Exiles from totalitarian regimes have always been a potential and real threat to the credibility, durability and legitimacy of dictatorships, particularly the Communist variety. These regimes sought to quash exile effectiveness through a round-the-clock dispatch of intelligence assets in aggressive defamation and elimination operations.
By Tania C. Mastrapa
In the United States, we metaphorically abide by the double-edged sword. While America is a haven for those who seek freedom from repressive regimes, we simultaneously provide a forum for supporters of those regimes. Stephen Kimber, an award winning journalist and currently a professor of journalism at the University of King’s College in Halifax, represents the latter.
As a writer, Comrade Kimber is what Soviet dictator Josef Stalin called an engineer of human souls – endowed with the power to remold the ideological mentality of his readers. Kimber recently wrote, What Lies Across the Water: The Real Story of the Cuban Five – a book that justifies agent insertion into the United States by the Cuban regime and (of course) slanders anti-Communist Cuban exiles.
The Washington Post published an Op-Ed by Kimber where he defends the Cuban Five – spies who, among many other illegal acts, were instrumental in the 1996 downing of two Brothers to the Rescue planes over the Florida Straits. The American light aircraft were shot down over international waters by Cuban MiGs firing air-to-air missiles that killed four on board. The Cuban Five were subsequently convicted by a federal jury that did not include any Cuban exiles.
South Florida’s WLRN General Manager John Labonia defended the station’s decision to also provide a platform to Kimber. To not do so would apparently have been dumb and intolerant. He nodded to the sensitivity of the matter and stated, “…the local conversation about Cuba has evolved and become more broad-minded…and that it can accommodate opinions today that might have been too uncomfortable to engage a generation ago.” Have broad-mindedness, objectivity and tolerance ever been demanded of other victims of totalitarianism, such as Jews under the Nazi regime and those who toppled Adolf Hitler? No, because these standards are solely exacted on victims of Communism and the underlying reality is that their lives are allotted a low value, if any at all.
The unbridled statements by journalists and others about Communism’s exiles are certainly beneficial to the oppressors. Thus, those subjected to property confiscation, political arrests and torture are somehow unable to accurately address their homeland’s ills as opposed to those who regurgitate the content of Communist State publications. For example, journalists describe Vietnamese exiles, ad nauseum, as “right-wing” and an “extreme anti-Communist bloc,” whose younger generations are more open-minded. The loved ones of the 16,000 Cambodians who died on orders of Kaing Guek Eav, a.k.a. “Duch,” ought not have had a say in his sentencing, according to international judge Sylvia Cartwright because of the need for objectivity and balance as opposed to victims’ “mob rule.” A group or government that attempts, by any means necessary, to bring freedom to a country is generally lauded as heroic – so long as that country is not under the yoke of Communism. Laotian anti-Communists have been subjected to arrests, bombardments, re-education camps and shootings; but an effort by exiles and sympathizers, labeled by the U.S. government as “mercenaries,” to liberate the country resulted in arrest for many in the United States.
So how did the double standard originate?
Feature continues here: Journalists in the Service of Reds: Engineers of Human Souls