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Jurnalul.ro Vechiul site Old site English Version "Molded in Moscow and Chiseled on in Bucharest"

"Molded in Moscow and Chiseled on in Bucharest"

26 Noi 2004   •   00:00

Ion Mihai Pacepa, the former general in the Romanian communist political police who defected to the West in 1978 and asked for political asylum in the United States, authored the following analysis on the end of the Arafat era.

DOCUMENT. Pacepa (with glasses), right from Ceausescu, in 1978, at Romanian Embassy in USA
Our newspaper published all comments Pacepa made for the American press, and quoted his statements from all on-line debates. When former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat died we asked Pacepa to provide an analysis for the Romanian media. The following article is the first he ever authored for a Romanian media outlet since leaving his native country. Subtitles only were provided by the editors of Jurnalul national for the Romanian language copy:

"Jurnalul national daily asked me to write an obituary of Yasser Arafat, a man whose life crossed with mine in various ways, over the span of 50 years. Customarily, only nice words are said about the dead. Arafat, however, is one of the few personalities of our time who waved that courtesy to be extended to him. Even Western media outlets, which praised Arafat for decades, realized now that he was the only Nobel Prize laureate on whom the public does not hold basic information like where he came from, what was his name and what was the cause of his death. When Paul Martin, of The Washington Times, asked Arafat back in July 2004, in the last interview Arafat gave to a Western media outlet, "Where were you born," he was stopped short by Arafat’s aides: "Question not allowed," Martin was told.

Arafat was cast into a mold in Moscow and chiseled politically in Bucharest, and this is why he had to live his life and die his death shrouded in secrecy. For five decades he claimed to have been born in Jerusalem, and his final wish was to be buried there. In fact, Arafat was born in Cairo, Egypt; his real name was Mohamed Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa al-Husseini and he was given a Palestinian identity by Moscow, in the same way the Soviets turned into Romanians Hungarian or Bulgarian ethnics to make them leaders of the Romanian Communist Party, like Elek Koblos (1924-1928), Vitali Holostenko (1928-1931), Aleksandr Danieluk (1931-1935), and Boris Stefanov (1935-1940). Or, to come closer to our time, Arafat was a groomed Palestinian as Soviet general Panteleimon Bondarenko was groomed as Gheorghe Pintilie to be the first leader of the Romanian communist intelligence services.

Yasser Arafat, or Abu Ammar, by his war-time name, was a multi-faceted personality. To the leaders of the former Soviet intelligence community, he was known as "tovarishch Yaska." The KGB became interested in Arafat back in 1957, when he became leader of the General Union of the Palestinian Students, headquartered in Cairo.
The KGB recruited him the following year as an agent for opinion swaying. It happened in Prague, while Arafat took part in the International Union of Students, which was financed by Moscow.
At the time, the KGB was interested in boosting a Palestinian revolutionary movement and Arafat was one of the potential leaders they selected for the job. Hence the KGB fabricated his new identity, as a native of Jerusalem and not of Cairo, providing the relevant papers.
The "D" department of the KBG, dealing with disinformation, took over Falastinuna (Our Palestine), a four-page long bulletin edited by Arafat for the Egyptian students, and turned it into 48-page long magazine, with international circulation. In those years the KGB was mastering the spreading of ideas through magazines with international circulation, like Courrier de la Paix, Nouvelles du monde etudiant, Federation Mondiale de la Jeunesse Democratique, which were printed in Moscow and were the official mouthpieces for the international organizations funded by the KGB.

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THE LEADER. As Pacepa is saying, Kremlin was promoting Arafat as leader of OEP, in 1963

Arafat’s magazine, in its new layout, continued to carry the name of Falastinuna, but was circulated all over Europe, where a great number of Palestinians were studying. In 1957-1959, when I was heading the Romanian spy-cell in West Germany, I also had the task of circulating Falastinuna among various local Marxist groups, like Revolutionäre Zellen (Revolutionary Cells) and Revolutionärer Kampf (Revolutionary Fight), where a good number of Palestinians were active.

In 1963, the Kremlin planted Arafat at the head of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), which was designed in Moscow as a grave-digger organization for Israel. The PLO was the first so-called "Potemkin city" to be built in the Middle East. The name for the organization was born in the KGB headquarters, on Lubianka Street, where other organizations where brought to life, like the Democratic National Front in Romania, in 1994; the National Salvation Front (SAM), in Spain, in 1955; the National Army for the Liberation of Bolivia, in 1964; the National Army for the Liberation of Columbia, in 1965; the National Front for the Liberation of Palestine, in 1970.
The new PLO was led by a communist-type Executive Committee and had the task to transform its traditional anti-Semitism into a military doctrine of the Middle East, as Moscow changed the Marxism into the military doctrine of the Soviet bloc. Romania provided the PLO with military fatigues, medicine, forged passports and other logistics. The KGB and the Stasi, the East German intelligence service, provided the PLO with ammunition and weapons, like AK-47s and Katiushas.

In 1969 Arafat was "elected" president of the Executive Committee of the PLO, on a proposal from Gamal Abdel Nasser, who was also on the Moscow’s pay-roll.
Once taking over his new position at the helm, Arafat was instructed by Moscow to create a Palestinian state that would replace Israel, not one that would stay side-by-side with it. He also had the task to stir the hate of the Islamic world against the American "imperial-Zionism" to which it declared war against a few months later, at the Congress in Barcelona of the "Black International," which was funded by the KGB. Arafat said he coined the term "imperial-Zionism," but in fact this "battle-cry", as it was termed in the US, was born in Moscow, from a fusion of traditional Russian anti-Semitism and of Soviet anti-Americanism.

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LAST DAYS IN ROMANIA. Pacepa (the third, from left to right), with the prime minister Ion Gheorghe Maurer (on chair), at a chase , before defecting from Securitate and leaving Romania

To the western intelligence services I cooperated with, after my defection in 1978, Arafat was the next-in line darling, after [Romanian dictator Nicolae] Ceausescu.
In March 1978, Arafat was secretly flown in to Bucharest, on one of the Romanian Securitate planes, to be instructed on how to charm the White House. I described those events 17 years ago, in my book "Red Horizons," which is the diary of my last 30 days in Ceausescu’s service. The strategy of the whole operation was designed at Kremlin. According to it, Arafat was to formally renounce terrorism in exchange for the US establishing diplomatic relations with the PLO.
Arafat adamantly opposed the idea, when Ceausescu presented it to him: "I was born a terrorist and I will die a terrorist!," said Arafat to Ceausescu. "All governments, including the communist ones, are bound by international laws and agreements which turn terrorism untenable," said Arafat.

My former boss convinced Arafat with the aid of dialectic-materialism - they both were fanatic Stalinists. Ceausescu agreed that terrorism was the only weapon Arafat could realistically deploy, but patiently explained him that if he re-vamped the PLO into a Government in exile, and claim to have renounced on terrorism, than the US will shower him with money and honors.
"But you have to make these claims on a daily basis," said Ceausescu to Arafat.
"Political influence is like dialectic materialism: they both are based on the principle of quantitative accumulation which will turn into qualitative change. Both act as morphine. If you inhale it once, there will be no change in your life, but if you do it daily, you turn into a drug addict - that’s the thing with the qualitative change," Ceausescu explained.

One month later, Ceausescu told [US President Jimmy] Carter that he would be able to determine Arafat to recognize Israel and renounce terrorism in exchange for the US establishing diplomatic relations with the PLO. I was seated at the right of the former Romanian dictator and heard with my own years when Carter proclaimed Ceausescu to be "a great national and international leader" and whispered him that he will propose him for the Nobel Prize.

Three months later, however, the US President granted me political asylum, and so Ceausescu’s chances to a Nobel Prize went down the drain. A few years later, though, Arafat, Ceausescu’s favorite disciple, was invited with pomp and ceremony to the White House by another US President, Bill Clinton, who thanked him for "the decades of strenuous efforts for the liberation and prosperity of the Palestinian people." Stockholm pampered Arafat with a Nobel Peace Prize, and [the French President] Jacques Chirac honored him as a head of state, though Arafat never represented a state, while the president of Egypt granted him a state funeral.

In 1978, two months after my defection to the US, I was indirectly involved into the Camp Davis negotiations between president Carter, Menachem Begin and Anwar al-Sadat, with whom I was previously in contact to organize a similar conference in Sinaia, Romania. I tried then to persuade Arafat to follow into my foot-steps, but he preferred the solution presented by Ceausescu and to be loyal to the Kremlin.

Arafat will go in history as the father of contemporary terrorism. Yuri Andropov, the head of the KGB who later became the president of the USRR, maneuvered Arafat for 19 years. Andropov gave Arafat the "Cheiadbom" nick-name, which is the short for Chelovecheskaia Iadernaia Bomba, or the Human Nuclear Bomb. Arafat lived up to his nick-name.

In 1969 he turned the high jacking of planes into an instrument of political terror, which was further developed and used in the infamous attack against the US, on 11 September 2001, when 3,000 people died. In 2000 he invented the human bombs, which then became the weapon of choice of terrorists in Iraq, which resulted in other thousands of victims.

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BEST-SELLER. In the image, first print of "Red Horizons" offered to president Ronald Reagan by the congressman Frank Wolf, which in December 1989 was flying to Bucharest, having the mission to bring Dana Pacepa, the general""s daughter, in USA

Each time I visited the KGB headquarters, on Liubianka Street, I was shown a world map which accurately displayed every terrorist act Arafat organized. The first one took place on 23 July 1968, when his terrorists boarded the El Al flight 426 from Rome to Tel Aviv and high-jacked it to Algiers, where the 38 passengers and 10 crew-members where held hostage for five weeks. Soon afterwards, Arafat’s terrorists blew up a Swissair plane in mid air, killing the 47 people on board, and the huge publicity encouraged the PLO leader to widen the span of his terrorist activities.

I list here only some of such deeds which were attributed to Arafat by the KGB, while I was still an intelligence officer in Romania:
- the capture of an El Al plane, in December 1968, on the airport in Athens;
- the destruction of the El Al offices in Zurich, in February 1969;
- an attack on an El Al plane in Athens, in November 1969;
- an attack on the Ben Gurion airport, ended in 22 people dead and 76 wounded, in May 1972;
- an attack on a passenger train in Vienna, in September 1973;
- an explosive device taking off in a theatre in Tel Aviv, leaving two people dead and 66 wounded, in December 1974;
- an attack on a hotel in Tel Aviv, leaving 25 dead and six wounded, in March 1975; bomb attacks on Zion Square in Jerusalem, in May and July 1975, resulting in 15 people dead and 62 wounded;
- an attack on the El Al office in the Brussels airport, which left 12 people wounded in April 1978;
- high-jacking an El Al plane in Paris, resulting in 12 people wounded, in May 1978.
As Gen. Aleksandr Sakharovski, a KGB councilor for Romania and later head of the Soviet spies for 15 years, noted: "Tovarishch Yaska changed the face of the world."

From a judicial point of view, Arafat should be regarded as a common law criminal.
He personally coordinated the abduction and killing of former US Ambassador to Sudan, Cleo A. Noel Jr., of his chargee d’affaires, George Curtis Moore, and of the Belgian chargee d’affaires to Khartoum, Guy Eid. In May 1973, during a private dinner offered by Ceausescu to Arafat, the latter boasted about these political assassinations.
"Take good care," Ion Gheorghe Maurer [high communist official] told him. "If you kill or steal, you still may go to jail, even if you’re a head of state." Though a hardened communist, Maurer had a superstitious fear of what he called "the two fundamental crimes" of humanity.
"No one will ever be able to prove that I was a part of it," answered back Arafat.
The PLO leader was wrong, however.

In 2002, James Walsh, former American officer in the 70s with the National Security Agency, who was in charge with intercepting Arafat’s phone calls, contacted me after I published an extended article on Arafat in the US media.
Walsh was still obsessed by a never deciphered phone call between Arafat and one of his deputies, Abu Jihad. "Terminate Nahr al-Barad," was the order. The mystery was then solved: Nahr al-Barad was the code-name for the PLO operation to kidnap Ambassador Cleo A. Noel Jr.
Abu Jihad was the one who led the team conducting the operation and got the order from Arafat via radio, on 2 March 1973, at 20:00. The ambassador and the other two hostages were killed a few minutes after eight o’clock that evening.
In the summer of 2002 the link between Noel’s killing and Arafat was fully established and he turned into a political dead-meat.

To his fellow Palestinians, Arafat was a sort of Ceausescu, to go down in history as a symbol of terrorism, tyranny and corruption. Both Arafat and Ceausescu treated their peoples as personal slaves. Ceausescu sold his countrymen [to the West, when seeking to emigrate] for hard currency. Arafat turned them into suicide-bombs.
Both plundered their peoples’ wealth. In 1978, when I turned my back to communism, Ceausescu and his family already got all major positions of public office and 400 million dollars in their personal accounts. Arafat was the ultimate despot to the Palestinians, whom he ruled over for four decades, and died as one of the wealthiest people in the world; his wealth stashed in Swiss accounts is estimated at two to three billion dollars.

In November 1989, the 3,000 delegates to the 14th Congress of the Romanian Communist Party cheered Ceausescu for over 100 minutes as the utmost hero, and re-elected him as supreme leader of Romania. I still keep the copies of Scanteia daily [ The Star, the official mouthpiece of the party] published during those days, which describe "the euphoria the country welcomed with this historic event." A few weeks later the revolution in Europe swept Romania too, and Ceausescu was executed for genocide by his own subjects.
From one day to another, Ceausescu turned from the "beloved son of the people" into a true Dracula, and Romanians started to look to the West for the changes to come; 13 years later Romania became a NATO member state.

Unfortunately, the Palestinians are still faithful to the memory of Arafat.
On 16 November 2004 the military organization Fatah renamed the Al Aqsa 2 rocket as "Yasser 1", one of the main weapons used by Palestinian terrorists in the Middle East.
Abu Kasi, one of the leaders of the Al Aqsa terrorist brigade, created by Arafat, announced that 5,000 human bombs are ready to take off in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip, and unleash a new Intifada against the Jewish and American "imperial-Zionism."

In 2001, President George W. Bush and vice-president Dick Cheney were informed in detail about the true face of Arafat and refused to recognize him as a Palestinian leader.
This move started the process of side-lining Arafat from politics and history. Bush’s reelection with a majority of popular vote never before reached in history gives hope to the world that the fallout of Arafat’s disastrous tyranny will be eradicated. Even before Arafat’s burial, the US President launched a new peace initiative for the Middle East. The British PM, Tony Blair, immediately agreed; so a coalition is thus formed to eradicate Arafat’s terrorism and help Palestinians finally build a peaceful, civilized and prosperous state.
If the French and German government will come on board, that will be good, but if they won’t this will not be a hurdle against the plan.

In the Second World War the US and Great Britain freed France single-handedly and eradicated the German, Italian and Japanese militarism. Following that, they went alone in helping the former enemies to become prosperous democracies.
As Margret Thatcher, the famous British PM during the Cold War, said: "The English speaking countries preserved the rule of law and the freedom for the world, in the 20th century. And they will do it again in the 21st one."
On 22 December 2002, when President Bush paid his first visit to Bucharest, a rainbow crossed the sky. "Even God smiles to us," said then Bush. I have serious reasons to believe that a rainbow will soon cross the Palestinians’ sky too."

Biographical Notes On Pacepa
Ion Mihai Pacepa was born in 1928, in Bucharest, where he graduated the Polytechnic Institute. In 1951 he got a job with the General Direction of the State Security, in the Ministry of Interior, as an under-lieutenant. On 28 June 1978 he asked President Jimmy Carter for political asylum. He was holding at the time the rank of lieutenant-general, personal councilor to the Romanian president, Nicolae Ceausescu, deputy minister of interior and deputy head of the espionage division. He is the highest ranking intelligence officer in the former Soviet bloc to have defected to the West.

During the next 20 years Pacepa cooperated with the US Government on various espionage operations conducted against countries in the Soviet bloc. American authorities recognized in a public document Pacepa’s "important and unique contribution to the United States" during this time.

In November 1987 Pacepa published "Red Horizons," the first book to be published in the West on the life of a communist dictator. Radio Free Europe broadcast excerpts of it during 1988 and 1989. On 25 December 1989 Nicolae and Elena Ceausescu were condemned to death on the basis of almost verbatim accusations lifted from Pacepa’s "Red Horizons."

The second edition of the book contains the short-hand notes of the Ceausescus trial, which in fact is an abstract of the book on Ceausescu. On 26 December 1989 the "Red Horizons" started to be published in a series of articles by Adevarul daily [formerly Scanteia], mentioning that the book played "an undisputable role" in overturning the tyrant. Photographs of the time presented in the American media showed that President George Bush senior kept a copy of "Red Horizons" on his table. During the following years the book was translated in 26 languages and turned into a world-wide best-seller. General Pacepa is a contributor to major American and European media outlets, like Wall Street Journal, Washington Times, Los Angeles Times, American Spectator, National Review and L’Express. In Romania, Pacepa published "The Kremlin’s Legacy" and the trilogy "The Black Book of the Securitate." In the US, Pacepa is a regular guest to on-line debates on international topics, organized by the FrontPage Magazine.

Pacepa works now on a book about Arafat.



Translation: ANCA PADURARU