Thursday, 15 November 2012

US Ambassador Adolph "Spike" Dubs (1920 – 1979)

"Special mention must be made of the Dubs affair."

In the wake of the Benghazi debacle, name of Spike Dubs took on renewed significance, as the previous most recent US Ambassador killed in the line of duty.

This is, of course, not true; Ambassador Arnold Lewis Raphael, was killed in the same (highly peculiar) C-130 crash that killed Pakistani President Zia on August 17, 1988, in circumstances which certainly amounted to an assassination.

The death of Zia took place at the height of both the fall-out from the Iran-Contra scandal and Operation Cyclone, (the "longest and most expensive covert CIA operations ever undertaken", costing $630 million per year in 1987) and George Bush's presidential bid against Michael Dukkakis.

Whoever arranged for Zia's plane to crash at the height of the CIA's cross-border collaboration with Osama Bin Laden (aka Tim Osman) is unclear and open to debate - what is clear from a quick look at Raphael's background and who was appointed to replace him is indicative of the fact that he was likely not much missed by either the Reagan administration or the Bush campaign.

So, Raphael died in post, but is not considered to have been killed in the line of duty, even though that's self-evidently what happened in his case.

He was, however, killed on Ronald Reagan's watch - Dubs was killed during the Carter Administration.

Officially, then, Dubs was the last US ambassador killed in the line; he was a perfect storm of Democratic weakness and national ineptitude; he was kidnapped by Islamic extremists and killed by gunfire during a "rescue" attempt by the Communist regime of Afghanistan the very same day the first (failed) takeover of the US Embassy in in Tehran was attempted by "students" loyal to the Ayatollah Kohmeni (of which more later), following the self-exile of the Shah of Iran, during the interegnum of the secular republic of Prime Minister Mehdi Bazargan.

But who was Dubs? His name and references to his death and the manner of it, a key precursor of Brezinski's recommendation to Carter to begin arming the Afghan Islamic resistance in opposition to the Communists with the aim of drawing the Soviets into direct intervention, these things appear curiously absent from the record, even on the internet - this is the only photo I have been able to find of Dubs and there is precious little material indicating precisely what he may have been up to when he was kidnapped and killed a la Chris Stevens.

Fortunately for us and for history, the KGB at the time (and Cryptome subsequently) were keeping close tabs on the situation

The KGB in Afghanistan by Vasiliy Mitrokhin

(Original available at;

"This paper is one of a series of Working Papers published by the Cold War International History Project of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. Established in 1991 by a grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Cold War International History Project (CWIHP) disseminates new information and perspectives on the history of the Cold War as it emerges from previously inaccessible sources on "the other side" of the post-World War II superpower rivalry.

Special mention must be made of the Dubs affair.

The Cheka Was anxious about the appointment of Dubs as ambassador to Afghanistan. When he bad been in Moscow as a First Secretary at the embassy he had been closely covered.

The KGB considered that Dubs knew the region well and that he was connected to the CIA and trusted by them. His accreditation was therefore viewed as part of the USA's desire to influence the new

Afghan government and to make sure that Afghanistan did not become too close to the USSR. Dubs had been [instrumental] in strengthening American positions and influence in the Middle East and the region of the Persian Gulf and was one of the people behind the idea of the Afghanistan-Pakistan-Iran triangle.

[ Editors' Note: US Ambassador Adolph "Spike" Dubs was kidnapped and killed on 14 February 1979.]

That same day... This happened:

On 3 August 1978 the Resident in Kabul, Osadchy, received a telegram about Dubs which, as well as mentioning the above, expressed the fear that "it cannot be ruled out that in his contacts with the Afghan leadership, Dubs will take advantage of his 'deep' understanding and knowledge of the situation in the USSR and Soviet foreign policy. This, in our view, is one of the most dangerous aspects of his activities." The Residency wrote to the Center in the same vein that the American embassy in Kabul under Dubs was actively engaged in spreading propaganda amongst the people and the intelligentsia and was trying to make them believe that the USSR was occupying the country with a view to using it as a bridgehead for spreading its influence to India, Pakistan and Southeast Asia. Leaden clouds driven by the Cheka were thickening and automatic hail would follow.

The mystery around [the events concerning] Dubs' death has not yet been solved. This is what [we know] happened. On 14 February 1979 some unknown people seized Dubs on the street and took him to the Hotel Kabul. The terrorists demanded that Bahniddin Bals and Faizani of the Setame Melli group should be released in return for the release of the ambassador (both Bals and Faizani had been shot iminediately after the April Coup). On the advice of the KGB, Amin ordered an assault group to storm the hotel room and kill the terrorists. The assault team, dressed in protective Soviet vests and armed with Kalashnikovs, showered the room where the terrorists and hostage were with bullets. Dubs was fatally wounded and died. He had at least two bullet wounds. Two of the terrorists were killed, one was taken prisoner, and the other managed to escape. It became clear that the four terrorists had had only three pistols.

At the time of the assault, [present] in the hotel were S. G. Bakhturin (code name 'Volgin'), the security assistant to the ambassador and First Secretary; Yu. I. Kutepov ('Krabs'), Second Secretary; and A. S. Klushnikov, an adviser on crime prevention with the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the DRA. During the operation they had suggested that they stall for time, not inform correspondents, not enter into negotiations with the terrorists but liquidate them instead and keep prying eyes away from the hotel. They did not allow the Americans, who had come to the hotel, to take any of the used bullet shells. In case the room was to be examined by experts, a gun of unknown origin similar to a Kalashnikov was planted in the room and registered as taken from the terrorists.

On the following day Osadchy and Yuly visited Amin on instructions from the Center to agree on how to justify the affair to the Americans. They agreed to express their condolences to the Americans, to lower flags on government buildings and to print photographs of the four terrorists in the newspapers. In order to frustrate requests from the Americans to question the detained terrorist and hunt down the one who escaped, it was decided to shoot the one who had been detained and to shoot another prisoner pretending that he was the fourth terrorist. The story that all four kidnappers had been killed during the assault would be fed to the newspapers. During the night both the doomed men were executed. If the Americans were to ask for an explanation for the involvement of Soviet advisers in the operation to capture the terrorists, Amin, Sarwari and Tarun were to say that the Afghan side had independently and without consultation decided to take radical action to deal with the terrorists and that there had been no Soviet advisers present at all.

As soon as the Cheka got rid of Amin, the disinformation service planted a new version of the death of Ambassador Dubs in the foreign press.

"During investigations into the crimes of the CIA agent Amin, it has become known that the four 'terrorists' were members of an Islamic Slifite organization and that they were reacting to Amin's unjustified mass repression. By eliminating Muslims, Amin was acting as an imperialist agent and the terrorists were therefore prepared to take extreme measures in order to make the Americans acknowledge this. They had planned to kidnap the American ambassador and to force him under the threat of death to reveal his cards and acknowledge the ties between the embassy of the USA in Kabul and Amin. When Dubs was in the hands of the terrorists in the Kabul Hotel, Amin gave orders for the otherwise needless assault and ordered that no mercy should be shown. During the shooting Ambassador Dubs was fatally wounded, one terrorist killed and another wounded. Two were captured but they were killed on the following day. They were liquidated by Tarun at Amin's orders. Tarun himself was killed in unexplained circumstances on 14 September 1979.

By kidnapping Dubs, the group of extremists, who were members of an Islamic organization, intended to force the American ambassador to speak about Amin's co-operation with the Americans and to expose him as a CIA agent. Amin took measures to eliminate all the members of the group and to save himself from exposure. The conduct of the Carter administration was shocking. It found it easy to sacrifice the fife of the American ambassador in order to keep secret Amin's connections with the CIA."

In February 1980 the Residency used the commarider of the People's Militia, Azhar Abdullah Samad (the agent 'Fatekh'), in an attempt to disseminate more disinformation on the Dubs affair. According to the results of the investigation proved that the Americans were involved in the death of the ambassador. A newspaper article "On Whose Conscience is the Death of Ambassador Dubs?" laid the blame on the Americans.

The story of how Amin became a CIA agent is as follows. A handwriting specialist was in one of the KGB operational groups sent to Afghanistan. After Amin's death a note with a CIA telephone number in Amin's handwriting was found in [Amin's] notebook. On 16 February a KGB adviser gave Babrak this notebook and showed him the entry. Babrak declared that this was yet finther definite proof that Amin was connected with American intelligence.

It was suggested to Babrak that the government of the DRA should ask the American administration to hand over the CIA and FBI files on H. Amin who had studied in the USA and that notices should be put in the press through the embassies in Paris, London, Rome and Bonn asking anyone who had any information on Amin to send it to the authorities. The reason for these requests was to be the investigation into the death of Taraki and Amin's involvement in it.

The KGB also targeted personnel from other countries, not just the United States. A FRG citiz.en, who worked for theUN in a veterinary laboratory in Mazar-I-Sherif, and two West German diplomats were targeted, as was the Indian ambassador. [Four names excised.] The latter had had close relations with Taraki and Amin who had trusted and liked them. The Residency considered this dangerous to Soviet interests, as he advocated an independent and non-aligned Afghanistan. It fed false stories through the special [propaganda] organs, which depicted the ambassador in a bad light to Taraki and Amin.

For over two years a listening operation (Letter "Z") was carried out on the accommodation of fourteen Chinese specialists working at a textile plant in Kabul. The Residency maintained that the Chinese were engaged in serious work to sabotage Soviet influence in Afghanistan, and that they were showing interest in Soviet citizens. Andropov was informed and a Letter "Z" device was set up in January 1977. The accommodation of the Chinese, (target "Gnezdo" [nest]), adjoined the residence of a Soviet doctor, Sheptukhe. His entrance to the building was next door to that used by the Chinese specialists. Members of the 14th Department of the FCD installed a microphone in the wall of the doctor's bedroom, which was next to the living-room room of the Chinese specialists. A control point with a tape recorder was hidden in a bedside cupboard in the same room. To process the material Chinese language specialists from Institute T of the FCD, S.S. Huseinov and G.V. Ruchkin, a Directorate K151 operational officer, were sent to Kabul. The Residency and Center combed the mass of papers looking for a hidden meaning in the everyday chatter. In April 1979 the Chinese went home and the listening devices were removed.


151 Author's Note: Directorate K, the counter-intelligence directorate, combined all the counterintelligence sections working abroad, including the former 9th and 10 departments, Service 2 of the FCD, sections of the 2nd Chief Directorate and the 3rd Directorate of the KGB. Its role was to organize active offensive work to infiltrate the special services and to cover Soviet citizens and specialists abroad.
At the end of 1963 the agent network, then Service 2, had 1,037 agents. 224 were foreigners, 33 stateless and 780 Soviet citizens. There were 55 agents working on Russian émigrés, 23 on Ukrainian émigrés, 5 on Belorussian émigrés, 21 on Lithuanian émigrés, 16 on Latvians, 11 on Estonians, 17 on Armenians and 33 on the other nationalities of the USSR, There were then 39 agents in the Federal Republic of Germany, 23 in the USA, 21 in France, 10 in Libya, 11 in Belgium and 11 in Austria.

In 1963 there were 104 people in the central apparatus, excluding people working abroad and in different organizations. The monthly salary bill was 20,684 rubles, made up as follows: 360 rubles for the head of Service 1,340 rubles each for the three deputy heads, 260 rubles each for the eleven senior assistants, 220 rubles each for the 17 assistants, 190 rubles each for the 47 senior operative staff, 170 each for the operatives, 160 for the proof-reader, 110 rubles for the secretary, 110 rubles for the chief office clerk, 110 rubles each for the two shorthand typists, 98 rubles for the senior typist and 87 rubles each for the two typists.

In 1971 there were 2,885 Soviet people in Afghanistan, including members of their families. By 1973 the figure had risen to 4,000. In Kabul alone there were 1,390. The KR Directorate then had 75 agents and 90 trusted contacts there.

A large number were military advisers or military specialists. On 1 March 1973 at a meeting in Moscow the military advisers and military attaches were ordered to increase their influence in the countries where they were stationed and to select candidates for military training in the Soviet Union.
In 1980 the KR group of ten operational officers were cultivating relations in the embassies of the US, People's Republic of China and the NATO countries. They had 18 agents and 44 foreign trainees. The agents were allocated thus: 8 on the situation in the country, 5 on the situation in the provinces, 6 on the Americans, 3 on the government, 4 on the armed forces of the DRA, 6 on the local special services and a number of agents and trainees to expose the Mujahedin and their ties with international organizations.

The KGB also suspected its socialist friends and compatriots of anti- Sovietism and treachery. 'Contact' was an operational analytical system, recording contacts between Soviet citizens and members of the embassies of Poland, Bulgaria, the GDR and CSSR. There were reports on joint drinking sessions [receptions] and trips outside the city. The members of these embassies were trying to develope their acquaintances with Soviet citizens. They displayed an inappropriate curiosity about the Soviet military losses in Afghanistan, tried to find out what the advisory apparatus was doing and so on. Bogoroditsky, Vasilyev and Yuldashev paid a high price for their careless friendship with the Bulgarians Bratan, Rozalis and Tikhomir. They were sent home.

The KR counter-intelligence operational attention covered the apparatus of the Chief military adviser and specialists from the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff of the armed forces. The group received many signals about off-duty contacts by the military advisers and attempts by the Afghans to be on close tenns with the advisers and to have a good time with them. It was noted that some of the military personnel had been affected by ideological sabotage. They listened to The Voice of America and Deutsche Welle radio stations and approved the ideas of Sakharov152 and his associates.


152 Editors' Note: Andrey Dmitriyevich Sakharov, Soviet nuclear physicist, an outspoken advocate of human rights and civil liberties. In 1975 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Chekists did not relax. They let their imagination run wild in letters to the Center about the supposed threat to the USSR from the Western countries and from the People's Republic of China. They wrote that the enernies were strengthening and developing their cooperation in Afghanistan, coordinating their actions to subvert the position of the Union, involving the governments of the Islamic countries to hostile propaganda, that they regarded the Soviet international assistance to the healthy forces in Hungary, CSSR and Afghanistan as aggression, making a fuss about the Afghan question and distorting the aims and principles of Soviet-Afghan cooperation.

[Three lines excised.]

[They wrote that] the Afghan Fund was set up in the USA to support the bandits; that the British organized a public viewing in India of an anti-Soviet fihn showing the savagery of Soviet soldiers and that the Iranian special services were involved in anti-government attacks in Herat.153


153 Author's Note: A member of the KGB Representation was present at the interrogation of rebels in Herat.


A KGB adviser worked in the investigation department of KHAD.

The senior member of the group of Party advisers, S.V. Koz1ov, suggested ways to work with the people and to forward ideas for political propaganda.

The name 'limited contingent' for the occupation forces can be seen as an active measure. Its aim was to deceive people, to suggest that their numbers were less than they were and that it was a modestly armed force with a limited role.

Active measures encompass all agent operational acts aimed at influencing the various spheres of the political life of the targeted countries, their foreign policy and the resolution of international problems. Their aim is to confuse the opponent, to undermine and weaken his position, to thwart his plans and the realization of his goals. They try to influence the internal and external situation in the targeted countries in a way which is beneficial to the intelligence service, to weaken the political economic military and ideological position of the opponent, to disrupt their plans and intentions and to create conditions which are beneficial to the Soviet Union. Active operations are the same as active measures but the term is usually applied to large-scale operations.

The USA is compromised everywhere and whenever possible. In the middle of the 1960s the Americans showed the film Exodus in Kabul. This was used as an excuse to instill anti-American feelings in the government. The Arab press published very critical reviews and reports on the film and the Zionist, pro-Israeli sympathies of the USA. In 1984 Ogonyok published a booklet entitled 'Jackals in a pack of wolves' about the CIA and NTS in Afghanistan. The cover gave the name of the author, Boris Vladimirovich Marbanov, and described him as an historian. His photograph shows a young man with a fashionable beard and glasses. The booklet did not contain facts or proof of anything and the author was not an historian but a Chekist and member of the disinformation service. His surname was not Marbanov but Banov. His beard was not his own and the glasses came from the KGB stores.

One cannot disagree with Lenin who said that "in politics honesty is the result of strength, hypocrisy the result of weakness."

Military service in Afghanistan was at first counted as two years for every year of service there. From 1983 this was raised to three years for every year of actual service. Those disabled were given the privileges awarded to soldiers disabled during the Second World War.
This was all bitter slander on the capitalist wolf, as it was the Socialist hare who devoured a stallion!

[Four lines excised.]

The number of staff in the embassies was as follows: the USA 19, the People's Republic of China 11, the FRG 20, France 10 and Great Britain 12. The British also had two people working in the Nur eye hospital and two with an international organization.

They were matched by the following, in the Soviet side: 250 were at the embassy, 103 in the Soviet trade office, 3,504 staff and 1,600 translators in the advisory apparatus, and 1,476 civilian specialists and translators in the civil service and trade departments. One should also remember the 100,000 plus serving in the army of the Limited Contingent of Troops.

The Kremlin expected the West to react sharply and decisively to its actions in Afghanistan. Andropov even warned Chekists to watch out for American war preparations. But as early as January 1980 the KGB; began to receive hopeful reports 'Of Special Importance' about a lack of unity in the Western ranks over Afghanistan.

Detailed information on the results of a visit by Bahr154 to the USA at the request of Chancellor Schmidt155 were received from a source in government circles in the FRG. During his ten days there Egon Bahr, the Federal Secretary of the Social Democrats, met Benson, Brzezinski,156 Kissinger,157 Shulman158 and the lawyer Peter Edelman159 who was a confidante of Senator Edward Kennedy.160 He found out their ideas about the new situation in the Middle East. From his short trip to the USA, Bahr gained the impression that three factors governed the situation: uncertainty, the desire for strong leadership and a growing fear of war with the Soviet Union The reason for this was "the general loss of faith in the power of America politically, economically and militarily." This feeling was strengthened by the failure of the administration to react in a sensible and decisive way to the events in Afghanistan and Iran. From his conversations in the USA, Bahr was convinced that the actions of the Washington administration were dictated primarily by "Carter's pathological wish to be elected for a second term" and were a consequence of the lack of a united view of the key contemporary problems among the President's advisers.


154 Egon Bahr, leading foreign policy and arms control expert of the (West) German Social Democratic Party and member of the (West) German parliament.
155 Editors'Note: Helmut Schmidt, West German Federal Chancellor 1974-1982.

156 Editors' Note: Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter.

157 Editors' Note: Henry A. Kissinger, National Security Adviser and Secretary of State under Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Gerald R. Ford.

158 Editors' Note: Dr. Marshall Shulman, special advisor with the rank of ambassador to the Secretary of State for Soviet Affairs from 1977-80.

159 Editors' Note: Peter Edelman, Issues Director of Sen. Edward Kennedy's presidential campaign.

160 Editors' Note: Edward M. Kennedy, US Senator (D-MA) since 1963, a prominent figure in the Democratic Party from the 1970s; last surviving brother of President John F. Kennedy.


Bahr found Brzezinski extremely pleased with himself "Jimmy and I have done a good job!" he boasted to Bahr. The Presidents National Security Adviser was, in Bahr's words, intoxicated with "the surprise effect of an attack on the Soviet Union." In order to calm him down Bahr noted that it was known in Bonn that the Soviet Union had taken possible Western reactions into account when it had decided to move into Afghanistan and that it was well-prepared for it. "Didnt we catch the Russians unaware?" Brzezinski asked with disappointment.

After a pause he began to talk about future relations between the USA and USSR. Brzezinski expressed his belief that the Afghan conflict would fizzle out in five to six months. "The United States," he declared, "will then be ready to agree to a neutral regime in that country; that is, of course, if the Soviets do not establish bases there." By then, Brzezinski maintained, if the conflict with Iran could be settled, it would be possible to return to the SALT-II and other treaties. This would be possible, Brzezinski stressed, if measures were adopted to strengthen the Western world. Brzezinski cited serious moral and material support for Pakistan and Turkey from America's NATO allies as one such measure. The National Security Adviser suggested that London should be responsible for Pakistan and Bonn for Turkey.

On American policy towards the USSR, Brzezinski declared that "the offensive against the Soviet Union will continue and the West will make it understood in each case that it does not intend to forgive or leave anything unpunished." Regarding US relations with the People's Republic of China, Brzezinski stated that "the Chinese card will be an active instrument of American foreign policy." "We will give China everything except for arms," he declared. Summarizing Brzezinski's position, Bahr declared that the Presidents adviser "had learned nothing from his position, was full of anti-Sovietism as before and would try to use any opportunity to damage relations between the USA and USSR and to flex American muscles."

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