Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

For The Record  

FTR #465 The Gipper and the Underground Reich

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Introduction: This program is For The Record‘s contribution to the many memorials to Ronald Reagan upon the occasion of his passing. Unlike the hagiographies in most of the US media, this program documents a fundamental reality of Reagan’s presidency—its profound connection to the Underground Reich and the pivotal role of Nazi elements in the most notable “achievement” of the Reagan presidency—the rollback of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union. (This should not be interpreted as an endorsement by him of the Soviet system.) After contrasting the squeaky-clean, All-American celluloid Frank Gipp with the cynical, corrupt Frank Gipp of reality, the program notes the equally striking contrast between the false, idealized presidency of Ronald Reagan and the dark reality of his tenure. (Gipp was the Notre Dame football player whom Reagan played in a movie and whose nickname he adopted for his own. Far from being the idealized role model Reagan portrayed, Gipp was thoroughly corrupt.)

The broadcast traces the evolution of a Nazi émigré milieu with which Reagan was associated throughout much of his life. These Nazis were brought into the US under a program called the Crusade for Freedom, for which Reagan served as a spokesman. The personnel brought to the US under the CFF evolved into an important element of the Republican Party’s ethnic outreach organization and became a key element of US national security policy. These elements came to fruition during Reagan’s presidency—a stage upon which many of the major players from the CFF milieu were to realize the goal of Hitler’s Ostministerium with the eventual breakup of the Soviet Union. Behind the sunny façade of the Reagan presidency, Nazis continued to pursue the political agenda of the Third Reich.

Program Highlights Include: Discussion of Reagan’s associates in the Crusade for Freedom—Allen Dulles, Richard Nixon and William Casey; the role of the elder George Bush in making the CFF Nazis a permanent branch of the Republican Party; the career of Otto von Bolschwing—Adolph Eichmann’s superior in administering Hitler’s persecution of the Jews; von Bolschwing’s emigration to the US under Dulles’ CFF program; the role of von Bolschwing protégé Helene von Damm in selecting the personnel from which Reagan made his cabinet appointments; the Free Congress Foundation’s use of GOP Nazi bigwig Laszlo Pasztor; the FCF’s pivotal role as the Reagan/Bush administrations’ point element in the former USSR and Eastern Europe; discussion of the Reagan administration as the culmination of the CFF machinations with Reagan, William Casey (CIA director), von Bolschwing protégé von Damm and the elder George Bush (a long-time intimate of the CFF Nazis) occupying center stage and realizing the goals of the Nazi-generated Rollback or Liberation theory; the connections between the GOP ethnics, the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations and the former World Anti-Communist League; the World Muslim Congress and its links with the Pakistani branch of WACL); Nazi operative Haj Amin al-Husseini’s founding of the WMC; WMC’s role in the anti-Soviet Afghan war; the elder George Bush’s stewardship of the Afghan mujahideen.

1. The program begins with discussion of Reagan’s nickname “the Gipper”, derived from Reagan’s role as Notre Dame football player Frank Gipp in the movie “Knute Rockne: All-American.” Gipp, dying of pneumonia, supposedly gave Rockne a deathbed request. “His [Gipp’s] purported deathbed request to Rockne, ‘Win just one for the Gipper,’ was used during a locker room pep talk and helped to inspire Rockne’s 1928 team in its upset victory against Army. And, as the Gipper incarnate, Reagan used the line to inspire voters to elect him to the California governor’s mansion and later the White House. To those who saw the movie and listened to Reagan utter those now-famous words, Gipp epitomized the virtues of good character, sportsmanship, and ‘the right way of living.’”
(Interference: How Organized Crime Influences Professional Football; Dan Moldea; copyright 1989 by William Morrow and Company [HC]; ISBN 0-688-08303-X; pp.19-20.)

2. The program contrasts the reality of Gipp with the celluloid myth embodied in Reagan’s political persona. The reality of Reagan’s presidency contrasts just as sharply with his mythological “Gipper” persona as the reality of Gipp contrasts with Reagan’s Hollywood caricature of him. “History, however, now shows that Gipp, a man of truly questionable moral values, probably never made any such request on or off his deathbed; that Rockne, who was known for grasping at anything to incite his players, had fabricated the incident and that Reagan’s movie further embellished the Gipp/Rockne charade. . . .Regardless of the facts, the American public continues to believe the legend of George Gipp’s deathbed request to Knute Rockne.” (Idem.)

3. “The difficulties in debunking the myth about one college coach and one of his players is an indication of the problems in dispelling the legends about an entire institution. . . . Powerful forces in America have built empires around these myths; and the preservation of these empires and the personal wealth of those who own them depend upon the maintenance of the legends.” (Idem.)

4. “In the Reagan movie myth of the lives of Rockne and Gipp, there is one scene in which Rockne chases away a gambler who is looking for an edge. Rockne, played by actor Pat O’Brien, tells him, ‘We haven’t got any use for gamblers around here. You’ve done your best to ruin baseball and horse racing. This is one game that’s clean and it’s going to stay clean.’ Considering that Gipp, with the knowledge of Rockne, was a notorious sports gambler, the O’Brien quote perhaps best illustrates my point.” (Idem.)

5. Moldea later points out that, when being chastised by Rockne for being unmotivated, Gipp explained that he had $500.00 bet on the game and was, as a result, very motivated. (Ibid.; p. 437.)

6. The rest of this program highlights the relationship between Ronald Reagan and the Underground Reich, culminating in his administration’s adoption of “Rollback” or “Liberation Theory”—a Third Reich geopolitical strategy for eliminating the Soviet Union. Reagan’s involvement with Underground Reich elements began when Reagan was still in Hollywood. Ronald Reagan served as the front man for an illegal domestic intelligence operation known as the Crusade for Freedom. Devised by Allen Dulles (who invested Bush family money in the Third Reich and later became director of the CIA), this operation was overseen by Richard Nixon. William Casey (Nixon’s director of the SEC and manager of the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1980) oversaw the State Department machinations that brought these Nazi and fascist elements into the United States. Casey later became director of the CIA. The Republican ethnic branch (which grew out of this Nazi émigré community) later became a repository for Islamofascist elements associated with Al Taqwa and Al Qaeda. “As a young movie actor in the early 1950s, Reagan was employed as the public spokesperson for an OPC front named the ‘Crusade for Freedom.’ Reagan may not have known it, but 99 percent for the Crusade’s funds came from clandestine accounts, which were then laundered through the Crusade to various organizations such as Radio Liberty, which employed Dulles’s Fascists. Bill Casey, who later became CIA director under Ronald Reagan, also worked in Germany after World War II on Dulles’ Nazi ‘freedom fighters’ program. When he returned to New York, Casey headed up another OPC front, the International Rescue Committee, which sponsored the immigration of these Fascists to the United States. Casey’s committee replaced the International Red Cross as the sponsor for Dulles’s recruits. Confidential interviews, former members, OPC; former members, British foreign and Commonwealth Office.”
(The Secret War Against the Jews; by John Loftus and Mark Aarons; Copyright 1994 by Mark Aarons; St. Martin’s Press; [HC] ISBN 0-312-11057-X; p. 605.)

7. More about the genesis of the CFF: “The truth was quite sordid: With the help of the Dulles-Angleton clique, the Vatican had sent many of the Eastern European Nazis to Western countries, including the United States, Australia and Canada, where the right wing recruited them to get out the rest of the Eastern European ethnic vote. The man who ran the political recruitment was Richard Nixon.” (Ibid.; p. 122.)

8. Frustration over Truman’s 1948 election victory over Dewey (which they blamed on the “Jewish vote”) impelled Dulles and his protégé Richard Nixon to work toward the realization of the fascist freedom fighter presence in the Republican Party’s ethnic outreach organization. “As a young congressman, Nixon had been Allen Dulles’s confidant. They both blamed Governor Dewey’s razor-thin loss to Truman in the 1948 presidential election on the Jewish vote. When he became Eisenhower’s vice president in 1952, Nixon was determined to build his own ethnic base.” (Idem.)

9. “Vice President Nixon’s secret political war of Nazis against Jews in American politics was never investigated at the time. The foreign language-speaking Croatians and other Fascist émigré groups had a ready-made network for contacting and mobilizing the Eastern European ethnic bloc. There is a very high correlation between CIA domestic subsidies to Fascist ‘freedom fighters’ during the 1950’s and the leadership of the Republican Party’s ethnic campaign groups. The motive for the under-the-table financing was clear: Nixon used Nazis to offset the Jewish vote for the Democrats.” (Idem.)

10. “In 1952, Nixon had formed an Ethnic Division within the Republican National Committee. Displaced fascists, hoping to be returned to power by an Eisenhower-Nixon ‘liberation’ policy signed on with the committee. In 1953, when Republicans were in office, the immigration laws were changed to admit Nazis, even members of the SS. They flooded into the country. Nixon himself oversaw the new immigration program. As vice president, he even received Eastern European Fascists in the White House.” (Ibid.; pp. 122-123.)

11. The venality of the elements imported by Nixon & company is exemplified by the VorKommando Moskau—an entire SS intelligence unit incorporated complete and intact into the US under the CFF. “VorKommando Moskau was an elite forward unit of SS intelligence on the Soviet front. Its primary mission was anti-Communist intelligence collection, but it also was responsible for security screening of the occupied populations in a broad sector of the Eastern Front, which held nearly 6 million Jews. Precisely this security and intelligence experience made the men of the unit so attractive to Western intelligence after the war and led them to their journey to the United States and membership in Nixon’s Republican ‘ethnic groups.’” (Ibid.; p. 496.)

12. VorKommando Moskau did not kill the Jews. It hired the collaborators, who recruited the executioners, who killed the Jews. From 1940 to 1942, this one small unit acted as an employment agency for the architects of Nazi genocide in Eastern Europe. Contrary to popular belief, while the Germans masterminded and controlled the machinery of the Holocaust, the footsoldiers who carried it out were not primarily Germans, but local volunteers from Poland, the Baltic States, Ukraine, and White Russia. Those non-Germans who wished to serve Hitler’s New Order first had to pass a security check by VorKommando Moskau.” (Idem.)

13. One of the most important of the fascists brought into the country and incorporated into the GOP was Laszlo Pasztor. Later in the discussion, we will see Pasztor in his role as “liberation director” of the Free Congress Foundation—the primary element realizing Reagan/Bush administration policy in the former USSR and Eastern Europe. “Twenty years after the birth of Israel, the Nazis were coming out of the closet in the United States. One of the most prominent Eastern European Fascists was Laszlo Pasztor, the founding chair of Nixon’s Republican heritage groups council. During World War II, Pasztor was a diplomat in Berlin representing the Arrow Cross government of Nazi Hungary, which supervised the extermination of the Jewish population.” (Ibid.; p. 297.)

14. “As a member of a wartime ‘movement hostile to the United States,’ Pasztor would have been barred by the Displaced Persons’ Act of 1953. Former members of Fascist governments became eligible, as long as they did not advocate forming a totalitarian government in the United States.” (Idem.)

15. When Nixon became president, the fascist emigres became a permanent branch of the Republican Party. As will be seen below, the elder George Bush (as chairman of the Republican National Committee) presided over the incorporation of these Nazi elements as a permanent part of the GOP. “Pasztor labored on the fringes of the Republican Party’s Ethnic Division during the Eisenhower administration, but the loyal Fascists were always dropped as soon as the election campaign was over. The Ethnic Division was allowed to be active only during presidential campaigns. In 1968, Nixon changed all that. According to Pasztor, Nixon personally promised to establish a permanent ethnic organization in the Republican Party if he became president.” (Idem.)

16. “Nixon kept his promise. As discussed in Chapter 5, the 1972 secret Australian memo revealed that the Nixon administration had discovered that Fascist groups were useful to get out the ethnic votes in several key states. Nixon needed the Nazi vote to avoid another Dewey debacle. Just a few more votes would have made all the difference in Nixon’s race against Kennedy in 1960. In several key states, the Eastern European vote could provide the margin for victory in 1968.” (Idem.)

17. “The road to temptation was clear, and after Nixon won, he approved Pasztor’s appointment as chief organizer of the ethnic council. Not surprisingly, Pasztor’s ‘choices for filling émigré slots as the council was being formed included various Nazi collaborationist organizations.’ The former Fascists were coming out of the closet in droves.” (Idem.)

18. Note that the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations became a key element of the GOP fascist component. The ABN began in 1943 under Hitler, who originally named the organization the Committee of Subjugated Nations. The renamed and relocated ABN became a key element of the GOP, the World Anti-Communist League and, later, the Free Congress Foundation. “The policy of the Nixon White House was an ‘open door’ for émigré Fascists, and through the door came such guests as Ivan Docheff, head of the Bulgarian National Front and chairman of the American Friends of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN). The ABN, as we documented in our previous book, had been condemned even during the Eisenhower administration as an organization dominated by war criminals and fugitive Fascists. Yet Nixon welcomed them with open arms and even had Docheff to breakfast for a prayer meeting to celebrate Captive Nations Week. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 297-298.)

19. “ . . . It should be recalled that the State Department told its Australian counterpart that local officials in ‘several key states’ depended on the Nazi vote. In fact, the émigré ethnic factions, such as the Croatian Ustashi, were important in federal elections as well. The ‘Nixon for President’ campaigns appear to have been the primary beneficiary of their support. The president himself needed the Eastern European vote so desperately that he was not about to condemn the Fascist ethnic editors who could reach the voters, even if their hatred of the Jews was well documented.” (Ibid.; p. 298.)

20. “During Nixon’s ‘Four More Years’ campaign in 1971-1972, Laszlo Pasztor again played a key role in marshaling the ethnic vote. No longer a marginal player on the fringes, now he held a key position as the Republican National Committee’s Nationalities Director. At a two-day organizing convention in November 1971, Pasztor castigated the ‘ultra-liberal’ and leftist Democratic Party, which he felt had abandoned ethnic Americans, and boasted of the work he had done to funnel their votes to the Republicans. Several grateful Nixon cabinet members responded with promises of increased federal funding for their favored ethnic groups. . . .” (Ibid.; pp. 298-299.)

21. “ . . . After 1953, the Republican administration changed the rules, and even members of the Waffen SS could immigrate to the United States as long as they claimed only to have fought the Communists on the Eastern Front.” (Ibid.; p. 299.)

22. “By the 1970s, Pasztor wasn’t afraid to associate publicly with Former supporters of German fascism. Nor did Nixon seem to care, as long as the Germans voted for him. In October 1971, the second All German-American Heritage Group Conference ‘received a letter of ‘warm greetings’ from President Nixon and a note of welcome from Mrs. Nixon, who accepted the title of honorary chairman and noted her own German ancestry.’ It does not take a genius to realize that some of the conference members were not typical German-Americans. Among the Fascist propaganda offered at the conference were advertisements for books that denied that the Final Solution had taken place; one of the featured speakers had argued that the reports of 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis were ‘part of a Communist-Zionist propaganda effort. . . .” (Idem.)

23. “ . . . The evidence is unequivocal that successive Republican leaderships knew exactly what they were doing and with whom they were working. Nixon could not have failed to notice the adverse press the Fascists’ relationship with the Republican Party was getting, but apparently the votes they could deliver outweighed any doubts he may have had about their credentials.” (Ibid.; p. 300.)

24. “Pasztor ws absolutely self-confident. He knew that even after the press scandals, the Fascists would remain as part of the Nixon team because of the importance of the ethnic Fascist vote as a counter to the Jews. ‘It was my job to bring [them] into the Republican Heritage Groups Council . . . In 1972 we used the Council as the skeleton to build the Heritage Groups for the re-election of the President.’” (Idem.)

25. “According to several of our sources in the intelligence community who were in a position to know, the secret rosters of the Republican Party’s Nationalities Council read like a Who’s Who of Fascist fugitives. The Republican’s Nazi connection is the darkest secret of the Republican leadership. The rosters will never be disclosed to the public. As will be seen in Chapter 16 dealing with George Bush, the Fascist connection is too widespread for damage control.” (Idem.)

26. “According to a 1988 study by Russ Bellant of Political Research Associates, virtually all of the fascist organizations of World War II opened up a Republican Party front group during the Nixon administration. The caliber of the Republican ethnic leaders can be gauged by one New Jersey man, Emanuel Jasiuk, a notorious mass murderer from what today is called the independent nation of Belarus, formerly part of the Soviet Union. But not all American ethnic communities are represented in the GOP’s ethnic section; there are no black or Jewish heritage groups.” (Idem.)

27. “According to a number of former intelligence officers, Nixon was funding the Nazis in the United States with the taxpayers’ money. Each of the ethnic groups was the beneficiary of covert CIA support for ‘anti-Communist propaganda’ that enabled them to publish right-wing newspapers, hold conventions, and generally establish dominance over the democratically inclined, anti-Nazi, ethnic immigrants. For years the money was taken from the CIA’s covert accounts and laundered through legitimate organizations, such as Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty. . . .” (Idem.)

28. “ . . . The truth is that the Nazi immigrants were ‘tar babies’ that no one knew how to get rid of. Dulles had brought in a handful of the top émigré politicians in the late 1940’s. They in turn sponsored their friends in the 1950’s. By the 1960’s, ex-Nazis who had originally fled to Argentina were moving to the United States. Everyone turned a blind eye. . .” (Ibid.; p. 301.)

29. While serving as chairman of the Republican National Committee, the elder George Bush shepherded the Nazi émigré community into position as a permanent branch of the Republican Party. “It was Bush who fulfilled Nixon’s promise to make the ‘ethnic emigres’ a permanent part of Republican politics. In 1972, Nixon’s State Department spokesman confirmed to his Australian counterpart that the ethnic groups were very useful to get out the vote in several key states. Bush’s tenure as head of the Republican National Committee exactly coincided with Laszlo Pasztor’s 1972 drive to transform the Heritage Groups Council into the party’s official ethnic arm. The groups Pasztor chose as Bush’s campaign allies were the émigré Fascists whom Dulles had brought to the United States.”(Ibid.; pp. 369-370.)

30. The same Nazi elements were present in Bush’s campaign in 1988. “Nearly twenty years later, and after exposes in several respectable newspapers, Bush continued to recruit most of the same ethnic Fascists, including Pasztor, for his own 1988 ethnic outreach program when he first ran for president.” (Ibid.; pp. 370-371.)

31. One of the most important Nazis brought into the country through the Dulles-sponsored CFF was Otto von Bolschwing. Later, his protégé Helene Von Damm became the person who selected the list from which all of Ronald Reagan’s cabinet appointments were made. “Eichmann was replaced on the Middle Eastern scene by a far more skilled intelligence officer, Otto von Bolschwing. Before World War II, von Bolschwing set up an import-export business in Palestine as a cover for his espionage activities. He was an educated man from a good family and an enthusiastic supporter of Hitler. After the war, von Bolschwing became one of Allen Dulles’s senior agents in the CIA.” (Ibid.; p. 46.)

32. “Dulles helped von Bolschwing emigrate to California, where he established a business association with Helene von Damm, later Ronald Reagan’s ambassador to Austria. In later years, his business went bankrupt and he was forced to surrender his American citizenship on the grounds that he was a Nazi war criminal.” (Idem.)

33. Next, the program reviews Von Bolschwing’s career in the United States, after being brought here by Allen Dulles. In particular, this part of the program notes the relationship between Von Bolschwing and his protégé, Helene Von Damm. As noted above, Von Damm became the person who selected the lists from which the Reagan personnel appointments were made.
(“Ex-Nazi’s Brilliant U.S. Career Strangled in a Web of Lies” by Pete Carey; San Jose Mercury News; 11/20/1981; pp. 1A-24A.)

34. The broadcast presents more information highlighting Helene Von Damm’s role in selecting the lists of personnel that Ronald Reagan used to select his cabinet appointments. (“Big Promotion for Reagan’s Ex-Secretary;” San Francisco Chronicle; 8/3/82.)

35. Much of the second side of the program consists of excerpts from AFA 37. This excerpt documents the Free Congress Foundation—the organization that became the point element for the Reagan/Bush administrations’ policy in the former USSR and Eastern Europe. As mentioned above, the director of the FCF’s “liberation policy” was none other than Laszlo Pasztor, the kingpin of the GOP’s Nazi émigré community. The Reagan administration became the embodiment of the Third Reich-generated “Rollback” or “Liberation” theory. That geopolitical tactic involved the utilization of the various ethnic groups inside the former Soviet Union in order to break the USSR into its component ethnic republics. This (obviously) was realized. In addition, the various Third Reich-affiliated Eastern European groups that achieved prominence in the GOP’s fascist émigré community ultimately reconstituted themselves in their countries of origin and became agents of influence in the post-communist societies that emerged after the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is important to note the evolution of the Nazi emigres from the CFF (Crusade for Freedom) into the FCF (Free Congress Foundation) and to note how the Reagan/Bush administrations represented the culmination of the events that began in the immediate aftermath of WWII. The Nazi and fascist elements brought in by Dulles and Nixon blossomed in the Reagan/Bush administrations. With the ascension of Reagan (the chief spokesperson for the CFF), William Casey (the chief State Department operative for the CFF) became CIA director. (Casey had been the manager of the Reagan/Bush campaign in 1980.) The Vice-President was George H.W. Bush, who had overseen the permanent incorporation of the Nazi emigres into the GOP during Nixon’s presidency. The personnel who peopled the Reagan administration were selected from lists drawn up by Helene Van Damm, a protégé of Otto von Bolschwing—brought into the US by Dulles’ CFF. The policy embodied by Reagan—Rollback or Liberation Theory—had its genesis with the Third Reich’s Ostministerium. It was realized (in part) through the Free Congress Foundation. The “Liberation Director” of the FCF was Laszlo Pasztor. The FCF was very close to the ABN and the former World Anti-Communist League, elements of which were also deeply involved with the illegal Contra-support effort, which culminated in the Iran-Contra scandal.
(“The Free Congress Foundation Goes East” by Russ Bellant and Lou Wolff; Covert Action Information Bulletin; Issue #35; Winter 1990-1991.)

36. Contemplating the use of Underground Reich-related elements in the closing phase of the Cold War, the program reviews the World Muslim Congress, founded by the Grand Mufti. The WMC overlapped the leadership of the Pakistani branch of the former World Anti-Communist League, with which many of the CFF “Freedom Fighters” were associated as well. The WMC became a primary element of the anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1980s. “Another favorite IHR speaker and collaborator was Issah Nakleh of the World Muslim Congress (WMC). Based in Pakistan, the WMC was initially headed by the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, who, like his friend H. Keith Thompson, stood by the Third Reich until his death in 1974. A few years later, the WMC, then headed by Pakistani Dr. Inamullah Kahn, mailed Holocaust-denial literature to every member of the U.S. Congress and the British Parliament. The WMC’s official mouthpiece, Muslim World, carried the ads for The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Henry Ford’s The International Jew. Dr. Khan’s congress also published Freemasonry, a book warning that Jews were using lodge members to extend secret control over religion and society—a paranoid theory that has long been popular among Liberty Lobby supporters and neo-Nazi groups around the world. Acknowledging their political kinship, WMC secretary-general Khan sent a letter to the Spotlight praising its ‘superb in-depth analysis’ and stating that the paper deserved ‘the thanks of all right-minded people.’ Dr. Khan also served as an advisor to the Saudi Arabian royal family, which lavished funds on the WMC. In addition, the Saudi Arabian government retained the services of American neo-nazi William Grimstead as a Washington lobbyist. . . . Soon, the World Muslim Congress began working closely with U.S. intelligence and Pakistani military officials, who were covertly supporting the Afghan mujahideen in their fight against the Soviet-installed regime in Kabul. This effort was strongly endorsed by Dr. Khan, who served for many years as the Pakistani representative of the Nazi-infested World Anti-Communist League, which played an important role in the Reagan administration’s ‘secret war’ in the Golden Crescent.”
(The Beast Reawakens; Martin A. Lee; Copyright 1997 [HC]; Little, Brown & Co.; ISBN 0-316-51959-6; pp. 225-226.)

37. It is interesting and significant that the point man coordinating US support for the Afghan Mujahideen support effort was the elder George Bush, who also played a central role in bringing the CFF Nazis into the Republican Party. The collaboration between the Reagan/Bush administrations and the Islamists paved the way for the incorporation of Islamofascist elements into the GOP’s Ethnic program. “More to the point, now, in the Afghanistan War, Vice President Bush’s interests and Osama bin Laden’s converged. In using bin Laden’s Arab Afghans as proxy warriors against the Soviets, Bush advocated a policy that was fully in line with American interests at that time. But he did not consider the long-term implications of supporting a network of Islamic fundamentalist rebels.”
(House of Bush/House of Saud; by Craig Unger; Scribner [HC]; Copyright 2004 by Craig Unger; ISBN 0-7432-5337-X; pp. 102-103.)

38. “Specifically, as vice president in the mid-eighties, Bush supported aiding the mujahideen in Afghanistan through the Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK) or Services Offices, which sent money and fighters to the Afghan resistance in Peshawar. ‘Bush was in charge of the covert operations that supported the MAK,’ says John Loftus, a Justice Department official in the eighties. ‘They were essentially hiring a terrorist to fight terrorism.’” (Ibid.; p. 102.)

39. As has been well documented, the Afghan Muhahideen effort spawned Al Qaeda. “Cofounded by Osama bin Laden and Abdullah Azzam, the MAK was the precursor to bin Laden’s global terrorist network, Al Qaeda. It sent money and fighters to the Afghan resistance in Peshawar, Pakistan, and even the United States to bring thousands of warriors to Afghanistan to fight the Soviet Union. The MAK was later linked to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York through an office in Brooklyn known as the Al-Kifah Refugee Center. It is not clear how much contact he had with bin Laden, but Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the ‘Blind Sheikh,’ who masterminded the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, also appeared in Peshawar on occasion.” (Idem.)

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #465 The Gipper and the Underground Reich”

  1. Here’s a reminder that myths don’t ‘catapult’ themselves. They need to be repeated:

    Salon
    How Republicans created the myth of Ronald Reagan
    With the Gipper’s reputation flagging after Clinton, neoconservatives launched a stealthy campaign to remake him as a “great” president.
    Will Bunch

    Monday, Feb 2, 2009 05:28 AM CST

    The myth of Ronald Reagan was already looming in the spring of 1997 — when a highly popular President Bill Clinton was launching his second-term, pre-Monica Lewinsky, and the Republican brand seemed at low ebb. But what neoconservative activist Grover Norquist and his allies proposed that spring was virtually unheard of — an active, mapped-out, audacious campaign to spread a distorted vision of Reagan’s legacy across America.

    In a sense, some of the credit for triggering this may belong to those supposedly liberal editors at the New York Times, and their decision at the end of 1996 to publish that Arthur Schlesinger Jr. survey of the presidents. The below-average rating by the historians for Reagan, coming right on the heels of Clintons’ easy reelection victory, was a wake-up call for these people who came to Washington in the 1980s as the shock troops of a revolution and now saw everything slipping away. The first Reagan salvos came from the Heritage Foundation, the same conservative think tank that also had feted the 10th anniversary of the Reagan tax cut in 1991. After its initial article slamming the Times, the foundation’s magazine, Policy Review, came back in July 1997 with a second piece for its 20th anniversary issue: “Reagan Betrayed: Are Conservatives Fumbling His Legacy?”

    The coming contours of the Reagan myth were neatly laid out in a series of short essays from the leaders of the conservative movement: that the Gipper deserved all or at least most of the credit for winning the Cold War, that the economic boom that Americans were enjoying in 1997 was the result of the Reagan tax cut (and not the march toward balanced budgets, lower interest rates and targeted investment), and that the biggest problem with the GOP was, as the title suggested, not Reagan’s legacy but a new generation of weak-kneed leaders who were getting it all wrong. The tone was established by none other than Reagan’s own son, Michael, now himself a talk-radio host, who wrote: “Although my father is the one afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease, I sometimes think the Republicans are suffering a much greater memory loss. They have forgotten Ronald Reagan’s accomplishments — and that is why we have lost so many of them.”

    Michael Reagan, like most of the others, mentioned Reagan’s frequent calls for less government — presumably his accomplishment there was simply in calling for it, since he never came close to achieving it. Gary Bauer, another former Reagan aide who later ran for president as an antiabortion “family values” candidate, took a similar tack on the speaking-out issue, noting that Reagan “spoke of the sanctity of human life with passion” — again regardless of his lack of concrete results on that front. One of the writers argued: “On the international scene, Reagan knew that only America could lead the forces of freedom” — it was former assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams, who’d pleaded guilty in a deal to withholding information about Iran-Contra from Congress and was pardoned by President George H.W. Bush. Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating even went the distance and compared Reagan to the 16th president with his argument that “Reagan’s achievement can be compared to Lincoln’s, because he faced immense challenges in an era characterized by deep and fundamental philosophical divisions among the people he set out to lead.” Of course, Keating’s analogy implied that stagflation and a left-wing government in Nicaragua were on an equivalent plane with slavery and a civil war that killed hundreds of thousands of Americans on our own soil — dramatizing the rhetorical extent to which conservatives were now willing to go in order to salvage their movement.

    One of the more down-to-earth tributes was written by Norquist, who said: “Every conservative knows that we will win radical tax reform and reduction as soon as we elect a president who will sign the bill. The flow of history is with us. Our victories can be delayed, but not denied. This is the change wrought by Ronald Reagan.” Norquist all but revealed one of his missions in the coming two years — finding a presidential candidate who would assume the Reagan mantle in a way that neither Bush 41 nor Dole ever could — but not the other. His second big push was practically a guerrilla marketing campaign to make sure that the less-engaged Middle America would get the message that Reagan belonged in the pantheon of all-time greats right next to Lincoln, Washington and FDR. Norquist had learned the lessons of Normandy and of the Brandenburg Gate, which was that powerful symbols can mean a lot more than words (especially in a little-read policy journal), that a motorist under the big Sunbelt sky of Ronald Reagan Boulevard will absorb the message of the Gipper’s greatness without ever pondering if ketchup should be a vegetable in federally funded school lunches or if “the moral equivalent of our Founding Fathers” in Central America were drug-dealing thugs, the kind of stubborn things that popped up in those newspaper articles ranking the presidents.

    The Ronald Reagan Legacy Project was hatched in the spring of 1997 — and perhaps like any successful guerrilla operation, there was an element of surprise. There was no formal announcement, nothing to tip off any alarmists on the left. Rather than incorporate the Reagan project as a separate entity, which carried the potential of greater scrutiny of its operations and its finances, it was simply a unit of the group that Norquist had been overseeing for more than a decade, the Americans for Tax Reform. The Reagan Legacy Project would not even get its first mention in print until October 23, 1997 — by then its first bold proposal had two key backers in Georgia Rep. Bob Barr and that state’s Republican Sen. Paul Coverdell. They had endorsed legislation that would rename the Capitol region’s busy domestic airport, Washington National, as Reagan National. The renaming would not only mean that millions of air travelers would pass through the facility named for the 40th president, but a disproportionate number would be from the nation’s liberal elites, especially in Big Media, who used the airport’s popular shuttle service. Simply put, Reagan National Airport would be a weekly thumb in the eye of the Yankee elites who were still belittling the aging Gipper’s presidency.

    The announcement didn’t even get coverage in the hometown Washington Post until exactly one month later, when Norquist’s behind-the-scenes lobbying push had already bagged the endorsement of the influential Republican Governors Association — including George Allen, the governor of the state where the airport is located (in Arlington, Va.) on federal land — as well as House Speaker Gingrich. With Reagan out of public view with Alzheimer’s for three years now, advocate Barr cast the measure as a feel-good proposal that surpassed partisanship. “People appreciate how Ronald Reagan gave voice to Americans’ basic good feelings, including a lot of Democrats, ” he said. Democrats, in fact, did what you would expect them to do … they hemmed and hawed. The mayor of Washington, D.C., at the time — with thus the largest presence on the regional panel that ran Washington National — was Democrat Marion Barry, a bitter foe of Reagan’s politics, who could only fret that there were a “host of other” people who should be considered, too; in a later article, Geraldine Ferraro, who was Walter Mondale’s running mate in 1984, said that Reagan’s real legacy was the mountain of debt, but then she offered a verbal shrug: “The man was president of the United States; he served two terms.” It almost brought to mind Reagan’s cruel remark about Michael Dukakis a decade earlier, that “I’m not going to pick on an invalid.”

    After a couple of years in the wilderness with the rest of the inside-the-Beltway right wing, Norquist had found a new cause that not only advanced the movement but that he could also have fun with. “The guy ended the Cold War; he turned the economy around,” Norquist told the Baltimore Sun. “He deserves a monument like the Jefferson or the FDR — or the Colossus at Rhodes! National Airport is a good place to start.”

    With that little lesson in the history of organized applied historical revisionism, a question is raised: So when does the Bush Legacy Project start? Is it possible that, like the Reagan Legacy Project’s quiet launch, the Bush Legacy Project is already underway? Tis the season of revising, after all.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 9, 2015, 5:54 pm
  2. The microcosm in the macrocosm:

    Washington Post
    How rich conservatives bilk the rank and file into making them richer
    By Paul Waldman February 17 at 3:16 PM

    In the last few years, political organizations of various kinds have proliferated, as all kinds of people seek to take advantage of the post-Citizens United world in which money can flow in so many directions. This has provided a splendid opportunity for the participants in an old game, one in which gullible conservatives are scammed out of their money by a seemingly limitless number of con artists.

    Some of those con artists are obscure consultants and operators, but some of them are quite famous, which we’ll get to in a bit. But today, John Hawkins of Right Wing News released a report on a group of conservative PACs that took in millions of dollars in contributions in 2014, ostensibly for the purpose of electing Republicans, but spent almost none of it on actual political activity. Instead, the money went into the pockets of the people who run the PACs and their associates. Jonah Goldberg, reacting to the report, calls this the “right wing scam machine.”

    This, I’ll argue, is in some ways a microcosm of the entire conservative movement. But first, Hawkins explains how it works:

    For example, let me tell you how conservatives can be (and have been) ripped off by scam groups. Let’s say Ronald Reagan is still alive and someone starts the Re-Elect Ronald Reagan To A Third Term PAC. Because people love Reagan, let’s suppose that conservative donors pony up $500,000 to help the organization. However, the donors don’t know that Ronald Reagan has nothing to do with the PAC. Furthermore, the real goal of the PAC is to line the pockets of its owner, not to help Ronald Reagan. So, the PAC sets up two vendors, both controlled by the PAC owner: Scam Vendor #1 and Scam Vendor #2. Let’s assume it costs $50,000 to raise the half million the PAC takes in. Then, the PAC sends $100,000 to the first company and $100,000 to the second company to “promote Ronald Reagan for President.”

    Each of the companies then goes out and spends $1,000 on fliers. The “independent expenditures” that show up on the FEC report? They’re at 40%. That’s because the FEC doesn’t require vendors to disclose how much of the money they receive is eaten up as overhead. The dubious net benefit that Ronald Reagan receives from an organization that raised $500,000 on his name? It’s $2,000. On the other hand, the net profit for the PAC owner is $448,000. Is that legal? The short answer is, “It’s a bit of a grey area, but, yes, it is legal.”

    For the most part, the bigger and more elite PACs Hawkins looked at are the ones that spent money in the way they said they were going to; for instance, Club for Growth Action spent 88 percent of its contributions on candidates. On the other end, the Tea Party Express spent only 5 percent of its contributions on candidates; Hawkins even found a couple of smaller PACs that spent nothing at all on candidates.

    This particular con is just one variant of a wider system, one that has been in operation for decades. While there may be some cases of similar scams on the left, they’re absolutely rampant on the right, because they’ve been so central to the conservative movement for so long. In the 1960s, conservatives realized that the nationwide grassroots network that activists built to support Barry Goldwater could be an ongoing source of funds, not only for conservative causes but for people wanting to sell snake oil. Lists of names and addresses became a valued commodity, built, bought and sold again and again for the benefit of those who controlled them and those who used them (Rick Perlstein lays out that history here).

    That tradition continues, but in new and more complicated ways that I like to call the circle of scam. Organizations like the Heritage Foundation and FreedomWorks pay radio hosts like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity big money to offer on-air endorsements that are the radio equivalent of “native advertising.” Future presidential candidate Mike Huckabee sells his email list on “miracle cancer cures” hidden in the Bible. Conservative media figures like Dick Morris solicit contributions that somehow are never turned to the political ends they claim. Nobody wants to upend the system, because too many people are getting a taste.

    The common thread can be found in the marks: the little old lady in Tupelo who sends in $50 thinking that she’s striking a blow against Barack Obama, the couple in Topeka who hopes Mike Huckabee’s biblical cancer cure can save their daughter’s life, the man in Toledo who thinks that the group with “Tea Party” in its name is going to have an impact on his state’s races. What none of them know is that their money is just going to make somebody who’s already rich a little bit richer.

    And that’s where we get to the larger picture. There’s a line that runs from those donors to the biggest players in conservative politics and the politicians they support. When thousands of volunteers set out to knock doors on behalf of Americans for Prosperity, what are they seeking? A better America, more freedom, a return to the simpler time they remember from their youth? All that and more. But what are they actually going to get? They’ve been set to work by AFP’s prime donors, Charles and David Koch (whose combined net worth may exceed $100 billion), to elect candidates who will work tirelessly to lower investment taxes, destroy the right of workers to bargain collectively, and lessen the terrible burden of environmental, consumer protection, and worker safety regulations that so oppress the likes of the Kochs.

    If there’s one thing conservatives of all stripes hate, it’s redistribution. But within their movement there’s a never-ending redistribution at work, in which the money and efforts of ordinary people feed the interests of those who enlist them, or in many cases just prey upon them. I’ve often wondered why conservatives themselves aren’t angrier about the most appalling scams, not only because of the opportunity cost when a donation goes to some consultant instead of to an effort that could have a real political impact, but also because it’s their people who are getting fleeced. I think the reason is that so many people are, in one way or another, in on the game.

    This part really captures the extent of the scam:

    And that’s where we get to the larger picture. There’s a line that runs from those donors to the biggest players in conservative politics and the politicians they support. When thousands of volunteers set out to knock doors on behalf of Americans for Prosperity, what are they seeking? A better America, more freedom, a return to the simpler time they remember from their youth? All that and more. But what are they actually going to get? They’ve been set to work by AFP’s prime donors, Charles and David Koch (whose combined net worth may exceed $100 billion), to elect candidates who will work tirelessly to lower investment taxes, destroy the right of workers to bargain collectively, and lessen the terrible burden of environmental, consumer protection, and worker safety regulations that so oppress the likes of the Kochs

    Yep, since groups like Americans For Prosperity are actually working to achieve the Kochs’ goals – goals which are vastly different from the “return to simpler times” goals that their small donors are hoping for – the groups that simply take all the money and enrich themselves are actually less of a scam than the one’s like Americans For Properity. At least the small time grifters are just taking your money. The big boy scammers tell you they’re going to use your money to rebuild the society of your childhood memories and instead use the money to take over and destroy your society! Now THAT’s how you run a scam!

    But wait, shouldn’t the magic of the unregulated market have fixed this problem by now by weeded out all the bad actors? That’s how it’s supposed to work, right? Perhaps all those donations will still going to trickle down at a later date. Yes, that is likely the case.

    So patience, dear donor. It’s not all a scam. Everything will eventually be as it should be. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | February 18, 2015, 11:54 am

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