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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 11, No. 7. June 23rd, 1948

Libel Actions And Retractions Follow Commission's Report

Libel Actions And Retractions Follow Commission's Report

Since the spy trials in Canada two years ago, many articles have appeared in various papers which make it seem that the "plot" may have been a put up job. There was one in the Evening Post in February. We reprint one here from the "Tribune," a Sydney weekly.

The Canadian "Red Spy Plot," used all round the world to slander the Soviet Union, has been exposed as a frame-up by libel suits in which one of the alleged spies has secured substantial damages from red-baiting newspapers. The Canadian Government had so little faith in the Commission that it did not even prosecute seven of the "guilty" men. Another nine were tried and acquitted. Of the remainder, some have been remanded on appeal, and others are serving sentences for technical offences which have nothing to do with espionage. The Commission's report failed to specify any secrets that had been passed on to the Russians.

Another libel action has forced withdrawal of a book based on the findings of the Royal Commission which claimed to have discovered the plot.

Dr. David Shugar one of the scientists framed by the Royal Commission, sued four nublications which had splashed the Red plot story. He won damages and apologies from them all. A magazine called "True" paid Dr. Shugar 2,500 dollars and apologised in its May, 1947, issue.

The U.S. Magazine "Time," published by the magnate Henry Luce, had to pay 550 dollars to Dr. Shugar the following July.

Altogether four papers paid a total of 3,900 dollars in damages. Now, another defendant, Mr, J. S. Benning is suing Richard Hirsch author of a red-baiting novel based on the Red plot story, and his Canadian publisher. William Collins, Sons and Company. These publishers have already been forced to withdraw the book.

Gouzenko a Liar

Another retraction was forced by sponsors of the Canadian Aid to Russia Fund, who had been accused by the Russian renegade Igor Gouzenko of having used aid funds to finance "Russian agents" in Canada.

Four of the Canadian Aid officials cited acknowledgements by Canadian Ambassador in Moscow. Mr. Dana Wilgress, accounting for every cent of the money collected.

This evidence produced from Canada's leading newspaper, the "Toronto Star," an admission that Gouzenko was a liar. "This episode proves that Gouzenko's unsupported testimony has no value," said the "Star." But it is precisely on Gouzenko's unsupported testimony that the Royal Commission based its report.

According to the Canadian Bar Association it reached the conclusion by violating all the established rules of legal procedure.