In an interview with Henry Allen published in The Post Sept. 3, Harry Rositzke makes the interesting comment that the fears of journalist Claire Sterling that the Russians are behind world terrorism are unfounded. Indeed, in his recent book on the Soviet secret police, the KGB, Rositzke contends that control over international terrorism would be beyond KGB capabilities, and that in any event most current terrorism would continue regardless of KGB support.
To be sure, a regime born in conspiracy, and whose entire official life is shrouded in secrecy, is highly skilled in covering its tracks. Nowhere is this so true as in the activities of the KGB. But despite this secrecy, and Rositzke's theories of why the Soviets shouldn't be involved in international terrorism, there is substantial evidence to the contrary:
General Jan Sejna, a senior Czech security officer who defected to the West in 1968, reports establishment in the mid-60s of terrorist training camps in Czechoslovakia under direct KGB control. He even recalls the names of 14 senior members of the Italian Red Brigades who took this training and returned to Italy to assassinate Italian business and political leaders, including former premier Aldo Moro. (Since that time some 7,300 terrorist incidents have been reported, about 40 percent of which were directed against American citizens or property. By contrast, almost none were directed against Soviet or Eastern European targets.)
Illyich Ramirez Sanchez, "Carlos the Jackal," would have a place on any all-pro team of international terrorists. His record of terrorist involvement-- with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Japanese commandos, the Italian Red Brigades, the German Red Army Faction, Turkish arms smugglers, South American guerrillas--is widely known. But it all began in 1966, when he was trained in terrorist arts by KGB Col. Viktor Semenov at a guerrilla camp in Cuba.
Nestor Garcia, until his defection a year ago, served as the nominal first secretary of the Cuban mission to the United Nations, but was actually chief of the Cuban intelligence service (DGI) in New York. He reports that since 1969 the DGI has been completely controlled and financed by the KGB under the direction of the same Viktor Semenov, now a KGB general.
One of the busiest KGB training grounds for both Arab and Western terrorists is the Peoples Democratic Republic of Yemen, the former British Crown Colony of Aden, which proclaims itself the world's first (and to date only) "Arab Marxist State." There, in at least two camps, Soviet, Cuban and East German instructors have been training for the past dozen years all kinds of terrorists, ranging from the Basque ETA, IRA-Provos and the German Red Army Faction (successors to the Baader-Meinhof Gang) to "national liberation" guerrillas preparing to invade the neighboring pro-Western Sultanate of Oman and the fragile Yemen Arab Republic (North Yemen).
Perhaps the most subservient of all the beneficiaries of KGB largess is the PLO. According to former Israeli intelligence chief Shlomo Gazit, about 2,000 Palestinian terrorists are being trained in the Soviet Union at any given time. And Zehdi Labib Terzi, the PLO observer at the United Nations, in a 1979 television interview said with surprising candor: "It's no secret that our youth go to the USSR for training and that we also receive from them automatic weapons, explosives and supplies." The PLO, he said, is "an adopted son of Moscow."
In sum, Rositzke's theories about the Soviet role in terrorism are hardly supported by the facts. And facts, as Comrade Lenin used to admonish the faithful, are stubborn things.