April 27, 2016

Cold War American Clandestine Radio Broadcasting over the Iron Curtain from Greece: Nasha Rossiya (Our Russia)

In the 1950s, the United States was broadcasting to the USSR (Soviet Union) by three different means: white, gray, and black:
·      White: Voice of America.
·      Gray: Radio Liberation (later Radio Liberty) in Munich.
·      Black (Clandestine): “Our Russia” (Nasha Rossiya) from Greece, and also broadcasts over Radio Nacional de Espana in Madrid, Rome Radio, and Nationalist Radio on Formosa (Broadcasting Corporation of China - BCC).

Below we will look at the CIA’s clandestine radio station in Greece that broadcast in Russian over radio Nasha Rossiya (Our Russia). Russian language broadcasting from Madrid, Rome, and Formosa (Taiwan) will be examined in future blog postings.

In the 1950s, the CIAs Soviet Russia Division’ project for clandestine radio broadcasting in Russian had the cryptonym AECROAK; the name of the radio station was Nasha Rossiya (Our Russia).

Nasha Rossiya probably began shortwave broadcasting in 1954 – the exact date is not known. The 1955 book Broadcasting Stations of the World listed Nasha Rossiya as a clandestine station using the Russian language; the 1953 edition did not list it.

The programs were mostly tape recordings prepared by the CIA in the USA and pouched to Athens, Greece, for processing, before being sent to the PYREX transmitting site, or, in some cases, programs were prepared locally in Greece. Programs ran about 30 minutes.

In September 1957, shortwave broadcasts to the USSR aired 07:00 to 07:30 AM and to Berlin 9:30 to 10:00 PM. The total number of broadcast hours for the month was 784 with a total number of tape runs 1, 918. Interestingly, the jamming of the Nasha Rossiya broadcasts that had begun in 1954 was reduced so that Nasha Rossiya was free of jamming for almost one hour. In some cases, jamming began between 5 and 20 minutes after the broadcasts began or went off the air before the broadcasts ended. Nasha Rossiya began broadcasting “latest news and comments” programs that were locally prepared in Athens, and the tapes were then sent to the transmitting site for broadcasting Monday through Thursday. Locally prepared tapes were then sent on Friday for weekend broadcasts.

In December 1957, the broadcasts times and lengths were changed from one 30-minute broadcast at 9.30 PM on one transmitter and one frequency, to one 15-minute broadcast on two transmitters and two frequencies at 9:45 PM. The 15-minute format was considered ideal: 

Because of the fact that most members of the potential audience cannot listen to foreign broadcasts frequently and openly, because of the fact that it will probably not be possible to avoid having substantial portions Of the program completely jammed, and because of the propaganda value which lies in the repetition of profitable and well developed themes, it is suggested that the program be no more than.15 minutes in length each day, and that it be repeated immediately after the first broadcast and as frequently as possible thereafter. 

The total number of tapes runs was 1, 112 with the total number of broadcast hours at 761. News items prepared locally in Athens ran for 4 minutes. Some of the programs included:

·      Khrushchev’s “refined” taste in clothing.
·      Budapest, trial of General Maleter.
·      Soviet distorted information and actual facts regarding the life of Negroes in the U.S.
·      NATO Conference in Paris.
·      Birth of Christ, and His influence on humanity in the course of nearly 2,000 years.
·      Highlights of anti-Communist struggle during 1957.

Soviet Jamming had been reduced so that 113 broadcast hours of Nasha Rossiya were heard free of jamming. 

According to the December 1957 status report, “The fact that AECROAK has been given so much transmitter time (760 hours: average per/month) must be attributed to the effect of Headquarters post-Hungarian Revolution policy calling for greater emphasis on Russian language propaganda directed to Great-Russian elements in the USSR.” 

In February 1958, a CIA staffer wrote to the Chief of the Soviet Russia Division bemoaning the lack of information about clandestine radio broadcasts as well as lack of enthusiasm at CIA headquarters for black radio operations:

The weakest point of our radio activities has been almost complete lack of information regarding the degree of audibility and intelligibility of our broadcasts in the target areas, This uncertainty regarding the degree 
of penetration of Soviet jamming by our broadcasts has been responsible to
 a large degree for lack of enthusiasm toward our radio propaganda activities
 among Headquarters personnel. Consequently, radio propaganda has been demoted to the level of "marginal activities", with only a half-hearted effort being made to keep it going. 

This situation undoubtedly pleases the Soviets to no end, as the determination and the fury with which they have been jamming our broadcasts in order to prevent them from being heard by the Soviet people proves quite conclusively that they have great fear for the effect these broadcasts may have on their people and their own fate if heard regularly. 

In February 1958, the broadcast scripts prepared in Athens included:

·      U.S Sputnik “Alpha 58.”
·      Appeal to Soviet troops stationed in Romania in connection with peasants’ uprisings.
·      Opposition to Ulbricht in East Germany’s Communist Party.
·      Khrushchev’s speech in Minsk. 
·      Khrushchev’s grandiose plans covering the next 15 years.
·      Soviet Army Day.

According to a KGB May 1959 report, for the month of April, “Programs of the radio station 'Nasha Rossiya' (Our Russia) were listened to primarily at night time from 22:35 - 04:45 … in the suburbs of Kiev, Tbilisi and such cities as Kamensk-Uralsk, Serpukhov, Minsk, Borisov, Smolensk, Mozhaysk, Klin and others.” 

Jamming was a major issue for those involved in clandestine radio broadcasting, e.g., in July 1959, one CIA staffer wrote.

The big question has always been, however: are our broadcasts heard by a large enough number of people in the target areas to make the effort worthwhile? Or has the Soviet jamming system succeeded in preventing most of what we say in these broadcasts from reaching the ears of our potential listeners?

This question for a long time has been burning the minds of those of us who have been directly connected with our bleak radio activities and who have always believed in radio propaganda as one of the most powerful weapons against communism, while others simply wanted to know, is the whole thing worth the money it costs? 

Nasha Rossiya programs were stopped for four weeks in October 1959 for analysis of its broadcasts. That month the responsible CIA unit for psychological operations proposed to phase out “black broadcasts to denied areas,” including “regular news programs to the USSR by October 31, 1959. Broadcasts of  “fractional effort targeted at the USSR” were to continue, with “special broadcasts employing techniques, which only a clandestine station can use: the dubbing of recordings of regular Soviet programs with subtle anti-Soviet propaganda. 

It is presumed that all broadcasts of Nasha Rossiya ceased in October 1959, or shortly thereafter, because Broadcast Stations of the World listed Nasha Rossiya as a clandestine station in Russian in the 1959 edition, but not in the 1960 edition.

April 25, 2016

Cold War American Clandestine Radio Broadcasting over the Iron Curtain from Greece: "Future of Romania -- Voice of National Resistance”, Part Two, Project SHELLAC

For Fiscal Year 1953, which began on July 1, 1952, the CIA planned to conduct a psychological warfare campaign, with the intention: “Raise the morale of the Romanian public through providing tangible evidence of the existence of a Romanian anti-Communist effort working from the outside on behalf of the Rumanian people and to foster sentiments of national solidarity and participation in this effort by instituting a covert propaganda program consisting of radio broadcasts, leaflet drops and mailing campaigns.” 

One area of concentration for fiscal year 1953, was:

To establish a black radio station within Greece for the purpose of beaming propaganda material into Rumania. This station will operate under the guise of an underground radio, broadcasting from within Rumania, and will employ such methods as “ghosting” Radio Bucharest as well as scheduled newscasts and commentaries. 

Generally the program of psychological warfare against Rumania will parallel that undertaken against Bulgaria. Existing facilities
will be enlarged where this possible to obtain black radio coverage
of Rumania … It is planned that the establishment of the proposed fifty KW radio station in Greece will provide coverage for Rumania as well as other Balkan states. As an interim measure, two small 500-watt transmitters are on order for this Project. 

By September 1951, CIA had selected the team to run the clandestine radio station in Greece:

Brutus Coste – Chief Broadcast Staff, scheduled for Greece
Titu Pogoneanu – PW Staff, scheduled for Greece
Constance Coste – PW Staff, scheduled for Greece
Rica Georgescu and Mircea Innitiu – Covert Consultants in U.S.

Brutus Coste (1910 – 1985) was an important personality in the Cold War émigré politics. As a former diplomat in pre-WWII Romania, He prepared foreign policy comments for NBC broadcasting network and wrote numerous articles on propaganda. Including the 1950 book, The Political Premises of Successful Propaganda to East Europe, published by the Mid-European Studies Center. In 1954, Coste became Director of the International League for the Rights of Man and representative at the UN. He then worked on “Democracy in Russia” and received $300 per month from the National Committee for Free Europe. From 1954 to 1965, he was Secretary General of the Assembly of Captive European Nations (ACEN). From 1967 to 1976, he was a professor of international relations and world history at Fairleigh Dickinson University, New Jersey. Brutus Coste died in New York on September 3, 1984.

By December 10, 1953, there were still no clandestine radio broadcasts to Romania and the psychological warfare Project QKBROIL was broken down in smaller projects, including the clandestine radio project with the cryptonym: SHELLAC. The clandestine radio broadcasts were to have, “[T]he primary aim of disaffecting the Romanian Communists and it is planned to supplement these broadcasts with an “intruder voice” program to be established in 1954.”

The CIA then chose Mugur Valahu (1920-2003), attorney and journalist, as chief of the new clandestine radio station. Valahu had escaped Romania in 1948. He first settled in Paris and eventually worked for Radio Paris, BBC, and Radio Free Europe. Valahu was responsible for broadcasting “coded messages” to non-existent persons in Romania that gave the impression that the West had links with a fictitious anti-Communist resistance. Romania protested these broadcasts and Valahu was forced to leave Radio Paris.

In 1998, in an interview given to Radio Romania’s Center for Oral History, Valahu talked about the psychological warfare between himself and authorities in Bucharest and about the reactions of those targeted by his attacks on radio waves: “There were, for example, prosecutors and other fervent communists whom we attacked personally, warning them – “be wary, things do change, we are here, and you, traitor to the country, will pay for your crimes.” He added,

This was clandestine radio broadcasts, fifteen minutes maximum, in Athens, and had special transmitters for broadcast variable wavelength of 49 meters. These issues were generally made at night, were sporadic, unannounced, to surprise jamming stations in the country, which were extremely numerous … Our language was very violent, Romanian nationalist, so we substituted somehow for the people who could speak neither in public nor in writing. Welcome anti-Russian slogans and asking the independence of Bukovina and Bessarabia.

Our shows were nothing like those broadcast on Radio Free Europe or on Voice of America, which were, so to say, more elegant, more moderate, purely informative. 

From time to time, we met with Romanians who briefed us on the current state of affairs back home. One of the engineers from our jamming station told us that the government was extremely concerned with our activities on the radio, with the fact that we instigated people and called for capital punishments. Every time our show came on the air, they would say “Here comes Radu Verde.” Radu Verde meant us, and the technician said we were considered public enemy number one from the point of view of the communist regime. 

During the 1956 Hungarian Revolution, Valahu broadcast to Romania with this message: “We urged  people to become aware of Romanian pride, of the fact that Hungarians were about to rebel and that Romanians could not sit idly by. We just had to do something, we had to hold strikes and street rallies … We advised people to carry out individual acts, so as not to give way to reprisals against potential groups.” 

CIA decided in October 1959 to close down “Future of Romania” and Mugur Valahu left Greece and would spend many years in Africa. He went on to become a successful author of books about Africa, including, The Katanga Circus: A Detailed Account of Three UN Wars.

Mugur Valahu died in southern France on February 24, 2003, he was 82 years old. 

85 manuscript boxes of Brutus Coste’s papers, 1940-1985, are located at the Hoover Institution Archives, Stanford University, California. The papers include, “Correspondence, dispatches, memoranda, reports, press releases, speeches and writings, conference proceedings, financial records, and printed matter, relating to Romanian diplomacy during World War II; discussion of Romania at the Paris Peace Conference of 1946; Romanian and other Eastern European émigré affairs; postwar anti-communist movements, especially the Assembly of Captive European Nations and the Truth about Romania Committee; and the status of human rights in Romania and elsewhere in Eastern Europe.”

April 08, 2016

Cold War American Clandestine Radio Broadcasting over the Iron Curtain from Greece: “Future of Romania -- Voice of National Resistance”, Part One, The Set Up


Radio Free Europe began short-wave “gray” broadcasting to Romania from the mobile transmitter station “Barbara” on July 14, 1950. On May 1, 1951, RFE began a full-broadcast schedule to Romania from Munich.

Below we will look at how the CIA’s clandestine ("black") radio station "România Viitoare — Vocea Rezistenței Naționale" (Future of Romania – Voice of National Resistance) in Greece was set up.

Vocea Padurii (Voice of the Forest)

A clandestine or “black” radio station known as “Vocea Padurii” (Voice of the Forest) was broadcasting in 1951. It is not known if this was an early experimental CIA clandestine radio station or a domestic Romania propaganda station operated by partisans in the mountains and forests, who were fighting the Communist regime. 

In September 1951, Radio Free Europe interviewer of refugees from Romania in Turkey wrote this about clandestine radio transmitters in Rumania (Romania).

More and more news from inside Rumania shows that the mysterious radio broadcasting station called Vocea Padurii (Voice of the Forest) is very much listed to and is growing increasingly popular. The broadcasts are starting almost daily about 0200 hours (Rumanian time) and many people in Bucharest especially wake up to hear it. They are made in the name of General DRAGALINA, who achieved great popularity in 1949 as head of the first spontaneous marquis in Rumania. Since then contradictory news about his death reached the outside world, but refugees who listened very recently to the broadcasts claim to recognize his voice and his manner of speaking. The style of the broadcasts is extremely vindictive. Many traitors and collaborators are named in these broadcasts and are promised very quick vengeance. The broadcasts seem to be well informed especially on local affairs. The wavelength is 6,700 kilocycles or 49,60 kilocycles on the 41 meter band. 

General Dragalina in the above report refers to Lt. General Corneliu Dragalina (1877 – 1949), who was a highly decorated Romanian army officer, who fought against the USSR in World War Two and later opposed the Communist takeover of Romania.

RFE’s evaluator commented: “Source: reliability unknown; Information: unknown, wait for confirmation. It should be mentioned that western monitoring has not yet been able to locate this station and unless further confirmation could be obtained, accounts of this matter should be taken with a certain reserve.” 

In May 1952, Radio Free Europe’s field operation sent another information report from Istanbul:

While still in Rumania, a 57-year-old Armenian emigrant (NU) who arrived at Istanbul on 2 April 1952, listened man times to a clandestine radio station, conducting a campaign against the Communist regime.  He said that he always heard the broadcast in Rumania but at various hours of the day or night, since the stations had no fie time for broadcasting. Most of the time, however, he was able to listen to it at night, usually after 2000 hrs.  He tuned in to the station on the short-wave, between the 16 and 25 meter bands, night next to the BBC on the dial.  

Only one man spoke over this station, starting every broadcast with the words: “Rumania speaking.” The station attacked the regime very severely and quoted facts and names. It seemed to give people courage especially because it was within Rumania and because it never repeated what the Western radio stations said.  Our informant said that he did not know where the clandestine radio was, but people generally believe it to be located in the vicinity of the town of Cluj, capital of Transylvania; at any rate, they believed it to be in Transylvania.

RFE’s evaluator commented: “No reliable confirmation available.”

Evolution of Project QKBROIL

John C. Campbell, Officer in Charge of Balkan Affairs of the US State Department, met with CIA officers in January 1951. The meeting was then reported in CIA channels and the following considerations were listed: 

The Rumanian people are held in line by repressive Communist police and political controls, which have ensured a pace of Sovietization exceeded only in Bulgaria. Over the past five years Rumania's traditional orientation toward the West has been vigorously undermined, as Rumania becomes progressively more isolated from the Western world and absorbed into the Soviet complex, the confidence of the people in eventual liberation must continue to dwindle and their will to resist be replaced by increasingly passive resignation. 

It is not anticipated that the Rumanian people can summon sufficient psychological and material strength to overthrow the host regime under existing circumstances. Nevertheless their detestation of the regime and its sponsors represents a basic vulnerability of Soviet control, which, if properly exploited, would impede the utilization of Rumanian resources as either a covert or overt base of Soviet operations in the Balkans. 

The original Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) plan for Romania with the cryptonym QKBROIL was submitted on May 31, 1951. The major objectives of QKBROILwere:

a. To fortify the hope of liberation among the Rumanian people and to strengthen their will to resist Communism.
b. To establish a clandestine underground for the implementation of U. S. policy toward the Soviet orbit in cold war and hot war situations.
c. To undermine by a combination of covert operations including psychological warfare the political, economic and military structure of the Communist regime. 
d. To develop a political center as a point of attribution for overt activities and as a covert operational support arm for projected operations. 

On line of action to meet the objectives was: “The preparation and initiation of a coordinated psychological warfare programs against Rumania including covert radio broadcasts propaganda leaflets and mailing campaigns intended to discredit various public figures associated with the regime. “ However, “Efforts were made to establish a field headquarters and propaganda center for QKBROIL in Turkey but because of the attitude of the Turkish authorities this has so far been impossible. It now looks as though radio propaganda activities will have to be postponed until the question of a permanent base has been decided.”

In a proposal dated June 22, 1951, for fiscal year 1952, the purpose of QCKBROIL was defined as: “To encourage the hope of liberation and will to resist of the Romian people to establish a clandestine underground in Romania to hamper Soviet/Satellite military operations and to serve as a medium for wartime resistance; to undermine the political, economic and military structure of Communist Romania; to form a NCFE (National Committee for Free Europe – the parent organization of Radio Free Europe) Political Center for refugee Romanians to give cover and support for OPC activities … It lieu of existing organizations, which appear unable to unite, it is possible that a new organization will be formed to assist OPC.”

In another proposal document, there is further discussion of the difficulties in uniting the Romanian emigre organisations: “The Romanian refugees have so far been unable to unite into a single, effective organization. The formation of such a group is considerably hindered by personal rivalries, factionalism, and the hesitancies of King Michael in assuming a more positive role in its creation. Initially, however, the present National Committee and/or its rival the Free Romanian Association could provide adequate cover for OPC activity.”

For a briefing of the CIA's Soviet/East European Division, it was written, "There has been no single refugee organization representing the Romanian people since November 1950 ... [A]lthough the NCFE has supported the Association, QKBROIL has taken the position that neither the Romanian National Committee nor the Association of Free Romanians as presently constituted is acceptable for our use. Our continuous efforts to effect unification have been unavailing... [I]n connection with the refugee problem, NCFE's open support of the Association has made it extremely difficult for us to convince the refugees that unification is the only way to obtain American backing. NCFE'S partisanship has widened the breath between the two groups and has done nothing to alleviate the personal differences that existed prior to the break and that have developed since then. This has also affected the attitude of the King toward us."

In a June 1951 Status Report, we read:

The actual undertaking of covert operations against the Communist Regime in Rumania, while considered as both important and desirable, has been subordinated to the mounting of certain other operations due to: 

a. The necessity for concentration of effort by this Branch on the more vulnerable pperimeter Satellites, and 

b. The absence of a mechanism or vehicle representative of all Rumanian political factions in exile which could act as an overt sponsor for operations.
Generally the program of psychological warfare against Rumania will parallel that undertaken against Bulgaria. Existing facilities will be enlarged where this is possible to obtain black radio coverage of Rumania. It is planned that the establishment of the proposed fifty kw radio station in Greece will provide coverage for Rumania as well as other Balkan states. As an interim measure, two small 500-watt transmitters are on order for this Project.

On August 2, 1951, a Consultant Board, that included U.S. State Department and Defense Department personnel, approved Project QKBROIL, with fine CIA approved on August 28, 1951.

The CIA project officer expected that the station would be manned by the end of February 1952 and operating by the end of March 1952.That expectation changed, with a new one: the first broadcast of 15 minutes was expected on June 1, 1952. This did not happen.

Next: Project SHELLAC and radio România Viitoare — Vocea Rezistenței Naționale (Future of Romania – Voice of National Resistance)

April 05, 2016

Cold War American Clandestine Radio Broadcasting over the Iron Curtain from Greece, to Ukraine: Novaya Ukraine, 1955-1959, Part Three

Part Three

The first broadcast of radio Novaya Ukraina was made on September 25, 1955, with one 15-minute transmission daily. That was increased to two schedules daily, which use two transmitter hours per day, or 60 hours per month, with more transmitter hours and preferable times available in the ensuing years.

The CIA was unhappy with the first programs and in New York on October 5, 1955, there was a meeting with Lebed, the Psychological Warfare Panel, and the CIA to discuss the necessity of improving the contents of the radio scripts prepared by the group. According to the CIA review, 

Getting down to the business of actual script writing which would reflect the Ukrainian national interest without being the merchants of hate to everything Russian, we had considerable difficulty in reconciling the national Ukrainian interests of the group with the policy…, which precludes the extreme chauvinism. The produced scripts six, and seven) were devoid of the former undertones of hatred against everything Russian and from this point of view they were deemed acceptable. 

The scripts produced were recorded at our suggestion in a fashion designed to enliven the presentation of material by be introduction of two additional voices, by cutting down the monologues, and by dramatization of the entire presentation. The previous tapes were recorded by a single voice end the resulting monotony in audio effect rendered the broadcasts dull end uninteresting. 
Because of the involved and detailed process of script editing it has been decided that their final rendering will be accomplished with our immediate participation and that the croup will do the preparatory assembling of material. 

Examples of Radio Novaya Ukraina programs.

From a June 1958 Review:

·      PYREX Tape No. 44 transmitted during week 1-7 June mentioned the following. Every Ukrainian knows what kind of rights Moscow gives the Ukraine. If the Ukrainian language is the national language, Why isn't this mentioned in the constitution of the USSR as it is in the Constitutions of the other republics? Why do all the letters in the Ukraine carry Russian stamps? Why doesn't the Ukraine have its own postal stamps? Why must the Ukrainian Orthodox and Catholic priests come under the jurisdiction of the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church? Why 
·      Tape No. 43 transmitted 1-7 June.
Moscow continues forced Russification of the Ukraine. 
·      Tape No. 40 transmitted 18-24 May.
The sovereign Ukraine does not have her own army. Nobody knows where the ministry of military affairs of the USSR is located. What is the national language in the Soviet Ukraine? What language does the Communist party in the Ukraine use? 
·      Tape No. 37 transmitted 11-17 May.
Throughout Kiev hang Ukrainian street and commercial signs, but under these Ukrainian signs, Russian power and Russian culture rule.

The review finished with this comment; “The foregoing are only a few examples of how AERODYNAMIC propaganda is pointing up the fact that the "sovereign Ukraine" is only a Soviet myth.” 

The August 1958 Monthly Status Report included this, “Eight tapes were presented by PROLOG ASSOCIATES during the month of July and transmitted over Radio PYREX for a total of 79 transmitter hours.”  Some of the comments of the broadcasts included:

·      Hungarian school children are being arrested for participation in the 1956 revolution.
·      Hungarian protests against the shooting of Imre Nagy continue.
·      Khrushchev congratulates Arab nationalists but liquidates nationalists in Ukraine, Byelorussia, Lithuania and other nations.

In October 1958, twelve tapes were transmitted from Athens and four of them were special tapes devoted to the commemoration of the 1956 Revolution in Hungary:

·      Comments on why and how.The Hungarian Revolution and Ukrainians.
·      Excerpts from a letter written by a Hungarian author to artist Pablo Picasso.
·      The Hungarian Revolution tore open the iron curtain and revealed to the free world the suffering of those living under Moscow rule.
·      Ramifications and effects of the Hungarian Revolution on world opinion 
·      Comments on how Moscow press falsified proceedings of Hungarian Revolution.

In January 1959, eight tapes were prepared in New York and sent to Athens for broadcasting. In addition to world news and news of émigré affairs, the following, in part, were included in the broadcasts:

·      Commentary on the anti-religious campaign in the USSR.
·      Moscow fears Communist revolution in Iraq in near future.
·      Comments regarding the celebrations commemorating the 41st anniversary of the free Ukrainian Republic. Ukrainian National Anthem played at the end of this commentary.

In October 1959, although approved it was approved for renewal for fiscal year 1960 that began in July 1959, clandestine radio broadcasting from Greece to Ukraine as Novaya Ukraina ceased during the Camp David meetings between U.S. President Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Khrushchev.

March 28, 2016

Cold War American Clandestine Radio Broadcasting over the Iron Curtain from Greece, to Ukraine: Novaya Ukraine, 1955-1959, Part Two

Part Two

Going from the concept of a clandestine radio to the actual beginning of broadcasting to Ukraine was a relatively long and drawn out affair. The CIA, apparently was frustrated for two years in reaching its goal of broadcasting clandestinely to Ukraine, as we will see below.

One of the problems facing the CIA in 1953 was that even though approval was received to begin clandestine radio broadcasting under the cryptonym AERODYNAMIC / RANTER, there was no professional staff of radio journalists, script writers, announcers, etc. A Study Group had been previously set up in Prolog Research and Publishing Associates for the purpose of:

·      Supplying CIA with political, economic, biographic and sociological information on the Ukrainian SSR and the Communist leadership.
·      Furnishing plans for Headquarters utilization in the fulfillment of the U.S. Intelligence and Psychological warfare missions. 

During fiscal year 1954 the clandestine radio operation had been approved as a sup-project (AERANTER) of Project AERODYNAMIC and necessitated separate funding and CIA administration. AERODYNAMIC /RANTER was new project and had the following requirements:

1)    The establishment in New York City and/or other locations in the United States as may be necessary, of facilities for writing and producing a series of radio programs 
2)    Procurement of equipment for recording these programs on magnetic tape. This tape will be pouched and flown to Athens for reproduction. 
3)    The augmentation of a Ukrainian study group panel in New York

The Study Group panel was supervised by one staff employee, who was experienced in psychological warfare activities. The Study Group had the following duties: 

1)    Write or assemble, record, and edit material which will be broadcast am/or held in reserve as a backlog for future broadcasts.
2)    Act as translators, researchers, writers, editors, and announcers.
3)    Collect and collate background and source materials in the form of overtly published books and periodicals and unclassified government information.
4)    Sterilize by rewriting and reattributing classified material for incorporation into the programs.

How did it work?  According to internal CIA documents,

·      The New York office of the study group served as an office-studio for preparing the scripts and recording the broadcast tapes.
·      The increased activity was not expected to cause an undue interest in the cover organization, because the actual recording process was limited to approximately two scripts per week, the transcribing would take place after regular office hours. 
·      Control by CIA headquarters was maintained through an Soviet Russia (SR) Staff employee, with psychological warfare experience, who supervised the content of the broadcasts and the contact associates.
·      With the transposition of the text to tape, the transcription was given to CIA headquarters for final review and release.
·      In Athens the tapes will be run by Office of Communications personnel already in the field. 

The Vice President of Prolog Associates Dr. Myroslav Prokop was responsible for the preparation of scripts and tapes for broadcasting. 

In February 1954, the CIA falsely believed that the radio scripts, then being written up. and the first tapes for broadcasting would be ready within a month.

In March 1954, the SR division made a request for Safe House in New York that would be: 6 rooms, detached, with basement, in a middle class neighborhood in Jackson Heights, Queens, Astoria, or Brooklyn, equipment to make tape recordings.

There was little progress in developing clandestine radio broadcasts, so on January 27, 1955, there was meeting with CIA legendary officer Archibald Roosevelt, grandson of President Teddy Roosevelt, and Mykola Lebed, the controversial President of Prolog Associates. * The meeting was summed up as, 

They exchanged views of the AERODYNAMIC Project in general and, specifically, in order that Mr. Roosevelt might discuss with Lebed the Ukrainian Black Radio Broadcast – its present status and future possibilities.

The meeting began with Mr. Roosevelt presenting his views or critique on the scripts. He pointed out: the scripts are too lengthy, feature wise. The male voice used in the broadcast tapes is not quite adequate. The contents of the scripts in my instances, does not seem quite timely, or effective enough to meet current developments in the Ukraine.

Lebed admitted that certain technical features of the scripts should be altered and improved. He said the Study Group was primarily composed of Eastern Ukrainians who had lived under the Soviet Regime their entire lives prior to coming to the West shortly after the end of World War II. He added, These people are well aware of Soviet reality and are competent in their respective fields and can produce the type of scripts. 

He admitted, however, that while they may not have the latest word on many new changes in the Ukraine (although they do have access to material obtained from the Ukrainian Underground headquarters as late as 1953 and are provided with current Soviet publications), the basic criteria—the anti-Communist, anti-Bolshevik struggle and the quest for an independent Ukraine is really all that matters.

In concluding the discussion as to the future of the Black Radio broadcasts, Mr. Roosevelt made it clear that the decision to implement this phase of the Project has not yet been made and that the scripts, line to be followed, etc., is now under review and that a decision will be made in approximately two months, or possibly less. Mr. Roosevelt pointed out that he will pull no punches and that when a decision is reached--favorable or unfavorable--he will again meet with Lebed and make this decision known to him. In other words, there will not be a vague, general stall and a long period of indecision.

In the meantime, it was suggested that Lebed suspend making any further tapes and to divert the Study Group to other activities. 

In May 1955 there was a CIA-Prolog meeting at the Raleigh Hotel in Washington, during which Lebed was advised to prepare at least three trial tapes prior to swinging into full operation. Lebed expressed some reluctance due to the rejection of at least 30 tapes and scripts his group had prepared when originally granted the go-ahead. He stated that some of his key men were thinking of getting out of the Study Group because they saw no signs that their work was being put to good use. In any case, Lebed said he would make three tapes based on the restrictions presented to him several months ago by Mr. Roosevelt. The CIA liaison officer stressed the point that, 

approval for the scripts and tapes in the black radio broadcasts have been in effect for over a year now and that money was being spent with no results. It was also pointed out that it was not up to him to push the Study Group and the ZP into doing something along this line when it is primarily for their advantage -- they should have the initiative and the desire to see the thing through now that funds for this have been allocated. It was also pointed out that the project (they know there is such a thing) would be up for renewal at the end of the current fiscal year and that without some results there would be some difficulties in justifying the renewal at the same rate if at all. 

Psychological Warfare Panel

In August 1955, at a meeting in the Statler Hotel in New York, Prolog President Lebed was told,  “The study group is no longer in effect. Those members who had comprised the defunct study group would now be shifted into a Psychological Warfare panel. Each individual would have his own responsibility; if he failed to satisfy the requirements he would be removed from the panel. The Psychological 'Warfare Panel was to supply one fifteen-minute tape a week for broadcast from the PYREX facilities.” August 22, 1955 was set as the deadline for receiving the first 14 minute broadcast tape.

*    For example, a 1986 report by the Comptroller General of the United States, “Nazi and Axis Collaborators were used to further U.S. Anti-Communist Objectives in Europe – Some Immigrated to the United States” listed Mykola Lebed as “Subject D” and gave a brief summary of the derogatory information against him:

Subject D was used by U.S. intelligence in Europe after the war. Documentation reviewed shows that during the 1930s the subject, a member of an underground nationalist revolutionary organization, was convicted of complicity in planning the assassination of a high East European official (Polish Interior Minister Bronislaw Pieracki). Sentenced to death, he appealed his conviction. A higher court upheld the conviction but his sentence was subsequently commuted to life imprisonment. When the Nazis invaded this East European country (Poland), he was able to escape from prison. During the war he was alleged to have cooperated with the Germans initially but later fought against them. He was also alleged to have committed terrorist acts and to have fought against the Communists…The subject was considered extremely valuable by U.S. intelligence. Because of fear for his personal safety and his familiarity with U.S. intelligence operations, the CIA brought him to the United States under an assumed name.

Because of this and other information, he was the subject of numerous critical newspaper and magazine articles. Mykola Lebed died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on July 18, 1998.

Next: A look at the actual broadcasts