The leftist brouhaha broke in April with pre-release stories related to the new book, Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America by John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr, and Alexander Vassiliev (Yale University Press). With the book's release on May 26, Stone's defenders can be expected to launch another round of counter-offensives on his behalf rather than admit that their revered icon betrayed them, even as he betrayed his country and humanity.
Isidore Feinstein Stone is hardly a household name, but he casts a big shadow among the Marxoid, hate-America pseudo-intellectuals who populate academia, Big Media, and the "Indie" media. Stone (born 1907, died 1989), an active writer for over six decades, wrote for the New York Post, PM, The Nation, the New York Compass, and other newspapers and publications. But he achieved his fame and fortune as editor/publisher of his own I.F. Stone's Weekly.
The home page of I.F. Stone's official web site boasts: "In a journalistic poll to determine the 'Top 100 Works of Journalism in the United States in the 20th Century.' I.F. Stone's Weekly was rated 16th." In 2008, Harvard's prestigious Nieman Foundation for Journalism awarded its first annual I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence. According to the Nieman Foundation: "The award will be presented annually to a journalist whose work captures the spirit of independence, integrity, courage and indefatigability that characterized I.F. Stone's Weekly, published 1953-1971."
The University of California-Berkeley's graduate school of journalism offers "I.F. Stone Fellowships." And, in a remarkable coincidence of timing, The Park Center for Independent Media (PCIM) at Ithaca College announced on March 4 that it would be inaugurating its first annual "Izzy Award for special achievement in independent media." The award ceremony on March 31 presented the first "Izzies" to left-wing Salon.com blogger Glenn Greenwald and Amy Goodman, host and producer of the ultra-leftist Democracy Now! radio and TV program.
The bestowing of the Izzy Award on Goodman at a time when Izzy is being exposed as an agent for totalitarianism and an inveterate apologist for Communist regimes that ruthlessly suppressed all independent journalism (not to mention all other human rights), is particularly apropos. Her Democracy Now! program regularly features interviews with the likes of: Marxist professors Noam Chomsky, Ali Mazrui, Edward Said, and Howard Zinn; "scholars" from the KGB-linked Institute for Policy Studies; Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan; jailed Islamic Jihad leader Sami al-Arian; jailed cop killer Mumia Abu- Jamal; Venezuela's Communist leader Hugo Chavez; Bolivia's Marxist leader Evo Morales; Communist Cuba's National Assembly President (and DGI agent) Ricardo Alarcon. On November 14, 2008 Goodman and her co-host Juan Gonzalez interviewed the infamous husband-wife Weather Underground terrorist team of Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn. As usual, they did not ask probing, challenging questions of their "distinguished" guests. In fact, it appeared to be "Radicals' Old Home Week" as Juan Gonzalez fondly reminisced regarding his former SDS activist days with Bill and Bernardine. Gonzalez asked: "I remember back more than forty years ago I was in the Students for a Democratic Society with you and Bernardine — and could you talk a little bit about how the Weather Underground developed and what were its goals?"
In case you didn't know, you're helping pay for this. Democracy Now! and its parent, Pacifica Radio, have received millions of tax dollars from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB). But that is a pittance compared to the billions of dollars worth of taxpayer-subsidized exposure that Democracy Now! and Pacifica have received over the years from hundreds of "public" radio and TV stations funded through National Public Radio (NPR) and Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
IHOP: Izzy's House of "Pancakes"
But, back to Izzy Stone, or "pancake," as he was known under the code name assigned by his Soviet NKVD-KGB handlers. Stone's role as an unflinching Soviet apologist and his association with numerous communists and Communist Party fronts had understandably aroused suspicions among sensible Americans about his true loyalties. In his authoritative four-volume Biographical Dictionary of the Left (Western Islands, 1969), Dr. Francis X. Gannon wrote, in his entry for Stone:
In 1956, the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee included Stone's name in its list of the eighty-two most active and typical sponsors of Communist front organizations.
Dr. Gannon then listed the many Communist Party fronts to which Stone belonged, before observing:
Stone's obvious Marxism and his long history of defending Communists and their causes has not prevented him from lecturing on college campuses or from having his writings quoted in non-Communist newspapers and magazines.
There was reason to believe he was more than just a "fellow-traveler." According to Louis Budenz, a former Communist Party leader and editor of the Communist Daily Worker, Stone was a Party member. In the early 1990s, the release of the Venona intercepts provided very strong circumstantial evidence that Stone was a longtime Soviet agent. That touched off a furor among his comrades, many of whom rushed to his posthumous defense.
Additional damning evidence provided by Klehr, Haynes and Vassiliev in their new book — and in their pre-release article in Commentary magazine — should remove any lingering doubts as to Stone's culpability. In Commentary, they write about revelations from the KGB archives, including this:
The New York [KGB] station further reported in May 1936: "Relations with Pancake have entered the channel of normal operational work. He went to Washington on assignment for his newspaper. Connections in the State Dep. and Congress." By stating that its relationship with Stone had entered "the channel of normal operational work," the KGB New York station was reporting that Stone had become a fully active agent. Over the next several years, documents recorded in Vassiliev's notebooks make clear, Stone worked closely with the KGB.
However, there are many blind ideologues on the Left who refuse to believe the evidence, just as there were many who continued stubbornly to defend Soviet Agent Alger Hiss, even after Prof. Allen Weinstein's book, Perjury, shattered any lingering pretenses of Hiss's innocence.
Eric Alterman, a friend and protégé of Stone and now a professor of English and journalism at Brooklyn College and a professor of journalism at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, as well as a blogger for The Nation, rushed to Izzy's defense with a column on April 22. Other diehard leftists have also taken up quills in defense of their revered hero.
However, I.F. Stone's defenders are looking more and more ragged and ridiculous. Red diaper baby and reformed former '60s radical Ronald Radosh capably tackles Stone, Alterman, and the Izzyistas here and here. Likewise for good pieces by Daniel Flynn at The American Spectator, Cliff Kincaid at Accuracy In Media, and Herbert Romerstein, columnist and former investigator for the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities and House Committee on Internal Security. Even uber leftist Marty Peretz at The New Republic, in an April 22 piece entitled "I.F. Stone Lied for Tyrants," notes that the new revelations on Stone "are devastating," and "that he lied for the tyrants is unquestionable."
The release this week of Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America will undoubtedly reopen debate not only on I.F. Stone, but on many others as well who held important posts in the federal government, the media, and academia. As an article in the May 2009 issue of Smithsonian magazine, "George Koval: Atomic Spy Unmasked" by Michael Walsh underscores, there are many stories still untold about the Communist penetration of our most sensitive institutions in the 1930s, '40s and '50s. Koval, code-named "Delmar," was an American-born agent of the GRU, the Soviet military intelligence. Until he was posthumously decorated by Vladimir Putin in November 2007, Koval-Delmar was virtually unknown. How significant was he? Walsh says that with the exception of the British scientist Klaus Fuchs, Koval "may have done more than anyone to help the Soviet Union achieve its sudden, shocking nuclear parity with the United States in 1949."
Koval joined the super-secret Manhattan Project in 1944 and held a top-secret clearance at the project's Oak Ridge laboratory where both types of atomic bombs — uranium and plutonium — were being developed. The Koval revelations bring to mind a similarly explosive disclosure over a decade ago, with the publication of Bombshell: The Secret Story of America's Unknown Atomic Spy Conspiracy by Joseph Albright and Marcia Kunstel. The object of that historical expose' was Theodore Hall, the young Harvard physics prodigy (and traitor) who passed crucial atomic weapons information from the Manhattan Project to the Soviets. According to the Soviets, the data Hall provided was "priceless." Yet the enormity of Hall's crimes was not made public until nearly five decades later. And all the while the liberal-left cognoscenti of the media and academe continued telling us (as they continue to do today) that the "Red Scare" of the 1950s was the result of paranoia, irrational anti-communist fears, xenophobia, fascist impulses, etc. "McCarthyism," not communism, they insisted was the great threat to American liberty. It doesn't seem to matter how many critically placed Soviet agents are exposed — Alger Hiss, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Harry Hopkins, Lauchlin Currie, Harry Dexter White, Walter Duranty, Owen Lattimore, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Klaus Fuchs, Theodore Hall, et al. — much of the liberal-left intelligentsia can be depended on either to deny the obvious or to say, "So what? That's old history."
Well, setting the historical record straight — righting wrongs, exposing lies and terror, restoring the reputations of heroes vilified, debunking the reputations of villains glorified — is a right and worthy thing in and of itself. However, the real issue at hand is even more basic than that; it is about national security and national survival. The lessons that should have been learned from the continuous stream of revelations from Soviet and American archives over the past few decades obviously haven't been learned. Some of the worst penetrations of our government by the communists came during the WWII period when the Soviet Union (and dear "Uncle Joe" Stalin) supposedly was our ally.
We are repeating the same suicidal policies today with Beijing and Moscow, our new allies and "partners" in the global "War on Terror." Russia and China, for instance, are our partners in the farcical Six-Party Talks (Russia, China, U.S., North Korea, South Korea, Japan) with communist North Korea and the multi-party talks with Iran. Both terror regimes are client states of Beijing and Moscow and depend on them for weapons, technology, and technical support. However, Russia and China have used their positions not to disarm or rein in their fractious clients, but to sabotage genuine efforts at disarming them and to manipulate the talks to their advantage.
Russia's Vladimir Putin, a career KGB-FSB-GRU man (and former head of the KGB-FSB) appointed Yevgeny Primakov (former head of the KGB and the Kremlin's Middle East terror chief) and Henry Kissinger to an ongoing U.S.-Russia panel on global security. Meanwhile, both Russia and China have flooded the United States and other Western countries with espionage agents and agents of influence. Which brings me to a final comment about the book that launched this article, Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America (which I have not yet read, but eagerly anticipate doing so). It is a comment, actually, about the title, or the second part of it, at any rate: ... Fall of the KGB in America. This is an unfortunate choice of wording, as it implies and plays to the prevalent triumphalism that dangerously and falsely assumes we defeated the KGB, and its schemes and agents no longer present the threat they did during the Cold War. In truth, the KGB-FSB-SVR-GRU are more deadly and dangerous than ever. Ditto for the Chinese intelligence services. And the "experts" who counsel otherwise should be considered in the same light as the so-called experts who completely failed to foresee the 9/11 terror attacks or the current economic implosion.
AP Images: Photo of Isidore Feinstein Stone