Warning The Masses

Category:  Historical reprints
Source:  The Register-Guard, Wednesday, October 10, 1984 (Eugene, Oregon)

Warning The Masses

By Don Bishoff

TOMAS SCHUMAN SAYS that I’ve been misleading you.  Me end other mass media “dimwits” who’ve been “ideological traitors” and/or dupes of Soviet communism.

We haven’t told you the truth about the Soviet Union, where he used to live, he says.  We haven’t told you that Ronald Reagan and Walter Mondale (Schuman calls him “Schmondale”) are dishonest, that Geraldlne Ferraro is a crook, that Henry Kissinger is a bandit — and maybe a spy.  That Gary Hart’s “new ideas” have been tried by the “murderers” in the Kremlin for 68 years and have led to the deaths of 60 million people.

We haven’t told you that our country is on a downhill slide, with the KGB greasing the skids.  That Dr. Spock ruined a whole generation of our kids.  That Spain’s Fran­co was “one of the most admirable dictators” and that the Philippines’ Marcos is “a great reformer.”

In fact, the news media have “been lying to you for 68 years,” Schuman says.

“They called Comrade Stalin a humanist when he was killing minions of my people.  They called Mao-Tse-tung an agrarian reformer, they called Fidel Castro a non-communlst.  Now they call Roberto D’Aubulsson, the leader of the second big­gest party in Salvador, a right-wing death-squad leader.  I’ve never heard a single schmuck from your mass media call Comrade Gromyko a left-wing death squad leader — but that’s exactly what he is.”

Schuman came to town Tuesday to tell you what we haven’t.  He spoke to a noon luncheon of 26 members and invit­ed guests of the local John Birch Society chap­ter.  (Another failing:  I haven’t told you that we still have a local John Birch Society chapter; I didn’t know myself.)

The 46-year-old Schuman says his real name is Yuri Bezmenov, that he was a Soviet KGB “disinformation” employee in India when he defected in 1970, that he was smuggled out by the CIA, debriefed, given a new identity and allowed to go to Canada, where he became a citizen.  (I have no reason to doubt this, but neither do I have any immediate way to verify it — and if I learned anything from Schuman, it’s to accept nothing at face value.)

He now lives in Los Angeles, where be writes a col­umn for a Russian-language newspaper and from where he embarks on speaking tours.  I can’t begin to cover all he had to say in an almost-two-hour talk and brief inter­view, but let me make a stab at it.

“Russia is not coming here, but communism is, and it may not be brought to you people by Soviet or Russian tanks,” he said.  “Most likely it will be brought piece by piece to you people by your dishonest politicians like Walter Schmondale, er, Mondale, Geraldine Ferraro, even Ronald Reagan.”

HOW?  WELL, that’s a little complicated.  To really understand, you should buy Scbuman’s book, which he sells for $5 per copy after his talks.  But as I get it, we are being victimized by a combination of our own sins and Soviet subversion.

“The highest art of war is not to fight at all, but to subvert anything of value in your enemy’s country,” Schuman said.  “Which includes religion, moral princi­ples, traditions, existing links between individuals and groups — to turn the black against whites, husbands against wives, children against parents, students against teachers, homosexuals against impotents, environmental polluters against protectionists of the environment.”

That’s quite a list.  But the idea, Schuman said, is to “keep you excited about something that doesn’t threaten you at all — and forget about the main danger.  When you become demoralized and plunk like a rotten apple with­out a single shot being fired, slowly your country will be taken over.”

One step on this road to self-destruction, he said, is the “borrowing of broken ideas.”

“Imagine you borrow one idea from your next-door neighbor on bow to bring up your children, and your next-door neighbor happens to be Dr. Benjamin Spock.  The result of this idea will show up only 10, 12, 15 years later when your children unexpectedly will grow into mon­sters, selfish brats, addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex or creepy music by Michael Jackson.”

A “broken idea” borrowed by the United States from the Soviets — and nurtured by KGB subversion — Schuman said, is egalitarianism, the notion of political, social and economic equality.

“NOW LOOK at yourselves,” he said.  “Are you equal in any way — mentally, physically, spiritually, emotional­ly, financially?”  No?  Well, there’s the problem.  “Egalitar­ianism creates false expectations,” be said.

And false expectations create unrest among those who figure that they aren’t getting their share of the pie, he said.  That, in turn, causes lost productivity, instability, radicalism and decay, he said.

Just like Professor Harold Hill said:  The slide into sin begins with a pool table.  And there’s more.

“It is possible to slowly turn your society into a car­bon copy of my (Soviet) society, by the introduction of something that never belonged to your system and to your Constitution.”  Schuman said.  “What is this?  The so­cial welfare system.”

In other words, Social Security, welfare, unemploy­ment compensation and the like are part of what’s drag­ging us down.  It is, he said, “a system of forceful distribu­tion (of wealth) by government decree, away from per­sonal responsibility, away from the rights and responsibil­ities given to us by something we call God.”

How can we save ourselves from all this?

“All you have to do is stop aiding the subverter, that’s all, … ” Schuman said.  “Stop giving your money, your technology, your credits, your grain, your diplomatic rec­ognition” to the Soviet leadership.

Deprived of such U.S. support, he predicted, that leadership will be overthrown by a Soviet military coup, which will then “slowly bring to power those technocrats who know how to run the economy of my country.”

Well, that may solve the Soviet Union’s problem.  But what are we to do here with the likes of Mondale, Hart, Ferraro and Reagan?

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Russian, not Soviet

Category:  Historical reprints
Source:  The Register-Guard, Wednesday, November 16, 1984 (Eugene, Oregon)

Russian, not Soviet

By Don Bishoff

JOSEPH IOFFE IS, literally, a wild-eyed zealot on the subject of the government of his former homeland — and makes no bones about it.

“You can say that I am a Russian and that I speak English with a very Russian accent,” he said in a very Russian accent.  “But I speak English without any Soviet accent.  My job in America is to give hell to those Americans who speak perfect English with a heavy Soviet accent.”

He includes Walter Mondale in that metaphorical lot.

“In America, I live in Minnesota, and the first thing I should do is bring an apology to you — an apology that Minnesota was the only state carried by Mondale …,” he said.  And liberals, he said, are leading “the terrible way of American downfall, of American disaster.”

Ioffe was in Eugene this week for a speech co-sponsored by the Defense Education Committee, a Lane County pro-defense group, and the Willamette World Affairs Council.  He is a 57-year-old former professor of economics and political science at the University of Crimea who came to this country in 1978.

He is part of what seems to be a U.S. cottage industry:  disillusioned ex-Soviets who earn their living here by making apocalyptic, liberal-scourging, speeches about U.S.-Soviet relations.  Last month, the local John Birch Society heard a similar talk from Tomas Schuman, a Soviet emigre who used to be a KGB employee.

I think these folks have some legitimate things to say — about having no illusions over the nature of the Soviet leadership, for example.  But their message tends to get obscured by the medium — them.

Schuman’s talk was a sarcasm-laden tirade that veered off into attacks on everything from Dr. Spock to Social Security as he predicted a subversion of the United States from within.  Ioffe looked and sounded like an old-time evangelist as he put on an arm-waving, eye-rolling half-hour performance for reporters, warning of the danger from without.

WHAT THE TWO HAVE IN COMMON is a view of the Soviet Union as an empire even more evil than Ronald Reagan believes.  A view that U.S. policy toward the Soviet regime should be absolutely unyielding and rocket-waving, involving not just nuclear parity but nuclear superiority.  A view that almost any U.S.-Soviet relationship likely is to be hazardous to our health.

Here’s Ioffe, for example, on negotiations with the Soviets:

“President Reagan was reproached many times by Mondale and Ferraro (who said), “Look, Reagan for four years did not meet anyone from the Soviet Union.”  It was a crime in the eyes of the liberals.  Carter met many times.  Carter kissed Brezhnev.  He was the only president to kiss the Soviet leaders.  So what?  Any better?  No.  It’s a waste of time. …

“I say don’t talk to the Soviets.  It’s absolutely useless.  The Soviet mentality is plain:  If you are strong, you are safe; if you are weak, you are lost.  That’s all.  Don’t waste time for talking.”

Or on U.S. liberals’ attempts to end the arms race:

“The bitter truth is you will have the arms race, you will have nuclear weapons as long as the Soviet Union exists.  And no peace movement, no freeze movement, no crazy marches in the street will change it.  When Russia is free, you will have peace and security forever.”

And how is Russia to become free?

“By revolution,” he said.  “A people’s revolution, supported by the army. … There are many patriotic generals who are nationalistic Russians who are very unhappy with the regime.  But they can’t do anything as long as the liberals in America and other countries are in power and the Soviets are advancing.”

There’s a certain amount of non sequitur there:  The conservatives — not the liberals — have been in power in America for four years, and yet the Reagan administration claims the Soviets still are advancing in such places as Nicaragua.  Meanwhile, there have been no signs of revolution in the Soviet Union.

HOW CAN THIS COUNTRY encourage the revolution?

“You will stop the Soviet aggression by being strong.  And if you stop the Soviet aggression, you will discourage the Soviet government and encourage the Russian people to resist.  So you don’t have to send soldiers, give money, conduct covert operations.  You can save your freedom by being strong.”

Interestingly, a somewhat similar view — in more academic terms — is advanced by Richard Pipes, who was a National Security Council official early in the Rea­gan administration and who now is a Harvard professor, in the current issue of Foreign Affairs quarterly.

Pipes doesn’t predict another Russian Revolution, but he argues for “staunch resistance to Soviet expansion and military blackmail; such resistance will have the effect of foreclosing for the (Soviet leadership) the opportunity of compensating for internal failures with triumphs abroad.”  And by denying economic aid to the Soviets, he says, the West can encourage pressures inside the Soviet Union, forcing the leadership to liberalize internally and to be more peaceful internationally.

There’s some plausibility to that theory — Pipes cites the changes in China as evidence that it works.  But the counter-argument is that Western pressures and belliger­ence toward the Soviet leadership tend only to produce counter-belligerence — and enable the leadership to use a real or imagined threat from the West to divert its populace’s attention from internal troubles.

There’s also the problem of the additional threat of nuclear war from further-strained East-West relations.  But, In Eugene, Ioffe said not to worry about nuclear war.

Why not?  “Because It’s not an American intention and not a Soviet intention — because the Soviet intention is to take over America without nuclear war. …”

“As for accidental nuclear war, the probability is no more than (that of) the Earth being hit by a space rock.”

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