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The Militant, 28 June 1948

Washington Spy Scare and
the Slaying of Trotsky>

From The Militant, Vol. 12 No. 32, 9 August 1948, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


Further direct evidence that Stalin’s murder of Leon Trotsky in Mexico eight years ago this month was plotted on U.S. soil by GPU agents, was disclosed on July 30 before a Senate investigating committee in Washington. This evidence again directly links the slaying of Trotsky to a paid agent of the Kremlin and confirms previous admissions of Louis F. Budenz, ex-Editor of the Daily Worker. This information has admittedly been in the hands of the Federal Bureau of Investigations since 1945. Therefore, for three years this, and possibly other, vital evidence has been withheld by Washington.

Elizabeth T. Bentley, confessed GPU agent who turned against her former Stalinist accomplices, admitted to the Senate committee that she received mail from the very Kremlin agent in Mexico who assassinated Trotsky, Bolshevik leader and founder of the Fourth International. That is the man known as “Frank Jacson,” now serving a sentence of 20 years imprisonment in Mexico.

According to the July 31 N.Y. Herald-Tribune, Miss Bentley testified that she worked under the direction of Jacob Golos, a leading GPU agent in this country. “Her first duties were to receive at her home mail addressed to him (Golos) from Canada and Mexico. The Mexico mail stopped, however, after the assassination of Leon Trotsky in Mexico (on Aug. 21, 1940). She said that was because the correspondent was the man who shot Trotsky.”

In March 1947, Louis F. Budenz, for ten years a leader of the American Communist Party and editor of its daily paper at the time he deserted the CP in 1945, confessed his own GPU activities in his autobiographical book, This Is My Story. He revealed the sinister details of how the GPU had been working on American soil since 1936 to prepare the assassination of Trotsky. He further disclosed that he personally had helped arrange the contact between “Jacson” and Sylvia Ageloff, an innocent dupe, through whom “Jacson” gained access to Trotsky’s home in Coyoacan and killed him.

On March 17, 1947, one week after publication of Budenz’s book, a committee headed by Norman Thomas, James T. Farrell, the novelist, and New York City Councilman Louis P. Goldberg, demanded that Budenz and other present and former Communist Party leaders be questioned by the Federal Grand Jury in New York City on the conspiracy to assassinate Trotsky, particularly the preparations made on U.S. soil. Budenz subsequently testified before the Grand Jury, but none of his evidence was made public.

Budenz took the stand at the Senate hearing on Aug. 2, following Miss Bentley, and repeated the confession he originally made in his book of his own part in helping to “engineer” – unwittingly, he claims – the murder of Leon Trotsky.

Miss Bentley’s testimony virtually completes the chain of evidence confirming Stalin’s guilt in the murder of Trotsky by directly linking the murderer to GPU agents, including herself, operating in this country.

But the Senate committee did not press either Miss Bentley or Budenz on this phase of their testimony. Furthermore, the newspapers played down or buried the truly vital disclosures made by these self-implicated participants in the preparations for the assassination of Trotsky.

No genuine effort has been made by Washington – which has been aware of the facts for years – to bring to the bar of justice participants in this actual crime prepared, at least in part, on American soil. It is plain the government is not interested in the least in seeing justice done in the case of a murdered working-class leader.

On the contrary, during the period of wartime collaboration with the Kremlin, the State Department has systematically helped cover up these very crimes. Everyone knows how the government whitewashed the notorious Moscow Frame-up Trials which Stalin used to murder many of the greatest leaders of the Russian Revolution and to smear Trotsky as a “Hitler agent.” Everyone recalls, in this connection, the propaganda movie, Mission to Moscow, produced during the war by Hollywood at the State Department’s behest. At the same time, the State Department for years suppressed publication of Trotsky’s book, Stalin.

Now Washington is concerned exclusively with generating a spy-scare as part of its anticommunist drive and propaganda for its “cold war.”

The powers-that-be are deliberately preparing a public atmosphere favorable for its conspiracy to frame up and railroad to prison the leaders of the American Communist Party under the totalitarian Smith “Gag” Act, an act which menaces the liberties of all labor and minority organizations.

The government has not sought any indictments in the preparation on U.S. soil of an indisputable crime, the murder of Trotsky. The government is prosecuting the Stalinists, under the tyrannical Smith “Gag” Act, for “advocacy of the overthrow of the government by force and violence.”

This is a patent frame-up – as no one knows better than the government prosecutors. The Democratic Administration during the war played ball with the American Stalinists and used them as the chief strikebreaking agency inside the labor movement.

Class-conscious labor militants, despite their uncompromising opposition to the criminal policies of the Stalinists, will unite in defense of the indicted CP leaders against the frame-up under the Smith Act. This act was first used against genuine working-class fighters – the 18 members of the Socialist Workers Party and Minneapolis General Drivers Union who were imprisoned during the war for their defense of labor’s rights and opposition to capitalist war. It is being sharpened against the Stalinists so that' it may be used in the future against the whole labor movement. That is why defense of the framed CP leaders is a defence of the civil rights of the whole labor movement.

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