Welcome to the second installment in my examination of the ties between the far right and high weirdness from the Cold War era till present. In this context, I am using the phrase "high weirdness" as a catch-all for a host of fringe and arcane topics --UFOs, psi , psychedelics and so forth --that are far more interrelated than is generally assumed. As for far right, this will be elaborated upon over the course of this series.
With the first installment I outlined the curious killing spree of one Wade Michael Page and the possible deep political implications behind it as was well as the high weirdness that reared its head during the 2016 presidential contest. Having teased about the modern manifestations of the far right and high weirdness, I would now like to turn back to the onset of the Cold War so that I can better examine this peculiar history.
A good place to start would be with the rise of the military-industrial complex, which has long served as the backbone of the American far right. The emergence of the military-industrial complex is also crucial to the divide between the American ruling factions, which largely consists of the traditional conservatives long associated with longtime conspiratorial bugaboos such as the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberg group and the far right and their own network of think tanks. During the Cold War the most powerful of these were the American Security Council (addressed at length here), the World Anti-Communist League (addressed at length here) and Le Cercle (noted before here). While Le Cercle remains a major power the ASC and WACL have largely been surpassed by next generation groups such as the Heritage Foundation, the Center for Security Policy and the Council for National Policy.
The military-industrial complex had its origins with the traditional conservatives, however. The CFR in particular was a crucial driving force behind it. The impetus behind the military-industrial complex and the national security state that emerged was largely driven by two-time Secretary of War Henry Stimson and several key officials who served under him in the War Department during WWII. Here are some more details:
"... On June 19, President Roosevelt appointed Republican Wall Street lawyer and Theodore Roosevelt protégé Henry L. Stimson to the post of Secretary of War. Named as his assistant was another Republican corporate lawyer of similar standing, Robert P Patterson. Both Stimson and Patterson were leading members of the Council on Foreign Relations. A decade later, Patterson would become one of the founders of the CPD. Richard Barnet pinpoints Roosevelt's decision as the origin of the foreign policy establishment. He writes that Stimson was steeped in the worldview of Theodore Roosevelt and,
... Within six months of FDR's call Stimson had put together an impressive staff of like-minded people who also were imbued with TR's values – struggle, honored, and glory... After 1940, the national security managers, working with the military, began to redefine the national interest.
"Huntington agrees with Barnet's assessment of their importance but disagrees on their impact, referring to them admirably as 'neo-Hamiltonians' who turned America away from its traditional isolationist tendencies towards world leadership. If Barnett and Huntington differ on the end result of the Establishment's rise to power, each agrees that this exclusive group is critical in the formation of American policy throughout the war and into the post-war period. Stimson's and Patterson's principal assistants in the War Department included John J. McCloy, Robert Lovett, and Harvey Bundy. Like their mentors, each of these men were active members of the Eastern financial and political establishment. McCloy, who served as Stimson's personal chief, recalled: 'Whenever we needed a man we thumbed through the role of the Council (On Foreign Relations) members and put through a call to New York.'...
"After the war, Stimson's recruits and their colleagues in Roosevelt's wartime government stayed on as the key architects of postwar national security and foreign policy. Upon Stimson's retirement in 1945, Patterson took over as Secretary of War. Barnet describes the impact of the war department graduates as follows:
It was Stimson and Forrestal's (Secretary of the Navy who would become the first Secretary of Defense) recruits, plus a few others of similar backgrounds, including Dean Acheson, Will Clayton, and Averell Harriman who, after Roosevelt's sudden death, formed the collective picture of the world adopted by the uninformed and ill-prepared Harry Truman.
"Summoned from the worlds of corporate law and high finance with little or no experience in government they soon took over the reins of foreign policy from career diplomats in the State Department..."
(Peddlers of Crisis, Jerry Sanders, pgs. 70-71)
It is also interesting to note the presence of so many Bonesmen among this emerging "foreign policy establishment." Stimson himself was a Skull and Bones initiate as was Bundy and Lovett. Robert Lovett (along with non-Bonesman John McCloy) was also a member the "Wise Men" whom many mainstream historians credit with the creation of much of the US's post-WWII foreign policy. Dean Acheson and Averell Harriman, two other Wise Men, were also Bonesmen and worked closely with the Stimson clique. Skull and Bones has curious ties to the far right, as was noted before here. But back to the matter at hand.
So, while on the whole Stimson and the clique surrounding him were a part of the Eastern Establishment, they more accurately should be classified as middle managers of said establishment. These were the men tasked with overseeing the vast financial empires of the American aristocracy such as the Morgan, Rockefeller and Mellon families. And ultimately they were the ones responsible for selling the military-industrial complex to such families.
"While the vision of a Pax Americana constructed upon the foundation of militarism was accepted within the foreign policy establishment – with the notable exception of a few dissidents like George Keenan and Charles Bohlen who were soon drummed out of the club – as well as within presidential councils once Louis Johnson departed from the Administration, it was not so extensively held outside those rarefied circles. The wider business community and the wider political community would still have to be persuaded of the wisdom of tripling military expenditures, bankrolling Europe's rearmament, and garrisoning American troops abroad to ensure the success of such an ambitious undertaking. Business leaders could be reached through the ordinary channels of communication that existed with the president, the foreign policy establishment, the corporate elite, and where necessary through extraordinary private briefings and seminars like the 'Citizen's Council' of September, 1950.
"As had been the case with governmental initiatives dating from the New Deal through the Marshall Plan, business was reluctant to endorse higher levels of government spending. But there was increasing common ground between international business and the foreign policy establishment. What they shared was the belief that Western Europe was the linchpin of the global order favorable to the expansion of profits as well as power. Thus the representatives of corporate capitalism clustered on the eastern seaboard had little trouble grasping the logic of the new internationalism once it was explained to them by the 'best and brightest' from their own ranks who had gone on to become national security managers – men like Acheson, McCloy, Lovett, and Nitze, who assured the corporate elite that the economy could not only accommodate the military Keynesian programs outlined in NSC-68 but could actually benefit from such spending."
(Peddlers of Crisis, Jerry Sanders, pg. 78)This did not ultimately prove to be the case. The rise of the military-industrial complex led to a massive shift of wealth and power away from Wall Street and the Anglo-American establishment that controlled it. Increasingly Silicon Valley and the national security apparatus have been the ones to fill the void.
The situation came to a head in the late 1960s when the CFR became divided between the "traders" and the "Prussians." The traders, led by David Rockefeller, eventually formed the Trilateral Commission to further their objectives of free trade and economic integration while the Prussians, personified by Paul Nitze, would form the Committee on the Present Danger Mach II. This largely put them in the same camp as the far right by the 1970s.
|David Rockefeller (top) and Paul Nitze (bottom)|
And then there's Theodore Roosevelt, whom Stimson and many of his appointments idolized. Roosevelt was an early proponent of American imperialism and had paved the way for Standard Oil, the basis of the Rockefeller fortune, to be broken up under anti-trust regulations. Despite being the scion of a wealthy East Coast family, Roosevelt does not seem to have been especially taken with the great families of the region.
|Theodore Roosevelt Jr.|
On the other hand, Archibald Roosevelt Jr., a top level CIA officer, would later work closely with David Rockefeller and Chase Manhattan. And many of the latter day Roosevelts are extremely active in the environmental movement, a major obsession of the traditional conservative camp. Like the Mellon family (chronicled before here), appears to have been starkly divided at times. with more than a few family members seemingly having an ax to grind with the traditional conservative camp.
Why then would Stimson's acolytes be entrusted with so much power by their corporate overlords? Surely they could see the foreign policy they promoted was far closer to the militant internationalism of Theodore Roosevelt rather than the trade-dominated variety they had long pursued. Was there something more going on behind the scenes?
To answer this question, we must turn to the original Committee on the Present Danger (CPD), the first true lobby group for the military-industrial complex. The CPD brought together many of Stimson's War Department lackeys along with the emerging class of technocrats from academia. One particular technocrat would play an enormous role in selling the military-industrial complex to both the elite and the American public at large. This individual was none other than Vannevar Bush.
Bush is of course well-known among UFOs buffs as a reputed member of Majestic 12, but on the whole is generally depicted by mainstream historians as a brilliant scientist than had limited influence on national policy. This could not be further from the truth. In point of fact, Bush was at the center of some of the darkest corners of the early national security state and played a crucial role in merging academia with the emerging military-industrial complex.
"If Roosevelt's appointment of Stimson and Patterson opened the avenue through which the corporate elite entered the institutions of foreign-policy formation, an equally important event occurred that same summer when the technocratic connection to the national security bureaucracy was established. Vannevar Bush and James Conant had together been discussing how scientists could assist in hastening the preparation for entrance into World War II at a meeting of scientists and educators. Shortly thereafter Bush gained access to President Roosevelt through Harry Hopkins, the President's close adviser and confidant, and persuaded Roosevelt to establish a National Defense Research Committee. The National Defense Research Committee was to operate in the executive branch under the chairmanship of Bush, who was at the time serving as president of the Carnegie Institution. Conant writes that aside from the applications of scientific technology to weapons development 'the committee marked the beginning of a revolution' in another sense. Here Conant was referring to the link between university laboratories and research and development of weapons which would become a routine feature the Cold War era.
"The National Defense Research Committee was quickly subsumed under a new agency – the Office of Scientific Research and Development, located in the Office of Emergency Management within the Executive. The powerful bureau, which Bush headed from 1941 to 1946, dealt directly with the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the President. When Bush moved to the directorship of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Conant replaced him as the National Defense Research Committee while at the same time serving as Bush's assistant at Scientific Research and Development. One of their associates James Phinney Baxter III, won a Pulitzer Prize for his tale of the agency's work called Scientists Against Time. By 1950 Baxter was president of Smith College and joined Bush and Conant on the membership rolls of the CPD. Another prominent college president who also served in the Office of Scientific Research and Development during the war and later on the executive committee of the CPD was Robert G. Sproul of the University of California, whose name had appeared along with Conant's in the NSC-68 deliberations concerning formation of a 'vast propaganda machine' under the direction of influential national opinion leaders.
"The primary work of the Office of Scientific Research and Development was production of the atomic bomb. It was Bush in fact, who in October 1941, won White House sanction for a full-scale effort to explore the possibilities for an atomic weapons program. When the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945, the decision to target Japanese cities was recommended to Truman by Secretary of War Stimson based upon the opinion of an Interim Committee under his direction. On this committee of eight civilians charged with responsibility for the monstrous decision were three who would become members of the CPD. They were Assistant Secretary of State Clayton, Bush, and Conant. The Interim Committee recommended unanimously 'that the bomb be used against the enemy as soon as it could be done... without specific warning and against a target that would clearly show its devastating strength.' In fact, according to more than one account, it was Conant who suggested that the only target meeting such criteria was a population center, ideally 'a war plant employing a large number of workers closely surrounded by workers; houses.' "
(Peddlers of Crisis, Jerry Sanders, pgs. 72-73)
As was noted before here, there is compelling evidence that Division 19 played a key role in OSS assassination plots, potentially even working directly with Mafia figures towards this end of the war. One particular member of the NDRC was Boris Pash, who was the military leader of the Alsos Mission, an Allied operation to determine the extent of the Axis nuclear program and other weapons research. Vannever Bush had personally green lighted this mission.
Division 19 also became involved in the early OSS "truth drug" experiments that would serve as the basis for later research conducted by the CIA and Pentagon as part of programs such as ARTICHOKE, MK-ULTRA and MK-OFTEN. The head of Division 19 was H. Marshall Chadwell, a likely associate of Bush's who would have worked closely with him throughout the war. Chadwell would go on to head the CIA's Office of Scientific Intelligence (OSI). The OSI would briefly head ARTICHOKE during Chadwell's tenure and would continue to be heavily involved in the project after control reverted back to the Office of Security (which had numerous ties to the far right, most notably the American Security Council, a close alley of the Committee on the Present Danger Mach II by the late 1970s).
To recap, then:
- Vannevar Bush headed both the National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) and the Office of Scientific Research and Development (OSRD)
- the NDRC and OSRD were deeply involved in the development of the atomic bomb, which Bush and his close colleague James Conant had been vigorous proponents of
- Bush seemingly played a role in urging Truman, via Secretary of Wart Stimson, to deliberately target Japanese civilians by nuking their cities; Bush had the ear of Stimson via his close aide William Bundy, who was Stimson's personal liaison to Bush
- While all of this was going on, the NDRC and OSRD were also involved in research, via Division 19, to apply science to assassinations as well as developing a "truth serum"
- This "research" was later taken up by the CIA and Pentagon in programs such as BLUEBIRD and ARTICHOKE, which featured crucial participation from Bush subordinates like Boris Pash and H. Marshall Chadwell
- While Chadwell and his merry band were revving up ARTICHOKE, Bush became a key member of the Committee on the Present Danger (CPD) along with several of his other NDRC/OSRD subordinates and Strimson's War Department clique
- the CPD Mach I was the first lobby group for the military-industrial complex and played a crucial role in enacting the national security state, the foundation of which was laid by the 1947 National Security Act, but which was not fully initiated until the approval of NSC-68
Bush was an unabashed cheerleader for the national security state, even appearing regularly on radio broadcasts to pimp it:
"At this point the CPD decided to step up its offensive by institutionalizing the Conant-style national radio broadcast in the form of a weekly series. The broadcasts would be aired on Sunday evenings over the Mutual Broadcasting System, which had 550 affiliates throughout the country. The first of these addresses was presented March 4, 1951, by Vannevar Bush. The points he made were lifted right from NSC-68. The renowned nuclear scientist said that while the atomic bomb had been a sufficient deterrent in the past, the U.S. could no longer count on strategic bombing as the only means of 'inhibiting Soviet aggression.' Only a combination of ground forces and continued development of atomic weapons could avert the Russian advance. This in turn called for a commitment of U.S. troops to Europe to see the proposed remilitarization through. Finally he asserted, universal military service was the vehicle that would allow the U.S. to fulfill its commitment."
(Peddlers of Crisis, Jerry Sanders, pgs. 92-93)Thus, the arms race and the draft are two more aspects of Bush's legacy. Yet another aspect, as indicated above, was his militarization of academia. Bush played a key role in opening up universities to Federal grants for defense research. This also laid the foundation for the ARTICHOKE, MK-ULTRA and OFTEN experiments that made ample use of the nation's leading universities for their experiments.
Bush then was far from the marginal player mainstream historians often depict him as being. In point of fact, he appears to a key architect of the national security state. The military-industrial complex is as much his legacy as anyone's.
But how did this scientist, as a brilliant as he may have been, end up dictating the post-war order to the business class that sponsored him? Bush, along with the Stimson-clique, played an absolutely crucial role in convincing the robber barons of embarking upon this uncertain road. Just consider some of the individuals who attended the above-mentioned 1950 "Citizen's Conference" geared toward convincing the corporate elite of this path:
"From the beginning, university educators played a prominent role both within the CPD itself and in support of CPD proposals and their professional organizations and activities. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in the so-called 'Citizen's Conference,' sponsored by seven college presidents – among them Wriston – to expand their views on universal military service and its link to an adequate defense posture. General Eisenhower, then president of Columbia University, was slated to give the keynote address. Conant was unable to attend but prepared a statement that was read by the Dean of the Harvard Business School, Donald K. David. In the words of the organizers of the 'Citizen's Conference' it was attended by,
fifty industrialists, heads of many communication services – press, radio, newspaper, and magazines – financiers, educators, heads of farm organizations, life insurance and railroad presidents.
"Some of those attending included financier Bernard Baruch, Winthrop Aldrich of the Chase Manhattan Bank, Julius Ochs Adler of the New York Times – who would soon become a member of the CPD – Alfred P. Sloan of General Motors, George Whitney of the J. P. Morgan investment firm, and magnates John Hay Whitney, and John D. Rockefeller. Tracy Voorhees was also there. The confidential report of this high-level meeting reveals that it was strictly a briefing for Establishment consumption: 'It was agreed that no public record would be made of the views expressed at the conference; hence this memorandum is to be strictly confidential,' wrote Harry Bullis, CPD member and president of General Mills."
(Peddlers of Crisis, Jerry Sanders, pgs. 64-65)
|Winthrop Aldrich (top), Alfred P. Sloan (middle) and John D. ROckefeller Jr. (bottom)|
What then did Bush and the Stimson clique have that was so compelling? This is where the UFO question becomes so relevant. Had the military and these defense scientists discovered something that warranted a profound reorientation of American society, one of which that hasn't always been especially beneficial to the financial elites that green lighted (and paid for) much of the military-industrial complex?
There is certainly compelling evidence that Bush was deeply involved in UFO research by the time he signed up with the Committee on the Present Danger Mach I and became a spokesman for the budding military-industrial complex. Consider the so-called Smith memo:
"One of the most important documents on UFOs to be released in Canada is a hitherto top secret memorandum from Wilbert B. Smith, senior radio engineer with the Canadian government Department of Transport at the time and a highly respected scientist who had a master's degree in electrical engineering and several patents. The memo, dated 21 November 1950, was sent to the Controller of Telecommunications, and recommended that a research project be set up study the subject.
" 'We believe that we are on the track of something which may well prove to be the introduction to a new technology,' Smith wrote. 'The existence of a different technology is borne out by the investigations which are being carried on at the present time in relation to flying saucers.' Smith went on to state that through discreet inquiries made at the Canadian Embassy in Washington he had learned (from Dr. Robert Sarbacher) that:
a. The matter is the most highly classified subject in the United States government, rating higher even than the H-bomb.
b. Flying saucers exist.
c. Their modus operandi is unknown but concentrated effort is being made by small group headed by Doctor Vannevar Bush.
d. The entire matter is considered by the United States authorities to be of tremendous significance.
"Here we have incontrovertible evidence for the high security classification attached to the subject. The reference to the 'small group' headed by Dr. Vannevar Bush is equally significant, since in 1947, following the retrieval of parts of a UFO near Roswell, New Mexico, a small, select group, code-named Majestic 12, was established to inform the president about UFO developments, and it was headed by Dr. Bush..."
(Above Top Secret, Timothy Good, pg. 183)
|Wilbert B. Smith|
For one, Bush's former NDRC subordinate H. Marshall Chadwell had a keen interest in UFOs, one of which that bordered on the paranoid. As was noted before here, it was Chadwell during his time heading the Office of Scientific Intelligence that he seriously lobbied the CIA to investigate UFOs.
Chadwell also played a key role in the creation of the infamous Robertson Panel, in which a massive disinformation campaign involving the UFO subject was recommended. The panel's name sake, Howard P. Robertson, had also worked in the NDRC and the OSRD during WWII. By 1944 he was also a Technical Consultant to Stimson's War Department.
|Howard P. Robertson|
MK-ULTRA would also investigate the UFO phenomenon. Interestingly, Cornelius Van Schaack Roosevelt, a grandson of Teddy Roosevelt via Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (who, as noted above, co-founded the American Legion and may have involved in intrigues to stage a coup against his distant relative FDR), was the head of the Technical Services Staff (TSS) in the early 1960s. This was the CIA branch that oversaw MK-ULTRA, making Roosevelt Sidney Gottlieb's boss at that point. But back to the matter at hand.
Secretary of Defense James Forrestal's presence in these ranks is noteworthy as well. Forrestal was another reputed Majestic-12 member who allegedly committed suicide in 1949. Even at the time his death was regarded as highly suspicious and it has since been re-examined by a host of researchers. While there is nothing concrete to tie Forrestal to the UFO phenomenon aside from the highly dubious MJ-12 documents, Forrestal certainly seems to have been very close to the Stimson clique in the War Department (though he was not recruited by Stimson personally) as well as Bush and the technocrats.
This researcher believes strongly that these fringe topics played a key role in the rise of the national security state. This ultimately makes far more sense that the Soviet threat, or lack therefore of, that the general public was fed. The Soviet Union was decimated by the end of World War II and would take over a decade to recover. Even after its recovery, it would be nearly impossible for the Soviet's to catch up with the American war machine.
Surely the corporate elites, many of whom looked ravenously upon the Russian markets and natural resources, were well aware of this. While Communism was surely a nuisance, it could not have seriously been considered a threat to the power of Wall Street.
But the prospect of an incredible new foreign technology, one of which that would fundamentally change American society and the world as a whole? Well, that may well constitute a vast national security state with the power to ultimately rival Wall Street. As this series advances, I shall consider one such technology that could have such an impact. But in the next installment we shall consider the final piece to the emergence of the national security state and the merger of the military-industrial complex and the far right in the American Security Council. Stay tuned dear reader.