Weekly Featured Profile – Kurt Alan Stand

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kurtstandKurt Alan Stand, then 42, a regional labor union representative along with his wife, Theresa Squillacote (39), a former senior staff lawyer in the office of the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, and friend James Clark (49), a private investigator, were arrested October 4, 1997, on charges of spying for East Germany and the Soviet Union. All three were convicted and jailed. Stand was due for release from prison in 2012. His whereabouts are currently unknown.

Kurt Stand recruited his wife and his friend Clark.

All three were members together of the Communist Party USA youth wing, the Young Workers Liberation League.

Entering high school, I acted on my beliefs — participating in the peace movement and in defense of such imprisoned activists as Angela Davis and Phillip and Daniel Berrigan, joining in local New York City battles for rent control and welfare rights and in support actions for striking postal workers and the United Farm Workers grape boycott. I also took part in events on behalf of movements for social justice abroad, be it for civil rights in Northern Ireland, on behalf of Puerto Rican independence, against the economic and cultural blockade of Cuba, or in opposition to South African apartheid.

Kurt Stand was a leader of Democratic Socialists of America, at the time of his arrest. His wife was then active in the Communist Party spinoff Committees of Correspondence, a fact that didn’t seem to concern her Pentagon bosses.

Kurt Stand began his spying activities in 1972 after being recruited by East Germany to cultivate other spies in the Washington, D.C. area. He was introduced to East German intelligence officers (the Stasi) through his father, Mille Stand, a communist and chemical engineer who fled Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

An FBI affidavit said East Germany’s relationship with the Stand family goes back to Stand’s father, but In a secretly recorded conversation, Squillacote said the family relationship was even deeper.

“Between my husband and myself, we go back in this work to 1918…” she reportedly told an undercover FBI agent.

Stand and Squillacote frequently traveled to Mexico, Germany and Canada, during which time Stand would meet with their East German handlers. When the two Germanys united in 1990, Stand’s controllers tried to recruit him to spy for the Soviet Union and then for the Russian Federation. Although he never gained access to classified material, his role in the operation was to recruit agents and to provide information about the non-governmental groups with which he worked. Stand allegedly received $24,650 for his recruiting and coordinating efforts.

In June 2008, Kurt Stand wrote an essay in prison entitled: “Supporting Barack Obama: A Prison-Eye View of the Presidential Campaign.”

The conversations I’ve listened too and taken part in over these past months have made me a stronger supporter of Obama than I otherwise would have been; have strengthened my perception that his election could be a critical part of building a movement of resistance to our country’s current direction, could help provide the space or framework in which more radical alternatives are again spoken and heard…

It will be up to those who want genuine social justice to build movements that give him the possibility of pushing further; finding out then whether he will or won’t remembering that the key will not be him but us (us defined as those who worked for his election, for social justice activists, the left) and what we do, how we organize. How we use the social solidarity the campaign is developing as the basis of a renewed social solidarity…’

In sum, radicals and progressives ought to join those—including those in prison—who have already decided to back Obama, see where the campaign can take us, see what can then be accomplished…


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