Friday, July 2, 2010

An interesting though small point

So much has been written about the latest Russian spy ring whose members are on trial that I have no real desire to wade in except for pointing out as I did before that this all adds to that sense of déjà vu. However, this article by the great Ron Radosh, who has made a study of Soviet infiltration in the United States, is very well worth reading.

One little thing caught my eye. Mr Radosh refers to another article on the subject:
The other major article appeared in the Wall Street Journal, and was written by my good friends and colleagues, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr. Going through the long history of Soviet espionage against the United States, they remind us of the many years of placing “deep penetration” agents in our midst, as well as the constant use of “sleeper cells” in the old days of the Cold War.

They write: “There were two Soviet illegals exposed in the late 1950s whose activities came a bit closer to the recently arrested 10. An illegal officer, KGB Col. Rudolf Abel (real name Vilyam Fisher), entered the U.S. in 1948 and operated under a variety of false identities. He was finally exposed when his assistant and fellow illegal, KGB Lt. Col. Reino Hayhanen, defected in 1957. (Hayhanen, of Finnish background, had been sent to the U.S. using false papers identifying him as an American of Finnish ancestry.) Abel, who never admitted his real name, was convicted and sentenced to 30 years in prison.”
Interesting, I thought. So Reino Hayhanen had been sent to the US falsely identified as an American of Finnish ancestry. I wonder where the papers came from. Well, as it happens, John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr are joint authors of a book called In Denial an account of historians who refused and, in some cases, still refuse to admit the truth about the Soviet Union and, more importantly, about the Soviet infiltration of American political and economic life. (Here is a piece I wrote on it on another blog.)

There is an Appendix to the book, which deals with one particularly horrible tale, that of the Americans of Finnish descent who were lured to Karelia to help build the new socialist state there. Almost all of them ended in prisons, camps, torture chambers and, eventually, execution chambers. Presumably, it was the documents confiscated from one of them that were the basis of Reino Hayhanen's identity.

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