[bas relief by Oleh Lesiuk]
The 'Thomas Walker' Conspiracy
(Or the Fraudulent Famine Photo Affair).
Damned as a Hearst Stooge, But Was Walker More Probably a Soviet Patsy?
A Personal Hypothesis by Nigel Linsan Colley
[This is a Work-in-Progress Document - For Discussion Purposes Only and Not for Reprint - December 2006, with revisions April 2007. E. & O.E.]
In January 1935, at the outset of Randolph Hearst's anti-Red campaign, Gareth wrote a series of three of the most heart-rending articles for the American Hearst press, which repeated his first-hand observations of Ukrainian famine. [CLICK HERE for the first article.] Unlike in March 1933, when Gareth exposed the Soviet famine and was infamously denigrated by Stalin Apologist, Walter Duranty in the columns of the New York Times, on this occasion there was strangely not even a 'muddying of the waters' murmur from the 'Friends of the Soviet Union'.
In February 1935, the Hearst press ran a further series of articles by one 'Thomas Walker', which documented his own observations of an on-going Ukrainian famine in the spring of 1934 and illustrated with photos taken secretly with his own camera.
On the 13th March 1935, in an open letter to the American weekly, The Nation, Louis Fischer successfully exposed Thomas Walker's articles and photos to be a fraud, alleging that it was part and parcel of Hearst's ant-red campaign, but without ever mentioning Gareth's earlier articles of January 1935. Gareth's Hearst articles were to remain lost for almost 70 years...
In fact, Thomas Walker was a real fraud.... In June 1935, he was deported from the UK and on arrival back in the USA was re-arrested for absconding from a Colorado prison in 1921 for forgery, under the name of Robert Green.
Though Thomas Walker / Robert Green was held up to be a pawn of Hearst, below I would like to put forward the hypothesis that he was more likely to have been a Soviet patsy, in their very successful propaganda of hiding the truth of a famine in Ukraine at any time in the 1930s, as Gareth's truthful observations were tarnished by the same brush.
Within four months of Fischer's letter to The Nation, Gareth would be mysteriously murdered and the Soviet Secret Police are now strongly suspected of culpability. With the tragic loss of Gareth, the 'whistle-blower' of the Holodomor was effectively silenced continuing to embarrass the Stalinist regime...
[The source of these fake photos may actually derivate from August 1933, when they are probably referenced by the Cardiff Western Mail, where the name of Dr. Otto Schiller (a German agricultural expert of Soviet agrarian conditions) is mentioned, but perhaps not un-coincidentally Ammende's name again appears in the same article. [CLICK HERE for a link to the aforementioned W.M. article.]
6th 1935 – Hearst kicks off his anti-Soviet campaign in his radio
address across the USA.
evidence now shows that Stein was a Soviet agent, allowing his apartments to
be used by 'super-spy' Richard Sorge in February 1936 for covert radio
broadcasts to Moscow. Stein would later be implicated in by the McCarthyite
Commission in the 1950s. According to one biography of Sorge, he wanted
Stein to be permitted to join his spy cell, but was refused by the powers
that be, and the conclusion was drawn that Stein was on other special
operations for Moscow.
provisional page of images from Walker's articles
In context, it should be considered how many people would have been aware of Fischer's complete damnation of Walker's articles? Certainly the power of Hearst's 'Yellow' Journalism' would have completely eclipsed the ripples of Fischer's letter to the low circulation of the left-wing weekly, The Nation. One can probably assume that intellectuals and especially supporters of Socialism would have been aware of Walker's fraud.
However, one can assume that the population at large were also aware, since for example, there was a protest against Hearst was organised by pro-Stalin activists and on February 26, 15,000 people gathered in Madison Square Gardens in New York to protest with the “Friends of the Soviet Union” against the collapse of debt negotiations between U.S.S.R. and the United States. Randolph Hearst was assailed for the damning editorial attitude of his newspapers against the Soviet cause. Frank Palmer of the Federated Press wrote said, “We know the man who had the utmost influence in causing the collapse of the negotiations.”[i] The American Communists continued to condemn Hearst and William F. Dunne[ii] wrote three open and vitriolic letters to Hearst, addressing his letter, “At Your Fortress Castle” and entitled, “Why Hearst Lies about Communism.”[iii]
[i] New York Times, ‘15,000 Here Object to Rift With Reds’, February 26, 1935, p. 8.
[ii] William Francis Dunne (1887-1953) was a union organiser, politician, editor, and Communist Party activist for most of his life. Elected in 1924 as an alternate member of the Executive Committee of the Communist International, Dunne was the representative of the Workers (Communist) Party of America to the Comintern in 1925. In 1928-1929 served as a Comintern delegate in Outer Mongolia, allegedly collecting data on Japanese intrigue in the region. In 1934, Dunne was dismissed from his national leadership position. He did occasional reporting for the Daily Worker and New Masses, and did organizational and publicity work for the Party throughout the Pacific Northwest region.
[iii] Ibid. W. F. Dunne, “Why Hearst Lies about Communism. Three open Letters to William Randolph Hearst , (New York 1935) p35.
Irrespective, there is one very curious piece of circumstantial
evidence which I have noted, within the seemingly innocuous
postscript to Fischer’s open letter to Hearst (which I will refer to again
29 May 1935 – [Added for completeness, though not relevant to this argument.]
In the interim,
the former Moscow correspondent for the Manchester Guardian, W H Chamberlain (who met Gareth in
Tokyo in March 1935, just before Gareth subsequently went incommunicado
'island-hopping' around the Far East) had his own letter published in The Nation, but to no
real avail, where he stated:
June 1935 - Walker deported from UK
Photo below is from the British Public Records Office at Kew, London records of deportation orders for 1935 (which I researched in 2006) shows that Walker's extradition from the UK on 22 June 1935, though no indication of when he was originally arrested or on what grounds... [It is noted from his Deportation record that his 'D.O.' (deportation order) was never subsequently revoked! More pertinently, on deportation the British were not seemingly aware that he was on a fake passport.]
photo above, it should be noted
he was deported under the name of Walker, not Green, so was he extradited for
another crime? Unfortunately, records available do not show why he was
More importantly, one might wonder who conveniently tipped-off the British
authorities or was it just bad luck?
Fischer and Fishier!
I noted that there were a few other salient arguments, which in hindsight, I failed to put in to my above argument:
1) 1) Just a small point to begin with regarding Walker’s deportation date from the UK on 22nd June 1935 – indeed, only four people were deported from the UK that month and just two in the previous month of May – Anyway, my point is, one simply doesn’t get instantly deported; there must be some due course of British justice; what we don’t know is his original arrest date which eventually led to his deportation – I hazard a guess it would be at least a month before possibly more, but the earlier it was, brings the timing much closer to the date of Fisher’s March 11th letter in The Nation in which he ponders the issue of Walker’s passport in his postscript – and thus to my mind, the more likely the Soviets (or whoever) were to tipping off the British authorities, rather than Walker’s 14-year spell on the run coming to a purely chance ending? [The more one considers his predicament and if one can really believe Walker actually circumnavigated the world in 1934-35, then one has to feel rather sorry for the poor man, since no sooner did he get back to the UK (and why was his base seemingly the UK?) was he arrested and then deported straight back to the USA.]
2) 2) Back in 1933; remember that Duranty was not the only Stalinist Apologist to have denigrated Gareth… (from http://www.artukraine.com/famineart/uscongr.htm ):
“Fischer was on a lecture tour in the United States when Gareth Jones' Famine story broke. Asked about the million who had died since 1930 in Kazakhstan, he scoffed:
‘Who counted them? How could anyone march through a country count a million people? Of course people are hungry there---- desperately hungry. Russia is turning over from agriculture to industrialism. It's like a man going into business on small capital.’ (86)
(86) " 'New Deal' Need for Entire World, Says Visiting Author," Denver Post, April 1, 1933, p. 3. Cited in Crowl, p. 157.
However, whereas in 1935, Fischer was quite seemingly on the boil with Walker, he was decidedly silent over Gareth's earlier January 1935 articles (as were the whole of the US pro-Soviet community), though back in March 1933, Fischer was hot on the heels of Duranty’s 31 March 1933, New York Times' article. denigration. One could surmise that perhaps, Fischer & co., thought better of countering Gareth's articles, soon thereafter, as they may have been wary that Gareth would have again eagerly rebutted their propaganda ‘lies’, as he did with Duranty, back in his published 1933 letter to the Editor of the New York Times? [See HERE for Gareth's 1933 Letter to the New York Times.]
[The strangeness of there not having been a solitary letter of complaint (that I personally know of – nor Jim Mace / Tottle knew of either – otherwise they would have no doubt cited them) from even an odd rogue Soviet activist to counter Gareth's vitriolic January 1935, Hearst articles, should be seen as significant. Gareth's Hearst articles presented a far worse Soviet image of a blissful utopia than anything he dared write previously in 1933, and arguably, who else on the planet could have written with such journalistic authority (still armed with Lloyd George’s auspices of credence)… I therefore maintain that the Soviet powers that be must have put a firm lid on any derisory comment from their propaganda camp at that time of Gareth's January articles.]
As it panned out, what transpired was almost as if the Soviet camp knew in advance that just around the corner Walker’s articles were coming into their sights, which they were so readily able to shoot down! (Otherwise, why didn’t they take a gratuitous side-swipe at Gareth's just to muddy the waters?)
3) Finally, why did Fischer in his innocuous postscript, not only ask for a facsimile of Walker’s passport, but also a copy of his Soviet visa?
To remind the reader of the exact wording:
“P.S. Would the Hearst press oblige us with a photograph of Mr. Thomas Walker, and with facsimiles of his American passport and of the Soviet visa stamped upon it?”
Surely, if the Soviets issued a visa then, they would have a record of its issue – especially since they were readily able to furnish Fischer with Walker’s Soviet itinerary? Was it a fake visa as well as a fake passport or were they hoping to expose the visa as fake and thereby cast doubts upon the validity of Walker’s passport at the same time; ultimately resulting in the same result, namely Walker’s embarrassing re-arrest? I don’t myself know the answer, but I feel it is still a worthy question to ask, nonetheless…(As with any of my suppositions, please all feel free to give constructive criticism – as it is surely better to receive it from yourselves than later from the deniers!)
Why do we now even know of the existence of a certain Thomas J. Burke (AKA Thomas Walker and Robert Green), who had travelled to the USSR in 1930 and seemingly got unexplainably expelled for the ‘minor’ misdemeanour by the kind Soviets of helping a White ‘Guardsman’ from escaping the USSR?
In my humble opinion - Under cross examination in 1935 by a presumably smart American prosecution lawyer, seemingly managed to catch our Mr. Walker off-guard… Remember, that Walker was merely/ a professional forger and in his 14-year absence, was probably not used to the tricks of the judiciary, if only by virtue of his original conviction?
Therefore, thank goodness for wiley ways of Western justice! [I may still be wrong but, I am almost absolutely sure this was an inadvertent admission over his previous 1930 Soviet expulsion & was not part of the prior Fischer/Moscow game plan of a 1935 famine cover-up – since their patsy was (wrongly) expected for some reason to remain silent! His subsequent (partial) canary singing in front of a jury and the press maybe yet another piece of circumstantial evidence to prove my hypothesis…
In hindsight we can ask what on earth was he doing risking returning to the USSR in 1934 – he was bloody lucky not to have been thrown into a Gulag for his crime in 1930 – just compare his crime to the usual punishment meted out to a peasant for the theft of a handful of grain!!
It is more likely he was locked up in 1930 and as Oleg Gordiesky stated the in The Times in November 2006, the KGB has been employing prisoners since the 1930s to do there dirty work – indeed, it may help explain how he managed to evade re-arrest in the US as nobody would think of looking for him in a Soviet prison – one might say it would be the ultimate hiding place if you are on the run from a US prison!
What Walker (/ Green or Burke) said at trial did not exactly help the Soviet case of showing Walker up to be a simple Hearst stooge, who took a short trip to the USSR in autumn 1934 merely to give added credence to his famine story. (Remember, his itinerary was well documented by Fischer in his letter to The Nation from information efficiently supplied by the Soviets.) Also, in his Hearst articles he stated that he went to the USSR in the spring of 1934 and this does not marry up with the dates supplied by the Soviets – so in any event his trip to Moscow in the autumn 1934 would not have added any extra credence to the story he supposedly spun to Hearst – Therefore, it was I suggest, a complete waste of time and definitely not worthy of the risks!
In conclusion, not only did the Soviets not pick up on the fact Walker had already been deported (which is plausible), but no sane person would risk their freedom for the sake of selling a series of five articles – the monetary rewards just don’t add up? And why would anybody on the run put themselves in the limelight in a major American newspaper syndicate, unless they were seriously & mentally unhinged?
Tottle Book Download
To download the complete Tottle book, "Famine, Fraud and Genocide" in PDF format - Right click the link below and click 'save target as' then save to your hard disk.
NB it is a 17Mb download, and may be quite slow off my personal web server:
To cross-reference with Walker's articles for Hearst, please CLICK HERE
To cross-reference with photos from Ammende's Muss Russland Hungern?, please CLICK HERE
To cross-reference with photos appearing in August 1934 in The Daily Express, please CLICK HERE
To cross-reference with Ammende's photos in his Human Life In Russia, please CLICK HERE
Original Research, Content & Site Design by Nigel Linsan Colley. Copyright © 2001-11 All Rights Reserved Original document transcriptions by M.S. Colley.Click here for Legal Notices. For all further details email: Nigel Colley or Tel: (+44) 0796 303 8888