Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Buying the Right, by Robert Parry

The impulse to believe the absurd when presented with the unknowable is called religion. Whether this is wise or unwise is the domain of doctrine. Once you understand someone's doctrine, you understand their rationale for believing the absurd. At that point, it may no longer seem absurd. You can get to both sides of this conondrum from here.

Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Buying the Right, by Robert Parry

Postby admin » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:33 am

Part 1 of 5

Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Buying the Right
by Robert Parry
(c) Copyright 1997



On Jan. 28, 1995, a beaming Rev. Jerry Falwell told his Old Time Gospel Hour congregation news that seemed heaven sent. The televangelist hailed two Virginia businessmen as financial saviors of debt-ridden Liberty University, the fundamentalist Christian school that Falwell had made the crown jewel of his Religious Right empire.

"They had to borrow money, hock their houses, hock everything," enthused Falwell. "Thank God for friends like Dan Reber and Jimmy Thomas." Falwell's congregation rose as one to applaud. The star of the moment was Daniel Reber, who was standing behind Falwell. Thomas was not present.

Reber and Thomas earned Falwell's public gratitude by excusing the Lynchburg, Va., school of about one-half of its $73 million debt. In the late 1980s, that flood of red ink had forced Falwell to abandon his Moral Majority political organization and nearly drowned Liberty University in bankruptcy.

Reber and Thomas came to Falwell's rescue in the nick of time. Their non-profit Christian Heritage Foundation of Forest, Va., snapped up a big chunk of Liberty's debt for $2.5 million, a fraction of its face value. Thousands of small religious investors who had bought church construction bonds through a Texas company were the big losers. But Falwell shed no tears. He told local reporters that the moment was "the greatest single day of financial advantage" in the school's history.

Left unmentioned in the happy sermon was the identity of the bigger guardian angel who had been protecting Falwell's financial interests -- from a distance and without publicity. That secret benefactor was the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, the self-proclaimed South Korean messiah who is controversial with many fundamentalist Christians because of his bizarre Biblical interpretations and his brainwashing tactics that have torn thousands of young people from their families. Moon also has grown harshly anti-American in recent years.

Covertly, Moon helped bail out Liberty University through one of his front groups which funnelled $3.5 million to the Reber-Thomas Christian Heritage Foundation, the non-profit that had purchased the school's debt.

I discovered this Moon-Falwell connection while looking for something else: how much Moon's Women's Federation for World Peace had paid former President George Bush for a series of speeches in Asia in 1995. I obtained the federation's Internal Revenue Service records but discovered that Bush's undisclosed speaking fee was buried in a line item of $13.6 million for conference expenses.

There was, however, a listing for a $3.5 million "educational" grant to the Christian Heritage Foundation. A call to the Virginia corporate records office confirmed that the foundation was the one run by Reber and Thomas.

In a subsequent interview, 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. "It was Dan Reber," she said. But she could not recall much else about the grant, even though it was by far the largest single grant awarded by the federation that year.

For details on the grant, Fefferman referred me to Keith Cooperrider, the federation's treasurer. Cooperrider is also the chief financial officer of Moon's Washington Times and a longtime Unification Church functionary. Cooperrider did not return several phone calls seeking his comment. Falwell and Reber also failed to respond to my calls.

Secret Meetings

The full public record strongly suggests that Falwell solicited Moon's help in bailing out Liberty University. In a lawsuit on file in the Circuit Court of Bedford County -- a community in southwestern Virginia -- two of Reber's former business associates alleged that Reber and Falwell flew to South Korea on Jan. 9, 1994, on a seven-day "secret trip" to meet "with representatives of the Unification Church."

The court document states that Reber and Falwell were accompanied to South Korea by Ronald S. Godwin, who had been executive director of Falwell's Moral Majority before signing on as vice president of Moon's Washington Times.

According to Bedford County court records, Reber, Falwell and Godwin also had discussions at Liberty University in 1993 with Dong Moon Joo, one of Moon's right-hand men and president of The Washington Times. Though Reber was queried about the purposes of the Moon-connected meetings in the court papers, he settled the business dispute before responding to interrogatories or submitting to a deposition. He did deny any legal wrongdoing.

But Moon's secret financial ties to Falwell raise some sensitive political questions, particularly amid congressional hearings on foreign money influencing U.S. politics: For instance, did the $3.5 million from Moon's front group give Falwell the means to become a national pitchman for "The Clinton Chronicles" and other conspiracy-mongering videos which fingered President and Mrs. Clinton in a wide range of serious crimes, including murder? During the period of the Liberty bail-out, Falwell was using his expensive TV time to hawk the videos.

When The Roanoke Times & World News interviewed Falwell about the bail-out, the televangelist sat at his desk in front of two life-size, full-color cutouts of Bill and Hillary Clinton, whom he jokingly called his "advisers." The cut-outs were gifts from Liberty staffers in recognition of Falwell's success in distributing the Clinton-hating videos. [RT&WN, Feb. 6, 1995]

Many of those lurid right-wing conspiracy theories have since been discredited, including allegations connecting the Clintons to the death of deputy White House counsel Vincent Foster. But the Falwell-promoted videos did feed a Clinton scandal fever that helped the Republicans seize control of Congress in 1994.

Moon's largesse is additionally suspect because Moon has never publicly accounted for his mysterious source of wealth. Much of the money apparently comes from shadowy Asian industrialists, some with links to organized crime and fascist political circles. But Moon has refused to open his books, even in the late 1970s when a congressional investigation identified his church as a front for the South Korean CIA, which was then engaged in a secret political influence-buying scheme known as "Korea-gate."

Better than Jesus?

Falwell also might have been shy about disclosing his alliance with Moon because the Korean's theology upsets many Christians. Moon asserts that Satan corrupted mankind by sexually seducing Eve in the Garden of Eden and that only through sexual purification can mankind be saved. In line with that doctrine, Moon says Jesus failed in his mission to save mankind because he did not procreate.

Moon sees himself as a second messiah who will not make the same mistake. He has engaged in sex with a variety of women over the decades. The total number of his offspring is a point of debate inside the Unification Church.

Moon's rhetoric has turned stridently anti-American, another problem for the Religious Right and its strongly patriotic positions. On May 1, 1997, Moon told a group of followers that "the country that represents Satan's harvest is America." [ Unification News, June 1997] In other sermons, he has vowed that his victorious movement will "digest" any American who tries to maintain his or her individuality. He especially has criticized American women who must "negate yourself 100 percent" to be a receptacle for the male seed. [For details of Moon's speeches, see The Consortium, July 28, 1997]

Still, despite his controversial remarks, Moon continues to buy friends on the American right -- as well as among African-American religious figures -- by spreading around vast sums of money. The totals are estimated in the billions of dollars, with much of it targeted on political infrastructure: direct-mail operations, video services for campaign ads, professional operatives and right-wing media outlets.

Through The Washington Times and its affiliated publications -- Insight magazine and The World & I -- Moon has not only showcased conservative opinions, but he has created seemingly legitimate conduits to funnel money to individuals and companies he seeks to influence. In the early 1980s, for instance, The Washington Times hired the New Right's direct-mail whiz Richard Viguerie to conduct a pricy direct-mail subscription drive. The business boosted Viguerie's profit margin.

Another element of Moon's strategy is to approach a conservative leader when he's financially down. Moon quietly infuses money and gains the leader's gratitude. Again, Viguerie is an example of that tactic. When he fell on hard times in the late 1980s, Moon directed more business his way and had a corporation run by Moon's lieutenant, Bo Hi Pak, buy one of Viguerie's properties for $10 million. [ Orange County Register, Dec. 21, 1987 / Washington Post, Oct. 15, 1989]

With Moon's timely intervention, Viguerie survived financially and remains an important fixture in conservative political campaigns to this day. When Iran-contra figure Oliver North ran for the U.S. Senate in Virginia in 1994, his principal direct-mail contractor was Viguerie's company, according to Federal Election Commission records.

For some smaller enterprises, Moon-connected business can be a huge percentage of total income. That was the case with Falwell's benefactors, Dan Reber and Jimmy Thomas, who ran a small company called Direct Mail Communications of Forest, Va. According to court records, $5 million -- more than one-third of its income in one year -- came from a direct-mail subscription drive for Moon's Insight magazine.

Republican Warnings

At times, Moon's penetration of conservative ranks has raised red flags among Republicans. In 1983, the GOP's moderate Ripon Society charged that the New Right had entered "an alliance of expediency" with Moon's church. Ripon's chairman, Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa, released a study which alleged that the College Republican National Committee "solicited and received" money from Moon's Unification Church in 1981. The study also accused Reed Irvine's Accuracy in Media of benefitting from low-cost or volunteer workers supplied by Moon.

Leach said the Unification Church has "infiltrated the New Right and the party it [the New Right] wants to control, the Republican Party, and infiltrated the media as well." Leach's news conference was broken up when then-college GOP leader Grover Norquist accused Leach of lying. (Norquist is now head of Americans for Tax Reform and a prominent ally of House Speaker Newt Gingrich.)

For its part, The Washington Times dismissed Leach's charges as "flummeries" and mocked the Ripon Society as a "discredited and insignificant left-wing offshoot of the Republican Party." [WP, Jan. 6, 1983]

Despite periodic fretting over Moon's influence, conservatives continued to accept his deep-pocket assistance. When President Reagan and Oliver North were scratching for support for the Nicaraguan contras, The Washington Times established a contra fund-raising operation. Moon's international group, CAUSA, also dispatched operatives to Central America to assist the contras.

By the mid-1980s, Moon's Unification Church had carved out a niche as an acceptable part of the American right. In one speech to his followers, Moon boasted that "without knowing it, even President Reagan is being guided by Father [Moon]."

Yet, Moon also made clear that his longer-range goal was the destruction of the U.S. Constitution and America's democratic form of government. "History will make the position of Reverend Moon clear, and his enemies, the American population and government will bow down to him," Moon said, speaking of himself in the third person. "That is Father's tactic, the natural subjugation of the American government and population."

As Andrew Ferguson wrote in the right-wing American Spectator, Moon's church attracted U.S. conservatives by advocating a muscular anti-communism. "There is little else in Unificationism that American conservatives will find compelling," Ferguson noted -- except, of course, the money. "They're the best in town as far as putting their money with their mouth is," one Washington-based conservative told Ferguson. [AS, Sept. 1987]

Iran-contra Wars

Though Moon's money sources remained shrouded in secrecy, his cash gave the right an important edge in attacking its enemies and defending its friends. After the Iran-contra scandal exploded in 1986, The Washington Times and other Moon operations battled aggressively to protect Reagan's White House and Oliver North. Godwin, the link between Falwell's Moral Majority and Moon's Washington Times, raised funds for North through a group called the Interamerican Partnership, which was a fore-runner to North's own Freedom Alliance. [ Common Cause Magazine, Fall 1993]

Another Moon-connected group, the American Freedom Coalition, also went to bat for North. According to Andrew Leigh, who worked for a Moon front called Global Image Associates, AFC broadcast a pro-North video, "Ollie North: Fight for Freedom," more than 600 times on more than 100 TV stations. Leigh quoted one AFC official as saying that AFC received $5 million to $6 million from business interests associated with Moon. AFC also bragged that it helped put George Bush into the White House in 1988 by distributing 30 million pieces of political literature. [WP, Oct. 15, 1989]

Direct Mail Communications, the firm owned by Reber and Thomas, also aided North in building his famous mailing lists. [The firm has done direct-mail work as well for Texas Gov. George W. Bush, the Republican National Committee, and the National Rifle Association, according to The Roanoke Times & World News in a story dated Nov. 2, 1994.]

Indeed, the story of Direct Mail Communications, a small company based in a strip-mall shopping center off Route 221 in rural Forest, Va., underscores how intertwined Moon's operations have grown with American conservatism.

Reber and Thomas founded the company in September 1989, roughly the same time that Falwell's Liberty University began trying to refinance its worsening debt. Also, in 1989, Charles P. Keith, Roger M. Ott and Ronald Godwin -- all Washington Times executives -- created another firm called Mail America.

According to court records, Godwin introduced Keith and Ott to Reber and Thomas. The get-to-know-you quickly led to a deal. Keith, Ott and Godwin bought DMC for $2.5 million on Oct. 6, 1989, even though the company had existed for only one month. Reber and Thomas were retained to run the business.

Inside the firm, however, tensions grew. In 1991, Godwin split, selling his share of the business to Keith and Ott. Reber, who was getting a salary of $1,000 a day or $365,000 a year, spent too much time on discount work for conservative causes, Keith and Ott later complained. In one court filing, they alleged that a paid DMC staffer was sent to help a conservative Republican named Gene Keith run for Congress in Florida.

Falwell's Liberty University, Old Time Gospel Hour and Liberty Alliance also got discounts on their direct-mail solicitations, the owners charged. "Reber and Thomas never even collected an amount sufficient to pay all of DMC's actual postage expenses," Keith and Ott stated.

A Falling Out

By summer 1993, Reber began long absences from DMC while working on the bail-out of Liberty University, according to the court papers. Keith and Ott alleged that Falwell, Reber and Godwin met with The Washington Times' publisher Dong Moon Joo in Lynchburg in 1993 and flew to South Korea in January 1994 for other meetings with Moon's representatives.
Reber's travels took him to "South America, Montana, Europe, Russia and the Republic of Korea," Keith and Ott said. Meanwhile, DMC was sliding into "extreme financial distress."

So, after Reber returned from the South Korean trip, Keith and Ott fired him. That prompted Reber to file a wrongful termination suit in Bedford Country Circuit Court on July 20, 1994. Keith and Ott countered by filing a fraud case against Reber and Thomas in Roanoke federal court in September 1994.

For his part, Falwell, who once boasted that he had spurned a $1 million speaking fee from Moon in the mid-1980s, now found himself caught in Moon's orbit. On July 26, 1994, Falwell prominently sat at the head table for Moon's inauguration of yet another front group, the Youth Federation for World Peace. Falwell posed for a group photo with Moon and other dignitaries. Next to Falwell stood Ronald Reagan's daughter, Maureen.

Despite the DMC court battles, North still sent the direct-mail company some business during his 1994 Senate campaign. According to FEC records, North paid DMC $138,561 for its direct-mail work. But DMC extended North the most credit of any vendor. When the $19 million campaign ended with North's narrow defeat, his largest single debt -- $89,033 -- was to DMC.

At about that same time, in January 1995, Reber and Thomas were completing their purchase of about one-half of Liberty University's debt, much of it for a fraction of the face value. The big losers included 2,500 bondholders who invested in the Texas-based Church & Institutional Facilities Development Corp., which had owned $12 million of the school's debt. Reber and Thomas scooped up the bonds at a bankruptcy fire sale for about 20 percent of their value, or $2.5 million.

Many bondholders were "mom and pops cashing in their IRA money because their local minister and Falwell's letters said they'd be doing God's work," recalled Doug Hudman, a lawyer in the case. "The true victims are the mom-and-pop believers who think their money was going to a good cause. All it was doing was going to fund Mr. Falwell's continued indebtedness. It's kind of sickening."

But Falwell told reporters that it was just a question of luck. "When the bankruptcy trustee called in all the notes and put them up for sale, anyone could have bought them," Falwell said. "That was fortunate for us." [RT&WN, Feb. 6, 1995]

After months of complicated legal maneuvering, Dan Reber also seems to have been fortunate enough to win out in the DMC power struggle. He now runs the direct-mail factory in Forest, Va., under the name, "Mail America."

But behind the good fortune that blessed the Rev. Falwell and his friends appears to have been a timely contribution of $3.5 million from the Rev. Moon's Women's Federation for World Peace.
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Re: Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Buying the Right, by Robert Parr

Postby admin » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:36 am

Part 2 of 5

Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Drug Allies
by Robert Parry
(c) Copyright 1997



Amid debates over the 115-year-old Pendleton Act and whether it covers fund-raising phone calls from the White House, a more sinister money-in-politics issue continues to go unnoticed: the vast political influence-buying operation of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. The Clinton administration appears no more interested in where Moon's mysterious millions originate than was the Reagan-Bush administrations which benefited from Moon's largesse.

Our recent series, "Dark Side of Rev. Moon," documented how Moon's organization purchased influence through secret payments to key political figures, including former President George Bush and Religious Right leader Jerry Falwell. Moon also financed costly media outlets, such as The Washington Times. Moon has built this U.S. network even as he tells his followers that America is "Satan's harvest" and vows to subjugate the American people under a Korea-based theocracy.

The series also revealed that Moon's organization still engages in questionable financial practices. According to court records, the Moon organization has been laundering money and diverting funds to buy personal luxuries for Moon's family, including cocaine for Moon's son, Hyo Jin. The financial sleights-of-hand are reminiscent of offenses that led to Moon's conviction for tax evasion in 1982.

But since our series ran, more troubling facts about Moon's international political connections have been brought to our attention. Most disturbing, given Moon's free-spending ways, are his long-standing ties to ultra-rightists linked to Asian organized crime and to the Latin American drug trade. These associations -- and Moon's deepening business operations in South America -- underscore the need for the U.S. government to ascertain exactly how Moon is financing his U.S. political empire.

Moon's representatives refuse to detail publicly how they sustain their far-flung operations. But they angrily rebut 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]

But Moon's relationships with drug-tainted gangsters and corrupt right-wing politicians go back to the early days of his Unification Church in Asia. Moon's Korea-based church made its first important inroads in Japan in the early 1960s after gaining the support of Ryoichi Sasakawa, a leader of the Japanese yakuza crime syndicate who once hailed Italian dictator Benito Mussolini as "the perfect fascist." In Japan and Korea, the shadowy yakuza ran lucrative drug smuggling, gambling and prostitution rings.

The Sasakawa connection brought Moon both converts and clout because Sasakawa was a behind-the-scenes leader of Japan's ruling Liberal Democratic Party. On the international scene, Sasakawa helped found the Asian People's Anti-Communist League, which united the heroin-stained leadership of Nationalist China with rightists from Korea, Japan and elsewhere in Asia. [For details, see Yakuza by David E. Kaplan and Alec Dubro]

In 1966, the Asian league evolved into the World Anti-Communist League with the inclusion of former Nazis from Europe, overt racialists from the United States and "death squad" operatives from Latin America, along with more traditional conservatives. Moon's followers played important roles in both organizations, which also maintained close ties to the CIA.

South American Drugs

Meanwhile, after World War II, South America was becoming a crossroads for Nazi fugitives and drug smugglers. Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, the so-called Butcher of Lyons, earned his living in Bolivia by selling his intelligence skills, while other ex-Nazis trafficked in narcotics. Often the lines crossed.

In those years, Auguste Ricord, a French war criminal who had collaborated with the Gestapo, set up shop in Paraguay. Ricord opened up 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 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 Nixon's "war on drugs," U.S. authorities smashed this famous French Connection and won extraditions of Ricord and David in 1972.

But by then, powerful drug lords had forged strong ties to South America's military leaders. Other Trafficante-connected groups, including right-wing anti-Castro Cubans in Miami, eagerly filled the drug void. Heroin from the Golden Triangle of Southeast Asia quickly replaced the French Connection heroin that had come mostly from the Middle East.

During this period, the CIA actively collaborated with right-wing army officers to oust left-leaning governments. And amid this swirl of anti-communism, Moon became active in South America. His first visit to Argentina was in 1965 when he blessed a square behind the presidential Pink House in Buenos Aires. He returned a decade later and began making high-level contacts in Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia and Uruguay.

The far-right gained control of Argentina in 1976 with a Dirty War that "disappeared" tens of thousands of Argentines. Michael Levine, a star undercover agent of the Drug Enforcement Administration, was assigned to Buenos Aires and was struck how "death was very much a way of life in Argentina." [See Levine's Big White Lie]

A Nazi Reunion

In nearby coca-producing Bolivia, Nazi fugitive Klaus Barbie was working as a Bolivian intelligence officer and drawing up plans for a putsch that would add that central nation to the region's "stable axis" of right-wing regimes. Barbie contacted Argentine intelligence for help.

One of the first Argentine intelligence officers who arrived was Lt. Alfred Mario Mingolla. "Before our departure, we received a dossier on [Barbie]," Mingolla later told German investigative reporter Kai Hermann. "There it stated that he was of great use to Argentina because he played an important role in all of Latin America in the fight against communism. From the dossier, it was also clear that Altmann worked for the Americans." [For an English translation of Hermann's detailed account, see Covert Action Information Bulletin, Winter 1986]

As the Bolivian coup took shape, Bolivian Col. Luis Arce-Gomez, the cousin of cocaine kingpin Roberto Suarez, recruited neo-fascist terrorists such as Italian Stefano della Chiaie who had been working with the Argentine death squads. [See Cocaine Politics by Peter Dale Scott and Jonathan Marshall] Dr. Alfredo Candia, the Bolivian leader of the World Anti-Communist League, was coordinating the arrival of these paramilitary operatives from Argentina and Europe, Hermann reported. Meanwhile, Barbie started a secret lodge, called Thule. During meetings, he lectured to his followers underneath swastikas by candlelight.

While the CIA was encouraging this aggressive anti-communism on one level, Levine and his DEA field agents were moving against some of the conspirators for drug crimes. In May 1980, DEA in Miami seized 854 pounds of cocaine base and arrested two top Bolivian traffickers from the Roberto Suarez organization. But Levine saw the bust double-crossed, he suspected, for geo-political reasons.

One suspect, Jose Roberto Gasser "was almost immediately released from custody by the Miami U.S. attorney's office," Levine wrote. (Gasser was the son of Bolivian WACL associate Erwin Gasser, a leading figure in the upcoming coup.) The other defendant saw his bail lowered, letting him flee the United States. Levine worried about the fate of Bolivian officials who had helped DEA. [See Levine's Deep Cover]

On June 17, 1980, in nearly public planning for the coup, six of Bolivia's biggest traffickers met with the military conspirators to hammer out a financial deal for future protection of the cocaine trade. A La Paz businessman said the coming putsch should be called the "Cocaine Coup," a name that would stick. [Cocaine Politics]

Less than three weeks later, on July 6, DEA agent Levine met with a Bolivian trafficker named Hugo Hurtado-Candia. Over drinks, Hurtado outlined plans for the "new government" in which his niece Sonia Atala, a major cocaine supplier, will "be in a very strong position."

Later, an Argentine secret policeman told Levine that the CIA knew about the coup. "You North Americans amaze me. Don't you speak to your own people?" the officer wondered. "Do you think Bolivia's government -- or any government in South America -- can be changed without your government and mine being aware of it?"

When Levine asked why that affected the planned DEA investigation, the Argentine answered, "Because the same people he's naming as drug dealers are the people we are helping to rid Bolivia of leftists. ...Us. The Argentines ... working with your CIA." [Big White Lie]

The Cocaine Coup Cometh

On July 17, the Cocaine Coup began, spearheaded by Barbie and his neo-fascist goon squad dubbed Fiances of Death. "The masked thugs were not Bolivians; they spoke Spanish with German, French and Italian accents," Levine wrote. "Their uniforms bore neither national identification nor any markings, although many of them wore Nazi swastika armbands and insignias."
The slaughter was fierce. When the putschists stormed the national labor headquarters, they wounded labor leader Marcelo Quiroga, who had led the effort to indict former military dictator Hugo Banzer on drug and corruption charges. Quiroga "was dragged off to police headquarters to be the object of a game played by some of the torture experts imported from Argentina's dreaded Mechanic School of the Navy," Levine wrote.

"These experts applied their 'science' to Quiroga as a lesson to the Bolivians, who were a little backward in such matters. They kept Quiroga alive and suffering for hours. His castrated, tortured body was found days later in a place called 'The valley of the Moon' in southern La Paz." Women captives were gang-raped as part of their torture.

To Levine back in Buenos Aires, it was soon clear "that the primary goal of the revolution was the protection and control of Bolivia's cocaine industry. All major drug traffickers in prison were released, after which they joined the neo-Nazis in their rampage. Government buildings were invaded and trafficker files were either carried off or burned. Government employees were tortured and shot, the women tied and repeatedly raped by the paramilitaries and the freed traffickers."

The fascists celebrated with swastikas and shouts of "Heil Hitler!" Hermann reported. Col. Arce-Gomez, a central-casting image of a bemedaled, pot-bellied Latin dictator, grabbed broad powers as Interior Minister. Gen. Luis Garcia Meza was installed as Bolivia's new president.

Moon & the Putschists

Among 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 Gen. 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. [CAIB, Winter 1986]

After the coup, Arce-Gomez went into partnership with big narco-traffickers, including Trafficante's Cuban-American smugglers. Klaus Barbie and his neo-fascists got a new assignment: protecting Bolivia's major cocaine barons and transporting drugs to the border. [Cocaine Politics]

"The paramilitary units -- conceived by Barbie as a new type of SS -- sold themselves to the cocaine barons," concluded Hermann. "The attraction of fast money in the cocaine trade was stronger than the idea of a national socialist revolution in Latin America."

According to Levine, Arce-Gomez boasted to one top trafficker: "We will flood America's borders with cocaine." It was boast that the coup-makers backed up.

"Bolivia soon became the principal supplier of cocaine base to the then fledgling Colombian cartels, making themselves the main suppliers of cocaine to the United States," Levine said. "And it could not have been done without the tacit help of DEA and the active, covert help of the CIA."

On Dec. 16, 1980, Cuban-American intelligence operative Ricardo Morales told a Florida prosecutor that he had become an informer in Operation Tick-Talks, a Miami-based investigation that implicated Frank Castro and other Bay of Pigs veterans in a conspiracy to import cocaine from the new military rulers of Bolivia. [Cocaine Politics]

Years later, Medellin cartel money-launderer Ramon Milian Rodriguez testified before Senate hearings chaired by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. Milian Rodriguez stated that in the early days of the cartel, "Bolivia was much more significant than the other countries." [April 6, 1988]

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 often seen together in apparent prayer. Mingolla, the Argentine intelligence officer, described Ward as his CIA paymaster, with the $1,500 monthly salary coming from the CAUSA office of Ward's representative. [CAIB, Winter 1986]

On May 31, 1981, Moon representatives sponsored a CAUSA reception at the Sheraton Hotel's Hall of Freedom in La Paz. Bo Hi Pak and 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.

Cocaine Stresses

But by late 1981, the obvious cocaine taint was straining U.S.-Bolivian relations. "The Moon sect disappeared overnight from Bolivia as clandestinely as they had arrived," Hermann reported. Only Ward and a couple of others stayed on with the Bolivian information agency as it worked on a transition back to civilian rule.

According to Hermann's account, Mingolla met Ward in the cafeteria Fontana of La Paz's Hotel Plaza in March 1982. Ward was discouraged about the Bolivian operation. "The whole affair with Altmann [Barbie], with the whole fascism and Nazism bit, that was a dead-end street," Ward complained. "It was stupid having Moon and CAUSA here." [CAIB, Winter 1986] Ward could not be reached for comment about this article.

The Cocaine Coup leaders soon found themselves on the run. Interior Minister Arce-Gomez was eventually extradited to Miami and is serving a 30-year sentence for drug trafficking. Roberto Suarez got a 15-year prison sentence. Gen. Garcia Meza is a fugitive from a 30-year sentence imposed on him in Bolivia for abuse of power, corruption and murder. Barbie was returned to France to face a life sentence for war crimes. He died in 1992.

But Moon's organization paid little price for the Cocaine Coup. Funding U.S. conservative political conferences and founding the ultra-conservative Washington Times in 1982, Moon ingratiated himself to President Reagan and other leading Republicans. Moon also continued to build a political-economic base in South America.

In 1984, The New York Times called Moon's church "one of the largest foreign investors" in Uruguay, having invested some $70 million in the three preceding years. Investments included Uruguay's third largest bank, the Banco de Credito; the Hotel Victoria Plaza in Montevideo; and the newspaper, Ultimas Noticias. Moon's venture were aided by generous tax breaks from Uruguay's military government. "Church officials said Uruguay was especially attractive because of liberal laws that allow easy repatriation of profits abroad," the Times reported. [NYT, 2-16-84]

Supporting the Nicaraguan contra rebels, Moon's organization developed close ties, too, with the powerful Honduran military which gave the contras base camps along the Nicaraguan border. Again, Moon's representatives were in contact with officers suspected of supporting the shipment of cocaine into the United States. Anti-Castro Cubans linked to the Miami drug networks also appeared on the scene to advance the anti-communist cause as did intelligence officers from the Argentine military.

The Honduran Connection

Kerry's Senate report concluded that Honduras became an important way station for cocaine shipments heading north. "Elements of the Honduran military were involved ... in the protection of drug traffickers from 1980 on," the report stated. "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." [Drug, Law Enforcement and Foreign Policy -- the Kerry Report -- December 1988]

In the mid-1980s, when journalists and congressional investigators began probing the evidence of contra-connected drug trafficking, they encountered harsh attacks from Moon's Washington Times. An Associated Press story that I co-wrote with Brian Barger was denounced on the Times' front page as a "political ploy." [April 11, 1986]

The Times attacked Kerry's investigators first for wasting money [Aug. 13, 1986] and then with obstructing justice [Jan. 21, 1987]. Now, with a clearer picture of Moon's historic ties to drug-tainted officials in South America, the harassment of these investigations takes on a different appearance, of possible self-protection. [See our "Dark Side of Rev. Moon" series for more details.]

More recently, Moon has shifted his base of operation to a luxurious estate in Uruguay and continued to expand his South American holdings. He has invested heavily in the Argentine province of Corrientes, a border area near Paraguay that is known as a major smuggling center.

In a sermon to his followers on Jan. 2, 1996, Moon announced plans to begin building small airstrips in remote areas of South America as well as bases for submarines to evade Coast Guard patrols. Saying the airfield project would be for tourism, he added that "in the near future, we will have many small airports throughout the world." The submarines, he said, were needed because "there are so many restrictions due to national boundaries worldwide."

With his history and prominence, Moon and his organization would seem a natural attraction for U.S. government scrutiny. But Moon may have purchased insurance against any intrusive investigation by buying so many powerful American politicians that Washington's power centers can no more afford the scrutiny than he can.
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Re: Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Buying the Right, by Robert Parr

Postby admin » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:40 am

Part 3 of 5

Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Generation Next
by Robert Parry
(c) Copyright 1997



In August 1995, a thin dark-haired Asian woman furtively led her five children in an escape from an elegant mansion on an 18-acre estate overlooking the Hudson River north of New York City. Fearful of her tyrannical husband, the woman was abandoning a life as a modern-day princess who had "wanted for nothing," a pampered existence with docile American servants tending to her every need.

But her husband's violent behavior, made worse by a cocaine addiction and strange sexual habits, finally drove the woman to flight. She took her children from Irvington, N.Y., to Massachusetts and hid out with relatives.

The woman's story bubbled briefly to the surface weeks later when she filed for a divorce in Middlesex Probate Court in Massachusetts. But the case still received little attention, even though it held the key to unlocking secrets of a troubling international scandal involving power, money and sex.

The woman was Nansook Moon, described by friends as resembling a Korean Faye Dunaway. Nansook also was the daughter-in-law of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. At 15, Nansook was picked by Moon to be the bride of Hyo Jin Moon, the eldest son from Moon's current marriage. Then 19, Hyo Jin was considered Moon's heir apparent -- the future overseer of the church's vast business empire and its secret network of political connections.

On one level, the Nansook case challenged Moon's peculiar theology which makes him the all-wise messiah and his immediate family the embodiment of human perfection. Moon has his followers call him True Father and his wife True Mother. Their 13 offspring are the children of the True Family.

Yet, inside the church, the Moon children have gained a reputation as spoiled rich kids, buying whatever they want and waited upon by worshipful American church members. When one daughter wanted to ride in Olympic equestrian events, Moon built a horse-riding facility in Deer Park, N.Y., for $10 million. When Hyo Jin fancied himself a heavy-metal rock musician, Moon snapped up New York City's Manhattan Center, an old opera house with a recording studio.

But more important to American politics is how the Nansook case strikes at the hypocrisy of "pro-family" conservatives who have accepted Moon's financial largesse and tolerated Moon's expanding political influence. The Nansook case peels away Moon's bought-and-paid-for respectability and implicates his organization in a wide variety of financial irregularities, including money-laundering.

In a sworn affidavit, Nansook described how she and other members of Moon's family lived the royal life inside the Irvington, N.Y., compound. But the price for that life of luxury was tolerating Hyo Jin's violent outbursts.

"From very early in our marriage, Hyo Jin has abused drugs and alcohol and is an addict as a result," Nansook wrote. "He has a ritual of secreting himself in the master bedroom, sometimes for hours, sometimes for days, drinking alcohol, using cocaine and watching pornographic films. ... When he emerges he is more angry and more volatile."

Nansook described a pattern of abuse which included Hyo Jin beating her in 1994 when she disrupted one of his cocaine parties. "He punched me in the nose and blood came rushing out," Nansook wrote. "He then smeared my blood on his hand, licked his hand and said, 'It tastes good. This is fun'." At the time, she was seven months pregnant.

On another occasion, she said he forced her to stand naked in front of him for hours because "I needed to be humiliated." Meanwhile, Nansook complained that her in-laws did little to confront Hyo Jin. "Although Hyo Jin's family knew of his addictions and his abuse of me and the children, I received very little emotional or physical support from them," Nansook wrote. "I was constantly at the mercy of Hyo Jin's erratic and cruel behavior."

Cash in the Box

To finance his personal and business activities, Hyo Jin received hundreds of thousands of dollars in unaccounted cash, Nansook asserted. "On one occasion, I saw Hyo Jin bring home a box about 24 inches wide, 12 inches tall and six inches deep," she wrote in her affidavit. "He stated that he had received it from his father. He opened it. ... It was filled with $100 bills stacked in bunches of $10,000 each for a total of $1 million in cash! He took this money and gave $600,000 to the Manhattan Center, a church recording studio that he ostensibly runs. He kept the remaining $400,000 for himself. ... Within six months he had spent it all on himself, buying cocaine and alcohol, entertaining his friends every night, and giving expensive gifts to other women."

Another time, a Filipino church member gave Hyo Jin $270,000 in cash, according to Nansook. She added that Hyo Jin also ordered the Manhattan Center to cover his credit-card bills which often exceeded $5,000 a month and that he instructed employees to buy drugs for him with the company's money.

After fleeing with the children, Nansook said she feared that Hyo Jin would "hunt me down and kill me." To protect her, Associate Justice Edward M. Ginsburg barred Hyo Jin from approaching Nansook and the children. Taking into account Hyo Jin's jet-set lifestyle, Ginsburg also ordered Hyo Jin to pay $8,500 a month in support payments and $65,000 for Nansook's legal fees.

Ginsburg ruled that Hyo Jin "had access to cash in any amount requested on demand" from "commingled" church and personal money. Ginsburg noted, too, that Hyo Jin received $84,000 a year from a family trust and earned a regular salary from the Manhattan Center.

On July 17, 1996, when Hyo Jin failed to pay Nansook's legal fees, he was held in contempt of court and jailed in Massachusetts. To free Hyo Jin, the Unification Church's vaunted legal team sprang into action. The lawyers developed a strategy that portrayed Hyo Jin as a man of no means. They filed a bankruptcy petition on his behalf in federal court in Westchester County, N.Y.

As part of those filings, Hyo Jin's lawyers submitted evidence that on Aug. 5, 1996, three weeks after his jailing, Hyo Jin was severed from the Swiss-based True Family Trust. The lawyers also submitted a document showing that as of Aug. 9, Hyo Jin had lost his $60,000-a-year job at Manhattan Center Studios "due to certain medical problems."

Nansook's lawyers denounced the bankruptcy maneuver as a devious scheme to spare Hyo Jin from his financial obligations. To corroborate Nansook's statements about Hyo Jin's access to nearly unlimited money, her lawyers secured testimony from a former Manhattan Center official and Unification Church member, Maria Madelene Pretorious.

At a court hearing, Pretorious testified that in December of 1993 or January of 1994, 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."

On another occasion, Hyo Jin's parents gave him $20,000 to buy a boat, Pretorious recalled. There was a time, too, when Hyo Jin dipped into Manhattan Center funds to give $30,000 in cash to one of his sisters. The center also gave Hyo Jin cash several times a week to cover personal expenses, ranging from bar tabs to a Jaguar automobile, Pretorious said.

But Hyo Jin Moon won the legal round anyway. A judge ruled that the federal bankruptcy claim, no matter how dubious, overrode the Massachusetts contempt finding. Hyo Jin was released from jail. (After that, the Moon family stepped up negotiations with Nansook to prevent more embarrassing disclosures. In July, those talks took on new urgency when the federal bankruptcy order releasing Hyo Jin was reversed on appeal.)

Cocaine Parties

As those legal battles were playing out, I met with Pretorious at a suburban Boston restaurant. A law school graduate from South Africa, the 34-year-old full-faced brunette said she was recruited by the Unification Church through the Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles -- a Moon student front group known as CARP -- in San Francisco in 1986-87.

In 1992, she went to work at the Manhattan Center. "Hyo Jin's desire to become a rock star did not fit with Reverend Moon's concept of what his eldest son should be doing," Pretorious told me. But younger church members sympathized with the rebellious son. "We wanted to help Hyo Jin to attain his own position in the church," she said. "With the Manhattan Center, he found a niche."

But Hyo Jin Moon was explosive. "If he becomes displeased with you, the verbal attack is very harsh, very rash, it comes out of nowhere," Pretorious explained. Those reactions were even worse when he was abusing cocaine, which he insisted to his friends had a medicinal value in relieving physical pain from a past car accident. "He just had this whole convoluted story about him having to take it because of his back," Pretorious said. "It helped him relax."

In fall 1994, Pretorious said Hyo Jin tried to lure several of his subordinates at the Manhattan Center into his cocaine lifestyle. She recalled him driving three of them in his black Mercedes into Harlem where he double-parked and ran into a building to buy cocaine. "We were sitting there and the first thing I thought was a black Mercedes in Harlem, I thought, 'hello,'" Pretorious said.

When Hyo Jin climbed back into the car, he began offering samples to his guests. "'Have you ever tried cocaine?' and [I said] 'like, no, I've never tried it,'" Pretorious said. "So from Harlem driving back to New York, he was trying to convince me to take the cocaine. Eventually, he said, 'Don't you want to try it once. Aren't you curious?' That's the wrong thing to say to me, because I think I'm in control of my life. So I say I'll try it once. ... It's the first time. I'm not sure how it's supposed to affect me. ... After a while he says, 'How you feeling?' and I'm going, 'Well, I'm not like feeling anything.'"

A Kareoke Experience

Hyo Jin's fondness for hard partying sometimes annoyed Pretorious and the others who had work to do at Manhattan Center. "Nobody enjoys this because the next day you have to deal with clients," Pretorious said. But Hyo Jin's near-god-like status in the church made Pretorious and the others nervous about rejecting his invitations.

She described one night when Hyo Jin wanted his staff to take him to a Kareoke bar in Queens. "Back at the New Yorker Hotel [another church property], he picked up a reluctance in me to participate," Pretorious said. "He offered me cocaine, and I said, 'no, thank you.' I felt good" about resisting.

At first, Hyo Jin seemed to accept the rebuff. With an imperious gesture, he declared, "I give you permission to bitch." Despite her reservations, Pretorious then joined the Kareoke outing.

"He'd been drinking a lot," she recalled. "He got quieter and quieter. [Then] he started heaving, swearing, using really abusive language. 'You fucking bitch! How dare you challenge me!' ... He took an ashtray and threw it at me. It didn't hit me, but hit the wall behind me. He kept lunging at me across the cocktail table. That was the first time that I feared for him and feared that he was going to hurt me."

During fall 1994, with Nansook pregnant again with their fifth child, Hyo Jin began an affair with an American church member who had been "blessed" or married to a Korean, Pretorious said. "I could see that he [Hyo Jin] was out of control," Pretorious added. "I realized that I couldn't stay at Manhattan Center."

In Pretorious's view, Hyo Jin was always torn between his responsibility to the church and his lust for personal pleasure. "Hyo Jin loved the life of hedonism," Pretorious said. "He loved the women, taking drugs -- particularly cocaine -- and watching pornography."

His predicament was made worse when he learned, apparently from a family member in 1992, that the long-denied accounts of Rev. Moon's sexual rites with early female initiates were true, Pretorious said. "When Hyo Jin found out about his father's 'purification' rituals, that took a lot out of wind out of his sails," she said. "A lot of the situation that Hyo Jin is in is very much because of who his father is. ... The whole messiah thing. He [Rev. Moon] basically was subject to delusions of grandeur."

A Mysterious Half-Brother

In late 1994, during conversations in Hyo Jin's suite at the New Yorker Hotel, "he confided a lot of things to me," Pretorious continued. Hyo Jin had discovered, too, that Rev. Moon had fathered a child out of wedlock in the early 1970s. Moon arranged for the child to be raised by his longtime lieutenant Bo Hi Pak, Pretorious said. The boy -- now a young man -- had confronted Hyo Jin, seeking recognition as Hyo Jin's half-brother. Pretorious said she later corroborated the story with other church members.

"Here's a guy who struggles with a weakness for women and finds out that his father screws around," Pretorious said. "This is even after he [Rev. Moon] has been married to the present Mrs. Moon." Pretorious found the new revelations about Rev. Moon also upsetting because of the central place that the marriage "blessing" plays in Unification Church theology, as a way to purify mankind.

"They want people to look at their family and see it as ... a family that represents certain moral and ethical standards," Pretorious continued. "My faith was based, I feel, on a deceptiveness."

Pretorious was disturbed, too, by the way cash, brought to the United States by Asian members, would circulate through the Moon business empire as a way to launder it. The money would then go to support the Moon family's lavish life style or be diverted to other church projects. At the center of the financial operation, Pretorious said, was One-Up Corp., a Delaware-registered holding company that owned Manhattan Center and other Moon enterprises including 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."

Hyo Jin Moon did not respond to interview requests sent through his divorce lawyer and the church. Church officials also were unwilling to discuss Hyo Jin's case. But Hyo Jin was forced to produce documents and discuss his financial predicament in the bankruptcy proceedings.

'Guns & Music'

In a bankruptcy deposition on Nov. 15, 1996, Hyo Jin came across to the lawyers as alternately confused and petulant. "All I like was guns and music," he volunteered at one point. "I'm a boring person." (In the bankruptcy, Hyo Jin sold a collection of 51 guns, mostly of recent manufacture. The collection was valued at about $36,000, plus nearly $3,000 worth of ammunition.)

As for his CARP presidency, from 1982-87, Hyo Jin explained haltingly, "I guess you could say all my life I've been -- I guess I've been -- groomed toward becoming a youth -- a leader, of some sort, by my parents. ... I like to call myself a figurehead. And that's what I -- my function was primarily to give speeches."

His position in the church, however, did give him access to money. In 1989, he said he used church donations to buy a Mercedes 560SEL for his parents. In 1992, he bought a Mercedes 500 to replace the earlier model. He then "had the luxury of using" the older Mercedes himself until he lost his license in 1992 after a driving-while-intoxicated conviction. Over the years, he also bought motorcycles and a boat.

Hyo Jin described himself as the chief executive officer of the Manhattan Center. "I was given the position by my parents," he testified. Hyo Jin confirmed, too, that he had received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash at the Manhattan Center that was not reported as taxable income.

"[In] 1993, I received some cash, yes," he said. "At that time around 300, 500 Japanese members were touring America and they stopped by to see the progress that was happening at Manhattan Center, because it was well known within the inner ... church community that I was doing a project, a cultural project. And they came and I presented a slide show, and they were inspired by that prospect and actual achievement at that time, so they gave donations. ... It was given to me. It was a donation to me."

"Did you report that gift to the taxing authorities?" a lawyer asked.

"It was [a] gift," Hyo Jin responded. "I asked [Rob Schwartz, the center's treasurer] whether I should. He said I didn't have to. You have to ask him." When pressed for clarification about this tax advice, his lawyer counseled Hyo Jin not to answer. "I'm taking that advice," Hyo Jin announced. "My lawyer's advice not to answer it."

Hyo Jin also confirmed that he received cash from Madelene Pretorious "on a few occasions" in late 1994.

"And for how much did you ask?" a lawyer asked.

"I don't remember," Hyo Jin answered. "You could ask her."

Addiction Treatment

When asked what he had done with the cash, Hyo Jin responded, "I partied it." Pressed about whether another Manhattan Center employee had made purchases for him, Hyo Jin snapped, "Maybe I asked him to buy me a coffin, yes, maybe I did. ... I used to party with him. I asked him to buy popcorn for me when I go to a movie."

Hyo Jin said that in November 1994, he took a leave from the Manhattan Center to undergo treatment for "my addiction problem." He checked into the Betty Ford Center.

"Who paid for it?" a lawyer asked.

"I have no idea," he responded. "Somebody did."

Hyo Jin also recalled a stay in the Henry Hazelton addiction center in West Palm Beach, Fla. "I got kicked out," he said. "I was there for three weeks, I got kicked out ... because I wasn't cooperating."

At another point in the deposition, Hyo Jin insisted he had not read his own bankruptcy petition. The petition had listed the Manhattan Center as an unsecured creditor to which he owed $60,000, but Hyo Jin said he did not know about the purported debt. "I'm not sure who I owe to, but I know I owe money to a lot of people," he said.

Though Hyo Jin was supposedly terminated from the True Family Trust in August 1996, he testified in November that "my wife gets all of the money that comes to the trust fund, that comes to the trust that I'm supposed to receive. ... I'm giving every cent and more, I mean if I have more, to my wife. ..."

"Are you receiving any distributions from your trust indenture, the True Family Trust?"

"I thought I did. I thought I did."

"Right now you do?"

"I guess so. I don't know. I'm not sure. ... I don't know what I'm talking about."

Even before his divorce and bankruptcy, Hyo Jin had been stumbling into legal mishaps. In December 1995, for instance, White Plains, N.Y., police summoned Hyo Jin and other convicted drunk drivers who had lost their licenses to meet with new probation officers. After the meeting, two dozen of the violators, including Hyo Jin, were secretly videotaped as they drove away in their cars. Hyo Jin was arrested for driving without a valid license.

But Hyo Jin was not the only Moon child to rebel. Accustomed to getting their own way, some of the children have resisted Moon's insistence on selecting their spouses, as he does for all church members. One daughter reportedly ran off with a boyfriend to live in Greenwich Village. Another daughter has moved to rural Virginia to pursue her dream to be an equestrian. Ex-church members with first-hand knowledge say drug use and promiscuity have been common among the True Family.

An Exodus of Loyalists

Troubling to the Unification Church, too, is the fact that longtime senior members -- disturbed by this behavior -- have been exiting. Dennis and Doris Orme, who were among Moon's earliest Western followers, have left and are considering legal action to secure pensions, according to friends and legal sources. Ron Paquette, who spent two decades in the church and worked closely with Hyo Jin at the Manhattan Center, has quit, too.

Paquette declined to be interviewed for this article, but faxed a brief statement saying: "The events which have transpired since my departure, in particular with respect to Rev. Moon's own family, have greatly saddened me. ... I have found ... that my deepest fears and suspicions were actually correct -- that those who held themselves up as the highest were, in fact, neither honest about their lives nor capable of living the standard of love and compassion they so readily demanded."

Commenting on Moon's family problems and other cracks in the leadership, another close church associate sighed, "The inner empire is crumbling."

The new evidence of money-laundering and diverting corporate funds for personal use, however, could lead to more serious complications with the Internal Revenue Service and other federal agencies. Evidence of Asian cash pouring into the United States from abroad also could revive long-standing suspicions that the church itself is a front for foreign influence buyers.

In a series of interviews, other church-connected figures corroborated claims by Nansook Moon and Pretorious that money arrives from overseas to sustain the Moon organization. John Stacey, a former CARP leader in the Pacific Northwest, said the current fund-raising operations inside the United States barely cover the costs of local offices, with little or nothing going to the big-ticket items, such as The Washington Times. Stacey added that the church-connected U.S. businesses are mostly money losers.

"These failing businesses create the image of making money ... to cover his back," Stacey said of Rev. Moon. "I think the majority of the money is coming from an outside source."

(Stacey, who knew Hyo Jin through CARP, also called Moon's son a tyrant. "Hyo Jin would scream at and reprimand the members," Stacey recalled. But almost worse, Stacey added, was that members would be forced to listen to tapes of Hyo Jin's music while their "mobile fund-raising teams" traveled in vans from town to town. "He's a miserable musician," Stacey said. "His music stinks.")

Another member who recently quit a senior position in the church confirmed that virtually none of Moon's American operations makes money. Instead, this source, who declined to be identified by name, said hundreds of thousands of dollars are carried into the United States by visiting church members. The cash is then laundered through domestic businesses.

Another close church associate, who also requested anonymity out of fear of reprisals, said cash arriving from Japan was used in one major construction project to pay "illegal" laborers from Asia and South America. "They [the church leaders] were always waiting for our money to come in from Japan," this source said. "When the economy in Japan crashed, a lot of our money came from South America, mainly Brazil."

But even as Moon's inner circle undergoes strains and questions are raised about his mystery money, his temporal power continues to grow in the United States and elsewhere. Every year, he locks more and more politicians, ministers, journalists and academics into his orbit. Without doubt, the gravitational pull is the money arriving from abroad in seemingly limitless supplies.

Particularly among conservatives in Washington, Moon's money seems to have bought him freedom from the normal laws of political physics. He appears immune from the scrutiny that would follow an influential international figure with a significant presence in the nation's capital. Strangest of all, Moon's immunity applies even when the scandal is about power, money and sex.
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Re: Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Buying the Right, by Robert Parr

Postby admin » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:48 am

Part 4 of 5

Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Truth, Legend & Lies
by Robert Parry
(c) Copyright 1997



For a decade and a half, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Washington Times has pushed deeper and deeper into Washington's political mainstream. Though viewed initially as a quirky right-wing propaganda sheet, the newspaper now gets the respect that is afforded few other daily American newspapers. Given its strategic spot in Washington, many of its stories are picked up nationally; its columnists are regulars on TV talk shows; and C-SPAN's Brian Lamb often hoists the front page before a national cable audience.

More broadly, the Times' day-in-day-out treatment of issues shapes the parameters of journalistic attitudes in the nation's capital. Yet, since its founding in 1982, the paper has held itself above traditional journalistic principles of balance and objectivity.

During the 1980s, the Times gushed with favorable stories about Ronald Reagan and his White House while pouring abuse on presidential critics. Moon's paper was an important Republican weapon in congressional battles and electoral campaigns, such as when it spread false rumors about Michael Dukakis's mental health in 1988.

President Reagan and his successor, George Bush, recognized the Times' contributions. Reagan hailed it as his "favorite" newspaper, and in 1991, when Wesley Pruden was elevated to editor-in-chief, Bush invited him to a private White House lunch "just to tell you how valuable the Times has become in Washington, where we read it every day." [WT, May 17, 1992]

After President Clinton's inauguration, the newspaper quickly flipped in its attitude toward the White House -- from watch dog to attack dog. As Allan Freedman reported in the Columbia Journalism Review, the paper hammered at Clinton's "scandal-and-screw-up" with scoops on Whitewater and on the death of deputy White House counsel Vincent Foster. "The competition followed these stories, but the time and energy the Times devoted to them helped drive the news," Freedman wrote in March 1995.

That strategy has carried over into Clinton's second term. In recent weeks, The Washington Times has pounded away at the Democratic Party's acceptance of Asian money. Times' writers even have heckled other media for not playing up dull Senate hearings on the issue.

Yet, while demanding thorough investigations of some Asian influence-buying, the newspaper still takes pains to conceal its own clandestine Asian financing -- and the Koreans who pull the strings of the newspaper's editors. On the editorial page, the Times' masthead touts its nickname as "America's Newspaper" and lists 19 executives with European-sounding surnames: from the company's vice president to director of computer services. But conspicuously absent from the list is the newspaper's publisher, Dong Moon Joo, and its founder, Sun Myung Moon, the self-proclaimed messiah who heads the Korea-based Unification Church.

In Moon's case, the Asian connection is especially relevant, because of scandals surrounding his early activities in America. U.S. law-enforcement and intelligence agencies monitored the church in the 1960s and '70s, considering it a potential national security threat to the United States. Reports by the CIA, the FBI and Defense Intelligence Agency painted a picture of a secretive religion with close ties to South Korea's brutal intelligence service, the KCIA, as well as to prominent right-wing industrialists linked to the Japanese mob, the yakuza.

In the late 1970s, a congressional investigation drew on these reports in tying the Unification Church to "Koreagate," an influence-buying scheme directed by the KCIA against American targets. Investigators traced the church's chief sources of money to bank accounts in Japan, but could follow the cash no further.

When I inquired about the vast fortune that the Unification Church has poured into its American operations, the church's chief spokesman refused to divulge dollar amounts for any of Moon's activities. "Each year the church retains an independent accounting firm to do a national audit and produce an annual financial statement," wrote church legal representative Peter D. Ross. "While this statement is used in routine financial transactions by the church, [it] is not my policy to make it otherwise available." Ross also refused to pass on interview requests to Moon and other church leaders.

For years, church officials have maintained that the money comes from U.S. fund-raising and from varied businesses, machine manufacturing to tuna fishing. But my interviews with a half dozen former senior church figures found solid agreement that the expense of just keeping The Washington Times afloat -- a figure that one ex-leader put at $100 million-plus a year -- far exceeds what the church generates in the United States.

Who Is Sun Myung Moon?

Despite Moon's influence in Washington, few Americans know much about his life and allegiances. His disciples already have begun to shroud his biography in the fog of legend. Church publications are filled with inspirational Sunday-school-type tales of Moon's courage and beneficence. Propaganda has worked its way into popular accounts as well, with books from conservative outlets, such as Regnery Publishing, challenging U.S. government evidence on Moon. Still, much of the record of Moon's life and his church's growth can be pieced together from government documents and statements by longtime followers.

Moon was born on Jan. 6, 1920, in a rural corner of northwestern Korea to a family which belonged to a Christian sect. Through Moon's first 25 years, Japan occupied the Korean peninsula. In 1945, Allied forces ended that control, but left Korea divided with Soviet troops in the north and U.S. soldiers in the south.

In this post-war period, Moon moved to southern Korea and joined a mystical sect called Israel Suo-won. The group preached the imminent arrival of a Korean messiah and engaged in a strange sexual ritual called "pikarume," in which ministers purify women through sexual intercourse, the so-called "blessing of the womb."

With his developing theology, Moon returned to communist-ruled North Korea, but soon ran into legal troubles. North Korean authorities arrested him twice, apparently on morals charges connected to his sexual rites with young women. Moon's supporters, however, claim the charge was espionage. Nevertheless, on Oct. 14, 1950, with war raging on the Korean peninsula, United Nations troops overran the prison where Moon was held. Moon and all the other inmates were freed.

According to church histories, Moon then trekked south, carrying on his back an injured prisoner named Pak Chung Hwa. (For years, church officials have published a photograph purportedly showing Moon piggy-backing Pak across a river. But several church sources now admit that the photo is a hoax -- that Moon is not the man in the picture and the location is not where Moon was.)

Moon's southward journey ended in the South Korean port of Pusan, where he resumed his missionary work. He later moved to Seoul, South Korea's capital, and founded his own church in May 1954. He called it T'ong-il Kyo, or Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity. It became known as the Unification Church.

At the center of Moon's theology was a new twist to the Old Testament story about the Fall of Man. Instead of biting into a forbidden apple, Eve copulated with Satan and then passed on the sin by having sex with Adam. Thousands of years later, God sent Jesus to restore man to his original purity, Moon taught. But Jesus failed because he was betrayed by the Jews and died before he could father any sinless children.

That failure forced God to send a second Messiah, who turned out to be Moon himself. Moon saw his task as starting the purification of mankind and establishing God's Kingdom on Earth. Moon and his followers would rule a worldwide theocracy. "We cannot separate the political field from the religious," Moon declared.

Morals Charges

But in South Korea, Moon's early religious recruitment of young idealistic college students, especially from an all-girls Christian school, landed him in hot water again. The South Korean government arrested Moon in 1955 for allegedly conducting more sexual "purification" rites, according to several U.S. intelligence reports which are now public. Moon was freed three months later because none of the young women would testify for fear of public humiliation, according to an undated FBI summary, released under a Freedom of Information Act request.

"During the next two years in the national news media of South Korea, Rev. Moon was the butt of scandalist humor," the FBI report stated. By the late 1950s, however, Moon had managed to build a small cadre of followers. He also was reaching out beyond Korea, sending his first missionaries to Japan and the United States.

Church officials repeatedly have denied the reports of Moon's sexual rituals. But the charges received new attention in 1993 with the Japanese publication of The Tragedy of the Six Marys -- a book by the early Moon disciple, Pak Chung Hwa, whom Moon supposedly carried to South Korea. According to Pak's book, Moon taught that Jesus was supposed to save mankind by having sex with six already-married women who would then have sex with other men who would pass on the purification to other women until, eventually, all mankind would have pure blood.

Pak contended that Moon took on this responsibility as the second messiah. But Pak alleged that Moon abused the practice by turning the "six Marys" into a kind of rotating sex club. Pak wrote that Moon's first wife divorced him after catching him in a sex ritual. In all, Pak estimated that there were at least 60 "Marys," many of whom ended up destitute after Moon discarded them.

According to the testimony of one "Mary," named Yu Shin Hee, she met Moon in the early 1950s and became a follower along with her husband. Devoted to the church, her husband abandoned her and her five children, whom she then put into an orphanage. She, in turn, agreed to become one of Moon's "six Marys." But Yu Shin Hee claimed that Moon tired of her after just one "blood exchange," a phrase referring to sexual intercourse. Still, she was required to have sex with other men. Seven years later, a broken woman with no money, she tried to return to her children, but they also rejected her.

When Moon impregnated another one of the women, Moon sent her to Japan where she gave birth to a baby boy, according to Pak's account. Moon later admitted fathering the child, who died in a train crash at the age of 13. But Pak wrote that Moon refused to admit responsibility for other illegitimate children born to the women.

"By forwarding this teaching, he violated mothers, their daughters, their sisters," Pak claimed. But the sexual activity apparently did help in recruiting men to the church. By the early 1960s, the church was pulling in better educated young men, including some with connections to South Korea's intelligence agency, the KCIA, Pak wrote.

(After The Tragedy of the Six Marys was published, the church denounced the allegations as spurious. Under intense pressure, the aging Pak Chung Hwa agreed to recant. However, his book's accounts tracked closely with U.S. intelligence reports of the same period and interviews with former church leaders.)

KCIA Joins In

Kim Jong-Pil and three other young English-speaking army officers became closely associated with Moon's church during this transitional phase. In 1961, Kim had founded the KCIA, which centralized Seoul's internal and external intelligence activities. Another one of the young officers was Col. Bo Hi Pak, one of Moon's ablest disciples.

With these young officers, however, it was never clear whether religion was paramount or whether they recognized the potential that an international church held as a cover for KCIA operations. In 1962, Kim Jong-Pil traveled to San Francisco where he met with Unification Church members. According to one account later published by a congressional investigation, the KCIA founder promised discreet support for Moon's church.

At the same time, Kim Jong-Pil was in charge of South Korea's negotiations with Japan to improve bilateral relations between the two former enemies. Those talks put him in touch with key 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 after the war, however, both were freed by U.S. military intelligence officials who wanted help in combatting communist labor unions and student strikes. Kodama and Sasakawa obliged by dispatching right-wing goon squads to break up demonstrations. They 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.

Kim Jong-Pil's contacts with these right-wing leaders proved invaluable to the Unification Church, which 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 David E. Kaplan and Alec Dubro in their authoritative book, Yakuza, "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.

Eye on Washington

The church's growth spurt did not escape the notice of U.S. intelligence officers in the field. One CIA report, dated Feb. 26, 1963, stated that "Kim Jong-Pil organized the Unification Church while he was director of the ROK [Republic of Korea] Central Intelligence Agency, and has been using the church, which had a membership of 27,000, as a political tool." Though Moon's church had existed since the mid-1950s, the report appeared correct in noting Kim Jong-Pil's key role in transforming the church from a minor Korean sect into a potent international organization.

With alliances in place in Tokyo and Seoul, the Unification Church next took aim at Washington. In 1964, Bo Hi Pak moved to America and started the Korean Cultural and Freedom Foundation, a front that performed the dual purpose of helping Moon meet important Americans, while assisting the KCIA in its international operations. Bo Hi Pak named Kim Jong-Pil, the KCIA founder, to be the foundation's "honorary chairman." The foundation also sponsored KCIA anti-communist propaganda outlets, such as Radio of Free Asia, according to the congressional report on the Koreagate scandal.

Moon's church also 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 former Nazis, overt racialists and Latin American "death squad" operatives. In an interview, retired U.S. Army Gen. John K. Singlaub, a former WACL president, said "the Japanese [WACL] chapter was taken over almost entirely by Moonies."

By the 1970s, the U.S. public was aware of Moon and his church, but much of the attention was negative. Parents complained that the church brainwashed their children into becoming robotic fund-raisers selling flowers and cheap toys. The totalitarian nature of Moon's church stood out in his staging of mass marriages, or "blessings," in which he would pair up husbands and wives who had never met.

But the U.S. government suspected a political motive behind Moon's activities. The FBI summary of its evidence was marked by a number indicating that the Unification Church was under a counter-intelligence investigation in the 1970s. The report's title, "Organizations and Individuals Associated with the Reverend Sun Myung Moon and/or the Unification Church," refers specifically to possible violation of the foreign agent registration law.

Although blacked-out portions obscured who was stating some of the conclusions -- a specific source or the FBI -- the report described the church as "an absolutely totalitarian organization" which was part of an international "conspiracy" that functioned by its own rules. "One of the central doctrines of the Moon relig[i]ous aspects is what they call heavenly deception. ... It basically says that to take from Satan what rightfully belongs to God, you may do most anything. You may lie, cheat, steal or kill."

Buying Influence

Despite the FBI's concerns, Moon began making friends in Washington the old fashioned way: by spreading around lots of money. Moon also had his followers cozy up to government officials more personally. According to the FBI summary, Moon designated "300 pretty girls" to lobby members of Congress. "They were trying to influence United States senators and congressmen on behalf of South Korea," the FBI document read.

Raising his profile even higher, Moon tried to bail President Nixon out of the Watergate scandal by organizing a National Prayer and Fast Committee. Moon used the slogan: "forgive, love, unite." During Nixon's final days, the campaign earned Moon a face-to-face "thank you" from the embattled president.

The American defeat in Vietnam also deepened fears in Seoul about the U.S. commitment to defend South Korea. In late 1975, the CIA intercepted a secret South Korean document entitled "1976 Plan for Operations in the United States." In the name of "strengthening the execution of the U.S. security commitment to the ROK [South Korea]," it called for influencing U.S. public opinion by penetrating American media, government and academia.

Thousands of dollars were earmarked for "special manipulation" of congressmen; their staffs were to be infiltrated with paid "collaborators"; an "intelligence network" was to be put into the White House; money was targeted for "manipulation" of officials at the Pentagon, State Department and CIA; some U.S. journalists were to be spied on, while others would be paid; a "black newspaper" would be started in New York; contacts with American scholars would be coordinated "with Psychological Warfare Bureau"; and "an organizational network of anti-communist fronts" would be created.

Several months later, in summer 1976, Moon returned to the United States and delivered a flattering pro-U.S. speech at the Washington Monument. On a deeper level, however, Moon seemed to be following the KCIA script. Moon started a small-circulation newspaper in New York City that featured Jesse Jackson's column. Moon promoted the anti-communist cause through front groups which held conferences and paid speaking fees to academics, journalists and political leaders.

In 1976, Moon, Bo Hi Pak and other church members bought stock in the Washington-based Diplomat National Bank. Simultaneously, South Korean agent Tongsun Park was investing heavily in the same bank. Moon seemed to have nearly unlimited money for his expanding church.

Koreagate Scandal

Though it's clear the church did collaborate with the KCIA during the 1960s and '70s, it's murkier whether Moon was using the KCIA or it was using him. In many ways, the agendas of the two organizations overlapped: the alliance gave Moon political protection and business opportunities, while the KCIA got a cover for promoting South Korean interests inside the United States, the country responsible for South Korea's defense.

But the South Korean scheme backfired in the late 1970s with the explosion of a scandal dubbed "Koreagate." Rep. Donald Fraser, D-Minn., led a congressional probe which tracked Tongsun Park's influence-buying campaign and exposed the KCIA links to the Unification Church.

Moon and his new U.S. conservative allies mounted a strong defense, however. In pro-Moon publications, Fraser and his staff were pilloried as leftists. Anti-Moon witnesses were assailed as unstable liars. Minor bookkeeping problems inside the investigation, such as Fraser's salary advances to some staff members, were seized upon to justify demands for an ethics probe of the congressman.

One of those ethics letters, dated June 30, 1978, came from John T. "Terry" Dolan of the National Conservative Political Action Committee (NCPAC). Dolan's group was pioneering the strategy of "independent" TV attack ads which smeared liberal Democrats. In turn, Moon's CAUSA International helped Dolan by contributing $500,000 to a Dolan group, known as the Conservative Alliance or CALL. [ Washington Post, Sept. 17, 1984]

With support from Dolan and others, Moon weathered the Koreagate political storm. Fraser lost a Senate bid in 1978 and was out of Congress. Then, in 1980, Reagan won the White House and extended a VIP invitation for Moon to attend the presidential inaugural. The theocrat had arrived.

But Moon still faced nagging legal problems from the 1970s. Over objections from senior Reagan administration officials at the Justice Department, federal prosecutors in New York City insisted on pursuing a tax case against Moon for fraudulently reporting his income. The case led to Moon's 1982 conviction and a 13-month prison term, but the more serious case against Moon as a suspected intelligence agent petered out. It's still not clear why.

"I don't think there was any doubt that the Moon newspaper took a virulently pro-South Korea position," explained Oliver "Buck" Revell, then a senior FBI official in the national security area. "But whether there was something illegal about it..." His voice trailed off. As for the internal security investigation in the 1970s, Revell added only: "It led its full life."

Starting the Presses

While facing the tax charges in 1982, Moon launched his most ambitious project, The Washington Times. From the start, the newspaper claimed it would be independent of the church. But in its first decade, it suffered a series of embarrassing resignations by top editors and correspondents who complained of church interference.

In one typical case, Edmund Jacoby, a former Times national security writer, described how in 1988 he was assigned to interview Soviet dissident Mikhail Makarenko who told an apparently fabricated first-person account about Soviet slave labor camps. Jacoby reported that the Times editors pushed him to write a favorable article about Makarenko and were annoyed when he debunked much of the dissident's tale. Jacoby discovered later that the Unification Church was secretly supporting Makarenko through CAUSA International.

"Why would any newspaper work so hard to get one of its own reporters to tell an apparently false story?" Jacoby asked. "The answer lies in the nature of Moon's enterprises in the United States. ... In a world in which the perception of power is power, the purpose of everything that's done at the Times is to give Moon the appearance of having power. For Moon to gain cachet in the eyes of offshore anti-communists who might extend privileges or cash to his operations, it's necessary to demonstrate from time to time that he has the capacity to influence decisions in Washington." [Regardie's, November 1988]

In fall 1988, Moon's newspaper and other front groups pushed hard for Bush's election.
[For details, see first two parts of this series in The Consortium, July 28 and Aug. 11, 1997] With Bush's decisive victory, Moon's influence advanced again inside Washington. Church front groups proliferated in dizzying numbers, as more and more prestigious figures in politics, journalism and academia took Moon's money and attended his gatherings.

But even as Moon consolidated influence in Washington, internal schisms and bizarre behavior divided the church leadership. In 1989, published reports disclosed that Moon had declared that one of his sons, Heung Jin Moon who died in a car crash in 1984, had come back to life in the body of a church member from Zimbabwe. The powerful African -- known inside the church as the "black Heung Jin" -- then compelled church leaders to stand before him and engage in humiliating self-criticisms.

During one of these rituals in December 1988, the Zimbabwean severely beat longtime Moon lieutenant Bo Hi Pak, who was then publisher of The Washington Times. Pak reportedly suffered brain damage and impaired speech.
Church sources told me that Moon had sanctioned the assault and then transferred his out-of-favor aide to Japan.

A Whiff of Jonestown

Commenting on the incident, former Times editor William P. Cheshire wrote, "Where the Moonies are concerned, it seems clear, we are dealing with something besides just an exotic cult. The Pak beating smacks strongly of Jonestown. And with Moon lavishing hundreds of millions of dollar a year on newspapers, magazines and political-action groups in this country and abroad, such occult and aggressive practices give rise to secular apprehensions. If the 'reincarnation' doesn't rock those conservative shops that have been taking money from Moon, not even fire-breathing dragons would disturb them." [ San Diego Union-Tribune, April 9, 1989]

Despite his success in Washington, Moon was growing annoyed with his followers for failing him and bitter toward the American people for rejecting his theology. In a speech on Jan. 2, 1996, Moon gave voice to this self-pity. "If Father were to complain about his course of life during the past 40 years," Moon said, speaking of himself in the third person, "imagine how much he would have been able to complain. ... Many people didn't accomplish their missions. If Father had begun to complain about his followers and the evil world that didn't accept him, what kind of miserable life Father would have. Do you understand?"

Since coming to America, Moon also has downplayed his provocative sexual beliefs, but sometimes the old themes do pop up. After Moon spoke in Minneapolis on Oct. 26, 1996, a reporter for the Unification News, an internal newsletter, commented that "what the audience heard was not the usual things that one would expect to hear from a minister. Rev. Moon's talk included a very frank discussion of the purpose, role and true value of the sexual organs." [December 1996]

Moon's unusual attitudes have affected the children of his current marriage to Hak Ja Han Moon, too. Hidden behind the walls of luxurious estates scattered around the world, these supposedly perfect children of the "True Parents" have lived pampered and peculiar lives. They now are adding more fissures to the church's inner empire.
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Re: Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Buying the Right, by Robert Parr

Postby admin » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:51 am

Part 5 of 5

Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Hooking George Bush
by Robert Parry
(c) Copyright 1997



Last fall, the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's latest foray into the high-priced world of media and politics was in trouble. South American journalists were writing scathingly about Moon's plan to open a regional newspaper that the 77-year-old founder of the Korean-based Unification Church hoped would give him the same influence in Latin America that the ultra-conservative Washington Times had in the United States.

As opening day ticked closer for Moon's Tiempos del Mundo, leading South American newspapers were busy recounting unsavory chapters of Moon's history, including his links with South Korea's feared intelligence service and with violent anti-communist organizations that some commentaries said bordered on neo-fascist.

Indeed, in the early 1980s, amid widespread human rights abuses, Moon had used friendships with the military dictators in Argentina and Uruguay to invest in those two countries. Moon was such a pal of the Argentine generals that he garnered an honorary award for siding with Argentina's junta in the Falklands War. [UPI, Nov. 16, 1984]

More recently, Moon has been buying large tracts of agricultural lands in Paraguay. La Nacion reported that Moon had discussed these business ventures with Paraguay's ex-dictator Alfredo Stroessner. [Nov. 19, 1996]

Moon's disciples fumed about the critical stories and accused the Argentine news media of trying to sabotage the newspaper's inaugural gala in Buenos Aires on Nov. 23. "The local press was trying to undermine the event," complained the church's internal newsletter, Unification News. [December 1996]

Given the controversy, Argentina's elected president, Carlos Menem, did decide to reject Moon's invitation. But Moon had a trump card to play in his bid for South American respectability: the endorsement of an ex-president of the United States, George 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. But Bush failed to change the Argentine president's mind.

Still, Moon's followers gushed that Bush had saved the day, as he stepped before about 900 Moon guests at the Sheraton Hotel. "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."

Bush lavished praise on Moon and his journalistic enterprises. "I want to salute Reverend Moon, who is the founder of The Washington Times and also of Tiempos del Mundo," 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 interfered with the running of the paper, a paper that in my view brings sanity to Washington, D.C. I am convinced that Tiempos del Mundo is going to do the same thing" in Latin America.

Bush then held up the colorful new newspaper and complimented several articles, including one flattering piece about Barbara Bush. 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."

Bush's endorsement of The Washington Times' editorial independence also was not truthful. 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 he had "blood on his hands" for helping the church achieve greater legitimacy.

Money Talks

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. [Nov. 26, 1996]. But Bush was not telling Menem the whole story. By last fall, Bush and Moon had been working in political tandem for at least a decade and a half. The ex-president also had been moonlighting as a front man for Moon for more than a year.

In September 1995, Bush and his wife, Barbara, gave six speeches in Asia for the Women's Federation for World Peace, a group led by Moon's wife, Hak Ja Han Moon. In one speech on Sept. 14 to 50,000 Moon supporters in Tokyo, Bush insisted that "what really counts is faith, family and friends." Mrs. Moon followed the ex-president to the podium and announced that "it has to be Reverend Moon to save the United States, which is in decline because of the destruction of the family and moral decay." [Washington Post, Sept. 15, 1995]

In summer 1996, Bush was lending his prestige to Moon again. Bush 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. [WP, July 30, 1996]

Throughout these public appearances, Bush's office has 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 have put the total Bush-Moon package in the millions, with one source telling The Consortium that Bush stood to make as much as $10 million.

Bush also may have other Argentine business deals in the works with Moon. On Nov. 16, 1996, La Nacion quoted businessmen as saying that Bush and Moon were keeping an eye on plans to privatize the hydroelectric complex of Yacyreta, a joint $12 billion Paraguayan-Argentine project to dam the Parana River.

Foreign Influence

Still, the Bush-Moon alliance is not strictly about money -- and it did not start in Bush's post-presidency. It dates back at least to the start of the Reagan-Bush era -- when Moon was a VIP guest at the first Reagan-Bush inauguration -- and it could extend into the next century as the ex-president works to shore up conservative support for his eldest son, Texas Gov. George W. Bush, who is expected to run for the White House in 2000.

Sources close to Bush say the ex-president has worked hard to pull well-to-do conservatives and their money behind his son's candidacy. Without doubt, Moon is one of the deepest pockets in right-wing circles, having financed important conservative activists from both the Religious Right, such as the Rev. Jerry Falwell, and Inside-the-Beltway right-wing professionals.

A silent testimony to Moon's clout is the fact that his vast spending of billions of dollars in secretive Asian money to influence U.S. politics -- spanning nearly a quarter century -- has gone virtually unmentioned amid the current controversy over Asian donations to U.S. politicians.

With unintended irony, Moon's Washington Times repeatedly has featured stories about secret Asian money going to Democrats. "More than a million dollars of this foreign money is believed to have been contributed to the Democrats, putting the election up for auction," charged Times' editor Wesley Pruden in a typical column. [Oct. 18, 1996]

The blind spot on Moon is especially curious since there have been U.S. government allegations dating back to the 1970s that Moon's organization fronted for the South Korean CIA and funnelled money to Washington for right-wing Japanese industrialists. For the past 15 years, The Washington Times has been the most obvious conduit for this foreign money. The newspaper and its sister publications -- Insight and The World & I -- have cost Moon an estimated $1 billion in losses. Yet, Moon has never accounted for the sources of his money.

Moon's jingle of deep-pocket cash also has caused conservatives to turn a deaf ear toward Moon's recent anti-American diatribes. With growing virulence, Moon has denounced the United States and its democratic principles, often referring to America as "Satanic." But these statements have gone virtually unreported, even though the texts of his sermons are carried on the Internet and their timing has coincided with Bush's warm endorsements of Moon.

"America has become the kingdom of individualism, and its people are individualists," Moon preached in Tarrytown, N.Y., on March 5, 1995. "You must realize that America has become the kingdom of Satan."

In similar remarks to followers on Aug. 4, 1996, Moon vowed that the church's eventual dominance over the United States would be followed by the liquidation of American individualism. "Americans who continue to maintain their privacy and extreme individualism are foolish people," Moon declared. "The world will reject Americans who continue to be so foolish. Once you have this great power of love, which is big enough to swallow entire America, there may be some individuals who complain inside your stomach. However, they will be digested."

During the same sermon, Moon decried assertive American women. "American women have the tendency to consider that women are in the subject position," he said. "However, woman's shape is like that of a receptacle. The concave shape is a receiving shape. Whereas, the convex shape symbolizes giving. ... Since man contains the seed of life, he should plant it in the deepest place.

"Does woman contain the seed of life? ["No."] Absolutely not. Then if you desire to receive the seed of life, you have to become an absolute object. In order to qualify as an absolute object, you need to demonstrate absolute faith, love and obedience to your subject. Absolute obedience means that you have to negate yourself 100 percent."

Evil Hamburgers

These pronouncements contrast with Moon's lavish praise of the United States disseminated for public consumption during his early forays to Washington. On Sept. 18, 1976, at a flag-draped rally at the Washington Monument, Moon declared that "the United States of America, transcending race and nationality, is already a model of the unified world." He called America "the chosen nation of God" and added that "I not only respect America, but truly love this nation."

Yet, even as Moon has soured on America, his recruiters continue to use that flag-draped scene of the Washington Monument to lure new followers. The patriotic image struck powerfully with John Stacey when the college freshman watched a video of that speech while undergoing Unification Church recruitment in 1992.

"American flags were everywhere," recalled Stacey, a thin young man from central New Jersey. "The first video they showed me was Reverend Moon praising America and praising Christianity." In 1992, Stacey considered himself a patriotic American and a faithful Christian. He soon joined the Unification Church.

Stacey became a Pacific Northwest leader in Moon's Collegiate Association for the Research of Principles [CARP]. "They liked to hang me up because I'm young and I'm American," Stacey told me. "It's a good image for the church. They try to create the all-American look, where I think they're usurping American values, that they're anti-American."

At a 1995 leadership conference at a church compound in Anchorage, Alaska, Stacey met face-to-face with Moon who was sitting on a throne-like chair while a group of American followers, many middle-aged converts from the 1970s, sat at his feet like children.

"Reverend Moon looked at me straight in the eye and said, 'America is Satanic. America is so Satanic that even hamburgers should be considered evil, because they come from America'," recalled Stacey. "Hamburgers! My father was a butcher, so that bothered me. ... I started feeling that I was betraying my country."

Moon's criticism of Jesus also unsettled Stacey. "In the church, it's very anti-Jesus," Stacey said. "Jesus failed miserably. He died a lonely death. Reverend Moon is the hero that comes and saves pathetic Jesus. Reverend Moon is better than God. ... That's why I left the Moonies. Because it started to feel like idolatry. He's promoting idolatry."

One-World Theocracy

Despite growing disaffection among many longtime followers and other problems, Moon's empire still prospers financially, backed by vast sources of mysterious wealth. "It's a multi-billion-dollar international conglomerate," noted Steve Hassan, a former church leader who has written a book about religious cults, entitled Combatting Cult Mind Control. At his Internet site, Hassan has a 31-page list of organizations connected to the Unification Church, many secretively.

"Here's a man [Moon] who says he wants to take over the world, where all religions will be abolished except Unificationism, all languages will be abolished except Korean, all governments will be abolished except his one-world theocracy," Hassan said in an interview. "Yet he's wined and dined very powerful people and convinced them that he's benign."

Hassan argued that perhaps the greatest danger of the Unification Church is that it will outlive Moon, since the organization has grown so immense and powerful that other leaders will step forward to lead it. "There are groups out there that want to use this organization," Hassan said.

A couple of years ago, Moon shifted his personal base of operation to a luxurious estate in Uruguay. The church has been investing tens of millions of dollars in that nation since the early 1980s when Moon was close to the military government. In a sermon on Jan. 2, 1996, Moon was unusually blunt about how he expected the church's wealth to buy influence among the powerful in South America, just as it did in Washington.

"Father has been practicing the philosophy of fishing here," Moon said, through an interpreter who spoke of Moon in the third person. "He [Moon] gave the bait to Uruguay and then the bigger fish of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay kept their mouths open, waiting for a bigger bait silently. The bigger the fish, the bigger the mouth. Therefore, Father is able to hook them more easily."

As part of his business strategy, Moon explained that he would dot the continent with small airstrips and construct bases for submarines which could evade Coast Guard patrols. His airfield project would allow tourists to visit "hidden, untouched, small places" throughout South America, he said.

"Therefore, they need small airplanes and small landing strips in the remote countryside. ... In the near future, we will have many small airports throughout the world." Moon wanted the submarines because "there are so many restrictions due to national boundaries worldwide. If you have a submarine, you don't have to be bound in that way."

Moon also recognized the importance of media in protecting his curious operations, which sound like an invitation to drug traffickers. He boasted to his followers that with his vast array of political and media assets, he will dominate the new Information Age. "That is why Father has been combining and organizing scholars from all over the world, and also newspaper organizations -- in order to make propaganda," Moon said. Central to that success in South America is Tiempos del Mundo.

Iran-Contra Cover-up

Moon pursued a similar strategy in the United States. In the early 1980s, Ronald Reagan hailed The Washington Times as his favorite newspaper and Moon's editors rewarded the Reagan-Bush administration with unwavering loyalty.

In the mid-1980s, for instance, when journalists and Congress began prying into Oliver North's secret support for the Nicaraguan contras and their ties to drug trafficking, Moon's paper led the counter-attack. "Story on [contra] drug smuggling denounced as political ploy" was the subtitle of a front-page Washington Times article criticizing a piece that Brian Barger and I had written for The Associated Press about a Miami-based federal probe into gun- and drug-running by the contras. [April 11, 1986]

When Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., uncovered more evidence of contra drug trafficking in 1986, The Washington Times denounced him. The newspaper first published articles suggesting that Kerry was on a wasteful political witch hunt. "Kerry's anti-contra efforts extensive, expensive, in vain," announced one Times article. [Aug. 13, 1986]

But when Kerry exposed more and more contra wrongdoing, The Washington Times changed tactics. In 1987, it began intimidating Kerry's staff with front-page accusations that they were obstructing justice. "Kerry staffers damaged FBI probe," declared one Times article. It opened with the assertion that "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 [the contras], federal law enforcement officials said." [Jan. 21, 1987]

As the Iran-contra scandal continued to spread and threatened Bush's public insistence that he was "out of the loop," Moon's paper turned its fire on special prosecutor Lawrence Walsh. Over and over, the paper attacked Walsh for allegedly wasting money with first-class air fare and room-service meals.

When former CIA clandestine services chief Clair George was on trial for false statements, The Washington Times published a front-page story with the two-column headline, "GOP Questions Walsh Spending." [Aug. 4, 1992] That morning, George's CIA supporters held the headline up so the jury could see the anti-Walsh allegations. Throughout the Iran-contra scandal, the paper played a crucial role in protecting the cover-up. [For details, see Walsh's new book, Firewall.]

Time and again, Moon's Washington Times went to bat for Bush. When Bush lagged behind Michael Dukakis in the early days of the 1988 presidential race, the Times falsely implied that Dukakis had undergone psychiatric care. The story drew national attention and raised early doubts about Dukakis's fitness for the White House.

In 1992, the newspaper promoted Bush's re-election by running stories about Bill Clinton's collegiate trip to Moscow. Those stories suggested that the Rhodes scholar was a spy for the KGB. Four years later, with the Republicans hoping to oust Clinton, The Washington Times reversed field with a contradictory banner story: "Was Bill Clinton a junior spy for the CIA?" [June 24, 1996]

In 2000, Moon's newspaper could give similar boosts to the expected presidential candidacy of Gov. George W. Bush. After all, his father has shown that he knows how to reward his allies no matter how unsavory.

For Moon's part, the self-proclaimed Korean messiah has succeeded in hooking many big fish in Washington -- "the bigger the fish, the bigger the mouth" -- but none bigger than former President George Bush. ~
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Re: Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Buying the Right, by Robert Parr

Postby admin » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:53 am

Bush & the L-Word
by Nat Parry
March 29, 2004



Over the past four years, one of the most powerful U.S. media taboos has been against calling George W. Bush’s pattern of false statements lies. Among Washington journalists, the l-word is casually applied to people who have gotten in the way of the Bush Dynasty – from Bill Clinton and Al Gore to more recently John Kerry and now Richard Clarke – but almost never to Bush.

Sen. Kerry’s credibility took a thrashing when he remarked that many world leaders say they hope Bush will be defeated. Now, top Republicans are calling former counter-terrorism czar Clarke a liar for his comments about Bush’s handling of the war on terror. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist used the l-word repeatedly in attacking Clarke from the Senate floor, even suggesting that Clarke should be charged with perjury.

In these cases, the major newspapers and the TV networks have added to the impact by giving credence to the liar-liar charges. When Clarke appeared for a full hour on NBC's "Meet the Press" on March 28, host Tim Russert spent nearly the entire time buffeting Clarke with the Republican attacks, demanding responses to each charge, even flashing on the screen a "liar" accusation from conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer. But opposite rules apply to Bush. Calling him a liar remains out of bounds in the mainstream press.

Indeed, when Kerry made another off-hand remark about the Bush team as “the most crooked, you know, lying group I've ever seen,” his comments were reported as a bizarre slander and the media puzzled over why Kerry would say such a ridiculous thing, even acting as if Kerry was talking about all Republicans, not just Bush's inner circle.

Whatever the media’s excuse for this double standard, it has thrown the U.S. political balance out of whack. Bush and his surrogates now know they have virtual carte blanche to smear their critics as liars while knowing that the major media will not permit counter-attacks.

Case Study

A recent example of bending over backwards to avoid connecting Bush and the l-word was the Wall Street Journal’s March 22 lead story about gaps between Bush’s account of his actions on Sept. 11, 2001, and the public record.

The story's headline, “Detailed Picture of U.S. Actions On Sept. 11 Remains Elusive,” didn’t give much of a clue what to expect. While avoiding the l-word or anything close to a synonym, the article told the story of how Bush and his aides made statements at variance with the verifiable record about the events of that tragic day.

The Journal article by Scot J. Paltrow gave six examples of Bush or his top aides offering Sept. 11 accounts – all portraying Bush as a decisive leader – that didn’t square with the factual record. Some of the discrepancies relate to important historical facts; others amount to political spin to help build a heroic myth around George W. Bush as “war president.” The Journal’s examples included:

--Did Bush watch the first plane hit one of the Twin Towers?

Bush’s arrival for a photo op at a second-grade classroom in Sarasota, Fla., on Sept. 11, 2001, coincided with the first news reaching the presidential entourage that a plane had struck the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York. On Dec. 4, 2001, Bush told a town-hall meeting in Orlando, Fla., “I was sitting outside the classroom, waiting to go in, and I saw an airplane hit the tower – the TV was obviously on. And I used to fly myself, and I said, ‘Well, there’s one terrible pilot.’” But, as the Journal reported, there was no footage of the first plane until late that night and the TV in the room where Bush waited was unplugged.

--Did Bush quickly respond when Chief of Staff Andrew Card whispered in Bush’s ear, “A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack”?

Card has said “not that many seconds later, the president excused himself from the classroom, and we gathered in the holding room and talked about the situation.” An uncut videotape of the scene, however, shows that Bush – after having been told “America is under attack” – waited in the classroom for at least seven more minutes, as he listened to children read a story about a pet goat and asked the children questions. Card later said Bush’s “instinct was not to frighten the children by rushing out of the room.”

--Who raised the U.S. defense level to Defcon III, the highest state of military threat since the 1973 Arab-Israeli War?

Bush told the town-hall meeting in Orlando that “one of the first acts I did was to put our military on alert.” But the Journal reported that the evidence is that Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, the acting head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made the decision, as Bush was rushing from the school in Florida to Air Force One and then westward to Louisiana and Nebraska.

--Did Bush activate the government’s emergency response plans as he claimed in his nationally televised speech on the night of Sept. 11?

Federal officials, interviewed by the Journal, said the emergency plans were implemented by lower-level officials, not by Bush. FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said the so-called “Conplan” was activated without any input from Bush or the White House. A former White House official told the Journal that Bush was not involved until he signed a disaster declaration on Sept. 14.

--Was there a threat against Air Force One?

White House officials insisted at the time that Bush’s decision to flee first to Louisiana and then to Nebraska was driven by a credible terrorist threat against Air Force One. But White House spokesman Dan Bartlett now acknowledges that there was no credible threat, only misunderstood rumors.

--Did Bush delay his return flight to Washington until 4 p.m. because there were still unaccounted for aircraft in the skies?

In explaining Bush’s tardy return to Washington, political adviser Karl Rove said there were still reports about civilian jetliners aloft until 4 p.m. and thus still a threat to Air Force One. But Benjamin Sliney, the top Federal Aviation Administration official responsible for air-traffic control, said the agency informed the White House and the Pentagon at 12:16 p.m. that there were no more hijacked planes in the air and all commercial planes were out of U.S. airspace, the Journal reported.

A Life Pattern

This pattern of big and little distortions about Bush’s actions on Sept. 11 also does not stand in isolation. Bush has often made claims about his personal life, his decision-making and his role in historical events – such as the reasons for invading Iraq – that are patently untrue.

For instance, on three occasions since the invasion of Iraq on March 19, 2003, Bush has justified his decision by telling the American people that Saddam Hussein had refused to cooperate with United Nations weapons inspectors. In July 2003, only four months after the invasion, Bush said about Hussein, “we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power.” [For details, see the White House Web site.]

The reality, of course, was that Iraq had allowed the UN inspectors in and had given them access to any suspected weapons site of their choosing. It was Bush who forced the UN inspectors out to make way for the invasion. But he has since revised the history to make his actions appear more reasonable. In most normal circumstances, Bush's statement would be considered a lie, but the national press corps has chosen not to mention that comment or two similar remarks. [For more details, see Consortiumnews.com's "Bush's Terror Hysteria."

Bush stretched the truth again when he used the Sept. 11 catastrophe as part of his excuse for reneging on his promise to run balanced budgets. As he began to amass record federal deficits, Bush claimed that he had given himself an escape hatch during the 2000 campaign.

In speech after speech in the months after Sept. 11, Bush recounted his supposed caveat from the 2000 campaign, that he would keep the budget balanced except in event of war, recession or national emergency. Bush then delivered the punch line: "Little did I realize we'd get the trifecta."

The joking reference to the trifecta – a term for a horseracing bet on the correct order of finish for three horses – always got a laugh from his listeners, although some families of the Sept. 11 victims found the joke tasteless. (Similarly, some families of U.S. war dead in Iraq were disgusted by Bush joking about his failed search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction at a March 2004 dinner of Washington journalists, many of whom laughed uproariously at the presidential humor.)

But beyond the question of taste, Bush's trifecta claim about having set criteria for going back into deficit spending appears to have been fabricated. Neither the White House nor independent researchers could locate any such campaign statement by Bush.

Missed Warnings

In 2002, as questions were finally raised about whether the Sept. 11 attacks could have been prevented, Bush's aides tried to give him some political cover for his failure to follow up on a classified CIA briefing he received on Aug. 6, 2001, at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

The briefing had described a mounting threat of al-Qaeda attacks inside the United States, but appeared to have little effect on Bush. After the briefing, he went fishing, padded around the ranch and continued with a month-long vacation. There has been no evidence that the startling warning prodded Bush into any new sense of urgency.

But National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice has tried to put some heroic shine on the Aug. 6 briefing. On May 12, 2002, Rice said the briefing was a response to Bush's questions about the domestic al-Qaeda threats. In other words, Bush was the prescient president who was alert to the danger and was demanding bureaucratic action.

Rice's story, however, has since been contradicted. The CIA informed the 9/11 commission in mid-March 2004 that the briefing's author doesn't recall a request from Bush for the report and that the idea of the briefing generated from inside the CIA, not from the Oval Office, according to commission member Richard Ben-Veniste. [Washington Post, March 26, 2004]

Bush's defenders maintain that many of Bush's false statements are either insignificant or result from understandable lapses of memory. However, Bush's critics see a larger and consistent pattern in the big and little lies: all seek to present Bush in a more favorable light and they fit with a disdain for fact that has become a hallmark of Bush's administration.

One explanation might be that Bush and the people around him can’t distinguish fact from fiction. Another is that they simply don’t care, such as when they used dubious intelligence to scare the American public about Iraq's alleged WMD. Bush’s ease with lying also may reflect deeper personal problems: a lack of intellectual discipline, a pattern of deception set during earlier periods of substance abuse, an entrenched sense of privilege, an awareness that his family connections guarantee that he'll never be held accountable.

Yet it is still striking how audaciously Team Bush steps out of its glass house to hurl stones at the credibility of any critic who gets in the way. When former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill questioned Bush’s leadership in Ron Suskind’s The Price of Loyalty, the White House portrayed O’Neill as a disgruntled flake who couldn’t be trusted.

Bush v. Clarke

Now, the White House and its allies are going after the credibility of former counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke. He asserts in his new book, Against All Enemies, and in testimony before the 9/11 commission that Iraq was a Bush obsession while al-Qaeda was not viewed as an urgent priority during Bush’s first eight months in office.

Though Clarke's comments match with much of the known evidence, senior congressional Republicans appear to be laying the groundwork for destroying Clarke's credibility and possibly indicting him for perjury. Senate Majority Leader Frist went to the Senate floor on March 26 to accuse Clarke of leaving out much of his criticism about Bush in July 2002 when Clarke gave classified testimony to the House and Senate intelligence committees.

Clarke, then a special adviser to the president, said he told the truth in his congressional testimony though he emphasized the positive as a White House representative. He also noted that the testimony occurred before the invasion of Iraq, which solidified Clarke's assessment that Bush was bungling the war on terror.

But in a scathing Senate speech, Frist demanded that Clarke's sworn Capitol Hill testimony be declassified and examined for discrepancies from his testimony to the 9/11 commission. "Loyalty to any administration will be no defense if it is found that he has lied to Congress," said Frist, R-Tenn.

The Republican assault on Clarke came as the White House sensed that the counter-terrorism expert was making a powerful impression on the public and undermining the carefully crafted image of Bush as an infallible leader.

As the war against Clarke has escalated, Bush even pitted his personal credibility against Clarke's by disputing Clarke’s account of meeting Bush in the White House Situation Room on Sept. 12, 2001, a day after the terrorist attacks. Clarke said he was told by Bush to seek a link between the Sept. 11 attacks and Iraq. “See if Saddam did this,” Bush said, according to Clarke. “See if he’s linked in any way.” Clarke said he told Bush that the evidence was clear that al-Qaeda was behind the attacks, not Iraq.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan sought to poke a hole in Clarke’s credibility by telling reporters that Bush didn’t recall the conversation and that no records show Bush was in the Situation Room at that time. However, Clarke’s former deputy, Roger Cressey, corroborated that the conversation between Bush and Clarke had occurred. [New York Times, March 23, 2004.]

The White House subsequently acknowledged that the Bush-Clarke meeting in the Situation Room did occur, but the Washington press corps did not cite this reversal as evidence of a Bush lie. The taboo remains in place.

When reporting on Bush's attempts to discredit or destroy whistleblowers, the Washington press corps typically lets Bush, his aides and conservative pundits gang up on one individual in a kind of they-said-he-said dispute, much as Russert did to Clarke on "Meet the Press." There's never any counter-balancing context of Bush’s now long record of distortion and deception. It’s like every day is a new day for Bush’s credibility.


This media pattern goes back to Campaign 2000 when Bush was hailed as a "straight-shooter" despite a lot of evidence to the contrary. [See Consortiumnews.com's "Protecting Bush-Cheney."] After Bush took office, the media's kid-gloves treatment continued despite Bush's growing reputation as a guy who never lets the facts get in the way of a politically advantageous story.

The Washington Post gingerly approached this question of Bush's dishonesty in fall 2002, couching the issue in euphemisms and rationalizations. The Post story was entitled "For Bush, Facts Are Malleable," with a subhead reading "Presidential Tradition of Embroidering Key Assertions Continues," as if Bush was carrying forward some historic mission.

In contrast to tip-toeing around the l-word for Bush, the major news media stomped all over the credibility of Al Gore in 2000 and is starting to do the same to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry. A case in point was Kerry's off-hand remark on March 8 that he had spoken with “more leaders” who hoped he would defeat Bush. Initially, a pool reporter disseminated a misquote of the comment, which reported Kerry saying “foreign leaders.”

Using the original misquote, the Republican attack machine quickly began churning out suggestions that Kerry might be less than a red-blooded American. “Kerry’s imaginary friends have British and French accents,” said Republican National Chairman Ed Gillespie on March 11, quickly setting out the themes that Kerry is both delusional and suspect for hanging out with foreigners.

But the story didn’t switch into high gear until the right-wing Washington Times, controlled by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, blared the results of its investigation of Kerry’s remarks across the front page of its March 12 issue. Though it's been well known for more than a year that many foreign leaders are troubled by Bush's unilateral foreign policy, the Washington Times acted like Kerry's claim was so strange that it merited some major sleuthing.

The article asserted that Kerry “cannot back up foreign ‘endorsements,’” in part because he declined to identify the leaders whom he had spoken with in confidence about Bush. Kerry had “made no official foreign trips since the start of last year,” the newspaper wrote. Plus, “an extensive review of Mr. Kerry’s travel schedule domestically revealed only one opportunity for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to meet with foreign leaders here,” the Washington Times wrote.

The point was obvious: Kerry is a liar. The possibility that Kerry might have talked to anyone by phone or some other means of communication apparently was not contemplated by Rev. Moon’s newspaper, which saw the furor as a way to advance a Bush campaign theme about Kerry's supposed unreliability.

“Mr. Kerry has made other claims during the campaign and then refused to back them up,” the Washington Times wrote. Then came the ridicule: “Republicans have begun calling Mr. Kerry the ‘international man of mystery,’ and said his statements go even beyond those of former Vice President Al Gore, who was besieged by stories that he lied or exaggerated throughout the 2000 presidential campaign.”

Soon, Bush was personally suggesting that Kerry was a liar. “If you’re going to make an accusation in the course of a campaign, you’ve got to back it up,” Bush said. Vice President Dick Cheney added even uglier implications that Kerry may have engaged in acts close to treason. “We have a right to know what he is saying to them that makes them so supportive of his candidacy,” Cheney said.

Rev. Moon’s Washington Times also kept stirring the pot. On March 16, it quoted Sen. John Sununu, R-N.H., as saying “I think there’s a real question as to whether or not the claim was a fabrication.”

That same day, again implying that Kerry perhaps suffers from mental illness, Bush’s campaign chief Ken Mehlman accused the senator of living in a “parallel universe.” Mehlman then made a preemptive strike to protect Bush from any Kerry counter-attack against Bush's lies. Mehlman said Kerry already had shown a “willingness to try to project onto the president what are his own weaknesses.” [Washington Post, March 17, 2004]

True Comment

The Republican allegations about Kerry’s supposed lie that world leaders favored Bush's defeat dominated the TV pundit shows for a week. But the larger absurdity of the controversy was that Kerry’s comment about many leaders privately wishing for Bush’s defeat was certainly true.

Many leaders around the world are alarmed at what they consider Bush’s reckless leadership, and they fear what another four years would mean. Though many leaders obviously do not want their countries to suffer from the vindictiveness of the Bush administration, others have spoken with surprising candor.

The newly elected Spanish prime minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has called Bush’s Iraq War a “disaster,” has vowed to withdraw Spanish forces from Iraq unless the operation is put under United Nations control, and has said he would favor new U.S. leadership. Honduras and the Netherlands have also expressed growing concern about their roles in the military coalition occupying Iraq.

Even before the war, world leaders were speaking out forcefully against Bush’s invasion plans. Former South African president Nelson Mandela tried and failed to get Bush on the phone, before settling on a call to Bush’s father to voice his displeasure. Mandela was quoted as saying the younger George Bush was “introducing chaos into international affairs.”

Other world leaders have criticized other aspects of Bush’s foreign and security policies, including his opposition to the Kyoto global warming treaty, the prisoner camps in Guantanamo Bay, and human rights abuses associated with the war on terror.

Some critics have paid for their outspokenness with their jobs as the Bush administration demonstrated the spitefulness that would explain why many leaders would want comments kept confidential.

Mary C. Robinson, former president of Ireland and widely respected human rights champion, was one such victim. As the UN Human Rights Commissioner, she was an early critic of the prosecution of the war on terror and raised concerns about civilian casualties from the use of cluster bombs in Afghanistan.

But her independence rubbed Washington the wrong way. The Bush administration lobbied hard against her reappointment, and was successful in forcing her out of the UN. Officially, she was retiring on her own accord. [http://www.inthesetimes.com/issue/26/14/feature1.shtml]

The Bush administration also forced out Robert Watson, the chairman of the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC]. Under his leadership, the panel had reached a consensus that human activities, such as burning fossil fuels, contributed to global warming.

But this science stood in opposition to the Bush administration's claims that there is no conclusive evidence linking human activities to climate change. The science is also opposed by oil companies such as ExxonMobil. The oil giant sent a memo to the White House asking the administration, "Can Watson be replaced now at the request of the U.S.?" [http://www.foreignpolicy-infocus.org/commentary/2002/0204un_body.html]

On April 19, 2002, ExxonMobil got its wish. The administration succeeded in replacing Watson with Rajendra Pachauri, an Indian economist. Commenting on his removal, Watson said, "U.S. support was, of course, an important factor. They [the IPCC] came under a lot of pressure from ExxonMobil who asked the White House to try and remove me." [Independent, April 20, 2002]

Keeping Quiet

With that kind of track record, it should not be a surprise if world leaders decide to keep their opinions quiet about Election 2004. But considering how unpopular Bush is in many countries, foreign leaders also are in a tricky position when allying with the United States. Whatever some of these world leaders may have told Kerry, there is abundant evidence that most of the world’s people would like to see Bush gone.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators have turned out to protest Bush's presence whenever he visits a foreign capital, a sign of public disdain that is reinforced by recent opinion polls that reveal widespread disapproval of U.S. policies and of Bush’s leadership.

In a major new public opinion poll of nine countries by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, large majorities of each country surveyed (except for the United States) said Washington pays little or no attention to their countries’ interests. At least two-thirds in each of those countries (with the exception of Great Britain) expressed a desire for the European Union to become as powerful as the United States, as a means to check American power. In the seven countries that were surveyed that did not take part in the Iraq war, disapproval of the war hovered at around 85 percent.

In today’s interdependent world, international leaders are left trying to balance an alliance with the United States, which is vital for trade and long-term national interests, and their electorates who object to Bush’s foreign policies. Obviously, it would be much more convenient for these leaders to have a U.S. president that is not disliked as much as George W. Bush is.

As the voters showed in Spain in March – and earlier in Germany and South Korea – criticizing Bush's policies and calling for a more independent course can be a winning political strategy.

A key question in this fall's U.S. election, however, will be whether Bush can maintain his image as a "straight-shooter" by destroying the credibility of those who question his leadership and honesty. The ferocity of the Bush assaults on former Treasury Secretary O'Neill and now former counter-terrorism chief Clarke reveals how important Bush and his political advisers see the threat from these whistleblowers.

Central to Bush's success in his new war against his ex-assistants will be whether the major news media will continue its obsequious behaviour. Bush's strategy can only work if he and his surrogates are allowed to throw around the l-word without fear that it might finally be tossed back at them.
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Re: Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Buying the Right, by Robert Parr

Postby admin » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:54 am

President Reaffirms Strong Position on Liberia
Remarks by the President and United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in Photo Opportunity
The Oval Office
July 14, 2003



2:11 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT: I'm so honored that Kofi Annan has come back to the Oval Office. We've had a great discussion. I briefed him on my trip to Africa, his native continent. And I told him that I was most impressed with the possibilities of the continent. I saw the potential and I also saw many of the problems. And I want to thank the Secretary General for his work on hunger and HIV/AIDS. We have got a -- we're going to work closely with him to help defeat the pandemic.

The other thing we talked about was Liberia. I assured him that our government's position is a strong position. We want to enable ECOWAS to get in and help create the conditions necessary for the cease-fire to hold, that Mr. Taylor must leave, that we'll participate with the troops. We're in the process, still, of determining what is necessary, what ECOWAS can bring to the table, when they can bring it to the table, what is the timetable, and be able to match the necessary U.S. help to expediting the ECOWAS' participation.

I told the Secretary General that we want to help, that there must be a U.N. presence, quickly, into Liberia. He and I discussed how fast it would take to blue helmet whatever forces arrived, other than our own, of course. We would not be blue helmeted. We would be there to facilitate and then to -- and then to leave.

And we had a good discussion. And I think we had a meeting of minds on that subject.

We talked about Iraq. And I told him and assured him that the United States would stay the course because we believe freedom is on its way to the Iraqi people. And by that, I mean that the Iraqi people are beginning to assume more and more responsibility in their society. Free society requires a certain kind of responsible behavior. And we're seeing more and more of that amongst the Iraqi citizens. Our deep desire is to make sure that the infrastructure is repaired, that people are educated, and health care delivery systems are good.

I was honest in my appraisal when I told him that I recognize certain elements of the former regime are interested in keeping the infrastructure blown up because of -- for pure power reasons. And that, I told him, and I will continue to speak as clearly as I can that an attack on the Iraqi infrastructure by the Baathist is an attack on the Iraqi people. And it's those Iraqis are causing the continued suffering, where there's suffering in Iraq.

But we're making good progress. I'm proud of Jerry Bremer's work. And then the -- we also talked about other issues that are on his mind and my mind. The long/short of it is we had a great discussion. Mr. Secretary General, I'm honored you're here.

SECRETARY GENERAL ANNAN: Thank you very much, Mr. President. I think it is fair to say that it's wonderful that I should be meeting the President soon after the return -- his return from Africa, my own continent. We weren't too far away. I was in Mozambique when he was in South Africa and Botswana.

But I would want to thank the President for the interest in the continent and his determination to help defeat the AIDS pandemic. I think it is a tragedy that is not only taking away the future of Africa, it is really destroying the present.

And this is -- it's a disease that takes parents away from children, teachers away from students, doctors away from hospitals. So the effort that is going in is absolutely worthwhile. And at the African Union Summit, this topic was very much on everyone's mind.

We also discussed, as the President has indicated, the situation in Liberia. And I'm satisfied with the discussions we've had and the approach the U.S. government is taking. And, of course, there is an assessment team in West Africa, but we have more or less agreed to a general approach on the Liberian issue. And I'm very pleased with that.

We talked about at least where the President has made a difference. Over the past couple of weeks, things are going in the right direction. We have bumps in the road, but I think with the determination of the leaders and the support of the international community, we will make progress on this very difficult issue.

In Iraq, we were encouraged to see the formation of the government council yesterday. And I must say that my special representative, Sergio Vieira and Mr. Bremer are working very well together.

And on the Hill, I indicated that regardless of the differences that existed between nations before the war, now we have a challenge. The challenge is to stabilize Iraq, to help Iraq to become a peaceful, stable and prosperous state. And I think everyone needs to help. An Iraq that is at peace with itself and its neighbors, what's in the interest of the neighbors and the entire international community.

So I would want to see the entire community, international community, come together to assist the Iraqi people, and to help us stabilize a region.

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Kofi.

Q Mr. President, thank you. On Iraq, what steps are being taken to ensure that questionable information, like the Africa uranium material, doesn't come to your desk and wind up in your speeches?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me first say that -- I think the intelligence I get is darn good intelligence. And the speeches I have given were backed by good intelligence. And I am absolutely convinced today, like I was convinced when I gave the speeches, that Saddam Hussein developed a program of weapons of mass destruction, and that our country made the right decision.

We worked with the United Nations -- as Kofi mentioned, not all nations agreed with the decision, but we worked with the United Nations. And Saddam Hussein did not comply. And it's the same intelligence, by the way, that my predecessor used to make the decision he made in 1998.

We are in the process now of interrogating people inside of Iraq, looking at documents, exploring documents to determine the extent that -- what we can find as quickly as possible. And I believe, firmly believe, that when it's all said and done, the people of the United States and the world will realize that Saddam Hussein had a weapons program.

Q On Liberia, are you now telling us that you will send U.S. troops to Liberia, and how many, and when will this happen?

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, see, that's -- what I'm telling you is that we want to help ECOWAS, it may require troops, but we don't know how many yet. And, therefore, it's hard for me to make a determination until I've seen all the facts. And as Kofi mentioned -- or the Secretary General mentioned, excuse me -- (laughter) -- a little informal here. They are still -- our teams, our military is assessing ECOWAS' strength, how soon, how quick, what kind of troops, who they are, to determine what is necessary, from our side, to fulfill the commitment I have made, that we will help maintain the cease-fire.

By the way, this is conditional upon Mr. Taylor leaving. He's got to leave. I think everybody understands that. We discussed that, by the way, in Nigeria, with President Obasanjo, who clearly understands that, as well. But we're still, Steve, determining the facts. It is very difficult for me to make a decision until I see the facts.

Q Well, what do you think?

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I don't know. That's an interesting question. We asked that question today at a national security briefing. And as soon as we can get it -- the Secretary General has been very helpful in urging nations to move forward with these plans. We hear numbers all the time as to -- you know, Nigeria may be able to contribute this, or so and so may be able to contribute that. Maybe you'd like to answer the question -- I mean, as soon as possible is the answer. We'd like to get the assessment teams. There has been two such teams out and about, and we'd like to get the information as soon as possible.

SECRETARY GENERAL ANNAN: And Jacques Klein is going to be the special representative, the gentleman with the red tie, in Liberia. So you'll be seeing a lot of him, and you can talk to him.

Q No long term commitments --

THE PRESIDENT: Correct. I think everybody understands, any commitment we had would be limited in size and limited in tenure. Our job would be to help facilitate an ECOWAS presence which would then be converted into a U.N. peacekeeping mission.

SECRETARY GENERAL ANNAN: Maybe I should add something here. The understanding which is emerging now is for the ECOWAS forces to send in a vanguard of about 1,000 to 1,500 troops. And I think this is something that they have worked out amongst themselves and now discussing in Accra with the -- also with the U.S. team. After that, from what I gather, Taylor -- President Taylor will leave Liberia, and then the force will be strengthened, hopefully with U.S. participation, and additional troops from the West African region. Eventually, U.N. blue helmets will be set up to stabilize the situation, along the lines that we've done in Sierra Leone, and once the situation is calmer and stabilized, U.S. would leave and the U.N. peacekeepers would carry on the situation.

THE PRESIDENT: Yes, Dana, one last question.

Q Mr. President, back on the question of Iraq, and that specific line that has been in question --

THE PRESIDENT: Can you cite the line? (Laughter.)

Q I could, if you gave me some time.

THE PRESIDENT: When I gave the speech, the line was relevant.

Q So even though there has been some question about the intelligence -- the intelligence community knowing beforehand that perhaps it wasn't, you still believe that when you gave it --

THE PRESIDENT: Well, the speech that I gave was cleared by the CIA. And, look, the thing that's important to realize is that we're constantly gathering data. Subsequent to the speech, the CIA had some doubts. But when I gave the -- when they talked about the speech and when they looked at the speech, it was cleared. Otherwise, I wouldn't have put it in the speech. I'm not interested in talking about intelligence unless it's cleared by the CIA. And as Director Tenet said, it was cleared by the CIA.

The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power, along with other nations, so as to make sure he was not a threat to the United States and our friends and allies in the region. I firmly believe the decisions we made will make America more secure and the world more peaceful.

Thank you.

END 2:24 P.M. EDT
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Re: Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Buying the Right, by Robert Parr

Postby admin » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:55 am

Bush's Terror Hysteria
by Robert Parry
March 22, 2004



Commemorating the first anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, George W. Bush gave the American people a glimpse of his vision of the future: a grim world where a near endless war is waged against forces of evil by forces loyal to Bush who represents what is good.

“There is no neutral ground – no neutral ground – in the fight between civilization and terror, because there is no neutral ground between good and evil, freedom and slavery, and life and death,” Bush said on March 19. “The terrorists are offended not merely by our policies; they’re offended by our existence as free nations. No concession will appease their hatred. No accommodation will satisfy their endless demands.”

So to Bush, the "war on terror" is a fight to the finish. Eliminate everyone who would or might engage in terrorism before they destroy civilization and impose slavery on the rest of us. To Bush’s supporters, this black-and-white analysis represents “moral clarity.” To others around the world, it is taking on the look of madness.

Religious Calling

Two and a half years since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Bush still shows no sign that he understands what counter-insurgency experts have taught for decades, that confronting terrorism requires both targeting those who perpetrate the crimes and addressing the root causes – poverty, powerlessness, humiliation – that drive young people to strap on explosives and blow themselves up.

According to counter-insurgency experts, the goal must be to remove the causes of the broader political anger, isolate the hard-core enemy and gradually transform a war into a police action. A major part of defeating terrorism, therefore, is satisfying legitimate grievances that may be stoking its fires. To do so may require making practical concessions and reasonable accommodations, just the things that Bush has ruled out.

In contrast to these experts, Bush sees crushing terrorism – or "evil" as he frequently puts it – as a religious duty that must be carried out regardless of the costs.

In his March 19 speech, Bush employed quasi-religious language when he said the war on terror “is an inescapable calling of our generation.” The concept of a “calling” has a powerful meaning among Bush's fundamentalist Christian political base, meaning a divine duty, much like Bush's earlier characterization of his wars in the Middle East as a “crusade.”

In other words, Bush's strategy is not about a practical means to reduce tensions, resolve political differences and gradually ease the hardliners to the sidelines. It's about the opposite, elevating a low-intensity conflict into a full-scale war with a goal of not simply prevailing over a foe but of eradicating evil itself. It is an undertaking that reeks of hubris and totalitarianism.

If the United States were a healthy democracy, Bush’s speech would have been cause for alarm, possibly outrage, certainly a fierce debate.

But Bush’s grim vision has been greeted with remarkably little debate in the United States even though it could have calamitous real-life consequences: generations of young Americans dying in a worldwide version of a Hundred Years War; the U.S. national treasury drained; and the Founding Fathers’ grand experiment of a democratic Republic ended.

Lying Again

Given his fight-to-the-death framework, it is also no wonder that Bush feels no guilt about continuing to mislead the American people on questions of fact. Since he has heard his own “inescapable calling” to wage this decisive struggle between good and evil, the ends must justify the means. After all, if preserving “good” and ending “evil” don’t justify something like lying to the people, what would?

This concept of grander truth may help explain why Bush has not apologized for his false assertions about weapons of mass destruction or his misleading comments linking Iraq’s Saddam Hussein to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Indeed, even in his March 19 address, Bush continued to lie with impunity about the facts leading up to war.

Bush’s latest version of the Iraq War history is that a year ago, Hussein refused to cooperate with UN demands for weapons inspections, leaving the U.S. and its “coalition of the willing” no choice but to invade Iraq in defense of the UN’s resolutions and to protect the United States from Iraq’s WMD.

“One year ago, military forces of a strong coalition entered Iraq to enforce United Nations demands, to defend our security, and to liberate that country from the rule of a tyrant,” Bush said in his anniversary speech.

This deceptive rendition also wasn't just a glossing over of some inconvenient facts in a celebratory speech. On two other occasions, Bush has made the same false assertion.

In July 2003, Bush said about Hussein, “we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power.” [For details, see the White House Web site.]

Bush reiterated that war-justifying claim on Jan. 27. Bush said, “We went to the United Nations, of course, and got an overwhelming resolution -- 1441 -- unanimous resolution, that said to Saddam, you must disclose and destroy your weapons programs, which obviously meant the world felt he had such programs. He chose defiance. It was his choice to make, and he did not let us in.”

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld spun the same historical point in an op-ed article in the New York Times also on March 19.

“In September 2002, President Bush went to the United Nations, which gave Iraq still another ‘final opportunity’ to disarm and to prove it had done so,” Rumsfeld wrote, adding that “Saddam Hussein passed up that final opportunity” and then rejected a U.S. ultimatum to flee. “Only then, after every peaceful option had been exhausted, did the president and our coalition partners order the liberation of Iraq,” Rumsfeld wrote.

But as anyone with the slightest memory from a year ago knows, Iraq did let the UN weapons inspectors in and allowed them free rein of any sites that they wished to inspect. It was the Bush administration that forced the inspectors out in order to press ahead with the invasion.

The historical point about Iraq’s cooperation was made anew by the UN’s chief weapons inspector, Hans Blix, who writes in his new book, Disarming Iraq, that the final round of UN inspections, launched in November 2002, was progressing well in March 2003 with full Iraqi cooperation.

“Although the inspection organization was now operating at full strength and Iraq seemed determined to give it prompt access everywhere, the United States appeared as determined to replace our inspection force with an invasion army,” Blix wrote.

Double Standards

Despite this clear historical record, the New York Times, the self-described “newspaper of record,” published Rumsfeld’s falsehood without any effort to correct the record.

This is the same New York Times that took great pains in 2000 to flyspeck every comment by Vice President Al Gore looking for any hint of exaggeration and is now joining the rest of the press corps in similar diligence about Sen. John Kerry. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “Protecting Bush-Cheney” about Campaign 2000 or "Protecting Bush-Cheney Redux" about the start of Campaign 2004]

But the press always seems to have another standard for Bush. Some suggest the press gives Bush a free pass on factual errors because journalists don't think he's very bright, but a more likely explanation is that Washington journalists are afraid of the career consequences that might result from taking him on over his lies, especially on issues related to national security.

Bush's March 19 speech also shows that he has learned little about the history of terrorism. It is an age-old problem, not a new phenomenon. Violent attacks against civilians have been committed by movements and governments in all regions in all time periods. Indeed, from an historical perspective, the "war on terror" is no more winnable than a "war on evil," in large part, because the terms are subjective, reflected in the old saying, that "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter."

Some Iraqis, for instance, might argue that the killing of civilians by the U.S. "shock and awe" bombing campaign a year ago is not that morally different from the Sept. 11 attacks, especially since the principal justifications of the U.S. bombing – Iraq's alleged possession of WMD and Saddam Hussein's supposed links to al-Qaeda – turned out to be bogus.

But history is full of moral ambiguity about terror. For instance, in the cause of American independence, Revolutionary War leader Sam Adams employed terror tactics against British sympathizers, including the brutal practice of tar and feathering. Over the next century, terror tactics, even acts of genocide, were used against the Native American population in settling the frontier.

More recent U.S. leaders were not innocent of association with terrorism either. In the 1980s, the Reagan-Bush administration backed Nicaraguan contra rebels who committed killings of civilians and other terrorist acts in their campaign to destabilize the Sandinista government. Meanwhile, U.S. allies in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras were engaged in death squad operations that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people, all in the alleged cause of defeating communism.

Simultaneously, half a world away, the CIA was backing Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan, including a young Saudi militant named Osama bin Laden, as they fought Soviet and Afghan government forces. On the slippery slope of fighting secret wars in the Middle East, CIA Director William Casey himself was implicated in a terrorist bombing in Lebanon, aimed at another suspected terrorist. [For details, see Bob Woodward's Veil.]

Those moral ambiguities reached into the second Bush administration, when thousands of Iraqi men, women and children were killed when Bush ordered the invasion of their country under false pretenses and without UN sanction. To many people, especially in the Middle East, George W. Bush is a terrorist with the blood of more than 10,000 people on his hands..

Historically, it also deserves note that 20 years ago, Saddam Hussein was such a close U.S. ally in holding back Iranian Islamic fundamentalism that he got personal visits from U.S. Middle East envoy Donald Rumsfeld and received military advice from then-Vice President George H.W. Bush. Back then, Libya's Moammar Khadafy was terrorist evil-doer No. 1, blamed for blowing up a civilian airliner over Scotland. Today, the younger George Bush invites Khadafy back into the club of civilized world leaders because he took responsibility for the airline bombing, while Hussein is locked up in a jail cell.

Losing the War

The final, bitter irony of Bush's strategy for the “war on terror,” however, is that his approach is almost certain to fail. His swaggering style, along with his simplistic tactics, have alienated people across the globe and most deeply in the Middle East. Rather than working toward stability in that explosive region, Bush has chosen to do the opposite while invoking as his justification some quasi-religious Christian “calling” or “crusade.”

Taken in its totality, Bush’s vision carries logical consequences of the gravest order: Military strategy will overwhelm diplomacy; root causes of Middle Eastern terrorism, such as the plight of the Palestinians, will go unattended so as not to “appease” the terrorists; civil liberties at home and abroad will be set aside in the name of security; Bush’s allies, no matter how brutal and autocratic, will be hailed for their moral virtues; critics of Bush, including longtime Western allies such as France, Germany and now Spain, will be derided as “soft on terror”; lying, spin and intimidation will be the currency of the U.S. public debate.

And the adverse consequences are only just beginning. The world’s cultural divisions are deepening, world commerce is being disrupted, and economic conditions for billions of people are growing more desperate. The grinding poverty and the perceived injustices are creating the perfect conditions for breeding more senseless violence, not less.

If the American people follow Bush as an avenging angel descending into this worldly hell, terrorism eventually could become a universal voice of international despair, violence begetting only more violence and more despair. It is a future that does not need to happen, but it is one that is looming if the United States can’t figure out how to have a realistic and honest debate about terrorism.
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Re: Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Buying the Right, by Robert Parr

Postby admin » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:57 am

Protecting Bush-Cheney
by Sam Parry
October 16, 2000



The national news media have altered the course of Campaign 2000 – perhaps decisively – by applying two starkly different standards for judging how Texas Gov. George W. Bush and his running mate, Dick Cheney, handle the truth versus how Vice President Al Gore does.

Bush and Cheney have gotten almost a free pass. They have been allowed to utter misleading statements and even outright falsehoods with little or no notice. By contrast, Gore’s comments have been fly-specked and every inconsistency trumpeted to support the media’s “theme” – reinforced by the Republicans – that Gore is an inveterate liar.

What the press rarely if ever admits is that many of Gore’s “lies” actually were cases of media mis-reporting.

This litany of bungled stories includes many of the media’s favorites: the “I was the one that started” Love Canal case, “inventing” the Internet, inspiring the male lead in Love Story (which author Eric Segal says was true), Gore’s work as a boy on the family farm (Gore's version again was true), the degree of danger he faced in Vietnam, his alleged misrepresentation of his father’s civil rights record, and his alleged exaggeration that his sister worked as a Peace Corps “volunteer.”

The national news media mangled all these stories, a failure compounded by the pundit shows that routinely reference these mythical stories as fact.

On the Love Canal case, for instance, Gore actually referred to a Tennessee toxic waste dump and said “that was the one that started it all.” The Washington Post and The New York Times transformed the quote to “I was the one that started it all.” The Republicans refined it to say, “I was the one who started it all.” [For details, see our examination of the Love Canal case.]

The other stories have been variations on the same sort of bogus reporting, with the Republicans spinning the news media in a calculated attempt to redefine Al Gore – by all accounts, a hard-working, thoughtful public servant – into a caricature and a laughingstock.

Yet rather than proof of an unethical press corps (and another example of Republican dirty politics), these canards have become the historical backdrop – a kind of accepted reference point – that has sustained the depiction of Gore as a dishonest man.

So, when Gore makes an innocuous mistake, such as remembering inaccurately being at a Texas disaster scene in 1998 with the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency – when he actually was with the director’s deputy – the news media go into a sort of press riot over its Gore-as-serial-exaggerator theme.

Yet, saying you were on a trip with the FEMA director isn’t exactly like claiming you were hanging out with Nelson Mandela.

Indeed, it made no sense to think that the vice president of the United States would believe he was polishing his record by mentioning the FEMA director. Yet that was exactly the ugly conclusion that the Republicans and the press corps reached.

[For the best overall coverage of the media’s pattern of mis-reporting Gore, see Bob Somerby’s Daily Howler ]

By contrast to the front-page treatment given Gore’s FEMA mistake or the dispute over Gore’s description of an overcrowded Florida high school, the press shrugs its shoulders at false statements by Bush and Cheney.

In the second presidential debate, for instance, Bush argued that a stronger hate-crimes law was not needed in Texas because three men were facing the death penalty for the racially motivated murder of James Byrd, a black man dragged to his death behind a pickup truck.

“It’s going to be hard to punish them any worse after they’re put to death,” Bush said, with an out-of-place smile across his face.

But Bush wasn’t telling the truth. One of the three killers actually had received life imprisonment, not the death penalty. Bush had misstated or exaggerated the facts of a major criminal case that had occurred during his tenure as Texas governor.

One could only imagine how the press would have played up a similar mistake by Gore. It would have been all the voters would have heard about for a week.

With its penchant for cookie-cutter “themes” used to define candidates, the press also might have seized on Bush’s smirking comment about the condemned men and used it to remind the public about Bush’s earlier insensitivity when he mimicked condemned murderess Carla Faye Tucker as she was pleading for her life.

“With pursed lips in mock desperation, [Bush said] ‘Please don’t kill me’,” wrote Talk magazine’s conservative columnist Tucker Carlson.

Given the media’s endless search for a personality flaw behind Gore’s supposed exaggerations, a similar standard applied to Bush might have led to a conclusion that he suffers from a personality defect that leads him to mock people he is about to put to death. But the major news media didn’t see Bush’s misstatement or his smirk as much of a story.

The next day, The Washington Post stuck the governor’s exaggeration about the three condemned killers in a story on A6, where the newspaper also mentioned Bush’s accusation that former Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin stole money from the International Monetary Fund.

Bush’s accusation against Chernomyrdin, aimed at undercutting Gore’s work on economic and political reform in Russia, was imprecise and not supported by the known factual record.

There have been suspicions of misconduct against Chernomyrdin, but they have not involved the IMF. After the debate, Chernomyrdin angrily denied Bush’s IMF accusations, which the campaign did not buttress with specific evidence.

The media’s rationale apparently was that Bush’s errors were the kinds of mistakes a candidate can make in the course of a 90-minute debate and the press shouldn’t be too picky. Yet, a very different standard has been applied to Gore.

Covering for Cheney

The imbalance in the press coverage was apparent, too, with Bush’s vice presidential running mate, Dick Cheney, a longtime favorite of official Washington.

At the vice presidential debate, Cheney depicted himself as a self-made multi-millionaire from his years as chairman of Halliburton Co. As for his success in the private sector, Cheney told Democratic nominee Joe Lieberman that “the government had absolutely nothing to do with it.”

After years of hyper-critical coverage of Al Gore for supposedly puffing up his resumé, one might have expected the major media to jump all over this patently false statement. But the big newspapers and the major television networks offered no challenge to Cheney’s comment.

Bloomberg News, a business wire, was one of the few outlets that took note of the variance between Cheney’s assessment and the facts. “Cheney’s reply left out how closely Dallas-based Halliburton’s fortunes are linked to the U.S. government,” Bloomberg News said.

The article noted that Halliburton was a leading defense contractor (with $1.8 billion in contracts from 1996-99) and a major beneficiary of federal loan guarantees (another $1.8 billion in loans and loan guarantees from the U.S.-funded Export-Import Bank during Cheney’s years).

The article also cited internal Ex-Im Bank e-mails showing that Cheney personally lobbied bank chairman James Harmon for a $500 million loan guarantee for Russia’s OAO Tyumen Oil Co. The Ex-Im loan guarantee, approved in March, helped finance Halliburton’s contract with Tyumen.

In further contradiction of Cheney’s self-made-man claim, the article quoted from a speech that Cheney gave to the Ex-Im Bank in 1997. “I see that we have in recent years been involved in projects in the following (countries) supported, in part, through Ex-Im activities: Algeria, Angola, Colombia, the Philippines, Russia, the Czech Republic, Thailand, China, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Kuwait, India, Kenya, the Congo, Brazil, Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, Venezuela, Indonesia, Malaysia and Mexico,” Cheney said.

“Export financing agencies are a key element in making this possible, helping U.S. businesses blend private sector resources with the full faith and credit of the U.S. government,” Cheney added. [Bloomberg News, Oct. 6, 2000]

Fresh from his debate pronouncement about his self-reliance, Cheney took the offensive denouncing Gore for alleged exaggerations. “He [Gore] seems to have a compulsion to embellish his arguments or … his resumé,” Cheney said on Oct. 6. “He seems to have this uncontrollable desire periodically to add to his reputation, to his record, things that aren’t true. That’s worrisome and I think it’s appropriate for us to point that out.”

Normally, hypocrisy is considered a big story, especially when the accuser’s behavior is more egregious than the actions of his target. Yet, Cheney’s own resumé polishing was barely mentioned in the major media. When it was, it was excused as harmless banter.

The media maintained this position even as Cheney went out of his way to defend his self-made man statement in comments on National Public Radio. There, he compounded his deception by insisting that the government contracts with Halliburton had predated his arrival at the company in 1995.

“We did do some” work for the government, Cheney told NPR interviewer Bob Edwards on Oct. 11. “The fact is the company I worked for won a competitive bid before I ever got there. So it’s not as though this were some kind of gift.” [NPR’s Morning Edition]

Contrary to Cheney’s suggestion that he was not responsible for bringing in any of Halliburton’s government business, Halliburton actually moved up the list of Pentagon contractors during Cheney’s tenure, reaching 17 in 1999, the latest available rankings.

The documents, cited in the Bloomberg News article, also made clear that Cheney personally lobbied for loan guarantees from the Ex-Im Bank. The bank uses U.S. taxpayer money to finance the overseas business of U.S. companies, what some critics call “corporate welfare.”

The major media’s one-way microscope on Gore’s credibility missed Cheney’s exaggeration about his career while letting Cheney continue attacking Gore over alleged exaggerations about his career.

Bush & the Environment

Similarly, the press let Gov. Bush escape any serious attention over false and misleading statements about the environment and global warming, issues that will affect the future of the planet. In the Oct. 11 debate, Bush offered conflicting statements within the space of a few minutes, but the big-time press took no notice of the problems.

Bush’s first swing at the issue of pollution-causing industrial plants went this way: “We need to make sure that if we decontrol our plants that there's mandatory -- that the plants must conform to clean air standards, the grand-fathered plants. That's what we did in Texas. No excuses. I mean, you must conform.”

Just minutes later, he had shifted toward what sounded like a voluntary program. “Well, I -- I -- I don't believe in command-and-control out of Washington, D.C. I believe Washington ought to set standards, but I don't -- again, I think we ought to be collaborative at the local levels. And I think we ought to work with people at the local levels.”

Beyond the question of coherence, Bush’s statements seemed contradictory. Either the national government sets standards with compliance required or local governments can be allowed to set their own environmental rules, possibly in cooperation with business. Bush seemed to be having it both ways.

In Texas, Bush’s record suggests that he opposes mandatory standards even at the local and state levels. Bush cites as his most significant environmental accomplishment the setting of new rules for grand-fathered industrial plants, previously exempt from Texas clean air laws – what he apparently was referring to in his debate remarks.

But those plants were asked only to voluntarily comply with the clean air rules. The 1997 law carried no penalties for industries that didn’t seek a permit under the law. It is the kind of standard that polluting industries would salivate over at the national level.

As it turned out, Bush’s administration had drafted the new rules in close collaboration with representatives of the industries being regulated. The role of industry representatives was discovered in confidential memos obtained by the Sustainable Energy and Economic Development Coalition under the state’s Freedom of Information Act. [Sierra Magazine, Nov.-Dec. 1999]

Without mandatory requirements, environmentalists argue that as few as 10 out of more than 800 grand-fathered facilities are likely to reduce emissions. [San Antonio Express News, June 4, 1999]

Other Bush comments have raised questions about his commitment to solving pollution problems in Texas and nationally. “I do not believe you can sue your way or regulate your way to clean air and clean water,” Bush told the Dallas Morning News [Dec. 1, 1999]

On global warming, Bush’s debate comments were perhaps even more misleading. “I just – I think there’s been some – some of the scientists. I believe, Mr. Vice President, haven’t they been changing their opinion a little bit on global warming?” Bush said.

In reality, the only change within the scientific community has been to revise global warming projections upward, recognizing that the rising temperatures are a greater threat than had been thought. No credible scientist now denies that global warming is a real environmental development that has begun or is about to begin.

Even industry front groups, such as the Greening Earth Society, which supplied Bush some of his data for his Sept. 29 energy address, no longer deny the trends, though they argue that global warming might be beneficial. The Greening Earth Society, which was created by the Western Fuels Association, argues that higher levels of carbon dioxide will spur plant growth.

[For more on Bush’s reliance on Greening Earth data, see our story about Bush’s energy estimates.]

In his debate comment, Bush might have been referring to the recommendation from scientist, Dr. Jim Hansen, that the world first should address less common greenhouse gases, rather than confronting carbon dioxide, a gas emanating from fossil fuels and representing a much more difficult political battle.

Hansen’s suggestion, however, does not mean that scientists are less concerned about the world’s dependence on fossil fuels or the onset of global warming.

In the debate, Bush also protested the Kyoto Treaty aimed at curbing the pollution behind global warming. Bush said, “I’ll tell you one thing I’m not going to do is I’m not going to let the United States carry the burden for cleaning up the world’s air, like the Kyoto Treaty would have done. China and India were exempted from that treaty.”

In fact, China and India were not exempted from the treaty. They weren’t subjected to the same requirements as the developed world, but they committed themselves to reducing emissions and China appears to have stopped its emissions growth. Per person, China and India already have pollution rates that are fractions of the pollution caused by the United States.

At another point in the debate, Bush said the Clinton-Gore administration “took 40 million acres of land out of circulation without consulting local officials. … I just cited an example of the administration just unilaterally acting without any input.”

Bush was referring to a pending administration proposal to protect 40 million acres of roadless areas in national forests from more road building and logging. As the Sierra Club noted in a press release, Bush’s statement was false.

“In fact, the Forest Service conducted 600 public meetings about the proposal nationwide and more than one million Americans urged the administration to strengthen the proposal,” the Sierra Club said. “There was ample opportunity for local officials and others to comment on the proposal.”

Defending his own record in Texas, Bush also asserted that “our water is cleaner now.” False again, the Sierra Club said. “The discharge of industrial toxic pollution into surface waters in Texas increased from 23.2 million pounds in 1995 to 25.2 million pounds in 1998, the last year with data available,” a Sierra Club press release said.

If Gore had made similar misrepresentations, they would have filled the air waves. Bush’s falsehoods passed virtually unnoticed.

Friends in the Press

There is now a long record of the major news media excusing, ignoring or forgetting Bush’s growing list of false, misleading or hypocritical statements on issues from the serious to the trivial.

Though the press occasionally notes Bush’s mangled syntax, the Texas governor seems to have inherited the friendly press coverage that his well-connected father received during his 12 years as vice president and president.

The list of Bush’s deception and hypocrisy is a long one, reaching from his youth to today’s campaign. Here is a sample:

--As a young man, Bush supported the Vietnam War. “My first impulse and first inclination was to support the country,” Bush recalled in an interview. [NYT, July 11, 2000]. But Bush avoided service in the war by joining the Texas Air National Guard.

Bush has said no one to his knowledge helped him get into the National Guard. “I asked to become a pilot,” Bush said. “I met the qualifications, and ended up becoming an F-102 pilot,” The Associated Press reported. Bush insisted that he knew of no special treatment. [AP, July 5, 1999]

But the record indicates that, despite having the lowest acceptable score for entry, Bush jumped over other young men waiting to get into the National Guard.

Other accounts suggest that a “good friend” of Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, then a congressman from Houston who supported the war, weighed in with Ben Barnes, the Texas Speaker of the House, to arrange a slot for George W. Bush. [The Guardian (U.K.), July 29, 1999]

Sometime in late 1967 or early 1968, Barnes “personally asked the top official of the Texas Air National Guard to help George W. Bush obtain a pilot's slot in a Guard fighter squadron,” The Washington Post reported. [Sept. 21, 1999]. On Sept. 27, 1999, Barnes submitted a sworn statement that he helped Bush by contacting Brig. Gen. James M. Rose.

--Bush has a one-year gap in his National Guard duty from 1972-1973 when he was supposed to have transferred from the Texas Air National Guard to the Alabama Air National Guard.

According to the Boston Globe, “In his final 18 months of military service in 1972 and 1973, Bush did not fly at all. And … for a full year, there is no record that he showed up for the periodic drills required of part-time guardsmen.” [Boston Globe, May, 23, 2000]

Bush has said that he has “some recollection” of attending drills that year, but has not been more specific. Under Air National Guard rules at the time, anyone who did not report to required drills could be inducted in the draft to serve in Vietnam, according to the Globe. That never happened to Bush.

The press has reported these gaps in Bush’s record, but has not pressed the issue as a story worthy of determined pursuit or pundit show commentary. Similarly, Bush’s implausible answers have not led to questions from the media about Bush’s veracity.

By contrast, the press has dwelled on Gore’s supposed exaggerations about the dangers he faced as a U.S. Army reporter in Vietnam. Gore volunteered for the war, although he and his father, a senator from Tennessee, opposed it.

It is not clear how today’s reporters, who were not present with Gore in Vietnam, would have anyway of checking how much danger Gore might have encountered. But they have judged him a liar nonetheless.

--Early in the campaign, Bush faced short-lived press scrutiny of his possible drug use. To date, Bush has never answered the question of whether, when, how much or specifically what illicit drugs he used in his early adulthood.

The press accepted Bush’s carefully parsed statement in which Bush denied recent drug use while refusing to acknowledge earlier drug use.

While ducking questions about cocaine and other illegal drugs, Bush has confessed to drinking heavily well into his adult years. As part of his biography, he has described how he woke up after his 40th birthday party with a hangover and decided to stop drinking for good.

“It’s hard to usher in the responsibility era if you behave irresponsibly,” Bush has declared even while avoiding questions about his own youthful indiscretions. [U.S. News and World Report, Nov. 16, 1998]

By contrast, Gore has admitted smoking marijuana as a young man.

--As Texas governor, Bush boasts that he knows how to work in a bi-partisan manner. One of his examples is the expansion of the Children’s Health Insurance Program [CHIP]. “In 1999, Governor Bush and the Texas Legislature worked together to implement the CHIPs program for more than 423,000 children,” the Bush campaign has said.

Yet, according to the Houston Chronicle, Bush tried to block the Democratic initiative in the Texas Legislature to expand the CHIP program to children of parents earning up to twice the federal poverty level (about $33,600 for a family of four). Bush favored instead covering parents up to only 150 percent of poverty (about $25,200 for a family of four). [Houston Chronicle, Aug. 30, 2000].

After losing the legislative battle, Bush turned around and claimed credit for the CHIP expansion and his success in working with Democrats.

--Bush has made as a centerpiece of his campaign the theme that he would change the “tone” of Washington and restore “dignity” to the White House.

Yet, during the Republican primaries, the Bush campaign targeted Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for personal attacks. By fall 1999, McCain, who spent five years in a North Vietnamese prisoner of war camp, had narrowed Bush’s lead and the Bush assault began.

In October 1999, McCain said, “'Apparently the memo has gone out from the Bush campaign to start attacking John McCain, something that I'd hoped wouldn't happen.”' [AP, Oct. 26, 1999]

Bush’s negative attacks intensified after McCain won the New Hampshire primary. Seeking to rebound in South Carolina, Bush visited Bob Jones University and refrained from criticizing the school’s ban on interracial dating and its anti-Catholic views. Bush also wouldn’t take a position on removing the Confederate flag from the South Carolina Statehouse.

After winning the South Carolina primary, Bush apologized for having spoken at Bob Jones without "disassociating myself from anti-Catholic sentiments and racial prejudice."

--As McCain remained a threat, Bush’s campaign ran a misleading ad attacking the senator for not supporting breast cancer research.

The ad cited an omnibus spending bill, which McCain voted against not because of the breast cancer research but because of the enormous spending included in the entire package. McCain complained, but the Bush attack strategy worked.

--After securing the Republican nomination, Bush renewed his pledge to run a positive general election campaign. But again, the promise lasted only until the governor found himself lagging in the polls.

Bush again broke his promise, unleashing his campaign to tear down Gore’s character, ironically, targeting Gore’s credibility.

The news media observed the changed tactics but took little notice of how Bush was violating his own pledge.

Instead, the press happily joined in repeating many of the canards about Gore’s honesty, these largely mythical and exaggerated press accounts that the media have repeated over and over for many months -- Love Story, Love Canal, “inventing” the Internet, etc., etc.

A Strategy of Destruction

The Republican strategy to destroy Al Gore’s reputation actually had been underway for many months.

The New York Times described what it called “a skillful and sustained 18-month campaign by Republicans to portray the vice president as flawed and untrustworthy,” according to an article on Oct. 15.

In one example, the Times noted that the Republicans successfully portrayed Gore as a liar for having talked about his work on the family’s farm as a boy. Republican National Chairman Jim Nicholson mocked Gore as a pampered city boy misrepresenting his past.

“Friends later told reporters that Mr. Gore’s father had kept him on a backbreaking work schedule during summers on the family farm,” the Times noted in one neutrally phrased passage. While praising the effectiveness of the Republican strategy, the newspaper did not offer any self-criticisms about its role in spreading many of the Republican calumnies.

As part of the recent imbalanced coverage, journalists averted their eyes when Bush told whoppers in the presidential debates.

--In one case, Bush reprised his contention that he is not a man who needs a focus group or polls to tell him what to think.

Bush said, “I think you've got to look at how one has handled responsibility in office, whether or not … you've got the capacity to convince people to follow; whether or not one makes decisions based upon sound principles; or whether or not you rely upon polls and focus groups on how to decide what the course of action is. We've got too much polling and focus groups going on in Washington today. We need decisions made on sound principles.”

Left out was that Bush’s campaign has spent roughly $1 million on polls and focus groups during this campaign, about equal to the Gore campaign’s spending, according to a report by NBC News. [Oct. 6, 2000]. Indeed, Bush changed his campaign slogan from “Compassionate Conservative” to “Real Plans for Real People” because of poll analysis done by his campaign.

--In the first debate, Bush tried to make an issue out of President Clinton’s practice of allowing his friends and supporters to sleep over at the White House.

“I believe they've moved that sign, ‘The buck stops here,’ from the Oval Office desk to ‘The buck stops here’ on the Lincoln bedroom, and that's not good for the country. It's not right. We need to have a new look about how we conduct ourselves in office,” Bush said.

What Bush left out was that since he took office in 1995, he has had 203 guests stay over at the Governor’s Mansion in Austin, Texas. More than half of them have contributed to his campaign, amounting to $2.2 million. [The Public I]

The news media took little or no notice of Bush's hypocrisy.

--In the first presidential debate, Bush also claimed that he, as president, would not have the authority to override the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the abortion drug RU-486. But he did not mention that his campaign supported the initiative in Congress to ban the drug, nor did he indicate that he supports sending the issue back to the FDA for more research.

He also ducked the issue of what personnel changes he would make at the FDA and whether those changes would have an impact on the approval of RU-486. Bush had previously stated that he would order his FDA appointees to review the decision.

--In perhaps Bush’s most obvious whopper in the first presidential debate, the Republican claimed that the Gore campaign had out-spent his. “This man has out-spent me,” Bush said.

In fact, Bush has raised and spent more than twice as much money in this election as Gore has raised and spent.

There has been no explanation from the Bush campaign about this remarkable claim and the national news media have not pressed for one, as the media certainly would have if Gore had made a similarly false statement.

Rather than deal with Bush’s numerous debate distortions, the press flew into a frenzy over Gore’s mistake about the FEMA director.

The press was whipped on by the Bush campaign. Its chief strategist Karl Rove compared Gore to “Zelig,” a Woody Allen character who put himself at the elbow of important people.

The press also zeroed in on Gore’s supposedly false statement about a 15-year-old girl in a Florida high school who had gone without a desk because of overcrowding. The major media accepted the denial of the school’s principal about the overcrowding problem and ignored the reporting from the local newspaper which backed Gore’s account.

The New York Times, for instance, reported that “the fact is, the girl has a desk, and went without one only a day.” The article contained no attribution for this conclusion. [NYT, Oct. 6, 2000]

A day earlier, however, the local newspaper, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, had a different version. “Kailey [Ellis, the 15-year-old girl] said she moved from a biology classroom where students had to sit on the floor to another that was short on desks on Aug. 31 – the ninth day of school. She stood for one 50-minute period, and the following day a classmate gave up his desk for her” and the classmate then went without a desk for the next week.
“I’m not still standing,” Ellis told the newspaper, “but there’s still kids that have to sit on the side of desks and there’s still not enough room in the classes.” [Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Oct. 5, 2000]

There was no indication that The New York Times, the self-proclaimed “newspaper of record,” had made any attempt to ascertain the truth behind the school-overcrowding story. The Times apparently just accepted the account of the principal whose reputation had been put in question by the national attention on his school.

Cause and Effect

While this botched and biased campaign coverage might seem trivial to some, its cumulative effect has been to transform the presidential election campaign from one that had been dominated by issues to one controlled by the Republican/media’s harsh assessment of Gore’s character and credibility.

What has made this development a direct threat to the democratic process is that the media’s treatment has been extraordinarily one-sided and often erroneous.

The national press corps has acted as a political collaborator with the Republicans in a scheme to defame Al Gore and effectively hand the election to George W. Bush.

If George W. Bush is elected president on Nov. 7, he will owe a huge debt to a national press corps that has become a national disgrace.

Sam Parry, managing editor of Consortiumnews.com, works for Sierra Club's Human Rights & the Environment Campaign.
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Re: Dark Side of Rev. Moon: Buying the Right, by Robert Parr

Postby admin » Tue Jan 23, 2018 2:58 am

Protecting Bush-Cheney Redux
by Robert Parry
March 7, 2004



The New York Times and other major media outlets are at it again: parroting Bush-Cheney campaign themes against a Democrat while turning a blind eye to equal or worse offenses by Republicans. This new case of protecting Bush-Cheney is built around the theme that Sen. John Kerry is a flip-flopper, while ignoring examples of George W. Bush’s own flip-flops.

The media’s eagerness to adopt this “conventional wisdom” on Kerry follows the pattern of Campaign 2000 when the Times joined the media pack in portraying Al Gore as a liar while buying into the image that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were straight-shooters, despite an abundance of evidence that they weren’t. Even four years later – after the deceptions about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and disclosures about the abuse of scientific research to make it fit Bush’s agenda – the national news media clings to this precious notion that Bush is no liar.

Now, the pattern repeats itself. On March 6, in a lengthy front-page Times article entitled “Kerry’s Shifts: Nuanced Ideas Or Flip-Flops,” reporter David M. Halbfinger dissects Kerry’s statements on issues such as gay marriage and “defines” Kerry just the way the Republican National Committee drew it up: a waffler who takes both sides of issues. No where in the piece is there any reference to Bush’s history of flip-flopping on issues of grave consequence to the world, such as his promises to curb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases; his pledges to maintain a balanced federal budget and keep his hands off the Social Security trust fund; and his assurances that he would run a “humble” foreign policy that wouldn’t stretch U.S. forces with “nation-building” tasks.

No Context

Bush’s inconsistencies are ignored even in a context, such as Bush’s direct personal attacks on Kerry’s credibility, when Bush’s own record and hypocrisy would seem especially relevant.

As in Campaign 2000, the Times and other publications seem determined to apply double standards that effectively give Bush and Cheney a walk. The logic behind this pattern is that it buys journalists protection from right-wing press attack groups, which have long proven that they can damage or destroy the careers of journalists who get tagged with the “liberal” label.

It is far safer and more lucrative for journalists to protect their right flanks by putting on blinders on their right side, so they don’t see certain facts that might require courage to report. That way, they can tout their tough anti-Democratic writing as proof they’re “not liberal,” knowing there is no serious threat to their careers from the left.

The careers of virtually all the journalists who made a mockery of Campaign 2000 continue to thrive, while there are many examples of journalists whose reporting angered the conservatives – the likes of former San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb – who paid a steep price. [For details, see Robert Parry's Lost History.]

Next Chapter

And, as surely as night follows day, the next page in the “Kerry-as-flip-flopper” script will be that Kerry “failed” to prevent the Bush-Cheney team from defining him as a flip-flopper. That will give the talking-head pundits another opportunity to reprise Kerry’s alleged offenses while leaving out Bush’s and, of course, never mentioning the news media’s role in creating this unbalanced impression. Soon, it will seem like bias for anyone even to suggest that Bush’s flip-flops, too.

So, as aspiring star reporters head off into another career-making presidential campaign, it is worth reflecting on three previous stories published by Consortiumnews.com: One is “Protecting Bush-Cheney,” an account of the double standards in Campaign 2000; the second is this year’s "Kerry & the 'Special Interest' Hit Piece," an account of the Washington Post’s deceptive reporting on “special interest” donations; and the third is “Bush’s Great Debate – With Himself,” which details some of the momentous flip-flips of Bush’s first term.

You’re unlikely to see these realities acknowledged in the mainstream media, which seems eager to protect Bush-Cheney once again.

Robert Parry is a former Associated Press and Newsweek reporter who in the 1980s broke many of the stories that are now known as the Iran-Contra Affair. He is author of the book, Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & Project Truth.
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