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Greta van Susteren’s Joe McCarthy Connection, Mein Kampf & a CIA Shrink in the Family

Alex Constantine - December 28, 2011

By Alex Constantine

on the record with greta van susteren 7 300x225 - Greta van Susteren’s Joe McCarthy Connection, Mein Kampf & a CIA Shrink in the FamilyGreta Van Susteren, the impish Fox News interviewer, was recently named one of the world's 100 most powerful women by Forbes. She was the recipient of both the 2000-2001 Sandra Day O'Connor Medal of Honor from Seton Hall University, and the American Bar Association’s Presidential Award for "Excellence in Journalism" in 2001.

Van Susteren set out on her career as a cable journalist in 1991 at CNN as a legal analyst assigned to the William Kennedy Smith trial. She was a commentator on the O. J. Simpson trial a few years later, and the exposure enhanced her reputation as a legal analyst. She subsequently moved up to co-anchor, with political analyst Roger Cossack, Burden of Proof, and host The Point with Greta van Susteren.

In 2002, she moved over to Fox News, and On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, the highest-rated cable news program in the 10 pm time slot. At Fox, she covered a number of high-profile court cases, including the Scott Peterson and Michael Jackson trials.

Van Susteren is a qualified legal analyst. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin in 1972 with a degree in economics, then entered the Georgetown Law School, earned a Juris Doctor degree in 1979, a Master of Laws degree three years later. While attending Georgetown, Van Susteren became the first Stuart Stiller Fellow at the university’s Law Center. She was honored by Stetson Law School with an honorary doctorate degree. She was also an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown Law Center, 1984 to 1999.

Before her rise to TV fame, she a partner in her husband’s Washington Beltway law firm: John Coale is a wealthy tort attorney whose clients include the victims of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, and the 1996 ValueJet crash in the Everglades. Coale represented Lisa Marie Presley in her divorce from Michael Jackson.

Gretta van Susteren’s spiritual hankerings led her to Scientology: “She has tried to keep a rather low profile on the Scientology angle," notes the St. Petersburg Times.

Time Machine: Joseph McCarthy & the Van Susteren Family

But involvement in a religion that professes belief in alien possession is not her only claim to TV infamy. Urban van Susteren, her father, was Senator Joseph McCarthy’s campaign manager. The Wisconsinology website reports: "United States Marine  Joseph R McCarthy is the best man at the wedding of his best friend, the future Judge Urban Van Susteren of Appleton. The two men became friends at Marquette law school. Van Susteren would later manage Joe McCarthy's successful 1946 campaign against two term incumbent Robert LaFollette, jr."

Van Susteren & Mein Kampf

Mein Kampf was reportedly the only book that Joseph McCarthy ever read. Urban van Susteren once informed the press that the anti-communist zealot “never read books,” with one exception: Hitler's Mein Kampf. McCarthy considered the screed to be a veritable handbook of tactical politics.

“Joe was fascinated by the strategy, that's all,' explained Van Susteren. And who, pray tell, gave Gunner Joe a copy of this priceless political textbook?

McCarthy’s best friend, the man who loaned him a copy of Mein Kampf, was a fellow Wisconsin conservative, Urban Van Susteren. Progressives won’t be surprised that Greta Van Susteren, a Fox News mainstay and Urban’s daughter, grew up in a home with a cherished edition of Hitler’s famous template for fascist political organization and bigoted scapegoat.”
(Source: http://richc.myarchive.us/2005/11/mccarthyism-fallout/)

Urban van Susteren had long been a close friend of McCarthy’s. They studied law together, and Van Susteren served as a campaign strategist in McCarthy’s successful 1946 run for the senate. McCarthy lived in the Van Susteren home when not in Washington, D.C., and a result, young Greta was exposed to politics at a tender age.


Why, Urban van Susteren, of course. By 1956, the severity of McCarthy’s alcoholism led to periodic hospitalization for detox. Jean, his wife, informed reporters in September that Joe was under observation at Bethesda Naval Hospital for treatment of a knee wounded at Guadalcanal. But in private, she implored friends to save Joe’s life.

In The Life and Times of Joe McCarthy, author Thomas Reeves recounts a visit, in 1955, to the Van Susteren Appleton home: “One evening, after a full day of drinking, Joe began to experience delirium tremens in front of his wife and friends, crying out that snakes were leaping at him. Jean, in great anguish, soon confided to Urban Van Susteren that Joe's alcohol consumption had damaged his liver.” Van Susteren called the senator's doctor in Washington and learned “the liver condition was such that Joe would die in a short time unless he abstained from liquor completely. When Van Susteren confronted Joe about the matter the next morning, Joe flew into a rage. 'Kiss my ass,' he shouted.” Enraged, Van Susteren “shoved a bottle of whiskey in front of his old friend and told him to drink it and end things without further disgracing himself and his family.”

Greta's Sister Lise Van Susteren and the CIA

Greta’s sister, Lise Van Susteren, earned a medical doctorate in 1982 at the University of Paris, and interned at the Hospital St. Anne, Paris, at the American Hospital in the suburb of Neuilly, and at Hospital Tokoin in Lome, Togo. According to her bio, she was a resident in psychiatry at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., 1983-1987. Lise Van Susteren was board certified in general psychiatry in 1989, and in forensic psychiatry in 1999. She was a staff psychiatrist, 1985-1991, at the Alexandria Mental Health Center in Virginia, and at the Springfield Mental Health Center in Springfield, Virginia, 1984-1989. Lise also worked “as a consultant to the Central Intelligence Agency, conducting psychological assessments of world leaders. ... " (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lise_Van_Susteren)

Another Hitler connection in the family: "Lise's husband is Jonathan Kempner, president and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, a trade association. She and Kempner have three daughters. Lise's mother-in-law, Helen Covensky, was a Holocaust survivor."

A Checkered Past

As a partner in John Coale’s law firm, Greta Van Susteren was once a professional ambulance chaser. The firm found itself in trouble on two occasions for active soliciting, or 'ambulance chasing.' The second infraction was after the ValuJet disaster.

“Train wrecks, plane crashes, fires – you name it, the avuncular Coale has been there.” the St. Petersburg Times reported on December 13, 1998., “trolling for business among grieving survivors. “

Actor Tom Cruise, a fellow Scientologist, once entertained the notion of making a film about Coale’s legal role in Bhopal.

Coale joined Scientlogy in the early 1980s. “I did a lot of drugs back in college,” he acknowledges. “Into the ‘80s, I didn’t do a lot of them, but I felt that I wanted to handle the problem, and Scientology handled it.”

He brought his high-profile wife Greta into the Church.

Coale vs. the anti-Scientology Cult Awareness Network (CAN), from the Times profile: “In 1993, the husband-and-wife legal team played a small role in Scientology's campaign to take over the Cult Awareness Network, or CAN. Church-backed lawsuits bankrupted the organization, which helped people leave Scientology. Van Susteren and Coale represented an Ohio woman who sued a cult-deprograming organization called Wellspring, whose executive director also sat on the CAN board. But their real target was CAN, which at the time was Scientology's public enemy No. 1.”

The crowning disgrace from the perspective of CAN crusaders, according to L.A.’s weekly New Times on September 9, 1999, “occurred earlier this year in a Chicago courtroom. Already having vanquished CAN, appropriated its name, and moved its offices from Illinois to within blocks of Scientology headquarters in Hollywood, lawyers with ties to the church moved to take possession of 20 years' worth of CAN's highly sensitive case files.” The files were loaded into some 150 boxes, and included the names and “detailed information on thousands of people who had turned to CAN for help in rescuing their friends and relatives. The list of organizations targeted by the old CAN read like a who's who of fringe culture. Among them were the Ku Klux Klan and the Aryan Nations, dozens of obscure fundamentalist and evangelical Christian groups, the Church of Satan, the Unification Church of the Reverend Sun Myung Moon, followers of political extremist Lyndon LaRouche, and, of course, the Church of Scientology.”

Van Susteren refuses to discuss the Church publicly. Scientology documents conceal her involvement. A Scientology pamphlet lists top contributors to a Clearwater, Florida construction project, and lists “Greta Conway” among them. Conway is Greta’s middle name. Another publicity brochure lists “Mr. and Mrs. Coale” among Church donors.

But Coale insists that she isn’t hiding anything. Religion, he observes in her defense, is a “personal” matter.

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