Security and the Fourth International
The following articles appeared during the year 1977 in News Line, daily paper of the Workers Revolutionary Party, the British section of the International Committee of the Fourth International. It is impossible to overstate the importance of these articles as part of the history of the struggle to build Marxist revolutionary leadership for the working class, history which is absolutely necessary for the preparation and training of new Party cadres. They concern the investigation carried out by the ICFI, under the general heading of Security and the Fourth International, into the murder of Leon Trotsky by the GPU, Stalin’s murderous secret police. This investigation was initiated and led at every step of the way by Gerry Healy, and no such investigation has been carried out before or since by any organisation claiming allegiance the Fourth International.
Taken together, these articles constitute a moment of Semblance with respect to the whole Security and the Fourth International investigation, upon which a great deal more material appeared in the publications of the ICFI. A detailed account of the conspiracy to murder Trotsky can be found in How the GPU Murdered Trotsky, New Park Publications, ISBN 0 86151 019 4
A Platform of Shame.
News Line 17 January 1977
The article below is taken from the News Line, the daily paper of the Workers Revolutionary Party, dated Monday January 17, 1977. It is a report of a public meeting organised by various revisionist and Stalinist leaders, which became known as “the platform of shame”. These leaders had come together in response to the ICFI investigation into the assassination of Trotsky in 1940, which exposed the leader of the American Socialist Workers Party, Joseph Hansen, as a collaborator with the FBI and the Stalinist GPU. In spite of their serious political and historical differences these leaders were united in their opposition to the investigation, and in their fear and hatred of the leader of the WRP and the International Committee of the Fourth International, Gerry Healy, who had initiated it.
The cause, and content of this meeting must be made known to present and future generations. It says as much about Healy as a leader as it does about the politics of the revisionist and Stalinists. These people were viciously hostile to Healy before he exposed them as collaborators with the state and the Stalinist assassins. Now they were heaping vitriolic lies upon him in order to divert attention from their methods. How does Healy respond? By calmly attending their meeting and claiming his right to reply!
A Night of Slander and Lies
News Line, Monday 17 January 1977
Gerry Healy of the Workers Revolutionary Party Central Committee was refused permission to speak at a meeting in London last Friday night organised by anti-Trotskyist renegades from all over the world.
The meeting was called under the banner of “workers’ democracy and against frame-ups and slander”. There was no democracy but plenty of slander.
The 800 audience at Friends House heard two hours of slander and lies against Healy and “workers’ democracy” was dispensed with in a few minutes at the end of the meeting.
Healy rose at the conclusion of Professor Ernest Mandel’s speech seeking time to reply. A phalanx of International Marxist Group heavies trooped in front of where he was standing to obscure him from the attention of the platform.
As Healy motioned to speak the chairperson, Tariq Ali, led his followers in an organized hand-clap. Following protests and shouts of “let him speak”, Ali said he had already announced that it was a public meeting and not a debate.
This only aroused further angry protests. Finally he decided to seek a vote to affirm his earlier decision that there should be no contribution from the floor. This was carried with between 200 and 300 voting against.
The Workers Revolutionary Party had described the gathering at Friends House a “platform of shame” and it lived up to its name. We said it was organised to stifle the call for a commission of enquiry into Trotsky’s assassination and it did exactly that.
We said it would white-wash the GPU and its agents and it did that too.
The strongest line against the GPU came from Mandel when in a piece of obscene demagogy he called for the expulsion of Ramon Mecader. Trotsky’s assassin, from the Spanish Communist Party.
Ali gave apologies for Michel Pablo and later read out a message from him which began with a scurrilous attack on Healy, but ended with this call.
“It is high time that this campaign was brought to a halt by at some point submitting the whole dossier of this affair to the irrevocable judgement of an international commission composed of people who are acceptable the either side.”
The personal abuse of Healy was led by George Novack of the revisionist Socialist Workers Party of the United States, who has been named by the International Committee of the Fourth International as an accomplice of the GPU.
The indictment was presented on January 1, 1976, when it was established that Novack and fellow SWP leader, Joseph Hansen, had waged a 36 year campaign to shield the activities of known GPU agents, cover up their role in the Trotskyist movement and suppress any investigation of GPU penetration of the Fourth International.
At a press conference in London on January 12, Novack, the renegade Tim Wohlforth and Ali said that all the questions relating to the International Committee’s indictment would be answered at Friday night’s meeting.
Wohlforth said, “We’re holding … both George Novack and I are here in England also to participate in a meeting on this question which will be held on Friday , at which Ernest Mandel will be present, Pierre Lambert, Michel Pablo, and these questions will be answered at this point.”
When New Line asked Novack if Sylvia Franklin, née Callen, party name Caldwell, the secretary to James P Cannon from 1938 to 1947, was a loyal SWP member or a Soviet police agent, Novack replied, “That and other matters will be deal with on Friday.”
Ali interrupted saying, “Excuse me, as the chairperson I will now intervene. This press conference was called to discuss the suit of the SWP against the FBI and the CIA. All the questions pertaining to that which have been asked have been answered and I’m now going to close the press conference. We have another meeting on Friday night, the 14th, entitled “For workers Democracy – and Against Frame-ups and Slanders in the Workers Movement”, and that’s the forum where we shall reply to this vile campaign which has been initiated.
But last Friday’s meeting was a complete anti-climax. It brought forth no answers at all. Not a single charge was answered.
Novack made two passing references to the subject matter in the indictment, the only one to do so. And on both occasions he deliberately distorted the truth. He made huge play of the fact that the International Committee said that he had kept quiet about the fact that Mrs. David Dallin, (Lola Estrine), and the late Sara Weber were sisters. He had kept quiet about it, Novack said, because they weren’t sisters. (Laughter and applause.)
The International Committee didn’t make this up. We took it from Hansen and Novack’s own house organ Intercontinental Press, on May 24, 1976. Sam Gordon, who has rushed to defend the accomplices of the GPU after a quarter of a century of political inactivity, wrote:
“I know I certainly never met her, [Mrs. Dallin], but only knew her as the sister of Sara Weber, a party member at that time.”
If this fact is untrue then the responsibility for correcting it belongs to Hansen and Novack who have enlisted Gordon as another veteran battler to assist their slander campaign.
Novack’s other sleight of hand was to mention Mark Zborowski, the man who masterminded the murder of Trotsky’s son, Leon Sedov. He said that when he and Mrs. Dallin organised his emigration to the United States in 1940, he had no idea that he was a possible GPU agent. “I never met him”, he said.
There was an angry outburst from a member of the audience when Novack finished his speech. He called out “Novack, you’re a liar. Orlov told Trotsky about Zborowski.” As he walked down the isle towards the platform he was grabbed by IMG heavies and bundled out of the hall. Novack looked shaken by the incident, but was quickly put as ease when Ali whipped up a slow handclap, a new-fangled type of revisionist applause.
Ali earlier opened the meeting by ruling out the Workers Revolutionary Party call for a parity commission. He said: “The parity commission should have been requested, if the comrades are serious, long, long before they began this vile campaign. They should have written to the organisations and said we want to have talks with you.
Ali was lying through his teeth. The first approach for a parity commission to discuss security questions in the Trotskyist movement was made as long ago as May 29. 1975. It was followed by another written call on June 21, 1975, and a further one on October 23, 1975.
All of these preceded the publication of the International Committee’s indictment. In 1976 the International committee sought on two more occasions to get agreement on a parity commission composed of mutually agreed members. At every stage the SWP and Mandel, and Ali’s United Secretariat, have refused point-blank to take part.
The meeting opened with a speech by the renegade Wohlforth, who had his new found revisionist friends squirming in their seats as he explained how he saw the light and broke with “Healyism”. He ended in a deeply emotional state saying that taking this platform “with these comrades, yes, these comrades, is the proudest moment of my life. Thank you.”
Pierre Lambert of the French liquidationist group, the OCI, another renegade from the International Committee, gave a virtuoso performance of no fewer lies than Wohlforth and no smaller amount of grovelling to Novack. Lambert said that while in the International Committee he opposed raising the question of Hansen when Healy had suggested it. The reverse is the case. Not only did Lambert agree with the assessment, he personally believed Pablo was dubious as well.
Following Novack’s consciously evasive contribution, spiced with slanderous abuse of Healy, Mandel wound up. Those who know the professorial character of his public speaking saw a new Mandel; thumping the lectern, waving papers and stamping his feet.
Pointing at Healy he called him names and warned him to stop the campaign to expose GPU infiltrators in the Trotskyist movement. He said it was damaging the Trotskyist movement in the eyes of the working class.
When he finished and Ali stopped Healy from replying to the “slander” charge, the assembled company of revisionists rose to sing the Internationale. The chorus line, apart from the main speakers, included Mrs. B. Hamilton, Mrs. Tamara Deutscher, Harry Wicks, Robin Blackburn, Gery Lawless, Bernard Reaney, Blick and Jenkins of the London Tribune group, Clinton and Westoby of the Thornett clique, assorted Sparticists. Chartists, League for Socialist Action, women’s liberationists, the Revolutionary Communist Group, etc. etc.
Brian Grogan of the IMG, who organised the IMG heavies, said to his colleagues; “Well, we stopped Healy from speaking.”
But, as the Sunday Observer noted yesterday: “Mr Healy quietly sat down again, feeling perhaps that he had made his point more eloquently that any words could have done.”
By avoiding all the main issues, the meeting has only intensified their crisis. It has settled nothing.
The International Committee of the Fourth International will redouble its efforts to ascertain the truth of the assassination of Trotsky and the GPU network that did it. The campaign for an international commission of inquiry will be carried forward.
All the evidence relating to the charges in the indictment will be presented on March 6 in London at the Festival of Trotskyism sponsored by the International Committee of the Fourth International.
Unlike the revisionists the International Committee is fiercely proud of the history of Trotskyism and its life-and-death struggle against the Stalinist bureaucracy. It will be on display for all our members and supporters in the working class and youth to see on that day.
New Job for an Old Liar
News Line 22 October 1977
Statement by the Political Committee of the Workers League of the USA
On 29 July 1977 the International Committee of the Fourth International published a statement entitled “Will the Real Joseph Hansen Please Stand Up”, which proved that this leader of the revisionist Socialist Workers Party had secretly collaborated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the weeks and months following the assassination of Leon Trotsky.
Official government documents discovered by the International Committee established that Joseph Hansen had viewed the murder of the great Bolshevik revolutionary as a golden opportunity to ingratiate himself with and offer his services to the political police of American imperialism behind the backs of unsuspecting “comrades” in the SWP.
The International Committee not only discovered the records of Hansen’s five, hitherto secret, visits to the American embassy in Mexico where he met with a top FBI agent in order to hand over confidential documents and arrange future meetings in the United States.
It also unearthed a letter “respectfully” signed by Hansen thanking the government for arranging his liaison with the FBI director in New York City.
Hansen’s meetings with the FBI took place at the very time when the Roosevelt administration was mounting a savage witch-hunt against the Socialist Workers Party.
While Hansen was conducting his closed-door meetings with the G-men, SWP leader Farrell Dobbs was publicly denouncing the labour-busting activities of the “American Gestapo”.
Coming atop mountains of evidence proving that Hansen had deliberately protected agents of the Soviet secret police involved in the assassination of Trotsky, the International Committee’s exposure of Hansen’s secret collusion with the FBI immediately made him the most suspect and dubious individual functioning within the Trotskyist movement.
Although nearly three months have passed since the publication of the International Committee’s exposure of his FBI connections, Hansen has made absolutely no reply.
In the pages of his house organ, Intercontinental Press, Hansen has found the time to write on all sorts of questions, from Cyrus Vance’s talks with Teng Hsiao-p’ing to (most recently) the acquittal of Claudio Tavarez in Santo Domingo.
But, while publicly accused of cavorting with FBI agents, Hansen maintains a guilty silence which is as damning as the evidence against him.
Similarly, the Socialist Workers Party – which has a record of tolerating scores of police agents within its organisation – has said nothing about the charges against its principal leader.
Hansen’s silence and that of the SWP means one thing above all; that the charges made by the International Committee are irrefutable!
Nothing remains to Hansen now but to claim that collaboration with the FBI is perfectly justifiable and that he merely carried out the orders of those who were the then leaders of the SWP.
The International Committee predicted that Hansen would resort to this lie when it wrote:
“Hansen will doubtless try to make the squalid claim that all this was done with the authorisation of now dead leaders of the Socialist Workers Party.”
However, before Hansen goes public with a story about James P. Cannon authorising special relations with the FBI, Hansen has decided to send up a trial balloon.
He has selected his long-time political lackey – James Robertson of the middle class sect called “Spartacist” – to test out this line.
This is the origin and purpose of the article which appears in the 7 October 1977 issue of Workers Vanguard entitled “Healyite Slander Mill Grinds On”.
On the face of it the article is absolutely astounding. Robertson is leaping to defend Hansen against documented charges to which the latter has been unable to reply.
How is Robertson able to explain Hansen’s meetings with the FBI when Hansen himself has made no explanation?
Robertson’s article confirms that he is, in fact, Hansen’s messenger boy – working with him closely behind the scenes in Hansen’s conspiracy against the Trotskyist movement, that is, the International Committee of the Fourth International.
Robertson cannot answer any of the charges made by the International Committee.
He implicitly accepts them all, since he never questions the authenticity of any of the documents published by the International Committee.
Evidently Hansen has informed Robertson that all the documents are bonafide.
This may come as a shock to many rank-and file SWP members who have been fighting a futile rearguard action on Hansen’s behalf on the basis of private and cynical guarantees that the documents aren’t real!
Although three months have passed since the International Committee produced the statement which ran eight full pages in the 5 August 1977 issue of the Bulletin, Robertson is able to produce no more than 500 words in Hansen’s defence. Most of these words are devoted entirely to evasion.
Robertson’s article begins:
“The Healyite gang has struck again. As part of the latest instalment in its disgusting two-year smear campaign against SWP chief and ex-Trotskyist Joseph Hansen, the British Healyite workers Revolutionary Party has published, (News Line, 30 July 1977), what it melodramatically terms ‘the most incriminating document in the history of the Trotskyist movement’. The Healyites’ latest exhibit is a two sentence letter evidently written by Hansen to one George P. Shaw, the US Consul in Mexico City in 1940.”
Robertson says nothing about the contents of the letter nor about the historical context and circumstances in which it was written.
The letter to which Robertson obliquely refers was Hansen’s extraordinary note thanking Shaw for arranging his liaison with Mr. B.E. Sackett, the then director of the FBI in New York City.
Robertson avoids mentioning who B.E. Sackett was and simply ignores the chronology of Hansen’s treacherous activities after Trotsky’s death, which preceded the letter.
First of all, the International Committee proved that Hansen lied when he claimed in the 24 November 1975 issue of Intercontinental Press that he made only one visit to the American Embassy following Trotsky’s death.
Hansen lied about the frequency of his trips to the Embassy when the International Committee originally discovered more than two years ago, that Hansen made a secret visit on 31 August 1940 to inform Robert G. McGregor, the resident FBI agent, that he had been meeting with a GPU agent in New York in 1938.
Now the International Committee has established that Hansen made no less than five trips to the US Embassy between 31 August 1940 and 24 September 1940.
Of course, Robertson says nothing about Hansen being caught in this devastating lie.
Robertson then presents only one question from all the documents presented by the International Committee.
It is taken from the Embassy records of Hansen’s second visit to McGregor on 3 September 1940. The section of the document quoted by Robertson reads:
“Mr. Joseph Hansen, secretary to the late Leon Trotsky, called yesterday to ask for a picture of Trotsky’s assassin. I told him I would be glad to see if we can give him one.”
The reason Robertson chooses only this quotation is because he wants to suggest that Hansen’s relation with the US Embassy went no further than asking for a picture of the GPU assassin, Ramon Mercader.
This, of course, is not the case. Hansen had three more meetings with the FBI agent McGregor which became progressively more sinister as he began dropping off internal SWP documents.
By the time Hansen completed his meeting of 24 September 1940 at the Embassy, he had requested on-going contact with the FBI in New York.
This – of which Robertson again says nothing – is recorded in the “strictly confidential” letter of US consul George P. Shaw to Raymond Murphy of the State Department, dated 25 September 1940. The letter begins:
I am resorting again to a personal letter in order to acquaint you with a desire of Mr. Joseph Hansen, secretary to the late Leon Trotsky, to establish confidential means by which he may be able to communicate with you and through you to this office from New York City.
Shaw’s letter went on to emphasise that Hansen “wishes to be put in touch with someone in your confidence located in New York to whom confidential information could be imparted with impunity.”
Nor does Robertson have anything to say about Murphy’s initial response to Shaw’s letter, in which he informed the FBI:
“It is further understood that Hansen is desirous of ascertaining the name of some person with whom he may communicate in the event he develops any information. Consequently, it would be appreciated if your New York office would send an agent to interview him in about ten days by which time he should be located in New York.”
Robertson also manages to “overlook” another devastating document which is almost as long as his entire defence of Hansen. That is Murphy’s letter of 28 September 1940 to Shaw, marked “Strictly Confidential”. The letter begins:
“Reference is made to your personal air mail letter of 25 September regarding the desire of Mr. Joseph Hansen to establish means by which he may communicate with me and through me to your office on the results of his prospective investigation in New York on leads pertaining to the identity of Trotsky’s assassin.
“I would suggest the Mr. Hansen be informed that he get in touch with Mr. B.E. Sackett, Room 607, United States Court House, Foley Square, New York City, and use that office as a liaison. Mr. Sackett, agent in charge of the New York District of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, through its office in Washington is developing the investigation of the Trotsky case in the United States.
Robertson does not say what “developing the investigation of the Trotsky case in the United States” actually meant.
It meant in the case of Sackett, playing the principal role in organising the witch hunt of the Socialist Workers Party which was under increasing harassment by the FBI as World War II approached.
Sackett was brought into New York by J. Edgar Hoover to prepare the government frame up of the SWP under the newly passed Smith Act which eventually landed 18 members of the Party, including its founder James P. Cannon, in jail.
Once the FBI had set up the liaison , Hansen wrote his infamous letter dated 23 October 1940.
Dear Mr. Shaw,
I received your letter concerning Mr. Sackett in good condition and shall visit him shortly.
There was a little delay in my receiving your communication due to my absebce from New York for some days while I was at Boston.”
And then follows the grovelling salutation of man determined to prove that he’s prepared to lick the boots of the FBI – “Respectfully, Joseph Hansen.
Without dealing with the content of the letter and the context within which it was written, Robertson desperately latches on to the fact that the address which Hansen placed on his letter was 116 University Place, the headquarters of the SWP.
This, according to Robertson, proves that Hansen’s meetings were not secret.
It proves nothing of the sort. It only suggests that Hansen was taking certain precautions to cover his own tracks.
At any rate it should be pointed out that Hansen was not running great risks. Presiding over 116 University Place, doing (in the words of Reba Hansen) “everything that was necessary to keep a one-person office running smoothly”, was none other that Silvia Franklin, the GPU agent who worked as Cannon’s personal secretary.
Her vigilance hardly constituted a threat to Hansen’s activities. After all. His wife, Reba, and Silvia Franklin were (again in the words of Mrs. Hansen) “close collaborators and good personal friends.”
Avoiding all these documents, Robertson resorts to the most pathetic evasions. He writes:
“News Line implicitly acknowledges that the entirety of the ‘case’ for Hansen’s involvement as an ‘accomplice’ in the Trotsky assassination rests on the alleged ‘secrecy’ of Hansen’s contact with the police agencies of imperialism.”
Why does Robertson place the word ‘secrecy’ in quotation marks?
It has been established irrefutably that no one ever knew about Hansen’s contact with the FBI. Until they were exposed by the International Committee, no one in the Trotskyist movement knew that Hansen had been liaising with the FBI and turning over party documents to it.
Robertson tries to pretend that Hansen’s meetings with the FBI have no significance by declaring, as if he’s discovered great contradiction in the International Committee’s statement, that the article further admits that Trotsky himself met with Robert G. McGregor, the same Embassy official with whom Hansen supposedly met.
That Trotsky met with McGregor is no revelation. After the Siqueiros-GPU raid on the villa in Coyoacan on the night of 24 May 1940, McGregor arrived at Trotsky’s home in full view of the press.
That Trotsky was obliged to meet with McGregor requires no explanation.
The conditions under which Hansen met (not ‘supposedly’) are a different matter all together.
His meetings with McGregor – not a mere Embassy official but a police agent – were conducted secretly for reasons which had nothing to do with the interests and security of the Trotskyist movement.
Unable to refute any of the documents presented by the International Committee, it is entirely predictable that Robertson should resort to the old and totally unsubstantiated claim that Hansen’s meetings with the FBI were privately authorised by the SWP leadership if not Trotsky himself.
“But there is no evidence whatsoever (!!!) of any unauthorised contact or ‘collusion’ by Hansen with the FBI or GPU.
“Rather, it is perfectly clear that Trotsky and the SWP assigned Hansen to undertake such confidential contact on behalf of the movement and the Healyites are simply exploiting this fact, which for self-evident security reasons would hardly have been officially noted or bandied about at the time.”
Robertson is a miserable liar-for-hire. He states that it is “perfectly clear” that Trotsky and the SWP “assigned” Hansen to work with the FBI “on behalf of the movement”!!
But he cannot produce one document, not one letter, not even one statement from a veteran of the SWP to substantiate this claim.
Robertson has written this because Hansen told him to write it. But unfortunately for Robertson, Hansen could give him nothing of historic value as evidence to go along with the petty-lackey’s marching orders.
The International Committee has not only based its charge of secret collusion by Hansen on this lack of positive evidence authorising his meetings.
The International Committee obtained positive evidence that he had no authorisation.
Felix Morrow, a member of the SWP Political Committee in 1940 and one of the 18 party leaders jailed under the Smith Act, told the International Committee in a tape recorded interview that the SWP had absolutely no contact with the FBI after Trotsky’s death.
This interview, conducted on 2 June 1977, produced categorical denials by Morrow that Hansen had any responsibility whatsoever for conducting an investigation into Trotsky’s death.
Q: I was wondering whether or not you had any recollection about the steps taken by the Socialist Workers Party at the time to learn more about the assassination, how it was carried out. Particularly, whether it received any assistance from the American government in any way.
Q: None whatsoever?
Q: Well, what was the attitude of the FBI, in your opinion, toward the assassination?
Morrow: They weren’t involved in any way.
Morrow left absolutely no door open for any mis-interpretation of the SWP’s position in 1940.
Q: I see. Then to your knowledge the SWP made no initiative at any time toward establishing contact with the FBI?
Morrow: None. None.
Q: Nothing at all?
Morrow: I’m sure of that.
Q: You’re sure of that?
Asked about Hansen’s responsibility, Morrow pointed out that he was not on the Political Committee of the SWP at that time
“And therefore he would not have been given a special responsibility?”
Morrow’s answer: “No”
What Morrow told the International Committee rips apart Robertson’s claim that Hansen received authorisation to collaborate with the FBI.
But the questions raised by Hansen’s meetings with the FBI go far beyond the issue of whether they were authorised, which, it has been proved, they were not.
The central issues raised in Hansen’s meetings with the FBI are political.
The exposure of Hansen as an accomplice of the imperialist and Stalinist police, as a sinister interloper within the Trotskyist movement whose actions must be investigated, finds irrefutable political substantiation in the fact that no Trotskyist would have turned to the FBI for assistance in tracking down Trotsky’s assassins.
In fact, a highly confidential memorandum of the SWP – which Hansen turned over to the FBI – recorded the opinion of a leading member of the Fourth International on precisely this question.
“Has no faith whatsoever that the US government will seriously pursue its investigation into the murder of Trotsky … the government here will not be at all interested in uncovering Trotsky’s murderer.”
According to Robertson, it is alright for Hansen to collaborate with the FBI.
That he should take this position is not at all surprising in view of the fact that COINTELPRO papers have already exposed that Robertson published in his press bogus documents fed to his organisation by the FBI during the 1960’s.
But while justifying Hansen’s collusion with the FBI, Robertson ignores the fact that it was none other than Hansen who denounced the International Committee for citing the testimony of Louis Budenz which exposed Silvia Franklin, the private secretary of James P. Cannon, as a GPU agent.
The fact that Budenz deserted the Stalinists to become an FBI informer was used by Hansen to reject the overwhelming evidence that Franklin worked for the GPU.
As recently as the 20 June 1977 issue of Intercontinental Press Hansen wrote:
“Budenz was one of the prize exhibits in J. Edgar Hoover’s stable of turncoats, stoolpigeons and provocateurs. Some of his ‘revelations’ may have been calculated to cause disruption in the Trotskyist movement and should be weighed with due caution.”
Robertson, who naturally joined Hansen in his defence of Franklin, subscribed fully to this repudiation of Budenz’s testimony.
But while insisting that Budenz’s testimony against Franklin should not be considered because he went over to the FBI, Robertson now states that Hansen was assigned by the SWP to work with the FBI in uncovering Trotsky’s assassins.
In other words, when Budenz collaborated with the FBI and exposes a GPU agent publicly his testimony is to be rejected and the accused agent – Silvia Franklin – is to be defended as an “exemplary comrade”.
But when Hansen collaborates with the FBI, tells no one about it, turns over Party documents and – as a matter of fact – comes up with no information about any GPU agents – his actions are to be defended.
Perhaps the most politically revealing statement in Robertson’s entire article is his assertion that for self-evident security reasons the SWP decision to have Hansen collaborate with the FBI “would hardly have been officially noted or bandied about at the time.”
This is the first time Robertson has ever spoken about “self-evident security reasons”, because until now he has always echoed Hansen in denouncing concern for security within the revolutionary movement as “paranoia”.
As far as Robertson is concerned, the need for security only becomes “self-evident” in relation to meetings with the FBI!
This being Robertson’s position, one can only assume that if a leading member of the Spartacist would meet secretly with the FBI, this would not be told to the working class or even members of Spartacist for “self-evident security reasons”.
Perhaps Robertson would like to explain publicly what “self-evident security reasons” for meeting secretly with the FBI are!
It has always been the position of the FBI and the CIA that the reasons for covert security operations against revolutionary movements are “self-evident”
But Robertson is the first person claiming – however preposterously – to be a revolutionary, who declares that the need for covert operations with the FBI is “self-evident.”
What is self-evident to Robertson and “self-evident” to Hansen was certainly not “self-evident to James P. Cannon.
The International Committee has already published a document which records the reaction of Cannon when the FBI attempted to interview him several months after Trotsky’s death.
A report written by the FBI agent M.R. Griffin on 9 December 1940 informed Hoover that:
“The writer interviewed JAMES P. CANNON and JOSEPH HANSEN regarding the Trotsky affair and was advised by them that they had no information to offer. They appeared very reluctant to discuss the matter and gave very brief answers to questions put to them by reporting agent.”
This document is of exceptional value on two counts.
First, it makes clear that Cannon would have nothing to say to the FBI. His position was that of a class conscious workers’ leader.
Secondly, and of devastating significance, is the behaviour of Hansen during this interview.
He had been meeting regularly with the FBI, doing everything he could to appear “helpful!” turning over documents and promising to report whatever information he obtained.
But in the presence of Cannon, Hansen had nothing to say, volunteered no information, and gave the impression of being entirely unco-operative.
If Cannon had known about Hansen’s meetings with Sackett, would Hansen not have made some reference to the progress of their joint investigation?
It is perfectly obvious that in the meeting between Griffin, Cannon and Hansen, the leader of the SWP was the odd man out.
Of course, Robertson made no reference to this document in his so-called “answer”.
Just one more question for Robertson: If the need for security in meetings with the FBI is “self-evident”, why did Workers Vanguard widely publicise the findings of the Control Commission of E. Samarakkhody, the Sri Lankan ally of Robertson, which attacked Pabloite leader Bala Tampoe for meeting with the CIA?
It is, of course entirely predictable that Robertson has come to Hansen’s aid in justifying collaboration with the FBI.
Hansen has never yet managed to find an assignment too politically sordid for Robertson.
What is Robertson’s record as Hansen’s messenger boy?
In 1962 when a minority within the SWP was fighting for the positions of the International Committee against Hansen’s drive to smash up world Trotskyism, Robertson, claiming to be an opponent of Hansen, nevertheless wanted discussion inside the SWP broken off.
He not only succeeded in having his own minority faction expelled, but first tried to bring all the opposition along with him.
He played into Hansen’s hands because he was determined to prevent any discussion of the fundamental issues facing world Trotskyism within the SWP.
In 1966 Robertson claimed agreement with the International Committee but only attended the Third World Congress in order to attempt to break it up.
After being expelled from the Congress for defying its discipline, Robertson turned over documents of the Congress to Hansen.
Immediately afterwards Robertson was at the centre of the campaign orchestrated by Hansen to use the provocation staged by one Ernest Tate to frame up Comrade Gerry Healy of the Socialist Labour League, (forerunner of the Workers Revolutionary Party).
Since 1975, Hansen has used Robertson to stage provocations outside meetings called by the Workers League to present before audiences of workers, students, youth and intellectuals the findings of the International Committee’s investigation into Security and the Fourth International.
Hansen’s use of Robertson in the present circumstances is a sign of his own desperation and complete inability to answer the charges of the International Committee.
Politically honest members of the SWP who from their own experience recognize the utterly reactionary nature of Robertson’s petty bourgeois sect will perhaps be stunned by Hansen’s dependence upon Spartacist.
This has now reached the point where the SWP leadership welcomes, despite a long history of provocations, members of the Robertson Group into all their public functions while barring all members of the Workers League.
It is high time for SWP members to speak out and demand that the SWP leadership stop covering up for Hansen.
They must demand that Hansen be suspended and that the International Committee’s call for a Commission of Enquiry to investigate Hansen be accepted at once.
But members of the SWP can be assured of one thing. The International Committee will deepen its investigation into Security and the Fourth International.
And the Workers League which is in political solidarity with the International Committee will report and explain its findings to ever wider layers of workers, youth, students and professional people who are now coming into great class battles and are being aroused politically.
The political education of thousands in the basic principles of Trotskyism will take in all the evidence assembled by the International Committee proving that the leader of the SWP, Joseph Hansen, is an accomplice of the GPU and a collaborator with the FBI.
The Double Life of Joseph Hansen
News Line 16 November 1977, Security and the Fourth International Series
Statement by the International Committee of the Fourth International
New facts have just been uncovered about the secret liaison between Joseph Hansen of the revisionist Socialist Workers Party, (USA), and the agencies of American Imperialism.
The scope of Hansen’s activities now leads in the direction of Whittaker Chambers, the ex-member of the American Communist Party who became the star witness in the anti-communist crusade of the notorious Senator Joe McCarthy in the late 1940’s.
As a result of Chambers’ frame-up testimony Alger Hiss, the top State Department official, was convicted of perjury. CP members were hounded from their jobs and at least one senior government aide committed suicide.
We can now prove that information that Whittaker Chambers gave to the US State Department in September 1939, Hansen passed on to the same department a year later in Mexico City.
The alleged Communist Party spy network named by Chambers is almost identical to the one that Hansen turned over to the US Embassy in September 1940, one month after the assassination of Leon Trotsky.
The State Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation , (FBI), held on to the names supplied by Chambers and Hansen until after the second world war.
Then, with the emergence of the imperialist cold war, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover and Senator McCarthy unleashed their witch hunt against the trade unions, the liberal establishment, left-wing academics and the radical intelligentsia.
The sequence of events begins in mid-April 1939 when Chambers, a CP member of 13 years standing, decided to quit the Party.
A year later, when he was a £5,000 a year Time magazine writer, he had an all-night chat in a New York apartment with General Walter Krivitsky, the top-ranking NKVD officer who had defected in Europe in 1937.
In his autobiography, Witness, Chambers says that it was his meeting with Krivitsky that persuaded him to become an informer and stool pigeon.
On 2 September 1939, Chambers caught a plane from New York to Washington for a very important meeting with Adolf A. Berle, the under-secretary of State at the State Department.
Originally Chambers and hoped to give his sensational information on the Soviet spy network directly to President Roosevelt, but Berle was a respectable stand-in.
Berle made several pages of notes of the two-to-three-hour conversation and these were later presented to a grand Jury and McCarthy’s House Un-American Activities Committee.
Among the names he gave were Alger Hiss, Lee Pressman, Nat Witt and Hedda Gumpertz.
(See appendix to The Strange Case of Alger Hiss by Earl Jowitt, Hodder and Stoughton, 1953)
Berle’s notes show that Chambers claimed that Lee Pressman had been involved in arms-running to Spain during the Civil War.
Six years later, on 20 March 1945, Chambers again met with the State Department, this time Ray Murphy, the chief of security.
He elaborated on his earlier remarks referring to Hetta (sic) Gumperts; she was married to Paul Massing who came from a farm near Quakertown, Pennsylvania, and Mr. Massing was also known a Karl Billinger.
Turning to Pressman, the Murphy memorandum said: “Pressman is said to have run arms to Spain during the Civil War via Mexico”.
It goes on: “Nathan Witt of the Labour Board was a party member and also underground.”
After another detailed interview with Chambers on 28 August 1946, Murphy compiled an additional memorandum which included the name of Grace Hutchins, an alleged CP member.
When the Cold War broke, all of the above mentioned people were thrust into the most monumental witch hunt in US history.
The FBI began its campaign against the “reds” not only with the memorandum that Chambers gave to Berle in 1939.
An almost identical list of alleged CP spies in the Washington Establishment had been supplied by none other than Joseph Hansen of the socialist Workers Party.
The names are contained in a document analysing the motives and forces behind the assassination of Trotsky by the GPU on 20 August 1940.
For reasons which he has never explained, Hansen took what appears to be an internal security document of the SWP and the Trotskyist movement and gave it to the US Embassy in Mexico City sometime during September 1940.
The origin of the document is explained by US Consul General George P. Shaw in a note attached to the document: “This is a memorandum of a conversation between a member of the Directing Committee of the Fourth International in New York, and a prominent member, ‘W’, of the Fourth International, handed to the Consulate General by Mr. Joseph Hansen, secretary to the late Leon Trotsky, and sent to Mexico City by air mail.”
We will publish in full the crucial two paragraphs naming alleged CP spies in the US Government and the Washington Establishment:
“US government investigation (into Trotsky’s murder) will in any event be sabotaged by Stalinist Agents in the government.
“Tells an incredible story of Stalinist penetration into the governmental apparatus – but buttressed by impressive detail.
“Natt Witt was at one period in full charge of the GPU’s underground apparatus in Washington. Replaced only when he became the object of sharp attacks. Lee Pressman joined the CP in 1936, was then released to the underground apparatus (this was while Pressman was still in the Agricultural Adjustment Administration), and it was at the direction of the apparatus that Pressman left government post to take the Congress of Industrial Organisations counsel post.
“Pressman worked directly under the Russians in purchasing munitions for Spain here. Thinks Pressman by now one of key figures in the underground apparatus. Thinks GPU apparatus is in position to sabotage and mislead FBI investigation into (Trotsky’s) murder.
“10. Among GPU agents named by W we should be particularly careful of Hedda Gumpertz (he thinks she was mixed up in the Reiss affair) and her husband who is Paul Massing also known as Karl Billinger (author of Fatherland).
“They are living in Quakertown-Easton, Pa., area, where they have a farm. He named Grace Hutchins as a GPU agent.
(A report of a conversation with “W”, Diplomatic Branch, US National Archives, Washington DC.)
No one can doubt the amazing similarity between the Chambers dossier of September 1939 and the “W” memorandum which Hansen delivered to the Embassy in Mexico City in September 1940, one year later.
The “W” statement was relayed immediately to the State Department in Washington as a prize piece of counter-intelligence.
With the exception of Hiss it confirmed all the names that Chambers had given Berle in 1939 and added some additional information.
When we first published the “W” memorandum we commented, “By handing in “W’s” document which named American CP members in the civil service and trade union bureaucracy, Hansen was acting as a confidential “finger-man” for the FBI. (“Will the Real Joseph Hansen Please Stand Up”, News Line 30 July 1977)
Today we challenge Hansen to answer the question – who was “W”? Was it Whitaker Chambers?
If not, who possibly could have obtained the same information as Chambers about the Soviet spy activity in Washington and given it to the Trotskyist movement?
But almost secondary to the identity of “W” is another question – what was Hansen doing taking it to the US government in the first place?
Why did Hansen make this document on security aspects of Trotsky’s murder available to the US State Department but never published it for the benefit of SWP members or the world Trotskyist movement?
But for the persistent investigation of the International Committee of the Fourth International the “W” document would have remained buried in history and Hansen would have got away with his double life.
Hansen used the “W” document to excellent advantage. By taking it to the Embassy in 1940, he was able to ingratiate himself with the American authorities and to make a most significant move.
Instead of dealing with state department agents as he had been doing up till then, Hansen asked to be put in direct touch with a personal contact in the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Hansen had prepared the ground well for this bold request.
In his first recorded visit to the Embassy – on 5 December 1939 – Hansen had made a very favourable impression of Consul Robert G. McGregor.
Reporting back to his boss Ray Murphy, the man in charge of State Department security, McGregor observed, “Hansen, an American citizen, appears to be about 35 years old, of good appearance and possessed of a fine sense of humour.
“I asked if he thought that Mr. Trotsky would object to applying for a visa in the regular manner. He laughingly asked if that meant that Trotsky would have to declare that he did not believe in the overthrow of government by force.” (“Strictly confidential memorandum for Mr. Murphy, American Consulate General, Mexico City, 5 December 1939.)
The language and tone of McGregor’s note will grate on the ears of long-standing Trotskyists. The Embassy spy’s appreciation of Hansen’s cynicism and wit is in sharpest contrast to the violent persecution of Trotskyists in the US by McGregor’s colleagues in the FBI and by their counterparts in Britain and western Europe.
This hitherto secret memo of the Embassy meeting can be seen as part of US imperialism's attempts to feel out sympathetic forces in the most feared revolutionary force in the world, and it must be added that Hansen lived up to their expectations handsomely by regularly passing over SWP letters, documents and political opinions.
No one knew that Hansen even visited the US Embassy in Mexico until the International Committee began investigation. Then Hansen wriggled on the hook, claiming that he had only been once. (Intercontinental Press 24 November 1975)
Now we have documentary proof that he went to the Embassy at least six times. We have also established that during these visits Hansen made a point of handing over SWP correspondence.
For example, we have now learned that Hansen turned over to the Embassy a copy of a letter written to Hansen by Trotsky’s American lawyer Albert Goldman from New York on 27 June 1940.
It was written four weeks after the 24 May machine gun raid on Trotsky’s life by a GPU assassination team led by Mexican Stalinist David Alfaro Siqueiros.
The letter concerns Leopoldo and Luis Arenal, two other Mexican Stalinists who took part in the raid and were responsible for the murder of Trotsky’s “kidnapped” guard Robert Sheldon Harte. We quote the letter in full and reproduce an exact replica on this page.
New York, N.Y.
The New York Times of Wednesday 26 June carried the information to the effect that Leopoldo and Luis Arenal were in the custody of the Mexican police and were said to have confessed to killing Harte.
Anita Brenner called me and informed me that if the Luis Arenal in custody is a painter, then he was at her house two weeks ago. It would seem highly improbable that it is the same Luis Arenal unless the painter who saw Anita Brenner left the United States two weeks ago or so and was arrested in Mexico recently. Anita Brenner seems to think that there is something wrong somewhere.
Can you give me any additional information?
The International Committee did not discover this letter in the Archives of the Socialist Workers Party or in the papers of the late Albert Goldman. We found it in Washington DC, in the official archives of the US State Department. Goldman’s letter to “Joe” had been handed over to the agents of US imperialism in Mexico by Hansen!
Hansen cannot say that when he gave this internal correspondence to the US Embassy he was following the Policy of Trotsky or the SWP. It is inconceivable that they supported such a policy.
Trotsky would not and did not place his security in the hands of the imperialists. This is the very reason that he drew his own bodyguard from the fledgling ranks of the Fourth International.
Hansen is lying if he says it was policy to pass on internal information like the Goldman letter to the US government and its agencies. If it was policy, there was a much simpler way than for Goldman to write from New York to Mexico City to have the letter delivered at the US embassy so it could be rerouted back to Washington.
No. Goldman would have sent the information direct to Washington to the State Department and to the FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, who had taken personal control of the Trotsky investigation.
By the time Hansen asked for a private and confidential FBI contact, US Consul General George P. Shaw was only too willing to recommend it.
It must have been a rare moment in a career diplomat’s life to recommend that the State Department commit itself to help a leading Trotskyist form an FBI liaison, but Shaw handled it without qualms. He felt sure of his man Hansen.
He wrote to the State Department’s security chief in Washington, Ray Murphy, to make the delicate arrangements:
I am resorting again to a personal letter in order to acquaint you with a desire by Mr. Joseph Hansen, secretary to the late Mr. Trotsky, to establish confidential means by which he may be able to communicate with you and through you to this office from New York City.”
Shaw went on to ask Murphy to arrange for Hansen to “be put in tough with some one in your confidence located in New York to whom confidential information could be imparted with impunity.
“I would greatly appreciate if you would let me know the name of the person whom you indicate to Mr. Hansen.
With kind regards,
Geo. P. Shaw.”
Murphy contacted Hoover and they mutually agreed that Hansen’s liaison should not be an ordinary G-man but Mr. B. E. Sackett, recently appointed chief of the New York District of the FBI.
On learning that the FBI contact had been successfully arranged Hansen wrote a thank-you note to Shaw dated 23 October 1940. He said, “I received your letter concerning Mr. Sackett in good condition and shall visit him shortly.” And he signed it “Respectfully, Joseph Hansen.”
Since publication of this fully-authenticated correspondence last July, Hansen has made no attempt whatsoever to explain himself. We asked the real Joseph Hansen to stand up, but he has only stepped further back into the shadows of his own silence.
The documents now in our possession are positive proof that Hansen has been leading a double life in the Trotskyist movement.
Nobody knew that he consorted with the chief of the GPU in the United States for a period of three months in 1938, and nobody knew he had sought and established a personal contact with the FBI in 1940 – right at the time his own comrades in the SWP were being framed under the Smith Act in the Minneapolis Teamsters trial.
These sinister connections were only established when the International Committee decided to accept political responsibility for investigating Security and the Fourth International.
When the International Committee first began to publish its findings, Hansen and his revisionist allies chorused “slander and frame-up”
But what he said was slander we have proved is indisputable fact. And the only frame-up was his desperate attempt to divert attention away from the investigation with heaps of lies and abuse.
Hansen must be called to order. The world Trotskyist movement must demand that he take part in the international commission of inquiry proposed by the International Committee of the Fourth International.
Joseph Hansen Must Answer
News Line 19 November 1977
Statement by the Political Committee of the Workers Revolutionary Party
For two and a half years since May 1975, the International committee of the Fourth International has been conducting the investigation into “Security and the Fourth International”.
It has focused on security questions in the Trotskyist movement before, during and after the assassination of Leon Trotsky at Coyoacan, Mexico, on 20 August 1940, by Stalin’s secret police, the GPU.
It is the first time in the history of the Fourth International that such an investigation has been made because as soon as we discovered it, we discovered, forces inside and outside the Trotskyist movement had deliberately worked to prevent it. [Text as original – Ed.]
The chief source of information has been official archives in Washington DC and Mexico, where hitherto secret records have recently been made available to the public.
So far, only a portion of the recently declassified documents have been examined. More is coming to light all the time and we will be publishing regular statements based on this evidence.
Since the investigation began, one sinister fact after another has emerged about the career on the man who has lived on the legend of being Trotsky’s secretary – Joseph Hansen of the Revisionist Socialist Workers Party (USA)
This is a summary of what the International Committee of the Fourth International has proved about Hansen.
1. Hansen secretly visited the US Embassy in Mexico City before and after the murder of Trotsky on 20 August 1940, and kept knowledge of these secret meetings from the Trotskyist movement.
Hansen was forced to admit that he went to the Embassy but said that he only went once. (Intercontinental Press, 27 November 1975.)
The International Committee has now established that he visited the State Department agents at the Embassy on at least six occasions, and had any number of telephone conversations with them in between.
If these meetings were all above board, why does Hansen lie, and why did he suppress any mention of them in the SWP and Fourth International?
2. In August 1975 we uncovered the fact that Hansen consorted with the chief of the GPU in the United States for a period of three months in 1938 in New York.
No one in the world Trotskyist movement knew about this; some present and past SWP members were completely in the dark too.
Hansen had kept this secret from hid old comrades – but he told Consul Robert G McGregor about it during a discussion at the American Embassy on 31 August 1940, 11 days after Trotsky’s murder.
When faced with the evidence Hansen was forced to admit that he had been in contact with the GPU officer.
But he has never named him, described him, told us the “important information” he learned from him or revealed the SWP minutes and correspondence which allegedly authorised this relationship with Stalin’s death machine.
Again, if this contact with the GPU was above board, why did Hansen suppress the fact for almost 40 Years?
3. Hansen has covered up for the fact that Sylvia Franklin, party name Caldwell, nee Callen, was a member of the GPU team assembled to carry out Trotsky’s murder.
She was planted in the national headquarters of the SWP at 116 University Place, New York, where she quickly became personal and private secretary to the late James P Cannon.
Although the International Committee has established beyond any doubt that Franklin was a treacherous undercover agent working for the GPU, Hansen says she is “an exemplary comrade”. Mrs. Reba Hansen gushes that she was a “very warm human being.”
What kind of “Trotskyists” are these – to defend a proven agent of the GPU who participated in the network that killed Trotsky and to slander the International Committee for declaring who she really was?
4. Hansen sought and obtained a private contact with the agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (FBI), five weeks after Trotsky’s slaying.
When we first raised Hansen’s association with the FBI he said this was a “geyser of mud”. (Intercontinental Press 27 November 1975).
Now we have published the exchange of correspondence between Consul George P. Shaw in Mexico City, Ray Murphy, the head of State Department security, and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.
The unassailable, clinching document is the one signed by Hansen himself, dated 23 October 1940. In it Hansen “respectfully” thanks Consul Shaw for arranging his contact with the head of the FBI for the New York District, Mr. B. E. Sackett.
Since we published this proof of Hansen’s liaison with the FBI, (See “Will the Real Joseph Hansen Please Stand Up”, News Line 30 July 1977), Hansen has been absolutely silent.
Once again, if this contact with the FBI was above board, why has he kept quiet about it for 37 years?
But Hansen has refused to take part. Instead he has resorted to a campaign against the International Committee with the desperate intention if diverting attention away from the evidence.
The SWP “philosopher” George Novack and the “historian” George Breitman became Hansen’s most odious accomplices, heading the slander offensive on his behalf.
There are cowardly people in and around the British Trotskyist movement who knew right from the beginning that Hansen was involved, to one degree of another, in dubious deeds.
But they immediately joined the cover-up. They would rather join in a conspiracy with Hansen to fight the International Committee than see the truth come out.
This includes Mrs. Tamara Deutscher of Hampstead, Ken coats of the Bertrand Russell “Peace Foundation”, “new lefters” like Quinton Hoare and Perry Anderson, Adam Westoby of Open University, Michael Kidron of Pluto Press, Sam Gordon and Harry Wicks, neither of any fixed political abode. Why have they covered up?
Some of them hadn’t even read the documentary evidence presented by the International Committee when they signed Hansen’s slander petition against the “Security and the Fourth International” investigation.
Some of these lofty middle class humbugs gathered en masse at the “Platform of Shame” meeting at Friends House on 14 January this year to heap the most vicious slander on the International Committee and particularly Comrade Gerry Healy of its British Section, the workers Revolutionary Party.
Yet when he asked for the right to make a short reply, he was denied by chairman Tariq Ali of the revisionist International Marxist Group which had sponsored this gathering on behalf of Hansen. Hansen himself did not travel to Britain for the meeting. Instead he sent his stand-in, Novack.
Now that the investigation has overwhelmingly proved its case against Hansen, the people who were shouting their heads off on 14 January claim the right to observe a nonchalant silence if you please.
We call upon them to put aside their political prejudices and support the call for an international commission of enquiry or go down in history as accomplices of the Hansen cover-up.
The Pablo tendency has changed its attitude to the commission of enquiry demand. At its meeting on 27-28 March 1976 it “rejected the irresponsible accusations launched by the Healy tendency against Comrades Hansen and Novack of the Socialist Workers Party.”
Now, 18 months later, the Pablo tendency has revised its opinion.
“The campaign unleashed by Healy’s organisation continues and new facts are piling up which support this campaign and do real damage to the movement which calls itself, or has come out of, the Fourth International and Trotskyism.
“We are particularly sensitive to this. We therefore think that in fact it has become necessary to form an international commission composed of impartial persons appointed by common agreement of all, to pronounce definitively on the different aspects so far raised.” (Pablo tendency letter to the United Secretariat of Professor Ernest Mandel. Hansen’s Socialist Workers Party and the Workers Revolutionary Party in Britain, dated 7 October 1977.)
Hansen cannot be permitted to remain silent. While there is silence there is great danger.
Comrade Tom Henehan, a member of the Political committee of the Workers League in the United States, was brutally murdered by unknown gunmen in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York, on 16 October 1977.
Not a word about the slaying of this leading Trotskyist and the wounding of another Workers League leader, Jacques Vielot, has appeared in Hansen’s weekly organ, The Militant. This is not an accident. This is deliberate policy emanating from Hansen.
It breaks one of the oldest principles in the revolutionary movement that, it spite of the deepest political differences, solidarity is expressed when such crimes occur in the workers’ movement.
Hansen is therefore maintaining a double silence – on the facts which have emerged from the investigation into “Security and the Fourth International” and into the murder of Comrade Tom Henehan.
The Two Are Related.
Hansen consciously and deliberately suppressed any investigation into Trotsky’s murder and the GPU network which carried it out, and his attitude to Comrade Henehan is the same.
Does this silence denote inactivity? On the contrary; behind the scenes Hansen and friends are desperately preparing a counter attack of infamous proportions. We revealed what Hansen is doing in our Open Letter to the World Trotskyist Movement. Information is now in our hands to prove that no matter what the International Committee says and does one man – the SWP’s Joseph Hansen – is out to frame us.
He is already writing a book of slander, dredging his material from political sewers of anti-communism and various shades of revisionism. We can say in advance what falsifications can be expected to appear. (News Line 12 November 1977)
We then gave details of the alleged secret tape recordings, the bogus affidavits and fabricated gossip which Hansen has been assiduously collecting against Comrade Healy and the International Committee.
Not a single jot of this stuff stands up to examination. But it is not meant to. It forms part of a political frame-up operation masterminded by Hansen, the conspirator-at-large in the Trotskyist movement.
Hansen and his friends are resorting to these measures because they know that this time their game is up. Each statement published by the International Committee tightens the net around Hansen.
Only a commission of enquiry can investigate the very real dangers that have shown their hand. Is the silence on Comrade Henehan the silence of the GPU?
Any impartial reading of the International Committee’s evidence proves that Hansen has a political lifetime to answer for.
His place right now is before an international commission of enquiry and not working unseen in the background of the SWP with unknown forces as he did in 1938 – the GPU – and in 1940 – the FBI.
We call upon the world Trotskyist movement to take note of the grave developments in the investigation into “Security and the Fourth International” and to demand that Hansen accept the commission of enquiry at once.