Propaganda Redux
August 7, 2007; Page A11

During last week's two-day summit, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown thanked President Bush for leading the global war on terror. Mr. Brown acknowledged "the debt the world owes to the U.S. for its leadership in this fight against international terrorism" and vowed to follow Winston Churchill's lead and make Britain's ties with America even stronger.

Mr. Brown's statements elicited anger from many of Mr. Bush's domestic detractors, who claim the president concocted the war on terror for personal gain. But as someone who escaped from communist Romania -- with two death sentences on his head -- in order to become a citizen of this great country, I have a hard time understanding why some of our top political leaders can dare in a time of war to call our commander in chief a "liar," a "deceiver" and a "fraud."

I spent decades scrutinizing the U.S. from Europe, and I learned that international respect for America is directly proportional to America's own respect for its president.

My father spent most of his life working for General Motors in Romania and had a picture of President Truman in our house in Bucharest. While "America" was a vague place somewhere thousands of miles away, he was her tangible symbol. For us, it was he who had helped save civilization from the Nazi barbarians, and it was he who helped restore our freedom after the war -- if only for a brief while. We learned that America loved Truman, and we loved America. It was as simple as that.

Later, when I headed Romania's intelligence station in West Germany, everyone there admired America too. People would often tell me that the "Amis" meant the difference between night and day in their lives. By "night" they meant East Germany, where their former compatriots were scraping along under economic privation and Stasi brutality. That was then.

But in September 2002, a German cabinet minister, Herta Dauebler-Gmelin, had the nerve to compare Mr. Bush to Hitler. In one post-Iraq-war poll 40% of Canada's teenagers called the U.S. "evil," and even before the fall of Saddam 57% of Greeks answered "neither" when asked which country was more democratic, the U.S. or Iraq.

Sowing the seeds of anti-Americanism by discrediting the American president was one of the main tasks of the Soviet-bloc intelligence community during the years I worked at its top levels. This same strategy is at work today, but it is regarded as bad manners to point out the Soviet parallels. For communists, only the leader counted, no matter the country, friend or foe. At home, they deified their own ruler -- as to a certain extent still holds true in Russia. Abroad, they asserted that a fish starts smelling from the head, and they did everything in their power to make the head of the Free World stink.

The communist effort to generate hatred for the American president began soon after President Truman set up NATO and propelled the three Western occupation forces to unite their zones to form a new West German nation. We were tasked to take advantage of the reawakened patriotic feelings stirring in the European countries that had been subjugated by the Nazis, in order to shift their hatred for Hitler over into hatred for Truman -- the leader of the new "occupation power." Western Europe was still grateful to the U.S. for having restored its freedom, but it had strong leftist movements that we secretly financed. They were like putty in our hands.

The European leftists, like any totalitarians, needed a tangible enemy, and we gave them one. In no time they began beating their drums decrying President Truman as the "butcher of Hiroshima." We went on to spend many years and many billions of dollars disparaging subsequent presidents: Eisenhower as a war-mongering "shark" run by the military-industrial complex, Johnson as a mafia boss who had bumped off his predecessor, Nixon as a petty tyrant, Ford as a dimwitted football player and Jimmy Carter as a bumbling peanut farmer. In 1978, when I left Romania for good, the bloc intelligence community had already collected 700 million signatures on a "Yankees-Go-Home" petition, at the same time launching the slogan "Europe for the Europeans."

During the Vietnam War we spread vitriolic stories around the world, pretending that America's presidents sent Genghis Khan-style barbarian soldiers to Vietnam who raped at random, taped electrical wires to human genitals, cut off limbs, blew up bodies and razed entire villages. Those weren't facts. They were our tales, but some seven million Americans ended up being convinced their own president, not communism, was the enemy. As Yuri Andropov, who conceived this dezinformatsiya war against the U.S., used to tell me, people are more willing to believe smut than holiness.

The final goal of our anti-American offensive was to discourage the U.S. from protecting the world against communist terrorism and expansion. Sadly, we succeeded. After U.S. forces precipitously pulled out of Vietnam, the victorious communists massacred some two million people in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Another million tried to escape, but many died in the attempt. This tragedy also created a credibility gap between America and the rest of the world, damaged the cohesion of American foreign policy, and poisoned domestic debate in the U.S.

Unfortunately, partisans today have taken a page from the old Soviet playbook. At the 2004 Democratic National Convention, for example, Bush critics continued our mud-slinging at America's commander in chief. One speaker, Martin O'Malley, now governor of Maryland, had earlier in the summer stated he was more worried about the actions of the Bush administration than about al Qaeda. On another occasion, retired four-star general Wesley Clark gave Michael Moore a platform to denounce the American commander in chief as a "deserter." And visitors to the national chairman of the Democratic Party had to step across a doormat depicting the American president surrounded by the words, "Give Bush the Boot."

Competition is indeed the engine that has driven the American dream forward, but unity in time of war has made America the leader of the world. During World War II, 405,399 Americans died to defeat Nazism, but their country of immigrants remained sturdily united. The U.S. held national elections during the war, but those running for office entertained no thought of damaging America's international prestige in their quest for personal victory. Republican challenger Thomas Dewey declined to criticize President Roosevelt's war policy. At the end of that war, a united America rebuilt its vanquished enemies. It took seven years to turn Nazi Germany and imperial Japan into democracies, but that effort generated an unprecedented technological explosion and 50 years of unmatched prosperity for us all.

Now we are again at war. It is not the president's war. It is America's war, authorized by 296 House members and 76 senators. I do not intend to join the armchair experts on the Iraq war. I do not know how we should handle this war, and they don't know either. But I do know that if America's political leaders, Democrat and Republican, join together as they did during World War II, America will win. Otherwise, terrorism will win. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi predicted just before being killed: "We fight today in Iraq, tomorrow in the land of the Holy Places, and after there in the West."

On July 28, I celebrated 29 years since President Carter signed off on my request for political asylum, and I am still tremendously proud that the leader of the Free World granted me my freedom. During these years I have lived here under five presidents -- some better than others -- but I have always felt that I was living in paradise. My American citizenship has given me a feeling of pride, hope and security that is surpassed only by the joy of simply being alive. There are millions of other immigrants who are equally proud that they restarted their lives from scratch in order to be in this magnanimous country. I appeal to them to help keep our beloved America united and honorable. We may not be able to change the habits of our current political representatives, but we may be able to introduce healthy new blood into the U.S. Congress.

For once, the communists got it right. It is America's leader that counts. Let's return to the traditions of presidents who accepted nothing short of unconditional surrender from our deadly enemies. Let's vote next year for people who believe in America's future, not for the ones who live in the Cold War past.

Lt. Gen. Pacepa is the highest-ranking intelligence official ever to have defected from the Soviet bloc. His new book, "Programmed to Kill: Lee Harvey Oswald, the Soviet KGB, and the Kennedy Assassination" (Ivan R. Dee) will be published in November.

Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking intelligence official ever  
to have defected from the Soviet bloc country of Romania.  The CIA  
described his cooperation as "an important and unique contribution  
to the United States."

Who Is Raúl Castro?
A tyrant only a brother could love.
National Review August 10, 2006
By Ion Mihai Pacepa

Fidel Castro may be on his deathbed. Or he's already gone.  
Unfortunately, in the Communist countries of Latin heritage, the tyrants came in  
pairs - buy one, get one free. Communist Romania got Nicolae and Elena  
Ceausescu. Cuba got Fidel and Raúl Castro. On Christmas Day 1989 the Romanians rid
themselves of both Ceausescus, and twelve years later Romania joined NATO.
Cuba will soon be left with one Castro, who is heir to the throne.

So who is Raúl Castro? While Western experts speculate that he may plan on
shifting Cuba toward collective leadership and democracy, that's nothing but
wishful thinking. To be sure, I wish they were right, but Raúl has transformed a paradise on earth into a shambles, and there is good reason to believe that he will turn Cuba into an even worse tyranny.

I met Raúl many times, both in Cuba and in Romania. He had coordinating responsibility for the Cuban intelligence service (the Dirección General de Inteligencia, or DGI), and in the early 1970s he entered into a  drug venture with my former service (the Departamentul de Informatii Externe ,or DIE). Whenever he was not in Havana or Moscow, he was in Bucharest. We worked, talked, fished, and snorkeled together. We challenged each other at the firing range; he was an excellent shot. Together we raced our identical Alfa Romeo cars. I saw nothing in him suggesting he might ever want to democratize Cuba.

Raúl was always under the influence -of alcohol and self-importance. My Cuban intelligence counterpart in those days, Sergio del Valle, who was Raúl's closest associate going back to their early days in the Sierra Maestra, used to call his boss "Raúl the Terrible" in a semi-serious allusion to the first Russian to crown himself tsar. Raúl was Cuba's uncrowned tsar - his official title was "Maximum General." Fidel gave the speeches, hour after hour. Raúl ran Cuba's economy, her foreign policy, her foreign trade, her justice system, her jails, her tourism - even her hotels and her beaches.

Raúl is generally perceived as a colorless minister of defense, but he has also been the brutal head of one of Communism's most criminal institutions: the Cuban political police. I met him in that capacity. He was cruel and ruthless. Fidel may have conceived the terror that has kept Cuba in the Communist fold, but Raúl has been the butcher. He has been  
instrumental in the killing and terrorizing of thousands of Cubans, and there is no question
in my mind but that he would fight tooth and nail to preserve his powers. Otherwise, sooner or later Raúl would have to account for his crimes, and I do not know him to be suicidal.
Before meeting Raúl in the flesh, I had gotten a general picture of him from Nikita Khrushchev and General Aleksandr Sakharovsky, the creator of Communist Romania's intelligence structure, and by this time head of the Soviet foreign intelligence service, the PGU (Pervoye Glavnoye Upravleniye). That was in 1959. Both Soviets had arrived in Bucharest on October  
26 for what was billed as a "six-day vacation in Romania." Never before had Khrushchev taken such a long vacation abroad, but neither was his visit to Romania a vacation. He was there to discuss the on-going Cuban revolution with the current Romanian leader, Gheorghe Gheorghiu-Dej, until then the only Communist tyrant ruling a country of Latin heritage.

Khrushchev dreamed of going down in history as the Soviet leader who had installed Communism on the American continent, and he was prepared to go to any lengths to see that dream come true. But Khrushchev did not trust Fidel, believing he was a stranger to Marxism. The leaders of Cuba's Communist party were convinced that Fidel was a dangerous adventurer, and the Soviet party bureaucracy was also reluctant to endorse him.

Khrushchev did trust Raúl, though. According to Sakharovsky, who had secretly brought Raúl to Moscow in the mid-1950s, it had been love at first sight. Both Nikita and Raúl loved vodka. Both were fascinated with Marxism. Both hated school, religion, and discipline. Both considered themselves military experts. Both were obsessed with espionage and  
counterespionage. And both liked to sleep with their boots on. Sakharovsky considered  
the "warm relationship" between the two men to have convinced Khrushchev to throw himself entirely into the Cuban revolution.

At Khrushchev's order, Sakharovsky had given Raúl an intelligence adviser: Nikolay Leonov, the PGU's best expert on Latin America. Leonov (today a retired KGB lieutenant general and member of the Duma) provided Raúl with intelligence on the military forces of the then Cuban dictator, Batista, and helped Raúl plan his guerrilla war. In June 1957, Leonov gave him  
documents and photographs showing that Washington was providing weapons and  
logistical support to Batista, and he suggested that Raúl take a few dozen Americans
hostage to force Eisenhower to withdraw from the conflict. Raúl did so. On June 26, 1958, his guerrilleros kidnapped fifty American and Canadian military and civilian personnel working in Cuba. Fearing for the lives of the hostages, Batista declared a cease-fire. That enabled the  
Soviets to bring new weapons into Cuba.

The course of the Cuban revolution was changed forever. The era of political kidnappings was also introduced.

On the night of December 31, 1958, Batista fled Cuba, and the Castro brothers took over the country. During the following month, Raúl organized the execution of hundreds of police and military officials of the Batista regime. The prisoners were shot and the corpses buried in mass graves outside of Santiago de Cuba.

A year later, Soviet deputy premier Anastas Mikoyan landed in Havana. He was welcomed by Fidel, Raúl, and the country's new KGB adviser, Aleksandr Shitov. The latter's task was to help Raúl create a Cuban KGB and a Soviet-style army. In 1962 Khrushchev took the unprecedented step of appointing Shitov as ambassador to Cuba. Soon, Moscow started secretly building rocket bases in Cuba. Khrushchev, Raúl, and Shitov - not Fidel - pushed the world to the brink of nuclear war.
In April 1971 I visited Cuba as a member of a Romanian government delegation attending a ten-year celebration of Castro's victory at the Bay of Pigs. A couple of days after the ceremony, Raúl invited me to go ocean fishing on his boat, together with Sergio del Valle. The other guest was a Soviet civilian who introduced himself as Aleksandr Alekseyev. "That's Shitov," del Valle whispered into my ear. "He's now Allende's advisor." (The Marxist
Salvador Allende had been elected president of Chile the previous November.) There, on that boat, it hit me more clearly than ever before that it was Raúl, not Fidel, who was holding the reins of the Cuban revolutionary wagon.

In 1972 I prepared an official Ceausescu visit to Havana, and I was also at his right hand during it. Fidel was the figurehead, Raúl the factotum. The Cuban first lady was not Fidel's wife, but Raúl's. Elena Ceausescu wrinkled up her nose at that, but eventually the two first ladies hit it off splendidly. Both Elena and Vilma Espín Guilloys were school dropouts, both
pretended to be chemists, both had acquired phony doctoral degrees, both had joined the Communist party before it had come to power in their countries, both became members of the Council of State, and both were presidents of their countries' Federation of Women organizations.

During that visit, the Castro brothers and Ceausescu laid the foundation for a bilateral drug venture. They wanted to flood the world with drugs. "Drugs could do a lot more damage to imperialism than nuclear weapons could," Fidel pontificated. "Drugs will erode capitalism from the inside," Raúl agreed. I never heard the word "money" pronounced, but I was already administering the money Romania was making from its own drug trafficking. All of it  
was going into Ceausescu's personal bank account. By 1978, when I left Romania for good, that account, called AT-78, held a balance of some $400 million - in spite of the substantial dents Elena made in it when she bought furs and jewelry for herself.

In 2005, Fidel was furious when Forbes Magazine estimated his fortune at $500 million. This year, the magazine upped his worth to $900 million. Particularly in view of Cuba's penury, this amount is surely more than enough for Raúl to bribe his political cronies and buy any new allies he needs.

In 1973 I spent a "working vacation" in Havana. Raúl gave me a tour of a huge factory manufacturing double-walled suitcases and other concealment devices for secretly transporting arms and explosives for terrorist purposes. By then Raúl's DGI was working around the clock to expand Cuba's political influence in South America and the Third World. In particular, they were striving to consolidate the Sandinistas' power in Nicaragua, to
foment a bloody war in El Salvador, and to help the Soviet/Cuban-backed MPLA
(Movement for the Liberation of Angola) to rise to power in Angola. Raúl's DGI and his military also had advisers and instructors in Palestine Liberation Organization bases and had established close cooperation with Libya, South Yemen, and the Polisario Front for the Liberation of Western Sahara. In the mid-1970s my DIE was working jointly with Raúl's DGI to support the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist, anti-American insurgency organization whose task was to spread Communism to South America.

In December 1974 Raúl came to Bucharest to request intelligence and political support for his new National Liberation Directorate (DNL), a party/intelligence group tasked to coordinate Cuba's guerrilla and terrorist training camps and to prop up national liberation movements and
anti-American governments such as those of Nicaragua and Grenada. He got both.

Of course I no longer have inside access to information about Raúl's export of terrorism and revolution, but I note that in 2001 his FARC took credit for 197 killings in Colombia. On April 11, 2002, the same FARC kidnapped 13 Colombian lawmakers from a government building in Cali and held Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt hostage. On February 13,  
2003, FARC shot down a CIA plane carrying out electronic intelligence-gathering in southern Colombia, taking three CIA officers hostage. Now Raúl's FARC is seeking to overthrow the pro-American government of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, whose father was assassinated by FARC in 1983. I also note that the Communist president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, who idolizes the Castro brothers, has threatened to stop exporting oil to the U.S. and intends to start a conventional war against neighboring Colombia, the main U.S. ally in the region.

Neither within Cuba nor in the outside world does anyone have a clear picture of Fidel's health - physical or political. Yet perhaps there is something else going on there that Raúl may have learned from his KGB masters. Leonid Brezhnev died on November 10, 1982, but the KGB chairman, Yury Andropov, managed for a few days to keep his death secret from  
the public, to gain time for maneuvering himself into the driver's seat. Once settled into the Kremlin, the cynical Andropov hastened to portray himself to the West as a "moderate" Communist and a sensitive, warm, Western-oriented man who allegedly enjoyed an occasional drink of scotch, liked to read English novels, and loved listening to American jazz and the music of Beethoven. Andropov was none of the above.

Raúl may try to also portray himself as a peace-loving angel. But Andropov's age of secrecy is gone. I pray that others who know Raúl as well as I knew Ceausescu will come forward and disrobe the Cuban tyrant, allowing the world to see him naked, the way he truly is: an assassin and international terrorist who made a fortune from the illegal sale of arms, drugs,  
and human beings.

Lieutenant General Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking official ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc. On Christmas Day of 1989, Ceausescu and his wife were sentenced to death at the end of a trial where most of the accusations had come almost word-for-word out of Pacepa's book Red Horizons.