Reed Irvine - Editor
|December B 1982|
WHO'S BEHIND THE FREEZE?
The nuclear freeze movement was cheered by the success that it had in getting freeze initiatives passed in eight of the nine states where they were on the ballot. However, the movement has encountered a few snags. One that aroused considerable ire on the part of the promoters of the freeze movement and their friends in the news media was President Reagan's statement at his November 11 news conference on the role of foreign agents in promoting the movement.
The President was asked if there was evidence of foreign involvement in the nuclear freeze campaign. He replied: "Yes, there is plenty of evidence. It's even been published by some of your fraternity." Acknowledging that the "overwhelming majority" of those who supported the nuclear freeze proposals were "sincere and well-intentioned," the President added that there was no question that "foreign agents were sent to help instigate and help create and keep such a movement going."
The following day White House press spokesman Larry Speakes was asked what evidence the President had to support this charge. Speakes cited the following items: (1) "The K.G.B.'s Magical War for 'Peace'" by John Barron in the October 1982 Reoder's Digest; (2) "Perspective on the Peace Movement by Williaam E. Griffith in the June 1982 Reader's Digest; (3) "The Peace Movement and the Soviet Union" by Vladimir Bukovsky in the May 1982 issue of Commentary; (4) "The Counterfeit Peace Makers: the Atomic Freeze" by Rael Jean Isaac and Erich Isaac in The American Spectator of June 1982; (5) "Soviet Active Measures; An Up-date" by The Department of State, July 1982; and (6) hearings before the House Intelligence Committee in July 1980 covering CIA testimony on Soviet covert actions.
The reaction of many in the media to the White House documentation of the president's charge was one of stunned disbelief. The evidence that he had cited had been largely ignored by the organs of mass communication that are supposed to bring the American people their daily quote of news. For example, John
Barron's article in the October Reader's Digest had been circulated to the major media in advance with a covering press release, it was simply ignored by the television networks and the big newspapers, even though it reported that our counter-intelligence had identified over 20 Soviet agents who have tried to influence the nuclear freeze movement, identifying some of them by name.
Barron pointed out that on the heels of a call for a nuclear freeze by the Soviet dictator, Leonid Brezhnev, on February 23, 1981, a national strategy conference of the American nuclear freeze campaign was convened in Washington, D.C. Two Soviet agents played an active role in this meeting. One was Oleg Bogdanov, whom Barron identified as a specialist in "active measures," who flew here from Moscow for the meeting. Barron explained that "active measures" in KGB parlance are tactics used to "invert reality." He quoted a defector, Stanislav A. Levchenko, who was formerly Active Measures Officer for the KGB in Tokyo, as saying: "The trick is to make people support Soviet policy unwittingly by convincing them they are supporting something else."
Oleg Bogdanov was obviously very much interested in doing whatever could be done to set the American people to support Brezhnev's nuclear freeze proposal. He was assisted in that effort at the Washington meeting by Yuri S. Kapralov, who was identified by Barron as a KGB officer at the Soviet embassy. Barron said that ever since coming to this country in 1978, Kapralov had dedicated himself to penetrating the "peace" movement. At that Washington meeting in the spring of 1981, Kapralov, who was not, of course, identified as KGB, was an official member of the discussion panel. He mingled with the other participants, urging them to work to abort new American weapons.
The conference was covered for the Communist Party newspaper, The Daily World, by Terry Cannon, an activist in the U.S. Peace Council, the American arm of the Soviet front group, the World Peace Council. Cannon reported that Kapralov had enthusiastically supported the freeze movement, saying: "I think it's great."
This conference, Barron said, was attended by 275 to 300 people from 33 states, Britain and the Soviet Union. He said that virtually the entire blueprint for the nuclear-freeze campaign was drawn up in comprehensive detail at this meeting. Speakers stressed that one of the great advantages of the proposed campaign was its simplicity. The complexities of the nuclear debate were reduced to fear of the bomb.
Barron traced the role in disseminating these oversimplified arguments by such Soviet agents as Kapralov, Georgi Arbatov. Evgenny Chazov, who is Brezhnev's personal physician, and Romesh Chandra, who heads the World Peace Council. Arbatov, described by Barron as "one of the masterminds of the active measures campaign." has been a frequent visitor to this country. Chandra headed a delegation that toured American cities and was hosted by half a dozen members of Congress at a meeting on Capitol Hill.
These and other Soviet agents, many of whom Barron named, had the help of Americans who knowingly support Soviet policy goals. They in turn have played an important role in enlisting the support of people who support Soviet policies unwittingly, deceived by the Active Measures campaign into thinking they were supporting something else. The campaign has been a great success so far.
The media have not tried to make up for their negligence and report the evidence that Barron's research revealed. The New York Times ran a story about the President's sources. All it said about Barron's article was this: "In it, Mr. Barron wrote that the 'objective' of the KGB, the Soviet intelligence service, is 'to secure military superiority for the Soviet Union by persuading the United States to abandon new weapons systems.' The name of its campaign, he says, is 'nuclear freeze.'"
The Times said even less about the content of the other articles cited by the White House, but it did quote an FBI spokesman as saying that the President was accurate in describing Soviet attempts to influence the nuclear freeze movement. On the other hand, The Times quoted a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union, Morton Halperin, who accused the President of McCarthyism. It quoted a coordinator of the June 12 disarmament rally in New York as saying that the President was hypocritically undermining the democratic right of public protest. It ended up with Senator Gary Hart, one of the Democratic Party's presidential aspirants, saying that he would challenge the President to produce information supporting his statement.
The New York Times reaction to this rather modest effort on the part of the White House to expose the Soviet hand in the nuclear freeze movement was typical. Little was said about the evidence that has been amassed to show that the Soviets were not only very much interested in promoting the freeze but were also very active in mobilizing public opinion here and abroad to support the movement. The cry was immediately raised that it was undemocratic, un-American and immoral to suggest that any red-blooded, level-headed American could be duped by foreign agents into supporting a course of action that served the interests of the Soviet Union and was dangerous to the United States. The notion that millions could be duped was ridiculed as self-evident nonsense.
Frank Donner, who had been identified by three witnesses as a member of the Communist Party in testimony before a Congressional committee in 1956 and 1959, took this tack in a nine-page article in the leftwing magazine. The Nation, of November 6, 1982. Citing an October 4 speech in which President Reagan had warned of manipulation of the peace movement by those who want to weaken America, Donner said: "The 'dupe' formulation is designed, of course, to make Reagan's attack more credible in view of the immense size of the domestic movement, the unassailable political, professional and religious credentials of the freeze activists and the pitifully depleted ranks of the U.S. Communist Party."
Donner's lengthy article is remarkably lacking in factual refutation of the charges of communist manipulation of the freeze movement. He sneers at those who have written of the Soviet role: John Rees, author of The War Called Peace. The Soviet Peace Offensive (published by Western Goals), John Barron, Rsel Jean Isaac, Vladimir Bukovsky, and Dorothy Rabinowitz, author of an excellent article in The Wall Street Journal, "The Building Blocks of the Freeze Movement." (Reed Irvine of Accuracy in Media is covered in a long footnote.) But Donner fails to contest the evidence that the Soviet- controlled World Peace Council and its American arm, the U.S. Peace Council, have played an important role in the nuclear freeze campaign. Nor does Donner rebut the charges of communist penetration into numerous other organizations that have been influential in the campaign. Donner's feeble effort to clothe the World Peace Council with respectability consists of his pointing out that it has been "recognized by the United Nations as a nongovernmental organization and has been invited to participate in official discussions on disarmament and colonialism." That proves nothing. Donner does not deny that there are Communist Party members in the U.S. Peace Council, but he argues that it also has non-communist members. He glides over the fact that its executive director is Michael Myerson, a top official of the Communist Party U.S.A.
Donner stumbles badly in his one effort to prove that Rees, Isaac and Rabinowitz had their facts wrong. He says they were incorrect in charging that there is a link between the World Peace Council, the U.S. Peace Council and the American Friends Service Committee in the person of Terry Provance, disarmament director of the AFSC. Donner denied that Provance was one of"40 official U.S, members of the World Peace Council" and that he was a U,S. Peace Council sponsor. He claims that Provance was incorrectly listed by the WPC as a member in 1977 without his permission, "an error which was remedied after two letters of protest." Donner concedes that Provance attended a founding meeting of the U.S. Peace Council and supported the convening of the organizing conference. He says that should not be construed as membership or endorsement.
In a letter replying to Donner published in the December 4 issue of The Nation, Rael Jean Isaac points out that the WPC listed Provance as a member for the 1977-80 term, and then shows him to have been re-elected to a second three-year term at its meeting in Bulgaria in 1980. She points out that the U.S. Peace Council lists Provance as one of its "Sponsors." In his rejoinder Donner takes umbrage that Mrs. Isaac would call the "highly respected Quaker peace leader Terry Provance a liar." He says Provance has denied ever being a member of the WPC or the U.S. Peace Council and that Mrs. Isaac "obviously prefers to rely on letterhead listings, which are ideologically more congenial."
Terry Provance is a big wheel. Frank Donner obviously thought it was important to try to absolve him of membership in the communist-front peace councils even though he was not admitting that those organizations were communist fronts. However, Provance himself has not been at all fastidious about avoiding association with communists. In an article in the December 8, 1982 issue of Review of the News. John Rees says that Provance led a demonstration on the steps of the Capitol in Washington on October 29, 1979, where his fellow speakers were "Dutch Communist Party leader Nico Schouten head of the WPC-related 'Ban the Neutron Bomb' campaign: and a man he introduced as 'my friend,' Werner Rumpel, general secretary of the East German Peace Council." Rees points out that Provance was also a featured speaker at an anti-NATO rally in Bonn, West Germany on April 4, 1981. Among the sponsors of the rally were the German Communist Party and various communist front groups.
Frank Donner struck out in his effort to put down the meticulously researched proofs of the role the Kremlin's agents have played in promoting the nuclear freeze movement. This is not surprising. Several years ago, A.J. Muste, who headed the pacifist Fellowship of Reconciliation, was asked why he did not exclude the communists from the peace movement. Muste said that couldn't be done, because if the communists were excluded the movement would disintegrate. All too often it is the dedicated and disciplined communists who provide the drive, the organizational skills and in some cases the money that is required to get thousands of non-communists to demonstrate for causes the communists want to exploit.
Louis Budenz, the former editor of the Communist Party newspaper, The Daily Worker, described the success of the communists in manipulating thousands of non-communists to support their campaigns in his book. The Cry is Peace. published in 1952. Budenz said: "These Communist 'peace offensives.' designed to befuddle American opinion and disarm and defeat the United States. have been more successful than is generally imagined. They have been supported by many prominent men and women--professors and teachers. scientists, clergymen, lawyers, artists, writers, actors, and 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 which has marked American policy."
Budenz went on to explain the key role of the Communist Party members and the fellow travelers in these movements, saying: "Thus through discipline and influence, the party sees to it that both Communists and fellow travelers in front groups function in its behalf. Having policies tailor-made for them by Moscow, they are able to concentrate on carrying out orders, and can each perform the work of several thinking men. Placed in a key spot, the Red or fellow traveler can move thousands of non-Communists into action for some 'immediate demand' that is linked up with the current purposes of the Soviet dictatorship. These thousands will serve Stalin without having the slightest idea of what it is all about."
Suggest to such people that they are being manipulated or that they are dupes and they will invariably react with righteous indignation. Some, such as the late Henry A. Wallace, former Vice President of the United States under Franklin D. Roosevelt, eventually have their eyes opened and realize that they were indeed dupes. Henry Wallace's confession that he had been a dupe was published in Reoder's Digest, the magazine that has just published John Barron's excellent expose of the current Soviet manipulation of the peace movement.
Reader's Digest has been attacked by "sophisticated" writers such as columnist Mary McGrory for its efforts to open the eyes of the American public. Describing the Digest as a magazine "for boors, by boors, about boors," Miss McGrory labored to make the point that Reader's Digest was not a magazine that any self-respecting intellectual would read.
But last spring, author Susan Sontag, erstwhile darling of the leftist intelligentsia, shocked her friends and admirers with a denunciation of communism at a writers' conference in New York City. Most shocking of all was this statement: "Imagine, If you will, someone who read only the Reader's Digest between 1950 and 1970, and someone in the same period who read only The Nation or The New Statesman (a leftwing British magazine)}. Which reader would have been better informed about the realities of communism? Can it be that our enemies were right?"
Indeed they were, but that is a lesson that our media elite have not yet learned. Perhaps, as Solzhenitsyn has suggested, they won't learn it until they personally experience the suffering of the Gulag.
Reader's Digest was the first mass circulation periodical to expose Soviet involvement in the freeze movement and in the attempted murder of the Pope. For that it has been attacked by some in the media. It deserves commendation. Write to Edward T. Thompson, Editor- in-Chief, Reader's Digest, Pleasantville, N.Y. 10570.
One of our readers has suggested that we include in each issue a collection of what might be called "quickies" under this title. Let us know how you like it. We invite you to send in items for use in this column--if there is a demand for its continuation.
WHY did Mike Wallace pull in his claws when he interviewed Jacobo Timerman on "60 Minutes" on December 57
Mike Wallace is famous for his tough questioning, but facing Jacobo Timerman, the former editor of the Argentinian newspaper, La Opinion, Wallace was a clawless pussycat. Timerman was being interviewed about his new book, The Longest War. which accuses his new homeland. Israel, of militarism. The book is highly controversial, and Timerman himself has been accused by prominent members of the Jewish community in Buenos Aires of misrepresenting the status of Jews in Argentina and the reasons for his imprisonment by the Argentine government. In his earlier book. Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number. Timerman had even failed to explain that he had been arrested because of his connections with David Graiver. a financier who was alleged to have laundered huge sums obtained by Argentine terrorists from thefts and kidnappings. Timerman left the reader with the impression that he had been arrested and tortured because he was a Jev and because he spoke out for human rights. Mike Wallace raised none of these questions.
WHY did Morton Dean say on CBS Morning News on December 6 that Mike Wallace had said that "60 Minutes" invited Prime Minister Begin and Defense Minister Sharon to respond to Timerman but they had refused?
What Mike Wallace had actually said at the end of his Timerman interview was that CBS had repeatedly asked for interviews with Begin and Sharon since the beginning of the war in Lebanon but they had refused. He said nothing about asking them to respond to Timerman. CBS had in the can interviews with Deputy Foreign Minister Yehuda Ben-Meir and former ambassador to the U.S., Simcha Dinitz, on the subject of the war. Their statements could have been used to balance the Timerman interview, and the Israeli Embassy in Washington had asked why the Ben-Meir and Dinitz interviews were not being used when they heard about the Timerman program. They asked why the views of the majority of Israelis were not being given an airing. They were told that they could have a representative interviewed on the CBS "Nightwatch" program that airs from 2:00 A.M. to 6:00 A.M.
WHY did The Washington Post bury the story of the arrest of Sergei Ivanov Antonov in Rome on charges of complicity in the attempt to murder the Pope?
The arrest of Antonov, Bulgarian intelligence agent working under the cover of an employee of the Bulgarian government-owned airline, was a sensational break in the mystery of the attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II in May 1981. Autonov was fingered by the gunman who shoi the Pope, Mehmet Ali Agca. His involvement was proof that earlier charges that Bulgarian intelligence, and ultimately the KGB, was behind the plot were true. The Washington Post had ignored those charges when they first appeared in Claire Sterling's article in Reader's Digest in September. When Autonov was arrested, they put his photo on page one. but relegated the story to page A22 as if this were some routine crime story.
WHY did Washington's new conservative daily, The Washington Times, fail to carry a story of Antonov's arrest? Ditto The Christian Science Monitor?
The Washington Times had a photo of Autonov being arrested on page A7, but no story. CSM had neither.
WHY didn't The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times and many other papers run editorials expressing outrage over the involvement of Bulgarian intelligence and its KGB bosses in the plot to murder the Pope?
WHY did UPI use a story from its correspondent in El Salvador, John Newhagen, referring to an area controlled by the communist-backed guerrillas as the "arch of freedom?"
WHY did such cable companies as Group W and Cox Cable Systems run a five-year-old French docu-drama called "The Rosenbergs" which ignored the overwhelming evidence of the guilt of the atomic spies that was presented at their trial and that has been added to by the release of FBI files in recent years?
The program left the reviewer for the Los Angeles Times with the impression that the Rosenbergs were framed by the U.S. government. He wrote that "the case against the government is convincing and shocking."
WHY did AP, UPI and the Gannett News Service ignore the good news released on November 30 that a study of the Air Force personnel who did the spraying of Agent Orange in Vietnam has found that they have no higher mortality rate than soldiers not exposed to the herbicide and are in better health than men of their age group in the civilian population?
All three wire services were at the meeting where the report on the study of the health of the men involved in Operation Ranch Hand. the code name for the Agent Orange spraying operation, was released. All ignored this good news and sent out stories of a downbeat nature about the Agent Orange matter.
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THE SUBJECT OF THE LEAD STORY IN THIS ISSUE OF THE AIM REPORT, THE SOVIET INFLUENCE on the nuclear freeze movement, hit the papers again on the morning of December 10, just as this issue was to go to press. The House Intelligence Committee on December 9 released the record of hearings held by the committee last July on Soviet active measures. These hearings were among the evidence cited by the White House as support for the President's statement that the Soviets were involved in the nuclear freeze campaign. The news stories on the release of these hearings reflect an effort by some in the media to portray Presi- dent Reagan as misinformed and the Soviets as ineffective.
THE NEW YORK TIMES CARRIED A FRONT-PAGE STORY HEADDED, "U.S. NUCLEAR PROTESTS FOUND to be Affected Very Little by Soviet." The story, written by Judith Miller, began: "A report issued today by the House Select Committee on Intelligence presents evidence that the Soviet Union attempted to influence the American nuclear freeze movement, but it does not appear to support President Reagan's assertion that foreign agents were 'manipulating' the movement." The story then quoted the committee chairman, Edward P. Boland, D.-Mass., who said in a press release: "The material released today demonstrates what we have known for a long time--that the Soviet Union utilizes considerable amounts of time, money and manpower attempting, both covertly and overtly, to influence individuals, organizations and events in the United States and around the world." However, Mr. Boland said he had concluded that "Soviet agents have had no significant influence on the nuclear freeze movement. He said that the hearings "provide no evidence that the Soviets direct, manage or manipulate the nuclear freeze movement."
THAT IS CONG, BOLAND'S OPINION, BUT IT IS NOT THE OPINION OF OTHERS WHO HAVE GONE over the record. The hearings showed extensive Soviet involvement. They didn't try to assess Soviet success in the U.S. Rep. C. W. Bill Young, Rep.-Fl., made that point. He said he had "provoked, pushed and irritated" the committee into holding the hearings in the first place. He said that the Soviet active measures campaign is growing, and he felt that it was essential that the American people know about it. Included in the hearings was testimony by Stanislav Levchenko, the KGB active measures officer who defected in.Japan. Levchenko testified that the KGB has a yearly budget of $4 billion for worldwide propaganda, infiltration and other clandestine activities. He said that the World Peace Council, which as we indicate in our story has been very active in pushing the nuclear freeze movement both directly and through its U.S. arm, the U.S. Peace Council, is totally financed by the KGB. The hearing record has ample material on Soviet involvement in the nuclear freeze movement to justify the statement made bv President Reagan on November 11. The precise question that he was responding to was this: "You've said recently that you believe a number of sincere Americans who support a nuclear arms freeze are being manipulated by those who want the weakening of America. Could you elaborate on this for us? Do you have any evidence of foreign involvement in the U.S. peace movement?"
CONG, YOUNG POINTED OUT THAT THE PURPOSE OF THE HEARINGS WAS NOT TO MAKE AN ASSESS- ment of Soviet success in influencing the peace movement. The hearings were on the subject of Soviet active measures. They included testimony and documentary evidence on many KGB disinformation operations and other active measures, including efforts to influence and manipulate peace movements in foreign countries as well as the United States. The evidence presented by the CIA was very impressive, as was Levchenko's testimony. Michael O'Neil, counsel for the intelligence cormmittee, told me that the CIA, in his opinion, had done a good job in both collecting information and analyzing it. He said that the FBI did not have the same analytical capabilities as the CIA. We are therefore better informed about what the Soviets are doing in Europe than we are about what they are accomplishing in our own country. Cong. Boland acknowledged that the FBI had made no assessment of whether "Soviet agents have had any significant influence on the nuclear freeze movement." That they have tried is beyond dispute. To think that they would have succeeded in Europe but failed in this country because of the superior sophistication of our news media, clergy, academics and the general public is to say the least naive.
LET'S TAKE A LOOK AT HOW SOME OF THE OTHER REPORTS ON THIS DOCUMENT COVERED IT. Ira Allen wrote a story for UPI which began with a clearly misleading lead. It said: "The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Thursday contradicted President Reagan's assertions that there is evidence the Soviet Union is manipulating the nuclear freeze movement." Reagan did not say, "The Soviet Union is manipulating the nuclear freeze movement." Cong. Boland did not deny Soviet involvement in the movement. The committee report itself reached no conclusions about the extent of Soviet influence.
THE AP STORY BY ROBERT PARRY HAD THIS LEAD: "THE FBI TESTIFIED LAST SUMMER THAT Soviet-front groups were 'actively involved' in planning the June 12 nuclear-freeze march in New York, but it said it had not found evidence of any significant Soviet influence." Ed O'Malley, assistant director of the FBI for Intelligence, was the one who testified for the FBI. He testified that there was a very active interest by the World Peace Council, the U.S. Peace Council, and the World Federation of Trade Unions. another Soviet front, in the June 12 demonstration. He said, "Soviet intelligence officers assigned as diplomats in the United Nations encouraged their contacts to participate in the June 12 demonstrations." Mr. O'Malley said: "There were some 500,000 people who participated in that demonstration. I would not attribute the large turnout at this demonstration to the efforts of the U.S. Peace Council, the World Peace Council, or the CPUSA. However, there was significant involvement by all these people concerned." That was apparently construed by Mr. Parry as no "evidence of any significant Soviet influence."
WHAT IS MOST REGRETTABLE IS THAT THESE NEWS STORIES NOT ONLY GAVE THE misleading impression that the committee's report had pulled the rug out from under Reagan's charge of Soviet involvement in the nuclear freeze movement, but they totally neglected the wealth of information included in the report about Soviet KGB active measures in other areas, including disinformation. It appears that the focus on the nuclear freeze aspect was almost an excuse for neglecting to report what the hearings were really all about.