A Secure Room

I wrote this story as a prologue to my unpublished novel “They’ve Crossed the Rubicon.” I wrote it in 2012-2013. It is based on comments made by a former senior KGB officer in charge of Psychological Operations about the U.S. tearing itself apart from the inside out. Share it with your friends, and enemies as well.

A secure room, Russian SVR (Foreign Intelligence Service) Headquarters, Yasenevo District, Moscow

“Where is the report from the American constitutional scholars on the best method to attack ‘Texas versus White’?” The questioner sits on one side of a large table topped with a green baize cloth. He is sixtyish, slim, balding from the front, and wears steel-rimmed wire glasses. His grey pin-striped three-piece suit fits well and is obviously bespoke. In fact, it is from a first-class men’s tailor on Saville Row in London. His tie is blood red and the knot fits precisely the spread made by the collar of his shirt. He dresses as a man of importance.

The person across the table is also well dressed. He too, is in his sixties; still his suit, also purchased abroad but at a high-end department store, looks almost shabby in comparison to his colleague’s. His thick, black-rimmed glasses make him look like a 1960s movie villain.
“Comrade Spartak, these are American lawyers you are talking about. They bill by the quarter hour. They do not become rich by doing things quickly. Besides, if there is anything close to armed insurrection due to the latest race riots or increase in energy prices, then ‘Texas versus White’ becomes a moot point in our effort.” He uses his middle finger to push the heavy black frames back up on his nose.

“Anatoly, Anatoly, Anatoly…First, will you never lose that ‘Comrade’ bullshit? We’re already enough of an anachronism in this place. Second, get onto our agents and hurry those lawyers along. You know how long it takes us to move the mountains a shovel at a time. Our dear leader is anxious to assert himself and our re-found power. We want to be able to unleash the threat of actual secession in the next American presidential election. We want to add the threat of physical separation to the judicial and legislative separation we have created with the sanctuary concept and the ideological penetrations we have made into the American societal processes. Besides we don’t want the revolutionists to succeed in their desire to install a Marxist regime in the United States. Maybe that was what Comrades Khrushchev wanted in the 1950’s but after our experience with Communist China we certainly do not want to have the United States contending with us and China for dominance in Communism, especially since we now claim to be a Democratic Republic. Sometimes success gets away from you. I mean China is the perfect example for both us and the United States. We wanted a billion people indoctrinated into communism so that we could pincher the West between Soviet Communism to their East and Chinese Communism to their West. China would be the lynchpin of the COMINTERN’s takeover of all of Asia squeezing the United States and Western Europe out of the ability to control world affairs. Well, we got a billion Chinese but then Mao asserted his cult of personality and they became our competitor, not our complicit underlings. Then the United States thought they could make China part of the West if the Chinese would somehow embrace a market economy instead of Communism and just like they did to us the Chinese adopted to the market economy without losing the oligarchical form of Communism they had installed under Mao. Now they have supplanted the United States in manufacturing and marketing, buying up all the loans the successive U.S. governments have taken to finance their ever-expanding social programs.
No, we don’t want a Marxist inspired government in the U.S. Our goal is to splinter the United States along racial or economic lines. A new Confederacy in the South and perhaps some of the Northeastern States will want to join Canada. Texas will become its own nation and California; Washington and Oregon will form a country. The Mid-West will probably stay connected through Ohio and Maryland to the Washington, D.C. nexus but each country will operate independently and by breaking the fifty states into five or more nations we will have destroyed the United States as a player in world politics. Then it will be only us and China. The EEC is already fragmenting with England having left but our activities in Scotland will eventually prevail, the Scots are even more emotional about independence than the Americans, and Great Britain will be no more.

“I already know the lawyers’ answer is going to be that the only way to overturn the no-secession ruling of ‘Texas versus White’ is to amend the American Constitution but since we have helped imbue the sanctuary movement throughout the US with unwitting leadership and not a few dollars, we might be able to simply bypass their constitution. If enough people disregard the law, then the law will have no effect. They have speed limits, but everyone speeds; they have anti-littering laws, but everyone throws their litter on the street. That is one of our ideological goals, to sow disrespect for the law and those who are supposed to enforce it. Perhaps we can inject such rhetoric into the ongoing political discussions through some of our agents of influence; but we are going to have to be careful to spread it across the breadth of the agents we use since no one agent can move this forward. Of course, we will continue to feed larger and larger morsels to the American media. Those morons will chew on and regurgitate anything as long as we pay them with the appropriate coin, and it costs us so little. Secession will add to the emotionalism we have already managed to stir into the American political melting pot.”

He stops. “That’s a joke, Anatoly, stirring the American melting pot—can’t I get at least a groan? You certainly spent enough time in the U.S. to learn about puns. Come now, just an eye-roll acknowledging the attempt.” As Anatoly gives him a perplexed look Stephan takes off his glasses and, producing a cleaning cloth from his coat pocket, proceeds to vigorously rub each lens several times. Finally satisfied they are clean, he places them back on his face, one looped earpiece at a time.

“We are getting close, Anatoly; I can feel it in my bones, can’t you?”

He carefully folds the cleaning cloth and places it back in his pocket, making sure the pocket flap is neatly pressed down.

“Of course, I can feel a good many other things in my bones, like these Moscow winters. Damn! Isn’t it about time we visited Mexico to meet with some of our American agents? Maybe somewhere on a beach?” He shivers, looking at the frosted windows through which nothing can be seen save the half-light of a Moscow winter’s early afternoon. The room, though, is not cold except near those windows where the cold converts the wet heat of the radiators into condensation that rolls down the panes of glass and puddles on the sills before dropping one large, elongated teardrop at a time onto the linoleum floor.

“Now, about the next steps, we’re sure the channels for passing money to the climate groups and the new ‘we hate America’ groups are secure and that there is sufficient cover to avoid blowback if one or more of the groups is discovered receiving foreign funds?” This time it is not a rhetorical question, he wants an answer.

“Absolutely, we’ve struck several deals with the Mexican cartels to exchange their cash in the U.S. for credits in bank accounts in Dubai, Zurich and Bangkok. We don’t have to smuggle money into the U.S. we just let the cartels take the risk of running the drugs and we solve their problems of trying to get the cash out of the U.S. It was a brilliant idea, if I do say so myself. Then our network of agents gets the money to the groups in small donation envelopes we’ve provided them with. Lately, we given more to the social justice groups that have been shooting up in all the states but I still think our best bet is the climate group since we are funding European groups as well.” He pauses to push his glasses back up on his nose. “Do you think anyone will ever notice how there’s not a climate movement in Asia or the Middle East? I mean should we consider funding some sort of group in Asia just so it really does look like a world-wide effort and not just a European-American movement?”

His partner looks serious as he furrows his brow, once more taking off his glasses. “No, it isn’t necessary. With the European and American media kicking up the fuss they are, nobody is going to notice it until it’s too late. Remember the objective is to weaken our opponents’ infrastructures by creating rifts between the economic and racial groups in the U.S. and Europe.”

“But we must keep the American watchers busy, so they don’t suss out any of our actions. I think that giving them a challenge about the possibility of a traitor or even traitors in their midst will distract them for some time. Have we made sure of the provenance of the documents we will “leak”? I mean we don’t necessarily want a repeat of what happened in the previous election cycle even if it took them years to publicly recognize the entire thing was a set-up. If the FBI had moved quicker, we would have gotten our candidate in but even if delayed an election cycle it has now worked to our advantage.”

“By the way, please schedule a meeting with each of the controllers that are working on the software operation, plus a separate series of meetings with the analysts who are looking at the voting patterns and where our nudges may be required. And, oh yes, those fools who are doing the computer hacking, not the military units of course, but the heads of that unit charged by our leader with creating havoc within the American government’s computer protections people.
“We need better information from our agents in China about what the Chinese are doing to influence upcoming elections. I don’t want to work at cross purposes. Anything they’re investing in means we don’t have to spend any of our currency to achieve a similar outcome. Check with the Far East Division and see what they can tell us about what their spies are learning about the Chinese efforts. Between us and the Chinese I sense the end is becoming nearer and nearer.”

“Yes, we are much closer to the end game, only a few more pieces to move, and they will suddenly realize how we have trapped their king with their own pawns and the rules by which they insist upon in playing the game. We have excited the anarchists and empowered the race movements as well as the, what do they call it Anatoly? Oh yes, the extreme right. Color against white; poor against rich; state against the federalist; and most importantly politician against politician. I’m surprised the fabric of their society has held together as long as it has but eventually it will tear and when it does the tearing will spread until, what did former Comrade Panarin predict, five separate entities, was it? Well, I don’t care if it’s five, two or fifty just as long as our program succeeds. And then, Anatoly, we’ll be anachronisms no longer. We’ll be the heroes of our youth when they couldn’t thank us enough for our work against the English, Germans and Americans. I mean, are we both not heroes of the Soviet Union? And how many Orders of Lenin and the Red Banner do we have between us?”

Before Anatoly could answer Stephan announced, “Five, we have five. You have one of each and I have two orders of the Red Banner and one Order of Lenin. And these new operatives, how many do they have? None.”

Anatoly almost interjected that they couldn’t have any since the award of all those medals had stopped in 1991, but he didn’t because Stephan had launched another of his broadsides about the failure of the new order to be as aggressive or successful as the KGB had been. It was best to let him slowly deflate as a helium balloon does when the room gets colder. Sooner or later he, like the balloon, would find its way to the floor. He supposed this diatribe was because Stephan had been listening to the BBC again and they were continuing to carry the story of the botched assassination of a Russian living in Scotland who had fled Russia after being a particularly harsh critic of the latest Putin decrees. Everyone, so the BBC said, knew the assassination attempt was the work of the Russian intelligence services and some commentators had speculated the new KGB replacements were losing their touch. And in truth, Anatoly surmised, it was a pretty serious screw up on the part of the wet team. Stephan would be on a tear the rest of the day, or at least a goodly part of it.

“Still,” Anatoly thought, “We are both heroes of the Soviet Union but there are only a few who remember and value that honor. Comrade Putin remembers and after we achieve our next goal perhaps, he will make us members of the Order of the Russian Federation.” Anatoly thought that would make Stephan happy although he himself would prefer the Order of St. Andrew because its actual medal was so much grander than the Order of the Russian Federation. It was much more in keeping with the Tsarist traditions Comrade Putin was bringing back to Russia. In his mind’s eye he could see the ceremony in the Kremlin with the few remaining members of his family, his colleagues, and the heads of the various departments of the secret service gathered to watch him be invested. Of course, there would never be any recognition of just what he had done, or rather what he and Comrade Spartak had done. But none the less there would be a ceremony, unlike his investiture as a Hero of the Soviet Union where he had been called to the Director’s office, thanked for his work and handed a box inside which was the medal and ribbon. He had worn it on his uniform only twice before the KGB had been dissolved and he was no longer entitled to wear the uniform even for formal occasions. He had worn the Order of Lenin and the Order of the Red Banner more often because he had received those awards in the 1970’s when he had first fought the Americans in Indochina. He was one of the youngest KGB officers to receive the Order of the Red Banner but like his Hero of the Soviet Union award it had been presented by someone in the service and not by a presidium member. They told him his true identity had to be protected, even from the highest of the civilians. They had said the same to Stephan when he received his awards, but Anatoly knew or rather he felt, that the awards that would come in the future would be delivered by the hand of Vladimir Putin himself.
He was so sure of himself he had already drafted a short speech for the reception of the award. At night, in bed, or sometimes even during the day, he thought of it and made a change here or there, just to make it a little more charming. He would be humble of course and thank all those present but he wanted it to be charming. He wanted people leaving the ceremony to say, “what a charming speech Anatoly gave.”

“Oh yes,” others would reply, “and so moving as well.” They would all agree that he was indeed a well accomplished and very erudite man. The professionals would know that he was an intelligence officer of the greatest abilities. He and Stephan that is.

“Yes Anatoly, we have many medals for fighting the Americans. We won in Vietnam, fought to a draw in the Middle East, although I’d say that our staying power is now giving us the upper hand, especially with the Iranians taking on our common enemy. We initially lost in Afghanistan but again over the long term we have sucked more money out of the U.S. economy than we ever invested in those barren mountains. Our covert involvement with ISIS, HAMAS, Hezbollah and other anti-Western groups is costing the Americans billions and creating multiple issues for us to use in manipulating segments of the American political system.
He stopped a moment, went to the window and using his hand wiped a circle in the frost so he could see out. Anatoly had no idea why he would do that, but experience had taught him that looking into the distance was Stephan’s signal that he was remembering. Not just remembering in general but something specific. And within moments Stephan turned to face him.

“Anatoly, remember when we orchestrated the burning of the American embassies in Pakistan and Libya? ’79 wasn’t it? Remember how we did it?”

Anatoly recognized this as another rhetorical question and remained silent.

“Radio and word of mouth through our agents. Radio and word of mouth. If we had international cable TV and the Internet, we could have burned twenty American embassies. All we had to do was have our press assets broadcast that the Americans were responsible for the takeover of the Holy Mosque in Mecca and then have our agents of influence arouse a crowd. Emotion did the rest. Small crowds grew large, one of our agents threw something at the embassy and others followed his lead and then the assault on the fences knowing the Americans would not dare shoot and their local guards would run away. That’s how we did it Anatoly, Emotion, and that’s how we’re going to take down the American Empire because we now have that twenty-four-hour cable television and the internet as well. Emotion, mobs, scofflaws and power-hungry politicians and the strongest of the emotions is hate. That hate will fill up the well of American tolerance and began to overflow with those two well-timed events we have planned. The world will watch America crumble as the face of an undermined chalk cliff drops into the sea.” His eyes focused on infinity; it is as if he can see those cliffs falling. “And they will have done it to themselves. Of course, we will have helped just a little bit.” He chuckles.
“How’s your English these days Anatoly? Who knows, maybe Comrade Putin will make you an American Commissar.” Stephan laughs his broad, deep laugh. Anatoly has never quite had Stephan’s ambition and thinks he might just be happier with the Order of St. Andrew, a dacha on the black sea and a reliable pension. Still, Commissar has a nice ring to it.

The two men unconsciously inch their chairs closer to the table as they bend over the dossiers in front of them. Anatoly pushes his glasses higher up on his nose.

One thought

  1. Bravo to your prologue to your unpublished novel “They’ve Crossed the Rubicon.” Your fiction appears to contain significant nonfiction about Russia’s work today to play factions against one another in America to destroy the fabric of American society. Comrade Stephen’s account of the success of Russia’s Psychological Operations is recognizable as what is playing out today in America.

    Comrade Stephen’s question “Do you think anyone will ever notice how there’s not climate movement in Asia or the Middle East?” is especially relevant to today’s climate discourse.

    Your prologue written in 2012-2013 does not have to be altered in any way to make it pertinent to 2022. We hope that you can publish your novel “They’ve Crossed the Rubicon” in the near future, since it possibly is important to understanding Russian leaders’ psyche. Comrade Putin’s “special military operation” into Ukraine is a product of that psyche.

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