Ronald B. Ramsey (aka ‘Granny Goose’) was an American citizen responsible for producing and providing anti-war propaganda tapes to Radio Hanoi for broadcast to American troops serving in South Vietnam. After a short period of widespread notoriety in the press during the mid 1960′s, Ramsey disappeared from public view.
Born in 1939 in Compton, California, Ramsey’s name first appeared in the press when he was dismissed from school in 1953 for making speeches in support of convicted “spies” Ethel and Julius Rosenberg.
In a 1966 statement, once Ramsey’s later actions brought him attention through the press, the Anti – Defamation League of the B’nai B’rith labeled Ramsey as a known “right-wing radical” based on his actions as a teenager in the mid 1950′s. In 1955 Ramsey published ‘The Nationalist Summary’ for the group Americans for America which opposed the Korean War and accused Eleanor Roosevelt of having Communist ties. According to the Jewish community relations southwestern director Milton Senn, Ramsey supported the segregationist White Citizen’s Council and denounced the newly invented polio vaccine.
At age 16 Ramsey wrote letters to the editors of magazines and newspapers which were strongly critical of the United Nations. His views made him a target of an “anti-Nazi” group which labeled Ramsey a “Hitlerite” and mobilized his community to take action. Based on accusations by the local school board of trustees for his views on the United Nations Ramsey was committed to a local institution as a “mental case”. He was released after thirty-four days without ever being charged on the condition he stop his letter writing.
Ramsey was involved with various social activities including addressing the problem of juvenile delinquency and the civil rights movement. A registered Republican, Ramsey supported Richard Nixon’s 1960 presidential campaign and later served in the U.S. Army.
Ramsey spent time as a self-professed “non-student” at the University of California at Berkeley and claimed to have earned a Ph.D. in Psychology, often referring to himself as a psychologist in interviews.
In April 1964 Ramsey traveled to Kenya where he made anti-American radio broadcasts in support of Jomo Kenyatta but left after two months. Ramsey then traveled to Algeria to broadcast propaganda for Ahmed Ben Bella (Algerian president 1963-1965). At the end of 1964 Ramsey was imprisoned and tortured as a suspected CIA operative. Released from jail and expelled from Algeria in May 1965, Ramsey returned to the United States and became involved in the Anti-war movement. In both instances when leaving Kenya and Algeria Ramsey was forced to borrow money from the U.S. State Department to fund his travel.
In 1965 Ramsey advertised his interest and involvement in assembling an armed military brigade to fight on the side of North Vietnam against American troops.
Later in 1965 Ramsey conceived the idea of using his network of Canadian and European friends to provide North Vietnam with taped programming urging U.S. troops to turn against the war. It was at this time that Ramsey chose the name of a well known southern California potato chip company, ‘Granny Goose’, as his pseudonym. He also recorded as Joe ‘Libre’ Epstein; a name possibly based on Joseph Epstein, the French resistance fighter captured and executed by the Germans during World War Two. Ramsey called his taped programs ‘Radio Stateside’ and ‘Radio Liberation’.
Believing the U.S. presence in Vietnam was illegal and immoral, Ramsey’s stated purpose for making the tapes was to “raise the morale and morality of U.S. troops” and “editorially motivate our soldiers to peace”. Ramsey’s operation was self financed and from Oct. 1965 – Feb. 1966 produced less than a dozen half hour length programs. Tapes were sent to friends in Canada who forwarded them on to England then Czechoslovakia and finally Hanoi.
Ramsey considered himself a super patriot who loved his country. Ramsey stated he was not a Communist and that there was no ideology or philosophy behind his efforts. He strongly identified with the Black Nationalist movement sometimes urging troops in Vietnam to quit the war and “come home and fight here”.
Ramsey contributed to his own public exposure after anonymously submitting tapes to local Los Angeles radio station KPFK that resulted in a call to the FBI (the station later aired his programs as did KPFA-San Francisco and WBAI-New York). Ramsey then contacted Newsweek and told his story. The news media dubbed Ramsey as “Hanoi Harry”. The State Department revoked Ramsey’s passport for non-payment of the loans he received when he left Kenya and Algeria. The Justice Department began looking into whether Ramsey had violated federal sedition laws. When the House Un-American Activities (HUAC) attempted to serve him with a subpoena Ramsey could not be located.
After several more brief appearances covered by the news media he reportedly fled the U.S. for Canada to seek asylum. While in Canada Ramsey was interviewed for the CBC program ‘This Hour Has Seven Days’ (a forerunner of CBS’s ’60 Minutes’). Ramsey’s presence in Canada was debated on the floor of the House of Commons and came to the attention of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson. The Library and Archives of Canada lists a record of an Immigration case for Ronald B. Ramsey between March-April 1966.
The outcome of the immigration case was not reported and Ramsey disappeared from the new media for four years. Ramsey reappeared in 1970 when he was arrested in California and charged with multiple counts of welfare fraud for receiving several thousand dollars in welfare aid for the totally disabled from San Mateo County while he operated a tobacco and bookstore in San Francisco. He was found to be “insane” and committed to California Agnews State (psychiatric/mental) Hospital by a Superior Court Judge. One can only guess at the behavior Ramsey displayed resulting in his sudden removal from society. Ramsey was released later in the year and then pled “no contest” to one count of welfare fraud. All other charges against Ramsey were dismissed, his sentence suspended and he was placed on probation.
In 1977 a medical journal article warns readers to be on the lookout for Ramsey based on a specific medical condition that might require he seek specialized treatment. The journal article outlines Ramsey’s arrest for possession of over 1,000 pounds of marijuana and mentions a warrant issued by a U.S. Magistrate in May 1974 for his arrest when Ramsey fled California to avoid prosecution of the drug charge. Ramsey was apparently caught and sentenced at some later date based on a Federal Bureau of Prisons record indicating his release from custody November 1983
There are no records of Ramsey’s whereabouts in the press after 1983.
The Fearful Master – A Second Look At The United Nations (1964) G. Edward Griffin
Mental Health, Education And Social Control (May 31, 2005) Dennis L. Cuddy, Ph.D.
The Middle East Journal 1965 Vol. 19, No. 3
The Minority of One, Volumes 7-8 (Jan. 1, 1965) Menachem S. Arnoni
Newsweek (Feb 14, 1966) John Nugent
Electronics Illustrated (Jan 1970) ‘Granny Goose, The Turncoat Disc Jockey’ by Robert Angus
U.S. House Committee on Internal Security (HCIS) Hearings regarding H.R. 16742 (Sept 1972)
Freedom of Information Act documents located at Archive.org
Multiple archived Canadian and U.S. Newspapers (Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, St. Joseph (MO) Gazette, St. Petersburg Times, Henderson (NC) Times-News, Charleston(SC) Post and Courier, Miami News, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, plus others)