Document:American Security Council, extract from The "Terrorism" Industry

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Disclaimer (#3)Document.png book extract  by Edward S. Herman dated 1990
Subjects: American Security Council, American Foreign Policy Institute
Source: The "Terrorism" Industry

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While the ASC is neither a think tank nor a policy institute, it has been involved in providing funding and logistical support for many other members of the terrorism industry. Like Heritage, it is important because of its size, influence, and extreme right-wing connections and policy orientation.

The ASC was founded in 1955 as the Mid-American Research Library, a resource center for files on suspected communists and subversives. Initially funded by Sears, Roebuck and Company, Motorola, and Marshall Field and Company, the library maintained information on individuals for use by corporations seeking to exclude "troublemakers" and union organizers. Appropriately, the organization was originally staffed largely by ex-FBI agents. Virtually from its inception ASC also cosponsored annual conferences on cold-war strategy, attended by government officials, corporations such as Honeywell and U.S Steel, and CIA-linked institutes such as the Foreign Policy Research Institute (FPRI) of the University of Pennsylvania, noted for hard-line and extremist views on military and foreign policy issues. Another sponsor of these conferences was the Aircraft Industries Association, a trade and lobbying organization, and one of the groups that had pressed the U.S. government to admit Nazi scientists after World War II.[1]

By 1983, under the direction of its president, John Fisher, a former executive of Sears as well as an army and FBI alumnus, the revamped, Virginia-based ASC had shifted its emphasis strongly toward military and foreign policy issues. It had grown to 30,000 members and was heavily funded by such major defense contractors as Lockheed, Boeing, and General Dynamics. Its hard-line policy positions were well adapted to the demands of these contractors, and Wes McCune, a veteran analyst of right-wing organizations, has stated that ASC is "not just the representative of the military-industrial complex, it is the personification of the military-industrial complex." [2] ASC lobbies and propagandizes for the military-industrial complex in a variety of ways. It puts money into election campaigns of rightists who will vote for defense and repression at home and abroad. [3] The ASC masterminded Missouri Congressman Richard Ichord's restoration of the House Un-American Activities Committee as the House Internal Security Committee in 1969, under the guise of combatting terrorism. With a 1982 television budget of $5 million, the ASC drove home its hawkish, pro-arms industry line with a program called "The SALT Syndrome;' shown over two thousand times on five hundred stations nationwide. [4]

ASC has a complex structure, with many subsidiaries carrying out a variety of functions. Its boards of advisors and directors have had fairly generous representation from military contractor firms, but the contractor presence is felt more in financial support than open listing on boards. The boards are dominated by right-wing members of government, defense intellectuals, and rightist retirees of the military and intelligence establishment, the last including in the I980s: James Angleton (ex-CIA), John Singlaub (USA, ret.), Daniel Graham (USA, ret.), John S. McCain (USN, ret.), Gordon Graham (USN, ret.), Lyman Lemnitzer (USA, ret.), Albert Wedemeyer (USA, ret.), Nathan Twining (USAF, ret.), Lewis Walt, (USMC, ret.), Richard Stilwell (USA, ret.), Paul Harkins (USA, ret.), and George Keegan, Jr. (USAF, ret.), among many others. ASC has featured congressional cochairmen in its brochures, including a dozen U.S. congressmen and senators, among them Robert Dole, Paul Laxalt, Jack Kemp, Samuel Stratton, and William Chappell.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s ASC gained some notoriety when it was revealed that one of its affiliates, the Institute for American Strategy (IAS), had been used by the National Security Council as the vehicle for training military personnel on national security issues, with help from the right-wing Richardson Foundation (later the Smith-Richardson Foundation). One of the "educators" of IAS was William Kintner, also of the FPRI, a longtime CIA official, the author of the pioneering extremist text of the McCarthy era, 'The Front Is Everywhere.' [5] He argued in the 'Reader's Digest' of May 1962 that the attacks on the John Birch Society and other extreme-right organizations in that period were a result of Soviet disinformation efforts. Another participant in IAS activities during this period was Edward Lansdale, a counterinsurgency veteran of the Philippines and Vietnam.[6]

ASC's links to the far right are extensive and spectacular, like those of Heritage. Roger Pearson, the anti-Semite, racist, and neo-Nazi, has been a director of one of its subsidiaries, the American Foreign Policy Institute. Its main outreach subsidiary, the Council on Peace Through Strength (CPTS), is composed of 1,71 organizations that include a substantial number of anti-Semitic, racist, vigilante, and fascist organizations. One affiliate, the American Vigilante Intelligence Federation, was founded and led by Harry Jung, the first major U.S. distributor of the 'Protocols of the Elders of Zion'. Another, the American Coalition of Patriotic Societies, was founded by John Trevor, one of ASC's board members till his death several years ago, and a leading U.S. supporter of Hitler and National Socialism. Russ Bellant shows that innumerable emigre groups that are members of CPTS are dominated by "Nazi collaborationists, emigre fascists and anti-Semites." [7] CPTS counts among its member organizations the Bulgarian National Front, the creation of Ivan Docheff, sentenced to death in Bulgaria, in absentia, for war crimes; the Slovak World Congress, co-founded by Josef Mikus, wanted in Czechoslavakia for war crimes; and the Byelorussian American Committee, run by a former SS engineer in Minsk named John Kosiak. Kosiak is still wanted for war crimes in the Soviet Union.[8]

Complementing this large pro-Nazi and Nazi collaborationist element, one of the constituents of CPTS is the Coalition for Constitutional Justice and Security, whose function is to terminate the work of the Office of Special Investigations (OSI), a Department of Justice agency organized to investigate Nazi war criminals in the United States. [9] ASC's links to the apartheid regimes of South Africa also have been close and strong.

ASC is tied directly to John Singlaub's World Anti-Communist League (WACL) through its affiliate CPTS. The relationship is reciprocal, as Singlaub serves as a member of ASC's strategy committee, as well as on two other ASC boards. Since 1970 there have been three U.S. organizations that have served as the U.S. branch of W ACL, and all three have been members of CPTS. The first, the American Council for World Freedom, was chaired by John Fisher; the second, the Council on American Affairs, was headed by Roger Pearson; the third, the U.S. Council for World Freedom, was formed in 1981 by Singlaub himself and immediately became a U.S. branch of WACL.[10]

Another affiliate of ASC is the Security and Intelligence Foundation (SIF), founded originally in 1977 as a fund "to assist in the legal defense of those members of the national security community wrongly or at least excessively chastised for alleged excesses, and in response to the immoderate reaction to the Church and Pike committee's hearings." [11] The fund and SIF were designed to educate and propagandize in favor of an intelligence "mission" as seen by the hard-line right. The organization was appropriately headed by James Angleton, the former counterintelligence chief of the CIA, most famous for his interventions in Italy in the early 1940s in favor of protecting Fascist "assets" and for his belief that the split between China and the Soviet Union was a piece of Red disinformation. [12]

ASC's commitment to the apartheid regimes in Africa has been strong. Its CPTS affiliate, the Conservative Caucus, has worked directly with the South African government and has been an important agency attacking the Reagan administration for its failure to align itself openly and militarily with South Africa. [13] CPTS's College Republican National Committee affiliate, led by Jack Abramoff, linked up with the extreme right-wing National Student Federation (NSF) of South Africa in 1983, and brought that organization into CPTS. [14] ASC was host to Ian Smith, the prime minister of apartheid Rhodesia in 1978, and organized a "fact-finding" tour of Rhodesia, Namibia, and South Africa under South African auspices in 1979. It arranged a visit to the United States in 1981 by five officials of South African intelligence, setting up meetings with Jeane Kirkpatrick and Pentagon and NSC officials. ASC has also devoted a great effort to selling Savimbi and UNITA, organizing Savimbi's visits and tours, and through Abramoff and the Conservative Caucus, attacking Shultz and Crocker for insufficient enthusiasm for the anticommunist crusade in southern Africa.

On Central American issues, the ASC has fought strenuously for contra aid and has sought to give credibility to the death squad right. In 1981, it sponsored a lobbying junket to Congress by El Salvador's Roberto D'Aubuisson, acknowledged leader of their death squads and organizer of the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero. The ASC interviewed D'Aubuisson in June 1984 for its radio program and newsletter. In 1982, ASC funded a visit by contra leader Steadman Fagoth in order to allow him to testify before Congress. [15] It has also tried to mobilize support for former Somoza colonel and contra leader Enrique Bermudez. ASC's director for inter-American affairs, Samuel Dickens, a retired U.S. intelligence and air force officer, has written several articles in the magazine 'Replica' praising the founder of the Salvadoran death squads, General Medrano, as a "patriot." Bellant points out that:

"Replica is the magazine of the Tecos, a Mexican neo-Nazi group noted for bizarre anti-Semitism and for its longtime leadership of the Latin American affiliate of the World Anti-Communist League - an affiliate which served as the political umbrella of Latin America's death squads." [16]

ASC has been extremely close to the Reagan administration, Reagan himself joined CPTS as an individual member in 1978, and ASC worked hard for his election in 1980. It participated heavily in the Reagan transition teams, and Reagan provided three fundraising letters for ASC in his first year in office. ASC's films on Central America and arms policy were not only praised and pushed by administration officials, but the government also gave secret material support to these projects. Bellant states that "in August 1982, the ASC Foundation held a speaker's training forum in the White House, with high administration officials participating." [17]

In sum, ASC has served as a base and clearinghouse for rightwing terrorists, such as D'Aubuisson and Savimbi, and known and acknowledged war criminals, such as Kosiak and Docheff. It also supports important Western experts on terrorism, such as Ray Cline, Stefan Possony, William Van Cleave, Neil Livingstone, and William R. Kintner, who serve or have served on ASC's National Strategy Committee. As we have seen, there is no inconsistency in this linkage.


  • ^  1. Bellant, Old Nazis, p. 30. Our account relies heavily on this excellent study.
  • ^  2. Quoted in ibid., p. 27.
  • ^  3. Bellant notes that ASC put a substantial effort into helping Alfonse D'Amato in his electoral contest for senator in New York State against Elizabeth Holtzman (p. 32). It is interesting that here, as in so many other areas, more respectable and allegedly liberal establishment institutions like the New York Times throw their weight in the same direction.
  • ^  4. Saloma, Ominous Politics, p. 109.
  • ^  5. William Kinmer, The Front Is Everywhere (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1950). For a good account of the Kintner message, see Berlet, "Anticommunism in the U.S.;' p. 5.
  • ^  6. See, further, Bellant, Old Nazis, pp. 30-31.
  • ^  7. Ibid., p. 33. See also Simpson, Blowback, passim.
  • ^  8. Anderson and Anderson, Inside the League, p. 157.
  • ^  9. Bellant, Old Nazis, p. 55.
  • ^  10. "While Singlaub was Field Education director for the ASC for the next three years, he cultivated USCWF and personal contacts abroad." Bellant, Old Nazis, p.47.
  • ^  11. Security and Intelligence Foundation, "Fact Sheet;' n.d.
  • ^  12. Herman and Brodhead, Bulgarian Connection, pp. 73-74, 132; Thomas Powers, The Man Who Kept the Secrets (New York: Knopf, 1979), pp. 63, 289, 350.
  • ^  13. See the discussion of an ad sponsored by TCC, under ISC, whose leader, Joseph Churba, was one of its signatories.
  • ^  14. On Abramoff and his organization, the International Freedom Foundation, see note 12 above.
  • ^  15. Anderson and Anderson, Inside the League, p. 233.
  • ^  16. Bellant, Old Nazis, p. 59.
  • ^  17. Ibid., p. 37. For more details on these connections, see pp. 35-40.