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[letterhead] General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces


Copy Nº 4


[Original Polish receipt and

declassification stamps]



(as of 0800 2 June 1988)





(as of 0800 2 June 1988)


  1. The BLUES continue to extend a campaign of slander against the REDS, their allies, and supporters. They say that the REDS have upset the balance of forces and are seeking new conquests to distract their peoples’ attention away from economic difficulties. The governments of the REDS are allegedly rejecting all peace proposals and appeals from various organizations and people who enjoy worldwide respect.
  2. Hostile acts against diplomatic representatives of the REDS are increasing in the BLUE countries. In spite of this, diplomatic contacts of the countries united in opposing blocs are characterized by increased activity. Political representatives and leaders say that the purpose of their actions and efforts is to avert war.
  3. At a meeting of the UN Security Council convened on 12 June at their initiative the leaders of the REDS accused some BLUE countries of whipping up tension in Europe, increasing military-political interference in other regions of the world, and putting pressure on the governments of countries which are dependent on them. It was declared that their lying and slanderous propaganda against the REDS had gone far beyond the bounds of good practice in international relations and is evidence of an intent to aggravate relations and a desire to cover their own aggressive intentions and preparations.
  4. The governments of the BLUES are reinforcing the economic blockage of the RED countries. They are announcing or threatening to introduce an air and naval blockade of certain continental and ocean regions of the world. They are trying to subject the ships of some RED countries in these regions to illegal controls.
  5. The propaganda campaign of slander against the sociopolitical system and government leaders of the REDS is increasing. Along with this subversive centers are pursuing activity directed at dividing the public, exciting anti-social forces, and creating a political and subversive underground.
  6. In response to the increasing aggressiveness of the BLUES the leaders of the REDS published a joint statement which noted that “the only sensible outcome of the situation which has developed is the achievement of an agreement between the opposing groups”.


  1. The unfavorable influence of the international situation on the views and the mood of the population is being observed in all regions of the country. A reduction of interest in work is being noted at industrial enterprises. Nervousness, discord, disorganization, and a lowering of labor discipline are increasing among the managers of enterprises. There are increasingly fewer young people in class at higher educational institutions. In spite of appeals from authorities long lines are forming in front of stores, including people who should be working at the time. As regards the shortage of foods in Wroclaw, for example, there appeared calls for workers to “vigorously protest”, including striking. An increased movement of the population by rail and road is being observed. Telephone lines are overloaded. Malicious agitation and undesirable phenomena are increasing in the countryside. Almost all deliveries of agricultural products to purchase points have stopped. Speculation is increasing throughout the entire country.
  2. Subversive propaganda centers and anti-government underground activists are increasing activity directed at subverting the country’s defense policy and also at discrediting its armed forces and the ministry of internal affairs. The increased size of expenditures for defense in comparison with the scale of social needs is cited in radio broadcasts. The capabilities of the weapons and equipment of our Army are doubted and it is called a “hopeless army”. Hostile propaganda is increasing among workers calculated at generating protests against “work, wage, and standard of living” conditions and “the necessity of sticking to utopian solutions of the problem of the political system”.
  3. The hostility of views, moods, and statements of part of the population is increasing throughout the entire country, namely:

a) in some population centers attempts have been made to organize street demonstrations “in defense of freedom and peace”. Handbills are being distributed containing calls for the protection of people refusing to serve in the Army;

b) at some enterprises criticism and dissatisfaction with the supply of raw materials and resources is increasing;

Some of the workers say that “in view of the passivity of the authorities” who are not in control of the situation they ought to make decisions independently and also express the opinion that in the event war begins the authorities would not be able to ensure the normal functioning of the economy and public life;

c) handbills have been distributed in six industrial centers containing instructions to effectively put machines and production equipment out of commission;

d) pessimism is growing in all levels of society with respect to the possibility of a peaceful solution to contentious international problems. Part of the public is under the strong influence of malicious propaganda and does not see the possibility of a victory by the REDS in a possible war. The opinion is also expressed that our territory will be occupied by BLUE troops;

e) in some population centers acts of terrorism and sabotage with the use of small explosive charges have been committed (railroad stations, bus stations [avtostantsiya], stores, post offices). The population is demanding that authorities severely punish the guilty.


  1. The political attitudes, morale, and discipline of servicemen, especially regular army personnel, are good. Dedication and precision in carrying out assignments to maintain combat readiness are increasing. No negative phenomena are being observed in the sentiments in the Army. Individual statements and incidents encounter a vigorous rebuff from commanders.
  2. In spite of some nervousness, the personnel of command organizations exhibit a feeling of responsibility for the timely and meticulous accomplishment of assigned tasks. Increased educational work with soldiers, primarily with reservists, is being done by cadre personnel..
  3. Political organs are stepping up preparations for operations in combat conditions. They are successfully combating hostile influences on the personnel. Requests are coming from formations and units for relevant information about the military and political situation and for propaganda materials.


This document provides a scenario in which the “Blue” governments have engaged in a campaign of increasingly hostile propaganda intended to discredit the “Red” bloc socioeconomic system. Consequently, domestic morale is low. The population has grown pessimistic and, in light of the international situation, feels emboldened to challenge the Red authorities and leaders.

Warsaw Treaty Organization–Armed Forces
Warsaw Treaty Organization–Military policy
Warsaw Treaty Organization
Eastern Europe


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[letterhead] General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces


Copy Nº 4


[Original Polish receipt and

declassification stamps]


Nº 1



as of 0800 2 June 1988


The fall of 1987 brought a considerable revival of multilateral and bilateral relations between the BLUE and RED countries. The governments of both sides began constructive talks to relax tension and strengthen means of mutual trust. Controversial decisions were made and zones of influence were also identified in areas where oil and natural gas were being intensively exploited.

As a result of the revived political dialog there came a softening of the binding positions about the free exchange of information and the development of private tourism. The magnitude of the influence of the mass media on the population rose in connection with the use of satellite communications. The mass media of the BLUES played a leading role in this.

In the spring of 1988 the policy of détente was not supported by the command staff of the armed forces of the BLUE countries. The senior officers in the leadership of the armed forces began to officially oppose the policy pursued by their governments. Acts of terrorism against active political leaders who supported the policy of détente occurred in the BLUE countries.

The ordinary personnel of the armed forces began to doubt the results of the work of international commissions to monitor the measures being taken within the framework of inspecting the actual implementation of previously concluded agreements. They disputed the trustworthiness of the work being done and vilified the governments of the RED countries, blaming them for trying to upset the military balance in their favor.

Detailed programs for the rapid introduction of arms shipments into the armed forces of these countries were presented in spring briefings with the command staff of the armed forces of the BLUE countries. The program to equip the armed forces with smart weapons was cut to five years. The deadline to complete this program will be 1993. Armored and mechanized divisions have become the main formations of the ground forces. Decisions were made about the intensive training of servicemen for them to master the latest generation of combat equipment. The number of exercises with troops in at the regimental-battalion echelon has increased considerably.

The number of exercises with troops in the first quarter of 1988 doubled in comparison with the same quarter of the previous year. The intensive preparation of alternate local mobilization resources and the deployment of territorial defense units continue.


According to the treaties concluded between the BLUES and REDS by 1 May each side was to dismantle and destroy 50% of the warheads and medium-range ground-launched missiles, 40% of intermediate-range warheads and missiles, and also 25% of strategic nuclear platforms.

A reorganization of formations has been completed in the Ground Forces. The posture and main weaponry is in Appendix Nº 2 to operational assignment Nº 1.

The latest generation equipment has been placed in service in the fighter-bomber and transport aircraft of the Air Forces. Su-25 aircraft have been placed in service in fighter-bomber air divisions, and in some fighter units, Su-27’s and MiG-29’s. Transport aviation has received aircraft with a increased range and greater cargo capacity. In addition, cruise missiles have been placed in service in army aviation air units; each Army has one air squadron of 24 cruise missiles.

A surface ship modernization program is being carried out in the Navy, particularly with missile armament. The first missile frigates have entered service. Sixty percent of submarines have been modernized. They were equipped with automated navigation systems and sonar suites to detect and identify targets. Naval aviation is being modernized. New types of anti-submarine helicopters are coming into service.


Intensive training in garrisons, training grounds, and training areas located near the barracks continues in the armed forces of the BLUE countries. The main effort in the training process has been concentrated on improving the systems of mobilization deployment of the armed forces. The main effort in the formations and units of operational troops has been concentrated on mastering new equipment and organizing coordination with aviation.

[The following] continue within the framework of the spring series of exercises on the territory of BLUE countries:

  • VESNA-88, a multi-stage command staff exercise, continues in the LEIPZIG, HALLE, ERFURT, PLAUEN area,
  • LABENDYN 2/88, a multi-stage command-staff exercise of the formations of the 26th Army, in the area southwest of NEUBRANDENBURG, WAREN, and MIROW,
  • selected units of missile troops and artillery at the front echelon are conducting a tactical exercise with live firing at training areas in the area of LUCKENWALDE, LÜBBEN, and SCHÖNEWALDE,
  • beginning 1 June selected coastal defense units in coordination with territorial defense units began the exercise BEREG in the area of WISMAR Bay in which the planning, organization, and conduct of an anti-amphibious assault landing operation are being worked out.

About 3000 soldiers and sailors and also about 40 ships of various classes are involved in the operation,

  • VOLANT, an opposing-force exercise with units of the 21st md, has been conducted since 26 May in the GRYFINO Training Area. A mobilization deployment of cadre units was conducted in the first stage of the exercise. A total of more than 3000 reservists were involved. The main stage of the exercise will start on 3 June in which munitions will be fired.
  • MAR’YASH-88, an opposing-force exercise with units of the 344th msd, began in the area of the FRANKFURT Training Area on 30 May. The main purpose of the exercise is to conduct a surprise inspection of plans to replenish personnel from the “B” table of organization and improve officers’ and reservists’ knowledge about the planning, organization and conduct of defensive operations in the division in the initial stage of a war,
  • BAR’ER-88, an opposing-force exercise with units of the 35th td, began on 1 June in the region of the COTTBUS Training Area. The main purpose of the exercise is to inspect the state of the division’s combat readiness and its combat effectiveness for use in battle after regrouping to a great distance. The exercise will conclude with an inspected [inspektsionnaya] firing at the Training Area,
  • on 28-29 May the BLUES conducted an inspection of the activation of the troop notification and mobilization deployment system on the territory of the Central TO District.

The inspection was played out and involved 50% of the personnel of the TO units and subunits in the District.


28 May. The VESNA-88 exercise concluded. Units of the 63rd td remained on the territory of the LEIPZIG Training Area to conduct additional firing; the remaining staffs and units were regrouped to permanently deployed locations.

As a result of the pressure brought about by military circles, on 1 June the BLUES halted work on the elimination of medium and intermediate-range missiles because of the alleged continuing modernization of tactical nuclear platforms in the armed forces of the RED countries.


This intelligence summary describes a potential scenario in which the policy of detente in “Blue” countries begins to deteriorate and increased military exercises are conducted.

Warsaw Treaty Organization–Armed Forces
Warsaw Treaty Organization–Military policy
Warsaw Treaty Organization
Eastern Europe
Warsaw Pact Military Planning


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[letterhead] General Staff of the Polish Armed Forces


Copy Nº 4


[Original Polish receipt and

declassification stamps]


Nº 2




for the period 0800 2 June to 1900 6 June 1988


The actions of the BLUE countries have led to a further aggravation of the military-political situation in Europe. In their official statements the leaders of the BLUE countries accused the governments of the RED countries of violating human rights and also of forcing their citizens to perform military obligations.

Alternative military service is being subjected to sharp criticism, particularly in the Polish armed forces.

The parliaments of the BLUE countries have approved government proposals about granting special credits for the financing of dissident organizations operating in the RED countries. Propaganda directed against political parties and government groups has been stepped up and the number of radio broadcasts in Slavic languages has been increased . Dissident organizations active in RED countries have increased their efforts in order to shake the unity of the [RED] countries and provoke a rebellion.

The diplomatic steps of the RED countries to halt conflict and relax international tension have not brought tangible results. The security services of the BLUE countries have recently taken steps to publicly compromise the most active diplomats from the RED countries. More than 50 diplomats from RED countries had been expelled from BLUE countries by 5 June. The mass media is waging a campaign against other diplomats who have allegedly engaged in espionage.

Taking retaliatory measures, the REDS suggested that 30 diplomats of the BLUE countries leave their countries, accusing [them] of espionage, and did not agree to the accreditation of 20 diplomats of these countries. The BLUES accused the RED countries of whipping up tension in bilateral relations and also of intentionally inflaming international relations in order to lead to an armed confrontation.


Within the framework of a spring series of exercises and preparations for a strategic command-staff exercise, DRUZHBA-88, in which operations groups from the staffs of the Northern, Central, and Southern Fronts, armies and selected divisions are to be involved, the BLUES are continuing to develop measures to inspect the state of combat readiness of the large formations and formations in the ground forces, air forces, and navy. A regrouping of formations and units is being conducted.

During the exercises being conducted up to now measures have being worked out to verify the state of combat and mobilization readiness of the selected formations and units. Officers are improving their knowledge in the area of planning, organizing, and marching to great distances. In addition, an inspection of the level of combat training of the troops involved in the exercise is being conducted.

In addition to the exercises being conducted up to now in the ground forces of the BLUE countries, in recent days the following training measures have begun to be worked out:

  • on 2 June at the CEDYNIA Training Area, a one-sided exercise of units selected from the 28th td under the name RUBIN-88. The primary goal of the exercise is to improve the troops’ planning, organization, and conduct of defensive operations;
  • on 4 June an opposing-force exercise with the troops of the 62nd td under the name CHERNYY KOT began at the [WEISSEWASSER] Training Area. The goal of the exercise is to check the state of combat readiness of division units and improve the officers’ knowledge of the planning, organization, and conduct of defensive operations in the initial period of a war;
  • on the morning of 6 June an inspection of the combat readiness of the 10th and 12th td’s was declared. At 1200 the departure of units of these divisions for areas where troops go on alert was noted;
  • in areas north of NEUBRANDENBURG the operation of the field CP communications center of the 26th Army; 15 km west of NEURUPPIN [that of the] 27th Army; 20 km east of DESSAU -[of] the 35th Army; 18 km north of KARL-MARX-STADT – [of] the 36th Army; and 25 km north of PRAGUE, [of] the 48th Army were noted;
  • intensive training of troops has been noted in training grounds near locations of permanent deployment and in the areas of [LIPSTADT] and SIEGEN. The outfitting of the troops and the technical condition of transport equipment is being checked;
  • the departure of march columns of the 36th td was noted in the area of HALLE at 1800 6 June. Traffic control posts were set up on the streets in an easterly direction;
  • intensified preparations for a march of the 63rd td were noted in the area of the LEIPZIG Training Area;
  • formations and units not involved in the exercise are in permanently deployed locations and are undergoing intensive training.


The number of workers employed in key military industrial enterprises has increased in the BLUE countries. The high rate of production of T-72 tanks and SU-27 and MiG-29 aircraft is being maintained.

The implementation of a program to build and repair ships and submarines has been accelerated. Restrictions have been introduced on the free movement of RED diplomats in the territory of most of the BLUE countries.

The security of important military facilities has been strengthened, new passes introduced, and the operating procedures of the personnel observation and monitoring systems near guarded facilities have been increased.

On 5 June government control over the distribution of fuel and electrical power was introduced in a majority of BLUE countries. Their supply to the civilian population was reduced considerably.

The number of reconnaissance flights along the border with the BLUE countries has increased as well as reconnaissance missions [reysy], especially in the Baltic Sea area. Fishing cutters have been enlisted to conduct reconnaissance in the waters bordering the RED countries. The number of fishing cutters of the BLUE countries in fishing grounds near the territorial waters of RED countries increased sharply last week.

An increase in the tempo of repair work, the installation of air defense equipment on several BLUE ships, technical inspections, and the presence of crews on mothballed ships has been noted in ports and naval bases.

On the night of 5-6 June selected surface ships left the main naval bases for forming-up places within the framework of preparations for the SKAGEN-88 exercise which, according to plan, will be held from 7 June to 6 July in the area of the western BALTIC straits.

On 5 June an inspection of the air defense system was conducted in the BLUE countries. An additional 36 radar stations and 46 AAA battery firing positions were deployed near airfields within the framework of this inspection. Individual air defense regions have reached readiness Nº 2 within the framework of a training exercise.

At 1900 6 June a codeword message to bring formations and units into full combat readiness was intercepted in the warning net of the armed forces of the BLUE countries.


This document provides background information on a hypothetical political/military scenario leading up to the command staff exercise SHICHT-88 [TARCZA-88 in Polish]. In the scenario ‘Blue’ military leaders have begun to oppose the policy of detente pursued by their governments and consequently have raised their level of combat readiness by increasing the frequency of military exercises and pressured ‘Blue’ governments into ending the destruction of intermediate-range nuclear forces as required by the 1987 Treaty on Intermediate Nuclear Forces in Europe. In response the ‘Reds’ have also raised their combat readiness. The increased international tension has affected the situation within Poland, contributing to increased anti-government sentiment.

Warsaw Treaty Organization–Armed Forces
Warsaw Treaty Organization–Military policy
Warsaw Treaty Organization
Anti-communist movements
Press–Western countries
West Germany





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On the order of implementing military technical cooperation of the USSR with foreign countries

1.Decisions on questions of military technical cooperation of the Soviet Union and foreign countries are made by the USSR Council of Ministers after approval by the CPSU Central Committee.

In accordance with Resolution No. 878-210 of the USSR Council of Ministers from July 30, 1987 “On measures to improve military technical cooperation with foreign countries,” consideration of concrete questions in this area is entrusted to the State Commission of the USSR Council of Ministers on Military-Industrial Questions.

2.In accordance with Resolution No. 320 of the USSR Council of Ministers from March 12, 1988 practical implementation of military technical cooperation with foreign countries is entrusted to the Ministry of Foreign Economic Connections (MVES). This cooperation is intended to ensure the USSR conducts a unified foreign economic policy and safeguards its interests in foreign arms markets and the effectiveness of cooperation
3.Resolution No. 191 of the USSR Council of Ministers from February 28, 1989 has determined the functions fulfilled by the MVES to implement military technical cooperation together with the USSR Ministry of Defense, the USSR Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Gosplan, and other relevant Ministries and agencies, including:

– Consideration of the manner of foreign countries’ handling of deliveries of special property and provision of technical cooperation in its mastery, operation, and application;

– Implementation of delivery of special and other property from the USSR for the needs of armies, internal affairs agencies, and state safety;

– Provision of technical cooperation to foreign countries in creation of special units;

– Financial and monetary planning in all forms of operations among participants in military technical cooperation with foreign countries;

– Planning and organization of transfers of special property, its insurance, and ensuring the safety of delivery;

– Implementation of activities to secure the state and state secrets in work conducted and other functions;

In relation to the foregoing, the USSR MVES reserves the right:

– To communicate within the framework of its competency with institutions, organizations, and authorities of foreign states in the same way within the USSR as abroad, and to assign them and accept technical materials, samples, and documents from them in established order.

– To conduct talks and sign agreements as ordered by the Soviet government with foreign countries and to provide signatures on contracts with corresponding organizations in other countries;

– To send Soviet specialists abroad in established order in order to carry out their accepted duties and receive foreign delegations.

The USSR MVES implements military technical cooperation through the Main Engineering Administration, the Main Technical Administration, and the Main Administration on Cooperation, which are independent domestic organizations of this Ministry with rights as legal entities.

Reference: The measures by which the state regulates foreign economic activities are determined by Resolution No. 203 of the USSR Council of Ministers from March 7, 1989, and it states that “Enterprises, unions, manufacturing cooperatives, and other Soviet organizations cannot export weapons, firearms, military equipment, explosive substances, nuclear materials… individual types of products and technologies that are used or may be used in the creation of weapons or military equipment, poisons, narcotics, or psychotropic substances… other types of products or services, whose export is forbidden, unless otherwise provided by legislation.”

List of responsibilities allocated to the USSR Council of Ministers, CPSU Central Committee, Ministry of Foreign Economic Connections, and other relevant ministries on issues relating to the implementation of military technical cooperation between the USSR and foreign countries.

Warsaw Treaty Organization
Soviet Union–Military policy
Soviet Union



7 Atrocities Soviet Dictator Joseph Stalin Committed | HowStuffWorksCde. APRESOV!

Sheng Shicai’s letter made a depressing impression on our comrades. Only a provocateur or an hopeless “leftist” having no idea about Marxism could have written it. What could have happened that Sheng, having such an adviser as you, could have written us (me, Molotov, and Voroshilov) such a letter?

We are sending Sheng a suitable letter, but Cde. Svanidze will pass you a copy of our reply.

You should explain to Sheng the meaning of our reply and take steps so that the instructions given in our reply are followed.

I warn that if our instructions are not taken into consideration we will be forced to deny aid to Sheng.

The charter of the Union is not bad, but paragraph five about “equal rights” for women is not suitable for Xinjiang conditions and should be discarded.



27 July 1934

[a handwritten version of the above follows]


Sheng Shicai - Wikiwand

Governor Shicai Sheng expresses his firm belief in Communism, his desire to overthrow the Nanjing Government and construct a Communist state in its place, and the need to establish a Communist Party branch in Xinjiang. Emphasizing his long study of Marxist theory, he requests that Stalin, Molotov, and Voroshilov allow him to join the Communist Party.

SHENG, SHICAI, 1897-1970

Molotov, Vyacheslav M.
Stalin, Joseph, 1879-1953
China–Politics and government–1912-1949
Xinjiang Uygur Zizhiqu (China)–History
Sheng, Shicai, 1897-1970
Voroshilov, Kliment Efremovich, 1881-1969
China (Republic)–Foreign relations–Soviet Union
More …
Soviet Union
Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region


I. Stalin

Top Secret

Translation from Chinese


1. In August 1932 I sent letters to the Comintern and Mr. Stalin in which I briefly laid out my world view.

2. In this [letter] I consider it my duty to express deep gratitude for the great assistance you have given in calming Xinjiang and killing the bandit, Ma Zhongying.

3. In spite of the fact that I still am not a member of the Communist Party I have engaged in the study of Marxism and my faith in the triumph of Communism was a consequence of the study of historical materialism, “Das Kapital”, “The Communist Manifesto”, and “Critique of the Gotha Program”, which gives me the ability not to put myself in the ranks of blind imitators or collaborators.

A. The main importance of historical materialism is in the scientific explanation and interpretation of social development, in the evidence for the need to reorganize society, and in pointing out the ways for this reorganization.

B. On the basis of scientific methods and firmly established laws [like] “the law of the fall of profit” “Das Kapital” shows the inevitable demise of the hated capitalistic system at a certain stage of its development and the inevitability of the rise of Communism. Then he reveals a picture of the exploitation of the workers by the capitalists and the perniciousness (harm, malignance) of the surplus value they have created, and which factors are the causes of the appearance of the socialist revolution.


Georgy Malenkov: what “heir” of Stalin went to Church – The Global Domain  News



MAY 18, 1953


Copy No.

Soviet Control Commission in Germany

18 May 1953
pg. 00195

In the Presidium of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union

to Comrade G.M. Malenkov

In accordance with instructions from the CPSU CC, the Soviet Control Commission in Germany presents this report on the reasons for the departure of the population from the German Democratic Republic to West Germany, and also on proposals to end these departures.

In its note to the CPSU CC of 15 March 1953, the Soviet Control Commission in Germany delivered a detailed analysis of the economic and political situation of the German Democratic Republic.

Despite the general economic improvements and political strengthening of the GDR, the departure of the population from the GDR to West Germany is growing, as is confirmed by the data furnished below:



4 mo. of 1953

1. In all, number who left the GDR




Left illegally




Moved with permission




2. Arrived in the GDR from West Germany





By their social composition, those who have left the GDR fall into the following categories:



4 mo. of 1953





White-collar workers













No data



Other categories and family members





Detailed data on social and age composition are contained in Appendix No. 1.
Of this number, 320 persons exited across maritime and zonal borders during the [first] four months of 1953; the rest left through Berlin.
The increase in the number of persons moving from the GDR to West Germany can be explained by an intensification of the class struggle in the city and the countryside, and also by the fact that in the practical work of implementing major economic and political measures, administration often is substituted for political mass work, and certain ministries [and] local party and state organs commit gross errors and excesses in regard to different strata of the population.
After the Second Conference of the SED [in 1952], the government of the GDR and the SED CC took a number of important decisions aimed at limiting capitalist elements in industry and trade, as well as the kulak class in the countryside.
The most important measures on limiting capitalist elements in the city are:

– limiting the supply of raw materials, electric power, and fuel to private industrial enterprises, and goods to private commerce, as well as ending the sale of new industrial equipment, freight vehicles, vessels, and transport and fishing fleets to private enterprises;
– liquidating the majority of large private wholesale firms by administrative procedure under the pretext that they were violating the laws of the GDR;
– implementing special measures to combat speculation and [cutting off] links between private entrepreneurs and firms in West Berlin and West Germany, as well as forcibly closing the branches of West German and West Berlin firms in the democratic sector of Berlin and the GDR;
– canceling some tax advantages earlier granted to large private industrial enterprises on the basis of laws enacted before 1945, as well as intensifying the recovery of [tax] arrears;
– transferring the owners of enterprises employing more than five workers, rather than the existing [cut-off point of] 10 workers, from the category of artisans to the category of industrial enterprises, which has led to a significant increase in the tax burden on this group and to their exclusion from membership in the artisan guilds.

The most important measures to limit capitalist elements in the countryside are:

– raising the norms on compulsory supplies of meat as compared to 1952 and sharply increasing measures on forcible collections of all arrears, going as far as criminal indictments and the confiscation of property;
– kulak farms are the last to be given access to MTS vehicles, and tariffs on them are raised to the level of actual cost of the service [uroven’ sebestoimosti], which is twice what is paid by farms of under 20 hectares;
– supplying mineral fertilizers to kulak farms only after the needs of agricultural cooperatives and the working peasantry have been met in full, which in practice has led to a sharp reduction in the supply of phosphorous fertilizer to these farms;
– ending grants of long-term credits to kulaks and limiting grants of short-term credits;
– farms having 20 or more acres of land and two or more full-time workers are not accepted as members of agricultural production cooperatives.

In 1953, the compulsory use through MTSs of kulak farms’ tractors and agricultural machines (after they had finished their work in the fields) on other peasant farms, which has deprived large farms of the opportunity to lease their tractors and agricultural machines on terms that are profitable for them.
Excluding kulaks from the governing board[s] of peasant mutual-aid committees and agriculture trade cooperatives, where they had significant economic and political influence.
The Politburo of the SED CC passed a resolution on accepting land from kulak farmers who wish to give it to the state, while leaving 6-7 hectares at their [i.e. the farmers’] disposal, if these peasants so desire. This resolution, announced by Ulbricht at a congress of peasants at the beginning of February this year, was taken as an indication of increased pressure on the kulak class.
All of this led a portion of the peasantry, chiefly large [peasants], to begin to give up their land. On 1 April 1953, 442,8 thousand ha., or 7.3% of the entire arable agricultural area of all peasant farms, including 393,0 thousand ha. from farms having over 20 ha. land, or 26% of the agricultural area of these sorts of farms, were abandoned and vacant.
It should be noted that the measures to limit capitalist elements in the city and the countryside in many cases are implemented without sufficient political and economic preparation, as a result of which some party and governmental measures have found insufficient support among a significant portion of the populace.


With the general rise in the standard of living of the populace, a disjunction between the growth of the populace’s money income and the growth of commodity circulation developed toward the beginning of 1953. The fund of wages paid out in the first quarter of 1953 was 17.3% greater than that of the first quarter of the previous year; the volume of commodity circulation over this period rose by only 10% at comparable prices, while commodity circulation in the first quarter of 1953 compared with the fourth quarter of 1952 shrank and consisted of 6.030 million marks against 7.361 million marks in the fourth quarter of 1952.
The under-fulfillment of the production plan for consumer goods in the absence of corresponding reserves and the non-fulfillment of the export-import plan, led to an acute shortage of goods in the commercial network. In this way, the elevated requirements of the population were not wholly satisfied.
Data about the fulfillment of the plan by industry in the first quarter is shown in Appendix No.2.
The autumn and winter of 1952-1953, which were difficult for the GDR, and the weak organization of harvest work led to a significant drop in the harvest of sugar beets, oil crops, potatoes and vegetables. Besides this, the unsatisfactory fulfillment of the plan for stockpiles and purchases of agricultural goods in 1952 led to difficulties in the supply of food to the populace.
This made it necessary to halt commercial sales of fats and sugar in the first quarter of 1953, to substitute partially rationed fats and sugar with other goods, to abolish ration cards for private-capitalist elements and persons of free professions (this affected about 500,000 people), to abolish some additional ration cards for the intelligentsia, and also to raise the prices for meat given out through ration cards by 10-15%, and for commercially sold confectioneries by 12-50%.
With the cancellation of ration cards for footwear and for knitted goods, the fixed price level [uroven’ edinykh tsen] was left close to the previously effective commercial prices. Prices were raised on a significant portion of imported consumer goods.
In the course of the entire winter period, interruptions in the supply of coal and electricity to the populace in the republic occurred, as a result of which many schools, residential buildings, and socio-cultural [kul’turno-bytovye] establishments often went unheated.


Recently the government of the GDR made a series of decisions on strengthening punitive policies in the struggle against the theft of people’s property, on criminal sanctions for evading state agricultural quotas and taxes, on limiting the activity of private wholesale firms, and on purging certain regions of dubious elements of questionable class. These decisions are basically correct. However, during the implementation of these decisions manifold excesses are being committed, as is expressed in the intensification of different sorts of repressive measures in relation to the populace. As a result of [these actions] the number of arrests of citizens and convicted persons significantly increased: if in the first half-year of 1952, 11,346 arrests were carried out, [and] in the second half-year 17,471, then during just the first quarter of 1953, 14,348 arrests were carried out.
Detailed data are provided in Appendices No. 3, 4, and 5.
By the directive adopted by the GEC on 23 September 1948, “On punishments for violations of economic order,” which is currently in effect, the police are given the right broadly to carry out arrests and searches on the grounds of only suspicion of economic crimes. On the basis of this directive, in 1952, 16,482 proceedings were instituted and 4,185 persons were arrested. In 1953, in only the first quarter, 5,094 proceedings were instituted and 2,548 persons were arrested.
There are many cases of incorrect arrests, unlawful and groundless searches in apartments and offices, [and] violations of the established arrest and custody procedure.
On 1 April 1953, there were 54,876 persons in the jails of the GDR; of these, up to 13,141 had not yet had their cases reviewed by the courts.


Within the SED CC and in local party organs, there is an underestimation of the political significance of the populace’s departure from the GDR to West Germany. This underestimation has manifested itself, in particular, in the directives of the SED CC. Thus, in letters from 6 January and 30 April of this year, no political evaluation was made of the issue and no measures are planned which would help bring about a fundamental change in the situation. In CC directives, the departure of party members from the GDR is not characterized as a party crime. Meanwhile, 2,718 members and candidates of the SED, and of these, 175 functionaries, were counted among those who left the GDR during the [first] four months of 1953. In addition, over that period, 2,610 members of the Union of Youth [FDJ] left.
Party organs exert almost no influence over the mass democratic organs–labor unions, the Union of Youth, and the Women’s League–in inducing them to carry out work to prevent the departure of the population from the GDR.
The press and radio of the GDR weakly expose the slanderous propaganda emanating from West Germany about the refugees, weakly publicize the measures taken by the government of the GDR to accommodate refugees who have returned to the Republic, by giving them work [and] living quarters, and guaranteeing other rights to them, [and they] rarely organize statements by persons who have returned from West Germany. Newspapers, as a rule, remain silent about the facts of the migration of residents of West Germany to the GDR, and do not use their statements for propaganda purposes.
Party and governmental organs commit serious distortions in the implementation of the SED’s policy with regard to the intelligentsia.
In the second half of 1952, the SED CC and the GDR government undertook a series of economic and political measures aimed at drawing the intelligentsia into active participation in cultural and economic construction. From 1 July 1952, the pay for engineering-technical and scientific workers was significantly increased, and for the most outstanding scientific and technical personnel, high personal salaries of up to 15,000 marks a month were established.
Despite this, the role of the intelligentsia in building the Republic and the necessity of involving the old intelligentsia is still underestimated within the party and the country. In a significant portion of enterprises, a sectarian relationship to the intelligentsia has still not been overcome. The intelligentsia is not drawn into active participation in the productive and social life of the enterprise.
There are serious drawbacks in the way ideological work with the intelligentsia is handled. In a crude and clumsy manner, demands are made for the reconstruction of all scientific work on the basis of Marxism-Leninism. Due to this, scholars of the old school consider that, insofar as they are not Marxists, they have no prospects in the GDR.
Little attention is paid by the SED to organizing scientific discussions, to the free exchange of opinions, [and] the discussion of different problems in advanced science and practice, in the intelligentsia’s milieu.
To date, the linking and exchange of scientific activity between scientists of the GDR and scientists of the Soviet Union and social democratic countries is still insufficiently developed.
A feeling of anxiety for their personal safety is evident among broad circles of the intelligentsia and most of all among the technical intelligentsia. The instances of groundless accusations of sabotage constitute the reason for this sort of mood. The absence of the necessary explanatory work on this issue creates favorable conditions for the activity of enemies and the broad dissemination of all sorts of slanders.


West German and Anglo-American authorities are carrying out economic and political diversions aimed at disrupting the five-year plan and at discrediting the policy of the GDR government before the populace. They have worked out a system of measures to entice engineering-technical, scientific and highly-qualified workers from the enterprises and establishments of the GDR.
In West Berlin, a high exchange rate of the Western mark in relation to the Eastern mark is being artificially maintained, making it profitable for the West Berlin population to buy food in the GDR. On the other hand, the acute shortage of high-quality consumer goods in the GDR and their presence in West Berlin attracts a large mass of the residents of the GDR into the Western sector[s] of Berlin. Providing West Berlin with a high level of supply of every imaginable good and lower prices for goods compared to the rest of West Germany has the aim of creating the impression among the population that a high standard of living in West Germany exists in comparison with the GDR.
One of the methods of enemy activity is to dispatch special recruiters to the GDR who entice qualified workers, engineers and technicians, and teachers of secondary and higher schools, to the West.
The West German authorities, the Americans, English, and French, systematically conduct propaganda on the radio in favor of the GDR population’s departure for the West, send large quantities of provocative letters, and give provocative telephone warnings of allegedly imminent arrests of GDR citizens.


The church, especially of late, is displaying an active role in enemy propaganda against the GDR. The leaders of the Protestant and Catholic Churches located in West Germany have taken the path of open struggle against the GDR; in sermons and in multiple letters, the clergy calls upon the populace to flee to the West.
The SED CC is committing some mistakes in its relations with the church.
On 27 January 1953, the SED CC made a decision on exposing the anti-democratic activity of the church youth organization “Junge Gemeinde.” It was proposed not to begin to expose the reactionary activity of “Junge Gemeinde” through broad propaganda work among the populace, but through the organization of trials. In connection with this instruction, the organs of the MfS [Stasi] carried out the arrests of some clergymen and members of “Junge Gemeinde” in February and March. Due to the inadequacy and unconvincing character of the material, however, the trials have not yet been held. Then the SED CC gave an order to begin unmasking “Junge Gemeinde” in the youth press. During the implementation of these instructions, the accusation was made across the board that all of the members of “Junge Gemeinde” were members of the terrorist West German youth organization (BDJ). As a result of this the campaign to expose the reactionary activity of “Junge Gemeinde” has currently exacerbated relations between the church and the state.
At one of the meetings with the first secretaries of the SED district committees, W. Ulbricht gave the order that open meetings were to be held in all institutions of higher learning and 12-grade schools of the League of FDJ to expose the “Junge Gemeinde,” in the course of which the expulsion of the leaders and most active members of “Junge Gemeinde” from schools and educational institutions was to be demanded. In certain schools the number of those expelled reaches 20-30 persons, and in each institution of higher education, the number of expelled students ranges from 5 to 20 persons; this in particular, has led to the fact that in March and April of this year alone, 250 people from 39 12-grade schools have fled to the West.


In the interest of halting the departure of the population to West Germany, it seems expedient to recommend the implementation of the following measures to the leadership of the GDR:

On economic issues:

1. To take measures toward the unconditional fulfillment of the industrial production plan for 1953, which is decisive for the fulfillment of the five-year plan. To liquidate the lag which took place from the beginning of the year and especially to devote attention to assuring the fulfillment of the plan for machine-building [industry], the introduction of electric power, and the development of [the] metallurgy [industry].
2. Over the course of a month, to work out measures to increase the 1953 consumer goods production plan and the development of commodity circulation.
For this purpose, the government of the GDR must take additional measures to import necessary raw materials: cotton–15-20,000 tons, wool–3,000 tons, heavy leather—2,500 tons. To increase imports of food stuffs (fats, fruits, and others) and some high-quality manufactured consumer goods. For this purpose, to assign additional output of high-quality production for export, in particular to capitalist countries, having found the necessary raw materials locally, using the free [industrial] capacities at hand, especially in precision mechanics and optics.
The GDR Ministry of Foreign Trade makes insufficient use of the possibilities of trade with capitalist countries. It is desirable to render necessary aid to the GDR Ministry of Foreign Trade through the trade representatives of the USSR and the people’s democracies in capitalist countries.
3. To oblige local organs of power to improve the leadership of local industry significantly. To oblige the GDR Gosplan [State Planning Commission] to re-examine within a month the 1953 production plans for local industry with a view to expanding them significantly.
4. In noting the underestimation of the role of manufacture in supplying the population with consumer goods, it is necessary to take governmental measures in support of crafts production. It is expedient, in keeping with the realization of artisans’ cooperatives, to organize supplies of raw materials for them on a contractual basis on the condition that they hand over their completed products to the state commercial network; to work out measures to offer artisans tax and credit advantages, and also to equip artisans’ cooperatives and individual enterprises with industrial equipment.
5. Considering that one of the reasons for the departure of peasants from the GDR to West Germany is the high norms for quotas of agricultural deliveries to the state, to reduce by 5-10% the differentiated norms in effect in 1953 for compulsory supplies of grain crops and meat by peasant farms.
6. To cancel ration cards for meat, fats and sugar from the autumn of 1953, thereby completing the elimination of the rationing system in the GDR, keeping in mind that the per-capita consumption norms that have been attained furnish the possibility of a transition to free commerce.
7. To work out a three-year plan on mechanizing agriculture, developing the MTS network, and equipping it with tractors and agricultural machinery in order to have the possibility of fulfilling the needs for mechanized cultivation of the land not only of agricultural cooperatives, but also of individual peasant farms.
8. To halt the practice of using tractors and agricultural machines from private cultivators through the MTS for work on other farms.
9. To work out a three-year plan to develop animal husbandry and to create a fodder base, assuming the need for future improvements in supplies to the populace from their own resources.
10. To work out a production plan for fertilizer in quantities that will meet in full the needs of agriculture, including large private farms.
11. To concentrate the attention of state and party organs on the organizational-economic strengthening of the agricultural production cooperatives which have been created in order to ensure, even this year, a harvest in the cooperatives that is larger than that of the best individual agricultural farms, and an income for cooperative members [that] exceeds the incomes of individual peasant farms.
12. In carrying out measures on limiting private-capitalist elements, to differentiate between attitudes toward large and small retailers and other small entrepreneurs (proprietors of small restaurants, hairdressers, bakers, and so on) with regard to taxes, credits, issuing food ration cards, supplying goods to merchants; and to use private commerce in the capacity of a commodity distribution network to serve the population.
13. Considering the populace’s great demand for construction materials, [as well as] agricultural and gardening equipment, to organize a broad trade in them, both in the city and the countryside, having ensured a portion of additional funds for cement, saw-timber, tiles and machine-manufactured articles; to increase the production of agricultural and gardening equipment.

On administrative issues:

1. In the near future, to carry out a broad amnesty both with regard to persons convicted in the first period for Nazi crimes, and, in particular, persons convicted in the most recent period, with the exception of persons convicted for espionage, terrorist acts, diversions, premeditated murder and for large thefts of the people’s property. 15-17,000 persons could be freed from prisons by the amnesty.
2. To take measures quickly toward the introduction of strict order and the observance of lawfulness in procedures for arresting and detaining citizens.
3. To organize expediently social courts [obshchestvennye sudy] in enterprises, in institutions, and at people’s estates [narodnye imeniia] to examine minor economic and administrative violations.
4. To re-examine the current criminal code to remove those articles of criminal law which permit their application to even the most inconsequential violations.
5. To cancel all criminal-legal orders containing the directives and circulars of separate ministries. Henceforward, to establish a procedure by which criminal-legal sanctions can be stipulated only in laws of the People’s Chamber, and in exceptional cases, in a decree by the government of the GDR.
6. To consider it crucial to carry out a reorganization of the communities [obshchiny] in the direction of enlarging and strengthening local authorities.
7. To carry out, in 1953, an exchange of passports for the entire population of the GDR and, first and foremost, for the population of the democratic sector of Berlin and its surrounding districts.
8. To re-examine the GDR government’s decree of 5 March 1953 on mass criminal indictments for the non-fulfillment of supply quotas [postavki] [to the state] and taxes.
9. In view of the fact that the migration of the population from the GDR to the West is taking place through Berlin, to consider it expedient to require GDR citizens to have passes [spravki] and business travel papers [komandirovochnye udostovereniia] from local institutions or organs of power upon entry into Berlin.

On political questions:

1. To end the political underestimation of the significance of the issue surrounding the departure of GDR citizens to West Germany that currently exists in party and state organs and among party workers. To oblige party organs and primary party organizations to analyze with care and to study all cases of departure and to take effective measures to ascertain the reasons influencing the population’s migration to West Germany.
To view the departure of members of the SED as a betrayal of the party. To investigate according to party procedure each case of departure by members of the SED to the West and to discuss [these cases] at general meetings of the party organizations and regional committees of the SED.
2. To commit the party and the mass democratic organizations of the GDR to conduct systematic explanatory work among the GDR populace against leaving for West Germany, exposing with concrete examples the slanderous fabrications, [and] the essence and methods of the subversive work which is being carried out by West German agents.
3. To take concrete measures to strengthen counter-propaganda, organizing it in such ways that the press and radio of the GDR systematically expose the mendacious Western propaganda on the issue of refugees from the GDR. To set aside the necessary resources for this.
4. In the interests of an effective struggle against the reactionary broadcasts of “RIAS,” to ensure the completion in 1953 of the construction of powerful radio stations in Magdeburg, Schwerin, and Dresden. To build 15 medium-wave low-power radio stations with up to 5 kilowatts of power and 10 short wave stations each with up to 2-3 kilowatts of power. To manufacture and deploy 400-600 “Gebor” radio sets.
5. In the interests of strengthening counter-propaganda, to organize through the KPD the systematic collection of information about the refugees’ difficult conditions and the poor material and legal conditions of different strata of the West German populace.
6. In order to expose the reactionary propaganda of the church, to explain in a detailed and systematic way through the press and in oral propaganda that the government of the GDR unswervingly observes freedom of conscience, of religion, and of religious observance, as provided for in the GDR constitution. To explain that the actions of the authorities are directed only against those church officials and leaders of “Junge Gemeinde” who conduct hostile subversive work against the democratic tradition of the GDR.
7. To take measures to correct the excesses which have been committed with regard to students expelled from school and from institutions of higher learning for belonging to the “Junge Gemeinde.”
8. For the SED CC to examine in particular the issue of improving work among the intelligentsia and to correct the mistakes that have been committed.
9. To take measures to improve scientific and cultural links between scholars in the GDR and in the Soviet Union and the people’s democracies, as well as to supply the GDR intelligentsia with foreign scientific and technical literature.

V. Chuikov
P. Yudin
I. Il’ichev

18 May 1953.


Appendix No. 1

on the social and age composition and party affiliation of those who left the GDR for West Germany

1. By social composition:

Second half of 1952

Four months of 1953

1. Workers



2. White-collar workers



3. Kulaks



4. Medium peasants



5. Small peasants



6. Scientific workers



7. Workers in the arts


8. Engineering-technical workers



9. Doctors



10. Lawyers

no data


11. Teachers and instructors in secondary and higher institutions of learning



12. Students



13. Church Employees



14. Artisans

no data


15. Owners of a commercial enterprise

no data


16. Owners of a private enterprise

no data


17. Pensioners

no data


18. Persons without definite occupation

no data


19. Housewives

no data


2. By age

Second half-year of 1952

Four months of 1953

Children up to 15



[Persons] from 15 to 18



from 18 to 25



from 25 to 40



from 40 to 50



from 50 to 60



over 60



3. By party affiliation: (only over 4 months of 1953)

Members and candidates of the SED


of them, functionaries


Members of the LDP


of them, functionaries


Members of the CDU


of them, functionaries


Members of the NDP


of them, functionaries


Members of the DKP


of them, functionaries


Members of the SSNM


of them, functionaries


4. By place of work (only over 4 months of 1953).

1. From state institutions and communal enterprises


2. From people’s enterprises


3. From enterprises under wardship


4. From large private enterprises


5. From small private enterprises


6. From “SAO” enterprises


7. From MTS [machine-tractor stations]


8. From agricultural food cooperatives


9. Individual peasants


10. From peasant mutual-aid enterprises, commercial organizations and konzumy


11. From party, union and mass organizations


Of the refugees:

1. Leaders of enterprises


2. Division heads



[Appendix No. II not included in original]


Appendix No. 3

on persons convicted for 1951-1953
by punishment


1951 1st half

2nd half

1952 1st half

2nd half

1953 1st quarter

Death penalty






Life imprisonment






Convict prison [katorzhnaia tur ‘ma] for over 10 years






from 5 to 10 years






up to 5 years






Imprisonment for 3 to 5 years






Imprisonment for 1 to 3 years






Imprisonment for up to 1 year






Short-term arrest






Monetary fine






Educational measures for adolescents






Other sanctions






Total convicted







Appendix No. 4

on arrested persons under investigation
from 1952-1953 by types of crime

Types of crimes

First half of 1952

Second half of 1952

First quarter of 1953

Proceedings instituted

Persons arrested

Proceedings instituted

Persons arrested

Proceedings instituted

Persons arrested

1. Anti-democratic crimes







2. Espionage (Included in 1. above)







3. Possession of weapons







4. Opposition to authorities







5. SVAG Decree No. 160 (sabotage and diversions)







6. Law on preserving internal-German trade







7. Unlawful import and export of goods, as defined by 1948 decree of the NEK







8. Non-fulfillment of state deliveries







9. Crimes against the people’s property







10. Murder and maiming







11. Crimes against morality







12. Theft of private property







13. Violation of borders





13. Others















Appendix No. 5

on arrested persons by their most recent
arrest from 1949-1953

Arrests over the second half of 1949

11,425 persons

Arrests over the first half of 1950

12,911 persons

Arrests over the second half of 1950

13,860 persons

Arrests over the first half of 1951

13,587 persons

Arrests over the second half of 1951

14,689 persons

Arrests over the first half of 1952

11,346 persons

Arrests over the second half of 1952

17,471 persons

Arrests over the first quarter of 1953

14,348 persons

The Soviet Control Commission in Germany reports statistics and a detailed assessment to Malenkov, analyzing the migration of the East German population to West Germany. It also includes proposals for implementing measures to prevent further departure from the GDR.




Germany (East)–Foreign relations–Soviet Union
Germany (East)–Foreign relations–Germany (West)
Germany (East)–History–Uprising, 1953
East Germany
West Germany

2020 Global Terrorism Index: Deaths from psychological oppression arrive at five-year low, however new dangers arise

Global Terrorism Index (GTI) – Arise News

All around the world, passings from psychological warfare succumbed to the fifth successive year in 2019, to 13,826 — a 15 percent decline from the earlier year. In North America, Western Europe and Oceania, extreme right assaults have expanded by 250 percent since 2014 – they are higher now than whenever over the most recent fifty years. 63 nations recorded in any event one demise from psychological oppression, the most reduced number since 2013. The worldwide financial effect of psychological oppression was $16.4 billion of every 2019, an abatement of 25 percent from the earlier year. IS’s focal point of gravity moves to sub-Saharan Africa with absolute passings by IS in the district expanding by 67 percent. IS and their members were likewise liable for assaults in 27 nations in 2019.

The 2020 Global Terrorism Index (GTI) has discovered that passings from psychological warfare succumbed to the fifth sequential year since cresting in 2014. The quantity of passings has now diminished by 59 percent since 2014 to 13,826. Strife remains the essential driver of psychological oppression, with more than 96 percent of passings from illegal intimidation in 2019 happening in nations effectively in clash.

The yearly Global Terrorism Index, presently in its eighth year, is created by driving research organization the Institute of Economics and Peace (IEP) and gives the most thorough asset on worldwide illegal intimidation patterns.

The biggest abatements in passings happened in Afghanistan and Nigeria, anyway they are as yet the main two nations to have encountered in excess of 1,000 passings from psychological oppression. The fall in passings was likewise reflected in nation scores, with 103 improving contrasted with 35 that disintegrated. This is the most elevated number of nations to record a year-on-year improvement since the commencement of the file.

In spite of the general fall in the worldwide effect of psychological oppression, it stays a critical and genuine danger in numerous nations. There were 63 nations in 2019 that recorded in any event one demise from a psychological oppressor assault, and the biggest expansion in illegal intimidation happened in Burkina Faso – where passings rose by 590 percent. Different nations to break down considerably are Sri Lanka, Mozambique, Mali and Niger.

A portion of the other key discoveries:

· The ten nations with the most elevated effect from psychological oppression are: Afghanistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Syria, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan, India, Democratic Republic of Congo and the Philippines

· For the second year straight South Asia is the district generally affected by psychological warfare, while Central America and the Caribbean area recorded the least effect

· MENA recorded the biggest provincial improvement in psychological warfare for the second back to back year, recording the most reduced number of passings since 2003

Steve Killelea, Executive Chairman of IEP, stated: “As we enter another decade we are seeing new dangers of psychological warfare arise. The ascent of the extreme right in the West and the weakenings in the Sahel are perfect representations. Furthermore, as found in the ongoing assaults in France and Austria, numerous more modest gatherings thoughtful to ISIL methods of reasoning are as yet dynamic. To break these impacts three significant activities are required – to break their media inclusion and online informal organizations, upset their financing and diminish the quantity of supporters.”

The GTI utilizes various variables to figure its score, including the quantity of frequencies, fatalities, wounds and property harm. The Taliban remained the world’s deadliest fear monger bunch in 2019; nonetheless, psychological oppressor passings ascribed to the gathering declined by 18 percent. ISIL’s solidarity and impact likewise kept on declining, unexpectedly since the gathering got dynamic it was answerable for not exactly 1,000 passings in any one year.

In spite of the reduction in action from ISIL in the Middle East and North Africa, ISIL’s associate gatherings stay dynamic over the world, with 27 nations recording an assault by ISIL or its offshoots. Sub-Saharan Africa has been hit the hardest, with seven of the ten nations with the biggest expansions in illegal intimidation passings living in the area. ISIL subsidiaries are predominantly liable for the expansion with 41 percent of all ISIL related passings happening in sub-Saharan Africa.

For North America, Western Europe, and Oceania, the danger of extreme right political psychological warfare has been ascending in the course of recent years. In these locales extreme right occurrences expanded by 250 percent somewhere in the range of 2014 and 2019. There were 89 passings ascribed to extreme right psychological militants in 2019. Over the previous decade proportions of cultural flexibility have been falling in a large number of the monetarily progressed economies. This pattern is probably going to proceed due to the all-inclusive monetary plunge brought about by COVID-19, which is probably going to increment political precariousness and savagery.

Since COVID-19 was announced a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) in March 2020, fundamental information proposes a decrease in the two episodes and passings from illegal intimidation in many areas on the planet. Notwithstanding, the COVID-19 pandemic is probably going to introduce new and unmistakable counter-illegal intimidation challenges. It is significant that counter-psychological oppression activities are not diminished as a result of diminishes in government consumption because of the monetary plunge. Decreases in worldwide help for counter-illegal intimidation activities in MENA and sub-Saharan Africa could end up being counter-beneficial.

Thomas Morgan, Senior Research Fellow at IEP, clarifies the discoveries: “Somewhere in the range of 2011 and 2019, riots and fierce showings in the West expanded by 277 percent. There are not kidding worries that the weakening financial conditions will prompt more individuals getting distanced and powerless to fanatic publicity.”

The fall in psychological oppression has additionally been joined by a decrease in the worldwide monetary effect of illegal intimidation, diminishing by 25 percent to $16.4 billion of every 2019. Contrasted with different types of savagery, for example, murder, outfitted clash, and military use, psychological warfare is a little level of the all out worldwide expense of brutality, which was equivalent to $14.5 trillion of every 2019. Notwithstanding, the genuine monetary effect of psychological oppression is a lot higher as these figures don’t represent the roundabout effect on business, speculation, and the expenses related with security offices in countering illegal intimidation.


Nikita Khrushchev at the 20th Congress of the CPSU (1956) - CVCE Website

Working Notes from the Session of the CPSU CC Presidium on 4 November 1956
(Re: Protocol No. 51)

Those Taking Part: Bulganin, Voroshilov,Kaganovich, Malenkov, Molotov, Pervukhin, Saburov, Suslov, Khrushchev, Zhukov, Shepilov, Furtseva, Pospelov.

On the Operations and Situation in Hungary(1)
Cde. Kaganovich’s ciphered cable from
Cde. Malinin at Cde. Khrushchev (4 XI).(2)

1) Bring back Cdes. Mikoyan and Brezhnev.
2) Provide assistance to Hungary.(3)
3) More actively take part in the assistance to Egypt.(4)

Think through a number of measures (perhaps a demonstration at the English embassy). More widely in the newspapers.

Cde. Molotov—think about Hungary. Exert influence on Kadar so that Hungary does not go the route of Yugoslavia. They made changes in the Declaration—they now condemn the Rakosi-Gero clique—and this might be dangerous.(5) We must convince them that they should refrain from this reference to the Rakosi-Gero clique. Kadar is calling (1 XI) for a condemnation of Stalinism.(6) The title of Hungarian Workers’ Party should be retained. We should come to agreement with them and prevent them from shifting to Yugoslav positions.

Cde. Molotov—reinforce the military victory through political means.

Cde. Khrushchev—I don’t understand Cde. Molotov. He comes up with the most pernicious ideas.

Cde. Molotov—you should keep quiet and stop being so overbearing.

Cde. Bulganin—we should condemn the incorrect line of Rakosi-Gero.

Cde. Khrushchev:The declaration is good —we must act honorably.

Cde. Shepilov—during the editing they added the phrase “the clique of Rakosi and Gero.” We are giving them legal opportunities to denigrate the entire 12-year period of the HWP’s work.

Cde. Shepilov—is it really necessary to disparage cadres? Tomorrow it will be the “clique of Ulbricht.”(7)

Cde. Saburov—if they themselves don’t comprehend their mistakes, we will deal at length with the matter. Reward the military personnel. Take care of the families of those who perished. (8)

V. On Purging the Higher Educational Institutions of Unsavory Elements

(Cdes. Zhukov, Khrushchev, Furtseva, Pervukhin, Voroshilov) Furtseva, Pospelov, Shepilov, and Elyutin are to come up with recommendations for purging the higher educational institutions of unsavory elements.(9)

IV. On the Response to Cde. Kardelj and the Telegram About Imre Nagy

Affirm the text of the response.(10)

On Instructions to the Soviet Ambassador in Hungary On the Raising of the Question at the Gen. Assembly’s Session on Hungary

Cde. Kadar is to say that he will withdraw the question from the UN.(11)

Translator’s Notes

1 This topic was not included in the formal protocol for the session (“Protokol No. 51 zasedaniya Prezidiuma TsK KPSS,” in APRF, F. 3, Op. 64, D. 484, Ll. 60-61).

2 Most likely, there is a mistake or omission in Malin’s text. These phrases, as given in the original, do not make sense.

3 The reference here is to financial, not military, assistance. A Soviet economic aid package for Hungary was approved on 5 November and announced the following day.

4 These points about the Suez Crisis are intriguing in light of what happened the following day (5 November). During the first several days of the Suez Crisis, Moscow’s response was limited to verbal protestations through the media and at the UN. On 5 November, the day before a ceasefire was arranged, Soviet prime minister Nikolai Bulganin sent letters to the U.S., French, British, and Israeli governments. His letter to President Eisenhower warned that “if this war is not halted, it will be fraught with danger and might escalate into a third world war.” Bulganin proposed that the United States and Soviet Union move jointly to “crush the aggressors,” an action he justified on the grounds that the two superpowers had “all modern types of arms, including nuclear and thermonuclear weapons, and bear particular responsibility for stopping the war.” Not surprisingly, Eisenhower immediately rejected Bulganin’s proposal. Bulganin’s letters to France, Great Britain, and Israel were far more minatory, including thinly-veiled threats to use missiles if necessary to prevent Egypt’s destruction. The letters to France and Britain contained identical passages: “In what position would [Britain and France] have found themselves if they had been attacked by more powerful states possessing all types of modern weapons of destruction? These more powerful states, instead of sending naval or air forces to the shores of [Britain or France], could use other means, such as missile technology.” Bulganin’s letter to Israel declared that “Israel is playing with the fate of peace and the fate of its own people in a criminal and irresponsible manner.” This policy, Bulganin warned, “is raising doubts about the very existence of Israel as a state. We expect that the Government of Israel will come to its senses before it is too late and will halt its military operations against Egypt.” For the texts of the letters and other Soviet statements during the crisis, see D. T. Shepilov, ed., Suetskii krizis (Moscow: Politizdat, 1956). Although the letters represented a much more forceful and conspicuous Soviet stance against the allied incursions, they came so belatedly that they had only a minor impact at best on efforts to achieve a ceasefire.

5 This passage refers to the appeal to the nation that Kadar’s government issued when it was installed in power on 4 November.

6 Molotov is referring to Kadar’s radio address on 1 November, which was published in Nepszabad the following day.

7 This in fact is precisely what Ulbricht himself feared; see the detailed account by the chief of the East German State Security forces in 1956, Ernst Wollweber, in Wilfriede Otto, ed., “Ernst Wollweber: Aus Erinnerungen — Ein Portrait Walter Ulbrichts,” Beitrage zur Geschichte der Arbeiterbewegung, No. 3 (1990), esp. pp. 361- 378. For more on the impact of the 1956 crises on the East German communist leadership, see the papers presented by Hope M. Harrison and Christian F. Ostermann at the “Conference on Hungary and the World, 1956: The New Archival Evidence,” which took place in Budapest on 25-29 September 1996 and was organized by the Institute for the History of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, the National Security Archive, and the Cold War International History Project. Copies of the papers, both of which draw extensively on the archives of the former Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), are available from the conference organizers.

8 Saburov is referring to the families of Soviet troops who were killed, not to the much larger number of Hungarians who died in the fighting.

9 This illustrates how concerned CPSU leaders were that the crisis was spilling over into the Soviet Union. Both before and after 4 November, unrest and protests occurred at a number of higher educational institutions in the USSR, including Moscow State University (MGU). At MGU, “protests against Soviet military intervention” were accompanied by “anti-Soviet slogans and posters.” Both students and faculty took part in the actions. The KGB quickly moved in and restored order, but the crackdown was not as vigorous and sweeping as some CPSU officials wanted. See the first-hand account by the longtime deputy director of the KGB, Filipp Bobkov, KGB i vlast’ (Moscow: Veteran MP, 1995), pp. 144-145. Bobkov claims that Pyotr Pospelov and some other senior party officials, as well as a number of high-ranking personnel in the KGB, wanted to launch “mass repressions” to deter any further unrest, but their proposals were never formally adopted. Subsequently, a commission headed by Brezhnev issued secret orders and guidelines to all party organizations to tighten political controls.

10 On 4 November, the Soviet ambassador in Yugoslavia, Nikolai Firyubin, sent a telegram to Moscow with information provided by Kardelj (at Tito’s behest) about the refuge granted to Imre Nagy and his aides in the Yugoslav embassy. The response, as approved by the CPSU Presidium, called on the Yugoslav authorities to turn over the Hungarian officials to Soviet troops. See “Vypiska iz protokola No. P51/IV zasedaniya Prezidiuma TsK KPSS ot 4 noyabrya 1956 g.,” 4 November 1956 (Strictly Secret), in APRF, F. 3, Op. 64, D. 485, Ll. 103-104.

11 Nagy had appealed to UN Secretary-General Dag Hammerskjold on 1 November asking for support of Hungary’s sovereignty and independence. The UN Security Council began considering the matter on 3 November. On 4 November, the UN Security Council took up the question of Soviet military intervention in Hungary, and the UN General Assembly voted to condemn the Soviet invasion. On 5 November, the CPSU newspaper Pravda featured a letter purportedly sent by Kadar and Imre Horvath to Dag Hammarskjold. The letter claimed that Nagy’s submission of the Hungarian question to the UN had been illegal, and requested that all consideration of the issue cease.

At this session of the CPSU CC, Molotov raises concerns over the new Hungarian government’s decision to condemn the “Rakosi-Gero clique” and call for the condemnation of Stalinism. Molotov argues that the CC must exert influence on Kadar to prevent Hungary from going the way of Yugoslavia. The session also discusses recommendations for purging higher educational institutions and Kadar’s withdrawal of appeals to the UN for assistance.



Hungary–History–Revolution, 1956
Soviet Union





Culture | Stalin, Molotov, Voroshilov, L.M. Kaganovich, Mikoyan, Zhdanov,  Beria, Shvernik, Malenkov, Bulgarin,Shcherbakov Shkiryatov,Budyonny,  Loktinov and Mikhailov at the air show in Tushino (August 18, 1939)

Working Notes from the Session of the CPSU CC Presidium on 30 October 1956(1)

(Re: Point 1 of Protocol No. 49)(2)
Those Taking Part: Bulganin, Voroshilov, Molotov, Kaganovich, Saburov, Brezhnev, Zhukov, Shepilov, Shvernik, Furtseva, Pospelov

On the Situation in Hungary
Information from Cdes. Mikoyan and Serov is read aloud.(3)

Cde. Zhukov provides information about the concentration of mil.-transport aircraft in the Vienna region.(4) Nagy is playing a double game (in Malinin’s opinion). Cde. Konev is to be sent to Budapest.(5)

On Discussions with the Chinese comrades. (6)

We should adopt a declaration today on the withdrawal of troops from the countries of people’s democracy (and consider these matters at a session of the Warsaw Pact), taking account of the views of the countries in which our troops are based. The entire CPC CC Politburo supports this position. One document for the Hungarians, and another for the participants of the Warsaw Pact. On Rokossowski—I said to Gomulka that this matter is for you (the Poles) to decide.(7)

Cde. Bulganin—The Chinese cdes. have an incorrect impression of our relations with the countries of people’s democracy. On our appeal to the Hungarians—we should prepare it. A declaration should be prepared.

Cde. Molotov—Today an appeal must be written to the Hungarian people so that they promptly enter into negotiations about the withdrawal of troops. There is the Warsaw Pact. This must be considered with other countries. On the view of the Chinese comrades—they suggest that relations with the countries of the socialist camp be built on the principles of Pancha Shila.(8) Relations along interstate lines are on one basis and interparty relations on another.

Cde. Voroshilov: We must look ahead. Declarations must be composed so that we aren’t placed into an onerous position. We must criticize ourselves—but justly.

Cde. Kaganovich—Pancha Shila, but I don’t think they should propose that we build our relations on the principles of Pancha Shila. Two documents—an appeal to the Hungarians and a Declaration. In this document we don’t need to provide self-criticism. There’s a difference between party and state relations.

Cde. Shepilov—The course of events reveals the crisis in our relations with the countries of people’s democracy. Anti-Soviet sentiments are widespread. The underlying reasons must be revealed. The foundations remain unshakable. Eliminate the elements of diktat, not giving play in this situation to a number of measures to be considered in our relations. The declaration is the first step. There is no need for an appeal to the Hungarians. On the armed forces: We support the principles of non-interference. With the agreement of the government of Hungary, we are ready to withdraw troops. We’ll have to keep up a struggle with national- Communism for a long time.

Cde. Zhukov—Agrees with what Cde. Shepilov has said. The main thing is to decide in Hungary. Anti-Soviet sentiments are widespread. We should withdraw troops from Budapest, and if necessary withdraw from Hungary as a whole. This is a lesson for us in the military-political sphere.

Cde. Zhukov—With regard to troops in the GDR and in Poland, the question is more serious. It must be considered at the Consultative Council.(9) The Consultative Council is to be convened. To persist further—it is unclear what will come of this. A quick decision, the main thing is to declare it today.

Cde. Furtseva—We should adopt a general declaration, not an appeal to the Hungarians. Not a cumbersome declaration. The second thing is important for the internal situation. We must search for other modes of relations with the countries of people’s democracy.
About meetings with leaders of the people’s democracies (concerning relations). We should convene a CC plenum (for informational purposes).(10)

Cde. Saburov: Agrees about the need for a Declaration and withdrawal of troops. At the XX Congress we did the correct thing, but then did not keep control of the unleashed initiative of the masses. It’s impossible to lead against the will of the people. We failed to stand for genuine Leninist principles of leadership. We might end up lagging behind events. Agrees with Cde. Furtseva. The ministers are asking; so are members of the CC.(11) With regard to Romania—they owe us 5 billion rubles for property created by the people.(12) We must reexamine our relations. Relations must be built on an equal basis.

Cde. Khrushchev: We are unanimous. As a first step we will issue a Declaration.

Cde. Khrushchev—informs the others about his conversation with Cde. Mikoyan. Kadar is behaving well. 5 of the 6 are firmly hanging in there.(13) A struggle is going on inside the [HWP— trans.] Presidium about the withdrawal of troops. The minister of defense will issue a directive about the suppression of insurgents in the cinema, using the armed forces. (Malinin, apparently, became nervous and left the session.) Officers from the state security (Hungarian) are with our troops.(14)

Consideration of the Draft Declaration
(Shepilov, Molotov, Bulganin)

Cde. Bulganin—we should say in what connection the question of a Declaration arose. Page 2, Par. 2, don’t soften the self-criticism. Mistakes were committed. Much use should be made of “Leninist principles.”

Cde. Khrushchev—expresses agreement. We should say we are guided by Leninist principles. Page 2, Par. 5—we should say we are making a statement, not an explanation.
Page 3—we should speak about economic equity, make it the main thing. We should say that no troops are stationed in the majority of countries. We should say that on the territory of the Polish, Hungarian, and Romanian states the stationing of troops is done with the consent of their governments and in the interests of these gov’ts and peoples.(15) We should express our view of the government of Hungary. Measures to support them. About support for the party and HWP CC and for the gov’t. We should refer specifically to Nagy and Kadar.

Cde. Kaganovich, Cde. Molotov, Cde.

Zhukov: We should mention the Potsdam agreement and the treaties with every country. (16)

Cde. Zhukov—We should express sympathy with the people. We should call for an end to the bloodshed. Page 2, Par. 2: We should say the XX Congress condemned the disregard for principles of equality.

Cde. Zhukov—we should speak about economics. Restructuring was thwarted after the XX Congress.

(Cde. Khrushchev)
We are turning to the member-states of the Warsaw Pact to consider the question of our advisers.(17) We are ready to withdraw them. Further editing.(18) Transmitted via high frequency to Cdes. Mikoyan and Suslov.

Information from Cde. Yudin on Negotiations with the Chinese Comrades.
What’s the situation: Will Hungary leave our camp? Who is Nagy? Can he be trusted? About the advisers.Those taking part: Bulganin, Voroshilov, Kaganovich, Molotov, Saburov, Khrushchev, Zhukov, Brezhnev, Shepilov, Shvernik, Furtseva, Pospelov, Yudin. Chinese comrades.

On the Situation in Hungary
(Cde. Khrushchev, Cde. Liu Shaoqi)

Cde. Liu Shaoqi indicates on behalf of the CPC CC that troops must remain in Hungary and in Budapest.(19)

Cde. Khrushchev—there are two paths. A military path—one of occupation. A peaceful path—the withdrawal of troops, negotiations.

Cde. Molotov—the political situation has taken clearer shape. An anti-revol. gov’t has been formed, a transitional gov’t.(20) We should issue the Declaration and explain our position. We should clarify our relationship with the new gov’t. We are entering into negotiations about the withdrawal of troops.

Nagy—the prime minister.
Kadar—a state minister.
Tildy Zoltan— “
Kovacs Bela—
Losonczy—a Communist and a supporter of Nagy(21)

Translator’s Notes

1 As with the previous session, the pages in the original file were slightly out of sequence. The order has been corrected in the translation.

2 Protocol No. 49 encompasses both this session and the session on the following day (see Document No. 8) under the rubric “On the Situation in Hungary” (O polozhenii v Vengrii). Point 1 (from 30 October) covers the Soviet declaration on ties with socialist countries, whereas Point 6 (from 31 October) covers the decision to invade. The relevant extracts from Protocol No. 49 are now stored in APRF, F. 3, Op. 64, D. 484, Ll. 25-30 and APRF, F. 3, Op. 64, D. 484, L. 41, respectively.

3 Presumably, the reference here is to three documents: one that arrived on the morning of 30 October, and two that arrived late at night on 29 October. The item that arrived on the morning of 30 October was a secure, high-frequency telephone message from Mikoyan and Suslov, which gave a bleak portrayal of the latest events. See “TsK KPSS,” 30 October 1956 (Strictly Secret), in TsKhSD, F.89, Op.45, D.12, Ll.1-3. Of the two documents that arrived late at night on the 29th, one was a ciphered telegram from Mikoyan and Suslov reporting that they had attended a session of the HWP Presidium earlier that evening. They also commented on the takeover of the Szabad Nep building by a group of unarmed students and writers. Mikoyan and Suslov asserted that the Hungarian “comrades have failed to win over the masses,” and that “the anti-Communist elements are behaving impudently.” In addition, they expressed concern about what would happen to former agents of the Hungarian State Security (AVH) forces in the wake of Nagy’s decision to disband the AVH. See “Shifrtelegramma: TsK KPSS,” 29 October 1956 (Strictly Secret- Urgent), from A. Mikoyan and M. Suslov, in AVPRF, F.059a, Op.4, P.6, D.5, Ll.13-14. The other document that arrived late on the 29th was a situation report from Ivan Serov, dated 29 October, which Mikoyan and Suslov ordered to be transmitted to Moscow via secure telephone. Serov’s report gave an updated overview of the insurgency and expressed deep concern about the likely repercussions from the dissolution of the AVH. See “Telefonogramma,” 29 October 1956, from A. Mikoyan and M. Suslov, relaying I. Serov’s memorandum, in APRF, F.3, Op.64, D.484, Ll.158-161.

4 British military transport aircraft were flying into the Vienna airport with supplies of humanitarian aid, which were then being conveyed to Budapest. It is unclear whether Zhukov knew why these planes were concentrated there. It is possible that he believed the aircraft were ferrying in military supplies or were preparing for a military operation.

5 As commander-in-chief of the Warsaw Pact, Marshal Ivan Konev assumed direct command of Soviet military operations in Hungary in November 1956. In a telephone message on the morning of 30 October (see Note 78 supra), Mikoyan and Suslov had urged that Konev be dispatched to Hungary “immediately” as a precautionary step. One of Konev’s top aides during the invasion was General Mikhail Malinin, a first deputy chief of the Soviet General Staff, who commanded Soviet troops during the initial intervention on 23 October. As indicated in the previous line, Soviet leaders frequently consulted Malinin in the leadup to the invasion.

6 The “Chinese comrades” with whom Khrushchev had discussions were the members of the delegation headed by Liu Shaoqi (see Note 25 supra). Liu Shaoqi was in direct touch with Mao Zedong several times during the delegation’s stay in Moscow, and thus he was able to keep Khrushchev apprised of the Chinese leader’s views of the situation in Poland and Hungary.

7 Rokossowski had been removed from the Polish Politburo on 19 October. On 13 November he was replaced as Polish national defense minister by a Polish officer, Marshal Marian Spychalski. Rokossowski was then recalled to the Soviet Union, where he was appointed a deputy defense minister. Evidently, Khrushchev had spoken with Gomulka by phone that morning.

8 The five principles of Pancha Shila—(1) mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, (2) non-aggression, (3) non-interference in internal affairs, (4) equality and mutual benefit, and (5) peaceful coexistence—were endorsed in a joint statement by Chinese prime minister Zhou Enlai and Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru in New Delhi on 28 June 1954. The principles were intended to “guide relations between the two countries” as well as “relations with other countries in Asia and in other parts of the world.” For the full text of the statement, see G. V. Ambekar and V. D. Divekar, eds., Documents on China’s Relations with South and South-East Asia (1949- 1962) (New York: Allied Publishers, 1964), pp. 7-8.

9 Zhukov is referring here to the Political Consultative Committee (PKK) of the recently-created Warsaw Treaty Organization. The PKK convened only seven times between 1955 and 1966, despite its statutory requirement to meet at least twice a year.

10 During major international crises in the post- Stalin period, the Soviet Presidium/Politburo occasionally would convene a Central Committee plenum to give the CC members a sense of involvement in decision-making and to ensure that the leadership’s policies would be firmly obeyed at lower levels.

11 Saburov is referring here to Furtseva’s suggestion that a CPSU CC plenum be convened for informational purposes.

12 This presumably refers to Soviet property transferred to Romania during World War II, rather than to Romania’s war reparations, which by 1956 were no longer of great magnitude.

13 Khrushchev is referring here to the six-member HWP Presidium. The only holdout was Nagy.

14 The State Security Department (Allam-Vedelmi Osztaly, or AVO), which was reorganized in 1949 and renamed the State Security Authority (Allam- Vedelmi Hatosag, or AVH), was reincorporated into the Hungarian Internal Affairs Ministry in the autumn of 1953. Formally, the agency was given back its old name of AVO, but it was still almost always known as the AVH. One of the earliest and most vigorous demands of the protesters in October 1956 was for the dissolution of the AVH. On 28 October, Nagy promised to fulfill this demand, and the Hungarian government approved the dissolution of the state security organs the following day. Because the AVH had been instrumental in carrying out repression and terror in the late 1940s and 1950s, some state security agents became the targets of lynchings and other violent reprisals during the 1956 uprising. Hungarian state security officers would have joined up with Soviet troops mainly to seek protection, not to assist in counterinsurgency operations. On this matter, see the documents transmitted by Suslov and Mikoyan on 29 October, cited in Note 78 supra.

15 It is interesting that, when referring to Soviet troops deployed in Eastern Europe, Khrushchev does not mention the Soviet troops in East Germany, implying that they were not necessarily there “with the consent of the [East German] government and in the interests of the [East German] government and people.”

16 The final Declaration noted that “Soviet units are in the Hungarian and Romanian republics in accordance with the Warsaw Treaty and governmental agreements. Soviet military units are in the Polish republic on the basis of the Potsdam four-power agreement and the Warsaw Treaty.” The Declaration then claimed that “Soviet military units are not in the other people’s democracies,” omitting any mention of the hundreds of thousands of Soviet troops in East Germany.

17 Khrushchev presumably is referring here to both the military advisers and the state security (KGB) advisers.

18 When this editing was completed, the Presidium formally adopted Resolution No. P49/1 (“Vypiska iz protokola No. 49 zasedaniya Prezidiuma TsK ot 30 oktyabrya 1956 g.: O polozhenii v Vengrii,” 30 October 1956, in APRF, F.3, Op. 64, D.484, Ll. 25-30) stating that it would “approve the text, with changes made at the CPSU CC Presidium session, of a Declaration by the Government of the USSR on the foundations of development and the further strengthening of friendship and cooperation between the Soviet Union and the other socialist countries.” The resolution ordered that the “text of the Declaration be broadcast on radio on 30 October and published in the press on 31 October 1956.” For the published text, see “Deklaratsiya o printsipakh razvitiya I dal’neishem ukreplenii druzhby I sotrudnichestva mezhdu SSSR i drugimi sotsialisticheskimi stranami,” Pravda (Moscow), 31 October 1956, p. 1.

19 It is unclear precisely when the Chinese changed their position from non-interventionist to pro-intervention. The statement recorded here, if correctly transcribed, would suggest that the change occurred before the final Soviet decision on 31 October, but almost all other evidence (including subsequent Presidium meetings recorded by Malin) suggests that it came after, not before, the Soviet decision. In any case, if the change did occur before, it did not have any discernible effect on the Soviet decision at this meeting to eschew intervention.

20 Molotov is referring here to major developments in Hungary. On 30 October, at 2:30 p.m. Budapest time, Nagy announced the formal restoration of a multi-party state and the establishment of an “inner cabinet” of the national government. The new cabinet consisted of Nagy, Zoltan Tildy, Bela Kovacs, Ferenc Erdei, Janos Kadar, Geza Losonczy, and Anna Kethly (from the Social Democratic Party). That same day, a “revolutionary national defense council” of the Hungarian armed forces was set up, which supported the demands of “the revolutionary councils of the working youth and intellectuals,” and called for the “immediate withdrawal of Soviet troops from Budapest and their withdrawal from the entire territory of Hungary within the shortest possible time.” The new Council also promised to disarm all agents from Hungary’s disbanded state security forces (AVH), who had been notorious agents of repression during the Stalin era. A Revolutionary Armed Forces Committee also was formed on 31 October, and it was empowered by the government to create a new army.

21 These are five of the seven members of Nagy’s new “inner cabinet.” Anna Kethly’s name is not listed here because she had not yet been appointed. (Nagy mentioned in his speech on 30 October that “a person to be nominated by the Social Democratic Party” would be in the inner cabinet, and Kethly later turned out to be that person.) It is unclear why Malin did not list Ferenc Erdei’s name here.

The Presidium decides to promulgate a declaration on Hungary in which Soviet withdrawal and relations with the new government will be addressed. Members discuss the language of the new declaration and the advice of the CPC CC regarding the status of Soviet troops. The declaration is also intended to address the broader crisis in Soviet relations with people’s democracies.


Communist countries–Internal relations
Communist countries
Soviet Union. Army
Warsaw Treaty Organization
Hungary–History–Revolution, 1956
Soviet Union–Foreign policy
More …
East Germany
Eastern Europe
Soviet Union


























MEDIA OPENER: Charles Spry - He was Australia's master spy, the brilliant  head of ASIO who hated communists

Spry, the director of the Australian Security Intelligence Organization (ASIO), apologizes for the arrest of KGB defector Vladimir Petrov, who was under ASIO protection when he left a safehouse and got into an argument while drunk.


Petrov, Vladimir Mikhailovich, 1907-
Australian Security Intelligence Organization



Schah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi | corona

About the last operation/ operational mission of comrade [redacted]

Between 1979 and 1981 comrade [redacted] was stationed as a resident in Teheran.

In 1981 the Soviet- Iranian relations heated up (Mass persecutions, arrests and executions of operatives of the Tudeh- Party; temporary occupation of the UdSSR- Embassy by the revolutionary- guards, mysterious disappearance (probably treason) of the soviet counselor [redacted]).

For security reasons comrade [redacted] had to leave Teheran in this situation. (Shortly after his mission started, his successor was declared a persona non grata alongside other soviet diplomats).

During his operation in Teheran comrade [redacted] was in contact with the resident of the MfS. He widely supported our resident, a.m.

– with the assessment of the situation

– with the retransition/ return of a DDR- citizen (f) recruited by the enemy (overland to the Caspian sea and from there with a soviet ship to the UdSSR);

– with the preparation of an outward transfer of a DDR- citizen (m) (IMES- employee), who resided in the DDR- Embassy and against whom the Iranian authorities filed a request for extradition (outward transfer should take place with the help of a Bulgarian- Iranian transportation company, to which the comrade [redacted] had operational ties).

Comrade [redacted] wasn’t in the DDR so far. According to synopses at hand he did not receive an award by the MfS yet.

Description of the work of an East German agent in Iran who worked with the Stasi (MfS).


Iran–Politics and government
Germany (East)–Foreign relations–Iran
People’s Party of Iran (Tudeh)
East Germany


1979 hatte der Iran einen blutigen Machtwechsel erlebt. Die Islamische  Revolution zwang Schah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi



1. GDR-Iran Exchange of Opinions

On February 12, 1981, a government delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran was staying in the GDR under the leadership of the Minister of Education, Dr. Mohammed Javad Bahonar. He indicated to Comrade Oskar Fischer that his goal was find out the GDR’s position toward Iran’s Islamic revolution, the Iraqi invasion of Iran, and the preparedness of the GDR for further cooperation between the two countries.

Bahonar said that the Islamic revolution under Ayatollah Khomeini would be led to victory. The GDR was among the first countries that supported and recognized the Islamic revolution. The Islamic Republic of Iran would like to develop close relations for the mutual benefit with all countries and governments that recognize the goals and the outcomes of the revolution.

On international problems, Bahonar explained that Iran is interested in securing freedom, ending the arms race, and ensuring popular national independence. He condemned the “spiral” of the arms race and interference in the domestic affairs of nations. He said that Iran is concerned about the presence of the “superpowers” in the Persian Gulf and in the Indian Ocean. He said that the Islamic Republic of Iran supports allowing the nations of this region taking responsibility for its security. According to him, the Iranian people are unconcerned about the increased military presence of the USA in the region. They would not like for “another power to take the place of the USA” in the struggle to remove this danger.

Regarding the Iran-Iraq conflict Iran shares the view of the GDR, that it only serves the purposes of imperialism and must be ended as soon as possible. This is of great significance for the continuation of the revolution in Iran. The Iranian government does not expect for the GDR to give up its friendly relations with Iraq. But it asks the question of who is the aggressor. Iran would like for the GDR to influence Iraq and pull it back. The position on the Iran-Iraq conflict for Iran is an important point for the development of further relations.

On Afghanistan Bahonar stated that the Islamic Republic of Iran condemns any interference of imperialism, particularly by the USA, in this country. This however does not mean that they accept the “presence” of another country. A “government that is forced on the people” can make no decisions that the people do not support.

Iran advocates for all peoples of the region to decide their own fate, without external influence and pressure.

Bahonar emphasized that Iran is prepared to expand and deepen bilateral cooperation with the GDR in political, economic, and cultural spheres.

Bahonar invited the GDR Minister for Foreign Affairs as well as the Vice President of the National Council to visit Iran. He welcomed proposals to conclude further treaties and demonstrated particular interest in the use of the GDR’s experience in the area of public education and higher education, as well as the cooperation of social forces united in the National Front. He requested the sharing of comprehensive informational materials on the GDR’s education system.

Comrade Oskar Fischer elaborated on the peace policy of the GDR and the principle standpoint of the GDR toward the Iranian popular revolution. He indicated that the imperialists are preparing new actions against the peace efforts of the people and that the international situation is coming to a dangerous point. The imperialist course of heavy armament, the acceleration of the arms race, the long-term armament program of NATO, the Brussels missile decision, the so-called new nuclear strategy of the USA, and not least the neutron weapon plans of the USA endanger the peace of the entire world. In this connection Comrade Oskar Fischer emphasized the role of the USSR and the countries of the Socialist community in the struggle for peace, security, detente, and disarmament.

The Foreign Minister of the GDR assessed the good relations that have developed between the GDR and Iran in many areas, particularly the economy and trade. He declared the preparedness of the GDR to further develop and deepen the relations between both countries, as well as to extend them into other areas. On this point he presented a number of suggestions, which were positively received by the Iranian partners.

Comrade Oskar Fischer presented the position of the GDR on the Iran-Iran conflict and Afghanistan.

Comrade Kirchhoff informed the delegation about the experiences of the National Front during the democratic transformation and the creation of the developed Socialist society of the GDR.

The conversations are the first political exchange of opinion between the two governments and have created starting points for further development of political relations.

They took place in a sober, open-minded, and constructive atmosphere.

Representatives of the German Democratic Republic and the Islamic Republic of Iran discuss the arms race, the presence of superpowers in Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, and the Indian Ocean, the Iran-Iraq conflict, and the potential for bilateral cooperation between East Germany and Iran.


Afghanistan–History–Soviet occupation, 1979-1989
Iran–History–Revolution, 1979
Germany (East)–Foreign relations–Iran
Iran–Foreign relations–Iraq


Classic-Numismatik-Artefakten-Fabiano -




[Letterhead: Ministry for State Security]

Strictly Secret
Return requested

Berlin, the 4th of May, 1981

5 pages

6th Copy

No. 198/81



the activity of leftist organizations in Iran

The following information concerns the strategy and tactics of leftist groups in Iran, their activities, and the differences of opinion among them based on internal estimates.

Leftist forces, which were actively involved in the fall of the Shah, have been forced into the opposition with the establishment of the central power structure of clerical civilian forces. They are attacked by the ruling circles with religious hysteria and anti-communist fervor. The main forces of the leftist movement in Iran are the Tudeh Party, the Fedayin-e-chalk, and the Mujahadin-e-chalk. The “Organization of Fighting Muslims” under Habiholla Peyman is showing increasingly leftist tendencies. There are also a number of pseudo-leftist, leftist extremist, and Maoist organizations.

The main goal of the Tudeh Party in the current phase of the struggle is the creation of a unified people’s front on an anti-imperialist and democratic basis. As a most important premise for the attainment of this goal and ensuring favorable legal fighting conditions, the Party holds firmly onto support of Khomeini and the clerical regime against all attempts by imperialism and inner reaction to weaken the anti-imperalist thrust of the Iranian revolution.

The Party currently commands more than 30,000 members and sympathists. Their main influence is in Tehran, Abadan, the area around Gilan, Masanderon (on the Caspian Sea), and Kurdistan. In Azerbaijan the Party has not yet been able to re-capture the positions it attained earlier. Close collaboration with the majority faction of Fedayin-e-chalk has had a positive effect on the capabilities of the Tudeh Party.

The Party has individual representatives in the state apparatus and in some of the organizations (e.g. the Mustazafin Institute) that have been formed since the revolution. An expression of the increased effect of the Party among the working class is the election of a number of Party Members in union functions. Intelligence work, particularly in Tehran, is conducted through the “Democratic People’s Union of Iran.” The Party publishes a number of publications, the most well-known of which is the main organ “Mardom,” which until recently was able to be published regularly.

Despite a certain success in work among the masses it is difficult for the party to gain support from a broad section of the public, in view of the anti-communist fervor and the accusation of having been passive under the Shah’s regime. The tense relations between the Tudeh Party and Mujahadin-e-chalk has a negative effect in this regard, particularly among the youth. The recent attempts by forces supporting the regime to discredit the Tudeh Party and link them with leftist extremist forces remain until now without success. In view of the constant attacks on the Party, it is geared toward half-legal and illegal forms of fighting.

The so-called majority faction of the Fedayin-e-chalk, which was formed in 1980 because of differences over the further strategy and tact of the until-then unified organization, was able to further consolidate with the minority faction over Ashraf Daghani. It recognized that armed struggle against the Khomeini regime has no broad support among the populace. The majority faction, which advocates close collaboration with the Tudeh Party, has the goal of strengthening the anti-imperialist potential of the current regime and broadening the basis of the Organization among the working class. Both of these points are also meant to be the main content areas of the First Party Congress.

Report on leftist groups under attack by the central clerical leadership of Iran and particularly the Tudeh Party.


Iran–Politics and government
People’s Party of Iran (Tudeh)
Communist parties–Iran


Mohammad Reza Pahlavi - DER SPIEGEL


Main Department XX
Strictly Secret

Berlin, 7.7.1981
8 copies



Activities of counterrevolutionary Iranian forces in connection with the American and West German secret service

A reliable source has made it known that [redacted], the former employee of the Iranian secret service SAVAK in West Berlin, has left his home in Nuernberg, telephone number [redacted]. From there he has been organizing news service activity. Presently, [redacted] is in West Berlin and recording personal contacts from his former agents. His recordings portray the following main points on future work:

-The “National Iranian Front,” which consists of Iranian citizens and active Shah adherents, is assiduously preparing a counterrevolution in Iran. One may presume that all preparations will be completed by the middle of 1982, and that great support for this is coming from the American and West German secret services.

The military actions are being prepared by former Iranian General [redacted] and the former Iranian Admiral [redacted], formerly of the Iranian Navy.

-The “National Iranian Front” has reportedly gone so far as to carry out intensified terror acts against Khomeini’s regime and the Tudeh Party. In their view, only by terror acts can the way be made clear for a counterrevolution. Particular credit in this area is given to General [redacted], who lives in Frankfurt/Main.

[redacted] considers a first success to be the bomb attack on the seat of the ruling Islamic Republican Party (IRP) in Iran at the end of June 1981, where 64 victims were lost.

A simultaneous attack aimed at the center of the Tudeh Party reportedly failed for reasons that are not yet clear.

-Surveillance of the Tudeh Party is being intensively continued, particularly its functionaries, as well as their contacts in the Soviet Union and other Socialist countries.

The struggle against the Tudeh Party is reportedly important so that the Soviet Union does not gain firm positions in Iran. Surveillance of the Tudeh Party they also reportedly had great help from the American and West German intelligence services.


People’s Party of Iran (Tudeh)
Iran–Foreign relations–United States
Germany (West)–Foreign relations–Iran
East Germany


Report from informal collaborator on personal conflicts among Tudeh Party leaders in Leipzig.


People’s Party of Iran (Tudeh)
East Germany

On the report from informal collaborator (IC) “Reza” from 26.7.78

The IC shared that there are widespread personal conflicts in the office of the Tudeh Party in Leipzig between Eskandary and Kianouri and their current supporters. In order to now strengthen the leadership of the Tudeh Party Gen. Safari was appointed as its Third Secretary, whose primary focus is work on propaganda. S. had been previously active in Prague, and works here at the magazine “For Peace and Socialism.”

The IC considers him a decent and honest comrade, although he will have a difficult time asserting himself under the current circumstances in the office.

The IC further shared that two other Iranians have come from Moscow who will work in the office. The name one is [redacted]. The IC does not know the other by name.

The IC also shared that the Maoist magazine “Tufan” is circulating among Lebanese students. A Lebanese student with the first name of [redacted], for instance, had this magazine. Apparently this magazine ist sent from West Berlin, and he has been tasked by his Party with making a translation, in order to evaluate its content.




Ministry of state security
Berlin, 23 September 1970

No. 993/70

According to a reliable source, the attitude of the Federal Government towards the afore-mentioned stations was described by leading SPD officials at the beginning of September 1970 as follows:

The attacks by the Soviet Union, the GDR and some other socialist countries against the activities of the stations are harsh, and they could call into question the Olympic Games. The Federal Government is aware from various, not just official, sources that some of the socialist countries are relatively serious in their threat to boycott the Olympic Games in Munich if the stations do not terminate their activities.

The Federal Government is in a difficult situation on this issue, because it cannot afford to antagonize the Americans, who are running these stations. On the other hand it is not necessarily uncomfortable for the Federal Government to see mounting pressure from the East against the activities of the stations, as this would open certain possibilities for the Federal Government to raise this issue with the Americans and suggest that the stations might work from outside the Federal Republic. The current situation is that the Federal Government has recently extended the contractual licenses for both stations under pressure from the Americans. The contractual licenses are valid for 2 years, and can be canceled at the earliest after one year, with a year’s notice. This means that the stations would be still active by the time of the 1972 Olympic Games. The Federal Government is at the moment not in a position to do anything against the activities of the stations.

This assessment was confirmed by the Bundespost [Federal Post Office], which however pointed out that besides the broadcasting license, which is granted by the Foreign Ministry, there is also a technical license. This technical license, which regulates the use of frequencies, is granted by the Bundespost. It is not attached to longer-term contracts, but can be canceled with six months’ notice. The next possible date for cancellation is 31 December 1970, with a deadline [for terminating operations] at the end of June 1971. Withdrawing the technical license is thus a possible way of cutting off the activities of the stations at an earlier date than though the license awarded by the Foreign Ministry.

From SPD circles it was stated in this regard that this situation opened up a new perspective. It was hoped that, at the next frequency conference, the frequencies used by the two stations for the Federal Republic could be canceled under pressure from the East bloc countries, possibly even from the neutral countries. In any case, it would not necessarily be uncomfortable for the federal government if a solution could be found that was bearable for the federal government.

Due to security concerns regarding this source, this information cannot be publicized.


This GDR intelligence report, based on information from SPD officials in Bonn, describes the concern of Brandt Government officials about the continued operation of RFE and RL in Germany, and claims that some officials would conditionally welcome Soviet bloc pressure on this issue.


This GDR intelligence report, based on information from SPD officials in Bonn, describes the concern of Brandt Government officials about the continued operation of RFE and RL in Germany, and claims that some officials would conditionally welcome Soviet bloc pressure on this issue.


Radio Liberty
Radio broadcasting
Radio Free Europe
Brandt, Willy, 1913-1992
East Germany
West Germany


Meetings between KGB Chairman Semichastny and East German Minister for State Security Mielke. Topics of discussion include Lyndon B. Johnson’s recent election in the United States, Khrushchev’s ouster from the Kremlin, Sino-Soviet relation, and Khrushchev’s son-in-law Alexei Adzhubei.





Nuclear weapons–China
European Economic Community
National liberation movements–Africa
Germany (East). Ministry for State Security (Stasi)
Soviet Union. Committee for State Security (KGB)

Berlin, 2 December 1964

2 copies

R e p o r t

On Meetings with the KGB of the USSR on 30 November and 1 December 1964

Participants at these meetings initiated by the MfS [Ministry of State Security.] of the GDR were the following:

  • Soviet side:

Comrade Semichastny, Chairman of the Committee

Comrade Sakharovsky, Head of Main Department 1

Comrade Pavlov, Deputy Head of Main Department 1

Comrade Skomorokhin, Division Head of Main Department 1

Comrade Beskrovny, Head of KGB apparatus in the GDR

  • MfS of the GDR:

Comrade Mielke[Minister for State Security]

Comrade Wolf [Deputy Minister, Head of HVA [Foreign Intelligence Division]

On both days there was one exchange held by the individuals listed above. In addition, there were individual talks with the Deputy Head of Main Department 2, Comrade Babkov, the Deputy Head of the Mobilization Department, Comrade Piskunov, and with Comrade Sakharovsky, joined by the Head of the Africa Department, Comrade Vinogradov, and the Deputy Head of the Information Department, Comrade Zitnikov.

In response to a questionnaire forwarded by us, Comrade Semichastny discussed the following issues:

  1. On the international situation

Assessment of US Government Policy

Currently the Johnson Administration is reviewing the basis of its foreign policy. Johnson’s electoral victory is the largest ever by an American president. However, the 20 million votes for Goldwater must not be overlooked. The US government will have to consider the changes at the top in the Soviet Union, the changes in Great Britain, the nuclear test explosion in China, and the attitudes of de Gaulle.

Probably the US administration will put in place a couple of tougher measures. This shows, for instance, through its campaign against the alleged Soviet debt towards UN organizations. This is to exert pressure on the non-aligned states and Secretary General U Thant. There is no chance for a compromise on this issue. The US pursues a tough line, and it looks like they are ready to go to extremes. A similar line becomes evident in the Congo and in Vietnam.

Yet even if US election results have somewhat strengthened right-wing forces, the US still understands that acute tensions are unhelpful. It would only lead to closer cooperation between the socialist states and others. Therefore, the US has to maneuver.

The people in charge in the United States are fully aware that a nuclear war will be deadly for them. Yet they make efforts to influence the balance of power according to their own interests. Thus we have to expect an (albeit slower) continuation of the arms race, as well as attempts to further strengthen NATO and divide the socialist camp. In the latter regard, the US is banking on certain nationalist tendencies there.

During his visit to the US, [British Prime Minister Harold] Wilson talked in particular about how nationalist tendencies in European socialist countries might be better exploited.

The United States is moving one to two additional divisions to South Vietnam, and they conduct air strikes against the liberation movement’s bases outside of South Vietnam. The communiqué about the Johnson/Taylor meeting does not state anything about intentions, yet in fact the US is embarking on a course of escalation. However, sooner or later the US will have to agree to the neutralization of South Vietnam. There are also tendencies to negotiate in this regard within the Democratic Republic of Vietnam [DRV]. Yet Beijing is against it and demands, at the expense of the Vietnamese people, to fight until total victory. The DRV leadership sometimes openly expresses to the Chinese its dissatisfaction with Chinese aid, especially in economic regard. The war places a major burden on the DRV.

Concerning Cuba, there are no expectations for an open attack by the US with forces of its own. However, the Cuban counter-revolution, though basically destroyed within Cuba itself, is actively supported by the US from outside of Cuba. The United States tightens its economic blockade to create dissatisfaction within Cuba. One cannot exclude the possibility of aggressive actions by a group of other Latin American countries, triggered by certain provocations. Such a plan was already discussed by military representatives from some of these countries.

Regarding relations with the USSR, the US makes efforts to negotiate in order to reach agreements on certain issues. In a conversation with the Soviet Ambassador [Dobrynin in Washington] Vice President [Hubert] Humphrey has made very positive comments that are, however, of relative value only. The US wants to improve relations. Yet its position on the funding of the UN is counter to this intention.

The conference held in Moscow with a large number of influential US business people and mega capitalists, as well as other facts, demonstrates that the US is currently reviewing its options to expand trade relations. It is their official line to do so without haste. In early 1965 we will probably sign a consular agreement. The Americans value highly the recently signed agreement on the extraction of fresh water from the ocean. Negotiations about direct flights between the USSR and the US are very tedious. All this shows how the US wants to avoid raising tensions but undertakes only a few practical steps in this regard.

Major difficulties are to be expected, and major efforts are required, on issues like disarmament, the solution of postwar problems in Europe, the prevention of West Germany’s nuclear armament, and on other European questions. No rapid progress is to be expected here.

On the Position of the British Labour Government

The Wilson government operates to a certain extent on the basis of détente. Its main tactics are: Flexibility and firmness. It supports peaceful coexistence, in particular with regard to trade. It stresses its own position and measures. In the interest of détente, it is their opinion that the Western alliance must be strengthened.

Before the elections Wilson had his own position concerning the GDR. Yet it is not known whether this will have actual consequences.

There is a certain interest in détente where the Labour government sees some opportunities for solutions on individual issues. The Labour government is against any form of nuclear war and supports in principle the creation of nuclear-free zones – also with the inclusion of both German states.

In contrast to its positions before the elections, the Labour government now conditionally supports the MLF [Multilateral Force]. Probably it is pursuing certain tactics here; in fact it does not believe in the realization of the MLF, and therefore slows it down.

On de Gaulle’s Position

It is well known and openly promulgated. His main objective is the elimination of American hegemony and the formation of a Western European defense union with a French-German alliance at its core. De Gaulle’s plans are threatened by decisive countermeasures from the US and West Germany. The US does not want to share its leadership, nor do they want France to gain influence. De Gaulle is angry about [FRG Chancellor Ludwig] Erhard for his support of American positions. According to reliable information, the French government will absolutely advocate against building the MLF and all its consequences. The British government’s position is also directed against de Gaulle’s plans.

The West German government is against a pro-French line and clearly supports the US course.

A sharp breach between France and the other Western powers has emerged and created a complicated situation within NATO. De Gaulle’s visit to Latin America is interesting. For now, France’s efforts have not led to results. France is in a difficult economic situation and undertakes certain efforts towards rapprochement with the Soviet Union in particular in economic regards. It has also showed an interest in joint ventures concerning production of passenger airplanes for high altitudes, and also in cooperation on color television systems. The visit by [Gaston] Palewski, [French] Minister of Information [sic], to the Soviet Union was interesting. [1] He expressed the same policy when meeting with leading government representatives from Romania, Bulgaria, and Czechoslovakia in Paris. There also is a certain interest in trade with the GDR. France was one of the first countries to sign trade and loan agreements with the USSR.

This French policy is not innocent when it comes to exploiting nationalist tendencies in order to create fissures in the socialist camp. It is unknown what they actually talked with Romania. What has been leaked, however, displays this tendency. It also shows with regard to ideological subversion.

On Positions of the West German Government

(Comrade Semichastny remarked here that we [the MfS] are more knowledgeable on this.)

No initiative is to be expected from the Western powers to settle postwar European issues, especially with regard to West Berlin. The West German government wants to force the Western powers to negotiate about the German question based on the FRG concept of “self-determination.” This leads to the discomfort of the other Western powers, as became evident during the leadership change in the Soviet Union. For instance, the West German position has also created problems for the preparation of a treaty banning nuclear tests in the atmosphere. The Western powers were afraid the Soviet Union might fully withdraw from it.

The West German government plans to increase activities regarding its relations with the People’s Republic of China and the European socialist countries. It wants to exploit Soviet-Sino differences and China’s interest in normalizing its relations with the Federal Republic.

The [FRG] Federal Government also reviews its position vis-à-vis the GDR. Devious methods are to be expected from that.

Due to increasing contradictions within NATO, the West German government is pleading for US favors, e.g. by making financial concessions. Contradictions mount with France and England, for instance because of the British proposals concerning the MLF. De Gaulle’s pressure has created a difficult situation. Hence the West German government currently still weighs its options on all those issues.

The NATO council meeting in December will be of major importance. The agenda features: An assessment of the international situation by [US Secretary of State Dean] Rusk coupled with expert presentations; a report by General Secretary [Manlio] Brosio about the state of cooperation within NATO with regard to proposals for NATO’s reorganization; a statement by the chairman of NATO’s Standing Military Committee on the socialist countries’ military potential; reports by the NATO commanders and the Military Committee on NATO’s combat readiness in 1964; a report by Brosio on the strategic concept; a presentation by the US commission to prepare for the MLF; a statement on cooperation in areas of scientific-technological and military-technological research; the confirmation of NATO’s annual report; and votes on corresponding proposals.

The contradictions within NATO become most evident on the issue of NATO strategy. Extensive explanation [by Semichastny] of the American strategy of flexible response (already known to us [the MfS]). This is creating the main point of dissent from France which holds the opinion that the US will not actually defend Europe by using its strategic nuclear potential.

West Germany supports the French concept in principle but wants to integrate with the US positions.

The American concept envisages the option of local wars with the US reserving the right to determine the location, time, and means of war efforts. This concept is based on an increase in all types of armaments, and of course the growth of strategic nuclear potential as well. Particular emphasis is placed on special forces to conduct “guerrilla wars.” Their numbers have increased six-fold between 1961 and 1964. We have to take this into consideration in order not to allow surprises and to implement appropriate countermeasures.

On Contradictions within the European Economic Community (EEC)

Efforts to reach a common trade policy vis-à-vis the socialist camp are not supported by all EEC member states. In part, they even violate their obligations towards the EEC. West Germany is strenuously opposing loans for socialist countries especially because of Soviet positions on the German and West Berlin question. Vis-à-vis the GDR, the FRG attempts to trade loans for political concessions.

Italy is against any restrictions and granted to the Soviet Union a small 5-year bank loan. France has granted loans for 7 years. England is against any restrictions in this area. Belgium, for instance, opposes any restrictions on imports from the socialist camp while some of its industrial branches are in danger of getting crippled. Negotiations between the Soviet Union and the Benelux countries are imminent.

In the context of problems regarding the common agricultural market and the uniform grain price, France is even reviewing whether to leave the EEC.

The US is expecting an increase in exports during the Kennedy Round negotiations in November. Johnson is considering whether to move towards bilateral negotiations if there are no results in November. France strongly opposes an increase of imports from the United States. Major differences were created by the 15 percent increase of import tariffs by Great Britain.

On Covert and Subversive Activities of the Imperialist Powers and their Intelligence Services against the Socialist Camp

This activity is planned as a long-term strategy to divide the socialist camp and to create a hostile atmosphere towards the socialist order in individual countries. Offensive actions by the Chinese facilitate the emergence of favorable conditions for this kind of activity. NATO experts assess that the Chinese attitude will be the main lever used by the West to instigate nationalist positions [in socialist countries].

Important aspects consist in plans to target economic relations between socialist countries within Comecon. There have been consultations within NATO on how to sell goods and equipment to individual socialist countries that previously received them from other socialist countries. This is objectively directed against the purpose and intentions of Comecon. Economic subversion is undertaken through loans and technological exports to develop economic sectors in individual socialist countries that are not really essential. Yet those sectors create competition with other socialist countries and result in overproduction, and thus in additional problems and differences.

Ideological subversion is primarily directed at praising the Western lifestyle, standard of living, democracy, and so on – and compromising the socialist order by portraying certain economic weaknesses and deficiencies as a consequence of the socialist order. It is directed against alleged flaws of the [socialist] democratic system, and it exaggerates both real and nonexistent conflicts. The West is acting as a promoter of national independence for socialist countries and speaks out against alleged pressure on them by the USSR.

On plans for covert activities.

The US hardly counts on solutions through armed domestic counterrevolution. Besides economic and ideological subversion, the US therefore emphasizes in its covert activities the improvement of spy networks and the build-up of small counter-revolutionary groups. It aims at asserting itself through gaining a capacity to stifle unrest in case of international complications. Through these activities the US keeps its own hopes for potential change alive.

More than in previous times, the US intelligence services focus on gathering internal and economic information, such as on difficulties, contradictions, and problems within Comecon; but also obviously about the combat strength of the socialist armies and Soviet arms deployed in socialist countries and the Soviet Union itself, etc.

In part, intelligence agencies are tasked with disseminating rumors, sending anonymous letters, and distributing leaflets especially in case of domestic troubles.

In the context of strengthening the US special forces (Rangers), the US services have created a special operative group in Europe to prepare for sabotage and the activities of gangs in socialist countries.

After the changes in the Soviet leadership no particular attempts by the adversary were noted to exploit the situation inside the Soviet Union. The NTS [National Alliance of Russian Solidarists] attempted to create false impressions abroad concerning the existence of certain resistance groups within the Soviet Union. [2] Yet all this must not make us complacent. In certain reviews, we sometimes noted a dangerous overconfidence on the side of our counterintelligence services despite the fact that there are still many open channels left for the infiltration of enemies into the Soviet Union (he [Semichastny] explained this by giving examples of opportunities exploited by criminals).

On this entire complex of issues we [MfS] made extensive comments during our second meeting. Drawing on differences within the FRG leadership, we outlined how it does not make much sense to simply talk about a rejection of the French and a clear support of American concepts by the West German government. There are noteworthy differences within the West German leadership on core issues regarding NATO, MLF, and other problems. The leading exponents of West German imperialism have one thing in common: They are eager to exploit differences between other NATO members in order to pursue their revanchist concept and related strategic positions, and to gain larger concessions and rights pertaining to nuclear arms. We see the different options involved but currently the MLF is the biggest danger. In stressing this line of argumentation, we also noted that due to differences within NATO especially favorable opportunities exist to stall this project by mobilizing all our political forces. We explained the connection, and emanating danger, between West German imperialism’s basic concept of its own positions on forward-based strategies and the issue of “covert war” and its respective preparation. We also emphasized the link between this dangerous particular West German concept and undertakings of political and economic subversion.

Comrade Semichastny agreed with our opinions and stressed the high value of our information for the KGB.

[Semichastny said:] Everything must be done in order to prevent West German access to nuclear weapons in any form. If West Germany receives nuclear weapons or gets just one finger on the trigger, anything can be expected from the West German revanchists. A lot is depending on us to prevent this in any form. The Soviet Union’s line is clear: No proliferation or transfer of nuclear weapons to anybody.

As far as the US is concerned, they do not currently count on the possibility of armed insurrections. They hardly infiltrate major forces from outside or deploy them, not even in Cuba.

If West Germany is training its own special forces, the possibility of provocations and perhaps the deployment of larger forces cannot be dismissed outright. There are no certain indications but politically you can expect them to undertake anything. They might have interests in creating preconditions by way of provocations to involve other NATO states in their plans. They might also have interests in demonstrating domestic instability in the GDR to keep hopes alive for realizing their plans.

On 30 November 1964, “Pravda” published an article about West Germany’s options to build its own nuclear weapons. The KGB provided us [MfS] with an assessment of the military potential of West German nuclear research based on our information and other sources.

Comrade Semichastny does not attribute any significance to the postponement by one month of the Warsaw Pact’s Political Consultative Committee meeting requested by the GDR.

Comrade Semichastny added here that the US and Great Britain do not want a nuclear war and that the BND [West German foreign intelligence service] is aware of this. De Gaulle uses his nuclear weapons to exert pressure on the other European countries but he will not start a nuclear war either. West Germany knows this as well. However, West Germany is a different case. From them you can expect an initiation [of nuclear war] as soon as they have the means to do it.

Regarding our statement on the effects of [Nikita Khrushchev’s son-in-law Alexei] Adzhubei’s visit to West Germany in increasing political subversion, the Soviet comrades responded: When this information arrived [in Moscow], the Chairman of the KGB approached the Presidium of the [CPSU] Central Committee. This question played an essential role [in the Soviet leadership change].

Furthermore, the KGB raised the issue that other Soviet institutions, especially academic ones, are often too passive towards hostile subversion and underestimate the impact of the adversary. It is necessary not only to be reactive but also to act offensively and outline our own position.

When dealing with this question [Adzhubei’s visit to West Germany], Comrade Semichastny stated that the KGB leadership takes every piece of information seriously and follows through on this line. He reiterated his statement, and he again expressed his thanks for the information and important hints provided by the MfS.

  1. On Relations with China and Albania

On this issue raised by Comrade Mielke there was the following response by Comrade Semichastny:

The relationship with the Chinese is complicated, and it remains that way. With their visit [to Moscow] on 7 November the Chinese wanted to demonstrate that they have taken the initiative. It became clear during the talks in Moscow that the Chinese insist on the precondition to annul the decisions of the XX and XXII CPSU Party Congress; otherwise talks would make no sense. They pretended to have come to establish contacts and clear this issue but had no authority to negotiate. To every proposal by the Soviet comrades they just responded that they would report it back to Beijing. Yet in fact they rejected everything. Since the CPSU sticks to its line on basic questions, there is no real basis for talks with the Chinese.

During the meeting they [USSR] offered to meet with the Chinese on any level and at any location. They just responded that they would report this back.

Before, during, and after this stay in Moscow the Chinese press constantly published statements from Albanian, Japanese, and New Zealand newspapers with heavy attacks on the Soviet Union and repetitions of previous Chinese positions. The speeches by Comrades Brezhnev and Kosygin were published but typeset in such a way that the Chinese position became evident. An editorial published in [the Chinese newspaper] “Red Flag” reiterated all the old attacks and confirmed their insistence on maintaining their previous line. The “Red Flag” article was constantly re-broadcasted on radio.

The Soviet proposal for mutual cessation of interferences in internal affairs was met without any reaction. The Chinese press printed the nefarious attacks by the Japanese Communist Party, containing the demand that Khrushchev was just the tip of the iceberg and now the entire CPSU leadership has to be eliminated.

In the context of a CPSU proposal to move the preparatory meeting of the parties to March 1965, a corresponding letter by the CPSU Central Committee was supposed to be delivered to Mao Zedong or Liu Shaoqi. However, the Soviet ambassador [in Beijing] was only received by Deputy Foreign Minister Liu Xiao who commented himself on the letter’s contents and rejected it; though he was told the letter was addressed to the CCP Central Committee. He argued against any consultations and just repeated the same old attacks.

Thus there is nothing indicating an improvement in relations; not even the slightest hint in this direction exists. Countering our proposal to cede public polemics, the Chinese openly declared that they considered polemics useful.

For half a year, a Soviet delegation conducted negotiations in Beijing on border issues. Now these negotiations have been moved to Moscow where they are scheduled to resume on 15 November. Yet until now there has been no Chinese response to this proposal. The Chinese side demands the inclusion of a provision in the border treaty which states that 2.5 million square kilometers of Chinese territory were unjustly and violently incorporated by Tsarist Russia. They declare they do not want this territory returned, only this injustice recognized. Concerning concrete issues, they are demanding, for instance, to have the borderline running next to Khabarovsk at the Amur River, i.e. right along the city.

The Soviet inquiry about Mao Zedong’s statement on the border made to the Japanese socialists has so far not received any response.

Currently there are fewer incidents along the border. However, winter has to be considered here. Until recently the situation was not normal: Constant border transgressions, impudent demeanor. This represents a major challenge to the nerves of the Soviet border units.

A similar picture exists in other fields of bilateral relations like trade and culture. Here as well there is no ray of hope, everything stands as it was.

During our [MfS] stay [in Moscow] the following incident occurred:

A Chinese doctoral student working with a Soviet professor had indicated he probably would not want to return to China. Subsequently he was ordered to come to the Chinese embassy and was supposed to be returned to China against his will. He fled from the embassy, and since then the Chinese are searching for him. Since they assume he is staying in his professor’s house, the Chinese have basically blocked this house and monitor it constantly. A Soviet protest was filed to the Chinese ambassador [in Moscow].

In China the atmosphere is further fueled by a strong anti-Soviet campaign. The splittist activities against other parties are continuing. The Communist Party of India has basically split apart. The Communist Party of Japan is treated as a vanguard, a progressive group has been excluded. Similar phenomena occur in Ceylon, Burma, Belgium, and so on. The splittist groups are officially supported by China.

The future perspective:

The Soviet Union is undertaking steps to find ways to come to at least decent bilateral relations. It is hard to say what the result will be. The CPSU leadership has to stand tall vis-à-vis the party and cannot tolerate letting the authority of the CPSU be constantly dragged through the mud.

On the Chinese atomic bomb:

It is impossible to assess whether this was a real bomb or a propagandistic one (laboratory experiment). One can hardly talk at the moment about a serious military production. The Chinese statement that they will not be the first to use the bomb seems to indicate this line of interpretation. Yet new problems are to be expected due to the course of the Chinese leadership.

On the Albanians:

Nothing is changing here. They did not send a delegation to the 47th anniversary [of the October Revolution] and also rejected a corresponding suggestion of the Chinese to do so. According to Comrade Semichastny’s personal opinion, the joint Albanian article that used the pretext to comment on [Italian Communist leader Palmiro] Togliatti’s memorandum was not drafted by the Albanians but by the Chinese. One week after the ouster of Comrade Khrushchev this was to serve as a trial balloon.

The Albanians demand an apology from the Soviet comrades, a concession of their mistakes, and the cessation of decisions by the XX and XXII CPSU Party Congress.

They may consider inviting the Albanians to the meeting of the Warsaw Pact Consultative Committee and to the Comecon meeting in order to test their reaction and deprive them of arguments [against the Soviet Union].

Inside Albania everything is repressed, they bolster security measures and the police apparatus. They hold trials, but people also disappear without trials. Albania’s economic situation is difficult. A message was sent to them on the 20th anniversary of liberation.

Concerning the situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: It is hard to come up with detailed information. They are sailing along Chinese straits. Yet they are less polemical towards the Soviet Union. The same can be said about the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Characteristic of the attitude of the Chinese regarding Vietnam are their constant exhortations to others to fight without exposing themselves. They are eager to drag the Soviet Union into conflicts with the United States. When Vietnam demanded and received from the Soviet Union aircraft for certain types of combat the Chinese were asked to provide pilots, yet they refused. As a result, some Soviet pilots had to expose themselves in a very risky manner.

The main Chinese demand leveled against the Soviet Union is to provide evidence for a decisive struggle against US imperialism. They basically demand this conflict.

  1. On Liberation Movements in Africa

Our questions regarding this subject were answered by Comrade Semichastny in principle, and in more detail by Comrade Sakharovsky in a separate meeting.

The work in Africa is complicated. The adversary has major Africa experiences and a strong intelligence base. We are just at the beginning. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations by socialist countries, and the improved opportunities resulting from those, the adversary undertakes active measures to diminish our influence. The struggle for the African continent is a tough fight conducted with high stakes and corresponding means. In particular the US and West Germany have recently increased the number of experienced agents. There are strong contradictions between the Western powers. They fight over influence, but they are united against the socialist countries. In order to prevent the establishment of progressive beachheads, institutions or socialist associations, they resort to every conceivable provocation and lie. In part they were successful with this, like in Guinea where relations with the Soviet Union deteriorated due to French and American efforts. Now there have been disappointments in Guinea, and a delegation has come to the Soviet Union with a long list of requests.

The Soviet Union supports the liberation movement and progressive forces in their unforgiving struggle against imperialism. Soviet foreign intelligence maintains contacts with the leaders of various liberation movements and conducts extensive political work to counter the influence of imperialist forces.

Following our submitted questionnaire, a general Soviet assessment was given on the various liberation movements and basic information provided about which organizations are pushed and supported by the Soviet Union.

Noted as most deserving of support were:

  • the MPLA of Angola;
  • the FRELIMO headed by Dr. [Eduardo] Mondlane of Mozambique;
  • the UPC under Mussaga in Cameroon;
  • in Congo the group around [Gaston] Soumialot (i.e. also [Antoine] Gizenga and [Pierre] Mulele).

Concerning the liberation movements of Mocambique and South Rhodesia which currently lack a firm base in the country, and whose current leaders cannot be vouched for with certainty, it is now particularly important to identify and study positive individuals in order to develop leaders who are actually capable and can guarantee a proper utilization of our aid and support.

Concerning the Tanzanian Union:

The Union is a victory of Western powers and [President Julius] Nyerere. The latter has played an extraordinarily negative role in all this. The Union exerts strong pressure against any preservation of Zanzibar’s independent rights. Tanganyika has built a volunteer reserve of 4,000 men and in October issued a decree pertaining to the armed forces. Zanzibar has little prospect of an autonomous development. Nyerere will not establish diplomatic relations with the GDR and has given corresponding guarantees to the Western powers.

In our meeting with Comrade Sakharovsky this assessment was based on our statements regarding this issue. Zanzibar must be supported as a base for progress and a fist within Tanzania. It has to be strengthened against all efforts of restoration by colonial and neo-colonial powers. All attacks by imperialist powers must be parried. Zanzibar needs economic support.

Another threat emanates from plans for an East African federation, and also must not be allowed.

MfS activities on Zanzibar are rated positively. All expenses for Zanzibar are justified. It is now particularly important to solidify the personal contacts with, and influence on, [President Abeid] Karume, to always make accurate assessments of the domestic situation in Zanzibar, and to study also the policy of the Union closely. The activities by our security services [in Zanzibar] have to be legally certified and covered in order not to deliver a pretext for an outside intervention.

It is crucial to have exact knowledge of English and American plans concerning the Union and against Zanzibar.

We reached agreement about our assessment of [Abdullah] Hanga and [Abdulrahman] Babu, also about the need to influence them.

Coordination measures were agreed upon, especially in light of the upcoming delegation of KGB representatives [to Zanzibar].

On the Bureau of African Affairs (BAA), Ghana:

In principle the Soviet Union supports all wishes expressed by President [Kwame] Nkrumah, though they are frequently complicated and difficult. Nkrumah sees himself as a leader for all of Africa and harbors corresponding plans.

After the first attack on Nkrumah, the Soviet Union provided support by sending an adviser to help with building a personal security service. It also provided equipment and arms for a Guard Battalion including the delivery of heavy armaments. The KGB has also sent an officer to help with the creation of intelligence services. He is still on site in Ghana but can hardly become active. The security apparatus is not yet purged of imperialist elements. Support is also given for the build-up of border guard units. Ten people are to be trained in the Soviet Union for the struggle of liberation movements.

Our information concerning the tasks of the Bureau of African Affairs were confirmed. Information was given about which liberation movements are supported by this office, and which are not. The head of the office, [A.K.] Barden, is a confidant of Nkrumah. Information exists according to which Barden is involved in financial machinations and arms smuggling. In this context, some express opinions that he discredits the liberation movements and Ghana’s prestige. African leaders, like those of Zambia, are said to have stated their displeasure with the office’s activities.

The BAA has requested and received a Soviet instructor for the camps it is running to train fighters for Angola. They were trained for six months. Now they asked for equipment, arms, and education material for an alleged training center. There is the assumption that in fact they want to build up a special force capable of being deployed abroad as well as inside Ghana.

The Czechoslovak comrades have had experiences with similar requests from Guinea and Mali. They provided their knowledge as advisers but they were never shown anything. Afterwards they were pushed out.

Concerning such type of work, it is important in general to recognize that the influence of imperialist intelligence and corruption are still quite strong. From Soviet remarks we [MfS] could fathom that requests ought to be met when there is a direct confirmation by Nkrumah. Arms shipments to Ghana will also be supported.

On Assessing the Situation of the Cuban Security Services:

The security services have existed since 1959 and are part of the Ministry of Interior. The heads of foreign intelligence, counterintelligence, and personal security are basically autonomous and report directly to the leadership. Mostly they are young, good, and energetic people, former members of the 26th of July movement or Cuban communists. They do not have much experience. There are no party cells within the organization.

A noteworthy element is a certain guerilla mentality and the desire to instigate revolutions in other Latin American countries without taking practical conditions there into consideration. Foreign Intelligence has existed since 1961 and is kept very busy with such issues.

Counterintelligence has done great work against the counterrevolution, achieved good success in 1961-62, and pushed back the active underground. Soviet advisers gave support to the struggle against banditry. According to Cuban assessments there are currently only 70 to 80 active bandits left.

Since 1960 our relationship with the KGB has been close. There is solid cooperation, constant support through specialists, training in the Soviet Union, delivery of operative technology, and informational exchanges. The large Cuban requests in the field of technology are not always justifiable. [KGB] advisers on Cuba are also working with [Cuban] Foreign Intelligence. The [Cuban] comrades have problems keeping contact with [foreign] agents [abroad]. Sometimes they do not know where they are, and what they are doing.

The Soviet comrades help with information about regime questions, documentation issues, information on objects in the US, and support the struggle against agents from capitalist states in Cuba. The Cuban comrades are attentive and apply their advice. Working with them requires major diligence, support, and insights into their problems.

Concerning our questions about certain phenomena in Cuba, Comrade Sakharovsky explained: Fidel decides everything in Cuba. This leads to discontent. Incorrect decisions are taken, and then subordinate leaders are held responsible for subsequent deficits and problems. There are difficulties in building party organizations. There are no party cells yet in the security services. There are problems and tensions based on different origins of members coming from the 26th of July movement, the Directorate, and the communists. The leadership’s position is unclear in context of the [Anibal] Escalante affair, the [Heriberto] Rodriguez trial and the current investigation against Ordoka. It is not clear whether this represents, intentionally or inadvertently, an anti-communist tendency of Fidel. The political situation is complicated and indeed major discontent exists.

We were asked [by the KGB] to establish, according to our interests, official contact between the MfS and the Cuban services. We ought to emphasize our interest in supporting anti-American tendencies in Latin America through our activity. Concrete cases [unofficial agents] must not be uncovered.

  1. On Questions of Mobilization Work

Comrade Semichastny agreed that a meeting will be held by experts on this issue.

  1. On Registration and Operative Evaluation of Tourism

[Based on a] meeting with Comrade Babkov, a visit to the electronic center, and to the news center in the 2nd Main Directorate. Registration is currently done according to the following criteria:

  1. Entry and exit by foreigners from non-socialist states;
  2. Travel routes and geography of travel activity;
  3. Agents and suspicious foreigners;
  4. Diplomatic travel.

Entry and exit stubs have replaced the visa and contain a photo. Currently we [MfS] are working with the Institute of Criminology on the problem of picture registration and analysis. In the long run registration is envisaged of important links with information from mail control, of suspicious Soviet citizens, and of repercussions concerning confidential information that was revealed to the adversary.

  1. Varia
  2. Joint measures against the statute of limitations of war crimes.

The Soviet comrades will forward a proposal to the GDR State Prosecutor via the Soviet Embassy in Berlin in the name of the USSR State Prosecutor to delegate GDR experts to USSR archives to study Nazi documents. After a review and selection of related material, the latter will be officially and publicly handed over to the GDR. The USSR will issue a statement by the Committee of War Veterans or the Soviet government. Also there will be an appeal by Soviet lawyers filing an appropriate protest.

The Soviet comrades expect the MfS to be involved in this. They expect a delegation of 5 or 6 individuals to come to the USSR soon, preferably with Russian language skills.

  1. The Soviet comrades are preparing information on the contents of existing documents to be used for the unmasking of Nazi diplomats.
  2. The comrades returned to the issue of the International Seminar to expose the Nazi generals in the West German army.
  3. The KGB attributes major importance to measures revealing the cooperation between the West German Federal Republic and Israel. Previous measures were already successful, and the efforts of the MfS in this regard were recognized. The Soviet comrades have certain opportunities in Syria. They have already resulted in an extensive evaluation by the Syrian Foreign Ministry for the [Syrian] government on West German-Israeli cooperation confirming the information we provided beforehand. The Syrian Foreign Ministry noted in this context that FRG attitudes [toward Israel] might lead to the establishment of [Syrian] diplomatic relations with the GDR, which will automatically result in breaking off relations with West Germany. All state bodies in Syria are requested to conduct an exact analysis of relations with the GDR and FRG, and reflect on expected consequences in case relations with the FRG might be severed.
  4. The Soviet services have information about a former assistant of [Adolf] Eichmann residing in Syria. He was supposed to be liquidated by the BND since he knows too much.
  5. Comrade Semichastny reiterated the special interest of the KGB in the cases of St. and Ch. We agreed that the KGB will forward any new information to the MfS.
  6. Concerning the question by Comrade Minister Mielke about experiences with the subordination of border guard units under the KGB, Comrade Semichastny stated that this subordination has turned out fully satisfactory like in similar earlier cases. The border guard units share this opinion. Border service is not just simple guard duty. It is about guaranteeing operative security at the border using agents and all available means. Working with agents is necessary on both sides of the border. Thus the KGB has to be active along the border anyway, and maintaining parallel responsibilities and authorities would make no sense. Any other line of authority would make principal and practical decisions in dealing with border violations much more complicated. The same applies to dealing with border crossings by foreigners at the checkpoints. This way a close and uncomplicated cooperation between counterintelligence, foreign intelligence, and border units is guaranteed. The Ministry of Defense, in contrast, has completely different assignments. This becomes especially relevant when dealing with incidents at the Chinese border. All issues are flexibly and correctly decided by the KGB which functions as a political body. Border guard units are best associated with the KGB. They are not a major burden but a big help for counterintelligence and foreign intelligence.
  7. Concerning the “Tag [Day]” case, Comrade Semichastny said it is very possible that the US have such equipment. The Soviet Union does not have such portable apparatuses. In this context we also discussed issues of secure codes and deciphering by the adversary. Applying these means, the latter gains major insights in particular on military data. An employee of the US deciphering agency is said to have received an award of 100,000 dollars.
  8. Following our request, the Soviet comrades handed over a number of scientific-technological information as well as documentation on scientific-technological intelligence in the areas of chemistry, in particular the production of artificial plastics and fibers.

Comrade Semichastny rated the relationship with the MfS as good. He thanked us in particular for our good information and emphasized some of the sites where this information was obtained. This type of information is of great help for the orientation of the party and government of the Soviet Union.

Information in the field of scientific-technological foreign intelligence is also very valuable and important. He thanked us for this in particular.

A great and valuable help is also the work of the MfS concerning the support of Soviet military counter-intelligence to safeguard the Soviet Army on GDR territory.

Therefore the Soviet comrades would like to present, at the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the MfS [1965], awards to a large number of MfS employees who have distinguished themselves in the acquisition of political and scientific-technological information; and also for merit in security issues concerning the Soviet Army. They ask for our consent on this and expect appropriate suggestions of names.

At the end of the meeting Comrade Mielke thanked us for the valuable information provided during the course of our talks.

He noted a full agreement of views and praised the value of this kind of meeting. They offer the opportunity to achieve rapid clarifications and solutions for general and practical issues of operative work. He again reiterated the consent reached regarding certain issues concerning an aggravation of the overall situation, and the need to apply respective countermeasures. Comrade Mielke thanked us for the openness and cordiality of our relations. He stressed our good cooperation with the KGB apparatus in the GDR and invited Comrade Semichastny to visit the GDR.

Comrade Mielke forwarded greetings from Comrades Ulbricht and Honecker to Comrade Semichastny and the leading comrades of the KGB.

Comrade Semichastny shared his assessment about the value of the meeting. He was grateful for the good cooperation with the KGB and its apparatus in the GDR. He thanked for the greetings from Comrades Ulbricht and Honecker and asked to return his own warm greetings.

[1] Palewski was actually Minister of State in charge of Scientific Research, Atomic Energy and Space Questions.

[2] NTS, the National Alliance of Russian Solidarists, an anti-communist Russian exile organization.


Meetings between KGB Chairman Semichastny and East German Minister for State Security Mielke. Topics of discussion include Lyndon B. Johnson’s recent election in the United States, Khrushchev’s ouster from the Kremlin, Sino-Soviet relation, and Khrushchev’s son-in-law Alexei Adzhubei.


Assessment by the Stasi of the espionage of the main Western secret services in East Germany based on its investigation of cases of spying in 1961.


Berlin (Germany)–International status
Espionage, American
Berlin Crisis, 1961
Espionage, French
Espionage, German


Digital ArchiveInternational History Declassified

JANUARY 09, 1962


This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy FoundationCITATION SHARE DOWNLOAD


                                                                                  Berlin, 9.1.1962

                                                                                  Copies: 5/Ho. III. Copy

Brief assessment of the investigation results achieved in 1961 in work on crimes of espionage

The investigation results achieved in 1961 in work on cases of agents of the American, English, and French secret service as well as the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) prove again that until 13.8.1961 West Berlin was the main base for the organization of espionage against the German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the other Socialist states. New agent connections were, as a rule, created by means of threats and blackmail using people who had left the territory of the GDR illegally, during visits by citizens of the GDR to relatives in West Berlin during trips to West Berlin to take care of personal matters. Controlling, training, giving instructions, and remunerating agents likewise took place at meetings in restaurants, hotels, and safehouses in West Berlin.

While, compared with 1960, an increase in the number of arrests of BND agents has been recorded, the numbers of agents of foreign secret services fell, which obviously resulted from a change in their methods of operation or an improvement in their intelligence connections.

As could be determined by work on spy cases, particularly those of the BND and American secret service, the main focus of the increased subversive activity carried out from West Berlin is directed at putting into effect the aggressive plans of the Bonn Ultras and the most aggressive imperialist circles of the USA and other NATO states to undermine the power of workers and peasants so as to create prerequisites for a military attack on the GDR.

Thus it should be recognized that the agents of the most active imperialist secret services – the American services and the BND – are being prepared to a particularly large degree for their employment in war.

This finds expression in the increased tasking to gather information of a military-strategic nature, such as determining the load-bearing capacity of bridges, the significance of railway junctions, the flow capacity of streets, railways, and waterways, as well as the extent and employment of transport space.

Without exception, the agents of the American, English, and French secret service, as well as the BND, have been employed to inquire thoroughly into the military potential and the defence measures taken by the government of the GDR. The focus of the military spying in the activity of the American secret service and the Federal Intelligence Service lies above all in the collection of intelligence about the units of the Soviet army temporarily stationed on the territory of the GDR. In this their agents predominantly concentrate on spying on missile units and on the construction of air defence bases and storage depots.

For example, the agent of the American secret service [name blacked out] and the BND spy [name blacked out] tried to find out such information in a large number of towns on the territory of the GDR.

The concentration of the secret services, particularly the American services and the BND, on creating agent groups must also be evaluated in connection with the preparations for war against the GDR of the West German militarists, in combination with NATO, were intensified in 1961.

In accordance with the instructions and general orders which were obtained, these groups, predominantly equipped with radio-technical aids, were, among other things, to report on the mood and condition of the population, signs of discontent, starting fires as well as other acts of sabotage and subversion, imbalances in the people’s economy, particularly shortages in the provision of goods, and on the situation in agriculture.

The main task of the agent groups created consists of collecting and transmitting intelligence about troop movements and other military operations to increase the defence preparedness and striking power of the armed forces of the GDR. Closely connected with that are orders to ascertain the situation among the civilian population, the provision of goods, and the readiness of the population to support the armed forces.

Thus it was possible to liquidate a large number of groups, above all of the BND, in whose possession were, altogether, 22 high-performance radio sets and converters suitable for war conditions, which would serve to transmit information in case of war. Most of the radio-technical devices seized in the course of investigative actions were smuggled into the territory of the GDR from West Berlin by couriers like the arrested BND spies [name blacked out] and [name blacked out]. Some were deposited in so-called far and near hiding places. Some of the radio sets meant for use in war were transported into the GDR by the agent radio operators using means of transport made specifically for this purpose. Musical instruments, liquid containers, and tools were chosen as hiding places for transporting the radio sets. Until 13.8.1961 these agent groups transmitted the information they gathered to their controllers almost exclusively at personal meetings as well as using invisible ink and prepared paper via covert addresses in West Germany.

While only a small proportion of the arrested radio agents transmitted the information collected by radio, most, however, regularly received instructions using converters and, in the case of the American secret services[1], by means of the shortwave frequency of radio sets.

The fact that it was only possible in one case to find a radio set in the possession of an agent of the American secret service is evidently to be put down to the smashing of the courier department in 1960 and to the not-yet-completed supplying of new sets connected with that. While none of the arrested agents of the French secret service had been equipped with radio-technical aids, it was possible to seize a radio set and two converters of the English secret service.

The fact that people who have left the GDR illegally are recruited for spying in West Berlin and West Germany and sent back to their hometowns to gather information on defence preparedness is also to be evaluated in connection with the concentration of the secret services on preparing an attack on the German Democratic Republic. Since mid-1959 the American secret service has to a greater extent gone over to recruiting people in West Germany for the purpose of conducting espionage against the GDR and other Socialist states, training them thoroughly, equipping them with forged identify papers, and, abusing the air corridor, flying them from West Germany to West Berlin and from there infiltrating them into the territory of the GDR.

More agents were smuggled over the Western state border into the territory of the GDR and likewise told to gather information of a military-strategic character. These conclusions are based on the investigative results reached in the cases against the agents of the American secret service [three names blacked out] among others.

In 1961, though, it was possible to arrest a series of agents of the American and British secret services as well as BND agents, who had managed, owing to negligent cadre work, to infiltrate state and social institutions and gather information on the defence preparedness, foreign policy measures of the government of the GDR, and other political tasks, as well as on key political-economic elements of the Seven Year Plan.

The arrestees [name blacked out] and [name blacked out], exploiting their work, respectively, as Head of Secretariat and member of the Criminal Police in People’s Police district offices, stole secret instructions, analyses, and other material, which, among other things, provided information on the training, equipment, and defence preparedness of the Kampfgruppen[2], as well as the Order Groups of the FDJ (Freie Deutsche Jugend – Free German Youth movement). These they photographed or copied and passed on to their controller, the American secret service, using their wives. These documents also enabled these secret service headquarters to alter the work of the Military Mission on the territory of the GDR as well as the smuggling of agents and the exploitation of revanchist events in West Berlin to recruit agents.

Furthermore, they handed over information about the MfS, of which they had obtained knowledge by reason of their work for the police.

As the results of the investigations into agents of the American secret service prove, the organization of extensive spying in the political sphere is a very important element in the subversive activity of this secret service.

This year, the agents of the American secret service [name blacked out], [name blacked out], and [name blacked out] were arrested, from whose testimony the tasking of the American secret service with regard to inquiring into the political situation in the GDR is clearly identifiable.

Therefore, the American secret service is particularly interested in finding out about the international connections of all GDR state and social organizations and institutions, about the political, economic, and cultural connections of the GDR with other countries, in particular with the independent national-democratic states, about the work of central institutions of the democratic parties and mass organizations in the GDR, about central state offices, and about the mood of the population concerning particular political events.

Similar conclusions were likewise reached in handling cases of spies of the Federal Intelligence Service.

The aim of this work of the American secret service and the BND is to undermine the moral-political unity of the population of our state.

Among the imperialist secret services, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) especially concerns itself with the activity of democratic[3] parties and mass organizations on the territory of the GDR so as to obstruct all-German contacts and their all-German work.

In the course of last year it was possible to prove that the Iranian secret service, exploiting Iran’s diplomatic representations in West Germany, is engaging in intensive agitation and subversion against the elements of the Tudeh Party which have emigrated to the GDR; this it does in close collaboration with organs of the West German BfV.

For the purpose of organizing measures of ideological subversion, the BfV’s work also focuses on inquiring into the political situation in the border areas and the mood of various strata of the population.

With the same intensity as last year, the secret services are concentrating on finding out about the economic potential of the GDR.

By way of example, as appears from the cases of the agents of the American secret service [name blacked out], of the English secret service [name blacked out], and of the BND spies [two names blacked out], the main focus of the economic spying is inquiring into the key economic sectors of the GDR, like energy, mechanical engineering, and the chemical industry. Both the American secret service and the BND are very interested in these industrial sectors. Substantial attacks of the hostile secret services are also directed at central institutions of the GDR economy. For example, the agent of the English secret service [name blacked out] had the task of handing over or photocopying all the research papers on economically significant projects, in particular on electronic devices and other important instruments, which were available to him in the Institute for Instrument Construction of the German Academy of Sciences and which were in the economic and political interest of the GDR to be kept secret.

Under the cover of academic consultations and interviews to research academic studies, the CIA agent [name blacked out] made a wealth of contacts with leading economic officials in the GDR in order to compromise them through the betrayal of matters to be kept secret and to blackmail them into cooperating with the American secret service.

The spying of [name blacked out] extended to a considerable degree to the entire foreign trade activity of the GDR, particularly to investigating important matters and interrelations concerning trade relations between the foreign trade organs of the GDR and trading companies of capitalist and socialist countries.

The aim of this extensive spying is the preparation of an economic blockade of the GDR in connection with the conclusion of a peace treaty.

The protection measures taken by the government of the GDR on 13.8.1961 on the state border with West Berlin gave rise to a considerable obstruction to the subversive work of the secret services, particularly owing to the substantial elimination of West Berlin as a base for spying on the German Democratic Republic.

The change in the situation brought about after 13.8.1961 caused the imperialist secret services to adapt and reorganize their working methods.

It was not possible to reach any conclusions on the basis of investigative proceedings about the activity of the English and French secret service in this period.

In their spying after 13.8.1961, the American secret service and BND give their main attention – apart from renewing connections which had been broken off and making new contacts – to greater inquiring into any military movements on the territory of the GDR and to the investigation of the opinion of the population about the security measures of the government, about the border incidents and provocations on the state border with West Berlin which have been organized by the Bonn Ultras in conjunction with the West Berlin Senate and USA Occupiers, and about difficulties which have arisen supplying the population with consumer goods. The aim of this work is the creation of prerequisites for the organization of counter-revolutionary activities, as a reason for an aggressive war by Bonn militarists and NATO against the GDR.

Characteristic of the uncertainty and mood of panic which has set in in the offices of the secret services in West Berlin in connection with the measures of 13.8.1961 is the fact that – according to the testimony of the CIA spy [name blacked out] – American citizens living in West Berlin have been sent into Democratic Berlin to observe troop movements, gatherings of people, and unrest expected by the American secret service in Democratic Berlin.

Over and above that, for example, the instruction and training of the arrested agent of the American secret service [name blacked out] was broken off prematurely and precipitately after the security measures came into force. [Name blacked out] was smuggled illegally into the GDR and received instructions to inquire into the military situation on the territory of the GDR.

It is to be concluded that the number of spies of the American secret service smuggled over the state border (West) increased.

According to investigative results of cases of spies of the American and West German secret service, the main method of maintaining the connection is radio activity.

Basically, tasks and spying instructions are transmitted by radio, whereby the American secret service uses the “Ilmenau 210” radio sets which are available for purchase [in the GDR] and the BND uses shortwave converters which are specifically meant for radio reception.

Some of the arrested radio agents of the BND were already reporting by radio the observations they had made to the regional radio headquarters of the Federal Intelligence Service.

A further method of reporting to the secret service is the exploitation of the post using cover addresses and varied means of secret writing.

This method is – as the cases [three names blacked out] and others prove – used both by the BND and the American secret service.

In proceedings against two agents of the American secret service, a married couple, it was possible to obtain facts on additional new methods of cooperation.

Thus the agents are supplied with money and spying aids from West Berlin by couriers via so-called dead letter boxes which are only used once and the location of which is made known to the agents by radio.

With regard to the majority of its agents, the BND planned to supply money and so-called barter goods as well as spying aids by exploiting the parcel traffic between West Germany and the GDR, whereby the goods were to be hidden in foodstuffs and pieces of clothing.

The American secret service in particular is interested in meeting its agents in capitalist and other socialist countries.

[1] This is, above all, a reference to the main American secret services running spies in East Germany; the CIA and the two services of the US Army, the Military Intelligence Service (MIS) and the Counter-intelligence Corps (CIC).

[2] Workers’ militia.

CRYPTOME REVEALS DHS Fusion Center China Problems

Screenshot of texasarmytrail.com1 September 2020DHS Fusion Center China Problems1. Over 100 DHS Fusion Center sites were involved in the recent #BlueLeaks database breach. All of the sites were ultimately hosted on a computer server in a Data Foundry data center in Houston. Data Foundry, also called GigaNews, is a central Texas based operator of several data centers.2. Despite its small size, Data Foundry appears to be one of the larger distributors of child pornography in the world via the Usenet groups it hosts. This claim was already made before in some detail back in 2014 by a former engineer, as well as in 2018 by the OAG of New Mexico.3. Data Foundry at one time served as one of the world’s largest bulk intel metadata collection points for the NSA program “BOUNDLESS INFORMANT” and was given the codename WAXTITAN. This was revealed as part of the Snowden leaks in 2013.4. Data Foundry has an unusual history with mainland China. The  Yokubaitis family, which runs the company (along with other related firms) have frequently attended Peking University. This school is probably the 2nd most prestigious in all of China (behind Tsinghua), and has developed most of the breakthroughs for China’s nuclear weapons program over the last three decades. During SXSW 2015 it was mentioned that their 2nd largest customer base is in China. This is unusual as no effective marketing seems to take place there, raising the question of how these customers are acquired. The sysadmin who first made claims against Data Foundry in 2014 alleged that their facilities would follow requests made from the datacenter in Hong Kong they colocate with, Powerline HK. Such requests could only come from the government of China, which raises serious questions regarding the independence and what could and could not be accessed.5. We find the story of Nick Caputo highly credible as all of the technical information can be verified, even years later. Other messages throughout the years on UseNet, Reddit, and elsewhere seem to corroborate the general story / character of the firm as well. Additionally the unregistered FBI office address he provides in his original message (12515 Research Blvd) actually turns up dozens of times in the #BlueLeaks files for FBI agents. We are unsure if these are police impersonators or simply a unit that is operating out of scope and without authority (more likely the latter). We have reached out to law enforcement officials in Australia and Britain in the meanwhile out of an abundance of 


Assessment by the Stasi of changes to operations made by the main Western secret services in response to Khrushchev’s November 1958 diplomatic note to the United States, Britain, and France demanding an end to the occupation of West Berlin.


Berlin (Germany)–International status
Espionage, American
Berlin Crisis, 1961
Espionage, French
Espionage, German

Main Department IX/1

New methods of operation of Western secret services


This document was made possible with support from the Leon Levy FoundationCITATION SHARE DOWNLOAD

Main Department IX/1

New methods of operation of Western secret services

I. The following material is based on experience of investigative work of the last few months as well as information obtained from the exchange of information with other responsible departments.

Applies to all secret services: [they] react to the political situation in each case – party and government.

For example:

      –  chemistry conference

      –  proposals USSR and GDR for the resolution of the West Berlin question


Immediate reaction on the part of all intelligence services to proposals – particularly Americans and Federal Intelligence Service –

Officers worried, confused – however, unlike politicians of the Western Powers they assessed the situation relatively realistically; that is to say: comprehensive re-ordering of their work.

       (a) foreigners and officers of the Federal Intelligence Service go to West Germany

       (b) general conversion to radio and preparation for war
important: not only specialist radio operators;

       (c) use of the most modern technology;

       (d) covert addresses [in] West Germany, dead drop boxes, and smuggling routes on the Western state border and the sectoral borders.

II. American secret service:

Yank dealt heavy blows in 1956, work completely re-ordered, agents switched off[1], German employees dismissed.

Lie detector – extensive questionnaires stating parents, siblings, home – [two words blacked out]

Recruitment on mass basis.

Work transferred from West Berlin to West Germany. Already various offices transferred to Frankfurt/Main and Kassel.

[handwritten note: [illegible name] and others – Kassel office with telephone numbers from West Berlin

New methods in recruitment, cooperation, communication of intelligence –

Equipping for war

Sails under other flags. [handwritten note: Schütz [name]]

Recruitment methods:

Recruitment – refugee GDR-citizens; West German citizens, who come as asylum-seekers to the GDR; 5th Column;

Railway-workers, lorry drivers, and sailors on internal waterways, who are employed in interzonal travel;

Scientists and GDR citizens, who visit West Germany.

Sailors who dock in West German ports;

Refugees ask acquaintances and relatives to visit them in West Berlin, there introduce them to secret service.

Poles and Czechs who are staying in West Germany are supplied with forged travel visas.

[handwritten note: name blacked out – Visa. Border region – DLB store for documents and technical aids]


Personal meetings are no longer carried out in bars, only in cars and safehouses which are mostly unknown to the agents.

Permanent change (wechsel) of safehouses – personal meetings are limited as much as possible – for example: Brehmer – one year

Meetings in West Berlin with “PM 12”[2] or plane from West Berlin to West Germany

Tasks: transmitted by radio [handwritten note: no radio traffic [illegible word] Brehmer]

For example: Brehmer

Courier connection via DLB.

Communication of intelligence:

West German covert addresses have been given out to almost all agents.

Addresses do not exist, post office workers take them out, spy reports written with invisible ink (tablets – almost all tablets suited to making invisible ink) are also encoded. [handwritten note: and typewritten]

To a greater degree agents are equipped with radio sets – deadline 28 May 1959[3], replacement sets stored in DLBs.

With the radio sets – tape recorders, radio signals are transmitted on to these, tape plays at ten times normal speed over the transmitter – therefore hard to locate.

Along the sectoral borders and Western state border smuggling routes for people and DLBs

Resident agents are equipped with radio-telephones – for example: [name of agent blacked out] [handwritten note: Schneeberg [illegible word] Aue]

Regional radio headquarters: Frankfurt/Main, Fulda, Offenbach.

[Handwritten note: radio with tape and pencil – then illegible]

Technical aids:

Beyond those already stated:

       (a) Cameras:
       built into glasses case, into wristwatch, cigarette lighter, and fountain pen.
       Chiefly the Minox is used – automatic camera with telephoto lens for railway junction – for example: [name of agent blacked out]

       (b) Bugging equipment: BASA/microphone – e.g. [name of agent blacked out]
       Tapping of telephone cables on roads and in telephone exchange, bugging devices are attached to tape recorders which run for 24 hours. Bugging devices which are equipped with a transmitter have been installed in chandeliers and pocket torches. For example: [name of spy blacked out].

       (c) Devices which record radioactive emissions fixed to railway tracks so as to detect uranium transports – for example: [name of spy blacked out]

       (d) Transport of technical devices, codes, and instructions takes places in packaging materials which are in common use in the GDR, e.g. cans of beef, tins of paint, bars of chocolate, accordions, vacuum cleaners.

III. British secret service:

is divided in West Berlin into:

12 Berlin Intelligence Staff (BIS)[4] carries out only military espionage – mostly groups, partly using army officers without experience of secret service work as members


Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) – carries out:

       (a) military espionage

       (b) economic[5] and political espionage

Fundamentally rejects the creation of espionage groups.

Base of both departments of the British secret service on the premises of the Reich sports ground (Olympic Stadium Prohibited Zone).

They are directly responsible to the Prime Minister.[6]

Recruitment methods:

Utterly rejects mass recruitment, chiefly makes use of refugees who write to their circle of acquaintances and relatives. [handwritten note: compare with [name blacked out] – direct work on the person in the GDR – summoned[7] by means of letters.

In making recruitments the officers speak openly of the British secret service and as evidence that cooperation will be secure state that no British agents have yet been sentenced on the territory of the GDR, otherwise there would have been articles in the democratic[8] press.

[They] eagerly recruit GM [Geheime Mitarbeiter: secret co-workers], GI [Geheime Informatoren: secret informants] or contacts of the MfS, tell agents to join the SED. [handwritten note: strongly working for “P-sources”[9]]

Maintaining the connection:

The agents are mainly given telephone numbers 93 51 40 or 45.

When calling these numbers from a public telephone in West Berlin the caller’s money is returned after the conversation ends.

[handwritten note: respect when calling – call from [then illegible]]

When the exchange answers, the agent asks for an extension number given to him by the intelligence officer. However, these are agent numbers.

Meeting places: safehouses; cars; car-parks at night; [handwritten note: lorries – with perfectly installed meeting rooms – drive around Berlin – illegible word (cover)]; occasionally also in barracks and in the Olympic Stadium – meetings in bars are ruled out.

Furthermore, it is to be noted that the British secret service uses the wives of agents as couriers.

The conduct of espionage:

Infiltrates agents on long-term basis into state apparatus and party organizations and mass organizations; tells them to appear progressive[10], to join the SED.

Lets agents report orally using microphones,

Information written on Japanese tissue paper, original documents in briefcases with secret compartments.

Gives agents radio sets, however they are not yet in operation, only in case of war, DLBs also only for case of war.

Cover addresses have not yet appeared. [handwritten note: West Germany]

Camera built into petrol cans and briefcases.

IV. French secret service:

Sûreté National – organizes counter-espionage – above all [against the] MfS – [Unger [name]] West Berlin, Müllerstraße, uses violence in interrogations.

DR[11]/Marine – works on Baltic coast – chiefly via Hamburg.

DR/SR[12]: (a) army (b) air force (c) political and economic espionage

Strict seperation of responsibility.

Main base in Germany: Baden-Baden.

West Berlin Quartier Napoleon – Reinickendorf, Kurt-Schumacher-Damm –

Use German employees for recruitment and introduction

Cooperation chiefly with French officers.

Since [Soviet] Note on Berlin[13] use of German employees on a greater scale.

French are making preparations for withdrawal.

Equipping agents with radio sets.

Recruitment methods:

Zoo Station[14] – black market dealer in optical goods – [handwritten note: House of the East German Homeland] – refugee camps about refugees (Fluchtlingslager uber Republikfluchtige) – [two words blacked out] – [handwritten note: exploitation of “Heimatverbände” – revanche[15]].


Japanese tissue paper (Seidenpapier)– shoes with hollow sole – radio sets – winder and board which opens out as well as Morse key. [handwritten note: [agent ] does not need to be a radio operator]

Radio sets with tape just like the Americans.

Communication of intelligence:

DLBs, covert addresses in West Germany, couriers – personal meetings in safehouses and bars – radio connections.

Characteristic features:

French secret service is currently generous with financial resources – pays in advance monthly salary for one year, makes agents buy motorbikes and radio sets.

V. Federal Intelligence Service (BND):

1. Structure:

Change in the structure (1. Intelligence collection, 2. Sabotage – Subversion and 3. Counter-espionage)

Now: 1. Spying [handwritten note: Near intelligence collection: GDR; Deep intelligence collection: People’s Democracies; Far intelligence collection: USSR]; 2. War; 3. Intelligence collection and work on hostile intelligence services.

[handwritten note: that is a more prominent feature of the BND’s character]

That is to say: concentration now on war and hostile intelligence services.

Structure of offices (organization) remained as known up to now Headquarters (GD – Geheimdienst), general agencies (GV – Generalvertretungen), district agencies (BV – Bezirksvertretungen), sub-agencies (UV – Untervertretungen), local branches (FL – Filialen), and agent controllers (VMF – Vertrauensmannführer).

Cover: as up to now (firms, trade representatives, and suchlike.)

[handwritten note: without (official) guard – only porters]

The BND’s methods of activity:

       (a) research[16] and recruitment: main territory of research: West Germany, returnees, visitors to West Germany
       Post and foreign offices – surveillance – collecting addresses
       partly West Berlin – exploitation of offices which GDR citizens call at, e.g. Federal Support Offices (131-type pensions[17]) etc.

Selection of recruitment candidates:

Up to now – chiefly Fascists, Wehrmacht and police officers

Today – still the case – but Federal Intelligence Service seeks so-called “party faithful” – people who outwardly support the policy of the Party and state.
[handwritten note: compare [name blacked out] – exploitation of grievance and compromising material]


Known up to now – German theme – reunification of Germany among other phrases – activity in Nazi Germany revealed

New line: activity in Nazi Germany not revealed – if it is, then flag[18] not revealed.

[handwritten note: general testing by means of 08 tasks, then P-sources (Weinderlich [name])]

       (b) Working methods with agent networks:

       1953-1956 offices (Fl[19]) in West Berlin – severe blows by MfS
       Transfer of all official offices to West Germany “to the secure hinterland.”
       Officers of the Federal Intelligence Service only now come to West Berlin for meetings.[20]
       Constant changing of meeting places (hotels), e.g. [name blacked out]
       Transfer to city districts located far from one another, only now partly in bars. [handwritten note: drives in taxis of more [illegible word]]
meetings also in West Germany
reduce number of meetings.
That is to say: the work from West Germany of the Federal Intelligence Service will increase in future.

       (c) Methods of communicating intelligence:

Secret text [(ST)] process – covert addresses – [handwritten note: ST – Blue]
particularly covert addresses in West Germany/water pressure process, drying process with prepared paper.
The peculiarities of covert addresses in West Germany: addresses of people who do not exist or second address (forwarding job) covert address passes on all messages to a second address – post office boxes and storage card – likewise second address.
– giving of instructions by means of films
13 points – economic spy.
15 points – political spy.
19 points – military spy.
21 points – military/economic spy.
– warning calendar (Warnkalender) handed over on films.
– increased laying of DLBs round Berlin and above all towards West Germany
(motorway, railway lines)
[handwritten note: compare [deleted] telephone smuggling, secret service smuggling (channels and [illegible word])
– dispatch of parcels (parcel of biscuits) with money and intelligence on type-through paper (ST process) to second person.

       Particular novelty – supplying all agents with radio sets – that is to say:
       transmitter – extremely small – with a winder/figures – duration of a normal transmission 20-30 seconds – “radio operator” does not need to be a radio expert.
       reception devices: (shortwave converter) – attachment to radio with headphones – to receive instructions, whereby each operator receives: key, date, time of day, and time when headquarters will repeat [message].
       (speech traffic – not machine)
       Types of radio sets: “Eisenach,” “Rema/800,” “Dominante,” “Stradivari/E9” and all sets with 2 loudspeakers.

Transports and hiding places:

Transport concealed in tins of preserved food from HO [Handelsorganisation: a state-owned network of shops and hotels], even unopened, has been maintained up to recent instructions.
Children’s toy – like cars and toy railway sets etc.
Utensils (pocket mirror) and cigarettes etc.
[Handwritten note: petrol cans – paint tins and some use with set
parcel with pieces of clothing
pieces of clothing in general]


There are specific instructions for selection and collaboration
For example: people who travel a lot (professionally), long-distance drivers, sailors, and suchlike, sales representatives, courier material not to be concealed on body, concealment during transport must offer the chance of abandoning the material easily.

       (e) Other technical aids:

       MINOX cameras
       – Robot Star and Robot Junior with cable release and powerful telephoto lens. Particularly during observation of  MfS offices and officers.

3. Particular installations under attack:

Economic espionage against key parts of the people’s economy (for example: chemistry, coal, energy, or big construction sites – Rostock harbour)

[handwritten note: see in connection with returnees]

Military espionage – all installations of the Soviet army and NVA [Nationale Volksarmee: the East German army.]

Stepped-up activity against the MfS and the organs subordinate to it.

Aim: to penetrate, study, spy, “play games,” smash existing IM [Inoffizielle Mitarbeiter: informants] groups.
Also spying on officers of MfS by means of observations, investigations, conversations, bar visits, drinking bouts, and suchlike.

Introduction of compromised MfS employees to secret service.


             1. consistent political instruction of officers; each officer – each department must [form] from this corresponding conclusions for investigative work.

             2. increases sharing of experience – give more attention to operational evaluation.

             3. evaluation of investigation cases – more attention to presentation of evidence.
Counter-espionage uses too little operational technology to obtain official evidence.
             for example: photographing meetings by means of an observer.
             Case [name blacked out] – operational combination tank –
             Case [name blacked out] – [handwritten: (photographed handing over spying equipment)]
             therefore important: as the intelligence service now instructs its agents in interrogations to require evidence to be presented [handwritten: e.g. arrest order e.g. [name blacked out]] – no basis for arrest without confession.
             [handwritten: informants’ information: show evidence – otherwise no confession]
             previously: MfS would make use of beatings and other physical means – agents thereby intimidated – the interrogator impressed by correct behaviour – confession.

             4. All members of Departments IX, VII, M, XIV to be instructed about opportunities for concealment –
             most meticulous inspection of all objects found on spies – more use to be made of Department K – [handwritten note: quartz lamp, magnets, X-rays]
             personal participation of interrogators in house searches.

             5. In the future more agent radio operators (every spy can possess a radio set) – question every agent about knowledge of radio – conversations about this with controllers, training and technical devices received – if it is suspected that the agents possess a radio, search with a detection device.

             6. Question migrants from West Germany whether they have been recruited.
             Experiences of the last few months – increase in number of people recruited and sent into the GDR.
             See also Yank method.

particularly Department IX[21] to Western state border – acquisition by some officers of English and French language skills.

[1] This is intelligence jargon for suspending or ending cooperation with agents. [author’s note: Abgeschalten, meaning “swiched off” i.e. agent becomes inactive].

[2] This was a visa issued by the East German People’s Police (the Volkspolizei), permitting East Germans to visit West Germany or West Berlin.

[3] This was when Khrushchev’s ultimatum expired.

[4] The number 12 was a legacy of Occupation days, when each of the various intelligence staffs in cities occupied by the British had different numbers. The intelligence staff in Berlin had the number 12.

[5] For the MfS, economic espionage included scientific espionage, since scientific institutions (the research departments of the big nationalized enterprises and research laboratories and institutes) formed part of the economic complex. Scientific espionage was a key part of the tasking of SIS and the other major Western services.

[6] Translator’s note: The Berlin Intelligence Staff, as a military staff, was under the control of the Secretary of State for Defence. The Secret Intelligence Service is responsible to the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs.

[7] meaning: to West Berlin.

[8] In communist jargon “democratic” means “Communist.”

[9] The term used in the text is “P-Quellen.” This means “Penetrierungs-Quellen”: penetration sources.

[10] The term “progressive,” in the Communist lexicon, meant either Communist or sympathetic to Communism.

[11] “DR” probably stands for “Direction de Renseignements” (intelligence directorate).

[12] “SR” stands for “Service de Renseignements” (intelligence service).

[13] Meaning the Soviet Government’s Note of 27 November 1958 to the United States, Britain, France, and the Federal Republic of Germany.

[14] This is a reference to the Zoologischer Garten railway and subway station in West Berlin.

[15] The “Heimatverbände” were the associations of German expellees from lost German territories in Central and Eastern Europe. The French secret service was exploiting their “revanchisme.”

[16] “Research” here means identifying people who were likely to be good spies and finding out as much as possible about them.

[17] This clearly refers to a type of pension.

[18] “Flag” here means the recruiting secret service.

[19] “Filialen”. See note 39.

[20] Meant here are meetings with their agents.

[21] This being the Investigation Branch, which created this document.


Assessment by the Stasi of changes to operations made by the main Western secret services in response to Khrushchev’s November 1958 diplomatic note to the United States, Britain, and France demanding an end to the occupation of West Berlin.

Two Face America: 73 Million Trump Party Apparatchiks Guarantee Turmoil Over the Coming Years

Two Face America: 73 Million Trump Party Apparatchiks Guarantee Turmoil Over the Coming Years
by John Stanton

It is happening here.
The soul of America is like the character Two Face in the Batman movie series.
One defeat of the Party of Trump and its 73 million apparatchiks is not enough. In Trump, the United States has bred its own dictator in waiting and he’s got an army of servile apostles willing to fight and die for him. Vigilance by his opponents has never been more important.
“This Fuhrer dictatorship could produce only lackeys and profiteers of the most reactionary and aggressive part of German imperialist reaction. Its Germanic democracy reared the repulsive type of a human breed that was boundlessly servile to men of higher rank and just as boundlessly cruelly tyrannical towards men below it.” The Destruction of Reason, Georg Lukacs
Incumbent President Donald Trump now owns the Republican Party, lock, stock and barrel. With 73 million restless apparatchiks clearly beholden to the cult of Trump, will it be long before the Republican Party gets rebranded as the Trump National Party; or, perhaps, the MAGA Party
(Make America Great Again)? Maybe Trump sells-off his faltering real estate empire and creates a media conglomerate—consisting of television, radio,and the Internet/WWW—that spews out divisive, fascist, ultraconservative fare 24 hours a day, 7 days week. Trump Media would
absorb the National Review, New York Post and similar conservative publications/websites.
Sky’s the limit for Trump: His 73 million followers include an increasing number of Blacks and Latinos who appear to revere him for his apparent strength, tough talk and sense of honor.
According to Fortune Magazine, “As Trump once put it: ‘Real power is fear. It’s all about strength. Never show weakness. You’ve always got to be strong. Don’t be bullied. There is no choice.’”

Adolf Hitler Said That Too.

“Brutality is respected. The ordinary man in the street only respects brute force and
ruthlessness. The people need to be kept in a salutary state of fear. They want to fear something. Why make a fuss over brutality and wax indignant over tortures? The masses want this. They want something that will give them shudders of terror. Moralistic platitudes are essential for the masses. There could be no greater mistake for a politician than to be seen posing as the immoral superman. Of course I shall not make it a matter of principle whether or not to act immorally in the conventional sense. I do not abide, you see, by any principles whatever.” (Adolf Hitler quoted in The Destruction of Reason by Georg Lukacs)
We are all familiar with these wicked sentiments expressed by Trump and Hitler and assorted cult leaders, or should be. The history books are replete with tales of dastardly kings, princes and dictators who said nearly the same things and lived and ruled by such dictates. Democracy
has been the aberration in politics, not dictatorship or kingship.

The Path to an American Hitler
The Destruction of Reason by Lukacs traces the development of irrationalism and fascism in Germany; specifically, the intellectual fertilizer that led to Hitler’s rise to power and National Socialism. His analysis reaches back to 1789 and includes commentary on Hegel, Kant,
Nietzsche, Marx, Engels, and scores of other philosophical heavyweights.
In an epilogue to the book titled Post World War II Irrationalism, Lukacs argues that the USA achieved all that Hitler sought without all the baggage of National Socialism, psychopathic leaders and the industrialized murder of the Jewish people. He kicks off the epilogue by quoting from Norman Mailer’s novel the Naked and the Dead, specifically the character of General
“As kinetic energy, a country is organization, coordinated effort, your epithet, fascism. Historically the purpose of this war is to translate America’s potential into kinetic energy. The concept of fascism, far sounder that communism, if you consider it, for it is grounded firmly in men’s actual natures, merely started in the wrong country, in a country that did not have enough intrinsic potential power to develop completely. In Germany with that basic frustration of limited physical means there were bound to be excesses. But the dreams, the concept was sound enough. For the past century the entire historical process has been working toward greater and
greater consolidation of power.”
Lukacs puts a fine point on the United States succeeding where Hitler could not:
“In contrast to [Nazi] Germany, the USA had a constitution which was democratic from the start. The ruling class managed, particularly during the imperialist era, to have the democratic forms so effectively preserved that by democratically legal means, it achieved a dictatorship of
monopoly capitalism at lest as firm as that which Hitler set up with tyrannical procedures. This smoothly functioning democracy, so called, was created by the Presidential prerogative, the Supreme Court’s authority in constitutional questions (and the monopoly capitalists always
decided which were the constitutional questions), the finance monopoly over the press, radio, etc., electioneering costs, which successfully prevented really democratic parties from springing up besides the two parties of monopoly capitalism, and lastly the use of terrorist devices (the
lynching system—targeting Blacks). And this democracy could in substance realize everything sought by Hitler without needing to break with democracy formally.”
Lukacs also notes in passing that Hitler was a fan of American advertising and used what he learned from that field to ply his destructive trade in Germany and across Europe.

Lost Souls
Now we turn to Trita Parsi the Executive Vice President of the Quincy Institute discussing the tortured soul of America. The insight could not have been penned any better than this:
“If Joe Biden was right and the 2020 presidential elections were a contest over the soul of America, then his victory is bittersweet. With almost half of the votes cast for Donald Trump, he is undeniably very much a part of the American soul…Trump is not an aberration, but a reflection of the ugliness that very much is, and always has been, a part of us. While the US
may not yet be ready to grapple with this reality, the rest of the world can no longer afford to live in denial. Around the world, many hoped that the lies we have told ourselves of our America innocence – the lies that form the bedrock of American Exceptionalism and neatly separate us
from the desperate impulses that brought forward Trump – would prove true. They didn’t.
Almost eight million more Americans voted for Trump this past Tuesday than they did in 2016.
They saw the divisions he fueled, the xenophobia he embraced, the children he caged, the white supremacists he refused to condemn, and the pandemic he bungled; and they weighed that against the tax cuts they won, the conservative Supreme Court judges he appointed, the climate chaos they can ignore, and the punishments he inflicted on the “liberal elites”. They
decided they wanted four more years of Trump.”
As the legendary American actress Betty Davis once said in character, “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”



NKVD plan to assassinate Josip Broz Tito by a Soviet covert agent, codenamed “Max.” The plan envisions assassinating Tito during a private audience during Tito’s forthcoming visit to London, or at a diplomatic reception in Belgrade. This document was not dated.


  • STALIN, JOSEPH, 1879-1953


    Tito, Josip Broz, 1892-1980
    Soviet Union–Foreign relations–Yugoslavia
    Intelligence service–Soviet Union
    Soviet Union


The MGB USSR requests permission to prepare a terrorist act (terakt) against Tito, by the illegal agent ‘Max’,” Comrade I.R. Grigulevich, a Soviet citizen and member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union since 1950.

1. “Max” was placed in Italy on a Costa Rican passport, where he was able to gain the confidence and enter the circles of South American diplomats as well as well-known Costa Rican political and trade figures visiting Italy.

Using these connections, “Max”, on our orders, obtained an appointment as the special plenipotentiary of Costa Rica in Italy and Yugoslavia. In the course of his diplomatic duties, in the second half of 1952, he visited Yugoslavia twice. He was well received there, with official welcoming into circles close to Tito’s clique; he was promised a personal audience with Tito.

“Max’s” present position offers us opportunities to carry out active measures (aktivnye deistviia) against Tito.
In early February of this year, we summoned “Max” to Vienna for a secret meeting. While discussing options, “Max” was asked how he thought he could be most useful, considering his position. “Max” proposed some kind of active measure against Tito personally.

In relation to this proposal, there was a discussion with him [Max] about how he imagined all of this and as a result, the following options for a terrorist act against Tito were presented.

1. To order “Max” to arrange a private audience with Tito, during which a soundless mechanism concealed in his clothes would release a dose of pulmonary plague bacteria that would guarantee death to Tito and all present. “Max” himself would not be informed of the substance’s nature, but with the goal of saving “Max’s” life, he would be given an anti-plague serum in advance.

2. In connection with Tito’s expected visit to London, to send “Max” there to use his official position and good personal relations with the Yugoslav ambassador in England, [Vladimir] Velebit, to obtain an invitation to the expected Yugoslav embassy reception in Tito’s honor.

The terrorist act could be accomplished by shooting with a silent mechanism concealed as a personal item, while simultaneously releasing tear gas to create panic among the crowd, allowing “Max” to escape and cover up all traces.

3. To use one of the official receptions in Belgrade to which members of the diplomatic corps are invited. The terrorist act could be implemented in the same way as the second option, to be carried out by “Max” who as a diplomat, accredited by the Yugoslav government, would be invited to such a reception.

In addition, to assign “Max” to work out an option whereby one of the Costa Rican representatives will give Tito some jewelry in a box, which when opened would release an instantaneously-effective poisonous substance.

We asked Max to once again think the operation over and to make suggestions on how he could realize, in the most efficient way, actions against Tito. Means of contact were established and it was agreed that further instructions would follow.

It seems appropriate to use “Max” to implement a terrorist act against Tito. “Max’s” personal qualities and intelligence experience make him suitable for such an assignment. We ask for your approval.





Die Geschäftsprüfungsdelegation (GPDel) hat ihren Inspektionsbericht zum Fall Crypto AG am 2. November 2020 verabschiedet. Laut den Abklärungen der GPDel war auch der Schweizer Nachrichtendienst Nutzniesser von der Operation der amerikanischen Dienste mit der Crypto AG. Diese Zusammenarbeit war grundsätzlich mit dem geltenden Recht vereinbar. Die GPDel erkennt eine politische Mitverantwortung der Schweizer Behörden für die Aktivitäten der Firma. Zudem untersuchte die GPDel die Sistierung der Generalausfuhrbewilligungen durch das Staatssekretariat für Wirtschaft (SECO) und deren Folgen.

Der InspektionsberichtFormatwechsel der GPDel zeigt auf, dass der Strategische Nachrichtendienst (SND), eine Vorgängerorganisation des Nachrichtendienstes des Bundes (NDB), ab dem Jahr 1993 wusste, dass ausländische Nachrichtendienste hinter der Crypto AG standen. In einer späteren Phase ist von einer nachrichtendienstlichen Zusammenarbeit auszugehen. Zwar war es rechtlich zulässig, dass der Schweizer Nachrichtendienst und ausländische Dienste ein Unternehmen in der Schweiz gemeinsam nutzten, um Informationen über das Ausland zu beschaffen. Diese Zusammenarbeit wies aber eine grosse politische Tragweite auf, weshalb es die GPDel als falsch erachtet, dass die politische Führung der Schweiz erst Ende 2019 darüber informiert wurde. Die Tatsache, dass diese Zusammenarbeit so lange vor dem Bundesrat verborgen blieb, stellt aber auch einen Mangel in der Führung und in der Aufsicht durch den Bundesrat dar. Infolgedessen trägt der Bundesrat eine Mitverantwortung für den jahrelangen Export von «schwachen» Geräten durch die Crypto AG.

Im Dezember 2019 sistierte das Staatssekretariat für Wirtschaft (SECO) die Generalausfuhrbewilligungen für Chiffriergeräte der involvierten Firmen. Die GPDel hält hierzu fest, dass dieses Vorgehen widerrechtlich gewesen ist, da die gesetzlichen Voraussetzungen für einen Widerruf nicht erfüllt und die Möglichkeit einer Sistierung nicht vorgesehen ist. Im Februar 2020 reichte das SECO bei der Bundesanwaltschaft Strafanzeige gegen Unbekannt wegen Widerhandlungen gegen das Güterkontrollgesetz ein. In der Folge setzte der Bundesrat im Juni 2020 den Entscheid über Einzelausfuhrgesuche der Nachfolgefirmen der Crypto AG bis zum Abschluss des Strafverfahrens aus. Die Exportkontrollgruppe des Bundes kam bereits im März 2020 zum Schluss, dass es für die Ablehnung der Einzelausfuhrgesuche keine rechtlichen Gründe gebe. Aus Sicht der GPDel kann jedes Schweizer Unternehmen grundsätzlich mit einer speditiven Bewilligung seiner Exporte rechnen, sofern keine rechtlichen Gründe dagegensprechen. Da die Exporte der betroffenen Firmen faktisch seit Ende Dezember 2019 blockiert sind, liegt nach Ansicht der GPDel ein Verstoss gegen den Grundsatz von Treu und Glauben vor.

Im Oktober 2020 konsultierte die GPDel den Bundesrat zum Entwurf ihres Inspektionsberichts. Der Bundesrat nahm dazu am 28. Oktober 2020 Stellung. Aus Sicht des Bundesrats standen einer Publikation des Berichts keine Geheimhaltungsgründe entgegen. Am 2. November 2020 verabschiedete die GPDel ihren Bericht, der am 10. November 2020 von den GPK beider Räte zur Publikation freigegeben wurde.

Der GPDel war es ein grosses Anliegen, grösstmögliche Transparenz zu schaffen. Aus diesem Grund wird der Bericht mit seinen zwölf Empfehlungen vollständig publiziert. Nicht veröffentlicht wird hingegen der Bericht, den alt Bundesrichter Niklaus Oberholzer im Auftrag der GPDel erstellt hat. Darin wurden sämtliche nicht archivierten Akten aus der K-Anlage zu den besagten Aktivitäten der Crypto AG sowie der involvierten Nachrichtendienste aufgearbeitet. Der geheim klassifizierte Bericht enthält u.a. Informationen, die im Falle ihrer Bekanntgabe den Landesinteressen nachhaltig einen schweren Schaden zufügen könnten. Die für die politische Aufarbeitung relevanten Sachverhalte flossen in allgemeiner Form in den Bericht der GPDel ein.

Der Bundesrat wird gebeten, zu den Ausführungen und Empfehlungen der GPDel bis am 1. Juni 2021 Stellung zu nehmen.

David Omand – How Spies Think – 10 Lessons in Intelligence – Part 8

David Omand – Book Author


Ten Lessons in Intelligence



Lesson 8: Imagine yourself in the shoes of the person on the other side

‘I think we can do business together’ was Margaret Thatcher’s comment to the media about Mikhail Gorbachev before her meeting with him in London in the summer of 1984 on his first visit to a Western capital. He was being tipped as the Politburo member most likely to take over as Soviet leader from the ailing Soviet General Secretary Chernenko. This invitation to London with his wife, Raisa (a telegenic figure totally unlike the spouses of previous Soviet leaders), was not just a result of Margaret Thatcher’s political intuition about the value of getting ahead of the changes taking place in the Soviet Union. It rested on the secret insights provided by a remarkable intelligence success, whose fruits were also being shared with President Reagan and a few key members of his administration. The case illustrates the strategic impact that well-timed secret intelligence can have on international relationships and negotiations.

The great intelligence secret was that MI6, thanks to invaluable assistance from the Danish Intelligence Service, had recruited a well-placed agent, Oleg Gordievsky, inside the heart of the KGB. Gordievsky was now the Acting Head of the KGB Residency inside the Soviet Embassy in

London.1 During his three years in Denmark, he had provided SIS with a series of remarkable intelligence and counter-intelligence coups exposing Soviet spies as well as giving invaluable insights into the last days of the old Soviet Union under the ageing and ill Brezhnev and his successor, Andropov (whom we met in Chapter 3, as the ruthless head of the KGB intent upon crushing the Prague Spring of Alexander Dubček).
When Gordievsky returned reluctantly to a desk job in the KGB Centre after his tour in Copenhagen, SIS prudently agreed with him that they would not run him there. Given the intense level of surveillance to be expected and the operational difficulties of intelligence activity in Moscow, MI6 judged it was simply too risky. The penalty of any slip would be torture and death, as it had been for Colonel Oleg Penkovsky of the GRU in 1962, when he was uncovered through surveillance of his contacts with MI6 and the CIA in Moscow. Instead the strategic calculation was of the long-term value he could represent as an agent in place within the KGB, to be reaped when he was posted overseas again.

In 1982 Gordievsky resurfaced on being appointed to the KGB Residency in the Soviet Embassy in London, to the secret rejoicing of the small number of those in the know. I was rightly not one of that small group given the policy post I held, although working in the Ministry of Defence I later benefited from being on the distribution of his reporting without of course knowing his identity or role in the Embassy in London. Thanks to some subtle manipulation orchestrated by British intelligence in order to clear the way for him by discrediting his rivals, he was quickly promoted to the key post of head of political intelligence work in the KGB Residency (head of the PR Line in KGB-speak).
A stream of invaluable secret intelligence reporting to MI6 followed Gordievsky’s posting to London. So important was it that Margaret Thatcher herself was indoctrinated into the case in December 1982. ‘Probably no British Prime Minister has ever followed the case of a British agent with as much personal attention as Mrs Thatcher devoted to

Gordievsky,’ wrote her biographer.2 Carefully selected reports based on Gordievsky’s intelligence, with elaborate arrangements to disguise the source, were passed to the CIA and to the White House. The CIA’s assessment was that ‘Gordievsky’s intelligence was an epiphany for President Reagan’ in revealing the inner workings of the Soviet leadership.

Posted to London and contact resumed, it was Gordievsky who was able to reveal to MI6 that Gorbachev was the KGB’s preference for future leader well before he came to power. He described Gorbachev as a very different type of leader, who recognized the need for economic change if the Soviet Union was to survive. Unlike his predecessors Gorbachev saw the desirability of easing Cold War tensions and thereby reducing the burden of armaments expenditure. In part, his modernizing strategy failed because
Gordievsky’s advice, passed to President Reagan, was that Russian attempts to keep up with American defence technology (including Reagan’s Star Wars programme) would eventually crack the Soviet system. As it did.

In preparation for that important first meeting between Gorbachev and the Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, briefs were prepared on both sides in the usual way on issues that should be raised, together with defensive lines to take on matters raised by the other side. The extraordinary thing about this meeting was that the briefs on both sides contained substantive material from Gordievsky. Thatcher had the benefit of the insights provided by Gordievsky’s covert role as an SIS agent reporting on Gorbachev; and Gorbachev’s brief relied on Gordievsky’s advice as his head of KGB political reporting in the Residency in London. So Gordievsky was suggesting to Gorbachev lines to take on issues he knew, from MI6 and the Foreign Office, were of importance to the UK. Thatcher had not only advance warning from Gordievsky of what the issues to be raised by Moscow were, but also had his advice as a Soviet insider on the best manner of replying to ensure her responses struck home with the future leader of the Soviet Union. Gordievsky knew the plan was succeeding when he saw the daily KGB briefing for Gorbachev during his eight-day visit coming back ‘with passages underlined to show gratitude or satisfaction’. ‘Both sides were being briefed by us,’ said an MI6 analyst involved at the time. ‘We were doing something new – really trying to use the information, not distort it, to manage relations and open up new possibilities. We were a
handful of people working amazing hours on the cusp of history.’3

The visit to the UK was a huge success for Gorbachev and burnished his international credentials. On the back of it, in January 1985, the KGB promoted Gordievsky again, this time to be Acting Head of the Residency. That made him the most senior Soviet spy in London, giving both him, and thus his MI6 handlers, unparalleled access to the secrets of the KGB.
Gordievsky’s unique intelligence access proved to be even more important in US–Soviet relations. His reporting helped educate President Reagan and key members of his administration about the frightening level of paranoia felt by the old Soviet leaders about US nuclear capabilities and their fears of a US and NATO first strike. A genuine Soviet fear of the US deciding to launch first strikes against Soviet strategic forces had seemed the realm of airport novel fantasy. Having been the Defence Counsellor in the UK delegation to NATO from 1985 to 1988, and having participated in
numerous nuclear release exercises in response to scenarios postulating Soviet aggression, I knew at first hand how hard it had been even with the artificiality of exercises to get unanimous decisions from the NATO nations, let alone to imagine a collective decision to start a war with the Soviet Union.

Gordievsky revealed how the Politburo in Moscow not only believed the Marxist doctrine that a final showdown between capitalism and communism was inevitable but that the ‘principal adversary’ (the United States) was actively preparing for that day. The KGB Centre had sent instructions out to its residencies in NATO capitals for an intelligence-gathering exercise codenamed Project Ryan to report indicators of Western preparations, such as stockpiling blood and the number of lights burning at

night in ministries of defence.4 According to Gordievsky, the KGB officers in NATO capitals knew perfectly well this was the stuff of paranoid nightmares on the part of their leadership, but cynically fulfilled their quotas in the interests of retaining their highly prized Western postings. Today Russian state media under President Putin, himself a former KGB officer from this era, still pumps out propaganda accusing NATO of preparing to attack Russia – as improbable a scenario today as it was back
in the 1980s, as I know from my years spent in NATO.5

In 1983 that Soviet paranoia almost led to global crisis. US naval and air forces were closely shadowing Soviet forces and engaging in intelligence gathering on Soviet exercises, all designed to demonstrate President Reagan’s early resolution in the face of what was seen as growing Soviet

military power.6 The regular NATO exercise to practise nuclear release procedures, Exercise Able Archer, was monitored by Soviet intelligence, and a Soviet military commander became concerned it might be the precursor of attack and placed some Soviet forces on a heightened state of alert, precautionary moves previously only seen in real crises. Those forces included Soviet air forces in East Germany and Poland, and some nuclear units. These measures that were detected in turn by US intelligence, who interpreted them as potentially offensive. That ran the risk of provoking the US to raise automatically its own nuclear alert states in response. Sensibly, the US did not. Had the US done so then that step would most likely in turn have been interpreted by the Soviet High Command as confirming their worst fears of an impending first strike, thus triggering further Soviet
precautionary steps. Those in turn would be detected by the US and set off an unintended and dangerous escalatory cycle of action and reaction.

It was Gordievsky who provided the reason for these Soviet moves by explaining the paranoid origin of Project Ryan in the fear of a US first strike. The helpful outcome of the Able Archer scare, given Gordievsky’s intelligence-based explanation, was that Washington subsequently took greater care to avoid changes in US military posture that might be interpreted as part of an escalatory pattern. As the CIA internal summary of the Able Archer alert concluded: ‘… only Gordievsky’s timely warnings to Washington via MI6 kept things from going too far’.
In circumstances where one party feels threatened it can therefore be reassuring to have inside-track knowledge of what is really going on. That helps avoid the sort of nasty surprises that can lead to conflict. All countries make spying against them an offence in domestic law. But there is no prohibition on conducting secret intelligence activity in international law, in large part because nations take very different views about what constitutes an offence against national security interests (as academic researchers, innocent tourists taking photographs of beauty spots near defence establishments and plane spotters noting down tail serial numbers have discovered to their cost), but also because implicitly they understand that it is in their mutual interest. In arms control agreements in particular, intelligence is seen as essential to maintain confidence that the other side is not cheating. ‘Trust, but verify’ is a Russian proverb that expresses this thought, one which President Reagan became fond of during the years he spent seeking arms control agreements with the Soviet Union.
The same learning applies to commercial joint ventures and contracts where transparency between the parties from the outset avoids later misunderstandings that could lead to destructive mutual distrust. Not every new couple thankfully sees the need for a legal prenuptial agreement but all can benefit from being open from the start about the contribution each will make to the household financially and from continuing to demonstrate that these responsibilities are being met. That theme of delivery of what was promised building trustworthiness is developed further in the next chapter. It is an important contributor to the maintenance of long-lasting partnerships in all walks of life
In the 1970s US and UK intelligence warned the NATO allies that the Soviet Union was developing a new class of intermediate-range nuclear
missile, the SS-20, that could hit targets across Western Europe when fired from well within the Soviet Union. The SS-20 would have independently targetable multiple warheads, and a mobile launcher that could be concealed from satellite reconnaissance. Public concern in NATO nations grew about this major increase in Soviet nuclear offensive capability facing the European members of NATO, one not covered by existing US–Soviet strategic arms control.

By the late 1970s, driven by Germany’s concern that the missile effectively undermined NATO strategy, NATO controversially invited the US to deploy its own medium-range missiles and cruise missiles in Europe. At the same time, on a parallel track, the US invited the Soviet Union to negotiate a total ban on weapons of this class (hence the popular description of the NATO policy of 1979 as a ‘double track’ decision, although the justification for the NATO deployments strictly did not depend upon ‘countering’ the SS-20 with matching capabilities). Two years of negotiation in Geneva to ban these weapons led nowhere. By 1983 the German Bundestag felt obliged to agree to the deployment of the new US missiles and the UK began to prepare bases for US cruise missiles. Moscow pulled out of the talks in response. Three years later the negotiations finally resumed. The difference this time was that the negotiations were under the new Soviet General Secretary, Mikhail Gorbachev. And, as we have just seen, MI6’s former key source, Oleg Gordievsky, was now, from a position of safety in the UK, able to provide detailed analysis of Soviet moves.

As Thatcher had written to Reagan about Gorbachev: ‘I certainly found
him a man one could do business with. I actually rather liked him – there is
no doubt that he is completely loyal to the Soviet system, but he is prepared

to listen and have a genuine dialogue and make up his own mind.’7 Gordievsky himself was flown to Washington in secret to brief President Reagan again in person before he met Gorbachev in Reykjavik in 1986. That summit and the openness of the discussions between the leaders stimulated the search for nuclear arms control, of which the 1987 INF Treaty was a concrete result, signed in Washington by President Reagan and General Secretary Gorbachev on 8 December 1987. The INF Treaty prohibited both parties from possessing, producing or flight-testing ground-launched intermediate-range ballistic and cruise missiles and the destruction of existing weapons in that class. It had taken seven years of hard negotiation and several attempts to reach this point. But finally it was
achieved with intelligence help from Oleg Gordievsky. The British government viewed the agreement with genuine relief. It avoided the need for the highly controversial deployment of US nuclear-armed cruise missiles to Molesworth and Greenham Common in the UK. Greenham Common in particular had a highly publicized peace camp established at the perimeter of the base by women protestors, an expression of solidarity that had become an important way-point in the development of the feminist movement in the UK.

The sad end of the INF Treaty in 2019 also came as a result of secret intelligence. Technical reporting on missile tests revealed to the US and NATO in 2008 that Russia was de-veloping another new class of short-range missile, the SSC-8, with a potential range greater than 500 kilometres, the limit permitted under the INF Treaty. The US had complained, but Russia in response had asserted that the missile only had a maximum range of 480 kilometres. There the matter had rested until the Trump administration arrived, bringing with it a long-held scepticism about the wisdom of arms control agreements with an autocratic state like Russia. To the surprise of European NATO leaders, President Trump announced to reporters after a campaign rally in Nevada: ‘Russia has violated the agreement. They’ve been violating it for many years … We’re the ones that have stayed in the agreement and we’ve honored the agreement. But Russia has not, unfortunately, honored the agreement. So we’re going to terminate the agreement. We’re gonna pull out.’ By December 2018 NATO Foreign Ministers had been briefed on the latest intelligence on the actual deployment of the SSC-8 and had endorsed the US position regarding non-compliance. The INF Treaty therefore has sadly died.

The Gordievsky case itself nearly had a tragic ending. Not long after Gordievsky was appointed as the Acting Head of the London Residency in 1984, KGB counter-intelligence officers became suspicious of him after a Soviet spy inside the CIA, Aldrich Ames, had told them SIS was running an important double agent. Gordievsky was summoned back to Moscow for consultations. As he recounts in his own memoir, most disturbingly his wife and family were also brought back to Moscow, a standard ploy by the KGB so that they could be used as hostages if necessary. He was interrogated under a truth drug and his apartment bugged. Gordievsky survived this ordeal with his story intact but he knew suspicions about him had not been put to rest. Fearing the net was closing in, SIS extricated Gordievsky
secretly from inside Russia and brought him via Finland and Norway to the UK in a complex and risky operation (the first of its kind). After his escape the Soviet authorities found Gordievsky guilty in absentia and sentenced him to death, the inescapable Soviet penalty for treason. He nevertheless continued from his new place of safety in the UK to provide valuable insights into the changes taking place in Moscow as the Soviet empire imploded and the Berlin Wall came down. He met President Reagan himself

in July 1993. Reagan noted in his diary at the end of the entry for that day:8 ‘Forgot – this morning had a meeting with Col Oleg Antonovich Gordiyeveski [sic] – the Soviet KGB officer who defected to Eng. His wife and two little girls were left behind. We’ve been trying to get them out to join him.’ They finally joined him in the UK six years later, following personal appeals to Gorbachev by Margaret Thatcher.

Negotiating safely guided by backchannels

We have seen the importance of strategic intelligence assessment in modulating the dealings that Reagan and Thatcher had with the Soviet leadership under Mikhail Gorbachev. Such an extraordinary covert access to the secrets of another state is highly unusual. Secret intelligence rarely therefore has such an impact on international relations. But backchannels can play an important role to keep open communications in circumstances in which neither party wants to acknowledge publicly that they were in contact. In commercial life it is often the external financial advisers to a company who are asked to get together with their opposite numbers to take soundings in the strictest confidence on whether a merger, demerger or acquisition might produce mutual benefits. In personal life when, sadly, couples begin to break up, it is often the friends of both parties who can play the essential role of discreet backchannels between potentially warring parties.

One notable example was the use of such a backchannel by President Kennedy to help defuse the 1961 Berlin crisis. Bobby Kennedy, then Attorney General, had been in the habit of regularly meeting, in Washington, the GRU agent Colonel Georgi Bolshakov, who was posing as the press attaché in the Soviet Embassy, in order to maintain a private direct means of communication between his brother and Khrushchev. When a
crisis blew up in Berlin in 1961 that looked like escalating into hostilities over the Berlin Wall, the President passed a personal request to Khrushchev to withdraw his tanks aggressively positioned just behind the wall (with, we can assume, private assurances that there would be matching de-escalation on the Allied side). Face was saved on both sides when de-escalation

happened.9 Recalling Chapter 7, backchannels need to be chosen with care. The same Bolshakov deceptively assured Attorney General Bobby Kennedy at the time of the Cuban missile crisis that the Soviet Union did not have missiles in Cuba.

The Northern Ireland campaign provides a different example of a backchannel in operation, in the most sensitive of circumstances, when a democratic government wants to be in contact with a terrorist

organization.10 In 1972, the level of violent attacks by the Provisional IRA (PIRA) against police officers, soldiers and prison officers in Northern Ireland had risen to disturbing levels, coupled with rioting and inter-community disorder fomented by so-called Loyalist paramilitary groups. London felt the situation had slipped out of local control and instituted direct rule from London. That created an urgent demand for impartial strategic intelligence to be acquired directly for London, and not just through local police channels. One of the measures taken by the British authorities was therefore to set up the equivalent of an MI6/MI5 intelligence station in Belfast. A senior MI6 officer, Frank Steele, was sent out along with a small number of British officials who could act as political advisers. They set up camp in Laneside, a large house in an affluent suburb on Belfast Lough which served as both office and residence. Given the level of violence on the streets, the growing terrorist campaign from the Provisional IRA and the so-called Loyalist paramilitary groups, the personal risk to British officials was very high. The mission was kept a deep secret. Steele’s brief was to develop covert contacts with, and to seek ways of influencing, the IRA in order to persuade them to halt their terrorist campaign.

In 1972 the PIRA did call a short ceasefire, and just before the ceasefire was due to end, with the acquiescence of the Prime Minister, Edward Heath, a secret meeting was brokered by Laneside to allow the Opposition leader, Harold Wilson, and shadow Northern Ireland Secretary, Merlyn Rees, to meet PIRA leaders in Dublin. Hours of discussion about extending the ceasefire led nowhere and they were still talking when midnight came and
with it the resumption of active terrorism by the PIRA. Undaunted, Frank Steele himself met PIRA leaders in a country house near Donegal and agreed arrangements for key terrorist leaders to be flown to London to meet with Willie Whitelaw, by then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. On 7 July 1972 Steele accompanied six PIRA leaders, including Sean MacStiofain, Gerry Adams from the PIRA Belfast Brigade and Martin McGuinness from the Derry Brigade, on to an RAF aircraft to be flown secretly to England. The meeting took place in the smart surroundings of the Cheyne Walk apartment of Paul Channon, one of Whitelaw’s ministers. It went badly from the outset and Whitelaw later described agreeing to it as the worst political mistake of his career. MacStiofain banged the table and demanded that the British side set a date for withdrawal. Whitelaw, who had been led to expect discussions about a longer ceasefire, remained polite but necessarily immovable. The lesson was learned: both sides had been insufficiently prepared about the expectations of the other.

When Steele’s tour of duty came to an end he was replaced by another highly experienced MI6 officer, Michael Oatley, who described himself as being in ‘a situation where intelligence would not simply be a matter of reporting on situations, but of influencing them’. MI6 officers are used to operating at the outer limits of their brief. British Prime Ministers had a stated policy of not negotiating with terrorists. When Roy Mason was Northern Ireland Secretary he went as far as to expressly forbid contacts by British officials, direct or indirect, with PIRA while the violence continued. Yet, despite the political risks and on their own authority, Laneside kept open covert channels of communication with the PIRA leadership with arrangements known only to a handful of senior British officials (the channel was known as the ‘pipe’, after the metaphor of a bamboo pipe down which puffs of air could be sent so that both sides knew there was someone there even if there were no substantive exchanges). As Oatley described it: ‘I didn’t think I was running any serious risk politically for the Government in letting the IRA know that there was still a point of contact if they should ever need it and it would operate wherever I happened to be in the world.’

Oatley found a trusted and secure (and brave) intermediary, Brendan Duddy, who could be at one end of the ‘pipe’ and carry messages when needed to and from the PIRA leadership in hiding in the Republic. Duddy ran a pie and chips shop in Derry; he had employed the young Martin
McGuinness delivering pies, and knew he was a rising star in the PIRA. Duddy was an ardent Republican who was convinced of the case for a united Ireland, yet he deeply disapproved of the indiscriminate violence of the PIRA campaign and so was willing to take risks to keep the prospect of peace alive. Duddy’s PIRA codename was the ‘mountain climber’. He died in 2017.

Some of the darkest days in Northern Ireland were in 1980, when convicted Republican prisoners at the Maze Prison went on hunger strike demanding political-prisoner status, including the right to wear their own clothes. With one of them close to death, the ‘mountain climber’ used the ‘pipe’ to suggest to Oatley (who by then had left Northern Ireland on another MI6 posting) that some compromise could be possible. Oatley then re-engaged and crafted a revision of the prison regulations, with the Permanent Secretary, the senior official in the Northern Ireland Office and through him ministers and the Prime Minister herself, Margaret Thatcher, that his contacts suggested might also be acceptable to the hunger strikers and the PIRA hierarchy. The hunger strike was called off in anticipation of the deal. Sadly, the level of ambiguity in the understanding, necessary to get both sides on board, proved too great for the prison authorities to cope with and PIRA disillusion set in, with Margaret Thatcher claiming victory and the PIRA responding that they had been misled. A second hunger strike started, this time literally to the death. Ten of the prisoners had died before the strike was called off. The government then quietly made the key concessions on clothing, free association and loss of remission for the protesters. The episode illustrates the value of backchannels, but also their limitations in brokering deals. The ‘pipe’ was nevertheless kept open and covert contacts maintained.

A decade later, in February 1993, a message was sent through the ‘pipe’ to Oatley’s successor in Belfast which was passed back to the Prime Minister, John Major. It read: ‘The conflict is over but we need your advice on how to bring it to an end. We wish to have an unannounced ceasefire in order to hold a dialogue leading to peace. We cannot announce such a move as it will lead to confusion for the volunteers because the press will interpret it as surrender. We cannot meet the Secretary of State’s public renunciation of violence, but it would be given privately as long as we were sure we were not being tricked.’ The response from London was quick and positive. There were nevertheless to be many ups and downs in the subsequent
manoeuvring on both sides before a peace process became firmly established under Major’s successor, Tony Blair, and the PIRA could not resist a final bombing campaign to try to put extra pressure on London. When the text of the message leaked later to the press, however, it provoked a strong denial from Martin McGuinness that that was the message as sent. It may well be that the intelligence officers in Belfast suggested the wording or may have reworded parts of it in transmitting it to London to make clearer what they had assessed was McGuinness’s intent and make it appear more palatable. If so, they gave the search for peace a boost when it was
most needed.11

In complex negotiations both sides will be equally concerned to establish that they are not being duped or misled in some way. Wise negotiators recognize that. We can only speculate whether Margaret Thatcher, and her successors John Major and Tony Blair, would have authorized the delicate backchannel contacts with the Provisional IRA had it not been for high-level secret intelligence confirming that some leaders of the Republican movement, including its military wing, had concluded that they should cooperate in trying to bring an end to the armed conflict. Their decisions led, after several false starts, to the peace process, even as terrorist violence continued, and eventually to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

The nature of successful negotiation

The examples just given show that having private access to some of the other side’s thinking can help when it really matters (including confirmation that what is being said is genuinely meant). Often it is obvious what the other side wants, and why, with plenty of detail and context that can be derived from open sources. But it would be a great mistake to draw the conclusion that somehow just establishing what is in the negotiating brief of the other side will ensure success. Some negotiations nevertheless fail. And even where a deal is agreed, in many cases it then collapses after a short time when it is put into effect. Why?

A good deal has to provide needed benefit for both parties to a negotiation. Without that aspiration why would any party enter negotiation, and without assurance of that benefit why would anyone sign up to the deal? There is a modern branch of economics – so-called mechanism design
– that builds on mathematical game theory to try to design rules for bargaining situations such that even when neither of the parties has privileged access to the other side’s brief, and both are acting selfishly to maximize their own interest or may be trying to deceive the other, nevertheless the outcome will be the best collectively. The 2007 Nobel economics prize was shared by the developers of this approach, Leonid Hurwicz, Eric Maskin and Roger Myerson.

Both parties in a negotiation will have ‘bottom lines’ that they do not want to cross as concessions are being horse-traded. Typically, in the final stages of a poor negotiation, the stronger party will try to push the other into just one more small concession after another, hoping to make the loss of ground seem a marginal concession given the larger prize to be gained from a deal. Such salami slicing may indeed induce the weaker party to go below their bottom line. But, even if agreed, such deals are unlikely to stick for long. The aggrieved party that felt it was pushed too far will try to make up lost ground. The fine print of the negotiated deal or contract may well be scoured for weaknesses that can be exploited. This is the opposite of a strategic outcome, as described in the next chapter.
One approach to negotiation that helps to avoid the risk of being salami-sliced at the end is to have established in some detail at the outset what the preferred alternative to the negotiation is. Rather than thinking in terms of the ‘bottom line’, the advice is to establish the BATNA: the best alternative

to a negotiated agreement.12 That is the negotiating strategy which I was taught at the UK Civil Service College. Before the negotiation starts, the parties should work out privately what for them would be the best alternative if the negotiation does not succeed. This BATNA is then worked up into a credible plan of action that you know you can execute if it becomes necessary. If the negotiations run into difficulties, the parties enjoy the confidence given by having their own alternative route ready. The approach rests on the observation that it is always better psychologically to be prepared to advance to a known position than to retreat into the unknown.

Knowing when to walk safely away from a negotiation that is in difficulties is certainly going to be easier when the alternative way ahead has previously been established. The negotiating partner will sense that you have a well-developed BATNA and that discourages attempts to chisel last-minute concessions. When moving house and negotiating to sell your flat so
that you can buy the new one you have already made an offer on it is wise to have prepared your BATNA, perhaps having already spoken to the bank about a bridging loan. If the potential buyer then tries to get you to drop the price at the very last moment, guessing you are pressed for time to get the sale, you have your alternative plan ready and can respond firmly to such a try-on. Chances are your sale will still go through at or very close to the previous price. It may be that in the summer of 2019 the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, thought that he had a powerful Brexit BATNA in his insistence that the UK had worked up contingency plans and was ready and willing to leave the EU without a deal on 31 October if negotiations failed to deliver what he wanted. The evident risks of chaos and economic damage with a ‘no deal’ Brexit, notwithstanding the contingency planning, nevertheless persuaded Parliament that it was not ‘the best alternative to a negotiated deal’ and Parliament then passed a law mandating an extension of the deadline (to which the EU agreed) rather than crashing out in 2019 without a deal.

Short-term advantage does not ensure a long-term outcome

For that and many other reasons it is unwise to rush into a negotiation, despite the wish to get it over with so that uncertainty about the future can be lifted. It may well have been a profound error for the British government to send its Article 50 withdrawal letter to the European Union so quickly after the very unexpected (and narrow) win in the 2016 Referendum by the Brexiteers. There had not been time to think through what would represent outcomes consistent with the range of views of those who had voted to leave the EU, nor what might be done to reconcile the many who had voted to remain. In grinding and protracted negotiations the British side reiterated that the alternative to their preferred outcome was simply to crash out of the EU without a deal. This is the polar opposite of a BATNA.

The UK Brexit process has also been a failure to match negotiating strategy to the objective. The ministers initially in charge talked a very tough game in public to reassure their domestic supporters, but do not seem to have made much attempt to explain why they did this to their EU counterparts and thus to build trust with them. Quite the reverse, making
evident their expectation that the EU would try to punish the UK for the referendum result. Unsurprisingly, the result was high levels of mutual suspicion. Nor did the British ministers show any understanding of the legitimate interests (from an EU point of view) in preserving the EU legal and constitutional order. What the UK side demanded by way of ‘having your cake and eating it’ in preserving many valued benefits of EU

membership after having left was bound to be resisted.13 UK ministers saw such cases as continuing membership of Europol or the Galileo satellite system as being in the interests of both sides, and thus it seemed obvious that some solution would be found. In UK eyes this was applying simple pragmatism. They grossly underestimated that, for EU member states, this would be seen as rule breaking that threatened their fundamental interests in the EU as an institution. Failure to appreciate these cultural differences of outlook inevitably led to impasse, followed by UK concessions.
Preparing sensibly for a negotiation takes time and objective analysis to understand the other side. That is the opposite of the magical thinking which holds that all that is needed in negotiation is sufficient willpower and obstinacy. We can think of preparation for a sound negotiation working through the four-step SEES intelligence analysis process described in Chapters 1–4. The intelligence needed for this process in everyday life can be gleaned from open sources. This should start with identifying possible future benefits and if possible wider opportunities to both sides, not just your own, drawing on your situational awareness of what both you and the negotiating partner faces. At the same time possible risks have to be identified and strategies worked out to minimize the chances of ending up there. It is important to have the understanding of why both sides have come to the negotiating table and therefore what they will need to take away from the negotiation to count as success. Such thinking makes it easier to model how they are likely to react to different moves in the negotiation.

Lessons in the ethics of negotiation

Serious negotiations are concerned with securing more lasting outcomes on the basis that both parties will gain, not that one will suffer loss at the hands of the other. There is a principle followed by British intelligence officers
not to use blackmail to force agents to work for them. The blackmailed agent is likely to minimize the intelligence they hand over or try to get their revenge by distorting their reports in order to deceive. Similarly, it is not a good idea to pressure the other side in a negotiation to the point where after the deal is forced through the loser will try to get their own back. In commercial life it may mean reducing the effort put into the minimum stipulated in the contract, or even a little less if it is thought that will not be noticed, or trying to recoup more by claiming for extra work not originally contracted for, a favourite of the construction industry.

In devising a negotiating strategy much depends therefore upon how important it is to have a lasting and productive relationship with the partner. In The Art of the Deal, written over thirty years ago, Donald Trump famously set down an aggressive win-at-all-costs approach to the art of negotiation. The partner in a Trump negotiation is an adversary to be vanquished. His co-author, Tony Schwartz, has described this obsession with winning (and when thwarted still claiming success by redefining what

the negotiation was about) as grounded in fear of failure.14 He warns that in the process of behaving this way we will lose the capacity for empathy, rationality, proportionality and attention to the longer-term consequences of our actions. In such negotiations there is the temptation to try to unbalance the opponent by unexpected moves, including making excessive compliments followed by unsettling threats. Apparently maximalist demands are slapped on the table, to force the unnerved opponent to move from their preferred outcome range. Suddenly reversing concessions already made can have the same effect. Such destructive negotiating tactics may well provide negotiating ‘wins’, where it is a short-term gain that is sought at the expense of the other party. This is perhaps workable in a few areas such as attempting to finance property deals because if, later, the forced-through deal unwinds, then it can always be sold on. That cannot be done if it is the national interest that has to be jettisoned. The result of adopting this approach to any negotiation is that you are liable to be winning a battle at the expense of losing the war. Real negotiation looks to the longest term.

Besides, ethical risks accompany guilty knowledge. This is information that has come into your hands that you are not supposed to have. Motive matters if your intention is then to make use of it. The leading nineteenth-century advocate of utilitarian philosophy, John Stuart Mill, warned: ‘the
only purpose for which power can rightfully be exercised over any member

of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others’.15 A nation under threat is unlikely to hesitate long before acting, citing the greater good. That will include gathering intelligence and using the power to act in secret. It is hard not to see Gordievsky’s intelligence, described earlier in this chapter, as contributing to good outcomes. On the other hand, it may be a desire selfishly to better your own circumstances at the expense of someone else.

Let me give a business example of an ethical dilemma over exploiting for advantage information you are not supposed to have. Suppose you are preparing to pitch your bid in an overseas commercial competition for a contract. The evening before, you eat in a smart downtown restaurant. Finally seated at a table, you feel something under your foot and realize it is a folder of papers left by a previous diner. Glancing through the documents to see who might have left them you realize with a shock that you are examining a copy of the presentation of your main rival in the competition.
Guiltily you look around to see if anyone is watching. Should you continue to study the pitch and then put the papers back where you found them? Should you just ignore what you have learned? Or do you rush back to your hotel and rewrite your own presentation? The thought may even occur to you that this might be a trap, leading to accusations of industrial espionage and thus being eliminated from the competition. The better angel of your nature will say you cannot benefit from information that you are not supposed to have. But if the roles were reversed, the devil on your shoulder whispers, competitors would not hesitate to benefit. But that is what makes us different, you conclude. That is our brand of trusted integrity. If we do not live our corporate values, then why should we convince others to trust

us?16 So, the next day, you explain what happened to the commercial director of the potential client and that you cannot hide the fact that you have read the opposing bid. The director tells you that in accordance with best practice he is cancelling the competition, which will be rerun. In the best case he will add, your action exemplifies what he hoped to find in a company they could rely on as a long-term partner with access to the secrets of the corporation. Your reputation goes up.

Jack Straw, then Home Secretary, once explained to me when I was his Permanent Secretary the ethical rule he personally applied. Simply put, when in doubt, do the right thing. It may not end up as you would hope,
often it will not, but you have a defence you can mount of honestly having tried to do the right thing. If you resort to subterfuges and wriggling around the truth and it still goes wrong, you are exposed and have no ethical justification to fall back on. Your lack of integrity will become all too apparent. One of the ways of knowing that a course of action is ‘the right thing’ to do is that it usually appears harder than the alternatives. We may, for example, fear immediate criticism or reprimand. Another is that it may involve telling more of the truth than we feel immediately comfortable with. We have all learned this from the pain of having to own up to misdeeds as young children, and when relief comes from experiencing eventual forgiveness. We will all, I hope, have learned as adults from watching young children come to recognize through experience the virtue of honesty as ‘doing the right thing’.

Conclusions: imagining yourself in the shoes of the person on the other side

In this chapter we have looked at the process of negotiation in which (usually) two parties settle disagreements about how far each can simultaneously satisfy their objectives to generate a joint outcome acceptable to both sides. Having well-thought-through analysis about the objectives and motivation of the other party is key (and vice versa) and likely to be more important than knowing their negotiating hand at any one time. In such circumstances the lessons are:

Do not rush into a negotiation feeling under pressure to get it over with.

Prepare carefully, including setting a BATNA you believe in (the best alternative to a negotiated agreement – a more reliable guide than a ‘bottom line’).

Use the SEES model to establish what you need to know about the short- and long-term objectives of the other party, as seen by them. Work out in particular what the other party needs to secure an agreement – it may include matters that are much less important to you.

Search for outcomes that will meet the interests of both parties and that both will count as success.

Having guilty knowledge does not always help get the best outcome:

when in doubt do the right thing.
Do not try to intimidate the other party by gamesmanship: a deal they are forced to accept is unlikely to last.

Be prepared to accept the maxim that nothing is agreed until everything is, but do not withdraw points already provisionally settled just to try to unbalance the other side.


























The creation of East Germany, archive 1949 | Germany | The Guardian

Record of a conversation between Cde. I. V. Stalin and the leaders of the

Socialist Unity Party of Germany Wilhelm Pieck and Otto Grotewohl,

26 March 1948, at 1900 hours

Top Secret

Present: V. M. Molotov, A. A. Zhdanov, G. M. Malenkov, V. S. Semenov (SVAG [Soviet Military Administration in Germany]), and interpreters – G. Ya. Korotkevich and F. Elsner.

PIECK thanked I. V. Stalin for the welcome and also for the aid which the Soviet Military Administration in Germany gives the SED [Socialist Unity Party].

I. V. STALIN asks whether the Military Administration is actually giving aid or if this is a compliment.

PIECK and GROTEWOHL say that they are actually receiving aid.

STALIN, joking, asks again, does this mean that they don’t just oppress you, but also give aid?

PIECK, laughing, confirms [this]. Then he says that he will describe political issues and Grotewohl economic [ones]. In Pieck’s words, the exacerbation of the conflicts between the Allies on the issues of an imperialistic or democratic peace with Germany, the unity or dismemberment of Germany, and its democratic development or colonialization by means of the Marshall Plan are influencing the mood of the German people. These conflicts are not so clear to the broad masses but they are influencing the mood of the masses, especially in Berlin. The Western powers are trying to influence the population and direct it against the USSR, arousing hostility against communism which supposedly wants to crush [poglotit’] the people, take the Germans’ private property away from them, etc.

STALIN laughs.

PIECK says that although this propaganda is stupid it has an influence on a population brought up in an anti-Communist atmosphere even back in the Weimar Republic and then under Hitler. One of the factors which promote anti-Soviet sentiments among Germans is the arrests of Germans without any communication between those arrested and relatives.

STALIN asks, who arrested these Germans?

In PIECK’s words the Soviet occupation authorities are making the arrests; after arrest these people sort of disappear from life, they are not afforded an opportunity to communicate with relatives, and there are no public trials. The population ascribes blame to the SED which supposedly doesn’t want to change this, but could. Pieck suggests that in important arrests both SED chairmen would be informed by the Soviet Military Administration, that correspondence between those arrested and relatives be permitted, and that open trials be set up. Pieck explains that in the west of Germany the occupation authorities also make large-scale arrests but there communications with relatives is permitted and from time to time open trials are held, which relieves the atmosphere.

STALIN asks perhaps those arrested by the Soviet authorities are foreign agents or spies?

PIECK replied affirmatively, but points out that there are other arrests made through denunciations by reactionaries. Arrested fascists from the ‘Werewolf [Organization],” for example, sometimes inform against Social Democrats in order to ease their own situation. There have been arrests of socialist-minded youth and also politically reliable SED people based on such inaccurate statements. It would be good to know the reasons for such arrests and also to free wrongly arrested people from internment camps.

STALIN asks why SED leaders did not write here about this.

PIECK replied that they did not want to bother I. V. Stalin with appeals about minor matters.

STALIN remarks, ‘What kind of bother this is!”

PIECK says that they wanted to describe a request about this here and consider it necessary to reexamine the methods without abolishing measures needed to ensure security. Difficulties for the Party also arose from expropriations of property in connection with land reform and the confiscation of enterprises from fascist and war criminals. Some mistakes were committed in the process, although the Party thinks of course that these democratic reforms are absolutely necessary.

STALIN asks, who performed the expropriation?

SEMENOV replies that the land reform was concluded by German agencies back in the autumn of 1945 and that there has been no further expropriation of land. The expropriation of enterprises of fascist and war criminals was made by decisions of German commissions in Lander and the SVAG only approved these decisions.

PIECK acknowledges that land reform has concluded but the confiscation of enterprises is continuing.

STALIN asks, to whom are the confiscated enterprises transferred?

PIECK replies that they are transferred to the ownership of German control bodies.

STALIN stresses that thus these enterprises will be transferred to the German public and not to the Russians.

PIECK mentions that part of the enterprises went to the ownership of Soviet joint-stock companies.

STALIN asks, whether enterprises are being transferred to Soviet joint-stock companies now?

PIECK does not reply to this question directly and talks about new confiscations of property in the zone for German control bodies.

STALIN asks, who is doing the confiscations?

PIECK replies that they are done by German commissions, but bourgeois parties are protesting this measure.

STALIN says that he, Stalin, has authority over the Soviet Military Administration but not over Germans. The first complaint is with regard to the Administration. He, Stalin, accepts it. The second is against Germans . . .

PIECK says that he wanted to show by this what difficulties the Party is encountering.

STALIN notes, “I understand.”

PIECK then talks about the growth of the influence of the SED among the masses, especially in connection with the people’s congress. The SED is fighting the Marshall Plan and the creation of a west German state. Therefore sharp differences arise with the western powers which lead to terrorist measures against the SED. Thanks to the people’s congress the Party managed to attract a large number of bourgeois elements in the movement. Two sessions of the congress were held. The first was convened during the London Session of Ministers of Foreign Affairs [SMID]. A delegation was selected which the SMID refused to grant a hearing. The second congress was held on the anniversary of the Revolution of 1848 and decided to collect signatures for a petition to hold a popular vote on the issue of the unity of Germany and also elected a people’s council of 400 members comprising a small parliament. The second congress also adopted a decision on the democratic and economic structure of Germany. The first congress was more impulsive and the second more businesslike. Two thousand two hundred participated in the first congress, of which 460 were from the western zones. Two thousand participated in the second congress, of which 512 were from the western zones. Most of the representatives from the western zones crossed the border illegally. Nevertheless, matters proceeded without arrests. There were 600 SED representatives at the first congress and 360 at the second. By reducing the number of SED representatives they wanted to show that the congress was not just an SED affair.

STALIN asked, to what party did those who come to the congress from the West belong?

PIECK replies that 80% were Communists. But there were also notable people from bourgeois parties.

STALIN asks for confirmation of this.

PIECK mentions Prof. [Hesterman] from Munster, who spoke in the debates at the German People’s Congress. There were also representatives from other parties, including the SPD [Social Democratic Party]. The second congress went successfully, which was evident from the measures against the congress adopted by the occupation authorities of the western powers who prohibited the congress and brazenly agitated against it even in the Control Council, where Robertson made insulting attacks on the congress. The SED turned to the British government with a request to force Robertson to take back his insulting remarks.

Pieck then cited data about the makeup of the People’s Council to which 300 members were elected from the Soviet zone and 100 from the western zones. There was a total of 85 SED members elected, about 10 from the SPD, and the rest were representatives of other parties and mass organizations.

STALIN asks again, “were Social Democrats also in it?”

PIECK replies affirmatively. He said further that administrative measures in the Soviet zone have a certain influence on the population, especially the transfer of the enterprises of fascist war criminals to the hands of the people. SVAG Order N° 324, which is based on the slogan ‘Work more to live better”, was of great help in increasing labor productivity. Some improvement of the economic situation has been achieved in the Soviet zone but all the same it remains difficult. The reorganization of the German Economic Commission 17 has great importance for administrative work. In contrast to the gradual economic improvement in the Soviet zone, a decline is being seen in the western occupation zones. The food situation there is worse.

STALIN asks, is the food supply worse in the west? Is this actually so?

PIECK confirms this and points out that there have been large-scale strikes there because of this. The British occupation authorities tried to ascribe a plan to turn the strikes into an uprising (the so-called “Plan M”) to the Communists. They wrote that the Communists have an even more dangerous “Plan R”. The SED announced right away that this is an invention of the British secret service; the British instead lost interest in dealing with these “plans” anymore. The Party received certain support in this from CDU [Christian Democratic Union] representative [Semler] in the two-zone Economic Council, who criticized the American policy in the West, stressing that it was leading to poverty and that the CDU is leading the strike itself. Clay declared that Semler is lying. Clay did not approve his election when the CDU of Bavaria elected Semler as its representative to the two-zone Economic Council.

Pieck further pointed to the phoniness of denazification in the western zones where old reactionary personnel remained in leadership posts in control bodies. Fascist officers are in judicial bodies and the police. Even Schumacher was forced to protest about this. There is no doubt that Schumacher is a British agent and that his statement had the purpose of calming the SPD. The British and the Americans are also obstructing any nationalization of industry in their zones. Propagandizing the Marshall Plan, they talk about the aid which they are supposedly planning to grant Germany. SED counter-agitation on this issue has not become so active as on the issue of the unity of Germany as a consequence of the illusions spread among the population associated with the Marshall Plan. The Party has not yet managed to involve the broad masses in fighting the Marshall Plan. The KPG [Communist Party of Germany] is organizationally and politically weak in the western zones. We view it as a party under the common leadership of the SED. The KPG has announced its acceptance of the principles and goals of the SED. KPG-SED working cooperation committees have been organized in the west but these committees have not been recognized by the occupation authorities. The KPG organization numbers 312,500 members and the SPD – 800,000.

STALIN asks, this is where, in the west?

PIECK confirms this. The KPG representation in the landtags is so small. In 12 Lander of the western zones the Communist have 83 seats of 1300, that is, 6.3%.

STALIN asks, is the KPG formally shut down in the western occupation zones?

PIECK replies in the negative. He then points out that the Communists received 9.1 % of the 20 million votes in the elections of the western zones. However, the influence of the KPG in enterprises is larger, especially in the Ruhr, where the Communists received 34% of the votes in the elections to production councils. The weakness of the KPG is in the lack of overall leadership. Up to now the leadership bodies existed only in the Lander but cooperation between the Party organizations of the Lander was weak. At the last SED CC plenum it was decided to create a single bureau for all the western zones which would have three well-trained comrades working in the western zones.

STALIN asks, why have the Communists and part of the Social Democrats not united into one common party?

PIECK replies that Schumacher is sharply against unity and expels anyone from the SPD who tries to advocate uniting with the Communists.

STALIN asks, is there any sort of opposition among the Social Democrats?

PIECK replies affirmatively. It is developing the more it becomes clearer that the SPD is harming the workers’ movement. For his part, Schumacher is trying to counter this by slandering the Communists.

STALIN says that he means something else. If there were a united party in the west then it would be better. It is advisable to remove the Communist sign which is scaring many people. This would be good. With such a unification it would be sufficient if only some Social Democrats switched to the united party. PIECK explains that they rejected a united party; when it was proposed, the reproach was that the SED is a renaming of the KPG.

STALIN notes that if there is any opposition in the SPD in the west then it would be possible bring it into a united party and carry out unification. Is this really impossible?

PIECK says that this is possible and refers to the example in Dortmund where in fact a united party organization was created.

STALIN asks, is this perhaps disadvantageous?

GROTWOHL says that unification is impossible since the occupation authorities are prohibiting the renaming of the Communist Party and the unification of the workers’ parties.

STALIN asks again, is unification being prohibited?

MOLOTOV confirms that is it being prohibited.

PIECK points out that the western occupation authorities are prohibiting even joint meetings of Social Democrats and Communists.

STALIN asks, do the occupation authorities really need the Communist sign? Then he explains that persecution against Communism is so strong that right now it scares the population away.

PIECK cites an example of the occupation authorities forcing signs about the people’s congress in Bremen to be signed by the KPG in order to scare the population.

STALIN comments – scoundrels. They need this scarecrow, this bugaboo.

PIECK talks about the difficulties of work for Communists in western Germany as a consequence of which not long ago orders were given to mix legal work with illegal [work] and prepare to switch to an illegal status.

STALIN says, “but if the Communists declare themselves a workers’ party, as they did in Poland!”

PIECKS says that they need to think about this but the permission of the occupation authorities, which they might refuse, is needed.

STALIN says that this needs to be tried. This wouldn’t be bad.

PIECK talks about the aid which the SED is giving the Communists of western Germany in personnel, paper, and money. Whereas in 1946 the KPG of the western zones was given 1.3 million marks, now they have been given 4.3 million marks. Pieck asks Stalin about transferring the Deutschlandsender radio station for German radio broadcasting; at the present time it is being used for relaying Moscow radio broadcasts to the Soviet occupation forces. The Berlin medium wave radio station put at the disposition of the Germans is not audible in western Germany, in particular, in the Ruhr.

STALIN asks, “is a single radio station sufficient?”

ELSNER says that Deutschlandsender is the most powerful radio station in Germany.

STALIN asks about the radio station in Nauen and receives the reply that it was destroyed during military operations.

Stalin asks what the distance is between Berlin and the Ruhr. He adds that it would be possible to give two radio stations so that the SED could cover all Europe with its programs.

PIECK repeats that the Berlin radio station at the disposition of the Germans is not audible in western Germany.

STALIN asks Pieck what he wants.

PIECK replies that they want to be given the Deutschlandsender radio station.

SEMENOV says that the Deutschlandsender is received by peoples’ receivers in all of Germany but peoples’ receivers do not receive the Berlin medium-wave station. He considers it possible to put Deutschlandsender at the disposition of the Germans, but Sokolovskiy objects to this.

MOLOTOV notes that at one time the SVAG objected to transferring this radio station to the Germans on the grounds that it ought to be under four-power control; hence if the SVAG had transferred this station to the Germans then the Allies would have take it for themselves.

SEMENOV confirms this and says that now this impediment has gone away.

STALIN says that we will transfer this station.

PIECK talks about the powerful propaganda apparatus which the western occupation authorities have in Berlin which the SED cannot even match. The SED is expanding agitation in the Soviet sector of Berlin, but in the western sectors the occupation authorities are interfering with work at enterprises, prohibit the hanging of signs, convening meetings, and they create Trotskyite groups. New elections will be held in Berlin this October. Pieck doesn’t think that the elections will be better for the SED than in 1946. They would be happy if the Allies were forced out of Berlin.

STALIN comments, let’s try with [our] common efforts; maybe we’ll force [them] out.

PIECK tells of the results of labor union elections in Berlin during which the SED lost votes, including among the metalworkers. This is a serious matter. They need to pursue a correct policy in order to make up what was lost. They need to overcome the weakness of the SED in political propaganda since it will be difficult if the Social Democratic opposition wins any more labor unions. The balance of strength between the SED and bourgeois parties in the Soviet zone comes down in favor of the SED. The Party received 47.6% of the seats in the elections to the landtags and has 50.5% together with the peasant mutual aid and Kulturbund parties. Both bourgeois parties, the CDU and the LDP, have 49.5% of the seats in the landtags. However, in some Lander the bourgeois parties have a weak majority in the landtags. Hence the need to maintain a [voting] bloc with these parties which exert a strong influence on the SED on political issues, especially when property issues are affected. Numerically, the SED is the strongest party in all of Germany and has 1,774,000 Party members. In the western zones and in Berlin the SPD numbers 800,000 members, including 45,000 members in Berlin. The SED has 108,000 members in Berlin. The bourgeois parties in the Soviet zone number 382,000 members and 31,000 in Berlin. Four million workers and white-collar workers have been organized into labor unions.

STALIN asks, where is this?

PIECK replies that it is in the Soviet zone. It comprises 64% of all those working in industry, transport, and in enterprises. The intra-Party situation in the SED has been improving recently. The internal cohesion of the Party is growing. However, there still remain vestiges of division among former Communists and former Social Democrats. Slander against opponents causes some wavering in the Party, for example, on the issue of the arrests. The Party is experiencing great difficulties in personnel for it has to send workers for control bodies, administrative bodies, mass organizations, the Party apparatus, the press, etc. The circle of trained workers from former Social Democrats is small. Therefore it is difficult to maintain parity, which will soon have to be abandoned. The training of personnel is also very important. This is the system of training personnel in the SED. Evenings on political issues are held in production groups and in groups by residence. In production organizations up to 50% of the Party members participate in them, but in non-production [groups] from 20 to 40%. District schools with 4800 students are operating in 115 districts (kreis). About 60,000 Party activists have passed through these schools. There are six three-month schools in Lander with 620 students. The highest level of Party education is the Higher Party School. Its course of study was recently extended to two years. They have 200 students and 27 instructors, who are very overworked. The Higher Party School has short-term [industrial] sector courses. A three-month Academy for Managerial Staff opened in May, which was then reorganized into a one-year Academy with 600 students. It will train high-level officials for administrative bodies and also instructors. Pieck talks of the Party’s intention to introduce a new discipline, “scientific socialism”, in six universities and three higher educational schools of the Soviet zone as a compulsory subject with an examination. This name was chosen in order to counter the propaganda against socialism from the West.

STALIN asks, did the other parties agree with this?

PIECK says that they should agree. Many talk about socialism in Germany but they represent something completely different as socialism. There are even Christian socialists.

STALIN again asks, do all parties agree with this?

PIECK continues that 20 docents need to be trained to pursue this plan. This is important in order to counter reactionary influences in the higher school. The SED wants to make this subject mandatory as long as students refuse.

STALIN laughs.

PIECK says that they announce to the students that the latter is not obligatory for socialists but if they are against Marxism then they should at least know what it is.

STALIN laughs and asks, but what are you saying, do they agree? For this will be done on government money, not Party [money].

PIECK says that they will carry this out and there will be no difficulties.

STALIN asks, there won’t?

PIECK replies affirmatively. He also says that Zolotukhin from the Soviet Military Administration supports this idea and is counting on achieving success. Pieck then says that of the 16,200 students of universities and higher schools of the Soviet zone only 4,600 students come from worker’s and peasant [families]. Four thousand two hundred students are SED members (26%), KhOS members are 7.5%, and LOP members are 9.2%. The remaining students are unaffiliated. Reactionaries hide under the label of unaffiliated. Of the student councils 36% are SED, 19% are KhOS members, 19% are LOP members, and 25% are unaffiliated.

Pieck says that thus the Party still has large tasks before it. They area also great with respect to work with bourgeois parties. Kaiser, speaking initially in favor of “Christian socialism”, recently tried to win the KhOS of the Soviet zone over to the side of the western powers. There is also great vacillation in the LOP, especially in Berlin where reactionaries were entrenched. It is necessary to find support inside these parties and remove the reactionaries. This can be done, relying on the people’s congress and speaking out for peace and the unification of Germany. Pieck speaks of the need to form a fourth party for former nominal Nazis who were resettlers from military districts and part of the POWs.

STALIN says that we know this. We have no objection. He asks, did [we/they] inform them of this?

PIECK replies affirmatively. He says that they have already begun this matter with the publication of the Nazional Zeitung newspaper. However, there are difficulties in selecting the leadership of this party inasmuch as people are needed for this who will not be against us, but also not too openly connected with us.

STALIN acknowledges.

PIECK says that the bourgeois parties are emphatically against the creation of such a new party since they understand that it will be developed at their expense.

Pieck then talks of the progress of the membership composition of the SED and that they are planning a verification [proverka] with the purpose of cleansing the Party of people who registered twice in the Party, by place of work and place of residence. The SED recently lost 12,500 members who left the partly due to dissatisfaction with the food supply and partly because the Party could not assimilate them in view of the weakness of educational work. During the same period 42,000 new Party members were accepted. Work needs to be strengthened to study and educate new Party members and, moreover, to pursue a individual recruiting campaign at enterprises. Summing up, Pieck says that they have two requests for Stalin, about the questions of arrest and the radio station.

STALIN says that he has written this down. He asks, is work being done among women?

PIECK replies that a Democratic Women’s Union exists and is working successfully among women.

STALIN asks, how are things with youth?

GROTWOHL points out that the Union of Free German Youth numbers 600,000 members and is working successfully among youth.

STALIN asks, is there such a union among Social Democrats in the West?

ELSNER replies affirmatively.

PIECK speaks of the weakness of Party work among intellectuals, although the SED has a decisive influence in the Kulturbund.

GROTEWOHL then speaks. He notes that the London Conference created a new situation for Germany. The Potsdam Agreement provided a clear procedure for working out a peace treaty for Germany. This has been destroyed. The Council of Minister of Foreign Affairs, as a body which can work out a peace treaty, is becoming superfluous. The question arises, who will make peace and what kind of peace will it be? In terms of international law Germany is in a vacuum [nakhoditsya v bezvozdushom prostranstve]. In the political sense it is deprived of a government. For a number of months the Control Council has not been able to decide on fundamental issues and after the 20 March meeting at which Sokolovskiy made a strongly worded demand about the London Conference of three powers, further work was curtailed. The Control Council is really not operating. There is no organization [instantsiya] to carry out the reparation plan for all of Germany. We have drawn conclusions from this for ourselves. A national calamity was declared at the people’s congress and a number of slogans were formulated. If there is no such body to perform German-wide tasks then the German people should embark on the path of national mutual aid. But national mutual aid is restricted by cases of interference by occupation authorities. After the collapse of the London Conference in December 1947 some separate measures were conducted in western Germany to reorganize the Economic Council and a government was actually formed. The core of the policy of the western occupation authorities in Germany is now the Marshall Plan. The discussion in the Control Council about financial reform is evidence of the danger of a separate financial reform in western Germany. This would mean the completion of the economic dismemberment of Germany. A separate financial reform is one of the primary elements of the Marshall Plan with respect to Germany. However, in the western zones most of the population is in a state of political apathy. They see the dollar and think that the Marshall Plan will give Germans an opportunity to live better. That’s how we assess the situation. Disappointment will come with respect to the economic results of the Marshall Plan since bourgeois policy precludes any kind of humaneness. In reality an increase of production and the development of exports of industrial goods is not being permitted in West Germany but the importation of raw material is growing and old monopolistic bodies are reviving; at the same time, the Ruhr is again being turned into a center of the armaments industry.

STALIN asks, is industry in the Ruhr improving?

GROTEWOHL says that the coal output in the Ruhr has increased to 300,000 tons a day.

STALIN asks about metal production in the Ruhr.

GROTEWOHL says that there is some increase in metals which has been achieved by using a food supply bonus system. There are no precise figures about industrial capacity in the western zones. Grotewohl continues, we are fighting against the Marshall Plan, for peace, against the dictatorship of monopolies, and for democracy. It is characteristic that hostility toward the Marshall Plan is developing among the German technical intelligentsia and business owners. The conviction is growing in these circles that the natural economic relations for Germany are with the east and southeastern Europe. Such an opinion is growing more quickly in these circles than even among workers. Grotewohl points out that the strikes in the western zones did not have a political nature, but were an expression of protest against hunger. Grotewohl then says that reactionary forces are directing their main thrust in their propaganda against Bolshevism, Russia, and the SED, which they identify with Russia. The SED is looking for a way to get out of such a situation. The most effective measure in this struggle is the organization of a self-supporting economic base in the Soviet zone. Therefore the economic problems of the Soviet zone are pushed to the forefront and which should be organically tied to the Party economic slogans for all Germany. The industrial production of the Soviet zone in 1936 came to 14.8 billion marks. In 1947 it was 9.4 billion marks, excluding the enterprises of Soviet joint stock companies, together with the production of which gross production of the zone is 10.4 billion marks. Thus, by comparison, industrial production has reached 56% of the 1936 level.

STALIN asks, whether comparable prices been taken into account in all this, and receives an affirmative reply.

GROTEWOHL says that according to the 1948 plan an increase of industrial production of the Soviet zone of 5% over 1947 was envisioned. We hope, he said, for an increase of production of 10%, but difficulties are arising which we cannot overcome alone. Grotewohl says that for a growth of industrial production of 10% they need the following quantities of raw material through imports: 250,000 tons of rolled metal and steel; 300,000 tons of hard coal; 22,000 tons of cotton; 1,700 tons of wool; 3,000 tons of flax; and 1,200 tons of hemp. In addition, from the production of Soviet joint stock companies they need to allocate 38,000 tons of artificial wool and 5,000 tons of artificial silk for the German economy. Touching on supply questions, Grotewohl said that at the present time in the Soviet zone they are issuing 1,500 calories per person per day. In 1950 they ought to increase the norms to 2,600 calories. But inasmuch as agriculture was seriously damaged as a result of the war the solution to this problem is impossible without the importation of food from abroad. Therefore they need to import 280,000 tons of grain, 120,000 tons of feed, and 1,200,000 tons of oilcake. The prewar requirement in meat and fats in the zone were 600,000 tons but now production is only 200,000 tons. Thus the shortage is 400,000 tons.

STALIN asks, has the population of the zone increased?

GROTEWOHL replies affirmatively.

When he cites the figure for demand in oilcake, STALIN asks, is this perhaps a mistake and says that Grotewohl is citing figures that are too large. GROTEWOHL admits the possibility of error. He then points out the need to create a foundation for the development of agriculture by importing feed for cattle and supplying fertilizers. The zone’s requirements in nitrogen fertilizers are calculated at 150,000 tons, which might be allotted from the production of the enterprises of Soviet joint stock companies. In addition, they need to import an additional 120,000 tons of phosphates. They also need to allocate 160,000 tons of coal to produce lime. The furnishing of these fertilizers could ensure a normal harvest in 1950. Grotewohl stipulated that all the figures he cited might be imprecise since he does not yet feel fully at home in the economic issues of the zone. Grotewohl then expressed a request that there be no reparations removals from the 1948 harvest. The reparations plan envisioned removals of sugar and alcohol for the fourth quarter. Grotewohl then cited figures for supplying the Party with paper, stressing the importance of this matter both for political propaganda as well as for the financial situation of the Party, which has large expenses for training personnel and maintaining a staff. Grotewohl pointed out that, in spite of an increase in Party members and the complexity of the issues before it, the SED is getting half as much paper in 1948 as it got in 1946.

STALIN asks, how much paper do you need?

GROTEWOHL replies that right now they’re getting 3,500 tons a quarter and the SVAG, 9,000 tons. This ask that the Party be allotted 3,000 additional tons of paper a quarter from these 9,000 tons.

Grotewohl then asks Stalin to give instructions to Soviet authorities to approve the agreement of DEFA, a mixed German-Soviet company, according to which the SED, as a stockholder of this company, would obtain the right to distribute German films in proportion to its capital in this company. This agreement was signed in Berlin but has not been approved in Moscow.

SEMENOV says that that agreement was not approved at the initiative of the Ministry of Cinematography but that the SVAG has advocated the approval of the agreement.

STALIN asks, why did [you] not write about this; don’t you know the way here?

Stalin told Grotewohl that we will discuss then and try to do everything possible.

Then STALIN asks, are there German police in the Soviet zone? In whose hands [are they]? Who controls them?

GROTEWOHL replies that the German police are under the control of the internal affairs bodies of the Lander and also of the Central Directorate of Internal Affairs of the Soviet zone.

STALIN asks about the strength of the police and their weaponry.

GROTEWOHL replies, that the police are poorly armed.

STALIN asks, are these reliable people?

GROTEWOHL replies, that 90% of them there are Party comrades. The ministers of internal affairs, he stressed, are all our people.

STALIN asks, but at HQ?

GROTEWOHL replies, also.

STALIN asks whether you think that the police need to be reinforced and paid well.

GROTEWOHL says that this a crucial issue, of course.

STALIN asks, what help do you need from us?

GROTEWOHL talks about the desirability of aid in training the police.

STALIN asks, do they have good people who could train the police?

GROTEWOHL says that in general there are few people for the police.

STALIN says that possibly they could be taken from the POWs.

GROTEWOHL says that they have part of the personnel in the police from the “Free Germany” committee and mentions in particular Colonel Markgraf, the Chief of the Berlin Police, and [Bechler], the Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs of one of the Lander.

STALIN says that if they need people from the POWs they can take them. He asks, has the number of people which can be supported been identified?

SEMENOV replies that as far as he remembers in view of the differences on this issue, the Control Council did not reach agreement but this needs to be verified.

STALIN says that if weapons are needed then German weapons, which of course we might have, can be used. Stalin stresses that the police are a very serious matter which needs to be discussed seriously. They will prove useful.

Stalin asks if there are other questions.

GROTEWOHL says that they wouldn’t like to carry out separate measures regarding governmental divisions during the further development of the Soviet zone before these measures are undertaken in the West.

STALIN comments that we have the same policy. This is a correct policy.

GROTEWOHL says that in this connection they are putting off the creation of a parliament and government in the Soviet zone.

STALIN approves.

GROTEWOHL says that the People’s Council should discuss individual questions but it does not have executive power and cannot adopt laws. STALIN says that this is right, but nevertheless you should create some surrogates or, rather, the nuclei (embryos} of a national German parliament and government.

GROTEWOHL says that the German Economic Commission is the nucleus of a government. They transmitted their wishes with respect to this commission in a special document.

STALIN says that he didn’t see this document and asks where they sent it. KOROTKEVICH says that the document was circulated from M.A. Suslov.

GROTEWOHL reads those measures from the circulated note about the German Economic Commission for which he is especially pressing, namely that the economic plan not be changed for a year without the agreement of the Economic Commission.

STALIN remarks, that’s good, but all the same are the Germans planning to pay reparations?

GROTEWOHL and PIECK confirm [this].

GROTEWOHL says that there should not, however, be removals beyond the reparations plan and the plan for occupational expenses. Otherwise it would be impossible to create the [economic] stimulus to develop the industrial initiative of the workers.

STALIN says that he understands this. Stalin then asks if Grotewohl knows how much the Russians get annually from reparations in millions of marks or dollars.

GROTEWOHL says that in 1948 1.2 billion marks were planned, which is 10% of the gross industrial production of the zone.

STALIN asks, how much will this be in dollars?

MOLOTOV replies that at a rate of 3 marks per American dollar this is $400,000,000.

STALIN asks, how is this, is it difficult?

GROTEWOHL did not reply. He said that they are very isolated and think that ties with other countries necessary. For this purpose they want to create commissions to study trade opportunities.

STALIN asks, with which countries?

GROTEWOHL replies, with Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Romania, and Poland.

STALIN says, we can help you establish ties. If Germany is divided into two states then western Germany will remain without a market but eastern Germany will have a good market.

GROTEWOHL asks if there is a possibility for the Soviet zone to have a two- or three-year economic development plan in the future.

STALIN says that when the Economic Commission expands and becomes stronger then, in his opinion, it could be done.

GROTEWOHL says: in order to swim you have to go in the water.

STALIN agrees. We’ll teach you everything, he says. We, too, couldn’t do anything earlier but then we learned. Germans are capable people. They will learn no worse than we.

STALIN raises another issue. He says that it would be good if some organ of the People’s Congress worked out a German constitution and put it out for discussion both in western and eastern Germany. This constitution ought not be very democratic in order not to scare off people, but it should all the same be sufficiently democratic so that the best elements of the West and East could accept it. This would be very good. The entire population needs to be involved in discussion the constitution. This would create a psychological basis for implementing the unification of Germany.

PIECK says that the People’s Council has chosen a constitutional commission and also commissions on a peace treaty, economic issues, and other [commissions].

STALIN comments that this commission on a peace treaty is a formal issue. But he, Stalin, considers working out a constitution to be one of the primary factors to prepare the German population for unification. Words about unity cannot be repeated all the time. They hear them several times and they this bores everyone. A specific plan needs to be given and the population drawn into working out this document. This needs to be done more quickly. The problem is not in bringing about the constitution. This will not be soon. It needs to be made a key factor to prepare the masses for the unification of Germany. The British and the Americans will try to buy the Germans, to put them in a privileged position. There is [only] one tool against this – to prepare the minds of the people for unification. A constitution is a very good tool, a remarkable tool.

PIECK says that they already tried to do this through Party channels in 1946.

STALIN says that this is not right. The commission should work out a constitution and the congress should discuss it and approve it, after which it is released to the people. This will be a long process. If it takes several years then you’ll profit from this. If minds are prepared for this idea then it will be impossible to wreck unification. Then the Americans will have to capitulate. It will be good if you take this advice.

GROTEWOHL stated that they are of the same opinion and this will provide an opportunity for concrete agitation.

STALIN confirms [this]. All the people expect this and they will receive material. And no America will be able to do anything with this. By this means you will link the entire population with the congress. The authority of the congress needs to be raised. Stalin says that the unification of Germany will not come right away. It’s necessary to fight for the unification of Germany with agitation and propaganda.

Stalin asks what other questions there are and whether they in a hurry to leave.

PIECK says that they are in a hurry and plan to fly out on Monday.

STALIN asks if it is possible to wait longer.

PIECK asks about the possibility of making the trip public. With Sokolovskiy’s permission he has already told member of the SED secretariat about the trip.

STALIN says that it’s all the same to us whether they announce the trip or not. They need to think what’s best for the Party. Glasnost would be possibly somewhat harmful to us. They will say that they went to Moscow, received Moscow’s orders, and the socialists have nothing like this, they operate through instructions. He, Stalin, doesn’t know whether they need to shout about this. If someone from the German Economic Commission were in Moscow involving representatives other parties this would be another matter, but this matter could be spoiled insofar as they will say that socialists don’t have their own chief. Will they not say so? Discuss this and decide it for yourselves.

PIECK agrees with Stalin and says that possibly there will come a time when a delegation of the People’s Council might be able to travel to Moscow.

STALIN says that then it will be possible to talk about a trip, but right now this is an internal Party matter.

PIECK says that they will give a report about the trip to members of the Party secretariat.

STALIN agrees with this. They sent you, they should also hear you out. You should be answerable to them.

Stalin then asks whether they can remain in Moscow until Wednesday when a reply might be given about questions of interest to them.

PIECK said that they could remain. In view of the Easter holidays their absence in Berlin will not be noticed.

At the conclusion STALIN was interested in how they were accommodated in Moscow and whether their food was good.

PIECK and GROTEWOHL express thanks and bade Stalin farewell.

The conversation lasted two and a half hours, from 1900 to 2130.

Recorded by:

V. Semenov

G. Korotkevich





Meeting Friday, 1.31.1947, in Moscow, 9-12 in the Evening

Stalin, Marshal, Suslov, Semenov, Volkov —

Pieck, Grotewohl, Ulbricht, Fechner, Oelsner

Greeting: We greet you most cordially and are happy to see you in such good health. We wish that it will remain that way for several decades.

We thank for the help the Soviet government gives the German people—at the same time a great support for the work of our party—especially in the Soviet occupation zone.

We also thank for the invitation, which gives us the opportunity to state the problems that face us and to hear your advice on them.

We have provided you with some materials worked out in joined meetings and about which there is agreement on our side.

Comrade Gr[otewohl] will make the report.

Report O. Gr[otewohll with the help of 3 resolutions


1) Question — how government reality —

whether not state governments [Landesregierungen] — our argument against that is

weak — need stronger argument —

2) How strong still are the Nazist forces — in the West — can

they be split — separate honest patriotic elements —

perhaps combine in one party, belonging to the block.

3) Whether at plebiscite on G [ermany’s] unity not even

larger majority than 30 mil[lion] out of 50 mil[lion] .

4) Contradictions in the SPD — the masses like that? — because voted

for SPD.

5) Whether left elements in the SPD — with them unified front committees

— committees against reaction in the West

6) Whether Schumacher in favor of municipalization or nationalization —

nationalization is correct — socialization [Vergesellschaftung] — socialization

[Sozialisierung] — mess.

7) Eastern border is another question — here decision of the allies

Yalta — Berlin

other borders no decision —

change nothing there —

raise Eastern border means raising other borders too —

means war

8) .PD in the West burdened with the old program of the KPD

fear of dictatorship — revolution

therefore new program of the SED for the nearest [nächstliegende] period

9) not necessary for the SED to hunt for members — important

is their influence

10) Admission of the SPD in Sov. occupation zone

whether SED is afraid of the SPD

one should defeat them politically

11) All German meeting of the parties — yes —

when it produces something

1 2) Organ of the zone only when no realization central administration

Explanations at the end —

Position of the SED for unity G is correct —

Engl., Am., Fr. are for federalism, because this means weakening of G .

Weak G should have no influence on the world market, no foreign trade, therefore

also no central government, no central administration.

Concept SU runs counter —

G a[nd] Japan should [have] access to the world market, because this way prices lower a[nd]

goods better —

is gain for humanity.

Undivided mastery of America means high prices, poor products.

Hum.[an] progress requires that G. again rise a[nd] [has] access to the world market. 70

mil[lion] Germans cannot be stricken from world history.

Americans live under the illusion, that alone [can] manage world market.

70 mil[lion] Germans cannot permanently live at the pauper stage, as beggars.

Raw materials are needed, as import — but also needed for selling (export). Germans can

provide good and cheap products.

Subjugation a[nd] choking feeds thoughts of revenge. that means new war.

We are comrades, aren’t we, it hurts us, that Germ. work[ers] suffer, the Germ. proletariat

should live better again.

Americans speak of econ. unification, but are against unif[orm] government — without pol.

unity means, however, econ. unification — unification of the occupiers.

The quicker unity G a[nd] Germ. government, the more we alleviate the rise

for this reason against federalism — it is tied to higher burdens.

Germ. government will come about with difficulty in the case of Americ. resistance —

therefore German central administration as transitory situation.

The others would like to divide G into 4 parts — because only through agreement — because

not voted upon — something comes about — [a] central administration can only be created

this way too — will be somewhat easier.

But correct — as M. [has] said in Paris — that central government controlled by the allies

must sign peace treaty — not by state governments.

M: Peace treaty a[nd] creation of the government will drag on —

We work from the Potsdam decisions. But question of the central administration [to

be] put more broadly. St[alin] demanded unif1ied] central administration — not

materialized, therefore only 5 administrations, but these have not been created. For all

areas there must be created administration, with the exception of military a[ nd] state


Unif1 orm] central administration for all of G until the creation of the government,

immediately platform as stage for government.

Stalin: Engl. and Americ. are afraid of the rise of G — fear competition on the intemat.

markets — Americ. wants world market under its control — wants monopoly

prices — When America reaches goal — this way prevent unemployment in America.

Everything that accelerates rise, foreign trade G. America


SU wants opposite — when reparations hinder rise,

they can be postponed.

Prisoners of war should be evaluated

improve pol . schooling — CC apparatus is overburdened.


Stalin meets with a German delegation to discuss economic conditions in Germany as well as to discuss the political situation in Soviet occupied territory.




David Omand – How Spies Think – 10 Lessons in Intelligence – Part 7

David Omand – How Spies Think – 10 Lessons in Intelligence – Part 7


Lesson 5: It is our own demons that are most likely to mislead us

Well, you can kiss my ass in Macy’s window’ was the brutal one-line dismissal by Ava, the CIA’s Iraq Group Chief, of the over-reliance of US Biological Warfare (BW) expert analysts on a single human intelligence source on Saddam Hussein’s BW programmes, codenamed Curveball. When she challenged the experts’ faith in using information from that source, in her words, ‘they looked at me like pigs looking at a

wristwatch’.1 Although not a weapons specialist, Ava, as an experienced intelligence officer, could sense that there might be a problem with the source. Her intervention was bound to be unpopular. Not least, pressure was mounting from the Bush administration to prepare for the invasion of Iraq and to justify this by revealing the extent of Saddam’s holdings of illegal weapons of mass destruction. That included exposing his past use of BW weapons – deliberately engineered to spread lethal and incapacitating disease and among the most horrific known to man – and what were assessed to be his current capabilities.

Curveball seemed the answer to the BW experts’ prayers. He was an Iraqi chemical engineer who had turned up in a German refugee camp claiming to have worked on Saddam’s BW programmes and ready to spill the beans. To the old operational hands in the CIA and Britain’s MI6 he seemed too good to be true. The German overseas intelligence service, the BND, took charge of Curveball and between January 2000 and September 2001 shared almost 100 reports based on his debriefing with defence intelligence in the US and UK. Crucially, Curveball claimed that Iraq had

built several mobile BW production units and that one of those units had begun production of lethal BW agents as early as 1997. A diagram of a truck adapted to be a mobile BW production unit based on Curveball’s information was even included in the presentation by Colin Powell, Secretary of State, to the UN Security Council as part of the US justification for war.

The problem was, those mobile BW units did not exist. Curveball had invented them. The experts fell for his story.

After the war Curveball, real name Rafid Ahmed Alwan al-Janabi, was tracked down by journalists. He admitted that he had lied in his reporting, and said that he had watched in shock as it was used to justify the war. He told them he fabricated tales of mobile BW trucks and clandestine factories in an attempt to bring down the Saddam Hussein regime, from which he had fled. He added: ‘Maybe I was right, maybe I was not right … they gave me this chance. I had the chance to fabricate something to topple the

regime. I and my sons are proud of that …’2

Before the invasion of Iraq in 2003 CIA and MI6 humint (human intelligence) professionals had developed doubts about the credibility of Curveball, not least the CIA Iraq section chief, Ava, quoted above, and her counterparts in London. Although believing that much of Curveball’s reporting was technically credible (he was after all a chemical engineer), they were not convinced that he was a wholly reliable source since not all his reporting checked out, and elements of his behaviour struck them as typical of individuals whom intelligence agencies would normally assess as fabricators.

One obstacle in checking out their suspicions was that the BND would not provide US or UK analysts with direct access to Curveball. The analysts did not know whether Curveball had been offered inducements, such as a German passport and assistance with resettlement. Nor how the questioning had been conducted. They wondered if the witness had been inadvertently led and had been able to infer what US analysts were most keen to know – and thus what information would most please them (always a problem with defectors). There were rumours about his drinking. Several inconsistencies were detected in Curveball’s reporting which heightened doubts about his reliability. Disturbingly, the quality of intelligence from him seemed to get better over time. That might be his increasing confidence in the good faith

of those questioning him, or it might be he was working out what to say that would produce the best reward.

Great efforts were made by the US and UK intelligence services to check out Curveball. Investigation into his background and university records revealed that he had indeed been trained in Iraq as a chemical engineer. He was known to have been involved on the fringes of Saddam’s 1990 BW programme. On the one hand that made his reporting of what was currently going on entirely credible from a technical point of view; on the other hand, it put him in an ideal position to exaggerate or even make up details if he so chose.

In London, analysts pored over aerial photographs of Iraq trying to identify the locations for prohibited activity described by Curveball to see if his stories stacked up. One site seemed to be on the wrong side of the river from where he described it – perhaps a slip of memory. Or perhaps an ominous sign that he was fabricating. In 2001 Curveball’s description of a facility that he claimed was involved in the mobile BW programme was contradicted by imagery of the site, which showed a wall blocking the view to what Curveball had claimed were the mobile trailers. Analysts explained away this discrepancy by speculating that the wall spotted by imagery might be a temporary structure put up by the Iraqis to deceive US satellite reconnaissance efforts. In another instance, Iraq was said to be filling BW warheads at a transportable facility near Baghdad. When imagery was unable to locate the transportable BW systems at the reported site, analysts assumed this was another example of Iraq hiding activities from US satellite over-passes. There is a very human tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms one’s preconceptions. It is comforting to think the information coming in bears out our prior beliefs. Psychologists call this confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is accentuated by the tendency for people to scrutinize fiercely information which contradicts their prior beliefs (sometimes known as disconfirmation bias) while accepting too readily without criticism information that is consistent with their preconceptions.

Placing too much weight on Curveball’s reporting on biological weapons was not the only error that Western intelligence encountered in trying to assess the state of Iraq’s capabilities. Analysts also misinterpreted the intelligence that was being reported on Saddam’s chemical weapons programmes. The analysts misled themselves, not, in that case, through

being subject to deliberate deception, but through a series of individual and collective cognitive errors. Burned by the experience of having been deceived by Saddam over the extent of his WMD capabilities, as uncovered by UN inspectors after the first Gulf War, analysts started with the strong presumption that he was playing the same game in 2002. They felt able to dismiss contrary indications that Iraq might not actively be pursuing its prohibited programmes by chalking these indicators up to Iraq’s well-known denial and deception efforts. That outlook, that Saddam must be hiding prohibited materials not surrendered after the first Gulf War in 1991, was shared across all Western intelligence agencies.

Such was the strength of this pre-war ‘group think’ that when eventually UN inspectors returned to Iraq in 2003, the US and UK analysts were slow to admit openly to their bosses and to each other any secret thoughts they might have been harbouring that the reason the inspectors were not finding the predicted stocks of BW and CW weapons and material was because they no longer existed inside Iraq.

In hindsight, a key lesson was the failure to distinguish by the Bush and Blair governments between those parts of the intelligence assessments that were based on hard evidence (such as on Saddam’s prohibited missile-testing capabilities) and those that rested on extrapolations and assumptions made by the analysts confident they already knew the answer. As Colin Powell lectured CIA analysts after the war, in future he wanted them to ‘Tell me what you know. Tell me what you don’t know. And tell me what you think’, to which a highly experienced analyst added: ‘And make clear

which is which.’3

Another conclusion that is evident is that once suspicion has taken hold it breeds yet more suspicion. Saddam Hussein found this out in 2002 as he tried to persuade the West that he no longer retained the chemical and biological weapons capability that he had used against Iran and against his own people, and that he had gone to such lengths previously to conceal. His assurances to the West that work on those programmes had stopped, while failing to comply with the UN’s demands for full accounting of his past capability, were not surprisingly disbelieved. As the CIA’s Director, George Tenet, wrote in his memoirs: ‘Before the war, we didn’t understand that he

was bluffing, and he did not understand that we were not.’4

The need to check our reasoning

The errors in the intelligence assessments over Iraq were not the result of conscious politicization of intelligence by the analysts to please their customers. They resulted from the great capacity of the mind for self-deception and magical thinking, believing we are seeing what deep down at an emotional level we want to see. It is then natural to find reasons to rationalize that belief.

One of the advantages of using the four-part SEES model, as discussed in the chapters of Part I, is that it makes it easier to spot at each level the cognitive biases that lead us to see what we want to see. We met this phenomenon in Chapter 1 with the example of how British Second World War deception efforts fooled the German High Command by feeding them information that they wanted to believe. We saw a different form of cognitive bias in Chapter 2 when policymakers anxious not to get involved militarily resisted seeing the developing Bosnian conflict as potential genocide. In Chapter 3 we identified the cognitive problem of mirror-imaging on the part of Western analysts failing to forecast how the communist regime in Moscow would react to the reform movement in Czechoslovakia in 1968. In Chapter 4 we had the example of the head of Israeli military intelligence convincing himself he had a way of providing strategic notice of Egyptian readiness to consider an attack on Israel, an error in imagination that was almost literally fatal for the state of Israel.

The vulnerability of analysts to cognitive biases was systematically examined in the 1970s and 1980s by Richards ‘Dick’ Heuer, a long-term CIA intelligence officer with forty-five years of experience to call on. In his major work, The Psychology of Intelligence Analysis, Heuer warned that prior knowledge of the prevalence of individual cognitive biases does not

seem to stop people falling under their spell.5 He argued that there have therefore to be systematic checks introduced to manage the risks they pose. After high-level inquiries into the evident intelligence failure to warn before the 1973 Yom Kippur war, the Israeli government set up a standing ‘devil’s advocate’ group within military intelligence, staffed by the best analysts, with direct access when required to the Prime Minister and a remit to adopt a contrarian approach and to be expected to challenge the prevailing

orthodoxy.6 The motto of the group is ‘Ipcha Mistabra’, in Aramaic, translatable as ‘The opposite is most likely’ or ‘On the contrary …’

The good news is that there is a great deal of experimental psychological research available, as well as much practical experience from government and business, about the many cognitive traps and illusions that can ensnare us whether at the level of the individual, of the work group or of the institution:

Individual. Cognitive and emotional biases affect us as individuals. That is part of the human condition. These biases are usually not evident to us at the time, but a good supervisor or colleague will probably become aware of them if sensitized to what to look out for. Understandably, it may not be easy for us to acknowledge how our reasoning may have been influenced without our being consciously aware.

Group. Groups can develop their own distinctive dynamics, the equivalent of a collective personality that is more than just the sum of those of each of us in the group. Members of a group both consciously and unconsciously exercise a reciprocal influence on each other, such as a pressure for conformity or a desire for closure. The existence of such distinctive group behaviours has been established in many

therapeutic settings by psychologists and psychoanalysts7 – for example, in relation to hostile feelings towards the ‘outgroup’, i.e. those who are not members of the group.

Institutional. Internal processes, rules, hierarchies and power structures can unconsciously influence the judgements and decisions reached by an analytic group, just as they can affect the institution’s interaction with its stakeholders or the public. Dynamics at the level of the organization arise from the way that those within have internalized its culture, history and structure. There may be complicated psychic relationships between the different groups of people within the organization, such as between intelligence analysts and policymakers, or generalists and specialists, or civilians and uniformed services. There may also be important dynamics generated by the way the institution interacts with other organizations, such as the inevitable differences of perspective between law enforcement and intelligence agencies working on understanding the same threat. These influences are hard to pin down for those who are thoroughly accustomed to living within the organization’s culture. Critics of the impact of

institutional dynamics tend to be dismissed with ‘that is just the way things are done round here’.

Under each of these three headings we can now identify the most significant cognitive biases to watch out for when engaged in significant reasoning.

Cognitive biases and influences on the individual

Psychologists have replicated in experiments under a range of different conditions the existence of specific cognitive biases in individual subjects

carrying out perceptual and other mental tasks.8 Some have entered into everyday speech, with labels such as cognitive dissonance, whereby the mind finds it hard to hold at the same time the favoured story and the contrary evidence that it might not be true. Such mental tension on the part of the intelligence analysts is liable to be transferred to the national security policymakers and operational commanders who can also fall victim to

cognitive dissonance.9 And we are all liable to have to wrestle with inconsistent beliefs, often suffering stress as a result.

In a study for the UK JIC in 1980 a seasoned intelligence professional, Doug Nicoll (who had worked during the Second World War on German Army and Air Force Enigma in Hut 6 at Bletchley Park and risen to be Deputy Director of its successor organization, GCHQ), concluded that even the most experienced analyst (and we can generalize this to all of us when we are faced with problems to solve) has cognitive blind spots, especially when faced with incomplete or ambiguous information. Nicoll identified six specific biases that he held responsible for why Western governments had

too often been caught out when faced by foreign aggression.10 Mirror-imaging. This is the trap to be wary of on a first date: the

presumption that your prospective partner is bound to feel the same way as you do about what makes for an exciting evening out. Nicoll identified the unconscious tendency to assume that factors which would weigh heavily in the United Kingdom would be equally serious constraints on countries ruled by one-party governments or under the control of a single leader. Analysts had, for example, too readily assumed that the weight of international opinion was a factor that would affect the formation of policy in autocracies

to the same extent as it did in the democracies. Nicoll observed that public servants brought up in the post-war liberal democracies ‘found it difficult to believe that the potential aggressor would indeed find the use of force

politically acceptable’.11 Margaret Thatcher at the time also did not disguise her belief that there was an inbuilt tendency for diplomats to over-emphasize the role of peaceful negotiation in solving international problems. She once cruelly said on television when discussing the Foreign Office: ‘When I am out of politics, I’m going to run a business called


Transferred judgement. This is the implicit assumption that others will think about and assess situations as you do. A mistake often made in showrooms, where you can too easily assume that the salesperson is thinking about the merits of the product on display in the same terms as you are and therefore has your interests at heart. Like mirror-imaging, this bias comes from an inability to put oneself inside the mind of the other. It can reflect unconscious cultural or racial stereotyping, as with the Vietnam War assessments by US logistics officers that it would not be possible for the North Vietnamese to bring sufficient supplies down the Ho Chi Minh jungle trail to sustain major offensives in the South, given US bombing. Earlier in Indo-China, French staff officers could not believe it would be possible for the Viet Minh to bring artillery to bear from the hills surrounding the isolated French base of Dien Bien Phu since that was not a feat they would have attempted. General Giáp calculated differently and in 1954 inflicted a humiliating defeat on the French forces, precipitating their withdrawal from Indo-China. After the war, Giáp concluded that French defeat had stemmed fundamentally from a failure by their commander, General Navarre, to understand the mind of his adversary: he had not realized that it was a

people’s war.13 Perhaps the lesson we need to learn is two-fold: ‘It is true we should avoid ethnocentrism, the idea that folks are all like us. But that doesn’t mean we should indulge in condescending exoticism, the notion that we are strategic, modern and political whereas they, our benighted

enemies, are visceral and primitive.’14

Perseveration. Nicoll saw that even with mounting evidence to the contrary analysts tended to stick with their original interpretation. In personal relationships this can be the questionable virtue of sticking by someone even when new evidence shows they are behaving as a heel. We remember their good qualities that first endeared them to us. The JIC in a

developing crisis tended to make up its mind early and was resistant to changing it, downplaying any last-minute signals of the enemy’s true intentions. Nicoll called this perseveration, from the psychological phenomenon whereby data (such as telephone numbers) if learned incorrectly the first time are more difficult subsequently to learn correctly. The medical profession also uses the term perseveration to describe an involuntary repetition of words or other acts long after the relevant stimulus has ceased. The bias affects policymakers too: even in the face of evidence that the policy is not working they will keep repeating the positive messages that led them to adopt it in the first place.

Perseveration can also be thought of as a special case of what psychologists would call choice-supportive bias. That is the tendency of the individual, after coming to a judgement from a choice of alternatives, to remember the positive features of their chosen hypothesis and to forget the negative indicators. We remember the best times with those who have been our friends over a long period of years. Without realizing it the analysts will end up skewing future assessments through having those features uppermost in their mind. That such an effect is shown in psychological experiments should be unsurprising. When a choice is made in good faith it is because the individual genuinely believed at the time that it was the right choice. As a result, it is the reasons that led to that choice that are more likely to stick in the memory and to come to the surface later since they help minimize any lingering feelings of doubt. As a general lesson it is unsurprising that most of us prefer to avoid the pain of regret at the choices we have made.

War as a deliberate act. Nicoll showed from his case studies that armed aggression is usually a deliberate act planned in advance and, he concluded, would very rarely be the result of response to some accidental crisis or by opportunistic chance. The JIC failure to forecast that Saddam Hussein in 1991 would invade Kuwait is an example. Saddam wanted to annul Iraq’s substantial debts to Kuwait for financial support during the earlier Iran–Iraq War. Starting a war deliberately for such a reason did not seem credible to the Western analysts (mirror-imaging), especially given that there was Arab League mediation in progress and diplomatic optimism that a settlement could be reached. This would similarly be the case for our natural reluctance to believe that a friend might deliberately betray our confidences for their own advantage.

Limited information. Nicoll had plenty of experience over his long intelligence career of the difficulty of assessing what might happen next in circumstances where there was very little secret intelligence to illuminate the situation. The cases he examined were all ones where the JIC had been surprised by the outcome. These tended to involve countries and regions in which the priority for intelligence collection had been low precisely because aggression was not expected. This is a vicious circle we can all experience: failure to have strategic notice of trouble ahead means a lower priority for our attention, so the information we need to warn us is less likely to be spotted when it is needed and therefore the risk of unwelcome surprises is greater.

Deliberate deception. Several of Nicoll’s case studies featured deliberate deception and he advised analysts always to look for attempts at deception by the potential aggressor, and sometimes by the victim trying to exaggerate their military strength to discourage an attack. These might be simple measures such as portraying troop movements as an exercise or very complex multi-dimensional deception programmes. A nation committing itself to military operations will almost certainly do everything in its power to preserve tactical surprise as to the time and place of operations through deception, even when as with D-Day in 1944 there could be no strategic

surprise over the intention to open the second front in Europe.15 The Soviet Union had already successfully used deception in battles such as Stalingrad, and its belief in the power of deception must have been reinforced by the success of the D-Day landings. The teaching of deception (maskirovka) became an important part of the syllabus of the Soviet military staff college (the Frunze military academy) and for training intelligence officers of the GRU and KGB. Detecting deception is so important in analysis (and today for all of us in spotting ‘fake news’ and deceptive propaganda) that Chapter 7 is devoted to the topic.

The Nicoll Report was discussed by the JIC at its meeting on 4 March 1982, and within a few weeks a copy of the report had been sent to the Prime Minister, with assurances from the JIC that the Committee considered itself alert to the lessons to be learned. As often is the case, history cruelly intervened. Just a few days later, the Argentine military Junta authorized the invasion of the Falkland Islands, and caught the UK by surprise. The UK had again fallen into the same traps as Nicoll had identified.

Doug Nicoll concluded with lessons in the need for care in the use of language in describing intelligence judgements (something much later that

Lord Butler in his post-Iraq 2004 WMD inquiry found still wanting16 ). Nicoll emphasized the importance of policymakers understanding the meaning of phrases such as ‘no evidence’. To take a contemporary example, an intelligence assessment today might state (as is very probably the case) that there is currently no evidence of terrorists within the UK having access to a surface-to-air missile with which a civilian airliner might be shot down. Such a statement does not mean that the intelligence community intends to convey a reassuring message that the risk of that happening over the next few years can be ignored (and so measures to detect such weapons being smuggled into the country are not needed) but only that at the moment there is no evidence of this having happened. A general lesson worth bearing in mind is that the answer you get depends upon the question you asked.

Group behaviours

Problems of bias also arise as a consequence of group dynamics. We have all heard of group think in which the desire for harmony or conformity within a group leads to judgements being nodded through without proper scrutiny. Most people want to feel they are valued members of a group and fear losing the respect and approbation of colleagues. When an individual group member has an insufficient sense of self-worth or of status within the group, then the individual may play to the group gallery and suppress private doubts. There are many examples of such feelings having inhibited dissenting voices. Resistance to an argument is often the result of a state of cognitive dissonance in which excuses are readily found for not accepting new relevant information that would conflict with a state of belief to which

the group or individual is emotionally committed.17 The harder it may have been to reach the original conclusion the more the individual group or individual analyst is likely to be invested in the result and thus to resist unconsciously the discomfort of having to hold in the mind a contrary view.

There is for most of us an inclination to be more likely to believe opinions if we know many other people do. This is called the bandwagon effect, the tendency that encourages the individual to conform to consensus. In group discussions it helps to have one or more contrarians, those who by

inclination like swimming against the tide and thus help surface all the relevant arguments. That effect can, when necessary, be contrived by the leader of the group choosing an individual to be the devil’s advocate with acknowledged licence to take contrary positions regardless of hierarchy. Or the whole group can indulge in red teaming to explore the problem from the adversary’s point of view. A different group (Team B) could be asked independently to examine the material seen by the first group (Team A) and come to their own conclusions on the same evidence. There is a danger of politicization here. If the customer for some piece of analysis does not like the outcome, they may call for another analytic group to be set up and invited to examine the evidence independently. If, for example, the conclusions of the original analysis were seen as too cautious, then it is likely that the members of the new group will be chosen for their boldness.

The leader of an analytic group can make a huge difference to its work especially by setting reasonable expectations and insisting at the outset upon the standards of debate and argument to which members must conform, and ensuring that the group too becomes self-aware of its own thinking processes. Being open about the risk of bias within a group is the best antidote to cognitive failures. Poor group leaders are, however, liable to become the focus for negative feelings if the task of the group is not going well.

In the conduct of an analytic group, the leader has to insist that all possible explanations are explored. There is a known psychological tendency (called the ambiguity effect) to skip over possible hypotheses for which there is little or no direct reporting, and thus seem unjudgeable, and unknowingly to spend the time discussing hypotheses for which there is evidence. A rush to early judgement can be avoided by insisting upon working systematically through the evidence using structured analytic techniques, as already described in Chapter 2. But there will come a point in a prolonged debate in which the strong urge for the psychological relief of closure will come upon the group. In such circumstances taking time out to have a breather, to let interpersonal tensions relax and minds refocus, is usually a good idea, or even suggesting the group sleep on the issues and return the next morning to check whether they have had any second thoughts.

As the 2005 Robb–Silberman US Senate Inquiry into the intelligence misjudgements over Iraq concluded:

We do not fault the Intelligence Community for formulating the hypothesis, based on Saddam Hussein’s conduct, that Iraq had retained an unconventional weapons capability and was working to augment this capability. Nor do we fault the Intelligence Community for failing to uncover what few Iraqis knew; according to the Iraq Survey Group only a handful of Saddam Hussein’s closest advisors were aware of some of his decisions to halt work on his nuclear program and to destroy his stocks of chemical and biological weapons. Even if an extraordinary intelligence effort had gained access to one of these confidants, doubts would have lingered.

But with all that said, we conclude that the Intelligence Community could and should have come much closer to assessing the true state of Iraq’s weapons programs than it did. It should have been less wrong – and, more importantly, it should have been more candid about what it did not know. In particular, it should have recognized the serious – and knowable – weaknesses in the evidence it accepted as providing hard confirmation that Iraq had retained

WMD capabilities and programs …18

Another way of describing this general lesson about being less wrong is to highlight the need to take time out to double-check the thinking. But it is also likely that the more important the issue the more urgent will be the calls for information. It will take conscious and deliberate effort, and courage, of the group leader to insist upon going back over all the workings to check the reasoning and weight of evidence.

Institutional dynamics

Institutions have their own distinctive cultures, in which corporate behaviours considered correct get passed on from generation to generation. That can be a great strength in adversity but can also lead to a bias when it comes to interpreting the world. Institutions also exhibit personality traits and suffer from time to time the equivalent of nervous breakdowns or exhibit paranoia towards other organizations. National intelligence and law enforcement agencies around the world, for example, are notorious for

feuding between themselves and refusing to share information on their cases. In the case of Curveball that opened this chapter, after questions about Curveball’s credibility had begun to emerge, a CIA operational officer in February 2003 sent a message to Pentagon officials expressing concern that Curveball had not been vetted. The next day the Pentagon official who received that message forwarded it by electronic mail to a subordinate, requesting input to answer the CIA’s query, saying that he was ‘shocked’ by the CIA’s suggestion that Curveball might be unreliable. The reply (which was inadvertently sent to the CIA) observed that ‘CIA is up to their old tricks’ and that the CIA did not ‘have a clue’ about the process by which Curveball’s information was passed from the BND. That is an example of longstanding bureaucratic rivalry in action, resulting in the rationalizing away of awkward information.

There are inevitable cultural differences between domestic and external services, and between essentially human and technical services, and again between predominantly military and civilian organizations, and finally between those security organizations with law enforcement powers and functions and those that are primarily covert intelligence gatherers. Each of these distinctions – and the secrecy and danger that surround their work – can generate tensions, not least reflecting the sometimes very different personality types of the people they employ. These are the tribes that have to come together in analytic groups to draft all source intelligence assessments. Understanding the indirect influences that their institutions exert on their members is important knowledge for the leader of an analytic group.

Cognitive biases in everyday life

The individual, group and institutional biases that Nicoll identified for his case studies of intelligence failures can be seen as special cases of more general cognitive biases that we can see in business and everyday life. These biases are very common in political debate, as they are in intelligence analysis. The advent of social media with applications such as Twitter has, as we will discuss in Chapter 10, opened the way to deliberate exploitation of confirmation bias to sell political ideas and products alike.

A lesson that the founder of scientific intelligence in the Second World War, Professor R. V. Jones, highlighted (he called it Crow’s law) was do not

believe what you want to believe until you know what you need to know.19 Those who subconsciously need the reassurance of confirmation would be already expecting intelligence to confirm their view (this common bias is known as the observer-expectancy effect).

Another example is what is called inattentional blindness. Looking is not the same as seeing. A related problem (known as the focusing effect) is that you can end up so focused on a task that you fail to spot what is going on around you. If you are not one of the 20 million who have already watched the YouTube video asking the viewer to count the fast passes between a

team of basketball players I invite you to try it.20 Given that tricky task of counting basketball passes, the first time most people see the video they fail to take note of the person dressed in a gorilla costume slowly walking across the court. A helicopter view of the basketball court would certainly reveal what a close focus on the passes being made by individual players will miss, that there is something beyond the immediate game going on.

In a comparable way close focus on what we already know can be at the expense of recognizing new information. This is a phenomenon known as attentional bias. Experimental evidence shows it affects particularly individuals who are in a state of anxiety in relation to material that is seen as threatening, or those suffering from depression likewise who may have their focus unconsciously drawn to examples of negativity. What you fear most will grab your attention.

Psychological experiments also show the tendency for an item that appears to be in some way exceptional to be more likely to stick in the memory. We are liable to register and retain in our memory news of plane crashes as dramatic events but not to take in the implications of the tens of millions of miles flown without an accident. We should not therefore be surprised that there is nervousness about flying. The tendency is known today as the Von Restorff effect after the pre-war German child psychologist who first demonstrated it systematically. It is easy to show by giving someone a varied list of names or items to remember. If some of these are readily distinguished from others then those will be the ones most likely to

be recalled to memory.21 The most striking intelligence material is liable to make more of an impact than its meaning may deserve. A case in point was the intelligence report received just before the war in Iraq which indicated

that chemical munitions could be with military units and ready for firing within 20–45 minutes. This report was in itself unexceptional as a reference to the previous Iraqi battlefield capability, but after it was mentioned in the published British government dossier, the headline in the Sun newspaper was ‘Brits 45 mins from doom’ and in the Star ‘Mad Saddam ready to

attack: 45 minutes from a chemical war’.22 It is those memorable reports that are likely to feature in discussion between intelligence chiefs and their ministerial masters, and between ministers and the media.

Managing the risk of cognitive bias

This chapter has been about the cognitive biases that can get in the way of our everyday thinking. We can all understand that they exist and why we might be susceptible to them. But managing the risk that they represent is much harder. That should not surprise us as most of the biases identified in this chapter operate at the unconscious level of the mind, and by definition are therefore not usually accessible to us. Having a developed academic understanding of them from reading textbooks is no guarantee that we will not still be susceptible to them. As the report of a 1977 CIA seminar on bias in intelligence analysis concluded: ‘Personal biases are the most

troublesome. They are frequently unique and hard to detect.’23

The best antidote to cognitive biases such as group think is for the group to discuss openly the danger such biases represent. A good group leader can encourage challenge from within the group, and pose the question: Are we falling into group think here? (Which will normally elicit laughter and lighten any tension there may be over reaching a conclusion.) A process of self-recognition of common cognitive biases can be developed whereby individuals develop first an intellectual understanding of these phenomena (and a historical feel for how they matter) and then through working with others, preferably with a trained facilitator, come to an understanding that they too might be subject to them and how they might recognize when that is happening. But resistance is to be expected when others suggest that we have fallen into one of these errors. What is most important in my experience in managing the risk to the SEES process is to have a ‘safe space’ where the dangers of bias can be discussed as a matter of professionalism without arousing a defensive feeling on the part of the

participants that they are being expected to admit to personal weaknesses.

We all suffer from cognitive biases.

Conclusions: mastering our internal demons of bias and prejudice

It is our own demons that are most likely to mislead our reasoning. In this chapter we examined vulnerability to our cognitive biases and prejudices and how they prevent us thinking straight. If we want to learn to think correctly we should:

Accept that completely objective analysis is impossible since we are human, and have to interpret reality for ourselves. But we can try to be as independent, honest and neutral in our analytic judgements as we can.

What you see or hear, or fail to see or hear, reflects your state of mind and degree of attention.

Try to make explicit implicit biases and prejudices, identifying the assumptions we are making in our reasoning.

Recognize that cognitive errors arise at the individual, group and institutional levels and that they may come together in the pressures on the individual from ‘group think’.

Do not believe what you want to believe until you know what you need to know. Remember that the answer you get is likely to depend upon the question you asked.

Recognize the sign of displacement activity that goes with mental stress and how cognitive dissonance increases resistance to taking in new information.

Beware transferred judgements and mirror-imaging in imputing motives to others.

Keep an open mind and be prepared to change it on Bayesian principles when new evidence arrives.


North Korea cables reveal East Germany′s deep-rooted suspicion of Kim  regime | In Depth | DW | 08.02.2018

May 31, 1984
Memorandum of Conversation between Erich Honecker and Kim Il Sung

E. Honecker used the meeting to address some issues that could not be addressed in greater detail during the official talks on 30 May 1984 due to time constraints.

He stated that the GDR is currently preoccupied with its 35th anniversary. The Party, which has 2.2 million members, is making thorough preparations for the 35th anniversary. The centerpiece is the ideological work, which has led to intense talks with practically every citizen of the GDR.

He said that, as Kim Il Sung could see for himself, the Party is bound to the masses, and there is a good trusting relationship between the Party and the masses. The alliance policy is very important, that is, cooperation with allied Parties, the role of organizations of the masses such as the Confederation of Free German Trade Unions, with 9 million members, the Free German Youth, with 2.3 million members, and the whole range of other organizations of the masses.

He said that the election results of 6 May 1984 could be considered the best in the history of the GDR, both in terms of the election itself and in terms of voter turnout, and attests to the successful policies of the Party and government in carrying out the resolutions of the X Party Congress.

He stated that the Socialist competition in honor of the 35th Anniversary of the GDR is very important. The workers have established as their goal for this to increase productivity by one percent above what is planned. Given the results thus far it can be expected that they will surpass this goal in the competition. Thus net industrial production in the first 5 months of 1984 increased by 7.9 percent. Productivity in the field of industrial ministries increased by 7 percent during the same period. This demonstrates the excellent initiative of the citizens of [line cut off].

He stated that the fact that 6 million citizens received new apartments between 1971 and 1983 alone was very positive for consolidating trust between the Party and the masses. Now the goal is to improve the residential conditions of an additional 4.3 million citizens between 1984 and 1990. Then the issue of apartments in the GDR as a social problem would be resolved in 1990. In addition, there are a number of other measures in the realm of social policy, e.g., the recent resolutions on improving material conditions for families with more than 3 children and the third increase in minimum pensions since 1971.

E. Honecker detailed the activities of organizations of the masses such as the Confederation of Free German Trade Unions, the Free German Youth, the Association of Gardeners and Animal Breeders, the reinvigorated Association for Mutual Farmers Assistance, the scientific institutes of the GDR, the academies and schools of higher education, the development of the general polytechnical school, the activities of artists unions, and much more.

All of this, he said, is going on in our country under conditions that are open to the world, as he had already expressed in 1977, that is, under the immediate observation of the Western adversary’s electronic media. Naturally there are a few people who listen to these broadcasters and their daily lies, but it should not be overlooked that the vast majority of citizens of the GDR, one could even say, the people, stand fast and unalterably with the Party and government, with their republic.

E. Honecker then asked Kim Il Sung his assessment of the situation in China and of the current leadership of the Communist Party of China based on his own experience. For the USSR and also for the GDR and other socialist countries that do not have Party relations with China, China is a country about whose future course there are still many unresolved questions, for instance, as a result of the Reagan visit.

Kim Il Sung responded as follows. When Hu Yaobang visited our country in May, I also told him about my upcoming trip to the Soviet Union and the other Socialist countries. He welcomed it. I had not known Hu Yaobang before this. On the other hand, I have been friends with Deng Xiaoping for a long time. As you know, he was exiled three times during the Cultural Revolution. Deng Xiaoping paid me an unofficial visit for my 70th birthday in April 1982 to introduce Hu Yaobang to me as the new Secretary General of the Communist Party of China. He made a good impression on me from the beginning.

Hu Yaobang told me that he wants to improve governmental relations with the Soviet Union. He asked me to convey this to the leadership of the Soviet Union. Hu Yaobang assured me many times during our lengthy discussion that China is truly interested in improving relations with the Soviet Union. He confirmed this to me again this year. The leadership of the Communist Party of China is of one mind on this issue. He asked me to convey my thoughts on this to our Soviet comrades.

During his visit to the DPRK, he received news that Comrade Arkhipov’s planned visit to the People’s Republic of China would be pushed back. Comrade Hu Yaobang told me that he had very much been looking forward to this visit. Our Chinese comrades also think highly of Comrade Arkhipov. He used to be an economic advisor in China. Comrade Hu Yaobang said that he very much regretted that Comrade Arkhipov’s trip would be pushed back.

I told Comrade Chernenko about this during my meetings with him. I told our Soviet comrades my thoughts both in a personal meeting with Comrade Chernenko and in official negotiations — that the Chinese really want to improve relations with the Soviet Union. The Chinese do not want war. Overcoming the consequences of the Cultural Revolution in the economy and in the standard of living of the population requires a lot of time and effort. All resources must be devoted to this. The Chinese are not developing relations with the US and Japan with the goal of working against another country.

Given the complex world situation, I hope that the Soviet Union and China work things out. I believe that the development of relations with the US is not targeted against the Soviet Union. Mao Zedong and Zhou Enlai already told me that when they established relations with the US. They told us every time they met with Japan and the US. The only objective of these relations is to obtain developed technology and credit from Japan and the US. Deng Xiaoping is said to have stated in the US that the arms build-up in the US is good for peace. I don’t know if that’s so. This is the first time I have heard of Deng Xiaoping expressing a sentiment like that.

It is a fact that the Chinese have improved governmental relations with the Soviet Union and other socialist countries. The number of delegations exchanged has grown, as well. All of this can help to reduce the mistrust between the Soviet Union and China. Naturally, I was not able to tell Comrade Chernenko that I think it is a mistake to push back Comrade Arkhipov’s visit to China. I just told him that the Chinese regret it. The Presidium of the Central Committee of the Com-munist Party of China has 5 members. Two of them—Wu Xueqian and Li Xiannian— used to be friends with Comrade Arkhipov. Today they are both powerful. Comrade Arkhipov could build trust in meetings with these two men.

Hu Yaobang told me the following: We sent the Deputy Prime Minister to Comrade Andropov’s funeral. During the welcoming meeting, his escort told him that he could meet with anyone he wanted. As is customary with East Asians, he said that he would accommodate himself to whatever his host had arranged. Our Soviet comrades did not understand this correctly. There were meetings with just anyone. Only the Foreign Minister attended Brezhnev’s burial. They were sending a message to the Soviet Union by sending the deputy prime minister. But this was not understood.

Kim Il Sung said that he believed that all socialist nations should work toward creating trust between the Soviet Union and China. No new mistrust must be permitted to arise. I have told our Soviet comrades that I believe that the goal of our Chinese comrades is to put Socialism in China in order. They don’t want a conflict. I think it is important that China wants to open the gate to socialist nations in the interest of socialist modernization. We should not oppose that. Why should we leave the important Chinese market to the capitalists?

The old generation of leadership in China is dying out. We should show the new generation an opening. If we leave China to the capitalists, there is the risk that China will become a quasi-colony again. We should not close the door in China’s face.

Because of our position—the length of our border with China, confrontation with the US and Japan—what we are most afraid of is that China will not stick with socialism. There are 1 billion people in China. We have to make sure that they follow the socialist path rather than some other path. We have to focus on drawing them toward us. In the past there were major anti-Soviet campaigns in China. This is not the case anymore. During the Cultural Revolution there were major propaganda actions against us on the Yalu. There were provocations in North Korea at the time of the Chinese/Soviet conflicts on the Ussuri in 1969. While I was recuperating in the country, I received a call from our Minister of State Security that Chinese troops were crossing the Tumen [River] onto our territory. I gave the order not to shoot, but to let them come ahead so that we could take them on our territory, if necessary. We sent a group of soldiers there. Then the Chinese withdrew. The Chinese have castigated the Soviet Union and even us as revisionists. It lasted about 5 years in our case, and we had to keep our peace because of our situation. We had to be patient.

China has new leadership now. They don’t want any conflict with the Soviet Union. They want peaceful co-existence with the US, Japan, India, and even the Soviet Union. There are still no Party relations between the Soviet Union and China. We should all try to use our governmental relations to create an atmosphere that promotes the restoration of Party relations, even between the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Communist Party of China. I ask that you, Comrade Honecker, recommend to our Soviet comrades that they send Comrade Arkhipov to China and furthermore that they begin exchanging delegations. I am convinced that China would never put herself on the side of the US against the Soviet Union. All socialist countries should develop economic ties to China, and should even invest in China. The Chinese wanted to speak to Comrade Arkhipov about opportunities to cooperate in modernizing the numerous plants built by the Soviet Union. I told Hu Yaobang that I would ask the Soviet Union about building a nuclear power plant. Hu Yaobang welcomed this, because it would be better than purchasing one from a capitalist country.

Regarding the incidents on the Chinese/Vietnamese border that you mentioned, which you do not approve of, which you regret, I have only the Chinese press accounts to go by. I know nothing of what actually happened. I consider it very regrettable, because these incidents help neither the Vietnamese nor the Chinese. They do damage to our common tasks, above all bringing the Chinese closer to us. All socialist countries should urge the two great powers to hold out their hands to one another.

Hu Yaobang has gathered a lot of new people around him. Hu Qili, who in the past was with the World Federation of Democratic Youth—he knows many people from the past, including you, Comrade Honecker. The current Foreign Minister was also involved in the youth organization in the past. There are many other people around Hu Yaobang who used to work in the youth organization. Hu Yaobang himself is still very healthy; he is smart, his theoretical knowledge is good, and he has also made a thorough study of Marxism. Deng Xiaoping works more from behind the scene, but he also believes that they have to develop relations with the Soviet Union. He is the only one of the old functionaries who is still there. I am his friend. In the past the Chinese castigated the Soviet Union as social imperialists. They don’t do that any more.

I met Comrade Chernenko for the first time [line cut off]

… I knew him well. He has been to Korea three times. He sent me a personal letter immediately after he was elected. I promised him that I would come to the Soviet Union quickly so that I could travel to the GDR immediately afterwards. But that had to be postponed due to Comrade Andropov’s illness. Since I have just gotten to known Comrade Chernenko, I did not know how far I could go with him during our talks. I ask you, Comrade Honecker, to discuss all of these issues with him when you meet. How good it would be for all of us if the Soviet Union and China would reconcile. Japanese journalists have frequently asked my opinion on Sino-Soviet relations. I always said that they are both socialist countries and they therefore belong together. Both the Soviet Union and China are our comrades-in-arms.

To E. Honecker’s inquiry about the nature of the group of Koreans living in Japan, Kim Il Sung stated that this was a group formed by the DPRK. We support relations between this group and socialist countries, including the GDR.

Hu Yaobang, Kim Il Sung continued, had me briefed in great detail on his trip to Japan. I support normalization of relations between China and Japan. There are those in Japan who aspire to reviving militarism and the alliance with the US. But Japan in general can have no interest in re-militarization for economic reasons. All of Japan’s mass organizations oppose militarization. Much depends on which people are in power. I asked Hu Yaobang about his talks with Nakasone. He told me that Nakasone said that Japan will not become cannon fodder for the Americans. It can’t dissociate itself from the US, but does not want to become a lackey of the US. We should all think about that. For the future it could be important whether Nakasone remains prime minister or whether Abe becomes prime minister. In China the Chinese have been courting Abe because they think he would be the better choice. We have to work with the Japanese in a way that ensures that militarism does not recur. I sometimes make harsh statements against Japanese militarism, but we have to work with them anyway. Above all we oppose the US/Japan/South Korea trilateral military alliance. The Japanese have promised the Chinese $2 billion in credit. This is good for the Chinese economy.

I would like to address the socialist market, but today we have no more time.

David Omand – How Spies Think – 10 Lessons in Intelligence – Part 6


Lesson 4: Strategic notice We do not have to be so surprised by surprise

Early in the blustery spring morning of 14 April 2010 an Icelandic volcano with a near unpronounceable name (Eyjafjallajökull) exploded, throwing a cloud of fine ash high into the sky. The debris was quickly swept south-east by the regular jet stream of wind across the Atlantic until the skies above Northern Europe were filled with ash. Deep under the Icelandic ice-sheet melt water from the heat of the magma had flowed into the site of the eruption, rapidly cooling the lava and causing the debris to be rich in corrosive glass particles. These are known to pose a potential hazard if ingested by aircraft jet engines. The next day alarmed air traffic authorities decided they had to play it safe since no one had prescribed in advance specific particle sizes and levels below which engines were considered not to be at risk and thus safe to fly. They closed airspace over Europe and grounded all civil aviation in the biggest shut-down since the Second World


Yet there had been warning that such an extreme event might one day occur, an example of strategic notice that is the fourth component of the SEES model of intelligence analysis. The government authorities in Iceland had been asking airlines for years to determine the density and type of ash that is safe for jet engines to fly through. Had the tests been carried out, the 2010 disruption would have been much less. There would still have been no immediate forewarning of the volcano about to explode, but sensible preparations would have been in place for when it did.

The lesson is that we need sufficiently early notice of future developments that might pose potential danger to us (or might offer us opportunities) to be prepared to take precautionary measures just in case. Strategic notice enables us to anticipate. Governments had strategic noticeof possible coronavirus pandemics – the COVID-19 outbreak should not have caught us unprepared.

There is an important difference between having strategic warning of the existence of a future risk, and a prediction of when such a risk might materialize. Scientists cannot tell us exactly when a specific volcano will erupt (or when a viral disease will mutate from animals to humans). But there can be warning signs. Based on historical data, some sense of scale of frequency of eruption can be given. In the Icelandic case it was to be expected that some such volcanic activity would occur within the next fifty years. But before the volcanic events of April 2010, aviation authorities and aircraft engine manufacturers had not recognized that they needed to

prepare. Instead they had implicitly accepted the precautionary principle2 that if any measurable volcanic ash appeared in the atmosphere they would issue an advisory notice that all planes should be grounded even at the cost of considerable disruption to passengers.

The airlines had known of the baseline precaution that would be taken of grounding planes in the event of volcanic ash appearing in the atmosphere, but they had not thought in advance how such a major global dislocation would be handled. After the April 2010 closure of European airspace, the effects rapidly cascaded around the world. Planes were diverted on safety grounds to countries for which the passengers did not have visas, and could not leave the airport to get to hotels. Coming at the end of the Easter holidays, school parties were unable to return for the start of the term. Nobody had considered if stranded passengers should have priority over new passengers for booking on flights when they restarted. For millions of people the result was misery, camping in airports until finally aviation was allowed to resume just over a week later. At the same time, test flights were rapidly organized by the aero engine manufacturers. These provided data on which calibrated judgements could be made of when it is safe enough to fly through ash clouds. By the end of a week of chaos and confusion, 10 million passengers had been affected overall, with the aviation industry facing losses of over £1bn.

The same thing happened in the 1982 Falklands crisis. The British government was given strategic warning by the JIC that Argentine patience might run out, in which case the Junta could take matters into its own hands. That warning could have prompted the stationing of naval forces as a credible deterrent, while a permanent solution could have been created by extending the runway to handle long-distance transports and the stationing of fast jets (as has now been done). That would have been expensive. But the expense pales in comparison with the loss of over 1000 lives, not to mention an estimated price tag of over £3bn that was involved in recovering the Islands for the Crown once lost.

‘I just say it was the worst, I think, moment of my life’ was how Margaret Thatcher later described the surprise loss of the Falklands: yet she and her senior Cabinet members and the officials supporting them had not understood beforehand the dangers they were running. It was painful for me as a member of the Ministry of Defence to have to recognize later that we had all been so preoccupied by other problems, including managing defence expenditure, that we failed to pay sufficient attention to the vulnerability of the Falklands. We implicitly assumed (magical thinking) that the need would never arise. It was a salutary lesson learned early in my career and one that stayed with me.

Living with surprise

The fourth stage of the SEES method involves acquiring strategic notice of the important longer-term developments that could affect you. If you do not have these at the back of your mind, the chances are that you will not have prepared either mentally or physically for the possibility of their occurring. Nor will you be sufficiently alert to spot their first signs. We will experience what is known to intelligence officers as strategic surprise.

The distinction between having strategic and tactical surprise is an old one in military history. It is often hard for a general to conceal the strategy being followed. But when it comes to choosing tactically when and where to attack, a commander can obtain the advantages of surprise by, for example, picking a point in the enemy’s defences where at least initially he will have the advantage. In 1944 the Germans knew perfectly well that the Allies were preparing a major landing of US, British and Canadian troops

on the continent of Europe. That intent was no surprise since the strategy of opening a second front in Europe was well known. But the tactics that would be adopted, the date of the invasion, and exactly where and how the landings would be mounted were secrets carefully kept from the German High Command. Come 6 June 1944, the Allies landed in Normandy and enjoyed the immediate advantage of tactical surprise.

A tragic example of tactical surprise was the events of 7 July 2005, when terrorist suicide bombers with rucksack bombs struck at the London Underground network and surface transport during the morning rush hour. Fifty-two innocent passengers lost their lives and very many more suffered horrific injuries. The attacks came without intelligence warning and the shock across London and round the world was considerable. But they were not a strategic surprise to the authorities.

The likelihood of terrorist attacks in London in 2005 had been assessed by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre based in MI5 headquarters. Intelligence had indicated that supporters of Al Qaid’a living inside the UK had both the capability and intent to mount some form of domestic terror attack. The possibility that the London Underground system would be an attractive target to terrorist suicide bombers had been anticipated and plans drawn up and staff trained just in case. A full-scale live rehearsal of the response to a terrorist attack on the Underground, including emergency services and hospitals that would be receiving casualties, had been held in September 2003. Just as well, since many practical lessons were learned

that helped the response two years later.3 The same can be said for the experience of the pandemic exercise in 2016 for the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. Exercises can never fully capture the real thing but if events come as a strategic surprise the damage done will be far greater.

The same is true for all of us. We have, for example, plenty of strategic notice that our possessions are at risk of theft, which is why we should think about insurance. If we do get our mobile phone stolen we will certainly feel it as an unwelcome tactical surprise, but if insured we can console ourselves that however inconvenient it is not as bad as if it had been a strategic surprise as well.

Forestalling surprise

Intelligence communities have the duty of trying to forestall unwelcome surprises by spotting international developments that would spell real

trouble.4 In 1973 Israeli intelligence was carefully monitoring Egypt for evidence that President Sadat might be preparing to invade. Signs of mobilization were nevertheless discounted by the Israelis. That was because the Israeli Director of Military Intelligence, Major General Eli Veira, had convinced himself that he would have strategic notice of a coming war. He reasoned that without major new arms imports from Russia, and a military alliance with Syria, Egypt would be bound to lose. Since no such imports or alliance with Syria had been detected he was certain war was not coming. What he failed to spot was that President Sadat of Egypt also knew that and had no illusions about defeating Israel militarily. His plan was to launch a surprise attack to seize the Sinai Peninsula, call for a ceasefire and then to negotiate from strength in peace talks. It was a crucial report from Israel’s top spy inside Egypt (the highly placed Israeli agent Ashwar Marwan was actually the millionaire son-in-law of Gamel Abdel Nasser, Egypt’s second President), which arrived literally on the eve of Yom Kippur, that just gave Israel enough time to mobilize to resist the attack when it came. The near disaster for Israel provides a warning of the dangerous double power of magical thinking, not only imagining that the world will somehow of its own accord fit in with your desires but also interpreting all evidence to the contrary so as to confirm your belief that all is well.

An important conclusion is that events which take us unawares will force us to respond in a hurry. We did not expect it to happen today, but it has happened. If we have not prepared for the eventuality we will be caught out, red-faced, improvising rapidly to recover the situation. That includes ‘slow burn’ issues that creep up on us (like COVID-19) until we suddenly realize with horror that some tipping point has been reached and we are forced to respond. Climate change due to global warming is one such ‘slow burn’ issue. It has been evident to scientists for decades and has now reached a tipping point with the melting of polar ice and weather extremes. It is only very recently, however, that this worsening situation has become a matter for general public concern.

The creation of ISIS in Syria and Iraq is another example where intelligence officers slowly began to recognize that something significant and dangerous was afoot as the terrorists began to occupy and control areas of the two countries. The failure of strategic notice was not to see how a

combination of jihadist participation in the civil war in Syria together with the strength of the remnants of the Sunni insurgency in Iraq could create a power vacuum. The early signals of major risks may be weak, and hard to perceive against the generally noisy background of reality. For example, we have only recently recognized the re-emergence of state threats through digital subversion and propaganda and the possibility of highly damaging cyberattacks against the critical infrastructure such as power and telecommunications.

The product of the likelihood of something happening (a probability) and a measure of its impact if it does arise gives us a measure of what is called the expected value of the event. We are all familiar with the principle fromassessing the expected value of a bet: the combination of the chances of winning and payoff (winnings minus our stake) if we do. At odds of 100 to 1 the chances are low but the payoff correspondingly large, and vice versa with an odds-on favourite. We also know that the expected value of a series of separate bets can be calculated by simply adding the individual net values together. Wins are sadly usually quickly cancelled out by losses. The effect is even more evident with games like roulette, in which, with a fair wheel, there is no skill involved in placing a bet. Over a period, the bookmakers and casino operators will always make their turn, which is why they continue to exist (but punters will still come back for more because of the non-monetary value to them of the thrill of the bet).

Very unlikely events with big consequences (events that in our experience we do not expect to happen to us or only rarely) do nevertheless

sometimes pop up and surprise us.5 Sometimes they are referred to as ‘long-tailed’ risks because of the way that they lie at the extreme end, or tail, of the distribution of risk likelihood rather than in the ‘expected’

middle range. An example might be the 2007 global financial crash.6 Our intuition also can mislead us into thinking that the outcome of some event that concerns us is as likely to be above the average (median) as below since so many large-scale natural processes are governed by the so-called ‘normal’ bell-shaped symmetrical probability distribution. But there are important exceptions in which there is a sizeable long tail of bad outcomes.

That idea of expected value can be elaborated into what is known to engineers as the risk equation to provide a measure of overall loss or gain. We learned the value of this approach when I was the UK Security and Intelligence Coordinator in the Cabinet Office constructing the UK counter-

terrorism strategy, CONTEST, after 9/11.7 Our risk equation separated out the factors that contribute to the overall danger to the public so that actions could be designed to reduce each of them, as shown below.

We can thus reduce the probability of terrorists attempting to attack us by detecting and pursuing terrorist networks and by preventing radicalization to reduce the flow of new recruits. We reduce society’s vulnerability to particular types of attack by more protective security measures such as better airport screening. We reduce the cost to the public of an attack if the terrorists get through our defences by preparing the emergency services to face the initial impact when an attack takes place and by investing in infrastructure that can be repaired quickly. This logic is a major reason why CONTEST remains the UK’s counter-terrorism strategy, despite being on its fifth Prime Minister and ninth Home Secretary. Military planners would

recognize this lesson as applying ‘layered defence’,8 just as the thief after an expensive bicycle might have first to climb over a high wall into the garden, dodge round the burglar alarms, break into the shed, then undo the bicycle lock. The chance of the thief succeeding undetected goes down with each layer of security that is added (and so does your overall risk).

The search for strategic notice of long-term developments is sometimes referred to as horizon scanning, as in looking for the tops of the masts of the enemy ships just appearing. Global banks, consultancies and corporations such as Shell have acquired a reputation for horizon scanning to help their

strategy and planning departments.9 But we should remember that some important developments are like ships that have not yet put to sea – they

may never come to threaten us if pre-emptive measures are taken early enough.

In the UK the chief scientists of government departments have assumed a leading role in providing strategic notice, such as the UK Ministry of

Defence 2016 Global Strategic Trends report looking ahead to 2045.10 Another example is the 2016 report by the UK Chief Scientific Adviser on the potential revolution for government agencies, banks, insurance companies and other private sector organizations of blockchain

technology.11 The headline message is clear: watch out, a new disruptive technology is emerging that has the potential to transform the working of any organization that relies on keeping records. In the natural world we do have strategic notice of many serious issues that should make governments and companies sit up. One of the top risks flagged up by the UK government has long been a virus pandemic, alongside terrorism and cyberattacks.

It is worth bearing in mind when new technology appears which might pose risks to humans or the environment that most scientists prefer to hold back from offering advice until there is solid evidence on which to reach judgements. That understandable caution leads to the special category of ‘epistemic’ risk arising from a lack of knowledge or of agreed understanding, because experts are reluctant to commit as to whether the harm will ever crystallize or because they disagree among themselves as to its significance.

It is hard to predict when some theoretical scientific advance will result in brand-new technology that will impact heavily on our lives. Of the 2.5

million new scientific papers published each year12 very few represent breakthroughs in thinking. Even when a theoretical breakthrough opens the possibility of a revolution in technology it may be years in gestation. Quantum computing provides a striking example where we have strategic notice of its potential, once such a machine is built, to factorize the very large numbers on which all the commercial encryption systems rely for secure internet communication and online payments. At the time of writing, however, no workable quantum computer at scale has been built that can operate to fulfil the promise of the theory: it could be decades ahead. But we know that the impact when and if it happens will be significant. Wise

governments will therefore be investing (as the US and the UK are13 ) in developing new types of cryptography that will be more resistant to

quantum computers when they arrive; and no doubt asking their intelligence agencies to report any signs that somewhere else the practical problems of implementation look like being cracked.

At a personal level, where we find some of our risks easily visualized (such as coming back to the car park to find the car gone) and the costs are low, we can quickly learn to manage the risk (this causes us to get into the habit of checking whether we locked the car). Other personal risks that are more abstract, although more dangerous, may be unconsciously filed as the kind that happen to other people (such as returning home to find the fire brigade outside as a result of a short circuit in old wiring). We look but do not see the danger, just as in everyday life we can hear but not listen.

The term ‘risk’ conventionally carries the meaning of something bad that could happen. But as the economist F. H. Knight concluded many years

ago, without risk there is no profit.14 A further lesson in using strategic notice is how it can allow advance notice of long-term opportunities that might present themselves. Perhaps the chosen route for the future high-speed rail link will go through the middle of the village (threat) or a station on the line will be built in a nearby town (opportunity).

Strategic notice has even become a fashionable theory governing the marketing of products in the internet age. Rather than the more traditional clustering of products around common types of goods and services, it is increasingly being found that it is the quirky niche products or services which might appear at first sight unlikely to have mass appeal that can go viral on social media and quickly generate large returns. Entrepreneurs expect most of such outlier efforts to fail, but those that succeed more than make up for them in profits earned. Who would have thought a few years ago that sportswear such as brightly coloured running shoes and jogging bottoms, then confined to the gym, would for many become staple outdoor wear.

Providing ourselves with strategic notice

Bangladesh Climate Geo-engineering Sparks Protests

April 4, 2033 – Dhaka

Bangladesh became the first country to try to slow climate change by releasing a metric ton of sulphate aerosol into the upper atmosphere from a modified Boeing 797 airplane in the first of six planned flights to reduce the warming effects of solar radiation. The unprecedented move provoked diplomatic warnings by 25 countries and violent public protests at several Bangladeshi Embassies, but government officials in Dhaka claimed its action was ‘critical to self-defense’ after a spate of devastating hurricanes, despite scientists’ warnings of major unintended consequences, such as intensified acid rain and depletion of the ozone layer.

Note the date on that news report. That surprising glimpse of the future in 2033 was included in the 2017 report on Global Trends published by the US

National Intelligence Council.15 The intelligence officers drafting the report included such headlines to bring to life their strategic assessments of possible developments out to 2030 and beyond and the disruptive game-changers to be expected between now and then.

The then chair of the US National Intelligence Council, Professor Greg Treverton, explained in his foreword to the 2017 report that he examined global trends to identify their impact on power, governance and cooperation. In the near future, absent very different personal, political and business choices, he expects the current trajectory of trends and power dynamics to play out among rising international tensions. But what he expects to happen twenty years or more thereafter is explored through three stories or scenarios. The NIC report discusses the lessons these scenarios provide regarding potential opportunities and trade-offs in creating the future, rather than just responding to it.

It is possible to do long-term forecasting, starting with now and trying to work forwards into the far future, on the basis of mega-trends in technology, national wealth, population and so on. That quickly runs into the problem that there are too many possible intersecting options that humankind might or might not take to allow an overall estimate of where we will end up. That problem is getting worse with the interdependencies that globalization has brought. One of the fascinating aspects of the US NIC report quoted above is the use of ‘backcasting’ as well as forecasting, working backwards from a number of postulated long-term scenarios to identify the factors that might influence which of those futures we might

end up near. It is important in all such work to challenge conventional wisdom (an approach known as red teaming). When preparing the report the US NIC team visited thirty-five countries, including the UK, and canvassed ideas from academics and former practitioners such as myself, as well as serving government and military planners.

Using risk management in practice

A number of things have to go right in order for strategic warning to be translated into effective action at both national and international level, inside the private sector and in the home. Forecasts of risk need to be communicated effectively to those who can make use of the information. They in turn must be able to mobilize some kind of response to reduce, mitigate or transfer the risk. And there must be the capacity to learn lessons from experience of this process.

Advised by the assessments of the Joint Intelligence Committee, and by

the National Risk Assessment16 from the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, the UK’s National Security Council, chaired by the Prime Minister,

promulgates the strategic threat priorities for government.17 The 2015 Risk Assessment identified a major human pandemic as one of the most significant national security risks (in terms of likelihood and impact) facing the UK. A test of plans in 2016 exposed major gaps in capability. By the time COVID-19 struck in 2020 there was at least a national biological security strategy in place, although shortcomings still emerged along with shortages of essential protective equipment.

A comparable role must be played by the boards of companies, charitable organizations and government agencies in ensuring that major risks are identified and monitored and that plans for managing the risks are in place. A useful lesson I have learned is to divide the risks into three groups. The first group consists of the risks that are outside the influence of the business, such as a major disease outbreak. These are known as the exogenous risks. The second group of risks are those inherent in the nature of the business: banks suffer fraud, retailers suffer pilfering or ‘shrinkage’ of stock, trucking companies have accidents and so on. The final group of risks are those that the company took on itself, such as investment in a major IT upgrade on which the viability of the whole enterprise depends.

There is nothing most companies can do to eliminate the risks in the first group. But they can conduct periodic impact assessments, and exercise contingency plans. Even MI6 got caught out in September 2000 when a PIRA terrorist fired a small rocket at their Vauxhall Cross headquarters and the police then declared the building a crime scene and refused to allow staff back in until their investigations were complete, a more than trivial problem for an organization that has to operate 24/7.

For the second group of risks, those inherent in the nature of the business, discussion should be around the systems of control – for example, for cash flow, and whether there is sufficient pooling or transfer of risk through insurance or commercial alliance or partnership.

For the third category, the questions a company board must ask itself are much more pointed. Since the future of the organization depends on managing such changes successfully, directors need to ensure they personally have visibility of progress and that they allocate enough of their time to ensuring that key change managers have access to expertise, the delegated authority and the finance needed for success.

We can all follow such a three-part discussion of the risks we face, even at the level of the family. Do we have sufficient medical insurance from work to cover unforeseen traffic and other accidents or do we need extra cover? Is there adequate holiday insurance? Who has to meet the upfront cost of cancellations due to external disruption (such as COVID-19 in 2020 or the shutdown in 2018 of the busy Gatwick airport in the UK due to illegal drone flying over the runway)? Who has spare keys to the car or house in case of loss?

Conclusions: strategic notice

Having strategic notice of possible futures means we will not be so surprised by surprise. In this chapter we have looked at the perils of surprise, at not having strategic notice, and at what it means to say something is likely to happen. We examined the nature of surprise itself, sudden crises and slow-burn crises, how to think about the likelihood of events, and strategies for managing their risk. We looked at some of the ways in which long-term risks can be spotted and at the importance of

communicating the results to achieve an alerted, but not alarmed, public. To learn to live with the expectation of surprise we should:

Search for strategic notice of relevant developments in technology, international and economic affairs, the environment and potential threats.

Think in terms of the expected value of events and developments (probability times impact), not just their likelihood.

Think about a register of your major risks and use a risk equation to identify and link the factors that contribute to the value of overall outcomes.

Use strategic notice to spot opportunities as well as identify dangers.

Accept that you will usually suffer tactical surprise even when you have avoided strategic surprise.

Beware magical thinking, believing that one event occurs, or does not occur, as a result of another without plausible causation and thus wishing away what strategic notice is telling you.

Group risks into those you can do nothing about (but might want to prepare for and exercise contingency plans); those that go with the territory (where you can take sensible precautions); and those risks that accompany your major decisions (since your future depends on them you need to ensure they get the right priority and attention).

David Omand – How Spies Think – 10 Lessons in Intelligence – Part 5

Lesson 3: Estimations Predictions need an explanatory model as well as sufficient data

In mid-August 1968, I was driving an elderly Land Rover with friends from university along the Hungarian side of the border with Czechoslovakia on the first stage of an expedition to eastern Turkey. To our surprise we found ourselves having to dodge in and out of the tank transporters of a Soviet armoured column crawling along the border. We did not realize – and nor did the Joint Intelligence Committee in London – that those tank crews already had orders to cross the border and invade Czechoslovakia as part of a twin strategy of intimidation and deception being employed by Yuri Andropov, then KGB chairman, to undermine the reform-minded

government in Prague led by Alexander Dubček.1

US, UK and NATO intelligence analysts were aware of the Soviet military deployments, which could not be hidden from satellite observation and signals intelligence (I joined GCHQ a year later and learned how that had been done). The Western foreign policy community was also following the war of words between Moscow and Prague over Dubček’s reform programme. They shared Czech hopes that, in Dubček’s memorable campaign slogan, ‘socialism with a human face’ would replace the rigidities of Stalinist doctrine.

Dubček had run for the post of First Secretary of the Party on a platform of increased freedom of the press and of speech and movement; an economic emphasis on consumer goods; a reduction in the powers of the secret police; and even the possibility of multi-party elections. Dubček was in a hurry, with the wind of popular support behind him. But he was clearly

and repeatedly ignoring warnings from Moscow that he was going too far too fast. In 1968, Prague was at risk of slipping from under Moscow’s control.

In the JIC, senior intelligence and policy officials met with representatives of the ‘5-eyes’ to consider whether Moscow would use

military force as it had done in Hungary in 1956.2 This is the stage of analysis that the layperson might consider the most important, trying to predict for the policymakers what will happen next. This is very satisfying when it is achieved, although intelligence professionals shun the word ‘prediction’ as an overstatement of what is normally possible.

Analysts had no difficulty explaining the massing of tanks just on the other side of the Czech border as putting pressure on the reformist Czech government. The JIC analysts must have felt they had had good situational awareness and a credible explanation of what was going on at a military level. But they failed to take the next step and forecast the invasion and violent crushing of the reform movement. They reasoned that the Soviet Union would hold back from such crude direct intervention given the international condemnation that would undoubtedly follow. That verb reasoned carries the explanation of why the analysts got it wrong: they werereasonable people trying to predict the actions of an unreasonable regime. When they put themselves in the shoes of the decisionmakers in Moscow, they still thought exclusively from their own perspective.

We now know from historical research much more than the analysts would have known at the time about the resolve of the Soviet leadership to crush the Czech reforms. Western intelligence analysts would probably have come to a different conclusion about the Soviet willingness to take huge risks if they had known the active measures being taken against the Czech reformers being masterminded by Yuri Andropov, Head of the KGB.

That the key inner adviser to President Brezhnev in Moscow was Andropov should have triggered alarm. Andropov had form. As Soviet Ambassador in Budapest in 1956, he had played a decisive role in convincing the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, that only the ruthless use of military force would end the Hungarian uprising. It was a movement that had started with student protests but had ended up with an armed revolt to install a new government committed to free elections and a withdrawal from the Warsaw Pact.

One of the main instruments being employed by Andropov was the use of ‘illegals’. The West found that out much later in 1992 with the reporting of Vasili Mitrokhin, the Soviet KGB archivist and MI6 source. He revealed how specially selected and trained KGB officers had been sent in 1968 into Czechoslovakia, disguised as tourists, journalists, businessmen and students, equipped with false passports from West Germany, Austria, the UK, Switzerland and Mexico. Each illegal was given a monthly allowance of $300, travel expenses and enough money to rent a flat in the expectation that the Czech dissidents would more readily confide in Westerners. Their role was both to penetrate reformist circles such as the Union of Writers, radical journals, the universities and political groupings, but also to take ‘active measures’ to blacken the reputation of the dissidents. The Soviet Prime Minister loudly complained of Western provocations and sabotage (with the alleged uncovering of a cache of American weapons and with a faked document purporting to show a US plan for overthrowing the Prague regime). He used such arguments to justify Soviet interference in Czechoslovak affairs even though they were, in fact, the work of the KGB ‘illegals’.

In August 1968, under the pretext of preventing an imperialist plot, the Soviet Union despatched armies from Russia and four other Warsaw Pact countries to invade Czechoslovakia, taking over the airport and public buildings and confining Czech soldiers to barracks. Dubček and his colleagues were flown to Moscow under KGB escort, where, under considerable intimidation, they accepted the reality of complying with the demands of their occupiers.

Today we have seen Moscow using all these tactics from the Soviet playbook to prevent Ukraine orientating itself towards the EU. Yet, despite their understanding of Soviet history, Western analysts failed to predict the Russian seizure of Crimea and their armed intervention in eastern Ukraine. Analysts knew of past Soviet use of methods involving intimidation, propaganda and dirty tricks including the use of the little grey men of the KGB infiltrated into Czechoslovakia in 1968. Yet the appearance of ‘little green men’ in Ukraine, as the Russian special forces were dubbed by the media, came as a surprise.

Modelling the path to the future

The task of understanding how things will unfold is like choosing the most likely route to be taken across a strange country by a traveller you have equipped with a map that sets down only some of the features of the landscape. You know that all maps simplify to some extent; the perfect map, as described satirically by Jonathan Swift in Gulliver’s Travels is one that has a scale of 1 to 1 and thus is as big and detailed as the ground being

mapped.3 There are blank spots on the traveller’s map: ‘here be dragons’, as the medieval cartographers labelled areas where they did not have enough information. The important lesson is that reality itself has no blank spots: the problems you encounter are not with reality but with how well you are able to map it.

An example of getting the modelling of future international developments right was the 1990 US National Intelligence Council estimate ‘Yugoslavia Transformed’ a decade after the death of its autocratic ruler, the

former Partisan leader Marshal Tito.4 The US analysts understood the dynamics of Tito’s long rule. He had forged a federation from very different and historically warring peoples: Serbs, Croats, Slovenes and Bosnian Muslims. As so often happens with autocrats ruling divided countries (think about Iraq under Saddam, Libya under Gaddafi), Tito ruled by balancing the tribal loyalties. For every advantage awarded to one group there had to be counter-balancing concessions in other fields to the other groups. Meanwhile a tough internal security apparatus loyal to Tito and the concept of Yugoslavia identified potential flashpoints to be defused and dissidents to be exiled. After Tito’s death the centre could not long hold. The Serb leadership increasingly played the Serb nationalist and religious card and looked for support to Moscow. The Croats turned to the sympathy of Catholic fellowship in Germany. The Bosnian Muslims put their faith in the international community and the United Nations for protection. The US 1990 estimate summarized the future of the former Yugoslavia in a series of unvarnished judgements that read well in the light of subsequent developments in the Balkans as described in the previous chapter:

Yugoslavia will cease to function as a federal state within one year and will probably break up within two. Economic reform will not stave off the break-up …

There will be a protracted armed uprising by the Albanians in Kosovo. A full-scale, interrepublic war is unlikely but serious intercommunal

violence will accompany the breakup and will continue thereafter. The violence will be intractable and bitter.

There is little that the US and its European allies can do to preserve Yugoslav unity. Yugoslavs will see such efforts as contradictory to advocacy of democracy and self-determination … the Germans will pay lip service to the idea of Yugoslav integrity, whilst quietly accepting the dissolution of the Yugoslav state.

In London, analysts shared the thrusts of the US intelligence assessment on Yugoslavia. But the government of John Major did not want to get involved in what promised to be internecine Balkan civil war, always the bloodiest kind of conflict. The Chiefs of Staff could see no British interest worth fighting for. I recall attending the Chiefs of Staff Committee and reporting on the deteriorating situation but having Bismarck’s wisecrack thrown back at me, that the pacification of the turbulent Balkans was not worth the healthy bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier.

There can be many reasons for failure to predict developments correctly. One of the most common reasons is simply the human temptation to indulge in magical thinking, imagining that things will turn out as we want without any credible causal explanation of how that will come about. We do this to shield ourselves from the unwelcome truth that we may not be able to get what we want. The arguments over the handling of the UK Brexit process say it all.

The choice between being more right or less wrong

It is easy to criticize analysts when they fail to warn of some aggressive act. They know that they will be accused of an intelligence failure. As a rule of thumb, analysts will tend to risk a false positive by issuing a warning estimate rather than risk the accusation of failure after a negative report failed to warn. The costs of not having a timely warning if the event does happen are usually greater than the costs of an unnecessary warning when it does not. Cynics might also argue that analysts are realists and they know that if they issue a warning but the event does not take place there will be many exculpatory reasons that can be deployed for events not turning out that way. On the other hand, if policymakers are badly surprised by events after a failure to warn there will be no excuses accepted.

Analysts are faced in those circumstances with an example of the much

studied false-positive/false-negative quality control problem.5 This is the same dilemma faced by car manufacturers who inspect as the cars leave the factory and have to set the testing to a desired rate of defective vehicles passing the inspection (taken to be safe but actually not, a false positive), knowing that such vehicles are likely to break down and have to be recalled at great cost and the company reputation and sales will suffer; but knowing as well that if too many vehicles are wrongly rejected as unsafe (taken to be unsafe but actually not, a false negative) the car company will also incur large unnecessary costs in reworking them. This logic applies even more forcibly with medicines and foodstuffs. As consumers it is essential to expect foods labelled as nut-free to be just that, in order to avoid the potentially lethal risk to those allergic to nuts. The consequence, however, is that we have to recognize that the manufacturer will need a rigorous testing system achieving very low false-positive rejection rates, and that will put up the false-negative rejection rates, which is likely to add significant cost to the product. We can expect the cursor on most overall manufacturing industry inspection systems to be set towards avoiding more false positives at the expense of more false negatives. The software industry, however, is notorious for cost reasons for tolerating a high false-positive rate, preferring to issue endless patches and updates as the customers themselves find the flaws the hard way by actually using the software.

An obvious application in intelligence and security work is in deciding whether an individual has shown sufficient associations with violent extremism to be placed on a ‘no-fly’ list. Policymakers would want the system to err on the side of caution. That means accepting rather more false negatives, which will of course seriously inconvenience an individual falsely seen as dangerous because they will not be allowed to fly, as the price for having a very low level of false positives (falsely seen as safe when not, which could lead, in the worst case, to a terrorist destroying a passenger aircraft by smuggling a bomb on board). Another example is the design of algorithms for intelligence agencies to pull out information relating to terrorist suspects from digital communications data accessed in bulk. Set the cursor too far in the direction of false positives and too much material of no intelligence interest will be retrieved, wasting valuable analyst time and risking unnecessary invasion of privacy; set the cursor too

far towards false negatives and the risk of not retrieving the material being sought and terrorists escaping notice rises. There is no optimal solution possible without weighing the relative penalties of a false positive as against a false negative. At one extreme, as we will see in the next chapter, is the so-called precautionary principle whereby the risk of harm to humans means there cannot be false positives. Application of such a principle

comes at considerable cost.6

The false-positive/false-negative dilemma occurs with algorithms that have to separate data into categories. Such algorithms are trained on a large set of historic data where it is known which category each example falls into (such as genuinely suspect/not-suspect) and the AI programme then works out the most efficient indicators to use in categorizing the data. Before the algorithm is deployed into service, however, the accuracy of its output needs to be assessed against the known characteristics of the input. Simply setting the rule at a single number so that, say, 95 per cent of algorithmic decisions are expected to be correct in comparison with the known training data is likely to lead to trouble depending upon the ratio of false positives to false negatives in the result and the penalty associated with each. One way of assessing the accuracy of the algorithm in its task is to define its precision as the number of true positives as a proportion of positives that the algorithm thinks it has detected in the training data. Accuracy is often measured as the number of true positives and negatives as a proportion of the total number in the training set. A modern statistical technique that can be useful with big data sets is to chart the number of false positives and false negatives to be expected at each setting of the rule and to look at the area under the resulting curve (AUC) as a measure of

overall success in the task.7

Reluctance to act on intelligence warnings

The policy world may need shaking into recognizing that they have to take warnings seriously. In April 1993 I accompanied the British Defence Secretary, Malcolm Rifkind, to the opening of the Holocaust Museum in Washington. The day started with a moving tribute at Arlington Cemetery to the liberators of the concentration camps. I remembered the sole occasion my father had spoken to me of the horror of entering one such just liberated

camp in 1944 when he was serving as an officer in the Black Watch on the Eighth Army A Staff. It was a memory that he had preferred to suppress. Later that day Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize winner, spoke passionately in front of President Bill Clinton, President Chaim Herzog of Israel and a large crowd of dignitaries about the need to keep the memory of those horrors alive. He issued an emotional appeal to remember the failure of the Allied powers to support the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and the Jewish

resistance.8 He quoted the motto chiselled in stone over the entrance to the Holocaust Museum: ‘For the dead and the living we must bear witness’. Then, turning directly to face President Clinton and the First Lady, Hillary Clinton, he reminded them: ‘We are also responsible for what we are doing with those memories … Mr President, I cannot not tell you something. I have been in the former Yugoslavia last Fall … I cannot sleep since over what I have seen. As a Jew I am saying that we must do something to stop the bloodshed in that country! People fight each other and children die. Why? Something, anything, must be done.’

His message, genocide is happening again in Europe, and it is happening on your watch, Mr President, and the Allies are once again doing nothing, was heard in an embarrassed silence, followed by loud applause from the survivors of the camps who were present. Later that year the UN Security Council did finally mandate a humanitarian operation in Bosnia, the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR), for which the UK was persuaded to provide a headquarters and an infantry battle group. As the opening of the previous chapter recounted, that small peacekeeping force in their blue helmets and white-painted vehicles sadly proved inadequate faced with the aggression of both Bosnian Serbs and Croats, and was helpless to stop the massacre of Bosnian Muslims at Srebrenica in the summer of 1995.

Providing leaders with warnings is not easy. The ancient Greek myth of Cassandra, one of the princesses of Troy and daughter of King Priam, relates that she was blessed by the god Apollo with the gift of foreseeing the future. But when she refused the advances of Apollo she was placed under a curse which meant that, despite her gift, no one would believe her. She tried in vain to warn the inhabitants of Troy to beware Greeks bearing gifts. The giant wooden horse, left by the Greeks as they pretended to lift the siege of the city, was nevertheless pulled inside the walls. Odysseus and his soldiers who were hidden inside climbed out at night and opened the city gates to the invading Greek Army. As Cassandra had cried out in the

streets of Troy: ‘Fools! ye know not your doom … Oh, ye believe not me,

though ne’er so loud I cry!’9 Not to have their warnings believed has been the fate of many intelligence analysts over the years and will be again. The phenomenon is known to the intelligence world as the Cassandra effect.

It might have been doubts about Cassandra’s motives that led to her information being ignored. In 1982 there were warnings from the captain of the ice patrol ship HMS Endurance in the South Atlantic who was monitoring Argentine media that the point was coming close when the Junta would lose patience with diplomatic negotiations. But these warnings were discounted by a very human reaction of ‘Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he’, given his ship was to be withdrawn from service under the cuts in capability imposed by the 1981 defence expenditure review. It is also quite possible that Cassandra might have made too many predictions in the past that led to nothing and created what is known as warning fatigue. We know this as crying wolf, from Aesop’s fable. That might in turn imply the threshold for warning was set too low and should have been set higher than turning out the whole village on a single shout of ‘wolf’ (but remember the earlier discussion of false positives and false negatives and how raising the warning threshold increases the risk of a real threat being ignored). Sending signals which lead to repeated false alarms is an ancient tactic to inure the enemy to the real danger. Warnings also have to be sufficiently specific to allow sensible action to be taken. Simply warning that there is a risk of possible political unrest in the popular holiday destination of Ruritania does not help the tourist know whether or not to cancel their holiday on the Ruritanian coast.

Perhaps poor Cassandra was simply not thought a sufficiently credible source for reasons unconnected with the objective value of her intelligence reporting. Stalin was forewarned of the German surprise attack on the Soviet Union in 1941 by reports from well-placed Soviet intelligence sources, including the Cambridge spies, some of whom had access to Bletchley Park Enigma decrypts of the German High Command’s signals. But he discounted the reporting as too good to be true and therefore assumed a deliberate attempt by the Allies to get him to regard Germany as an enemy and to discount the guarantees of peace in the 1939 Molotov– Ribbentrop non-aggression pact that Stalin had approved two years earlier.

A final lesson from the failure of the Trojans to act on Cassandra’s warning might be that the cost of preventive action can be seen as too great.

Legend has it that the Trojans were concerned with angering their gods if they had refused the Greek offering of the wooden horse. We may ignore troubling symptoms if we fear that a visit to the doctor will result in a diagnosis that prevents us being able to fly to a long-promised holiday in the sun.

Expressing predictions and forecasts as probabilities

It is sadly the case that only rarely can intelligence analysts be definitive in warning what will happen next. Most estimates have to be hedged with caveats and assumptions. Analysts speak therefore of their degree of belief in a forward-looking judgement. Such a degree of belief is expressed as a probability of being right. This is a different use of probability from that associated with gambling games like dice or roulette, where the frequency with which a number comes up provides data from which the probability of a particular outcome is estimated. When we throw a fair die we know that the probability that the next throw will come up with a six is 1/6. We know the odds we ought to accept on a bet that this is what will happen. That is the frequentist interpretation of probability. By analogy, we think of the odds that intelligence analysts would rationally accept on their estimate being right. That is the measure of their degree of belief in their judgement.

It is of course a subjective interpretation of probability.10 Intelligence analysts prefer – like political pollsters – forecasts that

associate with a range of possible outcomes an associated probability. For example, the US Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, predicted in a worldwide threat assessment given to the Senate Intelligence Committee that competitors such as Russia, China and Iran ‘probably already are looking to the 2020 U.S. elections as an opportunity to advance their

interests’.11 ‘Probably’ here is likely to mean 55–70 per cent, which can be thought of as the gambling odds the analysts should accept for being right (in that case, just over 70 per cent probable equates to bookmakers offering odds of 2 to 1 on).

When a forecast outcome is heavily dependent on external events, that is usually expressed as an assumption so that readers of the assessment understand that dependency. The use of qualifying words such as ‘unlikely’, ‘likely’ and so on is standardized by professional intelligence analysts. The

UK yardstick was devised by the Professional Head of the Intelligence Analysis profession (PHIA) in the Cabinet Office, and is in use across the British intelligence community, including with law enforcement. The example of the yardstick below is taken from the annual National Strategic

Assessment (NSA) by the UK National Crime Agency.12 Probability and Uncertainty

Throughout the NSA, the ‘probability yardstick’ (as defined by the Professional Head of Intelligence Assessment (PHIA) has been used to ensure consistency across the different threats and themes when assessing probability. The following defines the probability ranges considered when such language is used:

The US Intelligence Community also has published a table showing how to express a likelihood in ordinary language (line 1 of the table below) and in probabilistic language (line 2 of the table, with the corresponding

confidence level in line 3).13

One difference between the approach taken by the UK and the US analysts is in the use of gaps between the ranges in the UK case. The intention is to avoid the potential problem with the US scale over what term you use if your judgement is ‘around 20 per cent’. Two analysts can have a perfectly reasonable, but unnecessary, argument over whether something is ‘very unlikely’ or ‘unlikely’. The gaps obviate the problem. The challenge

is over what to do if the judgement falls within one of the gaps. If an analyst can legitimately say that something is ‘a 75–80 per cent chance’, then they are free to do so. The yardstick is a guide and a minimum standard, but analysts are free to be more specific or precise in their judgements, if they can. It is sensible to think in 5 or 10 per cent increments to discourage unjustified precision for which the evidence is unlikely to be available. I recommend this framework in any situation in which you have to make a prediction. It is very flexible, universally applicable, and extremely helpful in aiding your decisionmaking and in communicating it to others. You could start off by reminding yourself the next time you say it is ‘unlikely’ to rain that that still leaves a one in five chance of a downpour. You might well accept that level of risk and not bother with a coat. But if you were badly run down after a bout of flu even a 20 per cent chance of getting soaked and developing a fever would be a risk not worth running. That is an example of examining the expected value of the outcome, not just its likelihood, formed by multiplying together the probability of an event and a measure of the consequences for you of it happening.

The limits of prediction

The science fiction writer Isaac Asimov in his Foundation and Empire books imagined a future empirical science of psychohistory, where recurring patterns in civilizations on a cosmic scale could be modelled

using sociology, history and mathematical statistics.14 Broad sweeps of history could, Asimov fantasized, be forecast in the same way as statistical mechanics allows the behaviour of large numbers of molecules in a gas to be predicted, although the behaviour of individual molecules cannot (being subject to quantum effects). Asimov’s fictional creator of psychohistory, Dr Hari Seldon, laid down key assumptions that the population whose behaviour was being modelled should be sufficiently large and that the population should remain in ignorance of the results of the application of psychohistorical analyses because, if it became so aware, there would be feedback changing its behaviour. Other assumptions include that there would be no fundamental change in human society and that human nature and reactions to stimuli would remain constant. Thus, Asimov reasoned, the occurrence of times of crisis at an intergalactic scale could be forecast, and

guidance provided (by a holograph of Dr Seldon) by constructing time vaults that would be programmed to open when the crisis was predicted to arise and the need would be greatest.

Psychohistory will remain fantasy. Which is perhaps just as well. The main problem with such ideas is the impossibility of sufficiently specifying the initial conditions. Even with deterministic equations in a weather-forecasting model, after a week or so the divergence between what is forecast and what is observed becomes too large to allow the prediction to be useful. And often in complex systems the model is non-linear, so small changes can quickly become large ones. There are inherent limits to forecasting reality. Broad sweeps may be possible but not detailed predictions. There comes a point when the smallest disturbance (the iconic flapping of a butterfly’s wings) sets in train a sequence of cascading changes that tip weather systems over, resulting in a hurricane on the other side of the world. The finer the scale being used to measure forecasts in international affairs, the more variables that need to be taken into account, the greater the number of imponderables and assumptions, and the less

accurate the long-term forecast is liable to be.15

Even at the level of physical phenomenon not every activity is susceptible to precise modelling. Exactly when a radioactive atom will spontaneously decay cannot be predicted, although the number of such events in a given time can be known in terms of its probability of occurrence. The exact path a photon of light or an electron will take when passing through a narrow pair of slits can also only be predicted in advance in terms of probabilities (the famous double slit experiment that demonstrates one of the key principles of quantum physics).

Secrets, mysteries and complex interactions

There is a deeper way of looking at intelligence, and that is to distinguish between secrets and mysteries. Secrets can be found out if the seeker has the ingenuity, skill and the means to uncover them. Mysteries are of a different order. More and more secrets will not necessarily unlock the mystery of a dictator’s state of mind. But intelligence officers trying to get inside the mind of a potential adversary have to do their best to make an assessment, since that will influence what the policymakers decide to do

next. Inferences can certainly be drawn, based on knowledge of the individuals concerned and on reading of their motivations, together with general observation of human behaviour. But such a judgement will depend on who is making it. A neutral observer might come to a different view from one from a country at risk of being invaded.

Mysteries have a very different evidential status. They concern events that have not yet happened (and therefore may never happen). Yet it is solutions to such mysteries that the users of intelligence need. It was the case that from the moment early in 1982 when the Argentine Junta’s Chief of Naval Staff and chief hawk over the issue, Admiral Anaya, issued secret orders to his staff to begin planning the Falkland Islands invasion then there were secrets to collect. But whether, when it came to the crunch, the Junta as a whole would approve the resulting plan and order implementation would remain a mystery until much later.

To make matters harder, there is often an additional difficulty due to the

complex interactions16involved. We now know in the case of the Junta in1982 that it completely misread what the UK reaction would be to an invasion of the Falkland Islands. And, just as seriously, the Junta did not take sufficient account of the longstanding US/UK defence relationship in assessing how the US would react. It may not have recognized the personal relationship that had developed between the UK’s Defence Secretary, John Nott, and his US counterpart, Caspar Weinberger. Margaret Thatcher’s iron response in sending a naval Task Force to recover the Islands met with Weinberger’s strong approval, in part because it demonstrated to the Soviet Union that armed aggression would not be allowed to pay.

These distinctions are important in everyday life. There are many secrets that can in principle be found out if your investigations are well designed and sufficiently intrusive. In your own life, your partner may have kept texts on their phone from an ex that they have kept private from you. Strictly speaking, these are secrets that you could probably find a way of accessing covertly (I strongly advise you don’t. Your curiosity is not a sufficient reason for violating their privacy rights. And once you have done so, your own behaviour towards your partner, and therefore your partner’s towards you, is likely unconsciously to change). But whether you uncover the secrets or not, the mystery of why your partner kept them and whether they ever intend in the future to contact the ex remains unanswered, and not even your partner is likely to be certain of the answer. You would have the

secret but not the answer to the mystery, and that answer is likely to depend upon your own behaviour over coming months that will exercise a powerful influence on how your partner feels about the relationship. Prediction in such circumstances of complex interactions is always going to be hard.

Missing out on the lessons of Chapter 2and leaping from situational awareness to prediction – for example, by extrapolating trends or assuming conditions will remain the same – is a common error, known as the inductive fallacy. It is equivalent to weather forecasting by simply looking out of the window and extrapolating: most of the time tomorrow’s weather follows naturally from today’s, but not when there is a rapidly developing weather front. Ignoring the underlying dynamics of weather systems will mean you get the forecast right much of the time but inevitably not always. When it happens that you are wrong, as you are bound to be from time to time, you are liable to be disastrously wrong – for example, as a flash flood develops or an unexpected hurricane sweeps in. That holds as true for international affairs as it does for all life as well: if you rely on assumptions, when you get it wrong, you get it really wrong. Experts are as likely to fall

into this trap as anyone else.17

I am fond of the Greek term phronesis, to describe the application of practical wisdom to the anticipation of risks. As defined by the art historian Edgar Wind, this term describes how good judgement can be applied to human conduct consisting in a sound practical instinct for the course of events, an almost indefinable hunch that anticipates the future by

remembering the past and thus judges the present correctly.18

Conclusions: estimates and predictions

Estimates of how events may unfold, and predictions of what will happen next, are crucially dependent on having a reliable explanatory model, as well as sufficient data. Even if we are not consciously aware of doing this, when we think about the future we are mentally constructing a model of our current reality and reaching judgements about how our chosen explanatory model would behave over time and in response to different inputs or stimuli. It will help to have identified what are the most important factors that are likely to affect the outcome, and how sensitive that outcome might

be to changes in circumstances. We are here posing questions of the ‘what next and where next?’ type. In answering them we should:

Avoid the inductive fallacy of jumping straight from situational awareness to prediction and use an explanatory model of how you think the key variables interact.

Be realistic about the limitations of any form of prediction, expressing results as estimates between a range of likely possibilities. Point predictions are hazardous.

Express your degree of confidence in your judgements in probabilistic language, taking care over consistent use of terms such as ‘likely’.

Remember to consider those less likely but potentially damaging outcomes as well as the most probable.

Be aware that wanting to see a reduction in the level of false positives implies increasing the level of false negatives to be expected.

Do not confuse the capability of an individual or organization to act with an intent to act on their part.

Be aware of your cultural differences and prejudices when explaining the motivations and intent of another.

Distinguish between what you conclude based on information you have and what you think based on past experience, inference and intuition (secrets, mysteries and complexities).

Beware your own biases misleading you when you are trying to understand the motives of others.

Give warnings as active deliberative acts based on your belief about how events will unfold and with the intent of causing a change in behaviour or policy.

List of crimes for which Medvedev and Putin cannot be tried

List of crimes for which Medvedev and Putin cannot be tried

A bill on guarantees of the immunity of the former president was submitted to the State Duma. It will bring the federal law into line with the latest version of the Russian Constitution (adopted by a vote in the summer of 2020). The document not only complicates the procedure for depriving the former president of immunity, but also actually allows the former head of state to commit some crimes after his resignation.

After the adoption of this bill, both the current and the former president can be deprived of immunity only for grave and especially grave crimes. That is, all crimes of small and medium gravity, committed by the former president of Russia, will remain unpunished. Meduza re-read the Criminal Code and wrote out most of the crimes that could theoretically get away with Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin. Moreover, we are talking about both past and future deeds.

Crimes against life and health
Murder committed in passion (v. 107)
Murder committed in excess of the limits of necessary defense (Art.108)
Causing death by negligence (Article 109)
Driving a person to suicide or attempted suicide (part 1 of article 110)
Inclination to commit suicide (part 1 and part 3 of Art. 110¹)
Facilitating suicide (Art.110 Part 2 and Part 3)
Intentional infliction of medium-gravity harm to health (Article 112)
Infliction of grave or moderate harm to health in a state of passion (Article 113)
Causing serious or moderate harm to health when the limits of necessary defense are exceeded (Article 114)
Intentional infliction of slight harm to health (Article 115)
Beating (Art. 116)
Torment (part 1 of article 117)
Causing grievous bodily harm through negligence (Article 118)
Threats of murder or grievous bodily harm (Article 119)
Coercion to remove human organs or tissues for transplantation (Article 120)
Infection with a venereal disease (Art. 121)
Infection with HIV (part 1, part 2 and part 4 of article 122)
Obstruction of the provision of medical care (art.124¹)
Leaving in danger (Art. 125)

Crimes against freedom, honor and dignity of the person
Kidnapping (part 1 of article 126)
Unlawful deprivation of liberty (parts 1 and 2 of article 127)
Use of slave labor (Part 1 of Art. 127²)
Libel (art. 128¹)

Crimes against sexual inviolability and sexual freedom of the person
Compulsion to conduct of a sexual nature (Art. 133)
Sexual intercourse and other actions of a sexual nature with a person under the age of sixteen (part 1 of article 134)
Depraved actions (part 1 of article 135)

Crimes against constitutional human and civil rights and freedoms
Discrimination (art. 136)
Violation of privacy (art. 137)
Violation of secrecy of correspondence, telephone conversations, postal, telegraph or other messages (Article 138)
Illegal circulation of special technical means intended for secretly obtaining information (Article 138¹)
Violation of the inviolability of the home (Article 139)
Obstruction of the exercise of electoral rights or the work of election commissions (art. 141)
Violation of the procedure for financing the election campaign (Article 141¹)
Illegal issuance and receipt of a ballot paper, a ballot paper for a referendum, a ballot paper for an all-Russian vote (Art. 142²)
Obstruction of the legitimate professional activities of journalists (parts 1 and 2 of article 144)
Violation of copyright and related rights (parts 1 and 2 of article 146)
Infringement of inventive and patent rights (Art. 147)
Violation of the right to freedom of conscience and religion (Article 148)
Obstruction of a meeting, meeting, demonstration, procession, picketing or participation in them (Art. 149)

Crimes against family and minors
Involvement of a minor in the commission of a crime (part 1 of article 150)
Involvement of a minor in the commission of antisocial acts (part 1 and part 2 of article 151)
Retail sale of alcoholic beverages to minors (Art. 151¹)
Involvement of a minor in the commission of acts that pose a danger to the life of a minor (Art. 151²)
Substitution of a child committed from mercenary or other base motives (Article 153)
Illegal adoption (adoption) (Article 154)
Failure to fulfill the duties of raising a minor (Article 156)
Failure to pay funds for the maintenance of children or disabled parents (Article 157)

Property crimes
Theft (part 1 and part 2 of article 158)
Fraud (part 1, part 2 and part 5 of article 159)
Credit fraud (part 1 and part 2 of Art.159¹)
Fraud in receiving payments (part 1 and part 2 of Art. 159²)
Fraud using electronic means of payment (part 1 and part 2 of article 159³)
Fraud in the field of insurance (part 1 and part 2 of article 159⁵)
Fraud in the field of computer information (part 1 and part 2 of article 159⁶)
Misappropriation or waste (part 1 and part 2 of article 160)
Robbery (part 1 of article 161)
Extortion (part 1 of article 163)
Causing property damage by deception or breach of trust (Article 165)
Unlawful seizure of a car or other vehicle without the purpose of theft (part 1 of article 166)
Intentional destruction or damage to property (Article 167)
Destruction or damage to property by negligence (Article 168)

Crimes in the field of economic activity
Illegal business (art. 171)
Production, purchase, storage, transportation or sale of goods and products without labeling and (or) applying information provided for by the legislation of the Russian Federation (part 1, part 1¹, part 3 and part 5 of article 171¹)
Illegal organization and conduct of gambling (parts 1 and 2 of Art. 171²)
Illegal production and (or) circulation of ethyl alcohol, alcoholic and alcohol-containing products (Art. 171³)
Illegal retail sale of alcoholic and alcohol-containing food products (Article 171⁴)
Illegal banking (part 1 of article 172)
Illegal formation (creation, reorganization) of a legal entity (Art. 173¹)
Illegal use of documents for the formation (creation, reorganization) of a legal entity (Art. 173²)
Legalization (laundering) of funds or other property acquired by other persons in a criminal way (part 1, part 2 and part 3 of article 174)
Legalization (laundering) of funds or other property acquired by a person as a result of a crime committed by him (part 1, part 2 and part 3 of Art. 174¹)
Acquisition or sale of property, knowingly obtained by criminal means (part 1 and part 2 of article 175)
Unlawful receipt of a loan (Article 176)
Malicious evasion of accounts payable (Article 177)
Restriction of competition (part 1 of article 178)
Coercion to complete a transaction or refuse to complete it (part 1 of article 179)
Illegal use of means of individualization of goods (works, services) (part 1, part 2 and part 3 of article 180)
Illegal receipt and disclosure of information constituting commercial, tax or banking secrets (part 1, part 2 and part 3 of article 183)
Unlawful influence on the result of an official sports competition or spectacular commercial competition (part 1 of article 184)
Market manipulation (part 1 of article 185³)
Unlawful use of insider information (part 1 of article 185⁶)
Illegal export from the Russian Federation or transfer of raw materials, materials, equipment, technologies, scientific and technical information, illegal performance of work (provision of services) that can be used to create weapons of mass destruction, weapons and military equipment (parts 1 and 2 Article 189)
Illegal circulation of amber, jade or other semi-precious stones, precious metals, precious stones or pearls (part 1, part 2, part 4 of article 191)
Acquisition, storage, transportation, processing for the purpose of marketing or marketing of knowingly illegally harvested timber (Article 191¹)
Acquisition, storage, transportation, processing for the purpose of marketing or marketing of knowingly illegally harvested timber (Article 191¹)
Performing currency transactions to transfer funds in foreign currency or the currency of the Russian Federation to the accounts of non-residents using forged documents (part 1 and part 2 of article 193¹)
Evasion of payment of customs payments levied from an organization or an individual (parts 1 and 2 of article 194)
Smuggling of cash and (or) monetary instruments (Art. 200¹)
Smuggling of alcoholic beverages and (or) tobacco products (part 1 of Art. 200²)

Crimes against the interests of service in commercial and other organizations
Commercial bribery (part 1, part 2, part 5 and part 6 of Art.204)
Mediation in commercial bribery (part 1 and part 2 of Art.204¹)
Petty commercial bribery (Article 204²)

Public Safety Crimes
Public calls for terrorist activities, public justification of terrorism or propaganda of terrorism (Part 1 of Art. 205²)
Failure to report a crime (art. 205⁶)
Knowingly false reporting of an act of terrorism (part 1 and part 2 of article 207)
Public dissemination of knowingly false information about circumstances posing a threat to the life and safety of citizens (Art.207¹)
Public dissemination of knowingly false socially significant information, which entailed grave consequences (Article 207²)
Calls for riots or participation in them, as well as calls for violence against citizens (part 3 of article 212)
Hooliganism (part 1 of article 213)
Vandalism (Art. 214)
Decommissioning of life support facilities (part 1 and part 2 of Art. 215²)
Unlawful entry into a guarded object (Art.215⁴)
Illegal handling of nuclear materials or radioactive substances (part 1 and part 2 of article 220)
Theft or extortion of nuclear materials or radioactive substances (part 1 of article 221)
Illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation or carrying of weapons, their main parts, ammunition (part 1 of article 222)
Illegal acquisition, transfer, sale, storage, transportation or carrying of explosives or explosive devices (part 1 of article 222¹)
Illegal manufacture of weapons (Article 223)
Negligent possession of firearms (Article 224)

Crimes against public health and public morals
Illegal acquisition, storage, transportation, manufacture, processing of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances or their analogues, as well as illegal acquisition, storage, transportation of plants containing narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, or their parts containing narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances (part 1 Article 228)
Illegal acquisition, storage or transportation of precursors of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, as well as illegal acquisition, storage or transportation of plants containing precursors of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, or their parts containing precursors of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances (Article 228³)
Illegal production, sale or shipment of precursors of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, as well as illegal sale or shipment of plants containing precursors of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances, or parts thereof containing precursors of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances (Part 1 of Art.228.)
Induction to the consumption of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances or their analogs (part 1 of article 230)
Illegal cultivation of plants containing narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances or their precursors (part 1 of article 231)
Organization or maintenance of dens or the systematic provision of premises for the consumption of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances or their analogues (Part 1 of Art.232)
Illegal issuance or forgery of prescriptions or other documents giving the right to receive narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances (Article 233)
Illegal circulation of strong or poisonous substances for marketing purposes (part 1 and part 2 of article 234)
Illegal implementation of medical or pharmaceutical activities (Article 235)
Illegal production of medicines and medical devices (part 1 of article 235¹)
Circulation of counterfeit, substandard and unregistered medicines, medical devices and circulation of counterfeit dietary supplements (part 1 of Art.238¹)
Creation of a non-profit organization that infringes upon the personality and rights of citizens (Article 239)
Involvement in prostitution (part 1 of article 240)
Receiving sexual services from a minor (Art.240¹)
Organization of prostitution (part 1 of article 241)
Illegal production and circulation of pornographic materials or objects (part 1 and part 2 of article 242)
Destruction or damage of cultural heritage objects (historical and cultural monuments) of the peoples of the Russian Federation included in the unified state register of cultural heritage objects (historical and cultural monuments) of the peoples of the Russian Federation, identified cultural heritage objects, natural complexes, objects taken under state protection, or cultural values (part 1 of article 243)
Illegal search and (or) removal of archaeological objects from the places of occurrence (part 1 and part 2 of article 243²)
Destruction or damage of military graves, as well as monuments, steles, obelisks, other memorial structures or objects that perpetuate the memory of those killed in the defense of the Fatherland or its interests, or dedicated to the days of military glory of Russia (Article 243⁴)
Desecration of the bodies of the dead and the places of their burial (Article 244)
Cruelty to animals (Article 245)

Environmental crimes
Water pollution (Art. 250)
Air pollution (art. 251)
Pollution of the marine environment (Art. 252)
Violation of the legislation of the Russian Federation on the continental shelf and on the exclusive economic zone of the Russian Federation (Article 253)
Damage to the earth (v. 254)
Violation of the rules for the protection and use of subsurface resources (Article 255)
Illegal extraction (catch) of aquatic biological resources (Art. 256)
Violation of the rules for the protection of aquatic biological resources (Article 257)
Illegal hunting (art. 258)
Illegal extraction and circulation of especially valuable wild animals and aquatic biological resources belonging to the species included in the Red Book of the Russian Federation and (or) protected by international treaties of the Russian Federation (part 1 and part 1¹ of article 258¹)
Destruction of critical habitats for organisms listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation (Article 259)
Illegal felling of forest plantations (parts 1 and 2 of article 260)
Destruction or damage of forest plantations (i. 1 and part 2 of article 261)
Violation of the regime of specially protected natural areas and natural objects (Article 262)

Crimes against traffic safety and transport operation
Violation of the rules of the road and the operation of vehicles (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 5 of article 264)
Destruction of vehicles or means of communication (Article 267)
Committing hooligan motives of actions that threaten the safe operation of vehicles (Art.267¹)
Violation of the rules ensuring the safe operation of transport (Article 268)

Crimes in the field of computer information
Unlawful access to computer information (part 1, part 2 and part 3 of article 272)
Creation, use and distribution of malicious computer programs (part 1 and part 2 of article 273)
Violation of the rules for the operation of means of storage, processing or transmission of computer information and information and telecommunication networks (Art.274)
Unlawful influence on the critical information infrastructure of the Russian Federation (part 1 of article 274¹)

Crimes against the foundations of the constitutional system and state security
Public calls to carry out extremist activities (Article 280)
Public calls for the implementation of actions aimed at violating the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation (Art.280¹)
Incitement to hatred or enmity, as well as humiliation of human dignity (part 1 of article 282)
Disclosure of state secrets (part 1 of article 283)
Unlawful receipt of information constituting a state secret (part 1 of article 283¹)
Loss of documents containing state secrets (Article 284)

Crimes against state power, interests of civil service and service in local self-government bodies
Taking a bribe (part 1 of article 290)
Giving a bribe (part 1 and part 2 of article 291)
Mediation in bribery (part 1 of article 291¹)
Petty bribery (art. 291²)

Crimes against justice
Obstruction of justice and preliminary investigation (Art.294)
Threats or violent actions in connection with the administration of justice or the production of a preliminary investigation (part 1, part 2 and part 3 of article 296)
Disrespect for the court (Art. 297)
Defamation against a judge, juror, prosecutor, investigator, person conducting the inquiry, an employee of the compulsory enforcement bodies of the Russian Federation (Article 298¹)
Coercion to testify (part 1 of article 302)
Knowingly false denunciation (part 1 and part 2 of article 306)
Knowingly false testimony, expert opinion, specialist or incorrect translation (Article 307)
Refusal of witness or victim to testify (Article 308)
Bribery or coercion to testify or evade testimony or to incorrect translation (part 1, part 2 and part 3 of article 309)
Disclosure of data from preliminary investigation (Art. 310)
Concealment of crimes (Art. 316)

Crimes against the order of administration
Use of violence against a government official (part 1 of article 318)
Insulting a government official (Article 319)
Disclosure of information on security measures applied to an official of a law enforcement or regulatory body (Article 320)
Illegal crossing of the State border of the Russian Federation (part 1 of article 322)
Organization of illegal migration (part 1 of article 322¹)
Fictitious registration of a citizen of the Russian Federation at the place of stay or at the place of residence in a residential building in the Russian Federation and fictitious registration of a foreign citizen or stateless person at the place of residence in a residential building in the Russian Federation (Art. 322²)
Illegal change of the State border of the Russian Federation (Article 323)
Purchase or sale of official documents and state awards (Article 324)
Theft or damage to documents, stamps, seals or theft of excise stamps, special stamps or conformity marks (Article 325)
Unlawful seizure of the state registration plate of a vehicle (Art. 325¹)
Forgery or destruction of the vehicle identification number (Article 326)
Forgery, manufacture or circulation of forged documents, state awards, stamps, seals or letterheads (Art. 327)
Production, sale or use of counterfeit excise stamps, special stamps or conformity marks (part 1 and part 2 of article 327¹)
Forgery of documents for medicines or medical devices or packaging of medicines or medical devices (Part 1 and Part 2 of Art. 327²)
Desecration of the State Emblem of the Russian Federation or the State Flag of the Russian Federation (Article 329)
Arbitrariness (Article 330)
Malicious evasion of duties defined by the legislation of the Russian Federation on non-profit organizations performing the functions of a foreign agent (Article 330¹)
Failure to comply with the obligation to submit a notification that a citizen of the Russian Federation has citizenship (nationality) of a foreign state or a residence permit or other valid document confirming the right to his permanent residence in a foreign state (Art. 330²)

Crimes against the peace and security of mankind
Public calls to unleash an aggressive war (Article 354)
Rehabilitation of Nazism (Article 354¹)


David Omand – How Spies Think – 10 Lessons in Intelligence – Part 4

Lesson 2: Explanation Facts need explaining

Belgrade, Sunday, 23 July 1995. It was getting dark when our military aircraft landed on an airfield just outside the Serbian capital. We were met by armed Serbian security officers and quickly hustled into cars, watched over cautiously by a diplomat from the British Embassy. After what seemed an endless drive into the country we arrived at a government guest house. Our mission was to deliver in person an ultimatum to its occupant, General Ratko Mladić, the commander of the Bosnian Serb Army, the man who

became infamous as the ‘butcher of Srebrenica’.1

Two days before, at a conference in London, the international community had united to condemn in the strongest terms the actions of Mladić’s Bosnian Serb Army in overrunning the towns of Srebrenica and Zepa. These towns had been placed under the protection of the United Nations as ‘safe areas’, where the Bosnian Muslim population could shelter from the civil war raging around them. Sadly, there had been insufficient understanding in the UN of the ethnic-cleansing activities of Mladić and his army, and thus no proper plans made about how the safe areas were to be defended from him. The UN peacekeeping force in Bosnia, UNPROFOR, was small and lightly armed, and in accordance with UN rules wore blue-painted helmets and rode in white-painted vehicles. They were not a fighting force that could combat the Bosnian Serb Army when it defied the UN. The full extent of the genocidal mass killings and use of rape as a weapon of war by troops under Mladić’s command in Bosnia was not then known, but enough evidence had emerged from Srebrenica to force a reluctant London Conference and NATO international community that enough was enough. Any further interference with the remaining safe areas

would be met by the use of overwhelming air power. The purpose of the mission to Belgrade was to confront Mladić with the reality of that threat and make him desist from further aggression.

Leading the delegation were the three airmen who controlled NATO air power over Bosnia: the Commander of the US Air Force in Europe along with his British and French opposite numbers. I was the Deputy Under Secretary of State for Policy in the Ministry of Defence in London and I was acting as adviser to Air Chief Marshal Sir William Wratten, Commander-in-Chief of the RAF’s Strike Command, a man with a formidable reputation as the architect of British bombing strategy during the first Gulf War. I was there with my opposite numbers from the Ministry of Defence in Paris and the Office of the Secretary of Defense in the Pentagon (my friend Joe Kruzel, who was tragically to die on duty later in Bosnia when his armoured vehicle rolled off a narrow pass). One of our tasks was to use the opportunity to try to understand the motivations of Mladić, the ‘why and what for’ of his actions, and whether he was likely to be deterred by the formal NATO warning from the air commanders of the US, UK and France.

When we arrived at the guest house we were escorted to the dining room and invited to sit at one side of a long table already set with traditional sweetmeats and glasses of plum brandy. Mladić entered in jovial mood with his army jacket around his shoulders hanging unbuttoned, accompanied by the head of his secret police. We had been forewarned that in soldier-to-soldier company he was likely to be bluffly affable, one of the reasons his men adored him. We had therefore resolved on the flight that we would all refuse to accept the hospitality he was bound to offer, an act that we guessed would cause offence and thus jolt Mladić into recognizing this was not a friendly visit. That ploy worked.

Mladić became visibly agitated, defiantly questioning whether the three air forces could pose any real threat to his army given the puny use of NATO air power up to that point. The air commanders had wisely chosen to wear their leather jackets and aviator sunglasses, and not their best dress uniforms. They menacingly described the massive air power they could command and delivered their blunt ultimatum: further attacks against the safe areas would not be tolerated, and substantial air actions would be mounted, ‘if necessary at unprecedented levels’. The atmosphere in the room grew frosty.

Explanations and motives

In the Introduction I described understanding and explanation as the second component of my SEES model of intelligence analysis. Intelligence analysts have to ask themselves why the people and institutions that they are observing are acting as they appear to be, and what their motives and objectives are. That is what we were trying to establish in that visit to Mladić. That’s as true for you in everyday life as it is for intelligence analysts. The task is bound to be all the harder if the analysis is being done at a distance by those brought up in a very different culture from that of the intelligence target. Motives are also easily misread if there is projective identification of some of your own traits in your adversary. This can become dangerous in international affairs when a leader accuses another of behaviour of which they themselves are guilty. That may be a cynical ploy. But it may also be a worrying form of self-deception. The leader may be unconsciously splitting off his own worst traits in order to identify them in the other, allowing the leader then to live in a state of denial believing that they do not actually possess those traits themselves. I’m sure you recognize a similar process in your office every day, too.

If it is the actions of a military leader that are under examination then there may be other objective factors explaining his acts, including the relative capabilities of his and opposing forces, the geography and terrain, and the weather as well as the history, ethnology and cultural anthropology of the society being studied. There are bound to be complexities to unravel where it may be the response to perceived policies and actions by other states, or even internal opposition forces within the society, that provide the best explanation along with an understanding of the history that has led to this point. From the outset of the Bosnian conflict, reports from the region spoke of excesses by the different factions fighting each other, a common feature of civil wars. Such evidence was available. But it was not clear at first what the deeper motivations were that would eventually drive the troops of Ratko Mladić to the horrifying extremes of genocide.

The choice of facts is not neutral, nor do facts speak for themselves

One possible reason we may wrongly understand why we see what we do is because we have implicitly, or explicitly, chosen to find a set of facts that supports an explanation we like and not another. We saw in the preceding chapter that even situational awareness cannot be divorced from the mindset of the analyst. The action of selection of what to focus on is unlikely to be a fully neutral one. This is a problem with which biographers and historians have always had to grapple. As the historian E. H. Carr wrote: ‘By and large, the historian will get the kind of facts he wants.

History means interpretation.’2

Reality is what it is. We cannot go back in time to change what we have observed. More correctly, then, for our purposes reality is what it was when we made our observations. Reality will have changed in the time it has taken us to process what we saw. And we can only perceive some of what is out there. But we can make a mental map of reality on which we locate the facts that we think we know, and when we got to know them. We can place these facts in relation to each other and, via our memory, fill in some detail from our prior knowledge. Then we look at the whole map and hope we recognize the country outlined.

More often than not, facts can bear different meanings. Therein lies the danger of mistakes of interpretation. A shopkeeper facing a young man asking to buy a large meat cleaver has to ask herself, gang member or trainee butcher? Let me adapt an example that Bertrand Russell used in his

philosophy lectures to illustrate the nature of truth.3 Imagine a chicken farm in which the chickens conduct an espionage operation on the farmer, perhaps by hacking into his computer. They discover that he is ordering large quantities of chicken food. The Joint Intelligence Committee of chickens meets. What do they conclude? Is it that the farmer has finally recognized that they deserve more food; or that they are being fattened up for the kill? Perhaps if the experience of the chickens has been of a happy outdoor life, then their past experience may lead them to be unable to conceive of the economics of chicken farming as seen by the farmer. On the other hand, chickens kept in their thousands in a large tin shed may well be all too ready to attribute the worst motives to the farmer. It is the same secret intelligence, the same fact, but with two opposite interpretations. That is true of most factual information.

Context is therefore needed to infer meaning. And meaning is a construct of the human mind. It is liable to reflect our emotionally driven hopes and

fears as much as it represents an objective truth. Intelligence analysts like to characterize themselves as ‘objective’, and great care is taken, as we see in Chapter 5, to identify the many possible types of cognitive bias that might skew their thinking. In the end, however, ‘independent’, ‘neutral’ and ‘honest’ might be better words to describe the skilled analysts who must avoid being influenced by what they know their customers desperately hope

to hear.4 The great skill of the defence counsel in a criminal trial is to weave an explanatory narrative around the otherwise damming evidence so that the jury comes to believe in the explanation offered of what happened and thus in the innocence of the accused. The observed capability to act cannot be read as a real intention to do so. The former is easier to assess, given good situational awareness; the latter is always hard to know since it involves being able to ascribe motives in order to explain what is going on. You may know from your employment contract the circumstances under which your boss may fire you, but that does not mean they (currently) have the intention to do so.

We know from countless psychological experiments that we can convince ourselves we are seeing patterns where none really exist. Especially if our minds are deeply focused somewhere else. So how can we arrive at the most objective interpretation of what our senses are telling us? Put to one side the difficulties we discussed in the last chapter of knowing which are sufficiently reliable pieces of information to justify our labelling them as facts. Even if we are sure of our facts we can still misunderstand their import.

Imagine yourself late at night, for example, sitting in an empty carriage on the last train from the airport. A burly unkempt man comes into the carriage and sits behind you and starts talking aggressively to himself, apparently threatening trouble. Those sense impressions are likely at first to trigger the thought that you do not want to be alone with this individual. The stranger is exhibiting behaviour associated with someone in mental distress. Concern arises that perhaps he will turn violent; you start to estimate the distance to the door to the next carriage and where the emergency alarm is located; then you notice the tiny earphone he is wearing. You relax. Your mental mapping has flipped over and now provides a non-threatening explanation of what you heard as the simpler phenomenon of a very cross and tired man off a long flight making a mobile call to the car hire company that failed to pick him up.

What made you for a moment apprehensive in such a situation was how you instinctively framed the question. Our brains interpret facts within an emotional frame of mind that adds colour, in this case that represented potential danger on the mental map we were making. That framing was initially almost certainly beyond conscious thought. It may have been triggered by memory of past situations or more likely simply imaginative representation of possibilities. If you had been watching a scare movie such as Halloween on your flight, then the effect would probably have been even more pronounced.

The term ‘framing’ is a useful metaphor, a rough descriptor of the mental process that unconsciously colours our inferential map of a situation. The marvellous brightly coloured paintings of Howard Hodgkin, for example, extend from the canvas on to and over the frame. The frame itself is an integral part of the picture and conditions our perception of what we see on the canvas itself. The framing effect comes from within, as our minds respond to what we are seeing, and indeed feeling and remembering. It is part of the job of TV news editors to choose the clips of film that will provide visual and aural clues to frame our understanding of the news. And of course, as movie directors know, the effect of images playing together with sound are all the more powerful when working in combination to help us create in our minds the powerful mental representation of the scene that director wanted. The scrape of the violins as the murderer stalks up the staircase, knife in hand, builds tension; whereas the swelling orchestra releases that tension when the happy couple dance into the sunset at the end. Modern political advertising has learned all these tricks to play on us to make their message one we respond to more emotionally than rationally.

Up to this point in history only a human being could add meaning. Tomorrow, however, it could be a machine that uses an artificial intelligence programme to infer meaning from data, and then to add appropriate framing devices to an artificially generated output. Computerized sentiment analysis of social media postings already exists that can gauge a crowd’s propensity to violence. Careful use of artificial intelligence could shorten the time taken to alert analysts to a developing crisis.

However, there are dangers in letting machines infer an explanation of what is going on. Stock exchanges have already suffered the problems of ‘flash crashes’ when a random fall in a key stock price triggers via an

artificial intelligence programme automated selling that is detected by other trading algorithms, which in turn start selling and set off a chain reaction of dumping shares. So automatic brakes have had to be constructed to prevent the market being driven down by such automation. A dangerous parallel would be if reliance is placed on such causal inference to trigger automatically changes in defence posture in response to detected cyberattacks. If both sides in an adversarial relationship have equipped themselves with such technology, then we might enter the world of Dr Strangelove. Even more so if there are more than two players in such aninfernal game of automated inference. As AI increasingly seeps into our everyday lives, too, we must not allow ourselves to slip into allowing it to infer meaning on our behalf unchecked. Today the algorithm is selecting what online advertisements it thinks will best match our interests, irritating when wrong but not harmful. Which it would be if it were a credit rating algorithm secretly deciding that your browsing and online purchasing history indicate a risk appetite too high to allow you to hold a credit card or obtain affordable motorbike insurance.

Back to Bayesics: scientifically choosing an explanatory hypothesis

The intelligence analyst is applying in the second stage of SEES generally accepted scientific method to the task of explaining the everyday world. The outcome should be the explanatory hypothesis that best fits the observed data, with the least extraneous assumptions having to be made, and with alternative hypotheses having been tested against the data and found less satisfactory. The very best ideas in science, after sufficient replication in different experiments, are dignified with the appellation ‘theories’. In intelligence work, as in everyday life, we normally remain at the level of an explanatory hypothesis, conscious that at any moment new evidence may appear that will force a re-evaluation. An example in the last chapter was the case of the Cuban missile crisis, when the USAF photographs of installations and vehicles seen in Cuba, coupled with the secret intelligence from the MI6/CIA agent Col. Penkovsky, led analysts to warn President Kennedy that he was now faced with the Soviet Union introducing medium-range nuclear missile systems on to the island.

In the last chapter I described the method of Bayesian inference as the scientific way of adjusting our degree of belief in a hypothesis in the light of new evidence. You have evidence and use it to work backwards to assess what the most likely situation was that could have led to it being created. Let me provide a personal example to show that such Bayesian reasoning can be applied to everyday matters.

I remember Tony Blair when Prime Minister saying that he would have guessed that my background was in Defence. When I asked why, he replied because my shoes were shined. Most of Whitehall, he commented, had gone scruffy, but those used to working with the military had retained the habit of cleaning their shoes regularly.

We can use Bayesian reasoning to test that hypothesis, D, that I came from the MOD. Say 5 per cent of senior civil servants work in Defence, so the prior probability of D being true p(D) = 1/20 (5 per cent), which is the chance of picking a senior civil servant at random and finding he or she is from the MOD.

E is the evidence that my shoes are shined. Observation in the Ministry of Defence and around Whitehall might show that 7 out of 10 Defence senior civil servants wear shiny shoes but only 4 out of 10 in civil departments do so. So the overall probability of finding shiny shoes is the sum of that for Defence and that for civil departments

p(E) = (1/20)*(7/10)+(1–1/20)*(4/10) = 83/200

The posterior probability that I came from Defence is written as p(D|E) (where, remember, the vertical bar is to be read as ‘given’). From Bayes’s theorem, as described in Chapter 1:

p(D|E) = p(D). [p(E|D)/p(E)] = 1/20*[7/10*200/83] = 7/83 =

approx. 1/12

Using Bayesian reasoning, the chances of the PM’s hypothesis being true is almost double what would be expected from a random guess.

Bayesian inference is a powerful way of establishing explanations, the second stage of the SEES method. The example can be set out in a 2 by 2 table (say, applied to a sample of 2000 civil servants) showing the classifications of shined shoes/not shined shoes and from Defence/not from Defence. I leave it to the reader to check that the posterior probability

P(D/E) found above using Bayes’s theorem can be read from the first column of the table as 70/830 = approx. 1/12. Without seeing the shined shoes, the prior probability that I come from the MOD would be 100/2000, or 1/20.

E: shined shoesNot shined shoesTotals

D: from MOD7030100

Not from MOD76011401900


Now imagine a real ‘big data’ case with an array of hundreds or thousands of dimensions to cater for large numbers of different types of evidence. Bayes’s theorem still holds as the method of inferring posterior probabilities (although the maths gets complicated). That is how inferences are legitimately to be drawn from big data. The medical profession is

already experiencing the benefits of this approach.5 The availability of personal data on internet use also provides many new opportunities to derive valuable results from data analysis. Cambridge Analytica boasted that it had 4000–5000 separate data points on each voter in the US 2016 Presidential election, guiding targeted political advertising, a disturbing application of Bayesian inference that we will return to in Chapter 10.

In all sustained thinking, assumptions do have to be made – the important thing is to be prepared in the light of new evidence challenging the assumptions to rethink the approach. A useful pragmatic test about making assumptions is to ask at any given stage of serious thinking, if I make this assumption, am I making myself worse off in terms of chances of success if it turns out not to be sensible than if I had not made it? Put another way, if my assumption turns out to be wrong then would I end up actually worse off in my search for the answer or am I just no better off?

For example, if you have a four-wheel combination bicycle lock and forget the number you could start at 0000, then 0001, 0002, all the way up, aiming for 9999, knowing that at some point the lock will open. But you might make the reasonable assumption that you would not have picked a

number commencing with 0, so you start at 1000. Chances are that saves you work. But if your assumption is wrong you are no worse off.

As a general rule it is the explanatory hypothesis with the least evidence against it that is most likely to be the best one for us to adopt. The logic is that one strong contrary result can disconfirm a hypothesis. Apparently confirmatory evidence on the other hand can still be consistent with other hypotheses being true. In that way the analyst can avoid the trap (the

inductive fallacy 6 ) of thinking that being able to collect more and more evidence in favour of a proposition necessarily increases confidence in it. If we keep looking in Europe to discover the colour of swans, then we will certainly conclude by piling up as many reports as we like that they are all white. If eventually we seek evidence from Australia then the infamous

‘black swan’ appears and contradicts our generalization.7 When there are more reports in favour of hypothesis A than its inverse, hypothesis B, it is not always sensible to prefer A to B if we suspect that the amount of evidence pointing to A rather than B has been affected by how we set about searching for it.

A well-studied lesson of the dangers of misinterpreting complex situations is the ‘security dilemma’ when rearmament steps taken by one nation with purely defensive intent trigger fears in a potential adversary, leading it to take its own defensive steps that then appear to validate the original fears. The classic example is a decision by country A to modernize by building a new class of battleships. That induces anxiety in country B that an adverse military balance is thereby being built up against it. That leads to decisions on the part of country B also to build up its forces. That rearmament intention in turn is perceived as threatening by country A, not only justifying the original decision to have a new class of battleships but prompting the ordering of yet more ships. The worst fears of country B about the intentions of country A are thus confirmed. And an arms race starts. As the Harvard scholar Ben Buchanan has pointed out, such mutual misassessments of motivation are even more likely to be seen today in cyberspace since the difference between an intrusion for espionage

purposes and for sabotage need only be a few lines of code.8 There is thus ample scope for interpreting detected intrusions as potentially hostile, on both sides. Acts justified as entirely defensive by one government are therefore liable to be labelled as offensive in motivation by another – and vice versa.

We can easily imagine an established couple, call them Alice and Bob, one of whom, Bob, is of a jealous nature. Alice one day catches Bob with her phone reading her texts. Alice feels this is an invasion of her privacy, and increases the privacy settings on her phone. Bob takes this as evidence that Alice must have something to hide and redoubles his efforts to read her text messages and social media posts, which in turn causes Alice to feel justified in her outrage at being mistrusted and spied on. She takes steps to be even more secretive, setting in train a cycle of mistrust likely, if not interrupted, to gravely damage their relationship.

Explaining your conclusions

Margaret Thatcher was grateful for the weekly updates she received from the JIC. She always wanted to be warned when previous assessments had changed. But she complained that the language the JIC employed was too often ‘nuanced’. ‘It would be helpful’, she explained, ‘if key judgments in the assessments could be highlighted by placing them in eye-catching

sentences couched in plainly expressed language.’9 In the case of the Falklands that I mentioned in Chapter 1, the JIC had been guilty of such nuance in their July 1981 assessment. They had explained that they judged that the Argentine government would prefer to achieve its objective (transfer of sovereignty) by peaceful means. Thereby the JIC led readers to infer that if Argentina believed the UK was negotiating in good faith on the future of the Islands, then it would follow a peaceful policy, adding that if Argentina saw no hope of a peaceful transfer of sovereignty then a full-scale invasion of FI could not be discounted. Those in London privy to the Falklands negotiations knew the UK wanted a peaceful solution too. Objectively, nevertheless, the current diplomatic efforts seemed unlikely to lead to a mutually acceptable solution. But for the JIC to say that would look like it was straying into political criticism of ministerial policy and away from its brief of assessing the intelligence. There was therefore no trigger for reconsideration of the controversial cuts to the Royal Navy announced the year before, including the plan to scrap the Falklands-based ice patrol ship HMS Endurance. Inadvertently, and without consciously realizing they had done so, the UK had taken steps that would have reinforced in the minds of the Junta the thought that the UK did not see the

Islands as a vital strategic interest worth fighting for. The Junta might reasonably have concluded that if Argentina took over the Islands by force the worst it would face would be strong diplomatic protest.

Explaining something that is not self-evident is a process that reduces a complex problem to simpler elements. When analysts write an intelligence assessment they have to judge which propositions they can rely on as known to their readers and thus do not need explaining or further justification. That Al Qaid’a under Bin Laden was responsible for the attacks on 9/11 is now such a building block. That the Russian military intelligence directorate, the GRU, was responsible for the attempted murder of the Skripals in Salisbury in 2018 is likewise a building block for discussions of Russian behaviour. That Saddam Hussein in Iraq was still pursuing an unlawful biological warfare programme in 2002 was treated as a building block – wrongly, and therein lies the danger. That was a proposition that had once been true but (unbeknown to the analysts) was no longer. The mental maps being used by the analysts to interpret the reports being received were out of date and were no longer an adequate guide to reality. As the philosopher Richard Rorty has written: ‘We do not have any way to establish the truth of a belief or the rightness of an action except by reference to the justifications we offer for thinking what we think or doing what we do.’10

Here, however, lies another lesson in trying to explain very complex

situations in terms of simpler propositions.11 The temptation is to cut straight through complex arguments by presenting them in instantly recognizable terms that the reader or listener will respond to at an emotional level. We do this when we pigeonhole a colleague with a label like ‘difficult’ or ‘easy to work with’. We all know what we are meant to infer when a politician makes reference in a television interview or debate to the Dunkirk spirit, the appeasement of fascism in the 1930s, Pearl Harbor and the failure to anticipate surprise attacks, or Suez and the overestimation of British power in the 1956 occupation of the Egyptian canal zone. ‘Remember the 2003 invasion of Iraq’ is now a similarly instantly recognizable meme for the alleged dangers of getting too close to the United States. Such crude narrative devices serve as a shorthand for a much more complex reality. They are liable to mislead more than enlighten. History does not repeat itself, even as tragedy.

The lesson in all of this is that an accurate explanation of what you see is crucial.

Testing explanations and choosing hypotheses

How do we know when we have arrived at a sufficiently convincing explanation? The US and British criminal justice systems rest on the testing in court of alternative explanations of the facts presented respectively by counsel for the prosecution and for the defence in an adversarial process. For the intelligence analyst the unconscious temptation will be to try too hard to explain how the known evidence fits their favoured explanation, and why contrary evidence should not be included in the report.

Where there is a choice of explanations apply Occam’s razor (named after the fourteenth-century Franciscan friar William of Occam) and favour the explanation that does not rely on complex, improbable or numerous assumptions, all of which have to be satisfied for the hypothesis to stand up. By adding ever more baroque assumptions any set of facts can be made to fit a favoured theory. This is the territory where conspiracies lurk. In the words of the old medical training adage, when you hear rapid hoof-beats

think first galloping horses not zebras escaping from a zoo.12

Relative likelihood

It is important when engaged in serious thinking about what is going on to have a sense of the relative likelihood of alternative hypotheses being true. We might say, for example, after examining the evidence that it is much more likely that the culprit behind a hacking attack is a criminal group rather than a hostile state intelligence agency. Probability is the language in which likelihoods are expressed. For example, suppose a six-sided die is being used in a gambling game. If I have a suspicion that the die is loaded to give more sixes, I can test the hypothesis that the die is fair by throwing the die many times. I know from first principles that an unbiased die tossed properly will fall randomly on any one of its six faces with a probability [1/6]. The result of each toss of the die should produce a random result independent of the previous toss. Thus I must expect some clustering of

results by chance, with perhaps three or even four sixes being tossed in a row (the probability of four sixes in a row is small – [1/6]x[1/6]x[1/6]x[1/6]

  • 0.0008, less than 1 in a thousand. But it is not zero). I will therefore not be too surprised to find a run of sixes. But, evidently, if I throw the die 100 times and I return 50 sixes, then it is a reasonable conclusion that the die is biased. The more tosses of that particular die the more stable the proportion of sixes will be. Throw it 1,000 times, 10,000 times, and, if the result is consistent, our conclusion becomes more likely. A rational degree of belief in the hypothesis that the die is not fair comes from analysis of the data, seeing the difference between what results would be associated with the hypothesis (a fair die) and the alternative hypothesis (a die biased to show sixes).

The key question to ask in that case is: if the die was fair, how likely is it that we would have seen 50 sixes in 100 throws? That is the approach of Bayesian inference we saw earlier in the chapter. The greater the divergence the more it is rational to believe that the evidence points to it not being a fair die. We have conducted what intelligence officers call an analysis of competing hypotheses (ACH), one of the most important structured analytic techniques in use in Western intelligence assessment, pioneered by CIA

analyst Richards J. Heuer.13 The method is systematically to list all the possible explanations (alternative hypotheses) and to test each piece of evidence, each inference and each assumption made as to whether it is significant in choosing between them (this is known by an ugly term as the discriminatability of the intelligence report). We then prefer the explanationwith the least evidence pointing against it.

Alas, in everyday life, most situations we come across cannot be tested under repeated trials. Nor can we know in advance, or work out from first principles, what ideal results to compare with our observed data (such as the characteristics of a fair die). We cannot know that a boss is exhibiting unfair prejudice against one of their team in the way we can establish that a die is biased. But if we have a hypothesis of bias we can rationally test it against the evidence of observed behaviour. We will have to apply judgement in assessing the motives of the people involved and in testing possible alternative explanations for their behaviour against the evidence, discriminating between these hypotheses as best we can. When we apply Bayesian inference to everyday situations in that way, we end up with a degree of belief in the hypothesis that we conclude best explains the

observed data. That result is inevitably subjective, but is the best achievable from the available evidence. And, of course, we must always therefore be open to correction if fresh evidence is obtained.

Stage 2 of SEES: explaining

The first step in stage 2 of SEES is therefore to decide what possible explanations (hypotheses) to test against each other. Let me start with an intelligence example. Suppose secret intelligence reveals that the military authorities of a non-nuclear weapon State A are seeking covertly to import specialist high-speed fuses of a kind associated with the construction of nuclear weapons but that also have some research civilian uses. I cannot be certain that State A is pursuing a nuclear weapons programme in defiance of the international Non-Proliferation Treaty, although I might know that it has the capability to enrich uranium. The covert procurement attempts m