B.

British propaganda film: Polish refugees in Persia

U.S. Government Propaganda Photo, 1943

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The cinema newsreel British Pathé film shot in in 1943 a propaganda film about Polish refugees who had come from the Soviet Union to Iran. The film is remarkable for the scarcity and vagueness of information about why these Poles were evacuated to Iran and what had happened to them earlier in the Soviet Union. The British film shows generally healthy looking refugees even though many had arrived in Iran from Soviet Russia in 1942 starved and near death. This was documented earlier by a U.S. Army officer, Lieutenant Colonel Henry I. Szymanski, whose photographs and photos, however, were promptly classified as secret by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s military officials and not released until 1952.

In the meantime, Western public opinion was deceived by British and American government propaganda. The same was true for foreign audiences to Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts which promoted Soviet propaganda lies about Stalin’s massacre of 15,000 Polish military officers, which Moscow blamed on the Germans, and put out deceptive information about Polish refugees leaving slave labor camps in Russia by presenting them as fleeing from Nazi occupation. The British Pathé film is less deceptive than Voice of America and other U.S. Office of War Information (OWI) wartime propaganda about Polish refugees, but it is still far short of painting an objective picture of the suffering and death the Poles experienced in Soviet captivity. The film offers only a few vague tips as to their fate in Russia. Such propaganda was then justified by the need to maintain a strong alliance with Stalin to fight Germany and to maintain the morale of the Polish Army of General Władysław Anders, composed of former Polish prisoners of the Soviet Gulags. These Polish soldiers later fought alongside American and British forces in North Africa and Italy.

The film shows that Polish refugees were well treated and received help in Iran from representatives Polish, British and American governments and relief organizations, which was true. They were also warmly welcomed by the Iranians who were horrified by the condition of the former prisoners and slave laborers in Soviet Russia.

The photo shows an intact Polish family, when in reality many families lost fathers and husbands who had been executed or worked to death by the Soviets. Many Polish women had also died in Soviet captivity. The death rate among the children was especially high. By ignoring these facts, the film can only be described as propaganda to cover up Stalin’s crimes and to confuse Western public opinion about what could be his real post-war plans.


Photos by Lt. Col. Henry I. Szymanski, U.S. Army

  • Twelve-year-old boy, Polish evacuee from Russia, August 1942
  • Six-year-old boy, Polish evacuee from Russia, August 1942
  • Three sisters, ages 7, 8, and 9, Polish evacuees from Russia, August 1942
  • Photos by: Lieutenant Colonel Henry I. Szymanski, U.S. Army
  • Source: The Katyn Forest Massacre: Hearings Before The Select Committee to Conduct An Investigation on The Facts, Evidence and Circumstances of the Katyn Forest Massacre; Eighty-Second Congress, Second Session On Investigation of The Murder of Thousands of Polish Officers in The Katyn Forest Near Smolensk, Russia; Part 3 (Chicago, Ill.); March 13 and 14, 1952 (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1952), pp. 459-461.
  • Link

6. …it appears that the plan was very carefully worked out, and its purpose was the extermination of the so-called intelligentsia of Eastern Poland.

…Families were broken up and in many cases the husband shot.

11. Women not accustomed to hard manual labor and consequently not able to earn enough for their daily bread had a choice of starving to death or submitting to the Bolshevik or Mongol supervisor. In one sense their condition was bettered–they had something to eat. When asked by me whether they worked hard, a reluctant answer of, “I wanted to live,” would be given [to] me. The Polish military medical authorities are taking blood tests to determine the number of generals among women. The tests were not completed prior to my departure, but the results will be handed [to] me.

10. The children had no chance. It is estimated that 50% have already died from malnutrition. The other 50% will die unless evacuated to a land where American help can reach them. A visit to any of the hospitals in Teheran will testify to this statement. They are filled with children and adults who would be better off not to have survived the ordeal.

  • Source: The Katyn Forest Massacre: Hearings Before The Select Committee to Conduct An Investigation on The Facts, Evidence and Circumstances of the Katyn Forest Massacre; Eighty-Second Congress, Second Session On Investigation of The Murder of Thousands of Polish Officers in The Katyn Forest Near Smolensk, Russia; Part 3 (Chicago, Ill.); March 13 and 14, 1952 (Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1952), pp. 455.

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U.S. Government Propaganda Photo

U.S. Government Propaganda Photo
  • Title: Teheran, Iran. Polish woman decorating her front yard with design of Polish eagle at an evacuation camp operated by the Red Cross
  • Creator(s): Parrino, Nick, photographer, Office of War Information (OWI)
  • Date Created/Published: 1943.
  • Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA 
  • Link
A.

A little Poland for refugees in India

U.S. Government Propaganda Photo, 1943

Support Silenced Refugees

Some of the Polish prisoners and slave laborers in Soviet Russia during World War II who had survived, were evacuated first to Iran and became refugees, were temporarily resettled in India. Their story was described in “A Little Poland in India,” a 2015 Indo-Polish co-production documentary by Any Radha and Sumit Osmand Shaw.

Unlike American and British propaganda films of the 1940s which went into great lengths to obscure Soviet atrocities and not to offend Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, the film presents an accurate account of historical events.

The cover photo showing the camp for Polish refugees in Iran is not from the video. The propaganda photograph was taken in Iran in 1943 by the U.S. Office of War Information photographer before the Polish refugees were transported to be resettled in India, Africa, New Zealand and Mexico.

Support Silenced Refugees


U.S. Government Propaganda Photo

Polish Refugee Children, US Government Propaganda Photo, 1943, Iran
  • Title: Teheran, Iran. Polish evacuee children playing in the dormitory courtyard at a camp operated by the Red Cross
  • Creator(s): Parrino, Nick, photographer, U.S. Office of War Information (OWI)
  • Date Created/Published: 1943.
  • Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA
  • Link

S.

Santa Rosa: Odyssey in the Rhythm of Mariachi

The cover image, which is not taken from the Santa “Rosa: Odyssey in the Rhythm of Mariachi” video, is from the family album of Julian Plowy, a former Santa Rosa Polish refugee child.

“Santa Rosa” documentary reveals an unknown chapter in the history of World War II – the fate of Polish deportees into the Soviet Union who found unlikely refuge on Mexican soil. Joanna sets out on a personal journey through her family’s unique past, discovering numerous stories of those whose memories of Santa Rosa remain vivid 70 years later, in Poland, in the U.S., and in Mexico.

J.

Jerzy Popiełuszko – Vice President George H.W. Bush Visits Slain Priest’s Grave, Poland 1987

During his visit to Poland in September 1987, U.S. Vice President George H.W. Bush took part in a wreath-laying ceremony for Father Jerzy Popieluszko at the St. Stanislaw Kostka Church in Warsaw (September 28, 1987). The visit was covered by the Polish Service of the Voice of America (VOA). Its radio broadcasts were heard by over 70% of the population in Poland. VOA Polish Service director Tadeusz (Ted) Lipien reported on the visit from Warsaw. His recordings and photos were used for this video.

Recordings also included interviews with Zbigniew Bujak, Bronislaw Geremek and Jacek Kuron (not in this video) who later became members of Parliament and government in post-communist Poland. They discussed their earlier meeting with Vice President Bush. Ted Lipien also recorded separate interviews with George H.W. Bush and Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, as well as some Polish communist regime officials and a number of Polish civil society leaders, Catholic priests and ordinary Poles. Some reports from Poland, including interviews with Lech Walesa and Vice President Bush, were used by VOA worldwide English service.

T.

Tomlinson on Voice of America coverage of Pope John Paul II

Ken Tomlinson, Rebecca Tomlinson, Ted Lipien with Pope John Paul II
Ken Tomlinson, Rebecca Tomlinson, Ted Lipien with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican

Former Voice of America (VOA) director and former Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Chairman Ken Tomlinson, who died recently, told Voice of America two years ago that his most memorable moment at VOA was to visit the Polish Service and help arrange extensive news coverage of Pope John Paul II’s visit to Poland when the country was still under communist rule during the Cold War. The Pope’s visit to Poland helped the suppressed Solidarity trade union to intensify its peaceful struggle for democracy and eventually resulted in the fall of communism. Father Stefan Filipowicz, a Chicago-based Jesuit priest and former director of the Polish Service at Vatican Radio, provided religious commentary from a VOA studio in Washington during the coverage of the papal visit. Live audio transmission from Poland was provided to VOA by Vatican Radio.

Ken Tomlinson and his wife Rebecca later traveled to Rome with VOA Polish Service director Ted Lipien to meet Pope John Paul II who thanked the Voice of America for broadcasting news to his countrymen in Poland under communism.

Thanks to Ken Tomlinson’s support, funding from the Reagan administration and full bipartisan backing in the U.S. Congress, the Polish Service became one of the most successful language services in the history of VOA, with over 70% weekly audience reach in Poland in the late 1980s.

Read more

L.

Lech Walesa 70th Birthday Stamp – Historic VOA Interviews – 1985 – 1987 – 2002

“It is difficult to imagine what would have happened if it were not for the Voice of America and other sources with the help of which the true information squeezed through, which showed a different point of view, which said that we are not alone and that something is happening in the country — because our mass media did not do that.” – Lech Wałęsa, 2002

Poland’s Post Office will issue a stamp in honor of Solidarity (Solidarność) trade union leader Lech Wałęsa. The stamp will be released Sunday, September 29, 2013, on the Nobel Peace laureate’s and Poland’s former President’s 70th birthday.

The commemorative envelope, also issued by Poland’s Post Office, includes a reference to American support for Lech Wałęsa in a photo showing him speaking to the joint session of the  U.S. Congress. The envelope also has a photo of Lech Wałęsa’s wife, Danuta, receiving his Nobel Peace Prize on his behalf.

October 5, 2013 will mark the 30th anniversary of the Nobel Committee announcement that the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize had been awarded to Lech Wałęsa — a news event covered extensively by the Voice of America (VOA) Polish Service, Radio Free Europe and other Polish-language Western media.

Lech Wałęsa’s and Poland’s struggle for democracy received strong support from the United States government and American people. Both Radio Free Europe and the Voice of America, funded by U.S. taxpayers, reported daily on the 1980 strikes, the martial law, and subsequent negotiations between Solidarity and the regime which led to the peaceful fall of communism in Poland.

In a 2002 interview with the Voice of America Warsaw correspondent Maria Bnińska, Lech Wałęsa said:

Link to video.

Lech Wałęsa: “Of course, what I’m about to say is well known.

It is hard to imagine – when the communist system was still in existence, when we had been betrayed but did not give up the fight — if there were would have been no other media that could encourage, may be not encourage, but to show, to provide the proof, to speak the truth, to speak about what was happening here and elsewhere — something we could not see for ourselves, being cut off from the real information, and fighting within our limited capabilities.

Therefore, it is difficult to imagine what would have happened if it were not for the Voice of America and other sources with the help of which the true information squeezed through, which showed a different point of view, which said that we are not alone and that something is happening in the country — because our mass media did not do that.

Therefore, I will say it briefly — we would not have what we have without the segment of propaganda, which was found in the Voice of America. It is not conceivable that it would have happened so quickly and so effectively if not for the Voice of America.

Even as a child I remember how my parents surreptitiously listened to the free word of the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, and others.

I also listened. I listened when they were listening.

And because of that, opposition was awaken, and the information and the real image of what was taking place here and in the free world.

And so, the great glory to the Voice of America and other media that had enabled us to survive, [gave us] the real information, [ability] to compare information, and so on, and so forth.”

Lech Wałęsa: “Oczywiście, ja, to co powiem, to jest ogólnie znane.

Trudno sobie wyobrazić — kiedy u nas obowiązywał system komunistyczny, kiedy zostaliśmy zdradzeni i kiedy nie zaniechaliśmy walki — żeby nie było innych ośrodków, które by zachęcały, może nie zachęcały ale pokazywały, udowadniały, mówiły prawdę, mówiły o tym co się dzieje tu i gdzie indziej — czego my sprawdzić nie mogliśmy będąc odcięci od prawdziwej informacji, walcząc w ograniczonych możliwościach.

Dlatego trudno sobie wyobrazić co by było gdyby nie było Głosu Ameryki i innych jeszcze źródeł przez które przeciskała się informacja prawdziwa, która pokazywała inny punkt widzenia, która mówiła o tym, że nie jesteśmy sami i że coś się w kraju dzieje, bo nasze publikatory tego nie robiły.

W związku z tym powiem krótko, nie byłoby tego co mamy bez tego wycinku propagandowego, który mieścił się w Głosie Ameryki. Nie wyobrażalne jest by mogło to mieć miejsce tak szybko i tak skutecznie gdyby nie Głos Ameryki.

Już jako dziecko pamiętam jak moi rodzice, ukrywając się, słuchali wolego słowa Głosu Ameryki i Wolnej Europy i innych. Ja też słuchałem, słuchałem kiedy oni słuchali.

I w związku z tym, budził się sprzeciw, i informacja i prawdziwy obraz, który ma miejsce tu i w wolnym świecie.

I dlatego wielka chwała Głosowi Ameryki i innym środkom, które pozwoliły nam na przetrwanie, na prawdziwe informacje, na porównywanie informacji, i tak dalej, i tak dalej.”

Link to video.

Maria Bnińska: What does the 50th anniversary of the Voice of America mean for you?

Lech Wałęsa: I think, it is the present victory; its role in this victory.

At the same time, it is contribution to general knowledge, my own and for generations that lived through this period.

Many did not see the effects of their work.

We must remember many, in history and in everything else; they have made a great contribution.

This is, I think, for today the great contribution of the Voice of America.

Maria Bnińska: Co dla pana oznacza i czym jest dla pana piędziesięciolecie (2002) Głosu Ameryki?

Lech Wałęsa: No myslę, że obecnym zwycięstwem, udziale w tym zwycięstwie.

Jednocześnie jest to uzupełnieniem wiedzy ogólnej, tak moim jak i pokoleń, które w tym okresie przewinęły się.

Wielu nie doczekało efektów swojej pracy.

O wielu musimy pamiętać, i w historii i w tym wszystkim, że mają wielki wkład.

To tym, myslę, tylko i wyłącznie na dzisiaj jest ta wielka zasługa jaką jest Głos Ameryki.

In 1987, the faltering government of General Jaruzelski agreed to a visit by Vice President George H.W. Bush who urged Jaruzelski to come to terms with Wałęsa. Subsequent negotiations between the regime and Solidarity-led democratic opposition led to a peaceful transition to democracy in Poland.

The Voice of America Polish Service director Ted Lipien covered Bush’s 1987 trip and reported on these statements from Wałęsa and the U.S. Vice President after their dinner on September 27, 1987 at the residence of the American Charge d’Affairs in Warsaw John R. Davis, Jr. who later became U.S. Ambassador to Poland.

From a VOA Polish Service 1987 report from Warsaw:

Link to audio.

“Ja dziękuję bardzo za te słowa, które przyjmuję jako pochwałę Solidarności. Rzeczywiście postawiliśmy na pokojową walkę. … Dziękujemy bardzo ekipie Stanów Zjednoczonych za zrozumienie polskich spraw, Mamy nadzieje, że w tej reformie będzie tak jak dotąd pomocna naszemu krajowi.” – Lech Wałesa, Warsaw, September 27, 1987.

“The American people have great affection and, as you know from recent action, support you, support Solidarity and support the objectives that you’ve outlined here this evening. And to the people of Poland. we’ve had a marvelous visit” – Vice President George H.W. Bush, Warsaw, September 27, 1987.

Poland’s communist regime organized a referendum on political and economic reforms, which was held on 29 November 1987. Around a third of eligible voters did not participate, defying the regime. It was the first time that Communist authorities in Eastern Europe had lost a vote.

Link to audio.

This was not the first interview, the VOA Polish Service did with Wałęsa. Polish Service reporter Peter Mroczyk had done the first one by telephone from Washington in August 1985.

In his 1987 interview with in Gdansk, where Ted Lipien had gone by train from Warsaw avoiding police surveillance, Wałęsa did not attach much importance to the just concluded referendum, which — as he pointed out — had not been not organized according to basic democratic principles. For one thing, as he pointed out, Solidarity and other oppositions groups in Poland had not been consulted and had no access to domestic media prior to the vote.

In the interview, Wałęsa said, however, that Solidarity and the government have no choice but to reach an agreement.

At the same time, he strongly objected to the regime’s reluctance to enter into a real dialogue with the democratic opposition in Poland. In answering a question under what conditions Solidarity would participate in talks with the Communist regime, Wałęsa answered:

“If the authorities invent terms such as ‘socialist pluralism’, ‘socialist economy’, ‘socialist law’ ‘socialist safety net’, then there is nothing to talk about. We can say that the law is good or bad, the economy works well or not, but not to invent absurdities.”

“We propose to the authorities political pluralism, so that we would not find out after 40 years what we are learning today: that Stalin was a murderer, that Khrushchev was an ignorant man who did not use the opportunity to really show himself, that Brezhnev destroyed chances and opportunities and cut the legs under socialism. We need political pluralism so that such things would not happen and we would not be ruled by murderers and others.”

“The condition is to say that there is only one pluralism and that there is no [such thing as] socialist pluralism. If we will talk in these terms, then there are no conditions. We are ready to talk.”

Asked about an upcoming meeting between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, Wałęsa expressed hope that during these talks a point would be made that without real reforms, Poland and the rest of the Soviet block would continue to represent a danger to the rest of the world due to instability and risk of unpredictable events and potential violence.

Asked about the visit to Poland by Vice President George H.W. Bush two months earlier, Wałęsa said:

“I’m personally very pleased that I had a chance to get to know such an outstanding representative of the American people, and now I know that the United States is in such an excellent position because it has such outstanding leaders. I hope that he will lead after the next elections.”

Wałęsa in effect endorsed Bush for his planned presidential run in 1988. Asked whether he would like to travel to the United States, Wałęsa said that like everybody else he would like to see America but that current conditions prevent him from making a trip at this time.

The VOA Polish Service was one of the first Western media outlets to interview Walesa by phone after he was released from detention by the Polish martial law regime. The first VOA phone interview with Walesa was done by Peter (Piotr) Mroczyk in August 1985.

Link to audio.

Lech Walesa: “The ideals which we presented and which we pursue are truly great.

We could not achieve them even if our organization had prospered. Therefore, there is much in front of us. We must still do much. …

This is very difficult because programs that have been proven successful elsewhere can’t be implemented where we are geographically located. This is our difficulty, because we must be mindful of the restrictions and remember that we can’t do everything.”

Peter Mroczyk (1947-2007), who recorded the interview, later became the last director of the Polish Service of Radio Free Europe (1989-1994).

The last Voice of America Polish Service on-air radio program to Poland was heard on July 20, 2000 after almost 58 years from the first VOA Polish radio broadcast in 1942. Internet and feed service to radio and TV affiliates in Poland continued until May 2004.

lech-walesa-znaczek-i-koperta

L.

Lech Walesa on Importance of Voice of America in Poland’s Struggle for Freedom and Democracy

“Nie wyobrażalne jest by mogło to mieć miejsce tak szybko i tak skutecznie gdyby nie Głos Ameryki.” — Lech Wałęsa, 2002.

“It is not conceivable that it would have happened so quickly and so effectively if not for the Voice of America.” — Lech Wałęsa, 2002.

October 5, 2013 will mark the 30th anniversary of the Nobel Committee announcement that the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize had been awarded to Lech Wałęsa — a news event covered extensively by the Voice of America (VOA) Polish Service, Radio Free Europe and other Polish-language Western media.

June 4 and June 18, 2014 will mark the 25th anniversary of the first post-World War II partly-free Polish parliamentary elections, which resulted in the resounding victory of the Solidarity opposition and paved the way to the fall of Communism in Poland.

Link to audio.

In an interview with Voice of America (VOA) Polish Service reporter Maria Bnińska, Polish Solidarity leader Lech Wałęsa spoke in 2002 about the importance of VOA – Głos Ameryki – to the people in Poland during the Cold War when the country was under communist rule and local media were controlled and censored by the Communist Party.

Link to video.

Lech Wałęsa: “Oczywiście, ja, to co powiem, to jest ogólnie znane.

Trudno sobie wyobrazić — kiedy u nas obowiązywał system komunistyczny, kiedy zostaliśmy zdradzeni i kiedy nie zaniechaliśmy walki — żeby nie było innych ośrodków, które by zachęcały, może nie zachęcały ale pokazywały, udowadniały, mówiły prawdę, mówiły o tym co się dzieje tu i gdzie indziej — czego my sprawdzić nie mogliśmy będąc odcięci od prawdziwej informacji, walcząc w ograniczonych możliwościach.

Dlatego trudno sobie wyobrazić co by było gdyby nie było Głosu Ameryki i innych jeszcze źródeł przez które przeciskała się informacja prawdziwa, która pokazywała inny punkt widzenia, która mówiła o tym, że nie jesteśmy sami i że coś się w kraju dzieje, bo nasze publikatory tego nie robiły.

W związku z tym powiem krótko, nie byłoby tego co mamy bez tego wycinku propagandowego, który mieścił się w Głosie Ameryki. Nie wyobrażalne jest by mogło to mieć miejsce tak szybko i tak skutecznie gdyby nie Głos Ameryki.

Już jako dziecko pamiętam jak moi rodzice, ukrywając się, słuchali wolego słowa Głosu Ameryki i Wolnej Europy i innych. Ja też słuchałem, słuchałem kiedy oni słuchali.

I w związku z tym, budził się sprzeciw, i informacja i prawdziwy obraz, który ma miejsce tu i w wolnym świecie.

I dlatego wielka chwała Głosowi Ameryki i innym środkom, które pozwoliły nam na przetrwanie, na prawdziwe informacje, na porównywanie informacji, i tak dalej, i tak dalej.”

Lech Wałęsa:“Of course, what I’m about to say is well known.

It is hard to imagine – when the communist system was still in existence, when we had been betrayed but did not give up the fight — if there were would have been no other media that could encourage, may be not encourage, but to show, to provide the proof, to speak the truth, to speak about what was happening here and elsewhere — something we could not see for ourselves, being cut off from the real information, and fighting within our limited capabilities.

Therefore, it is difficult to imagine what would have happened if it were not for the Voice of America and other sources with the help of which the true information squeezed through, which showed a different point of view, which said that we are not alone and that something is happening in the country — because our mass media did not do that.

Therefore, I will say it briefly — we would not have what we have without the segment of propaganda, which was found in the Voice of America. It is not conceivable that it would have happened so quickly and so effectively if not for the Voice of America.

Even as a child I remember how my parents surreptitiously listened to the free word of the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe, and others.

I also listened. I listened when they were listening.

And because of that, opposition was awaken, and the information and the real image of what was taking place here and in the free world.

And so, the great glory to the Voice of America and other media that had enabled us to survive, [gave us] the real information, [ability] to compare information, and so on, and so forth.”

Link to video.

Maria Bnińska: What does the 50th anniversary of the Voice of America mean for you?

Lech Wałęsa: I think, it is the present victory; its role in this victory.

At the same time, it is contribution to general knowledge, my own and for generations that lived through this period.

Many did not see the effects of their work.

We must remember many, in history and in everything else; they have made a great contribution.

This is, I think, for today the great contribution of the Voice of America.

Maria Bnińska: Co dla pana oznacza i czym jest dla pana piędziesięciolecie (2002) Głosu Ameryki?

Lech Wałęsa: No myslę, że obecnym zwycięstwem, udziale w tym zwycięstwie.

Jednocześnie jest to uzupełnieniem wiedzy ogólnej, tak moim jak i pokoleń, które w tym okresie przewinęły się.

Wielu nie doczekało efektów swojej pracy.

O wielu musimy pamiętać, i w historii i w tym wszystkim, że mają wielki wkład.

To tym, myslę, tylko i wyłącznie na dzisiaj jest ta wielka zasługa jaką jest Głos Ameryki.

R.

Remembering Radio Liberty in Exile Journalists on Thanksgiving

As Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, BBG Watch remembers Radio Liberty journalists who were brutally fired without a warning or chose to resign in protest against the actions of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty management.

These journalists are facing now an uncertain future in Vladimir Putin’s Russia without any support or protection from their former U.S. taxpayer-funded employer, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the U.S. federal agency that allowed this to happen – the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG).

Imagine journalists being stopped by guards from entering their offices and prevented from even saying good bye to your loyal radio and online audience of many years. This is what happened to Radio Liberty journalists in Moscow.

As BBG Watch extends our Best Wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving to all our online visitors, contributors and supporters, we also ask you to continue to support Radio Liberty in Exile journalists and their new SvobodaNew.com news website.

We hope that they will soon be returned to work at Radio Liberty and will see their pro-media freedom and pro-human rights restored. But we must also do everything possible to make it happen.

We are, of course, grateful for all the successes during the past year, including saving Voice of America broadcasts to China and Tibet.

We thank you all for your support and ask you now to support Radio Liberty in Exile.

1. Sign Radio Liberty in Exile Petition

2. Like Radio Liberty in Exile on Facebook and Leave a Comment

3. Visit SvobodaNew.com

4. Email SvobodaNew.com info@svobodanew.com

5. View Radio Liberty in Exile Video

6. Write, Phone, or Email the Broadcasting Board of Governors http://www.bbg.gov/contact-us/

7. Write, Phone, or Email Your Members of Congress http://www.congressmerge.com/onlinedb/index.htm

R.

Remarks at Swearing-in Ceremony for U.S. Ambassador to Poland Steve Mull

A very good American diplomat, Steve Mull, was sworn in as the new U.S. Ambassador to my native country, Poland. He served in Poland during the Solidarity and martial law period when I was in charge of Voice of America Polish radio broadcasts. Ambassador Mull has a deep understanding of Poland and its history. He should make a very good ambassador.

Remarks at Swearing-in Ceremony for U.S. Ambassador to Poland Steve Mull

Link to Video

Remarks
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
October 24, 2012

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we have put this off about as long as we could. We’ve dragged our feet, we did some private diplomacy with the Senate saying, “You know, you really don’t want to confirm him.” (Laughter.) But unfortunately, here we are. And it could not be for a more deserving professional – someone who has in every way represented the United States so well for so many years. And I’m delighted that Steve’s wife, Cheri, and his son Ryan, and his extended family can be here because we know that behind all that hard work, Steve, were a lot of people cheering you on and supporting you as you undertook your various assignments. And to Poland’s new ambassador, we welcome you, and I can say I welcome you to the neighborhood. And we look forward to working with you.
I am a little concerned about one thing that has been making the rounds of the State Department. Ryan is by all accounts pretty tech-savvy – (laughter) – and when we saw a recently Photoshopped depiction of Steve’s head on Captain America’s body, we at first were hardly affected because that is how we think about Steve. The superhero Executive Secretary – and Captain America has nothing on you, Steve.

But think about it: Forty-nine trips. One hundred and one countries. Five thousand memos and documents last year alone, which he made me read. Spur-of-the-moment missions to far-flung places around the world. And yet Steve, at least in my experience with him, never broke a sweat. Okay, we need to leave tomorrow. We have to clear the following a hundred obstacles, we have to get then to a next place that is about 20,000 miles away. No worry. No worry. It just always got done. And it was just another day’s work for Captain America. (Laughter.) And I know that because Steve was running a tremendous operation, it was easier for everyone in the building to do the jobs we were expected to do.

But that was just the day-to-day. Then crises would erupt. And they have occurred, unfortunately, all too frequently. Steve was always the first to spring into action, standing up task forces, managing rapid response personnel. Whether it was after the earthquake in Haiti, the terrible natural and nuclear crisis in Japan, or, most recently, the awful assault on our post in Benghazi and other diplomatic posts that were threatened, we never doubted we’d get the best response, the most professional response because of Steve’s leadership and hard work.

Now he learned that, I’m told, from his parents, who themselves have worked hard all of your lives. And no one comes here on his or her own. You are here because you were someone who wanted to make a difference in the world and instilled with values that have stayed with you to this day. And I’m sure that when you were a young Foreign Service Officer stationed in Warsaw, and you were literally carrying messages from President Reagan to Lech Walesa, you were someone who remembered where you came from and where you hoped the Polish people would be going, the opportunities that they would have, ending oppression and tyranny, and making clear the United States would be their partner and friend.

Now, full disclosure: a long time ago when Steve was much younger and I had a different hairstyle – (laughter) – I visited Poland as First Lady. Steve Mull was my Control Officer – (laughter) – showing me around the country with a deep understanding of how far things had come, but also what challenges lay ahead. And during his prior service and in the years since, he has built a deep connection with Poland and with the Polish people. He has been a champion and advocate of their freedom and the future that they are so successfully charting for themselves.

And as sorry as we are – and you heard Cheryl really speak on behalf of all of us — to see Steve go, we cannot think of a better person to represent the United States at this point in our relationship with Poland. We have a lot of work to do on everything from energy diversification to missile defense to democracy promotion to security in Afghanistan. So Steve was there seeing firsthand Poland emerge from Soviet domination and grow into a model of a young democracy, a vital free market economy, a leader on the global stage. And I’m thrilled that he’ll be going back to continue building that essential relationship. So if you are ready, Steve, I am now ready to swear you in. (Laughter and applause.)

(Whereupon, Steve Mull was sworn in as Ambassador to Poland.)

Congratulations. (Applause.)

AMBASSADOR MULL: Well, thank you all for coming. My voice is, unfortunately, broken, so my son Ryan has agreed to read my comments for you. So Ryan, over to you. (Laughter and applause.)

MR. MULL: Secretary Clinton, Ambassador Schnepf, and beloved family, friends, and colleagues. Today is a dream come true. And I am so happy to be able to celebrate it with the people who mean so much to me. I especially want to thank you, Secretary Clinton – laughter – for your support for this job, for the extraordinary honor of swearing me in today with such kind words, and for the amazing opportunity to serve on your team these last few years.

Your leadership of and loyalty to this institution and its people have enriched us beyond measure. And I know I speak for all of us with these three heartfelt words: Please don’t go. (Laughter and applause.)

Poland has been such an important part of Cheri’s and my life over the years. That’s where we spent the first years of our marriage in the 1980s and that’s where, in 1995, we became parents of our son, Ryan – (laughter) – of whom we are so proud. (Applause.)

We have only the happiest memories of this amazing land and its people. A people who know and live every day the true values of freedom, loyalty, and friendship. When Cheri and I left Poland the first time in 1986, no one – least of all me – would have predicted that someday I would return as ambassador. Just before our departure, Poland’s communist government accused me of running a NATO spy ring, probably as a means of embarrassing my contacts in Poland’s democratic community.

It was a difficult time for my family. My hometown newspaper that day led with a banner headline reading: Local Man Accused of Spying. (Laughter.) When my mother was in line at the local supermarket, the shopper in front of her gestured angrily at the newspaper and said, “Look at that. That boy should be shot.” (Laughter.) “Hey,” my mother yelled out. “That boy’s my son, and I’ll shoot you if you don’t watch out.” (Laughter and applause.)

In the 23 years since it regained independence, Poland has proven itself as an unshakable ally of the United States standing shoulder to shoulder with us on the front lines from Iraq to Afghanistan, shining the light of democracy on those dark corners of the world that have not yet won their freedom, and volunteering to be among the first in helping the NATO alliance defend against the threat of ballistic missiles. 

While our ties of blood and common values have endured for centuries, I am convinced the greatest rewards of America’s friendship with Poland are yet to come. As Ambassador in Warsaw, I will work hard to build new friendships between Americans and Poles in academia, business, culture, and diplomacy. Together, we will tighten our cooperation to expand opportunities for energy independence, drawing on the vast reservoirs of talent and innovation that our people possess. We will expand and intensify our two-way trade and investment bringing economic benefits to us both. And we will work even harder to promote democratic values and respect for basic human rights in parts of the world that are still shaking off the bonds of oppression, even as we rededicate ourselves to the principles of justice and fair play in our own societies.

Madam Secretary, I pledge to pursue this agenda with all the tools that you’ve given us through the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review. I’ve got a head start on engaging with the Polish people on a more personal level, by opening a Twitter account just a few weeks ago. (Laughter.) One of my first tweets asks about what bike paths are like in Warsaw these days. A few days later, I asked what beers are now the most popular. One of my newfound followers was skeptical. “Wait a minute,” he said. “This ambassador is going to be riding around our country on a bicycle drinking beer?” (Laughter.) “He must be a fake.”

Before we finish, I want to say a special thanks to those who made today possible, including the extraordinary Sharon Hardy and Heather Samuelson and our terrific colleagues in the Bureau for Legislative Affairs, Josh Blumenfeld and Rob Fallon, all of whom worked together to pilot through this nomination in almost record time. I want to thank my outstanding team of colleagues in the Executive Secretariat, including Pam Quanrud, Julieta Noyes, Ted Allegra, Tuli Mushingi, Paco Palmieri, and Marcella Hembry, Darlene Namahoe, Diane McBride, Nancy Walker, Robin Hartle, and Ned Filipovic for being such rocks of support.

Thanks also to my new colleagues in the European Bureau, including Mike Morrow, Kate McGeary, Mara Vento, and Eleanor Chamberlin, all of whom have been enormously helpful in preparing for this assignment. A special thanks to John Dowd for his selfless and decisive friendship over the years. And to my Friday lunch crew, Ruth, Rich, Liz, and Dick, your laughs and support were enough to power me through every crisis. You don’t know the half of how much I will miss you.

I also want to take a moment to recognize two very special colleagues who have had such an enormous impact on me over the past years: Deputy Secretary Bill Burns is already so well-known as the most gifted, professional American diplomat of our generation. And working with him closely over the past four years has benefited me in ways I realize every day on the job. And then there’s Counselor Cheryl Mills, who inspired me every day with her razor sharp mind, unshakable commitment to justice, and amazing fighting spirit. If you’re ever in a fight, you need to make sure Cheryl is on your side . (Laughter.) Cheryl, thank you for making today possible.

I also want to mention the people who mean so much who are not here with us – my high school teacher Mrs. Jess Cwiklinski, the daughter of Polish immigrants herself, whose health did not allow her to travel today; my friend Peter Gazda, who fled Poland with his wife Kasia in the 1980s when their friendship with Cheri and me brought the communist secret police to their door. Peter tragically passed away much too early three years ago, but I am so glad that his wife Kasia and son Michael can be here with us today from Toronto. Ambassador Nick Rey, who also was taken from us too early three years ago, was such an influential mentor and friend for me when we worked together in Poland in the ’90s, and I am so glad his beloved wife Lisa can be here with us today. And finally, my stepfather Frank Spracklin, whom we lost just over a year ago. He would be so proud to be here today to hold your hand, mom, and to give us all hugs.

And finally, a word of thanks to the two people who bring all meaning to my life, Ryan – (laughter) – you grew up too fast – (laughter) – and I’ll miss you so much – (laughter) – as you get ready to move away to college. But don’t forget, it will be just as easy to harass you about finishing your homework from Poland – (laughter) – as it is in the dining room. And to my beautiful bride Cheri, who vowed to her parents after growing up in the Foreign Service that when she was an adult, she would never move again – (laughter) – forgive me for making you break that vow once again. I will be waiting for you in Poland with a heart full of love and open arms, so grateful that you said yes.

Thank you all for coming to share this day with us. As the Poles say, “May you all live 100 years.” Thank you.  (Applause.)