Welcome to the third installment in my examination of the American Security Council, one of the most mysterious and notorious "think tanks" of the second half of the twentieth century. As was briefly considered in part one of this series, such think tanks have been used as propaganda organs by elites for well over a century. The most well known instance of these is the Council on Foreign Relations, the long time "voice" of the Eastern Establishment/Wall Street in public debate.
While the CFR clique and their Round Table group backers in Europe dominated the American political landscape for much of the early twentieth century they began to face a serious challenge by the 1950s from another faction, one loosely comprised of the emerging military-industrial complex, pre-WWII "non-interventionists," oil companies originating in the South/West and fanatical former military men whom I have dubbed "the Prussians." This faction would establish the ASC in the mid-1950s as a counter to the Wall Street (read: banking) dominated CFR.
Many of the old-monied Eastern families (and their closely related British counterparts) who supported the CFR were also deeply involved in the founding of the OSS and later the CIA. As such, the CFR became involved in the intelligence operations of this faction.
"... the espionage Establishment --people like Bill Donovan and David Bruce --who conspired with their British cousins to create tax-exempt foundations to fund surveys abroad and to promulgate unstated policy through journalists, academics, and businessmen attached to the Council on Foreign Relations and the Foreign Policy Association."
(The Strength of the Wolf, Douglas Valentine, pg. 106)
|William "Wild Boy" Donovan (top) and David Bruce (bottom), who married into the blue blood Mellon clan|
What's more, this intelligence database was seemingly made use of by the various corporate sponsor behind the ASC to screen potential employees. As the ASC's intelligence services went well beyond routine background checks and typically focused in on the politics of a subject, it's highly likely that the ASC and their corporate sponsers engaged in blacklisting. We will examine this possibility in much greater depth in this installment.
Beyond that, however, I would also like to begin examining just who or what was behind the ASC. So, with this task in mind, let us begin considering the corporations and key figures that collaborated with the ASC in the early years. First, the corporations: By the early 1970s the ASC would have an impressive roster of dues paying members to be sure.
"Industrial members include General Electric, Lockheed, Motorola, Allstate, Insurance, Standard Oil of California, General Dynamics (San Diego), Reynolds Metals, Quarter Oats, Honeywell, U.S. Steel, Kraft Foods, Stewart-Warner, Schick-Eversharp, Illinois Central Railroad, and, of course, Sears, Roebuck. The publishing industry is represented by the Detroit News, the St. Louis Globe-Democrat, the Oakland Tribune, and the Henry Regnery book house in Chicago. The financial, university, and foundation worlds are also represented. All told, the ASC members have 'millions of employees,' presumably all of them loyal to free enterprise."
(Power of the Right, William Turner, pgs. 202-203)
Henry Regnery, the founder of Regnery Publishing, is especially noteworthy as he was a major financial backer. Regnery had also been involved with the America First Committee, the primier pre-WWII "non-interventionist" group. As was noted in the first two installments, many key figures from the Nazi-linked AFC played a major role in the founding of the ASC. Regnery was one of the chief publishing houses behind the American conservative movement in general in the second half of the twentieth century. It also dipped into the waters of the conspiratorial right a time or two as well. Even stranger, he also published books by major UFO researchers such as Jacques Vallee and J. Allen Hynek as well as Sybil, the first major book on Multiple Personality/Dissociative Identity Disorder.
"Henry Regnery also was one of the founders of the American Security Council; his son, Alfred, later replaced him. The American Security Council had a great influence on the Reagan administration, and on many of the more hotly debated issues of the 1950s-1980s. Regnery and two other isolationists began broadcasting 'Human Events' and, in 1947, started Regnery Publishing. Interestingly enough, the first two titles published by Regnery were critical of the Nuremberg Trials. The third was another pro-Nazi book attacking the Allied air campaign. In 1954, Regnery published two books for the John Birch Society. He also was the publisher of William F. Buckley Jr.'s God and Man at Yale. According to Howard Hunt, the CIA subsidized Regnery Publishing because of its pro-Nazi stance."
(The Nazi Hydra in America, Glen Yeadon & John Hawkins, pg. 224)
|the curious taste of Regnery Publishing|
As far as staff for the ASC is concerned, it has long used former FBI personnell as front men. Indeed, the longtime head of the ASC was former Bureau man John M. Fisher (Fisher's son, Henry A, is to this day still president and CEO of the ASC) who would firmly establish a pipeline between the FBI and ASC.
"Expanding rapidly, the Mid-American Research Library was renamed the American Security Council in 1956, when former FBI agent John M. Fisher, who had come to Sears as a 'personnel consultant' with J. Edgar Hoover's blessing in 1953, was installed as president and executive director. Before long Fisher had surrounded himself Bureau-trained men. Jack E. Ison was appointed operating director and Willaim K. Lambie Jr. research director; both had put in a few years with the FBI; both are still in those positions. W. Cleon Skousen, who was named field director, had been an agent from 1940 to 1951 and is well known in right-wing circles as the author of The Naked Capitalist and The Communist Attack on U.S. Police. Skousen left the ASC in 1960 to become a John Birch functionary, and is a perennial figure on the society's circuit. In time, retired FBI assistant director Stanley J. Tracey was brought in to sit on the strategy staff. Among the non-staff officers with a history under Hoover are Senior Vice President Kenneth M. Piper, 'director of human relations' for Motorola; Vice President Stephen L. Donchess, a U.S. Steel executive; and Vice President Russel E. White, a General Electric security consultant."
(Power on the Right, William Turner, pg. 200)
The appearance of so many former Bureau men in the ASC immediatley brings to mind the "Old Boy Network" Turner (who was himself a former FBI agent), along with co-author Warren Hinkle, brilliantly outlined in a later work.
"... Old Boys, less decorously referred to in some law enforcement circles as the FBI Mafia. That description is imprecise since the Old Boy lineup, although top-heavy with ex-FBI types, includes row upon row of former CIA agents, Justice Department officials, IRS investigators --even some retired Canadian Royal Mounties.
"The Old Boy network in its clubby, discreet manner has afforded the CIA a powerful extracurricular arm in mounting covert operations overseas and at home, where the ever-ready Old Boys have afforded the agency a better than arm's length posture in its extralegal domestic activities. The CIA's deployment of the Old Boy network while camouflaging the agency's at-home operations has at the same time greatly complicated the task of tracing just where a CIA operation ends and private knavery begins. The Old Boys tend to mix covert intelligence activites both legal and illegal with the ordinary pursuit of private gain."
(Deadly Secrets, Warren Hinkle and William Turner, pgs. 336-337)
ASC certainly seems to be a part of some type of Old Boys network and more than a few ASC affliates were quietly engaged in illegal activities for private gain. But just how much influence the CIA had over the ASC is debatable. To be sure, there were more than a few notorious former OSS (the predecessor organization to CIA) and CIA men involved with the ASC over the years. Some of the more noteworthy ones include James Jesus Angleton (the individual of whom Matt Damon's character in The Good Shepherd is based), William Pawley (who was never technically in OSS or, later, CIA, but who worked closely with them on various projects), General Edward Lansdale, Admiral Felix B. Stump (who again, was not technically with the Agency), General Daniel O. Graham (who bounced back and forth between CIA and the military and who later went on to head the Defense Intelligence Agency), Ray S. Cline and General John Singlaub, who we briefly encountered in the prior installment.
However, virtually all of these individuals are CIA men with asterisks. Many of them have strong ties to the military while several (Pawley, Singlaub, and Cline) were a part of CIA's so-called "China Cowboys" clique, a group of assets with strong ties to Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang (KMT) regime (which put them at odds with the Eastern Establishment over recognition of the People's Republic of China), for instance. Several of these assets seem to have been plagued by divided loyalties and at times worked far outside the "mainstream" (i.e., Wall Street controlled) CIA. Only Angleton was firmly entrenched amongst the Eastern blue bloods who dominated the CIA in the early decades.
What's more, virtually all of the above-mentioned CIA men were deeply involved in the agency's dealings with drug trafficking. Pawley, for instance, became an owner of the notorious Air America airline, the fleet of agency planes that were used to traffick drugs frequently.
"Air America was dreamed up by Donovan and Old China Hands William Pawley, Whitting Willauer and General Claire Chennault. In the 1930s, Pawley had set up Central Aircraft Manufacturing Company (CAMCO) for Madame Chiang Kai-shek, to assemble planes for what were later called the Flying Tigers. Pawley was paid lavishly by the Chiang regime, the Soong family, druglord Du Yueh-sheng. In 1950, Donovan and Pawley bought out Chennault, having persuaded the China Lobby to pay him $5-million for his beat-up airline. Pawley then 'retired' to Havana where he went into business with Meyer Lansky. He spent lavishly, buying sugar plantations, an airline and a bus company. When Fidel Castro seized control of Cuba from the Batista regime, Pawley escaped to Miami where he continued his alliance with Lansky, using a Miami bus company ass his front. Meanwhile, Pawley helped Donovan persuade right-wing Texas oil man H. L. Hunt to support the KMT regime with millions of dollars for covert operations."
(Gold Warriors, Sterling & Peggy Seagrave, pg. 270)
"Retired Admiral Felix B. Stump, until 1958 U.S. commander-in-chief, Pacific, and Air America's board chairman after 1959, told a Los Angeles audience in April 1960, 'World War III has already started, and we are deeply involved in it.' Later he declared it was 'high time' the nation won over communism in the Far East, and he called for the use of tactical nuclear weapons if necessary. Containment was not enough: we must 'move beyond this limited objective.'"
(Drugs, Oil, and War, Peter Dale Scott, pg. 137)
"Lansdale's resume included experience in an array of political and psychological warfare operations that involve drugs. In 1953, he had viewed the Laotian opium fields, and in 1955, he had chased the French out of Saigon and installed the Catholic Ngo regime. The Ngo regime's own drug smuggling operation was directed by Diem's brother Nhu... through his secret police chief, Dr. Tran Ki Tyen... In 1960, Lansdale had investigated SDECE's involvement in drug smuggling, and in 1962 he employed drug smuggling Mafiosi in the CIA shadow war against Cuba and its KGB adversaries. Possessed of a wild imagination, Lansdale had even proposed the introduction of cheap marijuana as a way of undermining Cuba's economy.
"In mid-1965, Lansdale assembled a team of American unconventional warfare experts and Filipino mercenaries to wage, undercover of the RD Program, a secret war against French nationals supporting the insurgents. His arrival in Vietnam also occur just as 'political upheavals' forced the Corsican airlines in Laos out of business. According to Professor Alfred McCoy, the first thing Lansdale did was to arrange a 'truce' with the Corsican drug smugglers in Saigon. Lansdale's motives was to protect himself from anyone who might still be holding a grudge from the sale guerre of 1955. In return for a guarantee that he would not be harmed, Lansdale gave the Corsicans free passage and thus enabled them, their Mafia associates, and a group of Vietnamese officials to control Saigon's lucrative drug market."
(The Strength of the Wolf, Douglas Valentine, pg. 417)
Unsurprisingly, even the most prestigious CIA men involved with the ASC, James Jesus Angleton, was long suspected of being involved in the drug trade as well.
"... The CIA formed a narcotics smuggling organization shortly after the Second World War through the AFL-CIO's overseas representative, Irving Brown... referred to it as 'the Brown-Angleton' network because James Angleton, the CIA's counter-intelligence chief, managed it was certain FBN agents and the aftermentioned mob attorney-cum-CIA agent Mario Brod.
"Angleton, Brod and FBN agent Charlie Siragusa had served together in Italy in the Second World War. As head of the FBN office in Rome, and as the FBN's liaisons to the CIA until his retirement in December 1963, Siragusa worked closely with Angleton, who relied heavily on Siragusa's underworld contacts. CIA officer Vincent Thill, as part of an operation put together by Angleton and William Harvey, asked Siragusa to recruit Mafia and Corsican hit men for the CIA, although Siragusa denied having done so.
"... the Brown-Angleton history, which began when Brown, using CIA funds, formed 'compatible left' unions in Marseille and hired Italian and Corsican thugs to break a strike by communist longshoremen. The gangsters, including a young Corsican named Maurice Castellani, were rewarded with free passage to smuggle drugs without interference."
(The Strength of the Pack, Douglas Valentine, pgs. 99-100)
"Prominent among the twenty-one aging military men on board are General Albert C. Wedemeyer; Admiral Lewis L. Strauss, former Atomic Energy Commission chairman; General Curtis LeMay; General Nathan F. Twining, ex-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; General Paul B. Adams, once headed the U.S. Strike Command; Admiral Ben Moreell, a Birch Society ally; General Bernard A. Schreiver, former chief of the Air Force Systems Command; and General Thomas S. Power, former commander of the Strategic Air Command."
(Power on the Right, William Turner, pg. 207)General Bernard A. Schriever was already mentioned in the prior installment. He, along with the ASC's National Strategy Committee co-chairman Lloyd Wright, both held membership in the ASC will simultaneously serving on the board of Wackenhut, the notorious private security firm. The rest of the above-mentioned roster is practically a who's who of reactionary post-WWII military men. It is beyond the scope of this series to address them all, but there are two names in the above list that warrant special attention.
First we shall consider is General Curtis LeMay, the man who directed the "strategic" bombing campaigns against Japanese cities in the final months of the Second World War. LeMay's campaigns are among the most brutal the Allies embarked upon in the entire war in either theater. When it was all said and done some 63 Japanese cities had been firebombed and over half a million civilians were dead while an additional 8 million homeless. Of these efforts, LeMay once stated: "I suppose if I had lost the war, I would have been tried as a war criminal." Indeed.
|General LeMay (top), who some believe was the inspiration for the character of General Jack D. Ripper (bottom) in the Kubrick classic Dr. Strangelove (a film far closer to reality than many would believe possible)|
"Carto and Liberty Lobby supported Wallace instinctively. Liberty Lobby produced a pro-Wallace pamphlet in 1965, Stand Up for America: The Story of George C. Wallace, and mailed out 175,000 copies to its own supporters. Another 150,000 copies belonged to Wallace's campaign, which regularly distributed the Liberty Lobby publication on its own. When Wallace's speechwriter convened in a meeting of racist and far right leaders in 1966 to jump-start a 1968 bid, Carto was invited and sent a representative.
"Wallace decided to run a third party presidential campaign outside both the Republican and Democratic parties in 1968. He named his third-party the American Independent Party, but never called a national convention or other serious steps to build a party apparatus free of his campaign. Instead, his most trusted lieutenants run a top-down operation from headquarters in Montgomery. Nevertheless, outside the Alabama home base, far right groups provided much of the campaign's muscle. Paramilitary outfits such as the Minutemen in the Midwest and the Klan in the South found themselves Wallace allies. Larger groups such as the John Birch Society worked in tandem with smaller sects. Segregationist rubbed elbows with men from the national socialist world. Within this milieu, Liberty Lobby blipped on screen much like any other group."
(Blood and Politics, Leonard Zeskind, pgs. 13-14)
However, LeMay is ultimately small potatoes compared to General Albert Wedemeyer. Wedemeyer was a German-American officer in the U.S. Army who spend extensive amount of time in the Fatherland between the World Wars.
"Colonel Wedemeyer had an interesting history. His father's parents were born in Germany, and he himself had been educated in part at the German War College, in Berlin. He rented his apartment in the German capital from a member of the Nazi Party, Gerhard Rossbach, and during his sojourn became a great friend of General Ludwig Beck, chief of the German General Staff. His introductions to Beck were arranged by Lieutenant General Frederick von Boetticher, German military attaché in Washington. He corresponded regularly with his German contacts until the advent of World War II in Europe.
"He was friendly with Charles Lindbergh and acted as his interpreter in German uniform when the Lone Eagle visited various Nazi factories and army post, and he was a keen supporter General Robert Wood, the head of America First. Rightly or wrongly, he was regarded by the German Embassy in Washington as part of the pro-German military clique in the War Department. There is no question that he was a convinced isolationist who sincerely believe that the United States was not obliged commit itself to war on behalf of Great Britain."
(American Swastika, Charles Higham, pg. 137)
"'A lot of people don't know it,' said Gale, reaching over his files for a cup of coffee, 'but Generals Stratemeyer and Wedemeyer... our war plans officers who happened to be all Germans, went over to Germany after World War I, after Versailles, and studied what was known as the German General Staff Concept.' He chuckled, amused.
"'You see, in the Versailles Treaty at the end of World War I, Germany was limited to a 150,000-man army in total. You know what they did? They trained all 150,000 men to be qualified general staff officers! Even though they were privates in the army, they were trained and qualified general staff corp officers! These men were trained in officer leadership, combat and command, and even general staff concepts of cadries, to fill in with the troops.'
"He withdrew his feet from under the sleeping cat, and pushed his chair back into a reclining position. Clasping his hands behind his head, he mused ruefully; 'We learned everything from the Germans and we used against them in World War II! It [the German General Staff Concept] was taught in our General Staff College, and the Infantry School and various service schools of the military. And, that's what our United States Army had in our general officers who were planners – war plan officers General Stratemeyer, General Wedemeyer and all those in Washington, which was the group I was assigned to, called Operations Division of the War Department. My theatre section consisted of General Marshall and General MacArthur.'"
(The Committee of the States, Cheri Seymour, pgs. 39-40)
Beyond bringing the German General Staff Concept to the United States, Wedemeyer also seemingly contributed to a deeply racist and conspiratorial subculture that had been developing in the US Military for some time. Indeed, Wedemeyer would play a major role in contributing to many of the post-World War II conspiracy theories, but more on that in a future series. For our purposes here I would like to address one other aspect of Wedemeyer's curious career before moving on, namely his possible collaboration with the Nazis. Prior to America's entry into WWII the army's battle plan for Europe was leaked to the Chicago Tribune (the same newspaper owned by Colonel Robert McCormick, who played a role in the launching of the ASC, as discussed in part one) by Senator Burton K. Wheeler. Wedemeyer has long been suspected as being the military man who turned the dpcument over to the senator.
"Rainbow 5 was the battle plan developed by the military in case war broke out. Publishing the plan or leaking information about it would be the equivalent of publishing or leaking the battle order of the Pentagon during the Cold War – unquestionably, an act of treason. In Hitler speech declaring war against the United States on Dec. 11, 1941, he cited the final straw: 'With no attempt at an official denial there has now been revealed in America, President Roosevelt's plan by which, at the latest in 1943, Germany and Italy are to be attacked in Europe by military means.'
"The government failed to charge anyone with treason or sedition: neither the Chicago Tribune, nor Wheeler or nor the Army officer who delivered the papers to him, despite an FBI investigation. Fewer than a dozen copies of the top-secret contingency plan existed.
"The author of the report on Rainbow 5 was Colonel Albert Wedemeyer, who had been educated at the German War College...
"Hoover strongly believed that Wedemeyer leaked the plans to Wheeler. Of special note, Reagan resurrected Wedemeyer's career as a special military advisor in the 1980s, yet another of the many seemingly innocent connections between Reagan and the Nazis."
(The Nazi Hydra in America, Glen Yeadon & John Hawkins, pg. 242)
This was not the only connection between the ASC and the Nazis, either. This topic will be examined in much further depth in the next installment. For the time being, I would like to focus on another military man who may hold the key to the overworld purpose of the ASC: Admiral Robert W. Berry.
"... Also working with the ASC... Admiral Robert W. Berry, Pacific coast director for the rarely mentioned the powerful National Security Industrial Association...
"An additional word should be said here about the NSIA, which describes itself as a 'non-lobbying organization of more than 400 [defense contractors] conceived by James Forrestal in 1944': 'NSIA has won a reputation with both industry and government for fair dealing by expressing only those points of view which can provide a strong national defense program...'"The NSIA (now the National Defense Industrial Association [NDIA]) is likely a major player in the murky and rarely mentioned world of industrial security and intelligence.
"... All defense contractors were eventually required by law to conduct industrial-security investigations, under legislation for which both the FBI and the American Legion had helped to lobby. This legislation created work both for veterans and for the Legion itself. During World War II the Legion had build up a network of confidential information contacts, on the model of the so-called vigilantes of the American Protective League during World War I..."
(Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, Peter Dale Scott, pg. 244)While CIA no doubt played a role in industrial security both the FBI and military intelligence had become deeply immersed in it almost a quarter of a century before the OSS (the predecessor to CIA) was even founded. For the remainder of this piece I want to examine the origins of America's industrial security apparatus as it is essential to understanding the ways of the ASC.
The architect of the nation's industrial security was General Ralph van Deman, a man generally referred to as the father of military intelligence. America had only recently begun to dip its toe into the black arts of intelligence prior to its entry into the First World War. As such, Van Deman had few men or viable intelligence networks to guard the nation's factories from sabotage by spies. For this crucial task Van Deman turned to various super patriot groups, most notably the above-mentioned American Protective League, to guard the nation against sabotage.
"Patriots also formed 'dozens of organizations... devoted to running down of spies,' something Major Van Deman called 'an extremely dangerous development'. Yet, with MID requiring millions of man hours for its burgeoning domestic security operations, he also saw potential in these groups, feeling that a national organization of civilian spies 'might be of great value to the government.'
"The most promising of these groups, the American Protective League, had been formed in the first weeks of war when a Chicago businessman, Albert M. Briggs, convinced the Bureau of Investigation's regional supervisor to collaborate with a citizen surveillance network. For the first nine months of the war, the APL's executive operated out of Chicago under a so-called War Board with representatives from nine agencies including the Bureau of Investigation and MID – the latter represented by Maj. Thomas B Crockett, the APL's assistant chief, now commission into the Army. After conducting a very careful investigation of this and other civilian organizations, Major Van Deman summoned the APL's leadership to offer him both the commission and a mission on the assurance that his members would be willing 'to do absolutely nothing except what they were requested to do by the Military Intelligence Branch.' Through what the Army's chief of staff described as an 'arrangement with the Justice Department,' the APL was now placed 'at the disposal of M.I.D.' After moving its headquarters to Washington in November, the APL reformed its executive to include just two government representatives, a lieutenant and captain from MID assigned to monitor the leaks counterintelligence mission. Working closely with BI director Bruce Bielaski, Van Deman presided over the APL's transformation into a civilian counterintelligence auxiliary. It deployed over 350,000 volunteer agents in 1,400 local units who... amassed over a million pages of surveillance reports of German-Americans. In just 14 months, the league had conducted a total of three million wartime investigations for the government, including 440,000 cases of suspected subversion for MID."
(Policing America's Empire. Alfred McCoy, pg. 301)
The APL and other patriot groups that collaborated with the FBI and the Military Intelligence Division (MID) quickly became a lightening rod for controversy, however. They were accused of a whole host of civil liberties violations as well as becoming a glorified strike breaking force for capital. This led to a brief disbandment of the League, but then the nation's first Red Scare began to set in. With the Bolshevik Revolution in full swing in Russia the climate was perfect for Van Deman's intelligence apparatus to do its thing.
"In this changed climate MID and the Justice Department revived their network of civilian adjuncts, activating the APL and organizing returning white war veterans into the American Legion for both systematic surveillance and vigilante violence against the left. Throughout 1919 MID promoted the American Legion as its main civilian adjunct, lobbying it's leadership for an antiradical commitment and encouraging its initial growth to a membership of 120,000 in thirty-one states... Beyond these two stalwarts, MID encourage multiple military networks for domestic surveillance, including, at Van Deman's suggestion, an organization of MID's own veterans and regular monitoring by Army recruiters who should, MID ordered, submit weekly reports on 'the numerical strength of the extreme radical or "Red" element in your district.
"From November 1919 to January 1920, the nation's internal security agencies, BI and MID, unleashed their civilian adjuncts for three months of aggressive action against the left known as the 'red scare' or the 'Palmer raids.' From MID's regional office in Chicago, Major Crockett oversaw the American Legion's attacks on socialists across the Midwest. The Chicago post announced a plan for 'some night riding or what is known as "Ku Klux" work... destroying stores that sell radical literature.' The legion's Milwaukee post raided the local IWW offices, confiscating their literature. In Cincinnati eight hundred legionaries ransacked radical offices, burning hundreds of pounds of socialist text. In the Pacific Northwest, the legion launched a 'war of extermination against members of the I.W.W.' that, in the view of one historian, 'practically destroyed the Wobblies' in that region. During these months of red scare, veterans' posts in cities such as San Diego and Stockton harassed union leaders with violence that swept along the West Coast, cumulating in an armed legion attack on the IWW hall at Centralia, Washington. At the urging of the local Lumberman's Association, the town's legion post decided to 'burn 'em out' as a way to celebrate Armistice Day 1919. But the unions fought back, killing four of the attacking legionaries. That night the veterans evened the score by publicly torturing, mutilating, and lynching an IWW member."
(ibid, pgs. 314-315)
Eventually cooler heads prevailed and the APL and much of the Military Intelligence Division was put on the shelf. Van Deman himself retired from military in the 1920s after his career began to stall. But then, in 1927, he started assembling a vast private intelligence network with support from the FBI and the military.
"From his comfortable home at 3141 Curlew Street in San Diego, Van Deman and his wife, childless and increasingly friendless, worked tirelessly for nearly a quarter century. Their incessant typing, filing, and cross-referencing animated an elaborate information exchange among members of the states public-private security network: army and navy intelligence, police red squads, and civilian groups across California. Though long retired from government service, the general continued to receive classified reports from federal, state, and local agencies. Van Deman's private archive swelled over time to a quarter million files on suspected subversives by the time of his death in 1952. But following his trademark method in Manila and Washington, this massive documentation was reduced to a single card for each suspect. His modest bungalow thus became a veritable search engine for intelligence professionals struggling to lift the mask of aliases that the Communist Party had donned since the red-scare roundup of 1919-20. Apart from the raw documents, the general maintained a reference library of rare communist publications and an archive of identification photos. Beyond typing and filing, Van Deman's web also included operatives inside the state ethnic communities, an undercover agent in the aircraft industry, assets with access to Hollywood's leftist circles, private eyes in the hire of anticommunist groups, and citizen sleuths from across the state – all with their names carefully concealed by a numbered code system that the Army and FBI would struggle to decipher after his death.
"Though Van Deman remains an obscure figure, specialists noted his central role in the anticommunist movement. The Aamy analysts who assessed his files in 1971 wrote years later, as a distinguished historian, that Van Deman, absent any federal agency 'fighting the radicals,' built an influential information clearinghouse that 'left the other patriot groups in the dust.' With funds from the FBI and army, he 'ruled a large and sophisticated spy network.' A leading lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union called the general 'one of the giants of anti-communism, a super-hawk,... a phobic nativist red hunter' whose undercover network penetrated not only the Communist Party but a whole spectrum of liberal targets, including religious, civil rights, and labor organizations. Through his single-minded focus, unequaled experience, and ceaseless efforts, Van Deman became the spider at the center of a spreading web of domestic surveillance."
(Policing America's Empire. Alfred McCoy, pgs. 320-321)
|General Van Deman|
"... In December, FBI headquarters issued 'special instructions' for a San Diego agent to 'devote himself exclusively to the task of reviewing general Van Deman's files and extracting all information of value to the Bureau.' Three years later the liaison officer between the FBI and G-2, Col. Leslie R. Forney, assigned two full-time clerks to his San Diego archive, paid from the 'army's confidential fund'... This unique quasi-official status, moreover, allowed the general to insert unverified civilian suspicions into government files and later to disseminate military intelligence to civilian activists – making him a catalyst for the renewed public-private alliance that would animate the postwar anticommunist movement."
"... While serving as an advisor to the War Department from 1941 to 1946, for which he later received the Legion of Merit, Van Deman spent the war in San Diego presiding over an ever-increasing exchange of information via his private-public network."
(ibid, pg. 328)Naturally Van Deman contributed to the McCarthyism that emerged during the early years of the Cold War. Van Deman have been keeping tabs on Hollywood liberals for decades and his files were instrumental in the Hollywood blacklists that Senator Joseph McCarthy became notorious for. While Van Deman died in 1952 it would seem that his concept of a public-private intelligence network to guard the nation's leading industries against "subversives" lived on long after him. The military assumed his files upon Van Deman's death and would use them as an intelligence source until 1968, when mounting public outrage over the domestic surveillance programs of various US intelligence agencies forced them to officially retire Van Deman's archive. But the public-private network he established never entirely went away.
"... Just as Philippines Constabulary had destroyed reputations through revelations of sexual or financial irregularities in occupied Manila, so the U.S. internal security apparatus would attack suspected subversives not by formal prosecution but by a similar social ostracism exercise through public listing or 'blacklisting.' Not only did Van Deman's civilian apparatus later identify Hollywood communist for blacklisting during the 1940s, but some sources argue his network also played a key role in the political rise of Richard Nixon, providing his early congressional campaigns with confidential intelligence to red-bait liberal opponents...
"Although American intelligence officer serving overseas practiced a clandestine tradecraft similar to that of their European allies, U.S. domestic security emerged from the world war as a distinctive public-private or state-society collaboration. Just as the Philippines Constabulary relied on hundreds of Filipino operatives, so the wartime Military Intelligence Division amplified its research through the three hundred thousand civilian spies of the American Protective League. Established in 1917-18, this alliance of state security and civilian adjuncts continued, under different names, for the next 50 years as a sub rosa matrix that honeycombed American society with active informers, secretive civilian organizations, and government security agencies, federal and local. In each succeeding global crisis, this covert nexus expanded its domestic operations, producing new contraventions of civil liberties, from the systematic surveillance of German Americans during World War I through the secret blacklisting of suspected communist during the Cold War. Police worldwide had long relied on low-life informers known by derogatory terms of 'snitch' or 'phizz gig.' Secret services in Europe and Japan had paid individual spies, informers, and agent provocateurs for the better part of a century. The U.S. internal security was now developing a unique profile as an institutional fusion of federal agencies and civilian organizations, investing this distinctive nexus with both the social force of a mass movement and the institutional resilience of a state agency – attributes that would define its operations for the next half-century."
(ibid, pgs. 295-296)
I've been unable to find anything linking Van Deman or anyone associated with him to the American Security Council directly but there is the American Legion link. Van Deman helped establish the Legion as a spy network and later the Legion would join up with the ASC via the figure of former FBI man and sometime CIA asset Lee Pennington. Pennington brought a massive file collection he had established with the Legion to the ASC in the 1950s when he transferred to the later. Pennington and the ties between the ASC and the League were discussed briefly in the second installment of this series.
It seems clear that the ASC took over the function Van Deman had been serving for years – namely, as a clearinghouse for intelligence reports provided from a host of public and private sources concerning industry. The modus operandi for either was quite similar – With backing from corporate America, the FBI and military they brought together intelligence provided by government officials (i.e. FBI men, state and local police, etc), "reputable" private organizations (i.e. the security divisions of corporations, the American Legion and major private detective firms, which typically feature a former FBI man or a dozen) and various "superpatriot" groups, of which the APL was the first.
Indeed, the ASC may even have been an attempt by the military and the FBI (and likely the CIA as well) to re-create Deman's public-private network on a national scale (the general's network largely only covered California for most of his lifetime). But beyond industrial security, it also serve to reinforce the rabid anti-Communism that was necessary to perpetuating the Cold War, thus further lining the pockets of the defense industry and fulfilling the ideological objectives of the military brass and fellow travelers. Beyond that, it also helped to financially marginalize liberals deemed "to radical" via blacklisting so that courses if action remained limited.
|as I hope this series has illustrated thus far, anticommunist hysteria didn't spring into being with McCarthyism in the late 1940s but had in fact been institutionalized into the nation's psyche for decades; Allan Pinkerton, founder of the notorious Pinkerton National Detective Agency (the country's first major nation wide intelligence apparatus), was one of the first to bang the drumbeat of the "communist threat" as far back as the late 19th century|
The ASC theoretically got out of the industrial intelligence racket in the early 1970s when the FBI, CIA and military were winding down their own domestic surveillance operations. Public outrage over the abuses of said agencies was growing by the day in the early 1970s making such a course of action highly prudent on the ASC's part. It remained in the shadows pursuing its various agendas largely outside the glare of public scrutiny. And when the time was right, it seems to have continued its intelligence gathering activities while using the "patriot movement" as a front for such endeavors. This topic will be discussed in much greater depth in a future series on the patriot movement.
But while the ASC's overworld function was to serve the industrial security complex as a propaganda and intelligence network there were also other factions in the ASC that seemingly had their own objectives. In the next installment in this series we shall examine some of these factions, with a special emphasis on the occult and high weirdness aspects surrounding them. Stay tuned.