Chapter Twenty-four

Law and Order, LaRouche Style

The Security staff's approach to the FBI and local police in the late 1970s was similar to LaRouche's pitch to Langley. Just as the CIA had been weakened by media exposes and personnel cutbacks, the FBI had fallen on lean times because of the COINTELPRO scandal, a rash of citizen lawsuits, and a post-Watergate shift in legislative and judicial opinion regarding government snooping. In 1976 Attorney General Edward Levi issued guidelines prohibiting the FBI from conducting surveillance of domestic radical groups unless there was evidence that a crime had been or was about to be committed. By 1983 the FBI was investigating about 50 domestic security cases, compared with over 20,000 a decade earlier. Local police no longer could rely on the FBI for wide-ranging political intelligence data, and were increasingly limited by their own departmental guidelines.

Private organizations attempted to fill the vacuum. One was the Birch Society-linked Western Goals. Another was the NCLC Security staff, which crafted a synthetic law enforcement philosophy sharply opposed to its previous left-wing anti-police rhetoric.

To begin trading information with local police, private outfits needed their own base of raw intelligence data. Fortunately for Security, hundreds of LaRouchians had belonged to leftist groups before joining the NCLC. Many wrote up reports on their former comrades. A 1977 Security field report stated that a new member, Roger M., had just been recruited in Hartford, Connecticut. He previously had been active with the Venceremos Brigade (a now defunct Maoist sect in California) and had known its founder, H. Bruce Franklin. Roger would write up his experiences, the report said, and if necessary would come to Security headquarters for a full debriefing. However, while Roger informed on Bruce Franklin, another Hartford comrade would keep Security informed about Roger.

Many leftists, unlike Roger, were turned off by the NCLC's recruitment efforts. Even so, NCLC members would jot down anything derogatory they learned about these fleeting contacts. As early as 1974, reports from the Philadelphia office included thumbnail profiles of trade union and peace activists. Often included were rumors regarding sexual, marital, psychiatric, or alcoholism problems.

The LaRouchians tried to keep secret their early efforts as police informers, but an NCLC telex intended for the organization's Midwestern regional office was sent by accident to the newsroom of a Minneapolis daily. Included in the transmission were instructions to "brief" various police officials.

In Seattle the LaRouchians took to preparing their intelligence reports on forms similar to those used by U.S. military intelligence, stamped "Classified," "This Form for Internal Agency Use Only," and "This worksheet contains information affecting the National Defense of the United States within the meaning of the Espionage Laws." A report obtained by the Seattle Sun stated that NCLC members had briefed the Washington state attorney general's office on radical groups and would be briefing the Tacoma FBI office. The Sun quoted the head of the Portland, Oregon Police Department's Intelligence Division, who named a local NCLC leader as one of his best sources on local leftists.

Any pretense of secrecy was soon dropped. Jeffrey Steinberg admitted in a 1977 court case that he and his colleagues were in contact with police departments and FBI offices in dozens of cities. In 1978 they circulated a sample report on terrorism to police officers, together with a catalogue of reports selling for upwards of $25 on everyone from the Maoists through William F. Buckley. The catalogue also offered "Special Investigative Services" based on "extensive files of raw and semifinished material built up over a nine-year period."

Security staffers were given sales quotas, which they met by calling up police departments and security-conscious nuclear power companies. They also set up literature tables at police and security-industry conventions. Jeff Steinberg attended the 1978 International Association of Chiefs of Police convention to circulate LaRouche's "National Strategy for Crime Control."

The NCLC material targeting police used "terrorism" as a code word for any kind of left-of-center social protest. This enabled the LaRouchians to discuss fascism and police-state methods without unduly embarrassing their audience. In a 1978 Security sales brochure, LaRouche advocated "surgically precise preventive action" against the controllers of terrorism. "It is essential...," he said, "to use the terrorism as justification for political penalties against the environmentalists," for in his view the environmentalists were part of the ideological "infrastructure" of terrorism. In a 1981 report he advised that the arrest and conviction of those who commit crimes is not enough for the "effective suppression" of crime. The problem is that under our "British" laws we can't arrest someone until he has actually committed the crime. What is needed is a system that can "control the crime before the fact," through "neutralization" of the infrastructure--"political machines, lawyers, support fronts and the like."

While calling for a state of siege, the LaRouchians were quick to benefit from the civil libertarian climate they decried. Many of them applied for their FBI files under the Freedom of Information Act. LaRouche and thirteen aides sued the Justice Department for alleged violations of their civil rights during the NCLC's leftist days. By the early 1980s, members of the LaRouche organization had filed scores of civil rights and ballot access suits against local and federal authorities across the country.

In 1980, Investigative Leads (IL), a newsletter for local police intelligence units, was launched as a spin-off from Executive Intelligence Review. It purported to give the latest scoop on terrorists, narcotics traffickers, Communists, environmentalists, black nationalists, leaders of Jewish-American and Arab-American organizations, and even elements in the Ku Klux Klan hostile to LaRouche's own Klan allies. Like EIR, the newsletter was a shopping window for intelligence items. Articles often included a list of the NCLC "reference files" consulted in preparing an article. The implication was that these files would be made available to interested police officers.

An IL house ad boasted that the intent was to build "a network of law enforcement and security professionals and others who are committed to the eradication of terrorism and narcotics trafficking." Ryan Quade Emerson, a writer on extremist groups who served as a part-time "intelligence analyst" for the LaRouchians during 1985-86, claims that IL editor Robert Greenberg had sources in "dozens of police departments." "It was his full-time job to cultivate them," Emerson said. "I'd hear the calls coming in, and I'd listen to his pitch. He'd call some guys every day with information and say, 'Call us collect if you have stuff for us.' He was trying to compromise them. Some fell for it, some didn't. But if [Security] hooked a guy, they'd try to brainwash him with their conspiracy theories."

One secret of the NCLC's success with police departments, as with Third World intelligence agencies, was the "pyramiding" of intelligence data. Through their phone sweeps Security members might find out, say, that the Revolutionary Communist Party was planning a demonstration in city X. They would call their favorite Red Squad detective in that city and offer him information from their files on the RCP. Next they would call a detective in city Y, pass on to him anything of interest they had learned from the detective in city X, and warn him that the RCP might be planning nationwide terrorism. Whatever this detective told them in return, they would swap along with the previous item to a third detective in city Z, thus rapidly building up their fund of tradable information without having to leave their desks.

This tactic sometimes worked because the LaRouchians were at least pretending to meet a real need. Police intelligence officers in, say, Portland and Chicago didn't have the time or resources to systematically exchange esoteric background information on radical sects. The LaRouchians thus could offer their services as a clearinghouse, pretending to have vast resources of their own.

When a civil liberties group sued the Los Angeles Police Department's former Public Disorder Intelligence Division (PDID), seeking to halt its alleged abuses, local NCLC members popped up as fanatical police supporters. They launched a smear campaign in 1980 against leaders of the Citizens Commission on Police Repression (CCPR), including its founder, Linda Valentino. The LaRouchians "made our lives miserable," she said, "They passed out, it must have been, a quarter of a million leaflets, accusing us of terrorism and drug pushing." The leaflets listed the home and work phone numbers of activists involved in the suit. "For days, we received harassing calls," Valentino said. "I got obscene calls at home in the early morning hours."

The leaflets were filled with blatant anti-Semitism, charging that the Israelis, the Lubavich sect of Hasidic Judaism, the Jewish Defense League, Simon Wiesenthal, and a Jewish city councilman, Zev Yaroslavsky, were all in a plot to destroy the PDID so that "Israeli dopers" could take over. One leaflet bore the title "Smash the 'Kosher Nostra'--Defend the LAPD." Said another; "If your child's mind is eaten away by PCP provided to him by Meyer Lansky's drug runners, or if the mayor of your city has his legs blown off" by a JDL hit squad, "the person to blame is Zev [Yaroslavsky]." The leaflets were authorized and paid for by LaRouche's 1980 presidential campaign committee. Similar accusations were printed in IL, which solicited advance orders for an "in-depth special report" analyzing the backgrounds and motives of the plaintiffs in the CCPR suit. Meanwhile, Security prepared for the Los Angeles police a special dossier on Yaroslavsky, including blatantly false accusations against other local and national Jewish leaders.

According to Jeff Cohen, the former ACLU attorney who represented the plaintiffs, the PDID had extensive direct dealings with the LaRouchians on intelligence matters. Cohen took the depositions of PDID officers who admitted that the NCLC's local Security man, Tim Pike, had given briefings at police headquarters. Cohen subpoenaed PDID intelligence booklets that included articles from IL and New Solidarity.

Detective Arleigh McCree, head of the LAPD bomb squad, met frequently with Pike in the early 1980s and also chatted on the phone with New York Security staffers. McCree, who died while attempting to defuse a bomb in 1986, told reporter Joel Bellman in a 1981 interview that he provided the LaRouchians with tips as well as receiving information from them.

A 1982 Security notebook, provided to federal prosecutors by Charles Tate, contains alleged tips about Israelis in southern California from a detective in the "Israeli mafia unit." The conversation is described under the heading "Calif. LAPD contacts." Mordechai Levy, a Jewish militant who infiltrated the LaRouche organization from 1980 to 1984, was working for Security in Los Angeles at the time. He says he examined copies of law enforcement files that Tim Pike kept in a cabinet in the NCLC's Vermont Street office. "Tim boasted he got them from the PDID," Levy said. The files related to radical groups of the 1960s and 1970s, including the May Day Tribe, the FALN, the Brown Berets, and the Jewish Defense League. "Pike had Xeroxes of the mug shots, surveillance logs, correspondence between the FBI and local law enforcement," Levy charged.

The LaRouchians wooed former Los Angeles police chief Ed Davis when he was running for the state senate in 1980. He spoke at a meeting of the NCLC's National Anti-Drug Coalition and gave interviews to LaRouche publications. An interview conducted by Jeffrey Steinberg appeared in War on Drugs. The headline called Davis the "Drug Fighter of the Month." He was quoted as saying that President Carter "philosophically was a drug pusher." Davis recalled in a 1988 phone interview that some California conservatives at the time regarded the LaRouchians as a "counterforce" against leftists. He said that a wealthy campaign contributor had urged him to meet with them, but that he cut them off upon realizing that they were not legitimate conservatives.

Chicago's police department was another major target. In 1979-80 the LaRouchians waged a smear campaign against Mayor Jane Byrne, who had launched a reorganization of the department. "The police work is moving along extremely well," said a memo from the NCLC's Chicago office, indulging in typical exaggeration. "There is a recognition of the [National Anti-Drug] Coalition as the vehicle to destroy Byrne from the standpoint of countering her police shakeup." The memo then cited a "series of conversations" with police officials, including a top Narcotics Division cop who supposedly "hates Byrne's guts." It also described efforts to organize support within the police unions and fraternal organizations.

The adopt-a-cop tactic backfired in New York City, where Security staffers sought out Detective John Finnegan of the Intelligence Division. Because of his reputation for dogged tracking of leftists in the 1960s, they figured he would be sympathetic to their rightward tilt. Finnegan recalled that "they'd like to talk to you all day, going back to the Renaissance....I used to meet with them at Police Headquarters." But while dutifully maintaining contact, Finnegan and other members of his unit (who remembered quite well the era of Operation Mop Up) prepared reports on the NCLC's new psychology, tactics, and goals, including its anti-Semitism, Their reports were far ahead of what other law enforcement agencies and the media were saying about the LaRouchians. As the years passed, Finnegan (now retired) became increasingly concerned about their activities. It was he who first persuaded Patricia Lynch of NBC's First Camera to focus on the LaRouchians in 1983-84. Lynch describes Finnegan as an "unsung hero" in the unmasking of LaRouche's conspiratorial network.

The LaRouchians in the early 1970s had the standard Marxist attitude toward the police. They were actually shocked when Communist Party members responded to Operation Mop Up's savage beatings by asking for police protection. New Solidarity said the CP represented "police socialism" reminiscent of Russia's Father Gapon during the 1905 revolution.

But the LaRouchians themselves began to seek police help during clashes with United Auto Workers members in several states in 1975. The violence was mostly the NCLC's own fault. In a basic scenario repeated over and over, they showed up at plant gates with leaflets naming union officials or rank-and-file workers as drug pushers, homosexuals, or Communists. One leaflet said of a Buffalo UAW member: "He can't go home to his wife with the smell of sperm on his he sleeps in parks...." The NCLC leadership claimed this was a powerful new technique to appeal to the workers' unconscious minds, but the only result was dozens of assaults on the leafleters.

In 1971-72 the LaRouchians had provoked similar assaults by standing in front of Communist Party meeting halls and calling those who entered CIA agents, counterrevolutionaries, and "house niggers." LaRouche had then goaded his followers into participating in Operation Mop Up to get even with their attackers. But the clashes at plant gates were something different: LaRouche hardly could mop up the giant UAW. However, his followers did the next best thing by running to the police to get their assailants arrested. This was justified by the belief that the latter were all fascists, social fascists, CIA agents, drug pushers, and terrorists.

Robert Greenberg, later the editor of Investigative Leads, was allegedly involved in one attempt to set up UAW members for arrest. An affidavit filed by his comrade Theodore Held, in a lawsuit between the NCLC and the UAW, stated that when Held, Greenberg, and another NCLC member went to GMC Truck and Coach in Pontiac, Michigan, they expected trouble because of previous incidents. Held brought a camera. When several angry auto workers approached, "Greenberg motioned to me....As the men stepped into the street I photographed them." Held then described how the auto workers chased them off, with one man delivering a "flying kick" to their car. "I then drove to the Pontiac police station," Held continued, "and filed complaint No. 393271....I developed the picture I had taken of the men and Detective Peters took it to the plant the following Tuesday and made the identification."

Robert Greenberg and other Security staffers also developed a more sophisticated method for manipulating the police. They compiled hundreds of Investigative Leads articles, including false or exaggerated charges of illegal activity by their opponents. "They had this cynical attitude," Mordechai Levy said. "They thought, 'Why waste time going after an enemy when we can get the cops to do it for us?' A lot of what they put in Investigative Leads they knew was a total lie." In fact, it was just another example of LaRouche's hypothesis of the higher hypothesis, in which reasoning loses all touch with empirical reality in the service of a higher "natural law."

The earliest documented example of this false-witness tactic occurred in 1974. The LaRouchians approached the FBI with a fabricated story about an NCLC opponent, James Retherford, who had taken his small daughter from her LaRouchian mother and fled New York to save the child from being raised in a cultish environment. Hoping to manipulate the FBI into searching for them, the Security staff falsely claimed that Retherford was in contact with Weather Underground fugitives. Although the FBI failed to take this story seriously, the LaRouchians tried again, targeting other opponents. FBI documents released to NCLC members under the Freedom of Information Act reveal that LaRouche emissaries made eleven visits or phone calls to FBI offices between May and July 1976 to present allegations about various leftists and that this was followed by further extensive contact. The FOIA documents, over 5,000 pages, proved so embarrassing that the NCLC went to court to get them removed from the FBI reading room. Yet the NCLC had to admit in court papers that it had "cooperated with the FBI and other federal and local law enforcement agencies" by providing information on the "terrorist activities" of persons associated with the Institute for Policy Studies, a left-wing Washington think tank, and the Repression Information Project, a research collective that had published a pamphlet critical of LaRouche.

In mid-April 1977, two weeks before a mass demonstration against nuclear power at the Seabrook nuclear reactor site in New Hampshire, two Boston area NCLC leaders--Larry Sherman and Graham Lowry--met with Lieutenant Donald Buxton of the New Hampshire State Police to outline alleged plans for antinuclear violence by environmentalist groups. Buxton filed a report treating the allegations as worthy of serious consideration and described the two LaRouchians as "very well informed gentlemen." A copy was obtained by the Clamshell Alliance and made public shortly after the peaceful demonstration. The NCLC also took its allegations about the Clamshell Alliance to the FBI. But an April 28, 1977, FBI memorandum said the NCLC had apparently "fabricated" the information in an attempt to disrupt the demonstration "and cause New Hampshire officials unnecessary problems."

The LaRouchians kept trying. One infiltrated a 1979 South Hadley, Massachusetts, planning meeting for another round of Seabrook demonstrations. He reported back to Security that it was "one of the most anal, turd-piling, hair-splitting New Left meetings it has been my displeasure to witness." Nevertheless, his report included a detailed account of the plans under discussion. Although the report contained no evidence of any plans for violence, the LaRouchians told the Boston Globe and law enforcement officials to expect violence. Once again, no violence occurred.

The LaRouchians used the false-witness tactic in 1981 against an enemy they hated even more than the environmentalists-the Yippies. To the LaRouchians, the Yippies were the symbol of everything evil--long-haired potheads who hung out at rock concerts, had no respect for Beethoven, and made constant trouble for LaRouche. They had picketed his headquarters with the banner "Nazis Make Good Lampshades" and on several occasions placed crank calls to Steinberg and Goldstein from pay phones. Aron Kay, the Yippie "pie man," was plotting to land a mushroom pie in LaRouche's face at the earliest opportunity. Security prepared a series of "Dope Dossiers" on Kay, Abbie Hoffman, and other Yippies. A New Solidarity editorial, "Cleaning Up the Filth," described them as "gutter scum" and announced that the dossiers were "being supplied to the New York City Police Department and other law enforcement agencies." The contents of the dossiers were oriented toward inducing the police to investigate the Yippies for possession or sale of marijuana. The LaRouchians were well aware that marijuana possession was low on the police list of priorities, but suggested that the police would thereby find evidence of Yippie involvement in terrorism and other serious crimes.

LaRouche already had developed a general philosophy about this. In a 1979 memo addressed to "key police and security-intelligence agencies" on how to deal with supposed "terrorists" in the "rock-drug counterculture" (an allusion to the Yippies), he claimed that such people are "highly vulnerable" to arrest inasmuch as they live "in significant part in either a criminal or semi-criminal mode of life." He suggested that their activities as protesters and NCLC opponents could be countered by using "arrests for drug violations" to "destabilize" their "political infrastructure" and gather "most useful material" about their political activities.

But in 1980 the tables were turned. A college student friendly to the Yippies decided to launch a one-man crusade to "destabilize" and gather "most useful material" about the LaRouchians themselves. Thus did the Security staff encounter Mordechai Levy, a kind of Prince of Provocateurs, who would cause it almost as much trouble as Roy Frankhouser.