Black Web, Red Tide

The Cold War did not begin the 1940s. The roots of the long struggle to overthrow and permanently neutralize the communist current are found not in the ruins of Europe but in Siberia and Petrograd in the bitter years following the Bolshevik Revolution. The manifold efforts to decapitate socialism and the retrenchment following their failure anticipated every stratagem of the Cold War. Understanding the germination of the deep state requires an intimate examination of this period.

Anglo-French investments in Russia amounted to around $8,000,000,000, or approximately $150,000,000,000 today. In particular, the Caucasian and Ural oil wells controlled by the Royal Dutch Shell Oil Company and the interwoven Hoare, Baring, Rothschild, and Hambros banking houses were of enormous value, in addition to the monopoly control over the Russian munitions industry exerted by European arms trusts. Future President Herbert Hoover had profitably invested in eleven Russian oil companies and sat on the board of the Russo-Asiatic Corporation, which controlled an estimated $1,000,000,000 worth of land and industrial assets.¹

Bolshevik-led workers’ committees, as Hoover bitterly notes in his memoirs, passed resolutions dismissing the ownership, dismissing the management, and raising wages 100 percent. The American technical staff were “courteously tendered… a train of sleeping cars and locomotives, with flowers, food and coal aboard, to take them out.”² Later, as director of the American Relief Administration during the Civil War, Hoover would place food supplies at the disposal of White Generals von der Goltz and Yudenitch, going so far as to calculate the amount of food necessary for White forces to march on Petrograd. Yudenitch was supplied with British rifles, cartridges, tanks, and airplanes and was provided intelligence by British Secret Service saboteurs in the Red Army.³

British forces in Turkmenistan aided an uprising of anti-Soviet railway workers and in exchange for military aid were granted exclusive rights to the petroleum and cotton resources in the region by the short-lived government.⁴ Henri Deterding, Managing Director of Royal Dutch-Shell at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution, resented the loss of his valuable investments in the Caucasus and financed various White Russian exile organizations as well as revolts in Georgia. Deterding would go on to become a major financial supporter of the NSDAP.⁵

The conclusive victory of the Bolsheviks over White forces triggered an exodus of anti-communist and, often, proto-fascist aristocrats and soldiers to Western Europe, China, Japan, and the Americas. These exiles were received warmly by the defeated Allied interventionists, becoming influential in German and Japanese military circles and occupying key roles in the espionage services of several Baltic and Balkan states. The Aufbau Vereinigung, made up of White exiles in Munich, had a major influence on Hitler and counted Alfred Rosenberg and Erich Ludendorff among its members.⁶ Another member of Aufbau, Boris Brasol, worked for the United States War Trade Board and the Military Intelligence Division. With Harris Ayres Houghton, former head of the Army Intelligence-Gathering Bureau, he translated the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.⁷ Brasol and Houghton worked for the private intelligence network operated by Henry Ford and his secretary Ernest Liebold which surveilled Jews, Communists, and Ford’s business opponents. This network employed former Secret Service and military intelligence operatives as well as other White Russian exiles.⁸

Most striking is the continuity and interlock between White and Nazi figures who “took up the inner seats in the American foreign intelligence apparatus at the precise moment that this apparatus was starting to come forward as a major player in the great policy wars of Washington and the world.” The anti-Soviet espionage network associated with the Vlassovite collaborationist army was transferred to the intelligence system of Reinhard Gehlen, which was in turn installed into the inner core of the Central Intelligence Agency.⁹ Gehlen and his Agency backers as well as a web of private sector organizations, especially the Ford and Tolstoy Foundations, trained White exiles and younger Eastern European monarchists and neofascists for clandestine armed missions in the Soviet Union.¹⁰ At the same time, Eastern European and Central Asian Nazi collaborators were trained by American and former Wehrmacht and Waffen-SS officers to act as a private army for the CIA. These units were covertly deployed to Hungary during the 1956 revolt to support the anti-Soviet forces and some would go on to join the Green Berets during the Vietnam War.¹¹

What is understood as the Cold War “deep state” finds its origins not in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War but the Russian Civil War. Moreover, the wartime and postwar institutionalization of previously private intelligence networks was initiated by capitalists who had been directly confronted by workers’ movements at home and abroad. The incorporation of overtly reactionary elements into deep power structures was not a corruption by external enemies but a process guided by a fully aware bourgeoisie and its innumerable collaborators.

Oglesby said that conspiracy is the continuation of normal politics by normal means. One could just as well add that conspiracy is the normal extension of the global reproduction of capitalism through normal means. Before Guatemala and Vietnam and Indonesia were the Atlantic slave trade, the East India Company, enclosure, and the extermination of the indigenous people of the New World. The long, dark night did not begin after Hitler’s defeat, nor is it an ailment foreign to the body of capitalist civilization.

Once again, we come to the clear-eyed declaration of the Red Brigades.

We must not let ourselves be fooled by [the Christian Democrats’] ‘professions of democratic and anti-fascist faith’ which from time to time come from some of the leaders of this party. These professions are made because they respond to the tactical need to keep alive the dialectic between ‘fascism’ and ‘anti-fascism’ which permits the DC to collect votes, making people believe that, as opposed to the ‘fascist’ danger, ‘reformed democracy,’ that is, the imperialist State, is better. The problem of the revolutionary vanguards is to make this whole game clear, striking at hidden nests, connections, connivances, and plans.


Sayers, Michael, and Albert Eugene Kahn. The Great Conspiracy: The Secret War Against Soviet Russia, pp.100–108. Boston: Little, Brown, 1946.

Hoover, H. Memoirs, p.105. New York: Macmillan, 1963.

Kahn and Sayers, The Great Conspiracy, pp.86–86.

Kahn and Sayers, The Great Conspiracy, p.90.

Pool, James, and Suzanne Pool. Who Financed Hitler: The Secret Funding of Hitler’s Rise to Power 1919–1933, pp.319–324. London: Macdonald and Jane’s, 1978.

Kellogg, Michael. The Russian Roots of Nazism: White Émigrés and the Making of National Socialism, 1917–1945. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

Baldwin, Neil. Henry Ford and the Jews: The Mass Production of Hate, pp.81–82. New York: PublicAffairs, 2001.

Logsdon, Jonathan. “Power, Ignorance, and Anti-Semitism: Henry Ford and His War on Jews,” 1999.

Oglesby, Carl. The Yankee and Cowboy War: Conspiracies from Dallas to Watergate and Beyond, pp.38–42. New York: Berkley, 1977.

Chester, Eric Thomas. Covert Network: Progressives, the International Rescue Committee, and the CIA, pp.91–129. New York: M.E. Sharpe, 1995. Cookridge, E. H. Gehlen: Spy of the Century, p.241, 304–305. New York: Random House, 1972.

Ukraine: Partisans and Collaborators

The Hypocrite’s War

Overworld and Underworld