The Guardian 16 February, 2005

Culture and Life

by Rob Gowland

A sad little dupe

The capitalist media gleefully reported in December on the supposed revelations of a retired Dutch Maths teacher who had apparently decided that the time had come to boast of his "exploits" as a spy against the Communist Parties of the USSR, Eastern Europe and China on behalf of the Dutch secret services.

According to the British newspaper, The Guardian, Pieter Boeve, now 76, was recruited by Dutch Intelligence in 1955 while a student. I don't know how much of his story, if any is true, but let's take it at face value.

After agreeing to help the Dutch secret services, he attended a world student conference in Moscow. While the other students were discussing what steps they could take to help prevent nuclear war and how to end colonialism with all its attendant horrors, this sad little specimen was only concerned with learning their identity so he could pass it on to his handler.

In 1955, there were plenty of countries where being identified as having traveled to Moscow for a conference on anything could get you arrested, or worse. For Boeve, such a consequence would apparently have been no more than evidence of a job well done.

As was the way in those days, not long after the Moscow conference the keen young Dutch student later went to a similar conference in Beijing.

I wonder what he thought his spying on the participants in these events would achieve.

Uncover nests of secret agents? Unmask traitors? Discover "International Communism's plans for world conquest"? Who knows what Cold War nonsense Dutch Intelligence had poured into his head.

Dutch Intelligence, of course, had a long-range plan for their young "left-winger", who operated under a false name, Chris Petersen.

It was now the '60s and in China an intense ideological struggle was taking place within the Communist Party there. Mao told his supporters to "bombard the Party Headquarters" and launched the petty-bourgeois distortions collectively known as the "Cultural Revolution".

According to The Guardian (not us the British one), after Mao triumphed in the inner-Party struggle in China, the young Dutch agent Boeve, already known to the Chinese Party, was offered the chance to spend a month in Beijing studying Mao's thought.

Lord knows what he made of it all, but his dedication to the interests of Dutch Intelligence never wavered.

One wonders what devious "spin" the latter put on the information he gathered in this laborious manner.

Returning to the Netherlands after his study couse in China, Boeve now became the centre-piece of a "sting" operation set up by the Dutch secret services at considerable expense. They established a bogus Maoist Party, under the name Marxist-Leninist Party of the Netherlands, with Boeve as its leader.

It produced a newspaper, De Kommunist, written entirely by Dutch secret service agents. According to Boeve, the Communist Party of China gave generous financial aid to the Dutch paper.

Boeve further claims that as the supposed leader of the Dutch Maoists, he was regularly received in Beijing (and in Enver Hoxha's Albania) for more than two decades. As he boastfully put it to the media, "they adored us. I was invited to all the big events".

To what extent the CPC was taken in by the bogus Maoist and his equally bogus party is a moot point.

After all, whatever else they were, Boeve and his party were hardly a security risk to China, really, were they? Nor would he have been the only bogus party member to have visited the socialist countries over the years.

Just as Western secret services are forever trying to plant agents in their own countries' Communist parties, so they are equally keen to get those agents to international youth festivals, peace congresses, anti-imperialist conferences, you name it.

The British Guardian broke the story with great glee. The Sydney Morning Herald in turn ran it under the headline: "Red faces: comrades fooled by the party that never was".

In fact, the story confirms, if confirmation was needed, that all those times when the authorities in a socialist country arrested or expelled some unlikely conference attendee or seemingly innocent tourist for being a spy, they almost certainly were. The shrill cries of affronted innocence from Western governments were and are a sham.

The Guardian (and the Herald) were so keen to disclose how the communists were supposedly fooled, that they also disclosed the real story: Boeve's bogus party had another role. "Its main role was to undermine the official Dutch Communist Party, the KPN", a legal political party in a supposed democracy.

Capitalist leaders put their hands on their breasts and declare their devotion to democracy at the drop of a hat (especially in the presence of a TV camera). In reality, however, they have total contempt for democratic rights or the rule of the people.

And sorry little dupes like Boeve help them to do it.

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