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Albert Goldman

Attorney for Trotsky’s Widow Blasts
Story of GPU Assassin

(19 October 1940)

From Socialist Appeal, Vol. 4 No. 42, 19 October 1940, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghanfor ETOL.

David Alfaro Siqueiros, the leader of the machine-gun band which attacked Trotsky’s home on May 24th, 1940, less than three months before another GPL assassin, “Frank Jacson”, was successful in assassinating Trotsky, is now awaiting trial in Mexico City for the first attempt on Trotsky. He was captured after a five months’ hunt. Upon his arrest his leading role in the machine-gunning was confirmed by accomplices who have been in jail since June. Unable to deny his complicity, Siqueiros told a weird story to the investigating judge. The following analysis of Siqueiros’ “explanation” was issued to the Mexican press by Albert Goldman, who is acting as attorney for Natalia Trotsky.


Stalin’s GPU may be skillful in organizing cowardly murders, but it is not at all skillful in creating stories to explain the criminal activities of its agents.

The story which Siqueiros wants us to believe in explanation for the May 24 assault on Trotsky is as bad as the story which the GPU created for explaining the murder of Trotsky.

If one is to believe Siqueiros, he transformed himself into a detective overnight. The motive for the May 24 attack, according to Siqueiros, was “to find documents in Trotsky’s home proving Trotsky’s counter-revolutionary activities, nationally and internationally.” Siqueiros did not see fit to indicate to the public exactly what documents he was looking for and in what part of Trotsky’s home he hoped to find these documents.

Now it is well known that there were thousands of documents in the Trotsky home. It took six huge cases, especially constructed for that purpose, to ship the documents to Harvard University. It took six guards and secretaries two days simply to get all the documents together and to pack them for shipment.

If Siqueiros was such a good detective, he undoubtedly knew all about the number of documents in the Trotsky home and he also knew that he would have to send into the house at least six people who knew three or four languages, who could spend two or three days in examining all the documents in order to find the ones that he wanted. But the evidence shows that he only sent men with revolvers and machine guns.

The most peculiar thing about this alleged search for documents was that none of the people armed with machine guns and revolvers touched a single document. On the contrary, they threw incendiary bombs in order to destroy the documents. Of course Siqueiros claims that the people who got inside did not do a very good job, but it is peculiar, to say the least, that they did not indicate the slightest desire to find any kind of documents. They did indicate a great desire to kill people and to destroy documents.

Is it possible that Siqueiros will claim that the gangsters kidnapped Sheldon Harte, Trotsky’s secretary, in order to get documents? There are indications in his testimony that he will try to accuse Sheldon Harte of being an accomplice of his, even though Sheldon Harte was murdered.

When the Judge very astutely asked Siqueiros whether it required 300 or more bullets in order to find documents, he nonchalantly replied that it “depends upon circumstances.” We presume that the next time, having learned the lesson that 300 bullets are not enough, Siqueiros will use at least several thousand bullets.

We can expect that from now on the friends and defendants of the GPU, who once upon a time so energetically propagated the theory of “self-assault”, will grab hold of this new theory—that the attack was made in order to discover documents of “counter-revolutionary” activity.

Siqueiros’ ‘Justification’ for Machine-Gunning

Siqueiros presumes to justify the assault on the ground that it was an act of revolutionists against counter-revolutionists. We shall at this time not ask the question: “What right has a gangster and murderer to assume the role of a revolutionist?” We shall confine our questions simply to this: “How did Siqueiros conclude that Trotsky was a counterrevolutionist?”

It is very significant that Siqueiros did not take the trouble to mention which of Trotsky’s books he read, and which one of these books is a counter-revolutionary work. Nor did he mention having read a single article that Trotsky wrote. It is a safe guess that Siqueiros did not read a single book nor a single article written by Trotsky, and that his view to the effect that Trotsky was a counter-revolutionist simply comes from the GPU, the organization that Siqueiros is so anxious to defend and at the same time to disassociate himself from.

It would be exceedingly wise for Siqueiros to indicate to the Judge exactly what Trotsky wrote that can be considered counter-revolutionary. Perhaps Siqueiros, like the assassin Jacson, will claim that he had secret conversations with Trotsky in which Trotsky proposed to him that he go to Russia and kill Stalin. At any rate let Siqueiros indicate exactly what Trotsky said or what Trotsky wrote so that the Mexican people and all others can judge for themselves whether or not Trotsky is a counter-revolutionist.

Siqueiros claims to be a revolutionist. Siqueiros also, no doubt, feels that not only Trotsky but Trotskyists in general are counterrevolutionists. He also claims that to kill anyone he designates as a counter-revolutionist is a political act and should be judged accordingly.

It is obvious that if Siqueiros is permitted to go free, then everyone whom he chooses to designate as a counter-revolutionary is there by doomed to death at his hands, and the same of course applies to his friends whose opinions coincide with those of Siqueiros.

Tries to Shield Guilt of the C.P. and GPU

Siqueiros’ anxiety to whitwash the Communist Party and the GPU is evident in almost every sentence that he utters. He plays up the fact that he Was expelled from the Communist Party in 1929, as if such an expulsion, assuming it to be a fact, would prevent him from doing everything that the Communist Party and the GPU told him to do.

That he followed the Communist Party line very closely is known to everybody, and he admits it. His attempt to create tactical differences between himself and the Communist Party falls flat, in view of the fact that he never wrote about these tactical differences and no one ever knew about them until his arrest.

And to show that he is not a GPU agent, he naively states that in Spain he was too busy fighting to be a GPU agent ... We do not know how much fighting Siqueiros actually did. The fact is that all the GPU “Colonels” came out alive from Spain, and it is a fact that one of the principal reasons for the defeat of the Loyalist Army was the kind of fighting that “Colonels” like Siqueiros participated in while in Spain. Their main fighting was not against the Fascists, but against the revolutionary workers who were anxious to defeat fascism. Hundreds of revolutionary workers were killed by the GPU in Spain. The GPU “Colonels” succeeded in gaining a victory for Franco.

The testimony of all his accomplices makes it impossible for Siqueiros to crawl out of responsibility for the May 24th attack and for the murder of Sheldon Harte. Nor will he succeed in convincing any intelligent person who doesn’t take orders from Moscow that he acted independently of the GPU. His boasting about the amount of money that he “could make” (and not what he did make) will not convince anybody that the financing of such an expensive attempt as the one made on May 24 was the work of one individual. It could only be done by an organization that has inexhaustible financial resources, like the GPU.

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