Joseph Hansen

Allies Censor News on Greece

(3 February 1945)

Source: The Militant, Vol. IX No. 5, 3 February 1945, p. 3.
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“We Americans are not getting unbiased news from Greece,” declares Wm. L. Shirer, correspondent of the N.Y. Herald-Tribune. “We are getting too much British and Greek government propaganda. And we are being made victims of a vicious censorship.”

Of the 12 American correspondents in Greece, 11 have protested to the American government about the censorship. The British general Scobie, in charge of murdering Greek partisans, has forbidden all contact with his victims, even interviews supervised by his officers.

M.W. Fodor of the Chicago Sun points out that the British are widely propagandizing the fact that ELAS (Greek National Liberation Army) took hostages, but remains silent over the large numbers of hostages taken by the British and the Plastiras puppet government.

The lone correspondent who refused to join his fellow correspondents in protesting the censorship has not yet been named. It is in all likelihood A.C. Sedgwick of the N.Y. Times, whose dispatches have consistently followed Churchill’s line of making out the partisans to be brutal, bloodthirsty brigands who wantonly torture innocent victims. This unnamed correspondent “of one of our greatest metropolitan newspapers,” according to Fodor, recently sent a dispatch claiming that all factions except the Communists had broken away from the EAM (Greek National Liberation Front) and that these factions declared “our parties welcome with pleasure the presence of British troops.”

Fodor says that the “agents” who gave this “information” “endeavored to convince the correspondents that the Greek Communists intend to hand over Macedonia to the Yugoslavs, a tale greeted with snorting skepticism by the newsmen as primitive and awkward propaganda.”

Royalist Demonstrations

On January 14 when the truce went into effect Sedgwick reported:

“This was a day of mass celebration and thanksgiving ... about 100,000 persons shouted ‘Long live Scobie,’ ‘Long live our great Allies,’ ‘Long live Churchill,’ and ‘Long live Roosevelt’.”

Sedgwick quoted from an “impromptu speech” made by General Scobie “on a balcony.” The British commander said: “I am particularly happy to see the working class represented.”

The Militant was not taken in by this crude propaganda. “Royalists collected in the streets January 14 ...” we declared in the January 20 issue.

Fodor’s dispatch confirms the Militant’s characterization of the demonstration:

“One cannot help feeling that the great ‘demonstration’ in Athens last Sunday may have misled many of us who did not read our newspapers too carefully. It was hailed by the Athens correspondent of the great metropolitan daily mentioned above as ‘a day of mass celebration and thanksgiving,’ and General Scobie, who made a speech from the balcony attacking the EAM, was quoted as saying he hoped the world would hear of the demonstration — as indeed the world did hear.

“Yet an Associated Press dispatch the day before had stated plainly that the Athens demonstration was organized under the leadership of General Napoleon Zervas. Now Zervas is a staunch monarchist, and, when his own small resistance army began to melt away recently, he was chased from central Greece by the ELAS.”

Zervas, we may add, was the counter-revolutionary general armed and financed by the British who raised an army in support of the hated Glucksburg monarchy. When the British provoked the civil war, however, the ranks of this army went over to the ELAS by the thousands. The British were finally forced to rescue Zervas. They evacuated him and his immediate staff. For a few days he dropped out of sight.

Now we learn that he suddenly appeared in Athens at the head of a “spontaneous demonstration” of 100,000 workers who madly cheer their butchers.

One of the American correspondents in London makes the devastating understatement that “British supporters of the EAM in Greece suspect that a kind of propaganda plot is now in operation.”

The exposure of Allied propaganda against the partisans reveals another link in the chain of counter-revolution in Greece. Churchill shoots down the revolutionary workers, he prevents even capitalist reporters from hearing their side of the story, he clamps down a tight censorship on reports of the Allied side, he blames his victims for the bloodshed, he fabricates lies about the Greek situation. These are spread by such authoritative mouthpieces of Big Business as the N.Y. Times. Then on top of all this Churchill declares that the British invaded Greece with the noble objectives of bringing food and democracy to that land.

Apparently the Allies are following Hitler’s advice on propaganda that the bigger the lie the more easily people will believe it.


Last updated on: 18 October 2018