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Defunding the Myths and Cults of
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Defunding Cold War Canada
Table of Contents
Canada’s anti-Red, Cold War
propaganda in context
The Late Cold War Context
Black Ribbon Day (BRD) arose in the heyday of President Ronald Reagan, a former B-movie actor who had been the smiling PR frontman for nuclear-weapons maker GE (1954-62) and for the CIA’s antiRed "Crusade for Freedom" propaganda campaign administered by Radio Free Europe (1950-60).
In his role as America’s "Great Communicator," Reagan followed his script in 1983 to brand the USSR as "The Evil Empire." Using his hokey, homespun style to spread vile hate speech against socialism, he was a vibrant symbol of the West’s most aggressive anti-Soviet policies. Reagan was, for example, infamous for arming rightwing paramilitaries. But in Cold War parlance, these terrorists were "freedom fighters" struggling to stop the the Third World spread of communism. Subsidized by smuggling cocaine and heroin, these CIA proxies killed thousands of innocents in covert wars that crushed fledgling leftwing governments from Nicaragua to Afghanistan.
Reagan’s anticommunist thugs were glorified by East European émigré groups that had long revered their own "freedom fighting" predecessors who allied with the Nazis in WWII. In 1986, as the Iran-contra affair hit the news, speakers for the Afghan mujahideen and Nicaraguan contras attended a global conference in Toronto of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN). These and other CIA-backed "freedom fighters" were on the frontline of the West’s Cold War crusade.
The Brzezinskis, "The Spirit of the Time"
While Reagan is most closely associated with arming Afghan and contra terrorists, it was Democrat president Jimmy Carter who began their CIA funding. Carter’s strategy was engineered by Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Polish American from Warsaw who grew up in Montréal. His father, Tadeusz Brzezinski, a veteran of Poland’s antiSoviet War (1919-20), was a diplomat in Poland’s anticommunist/antisemitic government (1921-45) and its consul general in Montréal during WWII. After the war, when communists came to power in Poland, the Brzezinskis—like 55,000 other antiSoviet Poles—made Canada their home. In Montréal, Tadeusz became president of the far-right Canadian Polish Congress, CPC (1952-62).1
His son Zbigniew, with a BA (1949) and MA (1950)2 from McGill, replaced Henry Kissinger as US National Security Advisor (1977-81) and spearheaded Carter’s use of terrorist armies to promote US interests. In July 1979, Brzezinski began the Carter CIA’s multibillion dollar funding of Afghan mujahideen. After six months of their attacks on the Afghan socialist government, the USSR agreed to help defend the country from these CIA-backed terrorists. Brzezinski also avidly pushed for US funding of Nicaragua’s contras, Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA terrorists (fighting Angola’s Marxist government), and antiSoviet "dissident" groups across Eastern Europe. More recently, he backed the Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism.
Brzezinski inspired a new generation of CPC activists to build BRD. One example was CPC-member Marek Celinski, who wrote the Foreword to Edward Soltys’ book, Black Ribbon Day. Joanna Lustanski, the book’s CPC publisher, called Celinski one of "the creators and longtime advocates of the [BRD] initiative" who "represented the Canadian Polish Congress on the Black Ribbon Day Committee" (1985-91) and "closely collaborated ... on organizing many BRD events."3
Joining the CPC executive in 1980, Celinski was "assigned as a liaison ... to the Group of Seven [G7] (representing seven Eastern European ethnic organizations)." In detailing "the Spirit of the Time," he reveals how Canada’s G7 was advised by top Reagan war hawks. Celinski notes a February-1982 trip to Washington DC to meet Brzezinski and other Polish émigrés who then occupied the US world of "security" and "intelligence" agencies. Greatly inspired by their council on "what could be done at this very pivotal moment in history,"4 Celinski devoted years to the BRD "crusade for freedom."
While representing the CPC in the US capitol, Celinski met Jan Nowak-Jezioranski, who had led the Polish section of the CIA’s top propaganda vehicle, Radio Free Europe (1952-76). Nowak-Jezioranski had "personal connections," said Celinski, "with important political figures" in Reagan’s administration.5 This opened doors to meetings with Brzezinski and others.6 Asking "what would be the best thing for us to do given the current situation," says Celinski, "Brzezinski and Nowak-Jezioranski’s opinion was that the best strategy would be to create a united front of the nations subjected to the Soviet-style oppression." Celinski then returned to Toronto
"with a renewed energy to follow on the idea of organizing and strengthening the cooperation between various ethnic groups suffering Communist oppression."7
Reagan's open pandering
The 1983 Captive Nations Week event held at Reagan’s White House included distinguished leaders of the fascist-rooted ABN and World AntiCommunist League (WACL). With Slava and Yaroslav Stetsko sitting in the centre of the front row, Reagan told the assembled crowd: "Your struggle is our struggle. Your dream is our dream. Your hope is our hope."8
In 1984, Reagan sent "best wishes for every future success" to the WACL’s global event. It was "an honor to send warm greetings," he said, because the WACL has "long played a leadership role in drawing attention to the gallant struggle now being waged by the true freedom fighters of our day."9 Reagan’s words to ABN-Canada’s 1986 conference in Toronto said: "I applaud your efforts" to free "the nations held captive by forces hostile to freedom." Using lines from his Captive Nations’ speech, he told ABN leaders, including Canadian politicians, WWII fascists, contras and mujahideen that: "For those who seek freedom, security, and peace, we are the custodians of their dream.... God bless you."10
Prime Minister Brian Mulroney also sent
support to this ABN event. "I am delighted to extend my warmest greetings and
sincere best wishes," said his message to assembled delegates from the ABN’s
many Nazi-linked émigré groups and their terrorist allies. "[H]uman rights and
fundamental freedoms are the foundations of any civilized and caring society,"
he said. "On behalf of the Government of Canada, may I wish you all the very
best for productive discussions."11
‘Freedom fighters’ and nuclear war
In the early 1980s, NATO aimed 600 new nuclear US Pershing IIs and cruise missiles at the USSR. Millions protested. Pierre Trudeau’s Liberals, cloaked by peace myths, kept aiding US hegemony and abetting war industries like Litton. In 1983, when Canada allowed the testing of US missiles, hundreds of thousands joined "Refuse-the-Cruise" rallies.
Deriding all these activists as commie dupes, the ABN said its 1983 protest against anti-cruise missile "peaceniks" in Toronto was organized jointly with the Canadian Coalition for Peace through Strength (CCPS).12 (Led by Polish-Canadian Miroslaw Matuszewski, the CCPS too became active in the BRD crusade.13) To hype their counter-protest, the ABN said "the only real threat to the protection of our planet is Moscow and its policy of world domination." The rally, it said, "went to the American Consulate as a sign of support for President Ronald Reagan" and climaxed "with the burning of the Soviet-Russian flag" and "singing the Canadian National Anthem." Picket signs at their anti-"peacenik" rally read: "Yes yes for Cruise Test," "Hands off Litton," Test the Cruise," "Pacifists Terrorists," "Cruise for Peace," "NATO: The real peace movement of our time," and "Free Hungary."14
The rebirth of the ProNATO BRD vs the demise of NDP "peaceniks"
Throughout the Cold War, Canada’s BRD committee was a loud cheerleader for NATO. It even hosted a 1987 dinner for 500 at which Perrin Beatty, Mulroney’s "minister of defence" (i.e., war), spoke on "Canada and NATO: Defending Peace with Freedom." (The BRD Committee's motto was "Peace with Freedom.")
This 1987 event, said the BRD committee's founder Markus Hess, launched its "campaign to oppose the efforts of the New Democratic Party and many ‘peace’ groups to get Canada to desert its traditional allies and pull out of NATO." News coverage of this event parroted BRD memes about the "two partners in tyranny—Hitler and Stalin" and the need to "restore [freedom] to countries dominated by Soviet communism."15
In 2004, NDP leader Jack Layton deserted peace-movement allies by ending the party’s decades-old policy to remove Canada from NATO. In 2009, the NDP actually joined the BRD crusade when parliament unanimously recognized August 23 as Black Ribbon Day. (The motion was presented by Liberal MP, Bob Rae, the former NDP premier of Ontario.)
2009 also marked thereincarnation of Cold-War Canada’s Captive Nations Committee (aka "The Group of Seven). It was reborn under a new banner, The Central and Eastern European Council (CEEC). (See the CEEC's list of member organizations below with links to articles.)
1. Z.P.Wasilewski, "Ulica im. Tadeusza Brzeziñ-skiego w Montrealu," Kronika Montrealska, Jan. 30, 2013. http://bit.ly/BrzMtl
2. Kaj Huddart, "Carter’s National Security Advisor discusses foreign policy," McGill Daily, Jan. 28, 2013. http://bit.ly/BRZMcGill
3. "From the Publisher," in Edward Soltys, Black Ribbon Day, 2014, p.8.
4. Celinski, op. cit., pp.9-11.
6. Celinski also met another Polish American, John Lenczowski, who was then the Special Advisor to Reagan’s Under Secretary for Political Affairs, Lawrence Eagleburger (1981-83). In that capacity, Lenczowski succeeded in getting approval for a $2.5 billion infusion of US government funds to modernize Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Lenczowski then became Director of European and Soviet Affairs at the National Security Council (1983-87) and, as Reagan's top Soviet affairs advisor during the last years of the Cold War, he was instrumental in coordinating US policies that led to their goal: the destruction of the USSR. He then went on to found The Institute of World Politics, a private graduate school that grooms students for careers in "intelligence" and "national security" using a staff comprised of former CIA and military officers.
7. Celinski, op. cit., p.11
8. Scott Anderson and Jon Lee Anderson, Inside the League, 1986, p.37. http://bit.ly/InsideWACL
9. Asian Outlook, Sep.1984, p.4, cited Ibid., p.254.
10. ABN Correspondence, Jan-Feb 1987, p.13.
Ronald Reagan, Proclamation, Captive Nations Week, Jul. 19, 1985. http://bit.ly/CNW-85
11. ABN Correspondence...., ibid.
13. Soltys, ibid., pp. 77, 119, 148.
Notes: At the 1981 ABN conference in Toronto, Miroslav Matuszewski represented the Canadian AntiSoviet Action Committee (CASAC). Matuszewski, who was an anti-communist activist in Canada between 1976 and 1990, was also president of the Canadian Coalition for Peace Through Strength.)
CASAC was founded in 1971 by Geza Matrai
who became an instant celebrity that year when he attacked the Soviet premier,
Alexei Kosygin, as he walked with Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau on Parliament
Hill in Ottawa. For this assault, Matrai was named man of the month by the
Western Guard, an antisemitic, white power, neoNazi group founded in Toronto.
The ABN's 1981 conference was also attended by Yaroslav and Slava Stetsko, as well as leaders of such far-right networks as WACL-Canada, ABN-Canada and the World Ukrainian Congress. Also in attendance were representatives of the League of Ukrainian Canadians, Progressive Conservative MPs Michael Wilson and Yuri Shymko (PC) and Liberal MP Jesse Flis.
The Ukrainian Review, Winter 1982, p.9. http://bit.ly/UR-81
14. "Successful Demonstration...", op. cit.
15. "CBRDC Hosted Dinner for Minister of Defence," Pickering Post, Dec. 23, 1987, p.4. http://bit.ly/BRD-NDP
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