Berlet for Beginners

Portland Free Press, July/August 1995
by Ace R. Hayes

Reporting gets complicated when the subject becomes a personal antagonist of a reporter. John Foster "Chip" Berlet has been involved, over the past half decade, in attacking virtually every independent critic of the Imperial State that the reader can name. In his propaganda screed "Right Woos Left" (published by his employer, Political Research Associates -- PRA). which first came out in 1990, he attacked the Christic Institute, Ramsay Clark, Mark Lane, Fletcher Prouty, et al. His most recent attack via the Internet had this bizarre statement (24 April 1995): "Key individuals promoting scapegoaling conspiracism from both the left and the right include Mark Koernke, Sherman Skolnick, David Emory, John Judge, Ace Hayes and Dan Brandt."

The only person on his list I don't know to some degree is Mark Koernke -- who is the Imperial State "militia terrorist" poster boy -- tho' some people wonder if "Marrk of Michigan" might have some funny connections of his own with the Agencies who put him on the poster. The other people, whom I do know, are not a mutual- admiration society, with a couple who actively despise each other.

But, Berlet charges all of us equally with "scapegoating conspiracism." What, pray tell, does this mean? Whom have I "scapegoated"? And I defy anyone to provide a rational definition of "conspiracism" (see sidebar) -- it is not in any dictionary owned by this reporter. So, it must be a Berletian neologism which he invokes against those who actively challenge the Imperial State's power, ethics and legitimacy.

Given that John Foster Berlet has publicly slandered me and suggested that the Imperial State should target me once again, I am not an unbiased reporter in the following investigation.

The reason Berlet deserves investigation is that he turns up like a bad penny in every media venue you would care to know about. He has been on CBS News with Dan Rather, on Dateline NBC; he has been in the New York Times, the Progressive, and turns up as an "expert" from Covert Action Quarterly to The New Yorker. This is a person with such media presence that, since he is bogus, he is a serious threat to any understanding of Imperial State conspiracies against the people.

If John Foster "Chip" Berlet were denied the use of ad hominum attacks, he would be rendered mute. Just revoking his use of the phrase "paranoid conspiracy theory" would leave gaping holes in his screeds. His reliance on name-calling is an indicator of his level of intellectual competence, research credibility and ethical standards.

But, what is worse, he lies. His lies are not merely little self-promotional fibs and deceits. They are big, really big, misrepresentations of fact. One example is his story about his relationship with the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). It changes to suit his immediate propaganda needs.

On the Internet, 23 May 1995, Berlet posts the brass-balled claim that "Neither PRA nor I have any relationship to ADL other than running into them at meetings, an occasional conversation on the phone and reading our respective publications." Berlet's contempt for truth is only exceeded by his faith in universal amnesia concerning his documented history.

In the 11 May 1993 issue of Israeli Foreign Affairs he was interviewed by Jane Hunter for an article titled, "Who Was The ADL Spying For?" He was quoted as saying, "I had had quite a cordial professional relationship with the ADL...." George Cothran and Peter Hegarty at San Francisco Weekly interviewed Berlet for their 28 April 1993 article, "Spies For Zion." They wrote that "[Chip Berlet and Russ Bellant] had been doing research in cooperation with ADL, on Lyndon LaRouche." Robert I. Friedman at Village Voice had an article, 11 May 1993, entitled "The Enemy Within." The article says that "[Bellant and Berlet] asked to meet fact-finding head [read Director, ADL Espionage] Irwin Suall to discuss their work on anti-Semite Lyndon LaRouche."

The New York City Jewish newspaper "Forward" published an article, "Letter from Boston," by Dale Miller on 22 January 1993 which blows Mr. Berlet's cover yet again.

Hollis Mosher goes back to the anti-Commie crusade of the '50s when he helped "indict 7 Communist Party functionaries" in Suffolk County. When he was not playing informant for the FBI, Mosher "has been useful as a conduit in passing information to watchdog organizations, such as PRA, of Cambridge, Mass." Further, Berlet admits to being the conduit for information from Mosher to ADL. Quoting again from the article, "Mr. Berlet said, '... he (Mosher) told us who he was and what he did. Little by little he began showing us things. As he began to see how we operate, he began to bring us publications.'"

This running of an ex-anti-Commie FBI informant by Berlet is confirmed in the same article where Leonard Zakim, ADL's New England Region Executive Director, is interviewed. "Although Mr. Zakim says the ADL has not dealt with Mr. Mosher, he expressed high regard for Mr. Berlet and PRA. 'I have found Chip Berlet to be reliable and knowledgeable on extremists and extremist groups in this area,' he said, 'and the information that PRA has shared with us has been very useful.'" So, Berlet was running agents for the ADL until at least 1993.

Further, the lead paragraph of Ms. Hunter's article in Israeli Foreign Affairs, 11 May 1993, is of special interest: "Chip Berlet..., who specializes in some of the same rightist organizations the ADL professes to combat, told IFA that several years ago 'a senior ADL official' warned him of 'people in the ADL who reported directly to [Irwin] Suall and it would be wise to assume that information would be made available to the FBI, CIA and Mossad.'"

Since Berlet knew for years that any reports be filed with ADL went to FBI, CIA and Mossad (Israel's counterpart to our CIA), how can he now put on the mask of innocence? He claimed in the same Internet post that "I even refused to cooperate with the FBI when it was investigating neo-fascist LaRouche." Does working through a known government espionage cut-out indicate anything other than witting collusion with same?

Spy v. spy is more than a cartoon strip in Mad Magazine. Pseudo-private spy operations being run by the various Imperial State Secret Services are quite as Byzantine as they have been in any other imperial epoch. In fact, Elite control of economic and political power requires spies and agents on all flanks. Any person, group or organization which could or would threaten that central Elite power is equally to be watched, controlled and -- if needed -- wrecked. Thus, it should not be a big surprise if the watchers, controllers and wreckers will hurl thunderbolts at one another in their professional roles and then get together for drinks and mutual plotting.

"The FBI And Right-Wing Spy Networks" by "Chip" Berlet revised 6 February 1991. This is "#5, Political Rights Information Series, distributed by the Movement Support Network of the Center for Constitutional Rights." It is a fire-breathing attack against John Rees, his legions of pseudo-private spooks and their corrupt involvement with FBI and other government agencies. What makes it of such interest is that it seems to be the case that Mr. Berlet (along with Messrs. Russ Bellant and Dennis King, who will come up later) were funded in cash by the self-same John Rees to attend a secret meeting in 1983. Mr. Berlet hurled his finest verbal thunder bolts at his benefactor in this screed. He also denounced virtually every crime of which the ADL was charged in 1993 and which seem to apply equally to himself.

Excerpts from Berlet's absolutely valid attack against Rees follow:

"Louise and John Rees have edited Information Digest for over twenty years, during which time they not only worked with far-right political groups such as the John Birch Society and Church League of America, but also provided information to the FBI, congressional committees, and local police intelligence units.

"The Hunt for Red Menace.

"The FBI has a long history of collaborating with right-wing groups to attack movements for peace and social justice, in much the same way as Oliver North relied on right-wing groups to both raise funds for the Contras, and serve as a public lightning rod to hide his own CIA-backed operation. In fact, some of the same players North orchestrated in the off-the-shelf private foreign policy drama were also involved in the off-the-shelf private domestic intelligence network -- a network which conducts surveillance of progressive groups, and then feeds the information to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and other public law enforcement and intelligence agencies.

"This loosely-knit cooperative network passes information both formally and informally as part of an obsessive anti-subversive witch hunt based on a paranoid conspiratorial world view. The network survives through different presidential administrations, working inside and outside of government agencies and Congressional committees, and pursues its goals in the public and private sectors with little regard for legislative or constitutional safeguards. It sees itself as composed of later-day knights on a patriotic crusade... and sees all dissenters as infidels.

"Right-wing Intelligence Networks

"Within the right-wing conspiracy-mongering milieu are a handful of organizations which specialize in monitoring the activities of progressive activists. Whether they are sneaky spys [sic] or enterprising journalists generally depends on one's political perspective.

"The main right-wing intelligence-gathering networks are the John Rees Information Digest network, and the Council for Inter-American Security network of L. (Lynn) Francis Bouchey. The other two main domestic intelligence operations are the networks run by two cults, the neo-fascist Lyndon LaRouche, and the theocratic authoritarian Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Dozens of smaller groups also exist.

"The largest operation is run by Rees, a veritable right-wing spymaster who has published Information Digest, a gossipy newsletter, for over twenty years. John Rees and his wife Sheila Louise Rees spent several years in the late sixties and early seventies infiltrating progressive organizations and reporting their results to the John Birch Society and the FBI....

"John Rees spent the early years of the Reagan administration as the spymaster for the right-wing Western Goals Foundation. The Foundation was the brainchild of the late Rep. Larry McDonald, former leader of the John Birch Society. Western Goals published several small books warning of the growing domestic red menace, and solicited funds to create a computer database on American subversives. The Foundation was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) when it was caught attempting to computerize references to 'subversive' files pilfered from the disbanded Los Angeles Police Department 'Red Squad.'" [This is the perfect analogue with ADL's being caught in San Francisco with SF and Portland Police Department files in 1993.]

There is no reason to disagree with the thesis Mr. Berlet advances in this piece. It is quite true that "right-wing intelligence networks" work for and with Imperial State spy agencies. However, the ADL does precisely the same thing. So does PRA and all sorts of regional spy operations being run by the ADL as cut-outs for Imperial State Secret Service. Thus, the hidden proposition that only right-wing spies are spies is simply absurd.

So, Berlet is a liar, a spook and a cog in the Imperial Secret Service, which is documented in Mr. Herbert Quinde's sworn affidavit in the LaRouche federal appeal. It closes the circle between the John Birch Society and the ADL -- it puts the CIA, FBI, NSC and the various spooks of left and right into the same room at the same time to plot together against a common "enemy."

The Baltimore Sun magazine, 5 June 1988, had a major article by Doug Birch on John Herbert Rees. In the article, John F. 'Chip' Berlet is quoted as saying that, "he was introduced to Richard Mellon Scaife, the conservative multi-millionaire from Pittsburgh, at a recent conference about extremist Lyndon LaRouche, staged by Information Digest." (This is John Rees' publication, denounced so often by Berlet.)

This is enough independent evidence to permit me to take the sworn affidavit by Quinde at face value.

Quoting from the Quinde affidavit (Sec. 13 through 16) is quite interesting:

"13. Mr. Berlet, an associate of Dennis King, stated to me on August 9, 1990, that individuals present at the meeting he attended at Train's residence [see documentation at end of article for information on Train] in 1983 had sworn never to discuss the meeting. He stated his trip to the meeting was financed, in cash, by John Rees and that Dennis King and Russ Bellant were also brought to the meeting by John Rees. The fact that Mr. Rees provided the financing for Mr. Berlet to attend the meeting was surprising to me. Mr. Berlet has investigated Mr. Rees for years, calling him America's 'premier right-wing spy,' and characterizing his activities against his targets as illegal action conducted 'privately' in conjunction with the Government in order to circumvent government restraints on such activities. I commented on this to Mr. Berlet. Mr. Berlet told me that Rees financed the participation of King, Bellant and himself in the Train meeting in order to allow for the presentation of their views on LaRouche to a conservative audience.

"14: Mr. Berlet further stated that Roy Godson, Michael Hudson, Rael Jean Isaac, Patricia Lynch, Richard Mellon Scaife, Virginia Armat, a woman from the ADL, Train, and Rees were also present at this meeting. Berlet also told me that he was introduced to many other individuals at the meeting who were simply identified as 'gentlemen with a government connection.'

"15. Berlet also told me that the funding for Dennis King's book, Lyndon LaRouche - The New American Fascism, New York: Doubleday, 1989, was arranged at this meeting. According to acknowledgments in the book, the financing came from the League for Industrial Democracy and the Smith-Richardson Foundation. John Train's name appears in the acknowledgments to that book.

"16. I interviewed John Rees on November 6, 1990. He stated that he attended anti-LaRouche meetings at John Train's home in the spring and fall of 1983 and in the spring of 1984. He described Train's purpose in holding the meetings as the next follow-up project to Train's work against the Institute for Policy Studies. He did not substantially disclose additional attendees at the meetings, citing Berlet, Lynch, Cleo Patrius, Rael Jean Isaac, Richard Mellon Scaife, Russ Bellant, Dennis King, John Train, Virginia Armat, and Michael Hudson. He stated that Virginia Armat prepared the chart utilized at the meetings."

This should be a wake-up call for every politically conscious citizen of the country, no matter what political flag you think you fly. Here is the Readers Digest; John Birch Society; National Security Council; Central Intelligence Agency; Federal Bureau of Investigation; Political Research Associates; Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith; National Endowment for Democracy; New Republic; National Broadcasting Corporation; Wall Street Journal; League for Industrial Democracy and Social Democrats, USA; among others, all together as one big happy family in John Train's living room. Think about this. Don't all the sheep dogs work for the farmer?



Berlet is not alone in covert operations with the Imperial Secret Service for the Imperial State. Gloria Steinem worked for CIA in the '60s and has never renounced her past. ADL had one of Tom Metzger's top aids on its payroll. KKK units were founded by FBI agents. ADL ran an agent code named "Hot Spurs" inside the Aryan Nations who was "very close with its chief of security." A major Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) bomber in the 60s was working for the FBI. David Duke has family ties to CIA. ADL had skinheads on its payroll in Portland, Ore. Southern Poverty Law Center has funded white supremacists. PRA has been funded by the Beacon Fund whose only documentable existence was as a CIA funding conduit. The Imperial Secret Service is ubiquitous. (See documentation at end of article)

Money is the mother's milk of American politics. Money is funneled into organizations, publications and individuals who will protect the Imperial State from its people. The best protection it has is a condition of low-intensity conflict between and among various population segments. Thus, we get divisions based on race, sex, religion, etc., to keep people fighting each other.

The role and function of Berlet and all his clones is to protect the Imperial State through fabrication of fear and hatred among that portion of the population which they can influence. Since no one person, publication or organization can possibly create and maintain irrational popular conflicts over trivia, there must be many, many such covert operations. Most of the funded entities from left to right are corrupt, co-opted and compromised by the Imperial State.

Thus, no matter which Imperial Secret Service pied piper is chosen, the people who follow them are fools. Berlet, Rees, Dees, Weyrich, Gingrich and Clinton are functionally identical. They all fill their assigned roles in protecting and enhancing the Imperial State, while the Imperial Secret Service murders, bombs and spies as needed to ensure that there will be a credible basis for popular conflict.


John Train:

A Wall Street lawyer and broker who headed the CIA Afghanistan Relief Committee, is a member of Council on Foreign Relations and has been involved in a number of questionable activities over the years. Covert Action Information Bulletin #30, 1988, and CounterSpy, Spring 1980, are useful sources.

Gloria Steinem & CIA:

1. Black-listed News - Secret Histories from Chicago to 1984 / the New Yippie Book Collective, 1983 (ISBN 0-912873-00-0), Bleacker Pub. 2 articles: "Inside the CIA with Gloria Steinem, by Nancy Bowman -- Overthrow," July 1979, p. 117-122; "Did Rocky Buy Women's Movement?" YIPster Times, April 1976, p. 104-105

2. The Chairman: John J. McCloy, the Making of the American Establishment, by Kai Bird, 1992, (ISBN 0-671-454 15-3) Simon & Schuster, NY, p. 482-485

ADL running Metzger:

Inspector Ron Roth, San Francisco Police Dept. Documents - Exhibit "C". SFPD interview with Roy Bullock, 25/26 Jan. '93, p. 78, "... we financed 'scumbag,' who rose into the ranks of the WAR (White Aryan Resistance) Unit, until he became the voice of WAR over the telephone.... [scumbag] was able to supply us with the code, whereby you could get into the voice mail. And I wrote up a whole series of those called, I think 'Operation Eavesdrop.'"

p. 82 "... I would go over to the ATF office and sit down with [blocked out] and scumbag would then come up, join us and ... we'd get a report on what had happened."


This information is from personal files of unredacted records from a Texas operation which were provided me by a personal friend whose family bad been a friend of the FBI agent and KKK organizer. I will provide more information on this in future editions of the PFP.

ADL - "Hot Spurs": SFPD interview, p. 23

SDS-FBI Bomber: This information was provided by private investigator Phil Stanford in a personal conversation.

David Duke and the CIA:

Covert Action Information Bulletin, #16, March 1982, "Behind the Klan's Karibbean Koup Attempt," part II, by Ken Lawrence, p. 21 and 44-45

ADL, Portland skinhead payroll:

Portland, Oregon Bureau of Police, Inter-office Memorandum, July 27, 1993,from Det. Frank Jolly, "Conclusion of ADL Investigation."

"Officer Siewert [Portland Police Department] has given the example that on occasion he and Bullock [ADL] would have different informants [spies] infiltrated into certain White Supremacy groups and they would cross check each other's informant's information to verify its accuracy." p. 2

Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) funding white supremacists:

PDXS, Feb. 27-March 12, 1995, "Dave Mazzolla: Saint or Sinner?" by Jim Redden, in a feature entitled, "Snitching for a Living."

"... Mazzolla described the SPLC's witness protection program as a 'contract.' ... He said the Center wanted to keep him out of public view until the Metzgers had finished appealing the multi-million dollar judgment against them.... They [SPLC] kept me sheltered until the appeals were final, so that Metzger wouldn't have anything to get back in court with. Not that I lied or anything like that..."

Political Research Associates (PRA) -- Beacon Fund:

"PRA - Unmasking the Political Right" A Ten Year Report 1981-1991," p. 17

Future issues of PFP will include the letters which document the black hole of Imperial State stonewalling by PRA.

Sidebar: Where did this word "conspiracism" come from?

This word "conspiracism," turned up in a 19 June 1995 New Yorker article by Michael Kelly entitled "The Road To Paranoia." Kelly interviews Berlet, et al., for the piece, and goes one step beyond to "fusion paranoia by conspiracists." This article is recommended because it is a classic propaganda effort to prove that you should not see the reality which is well described in the article itself.

The same reality is presented honestly in the June 95 Harper's magazine by Michael Lind. His article is "To Have and Have Not: Notes on the Progress of the American Class War." If one reads both articles, they will have the truth and a textbook example of Imperial disinformation. Lind says, here is the Imperial system, this is how it works and it is screwing you. Kelly says, here is the Imperial system which is screwing you and if you believe any of this you are a paranoid conspiracist.