Right Woos Left

About Chip Berlet

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Populist Party, LaRouchite, and Other Neo-fascist Overtures To Progressives, And Why They Must Be Rejected


 

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Preface & Acknowledgements
Introduction

PARANOID CONSPIRACISM AND THE RIGHT
The New Right & The Secular Humanism Conspiracy Theory
John Birch Society
Liberty Lobby
LaRouchites
The White Supremacist Movement

RIGHT-WING CRITICS OF U.S. INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES AND FOREIGN POLICY
Populist Party/Liberty Lobby Recruitment of Anti-CIA Critics
The Liberty Lobby Populist Action Committee
The LaRouchite Critique
The LaRouchites as Anti-Interventionists
Rightist Influences on the Christic Institute Theories
The Right-Wing Roots of Sheehan’s “Secret Team” Theory
Barbara Honegger, The October Surprise & The Larouchites

THE GULF WAR
Sowing Confusion
The LaRouchites and the Gulf War
How The LaRouchites Exploited Antiwar Organizers
How the LaRouchites Exploit Ramsey Clark
Clark Responds
Rev. James Bevel
Other Right-Wing Groups and the Gulf War
Other Gulf War Issues: The Racist Right and the Gulf War
The Buchanan Controversy

THE COURTSHIP OF CONSPIRACISM
Craig Hulet’s Reductionist Gulf War Critiques
How the Populist Party Uses Hulet
Left/Right Critiques and Coalitions
The JFK Conspiracy
True Gritz
Confusion Reigns
The Fascist Response
Black Nationalism & Scapegoating of Jews
Anti-Zionism or Anti-Jewish Conspiracism?
Rev. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam
Third Position & Black Nationalism

THE MEDIA, CONSPIRACISM & FASCISM
Progressive Researchers & Fascist Sources
The LaRouche Connection
A Complicated Ethical Situation
LaRouche: Victim or Villain?
Some Criteria for Discussion

PROPAGANDA, DECEPTION & DEMAGOGUERY
Flaws of Logic, Fallacies of Debate
Techniques of the Propagandist
Some Examples
Harry Martin and Propaganda Techniques
Michael Riconosciuto
Ari Ben-Menashe

CONCLUSIONS
A Painful Task

FOOTNOTES


 

PREFACE & ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

“Fascism and Reaction inevitably attack. They have won against disunion. They will fail if we unite.”

–George Seldes, You Can’t Do That, 1938

This report was first issued on December 20, 1990 as a three page memo for antiwar activists titled “Right Woos Left Over Gulf War Issue: Confronting Rightist Ideologies & Anti-Jewish Bigotry is Crucial to Full Debate Over Principled Tactics.” The memo briefly described attempts by members of the LaRouche movement to involve themselves in antiwar organizing, and discussed the growing network of persons willing to appear at functions of the quasi-Nazi Liberty Lobby, including Fletcher Prouty, “Bo” Gritz, Mark Lane, and to a lesser extent, Dick Gregory.

The original memo was issued after Political Research Associates received numerous phone inquiries regarding the background of the LaRouchian and Liberty Lobby networks, and was preceded by a discussion paper circulated to a handful of researchers who, for over a year, had been informally discussing the dilemmas posed by the transfusion of right-wing theories and research into progressive circles. I would like to thank these persons (whom I dubbed in my correspondence the “Thorns of the White Rose” as a historical salute to the German anti-Fascist movement), including Russ Bellant, Johan Carlisle, Sara Diamond, Brian Glick, Jean Hardisty, Jane Hunter, Sheila O’Donnell, Margaret Quigley, Diana Reynolds, Whitney Rugosa, and Holly Sklar. They will be the first to tell you that their contributions to the debate do not necessarily imply agreement with my thesis.

Several journalists and activists were forthcoming in sharing their information or making suggestions and deserve special mention. They are Dan Junas, Howard Goldenthal, Alice Senturia, Dennis King, Barry Mehler, and Richard Hatch. The research by Sara Diamond and Richard Hatch into radio personality Craig Hulet was particularly thorough and useful. The Center for Democratic Renewal, especially Leonard Zeskind, provided documents and other pertinent information. Fairness and Accuracy in Media also provided assistance and encouragement, especially Marty Lee.

Matthew Nemiroff Lyons wrote a thoughtful critique of an earlier version of this paper titled Right Woos Left Revisited: Tracing the Roots of Conspiracy Thinking. His suggestions have influenced subsequent revisions and we are now working together to write a lengthy study of the roots and current variants of fascism in the U.S. [This became the book Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort, focusing on the roots of scapegoating conspiracism in the U.S. and how it is used to mobilize social and political movements. A forthcoming book on conspiracism, populism, and fascism is tentatively titled Sucker Punch.]

The United Front Against Fascism and its allies in the Seattle and Portland areas gave me encouragement and assistance, and sponsored a public forum in Seattle where I shared the podium with anti-fascist organizer Spencer Hamm of Spokane’s Citizens for Nonviolent Action Against Racism. Jonathan Mozzochi and the Coalition for Human Dignity in Portland shared their work and publicized the issue, and were denounced by neo-Nazis for their efforts.

The Progressive Resource/Action Cooperative and the Champaign-Urbana chapter of New Jewish Agenda sponsored a research retreat and several speaking engagements at the University of Illinois and the Illinois Disciples Foundation in November of 1993 where I developed an analysis of the relationship between various forms of populism and fascism and the relevance of these movements to the candidacies of Buchanan, Perot & Le Pen.

Columnist Joel Bleifus of In These Times put into print discussions of these issues based on his own research at a time when no progressive publisher was willing to run the articles I had submitted. He showed uncommon courtesy in asking me if I would be offended by this turn of events, and then bore the brunt of some heated and unfair criticisms that otherwise would have been directed at me. He has both my thanks and my respect.

People Against Racist Terror in California deserves credit for early attempts to convince the Christic Institute to distance itself publicly from “Bo” Gritz and his allies in the Populist Party. Journalist Paul Rauber went out on a limb to confront Mark Lane’s apologia for the Fascist and anti-Jewish Carto network. Several journalists in the alternative media put up with some withering criticisms for confronting paranoid conspiracism, especially Michael Albert and David Barsamian. Doug Henwood and Irwin Knoll were among the first journalists willing to use the word Fascism to describe the phenomenon.

Despite some fundamental disagreements with my point of view, Ramsey Clark, Gavrielle Gemma, Carl Oglesby, Jonathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott, and James Ridgeway were gracious in consenting to interviews. John Stockwell gave an interview even though he felt my Guardian article on Craig Hulet implied Stockwell was an ally of “Bo” Gritz. That was not my intent, and I regret any misunderstanding and appreciate Mr. Stockwell’s patience.

Dan Brandt, whose Namebase research database software remains a very useful research tool, originally attempted to keep my criticisms of his defense of Fletcher Prouty in perspective. He later began openly praising “Spotlight,” claiming he could find no anti-Jewish bias in its pages, and denouncing me as part of an alleged PC thought police movement on the left.

Craig Hulet called to complain and stayed on the line for an interview, which, if nothing else, shows he has a sense of humor. Barbara Honegger hung up when the interview turned to the LaRouchians. When I called back, she insisted the earlier interview was off the record. However, since I had identified myself as a journalist working on an article at the outset of our conversation, I feel it is fair to quote her here. Both Fletcher Prouty and Sherman Skolnick agreed to interviews but dodged many questions. Prouty hung up with the interview in progress, but his subsequent letters have shown considerable wit. Victor Marchetti sent me some free samples of his newsletter.

A number of persons sent me information and comments through the Peacenet computer network. My information about cities in which LaRouchians were active came primarily through this medium. Many other people provided information through the mail and by telephone and I wish to thank them for their efforts without which this paper would not be so detailed.

I wish to acknowledge several staff members of the Christic Institute, and the Institute’s client and named plaintiff, Tony Avirgan, who attempted to spark an internal discussion of these issues. I regret that this effort failed.

Finally, I do not think for a moment that this paper represents the last word on the subject, but I do believe the only thing more painful and disruptive than provoking this discussion would have been silence.

–Chip Berlet

INTRODUCTION

” …fascism is not confined to any specific era, culture or countries. Far from being a phenomenon limited to the European states which have experienced fascist regimes, movements of this type are to be found in practically every western country, and indeed are growing more strident in the leading democratic societies which have never experienced fascist rule–Britain and America.”

–Paul Wilkinson, The New Fascists, 1981

Fascist political movements are experiencing resurgence around the world. In the United States, the 1992 presidential campaigns of David Duke, Patrick Buchanan, and H. Ross Perot echoed different elements of historic fascism. Duke’s neo-Nazi past resonates, in a consciously sanitized form, in his current formulations of white supremacist and anti-Jewish political theories. Duke has embraced key elements of the neo-Nazi Christian Identity religion. Buchanan’s theories of isolationist nationalism and xenophobia hearken back to the proto-fascist ideas of the 1930’s “America First” movement and its well-known promoters, Charles Lindbergh and Father Charles Coughlin. In his Republican convention speech, Buchanan eerily invoked Nazi symbols of blood, soil and honor. Perot’s candidacy provided us with a contemporary model of the fascist concept of the organic leader, the “Man on a White Horse” whose strong egocentric commands are seen as reflecting the will of the people. These three candidacies were played out as the Bush Administration pursued its agenda of a managed corporate economy, a repressive national security state, and an aggressive foreign policy based on military threat, all of which borrows heavily from the theories of corporatism, militarism, and authoritarianism adopted by Italian fascism.

Duke, Buchanan, and Perot all fed on the politics of resentment, alienation, frustration, anger and fear.1Their supporters tended to blame our vexing societal problems on handy scapegoats and they sought salvation from a strong charismatic leader. Most progressives vigorously rejected these candidacies and were not reluctant to point out the fascist strains. But there are other strains of fascism active today, and the siren calls of those movements may mesmerize progressives whose anti-government fervor blinds them to historical lessons.

While much attention has been paid to the more extreme biological-determinist neo-Nazi groups such as racist skinheads, there has also been steady growth in other forms of Fascism. Corporatism (sometimes called corporativism) and the economic nationalist branch of fascism are being revived. In Eastern Europe, racial nationalism, a key component of fascism, has surfaced in many new political parties, and is a driving force behind the tragic bloodletting and drive for “ethnic cleansing” in the former nation of Yugoslavia. Other pillars of fascism such as racism, xenophobia, anti-Jewish theories and anti-immigrant scapegoating provide a sinister backdrop for increasing physical assaults on people of color and lesbians and gay men.

Further complicating matters is the reemergence in Europe of fascist ideologies that promote concepts of racial nationalism: a national socialist strain of fascist ideology called the Third Position or Third Way, and its more intellectual aristocratic ally called the European New Right (Nouvelle Droit ).2 Intellectual leaders of the European New Right, such as Alain de Benoist, are hailed as profound thinkers in U.S. reactionary publications such as the Rockford Institute’s Chronicles . The more overtly neo-Nazi segment of the Third Position has intellectual links to the Strasserite wing of German national socialism, and is critical of Hitler’s brand of Nazism for having betrayed the working class.3 Third Position groups believe in a racially-homogeneous decentralized tribal form of nationalism, and claim to have evolved an ideology “beyond communism and capitalism.”

Third Position adherents actively seek to recruit from the left. One such group is the American Front in Portland, Oregon, which runs a phone hotline that in late November, 1991 featured an attack on critics of left/right coalitions. White supremacist leader Tom Metzger promotes Third Position politics in his newspaper WAR which stands for White Aryan Resistance. In Europe, the Third Position defines its racial-nationalist theories in publications such as Third Way and The Scorpion. Some Third Position themes have surfaced in the ecology movement and other movements championed by progressives.

The growth of fascist and proto-fascist ideology has created a dynamic where persons from far-right and fascist political groups in the United States are attempting to convince progressive activists to join forces to oppose certain government policies where there is a shared critique. The fascist right has wooed the progressive left primarily around opposition to such issues as the use of U.S. troops in foreign military interventions, support for Israel, the problems of CIA misconduct and covert action, domestic government repression, privacy rights, and civil liberties.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with building coalitions with conservatives or libertarians around issues of common concern, but a problem does arise when the persons seeking to join a coalition have racist, anti-Jewish or anti-democratic agendas. Besides being morally offensive, these persons often peddle scapegoating theories that can divide existing coalitions.

In fact, as the far right made overtures to the left in the early 1980’s, some of the classic scapegoating conspiracy theories of the far right began to seep into progressive, and even mainstream, analyses of foreign policy and domestic repression.4

The promotion of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories by the Christic Institute, the Pacifica Radio network, and scores of alternative radio stations, has created a large audience, especially on the West Coast, that gullibly accepts undocumented anti-government assertions alongside scrupulous documented research, with little ability to tell the two apart. The audience was expanded through public speaking, radio interviews, sales of audiotapes and videotapes, and published articles. Elevated to leadership roles were those persons who were willing to make the boldest and most critical (albeit unsubstantiated) pronouncements about the U.S. government and U.S. society. This phenomenon has undermined serious institutional and economic analysis, replacing it with a diverting soap opera of individual conspiracies, and inadvertently creating an audience ripe for harvesting by fascist demagoguery.

While they are prodigious researchers, many of the theories and conclusions offered by John Judge, Mark Lane, Daniel Sheehan, Dave Emory, Barbara Honegger, Dennis Bernstein, and the late Mae Brussell are seriously flawed, frequently fail to meet minimal standards of logic, and on balance are unreliable.5 The views of these conspiracy peddlers are frequently promoted on alternative radio programs, and they have created a progressive constituency that confuses demagoguery with leadership, and undocumented conspiracism with serious research. Many of their followers seem unable to determine when an analysis supports or undermines the progressive goals of peace, social justice and economic fairness. This is primarily a problem within the white left, but in some Black nationalist constituencies the same dynamic has also popularized conspiracy theories which in some cases reflect anti-Jewish themes long circulated by the far right.

Conspiracism and demagoguery feature simplistic answers to complex problems. During periods of economic or social crisis, people may seek to alleviate anxiety by embracing simple solutions, often including scapegoating. This often manifests itself in virulent attacks on persons of different races and cultures who are painted as alien conspiratorial forces undermining the coherent national will. Conspiracism, scapegoating, and demagoguery are prime ingredients of fascist ideology. Certainly progressives who supported the meteoric presidential candidacy of H. Ross Perot reflected a myopic misunderstanding of the role demagoguery and anti-regime rhetoric play in building a mass-base for fascism. Perot himself was not a fascist, but the political base he was forging could easily have been shaped into a fascist movement given the necessary economic and political conditions. Historically, demagogues project an image of strength and confidence which some persons in a society facing social and economic upheaval can find attractive.6

The phenomenon of the right wooing the left became highly visible during the 1990 military buildup preceding the Gulf War. Followers of Lyndon LaRouche attended antiwar meetings and rallies in some thirty cities, and other right-wing organizers from groups such as the John Birch Society and the Populist Party passed out flyers at antiwar demonstrations across the country. While these right-wing groups undeniably opposed war with Iraq, they also promoted ideas that peace and social justice activists have historically found objectionable. Many people seeking to forge alliances with the left around anti-government and anti-interventionist policies also promote Eurocentric, anti-pluralist, patriarchal, or homophobic views. Some are profoundly anti-democratic; others support the idea that the U.S. is a Christian republic. A few openly promote white supremacist, anti-Jewish, or neo-Nazi theories.

While there is inevitable overlap at the edges of political movements, the far-right and fascist sectors being discussed in this study are separate and distinct from traditional conservatism, the right wing of the Republican Party, libertarianism, anarchism, and other political movements sometimes characterized as right wing. The John Birch Society, for instance, is a far-right reactionary political movement, but it attempts to distance itself from racialist and anti-Jewish theories. Other groups analyzed in this paper, such as the Populist Party, Liberty Lobby, and the LaRouchians, on the other hand, represent a continuation of the racialist, anti-democratic theories of fascism.

It is important to differentiate between the fascist right and persons on the left who in a variety of ways have been lured by the overtures of the fascist right and its conspiracist theories, or who have ended up wittingly or unwittingly in coalitions with spokespersons for the fascist right, or who have contact with the fascist right as part of serious and legitimate research into political issues.

In some cases progressive groups have begun to address the problems created by this courtship by the right. Radio station WBAI aired several hours of programming within a week of discovering that their broadcasts had included interviews with persons whose right-wing affiliations were not disclosed to the listeners. The Progressive, The GuardianZ Magazine and In These Times have run articles and commentaries on the situation, as have the alternative newspapers Portland AllianceEast Bay Express and San Francisco Weekly. Pacifica radio stations KPFK and KPFA in California, however, waited months before their listeners even learned there was a debate over these issues, and continued to air persons linked to racist, anti-Jewish, and homophobic movements without proper identification for many months.

The Christic Institute has been especially reluctant to renounce publicly attempts by the fascist right to imply an alliance with their organization. Rightists such as Bo Gritz and Craig Hulet continue to imply that they work closely with Daniel Sheehan and Father Bill Davis of the Christic Institute, while the response from the Christic Institute has been tardy and equivocal.

In part, the fascist right has been able to forge ties to the left due to a serious lack of knowledge on the left regarding the complex history, different forms, and multiple tactics of fascism. Among those tactics are the use of scapegoating, reductionist and simplistic solutions, demagoguery, and a conspiracy theory of history.7 Fascists have historically used radical-sounding or populist appeals and adopted themes opportunistically from socialism and the labor movement, and then mixed those themes with theories of nationalism and racial pride. Nazi, after all, is an abbreviated acronym of the National Socialist German Workers Party.

In addition, there are a variety of forms of populism, some progressive, some regressive and dictatorial. Margaret Canovan in her study of populism describes two main branches of populism and seven sub-variants. Agrarian populism includes movements of farmers, movements of peasants, and movements of intellectuals who romanticize farmers and peasants. Political populism includes populist democracy, populist dictatorship, reactionary populism, and politician’s populism. argaret Canovan, Populism (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1981 Peter Fritzsche in Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in Weimar Germany shows that middle-class populists in Weimar launched bitter attacks against both the government and big business. This populist surge was later harvested by the Nazi movement which parasitized the forms and themes of the reactionary populists and moved their constituencies far to the right through demagoguery and scapegoating.8

Theories of racialist nationalism and national socialism are not widely known in the United States. If they were, it is unlikely that any serious progressive would be seduced by the right’s idea of an alliance to smash the powerful corrupt center, based on a shared agenda critical of government policies. This concept has an unsavory historical track record. The European fascist movements in the 1930’s flourished in a period of economic collapse, political turmoil, and social crisis. The German Nazi party, during its early national socialist phase, openly enlisted progressive support to smash the corrupt and elitist Weimar government.

When the government began to collapse, however, powerful industrial and banking interests recruited Hitler to take control the government in order to prevent economic chaos, which would have displaced them as power brokers and brought in socialism. In return for state control, Hitler quickly liquidated the leadership of his national socialist allies in a murderous spree called the “Night of the Long Knives.” Once state power had been consolidated, the Nazis went on to liquidate the left before lining up Jews, labor leaders, intellectuals, dissidents, homosexuals, Poles, Gypsies (the Romani), dark-skinned immigrants, the infirm, and others deemed undesirable.

While conditions in the United States may only faintly echo the financial and social turmoil of the Weimar regime, the similarities cannot be dismissed lightly, nor should the catastrophic power of state fascism and the repression of an authoritarian government be confused.

In some cases, people who believe themselves to be progressive activists see no moral problem with alliances with the fascist right, so long as the shared enemy is the Bush Administration. Some people who consider themselves progressive even argue that a fascist government could not be any worse than the Reagan and Bush Administrations, with their devastating effects on the poor and persons of color. Because they feel current policies are nearly genocidal, they say they will work with any ally to smash the status quo. This view dangerously underestimates the murderous quality of fascism. Similarly, other progressives argued in favor of supporting Duke or Buchanan for President in order to draw votes away from Bush and thus elect the Democratic candidate. While Duke and Buchanan had little chance of election, any progressive support for their candidacies minimized the dangers involved in supporting a national political movement which uses fascist themes.9 This study seeks to sharpen the debate over how to handle the phenomenon of the right wooing the left, and is not meant to divide or attack the left, which is being victimized by these approaches. As anti-fascist author George Seldes pointed out over fifty years ago, “The enemy is always the Right. Fascism and Reaction inevitably attack. They have won against disunion. They will fail if we unite.”

There are four separate but related dilemmas posed by the phenomenon of the fascist right wooing the left:

  • How to educate progressive forces about the history of fascism, so the left is not lured into a repetition of past mistakes, and can more readily identify anti-democratic theories.
  • How to reject unsubstantiated conspiracy theories, demagoguery and scapegoating (from the right or the left), while at the same time promoting a vigorous critique of government repression, covert action, and social injustice.
  • How progressive journalists and researchers should handle contacts with the political far right, and how rightists should be identified by journalists when they are used as sources.
  • How progressive political coalitions should handle overtures by the political right which suggest tactical or strategic alliances around issues of common concern, and to what extent it is necessary for groups and individuals to distance themselves publicly from fascists who imply an alliance when one does not exist.

This study begins with a brief overview of several paranoid conspiracy theories prevalent in contemporary right-wing circles. It then examines the right wing’s anti-government critique and rightist influences on Christic Institute’s theories of Iran-Contragate.

There is a large section on the Gulf War period, including an extensive examination of the LaRouchians’ attempts to penetrate the progressive antiwar movement, as well as a brief look at the activities of other far-right groups (both pro-war and anti-interventionist) during the Gulf War. This section includes a discussion of the surprising involvement of some formerly prominent civil rights leaders with LaRouchian and other neo-fascist groups.

A discussion of left/right coalition building focuses on the appeal of radio personality Craig Hulet. The next section examines the emergence of anti-Jewish bigotry within Black nationalist movements.

In a section on Fascists as information sources, there is a preliminary attempt to establish some criteria for discussion of the complex issues involved. There is a section on logical fallacies, propaganda, demagoguery and the pitfalls of unsubstantiated conspiracism. Finally, there is a brief discussion of the overall dilemma and a suggestion that further study and open discussion are needed to sort out the complex and confusing issues raised by but, alas, not answered by this report.

PARANOID CONSPIRACISM AND THE RIGHT

After the Alaska Green Party held its convention in March 1992 in Fairbanks, the newly-elected chair, Ronnie Rosenberg, began to poke around. She wanted to figure out what was behind several convention resolutions with unusually idiosyncratic themes and why individuals who clearly had their own peculiar agendas were showing up at Green Party meetings. She discovered the Greens had attracted a new constituency. “These people were clearly not from the progressive movement, and some didn’t even know what was in our party platform,” says Rosenberg. “They were against big government and distrustful of bureaucracy and authority, and they clearly wanted to build alliances with us.”

What most concerned Rosenberg was that some of the would-be Greens who seemed wound up in their own conspiracy theories might be involved with Far Right groups.

” We want to give people a fair hearing and we don’t want to close ourselves off from sincere new members since we do want to build coalitions,” says Rosenberg,” but we don’t want to be used as a vehicle for some hidden right-wing agenda.” Rosenberg, active with the Tanana-Yukon Greens, wants to be sure that sincere people don’t get co-opted.” I guess we just have to keep our eyes open,” she says.

There are many individuals around the country promoting unsubstantiated and often paranoid conspiracy theories in publications, lectures and radio talk show interviews. While some of these conspiracy theories are very attractive on the surface, and are undeniably entertaining, they ultimately serve to distract people from serious analysis and crowd out serious discussion of government misconduct, covert action, foreign policy, and civil liberties. It doesn’t matter if the source is sincere, psychotic, sensationalist, or sent with disinformation by sinister souls to sink the story, the result is that careful and arduous investigations into a story are undermined as each element of an elaborate conspiracy theory is disproven.

There certainly are real conspiracies in history, and the U.S. political scene has been littered during the past thirty years with examples of illegal political and government operations ranging from Watergate to Iran Contragate, and from the FBI’s Counterintelligence Program (COINTELPRO) to the systematic looting of the savings and loan industry. Separating real conspiracies from the fictional, non-rational, lunatic, or deliberately fabricated variety is the problem faced by serious researchers, activists, and journalists. In this paper the term conspiracy theorist refers to someone whose analysis of documents, statements, and other evidence has become uncoupled from a logical train of thought.

Dubious conspiracism has become widely accepted on the left, with large audiences mesmerized by endless tales of intrigue broadcast on progressive and alternative radio stations. For a time, stations on the Pacifica radio network, especially FM stations KPFA, KPFK and WBAI, were a major source of conspiratorial analysis for the left, although internal discussions within the network prompted some reforms.

Scores of small FM stations play tapes by or air interviews with a cast of conspiracy-mongering characters including John Judge, David Emory, Sherman Skolnick, Bo Gritz, and Craig Hulet (aka K.C. Depass). These “experts” weave webs so intricate they make a Hitchcock plot seem like a script for Mr. Rogers: cures for AIDS and cancer are intentionally being suppressed by a government/media plot; Naval Intelligence secretly controls the U.S.; the CIA arranged the Anita Hill-Clarence Thomas confrontation.

Unsubstantiated conspiracy theories peddled by questionable sources have infected some major stories, and can be found to varying degrees in the story of an alleged “October Surprise” , the Christic Institute’s “Secret Team” theory, the late writer Danny Casolaro’s “Octopus” theory, some versions of the Iran-Contra scandal, the savings and loan debacle, BCCI, the search for POWs and MIAs, the Drug War, AIDS, the apparent theft of Promis software, covert action, and CIA secret machinations.

It is important to note that the audience for the Pacifica network and progressive radio stations is dwarfed by the audience for right-wing radio programs that promote conspiracism. A surprising number of conspiracy mongers, whether or not they self-identify as right wing, are peddling variations on long-standing paranoid right-wing conspiracy theories in which sinister global elites secretly manipulate world events. While some information circulated by the far right may be factual, other material can be unsubstantiated rumors or lunatic conspiracy theories. Some material is bigoted and embodies racist or anti-Jewish theories. Paranoid conspiracy theories of secret control have been promulgated for decades by the far right in the U.S., and were analyzed by historian Richard Hofstadter in his book The Paranoid Style in American Politics.10 “The central preconception of the paranoid style,” wrote Hofstadter, is the belief in “the existence of a vast, insidious, preternaturally effective international conspiratorial network designed to perpetrate acts of the most fiendish character.”

Political movements with paranoid conspiracist theories have garnished the American political scene since the Salem Witch Trials and the anti-Masonic hysteria in the 1700’s. Adherents of these conspiracy theories remain a small isolated minority except during times of economic or social stress when a mass following develops to blame selected scapegoats for the problems besetting the society.

Groups at various times scapegoated as the engines behind the global conspiracy include: Jews, bankers, Catholics, communists, Black militants, civil rights activists, anarchists, the Bavarian Illuminati society, Jesuits, the Rockefellers, the Council on Foreign Relations, Israeli secret police, Trilateralists,11 the Bilderberger banking group, and Soviet KGB agents.

In paranoid political philosophies, the world is divided into us and them. Evil conspirators control world events. A special few have been given the knowledge of this massive conspiracy and it is their solemn duty to spread the alarm across the land.

Conspiracism and scapegoating go hand-in-hand, and both are key ingredients of the fascist phenomenon. Fascism is difficult to define succinctly. As Roger Scruton observes in “A Dictionary of Political Tought,” fascism is “An amalgam of disparate conceptions.”12

[Fascism is] more notable as a political phenomenon on which diverse intellectual influences converge than as a distinct idea; as political phenomenon, one of its most remarkable features has been the ability to win massive popular support for ideas that are expressly anti-egalitarian.

Fascism is characterised by the following features (not all of which need be present in any of its recognized instances): nationalism; hostility to democracy, to egalitarianism, and to the values of the enlightenment; the cult of the leader, and admiration for his special qualities; a respect for collective organization, and a love of the symbols associated with it, such as uniforms, parades and army discipline.

The ultimate doctrine contains little that is specific, beyond an appeal to energy, and action.

Another way to look at fascism is as a movement of extreme racial or cultural nationalism, combined with economic corporatism and authoritarian autocracy; masked during its rise to state power by pseudo-radical populist appeals to overthrow a conspiratorial elitist regime; spurred by a strong charismatic leader whose reactionary ideas are said to organically express the will of the masses who are urged to engage in a heroic collective effort to attain a metaphysical goal against the machinations of a scapegoated demonized adversary.

In any case, in most definitions of fascism the themes of conspiracism and a targetted scapegoat emerge.

One of the most loathsome denizens of the racist far right is lecturer Eustace Mullins. Mullins’ tours are promoted in ads placed in the Spotlight. In his pamphlet The Secret Holocaust, Mullins asserts:

The record shows that only Christians have been victims of the historic massacres. The Jews, when they did not do the killings themselves, as they always prefer to do, were always in the background as the only instigators of these crimes against humanity. We can and we must protect ourselves against the bloodthirsty bestiality of the Jew by every possible means, and we must be aware that the Christian creed of love and mercy can be overshadowed by the Jewish obsession that all non Jews are animals to be killed.13

Mullins is best known as a critic of the Federal Reserve system, and in public appearances he avoids anti-Jewish rhetoric. His work was briefly promoted by Chuck Harder’s “For the People” radio talk show program and a related newspaper. Harder pursues right-wing conspiracist themes, while scheduling a wide range of guests including consumer advocate Ralph Nader. Harder’s program is aired by more than 140 AM and FM stations, and also on short wave and satellite frequencies.

The Sun Radio Network, essentially owned by Liberty Lobby, carried a popular daily program that churns the conspiracies “du jour” : Tom Valentine’s “Radio Free America” . Midwest bureau chief for “Spotlight” , Valentine is a member of the advisory board of Liberty Lobby’s Populist Action Committee. According to Shelly Shapiro, director of Holocaust Survivors and Friends in Pursuit of Justice, the Sun Radio Network is one of the most significant sources of anti-Jewish and pro-fascist propaganda in the U.S.

Radio programs such as Harder’s and Valentine’s launder the views of their right-wing guests to sound more reasonable to a broad audience. Listeners can pursue the topic by writing or calling the guests and asking for more information, with phone numbers and addresses handily provided by the talk show host. In this way listeners can be introduced to the more virulently racist and anti-Jewish material through the mail. No matter where the right-wing conspiracy theories emerge, their roots trace back to a handful of groups or movements on the right. In recent years the four main centers of paranoid conspiracism and scapegoating on the right have been the John Birch Society, the Liberty Lobby, the LaRouchians, and the movement known as the New Right.

The New Right & The Secular Humanism Conspiracy Theory

The reactionary New Right, a movement which emerged to help orchestrate the election of Ronald Reagan as president in 1980, contains an implicit conspiracy theory regarding subversion by secular humanism that is drawn from earlier right-wing political movements. Reactionary conservative opposition to racial equality, economic justice, and social change has long been the breeding ground for racial and cultural bigotry in America.

In the 1956 book Cross-Currents (sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith before its conversion to neo-conservative analysis) authors Arnold Forster and Benjamin R. Epstein examined this phenomenon:

Three overlapping forces seem to be coalescing as we begin the presidential election year 1956–the hate groups, welded to one another by the anti-Semitism they all exploit; latter-day know-nothings who in their fear of communism oppose civil liberties as a weakness in our ramparts; extreme political reactionaries who are unable or unwilling to recognize the bigots among those joining their movement.

The three forces are unified on many issues, including opposition to the present programs and leadership of the Republican and Democratic parties, to the United Nations and its UNESCO, to modern education as we know it in the United States, and to the socio-economic changes that have come on the domestic scene over the last two decades.

…we have examined (those) in the field of professional bigotry, the mechanics of their operations, and the ugly substance of their propaganda. We have seen the panic created by the know-nothings and how they have hurt people. To complete the picture, we should direct our attention to the activities of the reactionary movement, probing for a moment its motivations, the character of its contribution to current events, and its impact on our nation.

The idea of a conscious and powerful secular humanist movement is surprisingly widespread on the political right. “How well can you answer the secular humanists?” asks a direct mail advertisement from the Conservative Book Club offering as selections “Major treatments of two modern scourges: atheism and feminism.” While there are variations and debates, the central theme is promoted by groups such as the Heritage Foundation, Free Congress Foundation, Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, Concerned Women for America, Conservative Caucus, John Birch Society, Summit Ministries, Christian Anti-Communism Crusade, and the televangelist ministries of Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell.

Author Sara Diamond in her book Spiritual Warfare: the Politics of the Christian Right calls Secular Humanism the “Boogey-Man” of right-wing fundamentalism. According to Diamond, “Among Christian Right leaders, the primary advocate of war on secular humanism has been Tim LaHaye, one of the founders of the Moral Majority and head of the American Coalition for Traditional Values.” Diamond says that in the 1970’s LaHaye developed “an elaborate theory on the humanist conspiracy, linking the ACLU, the NAACP, the National Organization for Women, Hollywood movie producers and even Unitarianism to the impending downfall of modern civilization. The solution, LaHaye argues, is for Christian moralists to seize control of political and ideological institutions.”

Another early example of this thesis was the 1976 Heritage Foundation tract titled Secular Humanism and the Schools: The Issue Whose Time Has Come, Author Onalee McGraw argues that advocates of humanist education such as John Dewey, Jean Piaget, and Abraham Maslow “have made `socialization’ of the child the main purpose of American education.” Humanistic education does not focus on “the traditional and generally accepted virtues” stressed by the “Judeo-Christian principles taught by most families at home,” says McGraw, but on theories of “moral relativism and situation ethics” which are “based on predominantly materialistic values found only in man’s nature itself” and “without regard for the Judeo-Christian moral order, which is based on the existence and fatherhood of a personal God.”

According to McGraw, humanistic education has lead to the “precipitous deterioration of learning achievement in our schools” evidenced by declining SAT scores. Her solution was to advocate federal and state legislation barring role-playing, sensitivity training, values clarification, moral education, or the teaching of situation ethics. The tract included the text of the Secular Humanism Amendment submitted to Congress in 1976 which sought to ban federal funding of educational programs” involving any aspect of the religion of Secular Humanism.”

Academics trace the roots of the secular humanist conspiracy phobia to a turn of the century movement called Nativism which fought the growth of labor unions and the arrival of ethnically-diverse immigrants. The movement coalesced during the turmoil of the Bolshevik revolution and World War I, and soon popularized the fear of the Red Menace and the idea that America was being destroyed from within by subversives. Author Frank Donner’s 500-page book The Age of Surveillance is considered the definitive study of the theories underlying the fear of the “Red Menace” by the subversive-hunting nativists. According to Donner:

The root anti-subversive impulse was fed by the Menace. Its power strengthened with the passage of time, by the late twenties its influence had become more pervasive and folkish. Bolshevism came to be identified over wide areas of the country by God-fearing Americans as the Antichrist come to do eschatological battle with the children of light. A slightly secularized version, widely-shared in rural and small-town America, postulated a doomsday conflict between decent upright folk and radicalism–alien, satanic, immorality incarnate.

Professor Richard Hofstadter laid out the three basic elements of contemporary right-wing thought shared by many paranoid nativists and reactionaries:

First, there has been the now familiar sustained conspiracy, running over more than a generation, and reaching its climax in Roosevelt’s New Deal, to undermine free capitalism, to bring the economy under the direction of the federal government, and to pave the way for socialism or communism. . . .

The second contention is that top government officialdom has been so infiltrated by Communists that American policy, at least since the days leading up to Pearl Harbor, has been dominated by sinister men who were shrewdly and consistently selling out American national interests.

The final contention is that the country is infused with a network of communist agents. . .so that the whole apparatus of education, religion, the press, and the mass media are engaged in a common effort to paralyze the resistance of loyal Americans.

For many years the decline of the west caused by liberalism as an ally of communism was a mainstay theory of the Old Right. It fed the Cold War and the witch-hunts of the McCarthy period. In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s a network of nativist anti-communists spread the gospel of the Red Menace through books, magazine articles and workshops. Perhaps the most influential leaders of this movement was Dr. Fred Schwartz and his California-based Christian Anti-communism Crusade. A tireless lecturer, Schwartz in 1960 authored You Can Trust the Communists (to be Communists) which sold over one million copies. It soon became the secular Bible of the nativists. Schwartz’s newsletter once suggested that communists promote abortion, pornography, homosexuality, venereal disease and mass murder (his list) as a way to weaken the moral fiber of America and pave the way for a communist takeover.

The views on intractable godless communism expressed by Schwartz were central themes in three other widely distributed books which were used to mobilize support for the 1964 Goldwater campaign. The best known was Phyllis Schlafly’s A Choice, Not an Echo which suggested a conspiracy theory in which the Republican Party was secretly controlled by elitist intellectuals dominated by members of the Bilderberger group, whose policies would usher in global communist conquest. Schlafly’s husband Fred had been a lecturer at Schwartz’s local Christian Anti-communism Crusade conferences.

Schlafly elaborate on the theme of the global communist conspiracy and its witting and unwitting domestic allies in a book on military preparedness tailored to and published in support of the Goldwater campaign,The Gravediggers, co-authored with retired Rear Admiral Chester Ward. Ward, a member of the National Strategy Committee of the American Security Council was also a lecturer at the Foreign Policy Research Institute which formulated many benchmark Cold War anti-communist strategies. The Gravediggers,showed how U.S. military strategy and tactics was actually designed to pave the way for global communist conquest.

Often overlooked because of the publicity surrounding “A Choice, Not an Echo” (the title became one of Goldwater’s campaign slogans), was Stormer’s, None Dare Call it Treason, which outlined how the equivocation of Washington insiders would pave the way for global communist conquest. None Dare Call it Treason sold over seven million copies, making it one of the largest-selling paperback books of the day. The back cover summarizes the text as detailing “the communist-socialist conspiracy to enslave America” and documenting “the concurrent decay in America’s schools, churches, and press which has conditioned the American people to accept 20 years of retreat in the face of the communist enemy.” Stormer recently updated his text to expand on his theory of how secular humanism played a key role in undermining America.

All of the above-mentioned books were primarily self-published and circulated through word of mouth. Their effect on the U.S. political scene, coupled with an aggressive grassroots organizing campaign, was virtually invisible until the 1964 Republican convention where delegates such as Schlafly and Stormer rallied the Goldwater supporters they had helped organize precinct by precinct. The Goldwater nomination was the high point for the resurgent nativists in the 1960’s, but mainstream Republicans were not ready for the nativist political agenda, nor was the American electorate.

The overwhelming defeat of Goldwater in the general election was a disappointment to the nativists, but it was seen as a temporary setback. Starting with Goldwater contributor lists, a new generation of ultra-conservatives set out to build what became known as the New Right. Not all persons affiliated with the Old Right and New Right shared a high level of paranoid thinking–Goldwater himself rejected the more extreme views–yet paranoid conspiracy theories, much of it transplanted from the John Birch Society, infused much New Right thinking. With the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the New Right has shifted its focus from anti-communism to the perceived domestic brand of subversion by collectivist secularist elites with their calls for internationalist or globalist cooperation and their disdain for “traditional” family values.

JOHN BIRCH SOCIETY

For the John Birch Society and similar groups, the phrase “New World Order” used by the Bush Administration is proof of their assertion that a long-standing conspiracy promoting “One World Government” and collectivist society controls all major world governments. They point to the Masonic emblems and slogans on the back of the U.S. one dollar bill as evidence.

The Birch Society is highly critical of mass democratic movements for social change, including those that seek equality for women, gay men and lesbians, Blacks, Hispanics, and recent immigrants from Asia and Central America. The Birchers believe most world governments are controlled by a handful of conspirators they dub “The Insiders.”

The JBS has in recent years tried to avoid anti-Jewish or racist rhetoric, instead basing its theories on the belief that all major world powers, including the U.S. and the Soviet Union, are controlled by a covert group of “Insiders,” such as members of the Trilateral Commission, the Bilderberg banking conference, or the Council on Foreign Relations.

The Blue Book of the John Birch Society has been given to each new member since Belmont, Massachusetts candy maker Robert Welch founded the group at an Indianapolis meeting of twelve “patriotic and public-spirited” men in 1958. According to the Blue Book, both the U.S. and Soviet governments are controlled by the same conspiratorial international cabal of bankers, corrupt politicians and other evil-doers. In recent years the Society has dubbed them the “Insiders.” In Birch theory, communism is merely one scam used by the Insiders to control the world.

LIBERTY LOBBY

Among the most influential ultra-right groups in the U.S. is the virulently anti-Jewish Liberty Lobby. With its newspaper Spotlight, Liberty Lobby spreads racialism across the U.S., and serves as a bridge to the paramilitary and neo-Nazi right. The Washington Post has described Spotlight as a “newspaper containing orthodox conservative political articles interspersed with anti-Zionist tracts and classified advertisements for Ku Klux Klan T-shirts, swastika-marked German coins and cassette tapes of Nazi marching songs.” That description is actually mild.

Spotlight, with a readership of some 200,000, claims it is neither anti-Jewish nor pro-Nazi, but one article referred to the Waffen SS, the elite corps of ideological Nazis, as a “multinational anti-communist mass movement, which was, in fact, the largest all-volunteer army in history.” The Spotlight also celebrates neo-Nazi skinheads and the apartheid government of South Africa.

Liberty Lobby, Spotlight, the International Revisionist Conference, the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), Noontide Press, and IHR’s Journal of Historical Review are all projects of Willis Carto, one of America’s most influential racial theorists. Carto is described by the London-based anti-fascist magazine Searchlightas the “leading U.S. publisher of anti-semitic, racist and pro-Nazi material.”

Carto and Liberty Lobby were influential in creating the racialist Populist Party and were primarily responsible for elevating David Duke to national attention as an electoral candidate. In the spring of 1985 the Populist Party held a major meeting in Chicago where the armed and confrontational activities of racist and anti-Jewish groups in rural America were saluted as “heroic,” according to persons who attended the meeting. One group of rural farm activists from the Midwest left the meeting after complaining that too many of the attendees were obsessed with Jews. (A series of political and financial schisms has ended the direct relationship between Liberty Lobby and the Populist Party, although both groups still share many of the fundamental anti-Jewish and racist theories.) The forces around the Populist Party believe a conspiracy of rich and powerful Jews and their allies control banking, foreign policy, the CIA and the media in the United States. Like Duke, they also believe in an America controlled by white Christians of exclusively European heritage.

The pseudo-scholarly Institute for Historical Review is a “revisionist” research center and publishing house that popularizes the calumny that the historical account of the Nazi Holocaust is a Jewish hoax, an idea central to Carto’s worldview. According to researcher Russ Bellant, early in his career Willis Carto produced the magazine Western Destiny, which grew out of the Nordicist Northern World and a vociferously anti-Jewish magazine called Right. Right recommended support for the American Nazi Party and was edited by E. L. Anderson who was associate editor of Western Destiny. Critics and co-workers of Carto claim E. L. Anderson was a pseudonym for Willis Carto.

Liberty Lobby staff and supporters helped stage the 1978 meeting of the World Anti-Communist League, a group that networks fascist movements around the globe. According to the Washington Post, Liberty Lobby workers distributed publications including Spotlight at the WACL meeting. A few years later, after a change of leadership and some mostly-cosmetic housecleaning to oust a few ardent Nazi groups, WACL came under the leadership of retired General John “Jack” Singlaub. Singlaub used WACL to raise money and support for the Contras, and Singlaub and WACL were implicated in the Iran-Contra hearings for having served as a cover and money laundry for the activities of Oliver North.

While the John Birch Society trumpets jingoistic patriotism laced with conspiracy theories, according to scholar Frank P. Mintz, the Liberty Lobby voices “racist and anti-Semitic beliefs in addition to conspiracism.” Mintz explains:

Structurally, the Lobby was a most unusual umbrella organization catering to constituencies spanning the fringes of Neo-Nazism to the John Birch Society and the radical right. It was not truly paramilitary, in the manner of the Ku Klux Klan and Nazis, but was more accurately an intermediary between racist paramilitary factions and the recent right.

The Liberty Lobby is thus quasi-Nazi, promoting many of the themes of fascism and racial nationalism, and certainly networking and being used by persons and groups who are neo-Nazi. The harshest critics of Liberty Lobby say that it should just be called neo-Nazi, arguing that formulations such as quasi-Nazi are academic rather than useful.

Former staffers at both the Liberty Lobby and LaRouche’s group claim both outfits have cooperated closely on several projects. In the March 2, 1981 issue of its newspaper Spotlight, Liberty Lobby cynically defended the relationship this way:

It is mystifying why so many anti-communists and `conservatives’ oppose the USLP [U.S. Labor Party–LaRouche’s original electoral arm, ed.]. No group has done so much to confuse, disorient, and disunify the Left as they have…the USLP should be encouraged, as should all similar breakaway groups from the Left, for this is the only way that the Left can be weakened and broken.

More recently, Spotlight has distanced itself and Liberty Lobby from the LaRouchians over the issue of the LaRouchians’ questionable and illegal fundraising activities.

LAROUCHITES

The LaRouchites believe the world is controlled by a sinister global conspiracy of evil-doers. LaRouche traces this conspiracy back to the Babylonian goddess society, and says the historical battle between good and evil is exemplified in the philosophical division between Platonic order and Aristotelian chaos. The Aristotelian conspirators are diverse: the Queen of England (” a dope pusher” ), George Bernard Shaw, Jimmy Carter (” a hundred times worse than Hitler” ), Playboy magazine, Milton Friedman, Fidel Castro, Jesuits, Masons and the AFL-CIO. A remarkable number of the sinister conspirators turn out to be Jewish.

The LaRouchites have supported foreign dictatorships such as the Marcos regime in the Philippines and the Noriega regime in Panama. LaRouche has written that history would not judge harshly those who beat homosexuals to death with baseball bats to stop the spread of AIDS.

In the early 1970’s, Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. took his followers from the political left and guided them into fascist politics. LaRouche’s cadre roamed the streets of New York, Philadelphia, and other cities with clubs and chains beating up trade union leaders, activists, socialists, and communists. At the time they still proclaimed themselves leftists, but the mainstream left shunned the LaRouchians. Then LaRouche began to adopt some of the economic theories of early national socialism. He thought that to make the revolution, there had to be a strong working class, and a strong working class, he figured, required full-employment. Full employment, he reasoned, would best be accomplished by developing a strong, modernized industrial base in the United States. LaRouche then concluded that development of a strong industrial sector was being hampered by the high interest rates demanded by the main sectors of finance capital in the U.S. and overseas.

LaRouche launched an unsuccessful 1976 Presidential bid when he paid cash for an hour of network television air time to warn the nation of a Soviet/Rockefeller/British plot to destroy the world using Jimmy Carter as a puppet. LaRouche’s attack on the centers of finance capital during his presidential campaign drew applause from parts of the American political far right, including those forces that equated finance capital with Jewish banking families.

LaRouche’s shift toward a Jewish conspiracy theory of history came shortly after the ultra-right Liberty Lobby began praising a 1976 USLP pamphlet titled “Carter and the International Party of Terrorism.” The pamphlet outlined the “Rockefeller-CIA-Carter axis,” which was supposedly trying to “deindustrialize” the U.S. and provoke a war with the Soviet Union by 1978. (At this point LaRouche had not yet discarded his support for the Soviet Union, nor announced his support for “Star Wars” defense against his perceived threat of imminent Soviet attack.)

In an overall favorable review of the USLP treatise on the Rockefeller-led global conspiracy, Liberty Lobby’s newspaper, Spotlight, complained that the report failed to mention any of the “major Zionist groups such as the notorious Anti-Defamation League” in its extensive list of government agencies, research groups, organizations and individuals controlled by the “Rockefeller-Carter-CIA” terrorism apparatus. LaRouche never was one to miss a cue, and soon his newspaper New Solidarity was running articles with bigoted views of Jews and Jewish institutions. The shift regarding who controlled the worldwide conspiracy came at an opportune time, since Nelson Rockefeller’s untimely death had left a major hole in LaRouche’s theoretical bulwark.

While often hidden or coded, sometimes the anti-Jewish rhetoric of the LaRouchians stands out clearly. In the December 12, 1990 issue of New Solidarity, a letter to the editor asks why the newspaper “scarcely mention[s] the Warburg and Rothschild families, the most important International Bankers. Is it because they are of Jewish ancestry?” Editor Nancy Spannaus responds:

We do attack the Warburgs and the Rothschilds for the evil they do and did. But they are not the highest level of the international financial oligarchy. That requires looking at the Thurn und Taxis family, the British Royal Family, and so forth. These guys love to use the so-called Jews as their front men.

According to LaRouche, one and a half million Jews, not many millions, perished during the Holocaust, and they died from overwork, disease, and starvation in work camps rather than from a planned program of extermination. This denial of the Holocaust is coupled with pronouncements in LaRouchian publications such as these:

The first, and most important fact to be recognized concerning the Hitler regime, is that Adolph Hitler was put into power in Germany on orders from London. The documentation of this matter is abundant and conclusive. (1978)

America must be cleansed for its righteous war by the immediate elimination of the Nazi Jewish Lobby and other British agents from the councils of government, industry and labor. (1978)

We shall end the rule of irrationalist episodic majorities, of British liberal notions of `democracy.’ (c. 1980)

Zionism is the state of collective psychosis through which London manipulates most of international Jewry. (1978)

Judaism is the religion of a caste of subjects of Christianity, entirely molded by ingenious rabbis to fit into the ideological and secular life of Christianity. in short, a self-sustaining Judaism never existed and never could exist. As for Jewish culture otherwise, it is merely the residue left to the Jewish home after everything saleable has been marketed to the Goyim. (1973)

Sexism and homophobia are central themes of the organization’s conspiracy theories. LaRouche announced that women’s feelings of degradation in modern society could be traced to the physical placement of sexual organs near the anus which caused them to confuse sex with excretion. A September 1973 editorial in the NCLC ideological journal Campaigner charged that “Concretely, all across the U.S.A., there are workers who are prepared to fight. They are held back, most immediately, by pressure from their wives….”

LaRouche has propounded ideas which represent outright racism. LaRouche, for instance, targeted the Hispanic community in a November 1973 essay (published in both English and Spanish) titled “The Male Impotence of the Puerto-Rican Socialist Party.” An internal memo by LaRouche asked “Can we imagine anything more viciously sadistic than the Black Ghetto mother?” He described the majority of the Chinese people as “approximating the lower animal species” by manifesting a “paranoid personality….a parallel general form of fundamental distinction from actual human personalities.”

THE WHITE SUPREMACIST MOVEMENT

The most significant branch of the radical white supremacist movement in the 1980’s and 1990’s is Christian Identity. “Identity is based on the premise that the Jews are literally Children of Satan–the seed of Cain, that people of color are `pre-Adamic’ mud people–God’s failures before perfecting Adam, and that white Christian Aryans are the `Lost Sheep of the House of Israel’– chosen people, and therefore America is the biblical promised land,” explains Lenny Zeskind, research director of the Center for Democratic Renewal.

” Some Identity members collect weapons and ammunition in expectation that the Biblical `End-Times’ are near,” says Zeskind who wrote a monograph on Christian Identity for the Division of Church and Society of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A. “Identity theology binds together a number of previously isolated groups…Important sections of the Ku Klux Klan, the neo-Nazi movement, the Posse Comitatus, the Aryan Nations, and other groups have adopted Identity theology,” Zeskind reports.

Identity is based primarily on an earlier religious concept called “British Israelism.” The group most responsible for spreading Christian Identity in the 1980’s was the Posse Comitatus, a loosely-knit survivalist movement which grew out of the Christian Identity teachings of Col. William Potter Gale in California. Survivalists believe the collapse of society is imminent, and thus they collect weapons and conduct field exercises in armed self-defense and reconnaissance. Some survivalists store large quantities of grains, dried foods, canned goods, water and vitamins in anticipation of long-projected economic or political collapse and racial rioting. Many have moved to isolated rural areas. Not all survivalists are part of the white supremacist movement, but many are.

The Posse Comitatus, Latin for “power of the county” but more accurately transliterated as “to empower the citizenry,” is the legal concept used by sheriffs in Hollywood westerns to round up a posse and chase the varmints. In modern legal terms it means the right to deputize citizens to carry out law enforcement functions, and it also is the basis of a federal law preventing the use of federal troops in civilian law enforcement without the express consent of the President. Members of the Posse Comitatus, however, promote an unsubstantiated belief that the Constitution does not authorize any law enforcement powers above the level of county sheriff, and that state and federal officials above the county level are part of a gigantic conspiracy to deny average citizens their rights.

Many Posse and Identity adherents believe Jews, Blacks, Communists, homosexuals and race-traitors have seized control of the United States. They refer to Washington, D.C. as the Zionist Occupational Government (ZOG). They read the novel “The Turner Diaries” in which an underground white army leads a revolution against ZOG.

In 1969 H. L. “Mike” Beach in Portland, Oregon began issuing “Sheriff’s Posse Comitatus” charters and handbooks. Soon Gale began issuing his own charters and a handbook called the “Guide for Volunteer Christian Posses.” Early factionalism gave way to an informal political and religious movement which began to grow. In the early 1970’s a Posse manifesto was issued in booklet form. In late 1974 a national Posse convention was held in Wisconsin with 200-300 attending.

The most visible and active branch of the Posse for many years was in Wisconsin. The press gave much attention to Wisconsin Posse leader James Wickstrom, although his claims to hold some vague national leadership post was flatly contradicted by the autonomous and anarchistic nature of the Posse itself.

States where Posse activity was reported in the 1980’s included: California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

The most violent Posse confrontation involved the mishandled attempt to serve legal papers on Posse activist Gordon Kahl. Two federal agents from the Justice Department’s U.S. Marshals Service were killed, and several persons wounded. Kahl fled underground and was later killed in another mishandled attempt to flush him from a fortified bunker. Kahl and other white supremacists killed or jailed by the government have become martyrs to Posse adherents and other racists. After the Gordon Kahl incident, many Posse and Christian Identity members decided to carry out activities in secret or through front groups.

While the Posse was growing in the Midwest and west, members of Ku Klux Klan and Nazi groups joined together for a deadly assault on an anti-Klan rally in Greensboro, North Carolina on November 3, 1979. Five members and supporters of the Communist Workers Party were killed in the shootout. Following the Greensboro shootings and the death of Gordon Kahl, a number of previously-antagonistic racist groups in America began to make contact with each other, and began to establish informal means of communication and information sharing. Christian Identity was the glue than held the groups together.

Not all Klan groups accepted the new Identity-based coalition, but those that did began to call themselves the Fifth Era Klan to demark what they hoped would be the fifth period of growth by the Klan since its inception. The Fifth Era Klan adherents sought to forge ties with other racist groups across the nation. One concept hotly debated was the idea of a mass movement of white supremacists to the pacific northwest where there were relatively few minorities and a low population density. Racist groups began to stage joint activities, sometimes built around survivalist encampments. As this cooperation became more formalized, what emerged was, in effect, a white racist alliance which shared a belief in Identity. One of the leaders of the movement in the northwest was Identity Pastor Richard Butler of the Church of Jesus Christ–Christian which operated out of a compound called Aryan Nations in Hayden Lake, Idaho.

The members of the group variously called The Order, White American Bastion, or The Silent Brotherhood, who were convicted in Seattle for staging armed robberies and murdering Denver talk show host Alan Berg, were predominantly adherents of Identity organized out of the national meetings held at Butler’s Aryan Nations. According to the Klanwatch Intelligence Report of the Southern Poverty Law Center:

A look at the backgrounds of some of the 23 Order members prosecuted in Seattle illustrates the cooperation between radicals that now permeates the extremist right: Five had Klan ties, one had been a Nazi party member, a half-dozen were Aryan Nations, one was a veteran tax protester, four CSA’s [Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord] five National Alliance members….Many of the 23 were united by Identity…

“Aryan” or “White” as used by Identity ostensibly refers to persons of Nordic, Anglo-Saxon or Germanic stock, or at the very least, persons stemming from Northern or Middle European ancestors. The Identity definition of “Aryan” is more closely related to mythological or operatic reality rather than any scientific or anthropological definition of Indo-European peoples. Aryan actually is a term used by linguists to trace the common roots of the Indo-European languages.

Christian Identity borrows paranoid conspiratorial beliefs from reactionary groups such as the John Birch Society with their claim that secret cabals run most world governments under orders from wealthy elites such as the Rockefeller family acting through groups such as the Trilateralist Commission, the Bilderberger banking conference, the Council on Foreign Relations, and officials of the Federal Reserve Bank.

From ultra-right Christian fundamentalists comes the idea of a secular humanist conspiracy involving liberal elites such as radical academics, teachers union leaders, journalists and network television programmers and gay men and lesbians who pave the way for leftists, socialists and communists. These are the core beliefs of persons such as Reed Irvine of Accuracy in Academia and Accuracy in Media, and Phyllis Schlafly of the Eagle Forum. Pat Robertson, leader of the Christian Coalition, recently wrote a book attacking president Bush’s New World Order and echoing many paranoid conspiratorial charges of the reactionary and fascist right. Robertson also throws in a discussion of sinister networks of Masonic lodges and the shadowy Illuminati group. It is these reactionary forces that made TV appearances during the Republican convention in 1992.

White supremacists add to the bizarre brew a list of racial enemies such as Jews, Blacks, Latinos, Asians, Indians, indeed all non-Aryans. The Posse Comitatus also sees as agents of the conspiracy all state and national elected politicians, and all law enforcement officials above level of county sheriff such as game wardens, Internal Revenue Service agents, federal Marshals, and the FBI.

Christian Identity wraps all the conspiracy theories together and adds the myth that white Christian Americans are God’s Chosen People fighting a religious war against satanic forces. Identity combines the worst aspects of Hitlerian racial theories, the Spanish Inquisition, and the Crusades.

Persons who believe in Christian Identity generally:

  • Support white power & Aryan supremacy;
  • Believe in Black genetic inferiority;
  • Possess romanticized notions of Aryan culture;
  • Are virulently anti-Communist, anti-liberal and anti-modernist;
  • Manifest a jingoistic patriotism a la “Rambo;”
  • Mistrust government & law enforcement agencies;
  • Fear Black power & Black pride;
  • See any positive media coverage of non-Aryans as a Jewish-Communist Plot;
  • Resent Black job gains in the working class & professions;
  • Think Black politicians are pawns of Jews;
  • Believe Black activism is directed from Moscow or Tel Aviv;
  • Practice armed survivalism as a defensive necessity.

The fascist right has targeted for recruitment members of tax protest groups, farm and ranch organizations, former or current members of the Ku Klux Klan and various Nazi groups, supporters of Lyndon LaRouche, persons organizing against government repression or covert action, alternative health care advocates, antiwar organizers, and persons concerned about peace in the Middle East.

In the past the KKK and other racist and fascist groups in the U.S. intertwined with the political and law enforcement power structure of the communities in which they operated, especially in the rural South. The new racist Identity movement, however, is openly hostile toward most law enforcement officers because they are seen as collaborating with the Zionist Occupational Government. Thus Identity’s critique of government misconduct is central to their ideology, and has resulted in repeated armed conflicts with government agencies which in turn have used questionable tactics to target this sector of the racist right.

Cooperation among racist groups was enhanced in the 1980’s by the establishment of several racist computerized bulletin board systems and the distribution of a cable TV program “Race and Reason” hosted by California’s Tom Metzger, head of White Aryan Resistance. Here is an example:

EXCERPT FROM RACIST COMPUTER BULLETIN BOARD SYSTEM (BBS)

ARYAN NATIONS BBS–HAYDEN LAKE, IDAHO–Posted circa 1985

MESSAGE #2: CABLE TV/THE NEW HOPE

Cable TV–public access–and you

The passage of the “Cable Franchise Policy and Communications Act of 1984” (Public Law 98-934) has insured that any Aryan patriot in America who so desires may have local access to cable TV for the airing of any program that he may care to produce or replay.

Equipment, facilities, and channels are available for use from the local cable company, the only qualification being that one is a resident or working within the viewing range of the cable company.

On Tuesday, Nov. 20, 1984, History was made for the movement. At 12:00 noon on channel 9, cable TV, the following was seen by some 69,000 subscribers to Qube Cable TV: interviews of–Glen Miller, Grand Dragon of the North Carolina Ku Klux Klan; Virgil Griffen, hero of the Greensborough, NC shoot-out; Thom Robb, Chaplain, Knights of the KKK; Pastor Robert Miles of the Mountain Church–two hours of uninterrupted, uncensored racialist christian programming.

There can be little doubt that more new people were reached, more effectively, during the course of this two-hour broadcast than in the combined total of all other efforts for the year. There are 850 public access cable stations in the U.S. No other method, activity, or campaign of any nature can match this avenue of propagation. None!

This being the case, it now becomes the duty of each and every Aryan leader and member to determine if there is a public access station in his area and, if so, to ask for time on that station for one of the pre-recorded programs….

Already the blacks, mexicans, orientals and queers are claiming air time. what possible excuse could be given by an Aryan nationalist for not going “on the air” if there is a cable network in his area? Too difficult, perhaps? Tell that to the blacks and mexicans who are producing their own shows….

Hail his victory!

RIGHT-WING CRITICS OF U.S. INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES AND FOREIGN POLICY

 

POPULIST PARTY/LIBERTY LOBBY RECRUITMENT OF ANTI-CIA CRITICS

It was the casualties of the Vietnam war that crystallized a right-wing critique of U.S. foreign policy that denounced U.S. reliance on covert action, counterinsurgency and political deals as tactical alternatives to military confrontation to achieve geo-political goals. The right-wing analysis raised questions that many citizens were asking. If we didn’t want to fight a war to win in the traditional sense, then why did all those soldiers have to die? What was the purpose? Where was the benefit to the U.S.? Who gained from this process? These questions were not asked only by persons on the right, but the answers and theories the right developed were far different than those proposed by the left.

The public debate over this issue expanded in 1973 with publication of the book The Secret Team: The CIA and its Allies in Control of the United States and the World by retired Air Force Colonel and intelligence community critic L. Fletcher Prouty. While in the military, Prouty was assigned to provide Air Force support for clandestine activities of the CIA. During the last nine years of military service, Prouty was the Pentagon Focal Point Officer through which CIA requests for military assistance were channeled, first for the Air Force, and eventually for the entire Department of Defense. In his book, Prouty criticized the CIA’s penchant for counterinsurgency and clandestine operations, which he argued prolonged the war in Vietnam and resulted in the unnecessary deaths of many U.S. soldiers. Given his experience and knowledge of CIA activity, Prouty has become an influential critic of the agency, and has gained an audience across the political spectrum.14

The Liberty Lobby’s Spotlight newspaper took Prouty’s original thesis and overlaid it with a conspiracy theory regarding Jewish influence in U.S. foreign policy. The “Secret Team” apparently became the “Secret Jewish Team” in their eyes. Sometime in the 1980’s, a number of right-wing critics of U.S. intelligence operations, including Prouty, began to drift towards the Spotlight analysis. They began to feed information from their sources inside the government to publications and groups that circulate conspiracy theories alleging Jewish influence and control over world events.

Prouty’s The Secret Team was recently republished by the Institute for Historical Review (IHR). IHR promotes the theory that the accepted history of the Holocaust is essentially a hoax perpetrated by Jews to benefit the state of Israel. Noontide Press, in essence the book and pamphlet distribution arm of the Institute for Historical Review, is the largest distributor of pro-Nazi, anti-Jewish, white supremacist literature in the United States. Noontide Press also distributes such titles as Auschwitz: Truth or Lie–An Eyewitness ReportHitler At My Side, and For Fear of the Jews.

In 1974, Marchetti, a former executive assistant to the deputy director of the CIA, co-authored The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, a well-received best-seller and the first book the CIA tried to suppress through court action. By 1989, however, Marchetti had been recruited into a close alliance with Carto’s Liberty Lobby network. In 1989, Marchetti presented a paper at the Ninth International Revisionist Conference held by the Institute for Historical Review. The title of Marchetti’s paper, published in IHR’s Journal of Historical Review, was “Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures History.” Marchetti edits the New American View newsletter, which as one promotional flyer explained, was designed to “document for patriotic Americans like yourself the excess of pro-Israelism, which warps the news we see and hear from our media, cows our Congress into submission, and has already cost us hundreds of innocent, young Americans in Lebanon and elsewhere.”

Marchetti describes himself as a person whose “intelligence expertise and well-placed contacts have provided me with a unique insight into the subversion of our democratic process and foreign policy by those who would put the interests of Israel above those of America and Americans.” Marchetti is also the publisher of a Japanese-language book ADL and Zionism, written by LaRouche followers Paul Goldstein and Jeffrey Steinberg.

Marchetti was co-publisher of the Zionist Watch newsletter when it was endorsed in direct mail appeals on Liberty Lobby stationery by the now deceased Lois Petersen, who for many years was the influential secretary of the Liberty Lobby board of directors. The October 5, 1987 Spotlight reported that Mark Lane had been named associate editor of Zionist Watch, which at the time was housed in the same small converted Capitol Hill townhouse as Liberty Lobby/Spotlight. Zionist Watch featured a conspiracist critique which saw Israel controlling U.S. foreign policy.

Mark Lane is the legal representative of Liberty Lobby and other Carto enterprises, which in itself is not indicative of any political affiliation. But Lane is also an active apologist for the Institute for Historical Review and Willis Carto. Writing in his book Plausible Denial, Lane contends that “I have never heard an anti-Semitic expression” from Carto.15 Lane uses his Jewish background and past leftist credentials to divert attention from Carto’s role as the leading purveyor of racist, anti-Jewish and pro-Nazi literature in the U.S. Lane describes in Plausible Denial how he was recruited into the Carto network through the late Haviv Schieber, who Lane describes in glowing terms as a Jewish activist fighting for peace in the Middle East.

Schieber is more accurately described as an early supporter of the ultra-right Jabotinsky Zionist movement. Schieber broke with Zionism and the state of Israel when he came to believe it had been seized by the socialist and communist forces he despised. Schieber’s diatribes claiming Zionist control of Congress were regularly reported in Carto’s Spotlight newspaper, which referred to Schieber as “an outspoken anti-communist and critic of Israel.”16 Schieber’s views were also promoted by Andrew I. Killgore, publisher of Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. Lane, Schieber, Jewish anti-Zionist Dr. Alfred Lilienthal, Killgore, and right-wing Christian radio broadcaster Dale Crowley, Jr., became the leading exponents of a right-wing anti-Zionist critique in Washington, D.C. in the mid-1980’s. It was Schieber who, over breakfast in 1980, convinced Lane to contact Carto, as modestly described by Lane in Plausible Denial:

I discovered before breakfast was concluded, however, that E. Howard Hunt, the convicted Watergate burglar and official of the Central Intelligence Agency, had filed a lawsuit against Victor Marchetti, a former high-ranking officer with the CIA and against Liberty Lobby, Inc., publisher of Spotlight, for an article Marchetti had written and Spotlight had published about the assassination of President Kennedy….Haviv had a new…mission. I would represent the defendants, Marchetti and the newspaper; we would win, thus establishing the truth about the death of President Kennedy; and a national newspaper that published a dissenting view of Middle Eastern affairs would survive.17

Spotlight used the opportunity of the release of Oliver Stone’s film JFK to promote Fletcher Prouty, Mark Lane, and Victor Marchetti. Prouty was an advisor on the film and was the model for the film’s character “Mr. X.” Prouty and Lane went on book promotion tours in tandem with the film. Spotlight wove its coverage of the film “JFK” around its theories about Jewish “dual loyalist” control of the U.S. government and the claim that the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, controls CIA covert operations.

While concern over Reagan Administration participation in joint intelligence operations with Mossad is legitimate, the use of anti-Zionism as a cover for conspiracist anti-Jewish bigotry can be seen in an article in the August 24, 1981 issue of Spotlight:

A brazen attempt by influential “Israel-firsters” in the policy echelons of the Reagan administration to extend their control to the day-to-day espionage and covert-action operations of the CIA was the hidden source of the controversy and scandals that shook the U.S. intelligence establishment this summer.

The dual loyalists, whose domination over the federal executive’s high planning and strategy-making resources is now just about total, have long wanted to grab a hand in the on-the-spot “field control” of the CIA’s worldwide clandestine services. They want this control, not just for themselves, but on behalf of the Mossad, Israel’s terrorist secret police.

Spotlight not only rails against “dual-loyalist” Jews in government, but also has praised the Nazi skinhead movement and reported favorably on the “spirit” of the Nazi Waffen SS during World War II.

Prouty is quoted in the October 8, 1990 edition of Spotlight as saying the enemy of the American people is the CIA along with “usury, the political parties, the media and our textbooks.” The issue of usury (high interest rates) is often coupled with a bigoted critique of Jewish financial influence and power, and whether or not that was the way Prouty meant it to be taken, in the context of a Liberty Lobby conference, the anti-Jewish inference would be drawn by many in the audience.

Prouty also was quoted in the Spotlight as saying that “If anybody really wants to know what’s going on in the world today he should be reading The Spotlight.” Prouty refused to confirm or deny the accuracy of the quote in an interview with the author.18

THE LIBERTY LOBBY POPULIST ACTION COMMITTEE

In 1991 Liberty Lobby announced the creation of the advisory board of the Populist Action Committee. TheSpotlight ran a major feature on the formation of the advisory board with photographs of the persons announced as appointed to launch the Committee. Both Bo Gritz and Fletcher Prouty were named to the advisory panel.

According to the Spotlight, the other persons named to the advisory board were:

  • Abe Austin, described as an Illinois businessman and expert on money;
  • Mike Blair,Spotlightwriter whose articles on government repression were highlighted by Project Censored;
  • Ken Bohnsack, an Illinois resident called the founder of the Sovereignty movement;
  • Howard Carson, aSpotlightdistributor;
  • William Gill, president of the protectionist American Coalition for Competitive Trade;
  • Boyd Godlove Jr., chairman of the Populist Party of Maryland;
  • Martin Larson, a contributor toThe Journal of Historical Reviewwhich maintains the Holocaust was a Jewish hoax;
  • Roger Lourie, president of Devin-Adair Publishing;
  • Pauline Mackey, national treasurer for the 1988 David Duke Populist Party Presidential campaign;
  • Tom McIntyre, national chairman of the Populist Party from 1987-1990;
  • John Nugent, who ran for Congress from Tennessee as a Republican in 1990;
  • Lawrence Patterson, publisher of the far-right ultra-conspiratorialCriminal Politicsnewsletter;
  • Jerry Pope, chair of the Kentucky Populist Party;
  • John Rakus, president of the National Justice Foundation;
  • Hon. John R. Rarick, former Democratic House member now in Louisiana;
  • Sherman Skolnick, a Chicagoan who has peddled bizarre conspiracy theories for over a decade;
  • Major James H. Townsend, editor of theNational Educatorfrom California;
  • Jim Tucker,Spotlightcontributor who specializes on covering the Bilderberger banking group;
  • Tom Valentine, Midwest bureau chief forSpotlightand host of Liberty Lobby’s Radio Free America;
  • Raymond Walk, an Illinois critic of free trade;
  • Robert H. Weems, founding national chairman of the Populist Party.

Prouty has been appearing at conferences and on radio programs sponsored by the Liberty Lobby, but claims “there was never a handshake” concerning his official appointment to the Populist Action Committee.19 Prouty nonetheless admits that he is aware his name is being publicized in that capacity and refuses to ask his name be dropped from the list.

Skolnick also says he was never “officially” asked to be on the advisory board, but although he is aware he was named to the panel, he refuses to distance himself from the board or Liberty Lobby.20

THE LAROUCHITE CRITIQUE

While Carto’s Liberty Lobby network was recruiting Fletcher Prouty, Bo Gritz, longtime CIA critic Victor Marchetti, and assassination conspiracy researchers Mark Lane and Dick Gregory, the LaRouchians were probing government misconduct and linking U.S. political elites to their global conspiracy theory.

In the LaRouchite worldview, the oligarchic families of Great Britain are the font of all world evil. Over the years LaRouchian literature has maintained that political leadership in Great Britain is really controlled by Jewish banking families such as the Rothschilds, a standard anti-Jewish theory that influenced such bigots as Henry Ford and Adolph Hitler.21

In their book Dope, Inc: Britain’s Opium War against the U.S., first published in 1978, the LaRouchians assert that the oligarchy in Great Britain is in league with Jewish bankers to control the smuggling of drugs into the United States. Arch-rightist and former U.S. intelligence operative, the late Mitchell WerBell said the book was of “outstanding importance,” because it told “the history of a political strike against the United States in an undeclared war being waged by Great Britain.”

LaRouche’s periodicals mix anti-Israel views with anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, but were among the first periodicals to run articles exposing aspects of the arms-for-hostages deals and the covert Contra aid network, well before a fateful plane crash first tipped off the mainstream press to the full extent of the story.

Many reporters in the mid 1980’s were contacted by LaRouchians who offered assistance and documents to help research the Iran-Contra story. This assistance was accompanied by their relentless peddling of typical LaRouchian distortions regarding vast conspiracies, yet many of the individual documents and sources provided by the LaRouchians checked out as factual. Some reporters decided it was proper to glean what facts they could from the LaRouche material, assuming they could successfully exclude the lunatic analysis. This process is neither new nor remarkable, reporters deal with questionable sources constantly. Furthermore, right-wing coverage of government intelligence abuse is not unique to the LaRouchians. Other far-right groups such as Liberty Lobby and its Spotlight newspaper have also circulated similar information. In fact, persons formerly affiliated with the Liberty Lobby and the LaRouchians independently confirm that there was a back-door information exchange between the research staffs of both groups in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

The LaRouchites, as well as Liberty Lobby, were among the beneficiaries of the information flow from right-wing anti-CIA circles during the early 1980’s. Herb Quinde, an intelligence policy analyst for the LaRouchians, says that in the 1980’s the LaRouchians were contacted by a group of disaffected former and current intelligence specialists who Quinde referred to as “the Arabists.” Both government and private sector analysts confirm that there are persons critical of current U.S. foreign policy reliance on Israel whose ideas are discussed in policy meetings. These persons are sometimes referred to as “Arabists.” They represent a minority viewpoint in government circles that needs to be factored into political equations. Most of these persons are geo-political pragmatists who think that oil is the key to the Middle East and so support for Israel is misguided since Israel doesn’t have oil. Others simply support a more even-handed policy in the Middle East, especially concerning Palestinian rights. The so-called “Arabists” are more accurately seen as a diffuse and broad theoretical tendency rather than an ethnic group, pro-Arab faction, or specific political organization.

Some of these persons, however, have fierce anti-Jewish views and have sought alliances with overt bigots and persons who circulate paranoid conspiracy theories in which Jews are believed to control the world. Their theory at its most paranoid believes Great Britain’s intelligence services have influenced U.S. intelligence agencies since the inception of the Office of Strategic Services, precursor to the CIA. Great Britain’s intelligence empire is seen as predominantly Jewish, riddled with communists and homosexuals, and with an open line to Moscow. Mossad is believed to manipulate U.S. foreign policy and direct much of U.S. intelligence activity. The CIA is believed to be full of moles, probably inserted by a Anglophile/Jewish/Communist network. True patriots are urged to try to expose this “dual loyalist” reality and push the U.S. to ally with its real friends in the Middle East, the Arab monarchies and familial oligarchies.

These theories have little to do with democracy, social justice or peace in the Middle East, and they use legitimate criticisms of Israeli policies and U.S. pro-Israel policies as a screen to cover prejudice against Jews.

Many reporters were contacted by the LaRouchites offering assistance and documents to help research the Iran-Contra story. LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review even gets a passing nod from author Ben Bradlee, Jr. in his Guts and Glory: The Rise and Fall of Oliver North. Bradlee acknowledges the help of EIRin decoding the shorthand used by North in his notebooks.

Peter Dale Scott, Jonathan Marshall and other authors who researched the Iran-Contra story say that in the mid to late 1980’s, LaRouchians such as Herb Quinde, who had researched the Oliver North network, were involved in the traditional game of the Capitol press corps–circulating documents and trading theories.

THE LAROUCHITES AS ANTI-INTERVENTIONISTS

During the late 1980’s the LaRouchites covertly sought to expand their contacts with the left and attempted to link up with progressive groups over issues such as anti-interventionism, covert action, government domestic repression, civil liberties and Third World debt. Many progressive researchers report that during this period they began to receive telephone calls from LaRouchian operatives suggesting joint work or offering documents or story ideas.

Progressive activists also were targeted. For instance, LaRouche organizers involved themselves in an international anti-interventionist conference held in Panama, and have worked behind the scenes around the issue of U.S. involvement in Panamanian affairs ever since. Although conference organizers say they tried to isolate the LaRouchians at the conference, there is little doubt that the LaRouchians managed to leave the impression with some activists that they were a key component in the alliance against U.S. intervention in Panama.

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark has become a vocal opponent of U.S. intervention and was a major critic of the U.S. invasion of Panama. Clark has regularly worked in the same anti-intervention projects as the LaRouchians, where their presence would have been difficult not to notice. While there is no evidence (or even a reasonable suspicion) that Clark willingly works with the LaRouchians or shares any of their bigoted views, it is clear the LaRouchians delight in implying that just such a relationship exists between themselves and Clark, especially since Clark agreed to represent the LaRouchians in filing legal appeals flowing out of a series of federal criminal convictions of LaRouchian fundraisers and LaRouche himself.

The ability of the LaRouchites to inject themselves into mainstream debate around the issue of Panama is astonishing. For instance, at the April, 1991 conference of the Latin American Studies Association in Washington, D.C., a panel on Panama included LaRouchian expert Carlos Wesley. Wesley was not the first choice. Two panelists from Panama who were originally scheduled to appear did not receive funding to attend the conference, so panel co-coordinator Donald Bray from California State University in Los Angeles then called a person he respected as an expert on Panama for advice on a last minute replacement. “I called Carlos Russell, a Panamanian who now teaches in the U.S., and who was a former Ambassador to the OAS for a former Panamanian government,” explains Bray. “He said `you are not going to believe this, but I am going to recommend a LaRouchite, Carlos Wesley.'” A slightly bemused Bray says he knew Wesley from long ago and knew he was a reporter for LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review. Still, this was a recommendation from a credible Panamanian source so with some misgivings Bray scheduled Wesley as a panelist.

Wesley was identified as a correspondent for Executive Intelligence Review (EIR) but, according to author Holly Sklar, who attended the session, many in the audience were not aware that EIR was a LaRouche publication. “Of course if we had identified him as a LaRouchian, nobody would have paid any attention to what he said,” explained Bray.

The ties between LaRouche and Panama go back several years to when LaRouche intelligence collectors began trading tidbits of information with Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega. Following Noriega’s indictment for conspiracy in drug deals, journalist William Branigin, writing in the Washington Post of June 18, 1988, noted that among Noriega’s few supporters in the United States was “political extremist Lyndon H. LaRouche Jr., who has praised the general as a leader in the war on drugs.”

According to a January, 1990 Associated Press report, LaRouche sent Noriega a cable after his indictment, telling the dictator “I extend to you my apologies for what the government of the United States is doing to the Republic of Panama.” LaRouche told Noriega “I reiterate to you what I have stated publicly. That the Reagan administration current policies towards Panama are absolutely an offense to your nation and all of Latin America.” This type of rhetoric shows how the LaRouchians can adopt a critique of U.S. foreign policy ostensibly similar to that of the left, while weaving in an apologia converting a drug-running dictator into a drug-fighting humanitarian. LaRouche also has high praise for other dictators, including the late Ferdinand Marcos. The LaRouchians claim Marcos actually won his last election.

Another example of ideological cross-fertilization involves Cecilio Simon, a Panamanian who is an administrator at the University of Panama. Simon spoke along with Ramsey Clark and others at the April 6, 1990 “Voices from Panama “forum held at New York City’s Town Hall auditorium. Simon later spoke at the LaRouchian “Fifth International Martin Luther King Tribunal of the Schiller Institute,” on June 2, 1990 in Silver Spring, Maryland. These incidents demonstrate how the LaRouchians continue to insert themselves into anti-interventionist work and gain credibility on the left.

RIGHTIST INFLUENCES ON THE CHRISTIC INSTITUTE THEORIES

The problem of conflating documentable facts with analysis and conclusions and then merging them with unsubstantiated conspiracy theories popular on the far right has plagued progressive foreign policy critiques for several years. The Christic Institute’s “Secret Team” theory is perhaps the most widespread example of the phenomenon. While many of the charges raised by Christic regarding the La Penca bombing and the private pro-Contra network are documented, some of their assertions regarding the nature and operations of a long-standing conspiracy of high-level CIA, military, and foreign policy advisors inside the executive branch remain undocumented, and in a few instances, are factually inaccurate.

There are two related questions in this matter. One is whether or not the case was handled properly with regard to the actual clients, Martha Honey and Tony Avirgan. The other is how much unsubstantiated conspiracism was made part of the case and its surrounding publicity. This paper will focus on the issue of the undocumented conspiracy theories.

Some critics of the Christic Institute say undocumented conspiracy theories, perhaps first circulated by the LaRouchians and the Spotlight, were inadvertently drawn into Christic’s lawsuit against key figures in the Iran-Contra Scandal. The Christic Institute no longer uses the “Secret Team” slogan, which it employed for the first few years of its Iran-Contra lawsuit, Avirgan v. Hull. The suit, filed in 1986, is also called the La Penca case, after the Nicaraguan town where a 1984 bombing killed three journalists and at least one Contra and wounded dozens, including television camera operator Avirgan and the intended target, Contra leader Eden Pastora. Among the twenty-nine defendants named were retired Generals Richard Secord and John Singlaub, businessman Albert Hakim, Colombian druglord Pablo Escobar, and contra leader Adolfo Calero.

It is arguable that while Christic pursued the broad conspiracy of the “Secret Team” , the bedrock portions of the case involving the actual La Penca incidents took a back seat. A few weeks before the case was slated for trial, the Christic Institute still had not diagramed the elements of proof, a legal procedure where the text of the complaint is broken down into a list of single elements that have to be proven with either valid documentation, a sworn affidavit, or a live witness. This had created problems for researchers and lawyers who had no master list of what needed to be proven when devising questions for depositions and witnesses.

When a special meeting was convened shortly before trial, it turned out that for some of allegations concerning the alleged broad “Secret Team” conspiracy, the only evidence in possession of the Christic Institute was newspaper clippings and excerpts from books–and in a few instances there was no evidence other than uncorroborated assertions collected by researchers.

Raised at the meeting was the issue of whether or not the case had unwittingly incorporated unsubstantiated conspiracy theories from right-wing groups such as the LaRouchians. The staff was warned that some defendants would likely prevail at trial due to lack of court-quality evidence and would then likely pursue financial penalties (called Rule 11 sanctions).22

These matters are important because Christic press statements have fueled the idea, and many Christic Institute supporters believe, that the dismissal of the case was just another example of a massive government conspiracy and cover-up. It is undeniable that the presiding judge was hostile to Christic and stretched judicial discretion to the breaking point in dismissing the case. The dismissal was unfair. However, according to a statement issued by Christic client Tony Avirgan, the Institute must share at least “partial responsibility for the dismissal of the La Penca law suit.”

It’s sad that these issues have to be raised by `outsiders’ such as Berlet. But the truth is that criticism-self criticism, an essential tool in any social movement, has never been tolerated by the leaders of the Christic Institute. Those who criticized the legal work of Sheehan were labeled as enemies and ignored.

There were, indeed, numerous undocumented allegations in the suit, particularly in Sheehan’s Affidavit of Fact. As plaintiffs in the suit, Martha Honey and I struggled for years to try to bring the case down to earth, to bringing it away from Sheehan’s wild allegations. Over the years, numerous staff lawyers quit over their inability to control Sheehan. We stuck with it–and continued to struggle–because we felt that the issues being raised were important. But this was a law suit, not a political rally, and the hostile judges latched on to the lack of proof and the sloppy legal work.

The case, before it was inflated by Sheehan, was supposed to center on the La Penca bombing. On this, there is a strong body of evidence here in Costa Rica. It is enough evidence to get a reluctant Costa Rican judiciary to indict two CIA operatives, John Hull and Felipe Vidal, for murder and drug trafficking. Unfortunately, little of this evidence was successfully transformed into evidence acceptable to U.S. courts. It was either never submitted or was poorly prepared. In large part, this was because Sheehan was concentrating on his broad, 30-year conspiracy.

The exercise Berlet suggested–breaking each allegation down and compiling evidentiary proof for it–was indeed undertaken by competent lawyers on the Christic Institute staff. But it was an exercise begun too late. The case had already been spiked by Sheehan’s Affidavit.

We feel that it is important to openly discuss these things so that similar mistakes are avoided in the future.

The conspiracy Avirgan refers to was spelled out in a two-page circular sent out to promote the sale of the “Affidavit of Daniel P. Sheehan,” filed in 1986 and revised in early 1987. The circular began:

For the last 25 years a Secret Team of official and retired U.S. military and CIA officials has conducted covert paramilitary operations and “anti-communist” assassination programs throughout the Third World…

The international crimes committed by this group in the name of the United States are at the heart of the Iran-contra scandal…. For a quarter of a century this group has trafficked in drugs, assassinated political enemies, stolen from the U.S. government, armed terrorists, and subverted the will of Congress and the public with hundreds of millions of drug dollars at their disposal.

The leaders and chief lieutenants of the Secret Team are defendants in a $17 million civil lawsuit filed in May 1986 by the Christic Institute on behalf of U.S. journalists Martha Honey and Tony Avirgan…

In a thoughtful analysis of the Christic Institute’s lawsuit, David Corn observed in the July 2-9, 1988, Nationthat the institute “deserves credit. . . for recognizing the Iran-contra scandal and its significance early on.” He added: “It has kept the investigative fires burning, sought to hold individuals accountable for their roles in the affair, and probed issues overlooked by the congressional investigating committees (including the contra drug connection and the La Penca bombing. . . )” The institute’s “advocacy of the Secret Team theory,” on the other hand, struck Corn as a serious flaw. It might be handy for raising money in direct-mail solicitations but it presented problems for people who prefer evidence to rhetoric. (In February, 1993 Avirgan and Honey filed a motion seeking Sheehan’s disbarment.)

Jane Hunter of Israeli Foreign Affairs agrees that some of the Christic research is problematic. “As a researcher I have over the years found nothing in the Christic case worth citing,” says Hunter. Hunter worries about the rise of conspiracism on the left, including some of the allegations made in the Christic lawsuit. “If you keep looking for all the connections, all you are going to see is something so powerful that there is no way to fight it. We have to look at the system that produces these covert and illegal operations, not who knew so and so three years ago.”

Dr. Diana Reynolds is another critic of portions of the Christic thesis. Reynolds, an assistant professor of politics at Bradford College in Massachusetts, thinks undocumented conspiracy theories hurt the Christic case. She believes there is much solid evidence concerning the actual La Penca bombing and aftermath, and some specific Iran-Contra material, but she thinks “it is fair to say that some right-wing conspiracy theories were woven into the theory behind the Christic case.” Reynolds read thousands of pages of depositions taken by the Christic Institute while she was researching a story on federal emergency planning, later published in Covert Action Information Bulletin. According to Reynolds:

It is clear to me from the depositions of Ed Wilson and Gene Wheaton that the notion of a broad conspiracy conducted by the so-called Enterprise, beyond the La Penca bombing and the specific Iran-Contra scandal, has many holes. I am thoroughly convinced that those two depositions contain the nub of the unsubstantiated conspiracy theory, and I have said this for a very long time. When we get into the Christic allegations regarding the Middle East and Asia and the Camp David accords and forty years of conspiracy, their thesis falls apart.

Reynolds suggests it is fair to ask whether or not Christic was manipulated by right-wing persons associated with factions in the intelligence community. “It is curious that Wilson is a former intelligence operative, and that Wheaton, at the same time he was working for Christic, was also alleged by Mr. Owen in his Christic deposition to be passing information to Neil Livingston at the National Security Council to protect some of the people who were implicated in the Iran-Contra scandal,” says Reynolds. At least two former Christic investigators say they warned Sheehan not to rely on conspiratorial analysis and to be suspicious of material from right-wing sources. Nevertheless, Sheehan was rebuked by his own staff and others in Christic leadership for repeatedly lapsing into an overly conspiratorial analysis in public appearances, and for making claims that the Christic staff could not document or otherwise support when responding to follow-up inquiries by reporters.23

While the allegation that right-wing conspiracy theories were woven into the case is hotly denied by Christic, the contacts by the LaRouchians during the mid and late 1980’s are not disputed. According to a Christic spokesperson:

In conducting investigations historically we have sometimes had to get information from persons with whom one would not normally associate. People like drug dealers, mercenaries and intelligence agents. During our investigation, there were some meetings with LaRouche staffers conducted by Lanny Sinkin and David MacMichael. The information was always viewed very skeptically and none of it found its way into our casework or courtroom materials. All those contacts were stopped by 1989. We take seriously the view that the LaRouche organization is an organization with whom progressives should be very wary.

David MacMichael and Lanny Sinkin are no longer affiliated with the Christic Institute. Sinkin says his contact with the LaRouchians while at Christic was limited to a few brief conversations. MacMichael, a former CIA analyst turned agency critic who now writes and lectures on covert action, has had a more extensive relationship to the LaRouchians. MacMichael and Sinkin, however, were not the only Christic investigators who received information from the LaRouchians. Christic investigator Bill McCoy also received information from the LaRouchians as did at least one other Christic researcher, according to former staffers.

Sheehan was warned by his own staff in 1988 that contacts with the research circles around LaRouche and Liberty Lobby were a problem on both factual and moral grounds. Later Danny Sheehan appeared on theUndercurrents program broadcast on WBAI-FM and other Pacifica and progressive radio stations. Christic told the radio audience that it was untrue that LaRouchians had supplied information to the Christic Institute, and blasted a passing reference to this matter in Dennis King’s book, Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism. Shortly after Sheehan’s statements, an offer to promote King’s book as a premium gift during an annual fundraising drive for the radio station was withdrawn. King believes Sheehan’s unequivocal denial undercut the credibility of his book and was responsible for WBAI withdrawing the original offer.

THE RIGHT-WING ROOTS OF SHEEHAN’S “SECRET TEAM” THEORY

Christic no longer uses the “Secret Team” slogan, but for the first several years of the case, the Christic Institute used the term “Secret Team” to describe the legal conspiracy they alleged in court (a copy of the Prouty book sat in Sheehan’s personal bookshelf in his Christic office). There is no dispute that the “Secret Team” theory came from the political right. The “Affidavit of Daniel P. Sheehan” filed on December 12, 1986 and revised on January 31, 1987, refers frequently to the “Secret Team,” and states explicitly that the term came from right-wing sources.

…I was contacted by Source #47, a right-wing para-military specialist, former U.S. Army pilot in Vietnam and military reform specialist in January of 1986.

Source #47, the Specialist, who was unaware of my investigation, informed me that he had met–at a right-wing function–a former U.S. military intelligence officer, Source #48…this source began to discuss with Source #47 the existence of a “Secret Team” of former high-ranking American CIA officials, former high-ranking U.S. military officials and Middle Eastern arms merchants–who also specialized in the performance of covert political assassinations of communists and “enemies” of this “Secret Team” which carried on its own independent, American foreign policy–regardless of the will of Congress, the will of the President, or even the will of the American Central Intelligence Agency.

Critics of the Christic thesis say the “Secret Team” was not a cabal operating against the will of the president or the CIA, but was an illegal, secret government-sponsored operation established by CIA director William Casey and coordinated by White House aide Oliver North, with assistance from a network of ultra-right groups who were determined to circumvent the will of Congress. This “Enterprise” at times worked closely with the Mossad and carried out clandestine counterinsurgency missions. Some of these counterinsurgency missions were based on the same model of pacification used by U.S. Special Forces and clandestine CIA operations in Vietnam. It is just this emphasis on counterinsurgency and clandestine operations rather than direct military battles that forms the basis of criticism in Fletcher Prouty’s bookSecret Team. Prouty criticized the CIA for promoting covert action techniques which he traced to the influence of the British intelligence service MI5 on the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), precursor to the CIA. Prouty said such meddling and convoluted efforts at fighting communism resulted in the needless deaths of American servicemen. There is no evidence of any obvious anti-Jewish conspiracy theories in the original Prouty book.

Some of the undocumented conspiracy theories regarding the CIA and U.S. foreign policy that were widely circulated in progressive circles before the Iran-Contragate scandal hit the headlines seem to have appeared first in the LaRouchian’s Executive Intelligence Review or New Solidarity (later New Federalist), or in the pages of Liberty Lobby’s Spotlight newspaper.

The Spotlight for instance carried the first exclusive story on “Rex 84” by writer James Harrer. “Rex 84” was one of a long series of readiness exercises for government military, security and police forces. “Rex 84” –Readiness Exercise, 1984–was a drill which postulated a scenario of massive civil unrest and the need to round up and detain large numbers of demonstrators and dissidents. While creating scenarios and carrying out mock exercises is common, the potential for Constitutional abuses under the contingency plans drawn up for “Rex 84” was, and is, very real. The legislative authorization and Executive agency capacity for such a round-up of dissidents remains operational.

The April 23, 1984 Spotlight article ran with a banner headline “Reagan Orders Concentration Camps.” The article, true to form, took a problematic swipe at the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith along with reporting the facts of the story. The Harrer article was based primarily on two unnamed government sources, and follow-up confirmations. Mainstream reporters pursued the allegations through interviews and Freedom of Information Act requests, and ultimately the Harrer Spotlight article proved to be a substantially accurate account of the readiness exercise, although Spotlight did underplay the fact that this was a scenario and drill, not an actual order to round up dissidents.

Many people believe that Christic was the first group to reveal the “Rex 84” story. According to the 1986 Sheehan “Affidavit” revised in 1987:

During the second week of April of 1984, I was informed by Source #4 that President Ronald Reagan had, on April 6, 1984, issued National Security Decision Directive #52 authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency director Louis O. Giuffrida and his Deputy Frank Salcedo to undertake a secret nation-wide, `readiness exercise’ code-named `Rex 84….’

The impression left is that a Christic source exclusively developed this information and quietly handed it over to Sheehan. In fact, the second week of April 1984, the “Rex 84” story was bannered on the front page of the Spotlight and available in coin-boxes all over Capitol Hill. Spotlight had previously reported extensively on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other government initiatives that threatened civil liberties.

Sheehan has told reporters that the “Rex 84” story did not come from Spotlight, but would not respond to questions as to whether or not Source #4 could document where the information came from. This is important because in at least one other instance, previously published research was attributed by Sheehan to Source #4. According to the 1986 Sheehan “Affidavit” revised in 1987:

In early May of 1984, I was supplied by Source #4 with a number of documents describing, in some detail, a project supervised by then Special Assistant California State Attorney General Edwin Meese code-named “Project Cable Splicer” …part of a larger program, code-named “Project Garden Plot” –which was a nation-wide war games scenario…to establish a nation-wide state of martial law if Richard Nixon’s “political enemies” required him to declare a State of National Emergency.

While the descriptions of Cable Splicer and Garden Plot are accurate, the source is deceptively obscured. The original story of Cable Splicer and Garden Plot broke in the alternative press in 1975 in an article by Ron Ridenhour with Arthur Lublow published in Arizona’s New Times. Garden Plot was also the cover story for the Winter 1976 issue of CounterSpy magazine. Dozens of pages of the unedited official documents from Garden Plot and Cable Splicer were reprinted in the magazine. Copies of the official documents were made available to trial teams in several cities litigating against illegal government intelligence abuse.

Several former Christic staffers, who asked to remain nameless, suggest that, at the very least, a critical reevaluation of some allegations made in the Christic case would be beneficial in light of the possibility that material from far-right, conspiracist or anti-Jewish sources was uncritically woven into the original “Secret Team” Christic thesis. They say that the Christic theories need to be reassessed with the ulterior motives and credibility of those sources in mind.

The Christic Institute was supplied with the text of the criticisms raised in this section of the report, as well as an extensive list of written questions. With the exception of the quote regarding the LaRouchians, they chose not to respond.

BARBARA HONEGGER, THE OCTOBER SURPRISE & THE LAROUCHITES

In many way the LaRouche organization, with its slickly repackaged conspiracy theories, serves as a nexus for a number of tendencies on the political right, ranging from ultra-conservatives to outright fascists and white supremacists. LaRouchian material on AIDS, for instance, is cited by homophobic organizations such as the fundamentalist Christian group Summit Ministries. It seems clear that the LaRouche network reaches out to many constituencies, including some that seem improbable on the surface, including some on the left.

Over the past few years the LaRouchites have solicited contacts with a number of critics of U.S. foreign policy and intelligence agency practices, sometimes with surprising success. In many cases, it is the LaRouchian intelligence network that serves as a broker for information flowing between left-wing and right-wing groups. LaRouchians appear to have first penetrated the left in recent years when they began to trade information on covert action and CIA misconduct. The LaRouchians were early critics of the Oliver North network. In the early 1980’s, LaRouche intelligence operatives such as Jeffrey Steinberg maintained close ties to a faction in the National Security Council which opposed Oliver North’s activities. At the same time the LaRouchians quietly began providing information to mainstream and progressive reporters and researchers.

The Christic Institute and the Empowerment Project which distributes the film “CoverUp: Behind the Iran-Contra Affair” are major promoters of Barbara Honegger’s theories regarding an alleged “October Surprise.” The October Surprise was the term used among Reagan campaign aides to describe the possibility that the Iranian government might arrange for the release of U.S. hostages prior to the election which pitted incumbent Jimmy Carter against challenger Ronald Reagan. Honegger, a former White House aide, alleges in her book October Surprise that officials connected to the Reagan Presidential campaign plotted with Iranian officials to delay the release of hostages in the Middle East until after the election. Substantial circumstantial evidence exists to suggest such a charge might be true, but there is little incontrovertible proof.

Honegger’s research and analysis are questionable. In the 1989 edition of her book October Surprise, Honegger cites frequently to LaRouchian publications. While some LaRouchian material is factual, other material presented as fact is unsubstantiated rumor or lunatic conspiracy theories. Some anti-fascist researchers also assume that information in EIR occasionally represents calculated leaks by current and former government intelligence agents and right-wing activists to achieve a desired political goal. This practice is a common tactic in power struggles and faction fights over policy.

While Honegger sometimes cites to progressive periodicals such as In These Times and The Nation,, more than six percent (49 out of a total 771) of the footnotes in Honegger’s book cite LaRouchian publications such as EIR, New Solidarity, and New Federalist. In one chapter on “Project Diplomacy,” Honegger LaRouchian cites account for over 22 percent of the total number of footnotes.

Honegger also makes assertions that strain credulity. She quotes without comment the claim of Eugene Wheaton that the CIA is actually secretly controlled by a group of retired members of the OSS.

In the July/August 1991 issue of The Humanist, both David MacMichael and Barbara Trent of the Empowerment project defend Honegger and suggest PBS refused to show “Coverup” because it contained serious charges against the U.S. government. As Trent put it:

It was no big surprise that there was a problem getting ‘Coverup’ on PBS. Programs that address U.S. foreign policy in particular and are not in agreement with the policies of the sitting president rarely get much of a chance on TV.

In fact, PBS has aired on the “Frontline” series programs about the October Surprise and CIA involvement in drug trafficking. PBS has also aired two Bill Moyers specials on Iran-Contragate that concluded that Reagan lied repeatedly and may have committed impeachable offenses, and that evidence exists to suggest that Bush’s role in the Contra resupply operation was far more direct than he has admitted. The primary difference between the shows broadcast by PBS and “Coverup” is the reliance in “Coverup” on Barbara Honegger and Danny Sheehan and their unsubstantiated and undocumented charges. It would have been difficult for PBS to justify running Honegger’s assertions given her reliance on material supplied by neo-Nazis with a history of circulating unreliable information.

” Coverup” also promotes the Christic theme that Iran-Contragate was caused by a long-standing conspiracy of individual agents. In contrast to this individualistic formulation, the Moyers programs stress a systemic failure: that the lack of congressional oversight over foreign policy and covert action has created a Constitutional crisis where the balance of powers between branches of government has been skewed toward the executive branch.

THE GULF WAR

The right’s attempt to influence and recruit the left became highly visible during the Gulf War crisis in late 1990 and early 1991. As the movement against the war in the Middle East began to build, a handful of far-right and anti-Jewish groups began to seek alliances with liberal, progressive, and left antiwar coalitions. It is important to recognize that as a whole the antiwar movement overwhelmingly rejected these overtures by the political right, while recognizing that the attempt reflected a larger ongoing problem. It certainly was a problem for individuals like Wisconsin antiwar activist Alan Ruff who appeared on a panel discussing the pros and cons of the Gulf War in the town of Verona. Also on the panel in the antiwar camp was another local activist Emmanuel Branch. “Suddenly I heard Branch saying the war the result of a Zionist banking conspiracy,” explains Ruff. “I found myself squeezed between pro-war hawks and this anti-Jewish nut, it destroyed the ability of those of us who opposed the war to make our point.” A number of persons report that during Gulf War protests, they heard persons attempting to turn legitimate criticism of U.S. intervention in Iraq, or objections to pressure for invasion by some pro-Israel lobbies, into a blanket indictment of all Jews, which is a classic form of bigotry.

SOWING CONFUSION

Rightist efforts to recruit from or join the antiwar movement caused problems across the country, especially attempts by followers of neo-fascist Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. to forge ties with liberal and left antiwar coalitions. Other fascist groups organizing against the war included the Populist Party, Liberty Lobby, and some elements of the white supremacist movement. Other far-right and ultra-conservative groups opposing the war included some factions in the Libertarian movement, the John Birch Society, and groups purveying general rightist conspiracy theories.

Most persons in the antiwar movement seemed unaware of the backgrounds and ideology of the several rightist groups that sought alliances during the Gulf War period, and merely were hoping to build a broad-based alliance. Still, some activists fear that in the future, fragile coalitions around peace and social justice issues could be seriously damaged by the presence of bigoted ultra-right forces, and argue that on moral grounds alone, coalitions with fascist, racist, and anti-Jewish groups are not acceptable.

Some of the rightist and anti-Jewish groups that opposed the Gulf War also have a racialist white supremacist ideology that not only considers persons of Jewish and Arab heritage to be inferior, but believes no person of color has a legitimate claim to citizenship in the United States. Within weeks of Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, there were reports of physical attacks on and threats against both Arab and Jewish institutions and persons of Arab and Jewish descent. Left groups which tolerate or apologize for persons who have allied themselves with the racialist ultra-right send a message that such views, which motivate acts of discrimination and assault, are an acceptable part of political debate in our society.

Most conservatives and rightists supported the U.S. involvement in the Gulf War. The actual attempts by the sectors of the political right who opposed the war were varied by both locale and method.

The antiwar rightist groups generally did not seek actual coalitions with the left, but instead passed out handbills at large antiwar demonstrations as a recruitment mechanism. For example, the ultra-conservative and conspiracist John Birch Society distributed antiwar flyers at Merrimack College in Massachusetts, and at a downtown Boston antiwar rally.

For many on the left, this was their first experience with a courtship by the ultra-right. Author Sara Diamond urges left activists to be suspicious of the motives of the opportunistic right which approached the left during the Gulf War. Diamond, whose book Spiritual Warfare chronicled the religious right in America, warned, “one can only speculate that they wanted to recruit people into their own organizations and then leave the left discredited.” She added that no matter what the motivation, however, the proposed alliance was a bad idea.

One danger posed by the right wing’s recruitment attempts is that the widespread conspiracism in some sectors of the far right has found fertile ground among naive or uncritical forces on the left. The problem is exacerbated when rightists put forward their paranoid and sometimes anti-Jewish theories in progressive circles where conspiracist or prejudiced sentiments have been tolerated rather than routinely confronted. Within the U.S. progressive movement, the issue of an undercurrent of anti-Jewish bigotry among some pro-Palestinian, Black nationalist, and left groups has been under discussion for several years.

What the left faces is the task of carefully drawing distinctions between views that are solely anti-Zionist or critical of the state of Israel’s policies, and views that reflect bigoted conspiracy theories about persons of Jewish heritage. If peace and social justice forces do not publicly reject anti-Jewish bigots, this task becomes impossible, and the charge of anti-Semitism will taint the entire progressive movement.

The utilization of scapegoating conspiracies is by no means limited to the fascist right, but during the Gulf War some antiwar activists became attracted to scurrilous conspiratorial theories of elite control circulated by right-wing researchers. One conspiracy theorist who gained high visibility during the Gulf War was Craig Hulet. Another conspiracy theorist, Antony Sutton, avoids explicit anti-Jewish rhetoric, but pursues a line promoting arcane banking conspiracies (often involving Jewish banking families traditionally scapegoated by bigots). Sutton also has supported racial separatism between Blacks and whites in South Africa. Another theorist, Eustace Mullins, is a notorious anti-Jewish bigot who focuses on anti-Jewish conspiracy theories in which the Rothschilds and other Jews control the world economy. Mullins’ work is promoted by U.S. white supremacist and neo-Nazi circles. Persons supporting the neo-fascist Populist Party used Hulet’s radio appearances on progressive Pacifica network radio station KPFA in San Francisco to organize study groups where the theories of Mullins and Sutton were promoted.

THE LAROUCHITES AND THE GULF WAR

The most disruptive rightist penetration of antiwar groups was by the LaRouchians. The LaRouchians generally operate under front groups such as Food for Peace, Schiller Institute, and Executive Intelligence Review. Some local antiwar groups have worked with the LaRouchians, while others have not. While often described merely as conservative or extremist, the LaRouche organization and its various front groups are a fascist political movement with echoes of neo-Nazi ideology. The group’s ultimate leader, Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., was jailed because his fundraisers sold unsecured securities to the elderly and because LaRouche paid no taxes while living in a Virginia mansion. LaRouche was sentenced in January, 1989 to fifteen years in prison after a federal court found LaRouche and six codefendants guilty of a mail fraud conspiracy related to fundraising. LaRouche was also convicted of tax evasion. On appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court let the convictions stand without comment. LaRouche was released in early 1994 after serving over five years of his sentence.

LaRouche’s lawyers have repeatedly sued activist critics who describe him as a fascist, racist, sexist, homophobic, anti-Jewish bigot, lunatic cult leader, neo-Nazi racial theorist, crook, and demagogue. LaRouche has lost every case. One jury in Virginia found that calling LaRouche a “small-time Hitler” was not defamatory and then awarded damages to the news organization sued by LaRouche.

During the Gulf War the LaRouchites appeared at antiwar rallies and meetings in thirty cities, including New York, Boston, Washington, D.C., Richmond, Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, Ann Arbor, St. Louis, Omaha, Seattle, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

At the University of Ottawa in Canada, LaRouche’s Schiller Institute co-sponsored an antiwar event with an organization of Middle Eastern students. At an October 20, 1990 antiwar demonstration in New York City, the Schiller Institute had four people carrying a large banner and a small group of supporters organized in a contingent. The LaRouchians have passed out petitions at antiwar rallies, and then called the persons who signed the petitions to solicit money for the LaRouche organization. Other fundraising pitches are made at antiwar rallies.

In a flyer announcing a December 15, 1990 rally, a group called simply the “LaRouche Organization” was originally listed as a coalition member. The presence of the LaRouchians, as well as other anti-Jewish bigots, in the St. Louis antiwar coalition originally caused consternation, especially among members of New Jewish Agenda, a group which supports a democratic Israel, Palestinian rights, and a Palestinian homeland. When coalition leaders were provided with documentation of LaRouchian attacks on Jews, Blacks and other minorities, including LaRouchian support for the apartheid government of South Africa, the LaRouche supporters were booted out of the coalition.

In Los Angeles, several LaRouchites were dismayed when the local antiwar coalition pointed to its principles of unity, which included a call for a sensible non-nuclear energy policy. The LaRouchians are vocal supporters of nuclear power. In Richmond, Virginia, local antiwar organizers simply kept shouting at the LaRouchians to “shut up” when they began their bizarre spiels and for a time the LaRouchians stopped coming to meetings. The LaRouchians soon returned, but attempted to keep a low profile while persistently circulating their literature.

During December, LaRouche’s followers held vigils on a number of campuses to build support for a touted “National Teach-In to Stop the War” held December 15-16 in Chicago. The Chicago conference, titled “Development is the New Name for Peace,” turned out to be the annual LaRouche-sponsored Food for Peace Conference, repackaged to attract antiwar activists. The conference drew over 350 attendees. Several persons active with the St. Louis African-American Anti-War/Peace Coalition who attended the conference were later asked to leave the Coalition for being disruptive and spreading anti-Jewish conspiracy theories, according to several St. Louis activists who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Only three dozen students were sprinkled among the crowd which drew persons from California, Oregon, North and South Dakota, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nebraska, and the Canadian province of Quebec. Many in the audience were farmers. Close to one-third of the conference attendees were African-Americans.

While the number of students was small, the emphasis on the situation in the Middle East was not neglected. LaRouche regulars Mel Klenetsky and Nancy Spannaus moderated the program which included a videotaped message and live phone patch from the cultural attache for the Iraqi embassy, Dr. Mayser Al Mallah. The LaRouche organization has maintained ties with the Iraqi Ba’ath Party for many years, according to several former LaRouchian intelligence gatherers who have left the group.

Other panelists at the LaRouchite conference included the Rev. James Bevel, an early civil rights leader long active in several LaRouchian front groups; a representative from Minister Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, Abdul Wali Muhammad, editor of the Final Call; and Gene Wheaton, a private investigator who has worked with both left-wing and right-wing critics of U.S. clandestine operations.

HOW THE LAROUCHITES EXPLOITED ANTIWAR ORGANIZERS

A long-time political activist who marched with the Cleveland contingent in the January 19th antiwar demonstration in Washington, D.C. was more than a little surprised when he noticed that people in the contingent next to him were passing out literature from Lyndon LaRouche’s political front groups. “They were beating a drum and chanting `George Bush, You Can’t Hide, the New World Order is Genocide,'” he reports. “There were about 100 people, many elderly, some Black,” he says, and one flyer they handed out carried a headline scolding, “U.S. Citizens Must Recognize Their Past Mistakes and Support LaRouche.” There was a large banner and some people carried signs that said “Free LaRouche, Jail the ADL.” At the march the LaRouchians passed out their New Federalist newspaper. “A lot of people who remember New Solidarity don’t realize its new name is New Federalist,” said the Cleveland activist.

According to Gavrielle Gemma, coordinator of the National Coalition to Stop U.S. Intervention in the Middle East (the group that sponsored the January 19th antiwar demonstration in Washington, D.C.), the official policy of the Coalition is to reject any work with the LaRouchians. Although the LaRouchians and their supporters involved themselves in Coalition activities during the Gulf War, these incidents did not reflect the official policy of the Coalition, according to several Coalition spokespersons, but were attempts (sometimes successful) by the LaRouchians and their allies to portray themselves as part of the Coalition.

Specifically, in interviews with several Coalition spokespersons the following picture of how the LaRouchians manipulated and exploited the Coalition emerged:

  • The Rev. James Bevel had not been invited to the January 4th Coalition press conference featuring former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark which was aired on the C-SPAN cable channel. Bevel arrived with an invited speaker, a Black serviceman resisting assignment to the Gulf. Although Bevel had worked with the LaRouchians for many months prior to the press conference, it was not until weeks after the press conference that Coalition leadership became aware that Bevel had ties to the LaRouche organization.
  • People affiliated with the Coalition, who defended the appearance of Bevel, were reacting to Bevel’s past history as a respected civil rights leader, and were not aware, or found it impossible to accept, that Bevel had now aligned himself with far-right groups.
  • A contingent of LaRouchites who marched in the Coalition’s January 19th demonstration in Washington, D.C. did so against the expressed wishes of Coalition leadership.
  • A security marshal who told demonstrators on January 19th not to continue a chant critical of the LaRouchians was unaware of who the LaRouchians were, and was merely trying to enforce the policy of ensuring peaceful relations among contingents.
  • Although Ramsey Clark has chosen not to say anything critical of the LaRouchians due to his representation of them in legal matters, the Coalition does not hesitate to criticize roundly the LaRouchians as fascists and anti-Semites.
  • The apparent reluctance among some persons affiliated with the Coalition to discuss charges of LaRouchian involvement with reporters did not reflect the views of the leadership of the Coalition, and in some cases appears to reflect a disbelief among these persons that the LaRouchians had managed successfully to portray themselves as part of the Coalition.
  • December, 1990 and January, 1991 were chaotic and confusing months and the official position of the Coalition regarding a refusal to work with the LaRouchians was perhaps not made clear to all persons actively organizing Coalition events around the country.
  • While the LaRouchites appear to abuse their legal relationship to attorney Clark by using his name in their publicity and implying his political support, it is the firm belief of the Coalition that Clark’s refusal to comment on this circumstance reflects a personal ethical position, and in no way implies any connection between Clark and the political work of the LaRouchians.

Leaders of the National Coalition to Stop U.S. Intervention in the Middle East are aware that the LaRouchians continue to attempt to penetrate their organization, and urge persons who find LaRouchians portraying themselves as official members of the Coalition to challenge that claim. Anyone who continues to claim the Coalition tolerates the presence of the LaRouchians should be referred to the national office of the Coalition for a short and clear rejection of that contention.

” We do not work with fascists or anti-Semites,” said Coalition coordinator Gavrielle Gemma, “and that includes the LaRouchites.” Gemma says this is not only the Coalition attitude, but her own as well, noting that she once personally threw some LaRouchians off a picket line during the Greyhound strike.

Apparently the position of the Coalition leadership against working with the LaRouchians, now clearly unequivocal, was slow to reach all organizers during the chaotic months of December, 1990 and January, 1991. This lack of clarity among rank-and-file organizers, some of whom were inexperienced, coupled with the LaRouchians’ manipulative opportunism, the Coalition’s uncertainty over Bevel’s tie to the LaRouchians, and Ramsey Clark’s silence on the LaRouchians’ use of his name, created enough confusion so that some organizers for the Coalition at first defended Bevel’s appearance at the January 4th press conference, and defended the participation of various LaRouchian front groups in Coalition events. It also turns out that a report issued by the LaRouchian Schiller Institute, and cited at the January 4th press conference was in fact introduced by a LaRouchian attending the press conference as a reporter.

Chicago antiwar organizer Alynne Romo reports the local Emergency Coalition for Peace in the Middle East has “asked the LaRouchians not to participate when they have appeared at our demonstrations.” According to Romo, “The LaRouche people called us several times. They told us Margaret Thatcher was behind the situation in Iraq and that she put George Bush up to it.” Romo adds that “they also said they were working with Ramsey Clark as a way to get us to cooperate.”

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark is the lead legal counsel for an appeal filed by Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. and six followers convicted of loan fraud. On October 6, 1989, Clark appeared and gave oral arguments in the case before a three judge panel of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia to argue for the reversal of the convictions.

The right of Mr. Clark to represent the LaRouche organization is not disputed, but when the LaRouchians use his name in a political rather than legal context, problems arise. Based on several dozen interviews with antiwar activists in twenty cities, it appears that sometimes LaRouchians fundraisers and organizers mention they work with Ramsey Clark, while other times they do not. The use by the LaRouchians of Clark’s name has been very effective at college student government meetings where many students have never heard of LaRouche, and tend to be sympathetic to his claims of government harassment. After gaining an audience, the LaRouchians encourage the student leaders to join their “coalition” and to authorize college funding.

Sam Schwartz, a faculty member at Bronx Community College in New York, received a phone call from a LaRouche attorney threatening to sue Schwartz penniless unless he stopped telling students that LaRouche was an anti-Semite and fascist. Several African-Americans active in St. Louis who objected to the presence of the LaRouchians in a local antiwar coalition were also threatened with lawsuits for their critical characterization of the LaRouche movement. Clark has not been involved in these threats of lawsuits.

Since Clark took on the LaRouche appeal, the LaRouchites have blazoned Clark’s name across a substantial amount of propaganda used both in fundraising and in coaxing persons into consideration of the political message of the organization. Sometimes the LaRouchian references to Clark simply cause confusion. One antiwar activist who was handed a LaRouchian pamphlet mentioning Clark was at first convinced the LaRouchians were cleverly trying to smear Clark by using his name.

The LaRouchites frequently attempt to build coalitions in a sly manner. For instance activist Lanny Sinkin, a former attorney for the Christic Institute, appeared at a March, 1991 post-war panel sponsored by a Washington, D.C. group called The Time is Now. Also on the panel were two key LaRouche operatives and a leader of The Time is Now. According to a staff member of the Washington Peace Center, members of The Time is Now worked closely with the LaRouchians and thoroughly disrupted the political work of the Washington Area Coalition to Stop U.S. Intervention in the Middle East during January and February, 1991. When members of The Time is Now passed out LaRouche’s Executive Intelligence Review at a February meeting, they were asked to leave the coalition. When criticized by the Peace Center staffer, Sinkin defended his appearance at the conference as legitimate outreach, according to the staffer.

Sinkin says he was unaware when invited that LaRouchites would also be on the panel, and he vigorously denies that he has ever had any ongoing relationship with the LaRouchians or that his actions were improper. Sinkin says that his appearance reflected his commitment to speaking to broad audiences. Organizers at the Washington Peace Center counter that Sinkin’s presence at the meeting lent credibility to two groups that were disrupting their work.

The issue here is not one of implying any type of ongoing relationship between Sinkin and the LaRouchians. No such relationship exists. But for the Washington Peace Center, Sinkin’s appearance on the same platform with the LaRouchians served as an implicit endorsement, suggesting by example that joint work with the LaRouchians was acceptable at the same time that the Peace Center was telling members of the local antiwar coalition that joint work with the LaRouchians was unacceptable.

A number of experienced antiwar activists warn that working with the LaRouchians and other far-right and bigoted forces will only discredit serious work towards peace in the Middle East. Jon Hillson is a seasoned political organizer and peace activist based in Ohio who already knew the history of the LaRouchians. Hillson reported LaRouche organizers at events sponsored by the Cleveland Committee Against War in the Persian Gulf. At one meeting, “Two people went through the crowd handing out LaRouche’s New Federalist,” says Hillson. “I was shocked, but then I realized most students had never heard of LaRouche,” says Hillson. “I would urge people to disavow any collaboration with them because of their past ties to government agencies…and their homophobic, racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic agenda.” Hillson notes that it will take patience to explain to new activists why a broad-based coalition should exclude anyone, but that the task of educating people that coalitions with fascists should be rejected is not one to be ignored.

HOW THE LAROUCHITES EXPLOIT RAMSEY CLARK

An Associated Press (AP) account of Clark’s Fourth Circuit oral arguments noted that “former Attorney General Ramsey Clark, chief attorney for LaRouche’s appeal, argued that U.S. District Judge Albert V. Bryan Jr. of Alexandria allowed only thirty-four days from arraignment to trial and failed to adequately question jurors on how much they knew about the defendant.”

The Fourth Circuit ruled against LaRouche, saying LaRouche’s original attorneys had waited eighteen days before asking for a continuance. An AP story about the decision reported that the appeals panel “also said LaRouche’s attorneys made no attempt to press potential jurors to determine `individually anyone who had ever heard of LaRouche,’ although certain jurors who said they were familiar with the case or who had worked in law enforcement or had accounting or tax backgrounds were questioned individually.”

On further appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court let the convictions stand without a hearing or comment.

In fact, more than a few civil libertarians agree there was evidence of misconduct in the government’s investigation of LaRouche, and the closing of LaRouche’s newspaper New Solidarity in a federal bankruptcy proceeding raised serious constitutional issues. Still, there is no clear evidence that the alleged government misconduct had a direct bearing on the criminal prosecution of LaRouche and his aides.

When Clark has spoken at LaRouchite-sponsored press conferences concerning the case, there has been extensive coverage in the LaRouchian press. One such story featuring Clark appeared in LaRouche’s New Federalist on October 13, 1989. Clark was quoted as saying that even though he had once been a political opponent of LaRouche, he had now come to his defense because of constitutional abuses such as a fast jury selection process, massive prejudicial pretrial publicity, and a jury pool which contained numerous government employees, including law enforcement agents from agencies that had allegedly targeted LaRouche.

Ramsey Clark has steadfastly refused to disassociate his legal work for the LaRouchians from the political work of the LaRouchians, despite the fact that the LaRouchians imply Clark’s support in numerous newspaper and magazine articles. Most critics of Clark’s silence regarding the LaRouchians say they understand he has a duty as an attorney to represent the LaRouchians fully and vigorously, but feel he has not been sensitive to the ways in which the LaRouchians are using his name in the political arena. These critics point out that the ethical imperatives for an attorney are different than the moral obligations of a leader of an antiwar movement. They say Clark has a political responsibility to distance himself from the LaRouche organization, which is separate from his role as their attorney.

Sometimes it appears that Clark’s support of the LaRouche cause has moved beyond mere legal representation. According to the July 6, 1990 New Federalist, on June 19, 1990, Clark spoke at a private meeting coordinated with the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), a multi-governmental association and human rights forum that solicits input from non-governmental groups. TheNew Federalist reported that “Clark’s trip was sponsored by the Schiller Institute’s Commission to Investigate Human Rights Violations, a non-governmental organization which is urging the CSCE to take up the case of Lyndon LaRouche, the U.S. economist and statesman who is now America’s most prominent political prisoner.” The Schiller Institute is a LaRouchian front group which once published a book claiming British Jews helped put Hitler into power.

In his CSCE speech, Clark is reported to have said he had reviewed a random selection of sixty-five published articles on LaRouche appearing in the several years prior to LaRouche’s prosecution. Clark reportedly said “here you see that he’s called every bad thing you can imagine–Nazi, anti-Semitic, violence-prone, thief–over and over again. Vilification…it was absolutely astounding.”

The New Federalist article reported that Clark said that LaRouche was prosecuted on “economic crimes that didn’t exist, because this was a political movement, it was not a for-profit activity and wasn’t intended to be a for-profit activity, it was a political movement. You make three sentences for five years each to impose a fifteen-year sentence on a man who’s sixty-six years old. To destroy a political movement. Obviously….Unless you can wrench [the political process] free from [the] plutocracy that absolutely controls with an iron hand that essentially one-party system, you won’t have that change. And that’s what the Lyndon LaRouche case is about: you.”

At a February 28, 1991 international conference in Algeria to oppose U.S. intervention in the Gulf, Clark shared the podium with long-time LaRouche associate Jacques Cheminade, president of the Schiller Institute in France.

CLARK RESPONDS

Clark confirmed in an interview that he had spoken about the LaRouche case in Europe at the CSCE conference, but said he had not seen the transcript of his speech that appeared in LaRouche’s New Federalist, and said his speech was not written in advance so he had no copy. If the report of Clark’s comments in New Federalist are accurate–and to a large degree they reflect wording in the appeals brief he signed–then there are serious questions as to what he thinks of the LaRouchians. Clark seems to discount as propaganda the charges that the LaRouchians are fascists, anti-Semites, or neo-Nazis. Other critics question Mr. Clark’s decision to appear at the CSCE-related meeting at all, pointing out that such appearances go beyond legal representation.

Clark said he had not seen any materials suggesting the LaRouche people were using his name to organize students and others into their antiwar work but he would like to see that material or any other related information. But Clark seemed relatively unconcerned that the LaRouchians might be using or abusing his name in their political work. “That’s a risk you always have,” as a defense counsel, said Clark.

Clark said that the somewhat glowing description of the LaRouche political movement in the appeals brief he signed reflected the right of any defendant to portray itself in a positive light.

According to Clark, the prosecution of LaRouche in Virginia was a travesty of procedure and a clear violation of the Constitutional right to a fair trial. Clark said the issue was not whether or not the LaRouche people were guilty of crimes, but whether or not they had received a fair trial. On the question of representation of controversial clients on legal appeals, Clark said:

It’s a question of rights, not a question of facts. I remain focused on the legal rights and not the nature of the person involved. I oppose the death penalty on principle, I assume many of the people who I represent on death penalty appeals are in fact guilty, but that is not the point. If you have to apologize first you have a done a disservice to the case. I resist government abuses of people’s rights. The government demonizes people…once you have conceded the demon you have lost the principle involved in the defense. By prefacing a defense by first saying `of course, he is a terrible person’ it disables people from considering the matter fairly.

Clark said the government had demonized people like Saddam Hussein and Lyndon LaRouche and that he felt it was not appropriate to give in to the pejorative labeling of such persons when discussing their activities. This is the same rationale used by Clark in 1986 when he was criticized for not distancing himself from his client Karl Linnas, a Nazi collaborator who was eventually deported because he had lied about his past to gain entrance to the U.S. after World War II. Clark represented Linnas in an appeal which objected to the procedures followed in the deportation. Critics of Clark, including Daniel Levitas of the Center for Democratic Renewal, said Clark was insensitive to the fact that anti-Semitic and pro-Nazi groups were using Clark’s appeal to buttress their claims that Linnas was innocent or that the Holocaust was a hoax.24

REV. JAMES BEVEL

The Rev. James Bevel is an African-American minister from Chicago with a long history of civil rights work but a recent reputation as an opportunist who has swung far to the right. Rev. Bevel now works closely with groups controlled by two neo-fascists, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr. The Moon network supported the war effort, while the LaRouchians did not. Bevel focused his energy in opposing the Gulf War, primarily through an alliance with the LaRouchians. Bevel’s ties to the LaRouchians go back several years. Bevel not only appeared as a panelist at the LaRouchian antiwar conference in Chicago, but he also has endorsed LaRouche’s congressional candidacy, and speaks regularly at LaRouchian forums. Bevel has served on committees created by several LaRouchian front groups, and writes a column for the LaRouchian newspaper New Federalist. Bevel has been an effective organizer for the LaRouchians, and took a high profile in their antiwar organizing.

Dr. Manning Marable, in a 1986 column, listed Bevel among a small group of “prominent civil rights spokesmen [who] have gone so far as to form alliances with ultra-right groups, which might give lip service to blacks’ traditional interests.” The LaRouchians have sought coalitions with local African-American community activists for many years, often working through religious leaders. A recent example was the LaRouchian support for then Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry. During Barry’s trial on drug charges, the LaRouchians and the Nation of Islam helped organize protests on behalf of Barry. The LaRouchian representative during these protests was Bevel.

When Bevel endorsed Lyndon LaRouche’s congressional candidacy (in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District), he signed a statement which included the claim, “Lyndon LaRouche is known and respected in every nation of the Third World as the primary opponent of the genocide policies of the IMF and as the architect and principal spokesman for a new and more just world economic order that guarantees the inalienable rights of all people.” The statement speaks glowingly of LaRouche’s early theorizing about the AIDS virus and his recommendations for fighting the spread of the virus. In fact, as mentioned before, LaRouche has written that history would not judge harshly those persons who took to the streets and beat homosexuals to death with baseball bats to stop the spread of AIDS.

Bevel represented the LaRouchite Schiller Institute in Omaha, Nebraska. The Omaha World-Heraldreported on January 6, 1991:

“Bevel was one of 10 people who came to Nebraska in October as members of a group calling itself the Citizens Fact-Finding Commission to Investigate Human rights Violations of Children in Nebraska. That group was organized by the Schiller Institute of Washington, D.C., and Wiesbaden, Germany. The institute was founded in 1984 by Helga Zepp-LaRouche. She is the wife of Lyndon LaRouche, who is serving a 15-year sentence for fraud and tax evasion….The Schiller group’s printed statement disputed the findings of two grand juries in the Franklin case. A check by the World-Herald of some of the `facts’ in the statement turned up several apparent errors.

While Rev. Bevel’s historic role as a valued civil rights leader is unquestioned, he has in recent years lost his constituency and his political moorings. Dr. Manning Marable noted in 1986 that Bevel, had become “a Republican party leader in Chicago’s Black community, and soon earned the reputation as an extremist of the right.”

Some time after the LaRouche conviction in January 1989, Bevel began to appear as a featured speaker at LaRouchian conferences, and began to write a column in the LaRouchian New Federalist. As Marable noted in 1986:

The right-wing sect of Lyndon LaRouche has also initiated a campaign to recruit black supporters. As in the case of the Unification Church, the LaRouchians work primarily through several fronts, the Schiller Institute and the National Democratic Policy Committee. Again, the LaRouchians have been linked to a number of racist and extremist groups, including the Liberty Lobby, the Klan and neo-Nazis. Currently, the LaRouchians are vigorously opposing sanctions against South African apartheid.

While in Chicago, Bevel regularly broke ranks with the African-American-led coalition behind the late Mayor Harold Washington. At the same time, Bevel was working with Moon’s front group CAUSA. In an interview with Bevel at an Illinois CAUSA meeting, I asked him why he would ally himself with a religious/political movement such as that run by Rev. Moon. Bevel replied that it was a tactical coalition based on agreement that the main danger in the world was communism. Bevel argued that communism was a godless philosophy, and that as a Christian, it was his obligation to fight godlessness.

Bevel’s CAUSA ties garnered him some unflattering publicity. According to the December 12, 1987 Chicago Sun-Times, Bevel was one of four persons belonging to “groups created by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church” who erected a creche and nativity scene at Chicago’s Daley Center Plaza. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that “William J. Grutzmacher, who obtained the permit and paid $2000 for the creche, gave a speech in October to a business group in Merrillville, Ind., apparently so anti-Semitic that a local newspaper ran an editorial denouncing him.” The head of the Rotary Club that had co-sponsored Grutzmacher’s speech told the reporter, “He made charges…that the Communist Party is headed by Jews, and that the Jews were responsible for every negative thing that has happened since World War II.”

Bevel has also worked with other Moon fronts. In the October, 1990 issue of American Freedom Journal,Bevel is listed as serving on the National Policy Board of the American Freedom Coalition, chaired by the ultra-conservative Hon. Richard Ichord. The American Freedom Coalition (AFC) is a joint project of Rev. Moon and the Rev. Robert G. Grant of the ultra-right Christian fundamentalist group Christian Voice. AFC fundraised for Oliver North, and Bevel sits on the AFC National Policy Board with Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub, implicated in the Iran-Contragate scandal; Lt. Gen. Daniel Graham of High Frontier, the pro-Star Wars lobby; and rightist historian Dr. Cleon Skousen. The late Dr. Ralph David Abernathy was a long-time member of the AFC Board of Directors along with pro-interventionist Ambassador Phillip Sanchez. On the AFC National Advisory Board sit rightist fundraising guru Richard Viguerie, and Slava Stetsko, president of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN). ABN is notorious because it is the descendant and spiritual heir of the Committee of Subjugated Nations, formed in 1943 by Hitler’s allies. According to author Russ Bellant, “The ABN brought together fascist forces from Hungary, Bulgaria, Rumania, the Ukraine, the Baltic States, Slovenia and other nations.” Slava Stetsko is the widow of Yaroslav Stetsko, leader of the Nazi puppet government in the Ukraine during World War II. She once wrote a glowing introduction to a book that defined anti-Semitism as a “smear word used by Communists against those who effectively oppose and expose them.”

These are the fascist forces with which Bevel has allied himself, and is a striking example of the opportunistic flexibility of fascism as a political ideology, able not only to embrace Nazi-collaborators but also to entice Black civil rights activists. Bevel’s ties to the fascist Moon circles are through a shared loathing of communism as a godless ideology, an issue which resonates with many Black church-based constituencies. Another congruent theme that fascism can employ to seek alliances with African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans is the opportunistic manipulation of the issues of nationalism and self determination.

Other Black leaders such as Roy Innis and the late Ralph David Abernathy have forged alliances with the fascist right. Innis has worked in alliance with the LaRouchians. Abernathy worked with Moon’s Unification movement until his death.

OTHER RIGHT-WING GROUPS AND THE GULF WAR

Conservative groups overwhelmingly supported sending U.S. troops to the Gulf. Right-wing forces aligned with Rev. Sun Myung Moon and those supportive of the Israeli political right forged a pro-war coalition that placed ads in newspapers and purchased television commercials.

Other rightists, primarily those who have politics that are more accurately termed reactionary than conservative, staked out an isolationist or “America First” position, and opposed sending U.S. troops to fight the Gulf War. The LaRouchian antiwar theories parallel many of the themes promoted by the Liberty Lobby, and the John Birch Society. According to one flyer issued by the LaRouchians, “If war is to come, it will be the result of deliberate `geopolitical’ plotting by British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Lord Carrington, and other London friends of Henry Kissinger.”

At the 35th Anniversary Liberty Lobby convention held in September, 1990 there was considerable antiwar sentiment expressed by speakers who tied the U.S. presence in Saudi Arabia to pressure from Israel and its intelligence agency, Mossad. No matter what actual political involvement, if any, forces that support Israel may have had in shaping the events that led to the Gulf War, the themes discussed at the Liberty Lobby conference tilted toward undocumented anti-Jewish propaganda rather than principled factual criticisms.

Prouty’s topic at the opening session of the 1990 Liberty Lobby Convention was “The Secret Team.” The new Institute for Historical Review’s Noontide Press edition of Prouty’s book The Secret Team was released at the Liberty Lobby conference. Prouty assured the audience it was an “enormous privilege” to have his book republished by the Institute for Historical Review, a group, Prouty claimed, that keeps people “from revising history.” Prouty thanked Willis Carto and Tom Marcellus of IHR for the “guts and good sense” to republish his book.25 Following Prouty to the Podium was the infamous anti-Jewish bigot Eustace Mullins, who spoke on “Secrets of the Federal Reserve.”

Prouty has been a guest at least nine times on Paul Valentine’s Radio Free America program–syndicated by Liberty Lobby. An ad in “Spotlight” for a tape of Prouty’s January 23, 1991 interview reads: “Was Bush’s War [against Iraq] actually a “Secret Team” operation? Col. Fletcher Prouty, expert on this government within a government, argues that it has all the earmarks.”

Prouty also moderated a panel where Bo Gritz wove a conspiracy theory which explained the U.S. confrontation with Iraq as a product of the same “Secret Team” outlined by Prouty. Spotlight’s coverage of the Gritz presentation featured a headline proclaiming “Gritz Warns…Get Ready to Fight or Lose Freedom: Links Drugs, CIA, Mossad; Slams U.S. Foreign Policy; Alerts Patriots to Martial Law Threat.”

Other conference speakers and moderators at the September 1990 Liberty Lobby convention included attorney Mark Lane, who has drifted into alliances with Liberty Lobby that far transcend his role as the group’s lawyer, and comedian and activist Dick Gregory, whose anti-government rhetoric finds fertile soil on the far right. Dick Gregory also spoke in 1991 at the January 19th antiwar rally in Washington, D.C. Organizers of the antiwar event say they were unaware of Gregory’s previous appearance at the Liberty Lobby meeting.

Mark Lane and Dick Gregory co-authored a 1977 book on the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and both have circulated complex conspiracy theories about other world events which could account in part for their drift towards the conspiratorial Liberty Lobby network.

People associated with Liberty Lobby or the Populist Party circulated antiwar and pro-isolationist literature, including Liberty Lobby’s weekly newspaper Spotlight, at several antiwar rallies, including demonstrations in Boston, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and West Palm Beach, Florida.

According to the Center for Democratic Renewal:

The Florida Populist Party attended [the Florida] anti-war rally…handing out a leaflet that read in part: `The most conspicuous foes of war have been on the left, and we in the Populist Party support their efforts.’ Don Black, a former Klan leader, had a taped message on the Party’s phone line: `Make no mistake, this is Israel’s war, and American sons and daughters are fighting it for them.’

In its January 7-14, 1991 edition, Spotlight carried an article titled “Volunteers Flock to Iraq To Help Fight U.S., Israel.” This phenomenon was favorably compared to “the building of the Waffen SS legions in Europe during World War II, when almost 1 million men from all over Europe and as far away as India voluntarily enlisted to fight communism under the leadership of the German high command. That development was also suppressed and never mentioned by the Anglo-American press. Allied commanders, however, knew the Waffen SS as an extremely effective fighting force.”

An advertisement in the same issue of Spotlight touted a book “Israel: Our Duty…Our Dilemma” under the headline “How Will You Respond To The Next Mid-East War?” While Spotlight itself usually avoids the loaded language of this ad, the pages of Spotlight are frequently used by racist, anti-Jewish, and pro-Nazi groups to call attention to their products, publications, events, and views. The ad copy is also significant because it encapsulates many of the themes used by anti-Jewish bigots in criticizing Israel and Jews:

If you are like most Americans you will react as the pro-Zionist media has programmed you to react.

But if you have read “Israel: Our Duty…Our Dilemma” you will see the whole picture–how Israel’s ruling elite are using terrorism, Holocaust sympathy, twisted Bible verses–toward one objective: Power.

Power in America. Power in the Middle East. Power in the world.

Distilling 14 years’ research in semi-secret Jewish sources, evangelical writer Theodore Winston Pike demonstrates that through Kabbalistic occultism, international banking, communism, liberalism, and media control, Israel is doing exactly what the Bible prophesies: establishing a power base in the Middle East upon which her false messiah, AntiChrist, will someday rule.

OTHER GULF WAR ISSUES: THE RACIST RIGHT AND THE GULF WAR

Some white supremacists outlined a frank racist agenda in their Gulf War publications. The Invisible Empire, Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, in the January/February, 1991 issue of The Klansman, ran a banner headline “War in the Middle East? Another Blood Sacrifice on the Altar of International Jewry. Integrated Effeminate U.S. Military Will Not Win!” On Target, published by Northpoint Tactical Teams in North Carolina, released a forty-page special edition, “Desert Shield and the New World Order,” which ascribes the conflict to a Jewish-Communist conspiracy involving Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, George Bush, and Mikhail Gorbachev.

THE BUCHANAN CONTROVERSY

The attempts by some of the rightist groups who opposed the war to penetrate the progressive antiwar movement came during a period of significant realignment among U.S. right-wing and conservative political groups. In some rightist groups, long hidden racialist theories are being dusted off and recirculated, which has caused further splits. One of the most significant historical divisions on the American political right is between those groups that espouse racialist (race-based) theories–generally anti-Jewish and white supremacist–and those that do not.

The issue of anti-Jewish rhetoric over the Gulf crisis first surfaced in September, 1990 as part of this long simmering feud within the political right in the United States. Reactionary columnist Pat Buchanan fired the first salvo to reach the mainstream media when he declared on the McLaughlin Group roundtable television program that the two groups most favoring war in the Middle East were “the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen chorus in the United States.” New York Times columnist A.M. Rosenthal charged that Buchanan’s comments reflected anti-Semitism, to which Buchanan retorted that Rosenthal had made a “contract hit” on him in collusion with the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith (ADL).

To unravel the background of the dispute takes a political scorecard. Buchanan is allied with reactionary and hard-line rightist forces in the U.S. The more moderate of these hard-right forces sometimes are called paleo-conservatives or “Paleocons” due to their ties to the “Old Right” in the United States. The farthest fringe of this circle is populated by persons who reflect a neo-fascist viewpoint. Buchanan networks across the spectrum of the hard-right, from Paleocon to neo-Fascist. Racism and anti-Jewish bigotry were common themes in some (although not all) Old Right groups.

The Anti-Defamation League is a Jewish human rights group often allied with the “Neocons,” the neo-conservative movement in the United States. ADL leaders frequently are ardent and uncritical supporters of hardline Israeli government policies, as are many Neocons. ADL has produced some excellent material on bigotry and prejudice, but its leaders have labeled as anti-Semitic statements which are solely political criticisms of Israel or Zionism. Since there are some high-profile Jews in the intellectual leadership of the neo-conservative movement, some persons have concluded that neo-conservatism is a Jewish ideology. This is as prejudiced an assertion as the claim that communism is a Jewish ideology because of the role played in it by some Jewish intellectuals.

Buchanan’s statement in and of itself was not necessarily anti-Jewish, but in the context of Buchanan’s long record of insensitivity when writing about Jews, the contention that Buchanan is an anti-Semite is not without foundation. Buchanan has not only defended those who say the Holocaust was a hoax, but implied their views have some merit. Buchanan endorsed the work of the Rockford Institute after other conservatives criticized it for its tolerance of apparently anti-Jewish sentiments. In his January 25, 1990 newsletter, Buchanan penned what was in essence an ode to fascism which celebrated the efficiency of autocracy, and concluded with the line, “If the people are corrupt, the more democracy, the worse the government.” The column also echoed historically racialist themes.

Actually, the Neocons for ten years quietly have tolerated more than a little anti-democratic authoritarianism, anti-Jewish bigotry, and racism from their tactical allies on the Paleocon right. Their alliance was based on shared support for militant anti-communism, celebration of unfettered free enterprise, calls for high levels of U.S. spending on the U.S. military, and support for a militarily strong Israel dominated by hard-line ultra-conservative political parties that would stand as a bulwark against communism in the Middle East.

Author Sara Diamond (who covered the Buchanan/Rosenthal feud in Z Magazine) notes “the Buchanan forces explicitly rejected coalition with the left on the issue of opposing intervention in the Gulf.”

THE COURTSHIP OF CONSPIRACISM

 

Reactionary concepts plus revolutionary emotion result in Fascist mentality.

–Wilhelm Reich

CRAIG HULET’S REDUCTIONIST GULF WAR CRITIQUES

One critic of government policies who draws from both left and right sources and perspectives is Seattle-based analyst Craig B. Hulet. During the past year, progressive radio stations including KPFA in San Francisco and KPFK in Los Angeles aired compelling condemnations of the Gulf War produced by Hulet, also known as K.C. DePass. A number of study groups were formed in California following Hulet’s radio and personal appearances. Hulet claimed in an interview that his theories have no relation to conspiracist theories such as those circulated by the John Birch Society, and he is quick to distance himself from the racialist and anti-Jewish theories of far-right groups such as Liberty Lobby. Still, Hulet’s analysis, which exaggerates the role of the Al Sabah family in world affairs, has many of the hallmarks of other oversimplified conspiracist theories which reduce complex issues to simple equations; and it seems to scapegoat one family of Arabs, albeit one with powerful financial holdings, in a way that would be equally unacceptable if their name was Rothschild rather than Al Sabah. No matter what his actual affiliations, Hulet essentially employs a variation on the elite financial insider conspiracy of the John Birch Society.

Hulet has a smooth style and self-confident tone, but in essence, Hulet’s analysis reflects a cynical right-wing libertarian perspective laced with conspiratorial theories. The basic theme of his Gulf War analysis boils down to an assertion that Kuwait’s ruling Al Sabah family dictated U.S. policy in the Gulf War in concert with ruling financial elites in the United States. According to Hulet, the Al Sabah family could do this because they controlled vast financial holdings in the U.S. and they threatened to withdraw those holdings and collapse the U.S. economy unless the U.S. pushed Iraq out of Kuwait. Hulet also maintains that the investments of George Bush and his father Prescott make George Bush vulnerable to manipulation by the Al Sabah family.

Hulet’s assertions in The Secret U.S. Agenda in the Gulf War, published during the Gulf War period as part of the Open Magazine Pamphlet Series, show his proclivity for unjustified conclusory statements:

Sabah is the key to making this whole thing unfold and work so well in fine mesh. The financial holdings of the Al Sabah family in this country alone in our Western banks, our six largest banks offshore, is $300 billion dollars. They own $52 billion in U.S. T-bills and bonds. The Citicorp portfolio alone is $10 billion in assets held by the Sabah family. No more than 5% of GE, McDonald Douglas, Westinghouse, Dow Chemical, Atlantic Richfield, Texaco, you name it. The multinational corporations. Six of the ones I just named are our largest listed defense contractors….There’s no question that the international community has guaranteed that they would back the use of force and come to the aid of the Al Sabah family, even if it means 100,000 Americans die, because he could cause financial chaos.26

A Hulet promotional brochure reveals a pattern of similar reductionist statements and unsubstantiated conspiratorial claims. According to the brochure:

Hulet outlines the actual political objectives of the Bush administration regarding the Middle East…why we gave Hussein the green light to invade Kuwait and why Bush will disallow any legitimate cease fire overture by Hussein….volatile…material concerning George Bush’s connections as well as those of his father, Prescott Bush…Middle East and the New World Order discussed in detail…

The brochure claims that the Hulet report Overview of Government Corruption and Manipulation provides “an excellent understanding identifying the elite and how and why they control society” . In a similar vein, the brochure claims the Hulet report The Gnomes of Zurich provides, “…an overview identifying the elites who manage this country and how and why they control it’s aim….”

The text of The Gnomes of Zurich shows a more detailed yet consistent reliance on conspiratorial assertions:

Keeping the left wing grass roots at the throat of the right wing grass roots, serves the purpose, the means, and ultimately…, the END, of these quite powerful elitists. As each side at the basic root level; the grass roots level if you will, are both being used, duped, and manipulated by the Elite…They are quite simply, these sincere yet almost silly at times local people, unwittingly part of an ingenious plan to create a synthesis…ingenious because of its simplicity…For you see the Elite in the Kremlin, and the Elite in Washington quite agree on the end at which they both aim (the synthesis). A Global Regime.

These are just a few examples of Hulet’s conspiracist style. Most of Hulet’s work concerns conspiracies of the “elites.” Actually, much of Hulet’s thesis is an echo of the book Call it Conspiracy by Larry Abraham, which is itself a rewrite and expansion of the book None Dare Call it Conspiracy by Gary Allen and Larry Abraham. Allen’s writings were widely popularized by the John Birch Society. Hulet’s intellectual tradition can clearly be shown to be congruent with that of the John Birch Society.

In at least one case, Hulet moves beyond conspiracism into elevating a satire to documentary status. Hulet labels as fact material from the book Report from Iron Mountain. Hulet refers to the work as if it were a secret government document. Actually, Report from Iron Mountain is an allegorical critique of the pro-militarist lobby and a well-known example of political satire27.

While an excellent philosophical discussion of the errors of the Cold War, it should be noted that it was produced by Leonard C. Lewin, described on the book jacket as a “critic and satirist” who was editor of A Treasury of American Political Humor. Apparently Hulet didn’t get the joke. Even the Institute for Historical Review, which sells Report from Iron Mountain, says in its current “Noontide Press” catalog: “was it the actual text of a secret report…or a brilliant satire? Judge for yourself.”

Hulet also plows the ground of left/right coalition. Hulet says that he works closely with former Christic Institute attorney Lanny Sinkin to buttress his credibility on the left. On one radio interview, Hulet responded to a question regarding third parties in the U.S. by saying:

The problem with those third parties is that they are such a tiny, tiny minority of the intelligentsia. Many of them like the Libertarian Party is splintered between factions. They are fighting amongst themselves. They still see it as a left-wing right-wing dialectic that they must oppose. And all I’m trying to make very clear to the American people, including the ones that read all the right books, is that the enemy is our government. The enemy is not part of our society. It has always historically been them versus us. The government versus the people. And the American people have to stop fighting amongst themselves.

Pacifica radio network stations KPFK in Los Angeles and KPFA in San Francisco aired long programs with Hulet, and audiotapes of his radio interviews quickly became some of the Pacifica Archives’ best-selling tapes. According to the program manager of KPFA, Hulet was one of the most requested radio personalities during and after the Gulf War.

Hulet recommends the research on Trilateralism of Antony C. Sutton, a far-right theorist who publishes thePhoenix Letter: A Report on the Abuse of Power, and Future Technology Intelligence Report. The latter carried Sutton’s sentiment that “without political intervention cancer would have been cured decades ago.” Citing Sutton in any context is problematic given Sutton’s exotic views. Sutton, for instance, asserts that various government and political operatives, controlled by international bankers, have suppressed the technology to control the weather, produce free energy, and achieve “Acoustical Levitation.” Sutton also reports on “possible advanced alien technology” including anti-gravity devices recovered from UFOs by the U.S. government.

[[Sutton raised a legitimate complaint about the original wording of this section, so some text has been deleted and a correction is at: 
http://www.publiceye.org/updates/Corrections.html
 ]]

When Hulet was asked why he would put forward Sutton as someone to prove his thesis, he replied that it was a choice between Sutton and Holly Sklar, and he considered Sklar a Marxist. This says much about the political milieu from which Hulet is emerging. Sklar, who has written progressive critiques of the Trilateralists, warns antiwar activists that “there is a big difference between understanding the influence of the Trilateral Commission on world affairs and the paranoid right-wing fantasy that the Trilateralists and their allies are an omnipotent cabal controlling the world. It’s important for people to base their political decisions on facts, not lazy catch-all conspiracy theories.”

Journalist David Barsamian interviewed Hulet for his Alternative Radio tape series which is aired on numerous local radio stations nationwide and often sold in the form of audio cassettes and printed transcripts. The Open Magazine pamphlet series reproduced Barsamian’s interview with Hulet, and sold them alongside interviews with researchers who have a more substantial and serious track record, including Noam Chomsky, Helen Caldicott, and John Stockwell. According to co-owner Stuart Sahulka, the Hulet pamphlet was published because there was “such an overpressing need for information about the war,” and that except for exaggerating the amount of Kuwaiti investment in the U.S., it seemed accurate. After selling one thousand copies of the pamphlet–far less than the others, Open Magazine did not reprint the pamphlet and it went out of print, according to Sahulka.

Barsamian suggested to Open Road that it would be appropriate not to reprint the Hulet pamphlet given the revelations emerging about Hulet. Barsamian was troubled by some of Hulet’s assertions regarding the genesis of the Gulf War, and Hulet’s apparent claim that the Kuwaiti royal families control of $300 billion in U.S. investments was the key issue in prompting the war. (Most newspapers and financial reporting services place the Kuwaiti/U.S. investment figure in the range of 30-50 billion dollars, with a low of 15 and a high of 80 in current documented mainstream and alternative press accounts.) Barsamian and other progressive researchers and journalists have been unable to document some of Hulet’s claims, which may represent legitimate suppositions, but were presented by Hulet in numerous radio interviews as facts. Hulet argues that the integrity of his research should not be judged on the basis of radio interviews where discussions are often hectic and condensed. On the other hand, Hulet gained his influence as a Gulf War critic and his largest audience through radio talk shows.

Barsamian warns progressives of falling for the type of “left guruism” where sensational anti-government theories are accepted without any independent critical analysis. He notes that during the Gulf crisis Craig Hulet was elevated to expert status by progressives who accepted his pronouncements as fact without seriously examining his credentials, which he sometimes inflates.

For instance, one Hulet brochure describes him as a “Published columnist and political cartoonist. Articles frequently appear in national publications: Financial Security Digest, International Combat Arms, Seattle Times, LA Weekly, SF Examiner, Oakland Tribune and more.” In fact, while the phrasing strongly suggests Hulet has written for the latter four publications, Hulet admits those cites actually refer to instances when he was quoted or his research used in preparing the article. Most journalists and academics would consider that a misrepresentation. In the long run, whether or not Hulet’s analysis stands up to intellectual criticism will be determined by his ability to defend his thesis–a defense that can only take place if his views are vigorously debated, not uncritically accepted as gospel. That is the same critical standard to which all researchers should be held.

An especially useful book in understanding how Hulet’s conspiracy theories of oligarchic manipulation, anti-government demagoguery, and appeal to individualism fits into the fascist tradition is “The Fascist Ego” by William R. Tucker28. The book is a study of the French intellectual fascist, Robert Brasillach, whose egocentric flirtation with fascism ended with his execution as a collaborator at the end of WWII.

Author Tucker, as the jacket blurb explains:

…sees in Brasillach’s involvement in fascism a form of anarchic individualism or `right-wing anarchism.’ He suggests that, far from being a form of social or moral conservatism, Brasillach’s fascism was inspired by an anti-modernism that placed the creative individuals sensibilities and his ego at the center of things. Brasillach’s fear that the individualist prerogatives of the creative elite would be submerged in the industrialized and rationalized society that loomed on the horizon was important as a basis for his thoughts and actions.

To understand Brasillach and his soul-mates is to understand Craig Hulet, and his followers.

HOW THE POPULIST PARTY USES HULET

While Craig Hulet, featured on the California Pacifica radio stations, is careful to distance himself from views that are racist or anti-Jewish, not everyone who champions Hulet as an commentator on the Gulf War or Bush’s New World Order makes those distinctions. Some persons, wittingly or not, use Hulet’s theories to introduce others to the more bigoted theorists. Hulet helped spark a political movement in California following the Gulf War that, according to persons attending the meetings, fed scores, perhaps hundreds, of political activists into a far-right, racist, and anti-Jewish political organizing drive supporting the Presidential candidacy of Col. James “Bo” Gritz of the Populist Party.

The story of one person living in the Bay Area, called here Dana Pierce, illustrates the study group phenomenon sparked by Hulet’s presentations. The story shows an organizing dynamic in action, and is not meant to imply that Hulet is a party to the dynamic, merely that others opportunistically use Hulet as bait.

Dana Pierce had become critical of domestic U.S. financial policies, and attended a meeting of others who shared that view. Pierce was invited by the leader of the group, an older man with “a pro-democracy demeanor,” to a meeting in the San Rafael area to meet someone who might assist with a particular financial problem.

At that second meeting, the facilitator announced the group was trying to understand George Bush and the New World Order. They were studying history and political science, and were reading material by Noam Chomsky. It was explained that the group had formed after several core persons, who opposed sending U.S. troops to the Gulf, had heard Craig Hulet’s speeches in the Bay Area, primarily on radio station KPFA, both in live interviews and on tape. Some people had seen Hulet on videotape. They had responded to Hulet’s call for people to educate themselves by forming the group.

The group consisted of at least thirty people and had met about four times when Pierce attended the meeting. For the main program of the meeting, the group watched a videotape of Eustace Mullins talking about the sinister aspects of the Federal Reserve system. As the tape progressed, Pierce became increasingly uneasy.

Mullins was jumping back and forth, claiming bankers supported both the Bolshevik revolution and the Nazis, he praised the right-wing Hunt brothers, and then began to mention the Rothschild family. He said the CIA was part of the plot, and William F. Buckley is CIA which was why some conservative groups dismissed his theories. All the while I watched people smiling and nodding their heads and I began to wonder if I was the only one to catch the reference to the Rothschilds and wondered if I was being over-sensitive because I was Jewish.

After the tape, according to Pierce, “the host stood up and praised Mullins and said he was a close associate of Ezra Pound. The host also said that the banking system is communistic because both are monopolistic.”

Pierce went to the local library and looked up a biography of Ezra Pound and discovered that Mullins had been associated with Pound, and that Pound was a virulent anti-Semite. Pierce then read Hannah Arendt’s treatise on the origins of anti-Semitism, and pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place.

Pierce had not heard Hulet before and so went to hear a July 1991 speech at the First Unitarian Church in San Francisco. Admission was ten dollars and the audience numbered at least 100.

He was a glib speaker, and he presents concerns all of us have–concerns many people on the left certainly have about the Bush administration and how there is no effective congressional oversight. I can listen to him and agree he is focused on some real problems in this country. What he does is bring into the open a lot of concerns and he discusses issues succinctly and in ways that people can follow. If I had just gone to hear him I probably would have been quite taken with him, but in the context of the first meeting, I listened with skepticism, and am worried

People want so much to believe in him they don’t want to hear any criticism. I saw how people can hear Hulet and then be led to Mullins. If you look at the origins of anti-Semitism described by Arendt, you can see how a self-confident person who provides simple explanations can offer comfort to people who sense that something is wrong with our society and that they are being lied to, which is true. But it was scary to see how easily people were then led into accepting the scapegoating of Jews and the other conspiracy theories discussed by Eustace Mullins on the videotape.

At first I thought there was something wrong with me, but now I think there is a serious problem that people on the left need to talk about.

Hulet was listed in a 1986 Spotlight advertisement as a speaker at a day-long seminar with ultra-rightist Australian Eric D. Butler and pro-apartheid writer Ivor Benson, a notorious anti-Semite. Both men are leading theorists affiliated with Liberty Lobby. Also on the 1986 panel was rightist newsletter editor Lawrence Patterson, recently named to the Liberty Lobby PAC, and David Irving, an author who claims the Holocaust was a Jewish hoax. Repeated attempts to interview Hulet regarding this meeting and the California study groups, including a visit to his base in a town north of Seattle, were brushed off by his wife, Kathleen DePass Hulet, who handles his publicity from a frame shop in downtown Everett, Washington. Hulet has told one newspaper that he did not attend the event. The matter is unimportant in an overall assessment of Hulet’s ideological–as opposed to organizational–allegiances.

LEFT/RIGHT CRITIQUES AND COALITIONS

It would be grossly unfair to suggest that all information from the political right is inaccurate conspiracism. Right-wing groups are quite capable of producing factual investigative material and persuasive journalistic stories. For instance, every year “Project Censored” runs a contest to pick the ten top stories not adequately covered by the mainstream press. On a 1991 PBS television program reviewing the 1990 Project Censored stories, commentator Bill Moyers held up a copy of the Spotlight as an example of two such stories–one on aspects of U.S. foreign policy in the early days of the Gulf crisis, another highlighting repressive features of an anti-crime bill. Not all stories surfaced by the far right are accurate, however, and many feature convoluted and undocumented conspiracy theories featuring a paranoid analysis.

At the same time the right has been wooing the left, right-wing groups have been promoting a number of left resources such as books and videos that criticize certain aspects of government policy or ruling elites. For instance, Noam Chomsky’s critiques of U.S. foreign policy, Holly Sklar’s studies of the Trilateral Commission, and Brian Glick’s manual on domestic repression are praised and distributed by right-wing book peddlers.

These cross-ideological pollinations do not imply any ideological connection between the left researchers and the right–any group can distribute a book–but demonstrates that the political right sees points of alliance with the left, especially around issues relating to government abuses of power.

Government repression and intelligence abuse are not the only areas of research on the left where convoluted theories are circulated. Unsubstantiated conspiracist theories, claiming secret circles of corporate influence in the United States, also flow between left and right pro-environmentalists. One Massachusetts environmental activist researches alternative energy sources, circulates materials on elite control of energy policy, and refers interested environmentalists to the work of Eustace Mullins who writes about the so-called Jewish international banking conspiracy. In his worldview, Mullins’ research unraveling powerful industrial and banking conspiracies can help explain government antagonism toward environmental reform29. Mullins is best known as a critic of the Federal Reserve system, and in public appearances he avoids anti-Jewish rhetoric. His work was briefly promoted by Chuck Harder’s “For the People” radio talk show program and a related newspaper which also promoted consumer advocate Ralph Nader.

Revisionist Letters, a periodical promoting the idea that the historical account of the Holocaust is a hoax, carried an article urging recruitment from “a powerful potential source of supporters–the radical Left! Leftist disillusionment with Israel and Zionism is growing rapidly.”

Several far-right commentators with ties to Liberty Lobby and its Spotlight newspaper were interviewed on radio stations affiliated with the progressive Pacifica network. The most troublesome and widespread aspects of this phenomenon have occurred in California where some radio hosts have promoted Sheehan and Davis of Christic along with right-wing persons in Liberty Lobby and the conspiratorial right as jointly working together to expose the government’s corrupt maneuverings. Radio personality Craig Hulet has encouraged this belief in interviews by warning of attempts to criticize those who are “kicking George Bush.” Hulet, in fact, specifically named Sheehan, Davis, Marchetti, Prouty, Gritz, and himself as researchers who needed to be defended against those who criticized coalitions between the left and the right.

On one forum for activists on a national electronic computer based network, excerpts from LaRouchian and Liberty Lobby publications have been uncritically posted by persons who primarily circulate information from left and progressive sources. This builds the credibility of the LaRouchians and Liberty Lobby circles and implies that they are natural allies. The circulation of messages promoting racist and anti-Jewish ideas and praising the theories of Liberty Lobby and the LaRouchians has become widespread on the USENET computer telecommunications system that links many universities.

THE JFK CONSPIRACY

The Oliver Stone film JFK stimulated nationwide interest in conspiracies. Some right-wing paranoid theories are woven into the film, not surprising since Fletcher Prouty was an advisor to Stone, and the film’s character “Mr. X” was primarily based on Prouty. Several of the film’s themes echo conspiracist claims appearing in a John Birch Society magazine article on the JFK assassination by Medford Evans. The article was first published in September 1967 and was reprinted in April 1992 in the Birch magazine The New American to catch the wave of publicity around the Stone film. In the article, Evans discusses rumors that Lyndon Johnson may have engineered the Kennedy assassination, considers the assassination a coup d’etat. and suggest the American Establishment had JFK killed. The publisher complains, however, that “if Oliver Stone is seriously trying to indict the CIA, defense contractors, Big Oil, Big Business, the news media, and a host of others, he errs in suggesting that the whole business was a right-wing plot. These are not individuals of the Right.”

As the film JFK was making headlines, Prouty was promoting the new IHR edition of his book on the CIA,The Secret Team and Lane was promoting his new book on the Kennedy Assassination, Plausible Denial, in tandem with the film. Prouty wrote the introduction to Lane’s book. Stone highlighted the research of Prouty in a December, 1991 “Op-Ed” article in the New York Times. Prouty was widely discussed as a model for the “Mr. X” character featured in the Stone film, and Prouty served as an advisor to the film. Both Prouty and Lane have been featured on nominally progressive radio stations discussing the JFK assassination. There has been a reluctance to discuss some of these issues among some progressives, for instance a new film by respected documentarians Daniel Schechter and Barbara Kopple, “Beyond ‘JFK’: The Question of Conspiracy,” features Lane and Prouty but makes no mention of the controversy surrounding their affiliations.

Another example of a left/right information alliance involves Dan Brandt, creator of the Namebase software program, an immensely useful computer tool which searches a huge index of CIA-related publications and documents. Brandt has created a non-profit group with a board of advisors composed of both left and right critics of U.S. intelligence agencies, including LaRouche-defender Fletcher Prouty who is listed as being on the advisory board of Liberty Lobby’s Populist Action Committee.30 On the other hand, Brandt is highly critical of the LaRouchians.

TRUE GRITZ

One of the most visible attempts by rightists to recruit from the left involved the 1992 presidential candidacy of Bo Gritz. Gritz ran for president through a variety of local parties and groups, but his earliest candidacy this electoral round was under the banner of the fascist Populist Party. Even Readers Digest has called the Populist party a haven for neo-Nazis and ex-klansmen. The Populist Party was founded by Hitler apologist Willis Carto.

Bo Gritz is the point man in an effort to build a coalition of white supremacists, anti-Jewish bigots, neo-fascists, and paranoid gun nuts. At the same time Gritz has attracted a large audience of progressives with his anti-administration appeals.

Gritz promotes the ideas of the Christian Identity movement, although he claims he is not a follower of Identity. In a speech at Identity pastor Pete Peter’s Colorado headquarters, Gritz acknowledged that Peters had helped publish and distribute his book Called to Serve, which is used to promote the Gritz presidential campaign.

Christian Identity is a religion that sees Jews as agents of Satan and considers African-Americans to be sub-human. Identity claims the United States is the real promised land and white Christians are the real children of Israel. Many proponents of Christian Identity seek to overthrow the “Zionist Occupational Government” in Washington, D.C. and establish an exclusively white Christian nation, or at least seize the states of the pacific northwest.

Gritz primarily seeks to build networks of support in reactionary and far-right circles. He made a presentation on “MIA/POW & Government Drug Dealers” at the Third Christian Heritage National Conference held in November of 1990 in Florida. Among other featured speakers were Bob Weems, Pete Peters, Col. Jack Mohr and other persons who promote Christian Identity. Also speaking were Eustace Mullins, who provided the “Total Conspiracy Update,” and A.J. Barker, national chairman of the Populist Party.

The Populist Party ran former neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke for President in 1988 with Gritz as the original vice-presidential nominee. Gritz later dropped off the ticket to run for local office, and now makes excuses for his earlier affiliation with Duke.

Gritz claims he opposes racism and is trying to clean up the Populist Party. But Gritz continuously misrepresents the nature of the Populist Party and its ongoing leadership. An article in the September 1992 Soldier of Fortune magazine notes:

” Gritz also said he does not know Jerry Pope, chairman of Kentucky’s Populist Party. Pope was once a prominent figure in the National States Rights Party founded by racist J.B. Stoner, who was imprisoned for the deaths of black children in the bombing of a Sunday school class in Birmingham, Alabama.” Pope and Gritz are both listed as being on the Board of Advisers to the Populist Action Committee run by Liberty Lobby.

The Populist Party began promoting Gritz for President in the summer of 1991. The banner headline in the June, 1991 issue of The Populist Observer: Voice of the Populist Party was “Groundswell Building For Gritz Presidential Run.” Gritz had addressed the Populist Party national convention in May 1991. The following month, The Populist Observer ran another banner headline proclaiming: “Gritz Populist Party Candidacy for President Official!”

In a memo sent to Populist Party regulars by Chair Don Wassall, and signed by 11 Populist Party Executive Committee members, Wassall wrote that “We are reaching out to new people, and we have a tremendous presidential candidate in Bo Gritz.” Campaign flyers mailed from the Populist Party headquarters are headlined “Bo Gritz for President…Vote Populist Party.” In the June, 1991 issue of The Populist Observer, Gritz wrote, “I call upon you as Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Independent, right, left, conservative, liberal, et.al., to UNITE AS POPULISTS [emphasis in original] until we have our nation firmly back on her feet.” Gritz told the audience at a July, 1991 meeting in Palo Alto, California that they should reach out and attempt to recruit persons from the left.

While Willis Carto was one of the key founders of the Populist Party, the Party is now under the control of Don Wassall who is feuding with Willis Carto and the Liberty Lobby over control of the movement. According to the May 1992 issue of The Monitor, “Wassall’s Populist Party has been forced to take a back seat as Gritz has cobbled together his own organization, the America First! Coalition.”

But as the Monitor explains, “Gritz’s standard stump speech is an amalgam of themes popular among white supremacists and others on the far right: the Federal Reserve System is unconstitutional and should be abolished and a vast conspiracy of “internationalists” are taking over the world. In his book Called to Serve, Gritz writes that “Eight jewish (sic) families virtually control the FED,” (the Federal Reserve System.)

Gritz was heavily promoted by the Carto forces as early as the summer of 1987 when Gritz was holding press conferences charging that key U.S. government officials were the “biggest customers” of the world’s leading “drug lord,” Gen. Khun Sa of Burma.31

In a January 3, 1992 letter to Willis Carto, Gritz urged the warring factions in the Populist Party to cease their bickering, and told Carto he was “seeking cooperation between you and your former allies.” He also wrote “During my first meeting with Don and Phil as a Populist candidate, I expressed utmost concern over accountability of funds,” thus clearly acknowledging that he considers himself the Populist Party candidate.

Gritz’s call for the left/right coalition apparently first surfaced publicly at his Freedom Call ’90 conference held in July, 1990 in Las Vegas. Speakers at that conference included Gritz and anti-Semite Eustace Mullins, as well as Father Bill Davis of the Christic Institute, ex-CIA official (now critic) John Stockwell, and author Barbara Honegger. This fact of attendance is not meant to imply that all these persons share the same views. It is meant to demonstrate that Gritz is attempting to draw a broad range of government critics into a coalition. Stockwell, Honegger, and Davis have all said their appearance at the conference should not be interpreted as an endorsement of Gritz’s research or political views. Gritz’s Center for Action still sells a set of tapes from the conference, including speeches by Gritz and Mullins, along with Father Davis, Barbara Honegger, and John Stockwell.

This set of tapes is advertised in the Prevailing Winds catalog which mixes material from mainstream, progressive, and far-right sources. Prevailing Winds promotes the Christic Institute and dozens of other left and liberal organizations and writers (including this author), as well as featuring a full page ad for Gritz’s Center for Action. A West Coast affiliate of the Christic Institute sells The Guns and Drugs Reader, edited by Prevailing Winds. Prominently featured in the publication is material by fascist standard-bearer Bo Gritz. Prevailing Winds “recommends” tapes Gritz and the vicious Jew-basher Eustace Mullins as “important exposes.”

John Stockwell has expressed concern over the way Prevailing Winds has lumped his research together with research he finds problematic. In the past, Stockwell has been highly critical of Honegger as a reliable source of information, and has had criticisms of some aspects of Christic research as well. Stockwell says he “met Gritz there on stage” at the 1990 conference and “came away greatly unimpressed,” and he was quick to distance himself from the Populist Party.

After the controversy broke in the left press, a spokesperson at Prevailing Winds (who asked to be identified simply as Patrick) said they were now considering at least including a warning in their catalog about Bo Gritz’s ties to the Populist Party and other rightist and anti-Jewish groups and individuals. Patrick said their catalog came out before Gritz accepted the Populist Party presidential nomination, but defended the inclusion of the Gritz material, saying that “middle America needs this kind of information” because “Bush is basically a dope-peddling Nazi.”

Patrick said the appropriateness of carrying Gritz’s material, given his ties to the anti-Jewish far right, has been discussed by the Prevailing Winds staff, and also discussed with Bo Gritz and with Father Davis of Christic.

According to the Prevailing Winds representative:

It’s an argument we’ve gone back and forth on, it’s a tough question, whether or not to make it available and to preserve it for research. We are interested in getting the information to the people. The good thing about it is no one else is trying to build these bridges between groups. We need to reach a rainbow of people.”

Christic’s Father Bill Davis walked out of the 1990 Gritz conference when Mullins gave his speech. Yet over a year after the event, Christic still had made no public statement distancing itself from Gritz or Mullins. In the meantime, Gritz was touring the country promoting Christic’s Iran-Contra research and implying a friendly working relationship between himself and key Christic figures, especially Danny Sheehan. Sheehan is featured in a privately-distributed videotape program focusing on Gritz’s research which takes a critical look at the Reagan and Bush Administrations’ intelligence and drug policies. That videotape, circulated by Gritz and his allies, also uncritically shows a headline from the LaRouchian newspaper New Federalist to illustrate a point.

Christic’s national director, Sara Nelson, told In These Times that Christic apologizes for the appearance of Davis at the conference with Mullins, and no one is suggesting that Christic harbors any racist, anti-Jewish or fascist views. But Christic has not issued a clear and widely disseminated public statement alerting people who may have seen the Prevailing Winds catalog or the Gritz material and who now seem confused over who supports whom. This is not meant to be interpreted as a blanket criticism of the Christic Institute. Many Christic projects have been valuable. They circulated a tremendous amount of useful information about the issue of covert action and the Iran-Contra scandal. Especially notable in other areas are the work of Lewis Pitts at Christic South and the project by Andy Lang to illustrate problems with forging democracy in eastern Europe. Yet Christic’s Sheehan, Davis, and Nelson have not taken seriously the problem of right-wing groups and individuals linking themselves to the Christic case and recruiting Christic supporters in a way that implies a shared agenda. While this is not just a problem with Christic, the role that Christic could, and should, be playing in providing leadership on this question would be extremely useful.

Front Man for Fascism: Bo Gritz and the Racist Populist Party, a report by the California anti-fascist group People Against Racist Terror describes how Gritz has promoted himself on the left. The report urges Christic to be more vocal:

Christic should join the campaign to expose Bo’s campaign for the fascist vehicle it is. Christic should take the lead in condemning the Gritz campaign, rather than demanding retractions from those who have raised criticisms and concerns. It should share frankly and self-critically with its followers the process of deception and rationalization by which it was hoodwinked, so that others can escape the same fate.32

CONFUSION REIGNS:

It is the failure of alternative and left critics of government policy to take responsibility for clarifying the confusion being intentionally sown by the far right that is the key issue. If the problem is turned on its head, it is easier to understand why the issue of public statements by groups such as Christic is so important. In the course of preparing this study scores of persons were interviewed in a dozen cities. Here is a summary of some of the questions raised by persons who reject the criticism.

On the LaRouchites:

Were they not victims of government repression and FBI harassment just like CISPES? Wasn’t that what James Ridgeway said in the Village Voice? Didn’t their views get reported by David MacMichael in the newsletter of the former intelligence officers turned critics? Isn’t Ramsey Clark their attorney? Isn’t it true that they were reporting on the Iran-Contra affair before the mainstream media and Congress publicized the matter? Don’t several former Christic investigators recommend their work?

Are they not our natural allies?

On the Liberty Lobby/Populist network:

Didn’t Spotlight get mentioned by Bill Moyers on the PBS program on the Most Censored Stories awards as an excellent source of information? Doesn’t Bill Davis appear with Bo Gritz at conferences? Doesn’t Danny Sheehan appear on the Bo Gritz videotape? Can’t we buy Gritz’ writings by sending a check to the Christic Institute’s West Coast office? Wasn’t that Danny Sheehan on the cover of the Prevailing Winds catalog with Christic material along with material from Gritz and Prouty?

Are they not our natural allies?

On Craig Hulet:

Isn’t he on KPFA and KPFK? Can’t we order Hulet tapes from the Pacifica Archive? Doesn’t he say he works with Lanny Sinkin who was an attorney at Christic? Doesn’t he say he isn’t a right-winger? Didn’t the San Francisco Mime Troupe thank Hulet for his research?

Is he not our natural ally?

This raises a question for every progressive political leader, journalist and attorney whose name has been used by the fascist right to build their movement. If hundreds (perhaps thousands) of people now believe there is a coalition that involves the left and fascist right, is there not an obligation to speak out publicly to deny what the right is suggesting publicly?

In fact, some of the above questions clearly represent misunderstandings and erroneous assumptions. But when the right is making the assertion, silence implies consent, or as the button says: “Silence is the voice of complicity.”

THE FASCIST RESPONSE:

Telephone call to 503-796-2124, November 20, 1991, 10:00 PM. [Man’s voice:]

Greetings, you have reached the American Front Ministry of Information hot line. COINTELPRO, the counter-intelligence agency of the Jew S. of A., or ZOG [Zionist Occupational Government], is a group of well financed government agents who have not only infiltrated but absolutely control a great portion of the so-called left wing in America. Their purpose is to make sure that these self-styled progressive organizations don’t actually take any action against the true enemy of the people, the U.S. government.

They have been doing a very good job at keeping radical elements of the supposed left and right fighting each other, thereby nullifying a great deal of revolutionary activity, and keeping the fat-cat warmonger capitalists who run this government safe from the bloody tide of reprisal they so richly deserve. No matter where you stand on the political spectrum this abhorrent undertaking affects you. ZOG is bound and determined to make sure the trend of increasing anti-government unity of radical factions in Europe doesn’t take effect here.

For local evidence of this lefty alliance with Big Brother, you need go no further than Jonathan Mozzochi of the Coalition for Human Dignity. He’s an avid follower of renowned COINTELPRO guru Chip Berlet. Mozzochi has even been known to plagiarize the writings of Mr. Berlet, and as is very evident by the CHD’s activity, Mozzochi has completely dedicated himself to the government program of keeping the radicals fighting each other instead of Big Brother. Just because he serves you cappuccino at La Patisserie and pretends to be a so-called progressive, the fact remains that he is nothing but the CIA in alternative geek clothing. This further illustrates the fact that the anti-racist movement as a whole is nothing but a tool of the capitalist regime, designed to destroy the self-determination of all races and keep ZOG as the ruler of all.

For more information, contact American Front at P.O. Box 68333, Portland, Oregon, 97268. White Victory.

[Woman’s voice:]

You may start your message now.

BLACK NATIONALISM & SCAPEGOATING OF JEWS

Unraveling the overlapping tendencies of reactionary politics, conspiracism, scapegoating, opportunism, demagoguery, nationalism, racism, anti-Jewish theories, and fascism is a difficult but necessary task. This section will discuss several situations and trends where these issues are involved, focusing on the rise of right-wing anti-Jewish theories in some nationalist sectors of the African-American community.

Any serious discussion of these issues needs first to be grounded on at least a working knowledge of the theories of racialism and nationalism, as well as familiarity with the characteristics of mass fascist political movements prior to their ascendancy to state power. Especially useful is a study of the nationalist movements of Europe at the beginning of this century. The nationalism of pre-World War II Europe included movements based on racialist theories. This racial nationalism took several forms, including the heroic mythical racial nationalism of Italy and Spain which glorified the organic leadership of autocratic father-figures, the ego-centric anti-modernist intellectual fascism of France, the religious/racial clerical fascist movements of Croatia and Rumania, and the scapegoating demagogic movement of German Nazism with its anti-Jewish conspiracy theories.

Nazism was a fascist movement, but not all mid-century European fascist movements employed a master race theory. Nevertheless, fascism as a political form is premised on racial or cultural nationalism.

As scholar Barry Mehler, a leading researcher on the history of racial eugenics, points out:

Classical eugenic theories of the nineteen-twenties and thirties emphasized that nations were biological entities and that political ideologies emerge from racial characteristics which in turn have developed out of evolutionary changes in racial groups. The classic expression of these theories can be found in Madison Grant’s The Passing of the Great Race. This was, of course, the foundation of both Nazi racism and American white supremacism. It is not surprising, therefore, that white supremacist organizations continue to reprint and sell these expressions of American racism.

In fact, the white supremacist movement is the largest and most significant purveyor of theories of racial nationalism in the U.S., and its threat to democracy and pluralism far outweighs that posed by the misguided participants in the tragic and counterproductive current dispute between Blacks and Jews. Further, the single greatest impediment to racial justice in the U.S. is not the policies and practices of any one political group or individual, but the institutional racism in the government and business sectors that is still so widespread yet so invisible in our society, and which has deeply undermined the ability of African-Americans, Hispanics, Asians, North-American Indians, and other racial groups in this country to share in the bounty and freedoms described in school textbooks as a birthright in our country. It is within that framework that the following discussion must be set.

ANTI-ZIONISM OR ANTI-JEWSISH CONSPIRACISM?

Some members of Black nationalist groups in the U.S. circulate conspiracist theories about Black oppression where discredited ultra-right theories of exaggerated Jewish power and manipulation have found new life and a new audience. While in the past some pro-Palestinian and even anti-Israel sentiments made by African-Americans have been mislabeled as anti-Semitism by groups promoting pro-Israel policies, there is still plenty of evidence that anti-Jewish conspiracy theories are discussed openly in some segments of the Black community

For example, in Chicago, during the late 1980’s, Black activist Steve Cokely taught classes at a Nation of Islam (NOI) center where he alleged that Jewish doctors were injecting Black children with the AIDS virus. When Cokely was exposed, NOI leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, rather than rejecting Cokely’s assertions as bigoted lunacy, issued a statement saying that if Cokely could document his charges, the Nation of Islam would provide a public forum for the discussion.

At a February 28, 1991 anti-abortion lecture by Barbara Bell, founder of Massachusetts Blacks for Life, Bell asserted that “it is the Jewish doctors that are the ones that are the ones trying to wipe out the black society.” The statement came in the context of an assertion that Planned Parenthood wanted to wipe out all minority populations.

The Detroit magazine Alkebulanian says it is dedicated to providing the reader with “the power of African pride and dignity” and seeks to “speak the truth and expose the falsehoods that have weakened a precious people through the course of history.” But according to anti-eugenics scholar Barry Mehler, the magazine carries articles that assert “the Jewish Talmud was written by `racist dogs,’ that Jews have manipulated the world into grieving over the Holocaust as a way to make `black people forget that it was the same handful who participated in the African Holocaust.'”

At a July 7, 1990 meeting in Cairo, Illinois, several Black nationalist groups under the leadership of the All African Peoples Revolutionary Party (AAPRP) confirmed the formation of an “Afrikan Anti-Zionist Front,” first announced on June 11, 1990 at an initial meeting held in Tripoli, Libya. Other groups listed as founders included the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika, the New Afrikan People’s Organization, the United Front (based in Cairo, Illinois), The Black Panther Party (reconstituted), The December 12th Coalition, the Black Men’s Movement Against Crack, and the Harriet Tubman-Fannie Lou Hamer Collective.

Kwame Ture (formerly Stokely Carmichael) of AAPRP was elected chairperson of the front, and Ture cosigned the initial statement along with Imari Abubakari Obadele. PhD., acting chairperson, Nationalist Front of Afrikans in America, and president of the Provisional Government of the Republic of New Afrika. The statement issued by the Front at the planning meeting held in Tripoli, Libya included the disclaimer that, “The founders of the Front state that the struggle against Zionism is not a struggle against Jews or Judaism but rather a struggle against Zionism as a racist and imperialist ideology and movement.”

Although extreme, and implying objection to the state of Israel itself, this statement is not fairly characterized as necessarily anti-Jewish. However, the careful distinctions in this statement are contradicted by several other clauses, including one that asserts:

Zionism uses its influence and money to control and subvert many of the so-called Afrikan mayors, Congresspersons and other politicians in the United States and uses its influence and power to subvert Black organizations and the agendas of the African nation in the United States.

An educational brochure circulated by the All African Peoples Revolutionary Party goes even further into conspiratorial bigotry. The brochure starts out criticizing Zionism and Israeli politics but soon descends into rampant anti-Jewish conspiracism. “ZIONISM is a well organized and financed, international conspiracy which controls the economic and political life of the United States and Europe,” says the brochure. Although accurately noting, “All Jews are not Zionists,” the brochure goes on to claim, “The international Zionist movement exerts an almost total strangle-hold over the economic, political, social and cultural life of the African community.” It also claims that Zionism, “controls…all of the banks, businesses and financial institutions in our community,” as well as the mass media and the entertainment industry. According to the brochure, the international Zionist movement controls:

The political, social, cultural, educational and legal institutions, agencies and organizations in the African community. Almost all of the civil rights and political groups in our community are controlled by zionists and Jews. They use their money, their power, the FBI, CIA, IRS, the courts and prisons; and many other ways to control and destroy our movements, leaders and people.

Many of these sentiments regarding Jews are virtually identical to charges in white supremacist publications which claim that Jews play a similar role in oppressing white Christians. One mail order videotape lecture by a leading Christian Identity pastor is a lengthy exposition of his bigoted theory that slavery was the result of the usury employed by Jewish bankers in Britain when financing colonial enterprises.

REV. FARRAKHAN AND THE NATION OF ISLAM

Although the Rev. Louis Farrakhan denies he is a bigot, and some of his critics have themselves used racist appeals, Farrakhan has in fact made a number of statements concerning Jews over the past few years that reflect disdain and prejudice.

When the Nation of Islam published the book The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews: Volume One it helped to clarify any lingering confusion concerning Farrakhan’s reliance on historic right-wing conspiracy theories concerning Jewish power and control. The book is a lengthy pseudo-academic treatise that reaches the false conclusion that Jews controlled the slave trade. The text strongly implies that Jewish ownership of and attitudes towards slaves was somehow distinct from and more venal than ownership of and attitudes towards slaves by non-Jews. Left unexamined are the readily-available statistics showing that the vast majority of slave-owners were not Jewish. The book is sold through ads in the Nation of Islam’s newspaper Final Call,33 and is promoted as being “Recommended Reading by Minister Farrakhan!” Also listed as “Recommended Reading by Minister Farrakhan!” is the book Behold a Pale Horse, by Milton William Cooper, who is described by UFO Magazine as a “notorious UFO charlatan.”34 UFO Magazine also denounced Behold a Pale Horse as bigoted fascist propaganda, and noted that “One of the book’s most glaring passages is a complete copy of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a flamingly anti-Semitic tract first published in Czarist Russia…long ago exposed as a forgery.”

Yet the most troubling aspect of Farrakhan is not his demagogic bigotry. Writing in the January 28, 1991 issue of The Nation, professor Adolph Reed, Jr. cautions that “demonizing” Farrakhan, or focusing merely on his prejudice, misses the main point, which is the troubling nature of Farrakhan’s reactionary political views and anti-democratic “racial organicism.” As Reed explains, Farrakhan’s use of racial organicism is found in the belief that Black leaders “emerge organically from the population and that the objectives and interests of those organic leaders are identical with those of the general racial constituency.” Reed notes that this theory has been used by white majoritarian leadership to justify and manage racial subordination by “allowing white elites to pick and choose among pretenders to race leadership.”

Equally dangerous, however, are the themes of authoritarianism and racial nationalism which underlie racial organicism. Reed warns that “because of his organization and ideology, however, Farrakhan more than his predecessors throws into relief the dangerous, fascistic presumptions inscribed at the foundation of that model.”

While they are in no position to exert any significant influence over the direction of U.S. politics, it is nonetheless defensible to argue that the Nation of Islam is the only indigenous fascist movement in the U.S. composed of African-Americans. Many of the key elements of a fascist political movement are present in the NOI, including theories of racial nationalism, racial superiority, organic leadership, and the appropriateness of authoritarian measures in support of public safety and security. The Fruit of Islam who surround Farrakhan as bodyguards reflect an attachment to military trappings, and help build a cult of personality around Minister Farrakhan himself. The demagoguery of Farrakhan and some of his key lieutenants periodically strays into scapegoating of Jews as evil conspirators. And if congruence with key elements of fascism is not alone persuasive, consider that members of the Nation of Islam have at times cooperated with white U.S. fascists around a shared interest in racial separatism and racial nationalism.

In July, 1990 Farrakhan granted an extensive exclusive interview to Spotlight where his views of separate development for the Black and white communities was stressed. The interview was presented in an overwhelmingly sympathetic and supportive fashion, with an introduction by the editors where Farrakhan’s movement was described as “based on the cultivation of spiritual, education, and family values, as well as racial separation.” As mentioned earlier, the Spotlight is part of a quasi-Nazi empire and has praised theWaffen SS, celebrated racist skinheads, promotes white supreacists, questions the factual basis of Hitler’s attempted genocide of Jews and other enemies of the Reich, and fills its pages with articles claiming “dual loyalist” Jews control the media, U.S. foreign policy, and CIA covert operations.

Spotlight, the Liberty Lobby, and the Institute for Historical Review were all created by Willis Carto, the mastermind of the international movement that calls itself Historical Revisionism. The Revisionists claim that there was no plan by Hitler to exterminate Jews. One Revisionist author, Dr. Arthur R. Butz, was invited to share the stage with members of the Nation of Islam and other guests at a February 1985 Chicago NOI forum. Butz’s only noteworthy accomplishment at the time was a book titled The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, which argued that the gassing and cremation of large numbers of Jews during the Nazi reign was not scientifically possible. Butz is an associate professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences at Northwestern University.

Racialist nationalism, anti-Jewish bigotry, and fascist principles have also provided a basis in the past for white supremacists and anti-Jewish bigots such as neo-Nazi Tom Metzger to voice support for Farrakhan. The October 12, 1985 New York Times reported on a Michigan meeting of white supremacists where Metzger told his audience of neo-Nazis and Klan members, “America is like a rotting carcass. The Jews are living off the carcass like the parasites they are. Farrakhan understands this.” That meeting was attended by Political Research Associates author Russ Bellant, a freelance journalist, who reported the Metzger quote and provided it to the New York Times. Metzger peddles a national socialist brand of fascism and white supremacy.

Bellant also disclosed the attendance of another white supremacist at the Michigan meeting, Roy Frankhouser, a former Ku Klux Klan leader from Pennsylvania who was for many years a top security consultant to neo-fascist Lyndon LaRouche.

In 1990 joint political work between LaRouchite front groups and members of the Nation of Islam was reported in both groups’ periodicals. The NOI’s newspaper Final Call ran an article by Carlos Wesley on Panama in its issue of May 31, 1990. It was credited as a reprint from the LaRouchian Executive Intelligence Review. The LaRouchian New Federalist ran several articles praising the political work of D.C. area NOI spokesman Dr. Abdul Alim Muhammad, and his speech at a LaRouchian Schiller Institute meeting in Paris was reported in the NOI’s Final Call. Abdul Wali Muhammad, editor of NOI’s Final Call, until his death in late 1991, spoke at a 1990 Schiller Institute conference in Chicago. In Washington, D.C., joint work between the LaRouchians and members of the Nation of Islam reportedly continued as late as 1993, even while some NOI leaders were saying such contacts were innapropriate, suggesting an internal power struggle of some sort.

Another group allied with Farrakhan that promotes the idea of racial or national organicism is the political organization run by Dr. Fred Newman, a former protege of LaRouche. Persons who extol Newman’s idiosyncratic form of “social therapy” control a variety of political organizations under Newman’s influence, including the New Alliance Party (NAP), Rainbow Lobby, New York’s Castillo Cultural Center, and various Centers for Short-Term Therapy. NAP promotes the political theories of Farrakhan, the Rev. Al Sharpton, and Dr. Lenora Fulani, presidential candidate of the New Alliance Party. The Rainbow Lobby (now defunct except as a consulting firm) forged a working coalition with both the Libertarian Party and the racialist and neo-fascist Populist Party to challenge state laws limiting ballot access. At the same time NAP’s Lenora Fulani stood side-by-side with Al Sharpton and other demogogic Black nationalists in the summer of 1991 during an already tense and tragic situation in the Crown Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn where there has been a long-simmering dispute between Blacks and a sect of Orthodox Jews. The NAP continues to promote support for Farrakhan, even as his anti-Jewish and pro-UFO conspiracism increases.

Many of the key leaders of the New Alliance Party (including Newman, but not Fulani) were members of LaRouche’s National Caucus of Labor Committees in 1974. This organizational connection has been thoroughly severed since 1975, which explains why Fulani would write Farrakhan an “open letter” urging him to distance the NOI from LaRouche’s groups. Still, the New Alliance Party and the LaRouchites share many similarities in style, structure and reliance on pseudo-psychological theories.

THIRD POSITION & BLACK NATIONALISM

As Adolph Reed points out, the idea of racial or ethnic organicism, that leaders emerged from homogeneous social groupings and metaphysically expressed the collective will of the people, was a basic tenet of fascism, especially the form of fascism called national socialism. In the 1988 report of the small American Nazi Party in Chicago, the term national socialism was defined as “the organized will of the race, in its quest for racial survival, and physical, mental, and spiritual self betterment.” One modern offshoot of national socialism, called the “Third Position,” has adherents in both Europe and the United States, and is known for its attempts to build bridges to the left, especially around the issues of protecting the environment and support for the working class.

It is of interest that the Afrikan Anti-Zionist Front was first announced in Tripoli, Libya and that the Front praised Libyan president Muammar Qaddafi as a “premier fighter for justice.” Qaddafi has sponsored several international conferences promoting his special variation of racial nationalism and cultivating ideas congruent with Third Position ideology. Qaddafi announced a $5 million loan/gift to the Nation of Islam during a live TV hookup at the same 1985 Chicago NOI rally where Revisionist Arthur Butz was a panelist. Qaddafi has also funded other racial nationalist groups active in the U.S. and Canada.

There are elements of Third Position themes in the rhetoric of the Afrikan Anti-Zionist Front, Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, and the New Alliance Party led by Fred Newman and Lenora Fulani. In the U.S. the Third Position has been promoted in Tom Metzger’s White Aryan Resistance newspaper W.A.R.. Journalist Howard Goldenthal of Toronto has explored this situation, but much more research is needed to understand this complex turn of events.

This discussion is not an attempt to imply that all Black nationalist groups resort to anti-Jewish scapegoating or promote a fascist form of racial nationalism. Nor does it seek to exaggerate the relative role of the Nation of Islam in promoting bigotry. The overwhelming form of prejudice and racism in the U.S, is white supremacy, and American Jews have far more to fear from David Duke or Patrick Buchanan than Louis Farrakhan.

THE MEDIA, CONSPIRACISM & FASCISM

For an investigative journalist, reporting on official misconduct involving covert operations, intelligence-gathering, and national security issues is like competing in a potato-sack race in a minefield. All officials tend to be suspicious of the motives of nosy journalists; government spokespersons frequently deny first and dissemble later; meanwhile, actual spies tend to keep their mouths shut. As a result, sources for such stories frequently come from a murky netherworld of ex-intelligence agents, retired military officers, and self-anointed investigators. Some offer valuable information along with frustrating fantasies; some are well-meaning but confused; others are professional or amateur charlatans. A few are brilliant paranoid crackpots. Some people just plain lie.

More than fifty investigative reporters and researchers spanning the political spectrum were interviewed in the course of preparing this report. Most of them thought one should not minimize the continuing reality of illegal and unethical conduct by government and private intelligence operatives. But even those who agreed that tough reporting on these subjects helps defend constitutional safeguards added that they have grown very weary of hearing the same unproved or debunked conspiratorial stories over and over again.

” A lot of stories with conspiratorial themes have gone a great distance with very few credible witnesses,” says Michael Kelly of The New York Times. “Some reporters use a much lower standard of evidence with these stories. They are tempted to take what they can get, and overlook the fact that the source has been convicted twice for perjury and on alternate Tuesdays he thinks he is Napoleon Bonaparte.”

If many of the key sources for conspiracy stories are unreliable, why are so many journalists tempted to use them? One reason is that, in an age of official denials, many journalists give unofficial sources the benefit of the doubt. Another is that, in some cases, the tales these sources tell provide a fairly clear-cut explanation of what may otherwise be a confusing welter of conceivably related events. In short, they provide a story line. A third reason is that they can usually supply details that seem to substantiate their version of events. When the details provided by two or three such sources mesh, the theory gains in credibility and the story built on it may gain wider attention in the media. Meanwhile, talk radio shows, interviews on small FM stations, even messages posted on computerized information networks contribute to keeping theories alive–and building an audience that wants to hear more.

In addition to individual sources such as these, there are

organizations that disseminate conspiracy theories through every segment of the media. Despite wide political differences, these organizations tend to reinforce one another. “There has been some odd communion of the minds between the far left and the far right in viewing the world as one vast and varied conspiracy,” says Michael Kelly, “and that communion has exponentially increased the ability of looneys of various stripes to get their nonsense into print. These people have started a sort of referral service: they all refer people to each other. So what you are doing is chasing a rumor around a closed circle.”

Listen to talk radio, for example, and chances are that when the talk turns to conspiracy the same sources will be cited: the Christic Institute; the right-wing, anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby and its “Spotlight” newspaper; and Lyndon LaRouche publications, including “Executive Intelligence Review” and “The New Federalist” (formerly “New Solidarity” ).

These groups were among the first to provide pieces of the Iran-contra puzzle. But, as Kelly observes, “the true nuggets were usually mixed into a great stew of falsities and improbabilities.”

PROGRESSIVE RESEARCHERS & FASCIST SOURCES

We are all aware that there are shifting factions in political groups, government bureaucracies, and intelligence agencies. Even though there is an historic overlap of government repression and reactionary politics, at the same time, factions of the right have from time to time made a tactical decision to expose government wrongdoing to smash an opposing faction on the right or derail a bothersome government project.

Around the world the right has adopted a strategy of tension to smash the center, and one part of that strategy is to seek temporary tactical alliances with left groups in attacking government policies. The left/right alliance seeks to displace the center, but historically the right always triumphs and then smashes the left. This is certainly one lesson of Italian fascism and German national socialism. Do we really think a corrupt wealthy anti-labor repressive centrist power is worse than fascist power? As the health of the American economy declines, it will generate a move towards alternative political viewpoints and either new political parties or realignment of current parties. A left/right alliance under such circumstances would be precarious and dangerous.

Serious anti-repression researchers frequently find themselves in contact with elements of the ruling center, opposition centrist parties, and far right in the normal course of their research. The mere contact between left and right is not the issue, but when left researchers become de facto conduits for the right’s information, and do so uncritically and without revealing their sources at least by general description, serious ethical and pragmatic problems arise.

There is little agreement among progressive researchers and journalists on how material from far-right sources should be handled. Some progressive researchers are suspicious that government intelligence agents and rightist researchers may leak information to progressive journalists to achieve a right-wing political goal, perhaps as part of a faction fight over government foreign policy strategies.

THE LAROUCHE CONNECTION

Herb Quinde is one of the main LaRouchite intelligence contacts for reporters in the Washington, D.C. area. Quinde boasts that the LaRouchians maintain ties with a network of current and former intelligence agents and military specialists who oppose current U.S. foreign policy and its reliance on covert action over direct military engagement.

Quinde confirms that he and his fellow LaRouchite investigators are in constant touch with journalists and researchers across the political spectrum. In several interviews in 1990 and 1991 Quinde refused to go on the record with the names of any of his regular contacts among left political groups and critics of government repression, although he bragged that such contacts are a regular part of his work.

Back in the early days of the Reagan administration, the LaRouche information-gathering operation received a tribute from the national Security Council’s senior director of international affairs, Dr. Norman Bailey, who called it “one of the best private intelligence service in the world.” (The LaRouchians’ links to the NSC’s staff were terminated after producer Pat Lynch exposed the relationship in a 1984 segment of NBC’s short-lived “First Camera” news program.35 Christic said they had broken any ties to LaRouchians, but some former Christic staff seem willing to keep some doors open. Investigators formerly connected to Christic have maintained information ties to the LaRouchians, and advised progressive researchers to rely on the LaRouchians as experts in the area of government intelligence abuse. These referrals have over a period of several years helped forge an information exchange network that has drawn some left researchers, journalists and radio talk show hosts further into unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and into ongoing relationships with fascist and anti-Jewish groups and individuals.

David MacMichael still maintains close ties to Herb Quinde, meets with him personally, and advises researchers probing government intelligence abuse to contact Quinde for help. MacMichael defends his association with Quinde as legitimate, albeit sometimes embarrassing.

Russ Bellant is the author of Old Nazis, The New Right and the Republican Party and has extensively studied Nazi-linked emigre intelligence and political networks. In the course of his research, he has found several authors in this field who have developed a working relationship with LaRouchians. Bellant says he raised the ethical problems of working with the LaRouchians with these authors, generally to no avail.

To be sure, there is no consensus among reporters, mainstream or progressive, on what is an ethical way to deal with information from groups such as the LaRouchians.

According to Peter Dale Scott, “My own ground rules are that until something happens where I feel someone is manipulating me or they have personally done something horrible that I feel is objectionable, I feel it is a matter of intellectual freedom to keep the lines of communication open. As long as they deal with me as a human being I will treat them as such.” Scott, however, balked at signing a petition about LaRouche being a victim of human rights abuse because he felt there was “enough evidence to show the LaRouche people were probably guilty of some criminal conduct.”

Author Jonathan Marshall, now with the San Francisco Chronicle, says the LaRouchians “have given me information, but given their history, I never take it at face value.” Marshall says “sometimes they are a source of good leads, their work on Panama has been of particular use.” Marshall does not accept the LaRouchian premise that Noriega was a humanitarian, but neither does he accept the idea that opposition to Noriega was pure. “Here you have a case of evil versus evil, and the enemies of someone are often a good place to go for information.” According to Marshall, he will sometimes pursue LaRouchian leads, “and then do my own independent research.” If something turns up, he considers it his own effort, and does not credit the LaRouchians, in part, he admits, because it would lessen his credibility as a journalist.

” If you look across the board at cultish groups that do `research’ you find sometimes that they have found amazing documents that do in fact check out,” says Marshall. But he hastens to add that “documents are one thing, but accepting their analysis is simply not responsible.”

In the late 1980’s author Carl Oglesby considered working with LaRouchian Herb Quinde to unravel the story of the recruitment of the Gehlen Nazi spy apparatus into U.S. intelligence. Oglesby comments:

If Quinde had been able to provide even a single scrap of useful information I would have turned a cartwheel in excitement, but he never did. Everything he sent me was bullshit. He was trying to convince me to depend on the LaRouche information network. He was always boasting about the documents he could send me, but he never gave me a useful thing about Gehlen or anything else about the Nazification of U.S. intelligence.

During the Gulf War, Quinde asked Oglesby to speak at a LaRouchian antiwar conference, but Oglesby declined, “because whatever Herb’s essential charm and persuasion, I would never publicly associate myself with them, primarily because my friends warn me it would damage my credibility. In fact, I’ve never initiated a contact with them.” Putting up with an occasional phone call from Quinde is one thing, said Oglesby, but appearing at a conference is another. Still, Oglesby isn’t convinced that they are really a neo-Nazi outfit. “My advice is not to make such a big deal about this guy. I think that he is basically comic relief.” Oglesby, however, is suspicious of the actual purpose of the LaRouchians:

I think it’s an intelligence operation, and the only question is what’s animating it. I don’t think it is, strictly speaking, an organization representing one individual–LaRouche. I believe it has access to sources of information that reflect official circuits, most likely European, but I don’t think he’s officially CIA or FBI. I think U.S. intelligence is a little baffled by them too, although in the first few years of the Reagan Administration they clearly allowed them privileged access.

Journalists James Ridgeway and David MacMichael have defended their contacts with the LaRouchian network as part of the standard journalistic practice of cultivating a wide range of sources of information. They and other journalists argue that taking information from someone in no way implies any agreement whatsoever with the information provider. In fact, reporters at a number of mainstream daily newspapers admit off-the-record that they frequently receive material from the LaRouchians, and in some cases develop stories from the documents supplied by the LaRouchians. Ridgeway, however, acknowledges that the LaRouchians are a “neo-Nazi or fascist movement.” and warns that journalists need to exercise extreme caution when contacting them for information.

This is a real issue since a score of progressive researchers and journalists report that in the past two years, operatives from the LaRouchians and the far-right have stepped up their attempts to forge working relationships with them over the basis of shared criticism of the government.

A West Coast journalist, Ed Connolly, recalls an incident in the fall of 1990:

I was tracking a story on Air Force Intelligence and I called everyone I could think of. Two weeks later Gene Wheaton called me, which was odd because I hadn’t called him. Wheaton tells me, “You know the people who have very good intelligence on these things are the LaRouche people, you should call the people that put out Executive Intelligence Review, call Herb Quinde.” So I did, but they wanted more information than they were willing to give out and I was immediately skeptical. I never talked to them again.

Eugene Wheaton, an early adviser to the Christic Institute, accepted an invitation to speak at the December, 1990 LaRouche antiwar conference in Chicago.

Journalist Jim Naurekas of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) bemoans the fact that LaRouchian Herb Quinde has followed him through three jobs trying to pester him with tidbits of information. One academic who wrote a 1990 article on government civil liberties infringements in a left journal says she was quickly contacted by several persons who recommended she share her material with Spotlight and other far-right anti-Jewish publications.

Russ Bellant is highly critical of those who tolerate or apologize for people who work with the LaRouchians, the Populist Party or the Liberty Lobby network. “I think you discredit yourself when you work with these bigoted forces,” says Bellant, “and mere association tends to lend credence to these rightist groups because people assume the group can’t be that bad if a respected person on the left is associated with them.”

Bellant warns that some of the LaRouchite documents may be forged. “They did create a passable bogus copy of a section of the New York Times blasting their enemies,” he points out. Bellant thinks the LaRouchians “don’t give you anything that you can rely on,” and that by talking with them about research issues, “you allow them to track what you are up to which lets them go back to their Nazi friends and report on you to them.”

A COMPLICATED ETHICAL SITUATION

Bellant and others say they are not troubled by intellectual curiosity and open-mindedness that bridge ideological lines, but they do have concerns when left and right groups and individuals forge covert relationships.

There is a big difference between reading books by or interviewing members of far-right and racialist groups, and working in what amounts to an ad-hoc investigative coalition with members of these groups. There is a serious difference of opinion among progressive researchers as to the propriety of working with the LaRouchians or other ultra-right groups, especially those that preach bigotry. Some say they cannot, in good conscience, even accept unsolicited information from such groups, while others argue they need to interview members of these groups for their research.

Journalist Jane Hunter says she has consistently rejected overtures from the anti-Jewish far right. Hunter is highly critical of anyone who would covertly or overtly work with racists, anti-Jewish bigots, or neo-Nazis. She notes that even on a pragmatic level, “Any information that these people have is bound to show up someplace, free for the taking, for what it’s worth. Our energies need to be spent in reaching out to people who are victims of the system–the people with whom we share a common interest in changing it.”

Hunter and some two-dozen other progressive researchers (including the author) have been discussing these issues for several years. The one point of agreement is that this is a problem long overdue for debate. As Hunter explains, “In my speaking engagements I have found in audience questions an alarming increase in conspiracy theories and anti-Semitism.” She also is worried that as conditions for African-Americans in the U.S. have continued to deteriorate, there has been an increase in the scapegoating of Jews by African-Americans. While scapegoating and turning to conspiracy theories is a common phenomenon in communities experiencing financial or social stress, it should never be tolerated.

Not all the rightist groups seeking an alliance or information exchange with the left are bigoted or fascist. Some are principled conservatives or libertarians seeking an open debate. However, some of the groups seeking to link up with the left have openly neo-fascist or neo-Nazi agendas, including some that call themselves conservative or libertarian. The ethical parameters on these questions for journalists and researchers need further debate.

It is important to recognize that the moral issues for persons building coalitions in the movement for peace and social justice are different than those for lawyers, academics, and reporters. For organizers the principles of unity seldom (if ever) are such that working with fascist, racist and anti-Jewish groups is appropriate.

Most people agree that uncritical reliance on either right-wing or left-wing material can lead to the recirculation of misinformation or disinformation. When working with the political right, there is the additional possibility that the left could unintentionally end up letting the right set its agenda. Some progressive researchers also argue that it is unethical for progressive groups to take information covertly from the political right and repackage and recirculate it without disclosing the source. That issue, however, remains unsettled, and needs to be debated openly.

A good illustration of the problem came up in an October 15, 1991 Village Voice article on the mysterious death of writer Danny Casolaro by authors James Ridgeway and Doug Vaughan. Casolaro at the time of his death was researching the legal case filed by the Inslaw corporation alleging theft and illegal sale of its software program, Promis. Promis is a program used to track complex litigation, but it can also be used to track dissidents and criminal conspiracies. Persons involved in several federal agencies are alleged to have participated in the illegal use and distribution of Promis. Casolaro had nicknamed the government and private conspiracies he perceived to be surrounding the Inslaw case “The Octopus,” and had circulated a book proposal.

Ridgeway and Vaughan do report that Casolaro, in the course of his research, would “head into Washington for a congressional hearing or a meeting with, for example, Danny Sheehan of the Christic Institute–whose `Secret Team’ could just as easily have been called the Octopus.” They also mention that Casolaro was working with the LaRouchians in gathering information.

Not mentioned in the article is that the LaRouchites funneled information to the Christic Institute, Barbara Honegger, and the Spotlight/Liberty Lobby crowd; or that another named source, investigator Bill McCoy, also worked with Christic and supplied information from the LaRouchians; or that co-author Vaughan works at the Christic Institute.

Ridgeway and Vaughan do mention LaRouche’s criminal conviction and the LaRouchian obsession with conspiracy theories and report, “The LaRouchies had ties to the Reagan White House and have long run a surprisingly elaborate intelligence-gathering operation of their own.” They do not, however, characterize the LaRouchians as fascists or anti-Semites.

In the course of the article a LaRouchite intelligence operative is cited along with other sources. Should LaRouchian sources be treated differently than any other journalistic source? Again, there is no agreement even among alternative journalists. “I have great respect for Jim Ridgeway, but to put any credence in anything a LaRouchite has to say is a leap into faith that I can’t make,” says Voice columnist Nat Hentoff. Another Voice writer, Robert I. Friedman says, “The LaRouchians are an anti-Semitic conspiracy organization. It’s a mistake for a journalist to use LaRouchians as a source without describing the kind of organization it is.” Ridgeway responds that he has characterized the LaRouchians as conspiracists, fascists, and neo-Nazis in other settings, and he thinks most people who read his column already know who the LaRouchians are.

LAROUCHE: VICTIM OR VILLAIN?

Lyndon LaRouche picked up support for his campaign to get released from prison from a number of right-wing celebrities, including retired Air Force Colonel and intelligence specialist Fletcher Prouty, a leading light among conspiracy researchers. Prouty also works with the quasi-Nazi Liberty Lobby network. Prouty has issued a statement declaring that “instrumentalities of the government have hounded” LaRouche and “created wrongs where none existed before.” The LaRouchians, however, have picked up support for their theory of a government conspiracy against LaRouche from a broader spectrum than the political right.

Both James Ridgeway and David MacMichael have reported somewhat uncritically the allegations of the LaRouchians that they are not guilty of financial crimes, but the victims of a massive government conspiracy aimed at crushing them politically.

Ridgeway, in the preface to his book on the U.S. white supremacist movement, Blood in the Face, omits LaRouche from a discussion of the “racist far right.” Instead, Ridgeway refers to LaRouche in the context of discussing how the collapsed rural economy in the 1980’s distorted the politics of the farm belt and “the whacko candidates of Lyndon LaRouche’s party were serious contenders.” This passing reference to LaRouche (there is one other bland paragraph in the book) places LaRouche in a discussion mentioning serious politicians such as Jesse Jackson, George McGovern, and James Hightower. This seems to characterize LaRouche as merely a strange and comical player in the electoral arena. Ridgeway says that this was not meant to imply LaRouche was not a force in farm belt fascism, but that his publisher felt that adding the LaRouchians into the book would have confused the issues.

Critics of Ridgeway’s view of the LaRouchites, including this author, argue that LaRouche is in fact a neo-Nazi ideologue who should be discussed along with the Ku Klux Klan and the other white racist groups with whom the LaRouchians have associated for years. No one is suggesting that Ridgeway, who has a prodigious track record of sound investigative reporting, shares any of the LaRouchian viewpoints. But it is legitimate to ask whether or not Ridgeway’s analysis and treatment of the LaRouchians has perhaps unconsciously been influenced by their value to him as a journalistic source of information on government misconduct and other issues. Ridgeway, like other reporters who cover government repression, received packets of information from the LaRouchians for many years and sometimes relied on the material to develop a story.36 This in itself is hardly unique and not necessarily questionable–other reporters do likewise.

In one case, however, Ridgeway appears to have relied on LaRouche material without independently verifying the accuracy of the material.

On May 17, 1988 James Ridgeway penned a lengthy article in the Village Voice titled “Dueling Spymasters: How the Government Bungled the Case Against Lyndon LaRouche.”

Even a careful reading of the Ridgeway article leaves the impression that when a federal judge declared a mistrial in the Boston fraud case against LaRouche and several colleagues, it was caused by government misconduct. This is what the LaRouchians contend–but not what the judge said. Lyndon LaRouche and his associates were on trial in Boston for an alleged credit card scam. The mistrial declared by U.S. Federal District Court Judge Robert E. Keeton came after complaints of hardship were voiced by more than one third of the jurors who had been told the trial would end in early summer, and then learned it could stretch through the end of the year. The judge declared the mistrial because he feared a continuation of the trial would be a waste of time and money due to the real possibility that the number of jurors would fall below the legal limit before the trial ended.

While there was substantial evidence that the Justice Department may have improperly withheld documents relating to LaRouche in pre-trial discovery, a lengthy hearing resulted in a ruling that the documents had no bearing on the criminal charges. According to Ridgeway, “the proceedings had revealed…FBI agents planting obstruction of justice evidence on LaRouche.” This is what the LaRouche attorneys sought to prove–and given the history of the FBI, Justice Department and other government bureaucracies, such an allegation was not far-fetched–but no hard evidence to prove that claim had been introduced in court at the time of the mistrial. In fact, the prosecution was still presenting its case. Further, the delay of the trial which caused the juror hardship was caused not only by lengthy side hearings into the document and informant questions, but by numerous challenges and extended cross examinations by the phalanx of defense attorneys representing LaRouche, his associates and their organizations.

Legal actions by both federal and local agencies against LaRouche for questionable fundraising and financial practices commenced years before the flap over Iran-Contragate and the well-publicized airport assault involving LaRouche partisans and Henry Kissinger, who was traveling with his wife. Furthermore, there is a virtual army of persons who claim to have been swindled and victimized by LaRouche-related organizations. Ridgeway offers no evidence the Boston criminal case was a result of the government being out to get LaRouche any more than it is out to get any person accused of being a common crook.

The “seeds of the government’s investigation” were not planted by a petulant Henry Kissinger, as Ridgeway asserts, but by hundreds of persons who claimed to have found unauthorized credit card charges on their monthly statements at a time in 1984 when LaRouche was buying half-hour presidential campaign spots on network television. The grand jury which indicted LaRouche heard evidence from angry credit card holders, not Henry Kissinger.

Yet Ridgeway is correct is asserting that there was government misconduct against the LaRouchians which surfaced as part of the case. That the government shut down the LaRouchian publications as part of its probe into loan fraud and tax evasion was a civil liberties outrage, and the action was later rightfully declared unconstitutional. This abuse of government power, however, had no bearing on the evidence which convicted LaRouche and his followers of the charges in the Virginia indictments.

There is no debate that LaRouche was a little fish in the cloudy waters trolled by U.S. intelligence agencies. But when LaRouche hired informants and self-styled intelligence operatives such as Ryan Quade Emerson, Mitchell WerBell, and Roy Frankhouser, he was aware he was opening a Pandora’s box filled with smoke and mirrors, double-dealing, and betrayal. WerBell, for instance, was a former OSS officer and international arms merchant. Frankhouser was a well-known government informant and Ku Klux Klan organizer. While LaRouche may have been belatedly frozen out of an active role in Reagan Administration intelligence functions, to conclude that his former allies turned up as government witnesses through a conspiracy to isolate LaRouche the “Spymaster” was a fanciful but unsubstantiated charge. A more likely explanation is that they turned up as witnesses against LaRouche in an attempt to keep themselves out of jail.

Ridgeway also describes LaRouche without mentioning LaRouche’s notorious anti-Jewish sentiments. LaRouche, for instance, has claimed there is no such thing as Jewish culture, and that “only” a million and a half Jews perished at the hands of the Nazis, and then primarily due to illness and overwork.

A letter criticizing Ridgeway for publishing LaRouchite assertions as fact was published in the May 31, 1988 issue of the Voice over the signatures of this author and journalists Russ Bellant, Joel Bellman, Bryan Chitwood, Dennis King, Ed Kayatt, and Kalev Pehme.

David MacMichael is the editor of Unclassified, the newsletter of the Association of National Security Alumni (ANSA). In the Feb.-March, 1991 edition of Unclassified, MacMichael casually cites unnamed LaRouche sources in an article about a dismissed case involving Iran-Contragate figures Oliver North and Joseph Fernandez, “LaRouche sources point out that Prosecutor William Burch was not particularly diligent in arguing his case. They note that Burch has been active in the LaRouche prosecutions.”

In the October-November 1990 issue of Unclassified, MacMichael presents the same story of intrigue previously reported by Ridgeway. MacMichael also mentions the LaRouchian competition with the “North-Secord enterprise for donations from wealthy individuals,” implying it was connected to the LaRouche criminal prosecutions.

It is true that the Oliver North network targeted the LaRouchians for investigation, when LaRouche fundraising, especially to rich older conservatives, was found to be hampering private fundraising efforts for the Contras. There is, however, no conclusive evidence that the North/Secord political investigation of LaRouche influenced the Boston or Virginia criminal investigations or indictments.

Numerous criminal and civil actions against illegal LaRouche financial activities were launched as early as the late 1970’s. One such probe was initiated by the Illinois State Attorney General on the basis of an article by this author charging irregularities in LaRouchian financial activities. The article was based on several boxes of original office and bank records.37 In 1979 and 1980, Dennis King published documented charges of widespread LaRouchian financial misconduct in a series of articles in New York’s Our Town, a neighborhood newspaper. Several articles were based on secret internal LaRouche memos and financial records obtained by King from sources close to the LaRouche operation.

On December 16, 1981, Dennis King, Russ Bellant, and this author held a press conference in Washington, D.C. charging the LaRouchians with “a wide variety of potentially illegal activities,” including: carrying out intelligence tasks for several foreign governments, including Iraq and South Africa; conducting a pattern of “illegal, deceitful and fraudulent activities by non-profit corporations, foundations and fundraising front groups controlled by Lyndon LaRouche.”

The Boston grand jury was already investigating illegal LaRouchian fundraising practices well before conservatives and neo-conservatives forced the Reagan Administration to stop access by LaRouchians to the staff at the National Security Council and CIA. It is not likely that LaRouche was the victim of a conspiracy to indict him falsely for crimes. What is more likely is that after LaRouche was forced out as a marginal player in Reagan intelligence circles, his immense criminal fundraising schemes could no longer be ignored, and some of the numerous probes into his many frauds finally were allowed to proceed to court.

Certainly both MacMichael and Ridgeway have a right to report what they wish, and draw any conclusions they feel are warranted by the facts. But to report the LaRouche side of the story of the government’s criminal indictments without historical context is to give an imprimatur to the unsubstantiated–and widely disputed–LaRouchian allegations claiming that LaRouche’s conviction was the result of a government conspiracy to deny him his political rights. This in turn is used by the LaRouchians to gain sympathy and worm their way into left political circles, especially among students, where the LaRouchians’ long history of fascist attacks on left groups is unknown.

SOME CRITERIA FOR DISCUSSION

Circulating information from (and in essence for) the political right without an accompanying notation as to source, appropriate principled criticism, and analysis of intent can have many negative outcomes. It:

  • Launders the original source of the information which often makes independent verification more difficult;
  • Builds the left group’s reputation as an independent and resourceful information gatherer when in essence the information has been plagiarized;
  • Gives the information an unwarrantedimprimaturssince the information is assumed to be coming from a left rather than the right source;
  • Advances often unstated and implicit rightist agendas;
  • Protects the rightist group from punitive attack by the right or the government since the information is perceived as coming from left;
  • Results in a conscious or unconscious reluctance by the left group to criticize the right group for fear of having information flow cut off.

It is important both journalistically and politically to know the source of information in order to consider the ulterior motives and possible implications of the information being circulated.

We certainly shouldn’t let the right set our research agenda through leaks but contact with the right seems inevitable and often proper and useful. Since persons on the left have contacts with the right for varied and complex reasons, one blanket criticism is neither sufficient, nor helpful. We do need to think through policies. What then are the principled conditions for contact with the right? Keep in mind that we all need to work in coalitions while maintaining independent political analysis and ability to criticize freely.

Some suggested points of principle might include:

  • Do not trade potentially harmful information on left groups with the right. Only trade information on government abuses and on other right groups;
  • Double check and double source all stories;
  • Name the group or political sector supplying the information and provide an honest thumbnail political sketch;
  • Consider why information is being passed by the group and make that part of the analysis or story;
  • Condemn flaws in all groups concerned, left or right;
  • Do not refer people to rightist networks without warning them of the nature of the source, and allowing them to make a principled moral decision whether or not to seek the information through that group.

PROPAGANDA, DECEPTION & DEMAGOGUERY

 

FLAWS OF LOGIC, FALLICIES OF DEBATE

Investigative reporting and progressive research took a detour during the probe of the Iran-Contra affair. Because the executive branch was engaged in a coverup, and Congress refused to demand a full accounting, speculation about conspiracies blossomed. There certainly are conspiracies afoot in the halls of government and private industry. Documenting illegal conspiracies is routinely accomplished by prosecutors who present their evidence to a judge or jury. The burden of proof can be high, as it should be in a democracy. Journalists frequently document conspiracies, and their published or broadcast charges can be tested against standards of journalistic ethics and sometimes in court in cases of alleged libel and slander.

Coverage of unsubstantiated conspiracy theories in recent years, however, routinely violated common journalistic practices regarding second sourcing. A theory that cannot be documented, or for which there is only one source of questionable credibility, is a rumor…not investigative journalism.

With so much political and journalistic confusion it is useful to remember that academia has produced a long list of useful tools and techniques to evaluate the logical and conceptual validity of any argument regardless of political content or viewpoint.38

Useful rational standards by which to judge the merits of any statement or theory are easily found in textbooks on debate, rhetoric, argument, and logic. These books discuss which techniques of argumentation are not valid because they fail to follow the rules of logic. There are many common fallacious techniques or inadequate proofs:

  • Raising the volume, increasing the stridency, or stressing the emotionalism of an argument does not improve its validity. This is called argument by exhortation. It is often a form of demagoguery, bullying or emotional manipulation.
  • Sequence does not imply causation. If Joan is elected to the board of directors of a bank on May 1, and Raul gets a loan on July 26, further evidence is needed to prove a direct or causal connection. Sequence can be a piece of a puzzle, but other causal links need to be further investigated.
  • Congruence in one or more elements does not establish congruence in all elements. Gloria Steinem and Jeane J. Kirkpatrick are both intelligent, assertive women accomplished in political activism and persuasive rhetoric. To assume they therefore also agree politically would be ludicrous. If milk is white and powdered chalk is white, would you drink a glass of powdered chalk?
  • Association does not imply agreement, hence the phrase “guilt by association” has a pejorative meaning. Association proves association; it suggests further questions are appropriate, and demonstrates the parameters of networks, coalitions, and personal moral distinctions, nothing more. Tracking association can lead to further investigation that produces useful evidence, but a database is not an analysis and a spiderweb chart is not an argument. The connections may be meaningful, random, or related to an activity unrelated to the one being probed.
  • Participation in an activity, or presence at an event, does not imply control.
  • Similarity in activity does not imply joint activity and joint activity does not imply congruent motivation. When a person serves in an official advisory role or acts in a position of responsibility within a group, however, the burden of proof shifts to favor a presumption that such a person is not a mere member or associate, but probably embraces a considerable portion of the sentiments expressed by the group. Still, even members of boards of directors will distance themselves from a particular stance adopted by a group they oversee, and therefore it is not legitimate to assume automatically that they personally hold a view expressed by the group or other board members. It is legitimate to assert that they need to distance themselves publicly from a particular organizational position if they wish to disassociate themselves from it.
  • Anecdotes alone are not conclusive evidence. Anecdotes are used to illustrate a thesis, not to prove it. A good story-teller can certainly be mesmerizing–consider Ronald Reagan–but if skill in story-telling and acting is the criteria for political leadership, Ossie Davis would have been president, not Ronald Reagan. This anecdote illustrates that anecdotes alone are not conclusive evidence, even though most progressives would think that Davis would have been a kindler, gentler president than Reagan or Bush.

TECHNIQUES OF THE PROPAGANDIST

In 1923 Edward L. Bernays wrote the book Crystallizing Public Opinion and later, in 1928, the textPropaganda, considered seminal works in the field. “There is propaganda and what I call impropaganda,” says the 98-year-old Bernays impishly.39 Propaganda originally meant promoting any idea or item, but took on its current pejorative sense following the extensive use of sinister propaganda for malicious goals during World War I and World War II. While all persuasion uses the techniques of traditional propaganda, what Bernays calls “impropaganda” is “using propaganda techniques not in accordance with good sense, good faith, or good morals…methods not consistent with the American pattern of behavior based on Judeo-Christian ethics.” Bernays, who is called the “father of public relations,” is worried about the increased use of “impropaganda” in political campaigns and has spoken out against it. “Politicians who use techniques like these lose the faith of the people,” says Bernays.

In 1936 Boston merchant Edward Filene helped establish the short- lived Institute for Propaganda Analysis which sought to educate Americans to recognize propaganda techniques. Alfred McClung Lee, Institute director from 1940-42, and his wife Elizabeth Briant Lee, co-authors of The Fine Art of Propaganda, Social Problems in America, recently wrote an article in the periodical Propaganda Review in which they suggested educating the public about propaganda techniques was an urgent priority. The Lees also discussed the Institute’s symbols for the seven hallmark tricks of the manipulative propagandist:

  • Name Calling: hanging a bad label on an idea, symbolized by a hand turning thumbs down;
  • Card Stacking: selective use of facts or outright falsehoods, symbolized by an ace of spades, a card signifying treachery;
  • Band Wagon: a claim that everyone likeusthinks this way, symbolized by a marching bandleader’s hat and baton;
  • Testimonial: the association of a respected or hated person with an idea, symbolized by a seal and ribbon stamp of approval;
  • Plain Folks: a technique whereby the idea and its proponents are linked to “people just like you and me,” symbolized by an old shoe;
  • Transfer: an assertion of a connection between something valued or hated and the idea or commodity being discussed, symbolized by a smiling Greek theater mask; and
  • Glittering Generality: an association of something with a “virtue word” to gain approval without examining the evidence; symbolized by a sparkling gem.

The Institute’s last newsletter reflected that “in modern society an element of propaganda is present in a large portion of human affairs…people need to be able to recognize this element even when it is serving `good’ ends.”

SOME EXAMPLES

Here are two examples of how the fallacies of debate and errors of logic are employed regarding General John Singlaub, a man whose roles in Iran-Contragate and world fascist movements are already well documented, and need no discussion here.

General John Singlaub was involved in promoting the yellow ribbon campaign during the Gulf War. He was one of dozens of influential people who formed the Coalition for America at Risk. That Coalition was one of at least ten other major national groups promoting the yellow ribbon campaign, including veterans groups with tens of thousands of members nationwide. Families of service personnel have been tying yellow ribbons on trees in anticipation of the safe return of their active duty relatives ever since this military tradition which dates to the Civil War was revived during the Vietnam War, in part due to a popular song. To suggest, as some do, that Singlaub created the yellow ribbon campaign as a continuation of his nefarious role in Contra fundraising is to stretch credulity beyond the breaking point.

Another case involving Singlaub shows how a series of individual facts from underlying footnotes can be strung together so that the conclusions are not accurate because they fail the tests of deductive logic. The Iran Contra Connection: Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era, combines into one book chapters written by Jonathan Marshall, Peter Dale Scott and Jane Hunter. On page 67 in a chapter written by Peter Dale Scott it is asserted that the LaRouche organization “previously posed as left-wing but in fact harassed anti-nuclear and other left-wing demonstrations with the help of the right-wing domestic intelligence group known since 1979 as Western Goals.”

It is documented that the LaRouchites spied on and harassed the left, and it is documented that Western Goals spied on and harassed the left, but it does not automatically follow that they worked together to spy on and harass the left.

The evidence linking the two groups is this: General Singlaub, at the time on the board of Western Goals, once lectured to a group that included some LaRouchians at a training center run by Mitch WerBell. Singlaub met LaRouchians from time to time when he visited WerBell, who served as an intelligence adviser to LaRouche. The LaRouchians in 1977 gave the New Hampshire State Police background material on anti-nuclear activists including several pages from a private Rees newsletter. At the time, Rees was not connected to Western Goals. In fact, Western Goals had not as yet been founded.

That both the LaRouchites and Rees have spied on the left is both documented and a matter of some bragging by both parties. That the LaRouchians spied on and harassed the left with help from Western Goals is unsubstantiated, and faces conflicting evidence. In fact, Rees and the LaRouchians have despised each other for years, and denounce each other regularly in print, gleefully sending nasty information about each other to reporters, including this author.

It is common for Singlaub and other figures criticized by the left to point to the inaccurate and unsubstantiated charges leveled against them by their critics as a means to deflect the charges that are well documented. The use of fallacious arguments and the circulation of unsubstantiated conclusory charges in an area of research such as government repression or intelligence abuse undermines the credibility of the whole area of research. It makes the job all the harder for cautious progressive researchers, whose work becomes suspect in the eyes of mainstream reporters and broad audiences.

HARRY MARTIN AND PROPAGANDA TECHNIQUES

Harry V. Martin is the editor of the Napa Sentinel. His articles on government corruption have gained popularity on the left. An analysis of the content and style of the Martin articles raises questions about his credibility as a reporter. Martin uses classic leaps of logic and propaganda techniques in his reporting. This section will look at several articles which Martin has written concerning the pending Inslaw court case.

Inslaw, a small computer company, developed a very sensitive computer program, Promis, which Inslaw alleges was appropriated without authorization by the U.S. Justice Department and other government agencies. Promis software was an early contender in case management software, but by no means unique. Several vendors at the time Promis was being offered also offered similar case tracking software. It can be argued that at the time Promis was indeed ahead of its competitors in many key features, but today Lotus Agenda with its case tracking overlay is just as powerful.40

Martin’s Inslaw stories use the classical propaganda technique of stringing together chronological events and implying that one causes the other. One story, for example, which looks at the role governmental retribution may have played in the failure to re-appoint to the bench one judge, George Bason, whose rulings has supported Inslaw’s position. Martin’s article assumes allegations it needs to establish. He says:

As a result of the Inslaw cases, many heads in the Justice Department were lopped off. When Judge George Bason, a bankruptcy court judge, refused to liquidate Inslaw, ruling instead that the Department of Justice used deceit, trickery and fraud, he was only one of four who were not re-appointed to their jobs. A total of 132 were re-appointed. But to show the collusion of the Justice Department, when it removed Judge Bason from the bench after his ruling against them and for Inslaw, they had S. Martin Teel appointed to the bench to replace Bason. Who was Teel? He was a Department of Justice attorney who unsuccessfully argued the Inslaw case before Judge Bason.

Certainly the failure of Judge Bason to be re-appointed after ruling in favor of Inslaw is curious. A good reporter would seek evidence to show that there was a connection between the Inslaw case and the failure to re-appoint Judge Bason. That one event followed the other is not this proof. The same situation applies to Teel. The sequence is curious, even suspicious in light of Bason, but the cause and effect relationship remains unproven.

Martin also makes extensive use of arguments by exhortation, which are arguments based more on emotion that on reason. For example, he claims:

An official of the Israeli government claims [a person] sold the Promis program to Iraqi military intelligence at a meeting in Santiago, Chile. The software could have been used in the recent Persian Gulf War to track U.S. and allied troop movements. Ari Ben-Menashe, a 12 year veteran of Israeli intelligence, made the statement in a sworn affidavit to the court.

When Martin claims the software could have been used against the U.S. during the Gulf War, he is using jingoistic appeals to emotion rather than reason to garner support for his position. He is deliberately painting a picture of the possible deaths of U.S. soldiers as a direct result of the purported theft of the Promis software program by U.S. government agencies. That software also could have been used to track hamburger shipments by McDonalds, or alternatively, troop movements could have been tracked by Lotus AGENDA rather than Promis. It is hype, and misleading, to single out the one possibility that suits his political ends.

There are other misleading statement in the paragraph quoted above. For example, Ari Ben-Menashe was hardly “an official of the Israeli government.” He was at best an experienced Israeli intelligence staffer who became a player in the international arms trade, and many of Ben Menashe’s claims have been contested. Martin’s inflation of Ben-Menashe’s status serves to condemn the entire Israeli government in a way that a discussion based on Ben-Menashe’s actual status would not have done. Another example is Martin’s emphasis on the fact that Ari Ben-Menashe “made the statement in a sworn affidavit to the court.” As anyone who has worked on legal cases can attest, sworn statements carry no guarantee that they are truthful or factual. Absent documentation or corroborating testimony, they stand as allegations, not facts.

In the same article, Martin goes on to claim that Promis is now being used by the CIA, the National Security Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and the U.S. Department of Justice. In fact, these are unproven allegations that are being presented as though they were facts. They may indeed be proven at some point, but have not yet been proven. The technique of first presenting allegations, then later referring to them as facts, is a classic propaganda technique. A closer examination of Martin’s presentation reveals that the claimed use of the software by these U.S. government agencies is actually an allegation from Ben-Menashe’s affidavit, in which Ben-Menashe claims he was told by a third party that this was true. Legally, this is hearsay, which is typically inadmissible in court as evidence. Nevertheless, Martin converts this hearsay allegation into a statement of fact. But Martin is not through with his daisy chain of proof.

Still utilizing unproven assertions, Martin goes on to expand the cast of villains from a few corrupt officials of the Justice Department to the entire U.S. government. He writes:

[The] Judiciary Committee is conducting its own investigation in what has been described as the U.S. Department of Justice’s “trickery, deceit and theft” of the software. The U.S. Government has been connected with the illegal sale of the sensitive software to South Korea, Libya, Iraq, Israel and Canada, as well as being pirated by a number of U.S. agencies, including the CIA, National Security Agency and other military units. The software is also in use by the FBI. Only the U.S. Justice Department was licensed to use the software…

From a proposition of criminal or unethical conduct by individuals within the Justice Department, a proposition itself unproven, Martin moves on to argue the existence of an international conspiracy, led by the U.S. government to steal and distribute Promis software. While such a claim could later be proven, Martin here merely presents the allegation as though it were true, a technique known as a “conclusory” or “Kierkegaardian” leap.

These few examples buttress the assertion that Martin is not a reliable source of information. A careful reading of all the Martin Inslaw articles reveals many other instances of fallacious argument and propaganda technique. Questions regarding Harry Martin’s judgment and political orientation are also raised by the fact that he has allowed his articles to appear regularly in the Spotlight41

MICHAEL RICONOSCIUTO

An example of Martin’s tendency to confuse unproven allegations with established matters of fact can be found in Martin’s treatment of Michael Riconosciuto, a computer software technician who has submitted a sworn affidavit in the Inslaw software piracy case. Riconosciuto has claimed that he was threatened by a former staff member of the Justice Department with criminal prosecution on an unrelated charge and with an unfavorable result in a pending child custody dispute if he testified on the Inslaw case. Riconosciuto has also claimed that he made a tape recording of the telephoned threat, two copies of which were confiscated when he was arrested. Although he has not produced it, he claims a third copy exists, which is being held in a safe location. When Martin discusses Riconosciuto, he begins with what appears to be a statement of uncontested fact, “In February, Riconosciuto was called by a former Justice Department official and warned against cooperating with an investigation into the case by the House Judiciary Committee.” In fact, while some of what Riconosciuto has alleged can be verified, much cannot. Despite the plethora of details Martin presents, the entire content of Martin’s story on Riconosciuto is composed of Riconosciuto’s own unverified assertions or other unproven allegations made in the early stages of a lawsuit.

Riconosciuto has also been championed as a source by the LaRouchians who say they introduced Riconosciuto to Danny Casolaro, according to the Village Voice article by Ridgeway and Vaughan. Anyone reading that article carefully will get the idea that authors Ridgeway and Vaughan think that some of the Riconosciuto/Casolaro allegations are unsubstantiated and reflect undocumented conspiracy theories.

Jerry Uhrhammer of the Tacoma Morning News Tribune covered Riconosciuto’s claims and legal battles for that paper, including Riconosciuto’s three-week-long drug trial, held in Tacoma in April 1991. “I believe it is significant that Casolaro’s theory about a mega-conspiracy he called ‘The Octopus’ seems to have developed after exposure to Riconosciuto’s tales of involvement in nearly every major national and international conspiracy of the past decade,” wrote Uhrhammer in a letter to the IRE Journal of the Investigative Reporters & Editors group.

Uhrhammer says it was relatively easy for him to disprove many of Riconosciuto’s claims. “There were other instances in which it was obvious that Riconosciuto had obtained small morsels of information, then embellished and expanded those morsels into seven-course feasts of conspiratorial derring-do that he fed back through the conspiracy network. The thought of going into print with a story based on such a story makes me shudder,” wrote Uhrhammer.

Any reporter who checked the court file prior to Riconosciuto’s trial could have found documents that offered a psychiatric explanation for [his] conspiracy tales. Psychiatrists who examined him in 1972, prior to his first drug conviction, portrayed him as a mentally unstable person who had trouble discerning between fact and fiction….I have been dismayed and appalled by some articles in which Riconosciuto is quoted as a primary source, if not sole source, in support of some conspiracy theory, but without any warning to the reader that his credibility is suspect or nonexistant.

Free-lance reporter Jonathan Littman spent four months investigating charges regarding the Canazon Indian reservation, including those circulated by Casolaro, who had been using Riconosciuto as a source. Littman wrote a fascinating three-part series for the San Francisco Chronicle on how outsiders were abusing tribal sovereignty. Littman and Chronicle reporter Michael Taylor also wrote a story about Riconosciuto’s claims about several murders linked to persons associated with the Cabazon reservation. “We had to throw out tons of stuff from Riconosciuto wholesale…because we ended up trying to prove a negative,” said Taylor.

ARI BEN-MENASHE

Several spooky sources contributed to the October Surprise story line, according to which the 1980 Reagan-Bush presidential campaign made a deal with the Iranians to delay the release of American hostages until after the November elections, to help assure the defeat of Jimmy Carter. A key figure in that story, and one whose usefulness as a source has been attacked and defended, was former Israeli intelligence operative Ari Ben-Menashe42 Ben-Menashe is a source used by Harry Martin.

One journalist who took Ben-Menashe’s allegations more seriously than most was Craig Unger, author of an October 1991 Esquire article titled “October Surprise.” Following several attacks on the Surprise theory, Unger wrote a long, interesting article called “The Trouble with Ari,” which appeared in The Village Voice in July 1992. There, more clearly than in his Esquire piece, Unger explains the dilemma a source of this kind poses for the journalist. After reminding readers that some of Ben-Menashe’s claims can be corroborated and that he was “the guy who started talking about the clandestine American arms pipeline to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein. . . long before the story started breaking in the press this spring,” Unger writes:

Ari has put five or six dozen journalists from all over the world through roughly the same paces. His seduction begins with a display of his mastery of the trade craft of the legendary Israeli intelligence services. A roll of quarters handy for furtive phone calls, he navigates the back channels that tie the spooks at Langley to their counterparts in Tel Aviv. His astute analysis and mind-boggling revelations can stir even the most jaded old hand of the Middle East. . . But trust him at your own risk….

“Listen to him, trust him, print his story verbatim–then sit around and watch your career go up in flames.

CONCLUSIONS

 

“When we destroy international Fascism we must at the same time destroy national Fascism, we must replace the reactionary forces at home with truly democratic forces which will represent all of us.”

–George Seldes, Facts and Fascism, 1943

We suffer in the U.S. from an unfortunate reluctance to recognize and name the resurgence of fascist ideology around the world. In part this is because we are not taught in our schools what fascism was or is. We hold ourselves up as a model of democracy while half the eligible citizens rarely feel motivated to vote, and we are bombarded with advertising that tells us that freedom is the ability to purchase four different varieties of Coca-Cola at 7-11.

Some have argued that the main potential threat of fascism comes from a bipartisan government increasingly willing to employ repressive and authoritarian solutions to societal problems during a time of economic decline. Political analyst William Pfaff is one of the few mainstream analysts who warns that an unconscious strain of American fascism is influencing national affairs. Writing in the Chicago Tribune with a Paris dateline of March, 1987, Pfaff concluded that the actions of the Reagan Administration during the Iran-Contra scandal revealed “a pattern of conduct and a state of mind among important people in this administration which must be described as an American style of fascism. I would prefer to avoid that term, but it is the only one in the modern political vocabulary that adequately describes” the situation.

Given the upsurge of nationalism, jingoistic patriotism, militarism, scapegoating, and race-baiting practiced by both the Reagan and Bush Administrations, a discussion of the proto-fascist elements in U.S. domestic and foreign policy is not unwarranted. At the same time, it is hyperbole to describe the current political climate in the U.S. as fascist. Yet it clearly is an error to assume that anyone who opposes repressive aspects of U.S. policy is an anti-fascist, or upholds democratic principles.

A PAINFUL TASK

In the debate over conspiracy theories passions can run high. Radio station WBAI scheduled a debate on the journalistic issues raised by broadcasting conspiracy theorists and right-wing experts. One guest connected by phone to the New York studio was KPFA-radio host Dennis Bernstein, dubbed that station’s “conspiracy czar” by one local alternative newspaper.43 During the live program Bernstein began alluding to conspiracies to smear and silence him and his guests, then angrily slammed down the phone.

Why have some on the left fallen for the psuedo-radical siren song of the fascist right? Sara Diamond thinks “after 12 years of living as an anti-administration anti-establishment subculture, many in the progressive movement know what they are against, but have lost sight of what they stand for. According to Diamond, this leaves persons susceptible to allying with anyone else that attacks the government.” In part its desperation,” says Diamond. “We have, in fact, lost influence and become marginal.” And, Diamond adds, this happened “against a backdrop of political illiteracy.”

This political myopia has been shaped in part by a reliance on the electronic media for news routinely presented in ahistorical, sound-bite packages that fail to make connections or references to even recent history, much less events earlier in this century. Sadly, many Americans developed their understanding of fascism by watching the show “Hogan’s Heros” on television. The age of television has promoted style over substance. Demagoguery of all political stripes flourishes in this environment.

Interviewer David Barsamian who produces the syndicated Alternative Radio series from Boulder, Colorado warns that radio personalities who harp on conspiracies are providing entertaining confusion rather than helping listeners focus clearly on complex issues. He says progressives should not fall for “left guruism” where sensational anti-government theories are accepted without any independent critical analysis.

Barsamian feels some on the left have been “mesmerized by the flawless dramatic presentation by Sheehan of the Christic claims” which distracted attention from the “substance of the allegations which don’t all check out.” This created a climate–even a demand–for elaborate conspiracy theories to flourish. Barsamian acknowledges “we all are longing for simple comforting explanations, but by focusing on The Secret Team, or the Medellin Cartel, we ignore the institutions that keep producing the problems.”44

Doug Henwood, editor of Left Business Observer in New York, editorialized in April about the resurgence of fascist ideas around the world. Henwood cited a 50-year-old book by Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation, which listed symptoms for a country infected with fascism, including “the spread of irrationalist philosophies, racialist esthetics, anticapitalist demagogy, heterodox currency views, criticism of the party system, widespread disparagement of the `regime,’ or whatever was the name given to the existing democratic set-up.” Henwood writes that “the list is a good description of the political scene in much of the world today–the denunciation of Coca-Cola capitalism by German skinheads, chanted between attacks on Turks and Mozambicans; the racist welfare-baiting of our own demagogues; and ubiquitous, vague, and nihilistic denunciations of `the system’ that offer little hope for transformation.” Henwood is not surprised to see such symptoms appearing in the U.S., but is dismayed that so many on the left are unaware of the lessons already learned this century.

While conditions in the United States may only faintly echo the financial and social turmoil of the corrupt 1920’s German Weimar regime, collapsed by attacks from the left and right, the similarities cannot be dismissed lightly, nor should the catastrophic power of state fascism be confused with the repression of an authoritarian government. Repression can be deadly, but Fascism’s terror and mass murder is worse.

The popularity of the film “JFK” proves that now is an appropriate time to take a calm look at some hard questions involving the Warren Commission report, the Kennedy Administration, the Vietnam war, U.S. foreign policy, our burgeoning national security apparatus, and economic justice. But surely we can have this discussion without uncritically circulating the conspiratorial scapegoating fantasies of the far right.

Monique Doryland of the Bay Area Pledge of Resistance has seen the group’s office on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland vandalized this year by graffiti spray painted across their walls. Their answering machine has been tampered with. The messages included homophobic, racist, anti-Jewish, and anti-communist epithets. Members of a visible neo-Nazi movement in the Bay Area are the prime suspects. Doryland was “appalled” when she heard persons suggesting “making common cause with the far right as a technique to bring down the conservative center and George Bush. It seems so ridiculous to seriously suggest working with fascists,” says Doryland. “That’s not how you build an authentic response to either right-wing or mainstream Republican deprivation of social programs. We have to be clear as progressive people that fascists, no matter what their camouflage, are not our friends.”

The dilemma for left activists is to sort out the various strains of fascist ideology circulating in the United States and the world. It is a dangerous folly to ignore the threat to democracy posed by critics of the current administration who also promote fascism.

Author George Seldes reached his 100th birthday in 1990 as the early editions of this report were first being researched and written. More than half a century earlier, in 1938, Seldes wrote You Can’t Do That, a book with a prophetic warning about how fascism comes to power as the result of a pincer movement between authoritarian state repression supported by corporate elites and mass movements sparked by ultra-rightist demagogues. Seldes wrote:

We must guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism, especially that patriotism which is the last refuge of scoundrels and which is so prevalent, so professional and so well paid nowadays. Eternal vigilance must become more than the slogan for small associations desperately fighting almost overwhelming cases of infringements on individual liberties.

We must realize that those who use red-baiting to attack every liberal and democratic movement today, are the armed cutthroats of reactionary Fascism tomorrow.

Two facts emerge from any study of European turmoil and the new class alignment in our own land. The enemy is always the Right. Fascism and Reaction inevitably attack. They have won against disunion. They will fail if we unite.

While revealing our government’s policies as corrupt, we must not concede the debate over foreign policy and domestic social justice to the demagogues on either the left or the right. If these people monopolize the debate, then political discourse in the U.S. will soon echo the themes of the fascist era in Europe where hysteria and holocaust, blood and bounty, blind patriotism and deaf obedience became synonymous with the national spirit.

While the concept of broad-based peace and social justice coalitions remains desirable, activists and their coalitions should be very careful to examine the backgrounds and ideologies of those groups with which we seek to build coalitions.

FOOTNOTES

1 See the prescient article on “The Politics of Frustration” by conservative Republican analyst Kevin Phillips in The New York Times Magazine, April 12, 1992, pp. 38-42.

2 For a brilliant short essay on the rise of the Nouvelle Droit see “Pograms Begin in the Mind” by Wolfgang Haug, a transcribed lecture with a challenging introduction by Janet Biehl. Green Perspectives, May 1992, (P.O. Box 111, Burlington, Vermont 05402).

3 See magazines such as Scorpion or Third Way published in England.

4 For a lengthy discussion of scapegoating and witch hunts, see the September/October 1992 issue of The Humanist with a special section on “Credulity, Superstition, and Fanaticism,” which includes the author’s article on the far right’s scapegoating of secular humanism.

5 Many of these conspiracy peddlers are promoted in the catalog from the California-based Prevailing Winds, and a spokesperson for Prevailing Winds complained in a letter to the Progressive that I had attacked John Judge as right wing. While I have criticized John Judge’s lunatic and undocumented conspiracy theories as “sincerely motivated but misguided,” and am deeply troubled by Judge’s promotion of Fletcher Prouty, I have never called Prevailing Winds nor John Judge right-wing; nor did Toronto’s NOW Magazine in their accurate and devastating article on Judge that quoted Jane Hunter and me as critics.

6 See generally Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism, New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973 (original edition 1951); Stephen L. Chorover, From Genesis to Genocide, Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1980; Richard Hofstadter, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life, New York: Knopf, 1963; Hans Askenasy,Are We All Nazis? Secaucus, N.J.: Lyle Stuart, 1978.

7 For a deeper understanding of fascism and its use of scapegoating, see: A. J. Nichols, Weimar and the Rise of Hitler, (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1979), Daniel Guerin, Fascism and Big Business, (New York: Monad Press/Pathfinder, 1973), James Joes, Fascism in the Contemporary World: Ideology, Evolution, Resurgence, (Boulder: Westview, 1978).

8 Peter Fritzsche, Rehearsals for Fascism: Populism and Political Mobilization in Weimar Germany, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1990).

9 The author heard these arguments raised by audience members during speaking engagements in late 1991.

10 The most useful general sources of information on U.S. right-wing conspiracy theories and the basis for understanding the role of reductionism and scapegoating in these movements are: Richard Hofstadter, The Paranoid Style in American Politics, (New York: Knopf, 1965); George Johnson, Architects of Fear: Conspiracy Theories and Paranoia in American Politics, (Los Angeles: Tarcher/Houghton Mifflin, 1983); and Frank P. Mintz, The Liberty Lobby and the American Right: Race, Conspiracy, and Culture, (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1985).

11 Holly Sklar’s books and articles on Trilateralism avoids the conspiracism that infects much writing about this group

12 Roger Scruton, A Dictionary of Political Thought, London: The Macmillan Press, 1982, p. 169

13 Eustace Mullins, The Secret Holocaust, (Word of Christ Mission. undated).

14 One highly- condensed version of this paper, circulated briefly only on the Peacenet computer network, misidentified Fletcher Prouty as a CIA agent. The error was immediately corrected and in all other versions Mr. Prouty has been correctly identified as an Air Force officer tasked with assisting the CIA. The error resulted when I inadvertently sent an incorrect computer file to Peacenet. I apologize for the error. Mr. Prouty has cited this matter as proof that my research is unreliable. I disagree.

15 Mark Lane, Plausible Denial, (New York: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1991), p. 124.

16 Spotlight, January 25, 1988, p. 9.

17 Plausible Denial, p. 119.

18 Telephone interview with Fletcher Prouty, February 1992.

19 Telephone interview with Prouty.

20 Telephone interview with Skolnick.

21 The idea of a conspiracy of “Jewish international finance” was a pet theme of Hitler, and can be studied in Hitler’s Mein Kampf simply by scanning the index of any edition. Arendt discusses the myth of the conspiratorial role of the Rothschild family as central to fascist theory in her work The Origins of Totalitarianism, again there are numerous index entries.

22 The author attended the meeting and has corroborated these assertions with other persons attending the meeting. The author also is aware that ethical problems are created by reporting even in broad summary the contents of a meeting of a legal team working on a lawsuit. This decision was made only after much thought, discussion, and a failed attempt to carry out private discussions to resolve some of these matters. These matters were first raised by the author internally to Christic staff and leadership in the summer of 1988. Other attempts were made by the author and other persons to have these criticisms dealt with between 1988 and 1990. A final private discussion in the summer of 1991 originally involved the author, Christic client Tony Avirgan, and Christic leadership. It was the Christic Institute’s unilateral decision to discontinue that attempt to resolve as many issues as possible privately before the criticisms were made public. The issue is also timely because if Christic refuses to deal with criticism of some of its work in the case, and succeeds in placing the issue of the dismissal before the Supreme Court, the almost-inevitable refusal to reverse the trial judge’s decision would take a bad ruling and certify it as the law of the land.

23 Interview with two former Christic staff who were eyewitnesses to several of these incidents.

24 A strident attack on Clark written by John Judis which appeared in the neo-conservative magazine New Republic, conflated Clark’s work with the LaRouchites and his support for a variety of liberal and progressive issues. Rather than raising a principled criticism of Clark, the article was a vehicle for a denunciation of the left in general and its views on the Gulf War in particular.

25 Questioned about the obviously bigoted material circulated by his current publisher, Prouty refused to comment.

26 Hulet, Craig. The Secret U.S. Agenda in the Gulf War, (New Jersey: Open Magazine Pamphlet Series, 1991), pp. 8-10.

27 Report from Iron Mountain is to a large degree a veiled attack on Herman Kahn and the school of geo-political strategy that developed around him at the Hudson Institute, an ultra-conservative think tank. Several of the footnotes refer to Kahn and Hudson Institute studies i.e. Kahn: Section 1, footnote 4 (p. 103), Section 5, footnote 10 (p. 105), Section 8, footnote 1, (p. 108); and Hudson Institute: Section 8, footnote 3, (p. 109). Moreover, the overall philosophy adopted in the book is consistent with Hudson Institute study papers and Kahn’s writings. (See Kahn’s On Escalation and Thinking About the Unthinkable. Also of interest is the book by two former Hudson Institute analysts, Edmund Stillman and William Pfaff who later rejected that school of thought and wrote The Politics of Hysteria.

28 William R. Tucker, The Fascist Ego, (Univ. of Calif. Press, Berkeley, 1975).

29 Background interview with activist in January, 1991.

30 Prouty says he was never asked to be on the board of advisers but refuses to ask that his name be removed from the published list.

31 Valentine, Paul, “Media Blacks Out Drug Story: `Bo’ Gritz Charges Conspiracy” , The Spotlight, July 13, 1987, p. 1.

32 Front Man for Fascism: Bo Gritz and the Racist Populist Party, A Background Research Report. People Against Racist Terror, (P.O. Box 1990, Burbank, CA 91507), no date, (c. Nov. 1991).

33 Final Call, June 29, 1992.

34 UFO Magazine, Vol.7, No.4, (Summer) 1992, p. 27.

35 LaRouche sued NBC, including Lynch and correspondent Mark Nykanen; free-lancer Dennis King; this author; and the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith for defamation. A jury ruled that characterizing LaRouche as an anti-Semite, “small-time Hitler,” cult-leader, and crook was not defamation.

36 This information is from three former associates of Ridgeway who asked not to be identified.

37 The boxes were purchased as scrap from a janitor by the author posing as a paper recycler after the LaRouchites were locked out of their Chicago office for non-payment of rent.

38 Persons who already are aware of the rules of logic and the fallacies of debate should feel free to skip this discussion, however many activists have indicated that they found it useful. It is not meant to be patronizing and is included because many of the issues discussed here come up in a later critique of specific propaganda techniques.

39 Telephone interview with Bernays.

40 The author has written a column on computer technology for the legal community for almost six years (first in the Chicago Lawyer and, when this was being written, in the Illinois Legal Times) and is familiar with case tracking software, both early versions and current versions. I base my opinion on representations made in court documents and newspaper accounts regarding Promis. I have tested Lotus Agenda based on copies given me by Lotus for review.

41 The following partial list was compiled by Margaret Quigley of Political Research Associates: “Bush Linked to Hostage Deal: Secret Meeting In Paris,” Spotlight, May 20, 1991, p. 1. (Copyright Napa Sentinel, 1991, Exclusive to the Napa Sentinel, by Harry V. Martin.); “October Surprise Cover-Up Congress Doesn’t Look Very Hard,” Spotlight, June 17, 1991, p. 1. (Copyright Napa Sentinel, 1991, (Edited by Spotlight), by Harry V. Martin; “`October Surprise’ Figure Has Intelligence Background,” Spotlight, July 8, 1991, p. 10. [Box] {Following is another installment in the saga of Gunther Rusbacher (Spotlight, May 20, and subsequently), the man who connects the Reagan-Bush team to the delayed release of the American hostages in Iran in 1980. The Russbacher story is an exclusive of the Napa, California Sentinel.} CopyrightNapa Sentinel, 1991, (Edited by Spotlight), by Harry V. Martin; Spotlight July 23, 1991, p. 10 “Reagan-Era Inslaw Scandal Refuses to Go Away.” Copyright Napa Sentinel, 1991, (Edited by Spotlight), by Harry V. Martin; Spotlight July 29, 1991, p. 10. “California Investigation Exposes Inslaw Scandal.” Copyright Napa Sentinel, 1991, (Edited by Spotlight), by Harry V. Martin. [Editors Note] {Napa Sentinel editor Harry V. Martin, who broke the story that has come to be known as the October Surprise, examines yet another Reagan/Bush scandal known as the Inslaw case, which focuses on corruption within bankruptcy courts and the Justice Department.}; Spotlight September 10, 1991, p. 7. “Inslaw Claims Another Victim.” CopyrightNapa Sentinel,1991, (Edited by Spotlight), by Harry V. Martin.

42 “The October Surprise: Enter the Press,” Columbia Journalism Review, March/April 1992, and “October Surprise: Unger v. Weinberg,” Letters, Columbia Journalism Review, May/June 1992).

43 Paul Rauber, “Tangled Webs.” Express (Los Angeles, alternative weekly), Sticks & Stones, column, November 8, 1991, pp.2, 28. “Hulet manages to deliver this patent foolishness in a glib and convincing manner, which won him many converts among the politically unsophisticated,” p. 2; “Hulet has also been featured on KPFA’s own `Flashpoints’ program, a production of the station’s own conspiracy-czar Dennis Bernstein,” p. 28. [In retrospect, this assessment seems a bit harsh].

44 Interview with David Barsamian.

 

Chip Berlet is a former senior analyst at Political Research Associates. He authored Eyes Right! and Right-Wing Populism in America: Too Close for Comfort (with Matthew N. Lyons) and is a frequent contributor to Talk2Action and Huffington Post.