CHAPTER 12 "No Sell Can Rat": The Chris White Affair Part Two
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In "Orpheus Comes Up into the Sunlight," we saw how the Chris White affair threw the NCLC into chaos. Here I wish to examine some of the possible alternate origins for the crisis as suggested by a close reading of NCLC texts, texts that at times read like a satire of Darkness at Noon. We begin with Christopher Richard White. A British national born 10 January 1948, White was on the eve of his 26'th birthday when he arrived in New York for the NCLC's Strategy for Socialism VI conference. White had previously been active in Tony Cliff's well-known English Trotskyist organization International Socialists (IS). In the summer of 1972, LaRouche visited England for talks with various Socialist groups and he held a long meeting with a top IS leader named Duncan Hallas. Despite LaRouche's hope that the NCLC could initiate "united front" agreements with British IS, it soon became apparent that IS was not about to follow his lead. In late 1972, Chris White formally resigned from British IS and became a member of the tiny European Labor Committee. White was now also joined in London that September by LaRouche's former companion Carol. A math instructor who first met LaRouche when they were both members of the Socialist Workers Party, Carol had earlier that year walked out on LaRouche and flew to England to be with White, whom she soon married. Carol had been LaRouche's main source of income for years as she had supported him on her teacher's salary. Many former NCLC members who knew LaRouche strongly believe that Carol's desertion pushed him psychologically over the edge.
Exactly one year after his trip to England, LaRouche again returned to Europe around the time of European Labor Committees (ELC) founding conference in Dusseldorf, West Germany, in June 1973 with some around 80 cadre in attendance. He soon began testing out his new "Beyond Psychoanalysis" group encounter sessions on the German and other cadre living in Europe. In essays such as Sexual Impotence of the PSP, LaRouche gives a sense of just how disturbing these gatherings could be:
LaRouche's ability to conduct the sessions depended on the group's collective belief that he was a more-or-less infallible font of Marxist-Freudian wisdom. But how could the husband of his former longtime companion (who literally knew all about LaRouche's dirty laundry) pretend that the man his new wife had fled from just a year earlier was now Freud reborn?
It might not be surprising, then, to discover that White had an emotional crisis of sorts when faced with the prospect of flying to New York for the NCLC's national conference in late December 1973 and face yet another up-close-and-personal encounter with LaRouche. White further knew that leading American and European cadre were being regularly subjected to humiliating assaults to their psychological identity implemented under the pretext of making them better revolutionaries. He further knew only too well that LaRouche despised Carol White and had even tried to get her expelled from the NCLC. To make matters worse, while living in London Carol and Chris White were both stunned when they first learned about the Labor Committee's new "Mop Up" attacks on CP members in the United States that first began in early April 1973.
THE PERSONAL IS THE POLITICAL
The crisis between LaRouche and Carol dates back at least to early 1972. Thanks in part to the work of another former LC member, Factnet's "Edixtix," we now know a great deal more about this period. Editrix provides an in-depth look at letters LaRouche sent to Carol during this period in another Factnet essay available at http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.TheMovementStillDependsOnMe. In brief, LaRouche and Carol had been on the outs for some time when LaRouche discovered at the 4 July 1972 TUAD conference in Chicago that she had entered into a romantic relationship with Chris White, who had been visiting the United States before returning to France where he was doing research work for a doctorate in European history. Chris White arrived in the U.S. on 29 April 1972 and he stayed until the second week of July. During that time, LaRouche and Carol took him on various outings including to New England as Carol later recalled.
It was during the time all three spent together that Carol and Chris began falling in love. Carol later explained:
Their relationship had turned so bitter that at one point in the spring of 1972 (well before she and Chris White became a couple), she temporary moved in with two long time Labor Committee members, Tony Papert and Dick Sober, although a month or so later she returned to Morton Street. She finally told LaRouche he needed to find another apartment. She further agreed to help him out financially until he could get settled in a new place as she had spent years supporting him from her job teaching mathematics at Brooklyn College as well as in local high schools. She had been supporting him for eight years. After they broke up, he took some $2,000 out of their joint checking account. For almost a decade, Carol had been the new Lenin's meal ticket.
In late July 1972, Carol went on a six-week vacation in Europe to reconnect with Chris White in France. She already had planned a European vacation/political organizing tour with LaRouche earlier that year and had bought a ticket for the trip. The trip had been planned around LaRouche attending the Bertrand Russell Foundation-sponsored conference in Linz, Austria, early that September. Now with the total collapse of their relationship, she went to Europe on her own. Before leaving, Carol sublet her rent-controlled apartment to another woman. LaRouche was now more or less homeless.
When the superintendent at the Morton Street building eventually discovered the illegal sublet, he made the woman leave and LaRouche moved back in again. During his "homeless" period, LaRouche stayed with Bob and Phyllis Dillon and with the Spannaus' family in Washington Heights. Besides the money he had taken from Carol and his joint savings account, he had taught an adult education class at the New School one night a week for which he was paid. He also received a $2,000 advance for Dialectical Economics. Yet his overwhelming source of income for the previous eight years had been Carol's paycheck. A source later recalled: "I'm sure that the Dillon's and Spannaus' paid for his food and board when he was with them. He also went on tours of different locals which gave him some free room and board. But yes, I think he needed the organization for money very definitely."
LaRouche had planned to meet with Chris White in France where White (technically still an IS member) would give LaRouche a list of his friends and other political contacts for LaRouche's planned stopover in London. Having left for Europe earlier than LaRouche, Carol suggested in a letter to him written around 12 August that all three of them meet in Paris at the famous Deux Magot cafe. Her suggestion threw him into a rage, perhaps not entirely surprising since he no doubt blamed her for making him temporarily homeless. He began claiming that Carol was immoral and soon demanded that she be expelled from the NEC. LaRouche wrote letters to some of Chris White's contacts demanding that they have nothing to do with her. To top it off, he issued what has been described as "vicious inside documents" to select Labor Committee members that accused her of, among other things, "post-menopausal debauchery."
LaRouche reached London sometime in late August of 1972 and on 8 September 1972, he turned 50. Traveling through Germany, he arrived for the Linz Conference sometime in early to mid-September. After returning to New York, LaRouche again clashed with Carol, who had returned to the United States on 5 September to prepare for the new school year. Once back in New York, LaRouche continued his relentless attack on her. At one point a "compromise" was reached: Carol could still work with the NEC just as long as LaRouche was not physically present. The deal collapsed after Carol informed Chris White, now back in London after his research trip to France, of all the problems she was facing with the NCLC's Chairman. He suggested that she leave New York and move in with him in London. LaRouche, however, next demanded that she remain in the United States and claimed that her mere presence in Europe as a political organizer would prove fatal to the group's organizing efforts there by her irrational need to undermine his authority, not to mention her generally "existentialist" proclivities.
By that point, however, Carol decided to pack up her bags, give up the apartment, and relocate to London to live with Chris White. Ignoring LaRouche's ultimatum, she now did just that. LaRouche, in turn, threatened to quit the organization if his demands against her were not met. On 20 September 1972, the NEC issued a document of limited circulation almost certainly written by LaRouche announcing that Carol had been "suspended" (essentially expelled) from the group. However in a postscript, it was said that she could still function as a member as long as she only dealt with LaRouche personally on special assignments.
THE SIR WILLIAM COLLINS SCHOOL "TORTURE" SESSIONS
In the fall of 1973 the Whites were living in apartment 8A, on Woodfield Avenue, Colindale, London, NW9. Every weekday Chris White would leave the apartment and head into the center of London to work at a new job as a teacher at the Sir William Collins School (now known as the South Camden Community School) located not far from the Euston and St. Pancras tube stations and on whose premises he was allegedly brainwashed in a plot straight out of The Ipcress File. The 11 January 1974 New Solidarity states that White was
The story next claims that on the first day of school
It was also during this period that White was forced to watch film strips of Bill Engdahl being tortured, was made to sit for hours with a "sauce bottle inserted into his sigmoid" colon and was "made to eat excrement" among other horrors. In spite of such ghastly goings on, "there is no doubt that White was employed on those premises." In fact,
The paper also admits that
Yet the most surreal testimony about White and his tenure at the Sir William Collins School comes from White himself. In his article "On the Track of My Assassins" that appeared in the February-March 1974 Campaigner, White recalled that on the first two days of his employment at the school (17 and 18 September):
White next contradicts a core LaRouche claim and reports that he was never "tortured" on the premises of the school, much less its basement. Instead, he states:
White then adds:
But why the strange shift in an already invented story?
One possibility is that by this time the staff at the school may have been questioned by reporters and White realized he was on shaky ground. It is also possible that White himself became more convinced that his "recollection" of the non-existent brainwashing facility at the school was too riddled with contradictions to possibly be true. He may simply have assumed that it must have taken place elsewhere in the area, with the squats being the most logical possibility. But his shift in the story remains surprising.
Ironically, the initial idea that Chris White may have been "brainwashed" at his school began with Carol White. Recall that the NCLC/ELC had been warned for months about "brainwashing" in the wake of the Konstantin George affair. There even had been a "brainwashing" incident with Cliff Gaddy at the ELC London conference that still remains murky. When Chris White returned from the airport acting strangely, Carol worried that he may have been brainwashed as well. Since the only time they were apart for any length of time was when Chris was teaching, it seemed logical to Carol that he may well have been "tampered with" during his absence from her when teaching school. As she later recalled:
THE "IRA" CONNECTION
In his Campaigner piece, White ignores earlier claims by the NCLC that the brainwashing plot was not only tied into murdering LaRouche but also to an IRA bombing campaign in England. The bombing campaign, in turn, was later linked to an attempt to impose a fascist-style military dictatorship in England as a model for a Rockefeller-led coup inside the United States. The first mention of the plot surfaced in the 11 January 1974 paper in an article entitled "'Irish Bomb Plot' Denounced as Fascist Setup" by none other than White himself, whose byline reads "convalescing victim of CIA-MI-6 torture brainwashing." The 8 January-datelined article begins:
What White's reference to "irrefutable evidence" was remains a mystery. White's use of the words "Bomb plots only exist in the heads of a paranoid ruling class" is strange as well given that in a few weeks time the NCLC (LaRouche) publicly tried to prove that the IRA bombings must be part of a premeditated MI-6 plot by linking the bombings to White's brainwashing. From LaRouche's "Rockefeller's 1984-Plot" article in the 1974 spring Campaigner:
A few short months after the momentous events in January 1974, any discussions of the Chris White Affair vanished from New Solidarity. White did briefly resurface, however, in a 26 August 1978 article by LaRouche, ostensibly on how the British murdered JFK. In an aside, he says that White was given acid by two British agents before leaving for the United States but omits to mention the alleged 4 month-long series of brainwashing sessions at the Sir William Collins School. White is also discussed in an 8 September 1983 internal memo by LaRouche ("The Soviet KGB Versus the ICLC"). Here LaRouche again writes that White was subject to "a costly and elaborate drugging operation" by two MI-5 operatives. Again there is no mention of the Sir William Collins School. Clearly fairly early on, LaRouche wanted to get past the Chris White hoax and so he chose the easy "default" position that White simply had been "drugged" by two British agents before he flew to New York.
With these remarks, we have now more or less exhausted the paper trail stretching from 1974 to 1983 relating to the fantasy of White's torture sessions and its overtones of The Manchurian Candidate, Clockwork Orange, The Ipcress File, and Darkness at Noon.
WHAT REALLY HAPPENED?
As absurd as the story of the torture sessions is, there seems little doubt that White did suffer a nervous breakdown of some sort shortly before flying from London to New York City on 27 December 1973. In looking at this period, a few preliminary remarks are in order. In my view there are three possible explanations (or a combination of the three explanations) to explain the events that I will describe. Either: 1) White had a nervous breakdown on the eve of the NCLC's New York conference; 2) White was a witting participant in a hoax cooked up by LaRouche; or 3) White had indeed been given some mind-altering substance either at random or in an elaborate hoax run by LaRouche or someone close to him. One can find evidence to support all three scenarios but not enough to confirm any one of them. In what follows, I will try and reconstruct what happened to White primarily based on printed material by the NCLC and then propose possible approaches to interpreting the evidence. Essentially, however, I believe that White did suffer a nervous collapse "with added complications."
At the core of this story we may have something like this: Chris White, already fearful of dealing with LaRouche, had a traumatic experience after he faced the prospect of flying to New York alone to meet LaRouche. He never got on his scheduled flight to New York because there was some problem with his ticketing. He then spent some time in the Copthorne Hotel as airline agents worked on his ticketing status before he finally returned to a European Labor Committee conference in London later that night.
The most detailed discussion of the events that began on the morning of 27 December is presented in White's own Campaigner article and is worth quoting from at length:
(The minor mystery of how the number of passengers from British Caledonian went from "thirty of so" to "the hundred or so" that flew to New York in the space of one paragraph remains unsolved.)
We continue with White's story:
(As to the credibility of the mysterious unnamed reporter: In 1986 I flew to London courtesy of British Caledonian. On the back of my ticket packet was an ad for the different Copthorne hotels "owned by the British Caledonian group" including the one at Gatwick whose number at the time was (44) (324)714971.)
White then states:
In other words, the most basic answers to the question of what actually happened that day remains unknown. The only witness to any of this was White himself and no other witness could confirm his version of the events that day.
THE "TICKET FIDDLE"
Returning to White's text, we read:
The role of the International Travel Club in the White story first surfaced in the 1 January 1974 press release where it is reported:
What is most interesting about White's story is his discussion of the fact that NCLC member Steve Pepper an art history professor at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore also had travel troubles with his International Travel Club ticket. But "the second time Steve told his story [presumably the day after White returned from the airport], which was not in any way extraordinary, except for a whole series of pettifogging annoyances, I became convinced that my wife was a KGB agent, that she had always had been." If I am following White correctly, he is saying that he began to exhibit paranoid delusions not so much on the night he returned from the airport but sometime the next day. In any case, he writes:
In other words, before even arriving in New York, White began having delusions that he was a KGB agent!
One striking but easily overlooked fact about all this is that not only White but Steve Pepper had his 27 December flight to New York "disrupted" and that he too had booked the flight through the International Travel Club. Ironically, the 1 January 1974 NCLC press release gives the best explanation for what happened: the International Travel Club ran a "ticket fiddle" in which passengers were given "boarding passes, but not tickets" and that both White and Pepper found their flight plans thrown into confusion as a result.
In fact it seems very likely that White was never even on the flight #221 at all. In the entire story, it is remarkable that there is no concrete proof of White's ever being on the plane except for White's claim that it turned around. There is no mention of White retaining his boarding pass, ticket baggage claim check, paperwork from British Caledonian, stamped passport, or any other tangible piece of paper that could easily validate his story. The one piece of paper that did exist was a card from the Copthorne Hotel, the same hotel the ELC members had such trouble locating even though White "escaped from it" via taxi and train.
By at least 3 January 1974, the NCLC itself knew that White had never even been on flight #221. From LaRouche's presentation:
It seems likely that when White tried to get on the plane without a proper ticket, he was refused and that the airline offered to put him up at the Copthorne Hotel while it straightened out the mess with the travel company. White then left the hotel and returned later that night to Conway Hall, where the ELC meeting was still continuing. Sometime the next day, he stated accusing his wife of being a KGB agent. Recalling that period many years later, Carol White remarked:
If Carol White's memory is correct, it seems that there was yet another "brainwashing" scare case that got lost in the confusion following Chris White's arrival in New York. Why otherwise would Chris White be told (and by whom?) to "deprogram" Cliff Gaddy (and for what reason?). Why had Gaddy suddenly come under suspicion? In short, was there yet another crisis deliberately generated at the London cadre school? And why was Chris White singled out to carry out the supposed deprogramming?
After White's return from Gatwick airport, he mentioned that he had been placed in the Copthorne Hotel with just two other passengers, a Mr. Walsh and a Mrs. Schroeder, who were fellow victims also trapped in the International Travel Club "ticket fiddle." From the 1 January 1974 NCLC press release: "Through this agency [the International Travel Club] the victim and the two operatives (Welsh and Schroeder) assigned to deliver him to the KGB were embarked on the British Caledonian flight with boarding passes but not tickets.6 The press release says "were embarked" which is a curiously passive way of saying that they actually boarded the plane. After all, the KGB or MI-5 hardly needed to "sabotage" flight #221 if they had earlier seen to it that the tickets were invalid in the first place. This suggests that as early as 1 January 1974, the NCLC knew White was never on a plane. Leaving this detail aside, we read:
In his Campaigner piece, White recalls: "British Caledonian . . . had booked the three of us myself, a Mr. Paul Walsh and a Mrs. Schroeder into the Copthorne Hotel. There I had been drugged by Walsh and had escaped back to London via taxi and train." In the first version, Mrs. Schroeder had absolutely nothing to do with the plot. The real villain was Walsh. In the 1 January version Walsh "directed" White to the mythical KGB agents who "programmed" him. In White's Campaigner version, however, Walsh merely "drugged" him. Here the claim that White was then given a final programming tune-up before being sent to New York to kill LaRouche drops out of the picture entirely. Yet some years later Walsh and the formerly blameless Mrs. Schroeder would return "with a vengeance," so to speak, as the John Steed and Emma Peel of Gatwick Airport. In a 25 August 1978 New Solidarity LaRouche article ("Why the British Assassinated President John F. Kennedy"), he maintains that White's airplane the one he apparently never flew on returned to Gatwick after developing engine trouble. He then writes that once back at Gatwick
This time Walsh and Mrs. Schroeder (now given a first class passenger upgrade to "two of the best known operatives of British MI-5") only put acid in White's tea. Even LaRouche had to wonder why MI-5 would use "well-known" operatives since spies, almost by definition, are not supposed to be well-known. So perhaps, LaRouche reasons, "credible doubles" were substituted for the popular duo. But what would be the point of using "credible doubles" for two people already well known? How would that solve the problem? And why would MI-5 even wish to give White "acid in his tea" when White was actually programmed to murder LaRouche? Recall that Walsh's role was to lead White to some den of iniquity to give him a final Clockwork Orange-style tune-up for the planned hit. What is, however, interesting for our purposes is that it is here for the first time that LaRouche introduces the idea that someone did give White some kind of drug not to "program" him but to send him on a paranoid trip.
A source close to the events of that time offers this perspective:
At the Morton St. apartment Chris White was "debriefed" by Greg Rose, who claimed that White was speaking Russian and was a Russian KGB agent. The Whites reportedly were kept up for two days without sleep while Chris was badgered about his being a brainwashed KGB agent. Then he was kept in captivity for more than a week while LaRouche and the security staff "debriefed" him further. At the time, the Whites also suspected that Chris had been drugged during his confinement.
COULD WHITE HAVE BEEN DRUGGED?
Reading the NCLC's discussion of the Chris White Affair, at least one thing seems clear: Mr. Walsh and Mrs. Schroeder had nothing to do with the story except as victims of the same "ticket fiddle" as White. But could Chris White have been drugged by someone either before or after he arrived in New York? Although mere mention of such a possibility may produce howls of disbelief in the sensible reader, it can't be completely ruled out either. If White had been given some kind of mind-altering substance sometime before his flight, he would have arrived in the U.S. on 28 December, give or take time differences involved in flying from London to Manhattan. If so, he would have begun showing signs of mental instability either on the flight or after his arrival in New York as the drug kicked in. The fact that this scenario didn't come true might only depend on the accident that the ticket agency he used employed some shady practices.
If White had arrived alone as expected, he would have come just one day after the mysterious MIRA/CAL/DGI frogmen assassination team had been "spotted" roaming around LaRouche's apartment. Since LaRouche could "deprogram" White in a few hours (as he had George), it would have meant that by the time of LaRouche's opening presentation at the NCLC's conference on 29 December he would have had not just the "frogmen" but a real live body in the person of a paranoid White to prove the reality of the KGB-directed plot against him. The conspiracy could then include "a second KGB victim," Cliff Gaddy in London. Recall that White was supposed to "deprogram" Gaddy.
Instead LaRouche could only announce the existence of the plot on the 29th because White failed to arrive on time. Therefore in his initial speech, LaRouche claimed that flight #221 had been "brought down." But, as we have seen from White's Campaigner article, by December 28, if not the night of the 27th, it was that NCLC members like Steve Pepper had encountered the same problem with the International Travel Club as White had, a fact that would have been communicated to New York by phone. But if White arrived in New York in a perfectly normal state of mind, LaRouche's claims would have fallen apart. Therefore if White were drugged, he may even have been drugged twice.
But if LaRouche had a motive to play a very dirty trick on the Whites, did he have the means? In his Campaigner piece, White state that leading German members at the ELC conference stayed with Carol and himself. The core leadership of the German Labor Committee had been members of a commune in Dortmund, West Germany, made up of medical students. As LaRouche writes in his 1974 "Conceptual History of the Labor Committee": "A group of gifted medical students predominated in forming the nucleus in West Germany." As we have seen in the earlier chapter on the Chris White Affair, when White was held under LaRouche's control, LaRouche zealously guarded access to him through chosen "medical students" such as "Hans." Was "Hans" part of the German group with LaRouche in the Federal Republic just five months ago during the Konstantin George Affair?
In his Campaigner article, White writes on the first night of his arrival in New York (when he feared he was going to suffocate and die) that:
White's symptoms varied significantly from the night of the 29th when he seemed in a paranoid state to his state of mind on 31 December when he felt he was dying. As White describes the night of the 31 December, the experience he went through sounds nothing like anything caused by LSD but by some other substance, assuming the "drug" angle is true:
I am not saying that White was drugged. The most logical explanation is that White had a temporary breakdown induced by the stress of coming to New York and dealing with LaRouche. I only want here to suggest that the "drug hypothesis" can't be ruled out entirely. Did some German with medical experience under orders from LaRouche drug White? There was also an NCLC member, Doctor Gene Inch, who was present with White and may have given him drugs to try and calm him down. There is another possible drug-related explanation of events after White arrived in America and that is that White did receive some kind of medication such as prolixin and the medications had unpleasant side effects. In his Campaigner article, White states that
(White's notion that he had a cyanide capsule in his mouth, by the way, was reported as in the 1 January NCLC press release on the case.)
If White had been given some kind of drug at St. Vincent's, it might explain his report of experiencing what to him was a kind of near-death experience on the night of 31 December to the dawn of 1 January 1974, when he was taken to see the Brooklyn-based psychiatrist named Dr. Israel Samuelly. Doctor Samuelly tried to separate White from his NCLC minders and have him hospitalized. As White recounts his experience,
Finally, LaRouche's writings in the immediate "post-Chris White Affair" contain interesting references to the use of drugs in brainwashing. For example in his essay on "The Real CIA" in the April 1974 Campaigner, LaRouche writes:
And perhaps most bizarre of all, in a 6 January 1979 New Solidarity article LaRouche claimed that at the NCLC conference in 1974 "other members were surreptitiously administered psychedelic drugs."
But "surreptitiously administered" by whom?
PARANOID OR ACTING OR HYPNOTIZED?
There are, as I indicated earlier, other possible explanations for White's breakdown. For example, did White have any history of mental illness? We can find a hint of evidence for this thesis as well in White's Campaigner piece. Here he writes that "the British government announced that I had 'a long history of paranoia' a charge that was subsequently picked up by the New York Police Department." But was this claim true? Did White have some past history of mental instability?
It is also possible that White was acting. Certainly some members of LaRouche's inner circle at the time, including Jose Torres, thought that this must be the case. At one point Torres even physically threatened White in private in order to force him to admit that he had never been brainwashed. In fact it seems clear that, as the weeks went on, White knew that the entire brainwashing story was a hoax. How else can one explain the curious alterations in his own Campaigner piece regarding the Sir William Collins School for example?
Once White felt himself reasonably sane, he understood that the story of his brainwashing was a hoax. But this does not therefore mean that White hadn't experienced some kind of mental disorder in late December 1973. Two separate psychiatrists, Dr. Samuelly, who saw White on Monday, 1 January 1974, and Dr. Herbert Spiegel, who looked at White on 6 January, both diagnosed him as a paranoid schizophrenic. If White was simply acting, he did a brilliant job.
Yet another far-fetched sounding possibility is that White had been hypnotized at LaRouche's apartment, suggestions were then planted in his subconscious, and only then was he questioned. The NCLC's description of the White interrogation in the early press releases includes such curious phrases as: "After the victim had been conditioned to accept the person facing him as being his Soviet controller." Conditioned how and by whom? From the NCLC statement:
Recall that there was a special group chosen by LaRouche to "investigate" the Konstantin George bogus brainwashing case. This same group now became involved with White. Some of them had been tasked with studying mind-control techniques under LaRouche's supervision; certainly hypnosis would have been examined in such "research." In a famous 20 January 1974 New York Times story on the Chris White affair, Times reporter Paul Montgomery was given a tape of one of the White "deprogramming sessions." He remarks that on the tape "there is also what appears to be an attempt to hypnotize White by someone, not Mr. Marcus, in the room." That "someone" was almost certainly Greg Rose.
ADD "THE TRINITY"
For whatever reason, it is clear that White began to show signs of paranoia either on the night of 27 September after returning from Gatwick or at the ELC conference the next day. He recalled that during these days in London a pattern was established "which was to be maintained over the next week. I was becoming more and more the victim of paranoid fantasies. . . . I did not sleep, I barely ate. . . ." In this condition, White finally flew across the Atlantic to New York only this time "in the company of Carol, Steve Pepper, [Pepper's wife] Marcia Merry, and Peter Mailand." Given that Steve Pepper flew on the same flight with White, it would seem that their problems with the International Travel Club had also been solved. In any case, there is no report of either White or Pepper having to purchase a brand new ticket. White then reports that before getting on the plane to go to New York, "I had stabilized somewhat at a level of functional euphoria; that is to say, I was high, but not out of control." However, as fate would have it:
When Carol White told LaRouche that her husband had been mimicking the plot of The Trinity film he saw on the plane; LaRouche not only dismissed her concerns but instead insisted that the showing of that particular film on that particular flight was now mere chance event; it was further confirmation that White had been brainwashed! In his Campaigner article, White refers to Trinity more than once and he clearly wants to suggest that his seeing the film and not a real KGB/CIA "brainwashing" plot triggered his delusions about assassination, although his fantasies about either himself or his wife as a dangerous KGB agent first surfaced well before he saw the film. He further states that when the NCLC finally took him to a professional psychiatrist, "I was convinced that, at that moment, I was living out the film I had seen on the flight from London." After taking with the doctor, White commented, "We headed on back to yet another apartment. Once back in the car, I again began living out the fantasy of the film."
White also admits that he began agreeing with the images and arguments put forward by his NCLC interrogators: "For several days, I actually mounted a rearguard struggle to maintain the joys of my own "private" fantasies. No admission was too degraded for me to make [presumably this includes sex with sheep], no lie too big to be told." In other words, the more LaRouche spun out fantastic scenarios to White, the more White agreed with them. By agreeing that he had been brainwashed, White was showing that he was mentally healthy. By resisting the idea that he had been brainwashed, White would only prove how deeply he had been brainwashed. Thus to be "truly cured," White had to embrace the notion that he had been brainwashed.
THE "COUNTERINTELLIGENCE TEAM"
Returning to White's narrative: After getting through Customs at JFK, he and his party were picked up by "Labor Committee security personnel" who drove them directly to LaRouche's West Village apartment on Morton Street. To receive White, reports the 11 January New Solidarity: "Marcus assembled a multi-language team, including a member with intelligence training, at his apartment. The key members of the team had experience in various phases of the work of freeing an earlier brainwashing victim, Konstantin George." It is important to recall again just how foundational the George case was for the White Affair. In his article in the February/March 1974 Campaigner, LaRouche writes that after he had discovered that George was "brainwashed" by the East German secret police,
This "team" was then made responsible for the further "deprogramming" of George in which more and more fantastic revelations about a KGB plot against LaRouche were revealed. Under what conditions George was held and for how long he was interrogated remains a mystery but it seems that George himself may have had some kind of mental breakdown. White notes in his Campaigner article that Dr. Samuelly, the first psychiatrist White saw on 1 January, earlier "had assisted the deprogramming of Konstantin George." Therefore when White was hustled into LaRouche's apartment immediately after arriving at JFK airport, he was surrounded by the very same "team" responsible for the bogus discoveries of a KGB assassination plots aimed at LaRouche through the autumn and winter of 1973! It is not even clear when the team's "deprogramming" of George actually ended. Was this the same team that "triangulated" the radio frequencies of the non-existent Latin American stakeout crew shortly before White landed in New York?
RUSSIANS AND RATS
In his Campaigner piece, White gives his account of the first night at LaRouche's West Village apartment:
Even before starting to "deprogram" White about an assassination plot, White freely confessed to it on his own. But LaRouche already had announced the existence of a plot against him (not to mention the "downing" of White's plane) on the morning of the 29th, well before White had arrived in New York. In any case, White continues: "It was at that point that 'deprogramming' proper began. 'How did I know that?' I was asked. Yet at that point, I had no answer. I could not utter a word. The first session lasted approximately four hours. While it was in progress, it became clear that I had indeed been brainwashed."
The ultimate proof of White's brainwashing was his ability to speak in different languages:
The interrogators not only had the "conditioned" White tell them about the non-existent frogmen that they had invented just a few days earlier but they also linked him to a phone number from 55 Perry Street in the West Village, not far from LaRouche's own apartment.9
White further reports that in subsequent deprogramming session on 1-2 January, "we began to consider the keys and codes" with which he had been programmed and which, not surprisingly, revolved around a fear of rats, a prominent feature in the "Beyond Psychoanalysis" series of articles that first appeared in the Campaigner in the fall of 1973, not to mention in George Orwell's 1984. White recalls that:
That "key" was quickly turned into the famous phrase "CIA rats eat shit" that LaRouche demanded NCLC members to say out loud to determine if they were brainwashed or not! White then says that after "no sell can rat," he began to think that he was no longer programmed. But now, alas, his interrogators "wanted to know, then I would be able to tell them who did it, where it was done, and what they [the brainwashers] wanted me to do." Not surprisingly, White couldn't supply any details: "the cast iron cap descended even tighter on my brain. Ideas would not come. I felt stupid. Ignorant, desperate if I could not come up with something then who knew what might happen to any of the people I was with." All this occurred on 2 January, one day before LaRouche's amazing press conference and speech to the NCLC.
Unable to recall any specifics of his brainwashing, White declared in his Campaigner article that he now realized he was programmed at an even deeper level than he imagined:
Recall that Alice Weitzman was rescued by the New York police on 2 January. White's new fake memory was an attempt to link the New York City police into the conspiracy as well. As for the numbers in Glasgow and London, we learn nothing more about them in White's account. White then relates that the phone numbers "were my last programmed instructions." But what were these instructions?
On "Jan. 5," the NCLC Resume reports, the group revealed
Finnigan, by the way, had been warned by Dillon that the NCLC was threatening his life and Dillon wanted some kind of police protection. White now had "proven" that Alice Weitzman, Bob Dillon, and any other NCLC dissidents who doubted the veracity of the entire Chris White Affair were part of the "random assassination squad Dillon group" controlled by the New York City police department's Red Squad!
A few days later, the Chris White Affair began to fade away faster than the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland. White reports that "I received complete remission" on the 9th of January. This was shortly after he accompanied some NCLC members to swear out a complaint against the CIA, the City of New York, and the NYPD at the Southern District Federal Court in Lower Manhattan. Afterwards,
But what was White to do now? The NCLC had just spent two straight weeks churning out the most elaborate conspiracy theory possible. In his public address, LaRouche had famously screamed at skeptics: "Any of you who say this is a hoaxyou're ! You're ! You're not serious. ." If White came out and debunked his own story, LaRouche would have undoubtedly declared that he had been brainwashed to do so and would have attacked him again. From White's perspective, there seemed that he had little choice but to maintain the validity of the hoax. Yet White could not quite abandon his belief that he had been drugged:
At this point our paper trail more or less ends.
Whatever the reason for White's collapse, his breakdown was a godsend to LaRouche. Whether by happenstance or design or by a mixture of both White's meltdown was used to "prove" the reality of an assassination plot that LaRouche and his Security Staff had been actively promoting throughout the fall and winter of 1973 under the guise of investigating the Konstantine George "brainwashing." With White, LaRouche got the assassination crisis he wanted and just at right time for the NCLC's critical national conference. Plus he managed to avenge himself on Carol White, who had initially strongly resisted the idea that Chris White had been brainwashed and was essentially humiliated by the entire affair.
Ultimately, we are left with the question of how much what happened in December 1973 was a mix of high melodrama and low farce and how much of it was scripted. Was all this just an extraordinary "Black Swan"-style event fueled by LaRouche's paranoia? Or was this a "managed crisis"? What makes this question so perplexing is the uncomfortable fact that Gerry Healy's Workers Revolutionary Party regularly held national gatherings with very similar "security scares" that Healy skillfully exploited to intimidate his members as well. As I have documented in my appendix on the Workers League/Workers Revolutionary Party, Healy and his inner circle regularly generated "security scares" during this same period as a form of psychological warfare against his own members.10
Was a similar process at work in the Labor Committee?
In short, if Chris White hadn't happened, LaRouche might well have needed to invent him. In fact he may even have done just that.
1. Yet in LaRouche's article on brainwashing in the Feb.-March 1974 Campaigner, he writes that White's torments began on the first day of school not in the basement but that "his interrogation began in the school's medical suite, the discussion focused on his 'life insurance policy.'"
2. Recall that in the 1 January NCLC press release it reported that White had been in East Berlin in the summer of 1967 (at age 19) being trained by the Russians "for eventual penetration of British military intelligence" but that he "was programmed for Soviet (Russian language) primary control in Paris during 1971" as "his 'career' had been shifted toward KGB penetration of the left."
3. Donald Filtzer was a Trotskyist Sovietologist specializing in economics. He also knew Michael Vale, the leader of The Next Step GI and deserters' organization in Europe. Filtzer was later associated with Critique magazine run out of Glasgow University. In the late 1970s, Michael Vale became a member of Critique's board. In his acknowledgments' section to his editing an anthology of the writings of the Soviet "Left Opposition" economist E.O. Preobrazhensky (entitled The Crisis of Soviet Industrialization), Filtzer writes:
4. Dating can be tricky due to the time difference between Manhattan and London. However this is my best estimate.
5. Unfortunately, this is the only reference in print to this mysterious incident that I could discover.
6. In the NCLC press release, the name "Walsh" is spelled in one section "Welsh."
7. LaRouche was extremely afraid that White would somehow be taken by the New York police and placed in a medical hospital. The 3 January New Solidarity Extra outlining LaRouche's famous speech on White included a front page banner headline that read "White's Life Threatened." The article began:
8. As an aside on the language issue, the first NCLC press release from 1 January 1974 reported that White "in reply to the interrogator's Russian language commands . . . began replying in crude but efficient Russian (with an accent fitting a Carpathian-region inflection)." In fact, after White's interrogator Greg Rose was identified by White as a KGB captain, White demonstrated "considerably increased fluency in Russian."
Then White supposedly replied in German. The NCLC press release, in contrast to White, said that "although the victim had a weak school German with a marked British accent . . . this German was far more fluent (that of a native Russian speaker with a rudimentary fluency in German)." So in one report White spoke Russian with a "Carpathian-region inflection" and then German with either the accent of a "native Russian speaker" or a native Russian speaker with a "Ukrainian accent."
From the NCLC 1 January 1974 statement:
White's "Carpathian-region inflection" reminds this writer of a famous scene from My Fair Lady. After LaRouche "deprogrammed" White, one can only wonder if the assembled spectators began singing "Congratulations, Professor Marcus!"?
9. Joanne and Fuad Joseph long-time NCLC members who, like Bob Dillon, had dropped out of the NCLC around the time of Operation Mop-Up happened to live on Perry Street. By White "confirming" that he was supposed to call what I believe was their number as part of his KGB programming, LaRouche and his security team may have wanted to link NCLC dissidents like the Josephs and Bob Dillon to the non-existent KGB plot that almost overnight became the non-existent CIA/MI-6 plot against LaRouche.
10. On Healy, See http://laroucheplanet.info/pmwiki/pmwiki.php?n=Library.UnityNow4
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