Archive for July, 2010


July 31, 2010

For many years the Swedish Communist Party (now named Party of the Left) had cordial relations with the regime of Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania. There were regular exchanges and visits. As late as in November of 1989 the Swedish party transmitted greetings to the fourteenth congress of the Romanian Communist Party. During the 1980s the Romanian party described the relations to the Swedish party as “cordial, friendly and cooperative”. This should be remembered when the Party of the Left has joined the Social Democratic Party and the Green Party in an election alliance to win the September 2010 parliamentary election in Sweden. The former Swedish communist party, without criticism, accepted the brutality of the Securitate. See below for more on revelations from the Securitate archives in Romania after the fall of communism in 1989.

In 2001 Romanian writer Stelian Tanase was allowed access to a copy of his two-volume Securitate file with the names of third parties deleted. After reading the material, Tanase came away with the belief that file “Stefan” (which had around 500 pages in total and detailed his life during the 1983-1989 period) lacked important pieces of evidence. He was marked by the experience of finding out that his closest friend had been a zealous Securitate informer until the very last hours of the communist regime. Tanase later published a book comparing the Securitate file with his own diary.

The book Cartea Alba a Securitatii (The White Book of the Securitate) contained political police documents pertaining to writers and artists during the Communist era.

The Information Network Files and the Securitate Informers

1987 instructions confirmed that the political police opened files for information network members, be they informers, residents, supporting individuals or hosts of meeting places. For students and army recruits acting as supporting individuals agents did not open personal files, but filled in standardized forms, attached to case files together with those persons’ collaboration pledge and reports on their victims (Article 37).

An informer’s personal file included the recruitment report (raportul de recrutare), detailing the reasons why the candidate could prove useful for solving cases at hand, the conspiratorial name, the loyalty guarantees, the recruitment method, the basis for recruitment (voluntary collaboration, financial payment or blackmail), the contact system of passwords and countersigns to be used if meetings could not be organized at the pre-established time and place, the collaboration pledge (angajamentul de colaborare), several surveillance, verification and analysis materials in which the agent noted the loyalty and productivity of the informer, and the abandonment report (raportul de abandonare), detailing the reasons for and the method of deactivating the informer. There was also a list of documents included in the file, another list of the Securitate personnel who knew the individual belonged to the information network, a third list with the informer’s contacts that were valuable to the Securitate, and a note explaining the method of contacting the informer and the conspiratorial meeting places the informer was told about (Article 38).

The resident’s file contained an additional list with the names of the supporting individuals the resident was responsible for and the places where they met. The host’s file presented a map of the meeting place and its location, the list of the installments the Securitate paid as rent in exchange for the host’s services, the stories (legende) used to cover up the secret meeting and present it to inquisitive neighbors, a list of Securitate agents and information network members who entered the house, and the results of the periodical verification the host was subjected to. These files were accompanied by attached folders (mapele anexa), where the informers’ original notes, the reports the agent drafted on the basis of the notes, the information obtained during meetings with the informer and the way it was used were collected (Article 39). According to the Instructions, files were transferred to a new Securitate branch if informers changed their address (Article 40), and only in exceptional cases Securitate agents working on could consult the files of informers used by other agents (Article 41). The political police kept statistics on the information network, but indicators were secret (Article 43). Each Securitate county branch organized its archival materials alphabetically, and kept documents that pertained to persons located and events taking place in the respective county. The pledge of a Securitate informer could be worded in the following way:

Knowing that country and state security defense is the patriotic obligation of the entire people, a duty of honor for every citizen, stipulated in the Constitution; Knowing the importance of the contribution I am asked to bring, as citizen of the Socialist Republic of Romania, to the country’s defense; I [name], born [date] in [locality], residing at [address] pledge to support in a secret, organized and active manner the Securitate organs in their activity to prevent, discover and liquidate threats to state security, to fight any actions undermining the interests of our socialist regime. In my collaboration with the Securitate organs I pledge to: actively seek information of interest for the Securitate and offer it in a timely fashion through pre-established channels of communication; to fight for finding the truth and strictly observing the law; firmly and actively prevent criminal actions; promptly prevent deeds threatening state security; show vigilance against the country’s enemies; offer information sincerely, objectively and correctly; not abuse the collaboration, not divulge its secrecy to anyone. Animated by the desire to bring my contribution to defending our people’s revolutionary accomplishments, I will do everything needed to translate this pledge into reality, understanding fully the negative consequences that the failure to fulfill it could bring to our state security.

Informers often assumed nicknames when offering information to the Securitate.

Securitate has left behind a wealth of material detailing life under communism. Some Romanians were firmly convinced that the archive found in December 1989 in a Securitate warehouses was but a small part of the archive the political police produced over its entire existence.

Access to the Securitate Files

In 1999, the Romanian Parliament decided that only a fraction of the extant archive could become available to the public, on condition that it did not relate to issues of national security, a term legislators failed to define clearly. Since then, only a tiny segment of the 12 kilometers of Securitate archive meeting that condition has been transferred to the National Council for the Study of Securitate Archives to become available to the public.

The Securitate archive remains a valuable source of information that hopefully in the future will become available. Its testimonial value is likely to increase if the archive is complemented with information drawn from other sources, including the National Archives and the Communist Party Archives.

English-language analyses have been few but there is a growing Romanian-language literature on the Securitate. It includes collections of primary documents like Marius Oprea, Banalitatea raului. O istorie a Securitatii in documente 1949-1989 (Bucharest: Polirom, 2002), Marius Oprea, ed., Securistii partidului. Serviciul de Cadre al PCR ca politie politica. Studiu de caz: arhiva Comitetului Municipal de Partid Brasov (Bucharest: Polirom, 2002), Serviciul Roman de Informatii, Cartea Alba a Securitatii, 2 volumes (Bucharest: Editura Presa Romaneasca, 1996 and 1997), and Consiliul National pentru Studierea Arhivelor Securitatii, Trupele de Securitate (1949-1989) (Bucharest: Nemira, 2004) si Arhivele Securitatii (Bucharest: Nemira, 2004).

There are books written by Securitate victims (Ion Diaconescu, Ion Ioanid, Iosif Colpas, Florin Constantin Pavlovici and Paul Goma), its agents (Mihai Pelin and Nicolae Plesita) or writers (Virgil Ierunca and Stelian Tanase). Among the most important are Ion Diaconescu, Temnita. Destinul generatiei noastre (Bucharest: Nemira, 2003), Dupa Temnita (Bucharest: Nemira, 2003) and Dupa revolutie (Bucharest: Nemira: 2003), Ion Ioanid, Inchisoarea noastra cea de toate zilele, 3 volumes (Bucharest: Humanitas, 1999), Iosif Colpas, Secvente din inchisorile comuniste (Bucharest: Humanitas, 2003), Florin Constantin Pavlovici, Tortura pe intelesul tuturor (Chisinau: Cartier, 2001), Paul Goma, Soldatul cainelui (Chisinau: Editura Flux, 2003), Culoarea curcubeului ’77 (Chisinau: Editura Flux, 2003), Patimile dupa Pitesti (Bucharest: Cartea Romaneasca, 1990), Gherla (Bucharest: Humanitas, 1990), Virgil Ierunca, Fenomenul Pitesti (Bucharest: Humanitas, 1990) and Stelian Tanase, Anatomia mistificarii (Bucharest: Humanitas, 2003).

Among English language resources are Dennis Deletant, Ceausescu and the Securitate: Coercion and Dissent in Romania, 1965-1989 (Armonk: M. E. Sharpe, 1995), and Communist Terror in Romania: Gheorghiu-Dej and the Police State, 1948-1965 (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2000), Marius Oprea and Stejarel Olaru, The Day We Won’t Forget. 15 November 1987, Brasov (Bucharest: Polirom, 2003).

This article is based on research by Lavinia Stan of the Center for Post-Communist studies at St. Francis Xavier University of Canada.


July 28, 2010

A new class of weapons is developed in the United States. It can reach every corner of the earth from the homeland in under 60 minutes. If completed it will diminish the need for use of nuclear weapons.

The new weapon is named Prompt Global Strike (PGS) and is so accurate that it can hit Osama Bin Laden in a cave or a North Korean missile being prepared for launch as well as striking Iranian nuclear sites. In theory a conventional warhead will be hurled at great speed and accuracy at the target. Thus nuclear warheads could be replaced on US submarines.

The present Obama administration is abandoning the plans to place the weapon on submarines. 250 million US dollars will be used in 2011 to explore a new alternative for the weapon. It would initially be based probably at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The plan is to mount it on a long-range missile. It would travel through the atmosphere at many times the speed of sound and remain in the atmosphere, which will make it much more maneuverable than ballistic missiles. It can fly straight to the area intended and then make a sharp turn toward the target. An early version of the weapon could probably be deployed by 2014 or 2015.

The work to complete PGS will be headed by USAF General Kevin P. Chilton of the Strategic Command. According to General Chilton a target can today be hit anywhere on the globe in a time frame of 96 to 6 hours. That would not be fast enough to strike if intelligence would be available on Al Qaeda terrorists moving or direct plans to launch a missile on enemy territory. Presently the only faster alternative is a nuclear response.


July 27, 2010

Around 100,000 secret American documents on Afghanistan on internet is a threat to all NATO forces in Afghanistan. The result may well be that it will be easier for the terrorists to kill troops not only from the United States but all participating countries.

Most of the reports in the leak have no news value. The use of heat-seeking missiles by the Taliban is not news. Rumors were spread years ago about that. If these missiles are used by terrorists they are no match for counterinsurgency aviators armed with the latest technology.

The great number of documents posted makes it hard to know if all are for real or if Wikileaks has put in fake reports. A disinformer can use some of the documents for falsification. These changed documents could be spread for misinformation purposes.

In case of corruption and other practices it might perhaps be possible to make a moral argument for revelation but in the case of the Afghanistan reports these are routine. There is no public interest. Instead these reports on counterinsurgency fighting can only help hurting the effort of stopping terrorists. The enemy is the only party that can benefit. Now the Taliban will be able to change tactics in accordance to the published information on NATO practices. Wikileaks will not only kill American troops but other troops as well.

The Swedish military has initiated an investigation about what is revealed on the tactics of the Swedish contingent in Afghanistan. An investigation of the Wikileaks servers in Sweden would also be important. The webhotel PQR used by Assange is based in Sweden and run by Gottfrid Svartholm Warg and Fredrik Nei. Rumors has it that Assange is planning to move more of his operations to Sweden and open an office in Stockholm according to Swedish daily Expressen. This will indirectly make Swedish authorities responsible for the killing of American troops in Afghanistan if they don’t act.


July 27, 2010

On July 26, 2010, a special UN-supported court found Kaing Guek Eav (“Duch”) partly responsible for the deaths of some 14,000 Cambodians in the Tuol Sleng prison during the brutal Khmer Rouge rule from 1975 to 1979. His sentence was a very long prison term. As he is 67 seven years old it is likely he will die in prison. The prisoners of the regime were accused by the Marxist-Leninists for disloyalty. Then they were often electrocuted or beaten before executed without trial.

It is presumed that further communist leaders will be put on trial. Among those are several former government ministers. The decision will presumably be made in September 2010.

Duch had pleaded guilty to being the director of the prison but had denied any personal role in killings and torturing of prisoners. As is usual in cases such as these Duch blamed his superiors and said that he only followed orders. He has spent several years in jail already.

The Khmer Rouge was a radical Marxist-Leninist organization that after coming to power in Cambodia was responsible for the death of 1.7 million people. They died from starvation, illness or were killed.

In a number of European countries supporters of the Viet Cong in Vietnam and of Khmer Rouge in Cambodia initially denied any wrong doing by these Marxist-Leninist groups. In Sweden one of the main movements supporting the guerrillas in South East Asia was social democratic member of parliament Birgitta Dahl from Uppsala. She rose to become speaker of the Swedish parliament. In 1990 it was revealed that she had in 1975-76 denied the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge. As a result she left parliament. During 1965 to 1975, the leader of her party and Swedish prime minister Olof Palme supported the regime in Hanoi. Palme as a result initiated a virulent anti-American foreign policy.

The sentenced prison director Duch joined the Khmer Rouge in the 1960s. So far he is the only one of the suspects that has admitted responsibility for crimes against humanity.

The prison has been converted to a museum. The communist crimes in Vietnam and Laos are still to be investigated. Many leading South East Asian communist criminals are beyond reach like the Khmer Rouge top leader Pol Pot, who died in 1998.


July 20, 2010

Swedish author Svante Nycander recently wrote in daily Dagens Nyheter (Stockholm) on how the left is dominating Swedish universities and media. Historian Torbjorn Nilsson in 2001 examined the literature of political ideologies at the Stockholm University Library. He found the following breakdown of the number of shelves: 25 socialism, revolutionary socialism / communism 3.5, libertarian anarchism / socialism /syndicalism 3.5, liberalism and conservatism 3.5.

How is such a list possible? Almost ten times more socialist than non-socialist.

Since the early 1970’s Socialist historian Sven-Eric Liedman has dominated in political science with his textbook From Plato to Lenin. (Leninism was the End of History.) Still in 2010 it is compulsory in some academic courses. Its title was in a later edition changed to From Plato to Mao Zedong. The 14th edition in 2005 was called From Plato to the war on terror.

In Liedman’s book one can find detailed treatment of Marx and other socialist thinkers. Conservatives and liberals are just mentioned in passing.

Conservatism and liberalism are the political mainstream from the Renaissance to World War I but there is silence in the Liedman textbook on these ideologies. Liedman explains away Stalinist terror with the dubious claim that state bureaucracy had infiltrated the Soviet Communist Party. Gulag had nothing to do with Marxism, in the view of Liedman.

Conservative and classical liberal thinkers are attacked by Liedman, if they are shortly mentioned.

Is this historian some maverick socialist academic? No, he has been hailed as a great humanist and recently won the Swedish Academy’s Nordic Prize of SEK 350,000. Many departments and faculties of the Swedish universities are left wing bastions. Academic teachers undermine the scientific quality by relativizing the notion of truth and assert theories that cannot be verified or falsified. The clearest examples are in the so called gender studies.

The dominating left in Swedish media and academy are picturing conservative and classical liberal positions as “fascist”. So far Nycander.

One of the common targets in Swedish media and academy has been the rule of the right in Italy. Swedish newspapers regularly attack Italy. In a recent article (July 16, 2010) in liberal Kristianstadsbladet (south Sweden) in the culture section Italy was portrayed as a corrupt country and Italians as “lazy”. The writer, David Uppgren, interviewed a left-wing radical in Italy, “Marco”, and had him call for violent revolution or a coup to sweep away the present Italian government led by Prime Minister Berlusconi.

In any other European country such exaggerations could only be possible in Marxist-Leninist extremist small journals, but not in Sweden. Here the attacks on the non-socialist government in Italy occur very often in main-stream media. This could be explained by how journalists have been trained at universities in Sweden since the 1970s. According to academic research the majority of journalists in Sweden vote for the social democratic and communist parties.

The article in Kristianstadsbladet was no exception. Unfortunately it was part of a common theme in Swedish media.


July 20, 2010

As expected the Washington Post project Top Secret America is used på anti-Americans around the world to attack the strong defense against terrorism and jihadism in the United States.

In Weekly Standard Hudson Institute expert Gabriel Schoenfield points out that there is not much new in the revelations. He cannot spot anything particularly damaging in the first of three reports. Open-source has been used so what?

A majority of American voters probably want more security and will tell the politicians by voting for security-minded Republican candidates in the upcoming elections.


There is nothing top secret about Top Secret America (at least in its first installment). In this respect it is a case of false—and very smart—advertising.

The commentator in Weekly Standard is the author of Necessary Secrets: National Security, the Media, and the Rule of Law (W.W. Norton, 2010), a highly recommended book.


July 16, 2010

Reports are now published on the situation of the political prisoners in Cuba. Rats and diseases forced prisoners to try to kill themselves.

The hygiene and health situation in all prisons in Cuba are terrible. There were outbreaks of dengue and tuberculosis. The prison of Villa Clara has more than 1,500 inmates with up to 40 prisoners in cells measuring 32 square feet.

Several of the 11 released prisoners testified to prisoners attempting to roll themselves in foam mattresses and set themselves alight.

Prisoners wanted to go to the United States and Chile but were forced to opt for Spain. Spanish authorities have said they will give freed immigrant status with residence and work permits that would allow them to travel freely. They can also, it is said, apply for political asylum in Spain or for a visa to go to the United States.

The revelations by the former inmates once again should result in a worldwide demand that the Communist party sets Cuba free. It is a vast political prison of all Cubans.


July 16, 2010

Like Nazi German China harbors expansionary aims in the north and in the south demanding ‘living space’. In the 1960s Mao claimed that Russia had seized 1.5 million square kilometers from China. Of course the Communist tyrant did not mention the expansionist aspirations of Chinese emperors when the neighbors were just vassals. Great Han Hegemony is of course a future aim of the masters in Peking.

In a college textbook of 1952, A Short History of Modern China, there was a map depicting China with 19th century borders, designating 19 regions lost to a European power.

The 1954 edition of the textbook shows vast Chinese claims of land. In the northwest it is the Great Northwest Area ceded in 1864 and 1944. In the northeast a large Great Northeast Area is claimed ceded in 1858 and 1860. There are even claims that all of Korea should be under Chinese control.

Ten years later A Concise Geography of China showed China’s borders being settled with all neighbors, except for Russia. The borders were defined (between Sinkiang and Kazakhstan) as “undefined national boundary”.

Mao said in the 1960s that there were too many places occupied by Russia. About 100 years ago the area to the east of Lake Baikal became Russian territory and since then Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Kamchatka and other areas have become Russian territory. We have not yet presented our account for this list.

Naturally Russia is worrying about the over 100 million people in the three northern Chinese provinces compared to less than 10 million people in the Russian Far East. As soon as China fells strong enough to move into the Far East, it will. Already there is Chinese dominance in almost every sector of the Siberian consumer goods market.

It is time to take a closer look at the Chinese-Russian border question.


July 13, 2010

A new televison series, “Turmoil & Triumph” is a three-part documentary on PBS on Secretary of State George Shultz. Those who know about his outstanding role in the Reagan administration already regard him as one of the most significant statesmen in American history. The new series is only a confirmation of that view.

Schultz was Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of State. After the 1986 summit on nuclear-arms reduction in Reykjavik, which failed, Mr. Schultz undertook travels that resulted in a new summit. At that new summit Shultz, who was an economist by training brought in some charts and delivered a lecture of a business-school dean to the leader of the Soviet Union. He had told the Soviets that a new age had come—the age of information—a kind in which they could never thrive if they continued as “a closed and compartmented society.” Mr. Gorbachev after that truly understood that things had to change.

President Reagan and Secretary Schultz had to deal with a number of challenges during the administration: a civil war in Lebanon, Soviet nuclear missiles targeted at Western Europe and the terror bombing that killed 241 Marines in Beirut. It was a time of great American leadership, and most of the world saw it that way.

The television series is highly recommended.


July 12, 2010

In the beginning of July, 2010, U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, criticized left wing efforts to derail the President’s counterinsurgency strategy for Afghanistan.

The comments were made during Floor consideration of the Fiscal Year 2010 supplemental appropriations bill, which provides additional money to for U.S. military personnel and combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. House Democratic leaders allowed three amendments to be considered that would either defund or scale back U.S. operations in Afghanistan.

McKeon’s floor statement:

Mr. Speaker, I am very disappointed that the House Democratic leadership would allow a vote on these three amendments at this time. Make no mistake, all three would go far to cripple our war effort in Afghanistan and directly undermine the Commander-in-Chief.

Just 24 hours ago, the Senate unanimously confirmed General David Petraeus as the new Commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan. And yet not a day later, here we are on the House floor taking dangerous political potshots at our troops’ mission and the President’s strategy to surge an additional 30,000 troops to the region.

I strongly oppose all three Afghanistan amendments before us. Not only would they tie the hands of the Commander-in-Chief, but it sends the exact wrong message to our allies and enemies alike at such a critical moment in our efforts in Afghanistan.

Today our newly-confirmed Commander walked the halls at NATO headquarters, working to reassure our allies that our country is committed to this war. And right now he is heading to Afghanistan to take command. We should stand in unity with him—not sit here in Washington taking vote after vote to strip funding from our warfighters before his plane even touches down.

General Petraeus has proven himself to be one of America’s most capable military officers. He turned around a perilous situation in Iraq and our combat troops have started coming home. By the end of August our troop levels in Iraq will be down to 50,000 for training and reserve purposes.

I believe the President has chosen the right Commander and the right strategy in Afghanistan. I’m confident General Petraeus and our troops can succeed if given the time, space, and resources they need to complete their mission.

As the General arrives in Afghanistan, those of us here in Congress cannot lose sight of the broader perspective: our brave military men and women, and their civilian counterparts, are in the midst of a tough fight that is critical to U.S. national security. Cutting off their funding in the middle of that fight is tantamount to abandonment…

The timeline for success in Afghanistan cannot be dictated by arbitrary political clocks here in Washington; it must be driven by the operational clock in Kabul, Kandahar, and the Afghan countryside. We all hope and pray that this goal can be accomplished by July 2011, but the President must adhere to his recent comments that conditions on the ground will dictate the pace of any withdrawal next summer.

I urge my colleagues to reject these ill-timed measures, reject attempts to strip funding for our warfighters, and instead show our troops and allies a united front in our efforts.