Saturday, August 10, 2013

Reds Under The Beds: Diana West Can't Sleep

August 10, 2013

Diana West comes charging in at a furious gallop unfurling the banner of treason in her recent book American Betrayal. The Secret Assault on our Nation's Character. She arrives late to the subject of Soviet infiltration of the United States. But she brings attitude, wearing her outrage on her sleeve as she recounts the duplicitous activities of key American communists and sympathizers who allegedly transformed U.S. policy to conform with Stalin's ambitions. Despite her hyperbolic, exclamation point, italicized febrile style, the awful truth appears to materialize, like a photographic image in a pan of developing fluid. Yes, yes.... it is true! she constantly exclaims.
And to her credit she explores key events and individuals beyond the declassified evidence available since 1991 after the collapse of the Soviet Union. She notes books and articles from the 1940s and 1950s that identified espionage rings and traitorous federal officials at the heart of U.S. policy who operated in the thrall of Soviet communism. She is horrified by treasonous behavior and draws conclusions from parallel events, such as FDR's commitment to Russia which she says altered the course of World War II and the chilling aftermath.
West never slows down divulging her selected evidence of manipulation of U.S. policy by Stalin's agents of influence, such as efforts to induce the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor; the call for Germany's "unconditional surrender" that she says prevented a negotiated accommodation with "good Germans"; the Chinese repudiation of Chiang Kai-shek in favor of Mao; and the White House-favored decision by the U.S. military to abandon Churchill's Mediterranean Strategy that -- West asserts -- could have cut off the advancing Red Army before it rolled into Germany.
The U.S. and the Allies launched the so-called Second Front via France that Stalin demanded to keep Russia in the war which set the table for the Red Army to make a meal of Eastern Europe. Whether the result of manipulation by Soviet spies in Washington or military exigency, the result was the imprisonment of 200 million people until 1991, and the U.S.-supported repatriation of two million refugees and 22,000 Americans into the hellish Soviet gulag.
The unvarnished truth, which has to overcome West's incandescent style and conspiracy-theory template, is difficult for Americans to accept -- that the United States government was infiltrated by American communist traitors committed to implement Stalin's goals. To tell the public FDR, the aristocratic leader who allegedly saved U.S. from the Great Depression, was committed to the advancement of a murderous communist regime is uncomfortable in the extreme. And West collates the scattered evidence from newly declassified information that she says identifies FDR confidant Harry Hopkins the Kingfish on the Soviet spy pyramid.
While West has been receiving some rapturous reviews, mostly from conservative sources, scholars are nitpicking her hyperbole and her facts, or at least her interpretation of the data. Ronald Radosh, a former communist who switched sides and is today a well known conservative writer and an Adjunct Fellow at the Hudson Institute, calls West "McCarthy on Steroids" in his scathing review on Front Page.Com
Radosh's evisceration of West churns up contradictory facts. But it is also an example of academic barriers often erected by Cold War scholars who mean well but often downplay the consequences of revelations in order to avoid the pitfalls of overreaction that could taint their conclusions. However, since the lid was blown off the secret cauldron of Soviet penetration of the U.S. after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, and the startling verification of named Soviet agents in the U.S. government in 1996, efforts by researchers to dampen the dramatic impact on our society have prevented public understanding of a dramatic period in our recent history.
But the drama actually begins in 1990 with the publication of KGB: The Inside Story by KGB Colonel Oleg Gordievsky and Cambridge intelligence expert Christopher Andrew, that opened the Pandora's Box of Soviet infamy while the USSR was still breathing. Gordievsky, who began working as a double agent for Great Britain's Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) in 1968, was caught in 1985 by the KGB and interrogated. SIS lifted him out of the USSR to the UK. He insisted they allow him to write a book on his knowledge of Soviet perfidy and together they chose Andrew, at that time the only credible scholar in the field of intelligence. Today, Andrew is the undisputed dean of intelligence scholarship worldwide, and Gordievsky has been knighted for his service to Britain.
As recounted in their book, and cited by West as the foundation of her thesis, Harry Hopkins -- FDR's confidant, advisor, and policy czar, who actually resided in the White House during World War II -- was the Big Enchilada among American agents of influence working for the USSR. Gordievsky recounts attending a lecture early in his career by Iskhak Akhmerov, the KGB's top "illegal" spy in the U.S. during the 1940s (In espionage parlance, "illegals" do not have legal cover if caught). According to Gordievsky, Akhmerov spoke for a long period about Hopkins, calling him the top Soviet asset in the US. Yet, Gordievsky and Andrew tiptoe around this allegation by representing that Hopkins was a naïve devotee who only courted Stalin to ensure victory over Hitler's Germany.
Although I know Andrew well, and have met Gordievsky twice, I now doubt their characterization of Hopkins -- also embraced by Radosh and the scholarly community. I now support West's conclusions after rereading KGB: The Inside Story account 23 years later. It does not ring true that Hopkins was an innocent dupe dedicated solely to defeating the Nazis. Hopkins comes over in history as crafty, secretive and no one's fool, hardly the personality traits of a naïve fellow traveler. And his fingerprints are on the large majority of pro-Soviet policies implemented by the Roosevelt administration. West deserves respect for cutting through the dross that obscures the evidence about Hopkins, and for screaming from the rooftops that the U.S. was the victim of a successful Soviet intelligence operation.
Radosh cites key Cold War scholars to tear apart West's view. I know and like Radosh and almost all of the experts he refers to, and agree they are excellent researchers and writers. But they are all restricted by their profession not to dramatize their findings. Diane West is not a scholar, but she certainly has the right to connect dots and come to conclusions, even if she is unable to present historical detail on a scholarly level. And while Radosh rightfully criticizes West for her academic mistakes and conclusions, this does not mean that she is wrong in portraying the reality that the U.S. was duped into pro-Soviet policies that extended in scope beyond the military objective to keep Stalin in the war.
West also focuses on the 1996 Venona Conference, which I attended, that instigated the current investigation of Soviet operatives in the FDR administration. Held at the National War College at Fort McNair in Washington, DC, the CIA and NSA released intercepted cable traffic from Moscow to its American agents from as early as 1939 up to 1962. As the conference proceeded, a group of six or seven men (including Rosenberg accomplice Morton Sobell) began interrupting the proceedings, proclaiming that information from Venona was bogus because some of the facts were not true. I recognized the technique: by discrediting one detail, the goal was to discredit everything else. And the dissidents were successful in running off the media, already pre-conditioned not to report on Venona, once again obscuring the evidence that Americans were spying and influencing U.S. policy on behalf of Moscow. Radosh's reaction to West's book reminds me of that episode. His criticisms are valid in detail but lacking in general perspective. He trivializes the reality that communist agents were indeed infiltrating the U.S. government, while focusing on the opinion that West is a nut case for claiming Hopkins was one too. He calls her belief that Soviet agents influenced policy by saying pro-Soviet decisions were necessitated by conditions of war. Actually, it was both, but like West, Radosh cannot seem to manage a broad view.
By 1946, codebreaker Meredith Gardner was able to discern patterns in the cables that proved the messages were going to American agents working for the Soviets in the U.S. government. As of today, approximately 400 agents have been identified -- far more than Senator Joseph McCarthy's famous "list" of 105. And only ten percent of the Venona files have been decrypted.
West mines Venona, the testimony of "Red spy queen" Elizabeth Bentley -- who confessed her work for the communist underground to the FBI in 1945 -- and the book Blacklisted by History by M. Stanton Evans, a re-examination of the McCarthy era using Venona and hundreds of other recently declassified documents from the FBI, CIA, and other agencies. And West lambastes the Truman administration for not revealing data from Venona that would have exonerated McCarthy and informed the nation that Soviet agents had indeed infiltrated key departments of the FDR administration.
Again, Radosh dissects this assertion with evidence Truman did not know about Venona, although there is contrariwise opinion cited by West that Radosh says is bogus. Radosh says there weren't specific references in the decoded decrypts to utilize until 1955. Even so, the President could have demanded that code breakers work harder and faster -- the modus operandi the public expected from Truman. Instead the country was unnecessarily torn apart by the McCarthy episode.
The Rosenbergs, Alger Hiss, Harry Dexter White, Laurence Duggan, and 397 more American agents have been confirmed and verified as Soviet agents. West claims Harry Hopkins has been outed too in Venona, but Radosh and other scholars say this identification is bogus. But the Soviets also ran important agents of influence with great attention to the security of their identities. In essence, whether or not Hopkins is ever identified in Venona, he remains, as the cops say, a person of interest.
West's intensity is what is needed for Americans to grasp that our culture has been hijacked. For example, the national media and our major universities continue to ignore the Left's political agenda in which traditional American beliefs have been gradually undermined and replaced with utopian theoretical doctrines born in Marxism and other esoteric ideologies: political correctness, multiculturalism and an incessant condemnation of religion. Our culture today reads like the Comintern handbook, thanks largely to the gullibility of the American Left which swallowed propaganda dished up by communist agents of influence. And that is why the Left should never be taken seriously. Any individual or group that did not turn away in disgust from the murderous evil of the Soviet Union due to the belief that it was a better system than ours is beneath contempt. Yet it happened, and Diana West wants everyone to know how it happened -- a far greater service than picking nits over insignificant details. The results of covering up the truth about the penetration of U.S. society -- even if Soviet agents did not play the significant role West proclaims -- has been moral equivalence, utopian schemes, the undermining of national heroes, the fracturing of shared values and a constant clatter criticizing the inadequacies of freedom. Ironically or not, these stabs at our values match Soviet Cold War propaganda by reminding Americans we are racist, chauvinistic, and imperialistic.
Today, worn down by leftist claptrap, we are no longer proud and confident, our belief in ourselves run down by propaganda that highlights our inadequacies. We have accepted that our society is a failure in need of progressive improvement because we cannot live up to the utopian perfection peddled by the communists. Anne Applebaum, oddly of the Washington Post, who writes books on the reality of the Soviet empire, recently said in Iron Curtain, her latest offering, how East Germany's Walter Ulbricht exerted Soviet control: "The skill was to put their supporters into broadcasting and the press, the arts, the unions, youth organizations, universities, and voluntary associations down to the level of chess clubs... critics of any aspect of Communism were defined as fascists." Sound familiar?
Bernie Reeves, a magazine editor and publisher, is founder of the Raleigh Spy Conference, established in 2003 to interpret declassified information from the 1930s through the Cold War:

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Know Thine Enemy

Major Hasan is honest about himself; why aren’t we? 

On December 7, 1941, the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor was attacked. Three years, eight months, and eight days later, the Japanese surrendered. These days, America’s military moves at a more leisurely pace. On November 5, 2009, another U.S. base, Fort Hood, was attacked — by one man standing on a table, screaming “Allahu akbar!” and opening fire. Three years, nine months, and one day later, his court-martial finally got under way.

The intervening third-of-a-decade-and-more has apparently been taken up by such vital legal questions as the fullness of beard Major Hasan is permitted to sport in court. This is not a joke: See “Judge Ousted in Fort Hood Shooting Case amid Beard Debacle” (CBS News). Army regulations require soldiers to be clean-shaven. The judge, Colonel Gregory Gross, ruled Hasan’s beard in contempt, fined him $1,000, and said he would be forcibly shaved if he showed up that hirsute next time. At which point Hasan went to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, which ruled that Colonel Gross’s pogonophobia raised questions about his impartiality, and removed him. He’s the first judge in the history of American jurisprudence to be kicked off a trial because of a “beard debacle.” The new judge, Colonel Tara Osborn, agreed that Hasan’s beard was a violation of regulations, but “said she won’t hold it against him.”

The U.S. Army seems disinclined to hold anything against him, especially the 13 corpses plus an unborn baby. Major Hasan fired his lawyers, presumably because they were trying to get him off — on the grounds that he’d had a Twinkie beforehand, or his beard don’t fit so you must acquit, or some such. As a self-respecting jihadist, Major Hasan quite reasonably resented being portrayed as just another all-American loon gone postal. So he sacked his defense team, only to have the court appoint a standby defense team just in case there were any arcane precedents and obscure case law he needed clarification on. I know that’s the way your big-time F. Lee Bailey types would play it, but it doesn’t seem to be Major Hasan’s style. On the very first day of the trial, he stood up and told the jury that “the evidence will clearly show that I am the shooter.” Later, in one of his few courtroom interventions, he insisted that it be put on the record that “the alleged murder weapon” was, in fact, his. The trial then came to a halt when the standby defense team objected to the judge that Major Hasan’s defense strategy (yes, I did it; gimme a blindfold, cigarette, and tell the virgins here I come) would result in his conviction and execution. 

Major Hasan is a Virginia-born army psychiatrist and a recipient of the Pentagon’s Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, which seems fair enough, since he certainly served in it, albeit for the other side. Most Americans think he’s nuts. He thinks Americans are nuts. It’s a closer call than you’d think. In the immediate aftermath of his attack, the U.S. media, following their iron-clad rule that “Allahu akbar” is Arabic for “Nothing to see here,” did their best to pass off Major Hasan as the first known victim of pre-Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. “It comes at a time when the stress of combat has affected so many soldiers,” fretted Andrew Bast in a report the now defunct Newsweek headlined, “A Symptom of a Military on the Brink.”

Major Hasan has never been in combat. He is not, in fact, a soldier. He is a shrink. The soldiers in this story are the victims, some 45 of them. And the only reason a doctor can gun down nearly four dozen trained warriors (he was eventually interrupted by a civilian police officer, Sergeant Kimberly Munley, with a 9mm Beretta) is that soldiers on base are forbidden from carrying weapons. That’s to say, under a 1993 directive a U.S. military base is effectively a gun-free zone, just like a Connecticut grade school. That’s a useful tip: If you’re mentally ill and looking to shoot up a movie theater at the next Batman premiere, try the local barracks — there’s less chance of anyone firing back.

Maybe this Clinton-era directive merits reconsideration in the wake of Fort Hood? Don’t be ridiculous. Instead, nine months after Major Hasan’s killing spree, the Department of Defense put into place “a series of procedural and policy changes that focus on identifying, responding to, and preventing potential workplace violence.”

Major Hasan says he’s a soldier for the Taliban. Maybe if the Pentagon were to reclassify the entire Afghan theater as an unusually prolonged outburst of “workplace violence,” we wouldn’t have to worry about obsolescent concepts such as “victory” and “defeat.” The important thing is that the U.S. Army’s “workplace violence” is diverse. After Major Hasan’s pre-post-traumatic workplace wobbly, General George W. Casey Jr., the Army’s chief of staff, was at pains to assure us that it could have been a whole lot worse: “What happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty.” And you can’t get much more diverse than letting your military personnel pick which side of the war they want to be on.

Like I said, we think he’s nuts; he thinks we’re nuts. Right now, there’s a petition on the Internet seeking to persuade the United States government to reclassify Hasan’s “workplace violence” as an act of terror. There are practical consequences to this: The victims, shot by an avowed enemy combatant in an act of war, are currently ineligible for Purple Hearts. The Pentagon insists the dead and wounded must be dishonored in death because to give them any awards for their sacrifice would prejudice Major Hasan’s trial and make it less likely that he could be convicted.

Hence, the Internet petition. Linking to it from their homepage, my colleagues at National Review Online promoted it with the tag: “Thirteen people lost their lives with dozens of others wounded. And now the man responsible wants to claim it was workplace violence.”

That’s not true — and actually it’s grossly unfair to Major Hasan. He’s admirably upfront about who and what he is — a “Soldier of Allah,” as he put on his business card. On Tuesday, he admitted he was a traitor who had crossed over from “the bad side” (America’s) to “the good side” (Islam’s). He has renounced his U.S. citizenship and its effete protections such as workplace-violence disability leave. He professes loyalty to America’s enemies. He says, “I am the shooter.” He helpfully informs us that that’s his gun. In this week’s one-minute statement, he spoke more honestly and made more sense than Obama, Gates, Casey, the Armed Forces Court of Appeals, two judges, the prosecution and defense lawyers, and mountains of bureaucratic reports and media coverage put together.
But poor old Hasan can say “Yup, I did it” all he wants; what does he know? 

Unlike the Zimmerman trial, Major Hasan’s has not excited the attention of the media. Yet it is far more symbolic of the state of America than the Trayvon Martin case, in which superannuated race hucksters attempted to impose a half-century-old moth-eaten Klan hood on a guy who’s a virtual one-man melting pot. The response to Nidal Hasan helps explain why, in Afghanistan and elsewhere, this war is being lost — because it cannot be won because, increasingly, it cannot even be acknowledged. Which helps explain why it now takes the U.S. military longer to prosecute a case of “workplace violence” than it did to win World War Two. 

 Mark Steyn, a National Review columnist, is the author of After America: Get Ready for Armageddon. © 2013 Mark Steyn

Friday, August 09, 2013

Today's Tune: The Killers - Here With Me (Live)

The Killers continue to evolve

By Ed Condran
August 8, 2013
Bigger has always been better for The Killers. The Las Vegas-based pop-rock band has nailed the rendering of stylish, atmospheric arena-ready tunes.
“I think people forget that wasn’t what was happening when we started out,” drummer Ronnie Vannucci said while calling from San Francisco. “It was an indie world back then.”
When The Killers formed in 2002, lo-fi was in vogue, but there were music fans who were clearly underserved. They craved glitzy, dramatic songs of love and loss – and the Killers were more than happy to comply.
“Hot Fuss,” the band’s debut album, is loaded with agreeable “guy longs for girl” cuts, such as “Mr. Brightside” and “Smile Like You Mean It.” The band’s winning Cure-meets-Depeche Mode, with a touch of Duran Duran, style helped it move quickly up the music food chain and they were soon headlining amphitheaters.
Each of the band’s four albums, including 2012’s “Battle Born,” have received critical and commercial acclaim, which is no mean feat.
“There’s a tremendous amount of pressure to pull that off,” Vannucci said. “We want to be make the best album we can and hopefully appeal to fans, but we also don’t want to redo what we just did. It’s about evolving.”
The latest Killers album lacks the anthemic style of “Hot Fuss” and misses the intensity of the exceptional 2006 disc “Sam’s Town.” But the band, which also includes vocalist-keyboardist Brandon Flowers, guitarist Dave Keuning and bassist Mark Stoermer, did manage to craft gritty but pleasing blasts of earnest, melancholy rock.
“I think we’ve taken another step forward with this album,” Vannucci said. “We wanted to simplify things with this album. We just wanted to make the best music possible. We didn’t over-think it, and as a result I think this is the easiest record we’ve made.”
The band members, who will perform Monday at the Red Hat Amphitheater, try to focus solely on the music and tend to eschew a lot of press.
Maintaining mystique
“I think it’s a good thing to have some mystique,” Vannucci said. “Less is more. But that’s hard to do in this age of YouTube, which is about nothing being sacred. It should be all about the music. We’re not worried about what gets played or not because who knows why programmers select certain songs? We just want to make the best records and be around for a long time like our heroes.”
It’s clear that the band members adore Bruce Springsteen – his influence is all over “Sam’s Town.” The Boss’ poetic touch is especially present in the guitar solo of the album’s first single, “When You Were Young.”
“Bruce Springsteen is incredible,” Vannucci said. “When you think consistent American artist, stadium-playing performer, there is no one else you think of. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are an arena band. But there are no bounds for Bruce as a songwriter, performer or as a touring performer. He and the E Street Band have had an impact on many bands. That yearning for the hometown and the good old days is something that Bruce has done better than anyone, and I think that’s in Brandon as well.”
It’ll be curious to see what The Killers do when their long tour ends in November. Will Flowers record a solo follow-up to his underrated 2010 debut “Flamingo” or will the band reconvene in the studio?
“I don’t know what we’ll do,” Vannucci said. “We’ve talked about it and we have different opinions. I know what I want to do. I have a guitar in my hand and I’m right by a tape recorder. I would like to make another Killers album, but we’ll see. I don’t have to think about it so much because we do have this tour. We’re really having fun out with each other and that’s a good sign. We’ll see what happens.”

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Stanford: The No Drama-Lovers’ Favorite

By Chris Mahr
August 8, 2013

Be honest with yourself: If you closely follow those teams at or near the top of college football’s pecking order, when was the last time you talked about or heard someone else talking about Stanford following their Rose Bowl victory this past January? 

The Cardinal is a consensus preseason Top 10 team, yet on a national scale, it has generated few (if any) offseason headlines. Compare that to the likes of Alabama, Ohio State, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Notre Dame, Louisville and its other fellow Top 10’ers. The college football-watching populace seemingly can’t stop talking about them. 

In fact, forget being overshadowed by other teams across the country. Within the Pac-12, you hear much more about what’s transpiring at Oregon (new uniforms/facilities galore) and/or USC (Lane Kiffin-generated drama) than you do at Stanford. 

Not that head coach David Shaw and his troops in Palo Alto mind the spotlight shining elsewhere. In fact, they probably prefer it. Despite a 35–5 record and three consecutive BCS bowl berths (including two wins) since the start of the 2010 season, the Cardinal is given about as much attention as a perennial eight- or nine-win program. 

That lack of attention allows the team to function in a pressure-free environment. Simultaneously, it allows us to admire their success through a lens other than the Hollywood-like one that accompanies their fellow preseason Top 10 teams. 

Meet Stanford: The team you should root for if you care about college football — but not the carnival sideshow that so often comes with it.

Before I sing the praises of an ascendant Cardinal program free of dramatics entering the 2013 season, it’s worth noting that Stanford has been far from immune to it. 

For starters, the team’s rise was powered by a combative head coach in Jim Harbaugh whose most lasting memory as Stanford’s head coach might be his chippy postgame exchange with USC counterpart Pete Carroll following their 2009 match-up. During the 2011 season, the national media fawned over golden boy QB Andrew Luck, both for his arm and his brain. 

Both Harbaugh and Luck have moved on to the NFL, yet the win totals keep growing on The Farm — even as writers and other media outlets are given less headline-grabbing stories to work with. After all, one can only document the blue-collar and hard-nosed nature of a football program so many times. Yet Stanford holds more true to that M.O. than most teams. 

The strength of their team — and the one area where they recruit as well as anyone across the country — is the offensive line, which isn’t exactly a “star power” position. After that is a defense that led the FBS in sacks a year ago (57) but achieved that gaudy total as a unit rather than relying on one player’s star power; Trent Murphy led the Cardinal with 10 sacks yet was one of seven Stanford players with four or more on the season. 

Murphy is one of five Cardinal defensive players — along with DE Ben Gardner, LB Shayne Skov and safeties Ed Reynolds and Jordan Richards — who should be preseason First Team All-Pac-12 selections. Yet chances are that if you’re not a Stanford fan, you’ve never heard of any of them. 

There’s even more anonymity among the skill players on offense. Sophomore QB Kevin Hogan went 5–0 as a starter last year — including four wins against Top 25 teams — due to smart and steady yet unspectacular play. The ground game will likely be running back by committee as several ball-carriers will join forces in an effort to replace the production of the departed Stepfan Taylor. Same thing with the pass-catchers. 

On the sidelines, Shaw has done nothing but win since taking the reins following the 2010 season. There have been no Harbaugh-like controversies to speak of. The closest thing I can think of is when he initially and unintentionally blew off his on-the-field postgame interview with ESPN’s Heather Cox following the Rose Bowl win (he later came back to do it). 

There is a system in place at Stanford that has churned out nearly 12 wins a year for the past three seasons. With the exception of Luck, it doesn’t churn out stars. Nor does it set a college football world permanently fixated on the next juicy story on fire. 

But after an offseason replete with one too many stories about Johnny Manziel’s latest shenanigans, fixations on Jadeveon Clowney’s physical awesomeness and so forth, it’s refreshing to know that there’s a team contending for a BCS bowl berth and a national title that’s not swept up in all of that. They’re merely here to play and hopefully win at football. 

After all, if they do the latter, that’ll be more than enough to get us all talking again. 

Chris Mahr is the managing editor of Lost Lettermen. His column appears on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You can follow him on Twitter at @CMahrtian. Top Photo Credit: Kyle Terada/USA Today Sports


Thursday, August 08, 2013

Diana West's response to Ron Radosh's review of her book, Part II

If Frontpage Lies about This, They'll Lie about Anything, Pt. 2

By Diana West
August 8, 2013

I would like to salute the contributions made in the comment-trenches in response to the recent eruptions over American Betrayal. It is interesting to note that the Frontpage cadre, led by chief enforcer David Horowitz, finds it hard to believe that so many people would take to the comment sections, Facebook, blogs and elsewhere wholly unsolicited by me and oppose their ugly attempts to render certain research, certain arguments unacceptable inside boundaries of historical debate as they, themselves, set them.

The Wall is going to come down no matter what they do to shore it up.

Meanwhile, on somewhat closer scrutiny, I find the Radosh mess to be a series of flattened, screaming, straw-man arguments that fail in terms of the most basic intellectual honesty to convey any reality-based synopsis of the evidence assembled inside the pages of my book.

For example, Radosh has readers believing that my quite lengthy, sourced discussions of whether Harry Hopkins, FDR's top wartime advisor, was an agent of Stalin's influence turn on one document. This is a 1943 Venona cable in which "Agent 19" is passing information to Moscow gained inside a small private meeting that included FDR and Churchill about the postponement of D-Day to 1944.

He writes: "The identification of Hopkins as Agent 19 is the linchpin of West’s conspiracy case."

This is a lie. My case against Hopkins, and, for that matter, the larger Soviet influence network, which included at least hundreds of identified American traitors assisting the KGB from various positions and institutions, by no means turns on one document. For Radosh to say so is ridiculous, but it is also damaging if people believe him. The range of my dossier on Hopkins is varied and extensive, as any casual perusal of the book reveals. Radosh, however, has chosen to omit all mention of the evidence I have gathered in my case against Hopkins. This, in and of itself, demonstrates that Radosh is not honestly evaluating my discussion of whether the president's top advisor during WWII might have been an agent of Stalin's influence. Nay-saying one piece of evidence to the exclusion of many other pieces of evidence is a transparently mendacious effort to misrepresent the book. This is not book reviewing; it is book assassination.

Here are just a few of the briefest, most quickly conveyed points about Hopkins Radosh doesn't mention. 
Not included, for example, is the startling assessment of Hopkins by Iskhak Ahkmerov, the famed Soviet “illegal” who ran a stable of top spies for the Kremlin, including Alger Hiss, who called Hopkins "the most important of all Soviet wartime agents." (The source of this is trusted KGB defector Oleg Gordievsky.)

Not included is the perplexing comment by George Marshall to his official biographer in 1957: “Hopkins’s job with the president was to represent the Russian interests. My job was to represent the American interests.”
Not included is any mention of the 1943 confidential letter to Hopkins and FDR from FBI Director J Edgar Hoover, and what Hopkins did with the information.

This is a staggering omission in consideration of a book panned on the Frontpage homepage yesterday specifically for not containing "evidence." It is actually a quite bizarre claim -- another lie -- about a book that quotes all manner of evidence from State Department records, newspapers, memoirs, letters, FBI records, Soviet records, experts, histories adding up to over 900 endnotes. I think what Frontpage really meant, as Radosh wrote to Horowitz in prompting the purge of the first review, is that my book manifests "a failure to use evidence correctly."

The Hoover letter to Hopkins and FDR that Radosh ignores, but which I quote at length in American Betrayal, revealed Soviet plans to infiltrate “industries engaged in secret war production for the United States Government so that information could be obtained for transmittal to the Soviet Union.” This information came from an FBI-wiretapped conversation between a Soviet Comintern agent -- masquerading, Hoover explained, as a top diplomat at the Soviet embassy -- and a known American Communist underground operative. Later, the FBI would realize this tapped conversation was its first inkling of the massive Soviet atomic espionage ring.

What did Hopkins do with this highly sensitive information? Did he share, let alone discuss it with FDR? We don’t know. We do know from the Mitrokhin archive, thousands of KGB documents copied by former KGB archivist Vasili Mitrokhin, thatHopkins “privately warned” the Soviet embassy that their agents attempting to steal US military secrets were under FBI surveillance.

This alone is a damning indictment of Hopkins' loyalties. There is also the cummulative effect of this document when considered along with the rest of my evidence that Radosh omits from his hit piece. A reader of my book, not Radosh's omissions and twistings, might come away from it thinking something was really wrong at the top and throughout the policy-making chain in the Roosevelt White House throughout World War II, and that that something -- Soviet influence operations in DC -- just might help us understand the sudden rise of the Soviet empire in 1945 that divided Europe, would turn China Red, imprison and kill millions of people, and set the stage for what we call the Cold War.

Additionally  -- and even worse to the Frontpage cadre -- a reader might begin to think that the great investigators, from Rep, Martin Dies, the Democrat who opened the House Un-American Activitis Committee in 1938, to Sen. Joseph McCarthy, the demon-fetish object for Old Leftists, were right to try to expose not an imaginary "Red Scare," as we have always been taught, but a real-life Red Conspiracy.

There is much more about Hopkins in American Betrayal. In truth, I could burn the Venona document Radosh singlemindedly and dishonestly focuses on to the exclusion of other evidence and still make the same case against Hopkins. Meanwhile, I do not accept his assertions that "19"/Hopkins link has been ruled out definitively, according to his arguments, but I will have to leave that explanation to another day.

I think the import is already clear. Radosh didn't read the book, or, more likely, constructed a review calculated to undermine my arguments by gross omission.

I will not, however, take responsibility for Radosh fabrications he attributes to me. I don't yet know how many there are in this ridiculously long review, but here is something Radosh hits me for that isn't in my book.

Instead of weighing these fears, West turns to another anecdote telling how George Elsey found confidential files in the Map Room that showed FDR naively thinking he could trust Stalin, and instructed Hopkins to tell Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov that FDR was in favor of a Second Front in 1942. She believes that this was a smoking gun proving that FDR was “making common cause with the NKVD.”

This "anecdote" Radosh says I supposely "turn to" is not in my book! When I first read it, the story wasn't familiar to me, so I scanned the book, also performed a search of the electronic version, and couldn't find it. I do find one reference to Elsey, circa 1948, regarding the Whittaker Chambers case. The quotation (mangled, of course) he derisively cites is, needless to say, completely out of context.

This hit piece isn't just mendacious. It's incompetent.

Diana West's Response to Ron Radosh's Review of Her Book 'American Betrayal'

If Frontpage Will Lie about This, What Won't They Lie About?

I have not had time to respond to the massive hit piece against my book American Betrayal posted today at

I will.

I would like to point out in brief, however, the simple, lowdown mendacity of the "Editors' note" -- that would be editors David Horowitz, Jamie Glazov, perhaps others -- that tops 7,000 words of misrepresenting, twisting, and omitting by Ronald Radosh passed off as a "review."

(This is the Radosh m.o., by the way, as briliiantly exposed in 2008 by M. Stanton Evans.)

Here it is:

Editors’ note: Frontpage offered Diana West equal space to reply to Professor Radosh’s points below. She refused.

To say that this misrepresents the truth is one of those understatements of the year.

First of all, Frontpage doesn't inform their readers that they are actually looking at Frontpage American Betrayal Review #2.

Frontpage posted an earlier review -- Review #1. It was positive. They removed it --purged it. (It is archived at Ruthfully Yours.) This is unheard of. Quite commonly, controversial books rack up more than one review, more than one opinion. The commissars of Frontpage don't permit "incorrect" opinion, however, so the positive review of my book was removed from the website. On my incredulous inquiry of Glazov, he proceeded to explain in emails to me that the reviewer, Mark Tapson, "lacks the expertise" to review the book, and later, that the problem was the review's "inaccuracy." I asked what was innaccurate in the review and received no reply.

Here is a brief recap of that egregious event. (I omitted the comments about the reviewer in that post but given the sludge Frontpage is hurling at me to misrepresent my actions, I am exposing the backstory to these and other events.)

So here we are at the lie of an Editors' Note. Did I refuse to reply to "Professor Radosh's" "points"?

Of course not. I refused to play in Frontpage's tainted little sandbox, however.

Why would any self-respecting human being decide to legitimize the actions of these ossified totalitarians and enter into a debate as if nothing had happened, as if they had treated my work in a collegial fashion to which writers -- citizens -- in a free society are accustomed? I decided there was no reason to enable them, to promote their dirty tactics at their website.

Further, this was not the first time Frontpage's commissars had enforced party line. Several years ago, when I weighed in on a controversy among colleagues in a post at my website, John L. Work, a blogger for Frontpage's NewsReal page -- a retired police detective and, now, fine novelist -- was instructed by site editors not to "link" to my work anymore. Not wanting to take party-line enforcement from anyone, John, a good friend before and even an better friend since, resigned.

That's the Frontpage Commissariat for you.

What I decided last night was that if, on reading Frontpage's new and "correct" review by Radosh, I wanted to reply, I wouldn't dignify Frontpage with my reply -- and told them so. In other words, I would reply elsewhere.

That is not what the editor's note tells readers.

If they lie about this, will you be surprised to learn the review is equally mendacious? I will attend to that later.

For now, for the record, here is the email exchange I had with Frontpage yesterday just before Radosh hit piece was unveiled, and that led them to lie about me in the Editors' note.

The email sequence starts at the bottom. I note that Horowitz cc'd his email (immediately below) to three other people -- presumably to display his cleverness. 

On Aug 7, 2013, at 1:08 AM, david horowitz wrote:

Dear Diana,

Our decision to remove the review of American Betrayal was not because it offered an incorrect opinion that we wanted to suppress. The review was removed because the reviewer was as incompetent to provide an informed assessment of your book as you were to write it.

David [Horowitz]

From: jamie glazov 
Subject: Fwd: review of your book
Date: August 6, 2013 7:41:00 PM PDT

To: David Horowitz

I guess we're not friends anymore.

From: Diana West <>
Date: Tue, Aug 6, 2013 at 9:38 PM
Subject: Re: review of your book

To: jamie glazov

Dear Jamie,

What gall. You and your crew behave like little totalitarians, suppress an "incorrect" opinion of my book, and, now that you have your "correct" reveiw at the ready, ask me to dignify your nasty tactics by engaging in civil debate. If I deem it worth my while to respond to the Radosh review, I will find another outlet.


On Aug 6, 2013, at 9:41 PM, jamie glazov wrote:

Dear Diana, I just want to give you a heads up that our review of your book, written by Ron Radosh, will be going up on our site at 9:30pm Pacific time this evening (12:30am Eastern).
David would like me to pass on to you that you are most welcome to write a response to this review, and to feel free to write at length to defend your position (but not longer than the review itself).

Sincerely, Jamie.

Why I Wrote a Take-Down of Diana West’s Awful Book

Posted By Ron Radosh On August 7, 2013 @ 1:14 pm In Uncategorized | 76 Comments
Today, my review of Diana West’s new book, American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character [1], has been posted at FrontPageMagazine [2], the website of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. I urge PJM readers to go and read it, and to consider the arguments I make about why I find her book to be a betrayal, but not the kind she charges existed in our past. Indeed, what I argue in the review is that her book is actually a betrayal of serious and honest history, an ideologically bound argument that ignores real evidence, distorts our past, and creates a mythical counter-narrative to understanding decisions made during WWII.

Here is my concluding paragraph:
Conspiratorial theories of history are easy to create once you are prepared to ignore the realities on the ground, or regard those who do take them into account as part of the conspiracy too. This is the path that Diana West has taken in her misconceived and misleading book. Why did the U.S. and Britain not prevent the totalitarian USSR from taking over Eastern Europe after it had defeated the totalitarian Nazis?  It had nothing to do with the Rubik’s Cube of diplomatic and military considerations, a calculus that had to take into account the willingness of the American and British publics to continue to sacrifice and their soldiers to die. No, it was a conspiracy so immense, as West’s hero Joe McCarthy might have said, that it allowed Western policy to be dictated by a shadow army of Soviet agents. It is unfortunate that a number of conservatives who should know better have fallen for West’s fictions.  It is even more depressing that her book perpetuates the dangerous one dimensional thinking of the Wisconsin Senator and his allies in the John Birch Society which have allowed anti anti-communism to have a field day in our intellectual culture.
What I want to discuss is why I took upon myself the job of writing a lengthy and detailed critique of West’s book.

First, as a historian and a conservative, I believe that my responsibility is to the truth. I cannot countenance conspiracy theories, whether they come from those on the Left or those on the Right. On these pages and elsewhere, I have regularly written about the corruption of history by writers such as Howard Zinn, and the team of Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick. I have also written a great deal about Soviet espionage, the influence of Communism on American life, and the fallacies of anti anti-Communism.

When self-proclaimed conservatives echo the methodology and conspiratorial type thinking of those on the Left, because they consider themselves conservatives means that those of us who want a responsible, sane conservative movement, and a vibrant conservative intellectual culture, have the responsibility to speak out and to criticize, no matter what source it comes from.

An analogy can be made with the dilemma William F. Buckley Jr. faced when, in 1962, he decided to take on first Robert Welch, the head of the John Birch Society, and later the Society itself. At the New Republic last year,Geoffrey Kabaservice [3] wrote the following:
Having spent the better part of a decade doing research in Buckley’s archives, I can attest that it was no easy matter for Buckley to take on Welch and his Society. Many of the financial backers and readers of Buckley’s National Review magazine admired Welch and his organization; Buckley’s own mother was a Bircher. His editorial colleagues warned that criticizing Welch risked splitting the conservative movement. Buckley’s position as movement leader would be jeopardized by the liberal plaudits that predictably would follow his editorial condemnation of the Birchers; as Buckley put it privately, “I wish to hell I could attack them without pleasing people I can’t stand to please.” 
Nonetheless, in February 1962 National Review ran a six-page editorial against Welch, arguing that he was damaging the anti-Communist cause by “distorting reality” and failing to distinguish between an “active pro-Communist” and an “ineffectually anti-Communist liberal.” It would be several years before Buckley excommunicated all Birchers from the conservative movement, but his editorial emphasized that “There are bounds to the dictum, Anyone on the right is my ally.”
Two years later, Buckley finally wrote his famous editorial condemning the Society. The conspiracy theories of the Society, Buckley wrote, made conservatism seem “ridiculous and pathological,” allowing liberals to portray conservatives as extremists. Conservatism, he wrote, had to expand “by bringing into our ranks those people who are, at the moment, on our immediate left…If they think they are being asked to join a movement whose leadership believes the drivel of Robert Welch, they will pass by crackpot alley, and will not pause until they feel the embrace of those way over on the other side, the Liberals.”

As his biographer John B. Judis [4] wrote in 2001, Buckley and National Review,“drew the line when the John Birch Society and its founder, Robert Welch, began to maintain that the American government itself was being run by Communists rather than liberals. Such a position not only ran directly counter to that of National Review; it also threatened to cast the Right into what [James] Burnham called ‘crackpot alley.’” As readers of Diana West’s book know, she argues that during World War II and the early Cold War, the American government was “occupied” and run by Stalin’s secret police, through its agents who controlled the White House. This is, indeed, thinking that echoes Robert Welch.

Of course, Buckley was talking about a movement, and not about a book. But the analogy holds. Diana West’s thought pattern indeed bears a strong resemblance to that of the Birch Society and Robert Welch. As Buckley himself wrote in Commentary [5] in March of 2008, Birch thinking went like this:
The fallacy is the assumption that you can infer subjective intention from objective consequence; we lost China to the Communists; therefore the President of the United States and the Secretary of State wished China to go to the Communists.
Readers of Diana West’s tome will no doubt quickly see the similarity in what Buckley attacked as the method of the conspiratorial mind. West believes that since Eastern Europe was lost to the West and conquered by Stalin, it meant that the American and British leaders, including FDR and Winston Churchill, were presiding over an “occupied” and controlled government. As I write in my review, West thinks that “The Roosevelt administration [was] penetrated, fooled, subverted, in effect hijacked by Soviet agents… and engaged in a ‘sell-out’ to Stalin” that “conspirators of silence on the Left…would bury for as long as possible, desperately throwing mud over it and anyone who wanted the sun to shine in.” According to West, it was only because Washington was “Communist-occupied” that the United States aligned itself with the Soviet Union against Nazi Germany and, later, that the President allowed Stalin to gain Eastern Europe.

The other question I wondered about is why so many conservatives, who I believe should really know better, have responded so favorably to her book. I think the answer is that they are fed up with the leftist narrative that there was no threat from Communism in any way; that the 50s were a period of witch-hunts against non-existent enemies; and that, therefore, anyone who realizes this was not an accurate picture of that era must be correct in their analysis about what happened.

As I believe I show in my review, West takes this understanding one step further — to argue that not only was Communism an actual threat, and not only had Communists infiltrated the government during the New Deal, but that they actually controlled and ran the White House and made the major foreign policy decisions. She also castigates all of those, including me, who have written for decades about Soviet espionage and Communism. While she acknowledges at times that scholars like me, Harvey Klehr and John Earl Haynes, Alexander Vassiliev and Allen Weinstein have done a yeoman’s job of revealing the extent of Soviet espionage, she condemns all of us for not accepting her judgment and conclusion that American policy was made for the benefit of the Soviet Union, and that the spies literally ran both the American and British governments.

She knocks down straw men continually. For example, on the question of espionage, she argues that all of us view Soviet espionage as a matter of personal conscience and “not as an issue of national security.” This is preposterous, and I point specifically to article Steve Usdin and I co-authored  in 2011 that appeared in The Weekly Standard [6], in which among other things we specifically reveal what real damage the Rosenberg spy ring did to our national security, above and beyond trying to obtain material pertaining to the atomic bomb. Telling the truth, however, would interfere with her narrative in which she is continually trying to show that, in essence, even those who have exposed the extent of Soviet espionage are part of the great conspiracy to cover up the truth.

I end by asking readers to carefully read my review, and to reconsider jumping on the Diana West bandwagon. To continue to give her very bad book credibility will only work to harm the integrity and reputation of conservative intellectuals. After all, it has been decades since William F. Buckley Jr. acted courageously to push the Birchers out of the movement he was building. Do we really want to welcome their successors into it now, after so many lessons have been learned?

Article printed from Ron Radosh:

URL to article:

URLs in this post:

[1] American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character
[2] posted at FrontPageMagazine:
[3] Geoffrey Kabaservice:
[4] John B. Judis:
[5] Commentary:
[6] The Weekly Standard: