March 24, 2015

Book of Interest: "Transnational Anti-Communism and the Cold War: Agents, Activities, and Networks"

Below is a breakdown of a recently published book of interest. Chapter 6 has a short summary of the Free Europe Committee and Radio Free Europe.

Transnational Anti-Communism and the Cold War:
Agents, Activities, and Networks

Edited by Luc van Dongen, Stephanie Roulin, Giles Scott-Smith

Synopsis provided by publisher:

How was anti-communism organized in the West? Was it all run by the CIA? The book covers the aims, arguments and associations of a range of transnational anti-communist activists during the Cold War. While the CIA were obviously important, other motives, interests and financial sources were available. The contributors of this volume open up new fields of research to explore how far anti-communism was actually planned, coordinated and structured across Western nations. By taking a transnational approach, the book moves beyond simply reducing anti-communist activities to the interests of governments and instead focuses on the role of individuals and private networks, how they organized themselves and how they pursued their own interests.

While Cold Warriors in both the US and Europe called for an anti-communist 'crusade', various factors – geopolitical interests, elitist prejudices, ideological divisions, religious beliefs – were influential in fuelling activism. This volume demonstrates the complex array of forces, factions and frictions that were active during the Cold War, and shows that Western anti-communism, despite its apparently straightforward goal to oppose Soviet power, moved along many different paths simultaneously.

Table of Contents

Introduction (Luc van Dongen, Stéphanie Roulin, Giles Scott-Smith)

1. The American Society of African Culture: The CIA and Transnational Networks among African Diaspora Intellectuals; Hugh Wilford
2. The American Federation of Labor and the Nordic Non-Communist Left; Dino Knudsen
3. 'Brother Tronchet': A Swiss Trade Union Leader within the American Sphere of Influence; Luc van Dongen
4. 'Not an Ugly American': Sal Tas, a Dutch Reporter as Agent of the West in Africa; Tity de Vries

5. Paix et Liberté: The Formative Transnational Anti-Communist Network; Bernard Ludwig
6. Gathering the Exiles: The Assembly of Captive European Nations; Martin Nekola
7. The Formation and Mutations of the World Anti-Communist League; Pierre Abramovici
8. The Necessity of Going Transnational: The Role of Interdoc; Giles Scott-Smith
9. Brian Crozier and the Institute for the Study of Conflict; Jeff Michaels
10. Global Crusade against Communism: The Cercle during the 'Second Cold War'; Adrian Hänni

11. The Sovietology of Józef M. Bocheński: Transnational Activism from Switzerland, 1955-1965; Matthieu Gillabert
12. Suzanne Labin: An Atlanticist Anti-Communist Professional; Olivier Dard
13. The Mont Pelerin Society and the Rise of the Postwar Neoliberal Counter-Establishment; Niels Bjerre-Poulsen
14. Better Dead than Red: Wilhelm Röpke, a Neoliberal Anti-Communist; Jean Solchany

15. Transnational Anti-Communist Fundamentalism: The International Council of Christian Churches; Markku Ruotsila
16. A Christian Kominform? The Comité International de Défense de la Civilisation Chrétienne; Johannes Grossmann
17. Bible Smuggling and Human Rights in the Soviet Bloc During the Cold War; Bent Boel

Publisher: Palgrave Macmillian, Transnational History Series

Format: Hardcover, Ebook (EPUB), Ebook (PDF)

March 03, 2015

The Jungle of Secret Services, Disinformation, and Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty

Last year, the German Historical institute (GHI) in Washington, DC, published Supplement 9 to its bi-annual Bulletin (52) with the title: "The Stasi at Home and Abroad: Domestic Order and Foreign Intelligence." This was a product of a 2010 workshop of the Woodrow Wilson Center's Cold War international History Project and the GHI.

The third part of Supplement 9 deals with the foreign intelligence service of the DDR: The Hauptverwaltung A (HV A). It is here that we read about Dr. Emil Hoffmann and his connection to the disinformation campaigns of the Soviet Union and East European intelligence services against Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty in the 1970s: 

Douglas Selvage looks at tradition in a very different way from the Stasi officers. In his article “SA-CIA-HV A: Dr. Emil Hoffmann and the ‘Jungle of the Secret Services’ (1934-1985),” he traces the biography of a German journalist and businessmen who was a Nazi propagandist in the Propaganda Ministry and the Foreign Office and worked after WWII first for the British MI6 service, despite having been active as a national revolutionary in the tradition of Gregor Strasser. After the British released him, he moved to the emerging field of East-West trade, and both the CIA and Soviet intelligence tried to recruit him. Beginning in 1956, the HV A tried to hire Hoffmann, giving up in the early 1960s, but finally managed to recruit him after his retirement in 1976. Selvage’s detailed and lucid analysis presents a story of shifting and unclear loyalties and commitments. Clearly, a Nazi past and active work for the West German New Right was no barrier to working for the HV A, and engagement for the other side, as Hoffmann’s case shows, made some people even more interesting for the intelligence services of the other. This deconstruction of the normative façade of intelligence services makes it clear that their analysis needs to be detailed and nuanced, focusing especially on their internal dynamics: ...

Below are excerpts from the fascinating study of Douglas Selvage:

On February 27, 1976, a routine summary of the Soviet press from the U.S. embassy in Moscow contained the following information item: Pravda reports from Vienna that “well-known West German publicist” Emil Hoffmann has sent to [the] embassies of CSCE signatories in that city a letter on “the illegal activities of radio stations Free Europe and Freedom [sic, Liberty].” Hoffmann says that the “subversive activity” of these stations “contradicts a basic principle of international law which is obligatory for all states — non-interference in the internal affairs of other states."

What Pravda failed to mention was that Emil Hoffmann was, in fact, a former member of the Nazis’ Sturmabteilung (SA) and one- time employee of Joseph Goebbels’s propaganda ministry. It also failed to report that Hoffmann had distributed the study on Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) at the behest of the East German Ministry for State Security (MfS, Stasi) — specifically, its foreign intelligence division, Hauptverwaltung A (HV A). What the U.S. embassy did not know and failed to report was that Hoffmann’s action constituted, to some extent, an act of personal revenge against the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), whose “terror” Hoffmann blamed for his loss of lucrative business deals in East-West trade and — from his perspective — his forced retirement as a journalist. Having worked for decades in East-West trade – the “jungle of the Secret services,” Hoffman called it – the former Nazi propagandist decided to moonlight in his retirement for the HV A.  

[H]offmann sparked renewed interest on the part of intelligence services, East and West, as he began a new career in East-West trade as a broker and journalist in 1949. From this point forward, Hoffmann posed a problem for intelligence services on both sides: Should they try to recruit him, arrest him, or simply keep him under “operational control”? They all agreed on the need to spy on him. The more attractive he became to one side as a potential target or agent, the more interesting he became to the other side. While Hoffmann, for his part, sought to avoid entrapment by the various intelligence agencies, he also sought to play upon their thirst for information for economic and journalistic benefits. If Hoffmann fell into the “jungle of intelligence agencies,” as he later wrote, it was a jungle with which he was quite familiar. Between 1949 and 1956, Hoffmann’s greatest fears in his erstwhile “jungle” were the CIA, which actively spied upon him, and the Stasi, which — he feared — might arrest him. 

Dr. Emil Hoffmann was born in 1911 and died in 1995. He was the author of West-Ost-Handel in Zwielicht (1955) and Mandat für Deutschland. Staatsfeind aus Verantwortung (1992).

To access and download only the Selvage article: 

Douglas Selvage is currently Project Director in the Education and Research Division of the BStU (Federal Commission for the Records of the State Security Service of the former German Democratic Republic) in Berlin for the project “International Cooperation of the East European Security Services.” Before he joined the BStU in 2008, he served as a historian in the U.S. Department of State and as an assistant professor of history at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach. He has published widely on German-Polish relations during the Cold War, on the Helsinki Process, U.S. foreign policy, and the history of the Soviet bloc. 

January 30, 2015

In Memory of a Man they Just Couldn’t Gag: Vladimir-Georg Karassev-Orgusaar (1931-2015), RIP

Below is a tribute written by Jüri Estam in Tallinn, Estonia, to Vladimir-Georg Karassev-Orgusaar, who died this week in Paris.

In Memory of a Man they Just Couldn’t Gag: Vladimir-Georg Karassev-Orgusaar (1931-2015), RIP

Vladimir-Georg Karassev-Orgusaar – a talented stringer for RFE-RL in Paris from 1981 to 2000 – passed away on January 27, 2015, in the French capital. 

After his birth on December 14, 1931, in independent Estonia, he was taken to Russia by his mother. As a result he was fluent in both Russian and Estonian. 
Karassev-Orgusaar studied history and literature at Tomsk University, and filmmaking at the famed Moscow All-Union State Institute of Cinematography, under the tutelage of Sergei Gerasimov.

He returned to Estonia in the 1960s and made a number of documentary films about Estonian revolutionaries and various turning points in Estonian history.

Karassev-Orgusaar soon ran into trouble with the authorities, because his scripts tended to stray from the official “party line”. His 1968 documentary “Solstice" ("Pööripäev”) included scenes of Soviet tanks and armed Soviet soldiers on the streets of the Estonian capital in 1940, implying fairly clearly that Estonia’s incorporation into the USSR hadn’t been voluntary. His feature film "The Outlaws" ("Lindpriid”) was banned by the Soviet authorities, before it could be shown to the public. 

While at the Cannes Film Festival in 1976, Karassev-Orgusaar requested political asylum. He then worked as a freelancer for both the Russian and Estonian services of RFE-RL. 

Because of his training as an actor, and thanks to the timbre of his voice, his gift for diction and his erudition, the man was a natural for radio work. He was one of the top assets the Estonian Service of RFE-RL had at its disposal, and did superb work that Estonian audiences continue to praise to this day.

He was presented with the Order of the White Star, 4th Class on behalf of the Republic of Estonia at the Embassy in Paris in 2011 in recognition of his contributions to the restoration of Estonian national independence. 

Karassev-Orgusaar endured the cruel cuts of fate for many years as an exile and an outcast, and still hasn’t fully gained the attention or gotten the credit he may otherwise well have earned.

We pause to remember a man who never ceased applying his considerable cinematographic talents to the perpetual tug of war between justice and injustice, more through the airwaves then than at the movies. 

A collection may possibly be arranged in order to find a final resting place for Karassev-Orgusaar at the Père-Lachaise cemetery.

Jüri Estam has been employed as a journalist and communicator in many capacities. Born into an Estonian refugee family in the West, he worked as a broadcaster at Radio Free Europe from 1979 until 1989 and was a correspondent in Northern Europe in English and Estonian for the next two years. He moved to Estonia during the week that national independence was reclaimed in August of 1991, and did a stint with ERR at Estonian Television in the 90s as a current affairs program host and documentary filmmaker. Today he’s engaged in various communications activities as a consultant.

January 23, 2015

"Cold War Broadcasting" e-Dossier

For anyone interested in how the governments of Central/East Europe and Soviet Union viewed, acted, and reported about Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, this "e-dossier" is a treasure trove of information:

This e-Dossier contains translations of documents from Central/East European and Soviet archives concerning Western broadcasting during the Cold War. The documents show that the Communist regimes perceived "enemy" broadcasts as a serious threat to the systems they ruled and were prepared to take extensive countermeasures to limit the impact of the broadcasts.

The original documents were located in the national archives of Central/Eastern Europe and the former USSR, the Berlin repository for East German internal security files, the Hoover Institution Archives, and the National Security Archive. Michael Nelson kindly made available for publication documents he obtained from Russian Federation archives in preparing his book, War of the Black Heavens. Translations, some excerpts of longer documents that deal only in part with Western broadcasts, were made at CWIHP and the Hoover Archives.

Many of the translated documents were prepared for a Wilson Center-Hoover Institution conference on Impact of Cold War Broadcasting held at the Hoover Institution in 2004. All documents in this e-Dossier were originally published, along with revised conference papers, in Cold War Broadcasting; Impact on the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, A. Ross Johnson and R. Eugene Parta, eds., New York and Budapest: Central European University Press, 2010.

The translated documents published here are indicative of Soviet and East European Communist regime assessments of and counter-measures to Western broadcasters, but they are not exhaustive. The Wilson Center holds several hundred analogous documents not yet translated. And thousands of related documents doubtless still lie in the archives, especially in the Russian Federation. See also CWIHP's collection of declassified U.S. government documents on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

A. Ross Johnson is a Woodrow Wilson Center Senior Scholar and author of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty; the CIA Years and Beyond.

R. Eugene Parta is the retired director of Audience Research and Program Evaluation for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Prague and author of Discovering the Hidden Listener: An Assessment of Radio Liberty and Western Broadcasting to the USSR during the Cold War.

January 19, 2015

Ph.D. Dissertation "Communities of Journalists and Journalism Practice at Radio Free Europe during the Cold War

Ph.D. dissertation of Susan D. Haas is available on line for viewing or downloading:

Communities of Journalists and Journalism Practice at Radio Free Europe during the Cold War (1950-1995)


This study describes the construction, maintenance and defense of news practices by journalists at Radio Free Europe (RFE), an experimental U.S. government-sponsored organization whose mission was to act as a "surrogate free press", in effect, to disrupt state media-controlled public spheres of totalitarian states during the West's Cold War with communism. At RFE from 1950-1995, two groups of journalists cooperated to produce content: politically activist, exiled citizens - self-trained journalists -- from East-Central Europe working in semi-autonomous language services (radios) broadcasting through the Iron Curtain to the people of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria, and, experienced journalists from Western democracies working in the Central Newsroom, an internal news agency serving the broadcast desks. 

This study outlines aspects of RFE and its Cold War context -- including journalists' knowledge of the human rights and informational deficits of audiences -- critical to understanding these groups of journalists. It differentiates group conceptions of roles at RFE and means of constructing practice despite the paradox of doing news work from a position aberrant to Western journalism. Research includes 100 interviews and correspondence with 70 former RFE employees gathered from 2004-2012; and, for the first time in scholarship, the voices of RFE's Western journalists. 

It incorporates documents collected from and created by participants. It places these data in conversation with memoirs and histories by RFE insiders, and with corporate documents from archives opened to researchers during the past decade. It describes both groups of journalists as "exiles" practicing in the absence of legitimacy in the contexts of both Western journalism and communist states. It describes organizational challenges and group negotiations of news work. It posits emigres as constructing national imaginaries available only in RFE broadcasts, and Western journalists as constructing a hyper-vigilant practice that modeled journalism for broadcasters and served as a credibility anchor for broadcasts. Translating different conceptions of the mission - modeling a free press -- into practice, absent legitimacy and in view of listener needs and risks, produced two different journalisms, each unique and hyper-vigilant. The study suggests that the RFE historical case presaged challenges facing contemporary journalism and journalists

January 02, 2015

John and Thelma Richardson: Democracy Advocate, and Activist, RIP

John Richardson
John Richardson, Jr., was president of the Free Europe Committee (Free Europe, Inc), from 1961 to 1968. He died on December 26, 2014. His wife had died in November 2014. Below is the obituary notice for both of them.

Democracy Advocate, and Activist, Pass.

John and Thelma "Bonnie" Richardson died on December 26, 2014, and November 29, 2014 respectively, in Bethesda, Maryland. 

John Richardson was born February 4, 1921, in Milton, Massachusetts to John and Hope (Hemenway) Richardson. He had four sisters, Hope, Hetty, Louisa and Faith, attended Noble and Greenough School, Harvard University and Harvard Law School. 

Thelma Eulalia Ingram Richardson was born August 10, 1925 to Dr. Ben and Thelma (Reynolds) Ingram in Louisiana. She earned a BA from Coker College, an MA from George Washington, and is survived by her sister, Dr. Clara Gandy.  

John and Thelma married in 1945 (see photo). John distinguished himself as an officer and paratrooper during WWII. 

A Wall Street lawyer (Sullivan and Cromwell) and investment banker (Paine Webber), Richardson changed direction in 1956 through personally organizing airlifts of medical supplies during the Hungarian Revolution. 

John Richardson was CEO of Radio Free Europe (1961-68), Assistant Secretary of State for Education and Cultural Affairs (1969-77) (see photo), and CEO of of Youth for Understanding (1978 – 86). 

He was a founding staff member of the U.S. Institute of Peace, founding board member and chair of the National Endowment of Democracy, president of the International Rescue Committee, on the boards of the American Forum for Global Education, the Council on Foreign Relations, University of Denver Foundation, River Road Unitarian Church. 

He was decorated by the Governments of Germany and Japan for his international youth exchange work and in 1988 by Poland for his ‘contribution to the struggle for freedom and democracy during the Cold War period’. 

"Bonnie" Richardson’s involvement in the 1965 Bronxville (NY) Hospital strike, in support of worker unionization (1099), earned the Richardsons the appreciation of Dr. Martin Luther King. 

They leave daughters Eva Selek-Teleki, Teren de Cossy, Lee Taylor, Hope Gravelly, Catherine Munch and Hetty Richardson, six grandchildren and five great grandchildren. 

A memorial service will be held at Cane Creek, Hillsborough, North Carolina in the spring of 2015.  Details will be available from Mr. T Dixon, Walkers Funeral Home, (919-732-2121). 

The Free Europe Committee was the parent organization of Radio Free Europe. Click here to view or download a comprehensive interview with John Richardson, Jr., including details how he was recruited to become President of Free Europe Committee. 

He devoted one chapter to his experiences with the Free Europe Committee in his book A New Version for America: Toward Human Solidarity through Global Democracy.

Photo of John Richardson, courtesy of RFE/RL.