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Bush Family in the House of Moon

by Bill Berkowitz
TALK TO ACTION

George H.W. Bush to speak at the Rev. Sun Myung Moon-owned Washington Times‘ 25th anniversary celebration in mid-May

When former President George H.W. Bush takes the stage to deliver the keynote address in honor of the 25th anniversary of the ultra-conservative Washington Times newspaper in mid-May, it will not be the first time he has spoken in support of one of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s enterprises.

And whatever fee Bush will realize from his appearance, it is only one aspect of what author Kevin Philips has termed Moon’s “close” relationship with the Bush family.

While the elder Bush — and other family members — have benefited both financially and politically from this relationship with Moon, the head of the Unification Church has a more varied agenda in mind, one that might include a pardon from current President George W. Bush.

(In the 1980s, Moon served a 13-month sentence in jail for tax evasion. Not wanting “convicted felon” as part of his legacy, he is hoping for a pardon before Bush leaves office.)

From Koreagate to Bush 43

The Bush family/Moon relationship dates back “to the overlap between Bush’s one-year tenure as CIA director (1976) and the arrival of in Washington of Moon, whose Unification Church was widely reported to be a front group for the South Korean Central Intelligence Agency [KCIA],” Phillips wrote in his bestselling book “American Dynasty — Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush.”

During a time when the activities of the KCIA were the subject of a U.S. congressional investigation — dubbed Koreagate — Phillips pointed out that “within Washington councils, Bush was a powerful voice against any unnecessary crackdown on the U.S. activities of allied intelligence services.”

“One of George H.W. Bush’s first tasks as director of the CIA was managing the ‘Koreagate’ scandal, in which the government of South Korea and its intelligence agents had waged espionage against the U.S, government,” Fred Clarkson, a co-founder of Talk2Action and the author of “Eternal Hostility: The Struggle Between Theocracy and Democracy” — which includes a chapter on the Moon organization — told me in an e-mail exchange.

“Some of those agents were leading members of Moon’s Unification church. Some members managed to infiltrate Congressional staffs — primarily Democrats,” he said.

After the founding of Moon’s Washington Times in the early 1980s, the newspaper consistently supported the Ronald Reagan-Bush team in its version of the events surrounding the Iran-Contra scandal. According to Clarkson, “the Moon organization was part of the private supply lines to the Nicaraguan contras, The Washington Times was given special access and provided consistently flattering coverage and the newspaper also set up a special fund for private funding of the contras.”

In 1996, the relationship became decidedly financial when the former president traveled to Latin America to help Moon launch Tiempos del Mundo (Times of the World). At the time Bush called Moon’s flagship U.S. publication, the Washington Times, “an independent voice” and assured the crowd that “Tiempos del Mundo… [will be] the same thing.” According to published reports Bush received at least 100,000 dollars for his participation in that event.

More recently, Moon’s Washington Times Foundation funneled a million dollars to Bush’s presidential library through the Houston, Texas-based Greater Houston Community Foundation.

Moon has also contributed to the financial wellbeing of other Bush family members. In 2005, Neil Bush, the former president’s son and current president’s brother, accompanied Moon on a few legs of the reverend’s “World Peace King Bridge-Tunnel” tour, showing up at his side in the Philippines and Taiwan.

Late last year, Business Week reported Neil Bush’s Ignite! Inc. — an educational software company featuring what it calls “curriculum on wheels,” or COWs — received a million dollars from “a foundation linked to the controversial Reverend Sun Myung Moon… for a COWs research project in Washington-area schools.”

But perhaps the most tangible aspect of the close relationship between the Bush family and Rev. Moon is the unbending support the Washington Times has given to George W. Bush since he announced he was running for the presidency. In recent years, the newspaper’s editorial and opinion pages have consistently supported the president’s “war on terror” and war in Iraq.

In the House of Moon

“The Rev. Moon is a monster in the laboratory of conservative politics; no one wants to think about him, yet in order to ensure his continued support they must periodically feed his appetite for tribute,” John Gorenfeld, an investigative reporter and a longtime chronicler of Moon’s activities, said in an e-mail. “One of Moon’s paybacks at Times-sponsored events is to have his picture taken and rub shoulders with the politically powerful and well-connected.”

“Besides the gift of the support of the Washington Times, Bush and his son have accepted large amounts of money from Moon’s church,” said Gorenfeld, the author of a forthcoming book about the Rev. Moon and U.S. politics.

“In the Clinton years, George and Barbara Bush toured Japan with Moon, as well as Argentina. He is believed to have taken over a million dollars. More recently, a Moon company funneled 250,000 dollars to the fund for George W. Bush’s inauguration.”

Moon’s enterprises extend far beyond the Unification Church, says Steve Hassan, an expert on cults and a licensed mental health counselor who was once a leader in the Moon organization.

“There are a number of business and political fronts; it’s a multi-billion-dollar international conglomerate headed by a demagogue who claims that he’s the greatest guy in history, who wants to abolish democracy, end or destroy the United Nations and set up a theocracy for his heirs to rule,” Hassan told me in a telephone interview.

When the elder Bush takes to the podium next month, it would be surprising if the close relationship between the Bush family and Moon is scrutinized by the mainstream media, since it has been basically ignored or glossed over for decades, Hassan insists.

“It infuriates me, as one who has been in the group and often heard Moon say that he wanted to destroy democracy and take over the world, that the mainstream media has not gotten this story right,” he said. “While they have talked about corporate lobbying, they’ve neglected to discuss the lobbying and political influence of cults. Moon has been basically mainstreamed.”

Hassan also noted that Moon’s operation in the U.S., which began with the “street recruiting” of members — especially in university towns — has shifted to lavish dinners and awards ceremonies where Moon is able to hobnob with powerful political figures and later claim their allegiance.

“Having George H.W. Bush come and speak at the Washington Times anniversary event is definitely a coup,” Hassan pointed out.

“That George H.W. Bush has such a long term alliance with the theocratic Rev. Moon, who for all of his flag waving is on record as hating American constitutional democracy, is disturbing and will no doubt come to be seen as a defining aspect of Bush’s political career, before, during and since his presidency,” Fred Clarkson added.

“Bush’s headlining the Washington Times’ 25th anniversary event couldn’t be more appropriate, since the Rev. Moon and Bush’s fortunes,
political and otherwise have been closely intertwined for decades.”

Discussion

2 comments for “Bush Family in the House of Moon”

  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-19459604

    2 September 2012
    ‘Moonies’ founder Sun Myung Moon dies at 92

    Self-styled messiah Sun Myung Moon, whose Unification Church became famous for marrying thousands of people in a single ceremony, has died, aged 92.

    Sun Myung Moon was a controversial figure who ran arms factories and was once jailed for tax evasion.

    Moon set up the Church, whose members are often called Moonies, in the 1950s in the South Korean capital, Seoul.

    He claimed to have millions of members, many in the US, but was accused of brainwashing and profiteering.

    Moon built up a global business empire, setting up newspapers, arms factories, universities and food distributors.

    Moon died early on Monday at a hospital near his home in Gapyeong, north-east of Seoul, where the headquarters of his church is located.

    He had been admitted to the hospital, which is owned by the Church, two weeks ago suffering from pneumonia.

    The Church will hold a 13-day mourning period before his funeral on 15 September. Moon will be buried at Cheonseung Mountain, near his home.

    “He was our father and God’s messiah. His body was custom-made by God so we believed he would live until 100,” his aide Bo Hi Pak told journalists.

    Moon’s youngest son, Hyung-jin Moon, became the Church’s most senior leader in 2008.

    ‘Jesus plea’

    Moon was born in 1920 in Pyongan province, in what is now North Korea.

    He claimed that, while he was praying at the age of 15, Jesus appeared to him and asked him to set up God’s kingdom on Earth.

    Moon said he refused twice, but accepted on the third request.

    He was later thrown out of the Presbyterian Church and also jailed by the Communists before he fled to the South.

    He established the Church – formally known as the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification – in 1954, a year after the Korean War ended.

    It was known for mass weddings, in which thousands of couples – many who did not know each other but had been paired up by the Church – got married in huge stadium-based ceremonies.

    But the Church drew controversy in the 1960s and 70s, often being accused of brainwashing members, breaking up families and lining Moon’s pockets.

    He denied the allegations, but had to spend 11 months in jail in the US – where he moved in the early 1970s – after being convicted of tax evasion in 1982.

    He owned large and lavish properties in the US, founded the Washington Times newspaper and ran numerous businesses across the world in South Korea.

    He also forged ties with North Korea, meeting founder Kim Il-sung in 1991 and sending a delegation to pay respects after the death of Kim Jong-il.

    But Moon continued to be dogged by controversy. In 2003 he provoked outrage when he used a sermon to condone the Holocaust, claiming that it was the Jews’ payment for killing Jesus.

    He returned to South Korea in 2006, leaving his religious and business empire in the hands of some of his 14 children.

    But he was active as recently as March 2012, leading a mass wedding for some 2,500 followers.

    Posted by R. Wilson | September 2, 2012, 6:41 pm
  2. Whenever a self-declared messiah/mobster/power-broker passes on it occurs to me that if you’re a self-declared messiah/mobster/power-broker you are probably either totally insane and actually believe you’re the messiah or you’re an atheist. Because proclaiming yourself to be the Messiah and building a lucrative cult/underworld business empire while also believing in an afterlife would probably be somewhat stress-inducing. That’s not your everyday kind of “sin”. Cult leaders and personal religion, ironically, just don’t mix.

    Well, there’s one religion that might work for them. Make that two.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 2, 2012, 9:28 pm

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