The main right-wing domestic intelligence-gathering networks that operated during the Reagan/Bush Administrations were the John Rees Information Digest network, and a more amorphous network of New Right groups around the Council for Inter-American Security, Young American's for Freedom, and the American Sentinel newsletter. Two other domestic intelligence operations were run by two cult leaders, the neo-fascist Lyndon LaRouche, and the theocratic authoritarian Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Dozens of smaller private right-wing spy operations operated freely during the 1980's.
While there is competition and sometimes acrimony among counter- subversion groups, there is also room for cooperation. For instance in 1981 when the American Sentinel was still called "Pink Sheet on the Left" and Phillip Abbot Luce was still editor, Luce wrote a promotional letter to his subscribers strongly recommending the "informative work being done by Dr. Fred Schwarz and his Christian Anti-Communist Crusade." Luce called the Crusade's newsletter excellent, and went on to rave that the publication was "Educational, informative and hard-hitting. I find it accurate, fact-filled and very well-documented."
The most influential private domestic spying operation during the 1980's was run by John Rees, a veritable right-wing spymaster who has published Information Digest, a gossipy newsletter, for over twenty years.
Rees spent the early years of the Reagan administration as the spymaster for the right-wing Western Goals Foundation. The Foundation was the brainchild of the late Rep. Larry McDonald, former leader of the John Birch Society. Western Goals published several small books warning of the growing domestic red menace, and solicitated funds to create a computer database on American subversives.
Western Goals Foundation was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) when it was caught attempting to computerize references to "subversive" files pilfered from the disbanded Los Angeles Police Department "Red Squad."
Western Goals esentially collapsed after the death of Larry McDonald in September of 1983. John Rees left shortly after McDonald's death. Western Goals discontinued its domestic dossier and intelligence operation shortly after the departure of Rees. A contentious battle over control of Western Goals and the alienation of key funders left the foundation essentially a shell which was taken over by a conservative fundraiser Carl Russell "Spitz" Channell who turned it into a conduit for contra fundraising efforts linked to North and Iran-Contragate. Rees returned to his freelance spy-master status while former Western Goals director Linda Guell went to Singlaub's Freedom Foundation.
For many years John Rees was a frequent contributor to American Opinion and Review of the News, John Birch Society periodicals.
To prove the nuclear freeze is a Soviet plot, Rees in Information Digest noted that public remarks on disarmament by a member of the Soviet Central Committee of the Communist Party bear a "striking similarity" to materials produced by the Mobilization for Survival, Coalition for a New Foreign and Military Policy, and U.S. Peace Council. Furthermore, Rees noted that several of the organizations involved in the nuclear freeze campaign were identified by witnesses during the McCarthy era as communist fronts. This is the type of material that appears in his book, The War Called Peace: The Soviet Peace Offensive which was the Bible of the anti-Freeze movement.
Rees material is frequently cited in newsletters and monographs. For instance in 1988 Phyllis Schlafly's newsletter cited the Rees newsletter Information Digest on the FBI CISPES probe. A second Rees newsletter, published through his Mid-Atlantic Research Associates (MARA) with Arnaud de Borchgrave and Robert Moss, and titled Early Warning, was cited in an essay by retired Lt. General Gordon Sumner, former chairman of the Council on Inter- American Security and a national security adviser to President Reagan. The Sumner essay offered "Some Startegic Thoughts on Central America," including the following paragraph:
The Sumner monograph was published by the Washington Institute for Values in Public Policy, a think-tank with close ties to the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Sumner is credited in the publication as having served on the "Committee of Santa Fe which developed the Republican Party platform on Latin America in the 1980 campaign."
The LaRouche intelligence network is still active despite its legal troubles. Rees, who has urged conservatives to not forge alliances with LaRouche whom he considers "a remedial Fascist," describes the LaRouche operatives as: "copious information collectors but their analysis is off-the-wall." Documents produced in various lawsuits show some intelligence agencies don't trust the LaRouchies yet sift the LaRouche material for informational gems amidst the mental trash, others seem to find even the incredible material credible and dutifully file it.
The same National Security Council that spawned Oliver North received visits from LaRouche security specialists such as Jeff Steinberg, now on trial in Boston facing conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges stemming from a credit-card fraud indictment. One Reagan aide praised the LaRouchies as running one of the "best private intelligence networks" in the world-an unusual assessment for a group that believes the Queen of England runs an international heroin cartel. When this was revealed, pressure came from more pragmatic cold warriors such as Henry Kissinger (who called the LaRouche episode "outrageous") and finally forced the Reagan Administration to stop fraternizing with the lunatic LaRouchies.
Another player is the Unification Church network. The minions of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon are up to something, but so secretive that nobody willing to talk has any clues. Moonies have tracked leftists for years, but seldom publish or disseminate the information externally. They worked in coalitions with conservatives and rightists to shadow and pester Nicarauguan officials and stage counter demonstrations against Central American solidarity activists and other perceived communist dupes.
They also have been quite successful in organizing among the Black store-front churches that are ubiquitous in urban settings. The issue is the joint struggle against "Godless Communism," according to Rev. James Bevel, a Black minister who attended a Moonie-sponsored conference in Chicago and urged cooperation with Moon.
For a time the New York-based newsletter Free Press International was affiliated with the now-defunct Moonie-owned New York Tribune and provided coverage of alleged Soviet activity around the world, including periodic articles on domestic subversion. Gelbspan noted the cooperation of CAUSA activists in targetting anti- intervention activists. <$F]]]><M>
The Council for Inter-American Security, (CIS) is proud of its role in monitoring the activities of American progressives, and in one direct mail solicitation it told its members, "Our files on the organized left are the most extensive in the nation," and in another boasted about Waller's infiltration of a meeting in Europe. An ad for its newsletter West Watch carried the headline "Keep track of the revolution lobby." The text includes phrases such as:
CIS touts itself as a counter-subversion watchdog group. In one direct mail piece they ask for a donation and say that "if a member of Congress is working with pro-Communist radicals, we know about it or we'll find out about it-and expose it!"
The Council for the Defense of Freedom in its book Prophets or Useful Idiots? has footnotes indicating pretext interviews of activists by student interns, and covert attendance by Council representatives at meetings of activists. Formerly called the Council Against Communist Aggression, (CACA) it changed its name, perhaps when it realized the acronym was unaceptable for use in Spanish-speaking countries.
Ryan Quade Emerson cultivated the periphery of the law enforcement community, peddling long lists of alleged subversives, radicals, revolutionaries and terrorists. His material was essentially a compilation of material obtained from other sources. Emerson has operated using several names for his activites, including the Zeus Group and the Apple Group. He has served as a government informant against the Lyndon LaRouche organizations. Emerson's newsletter on terrorism was sold and is now published by a more cautious individual who has no ongoing connection, financial or ideological, to Emerson.
DanCor, Ltd. billed itself as specializing in counter-terrorism and police training. At one seminar in 1985 the workshop schedule included a speaker from the American Security Council, a film titled "The KGB Connection," a workshop on 60 new "Communist Front Groups" (allegedly including the the sanctuary, anti-nuclear power and nuclear freeze movements), and a speech on "National Security Concerns" by Fred J. Villella a former official of FEMA's National Emergency Training Center which reportedly was involved in plans to circumvent the Constitution and round up and detain tens of thousands of persons to prevent civil disorder during a national emergency. Louis Giuffrida headed FEMA while Villella was there. Davis worked for Giuffrida at the California Specialized Training Institute which taught anti-terrorism and counter-subversive techniques to local and state police. CSTI was established in 1971 by then-governor Ronald Reagan and his assistant at the time, Edward Meese.
One former key counter-subversion outfilt, the Church League of America, collapsed early in the Reagan years due to an internal schism. The Church League, which once claimed the National Council of Churches was a communist front, shipped its 7 million index cards and 200 file cabinets full of material on "subversives" to the library at Rev. Jerry Falwell's Liberty University where it was stored in a warehouse and saw little if any use.
Prior to its collapse, the Church League continued its publishing program.
"News and Views," was a four-to-sixteen page newsletter published monthly by the Church League of America from its headquarters in Wheaton, Illinois. The March/April 1982 issue carried an "expose" on the Council on Economic Priorities - a liberal/radical think tank.
In an attempt to discredit the Council, "News and Views" reviews the activities of its founder and executive director, Alice Tepper-Martin:
"According to U.S.A. magazine, November-December 1972 Edition, page 8, Alice [Tepper-Martin] has been involved with the Union of Radical Political Economics....Alice Widener, editor of U.S.A., and noted syndicated columnist for Barron's Financial Weekly and other newspapers across the country, said the Union of Radical Political Economics is bent on the destruction of the U.S.A. form of government and has actually penetrated the government.
"The Wall Street Journal stated that this organization has as its tenet 'class conflict.' The left-liberal New Republic magazine described the Union of Radical Political Economics, December 26, 1970, as 'more than Marxist.' The organization has stated in writing, that 'radicals should attempt to take over economics departments whenever and wherever possible....If you want to know the theory and methods of revolution, you must take part in revolution.'"
"In 1968 the Union of Radical Political Economics held a seminar in December in Philadelphia. One of the leaders was Seymour Melman, whose topic was 'The Pentagon State - Guns and Margarine?' Melman is listed on the advisory Board of the Council on Economic Priorities in a folder entitled, 'What CEP Does," which was sent out in a mailing across the country soliciting tax-deductible contributions....
"The Communist newspaper, Daily World, of Thursday, December 26, 1968, page 9, gave considerable favorable space to the URPE conference in Philadelphia, attended by many leftists and revolutionary group representatives from around the country. New Left and Students for a Democratic Society papers were distributed among the participants.
"On Alice's staff of 19, in 1970, were left-liberal churchmen, stockbrokers and anti-Vietnam War agitators, such as Sam Brown, who later obtained a position in the Carter Administration."
The newsletter continues along this line for most of its twelve pages, with only passing references to the positions or policies advocated by the Council on Economic Priorities. At times it is necessary to remind oneself that the article is on the Council on Economic Priorities and not a discussion of the Union of Radical Political Economics or another of the many groups dragged in to discredit the Council or its activities. This litany of detailed interconnections of board and staff members with other groups identified as leftist is typical of right-wing Blacklists.
Other issues of "News and Views" from this period included articles entitled "Soviet Agents Enter United States Freely," which assumes that all representatives of a World Peace Council delegation which toured the U.S. were "Soviet agents;" and "The Riverside Connection: The National Council of Churches and the Palestine Liberation Organization," in which Donald Paul Bates, Sr., director of research for the Church League, asserts that the national church group is anti-Israel because it supports a Palestinian homeland and negotiation with the PLO. Bates traces these positions to the influence of revolutionaries on the National council of Churches. As is common with the Church League, the last article also includes a list of all the endorsers of a statement on the middle east issued by a liberal church conference on issues involving Palestine.
The Church League also published the twice-monthly National Laymen's Digest, a newsletter which sought to expose the communist penetration of American churches and church organizations using the same guilt-by-association style of writing. The Digest contained roughly one dozen short articles in each four page issue. The May 15, 1982 issue contained a denunciation of religious leaders seeking to develop a new Christian Contemporary Music. This religious music movement combines lyrics stressing Christian values with upbeat rock tunes. The Digest describes one such proponent of Christian Contemporary Music as another one of those compromising, middle-of-the-road 'evangelicals' who thinks that a Christian should adopt and imitate unregenerate lifestyles, such as jungle rhythms, which accentuate and stir up fleshy emotions in youth, rather than sacred and enduring great music to reach lost sinners." Despite the lack of regard for the laws of English grammar, the Digest's meaning is made clear in the next sentence: "This imitation of the world, and flesh and the devil, is causing tragic upheavals and inordinate sexual responses in young people who once professed Christ as Savior."
Among the books published by the Church League were Common Cause: The Lobbying Left Liberal Do-gooders Web, Modern Art: Political Psywar Weapon, Attorneys for Treason: The True Story of the National Lawyers Guild, and The Wicked Alliance Between Radical Church Leaders And Secularists For The Destruction of Capitalism.
When the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) was passed, Wackenhut gave the balance of the Karl Baarslag McCarthy-period files to the Church League where Wackenhut still had access to the information, but was not compelled to disclose it under the privacy- protection terms of the FCRA.
Before its demise, the Church League circulated material on the ACLU, National Emergency Civil Liberties Committee, the National Lawyers Guild, Center for National Security Studies, Campaign to Stop Government Spying, American Friends Service Committee, and the Institute for Policy Studies.
The American Security Council, still kept files, but apparently shifted its focus to throwing idelogical icebergs at the thawing cold war and lobbying for increased aid to the military. Researcher Wes McCune quips that the ASC is the personification of the Military Industrial Complex.
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