By Andy Brooks
The Poisoned Well: Sean Kelly; NCP pamphlet £2.00
COLD WAR propaganda and Trotskyist dogma would have us believe that everyone arrested during the Soviet purges of the 1930s was innocent. Western pundits would regularly portray the Soviet secret service as an incompetent and brutal instrument of terror and in the same breath charge it with organising legions of dupes in the western world for espionage purposes or to ferment civil unrest.
At the same time the public were fed with romantic tales of agents of imperialism like Sidney Reilly, the “ace of spies” shot by Soviet intelligence in 1925 after an abortive attempt to overthrow the Soviet government, and the fictional exploits of James Bond whose antics soon rivalled those of American comic-book super-heroes. But a veil of silence was drawn over the army of western government informers and agents within the labour movement on both sides of the Atlantic.
Only after the collapse of the Soviet Union did the ruling class feel confident enough to boast about some of their real agents’ exploits. The release of documents under the “thirty year rule” revealed that the radical novelist George Orwell, the darling of the Trots, had been a police informer. The BBC ran a series called True Spies in 2002 which revealed that secret service agents bugged, burgled and bribed their way into the heart of the unions throughout the 1970s and 1980s.
Yet the story of the sinister role of intelligence agents within the communist movement has still to be published. This pamphlet redresses the balance by summarising attempts to sabotage the communist movement in America, Britain and other parts of Europe.
And it starts by looking at the extraordinary career of Morris Childs, the American communist trained at the Lenin School in Moscow, who became deputy leader of the Communist Party of the USA and the go-between who arranged the transfer of secret Soviet subsidies to the US party. From 1958 until 1980 Childs made 52 trips to Moscow.
Morris was trusted by leading members of the Soviet party and became a close friend of Leonid Brezhnev. In 1975 the Soviet leader presented Morris with the Order of the Red Flag in recognition of his services to the international communist movement. What Brezhnev did not know was that Morris had been working for the FBI from at least the beginning of the 1950s.
Well if you want to know more order this pamphlet, which is a revised edition of two articles that first appeared in the New Worker in 2002, it can be obtained from:
PO Box 73,
London SW11 2PQ
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