Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Counterjihad and Counterintelligence

I just finished reading Chekisty: A History of the KGB by John J. Dziak. The book was written in 1988, not long before the fall of the Soviet Empire, so it did not have the benefit of the KGB archives which were briefly opened up to researchers a few years later.

KGB badgeEven so, it is a comprehensive and well-researched look into the heart of the Bolshevik imperium. The author carefully sifted the various accounts by refugees and defectors, and combined them with publicly-available intelligence findings to track the development of Soviet state security.

The formidable repressive apparatus had its inception with the Cheka in 1917, mutated successively into the OGPU, the MGB, the NKVD, and all the other shifting acronyms in the alphabet soup of the Soviet bureaucracy, to reach its final form in the late 1950s as the fully mature intelligence and counterintelligence entity known as the KGB.

Dr. Dziak’s thesis is that the Soviet Union was the most sophisticated and completely realized form of what he calls the “counterintelligence state”:

I propose that the twentieth century offers some unique examples of intelligence and security systems that themselves seem to be the impelling drive of the political system they appear to serve. Put another way, certain political systems display an overarching concern with “enemies,” both internal and external. Security and the extirpation of real or presumed threats become the premier enterprises of such systems — and are among the few state enterprises that work with a modicum of efficiency and success. The fixation with enemies and threats to the security of the state involves a very heavy internal commitment of state resources. Further, this fixation demands the creation of a state security service that penetrates and permeates all societal institutions (including the military), but not necessarily the claimant to monopoly power, usually a self-proclaimed “revolutionary” party. This security service is the principal guardian of the party; the two together constitute a permanent counterintelligence enterprise to which all other major political, social, and economic questions are subordinated. Indeed, the commonweal is not the principal objective of such an amalgam of ensconced power and security screen; self-perpetuation is. I would label such a system the counterintelligence state. In such a system foreign activities are an external variant of this security imperative. Hence, foreign intelligence in some respects takes on the dimensions of external counterintelligence. The security service and foreign intelligence tend to be the same organ of the state.

Clearly, the Soviet Union throughout its history, and various of the surrogates and satellites it has spawned, fit this label. Western security and foreign intelligence services are poor models for analyzing these counterintelligence states. [emphasis added]

To create the counterintelligence state, the Bolsheviks drew on the methods of the Tsarist secret police — with which they were intimately familiar, since many of them had been agents or double agents for the Okhrana — and expanded them by at least two orders of magnitude in building the Cheka, the OGPU, and the NKVD. By the time the security services were fully staffed in the 1930s, they comprised hundreds of thousands of agents, officers, troops, and bureaucrats. They were a state within a state, and their mission was to secure the Bolshevik coup by exercising total control within the Soviet empire, all the while sowing confusion, conflict, destabilization, and revolution abroad.

Felix DzerzhinskyThe Cheka was organized in December 1917 under the leadership of Felix Dzerzhinsky, Lenin’s trusted lieutenant. Dzerzhinsky shared Lenin’s single-mindedness and had the same casual, almost thoughtless attitude towards political violence and mass murder.

The Cheka appropriated every tactic utilized by the Okhrana and added many new ones of their own. In their brutality and ruthless efficiency they far exceeded the Tsar’s secret police, and they became an implacable engine that crushed dissent and rooted out any alternatives to the Party within the Soviet Union.

While it was consolidating Bolshevik rule internally, the counterintelligence state extended its activities to countries outside the Soviet Union. Initially focused on the Whites and the Russian émigrés, the scope of the Cheka rapidly extended to the rest of the West, using the Comintern as a front for espionage and direct action. A normal country would have been focused on its own interests, but the ideology of the Soviet Union required it to foment world revolution as well as protect the revolution at home. To that end Soviet state security infiltrated, suborned, bribed, blackmailed, and assassinated its enemies all over the world.

By the time they became the KGB, Moscow’s spymasters were the best in the world, shrewdly manipulating and interfering in the internal affairs of other countries to serve the ends of Socialism. Their expert deceptions repeatedly pulled the wool over the eyes of the Nazis and Western intelligence to great effect, especially during World War Two and the Cold War.

Katyn Forest massacre 1940They were brutally effective behind enemy lines among the partisan movements, acting pre-emptively against potential opponents to Communism in operations such as the infamous massacre of 15,000 Polish army officers in the Katyn Forest in 1940. Wherever the Soviets went, the NKVD/KGB went with them, sabotaging and sowing confusion among the enemy and enforcing internal discipline at the point of a gun behind Soviet lines.

From our point of view, it was fortunate that the internal logic of the Communist system was doomed to destroy the economy of any country in which it took root. Otherwise, we might never have won.

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The Soviet Union now resides in the dustbin of history, but the ideologies and methodologies it devised are with us still. The counterintelligence state left behind a legacy of subversive foreign counterintelligence that continued to operate even after the Socialist Fatherland collapsed.

Dr. Dziak lists ten principal classes of counterintelligence that were conducted abroad by the Soviet security services:

1. provocation (provokatsiya)
2. penetration (proniknoveniye)
3. fabrication (fabrikatsiya)
4. diversion (diversiya)
5. agent of influence (agent vliyaniya or agent po vliyaniyu)
6. clandestine work (konspiratsiya)
7. disinformation (dezinformatsiya)
8. wet affairs (mokrye dela)
9. direct action (aktivnyye akty)
10. combination (kombinatsiya)

As I read through this list, I was caught up in a feeling of déjà vu: except for “wet affairs” and “direct action”, these techniques sounded remarkably similar to what was practiced against Counterjihad Brussels by the agitators who infiltrated the comments at LGF two years ago.
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It was a classic KGB-style operation. Undercover agents from Sweden and Belgium dropped into the threads for a while, laid their depth charges, and then disappeared when the damage was done and their mission was accomplished. They knew precisely the best way — the use of “Nazi” and “racist” accusations — to divide and demoralize the anti-jihad forces.

A commenter like Dave from Sweden became in effect an agent of influence parachuted behind enemy lines. He and the others penetrated the lizardoids, fabricated evidence against Vlaams Belang and Sverigedemokraterna, engaged in provocation through their accusations, and used outright disinformation to do so. The entire operation was clandestine work — no way of knowing where any of these lizardoids came from and who they really were — that caused a diversion from the mission of the Counterjihad by igniting internecine warfare among allies who should have been in fundamental agreement with one another.

Pulling all of these off together was a “combination” counterintelligence operation, which means that the perpetrators used eight out of the ten classic techniques from the KGB playbook.

The resulting furor disrupted and fragmented the Counterjihad in the USA and temporarily damaged transatlantic relations within the movement. Not bad for a few days worth of commenting and planting easy-to-fabricate “evidence”.

The LGF penetration operation did not require the complicity of Charles Johnson, merely his credulity. The agents were very shrewd in their choice of target — most of the other major bloggers would never have retailed all their fabrications and disinformation without checking them carefully first. But the infiltrators knew their man — he was already hyper-alert for “neo-Nazis”, especially in Europe, and could be relied upon to take the bait without examining it very closely.

AFA PrideThe big question remains: how co-ordinated were the actions of the operatives who carried out their mission at LGF? It’s not as if every plan is still hatched and controlled by Moscow. We know that the leftist groups in Europe are in general communication with one another, and mount simultaneous “anti-fascist” responses whenever right wing or anti-immigration groups hold public events. We also know that these bully-boys enjoy the tacit support of various European governments, especially those that are run by the Social Democrats.

But how much central control is there over EXPO, Yelloman, Blokwatch, UAF, and all the various Antifas and related groups? If they are not being run by controllers in Dzerzhinsky Square, then who is running them?

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The same is true of all the Leftists in the United States. The influence of the KGB’s affiliates and front groups did not disappear when the Soviet Union fell; the former appendages simply became autonomous. The old Marxist ideology did not die, but metamorphosed into the new Green/Left alliance that has lately made common cause with Islam against the “imperialism” of Western Civilization.

AntifascistiskIt’s important to remember that many of the party hacks and corrupt “community organizers” swept into power with Barack Hussein Obama were tutored by the KGB’s front groups and agitprop shops in their youth. And I’m not just talking about the outright Communists like Bill Ayers and Van Jones. Anyone who came of age in a peace organization, or worked for a nuclear freeze, or agitated against coal power stations, or fought for prisoners’ rights — all of them were involved in KGB front groups. The KGB infiltrated every one of them, and funded most of them.

So even though KGB headquarters no longer hands down the orders, seven decades of indoctrination and infiltration have done their work well. True believers who want to deconstruct our society are now in pivotal positions throughout the government, and more are being inserted all the time.

International Socialism was discredited and abandoned in Russia, but it is alive and well in the Obama administration. The KGB’s tried-and-tested techniques — the selective leaks, the shunning of dissident elements, the politicization of the bureaucracy at all levels, the massed propaganda attack from separate sources at the same time, the “hope and change” initiatives mounted simultaneously in local governments, non-profits, and private corporations, etc., etc. — can be observed every day now in the United States.

Moscow is no longer leading it, but the World Revolution keeps chugging along without it.

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Then there are the Muslims.

Many Islamist organizations, including the Muslim Brotherhood, received funding and training from the KGB at one time or another. But even without Soviet help, Islam lends itself naturally to counterintelligence operations.

In fact, shorn of the nitty-gritty details of their traditions and scriptures, Communism and Islam are quite similar ideologies, or (dare I say it?) religions.

IslaminternEach is millenarian, looking towards a future time when the triumph of the faithful will create an idyllic society on earth. Each believes that it has an overwhelming moral imperative to spread the faith until the entire world has been converted. Both faiths are parasitic upon wealth-creating societies. Both ideologies sanction any and all methods necessary to achieve their goals: lying, theft, torture, murder, sabotage, subversion, and anything else that might be required.

So it’s no surprise to see Islam acting like the KGB, infiltrating, provoking, bribing, extorting, and fomenting sedition wherever there are enough Muslims in a country to provide cover for such activities. The extent of the penetration of the U.S. government and armed forces is evidence enough that the Muslim Brotherhood is a shrewd and capable counterintelligence operation.

Like the post-Soviet Left, the Muslims are decentralized and require no orders from a command headquarters. Also like the Left, they are skilled at exploiting and widening existing divisions among their enemies. They’ve learned to play the race card, and the Holocaust card, and the multicultural card, all to great effect. They even invented a powerful new card of their own: the Islamophobia card.

The Demonic Convergence — the evil alliance between the far Left and the Islamists — has resulted in a potent counterintelligence entity which has proven extremely effective at confounding and castrating all opposition to it. Occasionally the two allies find themselves at cross-purposes, as exemplified by the recent conflict between Antifa and the “youths” of Malmö. Most of the time, however, Islam and Socialism march side by side, with each faction willing to postpone a final reckoning until Western Civilization has been completely destroyed.

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I find myself wishing that the Counterjihad could mount its own counterintelligence operations within the enemy camp. Skilled operatives within Islamic society could exploit divisions between Sunni and Shiite or stir up the oppressed women of Saudi Arabia or Yemen. A well-placed dezinformatsiya operation that planted a credible rumor that Ayman al-Zawahri drinks alcohol would work wonders. Or perhaps a convincing report that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has Jewish ancestors…

Oh, wait — that last one has already been done.

Then there’s the Left. Suppose that documentation emerged at a crucial moment that “proved” a prominent Socialist politician had once privately denied global warming — the horror! Released during a European election campaign, such a diversion could be quite effective, potentially bringing down a Center-Left coalition government.

Perhaps our side is already engaged in such activities, but I see scant evidence of it. The anti-jihad Right is still largely disorganized, and is depressingly prone to suicidal infighting.

And the worst part of this war is yet to come. We haven’t even really begun to fight, and we are marching off to the front wearing lead boots, ready to do battle with both hands tied behind our backs.


Anonymous said...

As you can imagine, this essay interested me because of the Russia connection :)

You've certainly drawn interesting conclusions about the rift in the counterjihad movement as well as Islam. If Islam is operating in a similar way to the KGB, then it would be prudent to look at history and see what tactics we used against the KGB in the Cold War.

Unfortunately, even a glance at history shows us that we didn't win because of our superiority--rather, the Soviet Union collapsed because of Gorbachev's attempted reforms (see Archie Brown's biography of Gorbachev). The whole system imploded in on itself.

Of course, that raises the logical parallel that if the Soviet Union collapsed largely on its own, might not Islam do the same? We can only hope. I'm not sure I see that happening, but who knows what's possible.

filthykafir said...

Natalie, I submit the Islamic world would, in fact, collapse if we but isolated it and allowed its own internal conflicts and inherent lack of inventiveness and productivity to do their destructive and degenerative work.

Virtually the entire economic activity of Muslim-dominated contries consists of the sale of oil and the acceptance of Western aid. If we stopped both (and made certain they did not acquire WMD), I believe most of the Islamic world would degenerate into impotence within twenty years, perhaps less.

laine said...

This is a masterpiece of insight by the Baron.

Communism did not collapse. Only the Russian communist state collapsed because the cost of the parasitic big government needed to control every move and thought of every citizen finally dwarfed all productive activity.

To the world's misfortune, sundry malevolent dictatorships are able to disguise their utter domestic failure through unearned oil revenues. In addition, whether Putin's Russia, sand swamps of the middle east or Latin American thugocracies, distraction of what would otherwise be a restive local population to "foreign enemies" still works. Apparently you CAN fool enough of the people all of the time. Israel is the prime scapegoat for all Muslim failures, while America does for the rest.

Communism merely went underground in the West, and has been fighting a successful guerilla war ever since, basically a one-sided unopposed effort because the West was infiltrated and propagandized for decades so that someone like the Baron who can still recognize the enemy much less muster the will to oppose him are sadly rare. Suppose someone in the Pentagon, Foggy Bottom or Congress is also enlightened. He will find it impossible to act because he is by now likely outnumbered by committed marxists and their useful idiots. He doesn't want to be "McCarthied" i.e. pilloried for pointing out the enemy. The Left has made a specialty out of killing messengers who would expose its perfidy.

Look at what's being done now to public truth tellers, starting with the POTUS himself pointing them out to his attack dogs. Sarah Palin, Fox news, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, now Republican Senator Bachman, they are somewhat insulated by fame and/or money but are absorbing massive blows, mainly from the media carrying White House dirty water. If these people are made powerless, what is an ordinary citizen to think?

Notice how the power of the mass Tea Party 9/12 march was drained by the media under and mis-reporting it?

Baron Bodissey said...

Thank you, Laine -- an essay that meets with your approval tells me I did the job right.

Soviet counterintelligence infected Western institutions at all levels with virulent socialism in a number of forms, with the Frankfurt School strain having the most deadly effects.

The Soviets are gone, but the virus is still with us, rampaging through all our institutions. I'm afraid we're going to have to let the fever run its course, and hope that the patient doesn't die in the meantime.

laine said...

Let us all refresh our memories with the ex-KGB Yuri Bezmenov interview which the Baron also made available on this site many months ago that mapped out the stages of KGB control, arriving at the present situation where almost nothing is denied to communists hardly bothering to hide anymore within plain sight like Van Jones and Anita Dunn, the Maoist who is Obama's Director of Communications.
Yuri Bezmenov interview
Those rebel citizens who remain un-brainwashed are at the stage of demoralization.

The glistening slime trail of communism leads from the WWII Frankfurt school and Gramsci prescription with marxist Jewish professor vectors lodging in American universities which became magnets, then beacons for the Left. Academia has been slowly corrupted from within to spreaders of marxism and communism under the unthreatening rubric of socialism.

Through teachers' colleges and unions, public education is now dominated by the "failed" ism all the way down to kindergarten, mostly dressed up in green garb to appeal to the kiddies and their gullible parents who think it's about saving the planet.

As for the 1400 year old ism that is simultaneously stalking Western civilization (as it always has), we have many times arrived at the conclusion before on this site that Islamists have been enabled by the Left for their own purposes.
Each thinks it is using the other to achieve its world Utopia. But the first order of the day is to reduce western capitalism and republicanism to rubble (through a series of manufactured "crises" to allow the isms to progress in seven league boots).

Sure the two totalitarian vipers will eventually have to duke it out (over conservatives' dead bodies), but presently they are still thick as thieves.

The only flicker of hope is that up to a half of Americans are or can be convinced to be against the plan to turn their country into another socialist backwater and they are the half who are armed and from whose ranks most of the military rank and file hail. No other western democracy has such a population.

However, because conservatives were too long complacent, we may find we are at the pass Churchill described with no Churchill in sight:

"Still, if you will not fight for the right when you can easily win without bloodshed, if you will not fight when your victory will be sure and not so costly, you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance for survival. There may be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no chance of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves".

Proud Infidel said...

The virus of Socialism, quite an interesting observation, since we can see the evidence of this disease in the misinformation, demonization, vile lies and slander that constitutes Leftist thought and response to their opposition these days. A playbook, by the way, practiced very well by the Nazis. Repeat a lie often enough and vigorously enough and many will fall for it. It is especially interesting how adept the Muslims have been at using these tactics as well against the West.

And it has been interesting to watch LGF be manipulated by these types. And do believe it required some degree of complicity from Charles, he wields his absolute control well and is always ready to ban and delete at the slightest provocation. He's too plugged in and in control.

A well written, thought provoking piece Baron.

Zenster said...

I just wanted to point out the ironic nature of connecting the Soviet Union with "counterintelligence". Aside from Islam, few other entities in all of human history have been so unmolested by the ravages of intelligence.

Unknown said...

I imagine Dr. Dziak's book touches on the career of the Soviet Union's early agitprop mastermind Willi Muenzenberg, who pioneered many of the subversion and disinformation techniques that are still in use. The book to read about Mr. Muenzenberg is Stephen Kochs's "Stalin, Willi Muenzenberg and the Seduction of the Intellectuals." Arthur Koestler also provides a fascinating portrait of Mr. Muenzenberg in his autobiographical work "Invisible Writing." At the time of the fall of the Soviet Union many agitprop agents rendered unemployed as result poured into existing conservationist organizations, driving out the genuine environmentalists then staffing them and transforming them into subversive instruments. Much apparent environmentalist irrationality, including the assault on national sovereignty in the name of the struggle ot save the planet from the supposed "global warming" has been facilitated by neo-marxists applying Muenzenberg-inspired techniques within the organizations they more or less control.

In Hoc Signo Vinces† said...

The U.K. is in such an advanced state of terminal decline, that its institutions are possibly beyond the last rites of any counter-intelligence intervention.

As well as the Soviet methodologies it may be worthwhile looking at the asset stripping techniques used on national companies, where in some cases the directors, share holders and employees were persuaded that the destruction of their own company was in their own interests.

The only action that may save the U.K is an induced comma of its institutions.

Frank Kitman said...

jamie Glazov interviewed David Satter yesterday on the parallels between the cold war and the war against the muslims.
I found it very worthwhile, and fits the topic of this excellent post.

The key to defeating radical islam