Like Bible salesmen, they trudge door to door in suburban communities. Articulate, well-dressed young people armed with brightly colored magazines and theoretical tracts, they claim to be waging a "war on drugs." They tell you marijuana is destroying the brains of American youth, and they link this to a supposed recent upsurge in the use of heroin and other hard drugs. They ask you to donate money and to enroll in their rapidly growing organization, the National Anti-Drug Coalition (NADC).
The NADC is currently active in at least a dozen states. It publishes a monthly magazine with an estimated circulation of over 30,000; and its members are busy buttonholing state legislators (to solicit their votes against marijuana decriminalization), manning literature tables at airports and shopping centers, and organizing antidrug rallies and seminars at inner-city churches and high schools.
Critics of NADC have pointed out its close ties to an ultrarightist political cult, the National Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC). They have also noted its tendency to imitate NCLC by blaming the narcotics traffic on "Zionists." Yet few critics have doubted NADC and NCLC's basic sincerity in opposing illegal drug trafficking.
That sincerity must now be questioned lock, stock and barrel. High Times has accumulated evidence of close working relationships between the NADC's parent group, NCLC, and a number of organized crime-linked labor leaders and businessmen who operate on the fringes of the law. Some of these relationships predate the formation of the first NCLC-sponsored Anti-Drug Coalition in Michigan in 1978. Indeed, officials of mob-linked locals have endorsed local ADCs; and some NADC/NCLC activists have recently been drawn into a national political campaign to halt the U.S. Justice Department's prosecutions of important organized crime figures.
Honest citizens who have unwittingly joined NADC on the basis of its anti-drug, anti-organized crime rhetoric, should consider the following facts about the group's NCLC leadership:
The current NCLC attitude toward organized crime has its origins in a political theory developed by LaRouche in the mid 1970s, according to which America is being destroyed by a Rockefeller-led conspiracy of financial speculators and "monetarists." The task of NCLC, LaRouche decided, would be to build a grand coalition of Midwest industrialists, conservative trade unionists and silent-majority types to smash the monetarists and reestablish the American system of industrial progress. (As NCLC descended into anti-Semitism, the Rockefellers were replaced by the Rothschilds as the main bogeymen.) Within this framework, it became easy to justify working with labor racketeers and other corrupt elements, as long as they could be defined as a necessary element in the grand coalition.
In 1976 and early 1977 NCLC attempted to cozy up to the leadership of the United Steelworkers of America, supporting Lloyd McBride against reformer Ed Sadlowski for the union presidency. NCLC failed to make headway with the USWA, however, and shifted its main focus to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). The Teamsters were under heavy fire at the time from the media and the Justice Department; and NCLC soon developed a theory to explain such attacks in terms of the alleged evil monetarist conspiracy.
In 1977 NCLC apparently decided that at least one IBT leader--international vice president Jackie Presser in Cleveland--was worthy of personal cultivation. Presser was an associate of organized crime figure John Nardi, who ran Local 410 in Presser's joint council and who had been a codefendant in a pot-smuggling case with NCLC security consultant Mitchell WerBell III.
Presser was already the chief proponent within the Teamster hierarchy of an aggressive public-relations strategy to counter media critics and Teamster reform groups who were exposing the IBT's (and Presser's) alleged links to organized crime. NCLC's New Solidarity began to carry articles urging the Teamsters to carry out a Presser-style strategy. And Presser himself, in the April-May 1977 issue of the Ohio Teamster, utilized an NCLC-style theory the explain the attacks on the IBT.
The strange convergence was soon noted by Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), a leading Teamster reform group. The September 1977 issue of Convoy, the TDU newspaper, reported that NCLC members were showing up at highway off-ramps and busy intersections in several cities to pass out anti-TDU (and pro-Presser) literature. In Cleveland, Convoy alleged, NCLC members were advising truckers to call up Presser and were offering his phone number.
According to defectors from NCLC, Presser became NCLC's most important link to the IBT. These claims were confirmed, in part, by IBT international vice-president Harold Gibbons in December 1979, when asked about his union’s cooperation with NCLC. "Call Jackie Presser," said Gibbons. "He's the one who’s had the most contact with them."
In a subsequent phone interview, Presser denied any contact with NCLC. But his absolute denial, dubious enough in 1979, has zero credibility today. At the IBT Convention in Las Vegas last June, Presser was clearly seen by TDU members conversing in a corner of the convention hall with NCLC members who wore guest passes provided by Midwest locals. Says TDU national organizer Ken Paff: "Presser was standing with his bodyguards. He saw them [the NCLC members]...he walked over, shook their hands, and made small talk in a very friendly way."
Presser's alleged connection with organized crime made national headlines in 1980, when a former mob enforcer, Aladena T. ("Jimmy the Weasel") Fratianno, testified in the trial of a leading San Francisco Teamster that Presser took orders from "La Cosa Nostra." But even in 1977 the connection between the mob and Cleveland Teamsters was widely known; and, certainly, it was known to NCLC: In May 1977 John Nardi was blown up by 16 sticks of dynamite in the parking lot of the Cleveland IBT Joint Council--the victim of mob infighting. New Solidarity, which had not previously bothered to cover such matters, carried an item on Nardi's death, noting his position as a Teamster official and speculating that he had been assassinated by the FBI as part of an alleged anti-Teamster vendetta!
NCLC's 1977 "deployments" to win friends in the IBT soon began to bear fruit not just in Cleveland but throughout the country. Cooperation with the highly educated and articulate LaRouchians--especially in efforts to smear the TDU--became quite the fashion for Teamster officials on every level, from the locals and joint councils right up to the general executive board. An NCLC article was glowingly summarized in Teamster News, the organ of Anthony ("Tony Pro") Provenzano's Joint Council 73; and NCLC rhetoric and conspiracy theories began to show up even in the speeches and press releases of the IBT's late president, Frank Fitzsimmons.
In addition, sophisticated NCLC propaganda pamphlets such as The Plot to Destroy the Teamsters (which alleges control of TDU by Wall Street bankers and liberal foundations) began to circulate in locals from New York to California. By late 1977, according to New Solidarity, 46,000 copies of The Plot had been sold, in large part through "bulk, wholesale purchases" by Teamster locals (a map purported to show bulk purchases by 20 locals in 12 states). TDU and other Teamster reform groups were later able to cite a number of instances where The Plot or other NCLC propaganda pieces were mailed to the membership of a local (with a cover letter from a local official and/or using union mailing labels) or were circulated at union halls.
NCLC also undertook to gather "intelligence" on behalf of Teamster leaders. For instance, they infiltrated the June 10-11, 1978, national conference of the Professional Drivers Council (PROD), an IBT reform group that has since merged with TDU. The result was a "Special Report for the Teamster Leadership," prepared by New Solidarity International, Press Service (business name for NCLC's intelligence staff). The sophisticated 32-page report gave a detailed description of the conference and included excerpts, from "background interviews" (reportedly elicited under false pretenses) with several PROD leaders and with top Justice Department organized-crime strike force officials.
Most important, NCLC offered its propaganda specialists to intervene in local Teamster elections wherever traditional leaders were threatened by insurgent slates. NCLC spokesmen appeared at union meetings prior to elections to "brief" the membership on the alleged anti-labor conspiracy of communists, PROD, TDU, Ralph Nader and liberal foundations. NCLC also provided leaflets and other literature that were used, according to TDU and PROD, in many local elections around the country.
In the fall of 1978 NCLC helped out the leadership of Local 282 on Long Island, which was challenged by reformers linked to PROD. The president of the local was John Cody, a four-time convicted felon and an associate of organized crime (the late Carlo Gambino was an official greeter at Cody's son's wedding). One official of the local during 1978 was Harold Gross, a convicted extortionist and a former associate of Murder, Inc. In the 1950s Gross had been the head of a Miami Teamster local established by Rolland McMaster with the alleged help of Santo Trafficante, Jr.
After defeating the insurgents in December 1978, Cody told NCLC members at a victory party, according to New Solidarity: "You gave us the ammunition to win." Whether or not the quote is authentic, the executive board of Local 282 did purchase a $500 subscription to NCLC's Executive Intelligence Review (a newsmagazine) the following month, to be sent to Cody. (Local 282 is apparently not the only purchaser of EIR in Teamsterland; spokesmen for TDU report that the virulently anti-Semitic weekly has been spotted in IBT halls around the country.)
Ironically, the same month NCLC campaigned for the reelection of Cody it also staged the founding conference in Detroit of the Michigan Anti-Drug Coalition, the first of several Anti-Drug Coalitions (ADCs) that would later merge into a national organization. The Michigan coalition was tainted from the beginning by endorsements from officials of corrupt Teamster locals. For instance, an officer of Cody’s 282 was a co-signer of a telegram to the convention stating: "As leaders of the American labor movement, we give 100 percent support to your coalition's efforts to clean up the drug trade and pledge our help to rid our nation of this evil disease."
The phoniness of the ADCs became even more obvious the following May when Teamster general organizer Rolland McMaster showed up at a Michigan ADC benefit, after meeting earlier in the day with LaRouche, and issued a statement endorsing LaRouche for president and calling on Teamster officials across the nation to support their local ADCs.
NCLC reciprocated by hailing McMaster as "one of the most respected...voices in all of organized labor." In fact, he is a notorious racketeer who took the Fifth Amendment more than 50 times before the McClellan Committee in 1959 and was sent to federal prison in 1966 on 32 counts of labor extortion.
According to The Hoffa Wars by Dan Moldea (the definitive study of Teamster corruption), McMaster has long been one of the Teamsters' top muscle men and an associate of high-level organized-crime figures. Moldea devotes more attention to McMaster than to any other living Teamster leader and describes a large number of beatings, bombings and related acts of mayhem carried out, supposedly, by McMaster's followers.
One source cited by Moldea is Edward Partin, the former Teamster official whose testimony led to Jimmy Hoffa's 1964 jury-tampering conviction.
"According to Partin," writes Moldea, "McMaster was a personal Hoffa liaison to Meyer Lansky, Santos Trafficante, the Dorfman family and the syndicate in Chicago, and the Genovese mob of New Jersey and New York."
The earliest contact between McMaster and Trafficante, Moldea says, was in 1957, when Hoffa sent McMaster to Miami to set up Local 320. The local "served as a front for many of the mob's gambling and narcotics activities. Trafficante...occupied a small office in the union hall."
Moldea also discusses McMaster's role as the IBT’s top negotiator in the Detroit steelhauling industry, which is heavily infiltrated by organized crime (for instance, the Meli crime family, which once played an important role, according to Moldea, in coordinating the Midwest heroin traffic).
McMasters endorsement of LaRouche for president was not just a temporary enthusiasm. In a telephone interview in January 1980 he was still supportive of the NCLC chairman, in spite of an open letter by Frank Fitzsimmons to the IBT membership disavowing the McMaster statement of May 1979 (of which NCLC had distributed--or so they claimed--over 100,000 copies). "There’s been discussion by some locals about endorsing LaRouche," McMaster said, adding that he himself had been talking it up with union officials in Florida. "People like [that] he's in the Democratic Party now," McMaster explained. (LaRouche had declared as a Democrat in the fall of 1979, after presenting himself earlier as the candidate of the now-defunct U.S. Labor Party.)
But McMaster failed to mention one important item: In early September 1979, Citizens for LaRouche (CFL), the official LaRouche campaign committee, had begun making payments to a consulting firm whose certificate to do business had been hastily obtained on August 30 at the Oakland County, Michigan, clerk's office. The firm, Project Consulting Services Co., was headed by one John R. Ferris, who is a close friend of McMaster.
According to The Hoffa Wars, McMaster is suspected by law-enforcement officials of having been Ferris's concealed business partner in a Detroit hotel and possibly in other ventures (for instance, the ownership of tractors and trailers at Capitol Cartage, a steelhauling firm linked to the Melis). The Moldea book also alleges that:
According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records, Citizens for LaRouche paid Project Consulting a total of $96,231.54 in the period 1979-80, a large portion of which was paid specifically during the time in which Citizens for LaRouche was in receipt of federal matching funds (CFL eventually received over a half million dollars in taxpayers' money). Project Consulting's main function for the Lyndon LaRouche campaign was to send in experts to New Hampshire to oversee LaRouche’s primary bid. One of these experts was a former Michigan state senator named Edward J. Robinson, who only the previous June had been sentenced to six months in federal prison for his role in $3 million land swindle but had remained out of prison on appeal.
High Times asked Ferris to give his version of the consulting project story. In a telephone interview he said that two of LaRouche’s followers had approached him in 1979 to help with LaRouche's campaign. He was reluctant to get involved and therefore quoted them what he thought would be a prohibitive price. But to his amazement they accepted it--a price so high, he said, "I couldn’t say no." Ferris had previously done political consulting work, but Project Consulting was set up exclusively for the LaRouche campaign. Ferris himself worked on the campaign in New Hampshire along with Robinson and one other employee, whose name Ferris would not reveal although he did describe the third man as a former high-level Republican Party official in Michigan.
Did Rolland McMaster play any role in bringing Ferris and the LaRouchians together? Ferris denied it. He also denied that McMaster is a concealed partner in any of his business ventures, or that the allegations about Ferris's participation in illegal activities, reported by Moldea, were true. As to the altercation between Ferris and McMaster and the Michigan motorist: "I did whack him [the motorist) on the head with a gun--he attacked me with a knife first."
Ferris claimed that the LaRouchians still owe him $200,000 for his New Hampshire services, although he doesn't believe he can ever collect. Curiously, this alleged debt is not listed by CFL in its latest report of debts and obligations to the FEC. Failure to report outstanding campaign debts is a violation of Section 434 of the Federal Election Campaign Act and of Section 104.3(d) of the FEC regulations.
CFL's dealings with Ferris may become an issue before the courts on other grounds as well. An FEC Audit Division report on CFL's handling of the LaRouche matching funds, released earlier this year, concluded that CFL had overspent its allocation for New Hampshire, among other things, and should be required to pay back $110,618.53. The audit report also noted that several unspecified matters uncovered during the audit had been referred to the FEC general counsel's office.
LaRouche's poor showing of only 2,300 votes in New Hampshire apparently put an end to any possibility of major out-in-the-open support from the Teamsters. Yet a trickle of support continued.
The president of an Illinois local, according to New Solidarity, ran as a candidate on LaRouche’s delegate slate in the states Democratic primary. And the March 24, 1980 "Special Banner Edition" of LaRouche's Campaign News shows a picture of LaRouche with Bill Bounds, president of Joint Council 65 in Illinois. The story underneath quotes Bounds as saying (in introducing LaRouche to a monthly meeting of the joint council): "I want you to meet my dear friend Lyn LaRouche, who's been a friend of labor and of the Teamsters for years....He deserves your support for the presidency." (The back of the newsletter contained a picture of Rolland McMaster--glass eye and all--and the full text of his May 1979 endorsement.)
Observers at the recent IBT convention described NCLC guests hanging out with McMaster; but TDU sources say that Presser, not McMaster, is still NCLC's most important contact in the IBT. Presser is today the number two man in the entire 1.9-million-member union, and the one who (if he stays out of serious legal difficulties) will probably succeed current IBT president Roy Lee Williams if the current federal indictment of Williams on bribery charges results in conviction and a prison sentence.
Apparently, both Presser and NCLC are operating in a more sophisticated manner than in the past. For IBT leaders such as Presser, one drawback in using the LaRouchians to intervene in internal Teamster matters is that the LaRouchians are complete outsiders--even when they wear flowery shirts in an attempt to fit in. Only one working Teamster in the nation ever belonged to NCLC, and he quit last year.
IBT leaders didn't attempt to use the LaRouchians very much at the convention. Instead, Presser concocted a couple of acronyms, TRUTH (Teamster Ranks United to Help) and BLAST (Brotherhood of Loyal Americans and Strong Teamsters); imported some genuine rank-and-file goons; and drafted leaflets that made the same points as the LaRouchians but without their disconcerting references to the Queen of England. Result: a strong atmosphere of intimidation for the Teamster reform elements. BLAST roughed up TDU chairman Camarata in the presence of a reporter (an action somewhat less extreme than the "necktie party" recently suggested by New Solidarity for TDU organizer Paff); and well-known Teamster officials helped to pass out a TRUTH leaflet to reporters and delegates containing NCLC-style charges about "Commie-Rat-A" (Camarata) and "Ayatollah Mel" (TDU trustee Mel Packer).
Meanwhile, NCLC has been proving its usefulness in new ways. It has established a front group and newsletter to conduct propaganda untainted by direct association with LaRouche. And, according to TDU, it has been responsible for a wave of libelous leaflets and forged letters that have been quite damaging to the Teamster reform movement.
The nastiest of the forgeries was a letter (mailed in April 1981, in a plain envelope with no return address, to Teamster locals throughout the country) that attempted to link TDU chairman Camarata to the National Right to Work Committee (NRWC), a rabidly antilabor lobbying group.
"Pete," said the letter, purportedly from the director of NRWC to Camarata, "you are going to have the NRWC`s total effort of support in your upcoming effort to disrupt the Teamsters' Convention...." And so on, in that vein.
Convoy denounced the forgery as emanating from the NCLC. (Indeed, the text contained telltale references to the Mont Pelerin Society and the Heritage Foundation--key "enemies" in NCLC's conspiracy theory of politics.) But many Teamster officials and their cronies had already seized on it as a convenient means of discrediting TDU, just as they had seized on the Plot pamphlet in 1978. Reports began to pour into the TDU national office from rank-and-file Teamsters throughout the country who had received copies of the forgery. The president of an Alabama local mailed it at union expense to the homes of members. It was also distributed, according to Convoy, by officers of locals in St. Louis, Toledo and San Antonio; and these, Convoy added, were only a few of the many examples reported. "It is clear," the TDU paper said, "that a national distribution of the Big Lie is underway."
During the 1980 LaRouche presidential campaign, NCLC attempted to expand its influence into the Laborers International Union and other mob-influenced construction unions. The LaRouchians were helped by the fact that their organization has long fought against environmentalism, which is perceived by the building trades as holding up construction projects (especially nuclear power plants) and thus denying jobs to construction workers.
LaRouche's speeches and campaign literature called for the construction of 1,000 nuclear power plants and an end to high interest rates on construction loans. Soon, money was flowing into LaRouche's campaign coffers from construction contractors across the nation (perhaps the largest occupational bloc among LaRouche contributors); and he began to get support--according to New Solidarity--from Laborers Union officials in Wisconsin and other states.
A significant breakthrough came in May 1980, when a group of Laborers Union and building trades officials in California announced their support for LaRouche’s Democratic primary bid and launched a campaign committee (on paper, at least). According to New Solidarity, a similar committee was formed in Ohio. And FEC records show that Citizens for LaRouche received a $500 donation from the Morris County, New Jersey, Building Trades Council.
At least one important trade-union official began to worry. Alexander E. Barkan, national director of the AFL-CIO's Committee on Political Education (COPE), wrote a memorandum for national circulation on July 31,1980, stating: "Reports I've received contain the disturbing suggestion that some local union and local council officials not only have attended meetings convened by LaRouche, but have permitted their names to be used subsequently as members of a committee supporting his candidacy." Barkan's memorandum denounced LaRouche as "anti-labor, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic and anti-minorities."
While LaRouche's campaign was in progress, the U.S. Justice Department was moving against a number of labor racketeers from coast to coast. International Longshoreman's Association vice-president Anthony Scotto was indicted and convicted. Teamsters and building-trades officials in several cities were indicted. And the bribery sting operations code-named Brilab were zeroing in on public officials, union leaders and organized crime figures in the Sun Belt.
NCLC apparently saw Brilab as a golden opportunity to win new friends. Among ex-NCLC members, the rumor is that emissaries of the LaRouche organization began to talk directly with top organized-crime figures in the Midwest, the Northeast and the South. True or not, NCLC propaganda, by early 1981, was supporting mob-linked defendants in a flagrant manner:
ITEM: In Match 1981 Salvatore and Nuncio Provenzano, leaders of Teamster Joint Council 73 in New Jersey, went on trial in federal court in Newark on racketeering charges. They are the brothers of former Joint Council 73 head Anthony ("Tony Pro") Provenzano, a captain in the Genovese crime family and currently a convict in federal prison serving 20 years for labor racketeering (to be followed by additional time for a first-degree murder conviction). New Solidarity ignored the actual evidence against the Provenzanos, instead choosing to blindly defend them as labor martyrs. An April 16 article, "Trial of IBT's Provenzano Brothers a Shocking Farce," accused the Justice Department of "attempting a classic frame-up" and compared it to "similar methods" allegedly used to "frame up" Tony Pro. The article described how the Justice Department was treating the jury to "the spectacle of a parade of bought-and-paid-for government witnesses." After the conviction of Nuncio Provenzano on May 1, a New Solidarity article charged that the outcome "underscores the near impossibility of receiving a fair trial in the politically motivated Justice Department prosecutions of trade union leaders."
ITEM: Also in March 1981, New Orleans organized-crime boss Carlos Marcello went on trial on charges of conspiring to bribe Louisiana public officials. His indictment, as part of the Brilab crackdown in the Gulf states, was followed in early June by a labor-racketeering indictment, in Miami, of Santo Trafficante, Jr., along with Chicago underworld leader Anthony Accardo, Laborers Union president Angelo Fosco, and 13 co-conspirators.
New Solidarity's response avoided mentioning the names of Marcello, Trafficante and Accardo. Instead, the NCLC paper focused on the union officials involved, whom it described as victims of "the most widespread witch-hunt ever attempted against American labor." The New Orleans and Miami indictments were termed "antilabor probes," and the charges against the defendants (by implication, all the defendants) were termed "bogus" and "flimsy." The article singled out for special attack one Joseph Hauser, a prosecution witness slated to testify in both trials: "There is no reason," New Solidarity said, "why any jury should believe a word this convicted criminal says." (Editor's note: On August 4 Carlos Marcello was found guilty on one count of conspiracy. TheTrafficante trial has not yet begun.)
ITEM: In July 1980 Francis J. Sheeran, president of Teamster Local 326 in Wilmington, Delaware, was indicted in Wilmington on labor, racketeering and mail-fraud charges. This was his second indictment in less than two years. In September 1979 a Philadelphia grand jury had charged him with two murders, four attempted murders, embezzlement and a bombing, and had named Russell Bufalino and the late Angelo Bruno, both top Mafia figures in Pennsylvania, as unindicted co-conspirators.
New Solidarity seized on Sheeran's 1980 acquittal in the Philadelphia case in order to misrepresent the Delaware case as "double jeopardy" (in fact, the charges were totally separate). The NCLC paper failed to consider seriously the evidence against Sheeran or his long history as an associate of organized crime. Instead, New Solidarity attacked the chief prosecution witness as a "rat," branded the government's efforts a "frame-up attempt" and hailed Sheeran as "a labor leader committed to policies of growth and development for the United States."
On April 8 Sheeran held a press conference to denounce the alleged frame-up, with NCLC Baltimore leader Larry Freeman seated with him. At the close, according to New Solidarity, Sheeran called on Freeman to make a statement, which included an attack on the federal government and the "International Socialists" for attempting to undermine the union position of Sheeran and other "respected and traditional labor leaders." (Note: This is the same Frank Sheeran who, according to federal investigators, drove to the Pontiac, Michigan, airport to pick up three reputed enforcers for the Genovese crime family on the morning of July 30, 1975--the day Jimmy Hoffa disappeared.)
NCLC also moved to launch a national campaign--similar in form to its "war on drugs"--to defend the above and other reputed racketeers and mobsters. The apparent strategy was to appeal to mob-linked trade-union officials and to segments of the rank and file that view such leaders as legitimate, in an effort to rally them for a political counterattack.
The first step was the formation in 1980 of the Committee against Brilab and Abscam (CABA), with headquarters in Detroit and Houston. A press statement by CABA announced that a "prestigious number of labor leaders" had joined CABA’s advisory board. Not surprisingly, the first name on the roster was Rolland McMaster, followed by an officer of IBT Joint Council 65, and several officials of the Laborers Union and other construction unions or building-trades councils.
The Statement of Principles of the advisory board included an affirmation of support for a CABA "Trust" set up to solicit funds. The funds would be used, the statement said, to provide defendants with legal assistance and to "research background material and provide investigators for attorneys and publications" (apparently, an allusion to the work of NCLC's intelligence staff).
CABA staged a press conference in October 1980 in New Orleans--where the Brilab indictments of Marcello and four codefendants had been issued the previous June--to declare support for Brilab and Abscam defendants across the country. The spokesman at the press conference was Tim Richardson, "bureau chief" of NCLC’s Executive Intelligence Review, who claimed that CABA had a $35,000 war chest, mostly from national labor unions. According to the Times-Picayune, Richardson declined to say if any of the New Orleans defendants had accepted the group's offers of aid.
Brilab indictments had also taken place in Houston; and one Houston defendant, an official of the International Union of Operating Engineers, tentatively agreed to work with CABA. An attorney for the defendant told the Houston Post that information gathered by CABA against a prosecution witness would be used in the defense. However other Texas Brilab defendants rejected CABA's help; and the committee also apparently ran into opposition to its efforts to dun the local trade-union movement: Don Horn, secretary-treasurer of the Harris County AFL-CIO, denounced the LaRouche group as "cheap muscle people."
As of July 1981 the Houston phone number for CABA had been disconnected; and the group is apparently being directed exclusively from Detroit, where its phone number and address are listed under the name of NCLC member Larry Sherman, who also signed a mail solicitation for CABA last winter and is listed as editor on the masthead of the American Labor Beacon, which boosts CABA's work.
Sherman recently moved to Detroit from the Boston area, where he has a well-documented history as an NCLC political operative. In 1974 he ran for Congress on an anti-busing platform in a district that included the segregationist hotbed of South Boston. In 1977 he served as an informant for the New Hampshire State Police against the Clamshell Alliance, an antinuke group, concocting false information about alleged Clamshell plans for "terrorism" at the Seabrook, New Hampshire, construction site.
Sherman's role as an informant was revealed in a New Hampshire State Police intelligence report made public some months later by Clamshell activists. In a subsequent interview with the Concord Monitor Sherman proudly admitted his role and also described how NCLC had earlier provided the state police in three New England states with a ten-page intelligence report on a militant leftist group.
Curiously, the major publication of Sherman’s CABA is a pamphlet that contains a vigorous denunciation of snitches and stool pigeons. Entitled Brilab Abscam: Union Busting in America, it is reprinted from Investigative Leads, a bimonthly counterterrorist newsletter published by New Solidarity International Press Service, Inc. (the NCLC intelligence staff).
The offices of both Investigative Leads and the press service are in New York, on the fifth floor of 304 West 58th Street--the national headquarters of NCLC. In 1980, when the Brilab report was published, the editor of Investigative Leads was Michele Steinberg, wife of NCLC security chief Jeff Steinberg. Today Mrs. Steinberg is the associate editor of War on Drugs, magazine of the NADC.
To date, Brilab-Abscam: Union-Busting in America is NCLC's most comprehensive policy statement relating to organized crime and labor racketeering. It claims, among other things, that the Brilab prosecutions are part of an undeclared war against the "American System" orchestrated by the Trilateral Commission and other Eastern establishment forces.
"The targeted victims in this war are America’s unionized workers and their friends in business and politics--the machinery that makes America work," the pamphlet says. It then proceeds to turn accepted public morality upside down: "There is no crime in America that is more organized than that run by the U.S. Justice Department. This is especially true of its 13 Organized Crime Strike Forces...."
Shortly after the formation of CABA, LaRouche’s Detroit followers launched a national monthly newsletter, the American Labor Beacon, with a telephone solicitation drive and a massive mailing to IBT and AFL-CIA locals throughout the nation. Although not the official organ of CABA, the Beacon supports the committee’s aims. (An announcement boosting CABA in the first issue states that, although contributions to the committee may not be made from union general funds, such funds "can be applied to the purchase of educational materials for their [sic] membership." The ad also reassures potential contributors that CABA "is not obligated to report donors.")
Like CABA, the Beacon gives a Detroit phone number and mailing address. It does not identify itself as NCLC-affiliated; but its editor is Sherman and its publisher is Allan Friedman, an NCLC member who ran for governor of Ohio in 1978 as the candidate of the US. Labor Party (at the time, the electoral arm of NCLC).
The Beacon reflects the same basic ideology as CABA and New Solidarity, only with more flair. One of its features is a "Rat of the Month" column targeting various prosecution witnesses from the Federal Witness Protection Program. The Beacon strongly implies that the program should be disbanded, calling its participants (most of them witnesses against organized crime) "slime from the gutter."
The emergence of CABA and the Beacon coincided with a major expansion of Renaissance Printing Co., Inc., a Detroit NCLC business front incorporated by NCLC Michigan chairman Ken Dalto, NCLC Midwest security chief Bruce Wood, and one David Hilty, a former USLP candidate for Congress. Renaissance had previously done typesetting and/or printing for NCLC, the Michigan Anti-Drug Coalition, Citizens for LaRouche and the Teamster Committee to Elect LaRouche President. Sometime in 1980, however, NCLC members associated with Renaissance obtained sufficient capital to launch a national financial printing operation with its central plant at Renaissance. They opened affiliate offices in seven cities (under such names as Computype of Texas, Inc. and Computype of America Corp.) and leased state-of-the-art facsimile units for document transmission.
The President of Renaissance until the recent expansion was Hilty, described by NCLC defectors as the founder and brains of the firm. But Hilty is now a vice-president, and the new chief is NCLC member Scott Elliot, who is also the chairman of the board of Computype of Texas, Inc. Elliot is described by defectors as more of a political operative than a businessman. In addition, he happens to be closely identified with the intrigues of the McMaster crowd in the Teamsters Union:
A puzzle: The expansion of Renaissance and Computype occurred at a point when--NCLC internal documents reveal--the entire LaRouche organization was strapped for funds as a result of the New Hampshire Democratic primary and a financial crisis at Computron Technologies Corporation (an NCLC-associated multimillion dollar software company, which has since severed its connection to NCLC).
NCLC defectors allege that the money for at least one of the financial printing affiliates comes, in part, from a member of the Meli family in Detroit. The charge was denied, however, by Vincent A. Meli,nephew of the late Angelo Meli and an important figure in Detroit's steel-hauling industry. But whatever the source of capital, there can be no doubt that Renaissance and Computype have become major components of NCLC’s business empire. A recent Renaissance financial report states that the firm has upwards of 150 accounts and that revenues were $1 million or the first half of 1981, in comparison with $780,000 for all of 1980.
What are the future prospects for NCLC’s alliance with the Teamster leadership--and for its apparent attempts to curry favor with organized crime? High Times has no evidence that figures such as McMaster, Presser and Salvatore Provenzano have been won to LaRouche’s long-range vision of a totalitarian society as described in the NCLC chairman's turgid and little-known theoretical tracts. Yet powerful individuals in the IBT are willing to use NCLC for their own purposes. In doing so, they have provided NCLC with the opportunity to spread its anti-Semitic propaganda within the largest trade union in America and to make a bid for alliances of convenience with criminal elements outside the IBT.
An alliance of convenience is not the same thing as an ideological alliance. But an alliance of any kind between the NCLC neofascists, the Teamsters, organized crime and WerBell elements in the U.S. intelligence community's old boy network would be a potential threat to American democracy. Such an alliance should be nipped in the bud.
Sidebars to High Times article:
THE MAN FROM POWDER SPRINGS
In 1977 NCLC'S leadership hired an outside security expert to advise them on how to guard Lyndon LaRouche against presumed assassins.
LaRouche believed himself to be a prime target, at the time, of left-wing terrorists, who had just slain Jurgen Ponto, head of West Germany's Dresdner Bank. (LaRouche strongly identified with the policies of Ponto, whose bank bears the historic distinction of having handled the banking of Heinrich Himmler's SS during the 1930s.)
The expert hired by NCLC was Mitchell WerBell III of Powder Springs, Georgia, a former international munitions dealer who happens to be a member of the Liberty Lobby, an anti-Semitic far-right group that works closely with NCLC. WerBell sent an aide to West Germany to organize security during a trip by LaRouche to the Wiesbaden headquarters of NCLC's German branch.
WerBell is a colorful good old boy who has on two occasions plotted unsuccessful invasions of Caribbean islands. He is, best known for developing the Ingram submachine gun, a popular weapon with drug smugglers. His wide contacts in the Caribbean date back to the 1950s, when he was a security adviser to Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Over the past decade his reported associates have included fugitive financier Bobby Vesco, Watergate burglar Frank Sturgis and a strange assortment of gunrunners, petty hoodlums, mercenaries, superpatriots, Cuban exile fanatics, Third World militarists, and former honchos of the CIA's alliance (in the 1960s and early '70s) with Golden Triangle drug smugglers in Southeast Asia.
According to NCLC defectors, WerBell charmed the top LaRouchians with colorful stories of intrigue and also provided them with detailed information about the inner workings of the international drug traffic (much of which would find its way into the NCLC book Dope, Inc., which carries an endorsement from WerBell on its back cover).
Defectors say that WerBell's political influence on the inner councils of NCLC soon became greater than that of any other outsider. Said one former member of NCLC’s national staff: "They [the NCLC leadership] were on the phone with WerBell almost daily; whenever something important happened, they'd call Mitch."
WerBell provided paramilitary training for a number of LaRouchian security staffers at his Powder Springs estate, nicknamed "The Farm" in apparent imitation of the CIA’s covert-action training school in Virginia. He also hosted meetings in Washington, D.C., between his friends in the CIA (he is widely believed to have been a CIA contract employee in the 1960s) and top LaRouchians such as Konstandinos Kalimtgis.
WerBell is no mobster, but his checkered history as revealed in court records, government hearings and press interviews reveals him to be a man capable of opening a few doors.
His most serious clash with the law came in a Miami drug-smuggling case in 1975-76. WerBell was indicted with four alleged coconspirators, including the late Cleveland underworld leader John Nardi (an associate of Teamster vice-president Jackie Presser), on charges of plotting to smuggle 50,000 pounds of pot from Colombia to Florida.
Before the trial began, the key prosecution witness, cocaine smuggler and former Werbell pal Kenneth Burnstine, was killed in a mysterious crash of his private plane; and all five defendants were found not guilty. But two of the defendants, a Cleveland businessman and a Florida arms dealer, were indicted separately on gun-running charges. The guns, purchased from WerBell, were allegedly to have been flown out of the country from a private Florida airstrip. Also indicted in the gun-running case were two Cleveland mobsters, Dominick Bartone and Henry A. Grecco, the latter an associate of Nardi. (Grecco and Nardi were both slain later in mob infighting. An FBI report prior to Grecco's death described him as a "cold-blooded killer.")
HIGH TIMES DOPE DOSSIER NO. ONE
Subject: National Caucus of Labor Committees
Aliases: U.S. Labor Party, National Democratic Policy Committee.
Address: 304 West 58th Street, Manhattan, plus about 30 offices or post-office boxes around the country.
The cult-like National Caucus of Labor Committees, led by perennial presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche, Jr., has followed a bizarre course from the far left to the far right of the political spectrum. It began in 1968 on the Columbia University campus as a Marxist faction of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). By 1974, it was widely known for its conspiracy theories, for allegedly brainwashing its members, and for beating up rival leftists (for instance, Operation Mop-Up, a series of over 60 violent NCLC attacks on members of the Communist party and Socialist Workers party).
In 1976 NCLC repudiated Marxism and announced it would henceforth walk in the footsteps of Alexander Hamilton and George Washington. It then linked up with the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby and Roy Frankhauser of the Pennsylvania Ku Klux Klan.
In the guise of "neo-platonic humanism," NCLC began to publish in 1978 some of the most rabid anti-Semitic propaganda America has seen since the 1930s. LaRouche and his followers excoriated the Jews for crucifying Jesus, called the Holocaust in World War Two a Zionist myth, described the Protocols of Zion (a bogus document which purports to reveal a Jewish conspiracy to take over the world) as "factual," and attacked the Rothschilds and other wealthy Jewish bankers as a subhuman species, apart from the human race.
Since then, NCLC has become a wealthy organization operating with computers and high-speed document transmission machines for its rapidly growing publishing empire and its private intelligence service. It has infiltrated the Democratic Party in several states; and its political front organizations, such as the NADC and the Fusion Energy Foundation (the latter best known for its "Feed Jane Fonda to the Whales" slogan), have a total membership of over 20,000.
Defectors estimate NCLC’s current income from fund raising, sale of literature, and the profits of NCLC-controlled businesses at between $10 million and $15 million per year.
For a full picture of NCLC's activities, see Chip Berlet's "War on Drugs: The Strange Story of Lyndon LaRouche," High Times, May 1981.
THE RESORTS INTERNATIONAL CONTRACT
In its attempt to become the guardian of public morals, NCLC has long crusaded against casino gambling, and especially against Resorts International, which owns and operates an Atlantic City, New Jersey, casino.
The NCLC book Dope, Inc. (sold via the National Anti-Drug Coalition) devotes an entire chapter to Resorts, depicting it as the linchpin of an international Zionist operation for laundering drug money. "Resorts International equals big time drug trafficking," alleges the book.
NCLC leaders felt strongly enough about this point that, when the State of New Jersey was considering a permanent license for the Resorts casino in January 1979, NCLC staged a rally in Trenton, the state capital, to demand that the license be withheld.
But after NCLC adopted this public stance, a computer software firm controlled by top NCLC leaders quietly established a connection with Resorts.
In the fall of 1979, on the recommendation of a leading minicomputer hardware manufacturer, Resorts hired Computron Technologies Corporation (the NCLC-linked firm) as one of its software vendors.
According to Resorts assistant corporate controller (now vice-president) Bob Gensamer, in an early 1980 telephone interview, Computron contracted with the casino "to write a series of programs for our development division in jobs cost, accounts payable and general ledger."
Resorts officials were apparently unaware of the Computron-NCLC connection until after the contract was completed. "I'm amazed" said Anthony Rey, vice-president of Resorts International Hotel, in a telephone interview, early last year.
Computron today has severed its relations with NCLC as a result of a money dispute between the firm’s founders and NCLC chairman Lyndon LaRouche. But at the time of Computron’s contract with Resorts, several persons in the software firm's chain of command appeared to be linked either directly or through their spouses with NCLC's previous intelligence-gathering and harassment operations against Resorts:
Equally amusing was the role of Konstandinos Kalimtgis (a.k.a. Gus Axios), founder of Computron, majority owner through 1978, husband of the office manager who signed the checks, and closest adviser to the firm's president.
Kalimtgis, at the time of the Resorts contract, was also chief of staff of NCLC (a job he kept until his financial squabble with LaRouche in December 1980) and as such was in charge of all NCLC intelligence-gathering operations. In addition, he was the senior of three authors of Dope, Inc.
At the Trenton rally against casino gambling, Kalimtgis was the keynote speaker. According to NCLC’s newspaper account, he described the battle against Resorts International as a battle to save humanity from the British oligarchy,(NCLC's code word for international Jewry). The NCLC article then quoted him as saying, "Of course, some of the oligarchy may die in this battle," but adding that, in a spiritual sense, "they are dead already...."
ANTI-DRUG COALITION A FRONT FOR NCLC
Although the National Anti-Drug Coalition may enjoy support from sincere individuals who have no direct link to NCLC, there can be no doubt that NCLC dominates the NADC:
THE DETROIT CONNECTION
Excerpted from "The LaRouche/Mob Connection," an unpublished report by an NCLC defector
Beginning in late December 1980 and continuing into 1981 a series of defectors from the organizations controlled by Lyndon LaRouche have given investigators a somewhat more clear picture of the murky interworkings of the LaRouche apparat. Many of these defectors quit after LaRouche...decided to denounce his Number 2 man in the United States organization ("Gus Axios") as being a dupe of "the KGB" as well as an embezzler etc. Many of the defectors in this recent period then left due to strong feelings of loyalty to Axios. Others simply used the chaos caused by the Axios purge as an excuse to leave. Yet from both these groups there are consistent rumors that the LaRouche group was getting "mob money." Within the LaRouche organization these rumors also persist....Detroit is alleged to be the center of the mob connection.