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Lyndon LaRouche and the Art of Inducing Suicide

The Vir­ginia-based cult leader rant­ed at his Baby Boomer fol­low­ers, the major­i­ty of them Jew­ish, call­ing them worth­less and sug­gest­ing they kill them­selves. One of them did.

By Den­nis King

JULY 30, 2007–Right-wing cult leader and con­vict­ed felon Lyn­don LaRouche is in big trou­ble this summer–not with the FBI this time (at least not yet), but with his own fol­low­ers and many hereto­fore silent ex-fol­low­ers. The source of his prob­lem is a now infa­mous morn­ing brief­ing that emanat­ed from his Lees­burg, Va. head­quar­ters in the ear­ly morn­ing hours of April 11, 2007.

This document–signed by LaRouche assis­tant Tony Papert but clear­ly reflect­ing remarks LaRouche had made at a meet­ing the pre­vi­ous evening–was in some respects just a gar­den-vari­ety tirade in which the 84-year-old LaRouche called the Baby Boomers in his orga­ni­za­tion (those who had joined in the late 1960s and ear­ly 1970s) a pack of deranged, senile, and moral­ly degen­er­ate slack­ers because they had­n’t been rais­ing enough mon­ey to pay for his var­i­ous polit­i­cal projects. How­ev­er, the state­ment also includ­ed some­thing much nas­ti­er than usual–a sug­ges­tion that cer­tain of the Boomers were so burned-out and worth­less that the best solu­tion for them might be to sim­ply com­mit sui­cide.

With­in hours after the brief­ing was sent by email to mem­bers of LaRouche’s Inter­na­tion­al Cau­cus of Labor Com­mit­tees (ICLC) world­wide, Ken­neth Lewis Kro­n­berg, 58, a Jew­ish mem­ber of the orga­ni­za­tion who had been in it for most of his adult life, drove to a high­way over­pass in Ster­ling, Va., exit­ed his car, and jumped to his death.

Kro­n­berg had been the own­er and chief exec­u­tive offi­cer of PMR Print­ing Co., a firm that print­ed most of the cult’s pro­pa­gan­da as well as ser­vic­ing many out­side clients. LaRouche, who spent five years in fed­er­al prison (1989–1994) for con­spir­ing to sell worth­less secu­ri­ties to senior cit­i­zens, had indi­rect­ly con­trolled PMR for almost 30 years through his psy­cho­log­i­cal and ide­o­log­i­cal dom­i­na­tion of Kro­n­berg and oth­er ICLC mem­bers employed by the firm.

LaRouche makes Kro­n­berg his scape­goat

Accord­ing to for­mer cult mem­bers, LaRouche’s spe­cial hos­til­i­ty to Kro­n­berg had its roots in the ear­ly 1990s, when the orga­ni­za­tion’s Nation­al Exec­u­tive Com­mit­tee (NEC) made a deci­sion, while LaRouche was in prison, to sell his lux­u­ri­ous Ibykus Farm estate near Lees­burg in order to pay large debts incurred by PMR. (The NEC believed this sale was the only way to save a com­pa­ny with­out which the entire LaRouch­i­an pro­pa­gan­da machine would grind to a halt). When LaRouche left prison on parole, he vent­ed his anger over the sale of the estate–and at Kro­n­berg for allow­ing the LaRouche sup­port­ers who worked at PMR and its type­set­ting sub­sidiary, World Com­po­si­tion Ser­vices, a degree of per­son­al space not allowed to most oth­er mem­bers of the LaRouche move­ment. (LaRouch­i­an employ­ees of PMR and World Comp received reg­u­lar salaries and ade­quate health insur­ance, and had man­aged to start fam­i­lies and become active in local reli­gious or civic groups.) But LaRouche did not move aggres­sive­ly against Kro­n­berg at that time–he need­ed him to churn out the pub­li­ca­tions devot­ed to depict­ing LaRouche as a for­mer “polit­i­cal pris­on­er” who should be “exon­er­at­ed” by then-Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton.

PMR skirt­ed the edge of insol­ven­cy for many years, both before and after its finan­cial cri­sis of the ear­ly 1990s, because of the fail­ure of var­i­ous LaRouche-dom­i­nat­ed polit­i­cal and pub­lish­ing enti­ties to pay their print­ing bills. Essen­tial­ly, LaRouche was milk­ing PMR to sup­port his polit­i­cal aspi­ra­tions. He was also milk­ing ICLC-linked pub­lish­ing and print­ing firms in Europe, and when the Boomer lead­er­ship of the ICLC’s Ger­man branch com­plained in 2006, LaRouche drove them from the orga­ni­za­tion. The pat­tern dates back over a quar­ter-cen­tu­ry, to the days when LaRouche skimmed the prof­its from a com­put­er soft­ware com­pa­ny in Man­hat­tan to pay for his 1980 Pres­i­den­tial cam­paign (the own­ers of the firm, faced with bank­rupt­cy, quit the LaRouche move­ment rather than acqui­esce in fur­ther skim­ming).

PMR was able to sur­vive up through the ear­ly 2000s because of lucra­tive out­side accounts. But in the eco­nom­ic down­swing after 9/11, the pic­ture changed. PMR was able to con­tin­ue in busi­ness only through des­per­ate mea­sures, such as not pay­ing fed­er­al pay­roll with­hold­ing tax­es for sev­er­al years, result­ing in a huge tax lia­bil­i­ty. Kro­n­berg plead­ed with the NEC to take steps to save PMR, which at that point employed about 40 peo­ple, includ­ing at least a dozen who had giv­en decades of their lives to the LaRouch­i­an cause.

The denun­ci­a­tions of Kro­n­berg esca­late

LaRouche respond­ed to Kro­n­berg’s pleas by scape­goat­ing him as the cause of the fir­m’s dif­fi­cul­ties, relent­less­ly denounc­ing him at NEC meet­ings, in mem­os, and in per­son­al exchanges. The ver­bal abuse con­tin­ued with no let­up for well over two years before the issuance of the “sui­cide” brief­ing, sev­er­al sources say.

The sui­cide brief­ing did not men­tion any indi­vid­u­als by name, but there can be no doubt that the pri­ma­ry tar­get was Kronberg–not only because of LaRouche’s pri­or con­cen­tra­tion of his fire on PMR’s chief exec­u­tive, but also because the doc­u­ment cit­ed Kro­n­berg’s com­pa­ny (referred to as “the print shop”) as the “worst” exam­ple of Boomer treach­ery in the entire move­ment.

Accord­ing to for­mer mem­bers famil­iar with the ICLC’s inter­nal dis­tri­b­u­tion process, the brief­ing was writ­ten and sent out the pre­vi­ous night, to be avail­able to mem­bers start­ing in the ear­ly hours of April 11. Kro­n­berg and oth­er LaRouche fol­low­ers at PMR and World Com­po­si­tion Ser­vices, which shared the same facil­i­ty, would have read the doc­u­ment as part of their morn­ing rou­tine, and even if for some rea­son Kro­n­berg him­self had not looked at it imme­di­ate­ly, oth­ers would have prompt­ly alert­ed him about it.

The sin­gling-out of indi­vid­u­als, or an enti­ty, for harsh crit­i­cism with­in the LaRouche orga­ni­za­tion, espe­cial­ly when the crit­i­cism is cir­cu­lat­ed to the entire mem­ber­ship, is always a mat­ter of extreme con­cern for those tar­get­ed. They will inevitably fear that the crit­i­cism presages a deci­sion to remove them from their posi­tions of orga­ni­za­tion­al influ­ence, put them through the psy­cho­log­i­cal wringer (LaRouche calls it “ego-strip­ping”), and send them to the LaRouch­i­an ver­sion of hell: the tele­phone boil­er rooms.

LaRouche’s youth “army”

The “sui­cide” brief­ing reflects a long-stand­ing plan by LaRouche to trans­fer posi­tions of author­i­ty in his move­ment to younger mem­bers (espe­cial­ly those recruit­ed on col­lege cam­pus­es by the LaRouche Youth Move­ment, or LYM, over the past decade) and thus guar­an­tee that the move­ment will sur­vive his death. Like sev­er­al pre­vi­ous LaRouche pro­nounce­ments, the April 11 doc­u­ment urges LYM mem­bers to pre­pare for a bat­tle to wrest con­trol away from the sup­pos­ed­ly unre­li­able and lazy Boomers, who, it is sug­gest­ed, should either acqui­esce in their own demo­tion, or die:

The lead­er­ship is among the 18–35 year olds. The Baby Boomer gen­er­a­tion is polit­i­cal­ly dead, and can only be brought back by arti­fi­cial insem­i­na­tion. . . .They can fol­low a trail of shit, but they can’t lead any­thing
. . . .

The break­down in fundrais­ing is a symp­tom of a moral break­down in lead­er­ship. . . .The dis­in­te­gra­tion began in the peri­od of the 1990s to 2000, espe­cial­ly, in Lees­burg, in 1992–93. When Lyn [LaRouche] came out of jail [in 1994], he pre­sent­ed his solu­tion to the sales force in the very liv­ing room in which he spoke last night [the liv­ing room in LaRouche’s home]. Peo­ple went scream­ing out of the room, and refused to change. This Boomer pol­i­cy fail­ure went on unin­ter­rupt­ed into Y2000...The print shop was the worst. . . .

Don’t go telling a Boomer to exert lead­er­ship. We’re orga­niz­ing the coun­try: name­ly the 18–35 year olds. How? Just like an army. . . .

We’re reach­ing the most active part of the younger gen­er­a­tion. . . .We go to the Boomers: “We’re your boss.” “You? Who are you?” “We rep­re­sent the youth, the lead­er­ship.” But you have to make it stick!. . . .

The Boomers will be scared into becom­ing human, because you’re in the real world, and they’re not. Unless they want to com­mit sui­cide.

Sev­er­al sources say that this dia­tribe, although signed by Tony Papert, reflects LaRouche’s per­son­al speak­ing style. Papert, they say, is known to mere­ly tran­scribe LaRouche’s remarks in doc­u­ments of this type–and that the sui­cide remark was made at the Tues­day evening (April 10) meet­ing at LaRouche’s home referred to in the por­tion of the doc­u­ment quot­ed above.

LaRouche on “vir­tu­al” sui­cide

LaRouche issued a sim­i­lar but briefer state­ment in his own name lat­er in the morn­ing of April 11. Enti­tled “Con­trol­ling your rage!”, it was addressed, in its orig­i­nal form, to lead­er­ship bod­ies of the orga­ni­za­tion and allud­ed, like the ear­li­er brief­ing, to sui­cide as a pos­si­ble option for Boomers unwill­ing to get with the pro­gram.

The prob­lem [of betray­ing the human race] exists even among us, as some among us are enraged not only at the immoral­i­ty in the Sen­ate and else­where, but among those in our own ranks who refuse to give up [their] Baby Boomer cor­rup­tion. . . .Some among us with [sic] rather com­mit vir­tu­al sui­cide than admit I have been right on these mat­ters.

Although this LaRouche state­ment was issued at 10:29 AM–too late to have been seen by Kronberg–it nev­er­the­less pro­vides evi­dence that the ICLC chair­man had not devel­oped sec­ond thoughts about the extreme lan­guage of the ear­li­er brief­ing, and that he intend­ed to con­tin­ue ratch­et­ing up the pres­sure on his Boomer scape­goat. How­ev­er, when the sec­ond LaRouche state­ment was made avail­able to the entire ICLC mem­ber­ship the next day (the day after Kro­n­berg’s death), the word­ing had been changed: “vir­tu­al sui­cide” was now “vir­tu­al ruin.”

A cul­ture of abuse and threats

The tox­ic lan­guage of the two April 11 state­ments did not come out of the blue. It was the result of a cul­ture of harsh ver­bal abuse and threats that had built up over decades in the LaRouche orga­ni­za­tion. Indeed, LaRouch­i­an pub­li­ca­tions going back to the ear­ly 1980s have includ­ed a num­ber of sadis­ti­cal­ly-word­ed dis­cus­sions of how to induce sui­ci­dal behav­ior in indi­vid­u­als hat­ed by LaRouche (espe­cial­ly Jews, but also Gen­tiles regard­ed as allies of the imag­i­nary inter­na­tion­al “oli­garchy”). This bizarre fea­ture of LaRouch­i­an polit­i­cal war­fare is described in the fol­low­ing para­graph from Chap­ter 17 (“Get Kissinger!”) of the present writer’s Lyn­don LaRouche and the New Amer­i­can Fas­cism,[FN 1] which cites arti­cles from the ear­ly 1980s in LaRouche’s week­ly news­magazine Exec­u­tive Intel­li­gence Review (EIR) and his defunct semi­week­ly news­pa­per, New Sol­i­dar­i­ty.

The LaRouch­i­an hys­te­ria about Kissinger result­ed in a strong indi­rect warn­ing to him in July 1982. An EIR news brief quot­ed a pre­dic­tion by an unnamed psy­chic that if any attempt should be made on the life of LaRouche, “a list of 13 well-known polit­i­cal fig­ures, head­ed by Hen­ry Kissinger, Nan­cy Kissinger, and Alexan­der Haig will meet sud­den death by either mas­sive heart attacks or strokes.”[FN 2] Death fan­tasies about the Sym­bol­ic Jew there­after became com­mon­place in LaRouch­i­an pub­li­ca­tions. When [Sey­mour] Her­sh’s The Price of Pow­er was pub­lished, New Sol­i­dar­i­ty report­ed that Kissinger was on the verge of a “poten­tial­ly fatal coro­nary.”[FN 3] EIR boast­ed that, as a result of Oper­a­tion Nurem­berg [a LaRouche harass­ment oper­a­tion against the for­mer Sec­re­tary of State], Kissinger had become a “car­dio-vas­cu­lar risk” and might “choose [a] cow­ard’s way out” (i.e., sui­cide).[FN 4] When Hun­gar­i­an-Jew­ish writer Arthur Koestler (the author of Dark­ness at Noon) com­mit­ted sui­cide along with his wife in 1983, a New Sol­i­dar­i­ty edi­to­r­i­al sug­gest­ed var­i­ous ways in which Hen­ry and Nan­cy Kissinger and Fed­er­al Reserve Board chair­man Paul Vol­ck­er (the arch-usurer in LaRouche’s eyes) could fol­low the Koestlers’ exam­ple.[FN 5] In what could be read as an allu­sion to the Holo­caust, the edi­to­r­i­al asked: “Why should the worth­while vast major­i­ty of the human race set­tle for attempts to solve its anti­so­cial prob­lems on a case-by-case basis? Why not get orga­nized to set­tle with such char­ac­ters all at once?”

This stuff is so close to psy­chot­ic that it was almost cer­tain­ly pub­lished at LaRouche’s direct insti­ga­tion. It reflects in a round­about way his fan­ta­sy of becom­ing Der Abscheulich­er (the Abom­inable One)–the suc­ces­sor to the Old Man of the Kehlstein­haus (Eagle’s Nest) above Berchtesgaden–who would wipe out his ene­mies, and espe­cial­ly the Jews, if he ever came to pow­er.

I use the phrase “round­about way,” because LaRouche had (and still has) two prob­lems in turn­ing his fan­tasies into real­i­ty: first, he wasn’t/isn’t even close to seiz­ing pow­er; sec­ond, he knew/knows you can’t run around killing peo­ple in a non-LaRouche-con­trolled USA with­out even­tu­al­ly get­ting caught and sent to a real­ly, real­ly bad prison (far worse than the Rochester, MN fed­er­al coun­try club in which he resided from 1989 to 1994).

LaRouche has cho­sen to express his fan­tasies via one of the few meth­ods safe­ly open to him in a soci­ety based on the rule of law. He has con­struct­ed a sce­nario for induced sui­cide by which he appar­ent­ly believes he can cause the deaths of his per­ceived ene­mies with­out any fear of prosecution–like the vil­lain pur­sued by Her­cule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s Cur­tain.

Traf­fic signs and “con­trolled aver­sive envi­ron­ments”

Inso­far as the idea of induced sui­cide is direct­ed at Jews, LaRouche is not the first fas­cist to rec­og­nize the pos­si­bil­i­ties. David Clay Large reports, in his his­to­ry of the 1936 Olympics, that on some roads in Nazi Ger­many “the speed lim­it mark­ers on dan­ger­ous turns includ­ed explic­it exemp­tion for Jews, there­by encour­ag­ing them to kill them­selves.”[FN 6] How­ev­er, LaRouche’s approach–as evi­denced by the above-cit­ed EIR and New Sol­i­dar­i­ty arti­cles and var­i­ous oth­er doc­u­ments of the LaRouche movement–involves some­thing far more elab­o­rate than traf­fic signs. The basic tac­tic
is to devel­op psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­files of per­sons such as Kissinger whom LaRouche hates and fears, and then, based on such pro­fil­ing, to con­struct a “con­trolled aver­sive envi­ron­ment” around the tar­get­ed indi­vid­ual and exert insid­i­ous and ever-esca­lat­ing psy­cho­log­i­cal pres­sures that will hope­ful­ly cause the per­son to com­mit sui­cide (or that will increase the per­son­’s stress lev­el to the point at which he or she will die from a coro­nary). One might call it psy­cho­log­i­cal terrorism–or death via men­tal judo.[FN 7]

In the ear­ly 1980s, LaRouche assigned dozens of cadres around the world and spent mil­lions of dol­lars in an attempt to cre­ate a con­trolled aver­sive envi­ron­ment around Kissinger. As doc­u­ment­ed in Chap­ter 17 of my book, the cam­paign includ­ed stalk­ing and threat­en­ing Kissinger, imper­son­at­ing him, play­ing mali­cious pranks on him, dis­trib­ut­ing mas­sive pro­pa­gan­da about him in sev­er­al lan­guages (includ­ing a fli­er enti­tled “Kissinger: The Pol­i­tics of Fag­gotry”), dis­rupt­ing his pub­lic appear­ances world­wide, and in gen­er­al accus­ing him of the most vile per­son­al inde­cen­cies that LaRouche could con­coct out of his own obsessed brain.

It is dif­fi­cult to con­ceive of any rea­son for this cam­paign oth­er than LaRouche imag­in­ing that he could dri­ve a famous Jew to sui­cide (or at least a men­tal break­down) with impuni­ty, thus demon­strat­ing to var­i­ous inter­na­tion­al fas­cist net­works that he, LaRouche, was the man to fol­low.

Of course a prop­er Hero of the West must go after left­ists as well as Jews, and LaRouche focused–simultaneously with the cam­paign against Kissinger–on the late Petra Kel­ly, founder of the Green Par­ty in Ger­many and an out­spo­ken sup­port­er of nuclear dis­ar­ma­ment. (See [FN 8] for details.)

Kro­n­berg’s ter­ri­ble bind

One could argue that such harass­ment cam­paigns lack the punch, in spite of their nasty lan­guage and intent, to real­ly induce sui­cide. Indeed, the under­ly­ing idea appears nev­er to have come even close to suc­ceed­ing until LaRouche tried it on one of his own fol­low­ers, Ken Kro­n­berg.

Why did it work on Kro­n­berg? When I read the brief­ing memo that trig­gered his sui­cide, I imme­di­ate­ly remem­bered the LaRouche orga­ni­za­tion’s care­ful­ly craft­ed Get Den­nis King cam­paign in 1980–and what I had felt when they deliv­ered their coup de grace: a phone call from one of the women in the orga­ni­za­tion’s then nation­al head­quar­ters in Man­hat­tan ask­ing, “Den­nis, haven’t you com­mit­ted sui­cide yet?”

The shock I expe­ri­enced from this phone call and pre­ced­ing events quick­ly turned into anger and out­rage, but this might not have been the case if I had faced the ter­ri­ble kind of bind that Kro­n­berg would face 27 years lat­er. The sui­cide sug­ges­tion to him came not from an anony­mous mem­ber of a group he disdained–as was the case with me–but from a man he had regard­ed with great rev­er­ence for over 30 years and from the orga­ni­za­tion that had been the cen­ter of his life dur­ing that entire peri­od. Thus, I sus­pect, he could not turn his feel­ings out­wards against his tor­men­tors very eas­i­ly, and his out­rage and pain rebound­ed upon him­self.

This is some­thing that many peo­ple expe­ri­ence at one time or anoth­er, and it often results in a tem­po­rary men­tal break­down or a peri­od of depres­sion. In Kro­n­berg’s case, the shock of the morn­ing brief­ing, com­ing as the cul­mi­na­tion of years of psy­cho­log­i­cal bul­ly­ing and denun­ci­a­tions by the leader of the orga­ni­za­tion to which he had devot­ed almost all of his adult life, appears to have been more than he could with­stand.

What might have been

It is a pity that Kro­n­berg could not recall, before he embarked on his final ride, the 1983 arti­cle about induc­ing sui­cide in Jews that his own com­pa­ny had type­set for LaRouche (“Koestler Takes His Own Advice; Kissinger to Fol­low?”; quot­ed above). If he had remem­bered this arti­cle, or if some­one could have shown it to him that morn­ing, he might have begun to real­ize just how cyn­i­cal and con­temptible LaRouche’s sui­cide rhetoric real­ly was. I’d like to think he would have turned the tables on LaRouche and Papert by sug­gest­ing that they be the ones to jump off a bridge. Indeed, I imag­ine him giv­ing them a lit­tle nudge in that direc­tion by imme­di­ate­ly dri­ving his car to the near­est FBI office with the account books of PMR–to show how jail­bird LaRouche and his thug­gish inner ring had con­spired to loot the com­pa­ny and defraud the IRS.

How­ev­er, Kro­n­berg did­n’t remem­ber that 1983 arti­cle, and prob­a­bly none of the cult mem­bers who worked close­ly with him would have remem­bered it either. LaRouch­i­an cadres are often worked so hard for such long hours that they don’t have time to read the pub­li­ca­tions (aimed most­ly at out­siders) that they pro­duce or raise the mon­ey for.

A replay of the Jew­ish Doc­tors’ Plot?

LaRouche’s return to the induced-sui­cide theme in 2007 should be under­stood in the con­text of his planned purge of the Boomers, a large per­cent­age of whom (in con­trast to the LYM mem­bers) are Jew­ish. LaRouche is now an embit­tered old man who knows he only has a small win­dow of time to guar­an­tee the sur­vival of his move­ment. Like the aging Stal­in in the ear­ly 1950s, LaRouche sees him­self sur­round­ed by unre­li­able aides who may be plot­ting against him or, what’s worse, plot­ting to sell out the move­ment after he dies. And thus his para­noid rage kicks in, and we get the Jew­ish Boomers’ Plot as a weird sort of replay of Stal­in’s Jew­ish Doc­tors’ Plot.

My assump­tion here is that anti-Semi­tism is at the core of LaRouche’s per­son­al world view. True, he has expressed extreme big­otry towards many oth­er eth­nic groups–Irish, Ital­ian, Mex­i­can, Puer­to Rican and African-American–as well as towards les­bians (and indeed the entire female sex), gays, British aris­to­crats, Catholics, Protes­tants (espe­cial­ly Epis­co­palians), Greek Ortho­dox and Russ­ian Ortho­dox believ­ers and New Agers. But he always returns to con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries dat­ing back thou­sands of years and cen­tered on “the Jew”–the only tar­get of his bile that he sug­gests is a sep­a­rate evil species out­side the human race.[FN 9] LaRouche real­ly, real­ly hates the Jews, fol­low­ing in the foot­steps of his father before him, and this hatred gave him a spe­cial bond, dur­ing the ICLC’s hey­day, with var­i­ous neo-Nazi and old Nazi allies such as Willis Car­to and Krafft Ehricke. (Most ICLC mem­bers were nev­er grant­ed the dubi­ous hon­or of meet­ing with these “co-thinkers” of LaRouche.)

The fact that LaRouche has so many Jews in his orga­ni­za­tion actu­al­ly bol­sters my inter­pre­ta­tion. There are few bet­ter ways that a Hitler type with­out state pow­er (and with­out even a large-scale Brown Shirts’ move­ment) could express his malig­nant anti-Semi­tism than by recruit­ing Jews to a total­i­tar­i­an cult based on a top­sy-turvy form of Jew hatred, and then exploit­ing them and sti­fling their per­son­al aspi­ra­tions for decades on end while their help­less par­ents and oth­er fam­i­ly mem­bers just...suffer.

Trash­ing Kro­n­berg’s mem­o­ry

LaRouche’s sadis­tic atti­tude to his Jew­ish fol­low­ers is illus­trat­ed by his reac­tion to Kro­n­berg’s death. He did not attend the funer­al, and he wait­ed a week before send­ing what was sup­posed to be a a href=“http://lyndonlarouchewatch.org/insult.htm”>condolence let­ter to Kro­n­berg’s wid­ow, her­self a long-time mem­ber of the LaRouche orga­ni­za­tion. Sev­er­al sources say that top LaRouche aides pres­sured him to write the let­ter because they believed it was essen­tial to help­ing lim­it the dam­age to the orga­ni­za­tion’s morale (news of the death of Kro­n­berg had spread like a shock wave among for­mer and cur­rent LaRouch­i­ans, espe­cial­ly in the Lees­burg area, with both groups attend­ing the funer­al in large num­bers).

How­ev­er, LaRouche, who report­ed­ly was reluc­tant to write the let­ter at all, end­ed up pro­duc­ing a sin­gu­lar­ly nasty mis­sive. He sug­gest­ed that Kro­n­berg’s sole sig­nif­i­cance as a human being had resided in his ser­vice to LaRouche’s cause. He assert­ed flat­ly that Kro­n­berg had been “struck down by a sick­ness,” as if LaRouche him­self were in no way respon­si­ble. He crass­ly advised Kro­n­berg’s wid­ow that “[w]e either cling to that ded­i­ca­tion of our liv­ing, or we were no more than vir­tu­al­ly beasts.” By using the past tense “were,” LaRouche man­aged to art­ful­ly sug­gest that Kro­n­berg, by aban­don­ing the strug­gle, had proven him­self to be just anoth­er sub­hu­man. By using the word “vir­tu­al­ly” he defi­ant­ly reassert­ed his April 11 state­ment about “vir­tu­al sui­cide.” LaRouche then stat­ed: “The ugly, hor­ror-strick­en moment must pass,” thus sug­gest­ing that Kro­n­berg’s death was of only momen­tary sig­nif­i­cance to him, and that he real­ly did­n’t care that this tragedy would affect Kro­n­berg’s wid­ow, son, and rel­a­tives not for a “moment” but for the rest of their lives.

LaRouche and his fol­low­ers have expressed a sim­i­lar crude­ness and insen­si­tiv­i­ty towards oth­er griev­ing fam­i­lies as well; see [FN 10].

The “fan­ta­sy Hitler”

In 1984, ADL fact-find­ing direc­tor Irwin Suall described LaRouche on NBC’s First Cam­era as a “small-time Hitler.” LaRouche sued, but a jury found the phrase to be not libelous. Sual­l’s remark apt­ly described LaRouche’s role as the leader of a small ultra-right move­ment that devotes much of its ener­gy to anti-Semit­ic pro­pa­gan­da; how­ev­er, I think the term “fan­ta­sy Hitler” might bet­ter express LaRouche’s per­son­al psy­chol­o­gy. The ICLC chair­man reminds me of the Hitler in an alter­nate uni­verse in Nor­man Spin­rad’s The Iron Dream who emi­grates to Amer­i­ca as a young man, becomes a sci­ence-fic­tion writer for the pulps, and pens a real­ly awful repressed-homo­sex­u­al­i­ty-drenched nov­el about fic­tion­al bul­ly boys in gleam­ing jack­boots who attempt to take over Ger­many in yet anoth­er uni­verse.

Spin­rad’s Hitler did not have the oppor­tu­ni­ty to be any­thing more than a pulp writer with polit­i­cal fan­tasies, because he was liv­ing in the wrong coun­try in the wrong 1920s-1930s time­line. LaRouche has nev­er had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to be much more than a cult leader with polit­i­cal fan­tasies, because the post-war peri­od in our uni­verse has not been char­ac­ter­ized by the social insta­bil­i­ty nec­es­sary to bring a fas­cist with­in strik­ing dis­tance of seiz­ing pow­er.[FN 11] (LaRouche did have an oppor­tu­ni­ty to expand his base sig­nif­i­cant­ly in the 1980s, but char­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly he bun­gled it.) The move­ment LaRouche actu­al­ly runs is only a pale and dis­tort­ed imi­ta­tion of the real thing–like the shad­ows on the wall of the cave in Pla­to’s Repub­lic.

Third Reich vs. Fan­ta­sy Reich

Indeed, let’s exam­ine, point by point, how LaRouche’s shad­ow-Reich stacks up against its orig­i­nal:

  • Hitler phys­i­cal­ly stripped the Jews at the entrance to the gas cham­bers; our fan­ta­sy Hitler mere­ly ego-stripped them.

  • Hitler herd­ed them into con­cen­tra­tion camps; our fan­ta­sy Hitler recruit­ed them into a cult that for the past 35 years has been their con­cen­tra­tion camp of the mind.

  • Pri­or to launch­ing the gas-cham­ber mass exter­mi­na­tions, Hitler starved many Jews and oth­er tar­gets of his wrath to death in the camps or let them die of dis­ease. Our fan­ta­sy Hitler pays his fol­low­ers such pal­try stipends that they must sub­sist on the cheap­est and most unhealthy foods, and when they get sick it’s not his prob­lem. (The fundrais­ers and oth­ers at the nation­al head­quar­ters do have med­ical insur­ance nowadays–but with huge deductibles that ren­der it of very lim­it­ed val­ue for per­sons already liv­ing on the edge.)

  • Hitler put some of the Jews to work in slave labor facil­i­ties (like the under­ground Mit­tel­w­erk V‑2 fac­to­ry run by Arthur Rudolph, hero of LaRouche’s now-defunct Fusion Ener­gy Foun­da­tion). LaRouche puts “his” Jews to work in tele­phone boil­er rooms 16 hours a day solic­it­ing fraud­u­lent loans from lit­tle old ladies.

  • Hitler would, if a Jew sur­vived a slave labor camp, even­tu­al­ly send him to be gassed. When one of the ICLC Jews becomes burned out and no longer use­ful (or is per­ceived as some kind of threat), our fan­ta­sy Hitler screams at him and sug­gests that he com­mit sui­cide.

  • That the fan­ta­sy Hitler’s mes­sage to Kro­n­berg (in essence: Go kill your­self, you worth­less sub­hu­man) is not an aber­ra­tion is made clear by cer­tain remarks the fan­ta­sy Hitler addressed to the cult’s Jew­ish mem­bers back in 1978. The remarks are includ­ed in LaRouche’s noto­ri­ous arti­cle that year on the alleged cult ori­gins of Zion­ism in which he claimed that only 1.5 mil­lion Jews had been killed by the Nazis, none of them in gas cham­bers.[FN 12]

    “Nar­row bes­tial eth­nic loy­al­ties”?

    In this extra­or­di­nary screed, the LaRouche Jews were told:

    For­get your nar­row bes­tial eth­nic loy­al­ties! Instead ask your­self: “What is a Jew good for? What can a Jew con­tribute to human­i­ty gen­er­al­ly which oblig­es human­i­ty to val­ue the Jew?”

    And the fan­ta­sy Hitler warned them of the con­se­quences of not giv­ing their all to his move­ment:

    You have no right to hide behind the whim­per­ing, moral­ly degrad­ed pro­fes­sion of [excus­es]. . . .Either you take respon­si­bil­i­ty for the ulti­mate con­se­quences of your con­duct or you have no moral right to com­plain against what­ev­er evil the world’s devel­op­ments bestow upon you.

    As of April 2007, the “world’s devel­op­ments” had not giv­en LaRouche the pow­er to bestow the “what­ev­er” form of evil on his Jew­ish followers–even though he sensed they were begin­ning to go soft (i.e., to hide once again behind “whim­per­ing, moral­ly degrad­ed” excus­es) and were even redis­cov­er­ing Judaism. So he sim­ply sug­gest­ed that they bestow the evil on them­selves.

    Although it worked with Ken Kro­n­berg, it is unlike­ly to work again. The appalling sui­cide mes­sage in the April 11 morn­ing brief­ing has been seen by most mem­bers of the orga­ni­za­tion and has cir­cu­lat­ed wide­ly in the out­side world. The fact that LaRouche sadis­ti­cal­ly hound­ed Kro­n­berg for years pri­or to the lat­ter’s death is known by most ex-mem­bers and many cur­rent mem­bers of the LaRouche orga­ni­za­tion. The ex-mem­bers are out­raged, the boomers still inside the orga­ni­za­tion are upset, and the “yutes” (LaRouche Youth Move­ment mem­bers) are con­fused.

    For­mer mem­bers with ties to per­sons still
    trapped on the inside say that the Kro­n­berg tragedy could­n’t have occurred at a worse time for LaRouche, since the ICLC’s finan­cial prob­lems have forced many of the Lees­burg Boomers (includ­ing some who har­bor explo­sive secrets about the cult’s his­to­ry) to obtain jobs in the world out­side their accus­tomed “bub­ble.” This ongo­ing expo­sure to the real world, cou­pled with the shock over Kro­n­berg’s sui­cide and the cru­el words that trig­gered it, is caus­ing some pro­found soul-search­ing by cur­rent mem­bers, the ex-mem­bers say.

    Leak­age from the bub­ble world

    On July 23, a for­mer mem­ber writ­ing under the user name “Eagle­beak” post­ed the fol­low­ing obser­va­tions on a Fact Net mes­sage board where present and ex-mem­bers of the LaRouche orga­ni­za­tion debate with one anoth­er:

    Things have changed in Lees­burg. From what I am pick­ing up, mem­bers are chal­leng­ing, com­plain­ing, mut­ter­ing.

    The place leaks like a sieve, because mem­bers and non-mem­bers frat­er­nize like crazy now–something that nev­er hap­pened in the past to this degree.

    The insu­la­tion and iso­la­tion that was pre­served so effec­tive­ly in the past is erod­ing beyond repair because so many [LaRouche fol­low­ers] in Lees­burg, includ­ing NEC mem­bers, now work. . . .“Out­side” contact–whether ex-mem­ber friends, non-mem­ber friends, out­side jobs–is pop­ping the bub­ble.

    That means that there is poten­tial for con­stant leaks, uncon­trol­lable, and also for unrest in the ranks.

    When LaRouche issued the fate­ful brief­ing on April 11, he appears to have inad­ver­tent­ly opened a Pan­do­ra’s Box. Accord­ing to Eagle­beak and oth­er ex-mem­bers, this plague of trou­bles is spread­ing inex­orably by way of the numer­ous unau­tho­rized con­ver­sa­tions between LaRouch­i­an Boomers and peo­ple in the out­side world. The Wash­ing­ton Month­ly will soon pub­lish a major arti­cle on LaRouche, PMR and Kronberg–the prod­uct of months of dig­ging by inves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Avi Klein–that may accel­er­ate the exo­dus of Boomers from the cult, encour­age for­mer top mem­bers who know about off­shore bank accounts and past links to Latin Amer­i­can death squads to come for­ward, and trig­ger a new fed­er­al probe of LaRouche’s crim­i­nal activ­i­ties.

    This may be the end game, folks.

    [1] King, Den­nis. Lyn­don LaRouche and the New Amer­i­can Fas­cism, New York: Dou­ble­day, 1989. Quote is from the revised Inter­net ver­sion (2007).

    [2] “Briefly,” Exec­u­tive Intel­li­gence Review, July 6, 1982.

    [3] “Men­tal Health Report: Is Hen­ry Going Off the Deep End?” New Sol­i­dar­i­ty, June 10, 1983.

    [4] “Dr. K’s Career Takes a Turn for the Worse,” Exec­u­tive Intel­li­gence Review, Jan­u­ary 4, 1983. The author of this arti­cle, LaRouche fol­low­er Mark Bur­d­man, lat­er com­mit­ted sui­cide.

    [5] “Koestler Takes His Own Advice; Kissinger to Fol­low?” New Sol­i­dar­i­ty, March 14, 1983.

    [6] David Clay Large, Nazi Games: The Olympics of 1936, New York: W.W. Nor­ton, 2007.

    [7] If, as New Sol­i­dar­i­ty stat­ed, sui­cide is a “cow­ard’s way” of escap­ing LaRouch­i­an harass­ment, then LaRouche’s sui­cide-induc­tion fantasy–if he had ever suc­ceed­ed in car­ry­ing it out on Hen­ry Kissinger–would have been a “cow­ard’s way” of com­mit­ting a homi­cide.

    [8] Anoth­er tar­get was Petra Kel­ly, the late Green Par­ty leader in Ger­many. Sens­ing that Kel­ly was psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly frag­ile, the LaRouch­i­ans made a seri­ous attempt to invade her per­son­al space and cre­ate the desired aver­sive envi­ron­ment. Among oth­er things, this includ­ed the dis­tri­b­u­tion, at pub­lic meet­ings she attend­ed, of smear arti­cles call­ing her a Com­mu­nist, a fas­cist, a ter­ror­ist, a witch and a “whore,” and describ­ing her alleged love affairs in lurid lan­guage. LaRouche’s fol­low­ers even pub­lished in 1982, in the Ger­man lan­guage edi­tion of New Sol­i­dar­i­ty, a jour­nal­is­tic ver­sion of their Petra Kel­ly psy­cho­log­i­cal pro­file. The arti­cle spec­u­lat­ed that her alleged rela­tion­ships with old­er men were the psy­cho­log­i­cal result of her aban­don­ment in child­hood by a sup­pos­ed­ly “shift­less” father. Mir­ror­ing the LaRouch­i­an arti­cles on Kissinger, the pro­file of the Green Par­ty leader claimed that she suf­fered from a “heart con­di­tion,” with the impli­ca­tion that the harass­ment cam­paign would hope­ful­ly wors­en this health prob­lem.

    Kel­ly sued the LaRouch­i­ans in U.S. fed­er­al court. Her attor­ney, Ram­sey Clark, said they had engaged in a “vicious cam­paign that made it dif­fi­cult for her to appear in pub­lic. The cam­paign became phys­i­cal at times. They cor­nered her on a train, they shoved her grand­moth­er around. . . .They abused her most fun­da­men­tal rights of pri­va­cy, dig­ni­ty, phys­i­cal integri­ty, and rep­u­ta­tion.”

    At Kel­ly’s depo­si­tion, the LaRouch­i­ans took delight in ask­ing all about her sex life, then pub­lished an arti­cle based on her respons­es, boast­ing that she had been “reduced to a fright­ened infant” and “seized by pro­longed fits of para­noia.”

    Although the LaRouch­i­ans did not, in the arti­cles I have exam­ined, sug­gest that Kel­ly take her own life, they were clear­ly out to psy­cho­log­i­cal­ly destroy her–and if they had suc­ceed­ed, the out­come might well have been more seri­ous than a brief stay in a men­tal hos­pi­tal. In 1992, sev­er­al years after the LaRouche cam­paign against Kel­ly had end­ed, she and her long­time part­ner Gert Bas­t­ian were found dead in their home of gun­shot wounds: the Ger­man police con­clud­ed it had been a dou­ble sui­cide.

    The LaRouch­i­ans quick­ly tossed their hos­til­i­ty to Kel­ly into an Orwellian mem­o­ry hole (just as Ram­sey Clark had vapor­ized his own past sup­port of Kel­ly and become a LaRouche defend­er). The line now was that Kel­ly and Bas­t­ian had been mur­dered by nefar­i­ous forces and that the Ger­man author­i­ties should be pres­sured to con­duct a more thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tion. This would not be the last exam­ple of LaRouch­i­an dodg­ing and weav­ing on the issue of life and death in con­tem­po­rary Ger­many: When Jere­mi­ah Dug­gan, a Jew­ish uni­ver­si­ty stu­dent from the U.K., died while attend­ing a LaRouche cadre school in Wies­baden in 2003, the LaRouch­i­ans claimed it was just a sui­cide and strong­ly opposed the Dug­gan fam­i­ly’s efforts to trig­ger a crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tion.

    [9] Exam­ples of LaRouche’s equal-oppor­tu­ni­ty big­otry, and of his obses­sive idea that the Jews are a sep­a­rate “species,” can be found in Chap­ter 30 (“The War Between the Species”) of Lyn­don LaRouche and the New Amer­i­can Fas­cism.

    [10] For LaRouche’s crude­ness towards the fam­i­ly of Michael Gel­ber, a long-time fol­low­er who died in 1994, see http://lyndonlarouchewatch.org/gelber1.htm. For the ICLC chair­man’s attacks on the fam­i­ly of Jere­mi­ah Dug­gan (see [FN 8]), as well as more details on LaRouche’s insult­ing atti­tude towards the Kro­n­berg fam­i­ly, see http://lyndonlarouchewatch.org/insult.htm.

    The LaRouch­i­an sadism towards fam­i­lies that have suf­fered a trag­ic loss comes out most clear­ly, how­ev­er, when the per­son who died was some­one the cult regard­ed as a clear-cut enemy–an agent of the inter­na­tion­al “oli­garchy.”

    In 1986, when the LaRouche orga­ni­za­tion was sup­port­ing Pana­ma’s cocaine dic­ta­tor Manuel Nor­ie­ga, whom LaRouche depict­ed as a pro­gres­sive and human­is­tic leader, the coun­try’s lead­ing spokesper­son for human rights, Hugo Spadafo­ra,
    was seized at the Cos­ta Rican bor­der, tor­tured for hours in an unspeak­able man­ner by Nor­ie­ga’s thugs, and behead­ed. (For the details, see Guiller­mo Sanchez Bor­bon, “Hugo Spadafora’s Last Day: A mur­der in Pana­ma undoes a regime,” Harper’s Mag­a­zine, June 1988; also see R.M. Koster and Guiller­mo Sanchez, In the Time of Tyrants, New York: W.W. Nor­ton, 1991.)

    This cre­at­ed a huge scan­dal in Pana­ma, and Nor­ie­ga had to sack his own pup­pet Pres­i­dent, Nico­las Bar­let­ta, after the lat­ter sug­gest­ed set­ting up a com­mis­sion to inves­ti­gate Spadafora’s mur­der. The LaRouch­i­ans instant­ly jumped to the defense of their favorite dic­ta­tor, claim­ing that Spadafo­ra was just anoth­er “dead ter­ror­ist” who had worked for left-wing drug traf­fick­ers while Nor­ie­ga was wag­ing a hero­ic fight against drugs.

    After Spadafora’s broth­er and sis­ter engaged in a peace­ful protest in Pana­ma City to urge a full inves­ti­ga­tion, LaRouche’s EIR (March 7, 1986) pub­lished a cov­er pho­to of their action with mock­ing com­men­tary on the edi­to­r­i­al page: “Our pho­tog­ra­ph­er . . . caught the broth­er and sis­ter of Pana­man­ian ter­ror­ist Hugo Spadafo­ra . . . in their cultish protest . . . over Spadafora’s unsolved mur­der.” The edi­to­r­i­al sug­gest­ed that the two sib­lings were in league with the “Gnos­tic fra­ter­ni­ty of Pana­ma,” which sup­pos­ed­ly had “put out news­pa­per ads announc­ing they would form a ‘men­tal chain’ until ‘jus­tice’ was done in the Spadafo­ra case–meaning the over­throw of the Pana­man­ian Defense Forces by the drug-ter­ror mob Spadafo­ra worked for.” EIR went on to ful­mi­nate about “an under­world run by the Gnos­tics, with their hatred of the Judeo-Chris­t­ian tra­di­tion, and their bizarre sex­u­al rit­u­als” and even roped into the con­spir­a­cy the “Israeli cultist and hooli­gan Ariel Sharon.”

    The LaRouch­i­an trash­ing of Spadafora’s mem­o­ry by call­ing him a ter­ror­ist and drug traf­fick­er was based on a cov­er sto­ry con­coct­ed by Nor­ie­ga’s G‑2 mil­i­tary intel­li­gence unit, accord­ing to 1988 U.S. Sen­ate tes­ti­mo­ny by Jose Bland­on, Nor­ie­ga’s for­mer con­sul gen­er­al in New York, who also stat­ed under oath that “Mr. LaRouche works for Mr. Nor­ie­ga.”

    In fact, the cov­er sto­ry spread by the LaRouche orga­ni­za­tion was a com­plete pack of lies. Far from being a nar­co-ter­ror­ist, Spadafo­ra was a val­ued ally of U.S. pol­i­cy in the region who only days before being slain had met with a DEA offi­cial to pro­vide infor­ma­tion about Nor­ie­ga’s cocaine traf­fick­ing.

    After the down­fall of his regime, Nor­ie­ga was tak­en to the Unit­ed States, tried on drug and rack­e­teer­ing charges in 1992, and sen­tenced to 40 years in prison. In 1995, a Pana­man­ian court found the for­mer dic­ta­tor guilty in absen­tia of con­spir­a­cy to mur­der Spadafo­ra, and sen­tenced him to 20 addi­tion­al years.

    Lyn­don LaRouche was nev­er pros­e­cut­ed for serv­ing as an unreg­is­tered agent of a for­eign pow­er in vio­la­tion of the For­eign Agents Reg­is­tra­tion Act.

    [11] LaRouche’s con­so­la­tion prize is that the sci­ence fic­tion TV series “Slid­ers” depict­ed him as dic­ta­tor of the Unit­ed States in a par­al­lel uni­verse (a curi­ous inver­sion of Spin­rad’s theme). But LaRouche can­not savor this hon­or since he’s locked into the the­o­ry that sci­ence fic­tion is an evil inven­tion of the unspeak­able Fabi­an oli­garchist H.G. Wells.

    [12] LaRouche, “New Pam­phlet to Doc­u­ment Cult Ori­gins of Zion­ism,” New Sol­i­dar­i­ty, Decem­ber 8, 1978.


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