CHAPTER TWO 15
THE SOVIETS DECIDE TO 'COMPETE'
When China began waging war with narcotics and drugs in the late 1940s, its drugs strat- egy was quickly identified. Shipments of drugs were seized and intelligence was collected which identified the source as the People's Republic of China, together with its trafficking routes, techniques, and eventually even the principal organisations behind production and distribution. In the case of the Soviet Union, intelligence on the operation was not immediately available, perhaps attesting to the care exercised by the Soviets in developing secure, covert marketing techniques before Moscow's own offensive was launched. As will be seen, the Soviet offensive was designed to be far more extensive than the Chinese operation, and once in place, was intensified on almost a yearly basis.
While the dubious distinction of initiating large-scale political war with drugs goes to the Chinese, it is the Soviets who have made trafficking the effective political warfare and intelligence weapon it has become - accomplishing this almost without any recognition in the West of Soviet involvement. Not until 1968 did a source surface in the West who possessed detailed knowledge about the Soviet drug offensive. Not until 1986 was any attention directed to his knowledge. The story that follows is the first comprehensive unveiling of that source's detailed knowledge of Soviet narcotics warfare.
The source in question is Jan Sejna, who defected from Czechoslovakia to the United States in February 19681. General Major Sejna was a member of the Central Committee, the National Assembly, and the Presidium and its Party group. He was also a member of the Main Political Administration, its political bureau, and a member of the Administrative Organs Department2. He was First Secretary of the Party at the Ministry of Defence, where he was also Chief of Staff and a member of the Minister's Kolegium. His most important position was Secretary of the powerful Defence Council, which was the top decision-making body in matters of defence, intelligence, foreign policy and the economy. Sejna was a top- level, decision-making Party official. He regularly met the highest officials in the Soviet Union and other Communist countries. He was present during the inception, planning and implementation of Soviet narcotics trafficking operations.
The Soviet concept of using drugs and narcotics trafficking as a strategic operation, Sejna explains, emerged during the Korean War. During that conflict, the Chinese and North Koreans used drugs against US military forces to undermine the effectiveness of both officers and enlisted men and to raise revenues in the process3. The Soviets were also
assisting North Korea in the war, albeit not in so obvious a manner as the Chinese.
The war provided the Soviets with an opportunity to study the effectiveness of US forces and equipment. Czechoslovak intelligence assisted the Soviets. As part of this intelligence mission, Czechoslovakia constructed a hospital in North Korea. Ostensibly built to treat casualties, the real use of the hospital was as a research facility in which Czechoslovak, Soviet and North Korean doctors at the hospital experimented on US and
South Korean prisoners of war. The Czechoslovak official in charge of the Czechoslovak
operations in North Korea was Colonel Rudolf Bobka, of Zpravdajska sprava (Zs), the Mil- itary Intelligence Administration of the Czechoslovak General Staff. Colonel Professor Dr Dufek, a heart specialist, was in charge of the hospital. Sejna learned about the hospital and related activities directly from Colonel Bobka, from various reports, and from subsequent briefings that summarised the results of the experiments and used the results in studies of the strategic military potential of drug-trafficking4.
The experiments were justified as preparations for the next war. American and South Korean POWs were used as guinea pigs in chemical and biological warfare experi- ments, in physiological and psychological endurance tests, and in testing the effectiveness of various mind-control drugs, which were used to make US servicemen renounce America and speak of the benefits of the Communist system5.
To learn more about the biological and chemical make-up of American and South
Korean soldiers, autopsies were performed on captured bodies and POWs who did not survive the various experiments. During this activity, the Soviet doctors determined that an unusually high percentage of young US soldiers had suffered cardiovascular damage, which they referred to as 'mini heart attacks'.
At the same time, Soviet intelligence, which was studying Chinese drug-trafficking6, determined that the young US servicemen were also the most prominent users of the
harder drugs7. The Soviet doctors noticed the correlation and hypothesised that one of the factors that probably contributed to the heart damage was drug abuse8.
News of the physically debilitating effect of the drugs captured the imagination of the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev. Drug and narcotics trafficking, he reasoned, should be viewed as a strategic operation that would directly weaken the enemy, rather than merely
as a financial or intelligence tool. Accordingly, he ordered a joint military-civilian, Soviet-
Czechoslovak study to examine the total effects of drug and narcotics trafficking on Western society; this included its effects on labour productivity, education, the military (the ultimate target at that time), and its use in support of Soviet Bloc intelligence operations. Nor was this study approached as a question of tactics or as simply an opportunity for exploitation. The narcotics potential was examined in the context of long- range strategy. Costs and risks, benefits and payoffs, integration and coordination with other operations, were all examined. Even the effects of drugs over several generations9, were analysed by scientists from the Soviet Academy of Sciences.
The conclusions of the study were that trafficking would be extremely effective, that the most vulnerable targets were the United States, Canada, France and West Germany, and that the Soviets should capitalise on the opportunity. The study was approved by the Soviet Defence Council in late 1955 or early 1956. The principal guidance from the Defence Council in approving the action was to direct the planners to speed up the timetable of events, which was possible because of certain operational experience with narcotics that already existed within the Soviet Bloc intelligence services but about which the people who had prepared the basic plan were unaware10. This plan was formally
approved when the Soviets decided to begin narcotics trafficking against the so-called bourgeoisie, especially against the 'American capitalists' - the 'Main Enemy'.
Moreover the study materialised at a most propitious time for the Communists because, simultaneously, the Soviets under Khrushchev's direction were working hard to modernise the world revolutionary movement. Khrushchev believed the movement had grown stagnant under Stalin, and he wanted it rejuvenated, to take advantage of new
Soviet strategy for revolutionary war is a global strategy. Soviet narcotics strategy is a sub-component of this global strategy and is best understood in this context. While the primary target of this activity is often thought to be the undeveloped world, this is not the case. Soviet strategy and tactics were developed for the whole world, within which the most important sectors were the industrialised nations and the most important target, the United States.
The basic updated revolutionary strategy* took shape in the years 1954 to 1956. As detailed by Sejna, there were five principal thrusts in the modernised strategy. First was enhanced training of leaders for the revolutionary movements - the civilian, military and intelligence cadres. The founding of Patrice Lumumba University in Moscow is an example of one of the early measures taken to modernise Soviet revolutionary leadership training.
The second step was the actual training of terrorists. Training for international terrorism
actually began under cover of the 'fight for liberation', within the context of the Comintern's decolonisation policy**. The term 'national liberation' was coined to replace revolutionary war movement as a two-way deception: to provide a nationalistic cover for what was basically an intelligence operation and to provide a label that was semantically separated from the Communist revolutionary war movement.
The third step was international drug and narcotics trafficking. Drugs were incorp- orated into the strategy for waging revolutionary warfare as a political and intelligence weapon for deployment against 'bourgeois societies' and as a mechanism for recruiting agents of influence around the world.
* Editor's Note: General Sejna's summary of the basic global revolutionary strategy developed following the death of Stalin is not inconsistent with the account of the long-range revolutionary deception strategy explained in the two books by the Soviet defector, Anatoliy Golitsyn [New Lies for Old and The Perestroika Deception, op. cit], which concentrated primarily upon deception theory and its application in the context of preparations for the dismantling of the Stalinist model, realised under Gorbachev, ahead of the orchestrated proliferation of the Leninist World Revolution on a truly global scale, the critical stage currently being experienced. Recall Gorbachev's consistent adherence and invocation of Lenin at every opportunity, epitomised by the following statement [Current Digest of the Soviet Press, 40, Number 7,1988, pages 3-4]:
'No, we are not retreating a single step from socialism, from Marxism-Leninism'. Moreover Soviet drug-trafficking operations began in earnest in 1960, precisely when the finishing touches were being put to the long-range deception strategy, ratified at the 81-Party Congress held in Moscow in December 1961 [see both Golitsyn works, op. cit].
** Editor's /Vote:The Comintern laid down that the colonial empires must be destroyed as a prerequisite for the destruction of capitalism, and immediately set about subverting the colonial powers' foreign policy structures with this objective in mind. This policy was promulgated in the Comintern's Theses on the National and Colonial Questions contained in The Theses and Statutes of the Communist International, as adopted by the Second World Congress, held between July 17th and August 7th, 1920, in Moscow. It was updated in The Programme of the Communist International adopted at the Sixth World Congress on September 1st, 1928, which sought 'to overthrow the rule of foreign imperialism' and stated that 'colonial revolutions and movements for national liberation play an extremely important part in the struggle against imperialism'. In 1986, Eduard Shevardnadze, the former police and Party chief in Soviet Georgia whom President Gorbachev had elevated to the post of Soviet Foreign Minister, congratulated the world Communist movement upon its success in having almost completed this historic task.
The fourth step was to infiltrate organised crime and, further, to establish Soviet Bloc sponsored and controlled organised crime syndicates throughout the world.
The fifth step was to plan and prepare for sabotage throughout the whole world. The network for this activity was to be in place by 1972.
Because of the close association between organised crime and narcotics, the Soviet entry into organised crime deserves closer scrutiny. Moscow's decision on organised crime was made in 1955. It, too, was to be a global operation targeted against all countries, not just the United States, although organised crime in the United States, along with France, Great
Britain, Germany and Italy, were primary targets.
The main reason for infiltrating organised crime was the Soviet belief that high-quality information - information on political corruption, money and business, international relations, drug-trafficking, and counter-intelligence - was to be found in organised crime. The Soviets reasoned that if they could successfully infiltrate organised crime, they would acquire unusually promising scope for controlling many politicians and would have access to the best information on drugs, money, weapons and corruption of many kinds. A sec- ondary motive was to use organised crime as a covert mechanism for distributing drugs.
As in the case of drug-trafficking, the Soviets put together study groups to analyse organised crime, to identify the main criminal groups, to develop a strategy and tactics for infiltrating the groups, to identify what people could be used to promote infiltration, and to examine the possibility for organising or helping to organise new criminal franchises. In Czechoslovakia, the studies went on for six months. These studies were not taken lightly; on the contrary, they were high-level operations involving top officials from military intelligence, counter-intelligence, civilian intelligence and the Administrative Organs Department of the Central Committee.
The first plan was put into action in 1956. Czechoslovakia was given directions on which operations to undertake as part of the intelligence plan, which was reviewed and approved in the fall of that year. The plan instructed Czechoslovak strategic intelligence to infiltrate seventeen different organised crime groups, as well as the mafia in France, Italy, Austria, Latin America and Germany. The Italian Communist Party was used heavily in the infiltration operation. Twenty percent of the Italian police were members of the Com- munist Party at that time. These members helped Soviet Bloc intelligence agents to infiltrate the mafia. War criminals, e.g. Germans, were also coerced into assisting the Soviet Bloc agents in this endeavour, especially throughout Latin America.
The Czechoslovak operation was very successful and did not cost much money. Organised criminal activity was developed around information collection and blackmail; it was a two-sided operation. Once inside, the agents remained largely passive; they just col- lected information. Then, at the right opportunity, information would be released for political reasons - for example, to trigger revolutionary changes, or to create a situation that could be exploited by the Social Democrats. This is why the operation was organised within the unit responsible for strategic intelligence: it was used for strategic advantage.
Narcotics, terrorism and organised crime were coordinated and used together in a complementary fashion. Drugs were used to destroy society. Terrorism was used to desta- bilise the targeted country and to prepare a revolutionary environment. Organised crime was used to control the elite. All three strands were long-range strategic operations and all three had been incorporated into Soviet Bloc planning by 1956.
Before actual narcotics trafficking could begin, several preparatory measures were required, the two most important of which were the development of a strategy for the
covert marketing of drugs and narcotics, and the training of intelligence cadres. The Soviets wanted to hide their operation from the Chinese and especially from the West, to avoid upsetting acceptance by the West of the Soviet strategy peaceful coexistence". Because the narcotics strategy was new in most of its particulars, the necessary intelligence skills had to be developed and passed to agents. This training activity involved not only Soviets, but East European intelligence agents as well.
Additionally, during the late 1950s, a research program was undertaken to obtain quantitative data on the actual effects of different drugs on soldiers, which involved the use of Soviet soldiers as guinea pigs. As part of this research, an espionage program was initiated to penetrate Western medical and science centres, especially those of a military nature, to determine how much the West knew about the effects of drugs on people -particularly their effects on military combat-effectiveness and decision-making.
In parallel, Soviet Bloc intelligence services were directed to learn how much Western intelligence services knew about the drug business and which drug groups they had infil-
trated. One of the important questions addressed in this study was the nature and effec- tiveness of Western intelligence services' ability to monitor the production and distribution of drugs12. Several years later, Sejna was to learn the results of this study directly from the Chief of the Soviet General Staff, Marshal of the Soviet Union Matvey V. Zakharov.
Zakharov said that Soviet intelligence had concluded that US intelligence and counter- intelligence were blind, and that this made the Soviet drug operation much easier. The United States' intelligence operations were concentrated, along with those of the British, on narcotics trafficking through Thailand and Hong Kong, where there was so much drug activity and associated corruption that no useful information on Soviet drug trafficking could be collected. The 'background noise' was simply too great.
During the studies, the use of narcotics and drugs became recognised as a special dimension of chemical warfare. In Czechoslovakia, drugs and narcotics research were
formally added to military planning, as a dimension of chemical warfare research. This research included tests on the effects of drugs on military performance - for example, on pilot performance, which was studied at the Health Administration of the Rear Services and at the Health Institutes of the Air Force.
Finally, the basic study on the impact of drugs on the West was expanded to improve identification of groups and regions to be targeted. This further study was the responsibility of the International (Foreign) Department of the Central Committee of the CFSU (Communist Party of the Soviet Union). It was, in effect, a political market analysis and marketing techniques study.
One of the last measures to be initiated before the actual mass trafficking operation began was the establishment of training centres for drug-traffickers. In the case of Czecho-
slovakia, the training centres were joint Soviet-Czechoslovak operations. There were both civilian intelligence-managed training centres, which were jointly planned by KGB (Soviet) officials and Czechoslovak officials from the Second Administration of the Ministry of Interior (the Second Administration was the Czechoslovak KGB intelligence counterpart)13; and military intelligence-managed training centres, which were jointly planned by the GRU (Soviet Military Intelligence) and its Czechoslovak counterpart, Zs.
These plans were developed in 1959, as General Sejna recalls, and the Defence Coun- cil's review of the plans and decision to fund them, following instructions from the Soviet Defence Council, took place in 1959 or 1960.
The Zs (military intelligence) training centre was located in a Czechoslovak Zs base
at Petrzalka, a suburb of Bratislava, situated on the Austrian border. The Second Adminis- tration training centre was located next to Liberec, on the West German border.
Each course consisted of three months of intensive training. While indoctrination in
Marxism-Leninism was present, the emphasis was strictly on the drug business. The Soviets provided the Czechoslovaks with a copy of the Soviet schedule and lesson plans, which the Czechoslovaks copied. The course included instruction in:
• The nature of the drug business, types and quality;
• Means of production;
• Organisation of distribution;
• Drug markets and buyers;
• Infiltration of existing production networks;
• How to use the experience of intelligence networks;
• Communications within drug organisations;
• How to pass intelligence information; and,
• How to recruit intelligence sources.
At the Zs centres, two different groups were processed for training, and these alter- nated. The first group was recruited by the military and civilian intelligence services. This group was strictly for drug 'criminals' - the attendees were neither Communists nor ideo- logically motivated. The word 'criminals' is shown here in quotation marks, because that is what the training was to produce. However, all recruits were carefully screened by military or civilian counter-intelligence to make certain that the recruits were clean; that is, that
they did not have criminal records or a background in corruption that rendered them
susceptible to blackmail by another party. Often, the recruits were sons or daughters of people in positions of power. These people, and the potential risks that would be associ- ated with their recruitment, were often the subject of specific discussions within the Czechoslovak Defence Council.
The second group were people recommended by the First Secretaries of the various foreign Communist Parties. These were Communists who were considered loyal to the cause. They, too, were carefully screened by military or civilian counter-intelligence before being admitted to the course. Their training was slightly different, because their trafficking was also intended to serve a local political purpose and because they operated and communicated through different special (Party or intelligence) channels. Their drug-traf- ficking (and training) was heavily oriented to support the First Secretary of the local Com- munist parties; for example, to compromise opposition leaders.
In addition to Czechoslovak instructors, the Soviets often provided two instructors for each course who had practical experience. Most often these were Latin Americans or others who looked the part and spoke fluent Spanish. These instructors would present seminars dealing with practical problems and real life experiences.
As indicated above, the courses ran for three months. Thus, a total of four groups trained each year. The first group to take the Zs course in Czechoslovakia was small - seven future drug criminals consisting of four Latin Americans, two West Germans, and one Italian or French national, as Sejna recalls. By 1964, the group size had expanded to fourteen, and by the end of the 1960s, full capacity, twenty, was reached. Thus a total of approximately thirty students were trained the first year in the Czechoslovakia Zs centre, and by 1968 the annual output of graduates had reached eighty.