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Betrayal in Berlin: Soviet Disinformation and the Berlin Crisis
Fears that Russian intelligence is actively working to undermine Western democracy—in the United States, Europe and around the globe—are running high. Department of Justice Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III documented multiple systemic interferences by Russia in his report on the 2016 presidential election released earlier this year, and he warned that Russia is actively targeting the 2020 election. Similarly, Russia conducted a "continued and sustained" disinformation campaign against Europe's parliamentary elections in May, according to a European Union report. Techniques include planting false news stories, hacking into campaign accounts, creating fake social media accounts, and using software applications known as bots to spread distorted, divisive content.
While Russian bots and fake Facebook accounts are relatively new, efforts to undercut Western values and democracy and sow division among allies have long been part of the playbook for Russian and Soviet intelligence. One of the highest-stakes attempts came 60 years ago. On November 10, 1958, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev fired the opening salvo of what would become known as the Berlin Crisis, a gambit meant to force the Western powers to pull their troops out of the divided city. Khrushchev declared that Soviet forces would withdraw from the city, and pressured the Americans, British, and French to follow suit. In effect, it was a demand that the Western powers relinquish their right of access to Berlin that had been agreed to at the end of World War II. Doing so would mean abandoning West Berlin, which was surrounded by East German territory.
Not unlike the current Russian efforts to undermine public trust in democracy, behind the scenes, the KGB waged a determined campaign using propaganda and disinformation to paint the Americans as cynical occupiers interested in Berlin only as a base for nefarious espionage operations that were oppressing the German people.The Soviets charged that West Berlin was a "nest of spies" and its victims were the citizens of both East and West Berlin. Exhibit A was the Berlin Tunnel. The audacious joint operation, by the CIA's Berlin base chief Bill Harvey and Peter Lunn, chief of the British Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) Berlin station, involved digging a secret, quarter-mile-long tunnel from the American sector into the Soviet sector to tap into Red Army communications. Though the KGB had been tipped off about plans for the tunnel by the notorious spy George Blake, the intelligence service took no action against the tunnel. They Soviets didn't even warn Red Army commanders, for fear of compromising Blake, as described in Betrayal in Berlin. For nearly a year, from May 1955 until the Soviets announced they had discovered the tunnel in April 1956, CIA and SIS captured reams of material about Soviet military capabilities, operations, and plans, as well as information from GRU (Soviet military intelligence), KGB and East German intelligence offices using the tapped lines.
Ironically, the U.S. was able to counter the KGB campaign against Western espionage– thanks to intelligence gathered by Berlin Tunnel. As the tension surrounding the crisis grew in late 1958 when Khrushchev laid out his demands, the CIA base in Berlin went to work compiling information about Soviet intelligence transgressions.
Khrushchev's formal ultimatum calling for the withdrawal of the four powers from Berlin, delivered in Moscow on November 27, 1958, set a six-month deadline. Otherwise, he warned, the Soviet Union would sign a separate peace treaty with East Germany and cede control of access to the city to the East German regime, steps that could effectively end West Berlin's status as a free city. Berlin is a "malignant tumor," Khrushchev declared in his speech at the Moscow Sports Palace. "We have decided to do some surgery."
In one fell swoop, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower later said, Khrushchev had turned Berlin "into a tinderbox." On New Year's Eve 1958, the Allies officially rejected the Soviet demand, setting the stage for a dangerous confrontation.
Disinformation—disinformazia—had long been a staple of Soviet intelligence, but the KGB had begun throwing more resources into their efforts. In January 1959, Aleksandr Shelepin, who had recently taken over as head of the KGB, established a new organization, Department D, to create and coordinate disinformation programs. Department D's first priority was West Berlin. The KGB had recently discovered that a Soviet military intelligence officer, Pyotr Popov, was spying for the CIA. Combined with the impressive scale of the tunnel, the KGB considered the CIA's Berlin base a major security threat that needed to be neutralized. "This unit [is] headed by the American Bill Harvey, known by the nickname 'Big Bill'," a KGB memorandum said. ". . . The available material provides a basis for assuming that 'Big Bill' and his coworkers carry out active intelligence work against the countries of the Socialist camp, for which they have a large agent network."
Resuming the same propaganda strategy that followed the discovery of the tunnel, the KGB launched a new campaign portraying West Berlin as an espionage swamp and center of subversive activities. A key goal was to damage public support for the U.S. among the populations of other Western nations.
The U.S. State Department feared that the Soviet campaign might undercut Western solidarity about not abandoning Berlin at talks scheduled to begin in Geneva in May 1959 between foreign ministers from the four powers in an attempt to defuse the crisis. John Foster Dulles, terminally ill with cancer, had resigned as secretary of state in April, and had been succeeded by Under Secretary of State Christian Herter. The former Massachusetts governor and congressman would be facing off against the formidable Andrei Gromyko, near the start of a nearly three-decade career as Soviet foreign minister.
In preparation for the summit, the CIA's Berlin Operations Base prepared a counterattack listing a long catalog of Soviet and East German espionage and covert operations run from East Berlin, many of them discovered by the tunnel. "Now that the tunnel was no longer running, we could use it all, and we did," recalled David Murphy, who was then deputy chief of the base. The CIA provided Herter and his aides with lengthy memos detailing the eastern espionage operations.
After a month of tense talks in Geneva amid Soviet accusations about West Berlin, Herter made his move June 5 at a forum attended by the press. Herter confronted Gromyko with the evidence, charging that East Berlin was "one of the heaviest concentrations of subversive and spying activities in the world."
The American painstakingly recited the litany of evidence compiled by the CIA. He told Gromyko that it was "reliably estimated" that the Soviets had "26,000 officers, directing more than 200,000 agents and informers" operating in West Berlin, West Germany and elsewhere in Western Europe. He accused the Soviets of responsibility for 63 kidnappings of defectors, activists, and others in West Berlin opposed to the East German regime, most of the cases involving "brute force."
Herter further charged that the Soviets were using East Berlin as "the center of an extensive campaign of slanderous personal vilification" against Western officials, sending anonymous letters to the spouses of Allied officials and German civilians implying their husbands or wives were unfaithful. He accused them of spreading lies and rumors through whispering campaigns—what then passed for social media.
"The goal of this centrally directed effort at subversion is the complete overthrow of the existing constitutional and social order" in West Germany, Herter charged.
Gromyko "sat there for two hours while the secretary of state read him word by word every single thing from these memoranda about Soviet and East German intelligence operations in East Berlin," recalled Murphy. "It was the first time that we used counterintelligence material [to publicly confront the Soviets], and we were able to do it because the tunnel provided it to us."
Gromyko was "stony-faced through the recital," according to one account, while the rest of the Soviet delegation "acted pained and aggrieved." Finally, Gromyko responded that the Soviet file on Western spying in Berlin was "much more comprehensive" than the American list, but he needed to give only one example: "the matter of the tunnel dug from West to East Berlin."
It was certainly a valid point.
But the elaborate American presentation was widely reported by the Western press, with numerous articles highlighting the vast scale of Soviet espionage operations against the West. Herter reported to the president that the counterattack "shook Gromyko up a bit" and had blunted the Soviet campaign. "We may hear very little more about it," the secretary of state predicted to Eisenhower.
Meanwhile, Khrushchev proved unwilling to go to war over Berlin, and the six-month deadline he had set for Western withdrawal passed virtually unnoticed. "It was the ultimatum that, only a few months before, many had feared would bring up the curtain of World War III," Eisenhower later wrote. "The day came and went—a day lost in history." But as Eisenhower well knew, the Berlin problem was hardly solved.
Three years later, with Khrushchev's consent, the East German regime led by Walter Ulbricht constructed the Berlin Wall in August 1961. With free access across the sector borders closed, Berlin was effectively shut down as an espionage center. But it came at an enormous cost to the Soviet and East German regimes. Any pretense that the communist governments were defending the freedom of those behind the Iron Curtain was gone.
When the Berlin Wall finally fell 30 years ago, a development was soon followed by the collapse of the Soviet Union, many celebrated what was widely seen as the final and complete triumph of liberal democracy in the Western world. But as the warnings of Russian interference from the recent reports by Mueller and the European Union make clear, that battle is ongoing.
And Putin is his partner in this plan: "Why build in Moscow? We can build here ourselves. You build at home, und we will help you with ZIZ!!!" Solution was cheap and easy: the CoronaVirus Pandemic and the Epidemic in New York, with the epicenter in the Projects, which is now evident to the lay observers, without the sophisticated epidemiological analysis. Nice job, Putya-boy! Well done, Danny The Fatso! And most inportantly, the GRU and the KGB are very happy too. But what about our dear and the most beloved FBI? Ar…
#CDC #WHO #NIH #NIAID #Coronavirus #Deaths in #Germany: Is there a different, #lessvirulent #strain of the #virus?! Did we do the #comparisonstudies? I do not see them. We should: it would be the #key #explanation and the #lead. #Test this #hypothesis! If there is a variety of Coronavirus strains in various countries, and if they correlate with the deseases of various severity…
Is this the WAR of Russian Mob - TOC on Italian Mafia - Cosa Nostra?
It is going on for long time. Look into this.
How coronavirus cripples the New York Mafia https://t.co/Wj6jIkzkrO via @nypmetro
— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) March 30, 2020
Fig. 1 Open in figure viewerPowerPointEpidemic curve of MERS‐CoV by date of symptoms onset in Saudi Arabia, 2012–2018. ____________________________________________________________________ This article appears to be very important, I reprint it to have it at hands and just in case, if it gets lost somehow, which happens somwtimes. - M.N.
The War on America Review of the Selected Tweets The Coronavirus Pandemic is the greatest failure of the US Intelligence in History. "The Guardian" and "Foreign Policy" think so too.
Before Virus Outbreak, a Cascade of Warnings Went Unheeded https://t.co/EqYReqtMYQ
— Michael Novakhov (@mikenov) March 29, 2020
- First, as the culmination of the quarter of a century of the Invisible Intelligence War, declared in "Call 9/11", they installed their Puppet Trump. Then they made this war quite visible, turning it into the Biowarfare, the result of the sophisticated special Intelligence or Terrorist Operation, that is quite impossible not to recognize as such, even with the eyes wide shut. The situation in Italy is also both puzzling and telling, and it is also points in the same direction. Nevertheless, we do not want to see it as the attack of the Bioterrorism, and we call this t…
https://fbinewsreview.blogspot.com/2020/04/mn-is-coronavirus-epidemic-in-nyc-plot.html _______________________________________________________________ NYC lawmakers call for a construction moratorium during ...__________________________________ M.N.: Is Coronavirus Epidemic in NYC a plot by the Russian Mafia to introduce the virus into the NYC projects housing, following the pattern of the Hong Kong outbreak of SARS in 2003, so they could get rid of the projects and build their expensive multi-billion dollars luxury housing instead?! Look at Coney Island: they already built it up there! This is the very realistic hypothesis, and we have to investigate it to the fullest and in the most comprehensive fashion. FBI, start doing this!!! They can produce this bioterrorism - sabotage very easily: simply by closing the "vent stacks" which are needed for the proper functioning of the building drainage system, in which the virus, most likely, is already present. See also this article: Co…
Jan Paul van Aken It looks like the Leftist German Politician and the specialist on Bioweapons, Jan van Aken is the current "Demiurge" - the chief of the New Abwehr and the main author of the "Operation CoronaVirus", and also the author of the Operations "Anthrax Letters", in conjunction with the Operation 9/11 in 2001, and later the Operations "Ricin Letters" of 2013 and 2018, among the other similar Bioweapons operations worldwide, including "SARS&q…
My Hypothesis: COVID-19 is used as a Bioweapon The route of transmission is infectious fecal aerosol to lungs, which can be used in both the targeted ways, against the selected individuals, and in mass spreading ways, by spraying the same type of the aerosol, derived from the infected "human bombs", in a variety of forms: from drones, moving vehicles, by insertion into the ventilation systems, by substituting the cleaning aerosols, etc., etc. This hypothesis has to be researched and checked out, if it is correct it will provide the keys for dealing with the Epidemic. The driving criminal force behind this hypothetical spread is very likely the Mafia, very likely the Russian Jewish one, the TOC, or the other varieties, allied with some Intelligence Services. Th…