Tags: Espionage | Today's | Geostrategy

Espionage in Today's Geostrategy

Thursday, 14 November 2002 12:00 AM

One of the e-mails in response to my column of Tuesday, Oct. 29, was from John Dwyer, who wrote:

One of my favorite books of all time is "The Charm School" by Nelson Demille, which is about a KGB spy school where MIAs from Vietnam trained agents on how to think, act and talk like Americans. I later came across a book by J. Bernard Huron entitled "Women In Espionage," which talked about a similar school called Gaczina, which trained spies in the culture of all English-speaking countries. I've been unable to find out any more information on this school even on the Internet. I was hoping you could tell me what you know of Gaczina. Thanks.

Toward the end of his life, Stalin, a Georgian who spoke Russian poorly and with a heavy accent, trusted only Russians who had never lived abroad. So he set up a translator's department at the Foreign Languages Institute in Moscow, which was to train Russians as translators able to translate into English and other foreign languages as well as those for whom these foreign languages are their mother tongues.

I was a hater of Stalin and Stalin's "system." According to the Torah and the Talmud, I am Jewish because my mother was Jewish. But I was welcomed to the Department because according to my internal Soviet passport, I was Russian since my father was Russian, and I bore his second name. As for my first name, Lev, everyone in Russia knows that this was Tolstoy's name (not "Leo"), and one cannot be more Russian than Lev Tolstoy.

The result of Stalin's effort? I was the first and last Russian who had never lived in an English-speaking country and who was able to translate Russian classical literature into English.

Note that the translators were not to look, act and talk like Americans. The translators were to know English as to the language born only in the literary-scholarly sense. And yet, what a fiasco! Only one successful case, and that person (myself) was a secret hater of the "Soviet system" who emigrated at the very first opportunity and left behind his sumptuous country house.

Did Soviet espionage need as spies any Russians thinking, acting and talking like Americansin the United States? The only weapons developed by the United States in the 20th century that could defeat Soviet Russia (from 1945 to 1949) were nuclear weapons, on which the United States had a monopoly from 1945 to 1949.

But Stalin had been kept informed by his spies in the United States on the U.S. development of nuclear weapons from 1939 to 1945. Yet not a single Soviet spy was a born and bred Russian, trained by a Soviet intelligence agency to think, act and talk like an American. All of Stalin's spies were born and bred denizens of the United States and England.

Why did they become Soviet spies?

(1) It was easy. The safest way: An American travels during his or her vacation to a remote tiny country that has a Soviet Embassy or legation, including intelligence/espionage officials. Surely the FBI cannot watch Soviet officials around the clock all over the world!

(2) There has been a horrible mishmash in some American heads. At the same time that I received John's e-mail, I received a two-page e-mail (I will not cite the author's name or address) declaring in an extremely aggressive, rude and high-handed manner: "Mind your business about China. As if a dictatorship is a sin."

To the author of the e-mail a dictatorship is a virtue. "Some people, like Russians, prefer an iron hand, nothing wrong with that, what is a dictator but a king without a crown?" Why am I against the development of post-nuclear superweapons in China? "Don't want to see your beloved adopted country get its ass kicked?" That is, be annihilated by post-nuclear superweapons.

The author of the e-mail takes great pains to explain that he is a born and bred American, presumably a WASP, in contrast to me – who "ain't no American." It may seem that such a pedigreed American must understand – after Stalin, Hitler and Mao – that a dictatorship

But no! If the dictatorship of China annihilates the United States, that will serve the United States right! Surely the United States more than 60 years ago attacked Japan, not Japan the United States! Why shouldn't China attack the United States today? And so on and so forth.

Is it surprising that some Americans and Englishmen passed secret data on U.S. nuclear weapons to Stalin?

(3) While in Soviet Russia money had only a limited value (social rank was more important), "money is everything" in the West, and Soviet intelligence/espionage was generous.

Anyway, Stalin was informed by his spies on the America's development of nuclear weapons. Were U.S. presidents informed by the CIA on the Soviet development of post-nuclear superweapons up to 1991?

Soon after we arrived in New York in 1972 from Russia, I had a telephone call: The CIA would like to speak with me. I was delighted, especially after my failed attempt to interest the New York Times in the Soviet development of Superweapon No. 3, able to annihilate not only the West (a big deal: Soviet or American nukes could annihilate mankind many times over!), but also the Western means of retaliation, thus preventing "mutual assured destruction."

The CIA's attention to me came from a fluke. The editor of a Russian-language newspaper in Paris had convinced the CIA that I was very important in Russia because my country house was larger than that of my neighbor, Andrei Gromyko, at one time the "president of the Soviet Union."

Actually, I was nobody in Soviet Russia, and I could buy that country house because I was the first (and the last) Russian who had never lived in any English-speaking country and who translated Russian classical literature into English – and was paid handsomely by Soviet standards. So the CIA had been misled.

But as a result, here the CIA came: a gentleman whose real name was Bill West, and his young female assistant. What happened was that Bill and I fell in love intellectually "at first sight" and became lifelong friends. Later I quoted Bill in my PR materials as having written: "The Navrozov commentaries are journalism on an intellectual/satirical plane unequaled in the contemporary press, and without many historical peers. Voltaire comes to mind."

Speaking of Voltaire. When my wife and I were Bill's guests, we discovered that his spacious apartment (he lived alone) had been converted into a library with the complete set of Voltaire's works in French on its shelves.

I took it all for granted. Little did I suspect that Bill was probably the only intellectual and the only highly intelligent person in the CIA, or there were so few such as he that they had no influence in that huge bureaucracy.

I discussed with Bill the development of Superweapon No. 3 in Russia, and he said that he, a senior analyst of the CIA, would report my revelations to his superiors. When we met again, he was embarrassed when I asked him about how the CIA received my revelations. I said: "Come on! They said that I am mad!" He finally admitted that this was the conclusion.

I imagine that his colleagues said about him: "This is what comes of reading Voltaire in French. First you read Voltaire in French and then you discover some Russian crank and report his ravings to us."

A Soviet spy who did not know a single English word could come to the United States the way millions of illegals have come and rent an apartment anywhere. As long as he paid his rent, no one would ask where he is from.

Let us imagine an American spy, imitating a Russian to perfection. He could not cross the Soviet border, with its fortifications and dogs. Nor could he pay his rent for an apartment without an internal passport and a police residence permit.

Be that as it may, the CIA did not have a single person residing in Soviet Russia and hence knew nothing about the stupendous Soviet bioweapons project. But here came I to pass on to the CIA the most important geostrategic information (since the development of nuclear weapons) through the CIA's senior analyst, who had become an admirer of mine. It did not work: It took the CIA almost 20 years to find that I was right.

The trouble is that in science and technology it is understood that Einstein was unique. But in the CIA anyone can be its director provided he has his academic degrees and has held government posts. Hence, even when in 1972 very important information was brought to the CIA by its senior analyst on a silver platter, the CIA merely scoffed at it.

This piece is a variation on one of the themes of my book in progress: "Out of Moscow and Into New York: A Life in the Geostrategically Lobotomized West in the Age of Terrorism and Post-Nuclear Superweapons." Publishers: The 27-page Proposal and the first 130-page part of the book can be mailed to you if you apply to me (

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One of the e-mails in response to my column of Tuesday, Oct. 29, was from John Dwyer, who wrote: One of my favorite books of all time is "The Charm School" by Nelson Demille, which is about a KGB spy school where MIAs from Vietnam trained agents on how to think, act and...
Thursday, 14 November 2002 12:00 AM
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