Published Articles

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Passport to Assassination: The Never-Before-Told Story of Lee Harvey Oswald by the KGB Colonel Who Knew Him by Oleg Nechiporenko is a disappointing book for an intriguing subject!

This is not one of the most ground-breaking books on Lee Harvey Oswald and the Kennedy assassination. In fact this is a revised book review because my orginal written several years ago was excessively harsh. In fact, another reviewer,  Mr. Hilliard of Toronto, Canada, at the time also wrote a critical review that appeared in Amazon: "Nechiporenko's book is tedious, dull, and does not reveal anything that we do not already know in the 'facts' department." This is still largely true.

Usually books by former spies reveal information of historical or intelligence interest. This book by an ex-KGB officer does not. The first part of his book about "facts" was written to show the KGB had nothing to do with Lee Harvey Oswald, as they found him unsuitable for KGB intelligence work. Nechiporenko used exculpatory language, boring, bureaucratese narrative to reveal and explain archival documents that exonerate the KGB from having had anything to do with President Kennedy's...

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Stalin's Loyal Executioner: People's Commissar Nikolai Ezhov, 1895-1940 by Marc Jansen and Nikita Petrov is a great addition to the story of Soviet communism, a story that is still unfolding, but has not completely been told. This book will remain the authoritative source of the life and times of Nikolai Yezhov, until the Russian archives are once again fully opened to scholars. In revealing the life of Nikolai Yezhov, this concise tome also recounts the political times, and more importantly, the moral degeneracy of the Soviet leadership, the communist party, the secret police — the Soviet state itself, rotting from its own evil communist ideology and moral perversion.

The Great Terror of 1937-38 was an outstanding period in the chronicles of the USSR because the vast majority of the victims were not only communists, but Stalinists, who allegedly had not been sufficiently vigilant in finding "enemies of the people" in their midst. In other words, they had not been vigilant communists, and had not informed and found sufficient innocent victims, purportedly potential opponents to Stalin's supreme authority.

Moreover, Stalin had decided to get rid of the Old...

Friday, December 23, 2011

"As Lavrenti Beria stood over Joseph Stalin's deathbed in early March 1953, witnesses observed that he could barely contain his pleasure in watching the leader edge toward his final moments of life."

Beria — Stalin's First Lieutenant by Amy Knight is a well-written, exemplary biography that attempts to "challenge some basic assumptions" about Lavrenti Beria and his role in Stalinism and terror from the time of the October Revolution of 1917 to his execution in 1953. Robert C. Tucker, Professor Emeritus, Princeton University, has called this book “the first full-scale scholarly biography of Stalin’s clever, cruel and domineering security chief.”

Amy Knight, a Senior Research Analyst at the Library of Congress, has a gift for elegant writing and turning revealing phrases, as well as for having a keen understanding of the psychopathology of Soviet leaders, particularly Nikita Khrushchev, Joseph Stalin, and the subject of this biography, Lavrenti Beria.

Stalin surrounded himself with malleable bureaucrats and communist minions to whom he applied the effective strategy of “divide and conquer,” so as to threaten their own existence with physical annihilation in a...

Monday, November 14, 2011

For weeks, Joseph Stalin had been plagued with dizzy spells and high blood pressure. His personal physician, Professor V. N. Vinogradov had advised that Stalin step down as head of the government for health reasons. That was not what Stalin wanted to hear from the good doctor. Soon the Professor would pay for this temerity and indiscretion with his arrest and alleged involvement in the infamous Doctor's Plot (dyelo vrachey).

According to Dmitri Volkogonov in Stalin — Triumph and Tragedy (1991), the night before Stalin (photo, left) became ill, he inquired from Beria about the status of the case against the doctors and specifically about the interrogation of Professor Vinogradov. Minister of State Security Lavrenti Beria replied, "Apart from his other unfavorable qualities, the professor has a long tongue. He has told one of the doctors in his clinic that Comrade Stalin has already had several dangerous hypertonic episodes."

Stalin responded, "Right, what do you propose to do now? Have the doctors confessed? Tell [Semyon D.] Ignatiev [Minister of the MGB security organ] that if he doesn't get full confessions out of them, we'll reduce his height by a head." Beria...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Encyclopedia of Revolutions and Revolutionaries — From Anarchism to Zhou Enlai by Martin van Creveld is an essential reference book for those interested in researching the history of revolutions and revolutionaries. The main drawback is the liberal, left-of-center academic bias that one has come to expect in most of these types of books. And this occurs in most (but not all) of the entries, probably reflecting the views of the various authors. There are also a few mistakes in dates and facts that may be distracting to scholars and serious researchers.

The entry on Ernesto (Che) Guevara is a case in point. Guevara is lionized to the degree that his entry becomes a virtual hagiography of the fallen, flawed and communist revolutionary. For example, Guevara did very little work as a physician contrary to what the authors lead you to believe. The entry also contains a factual error that “Batista sent a train load of troops to recapture Oriente Province. In a pitch two-hour battle, Guevara captured the train.” In fact, the province and battle took place in Santa Clara in the center of Cuba, not in Oriente Province at the eastern end of the island.

The entries on the...

Friday, October 21, 2011

Let us now discuss the more arcane, extreme and revolutionary, right-wing philosophy, namely anarchism. You may ask when and where in recent history have anarchist revolutionaries been successful?  For the answer, we must travel back in time to Spain during the Spanish Civil War (1936-39). It was in Barcelona and surrounding districts that idealist anarchism flourished in the early period of the war as anarchists defended the radical Republican government that the communists also supported against the military insurrection of General Francisco Franco. At this point, let me recommend two fascinating references: Alexander Orlov: The FBI's KGB General by Edward Gazur (2001) and Deadly Illusions: The KGB Orlov Dossier Reveals Stalin's Master Spy by John Costello and Oleg Tsarev (1993).

The first book was written by retired FBI agent, Edward Gazur, who debriefed and protected Stalin's NKVD General, Alexander Orlov, after Orlov defected to the United States following the communists’ defeat in the Spanish Civil War. The second book, Deadly Illusions, was written with the collaboration and approval of the KGB (i.e., when the Soviet KGB files were made available following...

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Founding Fathers of this great nation designed a Republican form of government. By this, they meant a government under the rule of law and not the capricious rule of man, under a written constitution whose main function is to clearly demarcate the limits of authority of the federal government. This constitution contains the principle of separation of power between the three branches of government  — executive, legislative, and judicial — and a further check on authority, a principle of balance of power, not only between the three aforementioned branches, but also between the federal government and those of the respective states. These series of checks and balances in the U.S. Constitution prevent the usurpation of power by any one branch of government, or the outright establishment of tyranny of the majority (i.e., mob rule) at the expense of weaker minorities.

But a Republican form of government was created and intended for a vigilant and informed citizenry, who would keep a watchful eye on the government and jealously guard their liberties like precious jewels. Failure to maintain this watch, would lead to the leveling of society, the erosion of individual...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The "Right" versus "Left" convenient but capricious political arrangement came from the seating position of delegates to the National Assembly during the French Revolution, but it is at times a confusing concept and too often subject to media and academic bias and even misinformation. I have found it easier to have a political spectrum based on degrees of government control.

In the political spectrum concept of degrees of government control, the Total State or totalitarianism, exemplified by practical communism (i.e., as opposed to the theoretical, anarchistic communism, where the state is supposed to disappear once property rights are abrogated and which has never existed) becomes the extreme left. Anarchism (no government) is on the extreme right. Direct democracy (e.g., as practiced by the ancient Athenians) is center left; a representative republic (e.g., in the model of the ancient Roman Republic, which the American Founders imitated to some degree and adapted for a growing continental nation) occupies center right. Here roughly is my conceptualized political spectrum:
But I believe that the presumed evanescence of the political spectrum actually becomes a...

Monday, September 26, 2011

In a recent letter to the editor published in my local newspaper, the Macon Telegraph (9/16/11), Jack Bernard, a self-described "Republican,” retired health care executive, was "disconcerted by the ideological free market rigidity” that he observed during a debate by the Republican presidential candidates concerning “the health care reform question.”

Moreover, Mr. Bernard asserted, “If the free market were going to take care of access issues, it would have already done so.” He then took a back-handed swipe at the candidates by second-guessing them: “Herman Cain and Gov. Rick Perry seem to be OK with over a quarter of all Texans being uninsured. Former Gov. Mitt Romney is running as fast as he can from Romneycare, although it has reduced the uninsured to 4 percent in Massachusetts.”

The "Republican" executive did not forget Rep. Michelle Bachmann. He decried the Minnesota Congresswoman’s alleged “attempt to tar ObamaCare as a socialist plot.” The health care executive’s unimaginative, collectivist solution was simply "to copy the health care of other developed [socialized] nations” and use more "regulatory authority to cover everyone and hold down costs."


Sunday, August 21, 2011

“¿Cómo estás? Muy bien, gracias. ¿y tú?”

Can you translate? Do these words mean anything to you? If not, it’s time to start learning a little Spanish. I know it’s difficult for people my age to wrap our minds around the demographic shift that is happening even as you read this column. Here are just the facts — and why it’s time to take up a second language.

According to the latest Census data, there are 50 million Hispanics living in the U.S. And before you ask the question, “How many of those are illegal,” forgetaboutit. That’s a moot point. The arguments we’re having over immigration will seem quaint in a few years as attitudes toward Hispanics change because of the sheer numbers of them.

In 2010, Hispanic growth patterns didn’t just impact the border states of California, New Mexico and Arizona. There are an estimated almost 500,000 in Georgia. Hispanics make up almost 7 percent of North Carolina’s population. Hispanics are showing up in strange places such as Kansas.

In the border states — and some not — the Hispanic population has doubled or almost doubled since 1990. Just ask the folks living in California, Texas, New York, Florida and Illinois...

Keyword(s): crime, politics, socioeconomics

Diary of Dreams performs at the 2016 M’era Luna festival in Hildesheim, Germany. M’era Luna, “one of the biggest dark music events in Germany,” is held each year on the second weekend in August. Close to 25,000 people attend the festival annually to hear gothic, metal and industrial music performed on two large festival-style stages.