News you may have missed #875 (CIA edition)

Boris PasternakBy IAN ALLEN |
►►Ex-CIA head criticizes Pollard release rumors. General Michael Hayden, the former Director of the CIA, said Sunday that he doesn’t think releasing Jonathan Pollard to save the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks is a good idea. Hayden, a Bush administration appointee, told Fox News Sunday that “it’s almost a sign of desperation that you would throw this into the pot in order to keep the Israelis talking with the Palestinians”.
►►CIA official dies in apparent suicide. An unnamed senior CIA official has died in an apparent suicide this week from injuries sustained after jumping off a building in northern Virginia. A source close to the agency said the man who died was a middle manager and the incident occurred after the man jumped from the fifth floor a building in Fairfax County. CIA spokesman Christopher White confirmed the death and said the incident did not take place at CIA headquarters in McLean, Va.
►►How the CIA turned Doctor Zhivago into a Cold War weapon. Newly disclosed documents indicate that the operation to publish Boris Pasternak’s Doctor Zhivago in several Eastern European languages was run by the CIA’s Soviet Russia Division, monitored by CIA director Allen Dulles and sanctioned by President Dwight Eisenhower’s Operations Coordinating Board, which reported to the National Security Council at the White House. The board, which oversaw covert activities, gave the CIA exclusive control over the novel’s “exploitation”. The “hand of the United States government” was “not to be shown in any manner”, according to CIA records. IntelNews has reported previously on allegations that the CIA may have influenced teh Swedish Academy’s decision to award the 1958 Nobel Prize for Literature to Pasternak.

Soviet KGB may have killed Albert Camus, claims paper

Albert Camus

Albert Camus

Albert Camus, one of France’s most revered intellectuals, who died in a mysterious accident in 1960, may have been killed by Soviet intelligence, according to an article in one of Italy’s most reputable newspapers. Camus, a philosopher, novelist and journalist, who won the 1957 Nobel Prize for Literature, died on January 4, 1960, during a road trip from Provence to Paris. Camus had initially planned to accompany his wife and children on a train ride to Paris, but changed his mind at the last minute, after his trusted friend and publisher, Michel Gallimard, offered him a ride in his car to the French capital. That evening, as Gallimard and Camus were driving through the small town of Villeblevin, Gallimard’s Facel Vega FV3B rammed into a tree at high speed. Camus was killed instantly, while Gallimard died in hospital several days later. But an article published last week in one of Italy’s oldest newspapers, Corriere della Sera, claims that the two men may have been killed after Soviet intelligence agents sabotaged Gallimard’s car. The allegation is based on Italian literary scholar Giovanni Catelli, who reportedly unearthed a written testimony by Czechoslovakian author and translator Jan Zábrana. The testimony is included in the Czech-language edition of Zábrana’s personal diary, in which he claims that “a man who knew lots of things and had very informed sources” had told him that Camus’ assassination was “ordered personally” by Dmitri Shepilov, who was the Soviet Union’s Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1956 to 1957. Read more of this post

Newspaper claims CIA had say in 1958 literature Nobel award

Back in 1958, literary circles were surprised by the Swedish Academy’s decision to award that year’s Nobel Award for Literature to Soviet writer Boris Pasternak. This was because the author of Doctor Zhivago was considered an outsider, his literary stature overshadowed by those of Italy’s Alberto Moravia and Denmark’s Karen Blixen, who were strongly favored to win the prestigious prize. Furthermore, Pasternak’s novels were at that time considered obscure and had not yet been published in Swedish. His Doctor Zhivago, which was banned in the USSR, was first published in Italian, after the novel’s manuscript was secretly smuggled out of the Soviet Union. It was therefore a big surprise when Pasternak’s candidacy unexpectedly received the support of Anders Esterling, the influential Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy. Now Italian newspaper La Stampa claims it has uncovered information pointing to a CIA role in the Academy’s surprise decision. Specifically, the newspaper alleges that “a CIA lobby operating in the Swedish Academy” pressured its voting members to offer the award to the Soviet writer after learning that his works had been banned in the USSR. Pasternak was eventually prevented from receiving the award by the Soviet authorities. He was rehabilitated in the USSR following Stalin’s death. Intelligence (and literary) historians will be interested to know whether the CIA played a role in the initial smuggling of Pasternak’s novel out of the Soviet Union.

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