Lawrence Martin-Bittman

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Lawrence Martin-Bittman
Born Ladislav Bittman
(1931-02-14)14 February 1931
Prague, Czechoslovakia
(now Czech Republic)
Died 18 September 2018(2018-09-18) (aged 87)
Rockport, Massachusetts, U.S.
Occupation Czechoslovak Intelligence Officer (former) • Author • Professor (Emeritus) • Artist
Notable work The KGB and Soviet Disinformation • THE DECEPTION GAME

Lawrence Martin-Bittman (14 February 1931 – 18 September 2018),[1][2] formerly known as Ladislav Bittman, was an American artist, author, and retired professor of disinformation at Boston University.[3] Prior to his defection to the United States in 1968, he served as an intelligence officer specializing in disinformation for the Czechoslovak Intelligence Service.[4]

Czech Intelligence Service[edit]

While in Czechoslovakia, Ladislav Bittman worked as an intelligence officer, and played an integral part in a propaganda operation known as Operation Neptune.[5] He wrote a few books in the 1970s and 1980s about his career and the role of disinformation in Soviet propaganda operations.[6][7]

Defection to the United States[edit]

The Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia and the subsequent end to the Prague Spring became a driving force behind his decision to leave for the United States in 1968.[8] Defectors at this time, most particularly those fleeing the Soviet Union and/or those formerly in positions of government or intelligence are considered "a valuable source of information" by the US government; the government as such spends at least a year's time debriefing defectors and helping them settle down to their new life.[9] As part of this process, he changed his name from Ladislav Bittman to Lawrence Martin (and later, Lawrence Martin-Bittman) shortly after his debriefing concluded.[10] He was sentenced to death in absentia in 1974 by the Czechoslovak government for treason by way of his defection, a sentence that was not lifted until 20 years later.[11]

Teaching career[edit]

In 1972, 4 years after his defection to the United States, Bittman was given a teaching position at Boston University, primarily teaching classes about international media, particularly the press.[12] He began to incorporate classes on disinformation, propaganda, and international intelligence to make use of his former career. In 1986, this led to him founding a new center in Boston University's school of journalism specifically about disinformation.[13] He appeared before congress in 1987 to testify about the government's treatment of Soviet defectors along with several, others following one man, Nikolai Ryzhkov's return to the Soviet Union.[14]

Later life[edit]

In 1996, following a heart attack which left him unable to teach, Lawrence retired from his position at Boston University and settled down in his home in New England to pursue his hobby of art.[15] He resides in Rockport, Massachusetts, promoting his art as an honorary member of 'Local Colors', an artist community in Gloucester, Massachusetts, until he opened his own studio, Studio 006 and a Half.[16][17]

He died on September 18, 2018 at his home in Rockport, Massachusetts. He was aged 87.[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lawrence Martin-Bittman, 87, Master of Disinformation, Dies
  2. ^ Manning, Martin J., and Herbert Romerstein. Historical Dictionary of American Propaganda. Westport: Greenwood Group, 2004. Print.
  3. ^ Richman, Evan. "The Spy Who Came Into the Classroom Teaches at Boston U." The New York Times 27 Apr. 1994: n. pag. Web.
  4. ^ Manning, Martin J., and Herbert Romerstein. Historical Dictionary of American Propaganda. Westport: Greenwood Group, 2004. Print.
  5. ^ Butterfield, Fox. "BOSTON U. FOCUSES ON DISINFORMATION." The New York Times 18 Nov. 1986: n. pag. Web.
  6. ^ Bittman, Ladislav. The Deception Game; Czechoslovak Intelligence in Soviet Political Warfare. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse U Research, 1972. Print.
  7. ^ Bittman, Ladislav. The KGB and Soviet Disinformation: An Insider's View. Washington: Pergamon-Brassey's, 1985. Print.
  8. ^ Shipler, David K. "After They Defect..." The New York Times 7 Dec. 1986: n. pag. Web.
  9. ^ S. Doc. No. Senate Committee of Intelligence-98-10 at 32 (1983). Print.
  10. ^ Shipler, David K. "After They Defect..." The New York Times 7 Dec. 1986: n. pag. Web.
  11. ^ Richman, Evan. "The Spy Who Came Into the Classroom Teaches at Boston U." The New York Times 27 Apr. 1994: n. pag. Web.
  12. ^ Richman, Evan. "The Spy Who Came Into the Classroom Teaches at Boston U." The New York Times 27 Apr. 1994: n. pag. Web.
  13. ^ Butterfield, Fox. "BOSTON U. FOCUSES ON DISINFORMATION." The New York Times 18 Nov. 1986: n. pag. Web.
  14. ^ Communist Defectors. C-SPAN. Washington, D.C., 8 Oct. 1987. Television.
  15. ^ Martin-Bittman, Lawrence. "Studio 006 And A Half." Studio 006 And A Half. N.p., n.d. Web.
  16. ^ Martin-Bittman, Lawrence. "Studio 006 And A Half." Studio 006 And A Half. N.p., n.d. Web.
  17. ^ "Special Exhibition: Lawerence Martin-Bittman, March 8th to 29th 2014." Local Colors. N.p., 04 Feb. 2014. Web.
  18. ^ Richard Sandomir (21 September 2018). "Lawrence Martin-Bittman, 87, Master of Disinformation, Dies". The New York Times. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • Bittman, Ladislav. The Deception Game; Czechoslovak Intelligence in Soviet Political Warfare. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse U Research, 1972. Print.
  • Bittman, Ladislav. The KGB and Soviet Disinformation: An Insider's View. Washington: Pergamon-Brassey's, 1985. Print.
  • Bittman, Ladislav (1988), The New Image-Makers: Soviet Propaganda & Disinformation Today, Brassey's Inc, ISBN 978-0-08-034939-8