Reed Irvine - Editor
|May A, 1982|
THE NEW NUKE HYSTERIA
The world has lived with nuclear weapons for over 36 years. None has been used in anger since the bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought a mercifully quick end to World War II, saving, on a net basis, hundreds of thousands of American and Japanese lives. The devastation of the two Japanese cities left no doubt in anyone's mind about the tremendous destructive capacity of these weapons. Over the years our defense strategy has been based on the theory that nuclear war could best be prevented by making it clear to the Soviets that they could not hope to win a nuclear war. If they used nuclear weapons against us, their country would be destroyed.
So far that strategy has worked. Our nuclear deterrent has served to protect not only this country, but Western Europe and Japan as well In the meantime the Soviets have been carrying out the augmentation and modernization of their nuclear arsenal to the point where it is believed that they could destroy 90 percent of our land-based missiles in a first strike. We would be able to retaliate, destroying Soviet cities with our submarine-launched missiles, if we chose to do so, but that decision would have to be made with the knowledge that the Soviets would still have the capability of destroying our cities. It is believed that in such an exchange they would come out with far fewer casualties and less destruction to their industrial plant because of the elaborate civil defense program they have devised to protect their population.
Under those conditions, it is conceivable that even the most hawkish American President might shrink from retaliating against a Soviet first strike, knowing that this would be followed by a second Soviet strike that would devastate our country. This is the basis of the theory that the Soviets could win nuclear war. Having lost nearly all of our land-based ICBM's in the Soviet first strike, we would not invite a still greater holocaust that would achieve nothing militarily except our own destruction. Indeed, in the great geo-political chess game, the Soviets would be able to move more audaciously simply because our leaders would be well aware of the fact that we would come out the losers in ny nuclear showdown.
The sudden resurgence of concern about the destructive power of nuclear weapons that we are now seeing in the Ground Zero and nuclear freeze campaigns has to be viewed in this context. It is in the interest of the Soviet Union that the United States do nothing that would deprive the Soviets of the ability to destroy our land- based ICBMs in a first strike. The deployment of the MX missiles in a system that would be less vulnerable to a Soviet first strike than are the Minuteman missiles would frustrate the Soviet strategy. So would the deployment of the Pershing II and cruise missiles in Europe.
The anti-nuclear campaign which is currently receiving extraordinary publicity in our media has two effects that are damaging to the United States. if the public can be convinced that nothing is worth the risk of nuclear war, the chances of the Soviets winnlu8 the same of nuclear blackmail are greatly insreseed. If at the same time, those fears can be parlayed into a refusal to upgrade end protect our missiles from a Soviet first strike, we will remain highly vulnerable to their nuclear blackmail.
Since the campaign is so helpful to Soviet strategic objectives, it is not surprising to find that it has the backing of the Soviet Union and Soviet front groups. If those connections were exposed by the media, the general public might be expected to regard the campaign with greater skepticism, but our investigative journalists show no interest in this type of expose.
The tactic of mobilizing public opinion in the West to aid Soviet strategy is an old one. In 19S0, the country was flooded with Stockholm Peace Petititions, which echoed precisely the damndo of the Soviet government for' the outlawing of atomic weapons as instruments of aBression and mass murder of peoples.' The petition emanated from a conference in Stockholm, where representatives of the Communist Party, USA, joined in bitter attacks on America and praise of Stalin's Soviet Union. Louis Budenz, former editor of the Dally Worker, the Communist Party paper, described these campaigns in words that are applicable today, saying: "These Communist 'peace offensives,' designed to befuddle American opinion end disarm end defeat the United States, have been mere successful than is generally imagined. They have been supported by many prominent men and women--professors end teachers, scientists, clergymen, lawyers, artists, writers, actors, end professional people in many other fields. These prominent people infect others. They influence newspapers of large circulation. Their influence extends far out into the American community, causing bewilderment and hesitation at best, and at worst organized aid to Soviet aggression. They contribute to the general vacillation that has marked American policy." (The Cry Is Peace, Regnery. 1952, pp. 96-97)
The directing force behind these efforts since 1950 has been the World Peace Council. which has been recognized as a Soviet front from its birth. It is playing an important role today in the current anti-nuclear campaigns. It is headed by an Indian. Romesh Chandra. who in the 1960s was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of India. A 1978 C.I.A. report says: "Yet the Kremlin does not rely on Chandra alone to carry out its policies in the World Peace Council. A representative of the Soviet Communist Party has for years sat at Chandra's side, in a background role. but holding ultimate control. This position was held for a number of years by Aleksandr Barkay, but the job was taken over early in 1977 by Igor Belyavev. Barkay and later Belyavev...were recognized within the organization as the final authority, including the power of veto. Berkov, for example, was known to have overruled Chandra on certain decisions involving meetings or other activities and relayed the party line concerning WPC causes and operations."
It is not surprising that the World Peace Council supports every twist and turn of Soviet policy, including backing Soviet-spawned terrorism and subversion and defending Warsaw Pact military maneuvers as "peace-keeping" exerdses. The present goals of the WPC are to block the deployment of cruise missiles, Pershing II missiles end neutron warheads in Europe end to halt American efforts to modernize our strategic nuclear forces with the MX missile and the B-1 bomber.
The World Peace Council has found an abundance of helpers in this country. The network of individuals and organizations involved in the new 'peace" offensive has been described in meticulous detail in a special report entitled The Soviet Peace Offensive edited by John Rees and published by Western Goals, 309A Cameron St., Alexandria, Va. 22314. This report states that the primary organizing focus and for the Soviet-directed disarmament offensive is the United Nations Second Special Session on Disarmament to be held in New York from June 7 to July 9, 1982.
Among those participating will be the representatives of many of the U.N.-affiliated non-governmental organizations--such as the World Pence Council. An American named Sidney Peck has been appointed Director of International Relations for these non- governmental organizations. Peck is responsible for coordinating the demonstrations planned to coincide with the session on disarmament. Rees describes Peck as a former functionary of the Communist Party. USA who has been active with the World Peace Council and who was a co-founder of Mobilization for Survival, an important cog in the network.
Rees reports that a meeting to plan the activities in connection with the disarmament session was held at the Riverside Church in New York City last October. It was attended by representatives of 72 groups, including the Communist Party, the U.S. Peace Council (the local arm of the World Peace Council), the Socialist Workers Party (Trotskyitc communists), the Workers World Party (a communist splinter group), the People's Anti- War Movement (controlled by the WWP), the Coalition for a People's Alternative [includes the Puerto Rican Socialist Party and the radical American Indian Movement), the All-African People's Revolutionary Party, the National Lawyers Guild, the American Friends Service Committee and the AFSC Nuclear Freeze Campaign, Clergy and Laity Concerned. Committee for Marxist Education. Center for Defense Information, Catholic Peace Fellowship, Mobilization for Survival, Greenpeace, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Committee for a Nuclear Freeze, War Resisters League, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and Women Strike for Peace.
Rees says that there was a consensus among those attending that while the real blame for the arms race lay on the United States, it would be necessary to make some criticism of the Soviet Union in order to maintain credibility with the media and the public. This deception was articulated by Dick Greenwood, special assistant to William Winpisinger, president of the Machinists Union. Greenwood said that because of the "myth of the 'red hordes'" and "deep-seated prejudice" against the Soviets, "we cannot simply address one character in the cast; we have to address ourselves to both the U.S. and the USSR .... This is the only approach that will give us credibility to reach the community, and is essential to combat the reality of the myth of the Soviet threat."
The people involved in these activities include many of the veterans of the anti-Vietnam agitation such as Cora Weiss, William Sloane Coffin, Jr., and Sidney Peck. Terry Provance, one of the founders of Mobilization for Survival, provides a good illustration of the range of interests and connections of a "peace" organizer.
According to John Rems, Provence was an organizer for the Harrisburg Defense Committee, which was created to support a group of radicals, including Daniel and Philip Berrigan, who had been charged with conspiracy to kidnap Henry Kissinger. Provence then went to work for the defense committee far Daniel Ellsberg the man who stole the Pentagon papers. He was also connected with Medical Aid for Indochina, a group formed following the appeals of the World Pence Council for aid to North Vietnam. in 1973, Provence was made director of the American Friends Service Committee's "National Peace Campaign--Stop the B-1 Bomber."
Provance's statements began to find their way into the communist press in articles on disarmament and the dismantling of NATO. In 1976, he was a delegate to a World Peace Council conference in Helsinki. The following year, he helped organize Mobilization for Survival, which includes among its constituent organizations the Communist Party, USA, the U.S. Peace Council. Women for Racial and Economic Equality and the Southern Organizing Committee for Racial- Economic Justice--all Communist front groups. Provance participated in a rally in Washington on October 30, 1979 with Dutch Communist Party activist Nice Schouten and the head of the East German Peace Council Walter Rumpel. On April 4, 1981, Provance was a featured speaker at an anti-NATO rally in Bonn, West Germany organized by the Communist Party and the World Peace Council.
According to John Rees, nuclear freeze leaders, including Dan Ebner of the Fellowship of Reconciliation, have said that a moratorium on the construction of nuclear weapons is the first step toward disarmament. It is only a tool to that end, says Ebner. It is necessary because the public can be convinced that a moratorium won't endanger national security.
Unilateral disarmament is a feasible goal only in the minds of those who have great trust in the Soviets or who see nothing wrong with Soviet conquest of the world, including conquest of the United States. The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, which is being supported by actress Joanne Woodward, is urging its members to participate in a "mis-accuracy in media" campaign. Rees says, 'Whenever WILPF members see a newspaper article reference to Soviet aggression or the Soviet military build-up, they have been instructed to call the reporter and editor, politely explain that 'Soviet threat' concepts are examples of 'biased thinking,' and ask for corrective action.'
Leslie Cagan, a staff organizer for Mobilization for Survival, has called for a restructuring of society, fighting "capitalism. racism and sexism." She believes that one way to accomplish this is to take funds away from the military and use them for social programs. To build the coalitition necessary to accomplish this, CalKan says what is needed is "a common enemy as well as a common vision." The common enemies in her view include President Reagan, the right, "the military- industrial complex, racism, and sexism."
One of the stars used by the movement to disinform the gullible public about Soviet intentions is Gen. Nino Pasti, an Italian officer who was once a NATO vice commander. Pasti was elected to the senate in Italy on the Communist ticket, information that Representatives Schroeder, Dellurns and Conyors omitted when they invited their congressional colleagues to a briefing by Pasti sponsored by SANE. Pasti assures us that the Soviets are the most convinced opponent of war and that the Warsaw powers' forces are purely defensive.
The communist manipulation of the anti-nuclear movement has been better understood in Europe than in this country. Edward Leigh, who formerly served as correspondence secretary to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, states that the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in Britain wants unilateral dbarmament by the Wast. He says they disguise their real purposes when they visit this country, pretending to be non-political, well-meaning churchmen. Mr. Leigh and Leonard Holihan, director of the Coalition for Peace through Security of London, found that the American journalists had little interest in the communist connections of the European peace movement. Mr. Holihan states: "We are facing a global threat from world communism but have no global stratagy with which to combat it. It is essential that Americans understand the radical political nature of the so-called 'peace' movement in Europe. There is absolute proof of Soviet funding of some elements of the European 'peace' movement. There is even strong circumstantial evidence of Soviet involvement in the CND."
Evidence of Soviet involvement in the anti-nuclear movement in Europe is strong, but our media have said little about it. It received little attention here when the Danish Government expelled a Soviet diplomat, Vladimir Merkoulov, last November. Merkoulov had been caught channeling funds to "peace" groups. Several months earlier, the Netherlands had expelled Vadim Leonov, who was a KGB agent posing as a Tasa news agency correspondent. He was the Kremlin's link to the 'peace' groups. At one point he boasted: "If Moscow decides that 50,000 demonstrators must take to the streets in Holland, they will take to the streets.'
Last November, President Reagan expressed willingness to scrap plans to deploy Pershing II missiles in Europe if the Soviets would scrap their IRBM missiles targeted on Europe, The British CND denounced this as "a propaganda ploy." Novelist John Braine, who had once been a CND supporter, commented: the CND reaction to the Reagan initiative gave the game away. Despite its great protestations of political impartiality. CND is about as independent of the Soviet line as a ventriloquist's dummy. Indeed. it provides a textbook example of the way in which Communists involved in any movement will take over."
The London Daily Telegraph has estimated that a quarter of the CND's council are members of the Communist Party. Robert Porter, writing in the Daily Mail last November, said that "at least seven CND leaders are either card-carrying Communists or sympathizers. Leading British Communist have used CND platforms to attack the U.S. and defend the Soviet Union. Britain's Defense Minister, Geoffrey Pattie, has said: "A straight-forward 'Make Britain Weaker' movement would set nowhere. But a CND movement designed to do exactly the same thing commands support because many people are so worried about the danger of war that they refuse to think through the consequences of their actions."
On April 6, The New York Times revealed that the Greens, a West German environmentalist party, which has played a key role in the anti-nuclear movement, had denounced the growing communist control of the movement, We did not see this reported by any other paper.
The polls indicate that the nuclear scare campaign is having the desired results. Since the journalists have shown so little interest in exposing the Soviet role in this movement, convert the information in this report into letters to the editors of your favorite newspapers.
The executive editor of The New York Times, Abe Rosenthal, demonstrated that he had been badly stung by AIM's criticism of The Times for running on January 11 an uncorroborated allegation that eight American military advisers in El Salvador had observed a torture training session for Salvadoran troops. Mr. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger, Chairman of The Times, had conceded in a letter to AIM that it had been an error to give the story prominent play, since the charges made by a young Salvadoran army deserter lacked any corroboration.
In an interview in the April 1O, 1982 issue of Editor & Publisher, Rosenthal said the charge that the press has credibility problems with its coverage of El Salvador was "a phony issue" and "a political red herring." Rosenthal said: "Credibility is a word used by people who are partisans. AIM criticizes the press for political motivation, it's pure agit prop, just as the communists use agit prop. They seize on a point and carry on a propaganda campaign against the paper or the individual."
Referring to the torture story, Rosenthal, said: "I felt that story was overplayed. That story was worth only a few paragraphs or nothing because there was only one source. Legitimate criticism of that story can be well taken, but that is not how it's being used. It's being used, ignoring everything else the man and the paper has done, as an example of so-called credibility. The only people who have no credibility as far as rm concerned are the AIM people. Absolutely none."
Mr. Rosenthal says AIM lacks credibility because we criticized The Times for having given big play to a story that Rosenthal admits did not deserve more than a few paragraphs, if that.
Mr. Rosenthal should thank AIM for having called this serious mistake to the attention of The Times. He should also have hastened to tell the readers of The Times what he has now confessed to Editor & Publisher--that the story was a mistake. The readers of The New York Post know about it, since their paper picked up the story from AIM.
Rosenthal is inaccurate in saying that we ignored everything else that Raymond Bonner had written for The Times. In the February-II 1982 AIM Report we analyzed critically other articles that Bonner had written about the guerrillas in El Salvador based on the guided tour that he had taken into the guerrilla-held territory. We said that Bonner was a worthy successor to Herbert Matthews, the Times correspondent who did so much to help Fidel Castro capture Cuba.
AIM is not alone in recognizing Bonner's services to the guerrillas. Here is what a leftwing, Mother Jones, says of him in its May 1982 issue: "Among the leading voices of dissent within the mainstream media are those of Raymond Bonner, John B. Oakes, and Bill Moyers. Bonner, the Times' courageous correspondent in El Salvador, has distinguished himself by reporting on junta atrocities, life in rebel zones and the complex politics of the Salvadoran government... Bonner describes the Left as a 'broad-based coalition,' draws links between the terror on the Right end the military junta and portrays President Jose Napoleon Duarte as being more nervous about his own generals' intentions than about the guerrillas. Bonner's coverage has had a dramatic impact on the Times' editorial policy."
Mother Jones quotes John Oakes, former editorial page editor of The Times, as saying, "I can't tell you firsthand about (editorial) discussions on the Bonner stuff, but l have no doubt that they back his word over the State Department and whoever else's."
Taking Bonner's word, The Times run his torture story. We have learned that the source for this story said lest October that the American advisers in El Salvador were demonstrating torture-gouging out eyes and breaking bones. Bonner had them only observing the torture. The story was sanitized for The Times. Bonner denies that he did any sanitizing. If true, one wonders why, in all the hours he spent quizzing the source end checking his story, he didn't discover that the man had given others a much more gory--end even less credible--account of the conduct of the American advisers. Either he is not as credible or not as good an investigator as The Times seems to think.
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GROUND ZERO WEEK IS TURNING OUT TO BE A BOMB AS FAR AS THE PUBLIC IS CONCERNED, but despite the lack of public interest in the elaborately planned events, the media are giving it their wholehearted cooperation. I saw a schedule of events put out by the promoters of Ground Zero that said NBC had promised daily coverage of their activities on the Today Show. The coverage of the kickoff rally in Lafayette Park, across from the White House, showed that instead of the thousands expected, only about 200 people turned up despite the perfect weather. The local activities got good coverage on the Today Show, a 70-second segment. However, the Today Show started off its Ground Zero coverage with a 4 1/2-minute interview with a Soviet spokesman, Startleisy Menshikov, in Moscow. Merushikov assured his American audience that the Soviets would welcome a nuclear freeze, saying that they had already been freezing various parts of their nuclear program from time to time. He also assured us that the Soviets had no advantage over us in nuclear weapons. He would not say Just what the Soviets would do to retaliate if we deployed Pershing II and cruise missiles in Western Europe to offset the Soviet SS-20s already targeted on NATO countries. The fact that Menshikov was given about four times as much time as the rallies in this country may have been NBC's way of recognizing who it is that has the greatest interest in this campaign.
THE SOVIET INTEREST IN THE ANTI-NUCLEAR WAR CAMPAIG/; IS STRICTLY FOR EXPORT. Seven Western Europeans tried to stage a demonstration in Moscow on the same day Ground Zero week started in this country. They unfurled a 10-foot banner in Red Square that said, in Russian, "Bread, life and disarmament." They were immediately seized by police before they had time to hand out a single leaflet. They were carried off in police cars and detained for several hours. The group was composed of two Frenchmen, two Spaniards, two Italians and a Belgian. They were arrested Just minutes before Menshikov appeared on NBC to tell us how the Soviets would welcome a nuclear freeze.
SOVIET HYPOCRISY IN THIS MATTER HAS LONG BEEN EVIDENT, BUT IT HAS NOT PREVENTED our major purveyors of news from serving up Soviet spokesmen to tell the American public things that they would not think of saying within the Soviet Union. For example, over a year ago CBS News helped kick off the campaign to scare the American public by giving a group called International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear war five minutes on the CBS Evening News. This was on January 29, 1981. Walter Cronkite described this as "an extraordinary alliance of doctors on both sides of the iron curtain." One of the spokesmen was Dr. Eugene Chazov, Deputy Minister of Health in the Soviet Union. What would really be extraordinary would be for Moscow to give this same group time on Soviet TV to convey their message to the Soviet people. Having helped kick off this campaign, CBS News followed up with the hour-long documentary aired last summer that ,simulated the results of a nuclear explosion over the SAC base near Omaha. Having gone to the expense of simulating-the disaster, CBS was no doubt pleased to be able to put it to use during Ground Zero week. On April 20, they provided their affiliates with a 10-minute segment on the horrors of nuclear war, using some of the same footage.
OUR PUBLIC BROADCASTING SERVICE WOULD NOT, OF COURSE, PERMIT ITSELF TO BE OUTDONE by the co inertial networks in a matter of this kind. They scheduled a documentary to be aired on April 23 titled, "Thinking Twice About Nuclear War." I am writing this prior to the date of airing, but an associate who saw a preview tells me that it is strictly anti-nuclear propaganda. A news release promoting it says its most moving moments may be those spent with an average American family, Warren and Adrian Strandbergs of Richmond, Va. Adrian has been gathering petitions for the "nuclear freeze initiative." She says in the film, "The people that didn't sign don't feel that we can trust Russia. My response to that is why not take the route of trust, and hope that we can go the other direction, instead of the build-up direction." Stanislav Menshikov would like that. Adrian's 14-year-old daughter, Karen, shares her mother's sentiments. After seeing the American Security Council film, "The Price of Freedom, Karen "strokes a horse she loves to ride and asks, 'Why are we fighting? We have nothing to fight about.'" This documentary is a production of Public Interest Video Network, which has produced such things as "Solidarity Day," a two-hour program on the AFL-CIO Solidarity Day rally last year, "Nuclear Power: The Public Reaction," which covered the May 6, 1979 anti- nuclear rally in Washington, D.C., and "Withdrawn from Circulation," which their release describes as "two films about occupational health and safety that were suppressed by the Reagan administration," introduced by Ed Asner. Major funding for "Thinking Twice" was supplied by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (the taxpayers), the Youth Project (which provides funds to a wide array of radical projects), and the Ruth Mort Foundation.
ONE HAS TO MARVEL AT THE AUDACITY OF THESE PEOPLE. NOT ONLY DO THEY GET LARGE sums of taxpayer money to finance their propaganda, presumably signing without any qualms the CPB-required pledge that the program will be produced "with strict adherence to objectivity and balance," but they are proposing to tell those who watch "Thinking Twice" how they can "involve themselves in the movement to prevent nuclear war." They intend to give a toll-free number that viewers can call for information. According to their release, "The result will be to connect viewers with a national network of research groups, religious organizations, legislative coalitions and other organizations involved in the nuclear war issue." Translation: They will add the names they collect to the mailing lists of the network and milk them for contributions. PBS might decide that is going too far and put its foot down, but I wouldn't count on it.
THESE DAYS PBS IS LIVING UP TO ITS KNICKNAME, THE PROPAGANDA BROADCASTING SERVICE. On April 7, 1982, it aired "From the Ashes--Nicaragua Today," a hymn of praise to the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. This had been financed with a $63,740 grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and grants totaling $67,715 from the National Endowment for the Humanities. William J. Bennett, the new chairman of the Endowment, publicly labeled the program as "unabashed socialist-realism propaganda." He said that it was a mistake for the NEH to have funded it. The money had been funneled through the Wisconsin Committee for the Humanities. Mr. Bennett says that committee violated its own charter in using funds obtained from the federal government in this way. The NEH is obliged by law to give 20 percent of its funds to the various state humanities councils or committees. These are apparently self-appointed groups that have mastered the art of grantsmanship. Hr. Bennett tells me that there is nothing sacrosanct about these groups. Competing committees could be established to seek grants for activities that encourage the humanities on the state level. That is something to think about.
ANOTHER PROPAGANDA DOCUMENTARY, "BLOOD AND SAND," IS SCHEDULED FOR AIRING OVER public broadcasting stations on April 28. It is promoting the cause of the communist- backed Polisario guerrillas in northwest Africa. It has already been shown over WNET in New York, outraging those who know what the Polisario movement is all about and who are not anxious to see a pro-communist regime take over Morocco. I haven't yet learned who funded this one.
THE NEW YORK TIMES ON APRIL 20 FINALLY GOT AROUND TO PUBLISHING THE OFFICIAL Defense Department denial of the Raymond Bonner story charging that American military advisers in El Salvador had watched torture tactics being taught to El Salvadoran troops. Our story about this matter in this issue was already set in type. I noted that The Times did not report that both Mr. Sulzberger and Mr. Rosenthal had said that the Bonner story did not deserve the play The Times gave it. Nor did it mention that Bonner's source is known to have charged that the Americans were teaching torture, not Just watching it.