Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategy for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism. Co-authors: Ion Pacepa and Ronald Rychlak. WND Publishers. 2013. 362 pages.
In an exclusive interview, Ronald Rychlak, co-author of a new book entitled Disinformation, offered further insights into the Soviet era campaign to enflame worldwide passions not only against the United States and Israel, but also the Catholic Church. Rychlak told Spero News that the Soviet Union engaged in an “evolutionary process” since the time of the Second World War and into the present day to undermine U.S. relations with Muslim and Mideast oil-producing countries by casting it as the guarantor and promoter of supposed designs by Israel and Jews to expand their economic power and territorial claims. Moreover, said Rychlak, targeting the Catholic Church and other Christian denominations for its program of infiltration and disinformation, the Soviets and successors in Russia sought to eliminate opponents to violent revolution.
Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategy for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism,
is the product of meticulous research and collaboration. Rychlak
is a professor of law at the University of Mississippi and the author of Hitler, the War, and the Pope
, and Righteous Gentiles: How Pius XII and the Catholic Church Saved Half a Million Jews from the Nazis
. Ion Pacepa
remains a mysterious figure. Pacepa
served in the spy services of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu
, and worked closely with the Soviets. Having experienced a change of heart, Pacepa
sought asylum in the United States in 1977 during the Carter administration. While he is the author of several books, including Red Horizons: The True Story of Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu’s Crimes, Lifestyle, and Corruption
, he remains in hiding and in fear for his life.
As he notes in the final chapter of Disinformation, despite the fact that Romania overthrew Ceausescu in 1989, and has since become a member of NATO and America’s supposed ally, both he and others who worked to pull down the Soviet-style dictatorship remain condemned to death. Even while Romania’s Supreme Court cancelled the two death sentences pronounced against him by the Ceausescu government, Pacepa wrote that he believes that his is the only case in which the government of a country belonging to the EU has actually refused to implement a decision by its own high court.
Modern Romania, while it is part of NATO and the EU, still has Ceausescu-era agents working in its state and judicial apparatus. An effort is underway, wrote Pacepa, to rehabilitate Ceausescu in the eyes of the world. And part of that rehabilitation is a disinformation campaign aimed at Pacepa. An article in Romania’s Bursa publication purports to show that Pacepa is simultaneously a “Jidan (in Romanian, the worst pejorative for Jew),” as well as “homosexual and womanizer.” History repeats itself in an era when young Romanians have no experience of the horrors of the Ceausescu regime and who are now persuaded to believe that Ceausescu was a benevolent national leader opposed only by “traitors” and “dirty Jews” like Pacepa.
Rychlak said in the Spero News interview that due to security precautions, he has not been able to meet Pacepa. After having published his book Hitler, the War, and the Pope, Pacepa contacted Rychlak and so began a long-distance collaboration on the current book. Rychlak said he is convinced of the truth and probity of Pacepa’s accounts of the Soviet disinformation campaign, saying that each of them served as a check for the other as they research books, documents, and testimonies of the Soviet campaign against America, Jews, and the Catholic Church.
This triad of targets: the United States, Israel, and the Catholic Church, were three interconnected yet independent entities that the Soviets addressed. As to the first two, Rychlak averred that co-author Ion Pacepa was personally familiar with Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet premier who succeeded Josef Stalin as leader of the empire. “Khrushchev, like Stalin, was a virulent anti-Semite, through and through,” said Rychlak. With the Cold War already underway in Europe, it was on the basis of this continuous strain of Jew hatred that Khrushchev was to see an opportunity to harass the U.S. in an area of vital strategic and economic importance. It was in the Mideast, said Rychlak, that “the Soviets found a perfect Petri dish for breeding a violent, virulent strain of hatred for America, Jews and Israel.”
This strategic anti-Semitism was further nurtured by Yuri Andropov, a KGB chief for fifteen years who became Soviet premier, who sent agents provocateur and thousands of copies of propaganda to Muslim countries that agitated the masses and against Israel specifically, and Jews in general. According to Disinformation, “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.”
The disinformation campaigns that began under Soviet premier Khrushchev “'widened the gap between Christianity and Judaism,” according to the co-authors. Part of this was the campaign to cast aspersions at Pope Pius XII as a collaborator with Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust. This is a myth, said Rychlak, which has been cited as evidence by writers such as John Cornwell.
Andropov took charge of the KGB months before the 1967 Six Day War between Israel and neighboring Egypt and Syria that humiliated Russia’s allies in the Mideast. Apparently seeking to settle scores, Andropov’s KGB provided training to terrorists who hijacked El Al Airlines flights and conducted bombing attacks in Jerusalem. As head of the KGB, Andropov also commissioned the first translation into Arabic of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a forgery that was originally commissioned by Czarist Russia to foster the lie that Jews wished to dominate Europe. Despite being widely discredited by scholars, the book would resonate in Germany before the Second World War, but also among prominent Americans such as Henry Ford, who also propagated the myth. Andropov distributed copies of the forgery through the spy services of the Soviet Union and allied countries to foster the idea that Israel wanted to dominate the Middle East, aided and abetted by the U.S.
And “Andropov's disinformation turned the Islamic world against the United States and ignited the international terrorism that threatens us today,” Pacepa and Rychlak write in their book. With its disinformation campaign, the Soviets essentially weaponized an idea: that the U.S. and Israel were bent on world domination and that the Catholic Church (and by extension other Christian churches) was a collaborator.
In Disinformation, Pacepa said that as the head of Romania’s spy network under dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, he was ordered to distribute copies of The Protocols as part of the Soviet plan. “During my later years in Romania,” Pacepa recalled in the book, “every month the DIE disseminated thousands of copies throughout its Islamic sphere of influence. In the meetings I had with my counterparts in the Hungarian and Bulgarian services, with whom I enjoyed particularly close relations at that time, I learned that they were also sending such influence agents into their own Islamic spheres of influence.”
Rychlak and Pacepa recount that the KGB took credit for a series of terrorist attacks on Israeli targets in the years before Pacepa left Romania. Eleven incidents were listed, including: the May 30, 1972 attack on Ben Gurion Airport, which left 22 dead and 76 wounded; and the July 4, 1975 bombing in ZIon Square, Jerusalem, in which 15 lost their lives and another 62 were maimed. The co-authors conclude in the book that anti-American sentiment in the Mideast and elsewhere can be traced to Soviet black-ops in which Andropov played a significant role.
“Russia,” said Rychlak in the interview, “is perhaps more dangerous now than it has been in many years,” since Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is a former KGB agent himself who served under Andropov. It is no wonder, said Rychlak, that a Cold-War mentality is evident in Putin’s pronouncements about the U.S.
(Prof. Ronald Rychlak)
Rychlak said that Disinformation should be understood as both a “love letter and a warning to America” from Pacepa. There are lessons to be drawn from the work for contemporary Americans. “It is certainly not controversial that the current administration is moving the country in a Socialist direction,” said Rychlak in reference to the tack taken by the U.S. during Barack Obama’s presidency. The U.S. has afforded Pacepa freedom and security, ever since he obtained asylum nearly 30 years ago. “The book is not just about bad leaders but about how people allow bad leaders to elevate themselves above the legislative and democratic process. When the people allow this, they move then towards a very bad place,” said Rychlak.
The disinformation campaign was not limited to the Middle East, said Rychlak in the interview. He said that the Soviets were able to influence priests, pastors, and theologians to see the world through the lens of the Theology of Liberation that “politicized Christianity and contributed to much of the revolutionary spirit of conflicts throughout Latin America.” While Christian leaders may not have been actually under the sway or in the pay of the Soviets, they became part of the disinformation campaign by propagating a weaponized theology that sought to make property owners share with those without, even if they had to be killed.
“The Kremlin,” said Rychlak, “figured out the importance of taking over entities through infiltration, and by co-opting priests and ministers in the various churches,” to cooperate with the Soviet plan. Recently, said Rychlak, evidence has emerged that Catholic priests in Poland were influenced by Communism during the era of Soviet domination. This holds true for other countries and Christian denominations.
Asked about the current state of affairs in the U.S., Rychlak said that there are “disconcerting things happening every day.” Rychlak said that there is “too much praise of the president as a man, rather than the office of the president.” The book notes, for example, the numerous schools and other public works that already bear the name of Barack Obama. This idolization is disquieting since it echoes the practice of dictators such as bloody Ceausescu who honored themselves through their lives.
Pacepa writes near the end of the book, “United States is the leader of the Free World, but it is certainly not a perfect country. As another proud American once put it, America, like all nations, is a collection of human beings, and human beings are notorious for occasionally making bad decisions, being selfish, or ignorant, or unwise.” He also makes a plea for America to return to its founding principles that made it a “beacon for the whole free world.”
“Let us, once and for all, also reject Marxism’s ‘science’ of disinformation, its glasnost, and its political necrophagy that has been used so destructively over the years to squash freedom and bankrupt countries. Let us recognize them for what they are and expose them with all our might when such deceitful campaigns rear their ugly heads. Let us return to our own American exceptionalism and its traditions of patriotism, honesty and fairness. United States of America is the greatest country on earth. Let us keep it that way for future generations.”