Sunday, May 11, 2014

Are the Venona Intercepts Reliable?

Much ballyhoo has been made about the Venona intercepts which US Army Signal Intelligence produced after cracking Soviet encrypted diplomatic communications, but the bottom line is that the intercepts have little value in revealing truth about the Cold War.
The US Army Signal Corps ran the Venona project from 1943-1980 during which time they intercepted or translated approximately 3000 messages, most of which were captured during and immediately after World War 2. The communications contained encrypted messages between the USSR and its diplomatic stations, especially with the United States.
The National Security Agency assumed responsibility for the cables and their translations after the war, declassifying the program in 1995. The project is credited for uncovering a number of important espionage cases in the United States, including the Cambridge spy ring, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Harry Dexter White, and Alger Hiss, among others.
The fundamental problem with the Venona project is that it is an intelligence project whose data has been strictly controlled by the US government, a custodian known to prefer a lie even if the truth would serve it better. Thus the integrity of the papers rests upon the virtue of its owner. This is a leap of faith we cannot make. We know for a fact that the US government has lied about so much for so long that it cannot be considered a reliable source of information under the circumstances.
For a list of US government lies, we mention the Holocaust, the moon landing, the Warren Commission, the 9/11 Commission, just for starters. Thus when an intelligence agency decides to declassify a sensitive project merely 15 years after it termination when many documents from World War 2 are still under wraps and key, we see red flags.
The second problem with the Venona intercepts is that the NSA has released only its translations of Soviet intercepts. The probability is nearly a certainty that many translations were forged in order to perpetuate other lies it told. "Oh we can't release that information because of national security but the intercepts prove our point - too bad we can't show you."
We don't mean to imply that the entire corpus is a complete fabrication - only that certain parts are subject to translational biases, licenses, and outright fraud.
The NSA has not released the raw intercepts, so no one, as the scientific method demands, can reproduce the results of the Ziocon NSA. Even if the intercepts were properly translated, there is the problem of interpretation, the case of an alleged agent Ales being a prime example. There are many who say that Ales must be Alger Hiss, but the evidence for the assertion is flimsier than a tissue paper dress in an Indian monsoon.
Even the FBI's A H Belmont wrote murderer J Edgar Hoover that the Venona intercepts had more legal liability than value, and should not be introduced as evidence in court, in large measure due to interpretative decisions.
To demonstrate that the Venona files are a bad Rorschach test, we consider the case of Alger Hiss - a man vilified by the Ziocons and right-winged zealots such as the late William Buckley. We have published elsewhere in these Chronicles overwhelming evidence that Hiss was completely innocent of the charges Richard Nixon and the United State government made against him. Yet there are loose canons stating that Ales of the Venona transcripts was Hiss - these loose cannons being government and academic employees.
Since Hiss cannot be guilty, the Venona intercepts are either frauds or fraudulently interpreted, meaning that they have no semantic value in understanding any of the allegations against Hiss. Indeed, they may have no value whatsoever. Indeed, the government was involved in framing Hiss with planted and faked evidence, that one must consider the Venona papers of the same ilk.
There may indeed be truthful moments in the transcripts, but again, for historians, this is at best second hand evidence or hearsay, and must be treated as such. Until the transcripts can be subjected to chain of custody scrutiny, as well multiple attestations to translation, they are simply a field for fertile and furtive minds seeking to advance a tendentious opinion.
Given the nature of the dubious documents, we urge researchers to ignore them as unreliable due to the inability to verify translation and interpretation.

Copyright 2014 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.

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