Larry L. Watts: Falsifiers, Deniers and Deceivers. From Francis Bowen and The Hungarian Controversy to Vladimir Tismaneanu’s Black Propaganda



Looking back over a lifetime of assessing the Soviet Bloc, another senior CIA analyst noted in the 1980s that Romania’s “particularly risky” independence had “successfully redefined the role of a member of the Bloc, maintaining ties that are mostly formal and confining Soviet influence almost entirely to the negative,” while “all of its moves and positions have been swallowed by the post-Stalin Soviet leaderships, which sometimes seem less tolerant than simply outplayed.” According to the retiring career officer, “all the East European states have benefited from Romania’s insistence on (and the USSR’s recognition of) the right of members to assert independent views in Bloc councils.” (CIA, 12/1/82,

Regardless of what political odor the Central Intelligence Agency and its analysts may currently enjoy (or suffer), I would trust their time-tested assessments over those of Mr. Tismaneanu even had I not read the internal Warsaw Pact documents that fully confirm them. Assertions that Romania defiance and opposition during the Cold War was insignificant and had no impact on the geopolitical confrontation between East and West are simply wrong. Such assertions were debunked at the time by reliable intelligence assessment, and their wrongheadedness has been confirmed beyond doubt in the documents of the other Warsaw Pact members that have come to light since the collapse of communism. No amount of denial or negation, and no attempt at deception or prestidigitation will change that fundamental reality.

During the mid-19th century, Professor Bowen was hindered in the degree to which he could directly respond to his attackers by considerations of professional and social prestige (none of his attackers were academic experts, specialists in the field or, for that matter, university professors.) Joyfully, I am not encumbered by such limitations. Should Mr. Tismaneanu choose to emerge from behind his careful insinuations and engage me directly on the arguments I present, he will find a willing partner in public discussion.

But fear not, dear reader. I will not hold my breath.

Integral la Ziaristi Online

Larry Watts and Francis Bowen
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