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For The Record  

FTR#1226 and FTR#1227 Microcosm, Parts 1 and 2

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­­­FTR#1226 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

FTR#1227 This pro­gram was record­ed in one, 60-minute seg­ment.

NB: This descrip­tion con­tains mate­r­i­al which was not con­tained in the orig­i­nal pro­gram.

Intro­duc­tion: With the world demon­strat­ing all-encom­pass­ing dis­po­si­tion­al insta­bil­i­ty on numer­ous fronts, these pro­grams high­light the career of the late–alleged “liberal”–Luis Kut­ner, as a micro­cosm of con­tem­po­rary polit­i­cal and his­tor­i­cal man­i­fes­ta­tion.

In addi­tion to his work on behalf of the Dalai Lama and Ezra Pound, Kut­ner:

  1. Worked with the Chica­go Mob.
  2. Net­worked with Jack Ruby.
  3. Was involved with attempts at recruit­ing ele­ments of the mob to kill Fidel Cas­tro.
  4. Net­worked with the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations and Yaroslav Stet­sko.
  5. Net­worked with the Infor­ma­tion Coun­cil of the Amer­i­c­as.
  6. Front­ed for Moi­se Tshombe.
  7. Worked in tan­dem with ele­ments of what appeared to have been CIA in an ear­ly man­i­fes­ta­tion of attempts at replac­ing Chi­ang Kai-shek with some­one less embar­rass­ing.
  8. Was involved in the betray­al of Fred Hamp­ton.
  9. Was car­ry­ing water for Raoul Wal­len­berg–OSS agent and liai­son agent for SS gen­er­al Karl Wolff.

This descrip­tion also con­tains mate­r­i­al about Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al’s work on behalf of the Pinochet regime in Chile and its role in rein­forc­ing the canard about Iraqi troops dis­con­nect­ing Iraqi babies from life-sup­port sys­tems dur­ing the run-up to the first Gulf War.

1a. The pro­gram opens with dis­cus­sion of Tai­wanese inter­ven­tion in the “Hong Kong Op, 

“US Backs Xeno­pho­bia, Mob Vio­lence in Hong Kong” by Dan Cohen [The Gray Zone]; Con­sor­tium News, 8/19/2019.

. . . . While dump­ing mon­ey into the Hong Kong’s pro‑U.S. polit­i­cal camp in 2013, Lai trav­eled to Tai­wan for a secret round­table con­sul­ta­tion with Shih Ming-teh, a key fig­ure in Taiwan’s social move­ment that forced then-pres­i­dent Chen Shui-bian to resign in 2008. Shih report­ed­ly instruct­ed Lai on non-vio­lent tac­tics to bring the gov­ern­ment to heel, empha­siz­ing the impor­tance of a com­mit­ment to go to jail. 

Accord­ing to jour­nal­ist Peter Lee, “Shih sup­pos­ed­ly gave Lai advice on putting stu­dents, young girls, and moth­ers with chil­dren in the van­guard of the street protests, in order to attract the sup­port of the inter­na­tion­al com­mu­ni­ty and press, and to sus­tain the move­ment with con­tin­u­al activ­i­ties to keep it dynam­ic and fresh.” Lai report­ed­ly turned off his record­ing device dur­ing mul­ti­ple sec­tions of Shih’s tuto­r­i­al.

One pro­test­er explained to The New York Times how the move­ment attempt­ed to embrace a strat­e­gy called, “Mar­gin­al Vio­lence The­o­ry:” By using “mild force” to pro­voke secu­ri­ty ser­vices into attack­ing the pro­test­ers, the pro­test­ers aimed to shift inter­na­tion­al sym­pa­thy away from the state. . . .

1b. “Luis Kut­ner; ” Wikipedia.org

. . . . He also helped free Hun­gar­i­an Car­di­nal József Mind­szen­ty, Amer­i­can fas­cist poet Ezra Pound, for­mer Con­go Pres­i­dent Moi­se Tshombe and rep­re­sent­ed the Dalai Lama and Tibet. Kut­ner is wide­ly known as one of the most promi­nent human-rights attor­neys of the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry. . . .

. . . . Declas­si­fied records show that Kut­ner had a his­to­ry of col­lu­sion with the FBI and the CIA.[1] In 1969, he report­ed Fred Hamp­ton to the FBI in the days lead­ing to Hamp­ton’s death at the hands of the Chica­go Police.[13] In 1973, he peti­tioned the CIA for $250k to set up an NGO in Bei­jing, in return let­ting the agency “staff it com­plete­ly with our own peo­ple.” . . .

2. “Luis Kut­ner: The Declas­si­fied Life of a Human Rights Icon” by David Giglio, ourhiddenhistory.org; 4/28/2019.

Human rights icon, mob lawyer, and “co-founder of Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al.” A “pub­lic­i­ty hound,” a “vain, ego­tis­ti­cal trou­ble mak­er,” and a wannabe CIA con­spir­a­tor. A poet, an asso­ciate of Jack Ruby, and a “Friend” of J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI.

Such was the com­pli­cat­ed life of a famous cold war-era human rights lawyer, Luis Kut­ner. . . .

. . . . Kunter’s rep­u­ta­tion began to grow—especially as he began to take on more inter­na­tion­al cas­es. These cas­es tend­ed to (though not always) deal with pris­on­ers held in the East­ern Bloc or in the new­ly inde­pen­dent coun­tries of the non-aligned world. Such cas­es, for obvi­ous rea­sons, were most attrac­tive to the U.S. press.

Kut­ner worked on the case of József Car­di­nal Mind­szen­ty, a Hun­gar­i­an priest whose sto­ry became a cen­ter­piece of anti-com­mu­nist pro­pa­gan­da in the west. Mindszenty’s “glazed over” look at his tri­al would become the CIA’s excuse to embark on MK/ULTRA exper­i­men­ta­tion.6

In 1958, he helped free the fas­cist poet Ezra Pound. Kut­ner claimed that, upon release, Pound asked him if he was Jew­ish and then spat in his face.7

He is list­ed in sev­er­al obit­u­ar­ies, includ­ing in the New York Times and the Chica­go Tri­bune, as “co-founder of Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al.”8 This is almost cer­tain­ly an exag­ger­a­tion. His papers from the peri­od do show a close cor­re­spon­dence with Peter Benen­son,9 Amnesty’s “oth­er” co-founder. These let­ters date from the ear­ly days of the orga­ni­za­tion (then called “Appeal for Amnesty”). But they also seem to indi­cate that he and Benen­son met only after its cre­ation. Kut­ner did, though, serve on the Nation­al Advi­so­ry Coun­cil of the organization’s U.S. branch. . . .

. . . . An exam­i­na­tion of declas­si­fied gov­ern­ment doc­u­ments only adds to the con­tro­ver­sy. They reveal Luis Kutner’s many hid­den inter­ac­tions with the FBI, the CIA, and the mafia under­world.10 The record of his asso­ci­a­tion with var­i­ous far-right fig­ures is also includ­ed. They even reveal the vio­lent efforts of a ter­ror­ist group he defend­ed under the guise of “human rights.”. . .

. . . . “On the Fringes of the Chica­go Mob”

Accord­ing to the Chica­go His­tor­i­cal Soci­ety who keep part of his papers, Kut­ner was “on the fringes of the Chica­go mob” in his youth.15 This brought Kut­ner into con­tact with one “Sparky” Ruben­stein16 — more famil­iar­ly known to his­to­ry as Jack Ruby. Ruben­stein was just three years Kutner’s junior and also a hang­er-on of Chicago’s West Side gangs.

Both remained tied to the mob in one way or anoth­er in the fol­low­ing years. Ruby moved to Dal­las to help the Chica­go mob expand its rack­ets in the city. Kut­ner stayed in Chica­go to prac­tice law, count­ing mob fig­ures among his clients. And dur­ing this peri­od, they appar­ent­ly did not lose touch.

In the ear­ly 1950s, a Sen­ate com­mit­tee known as the Kefau­ver Com­mit­tee was inves­ti­gat­ing the pow­er of orga­nized crime in the Unit­ed States. Kut­ner made nation­al news for his rep­re­sen­ta­tion of two men in front of the com­mit­tee: Har­ry Rus­sell, a Chica­go book­ie who worked for the Capone gang, and William Drury, a for­mer police offi­cer. Drury was called to tes­ti­fy17 against a cor­rupt Repub­li­can can­di­date for Sheriff—but he was mur­dered before he could tes­ti­fy.

But one impor­tant event didn’t make the news at the time—it would rather become famous in the wake of the mur­der of Pres­i­dent John F. Kennedy. Kut­ner had act­ed as an inter­me­di­ary between his old acquain­tance, Jack Ruby, and the Sen­ate com­mit­tee.

Accord­ing to Kut­ner, he con­nect­ed Ruby with the committee’s Chief Coun­sel, Rudolph Hal­ley. Kut­ner described Ruby’s goal as becom­ing the mafia’s “pipeline” into the com­mis­sion.18 Ruby’s appar­ent goal was to steer the com­mit­tee away from tak­ing its inves­ti­ga­tion to Dal­las.19

Though there’s no evi­dence that Jack Ruby’s influ­ence had any effect, Kefau­ver did not end up tak­ing his inves­ti­ga­to­ry road show to Dal­las. Kefau­ver actu­al­ly com­pli­ment­ed20 a police rep­re­sen­ta­tive for the Texas city “for catch­ing [orga­nized crime] before it got start­ed down in Dal­las.”

The facts in Dal­las were a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent — the city had a steadi­ly grow­ing under­world and bur­geon­ing drugs trade. With­in a few years, anoth­er Sen­ate inves­ti­ga­tion would put Dal­las in the top tier21 of U.S. cities for nar­cotics traf­fick­ing.

It is per­haps impor­tant to note that Kut­ner wasn’t just rep­re­sent­ing oth­ers in front of the Kefau­ver Committee—he was also called upon to defend him­self from seri­ous accu­sa­tions. Specif­i­cal­ly, he was forced to deny reports that he had “obtained $60,000 from rack­e­teers by false­ly claim­ing he could ‘fix’ the Sen­ate Com­mit­tee.”22

At some point in the ensu­ing years, Kut­ner became an FBI infor­mant. List­ed by the Bureau as sym­bol infor­mant CG 5973‑C,23 Kut­ner report­ed on the activ­i­ties24 of Chica­go mob “fix­er” Gus Alex and his lawyer, Sid­ney Kor­shak. Kor­shak would lat­er famous­ly become a focus of a New York Times inves­ti­ga­tion lead by Sey­mour Hersh.25

CIA, The Mafia and the Plots to Kill Castro

Kut­ner first became involved in inter­na­tion­al intrigues26 in 1960 when he act­ed as an emis­sary for two major mafia fig­ures to the FBI. Kut­ner car­ried an offer to elim­i­nate Cuban leader Fidel Cas­tro to the FBI.

The two mob boss­es were Nor­man Roth­man and Sam Man­nar­i­no. Man­nar­i­no ran the rack­ets in Pitts­burg, and Roth­man had run mafia casi­nos in Batista’s Cuba. Kut­ner was Rothman’s attor­ney while the two gang­sters were out on bond, await­ing sen­tenc­ing for a recent fed­er­al con­vic­tion. A jury had found them guilty on two impor­tant counts: a 1958 theft of weapons27 from an Ohio Nation­al Guard Armory, and neu­tral­i­ty act vio­la­tions for attempt­ing to get the stolen weapons to Cuba.

An FBI memo28 describes the events of May 9th, 1960. Seek­ing a lighter sen­tence for his client, Kut­ner walked into the office of the Assis­tant U.S. Attor­ney and advised offi­cials there of the fol­low­ing:

[Roth­man] has been a close per­son­al friend of Ful­gen­cio Batista, and and is one of the few per­sons trust­ed by Batista… in fact he, Roth­man, dur­ing the time Batista was in pow­er, was in charge of all gam­bling in Cuba. Hav­ing known Batista as well as he claims and being aware of his cur­rent activ­i­ties and also rev­o­lu­tion­ary activ­i­ties he is in a posi­tion to know what may hap­pen in Cuba in the future. As a mat­ter of fact, he claims to be able to “deliv­er Cas­tro to the Unit­ed States cause or cause Cas­tro to be wiped out”. Roth­man like­wise claims an acquain­tance­ship with Cas­tro. (Empha­sis added)

The response of the FBI was to ask Kutner’s coop­er­a­tion to “deter­mine specif­i­cal­ly what infor­ma­tion Nor­man Roth­man might have, which might be of inter­est to the Bureau or any oth­er Gov­ern­ment agency.” (Empha­sis added)

In 1975, when the Church Com­mit­tee made the first offi­cial expo­sures of com­bined CIA/mafia efforts to assas­si­nate Fidel Cas­tro,29 they pin­point­ed the first plot­ting as start­ing in August of 1960—just a few months fol­low­ing Rothman’s offer.

But while the Church Committee’s sto­ry begins with the rela­tion­ship between the CIA, Howard Hugh­es, attor­ney Robert Maheu, and Las Vegas gang­ster John­ny Rosel­li, a 1975 New York News inves­ti­ga­tion30 starts some­what ear­li­er. It appears to fill in the inter­ven­ing months and places Roth­man at the cen­ter of the ear­ly plot­ting.

“Roth­man was in touch with sev­er­al CIA agents,” a for­mer agent said. “They had many meet­ings con­cern­ing assas­si­na­tion plots against Cas­tro.”

Roth­man in turn dis­cussed the mat­ter with his peers… among those who took part in these par­leys, reli­able sources said, were San­to Traf­fi­cante of Tam­pa, and Sam Man­nar­i­no of Pitts­burgh… the mob and CIA final­ly gave [the con­tract] to [John­ny] Rosel­li, reput­ed boss of Las Vegas, fed­er­al sources said. And Rosel­li agreed to recruit a death squad to hunt Cas­tro.

From the time­line, it appears that the offer Kut­ner car­ried was accept­ed.

It is worth not­ing that Jack Ruby’s report­ed Cuban gun-run­ning also coin­cides with the same peri­od as Roth­man and Mannarino’s. Fur­ther, Ruby’s friend, Lewis McWillie,31 man­aged one of Rothman’s Havana casi­nos.32 

Rothman’s attempts to inter­vene in inter­na­tion­al pol­i­tics didn’t end in 1960—and as we’ll soon see, nei­ther did Kutner’s. FBI files impli­cate Roth­man as a part­ner in a plan to over­throw the Guatemalan gov­ern­ment in 1965.33 Weapons for the effort were pro­vid­ed by CIA agent and anti-Cas­tro Cuban fight­er Luis Posa­da Car­riles. Posa­da would lat­er become infa­mous for his role in the ter­ror bomb­ing of Cubana Air­lines flight 455, which killed all 73 peo­ple on board.

Through 1961, Kut­ner con­tin­ued his role as an FBI crim­i­nal infor­mant, but was dropped by the FBI for pro­vid­ing dubi­ous infor­ma­tion on the mafia’s pil­fer­age along the New York water­front. The FBI deter­mined that Kutner’s infor­ma­tion was sub­stan­ti­at­ed “only by Kutner’s own opin­ion and belief.”34

Some­time in the ear­ly 1960s, Kut­ner became Guatemala’s Con­sul Gen­er­al for the city of Chica­go. Why Guatemala would give him this hon­or is unclear, but the coun­try did play an impor­tant role in the war against Cuba. Since before the Bay of Pigs oper­a­tion, it was a key base35 for CIA, mafia, and Cuban exile attacks on Cuba. Addi­tion­al­ly, a 1966 FBI memo36 indi­cat­ed that Chica­go mob­ster Sam Gian­cana had a home in Guatemala. While act­ing as a con­sular offi­cial for the Guatemalan mil­i­tary gov­ern­ment in the Unit­ed States, Kut­ner would have been able to pro­vide impor­tant ser­vices for trav­el­ers between the coun­tries.

Whether Kut­ner con­tin­ued his medi­a­tion between his mafia clients and the CIA dur­ing the peri­od is unknown. But by 1963, Kut­ner felt self-assured enough to approach the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency for clan­des­tine fund­ing.

A CIA Staffed Newspaper

In 1963, Kut­ner embarked on a pub­lish­ing venture—a news­pa­per called the Yugoslav Her­ald. The paper would be aimed at the Midwest’s large South­ern Slav pop­u­la­tion.

A memo between the CIA and their liai­son with the FBI37 notes a remark­able fact: Kut­ner had request­ed CIA finan­cial sup­port for the paper. In return, Kut­ner offered the CIA a hand in choos­ing the newspaper’s man­ag­ing edi­tor. . . .

. . . . It was just a few months pri­or that Kut­ner had become pub­licly involved with a group called the Anti-Bol­she­vik Bloc of Nations (ABN). The ABN was cre­at­ed dur­ing the Sec­ond World War by ultra-nation­al­ist Ukraini­ans who had col­lab­o­rat­ed with the Nazis. There was a sub­stan­tial crossover between the group which had start­ed the ABN and groups that had com­mit­ted war crimes and par­tic­i­pat­ed in the Nazi’s geno­ci­dal mil­i­tary cam­paign inside the USSR. The ABN became asso­ci­at­ed with U.S. intel­li­gence in 1945 when Gen­er­al Rein­hard Gehlen deliv­ered the Nazi’s East­ern Front intel­li­gence appa­ra­tus to the U.S. Army.

Kut­ner had met with the ABN’s Pres­i­dent,38 Yaroslav Stet­sko, in March of 1963. That sum­mer, he was a promi­nent speak­er39 at one of the ABN’s “Cap­tive Nations Week” events.

Like­ly the ABN lead­er­ship felt that Kut­ner pro­vid­ed them with the lib­er­al cov­er of a “Nobel Prize nom­i­nee” and the abil­i­ty to deflect charges of anti-semi­tism. Kut­ner seemed to move with ease between groups found­ed by Nazi-aligned war crim­i­nals to groups that were ded­i­cat­ed, in part, to the extra­di­tion of Nazi war crim­i­nals.40  . . . . 

. . . .Old Associates—Jack Ruby and Luis Kutner

After Jack Ruby mur­dered Lee Har­vey Oswald in the pres­ence of over 70 Dal­las police offi­cers, the U.S. press turned to Kut­ner for infor­ma­tion on his old asso­ciate. Kutner’s state­ments appeared in sev­er­al news­pa­per arti­cles. For the most part, his state­ments cen­tered around his inter­ac­tions with Ruby and the Kefau­ver com­mis­sion as dis­cussed above, but he also filled in some blanks on Ruby’s ties with the Chica­go mob. This includ­ed, accord­ing to Kut­ner, links to the lieu­tenants of Team­sters Pres­i­dent Jim­my Hof­fa.

All of Kutner’s infor­ma­tion would be large­ly ignored by the War­ren Com­mis­sion who told the coun­try, with­out irony, that Jack Ruby was just a sec­ond “lone nut,” Kutner’s pic­ture of Ruby would come much clos­er to the revi­sions that the House Select Com­mit­tee on Assas­si­na­tions made to the his­tor­i­cal record in the late 1970s.

In a 1978 inter­view48 on a Cana­di­an tele­vi­sion show, Kut­ner point­ed to a con­spir­a­cy by giv­ing his opin­ion that Ruby would not have killed Oswald with­out being pressed into it:

I say it again and I say this with pos­i­tive con­vic­tion that Jack Ruby, or Sparky Ruben­stein, was total­ly inca­pable of that kind of an aggres­sive deci­sion and doing it so open­ly and so delib­er­ate­ly.


I would say enor­mous pres­sure, had to be enor­mous pres­sure. But if he did this job they would stand by him and get him out of this mess. That is a rea­son­able con­sid­ered and informed con­clu­sion, I could be in many schools of thought but he was not the man to do it on him own ini­tia­tive.

Authors Peter Dale Scott and William W. Turn­er have both touched on the fact that Kut­ner made an appear­ance at an Infor­ma­tion Coun­cil of the America’s (INCA) “Nation­al Citizen’s Con­gress” event in 1969. INCA was a far-right anti-com­mu­nist group who could count among its sup­port­ers’ Nicaraguan dic­ta­tor Anas­ta­sio Somoza49 and Guatemalan gen­er­al and one of the plot­ters of the 1954 coup, Gen­er­al Miguel Ydig­o­ras Fuentes.50 INCA was found­ed by Ed Butler—the man who famous­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in a radio debate with the Lee Har­vey Oswald just months before the assas­si­na­tion in Dal­las.

These far-right activists billed Kut­ner as a “mod­er­ate” and put up to debate rad­i­cal New Left lawyer William Kun­stler. INCA’s Nation­al Pro­duc­er at that time was one Lee Edwards, a far-right pro­mot­er who Kut­ner would work with close­ly with­in the com­ing years.

“The Worst African Ever Born”

In 1967, sav­ing the life of an African leader, Moi­se Tshombe, became a cause among America’s far-right51—and Kut­ner was at the cen­ter of the efforts. Here, he would find him­self in alliance with high-pow­ered politi­cians, like Sen­a­tors Strom Thur­mond and Thomas Dodd, as well as with con­ser­v­a­tive activists like Mar­vin Lieb­man and William F. Buck­ley.

Tshombe came to inter­na­tion­al promi­nence in 1960 dur­ing the “Con­go cri­sis.” Almost imme­di­ate­ly fol­low­ing the country’s inde­pen­dence from Bel­gium, Tshombe—backed by Bel­gian para­troop­ers and mil­lions of dol­lars from Bel­gian min­ing companies—split the Katan­ga province from the rest of the coun­try. The area was, by far, the most resource-rich in the coun­try and was the home to the min­ing com­pa­nies which were back­ing the suc­ces­sion. With­in six months, Congo’s inde­pen­dence leader Patrice Lumumba—a sym­bol of ris­ing African nationalism—would be sent to Tshombe’s pseu­do-statelet and mur­dered. . . .

. . . . A World-wide Human Rights Organization—Funded by CIA

As men­tioned above, Kut­ner made anoth­er pass at Agency spon­sor­ship in the mid­dle of the Tshombe affair. He con­tact­ed two CIA offi­cers about turn­ing World Habeas Cor­pus into some­thing con­sid­er­ably more sol­id than a legal con­cept. The two offi­cials were a Domes­tic Con­tact Divi­sion offi­cer named R.K. Oak­ley and the CIA’s Gen­er­al Coun­sel, Lawrence Hous­ton.

CIA was inter­est­ed enough in Kut­ner that the CIA’s top lawyer agreed to a lunch meet­ing. For some rea­son, before the lunch took place, Kut­ner called Oak­ley. Accord­ing to CIA doc­u­ments, Kut­ner asked the agency to fund his “World Habeas Cor­pus Cen­ters,”66 which he hoped, with CIA back­ing, could be estab­lished around the world.

Kut­ner attempt­ed to entice CIA with a pro­pos­al which cel­e­brat­ed the tough stand on human rights in com­mu­nist coun­tries tak­en by a “human rights” con­fer­ence held in the cap­i­tal of one of the most repres­sive cold war tor­ture states—the U.S.-backed Shah’s Iran. It is an irony sur­passed only by, per­haps, the idea of a world­wide arch­i­pel­ago of CIA-backed “human rights” cen­ters.

The CIA saw the pro­pa­gan­da val­ue in such an orga­ni­za­tion, but Oak­ley told Kut­ner that the orga­ni­za­tion would prob­a­bly harm the project more than help it.

[Domes­tic Con­tact Divi­sion] Oak­ley did not absolute­ly rule out con­tact because it appears Kut­ner might have some­thing worth­while if he will some­how elim­i­nate his con­spir­a­to­r­i­al urge…

Kut­ner, for his part, repeat­ed that CIA-back­ing would be “very help­ful.” . . . .

. . . . Human Rights, Ter­ror­ism, and Assas­si­na­tion

As Nixon planned to cement a rela­tion­ship with the People’s Repub­lic of Chi­na and the PRC moved clos­er to secur­ing its seat at the Unit­ed Nations, rela­tions between the U.S.A and its old allies in Tai­wan began to strain. It was a rela­tion­ship that had appeared to have lit­tle to rec­om­mend it out­side of the shared U.S./ROC oppo­si­tion to rev­o­lu­tion­ary Chi­na. The CIA sup­port­ed at least one coup plot77 against the country’s leader, Chi­ang Kai-shek.

The resent­ment of native Tai­wanese was also grow­ing. The island’s pre-1949 inhab­i­tants made up the vast major­i­ty of the pop­u­la­tion and had now been liv­ing under twen­ty years of mar­tial law imposed by main­land exiles. A nec­es­sar­i­ly secret oppo­si­tion to one-par­ty Kuom­intang rule devel­oped. Gov­ern­ments on both sides78 of the Tai­wan strait sus­pect­ed that the Unit­ed States was encour­ag­ing such groups. It may well have been true—exchanging the elder­ly Chi­ang and his small group of main­lan­ders for a new gov­ern­ment with broad sup­port appealed to many in and out of the U.S. gov­ern­ment. Just so long as the new gov­ern­ment was staunch­ly anti-com­mu­nist.

On the island itself, the Tai­wan Inde­pen­dence Move­ment became the cen­tral orga­ni­za­tion for native Tai­wanese activism.79 The FBI described the group as “ded­i­cat­ed to the over­throw of the present Chi­nat [Chi­nese Nation­al­ist] gov­ern­ment”80 on the island.

A glob­al move­ment for Tai­wanese (For­mosan) inde­pen­dence also developed—especially in the Unit­ed States. The main group­ing in the U.S. was known as Unit­ed For­mosans in Amer­i­ca for Inde­pen­dence (UFAI). By 1970, all of the Tai­wanese inde­pen­dence groups around the world had formed an umbrel­la orga­ni­za­tion. That group called itself World Unit­ed For­mosans for Inde­pen­dence (WUF).

On April 24, 1970, a black lim­ou­sine car­ry­ing the Vice Pre­miere of Tai­wan pulled up to New York City’s lux­u­ri­ous Plaza Hotel. Chi­ang Ching-kuo, the son of Kuom­intang leader Chi­ang Kai-shek, had come to New York on the sec­ond stop of an offi­cial vis­it to the Unit­ed States. His vis­it to the city was espe­cial­ly con­tentious because New York had become the heart of the over­seas For­mosan stu­dent move­ment.

In front of the hotel, the WUF demon­strat­ed against the younger Chiang’s vis­it. As the Vice Pre­miere exit­ed his car in front of the hotel, one of the demon­stra­tors rushed towards him and fired a pis­tol. The assassin’s shot missed, and he was quick­ly wres­tled to the ground by New York City police and Chiang’s body­guards. In the scuf­fle that ensued, anoth­er mem­ber of the group leaped into the scuf­fle and both were arrest­ed.

An FBI report con­firmed both men’s mem­ber­ship in the WUF. The infor­ma­tion came from a leader of the group, one Chen Lung Chu.81 A close cor­re­spon­dent with Kut­ner, he had gone into the FBI office in New Haven, Con­necti­cut and iden­ti­fied both of the assas­sins as mem­bers of the WUF. He did so, though, in order to stress to the FBI that the assas­si­na­tion attempt “was in no way asso­ci­at­ed with the work of the orga­ni­za­tion.”

It seems that the group was enough asso­ci­at­ed with the assas­si­na­tion that their lawyer Kut­ner would be called on to defend the attack­ers82 in court.

Was this sim­ply a case of Kut­ner, a lawyer for an oth­er­wise peace­ful group, tak­ing on the defense of two out-of-con­trol mem­bers who had engaged in a ter­ror­ist act? Two declas­si­fied doc­u­ments, one with­held from release83 for decades by the Defense Intel­li­gence Agency, add con­sid­er­ably more to the sto­ry.84

A Defense Intel­li­gence Agency spe­cial­ist, Richard Hen­nighausen, received a let­ter filled with vio­lent rhetoric from an acquain­tance of his, one Eric Lin. Impor­tant­ly, Lin (in one of his numer­ous let­ters print­ed in the Chica­go Tri­bune85) iden­ti­fied him­self in 197386 as the Pub­lic Infor­ma­tion offi­cer of the WUF.

The admis­sions in the let­ter appar­ent­ly spooked the DIA employ­ee suf­fi­cient­ly that he went to his supe­ri­ors to tell them what he knew, pre­sum­ably to avoid get­ting impli­cat­ed in any sort of crime him­self.

The FBI saw Lin’s let­ter as an appar­ent attempt to recruit Hen­nighausen87 to the WUF and the Tai­wan Inde­pen­dence Move­ment. In his let­ter, Lin stat­ed that he had stalked Chi­ang Ching-Kuo in Wash­ing­ton D.C. along­side the assas­sins who lat­er made their attempt in front of the Plaza Hotel.

Lin then invit­ed Hen­nighausen to Chica­go to “assist the For­mosan group and that they might dis­cuss the secret plans of the For­mosan group.” Includ­ed in the let­ter were Xerox copies of news releas­es from World Unit­ed For­mosans on which Kutner’s name and Chica­go address were print­ed.

A CIA memo from August 197088 makes clear Kutner’s involve­ment in clan­des­tine plans in sup­port of Tai­wanese inde­pen­dence.

The memo con­tains a let­ter, which describes how Kut­ner approached one Robert Flem­ing. Flem­ing was the Vice Pres­i­dent of a com­pa­ny called the Mid-Amer­i­ca Inter­na­tion­al Devel­op­ment Asso­ci­a­tion (MIDA). It is impor­tant to note that the Chica­go-based MIDA was undoubt­ed­ly asso­ci­at­ed with the Cen­tral Intel­li­gence Agency. Found­ed by Thomas H. Min­er, MIDA worked under U.S.AID con­tracts in Africa. U.S.AID is a gov­ern­ment agency which has been well-known for its util­i­ty as a CIA front. Anoth­er of Miner’s com­pa­nies was list­ed in Philip Agee’s explo­sive Inside the Com­pa­ny: CIA Diary as hav­ing been used for CIA cov­er, and Min­er him­self was called “The CIA’s Chica­go Front Man”89 in a fas­ci­nat­ing 1979 arti­cle by Thomas J. Dolan of the Chica­go Read­er.90

This was the milieu to whom Kut­ner approached with his remark­able offer: the over­throw of Taiwan’s Kuom­intang gov­ern­ment.

[Kut­ner] indi­cat­ed he rep­re­sent­ed a group will­ing to [illeg­i­ble] a hand­some return to any­one invest­ing $20,000,000 which they require to over­throw the Tai­wan gov­ern­ment.

Flem­ing “hasti­ly declined” the offer, though he did engage Kut­ner for fur­ther infor­ma­tion on anoth­er of Kutner’s “projects” in Africa. Though the memo is unfor­tu­nate­ly par­tial­ly illeg­i­ble, Kutner’s oth­er offer in some way involved the Ghana­ian gov­ern­ment of Dr. Kofi Abre­fa Busia. Busia (who would him­self be over­thrown) had been an offi­cial in the mil­i­tary coup gov­ern­ment which had over­thrown Ghana’s social­ist leader, Kwame Nkrumah.

Though, in August, Kut­ner covert­ly approached a CIA-linked com­pa­ny for regime change cash, by Octo­ber he was again the human rights cru­sad­er. Kut­ner once again made the papers, this time as the coun­sel for Peng Ming-min,91 the leader of the Tai­wan Inde­pen­dence Move­ment.92

Clear­ly, Luis Kut­ner had no prob­lems being asso­ci­at­ed with groups engaged in violence—whether that meant an assas­si­na­tion on the streets of New York or the CIA-spon­sored over­throw of a gov­ern­ment on the oth­er side of the globe. . . .

. . . . Still at it—Kutner Invites the CIA to Bei­jing

A Jan­u­ary 31st, 1973 CIA memo doc­u­ments anoth­er aston­ish­ing offer.108

Kut­ner claimed a “close” rela­tion­ship with the U.S.-toppled neu­tral­ist King of Cam­bo­dia, Norodom Sihanouk. Sihanouk was then in exile in the People’s Repub­lic of Chi­na. Appar­ent­ly, through the King, Kut­ner claimed that he was going to be allowed to open an office of World Habeas Cor­pus in the Chi­nese cap­i­tal. Appar­ent­ly, Kut­ner was still attempt­ing to real­ize the scheme he had approached the CIA about in 1968.

Kutner’s offer, as stat­ed by the CIA, was sim­ple enough:

…the [Bei­jing] office could be set up for $250,000. If we wish to fur­nish that sum, [Kut­ner] would open the office for us and allow us to staff it com­plete­ly with our own peo­ple (Empha­sis added).

The CIA offi­cer ends his memo by request­ing advice from the Chiefs of both Viet­nam and Chi­na Oper­a­tions as to whether they have any inter­est in fol­low­ing up on the offer. Unfor­tu­nate­ly the response, if any, isn’t in the avail­able record. . . .

Amnesty International, the CIA, and Chile

Though Kut­ner may have been a pret­ty poor self-styled secret agent, his case does raise impor­tant ques­tions about the con­flict­ing covert and overt behav­ior those who have giv­en the unim­pugnable moniker of “human rights defend­er”.

The ques­tion becomes more impor­tant when con­sid­er­ing large orga­ni­za­tions with a world­wide pres­ence like Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al. There is no doubt that such groups can do vital, polit­i­cal­ly unbi­ased work on issues of human rights. But there is plen­ty of space for manip­u­la­tion and mis­in­for­ma­tion to make its way into their nar­ra­tives as well—whether it comes from inside or out­side the group.

A shock­ing exam­ple of such dis­in­for­ma­tion came dur­ing the lead up to the 1991 Gulf War. In a sto­ry which belongs in the annals of infamy along­side “the huns are cut­ting off the hands of Bel­gian babies,” Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al set off a firestorm of jin­go­is­tic anger when it “con­firmed” the mur­der of hun­dreds of Kuwaiti incu­ba­tor babies109 by Iraqi troops. But Amnesty soon had to drop its sup­posed ver­i­fi­ca­tion:110 the “incu­ba­tor babies” sto­ry was shown to be a com­plete fabrication—a pub­lic rela­tions ploy to sell a war. Amnesty may have reversed course, but the U.S. mil­i­tary would not.

In the more recent case of 2011 Libya, Amnesty loud­ly demand­ed an inves­ti­ga­tion111 into the claims that Gaddafi’s troops had been giv­en Via­gra and con­doms and urged to use rape as a weapon.112

Unfor­tu­nate­ly for the peo­ple of Libya, NATO’s bombers would not pause for while the facts were pinned down. The results of the inves­ti­ga­tion would come out three months later—at a con­sid­er­ably low­er vol­ume than those of the sala­cious atroc­i­ties. There was no evi­dence113 for the report­ed mass rapes or spe­cif­ic oth­er war crimes which West­ern media had turned into the bloody shirt of Libya inter­ven­tion. All the sto­ries about the rapes were found to have large­ly come from the tes­ti­mo­ny of a sin­gle Libya doc­tor.

Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al may have found the tes­ti­mo­ny to be unre­li­able on sev­er­al occa­sions, but that hasn’t slowed their efforts. Dur­ing Syria’s destruc­tive war, Amnesty found a new way of draw­ing atten­tion to reports of abuse when tes­ti­mo­ny was the only evi­dence avail­able: flashy 3D ani­ma­tions114 which claimed to recre­ate the insides of a “Syr­i­an tor­ture-prison.” These com­put­er graph­ics were shown in major media across the Unit­ed States and Europe. All just in time for Trump admin­is­tra­tion to take over—its devo­tion to his predecessor’s poli­cies towards Dam­as­cus in ques­tion.

Though the exam­ples above all ful­filled U.S. pol­i­cy objec­tives, there’s no direct evi­dence of pres­sure being put on the human rights orga­ni­za­tion by gov­ern­ments or intel­li­gence agen­cies. But declas­si­fied doc­u­ments from 1974 do show a CIA attempt to involve Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al in a scheme to make Chile’s fas­cist Pinochet regime more palat­able to world opin­ion.

In late-1974,115 with crit­i­cism of the Pinochet Regime and the CIA at “dra­mat­ic pro­por­tions,” the CIA sought to exploit an offer made by Gen­er­al Pinochet for a Sovi­et-Chilean pris­on­er swap.

[The pris­on­er swap] is oppor­tu­ni­ty to blunt hos­tile pro­pa­gan­da. If the USSR and Chile can be lumped togeth­er in pop­u­lar mind as each hav­ing polit­i­cal pris­on­ers, the sit­u­a­tion can be exploit­ed to divert some of atten­tion from junta’s sup­posed mis­deeds…

It is worth not­ing here that the “sup­posed mis­deeds”116 of the Pinochet regime have since been found to include, accord­ing to Chile’s truth and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion com­mis­sion, the impris­on­ment, and tor­ture of some 40,000 peo­ple (includ­ing the rape of thou­sands of women), and the mur­der of more than 3,000 more. All this stem­ming from a coup—a coup the CIA had helped to launch.117

Sug­gest [redact­ed] approach DEFLOWER118 to see whether he can get his group inter­est­ed in tak­ing prac­ti­cal steps to get pris­on­ers released from Chilean jun­ta on exchange basis. Per­haps if he can pic­ture him­self as sav­ing the pris­on­ers (com­mu­nist and social­ist lead­ers in Chile and impor­tant intel­lec­tu­als in the USSR) from a fas­cist regime on one hand and from a Stal­in­ist coun­try on the oth­er he can become suf­fi­cient­ly inter­est­ed in the exchange.119

As wor­thy as a release of pris­on­ers might be to those with lib­er­al sen­si­bil­i­ties, the CIA had its own, less altru­is­tic, motives for the plan. A lat­er doc­u­ment,120 also marked “secret,” makes it clear that the real goal of the effort was to shield the CIA and the Pinochet regime from crit­i­cism.

Giv­en per­isha­bil­i­ty ref ideas, request your com­ment on fea­si­bil­i­ty of approach­es to DEFLOWER and Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al as out­lined. Wel­come any oth­er sug­ges­tions on means lim­it fur­ther anti-BKHER­ALD pro­pa­gan­da in rela­tion to Chile and anti-jun­ta pro­pa­gan­da con­nect­ed with treat­ment of polit­i­cal pris­on­ers.

The iden­ti­ty of DE/FLOWER is unknown, but from the con­text, it appears to be a leader of Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al. The fact that a cryptonym was giv­en at all is in itself inter­est­ing. It gen­er­al­ly indi­cates a high­er lev­el of inter­est in a per­son or group by the CIA—or even an asset. Accord­ing to Dr. John New­man, an author and a for­mer mil­i­tary intel­li­gence offi­cer who stud­ies the CIA:

…it does not nec­es­sar­i­ly mean they were assets. In the major­i­ty of instances, they prob­a­bly were assets. But, even then, that doesn’t tell us whether the “asset” was wit­ting or unwit­ting. On many occa­sions, crypts were assigned to per­sons of inter­est sim­ply because they were asso­ci­at­ed with assets or oth­er­wise periph­er­al­ly involved in Agency oper­a­tions.121

Anoth­er heav­i­ly redact­ed doc­u­ment122 shows that the CIA was keep­ing a close watch on the com­po­si­tion of the lead­er­ship of Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al. The CIA felt that a recent change in lead­er­ship might make the group more inclined to put “pres­sure on the Sovi­ets.”

Though there are no doc­u­ments show­ing any­thing more than CIA dis­cussing such an approach, at least two such Chile-USSR pris­on­er swaps did occur123 in the fol­low­ing years. And Amnesty Inter­na­tion­al nego­ti­at­ed the terms. . . .

. . . . After the mid-‘70s, Kut­ner appeared in the news and in the Con­gres­sion­al Record occa­sion­al­ly. He called Carter’s Pana­ma Canal treaty a “poten­tial diplo­mat­ic Pearl Har­bor”125—anoth­er stand for which he would be praised by Sen­a­tor Strom Thur­mond. The year 1981 saw an appar­ent rever­sal of his com­mit­ment to habeas cor­pus when he advised the Swedish gov­ern­ment to detain the crew of a Sovi­et sub­ma­rine126 until the USSR released infor­ma­tion on the 1945 dis­ap­pear­ance of Raoul Wal­len­berg. . . .









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