The Hunt for Red Menace: - 6

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Church League of America

Research West

Combat

On Target

Private Counter-subversion Groups of the 1960's

Church League of America

The Church League of America claimed to have the largest collection of files on "subversives" outside of the government channels, and admited using infiltrators to collect information. The League boasted of its skill in using miniature cameras and tape recorders. For many years the League offered to check four names using their computerized files for any private citizen who made a donation of $150 and passed a background check. The file check included a year's subscription to the Church League's two newletters, News and Views and National Laymen's Digest.

Some of the Church League files were inherited from Karl Baarslag, a former research director for Senator Joe McCarthy's investigative subcommittee. Baarslag's "subversive" files were sold to Wackenhut Corporation, a private security firm. The remaining 700,000 pages of files were turned over to the Church League.

Research West

California's Research West formed the foundation of its files on political activists when in 1969 it obtained the subversive files of the Western Research Foundation. For many years the Foundation years supplied information to anti-union corporate customers such as Pacific Gas and Electric, the Hearst newspapers, and Standard Oil of California.

One Research West contractor, Georgia Power, collected files on anti-nuclear activists. Georgia Power, incidently, contracted with the ubiquitous John Rees. Both Pacific Gas and Electric and Georgia Power hired Research West for "security investigations" which critics charge included supplying information about the activities of anti-nuclear groups.

One Research West snoop boasted to a friend over dinner that while he worked at Research West, the group was infiltrating and spying on anti-nuclear groups all over the country. The researcher's affiliation with Research West was later verified by phone. (Research West nonetheless denied the charge). The researcher probably felt safe in boasting about his counter-subversive activities because at the time his claims were overhead he was dining in a restaurant in northern Wisconsin where local businesses still proudly display their autographed photographs of Joseph McCarthy.

Research West no longer is in operation and no information on the disposition of its files could be found.

Combat

A brief flash in the pan was Combat<M>, which first appeared in the Spring of 1968. Published by National Review<M>, it was edited by Theodore Lit and Ruth I. Matthews and sported Eugene Lyons of Reader's Digest<M> fame as editorial advisor. The editorial credo was succinct: "Combat intends to make clear to its readers the intricate plans and action programs of the radical forces now at work undermining the American way of life."

On Target

On Target<M> was the "Intelligence Newsletter of the Minutemen Organization," and sports a rifle cross-hairs inside the Letter "O" on the newsletter's flag. Issued sporadically, one typical issue listed the "active members, recruiters and chapter leaders" of Science for the People, a group that attempts to de-mystify technology. The same issue also included a list of "pro-communist and ultra-liberal meetings and programs held at the University of Kansas" in Lawrence.

According to On Target,<M> "Most parents who send their kids to college have no idea how much pro-communist activity exists on most college campuses today." Among the "pro- communist. . .ultra-liberal" events at the University of Kansas, according to On Target<M> were speech on "organized Crime in America" sponsored by the Ecumenical Christian Missionaries; and a dance sponsored by Gay and Lesbian Services of Kansas.

Private Counter-subversion Networks in the 1970'

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