May 17, 2010 - The Constantine Report    
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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

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Katharine Graham's Poodle, Nixon Administration Holdover & Connecticut Senate Frontrunner Invented Military Service Record, Never Served In Vietnam

This is a modified py-6 that occupies the entire horizontal space of its parent.

“…[Student] deferments allowed Mr. Blumenthal to complete his studies at Harvard; pursue a graduate fellowship in England; serve as a special assistant to The Washington Post’s publisher, Katharine Graham; and ultimately take a job in the Nixon White House. … “

 Candidate’s Words on Vietnam Service Differ From History

New York Times | May 17, 2010

At a ceremony honoring veterans and senior citizens who sent presents to soldiers overseas, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut rose and spoke of an earlier time in his life.

“We have learned something important since the days that I served in Vietnam,” Mr. Blumenthal said to the group gathered in Norwalk in March 2008. “And you exemplify it. Whatever we think about the war, whatever we call it — Afghanistan or Iraq — we owe our military men and women unconditional support.”

There was one problem: Mr. Blumenthal, a Democrat now running for the United States Senate, never served in Vietnam. He obtained at least five military deferments from 1965 to 1970 and took repeated steps that enabled him to avoid going to war, according to records.

The deferments allowed Mr. Blumenthal to complete his studies at Harvard; pursue a graduate fellowship in England; serve as a special assistant to The Washington Post’s publisher, Katharine Graham; and ultimately take a job in the Nixon White House.

In 1970, with his last deferment in jeopardy, he landed a coveted spot in the Marine Reserve, which virtually guaranteed that he would not be sent to Vietnam. He joined a unit in Washington that conducted drills and other exercises and focused on local projects, like fixing a campground and organizing a Toys for Tots drive.

Many politicians have faced questions over their decisions during the Vietnam War, and Mr. Blumenthal, who is seeking the seat being vacated by Senator Christopher J. Dodd, is not alone in staying out of the war.

But what is striking about Mr. Blumenthal’s record is the contrast between the many steps he took that allowed him to avoid Vietnam, and the misleading way he often speaks about that period of his life now, especially when he is speaking at veterans’ ceremonies or other patriotic events.

Sometimes his remarks have been plainly untrue, as in his speech to the group in Norwalk. At other times, he has used more ambiguous language, but the impression left on audiences can be similar.

In an interview on Monday, the attorney general said that he had misspoken about his service during the Norwalk event and might have misspoken on other occasions. “My intention has always been to be completely clear and accurate and straightforward, out of respect to the veterans who served in Vietnam,” he said.

But an examination of his remarks at the ceremonies shows that he does not volunteer that his service never took him overseas. And he describes the hostile reaction directed at veterans coming back from Vietnam, intimating that he was among them.

In 2003, he addressed a rally in Bridgeport, where about 100 military families gathered to express support for American troops overseas. “When we returned, we saw nothing like this,” Mr. Blumenthal said. “Let us do better by this generation of men and women.”

At a 2008 ceremony in front of the Veterans War Memorial Building in Shelton, he praised the audience for paying tribute to troops fighting abroad, noting that America had not always done so.

“I served during the Vietnam era,” he said. “I remember the taunts, the insults, sometimes even physical abuse.”

Mr. Blumenthal, 64, is known as a brilliant lawyer who likes to argue cases in court and uses language with power and precision. He is also savvy about the news media and attentive to how he is portrayed in the press.

But the way he speaks about his military service has led to confusion and frequent mischaracterizations of his biography in his home state newspapers. In at least eight newspaper articles published in Connecticut from 2003 to 2009, he is described as having served in Vietnam.

The New Haven Register on July 20, 2006, described him as “a veteran of the Vietnam War,” and on April 6, 2007, said that the attorney general had “served in the Marines in Vietnam.” On May 26, 2009, The Connecticut Post, a Bridgeport newspaper that is the state’s third-largest daily, described Mr. Blumenthal as “a Vietnam veteran.” The Shelton Weekly reported on May 23, 2008, that Mr. Blumenthal “was met with applause when he spoke about his experience as a Marine sergeant in Vietnam.”

And the idea that he served in Vietnam has become such an accepted part of his public biography that when a national outlet, Slate magazine, produced a profile of Mr. Blumenthal in 2000, it said he had “enlisted in the Marines rather than duck the Vietnam draft.”

It does not appear that Mr. Blumenthal ever sought to correct those mistakes.

In the interview, he said he was not certain whether he had seen the stories or whether any steps had been taken to point out the inaccuracies.

I don’t know if we tried to do so or not,” he said. He added that he “can’t possibly know what is reported in all” the articles that are written about him, given the large number of appearances he makes at military-style events.

He said he had tried to stick to a consistent way of describing his military experience: that he served as a member of the United State Marine Corps Reserve during the Vietnam era.

Asked about the Bridgeport rally, when he told the crowd, “When we returned, we saw nothing like this,” Mr. Blumenthal said he did not recall the event.

An aide pointed out that in a different appearance this year, Mr. Blumenthal was forthright about not having gone to war. In a Senate debate in March, he responded to a question about Iran and the use of military force by saying, “Although I did not serve in Vietnam, I have seen firsthand the effects of military action, and no one wants it to be the first resort, nor do we want to mortgage the country’s future with a deficit that is ballooning out of control.”

On a less serious matter, another flattering but untrue description of Mr. Blumenthal’s history has appeared in profiles about him. In two largely favorable profiles, the Slate article and a magazine article in The Hartford Courant in 2004 with which he cooperated, Mr. Blumenthal is described prominently as having served as captain of the swim team at Harvard. Records at the college show that he was never on the team.

Mr. Blumenthal said he did not provide the information to reporters, was unsure how it got into circulation and was “astonished” when he saw it in print.

Mr. Blumenthal has made veterans’ issues a centerpiece of his public life and his Senate campaign, but even those who have worked closely with him have gotten the misimpression that he served in Vietnam.

In an interview, Jean Risley, the chairwoman of the Connecticut Vietnam Veterans Memorial Inc., recalled listening to an emotional Mr. Blumenthal offering remarks at the dedication of the memorial. She remembered him describing the indignities that he and other veterans faced when they returned from Vietnam.

“It was a sad moment,” she recalled. “He said, ‘When we came back, we were spat on; we couldn’t wear our uniforms.’ It looked like he was sad to me when he said it.”

Ms. Risley later telephoned the reporter to say she had checked into Mr. Blumenthal’s military background and learned that he had not, in fact, served in Vietnam.

The Vietnam chapter in Mr. Blumenthal’s biography has received little attention despite his nearly three decades in Connecticut politics.

But now, after repeatedly shunning opportunities for higher office, Mr. Blumenthal is the man Democrats nationally are depending on to retain the seat they controlled for 30 years under Mr. Dodd, and he is likely to face more intense scrutiny.

After obtaining Mr. Blumenthal’s Selective Service records through a Freedom of Information Act request, The New York Times asked David Curry, a professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and an expert on the Vietnam draft, to examine them.

Mr. Curry said the records showed that Mr. Blumenthal had received at least five deferments. Mr. Blumenthal did not dispute that but said he did not know how many deferments he had received.

Mr. Blumenthal grew up in New York City, the son of a successful businessman who ran an import-export company.

As a young man, he attended Riverdale Country School in the Bronx and showed great promise, along with an ability to ingratiate himself with powerful people. In 1963, he entered Harvard College, where he met Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who served on the faculty there and guided Mr. Blumenthal’s senior thesis on the failure of government poverty programs.

He received two student deferments during his undergraduate years there, the records show.

After graduating from Harvard in 1967, military records show, Mr. Blumenthal obtained another educational deferment and headed to Britain, where he filed stories for The Washington Post and attended Trinity College, Cambridge, on a graduate fellowship.

But in early 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson, under pressure over criticism that wealthier young men were avoiding the draft through graduate school, abolished nearly all graduate deferments and sharply increased the number of troops sent to Southeast Asia.

That summer, Mr. Blumenthal’s draft classification changed from 2-S, an educational deferment, to 2-A, an occupational deferment — a rare exemption from military service for men who contended that it was in the “national health, safety and interest” for them to remain in their civilian jobs. At the time, he was working as a special assistant to Ms. Graham, whose son Donald he had befriended at Harvard. Half a year later, after the election of President Richard M. Nixon, Mr. Blumenthal went to work in the White House as a senior staff assistant to Mr. Moynihan, who was Nixon’s urban affairs adviser.

But at the end of that year, he became eligible for induction after he drew a low number in a draft lottery held on Dec. 1, 1969. His number was 152, and people with numbers as high as 195 could be drafted, according to the Selective Service.

Two months after the lottery, in February 1970, Mr. Blumenthal obtained a second occupational deferment, according to the records. The status of people with occupational deferments, however, was growing shakier, with the war raging and the Nixon administration increasingly uncomfortable with them.

In April 1970, Mr. Blumenthal secured a spot in the Marine Corps Reserve, which was regarded as a safe harbor for those who did not want to go to war.

“The Reserves were not being activated for Vietnam and were seen as a shelter for young privileged men,” Mr. Curry said.

But Mr. Blumenthal’s campaign manager, Mindy Myers, said Monday that any suggestion that he was ducking the war was unfounded, saying he was engaged in important work. When he worked for Ms. Graham, for example, he helped teach children in a public school in the Anacostia section of Washington, for a project she had started there.

“It’s flat wrong to imply that Richard Blumenthal’s decisions to take a Fiske Fellowship, teach inner-city schoolchildren and work in the White House for Daniel Patrick Moynihan were decisions to avoid service when in fact, while still eligible for a deferment, he chose to enlist in the Marine Corps Reserves and completed six months of service at Parris Island, S.C., and then six years of service in the Reserves.”

Mr. Blumenthal landed in the Fourth Civil Affairs Group in Washington, whose members included the well-connected in Washington. At the time, the unit was not associated with the kind of hardship of traditional fighting units, according to Marine reports from the period and interviews with about a half-dozen men who served in the unit during the Vietnam years.

In the 1970s, the unit’s members were dispatched to undertake projects like refurbishing tent decks and showers at a campground for underprivileged Washington children, as well as collecting and distributing toys and games as part of regular Toys for Tots drives.

Robert Cole, a retired lieutenant colonel who did active duty overseas in the 1950s and later joined the unit as a reservist, recalled the young men who joined the unit in the late 1960s and early 1970s. “These kids we were getting in — a lot of them were worried about the draft,” he said.

After entering Yale Law School in the fall of 1970, Mr. Blumenthal transferred to a Marine Reserve unit in New Haven, Company C of the Sixth Motor Transport Battalion, Fourth Marine Division, which conducted occasional military drills, as well as participating in Christmas toy drives for children and recycling programs in neighboring communities, according to the unit’s command reports from the time.

In 1974, Mr. Blumenthal took a position as a law clerk for Justice Harry C. Blackmun of the United States Supreme Court and transferred back to a Washington unit, where he completed his service.

Richard Blumenthal: “Son of a wealthy German immigrant, he graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard, captained the swim team, and was editorial chairman of the Harvard Crimson. He interned a year at the Washington Post, where he became publisher Katharine Graham’s aide-de-camp (an early sign of his talent for befriending the rich and powerful). … “

Ronald Reagan had an interest in lucky numbers and newspaper horoscopes. Less known is that a certain scholar of occult philosophy had a lifelong influence on the 40th president of the United States. Mitch Horowitz, editor-in-chief of Tarcher/Penguin and the author of “Occult America: The Secret History of How Mysticism Shaped Our Nation,” reveals the details.

By Mitch Horowitz  |  Washington Post | April 30, 2010

In spring of 1988, White House spokesman Marlin Fitzwater acknowledged publicly what journalists had whispered for years: Ronald and Nancy Reagan were devotees of astrology. A tell-all memoir had definitively linked the first lady to a San Francisco stargazer, confirming speculation that started decades earlier when Reagan, as California’s governor-elect, scheduled his first oath of office at the eyebrow-raising hour of 12:10 a.m. Many detected an effort to align the inaugural with promising heavenly signs. Fitzwater also confirmed the president’s penchant for “lucky numbers,” or what is sometimes called numerology.

There was more to the story than the White House let on. In a speech and essay produced decades apart, Reagan revealed the unmistakable mark of a little-known but widely influential scholar of occult philosophy, Manly P. Hall. Judging from a tale that Reagan borrowed from Hall, the president’s reading tastes ran to some of the outer reaches of esoteric spiritual lore.

Hall, who worked in the Reagans’ hometown of Los Angeles until his death in 1990, attained underground fame in the late 1920s when, at the age of 27, he published a massive codex to the mystical and esoteric philosophies of antiquity: The Secret Teachings of All Ages. Exploring subjects from Native American mythology to Pythagorean mathematics to the geometry of Ancient Egypt, this encyclopedia esoterica won the admiration of readers ranging from General John Pershing to Elvis Presley. Novelist Dan Brown cites it as a key source.

After publishing his great work, Hall spent the rest of his life lecturing and writing within the walls of his Egypto-art deco campus in L.A.’s Griffith Park neighborhood. He called the place a “mystery school” in the mold of Pythagoras’s ancient academy. It was there in 1944 that the occult thinker produced a short work, one little known beyond his immediate circle. This book, The Secret Destiny of America, caught the eye of the future president, then a middling Hollywood actor gravitating toward politics.

Hall’s concise volume described how America was the product of a “Great Plan” for religious liberty and self-governance, launched by a hidden order of ancient philosophers and secret societies. In one chapter, Hall described a rousing speech delivered by a mysterious “unknown speaker” before the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The “strange man,” wrote Hall, invisibly entered and exited the locked doors of the Philadelphia statehouse on July 4th, 1776, delivering an oration that bolstered the wavering spirits of the delegates. “God has given America to be free!” commanded the mysterious speaker, urging the men to overcome their fears of the noose, axe, or gibbet, and to seal destiny by signing the great document. Newly emboldened, the delegates rushed forward to add their names. They looked to thank the stranger only to discover that he had vanished from the locked room. Was this, Hall wondered, “one of the agents of the secret Order, guarding and directing the destiny of America?”

At a 1957 commencement address at his alma mater Eureka College, Reagan, then a corporate spokesman for GE, sought to inspire students with this leaf from occult history. “This is a land of destiny,” Reagan said, “and our forefathers found their way here by some Divine system of selective service gathered here to fulfill a mission to advance man a further step in his climb from the swamps.”

Reagan then retold (without naming a source) the tale of Hall’s unknown speaker. “When they turned to thank the speaker for his timely words,” Reagan concluded, “he couldn’t be found and to this day no one knows who he was or how he entered or left the guarded room.”

Reagan revived the story in 1981, when Parade magazine asked the president for a personal essay on what July 4th meant to him. Presidential aide Michael Deaver delivered the piece with a note saying, “This Fourth of July message is the president’s own words and written initially in the president’s hand,” on a yellow pad at Camp David. Reagan retold the legend of the unknown speaker – this time using language very close to Hall’s own: “When they turned to thank him for his timely oratory, he was not to be found, nor could any be found who knew who he was or how had come in or gone out through the locked and guarded doors.”

Where did Hall uncover the tale that inspired a president? The episode originated as “The Speech of the Unknown” in a collection of folkloric stories about America’s founding, published in 1847 under the title Washington and his Generals, or Legends of the Revolution by American social reformer and muckraker George Lippard. Lippard, a friend of Edgar Allan Poe, had a strong taste for the gothic – he cloaked his mystery man in a “dark robe.” He also tacitly acknowledged inventing the story: “The name of the Orator…is not definitely known. In this speech, it is my wish to compress some portion of the fiery eloquence of the time.”

Regardless, the story took on its own life and came to occupy the same shadow land between fact and fiction as the parables of George Washington chopping down a cherry tree, or young Abe Lincoln walking miles to return a bit of a change to a country-store customer. As with most myths, the story assumed different attributes over time. By 1911, the speech resurfaced in a collection of American political oratory, with the robed speaker fancifully identified as Patrick Henry.

For his part, Hall seemed to know almost nothing about the story’s point of origin. He had been given a copy of the “Speech of the Unknown” by a since-deceased secretary of the occult Theosophical Society, but with no bibliographical information other than it being from a “rare old volume of early American political speeches.” The speech appeared in 1938 in the Society’s journal, The Theosophist, with the sole note that it was “published in a rare volume of addresses, and known probably to only one in a million, even of American citizens.”

It is Hall’s language that unmistakably marks the Reagan telling.

Biographer Edmund Morris noted Reagan’s fondness for apocryphal tales and his “Dalíesque ability to bend reality to his own purposes.” Yet he added that the president’s stories “should be taken seriously because they represent core philosophy.” This influential (and sometimes inscrutable) president of the late-twentieth century found an illustration of his core belief in America’s purpose within the pages of an occult work little known beyond its genre. Lucky numbers and newspaper horoscopes were not Reagan’s only interest in the arcane.

Chris McGreal in Washington | Guardian | May 2010

A huge wealth gap has opened up between black and white people in the US over the past quarter of a century – a difference sufficient to put two children through university – because of racial discrimination and economic policies that favour the affluent.

A typical white family is now five times richer than its African-American counterpart of the same class, according to a report released today by Brandeis University in Massachusetts.

White families typically have assets worth $100,000 (£69,000), up from $22,000 in the mid-1980s. African-American families’ assets stand at just $5,000, up from around $2,000.

A quarter of black families have no assets at all. The study monitored more than 2,000 families since 1984.

“We walk that through essentially a generation and what we see is that the racial wealth gap has galloped, it’s escalated to $95,000,” said Tom Shapiro, one of the authors of the report by the university’s Institute on Assets and Social Policy.

“That’s primarily because the whites in the sample were able to accumulate financial assets from their $22,000 all the way to $100,000 and the African-Americans’ wealth essentially flatlined.”

The survey does not include housing equity, because it is not readily accessible and is rarely realised as cash. But if property were included it would further widen the wealth divide.

Shapiro says the gap remains wide even between blacks and whites of similar classes and with similar jobs and incomes.

“How do we explain the wealth gap among equally-achieving African-American and white families? The same ratio holds up even among low income groups. Finding ways to accumulate financial resources for all low and moderate income families in the United States has been a huge challenge and that challenge keeps getting steeper and steeper.

“But there are greater opportunities and less challenges for low and moderate income families if they’re white in comparison to if they’re African-American or Hispanic,” he said.

America has long lived with vast inequality, although 40 years ago the disparity was lower than in Britain.

Today, the richest 1% of the US population owns close to 40% of its wealth. The top 25% of US households own 87%.

The rest is divided up among middle and low income Americans. In that competition white people come out far ahead.

Only one in 10 African-Americans owns any shares. A third do not have a pension plan, and among those who do the value is on average a fifth of plans held by whites.

Shapiro says one of the most disturbing aspects of the study is that wealth among the highest-income African-Americans has actually fallen in recent years, dropping from a peak of $25,000 to about $18,000, while among white counterparts of similar class and income it has surged to around $240,000.

In 1984, high-income black Americans had more assets than middle-income whites. That is no longer true.

“I’m a pretty jaded and cynical researcher in some way, but this was shocking, quite frankly, a really important dynamic,” said Shapiro. “This represents a broken chain of achievement. In the United States context, when we are thinking about racial equality and the economy we have focused for a long time on equal opportunity. …


” … A great achiever and close associate of John Paul II, Maciel was also a bigamist, pederast, dope fiend, and plagiarist. … In the end, the scandal of Marcial Maciel, gruesome and ribald as it is, will turn out to be of much greater significance to the Catholic Church than the isolated terrors inflicted on their victims by one or another European or U.S. bishop or priest. There is the distressing question of the Church’s last Pope, the popular John Paul II, and his relations with the demonic priest. There is the not unimportant fact that the Legionaries—along with Benedict XVI and indeed John Paul—represent the most morally conservative part of the Church, and that they now appear enmeshed in the most squalid moral scandal it is possible to imagine. … “

Alma Guillermoprieto | NYT | May 17, 2010

Of all the terrible sexual scandals the hierarchs in the Vatican find themselves tangled in, none is likely to do as much institutional damage as the astounding and still unfolding story of the Mexican priest Marcial Maciel. The crimes committed against children by other priests and bishops may provoke rage, but they also make one want to look away. With Father Maciel, on the other hand, one can hardly tear oneself from the ghastly drama as it unfolds, page by page, revelation by revelation, in the Mexican press.

Father Maciel, who was born in Mexico and died in 2008 at the age of eighty-seven, was known around the Catholic world. Against ordinarily insurmountable obstacles, he founded what was to become one of the most dynamic, profitable, and conservative religious orders of the 20th century, which today has 800 priests, and approximately seventy thousand religious worldwide. The Legion of Christ, nearly 70 years old as an order, is comparatively small, but it is influential: it operates fifteen universities, and some 140,000 students are enrolled in its schools (In New York, its members teach in eleven parish schools); and its leadership has long enjoyed remarkable access to the Vatican hierarchy.

A great achiever and close associate of John Paul II, Maciel was also a bigamist, pederast, dope fiend, and plagiarist. Maciel came from the fervently religious state of Michoacán in the southwest of Mexico, and grew up during the years of the Cristero war (1926–1929), a savage conflict that pitched traditional Catholics (Cristeros) in provincial Mexico against the anti-clerical government in the capital. One of his uncles was the commanding general of the Cristeros. Another four uncles were bishops. One of them, Rafael Guízar y Valencia, brought him into a clandestine seminary in Mexico City, where as a 21 year old who had not even taken his vows, Maciel created a new religious order that was intended to be both cosmopolitan and strict.

Given its founder’s age and general lack of education, it is not surprising that its aims were poorly defined, although in a fascinating study of Maciel by the historian and psychoanalyst Fernando M. González we learn that one of the order’s statutes specified that priests should be decenti sint conspectu, attractione corripiant, or graceful and attractive. At the age of 27 the young Father Maciel had an audience with Pope Pius XII, who, according to the Legionaries’ official history, urged him to use the order “to form and to win for Christ the leaders of Latin America and the world.” This has been the order’s unwavering mission for six decades, and with remarkable speed it emerged as a conservative force to rival even Opus Dei.

Maciel was evidently a man of some magnetism; dozens of wealthy women contributed generous amounts for the Legionaries’ good works, and the Mexican magazine Quién, normally known for its society pages and not for its investigative reporting, recently had a story about one of Mexico’s wealthiest widows, Flora Barragán de Garza, who donated upwards of fifty million dollars during the years of Maciel’s glory. “She gave him practically all our father’s fortune,” Barragán’s daughter told the Quién interviewer, adding that the family finally had to intervene so that the by then elderly woman would not be left destitute. Her generosity allowed Maciel to travel first-class throughout his peripatetic life, but it also provided the wherewithal for the network of private schools to which wealthy Mexican conservatives dispatched their children.

In 1997, a Mexican woman who was living in Cuernavaca looked at the cover of the magazine Contenido—a Reader’s Digest-y sort of publication—and saw on it the face of her common-law husband. She had been his partner for 21 years and borne him two children, and she knew him as a private detective or “CIA agent” who, for understandable work-related reasons, put in only occasional appearances at home. Now she learned that he was a priest and and that his real name was Marcial Maciel. He was, the magazine said, the head of an order whose strictness and extreme conservatism appeared to hide some vile secrets: the article, picking up information first brought to light in an article by Jason Berry in the Hartford Courant, revealed that nine men, one a founder of the Legionaries, another still an active member, and the rest all former members of the order, had informed their superiors in Rome that Maciel had abused them sexually when they were pubescent seminarians under his care.

The accusations were not new, nor would they be the last. In 1938 Maciel was expelled from his uncle Guízar’s seminary, and shortly afterward from a seminary in the United States. According to witnesses, Maciel and his uncle had a gigantic row behind closed doors, and one witness, a Legionary who had known Maciel since childhood, told the psychoanalyst González that the bishop’s rage had to do with the fact that Maciel was locking himself up in the boarding house where he was staying with some of the younger boys at his uncle’s seminary. Bishop Guízar died of a massive heart attack the following day.

Later, it would become known that Maciel had his students and seminarians procure Dolantin (morphine) for him. This led to Maciel’s suspension as head of the order in 1956. Inexplicably, he was reinstated after two years. Much later still, someone realized that his book, The Psalter of My Days, which was more or less required reading in Legionary institutions, and was a sort of Book of Hours, or prayer guide, was lifted virtually in its entirety from The Psalter of My Hours, an account written by a Spaniard who was sentenced to life in prison after the Spanish Civil War.

“The Families of Maciel,” on the cover of the Mexican magazine Quién, March 19, 2010

Uneducated and mendacious, Maciel nevertheless had a genius for politics, and for personal relations. According to a former Jesuit with good knowledge of the story, one of the very first sizable donations that the Polish Solidarity movement received came from Maciel, who raised the money among the conservative Mexican elite he had so steadfastly cultivated. No doubt the Polish Karol Woyjtiwa heard about this act of generosity and appreciated Maciel’s ideological stance. The priest was at John Paul’s side throughout the first three of the Pope’s five visits to Mexico: Legionary money, its priests, and its very active laypersons’ movement, the Regnum Christi, strengthened the Polish Pope’s campaign to remove socially radical or liberal priests from positions of power and give ascendancy to his conservative Catholicism.

It is hard not to think that these are the reasons the Vatican ignored the detailed and heartwrenching letter sent in 1998 by Maciel’s eight accusers (the ninth member of the group having died.) Even as the public first became aware of the accusations through the Hartford Courant and the Mexican press, which picked up the story immediately, the Vatican refused to act. Instead, Pope John Paul II put forward the beatification of Maciel’s mother and of his uncle, Bishop Guízar. (The bishop is now Saint Guízar. Maciel’s mother is still going through the beatification process.) It was only in 2006, after John Paul’s death, that a Vatican communique announced that Maciel had been “invited to lead a reserved life of prayer and penitence.” He lived out his final years quietly and died in the United States. The Legionaries, however, have continued to grow in numbers and in wealth.

It’s risky for a nonbeliever to try to evaluate how the Maciel narrative will affect the Church’s standing as a whole, because an outsider can understand so little of how a faith is lived among its rank and file. No doubt many Latin American believers know a parish priest who had a “housekeeper” and perhaps a “niece” living with him, because these things have never been uncommon here—or elsewhere, probably, although the effort to hide them may be greater. But Paraguayans have not abandoned their cheerful president, former priest Fernando Lugo, despite the fact that he is known to have fathered at least three children (he seems to think there may be more) while he was still a bishop.

Homosexuality has also been tolerated and to some degree almost expected of skirt-wearing priests in this macho part of the world. It is possible, perhaps, that for many Catholics baptism, confession, and weekly mass are almost bureaucratic procedures, like voting or getting a driver’s licence, and that true faith is something that happens at home-made altars and through the magical pathways of ritual, leaving priests to live their own lives as long as they do a creditable job with the sermons and the burials. The sexual abuse of children and its cover-up are a different matter entirely, one suspects.

As it turns out, Maciel’s common-law marriage to Blanca Estela Lara Gutiérrez was not exclusive. Some ten years after he met her, he began a long-lasting relationship with a 19-year old waitress from Acapulco, to whom he introduced himself as an “oil broker.” He had a daughter with her, and, according to a recent article in the Spanish newspaper El Mundo, several more children with other partners.

After she found out that her husband was not a CIA agent but a child-molesting priest, Blanca Estela Lara did not come forth with the news that she was married to him. Perhaps she was terrified unawares of the man she believed “was her God,” as she would say a decade later. Perhaps she was simply ashamed. At any rate, she kept silent while some of Maciel’s victims and a few journalists—notably the late Gerald Renner and Jason Berry, now of the National Catholic Reporter—kept producing more evidence. And then, last March, two years after Maciel’s death, Lara appeared with her three sons on one of Mexico’s most well-regarded talk shows and listened quietly while her children testified that their biological father, Marcial Maciel, had made them masturbate him, and had first attempted to rape them, the older one said, when he was a boy seven years old. (This testimony has been tarnished somewhat by the revelation that the sons had earlier demanded millions of dollars from the Legionaries of Christ in exchange for their silence. The order has not attempted to deny the accusation, however.)

Quite apart from the damage to Maciel’s victims, there is the pressing question of why the Catholic Church, as an institution, did not condemn him when he was ordained as a priest, or when he founded the Legionaries, or when the story of his pederasty made the cover of magazines, or when enough evidence was found to conclude that Maciel should live out the rest of his life in seclusion, or even when the rumors grew strong enough to warrant a Vatican investigation of the order as a whole. The answer surprises no one: at a time in which churches are emptying, the Legionaries have been a rich source of conscripts, money and influence; in Mexico everyone from Carlos Slim to Marta Sahagún, the wife of former president Vicente Fox, gave money to or asked favors from Maciel.

Pius XII greets the first group of Legionaries arriving in Rome, September 1946

It was not until last year that Karol Woyjtiwa’s successor, Pope Benedict XVI, at last authorized a visitation—churchspeak for investigation—of the entire order of the Legionaries of Christ. As usual, the press and some disaffected religious have been way ahead of the Vatican. Now we learn from the press that the order kept some 900 women under non-binding vows as consagradas, or quasi-nuns, in conditions of emotional privation and subjugation that violated even canonical law.

In the end, the scandal of Marcial Maciel, gruesome and ribald as it is, will turn out to be of much greater significance to the Catholic Church than the isolated terrors inflicted on their victims by one or another European or U.S. bishop or priest. There is the distressing question of the Church’s last Pope, the popular John Paul II, and his relations with the demonic priest. There is the not unimportant fact that the Legionaries—along with Benedict XVI and indeed John Paul—represent the most morally conservative part of the Church, and that they now appear enmeshed in the most squalid moral scandal it is possible to imagine. There is, above all, the fact that an entire, large, wealthy, international institution is now under suspicion (what did Maciel’s fellow Legionaries know, when did they know it, and who was complicit?) and that the greatest institution of all, the Roman Catholic Church, appears to have engaged in a cover-up for decades on its behalf. Catholics who always assumed that a priest and Bing Crosby were more or less identical will need some time to adjust to this knowledge.

But there is the also the question of the future of the Church and of its priests and nuns as sexual beings. It is not necessarily cheap psychology to speculate that extreme sexual repression of the sort imposed by the Church on its members leads to perversion, an issue that has surfaced importunately for the last millenium. Many religious, it would seem, opt to “obey” rules but not comply with them, as the Spanish formulation has it (“obedezco, pero no cumplo”). I offer this simply as anecdotal evidence, but in my casual, friendly, and often admiring acquaintance with members of the Catholic orders—all from the social activist branch of the church, for whatever it’s worth—a remarkable number have been involved in some sort of couple relationship.

I once attended a major church festivity in a small town at which several of the priests and nuns who arrived to concelebrate Mass were openly, and even defiantly, there with their partners, either homosexual or hetero. In 1979, at the time of John Paul’s first visit to Mexico, I had a conversation with a progressive Spanish priest who lived with his partner, a middle-aged woman, about the split life he lived. Why, I asked, didn’t he leave the Church if so many of its norms violated his own convictions and desire for honesty? I remember his saying, in effect, that the possibility of doing good within an institution as enormous and influential as the Church was greater that the chances for doing good outside of it. Perhaps that equation is changing.

“Some witnesses claimed that the helicopter exploded. … “

Quezon gov, 5 others die in ’copter crash

By JAY CHUA and VICTOR REYES | | MAY 18, 2010

OUTGOING Quezon Gov. Rafael Nantes and five others, including two children, died after their helicopter crashed yesterday afternoon into a subdivision in Lucena City.

Alfonso Cusi, director general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), said Nantes died along with two security escorts and the pilot of the four-seater helicopter of Lion Air, with body number RP-C2550. …

Cusi said two children died on the spot after they were pinned by the helicopter when it hit the ground and burned five houses. Col. Generoso Bolina, Solcom spokesman, said the helicopter crashed at around 3:15 p.m. at Jael subdivision in Barangay Iyam barely 300 meters away from where it took off. Cusi, quoting sketchy reports from Lucena City, said the helicopter took off from the Quezon National Hospital bound for Manila when it suddenly went down after being airborne for only two minutes.

It fell on a row of houses that immediately caught fire. …

Cusi sent members of the Aircraft Investigation Board to determine the cause of the crash. Bolina said some witnesses claimed that the helicopter exploded. He said an investigation would reveal if the aircraft was sabotaged.

Nantes sought re-election as Quezon governor under the Liberal Party, where he was treasurer, but lost to David Suarez of the administration Lakas-Kampi CMD.    

Black Propaganda

 Excerpt: “Chopper crash kills Nantes”  | Business Mirror | 17 May 2010

Nantes was in the news two days before the elections after reports said he faced investigation for a major drug bust in a coastal area in Quezon where, critics had alleged, it was unlikely he had no knowledge of such a major criminal operation in his constituency.

Rival parties said Nantes should be investigated, as he is the chief fundraiser of the LP [Liberal Party], if only to quell suspicion that drug money may have played a role in the campaign.  Both Nantes and the LP vehemently disputed the speculation, describing it as the “desperate act” of politicians fearing the impending landslide victory of LP standard-bearer Benigno Aquino III.

Nantes held a news conference the other day and addressed all issues about the drug bust. … 

The Drug Allegations Proved to be False and Malicious, the Election, Nantes said, Stolen – Q: Was He Murdered, as Well?

By Paolo Romero | The Philippine Star | May 13, 2010

MANILA, Philippines – The Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group (PASG) denied yesterday that it has linked Liberal Party standard-bearer Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III and Quezon Gov. Rafael Nantes to the reported illegal drug trade in the province. …

Nantes accuses rival of massive cheating

By Gemi Formaran
16 May 2010

LUCENA City – Quezon Gov. Raffy Nantes accused his winning rival of massive black propaganda by linking him and Liberal Party standard bearer Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III into an illegal drug shipment to insure his defeat.

“They have long prepared a grand design to insure my defeat in the elections through rampant vote-buying using national government funds, massive black propaganda by enlisting some national dailies which published before and on election day itself about alleged illegal drugs shipment in Quezon, and a ‘vote steal’ through replaced computer memory card which all led to my electoral loss,” Nantes said during a press conference.

Disputing published reports about an alleged drug raid in Quezon supposedly undertaken by the Presidential Anti-Smuggling Group, Nantes showed a certification from the PASG headed by director Jeffrey Patawaran that a pearl farm, not a drug laboratory, was found in Icolong Island in Burdeos town. The certification also said the PASG never accused Nantes and Aquino of drug involvement.

PASG officer-in-charge Assistant Secretary Danilo Mangila said the operation against smuggling in Quezon has been used by some politicians as a grand black propaganda material against their rivals.

Mangila said the PASG operatives found chemicals for farm fertlizers in Icolong Island, not drugs. …

His rival, David “Jayjay” Suarez, and runningmate Vicente “Kulit” Alcala of Lakas-Kampi, were proclaimed by provincial election supervisor Allan Enriquez.…-cheating.html

– Alex Constantine

By Ryan J. Reilly

Main Justice | May 16, 2010

Mark Richard, a Justice Department legend who served 16 Attorneys General in his more than 40 years at DOJ, died last year. Now a former colleague and a research group are trying to make sure his last project — a report on the history of the DOJ’s Office of Special Investigations — is released to the public.

As a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Criminal Division for 20 years, Richard oversaw the OSI. The section, known as the U.S. government’s “Nazi hunters,” was established to probe ex-Nazi war criminals living in the United States and had jurisdiction over U.S. citizens accused of human rights crimes.

In 1999, then-Attorney General Janet Reno authorized a report documenting the work and history of the office, and Richard enthusiastically agreed to edit the piece, according to Judy Feigin, a former DOJ lawyer and the principle author of the 700-page report report.

Feigin, who had served in various capacities as a lawyer at the Justice Department since 1972, began writing the report in 1999. She spent most of her working time on it until she retired in 2005 and came back to the DOJ on a part-time basis after her retirement to finish up the piece, she said. Their final product — over six-and-a-half years in the making — was edited by Richard and was sent up the chain-of-command in 2006.

But the report was never published, even though Richard was working to have it released until the day he died, Feigin told Main Justice.

In October, the National Security Archives at George Washington University submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the report.

One month later, the DOJ rejected the request, using a broad interpretation of FOIA’s exemption for draft documents. In a letter responding to the request, a DOJ representative claimed that the document was “deliberative and pre-decisional.” The letter also said that because the report was never approved by the Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division, its status as a draft allowed it to be exempt from the FOIA.

Critics said that blocking the report’s release is at odds with Attorney General Eric Holder’s March 2009 memo, which instructed government lawyers to lean toward disclosure when considering FOIA requests.

“It’s unclear to me what would be deliberative or policy related in the document,” said David Sobel, a lawyer representing the National Security Archives on a pro-bono basis. Sobel filed a lawsuit against the Justice Department this week appealing the decision to block the report’s release. The decision, he said, is “specifically at odds with the guidance in the Holder memo.”

According to Feigin, the report covered the history of the OSI, touching on its failures, but was a balanced and would be of be valuable to researchers, academia and the public. The recent merger of the OSI into the new Human Rights and Special Prosecutions Section makes the report on the now-defunct office more relevant, Feigin said.

Feigin said she was told the document may need to be screened for privacy concerns. But still, Feigen said she knows of no reason to hold back the entire report and was disappointed and frustrated that the Justice Department had not updated her on the status of the report since she completed work four years ago.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the lawsuit or on the current status of the report.

For 28 years, the Washington Times has sent disinformation slithering through the U.S. political system, befouling our democracy. Those days might be over.

Robert Parry

AlterNet | May 6, 2010

I’m not much for catchy political metaphors, but the revelation that snakes and rodents are infesting the Washington Times building as the Rev. Sun Myung Moon’s newspaper sinks into a financial swamp does have some poetic justice about it.

After all, for 28 years, the right-wing Washington Times has sent disinformation slithering through the U.S. political system while creating a nest for propagandists who have befouled American democracy with irrationality and dirty tricks.

Indeed, one could say that Moon’s newspaper pioneered the modern style of deceptive “journalism” that is the daily fare on Fox News, angry talk radio and right-wing blogs.

The immediate cause of the Washington Times’ financial collapse is said to be the bitter succession fight among children of the 90-year-old Unification Church founder who is no longer capable of maintaining personal control over his global religious-political-business empire.

That empire has now split into competing factions, with one of Moon’s children, Justin Moon, who is in charge of the Asian operations, deciding to slash the church’s massive subsidy to the Washington Times headed by another son, Preston Moon.

Nicholas Chiaia, one of the two remaining members of the newspaper’s board of directors, told the Washington Post that the Washington Times is up for sale. “We recently entered into discussions with a number of parties interested in either purchasing or partnering with the Washington Times,” he said.

Meanwhile, staffers who have survived a series of draconian layoffs report that snakes and mice have slipped into the newspaper’s building because the owners can’t afford exterminators to combat the infestations.

“There was a three-foot-long black snake in the main conference room the other day,” said reporter Julia Duin. “We have snakes in the newsroom.”

So, although some deep-pocket conservative might step up and save the American Right’s flagship newspaper, it appears that the Washington Times’ extraordinary run as a foreign-controlled and suspiciously funded propaganda vehicle may soon be over.

A Curious Case

It has long been amazing that Official Washington has been so blasé about the curious case of the Washington Times, where a Korean theocrat – known for brainwashing his followers and for maintaining close ties with international drug cartels and foreign intelligence agencies – has been allowed to spend billions of unregulated dollars to influence U.S. political decision-making.

The fact that Moon wrapped himself in “conservative” political garb – and was quick to denounce any investigations of his organization as “religious bigotry” – helped fend off inquiries into exactly where his money was coming from.

But what proved most important was how Moon made himself useful to Ronald Reagan, the Bush Family and other Republican heavy-hitters – often by putting into play propaganda smearing their political enemies. These Republicans, in turn, helped protect Moon, at least since the late 1970s.

During the Carter administration, the congressional “Korea-gate” probe into South Korean influence-buying in Washington revealed Moon’s foreign intelligence ties and some of his criminal activities, leading to his conviction on tax fraud charges in 1982.

In that same year, however, Moon took steps to insulate himself from further inquiries, most notably by launching the Washington Times. Since then, Moon’s empire – from its local fundraising scams to its international money-laundering – has escaped any serious government examination.

It didn’t even matter when Church insiders, including Moon’s former daughter-in-law Nansook Hong, provided first-hand evidence of systematic criminality. In an era dominated by Republican control of the federal government, U.S. authorities never seemed to put two and two together.

Though Moon’s operations in both Asia and South America were linked to major crime syndicates including the Japanese yakuza and Latin American cocaine cartels, federal prosecutors and congressional committees chose to look the other way.

That way Moon was allowed to continue pouring an estimated $100 million a year into his newspaper and other pro-Republican media outlets. Additional millions went to fund right-wing political conferences; to pay speaking fees to world leaders, including George H.W. Bush; and to bail other Republican political allies out of financial troubles.

When I was investigating Moon’s activities in the mid-1990s, I interviewed former church insiders who explained how Moon’s U.S. business operations, such as restaurants and real estate deals, served to launder overseas money that his followers would first sneak past U.S. Customs, a practice confirmed by Moon’s ex-daughter-in-law.

In her 1998 memoir, In the Shadow of the Moons, Nansook Hong alleged that Moon’s organization had engaged in a long-running conspiracy to smuggle cash into the United States and to deceive U.S. Customs agents.

“The Unification Church was a cash operation,” Nansook Hong wrote. “I watched Japanese church leaders arrive at regular intervals at East Garden [the Moon compound north of New York City] with paper bags full of money, which the Reverend Moon would either pocket or distribute to the heads of various church-owned business enterprises at his breakfast table.

“The Japanese had no trouble bringing the cash into the United States; they would tell customs agents that they were in America to gamble at Atlantic City. In addition, many businesses run by the church were cash operations, including several Japanese restaurants in New York City. I saw deliveries of cash from church headquarters that went directly into the wall safe in Mrs. Moon’s closet.”

Personal Confession

Mrs. Moon even pressed her daughter-in-law into one cash-smuggling incident after a trip to Japan in 1992, Nansook Hong wrote.

Mrs. Moon had received “stacks of money” and divvied it up among her entourage for the return trip through Seattle, Nansook Hong wrote.

“I was given $20,000 in two packs of crisp new bills,” she recalled. “I hid them beneath the tray in my makeup case. … I knew that smuggling was illegal, but I believed the followers of Sun Myung Moon answered to higher laws.”

U.S. currency laws require that cash amounts above $10,000 be declared at Customs when the money enters or leaves the country. It is also illegal to conspire with couriers to bring in lesser amounts when the total exceeds the $10,000 figure.

Moon “demonstrated contempt for U.S. law every time he accepted a paper bag full of untraceable, undeclared cash collected from true believers” who smuggled the money in from overseas, Nansook Hong wrote.

Despite Nansook Hong’s revelations, which corroborated longstanding claims by other Moon insiders, no known criminal investigation ensued.

There is also the question of where the mysterious money originated. Some Moon watchers believe much of the cash came from scams of superstitious Japanese widows who were sold miniature pagodas and other ornaments dedicated to their dead husbands.

Yet, while the Japanese scams might explain part of Moon’s fortune, others who have looked into Moon’s operation suspect that a major source of money derived from Moon’s close relationships with underworld figures in Asia and South America.

Those ties date back several decades to negotiations conducted by one of Moon’s early South Korean supporters, Kim Jong-Pil, who founded the Korean CIA and headed up sensitive negotiations on improving bilateral relations between Tokyo and Seoul.

The negotiations put Kim Jong-Pil in touch with two important figures in the Far East, Japanese rightists Yoshio Kodama and Ryoichi Sasakawa, who had been jailed as fascist war criminals at the end of World War II. A few years later, however, both Kodama and Sasakawa were freed by U.S. military intelligence officials.

The U.S. government turned to Kodama and Sasakawa for help in combating communist labor unions and student strikes, much as the CIA protected German Nazi war criminals who supplied intelligence and performed other services in Cold War battles with European communists.

Kodama and Sasakawa also allegedly grew rich from their association with the yakuza, a shadowy organized crime syndicate that profited off drug smuggling, gambling and prostitution in Japan and Korea. Behind the scenes, Kodama and Sasakawa became power-brokers in Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

Far-Right Extremism

Kim Jong-Pil’s contacts with these right-wing leaders proved invaluable to Moon, who had made only a few converts in Japan by the early 1960s. Immediately after Kim Jong-Pil opened the door to Kodama and Sasakawa in late 1962, 50 leaders of an ultra-nationalist Japanese Buddhist sect converted en masse to the Unification Church, according to Yakuza, a book by David E. Kaplan and Alec Dubro.

“Sasakawa became an advisor to Reverend Sun Myung Moon’s Japanese branch of the Unification Church” and collaborated with Moon in building far-right anti-communist organizations in Asia, Kaplan and Dubro wrote.

Moon’s church was active in the Asian People’s Anti-Communist League, a fiercely right-wing group founded by the governments of South Korea and Taiwan. In 1966, the group expanded into the World Anti-Communist League, an international alliance that brought together traditional conservatives with ex-Nazis, overt racialists and Latin American “death squads.”

Authors Scott Anderson and Jon Lee Anderson wrote in their 1986 book, Inside the League, that Sun Myung Moon was one of five indispensable Asian leaders who made the World Anti-Communist League possible.

The five were Taiwan’s dictator Chiang Kai-shek, South Korea’s dictator Park Chung Hee, yakuza gangsters Sasakawa and Kodama, and Moon, “an evangelist who planned to take over the world through the doctrine of ‘Heavenly Deception,’” the Andersons wrote.

WACL became a well-financed worldwide organization after a secret meeting between Sasakawa and Moon, along with two Kodama representatives, on a lake in Yamanashi Prefecture, Japan, according to the Andersons.

The purpose of the meeting was to create an anti-communist organization that “would further Moon’s global crusade and lend the Japanese yakuza leaders a respectable new façade,” the Andersons wrote.

Mixing organized crime and political extremism, of course, has a long tradition throughout the world. Violent political movements often have blended with criminal operations as a way to arrange covert funding, move operatives or acquire weapons.

Drug smuggling has proven to be a particularly effective way to fill the coffers of extremist movements, especially those that find ways to insinuate themselves within more legitimate operations of sympathetic governments or intelligence services.

In the quarter century after World War II, remnants of fascist movements managed to do just that. Shattered by the Allies, the surviving fascists got a new lease on political life with the start of the Cold War. They helped both Western democracies and right-wing dictatorships battle international communism.

Though some Nazi leaders faced war-crimes tribunals after World War II, others managed to make their escapes along “rat lines” to Spain or South America or they finagled intelligence relationships with the victorious powers, especially the United States.

Argentina became a natural haven given the pre-war alliance that existed between the European fascists and prominent Argentine military leaders, such as Juan Peron. The fleeing Nazis also found like-minded right-wing politicians and military officers across Latin America who already used repression to keep down the indigenous populations and the legions of the poor.

In the post-World War II years, some Nazi war criminals chose reclusive lives, but others, such as former SS officer Klaus Barbie, sold their intelligence skills to less-sophisticated security services in countries like Bolivia or Paraguay.
Other Nazis on the lam trafficked in narcotics. Often the lines crossed between intelligence operations and criminal conspiracies.

French Connection

Auguste Ricord, a French war criminal who had collaborated with the Gestapo, set up shop in Paraguay and opened up the French Connection heroin channels to American Mafia drug kingpin Santo Trafficante Jr., who controlled much of the heroin traffic into the United States.

Columns by Jack Anderson identified Ricord’s accomplices as some of Paraguay’s highest-ranking military officers.

Another French Connection mobster, Christian David, relied on protection of Argentine authorities. While trafficking in heroin, David also “took on assignments for Argentina’s terrorist organization, the Argentine Anti-Communist Alliance,” Henrik Kruger wrote in The Great Heroin Coup.

During President Richard Nixon’s original “war on drugs,” U.S. authorities smashed the famous French Connection and won extraditions of Ricord and David in 1972 to face justice in the United States.

However, by the time the French Connection was severed, powerful Mafia drug lords had forged strong ties to South America’s military leaders. An infrastructure for the multi-billion-dollar drug trade, servicing the insatiable U.S. market, was in place.

Trafficante-connected groups also recruited displaced anti-Castro Cubans, who had ended up in Miami, needed work, and possessed some useful intelligence skills gained from the CIA’s training for the Bay of Pigs and other clandestine operations.

Heroin from the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia soon filled the void left by the broken French Connection and its mostly Middle Eastern heroin supply routes.

During this time of transition, Moon brought his evangelical message to South America. His first visit to Argentina occurred in 1965 when he blessed a square behind the presidential Pink House in Buenos Aires, but he returned a decade later to make more lasting friendships.

Moon first sank down roots in Uruguay during the 12-year reign of right-wing military dictators who seized power in 1973. He also cultivated close relations with military dictators in Argentina, Paraguay and Chile, reportedly ingratiating himself with the juntas by helping the military regimes arrange arms purchases and by channeling money to allied right-wing organizations.

“Relationships nurtured with right-wing Latin Americans in the [World Anti-Communist] League led to acceptance of the [Unification] Church’s political and propaganda operations throughout Latin America,” the Andersons wrote in Inside the League.

“As an international money laundry, … the Church tapped into the capital flight havens of Latin America. Escaping the scrutiny of American and European investigators, the Church could now funnel money into banks in Honduras, Uruguay and Brazil, where official oversight was lax or nonexistent.”

Cocaine Coup

In 1980, Moon made more friends in South America when a right-wing alliance of Bolivian military officers and drug dealers organized what became known as the Cocaine Coup. Moon’s WACL associates, such as Alfred Candia, coordinated the arrival of some of the paramilitary operatives who assisted in the violent putsch.

Right-wing Argentine intelligence officers mixed with a contingent of young European neo-fascists as they collaborated with Nazi war criminal Barbie in carrying out the bloody coup that overthrew the elected left-of-center government.

The victory put into power a right-wing military dictatorship indebted to the drug lords. Bolivia became South America’s first narco-state.

One of the first well-wishers arriving in La Paz to congratulate the new government was Moon’s top lieutenant, Bo Hi Pak. The Moon organization published a photo of Pak meeting with the new strongman, General Garcia Meza.

After the visit to the mountainous capital, Pak declared, “I have erected a throne for Father Moon in the world’s highest city.”

According to later Bolivian government and newspaper reports, a Moon representative invested about $4 million in preparations for the coup. Bolivia’s WACL representatives also played key roles, and CAUSA, one of Moon’s anti-communist organizations, listed as members nearly all the leading Bolivian coup-makers.

Soon, Colonel Luis Arce-Gomez, a coup organizer and the cousin of cocaine kingpin Roberto Suarez, went into partnership with big narco-traffickers, including Trafficante’s Cuban-American smugglers. Nazi war criminal Barbie and his young neo-fascist followers found new work protecting Bolivia’s major cocaine barons and transporting drugs to the border.

“The paramilitary units – conceived by Barbie as a new type of SS – sold themselves to the cocaine barons,” German journalist Kai Hermann wrote. “The attraction of fast money in the cocaine trade was stronger than the idea of a national socialist revolution in Latin America.”

A month after the coup, General Garcia Meza participated in the Fourth Congress of the Latin American Anti-Communist Confederation, an arm of the World Anti-Communist League. Also attending that Fourth Congress was WACL president Woo Jae Sung, a leading Moon disciple.

As the drug lords consolidated their power in Bolivia, the Moon organization expanded its presence, too. Hermann reported that in early 1981, war criminal Barbie and Moon leader Thomas Ward were seen together in apparent prayer.

On May 31, 1981, Moon representatives sponsored a CAUSA reception at the Sheraton Hotel’s Hall of Freedom in La Paz. Moon’s lieutenant Bo Hi Pak and Bolivian strongman Garcia Meza led a prayer for President Reagan’s recovery from an assassination attempt.

In his speech, Bo Hi Pak declared, “God had chosen the Bolivian people in the heart of South America as the ones to conquer communism.” According to a later Bolivian intelligence report, the Moon organization sought to recruit an “armed church” of Bolivians, with about 7,000 Bolivians receiving some paramilitary training.

Moon’s Escape

But by late 1981, the cocaine taint of Bolivia’s military junta was so deep and the corruption so staggering that U.S.-Bolivian relations were stretched to the breaking point.

“The Moon sect disappeared overnight from Bolivia as clandestinely as they had arrived,” Hermann reported.

The Cocaine Coup leaders soon found themselves on the run, too. Interior Minister Arce-Gomez was eventually extradited to Miami and was sentenced to 30 years in prison for drug trafficking. Drug lord Roberto Suarez got a 15-year prison term. General Garcia Meza became a fugitive from a 30-year sentence imposed on him in Bolivia for abuse of power, corruption and murder.

Ex-Gestapo official Barbie, known as the “butcher of Lyon,” was returned to France to face a life sentence for war crimes. He died in 1991.

But Moon’s organization suffered few negative repercussions from the Cocaine Coup. By the early 1980s, flush with seemingly unlimited funds, Moon had moved on to promoting himself with the new Republican administration in Washington.

Yet, where Moon got his cash remained one of Washington’s deepest mysteries – and one that few U.S. conservatives wanted to solve.

“Some Moonie-watchers even believe that some of the business enterprises are actually covers for drug trafficking,” wrote Scott and Jon Lee Anderson.

While Moon’s representatives have refused to detail how they’ve sustained their far-flung activities, Moon’s spokesmen have angrily denied recurring allegations about profiteering off illegal trafficking in weapons and drugs.

In a typical response to a gun-running question by the Argentine newspaper, Clarin, Moon’s representative Ricardo DeSena responded, “I deny categorically these accusations and also the barbarities that are said about drugs and brainwashing. Our movement responds to the harmony of the races, nations and religions and proclaims that the family is the school of love.” [Clarin, July 7, 1996]

Without doubt, however, Moon’s organization has had a long record of association with organized crime figures, including ones implicated in the drug trade. Besides collaborating with leaders of the Japanese yakuza and the Cocaine Coup government of Bolivia, Moon’s organization developed close ties with the Honduran military and the Nicaraguan contra movement, both permeated with drug smugglers. [See Robert Parry’s Lost History.]

On the Offensive

Moon’s organization also used the Washington Times and its political clout in the nation’s capital to intimidate or discredit government officials and journalists who tried to investigate Moon-connected criminal activities.

In the mid-1980s, for instance, when journalists and congressional investigators began probing the evidence of contra-drug trafficking, they came under attack from the Times.

An Associated Press story that I co-wrote with Brian Barger about a Miami-based federal probe into gun- and drug-running by the contras was denigrated in an April 11, 1986, front-page Washington Times article with the headline: “Story on [contra] drug smuggling denounced as political ploy.”

When Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, conducted a Senate probe and uncovered additional evidence of contra-drug trafficking, the Washington Times denounced him, too. The newspaper first published articles depicting Kerry’s probe as a wasteful political witch hunt.

“Kerry’s anti-contra efforts extensive, expensive, in vain,” announced the headline of one Times article on Aug. 13, 1986.

But when Kerry exposed more contra wrongdoing, the Washington Times shifted tactics. In 1987 in front-page articles, it began accusing Kerry’s staff of obstructing justice because their investigation was supposedly interfering with Reagan administration efforts to get at the truth.

“Kerry staffers damaged FBI probe,” said a Jan. 21, 1987, Times article that opened with the assertion: “Congressional investigators for Sen. John Kerry severely damaged a federal drug investigation last summer by interfering with a witness while pursuing allegations of drug smuggling by the Nicaraguan resistance, federal law enforcement officials said.”

Despite the attacks, Kerry’s contra-drug investigation eventually concluded that a number of contra units – both in Costa Rica and Honduras – were implicated in the cocaine trade.

“It is clear that individuals who provided support for the contras were involved in drug trafficking, the supply network of the contras was used by drug trafficking organizations, and elements of the contras themselves knowingly received financial and material assistance from drug traffickers,” Kerry’s investigation stated in a report issued April 13, 1989.

“In each case, one or another agency of the U.S. government had information regarding the involvement either while it was occurring or immediately thereafter.”

Kerry’s investigation also found that Honduras had become an important way station for cocaine shipments heading north during the contra war.

“Elements of the Honduran military were involved … in the protection of drug traffickers from 1980 on,” the report said. “These activities were reported to appropriate U.S. government officials throughout the period.

“Instead of moving decisively to close down the drug trafficking by stepping up the DEA presence in the country and using the foreign assistance the United States was extending to the Hondurans as a lever, the United States closed the DEA office in Tegucigalpa and appears to have ignored the issue.”

The Kerry investigation represented an indirect challenge to Vice President George H.W. Bush, who had been named by President Reagan to head the South Florida Task Force for interdicting the flow of drugs into the United States and was later put in charge of the National Narcotics Border Interdiction System.

In short, Vice President Bush was the lead official in the U.S. government to cope with the drug trade, which he himself had dubbed a national security threat.

If the American voters came to believe that Bush had compromised his anti-drug responsibilities to protect the image of the Nicaraguan contras and other rightists in Central America, that judgment could have threatened the political future of Bush and his politically ambitious family.

By publicly challenging press and congressional investigations of this touchy subject, the Washington Times helped keep an unfavorable media spotlight from swinging in the direction of the Vice President – and bought some cover for Moon’s drug-connected right-wing allies, too.

Mounting Evidence

The resistance of the Reagan and the first Bush administrations prevented anything like a complete story of the contra-drug scandal from emerging in a timely fashion.

However, the evidence – eventually assembled by investigators at the CIA, the Justice Department and other federal agencies – now indicates that Bolivia’s Cocaine Coup operatives were only the first in a line of clever drug smugglers who tried to squeeze under the protective umbrella of Reagan’s favorite covert operation, the contra war.

Other cocaine smugglers soon followed, sharing some of their drug profits with the contras as a way to minimize investigative interest by the Reagan-Bush law enforcement agencies.

Based on official investigations, we now know that the contra-connected smugglers included Bolivians, the Medellin cartel, Panama’s government of Manuel Noriega, the Honduran military, the Honduran-Mexican smuggling ring of Ramon Matta Ballesteros, and the Miami-based anti-Castro Cubans with their connections to Mafia operations throughout the United States.

In some cases, U.S. intelligence officials bent over backwards not to take timely notice of contra-connected drug trafficking out of fear that fuller investigations would embarrass the contras and their patrons in the Reagan-Bush administrations.

For instance, on Oct. 22, 1982, a cable written by the CIA’s Directorate of Operations stated, “There are indications of links between [a U.S. religious organization] and two Nicaraguan counter-revolutionary groups. These links involve an exchange in [the United States] of narcotics for arms.”

The cable added that the participants were planning a meeting in Costa Rica for such a deal. When the cable arrived, senior CIA officials were concerned. On Oct. 27, CIA headquarters asked for more information from a U.S. law enforcement agency.

The law enforcement agency expanded on its report by telling the CIA that representatives of the contra FDN and another contra force, the UDN, would be meeting with several unidentified U.S. citizens. But then, the CIA reversed itself, deciding that it wanted no more information on the grounds that U.S. citizens were involved.

“In light of the apparent participation of U.S. persons throughout, agree you should not pursue the matter further,” CIA headquarters wrote on Nov. 3, 1982. Two weeks later, after discouraging additional investigation, CIA headquarters suggested it might be necessary to label the allegations of a guns-for-drugs deal as “misinformation.”

The CIA’s Latin American Division, however, responded on Nov. 18, 1982, that several contra officials had gone to San Francisco for the meetings with supporters, presumably as part of the same guns-for-drugs deal. But CIA inspector general Frederick Hitz – when he investigated in the mid-to-late 1990s – found no additional information about that deal in CIA files.

Also, by keeping the names of the participants censored when the documents finally were released in 1998, the CIA prevented outside investigators from examining whether the “U.S. religious organization” had any affiliation with Moon’s network of quasi-religious groups, which were assisting the contras at that time.

Studied Disinterest

Over the past quarter century – as Moon invested heavily in prominent Republicans – this pattern of government disinterest in his illicit operations remained one consistency. That disinterest wasn’t even shaken when disenchanted Moon insiders went public with confessions of their own first-hand involvement in criminal conspiracies.

Besides Nansook Hong’s account of money-laundering, other disaffected Moon disciples told similar stories.

For instance, Maria Madelene Pretorious, a former Unification Church member who worked at Moon’s Manhattan Center, a New York City music venue and recording studio, testified at a court hearing in Massachusetts that in December of 1993 or January of 1994, one of Moon’s sons, Hyo Jin Moon, returned from a trip to Korea “with $600,000 in cash which he had received from his father. …

“Myself along with three or four other members that worked at Manhattan Center saw the cash in bags, shopping bags.”

In an interview with me in the mid-1990s, Pretorious said Asian church members would bring cash into the United States where it would be circulated through Moon’s business entities as a way to launder it.

At the center of this financial operation, Pretorious said, was One-Up Corp., a Delaware-registered holding company that owned many Moon enterprises including the Manhattan Center and New World Communications, the parent company of the Washington Times.

“Once that cash is at the Manhattan Center, it has to be accounted for,” Pretorious said. “The way that’s done is to launder the cash. Manhattan Center gives cash to a business called Happy World which owns restaurants. … Happy World needs to pay illegal aliens. … Happy World pays some back to the Manhattan Center for ‘services rendered.’ The rest goes to One-Up and then comes back to Manhattan Center as an investment.”

In 1996, the Uruguayan bank employees union blew the whistle on another Moon money-laundering scheme, in which some 4,200 female Japanese followers allegedly walked into the Moon-controlled Banco de Credito in Montevideo and deposited as much as $25,000 each.

The money from the women went into the account of an anonymous association called Cami II, which was controlled by Moon’s Unification Church. In one day, Cami II received $19 million and, by the time the parade of women ended, the total had swelled to about $80 million.

It was not clear where the money originated, nor how many other times Moon’s organization has used this tactic – known as “smurfing” – to transfer untraceable cash into Uruguay.

Authorities did not push the money-laundering investigation, apparently out of deference to Moon’s political clout and fear of disrupting Uruguay’s banking industry. However, other critics condemned Moon’s operations.

“The first thing we ought to do is clarify to the people [of Uruguay] that Moon’s sect is a type of modern pirate that came to the country to perform obscure money operations, such as money laundering,” said Jorge Zabalza, who was a leader of the Movimiento de Participacion Popular. “This sect is a kind of religious mob that is trying to get public support to pursue its business.”

While Moon’s criminal enterprises may have been operating at one level, Moon’s political influence-buying was functioning at another, as he spread around billions of dollars to the top echelons of Washington power.

For instance, when the New Right’s direct-mail whiz Richard Viguerie fell on hard times in the late 1980s, Moon had a corporation run by his lieutenant, Bo Hi Pak, buy one of Viguerie’s properties for $10 million. [See OrangeCounty Register, Dec. 21, 1987; Washington Post, Oct. 15, 1989]

Moon also used the Washington Times and its affiliated publications to create seemingly legitimate conduits to funnel money to individuals and companies. In another example of Moon’s helpful largesse, the Washington Times hired Viguerie to conduct a pricy direct-mail subscription drive.

Falwell’s Savior

Another case of saving a right-wing icon occurred when the Rev. Jerry Falwell was facing financial ruin over the debts piling up at Liberty University.

But the fundamentalist Christian school in Lynchburg, Virginia, got a last-minute bail-out in the mid-1990s ostensibly from two Virginia businessmen, Dan Reber and Jimmy Thomas, who used their non-profit Christian Heritage Foundation to snap up a large chunk of Liberty’s debt for $2.5 million, a fraction of its face value.

Falwell rejoiced and called the moment “the greatest single day of financial advantage” in the school’s history, even though it was accomplished at the disadvantage of many small true-believing investors who had bought the church construction bonds through a Texas company.

But Falwell’s secret benefactor behind the debt purchase was Sun Myung Moon, who was kept in the background partly because of his controversial Biblical interpretations that hold Jesus to have been a failure and because of Moon’s alleged brainwashing of thousands of young Americans, often shattering their bonds with their biological families.

Moon had used his tax-exempt Women’s Federation for World Peace to funnel $3.5 million to the Reber-Thomas Christian Heritage Foundation, the non-profit that purchased the school’s debt. I stumbled onto this Moon-Falwell connection by examining the Internal Revenue Service filings of Moon’s front groups.

The Women Federation’s vice president Susan Fefferman confirmed that the $3.5 million grant had gone to “Mr. Falwell’s people” for the benefit of Liberty University. [For more on Moon’s funding of the Right, see Robert Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]

Moon also used the Women’s Federation to pay substantial speaking fees to former President George H.W. Bush, who gave talks at Moon-sponsored events. In September 1995, Bush and his wife, Barbara, gave six speeches in Asia for the Women’s Federation. In one speech on Sept. 14 to 50,000 Moon supporters in Tokyo, Bush said “what really counts is faith, family and friends.”

In summer 1996, Bush was lending his prestige to Moon again. The former President addressed the Moon-connected Family Federation for World Peace in Washington, an event that gained notoriety when comedian Bill Cosby tried to back out of his contract after learning of Moon’s connection. Bush had no such qualms. [Washington Post, July 30, 1996]

In fall 1996, Moon needed the ex-President’s help once more. Moon was trying to replicate his Washington Times influence in South America by opening a regional newspaper, Tiempos del Mundo. But South American journalists were recounting unsavory chapters of Moon’s history, including his links to South Korea’s intelligence service and various neo-fascist groups.

Some newspaper articles noted that in the early 1980s, Moon had used friendships with the military dictatorships in Argentina and Uruguay – which had been responsible for tens of thousands of political murders – to invest in those two countries. There also were allegations of Moon’s links to the region’s major drug traffickers.

Moon’s disciples fumed about the critical stories and accused the Argentine news media of trying to sabotage Moon’s plans for an inaugural gala in Buenos Aires on Nov. 23, 1996. “The local press was trying to undermine the event,” complained the church’s internal newsletter, Unification News.

Given the controversy, Argentina’s elected president, Carlos Menem, decided to reject Moon’s invitation to attend.

Trump Card

But Moon had a trump card: the endorsement of an ex-President of the United States, George H.W. Bush. Agreeing to speak at the newspaper’s launch, Bush flew aboard a private plane, arriving in Buenos Aires on Nov. 22. Bush stayed at Menem’s official residence, the Olivos.

As the headliner at the newspaper’s inaugural gala, Bush saved the day, Moon’s followers gushed. “Mr. Bush’s presence as keynote speaker gave the event invaluable prestige,” wrote the Unification News. “Father [Moon] and Mother [Mrs. Moon] sat with several of the True Children [Moon’s offspring] just a few feet from the podium” where Bush spoke.

“I want to salute Reverend Moon,” Bush declared. “A lot of my friends in South America don’t know about the Washington Times, but it is an independent voice. The editors of the Washington Times tell me that never once has the man with the vision [Moon] interfered with the running of the paper, a paper that in my view brings sanity to Washington, D.C.”

Bush’s speech was so effusive that it surprised even Moon’s followers.

“Once again, heaven turned a disappointment into a victory,” the Unification News exulted. “Everyone was delighted to hear his compliments. We knew he would give an appropriate and ‘nice’ speech, but praise in Father’s presence was more than we expected. … It was vindication. We could just hear a sigh of relief from Heaven.”

While Bush’s assertion about Moon’s Washington Times as a voice of “sanity” may be a matter of opinion, Bush’s vouching for its editorial independence simply wasn’t true. Almost since it opened in 1982, a string of senior editors and correspondents have resigned, citing the manipulation of the news by Moon and his subordinates.

The first editor, James Whelan, resigned in 1984, confessing that “I have blood on my hands” for helping Moon’s church achieve greater legitimacy.

But Bush’s boosterism was just what Moon needed in South America.

“The day after,” the Unification News observed, “the press did a 180-degree about-turn once they realized that the event had the support of a U.S. President.” With Bush’s help, Moon had gained another beachhead for his worldwide business-religious-political-media empire.

After the event, Menem told reporters from La Nacion that Bush had claimed privately to be only a mercenary who did not really know Moon. “Bush told me he came and charged money to do it,” Menem said. [La Nacion, Nov. 26, 1996]

But Bush was not telling Menem the whole story. By fall 1996, Bush and Moon had been working in political tandem for at least a decade and a half. The ex-President also had been earning huge speaking fees as a front man for Moon for more than a year.

Throughout these public appearances for Moon, Bush’s office refused to divulge how much Moon-affiliated organizations have paid the ex-President. But estimates of Bush’s fee for the Buenos Aires appearance alone ran between $100,000 and $500,000.

Sources close to the Unification Church told me that the total spending on Bush ran into the millions, with one source telling me that Bush stood to make as much as $10 million from Moon’s organization.

The senior George Bush may have had a political motive, too. By 1996, sources close to Bush were saying the ex-President was working hard to enlist well-to-do conservatives and their money behind the presidential candidacy of his son, George W. Bush. Moon was one of the deepest pockets in right-wing circles.

Moon’s pattern of putting into Bush family causes continued into George W. Bush’s presidency. In 2006, Moon again used money-laundering techniques to funnel a donation to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library.

The Houston Chronicle reported that Moon’s Washington Times Foundation gave $1 million to the Greater Houston Community Foundation, which in turn acted as a conduit for donations to the library. The Chronicle obtained indirect confirmation that Moon’s money was passing through the Houston foundation to the Bush library from Bush family spokesman Jim McGrath.

“President Bush has been very grateful for the friendship shown to him by the Washington Times Foundation, and the Washington Times serves a vital role in Washington,” McGrath said.

But Moon has earned the deepest gratitude of the Bush Family and the Republican Party via his multi-billion-dollar investment in the Washington Times, a powerful propaganda organ that helped the GOP build its political dominance over the past quarter century.

Over those years, the Times has targeted American politicians of the Center and Left with journalistic attacks – sometimes questioning their sanity, as happened with Democratic presidential nominees Michael Dukakis and Al Gore. Those themes then resonated through the broader right-wing echo chamber and often into the mainstream media.

In 2000, the Washington Times was at the center of the assault on Al Gore’s candidacy – highlighting apocryphal quotes by Gore and using them to depict him as either “Lyin’ Al” or delusional. [See’s “Al Gore vs. the Media.”]

Aiming at Obama

The intervention by Moon’s media outlets into U.S. presidential politics continued into Campaign 2008 when Moon’s online magazine Insight tried to sabotage Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign before it even got started.

The Insight article cited opposition research supposedly dug up by Hillary Clinton’s campaign that Obama had attended a fundamentalist Muslim “madrassa” while a child and had sought to conceal his allegiance to Islam.

“He was a Muslim, but he concealed it,” a source supposedly close to Clinton’s background investigation of Obama told Insight. “The idea is to show Obama as deceptive.”

Insight used no named sources for the allegations, nor did the magazine check out the facts about the school.

After Moon’s online magazine published the “madrassa” story, it quickly spread to the wider audiences of Rupert Murdoch’s right-wing media outlets, Fox News and the New York Post, and then into the mainstream press. To further the subliminal link between Obama and Islamic terrorism, the New York Post ran its story under the headline “‘Osama’ Mud Flies at Obama.”

“The allegations are completely false,” said Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs. “To publish this sort of trash without any documentation is surprising, but for Fox to repeat something so false, not once, but many times is appallingly irresponsible.”

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson termed the Insight article “an obvious right-wing hit job by a Moonie publication that was designed to attack Senator Clinton and Senator Obama at the same time.” [Washington Post, Jan. 22, 2007]

When CNN checked out the Insight article on Jan. 22, 2007, the story collapsed. The Indonesian school that Obama attended as a child turned out not to be some radical “madrassa” where an extreme form of Islam would be taught, but a well-kept public school in an upper-middle-class neighborhood of Jakarta.

The boys and girls wore school uniforms and were taught a typical school curriculum today as they were 39 years ago when Obama was a student there, while living with his mother in Indonesia, reported CNN correspondent John Vause.

While most of the school’s students are Muslim – Indonesia is a Muslim country, after all – Vause reported that the religious views of other students are respected and that Christian children at the school are taught that Jesus is the son of God.

Though this Moon-financed propaganda may have been debunked, the subliminal doubt was planted about whether Obama might be a secret agent of radical Islam, a theme that has continued to resonate within the right-wing media and the Tea Party movement.

Now, however, it appears that the days of Moon’s news outlets initiating or circulating smears against political enemies may finally be nearing an end. What ultimately has caused the decline of Moon’s money machine – besides the infighting of Moon’s children – remains a mystery, at least to outsiders.

It’s possible that Moon’s lucrative connections to the netherworld of right-wing extremism, drugs and money simply were dependent on his personal relationships – and as they died off, so did his ability to access those financial channels.

It’s possible, too, that the value of Moon’s propaganda operation has been eclipsed by less problematic right-wing media moguls and self-made talk-show hosts who are now rich themselves.,_cocaine_smugglers_%26_cultists_who_created_a_right-wing_propaganda_organ,_and_brought_it_crashing_down/?page=entire

Though Moon played a key early role in building the right-wing echo chamber, other wealthy individuals, from media titan Rupert Murdoch to newly minted multi-millionaires like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, can carry on quite well without the help of a Korean theocrat who thinks he’s the new Messiah.

Still, even the passing of Moon’s Washington Times will not mean that the snakes and other vermin that Moon let loose in the American political system will soon disappear. In fact, they may be more prevalent than ever.,_cocaine_smugglers_%26_cultists_who_created_a_right-wing_propaganda_organ,_and_brought_it_crashing_down/?page=entire

Associated Press | May 14, 2010

“Saint Justa,” by Bartolome Esteban Murillo, one of Spain’s most important artists, was looted from France’s Rothschild Museum by the Nazis and is currently on display at SMU

DALLAS — Southern Methodist University’s Meadow’s Museum has learned that three of its well-known paintings were among the millions of artworks Nazis Germany stole from Jewish families more than 65 years ago.

The founder of the Dallas-based Monuments Men Foundation for the Preservation of Art discovered the paintings’ connection to World War II plunder while doing research for two books.

Robert Edsel said he came across a black and white photo shot in Germany in 1945 that showed a painting he thought looked “eerily like one” he had seen at SMU’s museum. It was the “Saint Justa,” half of a famous pair of paintings by the Spanish artist Bartolome Esteban Murillo. Edsel later spotted its companion piece, “Saint Rufina,” in another photo.

“They’re not just treasures of civilization, but they’re representative of families who lost their lives and had everything stolen from them,” Edsel said.

Edsel estimated that the Murillo paintings were valued at least between $10 million to $15 million for the rare pair, after discussions with various auction houses.

“These are two of the finest works of art by this artist, one of Spain’s most important painters ever,” he told The Associated Press on Friday.

Beyond confirming that the paintings were valued in the millions, the Meadows Museum declined to state their exact dollar amount or purchase price, citing insurance and security reasons.

Each of paintings bore a now faded number on the back of their wooden stretchers. The Nazis used number codes to inventory stolen art, Edsel said. The R1171 on the Santa Justa meant that it came from the French Rothschild collection and was the 1,171st item from that collection inventoried by the Nazis, according to a story Friday on Dallas television station WFAA’s website.

The Nazis stole more than 6,000 items from the French Rothschild estate, Edsel said.

SMU’s Meadows Museum has had the Murillo masterpieces for 38 years. The museum bought the paintings at a New York gallery in 1972 and didn’t know of the link, said Nicole Atzbach, the museum’s assistant curator.

The museum is working with consultants in London and Paris to trace the art works’ chain of custody and verify ownership. Documents show that the paintings were initially returned to the French government, but the experts are trying to determine whether France gave the paintings back to the Rothschild family before the Meadows Museum acquired them.

Edsel told The Associated Press Friday that that document is “a missing link to title ownership.”

Even so, he and the university said they believe the museum’s ownership of the works will be validated. The museum has shown the artworks internationally and published them in catalogs without anyone else claiming to own them.

“Given that these paintings are so widely known, their loan history … and the fact that the Rothschilds were closely tied to the art world I don’t see how they would not” have spoken out to claim them if they had not already gone through proper channels, Atzbach said.

After Edsel contacted SMU, the museum checked every painting in its collection and discovered that another painting it had, “Portrait of Queen Mariana” by Diego Velazquez, was also taken from the Rothschild estate and bore a Nazi inventory number.

But a receipt proved that it had been returned to the family before it was sold.

Edsel said all museums should follow SMU’s lead and check their collections for the telltale inventory numbers that could help restore more art to its rightful owners.

Edsel started his foundation in 2007 to honor and continue the work of the more than 300 men and women from 13 nations who helped Allied forces protect cultural treasures during World War II. After the war, they began trying to find the rightful owners of pieces of art looted by the Nazis, hundreds of thousands of which are still missing.