July 8, 2015 - The Constantine Report    
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.

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.

Continue reading

On the Trail of Turkey’s Terrorist Grey Wolves, by Martin A. Lee

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From the Archive: Turkey, as a NATO country near Russia’s border, developed a powerful “deep state” where intelligence operatives, terrorists and gangsters crossed paths and shared political alliances, a grim reality that author Martin A. Lee explored in 1997 and a dark legacy that reaches to the present.

In broad daylight on May 2, 1997, 50 armed men set upon a television station in Istanbul with gunfire. The attackers unleashed a fusillade of bullets and shouted slogans supporting Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Tansu Ciller. The gunmen were outraged over the station’s broadcast of a TV report critical of Ciller, a close U.S. ally who had come under criticism for stonewalling investigations into collusion between state security forces and Turkish criminal elements.

Miraculously, no one was injured in the attack, but the headquarters of Independent Flash TV were left pock-marked with bullet-holes and smashed windows. The gunfire also sent an unmistakable message to Turkish journalists and legislators: don’t challenge Ciller and other high-level Turkish officials when they cover up state secrets.

For several months, Turkey had been awash in dramatic disclosures connecting high Turkish officials to the right-wing Grey Wolves, the terrorist band which has preyed on the region for years. In 1981, a terrorist from the Grey Wolves attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in Vatican City.

But at the center of the mushrooming Turkish scandal is whether Turkey, a strategically placed NATO country, allowed mafiosi and right-wing extremists to operate death squads and to smuggle drugs with impunity. A Turkish parliamentary commission is investigating these new charges.

The rupture of state secrets in Turkey also could release clues to other major Cold War mysteries. Besides the attempted papal assassination, the Turkish disclosures could shed light on the collapse of the Vatican bank in 1982 and the operation of a clandestine pipeline that pumped sophisticated military hardware into the Middle East — apparently from NATO stockpiles in Europe — in exchange for heroin sold by the Mafia in the United States.

The official Turkish inquiry was triggered by what could have been the opening scene of a spy novel: a dramatic car crash on a remote highway near the village of Susurluk, 100 miles southwest of Istanbul. On Nov. 3, 1996, three people were crushed to death when their speeding black Mercedes hit a tractor and overturned.

The crash killed Husseyin Kocadag, a top police official who commanded Turkish counter-insurgency units. But it was Kocadag’s company that stunned the nation. The two other dead were Abdullah Catli, a convicted fugitive who was wanted for drug trafficking and murder, and Catli’s girlfriend, Gonca Us, a Turkish beauty queen turned mafia hit-woman.

A fourth occupant, who survived the crash, was Kurdish warlord Sedat Bucak, whose militia had been armed and financed by the Turkish government to fight Kurdish separatists. At first, Turkish officials claimed that the police were transporting two captured criminals.

But evidence seized at the crash site indicated that Abdullah Catli, the fugitive gangster, had been given special diplomatic credentials by Turkish authorities. Catli was carrying a government-approved weapons permit and six ID cards, each with a different name. Catli also possessed several handguns, silencers and a cache of narcotics, not the picture of a subdued criminal.

When it became obvious that Catli was a police collaborator, not a captive, the Turkish Interior Minister resigned. Several high-ranking law enforcement officers, including Istanbul’s police chief, were suspended. But the red-hot scandal soon threatened to jump that bureaucratic firebreak and endanger the careers of other senior government officials.

Grey Wolves Terror

The news of Catli’s secret police ties were all the more scandalous given his well-known role as a key leader of the Grey Wolves, a neo-fascist terrorist group that has stalked Turkey since the late 1960s.

A young tough who wore black leather pants and looked like Turkey’s answer to Elvis Presley, Catli graduated from street gang violence to become a brutal enforcer for the Grey Wolves. He rose quickly within their ranks, emerging as second-in-command in 1978. That year, Turkish police linked him to the murder of seven trade-union activists and Catli went underground.

Three years later, the Grey Wolves gained international notoriety when Mehmet Ali Agca, one of Catli’s closest collaborators, shot and nearly killed Pope John Paul II in St. Peter’s Square on May 13, 1981. Catli was the leader of a fugitive terrorist cell that included Agca and a handful of other Turkish neo-fascists.

Testifying in September 1985 as a witness at the trial of three Bulgarians and four Turks charged with complicity in the papal shooting in Rome, Catli (who was not a defendant) disclosed that he gave Agca the pistol that wounded the pontiff. Catli had previously helped Agca escape from a Turkish jail, where Agca was serving time for killing a national newspaper editor.

In addition to harboring Agca, Catli supplied him with fake IDs and directed Agca’s movements in West Germany, Switzerland, and Austria for several months prior to the papal attack. Catli enjoyed close links to Turkish drug mafiosi, too. His Grey Wolves henchmen worked as couriers for the Turkish mob boss Abuzer Ugurlu.

At Ugurlu’s behest, Catli’s thugs criss-crossed the infamous smugglers’ route passing through Bulgaria. Those routes were the ones favored by smugglers who reportedly carried NATO military equipment to the Middle East and returned with loads of heroin. Judge Carlo Palermo, an Italian magistrate based in Trento, discovered these smuggling operations while investigating arms-and-drug trafficking from Eastern Europe to Sicily.

Palermo disclosed that large quantities of sophisticated NATO weaponry — including machine guns, Leopard tanks and U.S.-built Cobra assault helicopters — were smuggled from Western Europe to countries in the Middle East during the 1970s and early 1980s. According to Palermo’s investigation, the weapon delivers were often made in exchange for consignments of heroin that filtered back, courtesy of the Grey Wolves and other smugglers, through Bulgaria to northern Italy.

There, the drugs were received by Mafia middlemen and transported to North America. Turkish morphine base supplied much of the Sicilian-run “Pizza connection,” which flooded the U.S. and Europe with high-grade heroin for several years.

[While it is still not clear how the NATO supplies entered the pipeline, other investigations have provided some clues. Witnesses in the October Surprise inquiry into an alleged Republican-Iranian hostage deal in 1980 claimed that they were allowed to select weapons from NATO stockpiles in Europe for shipment to Iran.[Iranian arms dealer Houshang Lavi claimed that he selected spare parts for Hawk anti-aircraft batteries from NATO bases along the Belgian-German border. Another witness, American arms broker William Herrmann, corroborated Lavi’s account of NATO supplies going to Iran.[Even former NATO commander Alexander Haig confirmed that NATO supplies could have gone to Iran in the early 1980s while he was secretary of state. “It wouldn’t be preposterous if a nation, Germany, for example, decided to let some of their NATO stockpiles be diverted to Iran,” Haig said in an interview. For more details, see Robert Parry’s Trick or Treason.]


A Vatican Mystery

Italian magistrates described the network they had uncovered as the “world’s biggest illegal arms trafficking organization.” They linked it to Middle Eastern drug empires and to prestigious banking circles in Italy and Europe.

At the center of this operation, it appeared, was an obscure import-export firm in Milan called Stibam International Transport. The head of Stibam, a Syrian businessman named Henri Arsan, also functioned as an informant for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, according to several Italian news outlets.

With satellite offices in New York, London, Zurich, and Sofia, Bulgaria, Stibam officials recycled their profits through Banco Ambrosiano, Italy’s largest private bank which had close ties to the Vatican until its sensational collapse in 1982. The collapse of Banco Ambrosiano came on the heels of the still unsolved death of its furtive president, Roberto Calvi, whose body was found hanging underneath Blackfriar’s Bridge in London in June 1982.

While running Ambrosiano, Calvi, nicknamed “God’s banker,” served as advisor to the Vatican’s extensive fiscal portfolio. At the same time in the mid- and late 1970s, Calvi’s bank handled most of Stibam’s foreign currency transactions and owned the building that housed Stibam’s Milanese headquarters.

In effect, the Vatican Bank — by virtue of its interlocking relationship with Banco Ambrosiano — was fronting for a gigantic contraband operation that specialized in guns and heroin. The bristling contraband operation that traversed Bulgaria was a magnet for secret service agents on both sides of the Cold War divide.

Crucial, in this regard, was the role of Kintex, a Sofia-based, state-controlled import-export firm that worked in tandem with Stibam and figured prominently in the arms trade. Kintex was riddled with Bulgarian and Soviet spies — a fact which encouraged speculation that the KGB and its Bulgarian proxies were behind the plot against the pope.

But Western intelligence also had its hooks into the Bulgarian smuggling scene, as evidenced by the CIA’s use of Kintex to channel weapons to the Nicaraguan Contra rebels in the early 1980s. The Reagan administration jumped on the papal assassination attempt as a propaganda opportunity, rather than helping to unravel the larger mystery.

Although the CIA’s link to the arms-for-drugs traffic in Bulgaria was widely known in espionage circles, hard-line U.S. and Western European officials promoted instead a bogus conspiracy theory that blamed the papal shooting on a communist plot.

The so-called “Bulgarian connection” became one of the more effective disinformation schemes hatched during the Reagan era. It reinforced the notion of the Soviet Union as an evil empire. But the apparent hoax also diverted attention from extensive — and potentially embarrassing — ties between U.S. intelligence and the Turkey’s narco-trafficking ultra-right.

Fabrication of the conspiracy theory might have even involved suborning perjury. During his September 1985 court testimony in Rome, Catli asserted that he had been approached by the West German BND spy organization, which allegedly promised him a large sum of money if he implicated the Bulgarian secret service and the KGB in the attempt on the pope’s life.

Five years later, ex-CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman disclosed that his colleagues, under pressure from CIA higher-ups, skewed their reports to try to lend credence to the contention that the Soviets were involved. “The CIA had no evidence linking the KGB to the plot,” Goodman told the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Friends of the Wolves

hqdefaultDuane “Dewey” Clarridge, the CIA station chief in Rome at the time of the papal shooting, had previously been posted in Ankara. Clarridge was the CIA’s man-on-the-spot in Turkey in the 1970s when armed bands of Grey Wolves unleashed a wave of bomb attacks and shootings that killed thousands of people, including public officials, journalists, students, lawyers, labor organizers, social democrats, left-wing activists and ethnic Kurds. [In his 1997 memoirs, A Spy for All Seasons, Clarridge makes no reference to the Turkish unrest or to the pope shooting.]

During those violent 1970s, the Grey Wolves operated with the encouragement and protection of the Counter-Guerrilla Organization, a section of the Turkish Army’s Special Warfare Department. Headquartered in the U.S. Military Aid Mission building in Ankara, the Special Warfare Department received funds and training from U.S. advisors to create “stay behind” squads comprised of civilian irregulars.

They were supposed to go underground and engage in acts of sabotage if the Soviets invaded. Similar Cold War paramilitary units were established in every NATO member state, covering all non-Communist Europe like a spider web that would entangle Soviet invaders. But instead of preparing for foreign enemies, U.S.-sponsored stay-behind operatives in Turkey and several European countries used their skills to attack domestic opponents and foment violent disorders.

Some of those attacks were intended to spark right-wing military coups. In the late 1970s, former military prosecutor and Turkish Supreme Court Justice Emin Deger documented collaboration between the Grey Wolves and the government’s counter-guerrilla forces as well as the close ties of the latter to the CIA.

Turkey’s Counter-Guerrilla Organization handed out weapons to the Grey Wolves and other right-wing terrorist groups. These shadowy operations mainly engaged in the surveillance, persecution and torture of Turkish leftists, according to retired army commander Talat Turhan, the author of three books on counter-guerrilla activities in Turkey.

But the extremists launched one wave of political violence which provoked a 1980 coup by state security forces that deposed Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit. The Turkish security forces cited the need to restore order which had been shattered by rightist terrorist groups secretly sponsored by those same state security forces.

Cold War Roots

Since the earliest days of the Cold War, Turkey’s strategic importance derived from its geographic position as the West’s easternmost bulwark against Soviet communism. In an effort to weaken the Soviet state, the CIA also used pan-Turkish militants to incite anti-Soviet passions among Muslim Turkish minorities inside the Soviet Union, a strategy that strengthened ties between U.S. intelligence and Turkey’s ultra-nationalists.

Though many of Turkish ultra-nationalists were anti-Western as well as anti-Soviet, the Cold War realpolitik compelled them to support a discrete alliance with NATO and U.S. intelligence. Among the Turkish extremists collaborating in this anti-Soviet strategy were the National Action Party and its paramilitary youth group, the Grey Wolves.

Led by Colonel Alpaslan Turkes, the National Action Party espoused a fanatical pan-Turkish ideology that called for reclaiming large sections of the Soviet Union under the flag of a reborn Turkish empire. Turkes and his revanchist cohorts had been enthusiastic supporters of Hitler during World War II.

“The Turkish race above all others” was their Nazi-like credo. In a similar vein, Grey Wolf literature warned of a vast Jewish-Masonic-Communist conspiracy and its newspapers carried ads for Turkish translations of Nazi texts.

The pan-Turkish dream and its anti-Soviet component also fueled ties between the Grey Wolves and the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN), a CIA-backed coalition led by erstwhile fascist collaborators from East Europe.

Ruzi Nazar, a leading figure in the Munich-based ABN, had a long-standing relationship with the CIA and the Turkish ultra-nationalists. In the 1950s and 1960s, Nazar was employed by Radio Free Europe, a CIA-founded propaganda effort.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the shifting geopolitical terrain created new opportunities — political and financial — for Colonel Turkes and his pan-Turkish crusaders. After serving a truncated prison term in the 1980s for his role in masterminding the political violence that convulsed Turkey, Turkes and several of his pan-Turkish colleagues were permitted to resume their political activities.

In 1992, the colonel visited his long lost Turkish brothers in newly independent Azerbaijan and received a hero’s welcome. In Baku, Turkes endorsed the candidacy of Grey Wolf sympathizer Abulfex Elcibey, who was subsequently elected president of Azerbaijan and appointed a close Grey Wolf ally as his Interior Minister.

The Gang Returns

By this time, Abdullah Catli was also back in circulation after several years of incarceration in France and Switzerland for heroin trafficking. In 1990, he escaped from a Swiss jail cell and rejoined the neo-fascist underground in Turkey.

Despite his documented links to the papal shooting and other terrorist attacks, Catli was pressed into service as a death squad organizer for the Turkish government’s dirty war against the Kurds who have long struggled for independence inside both Turkey and Iraq.

Turkish Army spokesmen acknowledged that the Counter-Guerrilla Organization (renamed the Special Forces Command in 1992) was involved in the escalating anti-Kurdish campaign. Turkey got a wink and a nod from Washington as a quid pro quo for cooperating with the United States during the Gulf War.

Turkish jets bombed Kurdish bases inside Iraqi territory. Meanwhile, on the ground, anti-Kurdish death squads were assassinating more than 1,000 non-combatants in southeastern Turkey. Hundreds of other Kurds “disappeared” while in police custody. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the European Parliament all condemned the Turkish security forces for these abuses.

Still, there was no hard evidence that Turkey’s security forces had recruited criminal elements as foot soldiers. That evidence surfaced only on Nov. 3, 1996, when Catli died in the fateful auto accident near Susurluk.

Strewn amidst the roadside wreckage was proof of what many journalists and human rights activists had long suspected — that successive Turkish governments had protected narco-traffickers, sheltered terrorists and sponsored gangs of killers to suppress Turkish dissidents and Kurdish rebels.

Colonel Turkes confirmed that Catli had performed clandestine duties for Turkey’s police and military. “On the basis of my state experience, I admit that Catli has been used by the state,” said Turkes. Catli had been cooperating “in the framework of a secret service working for the good of the state,” Turkes insisted.

U.S.-backed Turkish officials, including Tansu Ciller, Prime Minister from 1993-1996, also defended Catli after the car crash. “I don’t know whether he is guilty or not,” Ciller stated, “but we will always respectfully remember those who fire bullets or suffer wounds in the name of this country, this nation and this state.”

Eighty members of the Turkish parliament urged the federal prosecutor to file charges of criminal misconduct against Ciller, who was serving as Turkey’s Foreign Minister, as well as Deputy Prime Minister. They asserted that the Susurluk incident provided Turkey “with a historic opportunity to expose unsolved murders and the drugs and arms smuggling that have been going on in our country for years.”

The scandal momentarily reinvigorated the Turkish press, which unearthed revelations about criminals and police officials involved in the heroin trade. But journalists also were victims of death squads in those years. The violent attack on Independent Flash TV was a reminder. Prosecutors have faced pressure, too, from superiors who are not eager to delve into state secrets. [Ultimately, the corruption case against Ciller was covered up.]

Across the Atlantic in Washington, the U.S. government did not acknowledge any responsibility for the Turkish Frankenstein that U.S. Cold War strategy helped to create. When asked about the Susurluk affair, a State Department spokesperson said it was “an internal Turkish matter.” He declined further comment.

I have in my library dozens of books that were written about the history of fascism and its politics, economics, religious affiliations and psychology that makes it succeed so often.

That includes the varieties of fascism that were studied in Italy, Germany, Spain, Japan, Britain and America, among others. To my recollection, none of the lessons I learned from my books had been even mentioned during my high school education or even my college careers. I don’t recall hearing any of my teachers talk about American-style fascism. And none of my teachers led me to doubt the validity of the anti-democratic, pro-fascist and very unethical Monroe Doctrine, Manifest Destiny, Laissez Faire capitalism, the Dred Scott decision or any of the wartime atrocities that were so commonly perpetrated by American troops in any of its wars (ex: inventing water-boarding on innocent Filipinos and then massacring them during the Spanish-American War).

The “Nightmare Years” (in Germany): 1930 – 1940

I started on my path of trying to de-mystify fascism, ultra-right-wing conservatism and authoritarian nation-states after reading “into” William Shirer’s “the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”. (I say “into” with no shame because I don’t know anybody who has actually read the entire 1500 pages of that seminal work.) Shirer was to later write a book titled “The Nightmare Years: 1930 – 1940” about his experiences as an American correspondent in Berlin during the run-up to WWII.  (I was later to become interested in the dynamics of a nation’s authoritarian parenting styles, a reality that correlates nicely with a nation’s militarism, war-mongering, racism, fascism, and imperialism.)

At the beginning of the Nightmare Years (for Shirer) was the phenomenon of Horst Wessel and the song that he was said to have written (the “Horst Wessel Lied”). Joseph Goebbels, Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment, cunningly took an unknown Brown Shirt street fighter (and alleged pimp) and turned him into a martyred hero for the far right-wing extremist political party: the Nazis. (Robert Welch, Jr, the founder of the John Birch Society was to do the same thing for his hero John Birch exactly 30 years later – read on.)

Wessel was a member of the SA and the son of a conservative Protestant chaplain. He had been killed in 1930 by anti-fascist, pro-communist street fighters and then was memorialized by Goebbels. With a beautiful German folk tune accompanying the lyrics (and with the obligatory Hitler salute during the singing), the Horst Wessel song was sung by uber-patriotic Germans at Nazi rallies. Wessel’s song was more popular than the official Nazi anthem, “Deutschland Uber Alles”.

The lyrics of the song were quite pathetic but, because of the melodious tune, the song, especially when sung by a male chorus, easily aroused the patriotic fervor of rallying Nazis to more eagerly follow the psychopathic Hitler anywhere he desired. The song’s lyrics went like this:

The flag on high! The ranks tightly closed!

The SA marches with quiet, steady step.

Comrades shot by the Red Front and reactionaries

March in spirit within our ranks.

Comrades shot by the Red Front and reactionaries

March in spirit within our ranks.

Clear the streets for the brown battalions,

Clear the streets for the storm division!

Millions are looking upon the swastika full of hope,

The day of freedom and of bread dawns!

Millions are looking upon the swastika full of hope,

The day of freedom and of bread dawns!

For the last time, the call to arms is sounded!

For the fight, we all stand prepared!

Already Hitler’s banners fly over all streets.

The time of bondage will last but a little while now!

Already Hitler’s banners fly over all streets.

The time of bondage will last but a little while now.

The flag on high! The ranks tightly closed!

The SA march with quiet, steady step.

Comrades shot by the Red Front and reactionaries,

March in spirit within our ranks.

Comrades shot by the Red Front and reactionaries,

March in spirit within our ranks.

Of course, the preceding decade of the 1920s that followed WWI’s wartime devastation, was a nightmare decade for all of Europe, and the same could be said about the decade of the 1940s that saw all Europeans and their infrastructure decimated once again, thanks to the pro-war nationalism of conservative, racist, sexist, testosterone-laden ruling elites whose militarists made use of ever more destructive military technology.

The Nightmare Decade: The Life and Times of Senator Joe McCarthy

I have long been concerned about the radical rightward shift of my neighboring state of Wisconsin, especially the mean-spirited, anti-democracy Republican majorities in both legislative houses. But I have been especially concerned about the mean-spiritedness of the born-again Christian Fundamentalist Republican governor Scott Walker and the huge influence that the union-busting Koch brothers have had over all of Wisconsin politics.

I have also been concerned about the dangerous power of right-wing extremist Paul Ryan, who was Mitt Romney’s running mate.  Ryan, a native (and current resident) of Janesville, WI, is Chairman of the US House Budget Committee and a disciple of the atheistic libertarian Ayn Rand. Ryan actually requires his staff to read Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”; but he says that he is a devout Roman Catholic, a contradiction that Ryan fails to acknowledge. Ryan is the darling of the National Rifle Association, the Tea Party and various anti-choice groups and has actually proposed criminalizing and harshly prosecuting women who have had abortions.

I just read another “antique” book of mine with the title “The Nightmare Decade: The Life and Times of Senator Joe McCarthy” (authored by Fred J. Cook in 1971). McCarthy is the discredited, almost forgotten, two-term Irish Catholic Senator from Appleton, Wisconsin (who served in the Senate from 1947 until his death in 1957) who proved to his successors in the Republican Party how effective it can be to take money from corrupt and corrupting power elites and to use Dirty Tricks in order to gain political power.

McCarthy was a pathological liar and considered by many to be the most despised politician in recent American memory. He was a hard-drinking compulsive gambler and a failed stock market speculator, whose bad habits became lethal for him when he arrived in Washington, DC. Before pursuing a political career, he was an unsuccessful small town lawyer and an amoral circuit court judge who joined the Marines in order to obtain photo-op “proof” of his patriotism. Later he shamelessly exaggerated his wartime experiences in order to claim that he was some sort of military hero. At best, the documented evidence from the Marine Corps says that he was at best a “wannabe” hero who never saw real combat, but he was willing to lie in order to obtain false credentials for future political gain – and Wisconsin voters bought it, to their ever-lasting shame!

After coming home to Wisconsin, McCarthy won a surprising GOP primary electoral victory in 1946 over the incumbent US senior Senator Bob La Follette, Jr (son of the legendary Progressive Party’s “Fighting Bob” La Follette). The general election against his highly ethical and honorable Democratic Party opponent was a piece of cake for the dirty trickster from Appleton.

As soon as he managed the upset victory over La Follette, McCarthy attracted huge amounts of campaign money and media support from out-of-state conservative corporations and individuals like bankers, conservative newspapers, real estate moguls, Texas oilmen, the sugar lobby, the Hearst newspaper empire, wealthy conservatives like the DuPonts, E. F. Hutton, H. L. Hunt, and, most importantly, the ultraconservative Chicago Tribune and its eccentric owner and rabid anti-communist Colonel Robert McCormick. Later on in his Senate career, Appleton’s local bank even bailed their favorite son out by loaning him serous amounts of money to pay off embarrassing gambling debts and investment losses.

Wisconsin Republicans wish that the story of the fraudulent “Tail-gunner Joe” would go away or be forgotten (probably one reason that historical illiteracy and anti-intellectualism are important planks of the unwritten GOP platform).

Cook’s book exposing McCarthy as a fraud and crook was published 11 years after the “nightmare” decade of the 1950s ended, when McCarthy had begun publicly accusing everybody and their mothers of being communists. His popular witch hunts paralleled the efforts of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Later on McCarthy chaired the Senate’s infamous Army-McCarthy hearings that were simply expanded witch hunts for “commies” in the US Army. That “investigation” was the straw that broke the camel’s back for McCarthy and led directly to his Senate censure and ultimate demise).

During that decade, America’s most honorable thinkers, best artists, poets, singers, film writers, politicians and patriotic citizens were black-listed, mercilessly hounded into silence and unemployment (some even forced into exile) by paranoid right-wing anti-communist conspiracy theorists like McCarthy – until temporary reason surfaced in the Senate and he was exposed as a pathetic fraud. He could have been forced to resign in shame, but backroom political dealings saved him.

President Eisenhower, along with died-in-the-wool conservatives like John Foster Dulles, had actually been accused by McCarthy of being communist dupes. Some Americans wondered why Ike had tolerated McCarthy’s recklessness. To that question, Ike privately said: “I’m just not going to get into the gutter with that son of a bitch.”

McCarthy had been given enough rope to hang himself. He had discredited himself – and the Republican Party – and he lived his last years going broke from his gambling debts and speculative stock market losses. He died in 1957 at age 48, of alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver a few short years after his fall from grace.

But McCarthy’s anti-democratic, liberal-hating, neo-fascist efforts and outrageous anti-communist conspiracy theories did not die. Instead, what McCarthy began was vigorously continued by the John Birch Society (JBS) at the beginning of another nightmare decade for America, for the JBS’s poisonous political influence led directly to the next nightmare decade that was marked by the assassinations of 3 important progressive national leaders during the 1960s (JFK, MLK and RFK) and the ascendance of anti-democratic national leaders like Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.

The Truth About the John Birch Society – and the Koch Brothers

Another book in my library that I have recently read is titled “The Truth About the John Birch Society” (authored by Richard Vahan). It was published in 1962, 5 years after McCarthy’s death and shortly after the birth of the paranoid, rabidly anti-communist John Birch Society.

At the same time as Vahan was writing his book, Bob Dylan was writing a song that was a scathing parody of the John Birch Society, titled “The Talkin’ John Birch Society Paranoid Blues” (1962). That was the song that Dylan was scheduled to sing – and CBS refused to allow him to sing – on the nationally televised Ed Sullivan Show. CBS’s Columbia Records feared the powerful anti-communist crusaders enough to insist that Dylan also remove the song from his second album, which he did. Dylan’s skewering of the John Birch Society and assorted other masters of war is one reason that conservatives despise unwelcome liberal truth-telling recording artists like Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Phil Ochs, Peter, Paul & Mary and others.

Interestingly, one of the 11 co-founding committee members of the John Birch Society was Fred C. Koch, the father of the current right-wing extremist Koch Brothers. The independently wealthy Koch was a friend of the Birch Society’s authoritarian originator, the equally wealthy Robert Welch, Jr.

The Koch family patriarch was the president of the Rock Island Oil and Refinery Company of Wichita, Kansas that later morphed into the privately-held multibillion dollar Koch Industries, which has, for many years, been lavishly funding – usually secretly – a whole host of far right-wing political action committees, right-wing think tanks and attack ads. These income-tax hating, corporate regulation-hating, union-hating, One Percenter Republicans met at the invitation of founder Welch in historically KKK-friendly Indianapolis, Indiana for a two day organizing session on December 8 – 9, 1958.

Who Was John Birch?

The mythical figure John Birch was the real son of ultra-conservative Southern Baptist lay missionaries to India, where he was born. In his college student years back in the states, Birch (who had been indoctrinated early in life to fear and hate liberalism and “godless communism”) was one of thirteen Christian Fundamentalist students at a Southern Baptist Church college who tried – and failed – to purge a handful of faculty members because of what the students regarded as heresy. (I can’t help but wonder if those targeted professors had been simply applying, in their lectures, the ethics of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount teachings, a topic that seems to be a taboo subject for most Christians; or perhaps the “heretical” faculty members had expressed doubt about the church doctrine of a Young Earth [the Christian Fundamentalist teaching that planet earth is only 6,000 years old, as had been “calculated” by any number of pseudoscientists from the genealogical evidence in the “inerrant” Hebrew Bible]).

In the late 1930s, John Birch was being groomed for missionary work in China and, in 1940, he went there to convert heathens and do whatever was necessary to support the small number of Chinese Christian churches. In a couple of years, because of the war with Japan, he was recruited to join the US Army and then was commissioned as an intelligence officer in the US Army (and thus was under suspicion of being a spy, which he probably was). While on an armed mission with a Chinese nationalist soldier (who was loyal to the neo-fascist dictator, Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek), he was shot and killed – during a struggle over his service revolver – by Chinese communist guerrilla soldiers. Ironically, his death came two weeks after Japan had surrendered.

So Birch was an early victim of the Chinese civil war between Mao’s anti-fascist communist army (who were chaffing at the tyrannical rule of Chiang’s fascist government and military.  Ultimately Mao’s communist army forced the (baptized Methodist) Generalissimo and his followers to flee into exile on the island nation of Formosa (now Taiwan). In the process Chiang slaughtered thousands of innocent Formosans (a la America’s treatment of Native Americans or Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians after WWII). Welch, who was independently wealthy after cashing in his interest in his brother’s candy company, researched the story of John Birch and wrote his biography, calling him “the first American uniformed casualty of World War III”.

The Hysterical Paranoid Anti-communist Conspiracy Theories of Joseph McCarthy and Robert Welch

Welch had been a close friend and political consultant to McCarthy during the “Pepsi-Cola Kid’s” brief heyday. He called McCarthy “one of the greatest Americans of the 20th century”. The purpose of the John Birch Society, was simplistically and deceivingly stated to  “promote less government, more responsibility and, with the help of God, a better world”; but the hidden motivation of the twelve original members, including Fred Koch (which eventually shaped the politics of two of Fred’s four sons, Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch), was the same as McCarthy’s, and that was “to rid the nation of Communists, Communist sympathizers (“comsymps”) and Communist dupes”, relying on propaganda and counter-brainwashing systems utilizing techniques such as reading rooms, radio and TV broadcasting efforts, newsletters, magazines and establishing front groups that promoted its authoritarian, anti-liberal, anti-Semititic and racist ideologies.

Welch despised even moderate Republicans (calling them Communist dupes) like Eisenhower, the Dulles brothers and Earl Warren (who he sought to impeach). He has used tactics and strategies identical to those used by hate groups like the KKK, the American Nazi Party, the Silver Shirts, the America First Committee and the German-American Bund.

Here is how one of Welch’s critics described him, which reminds me of Goebbels early enchantment with Hitler when he first listened to the mesmerizing Nazi leader speak: “The man is a marvelously gifted demagogue, a natural speaker and writer with a strong lust for power and leadership; and he is convinced that it is his mission to save the world from communism. It’s not the lunatic fringe of literature, but a first class piece of demagoguery. The man is clearly a genius in his chosen field, a force not to be trifled with. There is just enough truth, just enough logic, and more than enough poetry and power in his arguments to bemuse millions of uncritical readers.”

Thinking people who understand Goebbels’, McCarthy’s and Welch’s propaganda techniques shouldn’t find it too hard to de-mystify the realities of mass hysteria, mass paranoia and the willingness of most citizen’s to give their support for their nation’s crimes against humanity. Such pseudo-patriotism can be easily generated by the telling of heroic war stories, the playing of rousing patriotic anthems, the application of constant and cunning propaganda, the total control of the mainstream media’s message by the ruling elites, and the support of (or silence from) the nation’s religious leadership Good Christian Germans and good Christian Americans are not much different in their susceptibility to brain-washing techniques and pledges of allegiance to the flag, whether Swastika or Stars and Stripes.

Dr Kohls is a retired physician who practiced holistic mental health care for the last decade of his career. He writes a weekly column for the Reader Weekly, an alternative newsweekly published in Duluth, Minnesota, USA. Many of Dr Kohls’ columns are archived athttp://duluthreader.com/articles/categories/200_Duty_to_Warn.