At FrontPage, Jamie Glazov interviews Ion Pacepa, former head of Romania’s spy organization. Pacepa reveals some interesting information about how the Communists funded terror in the Middle East:
Pacepa: Contemporary political memory seems to be conveniently afflicted with some kind of Alzheimer’s disease. Not long ago, every Western leader, starting with President Clinton, fumed against Saddam’s WMD. Now almost no one remembers that after General Hussein Kamel, Saddam’s son-in-law, defected to Jordan in 1995, he helped us find “more than one hundred metal trunks and boxes” containing documentation “dealing with all categories of weapons, including nuclear.” He also aided UNSCOM to fish out of the Tigris River high-grade missile components prohibited to Iraq. That was exactly what my old Soviet-made “SÃ£rindar” plan stated he should do in case of emergency: destroy the weapons, hide the equipment, and preserve the documentation. No wonder Saddam hastened to lure Kamel back to Iraq, where three days later he was killed together with over 40 of his relatives in what the Baghdad official press described as a “spontaneous administration of tribal justice.” Once that was done, Saddam slammed the door shut to any UNSCOM inspection.
FP: So was any SÃ£rindar plan activated?
Pacepa: Certainly. The minimal version of the SÃ£rindar plan I made for Libya’s Gaddafi. Soon after I was granted political asylum in the US, Gaddafi staged a fire at the secret chemical weapons facility I knew about (the cellar underneath the Rabta chemical complex). To be sure the CIA satellites would notice that fire and cross that target off its list, he created a huge cloud of black smoke by burning truckloads of tires and painting scorch marks on the facility. That was written in the SÃ£rindar plan. To be on the safe side, Gaddafi also built a second production facility, this time placed some 100 feet underground in the hollowed-out Tarhunah Mountain, south of Tripoli. That was not in the SÃ£rindar plan.
FP: It is undeniable, therefore, that Saddam had WMDs, right?
Pacepa: In the early 1970s, the Kremlin established a “socialist division of labor” for persuading the governments of Iraq and Libya to join the terrorist war against the US. KGB chairman Yury Andropov (who would later become the leader of the Soviet Union), told me that either of those two countries could inflict more damage on the Americans than could the Red Brigades, the Baader-Meinhof group and all other terrorist organizations taken together. The governments of those Arab countries, Andropov explained, not only had inexhaustible financial resources (read: oil), but they also had huge intelligence services that were being run by “our razvedka advisers” and could extend their tentacles to every corner of the earth. There was one major danger, though: by raising terrorism to the state level we risked American reprisal. Washington would never dispatch its airplanes and rockets to exterminate the Baader-Meinhof, but it might well deploy them to destroy a terrorist state. We therefore were also tasked to provide those countries secretly with weapons of mass destruction, because Andropov concluded that the Yankees would never attack a country that could retaliate with such deadly weapons.
Libya was Romania’s main client in that socialist division of labor, because of Ceausescu’s close association with Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. Moscow kept Iraq. Andropov told me that, if our Iraq and Libyan experiment proved successful, the same strategy would be extended to Syria. Recently, Libya’s Gaddafi admitted to having WMD, and the CIA inspectors found them. Why should we believe that the almighty Soviet Union, which had proliferated WMD all over the world, was not able to do the same thing in Iraq? Every piece of armament Iraq had came from the former Soviet Union–from the Katyusha launchers to the T72 tanks, BMP-1 fighting vehicles and MiG fighter planes. In the spring of 2002, just a couple of weeks after Russia took its place at the NATO table, President Putin and his ex-KGB officers who are now running Russia concluded another $40 billion trade deal with Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical regime in Iraq. That was not for grain or beans–Russia has to import them from elsewhere.
FP: Tell us about the PLO and its connection to the Soviet regime.
Pacepa: The PLO was dreamt up by the KGB, which had a penchant for “liberation” organizations. There was the National Liberation Army of Bolivia, created by the KGB in 1964 with help from Ernesto “Che” Guevara. Then there was the National Liberation Army of Colombia, created by the KGB in 1965 with help from Fidel Castro, which was soon deeply involved in kidnappings, hijackings, bombings and guerrilla warfare. In later years the KGB also created the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which carried out numerous bombing attacks on the “Palestinian territories” occupied by Israel, and the “Secret Army for Liberation of Armenia,” created by the KGB in 1975, which organized numerous bombing attacks against US airline offices in Western Europe.
In 1964 the first PLO Council, consisting of 422 Palestinian representatives handpicked by the KGB, approved the Palestinian National Charter–a document that had been drafted in Moscow. The Palestinian National Covenant and the Palestinian Constitution were also born in Moscow, with the help of Ahmed Shuqairy, a KGB influence agent who became the first PLO chairman. (During the Six-Day War he escaped from Jerusalem disguised as a woman, thereafter becoming such a symbol within the bloc intelligence community that one of its later influence operations–aimed at making the West consider Arafat a moderate–was given the codename “Shuqairy.”) This new PLO was headed by a Soviet-style Executive Committee made up of 15 members who, like their comrades in Moscow, also headed departments. As in Moscow–and Bucharest–the chairman of the Executive Committee became the general commander of the armed forces as well. The new PLO also had a General Assembly, which was the Soviet-inspired name given to all East European parliaments after World War II.
Based on another “socialist division of labor,” the Romanian espionage service (DIE) was responsible for providing the PLO with logistical support. Except for the arms, which were supplied by the KGB and the East German Stasi, everything else came from Bucharest. Even the PLO uniforms and the PLO stationery were manufactured in Romania free of charge, as a “comradely help.” During those years, two Romanian cargo planes filled with goodies for the PLO landed in Beirut every week, and were unloaded by Arafat’s men.
FP: You have discussed your personal knowledge of how Arafat was created and cultivated by the KGB and how the Soviets actually designed him to be the future leader of the PLO. Illuminate this picture for us please.
Pacepa: “Tovarishch Mohammed Abd al-Rahman Abd al-Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini, nom de guerre Abu Ammar,” was built into a Palestinian leader by the KGB in the aftermath of the 1967 Six-Day Arab-Israeli War. In that war Israel humiliated two of the Soviet Union’s most important allies in the Arab world of that time, Egypt and Syria, and the Kremlin thought that Arafat could help repair the Soviet prestige. Arafat had begun his political career as leader of the Palestinian terrorist organization al-Fatah, whose fedayeen were being secretly trained in the Soviet Union. In 1969, the KGB managed to catapult him up as chairman of the PLO executive committee. Egyptian ruler Gamal Abdel Nasser, who was also a Soviet puppet, publicly proposed the appointment.
Soon after that, the KGB tasked Arafat to declare war on American “imperial-Zionism” during the first summit of the Black International, an organization that was also financed by the KGB. Arafat claimed to have coined the word “imperial-Zionism,” but in fact Moscow had invented this battle cry many years earlier, combining the traditionally Russian anti-Semitism with the new Marxist anti-Americanism.
FP: Why has the American and Israeli leadership been deceived so long about Arafat’s criminal and terrorist activities?
Pacepa: Because Arafat is a master of deceit–and I unfortunately contributed to that. In March 1978, for instance, I secretly brought Arafat to Bucharest to involve him in a long-planned Soviet/Romanian disinformation plot. Its goal was to get the United States to establish diplomatic relations with him, by having him pretend to transform the terrorist PLO into a government-in-exile that was willing to renounce terrorism. Soviet president Leonid Brezhnev believed that newly elected US president Jimmy Carter would swallow the bait. Therefore, he told the Romanian dictator that conditions were ripe for introducing Arafat into the White House. Moscow gave Ceausescu the job because by 1978 my boss had become Washington’s most favored tyrant. “The only thing people in the West care about is our leaders,” the KGB chairman said, when he enrolled me in the effort of making Arafat popular in Washington. “The more they come to love them, the better they will like us.”
“But we are a revolution,” Arafat exploded, after Ceausescu explained what the Kremlin wanted from him. “We were born as a revolution, and we should remain an unfettered revolution.” Arafat expostulated that the Palestinians lacked the tradition, unity, and discipline to become a formal state. That statehood was only something for a future generation. That all governments, even Communist ones, were limited by laws and international agreements, and he was not willing to put any laws or other obstacles in the way of the Palestinian struggle to eradicate the state of Israel.
My former boss was able to persuade Arafat into tricking President Carter only by resorting to dialectical materialism, for both were fanatical Stalinists who knew their Marxism by heart. Ceausescu sympathetically agreed that “a war of terror is your only realistic weapon,” but he also told his guest that, if he would transform the PLO into a government-in-exile and would pretend to break with terrorism, the West would shower him with money and glory. “But you have to keep on pretending, over and over,” my boss emphasized.
Ceausescu pointed out that political influence, like dialectical materialism, was built upon the same basic tenet that quantitative accumulation generates qualitative transformation. Both work like cocaine, let’s say. If you sniff it once or twice, it may not change your life. If you use it day after day, though, it will make you into an addict, a different man. That’s the qualitative transformation. And in the shadow of your government-in-exile you can keep as many terrorist groups as you want, as long as they are not publicly connected with your name.
In April 1978 I accompanied Ceausescu to Washington, where he convinced President Jimmy Carter that he could persuade Arafat to transform his PLO into a law-abiding government-in-exile, if the United States would establish official relations with him. Thereupon, President Carter publicly hailed Ceausescu as a “great national and international leader” who had “taken on a role of leadership in the entire international community.”
Three months later I was granted political asylum by the United States, and Romania’s tyrant lost his dream of getting the Nobel Peace Prize. A quarter of a century later, however, Arafat remains in place as the PLO chairman and seems to still be on track with the Kremlin’s game of deception. In 1994, Arafat was granted the Nobel Peace Prize because he agreed to transform his terrorist organization into a kind of government-in-exile (the Palestinian Authority) and pretended, over and over, that he would abolish the articles in the 1964 PLO Covenant that call for the destruction of the state of Israel and would eradicate Palestinian terrorism. At the end of the 1998-99 Palestinian school year, however, all one hundred and fifty new schoolbooks used by Arafat’s Palestinian Authority described Israel as the “Zionist enemy” and equated Zionism with Nazism. Two years after the Oslo Accords were signed, the number of Israelis killed by Palestinian terrorists rose by 73% compared to the two year period preceding the agreement.