Posted tagged ‘USSR’

The Soviet-Palestinian Lie

October 16, 2016

The Soviet-Palestinian Lie

by Judith Bergman

October 16, 2016 at 4:30 am

Source: The Soviet-Palestinian Lie

  • “The PLO was dreamt up by the KGB, which had a penchant for ‘liberation’ organizations.” — Ion Mihai Pacepa, former chief of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Romania.
  • “First, the KGB destroyed the official records of Arafat’s birth in Cairo, and replaced them with fictitious documents saying that he had been born in Jerusalem and was therefore a Palestinian by birth.” — Ion Mihai Pacepa.
  • “[T]he Islamic world was a waiting petri dish in which we could nurture a virulent strain of America-hatred, grown from the bacterium of Marxist-Leninist thought. Islamic anti-Semitism ran deep… We had only to keep repeating our themes — that the United States and Israel were ‘fascist, imperial-Zionist countries’ bankrolled by rich Jews.” — Yuri Andropov, former KGB chairman.
  • As early as 1965, the USSR had formally proposed in the UN a resolution that would condemn Zionism as colonialism and racism. Although the Soviets did not succeed in their first attempt, the UN turned out to be an overwhelmingly grateful recipient of Soviet bigotry and propaganda; in November 1975, Resolution 3379 condemning Zionism as “a form of racism and racial discrimination” was finally passed.

The recent discovery that Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), was a KGB spy in Damascus in 1983, was discarded by many in the mainstream media as a “historical curiosity” — except that the news inconveniently came out at the time that President Vladimir Putin was trying to organize new talks between Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Predictably, the Palestinian Authority immediately dismissed the news. Fatah official Nabil Shaath denied that Abbas was ever a KGB operative, and called the claim a “smear campaign.”

The discovery, far from being a “historical curiosity,” is an aspect of one of many pieces in the puzzle of the origins of 20th and 21st century Islamic terrorism. Those origins are almost always obfuscated and obscured in ill-concealed attempts at presenting a particular narrative about the causes of contemporary terrorism, while decrying all and any evidence to the contrary as “conspiracy theories.”

There is nothing conspiratorial about the latest revelation. It comes from a document in the Mitrokhin archives at the Churchill Archives Center at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Vasily Mitrokhin was a former senior officer of the Soviet Foreign Intelligence service, who was later demoted to KGB archivist. At immense risk to his own life, he spent 12 years diligently copying secret KGB files that would not otherwise have become available to the public (the KGB foreign intelligence archives remain sealed from the public, despite the demise of the Soviet Union). When Mitrokhin defected from the Russia in 1992, he brought the copied files with him to the UK. The declassified parts of the Mitrokhin archives were brought to the public eye in the writings of Cambridge professor Christopher Andrew, who co-wrote The Mitrokhin Archive (published in two volumes) together with the Soviet defector. Mitrokhin’s archives led, among other things, to the discovery of many KGB spies in the West and elsewhere.

Unfortunately, the history of the full extent of the KGB’s influence and disinformation operations is not nearly as well-known as it should be, considering the immense influence that the KGB wielded on international affairs. The KGB conducted hostile operations against NATO as a whole, against democratic dissent within the Soviet bloc, and set in motion subversive events in Latin America and the Middle East, which resonate to this day.

The KGB, furthermore, was an extremely active player in the creation of so-called liberation movements in Latin America and in the Middle East, movements that went on to engage in lethal terrorism — as documented in, among other places, The Mitrokhin Archive, as well as in the books and writings of Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking Communist official to defect from the former Soviet bloc.

Pacepa was chief of the Foreign Intelligence Service of Romania and a personal advisor to Romanian Communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu before he defected to the United States in 1978. Pacepa worked with the CIA to bring down communism for more than 10 years; the agency described his cooperation as “an important and unique contribution to the United States.”

In a 2004 interview, FrontPage Magazine, Pacepa said:

The PLO was dreamt up by the KGB, which had a penchant for “liberation” organizations. There was the National Liberation Army of Bolivia, created by the KGB in 1964 with help from Ernesto “Che” Guevara … the KGB also created the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which carried out numerous bombing attacks… In 1964 the first PLO Council, consisting of 422 Palestinian representatives handpicked by the KGB, approved the Palestinian National Charter — a document that had been drafted in Moscow. The Palestinian National Covenant and the Palestinian Constitution were also born in Moscow, with the help of Ahmed Shuqairy, a KGB influence agent who became the first PLO chairman…

In the Wall Street Journal, Pacepa explained how the KGB built up Arafat — or in current parlance, how they constructed a narrative for him:

He was an Egyptian bourgeois turned into a devoted Marxist by KGB foreign intelligence. The KGB had trained him at its Balashikha special-operations school east of Moscow and in the mid-1960s decided to groom him as the future PLO leader. First, the KGB destroyed the official records of Arafat’s birth in Cairo, and replaced them with fictitious documents saying that he had been born in Jerusalem and was therefore a Palestinian by birth.

As the late historian Robert S. Wistrich wrote in A Lethal Obsession, the Six-Day War unleashed a protracted, intensive campaign on the part of the Soviet Union to delegitimize Israel and the movement for Jewish self-determination, known as Zionism. This was done in order to rectify the damage to the Soviet Union’s prestige after Israel defeated its Arab allies:

After 1967, the USSR began to flood the world with a constant flow of anti-Zionist propaganda… Only the Nazis in their twelve years of power had ever succeeded in producing such a sustained flow of fabricated libels as an instrument of their domestic and foreign policy[1].

For this the USSR employed a host of Nazi trigger words to describe the Israeli defeat of the Arab 1967 aggression, several of which are still employed on the Western left today when it comes to Israel, such as “practitioners of genocide”, “racists”, “concentration camps”, and “Herrenvolk.”

Furthermore, the USSR engaged in an international smearing campaign in the Arab world. In 1972, the Soviet Union, launched operation “SIG” (Sionistskiye Gosudarstva, or “Zionist Governments”), with the purpose of portraying the United States as an “arrogant and haughty Jewish fiefdom financed by Jewish money and run by Jewish politicians, whose aim was to subordinate the entire Islamic world”. Some 4,000 agents were sent from the Soviet Bloc into the Islamic world, armed with thousands of copies of the old czarist Russian forgery, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. According to KGB chairman Yuri Andropov:

‘the Islamic world was a waiting petri dish in which we could nurture a virulent strain of America-hatred, grown from the bacterium of Marxist-Leninist thought. Islamic anti-Semitism ran deep… We had only to keep repeating our themes — that the United States and Israel were “fascist, imperial-Zionist countries” bankrolled by rich Jews. Islam was obsessed with preventing the infidels’ occupation of its territory, and it would be highly receptive to our characterization of the U.S. Congress as a rapacious Zionist body aiming to turn the world into a Jewish fiefdom.

As early as 1965, the USSR had formally proposed in the UN a resolution that would condemn Zionism as colonialism and racism. Although the Soviets did not succeed in their first attempt, the UN turned out to be an overwhelmingly grateful recipient of Soviet bigotry and propaganda; in November 1975, Resolution 3379 condemning Zionism as “a form of racism and racial discrimination’ was finally passed. This followed nearly a decade of diligent Soviet propaganda directed at the Third World, depicting Israel as a Trojan Horse for Western imperialism and racism. This campaign was designed to build support for Soviet foreign policy in Africa and the Middle East.[2] Another tactic was constantly to draw visual and verbal comparisons in the Soviet media between Israel and South Africa (this is the origin of the canard of “Israeli apartheid”).

Not only the Third World, but also the Western Left ate all this Soviet propaganda raw. The latter continues to disseminate large parts of it to this day. In fact, slandering someone, whoever they are, as racist, became one of the Left’s primary weapons against those with whom it disagrees.

Part of the Soviet tactics in isolating Israel was making the PLO look “respectable.” According to Pacepa, this task was left to Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu, who had achieved the unlikely propaganda feat of portraying the ruthless Romanian police state to the West as a “moderate” Communist country. Nothing could have been farther from the truth, as was ultimately revealed in the 1989 trial against Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena, which ended with their executions.

Yasser Arafat (left) with Romanian leader Nicolae Ceausescu during a visit in Bucharest in 1974. (Image source: Romanian National History Museum)

Pacepa wrote in the Wall Street Journal:

In March 1978, I secretly brought Arafat to Bucharest for final instructions on how to behave in Washington. “You simply have to keep on pretending that you’ll break with terrorism and that you’ll recognize Israel — over, and over, and over,” Ceausescu told him [Arafat]… Ceausescu was euphoric over the prospect that both Arafat and he might be able to snag a Nobel Peace Prize with their fake displays of the olive branch.

… Ceausescu failed to get his Nobel Peace Prize. But in 1994 Arafat got his — all because he continued to play the role we had given him to perfection. He had transformed his terrorist PLO into a government-in-exile (the Palestinian Authority), always pretending to call a halt to Palestinian terrorism while letting it continue unabated. Two years after signing the Oslo Accords, the number of Israelis killed by Palestinian terrorists had risen by 73%.

In his book, Red Horizons, Pacepa related what Arafat said at a meeting he had with him at PLO headquarters in Beirut around the time that Ceausescu was trying to make the PLO “respectable”:

I am a revolutionary. I have dedicated my whole life to the Palestinian cause and the destruction of Israel. I will not change or compromise. I will not agree with anything that recognizes Israel as a state. Never… But I am always willing to make the West think that I want what Brother Ceausescu wants me to do.[3]

The propaganda neatly paved the way for terrorism, Pacepa explained in National Review.

General Aleksandr Sakharovsky, who created Communist Romania’s intelligence structure and then rose to head up all of Soviet Russia’s foreign intelligence, often lectured me: “In today’s world, when nuclear arms have made military force obsolete, terrorism should become our main weapon.”

The Soviet general was not joking. In 1969 alone, there were 82 hijackings of planes worldwide. According to Pacepa, most of those hijackings were committed by the PLO or affiliated groups, all supported by the KGB. In 1971, when Pacepa visited Sakharovsky at his Lubyanka (KGB headquarters) office, the general boasted: “Airplane hijacking is my own invention”. Al Qaeda used airplane hijackings on September 11, when they used planes to blow up buildings.

So where does Mahmoud Abbas fit into all this? In 1982, Mahmoud Abbas studied in Moscow at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. (In 1983 he went on to become a KGB spy). There he wrote his thesis, published in Arabic as The Other Side: The Secret Relations between Nazism and the Leadership of the Zionist Movement. In it, he denied the existence of gas chambers in the concentration camps, and questioned the number of Holocaust victims by calling the six million Jews who had been killed “a fantastic lie,” while simultaneously blaming the Holocaust on the Jews themselves. His thesis supervisor was Yevgeny Primakov, who later went on to become foreign minister of Russia. Even after he had finished his thesis, Abbas maintained close ties with the Soviet leadership, the military and members of security services. In January 1989, he was appointed co-chairman of the Palestinian-Soviet (and then Russian-Palestinian) Working Committee on the Middle East.

When the current leader of the Palestinian Arabs used to be an acolyte of the KGB — whose machinations have claimed the lives of thousands of people in the Middle East alone — this cannot be discarded as a “historical curiosity,” even if contemporary opinion-makers would prefer to ignore it by viewing it as such.

Although Pacepa and Mitrokhin sounded their warnings many years ago, few people bothered to listen to them. They should.

Judith Bergman is a writer, columnist, lawyer and political analyst.

[1] Robert S. Wistrich, ‘A Lethal Obsession’ (2010) p 139.

[2] Robert S. Wistrich, ‘A Lethal Obsession’ (2010), p 148.

[3] Ion Mihai Pacepa, ‘Red Horizons’ (1990) p 92-93.

Cartoon of the day

September 14, 2015

H/t Freedom is just another word



Contentions | The Iran Deal’s Evaporating Logic

August 11, 2015

Contentions | The Iran Deal’s Evaporating Logic, Commentary Magazine, August 11, 2015

Proponents of the Iran nuclear deal are finding the justifications for compelling Congress to ratify the accord, save for preserving Barack Obama’s fragile self-image, are coming apart. As such, the accord’s supporters have increasingly turned to defending the deal with appeals to the president’s stature and authority, as well as by calling into question the motives and character of its opponents. That alone should tell you all you need to know. Though some of the Iran nuclear deal’s remaining backers do still occasionally claim that it will succeed in what was once its singular purpose: limiting Iran’s ability to produce prohibited armaments. One of most convincing precedents supporting this contention has, however, been largely disaffirmed. 

When asked to cite a model to demonstrate how the nuclear deal will not only prevent Iranian from developing a fissionable device but also produce a variety of happy byproducts like the moderation of the Islamic Republic’s destabilizing behavior, the deal’s supporters most frequently point to the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty with the Soviet Union.

“From the Western perspective, the nuclear deal represents the most important security agreement since the signing of the Intermediate-Range and Shorter-Range Missiles (INF) Treaty between Washington and Moscow during the twilight years of the Cold War,” Al Jazeera columnist Richard Javad Heydarian averred.

Peter Beinart took this contention an ill-advised step further. “By 1987, Reagan had signed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, the most sweeping arms-control deal of the Cold War. His rhetoric toward the Soviet Union also radically changed,” Beinart wrote in The Atlantic. “Reagan, in other words, dramatically de-escalated the Cold War long before he knew Gorbachev would let Eastern Europe go free and at a time when prominent conservatives were literally calling him Neville Chamberlain for signing the INF deal.”

That’s true. Graham Allison, also writing in The Atlantic, quoted a few conservatives from the period that feared Reagan was providing the Soviets with a reprieve from the crushing obligations of the arms race. “Reagan insisted that he was capable of brokering agreements to reduce the risks of accidents or unauthorized actions that risked nuclear war with one hand, while redoubling his efforts to undermine the Soviet regime with the other,” he insisted. “And he did just that. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.”

This is a remarkable simplification of history. Beinart claims that Regan’s shifting rhetoric (he renounced his “evil empire” comment while standing in the middle of Red Square under the watchful eye of a young Vladimir Putin) provided Mikhail Gorbachev space to make the case to the Politburo that he was not capitulating to Reagan in this accord. But this is a variation of the liberal case that ideational and not material considerations led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Moreover, the INF effectively marked the end of the arms race, in part because it had already been lost by the Soviets. By contrast, there has been no ideational shift in the theocratic regime in Tehran nor is there any indication in Iran’s behavior that it is desirous of rapprochement with the West. If anything, Iran has behaved in a more bellicose fashion as nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 intensified.

The USSR is long gone, but the INF remains in place. Opponents of the Iran nuclear deal are advised to pay close attention to what that arrangement has become. It is no longer an arms control agreement but a political relic that serves little purpose but to shield from public scrutiny the extent to which Russia has become an irresponsible and revanchist international actor.

Writing in Politico Magazine in April, Foreign Policy Initiative scholars Eric Edelman and Tzvi Kahn outline the scope of the Russian’s efforts to game the INF. In response to Russia’s brazenness, American officials have routinely downplayed Moscow’s cheating. Despite repeatedly warning the United States that it was prepared to violate the INF over the course of the last decade, the Bush administration refused to acknowledge that reality. When Moscow did violate the terms of the INF in this decade, the Obama administration also pretended not to notice. And when this administration finally did address Russia’s violations of the terms of the INF, that acknowledgement was not followed on with any consequences.

That failure of resolve continues even today. According to the Washington Free Beacon’s Bill Gertz, a Pentagon assessment last month revealing the extent of Russia’s violations of the INF paints a damning picture of the Kremlin’s behavior. Unfortunately for anyone who would like to fully understand how Russia has undermined the INF, the White House is allegedly blocking that report’s release.

“Rep. Mike Rogers, chairman of the House Armed Services strategic forces subcommittee, disclosed the existence of the Pentagon assessment last month and said the report is needed for Congress’ efforts to address the problem in legislation,” Gertz reported. “Rogers said the assessment was conducted by chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, and noted that it outlines potential responses to the treaty breach.”

To acknowledge the treaty’s failure would provide additional political legitimacy to an effort by House Republicans that seeks to provide funding for short-range cruise missile defenses in Poland and Romania. That’s a direct repudiation of this White House, which continues to stand by its 2009 rejection of a Bush-era deal that would have provided the Czech Republic and Poland with long-range interceptor and radar technology. In short, politics is dictating American national defense planning and strategy.

“Similarly, for decades, Tehran has violated its nuclear commitments — and the United States has failed to hold it accountable,” Edelman and Kahn observed.

There is no evidence to suggest that regime as demonstrably duplicitous as Iran’s will not cheat on this arrangement. In fact, the terms of this deal would make it difficult to definitively identify cheating, much less to marshal support for an international response to it. Even if such behavior could be identified, though, it’s not entirely clear that this administration (or its successor, presuming the next administration is a Democratic one) will be predisposed to punish Iranian cheating at all. To acknowledge the fact that the nuclear deal with Iran has failed would be to invite searing criticism from the deal’s domestic opponents.

The INF is a treaty in a persistent vegetative state; it’s corporal form remains, but its spirit has long since passed on to another plane. A conventional arms race in Eastern Europe has taken its place. If the West were to acknowledge that arms race, it would be obliged to participate in it. So it simply refuses to acknowledge it. If the Iran deal fails, its proponents in Washington are unlikely to ever say as much. Not until it is too late.