Jimmy Carter

Before You Get Your Checkbook Out …

Hollywood actors Meryl Streep and Patrick Stewart are using Facebook to ask the public to contribute to a good cause this holiday season. There’s one hitch: the non-profit corporation  they have endorsed is a front for a government-financed agency once headed by William Casey, President Reagan’s CIA director. Moreover, their favorite yuletide charity nowadays lists  Trump’s White House as its home address.  

In her Facebook appeal on behalf of the International Rescue Committee,  actress Meryl Streep extols the virtues of the refugee relief organization, imploring millions of her starstruck fans to donate to the non-profit corporation.

“I am a proud supporter of this splendid, hard-working, efficient, beautiful organization, and I hope you will join me,” Streep says in her Facebook video. What the actress doesn’t include in her sales pitch is that the IRC is already the beneficiary of hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer dollars. Streep’s plea for money also fails to mention that the IRC’s largest contribution — more than $80 million —  came from 1300 Pennsylvania Ave in Washington, D.C., according to the charity’s latest available Internal Revenue Service tax return.

The White House address is attached to the generous gift given to the IRC by the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, an arm of the United States Agency for International Development, an executive

Meryl Streep’s Facebook post  lauds the IRC, a front once headed by CIA spook William Casey.

branch agency that administers U.S. foreign aid.

Support offered by Streep and fellow movie star Patrick Steward in their Facebook pitches on behalf of the IRC both praise the organization’s efforts to relieve the suffering of millions of displaced families that are the victims of wars, many of which are bankrolled by American military assistance around the world through allocations made in the annual Pentagon budget.

There is no doubt a need for aid exists in the war ravaged regions of the world, but the Hollywood icons’ Facebook appeal presents the organization’s mission as purely altruistic, and omits mentioning the IRC’s ties to the federal government, thereby misrepresenting the IRC’s objectives and shrouding its checkered history.

In addition to the $80 million from the OFDA,  USAID contributed  more than $60 million directly, according to the IRC’s tax filings in 2018.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services kicked in approximately another $38 million. Together with other U.S. government agency donations and contributions from the European Union and the governments of Germany and Sweden, the IRC ledger shows contributions of more than $700 million in 2018. Moreover, the tax return indicates that, in the preceding five-year period, the organization raked in more than $3 billion.

 

IRC’s 2018 IRS record shows an $80 million donation from 1300 Pennsylvania Ave.

If Streep and Stewart’s support for a program with ties to the Trump administration seems weird, it’s really only the tip of the iceberg. Trump and his minions did not invent this well-endowed, quasi-public, foreign policy tool.  Instead, the origins of the IRC and its role in carrying out the U.S. government’s global agenda began in the 1930s before Trump and the current crop of Republican know-nothings were even born. Initially, the IRC adhered to its objectives of providing aid to refugees fleeing Hitler’s Germany. But by the advent of the Cold War, the purpose of the organization morphed into a concerted covert operation aimed at promoting U.S. hegemony in post-war Europe.

As mentioned by the celebrities in their social-media spam, Albert Einstein was a supporter of the early incarnation of the IRC, but the two Hollywood actors’ Facebook ads omit a more telling detail related to the organization’s origins:  The American wing of the IRC was founded by Jay Lovestone, an American communist, who later became a CIA double agent in Europe. Lovestone’s work for the agency focused on subverting leftist labor movements through his leadership of the American Institute for Free Labor Development. Similar to the International Rescue Committee, AIFLD received its funding through USAID, which was formed by Kennedy administration in 1961. Lovestone later headed to the AFL-CIO’s International Affairs Department through which he continued to do the bidding of the CIA.

William Casey and Leo Cherne were among the fellow travelers who followed in Lovestone’s foot steps, they would each share a role in steering the IRC during the Cold War.

Wall Street lawyer, OSS operative, CIA director and Iran-Contra ringleader William J. Casey.

Of the pair, Casey, a Wall Street insider, is more well known because he eventually became CIA director in 1981 under President Ronald Reagan. Casey got his start as a spook during the World War II as a member of the Office of Strategic Services, which was the predecessor of the CIA. In 1962, Casey founded the National Strategy Information Center, another Cold War CIA front.  Then in 1970,  he took over the helm of the IRC before embarking on his career in public service as an Under Secretary of State and Chairman of the Security and Exchange Commission in the Nixon administration.  A decade later, Casey managed Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign, during which time he allegedly  masterminded of the 1980 theft of President Jimmy Carter’s briefing papers, giving the aging Hollywood actor the edge in that’s fall’s televised debate. Casey was also instrumental in pulling off another dirty trick during the campaign: He set up back channel negotiations with Iranian emissaries to withhold the release of the Americans hostages being held in Iran until after the November election, thus insuring Reagan’s victory. The rogue operation was dubbed the October Surprise.

During his tenure as Reagan’s CIA director, Casey planned and carried out the Iran-Contra Affair, using illicit arms sales to Iran to finance Reagan’s secret war against the Nicaraguan Sandinista government. Under Casey’s leadership, the CIA engaged in cocaine trafficking with Colombian cartels and  bankrolled Central American military death squads in cooperation with the Argentine government’s fascist military dictatorship. Many of the leaders of the death squads were trained at the School of the Americas, which was funded by Office of Public Safety, an arm of USAID.  All of these off-the-book activities were part of the Reagan bund’s fanatical right-wing crusade against the perceived communist threat in Central America.  Known as The Enterprise, the secret operation was operated out of the White House by Col. Oliver North, the recently deposed president of the National Rifle Association. Casey’s espionage career began in World War II with Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the CIA and brainchild of fellow Wall Street lawyer William “Wild Bill” Donovan, Casey’s mentor.

Cold War Lovers: Ronald Reagan and Leo Cherne.

Cherne’s career path is no less intriguing. Besides his longtime role as leader of the IRC, he also headed the murky Research Institute of America and Freedom House, a publishing company that specialized in anti-communist propaganda. Similar to IRC, Freedom House claims to be an independent non-government organization, but it receives a large part of its funding through the National Endowment for Democracy, a U.S. government agency created by the Reagan administration to meddle in the internal affairs and elections of sovereign countries. Cherne was a member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board from 1973 to 1991.

 

Former British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, the IRC’s current CEO, receives more than $900,000 in annual compensation. Prior to heading the IRC, Milibank was a senior global advisor at Oxford Analytica, an English think tank founded by American expatriate David Young, a protege of Henry Kissinger. Young fled the U.S. following revelations of his involvement in the Watergate scandal during the Nixon administration in the early 1970s. As an assistant National Security Council advisor in Nixon’s White House, Young ran the so-called Plumber’s Unit, which hired former CIA agent E. Howard Hunt and a crew of anti-Castro Cubans to burglarize the Democratic National Party headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. in June 1972.

The IRC’s current board of directors includes: former Clinton administration Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, a powerful Washington, D.C. lobbyist with current or past ties to think tanks such as the Aspen Institute and the Center for American Progress; former Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner, the banker who engineered the Wall Street bail out for President Barrack Obama;  retired Gen. Colin Powell, President George W. Bush’s first Secretary of State, who lied to the United Nations about Iraq’s possession of alleged weapons of mass destruction; and Condoleezza Rice, who served as Bush’s national security advisor as succeeded Powell in heading the State Department.

Perhaps Streep and Stewart are naive about the IRC’s dark origins and its current murky agenda.  But government propaganda efforts during the Obama administration show that Hollywood has been wooed by the federal government and may already be actively engaged in supporting U.S. foreign policy. In June 2015, for instance, the Obama State Department convened a summit meeting  at Sunnylands, the Southern California estate of the late media mogul Walter Annenberg. Those on hand for the meeting included representatives of the film and social media industries, including HBO and Snapchat. The discussions focused on measures between government and private industry to forge a united front to bolster the U.S. government’s image at home and abroad through a collaborative effort aimed at attacking anti-American sentiments online. The stated targets at that time were non-state actors, specifically ISIS, the Middle Eastern terrorist organization. But since then the CIA has publicly demonized Russia for its efforts to influence the political opinions of the American electorate.

In January 2017, the CIA declassified a 2012  internal agency report. The majority of the information in the report is unrelated to the continuing furor over whether Donald Trump  benefited from the alleged Russian intrusion in the 2016 presidential election. Instead, the CIA intelligence assessment details how RT America, the Russian news service, is allegedly being used by the Kremlin as a propaganda tool to cast the U.S.  government in a bad light. This begs whether the CIA mounted a counter-espionage campaign,  including online fund raising for the IRC, to offset the perceived damage being inflicted by the negative image of the Russian news service  broadcasts not only in America but to a global audience via the Internet.

 

 

 

DIOXIN, PCBS, THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX AND NATIONAL SECURITY

BY C.D. STELZER

Previously unpublished, Feb. 14, 1996

Whenever PCBs or dioxin are mentioned, secrecy seems to
descends: doors close, sources become unavailable,
Freedom of Information requests go wanting, and lies are
told.  
     Former U.S. Sen. Thomas Eagleton (D-Mo.) recognized
early the consequences of such a flawed policy.  "If we
were discussing national security such as the A-bomb or
nuclear warheads, I could see where there would have to
be a cloak of secrecy," Eagleton told the St. Louis
Globe-Democrat in 1982. ... "But we are discussing a
situation that is affecting people's lives. ... The worst
thing is for there to be secret leaks that may be
misleading to the people in those affected areas,"
Eagleton said.     
     That the senator referred to national security is
telling. From the beginning, the military-industrial
complex has inhabited the edges of the dioxin
controversy. 
     Hoffman-Taff and Monsanto, of course, both
originally  manufactured a chemical component of Agent
Orange for use by the Army in Vietnam. But Monsanto's
military connections predates that era by decades. As far
back as World War II, the chemical company did work for
the government. In 1944, for example, the St. Louis Star
Times reported that Monsanto had gained approval from the
Army to produce a catapulting rocket" fashioned after the
German "robot bomb," an allusion probably to the early V
2 missiles used by the Nazis. 
     Another intriguing detail is that Syntex -- 
Hoffman-Taff's  parent and the company ultimately held
liable for the Times Beach cleanup --  is incorporated in
Panama, a center for clandestine banking and
international espionage.
      The Roche Group, a Swiss-based pharmaceutical
conglomerate bought Syntex in 1994. During World War I,
the allies suspected Hoffman-LaRoche of aiding Germany.
More recently, the company's American subsidiary 
provided a hallucinogenic drug, quinuclidinyl benzilate,
known as BZ, to the U.S. Army. The Army Chemical Corp is
reported to have conducted human experiments using BZ  at
the Edgewood Arsenal between 1959 and 1974.  
     There are also indications of a close working
association between public health officials and the
military. As already stated, health officials were
steered to the Verona plant by the Defense Contract
Administrations Services, a part of the Pentagon. In
addition, one of the early investigators of the Missouri
dioxin case had a background tied to the armed forces. 
In a 1975 deposition relating to the Piatt case, Coleman
Carter, a physician for the U.S. Public Health Service
(PHS), testified he had joined the health agency less
than two years before, while still a commissioned officer
on active reserve duty. Carter worked under the auspices
of the Epidemiological Intelligence Services (EIS).  EIS
had been specifically set up to respond to the threat of
biological warfare, according to Alexander D. Langmuir,
the chief epidemiologist for the PHS  from 1949 to 1970. 
     In addition, the Bliss Waste Oil Co. picked up used
motor oil from Ft. Leonard Wood near Rolla. One former
Bliss driver alleged that the company also collected
waste from Scott Air Force Base near Belleville.  IPC,
the St. Louis company that sub-contracted Bliss to haul
the dioxin-contaminated waste from Verona, was a
subsidiary of Charter Oil.  During the 1970s, Charter Oil
engaged fugitive financier Robert Vesco, and Billy
Carter, the brother of Pres. Jimmy Carter, to negotiate
trade deals with Libyan dictator Moammer al-Qaddafi.
     Perhaps the most bizarre footnote to this toxic
odyssey are the tete-a-tetes Bliss reportedly shared with
the late U.S. Rep. Richard Ichord (D-Mo.)  In a 1980
prison interview,  an alleged Bliss Waste Oil Co.
employee, recalled witnessing  meetings between his
former employer and the ultra-conservative congressman. A
transcript of the interview is on file at the IEPA
offices in Collinsville.  According to the transcript,
DNR and EPA officials and an assistant Missouri attorney
general interviewed inmate Scott Rollins at the Missouri
Penitentiary in Jefferson City. Rollins is quoted as
saying Bliss met Ichord, on more than one occasion, at an
unspecified restaurant and the two would sometimes leave
together. 
     Ichord is probably most remembered for being the
last chairman of the House Un-American Activities
Committee, and a zealous anti-communist. After leaving
office, he became a lobbyist for the extreme-rightwing
American Freedom Coalition, which received funding from
the Unification Church, founded in Korea by the Rev. Sun
Myung Moon. During his tenure in Congress, the
congressman also strongly supported chemical weapons. In
1980, Ichord pushed a more than $3 million appropriation
through Congress for a binary nerve gas facility at the 
Pine Bluff Arsenal in Arkansas. In the prison interview,
Rollins mentions that Bliss also did business in that
state, but didn't say where. 
     Whether the congressman and the waste oil hauler
ever met is, for now at least, still a matter of
conjecture. But it is clear that they both, in their own
ways, contributed to massive pollution problems. The Army
is now faced with destroying tons of chemical weapons. 
In this way, it faces the same kind of problem the EPA
has at Times Beach. Local residents in both circumstances
oppose the use of incineration as a means of destroying 
toxic chemicals.  
     In a 1970 speech before the St. Louis County Chamber
of Commerce, Ichord, warned that the environmental
movement could someday be subverted by the radical left.
Speaking at Slay's  restaurant in Affton, the congressman
said, "Solving the problems of pollution will require
sound and pragmatic actions from state and city
governments, plus massive volunteer activities as well as
the support you have the right to expect from the federal
government."      
     Although Taylor, the organizer for TBAG, would
likely not match the late congressman's profile of a good
citizen, he agrees that the federal government, in
particular Congress, does have an important obligation. 
     "The Times Beach Action Group has always wanted to
uncover the truth about what's been happening with these
toxic sites," says Taylor. "We have requested a
congressional investigation from (Rep.) Jim Talent. Also,
we've sent a letter requesting (the same) of (Sen.
Christopher "Kit") Bond."
      TBAG hasn't heard back from Bond. They're not
holding their breath.