Is the Birch Society a Zionist Front?
To comment on this article go to B’Man’s Revolt.
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 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 paragraphs 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 spend 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 to church.)
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 war.
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 members.
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 it.
"Support your local TRIM Committee of The John Birch Society."
Armour said, "Tell the members that we like the billboard idea and that's the message."
"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 quite timid.
"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 that.
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 things.
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
* I was since told by someone who seemed to know that “Cornell Simpson” was actually Medford Evans, the father of noted conservative writer, M. Stanton Evans. The younger Evans later denied this, and I agreed that his evidence was persuasive, as noted in “Covering Up Zionist Crime,” referenced in the addendum. Evans went to his grave last week claiming that he had never heard of Simpson’s book until I wrote about it and that he had no idea who Simpson really was. I’m sorry, but I don’t believe that, and I explain why in the referenced article.
I’m not sure if he had the web site at the time, but the “Mark” in this exchange is the proprietor of ARIWatch.com, whose main focus is criticism of the Ayn Rand Institute. Mark has also compiled a good index of my articles, and he is about the only other person who has advanced our knowledge on the death of James Forrestal beyond my own work. He has done that by producing a searchable htm version of the official Willcutts Report on Forrestal’s death, with useful commentary, including the Nurse’s Notes.
J. Bruce Campbell is the proprietor of Extremism Online, a web site of much more recent vintage than ARIWatch. He has also been a regular contributor to Veterans Today. He is often credited as the founder of the American militia movement.
I had some later insights on the possible connection between the John Birch Society and the Zionist movement in “Covering Up Zionist Crime? On ‘Cornell Simpson’, Medford Evans, M. Stanton Evans, and the John Birch Society.”
As a final reflection upon the title question, watching the Democrats and Republicans repeating their genuflection before Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, one might wonder if all important political organizations in the United States these days, including many that look to be nearly the opposite, are Zionist fronts. Sometimes it feels like we are simply living out the ambitions stated in the Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion.
March 9, 2015
After I sent this article to Buelahman for possible use on his web site, he informed me that he had discovered what looks like some pretty strong corroboration on the Net for Bruce Campbell’s thesis. It is in the article “The John Birch Society -- Exposed,” by John “Birdman” Bryant. As it turns out Campbell was hardly the first to maintain that the John Birch Society was a Zionist front. As Bryant notes, Eustace Mullins and Revilo Oliver had preceded him. Most of Bryant’s article consists of excerpts from Oliver’s book, America’s Decline. Oliver was one of the co-founders of the John Birch Society. The heart of Bryant’s article, for our purposes, is the following excerpt from the book:
After the conference between Welch and myself in November 1965, I determined to verify conclusively the inferences that his conduct had so clearly suggested, and, with the assistance of certain friends of long standing who had facilities that I lacked, I embarked on a difficult, delicate, and prolonged investigation. I was not astonished, although I was pained, by the discovery that Welch was merely the nominal head of the Birch business, which he operated under the supervision of a committee of Jews, while Jews also controlled the flow, through various bank accounts, of the funds that were needed to supplement the money that was extracted from the Society's members by artfully passionate exhortations to "fight the Communists." As soon as the investigation was complete, including the record of a secret meeting in a hotel at which Welch reported to his supervisors, I resigned from the Birch hoax on 30 July 1966 with a letter in which I let the little man know that his secret had been discovered.
Oliver’s judgment might be questioned for some of the positions that he took, such as that Lee Harvey Oswald was a Communist agent who assassinated President F. Kennedy as sort of an internal Marxist affair of which Kennedy was a part. The important thing here, though, is that he, like Campbell, was a Birch Society insider and the two men seem to have come to the same conclusion completely independently.
March 12, 2015