Fletcher Prouty, Mark Lane, JFK Assassination Theories, + the Fascist Right I am posting t

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Fletcher Prouty, Mark Lane, JFK Assassination Theories, & the Fascist Right ========================================================= I am posting this at the request of some folks who are active in this conference. Please do not deluge me with E-mail. When I use the terms conspiracist, conspiracism, and conspiracy theory, I mean theories for which there is inadequate information to draw reasonable conclusions. I am well aware that there are numerous actual conspiracies, especially among government officials. I have worked on many lawsuits against the FBI and CIA trying to prove such conspiracies. -Chip Berlet ========================================================= Excerpted & adapted from: RIGHT WOOS LEFT: Populist Party, LaRouchian, and Other Neo-fascist Overtures To Progressives, And Why They Must Be Rejected November 22, 1993 by Chip Berlet [cberlet@igc.apc. org] Copyright 1993, Political Research Associates Peacenet conference Local BBS (617) 221-5815 (2400, 8,N,1) For electronic viewing only, unmodified distribution is authorized, for printed copy of current version send $7.50 to: Political Research Associates 678 Massachusetts Avenue, Suite 702 Cambridge, MA 02139 (617) 661-9313 ========================================================= Populist Party/Liberty Lobby Recruitment of Anti-CIA Critics It was the casualties of the Vietnam war that crystallized a right-wing critique of U.S. foreign policy that denounced U.S. reliance on covert action, counterinsurgency and political deals as tactical alternatives to military confrontation to achieve geo-political goals. The right-wing analysis raised questions that many citizens were asking. If we didn't want to fight a war to win in the traditional sense, then why did all those soldiers have to die? What was the purpose? Where was the benefit to the U.S.? Who gained from this process? These questions were not asked only by persons on the right, but the answers and theories the right developed were far different than those proposed by the left. The public debate over this issue expanded in 1973 with publication of the book "The Secret Team: The CIA and its Allies in Control of the United States and the World" by retired Air Force Colonel and intelligence community critic L. Fletcher Prouty. While in the military, Prouty was assigned to provide Air Force support for clandestine activities of the CIA. During the last nine years of military service, Prouty was the Pentagon Focal Point Officer through which CIA requests for military assistance were channeled, first for the Air Force, and eventually for the entire Department of Defense. In his book, Prouty criticized the CIA's penchant for counterinsurgency and clandestine operations, which he argued prolonged the war in Vietnam and resulted in the unnecessary deaths of many U.S. soldiers. Given his experience and knowledge of CIA activity, Prouty has become an influential critic of the agency, and has gained an audience across the political spectrum. [f-13] The Liberty Lobby's "Spotlight" newspaper took Prouty's original thesis and overlaid it with a conspiracy theory regarding Jewish influence in U.S. foreign policy. The "Secret Team" apparently became the "Secret Jewish Team" in their eyes. Sometime in the 1980's, a number of right-wing critics of U.S. intelligence operations, including Prouty, began to drift towards the "Spotlight" analysis. They began to feed information from their sources inside the government to publications and groups that circulate conspiracy theories alleging Jewish influence and control over world events. Prouty's "The Secret Team" was recently republished by the Institute for Historical Review (IHR). IHR promotes the theory that the accepted history of the Holocaust is essentially a hoax perpetrated by Jews to benefit the state of Israel. Noontide Press, in essence the book and pamphlet distribution arm of the Institute for Historical Review, is the largest distributor of pro-Nazi, anti-Jewish, white supremacist literature in the United States. Noontide Press also distributes such titles as "Auschwitz: Truth or Lie--An Eyewitness Report," "Hitler At My Side," and "For Fear of the Jews." ========================================== Prouty's topic at the opening session of the 1990 Liberty Lobby Convention was "The Secret Team." The new Institute for Historical Review's Noontide Press edition of Prouty's book "The Secret Team" was released at the Liberty Lobby conference. Prouty assured the audience it was an "enormous privilege" to have his book republished by the Institute for Historical Review, a group, Prouty claimed, that keeps people "from revising history." Prouty thanked Willis Carto and Tom Marcellus of IHR for the "guts and good sense" to republish his book. [f-24] Following Prouty to the Podium was Eustace Mullins, who spoke on "Secrets of the Federal Reserve." Prouty has been a guest at least nine times on Paul Valentine's Radio Free America program--syndicated by Liberty Lobby. An ad in "Spotlight" for a tape of Prouty's January 23, 1991 interview reads: "Was Bush's War [against Iraq] actually a "Secret Team" operation? Col. Fletcher Prouty, expert on this government within a government, argues that it has all the earmarks." Prouty also moderated a panel where Bo Gritz wove a conspiracy theory which explained the U.S. confrontation with Iraq as a product of the same "Secret Team" outlined by Prouty. Spotlight's coverage of the Gritz presentation featured a headline proclaiming "Gritz Warns...Get Ready to Fight or Lose Freedom: Links Drugs, CIA, Mossad; Slams U.S. Foreign Policy; Alerts Patriots to Martial Law Threat." Other conference speakers and moderators at the September 1990 Liberty Lobby convention included attorney Mark Lane, who has drifted into alliances with Liberty Lobby that far transcend his role as the group's lawyer, and comedian and activist Dick Gregory, whose anti-government rhetoric finds fertile soil on the far right. Dick Gregory also spoke in 1991 at the January 19th antiwar rally in Washington, D.C. Organizers of the antiwar event say they were unaware of Gregory's previous appearance at the Liberty Lobby meeting. Mark Lane and Dick Gregory co-authored a 1977 book on the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and both have circulated complex conspiracy theories about other world events which could account in part for their drift towards the conspiratorial Liberty Lobby network. ============================================ The JFK Conspiracy The Oliver Stone film "JFK" stimulated nationwide interest in conspiracies. Some right-wing paranoid theories are woven into the film, not surprising since Fletcher Prouty was an advisor to Stone, and the film's character "Mr. X" was primarily based on Prouty. Several of the film's themes echo conspiracist claims appearing in a John Birch Society magazine article on the JFK assassination by Medford Evans. The article was first published in September 1967 and was reprinted in April 1992 in the Birch magazine "The New American" to catch the wave of publicity around the Stone film. In the article, Evans discusses rumors that Lyndon Johnson may have engineered the Kennedy assassination, considers the assassination a "coup d'etat" . and suggest the American Establishment had JFK killed. The publisher complains, however, that "if Oliver Stone is seriously trying to indict the CIA, defense contractors, Big Oil, Big Business, the news media, and a host of others, he errs in suggesting that the whole business was a right-wing plot. These are not individuals of the Right." As the film "JFK" was making headlines, Prouty was promoting the new IHR edition of his book on the CIA, "The Secret Team" and Lane was promoting his new book on the Kennedy Assassination, "Plausible Denial," in tandem with the film. Prouty wrote the introduction to Lane's book. Stone highlighted the research of Prouty in a December, 1991 "Op-Ed" article in the "New York Times" . Prouty was widely discussed as a model for the "Mr. X" character featured in the Stone film, and Prouty served as an advisor to the film. Both Prouty and Lane have been featured on nominally progressive radio stations discussing the JFK assassination. There has been a reluctance to discuss some of these issues among some progressives, for instance a new film by respected documentarians Daniel Schechter and Barbara Kopple, "Beyond 'JFK': The Question of Conspiracy," features Lane and Prouty but makes no mention of the controversy surrounding their affiliations. =============================================== "Spotlight" used the opportunity of the release of Oliver Stone's film "JFK" to promote Fletcher Prouty, Mark Lane, and Victor Marchetti. Prouty was an advisor on the film and was the model for the film's character "Mr. X." Prouty and Lane went on book promotion tours in tandem with the film. "Spotlight" wove its coverage of the film "JFK" around its theories about Jewish "dual loyalist" control of the U.S. government and the claim that the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, controls CIA covert operations. While concern over Reagan Administration participation in joint intelligence operations with Mossad is legitimate, the use of anti-Zionism as a cover for conspiracist anti-Jewish bigotry can be seen in an article in the August 24, 1981 issue of "Spotlight" : "A brazen attempt by influential "Israel-firsters" in the policy echelons of the Reagan administration to extend their control to the day-to-day espionage and covert-action operations of the CIA was the hidden source of the controversy and scandals that shook the U.S. intelligence establishment this summer." "The dual loyalists, whose domination over the federal executive's high planning and strategy-making resources is now just about total, have long wanted to grab a hand in the on-the-spot "field control" of the CIA's worldwide clandestine services. They want this control, not just for themselves, but on behalf of the Mossad, Israel's terrorist secret police." "Spotlight" not only rails against "dual-loyalist" Jews in government, but also has praised the Nazi skinhead movement and reported favorably on the "spirit" of the Nazi Waffen SS during World War II. Prouty is quoted in the October 8, 1990 edition of "Spotlight" as saying the enemy of the American people is the CIA along with "usury, the political parties, the media and our textbooks." The issue of usury (high interest rates) is often coupled with a bigoted critique of Jewish financial influence and power, and whether or not that was the way Prouty meant it to be taken, in the context of a Liberty Lobby conference, the anti-Jewish inference would be drawn by many in the audience. Prouty also was quoted in the "Spotlight" as saying that "If anybody really wants to know what's going on in the world today he should be reading "The Spotlight." Prouty refused to confirm or deny the accuracy of the quote in an interview with the author. [f-17] ====================================================== In 1974, Marchetti, a former executive assistant to the deputy director of the CIA, co-authored "The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence," a well-received best-seller and the first book the CIA tried to suppress through court action. By 1989, however, Marchetti had been recruited into a close alliance with Carto's Liberty Lobby network. In 1989, Marchetti presented a paper at the Ninth International Revisionist Conference held by the Institute for Historical Review. The title of Marchetti's paper, published in IHR's "Journal of Historical Review," was "Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures History." Marchetti edits the "New American View" newsletter, which as one promotional flyer explained, was designed to "document for patriotic Americans like yourself the excess of pro-Israelism, which warps the news we see and hear from our media, cows our Congress into submission, and has already cost us hundreds of innocent, young Americans in Lebanon and elsewhere." Marchetti describes himself as a person whose "intelligence expertise and well-placed contacts have provided me with a unique insight into the subversion of our democratic process and foreign policy by those who would put the interests of Israel "above" those of America and Americans." Marchetti is also the publisher of a Japanese-language book "ADL and Zionism," written by LaRouche followers Paul Goldstein and Jeffrey Steinberg. Marchetti was co-publisher of the "Zionist Watch" newsletter when it was endorsed in direct mail appeals on Liberty Lobby stationery by the now deceased Lois Petersen, who for many years was the influential secretary of the Liberty Lobby board of directors. The October 5, 1987 "Spotlight" reported that Mark Lane had been named associate editor of "Zionist Watch," which at the time was housed in the same small converted Capitol Hill townhouse as Liberty Lobby/" Spotlight." "Zionist Watch" featured a conspiracist critique which saw Israel controlling U.S. foreign policy. Mark Lane is the legal representative of Liberty Lobby and other Carto enterprises, which in itself is not indicative of any political affiliation. But Lane is also an active apologist for the Institute for Historical Review and Willis Carto. Writing in his book "Plausible Denial," Lane contends that "I have never heard an anti-Semitic expression" from Carto. [f-14] Lane uses his Jewish background and past leftist credentials to divert attention from Carto's role as the leading purveyor of racist, anti-Jewish and pro-Nazi literature in the U.S. Lane describes in "Plausible Denial" how he was recruited into the Carto network through the late Haviv Schieber, who Lane describes in glowing terms as a Jewish activist fighting for peace in the Middle East. Schieber is more accurately described as an early supporter of the ultra-right Jabotinsky Zionist movement. Schieber broke with Zionism and the state of Israel when he came to believe it had been seized by the socialist and communist forces he despised. Schieber's diatribes claiming Zionist control of Congress were regularly reported in Carto's "Spotlight" newspaper, which referred to Schieber as "an outspoken anti-communist and critic of Israel." [f-15] Schieber's views were also promoted by Andrew I. Killgore, publisher of "Washington Report on Middle East Affairs." Lane, Schieber, Jewish anti-Zionist Dr. Alfred Lilienthal, Killgore, and right-wing Christian radio broadcaster Dale Crowley, Jr., became the leading exponents of a right-wing anti-Zionist critique in Washington, D.C. in the mid-1980's. It was Schieber who, over breakfast in 1980, convinced Lane to contact Carto, as modestly described by Lane in "Plausible Denial" : "I discovered before breakfast was concluded, however, that E. Howard Hunt, the convicted Watergate burglar and official of the Central Intelligence Agency, had filed a lawsuit against Victor Marchetti, a former high-ranking officer with the CIA and against Liberty Lobby, Inc., publisher of "Spotlight," for an article Marchetti had written and "Spotlight" had published about the assassination of President Kennedy....Haviv had a new...mission. I would represent the defendants, Marchetti and the newspaper; we would win, thus establishing the truth about the death of President Kennedy; and a national newspaper that published a dissenting view of Middle Eastern affairs would survive." [f-16] ================================================= The Liberty Lobby Populist Action Committee In 1991 Liberty Lobby announced the creation of the advisory board of the Populist Action Committee. The "Spotlight" ran a major feature on the formation of the advisory board with photographs of the persons announced as appointed to launch the Committee: Bo Gritz, briefly ran as David Duke's running mate, later ran for president with support from the Populist Party. Fletcher Prouty, right-wing CIA critic, author of "The Secret Team." Abe Austin, described as an Illinois businessman and expert on money; Mike Blair, "Spotlight" writer whose articles on government repression were highlighted by Project Censored; Ken Bohnsack, an Illinois resident called the founder of the Sovereignty movement; Howard Carson, a "Spotlight" distributor; William Gill, president of the protectionist American Coalition for Competitive Trade; Boyd Godlove Jr., chairman of the Populist Party of Maryland; Martin Larson, a contributor to "The Journal of Historical Review" which maintains the Holocaust was a Jewish hoax; Roger Lourie, president of Devin-Adair Publishing; Pauline Mackey, national treasurer for the 1988 David Duke Populist Party Presidential campaign; Tom McIntyre, national chairman of the Populist Party from 1987-1990; John Nugent, who ran for Congress from Tennessee as a Republican in 1990; Lawrence Patterson, publisher of the far-right ultra-conspiratorial "Criminal Politics" newsletter; Jerry Pope, chair of the Kentucky Populist Party; John Rakus, president of the National Justice Foundation; Hon. John R. Rarick, former Democratic House member now in Louisiana; Sherman Skolnick, a Chicagoan who has peddled bizarre conspiracy theories for over a decade; Major James H. Townsend, editor of the "National Educator" from California; Jim Tucker, "Spotlight" contributor who specializes on covering the Bilderberger banking group; Tom Valentine, Midwest bureau chief for "Spotlight" and host of Liberty Lobby's Radio Free America; Raymond Walk, an Illinois critic of free trade; Robert H. Weems, founding national chairman of the Populist Party. Prouty has been appearing at conferences and on radio programs sponsored by the Liberty Lobby, but claims "there was never a handshake" concerning his official appointment to the Populist Action Committee. [f-18] Prouty nonetheless admits that he is aware his name is being publicized in that capacity and refuses to ask his name be dropped from the list. Skolnick also says he was never "officially" asked to be on the advisory board, but although he is aware he was named to the panel, he refuses to distance himself from the board or Liberty Lobby. [f-19] ====================================== Critics of the Christic thesis say the "Secret Team" was not a cabal operating against the will of the president or the CIA, but was an illegal, secret government-sponsored operation established by CIA director William Casey and coordinated by White House aide Oliver North, with assistance from a network of ultra-right groups who were determined to circumvent the will of Congress. This "Enterprise" at times worked closely with the Mossad and carried out clandestine counterinsurgency missions. Some of these counterinsurgency missions were based on the same model of pacification used by U.S. Special Forces and clandestine CIA operations in Vietnam. It is just this emphasis on counterinsurgency and clandestine operations rather than direct military battles that forms the basis of criticism in Fletcher Prouty's book "Secret Team." Prouty criticized the CIA for promoting covert action techniques which he traced to the influence of the British intelligence service MI5 on the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), precursor to the CIA. Prouty said such meddling and convoluted efforts at fighting communism resulted in the needless deaths of American servicemen. There is no evidence of any obvious anti-Jewish conspiracy theories in the original Prouty book. ====================================================== Lyndon LaRouche has picked up support for his campaign to get released from prison from a number of right-wing extremists, including retired Air Force Colonel and intelligence specialist Fletcher Prouty, a leading light among ultra-right researchers, who also works with the quasi-Nazi Liberty Lobby. Prouty has issued a statement declaring that "instrumentalities of the government have hounded" LaRouche and "created wrongs where none existed before." =========================================== [Re: Prouty's cites to "Report From Iron Mountain" In at least one case, Craig Hulet moves beyond conspiracism into elevating a satire to documentary status. Hulet labels as fact material from the book "Report from Iron Mountain." Hulet refers to the work as if it were a secret government document. Actually, "Report from Iron Mountain" is an allegorical critique of the pro-militarist lobby and a well-known example of political satire. [f-26] 26. "Report from Iron Mountain" is to a large degree a veiled attack on Herman Kahn and the school of geo-political strategy that developed around him at the Hudson Institute, an ultra-conservative think tank. Several of the footnotes refer to Kahn and Hudson Institute studies i.e. Kahn: Section 1, footnote 4 (p. 103), Section 5, footnote 10 (p. 105), Section 8, footnote 1, (p. 108); and Hudson Institute: Section 8, footnote 3, (p. 109). Moreover, the overall philosophy adopted in the book is consistent with Hudson Institute study papers and Kahn's writings. (See Kahn's "On Escalation" and "Thinking About the Unthinkable." Also of interest is the book by two former Hudson Institute analysts, Edmund Stillman and William Pfaff who later rejected that school of thought and wrote "The Politics of Hysteria." While an excellent philosophical discussion of the errors of the Cold War, it should be noted that it was produced by Leonard C. Lewin, described on the book jacket as a "critic and satirist" who was editor of "A Treasury of American Political Humor." Apparently Hulet didn't get the joke. Even the Institute for Historical Review, which sells "Report from Iron Mountain," says in its current "Noontide Press" catalog: "was it the actual text of a secret report...or a brilliant satire? Judge for yourself."


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