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

For The Record  

FTR #481 Interview with John Buchanan

Record­ed Octo­ber 9, 2004

MP3: Side 1   Side 2

This pro­gram presents John Buchanan, the jour­nal­ist who uncov­ered recent infor­ma­tion adding to the grow­ing body of knowl­edge about the Bush family’s involve­ment with Nazi indus­try. In addi­tion to dis­cus­sion of Prescott Bush’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Nazi flight cap­i­tal pro­gram that moved the Third Reich’s funds out of Europe and into neu­tral coun­tries after World War II, the pro­gram sets forth John Buchanan’s har­row­ing expe­ri­ence at the hands of venge­ful gov­ern­ment offi­cials look­ing to pun­ish him for his efforts. Anoth­er impor­tant dis­cov­ery con­cerns John’s uncov­er­ing of the fact that Prescott Bush, Sr. was an ear­ly financier of the Lib­er­ty League, a domes­tic fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion that plot­ted to over­throw Pres­i­dent Roo­sevelt in 1934.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Descrip­tion of the estab­lish­ment by lis­ten­ers to this pro­gram of a web­site that fea­tures the declas­si­fied doc­u­ments about the Bush family’s involve­ment with Nazi indus­try; John’s dis­cus­sion of a law suit against the Bush fam­i­ly by two Auschwitz sur­vivors; fur­ther rev­e­la­tions con­cern­ing the Bush-con­nect­ed Ham­burg-Ameri­ka line’s pro-Nazi activ­i­ties in the Unit­ed States; a suc­cess­ful wager John under­took with The Guardian (a British paper) bet­ting that they could not impugn the authen­tic­i­ty of the doc­u­ments he had uncov­ered.

1. This inter­view high­lights John Buchanan’s polit­i­cal odyssey, under­tak­en to uncov­er the truth of the Bush family’s involve­ment with Nazi indus­try. In FTR#435, we exam­ined John’s mag­nif­i­cent arti­cles writ­ten for The New Hamp­shire Gazette about the Bush family’s Third Reich con­nec­tions. Most impor­tant of the rev­e­la­tions con­tained in Buchanan’s arti­cles is the dis­clo­sure that Prescott Bush (Sr.) con­tin­ued his involve­ment with the Nazi mon­ey machine after World War II. Specif­i­cal­ly, he con­tin­ued to deal with indi­vid­u­als and insti­tu­tions that were mov­ing Nazi monies out of Ger­many and into neu­tral coun­tries between the years of 1945 and 1951. This places Bush square­ly in the Bor­mann flight cap­i­tal milieu, about which we have spo­ken so often. (The text of the New Hamp­shire Gazette arti­cles is repro­duced in the descrip­tion for FTR#435. The declas­si­fied doc­u­ments them­selves are avail­able online.)

2. The sub­stance of the Bush family’s involve­ment with Nazi indus­try can be found in the broad­casts cit­ed imme­di­ate­ly above. Mr. Emory feels it would be point­less to restate the details, in that they have been pre­sent­ed so often before. FTR#479 con­tains the most recent treat­ment of the sub­ject. This pro­gram will only high­light aspects of the research that have not been dis­cussed pre­vi­ous­ly.

3. Among the points raised by Mr. Buchanan is the fact that after his arti­cles were print­ed in The New Hamp­shire Gazette, almost no news orga­ni­za­tions would fol­low up on the sto­ry. The Guardian engaged in a friend­ly wager with Mr. Buchanan, that no one could impugn the authen­tic­i­ty of the doc­u­ments he had uncov­ered. John notes that recent­ly two Auschwitz sur­vivors have filed a $40 bil­lion suit against the Bush fam­i­ly because some of their invest­ments uti­lized slave labor. In par­tic­u­lar, Mr. Buchanan notes that the Bush fam­i­ly had some stock in the Con­sol­i­dat­ed Sile­sian Steel Cor­po­ra­tion, which used slave labor at Auschwitz.

4. John relates how a group of lis­ten­ers in the Mid­west (high school stu­dents and their teacher) obtained copies of the doc­u­ments he had uncov­ered and put them on the web, with copy­right­ed intro­duc­tions that he had writ­ten. Mr. Emory notes that if teenagers can do some­thing this brave, hero­ic and impor­tant, adult lis­ten­ers should be able to do more.

5. Next, John presents a har­row­ing tale of some of the offi­cial ret­ri­bu­tion to which he was sub­ject­ed because of his inves­ti­ga­tions. Detained by two peo­ple mis­rep­re­sent­ing them­selves as “Secret Ser­vice Agents,” John was told he was being inves­ti­gat­ed for alleged­ly threat­en­ing the life of the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. No con­crete proof was giv­en (as he had done no such thing), but they nonethe­less demand­ed, and received, access to all of John’s per­son­al records and con­tacts. After that, he was detained in Flori­da and told he had threat­ened the life of some­one he had nev­er met and whose name was not pre­sent­ed to him. He was then told that his pub­lic defend­er had lost his file and that he was in deep trou­ble. He would prob­a­bly be con­vict­ed, accord­ing to the legal author­i­ties. For­tu­nate­ly, a bene­fac­tor came to his assis­tance and he was released and exon­er­at­ed.

6. Mr. Buchanan then relates some infor­ma­tion that he had just gleaned from the files of the McCor­ma­ck-Dick­stein Com­mit­tee. In those files, he found that the Ham­burg-Ameri­ka Line, one of the most promi­nent of the Bush family’s Nazi busi­ness­es, was financ­ing a Nazi news­pa­per in the Unit­ed States and sup­port­ing the estab­lish­ment of a full-blown Nazi move­ment in this coun­try.

7. Among the most sub­stan­tive­ly inter­est­ing of John’s recent dis­cov­er­ies is the fact that Prescott Bush was an ear­ly financier of the Lib­er­ty League, a domes­tic fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion that was the pri­ma­ry ele­ment in the 1934 fas­cist plot to over­throw Pres­i­dent Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt.

8. The pro­gram reviews a pas­sage from Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile about the Nazis’ prepa­ra­tions for their post­war under­ground revival.

“ . . . Dr. Scheid also affirmed, ‘The ground must now be laid on the finan­cial lev­el for bor­row­ing con­sid­er­able sums from for­eign coun­tries after the war.’ As an exam­ple of the kind of sup­port that had been most use­ful to Ger­many in the past, Dr. Scheid cit­ed the fact that ‘patents for stain­less steel belonged to the Chem­i­cal Foun­da­tion, Inc. New York, and the Krupp Com­pa­ny of Ger­many, joint­ly, and that of the Unit­ed States Steel Cor­po­ra­tion, Carnegie, Illi­nois, Amer­i­can Steel & Wire, Nation­al Tube, etc., were there­by under an oblig­a­tion to work with the Krupp con­cern.’ He also cit­ed the Zeiss Com­pa­ny, the Leica Com­pa­ny, and the Ham­burg-Ameri­ka line as typ­i­cal firms that had been espe­cial­ly effec­tive in pro­tect­ing Ger­man inter­ests abroad. He gave New York address­es to the twelve men.”

(Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Man­ning; Copy­right 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stu­art Inc.; ISBN 0–8184-0309–8; p. 25.)


2 comments for “FTR #481 Interview with John Buchanan”

  1. Now that the gen­er­al top­ic of over­throw­ing the gov­ern­ment is set to dom­i­nate US head­lines for months to come with Trump’s lat­est indict­ment, along with calls for the urgent need to learn these lessons to avoid repeat­ing his­to­ry, it’s worth not­ing that this is also a great time for a col­lec­tive review of all the past such lessons that were nev­er actu­al­ly learned. Like, obvi­ous­ly, all the still unre­solved polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tions of the 1960s. But there’s also the near­ly for­got­ten 1934 Busi­ness Plot against FDR. A plot that has a num­ber of par­al­lels with the Jan­u­ary 6 plot, espe­cial­ly when that plot is rec­og­nized as extend­ing far being Trump’s admin­is­tra­tion and includ­ed the exten­sive sup­port of the Coun­cil for Nation­al Pol­i­cy (CNP)‘s net­work of oper­a­tives.

    And that brings us to the fol­low­ing short 2007 piece in Harpers by Scott Hor­ton that men­tions a then-recent BBC inter­view of John Buchanan dis­cussing the 1934 Busi­ness Plot. This is the same inter­view where Buchanan spec­u­lat­ed that a secret deal arranged between the FDR admin­is­tra­tion and the coup plot­ters after the plot was revealed — where the indus­tri­al­ists would drop their oppo­si­tion to the New Deal in exchange for not being tried for trea­son — was the rea­son the plot was nev­er aggres­sive­ly pur­sued by the gov­ern­ment and press.

    The fol­low­ing Harpers piece does­n’t dis­cuss that aspect of the inter­view. Instead, it men­tions anoth­er fas­ci­nat­ing fun fact about that chap­ter in his­to­ry: while the names of most of the coup plot­ters were kept under wraps, Prescott Bush’s name was one of those that leaked. As Hor­ton notes, this was at the same time that Prescott Bush was deeply involved with the Ham­burg-Amer­i­ca line and the indus­tri­al financ­ing of the Third Reich. So the fam­i­ly with con­nec­tions to almost every intel­li­gence-relat­ed polit­i­cal scan­dal of the 20th cen­tu­ry, was also involved with the 1934 Busi­ness Plot. Because of course.

    It’s a remark­able piece of his­to­ry that is so obscure it’s basi­cal­ly nev­er been for­got­ten because it was nev­er real­ly learned in the first place. That’s part of the sig­nif­i­cance of this short 2007 Harpers report by Scott Hor­ton: it’s one of the only places in print where this remark­able his­to­ry is actu­al­ly laid out, with anoth­er place being Buchanan’s FTR inter­view in Octo­ber 2004 where he dis­cussed Prescot­t’s role as an ear­ly financier of the Lib­er­ty League, the orga­ni­za­tion through which the Busi­ness Plot man­i­fest­ed. But oth­er than that, this incred­i­ble piece of his­to­ry has oth­er­wise nev­er real­ly been dis­cussed. So with Amer­i­ca’s his­to­ry of coup attempts — or coup suc­cess­es in the case of JFK’s assas­si­na­tion — it seems like now might be a good time for Amer­i­ca to final­ly actu­al­ly learn about how Prescott Bush — one of the most sig­nif­i­cant polit­i­cal fig­ures in the 20th cen­tu­ry — staged a failed coup attempt, got away with it, and went on to build one of the most pow­er­ful polit­i­cal dynas­ties in the his­to­ry of coun­try:


    1934: The Plot Against Amer­i­ca

    by Scott Hor­ton
    July 23, 2007

    I’m back from the land of heather and this­tles, not to men­tion wee drams and luke­warm ale, but on my way out a friend at the BBC alert­ed me to this, a not-to-miss pro­gram on the BBC this morn­ing, acces­si­ble over the next sev­er­al days by inter­net. It’s the sto­ry of the Plot Against Amer­i­ca. I don’t mean the Philip Roth nov­el, nor even the Sin­clair Lewis book, It Can’t Hap­pen Here, but rather the his­tor­i­cal events upon which these two works of fic­tion were based.

    In Novem­ber 1934, fed­er­al inves­ti­ga­tors uncov­ered an amaz­ing plot involv­ing some two dozen senior busi­ness­men, a good many of them Wall Street financiers, to top­ple the gov­ern­ment of the Unit­ed States and install a fas­cist dic­ta­tor­ship. Roth’s nov­el is devel­oped from sev­er­al strands of this fac­tu­al account; he assumed the plot is actu­al­ly car­ried out, where­as in fact an alert FDR shut it down but stopped short of retal­ia­to­ry mea­sures against the plot­ters. A key ele­ment of the plot involved a retired promi­nent gen­er­al who was to have raised a pri­vate army of 500,000 men from unem­ployed vet­er­ans and who blew the whis­tle when he learned more of what the plot entailed. The plot was heav­i­ly fund­ed and well devel­oped and had strong links with fas­cist forces abroad. A sto­ry in the New York Times and sev­er­al oth­er news­pa­pers report­ed on it, and a spe­cial Con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tee was cre­at­ed to con­duct an inves­ti­ga­tion. The records of this com­mit­tee were scrubbed and sealed away in the Nation­al Archives, where they have only recent­ly been made avail­able.

    The Con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tee kept the names of many of the par­tic­i­pants under wraps and no crim­i­nal action was ever brought against them. But a few names have leaked out. And one is Prescott Bush, the grand­fa­ther of the incum­bent pres­i­dent. Prescott Bush was of course deep into the busi­ness of the Ham­burg-Amer­i­ca Lines, and had tight rela­tions through­out this peri­od with the new Gov­ern­ment that had come to pow­er in Ger­many a year ear­li­er under Chan­cel­lor Aldoph Hitler. It appears that Bush was to have formed a key liai­son for the group with the new Ger­man gov­ern­ment.


    The Plot Against Amer­i­ca por­trayed in this episode of the BBC series “Doc­u­ment” gives fas­ci­nat­ing insight into a dark and lit­tle known piece of Amer­i­can his­to­ry in which the nation stood on the brink of betray­al. The role of the most pow­er­ful polit­i­cal dynas­tic fam­i­ly in the nation’s his­to­ry in this whole affair is shock­ing.


    “1934: The Plot Against Amer­i­ca” by Scott Hor­ton; Harpers; 07/23/2007

    “The Con­gres­sion­al com­mit­tee kept the names of many of the par­tic­i­pants under wraps and no crim­i­nal action was ever brought against them. But a few names have leaked out. And one is Prescott Bush, the grand­fa­ther of the incum­bent pres­i­dent. Prescott Bush was of course deep into the busi­ness of the Ham­burg-Amer­i­ca Lines, and had tight rela­tions through­out this peri­od with the new Gov­ern­ment that had come to pow­er in Ger­many a year ear­li­er under Chan­cel­lor Aldoph Hitler. It appears that Bush was to have formed a key liai­son for the group with the new Ger­man gov­ern­ment.”

    It seems like the kind of his­to­ry that could cap­ti­vate Amer­i­can audi­ences. And yet, some­how, these incred­i­ble his­toric details were just com­plete­ly ignored. Don’t for­get that Prescot­t’s grand­son was pres­i­dent in 2007, when Buchanan gave that BBC inter­view. How was this not big­ger news? Who knows how Amer­i­can failed to absorb this infor­ma­tion, but it hap­pened. So, while the line between ‘bet­ter lat­er than nev­er’ and ‘too late’ can be fuzzy at times, in the spir­it of ‘bet­ter lat­er than nev­er’ it’s going to be worth keep­ing in mind that this for­got­ten his­to­ry is still extreme­ly rel­e­vant his­to­ry. Arguably more rel­e­vant than ever now that we’ve allowed that his­to­ry to fes­ter in secret for a few gen­er­a­tions.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | August 3, 2023, 4:32 pm
  2. @Pterrafractyl–

    The late Jules Archer men­tioned Prescott Bush, Sr.‘s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the coup plot in FTR#602.


    Keep up the great work!



    Posted by Dave Emory | August 3, 2023, 4:56 pm

Post a comment