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Commentary: Gareth Jones, hero of Ukraine
United Press International ^ | 6/12/2003 | Martin Sieff

Posted on 06/15/2003 6:55:26 AM PDT by aculeus

WASHINGTON, June 12 (UPI) -- What can you expect if you fearlessly expose the systematic, genocidal murder of 10 million people?

You can expect to be branded as a liar in the most prestigious newspaper in the United States. You can expect to be murdered yourself by bandits probably in the pay of conspirators perpetrating equally colossal, monstrous crimes against humanity. And you can even to be betrayed after your death and airbrushed out of existence by one of your closest professional colleagues and friends.

That was the fate of Gareth Richard Vaughan Jones, a brilliant, idealistic and utterly fearless young journalist who published the first major expose in the United States and the first signed articles in Britain of Josef Stalin's deliberately imposed famine in the Ukraine in 1933.

In the exhausted grayness of a 1920s Britain pulverized by a million dead young men from World War I, Jones shone out for his decency and promise. A graduate of Cambridge University with first class honors in French, German and Russian, he worked as foreign affairs adviser to former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, the only prominent British politician of the time with the vision to end the appalling destitution and economic depression of Britain's 1920s and early '30s. A safe, bright future beckoned.

But Jones wanted to see the world, and indeed he did. Fluent in Russian, he became a productive and rising young journalist. Writing for the Western Mail in his native Wales, the Times of London, the Manchester Guardian and the Berliner Tageblatt in Germany, he proved prescient on many issues including the rise of Adolf Hitler in Germany and the machinations of Imperial Japan's senior army commanders to seize and pillage vast realms of China.

On March 29, 1933, right after Malcolm Muggeridge's three unsigned articles exposing the famine first ran in Britain's Guardian, young Jones -- he was only 28 years old -- gave a press conference in Berlin with far wider impact, especially in the United States, exposing the scale and depth of sufferings caused by the famine.

In a report that day carried across the United States by the Evening Post News Service, Jones, said, "Everywhere was the cry, 'There is no bread. We are dying.' This cry came from every part of Russia, from the Volga, Siberia, White Russia, the North Caucasus and Central Asia. ...

"A foreign expert returning from Kazakhstan told me that one million out of five million there have died of hunger. I can well believe it. After Stalin, the most hated man in Russia is (George) Bernard Shaw among those who have read his glowing descriptions of plentiful food in their starving land."

Walter Duranty, the veteran Moscow correspondent of The New York Times, whose admirers ranged from H.L. Mencken and Walter Lippmann to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, responded only two days later in the pages of his august publication. Far more than anything disgraced former Times reporter Jayson Blair wrote, it was arguably the most infamous piece of reporting or analysis ever to appear in that great paper.

Duranty, an 11-year veteran of Moscow who had won the Pulitzer Prize the previous year, disparaged Jones as having made a "somewhat hasty" judgment on the basis of "a 40-mile walk through villages near Kharkov" where he "had found conditions sad."

Having dismissed the conditions that in fact led to the deaths of 10 million men, women and children as merely "sad," Duranty went on to explained that "you can't make an omelet without breaking eggs." He explicitly stated "there is no famine."

On May 13, The New York Times published Jones' rebuttal of Duranty's article. He had visited, he said, many villages in the Moscow area as well as the Ukraine and also in the rich "black earth" lands of the North Caucasus. He had amassed evidence from "between 20 to 30 consuls and diplomatic representatives of various nations and ... their evidence supported my point of view." And he had talked with hundreds of peasants in those regions. The Soviet propaganda machine in Moscow meanwhile worked overtime to brand Jones a liar.

Jones' passion for adventure, justice and, most dangerous of all, the truth was unabated by his Ukraine-Moscow experience. Two years later, still in his 20s, he traveled extensively through northern China and Inner Mongolia exposing the machinations of the Japanese Army to seize full control of the most populous nation on earth. And there he was murdered by Chinese bandits, possibly linked with the Soviet secret police, the OGPU or, more likely, to senior Japanese army officers.

Jones was long mourned by his family and close friends but otherwise he was forgotten. Indeed, Malcolm Muggeridge, the other British journalist who had done the most to expose the famine, gave him no acknowledgement, even though Jones had generously praised Muggeridge's three unsigned articles in his own New York Times response to Duranty.

Indeed, Pye, Muggeridge's "truth-sayer" character in his novel "Winter in Moscow", published in 1934, is depicted in many respects as the mirror opposite of Jones. He is old where Jones was young, cynical where Jones was idealistic and a hard drinker and chain smoker where Jones was a teetotaler. It is as if Muggeridge, a cynic, smoker and chronic drinker himself, was driven to expurgate the very image of Jones, even though he had written him a letter of support during the controversy.

And even when Muggeridge wrote his phenomenally successful memoirs "Chronicles of Wasted Time" 40 years later, with his coverage of the famine as its highlight, he airbrushed Jones out of existence and gave him no credit at all. Muggeridge even misrepresented Duranty's notorious March 31 article as if it had been written to rebut his three previous Manchester Guardian articles when Duranty never referred to them once, and made clear it was Jones' article he was seeking to refute.

By contrast, Muggeridge's own sympathetic but honorable biographer, Richard Ingrams, acknowledged Jones' role in his book "Muggeridge" as did historian Robert Conquest in "Harvest of Sorrow," his classic work documenting the famine.

Last week, the 100th anniversary of Muggeridge's birth was celebrated with pomp and panoply at London's famed Garrick Club. Jones' niece, Margaret Siriol Colley, attended it. But in his native Britain and in the United States, where his reports played such a pioneering role in revealing the unprecedented and monstrous extent of Soviet communist crimes under Joseph Stalin, Jones remains almost forgotten.

Almost, but not quite. For the Ukrainian people have not forgotten Gareth Jones. His early classic reports on the famine can be found on the Website of the Ukrainian Weekly in its special section devoted to remembering the famine and honoring its myriad victims, at created by Morgan Williams and at created by Nigel Colley, Jones' great-nephew.

In this season of Jayson Blair, it is well to remember that journalism is an honorable and necessary profession and that its practitioners include the most admirable heroes. Gareth Jones, who risked so much for no material gain and public ridicule and who paid the ultimate price while still in the flower of his youth, deserves to rank high among their august number.

Among his many other outlets, Gareth Jones wrote for the Hearst International News Service, which after World War II merged with the United Press to form United Press International. Here at UPI we are proud to acclaim him as a Unipresser. One of our own.

Copyright © 2001-2003 United Press International

TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Russia
KEYWORDS: garethjones; jaysonblair; journalism; muggeridge; pulitzer; stalin; ukraine; walterduranty

1 posted on 06/15/2003 6:55:26 AM PDT by aculeus
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To: aculeus
I'm sorry to hear that Malcolm Muggeridge, whom I greatly admire, suffered from a weak spot as this article suggests. Still he remains a great and brilliant man. Kudos to Gareth Jones as well--there's no need to knock either man at the expense of the other.

It's good to see this expose of the great, gray New York Times appear from UPI.
2 posted on 06/15/2003 7:04:01 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: aculeus; DPB101
Good article !This adds more to posts about the Duranty /NYT /Pulitzer scandal.
3 posted on 06/15/2003 7:13:04 AM PDT by MEG33
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To: dighton; general_re
Under-appreciated-hero ping.
4 posted on 06/15/2003 7:22:22 AM PDT by aculeus
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To: aculeus
F*ck Communism bump.
5 posted on 06/15/2003 7:45:31 AM PDT by headsonpikes
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To: Cicero
Malcolm Muggeridge admitted his mistakes while being interviewed by William F. Buckley on a "Firing Line" segment back in the late seventies.

I think the Pulitzer Prize that was awarded to Duranty should be taken back and given to Gareth Jones. Reading his interview with Vladimir Ulayanov's (aka lenin) wife, one could see the depth of Gareth Jone's courage. While Duranty of the NY Times was covering up the staliist atrocities in the Ukraine, Jones was reporting the truth about the bloodthirsty bolsheviks (Democrats in a hurry). Take the Pulitzer from that amoral mountebank, duranty, and give it to the reporter that showed a real profile of courage, Gareth Jones.

6 posted on 06/15/2003 7:48:43 AM PDT by AdvisorB
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To: aculeus
Stalin and the Soviets were just implementing in the Ukraine a vigorous affirmative action plan. There were too many Ukranians occupying a very rich area and few of any other ethnicity. The commie social engineers, just like those in our country today, felt that wealth should be shifted to those they felt were more deserving. 3 to 6 million deaths were a smal price to pay for the NYT and the commies in the US at that time. There were other ethnic groups that were displaced or destroyed as well; Kulaks, for one. Some of these groups responded by siding with the Germans in the war.

The commies today would do the same thing. Just like the dems in the Conyer's group in Congress. They believe that those who have earned resources don't deserve them and those who have little, by virtue of that fact, deserve to have what the "wealthy" have. They would kill millions of Americans to change the facts.

What I'd like to see is what Duranty wrote and what the editors of the NYT wrote when Russia and Germany became allies and then invaded Poland. There was an anti-German commie campaign in the US until that time. Then, the commies wanted the US to be strictly neutral. And then once Germany invaded Russia, the commies urged the US to save mother Russia but, on Russian terms.

I still can't understand why this commie propaganda hero is now under attack. Nothing has changed. Duranty is as much a lying commie tool today as he was then. He set the flavor of then old time eastern media that can still, today. be seen on the non-cable evening news. Why now? Why hasn't what's left of the ultra-left wing media rallied in outrage to Duranty's cause?

7 posted on 06/15/2003 7:54:07 AM PDT by Tacis
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To: Tacis
I still can't understand why this commie propaganda hero is now under attack.

I believe the Pulitzer committee was recently formally asked by Ukranians to cancel Duranty's prize.

8 posted on 06/15/2003 8:04:21 AM PDT by aculeus
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To: backhoe
More info for the NYT file?
9 posted on 06/15/2003 8:27:31 AM PDT by MEG33
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To: MEG33
Thanks for calling my attention to this; for some reason I kept passing over it.
10 posted on 06/15/2003 8:55:31 AM PDT by backhoe (Just an old keyboard cowboy, ridin' the trackball into the sunset...)
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To: All
Crossing: Old Grey Info-Slut... the NYT/Jayson Blair Affair
various FR links | 05-13-03 | The Heavy Equipment Guy
11 posted on 06/15/2003 8:57:28 AM PDT by backhoe (Just an old keyboard cowboy, ridin' the trackball into the sunset...)
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To: aculeus
Google reveals this site Gareth Jones

Sounds like Jones was opposed to all the right people.

12 posted on 06/15/2003 8:58:44 AM PDT by decimon
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To: backhoe
Try that again, dang it-
The Old Grey Info-Slut... the NYT/Jayson Blair Affair
various FR links | 05-13-03 | The Heavy Equipment Guy
13 posted on 06/15/2003 8:58:55 AM PDT by backhoe (Just an old keyboard cowboy, ridin' the trackball into the sunset...)
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To: MEG33; dix; HISSKGB
Appreciate the flag! Gareth Jones also warned of Nazism as early as 1931. The only thing he got wrong in his dispatches was the threat to Pearl Harbor from Japan. But he was writing in 1935, when the "Strike North" faction in Japan was dominant. After Gareth's death, Harry Dexter White and other Soviet agents in the FDR administration did all they could to prop up the "Srike South" faction in Japan and ensure Japan did not attack the Soviet Union but went to war against the United States.

For those who missed the URL above, a huge archive of Gareth Jones' dispatches is here (along with a few articles by Malcolm Muggeridge and Walter Duranty).

14 posted on 06/15/2003 9:05:06 AM PDT by DPB101
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To: DPB101
I'm always grateful to those who add to my knowledge of history.
15 posted on 06/15/2003 9:25:18 AM PDT by MEG33
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To: DPB101
BUMP for a great story !
16 posted on 06/15/2003 12:54:05 PM PDT by happygrl
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To: DPB101
At first I thought this UPI article was a really significant break though but half of is devoted to divisiveness and finger pointing between supposed followers of Jones and Muggeridge.

Both men should be celebrated. Trying to drive cracks between the two is a sly way of diverting attention away from the guilt of those who hired and rewarded Duranty.

When the lefties' back are against the wall, they use all sorts of dirty tactics to squirm out of accepting responsibilty.
17 posted on 06/15/2003 1:54:38 PM PDT by HISSKGB
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To: HISSKGB; Gareth_Jones_Archives; headsonpikes; decimon; happygrl; Dan from Michigan; Uncle Bill; ...
Nigel Colley, great nephew of Gareth Jones, has registered on FR. Nigel's comments are here:

18 posted on 06/15/2003 7:02:59 PM PDT by DPB101 ("Smearing good people like Alger Hiss and Lauchlin Currie is . . .unforgivable"---Eleanor Roosevelt)
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To: DPB101
Thank you so much for your efforts. Wonderful and timely article, and tribute.
19 posted on 06/16/2003 11:08:22 AM PDT by Ragtime Cowgirl (I can not think of a worse scenario for our military than to have Mrs. Clinton as our CIC-Col.Buzz P)
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