“The transformation of Stalin from the political killer who slaughtered more than 20 million innocent people in the Soviet Union alone into the political god over one-third of the world generated not only forty years of Cold War, but also the greatest political hoax perpetrated in history: international respect for Marxism and admiration for murderous communist leaders.”
Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa
In his book Disinformation, Lt. Gen Ion Mihai Pacepa explains that central to the art of disinformation is the “highly classified specialty” of framing, a KGB term for “changing a person’s past.” Much like the Orwellian line “two legs good, four legs better” framing involves fashioning a lie into the truth through the careful manipulation of popular opinion.
Framing was a technique employed by Stalin to justify the murder of thousands of his fellow party members and millions of innocent civilians as traitors to the communist system. Eastern Europe became a chain of proletarian dictatorships due to the black art of framing. As Pacepa details, “The leading East European figures in industry and agriculture were framed as saboteurs and shot or jailed, so as to provide the local communists with pretexts to nationalize the economy and collectivize agriculture.” By re-writing the culture in their own personal terms of good and bad, right and wrong, the KGB acculturated Eastern Europe into the belief that the Soviet socialist way of life was not only acceptable, but preferred.
Pacepa notes that framing was not limited to the political figures of eastern Europe. One of the KGB’s greatest framing jobs was actually executed by communist leaders in the west. The goal was simple: making communism palatable to the western masses by refashioning it from political threat to pop culture romance. The operation that started with Che Guevara was so successful that we live with its ramifications to this very day. Long after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the black art of framing continues to threaten the west with the creation of contemporary political gods.
In Disinformation Pacepa details:
“Cuba’s Castro brothers, who feared any liberalization, decided it would be simpler just to plaster a romantic revolutionary facade over their communism. They chose Che as their poster boy because he had already been executed in Bolivia – a US ally; after having unsuccessfully tried to ignite a guerrilla war, he could be portrayed as a martyr of American imperialism.
…Operation Che was launched with the book Revolution in the Revolution, a primer for communist guerrilla insurrecction, which praised Che to the skies. The author, French terrorist Regis Debray, was a highly regarded KGB agent. In 1970, the Castro brothers shifted Che’s sanctification into high gear. Albert Korda, a Cuban intelligence officer working undercover as a photographer with the Cuban newspaper Revolucion, produced a romanticized picture of Che. That now-famous Che, with long, curly locks of hair, wearing a revolutionary beret with a star on it and looking straight into the viewer’s eyes, has since inundated the world.”
Rolf Hochhuth, the playwright made famous for The Deputy was enlisted to pen The Guerrillas in honor of Che; the play, which “charged the United States with racial and political murder” would be reported on in, among other publications, Time magazine. Leaving no stone unturned, “the KGB was also instrumental in embellishing a diary Che kept during his student years and in transforming it in a propaganda book, Das Kapital Meets Easy Rider, later renamed The Motorcycle Diaries.” This book would become a critically acclaimed film that would be released to a standing ovation at the Sundance Film Festival in 2004.
The infamous image of Che would become one of the most popular images to be printed on t-shirts, posters, and other pop culture gear. Never one to miss a trend, President Obama’s Houston campaign headquarters proudly displayed a banner of Che in 2008; for Pacepa, it was a not-so-slight nod to who was next to be framed for pop culture consumption. Having assisted in the framing of his own country’s communist leader, President Nicolae Ceausescu, several elements of Obama’s first term would set off alarm bells in the former KGB leader’s head.
Regarding the Obama campaign slogan of “Change”, Pacepa observed similarities between Obama’s campaign and that of many Soviet bloc leaders, including Ceausescu: “…the quintessence of Marxism is change, which is built on the dialectical materialist tenet that quantitative changes generate qualitative transformations. Thus ‘change,‘ through the redistribution of the country’s wealth, became the electoral slogan in all Soviet bloc countries.”
It wasn’t only the “change” of the government under the first Obama administration that caused Pacepa’s concern. As he succinctly details, the real threat is in the response of Obama’s followers – the elite intellectual, political, and celebrity classes Pacepa terms the “nomenklatura” – and their power to frame the situation to their own advantage:
“It didn’t take long before this nomenklatura – this arrogant, new elite class – began to take control of banks, home mortgages, school loans, automakers and most of the healthcare industry. …When tens of thousands of Americans disagreed with this transfer of wealth from private hands into those of the government and stood up for traditional American values, the congressional nomenklatura called them ‘extremists’ and potential ‘terrorists’. That was what Ceausescu’s nomenklatura had also called its critics.”
With a slew of projects and places named after Obama, it would seem that the nomenklatura of America is framing Obama with its own pretext in mind. Just as Che was pulled out of relative obscurity and transformed from roughshod failed rebel to glorious revolutionary martyr, Obama went from that of an unknown, 2-term midwestern Senator to the role of American messiah. And it would appear as if Obama is willingly embracing the role of political savior. Pacepa notes that in his first 231 days as President, Obama gave 263 speeches “all of them essentially focused on himself.” By the end of his first term he had given “1,852 speeches, public remarks and comments” with a predilection for the use of the terms “I”, “me”, and “mine”. With idol worship at play, who would question any policy proffered by the supreme leader?
In his concluding chapters, Pacepa presents a convincing two-fold argument. Not only do we face the prospect of an increasingly socialized government, our culture is undeniably being force-fed the concept of an all-powerful unifying leader by today’s nomenklatura – the elite intellectual, political, and celebrity classes. This framing of political leader as messiah creates the foundation to justify the passage of any number of otherwise questionable laws and rulings. The nomenklatura’s framing of Obama has created a culture in which the Constitution is in need of “pruning” and sets the dangerous precedent that laws are changeable at Presidential whim. In short: It is the framing of the leader that creates a culture willing to live under socialism.
Remarking on the framing of Ceausescu, Pacepa observed that, “Marxism has become a mere vehicle used by the ‘Marxist’ rulers to build glasnost speeches aimed at promoting themselves, demonstrating Marxism’s prodigious adaptability.” This is an adaptability that has allowed tyrants, backed by the culturally powerful nomenklatura of intellectuals, politicians and celebrities, to assume the role of dictatorial heads of state. In other words, Marxism itself – the communism, the socialism – should not be the only cause for concern. Rather, we must also focus on the nomenklatura’s love affair with Marxism that permits the creation of human messiahs, or in Pacepa’s term, “political gods”.