From: H. B. Laes
Date: 07 Aug 2000
Theory of Fielding - Set X - Potpourri
RELE /SERB in Perseus Cocktail? RELE and SERB are unidentified codenames in Venona. There are 3 messages containing RELE and two containing SERB. However, one message is a codename change, from RELE to SERB, so there are a total of only 4 messages. All of the RELE/SERB messages are New York to Moscow.
The messages provide two very explicit identity markers on RELE: In mid-1944 RELE was living in the Philadelphia area, and he had a severe leg disability. Although not explicit, there seems to be a third attribute, a trace or aura of atomic espionage. · RELE is made "group leader" of Enos Wicher, codename RYBOLOV, a physicist in New York (V04074). · RELE is not just a controller/courier akin to the Cohens, but is a source of "materials" in his own right. RELE's materials are evidently voluminous and must be "hand[ed] back" to him (presumably for return to the controlling authority), twin reasons why RELE needs to be provided a camera along with Julius Rosenberg (V11074). · Considering that Greenglass was chosen to work on the Manhattan Project in July 1944, is it just happenstance that when codenames are changed, RYBOLOV, RELE and ANTENNA (Rosenberg) are grouped together, suggesting a logical connection in the drafter's mind (V02094)? · As Haynes and Klehr point out in Venona, SERB seems to have contact with Kvasnikov whom the Center sent to NY principally because of his ability to screen atomic intelligence. · In some fashion RELE seems under the penumbra of Semyonov, who was the KGB's illegal in charge of atomic espionage operations (V04074). · Christopher Andrew adds SERB to the Volunteer Group, in the company of ADEN and MLAD. The Volunteer Group, ADEN and MLAD have all been implicated in atomic espionage. · SERB somehow knows VOLONTER (Morris Cohen), who, per Chikov's thesis, had a decisive role in atomic espionage. · SERB mistakenly informed the KGB that Morris Cohen had been killed in Europe (V11015). Since for all practical purposes Cohen was out of circulation after July 1942 and then gone from the country after January 1943, SERB's acquaintance with Cohen would seem to pre-date July 1942. This suggests that SERB could have been an early Volunteer (Set Y) with a connection to Steve Nelson and the Spanish Civil War. · What government work, projects or locations might have afforded SERB access to atomic related material as well as to casualty reports from the European theater? One possibility is the Army's ALSOS project run out of the War Department in Washington, D.C. in 1944.
If Chikov's Perseus is a composite 'straw man,' composed, for example, of Scientists X, Y and Z, then our first two candidates would be Scientists SERB and MLAD. Z remains 'underconstruction' for now.
$1,000 vs. $5,000 Ted Hall's KGB codename was MLAD; Vladimir Chikov wrote that PERSEUS' first codename was MLAD. Hence one tries to identify Hall in Chikov's statements about PERSEUS.
$5000 Perseus. Chikov wrote that just before departing New York at the end of June 1950 Lona Cohen had a last meeting with PERSEUS. During this meeting she tried to get him to accept $5,000 earmarked for him by the KGB: "Following Abel's directive, I informed him of the high evaluation given his information in Russia and tried, by way of appreciation, to hand him $5,000 unloaded from a drop." PERSEUS initially refused but after discussion accepted half of the money and agreed to have the second half placed in a bank savings account which would bear no interest: "Eventually we agreed that the second half would be kept in the bank, so that he could use it whenever he needed, but it would not draw interest. Later this arrangement allowed a Soviet intelligence man to re-establish contact with PERSEUS. The words 'a bank account without interest,' became a sort of motto for him."
$1000 Hall. Bombshell established that in 1947 Ted Hall (MLAD) received $1,000 from the Soviets. Saville Sax was given the money by the Cohens in New York and turned it over to Hall back in Chicago. Presumably, the $1000 that Hall received in 1947 was in appreciation for the 'keys to the Los Alamos kingdom' that he gave them in 1944/45 and an incentive to keep him producing in Chicago.
Here we have two stories about KGB payouts to agents. Can they be reconciled or otherwise rationalized?
Does $5000 PERSEUS = $1000 Hall? Two possibilities: (1) Chikov noted the 1947 $1000 payment to Hall in the Cohens' KGB file and skewed it with a ton of disinformation; or (2) Ted Hall received a second payment which Chikov incorporated into his PERSEUS account with an unknown amount of disinformation. On the first possibility, we think there are hundreds of ways Chikov could have described the 1947 payment without compromising Hall and without transposing the event to 1950 and larding it with completely gratuitous nonsense. Of the second possibility, one has to ask, what did Hall do for the Soviets after 1947 to warrant more funds, especially an amount close to $5000 (about $100,000 in today's dollars)? Based on Bombshell, it is very difficult to divine what atomic secrets Hall might have passed after 1947. Top Secret intelligence on the hydrogen bomb would certainly qualify but Hall strongly denied that he helped the Soviet Union on thermonuclear weapons and buttressed this claim with the fact that he never worked on the H-bomb and indeed never had a security clearance after he left Los Alamos (1946). The Albright's, who had Hall's FBI file (which would reflect a security clearance/investigation), do not dispute this and offer no other specifics on post Los Alamos complicity in atomic espionage. All in all, $5000 PERSEUS = $1000 Hall seems problematic.
Does $5000 PERSEUS = Nobody? This option contemplates that Chikov created $5000 PERSEUS out of whole cloth, without a single basis in fact or scintilla of truth. Such total fabrication by Chikov would be much more than a "dash of imagination," to which he has admitted in presenting his story, and it would be expressly contrary to his bona fides to readers in his Preface: "But the content of no document [from the Cohens' KGB case file] has been changed in a way so that X says he met Y when in fact he did not, or that he did not meet Y when he did." Even knowing his employer and constraints, our opinion of Chikov's journalistic integrity is higher than would be warranted by this option.
Does $5000 PERSEUS = a Scientist Z? In Set V, Implosion and Uranium Hydride, we tried to make the case that Ted Hall was not the source of the wealth of information on implosion and hydride that the Soviets had amassed by early 1945. Following that train of thought, we feel the two page, handwritten "report" given to Sax by Hall in Albuquerque, would probably be worth $1000 relative to the atomic intelligence surveyed in the 1945 Beria Report. In left-handed fashion, then, we find expected symmetry: MLAD was worth $1000, PERSEUS (Scientist Z) five times as much.
The Cohen's Flight from America. The Cohens had only several weeks notice to prepare for their flight from America, but it seems the KGB was not so rushed. Unbeknownst to the Cohens, their handlers had been spending some time and effort preparing their evacuation plan. Vladimir Chikov: "Further, [the Center] told [Abel/Mark] to make his next rendezvous with Leslie his last and to cease meeting with Luis altogether. It was getting too hot for the couple in New York and steps would be taken to remove them."
The bearer of the actual directive to leave was Yuri Sokolov, aka CLAUDE, the KGB resident in NY at the time. In early June he took the very risky step of going to the Cohens' apartment to deliver the decision and requirement for haste. The literature contains differing accounts of the route the Cohens took out of the country. One account is that they headed to Canada; another to California, thence to Mexico. Chikov's account has its own conflicts: First he says that the Cohens got on a ship in NY that took them to Vera Cruz, Mexico, a port city on Mexico's Atlantic coast. But later in the book he includes testimony from Lona which differs: "Leontina recalls the last days …. When we arrived in Mexico they stuck us in an unsightly little house somewhere near the border." There is no border near Vera Cruz, north or south. Our guess is that the Cohens trained or were driven from New York to Texas where they crossed into Mexico. Possible locations for the "unsightly little house" are Juarez (on the border) or Chihuahua City, about 90 miles away. From there we surmise a train to Mexico City, the railroad hub of the country, where a connection could be made for Vera Cruz.
Rudolf Abel in Mexico? In 1948 Rudolph Abel, a KGB illegal in the US, took over control of the Cohens from Sokolov, the legal resident in New York. We view Sokolov's going to the Cohen's apartment, instead of Abel (who had been to the Cohens' apartment before), as highly unusual and probably due to special circumstances. Those circumstances might have been the judgment in Moscow that time had become of the essence and Abel was gone from New York. Possibly, Abel was in Mexico coordinating the Cohen's escape plan.
Of Abel's arrest in New York on July 21, 1957, Vladimir Chikov wrote: "Moreover, there were three interesting slips of paper that [Abel] had failed to destroy. One contained the time, place and parole of a secret meeting: 'Balmora, Avenida Oberon. 3pm. Display left of entrance. I. Is this an interesting picture? L. Yes. Do you wish to see it, Mr. Brandt? L. smokes a pipe and has a red book in his left hand.' Another slip indicated where to leave a mark for impersonal means of communication: 'In Mex: Signal T on pole opposite #191 Chihuahua Street (Folonia Roma), using side of pole towards roadway. Sat or Sun. Tues. Thur. Met on Mon. Wed. Fri at 3 pm. Movie Balmora.'"
We believe the location referenced in these slips was Mexico City. Old town Mexico City has a section known as Colonia Roma (The Roman Colony, Little Italy?). In the 1950's there was a movie theater in Colonia Roma on Avenida Obregon called el Balmori. One block south of Avenida Obregon is Chihuahua street. In a footnote, Chikov's co-author, Gary Kern, has the following comment: "If the slip dated pre-1950, L might signify Luis, code name for Morris Cohen." We concur.
Rudolf Abel and Plan B? After the Cohens left the United States Abel had a 'span of control' problem with respect to running their networks, to include the mythical Perseus. How he picked up the slack is very much a mystery. Perhaps a clue can be found in other tasking of Abel by the Center. From Sudoplatov in Special Tasks (pg 242) we learn that, "[Abel] created a new network that encompassed agent informers in California and KGB illegal officers in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina." Among Abel's possessions confiscated by the INS at the time of his arrest was a book titled Paintings from the Sao Paulo Museum, which suggests possible travel by Abel to Brazil in carrying out these duties. Would not a world class intelligence organization develop a 'safe location' and potential escape route, Plan B in this case, for their most valuable and vulnerable assets? Brazil, of course, was a favorite academic R&R (or E&E?) stop after the war for a number of Manhattan Project players. Among other serendipities, it so happens that a passport for South America (Brazil) was issued to a Scientist Z on June 28, 1957 - seven days after Abel was arrested.
PM Abstract Over a span of 5 years author X wrote several articles and finally a book about the exploits of principal Y. These writings were based on Y's government dossier and interviews with Y. Regarding a crucial part of Y's story, X wrote that Y's file as well as Y said that AF and B were the facts. However, on the very last page of his book X wrote that in Y's last interview Y now said AF and C, where C was a distinctly different version of B. The hitch was, that while B was certainly possible, C was patently improbable if not impossible. On the veracity of C, author X expressed doubt due to Y's declining health and also because Y's wife and other close sources had affirmed the original B.
The gospel according to journalists J: Regarding this same part of Y's story, Js claim that X's account, AF and B, is a fabrication intended to hide true account TH. Although AF and TH have some factual intersections, B was a totally false element created by X along with other comrades to obfuscate identities. AF and B, therefore equals PM.
For researchers L, PM does not compute. It is preposterous to think that author X, after creating deception B (per J) and consistently maintaining it throughout all writings, would at the last literary moment jeopardize the enterprise by introducing problematical C. This being illogical bordering on nonsensical, X's candid statements about C bespeak the truth of B.
Fauna and flora: X = Vladimir Chikov; Y = Morris Cohen; AF = contact by Arthur Fielding; B = Fielding was a Spanish Civil War acquaintance of Cohen; C = Fielding was in Spain with Cohen; J = Bombshell's authors; TH = espionage of Ted Hall; PM = the Perseus Myth; L = H. B. Laes.
References The Venona Project, NSA Comment Staline A Vole La Bombe Atomique Aux Americains: Dossier KGB No. 13676, Vladimir Chikov and Gary Kern, 1996 Bombshell, Joseph Albright and Marcia Kunstel, 1997 Special Tasks, Pavel and Analtoli Sudoplatov with Jerrold L. and Leona P. Schecter, 1995
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