Subject: ON TEACHING SOCIAL LITERACY.
3 December 2007
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
The ignorance (willful or unintentional) of the specific context in which events occur, has an effect similar to that of reading a book backwards. It involves much confusion and many misinterpretations. Such cognitive dysfunction can be useful for political manipulations designed to mobilize people in order to achieve short-term goals --goals which most people would otherwise have no interest in attaining. [For an excellent history of "free-market" capitalism and the role played by consumerism in subverting democracy, see the documentary film, The Century of the Self.]
Some scholars have argued that cognitive dysfunction was elevated decades ago to the status of an applied science, called "Post-Modernism," and that context-poor analysis can be guided exclusively by irrational desires and ideological beliefs. [For a discussion of this theory of deliberately fragmenting and "dumbing down" a society until its members are no longer capable or willing to think about their environmental and social needs, see James Drake's article from The Times Literary Supplement (September 1998).]
It is an established fact that in feudal times the aristocracy enjoying political power had little use for literacy. The rich overlords simply had no time nor inclination to trouble themselves with the effort to learn to read and write. They had servants and slaves for that purpose. Are the post-feudal rulers of society and their managers so different?
Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy began their classic study, Monopoly Capital (1966), with an observation of intellectual production within the academic community that closely corresponds today with the global results of "free-market" production within third world countries, where subsistence agriculture has been displaced by cash crops for export, from which the benefits DO NOT trickle down. Intellectual production for international prestige rather than domestic use looks something like this, in the words of Baran and Sweezy:
This is the classic formula of free-market imperialism, which puts in place a system of political independence and economic growth allowing a small class of people to benefit while conditions of economic dependency and the absence of social development guarantee that the community at large will descend into a state of increasing poverty and that ordinary citizens eventually will find themselves demoralized, disoriented, and deprived of leadership. By bringing intellectual work into the mainstream of market-place values, where fragmented empirical methodology and digital software programs rule the world of publications and promotions, traditional intellectuals are displaced by technicians and arrivistes, who work to impress the owners of capital while living under conditions of surveillance that are increasingly authoritarian and debilitating, the main aim of which is to exclude the "inefficient," i.e. those who remain un-indoctrinated by the cannon of the economic growth in the system of corporate values, and instead seek to contribute to the development of the community of which they are a part.
The practice of allowing the corporate rulers and socially illiterate leaders, who are cut off from their community, to assume political authority became entrenched in the Third Word during the period of free-market imperialism. Routine acquiescence to authority figures by a disorganized peasantry defies the democratic injunction : Respect only the respectable! This routine has given rise to the creation of illegitimate dependent political hierarchies, which of necessity rule by force instead of reason, and by law instead of justice.
History is full of the ironies of rapport de force replacing democratically derived reason. The ignorant, arrogant, inflated egos of ill-willed authorities crushing any opposition or perceived potential opposition to their blind ambitions appears in history as a leitmotif, and not as the exception. This pattern is by no means new. Authoritarianism involves a vertical political restructuring that necessarily deepens its penetration into social institutions, winning the allegiance of a few new recruits on the way down in order to control the disaffected masses. While mass consumer society becomes increasingly regimented, a small compradore class (see black skin, white masks) is used to stabilize the potentially volatile environment in the interests of the corporate oligarchies.
In his book Deterring Democracy, Noam Chomsky analyzes the history of systematic subversions of democracy in third-world countries. The globalization strategy of free-market imperialism, with transnational corporations (TNCs) operating without restrictions inside national boundaries, has encounter democratic institutions as a gross inconvenience. The benefits from imports and exports fall into the hands of a relatively small class of local people, while most of the big winners have no interest in living in the communities from which their profits are extracted. For TNCs democracy is NOT a positive development : it means, among other things, higher wages, greater social benefits for all, and perhaps worst of all higher corporate taxes. The process of democracy is incompatible with maximizing corporate profits, and in this context any effort at strengthening horizontal political structures must be either co-opted or curtailed --it is co-opted by bribing and otherwise influencing political leaders; it is curtailed by sending in the militia, with dogs and gas canisters, to beat dissidents. In the Third Word much worse tactics are often employed to create object lessons for the population at large .
The 12 items below have been received by CEIMSA during the past several days of turmoil on French campuses and beyond. We offer readers this opportunity to reflect on the social and historical context of their lives by reading these excepts from contemporary reality.
Item A. is an article by Fidel Castro who attempts to define the international importance of Hugo Chavez's democratic economic reforms in Venezuela.
Item B. is the description of Greg Palast's "sting operation" revealing unethical activities of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's chief fundraiser soliciting hundreds of thousands of pounds from corporate interests for the New Labor Party in England.
Item C. is an article by Russell Mokhiber on the politics of corporate crime in the United States.
Item D. is a PBS broadcast of Bill Moyer's Journal, which features a three-part series on the "Christian Zionist Movement" in the United States.
Item E., sent to us by Professor Edward Herman, is an article on efforts within the Bush administration, with the backing of corporate America," to mobilize U.S. public support for a war against Iran, using if necessary the Israeli Defense Forces.
Item F. is an article by Karen Talbot, "Backing up Globalization with Military Might," in which she describes the motives behind the U.S.-led NATO invasion of Yugoslavia and its connection of U.S. "globalization" strategies.
Item G. is a message from historian Jim O'Brien, announcing the April 2008 Historians Against War Conference in Atlanta, Georgia.
Item H. is an article from TruthOut, explaining the significance of the Bush administration's declared intentions to drastically cut funding for counterterrorism operations across the United States, as neo-liberal priorities shift with the economic crisis now underway.
Item I. is a description in Multinational Monitor, by Walden Bello, of Chinese corporate interests competing with Western interests in post-colonial African nations today.
Item J. is an article, by Nadia Martinez, from Multinational Monitor on the U.S. politics of Latin American Petro-Dollars in the context of global resistance to free-market imperialism today.
Item K., from Dollars & Sense, is an article by William Black explaining the context of the crisis in the banking industry, caused by deregulation and the rule of private greed.
Item L. is another article by Fidel Castro on the history economic violence in the context of advanced technology and social class conflicts.
We have asked readers repeatedly at CEIMSA to reflect on the important difference between Strategy and Tactics, understanding that only strategy can defeat strategy. We conclude this bulletin by inviting our readers to examine the difference between Science and Ideology. The two classic ideological works below have had an historic influence on third-world nations, in the absence of a coherent, positive, liberal political theory which is credible to the majority of mankind.
by Fidel Castro
Venezuela, whose people are heirs to Bolivar’s ideas which transcend his era, is today facing a world tyranny a thousand times more powerful than that of Spain’s colonial strength added to that of the recently born United States which, through Monroe, proclaimed their right to the natural wealth of the continent and to the sweat of its people.
Martí denounced the brutal system and called it a monster, in whose entrails he had lived. His internationalist spirit shone as never before when, in a letter left unfinished due to his death in combat, he publicly revealed the objective of his restless struggle: “…I am now every day risking my life for my country, and for my duty –since I understand it and have the courage to do it– to timely prevent, with the independence of Cuba, that the United States expand over the Antilles and that they fall, with this additional force, over our lands in America…”
It was not in vain that he stated in plain verse: “With the poor of this earth, my fate I wish to cast”. Later, he proclaimed categorically: “Humanity is homeland”. The Apostle of our independence wrote one day: “Let Venezuela call on me to serve her: I am her son”.
The most sophisticated media developed by technology, employed to kill human beings and to subjugate or exterminate peoples; the massive sowing of conditioned reflexes of the mind; consumerism and all available resources; these are being used today against the Venezuelans, with the intent of ripping the ideas of Bolivar and Martí to shreds.
The empire has created conditions conducive to violence and internecine conflicts. On Chavez’s recent visit last November 21, I seriously discussed with him the risks of assassination as he is constantly out in the open in convertible vehicles. I said this because of my experience as a combatant trained in the use of an automatic weapon and a telescopic sight. Likewise, after the triumph, I became the target of assassination plots directly or indirectly ordered by almost every United States administration since 1959.
The irresponsible government of the empire does not stop for a minute to think that the assassination of Venezuela’s leader or a civil war in that country would blow up the globalized world economy, due to its huge reserves of hydrocarbons. Such circumstances are without precedent in the history of mankind.
Cuba developed close ties with the Bolivarian government of Venezuela during the hardest days resulting from the demise of the USSR and the tightening of the United States economic blockade. The exchange of goods and services grew from practically zero level to more than 7 billion dollars annually, with great economic and social benefits for both our peoples. Today that is where we receive the fundamental supplies of fuel needed for our country's consumption, something that would be very difficult to obtain from other sources due to the shortage of light crude oil, the insufficient refining capacity, the United States’ power and the wars its has unleashed to seize the world oil and gas reserves.
Add to the high energy prices, the prices of foods destined by imperial policy to be transformed into fuel for the gas-guzzling cars of the United States and other industrial nations.
A victory of the Yes vote on December 2 would not be enough. The weeks and months following that date may very well prove to be extremely tough for many countries, Cuba for one; although before that the empire’s adventures could lead the planet into an atomic war, as their own leaders have confessed.
Our compatriots can rest assured that I have had time to think and to meditate at length on these problems.
from Greg Palast
Subject: Brown’s Fixer Explains How It’s Done.
Date: 29 November 2007
Brown’s Fixer Explains How It’s Done: Jon Mendelsohn and the Secret Tape
(Boasted £11 million donated by Tesco cut tax bill by £20 million)
by Greg Palast
[It was a stunning admission. Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s crony explained to the U.S. businessman, in evil detail, exactly how the fix is done in Britain. Unfortunately, for Jon Mendelsohn and his partners, the “businessman” was, in fact, an undercover reporter for The Observer of London.]
Today, Brown’s foes are calling for Mendelsohn’s resignation as chief fundraiser of the Labour Party for his admitted knowledge of £630,000 ($1.2 million) in dodgy, possibly illegal, campaign contributions to Labour.
What’s odd here are the protestations of shock at the behavior of Mendelsohn, described in the Guardian as an “ethical” lobbyist. “Ethical” my arse.
It was exactly nine years ago that Mendelsohn and his lobby firm partners were caught trading cash for access. How this Mendelsohn character ended up heading Labour Party fundraising and how he obtained the sobriquet ‘ethical’ is the real shocker.
I know a few things about this Mendelsohn. The “businessman” with the hidden recorder was me. In June 1998, joined by my recorder and a real US businessman, Mark Swedlund, who designed my elaborate corporate front, I met Mr. Mendelsohn at his tony Soho London office. There Mendelsohn confirmed what was already on tape from his partners in the lobby firm he founded, LLM.
I explained my corporate needs: some environmental rules needed bending. I hinted I was with Enron. Mendelsohn’s partner Neil Lawson told my recorder that, if I paid LLM £5,000 to £20,000 per month, “We can go to anyone. We can go to Gordon Brown if we have to.” Brown was at the time Chancellor of the Exchequer. Could the lobbyist provide concrete examples of a fix?
Easily. Here is a short list of LLM claimed accomplishments:
- Inside information on then-Chancellor Gordon Brown’s budgets.
- Tax avoided by a supermarket chain following millions donated to a New Labour pet project.
- A pass on anti-trust action against client Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.
- And for Gordon Brown, a favor that the Mendelsohn team expected to redeem.
Tesco Goes Tax-Free
LLM, which stands for the founders Lucas, Neil Lawson and Mendelsohn, were about to derail Brown’s plan for a tax on car parks (”parking lots” as we say in the States). This would cost Tesco, the supermarket chain, an LLM client, £20 million annually. LLM was holding secret meetings that week in June 1998 with Tony Blair’s Downing Street Policy Unit to get Tesco exempted from the proposed tax.
The tax threat went away after LLM advised Tesco to drop £11 million into funding for Blair’s odd Millennium Dome project.
[To my US readers: The Dome is a gargantuan tent costing $100 million - no kidding.]
“This government likes to do deals,” Lucas told me.
But this deal was complex, Mendelsohn said, not so simple as cash paid for a tax break. “Tony is very anxious to be seen as ‘green’,” Mendelsohn explained to me and my confederate. “Everything has to be couched in environmental language - even if it’s slightly Orwellian.” So LLM devised a set of cockamamie gimmicks for Tesco, like offering bus services to the elderly, which would paint the retailer green.
It worked. Tesco was spared the tax - though the company denies categorically that its cash dumped into the Dome bought any favors.
Message for Murdoch
The year of my paper’s original investigation (dubbed, “Lobbygate”), anti-trust authorities were looking into Rupert Murdoch’s companies’ alleged predatory pricing practices. LLM carried the word from Downing Street, according to Lucas, that, if Murdoch’s tabloids toned down criticism of new antitrust legislation, the law’s final language would reflect the government’s appreciation. On the other hand, harsh coverage in Murdoch’s papers could provoke problems for the media group in Parliament’s union-recognition bill.
The message to muzzle journalists was not, said Lucas, “an easy one in their culture” - journalists being a trying lot. However, the outcome pleased LLM clientele.
A Peek at the Budget
It also happened that on one of the days I recorded Mendelsohn’s partners, they boasted of informing an LLM client about details of Gordon Brown’s budget plans before the Chancellor’s announcement went public.
A lobbyist competing for my “business,” when asked to match the offer of inside information and deal-making held out by LLM and another New Labour firm said, “It’s appalling. It’s disturbing,” and added that he would refuse to match LLM’s services at any price.
If LLM appeared favored by Brown’s operation, Brown himself received favors from LLM. “Gordon Brown asked us to have our client KPMG [the consultancy] host a breakfast for him where it was pre-arranged that they would praise him for his prudent budgets.” Brown basked in this Potemkin praise-fest - a favor that would be returned with special access (for my own clients, if I paid the retainer).
Whether Mendelsohn, Lawson and Lucas actually pulled off all they claimed, I can’t say. Though just kids in their twenties, LLM had garnered millions in revenue, a lot of loot if for mere advice. No one seriously investigated; no one asked uncomfortable questions of Mr. Brown, Mr. Blair or the man at the center of several of these supposed “deals,” Mr. Peter Mandelson, now an EU Commissioner.
However, that Mendelsohn made these tawdry claims (or grinned at me while his partner made them), and that they were published on page one of every newspaper in the realm - part of an LLM tape broadcast on BBC’s Newsnight - one would think that perspicacious Mr. Brown would have avoided Mendelsohn like the plague.
But the PM embraced Mr. Let’s-Make-A-Deal. The reason was made clear to me by Mendelsohn himself, a man as brainy as he is cynical and wealthy. Those many years ago, at the dawn of the Blair regime, Mendelsohn handed me a confidential manifesto he’d penned for LLM clients only. It was a map of the soul of New Labour.
Here was a chilling combination of Mendelsohn, Mandelson and Nietzsche. “AN OLD WORLD IS DISAPPEARING AND A NEW ONE EMERGING,” he announced in upper case. In the “Passing World” were “ideology” and “conviction” - which would now be replaced by “Pragmatism” and “Consumption.” “Buying” would replace “Belief.”
And ultimately, in this Brave New Labour World, style was all: “WHAT YOU DO,” wrote Mendelsohn, was passé, replaced by, “HOW YOU DO IT.”
So why demand Mendelsohn’s head now? Gordon Brown is a prudent man whom, I suspect, reads a newspaper or two - and knew exactly whom he had positioned to fill his party’s coin sacks. Mendelsohn is just a gun for hire, a forgettable factotum. I wouldn’t place the blame on the hired gun, but on the man whose finger is on the trigger.
The series “Lobbygate: Cash for Access” was originally published by The Observer (UK) in July 1998 by Greg Palast and Antony Barnett. For a complete history of the scandal, read, “ Blair and the Sale of Britain” in The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (Penguin/Constable & Robinson 2004). Excerpt at www.GregPalast.com
from Multinational Monitor :
Date: 2 December 2007
Subject: The Politics of "Corporate Crime" in the USA.
Corporate crime lesson number one: prosecute corporate crime to achieve higher office, then prosecute street crime to protect your political position. Or to simplify it, corporate crime is all about power politics. And the corporate crime game is a bipartisan affair it is played the same by Democrats and Republicans alike.
from Truth Out :
Date: 30 November 2007
Subject: Middle East Peace?
Bill Moyers Journal
In the wake of this week's peace summit in Annapolis, Bill Moyers Journal profiles the politically powerful group Christians United for Israel (CUFI), whose leader, Pastor John Hagee, wants to bring millions of Christians together to support Israel. But some say his message is dangerous: "It is time for America to ... consider a military preemptive strike against Iran to prevent a nuclear holocaust in Israel and a nuclear attack in America." Bill Moyers Journal reports on CUFI and then gets a theological and political context on Christian Zionism from Ronald J. Sider, professor of theology, holistic ministry and public policy and director of the Sider Center on Ministry and Public Policy at Palmer Theological Seminary and president of Evangelicals for Social Action, and from M.J. Rosenberg, director of policy analysis for Israel Policy Forum.
from Edward Herman:
25 November 2007
Subject: The history of Collaboratiion with U.S. Aggression.
A war with Iran is a real possibility today with the current administration in the White House, the massive collaboration in the media, and with the appaprent approval of Corporate America.
by Edward S. Herman and David Peterson
The U.S. Aggression Process and Its Collaborators: From Guatemala (1950-1954) to Iran (2002-)
from Covert Action :
Date: 30 November 2007
Subject: Backing up Globalization With Military Might.
The U.S. Senate recently labeled Serbia a "terrorist state," in an act of obscene hypocrisyyet another case of blaming the victim for the crimes of the perpetrator. What could be more "terrorist" than the relentless blitzkrieg of 23,000 bombs and missiles rained upon Yugoslavia for 79 days by U.S.- led NATO forces? Is it not terrorism to drop on civilians radioactive depleted uranium weapons and outlawed cluster bombs designed to rip human flesh to shreds, from the sanctuary of thousands of feet in the air, or using terrain- hugging computer- guided missiles? Is it not terrorism to target deliberately the entire infrastructure of a small sovereign nation, including electrical and water filtration systems critical to the survival of civilians? Is it not terrorism to ferociously obliterate 200 factories and destroy the jobs of millions of workers? What of the constant air assault"fire from the sky"against cities, villages, schools, hospitals, senior residences, TV towers and studios, oil refineries, chemical plants, electrical power plants, transmission towers, gas stations, homes, farms, schools, marketplaces, buses, trains, railroad lines, bridges, roads, medieval monasteries, churches, historic monumentsdestruction amounting to more than $100 billion? What of eco- terrorism, biological and chemical warfare, the incalculable result of the destruction of the environment, including the deliberate bombardment of chemical plants? Above all, is it not terrorism to kill, maim, traumatize, impoverish, or render homeless tens of thousands of men, women, and children?
Not only was NATO's war a reprehensible act of inhumanity, it was in contravention of all norms of international law, including the Charter of the United Nations. This was an unprecedented war by the most powerful military force in history involving the 19 wealthiest nations with 95% of the world's armaments against a small sovereign nation that ultimately had little chance of countering such an attack.
Why the Balkans?
Yugoslavia is strategically located. The peoples of this region have had the great misfortune of living on real estate coveted by empire after empire, all of which employed classic divide and conquer tactics by pitting one people against another. Not much has changed.
from Jim O'Brien :
Date: Sun, 2 Dec 2007
Subject: Historians Against the War Newsletter
O ver twenty panels, roundtables, and workshops have been accepted for the HAW national conference, April 11-13 at Georgia State University in Atlanta. Featured speakers have also been lined up for plenary sessions.
The conference will begin Friday evening, April 11, with a keynote session featuring Bill Fletcher, Jr., a long-time activist in the black freedom and labor movements, former president of TransAfrica and former education director of the AFL-CIO. It is possible that Naomi Klein, author of Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, will be a co-keynote speaker; she won't know until January if she will be able to attend the conference.
A Saturday evening plenary session will feature Dina Rizk Khoury of George Washington University, a historian of Iraq, and Zachary Lockman of New York University, who just finished his term at president of the Middle East Studies Association.
For a complete list of the other sessions, scheduled for Saturday morning and afternoon and Sunday morning, see the conference web site: http://www.historiansagainstwar.org/hawconf.
Pre-registration is $40 (or $25 low-income) and includes lunch on Saturday as well as coffee, fruit, and pastries both Saturday and Sunday mornings.
The HAW Teaching Working Group would like to propose the development of about six "Document Based Questions" for inclusion on the AP History exams--US, European, and World. We need your help. Anyone who has worked for ETS in developing DBQs in the past, has worked as an ETS AP Essay Reader, or has taught AP History in a US high school: we need your expertise and guidance. If you would like to contribute to and guide the development of these questions, please contact Jeri Fogel, " firstname.lastname@example.org , or David Applebaum, email@example.com
from Multinational Monitor :
Date: 2 December 2007
Subject: Yankees Corporations in Latin America.
In his 2006 State of the Union address, President Bush famously stated that “America is addicted to oil.” He soon followed that proclamation with an announcement that his solution to the addiction is to diversify U.S. sources of oil not to diversify away from oil with clean, renewable sources of energy.
That is sure to mean increased U.S. political attention to Latin America. Oil multinationals are already looking to intensify drilling operations in Latin America, because that’s where the oil is. The U.S. government and oil and gas companies are likely to pressure Latin American countries like Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador already major suppliers of oil to U.S. markets to ramp up production and to exploit new oil and gas fields. And Big Oil is likely to propose new exploration and development projects in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama, Bolivia and Peru as the industry struggles to maintain a steady flow of energy resources to the North.
from Dollars & Sense :
Date: 3 December 2007
Subject: The Banking Industry in Crisis.
by William K. Black
by Fidel Castro
Einstein was a great scientist and humanist. He contradicted Newton’s laws of physics, held sacred until then. However, apples continued to fall due to the laws of gravity that had been defined by Newton. These were two different ways of observing and interpreting nature, with very little information on this in Newton’s day. I remember what I read more than 50 years ago about the famous theory of relativity elaborated by Einstein: energy is equal to mass times the speed of light, called C, squared: E=MC2. The United States money existed and the resources necessary for such expensive research. The political climate resulting from the generalized hatred against the brutalities of Nazism in the richest and most productive nation in the world destroyed by the war, transformed that fabulous energy into bombs that were dropped over the defenseless populations of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and a similar number of people who were exposed to radiation and subsequently died in the following years.
A clear example of the use of science and technology with the same hegemonic goals is described in an article written by the former official of United States National Security, Gus W. Weiss; it originally appeared in the magazine Studies in Intelligence, in 1996, even though it was more widely distributed in 2002 under the title of Deceiving the Soviets. There, Weiss claims the idea of sending the USSR software that they needed for their industries, but already contaminated, with the aim of making that country’s economy collapse.
According to notes taken from Chapter 17 of the book At the Abyss: An Insider’s History of the Cold War, by Thomas C. Reed, former Secretary of the United States Air Force, Leonid Brezhnev told a group of senior Party officials in 1972: “We Communists have to string along with the capitalists for a while. We need their credits, their agriculture and their technology. But we are going to continue massive military programs, and by the mid-1980s we will be in a position to return to an aggressive foreign policy designed to gain the upper hand with the West.” This information was confirmed by the Defense Department in hearings before the House Committee on Banking and Currency in 1974.
In the early ‘70s the Nixon’s government advanced the idea of détente. Henry Kissinger hoped that “over time, trade and investment may leaven the autarkic tendencies of the Soviet system”, he considered that détente might “invite gradual association of the Soviet economy with the world economy, and foster a degree of interdependence that adds an element of stability to the political relations”.
Reagan tended to ignore Kissinger’s theories about détente and to take President Brezhnev’s word, but all doubts were removed on July 19, 1981 when the new U.S. President met with President Francois Mitterand, of France, at the economic G-7 summit in Ottawa. In a conversation off to the side, Mitterand informed Reagan about the success his intelligence services had in recruiting a KGB agent. The man belonged to a section that was evaluating the achievements of Soviet efforts to acquire western technology. Reagan expressed great interest in Mitterand’s delicate revelations and also thanked him for his offer to have the material sent to the United States government.
The dossier, under the name of Farewell, reached the CIA in August 1981. It made it quite clear that the Soviets had been spending years carrying out their research and development activities. Given the enormous transfer of technology by radar, computers, machine-tools and semi-conductors from the United States to the Soviet Union, one could say that the Pentagon was in an arms race with itself.
The Farewell Dossier also identified hundreds of case officials, agents at their posts and other suppliers of information through the West and Japan. During the first years of détente, the United States and the Soviet Union had established working groups in agriculture, civil aviation, nuclear energy, oceanography, computers and the environment. The aim was to begin to construct "bridges of peace" between the superpowers. The members of the working groups had to exchange visits to their centers.
Besides identifying agents, the most useful information brought by the Dossier consisted of the “shopping list” and its aims in terms of acquisition of technology in the coming years. When the Farewell Dossier reached Washington, Reagan asked Bill Casey, the CIA Director, to come up with a secret operative use for the material.
The production and transportation of oil and gas was one of the Soviet priorities. A new trans-Siberian gas pipeline was to carry natural gas from the gas fields of Urengoi in Siberia, through Kazakhstan, Russia and Eastern Europe towards the western dollar markets. In order to automate the operation of valves, compressors and storage installations of such an immense enterprise, the Soviets needed sophisticated control systems. They bought some of the first computers on the open market, but when the authorities of the gas pipeline took off for the United States to buy the necessary software, they were turned down. Undaunted, the Soviets searched elsewhere; a KGB operative was sent to penetrate a Canadian software supplier in an attempt to acquire the necessary codes. The United States intelligence, warned by the agent in the Farewell Dossier, answered and manipulated the software before sending it.
Once, in the Soviet Union, computers and software worked in unison and they made the gas pipeline work splendidly. But this tranquility was misleading. Inside the software that was operating the gas pipeline, there was a Trojan horse, a term used to describe software lines hidden in the normal operative system which make that system lose control in the future, or whenever it would receive an order from abroad.
In order to affect the dollar profits coming in from the West and the domestic Russian economy, the software for the gas pipeline which was to operate the pumps, turbines and valves had been programmed to breakdown after a prudent interval and reset –that’s how it was described– the speeds of the pumps and the valve adjustments so that they would work at pressures much higher than those that were suitable for the pipeline’s gaskets and welding seams.
“The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space. At the White House, we received warning from our infrared satellites of some bizarre event out in the middle of Soviet nowhere. NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) feared a missile liftoff from a place where no rockets were known to be based. Or perhaps it was the detonation of a small nuclear device…They (the satellites) had detected no electromagnetic pulse, characteristic of nuclear detonations. Before these conflicting indicators could turn into an international crisis, Gus Weiss came down the hall to tell his fellow NSC staffers not to worry”, affirmed Thomas C. Reed in his book.
The campaign of countermeasures based on Farewell Dossier was an economic war. Even though there were no casualties in terms of lives lost because of the gas pipeline explosion, significant damage was made to the Soviet economy.
As a grand finale, between 1984 and 1985, the United States and its NATO allies put an end to this operation which ended with efficacy the capacity of the USSR to capture technology at a time when Moscow was caught between a defective economy, on one side, and a US President determined to prevail and end the cold war on the other.
In the above cited article by Weiss, it is stated that:
“In 1985, the case took a bizarre turn when information on the Farewell Dossier surfaced in France. Mitterand came to suspect that Vetrov had all along been a CIA plant set up to test him to see if the material would be handed over to the Americans or kept by the French. Acting on this mistaken belief, Mitterand fired the chief of the French service, Yves Bonnet.”
Gus W. Weiss is the one who claimed, as already said, the evil plan to have the defective software taken to the USSR, when the United States had the Farewell Dossier in its possession. He died on November 25, 2003 at the age of 72. The Washington Post did not report his death until December 7, that is, 12 days later. They said that Weiss “had fallen” from his apartment building, the Watergate, in Washington, and that a forensic doctor from the US capital had declared his death a “suicide”. His hometown newspaper, the Nashville Tennessean, published the death notice a week after the Washington Post and advised that at that time all they were able to say was that “the circumstances surrounding his death have not yet been confirmed.”
Before dying, he left some unpublished notes titled “The Farewell Dossier”: the strategic deception and the economic war in the Cold War.
Weiss had graduated from Vanderbilt University. He had postgraduate degrees from Harvard and New York University.
His work for the government concentrated on matters of National Security, intelligence organizations and concerns dealing with the transfer of technology to Communist countries. He worked with the CIA, the Pentagon’s Defense Science Board and with the Signals Intelligence Committee of the Intelligence Board of the United States.
He was decorated with the CIA Medal of Merit and the “Cipher” Medal from the National Security Council. The French gave him the “Légion d’Honneur” in 1975.
He had no surviving relatives.
Weiss had declared himself to be against the war in Iraq a short while before his “suicide”. It is interesting to note that 18 days before Weiss’ death, another Bush government analyst also committed suicide –John J. Kokal (58 years old) on November 7, 2003. This man leapt to his death from an office in the State Department where he worked. Kokal was an intelligence analyst for the Department of State in matters dealing with Iraq.
It is recorded in already published documents that Mikhail Gorbachev became furious when arrests and deportations of Soviet agents began in various countries, since he was unaware that the contents of the Farewell Dossier were in the hands of the main heads of NATO governments. In a meeting of the Politburo on October 22, 1986, called to inform colleagues about the Reykjavik Summit, he alleged that the Americans were “acting very discourteously and behaving like bandits”. Even though he showed a complacent face to the public, privately Gorbachev would refer to Reagan as “a liar”.
During the final days of the Soviet Union, the Secretary General of the Communist Party of the USSR had to work blind. Gorbachev had no idea about what was happening in the laboratories and high technology industries in the United States; he was totally unaware that Soviet laboratories and industries had been compromised and to what point.
The White House pragmatists were also blind about these occurrences.
President Ronald Reagan played his trump card: Star Wars/The Strategic Defense Initiative. He knew that the Soviets could not compete in that league, because they couldn’t suspect that their electronics industry was infected with virus and Trojan horses placed there by the United States intelligence community.
The former British Prime Minister, in her memoirs, published by an important English publisher in 1993 under the title of Margaret Thatcher, The Downing Street Years, states that the whole Reagan plan related to Star Wars and the intent to make the Soviet Union collapse economically was the most brilliant plan of that administration, and it lead definitively to the collapse of socialism in Europe.
In Chapter XVI of her book, she explains the participation of her government in the Strategic Defense Initiative.
To carry that out, in Thatcher’s opinion, was Reagan’s “most important decision”, and it “was to prove central to the West’s victory in the Cold War”. It “imposed more economic tension and greater austerity” on Soviet society, and finally, its “technological and financial implications for the USSR were devastating”.
Under the subtitle of “Reassessing the Soviet Union”, she describes a series of concepts whose essence is contained in the paragraphs taken literally from that long passage, where she records the brutal plot.
“As 1983 drew on, the Soviets must have begun to realize that their game of manipulation and intimidation would soon be up. European governments were not prepared to fall into the trap opened by the Soviet proposal of a ’nuclear-free zone’ for Europe. Preparations for the development of Cruise and Pershing missiles went ahead. In March President Reagan announced American plans for a Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) whose technological and financial implications for the USSR were devastating.”
“…I had no doubt about the rightness of his commitment to press ahead with the program. Looking back, it is now clear to me that Ronald Reagan’s original decision on SDI was the single most important of his presidency”.
“In formulating our approach to SDI, there were four distinct elements which I bore in mind. The first was the science itself. The American aim in SDI was to develop a new and much more effective defense against ballistic missiles.”
“This concept of defense rested on the ability to attack incoming ballistic missiles at all stages of their flight, from the boost phase when the missile and all its warheads and decoys were together –the best moment– right up to the point of re-entry of the earth’s atmosphere on its way to the target.”
“The second element to be considered was the existing international agreements limiting the deployment of weapons in space and ABM systems. The 1972 ABM Treaty, as amended by a 1974 Protocol, allowed the United States and the Soviet Union to deploy one static ABM system with up to one hundred launchers in defense either of either an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) silo field or the national capital.”
“The Foreign Office of the Ministry of Defense always sought to urge the narrowest possible interpretation, which the Americans --rightly in my view-- believed would have meant that SDI was stillborn. I always tried to steer away from this phraseology and made it clear in private and public that research on whether a system was viable could not be said to have been completed until it had been successfully tested. Underneath the jargon, this apparently technical point was really a matter of straight common sense. But it was to become the issue dividing the United States and the USSR at the Reykjavik summit and so assumed great importance.
“The third element in the calculation was the relative strength of the two sides in Ballistic Missile Defense. Only the Soviet Union possessed a working ABM system (known as GALOSH) around Moscow, which they were currently up-grading. The Americans had never had an equivalent system”.
“Also the Soviets were further advanced in anti-satellite weapons. There was, therefore, a strong argument that the Soviets had already acquired an unacceptable advantage in this whole area.
“The fourth element was the implications of SDI for deterrence. I started off with a good deal of sympathy for the thinking behind the ABM Treaty. This was the most sophisticated and effective the defense against nuclear missiles, the greater the pressure to seek hugely expensive advances in nuclear weapons technology. I was always a believer in a slightly qualified version of the doctrine known as MAD- ’mutually assured destruction’. The threat of (what I preferred to call) ‘unacceptable destruction' which would follow from a nuclear exchange was such that nuclear weapons were an effective deterrent against not just nuclear but also conventional war.”
“But I soon began to see that SDI would strengthen not weaken the nuclear deterrent. Unlike President Reagan and some other members of his Administration I never believed that SDI could offer one hundred percent protection, but it would allow sufficient United States missiles to survive a first strike by the Soviets.”
“It was the subject of SDI which dominated my talks with President Reagan and members of his Administration when I went to Camp David on Saturday 22 December 1984 to brief the Americans on my earlier talks with Mr. Gorbachev. This was the first occasion on which I had heard President Reagan speaking about SDI. He did so with passion. He was at his most idealistic. He stressed that SDI would be a defensive system and that it was not his intention to obtain for the United States a unilateral advantage. Indeed, he said that if SDI succeeded he would be ready to internationalize it so that it was at the service of all countries, and that he told Mr. Gromyko as much. He reaffirmed his long-term goal of getting rid of nuclear weapons entirely.
“These remarks made me nervous. I was horrified to think that the United States would be prepared to throw away a hard-won lead in technology by making it internationally available.”
“What I heard, now that we got down to discussion of the likely reality rather than the grand vision, was reassuring. President Reagan did not pretend that they yet knew where the research could finally lead. But he emphasized that --in addition to his earlier arguments in favor of SDI-- keeping up with the United States would impose an economic strain on the Soviet Union. He argued that there had to be a practical limit as to how far the Soviet Union could push their people down the road of austerity.”
“I now jotted down, while talking to National Security Adviser Bud McFarlane, the four points which seemed to me to be crucial.
“My officials then filled in the details. The President and I agreed a text which set out the policy.
“The main section of my statement reads:
“I told the President of my firm conviction that the SDI research programme should go ahead. Research is, of course, permitted under existing US/Soviet treaties; and we, of course, know that the Russians already have their research programme and, in the US view, have already gone beyond research. We agreed on four points: (1) the US, and western, aim was not to achieve superiority, but to maintain balance, taking account of Soviet developments; (2) SDI-related deployment would, in view of treaty obligations, have to be a matter for negotiation; (3) the overall aim is to enhance, not undercut, deterrence; (4) East-West negotiation should aim to achieve security with reduced levels of offensive systems on both sides. This will be the purpose of the resumed US-Soviet negotiations on arms control, which warmly welcome.
“I subsequently learnt that George Schultz thought that I had secured too great a concession on the American’s part in the wording; but in fact it gave them and us a clear and defensible line and helped reassure the European members of NATO. A good day’s work.”
Later on, under the subtitle of “Visit to Washington: February 1985”, Margaret Thatcher states:
“I again visited Washington in February 1985. Arms talks between the Americans and the Soviet Union had now resumed, but SDI remained a source of contention. I was to address a joint meeting of Congress on the morning of Wednesday 20 February and I brought with me from London as a gift a bronze statue of Winston Churchill, who had also many years before been honoured with such an invitation. I worked especially hard on this speech. I would use the Autocue for its delivery. I knew that Congress would have seen the 'Great Communicator’ himself delivering faultless speeches and I would have a discriminating audience. So I resolved to practise speaking the text until I had got every intonation and emphasis right. (Speaking to Autocue, I should add, is a totally different technique to speaking from notes.) In fact, I borrowed President Reagan’s own Autocue and had it brought back to the British Embassy where I was staying. Harvey Thomas, who accompanied me, fixed it up and, ignoring any jetlag, I practised until 4 a.m. I did not go to bed, beginning the new working day with my usual black coffee and vitamin pills, then gave television interviews from 6:45 a.m., had my hair done and was ready at 10:30 to leave from the Capitol. I used my speech, which ranged widely over international issues, to give strong support for SDI. I had a terrific reception.”
“The following month (March 1985) saw the death of Mr. Chernenko and, with remarkably little delay, the succession of Mr. Gorbachev to the Soviet leadership. Once again I attended a Moscow funeral: the weather was, if anything, even colder than at Yuri Andropov’s. Mr. Gorbachev had a large number of foreign dignitaries to see. But I had almost an hour's talk with him that evening in St. Katherine’s Hall in the Kremlin. The atmosphere was more formal than at Chequers (the official country residence of British prime ministers since 1921) and the silent, sardonic presence of Mr. Gromyko did not help. But I was able to explain them the implications of the policy I had agreed with President Reagan the previously December at Camp David. It was clear that SDI was now the main preoccupation of the Soviets in arms control.”
“Mr. Gorbachev brought, as we had expected, a new style to the Soviet Government. He spoke openly of the terrible state of the Soviet economy, though at this stage he was still relying on the methods associated with Mr. Andropov’s drive for greater efficiency rather than radical reform. An example of this was the draconian measures he took against alcoholism. As the year wore on, however, there was no evidence of improvement in conditions in the Soviet Union. Indeed, as our new –and first class– ambassador to Moscow, Brian Cartledge, who had been my foreign affairs private secretary when I first became Prime Minister, pointed out in one of his first dispatches, it was a matter of, 'jam tomorrow and, meanwhile, no vodka today'.”
“A distinct chill entered into Britain’s relations with the Soviet Union as a result of expulsions authorized of Soviet officials who had been spying.”
“In November President Reagan and Mr. Gorbachev had their first meeting in Geneva. Not much of substance came out of it --the Soviets insisted on linking cuts in strategic nuclear weapons to an end to SDI research-- but a good personal rapport quickly developed between the two leaders. But he was not, which I found not at all surprising. For Ronald Reagan had had plenty of practice in his early years as President of the Screen Actors Guild in dealing with hard-headed trade union negotiation, and no one was more hard-headed than Mr. Gorbachev.”
“During 1986 Mr. Gorbachev showed great subtlety in playing on western public opinion by bringing forward tempting, but unacceptable, proposals on arms control. Relatively little was said by the Soviets on the link between SDI and cuts in nuclear weapons. But they were given no reasons to believe that the Americans were prepared to suspend or stop SDI research. Late in the year it was agreed that President Reagan and Mr. Gorbachev- with their Foreign Ministers- should meet in Reykjavik, Iceland, to discuss substantive proposals.”
“It was that you could not ultimately hold back research on SDI any more than you could prevent research into new kinds of offensive weapons. We had to be the first to get it. Science is unstoppable; it will not be stopped for being ignored. “
“In retrospect, the Reykjavik summit on that weekend of 11 and 12 October (1986) can be seen to have a quite different significance than most of the commentators at the time realized. A trap had been prepared for the Americans. Ever greater Soviet concessions were made during the summit: they agreed for the first time that the British and French deterrents should be excluded from the INF negotiations; an that cuts in strategic nuclear weapons should leave each side with equal numbers- rather than a straight percentage cut, which would have led the Soviets well ahead. They also made significant concessions on INF numbers. As the summit drew to an end President Reagan was proposing an agreement by which the whole arsenal of strategic nuclear weapons- bombers, long-range Cruise and ballistic missiles- would be halved within five years and the most powerful of these weapons, strategic ballistic missiles, eliminated altogether within ten. Mr. Gorbachev was even more ambitious: he wanted the elimination of all strategic nuclear weapons by the end of the ten-year period.”
“But then suddenly, at the very end, the trap was sprung. President Reagan had conceded that during the ten-year period both sides would agree not to withdraw from the ABM Treaty, though development and testing compatible with the Treaty would be allowed.”
But Reagan suffered a strange amnesia about the triggering of the brutal military competition that had been forced on the USSR, with its extraordinary economic cost. His famous diary doesn't say one word about the Farewell Dossier. In his daily notes which were published this year, Ronald Reagan speaks of his sojourn in Montebello, Canada:
“Sunday, July 19 (1981)
“The hotel is a marvelous piece of engineering, totally made up of logs.
“Had a one on one with Chancellor Schmidt. He was really down and in a pessimistic mood about the world.
“Following --met with Pres. Miterrand-- explained our ec. program and that high interest rates were not of our doing.
“Dinner that night was just the 8 of us. The 7 heads of State and the Pres. (Thorn) of the European Community. It became a really free wheeling discussion of ec. issues, trade etc. due to a suggestion by P.M. Thatcher.”
The final result of the great conspiracy against the Soviet Union and the crazy expensive arms race that was imposed, when it was mortally wounded in an economic sense is described in the introduction of the book by Thomas C. Reed, written by George H. W. Bush, the first President in the Bush Dynasty, who participated in a very real way in World War II. Literally, he writes:
“The Cold War was a struggle for the very soul of the mankind. It was a struggle for a way of life defined by freedom on one side and repression on the other. Already I think we have forgotten what a long and arduous struggle it was, and how close to nuclear disaster we came a number of times. The fact that it did not happen is a testimony to the honorable men and women, both sides who kept their cool and did what was rightas they saw itin times of crisis.”
“This conflict between the surviving superpowers of World War II began as I came home from that war. In 1948, the year of my graduation from Yale, the Soviets tried to cut off Western access to Berlin. That blockade led to the formation of NATO, was followed by the first Soviet A-bomb test, and turned bloody with the invasion of South Korea. Four decades of nuclear confrontation, proxy wars, and economic privation followed.”
“I was privileged to be President of the United States when it all came to an end. In fall of 1989 the satellite states of Eastern Europe began to break free, and mostly peaceful revolution swept through Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Romania. When the Berlin Wall fell, we knew the end was near.”
“It took another two years to close down the empire of Lenin and Stalin. I received that good news in two telephone calls. The first came on December 8, 1991, when Boris Yeltsin called me from a hunting lodge near Brest, in Belarus. Only recently elected President of the Russian Republic, Yeltsin had been meeting with Leonid Kravchuk, President of Ukraine, and Stanislav Shushchevik, President of Belarus. “Today a very important event took place in our country,” Yeltsin said. “I wanted to inform you myself before you learned about it from the press” Then he told me the news: The President of Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine has decided to dissolve the Soviet Union.
“Two weeks later a second call confirmed that the former Soviet Union would disappear. Mikhail Gorbachev contacted me at Camp David on Christmas Morning of 1991. He wished Barbara and me a Merry Christmas, and then he went on to sum up what had happened in his country: the Soviet Union had ceased to exist. He had just been on national TV to confirm the fact, and he had transferred control of Soviet nuclear weapons to the President of Russia. ‘You can have a very quiet Christmas evening,’ he said. And so it was over.”
It is recorded in an article published in The New York Times that the operation used almost all of the weapons within the CIA's reach --psychological warfare, sabotage, economic warfare, strategic deception, counterintelligence, cybernetic warfare-- all collaborating with the National Security Council, the Pentagon and the FBI. It destroyed the burgeoning Soviet espionage machinery, it damaged the economy and destabilized the State in that country. It was a complete success. If the opposite had happened (the Soviets doing it to the Americans), it would have been viewed as an act of terrorism.
There is another book which deals with this topic; it is called Legacy of Ashes and it has just been published. On the book’s dust cover we can read that: Tim Weiner is a reporter for The New York Times. He has written on American intelligence for twenty years, and won the Pulitzer Prize for his work on the secret national security programs. He has traveled to Afghanistan and other nations to investigate CIA covert operations firsthand. This is his third book.
Legacy of Ashes is based on more than 50 thousand documents basically coming from the very archives of the CIA, and hundreds of interviews with veterans of that agency, including ten directors. He reveals to us a panorama of the CIA from the days of its creation after World War II, going through its battles during the Cold War and the war against terrorism begun on September 11, 2001.
The article by Jeremy Allison, published in Rebelión in June 2006, and the articles by Rosa Miriam Elizalde which were published this year on the September 3 and 10, denounce these events emphasizing the idea of one of the founders of free software who pointed out that: “as technologies grow more complex, it will be more difficult to detect actions of this kind”.
Rosa Miriam published two straightforward opinion articles, each one only 5 pages in length. If she wants to, she could write a book with many pages. I remember her well from that day when, a young journalist, she nervously asked me, in the middle of a press conference 15 years ago no less, whether I thought we could survive the Special Period that had befallen us with the demise of the Socialist bloc.
The USSR collapsed with a crash. Since then we have graduated hundreds of thousands of young people from the higher levels of education. What better ideological weapon do we have than the higher level of conscience! We had it when we were a largely illiterate and semi-illiterate people. If you really want to see wild animals, then let instincts prevail in the human being. We could say a lot on this subject.
In the present day, the world is threatened by a devastating economical crisis. The United States government is using unimaginable economic means to defend a right that violates the sovereignty of all the other countries: to keep on buying raw materials, energy, advanced technology industries, the most productive lands and the most modern buildings on the face of our planet with paper money.