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June 15, 2003

REMEMBERING GARETH JONES, the man who wasn't Walter Duranty:

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. . . .

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.

The Soviet propaganda machine, of which the Pulitzer-winning Duranty was a part.