CHAPTER 8 Behind the Vale: The NCLC, The Next Step, and The Real Paper
< CHAPTER 7 From John Diebold to Eugen Dühring: Rethinking ''The Third Stage of Imperialism'' | SMILING MAN FROM A DEAD PLANET: THE MYSTERY OF LYNDON LAROUCHE | CHAPTER 9 Enter the Greeks: Epanastasi, the NCLC, and “Pablo” >
Pdf file downloadable here (196 Kb)
On 3 January 1974, Lyndon LaRouche ("Lyn Marcus") gave an extraordinary speech laying out the details of what he claimed was a plot to brainwash NCLC member Christopher White in order to assassinate LaRouche. In the midst of his speech he launched into a strange tirade against Michael Vale, an American expatriate living in Sweden who had long been associated with GI deserter networks there:
LaRouche returned to Vale later in his speech when discussing the plight of William Engdahl, the NCLC member who had lived in Sweden and who had suffered a temporary nervous breakdown during the Chris White affair:
LaRouche's rant was based on his paranoid need to see connections and plots. Yet behind his fantasy was the very real fact that Boston's The Real Paper was planning to do an expose on him that involved interviews with his parents and would have been the first serious examination of "Lyn Marcus's" background. LaRouche, as we have seen, was so afraid of this that he had his Security Staff threaten The Real Paper to such an extent that the article was actually published in the pages of The Boston Phoenix. The Real Paper's staff included Andrew Kopkind.
As for Robert "Bo" Burlingham, he had indeed been a Central Committee member of the Weatherman in 1969 but who had long broken with it and by 1973, he was working as an editor at Ramparts.. Burlingham had spent 1968 living in Paris where he helped organize the draft resistance and GI deserter movement there. During this period he worked with Michael Vale, who headed the GI deserter movement in Sweden. Vale, in turn, would later organize The Next Step (TNS), a radical network of active-service GIs in bases in Western Europe. In late 1971, TNS would join the NCLC en masse, although sometime in 1972 Vale had a bitter falling out with LaRouche. In the Chris White affair, LaRouche (and his "Security Staff") once again put 2+2 together and once again got 22. He assumed that because Vale despised LaRouche and The Real Paper was writing a critical article on LaRouche that Vale, Kopkind, and Burlingham must have been secretly working together in some master plot that involved the CIA.
With a lot of things Labor Committee-like, it is of course possible that Vale, Kopkind, and Burlingham did keep in touch with each other. It is also possible that they shared an interest in the strange goings on inside the NCLC. After all, not all that long after Vale left the organization, LaRouche began launching attacks on members of the American Communist Party and other leftist groups. Many of Vale's former comrades inside TNS were members of the NCLC during this period and one of them, "Jim McGourty," was arrested in the summer of 1973 and charged with desertion from the Marines. It may be that Vale tried to follow developments in the United States and that he spoke with some of his former radical connections in Europe who were now back in the United States like Burlingham and Kopkind about the NCLC. Perhaps Vale also encouraged his contacts on the Left to investigate LaRouche.
Vale may have had an even more personal reason to be concerned about the McGourty arrest. It seems likely that for TNS deserters to be able both to return to the United States and to live in under an alias, they needed a network that helped smuggle them back into America and provide them with false papers to live here undercover. If Vale's network did provide the "paper" that deserters. and draft resisters needed to survive "underground," the McGourty arrest potentially threatened Vale's broader network as well. Without further detailed information, it is hard to know for sure if this was in fact the case.
To add to the confusion, Mike Vale was himself a highly controversial figure who had come under repeated attack for being a CIA agent! Vale had countess enemies on the Left, in part because as a Trotskyist he made no secret of his opposition of the Soviet ruling elite. Vale, however, seems to have been an 'Isaac Deutscher"-style Trotskyist as were many English New Left intellectuals around organizations like New Left Review and the Bertrand Russell Foundation. Accusations that Vale was a CIA agent could well have come from his rivals inside the Soviet-oriented Left and even from the CIA itself since, as I will show, the U.S. government took a great interest in disrupting the deserters movement. One was to do so would be to falsely accuse Vale of being an "agent." It is also possible, of course, that Vale may himself have been a CIA or KGB agent or, for that matter, simply an expatriate American Trotskyist intellectual. Whatever the reality, in 1974 the NCLC elaborated a typically Machiavellian theory that the CIA was using the deserter movement to launder false information back into the USSR with Vale playing a central figure in the CIA plot.
My own suspicion is that Vale may have been a member of the "Pablo network" led by a remarkable Greek leftist named Michel Raptis (better known under his pseudonym "Pablo.") I suspect that tensions between Pablo's organization and the Labor Committee led to Vale's quitting the NCLC, a possibility I explore in the next chapter on the Epanastasi/TNS network in Europe and not here. In this chapter, I wish to supply some basic information about Vale and The Next Step and the important (and still somewhat mysterious) role it played in the NCLC and in the Chris White affair. To truly understand the machinations involved, one would have to begin by declassifying numerous government documents both from the CIA and the U.S. military as well as conduct research in Sweden, England, France, and Germany while also placing the history of The Next Step in the larger context of resistance to the Vietnam war.
THE NEXT STEP
The NCLC's connection to Mike Vale grew out of the group's ties to The Next Step, a GI-based anti-Vietnam war group that first emerged out of the American Deserters Committee (ADC) network in Sweden and France. The ADC's key organizer in Sweden was Vale. In the early 1970s, Vale attempted to go beyond the deserter scene and to try to politicize GIs on American bases in Europe through a new organization called The Next Step (TNS), which published a widely circulated and openly socialist newspaper out of Heidelberg also called The Next Step. The NCLC's relationship with TNS first surfaced in June 1971 when TNS spokesman Roger Hartog addressed the NCLC's "Strategy for Socialism" in Manhattan. Hartog described TNS
Almost a year later, New Solidarity devoted a special insert to the decision of The Next Step cadre to join the NCLC, reporting that "the entire staff of the GI newspaper The Next Step (TNS) has joined the National Caucus of Labor Committees."3 The article explained that.
The Next Step was distributed on the U.S. base at Heidelberg. It also produced papers for GIs in Europe including Can You Bear McNair and The Geissen Eagle. The article stated that TNS cadre promoted Lenin's What Is to be Done as well as the writings of Issac Deutscher, the biographer of Trotsky. The group reported a "six month exchange" with the NCLC with one TNS member visiting the U.S. to learn more about the group. At the time TNS announced it was joining the NCLC, LaRouche was in Europe and it is possible that he carried out discussions with Vale when LaRouche was visiting London. LaRouche was in Europe in part to attend a conference in Linz, Austria, sponsored by the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, which Vale seems to have been linked to as well.
The Next Step network surfaced a year later in the midst of Operation Mop Up with the arrest of "Jim McGourty," an NCLC member who had been picked up and fingerprinted by the Philadelphia police on 6 May 1973. Although McGourty wasn't convicted of any offense, his fingerprints entered the system and on 26 June he was arrested by 4 FBI agents and charged with desertion from the Marine Corps. The NCLC claimed that.
McGourty had spent some time in Sweden after his desertion from the Marines. A New Solidarity article on the case revealed that the NCLC was panicked by the possibility that the FBI would discover its possible covert activities involving The Next Step network:
An internal memo from NEC member Ed Spannaus to all NCLC locals written on 18 August 1973 gives a sense of panic that the McGourty arrest aroused:
In a discussion in the 4 September 1973 NEC meeting, Spannaus reported that the government had offered McGourty a deal for only one year in jail. He then commented:
"McGourty" was arrested on desertion charges by the FBI on 26 June 1973 while LaRouche was in Germany. (He would eventually serve seven months in a Marine stockade before being released.6) About one month later, on 1 August 1973, the Konstantin George affair began. In his speech on 3 January 1974, LaRouche clearly linked the McGourty case to the George case and both of them to the "brainwashing" of Chris White and Bill Engdahl. Clearly in LaRouche's mind, somehow all these cases were part of a massive conspiracy. But to even begin to try to understand what was really going on, it is necessary to understand some basic background history of TNS and Mike Vale in particular.
THE VALE NETWORK
In her book Waiting out a War the Exile of Private John Picciano, Lucinda Franks provides an extensive profile of Vale and the GI deserter movement in Sweden:
This Swedish group became the American Deserters Committee (ADC). Its leader was Mike Vale who had been asked by the Swedish radical lawyer Hans Göran Franck to create the ADC even though Vale was neither a deserter nor draft resister. But, reports Franks, he was "more than a leader, or an organizer, or an ideologue. He was the closest thing to a high priest that the deserter community had."
In 1968 Vale
Vale's key front man in the Swedish ADC was Bill Jones, who also became a member of the NCLC. Franks remarks about him:
Vale and Jones were also profiled in the book American Deserters in Sweden: The Men and Their Challenges by Thomas Lee Hayes, a liberal minister who worked closely with the deserters movement there. Hayes reports that Vale had alienated a good many deserters in Sweden with his hard-line politics that resulted in fissures in the ADC network:
As for Jones, Hayes writes:
Vale, however, had a falling out over the NCLC soon after he joined while Jones remained a loyal member. In a 2 November 1977 NSIPS release entitled "CIA Agent Vale Posing as Member of European LC" and dated from Stockholm, we are told that:
Was Vale really a CIA agent? Or did the CIA and/or U.S. military intelligence put out a COINTELPRO-like line in order to discredit and split the GI Deserter movement in Sweden by sowing doubts about Vale?
SDS AND THE DESERTERS
The NCLC claimed that Michael Vale was especially close to Joachim Israel, one of Europe's leading sociologists who taught at the University of Lund. According to a 6 March 1974 New Solidarity article:
Vale also knew the Swiss lawyer Hans Göran Franck. Israel and Franck helped organize the first International War Crimes Tribunal, which was held in Sweden in May 1967. It was sponsored by the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation, which was run by a former Trotskyist named Ken Coates. The Bertrand Russell Foundation had a strong "Fourth International" Trotskyist and "dissident Marxist" tinge; it was particularly oriented to dissident "New Left"-style groups inside the East Bloc as well as being highly critical of American actions around the world. For some years it had been dominated by Ralph Schoenman, Bertrand Russell's former private secretary and another expatriate American Trotskyist activist. Another leading Tribunal participant, Noam Chomsky, maintained close ties to anti-war and draft resistance groups like the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC) and the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based group Resist. A Resist-affiliated statement issued on 20 June 1967 – just a month after the Russell Foundation meeting in Sweden – reported that
Resist gave a small grant to encourage the deserters' movement in Paris.8 The movement also was endorsed by a leader of German SDS, Karl Dietrich Wolff, as well as by PCF-allied networks in Paris. Another reported leading figure in anti-war circles in Paris was Robert "Bo" Burlingham. During the Chris White affair, the NCLC Security Staff issued a "Fact Sheet" on Vale which also singled out Burlingham for attack. The NCLC report (which was based in part on inside information from former TNS members) also said:
Solidarite was run by Henri Curiel, long accused by right-wing group of being a Soviet operative and who was murdered in Paris on 4 May 1978 by an unknown assassin. In her book The Terror Network, Claire Sterling writes of the Curiel network, and Solidarite in particular, that "American deserters from Vietnam could count on a welcome at Curiel's hostels anytime." Looking at the Curiel network, it is also unclear how much Curiel may or may not have collaborated with the famed Greek leftist "Pablo."
The deserters' movement rapidly made connections to SDS and Bernadine Dohrn held meetings with U.S. deserters in Sweden. Lucinda Franks reports that
The NCLC fact sheet then reports that Vale's involvement in the deserter's movement began in late 1967:
In a study of the ADC, Carl-Gustaf Scott writes:
(Lucinda Franks reports that Hans Göran Franck – not Svanström – asked Vale to run the ADC.)
In 1968, the ADC organized a delegation of deserters to attend the International Communist Youth Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria.12 The delegation included Bill Jones, who angered East Bloc officials by accusing the USSR of supporting "revisionism." Not long after the conference, the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia and "Prague Spring" came to an end. Around that same time, the ADC fell into factional chaos. As Franks tells it,
Vale's personality contributed to a split inside the ADC when a group of more middle-class based deserters grew tired of "the ADC rumor mill, of the paranoia of being called counter-revolutionaries and reactionaries" and briefly created their own far more counterculture friendly group known The Underground Railroad. Vale's major problem, however, was his falling out with the Swedish Vietnam Committee over his "hard-line" politics. Again, from Frank:
Thomas Lee Hayes interviewed members of the ADC about the split with the Swedish Vietnam Committee and reports that the ADC began to distrust it. Under Vale's leadership, the ADC went after not just Svanstrom but also Franck:
Carl-Gustof Scott describes the split this way:
Scott then adds this footnote:
Yet Scott makes no mention of the fact that the ADC split with the SCfV and its Swedish Communist-allied sponsors happened not long after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1969 which inflamed the extra-parliamentary left and helped cripple the influence of the Swedish CP which was loyal to Moscow. Nor does he mention the Jerum affair.
THE JERUM AFFAIR
Vale's ADC hit the jackpot with the Swedish public early on with the Jerum affair. This incident involves the expose of the U.S. government attempt to persuade the deserters to turn themselves into authorities. Hayes describes the Jerum Affair this way:
After the ADC's expose, Stockholm's three leading papers ran editorials in support of the deserters and the issue was also raised in the Swedish parliament. The NCLC Fact Sheet on Vale discusses this incident this way:
The NCLC Fact Sheet also states that "During 1968, the intelligence gathering, purportedly carried out for the North Vietnamese, was carried on, principally by Burlingham. The "Schwarze Kapelle" ["Black Orchestra"] dramatis personae met several times in Paris and other parts of Europe."
If the NCLC is correct, this would most likely have been the same meeting attended by Bernadine Dohrn and other National Office members of SDS.
The NCLC also said that while he was in Europe, Burlingham worked with Takahashi Takemoto, a leader of the Beheiren anti-war movement in Japan. Takahashi later surfaced as the European coordinator for the Japanese Red Army following the September 1974 JRA seizure of the French Embassy in The Hague. Takahashi may have first come into contact with Burlingham through Beheiren's aid in arranging the defection of four U.S. sailors from the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid. In 1967 the "Intrepid Four" were smuggled by Beheiren first to the USSR and then later to Sweden where the found asylum. One of the people involved in the network that safe-housed the Intrepid Four in Tokyo was a Japanese woman professor who had taught at Princeton.19 This was almost certainly Kazuko Tsurumi. If Burlingham had met her while she was teaching at Princeton, he would have been a logical contact man for Takahashi in Paris, given that Takahashi taught French literature at a woman's college in Japan. After Burlingham returned to the United States he continued to work on "anti-war" and draft resistance activities until he joined the RYM I/Weatherman faction of SDS. For many in SDS, the Weatherman initially were seen not as future terrorists but as "National Office" leaders open to the more counter-cultural currents of the New Left and who stood in the way of the complete takeover of SDS by the pro-Stalin "Old Left" Progressive Labor Party (PLP).
In July 1969 Burlingham went on an SDS delegation to Cuba largely dominated by the Weatherman SDS faction and was then arrested for smashing windows in the October 1969 Days of Rage Weatherman demonstration in Chicago. He also became a founding member of the Weatherman central committee at whose founding conference in Flint, Michigan, Bernadine Dohrn called for terrorist violence and praised the Manson Family. However, as we shall see, Burlingham soon abandoned Weatherman not long after the Flint conference.
THE ADC AND INFILTRATION
While SDS fell apart, the Deserter movement also was in the process of shattering for reasons both internal and external. In yet another press release at the time of the Chris White affair, this one dated 17 January 1974, the NCLC wrote that:
The July-August 1979 issue of Covert Action Information Bulletin ran a curious one page article about the CIA's role with the deserter movement by George Lennox, who had carried out his own investigation of the NCLC. Lennox pops up in a 2 April 1976 New Solidarity article attacking Counterspy (the journal from which Covert Action emerged) by Paul Goldstein of the NCLC Security Staff. Goldstein claimed that Michael Vale was behind an attack on the NCLC in Folket i Bild ["Images of the People"], which had ties to Jan Myrdahl – one of the initial sponsors of the Swedish Vietnam Committee (ScfV), which, in turn, had first sponsored the ADC and Vale. Goldstein reported that Lennox had visited the ELC office in Stockholm and had hung around the ELC for three days. The day after he left, on 25 March 1975, there was an attack on the ELC in the Swedish Social-Democratic allied newspaper Arbetet.21 Goldstein reported that Lennox had been given "left cover" due to an article about him in the Myrdahl-aligned Folket i Bild that said that Lennox had been a deserter from the British Army in Cyprus and had been tortured by the SAS after his arrest. Goldstein further claimed that Lennox had visited New York to meet with members of the Daily World (namely Mike Zagarell, the Daily World's "Larouche expert") who, in turn, had interviewed former NCLC security staff member Greg Rose.
As for Lennox, his 1979 Covert Action article reported that the Swedes were enraged at the United States.
Lennox later writes about the ADC:
Lennox's claims were absurd.23 Vale and Jones hardly "showed up" in Sweden in 1971 and both hated the counterculture. As far as I can tell, Lennox got his facts completely backward. It was Vale and Jones who exposed the alleged CIA agents. Lennox may have been confused since he seems to have assumed that the NCLC itself must have been a CIA operation and that the 1971 incident was further proof of just this fact. And given Lennox's rather colorful life in the European counter-culture in the early 1970s, his "anti-drug" complaint is more than a little comical.
At the time the article appeared in 1979, Vale had become a member of the Trotskyist journal Critique, which specialized on the economies of Eastern Europe. Critique was very much involved in promoting dissident left networks inside the East Bloc as well. Other Trotskyist circles were active in aiding the left-wing of what would become Polish Solidarity. Lennox's article, then, may have been used to tar Vale with Jones, who remained active inside the NCLC. It also seems clear that the CIA and U.S. military intelligence (from G-2 to the DIA) would have truly despised both Vale and Jones since they were behind the "Second Front" broadcasts to American GIs in Vietnam encouraging them to desert.
VALE AND THE CREATION OF THE NEXT STEP
Along with the rise of groups like the ADC, there was another anti-war network developing in both Europe and Japan around active resistance inside the Army itself. The network became known as RITA – Resisters Inside the Army. By late 1969, the ADC began developing contact with several key RITA contacts, particularly around Frankfurt.24 Hayes reports that
As for Vale, in the spring or summer of 1969 he announced he was burnt out and left Sweden and the ADC for England. Lucinda Franks (who, it should be noted, lived at the time with a prominent "war resister" named Roger Neville Williams, who authored the 1971 book The New Exiles: American War Resisters in Canada,) reports that
The group that Vale helped organized became known as The Next Step. Within a year, TNS had made contact with the NCLC and by the end of 1971 the entire group had joined the NCLC. Of course, given all of Vale's activities in the ADC, it is hard to believe that a variety of intelligence agencies would not have had some interest in Vale's developing networks among GIs serving in bases throughout Europe.
BILL ENGDAHL AND WARREN HAMMERMAN
Two other members of the Vale-TNS network who would later play prominent roles inside the NCLC were Bill Engdahl and Warren Hammerman. A Texas-born Princeton graduate who had polio, Engdahl was living in Sweden in 1969 where he was doing graduate work at the University of Stockholm. During the Chris White affair, Engdahl famously had a breakdown and reportedly began screaming "Cancel Me." LaRouche, in turn, would use the Engdahl incident to claim that Engdahl had been brainwashed by Mike Vale in Sweden in 1969. In his February-March 1974 Campaigner editorial, LaRouche wrote:"In the case of William Engdahl, we have located only five weeks (during July and August ) during which he was programmed in Chicago, a less ambitious program, but one on a victim who had been previously programmed by the CIA in Sweden in late 1969."
Since LaRouche claimed that Chris White had been subjected to torture involving sex with sheep, he needed to come up with something equally riveting when it came to Engdahl. As part of LaRouche's "proof" that Engdahl had been brainwashed, LaRouche included in his 3 January speech the claim that Engdahl "was sitting on a couch sucking a pig one morning recently. . . .Why was he actuating a pig? Because his control was in the Russian language, and "pig" in Russian is penis. He was receiving a reward – what's called "freedom" – "svoboda" – for having completed part of his assignment for the CIA."
Exactly why Engdahl had his breakdown is unknown but during the 1974 crisis, some people did have mini-breakdowns. Others became so delusional that even LaRouche claimed that certain members were actually volunteering claims that they too had been brainwashed when they were not as a way of getting his approval! But did LaRouche and his Security Staff, already deep in a witch-hunt mindset, use some form of psychological attack go after Engdahl in particular and, in so doing, hasten his temporary breakdown?
One possibility is that after the NCLC's Security Staff got wind of a possible The Real Paper story on LaRouche that included contacting his family and linked it with Vale (for whatever reason), they began intensively interrogating anyone inside the organization who had any connection to him. Engdahl may have come under intensive interrogation to determine if he himself was part of the plot. Since the Security Staff advanced the notion that Chris White had been brainwashed to want to have sex with sheep, in classic witch-finder fashion they may have fed a similar fantasy to an already paranoid Engdahl.
The NCLC's Security Staff seems to have conducted a special investigation of anyone even remotely connected to TNS and Vale. In early January 1974, for example, a former member of the group's National Executive Committee named Leif Johnson and his wife Sue were forbidden to leave their apartment until Security "cleared" them because they had visited Sweden on a vacation a few years earlier. The theory was that they could have been brainwashed in Sweden. The fact that they had no memory of being brainwashed only made it clear that they might have well have been brainwashed as brainwashed people were brainwashed not to remember their being brainwashed. For someone like Engdahl, it would not be surprising that he had a paranoid temporary breakdown after the NCLC began interrogating him and accusing him and the TNS group of being filled with "agents." His ravings were then presented by LaRouche as further objective proof that there was indeed a vast plot against him.
Another important figure inside the ADC who would play a prominent role inside the NCLC named Warren Hammerman managed to avoid Engdahl's fate. Hammerman first came to Sweden as a draft resister and as a military deserter. Because he was not a deserter, the Swedish government at first refused to grant him asylum, a decision that would lead to extensive protests. Hayes discusses Hammerman's case this way:
Lucinda Franks supplies more details:
In the wake of the Jerum affair, the ADC launched a major campaign for Hammerman. Franks writes: "Warren Hammerman was allowed to stay and Sweden was officially open to draft resisters as well as deserters" in a huge victory of the ADC. After Hammerman returned to the United States, he become a member of the group's National Executive Committee. He even was the lead negotiator in the 1977 deal with the FBI that resulted in the NCLC's no longer being listed as a group with connections to violence or terrorism. (It remains unclear to me what Hammerman's legal status was or how he had managed to operate openly inside the United States using his real name.)
In a 1 December 1975 New Solidarity article entitled "Why the Labor Committee Can't be Taken Over by Agents," Hammerman noted about TNS:
Of course, Hammerman had himself been a member of this very same "gutter network." He was even part of a group that met future JRA leader Takemoto Takahashi, when Takahashi tried to contact TNS network in the hope of obtaining weapons that would be stolen from NATO bases, an offer TNS immediately declined.
CAMBRIDGE IRON AND STEEL AND THE REAL PAPER
By late 1973, the NCLC was convinced that Michael Vale had something to do with the planned expose on LaRouche by Boston's The Real Paper. The NCLC argued that the Vale connection to The Real Paper could be traced back to 1968 when Bo Burlingham met with New Left organizer Danny Schechter, the British poet Stephen Spender, and Andrew Kopkind. Schechter was a 1964 Cornell graduate who had specialized in labor history. In 1968 he was pursuing an MA at the London School of Economics (LSE) while serving as the London correspondent for Ramparts magazine. After Danny Schechter returned to Boston from London, he became the president of a group called the Cambridge Iron and Steel Corporation (CIS) in 1969.26 In August 1969, during the time PLP was heavily involved in the Harvard Student Strike, PLP's theoretical magazine Challenge published an attack on CIS entitled "Right-wing SDS'ers Get Loot." The article reported that CIS had gotten $100,000 from a rich New England businessman named Ralph Hoagland. The money was used, among other things, to finance an "underground" paper called Old Mole, which was dominated by CIS staffers and which Kopkind also wrote for.27
According to Challenge:
The NCLC knew about this story since some of its leading members had initially been cadre in PL at the time the article appeared.
As for Andrew Kopkind, he was a well-known left-liberal journalist and Cornell grad. He also spent two years (1959-61) as a graduate student at LSE. He then became a Time magazine correspondent but he lost his job in mid-1964 after being arrested for homosexual solicitation. Kopkind wrote regularly for The New Statesman and other more radical publications in both England and the United States. In 1969, Kopkind was arrested ("disorderly conduct") during the Weatherman Days of Rage demonstration in Chicago. For a very brief period, Kopkind had been a supporter of the SDS National Office faction – the core of Weatherman – against the Progressive Labor Party (PLP). In a 1969 article after the SDS split, Kopkind wrote of PLP:
Like Bo Burlingham, Kopkind quickly grew dissatisfied with the Weatherman which he now felt had completely lost its bearings with its turn to terrorist violence post Flint. By the early 1970s, both Kopkind and Schechter were living in Boston. According to the NCLC Fact Sheet:
WBCN was the major rock station in Boston. A 29 December 2004 New York Times profile on Schechter states that "after spending time in South Africa and Europe" -- and although the Times failed to mention it -- in CIS and Old Mole circles in Cambridge -- Schechter in 1970
That news director was Bo Burlingham. In December 1970, the government indicted 15 Weathermen, including Burlingham, on charges of plotting a bombing and terrorism campaign at Weatherman's founding conference in Flint, Michigan, in December 1969 following the failed "Days of Rage" that autumn. Instead of going underground, Burlingham turned himself in at the time of the indictment. In October 1973 – when the indictment was dismissed because the government refused to undergo a court hearing on how it had obtained its evidence – Burlingham was working in California as an editor for Ramparts.29 Burlingham may have been pulled into Weatherman in part via the SDS National Office clique around people like Bernadine Dohrn. Recall that Dohrn had contacts with both ADC committees in Paris and Stockholm in the pre-split SDS period.
By late 1973, as the New Left decompressed from the dreams of 1968, people like Kopkind and Schechter were more radical liberals than anything else. The Real Paper, for example, was largely a rock weekly with some cultural coverage. It read like the Boston poor cousin of The Village Voice. The Real Paper was created after an August 1972 writers' strike that protested the takeover of the previous radical paper, the Cambridge Phoenix. The Phoenix had been sold to its rival, the Boston Phoenix, which then aspired to be something like New York Magazine, and which maintained an extensive arts and entertainment section called "Boston After Dark." So in a sense The Real Paper was the tabloid version of Boston's Village Voice in competition with the Boston Phoenix,which was a Boston version of New York Magazine.
JOE KLEIN AND CHUCK FAGER
In the spring of 1973, a reporter for The Real Paper named Chuck Fager wrote the first article on the NCLC and Operation Mop Up. Fager's 2 May 1973 story made it clear his contempt for both the NCLC and the CPUSA, both of whom he considered sectarian Marxists. He portrayed the Mop Up attacks as a "slug fest" between two disagreeable sects. As for the CP's getting support from the SWP, Fager recalled that a similar alliance had taken place between the two groups in the wake of attacks by PLP in Boston in 1970. Clearly The Real Paper saw the NCLC as a continuation of the same sectarian political fanaticism that they believed had wrecked SDS. Following Fager's story, the NCLC only received a mention or two in the pages of The Real Paper until sometime in the late fall or winter of 1973 when (with Kopkind as news editor), it decided for whatever reason to launch an investigative piece on LaRouche. The lead writer was to be Joe Klein, who later achieved fame as a journalist. Chuck Fager was also critically involved in the research.
It's not hard to see why The Real Paper might be interested in such a piece. In the summer of 1973, the NCLC began openly defending Richard Nixon. The group even disrupted the Ervin Hearings in August 1973 with the claim that the CIA was trying to set Nixon up for impeachment. The NCLC, then, would seem to many outside observers either as the text-book definition of a group of agent provocateurs or as some strange ultra-sectarian sect. LaRouche's promotion of his Beyond Psychoanalysis series in the fall of 1973 would also suggest that the group may have gone off the deep end as well.
Chuck Fager's personal interest in LaRouche's past also can be explained by the fact that Fager (then enrolled in Harvard Divinity School) was a devout Quaker with a deep interest in Quaker history. Fager's research into LaRouche's fundamentalist Quaker background and the news that The Real Paper was planning a story on LaRouche that involved contacting his parents led the NCLC's Security Staff to launch such violent threats against Fager and The Real Paper that the story was eventually published in the 29 January Boston Phoenix by Vin McLellan, The Real Paper's friendly rival. McLellan used Fager's research, because The Real Paper simply was too afraid of threats by the NCLC.30
Strangely then, the attack on Michael Vale may ultimately turn out to have been the accidental result of Chuck Fager's conversation with LaRouche's parents a few weeks earlier once the "Security Staff" began examining The Real Paper's connections to Andrew Kopkind, Danny Schechter, and Bo Burlingham.
1 For the speech, see http://lyndonlarouchewatch.org/larouche-1974-assassins.htm.
2 New Solidarity, 6/14-18/71.
3 New Solidarity, 7/31 -8/4/72.
4 New Solidarity, 9/7/73.
5 New Solidarity, 8/31/73.
6 New Solidarity, 6/4/74.
7 Representatives from the PRO, who had an office in Stockholm, sent the tapes to Vietnam where they were broadcast by Radio Hanoi and by PRO field stations in the South. Vale had set up the radio broadcasts in 1968 to encourage GI desertion.
8 The grant was to the Rev. William Bloom, an American Presbyterian minister working with the Reformed Church in France.
9 For a sympathetic book on Curiel, see Gilles Perrault, A Man Apart: The Life of Henri Curiel (London: Zed Books, 1987).
10 The NCLC later gave Burlington's full pseudonym as "Arlo Jacobs.".
11 Carl-Gustaf Scott, "Swedish Sanctuary of American Deserters During the Vietnam War: A Facet of Social Democratic Domestic Policies," in Scandinavian Journal of History, V. 26, n. 2, June 2001.
12 This was the same festival that Konstantin George was allegedly photographed attending in East Berlin in the summer of 1973.
13 Svanström was given the Lenin Peace Prize in 1970.
14 It is easy to see, for example, how Jones continuing involvement with the NCLC in Sweden, for example, could give rise to suspicions inside the left that he was a government agent.
15 Presumably a typo for "Ben Barka," a Moroccan leftist assassinated in 1966 after he vanished from Paris. Ben Barka was the overseas organizing secretary for the first Tricontinental Conference being planned for Havana.
16 The story of "Tommy Schweitzer" is puzzling. Hayes writes: "Alleged activity on behalf of the deserters eventually led (October, 1969) to the deportation to Vienna, after a Gestapo-like seizure by French police on the street, of Thomas Schweitzer, an Austrian-born American citizen." Another source, a former Daily News reporter, met a "Mr. Cook" in Paris who served as a connection to the deserter movement. "Cook" it turned out "to be Tomi Schwaetzer, born in Austria, partly raised in Algeria, a linguist with a long record of agitation. France ordered him deported to Austria, but Air Austria refused to accept him on board, so the French police shipped him to Corsica. I believe he was later picked up in Heidelberg." Why Burlingham (and presumably Curiel) attacked him – assuming the NCLC report is correct – remains a mystery. "Tommy Schweitzer" later became known as "Max Watts." A long time leftist activist, in 2010 he died in Australia, where he had lived for some time. On Watts, see http://www.smh.com.au/comment/obituaries/activist-scribe-struck-from-the-left-20101228-1997z.html.
17 Presumably Vale's right hand man was Jones. Why Jones in 1968 would tell Burlingham that his sponsor, Vale, was a CIA agent makes no sense.
18 The Swedish ADC was launched at a press conference on 15 March 1968.
19 See Terry Whitmore, Memphis Nam Sweden (New York: Doubleday, 1971), 140. Whitmore was a member of the Intrepid Four.
20 Franks discusses the farm this way:
21 On 20 February 1976, New Solidarity reported that the Swedish SPD had issued an anti-ELC pamphlet Mollvadari Socialistisk Forkladnad: En Rappport om ELC I Sverige (Moles in Socialist Clothing – The Inside Report on the European Labour Committee).
22 The Swedes like Myrdahl had speculated as much. The paper Expressen in the early 70s had interviewed a colonel in the Pentagon who clearly had inside information. Hayes writes: "If such material was available to the Americans at all, it had to have become available by way of the police interviews the men must give when they first seek political asylum . . . ." For Swedish cooperation with foreign intelligence agencies, see reports on the infamous "IB affair" involving Sweden's "Intelligence Bureau" whose operations were exposed in May 1973 by journalists from Folket i Bild.
23 The actual "drug/counter culture" wing of the GI deserter movement in Sweden was The Underground Railroad (TUR) that had been created in the late 1960s; it issued a paper called The Paper Grenade. TUR shut down after a few months. It was explicitly anti-Vale.
24 The Next Step paper was published out of Heidelberg, the center of a US Army base not far from Frankfurt.
25 Vale's network in Sweden from the old ADC became part of The Next Step.
26 Other members of CIS included Mike Ansara (whom the NCLC said was to become a future associate editor of Ramparts), Vernon Grizzard, Nick Egleson, Jon Weiner, David Landau, and Russ Neufeld (whom the NCLC said was to become a future Weatherman central committee member). PL argued they represented the right-wing of SDS. For more on CIS, see How It All Began on LaRouche Planet, especially the appendix "SDS: Three Puzzles" at http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.HIABChapter3Appendix2SDS3Puzzles.
27 CIS also gave $2000 to a draft resistance group in Boston as well.
28 Kopkind's essay is reprinted in Ron Jacobs (ed.), Weatherman (Berkeley, CA: Ramparts Press, 1970).
29 See "U.S. Forgoes Trial of Weathermen," 10/16/1973 New York Times.
30 For Fager's account, see his article in the 14 July 1989 Washington City Paper, available on the Internet.
Pdf file downloadable here (196 Kb)