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Bush Family in the House of Moon

by Bill Berkowitz
TALK TO ACTION [1]

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.”