The Sordid Origin of Hate-Speech Laws

Free Speech
Source:  Policy Review (Originally published by
Date:  2011-2012
Editor:  Jacob Mchangama

The Sordid Origin of Hate-Speech Laws

by Jacob Mchangama

Thursday, December 1, 2011

All western european countries have hate-speech laws. In 2008, the eu adopted a framework decision on “Combating Racism and Xenophobia” that obliged all member states to criminalize certain forms of hate speech. On the other side of the Atlantic, the Supreme Court of the United States has gradually increased and consolidated the protection of hate speech under the First Amendment. The European concept of freedom of expression thus prohibits certain content and viewpoints, whereas, with certain exceptions, the American concept is generally concerned solely with direct incitement likely to result in overt acts of lawlessness.

Yet the origin of hate-speech laws has been largely forgotten. The divergence between the United States and European countries is of comparatively recent origin. In fact, the United States and the vast majority of European (and Western) states were originally opposed to the internationalization of hate-speech laws. European states and the U.S. shared the view that human rights should protect rather than limit freedom of expression.

Rather, the introduction of hate-speech prohibitions into international law was championed in its heyday by the Soviet Union and allies. Their motive was readily apparent. The communist countries sought to exploit such laws to limit free speech.

As Americans, Europeans and others contemplate the dividing line emerging on the extent to which free speech should be limited to criminalize the “defamation of religions” and “Islamophobia,” launched by the member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (oic) since 1999, they should bear this forgotten history in mind. However well-intended—and its initial proponents were anything but well-intended—the Western acceptance of hate-speech laws severely limits the ability of liberal democracies to counter attempts to broaden the scope of hate-speech laws under international human rights law, with potentially devastating consequences for the preservation of free speech.

Freedom of expression and hate speech

The (nonbinding) universal Declaration of Human Rights (udhr) adopted in 1948 does not include an explicit duty to prohibit hate speech. Article 19 simply secures “freedom of opinion and expression.” However, the drafting history shows that the issues of hate-speech regulation and restrictions on free speech were frequently discussed. During the negotiation of Article 19, the drafters faced the challenge of whether, and if so to what extent, freedom of expression should tolerate even intolerance.

The majority of states favored a robust protection of free speech such as that set out in a U.S. proposal (un Doc. e/cn. 4/21), which read “there shall be freedom of speech, of the press and of expression by any means whatsoever.” However, the Soviet Union continuously proposed various amendments aimed at prohibiting expressions of intolerance.

The first uk proposal on the wording of an article aimed at securing freedom of expression recognized, like the Soviet proposal, the possibility for states to limit this right, in the interests of national security, against incitement to violence and disorder and obscene publications, whereas the uk proposal expressed doubts about the possibility of including publications aimed at suppressing human rights. But the uk did recognize a danger that

these words would afford a wider power for the limitation of freedom of publication than is necessary or desirable,” they found “that it would be inconsistent for a Bill of Rights whose whole object is to establish human rights and fundamental freedoms to prevent any Government, if it wished to do so, from taking steps against publications whose whole object was to destroy the rights and freedoms which it is the purpose of the Bill to establish.

At first glance this proposal may seem wholly reconcilable with the efforts of the Soviet Union. Yet two elements of the uk position differed crucially from the Soviet one. First, the uk stated that “the right of Governments to impose the necessary restrictions . . . is to be interpreted as strictly confined to such publications as advocate the use of violence,” and second, that “no Government is obliged by the Bill to make use of the powers of limitation.” In other words, the limitations on free speech advocated by the uk were, first, with a few exceptions, dependent on the advocacy of violence, and thus mere expressions of intolerance would not in themselves be punishable, and, second, held that there should be no human rights obligation to prohibit such expression.

The debate in the drafting committee led to the adoption of two articles concerning freedom of thought and expression, neither of which mentioned any limitations or restrictions on this fundamental right. These two articles were passed on to the Sub-Commission on the Freedom of Information, which was also asked for advice and to “consider the possibility of denying this freedom to publications and other media of public expression which aim or tend to inflict injury, or incite prejudice or hatred, against persons or groups because of their race, language, religion or national origin.” Nevertheless, none of the proposals submitted to the Sub-Commission by the uk and U.S. experts contained any restrictions on freedom of speech. The work in the Sub-Commission led to two variations of limiting clauses, one referring to “the rights of others” and the other referring to “liability only for the abuses of this freedom in cases determined by the law of nations” (un Doc e/cn.4/Sub.1/sr.27). The Czechoslovakian and the Soviet experts were the only ones to oppose both of these limitation clauses, because they did not find the clauses sufficiently far-reaching. Despite opposition, including from the French delegate, the following vote in the Sub-Commission deleted, by a majority of eight votes, any reference to a limitation clause.

Despite the Sub-Commission’s rejection of a limitation clause, the Soviet delegates did not give up their effort to limit the substantive rights set forth in the udhr and in particular on freedom of expression. But the Soviet efforts to restrict Article 19 were rejected in the Third Committee, as several Western and non-Western countries worried that “fascism,” which the Soviet proposal aimed to prohibit, could not be defined. The Soviet delegate dismissed these doubts and explained that fascism could be defined as “the bloody dictatorship of the most reactionary section of capitalism and monopolies.” The udhr should guard against the fascists existing in all European countries except the “peoples’ democracies” (i.e., the communist countries). As pointed out by Johannes Morsink, this highly politicized perspective clearly demonstrated that the Soviet proposal would be targeted not just at Nazism but also against agitation in favor of capitalism and liberal democracy, and in all likelihood against any other political ideology than the supposed real democracy of communism. Accordingly, the proposal was defeated by a majority in the Third Committee and again at the General Assembly proper by the intervention of the U.S. representative, and chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, Eleanor Roosevelt.

The Soviet proposal would be targeted not just at Nazism but against agitation in favor of capitalism and liberal democracy.
Although Article 19 of the udhr does not contain a specific limitation clause, it is still possible to restrict freedom of expression pursuant to general limitation clauses contained in the udhr. Article 7 ensures equality before the law and protects specifically against incitement to discrimination, while Article 29 includes a general limitation clause according to which the rights in the udhr may be limited, inter alia, for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others.

The drafting of Article 7 started in the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and the Protection of Minorities. The Soviet Union presented a proposal that included an obligation to prohibit “Any advocacy of national, racial, or religious hostility or of national exclusiveness or hatred and contempt, as well as any action establishing a privilege or a discrimination based on distinctions of race, nationality, or religion constitute a crime and shall be punishable under the law of the state.” The U.S. and Belgian experts vociferously opposed this proposal and sought to prevent a vote upon it. However, France came up with an extensive proposal requiring states to punish infringements of the principle of nondiscrimination. Ultimately Australia and China presented a draft compromise provision that sought to condemn only incitement to violence against minorities, which was adopted with ten votes and one abstention in the Sub-Commission.

Despite the adoption of this compromise, the Soviet delegate continued the fight for limiting freedom of expression in the Working Group of the Human Rights Commission. The Soviet delegate held a speech in which he declared that without a prohibition against hate speech “any Declaration would be useless.” This led to a reiteration of the above-mentioned Soviet proposal on Article 7, which was rejected, though very narrowly this time, with two votes to two, with two abstentions. During the second session of the Human Rights Commission, the Soviet delegate tried once more to submit the proposal, and this time the Belgian representative took it into consideration. He rejected the Soviet proposal but amended the current version of Article 7 with the phrase “and against any incitement to such discrimination,” which was adopted with a great majority.

However, in the third session of the Human Rights Commission, the British and Indian delegates jointly proposed to delete the prohibition against incitement to discrimination since “the United Kingdom, feeling morally bound to carry out the provision of the Declaration, would be obliged to pass laws which experience had shown were neither necessary nor desirable.”

Countries supporting the British/Indian stand included the U.S., while the French representative strongly favored a prohibition against incitement to discrimination. He was joined by, inter alia, the delegation from Yugoslavia, who felt that “incitement to discrimination should be explicitly forbidden.”

The dominant force behind the attempt to adopt an obligation to restrict freedom of expression was the Soviet Union.
When the matter came before the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly, the controversial character of the question of incitement seemed to have disappeared. The Belgian amendment was adopted with an overwhelming majority, 41 votes to three, with two abstentions, and Article 7 as a whole was adopted, 45 votes for to zero against, at the General Assembly. It is indisputable that the obligation to protect against incitement to discrimination may invite restrictions on freedom of expression. However, there are real differences in emphasis between the original Soviet proposal and what was adopted by the Third Committee. In its final version, Article 7 protects against incitement to discrimination, while the ussr had sought to prohibit incitement. Protection against incitement to discrimination does not necessarily entail a prohibition against certain forms of speech. The uk representative underlined this difference by stating that “the State should not be regarded as limiting the rights of individuals but as promoting the rights of all.” Accordingly, the protection against incitement to discrimination could plausibly be undertaken with alternative means to criminal law such as education, information, awareness campaigns, etc.

The drafting history of the protection of the freedom of expression in the udhr does not leave any doubt that the dominant force behind the attempt to adopt an obligation to restrict this right under human rights law was the Soviet Union. On the other hand, led by the U.S. and uk, the vast majority of Western democracies, albeit with differences in emphasis, sought to guarantee a wide protection of freedom of expression and in particular to avoid any explicit obligation upon states to restrict this right.


As opposed to the udhr, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (iccpr) is a legally binding human rights convention, currently ratified by some 167 states. The iccpr was adopted in 1966 and includes a right to freedom of expression in Article 19, but also an obligation to prohibit hate speech in Article 20 (2): “Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.”

The adoption of Article 20 was highly controversial and was preceded by protracted and heated negotiations. Taking into account the differences between liberal democratic and communist countries during the drafting of the udhr it is not surprising that the question of whether to adopt a prohibition against hate speech came to the fore with new and increased emphasis during the negotiations of the iccpr. Indeed, the drafting history of the iccpr echoes and shows more sharply the dividing lines already drawn between primarily Western and communist states, and their respective allies, on this crucial matter.

The first draft was limited to the prohibition of “any advocacy of national, racial, or religious hostility that constitutes an incitement to violence.” However, a number of countries led by the Soviet Union were adamant that incitement to violence was insufficient, and sought a broader prohibition against “incitement to hatred.” Poland expressed dissatisfaction with a provision only prohibiting incitement to violence, since it did not tackle “the root of the evil,” and worried that freedom of expression could be abused and “contribute decisively to the elimination of all freedoms and rights.” The Yugoslav representative thought it important to “suppress manifestations of hatred which, even without leading to violence, constituted a degradation of human dignity and a violation of human rights.”

Proponents of hate-speech prohibitions mainly justified the need for Article 20 with the recent memory of World War II and the Holocaust, but as Stephanie Farrior points out, with the passing of time, colonialism and apartheid were also used as justifications for prohibiting racial and religious hatred. The opponents of Article 20 pointed to the inappropriateness of such a prohibition in a human rights convention, to the arbitrariness of the terms “hatred” and “hostility,” and to the risk of undermining freedom of expression. Eleanor Roosevelt found the language “extremely dangerous” and warned against provisions “likely to be exploited by totalitarian States for the purpose of rendering the other articles null and void.” She also feared that the provision “would encourage governments to punish all criticism under the guise of protecting against religious or national hostility.” Roosevelt’s concern was shared by, among others, the five Nordic countries. Sweden argued that “the effective prophylaxis lay in free discussion, information, and education,” and that “fanatical persecution” should be countered with “free discussion, information and debate”. Australia warned that “people could not be legislated into morality.” Furthermore, it noted that “the remedy might be worse than the evil it sought to remove.” The uk representative stated that “the power of democracy to combat propaganda lay . . . in the ability of its citizens to arrive at reasoned decisions in the face of conflicting appeals.” When challenged by the Soviet Union, the uk representative pointed out that during World War II, Hitler’s Mein Kampf had not been banned and was readily available in the uk, and that its government “would maintain and fight for its conception of liberty as resolutely as it had fought against Hitler.”

The states where criticism of totalitarian ideology was prohibited were the ones that internationalized hate-speech laws.
It has been argued that the Western opposition to the prohibition against hate speech in Article 19 was disingenuous, given that the Allied Powers had imposed obligations not to permit fascist organizations and to prohibit hostile propaganda in peace treaties with countries such as Hungary, Bulgaria, Finland, Italy, and Romania in the late 1940s, as well as in the 1955 State Treaty with Austria.
However, these obligations are easily distinguishable from Article 20 as they were not included in human rights conventions aiming at universal application and related to the most exceptional of circumstances in countries that had been led by authoritarian regimes and thus had little tradition of liberal democracy. Moreover, Eleanor Roosevelt expressed regret at the inclusion of such language in peace treaties as by 1949 they had already served as a justification for repressive measures by Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria.

When the current wording of Article 20 was put to a vote in the Third Committee of the General Assembly, it was adopted with 52 votes in favor, nineteen against, and twelve abstentions. Those in favor were primarily the communist states of Eastern Europe, as well as non-Western countries with very questionable human rights records such as Saudi Arabia, Haiti, Sudan, and Thailand. The nineteen countries that voted against included almost all Western liberal democracies — such as the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand — the five Nordic countries, the Netherlands, and Ecuador, Uruguay, Japan, Malaysia, and Turkey. Eighteen countries (including the U.S.) entered reservations to Article 20 upon ratification. The voting record reveals the startling fact that the internationalization of hate-speech prohibitions in human rights law owes its existence to a number of states where both criticisms of the prevalent totalitarian ideology as well as advocacy for democracy were strictly prohibited. Moreover, the grandiose arguments these states advanced in favor of Article 20 seem — at best — highly disingenuous considering the systematic official propaganda of the communist states.


In 1965, the un General Assembly adopted the International Convention for the Elimination of all Racial Discrimination (icerd). It was primarily a reaction to a wave of anti-Semitic vandalism in Germany and the fight against colonialism and apartheid.

While icerd was adopted prior to iccpr, its provisions were drafted after the adoption of iccpr Article 20. According to Article 4 (a) the ratifying States “Shall declare an offence punishable by law all dissemination of ideas based on racial superiority or hatred, incitement to racial discrimination.”

These obligations must be fulfilled “with due regard” to freedom of expression, but this provision is still substantially more far-reaching than iccpr Article 20, since it includes “all dissemination of ideas” and requires the criminalization, rather than the mere prohibition, of hate speech. This interference in the freedom of expression was one of the most controversial provisions in the treaty, and, like iccpr Article 20, it was subject to several negotiations that revealed a split between countries in the Western camp (supported by Latin America) and those in the non-Western camp. The first debate on Article 4 was based on two drafts, a U.S. proposal and a Soviet/Polish proposal.

Natan Lerner has described how, as with the iccpr, the U.S. sought to achieve support for a proposal that would criminalize incitement to racist hate speech “resulting in or likely to result in violence” rather than incitement to racial hatred. However, the Soviet/Polish proposal would, inter alia, “prohibit and disband racist, fascist and any other organization practicing or inciting racial discrimination”; in line with this, Czechoslovakia proposed prohibiting “dissemination of ideas and doctrines based on racial superiority or hatred.” The uk expressed support to the threshold envisaged by the U.S. proposal since “speech should be free, but incitement to violence should be repressed.”

A number of other delegations, primarily Western, made similar statements, but the most eloquent opposition to Article 4 came from the Colombian representative, who stated that Article 4

is a throwback to the past . . . Punishing ideas, whatever they may be, is to aid and abet tyranny, and leads to the abuse of power . . . As far as we are concerned and as far as democracy is concerned, ideas should be fought with ideas and reasons; theories must be refuted by arguments and not by the scaffold, prison, exile, confiscation, or fines.

These views were countered by statements primarily from representatives of communist countries such as Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia arguing that the prohibition against discrimination (even among private parties) should be given preference over freedom of expression.

After a proposal from the Nordic countries, a “due regard” clause was inserted in Article 4. According to this clause, state parties shall fulfill the obligations in Article 4 “with due regard to the principles embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the rights expressly set forth in article 5 of this Convention.”

Clearly, most proponents of hate-speech laws do not share the same ideologies and methods as antidemocratic states.
Taking into account the wording and drafting history of the icerd, it is not difficult to see why Article 4 so appealed to nondemocratic states. icerd makes the state responsible for eliminating discrimination through coercive measures. The idea that deliberate state action — even at the expense of individual liberty — is the principal vehicle for social change and human progress is a hallmark of socialism, fascism, communism, and in some cases, forms of progressivism. The liberal democracies of the day, committed to the value of individual freedom, were sympathetic to the need to fight racism, even if several Western states did have real problems with racism at home. But they regarded the dangers of equipping the state with draconian powers to combat racism and intolerance more dangerous than the evils that these measures were employed to cure. However, in the context of the recent memory of the Holocaust and Western qualms about colonialism and apartheid, liberal democracies were unable to persuade communist states, as well as a range of newly independent states, that icerd would be a useful tool of dictatorial nations in proscribing the freedom that their peoples had just won. However, some eighteen countries (including the U.S.), upon ratification, entered reservations and/or interpretive declarations specifically aimed at protecting freedom of expression.

Clearly, most contemporary proponents of hate-speech laws do not share the same ideologies and methods as the communist states of the day. Yet they seldom mention or reflect upon the fact that such laws were proposed and advocated for by antidemocratic states in which freedom of expression (as well as all other basic human rights) was routinely violated. Nor do they mention that these states, often totalitarian, had a clear interest in legitimizing and justifying their repression with the use of human rights language, inverting human rights protections into coercive human rights obligations. A good example of this paradox is the former Yugoslavia, the scene of the latest European genocide, a state very active in promoting a prohibition against hate speech at the un. Article 134 of the criminal code in force at the time of the breakup of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia punished with imprisonment of up to ten years anyone who “incites or fans national, racial, or religious hatred or discord between peoples and nationalities.” The article was mostly used by the communist regime to silence critics, but the prohibition against hate speech obviously did nothing to inculcate a culture of tolerance that could prevent ethnic cleansings and genocide, which occurred throughout Yugoslavia’s breakup.

Eric Heinze is right in scolding leading critical race theorists for praising the supposed international consensus on hate-speech laws at the un while completely ignoring that the communist states promoting this agenda ruthlessly repressed national, ethnic, and religious minorities.

While Western countries have undeniably engaged in indefensible acts of racism and colonialism, free speech has given a voice to minorities in these states, which has been instrumental in overcoming the worst practices of official discrimination. No such development happened in the communist states, where dissenting minorities had to await the implosion of communism before they could speak their minds and exercise self-determination.

The principled resistance by most Western European democracies to iccpr Article 20 and — to a lesser extent — icerd Article 4 is particularly ironic when considering that today it is official policy in these countries — as well as in members of the eu and the Council of Europe — that hate speech should be criminalized. With the adoption of iccpr Article 20 and particularly icerd Article 4, European states abandoned their principled opposition to international hate-speech prohibitions; as a result, the 1970s saw a dramatic increase in new or expanded hate-speech laws in Europe. In fact, European states that only fifty years ago found hate-speech laws dangerous and arbitrary have today become active proponents of such laws, albeit on different grounds and for nobler purposes than the nondemocratic states they opposed during the Cold War. Hate-speech laws may thus be one of the last enduring legacies of European communism, and, as we shall see, this legacy is being exploited by a new group of mostly illiberal states for whom religion rather than communism should trump free speech.

Continued pressure on free expression

Although the soviet Union is now dissolved and Cold War divisions no longer dominate the human rights efforts of the United Nations, the pressure on freedom of expression has not come to an end. In fact, a new dividing line has emerged in the battle over the extent to which free speech should be restricted. Once again, Western countries find themselves defending freedom of expression — albeit from a much weaker and unprincipled position than before — while the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (oic) and their allies argue for restrictions. Now, freedom of expression is threatened by proposals justified by the putative need to oppose the so called “defamation of religions” and “Islamophobia” — meaning negative criticism of Islam and Muslims — which the oic seeks to prohibit under international human rights law.

The issue of defamation of religions has been highly divisive at the un, pitting the oic and its supporters against Western states, mirroring the Cold War debates over udhr, iccpr, and icerd. The oic’s insistence on criminalizing defamation of religions is a manifestation of the ongoing challenge to the idea of universal human rights by a number of non-Western nations, including Muslim ones. These states view the idea of universal human rights as a form of “soft imperialism” on the part of the West, threatening their traditional cultural and religious values. In 1990, the oic states adopted their own “Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam,” which purports to unite Islam with human rights but in reality subordinates human rights to Islam. All the rights in the Cairo Declaration are subject to rules of Islamic Sharia law, which are incompatible with universal human rights protections. Article 21, for example, states that “everyone shall have the right to express his opinion freely in such manner as would not be contrary to the principles of the Shari’ah.”

Once again, Western states find themselves defending freedom of expression, now from the OIC and its allies.
In a 1995 debate at the un, the oic clarified what subjecting free speech to Sharia entails arguing, that “the right to freedom of thought, opinion, and expression could in no case justify blasphemy.” Moreover, the oic definition of blasphemy is extremely far-reaching, as witnesses by the widespread use of blasphemy laws in countries such as Egypt, where blogger Kareem Amer spent four years in prison for insulting Islam (and President Hosni Mubarak), and Pakistan, where thousands have been charged with blasphemy, with religious minorities being disproportionately targeted. Even relatively modern Indonesia has seen a number of blasphemy cases, as recorded in Freedom House’s 2010 publication “Policing Belief: The impact of blasphemy laws on human rights.”

It is this kind of law that the oic has tried to turn into an international human rights norm. The first resolution offered by Pakistan on behalf of the oic in 1999 was introduced under the title “Defamation of Islam,” but after some debate it was changed to “Defamation of Religions.” The resolution expresses “deep concern at negative stereotyping of religions” and states that “Islam is frequently and wrongly associated with human rights violations and with terrorism.” The resolution also “expresses its concern at any role in which the print, audio­visual, or electronic media or any other means is used to incite acts of violence, xenophobia, or related intolerance and discrimination towards Islam and any other religion.” Despite the fact that only Islam was mentioned — and despite the undeniable threat to free speech — the 1999 and 2000 resolutions on defamation of religions were adopted unanimously, without a vote. Since 2001, resolutions on defamation have become increasingly comprehensive and hostile to freedom of expression, and resistance to their more aggressive character means that they now are being put to a vote, first at the Commission on Human Rights and later the Human Rights Council (hrc), and since 2005 also at the General Assembly.

After peaking in 2003, resolutions on defamation of religion have steadily lost votes in the Commission, the hrc, and the General Assembly. In 2003, 32 countries voted in favor, with fourteen against and seven abstaining. In 2010, those numbers were twenty, seventeen, and eight. The oic was also dealt a blow at the Durban Review Conference held in Geneva in 2009. The oic had lobbied hard for the inclusion of a reference to defamation of religion, but the final document, while very far from perfect, did not include direct defamation language. The final blow came when the oic accepted a 2011 hrc resolution on, inter alia, “Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping, and stigmatization” of religious believers, which did not mention defamation language. Dwindling support has likely been key to the oic’s realization that defamation-of-religion resolutions — for now — are a dead end at the un. To their credit, Western states and human rights ngos were instrumental in opposing and (as of now) defeating the defamation agenda.

After peaking in 2003, resolutions on defamation of religion have steadily lost votes in the HRC, the Commision, and the General Assembly.

However, the very same countries and human rights activists that opposed the defamation agenda are typically in favor of hate-speech laws. The argument goes that defamation of religions protects abstract metaphysical constructs such as religion, whereas human rights are meant to protect only individuals. Technically this argument is correct (though third-generation rights such as the right to development and a clean environment contradict this position).

Yet, contemporary blasphemy laws typically protect the religious feelings of believers (not religious creeds or deities) as exemplified by the case law of the European Court of Human Rights, which allows the banning of “blasphemous” books and films that insult the religious feelings of believers (e.g., Otto Preminger v. Austria and Wingrove v. UK). As such, blasphemy laws often overlap with hate-speech laws, particularly when the latter include religion as a prohibited ground.

In the logic of the opponents of defamation of religions it would thus be incompatible with freedom of expression to criminalize harsh attacks against Islam on the basis of protecting this religion against defamation, whereas such criticism could plausibly be criminalized on the grounds of inciting hatred against Muslims under hate-speech laws as has happened in numerous European cases, such as Norwood v. UK and Soulas a.o. v. France.

Accordingly, the defeat of the defamation agenda, though a welcome and significant development, by no means secures freedom of expression in human rights law. While it was originally apparently a supplementary strategy, the oic countries have changed their main focus from a prohibition against blasphemy to a debate on the extent of the existing hate-speech prohibition in iccpr Article 20. Thus, while the recently adopted resolution in the hrc does not mention “defamation of religions,” it includes several references to the wording of Article 20.

But it also mentions “derogatory stereotyping, negative profiling, and stigmatization of persons based on their religion or belief” and “deplores any advocacy of discrimination . . . on the basis of religion or belief.” This wording is vague and unclear and would seem to fall well below the threshold of “advocacy of religious hatred” constituting “incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence” established by Article 20. The resolution should thus be seen as an attempt by the oic to broaden the scope of Article 20 to include instances of so-called Islamophobia and what would have qualified as “defamation of religions,” such as the Danish Muhammad cartoons.

The broadening of Article 20 and the emphasis on the enforcement of this hate-speech clause were also included in the final-outcome document of the Durban Review Conference and a 2009 compromise resolution on freedom of expression co-sponsored by the United States and Egypt at the hrc. In a 2008 interview in Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, the secretary general of the oic stated that the oic is “neither against criticism of any religion nor calling for banning criticism of religions.” Rather the problem is when

religious beliefs . . . are ridiculed, denigrated, and targeted with campaigns of insults with apparent or declared intent to incite hatred against the followers of this or that religion . . . incitement for hatred should not be allowed, as long as this specific act constitutes a crime within the parameters of international human rights documents, particularly article 20 of [iccpr].

The latest example of this agenda could be witnessed at Denmark’s Universal Periodic Review at the hrc on May 2, 2011. Numerous oic states including Egypt, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, and Pakistan complained that Danish hate-speech laws were not enforced sufficiently, particularly when it comes to “Islamophobia,” and alluded directly or indirectly to the publication of the Muhammad cartoons. Pakistan stated, “The newspaper publication of cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad . . . shocked Muslims worldwide . . . and violated Articles 19 and 20 of iccpr and Article 4 of icerd.”

The oic interpretation of Article 20 as covering instances of religious criticism and satire is not limited to these countries. The publication of the Muhammad cartoons prompted three independent un special rapporteurs, including the special rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, to issue a joint statement on February 8, 2006 on this “offensive publication.” While the rapporteurs stressed the importance of freedom of expression they went on to state that:

the use of stereotypes and labeling that insult deep-rooted religious feelings do not contribute to the creation of an environment conducive to constructive and peaceful dialogue among different communities . . . The Special Rapporteurs strongly deplore the depictions of the Prophet Muhammad and are distressed by the grave offence they have caused to the members of the Muslim communities.

This sort of development is exactly what Eleanor Roosevelt warned against during the debates on the iccpr, a view shared by delegates of almost all other Western states at the time. Yet, Western states, with the defeat of Western opposition to hate-speech laws and their subsequent embrace thereof, have severely limited their capacity to credibly oppose oic and un efforts to expand the scope of hate-speech laws. After all, how can countries where people are fined for criticizing Islam and Christianity, opposing multiculturalism, using colloquial expressions that are in other contexts racial epithets, advocating a boycott of Israel, denying the Holocaust and other genocides, expressing moral condemnation of homosexuality, etc. demand that other countries should refrain from enforcing rivaling interpretations of inherently vague and subjective hate-speech laws?

Respect for freedom of expression is the hallmark of free societies and the first right to be circumscribed by illiberal states. It is a sad reflection on Europe that the increasing emphasis on criminalizing words that wound, offend, or hurt is the brainchild of the very totalitarian states with which Western European states were locked in an ideological battle during the Cold War.

Jacob Mchangama is director of legal affairs at the Danish think tank CEPOS and external lecturer in international human rights law at the University of Copenhagen. He is a frequent commentator on human rights and the of rule law in Danish and international media.

Johannes Morsink, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Origins, Drafting, and Intent (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1999), 66.

Stephanie Farrior, “Molding the Matrix: The Historical and Theoretical Foundations of International Law Concerning Hate Speech,” Berkeley Journal of International Law 14:1 (1996).

Egon Schwelb, “The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination,” International and Comparative Law Quarterly 15:4 (1966).

Natan Lerner, UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, (Sijthoff & Noordhoff, 1980), 7.

Mirjam Streng, “The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination & Freedom of Expression,” working paper.

Eric Heinze, “Truth and Myth in Critical Race Theory and LatCrit: Human Rights and the Ethnocentrism of Anti-Ethnocentrism,” National Black Law Journal 20:2 (2008).

The Loss of Innocence in the Gouzenko Case by J. L. Granatstein

Source:  The Loss of Innocence in the Gouzenko Case by J. L. Granatstein, Globe and Mail, 1981-03-31, in amongst a small collection of declassified RCMP records on the subject of MacKenzie King’s missing diary.

Gouzenko blew lid off.

Gouzenko blew lid off.

He had been an unsuspicious man, but espionage in the civil service in Ottawa shocked Norman Robertson into reality.

The loss of innocence in the Gouzenko case


Norman Robertson was one of this exceptional civil servants who helped turn Canada into a modern nation, along with Lester Pearson and Hume Wrlong. In 1941, at the age of 37, he became Under-secretary of State for External Affairs, the senior permanent position in External Affairs, the department to which Soviet cipher clerk Igor Gouzenko first went to bare his secrets. What follows is an excerpt from A Man of Influence, Norman A. Robertson and Canadian Statecraft 1929-68, by J. L. Granatstein, published this week by Deneau Publishers and Co. Ltd.

THE RUSSIANS in Ottawa were openly sniffing after atomic information, and at a party to celebrate the Japanese request for surrender terms on Aug. 14, 1945, “Robertson said that Russia had already proposed to Canada to include uranium in lend-lease business.” Still, no one suspected that the Soviet Embassy in Ottawa was engaged in anything other than the normal diplomatic duties that fell to any mission.

An opinion poll in the spring of 1945 found that 46 per cent of those sampled were confident of Canada’s ability to get on with the Russians after the war, and that 34 per cent were not. The Russians, in so far as most Canadians were concerned, were the people who had contributed most to the victory over Hitler. They were good allies, but there was little genuine trust.

Matters altered irrevocably on Sept. 6, 1945. Mackenzie King’s account captured the moment:

“Robertson and Wrong came to see me this morning … both looking very serious. Robertson said to me that a most terrible thing had happened. It was like a bomb on toip of everything else and one could not say how serious it might be or to what it might lead. He then told me that this morning, just half an hour or so earlier, a man had turned up with his wife, at the office of the minister of justice. He asked to see the minister. He said he was from the Russian Embassy …

“He went on to say that he had in his possession documents that he had taken from the Embassy and was prepared to give to the govt. They would be seen to disclose that Russia had her spies and secret service people in Canada and in the U.S. and were practicing a species of espionage … he had enough evidence there to prove that instead of being friends, the Russians were really enemies.”

Robertson and Wrong wondered what action to take. The Prime Minister was skeptical about the story and concerned lest the Russians think that Canada had performed an unfriendly act. Robertson then asked if the information might not be so important to Canada, Britain and the United States that it should be seized “no matter how it was obtained.” King opposed this, noting that “Robertson looked completely distraught; was so over-powered he could hardly collect his thoughts.”

Igor Gouzenko, a cipher clerk at the Embassy, was thus left to wander around Ottawa seeking help with increasing desperation. Word of his movements kept filtering back to Robertson who, distraught or not, kept suggesting to the Prime Minister that the Embassy official could not be allowed to commit suicide, as he was now threatening, and that Canada could be a party to murder “if we allowed him to fall into the hands of the Embassy … At this juncture, fortunately, Sir William Stephenson, the head of British Security Co-ordination in New York and a friend of Robertson’s as a result of their co-operatioon during the war, happened to be at the Seignory Club in Montebello, Que. He was summoned to Ottawa that evening, and urged Robertson to “take him.”

 Robertson (rear left) with King on Government business.

Robertson (rear left) with King on Government business.

Stephenson’s advice reinforced Robertson’s own inclinations. The next day, after Gouzenko’s apartment had been ransacked by Soviet Embassy officials, the cipher clerk was given the opportunity of making a statement to the RCMP and the Government now became officially seized of the case. The documents he had brought with him were being translated as quickly as possible, and that afternoon, Sept. 7, Robertson told the Prime Minister “that everything was much worse than we would have believed … They disclose an espionage system on a large scale … things came right into our country to a degree we could not have believed possible. He then told me that they went into our own Dept. of External Affairs, that in the cypher room there was an agent of the Russians who had seen and knew all our cyphers … The same was true at Earnscliffe (the British High Commission) M. MacDonald’s despatches were all seen, read and known. In our Research Laboratories … where we had been working on the atomic bomb there is a scientist who is a Russian agent. In the Research Laboratories in Montreal … there is an English scientist who is … acting as a Russian agent.”

If Robertson had been naive before, he was so no longer.

He quickly notified MacDonald of the situation in his chancery and; with the co-operation of Stephenson in New York, a special communications system was set up to link London, New York and Ottawa, one that bypassed suspects. Similarly, the Americans were advised and Dr. C. J. Mackenzie of the National Research Council was informed of the spies in the laboratories.

The impact of this affair on Robertson was very strong. As he had told King, he had been an unsuspicious man, who had assumed that the civil service as a whole took the same attitude to its work that he did. But espionage had gone on in the civil service and outside it, and this deeply shocked him, probably more so than that the Russians should have been gathering secrets. Still, he was fully aware of the need to keep the Gouzenko case quiet for fear that it would disrupt the delicate negotiations under way among the Great Powers on the manifold problems of peace, and not least those of atomic energy.

Later in September, at a meeting attended by the Prime Minister, the decision was made that King should go to Washington and London to convey his information on the case directly to President Harry Truman and Prime Minister Clement Attlee.

Robertson accompanied King to Washington and London. In Washington on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, King, Robertson and Lester Pearson discussed the affair; Robertson and Pearson briefed Dean Acheson, the Undersecretary to State and a close friend of Pearson’s at the time; and King saw Truman. The key event was the Canadian decision not to proceed at once with arrests. “Robertson talked this over with me,” King noted on Oct. 1, “and I agreed with him this was not the course to pursue. We must move very slowly and cautiously. We were not ready in Canada to take proceedings and our leading advisers up to the present say it would be very difficult to get a conviction on material we have considering its source.

The parties agreed that, while Soviet behavior of the sort revealed by Gouzenko could not be tolerated, “it should be dealt with, nevertheless, so as to disturb as little as possible the continuance of normal diplomatic relations with the U.S.S.R.” There was also an agreement to use the case to expose “the uses to which the Soviet Government puts local Communist elements,” but nothing was to be done to suggest that action was being taken for “ideological reasons.” Co-ordinated action by the police of the three countries was scheduled to take place in the week of Nov. 25.

But there were delays at the Americans’ request, and no move against those implicated in Canada came until February, 1946. Even then, action was forced only by a leak in Washington. Robertson told the Prime Minister that “this business has become known to too many people,” but King added that “this may be all for the best, as it gives us a special reason for starting immediately with our investigation. The decision to name a royal commission of two Supreme Court justices was quickly made, the Cabinet was informed at last on Feb. 5 and the royal commission began its work on Feb. 6 in secrecy. No public announcement was made until Feb. 15.

That morning the first arrests were made. Robertson had learned that the RCMP had intended to make the arrests at 3 a.m. but as J. W. Pickersgill, who had learned of the Gouzenko case only on Feb. 14, recalls, “he refused to agree to this. He said we are not going to behave like the Soviets.”

The arrests were made under the terms of an order-in-council passed on Oct. 6, 1945, on the recommendation of the minister of justice. That order gave the Government authority to arrest the suspects and to detain them without the necessity of formal charges. No one, neither St. Laurent nor King nor Robertson, was happy with the procedure, but as the Prime Minister wrote, “this whole matter is so serious that I think there will be disposition by Parliament to agree that the right course in the circumstances has been take[n] as the evidence is so strong.”

By this point, the royal commission was well under way with its work and Robertson was following its transcribed evidence very closely. He was also worrying over the possible actions the Soviet Govdernment might take in retaliation against the Canadian Embassy in Moscow and he must have been surprised when the Russians partially admitted guilt. In a statement given to the Canadian chargé d’affaires, the Soviet Government agreed that there had been illegal actions. “This is most unusual,” the chargé reported, “and indicates that they must feel unable to refute completely evidence which will be made public by our royal commission.”

There were successes in handling the matters raised by Gouzenko’s defection, but there were serious problems, too.

Most serious perhaps was the substantial public outcry at the way the arrests had been carried out, at the authority used to justify action, and at the keeping of prisoners in solitary confinement with neither access to counsel nor right of habeas corpus.1 From Norman Robertson’s point of view, these harsh measures were made necessary by the circumstances of the case, by the need to ensure that no warning reached those not yet jailed, and to prevent those arrested from getting Communist party orders not to talk. So long as the suspects were held in solitary confinement, one External Affairs officer closely involved with the royal commission recalled, the Government had successes in securing confessions. But once visitors were permitted, the suspects stopped talking.

Quite properly, those considerations meant little to outraged civil libertarians. Robertsons’ father complained bitterly to his son, there were denunciations by the Opposition in the House, and there were petitions to the Government from academics and others. Robertson was never unaware of the concerns expressed, but in this case he was convinced that the end — security of the state — justified the arbitrary means used.”

There could be no doubt that the evidence gathered by the royal commission substantiated the Government’s claim that the Soviet Union had operated a spy ring from behind the Embassy walls. There could be no doubt that several Canadians were guilty of spying for the Soviet Union and most, it seemed clear, had been motivated by ideological convictions.

Similarly, there could be no doubt that the revelations from the Gouzenko affair fed the building Western belief that the Soviet Union had changed from friend and ally into enemy.

1.  Good old Mackenzie King. No right of habeas corpus is how he did things.  In 1940, King arrested Adrien Arcand and Arcand’s men, denied them a trial, denied them habeas corpus, interned them, denied them appeal of their internment, treated innocent Canadians as prisoners of war, and just as the Gouzenko mess is breaking, King’s government has been slandering Arcand in Parliament to justify the criminal actions of the King government against him. Denial of habeas corpus for the Gouzenko spies was merely Business as usual for Mr. King.  As for Norman Robertson, he’s on our “suspected communist subversive” list.

‘Beautiful Blond Spy Queen’ fingered former PM as source of ‘top-level’ British information

'Beautiful Blond Spy Queen' fingered former PM as source of 'top-level' British information"

Former Soviet espionage courier Elizabeth Bentley told the FBI she received information from Lester Pearson through an intermediary in Washington.  Three others who figured prominently in the FBI files on Mr. Pearson are Igor Gouzenko, bottom left, a clerk for the Russian Embassy who exposed an espionage ring in 1946; John Grierson, bottom center, head of the National Film Board and a friend of Mr. Pearson, who was also suspected of being a Communist; and Herbert Norman, bottom right, a Canadian ambassador to Egypt, who killed himself after being named as a Soviet agent.

‘Beautiful Blond Spy Queen’




L-R:  Igor Gouzenko, John Grierson, Herbert Norman

L-R:  Igor Gouzenko, John Grierson, Herbert Norman

Secret FBI files
named Pearson
as Soviet agent


Just call him Comrade Lester B. Pearson.

Was the former prime minister a Communist sympathizer who was part of a Canadian wartime espionage ring for the Russians?  That’s what it says in the massive FBI file on him.

American security officials, especially FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, were very suspicious of the Nobel Peace Prize winner during the 1950s and 1960s.  It all had to do with Mr. Pearson’s friendship with a couple of members of that subversive agency, the National Film Board of Canada.

The often-comic, error-filled file contains hundreds of documents.  It was released to the Citizen under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act and it reveals the FBI’s suspicions began in 1951, after a former Soviet espionage courier, Elizabeth Bentley, who one writer called the ‘Beautiful Blond Spy Queen,’ told the bureau she received information from Mr. Pearson through a Canadian intermediary in Washington.

FBI became suspicious of Lester Pearson because of his friendships with members of the National Film Board of Canada.

FBI became suspicious of Lester Pearson because of his friendships with members of the National Film Board of Canada.

With the Cold War at its peak, the FBI was interested in any link to the Soviets.  The bureau re-interviewed Mr. Bentley about her Pearson contact, which occurred between 1943 and 1944 when he was the first secretary of the Canadian embassy in Washington.

Ms. Bentley said she obtained information “on top-level British policy and political matters” from a Canadian working for the film board in Washington. She said the information from the Canadian contact came from conversations he had had with his friend Mr. Pearson.

See FBI on page A2.

FBI: ‘Pearson either knew …
or was stupid’

Continued from page A1

Ms. Bentley told the FBI that although she never met him, she “got the impression that Pearson was a left winger” and she also believed that he was sympathetic to the loyalist cause in the Spanish civil war.

The author of a 1953 book called Out of Bondage, Ms. Bentley said she knew that Mr. Pearson was also a friend of the late John Grierson, the head of the film board who was also suspected of being a Communist.

On whether Mr. Pearson knew his information was being fed to Ms. Bentley, the FBI file says:  “She was of the opinion that Pearson either knew that the information made available by him was being given to an unauthorized person or that he was simply stupid.”

In February 1953, when newspapers began reporting that Mr. Pearson, by then Canada’s external affairs minister, was a top candidate to become the secretary-general of the United Nations, memos began flying from the FBI.

The U.S. State Department and Department of Justice were told about Ms. Bentley and Mr. Pearson.

The file shows “certain New York reporters” were asking about Mr. Pearson and Ms. Bentley.  Mr. Hoover sent memos to the attorney general and John Ford, the director of the office of security in the U.S. State Department, briefing them about the allegations “since there could conceivably be adverse publicity concerning Mr. Pearson.”

The story never became public.  But when it came time for the vote on the top UN post, the U.S. withheld its support of Mr. Pearson.  They explained their move was strategic, intended to fool the Russians from believing Mr. Pearson was an American puppet.

Mr. Pearson won the vote but the Russians vetoed his appointment.  Eventually the Swede Dag Hammarskjold was the compromise winner.

Later that fall, the matter came up again when the Canadian government was resisting requests from a U.S. committee to re-interview Igor Gouzenko, the former clerk in the Russian Embassy at Ottawa who had exposed an espionage ring in 1946 that included a Canadian MP.

On Nov. 23, 1953, the Toronto Star reported that Mr. Pearson was on the verge of being named by the U.S. Internal Security Committee as a suspect in a Communist spy ring during the Second World War.

It quoted Mr. Pearson saying the Canadian government was being “blackmailed” to gain access to Mr. Gouzenko.

He also commented on Ms. Bentley’s accusation that he had participated in a spy ring:  “I need only say that in so far as it refers to the Department of External Affairs or myself, it is false to the point of absurdity.

After helping the committee’s request to speak to Mr. Gouzenko, Mr. Pearson was never called before the committee.

Mr. Pearson’s comments clearly irked the FBI.  In a heavily blacked out memo, one agent wrote that “Pearson is confused.”  Mr. Hoover also wrote in a memo that Pearson’s comments were “annoying.”

In his memoirs, Mr. Pearson defends the alleged Canadian intermediary between him and Ms. Bentley.  He says the man became a prominent Quebec citizen “of unimpeachable loyalty and considerable achievement” after Mr. Pearson managed to keep his name out of the newspapers.

“He certainly was not an agent of any kind,” wrote Mr. Pearson.

“I have no doubt that he talked about me, saying he had seen me at the Embassy and that I had said that the Russians were going to break through in the Ukraine, or some such thing.  The committee really thought they had got hold of something.”

The FBI continued keeping an eye on the minister.

A subsequent memo in the file said that in 1945, a person who was the subject of a pending internal security investigation had listed Mr. Pearson as a reference when applying for a relief job with the UN.

The next memo in his file, dated April, 1957, would confirm any suspicions Mr. Pearson ever had that “big brother” was listening.  An FBI agent reports that he had been told a story about a visit the Canadian politician made to NBC studios in New York a few years beforehand.

“He was so violently uncomplimentary about the U.S. that one of the engineers threw the switch and started recording his comments prior to his broadcast,” the memo says.

The agent says that a check was being made to see if the tapes were still in existence because it would put Mr. Pearson “in his proper light.”

Mr. Pearson was again of great interest to the FBI in 1957 when his friend Herbert Norman, the Canadian ambassador to Egypt, was the target of allegations that he was a Soviet agent and a member of the Communist party.

After the matter hit the press, Mr. Norman killed himself.  In his memoirs, Mr. Pearson called the days following Mr. Norman’s death the low point of his public career.

Meanwhile, Mr. Pearson’s FBI file shows Mr. Hoover asking for yet another “complete summary of all we have on Norman and Pearson.”  Part of the response was that there are 700 references to Mr. Norman in their files and 475 to Mr. Pearson at the time.

A Washington Post editorial is mentioned in the file which stated that Mr. Pearson was “too good a statesman to lambaste the U.S. over Norman” and that it was next to impossible to convince anyone in Canada that he was a Communist.

In 1962, when Mr. Pearson visited the U.S. for a world food forum, the U.S. Department of Agriculture requested a full briefing on the Canadian opposition leader.  A five-page memo repeating the Bentley and Norman affairs was sent by the FBI to the department.

In 1963, after Mr. Pearson was first elected prime minister of Canada, the FBI whipped off a letter to Robert Kennedy, then the U.S. attorney general.

The “Dear Bob” letter starts:  “The election of Lester Pearson prompts this letter which I must send to you because of the important security evidence involved.”

Three passages are blacked out, but in one uncensored part it says:  “Pearson was heavily involved in the Herbert Norman case.  Norman was the Canadian ambassador who was identified by excellent witnesses as a Communist.”

The name of the letter’s author is also blacked out.

A 1968 memo at the end of Mr. Pearson’s file refers to information given by Mr. Gouzenko entitled “Memorandum:  Trudeau a potential Canadian Castro.”

It also states 17 years after the fact that the FBI still stood behind Mr. Bentley.

“Personally, I believe that Elizabeth Bentley was telling the truth.  (Mr. Hoover), as a matter of fact, confirmed the validity and authenticity of her testimony.  He said that on no occasion (and she gave several names) had she proven to be telling lies,” the FBI official writes.

The file is a showcase of American arrogance and ignorance towards Canadian affairs.

On several occasions, they refer to their subject as “Michael Pearson.”  His full name was Lester Bowles Pearson but he was nicknamed “Mike.”

‘The nutmeg Mata Hari’



In 1945, Elizabeth Bentley, a KGB agent who also ran a network of spies and served as a sometime courier, went to the FBI to describe Soviet espionage in the United States and her part in it as courier and agent handler.  It was an event that would help propel an anti-communist campaign under the leadership of Senator Joseph McCarthy in the late ’40s and early ’50s.

She gave a 90-page statement, in which she named many names — people in positions of trust who, she told the FBI, were secretly supplying information to the KGB.  Among the allegations she made was that it was through her that senior U.S. officials informed Russia of the date for D-Day.

However, she brought no documentary proof, and no prosecutions resulted directly from her accusations.

Over the years, however, she testified frequently before Congress — occasionally posing for photographs with anti-communist politicians convinced she was an enormous catch — and also published a book about her espionage career, Out of Bondage.

Ms. Bentley was a controversial figure and there were many who discounted her confessions and accusations.

On July 13, 1948, Ms. Bentley made her most famous comment while testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee, also known as the “Hearings on Proposed Legislation to Curb and Control the Communist Party” or simply the McCarthy hearings.

In response to a question from future U.S. president Richard Nixon, Ms. Bentley noted “that the mistake people make, when you look at communism, is that you take it as intellectual process.  It is not; it is almost a religion.”

Ms. Bentley’s testimony had been widely anticipated in the United States, with the New York World Telegram dubbing her “the Beautiful Blond Spy queen,” while famed columnist A.J. Liebling took to calling her “the nutmeg Mata Hari.”

A history of the McCarthy hearings, The Committee, concluded that “she did not quite live up to the expectations aroused” by the newspapers.

“But her story of being a courier during World War II between Washington officials and Soviet intelligence operatives in New York was exciting enough on its own account,” the book noted.

She had fallen in love with Soviet agent Jacob Golos, whom “she invested with the aura that certain types of teenagers save for uncles and professors of English,” historian Walter Goodman observed.  “Her judgment of the quality and importance of the information that passed through her hands was extremely faulty”.

He concludes:  “He concludes:  “The political conspiracy in which (Golos) involved her became far grander than there is any reason to believe it actually was; an official needed only to be spoken of favourably by one of the conspirators for him to become part of the conspiracy.”

To Lester B. Pearson, she was “that deranged woman” whose mentioning of his name in testimony would dog him for several years among American officials suspicious of his ideological leanings.

– 30 –


The Unknown Communist Career of Patrick “Pat” Walsh

Pat Walsh (1953)

Pat Walsh 1953


Above are portraits of friends and colleagues of Pat Walsh during his communist career.  Of course, Pat defected on February 27th, 1953, on the front pages of the French-Canadian newspaper, L’Action Catholique, revealing that he had long been an undercover agent for the RCMP.  You’ll find some of Pat’w work at the present web site.  See the top menu, or search for his name.

Five years earlier, in 1947, the Catholic anti-communists of Le Goglu in Quebec, Pat’s home province, were none too pleased with Walsh.  In the 18th January 1947 issue of Le Goglu, Joseph Menard published extracts from a letter of Walsh commenting on Le Goglu in another review, “Le Canada”.  Menard added his own “appropriate” comments.

A month later, in the article below, Menard for Le Goglu, gave Pat the “Full Monty”, exposing him as a Communist organizer.

Below is my exclusive English translation of Joe Menard’s February 11th, 1947 editorial:  “PAT WALSH EST UN SALE COMMUNISTE”, “PAT WALSH IS A DIRTY COMMUNIST”.  The text of the French original is parallel.

Le Goglu was a political humour magazine with a sharp cutting edge.  It had two incarnations.  In the second, the one that produced this French “unauthorized” bio on Walsh, Joseph Menard was manager, editor, chief cook, bottle washer and editorial writer.  If the first incarnation of Le Goglu is of interest, visit Adrien Arcand Books for lots of cartoons, Goglu stories, free ebooks and other materials by and about Roman Catholic Fascist, Adrien Arcand, his life and times.  Adrien Arcand Books is a Quebec Heritage site.




For the First Time, in English

A communist organizer, he incited workers to riot. ― He was part of the Irish Republican Army, a communist group condemned by the clergy of Ireland. ― He was editor of “Fleur de Lys”, a newspaper where there were communist rantings. ― While in the army, he was an instructor at the Osterly Park School and was thrown out for his communist teachings.
Organisateur communiste, il incita les ouvriers à l’émeute. ― Il a fait partie de l’Armée Républicaine Irlandaise, groupement communiste condamné par le clergé d’Irlande. ― Il fut rédacteur de “Fleur de Lys”, journal ou l’on trouvait des élucubrations communistes. ― Pendant qu’il était dans l’armée, il fut instructeur au Osterly Park School et en fut sorti pour ses enseignements communistes.



Notre journal a publié, il y a quelques semaines, une lettre signée d’un nommé Pat Walsh, lettre qui avait paru dans le “Canada”.  Nous avons publié en même temps des commentaires appropriés.

A few weeks ago, our newspaper published a letter signed by a man named Pat Walsh, a letter which had appeared in “Canada”.  At the same time, we published appropriate comments.

Certains se sont demandé(s) ce qu’était au juste ce Pat Walsh.  Nos lecteurs trouveront ci-après des renseignements qu’ils apprécieront sûrement.

Some have wondered just who this Pat Walsh is.  Our readers will find information below that they will surely appreciate.

* * *

* * *

Pat Walsh est un organisateur communiste.  À Rouyn, où il a exercé son triste métier, il a causé de lourds ravages dans la classe ouvrière en incitant les ouvriers à l’émeute.  Pour montrer qu’il était bien un organisateur communiste, on n’a qu’à rappeler que tout le temps qu’il fit sont travail, il obtint l’appui constant du journal “La Victoire”, l’organe communiste de Montréal.  Pendant son séjour en Abitibi, Pat Walsh a eu pour compagne de travail Jeanne Corbin, une communiste notoire.

Pat Walsh is a communist organizer.  In Rouyn, where he practiced his sad profession, he caused heavy ravages among the working class by inciting the workers to riot.  To show that he was a communist organizer, one need only recall that throughout his work, he had the unflagging support of the newspaper “La Victoire”, the communist organ of Montreal.  During his stay in Abitibi, Pat Walsh’s work companion was Jeanne Corbin, a notorious communist.

À Cadillac, il était l’animateur d’un groupe d’anarchistes irlandais.  Plusieurs de ces anarchistes sont partis un jour pour aller combattre en Espagne dans les rangs communistes.

At Cadillac, he was the animator of a group of Irish anarchists.  Several of these anarchists left one day to go and fight in Spain in the Communist ranks.

* * *

* * *

Pat Walsh a fait partie de l’Armée républicaine Irlandaise, un groupement communiste qui a été condamné par le clergé irlandais.  Il est clair comme de l’eau de roche qu’il fit toujours partie de ce groupement communiste, puisque tout au long de ses activités communistes en Abitibi, il n’a cessé de parler de la fondation d’une république communiste irlandaise.  Il a écrit un grand nombre d’articles pour propager l’idée d’une république communiste en Irlande.

Pat Walsh was part of the Irish Republican Army, a communist group condemned by the Irish clergy.  It is crystal clear that he was still a part of this communist group, since throughout his communist activities in Abitibi, he talked continually about the founding of an Irish communist republic.  He wrote a large number of articles to propagate the idea of a communist republic in Ireland.

Pat Walsh est l’ami de Hanratty, le chef des “squatters” d’Ottawa, de même qu’il est l’ami d’Henri Gagnon, le chef des “squatters” de Montréal.  Il est aussi l’ami de Michael Quill, un communiste notoire et le chef de l’Armée Républicaine Irlandaise.

Pat Walsh is a friend of Hanratty, leader of the “squatters” of Ottawa, and also a friend of Henri Gagnon, leader of the “squatters” of Montreal.  He is also the friend of Michael Quill, a well known communist and leader of the Irish Republican Army.

Pat Walsh s’est enrôlé dans l’armée, lors de la dernière guerre.  Il s’y est même enrôlé deux fois. La première fois, il y fit un séjour plutot court, en on ne saurait affirmer pour quelle raison il sortit de l’armée.  La seconde fois, il y demeura jusqu’à la fin de la guerre.  Bien entendu, ce fut après que la Russie ait entré dans la guerre que Pat Walsh s’enrôla.

Pat Walsh joined the army during the last war.  He even enrolled twice.  The first time, his stay was rather short; the reason why he left the army is unknown.  The second time, he stayed until the end of the war.  Of course, it was after Russia entered the war that Pat Walsh enlisted.

Pendant qu’il était dans l’armée, Pat Walsh consacra tout son temps à des acitivités communistes.  Pendant un temps, il fut instructeur au Osterley Park School.  Cette école était sous la direction de Tom Wintringham, le même qui commanda la brigade communiste anglaise lors de la guerre civile en Espagne.  L’un des collaborateurs de Pat Walsh était Yank Levy, un communiste canadien notoire.

While in the military, Pat Walsh devoted all his time to communist activities.  For a while, he was an instructor at Osterley Park School.  This school was under the direction of Tom Wintringham, the same who commanded the English Communist Brigade during the Spanish Civil War.  One of Pat Walsh’s collaborators was Yank Levy, a notorious Canadian Communist.

Ce Yank Levy a pris part à la révolution au Mexique, révolution communiste qui a causé d’horribels ravages et au cours de laquelle on a assassiné des prêtres et des religieuses.  Il est revenu de là pour prendre part à la fameuse marche sur Ottawa, tentative communiste de s’emparer du gouvernement par la violence.

This Yank Levy took part in the revolution in Mexico, a communist revolution which caused terrible devastation and during which priests and nuns were murdered.  He returned from there to take part in the famous march on Ottawa, a communist attempt to seize the government by violence.

Durant son séjour dans l’armée, Pat Walsh fut rédacteur du journal “Fleur de Lys”.  Dans ce journal, on trouve des tas d’élucubrations communistes et l’un des collaborateurs qui s’y fit remarquer fut le major Michel Gauvin.  Ses écrits puaient le communisme à plein nez.  Ce même Michel Gauvin est maintenant le secrétaire français de Mackenzie King à Ottawa.  Pat Walsh, pour sa part, poussait activement la propagande communiste.

During his stay in the army, Pat Walsh was editor of the newspaper “Fleur de Lys”.  In this newspaper, are heaps of communist rantings and one of the noteworthy contributors was Major Michel Gauvin. His writings reeked of Communism.  This same Michel Gauvin is now the French secretary to Mackenzie King in Ottawa.  Pat Walsh, for his part, actively promoted communist propaganda.

* * *

* * *

Pat Walsh est allé en Espagne pour aider les hordes rouges de Moscou à détruire le christianisme.  Il partit du pays dans les rangs des “Macs-Paps”.  Il combattit pendant quelque temps sous le drapeau de ce régiment communiste, puis il passa à la brigade des communistes irlandais sous le commandement du chef communiste irlandais Frank Ryan.  Cette brigade ne le cédait en rien aux autres pour la cruauté et le banditisme.

Pat Walsh went to Spain to help the red hordes of Moscow destroy Christianity.  He left the country in the ranks of the “Macs-Paps” and fought for some time under the flag of this Communist regiment.  He then moved to the Irish Communist Brigade under the command of Irish Communist leader Frank Ryan.  This brigade was unequalled for its cruelty and banditry.

Rappelons, juste en passant, que les hordes communistes canadiennes se rendirent en Espagne après avoir acquis des passeports du gouvernement King.

Let us recall, just in passing, that the Canadian Communist hordes went to Spain after having acquired passports from the King government.

* * *

* * *

Pat Walsh a repris ses activités en notre pays depuis 1943.  On le voit mêlé à tous les mouvements communistes.  Par exemple, le même soir, on l’a entendu adresser la parole à deux endroits, le premier à une assemblée de “squatters” pour demander au procureur général que les plaintes portées contre Henri Gagnon soient retirées, le second à l’assemblée du Monument National convoquée par la Ligue des libertés civiles, à laquelle assemblée Pat Walsh a parlé aux côtés de Chubby Power et d’autres libertaires de même acabit pour prendre la défense de Témoins de Jéhovah.

Pat Walsh resumed his activities in our country as of 1943.  We see him mixed up with all the communist movements.  For example, the same evening, we heard him speak in two places, first at an assembly of “squatters” to demand that the Attorney General withdraw complaints against Henri Gagnon, second at an assembly at the Monument National convened by the Civil Liberties League, at which assembly Pat Walsh spoke alongside Chubby Power and other libertarians of the same ilk to defend the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

À Quebec, où il est présentement en service commandé pour le compte du parti communiste et sous la direction de Moscou, Pat Walsh ne cesse de répandre le plus vif poison communiste dans les milieux ouvriers.

In Quebec, where he is currently on duty on behalf of the Communist Party and under the direction of Moscow, Pat Walsh continues to spread the keenest Communist poison in working class circles.

* * *

* * *

Il y aurait bien d’autres détails à ajouter sur la carrière communiste de Pat Walsh, mais nous croyons que le dossier est suffisamment complet comme ça pour qu’il ne reste aucun doute dans l’esprit de nos lecteurs sur le rôle néfaste joué par ce triste personnage dans les milieux ouvriers de notre pays.

Many more details could be added on the communist career of Pat Walsh, but we believe that the file is sufficiently complete like that so that no doubt remains in the minds of our readers about the harmful role played by this sad character in the working class circles of our country.

Aussi, quand le Pat Walsh viendra débuter ses phrases empoisonnées, chacun saura à qui il a affaire.

Also, when Pat Walsh starts to utter his poisoned sentences, everyone will know with whom he is dealing.

Ce sera bien assez pour que chacun s’empresse d’organiser un mouvement de méfiance envers lui, ce qui aura pour effet d’anéantir ses efforts communistes.

That should be quite enough for everyone to hurry and organize a campaign of distrust against him, which will have the effect of destroying his communist efforts.

Elizabeth Bentley: A Short Overview


I put this bio together in July 2015, and just discovered it still unpublished in my xammp version of wordpress.

As the title says, it’s a short overview of Elizabeth Bentley’s life and activities.  Much more needs to be added to give teeth to her credibility as a defecting agent of Soviet military intelligence and a member of the Communist Party who turned herself in to the FBI in 1945.

I know the materials to do that are out there, because I read them long ago. I need to do research to find them again. So, in the meantime, here’s a good intro to Bentley, with my sources listed at the bottom.

Whenever I update this bio, I will do it right in the present text and leave an “UPDATED” notice at the top.

Elizabeth Terrill Bentley
(January 1, 1908 – December 3, 1963)

Elizabeth Terrill Bentley, January 1, 1908 – December 3, 1963

Elizabeth Terrill Bentley, January 1, 1908 – December 3, 1963

In the late 1940s, Elizabeth Bentley, then aged 30, appeared in cross-country headlines while she testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities during numerous investigations of alleged communists.

Disregarded by some at the time as an attention-seeking and relatively insignificant figure, “something about her,” claims her biographer Kathryn Olmstead, “touched the fears and fantasies of postwar Americans.  Her media image revealed Americans’ concerns about gender relationship after the upheaval of the war.  Her story became interwoven with the cultural, as well as the political, history of the Cold War at home.”

I don’t understand what Olmstead means by “gender relationship” here; Bentley was intimate with her superior in Soviet Intelligence; Bentley was a female in a power role, perhaps at a time when women weren’t expected to be.  But, anyway, let’s move on.

Indications are that this image persisted.  At the time of her death in 1963, The New York Times claimed:

“the disclosures and accusations by Elizabeth Bentley and Whittaker Chambers helped to set the tone of American political life for nearly a decade,”

and in 2002, The Wall Street Journal declared that Bentley’s testimonies:

“started a chain reaction that would transform American politics and culture.”

Similarly, as a pivotal news-maker, Bentley represented a public face of Vassar College at a tense and crucial national historic moment.

Bentley was born in 1908 in New Milford, CT, to Charles Prentiss and Mary Charlotte Turrill Bentley.  In 1926, she won a scholarship to Vassar, where she majored in English and minored in Italian, graduating in 1930.  Of Bentley’s time at Vassar, Kathryn Olmstead observes:

“At Vassar, Elizabeth seemed uncomfortable among her rich, prestige-conscious classmates. She made few friends and took solitary bird walks at 5:00 A.M.”

Elizabeth Bentley at Vassar

Refraining from much of campus life, with the exception of a short period of time when she joined the Vassar chapter of the League for Industrial Democracy, a student organization that supported the ideals of socialism, Bentley nonetheless later blamed Vassar for inspiring her to turn to the Communist party.

After graduating from Vassar, Bentley continued her study of Italian on a fellowship to the University of Florence, where she briefly joined a fascist group.  She subsequently earned a masters degree in languages from Columbia University in 1933.  She later said it was her exposure to the negative effects of fascism in Florence, which “revolted” her and caused her to join a Communist party cell at Columbia in 1935.

At Columbia, Bentley contended:

“for three and a half years I was indoctrinated with all the Communist beliefs” and those “indoctrinations put blinders on me and I couldn’t see anything else.  They made a fanatic of me.”

In 1938, Bentley met and fell in love with Jacob Golos, a Russian-born American who conducted Soviet espionage through a Soviet-backed travel agency.  Eager to share her disillusionment with Italian Fascism in Italy so as to promote communism, she joined the American League Against War and Fascism, and in 1941 she became a courier for the Communist party.  Using the alias Helen Johnson she made weekly or bi-weekly trips between New York City and Washington, D.C., obtaining confidential documents and transporting them between the two cities.

She collected stolen government documents from 37 employees of government agencies and wartime boards.  She passed these on to Golos and Earl Browder, the general secretary of the Communist party in the United States, and they sent them on to Moscow.

Bentley later testified that she passed “a fabulous amount of confidential material” to the Russian communists.

According to Bentley’s New York Times obituary:

“she told the Congressional investigators that she had received information on the production of aircraft and armaments, on a project to make synthetic rubber out of garbage and on the projected date for the invasion of Europe, among much else.”

Bentley also carried information regarding the date of D-Day and plans for the B-29, along with other information regarding wartime strategies and post-war plans.

After Golos’s death in 1943, Bentley’s interest in the party waned.  She took issue with its leader, Earl Browder, and she later insisted that when she left the party it was dominated by “gangster types” and that she was driven by “a good old New England conscience” to turn to the FBI.

“It was then,” she said, “that I realized where I stood.  Instead of serving the cause of humanity I was a tool for the enslavement of the people.  I decided this was my country and that it was a good country.  I felt I had been on borrowed time.”

In July of 1945, Bentley stopped paying her party dues, and in August she went to FBI headquarters in New Haven to admit her involvement with the party and offer her services as a spy.

Thereafter, she served as a double agent, continuing her work for the party while reporting back to the FBI.  When the Communist party gave her a commendation and $2,000, she immediately passed both on to the FBI.

Bentley’s counter-espionage was eventually responsible for the conviction of 11 Communist party leaders.  She testified publicly before House and Senate committees in the summer of 1948.  In an op-ed in The New York Times, historian Timothy Naftali asserted, “From the moment Elisabeth Bentley testified before the House Committee on Un-American Activities in July 1948, the hunt for Communists became a national obsession.”

Testifying before the House Committee

Olmstead concurs, noting that:

“The Alger Hiss case, the Smith Act prosecutions of Communist Party leaders, and Senator Joe McCarthy’s denunciations of State Department Reds all stemmed from Bentley’s decision to walk into that forbidding FBI office.”

Bentley also testified as a Government witness at the Rosenberg trials.  As one of the last major testifiers in that case, she has been blamed for being the ultimate cause of the Rosenberg’s conviction.

After leaving the Communist party and the FBI, Bentley converted to Catholicism.  She characterized her embracing of the faith as a resolution of her lost faith in the Communist party.  Bentley spoke about her involvement with communism and later her devotion to Catholicism as someone with an intense need to be a part of a cause to believe in and to which she could devote herself.  Bentley told the house Un-American Activities Committee:

“It never occurred to me that I was betraying my own government … The mistake you make when you look at communism is that you take it as an intellectual process.  It is not.  It is almost a religion, and it gets you so strongly that you take orders blindly.  You believe it blindly.  That accounts for the fact that no real communist is religious or has any religion.”

But Bentley also blamed her turn to communism on a deficiency of religious as well as political education, for which she held Vassar accountable.  Vassar, she said:

“had gotten me to the point where I was a pushover for communism.”

Speaking to some 1,400 Newman club students from six different universities in New York, she claimed, according to Kathryn Olmstead:

“she previously had adopted communism because of the materialism and widespread atheism encountered in her college years.”

Thus, she concluded:

“In 1934, when I met my first Communist, I was an agnostic and a pushover for any kind of a political philosophy.”

Although she didn’t take any courses in religion at Vassar, Bentley identified “this tendency in most American institutions of higher learning, toward dullness and stiffness in an all-important matter of the teaching of religion.”  She added that halfway through her freshman year, the college abolished compulsory chapel.

Bentley also said the educational institutions she attended had failed to provide her with sufficient education about American government.

“I think the fault runs straight through the educational system,” she said, “because there are so many people like myself who have not the slightest comprehension of what America is really like or what it means to live in a democratic country under a democratic system.”

Bentley’s disparagement of Vassar placed an evident strain on her relationship with the college.  When a reporter asked if she would be willing to speak at the college to defend her case, Bentley replied, “You bet your life I would.”  The Vassar College Newman club toyed briefly with the idea of inviting her to speak about her Catholicism, but according to the president of the club, Patricia Bloomfield-Brown ’50, “the college authorities would not permit” them to invite Miss Bentley to speak at Vassar.  In response to a question about her statements, a college spokesman stated simply that Vassar “declined to ‘enter into a controversy’” with Elizabeth Bentley.

In 1951, Elizabeth Bentley published Out of Bondage, an account about her involvement and disenchantment with the Communist party.  She subsequently toured the country, speaking on the same subject.  She eventually moved to a Catholic residence club for women in Connecticut and spent the rest of her life teaching high school languages for five years at the Long Lane School for Girls, a state correctional institution in the Middlefield, CT. until her death in 1963.

Sources: — Kathryn S. Olmsted, Red Spy Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth Bentley, University of North Carolina Press, 2002.

— “Miss Bentley Cites College Atheism” The New York Times, Feb 14, 1949.

— “Elizabeth Bentley is Dead at 55; Soviet Spy Later Aided U.S.:  Wartime Agent Went to F.B.I. in 1945” The New York Times, Dec 4, 1963.

— Alumna File, Elizabeth Bentley.  Alumnae and Alumni of Vassar College (AAVC).

— Biographical File, Elizabeth Bentley.  Vassar College Special Collections (VCSC).  VE, 2012

— Vassar Encyclopedia, by the Vassar Historian, 124 Raymond Ave., Box 74, Poughkeepsie, NY 12604–0074, Office:  Judith Loeb Chiara ’49 Center at the Maria Mitchell Observatory | Phone: (845) 437–7233.  URL: (Accessed on 4/8/2014 11:21:07 AM)

– 30 –

“Worker’s Control,” a book review by Gilles Laflamme, Laval University (1974)

Exclusive English Translation for
Anti-Communist Archive

Citation for the French original:  Laflamme, G. (1974).  Review of [Workers’ Control, A Reader on Labor and Social Change, Edited by Gerry Hunnius, G. David Gardon and John Case, New York, Random House, 1973, 493 pp.]  Relations industrielles / Industrial Relations, 29 (1), 228–229.

(Emphases added.)



Le sujet qu’abordent les auteurs, «Le contrôle ouvrier», est loin d’être un sujet nouveau bien qu’il n’ait jamais été tellement à la mode au Canada et aux Etats-Unis.

The subject dealt with by the authors, “Worker’s Control,” is far from being a new subject although it has never been so popular in Canada and the United States.

En effet, le problème de la démocratisation des rapports du travail au moyen d’une gestion de l’entreprise par les travailleurs a toujours été au centre des théories socialistes et c’est une demande qui s’inscrit dans la tradition du mouvement ouvrier international.

In effect, the problem of democratizing work relations by means of company management by the workers has always been at the center of socialist theories and is a demand inscribed in the tradition of the international workers’ movement.1

L’intérêt que nous portons à ce livre est d’autant plus grand que peu de travaux portant sur le contrôle ouvrier ont été publiés ou sont disponibles en Amérique du Nord. De plus, les auteurs ont su éviter le danger d’offrir une option qui pourrait nous apparaître de peu d’intérêt eu égard à la valeur de notre système de relations du travail.

Our interest in this book is all the greater because few works on Worker’s Control have been published or are available in North America.  In addition, the authors have avoided the danger of offering an option that may seem to us of little relevance to the value of our labor relations system.

C’est pourquoi, ce livre, très bien conçu, comprend d’abord une critique sévère de la négociation collective dont «le rôle aujourd’hui est de fournir un cadre institutionnel rigide à la lutte des classes».  On fait ressortir les limites de ce système institutionnel.  On porte également un jugement sévère sur le syndicalisme américain «qui sert les intérêts des grandes firmes» et qui contribue à intégrer la force ouvrière au système.  Nous retrouvons sur cette question d’excellents articles de Stanley Aronowitz et de Daniel Bell.

That is why this well-crafted book first of all includes a harsh critique of collective bargaining, whose “role today is to provide a rigid institutional framework for the class struggle.”  The limits of this institutional system are highlighted.  There is also a harsh judgment on American trade unionism “which serves the interests of large firms” and helps to integrate the working force into the system.  We find excellent articles on this question by Stanley Aronowitz and Daniel Bell.

Après une critique du système de négociation collective nord-américain, les auteurs présentent certains modèles contemporains de participation et d’autogestion.  Ainsi les idées de «contrôle ouvrier» perdent ce qu’elles pouvaient avoir d’obscures pour s’offrir à nous comme une réalité.  La perspective critique est toujours présente aussi bien dans l’analyse du système yougoslave que suédois que dans celle du modèle de cogestion allemand, lequel est perçu par Helmut Schauer comme une «rationalisation des relations sociales existantes» et non comme une «suppression du pouvoir capitaliste».

After a critique of the North American collective bargaining system, the authors present some contemporary models of participation and self-management.  Thus, whatever obscurity ideas of “Worker’s Control” might have had is removed to offer it to us as a reality.  The critical perspective is always present both in the analysis of the Yugoslav and Swedish systems, and of the German co-management model, which is perceived by Helmut Schauer as a “rationalization of existing social relations” and not as a “suppression of capitalist power.

Et dans une dernière partie les auteurs présentent le «contrôle ouvrier» comme une des stratégies de changement.  Le «contrôle ouvrier» ne saurait être perçu comme une fin en soi, ni comme une simple réforme industrielle.  Il ne trouve sa vraie signification que s’il est placé dans «la perspective stratégique d’une révolution politique et sociale».  Les articles de André Gorz et de Ernest Mandel sont des plus intéressants sur cette question.

And in a final part, the authors present “Worker’s Control” as one of the strategies for change.  “Worker’s Control” is not viewed as an end in itself, nor as a mere industrial reform.  Its real significance is only found if it is placed in “the strategic perspective of a political and social revolution.”  The articles by André Gorz and Ernest Mandel are most interesting on this question.

Il est nécessaire avant tout de retenir que le «contrôle ouvrier» se situe totalement en dehors des théories participationnistes actuelles et tel que présenté dans ce livre il est une revendication anticapitaliste.  On voit mal comment il pourrait être absorbé ou digéré par le système au même titre que des augmentations de salaires ou des avantages sociaux accrus.  C’est tout le problème de la relation entre stratégie et fin qui est posé.

It is necessary above all to remember that “Worker’s Control” is totally outside the current participationist theories and as presented in this book it is an anti-capitalist claim.  It is hard to see how it could be absorbed or digested by the system in the same way as increases in wages or benefits.  This is the whole problem of the relationship between strategy and purpose.

/ 229

Le mérite de ce livre pourrait être de faire renaître un débat autour de ce thème et de reposer le problème du contrôle syndical obtenu par la négociation collective, de la bureaucratisation du syndicalisme et de son intégration.

/ 229

The merit of this book could be to revive debate around this theme and to restate the problem of union control obtained through collective bargaining, of the bureaucratization of trade unionism and and of its integration.

Université Laval

Laval University

Modernism Wrecking Many Christian Churches

Category: Historical Reprints.
Source: Straight Talk! The Official Bulletin Of The Edmund Burke Society.
Editor: Attila Marschalko
Associate Editor: Emilio De Bono
Volume 5, Number 3, January 1973

The Western Guard is a movement dedicated to preserving and promoting the basic virtues of Western Christian Civilization — individual freedom; individual responsibility; a self-sacrificing love of country; and a willingness to work and pay one’s own way and not be a burden on others. These virtues have made our civilization great. Communism, socialism, and welfare-state liberalism are tearing it apart. The Western Guard stands for a regeneration of Western Civilization and firm action against all its enemies.

The Western Guard is financed mainly through small donations from generous Canadians. Straight Talk!  is produced by voluntary labour.

Modernism Wrecking Many
Christian Churches

By Dr. E. R. Fields

Churches Losing Membership

A number of the largest Christian denominations have recently announced sharp declines in membership and financial support. The Associated Press surveyed 9 of the nation’s largest Protestant churches and found they have lost a total of 226,750 members during 1972. They also reported contributions fell by $47 million.

Two of the biggest Protestant magazines have been severely hit with losses in revenue. They are “Presbyterian Life” and “United Church Herald”. In order to stay in business they have merged into one magazine entitled “A.D. 1972”.

The Catholic Church has likewise been hit with declining support. Two Catholic sociologists were assigned to discover the extent to which the world’s largest religious denomination is suffering from the same problem. They found that 71% of Catholics attended Mass regularly in 1963, but today only 55% do so. More important, 76% of Catholics aged 20 to 29 would be at mass several times a month. Today only 46% of this age group attend. This represents a serious drop among those who would keep the Church going in the future.

The Catholic publication, “Clergy Report” covering 343 of 410 parished in ten New York counties, showed a dip in attendances at Mass of over 200,000 people.

The Catholic Church is facing a desperate shortage of priests. Ireland has long been the source of priests who were sent to English speaking countries. Now there are not enough to fill the vacancies in Ireland itself. Deaths and retirements are exceeding the number of new entrants by 200 each year since 1965. The recent number of priests ordained to serve in England fell from 39 to 26 from the preceding year. Spain has given the Catholic Church its largest source of priests [who] serve in the Spanish speaking countries of South America. There is now a great shortage of men entering all seminaries thus creating a severe problem of world-wide effect for the Catholic Church.

What Is The Reason?

Most of the large Christian denominations have forsaken Bible study and fundamental beliefs in Jesus Christ. Many have radically altered their church service and adopted “modernist” stands that show more interest in sociology (including race-mixing and U.N. one-worldism) than in Christianity.

It is this writer’s view that many big, liberal churches have lost touch with the religious needs and interests of their own members. That is why their members are quitting in droves. They are not leaving Christianity, but are quitting organized religion. Ask the average man in the street if he is a Christian and he will respond affirmatively, but we find most also say they are not affiliated with any particular religious body.

It has been said that one can find more atheists in the pulpits than in any other segment of society. This may be true because far-out leftists have taken control of many seminaries and have brainwashed thousands of ordained ministers with a pro-communist and atheistic outlook. This is why they shy away from preaching from the Holy Bible and instead give sermonds supporting race mixing, uplifting minorities and shaming Whites for being guilty of the “sin of being White”. They are in large measure responsible for instilling the guilt complex phobia of “White self-hate” which is manifested in so many White people.

Proof of this conclusion is the fact that many of the smaller fundamentalist “back to the Bible” type churches have recently enjoyed big gains in membership. This is what the people are seeking and the only question is whether or not the big churches will awaken to this truth before they simply go out of business.

The Canadian Spy Ring

Source:  “The Canadian Spy Ring,” from Humphrey and the Old Revolution: Human Rights in the Age of Mistrust by A.J. Hobbins.  See pages 124 – 126.  NB:  That whole document, “Humphrey”, is extremely interesting, in part because it highlights the socialist inclination of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.    Here’s a backup: Humphrey and the Old Revolution.  (A photo has been added to this post for interest.)

Excerpt from the Introduction:

“John P. Humphrey wrote the first draft of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and was one of the key United Nations Secretariat figures in the post-war human rights programme.  Humphrey was a socialist and the Universal Declaration contained social and economic rights from its very beginnings.  The inclusion of these rights made the Universal Declaration an object of attack from the American right as an instrument to introduce state socialism.  Humphrey by and large escaped any public attack as an individual, but a few of his friends and a number of his acquaintances were alleged to be Soviet agents.”


Before joining the Faculty of Law, Humphrey practised law at Wainwright, Elder and McDougall (1930-1936).  He and his wife, Jeanne, lived in an apartment building on Côte des Neiges and became friendly with another young couple, Eric and Josepha Eric Adams.20  Eric Adams (1907- ) had graduated from McGill in 1929 with a degree in Engineering, and then took an M.B.A. (1931) at Harvard.  He returned to Montreal to work for the advertising agency, Cockfield Brown, for four years.  Although he had met Humphrey as an undergraduate, they became friends only after Adam’s return to Montreal.  During visits to one another’s apartments, they used to argue about politics, Adams being far to the left of Humphrey’s socialism.  Humphrey’s theory regarding Adam’s political orientation was that as an engineer Adams expected mathematically precise answers to problems, and so, when he switched his field to economics, he naturally gravitated towards Marxism-the one philosophy that claimed to offer precise answers.  The discussions between Humphrey and Adams were usually quite heated, so much so that Jeanne Humphrey became disturbed by them and suggested the couples see less of one another.  The visits became less frequent and then ceased altogether shortly before the Adams moved away.  Adam visited Russia (1934) and then moved to the U.S. until 1939.  During the war he returned to Ottawa and worked for the Wartime Requirements Board (1940), the Foreign Exchange Control Board and Bank of Canada (1941-1944), and, moving to Montreal, for the Industrial Development Bank (1945).

Soviet cypher clerk Igor Gouzenko’s dramatic defection from the Soviet embassy in Ottawa was to change Adams’ life.  On September 5, 1945, Gouzenko took a number of papers relating to the existence of a Soviet spy ring in Canada from the embassy safe.  He went to the Ottawa Journal  where he was told to come back in the morning or go to the R.C.M.P.  The city editor was too busy to see him, thereby missing the scoop of a lifetime.  He then tried the Minister of Justice, Louis St. Laurent, but was also told to come back the following day.  The next day he again visited the Minister of Justice and was once more rebuffed, although he told the secretary to whom he spoke that he was left with no alternative but suicide.  Returning home with his wife, he noticed that two men were watching the apartment and assumed they were Soviet agents.  In fact these were Canadian agents sent by Prime Minister Mackenzie King.  King had been informed about Gouzenko that morning by Norman Robertson, the Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs, and wrote in his diary:

We learned later that the Russian man had left saying he was going to his own flat; that there was nothing but suicide ahead of him.  Again, Robertson thought of getting the police to seize the papers, I suggested that a Secret Service man in plain clothes watch the premises.  If suicide took place let the city police take charge and this man to follow in and secure what there was in the way of documents, but on no account for us to take the initiative.21

King was anxious to avoid any diplomatic confrontation with the Soviet Union.

Gouzenko hid in a neighbour’s apartment, while he tried to decide his next step.  At this point four members of the Soviet staff broke into Gouzenko’s apartment.  The Ottawa city police were called by the neighbour and when they tried to make an arrest, all four Soviets claimed diplomatic immunity.  When the police heard the story, they contacted the R.C.M.P. who, on instructions from Robertson, placed Gouzenko and the papers under their protection.  Gouzenko’s defection was safely completed despite the callousness and indifference he had encountered.

The Gouzenko papers showed the existence of an extensive spy ring in Canada.  Justices Taschereau and Kellock of the Supreme Court were appointed to a Royal Commission to inquire into the matter.  In his subsequent testimony before the Royal Commission on February 13, 1946, Gouzenko identified the Soviet agent with the codename “Ernst” as “Eric Adam”.  Unlike some of his other identifications, he was unable

/ 125

to provide more information than the name.  The identification was based on having seen a file compiled by Lieutenant-Technical Gouseev, but the file was not amongst the papers Gouzenko took.  The following day one of the Counsel for the Commission, Gérald Fauteux, ordered Adams’ arrest.  Adams was in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, when the officers came to his house in Montreal.  After they had left, Josepha Adams sent him a telegram that read “Helen’s baby dying.  Will send you further word.  Sally”.22  When Adams was arrested in Saskatchewan, she contacted Humphrey for the name of a lawyer and he provided a referral to a local criminal practitioner.

Colonel Nicolai Zabotin,  1944

Colonel Nicolai Zabotin, 1944, Library and Archives Canada, PA-116421, Zabotin headed the GRU spy network in Canada

Adams was held in detention by the Commission under the War Measures Act for over a month without the benefit of habeas corpus or legal advice.  Another witness, Kathleen Willsher, assistant registrar in the British High Commission who was subsequently found guilty of espionage, identified Adams as the leader of a communist cell, or study group, in Ottawa to whom she had passed information.  Adams first appeared before the Commission on March 15th, 1946, and showed himself to be a shrewd individual, to the evident exasperation of the Commissioners and their Counsels.  He refused to take the oath until it had been modified to his satisfaction and then refused to testify without access to counsel.  The Commissioners explained that he was merely a witness and that they would decide when it was appropriate for him to be represented by a lawyer.  Adams remained adamant.  When he finally received counsel he proved a difficult and evasive witness, with poor powers of recall.  Had the issue been less serious, some of the exchanges between Adams and the Commission’s Counsels (who usually came off second best) could be viewed as quite amusing.  Adams refused to convict himself by his own testimony, and the Commissioners became frustrated with his evasiveness.  In their report they used harsh words for Adams and concluded:  “We are satisfied on the evidence that Adam was an important unit in Zabotin’s organization”.23

On the Commission’s recommendation, Adam was subsequently tried in Federal Court on a charge of conspiracy to communicate information.  The court was less impressed than the Commission with the evidence, which consisted essentially of some cryptic papers stolen from an embassy, a vague identification, and the fact that he owned some books about Communism.  Nor apparently was the prosecution able to use all the witnesses that the Commission had heard in camera.  While there was plenty of evidence about Adams’ Marxist leanings, this in itself was not a crime.  Adams categorically denied that he had ever been a member of the Communist Party or that he had passed along secret information.  He was acquitted on October 23rd, 1946.

Indeed, most of those who refused to co-operate fully with the Royal Commission secured acquittals, while those who co-operated, like McGill Chemistry Professor Raymond Boyer, were generally convicted.  In the final analysis nothing in the treatment of the suspects from the suspension of their civil liberties through their cavalier handling before the Commission to the use of their testimony against themselves in criminal court would encourage anyone to co-operate with such a process.  Even Mackenzie King was distressed at the process, writing in his diary:

It is an immense relief to have the Order in Council [allowing the Commission to detain suspects sine die] cancelled.  I feel the Commissioners have thought more of themselves and doing a fine bit and of the report they are making than of the position in which they have placed the Government and our party.  It will always be held against us and the Liberal party that we sanctioned anything that meant so much in the way of deprivation of liberty for a number of people.  Moreover, as I saw at the start, it has raised an issue in the minds of the people even more important than that of the espionage and will probably result in several of the persons being freed altogether when they come before the Court, or given trifling sentences.  It will be an interesting study in the power of public opinion and the preservation of freedom.24

After his acquittal Adams expressed the hope he could return to his job at the bank, but this was not to be.  Shortly thereafter he left with his wife for an extended tour of Eastern Europe.

The usual conclusion of the general public to proceedings such as these is that the defendant is guilty

/ 126

but managed to get off in court through some technicality or superior legal advice.  Eric Adams has never publicly discussed the matter over the last fifty years.”25  However, not everyone was certain of Adams’ guilt.  Humphrey, who knew many of the participants such as Fauteux and Robertson quite well, clearly had his doubts.  When Eric and Josepha Adams returned to Canada in August, 1949, from their European visit, Humphrey was also a passenger on the R.M.S. Aquitania.  He confided to his diary:

Last night I had a long talk with Eric and Jo Adams.  The conversation gradually drifted to world politics.  Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised to discover that notwithstanding the experiences that Eric has gone through his ideas are apparently unchanged.  There was the same incompatibility between us as there was, it must be over fifteen years ago, when in spite of this incompatibility we were close friends.  Last night however there was a bitterness in his remarks which he nevertheless seemed at pains to hide.  He has a good mind but it is rigid and, I suspect, totally without warmth.  That he is still a Marxist I have no doubt whatsoever.  Was he really a Soviet spy?  I doubt it; but [he] would probably be capable of it if intellectual consistency pushed him far enough.  Of such stuff are fanatics made.26


20.  The facts concerning Adams and Igor Gouzenko are mainly taken from J.W. Pickersgill and D.F. Foster, The Mackenzie King Record (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970) Vol. 111, Robert Bothwell and J.L. Granatstein, The Gouzenko Transcripts (Ottawa: Deneau Publishers, 1982) and the Royal Commission to investigate the Facts Relating to and the Circumstances Surrounding the Communication, by Public Officials and Other Persons in Positions of Trust of Secret and Confidential Information to Agents of a Foreign Power, Report (Ottawa: King’s Printer, 1946).

21.  Pickersgill, 9.

22.  Royal Commission, Report, 226.  In this regard the transcript of Adams’ cross-examination reads in part:

Q.  Would you care to explain that telegram?

A.  Sure.  Ever since I have started travelling, which is a good many years ago, my wife and I have had an arrangement whereby if she is ever in trouble and wants to see me come home, and does not want to talk about the whole thing in a telegram, she simply sends me a telegram that Helen’s baby is sick.

The Commissioners added: “Needless to say we do not believe his explanation”.

23.  Ibid.  The Soviet Military Attaché, Colonel Nicolai Zabotin, ran the spy ring.

24.  Pickersgill, 157-158.

25.  When I spoke to Adams on a completely unrelated matter he said he never talked about the issue because all it did was stir up a lot of unwanted publicity.

26.  Humphrey, On the edge of Greatness, 209.

– 30 –

The Pelletier Crisis

Foreword: I am giving the citation data from the masthead of the volume and issue in which the article below first appears. Articles in Straight Talk! on anti-communism, and the penetration of Fabian socialist and far-left forces into Canada, are a researcher’s dream. They are full of quotations backed up with author, title, date and page number. If you are researching Communism in Canada, you can take Straight Talk! to the library and pore over the microfilm to find the documents referred to.

NB: I am featuring these articles for research purposes; not to make any particular political statement. Hope you find them useful. [Ed. NSIM]

Category:  Historical Reprints
Source:  Straight Talk! Published by the Edmund Burke Society
Editor:  F. Paul Fromm, B.A.
Associate Editor:  Kastus Akula
Writers:  E.B.S. Members and friends
Directors:  The Council of the E.B.S.
Volume III No. 9, May 1971

The Edmund Burke Society is a movement dedicated to preserving and promoting the basic virtues of Western Christian Civilization — individual freedom; individual responsibility; a self-sacrificing love of country; and a willing­ness to work and pay one’s own way and not be a burden on others. These virtues have made our civilization great. Communism, socialism, and welfare-state liberalism are tearing it apart. The Edmund Burke Society stands for a regeneration of Western Civilization and firm action against all its enemies.

The E.B.S. is financed mainly through small donations from generous Canadians. Straight Talk! is produced by voluntary labour.

The Pelletier Crisis

La Crise de Pelletier:
An Apologia for Trudeaucracy

by Peter Dauphin

In our April issue, in discussing the new book by Secretary of State Gérard Pelletier (“Though René Lévesque belongs to what one might call the moderate left, I do not think that the political regime which he would install in an independent Québec would be of a socialist type”) 1, on the October crisis (La Crise d’Octobre, Editions du Jour, Montréal, 1971), we reviewed how Pelletier himself, in his function as Secretary of State and as Minister responsible for the federal Company of Young Canadians, had participated fully and actively in the Trudeau Clique’s program of financing “Red fifth column operations”, while bending every effort to protect them from a thorough-going investigation during the “Little October Crisis” of October 1969.

The readers of this magazine have been kept informed on the operation of this treasonous misfeasance, which has also involved the Canada Council (with Pelletier, again, as the Minister responsible) and the Department of National Health & Welfare, under the control of John Munro (“They’re going to raise hell!”), who turned over a half a million dollars in federal funds to the left-racist Black United Front in 1969, and who this year diverted public funds to the tune of $104,000.00 to the Hamilton Welfare Rights Organization, a violent mob which has terrorized Hamilton welfare workers. This mob is headed by a militant of the CCF-NDP, William Freeman. Further, Munro’s Mafia, along with the Citizenship Branch of the Office of the Secretary of State (Pelletier), the federal Central Mortgage & Housing Corporation, and the Indian Affairs Branch, also funneled thousands of federal dollars into the phoney Poor People’s Conference staged by leftist agents in Toronto last January.

This bulletin, like the Edmund Burke Society for which it speaks, has constantly exposed, deplored, condemned and lamented this program of public financing of anti-democratic activities, but the régime of Pierre-Elliott Trudeau (“I hold no brief for the Liberal opposition — on the contrary, its mediocrity is partly to blame for the ills we suffer”), which inherited this program from Lester Pearson (“A totalitarian régime may well be devoted to the interests of its people”) and expanded it, has always been evasive in its explanations for it.

There has been much double-talk about “social animation” and “the belief that people should have a greater degree of responsibility and opportunity to identify their own social and economic problems and to seek solutions to them” (Cf. Ian Howard’s letter to Don Andrews, September 1969). One might almost suspect that we were living in 1771, rather than 1971, and that there were no trade unions, cooperatives, cultural organizations, credit unions, or other democratic organizations in Canada today engaged in “identifying social and economic problems and seeking solutions to them.” The curious thing, of course, is that this federal largesse is never made available to such genuine, representative organizations (EBS applied for a similar grant to match that made to the BUF, and was politely, but firmly, turned down) but to counterfeit fronts of a racist and/or totalitarian persuasion, all telling us how they are in solidarity with the oppressed poor in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, etc., (though never, alas, in solidarity with the oppressed poor behind the Iron Curtain).

Nor is this Trudeauvnik generosity (with our money) felt by what is probably the largest oppressed minority of Canadian citizens, who have spent their lives contributing their labour and energy to the national economy: the old age pensioners, who are expected to die, soon and quietly, and to stop haunting the national conscience. (In the meantime, let them go on subsisting on a can of dog food every other day.)

With the publication of Pelletier’s book, we are now told, quasi-officially, as it were, what the Government’s rationale is for this policy. In about as frank a statement as we are likely to get from a Trudeauvnik Cabinet Minister, we are treated to a pretty good rule-of-thumb definition of Trudeaucracy by one of its key practitioners:

“Every government has the mission to ‘put society to bed’, to foresee and provoke the changes that are needed, to run the risks of collective becoming, and to dream of it, to imagine beforehand the evolution toward a more just society, where the human person can expand. Very far from combating the new, emerging forces, it must go out to meet them, and to help them in their democratic action to transform, adapt, and improve economic and political conditions… Operational responses to problems like unemployment, for example, pollution, or terrorism, are not numerous.”

At a number of points in his book, Pelletier reiterates that the government is disposed to discourage the resort to violence in the pursuit of social change (which, according to the classic progressive superstition, is always presumed to be good in se) by “concretely encouraging” certain “tenants’ leagues, cooperative associations for family economy, and several other peoples’ initiatives” with “public funds”. Pelletier elaborates the “Trudeau Doctrine” in these terms:

“It is a matter of urgency that the State concretely provide certain disadvantaged groups with the technical means to make their case heard and to publicize their ideas… Governments already distribute very substantial subsidies in several areas; in the same manner, and without getting lost in some kind of utopia, the movement to favour people’s pressure groups, already begun, must be accentuated. Without the support of the public authorities, these latter will renounce their activity within the rules of the game of democracy, and will succumb to the temptation of totalitarian strategies… in a democratic system — or one which is tending toward democracy — the most efficacious help which can be brought to a disadvantaged group consists in informing it and providing it with appropriate tools, in order to avoid the frittering away of its energies in the multiplication of initiatives leading nowhere… to explore with them all the existing possibilities for them to achieve their objectives. When no possibility remains, then, doubtless, violence is justified, for it is the last resort of man seeking to safeguard his dignity…”

As thus articulated by Pelletier, this “doctrine” forms a part of his apologia for the Trudeauvnik police state imposed on the nation last October by the invocation of the War Measures Act. According to this rationale, the federal government provides means for such subversives to “raise hell” within the framework of a tenuous legality, and the recourse to kidnapping of prominent public personalities by the FLQ was a violation of Ottawa’s ground rules for subversion, that last straw of “violent” procedure which the Trudeau Clique was not prepared to tolerate.

What is significant here, is that the Doctrine takes little account of the substantial totalitarianism of such groups and their aims, only the means which they employ. At any rate, that is the theory; as we have seen, totalitarianism is not merely a question of “strategies and in practice, the red terrorists (felquists and other) have long benefited from federal financial solicitude, even when their terrorism exceeded the bounds of legality and “non-violence”.

The Trudeauvnik “Master Plan”

We have seen, and continue to see, precisely how “popular” (of the people) are the “people’s pressure groups” receiving such federal aid. Last April we cited advertisements published in the FLQ paper, DEUX MAI, by the Department of National Defense as recently as a few months ago. Alex Bandy, one of the Soviet wheels running the aforementioned Poor People’s Conference, perhaps let too many Trudeauvnik cats out of the bolshevik bag when he told the conference that

“The way Munro tells it, the government is really, secretly, on our side. It’s everybody else who is against us, and that’s why the government can’t help us. So, the master plan is to give us money to organize and demonstrate and win popular support, then the government will move…”

Thus we see that Munro, and the Trudeau Compact of which he and Pelletier are parts, are in collusion with the Stalinist fifth columnists in our midst, aiming essentially for the same objectives as they, but eager to have it appear that when Ottawa makes its dramatic move to socialize the economy, one way or another, it will seem to be in dutiful response to a massive demand from “the people”, i.e., from the street mobs organized and mobilized by the red fronts, and financially manipulated by the Trudeau gang. As we have indicated before, this is the classic Communist strategy of “pressure from above and pressure from below“. As in occupied Czecho-Slovakia, it is the people which is in the middle. It is the working class which must move decisively to smash this leftist “master plan”, and to preserve what remains of our democratic liberties. The time, citizen, is getting shorter, and shorter, and shorter…
1  Yes, it would be of the “socialist type”.  Download and read your own free copy of the 1972 manifesto of the Parti Québécois for a Communist state of Quebec, in the sidebar. Look for the blue lightning.