KILL THE MESSENGER: ‘Permanent Government’, Three Important Assassinations? – By David Martin (Flashback)

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  • “…What captures our attention is the question of what might be in the Farewell dossier beyond what we have been told.  What was it that could have been so problematic for “top U.S. officials” that Vetrov could have feared that they might shut down their own extremely valuable gusher of information?  Might it tell us some truly shocking things about our ruling establishment, our Permanent Government?  Have they been following an “internationalist” agenda all along that some might interpret as “selling out the people of the United States?”  Was his knowledge of this fact and undisguised disgust over it what eventually got Gus Weiss killed?

Three Important Assassinations?

Joseph Stalin, Leonid Brezhnev, Gus Weiss

The book is At the Abyss: An Insider’s History of the Cold War by Thomas C. Reed (Ballantine Books 2004).  From Reed we learn that the deaths of Joseph Stalin and Leonid Brezhnev, which were officially from natural causes, were, in fact, quite suspicious in nature.  That these two men were important historical figures as longtime leaders of the Soviet Union is not in question.  Gus W. Weiss, we learn from Reed as well, was also very important historically, probably the most important virtually unknown political figure of the late 20th century.  The reasons why Weiss’s November 2003 death, ruled a suicide by an unnamed Washington, DC, medical examiner, is suspicious must be supplied by this writer.

Reed is sparing with his references, but he writes with an air of authority.  Considering his background, one would expect that he would.  In addition to having been close to President Ronald Reagan for a long time, he served as Secretary of the Air Force, Director of the National Reconnaissance Office, consultant to Director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories which is responsible for much of U.S. research on nuclear weapons, and was Special Assistant to President Reagan for National Security Policy, to mention just a few of his very responsible positions.

Reed, whose book’s introduction is written by former President George H.W. Bush, establishes his anti-Communist credentials early, relating how strongly he was influenced in his youth by Witness, the 1952 tell-all book by the famous defector from the Reds, Whittaker Chambers.  His first chapter, entitled “Communist Takeovers and Makeovers,” is a recitation of the horrors that they have inflicted upon the human race.  The second chapter, entitled “The Fifties Unfold,” begins with Stalin’s end.

The Death of Joseph Stalin

By early 1953, Stalin at 73 years old was beginning to fail a bit both mentally and physically.  It had never been safe to be a Stalin subordinate, and as the always paranoid Stalin grew understandably more suspicious of those below him maneuvering for position as his replacement, the dangers for subordinates increased.  Stalin had a history of executing the most powerful man below him, the head of the KGB.  In 1953 that was the fearsome Laventi Beria.

[Stalin] and Beria were like two scorpions in a bottle.  Both were men of enormous power, no scruples, and extreme cruelty.  Both were the epitome of evil.  And both knew that each would not tolerate the other’s survival much longer.  Beria may well have decided to strike first, to knock off Stalin before Stalin got him….  The details of what happened during that last week of Stalin’s life emerge from the notes taken at a reunion of his death-bed guards held on March 5, 1977, and from a more recent examination of Soviet archives by Vladimir Naumov and Jonathan Brent.

On Saturday night, February 28, 1953, the Politburo Four—[Georgi] Malenkov, Beria, [Nikita] Khrushchev, and [Nikolai] Bulganin—watched a movie at the Kremlin.  Then they were driven out to Stalin’s Nearer Dacha, located in Kuntsevo, about ten miles west of Red Square.  They remained there until 4:00 A.M. Sunday, March 1, dining and consuming large quantities of Madzhari, a light Georgian wine.  During that gathering, Beria apparently added an extra ingredient to Stalin’s wineglass—a hefty, or repeated, dose of warfarin, which is a tasteless and odorless blood thinner that can induce severe intestinal hemorrhaging.  Fittingly, in large doses it is used to kill rats.

When Stalin’s four guests left, the leader allegedly told a guard named Khrustalev: “I am going to bed.  I shan’t be wanting you, you can go to bed too….”  Stalin had never given an order like that before.  He expected at least two armed guards on duty at all times.  But Khrustalev was the only one to hear this supposed order.  He passed it on to the watch commander, who promptly and happily dismissed the other guards for the evening, leaving only Khrustalev on duty—as the warfarin did its work.

At 10:00 A.M. that Sunday morning, the guards reassembled in the dacha kitchen.  They observed no activity from Stalin’s quarters.  At 6:00 P.M. one guard saw a light go on, confirming that things must be all right and thus it would be unwise to enter.  By 10:00 P.M., however, when there was still no movement inside, guard Lozgachev was elected by his peers to enter Stalin’s quarters.  He found Stalin on the floor, conscious but mostly paralyzed, with one arm raised in the air.  Lozgachev assumed a stroke had felled the Soviet leader; a broken pocket watch on the floor had stopped at 6:30, suggesting that Stalin had lain there for three and a half hours, unattended.  Lozgachev called the other guards, who entered the suite along with the housekeeper.  The four of them lifted Stalin onto a sofa and then put in calls to Beria and Malenkov.  They first connected with Malenkov, but he referred the matter to Beria, who called back a half hour later to tell the guards, “Don’t tell anybody about Comrade Stalin’s illness.”  No medical help was requested.  Five hours later, at 3:00 A.M. on Monday, March 2, Beria and Malenkov showed up at the dacha.  The guards told them the whole story.  Beria said, “Don’t cause a panic, don’t bother us.  And don’t disturb Comrade Stalin.”  The two then left, again leaving Stalin without any medical help.  At 8:00 A.M. the doctors finally arrived, fourteen hours after the dictator’s collapse to the dacha floor.

At 9:50 P.M. on Thursday, March 5, four days after the alleged “stroke,” Dr. A. L. Myasnikov pronounced Stalin dead of a cerebral hemorrhage.  But a first draft of the autopsy report, only recently unearthed, describes a major stomach hemorrhage as the most likely cause of Stalin’s death.  During his death throes, on March 4, the attending physicians noted that Stalin was vomiting blood.  As usual, the Soviet News Agency Tass misinformed the world, announcing that Stalin had died in his Kremlin apartment.

Beria was there at the Nearer Dacha at the time of death.  According to Stalin’s daughter, Svetlana, Beria “called out in a loud and undisguisedly triumphant voice, ‘Khrustalev, the car!’ ” Note that Khrustalev was the one called, and Beria was the first to leave.  And it was Khrustalev who was on hand for the embalming of Stalin’s remains.  Strangely, he fell ill and died shortly afterward.

Stalin’s remains were embalmed by the special laboratory at the Lenin Mausoleum.  They were interred next to the body of Lenin in the red marble mausoleum that protrudes out from the Kremlin’s walls and into Red Square.  Stalin was to be immortalized, buried in his uniform with shoulder boards, buttons, and hero’s stars made of gold.  Later that spring Beria said to Molotov: “I took him out.”  (pp. 24-26)

The Death of Leonid Brezhnev

Reed’s account of Brezhnev’s demise, which he describes as “…another mysterious death of an aging Soviet dictator, unwitnessed by any members of his family,” is much sketchier:

At 7:30 A.M. on November 10 [1982], the elderly [75] and infirm Brezhnev took breakfast and read the morning newspaper in his private Kremlin dining room.  Twenty minutes later he headed upstairs to his bedroom, accompanied by his two KGB guards.  All three entered the bedroom together and closed the door behind them.  Brezhnev was never again seen alive.  At about 8:00 A.M. the two guards emerged and went downstairs to advise Mrs. Brezhnev that her husband had just died.  She was not allowed upstairs into the bedroom, nor were any doctors called, nor was any autopsy performed.  She never even saw her husband’s body until the state ceremonies in the Hall of Columns two days later.

Until her dying day, Victoria Petrovna Brezhnev remained convinced that her husband met with foul play.  That conclusion is understandable, given that Brezhnev’s successor was KGB chief Yuri Andropov, the man who personally selected those two guards. (p. 239)

Gus W. Weiss

The published facts about the November 25, 2003, death of the national security heavyweight, Weiss, are even sketchier.  They are especially so for the supposedly much more open society of the United States.  So under-reported was Weiss’s violent end, ostensibly from a fall from the Watergate building where he lived, Reed, his admirer and former colleague on Reagan’s National Security Council, seems to have been slow in learning about it.  Reed writes the following in the acknowledgments section of his book:  “Richard Childress, Gennady Gorelik, John MacLucas, Michael Warner, and Gus Weiss all granted access to their Cold War files, while Stu Spencer (who never took a note in his life) opened a treasure trove of insight into Ronald Reagan’s thoughts at key moments in history.”

Reed signs the acknowledgment page, “Healdsburg, CA January 2004.”  One would think that if he had known of Weiss’s recent death, he would have referred to him here as “the late Gus Weiss.”

Most readers of Reed’s book will discover that not only should Weiss’s death have been known about by an old colleague, it should have been national news.  As you might expect a Reagan insider and political partisan to do, Reed gives a great deal of credit to Reagan’s actions for the collapse of the Soviet Union.  But Reagan’s most significant act, one gathers from Reed, was signing off on the brainchild of Gus Weiss.

In popular Republican history, the straw that broke the economic back of the Soviet Union was Reagan’s decision to go ahead with the implementation of an anti-strategic-missile system for the United States, the so-called Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) or Star Wars program.  The Soviets, it is said, bankrupted themselves trying to counter it.  If that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, Weiss’s economic sabotage program was more like a tree falling on the camel.

On July 19, 1981, at an economic summit meeting in Ottawa, the inveterate anti-Communist Reagan received a gift from a most unexpected quarter.  The newly elected socialist president of France, François Mitterrand, called him aside and told him that France had a KGB informant in Moscow who was responsible for evaluating the fruits of a massive Soviet program to acquire Western technology by any means necessary, including theft.  The informant, Colonel Vladimir Vetrov, had been an international spy who, while posted in Paris, had made good friends among France’s counterpart of the FBI, the DST.  It was through those DST contacts, not France’s own espionage service, that Vetrov was leaking an absolute treasure trove of documents.  What those documents revealed, most importantly to the hardliners in the Reagan inner circle, was that the state of the Soviet economy was much worse than even they had suspected.  The Soviet bloc had fallen hopelessly behind in technological innovation and the only thing keeping it within shouting distance of the West was its massive program of industrial espionage, the so-called “Line X” collection network.

The French had given their informant Vetrov the code name “Farewell.”  An English name (which Reed italicizes) was chosen, the French said later, to throw the Russians off.  If they should run across it in one of their intercepts, they might think it referred to an American or English agent.  The specific word was chosen to imply that it was something in the past, a no longer active operation.  As a bonus, divided into two words the word becomes an expression of good wishes for the agent, “fare well.”  The cornucopia of information divulged by Vetrov, which included the identities of hundreds of case officers, contracted agents, and other suppliers of information around the world, became known as the “Farewell dossier.”

Aside from agent identification, the most useful information in the Farewell dossier was the KGB’s shopping list: its targets for technology acquisition and theft during the coming few years.  When the Farewell dossier arrived in Washington, Reagan asked Director of Central Intelligence Bill Casey to come up with a clandestine operational use for the material.

During the fall of 1981, one of my NSC associates, Dr. Gus Weiss, was cleared to read the material.  He devised a remarkable plan:  “Why not help the Soviets with their shopping?  Now that we know what they want, we can help them get it.”  There would be just one catch: the CIA would add “extra ingredients” to the software and hardware on the KGB’s shopping list.  Weiss presented the plan to Casey in December 1981 and Casey took it to the President in January 1982.  Notably absent from their meeting were any of the White House’s strong believers in détente.

Reagan received the plan enthusiastically; Casey was given a “go.”  There are no written memoranda reflecting that meeting, or for that matter, the whole project, for many in the intelligence community were concerned about the security of the new, computerized, internal NSC communication system.*

Within a few months the shipments began.  The Weiss project targeted the Soviet military-industrial needs as set forth in the Farewell dossier.  “Improved”—that is to say, erratic—computer chips were designed to pass quality acceptance tests before entry into Soviet service.  Only later would they sporadically fail, frazzling the nerves of harried users.  Pseudosoftware disrupted factory output.  Flawed but convincing ideas on stealth, attack aircraft, and space defense made their way into Soviet ministries.

The production and transportation of oil and gas was at the top of the Soviet wish list.  A new trans-Siberian pipeline was to deliver natural gas from the Urengoi gas fields in Siberia across Kazakhstan, Russia, and Eastern Europe, into the hard currency markets of the West.  To automate the operation of valves, compressors, and storage facilities in such an immense undertaking, the Soviets needed sophisticated control systems.  They bought early model computers on the open market, but when Russian pipeline authorities approached the U.S. for the necessary software, they were turned down.  Undaunted, the Soviets looked elsewhere; a KGB operative was sent to penetrate a Canadian software supplier in an attempt to steal the needed codes.  U.S. Intelligence, tipped by Farewell, responded and—in cooperation with some outraged Canadians—“improved” the software before sending it on.

Once in the Soviet Union, computers and software, working together, ran the pipeline beautifully—for a while.  But that tranquility was deceptive.  Buried in the stolen Canadian goods—the software operating this whole new pipeline system—was a Trojan horse. (Note: “Trojan horse” is an expression describing a few lines of software, buried in the normal operating system, that will cause that system to go berserk at some future date [Halloween?] or upon the receipt of some outside message.)  In order to disrupt the Soviet gas supply, its hard currency earnings from the West, and the internal Russian economy, the pipeline software that was to run the pumps, turbines, and valves was programmed to go haywire, after a decent interval, to reset pump speeds and valve settings to produce pressures far beyond those acceptable to the pipeline joints and welds.

The result was the most monumental non-nuclear explosion and fire ever seen from space.  At the White House, we received warning from our infrared satellites of some bizarre event out in the middle of Soviet nowhere.  NORAD feared a missile liftoff from a place where no rockets were known to be based.  Or perhaps it was the detonation of a small nuclear device.  The Air Force chief of intelligence rated it at three kilotons, but he was puzzled by the silence of the Vela satellites.  They had detected no electromagnetic pulse, characteristic of nuclear detonations.  Before these conflicting indicators could turn into an international crisis, Gus Weiss came down the hall to tell his fellow NSC staffers not to worry.  It took him another twenty years to tell me why.

The Farewell countermeasures campaign was cold-eyed economic warfare, put in place to inflict a price on the Soviet Union for corrupting the lofty ideals of détente.  While there were no physical casualties from the pipeline explosion, there was significant damage to the Soviet economy.  Its ultimate bankruptcy, not a bloody battle of nuclear exchange, is what brought the Cold War to an end.  In time the Soviets came to understand that they had been stealing bogus technology, but now what were they to do?  By implication, every cell of the Soviet technical leviathan might be infected.  They had no way of knowing which equipment was sound, which was bogus.  All was suspect, which was the intended endgame of the entire operation.

As a grand finale, in 1984-85 the U.S. and its NATO allies rolled up the entire Line X collection network, both in the U.S. and overseas.  This effectively extinguished the KGB’s technology collection capabilities at a time when Moscow was being sandwiched between a failing economy on one hand and an American President—intent on prevailing and ending the Cold War—on the other.

It would not be an exaggeration to say that Gus Weiss, from Thomas C. Reed’s perspective, was a major hero in the winning of the Cold War.  That view was shared by the late William Safire, the famous New York Times columnist and speechwriter for President Richard Nixon, who drew heavily on the passage above to tout Reed’s work on February 2, 2004, the eve of Reed’s book’s publication:

Intelligence shortcomings, as we see, have a thousand fathers; secret intelligence triumphs are orphans. Here is the unremarked story of ”the Farewell dossier”: how a C.I.A. campaign of computer sabotage resulting in a huge explosion in Siberia — all engineered by a mild-mannered economist named Gus Weiss — helped us win the cold war.

That was how Safire began his column; this is how he ended it:

Gus Weiss died from a fall a few months ago. Now is a time to remember that sometimes our spooks get it right in a big way.

Please note that Safire did not say that his former White House colleague committed suicide, only that he “died from a fall.”  You’d think that you were reading the Willcutts Report on James Forrestal’s death, which also concluded that Forrestal died from his fall without saying what caused the fall, when all the media have told us that he committed suicide.

The Death of Gus Weiss

Since the world had been told of Weiss’s major contribution toward the winning of the Cold War in its own pages, not to mention the fact that he had held high level positions under four presidents, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan, one might have thought that his death would have been rather big news for the vaunted “newspaper of record,” The New York Times.  It was not.  In fact, here is how The Times informed the public of his death, in a notice buried deep in its alphabetical list of paid notices a full six days after the death, on December 1, 2003:

WEISS–Gus W. Of Washington, D.C. on November 25, 2003 at age 72. Beloved son of the late Gus and Natalie Weiss. Loving nephew of Lillian Weiss and dear cousin of Joan Poorvu and Claire Weisman. Services at Frank E. Campbell, 1076 Madison Ave. at 81 St. Monday, December 1st at 1 PM. Interment Beth El Cemetery. Contributions in his memory may be made to a charity of your choice.

Not only are there no details on his death, there’s nothing about his extraordinary life, either.  You can be certain that they knew who he was, but The New York Times, this pillar of the U.S. establishment, this important organ of what some have referred to as our “permanent government,” in their death notice treated Gus Weiss as a mere nobody.  It is so reminiscent of one of those purged Politburo members airbrushed out of the photographs of the Red Square reviewing stand for the May Day parade!

Another measure of Weiss’s continued undeserved obscurity can be found with a Google search of the name, “Gus Weiss.”  As of the date of the writing of this article, the first thing that comes up is “Top Secret Adviser to 4 Presidents Dies ‘Violently’ in DC,” which is the title that Jeff Rense gave to this writer’s December 7, 2003, article, “Connected Iraq War Opponent a ‘Suicide’.” (The penultimate paragraph about the unlikelihood that a DC policeman would have been the person to find the body was added after Rense picked up the article.  It appears as a postscript in the revised version reprinted later on the UK web site, The Truthseeker.)

As I understand it, Google arranges its links in order of the number of hits that a Web address receives.  What this Google search outcome tells us is not so much that the page and my article are so popular but that the life and death of Gus Weiss continue to be blacked out news in America’s mainstream press. 

I will be the first to admit that the Weiss blackout had done its work on me.  What caught a friend’s eye on the obituary page of the local house organ of the permanent government, The Washington Post, was that the death of this former high level but relatively unknown government official had been reported 12 days late and with no explanation for the conclusion that the death had been a suicide other than that the medical examiner had said so.**  A quick Google search revealed that the Nashville Tennessean had beaten The Post to the punch by six days in reporting the death.  From the article there I learned that Weiss’s friends had been “shocked” at the news of this death, that he had been a vocal opponent of the Iraq War, and that as of December 1 the Tennesseean had not learned anything about the nature Weiss’s death. 

I dashed off my article on the same day the Post obituary appeared, remaining ignorant of the puny little Weiss obituary in The Times and of the hugely important Farewell dossier and Weiss’s role in its exploitation.

Now there are Wikipedia pages for both the Farewell dossier and for Gus W. Weiss.  A click on their “View history” tabs at the top reveals, however, that both are of very recent vintage.  The “Farewell dossier” page did not begin until January 12, 2010.  This was in the year after the French had produced a major movie, L’affaire Farewell, on the subject and thirteen years after the French publication of the book, Bonjour Farewell.

The “Gus W. Weiss” Wikipedia page didn’t get started until July 19, 2011.  The original poster of the page ended it with a section entitled “Death & Suspicions,” with a reference to this writer’s article as it appeared on  One must wonder if this person would have ever heard of Gus Weiss had it not been for my article on Rense.  At any rate, the reference to that article lasted all of two minutes for the reason given that “ is a notoriously bad source.”  (Never mind that it is I, not Rense, who is the ultimate source and that virtually all that is in my article is a recitation of the known facts in the case with my conclusion that it seems suspicious.  The reader is free to conclude for himself that it doesn’t seem suspicious if he so chooses.)  The day after the original posting the entire “Death & Suspicions” section was removed from the page.  From July 20, 2011, until November 18, 2011, when a new “Death” section was put up, readers of the “Gus W. Weiss” Wikipedia page would have been given the impression that Weiss was still alive.

At the risk of sounding repetitious, I must say that all this avoidance of the subject of Gus Weiss’s death looks awfully suspicious.  The avoidance began with the long delay in even reporting it and then with the failure of the police and the press to give us any useful details about it. Who last saw the man alive?  Did anyone witness his supposed fall?*** Did anyone hear anything?  What time of the day or night did it occur?  What brought the policeman who supposedly discovered the body to the Watergate complex in the first place?  What is his name?  The most fundamental question of all:  On what basis did the police rule out other causes of death such as homicide or accident?  Did they search his apartment?  Did they find anything relevant to his death there such as a suicide note or signs of a forced entry? 

The Explanation

What in the world is going on here?  The country’s news media, led by its most prominent and powerful newspapers, could hardly have done more to discredit themselves with their Weiss coverage if they had tried.  One gets the distinct impression that The Washington Post would never even have told us that Weiss had died if his hometown newspaper had not gotten wind of it and broken the silence almost a week late.  For its part, The New York Times is yet to run its own story about the death.  One needn’t bother asking anyone at either newspaper for an explanation.  There simply can’t be an innocent one.

Only one conclusion is possible.  Something deeply sinister is going on.  For starters, we are virtually forced to conclude that Weiss was the victim of foul play.  Considering who he was and who is doing the covering up, it had to have been very high level foul play.  The more important question is who was behind it, and what is their purpose?  If we can answer that one perhaps we could answer the most important one of all:  Who really rules us and what is their purpose?  Some important clues might be found in Reed’s book and in the revised and translated version of the French book previously referred to, Farewell: The Greatest Spy Story of the Twentieth Century by Sergei Kostin and Eric Raynaud (AmazonCrossing, 2011).  

The story of the Farewell dossier constitutes only a subplot in Reed’s extraordinary chapter 17, entitled “The Queen of Hearts.”  The title character of the chapter is Reagan’s wife, Nancy.  From this insider’s account of the Reagan White House we learn that the Reagans’ was every bit as much a “co-presidency” as was that of the Clintons, if not more so.  Reagan supplied the ideology grounded in his experience with Communist infiltration of Hollywood and the affable actor’s exterior while Nancy supplied the drive and ambition and, surprisingly, a good bit of the “people skills.” 

According to Reed, it was an uneasy alliance.  To an ambitious but essentially apolitical person like Nancy, achieving the White House was an end in itself.  To her husband it was his great opportunity to slay the dragon of Communism once and for all.  With their different concerns, the co-presidents assembled competing teams within the White House, which Reed calls the “Old Shoes” for Ronald’s crowd who went back a long way with him in California and the “Pragmatists,” for the ambitious operatives who were as lacking in any particular guiding political principles as was Nancy herself.  Reed belonged solidly to the first group.  From his description of the respective groups’ actions, Reed might have chosen more apt names like the “Ideologues” and the “Careerists.”  The leaders of the Old Shoes, chosen by the president, were Judge William Clark and Edwin Meese.  Nancy’s crowd was headed up by Michael Deaver and James Baker III.  The deep rift between them is revealed by the concluding paragraph of Reed’s section on the Farewell dossier:

Through all of this, the White House Pragmatists also remained in the dark.  If Nancy Reagan, Jim Baker, or Mike Deaver had known that the U.S. government was blowing up Soviet pipelines, infiltrating Soviet computers, bollixing their software, or spoofing electronic equipment—even though done with the President’s approval—they would have had a fit.  As it was, they remained ignorant while the President played his trump card: SDI/Star Wars.  He knew the Soviets could not compete in that league because he knew the Soviet electronics industry was infected with bugs, viruses, and Trojan horses placed there by the U.S. intelligence community. (p. 270)

Two paragraphs near the beginning of the chapter capture well what Nancy was all about:

The leaders of permanent Washington are very good at cultivating the court of whatever new ruler arrives from outside the Beltway.  That establishment bends the wills of senators and congressmen with their sophistication.  They urge new appointees to the Supreme Court to re-orient their moral compasses to the mother lode of Washington wisdom.  They welcome new Presidents and their assistants with open arms, buffet tables, and bars.

The dean of the establishment was Katharine Graham, a personally delightful lady who was publisher of the Washington Post.  Rather than attempting to dethrone her, Nancy spent enormous time and effort cultivating Mrs. Graham, and vice versa.  On December 11, 1980, even before the Reagan inauguration, the first-family-to-be were guests at Mrs. Graham’s home for dinner; that, despite the deadly opposition of the Post and the rest of the mainstream media to virtually everything Ronald Reagan stood for.  Nancy had selected her route to glory.  It ran through Georgetown, not across the icy tundra of the Cold War. (p. 262)

The basic political infighting technique employed by Nancy’s troops is well summed up by the concluding paragraph of the section of the “Queen of Hearts” chapter entitled, “The 1983 Struggle for Control of the White House.”

Within days of the President’s return to Washington after the 1982 year-end holidays, Baker, Deaver, and their allies unleashed the furies of the media on all the Old Shoes.  The Pragmatists had courted that media assiduously for two years.  Leaks of the most sensitive inside information had been laid onto favored journalists in anticipation of paybacks when the time came.  The Old Shoes were hopelessly outgunned; one by one we drifted away.

Near the conclusion of the chapter Reed reveals that Nancy, in the middle of the second term, even had a long-term California acquaintance and his wife deleted from the White House guest list to be “replaced by détente activist Armand Hammer, a now-documented Soviet agent.”  Hammer, it should be pointed out, was also a long-term financial supporter of Senator Albert Gore, Sr., Democrat of Tennessee who never made it quite as far as his son in pursuit of the presidency. 

Reflecting further on the insufficiently descriptive names Reed uses for the two factions in the Reagan White House, some other possibilities come to mind.  How about “Outsiders” and “Establishment” or, even more descriptively, “Patriots” and, uh, “Permanent Government?”   

Unfortunately, the second term in each case remains insufficiently descriptive.  That’s because the agenda of this group remains insufficiently clear.  One thing is clear. The major news media, led by The Washington Post, are at the very heart of it.  We have also demonstrated beyond any reasonable doubt that this same crowd is at the heart of some sort of cover-up in the death of Gus Weiss, who, according to Thomas C. Reed, was very much a member of the first group.

The Washington Post also seems to have a very cozy relationship to the C.I.A.  That fact is relevant to our story because of something we find in the Kostin-Reynaud book.  Vladimir “Volodia” Vetrov set in motion his eventual exposure and execution when he seemed to go berserk and attempted to stab to death his KGB mistress, Ludmila Ochikina.  No one knows why he did it, but one theory is that he was overcome by paranoia:

Incidentally, the hypothesis of Vetrov going through an attack of paranoia is corroborated by other reliable sources.

Among them Igor Prelin, who also believes the tension Vetrov was under at the time could have made him misinterpret a word from Ludmila, throwing him into a criminal panic.

The other source is Jacques Prévost.  The Thomson representative assured us that, “according to one of his sources,” Volodia was convinced Ludmila worked for the CIA, and Vetrov believed that the Americans were about to “finger” him to the KGB because the intelligence documents produced by the Farewell operation were so sensational they were becoming an embarrassment for top U.S. officials.

What captures the attention in this fantastic scenario is not the unlikely theory of Ludmila being a CIA agent, but rather the paranoid state Vetrov must have been in to construct such an absurd story. (p. 246)

And what captures our attention is the question of what might be in the Farewell dossier beyond what we have been told.  What was it that could have been so problematic for “top U.S. officials” that Vetrov could have feared that they might shut down their own extremely valuable gusher of information?  Might it tell us some truly shocking things about our ruling establishment, our Permanent Government?  Have they been following an “internationalist” agenda all along that some might interpret as “selling out the people of the United States?”  Was his knowledge of this fact and undisguised disgust over it what eventually got Gus Weiss killed?

These questions are enough to make us take a more serious look at the experience and the conclusions of the defector from Communist Poland, Andrzej Suda.  Was the Cold War and were the players in it somewhat different from what we think they were?  Did we really win the Cold War after all, and who, exactly, is “we” in this case?  See Suda’s personal testimonial at and Greg Szymaski’s story about it at

David Martin

December 20, 2011

*At the beginning of the section, Reed has the following note: “The tale that follows is extracted, and in some cases quoted, from unpublished notes by Gus Weiss: ‘The Farewell Dossier: Strategic Deception and Economic Warfare in the Cold War,’ 2003.”  It bears a different subtitle but from the material covered one may assume that this is essentially the same as the Weiss article, “The Farewell Dossier: Duping the Soviets,” posted on the C.I.A. web site a little more than three years after its author’s death.

**We should have noticed even at the time that the obituary was a decidedly puny one for almost anyone who had been engaged in the spook business.  As a longtime Post reader, I have noticed how elaborate the obituaries tend to be for deceased C.I.A. employees, in particular.  It is in great disproportion to those from any other federal department.  The Post generally treats them like celebrities, as though they were movie stars, politicians, or journalists.  If you Google “Washington Post obituary C.I.A.” you will get some idea of what I am talking about. 

***We can’t help but notice here some peculiar parallels with the reporting on the death of the “queen” of the information arm of the permanent government, Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham.  Graham reportedly fell on a walkway outside a condominium in Sun Valley, Idaho, on July 14, 2001, and died from head wounds suffered in the fall in a hospital in Boise three days later.  Absolutely no details about the fall have ever been reported.  We don’t know if anyone was with her when she fell or if anyone witnessed the fall.  If she was alone, we have never been told who found her after the fall.  Rocky Barker of the Idaho Statesman, to my knowledge, is the only one to report that “Doctors at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center (Boise) performed a series of surgeries to repair extensive intracranial injuries.”  It is difficult to imagine how anything but a spectacular slippage on ice (in mid-July?) could have caused such injuries, but in this case, as with Weiss’s fall, our press is apparently content to leave us to our imagination.  The parallels between the two deaths end, of course, when it comes to the post-mortal encomiums.  No one in this century so far, with the possible exception of Steve Jobs, has been more roundly eulogized than Kay Graham.


On January 7, 2012, I received an email from Catherine Cauvin-Higgins, the translator of Farewell, the previously mentioned book by Kostin and Raynaud.  She had been surprised by the fact that the book had been ignored by the big reviewers like The New York Times and The Washington Post after it came out in August of 2011, but after reading this article she felt she had a better understanding of why that might have been so.  The publisher had also sent the book to the International Spy Museum and to the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.   The former is yet to list it in its bookstore and the latter has not yet included a review of this “Greatest Spy Story of the Twentieth Century” among its very extensive list of book reviews

Also, she said, “The Reagan Library had a major public event in Nov. on the occasion of newly declassified material by the CIA (very little on the dossier, and what they published about the Urengoi-Uzhgorod pipeline shows how much they did not know about this deal)….Although the Title of the event was ‘Reagan, Intelligence and the Cold War’, not a word or line about Farewell. Amazon sent the book, no feedback.”

National Public Radio, Cauvin-Higgins told me, did broadcast an interview with former Reagan National Security Adviser Richard V. Allen in late August of 2011 concerning Farewell and the pipeline sabotage.  Of the 25-minute interview that was conducted, however, only three minutes were aired, and those three minutes contained no mention of the just-published Farewell book, even though Allen had written its foreword.  Gus Weiss does get mentioned in the interview, but, of course, there is no mention of his mysterious demise.

That the book is available in English for American readers at all is apparently entirely the result of the initiative of Cauvin-Higgins.  Her fascinating first-person account of how it happened can be found on the translation blog,

David Martin

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