Stylistically, Ernest Hemingway was one of my biggest influences. We both grew up in Illinois and started our careers in journalism, although he was two generations ahead of me. Before Hemingway, most writers affected an embellished style filled with flowery adjectives, similar to early styles of oratory. Hemingway led the change to writing in a simple and clear voice, without all the affectations. Louis Armstrong did the same thing in music, when he dropped those affected accents used by dudes like Al Jolson and all the other pop singers of that time.
But I never could fathom Hemingway’s macho spirituality, and it took me a long time to understand why he took his own life (he was going senile, which may have been aggravated by electroshock therapy, and wanted to die with dignity). Hemingway started out supporting the Marxist regime change in Spain and became an ardent anti-Nazi during WWII. But did you know Hemingway also volunteered to be a spy for Stalin and took the code name “Argo” from the KGB? Just one of the many revelations coming from the recently uncovered KGB files. Apparently, Papa didn’t manifest any useful info for the Kremlin, as he cared little for politics in practice, preferring his holy trinity of fishing, fucking and drinking. After a while, the KGB quietly deactivated him.
Hemingway had a fellow traveler who also volunteered for the epic fight against fascism in Spain, and that would be George Orwell, another immense influence on my young journalism career. Orwell initially supported Marxism, but got jaded as both Homage to Catalonia and Animal Farm blew the lid off that myth Marxism is a viable, working paradigm and not just another complex dogma system for mind control. Marxism was a carefully controlled op, set-up as the dialectical opponent to fascism, but it basically was run by the same banks, which is why Marxism produced nothing but dictatorships, and in practice is just another steely fist of fascism hidden under a velvet glove. Of course, Orwell revealed these secrets in his landmark book 1984, which is so much in vogue today with the NSA revelations.
But things can be a lot more complicated than they seem, and just as Hemingway was briefly a Kremlin spy, there’s evidence to suggest Orwell may have been a spook himself. See, journalists and writers make really useful spooks, especially when it comes to producing propaganda. Before he became a radical, Orwell was educated at Eton and served as a Colonial police officer in Burma. Then his life took a sudden new direction.
Recently, MI5 declassified documents about Orwell, and I have to say, they draw an interesting picture. Police in Wigam, a mining town, first reported Orwell to MI5 in 1936, when the writer was 33. Although he was a known communist organizer and MI5 already had a file on him that had been opened in 1929, MI5 took no action and never investigated him once? In 1942, while Orwell was working for the BBC in India, he was again reported by police, who noted he “dressed in a bohemian fashion while at work and had ‘advanced Communist views.’”
Yet MI5 again did nothing to investigate this Commie journalist working for the BBC? Seems odd, doesn’t it? When asked if Orwell should remain an accredited journalist during WWII, MI5 responded cryptically “The Security Services have records of this man, but raise no objection to his appointment.” Recently, MI5 tried to reform opinions of Orwell by releasing a document showing he gave a long list of names to MI5 on his deathbed at 46. The names were all people Orwell suspected of being secret Stalin supporters. Why would Orwell do that, if he wasn’t a spook himself?
But the rabbit hole goes even deeper. Orwell’s commander and closest friend in Spain was Georges Kopp, who we now know was an agent for both MI5 and the Nazi Vichy regime in France. While Kopp was working for MI5, his handler was Anthony Blunt, a member of the notorious Cambridge 5, all traitors who fled to Russia after they were uncovered. Or were they?
When Kopp was captured in Spain, unlike all other rebel officers, he was spared execution. Who was Kopp really working for anyway? And who was Blunt working for? And who was Orwell working for? It’s hard to tell for certain. And that’s why they call deep politics a “wilderness of mirrors.”
When MI5 or the CIA or even the KGB opens up secret files, do you really think they spill all the beans? Or are they carefully controlling the future by controlling the past? War is a managed profit stream and the same bankers often fund and secretly control both sides. Orwell got a good glimpse into how this system actually works and although 1984 was written as a glimpse into the far away future, in fact, Orwell was describing the current system of controlling language, meaning and oppositional forces. Because if there’s going to be an oppositional force to what you’re doing, it’s best if you create that force in secret so it never does any unintended damage to your bottom line. And that, my friends, is how spooks play their games.
One Reply to “Ernest Hemingway was a spy for the Kremlin”
Interesting stuff! The fact that so many famous authors and celebrities (like Harry Houdini, Aleister Crowley, Errol Flynn, Bob Hope, to name a few) have dark ties to military intelligence and espionage is a minefield of important cultural information.