10 of Susan L.M. Goldberg's Greatest Hits
November 11, 2013:
10. The Assassination of Patriotism: Intellectuals, Disinformation and JFK
It should come as no surprise to anyone with even the vaguest sense of mid-20th century American history that Nikita Khrushchev, the leader of the Soviet Union at the time, wanted President John F. Kennedy dead. After learning of the naval blockade Kennedy ordered during the Cuban Missile Crisis, Khrushchev located the highest ranking American businessman in Moscow, Westinghouse Electric President William Knox, and "summoned him to the Kremlin 'for three hours of threats, complaints, and peasant jokes'" - threats Khrushchev hoped would reach the ears of Kennedy himself.
In his new book Disinformation, PJ columnist Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa details Lee Harvey Oswald's Soviet connections and the litany of evidence indicating that he was, in fact, a defector and Soviet agent. Pacepa also addresses Jack Ruby's Cuban connections and the evidence that Castro himself was informed of the plot to assassinate Kennedy. He then unravels the disinformation scheme known as the Dragon Operation created by the KGB to throw the American government off the Soviet trail, a plan that socialist intellectuals, some of whom were paid KGB agents, pounced on. I.F. Stone, his sister Judy Stone, Joachim Joesten, and Mark Lane cultivated Soviet disinformation into the conspiracy theories. Thanks to modern leftist propagandists like Oliver Stone these lies continue to assault the American psyche to this day.
Having been assigned to the Dragon Operation, Pacepa writes:
"Now, in late November 1963, a special KGB courier notified the management of the DIE [the Romanian intelligence counterpart to the KGB] that within the Dragon Operation we should include mention of a jealous President Johnson as the instigator of the CIA plot, which he, allegedly, had personally arranged to take place in Texas on his home turf. By December, as part of the plot, the KGB added the 'sharks' of the 'American military industrial complex', who were allegedly furious at Kennedy for wanting to cut back on the American military presence abroad and therefore on arms spending (and the sharks' profits).
The Dragon Operation has become one of the most successful disinformation operations in contemporary history. According to JFK, a 1991 movie made by Oliver Stone, the assassination of President Kennedy was the result of a conspiracy at the US government's highest level, implicating members of the military-industrial complex, the CIA, the FBI, the Secret Service, the Mafia and Lyndon Johnson. The movie was nominated for eight Academy Awards and it won two. According to a later Gallup poll, between two-thirds and three-quarters of Americans believed there had indeed been a CIA conspiracy to kill John F. Kennedy."
American culture's intellectual connection between John F. Kennedy's assassination and the Soviets came to a screeching halt, both due to the Soviet disinformation campaign and because, as both Pacepa and Rich Lowry observed:
"In a crucial and counter-intuitive interpretive act, the nation's opinion elite made JFK a martyr to civil rights instead of the Cold War. Kennedy had been killed by a communist, Lee Harvey Oswald, who a few years before had tried to defect to the Soviet Union. Liberals nonetheless blamed the assassination on, in the characteristic words of Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, 'the hatred and bitterness that has been injected into the life of our nation by bigots.'"
This "crucial and counter-intuitive interpretive act" is the focus of an entire section of Pacepa's book. He asserts that, fearful of starting a nuclear war, Lyndon Johnson "created 'a very high caliber, top-flight, blue-ribbon group' whose purpose was not to investigate the assassination, but primarily to invoke the collective integrity of its distinguished members and to issue a public report that would dispel all rumors of 'foreign complications' stemming from Oswald's known connections with Soviet intelligence and with communist Cuba. This group came to be called the Warren Commission after its chairman, Chief Justice Earl Warren."
Pacepa provides well documented details of the Commission's haphazard methodology; of Warren's unwillingness to put Oswald's Soviet wife under a lie-detector test despite possessing evidence that she lied to the Secret Service, the FBI, and the Commission itself; of the rush to complete and publish the report before the 1964 Presidential election. While the 26-volume report contains voluminous raw data on the subject, no official conclusions were ever drawn pointing the finger of blame toward the Soviet Union.
The generations born after Kennedy's murder cannot adequately comprehend the significance of the assassination and ensuing disinformation campaign on the American psyche. Within the 7 weeks following the President's death, 800,000 condolence letters were sent to his widow. By 1965, the number of condolence letters from the American public would exceed 1.5 million. Jim Piereson, author of Camelot and the Cultural Revolution argues that President Kennedy's assassination "... represented more than the tragic death of a young president, but the descent of liberalism from an optimistic creed focused on pragmatic improvements in the American condition to a darker philosophy obsessed with America's sins. Echoes of the assassination -- and the meaning attributed to it by JFK's admirers -- can still be heard in the querulous tones of contemporary liberalism."
For Piereson, the argumentative nature and victim mentality associated with contemporary liberal attitudes and policy making is attributable, at least in part, to the fact that "Kennedy was mourned in a spirit of frustrated possibility and dashed hopes." It is that sense of loss that has come to define liberalism today. As Rich Lowry noted in his review of Piereson's book, "American history no longer appeared to be a benign process, but a twisted story of rapine and oppression."
According to Piereson "With such a bill of indictment, the new liberals now held that Americans had no good reason to feel pride in their country's past or optimism about its future."
Stalin declared that to destroy America, the Soviets had to undermine America's patriotism. Khrushchev learned well from his master. Patriotism down; spirituality and morality to go.
See the other installments of Susan's series on Ion Mihai Pacepa and Ronald Rychlak's Disinformation: