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The murder of CBS' George Polk, May 1948, and the In Fact connection


Paul Rigby
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Gay Talese wins Polk Award.

My Ocean City, N.J. neighbor for many years, Gay Talese has won the Polk lifetime achievement award, apparently a big thing in journalism.

I will have to look up some of my old stories about Gay, and an interview I did with him at his Ocean City home.

Maybe I'll crash the awards on April 16th in NYC.

BK

http://billsbooksblog.blogspot.com/

New York (AP) Author Gay Talese, who influenced a generation of writers with books such as "Thy Neighbor's Wife" and "Honor Thy Father," was named the winner of a George Polk Award for career achievement.

Other winners of the 2008 Polk Awards include New York Times reporters Barry Bearak and Celia Dugger, who risked their lives exposing violence in Zimbabwe, and Paul Salopek of the Chicago Tribune, who reported on pre-emptive U.S. tactics in combating terrorism in the Horn of Africa.

The Polk Awards, presented by Long Island University, are considered among the top prizes in U.S. journalism. They were created in 1949 in honor of CBS reporter George W. Polk, who was killed while covering the Greek civil war, and will be awarded at an April 16 luncheon oin Manhattan. The awards will be announced today. (Tuesday, February 17, 2009).

More to come on this.

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Guest Tom Scully

More "grist" for the mill....and, Robert, it would surprise me to find out that Marton's parents, Emre and Ilona, were not working in Hungary in 1956 as CIA "assets"...... They were both arrested on accusations of spying, but that was by the Hungarian regime. In 1973, the NY Post reporter who covered Hungary in 1956, admitted to being CIA, and he had not been arrested or accused, back in 1956.... Also, at the time her book was published, Marton had been married for more than a decade, to "Mighty Wurlitzer" affiliate, ABC.... to their media personality and newsreader, Peter Jennings...

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html...;pagewanted=all

Digging Into the Greek Tragedy of George Polk

By ROGER COHEN

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 1990

In Greece, she has provoked a storm. On one side, the conservative president of parliament has accused her of ''vulgar lies'' and is threatening to sue her. On the other, a former Socialist minister says he will use her book to seek a retrial in the case of George Polk, the distinguished CBS foreign correspondent murdered in northern Greece in 1948.

But ensconced in her expansive Central Park West apartment, looking rather chic in her faded jeans and crisp white blouse, Kati Marton seems blithely unconcerned by these Athenian rumblings. This despite the fact that the disturbance caused by her book, ''The Polk Conspiracy,'' published this week by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, has just been compounded by a minor domestic crisis. Ms. Marton is recently returned from taking her husband, the ABC anchor Peter Jennings, to the hospital for stitches after he gashed himself on a can performing what she laughingly describes as ''that ancient male ritual of carrying out the garbage!''

Ms. Marton had to sift through a lot of menacing debris herself during her three years of work on the Polk book. Her conclusion: amid the first icy winds of the cold war, the United States condoned a subversion of justice in the Polk case in the interests of preserving its relationship with a right-wing Greek Government seen as a vital bastion against the spread of Communism.

Basing her argument on previously classified documents, Ms. Marton contends that Polk, through his bold and impartial reporting on the civil war between Greek Government forces and Communist insurgents, angered the regime and was then murdered at its instigation.

Point-Blank Accusation

In particular, she reveals that just a few days before his murder Polk clashed bitterly with the royalist foreign minister, Constantine Tsaldaris, after accusing him point-blank of illegally stashing $25,000 in a New York bank account.

At a time when the United States had just begun pumping aid into Greece in pursuit of President Harry S. Truman's doctrine of drawing a line against Communism, Polk's threatened disclosure of such a deposit - equivalent to over $300,000 today - would have been a major embarrassment. Ms. Marton believes the clash with Tsaldaris set in motion the events that led to Polk's murder six days later in Salonika by extreme rightists linked to a royalist-backed organization called the Group of Piraeus.

This argument amounts to a direct challenge to the offical version of what happened to Polk, a Texan who was already a star reporter at CBS and a protege of Edward R. Murrow, although he was just 34 when he died.

A trial in 1949, which Ms. Marton dismisses as a sham, concluded that Polk, who had gone north to Salonika to try to talk directly to the leader of the Communist forces, was killed by the Communists in a bid to discredit Greece in Washington. After being tortured, a journalist named Gregory Staktopoulos confessed to having lured Polk into a Communist trap and was convicted of conspiring to murder him. Since emerging from prison in 1961, he has vigorously protested his innocence, but to no avail.

Acceptance of a View

Mr. Staktopoulos's conviction in a supposed Communist plot suited the geopolitical interests of the West in postwar Europe. It was accepted, even encouraged, by most people - including a group of prominent journalists headed by Walter Lippmann, which set up a committee of inquiry, and Gen. William J. Donovan, the former head of the Office of Strategic Services (the precursor of the Central Intelligence Agency), who was recruited by the committee to head the investigation.

But Ms. Marton, who is herself a former foreign correspondent, said in the interview: ''Mr. Polk's Government and his colleagues sacrificed him for political expediency. I think America betrayed one of its most gifted correspondents.''

With a sense of outrage that is clearly deeply felt, she added: ''Mr. Lippmann was more than negligent. He was unethical.''

The daughter of Hungarian journalists who were imprisoned during her childhood by the Communist Government in Budapest and then hounded from the country, she said with emphasis: ''I by no means wanted to exonerate the Communists. If anything, I have an anti-Communist bias from my childhood and I consider myself, as most refugees do, an American patriot.''

But, she continued, her approach was that of a detective and the conclusion was inescapable.

Previously Unpublished Letters

Ms. Marton's evidence, much of it culled from previously classified C.I.A., F.B.I. and State Department documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (''each agency sanitizes a different bit of text, so with luck you can piece things together,'' she says), is compelling. She produces hitherto unpublished letters to General Donovan sent by James Kellis, an Office of Strategic Services investigator who was hurriedly withdrawn from the case after his inquiries appeared to be leading him toward the notion of a Government-inspired murder.

In one such letter, referring to the foreign minister, Colonel Kellis said: ''Information has been received to the effect that Tsaldaris despised Polk for his attacks on him and the right-wing leaders.''

''Furthermore,'' he continued, ''we know that he had an interview with Tsaldaris prior to his departure for the north in which he threatened Tsaldaris that he would expose him.''

Colonel Kellis goes on to say that this threatened exposure related to Tsaldaris's apparent deposit of $25,000 with the Chase bank in New York. And in a subsequent letter to General Donovan, dated Aug, 10, 1948, Colonel Kellis states bluntly:

''While the investigation was directed against the left, most State Department officials were cooperative. When I received information that this is a rightist crime and expressed my views, some State Department officials became concerned, to put it mildly.''

General Donovan, who died in 1959, spirited these letters away. Ms. Marton, protecting her sources, declined to say how she came by them, although she did not obtain them through the Freedom of Information Act. Threats Reported In a further intriguing piece of previously undiscovered evidence, Ms. Marton produces an affidavit given by Polk's widow, Rea, on Oct. 20, 1948, to William E. Colby, the former director of the C.I.A. In the affidavit, Mrs. Polk relates how she has been hounded and threatened by Athenasios Tsaldaris, the former foreign minister's son. The affidavit says that the younger Mr. Tsaldaris, who is now president of the Greek parliament, pressed her to sign a statement saying the Communists had killed Polk.

In a telephone interview in Athens, Mr. Tsaldaris called the book ''a vulgar lie whose origins and intentions I am unaware of.''

''When the book is published,'' he continued, ''I will examine means of suing the author and publishers for defamation of my person as well as of the deceased.''

Pressed on the issue of Rea Polk's affidavit, he said: ''For such false information to be written in a book without providing any evidence puts the standards of journalism used in question.''

Ms. Marton, the author of two previous works, said she had not questioned Mr. Tsaldaris during the writing of the book because she did not want ''to arouse him at an early state or prompt a legal battle before publication.'' She also said that she was nervous while pursuing her research in Greece. ''If they were capable of rubbing out one representative of the press, they were capable of rubbing out two,'' she declared.

'Get the Man's Reaction'

Still, in what otherwise seems to be a meticulous book, her decision not to talk to Mr. Tsaldaris appears strange. After all, she writes in the chapter describing Mr. Polk's clash with Mr. Tsaldaris's father over the alleged $25,000 deposit: ''Being the sort of reporter he was, however, Polk felt duty-bound to confront Tsaldaris himself with the information. It was one of the most basic tenets of his trade: get the man's reaction to so devastating a charge of misconduct.''

The book could prompt a new Polk trial. Stelios Papathemlis, the former Socialist minister for Northern Greece, said in an interview that he would soon submit a formal application for a retrial. ''I will not rely on the book entirely in my application, but it will help me considerably,'' he said. ''It reinforces my conviction that the trial of Staktopoulos was a total parody.''

For Ms. Marton, part of the book's importance lies in demonstrating that show trials were happening ''East and West of the divide.'' Then she added, brightening somewhat, ''God willing, those days are over.''

Edited by Tom Scully
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More "grist" for the mill....and, Robert, it would surprise me to find out that Marton's parents, Emre and Ilona, were not working in Hungary in 1956 as CIA "assets"...... They were both arrested on accusations of spying, but that was by the Hungarian regime. In 1973, the NY Post reporter who covered Hungary in 1956, admitted to being CIA, and he had not been arrested or accused, back in 1956.... Also, at the time her book was published, Marton had been married for more than a decade, to "Mighty Wurlitzer" affiliate, ABC.... to their media personality and newsreader, Peter Jennings...
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html...;pagewanted=all

Digging Into the Greek Tragedy of George Polk

By ROGER COHEN

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 1990

In Greece, she has provoked a storm. On one side, the conservative president of parliament has accused her of ''vulgar lies'' and is threatening to sue her. On the other, a former Socialist minister says he will use her book to seek a retrial in the case of George Polk, the distinguished CBS foreign correspondent murdered in northern Greece in 1948.

But ensconced in her expansive Central Park West apartment, looking rather chic in her faded jeans and crisp white blouse, Kati Marton seems blithely unconcerned by these Athenian rumblings. This despite the fact that the disturbance caused by her book, ''The Polk Conspiracy,'' published this week by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, has just been compounded by a minor domestic crisis. Ms. Marton is recently returned from taking her husband, the ABC anchor Peter Jennings, to the hospital for stitches after he gashed himself on a can performing what she laughingly describes as ''that ancient male ritual of carrying out the garbage!''

Ms. Marton had to sift through a lot of menacing debris herself during her three years of work on the Polk book. Her conclusion: amid the first icy winds of the cold war, the United States condoned a subversion of justice in the Polk case in the interests of preserving its relationship with a right-wing Greek Government seen as a vital bastion against the spread of Communism.

Basing her argument on previously classified documents, Ms. Marton contends that Polk, through his bold and impartial reporting on the civil war between Greek Government forces and Communist insurgents, angered the regime and was then murdered at its instigation.

Point-Blank Accusation

In particular, she reveals that just a few days before his murder Polk clashed bitterly with the royalist foreign minister, Constantine Tsaldaris, after accusing him point-blank of illegally stashing $25,000 in a New York bank account.

At a time when the United States had just begun pumping aid into Greece in pursuit of President Harry S. Truman's doctrine of drawing a line against Communism, Polk's threatened disclosure of such a deposit - equivalent to over $300,000 today - would have been a major embarrassment. Ms. Marton believes the clash with Tsaldaris set in motion the events that led to Polk's murder six days later in Salonika by extreme rightists linked to a royalist-backed organization called the Group of Piraeus.

This argument amounts to a direct challenge to the offical version of what happened to Polk, a Texan who was already a star reporter at CBS and a protege of Edward R. Murrow, although he was just 34 when he died.

A trial in 1949, which Ms. Marton dismisses as a sham, concluded that Polk, who had gone north to Salonika to try to talk directly to the leader of the Communist forces, was killed by the Communists in a bid to discredit Greece in Washington. After being tortured, a journalist named Gregory Staktopoulos confessed to having lured Polk into a Communist trap and was convicted of conspiring to murder him. Since emerging from prison in 1961, he has vigorously protested his innocence, but to no avail.

Acceptance of a View

Mr. Staktopoulos's conviction in a supposed Communist plot suited the geopolitical interests of the West in postwar Europe. It was accepted, even encouraged, by most people - including a group of prominent journalists headed by Walter Lippmann, which set up a committee of inquiry, and Gen. William J. Donovan, the former head of the Office of Strategic Services (the precursor of the Central Intelligence Agency), who was recruited by the committee to head the investigation.

But Ms. Marton, who is herself a former foreign correspondent, said in the interview: ''Mr. Polk's Government and his colleagues sacrificed him for political expediency. I think America betrayed one of its most gifted correspondents.''

With a sense of outrage that is clearly deeply felt, she added: ''Mr. Lippmann was more than negligent. He was unethical.''

The daughter of Hungarian journalists who were imprisoned during her childhood by the Communist Government in Budapest and then hounded from the country, she said with emphasis: ''I by no means wanted to exonerate the Communists. If anything, I have an anti-Communist bias from my childhood and I consider myself, as most refugees do, an American patriot.''

But, she continued, her approach was that of a detective and the conclusion was inescapable.

Previously Unpublished Letters

Ms. Marton's evidence, much of it culled from previously classified C.I.A., F.B.I. and State Department documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (''each agency sanitizes a different bit of text, so with luck you can piece things together,'' she says), is compelling. She produces hitherto unpublished letters to General Donovan sent by James Kellis, an Office of Strategic Services investigator who was hurriedly withdrawn from the case after his inquiries appeared to be leading him toward the notion of a Government-inspired murder.

In one such letter, referring to the foreign minister, Colonel Kellis said: ''Information has been received to the effect that Tsaldaris despised Polk for his attacks on him and the right-wing leaders.''

''Furthermore,'' he continued, ''we know that he had an interview with Tsaldaris prior to his departure for the north in which he threatened Tsaldaris that he would expose him.''

Colonel Kellis goes on to say that this threatened exposure related to Tsaldaris's apparent deposit of $25,000 with the Chase bank in New York. And in a subsequent letter to General Donovan, dated Aug, 10, 1948, Colonel Kellis states bluntly:

''While the investigation was directed against the left, most State Department officials were cooperative. When I received information that this is a rightist crime and expressed my views, some State Department officials became concerned, to put it mildly.''

General Donovan, who died in 1959, spirited these letters away. Ms. Marton, protecting her sources, declined to say how she came by them, although she did not obtain them through the Freedom of Information Act. Threats Reported In a further intriguing piece of previously undiscovered evidence, Ms. Marton produces an affidavit given by Polk's widow, Rea, on Oct. 20, 1948, to William E. Colby, the former director of the C.I.A. In the affidavit, Mrs. Polk relates how she has been hounded and threatened by Athenasios Tsaldaris, the former foreign minister's son. The affidavit says that the younger Mr. Tsaldaris, who is now president of the Greek parliament, pressed her to sign a statement saying the Communists had killed Polk.

In a telephone interview in Athens, Mr. Tsaldaris called the book ''a vulgar lie whose origins and intentions I am unaware of.''

''When the book is published,'' he continued, ''I will examine means of suing the author and publishers for defamation of my person as well as of the deceased.''

Pressed on the issue of Rea Polk's affidavit, he said: ''For such false information to be written in a book without providing any evidence puts the standards of journalism used in question.''

Ms. Marton, the author of two previous works, said she had not questioned Mr. Tsaldaris during the writing of the book because she did not want ''to arouse him at an early state or prompt a legal battle before publication.'' She also said that she was nervous while pursuing her research in Greece. ''If they were capable of rubbing out one representative of the press, they were capable of rubbing out two,'' she declared.

'Get the Man's Reaction'

Still, in what otherwise seems to be a meticulous book, her decision not to talk to Mr. Tsaldaris appears strange. After all, she writes in the chapter describing Mr. Polk's clash with Mr. Tsaldaris's father over the alleged $25,000 deposit: ''Being the sort of reporter he was, however, Polk felt duty-bound to confront Tsaldaris himself with the information. It was one of the most basic tenets of his trade: get the man's reaction to so devastating a charge of misconduct.''

The book could prompt a new Polk trial. Stelios Papathemlis, the former Socialist minister for Northern Greece, said in an interview that he would soon submit a formal application for a retrial. ''I will not rely on the book entirely in my application, but it will help me considerably,'' he said. ''It reinforces my conviction that the trial of Staktopoulos was a total parody.''

For Ms. Marton, part of the book's importance lies in demonstrating that show trials were happening ''East and West of the divide.'' Then she added, brightening somewhat, ''God willing, those days are over.''

There is something about this thread that really motivates me to add the following, it is not related to Greece or the Polk Murder, but I believe it provides a context in which to better understand the era.....

Let me say that I have read the book The Cultural Cold War, which is to some degree relevant to this area, and recently read Richard Helm's A Look Over My Shoulder, both of these books are educational regarding this time period as well as Cord Meyer's bio....

But I really think the following provides one of the most interesting correlative items....The CIA's assimilation of old guard fascists was overseen by the

Operations Coordination Board, directed by C.D. Jackson, formerly an

executive of Time magazine and Eisenhower's Special Assistant for Cold

War Strategy. In 1954 he was succeeded by Nelson Rockefeller, who quit

a year later, disgusted at the administration's political infighting.

Vice President Nixon succeeded Rockefeller as the key cold war

strategist.

"Nixon," writes John Loftus, a former attorney for the Justice

Department's Office of Special Investigations, took "a small boy's

delight in the arcane tools of the intelligence craft - the hidden

microphones, the 'black' propaganda." Nixon especially enjoyed his

visit to a Virginia training camp to observe Nazis in the "special

forces" drilling at covert operations.

One of the fugitives recruited by the American intelligence

underground was heroin smuggler Hubert von Blücher, the son of A

German ambassador. Hubert often bragged that that he was trained by

the Abwehr, the German military intelligence division, while still a

civilian in his twenties. He served in a recon unit of the German Army

until forced out for medical reasons in 1944, according to his wartime

records. He worked briefly as an assistant director for Berlin-Film on

a movie entitled One Day ..., and finished out the war flying with the

Luftwaffe, but not to engage the enemy - his mission was the smuggling

of Nazi loot out of the country. His exploits were, in part, the

subject of Sayer and Botting's Nazi Gold, an account of the knockover

of the Reichsbank at the end of the war.

In 1948 he flew the coop to Argentina. Posing as a photographer named

Huberto von Bleucher Corell, he immediately paid court to Eva Peron,

presenting her with an invaluable Gobelin tapestry (a selection from

the wealth of artifacts confiscated by the SS from Europe's Jews?).

Hubert then met with Martin Bormann at the Hotel Plaza to deliver

German marks worth $80 million. The loot financed the birth of the

National Socialist Party in Argentina, among other forms of Nazi

revival.

In 1951, Hubert migrated northward and took a job at the Color

Corporation of America in Hollywood. He eked out a living writing

scripts for the booming movie industry. His voice can be heard on a

film set in the Amazon, produced by Walt Disney. Nine years later he

returned to Buenos Aires, then Düsseldorf, West Germany, and

established a firm that developed not movie scripts, but anti-chemical

warfare agents for the government. At the Industrie Club in Düsseldorf

in 1982, von Blücher boasted to journalists, "I am chief shareholder

of Pan American Airways. I am the best friend of Howard Hughes. The

Beach Hotel in Las Vegas is 45 percent financed by me. I am thus the

biggest financier ever to appear in the Arabian Nights tales dreamed

up by these people over their second bottle of brandy."

Not really. Two the biggest financiers to stumble from the drunken

dreams of world-moving affluence were, in their time, Moses Annenberg,

publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer, and his son Walter , the

CIA/mob-anchored publisher of the TV Guide. Like most American

high-rollers, Annenberg lived a double life. Moses, his father, was a

scion of the Capone mob. Both Moses and Walter were indicted in 1939

for tax evasions totalling many millions of dollars - the biggest case

in the history of the Justice Department. Moses pled guilty and agreed

to pay the government $8 million and settle $9 million in assorted tax

claims, penalties and interest debts. Moses received a three-year

sentence. He died in Lewisburg Penitentiary.

Walter Annenbeg, the TV Guide magnate, was a lofty Republican. On the

campaign trail in April, 1988, George Bush flew into Los Angeles to

woo Reagan's kitchen cabinet. "This is the topping on the cake,"

Bush's regional campaign director told the Los Angeles Times. The Bush

team met at Annenberg's plush Rancho Mirage estate at Sunnylands,

California. It was at the Annenberg mansion that Nixon's cabinet was

chosen, and the state's social and contributor registers built over a

quarter-century of state political dominance by Ronald Reagan, whose

acting career was launched by Operation MOCKINGBIRD.

http://whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/POLIT...ockingbird.html

And if that wasn't politically incorrect enough, Michael Parenti once wrote the following:

The way the mainstream shades off into the fascist right can be seen quite clearly in

the Republican Party.

The G.O.P. socio-economic agenda is not so much different from the kind pushed by

Hitler and Mussolini:Break the labor unions, depress wages, impose a rightist ideological

monopoly over the media, abolish taxes for the big corporations and the rich, eliminate

government regulations designed for worker and consumer safety and environmental

protection, privatize and plunder public lands and enterprises, wipe out most human

services, and liberal-bait-and-race all people opposed to such measures......

Not surprisingly, many of the same people who support these autocratic, static measures

against democratic dissenters are the first to deny that fascism is a threat to the United States.

Some might say that what I quoted is detracted from the thread, but in essence I believe this is the

American history that is not in line with the mainstream, except it is not those who hold these views

who are crazy or unpatriotic, it just does not fit the mass media which has become something of a joke,

witness the last eight years, and contrast the same party on the right, whose more extreme element

are currently calling Barrack Obama a "socialist."

Edited by Robert Howard
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  • 1 month later...
More "grist" for the mill....and, Robert, it would surprise me to find out that Marton's parents, Emre and Ilona, were not working in Hungary in 1956 as CIA "assets"...... They were both arrested on accusations of spying, but that was by the Hungarian regime. In 1973, the NY Post reporter who covered Hungary in 1956, admitted to being CIA, and he had not been arrested or accused, back in 1956.... Also, at the time her book was published, Marton had been married for more than a decade, to "Mighty Wurlitzer" affiliate, ABC.... to their media personality and newsreader, Peter Jennings...
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html...;pagewanted=all

Digging Into the Greek Tragedy of George Polk

By ROGER COHEN

Published: Wednesday, October 17, 1990

In Greece, she has provoked a storm. On one side, the conservative president of parliament has accused her of ''vulgar lies'' and is threatening to sue her. On the other, a former Socialist minister says he will use her book to seek a retrial in the case of George Polk, the distinguished CBS foreign correspondent murdered in northern Greece in 1948.

But ensconced in her expansive Central Park West apartment, looking rather chic in her faded jeans and crisp white blouse, Kati Marton seems blithely unconcerned by these Athenian rumblings. This despite the fact that the disturbance caused by her book, ''The Polk Conspiracy,'' published this week by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, has just been compounded by a minor domestic crisis. Ms. Marton is recently returned from taking her husband, the ABC anchor Peter Jennings, to the hospital for stitches after he gashed himself on a can performing what she laughingly describes as ''that ancient male ritual of carrying out the garbage!''

Ms. Marton had to sift through a lot of menacing debris herself during her three years of work on the Polk book. Her conclusion: amid the first icy winds of the cold war, the United States condoned a subversion of justice in the Polk case in the interests of preserving its relationship with a right-wing Greek Government seen as a vital bastion against the spread of Communism.

Basing her argument on previously classified documents, Ms. Marton contends that Polk, through his bold and impartial reporting on the civil war between Greek Government forces and Communist insurgents, angered the regime and was then murdered at its instigation.

Point-Blank Accusation

In particular, she reveals that just a few days before his murder Polk clashed bitterly with the royalist foreign minister, Constantine Tsaldaris, after accusing him point-blank of illegally stashing $25,000 in a New York bank account.

At a time when the United States had just begun pumping aid into Greece in pursuit of President Harry S. Truman's doctrine of drawing a line against Communism, Polk's threatened disclosure of such a deposit - equivalent to over $300,000 today - would have been a major embarrassment. Ms. Marton believes the clash with Tsaldaris set in motion the events that led to Polk's murder six days later in Salonika by extreme rightists linked to a royalist-backed organization called the Group of Piraeus.

This argument amounts to a direct challenge to the offical version of what happened to Polk, a Texan who was already a star reporter at CBS and a protege of Edward R. Murrow, although he was just 34 when he died.

A trial in 1949, which Ms. Marton dismisses as a sham, concluded that Polk, who had gone north to Salonika to try to talk directly to the leader of the Communist forces, was killed by the Communists in a bid to discredit Greece in Washington. After being tortured, a journalist named Gregory Staktopoulos confessed to having lured Polk into a Communist trap and was convicted of conspiring to murder him. Since emerging from prison in 1961, he has vigorously protested his innocence, but to no avail.

Acceptance of a View

Mr. Staktopoulos's conviction in a supposed Communist plot suited the geopolitical interests of the West in postwar Europe. It was accepted, even encouraged, by most people - including a group of prominent journalists headed by Walter Lippmann, which set up a committee of inquiry, and Gen. William J. Donovan, the former head of the Office of Strategic Services (the precursor of the Central Intelligence Agency), who was recruited by the committee to head the investigation.

But Ms. Marton, who is herself a former foreign correspondent, said in the interview: ''Mr. Polk's Government and his colleagues sacrificed him for political expediency. I think America betrayed one of its most gifted correspondents.''

With a sense of outrage that is clearly deeply felt, she added: ''Mr. Lippmann was more than negligent. He was unethical.''

The daughter of Hungarian journalists who were imprisoned during her childhood by the Communist Government in Budapest and then hounded from the country, she said with emphasis: ''I by no means wanted to exonerate the Communists. If anything, I have an anti-Communist bias from my childhood and I consider myself, as most refugees do, an American patriot.''

But, she continued, her approach was that of a detective and the conclusion was inescapable.

Previously Unpublished Letters

Ms. Marton's evidence, much of it culled from previously classified C.I.A., F.B.I. and State Department documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act (''each agency sanitizes a different bit of text, so with luck you can piece things together,'' she says), is compelling. She produces hitherto unpublished letters to General Donovan sent by James Kellis, an Office of Strategic Services investigator who was hurriedly withdrawn from the case after his inquiries appeared to be leading him toward the notion of a Government-inspired murder.

In one such letter, referring to the foreign minister, Colonel Kellis said: ''Information has been received to the effect that Tsaldaris despised Polk for his attacks on him and the right-wing leaders.''

''Furthermore,'' he continued, ''we know that he had an interview with Tsaldaris prior to his departure for the north in which he threatened Tsaldaris that he would expose him.''

Colonel Kellis goes on to say that this threatened exposure related to Tsaldaris's apparent deposit of $25,000 with the Chase bank in New York. And in a subsequent letter to General Donovan, dated Aug, 10, 1948, Colonel Kellis states bluntly:

''While the investigation was directed against the left, most State Department officials were cooperative. When I received information that this is a rightist crime and expressed my views, some State Department officials became concerned, to put it mildly.''

General Donovan, who died in 1959, spirited these letters away. Ms. Marton, protecting her sources, declined to say how she came by them, although she did not obtain them through the Freedom of Information Act. Threats Reported In a further intriguing piece of previously undiscovered evidence, Ms. Marton produces an affidavit given by Polk's widow, Rea, on Oct. 20, 1948, to William E. Colby, the former director of the C.I.A. In the affidavit, Mrs. Polk relates how she has been hounded and threatened by Athenasios Tsaldaris, the former foreign minister's son. The affidavit says that the younger Mr. Tsaldaris, who is now president of the Greek parliament, pressed her to sign a statement saying the Communists had killed Polk.

In a telephone interview in Athens, Mr. Tsaldaris called the book ''a vulgar lie whose origins and intentions I am unaware of.''

''When the book is published,'' he continued, ''I will examine means of suing the author and publishers for defamation of my person as well as of the deceased.''

Pressed on the issue of Rea Polk's affidavit, he said: ''For such false information to be written in a book without providing any evidence puts the standards of journalism used in question.''

Ms. Marton, the author of two previous works, said she had not questioned Mr. Tsaldaris during the writing of the book because she did not want ''to arouse him at an early state or prompt a legal battle before publication.'' She also said that she was nervous while pursuing her research in Greece. ''If they were capable of rubbing out one representative of the press, they were capable of rubbing out two,'' she declared.

'Get the Man's Reaction'

Still, in what otherwise seems to be a meticulous book, her decision not to talk to Mr. Tsaldaris appears strange. After all, she writes in the chapter describing Mr. Polk's clash with Mr. Tsaldaris's father over the alleged $25,000 deposit: ''Being the sort of reporter he was, however, Polk felt duty-bound to confront Tsaldaris himself with the information. It was one of the most basic tenets of his trade: get the man's reaction to so devastating a charge of misconduct.''

The book could prompt a new Polk trial. Stelios Papathemlis, the former Socialist minister for Northern Greece, said in an interview that he would soon submit a formal application for a retrial. ''I will not rely on the book entirely in my application, but it will help me considerably,'' he said. ''It reinforces my conviction that the trial of Staktopoulos was a total parody.''

For Ms. Marton, part of the book's importance lies in demonstrating that show trials were happening ''East and West of the divide.'' Then she added, brightening somewhat, ''God willing, those days are over.''

There is something about this thread that really motivates me to add the following, it is not related to Greece or the Polk Murder, but I believe it provides a context in which to better understand the era.....

Let me say that I have read the book The Cultural Cold War, which is to some degree relevant to this area, and recently read Richard Helm's A Look Over My Shoulder, both of these books are educational regarding this time period as well as Cord Meyer's bio....

But I really think the following provides one of the most interesting correlative items....The CIA's assimilation of old guard fascists was overseen by the

Operations Coordination Board, directed by C.D. Jackson, formerly an

executive of Time magazine and Eisenhower's Special Assistant for Cold

War Strategy. In 1954 he was succeeded by Nelson Rockefeller, who quit

a year later, disgusted at the administration's political infighting.

Vice President Nixon succeeded Rockefeller as the key cold war

strategist.

"Nixon," writes John Loftus, a former attorney for the Justice

Department's Office of Special Investigations, took "a small boy's

delight in the arcane tools of the intelligence craft - the hidden

microphones, the 'black' propaganda." Nixon especially enjoyed his

visit to a Virginia training camp to observe Nazis in the "special

forces" drilling at covert operations.

One of the fugitives recruited by the American intelligence

underground was heroin smuggler Hubert von Blücher, the son of A

German ambassador. Hubert often bragged that that he was trained by

the Abwehr, the German military intelligence division, while still a

civilian in his twenties. He served in a recon unit of the German Army

until forced out for medical reasons in 1944, according to his wartime

records. He worked briefly as an assistant director for Berlin-Film on

a movie entitled One Day ..., and finished out the war flying with the

Luftwaffe, but not to engage the enemy - his mission was the smuggling

of Nazi loot out of the country. His exploits were, in part, the

subject of Sayer and Botting's Nazi Gold, an account of the knockover

of the Reichsbank at the end of the war.

In 1948 he flew the coop to Argentina. Posing as a photographer named

Huberto von Bleucher Corell, he immediately paid court to Eva Peron,

presenting her with an invaluable Gobelin tapestry (a selection from

the wealth of artifacts confiscated by the SS from Europe's Jews?).

Hubert then met with Martin Bormann at the Hotel Plaza to deliver

German marks worth $80 million. The loot financed the birth of the

National Socialist Party in Argentina, among other forms of Nazi

revival.

In 1951, Hubert migrated northward and took a job at the Color

Corporation of America in Hollywood. He eked out a living writing

scripts for the booming movie industry. His voice can be heard on a

film set in the Amazon, produced by Walt Disney. Nine years later he

returned to Buenos Aires, then Düsseldorf, West Germany, and

established a firm that developed not movie scripts, but anti-chemical

warfare agents for the government. At the Industrie Club in Düsseldorf

in 1982, von Blücher boasted to journalists, "I am chief shareholder

of Pan American Airways. I am the best friend of Howard Hughes. The

Beach Hotel in Las Vegas is 45 percent financed by me. I am thus the

biggest financier ever to appear in the Arabian Nights tales dreamed

up by these people over their second bottle of brandy."

Not really. Two the biggest financiers to stumble from the drunken

dreams of world-moving affluence were, in their time, Moses Annenberg,

publisher of The Philadelphia Inquirer, and his son Walter , the

CIA/mob-anchored publisher of the TV Guide. Like most American

high-rollers, Annenberg lived a double life. Moses, his father, was a

scion of the Capone mob. Both Moses and Walter were indicted in 1939

for tax evasions totalling many millions of dollars - the biggest case

in the history of the Justice Department. Moses pled guilty and agreed

to pay the government $8 million and settle $9 million in assorted tax

claims, penalties and interest debts. Moses received a three-year

sentence. He died in Lewisburg Penitentiary.

Walter Annenbeg, the TV Guide magnate, was a lofty Republican. On the

campaign trail in April, 1988, George Bush flew into Los Angeles to

woo Reagan's kitchen cabinet. "This is the topping on the cake,"

Bush's regional campaign director told the Los Angeles Times. The Bush

team met at Annenberg's plush Rancho Mirage estate at Sunnylands,

California. It was at the Annenberg mansion that Nixon's cabinet was

chosen, and the state's social and contributor registers built over a

quarter-century of state political dominance by Ronald Reagan, whose

acting career was launched by Operation MOCKINGBIRD.

http://whatreallyhappened.com/RANCHO/POLIT...ockingbird.html

And if that wasn't politically incorrect enough, Michael Parenti once wrote the following:

The way the mainstream shades off into the fascist right can be seen quite clearly in

the Republican Party.

The G.O.P. socio-economic agenda is not so much different from the kind pushed by

Hitler and Mussolini:Break the labor unions, depress wages, impose a rightist ideological

monopoly over the media, abolish taxes for the big corporations and the rich, eliminate

government regulations designed for worker and consumer safety and environmental

protection, privatize and plunder public lands and enterprises, wipe out most human

services, and liberal-bait-and-race all people opposed to such measures......

Not surprisingly, many of the same people who support these autocratic, static measures

against democratic dissenters are the first to deny that fascism is a threat to the United States.

Some might say that what I quoted is detracted from the thread, but in essence I believe this is the

American history that is not in line with the mainstream, except it is not those who hold these views

who are crazy or unpatriotic, it just does not fit the mass media which has become something of a joke,

witness the last eight years, and contrast the same party on the right, whose more extreme element

are currently calling Barrack Obama a "socialist."

It was a surprise for me to learn that Larry Stern, [1] of the Washington Post, before he died wrote a book about Greece and subsequently parts of the book as I understand it delves into the Cyprus Conflict, which was a serious issue in 1963. On Dec. 21, 1963 open conflict had broken out between Greek and Turkish- Cypriot's in Nicosia.

The book is called

The Wrong Horse: The Politics of Intervention and the Failure of American Diplomacy

By Laurence Marcus Stern

Published by Times Books, 1977

ISBN 0812907345, 9780812907346

170 pages

http://books.google.com/books?id=YVJKAAAACAAJ&dq

In consideration that several notable figures worked the "Greek desk" at the Pentagon, I would like to ask if any Forum members have the book, and if so, might share any tidbits it offers regarding General Edwin Walker, George Joannides or Thomas Karamessines,[2] if they happen to be mentioned.

1. Larry Stern is mentioned at some length by Sterling Seagrave here on the Forum, in the thread entitled

The JFK Assassination: The Far East Connection.

2. For anyone with an interest, the following URL contains some factoids regarding Karamessines.

http://www.geocities.com/~virtualtruth/karamess.htm

Edited by Robert Howard
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http://mdn.mainichi.jp/features/news/20090406p2a00m0na006000c.html

Technology killing journalism, says American author20090406p2a00m0na005000p_size5.jpg Nonfiction author Gay Talese (Mainichi)American author Gay Talese has gained prominence throughout his journalistic writing career, winning the George Polk Career Award in 2008. In a recent interview with the Mainichi, Talese highlighted the importance of on-the-street reporting and the threat to journalism posed by technology.

Talese, who became a full-time reporter for the New York Times in the 1950s, agrees that the newspaper industry is facing difficulties as the skills of journalists decline.

"It started with technology," he says. "Technology is killing journalism. Journalism is not supposed to be technology. Journalism is supposed to be like a foot soldier. You're supposed to do it yourself. You're supposed to walk and talk to people, see faces, and examine these people who are giving you information.

"The journalists now -- they don't go outside, they stay inside. They look at a laptop ... They are living behind the laptop. "

Talese, who says he has an active social life, going out to restaurants every night, avoids certain forms of technology in journalism himself, saying he never uses the Internet.

"I type on the computer. That's it. I don't have a cell phone, I don't e-mail."

He says big newspapers make the mistake of competing with television or the Internet, wanting to be the first.

"The technology is the real toxic agent right now," he says. "Newspapers had the world to themselves as long as they did a good job. When you sell a newspaper, it should be selling the truth as best you can find the truth. You should be selling the honor, you should be selling integrity. You are not supposed to be selling being the first."

Talese, 77, says the worst journalism in his life came after 2001 -- the year of the World Trade Center attacks.

"Look at the way the government corrupted the newspapers in the Iraq War ... Three-hundred-thousand troops died in this war. Why? Because the newspapers have been lying to the public, lying to the politicians, and politicians lied, the president lied. The vice president lied.

"The problem was the journalists failed in Washington to challenge the government and these unacknowledged sources, these private sources, in the paper every day, these lies. The worst journalism in my lifetime was after 2001."

Talese says he writes real stories, using real names.

"I never change names. I put everybody's name in the book, even if it's a sex book. Everybody has a real name. It's very difficult to do that. That's why it takes me so long to get the people to trust me, to allow me, to put a real name in a book."

Talese's writings include "The Bridge," a book published in the 1960s about the construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. He says that in 2005 and 2006 when he went back to interview the men who worked on the bridge, they told him they weren't surprised about what happened to the World Trade Center.

"They told me the engineers were terrible. The design was terrible. They said if the two terrorist planes had hit the Empire State Building, the building wouldn't be knocked down. If those planes hit the Verrazono Bridge, the planes would break up and nothing would happen because it's so strong."

Looking back on recent politics, Talese criticizes the previous administration of George W. Bush for trying to force its way upon the world.

"It didn't listen to other people. It believed that it had a right to impose upon other people what the American government thought was the best for other people. Absolutely wrong," he says. "I say the United States is filled with human rights violations -- the whole government -- I say it should be up for war crimes. The President, the Vice President, Secretary of Defense (Donald) Rumsfeld, some of the members of Cabinet, who killed all those people in Iraq. We just think about 3,000 plus Americans. But there are triple that amount of Iraqis, ordinary people, killed."

But Talese holds hope that the United States will be able to prove itself to the world in the future.

"I'm thrilled that Barack Obama is the president. I am very hopeful that America will get the second chance to the world to prove its democracy, fair-minded ... I think there is hope." (Interviewed by Takayasu Ogura, New York Bureau, Mainichi Shimbun)

(Mainichi Japan) April 6, 2009

Edited by William Kelly
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  • 2 months later...
http://mdn.mainichi.jp/features/news/20090406p2a00m0na006000c.html

Technology killing journalism, says American author20090406p2a00m0na005000p_size5.jpg Nonfiction author Gay Talese (Mainichi)American author Gay Talese has gained prominence throughout his journalistic writing career, winning the George Polk Career Award in 2008. In a recent interview with the Mainichi, Talese highlighted the importance of on-the-street reporting and the threat to journalism posed by technology.

Talese, who became a full-time reporter for the New York Times in the 1950s, agrees that the newspaper industry is facing difficulties as the skills of journalists decline.

"It started with technology," he says. "Technology is killing journalism. Journalism is not supposed to be technology. Journalism is supposed to be like a foot soldier. You're supposed to do it yourself. You're supposed to walk and talk to people, see faces, and examine these people who are giving you information.

"The journalists now -- they don't go outside, they stay inside. They look at a laptop ... They are living behind the laptop. "

Talese, who says he has an active social life, going out to restaurants every night, avoids certain forms of technology in journalism himself, saying he never uses the Internet.

"I type on the computer. That's it. I don't have a cell phone, I don't e-mail."

He says big newspapers make the mistake of competing with television or the Internet, wanting to be the first.

"The technology is the real toxic agent right now," he says. "Newspapers had the world to themselves as long as they did a good job. When you sell a newspaper, it should be selling the truth as best you can find the truth. You should be selling the honor, you should be selling integrity. You are not supposed to be selling being the first."

Talese, 77, says the worst journalism in his life came after 2001 -- the year of the World Trade Center attacks.

"Look at the way the government corrupted the newspapers in the Iraq War ... Three-hundred-thousand troops died in this war. Why? Because the newspapers have been lying to the public, lying to the politicians, and politicians lied, the president lied. The vice president lied.

"The problem was the journalists failed in Washington to challenge the government and these unacknowledged sources, these private sources, in the paper every day, these lies. The worst journalism in my lifetime was after 2001."

Talese says he writes real stories, using real names.

"I never change names. I put everybody's name in the book, even if it's a sex book. Everybody has a real name. It's very difficult to do that. That's why it takes me so long to get the people to trust me, to allow me, to put a real name in a book."

Talese's writings include "The Bridge," a book published in the 1960s about the construction of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. He says that in 2005 and 2006 when he went back to interview the men who worked on the bridge, they told him they weren't surprised about what happened to the World Trade Center.

"They told me the engineers were terrible. The design was terrible. They said if the two terrorist planes had hit the Empire State Building, the building wouldn't be knocked down. If those planes hit the Verrazono Bridge, the planes would break up and nothing would happen because it's so strong."

Looking back on recent politics, Talese criticizes the previous administration of George W. Bush for trying to force its way upon the world.

"It didn't listen to other people. It believed that it had a right to impose upon other people what the American government thought was the best for other people. Absolutely wrong," he says. "I say the United States is filled with human rights violations -- the whole government -- I say it should be up for war crimes. The President, the Vice President, Secretary of Defense (Donald) Rumsfeld, some of the members of Cabinet, who killed all those people in Iraq. We just think about 3,000 plus Americans. But there are triple that amount of Iraqis, ordinary people, killed."

But Talese holds hope that the United States will be able to prove itself to the world in the future.

"I'm thrilled that Barack Obama is the president. I am very hopeful that America will get the second chance to the world to prove its democracy, fair-minded ... I think there is hope." (Interviewed by Takayasu Ogura, New York Bureau, Mainichi Shimbun)

(Mainichi Japan) April 6, 2009

Although Bill's last post would be a fitting end to this thread, I read something once that seemed apropos to the whole dichotomy between geopolitics and the world of intelligence operations insofar as the Greek General's Coup, individually and as a whole, the period between the beginning of the Cold War and the end of the 1960's. Inspired by Michael Tanzer's 1969 book, The Political Economy of International Oil and The Underdeveloped Countries.

"In the four years of the Johnson Administration, Argentina's dramatic swing from public to private oil, has been paralleled by developmental right wing coups in Brazil [1964], Ghana [1966], Indonesia [1966], and finally Greece [1967]. In every one of these countries, a military take-over often with covert U.S. involvement, followed published reports of difficulties between the established government and U.S. oil companies."

- Peter Dale Scott

Small wonder there were government documents that went down a rabbit hole.

Edited by Robert Howard
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