Saturday, October 6, 2018

#2080: Ion Pacepa

Ion Mihai Pacepa, author of the book Red Horizon, is something of a legend, and probably at least partially deservedly so. Formerly a three-star general in Communist Romania, advisor to president Ceauşescu, acting chief of Romania’s foreign intelligence service and state secretary, Pacepa defected to the US in 1978 to work with the CIA. A certain degree of paranoia may perhaps be unsurprising given his backgroun, but Pacepa has long since crossed the border into deranged conspiracy delusions-land. Currently, Pacepa is a columnist for PJ Media, and writes articles for numerous similar outlets, including the National Review Online, the Moonie Times, FrontPage Magazine and the WND.

Pacepa’s book Programmed to Kill: Lee Harvey Oswald, which alleges that the KGB recruited Harvey to kill Kennedy, was even by the Moonie Times reviewer described as “rest[ing on] rather flimsily on circumstantial evidence and supposition,” which is a pretty mild way of putting things. In general, Pacepa has a tendency to see Soviet conspiracies behind all sorts of events, actions and claims – some of them may be correct, of course, but Pacepa paints with a broad brush, and doesn’t really distinguish the not-unlikely from the silly (as well as taking the not-unlikely far beyond what is even minimally reasonable). For instance, during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Pacepa not only blamed Russia for being behind the anti-war demonstrations held in cities across the world, but that it was “perfectly obvious to” him that the Russian GRU agency helped Saddam Hussein to destroy, hide, or transfer his chemical weapons prior to the American invasion (otherwise, why didn’t the US find any WMD?). No fan of Obama, Pacepa also claimed that Obama has a “craze for Marx’s utopian creed” and that the Democratic Party is “stealthily infecting the United States” with “undercover Marxism;” if the GOP fails to expose it, then the US will become a communist country and “end up looking like trailer camps hit by a hurricane” with “Marxist leaders roasting in Dante’s Inferno.” Moreover, Pope Francis’s Liberation Theologyis, according to Pacepa, a KGB invention and hence really a communist, anti-Christian plot. Heck, basically anythingPacepa doesn’t like is really part of KGB’s big plan, and you should trust anything he says about these issues because of his background.

Basically, then, Pacepa’s schtick has become to take any claim he disagrees with, say that it is really a result of KGB propaganda or misinformation strategies and that you should accept what he says – without any further evidence than his own authority – because he knows quite a bit about things like this. Since he does, in fact, know a bit about propaganda and misinformation certain people – who agree with Pacepa on the political premises for his reasoning, of course – will then accept the claim at face value. So it goes. 

Diagnosis: Yes, Pacepa is indeed an authority on issues having to do with secret plots, intelligence gathering and disinformation in the former Eastern bloc. He is also a crazy conspiracy theorist. Unfortunately, a lot of people seems to accept any crazy thing he says – much of which can, conveniently, not be independently verified – based on his recognized authority, and Pacepa seems to have realized that this is the case, making him one of the most influential conspiracy theorists alive today. 

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