Ralph Schoenman's speech at NYC 9-11 event:

Ralph Schoenman's speech at NYC 9-11 event:


TAKING AIM archive:


Who is Ralph Schoenman ?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
• Learn more about citing Wikipedia •
Jump to: navigation, search

(born 1935) is an American left-wing activist who was a personal secretary to Bertrand Russell and became general secretary of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation. He was involved in a number of projects supported by Russell, including the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and an unofficial war crimes tribunal to try American leaders for their conduct in the Vietnam War. Russell broke with Schoenman not long before Russell's death.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Schoenman was educated at Princeton University but then left the U.S. for Britain in 1958. He was involved in various protest activities during his student days and became active in the CND after arriving in Britain. This brought him into contact with Russell, for whom Schoenman began working in 1960. Bernard Levin wrote critically of Schoenman's influence on the aged philosopher, painting Schoenman as partly responsible for Russell's virulent anti-Americanism, in contrast to his earlier pronouncements against communism.[1] Russell said of Schoenman, "You know he is a rather rash young man, and I have to restrain him."[2]

In 1963, Schoenman participated as Russell's secretary in attempts to mediate a solution for the Sino-Indian border conflict, after China declared a ceasefire the previous year. For visiting communist China, the U.S. embassy in London put him under a travel restriction, stamping his passport as only valid to return to the United States.[3]

Schoenman was an organizer and member of the International War Crimes Tribunal which visited North Vietnam and Cambodia in 1966-1967.[4] In addition to the group's own camera crews, Schoenman tried to negotiate network television coverage from NBC and CBS for the tribunal's visit to Hanoi, but was turned down in a dispute over the conditions. The networks charged that they had been asked to pay for the privilege and also felt that the restrictions proposed to them, including submitting footage for censorship, would imperil their objectivity. CBS News president Richard Salant said, "They are out to prove a point with investigations and they have an ax to grind".[5] Schoenman denied the allegations that fees or censorship had been requested, while noting that the networks would pay to acquire footage from others, as ABC had done to obtain film from one of the tribunal's cameramen.[6]

After making these visits, Schoenman argued in a hearing of the tribunal that the United States had committed genocide in Vietnam. He argued, "It is not possible to drop four million pounds of bombs every day on a country the size of New York and Pennsylvania without exterminating the civilian population".[7]

During the course of the tribunal, the U.S. government revoked Schoenman's passport because of unauthorized visits to North Vietnam. In November 1967, he was deported back to the U.S. by Bolivian authorities when he traveled there to attend the trial of Régis Debray.[8] As a result, he was prevented from attending the tribunal's proceedings in Copenhagen later that month because Danish authorities refused to allow him to enter without a passport.[9] This led to a sequence in which Schoenman shuttled between several European countries, none of which would admit him, before illegally entering Britain, where he remained for 10 days until being deported in June 1968.[10][11]

Russell publicly repudiated his relationship with Schoenman in December 1969 and had him removed from the board of the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation.[12] Schoenman then renamed the American branch of the foundation the American Foundation for Social Justice and continued to promote hearings into alleged American atrocities in Vietnam.[13][14]

Later, Schoenman settled in Princeton, New Jersey, but was again able to travel, visiting Iran during the waning days of the Shah's regime to raise awareness of atrocities by the U.S.-backed government. After the government fell, he circulated claims of a counterrevolutionary conspiracy in support of American interests that sought to eliminate communist forces.[15] However, the new Provisional Revolutionary Government expelled him in March 1979.[16]