THE SECRET OFFENSIVE: Active Measures: A Saga of Deception, Disinformation, Subversion, Terrorism, Sabotage and Assassination by Chapman Pincher

THE SECRET OFFENSIVE: Active Measures: A Saga of Deception, Disinformation, Subversion, Terrorism, Sabotage and Assassination

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Chapman, a former British journalist, seeks to expose a massive, highly successful Soviet conspiracy to infiltrate and undermine the West. The result is sloppy red-baiting. The two key problems here are Chapman's definitions and sources. By his reckoning, there is little difference between a Soviet agent and someone whose views and actions happen to please the Kremlin. For example, concerning West German Colonel Alfred Martin, who in 1962 leaked top-secret information about NATO war strategies to Der Spiegel (the ""affair"" that is given the most attention in this book), Chapman writes that although Martin was not charged with espionage, ""what he did suited the Politburo's purpose perfectly and, even if entirely unwittingly and Without realization of the consequences in that direction, he advanced the Soviet interest."" Chapman's sources are either vague or one-sided. Typically, they include ""information from a confidential source,"" the testimony of Eastern-bloc defectors, and professional anti-communists in and out of governments. On American issues he quotes mainly from Reagan Administration documents; Reed Irvine, head of Accuracy in Media (which considers most American media to be riddled with leftists); and John Barron, a senior editor of Reader's Digest, who specializes in KGB horhor stories. There are hundreds of charges and characterizations in this book, ranging from the familiar and petty to the outlandish and obviously illogical. Among them: an ever-increasing ""number"" of Labour members of Parliament are ""paid Soviet-bloc agents""; the KGB was responsible for President Kennedy's assassination; Cuba funded the human-rights activities of Orlando Letelier, former Chilean ambassador to the US who was killed in a 1976 car bombing in Washington; President Roosevelt's ""trust in Stalin"" was ""influenced"" by ""well-placed Soviet agents"" in his administration; Albert Einstein and Bertrand Russell, among thousands, proved to be Soviet dupes. While few consider the KGB a benevolent organization, Chapman's exaggerations do not help his cause. Only for those who believe that there's a commie under every bed.

Pub Date: May 19th, 1986
Publisher: St. Martin's