Tag: Soviet Union

Children, History, RFE, Russia, Women

Planned assassination of a journalist linked to Polish children prisoners in Soviet Russia

Having served briefly (Dec. 2020-Jan. 2021) as Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) President and having been before Voice of America (VOA) Polish Service chief in the 1980s and VOA acting associate director in 2005/2006 in charge of central programs, I wanted to repost my 2019 Silent Refugees website’s article on how early VOA managers, editors and journalists lied about Stalin’s crimes and repeated Soviet propaganda. Fortunately, VOA no longer repeated such Soviet disinformation during the Cold War, and dropped all restrictions during the presidency of Ronald Reagan on reporting on communist human rights abuses. To their great credit, neither Radio Free Europe (RFE) nor Radio Liberty (RL) ever censored news about the Soviet Gulag, which the Voice of America occasionally did even as late as the 1970s.

A Soviet-instigated plan to kill an anti-communist woman journalist in the early years of the Cold War was linked to her attempts to tell the story of thousands of Polish children who in 1940-1941 had been deported with their families from eastern Poland to Siberia and Central Asia where many died from brutal treatment. The assassination plan was revealed in 1953-1954 by a defector to the West from communist-ruled Poland and was never carried out.

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Children, Iran, OWI, Photo, Photos, Russia, VOA, Women

Polish children refugees from Russia – silenced by Soviet and U.S. propaganda

U.S. Government Propaganda Photo (1943) By Ted Lipien U.S. government propaganda pictures taken in 1943 by the U.S. Office of War Information (OWI) photographer in Iran showed Polish children and women several months after they had come out of Soviet Russia in a mass exodus of former Gulag prisoners and their families. The OWI photographs were carefully staged and their…

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History, Poland, RFE, RL, VOA

The Chief Culprit: Stalin’s Grand Design to Start World War II by Victor Suvorov

By Ted Lipien I would like to thank Bill Coe for bringing Victor Suvorov’s book to my attention. Journalists reporting on Vladimir Putin’s latest attempt to re-write history with his propaganda and disinformation blaming the start of World War II on Poland–the first victim of the war and the first country to resist militarily Hitler’s Nazi Germany–should read The Chief…

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Cold War, Featured, OWI, VOA

Voice of America? – Why The Question Mark?

In 1948, Democrats and Republicans in the U.S. Senate charged that Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts contained “baloney,” “lies,” “insults,” “drivel,” “nonsense and falsehoods,” amounting to “useless expenditures” and “a downright tragedy.”

In 1948, U.S. senators called VOA programs “ridiculous,” “unjustified” and “deplorable.” Liberal, moderate, and conservative lawmakers, some of whom even accused the Voice of America of “slander” and “libel” in how several U.S. states were described in radio programs acquired from NBC under a government contract, did not seek to de-fund and close down VOA but wanted to make it more effective in presenting America to the world and in countering propaganda from Soviet Russia. Their criticism eventually led to partial personnel and programming reforms in the early 1950s. In 2019, history seems to be repeating itself, with similar problems being reported at the Voice of America as the United States tries to respond to propaganda from Putin’s Russia, communist China, theocratic Iran and other nations under authoritarian rule. Today, there is little interest in the U.S. Congress and no obvious signs of management reforms, while some of the problems seem now more difficult to solve than those besetting the broadcaster in 1948.

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Featured, History, VOA

Stalin Prize-Winning Chief Writer of Voice of America News

Cold War Radio Museum

The News Bureau room of the Office of War Information (OWI), November 1942, at about the same time Howard Fast started writing Voice of America newscasts. The photograph’s official caption said: “It is arranged much the same way as the city room of a daily newspaper. Here, war news of the world is disseminated. In the foreground, are editors’ desks handling such special services as trade press, women’s activities, and campaigns. The news desk is in the background.” Smith, Roger, photographer. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540.

VOA logo, 2019.
Yankee Doodle Voice of America (VOA) signature tune reportedly proposed by VOA chief news writer (1942-1943) Howard Fast who later received the 1953 Stalin International Peace Prize.

 “I established contact at the Soviet embassy with people who spoke English and were willing to feed me important bits and pieces from their side of the wire. I had long ago, somewhat facetiously, suggested ‘Yankee Doodle’ as our musical signal, and now that silly little jingle was a power cue, a note of hope everywhere on earth…” 1

Howard Fast, 1953 Stalin Peace Prize winner, best-selling author, journalist, former Communist Party member and reporter for its newspaper The Daily Worker, decribing his role as the chief writer of Voice of America (VOA) radio news translated into multiple languages and rebroadcast for four hours daily to Europe through medium wave transmitters leased from the BBC in 1942-1943. Howard Fast, Being Red (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990), pp. 18-19.

Notes:

  1. Howard Fast, Being Red (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990), 18-19.
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OWI, VOA

Broker for the first Western hotel in Moscow was a former U.S. propaganda agency employee

In July 1979 an American businessman and former journalist David Harold Karr who had arranged the building of the first Western hotel in Moscow was found dead under reportedly suspicious circumstances in Paris, France. Karr’s new biography, The Millionaire Was a Soviet Mole: The Twisted Life of David Karr, by Harvey Klehr, expected to be published in July 2019, will…

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RFE, VOA

1953 CIA Source: People Died in Czechoslovakia Because of Pro-Communist Propaganda from Voice of America

OPINION AND ANALYSIS Cold War Radio Museum By Ted Lipien Note: The article has been updated to include information that Heda Margolius Kovály had worked in the 1970s as a freelance reporter for the Voice of America Czechoslovak Service under a radio name Kaca Kralova. A declassified CIA report from 1953 featured a claim by a still unidentified Slovak source…

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RL

The Year 1968 in the History of Samizdat

  Cold War Radio Museum   The recent death of Russian human rights activist Lyudmila Alexeyeva brings into focus not only her contributions to improving the lives of millions of people but also the historic role played by the American-supported Radio Liberty (RL), which together with its sister station, Radio Free Europe, contributed to breaking up the monopoly of communist…

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