CHAPTER SEVEN 63
MOSCOW INTENSIFIES DRUG WARFARE
IN THE LATE 1960s
The Vietnam War provided an ideal opportunity for the extension of operation 'Druzhba Narodov'. The alienation of youth which was proliferating in the United States and the preoccupation of the US Government and citizenry with the Vietnam War presented the distraction and cover which enabled the Soviet offensive to expand without attracting undue attention. The first leg of the expansion started in January 1967. This was when a new Soviet study on the impact of the new 'technical elite' in the industrialised countries was completed. One copy was given to the Czechoslovak Defence Council, along with instructions to apply the findings to the drug operation. The study pointed out the growing importance of the technical elite - the middle-level technical managers upon whom the growth of high-tech industries so critically depended. These managers had become one of the most important groups in 'bourgeois society'; in the Soviet view, they were on a par with finance and big business. Accordingly, the group had become a most important target to infiltrate and sabotage.
The Soviet study pointed out that this new elite worked under great pressure, and that as the pressure grew, new opportunities to use drugs and narcotics would arise. Drugs were regarded as especially important as a means of destroying or sabotaging this group, and, at the same time, as a blackmail or bribery mechanism to use against such people in connection with the Soviet Bloc's drive to obtain (steal) advanced technology.
The use of drugs and narcotics in connection with technology espionage and theft had been a long-standing practice, dating back to before Sejna's appointment to high office. The use of drugs in such operations was first significantly increased following a meeting in Moscow convened by Khrushchev in the fall of 1959. The top leadership from the East European satellites (with the exception of Romania) were present. The subject of the meeting was Pact technology; the key question, was how to use the developing East-West relationship to improve the Warsaw Pact's technology1 as quickly as possible.
Sejna was present at the meeting. The first subject addressed was technology theft. Khrushchev stated that the cheapest and fastest way to improve Warsaw Pact technology was to take (that is, steal) as much technology from the 'imperialists' as possible. Its value was doubled if you just take it, he said, and added: why pay the capitalist a profit if we
can just take it and use it? As part of this discussion, the use of drugs and narcotics as a mechanism for money and blackmail in technology theft was reviewed. This was the pri- mary way drugs and narcotics had been used in the past. The targets were business exec- utives, technical managers, and sales personnel.
Organised crime was also used to facilitate technology theft. In 1963 or 1964, the Czechoslovak Ministers of Defence and Interior presented a report to the Defence Council on the use of organised crime in technology transfer. The focus was on attempts to steal laser and computer technology. The report was forty pages long and included charts that listed target companies in different countries, different organised crime groups, and the potential for action in various regions. The Defence Council's task was to decide in each case whether civilian or military intelligence should take the lead and to identify situations where coordination with other intelligence services was appropriate.
By this time, all the Soviet Bloc intelligence services were active in organised crime in different regions of the world. The Czechoslovaks and East Germans were particularly effective in Switzerland, Mexico and India; the East Germans in South Africa; the Czechoslovaks in Austria and Egypt; the Bulgarians in the Middle East, Greece, Turkey, Italy and Cyprus; the Hungarians in Spain, Portugal, Belgium and the United States; the Soviet Union in Great Britain and France; the Soviets, Czechoslovaks and East Germans in West Germany. Czechoslovakia had roughly three organised crime groups in Switzerland, seven in Austria, two in Mexico, eleven or twelve in India, and one each in Argentina and Sweden. In the case of Austria, the head of one of the Czechoslovak groups was the chief of police in one of the sections of Vienna. Altogether, Czechoslovakia ran or had infiltrated about fifty organised crime groups around the world. Sejna believed this achievement was comparable to those of Bulgaria, Hungary and Poland, more than that of East Germany, but was less than the achievement of the Soviet Union. The Italian mafia had been penetrated by all the Soviet Bloc's intelligence services, although the Bulgarians and Soviets were by far the most successful.
The existence of a Soviet strategy to infiltrate organised crime, which was launched in
1955, is especially sobering when the extent to which US Presidents, intelligence officials, and other high-ranking political leaders are known to have requested favours from members of organised crime, is recalled. Consider, for example, the CIA's attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro in the early 1960s. In one exercise, individuals from no less than four organised criminal groups, centred in Las Vegas, Chicago, Miami and Havana, were involved. One of the principals had been freed from jail by Castro himself and then allowed to leave Cuba and settle in Miami. A Bureau of Narcotics report described this individual as a possible connection for Cuba's narcotics trafficking into the United States. Even if we disregard the covert Soviet Bloc intelligence penetration of organised crime groups, it does not require much imagination to recognise 'why', as historian Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. described the
situation, 'Castro survived so comfortably the ministrations of the CIA'2.
The tendency to turn to organised crime for special tasks is not an activity that is unique to the US strategic leadership. It is a rather common activity in many countries. It seems unlikely that any of the public officials concerned has been, or is, aware of the hidden risks in pursuing such activities which could arise because of the covert presence of Soviet Bloc intelligence agents. The huge potential value of this rather simple-appearing Soviet operation is a keen indication of Moscow's knowledge of other cultures, and of the Soviets' genius in developing effective strategic operations.
An intelligence study reviewed by Sejna described the manner in which organised
crime was categorised in Soviet planning. There were three principal categories, the code names of which were blue, purple, and yellow butterfly. In the first category were rela- tively small groups involved in local crimes - for example, small narcotics distribution, banks and finance. In the second category were criminal groups related to drugs and to technology transfers. The third category contained the more traditional criminal opera- tions, such as the mafia, which were penetrated for intelligence information of a military, political, or economic nature.
Each principal category was further broken down into three sub-groups referred to as alpha, beta and gamma. The first group consisted of organised crime networks which had been created and were fully controlled by Warsaw Pact intelligence services. Organisations in the second group were created by someone else but had been penetrated by Warsaw Pact intelligence agents and could be exploited. In the third group were known organisations that the Warsaw Pact intelligence services had been unable to penetrate.
At a Czechoslovak Defence Council meeting, Khrushchev's deputy, Andrei Kirilenko, spoke to top Czechoslovak officials about Khrushchev's concern over the program. He explained that Khrushchev had asked why the categories 'we cannot control completely' were the largest. 'Why do we not switch the statistics'? he asked. Kirilenko then inquired whether the Warsaw Pact intelligence services were scared of professional criminals. 'When you deal with the criminals', he stated firmly, 'you must be tougher than they are'.
The measures taken in 1967 to target the newly identified technical elite for sabotage, espionage and technology theft was the second important intensification of across-the- board technology theft operations using drugs and narcotics to which Sejna was a direct witness and participant.
Each year the Defence Council reviewed the technology stolen during the preceding year. It then met and approved a plan describing what was to be stolen during the subsequent year. In reviewing stolen technology at the end of 1967, Antonin Novotny, First Secretary of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia, remarked to the Soviet General Secretary, Leonid Brezhnev, that drugs were of great help in stealing technology. General Oldrich Burda, the Zs chief, added that twenty to twenty-five percent of the technology stolen in 1967, the total value of which was estimated by the Zs at $300 million, had been acquired through the use of drugs.
In the spring of 1967, the Czechoslovak strategic leadership received additional guidance from the Soviet Union. In April, Sejna, Jiri Hendrich and Lt. General Vaclav Prchlik travelled to Moscow where they met Soviet General Aleksey A. Yepishev, Chief of the Main Political Administration, and General Shevchenko, Chief of the Department of Special Propaganda. At this meeting, Shevchenko discussed the continued importance of infiltrating the banks and financial institutions. Collecting data for military purposes was one objective. He also stressed the importance of using drugs to corrupt people in these institutions and indicated that such infiltration would also facilitate the use of the banks as handlers of money for foreign operations, including drug-money-laundering.
The financial institutions were so important, Shevchenko emphasised, that careful attention was to be exercised by the satellite propaganda apparatus to keep these institu- tions out of the limelight3. Individuals in these institutions assisting the Soviet Bloc opera- tions represented a long-term investment which would serve Soviet interests for many years and, thus, corruption in these institutions was not to be publicised. The Soviets did not want any light to be thrown on the banks' operations.