Politics & Policy

Seeing Red

Spontaneous anti-American demonstrations? Think again.

Over the March 15-16 weekend there were simultaneous anti-American and pro-peace demonstrations around the world, with the largest in Athens and Moscow. It is significant that the headquarters of the Soviet-created World Peace Council (WPC) is now in Athens, and that its honorary chairman is still the same KGB asset, Romesh Chandra, who chaired this Cold War organization during the years when I was a Communist general. This current bashing of the U.S. makes me believe I am watching a revival of an old stage drama, the lines of which I know by heart. Back in the 1970Ss the drama featured that same Ramesh Chandra and consisted of the WPC’s virulent offensive to counteract American efforts aimed at protecting the world against Communist expansion.

In fact, the WPC Secretariat recently recognized that the WPC has “participated in or co-organized” the current worldwide anti-American demonstrations. On December 14, 2002, the WPC convened a meeting of its Communist-style Executive Committee and then issued an official communiqué stating, in vintage Soviet language: “The Bush administration is intensifying readiness for the unilateral attack on Iraq, and this unilateralism of hegemony is becoming the biggest threat to world peace.” An international appeal published by the WPC Secretariat on the same day confirmed that the WPC had indeed been involved in organizing anti-American demonstrations in “USA, Great Britain, Florence, Prague and in many other European capitals, as well as in other countries.” The WPC appeal called upon “the peoples and movements of the world aspiring to peace and justice to unite their voices and actions against the U.S. war on Iraq.”

The WPC was created by Moscow in the 1950s and had only one task: to portray the United States as being run by a “war-mongering government.” To make it look like a Western organization, Moscow headquartered it in Paris, but in 1954 the French government accused the WPC of being a Soviet puppet and kicked it out of France. Therefore, its headquarters were moved to Soviet-occupied Vienna, and then to Prague when Austria became neutral. It is remarkable that, after the Soviet Union collapsed and the United States remained the only superpower, Romesh Chandra moved his WPC to Athens and focused its operations toward “waging a struggle against the New World Order.” According to its current charter, adopted during a 1996 Peace Congress in Mexico, the WPC has now “broadened into a worldwide mass movement” whose task is to support “those people and liberation movements” fighting “against [American] imperialism.”

Back in the 1970s, when Moscow appointed Romesh Chandra to head the WPC, it introduced him to the world as being an “apolitical” Indian. In reality, Chandra was a member of the National Committee of the Communist Party of India, one of the foreign Communist parties most loyal to the Soviet Union at that time. Khrushchev himself approved a $50 million annual budget for the “new” WPC (the money was delivered by the KGB in the form of laundered cash dollars, in order to hide its Soviet origin), and tasked Chandra to focus the WPC effort on condemning the American intervention in Vietnam as a “murderous adventure” and to require all WPC national branches to initiate demonstrations around the world against America’s imperialism and its war in Vietnam.

Until 1978, when I left Romania for good, I managed the Romanian side of the WPC, whose operations implicated thousands of undercover Soviet-bloc intelligence officers and many other thousands of paid and voluntary Communist activists. By that time Chandra’s WPC had reportedly collected 700 million signatures on a “ban-the-American-atomic-bomb” petition that had been drafted in Moscow and adopted by a peace conference convened in Stockholm. In a 1981 article published in the Comintern journal entitled Problems of Peace and Socialism (the English translation of which was called World Marxist Review), Chandra wrote: “The struggle to curb the arms race has become a mass demonstration against the deployment of new U.S. missiles.” Soon after that, Chandra and his WPC unleashed a worldwide offensive against the deployment by the United States of Pershing and Cruise missiles in Europe, and it organized “global campaigns” to protest the production of the neutron bomb announced by U.S. president Jimmy Carter and against the U.S. decision on “Star Wars,” WPC’s derisive term for the American strategic defense initiative (SDI).

In 1851 Karl Marx issued his now famous dictum: “History always repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, and the second as farce.” The new anti-American Axis Beijing-Moscow-Berlin-Paris is indeed a farcical effort to revive the anti-Americanism created by the WPC and its sponsors during the Cold War era.

General Ion Mihai Pacepa is the highest-ranking intelligence officer ever to have defected from the former Soviet bloc. He is currently finishing a new book, Red Roots: The origins of today’s anti-Americanism.

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