Sunday, October 5, 2008

NYT's silence on McCain's Ayers: G. Gordon Liddy, John Singlaub

Yesterday "The New York Times" gave front page coverage to Barack Obama's association with 1960s radical William Ayers.
(This is a shaky accusation. As Obama this Times story says, "[T]he two men do not appear to have been close. Nor has Mr. Obama ever expressed sympathy for the radical views and actions of Mr. Ayers, whom he has called 'somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8.'")
Yet, the Times story did not reveal anything new, neither did the Wall Street Journal in a similar editorial last week, as "The Washington Monthly" online edition noted yesterday.
So, to stress the point again: Obama had no friendship with Ayers. Unfortunately, the net effect in the last 24 hours has been to lend renewed credence to this smear story. Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin has cited the story in an effort to link Obama to Ayers and Ayers' radical Weatherman politics.

Why doesn't "The New York Times" give attention to the truly friendly relationship with the disgusting right-wing extremist G. Gordon Liddy?
To refresh your memory, Liddy was a burglar in the Watergate scandal, breaking into the office of Daniel Ellsberg's office.
John McCain has appeared on Liddy's radio show and has expressed friendly comments to him.
These points are succinctly addressed by Cenk Uygur of Young Turks [a daily youtube Internet TV show], discussing McCain’s association with Liddy.
Back to Liddy, MediaMatters issued the equivalent of an online press release yesterday:
“Liddy has acknowledged preparing to kill someone during the Ellsberg break-in "if necessary"; plotting to murder journalist Jack Anderson; plotting with a "gangland figure" to murder Howard Hunt to stop him from cooperating with investigators; plotting to firebomb the Brookings Institution; and plotting to kidnap "leftist guerillas" at the 1972 Republican National Convention -- a plan he outlined to the Nixon administration using terminology borrowed from the Nazis.”

MediaMatters went on to appeal readers to send letters asking "The New York Times" to give attention to McCain's relationship with Liddy.

Back in 1994, in the milieu of the early 1990s far-right Militiamen opposition to the federal government (remember, the people that feared "black helicopters"?), Liddy fed into the anti-federal-government hate with the following comment after the raid on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas: "Now if the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms comes to disarm you and they are bearing arms, resist them with arms. Go for a head shot; they're going to be wearing bulletproof vests. ... Kill the sons of bitches." --courtesy of Steve Chapman of "The Chicago Tribune"
But let's get to the core of the McCain-Liddy relationship, clearly deeper than that between Obama and Ayers, again citing Chapman's column:
How close are McCain and Liddy? At least as close as Obama and Ayers appear to be. In 1998, Liddy's home was the site of a McCain fundraiser. Over the years, he has made at least four contributions totaling $5,000 to the senator's campaigns -- including $1,000 this year.

Last November, McCain went on his radio show. Liddy greeted him as "an old friend," and McCain sounded like one. "I'm proud of you, I'm proud of your family," he gushed. "It's always a pleasure for me to come on your program, Gordon, and congratulations on your continued success and adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great."

Which principles would those be? The ones that told Liddy it was fine to break into the office of the Democratic National Committee to plant bugs and photograph documents? The ones that made him propose to kidnap anti-war activists so they couldn't disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention? The ones that inspired him to plan the murder (never carried out) of an unfriendly newspaper columnist?

Let's be frank: When pushed in a corner, with presidential candidates having bad policies and weak poll ratings, the Republican campaign machines routinely pull an October smear. Ayles did this in 1988 with the Willie Horton smear against Michael Dukakis.
We cannot afford to let the Republicans off the hook with the Ayers smear. The Democrats' rapid response to the McCain campaign's use of Ayers should involve close scrutiny of McCain's associations with politically disreputable people.
On "Meet the Press" Paul Begala gave us a tip to more extremist association trouble for McCain,
And I think Governor Palin here is making a strategic mistake [in citing Ayers]. This guilt by association path is going to be trouble ultimately for the McCain campaign. You know, you can go back, I have written a book about McCain, I had a dozen researchers go through him, I didn’t even put this in the book. But John McCain sat on the board of a very right-wing organization, it was the U.S. Council for World Freedom, it was chaired by a guy named John Singlaub, who wound up involved in the Iran contra scandal. It was an ultra conservative, right-wing group. The Anti-Defamation League, in 1981 when McCain was on the board, said this about this organization. It was affiliated with the World Anti-Communist League – the parent organization – which ADL said “has increasingly become a gathering place, a forum, a point of contact for extremists, racists and anti-Semites.”

Now, that's not John McCain, I don't think he is that. But you know, the problem is that a lot of people know John McCain’s record better than Governor Palin. And he does not want to play guilt by association or this thing could blow up in his face.

The Republicans will use the Ayers connection in crucial swing states. Expect powerful, late October television ads in select states. Bloggers and viral video makers at YouTube should broadcast the McCain connections to Liddy, the U.S. Council for Freedom and John K. Singlaub. McCain sat on the board of the U.S. Council for World Freedom as indicated at this site. (The U.S. Council for World Freedom was the U.S. affiliate of the World Anti-Communist League. The Council was founded by John Singlaub, who was an army general, highly decorated for his actions in World War II. He was famous for his public criticism of President Jimmy Carter's 1977 proposal to gradually withdraw 32,000 U.S. troops from South Korea. Carter dismissed Singlaub from duty for his public opposition to the withdrawal proposal.)
"Time" magazine reported on October 27, 1986 that the Council supplied funds for the Contras. (The Contras waged a civil war against the Sandanista government of Nicaragua throughout the 1980s.)
Now, as Begala counseled, I am not suggesting that McCain is of the same stripe as those with whom he associated. Yet there are questions that progressives and journalists should ask: How else did the Council (or "USCWF" for short) support military and civilian efforts at destabilizing governments in the 1980s? Were illegal or unethical actions being planned or discussed at the Council when McCain present for those meetings? Did McCain oppose or otherwise respond to unethical plans of action? As these questions bear on McCain's attitude toward policy and his possible knowledge of illegal or unethical doings, this are substantive questions to pose, as contrasted the the sheer guilt-by-association quality of the Ayers canard.
As Singlaub was the founder and one-time president of the Council, it is plausible that the organization took stands or actions encouraging destabilization of governments during meetings at which McCain attended. He is on record as supporting the low intensity warfare in the Iran-Contra affair of the 1980s.
He spoke publicly on his desire to actively wage an anti-Communist crusade:
"I am convinced that our struggle with Communism is not a spectator sport. as a result of that view, we have opted for the court of action which calls for the provision of support and assistance to those who are actively resisting the Soviet supported intrusion into Africa, Asia and North America. The geographic regions of WACL must not only provide support to the freedom fighters who are engaged in combat in their own region, but they must develop plans of action to support the resistance movements in other regions of the world."

Furthermore, we should ask, what are the range of actions that McCain suggests his proposed League of Democracies take? Is this League putting a euphemism on more government destabilization in the mold of the Contras and the Iraq invasion?

Again, why don't "The New York Times" or other major media outlets give attention to McCain and his connections to Liddy, USCWF and Singlaub? If Ayers is reappearing in the news, it is only fair that the Liddy and USCWF/Singlaub connections receive media attention. If Palin, Karl Rove, and company are exploiting the Ayers issue, then Democrats ought to at least publicize McCain's controversial political affiliations.

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