The highest-ranking Soviet-bloc intelligence officer ever to defect to the West claims in a new book that anti-American Islamic terrorism had its roots in a secret 1970s-era KGB plot to harm but the United States and Israel by seeding Muslim countries with carefully targeted propaganda.
Yuri Andropov, the KGB chief for 15 years before he became the Soviet premier, sent hundreds of agents and thousands of copies of propaganda literature to Muslim countries.
‘By 1972,’ according to the book, ‘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.’
Those claims come from former Romanian Lt. Gen Ion Mihail Pacepa and University of Mississippi law professor Ronald Rychlak.
In their book, titled Disinformation, Pacepa spills the secrets he kept for decades as head of Romania’s spy apparatus and secret police, the DIE, before he secured political asylum in the U.S. in 1978.
Before Yuri Andropov ran the Soviet Union, he was in charge of the KGB for 15 years. That, Pacepa and Rychlak write, is when he masterminded a plan to turn the Middle East against America, by spreading the idea that the U.S. supported Israelis in a plot to take over Europe
Ceausescu ruled Romania with an iron fist and took marching orders from Moscow until his death in 1990. His intelligence chief defected to the U.S. in 1978, and is spilling his Cold War-era secrets in a new book. He was executed, following a coup, on Christmas Day 1989
Andropov began his leadership of the KGB just months before the 1967 Six-Day War between Arabs and Israelis, in which Israel humiliated the key Soviet allies Syria and Egypt. And he decided to settle the score by training Palestinian militants to hijack El Al airplanes and bomb sites in Jerusalem.
But more shocking, Andropov commissioned the first Arabic translation of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a Russian-forged 1905 propaganda book that alleged Jews were plotting to take over Europe – and were being aided by the United States.
The Protocols book, Pacepa claims, became ‘the basis for much of Hitler’s anti-Semitic philosophy.’ And the KGB, he writes, disseminated ‘thousands of copies’ in Muslim countries during the 1970s.
The Protocols of the Elders of Zion was a Russian forgery based on a French play from the Nineteenth Century. Andropov popularized the idea that the ‘Elders of Zion’ were the U.S. Congress
In addition to Russian, the ‘Protocols’ was translated into many other languages including Arabic. Ronald Rychlak (R), Pacepa’s co-author, is Associate Dean at the University of Mississippi School of Law
Before President Jimmy Carter approved his request for asylum, Pacepa ran Romania’s intelligence services under the dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, who was summarily executed along with his wife in 1989 following a popular uprising.
In 1972, Pacepa writes, his DIE agency ‘received from the KGB an Arabic translation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion along with “documentary” material, also in Arabic, “proving” that the United States was a Zionist country.”
He was ‘ordered,’ he adds, ‘to “discreetly” disseminate both “documents” within its targeted Islamic countries.’
‘During my later years in Romania,’ he recalls, ‘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.’
Does militant Islamist terrorism have its roots in a Soviet disinformation campaign linking the U.S. with Israel? The former Romanian intelligence chief says yes
The KGB took ‘secret credit’ for a host of terror attacks against Israeli targets in the years before Pacepa left Romania, he claims, listing eleven such incidents. Among them was 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.
Pacepa and Rychlak conclude that much of the anti-American sentiment in the Middle East and elsewhere can be traced back to Soviet clandestine operations, in which he himself played a major role.
Kennedy-era Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev’s disinformation campaigns ‘widened the gap between Christianity and Judaism,’ according to the authors. And ‘Andropov’s disinformation turned the Islamic world against the United States and ignited the international terrorism that threatens us today.’