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“Sachsenhausen:” Bernie Sanders’ Neo-Liberal Buddy Jeffrey Sachs


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COMMENT: In FTR #953, we looked at some of Bernie Sanders’ “interesting” relationships and policy positions, this against the background of the decades-long GOP strategy marrying electoral politics and covert operations. The latest political outcropping of Sanders’ political manifestation is The Sanders Institute. In addition to Tulsi Gabbard, whom we discussed in FTR #’s 941, 942 and 945, Team Sanders features Jeffrey Sacks, a key financial adviser to Boris Yeltsin and among the architects of the economic debacle that followed the implementation of policies favored by Sachs and Company.

A political animal of Sachs’ neo-Liberal stripe is an odd inclusion in the Sanders Pantheon. We have noted others:

  1. Rove financed Sanders campaign through the American Crossroads super-PAC. ” . . . American Crossroads—founded by former Bush adviser Karl Rove—and several other conservative-backed super PACs have spent the last month intentionally fueling the Bern, but their zeal has more to do with an effort to weaken Hillary Clinton, whom they still see as the likely Democratic nominee and harder to defeat in the general election. . . . Crossroads is one of several groups that has released ads that have been aimed at branding Sanders as the only true progressive in the race—a strategy the Vermont senator’s campaign also embraces. . . .”
  2. Graham E. Fuller says that he was ” . . . . galvanized at watching the spectacle of Bernie Sanders proclaiming issues in his campaign that had been virtually off limits for political discussion for decades: gap between rich and poor, rapacious international trade deals, a fair wage, free university education, the call for US balance (gasp!) in handling the Arab-Israeli, issue, etc. The great thing about Bernie — even if he probably won’t get nominated — is that he has pushed hawkish, friend-of-Wall-Street Hillary to the left. . . .”
  3. Fuller’s actual views are the opposite of Sanders policy points: “. . . Fuller comes from that fac­tion of CIA Cold War­riors who believed (and still appar­ently believe) that fun­da­men­tal­ist Islam, even in its rad­i­cal jihadi form, does not pose a threat to the West, for the sim­ple rea­son that fun­da­men­tal­ist Islam is con­ser­v­a­tive, against social jus­tice, against social­ism and redis­tri­b­u­tion of wealth, and in favor of hier­ar­chi­cal socio-economic struc­tures. Social­ism is the com­mon enemy to both cap­i­tal­ist Amer­ica and to Wah­habi Islam, accord­ing to Fuller. . . ‘There is no main­stream Islamic organization…with rad­i­cal social views,’ he wrote. Clas­si­cal Islamic the­ory envis­ages the role of the state as lim­ited to facil­i­tat­ing the well-being of mar­kets and mer­chants rather than con­trol­ling them. Islamists have always pow­er­fully objected to social­ism and communism….Islam has never had prob­lems with the idea that wealth is unevenly dis­trib­uted.’ . . . .”
  4. Faisal Gill, a former operations director for Norquist’s Islamic Free Market Institute and official with George W. Bush’s Department of Homeland Security is now the head of Vermont’s Democratic Party, a post he has used to join Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard to promote Keith Ellison as head of the Democratic National Committee. Ellison is now the deputy chair of the DNC, the post formerly held by Gabbard. ” . . . . Yet some officials remain concerned that Gill apparently enjoys the political protection of Norquist, the architect of the 1994 Republican election sweep that brought Georgia Republican Newt Gingrich to power as House speaker. Norquist speaks of ‘crushing’ his political opponents and dismisses those who don’t agree with his anti-tax, anti-government agenda as ‘Bolsheviks.’ His power derives from a formidable coalition of evangelical, business and other conservative groups that he controls to push favored GOP issues, as well as from his close relationship with White House political chief Karl Rove. . . .”

The program also notes a number of other things about the Sanders campaign:

  1. He was promoting open primaries for the Democratic Party, which would enable Karl Rove and the Republicans to choose the Democratic nominee.
  2. Sanders was a Presidential elector for the Socialist Workers Party, embracing a stance which would have made him terminally vulnerable had he gotten the Democratic nomination. ” . . . . In 1980, Sanders served as an elector for the Socialist Workers Party, which was founded on the principles of Leon Trotsky. According to the New York Times, that party called for abolishing the military budget. It also called for “solidarity” with the revolutionary regimes in Iran, Nicaragua, Grenada, and Cuba; this was in the middle of the Iranian hostage crisis. . . .”
  3. The SWP was a vehicle for infiltration and the acquisition of a “left cover” by Nazis and spooks, including Lee Harvey Oswald.
  4. The Third Reich saw Leon Trotsky’s methodology as worthy of emulation. (The SWP is a Trotskyite political party.) ” . . . . ‘You should read his books,’ he [Hitler] barked. ‘We can learn a lot from him.’ . . .”
  5. To what extent have the GOP and the overlapping Underground Reich focused on Sanders (without his knowledge) as a vehicle for infiltrating the Democratic Party? In FTR #’s 941, 942 and 945, we noted the numerous fascist connections of Tulsi Gabbard, one of the driving forces behind Sanders’ ascent. To what extent has the Trotskyite template served as a vehicle for Gabbard, and, perhaps, Ellison to infiltrate the Democratic Party?

It is important to note that, in effect serving as an advance element or Fifth Column for the neo-Liberal policies presided over by Yeltsin and crafed by Sachs & Company, the Free Congress Foundation served as an extension of The Crusade For Freedom and the projection of the ABN milieu into the GOP. This was the political predecessor to the Yeltsin policies.

 Dominating the Reagan administration, the ABN milieu was projected back into Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union by the Free Congress Foundation, heavily overlapped with Laszlo Pasztor and the GOP Nazis dating from the Crusade For Freedom.

Heavily overlapping the Free Congress Foundation of Paul Weyrich, the GOP “ethnics” and the OUN/B, in particular, played a leading role in the political tutoring of Boris Yeltsin’s IRG organization. Ultimately, Yeltsin’s forces were instrumental in breaking up the U.S.S.R.

We note that the head of the liberation sub-group of the Free Congress Foundation was Hungarian Arrow Cross veteran Laszlo Pasztor, the head of the GOP “ethnics.” (This audio excerpt is from AFA #36. The text is from “The Free Congress Foundation Goes East” by Russ Bellant and Louis Wolf, from Covert Action Information Bulletin Issue #35.

“The Free Congress Foundation Goes East” by Russ Bellant and Louis Wolf; Covert Action Information Bulletin #35; Fall/1990.

With the rapid pace of political change sweeping Eastern Europe and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, many opportunities have emerged for western interests to intervene in the politics of  that region. In some cases, such a vacuum has been created that virtual strangers to the area several years ago are now able to actively participate in changing those societies from within.

These interventions are not only being practiced by mainstream organizations. The involvement of the United States Far Right brings with it the potential revival of fascist organizations in the East. One U.S. group, the Free Congress Foundation, has been plahying a role in Eastern European and Soviet politics and has ties to Boris Yeltsin and the Inter-Regional Deputies Group (IRG) in the U.S.S.R.

The Free Congress Foundation (FCF) was founded in 1974 by Paul Weyrich as the Committee for the Survival of a Free Congress. Weyrich, who had started the Heritage Foundation the year before, was heavily funded by the Coors family for both organizations.

Weyrich has kept one foot in the right wing of the Republican Party while dallying with the racist Right and the extreme Christian Right. In 1976, for instance, he and a handful of other New Rights (William Rusher, Morton Blackwell, Richard Viguerie) attempted to take over the segregationist  American Independent Party (AIP), formed by George Wallace in 1968. The AIP was an amalgam of Ku Klux Klan and John Birch Society elements. . . .

. . . . The IRG was established by Andrei Sakharov, Boris Yeltsin and others in the summer of 1989. By the end of that year, a training school had been established for candidates to put forward the IRG program. Their electoral success this year propelled Yeltsin to the leadership of the Russian Soviet Socialist Republic. He immediately began forging collaborative relationships with the deeply reactionary leaders of the Lithuanian Sajudis party. The IRG has also served as a source of right-wing pressure on Gorbachev to dismantle socialism and the Soviet Union itself.

One of the key dangers in this agenda is the political vacuum it creates, allowing ultra-nationalist forces in a number of republics to take power. Such nationalist and fascist elements are already evident in Lithuania and the Ukraine. In the latter republic, the pro-Nazi Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) has gained influence in several parties and has mobilized large demonstrations that honor OUN leaders who abetted Hitler’s war on the Eastern Front. Similarly, several deputies Sajudis deputies served in German military units in 1944, and Sajudis has made declarations against ethnic Russians living in Lithuania. According to some reports, Poles have also been denigrated.

It should also be noted that the “radical reformer” Boris Yeltsin has dallied with Pamyat, the foremost Russian fascist group to emerge in the last several years. Pamyat’s virulent anti-Semitism compares to the crude propaganda of the early German Nazi Party in the 1920’s.

The FCF is not entirely disconnected from the history of the OUN. The Treasurer of the FCF board is Georgetown University Professor Charles Moser. Moser is also serves on the editorial advisory board of the Ukrainian Quarterly, published by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, a group dominated by the OUN. The Ukrainian Quarterly has praised military units of the German SS and otherwise justified the OUN alliance with the Third Reich which reflects the fact that the OUN was politically and militarily allied with Hitler and the Nazi occupation of the Ukraine.

The OUN, an international semi-secret cadre organization headquartered in Bavaria, has received financial assistance from the late Franz Joseph Strauss, the rightist head of the Bavarian state. Strauss also had a working relationship with Weyrich. . . .

. . . . Finally, FCF’s insinuation into the politics of the East must be judged by their selection of Laszlo Pasztor to head their Liberation Support Alliance, “which seeks to liberate peoples in Central and Eastern European Nations.”

Pasztor’s involvement in East European politics began in World War II when he joined the youth organization of the Arrow Cross, the Nazi party of Hungary.

When the Arrow Cross was installed in power by a German commando operation, Pasztor was sent to Berlin to help facilitate the liaison between the Arrow Cross and Hitler.

Pasztor was tried and served two years in jail for his Arrow Cross activities after an anticommunist government was elected in 1945. He eventually came to the U.S. and established the ethnic arm of the Republican National Committee for Richard Nixon. He brought other Nazi collaborators from the Eastern front into the GOP. Some were later found to have participated in mass murder during the war.

The dormant Arrow Cross has surfaced again in Hungary, where there have been attempts to lift the ban on the organization. Pasztor spent several months in Hungary. When Weyrich later conducted training there, he was provided a list of Pasztor’s contacts inside the country. Weyrich reports that he conducted training for the recently formed and now governing New Democratic Forum.

Pasztor claims to have assisted some of his friends in Hungary in getting NED funds through his advisory position with NED. In 1989 he spoke at the Heritage Foundation under the sponsorship of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN), a multinational umbrella organization of emigre fascists and Nazis founded in alliance with Hitler in 1943. It is led by the OUN. Pasztor spoke for the “Hungarian Organization” of ABN, which is the Arrow Cross. . . . .

“The Long, Strange Career of Jeffrey Sachs” by Doug Henwood; Left Business Observer; August of 2005.

. . . . Sachs was an advisor to the Yeltsin government in Russia from 1991 to 1994, and also advised Poland, Slovenia, and Estonia as they were beginning their transitions to capitalism. The last three are mixed successes – on the surface, Poland looks like a success to some, but with the transition came higher unemployment, falling real wages, and aimless cycles of political discontent. Russia, though, was a thorough disaster, one of the worst collapses in human history. Living standards fell and the population shrank, an almost unprecedented event in a country not at war.

[U2 Singer] Bono’s new best friend refuses to accept any blame for the disaster, offering the defense that the Russians didn’t take his advice, and the West didn’t come through with the big aid package he insisted was necessary. Apparently this is an well-practiced strategy. A 1992 Euromoney profile notes: “Sachs is reluctant to acknowledge mistakes, defining them in terms of regret when governments do not take his advice.” In that case, he blamed Poland for not privatizing fast enough. Contrasting with Sachs’s regrets over advice not taken, several governments he’s consulted with have since characterized the material produced by him and his associates as irrelevant, or, as a Slovenian official put it at the time, “simplistic…kindergarten stuff.”

But the outcome illustrates precisely the danger of having the likes of Sachs parachute in bearing the timeless truths of neoclassical economics. Anyone who knew Russia knew that any rapid privatization would immediately lead to the creation of a new corrupt elite through massive theft of state property. Anyone who knew Washington knew that no big aid package was ever going to come through; adding to usual U.S. cheapness, a lot of hardliners wanted to see Russia ground into the dirt. In the words of former World Bank economist David Ellerman, who frequently collided with Sachs’s work in Slovenia and has followed him intently ever since, “Only the mixture of American triumphalism and the academic arrogance of neoclassical economics could produce such a lethal dose of gall.”  . . .  .

During what officialdom called the transition, there were divisions between those who wanted to reform the existing socialist system and experiment with hybrid forms of ownership, and what Ellerman calls the “clean postsocialist revolutionaries,” many of them with American economics PhDs, who dismissed the reformers as tainted nomenklatura and wanted immediate privatization. Adding to the prestige of the revolutionaries were their trusted foreign advisors, like those from the Harvard Institute for International Development (HIID), led by Jeffrey Sachs and partly funded by the U.S. government. . . .

. . . . HIID eventually collapsed in scandal, when it was revealed that the principals of its Russian project, Andrei Shleifer and Jonathan Hay, along with their wives (who happened to be mutual fund managers), had been buying Russian stocks and dickering for the privilege of getting the country’s first mutual fund license, while dispensing advice to the Russian government. (Shleifer was one of the trinity of so-called Harvard Wunderkinder who were to Russia what the Chicago Boys were to Pinochet’s Chile; the other two were Lawrence Summers – and Sachs.) The U.S. government sued, and Harvard shuttered the institute. Sachs, who was not involved in the scandal, decamped to Columbia (it’s said there was no going-away party from his Harvard colleagues). At Columbia, he was appointed to head its new Earth Institute, an interdisciplinary enterprise that would bring together physical, health, and social scientists to promote sustainable economic development. . . .


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