TBR News November 2, 2018

Nov 02 2018

The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Isaiah 40:3-8 

Washington, D.C. November 2, 2018:” History is always written by the victors. As a case in point, we have  the sinking of the Lusitania in May of 1915.

The fast Cunard passenger liner was carrying a mixed cargo of explosives, military equipment, fuzed shells, a draft of Canadian volunteers and over a thousand passengers. The ship was sent, without escort, into an area where German submarines were known to be operating and one of them fired one torpedo into her bows.

The first explosion very obviously ignited something in the cargo and the second explosion blew out much of her bows underwater and the ship sank in less than twenty minutes with a heavy loss of life.

In the intervening years, the controversy has raged about the nature of the Lusitania’s cargo and many theories have been postulated about coal dust, ruptured steam pipes and multiple torpedo hits but the plain fact is that the Lusitania was listed in official books as an armed auxiliary cruiser, was carrying military contraband making her a legitimate military target and her sinking had been expected in London circles to draw a neutral America into the European war.

Apologists for the British in general and First British Sea Lord, Winston Churchill in specific have made extensive attempts to finesse the facts but in the final analysis, the Lusitania was sunk by a German torpedo that ignited her illegal cargo. That British authorities knowingly permitted civilians to travel on a ship full of explosive contraband was cynical at best and criminal at worst.”

The Table of Contents

  • Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 68
  • The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations
  • Facebook Allowed Advertisers to Target Users Interested in “White Genocide” — Even in Wake of Pittsburgh Massacre
  •  Donald Trump’s firearms license
  • Private messages from 81,000 hacked Facebook accounts for sale

 Donald Trump has said 2291 false things as U.S. president: No. 68

August 8, 2018

by Daniel Dale, Washington Bureau Chief

The Toronto Star, Canada

The Star is keeping track of every false claim U.S. President Donald Trump has made since his inauguration on Jan. 20, 2017. Why? Historians say there has never been such a constant liar in the Oval Office. We think dishonesty should be challenged. We think inaccurate information should be corrected

If Trump is a serial liar, why call this a list of “false claims,” not lies? You can read our detailed explanation here. The short answer is that we can’t be sure that each and every one was intentional. In some cases, he may have been confused or ignorant. What we know, objectively, is that he was not teling the truth.

Last updated: Aug 8, 2018

  • Apr 20, 2018

“Just heard the Campaign was sued by the Obstructionist Democrats. This can be good news in that we will now counter for the DNC Server that they refused to give to the FBI, the Debbie Wasserman Schultz Servers and Documents held by the Pakistani mystery man…”

Source: Twitter

in fact: There is no basis for Trump’s claim that the person he called “the Pakistani mystery man” — Imran Awan, a Pakistani-American who obtained U.S. citizenship in 2004 — had possession of any government servers. (This was a right-wing conspiracy theory; we did not have proof it was false at the time Trump issued this tweet, but the proof emerged three months later, so we went back and added this false claim to our list in July.) Awan, a former information technology employee for Democrats in the House of Representatives, pleaded guilty in 2018 to making false statements on a bank loan application. But in that plea deal, the federal government issued a lengthy statement making clear that the Trump-promoted conspiracy theories about Awan and computer servers were baseless. Prosecutors wrote that they had conducted a “thorough” investigation, which included interviews with about 40 witnesses and an examination of computers and devices, and “uncovered no evidence that your client violated federal law with respect to the House computer systems. Particularly, the government has found no evidence that your client illegally removed House data from the House network or from House members’ offices, stole the House Democratic Caucus server, stole or destroyed House information technology equipment, or improperly accessed or transferred government information, including classified or sensitive information.”

  • Apr 21, 2018

“‘At least two Memos Comey shared with a friend contained Classified Information.’ Wall Street Journal.”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Trump misquoted the Wall Street Journal in a way that made Comey seem worse. The actual sentence in the Journal read: “At least two of the memos that former FBI Director James Comey gave to a friend outside of the government contained information that officials now consider classified, according to people familiar with the matter, prompting a review by the Justice Department’s internal watchdog.” Trump omitted a central part of the report: the inquiry is over material in these two memos that officials “now” consider classified, not necessarily information that was classified at the time. (In fact, the next paragraph of the Journal report goes as follows: “Of those two memos, Mr. Comey himself redacted elements of one that he knew to be classified to protect secrets before he handed the documents over to his friend. He determined at the time that another memo contained no classified information, but after he left the Federal Bureau of Investigation, bureau officials upgraded it to “confidential,” the lowest level of classification.”)

“Fantastic crowd and great people yesterday in Key West, Florida. Thank you!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Trump visited Key West two days prior. He was not there “yesterday.”

“The New York Times and a third rate reporter named Maggie Haberman, known as a Crooked H flunkie who I don’t speak to and have nothing to do with, are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will “flip.” They use non-existent ‘sources’…”

Source: Twitter

in fact: Trump obviously speaks to Haberman. As the Times noted on Twitter: “In fact, she has interviewed the president twice in the Oval Office and 3 times by telephone.” There is a photo of Trump with his arm around Haberman in the Oval Office, smiling and giving a thumbs-up gesture. There is no evidence Haberman has made up fake sources.

  • Apr 22, 2018

“Kim Strassel of the WSJ just said, after reviewing the dumb Comey Memos, ‘you got to ask, what was the purpose of the Special Counsel? There’s no there there.’ Dan Henninger of the WSJ said Memos would show that this would be one of the weakest obstruction cases ever brought!

Source: Twitter

in fact: Trump misquoted Strassel. Appearing on a Fox News show called Journal Editorial Report, Strassel did not say “you’ve got to ask, what was the purpose of the special counsel.” In fact, she said “you’ve got to ask here what was the basis for a special counsel.” Basis for, not purpose of. She also did not say “there’s no there there”; she said “there’s not a lot there there,” a slightly less favourable assessment for Trump.

“Sleepy Eyes Chuck Todd of Fake News NBC just stated that we have given up so much in our negotiations with North Korea, and they have given up nothing. Wow, we haven’t given up anything & they have agreed to denuclearization (so great for World), site closure, & no more testing!”

Source: Twitter

in fact: North Korea has not agreed to denuclearization. Other U.S. officials have said that North Korea has agreed to discuss the subject of denuclearization with Trump, not that it has agreed to actually denuclearize. When dictator Kim Jong Un visited China in March, Chinese news agency Xinhua quoted him as laying down conditions for possible denuclearization: “The issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if south Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with goodwill, create an atmosphere of peace and stability while taking progressive and synchronous measures for the realization of peace.” Further, analysts note that North Korea has traditionally defined “denuclearization” differently than the U.S. does; it is not clear what Kim means when he uses the term. In April, after Kim gave a major speech, North Korea expert Van Jackson told the Japan Times: “Kim’s speech before the Korean Workers’ Party read like a consolidation or consummation of his regime’s status as a nuclear state. They were chasing it all along, they achieved it by Nov. 28 last year, and now he’s ready to move on. There was no hint of denuclearization in Kim’s speech.”

  • Apr 24, 2018

“The Democrats have become obstructionists. That’s all they’re good at. They’re not good at anything else. They have bad ideas. They have bad politics. The one thing they do is obstruct. And that’s why I’m waiting for — you would never believe this — I’m waiting for very good people like the ambassador to Germany. Hasn’t been approved yet. It’s been in there for 11 or 12 months.”

Source: Joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron

in fact: Trump nominated Richard Grenell as ambassador to Germany in September. He was speaking in April. That is less than eight months, not 11 or 12 months.

“And as far as experience is concerned, the Veterans Administration — which is approximately 13 million people — is so big, you could run the biggest hospital system in the world and it’s small time compared to the Veterans Administration.”

Source: Joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron

in fact: The VA health system serves 9 million people, according to the VA website and various official reports, not 13 million.

“The United States is embarrassingly into the Middle East. As of a few months ago, as you’ve heard me say before — and I don’t take responsibility, but I would be very embarrassed if I had to — $7 trillion. And when we want to build, Mr. President, our infrastructure, everybody says, ‘Oh, we want to be careful with our money.’ When we want to fix a highway or we want to build schools and lots of other things — tunnels, bridges — they say, ‘Oh, let’s be careful with our money.’ And yet, we have spent $7 trillion in the Middle East, and we’ve gotten nothing for it.”

Source: Joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron

in fact: There is no basis for the “$7 trillion” figure. During the 2016 campaign, Trump cited a $6 trillion estimate that appeared to be taken from a 2013 report from Brown University’s Costs of War Project. (That report estimated $2 trillion in costs up to that point but said the total could rise an additional $4 trillion by 2053.) Trump, however, used the $6 trillion as if it was a current 2016 figure. He later explained that since additional time has elapsed since the campaign, he believes the total is now $7 trillion. That is incorrect. The latest Brown report, issued in late 2017, put the current total at $4.3 trillion, and the total including estimated future costs at $5.6 trillion.

Trump has repeated this claim 17 times

“When they made the Iran deal, what they should have done is included Syria. When I say ‘should have’ — before giving them, Iran, $150 billion and $1.8 billion in cash…”

Source: Joint press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron

in fact: The “$150 billion” figure has no basis. Experts said Iran had about $100 billion in worldwide assets at the time; after the nuclear deal unfroze Iranian assets, Iran was able to access a percentage of that $100 billion, but not all of it. PolitiFact reported: “The actual amount available to Iran is about $60 billion, estimates Garbis Iradian, chief economist at the Institute of International Finance. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew pinned it at $56 billion, while Iranian officials say $35 billion, according to Richard Nephew, an expert on economic sanctions at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.”

Trump has repeated this claim 19 times

“The Iran deal is a terrible deal. We paid $150 billion.”

Source: Remarks at bilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron

in fact: The “$150 billion” figure has no basis. Experts said Iran had about $100 billion in worldwide assets at the time; after the nuclear deal unfroze Iranian assets, Iran was able to access a percentage of that $100 billion, but not all of it. (It is arguably untrue that the U.S. “paid” this money, since it was Iran’s to begin with, but this is a semantic matter on which we won’t make a judgment here.) PolitiFact reported: “The actual amount available to Iran is about $60 billion, estimates Garbis Iradian, chief economist at the Institute of International Finance. U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew pinned it at $56 billion, while Iranian officials say $35 billion, according to Richard Nephew, an expert on economic sanctions at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.”

Trump has repeated this claim 19 times

“We had a trade deficit with the European Union of $151 billion last year. That’s unacceptable.”

Source: Remarks at bilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron

in fact: The $151 billion figure counts only trade in goods and ignores trade in services, in which the U.S. has a significant surplus. Including all kinds of trade, the overall U.S. trade balance with the European Union in 2017 was a deficit of $102 billion, according to U.S. government statistics.

Trump has repeated this claim 29 times



The CIA Confessions: The Crowley Conversations

November 2, 2018

by Dr. Peter Janney

On October 8th, 2000, Robert Trumbull Crowley, once a leader of the CIA’s Clandestine Operations Division, died in a Washington hospital of heart failure and the end effects of Alzheimer’s Disease. Before the late Assistant Director Crowley was cold, Joseph Trento, a writer of light-weight books on the CIA, descended on Crowley’s widow at her town house on Cathedral Hill Drive in Washington and hauled away over fifty boxes of Crowley’s CIA files.

Once Trento had his new find secure in his house in Front Royal, Virginia, he called a well-known Washington fix lawyer with the news of his success in securing what the CIA had always considered to be a potential major embarrassment.

Three months before, on July 20th of that year, retired Marine Corps colonel William R. Corson, and an associate of Crowley, died of emphysema and lung cancer at a hospital in Bethesda, Md.

After Corson’s death, Trento and the well-known Washington fix-lawyer went to Corson’s bank, got into his safe deposit box and removed a manuscript entitled ‘Zipper.’ This manuscript, which dealt with Crowley’s involvement in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, vanished into a CIA burn-bag and the matter was considered to be closed forever.

The small group of CIA officials gathered at Trento’s house to search through the Crowley papers, looking for documents that must not become public. A few were found but, to their consternation, a significant number of files Crowley was known to have had in his possession had simply vanished.

When published material concerning the CIA’s actions against Kennedy became public in 2002, it was discovered to the CIA’s horror, that the missing documents had been sent by an increasingly erratic Crowley to another person and these missing papers included devastating material on the CIA’s activities in South East Asia to include drug running, money laundering and the maintenance of the notorious ‘Regional Interrogation Centers’ in Viet Nam and, worse still, the Zipper files proving the CIA’s active organization of the assassination of President John Kennedy..

A massive, preemptive disinformation campaign was readied, using government-friendly bloggers, CIA-paid “historians” and others, in the event that anything from this file ever surfaced. The best-laid plans often go astray and in this case, one of the compliant historians, a former government librarian who fancied himself a serious writer, began to tell his friends about the CIA plan to kill Kennedy and eventually, word of this began to leak out into the outside world.

The originals had vanished and an extensive search was conducted by the FBI and CIA operatives but without success. Crowley’s survivors, his aged wife and son, were interviewed extensively by the FBI and instructed to minimize any discussion of highly damaging CIA files that Crowley had, illegally, removed from Langley when he retired. Crowley had been a close friend of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s notorious head of Counterintelligence. When Angleton was sacked by DCI William Colby in December of 1974, Crowley and Angleton conspired to secretly remove Angleton’s most sensitive secret files out of the agency. Crowley did the same thing right before his own retirement, secretly removing thousands of pages of classified information that covered his entire agency career.

Known as “The Crow” within the agency, Robert T. Crowley joined the CIA at its inception and spent his entire career in the Directorate of Plans, also know as the “Department of Dirty Tricks,”: Crowley was one of the tallest man ever to work at the CIA. Born in 1924 and raised in Chicago, Crowley grew to six and a half feet when he entered the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in N.Y. as a cadet in 1943 in the class of 1946. He never graduated, having enlisted in the Army, serving in the Pacific during World War II. He retired from the Army Reserve in 1986 as a lieutenant colonel. According to a book he authored with his friend and colleague, William Corson, Crowley’s career included service in Military Intelligence and Naval Intelligence, before joining the CIA at its inception in 1947. His entire career at the agency was spent within the Directorate of Plans in covert operations. Before his retirement, Bob Crowley became assistant deputy director for operations, the second-in-command in the Clandestine Directorate of Operations.

Bob Crowley first contacted Gregory Douglas  in 1993  when he found out from John Costello that Douglas was about to publish his first book on Heinrich Mueller, the former head of the Gestapo who had become a secret, long-time asset to the CIA. Crowley contacted Douglas and they began a series of long and often very informative telephone conversations that lasted for four years. In 1996, Crowley told Douglas that he believed him to be the person that should ultimately tell Crowley’s story but only after Crowley’s death. Douglas, for his part, became so entranced with some of the material that Crowley began to share with him that he secretly began to record their conversations, later transcribing them word for word, planning to incorporate some, or all, of the material in later publications.


Conversation No. 68

Date: Wednesday, February 19, 1997

Commenced: 8:46 AM CST

Concluded: 9:30 AM CST


GD: You called me, Robert. Role reversal here. Is something up back there?

RTC: Yes, in a way. I’ve been keeping my eye on a growing negative situation here that directly affects you and indirectly affects me. This is going to be a little prolix, so I was wondering if you had a tape recorder handy and might hook it up so you can make some sense of all this later. You ought to listen to it, make notes at your convenience and then we can talk about things after you do this. Is this possible? The recorder?

GD: Yes, I have one over on the shelf. I’ll just go and get it.

RTC: Well, I’m not going anywhere.


GD: I got it and put a tape in it. Let me hook the mike up to the phone here….OK now fire away.

RTC: Very well, let’s get started. I begin by telling you something we both know and this is that you are most unpopular back here, at least in certain circles. For example, Wolfe hates you and keeps telling me I ought not to talk to you. How odd that Kimmel tells me the same thing and so does Joe Trento. Do you have any dealings with him, by the way?

GD: No. I’ve heard the name. He wrote a book with you once if I recall.

RTC: Yes, Joe and his wife.

GD: Not very deep writers, are they?

RTC: No, Trento is like Bill. So eager to be part of a larger picture, so desperate to be noticed, so unimportant. Wolfe is only a government librarian but he, too, had delusions of grandeur. And Tom…Poor Tom was once the golden boy and now he is getting older and he is going to have to retire.

GD: I talk to him quite often, Robert, and I’ve been of help to him and his family over the Pearl Harbor business.

RTC: Yes, I know that, but you are not on his good side for several reasons. In the first place, he views you as subhuman and only puts up with you for the same reason the others do…They want something from you. What they want is to get any papers Mueller might have given you and in the end, they want you to be quiet about him. Now Jim Critchfield wants you dead.

GD: Why so?

RTC: It’s all about Mueller. Now let me go on for a time here. I know and you know that Mueller worked for the CIA. Critchfield’s SS boys recruited him in ’48 and he came here. We hired him, in spite of the fact he ran the evil Gestapo, because he was a genuine expert on Soviet intelligence and very effective. Russia, officially, is our convenient enemy. Convenient, because everyone makes money because they threaten to invade us or atom bomb New York. Of course, they were going to do no such thing, but a frightened public is generous with funds to its protectors. So we hired Mueller. That, in and of itself, is a major scandal. The left wing, the Jews and anyone the Gestapo arrested would howl the house down if they ever found out about this. The other little problem is that no one alive, aside from myself and you, knows the name Mueller was given when he came over to us. This was a large secret and only a few knew. Harry Truman knew, Beetle Smith1  knew and so did Jim Critchfield and myself. And, of course, Mueller and his wife, who worked for us, too. So we have a situation that could prove to be very, very embarrassing for many people. Mueller is dead and his wife will say nothing but then we have you in the equation. You met him in California and his wife knows you. Apparently, you two hit it off. His wife, who doesn’t approve of you because she is afraid of you, tells us you two were thick as thieves. So much for that. You used your entrée to write a book on him. My dear sweet Jesus, what a stink you made. Mueller was dead and forgotten and along came you, a loose cannon, and tore off the scabs of time. It takes bureaucracies a long time to react. But to save their collective asses, they do react. Initially, Bill was all gung ho about you because your book supported his ‘Widows’ book and he clearly identified Mueller’s Swiss-based CIA interrogator…

GD: Kronthal.

RTC: Absolutely, and when Bill talked with you about this after reading the book, you gave him some inside information on Kronthal you got from Mueller. This was private information and you could never have made it up. Bill was sold and got me involved in this. Of course, I didn’t tell them that we had known each other previously, albeit rather casually. You know, the Costello business.

GD: I recall.

RTC: And suddenly it began to dawn on certain elevated people in our organization that you might know far more than you should. And your book, which was interesting, but not too revealing about our methods and activities, got out, you became a person of real interest. A question here, Gregory. Did Mueller ever mention the Kennedy business to you?

GD: Yes. I was having lunch with him when it happened. As I recall, we were having a late lunch at Stickney’s Hickory House in Palo Alto when Mueller started staring at the restaurant television set which was behind and above me. He said, ‘I see they shot your President in Dallas.’ I turned around and watched the uproar for a minute and then the food came. At one point, a little later, Mueller called me and asked me if I had been watching television and I said I had. He asked me if I had noticed Oswald being walked through crowded corridors in the Dallas police station and I said I had. He said that Oswald was not guilty, and those who did it were trying to get him killed by exposing him to strangers. And he did get shot in the same surroundings the next day. Mueller said that the business was now over and that Ruby would also either hang himself in his cell or be knifed in jail by an inmate wanting fame and fortune. When I told him much later that Ruby died of cancer, Mueller only laughed and said that he preferred the heart attack and that cancer took too long to work.

RTC: Astute. Anything else?

GD: Nothing that I remember.

RTC: You see, Gregory, Mueller was involved in the business.

GD: I was having lunch with him when it happened and I had known him for some time before, Robert. Was he?

RTC: Mueller was hired by us as probably the best expert on Soviet intelligence alive. When Jim Angleton learned that the most important secrets, the President’s Daily Briefing material was all over Moscow, he went over the edge. Only a very few people ever saw that paper. I suggested that he have these salted with different information prior to distribution. This bit of fiction in one report and that in another. That way, Jim found out that the leaks came from the White House. That’s when we dragged Mueller out of retirement and he pinpointed Bolshakov, the top KGB operative in this country, as the conduit. And a little bit of snooping discovered that Bobby Kennedy was in regular touch with Bolshakov. Obviously, the material went from JFK to RFK to Bolshakov to Nikita in Moscow. That’s when it was decided to remove Kennedy, in fact, both Kennedys. We got the President and Hoover got Bobby. The latter was more in the line of revenge, but the President had to be stopped. And of course, he was. Mueller knew this and we, or rather they, are terrified as to what else he might have told you.

GD: He never told me any of this.

RTC: But of course we don’t know that, do we? So the plan has been to gain your confidence, promise you much, get even closer to you and then find out if you have any papers or tapes on any of this, but especially the Kennedy business.

GD: And then they’ll shoot me.

RTC: Oh no, not that. With Critchfield in play, I told him that if any harm came to you, he would suffer terribly, so I doubt if anyone would shoot you. They would lie to you, con you, trick you and maybe break into your house and steal anything that might make trouble. Did you get anything from Mueller?

GD: Oh yes, much.

RTC: And safe? And by safe, I don’t mean cunningly hidden in the attic or cellar or, worse, in a local storage facility under your name. You know what I mean.

GD: Oh, I do indeed. I did not fall off the turnip truck yesterday, Robert. Very safe.

RTC: After Mueller died, we talked to his widow and went through all his papers, but they were very thin and there were a lot of things missing that she had remembered seeing. Most important were documents with Mueller’s new name. I told you, they don’t know that name…

GD: But they know his wife, so they must know the name.

RTC: Good chap here, but he had a number of names and his married name was not the same as our cover. Anyway, old papers were missing and then after we found out about you and your friend Laegel, we became very concerned. Laegel died in ’66 and you had vanished into thin air.

GD: I went to Europe under a false identity. I have dozens of them.

RTC: Vanished and so on. And then the book. That got everyone’s bowels in a ferment, Gregory and that’s why Bill got a hold of you.

GD: But you got me earlier.

RTC: That was on another matter entirely, but fortunate for both of us in the end.

GD: All this over Kennedy?

RTC: Kennedy’s demise and our employment of the Gestapo head and some very sensitive things he knew and had been involved in. And what he might have told you and, most important, what he might have given to you such as papers, files or the like. You can understand why you began to hear from Tom Kimmel of the FBI and others, can’t you? And weren’t they so pleasant and jovial with you?

GD: Certainly.

RTC: Of course, they were. And invitations to come to Washington to talk at historical conferences where you met all kinds of interesting people. And how many of these nice, attentive people have asked you about what Mueller might have given to you, or told you about really interesting historical happenings?

GD: Kimmel and Andrew Grey…

RTC: Yes, one of ours. You obviously didn’t oblige them, but then they got Bob Wolfe into the act. A fellow historian with, very important for your future researches, because he had access to government files.

GD: I always wondered why a professional Jew with strong ties to the Holocaust industry would be so smarmy with me. It figures.

RTC: And were you overwhelmed by the attention? By the free hotel rooms? By the dinners for you?

GD: I take what I can get, Robert.

RTC: And give?

GD: I give nothing, Robert, that I don’t want to give. Oh, yes, many little questions about Mueller and who he might have been and did I have his address in California and so on. But they knew where he was living after all.

RTC: They wanted to know what you knew. Kimmel told me, and Bill confirmed it and I learned myself first hand, that you can get on the phone and talk for three hours. Very interesting, very much in the know, but you never, ever let anything slip. This drives them all crazy, Gregory.

GD: Oh, yes, I am aware. For example, someone, whose name is not your business, would give me the name of a very sensitive government operation, and I mean very sensitive. But just the name and nothing else. I would casually drop it into a conversation with Wolfe, Andrew or Tom but just a drop, not a discussion. No response, of course. It was too new and too important for them to know about it. Then I would wait a few weeks and guess what? I would get a smarmy call from Wolfe, Andrew or Tom, or sometimes all three, with a query. Say, one or all of them would say, last week you mentioned Operation Bunghole. That’s really interesting because just yesterday someone was talking about it to me. What more do you know about it? I mean just between the two of us?

RTC: How did you get out from under that one?

GD: I would say, Oh yes, Operation Bunghole! Yes, well, it’s…oh, excuse me Robert, Andrew or Tom, but the UPS man is at the door with some packages and I have to get off. Let me get back to you on this. And of course I don’t and the next time they call on this, I say, Oh that thing. Such cold coffee. Let me tell you about the giant eagles we have around here. They just grabbed some small kid out of the parking lot and flew off with him! Is that what I should have done, Robert?

RTC: You are a very evil person, Gregory, causing so much trouble. I love it.

GD: But they obviously didn’t, did they?

RTC: No, you drove them crazy. Your natural arrogance coupled with the confusion you sowed among them has not made you a popular person.

GD: Good. Mueller would have loved it as much as we both do.

RTC: Well, that’s some background. You are beginning to get some of these people very annoyed.

GD: The Wolfe and Kimmel people?

RTC: No, the people they work for. There will, I think, be some intense efforts to get their hands on you. Someone said getting anything from you was like trying to pick up some mercury from a table top. You slide this way and that and nothing can be done. They know you have something, but just what is a mystery. Keep it that way, Gregory. It’s insurance. And on that subject, I have been going through all of my files and I am going to ship you some really interesting material. Some of it, as I promised, has to do with the Kennedy business, but the rest covers sundry other matters. I’m going to have my son ship these to you, because I am long past dragging heavy boxes to the post office. Now when you get these papers, be very sure to put them in a very safe place and tell no one about them. And here is more information for you. Do not trust your son in any way.

GD: Are you serious? My son?

RTC: Yes, because of the name. They can use his name at one point. I have to tell you this and I realize it may have an adverse effect on you, but it’s important. Bill told me that he has approached your son and offered him a job with the CIA.

GD: You really must be joking. He has no academic background and would never pass a security clearance.

RTC: It doesn’t matter. He has been offered a consultant job at forty thousand a year and has more or less accepted. Bill said he was more than willing to work with him, and through him, the Company. They want cooperation in the event you start to push them or they even suspect you are about to pull off their covers. He is not too friendly to you and, of course, the money matters. Once he served his purpose, naturally, the job would disconnect. Tell him nothing and never let him know that you got anything from me. If he quizzes you about your relationship with me or gets interested in specifics, be on your guard and do not trust him. I don’t say you should walk away from him, but just watch yourself.

GD: Not surprising. He’s clever but a coward and would never come at me from the front. But he has had so much trouble with the law such as having fake driver’s licenses, huge bills and the like that I doubt if any government agency would hire him if he used standard employment techniques. He never mentioned Bill or his offer and I did not know he had talked with Corson. He talked with Kimmel and Wolfe, but not Bill. Well, it’s a disappointment, considering what it cost me to raise him and pay his bills, but not a surprise. His favorite game is to knock up his girl friends, walk off and then expect me to pay for the abortion. Or the bill I knew nothing about. Or the car he ran into the week before. That sort of thing. He’s very clever, but totally amoral and I don’t trust him to the corner, Robert, but I thank you for the input. Now, I can stuff him with disinformation which, as it comes from the inside, just has to be right. I should be able to squeeze a few dollars out of the swine, if I play it right, and I can always find ways to get them after people I don’t like. I mean I can tell my kid that so and so has the papers and plans to blackmail Langley with them. Then we can read the paper about a terrible gas explosion or a car wreck somewhere, and another enemy is crisped.

RTC: Yes, well, you know the game.

GD: Of course I do. What did they say during our Glorious Revolution? Trust in God but keep your powder dry? Trust in no one, not even God, and keep your knife sharp. I don’t suppose you’d like to fill me in on your surprise?

RTC: Not on the phone, Gregory.

GD: They might be listening, but I doubt it. I’m using a special phone. But they might be listening to you. If they are, Wolfe, Andrew or Tom, kiss my royal ass.

RTC: Don’t do that, Gregory. They might.


(Concluded at 9:30 AM CST)


1 General Walter Bedell “Beetle” Smith GBE KCB (October 5, 1895 – August 9, 1961) was Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Chief of Staff during Eisenhower’s tenure at SHAEF and Director of the CIA from 1950 to 1953. He also served as U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1946 to 1948


Facebook Allowed Advertisers to Target Users Interested in “White Genocide” — Even in Wake of Pittsburgh Massacre

November 2 2018,

by Sam Biddle

The Intercept

From the outside, it’s impossible to tell exactly how Facebook decides who among its 2 billion users might fit into the “white genocide” interest group or any other cohort available for “detailed targeting.” The company’s own documentation is very light on details, saying only that these groups are based on indicators like “Pages [users] engage with” or “Activities people engage in on and off Facebook related to things like their device usage, purchase behaviors or intents and travel preferences.” It remains entirely possible that some people lumped into the “white genocide conspiracy theory” fandom are not, in fact, true believers, but may have interacted with content critical of this myth, such as a news report, a fact check, or academic research on the topic.

But there are some clues as to who exactly is counted among the 168,000. After selecting “white genocide conspiracy theory” as an ad target, Facebook provided “suggestions” of other, similar criteria, including interest in the far-right-wing news outlets RedState and the Daily Caller — the latter of which, co-founded by right-wing commentator Tucker Carlson, has repeatedly been criticized for cozy connections to white nationalists and those sympathetic to them. Other suggested ad targets included mentions of South Africa;  a common trope among advocates of the “white genocide” myth is the so-called plight of white South African farmers, who they falsely claim are being systematically murdered and pushed off their land. The South African hoax is often used as a cautionary tale for American racists — like, by all evidence, Robert Bowers, the Pittsburgh shooter — who fear a similar fate is in store for them, whether from an imagined global Jewish conspiracy or a migrant “caravan.” But the “white genocide” myth appears to have a global appeal, as well: About 157,000 of the accounts with the interest are outside of the U.S., concentrated in Africa and Asia, although it’s not clear how many of these might be bots.

A simple search of Facebook pages also makes plain that there are tens of thousands of users with a very earnest interest in “white genocide,” shown through the long list of groups with names like “Stop White South African Genocide,” “White Genocide Watch,” and “The last days of the white man.” Images with captions like “Don’t Be A Race Traitor” and “STOP WHITE GENOCIDE IN SOUTH AFRICA” are freely shared in such groups, providing a natural target for anyone who might want to pay to promote deliberately divisive and incendiary hate-based content.

A day after Facebook confirmed The Intercept’s “white genocide” ad buy, the company deleted the category and canceled the ads. Facebook spokesperson Joe Osborne provided The Intercept with the following statement, similar to the one he gave ProPublica over a year ago: “This targeting option has been removed, and we’ve taken down these ads. It’s against our advertising principles and never should have been in our system to begin with. We deeply apologize for this error.” Osborne added that the “white genocide conspiracy theory” category had been  “generated through a mix of automated and human reviews, but any newly added interests are ultimately approved by people. We are ultimately responsible for the segments we make available in our systems.” Osborne also confirmed that the ad category had been used by marketers, but cited only “reasonable” ad buys targeting “white genocide” enthusiasts, such as news coverage.

Facebook draws a distinction between the hate-based categories ProPublica discovered, which were based on terms users entered into their own profiles, versus the “white genocide conspiracy theory” category, which Facebook itself created via algorithm. The company says that it’s taken steps to make sure the former is no longer possible, although this clearly did nothing to deter the latter. Interestingly, Facebook said that technically the white genocide ad buy didn’t violate its ad policies, because it was based on a category Facebook itself created. However, this doesn’t square with the automated email The Intercept received a day after the ad buy was approved, informing us that “We have reviewed some of your ads more closely and have determined they don’t comply with our Advertising Policies.”

Still, the company conceded that such ad buys should have never been possible in the first place. Vice News and Business Insider also bought Facebook ads this week to make a different point about a related problem: that Facebook does not properly verify the identities of people who take out political ads. It’s unclear whether the “guardrails” Leathern spoke of a year ago will simply take more time to construct, or whether Facebook’s heavy reliance on algorithmic judgment simply careened through them

Apparently fueled by anti-Semitism and the bogus narrative that outside forces are scheming to exterminate the white race, Robert Bowers murdered 11 Jewish congregants as they gathered inside their Pittsburgh synagogue, federal prosecutors allege. But despite long-running international efforts to debunk the idea of a “white genocide,” Facebook was still selling advertisers the ability to market to those with an interest in that myth just days after the bloodshed.

Earlier this week, The Intercept was able to select “white genocide conspiracy theory” as a pre-defined “detailed targeting” criterion on the social network to promote two articles to an interest group that Facebook pegged at 168,000 users large and defined as “people who have expressed an interest or like pages related to White genocide conspiracy theory.” The paid promotion was approved by Facebook’s advertising wing. After we contacted the company for comment, Facebook promptly deleted the targeting category, apologized, and said it should have never existed in the first place.

Our reporting technique was the same as one used by the investigative news outlet ProPublica to report, just over one year ago, that in addition to soccer dads and Arianna Grande fans, “the world’s largest social network enabled advertisers to direct their pitches to the news feeds of almost 2,300 people who expressed interest in the topics of ‘Jew hater,’ ‘How to burn jews,’ or, ‘History of “why jews ruin the world.”’” The report exposed how little Facebook was doing to vet marketers, who pay the company to leverage personal information and inclinations in order to gain users’ attention — and who provide the foundation for its entire business model. At the time, ProPublica noted that Facebook “said it would explore ways to fix the problem, such as limiting the number of categories available or scrutinizing them before they are displayed to buyers.” Rob Leathern, a Facebook product manager, assured the public, “We know we have more work to do, so we’re also building new guardrails in our product and review processes to prevent other issues like this from happening in the future.”

Leathern’s “new guardrails” don’t seem to have prevented Facebook from manually approving our ad buy the same day it was submitted, despite its explicit labeling as “White Supremacy – Test.”


Donald Trump’s firearms license

The campaign tone in the US midterm elections is turning ever more aggressive. But with his threat to use weapons against migrants, President Trump has overstepped the line

November 2, 2018

by Dagmar Engel


I had sworn to lay off publicly venting my anger over comments made by US President Donald Trump. Anger distorts the view on his administration’s policies. And that is probably the overriding aim of many of his incendiary remarks in interviews, at campaign rallies and on Twitter.

It is time to break that particular oath.

Trump is planning to send 15,000 soldiers to the Mexican border to stop the so-called migrant caravan in its tracks. He claims to have told the military that troops should react to thrown rocks as they would to gunshots.

It is unlikely that an overwhelming force of US soldiers will shoot live ammunition at migrants. The troops are only supposed to provide border police with logistical support: Build fences, erect tents, supply vehicles. They are prohibited from arresting or taking direct action against migrants.

Trump the role model

Trump doesn’t explicitly say soldiers should shoot at migrants, but as so often, he does give his supporters room for interpretation. By lauding a Congressman’s physical attack on a journalist — as he did at a rally in Montana — he is implicitly suggesting that violence against journalists is fine. Colleagues covering Republican campaign rallies have since reported receiving threats.

A man who groped the breasts of a female sitting in the row in front during a flight from Texas to New Mexico referred to his president, who once famously said it was fine to grab women in intimate areas.

The US president proudly asserted “I am a nationalist,” only to claim he was unaware the term had racist connotations. But once again, he had given a signal to his supporters on the far-right.

Trump the cause

It is going too far to lay the blame for the pipe bombs sent to his opponents solely at Trump’s door. Or for the terror attack on the synagogue in Pittsburgh. But he assigned a permit for these acts with a rhetoric that invents and dramatizes a potential threat and simultaneously approves of violence.

In the current case, not to the soldiers, rather to Trump’s supporters. The largest groups of migrants, numbering around 7,000 people, are still in the deep south of Mexico. But people try to cross the border from Mexico into the US every single day. If one of them is shot by a Trump supporter, the 45th US president will have the death on his conscience.

On November 1, 2018, he issued a license to shoot migrants.


Private messages from 81,000 hacked Facebook accounts for sale

November 2, 2018

by Andrei Zakharov

BBC Russian Service

Hackers appear to have compromised and published private messages from at least 81,000 Facebook users’ accounts.

The perpetrators told the BBC Russian Service that they had details from a total of 120 million accounts, which they were attempting to sell, although there are reasons to be sceptical about that figure.

Facebook said its security had not been compromised.

And the data had probably been obtained through malicious browser extensions.

‘Law enforcement’

Facebook added it had taken steps to prevent further accounts being affected.

The BBC understands many of the users whose details have been compromised are based in Ukraine and Russia. However, some are from the UK, US, Brazil and elsewhere.

The hackers offered to sell access for 10 cents (8p) per account. However, their advert has since been taken offline.

“We have contacted browser-makers to ensure that known malicious extensions are no longer available to download in their stores,” said Facebook executive Guy Rosen.

“We have also contacted law enforcement and have worked with local authorities to remove the website that displayed information from Facebook accounts.”

Intimate correspondence

The breach first came to light in September, when a post from a user nicknamed FBSaler appeared on an English-language internet forum.

“We sell personal information of Facebook users. Our database includes 120 million accounts,” the user wrote.

The cyber-security company Digital Shadows examined the claim on behalf of the BBC and confirmed that more than 81,000 of the profiles posted online as a sample contained private messages.

Data from a further 176,000 accounts was also made available, although some of the information – including email addresses and phone numbers – could have been scraped from members who had not hidden it.

The BBC Russian Service contacted five Russian Facebook users whose private messages had been uploaded and confirmed the posts were theirs.

One example included photographs of a recent holiday, another was a chat about a recent Depeche Mode concert, and a third included complaints about a son-in-law

There was also an intimate correspondence between two lovers.

One of the websites where the data had been published appeared to have been set up in St Petersburg.

Its IP address has also been flagged by the Cybercrime Tracker service. It says the address had been used to spread the LokiBot Trojan, which allows attackers to gain access to user passwords.

Presentational grey line

Who should be blamed?

Personal shopping assistants, bookmarking applications and even mini-puzzle games are all on offer from various browsers such as Chrome, Opera and Firefox as third-party extensions.

The little icons sit alongside your URL address bar patiently waiting for you to click on them.

According to Facebook, it was one such extension that quietly monitored victims’ activity on the platform and sent personal details and private conversations back to the hackers.

Facebook has not named the extensions it believes were involved but says the leak was not its fault.

Independent cyber-experts have told the BBC that if rogue extensions were indeed the cause, the browsers’ developers might share some responsibility for failing to vet the programs, assuming they were distributed via their marketplaces.

But the hack is still bad news for Facebook.

The embattled network has had a terrible year for data security and questions will be asked about whether it is proactive enough in responding to situations like this that affect large numbers of people.

The BBC Russian Service emailed the address listed alongside the hacked details, posing as a buyer interested in buying two million accounts’ details.

The advertiser was asked whether the breached accounts were the same as those involved in either the Cambridge Analytica scandal or the subsequent security breach revealed in September.

A reply in English came from someone calling themself John Smith.

He said that the information had nothing to do with either data leak.

He claimed that his hacking group could offer data from 120 million users, of whom 2.7 million were Russians.

But Digital Shadows told the BBC that this claim was doubtful because it was unlikely Facebook would have missed such a large breach.

John Smith did not explain why he had not advertised his services more widely.

And when asked whether the leaks were linked to the Russian state or to the Internet Research Agency – a group of hackers linked to the Kremlin – he replied: “No.”



From ‘Coup D’Etat:The Technique Of Revolution’

by Curzio Malaparte


While the strategy of the Bolshevik revolution was due to Lenin, the tactician of the October coup d’Etat in 1917 was Trotsky.

When I was in Russia early in 1929, I had the opportunity of talking to a large number of people, from every walk of life, about the part played by Trotsky in the Revolution. There is an official theory on the subject which is held by Stalin. But everywhere, and especially in Moscow and Leningrad where Trotsky’s party was stronger than elsewhere, I heard judgments passed on Trotsky which differed altogether from those enunciated by Stalin. The only refusal to answer my questions came from Lunacharski, and Madame Kamenev alone, gave me an objective justification of Stalin’s theory, which ought not to be surprising, considering that Madame Kamenev is Trotsky’s sister.

We cannot enter here into the Stalin – Lenin controversy on the subject of the “permanent revolution” and of the part played by Trotsky in the coup d’Etat of October 1917. Stalin denies that Trotsky organized it: he claims that merit for the Commission on which Sverdlov, Stalin, Boubrov, Ouritzki, and Dzerjinski sat. The Commission, to which neither Lenin nor Trotsky belonged, was an integral part of the Revolutionary Military Committee presided over by Trotsky. But Stalin’s controversy with the upholder of the theory of the “permanent revolution” cannot alter the history of the October insurrection, which, according to Lenin’s statement, was organized and directed by Trotsky. Lenin was the “strategus,” idealist, inspirer, the deus ex machina of the revolution, but the man who invented the technique of the Bolshevik coup d‘Etat was Trotsky.

The Communist peril against which governments in modern Europe have to defend themselves lies, not in Lenin’s strategy, but in Trotsky’s tactics. It would be difficult to conceive of Lenin’s strategy apart from the general situation in Russia in 1917. Trotsky’s tactics, on the contrary, were independent of the general condition of the country; their practical application was not conditioned by any of the circumstances which were indispensable to Lenin’s strategy. In Trotsky’s tactics is to be found the explanation why a Communist coup d‘Etat always will be a danger in any European country. In other words, Lenin’s strategy cannot find its application in any Western European country unless the ground is favorably prepared and the circumstances identical with those of Russia in 1917. In his Infantile Disease of Communism, Lenin himself noted that the novelty in the Russian political situation in 1917 “lay in four specific circumstances, which do not at present obtain in Western Europe, and doubtless never will develop either on exactly the same, or even analogous, lines.” An explanation of these four conditions would be irrelevant here. Everyone knows what constituted the novelty of the Russian political situation in 1917. Lenin’s strategy does not, therefore, present an immediate danger to the Governments of Europe. The menace for them, now and always, is from Trotsky’s tactics.

In his remarks on The October Revolution and the Tactics of Russian Communists, Stalin wrote that whoever wished to form an estimate of what happened in Germany in the Autumn of 1923, must not forget the peculiar situation in Russia in 1917. He added: “Comrade Trotsky ought to remember it, since he finds a complete analogy between the October Revolution and the German Revolution and chastises the German Communist party for its real or supposed blunders.” For Stalin, the failure of the German attempt at revolution during the Autumn of 1923 was due to the absence of those specific circumstances which are indispensable to the practical application of Lenin’s strategy. He was astonished to find Trotsky blaming the German Communists. But for Trotsky the success of an attempt at revolution does not depend on circumstances analogous to those obtaining in Russia in 1917. The reason why the German revolution in the Autumn of 1923 failed was not because it was impossible at that time to put Lenin’s strategy into operation. The unpardonable mistake on the part of the German Communists lay in their neglect of the insurrectional tactics of Bolshevism. The absence of favorable circumstances and the general condition of the country do not affect the practical application of Trotsky’s tactics. In fact, there is no justification of the German Communists’ failure to reach their goal.

Since the death of Lenin, Trotsky’s great heresy has threatened the doctrinal unity of Leninism. Trotsky is a Reformer who has the odds against him. He is now a Luther in exile, and those of his adherents who were not so rash as to repent too late, have hastened to repent- officially-too early. Nevertheless, one still frequently meets with heretics in Russia who have not lost the taste for criticism and who go on drawing the most unexpected conclusions from Stalin’s argument. This argument leads to the conclusion that without Kerenski there could be no Lenin, since Kerenski formed one of the chief elements in the peculiar condition of Russia in 1917. But Trotsky does not recognize that there is any need for Kerenski; any more than for Stresemann, Poincaré, Lloyd George, Giolitti, or MacDonald, whose presence, like that of Kerenski, has no influence, favorable or unfavorable, on the practical application of Trotsky’s tactics. Put Poincaré  in the place of Kerenski and the Bolshevik coup d’Etat of 1917 would prove to be equally successful. In Moscow, as in Leningrad, I have sometimes come across adherents of the heretical theory of the “permanent revolution” who virtually held that Trotsky could do without Lenin, that Trotsky could exist without Lenin; which is equivalent to saying that Trotsky might have risen to power in October 1917 if Lenin had stayed in Switzerland and taken no part whatever in the Russian revolution.

The assertion is a risky one but only those who magnify the importance of strategy in a revolution will deem it arbitrary. What matters most are insurrectional tactics, the technique of the coup d’Etat. In a Communist revolution Lenin’s strategy is not an indispensable preparation for the use of insurrectional tactics. It cannot, of itself, lead to the capture of the State. In Italy, in 1919 and 1920, Lenin’s strategy had been put into complete operation and Italy at that time was, indeed, of all European countries, the ripest for a Communist revolution. Everything was ready for a coup d‘Etat. But Italian Communists believed that the revolutionary state of the country, the fever of sedition among the proletarian masses, the epidemic of general strikes, the paralyzed state of economic and political life, the occupation of factories by the workers, and of lands by the peasants, the disorganization of the army, the police and the civil service, the feebleness of the magistrature, the submission of the middle classes, and the impotence of the government were conditions sufficient to allow for a transference of authority to the workers. Parliament was under the control of the parties of the Left and was actually backing the revolutionary activities of the trade unions. There was no lack of determination to seize power, only of knowledge of the tactics of insurrection. The revolution wore itself out in strategy. This strategy was the preparation for a decisive attack, but no one knew how to lead the attack. The Monarchy (which used then to be called a Socialist Monarchy) was actually talked of as a serious obstacle to an insurrectional attack. The parliamentary majority of the Left was very much concerned with the activities of the trade unions, which gave it reason to fear a bid for power out- side the sphere of Parliament and even directed against it. The trade unions suspected Parliament of trying to convert the proletarian revolution into a change of ministry for the benefit of the lower middle classes. How could the coup d‘Etat be organized? Such was the problem during the whole of 1919 and 1920; and not only in Italy, but in almost every Western European country. Trotsky said that the Communists did not know how to benefit by the lesson of October 1917, which was not a lesson in revolutionary strategy but in the tactics of an insurrection.

This remark of Trotsky’s is very important for an understanding of the tactics used in the coup d‘Etat of October 1917, that is, of the technique of the Communist coup d’Etat.

It might be maintained that the tactics of insurrection are a part of revolutionary strategy, and indeed its aim and object. Trotsky’s ideas on this point are very definite. We have already seen that he considers the tactics of insurrection as independent of the general condition of the country or of a revolutionary state of affairs favorable to insurrection. The Russia of Kerenski offers no more of a problem than Holland or Switzerland for the practical application of the October tactics of 1917. The four specific circumstances as defined by Lenin in The Infantile Disease of Communism (i.e., the possibility of combining the Bolshevik revolution with the conclusion of an imperialist war; the chance of benefiting for a short while, by a war between two groups of nations who, except for that war, would have united to fight the Bolshevik revolution; the ability to sustain a civil war in Russia lasting long enough in relation to the immense size of the country and its poor means of communications; the presence of a democratic middle-class revolutionary movement among the peasant masses) are characteristic of the Russian situation in 1917, but they are not indispensable to the successful outcome of a Communist coup d‘Etat. If the tactics of a Bolshevik revolution were dependent upon the same circumstances as Lenin’s strategy, there would not be a Communist peril just now in all the states of Europe.

Lenin, in his strategic idea, lacked a sense of reality; he lacked precision and proportion. He thought of strategy in terms of Clausewitz, more as a philosophy than as an art or science. After his death, among his bedside books, a copy of Clausewitz’s Concerning War was found, annotated in his own writing; and his marginal notes to Marx’s Civil War in France show how well- founded was Trotsky’s challenge of his rival’s strategic genius, It is difficult to see why such importance is officially given to Lenin’s revolutionary strategy in Russia unless it is for the purpose of belittling Trotsky. The historical part played by Lenin in the Revolution makes it unnecessary for him to be considered as a great strategist.

On the eve of the October insurrection Lenin was hopeful and impatient. Trotsky’s election to the Presidency of the Petrograd Soviet and to the Revolutionary Military Committee, and the winning over of the Moscow Soviet majority, had finally set his mind at rest about the question of a majority in the Soviets, which had been his constant thought since July. All the same, he was still anxious about the second Soviet Congress which was due in the last days of October. “We need not get a majority,” Trotsky said, “it will not be the majority that will have to get into power.” And Trotsky was not mistaken. “It would be simply childish,” Lenin agreed, “to wait for a definite majority.” He would have liked to rouse the masses against Kerenski’s government; he wanted to bury Russia under the proletariat; to give the signal for insurrection to the entire Russian People; to appear at the Soviet Congress and override Dan and Skobelov, the two leaders of the Menshevik minority; and to proclaim the fall of Kerenski’s government and the advent of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Insurrectional tactics did not enter into his mind, he thought only in terms of revolutionary strategy. “All right,” said Trotsky, “but first of all, you must take possession of the town, seize the strategic positions and turn out the Government. In order to do that, an insurrection must be organized and storming parties trained. Few people are wanted; the masses are of no use; a small company is sufficient.”

But, according to Lenin, the Bolshevik insurrection must never be accused of being a speculation. “The insurrection,” he said, “must not rest on a plot nor on a party, but on the advanced section of the community.” That was the first point. The insurrection must be sustained by the revolutionary impulse of the whole people. That was the second point. The insurrection must break out on the high-water mark of the revolutionary tide: and that was the third point. These three points marked the distinction between Marxism and mere speculation. ‘‘Very well,” said Trotsky, “but the whole populace is too cumbersome for an insurrection. There need only be a small company, cold- blooded and violent, well-trained in the tactics of insurrection.”

Lenin admitted: “We must hurl all our units into the factories and barracks. There they must stand firm, for there is the crucial spot, the anchor of the Revolution. It is there that OK program must be explained and developed in fiery, ardent speech, with the challenge: Complete acceptance of this program, or insurrection !”

“Very good,” said Trotsky, “but when our program has been accepted by the masses, the insurrection still remains to be organized. We must draw on the factories and barracks for reliable and intrepid adherents. What we need is not the bulk of workers, deserters and fugitives, but shock troops.”

“If we want to carry out the revolution as Marxists, that is to say as an art,” Lenin agreed, “we must also, and without a moment’s delay, organize the General Staff of the insurrectional troops, distribute our forces, launch our loyal regiments against the most salient positions, surround the Alexandra theatre, occupy the Fortress of Peter and Paul, arrest the General Staff and the members of the Government, attack the Cadets and Cossacks with detachments ready to die to the last man, rather than allow the enemy to penetrate into the center of the town, We must mobilize the armed workers, call them to the supreme encounter, take over the telephone and telegraph exchanges at the same time, quarter our insurrectional General Staff in the telephone exchange and connect it up by telephone with all the factories, regiments, and points at which the armed struggle is being waged.”

“Very good,” Trotsky said, “but . . .”

“All that is only approximate,” Lenin recognized, “but I am anxious to prove that at this stage we could not remain loyal to Marx with- out considering revolution as an art. You know the chief rules of this art as Marx laid them down. When applied to the present situation in Russia, these rules imply: as swift and sudden a general offensive on Petrograd as possible; at- tacking both from inside and out, from the workers’ districts in Finland, from Reval and from Kronstadt; an offensive with the whole fleet; the concentration of troops greatly superior to the Government’s forces which will he 20,000 strong (Cadets and Cossacks). We must rally our three chief forces, the fleet, the workers, and the military units to take over the telephone and telegraph offices, the stations and the bridges and to hold them at any cost. We must recruit the most tenacious among our storming parties for detachments whose duty it will be to occupy all the important bridges and to take part in every decisive engagement. We must also form gangs of workers armed with rifles and hand grenades who will march on enemy positions, on the officers’ training schools and on the telephone and telegraph exchanges, and surround them. , The triumph of both the Russian and the world- revolution depends on a two or three days’ struggle.”

“That is all quite reasonable,” said Trotsky, “but it is too complicated. The plan is too vast and it is a strategy which includes too much territory and too many people. It is not an insurrection any longer, it is a war. In order to take possession of Petrograd it is needless to take the train in Finland. Those who start from too great a distance often have to stop halfway. An offensive of 20,000 men from Reval or Kronstadt for the purpose of seizing the Alexandra theatre is rather more than is required; it is more than an assault. As far as strategy is concerned, Marx himself could be outdone by Kornilov. One must concentrate on tactics, move in a small space with few men, concentrate all efforts on principal objectives, strike hard and straight. I don’t think it is so complicated. Dangerous things are always extremely simple. In order to be successful, one must not challenge an unfavorable circumstance nor trust to a favorable one. Hit your adversary in the stomach and the blow, will be noiseless. Insurrection is a piece of noiseless machinery. Your strategy demands too many favorable circumstances. Insurrection needs nothing. It is self-sufficient.”

“Your tactics are extremely simple,” said Lenin: “There is only one rule: succeed, You prefer Napoleon to Kerenski, don’t you?”

The words which I attribute to Lenin are not invented. They are to be found, word for word, in the letters he wrote to the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party in October 1917.

Those who are acquainted with all Lenin’s writings, and especially with his notes on the insurrectional technique of the December Days in Moscow during the Revolution of 1905, must be rather surprised to find how ingenuous his ideas about the tactics and technique of an insurrection are on the eve of October 1917. And yet it must not be forgotten that he and Trotsky alone, after the failure of the July attempt, did not lose sight of the chief aim of revolutionary strategy, which was the coup d‘Etat. After some vacillation (in July the Bolshevik Party had only one aim and it was of a parliamentary nature: to gain the majority in the Soviets), the idea of insurrection, as Lunacharski said, had become the driving power of all Lenin’s activities. But during his stay in Finland where he had taken shelter after the July Days to avoid falling into the hands of Kerenski, all his activity was concentrated on the preparation of the revolution in theory. There seems to be no other explanation for the ingenuousness of his plan to make a military offensive on Petrograd that was to be backed up by the Red Guards within the town. The offensive would have ended in disaster. With Lenin’s strategy checkmated, the tactics of an insurrection would have failed and the Red Guards have been massacred in the streets of Petrograd. Because he was compelled to follow the course of events from a distance, Lenin could not grasp the situation in all its details. Nonetheless, he visualized the main trend of the revolution far more clearly than certain members of the Central Committee of t he party who objected to an immediate insurrection. “It is a crime to wait,’’ he wrote to the Bolshevik Committees in Petrograd and Moscow.

And although the Central Committee in its meeting on October 10, at which Lenin, just returned from Finland, was present, voted almost unanimously for an insurrection (only Kamenev and Zinoviev dissenting), yet there was still a secret opposition among certain members of the Committee. Kamenev and Zinoviev were the only members who had publicly protested against an immediate insurrection, but their objections were the very same as those fostered by many others in secret. Those who disagreed, in secret, with Lenin’s decision brought all their hatred to bear on Trotsky, “the unattractive Trotsky,” a new recruit to the ranks of Bolshevism whose pride was beginning to arouse a good deal of jealousy and attention among Lenin’s old life guards.

During those days Lenin hid away in a suburb of Petrograd and, without losing touch with the situation as a whole, he carefully watched the machinations of Trotsky’s adversaries. At a moment like this, indecision in any form would have been fatal to the revolution. In a letter to the Central Committee, dated October 17, Lenin resisted most energetically the criticisms of Kamenev and Zinoviev whose arguments were intended to expose Trotsky’s mistakes. They said that “without the collaboration of the masses and without the support of a general strike, the insurrection will only be a leap in the dark and doomed to failure. Trotsky’s tactics are a pure gamble. A Marxist party cannot associate the question of an insurrection with that of a military conspiracy.”

In his letter of October 17, Lenin defended Trotsky’s tactics: “Trotsky is not playing with the ideas of Blanqui,” he said. “A military conspiracy is a game of that sort only if it is not organized by the political party of a definite class of people and if the organizers disregard the general political situation and the international situation in particular. There is a great difference between a military conspiracy, which is deplorable from every point of view, and the art of armed insurrection.” Kamenev and Zinoviev might answer: “Has Trotsky not constantly been repeating that an insurrection must disregard the political and economic situation of the country? Has he not constantly been stating that a general strike is one of the chief factors in a communist coup d’Etat? How can the co-operation of the trade unions and the proclamation of a general strike be relied upon if the trade unions are not with us, but in the enemy’s camp? They will strike against us. We do not even negotiate directly with the railway men. In their Executive Committee there are only two Bolsheviks to forty members. How can we win without the help of the trade unions and without the support of a general strike?”

These objections were serious: Lenin could only meet them with his unshakable decision. But Trotsky smiled: he was calm. “Insurrection,” he said, “is not an art, it is an engine. Technical experts are required to start it and they alone could stop it.”

Trotsky’s storming party consisted of a thousand workmen, soldiers and sailors. The pick of this company had been recruited from workmen of the Putilov and Wiborg factories, from sailors of the Baltic fleet and soldiers of the Latvian regiments. Under the orders of Antonov- Ovseienko, these Red Guards devoted themselves for ten days to a whole series of “invisible maneuvers” in the very center of the town. Among the crowd of deserters that thronged the streets, in the midst of the chaos that reigned in the government buildings and offices, in the General Headquarters, in the Post Offices, telephone and telegraph exchanges, in the stations, barracks, and the head offices of the city’s technical services, they practiced insurrectional tactics, unarmed and in broad daylight. And their little groups of three or four men passed unnoticed.

The tactics of “invisible maneuvers” and the practice of insurrectional action which Trotsky demonstrated for the first time during the coup d‘Etat of October 1917 is now a part of the revolutionary strategy of the Third International. The principles which Trotsky applied are all stated and developed in the handbooks of the Comintern. In the Chinese University in Moscow, among the subjects taught, there is “the tactics of invisible maneuvers,” which Karakan, with Trotsky’s experience for guidance, applied so successfully in Shanghai. In the Sun-Yat-Sen University in Moscow, the Chinese students learn the same principles which German Communist organizations put into practice every Sunday in order to get into training for the tactics of insurrection; and they do it in broad daylight, under the very nose of the police and of the sober citizens of Berlin, Dresden, and Hamburg.

In October 1917, during the days prior to the coup d‘Etat, the Reactionary, Liberal, Menshevik and Socialist revolutionary press never ceased to enlighten public opinion as to the activities of the Bolshevik Party, which was openly preparing an insurrection. It accused Lenin and Trotsky of seeking to overthrow the democratic republic in order to set up a dictatorship of the proletariat. They were not trying to disguise their criminal intentions, said the middle-class press, the proletarian revolution was being organized in broad daylight. When Bolshevik leaders made speeches to the masses of workers and soldiers gathered in the factories and barracks they loudly proclaimed that everything was ready and that the day for revolution was drawing nearer. What was the Government doing? Why had Lenin, Trotsky and the other member: of the Central Committee not been arrested? What measures were being taken to protect Russia from the Bolshevik danger?

It is incorrect to say that Kerenski’s Government did not take the measures needed for the defense of the State. Kerenski must be given due credit for having done everything in his power to prevent a coup d‘Etat. If Poincarié, Lloyd George, MacDonald, Giolitti, or Stresemann had stood in his place, they would not have acted otherwise.

Kerenski’s system of defense consisted in using the police methods which have always been relied upon and are still relied upon today by absolute as well as by liberal governments. But these police methods can no longer adequately defend the State from the modern technique of insurrection. Kerenski’s mistake was the mistake of all governments that regard the problem of the defense of the State as a police problem.

Those who accuse Kerenski of a lack of foresight and of incompetence forget the skill and courage he showed in the July Days against the workers’ and deserters’ revolt, and again in August against Kornilov’s reactionary venture. In August he did not hesitate to call in the Bolsheviks themselves in order to prevent Kornilov’s Cossacks from sweeping the democratic victories of the February revolution overboard. On this occasion he astonished Lenin: “We must beware of Kerenski,” he said, “he is no fool.” Kerenski must have his due: it was impossible for him, in October, to act differently from the way he did. Trotsky had said that the defense of the State was a matter of method. Moreover, in October 1917 only one method was known, only one could be applied whether by Kerenski, Lloyd George, Poincaré , or Noske: the classical method of relying on the police.

In order to meet the danger, Kerenski took care to garrison the Winter Palace, the Tauride Palace, the Government offices, the telephone and telegraph exchanges, and the General Headquarters with military Cadets and loyal Cossacks. The 20,000 men on whom he could count inside the capital were thus mobilized to protect the strategic points in the political and bureaucratic organization of the State. (This was the mistake by which Trotsky would benefit.) Other reliable regiments were massed in the neighborhood at Tsarkoié Selo, Kolpino, Gatchina, Oboukhovo, and Pulkovo-an iron ring which the Bolshevik insurrection must sever if it was not to be stifled. All the measures which might safeguard the Government had been taken, and detachments of Cadets patrolled the town day and night. There were clusters of machine-guns at the crossroads, on the roofs, all along the Nevski Prospect, and at each end of the main streets, to prevent access to the squares. Military patrols passed back and forth among the crowds: armored cars moved slowly by, opening up a passage with the long howl of their hooters. The chaos was terrible. “There’s my general strike,” said Trotsky to Antovov Ovseienko, pointing to the swirling crowds in the Nevski Prospect.

Meanwhile, Kerenski was not content with mere police measures; he set the whole political machine in motion. He not only wanted to rally the Right but to make assurance doubly sure by agreement with the Left. He was most concerned about the trade unions. He knew that their leaders were not in agreement with the Bolsheviks. That fact accounted for the Kamenev-Zinoviev criticism of Trotsky’s idea of insurrection. A general strike was an indispensable factor for the insurrection. Without it the Bolsheviks could not feel safe and their attempt was bound to fail. Trotsky described the revolution as “hitting a paralyzed man.” If the insurrection was to succeed, life in Petrograd must be paralyzed by a general strike. The trade union leaders were out of sympathy with the Bolsheviks, but their organized rank and file inclined towards Lenin. If the masses could not be won over, then Kerenski would like to have the leaders on his side: he entered into negotiations with them and finally, but not without a struggle, was successful in obtaining their neutrality. When Lenin heard of it he said to Trotsky: “Kamenev was right. Without a general strike to support you, your tactics can but fail.” ‘‘I have disorganization on my side,” Trotsky answered, “and that is better than a general strike.”

In order to grasp Trotsky’s plan one must appreciate the condition of Petrograd at that time. There were enormous crowds of deserters who had left the trenches at the beginning of the February revolution and had poured into the capital and thrown themselves on it as though they would destroy the new temple of liberty. During the last six months they had been camping in the middle of the streets and squares, ragged as they were, dirty, miserable, drunk or famished, timid or fierce, equally ready to revolt or to flee, their hearts burning with a thirst for vengeance and peace. They sat there in a never- ending row, on the pavement of the Nevski Prospect, beside a stream of humanity that flowed on slowly and turbulently. They sold weapons, propaganda leaflets and sunflower seeds, There was chaos beyond description in the Zramenskaia Square in front of the railway station of Moscow: the crowd dashed against the wall, surged back, then forward again with renewed vigor until it broke like a foaming wave on a heap of carts, vans, and tramcars piled up in front of the statue of Alexander III, and with a deafening din which, from afar, sounded like the outcry of a massacre.

Over the Fontanka bridge at the crossroads between the Nevski and Liteyni Prospects, newsboys sold their papers: they shouted the news at the top of their voices, about the precautions taken by Kerenski, the proclamations of the Military Revolutionary Committee, of the Soviet and of the Municipal Duma, the decrees of Colonel Polkovnikov, who was in command of the square and who threatened to imprison all deserters and forbade manifestations and meetings and brawls. Workers, soldiers, students, clerks, and sailors at the street corners debated at the top of their voices and with sweeping gestures. In the cafés and stalovaie everywhere, people laughed at Colonel Polkovnikov’s proclamations which pretended that the 200,000 deserters in Petrograd could be arrested and that brawls could be forbidden. In front of the Winter Palace there were two 75 cm. guns, and behind them the Cadets in their long greatcoats, were nervously pacing up and down. In front of the General Staff building two rows of military motorcars were drawn up. Near the Admiralty, in the Alexander Gardens, a battalion of women sat on the ground around their stacked rifles.

The Marinskaia Square overflowed with ragged and haggard workers, sailors, deserters. The entrance of the Maria Palace, where the Republican Council sat, was guarded by a detachment of Cossacks, their tall black chapkas tilted over one ear. They talked in loud voices, smoking and laughing. A spectator from the top of the Isaac Cathedral could have seen heavy smoke clouds over Putilov’s factories where the men worked with loaded rifles slung round their shoulders; beyond that, the Gulf of Finland; and, behind the island of Rothine, Kronstadt, “the red fortress,” where the blue-eyed sailors were waiting for Dybenko’s signal to march to the aid of Trotsky and slaughter the Cadets. On the other side of the town, a reddish cloud brooded over the countless chimneys of the Wiborg suburb where Lenin was in hiding, rather pale and feverish, wearing that wig which made him look like a little provincial actor. No one could have taken this man, without his beard and with his false hair well glued on to his forehead, for the terrible Lenin who could make Russia tremble. It was there, in the Wiborg factories, that Trotsky’s Red Guard’s expected Antonov Ovseienko’s signal. The women in the suburbs had sad faces and their eyes had become hard. Towards evening, as soon as darkness had swept the streets, parties of armed women moved towards the center of the town. These were days of proletarian migration: enormous masses passed from one end of Petrograd to the other, then came back to their quarters after hours and hours of walking to and from meetings, demonstrations and riots. There was meeting after meeting in barrack and factory. “All power to the Soviets!” The hoarse voices of the orators were smothered in the folds of red flags. Kerenski’s soldiers, manning the machine-guns on the housetops, listened to the hoarse voices below as they chewed their sunflower seeds and threw the shells on to the crowds thronging the streets.

Darkness descended on the city like a black cloud, In the huge Nevski Prospect the stream of deserters flowed towards the Admiralty. There were hundreds of soldiers, women, and workmen camping in front of the Kazan Cathedral, lying full length on the ground. The whole town was in the throes of fear, disorder, and frenzy. And all of a sudden, out of this crowd, men would spring up, armed with knives and mad with sleeplessness, and throw themselves on the Cadet patrols and the female battalions de- fending the Winter Palace. Others would break into the houses to fetch the bourgeois out of his own dwelling, catching him in bed and wide awake. The city was sleepless with the fever of insurrection. Like Lady Macbeth, Petrograd could no longer sleep. Its nights were haunted with the smell of blood.

Trotsky’s Red Guards had been rehearsing in the very center of the town during the past ten days. Antonov Ovseienko it was, who organized these tactical exercises, this sort of dress rehearsal of the coup d’Etat, in broad daylight, wherever the streets were thronging with movement, and round buildings which were of the greatest strategic importance in the govern- mental and political strongholds. The police and military authorities were so obsessed by the idea of a sudden revolt by the proletarian masses, and so concerned with meeting the danger, that they failed to notice Antonov Ovseienko’s gangs at work. Amid such widespread disorder, who should notice the little groups of unarmed workers; the soldiers and the sailors who wandered about in the corridors of the telephone and telegraph exchanges, in the Central Post Office, in the Government offices and General Headquarters, taking note of the arrangement of the offices and seeing how the telephones and lights were fitted? They visualized and remembered the plan of these buildings and studied the means of getting into them suddenly and at a moment’s notice. They reckoned with their chances of success, estimating the opposition, and looking for the places of least resistance, the weakest and most vulnerable places in the defensive organization of the technical, military, and secretarial services of the State. In the general con- fusion, who should notice some three or four sailors, a couple of soldiers, or a stray workman wandering round some buildings, going in and climbing the stairs; people who did not even look at each other when they met? No one even suspected these people of obeying precise and detailed orders, of carrying out a plan or of undergoing exercises directed against the strategic points in the State’s defense. Later the Red Guards would strike effectively because they had conducted their invisible maneuvers on the very ground where the battle would shortly begin.

Trotsky succeeded in getting hold of the plan of the town’s technical services. Dybenko’s sailors, aided by two engineers and engine-room artificers, mastered the underground gas and water piping, the electric power cables and the telephone and telegraph system. Two of them explored the drains under the Headquarters of the General Staff. The isolation of a whole district or even of a mere group of houses had to be made practicable within a few minutes; so Trotsky divided the town into sections, deter- mined which were the strategic points, and allotted the work, section by section, to gangs of soldiers and skilled workers.

Technical experts were necessary as well as soldiers. The capture of the railway station in Moscow was allotted to two squads consisting of 25 Latvian soldiers, 2 sailors, and 10 railway men. Three gangs of sailors, workmen, and railway officials, 160 men in all, were ordered to take over the station in Warsaw. For the capture of other stations Dybenko assigned a number of squads of 20 men each . A telegraphist attached to every squad control1ed movements on the rail- way lines. On October 21, acting under orders from Antonov Ovseienko, who was in close touch with the maneuvers, all the gangs rehearsed the capture of the railway stations, and the general rehearsal was perfectly well-ordered and precise in every detail. On that day, three sailors went to the Main Electricity  Plant near the port: the Plant, run by the city ’s technical services, was not even guarded. The manager asked the sailors whether they were the men whom he had asked the Commander of the Square to send him. He had been wanting a guard for the last five days. The three sailors took over the defense of the Electric Plant, in case of insurrection, they said. In the same way, a few gangs of engineroom artificers took over the other three municipal plants.

Kerenski’s police and  the military authorities were especially concerned with the defense of the State’s official and political organizations: the Government offices , the Maria Palace where the Republican council sat, the Tauride Palace, seat of the Duma, the Winter Palace, and Genera1 Headquarters. When Trotsky discovered this mistake he decided to attack only the technical branches of the national and municipal Government. Insurrection for him was only a question of technique. “In order to overthrow the modern State,” he said, “you need a storming party, technical experts and gangs of armed men led by engineers.”

While Trotsky was organizing the coup d‘Etat on a rational basis, the Central Committee of the Bolshevik Party was busy organizing the proletarian revolution. Stalin, Sverdlov, Boubrov, Ouritzki, and Dzerjinski, the members of this committee who were developing the plan of the general revolt were nearly all openly hostile to Trotsky. These men felt no confidence in the insurrection as Trotsky planned it, and ten years later Stalin gave them all the credit for the October coup D’Etat.

What use were Trotsky’s thousand men? The Cadets could so easily deal with them. The task surely was to rouse the proletarian masses, the thousands upon thousands of employees from the works of Putilov and Wiborg, the huge crowd of deserters and the Bolshevik sympathizers in- side the garrison of Petrograd, it was these who ought to be stirred up against the Government. A great rebellion must be started. Trotsky, with his storming parties, seemed both a useless and a dangerous ally.

The Commission considered the revolution much in the same way as Kerenski, as a matter chiefly concerning the police. And, strangely enough, the man who later on created the Bolshevik police (afterwards known as the G. P.U.) belonged to this Commission. Dzerjinski, pale and anxious, studied the defense of Kerenski’s government and decided on the plan of attack. He was the most formidable and the most treacherous of all Trotsky’s critics, and he was as bashful as a woman in his fanaticism. He even denied himself a glance at his hands to see whether they were stained with his deeds. Dzerjinski died at the Bench during his prosecution of Trotsky in 1926.

On the eve of the coup d’Etat, Trotsky told Dzerjinski that Kerenski’s government must be completely ignored by the Red Guards; that the chief thing was to capture the State and not to fight the Government with machine-guns; that the Republican Council, the Ministries and the Duma played an unimportant part in the tactics of insurrection and should not be the objectives of an armed rebellion; that the key to the State lay, not in its political and secretarial organizations nor yet in the Tauride, Maria or Winter Palaces, but in its technical services, such as the electric stations, the telephone and telegraph offices, the port, gasworks and water mains. Dzerjinski answered that the insurrection must be planned to anticipate the enemy’s movements and that the latter must be attacked in his strongholds. “We must attack the Government and beat it on the very ground where it is defending the State. If the enemy withdraws to the Government offices, to the Maria, Tauride, or Winter Palaces, he must be hounded out of them. In order to get possession of the State,” said Dzerjinski, “we must hurl the masses against the Government.”

All important in the Commission’s plan for the Insurrection was the neutrality of the Trade Unions. Could the State really be overthrown without the assistance of Genera1 Strike? “No,” said both the Central Committee and the Commission, ”the strike must be started by getting the masses to take part in the insurrection itself. The tactics of a general insurrection and not those of isolated revolts are going to make it possible for us to hurl the masses against the Government and to promote a Genera1 Strike. “A General Strike is unnecessary,” Trotsky replied. “Chaos in Petrograd is more useful for our purpose than a General Strike. The Government cannot cope with an insurrection when a general disorganization paralyses the State. Since we cannot rely on the Strike, we will rely on the chaos.”

The Commission is said to have objected to Trotsky’s tactics on the ground that his view of the situation was too optimistic. Trotsky, as a matter of fact, was inclined to be pessimistic; he judged the situation to be more serious than most people thought. He did not trust the masses and knew very well that the insurrection would have to be made by a minority. The promotion of a General Strike with the idea of enlisting the masses in a real battle against the Government was an illusion. The insurrection could only be made by a minority. Trotsky was convinced that if a General Strike broke out it would be directed against the Bolsheviks and that in order to prevent such a General Strike, power must immediately be seized. Subsequent events have proved that Trotsky was right. By the time the railway men, the postal, telegraph, and telephone clerks, the secretariats in the Government offices and the employees in public services had left their work, it was too late. Lenin was already in power: Trotsky had broken the back of the general strike.

The Central Committees’ objections to Trotsky’s tactics was a paradox which might have jeopardized the success of the insurrection. On the eve of the coup d‘Etat there were two Headquarters, two plans of action, and two different aims. The Commission, relying on the mass of workers and deserters, wanted to capture the Government in order to seize the State. Trotsky, who relied on about a thousand men, wanted to capture the State in order to overthrow the Government. Marx himself would have considered the circumstances more favorable to the Commission’s plan than to Trotsky’s. But Trotsky had said: “An insurrection does not require favorable circumstances.”

On October 24th, in full daylight, Trotsky launched the attack. The plan of operations had been drawn up by a former officer of the Imperial army, Antonov Ovseienko, who was also known as a mathematician, a chess player, a revolutionary, and an exile. Lenin, referring to Trotsky’s tactics, once said of Antonov Ovseienko that only a chess player like him could organize the insurrection.

Antonov Ovseienko had a melancholy and unhealthy expression. He looked rather like Napoleon before the 18th of Brumaire, with his long hair falling on his shoulders: but his eyes were lifeless and his thin pale face was that of a sad and unhealthy man.

Antonov Ovseienko was playing chess on a topographical map of Petrograd in a small room on the top floor of the Smolny Institute, the General Headquarters of the Bolshevik Party. Below him, on the next floor, the Commission was met to fix the day for the general insurrection. Little the Commission imagined that Trotsky had already launched the attack. Lenin alone had been informed, at the last minute, of Trotsky’s sudden decision. The Commission stood by Lenin’s word. Had he not said that both the 2lst and the 24th would be too early and the 26th too late? No sooner had the Commission met to decide definitely on the date, than Podvoisky came in with unexpected news. Trotsky’s Red Guards had already seized the main telegraph office and the Neva bridges. These bridges had to be held in order to insure the lines of communication between the center of the city and the workmen’s district of Wiborg. Dybenko’s sailors already held the municipal electricity stations, gasworks, and railway stations. Things had happened with unimagined speed and orderliness. The main telegraph office was being defended by some fifty police and soldiers, lined up in front of the building. The insufficiency of police measures was evidenced by those tactics of defense called “service of order and protection,’’ which may give good results when directed against a crowd in revolt but not against a handful of determined fighters. Police measures are useless in the face of a surprise attack. Three of Dybenko’s sailors, who had taken part in the “invisible maneuvers” and knew the ground already, got in among those who were defending, right into the offices; and by throwing a few hand grenades from the window on to the street, they succeeded in creating chaos among the police and the soldiers. Two squads of sailors took up their positions with machine-guns in the main telegraph office. A third squad, posted in the house opposite, was ready to meet a possible counter-attack by shooting in the rear of the assailants. Communications between the Smolny Institute and the various groups working in different districts of the town were assured by armoured cars. Machine-guns were concealed in the houses at the chief crossroads: flying squads watched the barracks of those regiments which had remained loyal to Kerenski.

About six o’clock that evening Antonov Ovseienko, paler than usual but smiling, went into Lenin’s room at the Smolny Institute. “It is over,” he said. The members of the Government, taken unawares by these events, sought refuge in the Winter Palace, defended by a few Cadet companies and a battalion of women. Kerenski had fled. They said he was at the Front to collect troops and march on Petrograd. The entire population poured into the streets, anxious for news. Shops, cafés, restaurants, cinemas, and theatres were all open; the trams were filled with armed soldiers and workers and a huge crowd in the Nevski Prospect flowed on like a great river. Everyone was talking, discussing and cursing either the Government or the Bolsheviks. The wildest rumors spread from group to group: Kerenski dead, the heads of the Menshevik minority shot in front of the Tauride Palace; Lenin sitting in the Tsar’s room in the Winter Palace.

A great crowd surged continuously towards the Alexander Gardens from the Nevski Prospect, the Gorokovskaia and Vosnessenski Streets (those three great roads that meet at the Admiralty), to see whether the Red Flag was already flying on the Winter Palace. When the crowd saw the Cadets defending the Palace, it drew back. The machineguns, the lighted windows, the deserted square, and the motors drawn up in front of the General Headquarters were a disturbing sight. The crowd watched from a distance without grasping the situation. And Lenin? Where was he? Where were the Bolsheviks ?

Meanwhile none of their opponents, whether Liberal, Reactionary, Menshevik, or Socialist Revolutionary, could grasp the situation. They refused to believe that the Bolsheviks had captured the State. These rumors they argued had probably been circulated by paid agents of the Smolny Institute: in point of fact the Government offices had only been moved into the Winter Palace as a precautionary measure; if the day’s news was correct, then there had not been a coup d‘Etat, but rather, a series of more or less successful armed attacks (nothing definite was yet known) on the organization of the State’s and the town’s public services. The legislative, political, and administrative bodies were still in Kerenski‘s hands. The Tauride and Maria Palaces, and the Ministries had not even been attacked. The situation was certainly paradoxical : never before had an insurrection claimed to have captured the State without even attacking the Government. It looked as though the Bolsheviks did not care about the Government. Why were the Government offices not taken over? Could one master the State and govern Russia without even controlling the State’s administration? The Bolsheviks had, of course, captured all the public services, but Kerenski had not resigned. He was still the head of the Government, even if, for the present, the public services, the railways, electric plants, telephone, telegraph, and Post Offices, the State Bank, and the coal, petroleum and grain depots were not under his control. If in actual fact, the Ministers in the Winter Palace were unable to govern ; Government offices were not working, the Government had been cut off from the rest of Russia and every means of communication was in the hands of the  Bolsheviks. All the roads in the suburbs were barricaded; no one might leave the town. General Headquarters were cut off. The Bolsheviks had taken over the main wireless telegraphy station ; Red Guards were quartered in the fortress of Peter and Paul and a number of regiments belonging to the garrison of Petrograd were already acting under orders from the Revolutionary Military Committee. Action must be taken at once. Why was the General Staff idle? It was said to be waiting for Krasnov’s troops which were marching on the capital. All measures necessary for the defense of the Government had been taken. If the Bolsheviks had not yet decided to attack the Government it must mean that they did not yet feel their position to be powerful enough to do so. All was not yet lost.

The next day, on October 25th, during the opening of the second Pan-Russian Soviet Congress in the Smolny Institute, Trotsky ordered Antonov Ovseienko to attack the Winter Palace where Kerenski’s ministers had taken refuge, and now the question was, would the Bolsheviks win a majority in the Congress?

The Soviets of all Russia would not believe that the insurrection has been successful on the mere announcement that the Bolsheviks had captured the State. They must be told that the Red Guards had captured the Members of the Government. Trotsky said to Lenin: “That is the only way of convincing the Central Committee and the Commission that the coup d‘Etat has not been a failure.”

“You have made up your mind rather late,” answered Lenin.

“I could not attack the Government before I was convinced that the garrison would not come to its rescue,” Trotsky answered, “I had to give the soldiers time to come over to our side. Only the Cadets have remained loyal.”

Then Lenin, in his wig, beardless and disguised as a workman, left his hiding-place for the Smolny Institute to take part in the Soviet Congress. It was the saddest moment in his life for he thought the insurrection had failed. Like the Central Committee, the Commission. and the greater part of the delegates at the Congress, Lenin needed proof of the Government’s fall and of the capture of Kerenski’s Ministers by the Red Guards. He distrusted Trotsky’s pride, his self- assurance and his reckless wiles. Trotsky was no member of the Old Guard , he was not an absolutely reliable Bolshevik but a new recruit who joined the Party after the; July Days. “I am not one of the Twelve,” said ’ Trotsky, “but I am more like St. Paul who was the first to preach to the Gentiles.”

Lenin was never greatly attracted by Trotsky. Trotsky was generally unpopular. His eloquence was suspect. He had that dangerous gift of swaying the masses and unleashing a revolt. He could split a Party, invent a heresy – but, however formidable, he was a man they needed. Lenin had long ago noticed that Trotsky relished historical comparisons. When he spoke at meetings or assemblies or took part in one of the Party’s debates, he constantly referred to Cromwell’s Puritan Revolt or to the French Revolution. One must beware of a man who judges and estimates the men and the events of the Bolshevik Revolution by the standard of the men and events of the French Revolution. Lenin could never forget how Trotsky, as soon as he came out of the Kresty prison where he had been shut up after the July Days, went into the Soviet in Petrograd and, in the course of a violent speech, advocated the need for a Jacobine reign of terror. “The guillotine leads to a Napoleon,” the Mensheviks shouted at him. “I prefer Napoleon to Kerenski,” Trotsky answered back. Lenin was never going to forget that answer. Dzerjinsky later on used to say of Trotsky: “He likes Napoleon better than Lenin.”

The second Pan-Russian Soviet Congress was meeting in the main hall of the Smolny Institute, and in the room adjoining it, Lenin and Trotsky sat at a table heaped with papers and journals.

A curl of Lenin’s wig dangled on his forehead. Trotsky could not help smiling at the sight of such an absurd disguise. He thought the moment had come for Lenin to take off his wig, since there was no longer any danger. The insurrection had triumphed and Lenin was virtually the ruler of Russia. Now at least, he could let his beard grow, take his wig off, and make an appearance in public. Dan and Skobelov, the two leaders of the Menshevik majority, passed in front of Lenin on their way to the Congress Hall. They exchanged a look and grew paler at the sight of the little provincial actor in his wig, whom they seemed to recognize as the man who could utterly annihilate Holy Russia.

“It is all over,” Dan said softly to Skobelov. “Why are you still disguised?” Trotsky asked Lenin. “Those who have won do not usually conceal themselves.” Lenin scrutinized him, his eyes half-closed, with an ironic smile just playing on his lips. Who had won? That was the question. From time to time the rumble of artillery and the rat-tat-tat of machine-guns could be heard in the distance. The cruiser Aurora, anchored in the Neva, had just opened fire on the Winter Palace to support the Red Guards who were attacking it.

They were now joined by Dybenko, very tall, blue-eyed, his face framed in soft fair hair: both the Kronstadt sailors and Madame Kollontai loved him for his transparent eyes and for his cruelty. Dybenko brought the news that Antonov-Ovseieniko’s Red Guards had broken into the Winter Palace, that Kerenski’s Ministers were the prisoners of the Bolsheviks, and that the Government had fallen. “At last!” cried Lenin. “You are 1 twenty-four hours late,” answered Trotsky. Lenin took his wig off and passed his hand across his forehead. (H. G. Wells once said of Lenin that his skull was the same shape as that of Lord Balfour.) “Come on,” said Lenin, walking into the Congress Hall. Trotsky followed in silence. He looked tired and a kind of drowsiness dimmed his steely eyes. Lunacharski declares that Trotsky, during the insurrection, reminded him of a Leyden Jar. But now the Government had fallen, Lenin took his wig off, as one lays down a mask. The coup d‘Etat was Trotsky’s feat. The man who profited by it, the Chief and the Dictator, was Lenin.

Trotsky followed him in silence, with a doubtful smile that never grew to gentleness until Lenin died.








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