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CHAPTER 10 The Konstantin George "Brainwashing": Prelude to the Chris White Affair

< CHAPTER 9 Enter the Greeks: Epanastasi, the NCLC, and “Pablo” | SMILING MAN FROM A DEAD PLANET: THE MYSTERY OF LYNDON LAROUCHE | CHAPTER 11 "Orpheus Comes Up into the Sunlight": The Chris White Affair – Part One >

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The Konstantin George saga that began in Germany in the summer of 1973 is almost as strange as the Chris White affair. It received far less press, however, even though it served as the template for the events that followed in its wake. Today the George story remains virtually forgotten.

The George affair, one of the murkiest chapters in NCLC history to this day, first surfaced on the front page of the 10 August 1973 New Solidarity. That issue was dominated by a massive headline "Charge Watergate Cover Up of Domestic CIA Plots." The article that followed described the NCLC's systematic disruption of the Senate hearings on the Watergate affair headed by Senator Sam Ervin. In a smaller headline at the bottom of the page was a story entitled "East Germans Brainwash American to Spy on ICLC" datelined "London, Aug. 2." The article began:

An American citizen working in West Germany was lured into the German Democratic Republic and subjected to drug-controlled brainwashing to prepare him to spy on the political activities of the European Caucus of Labor Committees, the organization's executive committee reported today. The American, Konstantin George, was subjected to 10 days of intensive brainwashing at the hands of the GDR Interior Ministry in East Berlin as a prelude to espionage activities he was to carry out in collaboration with the Soviet KGB secret agents in the Cologne area.

As for George, he was a Greek-American former leading member of Epanastasi [The Organosi Sosialistiki Epanastasi/Organization Socialist Revolution (OSE)] whose cadre had joined the NCLC. He and his wife Luba (also an NCLC member) lived in Cologne where George worked as a teacher at the Benedict International Language and Business School. George, according to New Solidarity,

was approached by Elizabeth Arlt, a West German national studying at the school in February. During a lunch break she approached the victim and offered him an address in East Berlin she said would be helpful if he should ever visit the city. George first visited East Berlin on the weekend of April 7-8 going to the address of Barbara Peper, a 29-year old psychiatrist employed at the Charity Hospital in East Germany.

Why Arlt would send George to Peper was not explained. The timing of George's trip to East Berlin also is curious given that "Operation Mop Up," the NCLC's attacks on the CPUSA, had just been launched inside the United States. In any case, article reports that on arrival at Peper's house, George

was subjected to the first drug treatment in a series which induced him to return periodically to East Berlin for further drug-supported brainwashing treatments. After each trip to East Berlin, the victim reported, he suffered depression, aggressiveness, and a loss of a sense of time. A personality change was noted in him by those who knew him.

George now began shuttling back and forth between Cologne and East Berlin:

Between early April and the end of June, George was induced to return to East Berlin several times and was each time subjected to drugs and brainwashing. A 30-day visa was obtained for him to permit him to spend the entire month of July in the GDR. During July, George was subjected to a lengthy program of drug-controlled brainwashing. He reports having undergone at least 10 intensive sessions. On the fourth day of his brainwashing treatment he recollects being taken to a room in the second floor of the Volkspolizei Headquarters near Alexanderplatz. Here his chief interrogator, who identified himself as Berger, presented George to other officials as a new Mitkaempfter (comrade in struggle). Berger had previously shown George a card identifying himself as an employee of the East German Interior Ministry. In the same conversation in the Volkspolizei Headquarters, officials told George he was to perform Schwarzarbeit ("undercover work") for them after his return to West Germany. His assignment was to collect detailed information and personal biographies of the ICLC in Western Europe. The East German officials told him to pay special attention to materials that might be used to blackmail ICLC members.

The article next states that

While George was in East Berlin, he was taken to the opening ceremonies of the World Youth Festival, where he was given a seat near Erich Honecker and other GDR dignitaries. George remembers his seat being in Block H. During the visit to the World Youth Festival, George was escorted by a half dozen agents of the East German secret service, the Statssicherheitsdienst[Stasi].

The cover photo of the February/March 1974 issue of the Campaigner issued after the Chris White affair is a picture of George attending the festival taken from a camera far away from where he was sitting. There was no explanation as to who took the photo or how the NCLC managed to obtain it. A few years ago, however, a high ranking former ELC member from Germany explained:

I scrolled through the article on Jannis [Konstantin George's "party name" was "Jannis Tzavelles"] and found the question how the photo that shows him at the Youth Festival was taken and how the LC got hold of it. Well, it's pretty simple. It was a solid intelligence staff job. After Jannis had told that he had been invited to the festival and had been seated among the GDR celebrity delegation in Block H, it could be deducted that -- if it was true -- there should exist pictures in the public media. The intelligence staff therefore screened all available print media of the respective date, and indeed found the picture in a Danish paper. . . . The side effect being that the lead officer Berger was also identified (his picture was published in the Campaigner as well).

During his sojourn in East Berlin, George was ordered to return to his old job at the Benedict School and to contact Americans and Germans in order to discuss the superiority of conditions in East Germany. He was further given the assignment of researching a paper on the theme "Opinions of U.S. Policy towards the Socialist States, including U.S. Economic Relations." George was next instructed "to report back to Barbara Peter's address, which was to serve as his Interior Ministry contact," with his next visit East scheduled for September 14-16 1973.

To state the obvious: little of this makes sense. If a person were to infiltrate back into a targeted organization as a spy, he or she would hardly also be ordered to proclaim the virtues of East Germany in an organization that was physically attacking the CP in America and verbally denouncing the Soviet Union. Nor were the East Germans unaware of the events in America. The GDR paper Neues Deutschland had reported on the NCLC's attacks on the CP as had the West German Communist Party press. Finally, one wouldn't have that same individual simply vanish for a month to East Berlin or anywhere else if his credibility was to be maintained.

George's alleged vanishing act was particularly bizarre since he was absent virtually the entire time the NCLC's Lyndon LaRouche was staying in West Germany. LaRouche came to West Germany initially some time in late June or early July 1973 to be present at the launching of the European Labor Committees. He also came to begin testing out his "Beyond Psychoanalysis" theories in "group sessions" with the top European leaders of the organization. The month-long absence of George would have been hard to miss. George's wife Luba would presumably also have noticed her husband's strange visits to East Berlin. George's trips East would have been a "security issue" even before August. On 1 July 1973, for example, New Solidarity issued an Extra that carried an item entitled "CP Fingers Greek LCers" that read:

Two Greek-American members of the Labor Committee were recently set up for possible assassination by the Greek junta when their pseudonyms and real names were published in Demokratia. Demokratia is published in New York by one Costas Stergiou, an organ of the pro-Moscow Greek Communist Party (KKE), which is a band of fifty counterrevolutionary Moscow-financed agents operating in Europe. At the time the CPs fingered the LCers to the junta, one of those named had secretly traveled to Greece and was in the police-state country at the time. He has now returned safely, no thanks to the KKE and CPUSA. Three years ago in New York, an assassination attempt was made by the junta agents on the life of another Greek NCLC member.

The "another Greek NCLC member," as we shall see, was none other than George. As for the "pro-Moscow" Greek CP, this was the KKK-E (External). East Berlin just happened to be the headquarters of the KKE-E. A 21-25 May 1973 New Solidarity article reports that the 11 May issue of the DKP paper Unsere Zeit called for the formation of a broad coalition to oppose the NCLC, which it characterized as "a group of Trotskyists and other ultra left elements." The 3 August 1973 New Solidarity, published just two days after George resumed contact with the Labor Committee, stated that the tiny West Berlin branch of the ELC embarrassed the CP at a popular front meeting called to protest an aborted coup against Allende, when the ELC members were permitted by an audience vote to remain even after they attacked the "Allende-CP betrayals in Chile." Thus George's decision to disappear for a month into East Germany, especially considering it was the very month that LaRouche himself was active in West Germany, makes little sense.

Be that as it may, the 10 August 1973 article continues:

Despite the intensity of his brainwashing treatment, after reentering West Germany on August 1, George recalled a letter he had received from L. Marcus, National Chairman of the NCLC. The letter had urged immediate reports to Marcus of any activities initiated by East German and Soviet secret agents against Labor Committee members in Europe.

Once again, the idea that LaRouche would send a personal letter to George warning him about Soviet overtures to NCLC members sounds curious. When was the letter only sent to George? Did LaRouche know that George was visiting the East Bloc?

New Solidarity then states that:

the memory of the letter motivated George to immediately contact ICLC members in the West German Rhineland area. After meeting with them, George was able to reconstruct the main features of his experience. The victim had been given an elaborate prepared story to account for his activities while in the GDR. He had been instructed to vary the story while leaving the main points unchanged. Cross-checking by ICLC members to verify this story, changes in George's personality traits, and the character of the story itself all indicated that he had been brainwashed with the aid of drugs in the GDR.

The paper then adds this bombshell:

According to George, the KGB has planned the assassination of L. Marcus and has a program for infiltration and other undercover "Schwarzarbeit" against the ICLC in Europe. . . . George's enticement to East Berlin and his psychic subjugation to KGB agents were part of the onset of KGB-directed operations against the ICLC in Europe, with the cooperation of the GDR State Security Service in East Berlin.

This almost causal mention of a KGB plot to kill LaRouche using some brainwashed member of the NCLC marked the beginning of a theme that would continue to unfold in fits and starts throughout the fall and winter of 1973 before culminating in the Chris White affair.

One detailed description of what happened to George on 1 August 1973 comes from LaRouche in his "Rockefeller's 1984-Plot" editorial in the February-March 1974 Campaigner. In it, LaRouche writes:

Our knowledge of brainwashing as such began abruptly in a small town just outside Dusseldorf, West Germany, last August 1.
About noon that day, we received a telephone call from Konstantin George, telephoning from his regular place of employment, the Benedict School in Cologne. We had reason to be concerned. During the period of "Mop-Up" in the U.S.A., George had made repeated visits to East Berlin on many weekends from then until the end of May. Ostensibly, he was visiting an East German psychiatrist, Barbara Peper, resident at the Charite Hospital in that city. Then, at the end of June, he had returned to East Berlin with a month's visa.

If what LaRouche writes is true, it means that the NCLC knew from the very beginning that George was making trips to East Berlin. It might help explain why LaRouche might write a personal letter to George warning him about possible Soviet approaches.

LaRouche continues his narrative:

The writer instructed two members of the European Labour Committees to pick George up and invite him back where we could discuss matters with him at leisure and in reasonable security from any possible KGB interference. George arrived in an obviously dissociated state. Ordinarily, we would have immediately assumed he was a victim of an extreme anxiety neurosis or actual psychosis. The fact that this writer knew George quite well and that this change had been effected in connection with visits to East Berlin was the only initial evidence we had to suspect that it just might possibly be something other than a functional disorder. After about two hours of listening to George's initial rehearsed cover story, and some supportive cross-questioning as to details, it became obvious that he had been brainwashed.

Continuing in his less than pellucid prose style, LaRouche says he knew all this because "George's cover-story was a series of film-strip-frame-like memories, each recollection connected by a content-less "and, then." George lacked the memory "to fill in any of the 'in-betweens,' nor could he reverse his account," even though he didn't give a "memorized speech." But although "the words changed . . . the picture being described remained the same." LaRouche then said that he somehow managed to prove to George that he had indeed been brainwashed. Next,

reinforced by cigarettes and beer, he [George] drifted into his second cover-story. Then, similarly, a third. By this time, we were alert to the significance of the cigarettes and beer. These were obviously "reward objects" whose use returned him to the control of his programmers. . . . We stopped the cigarettes and beer, and George managed to get out enough of the truth between cover-stories layers of film-strip memories, so that we had the essential features of the problem identified.

The "problem" was that the KGB was plotting to assassinate LaRouche. Continuing with LaRouche's narrative: "Most significant was the date, by which he was to accomplish something and report to East Berlin. That date had no significance but being the time I would be in Milan, Italy, prior to my arrival at the "Rosa Luxemburg" conference in Reggio Emilia." LaRouche then adds this very curious remark in parenthesis: "(Later, we discovered that Sept. 14-16 was the time of my scheduled assassination and that George was to mark me 'from the inside' for the hit team.)'"

The "assassination trope" then was first introduced into the George saga in the 10 August 1973 New Solidarity in a story dated "London, Aug. 2." LaRouche also dates his first meeting with George on 1 August. To read LaRouche's version in 1974, the KGB assassination plot only gradually came to light in the time following 1 August. Yet it was already being commented on in the initial August 2 story concerning the George brainwashing. In any case, LaRouche continues his narrative: "We hustled George back to New York, encouraged by detection of a known DKP [West German CP] agent poking about the premises, and then issued a press release throughout Europe and parts of North America, announcing the blowing of the brainwashing job."

This press release presumably formed the basis for the first report on the George case in New Solidarity.

In the 1988 edition of The Power of Reason, LaRouche returns once again to the supposed "brainwashing plot":

In brief, the facts are this. My friend had been drugged surreptitiously on a series of occasions, all in the vicinity of Cologne, West Germany. Although he was happily married, he was induced to fall in love with a snapshot of the face of a woman in East Berlin. He was induced so, to arrive in East Berlin, to a designated address at a specific time. Subsequently, photographs and other evidence confirmed three key facts about the operation in East Berlin. First, that the woman in East Berlin was a psychiatrist, the sister of a colonel in East German military intelligence. Second, that the controller of the operation was was a well-known Berger, a second-rank official of the East Germany Ministry for State Security. Third, that the woman in question was part of an East German intelligence unit in charge of selling East German medical professionals to West Germany. We also identified one of the West German nationals key to the drugging operation and found her to be part of an operation run out of the Bulgarian tourist ministry.
This independent confirmation was important to us at the time, for both security and medical reasons I suggested that my friend be picked up and brought to me at once. [in other words, they had already determined that George was some kind of "spy" even before the "deprogramming" -- HH.] He was in a highly disassociated state, barely ambulatory.
He recovered full rational functioning a few months later, but suffered severe psychosomatic side effects leading to some severe illnesses for years afterward. (139)

OLD PLOTS AGAINST GEORGE

The notion that a hostile secret service was out to assassinate a leading member of the Labor Committees was not completely new. Gorge, then a leading member of Epanastasi, was supposedly the target of an assassination attempt just two years earlier. On 5 March 1971, New Solidarity ran an article entitled "Assassin Attempts Assault on Greek Revolutionary in N.Y." that began:

An assassin acting on orders from the Greek Junta operating in the U.S.A. recently attempted to take the life of a U.S. supporter of I Mami. The assault, conducted on the streets of New York City, was unsuccessful only because of two extra layers of clothing being worn by the victim. The assassin is believed to be an anti-Castro Cuban.
Details of this attack are being temporarily withheld for the purpose of aiding our further investigations of individuals known to have been involved in organizing this assault. I Mami [The Midwife] is also aware of the specific reasons for the desperate action by the Junta against one of our supporters. We publish this present exposure of the bare facts as a warning to the Greek Junta that any further attacks by its agents will enable us to expose the nature and scope of its ongoing espionage operations in the U.S.A. and any Western European countries.

New Solidarity then stated that it was known that the Greek government used assassins from "Bavarian neo-fascist groups – some of whom have personal ties to former Nazi collaborators in the present Greek regime" to suppress dissent in Europe. In Italy, for example, "junta agents of Greek ancestry and Italian fascist groups penetrate groups where opponents of the Greek junta assemble on campuses." In New York, the junta's agents operated out of the Greek consulate and included a

Mr. Kalpidakis [Kalpadakis? -- HH], who has actively solicited espionage agents at certain social affairs in New York City. Certain Greek firms, notably right-wing shipping firms, are also most active in organizing espionage . . . . Certain employees of these firms have known backgrounds as collaborators with the Nazi SS during the occupation period, and these agents are also known to have friendly relations with certain of the worst anti-Castro Cuban groups around New York City.

The article concluded by saying that for more details one could contact I Mami (the Epanastasi paper) either in London at 52, Kings Road, or in New York c/o New Solidarity.

This story then disappeared from NCLC lore until it strangely resurfaced in a 23 January 1981 internal document by LaRouche attacking Kostas Kalimtgis ("Gus Axios"), LaRouche's former top American lieutenant. Here LaRouche identities the victim of the supposed assassin as none other than Konstantin George (whose party name was "Jannis"): "One case was a murderous knife-attack from behind, following a significant achievement by Jannis a very brief time earlier. The other was a case of serious food poisoning, in which Jannis and Luba [George's wife] were the only restaurant patrons affected."

What "significant achievement" would justify a knife attack by neo-Nazi agents of the Greek junta remains unnamed.

In a 31 July 1979 article, however, LaRouche gave an entirely different version of the Konstantin George affair that suggested that George was involved in some kind of British intelligence-organized plot. In a bizarre reference to the case, he wrote that prior to "Chris White's drugging," "[A]nother leading member, Konstantin George, was given psychedelic drugs in West Germany and taken into East Germany where he was confined in British intelligence-controlled safehouses in the East bloc." Recall that before this time, George had been "drugged" in East Germany. The added twist of throwing "British intelligence" into the mix overlooks the earlier story that Stasi and the KGB were the culprits behind George's magical mystery tour.

Another surprising statement implied that George was somehow acting as an NCLC double agent. The claim appeared at the end of a 16 November 1973 New Solidarity story. The article was devoted to the proposition that the KGB had become so flummoxed by the NCLC that no later than September 1972 it had set up a special department, the Vneshiye Ekstrinnye Distvii Otdel (VEDO) [the Foreign Extraordinary Operations Department], named in homage to the NKVD unit that from 1929 to 1941 carried out assassinations of Trotskyists. The paper then bragged:

KGB intelligence analysts now have the following riddle to solve: Where is the Labor Committee's information coming from? Is it leaking from the Stasi-ex-Abwehr connections and the Stasi-ex-Gehlen connections that lace Germany, both East and West? Or is it from the exiled Greek Communist Party's Central Committee functionaries who, from Scapa Flow to Hamburg, receive their information from East Berlin? Or is it from the Greek CP-KGB employees who work in trade missions in Cuba, Canada, etc.?
Ironically, at the end of this mess, some petty KGB bureaucrat is bound to ask himself: Was it the East German Stasi that staged the George affair against the ICLC or the ICLC that planted it against the Stasi? Obviously, it is the Labor Committee that is getting the more mileage out of this affair.

But if the ICLC "planted" the George affair with the Stasi, what was George really doing in East Berlin in the first place? Although this article seems like a crude attempt at "black propaganda," it is still worth noting that in this concoction the George affair was the product neither of the KGB, Stasi, or MI-6 for that matter, but something conjured up by the NCLC.

ENTER "VEDO"

Throughout the late summer and fall, New Solidarity carried new details of the alleged plot surrounding George. The first major discussion of the George affair after the announcement that LaRouche was being targeted for assassination appeared in lengthy article in the 24 August 1973 issue of the paper. It reported that the all ICLC members currently living in West Berlin had been immediately ordered to leave the city and relocate to West Germany proper. The article indicated that the withdrawal was "chiefly the result of a previously-planned shift of operations to a more central location" for work in the BRD but that it had been accelerated by the George affair. The article added that West Germany's "secret police-security agencies" would also have had some knowledge of George since the Stasi acted in such a blatant way. This suggested that the West Germans had somehow consented to a "gentleman's agreement" to allow the Stasi to operate against the ICLC.1 To make matters even more bizarre, one of the founding members of the German ELC named Anno Hellenbroich had an older brother, Heribert, who was a top official in West German domestic counter-intelligence, the Office for the Defense of the Constitution (the 'Verfassungsschutz (VfS).2

The paper then went on to state that:

In recent periods there have been massive defections of medical personnel from East Germany to the West. These have been arranged, according to reports from George (confirmed a week later by Neues Deutschland), by payments of up to 80,000 East D-marks to corrupt East German officials. (At current black market prices, 80,000 D-marks are equivalent to 20,000 West D-marks.)
Actually, this corruption has long been well-known to and indeed supervised by the Stasi. The criminal-type operations through which medical escapees are delivered westward provide the Stasi with controlled channels for penetration of the West and a source of useful Western D-marks to assist financing of Stasi operations in the West. Interrogation of George gave the very strongest indications that it was this very Stasi operation into West Germany which was employed in setting him up for his brainwashing experience at the hands of the officials from the Alexanderplatz Ministerium office in East Berlin.

The core founding group of the ELC emerged of a commune of German medical students. However, I think what this article means to suggest is that George had been given Dr. Barbara Peper's name from someone from East Germany with a medical background who had defected to the West.

The next commentary about the KGB plot against LaRouche came in a 19 October 1973 story. What is particularly odd is that the article indicates that LaRouche had begun to abandon the line that he was going to be killed by the KGB. We are told that "at present" there is "minimal personal danger" to LaRouche "since any assassination attempt" would cause great embarrassment to both the KGB and CIA. Therefore the KGB "is attempting to intimidate Marcus by 'leaking' advance information of its wish to assassinate him." In other words, the KGB was planting public information about the assassination plot as a psychological warfare tactic precisely because it had decided not to carry the plot out!

One month later, however, in a 16 November 1973 article, the paper announced in its clear-as-mud prose style that it had received a "piece of intelligence which reached the ICLC leadership via the enmeshed North Atlantic network of intelligence communications" about "VEDO." New Solidarity adds that the formation of VEDO "signals that the Stasi is no longer in direct charge of anti-Labor Committee operations, as was the case up until August of this year," even though VEDO itself was allegedly established in September 1972. The paper then wrote: "As is well known, the East German Stasi launched its first anti-Labor Committee operation late last year when it decided to use Konstantin George ... as its main link for an assassination attempt against L. Marcus."

"Late last year," however, would date the plot to December 1972. Yet New Solidarity itself claimed that George only entered East Germany in the spring of 1973, April to be exact. It also claimed that the East German weekly Horizont ran an article in August 1973 aimed at intimidating the ICLC into silence about the George affair since Stasi didn't want to call attention to its failure by Moscow. Yet the article could not get its dates straight. It first announced in its lead paragraph that VEDO had been created in early September 1972. But towards the end of the story, the article claimed that because of Stasi's overlap with old Gehlen-network Nazis, "the VEDO was formed in September" 1973 and not 1972.3

THE "FOUR YEAR" PLOT REVEALED

Less than a month after the "revelations" about the VEDO – and only a few short weeks before the Chris White affair was to begin – on 7 December 1973 New Solidarity published an article by one "L. V. Abakumov" (most likely a pseudonym for LaRouche) entitled "More on Soviet Plot to Murder LC's Marcus." It now claimed that "rigorous investigation" had shown that the Konstantin George brainwashing actually was part of "a four-year plot" to murder LaRouche! The investigation already had uncovered over "100 agents" of both the KGB and Stasi. The article added that a "special Campaigner issue in February 1974" would include a list of these agents as well as a "disclosure of four interconnecting Stasi-KGB intelligence operations." The assassination was to occur at the Rosa Luxemburg conference in Reggio Emilia organized by Lelio Basso, a leading Italian leftist and author of a book on Rosa Luxemburg.4 LaRouche had been invited to give a presentation at the conference which was scheduled to take place on 14-16 September 1973. The article further claimed that the roots of the KGB operation

are to be found as early as 1969 in the inducement of ESO (the Epanastasi group) cadres into liaisons with a KGB operative in New York City. During these liaisons, valuable political and psychological intelligence on the leading members of the international tendency was provided to Soviet bloc intelligence services. On the basis of this information, the most vulnerable members of the international tendency were isolated and identified.

(Recall this is the same time that George was supposed to have been attacked in New York City by an agent of the Greek junta.)

The idea that some member of Epanastasi had a relative with close KGB connections also appears in the 1 January 1974 Press Release on the Christopher White Affair this way:

This [the publication of an article attacking LaRouche in the PSP newspaper Claridad by Ramon Arbona] correlated with the occurrence of a telephone call to New York from Montreal suggesting that a Labor Committee member visit Montreal to meet a relative who had just arrived there for a visit from Havana. The Labor Committee intelligence staff had previously identified this visitor to Montreal as a high-ranking Greek language KGB operative based in Havana. This operative's visits to Montreal in the past had been associated with special KGB missions concerning operations on the East Coast of the U.S. The importance of this individual is that he has been previously entrusted with activities of the kind proper to the Soviet military intelligence against NATO (GRU). Although such work is not uncommon to KGB agents, military intelligence missions of top rate importance are assigned only to important KGB officials.

Was this relative also in touch with the alleged "KGB operative" who supposedly was in contact with members of the Epanastasi sect in New York in 1969? And was the Labor Committee member in question, Gus Axios? In the 1988 edition of The Power of Reason, LaRouche claims about Kalimtgis:

Costas himself came from a KGB family. His father had been an American citizen caught up in Greece during the Nazi occupation who had become a captain in the Greek resistance and lost a leg in the fighting which ensued. The KGB side of Costas was his mother, whose first husband had been a top official of the Greek Communist Party, and whose two brothers were high-ranking KGB officials, one operating out of the KGB center in Varna, Bulgaria, the other operating as a control agent in Soviet networks among Greek sailors. Costas had been trained as a KGB operative during studies in Greece, and in Bulgaria. (125)

Returning to New Solidarity, we are next told: "During the summer of 1971, the leading figures in this Stasi operation, including members of the assassination team, met in Varna, Bulgaria, at a KGB training school to plan the actual brainwashing operation."

(Was this the same "training school" that LaRouche later claimed "Gus Axios" attended?)

When Konstantin George first arrived in Germany in June 1971, he was said to be under increasing Stasi surveillance from, among others,

*Elizabeth Mitrega, a daughter of an official of the Polish Trade Mission in Cologne;
*Dr. Neuhauser, a [medical?] "escapee" from East Germany;
*Anita Hany, a student in George's classes in the Benedict School;
*Rosemarie Allgeier, a secretary at the Benedict School;
*Barbara Khaliki, the German-born wife of the Iranian press attache in West Germany; and
*Elizabeth Arlt, "the student who arranged George's first meeting with a Stasi operative [Barbara Peper] in East Berlin." [Arlt was also said later to have led tour guides to Bulgaria.]

The two most prominent alleged spies were Hany – who reportedly visited George's family in New York during the first weeks of October and November 1972 – and Arlt, who had been in England in the summer of 1972 when LaRouche was there. Arlt then "followed him [LaRouche] to West Germany, making the acquaintance of George" immediately after LaRouche left for the States. In April 1973, Arlt supposedly encouraged George to go visit East Berlin and meet Barbara Peper, "a Stasi psychiatrist."

Then in July 1973 while George was in East Germany,

the assassination team was dispatched from East Germany to Dusseldorf under the guise of "escapees" to the West; they included Peter Hahn, the group commander and a member of the Central Committee of the FDJ (the East German party youth group), Lothar Otte, and Jurgen (last name unknown). Their task was to assassinate Lyn Marcus at the Rosa Luxemburg conference in Northern Italy during the second week of September.5

This same issue ran a head shot of the Stasi official "Berger" clearly cropped from the larger photo of Berger and George at the World Youth Festival ceremonies in East Berlin.6

THE 1974 "REVELATIONS"

At this point the paper trail more or less goes cold. However there was one strange coda in LaRouche's "Rockefeller's 1984-Plot" editorial in the February-March 1974 issue of the Campaigner. It is important in this context to note that that over a 48-hour period in January 1974, the NCLC shifted its "line" about Chris White "brainwashing" and now blamed the CIA – not the KGB – for the assassination attempts. But the change in line now made it extremely difficult to explain away the Konstantin George incident, VEDO, and all the rest. To deal with this problem, LaRouche claimed that sometime in either late February or early March 1973, George must have been "conditioned" at least once by the CIA before he first entered East Germany on 6 April! LaRouche's Campaigner editorial then supplies the latest (and last) twist on the George affair in the following paragraphs describing the operation that "had set George up": "Spotting Elizabeth Arlt, a West German national and close (lesbian) friend of Barbara Peper, who led tour groups to Bulgaria, we also uncovered links to the British International Socialists and its tiny SAG (Socialist Workers Group)."

Arlt, it should be recalled, was the woman who allegedly first gave George Elizabeth Peper's address. The strange reference to Arlt's tour groups in Bulgaria no doubt was to be connected to the mysterious "hit squad" that LaRouche claimed had been training for his murder in Varna, Bulgaria, as far back as 1971. More interesting, however, was Arlt's supposed connections to the SAG, the German branch of Tony Cliff's International Socialists, the group that Christopher White had been a former member of before he joined the NCLC.7

LaRouche then claimed that by examining the people around George, the NCLC had uncovered "an ostensible KGB operation in the GI and deserter movement" which included Bo Burlingham and others. In January 1974, both Burlingham and Michael Vale of the Swedish American Deserters Committee (ADC) and the GI group The Next Step would be denounced as CIA agents who had penetrated the KGB. Perhaps the one kernel of truth here was that LaRouche may be alluding to The Next Step's ongoing work with Epanastasi in Western Europe. The idea that LaRouche believed this was a "KGB operation" may refer back to the notion that the former Greek Trotskyist "Pablo" was himself now allied to the Soviet security service perhaps through the Curiel network. In any case, it is clear that up until 3 January 1974, the NCLC line was that Burlingham and Vale were working with the KGB to kill LaRouche. LaRouche then refers to "'Alexander,' palpable Soviet operative" and to "'Bruno' - Buckhardt Bluem – in Frankfurt and Klaus in the SAG" as part of this network. He then continues:

We keep peeling, looking for the final connection which would show how George had been pre-conditioned to develop his "affair" with Barbara Peper.8
That one thing remained unsolved – until Chris White had been deprogrammed. How was George induced to develop this obsessive compulsion for a love affair with a woman (Barbara Peper) in March when his first meeting with her occurred only on April 6? By the end of the first week of this January, we knew the answer: the CIA had "grabbed" George and conditioned him to place himself at the disposal of the East German Ministry.

Again, little of this makes much sense at least to more conventional minds. Be that as it may, LaRouche continues:

The final piece of the jigsaw puzzle was easily placed. During the spring period George was regularly visiting East Berlin, he was regularly teaching on four NATO bases! Each week he crossed the border to the East, the East German Ministry of State Security was routinely supplying his name (with the name of all other visitors) to the West German and NATO security agencies. Yet George was the only staff member at the Benedict School teaching on NATO bases not required to pass a security clearance! Other indications, from early fall 1973, have proven that the entire George affair and scheduled assassination were conducted under the eyes and noses of NATO intelligence – without interference.

This is the first (and only) mention that George was supposedly teaching language courses on "four NATO bases." Yet George did have ties to The Next Step, the Mike Vale-dominated GI group that worked closely with the NCLC in Germany. Did George function as some kind of TNS courier to the East? If so, why did he start his regular visits to East Berlin almost exactly around the time that LaRouche launched his Operation Mop-Up attacks in America? Again, the print sources again are simply inadequate to unravel the reasons behind George's decision to visit East Berlin during the spring and summer of 1973. Was he really having an affair with an East German psychiatrist? But this still wouldn't explain who he decided to spend an entire month in East Berlin when LaRouche was in West Germany.

What does seem clear is that it was impossible for LaRouche not to be unaware of the fact that George was in East Berlin the very month that LaRouche was in West Germany and that he only returned to the West just as LaRouche was planning to leave Germany.

THE ARBONA ATTACK

With the "revelation" of the Stasi-KGB assassination plot, an article in the 19 October 1973 New Solidarity claimed that LaRouche was now only in "minimal personal danger." But in December 1973, the line radically shifted yet again. The shift was announced in the massive "How to Catch a Cop" article in the 28 December 1973 issue of New Solidarity, published on the eve of the NCLC Conference. The article was billed as a response to an anti-NCLC polemic that first appeared in the 16 December 1973 issue of Claridad, the journal of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party (PSP) penned by a PSP leader named Ramon Arbona.9 Arbona had the audacity to suggest that the NCLC must be some kind of CIA or police agent operation. His article came out not long after the publication of "The Sexual Impotence of the Puerto Rican Socialist Party," a bitter attack on Latin "machos" and Latin culture, and the PSP in particular, that first appeared in the November 1973 Campaigner. LaRouche, however, claimed that Arbona's story was a poor translation of a text that had to originate in East Germany and was then translated into Spanish and that Arbona merely signed. With this sleight of hand, Arbona's article now became part the "Konstantin George" affair. In his comments on Arbona in "How to Catch a Cop," LaRouche writes:

the general line that the NCLC is a "CIA directed fascist" organization is a creation of a special KGB task force resident in East Berlin: an obvious "instinctive" imitation of the old Moscow Trial slanders against Leon Trotsky. The internal complications of this slander derive from the fact that the initial slanders against the Labor Committees termed the NCLC an "ultra-left Trotskyite" organization. The initial attacks from Moscow (cf. January 1972 Neos Kosmos) were more sophisticated, but were subordinated by the East Berlin KGB task force to the then prevailing revival of the "anti-Trotskyist" line (cf. Kommunist: November 1971).

As for the DDR's role in the master plot:

A brief qualification on the role of the East Berliners in this affair. After the Labor Committee press releases of August announcing the uncovering of Konstantin George's brainwashing by the East German Ministry of State Security, there was a major reorganization of KGB operations against left groups in the West.
Direct responsibility for plans and operations against the international Labor Committee tendency was delegated to a resurrected VEDO apparat within the Soviet KGB – probably under the command of KGB general Michael Radin.10 The change occurred during this past September. However, the East German task force was kept on, under VEDO supervision, to do research work and complications of slanders against the ICLC and NCLC.
. . . . A further feature of the piece would strongly imply the same East Berlin authorship in its own right. This is the recurring expression of paranoid awe towards the person of L. Marcus, as if he were an all-powerful Satan himself who could single-handedly bring down the Seven Plagues of Egypt upon the entire world. This awe originates in Marcus's psychoanalytical deprogramming of Konstantin George in a few days, undermining a brainwashing job on which the East Germans had spent upwards of more than a million dollars and had applied the most advanced psychological programming techniques available in the Soviet bloc.
. . . . The internal evidence of the column shows that it is a scissors-and-paste extract from a large German-language item delivered to the New York offices of the CPUSA (possibly via KGB regional offices in Montreal). There a pair of oafs was assigned to produce English and Spanish translations for delivery to agent Arbona. Typical of the CPUSA nowadays, a slop-job was done. Stupid Arbona saw nothing needing correction in even the incoherent passages of the Spanish version, and so Arbona exposed himself for the miserable police agent he is.11

THE FBI MEMO

Many years later in an 25 August 1978 New Solidarity article, Lyndon LaRouche reported that the

Communist Party USA's leadership mooted an assassination attack against this writer, a hint of which was picked up and reported by an FBI undercover agent in the leadership of the CPUSA, and later revealed through the FBI FOIA disclosures. The group chosen to conduct the assassination attack was the Puerto Rican terrorist group, MIRA, one of the source groups for later organizations of the Puerto Rican terrorist bomber organization, the FALN.

There was in fact an FBI document sent to J. Edgar Hoover on 23 November 1973 by the FBI's New York City office.12 The NCLC obtained a copy through FOIA requests. The FBI memo states that

information has been received that the CPUSA is conducting an extensive background investigation on the subject [LaRouche] for the purpose of ultimately eliminating him and the threat of the NCLC on CP operations. Several sources have furnished this information to the New York office, and this information has appeared in the Daily World newspaper several times.

Exactly what this "information" was remains a mystery. New Solidarity, for example, never mentioned any article from the Daily World in this period. From early October to early December 1973, there is exactly one article on the NCLC. A brief 5 October 1973 story reported that some NCLC members had been thrown out of an AFL-CIO meeting in Springfield, Illinois. If anything, the CP went out of its way to ignore mentioning the NCLC in the autumn of 1973. One guess then as to what the writer actually means is that the Daily World wrote critically of LaRouche after the NCLC physically attacked CP members and disrupted CPUSA events in the spring and early summer of 1973 and that the CP ran articles saying that LaRouche and the NCLC should be removed from the Left.

Be that as it may, the memo continues:

NCLC sources have advised that the subject is the controlling force behind the NCLC and all of its activities. A discussion with the New York NCLC case agent indicates that it is felt if the subject was no longer in control of the NCLC operations that the NCLC would fall apart with internal strife and conflict.
New York proposes submitting a blind memorandum in the Daily World CP newspaper in New York City which has been mailed from outside this area to help facilitate CP investigations on the subject. It is felt that this would be appropriate under the Bureau's counter intelligence program.
The blind memorandum is attached. Bureau comments are requested on such a proposal.

There is no cite of the blind memorandum in the FOIA document so it is not known if there was a copy that the NCLC had gotten and didn't release or whether or not the document was blacked out. Nor is there any indication at all in New Solidarity that the Daily World later published a special report on LaRouche that might hint at an FBI footprint. As for the rest of the memo, the FBI had picked up correct information that LaRouche was now the unchallenged leader of the entire organization and that if his control was threatened the group would most likely fragment. However one didn't need to be clairvoyant to come to that conclusion. At the same time, however, it does suggest that the FBI was also aware of the existence of deep underlying discontent inside the NCLC. Given that Operation Mop-Up was a total failure and left the group utterly isolated from the rest of the American Left, this too should come as no great surprise.

THE GREEKS AND THE RUSSIANS"

One of the most curious features of the Konstantin George affair was the NCLC's fascination with the Greek KKE (External), which the sect portrayed as hardcore agents for the Kremlin dispersed throughout the world. In the 1 January 1974 NCLC press release about Chris White, for example, it was claimed that "immediate direction of the strike action was under supervision of the KGB regional (Greek-language) offices in Montreal and Havana." This notion of two Greek-based KGB teams – one in Canada and the other in Havana – surfaces in curious ways. In the 21-25 May 1973 New Solidarity, an article on the Soviet Union included this observation:

It is not accidental that the "communist" press-blackout has been broken in two geographic locations of key significance: East Berlin and Havana. . . . In Havana, the radio broadcasts that carry propaganda for Latin America have been reporting fictitious atrocity stories against the Labor Committee's Operation Mop-Up. What is common in both Havana and East Berlin is the fact that the professional international apparat of the respective local "communist" parties contains many professionals of the exiled Greek "communist" party who for decades now have been living on the Moscow payroll.
The Kremlin's Greek-language network of international agents is by far the most efficient transmission belt of secret police "party lines" and intrigues. Furthermore, it was through the Prague-based Greek-language publication Neos Kosmos, which circulates in practically every country in the world, that Moscow issued a warning against the Labor Committee back in January 1972. There are indications that the Kremlin's "Labor Committee Bureau" may be based in East Berlin, which also happens to be the Greek CP's headquarters for West European operations. And it is probably there that the CPUSA received its first instructions on how to handle the Labor Committee threat – i.e., by allying with the police – when Claude Lightfoot of the CPUSA, a while ago, showed up in East Berlin for the ostensible purpose of giving a lecture on "Repression in Greece" of all things.

The article continues:

As for Havana, the anti-Labor Committee broadcasts are indicative of the kind of arm-twisting that Castro has to suffer in order to keep the Cuban economy going with Soviet "aid." It is common knowledge that Cuba's foreign, commercial and political missions, especially in Latin America, as well as Cuba's political relations with the Latin American left, have fallen under the subtle control of agents of the Soviet apparat. It is also well known that certain key individuals in that apparat come from the exiled Greek Communist Party and act as carriers of Moscow's policy toward the Labor Committee.

The notion that the KKE-E was coordinating the Kremlin's attack on the NCLC is again made clear in the introduction to the 1972 NCLC pamphlet, The Popular Front: Why Moscow Fears this Pamphlet:

the contents of Neos Kosmos are written in Moscow under supervision of the Soviet bureaucracy. The contents are printed in and distributed from Czechoslovakia to North America, Western Europe, and elsewhere out of Comintern funds. It serves as one of those perennial types of special "foreign language" Moscow publications whose contents may often be intentionally more significant as a channel for telegraphing a new turn in the general Moscow official line than to the internal affairs of the nation in whose language the journal is published. . . .
The Greek diaspora . . . has distributed large proportions of the Greek-language population into every major commercial sector of the capitalist world – throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, etc. Subsumed by this, since the Greek population has perhaps the highest ratio of traditionally committed revolutionaries of any population in the capitalist world, there is a hard core of such Greeks within the CPUSA, a large number of revolutionary Greek cadres in Canada, pockets of such persons in key Latin American cities, and so forth. Consequently, a monthly Greek-language official Moscow publication has the special collateral usefulness to the Kremlin of telegraphing a turn in the official line to the Central Committees of most Communist parties around the world.

LaRouche's idea that the KKE-E ran a Kremlin-directed attack against the NCLC via cadre inside the CPUSA – as well as from KGB cells in both Canada and Havana – went into overdrive after the publication of the article on Arbona's article in Claridad and helped lay the basis for the "Cuban frogman" hoax just a few days later as we shall see in the next chapter on the opening of the "Chris White Affair."

CONCLUSION

Looking back at the George affair, much still remains a mystery. For one thing, we don't even know how mentally stable George really was throughout this period. If he did really see Barbara Peper in East Berlin, is it possible that he tried to do so on the sly not because he was having an affair with her but because he felt he needed to see a psychiatrist and wanted to keep that fact away from his "comrades"? In the larger history of the NCLC, however, the George affair structurally served as a "test run" of sorts for the Chris White debacle. The hysteria surrounding the George story played a key role in psychologically reshaping the European Labor Committee. After LaRouche's arrival in Germany in the wake of the disastrous Operation Mop Up, many Europeans were upset with the turn the group had taken.

A former German NCLC members named Herbert Knoblauch (interviewed for the 1987 book Das Geheimnis der EAP: Idee, Geschichte, Programm, Praxis, Hintergrund) recalled that LaRouche encountered great difficulty with the Dortmund-headquartered ELC in August and September of 1973. LaRouche returned to Europe sometime in September 1973, ostensibly to attend the Lelio Basso-sponsored conference on Rosa Luxemburg in Northern Italy. During this period, he organized a three-and-a-half day encounter session with leading European members in Dortmund. The session culminated in the crucial decision of Helga Zepp – who had been attacked the most by LaRouche and who had resisted the most – announcing her complete allegiance to him in part because Zepp had earlier accepted LaRouche's claims about George being "brainwashed." In the 1988 edition of The Power of Reason, LaRouche singles out both Helga and another German member named Michael Liebig "for performing an important role in the [Konstantin George] debriefing." (288)

The Konstantin George affair had a critical structural effect in the American NCLC as well. After the Konstantin George affair broke, a new group was handpicked by LaRouche in the U.S. and told that its duty was to assemble all the information it could on brainwashing supposedly to unravel the endless ramifications of the "George affair." This would-be clique of Cheka wannabes clearly fueled the fantasy and, by so doing, helped establish the paradigm for the Chris White brainwashing hoax that would soon follow.

Perhaps fittingly, then, given the utterly confusing events that summer of 1973 that after first declaring that Konstantin George had been brainwashed by Stasi (August 1973), and then that George had really been brainwashed by the KGB/VEDO in alliance with Stasi and Bulgarian intelligence (Fall 1973) and then the CIA/MI-6 (January 1974); LaRouche would finally come full circle. In his 23 January 1981 internal document ("Security: KGB Footprints") attacking Epanastasi's Costas Axios, LaRouche writes: "The first known indication of a KGB attack on the ICLC dates from February 1973, the first known active phase in the targeting of Konstantin George which led to his attempted brainwashing by East German officials."

Plus ça change ....


Notes:

1. Five months later, this same idea would later develop into the notion that the CIA and KGB were somehow cooperating in the Chris White brainwashing.

2. This fact alone suggests that there must be Stasi files on the NCLC for this period. Any serious future history of the NCLC in the first decade of its existence would have to examine not only FOIA documents from the FBI and CIA and American military intelligence relating both to the NCLC and The Next Step but also any available Stasi archives from this period as well. The Stasi section involved in foreign intelligence operations was headed by the late Marcus Wolf, who briefly mentions Heribert Hellenbroich in his memoirs.

3. Proof of hostile Soviet intention came in a short 14 September 1973 Tass article printed in Pravda and reprinted in New Solidarity that denounced the "not unknown fascistoid" NCLC for trying to prevent the CPUSA's candidates for mayor of New York from running for office by challenging the validity of the CP's petitions.

4. Basso and LaRouche first met at the Bertrand Russell Foundation's Linz Conference in 1972.

5. In this context it should be recalled that in an earlier story about George New Solidarity had discussed an East German scam to earn hard currency by allowing certain people with medical training to escape to the West so this may be some opaque reference to that.

6. This is the earliest appearance of the picture in an NCLC publication as far as I can tell.

7. The inclusion of IS in a KGB-allied conspiracy was also mentioned in passing by LaRouche in his infamous 3 January 1974 speech to the NCLC when he claimed that British IS, and Tony Cliff personally, "helped set up the CIA operations" against the NCLC.

8. The idea that George actually had an affair with Peper first surfaces in print here in LaRouche's article (finished on 24 January 1974). Before that time there is no reference to the alleged affair in print.

9. I was unable to locate a copy of Arbona's article either in an archive or on microfilm.

10. Radin was a known KGB expert on Great Britain who had served two tours at the Soviet Embassy in London. He was recalled to Moscow in the early 1960s to run the KGB's Department 13 that reportedly planned assassinations and other special operations.

11. This 28 December 1973 New Solidarity article – literally written on the brink of the Chris White Affair – would touch on themes repeated in the 1 January New Solidarity press release on the KGB brainwashing of White. It included references to KGB General Radin, VEDO, a KGB regional office in Montreal, historical parallels to the Trotsky assassination, the Konstantin George affair etc.

12. The FBI file is reproduced here


< CHAPTER 9 Enter the Greeks: Epanastasi, the NCLC, and “Pablo” | NEW STUDY | CHAPTER 11 "Orpheus Comes Up into the Sunlight": The Chris White Affair – Part One >

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