Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategies for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism

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"Using press leaks to destroy the reputation of a national or religious leader, engendering the spread of anti-Semitism, building up resentment against the United States or Israel in the Arab world." Location 105

"Dezinformatsiya is like cocaine. If you sniff once or twice, it may not change your life. If you use it every day though, it will make you an addict—a different man." Location 108

"The clue to understanding the significance of the black church arson hoax lies in the documented fact that the World Council of Churches, which ignited and promoted that story, has been infiltrated and ultimately controlled by Russian intelligence since 1961." Location 248

"Specifically, the idea is to fabricate a new past for enemy targets in order to change how the world perceives them." Location 285

"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." Location 367

"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." Location 388

"Glasnost is an old Russian term for polishing the ruler’s image. Originally it meant, literally, publicizing, i.e., self-promotion." Location 400

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.”" Location 403

"We learned that the local Soviet-German House of Friendship—headed by Putin for six years—had been in fact a KGB front, and that the undercover KGB officers running it had simply worked out of operational offices at the Leipzig and Dresden Stasi headquarters." Location 415

"Andropov greeted me by getting right to the point: “The only thing the West cares about is our leader.” He was famous for not wasting his breath on introductory chitchat. “The more they come to love him, the better they will like us,”" Location 437

"Let the gullible fools believe you want to perfume your communism with a dab of Western democracy, and they will clothe you in gold." Location 445

"Contemporary political memory seems to be increasingly afflicted with a kind of a convenient Alzheimer’s disease." Location 468

"The truth is, the Western media are quite easily manipulated, for they often craft their stories from press releases and tend, on the whole, to be indiscriminate about the nature and reliability of their sources." Location 480

"Gorbachev introduced himself to the West exactly as Andropov had: a cultured sophisticate and aficionado of Western opera and jazz. The Kremlin has always known that this picture holds particular charm for the gullible West." Location 492

"Gorbachev is thought to have been recruited by the KGB in the early 1950s while studying law at Moscow State University, where he spied on his foreign classmates."Location 493

"Gorbachev’s rhetoric about combining “communist values” with “Western democracy introduced from the top” and a “centralized free-market economy” enthralled the world." Location 514

"Gorbachev’s arrival was preceded by an NBC interview, just as Ceauşescu’s had been by one with the Hearst newspapers. Both publicly used Washington to reaffirm their deep devotion to Marxism, although both had to acknowledge that their communist systems at home were in deep trouble. (Translation: send money.)" Location 527

"I noted only one fundamental difference between Gorbachev’s and Ceauşescu’s strategies to butter up the West. Three months after Ceauşescu left Washington, the acting chief of his foreign intelligence service—this writer—was granted political asylum by the United States. That event shattered the smiling mask Ceauşescu had worn in Washington and allowed the inner workings of his glasnost machine to lie spread out on the table for all to see." Location 554

"General Nicolae Doicaru, the longtime chief of Romania’s foreign intelligence service, the DIE, had been in charge of 'wet operations'" Location 579

"Brezhnev had asked Ceauşescu for help in stealing the technology and blueprints for a VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) military airplane that had been developed by Fokker A.G., West Germany’s main airplane producer." Location 597

"At the top of the KGB community it was known that Jean-Paul Sartre was used as an influence agent." Location 876

"Attestation to Sartre’s connection with the KGB: On June 15, 1972, the West German police captured one of Sartre’s favorite pupils, German terrorist Ulrike Meinhof, who was financed by the KGB. Soon after that, she sent a letter to her ideological master, Sartre, asking him for moral support. Sartre complied. When he went to the Stammheim prison in West Germany to encourage her, Sartre was chauffeured by German terrorist Hans-Joachim Klein, a KGB agent and Carlos the Jackal’s deputy for the 1975 OPEC terrorist attack in Vienna." Location 886

"There is a widespread belief that the worst damage from Soviet/Russian intelligence operations against the West has been the theft of highly classified secrets, such as the technology for the atom bomb. Not so. The absolutely worst—and often irreparable—damage done to the Free World has been caused by the Kremlin’s disinformation operations designed to change the past." Location 934

"In KGB jargon, changing people’s pasts was called “framing,” and it was a highly classified disinformation speciality." Location 939

"Contrary to popular belief, the countries of Eastern Europe did not become proletarian dictatorships because of revolutions carried out by the indigenous communist parties—in 1945, Romania’s Communist Party had fewer than fifteen hundred members. The Sovietization of Eastern Europe was accomplished by the Kremlin through subversive framing operations that were later stamped with an outwardly political cachet." Location 948

"The leaders of East European democratic parties were not politically purged; they were systematically shot or imprisoned after being framed as Nazi war criminals." Location 951

"Urho Kaleva Kekkonen, Finland’s long-time president and a Soviet agent, was marked for promotion. Kekkonen was built up as a successful political leader by the KGB and its predecessors (which had ghost-written his public speeches for almost twenty years). Kekkonen was manipulated by the Soviets until 1981, when he ended his twenty-five-year term as president of the then Soviet-friendly Finland." Location 988

"Olof Palme, also marked for promotion, was molded into a Swedish prime minister and helped by the KGB to export the Soviet welfare state to Western Europe." Location 991

"Herbert Wehner, who became a member of the West German cabinet in charge of “all-German affairs” (meaning relations with East Germany), was an apprentice clerk before joining the German Communist Party in 1927 and defecting to the Soviet Union. There he was molded into a Social Democratic political leader by the Soviet political police, which later fabricated a background for him showing that he had spent World War II in Sweden— not in the Soviet Union, as was the truth. In 1946, Stalin dispatched Wehner to West Germany via Sweden. Wehner’s invented biography as an anti-Nazi and anticommunist militant—a Soviet fabrication—helped him become deputy chairman of the Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands (SPD) in 1958, to chair the SPD group in the Bundestag (1969–1983), and to become a member of the West German government (1969–1983). Wehner remained a top West German politician until his death in 1990." Location 992

"The secret protocol of the Hitler-Stalin Pact partitioned Poland between the two signatories and gave the Soviets a free hand over Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Bessarabia, and Northern Bukovina." Location 1022

"In 1945, Stalin created an intelligence unit that specialized in framing people as Nazi collaborators—SMERSH. Stalin himself had a hand in coining its name. It was from the Russian words meaning “death to spies” (smert shpionam). Stalin subordinated the unit directly to himself. Its thugs soon became adept at the mass framing of people as Nazis, forcing them to confess and removing them from the scene by arrest, trial, imprisonment, or death." Location 1096

"Stepinac’s show trial had been staged by Andrey Vyshinsky, the old intelligence hand who had worked undercover as the public prosecutor during Stalin’s purges. Three years after that trial, Vyshinsky became the foreign minister of the Soviet Union." Location 1350

"Falconi explained that the “central core of the Croatian documents” that had been provided to him by the Croatian (communist) government “brought to light an entirely new and unsuspected harvest of revelations on the men and the mysterious world” of high Vatican officials. Falconi’s book impressed researchers because it was highly footnoted and relied on documents that had been used in litigation. The Silence of Pius XII shaped much of the early scholarship “documenting” that Pius XII was “Hitler’s Pope.” We now know that Falconi was not looking at legitimate documents, but at communist fabrications. In 1985, Jakov Blažević, who prosecuted Stepinac, confessed that the documents on which the archbishop was tried were false." Location 1504

"If you are good at disinformation, you can get away with anything." Location 1528

"Stalin undoubtedly wanted Mindszenty arrested, framed, and “neutralized”—not necessarily killed, because that would make international waves, but removed from the scene for life, perhaps so physically mistreated and mentally addled that he would never again be able to challenge the communist rulers. Since the war, the Soviets’ tried-and-true method had been wherever possible to slander their enemies as having been pro-Nazi." Location 1591

"Counting the communist revolution in China that had been initiated and organized by Soviet advisers and was now about to succeed, the ruler in the Kremlin would oversee more than a third of the world’s population. Stalin believed the time was ripe to gather all of Germany under the communist umbrella. Germany was the cradle of Marxism—Karl Marx’s birthplace—and it was a matter of personal pride for Stalin to see it." Location 1755

"Stalin decided to portray the United States as a Zionist realm owned by Jewish money and run by a greedy “Council of the Elders of Zion” (Stalin’s derisive epithet for the US Congress)" Location 1774

"Demonstrating for peace to promote war was nothing new. Before World War II there had been scores of peace demonstrations in the United States that were fueled by Nazi sympathizers— they did not want to stop Hitler from conquering Europe, they wanted to stop Washington from going to war against Hitler." Location 1793

"The Cold War was born. Stalin called it World War III." Location 1795

"World War III was conceived to be a war without weapons—a war the Soviet bloc would win without firing a single bullet. It was a war of ideas. It was an intelligence war, waged with a powerful new weapon called dezinformatsiya. Its task was to spread credible derogatory information in such a way that the slander would convince others that the targets were truly evil. To ensure the credibility of the lies, two things were required. First, the fabrications had to appear to come from respected and reputable Western sources; and second, there had to be what Sakharovsky called “a kernel of truth” behind the allegations, so that at least some part of the story could be definitively verified—and to ensure that the calumny would never be put to rest. In addition, the originator had to do his best to ensure that the story got plenty of publicity, if necessary, by having agents or leftist sympathizers in the West publish articles putting the desired spin on the alleged information." Location 1806

"'Operation “Zarathustra' was designed to portray Germany as the breeding ground for a new wave of anti-Semitism that was spreading throughout Western Europe. One of the main players in the “Zarathustra” operation was the foreign component of the East German Stasi." Location 1830

"Totalitarianism always requires a tangible enemy. The Jews, who for centuries had not been protected by the power of a state, proved a convenient enemy for both Nazism and communism." Location 1849

"Soviet leaders instructed M. M. Scheinmann, a researcher at the Historical Institute of the Soviet Academy of Sciences in Moscow, to produce a report alleging a Vatican-Nazi conspiracy against the Soviet Union. Scheinmann’s report contained invented details about an alleged “Secret Pact” the Vatican had signed with Hitler." Location 1948

"In 1968, the KGB was able to maneuver a group of leftist South American bishops into holding a conference in Medellín, Colombia. At the KGB’s request, my DIE provided logistical assistance to the organizers. The official task of the conference was to help eliminate poverty in Latin America. Its undeclared goal was to legitimize a KGB-created religious movement dubbed “liberation theology,” the secret task of which was to incite Latin America’s poor to rebel against the “institutionalized violence of poverty” generated by the United States." Location 1980

"The KGB had a penchant for “liberation” movements. The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the National Liberation Army of Columbia (FARC), and the National Liberation Army of Bolivia were just a few of the “liberation” movements born at the KGB." Location 1984

"A few years ago a black version of liberation theology began growing in a few radical-leftist black churches in the United States. Black liberation theologians James Cone, Cornel West, and Dwight Hopkins have explicitly stated their preference for Marxism because Marxist thought is predicated on a system of oppressor class (whites) versus victim class (blacks), and it sees just one solution: the destruction of the enemy." Location 2014

"The predominantly black Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago is part of this new movement. Its pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, who in 2008 became religious adviser to the presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama, became famous for screaming out 'not God bless America, but God damn America!'" Location 2020

"Since 1945, the Kremlin had fought the Vatican indirectly by framing many of its priests and top clergymen in the Soviet Union and in its new territorial acquisitions “liberated” at the end of the war, slandering them either as Nazi war criminals or as enemies of peace." Location 2122

"At that time there was an unflinching KGB rule for handling modified and counterfeited documents: they should be made available only in the form of retyped documents or in specially prepared photocopies, as even the most perfect counterfeit by today’s standards might become vulnerable to future detection techniques." Location 2131

"Casaroli was commonly called the Vatican’s “secret agent” in communist Europe, and he was known for dressing in civilian clothes to meet with communist officials. Pope John Paul II later named him cardinal and secretary of state for the Vatican." Location 2145

"KGB documents in the Vassiliev Archive show that I. F. Stone (né Isidor Feinstein) was a paid Soviet spy. He had originally been recruited by the NKVD in 1936 on ideological grounds and given the codename “Blin” (Russian for “pancake”).3 Venona intercepts of highly classified, Soviet-intelligence-enciphered communication from l944 show that Stone then had a new NKVD handler, Vladimir Pravdin, whom he agreed to meet regularly and to whom he indicated that he would not be averse to having a 'supplementary income.'" Location 2584

"Documents in the Mitrokhin Archive show that over the years Marzani (KGB codenamed “Nord,” German for north), received substantial sums of money for having his Liberty Book Club publishing company (codenamed “Sever,” Russian for north) produce pro-Soviet material." Location 2610

"NORD is an extremely energetic person and is quite devoted to his task. Despite his financial difficulties, he is struggling to keep SEVER afloat. SEVER, together with its commercial bookselling network, the Prometheus Book Club, has been in existence for fourteen years. During this time it has published and distributed more than 200 titles of a progressive nature, by both American and foreign authors. The catalogue of the SEVER publishing firm lists around fifty titles, and the Prometheus Book Club has 7,000 members. Books are also sent to 8,000 addresses on an individual basis." Location 2618

"In 1963, the first book about the Kennedy assassination to appear in the United States, Oswald: Assassin or Fall Guy?, was published by Marzani. That book, written by a documented KGB agent, Joachim Joesten, alleged that the CIA had killed President Kennedy." Location 2635

"Throughout the 1960s, Ramparts came up with many documents and stories that cast the Soviet Union in a good light or its enemies in a bad one, and the sources of information were often hard to uncover. In his memoirs, editor Warren Hinckle acknowledged his own suspicion about the source of some of the information he received, suggesting that it was either the KGB or a rogue operation from inside of the CIA." Location 2705

"As former Ramparts insider Sol Stern explained, “Ramparts would stretch or deny the truth to sell our counter narrative about America and the world.” He also said: 'The passions that moved us were not those that moved the Founders. We were not liberals. We were socialists and anti-imperialists….'"Location 2747

"Ramparts was an early opponent of the Vietnam War. One of the magazine’s best-known covers showed the hands of four of its editors burning their draft cards. Explaining the magazine’s position in favor of withdrawing from Vietnam, Stern said: I suppose you might say that such a withdrawal would have let the Vietnamese people “make their own history.” But the real reason that Ramparts was for total withdrawal of American troops was that we wanted the Communists to win and were sure that they would." Location 2756

"When Ramparts collapsed once and for all in 1975, three of its principals formed the leftist magazine Mother Jones. They were supported in this effort by the Institute for Policy Studies, which has been linked to KGB disinformation campaigns." Location 2778

"CIA documents released under the Freedom of Information Act confirm that by 1966, Ramparts was a reliable outlet for Soviet propaganda. The CIA eventually devoted twelve full-time or part-time officers to investigating Ramparts. They identified and investigated 127 writers and researchers, as well as nearly two hundred other people with some link to the magazine who were suspected of advancing the Soviet cause." Location 2780

"A few days after Khrushchev had delivered his “secret speech,” his new spy chief, General Aleksandr Sakharovsky (former chief Soviet intelligence adviser to Romania), slipped the text of it to my foreign intelligence service, the DIE. “This is the most secret document I have ever held in my hand,” Sakharovsky said—with a wink. He asked the management of the DIE to pass the “secret speech” to the Israeli Mossad, which had just begun discussing a secret barter arrangement with the DIE to allow Romanian Jews to emigrate to Israel in exchange for US dollars. The DIE obediently leaked the secret speech to the Mossad, which at that time was closely cooperating with the American CIA. In June 1956, Khrushchev’s “secret speech” was published by the New York Times, which acknowledged that it had gotten it from the CIA." Location 3372

"Using their counterfeiting experts, in 1983 Polish intelligence agents crafted a phony diary purportedly written by a former lover of Cardinal Wojtyla. They used the identity of a woman he would have known but who was now, of course, dead. The plan was to leave the diary hidden in an apartment where it would be found during a police raid. Western reporters would assume it was legitimate and report on it as such. As it turned out, however, the agent assigned to plant the fake diary got drunk and was involved in an automobile accident. In an effort to avoid arrest and detention, he explained who he was and exposed the plan." Location 3430

"The KGB had launched “Operation Walnut II,” aimed at making the West believe that the Soviet Union had also become the world’s largest rocket power. Once again, Khrushchev made the first move by telling James Reston of the New York Times: “Now we have all the rockets we need: long-range rockets, intermediate-range rockets and short-range rockets.”9 The disinformation departments of the Soviet bloc intelligence community followed step, and soon the West was laboring under the widespread impression that there was a growing missile gap in favor of the Soviet Union, which, in addition to a large variety of offensive rockets, also possessed sophisticated antimissile rockets able to defend its territory. Three years later, however, the Eisenhower administration was in possession of strong evidence obtained by its U-2 reconnaissance planes that the Soviets had in fact only two ballistic missile bases. Location 4098

"The KGB was never to acknowledge its involvement in assassinations and kidnappings abroad; any such evidence was to be dismissed out of hand as a ridiculous accusation. Finally, after each operation the KGB was surreptitiously to spread “evidence” in the West, accusing the CIA or other convenient “enemies” of having done the deed, thereby if possible killing two birds with one stone. Location 4139

"The KGB execution team arrived in West Germany in February 1954. Unfortunately, in Fadeyev’s view, the team’s head, KGB officer Nikolay Khokhlov, “betrayed his country” by defecting to the CIA. Because troubles never come alone, Fadeyev added, two other officers from the KGB assassination unit defected at about the same time: Yury Rastvorov in January 1954, and Petr Deryabin in February 1954." Location 4164

"In late November 1963, a special KGB courier notified the management of the DIE that within the Dragon Operation we should include mention of a jealous President Johnson as the instigator of the CIA plot, which he, allegedly, had personally arranged to take place in Texas on his home turf. By December, as part of the plot, the KGB added the “sharks” of the American “military-industrial complex,” who were allegedly furious at Kennedy for wanting to cut back on the American military presence abroad and therefore on arms spending (and the sharks’ profits)." Location 4182

"As that very clever master of deception Yuri Andropov once told me, if a good piece of disinformation is repeated over and over, after a while it will take on a life of its own and will—all by itself,—generate a horde of unwitting but passionate advocates." Location 4197

"No one knows how Joesten became such an instant authority on the assassination. He has said that he spent five days in Dallas “investigating” the tragedy and that he then, on December 11, 1963, returned home to his wife. But she said he failed to show up for dinner that evening, instead leaving her a note saying he had gone to Europe. And gone he was for several months. Later that year, Joesten began publishing articles and books on the Kennedy assassination." Location 4350

"In April 1977, the KGB informed the Communist Party’s Central Committee that it was orchestrating additional “active measures” to expose the supposed role of the “American special services” in the Kennedy assassination. By 1980, E. Howard Hunt, a former CIA officer who had been caught up in the Watergate scandal, was publicly complaining that people were accusing him of having had some role in the Kennedy assassination." Location 4423

"By 1972, Andropov’s disinformation machinery was working around the clock to persuade the Islamic world that Israel and the United States intended to transform the rest of the world into a Zionist fiefdom. According to Andropov, the Islamic world was a petri dish in which the KGB community could nurture a virulent strain of America-hatred, grown from the bacterium of Marxist-Leninist thought. Islamic anti-Semitism ran deep." Location 4607

"Andropov unleashed Operation “Tayfun” (Russian for typhoon), aimed at expanding international terrorism into Western Europe." Location 4642

"On June 22, 1991, Vladimir Kryuchkov, the chairman of the KGB, informed the Soviet parliament that the motherland was on the brink of catastrophe. He then revealed “reliable” KGB information showing that Western intelligence services were drawing up plans for the pacification and even occupation of the Soviet Union. By remarkable coincidence, his speech was “clandestinely” videotaped and broadcast on Soviet television that same evening. Two months later, the world was horrified by news of a coup d’état in Moscow. On August 18, 1991, following a pattern similar to the one it had used to oust Nikita Khrushchev, the KGB arrested a vacationing Gorbachev at his summer residence in the Crimea, took over the Kremlin, and paraded its own military might on the streets of Moscow." Location 4691

"Yeltsin then signed a decree stating that, under Article 92 Section 3 of the Russian Constitution, the power of the Russian president would be temporarily performed by the recently appointed Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Yeltsin also announced that a special presidential election would be held around March 27, 2000, and he made a strong appeal for people to vote for Putin—a former KGB general—who was “a strong person worthy of becoming president.” For his part, Putin signed a decree pardoning Yeltsin—who was reportedly connected to massive bribery scandals—“for any possible misdeeds” and granting him “total immunity” from being prosecuted (or even searched and questioned) for “any and all” actions committed while in office. Putin also gave Yeltsin a lifetime pension and a state dacha (summer home)." Location 4733

"By their very nature, foreign intelligence operations are secret, arcane and duplicitous undertakings. In the words of a former head of the British foreign intelligence service MI6, Stella Rimington, unraveling them is 'like the unraveling of a knotted skein of wool. You get hold of an end and you have to follow it through until you are near enough to the heart of the knot to see what it consists of.'" Location 4939

"Sakharovsky believed that someday “our socialist camp” might wear an entirely different face. Marxism might be turned upside down, and even the Communist Party itself might become history, but that would not matter. Both Marxism and the party were foreign organisms that had been introduced into the Russian body, and sooner or later they would have to be rejected in any case. One thing, though, was certain to remain unchanged for as long as the Russian motherland was still in existence: “our gosbezopasnost” (the state security service)." Location 5020

"The KGB, when I was still connected with it, went to great lengths to transform an Egyptian-born Marxist, Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini, nom de guerre Abu Ammar, into a Palestinian-born Yasser Arafat. It took the KGB—and my DIE—many years to endow Arafat with a credible Palestinian birth certificate and other identity documents, to build him a new past, and to train him at the KGB Balashikha special-operations training school east of Moscow." Location 5080

"Antonio Negri, a professor at the University of Padua who once was the brains behind the Italian Red Brigades—one of the KGB-financed leftist terrorist groups of the 1970s—and who served time in jail for his involvement in kidnapping and killing former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro, has now coauthored a virulently anti-American book entitled Empire. In it, Negri justifies Islamist terrorism as being a spearhead of “postmodern revolution” against American globalization—the new “empire”—which he claims is breaking up nation-states and creating huge unemployment." Location 5138

"Although Senator Kerry never fully revealed the source of those outrageous accusations, I recognized them as being the product of another KGB disinformation operation. In the 1960s and ‘70s, when I was a leader of the Soviet bloc intelligence community, the KGB spread those same vitriolic accusations, almost word for word, throughout American and European leftist movements. They were part of a KGB disinformation operation aimed at discouraging the United States from protecting the world against communist expansion. I do not question Senator Kerry’s patriotism. He surely loves this magnificent country as much as I do. Nevertheless, I have strong reason to believe that when he was young, he was deluded by Moscow’s dezinformatsiya." Location 5242

"The general perception in the United States is that America’s antiwar movement has been a homegrown product. In reality, it is the result of a still very secret dezinformatsiya operation ignited by the KGB during the Vietnam War for the dual purpose of counteracting American efforts to protect the world against communist expansion, and of creating doubt around the world about American power, judgment and credibility. Unfortunately, it has fulfilled both aims." Location 5300

"In World War II, 405,399 Americans died because Neville Chamberlain fantasized that Hitler was a friend. We must not repeat such a mistake." Location 5389

"In the same way, the establishment US media painted America as a decaying, racist, predatory capitalist realm unable to provide medical care for the poor, rebuild her “crumbling schools,” or replace the “shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race,” and promised all this could be changed by redistributing the country’s wealth. That also was a disinformation campaign." Location 5501