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FTR #696 Miscellaneous Articles and Updates

MP3 Side 1 [1] | Side 2 [2]

Intro­duc­tion: Begin­ning with fall­out from the recent elec­tions in Japan, the pro­gram notes that Prime [3]Min­is­ter Hatoya­ma [3] has pub­licly dis­cussed the M‑Fund [4], with­out nam­ing it as such. One of a num­ber of secre­tive, very impor­tant funds derived from Japan­ese war loot, the M‑Fund has dom­i­nat­ed post­war Japan­ese pol­i­tics and has fea­tured promi­nent­ly in these broad­casts.

[5]After review­ing the his­to­ry of the M‑Fund’s ori­gins and oper­a­tions, the broad­cast repris­es the fright­en­ing expe­ri­ences of Peter John­ston and W.R. “Cot­ton” John­son when they attempt­ed to redeem gold cer­tifi­cates issued by major banks. Their ordeals should inform those who might seek gold as a safe haven dur­ing these trou­bled eco­nom­ic times.

Next, the broad­cast sets forth more of the “inter­est­ing” asso­ci­a­tions and activ­i­ties of Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Sil­vio Berlus­coni [6] (right), an alum­ni of the P‑2 Lodge [7]. A post­war under­ground locus of deci­sive Axis pow­er, the P‑2’s mem­bers wield piv­otal influ­ence in Italy. Incor­po­rat­ing mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence offi­cials, key polit­i­cal and busi­ness fig­ures, media barons, mafiosi, the heirs to Mussolini’s black­shirts and the Vat­i­can, the P‑2 dom­i­nat­ed post­war Ital­ian pol­i­tics and wield­ed influ­ence in places like Argenti­na, Brazil, Uruguay and Mona­co. The orga­ni­za­tion was head­ed by Lico Gel­li [8] (left), active, unre­pen­tant alum­nus of Mussolini’s fascisti.

Recent alle­ga­tions have linked Berlus­coni to the Mafia [9] and also con­tend that he secret­ly bugged [10] and record­ed the recent G‑7 pro­ceed­ings.

The sec­ond side of the broad­cast excerpts an inter­view of Jeff Sharlet, author of [11]The Fam­i­ly. [11] A protes­tant fun­da­men­tal­ist orga­ni­za­tion found­ed in the 1930’s by a Nor­we­gian immi­grant named Abram Verei­de [12], the Fam­i­ly incor­po­rates and prop­a­gates fas­cist ideas and has worked with fas­cists of both the above-ground and under­ground vari­ety over the years.

Informed observers have not­ed sim­i­lar­i­ties between the Fam­i­ly and Opus Dei [13], the Catholic order that has accu­mu­lat­ed tremen­dous pow­er with­in the Vat­i­can in recent decades.

Work­ing with and idol­iz­ing indus­tri­al­ists and financiers who backed fas­cism (such as Hen­ry Ford), the Fam­i­ly wields deci­sive pow­er with­in U.S. polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic cir­cles. The sem­i­nal force behind the cre­ation of the Nation­al Prayer Break­fast, Bil­ly Gra­ham’s cru­sade and the Cam­pus Cru­sade for Christ, the Fam­i­ly was deeply involved with the reha­bil­i­ta­tion of Third Reich alum­ni, many of them war crim­i­nals, for ser­vice to the post­war Ger­man gov­ern­ment and U.S. intel­li­gence.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Review of Richard Nixon’s manip­u­la­tion of the M‑Fund to try and guar­an­tee his ascen­sion to the White House in 1960; review of Gen­er­al Mar­quat’s role with the U.S. occu­pa­tion gov­ern­ment of Japan; the assis­tance giv­en by the Fam­i­ly to Nazi banker Her­mann Josef Abs [14] (right); review of Abs’ post­war career.

1. Begin­ning with fall­out from the recent elec­tions in Japan, the pro­gram notes that Prime Min­is­ter Hatoya­ma has pub­licly dis­cussed the M‑Fund, with­out nam­ing it as such. One of a num­ber of secre­tive, very impor­tant funds derived from Japan­ese war loot, the M‑Fund has dom­i­nat­ed post­war Japan­ese pol­i­tics and is dis­cussed at length  below.

For­mer offi­cials have come for­ward to describe a huge safe in the chief cab­i­net sec­re­tary’s office stacked with tens of mil­lions of yen that they were able to hand out with­out pro­vid­ing receipts.

The fund was report­ed to con­tain Y1 bil­lion (£6.7 mil­lion) but that fig­ure has nev­er been test­ed as no mat­ter how much they gave to politi­cians the safe would always be replen­ished the next day.

It was offi­cial­ly used for “infor­ma­tion-gath­er­ing,” but the bureau­crats said most of the mon­ey was spent to grease pro­ceed­ings in par­lia­ment, to pay for gifts for politi­cians ahead of cru­cial votes and to cov­er expens­es on over­seas trips.

A politi­cian fight­ing a close elec­tion cam­paign would be able to take sev­er­al tens of mil­lions of yen from the fund, they told the Asahi news­pa­per.

Dis­clo­sures about the appar­ent­ly bot­tom­less slush fund posed a chal­lenge to the prime min­is­ter, Yuiko Hatoya­ma, who vowed that fight­ing waste­ful spend­ing and cor­rup­tion in pol­i­tics would be two of his main aims before he was elect­ed in August.

The rev­e­la­tions also coin­cid­ed with a report last week by the Board of Audit that gov­ern­ment offices and pub­licly fund­ed cor­po­ra­tions in 2008 improp­er­ly spent a record Y236 bil­lion (£1.6 bil­lion) in tax­pay­ers’ mon­ey through account­ing sleight-of-hand, while a gov­ern­ment com­mit­tee con­vened for the first time on Wednes­day to cut funds to pub­lic pro­grammes it deems unnec­es­sary.

Japan’s nation­al debt stands at 170 per cent of GDP and mea­sures are urgent­ly required to bring that fig­ure down, but there is anger that while the pub­lic is being forced to go with­out, it appears that the same rules are not being applied to politi­cians.

Pre­vi­ous Lib­er­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty of Japan gov­ern­ments con­sis­tent­ly declined to reveal how the fund was used, prompt­ing the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty of Japan to sub­mit a bill in 2001 demand­ing trans­paren­cy in the way the cash is han­dled.

In Novem­ber, how­ev­er, the new chief cab­i­net sec­re­tary in the DPJ admin­is­tra­tion, Hiro­fu­mi Hira­no, announced that the gov­ern­ment had changed its posi­tion on the issue and would keep the real scale of the fund and how it is spent a secret.

Mr Hatoya­ma has been forced to answer ques­tions in the house about dona­tions totalling Y21.8 mil­lion (£145,800) that were false­ly report­ed in his annu­al polit­i­cal fund­ing dec­la­ra­tion, as well as his fail­ure to declare Y72 mil­lion in income from the sale of stocks in 2008.

The prime min­is­ter admit­ted his account­ing had been “care­less” and blamed the over­sight on his wealthy back­ground.

“Japan­ese Politi­cians Plun­dered Bot­tom­less State Fund” by Julian Ryall; Telegraph.co.uk; 11/15/2009. [4]

2. The pro­gram reviews infor­ma­tion about the M‑Fund, placed at the dis­pos­al of the Japan­ese polit­i­cal elite and the LDP by then Vice Pres­i­dent Richard Nixon.

“Because the Black Eagle trust and the polit­i­cal action funds it spawned remained off the books, some of these slush funds fell into the wrong hands, where they remain to this day, big­ger than ever. Accord­ing to reli­able sources in Wash­ing­ton and Tokyo, in 1960 Vice Pres­i­dent Nixon gave one of the biggest of these funds, the M‑Fund, to the lead­ers of Japan’s Lib­er­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty in return for their promise of kick­backs to Nixon’s cam­paign for the Amer­i­can pres­i­den­cy. This in itself is deeply dis­turb­ing. But the M‑Fund, then worth $35-bil­lion and now said to be worth upwards of $500-bil­lion, has been con­trolled ever since by LDP king­mak­ers who use it to buy elec­tions, to keep Japan a one-par­ty dic­ta­tor­ship, and to block any mean­ing­ful reforms. Sim­i­lar abus­es with oth­er secret funds are to be found all over the world. Secre­cy is pow­er. Pow­er cor­rupts. Secret pow­er cor­rupts secret­ly.”

Gold Warriors—America’s Secret Recov­ery of Yamashita’s Gold; by Ster­ling Sea­grave and Peg­gy Sea­grave; p. 6. [15]

3. The M‑Fund grew out of the Gold­en Lily [16] pro­gram. Note that Gen­er­al Marquat–for whom the fund was named–was charged with reform­ing the very Japan­ese social, eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal order that the M‑Fund rein­forced.

“In this con­text of intense cor­rup­tion and art­ful mis­rep­re­sen­ta­tion, it was inevitable that the polit­i­cal action funds Amer­i­ca set up in Japan would be divert­ed. But the cor­rup­tion, dis­hon­esty, and moral turpi­tude can­not be blamed only on the Japan­ese. Amer­i­cans were involved in divert­ing the funds, ben­e­fit­ed from their abuse, and may still be ben­e­fit­ing today in a mul­ti­tude of ways. . .

. . . The M‑Fund was named after Gen­er­al William Fred­er­ic Mar­quat, chief of SCAP’s Eco­nom­ic and Sci­en­tif­ic Sec­tion. In the­o­ry, Mar­quat head­ed America’s pro­gram to pun­ish and reform Japan­ese busi­ness­es that had gorged on war prof­i­teer­ing. In real­i­ty, Marquat’s biggest pub­lic rela­tions headache was how to help them con­ceal these obscene prof­its, which by cus­tom were shared with the impe­r­i­al fam­i­ly. His­to­ri­an John Dow­er explains that Mar­quat ‘assumed respon­si­bil­i­ty for noth­ing less than super­vis­ing all devel­op­ments in finance, eco­nom­ics, labor, and sci­ence, includ­ing the dis­so­lu­tion of zaibat­su hold­ing com­pa­nies and the pro­mo­tion of eco­nom­ic decon­cen­tra­tion. Every major gov­ern­ment finan­cial and eco­nom­ic insti­tu­tion report­ed to his sec­tion, includ­ing the Min­istry of Finance, the Min­istry of Com­merce and Indus­try, and the Bank of Japan.’

Lit­tle has been writ­ten about Mar­quat, who usu­al­ly is por­trayed as an ami­able nin­com­poop, unfit for the job. This hard­ly comes as a sur­prise. Like Willough­by and Whit­ney, Mar­quat was one of MacArthur’s inner-cir­cle ‘The Bataan Boys,’ whose chief qual­i­ty was undy­ing loy­al­ty. John Gun­ther said Mar­quat ‘pays lit­tle atten­tion to the jar­gon of his present field; once he . . . turned to his first assis­tant dur­ing a heavy con­fer­ence on eco­nom­ic affairs, say­ing ‘What is mar­gin­al econ­o­my, any­way?’”

Ibid.; p. 109. [15]

4. More about the M‑Fund:

“Mar­quat was sup­posed to dis­solve the banks and con­glom­er­ates that financed Japan’s war and prof­it­ed from it. Despite pure­ly cos­met­ic changes and the break-up and sale of sev­er­al small con­glom­er­ates, the biggest war prof­i­teers were let off with­out even a slap on the wrist. Gen­er­al Mar­quat was also in charge of clos­ing down and pun­ish­ing Japan’s bio­log­i­cal and chem­i­cal war­fare ser­vice, Unit 731. Instead, the U.S. Gov­ern­ment secret­ly absorbed Unit 731, mov­ing most of its sci­en­tists, per­son­nel, and doc­u­ments to U.S. mil­i­tary research cen­ters like Fort Diet­rick in the Mary­land coun­try­side. All infor­ma­tion about its activ­i­ties, includ­ing bio­log­i­cal war­fare atroc­i­ties, and hor­rif­ic exper­i­ments on ful­ly con­scious vic­tims, was with­held by Wash­ing­ton from the Amer­i­can and Japan­ese pub­lic, and from the Tokyo War Crimes Tri­bunals. All Unit 731’s records held by the U.S. Gov­ern­ment are still top secret.

So while he was sup­posed to be mak­ing Japan more demo­c­ra­t­ic, Mar­quat was doing the oppo­site. The M‑Fund was cre­at­ed to buy elec­tions for Japan­ese politi­cians so far to the right that they were solid­ly anti-com­mu­nist. Japan was the most high­ly indus­tri­al­ized coun­try in Asia; Wash­ing­ton want­ed it to be a cap­i­tal­ist bas­tion against com­mu­nism, for its econ­o­my to thrive so there would be no need for labor unions, left­ist orga­niz­ers, or rev­o­lu­tion. This was the view of Amer­i­can con­ser­v­a­tives who thought Pres­i­dent Roo­sevelt was a com­mu­nist, and believed that Britain should have allied itself with Ger­many and Japan, and gone to war against the USSR. As a con­se­quence of this think­ing, plans to reform Japan were trun­cat­ed or abort­ed. (One major excep­tion was land reform, suc­cess­ful­ly com­plet­ed before it could be halt­ed.)”

Ibid.; p. 110. [15]

5. With the rapid, dra­mat­ic rise in gold prices, many have sought the met­al as pro­tec­tion against finan­cial insta­bil­i­ty. Those to whom gold may appear to be a safe haven should con­sid­er the sit­u­a­tion of Peter John­ston. (For more about the dif­fi­cul­ty in redeem­ing gold cer­tifi­cates and the rela­tion­ship of the world’s gold sup­ply to Gold­en Lily and the for­ma­tion of the Black Eagle Trust, see FTR #‘s 501 [17], 688 [18], 689 [19]. For more about the Sea­graves remark­able books, see FTR #‘s 426 [20], 427 [21], 428 [22], 446 [23], 451 [24], 509 [25].)

“Take the bizarre case of Aus­tralian bro­ker Peter John­ston, who was asked by a client to nego­ti­ate a UBS gold cer­tifi­cate in Europe. While trav­el­ing, John­ston did not want to car­ry the cer­tifi­cate, so he left it in ‘safe Cus­tody’ with the Lon­don branch of Australia’s West­pac Bank. He often lodged such cer­tifi­cates with West­pac to attest to its being gen­uine. Yet the branch man­ag­er felt ‘uneasy,’ and with­out ask­ing John­ston faxed copies to UBS in Switzer­land, ask­ing if it was gen­uine. With­out ever exam­in­ing the orig­i­nal, UBS ‘infor­mal­ly’ declared it a forgery. It is UBS pol­i­cy to call all such doc­u­ments forg­eries but to avoid doing so for­mal­ly by Test­ed Telex because that is equiv­a­lent to sworn tes­ti­mo­ny in a court of law. An infor­mal opin­ion casts doubt, while avoid­ing lia­bil­i­ty. UBS does that to rou­tine­ly scare away peo­ple hop­ing to nego­ti­ate gold cer­tifi­cates. Nor­mal­ly the City of Lon­don Fraud Squad would refuse to pur­sue a charge based on an infor­mal opin­ion, but this time the Fraud Squad set up a sting, and when John­son walked in to the West­pac office on March 6, 1995, he was arrest­ed and charged with attempt­ed fraud-because the cer­tifi­cate might be pho­ny and John­ston might try in the future to nego­ti­ate it. Amaz­ing­ly, John­ston was con­vict­ed on this spe­cious charge and lan­guished in prison for 18 months. At no time did UBS actu­al­ly estab­lish that the cer­tifi­cate was a forgery, only say­ing it was not issued by UBS in Zurich. This was a bla­tant dodge, because UBS gold bul­lion deals are not done in Zurich but by their sub­sidiary, War­burg Dil­lion Read, at Glat­tburg near Zurich air­port. In short, John­ston appears to have been false­ly impris­oned on false tes­ti­mo­ny, for some­thing he did not attempt to do. There are many sim­i­lar­i­ties to the Schlei case.”

Ibid.; pp. 231–232. [15]

6. Also ter­ri­fy­ing­ly instruc­tive is the case of W.R. “Cot­ton” Jones, whose efforts at aid­ing with the nego­ti­a­tion of gold cer­tifi­cates result­ed in his being threat­ened by the U.S. Secret Ser­vice.

Against this back­ground, it is reveal­ing to see how quick­ly the U.S. Secret Ser­vice rush­es to the aid of a Swiss bank, when a cus­tomer walks in ask­ing if a gold cer­tifi­cate is gen­uine.

In march 1996, Fil­ipino attor­ney Ben Aragones met retired Wall Street bro­ker W.R. “Cot­ton Jones.” Aragones told Cot­ton how he had been arrest­ed by Swiss author­i­ties for try­ing to nego­ti­ate a gold cer­tifi­cate, spent three months in jail, and was for­bid­den to return. On anoth­er trip to Zurich, he said he and his wife were kid­napped and ter­ror­ized. He was told that UBS did this to scare him off for­ev­er.

Cot­ton, being a roman­tic, offered to test the water by see­ing if the New York branch of Swiss Bank Cor­po­ra­tion would tell him whether one of Ben’s cer­tifi­cates was real. Cot­ton would not try to nego­ti­ate the ‘cert’, which could be dan­ger­ous. If he only took a nota­rized pho­to­copy, the orig­i­nal would not be con­fis­cat­ed. To be cau­tious, he chose the cert with the small­est denom­i­na­tion, only $25-mil­lion.

“On March 20, 1986,” he told us, “I walked into the Swiss Bank Cor­po­ra­tion in New York City and asked that the bank ver­i­fy and authen­ti­cate a $25-mil­lion Cer­tifi­cate of Deposit issued by their bank and bear­ing the Fed­er­al Reserve Seal.” They asked him to leave it for exam­i­na­tion and come back in two days. When he returned on March 22, three men pos­ing as bank offi­cers demand­ed the orig­i­nal and made threat­en­ing nois­es. When Cot­ton tried to snatch his pho­to­copy back, all three men jumped and iden­ti­fied them­selves as U.S. Secret Ser­vice Agents, dis­play­ing badges and ID cards. They blocked his way and said if he forced the issue he would be assault­ing a Fed­er­al Agent.

“I kept deny­ing and still deny that I ever knew whether the doc­u­ments were valid or not. They told me I would be in jail twen­ty-two years . . . that I had bet­ter coop­er­ate with them so it would go eas­i­er on me.”

After nine­ty min­utes of bul­ly­ing, Cot­ton was tak­en down­town and issued two U.S. Dis­trict Court Grand Jury sub­poe­nas and ordered to be in Secret Ser­vice Agent Tom Atkinson’s office at 10 a.m. Mon­day. When Cot­ton appeared, he suf­fered more brow­beat­ing. Yet not once did any­one call the cer­tifi­cate false. He was told to appear before the Grand Jury the next day.

Cot­ton arrived on time, only to be informed that his pres­ence was unnec­es­sary….”

Ibid.; pp. 231–233. [15]

7. Anoth­er post­war under­ground locus of deci­sive Axis pow­er was the P‑2 Lodge [26], whose mem­bers con­tin­ue to wield piv­otal influ­ence in Italy. Incor­po­rat­ing mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence offi­cials, key polit­i­cal and busi­ness fig­ures, media barons, mafiosi, the heirs to Mus­solin­i’s black­shirts and the Vat­i­can, the P‑2 dom­i­nat­ed post­war Ital­ian pol­i­tics and wield­ed influ­ence in places like Argenti­na, Brazil, Uruguay and Mona­co.

One of the P‑2’s alum­ni is Prime Min­is­ter Sil­vio Berlus­coni. [27]

Recent tes­ti­mo­ny in Italy alleged Berlus­coni was deeply involved with the Mafia.

A con­vict­ed mob hit man tes­ti­fied Fri­day that he was told Ital­ian Pre­mier Sil­vio Berlus­coni made a deal with the Mafia in the 1990s, offer­ing unspec­i­fied ben­e­fits in exchange for polit­i­cal sup­port.

Berlus­coni has denied the alle­ga­tions, which have set off the lat­est storm to rat­tle the scan­dal-plagued pre­mier.

Gas­pare Spatuz­za tes­ti­fied as a pros­e­cu­tion wit­ness in the appeals tri­al of Sen. Mar­cel­lo Del­l’Utri, a close polit­i­cal asso­ciate of Berlus­coni who was con­vict­ed in 2004 of ties with the Sicil­ian Mafia and sen­tenced to nine years in prison. Berlus­coni is not for­mal­ly involved in the tri­al.

Spatuz­za, who is serv­ing a life sen­tence for sev­er­al mur­ders, told the court that in 1993 he was told by his boss, Giuseppe Gra­viano, that the mob had made a deal with Berlus­coni that would pro­vide “ben­e­fits” to the Mafia in exchange for the mob’s sup­port in elec­tions.

The media mogul entered pol­i­tics a few months lat­er and won his first term as pre­mier in 1994 elec­tions.

Head­line-grab­bing reports of Spatuz­za­’s claims have been swirling for days, and most of his two-hour tes­ti­mo­ny was car­ried live by Italy’s Sky TV. The atten­tion and cred­i­bil­i­ty giv­en to the state­ments prompt­ed pros­e­cu­tors last week to clar­i­fy that they were not inves­ti­gat­ing the pre­mier.

Berlus­coni and Del­l’Utri have both brand­ed the alle­ga­tions ridicu­lous and denied any links to the Mafia.

Spatuz­za addressed the court from behind a white hos­pi­tal screen set up to con­ceal him, and sur­round­ed by uni­formed and plain­clothes police offi­cers. The hear­ing took place in the north­ern city of Turin in a high-secu­ri­ty court­room.

Spatuz­za was one of the mob­sters who took part in a 1993 ter­ror cam­paign ordered by Gra­viano, a top Mafia boss in Paler­mo, which includ­ed dead­ly bomb­ings in Rome, Milan and Flo­rence.

Gra­viano was arrest­ed in 1994 and con­vict­ed of the attacks. Spatuz­za was arrest­ed in 1997.

In meet­ings to plan the 1993 bomb­ings, Gra­viano con­fid­ed to Spatuz­za that “there is some­thing going on that will give us all ben­e­fits, start­ing with those who are in jail,” the turn­coat told judges on Fri­day.

At a lat­er meet­ing, in a cafe on Rome’s posh Via Vene­to, Gra­viano pur­port­ed­ly told Spatuz­za that he had made a deal with Berlus­coni, with Del­l’Utri act­ing as a go-between.

“Gra­viano told me we had obtained all that we want­ed thanks to the seri­ous­ness of these peo­ple” Spatuz­za said. “They prac­ti­cal­ly put the coun­try in our hands.”

Spatuz­za said the boss con­firmed to him that the Berlus­coni he was talk­ing about was “the one from Canale 5” — a ref­er­ence to one of the TV chan­nels that is part of the media mag­nate’s empire.

Answer­ing ques­tions from pros­e­cu­tors, Spatuz­za said he did not have oth­er details on the pur­port­ed agree­ment.

Del­l’Utri told reporters after the hear­ing that the tes­ti­mo­ny was a polit­i­cal ploy to attack Berlus­coni’s gov­ern­ment.

“I don’t know these peo­ple,” he said refer­ring to Spatuz­za and Gra­viano. “These things are absurd.”

Del­l’Utri, a long­time exec­u­tive in Berlus­coni’s busi­ness empire, was an archi­tect of his polit­i­cal rise and is now a sen­a­tor as the con­ser­v­a­tive leader serves his third term as pre­mier.

Berlus­coni has dis­missed Spatuz­za­’s claims as “unbe­liev­able” say­ing that he is the per­son “who is far­thest away from the Mafia in terms of char­ac­ter, sen­si­bil­i­ty, men­tal­i­ty, edu­ca­tion, cul­ture and polit­i­cal com­mit­ment.”

His spokesman, Pao­lo Bonaiu­ti, said in a state­ment Fri­day that Spatuz­za was not a real turn­coat but was being con­trolled by the Mafia to under­mine the gov­ern­men­t’s efforts to fight crime.

Recall­ing recent arrests of top mob­sters, Bonaiu­ti said that “it is log­i­cal for the Mafia to use its peo­ple to make state­ments against the pre­mier and a gov­ern­ment that acts so deter­mi­nate­ly and con­crete­ly against orga­nized crime.”

Pros­e­cu­tors in Flo­rence, who are prob­ing the 1993 bomb­ings, have denied reports they had placed Berlus­coni and Del­l’Utri under inves­ti­ga­tion over Spatuz­za­’s state­ments.

Berlus­coni already faces charges of tax fraud and cor­rup­tion in sep­a­rate, unre­lat­ed tri­als in Milan. He denies wrong­do­ing in both cas­es.

“Mob Turn­coat Alleges Berlus­coni Tie to Mafia” by Ariel David [AP]; Yahoo News; 12/4/2009. [9]

8. Berlus­coni alleged­ly bugged the G‑7 pro­ceed­ings.

The Ital­ian Prime Min­is­ter Sil­vio Berlus­coni was at the receiv­ing end of an unusu­al alle­ga­tion yes­ter­day when a senior Ital­ian offi­cial claimed the Ital­ian del­e­ga­tion had been secret­ly bug­ging the delib­er­a­tions at the G8 sum­mit – which pro­to­col dic­tates are kept firm­ly off the record – to help Mr Berlus­coni keep up.

The Finan­cial Times report­ed on its web­site that the offi­cial, who wished to remain anony­mous, had report­ed that aides to the Ital­ian team had been lis­ten­ing to the pro­ceed­ings through head­phones in rooms near the con­fer­ence rooms. . . .

“Berlus­coni Accused of Bug­ging Talks” by Peter Popham; The Inde­pen­dent [UK]; 7/10/2009. [10]

9. The sec­ond side of the broad­cast excerpts an inter­view of Jeff Sharlet, author of The Fam­i­ly. A protes­tant fun­da­men­tal­ist orga­ni­za­tion found­ed in the 1930’s by a Nor­we­gian immi­grant named Abram Verei­de, the Fam­i­ly incor­po­rates and prop­a­gates fas­cist ideas and has worked with fas­cists of both the above-ground and under­ground vari­ety over the years.

Informed observers have not­ed sim­i­lar­i­ties between the Fam­i­ly and Opus Dei, the Catholic order that has accu­mu­lat­ed tremen­dous pow­er with­in the Vat­i­can in recent decades.

Work­ing with and idol­iz­ing indus­tri­al­ists and financiers who backed fas­cism (such as Hen­ry Ford), the Fam­i­ly wields deci­sive pow­er with­in U.S. polit­i­cal and eco­nom­ic cir­cles. The sem­i­nal force behind the cre­ation of the Nation­al Prayer Break­fast, Bil­ly Gra­ham’s cru­sade and the Cam­pus Cru­sade for Christ, the Fam­i­ly was deeply involved with the reha­bil­i­ta­tion of Third Reich alum­ni, many of them war crim­i­nals, for ser­vice to the post­war Ger­man gov­ern­ment and U.S. intel­li­gence.

Among the bet­ter known of these Nazi alum­ni was Her­man Josef Abs, the most impor­tant of the Third Reich’s bankers and a foun­da­tion­al ele­ment of the post­war Ger­man eco­nom­ic “mir­a­cle” and the Bor­mann cap­i­tal net­work. FTR #697 fea­tures addi­tion­al dis­cus­sion of the Fam­i­ly, the Third Reich and the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion.

Stephen Crit­ten­den: A dra­mat­ic moment from the movie ‘There will be Blood’ based on a nov­el by Upton Sin­clair, which won an Oscar last year for the glow­er­ing Daniel Day Lewis.

If you’ve seen the movie you’ll know it’s an alle­go­ry depict­ing the clash between two very dif­fer­ent sides of Amer­i­can soci­ety, the reli­gious and the cap­i­tal­ist. If they seem to mix all too com­fort­ably togeth­er these days, ‘There Will Be Blood’ is a reminder that it was­n’t always so.

Today’s pro­gram is real­ly the sto­ry of how those two sides came togeth­er. It’s the sto­ry of a shad­owy reli­gious organ­i­sa­tion known as The Fel­low­ship, or The Fam­i­ly, found­ed in the 1930s by a Nor­we­gian immi­grant to the Unit­ed States named Abra­ham Verei­de. He believed that the best way to change the world was to min­is­ter to busi­ness and polit­i­cal lead­ers, pow­er­ful men like Hen­ry Ford, who weren’t much inter­est­ed in the church­es.

A bit like Protes­tant ver­sion of Opus Dei, the Fel­low­ship is basi­cal­ly theo­crat­ic in impulse and deeply hos­tile to democ­ra­cy, and over decades it has man­aged to pen­e­trate to the very cen­tre of Amer­i­can polit­i­cal pow­er by preach­ing a gospel of Amer­i­can pow­er. In the 1950s the Fel­low­ship estab­lished the Nation­al Prayer Break­fast, and now every week in Wash­ing­ton, busi­ness lead­ers and politi­cians from all sides sit down to read the Bible and pray togeth­er.

The cur­rent leader of the Fam­i­ly is the reclu­sive Doug Coe. Described by Hillary Clin­ton as ‘A gen­uine­ly lov­ing spir­i­tu­al men­tor and guide to any­one, regard­less of par­ty or faith, who wants to deep­en his or her rela­tion­ship with God’, as we’ll hear, he’s also an admir­er of Hitler, Lenin and Mao.

Jeff Sharlet is a con­tribut­ing edi­tor for Harper’s and Rolling Stone, an asso­ci­a­tion research schol­ar in the Cen­tre for Reli­gion and Media at New York Uni­ver­si­ty, and he’s the author of an new book about the Fel­low­ship enti­tled ‘The Fam­i­ly: Pol­i­tics, Pow­er and Fun­da­men­tal­is­m’s Shad­ow Elite’. It’s based on research he did on doc­u­ments kept at the Bil­ly Gra­ham Cen­tre Archives, and it’s one of the most absorb­ing books I’ve read all year.

Jeff Sharlet says that when we think of Amer­i­can Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ism, we tend to think of the pop­ulist, Bible-thump­ing TV evan­ge­lists. But the Fel­low­ship is about a dif­fer­ent kind of fun­da­men­tal­ism, elite fun­da­men­tal­ism. More upper class, more sophis­ti­cat­ed, it does­n’t need the media, doing its work behind the scenes.

Jeff Sharlet: Elite fun­da­men­tal­ism and espe­cial­ly the elite fun­da­men­tals in The Fam­i­ly, is not so much inter­est­ed in hold­ing mass ral­lies, or sav­ing every­body’s souls, rather it grows out of this belief that took hold in the 1930s that God works through a few spe­cial­ly cho­sen indi­vid­u­als. They call them key men, the sort of anoint­ed. And there’s the real con­cerns, well, not social issues but eco­nom­ic, some­thing that they came to call ‘Bib­li­cal cap­i­tal­ism’, a sort of lais­sez-fair cap­i­tal­ism, and espe­cial­ly for­eign affairs, and I think that comes as a sur­prise to a lot of folks here in the Unit­ed States, but also over­seas, but they’re the kind of Chris­t­ian fun­da­men­tal­ism in Amer­i­ca that has always tak­en as its main con­cern the role of Amer­i­can pow­er in the world, and the expan­sion of that kind of pow­er.

Stephen Crit­ten­den: Now the book is basi­cal­ly about a shad­owy organ­i­sa­tion called The Fam­i­ly, or The Fel­low­ship that was found­ed by a guy called Abra­ham Verei­de, a Nor­we­gian immi­grant to the Unit­ed States in the 1930s. Tell us about him and the foun­da­tion of this organ­i­sa­tion.

Jeff Sharlet: Verei­de is a fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ter. This guy who comes to Amer­i­ca from Nor­way, because he sees Amer­i­ca’s the land of the Bible unchained. Even from a boy he’s giv­en to what he thinks are prophet­ic visions. He believes that God comes to him and talks to him in very lit­er­al words. He comes to Amer­i­ca and he makes quite a name for him­self, becomes a preach­er and starts preach­ing to guys like Hen­ry Ford and titans of the steel indus­try and so on, and then has this Epiphany, this real­i­sa­tion in the mid­dle of our Great Depres­sion in the 1930s. He decides that the Great Depres­sion is actu­al­ly a pun­ish­ment from God for dis­obey­ing God’s law, and how are we dis­obey­ing God’s law? Well it’s because we are try­ing to reg­u­late the econ­o­my, we are try­ing to take mat­ters into our own hands. Well we just have to com­plete­ly trust God, and those he choos­es, men like Hen­ry Ford and the CEO of US Steel and so on.

Stephen Crit­ten­den: Yes, it’s a mus­cu­lar Chris­tian­i­ty. You’d almost say he had a min­istry to bring that indus­tri­al class back into reli­gion.

Jeff Sharlet: Absolute­ly. This must be a Chris­tian­i­ty on steroids. They were build­ing on this tra­di­tion of this kind of macho Christ, and tak­ing it to these busi­ness­men who did­n’t real­ly care about church or the Bible or any­thing like that. What they cared about was organ­ised labour, and in fact par­tic­u­lar­ly in Aus­tralia, men and Har­ry Bridges was a major, major labour leader here in the Unit­ed States. And they just saw him the Dev­il Incar­nate, and began to organ­ise against him. And that’s what this group has become — and are to this day. They still see God’s inter­ests as those of the absolute­ly unreg­u­lat­ed free mar­kets — a very sort of macho, mus­cu­lar Chris­tian­i­ty that tends to serve the inter­ests of those involved.

Stephen Crit­ten­den: As I was read­ing the book, I was con­stant­ly remind­ed of the Catholic elite fun­da­men­tal­ist organ­i­sa­tion, Opus Dei, which was found­ed just a cou­ple of years before The Fam­i­ly, and clear­ly had a polit­i­cal pro­gram. There seem to be very inter­est­ing sim­i­lar­i­ties between them.

Jeff Sharlet: There are real­ly strik­ing sim­i­lar­i­ties between Opus Dei and The Fam­i­ly, they were actu­al­ly both found­ed at this moment, when con­ser­v­a­tive Catholics in the case of Opus Dei, and con­ser­v­a­tive Protes­tants in the case of The Fam­i­ly, con­clude that democ­ra­cy is done, that it’s spent, that it can’t com­pete with these incred­i­bly vig­or­ous forces of com­mu­nism and fas­cism. And there’s a mis­tak­en idea that the Opus Dei, and also The Fam­i­ly, want­ed to be just fas­cist. No, they did­n’t want to be fas­cist, they saw a lot to admire in fas­cism, but they want­ed to cre­ate their own reli­gious way, where fas­cism sort of idolised the char­ac­ter like Hitler and Mus­soli­ni, they said No, we want that same kind of cult of per­son­al­i­ty, that same kind of mus­cu­lar pol­i­tics and reli­gion, but we want it to be cen­tred around Jesus. Well of course who’s Jesus? And that’s when you run into the real reli­gious hor­ror sto­ry of this book, which is that they read the same Bible that most of the rest of us do, but they take a very dif­fer­ent mes­sage, one that’s not about mer­cy or jus­tice or love or for­give­ness, but rather is about pow­er. And very lit­er­al­ly, when I look through The Fam­i­ly’s papers, 600 box­es of doc­u­ments, that’s what they saw in the New Tes­ta­ment as the bot­tom line, was this mes­sage of pow­er, and it’s strik­ing I think, and unset­tling to even most con­ser­v­a­tive Chris­tians.

Stephen Crit­ten­den: So much to talk about in what you’ve just said to unpack. Let’s talk about the the­o­log­i­cal ques­tion about Jesus first. You speak about a the­ol­o­gy which you say is total­ly mal­leable, and you talk about a the­ol­o­gy of Jesus plus noth­ing. It’s almost like a home-grown Amer­i­can reli­gion that pur­ports to be about Jesus, pur­ports to be Chris­t­ian, but it’s had all the con­tent drained out of it.

Jeff Sharlet: Yes, that’s real­ly exact­ly it. I begin the book, and I begin the sto­ry with a month I spent liv­ing in one of The Fam­i­ly’s hous­es where they sort of groom younger men for lead­er­ship by sign­ing you up for men­tor­ing with a Con­gress­man and so on. And I remem­ber being struck at the time when a US Sen­ate Aide was telling us about for­mer Vice-Pres­i­dent, Dan Quayle, who had vol­un­teered to lead a Bible Study for polit­i­cal men, for The Fam­i­ly, but he need­ed some help, he need­ed some­one to come over and give him just a quick crash course, ‘Because’, he said, ‘well, he had­n’t actu­al­ly ever read the Bible.’ So he was quite cer­tain he knew what the Bible said, he was quite cer­tain it sup­port­ed his polit­i­cal pro­gram. He felt con­fi­dent in scold­ing oth­ers for not liv­ing up to the Bible, but he had nev­er actu­al­ly read the Bible. And that’s what you real­ly see when you look at this elite fun­da­men­tal­ism. It’s a reli­gion of the sta­tus quo, it’s a reli­gion of things as they are. It’s not the sort of sci­ence fic­tion vision of what the world will look like when the fun­da­men­tal­ists have tak­en over. These guys are very con­tent with the world as it is, and they top up the Bible as some­thing that is sup­port­ing them­selves and pow­er. Doug Coe, the leader of the group says ‘We work with pow­er where we can, build new pow­er where we can’t.’ And that’s a very sta­tus quo reli­gion.

Stephen Crit­ten­den: The next big ques­tion is to unpack where the reli­gious pro­gram ends and the polit­i­cal pro­gram begins.

Jeff Sharlet: You know, I like to think of it as sort of a mobia Strip, you know, that pop­u­lar opti­cal illu­sion of a rib­bon that’s sort of twist­ing, and you can nev­er fig­ure out which side you’re on. There is no clear line where the reli­gion ends and the pol­i­tics begin. They don’t draw the dis­tinc­tion. I’ll give you an exam­ple of the project they did recent­ly, some­thing called The Silk Road Act. These is a piece of Amer­i­can leg­is­la­tion passed in 1999 by our Sen­a­tor Sam Brown­back in a Con­gress­man Joe Pitts, both mem­bers of The Fam­i­ly. The Silk Road Act direct­ed US funds to the dic­ta­tor­ships of the Cen­tral Asian region, and as Sen­a­tor Brown­back explained to me, his role was to essen­tial­ly buy these coun­tries off, to open them up to free mar­kets by giv­ing them a lot of mon­ey, a sort of an odd con­cept of free mar­kets. And the rea­son he want­ed to do that is Well we have free mar­kets where cap­i­tal­ism goes the gospel fol­lows. And so there you have eco­nom­ics, you have pol­i­tics, and you have reli­gion, and they’re all caught in this loop.

Stephen Crit­ten­den: Jeff, let’s go back to the ear­ly his­to­ry of The Fam­i­ly and look in more detail at its polit­i­cal pro­gram dur­ing the 1930s and ’40s which seems to focus pri­mar­i­ly on destroy­ing trade union­ism in the Unit­ed States, and in that, they com­plete­ly suc­ceed­ed.

Jeff Sharlet: Yes, they real­ly did. I mean I think that again takes me back to this ques­tion, peo­ple always ask what the fun­da­men­tal­ists want to do? I think the more rel­e­vant ques­tion is what have fun­da­men­tal­ists done. And you look in the Unit­ed States and say Why do we alone in the devel­oped world, not have a seri­ous organ­ised labour move­ment? Our organ­ised labour move­ment is nowhere near as pow­er­ful and influ­en­tial as yours in Aus­tralia. I think we real­ly have to look to groups like The Fam­i­ly and elite fun­da­men­tal­ism. They came into being to opposed organ­ised labour, worked steadi­ly at that, and count­ed as one of their first big vic­to­ries a law that was passed here in 1947 which essen­tial­ly rolled back many of the rights to organ­ise and to form unions, that had been won under Franklin Roo­sevelt. They count­ed that as their first vic­to­ry, and then they just sort of went for­ward from there and played this role of dri­ving the cen­tre to the right, they were very involved in the Cold War, very involved in the eco­nom­ics of glob­al­i­sa­tion. These are their projects, but they see them as reli­gious ends.

Stephen Crit­ten­den: You men­tion that in these years The Fam­i­ly was attract­ed by Fas­cist and even Nazi ideas, and you say that in the imme­di­ate after­math of World War II, they were involved in reha­bil­i­tat­ing key Nazi indus­tri­al­ists and bankers, help­ing them out or even bring­ing them to the Unit­ed States.

Jeff Sharlet: That was their first big step over­seas. That’s when they became inter­na­tion­al dur­ing World War II. Abra­ham Verei­de, the founder, actu­al­ly trav­elled to the allied pris­ons in Ger­many where we were hold­ing the pris­on­ers of war, with a man­date from the Unit­ed States State Depart­ment to go among these Nazis and sort of inter­view them and decide which ones could be used for rebuild­ing Ger­many. And brought in quite a few scary char­ac­ters, per­haps the most notable of whom was Her­mann Josef Abs who after Verei­de and The Fam­i­ly had vouched for him, rose to become the chief finan­cial wiz­ard behind West Ger­many’s rise, enjoyed a very suc­cess­ful career into the 1970s until the Simon Wiesen­thal Cen­tre dis­cov­ered that before he had been known as Ger­many’s banker, he’d been known as Hitler’s banker, that he had helped spir­it uncount­ed sums of mon­ey off to the Nazis who escaped to Latin Amer­i­ca. He was a bad guy, he was dri­ven out of pol­i­tics. But that was the role that The Fam­i­ly was play­ing, was white­wash­ing these guys and get­ting these guys back into pow­er because they want­ed them for the Cold War.

Stephen Crit­ten­den: Jeff, I guess the most pub­lic face of The Fam­i­ly, or The Fel­low­ship, in the last 30, 40, 50 years, has been the fact that it cre­at­ed the Nation­al Prayer Break­fast, and you tell the sto­ry of how Pres­i­dent Eisen­how­er real­ly offi­ci­ates at the first Nation­al Prayer Break­fast a bit reluc­tant­ly. He’s a bit like a John McCain fig­ure, not very com­fort­able with overt dis­plays of reli­gion.

Jeff Sharlet: Yes, exact­ly. 1953 they inau­gu­rat­ed the Nation­al Prayer Break­fast which has been held in Wash­ing­ton ever since. The Unit­ed States Pres­i­dent always attends, Con­gress attends, and they set these up around the world. You even have one there in Aus­tralia. And they’ve been sort of very delib­er­ate­ly banal events, very bland, but they refer to with­in the group and in their doc­u­ments as recruit­ing devices to iden­ti­fy and bring peo­ple into clos­er involve­ment. And The Fam­i­ly had want­ed to do this for many years but the pre­vi­ous US Pres­i­dents would­n’t do it. Eisen­how­er did­n’t want to do it, he said it’s ‘a vio­la­tion of sep­a­ra­tion of Church and State which is a fun­da­men­tal part of our con­sti­tu­tion here’. But Bil­ly Gra­ham and a Sen­a­tor who was involved in The Fam­i­ly, Frank Carl­son, had organ­ised an evan­gel­i­cal Chris­t­ian vote for him, and they want­ed pay­back, so Eisen­how­er went, con­cerned that this was going to become a tra­di­tion, and indeed it did, and now it does­n’t mat­ter who’s elect­ed, here in Novem­ber, whether it’s McCain or Oba­ma come Feb­ru­ary they’re going to the Nation­al Prayer Break­fast, and what that does is it gives The Fam­i­ly that kind of pow­er and that draw. It does­n’t mean that every Pres­i­dent signs off on their beliefs, but they’re able to go around and say ‘Look at this, we’re able to bring the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States to one of our events, don’t you want to be asso­ci­at­ed with that?’

Stephen Crit­ten­den: And is the Nation­al Prayer Break­fast then the key instru­ment of The Fam­i­ly’s pow­er?

Jeff Sharlet: I think the key instru­ment is this real­ly incred­i­ble net­work of politi­cians that they built up over the years. I mean you look back across Amer­i­can his­to­ry and you find guys like Chief Jus­tice William Ren­quist who’s one of the most influ­en­tial con­ser­v­a­tive Chief Jus­tices of our Supreme Court. The old leg­endary Dix­ie-crat named Strom Thur­man, was a long-time right-winger. Even now I can give you a long list of Amer­i­can politi­cians and there have been Aus­tralian politi­cians involved as well, and folks around the world, they’re able to build this net­work so that if you want to get some­thing done, it’s help­ful to work through The Fam­i­ly.

Stephen Crit­ten­den: You’ve got to tell us who the Aus­tralians are.

Jeff Sharlet: Well the Aus­tralians are going back in his­to­ry. The first guy to get involved was man named Nor­man Makin who was actu­al­ly not con­sid­ered a right-winger, he was a long-time Ambas­sador to the Unit­ed States, but was an ear­ly Cold war­rior and saw The Fam­i­ly as a use­ful vehi­cle for work­ing with the Con­ser­v­a­tive side of Amer­i­can pol­i­tics dur­ing the Cold War. More recent­ly, I would just bump into — in the doc­u­ments ‑minor Aus­tralian politi­cians, Bruce Baird, a fel­low named Ross Cameron, and I sup­pose Peter Costel­lo has been involved, and I don’t know how involved and I just, that’s not some­thing I fol­lowed up on.

Woman: Who is Doug Coe? Here he is on video­tapes obtained exclu­sive­ly by NBC News, with his account of atroc­i­ties under Chair­man Mao.

Doug Coe: I’ve seen pic­tures of the young men in the Red Guard, they would bring in this young man’s moth­er, he would take an axe and cut her head off. They have to put the pur­pos­es of the Red Guard ahead of their father, moth­er, broth­er, sis­ter, and their own life. That was a covenant, a pledge. That’s what Jesus said.

Woman: In his preach­ing he repeat­ed­ly urges a per­son­al com­mit­ment to Jesus Christ, a com­mit­ment Coe com­pares to the blind devo­tion Hitler demand­ed.

Stephen Crit­ten­den: NBC News report­ing on the reclu­sive leader of The Fam­i­ly, Pas­tor Doug Coe. Jeff, you say that The Fam­i­ly has pen­e­trat­ed Amer­i­can pol­i­tics so thor­ough­ly that even some­one like Hillary Clin­ton has to be part of these prayer break­fasts. It does­n’t real­ly mat­ter what side of pol­i­tics you’re on, The Fam­i­ly isn’t inter­est­ed in that.

Jeff Sharlet: Yes, I write in the book about Hillary Clin­ton’s involve­ment which is actu­al­ly fair­ly long-stand­ing. She’s upfront about it in her auto­bi­og­ra­phy, ‘Liv­ing His­to­ry’. She writes in 1993 of com­ing to Wash­ing­ton and hav­ing a seg­re­gat­ed wom­en’s prayer group organ­ised for her of the wives of very con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal bro­kers, and this was not just prayer busi­ness. Clear­ly pol­i­tics. NBC one of our net­work news sta­tions here did a lit­tle seg­ment on that aspect of the book and they not­ed that both John McCain and Barak Oba­ma had also attend­ed the week­ly Sen­ate prayer break­fasts, there’s the Annu­al Nation­al Break­fast and then there’s a week­ly break­fast also run by The Fam­i­ly. And what that real­ly shows is not that John McCain or Barak Oba­ma are part of it. It shows that it’s become this almost nec­es­sary piety pit stop, that to run for nation­al office in the Unit­ed States, you have to show your reli­gios­i­ty, which is for­bid­den by our Con­sti­tu­tion. We say there’s no reli­gious test, any­one’s allowed to run. But it’s become this de fac­to test, and what that does is it also opens the door for a kind of con­ser­v­a­tive pol­i­tics that peo­ple don’t notice. Here we have some­thing called faith-based ini­tia­tives, intro­duced by Pres­i­dent Bush, and what this amount­ed to was a mas­sive pri­vati­sa­tion of gov­ern­ment resources, turn­ing over social wel­fare to reli­gious orga­ni­za­tions; chang­ing the law so those reli­gious organ­i­sa­tions are free to dis­crim­i­nate against who they want, and one of the most dis­may­ing things I think about our cam­paign right now is that both John McCain and Barak Oba­ma have pledged to not just con­tin­ue this pro­gram, but to expand it. And the rea­son is, they have to do that because The Fam­i­ly, pop­ulist fun­da­men­tal­ism, and elite fun­da­men­tal­ism work­ing togeth­er have so set the terms of reli­gios­i­ty in Amer­i­can life, that we don’t have a whole lot of room for gen­uine reli­gious dis­cus­sions, gen­uine dis­cus­sion of reli­gious ideas, which are always wel­come. We have only room for these kinds of pub­lic procla­ma­tions of piety.

Stephen Crit­ten­den: You men­tioned the Rev­erend Bil­ly Gra­ham ear­li­er. He’s a very inter­est­ing char­ac­ter in this sto­ry, he only appears once or twice, but he’s obvi­ous­ly piv­otal at the begin­ning of set­ting up the Nation­al Prayer Break­fast, as you men­tioned. He shoe­horns Pres­i­dent Eisen­how­er into sort of turn­ing up and play­ing along. What is Bil­ly Gra­ham’s role in all of this? He always strikes me as a much more com­plex and ambigu­ous char­ac­ter than he some­times seems on the sur­face.

Jeff Sharlet: He real­ly is. He real­ly is a com­pli­cat­ed char­ac­ter, which is inter­est­ing, because he was not a com­pli­cat­ed man, but I’m sor­ry, ‘was not’, put it in the past tense. Still alive, still with us, but most­ly his pub­lic career is over. He was a sim­ple man who found him­self at the nexus of a lot of pow­er, and was a lit­tle bit proud of that. You know, I mean I was able to put togeth­er the account of his role in the Nation­al Prayer Break­fast, not just through these doc­u­ments which are in the archives, but through his own biog­ra­phy in which he real­ly comes right out and boasts about bul­ly­ing Pres­i­dent Eisen­how­er into this role. He was a guy who came from a very right-wing fun­da­men­tal­ist place, a very anti-Semit­ic place which he nev­er real­ly quite over­come, and moved into the main­stream of Amer­i­can life and was instru­men­tal for instance, in giv­ing reli­gious cov­er to Pres­i­dent Nixon. And also played this very impor­tant role for The Fam­i­ly. . . .

“Elite Fundamentalism–The Fel­low­ship’s Gospel of Cap­i­tal­ist Pow­er” [Stephen Crit­ten­den’s inter­view of Jeff Sharlet]; The Reli­gion Report [Aus­tralian Broad­cast­ing Co.]; 9/3/2008. [11]