Cross-Posted from Occupy.com
A new Cold War has arisen between Russia and the U.S. over the future of Ukraine. With that has come accompanying discussions about the nature of portions of the U.S.-backed Neo-Nazi and anti-semitic opposition in the embattled former Soviet Republic.
Lost in the discussion so far — even as a “media war” burgeons between the superpower states — is a crucial piece of history lending context to the ongoing geopolitical stand-off that centers around anti-Semitism and the original Nazis themselves. Enter the U.S.-funded state-run international media outlets Voice of America (VOA) and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).
While Russia Today (better known to many as “RT”) has found itself at the center of a firestorm of U.S. media coverage and scrutiny, VOA and RFE/RL have gotten off essentially scot-free so far – even though they received over $206 million and $93 million in taxpayer money, respectively, from the U.S. government in 2012.
Case in point: on April 3, President Barack Obama signed a bill into law on “United States International Programming to Ukraine and Neighboring Regions” after it passed quickly and with little debate in both chambers of Congress. The bill mandates an injection of $10 million total in taxpayer-funded cash into the coffers of both VOA and RFE/RL to air their news coverage in the Tatar, Ukrainian and Russian languages 24/7.
Not a single media outlet covered the legislation’s passage. That, even though the bill was passed explicitly to fend off RT’s hegemony in the region and is stated so within the legislation.
“The Russian Government has deliberately blocked the Ukrainian people’s access to uncensored sources of information and has provided alternative news and information that is both inaccurate and inflammatory,” reads the bill. “The opinions and views of the Ukrainian people…are not being accurately represented in Russian dominated mass media…United States international programming has the potential to combat this anti-democratic propaganda.”
Because the U.S. media was silent on the bill becoming law to begin with, it’s only logical that the history and agendas of VOA and RFE/RLweren’t investigated with the same rigor as RT either.
But as novelist Alice Hoffman has stated, “Once you know some things, you can’t unknow them. It’s a burden that can never be given away.”
Bloodstone: Cold War, Cold Truth
The truth is simple, though likely hard — nay, nearly impossible — for most U.S. citizens to fathom living in the self-proclaimed “city upon a Hill.” Birthed during World War II and at the beginning of the Cold War, respectively, VOA and RFE/RL have Nazi-tied historical roots. More specifically, rewind to the State Department’s then-covert Operation Bloodstone, which began in 1948.
“Bloodstone proved to be an open door through which scores of leaders of Nazi collaborators who were now being brought to the United States for use as intelligence and covert operations experts,” explained American University Professor Christopher Simpson in his book Blowback: The First Full Account of America’s Recruitment of Nazis and Its Disastrous Effect on The Cold War, Our Domestic and Foreign Policy.
Simpson also explains in his book that Frank Wisner — former head of Office of Strategic Services (which became the Central Intelligence Agency, or CIA), then head of the Directorate of Plans for the CIA — initially proposed that 250 Nazi collaborators be brought into the U.S. under Bloodstone’s auspices. Wisner’s vision: 100 of them would work for VOA, all of which Simpson discovered via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
The CIA created a special sub-unit to oversee the recruitment of ex-Nazi collaborators called the Office of Special Projects, which later changed names and became the Office for Policy Coordination. Legally, the National Security Council authorized the activity through directive NSC 10/2, at the time a covert program (now publicly disclosed) that was known about only by what Simpson described as “a tiny group of men and women at the most senior levels” of the national security establishment.
NSC 10/2 and Bloodstone are also chiefly responsible for the creation and bolstering of what at the time were two separate seemingly independent media outlets: Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberation from Bolshevism.
“RFE/RL began in 1948 as a corporation named the National Committee for a Free Europe, a supposedly private charitable organization dedicated to aiding exiles from the Soviet-occupied Eastern Europe,” Simpson explains in his book. “[But] the roots of RFE/RL, in an administrative sense, are the same political warfare programs that gave birth to Bloodstone and NSC 10/2.”
National Committee for a Free Europe’s initial Board of Directors was a “Who’s Who” of US political elites, with Henry Ford II, Henry J. Heinz, George C. McGhee and other influentials all in on the game.
Simpson says this “all-star board of directors…served as a cover, in effect, to explain where all the money was coming from.” That is, from the CIA.
What’s In a Name?