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John Barron (1) (1930–2005)

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Verk av John Barron


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Wichita Falls, Texas, USA
University of Missouri
Reader's Digest
Kort biografi
John Daniel Barron was an American journalist and investigative writer. He is best remembered as the author of several books dealing with specifics of Soviet espionage via the KGB and other agencies.

He graduated from the University of Missouri and studied Russian at the United States Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California. He served in Berlin as a naval intelligence officer.

In 1957, he joined the Washington Star as an investigative reporter. In 1965, Barron joined the Washington bureau of Reader’s Digest. There he wrote more than 100 stories on a wide variety of subjects.



Written by John Barron. The courage of Lt. Balenko is irrefutable.
iwb | 3 andra recensioner | May 27, 2023 |
“Operation Solo” by John Barron is an astonishing and well-written book. How is it that name of the the most valuable spy the United States has ever had is practically unknown? This is a great spy story, and it’s true.

Morris Childs, son of Russian Jews who emigrated to Chicago, joined the American Communist Party in 1921 where he rose to become a member of the Central Committee and ran unsuccessfully for US Congress on the Communist Party ticket. His brother Jack later joined the party also. After some shabby treatment by the party in 1947 and his health suffering, Morris dropped out, and Jack became inactive also in part to help care for Morris. This sudden withdrawal from party activity triggered a visit to Jack by two FBI agents eager to assess his potential to cooperate.

Here the FBI hit the jackpot. Jack was agreeable to cooperation but pointed out that brother Morris was their ticket to the top. Morris had become wiser about the USSR and realized they were being ruled by a cutthroat band of mass murderers. Two FBI agents appealed successfully to Morris and farsightedly and on their own initiative enabled payment for him to be treated at the Mayo Clinic, where his health was restored.

Now working with the FBI, the brothers re-established their party connections and worked their way up party ranks. Morris became the liaison between the American and the Soviet parties. He made dozens of trips into the Soviet Union, enjoying access to several successive premiers and topmost Soviet intelligence operatives as well as Mao Tse Tung and Fidel Castro. He was fully aware of the horrors awaiting him in Moscow if he were discovered.

Thus the FBI was aware of every move of the American Communist Party and of much information of greatest importance about affairs in the Soviet Union and its top leadership and spy apparatus, until the operation was terminated in 1980.

The information obtained by Morris Childs was of the greatest strategic and tactical assistance in the Cold War. For example, it was Childs who first learned of the widening fracture between Soviet and Chinese Communism, completely unsuspected in the US. Without this information, it would not have occurred to Nixon to arrange his historic visit to China in 1972.

The Soviet Hierarchy is an insulated and paranoid bunch, enjoying their lavish homes and dachas, rarely going outside their own pampered little worlds and scornful of sentiments in the streets of their own country and largely ignorant of the rest of the world. Many start believing their own propaganda. Childs saw the resulting delusional thinking first hand and recognized its dangers. Paranoid minds sometimes decide to strike first in order to forestall an imaginary threat. Childs repeatedly had to provide accurate explanations of American activities and reassure the Soviet hierarchy of the lack of aggressive intent of the United States.

In fact, no sooner had Childs quit traveling to the USSR than a possible nuclear exchange was averted. About 1981, during the Reagan presidency, a British intelligence agent learned that KGB Chairman Yuri Andropov had announced to the Politburo that the Reagan administration was actively preparing for nuclear war and a possible surprise attack on the Soviet Union. Andropov explained that NATO, Japan and China were conniving to initiate World War Three. The KGB set in motion an intelligence operation code named RYAN to gather evidence worldwide of these preparations.

If Childs had been there, he could have correctly explained the meager facts that the KGB had which apparently supported this wild but dangerous notion. As it was, the KGB, operating in its usual paranoid top-down manner, sent out instructions to its intelligence assets around the world to find the evidence of this plot. Thereafter these assets, knowing that when the KGB asked them to find evidence, they had better find evidence (there was none), began producing every little scrap which could conceivably support the theory.

All this was not helped by the fact that for years the Soviet leaders were incapacitated: Brezhnev was a walking zombie, Andropov became deathly ill, and Chernenko was senile and died. A few KGB officers recognized this nuclear scenario as an insane idea, but it enjoyed such patronage at the top that none dared try to stop it. On the other hand, some field bosses tried to gain status by inflaming the paranoia with absurd reports. Some reports of this paranoia made it back to the administration but sounded so bizarre they were dismissed.

When Mikhail Gorbachev took power in 1985, the KGB briefed him that Operation RYAN was a complete failure, having learned nothing about the US position in the matter. But the doomsday notion was still believed. It was not until later in 1985, when Reagan sat down with Gorbachev, declared that the US had no intention of attacking the USSR, and invited him to the US to see for himself, that Operation RYAN ended.

Also of note, it was from Childs that the Johnson administration knew that the USSR was not involved in the assassination of President Kennedy, and another possible serious misunderstanding was averted.

Morris Childs was awarded the Soviet Order of the Red Banner for his services(!) to the Communist Party. He and Jack Childs received the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Reagan.

The contributions of Morris (and his wife Eva) and Jack Childs should be known and appreciated by everyone. Great heroes, both, and hats off to the FBI and its agents, who ingeniously negotiated multiple perils from within the organization and our own government, as well as from a paranoid and vigilant KGB.

The internal FBI files on Operation Solo are now available free at
… (mer)
KENNERLYDAN | 1 annan recension | Jul 11, 2021 |
Tells of MIG-25 pilot Viktor Belenko's escape from the Soviet Union, the events he precipitated in Washington, Moscow, and Tokyo, the secrets he disclosed, and the impact of his flight on world affairs. To be a MIG pilot in Russia is to be as close to heaven as communism allows. Millions are spent on your training. And nothing is too lavish for your living. Lt Viktor Belenko was a MIG-25 pilot - one of Russia's elite warriors and the supreme expression of the ideal communist man. Or so everyone believed.
Thwn on September 6, 1976, while on a routine training flight, Lt. Belenko veered off course - and embarked on an incredible escape, an unforgiveable betrayal of his nation, and a daring and torturous personal journey of hope and courage.
MIG PILOT is the thrilling true story of how Russia's greatest air military secret was stolen and delivered right into America's lap. But it's more - it's the fascinating life story of a peasant's son who grew up to possess every luxury and honor Russia can bestow. And who threw it all away for one desperate chance to possess a dream. The American Dream.
… (mer)
MasseyLibrary | 3 andra recensioner | Mar 30, 2019 |
I know. It's not terribly well-written, it's mildly chauvinistic, campy, 'not very "PC" and very "80s" in tone. But this is quite the pre-internet page-turner. 5 stars for subject matter, 4 for effort.
1 rösta
Sandydog1 | Nov 26, 2017 |


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