Security and the Fourth International
THE INDICTMENT THAT REMAINS UNANSWERED
News Line 15 June 1976, page 10
Statement by the International Committee of the
For more than five months Joseph Hansen and George Novack of the Socialist workers Party, (USA), have remained silent about the indictment of the International Committee of the Fourth
International naming them as accomplices of the GPU. They have also refused the demand for an international commission of enquiry along the lines of the Dewey Commission.
This does not mean that they have been inactive. On the contrary, there had been a world-wide orchestration of revisionist groups to slander the International committee with the most despicable lies. The aim of this sinister campaign by Hansen and Novack is to deflect attention from the specific charges outlined in the indictment presented of 1 January 1976. The indictment proved that Hansen and Novack are guilty of conducting a thirty-year cover-up operation to shield known GPU agents and keep their crimes against the Trotskyist movement buried.
The facts about the role of Hansen and Novack emerged during an investigation conducted by the International Committee of hitherto unpublished government records, court testimony and historical archives. These facts were known to Hansen and Novack who preferred to keep them buried.
Cover-up No. 3
Ostensibly Pierre Lambert and Mrs. B. Hamilton of the liquidationist OCI group, France, are political opponents of Hansen and Novack of the Socialist Workers Party, United States.
But 27-March 4 issue of Informations Ouvrieres showed that the opposition is hardly skin deep.
In practice, on the basic questions of the history and principles of the Trotskyist movement they are united.
Lambert and Hamilton wrote a “declaration” fully supporting Hansen and Novack in spite of the fully documented charges made against them by the International Committee.
It is a mass of contradictory lies and evasions.
Its opening sentence says that the articles, “Security and the Fourth International”, try to prove that Joseph Hansen and George Novack are CIA and NKVD agents.
No such charge was ever made. The International Committee’s indictment charged them with being accomplices of the GPU.
But Lambert-Hamilton aren’t interested in confronting the facts. Their initial concoction sets the tone for the rest of their “declaration”.
There is one astounding statement. “At every step, at every moment, Trotskyist have made contact with leaders of Communist Parties who were often GPU agents”
This statement is to provide a cover for Hansen’s hitherto secret meetings with a GPU agent named “john” over a period of three months in New York in 1938.
The International Committee found evidence of the meetings from Hansen’s own mouth in US State Department archives in Washington DC.
We also established that “John” was a pseudonym used by Dr. Gregory Rabinovitz, head of the Russian Red Cross in the US, who recruited the GPU agents Sylvia Franklin, Ruby Weil and Thomas L. Black.
How many other “Trotskyists” made secret contacts with GPU agents “at every step at every moment”? How widespread is this practice in the OCI?
Lambert-Hamilton make one passing reservation – on the case of Sylvia Franklin.
Although she was named by a New York grand jury as an unindicted co-conspirator with Lavrenti Beria and his GPU spy ring, Hansen and Novack still say she was a loyal “comrade”.
Lambert-Hamilton admit a possible error (!) and say that “if these new facts prove it, the SWP will carry out its own inquiry and will if necessary revise the conclusion of the Control Commission.
This is rich with irony. As Lambert-Hamilton cringe before the SWP leaders, the same SWP leaders are launching an international Control Commission into the OCI over accusations made by Lambert against Michel Varga.
This does not deter Lambert and Hamilton from cringing before Hansen with statements like the following:
“We consider, despite our deep differences, that Joseph Hansen’s continuous political activity over 40 years as a member and leaders of the Trotskyist movement, his role in the history of the Fourth International and the debates within it, has always lain within the bounds of Trotskyism, and itself constitutes the best possible answer to the allegations of those who would attack his integrity as a revolutionary.”
Since when has shielding GPU agents and covering up their crimes “lain within the bounds of Trotskyism”?
It stinks suspiciously like the kind of “Trotskyism” favoured by the Stalinist bureaucracy.
Cover-up No. 4
Hansen’s principle political footman is Tim Wohlforth, deserter from the Workers League, the American revolutionary party in political sympathy with the International Committee of the
Without a blush, let alone a political explanation, Wohlforth has switched to the SWP with his confidante Nancy Fields, who has proven family links with the Central Intelligence Agency, (CIA).
When they were both on the Workers League Central Committee, Wohlforth knew about Fields’ family links with the CIA but kept these details away from other CC members and the International committee. He said these links were “unimportant”.
It is no wonder he now finds common cause with Hansen. They share the same views on the suppression of questions of revolutionary security.
The renegade Wohlforth has slotted into Hansen’s lie machine to divert attention from the charges set out in “Security and the Forth International”. Wohlforth is the most adept student of Hansen’s techniques.
In the May issue of International Socialist Review Wohlforth and Fields, (referred to in the article as “Tim” and “Nancy”), give an account of their departure from the Workers League which is a complete travesty of the truth.
They make the statement that they were “driven out” of the Workers League.
The facts are that following the politically-criminal security breach, Wohlforth (and Fields) voted unanimously with the rest of the Central committee to be replaced as national secretary. The CC also voted unanimously, again with the votes of Wohlforth and Fields, that Fields be suspended following an inquiry into her past. (31 August 1974) [Pending an inquiry? – Ed]
One month later, just as the inquiry committee began its work in New York, Wohlforth and Fields walked out. They were not driven out, they voluntarily quit to join Hansen.
When the International Socialist Review says “both Wohlforth and Fields have rich and varied political histories” the author is nearer the truth than he perhaps imagines.
But he deliberately omits to give SWP readers any details of this exotic past because he is acting under Hansen’s instructions to “do a cosmetics job,” Where are Fields’ lurid claims to be a friend
of the Black Panthers, for example?
Cover-up No. 5
What has emerged from Hansen’s orchestrated slander campaign is a neat division of labour between Hansen and the renegade Wohlforth. Last year Wohlforth invited John Lister of the Thornett clique to New York in order to launch the campaign to defend Hansen
Lister Returned to London to publish the infamous article “WRP Frames Hansen”, (Socialist Press, 1 January 1976), which makes the astonishing claim that the International Committee accused Hansen of being an FBI agent when no such charge has ever been made!
The International Committee subsequently challenged Thornett to answer its indictment point by point, but no reply has been forthcoming in spite of the lapse of five months.
Having established contact with the Thornett clique, Hansen himself came to London in February 1976 to collaborate with the Blick-Jenkins group, though he knows it is the smallest political group in Britain.
It was Blick-Jenkins who set out to establish a secret faction inside the Workers Revolutionary Party with the aim of disrupting the party’s work and destroying the leadership.
This led to the activation of the Thornett clique in the Oxford Area and their subsequent expulsion at the first annual conference of the WRP in 1974.
Early in 1975 Blick-Jenkins sought “unity” talks with the Thornett clique. Jenkins insisted that a pre-condition of unification must be the political destruction of the WRP no matter what the methods used.
Even the Thornett clique could not stomach these terms.
With the foreknowledge of the Blick-Jenkin group’s policies Hansen travelled to London earlier this year to discuss with them the destruction of the WRP. Hansen recognised a group after his own heart.
Cover-up No. 6
His London visit also activated Sam Gordon, another Trotskyist sleeper who has been out of active politics for almost three decades.
Gordon, who is now a pensioner-student at the North London Polytechnic, was commissioned to write a defence of Hansen, (Intercontinental Press 24 May 1976), which was clouded with evasions, double talk and downright lies.
To quote just one example, Gordon stated that he had never met Zborowski (Etienne), the GPU mastermind behind the murder of Leon Sedov, Rudolf Klement, Erwin Wolf and Ignace Reiss.
Gordon’s statement is nailed as a lie by an interview conducted by the International Committee with Jean van Heijenoort.
He was one of Trotsky’s secretaries in the 1930’s who later became International Correspondence secretary of the Fourth International in New York during the war.
Asked about Zborowski’s arrival in New York in 1941, van Heijenoort said: “Well, I didn’t have to introduce him, (Zborowski) to anyone except perhaps Sam Gordon ...
And later he said that the person who worked closest with Zborowski was … Sam Gordon.
The international Committee will submit the tape-recorded interview with van Heijenoort to an international commission of inquiry to which Sam Gordon will be able to give his explanation … if he has one.
Gordon betrays the same feverish determination to cover up for Zborowski by accepting without question the dubious political credentials of Mr. and Mrs. David Dallin.
Mrs. Dallin, Lola Estrine, was responsible for trying to divert Trotsky’s attention away from unmasking Zborowski after he received a letter form General Alexander Orlov which virtually pinpointed Zborowski as the GPU plant in the Trotskyist movement in France. (Orlov Letter, 27 December 1938).
She returned from Mexico to France in 1939 to tell Zborowski of the existence of the Orlov letter – which tipped him off that the heat was on.
In 1941 she forged immigration papers to bring Zborowski to the US, met him at Philadelphia and brought him to New York where she found him accommodation and a job.
When Orlov re-emerged in the early 1950’s to name Zborowski as Stalin’s top anti-Trotskyist agent, it was again Mrs. Dallin who intervened to suppress his GPU role.
All this time David Dallin was writing anti-communist books which culminated in a work virulently attacking Leninism which was paid for by the State Department.
None of this bothers Gordon as he weaves his wretched lies to protect Hansen from the charge that he is an accomplice of the GPU.
In the same article Gordon attempts to deride the evidence which irrefutably establishes that Sylvia Franklin, James P. Cannon’s secretary in the 1940’s, was a GPU spy.
He says that the International Committee’s assertions are based upon the testimony of Louis Budenz, the Stalinist turned FBI informer.
He mentions that she was also indicted as a co-conspirator in the 1960 spy trial which broke Dr. Robert Soblen’s network in the US.
Then he says, “So you have the choice between the Federal grand jury indictment, which was never tested in court, and the findings of the SWP control commission which showed Sylvia was innocent.”
But by this time Gordon has tied himself up in knots. In the same article he admits that Floyd Cleveland Miller, the man who replaced him as editor of the Seafarers International Union newspaper, was a GPU agent. Yet Miller appeared on the same Federal grand jury indictment with Franklin, Soblen and Lavrenti Beria.
Like Franklin, Miller was not tried. But Gordon believes he was a GPU spy, but not Franklin, who was indicted on the same charges. She remains Sylvia who, in the words of the SWP, was “an exemplary comrade.
Cover-up No. 7.
Hansen’s London sojourn bore all the hallmarks of a trained wire-puller. Within days a hitherto unknown outfit called “The League of Socialist Action” emerged c/o D. MacLeod, 1 Pretoria Road, London SW 16.
Again, Hansen is referred to as “a leading member of the world Trotskyist movement over 30 years, (Socialist Action, February-March 1976, Vol. 1, No. 2). This curious “league” emerged to make its testimony for Hansen and hasn’t been seen or heard of since.
Another “Trotskyist Bulletin” came to light using a “BCM” post box in central London as an address.
Clearly no-one – Hansen or his latest emissary “Mr. Benson” - was sparing any effort or expense to build up a furious wall of slander against the International Committee to protest the accomplices of the GPU.