Is the Birch Society a Zionist Front?
Here are three e-mails that I received in late December of 2003 that possibly shed some light on the true nature of the right-wing organization, the John Birch Society. The first and third are from J. Bruce Campbell, who first revealed to me that Western Islands Press, the publisher of The Death of James Forrestal, is owned by the Birch Society (See Appendix 1 of "Who Killed James Forrestal, Part 2."). Cornell Simpson, the author of the book that was published in 1966, seventeen years after Forrestal's death , strongly suggests that our first Defense Secretary, Forrestal, was killed by the Communists, never even hinting that his most prominent enemies, the Zionists, might have had something to do with it. Simpson is a bit of a mystery man. I can find no trace of anything else he ever wrote. Campbell, in an e-mail not reprinted here, stated flatly that "Cornell Simpson" is just a "nom de plume," but he did not say how he knew that.
Speaking of pen names, the second e-mail is from a regular Usenet poster who goes by the single name of "Mark." He is critical of some of Campbell's conclusions. I am including his critique to give readers more information for making up their own minds.
J. Bruce Campbell:
I have the unpleasant duty to inform you that for the entire year of 1979 I
was a salaried employee of The John Birch Society. I'd been drilling oil
wells for ARCO for four years when the District Governor of the JBS
approached me, due to my spouting off to one of his loyal supporters.
Anyway, I took a big pay cut and jumped on that sinking ship. I was fed up
with the the large and small corruption of the oil business, which I
actually liked for the part in which I was involved (drilling).
I met Larry McDonald, the congressman and later head of JBS, and although he
was a very nice guy, I thought the whole thing was very dated and
uninspiring. Larry was interested in my Rhodesian experiences. The night I
took Larry to LAX after an important but boring fundraiser, I dreamed up a
big billboard campaign in Southern California with the message "Indict the
Trilateral Commission Now" signed The John Birch Society, Belmont - San
Marino. At this time the TC was hot stuff and very sinister-sounding. This
would have energized the whole thing and would have been cutting edge
because of the newness of the TC.
I raised a ton of money for this thing and then was ordered by the DG (who'd
authorized me to do so) to change the billboard message to a tax-reform
thing, which was dishonest to say the least and cowardly for displaying a
fear of Rockefeller. I sent everyone's money back and called Welch in
Belmont, Mass, to say that I wanted to meet with him regarding this thing.
Welch did not meet with hired help but I was pretty persuasive and he
finally agreed. A month later I sat in his office and, though he was
prepared to counter my pitch for the billboards, I switched subjects and
tried to present my real message, which was that the JBS had forsaken John
Birch, who was one very violent and action-oriented guy (for a missionary).
Welch surprised me with his bitterness over the Birch name, saying he
regretted ever naming it after him. I said, what difference does the name
make - anything would have gotten the same treatment.
He stalked around, saying I was ignorant for trying to glamorize this guy
(who had killed a whole bunch of Japanese and - realizing he'd fought the
wrong enemy - was about to do the same to the Red Chinese) and said, "They
can say he was arrogant toward his captors."
"You mean the Chinese Communists, who killed him with bayonets?"
"They can say he was living with a Chinese girl."
"So what? They killed him. Who cares what they say about him?"
And so it went. On the subject of religion, which is what this is about, he
asked me if I were religious? I said no. He said, "Neither am I. I don't
have time for all that stuff." That was surprising because of the
underlying religious flavor of JBS. (Tell 'em what they want to hear!)
Ten years later I met a Birch guy who was a 33d degree Freemason, who knew
the Welches. He told me that Welch's brother James was also a 33d degree.
Eustace Mullins wrote in Murder By Injection that Robert Welch was a 32d
degree Mason. Welch I think was nominally a Baptist but his Freemasonry
would have neutralized that. John Birch was a Baptist missionary. Welch
wouldn't let me finish my pitch for Birch and later told a mutual friend
that it was the silliest idea he'd ever heard.
The Birch Society was just a corral for conservatives. Welch, who was an
excellent writer in the sense that he could get people very agitated about
this or that subject, from Eisenhower to Taiwan, was a promoter who told me
in the car one time when I drove him to LAX that he had to raise over four
million dollars a year just to keep the thing going. But he just kept the
patriots bunched up and broke, writing to congressmen! There was no other
point to it besides the following:
JBS was a Zionist operation and became virulently so with the hiring of John
Rees, the Israeli intelligence agent. A British Zionist, Rees hated me
personally for no apparent reason. Probably instinctive, maybe because of
my background as an anti-Communist "mercenary" in Africa. But Welch ran JBS
as a cheering section for Likud, referring to Begin and Sharon and Shamir as
anti-Communist, anti-terrorist, etc. (We learned - I was in the Rhodesian
police branch of the security forces - that Israel was aiding the Communist
terrorists who were slaughtering so many Africans and Europeans in
Rhodesia.) The ADL had a direct control over Welch and he would brook no
discussion of Jewish aims or practices - or as I said before, the Jewish
creation of Communism. I know because it was my duty as a staff coordinator
to expel any member who discussed Jews in a political manner. I never had
to do this because by 1979 the membership was thoroughly tamed and
compliant. I was asked to question a guy who was no longer an active member
about some remarks he'd made about Jews. I did so and we became good
friends. I resigned over the billboard issue and the disturbing experience
with Robert Welch - I had been authorized to raise money with the TC message
and then was told to keep the money under false pretenses, so I couldn't
stick with such slimy people.
My father had been a JBS life member and brought some financiers into the
cult of Welch, which probably cut me some slack. I wasn't a member but
would buy a lot of books from the American Opinion bookstores wherever I
found them. I became a close friend of Alan Stang and the two of us were
arrested in Southern California while target shooting one time. He wrote an
interesting account for American Opinion magazine ("Police Story"), which
was a problem for him due to the Birch line: "Support Your Local Police."
We no longer supported the police after that nasty experience. Anyway,
Stang was a big time Zionist (still is) and we went our separate ways once I
wised up. Stang would become a tax rebel and go to prison for his beliefs.
Welch turned his back on him because he demanded full compliance with IRS.
Stang had been the house Jew to counter the "anti-Semitism" smear by the
usual suspects. Nothing could have been farther from the truth. (I have a
lot to say on this subject but won't now.)
December 25, 2003
Very interesting letter, thanks for forwarding it. The final two long
address my question: Was the John Birch Society a front for Zionism?
The reason I'm interested in this is that I had thought -- from reading JBS's
New American magazine starting in the early 1990's -- that the JBS is a
valuable organization fighting government corruption. And advocating Zionism
is not my idea of doing that.
I take it for granted that Bruce Campbell (BC) is legit, that he is who he says
he is and experienced what he says he experienced. That he's a sort of a
rough character, a man of action rather than an intellectual deskworker type,
probably explains the frequent awkward expression of his thought.
Before I address the paragraphs about the Zionist issue, I want to say a
few things about the first part.
Right after BC joined JBS he conceived of a billboard campaign denouncing
the Trilateral Commission, and on the basis of that plan raised a lot of
money to finance it. But then JBS decided the money would be better
used for a tax protest billboard campaign instead. BC had two problems
with that: he thought his original plan was better, and it would be dishonest
to use the donations otherwise than as was promised. BC returned the
money he had raised to the donors.
In my opinion the tax protest plan was the far better plan. Simply denouncing
the Trilateral Commission is either preaching to the choir or to the deaf, it
means nothing to the random man on the street. JBS wanted to spent the
money more wisely than originally intended. However, according to BC,
JBS wanted to do this without giving the donors the opportunity of a refund.
If so, that would have been dishonest.
BC describes meeting with Robert Welch, the founder and then head
of JBS. BC's choice of words reveals considerable bias. "He stalked around"
for example. Here are some of the points BC makes:
1. In spite of the religious undercurrent in JBS publications, Welch said he
wasn't religious, though nominally a Baptist.
My comment: I'm glad to hear that Welch wasn't religious. I respect
Christianity but I think it has helped in the destruction of America. On the
other hand, if what BC says is true Welch was a hypocrite on this issue,
though it's a common sort of hypocrisy.
2. Welch regretted naming the JBS after John Birch, a missionary who
had been killed in China by the communists. BC wanted to promote
Birch, but Welch would have none of it.
Comment: I was always unhappy with the name. It only confuses the proper
function of JBS, fighting government corruption, with religion. Of course the
puzzle remains why Welch chose that name in the first place. Just because
Birch fought the communists in China is a watery sort of reason, as is pandering
to Christians. (Remember this was 50 years ago, when far more people went
3. BC says "Welch ... was a promoter who [said] he had to raise over
four million dollars a year just to keep the thing going. But he just kept
the patriots bunched up and broke, writing to congressmen!"
Comment: I don't see how Welch kept anyone broke. And he did far more
than advocate writing congress-critters -- though that is one thing you can do.
He educated people about government corruption.
Now for BC's final paragraphs. He makes the following statements:
1. JBS was a Zionist operation.
2. JBS hired John Rees
3. John Rees was an Israeli intelligence agent.
4. Welch ran "it" -- the JBS? -- as a "cheering section for Likud."
5. The ADL had "direct control" over Welch.
6. Welch and Rees would brook no discussion of "Jewish aims or practices."
And that it was BC "duty as a staff coordinator to expel any member
who discussed Jews in a political manner."
7. Welch demanded full compliance with the IRS, and refused to defend
a Jew formerly on his staff who went to jail for tax evasion.
What to make of this?
1. Calling JBS a Zionist operation is too broad, to say the least.
2. There's no question that John Rees worked for JBS for many years.
The question is, who is John Rees?
3. John Rees was uncritically pro-Israel, a Zionist, but does that make him
a Mossad agent?
4. Saying that Welch ran JBS as a "cheering section for Likud" is an
extreme statement. The evidence BC cites indicates Welch failed to
boo rather than actively cheered.
5. BC presents no evidence that the ADL had "direct control" over Welch.
6. I'm rather understanding that Welch would brook no discussion of Jewish
aims or practices. It's unfortunate that many -- not all, but many -- such
people are cranks. Welch controlled a large operation and couldn't afford
to be associated with cranks. On the other hand, he most certainly
should have discussed Israel -- and the JBS does do that these days.
7. That Welch demanded full compliance with the IRS is just common
sense. Bad as it is, the tax code is on the books and you go to jail for
breaking it. Of course if I were on the jury I'd find the accused not guilty,
but you can't count on many people doing that. Again, Welch headed
a multi-million operation, and couldn't risk having it destroyed by the IRS.
Whatever JBS may have been, it seems to be worthwhile these days. I
certainly wouldn't call it Zionist. For example, the New American ran an
extensive expose on the USS Liberty scandal. And they are against the Iraq
Mark, December 27, 2003
J. Bruce Campbell:
I shall address some things brought up by
Mark, now that I've dredged up some more details of those days.
Obviously, the Birch Society is a spent force compared with its glory days
of the early - pre-Goldwater - 1960s. It was a spent force by the time I
arrived in '79. Dead and didn't know it. I seem to recall the high water
mark of around 2,000,000 dues-paying members. So there's not much to know
or reason to know about it anymore, with probably just a few thousand
The morning after taking McDonald to the airport I went to my boss, Chuck
Armour, the District Governor (which was the title of the JBS boss west of
the Mississippi) in San Marino and told him of my billboard idea. He said
that a billboard campaign was very expensive. I already had the figures
from Western Outdoor or some such group. I said, "Yep - about $24,000 for
six billboards on the LA freeways, four months."
"I can raise the money if you will authorize it."
"Well, go raise it."
"Okay, Chuck. The message is 'Indict the Trilateral Commission Now - The
John Birch Society - Belmont San Marino' Okay?"
"Well, I'm not sure about the message right now..."
"What aren't you sure about? Trilateral? Indict? Now? - What?"
"I don't know... Go ahead."
So, the next night I had a meeting of section and chapter leaders in North
Hollywood. I made my pitch. I said that the indictment is for treason, the
penalty for treason is death. We're talking about the electric chair for
Jimmy Carter, David Rockefeller... I'm in for $500. What about you all?"
Well, with the authorization and my example, I raised $12,000 that night
plus was given a huge billboard on Ventura Blvd. And that was just one
little area. The next day I told Armour and said I wanted to make a pitch
to him and the JBS employees in San Marino to test it for mistakes. He
said, okay, tomorrow after lunch. And I did that. Dead silence when I
finished. Only Joe Mehrten, the head of Review of the News, said, "I like
it - it's got pizzaz."
Armour finally said, "I don't like the message."
"What don't you like?"
"We can't indict anyone."
"Okay - how about 'accuse?' 'We accuse the Trilateral Commission?'"
And they all filed out of Armour's office, leaving just me and Charlie
Everett, a fundraiser, with Armour. They stared at me, sitting on the couch
under the big portrait of John Birch. Finally Armour wrote something and
gave it to Everett, who read it and smiled and passed it to me. I looked at
"Support your local TRIM Committee of The John Birch Society."
Armour said, "Tell the members that we like the billboard idea and that's
"TRIM? Well, TRIM's a good thing." It stood for Tax Reform Immediately.
"So, I'll give the money back and start over. We'll see how much they'll
give me for this message..." I knew the answer: not a dime.
"No!" said Armour, "don't give the money back. Just tell them that this is
the authorized message."
Everett piped up, "Let's see how good a salesman you are!"
I looked at him like something stuck on my boot.
"Sorry, I don't work that way."
"Well, " said Armour, "I'm telling you that's how you're going to do it."
I said, "You boys misjudged me," and stood up. "Chuck, would you have hired
this guy?" I jerked my thumb at the portrait behind me. He looked at Birch
and shook his head.
"Can't say. I didn't know the man."
"That's what I figured." And I took off and called Welch. I took him by
surprise. He knew me as the Rhodesian "mercenary." He liked the billboard
idea and the message. And I persuaded him to see me because my dad had
brought in the Butlers from Chicago, who'd put a ton of money into the cult.
But one of the first things Welch said to me in his office a month later
was, "I don't understand what you're doing. You remind me of Richard
Viguerie..." RV was a prominent GOP fundraiser in those days.
"Richard Viguerie?! What do you mean?"
"You raise all this money and just keep it!"
"I didn't keep it. I gave it all back the next day."
"Here's the letter I sent to everyone with his money." It was on JBS
letterhead. He read it.
"Hmm. That's a pretty good letter... I don't understand... Why would you
raise all this money on an unauthorized campaign? You know, we carefully
consider every one of our programs before trying it..."
This was true. Welch's indecision on any new thing was legendary. He was
"It was authorized."
"What? By whom?"
"The District Governor."
"Chuck Armour." He stared at me blankly, not comprehending what he was
hearing compared with what he'd already been told.
"Well, billboards aren't a good idea..."
"Why not? They worked pretty nicely on Earl Warren..." The Impeach Earl
Warren billboard campaign had been the Birch Society's most famous and
successful public sortie in its history.
"No, they just tear them down..."
"Well, Mr. Welch - they can't tear down these huge industrial billboards on
the freeways. And if they tear them down, Gannett or Western will just put
them up again and it will be great publicity for us."
"No, no, no! You don't understand..."
"I guess I don't. But I didn't come here to talk about billboards."
"Well, then why did you come here?"
"To talk about John Birch." And it just descended into his bitterness after
The office pitch I made was attended by Bill Jasper, who is now the head of
The New American, so you can always check with him about what I said. No
one will ever forget it. Especially the electric chair part. And I had
credibility because of the African and oil experience, to name just two
Anyway, some of Mark's questions deserve answers. Perhaps he never saw the
Birch weekly magazine, Review of the News, or as Joe Mehrten called it,
Review of the Jews. Israeli leaders such as Begin and Meir and others often
graced the covers, with glowing cream puff articles inside. The Israelis
were great anti-Communist guys, just like us! We had to support them
against the godless Communist Arabs! The Palestinians were terrorists!
There is nothing crankish about the truth. The JBS suppressed the truth
about the origins of the very thing they were supposedly against:
Communism. By doing this they protected the guilty and deliberately
confused the membership in a life and death matter. It would fall to Willis
Carto, an ex-coordinator like me, to break the unpleasant news to Americans
about the Jewish nature of our national disease, which we see full blown now
in the Bolshevik neo-conservative cabal that controls the Bush
administration. Carto published the Spotlight (American Free Press now) and
the incomparable Barnes Review among a number of other accomplishments.
All American right-wing organizations since 1960 sprang from The John Birch
Society, so it was an important, though fraudulent, phenomenon and could be
studied profitably. Welch resisted mightily Gary Allen's exposure of the
Rockefeller gang as the root cause of America's decline. He and Welch used
to have some violent shouting matches over what Welch would eventually
acknowledge as "the Insiders." Welch, like Hoover, wanted to stick with the
safe but irrelevant Communist Party stuff. Challenging Nelson Rockefeller
was too damned dangerous, as was apparently my anti-David Rockefeller
message on the billboard.
December 28, 2003
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