Disinformation - Ion Mihai Pacepa -

Disinformation - Ion Mihai Pacepa -

(Parte 3 de 6)

This brings us to the title of this book. Since World War I, disinformation has been the Kremlin’s most effective weapon in its war on the West, especially on Western religion. Iosif Stalin invented this secret “science,” giving it a French-sounding name and pretending it was a dirty Western practice. As this book will show, the Kremlin has secretly, and successfully, calumniated leading Roman Catholic prelates, culminating in Pope Pius XII; it almost succeeded in assassinating Pope John Paul I; it invented liberation theology, a Marxist doctrine that turned many European and Latin American Catholics against the Vatican and the United States; it has promoted anti-Semitism and international terrorism; and it has inspired anti-American uprisings in the Islamic world.

In spite of Soviet communism’s demise, disinformation and its undercover international apparatus are still very much alive and well today. They continue to distort the way millions of people view the United States, they still manipulate religion—every religion—and they play a substantive role in fueling today’s international terrorism.

Mao Zedong would have been proud. He was famous for saying that a lie repeated a hundred times becomes the truth.

1 DRAFTED INTO THE SECURITATE

IWAS ONLY TWENTY-TWO YEARS OLD when I became an officer of the far-flung Soviet bloc intelligence community and its disinformation machinery, and my whole world was suddenly turned upside down. Up until then, all I had wanted in life was to go to “America.” That had been my father’s lifelong dream. He spent most of his working career managing the service department at the Bucharest affiliate of General Motors, the American automobile company, and he was firmly determined that one day he would gather up his family and emigrate to Detroit, where he had relatives. Trapped by World War I and then afterwards by the Soviet occupation of Romania, he was forced to give up that dream, though not before passing his love for America along to me, his only child. The moment the United States reopened its embassy in Bucharest after the end of the war, I became one of its enthusiastic visitors and soon joined the Young Friends of the United States, an organization sponsored by the US government.

Furthermore, my best friend in those days, an older boy who was my idol, had already emigrated to the United States and was there waiting for me. The son of an engineer who had been employed by an American-owned oil company in Romania, he was my next-door neighbor and mentor until he left Romania just before the start of World War I to study in the United States. Then in October 1944, I observed a young American lieutenant stopping to stare at the rubble that had once been my family’s sturdy, two-story house.

It had been flattened on April 4, 1944, during the first American bombardment of Bucharest. The lieutenant turned out to be my friend.

“Where is Mother?” was all he could say when he saw that his house was also gone.

“She died in the April 4 bombing,” I said. Visibly shaken, my friend, now “Lieutenant Bota,” said: “I was with the squadron that dropped the bombs on Bucharest that day.”

We embraced. “You know,” he told me a few days later, as he was about to leave Romania again, “I have a nice place to live over there in America. Now it’s your home as much as it is mine.”

Why, then, did I end up in communist Romania’s political police, the

Securitate, instead of in America?

Put very simply, I shot myself in the foot. When I graduated from high school, I decided to get my engineering degree before leaving for America. In that summer of 1947, when I was admitted to the Polytechnic Institute in Bucharest, the Kingdom of Romania had a coalition government in which only a few cabinet members were communists, and travel abroad was unrestricted. A few months later, however, the communists overthrew the king, took over the entire government and closed the country’s borders.

In January 1951, when the first generation of Romania’s engineers and economists trained under communist rule were about to graduate, I was drafted as an officer of the massive Soviet bloc intelligence machinery. Under Soviet communism, where the government paid for your entire education, you really had no chance of choosing your employer. The government decided where you had to work, and that was that.

I was distraught. But since I did not really know what “America” meant,

I was not able to assign true dimensions to my loss. At the same time, I did not really know what the Securitate was either. Moreover, I was just beginning to enjoy a certain degree of popularity among my classmates because of my Ariciul (“The Porcupine”), a satirical magazine I put out filled with my own cartoons. After the Nazi troops had occupied Romania and turned the Bucharest General Motors affiliate into a military unit for repairing German cars and trucks, Father had opened a car repair business of his own. It was the only place in Romania repairing American cars, and he was doing so well that he bought me a car as a reward for being admitted to the Polytechnic

Institute. That car, a small Peugeot, gave me a leg up among my colleagues, because there were only two other boys who had cars among all the roughly two thousand students at that engineering school.

The saying goes that in the country of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. That’s what I was in the Securitate. That organization, established just a couple of years earlier, had at first been staffed with hastily recruited miners and other blue-collar workers. They were considered to be politically reliable, but most of them hardly knew how to hold a pen. Compared to them, I was a whiz kid. My father, who had started his life as a tinsmith in his father’s shop, had been determined to see that his only child would never need to touch a hammer, so he had spent every spare penny he earned on my education. At age nine I could play Beethoven’s KreutzerSonata on my violin, at twelve I was showing off Berlioz’s Idée Fixe at the musical evenings I would organize for my fellow students, and at sixteen I was lecturing on Marcel Proust’s In Remembrance of Things Past.

My education was, however, not the only factor that favored my intelligence career. A couple of months after I became a Securitate officer, I was called in by my boss, Capt. Fănel Lazarovici, and told to report to the chief of the Cadre (personnel) Directorate the first thing in the morning. The look on his face reflected my boss’s commiseration. Cadre had already become a frightening word throughout the country, and the chief of the Securitate’s Cadre Directorate was said to be a sheer terror. At least, that was what I had heard my fellow officers whisper. Just by lifting one finger, they said, he could have you promoted, demoted, or made to disappear into thin air. Of course, I was unable to close my eyes the whole night.

My shirt clung damply to my back on that April morning in 1951 when I knocked on the mahogany door with the nameplate reading Director de Cadre. Had “they” learned about my old visits to the American Embassy? Or about the button with the king’s picture on it that I used to wear? I inconspicuously flexed the muscles in my neck to see if I was still wearing my chain. Was the cross hanging from it to blame?

Finding myself in the middle of a room the size of a tennis court,

I snapped to attention and blurted out, “Long life, Comrade Colonel! Jr. Lt. Ion Mihai Pacepa reporting.”

“Chert vosmi!” the voice behind the desk swore loudly in Russian. “By the devil, you’re already a grown man!”

It took me a minute to realize that I knew that voice. That bulldog in uniform sitting behind the desk was the son of a man who had worked with my father at the General Motors dealership in Bucharest. His father was Carol Demeter—how could I ever forget him? From 1938, when Carol Demeter had been arrested for communist activity, until 1944, when he had been released by the Soviet troops, my father had personally seen to it that the prisoner’s wife and son lacked for nothing.

“Do you remember that slap your father pasted on my mug?” the colonel asked. His mustache bristled at me like porcupine quills.

My flesh crawled. How could I forget? I had been with Father when he had finally located Demeter’s son, who had been hanging around with a gang of loiterers and had disappeared from home a few weeks before. The imprint my father’s heavy hand had left on the wayward teenager’s cheek still stuck in my memory. Father had never slapped me. He had used words, not slaps, to educate me.

“Well,” Colonel Demeter said when I finally managed a nod, “that slap made a man out of me.” He explained that soon after that slap, he had started training to be a carpenter like his father, and then he had joined the Communist Party and found his way to the Soviet Union. “Now it’s my turn to pay your father back.”

My father never gave me the slightest hint that he had ever spoken to

Colonel Demeter about me. Nor did Colonel Demeter actually say they had talked, although for the next ten years I would physically sense his protective hand cupped around me. Only once, in 1954, when he went out of his way to see that my father was buried with great military pomp, did he take credit for looking out for me. In his funeral oration for my father, Demeter, by then a Securitate general, rested an enormous paw on my shoulder and addressed the coffin: “Rest in peace. Your son is in good hands.”

In March 1953, Stalin died ignominiously, while trying to sober up in a scorching sauna after a long drinking bout with his crony, Nikita Khrushchev. Today, few Russians like to admit that they ever worshiped Stalin. Not many Nazi admirers could be found in Germany after World War I, either. But on March 6, 1953, four million people wept in Red Square at Stalin’s funeral. Sirens wailed, bells tolled, cars blew their horns, and work stopped all around the country. The whole Soviet bloc felt that an era of history had passed into oblivion with this man whose name had been synonymous with communism.

At that time, I was already a Soviet bloc intelligence officer. I was not yet, however, aware that a Soviet leader’s image was so important that he would go to any lengths—even to the point of killing and imprisoning millions, rewriting history, destroying institutions, manipulating religion, and changing traditions—all in an effort to beatify himself or to demonize his competitors and enemies. Soon thereafter, however, I would be assigned to the inner circle of the despot’s enormous dezinformatsiya machinery, which was responsible for all that image-building.

Stalin’s successor, Nikita Khrushchev, began his reign by executing the whole leadership of Stalin’s political police as traitors, so as to give the appearance that he condemned his predecessor’s crimes. That had become a rite of succession in the Soviet Union. Only one of the first eight chiefs of the Soviet state security service who served between 1917 and 1954 is known to have died a natural death—Semen Ignatyev, who vanished into thin air in 1953, then reappeared at a provincial post and died of natural causes in 1983.1 Feliks Dzerzhinsky, the founder of that organization, died suspiciously of a stroke in 1926, after an argument with Stalin.2The rest were either poisoned (Vyacheslav Menzhinsky in 1934) or executed as traitors and spies (Genrikh Yagoda in 1938, Nikolay Yezhov in 1940, Lavrenty Beriya and Vsevolod Merkulov in 1953, Viktor Abakumov in 1954).

To be on the safe side, Khrushchev executed his spy chief, Vladimir

Dekanozov, as well, replacing him as spy chief with General Aleksander Sakharovsky, the chief Soviet intelligence adviser to Romania, who had been my de facto boss and mentor in Romania. That brought me into Khrushchev’s inner circle. During the ensuing years, I would be pushed to the top of Romanian foreign intelligence and would become involved in some of Khrushchev’s most important foreign political projects, from his brutal crushing of the 1956 Hungarian uprising to his construction of the Berlin Wall and provocation of the Cuban missile crisis.

Many years later I would look back on all these events and reflect on how they swept me into another world and put an end to any hope I had of working as a chemical engineer, to say nothing of becoming an American. Now, however, that I have finally been fortunate enough to settle down in this country of my father’s and my own youthful dreams, I have come around to understanding that the path I was channeled into taking may have been, in at least one respect, a blessing in disguise. Eventually my intelligence career afforded me unique insights into a system of government that has changed the course of history. In fact, because Romania was a relatively small country, I believe that I, as its top intelligence officer, very possibly had a clearer picture of how the Kremlin and its dezinformatsiya really functioned than perhaps all but the very innermost Soviet inner circle.

FAST-FORWARD TO JANUARY 1972. Romanian tyrant Nicolae

Ceauşescu returned from the Kremlin more excited than I had ever seen him before. “You go to Moscow,” he told me at the airport, extending four limp fingers in my direction. “We’re pulling off a big glasnost.” I soon learned that Ceauşescu had spent his entire Moscow trip talking about public relations strategies with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev and his KGB chief Yuri Andropov. The two Soviets believed the West had reached the historic point where it was eager to encourage the least sign of thaw in a communist leader. To test this conclusion, they wanted to build Ceauşescu up and make him a big box-office success in the West, as a trial run preparatory to launching the same trick with the man in the Kremlin.

You probably think Mikhail Gorbachev invented the concept of glasnost to describe his effort to lead the Soviet Union “out of its totalitarian state and to democracy, to freedom, to openness,” as he wrote.1 If so, you are not alone. All of the media and most of the “experts,” even in Western defense establishments, believe that too—as does the committee that awarded Gorbachev the Nobel Peace Prize. Even the venerable Encyclopedia Britannica definesglasnost as “Soviet policy of open discussion of political and social issues. It was instituted by Mikhail Gorbachev in the late 1980s and began the democratization of the Soviet Union.”2Merriam-Webster agrees.3 And theAmerican Heritage Dictionary defines glasnost as “an official policy of the former Soviet government emphasizing candor with regard to discussion of social problems and shortcomings.”4

But in fact, glasnost is an old Russian term for polishing the ruler’s image. Originally it meant, literally, publicizing, i.e., self-promotion. Since the sixteenth century’s Ivan the Terrible, the first ruler to become Tsar of All the Russias, all of that country’s leaders have used glasnost to promote themselves inside and outside the country.

In the mid-1930s—half a century before Gorbachev’s glasnost—the official Soviet encyclopedia defined glasnost as a spin on news released to the public: “Dostupnost obshchestvennomy obsuzhdeniyu, kontrolyu; publichnost,” meaning, “the quality of being made available for public discussion or manipulation.”5

(Parte 3 de 6)

Comentários