of staff, was an active participant and front-row observer to many of the significant events of Bush’s presidency. Reverential yet scrupulously honest, Sununu reveals policy differences and clashes among the diverse personalities in and out of the White House, giving credit—and candid criticism—where it’s due.
The Quiet Man goes behind the scenes of this unsung but highly consequential presidency, and illuminates the man at its center as never before.
Bush wasn’t a hipster who had sex in the Oval Office or pushed ‘change’ in the guise of Marxist policies. He was a traditional leader who had principles. He put the country first and his own wants second. Someone might want to teach that to Barack Obama.
Sununu does a masterful job of telling Bush’s story and bringing facts to light. There are colorful personal stories as well as historical engagements. Then there is the age-old tale of the battles with the media, which we are all too familiar with these days. Sununu’s account is a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes and at the life of George H. W. Bush. It’s a fantastic read.
My feeling is that Bush was a very good president. He was courageous, understated and everything a good leader should be. Compared to the leader we have now, he’s a giant. Bush is a humble man and by all accounts that I have heard, a good man. His legacy for America will be anything but quiet. Perhaps it will drown out some of the damage done by Barack Obama. I heartily recommend “The Quiet Man: The Indispensable Presidency of George H. W. Bush”… it is one you and your children should read to understand American political history as it actually happened.
This is a rather prophetic lecture, if you ask me, by Don McAlvany on the false demise of Communism. It was recorded 25 years ago, in 1990, shortly following the fall of the Berlin Wall, which marked the beginning of the Weidervereinigung des Deutschlands (Reunification of Germany).
What I find particularly fascinating about McAlvany’s presentation are his references to KGB defector Anatoliy Golytsin’s book New Lies for Old. I have written previously (see here) about Anatoliy’s Golytsin’s startlingly accurate predictions concerning Soviet plans to deceive the West into believing Communism was dead, and that the Soviet Union was a thing of the past. Golytsin went on to write his second book entitled The Perestroika Deception in 1995.
Most of Golytsin’s predictions have proven true in hindsight. In 1984, when New Lies for Old first hit the bookshelves, Golytsin predicted that the Berlin Wall would be torn down in order to fool the West into believing that the Soviet Union was shattered. What makes Golytsin’s prediction even more eye-opening is the fact he had written the manuscript years before New Lies for Old reached publication.
The Soviets were masters at disinformation and deception. The sophistication of their subversive techniques are breathtaking in scope and audacity. Many in the West have failed to grasp the incredible lengths the Soviets and the KGB were willing to go to in order to deceive and subvert their enemies—namely, the United States and the entire Western world.
Many of the strategies and tactics employed by the Soviets—such as the dialectical and the “two steps forward, one step” back strategies—are foreign to many Western minds. But a thorough understanding of these strategies is paramount if one hopes to counter them. (You might’ve noticed I’ve switched to the present tense. I’ll get to that.)
Take the dialectical strategy, for example. Without getting into a dissertation on Marxist dialectics, the dialectical strategy entails the manipulation of friend and foe alike—playing both sides of the fence, so to speak. Communists are known for setting up “false opposition” groups in order to control and herd their opposition. Vladimir I. Lenin once said, “The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.” Leading the opposition requires infiltration, also referred to as “controlled opposition.”
Communists are willing to take “one step back” in order to “move two steps forward”; giving a false impression they are in a position of weakness; when, in fact, they are strong. Such a strategy can provide an opportunity to offer “concessions” to the enemy—but only “concessions” that provide the ability to move “two steps forward.” The goal is to goad the enemy into offering real concessions (i.e. compromise), while only offering token concessions that have no real lasting consequences on the long-range strategy of crushing the enemy.
“We advance through retreat … when we are weak, we boast of strength. and when we are strong, we feign weakness.”
The strategy of feigning weakness in order to lull the enemy into complacency is a rather Machiavellian concept; but it also is derived from the ancient Chinese military philosopher Sun Tzu’s maxims on war.
… Amid the turmoil and tumult of battle, there may be seeming disorder and yet no real disorder at all; amid confusion and chaos, your array may be without head or tail, yet it will be proof against defeat…. Simulated disorder postulates perfect discipline, simulated fear postulates courage; simulated weakness postulates strength….Hiding order beneath the cloak of disorder is simply a question of subdivision; concealing courage under a show of timidity presupposes a fund of latent energy; masking strength with weakness is to be effected by tactical dispositions….Thus one who is skillful at keeping the enemy on the move maintains deceitful appearances, according to which the enemy will act. He sacrifices something, that the enemy may snatch at it…. [“two steps forward, one step back”] By holding out baits, he keeps him on the march; then with a body of picked men he lies in wait for him.
—Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Back in February of 2014, I had the opportunity to sit down with world-renown researcher Trevor Loudon, author of the book Barack Obama and the Enemy Within. He relayed a story to me that left me incredulous, and it ties right into the whole Soviet strategy of feigning weakness.
An ex-Communist friend of Trevor’s from New Zealand actually attended Lenin’s Institute for Higher Learning in Moscow. Promising members of the Communist Party, from all over the world, were sometimes offered the opportunity to travel to Russia for further training at the International Lenin Institute, where they learned things like racial agitation, trade union building, every facet of Russian history (albeit selective Russian history)—even training in explosive devices, small arms and guerrilla warfare tactics. Trevor’s friend said that a Soviet official at the Moscow institute told the students the reason the Soviets had invaded Afghanistan was that the Soviet Union needed “their own Vietnam.”
Yes, you read that correctly.
But, if you ever listen to former Soviet officials speak about the Russian experience in Afghanistan, they often times make the comparison to the U.S. military involvement in Vietnam. According to Trevor’s friend, it was all done to feign weakness and lull the West into thinking the Soviet Union wasn’t the military force they purported themselves to be. The fact of the matter is the Soviets could’ve wiped Afghanistan off the map, had they so chosen to do so.
As I drove home from my meeting with Trevor, I could scarcely believe what he had told me. But I began to ponder my own knowledge of Soviet history. The more I thought about what Trevor had told me, the less incredible it seemed.
For example, in the late 30s, the Soviet regime under Josef Stalin was systematically liquidating thousands of Russian citizens every single day. It was known as the “Great Purge.” Stalin’s depraved and blood-thirsty executioner, Lavrenti Beria, oversaw the murder of millions of Russians, and even participated on countless occasions in the executions of his own people.
After war broke out between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, there were numerous incidents of Soviet units being ordered to attack German positions and strongholds in suicidal frontal assaults that resulted in horrific casualties, often numbering in the hundreds or thousands. There are accounts of the dog tags being stripped from the dead in order to cover up the crimes of the Soviet regime. Rarely has there been an example in history of a nation that treated its own war dead with such utter contempt.
So, as I thought more and more about what Trevor had told me, it started to seem quite plausible—if not to be expected from such a morally bankrupt regime. When President Ronald Reagan called the Soviet Union an “evil empire,” it was not unwarranted hyperbole. For it is not possible, in words, to describe the horrors and terrors that have been visited upon the Russian people under the Soviet system—and, more than likely, are still being visited upon the Russian people … albeit not at the astonishing levels as was experienced during Stalin’s merciless and bloody reign.
As Don McAlvany points out in his lecture, there had been six periods of “glasnost” dating back to the 20s prior to 1990. During all of the so-called glasnost periods, the United States and the West were duped into believing the Soviets were changing their tune—only to watch the Soviets return to their oppressive and tyrannical ways after securing concessions from the United States. The old dialectical doctrine of “two steps forward, one step back” has proved wildly successful against the United States and its allies, helping to further the Russian strategy for international rule and subversion.
The Soviets (i.e. Communists) employ long-range strategies. Like a master chess player, they think ten steps ahead. Stalin’s henchman Lavrenti Beria said in the early 50s, “Capitalism’s short-term view can never envisage the lengths across which we can plan.” Sadly, the United States has never really formulated long-term strategic goals to counter such threats.
Golytsin predicted the Soviets would put a “happy face” on Communism by calling for “democratic reforms” in Russia, and in the former Soviet republics and Eastern Bloc countries.
Many in the West viewed the chummy meetings between Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan as a clear sign the Cold War was over, and that Soviet-style Communism had been defeated. Talk of glasnost (“openness” or “publicity”) and perestroika (i.e. restructuring, remaking, reforming, regrouping) filled the airwaves and Western press at the time.
Did Mikhail Gorbachev ever renounce Communism? Was he really a reformer who only wished to move Russia toward “democracy”?
During the 70th anniversary of the Marxist revolution [in October 1987], Gorbachev reaffirmed his country’s expansionist desires: “In October of 1917, we parted with the Old World, rejecting it once and for all. We are moving toward a New World, the World of Communism. We shall never turn off that road.”
“We are for a Lenin who is alive! In building our future we are basing ourselves upon the gigantic intellectual and moral potential of the socialist idea linked with the theory of Marxism-Leninism. We see no rational grounds to give up the spiritual[sic!!!]richness contained in Marxism.Through restructuring [i.e. ‘perestroika’], we want to give socialism a second wind and unveil in all its plenitude [meaning: globally!] the vast humanist potential of the socialist system.” – “In order to achieve this, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union returnsto the origins and principles of the Bolshevik Revolution, to the Leninist ideas about the construction of a new society… Our Party was and remainsthe Party of Lenin… In short, we are for a Lenin who is alive.” – “We must seek these answers guided by the spirit of Leninism, the style of Lenin’s thinking, and the method of dialectical cognition.”
—Mikhail Gorbachev, speaking to a group of Russian students, Nov. 15, 1989
“Gentlemen, Comrades, do not be concerned about all that you hear about ‘glasnost’ and ‘perestroika’ and democracy in the coming years. These are primarily for outward consumption. There will be no significant change within the Soviet Union, other than for cosmetic purposes. Our purpose is to disarm the Americans, and to let them fall asleep.”
—Mikhail Gorbachev, early in his tenure, speaking before the Politburo
The Party has made “specific decisions on how to update our political system”. – “Thus we shall give a fresh impetus to our revolutionary restructuring. We shall maintain our quiet [i.e. Leninist] creativity and daring in an efficient and responsible fashion in a Leninist Bolshevik manner.”
—Mikhail Gorbachev, speaking at the 27th CPSU Congress, March 1986
“Adopting a bold, realistic, mobilising and inspiring strategy, one that is Leninist in spirit, the struggle for the triumph of Communist ideals, of peace and progress, the 27th Congress of the CPSU expresses the Party’s firm determination to honourably follow our great road, and open up new vistas for the creative energy and revolutionary initiative of the… people’s intelligentsia. The Congress calls on all Soviet people to dedicate all their strength, knowledge, ability, and creative enthusiasm to the great goals of Communist construction, and to worthily continue Lenin’s victorious revolutionary cause, the cause of the October Revolution!”
—Mikhail Gorbachev, closing address to the 27th CPSU Congress, March 6, 1986
“Perestroika is a revolutionary process for it is a leap forward in the development of socialism, in the realization of its crucial characteristics.”
—Mikhail Gorbachev: ‘Perestroika’, 1987
“What is meant [by the term ‘revolution from above’] is profound and essentially revolutionary changes implemented on the initiative of the authorities themselves but necessitated by objective changes in the situation. It may seem that our current perestroika could be called ‘revolution from above’. True, the perestroika drive started on the Communist Party’s initiative, and the Party leads it. I spoke frankly about it at the meeting with Party activists in Khabarovsk [already!!!] in the summer of 1986. We began at the top of the pyramid and went down to its base, as it were. Yes, the Party leadership started it. The highest Party and state bodies elaborated and adopted the program. True, perestroika is not a spontaneous but a governed process.”
—Mikhail Gorbachev: “Perestroika,” 1987
“We openly confess that we refuse the hegemonial endeavours and globalist claims of the United States. We are not pleased by some aspects of American policy and of the American Way of Life. But we respect the right of the American people, just as the right of all other peoples, to live along its own rules and laws, its own morals and inclinations.”
—Mikhail Gorbachev: “Perestroika,” 1987
“Those who hope that we shall move away from the socialist path will be greatly disappointed.”
—Mikhail Gorbachev: “Perestroika,” 1987
“We see that confusion has arisen in some people’s minds: aren’t we retreating from the positions of socialism, especially when we introduce new and unaccustomed forms of economic management and public life, and aren’t we subjecting the Marxist-Leninist teaching itself to revision? … No, we are not retreating a single step from socialism, from Marxism-Leninism …”
—Mikhail Gorbachev, 1988
Many in the West are also of the belief that the KGB no longer exists. But nothing could be farther from the truth. While no longer called the KGB, the secretive security agency merely restructured (i.e. perestroika), and is now known as the FSB (Russian Federal Security Forces). The FSB is still headquartered in the infamous Lubyanka building in Moscow. The FSB is the KGB.
A little while back, I visited the official FSB website (fsb.ru). I used Google translation services to translate the pages. One link titled “Our Leaders” lists the names of such notorious figures as Felix Dzerzhinsky, Yakov Peters, Genrikh Yagoda, Nikolai Yezhov, Lavrenti Beria, Yuri Andropov … and Vladimir Putin. Remember, the official FSB website lists these individuals as their “leaders.” It doesn’t look like anything has changed to me, as far as the old KGB is concerned, except for the name.
One of the main goals of the Soviets was to eliminate NATO. With the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact, and the dialectical application of their “two steps forward, one step” back strategy, Moscow hoped to gain concessions from the United States—namely, the dissolution of NATO. But the United States was resistant to the idea of breaking apart the NATO alliance. So, like the saying goes, “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em”—NATO, that is. Once again … infiltrate and take over from within.
“Russian membership of the Council of Europe will open up intensified new cooperation between Russia and Europe and will assist us in reaching our objectives of achieving membership of the European Union and of NATO.”
—Then Russian Foreign Minister, Andrei Kozyrev, after Russia’s admission to the Council of Europe by February 8, 1996
Perhaps one of the most important predictions Anatoliy Golytsin made was his repeated insistence that the purpose of all these subversive tactics was “the establishment of a neutral, socialist Europe” (New Lies for Old, pg. 334).
Enter the European Union.
“The collective security model … should pave the way for a gradual evolutionary synthesis of several processes: integration within the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States] and the EU [European Union], strengthening and increasing the role of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, transforming NATO [and] working together to prevent or resolve conflicts.”
—Yuriy Ushakov, Director of the Directorate for European Cooperation at the Russian Foreign Ministry, in International Affairs, Vol. 4, #5 (1995): “Europe: Towards a New Security Model”
Of particular note in the above quote is the reference to “transforming NATO.”
For those who may still be of the opinion that talk of a “one-world government” (i.e. “new world order”) is strictly relegated to the realm of crackpots and so-called “conspiracy theorists,” consider the words of the unelected full-time President of the EU, Herman Van Rompuy, who has openly referenced the agenda for “global governance” on more than one occasion. Soviet dissident Vladimir Bukovsky has referred to the European Union as a “pale version of the Soviet Union.”
In 2009, Van Rompuy said:
“2009 is also the first year of global governance with the establishment of the G20 in the middle of the financial crisis. The climate conference in Copenhagen, is another step towards the global management of our planet.”
Van Rompuy has also stated his desire to work closely with Russia in order to further the agenda of global governance:
“By working together, the EU and Russia can make a decisive contribution to global governance … to global economic governance in the G8 and the G20.”
The ongoing conflict in Ukraine shows the “Russian Bear” still has its claws. Just today there was a report Russia was reviewing the “legality” of Baltic states’ independence. The level of disinformation coming from Putin’s state-run media machine has reached fever pitch within Russia. The Russian people are being fed a steady and constant diet of hyper-nationalistic and intensely anti-American rhetoric; it resembles a war-time footing.
Ex-Communist turned vocal anti-Communist, Dr. Bella V. Dodd (1904-1969), author of the book School of Darkness, pointed out there are three concepts that are important to differentiate concerning Communism, i.e., the Communist Conspiracy (i.e. “world conspiracy”), the Communist Party (political arm), and the Communist Movement (“social action,” i.e. praxis).
At the heart of Communism lies conspiracy. In order to subvert and deceive, conspiracy is a vital and necessary component. Communists are taught to lie … the predetermined ends always justify the means. Period.
The one thing Communists and their ilk cannot withstand is their strategy and process being exposed. Communism is a form of psychological warfare (i.e. psyops) based on deception. Psyops only work if the party who is being deceived and manipulated is unaware of the tactics being employed against them. In essence, it’s a mind game. This is why it absolutely crucial to understand the dialectic process when it comes to Marxism-Leninism, if one wishes to have any success at countering such subversive and deceitful tactics.
Unfortunately, for many Americans and Westerners, it is still inconceivable that such a conspiracy is, and has been, employed against them. As one long-time and well-known researcher on Russian (i.e. Communist) strategy and tactics, J.R. Nyquist, recently wrote:
This last point is not to be made in polite society, and few are well-informed enough to know something of its validity. For 99 out of 100 persons, it is preferable to believe a lie. As a former British MP once said within my hearing; “Reagan and Thatcher saved the West from socialism.” But a former Russian GRU colonel, sitting across the table, whispered in my ear, “But America is the Marxist paradise.”
If you still find it hard to believe that the U.S.A. is already a “Marxist paradise,” and the world is moving toward global governance (i.e. worldwide socialism), I would encourage you to read the Communist Manifesto. Pay particular note to what has been referred to as the “10 planks of the Communist Manifesto” in Chapter Two. And then ask yourself, how many of these 10 points have already been implemented in the United States? I think, if you’re intellectually honest with yourself, the answer will shock you. And if it’s still too hard to digest and believe, just apply the scientific method: observe, make predictions, test your predictions, and then draw your own conclusion.
“Death on a Pale Horse” (1796) by Benjamin West, Detroit Institute of Arts
When the Lamb opened the second seal, I heard the second living creature say, “Come and see!” Then another horse came out, a fiery red one. Its rider was given power to take peace from the earth and to make men slay each other. To him was given a large sword. (Revelation 6:3-4)
Glenn Beck had a very interesting episode this week and it has the ring of truth to it over Vladimir Putin and Russia. He brought up the possibility that Russia is in the grip of political turmoil and its power structure is fracturing and reforming from within. This all hinges on Putin disappearing for ten days in March and exactly why he vanished for that length of time.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his top military brass visit an arms show in
Kubinka, outside Moscow, on Tuesday. (Aleksey Druginyn / RIA Novosti / European Pressphoto Agency)
Putin has been hot for the Ukraine and to continue his expansion of the Motherland. However, he seems to have backed off somewhat due to global pressure and financial worries. The radicals within Russia didn’t like that at all and pushed Putin even harder to militarily expand Russia’s reach. At this point, Putin began to bring together a coalition to protect himself and he began transferring power from the Federal Security Bureau to the Ministry of the Interior. That’s akin to taking power from the CIA and giving it to DHS. These two agencies do not play well together.
On March 8th, soon after the assassination of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, the FSB proclaimed that they had two suspects for the murder. One had been a top commander in the Chechen police, Ramzan Kadyrov, who is a strong supporter of Putin. This was meant to reflect poorly on Putin.
Not long after that development, the major players in Russia starting choosing sides. They either went with Putin and his version of the DHS, or with the FSB and the fascist radicals. The wild card here is the military… whoever wins them over, wins for realsies.
On March 10th, Putin just up and disappeared for ten days. There were a lot of wild theories from the birth of a love child, to a coup. But no one has definitive proof yet. The most plausible explanation is that Putin was held against his will, while power was consolidated within Russia for the FSB and the fascists. He was told to play ball or get ready for the afterlife. This was a show of force by the FSB, Alexander Dugin and the fascists. I’m sure he was told in no uncertain terms to up the military aggression and the process of restoring the motherland. Someone like Putin doesn’t just ‘disappear’ for ten days for no reason. Along with Putin, Victor Zolotov, who controls 200,000 troops for the Ministry of Interior, disappeared with him. One of Putin’s closest crony allies also packed up his whole family, fled the country and simply vanished as well.
So, the lines have been drawn in Russia and sides have been taken. Whoever wins, it will be bad for the rest of the world, trust me.
Now, on to Russia’s military moves…
Russia’s military will add over 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles this year alone that are capable of piercing any missile defenses according to President Vladimir Putin. It was a stark reminder of the nation’s nuclear might amid tensions with the West over the Ukraine. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg accused the Russians of “nuclear saber-rattling” and said that was one of the reasons the Western military alliance has been beefing up its ability to defend its members. The increase in nukes is a very troubling indicator of conflict to come, as is the decrease in the US’ stockpiles by Obama. It’s a recipe for catastrophe for the West. Even worse, our clownish leaders act as if Russia isn’t serious and this is all posturing. Grizzly bears don’t posture… first they maul you, then they eat you… maybe after burying you first for a little tenderizing.
The US and NATO are deploying new weapons and armaments near Russian borders as a tentative response. Russia claims this will foment dangerous instability in Europe. “The United States is inciting tensions and carefully nurturing their European allies’ anti-Russian phobias in order to use the current difficult situation for further expanding its military presence and influence in Europe,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “We hope that reason will prevail and it will be possible to save the situation in Europe from sliding toward a military standoff, which could entail dangerous consequences,” the ministry added.
In the perpetual game of RISK that Putin is playing, Russia is pouring all their money into military preps. In the end, they will try to use war to save themselves economically and nationally from going off a cliff.
Kirill Kudryavtsev | AFP | Getty Images
Eastern European and Baltic states sharing a border with Russia include Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Ukraine and they have become increasingly nervous about recent, seemingly provocative military exercises by Russia. This follows Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region last year, their role in the pro-Russian uprising in Ukraine and the subsequent sanctioning by the West.
“If heavy U.S. military equipment, including tanks, artillery batteries and other equipment really does turn up in countries in eastern Europe and the Baltics, that will be the most aggressive step by the Pentagon and NATO since the Cold War,” Russian defense ministry official General Yuri Yakubov said.
He was also quoted as saying Moscow would retaliate by building up its own forces “on the Western strategic front.” As is typical for the Russkies, in true Progressive fashion, they are claiming all of this is the West’s fault and has nothing to do with Putin’s military buildup and geopolitical aggression.
Russia is still violating airspace across the globe and playing chicken with our Air Force every time they get the chance. They are continuously poking the American badger.
Russia’s ambassador to Sweden has warned the country of the potential military “consequences” associated with joining NATO in an interview with the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, The Local reports.
Russian Ambassador Viktor Tatarintsev told Dagens Nyheter that Russia does not have any military plans against Sweden, in line with Stockholm’s alliance neutrality.
But Tatarintsev warned that this could change if Sweden were to join the NATO alliance.
“I don’t think it will become relevant in the near future, even though there has been a certain swing in public opinion. But if it happens there will be countermeasures,” Tatarintsev said according to a translation from The Local.
“Putin pointed out that there will be consequences, that Russia will have to resort to a response of the military kind and reorientate our troops and missiles,” the ambassador said. “The country that joins NATO needs to be aware of the risks it is exposing itself to.”
Currently, Sweden does not have any plans to join NATO. The country has stayed out of competing alliances between the West and Russia since World War II. However, public support for NATO membership is quickly rising.
An October 2014 poll showed 37% of Swedes were in favor of joining NATO with 36% of Swedes against — the first time that more Swedes have favored joining the alliance than not.
This swing in public opinion could be in response to a series of aggressive and provocative Russian actions throughout the region. On September 17, 2014, two Russian military aircraft crossed into Swedish territory.
Shortly after that, a Russian military aircraft — flying with its transponders turned off — passed dangerously close to a commercial jet in the south of the country.
Most provocatively, the Swedish military believes that Russia sailed submarines into its waters in the fall of 2014, leading to a sub hunt that became Sweden’s largest military operation since the end of the Cold War.
Russia will bring war and will revel in it. Whether it is Putin or a fascist from within the Russian power structure, it does not matter. Alea iacta est (“the die is cast”) is a Latin phrase attributed by Suetonius to Julius Caesar on January 10, 49 BC as he led his army across the River Rubicon in Northern Italy. History is repeating itself, only this time the timing and the moves are eerily similar to Hitler’s moves in WWII. Russia is the Horseman of War and with Putin’s moves into Europe and beyond, they will bring bloody conflict, war and death. However, they won’t be alone… China has everything in place to control the planet economically and Iran will have their cut as well. Putin sits astride a red horse in the midst of the ultimate Game of Thrones.
In an extraordinary judgment that throws U.S. policy in the Middle East into complete turmoil, strategic analyst Michael Ledeen has concluded, in regard to the activities of the Islamic State, “I think the Russians are involved, in tandem with the Iranians, who have had their own troops on the Syrian battlefield for years.”
This means that a U.S. congressional declaration of war on the Islamic State would miss the point, and that the Russians and the Iranians are the bigger threat.
“It’s part of the global war, of which Syria is only one killing field, and IS [Islamic State] is one of the band of killers,” says Ledeen.
The analysis of Ledeen, who previously served as a consultant to the National Security Council, the State Department, and the Defense Department, should serve as an opportunity to review what is really happening in the Middle East, and to examine whether the Islamic State is a Russian creation that is designed to pave the way for Iranian expansion.
Ledeen notes evidence that the top IS military commander, Abu Omar al-Shishani, is a Russian asset, and that “the Russians are exploiting their strategic position in Ukraine to set up transit facilities for IS.” He adds that Ukrainian security forces recently arrested five IS volunteers coming from Russia or the former Soviet republics.
Last September we reported on some of this evidence, noting, “We have heard repeatedly about Americans and Europeans fighting for ISIL [the Islamic state], but little attention is being devoted to the Russian-speaking foreign fighters that make up the group. Their numbers are estimated at 500 or more. Omar al-Shishani is usually described as a prominent Islamic State fighter who is Chechen. In fact, he was born in the former Soviet republic of Georgia and was trained there.”
Those who believe the Russians are incapable of such deception and misdirection have conveniently forgotten about the history of the old Soviet intelligence service, the KGB. It is represented in the Kremlin today by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB officer once based in East Germany.
In another area of global affairs that reveals a hidden Russian role, The New York Times has taken note in a June 7 story of evidence that the Russians under Putin are financing conservative movements and political parties around the world. The Times reports, “Not only is it [the Kremlin] aligning itself with the leftists traditionally affiliated with Moscow since the Cold War, but it is making common cause with far-right forces rebelling against the rise of the European Union that are sympathetic to Mr. Putin’s attack on what he calls the West’s moral decline.”
This is actually an old story. We have been reporting for more than a year about Putin acquiring agents of influence or dupes in the West, even in the United States. Perhaps the most prominent name associated with this pro-Moscow trend is veteran conservative columnist Patrick J. Buchanan. The World Congress of Families is the most prominent organization to embrace Moscow’s alleged devotion to Christian values.
It is quite natural for conservatives in favor of traditional values to abhor the Obama administration’s embrace of the so-called LGBT agenda, here and abroad. But to adore Putin in reaction to this trend is a major miscalculation that assumes Moscow is genuinely interested in preserving Western values.
It is a welcome development that The New York Times has finally taken note of Moscow’s hand in right-wing political movements.
But there’s more. The paper added, “American and European officials have accused Moscow of financing green movements in Europe to encourage protests against hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a move intended to defend Russia’s gas industry. And a shadowy ‘troll farm’ in St. Petersburg uses Twitter to plant fake stories about chemical spills or Ebola outbreaks in the West.”
Another example of how Putin is deceiving the world lies in his exploitation of Edward Snowden, the former NSA employee still being hailed as a whistleblower in the United States.
Buchanan’s magazine, The American Conservative, has written about how figures on the U.S. political right such as Ronald Reagan biographer Craig Shirley have rallied to Snowden’s defense. In a recent column, Shirley condemned “the senior GOP leadership’s embrace of the National Security Agency’s enveloping surveillance activities.”
What Shirley and other Snowden supporters ignore is the fact that the NSA’s surveillance activities rely mostly on a Ronald Reagan Executive Order (12333) and that funding and manpower for the NSA increased dramatically under Reagan.
In fact, President Reagan used the NSA to undermine America’s enemies, especially the old USSR.
The history notes that “the best known exposure of SIGINT [signals intelligence] since the Pearl Harbor hearings of 1945 had actually come in 1983, when the Reagan administration played the intercepted cockpit conversations of the Soviet pilot as he shot down KAL-007. The SIGINT gave the administration a tremendous foreign policy coup.”
On September 1, 1983, the Soviet Union shot down the civilian airliner KAL-007, killing 269 people.
In 1986, the document states, Reagan became the first American president to visit the NSA, as he gave the official dedication speech for the NSA’s two new buildings. He wanted to loosen “the legal reins governing intelligence,” the document says, giving rise to Reagan executive order 12333. It gave the NSA latitude in SIGINT collection that the agency had not had during the disastrous Carter years.
This executive order remains in effect. Not even Obama has tried to revoke it.
Based on this history, one would have to conclude that President Reagan would defend the NSA, just as the GOP leadership in the U.S. Senate has done. Leaders like Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) defended the NSA against the Obama administration, liberal Democrats and libertarian Republicans.
The tragedy is that, with Obama in office rather than a conservative like Reagan, some conservatives decided to join the campaign to undermine the agency that Reagan considered absolutely essential to America’s security and survival.
Could it be just a coincidence that the Islamic state, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and aggressive Chinese cyber-warfare against the U.S. have emerged as major problems in the wake of Snowden’s arrival in Moscow?
Those who blame Obama alone for all of our foreign policy setbacks should examine the evidence that Putin and the Russians may ultimately be pulling the strings. At the same time, the NSA can’t be blamed for Obama’s failure or unwillingness to use the agency effectively against our enemies.
When the next president takes office, he will need an NSA capable of gathering the intelligence information the nation needs to defend itself. The next administration will have to consider apprehending and then prosecuting Snowden for operating as a Russian/Chinese agent of influence and committing espionage against the United States.
Hopefully, those who defended or praised Snowden will one day have to answer for their foolishness.
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