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CHRISTOPHER TAYLOR'S BOOKS

Monday, August 12, 2013

SPIES AMONG US

"Foreign reporters--preferably American--were much more valuable to us than any military victory. Much more valuable than recruits for our guerrilla force, were American media recruits to export our propaganda."
-Che Guevarra, 1958

Animal Farm is one of the most effective and memorable critiques of communism ever written, and it was written by a leftist.  George Orwell was a leftist, he believed in all the forms of multiculturalism and political correctness and statism of his day that every other leftist did.  He just knew tyranny when he saw it, and he knew that communism was one form of it.
Unlike most of the leftists of his day, Orwell rejected the lies of communism and saw through their pretence for what it was: just another dictatorship.  Further, he saw how the principles of communism inevitably led to tyranny no matter who was in charge.  So the book Animal Farm was written as an attempt to educate people about how it worked, from its first idealistic start to the evil corruption and tyranny at the end.
Orwell had a hard time selling the book.  He shopped it to Jonathan Cape, who was impressed, but who talked to the Ministry of Information because the book was political and he wanted to get their take on the matter.  The ministry warned him that it could harm east-west relations and advised him to reject Animal Farm.  The problem was the book was finished in 1945, and the Russians were allies of the British, and publishers were leery of showing Stalin and communism in a bad light.
And there was another reason for the rejection.  The man who advised Jonathan Cape to reject Animal Farm was none other than Peter Smollett, head of the Russian section of the Ministry.  Later, Smollett was revealed to actually be a Russian spy.  Unfortunately for the Brits, their intelligence organization was riddled with Soviet spies during WW2 and it took decades to find and clear them all out.
Small wonder a Russian spy would want Animal Farm to go unpublished.
Actually, looking down the corridors of history, you can find many instances of this kind of thing happening, where someone who seems a bit too willing to defend a regime or attack those who question it end up being literally agents of that regime.
For example, Cuba has managed to infiltrate the US pretty heavily with agents.  These guys aren't ever really James Bond types to get secret info and foil plans, but they have their impact.  Ana Montes worked in the US Justice Department from 1985 to 2001 in the Defense Intelligence Agency.  The US government knows that she leaked the names of at least 5 spies and are certain that she was responsible for the death of a Green Beret in El Salvador.  For 17 years, she sent info to Cuba, traveling regularly to the island by putting on a wig and using a different passport.
Ana Montes was one of the go-to voices for Cuban analysis and info by major news organizations for decades.  She was recently quoted by a Democrat congresswoman for why the US should end its trade embargo with Cuba, even after having been revealed as a spy.  In fact, Montes' regular analysis and conclusions about Cuba (especially ending the embargo) are often cited as DIA word on the matter, without reference to her status as a spy for Castro.  Even by groups like the CATO institute
As Che Guevarra said in 1958, "Foreign reporters--preferably American--were much more valuable to us than any military victory. Much more valuable than recruits for our guerrilla force, were American media recruits to export our propaganda."
The truth is, if someone is a bit too defensive about a tyranny, travels a lot, and attacks that tyranny's enemies, they probably should be given a bit more scrutiny.  Because it seems to me that espionage is mostly shaping the enemy's perception and reaction to you than sabotage, assassination, and all the exciting stuff in spy movies.  The currency of espionage is information, not bullets.
And there are spies out there, working to shift the perceptions of the public and governments about their chosen nation.  The sad part is how readily and easily so many buy into what they're told by spies, such as the press or political parties.

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