Murdoch, Scaife and CIA Propaganda

Special Report: The rapid expansion of America’s right-wing media began in the 1980s as the Reagan administration coordinated foreign policy initiatives with conservative media executives, including Rupert Murdoch, and then cleared away regulatory hurdles, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The Reagan administration pulled right-wing media executives Rupert Murdoch and Richard Mellon Scaife into a CIA-organized “perception management” operation which aimed Cold War-style propaganda at the American people in the 1980s, according to declassified U.S. government records.

Video: If you voted for Hamas, Israel has a right to kill you, says president of NY Board of Rabbis

Rabbi David-Seth Kirshner at Stand with Israel rally, NY, July 28, 2014

How To Destroy Peace before it starts.

Netanyahu’s Problem: The birth-pangs of peace.


Hamas and Fatah representatives met in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, to discuss the formation of a Palestinian unity government. Fatah senior official Azzam al-Ahmed represented his faction in the talks with Hamas, headed by exiled Islamist leader Moussa Abu Marzouk.

The two parties hope to complete the formation of the new government by the end of this month in accordance with the reconciliation deal signed in the Gaza Strip three weeks ago.

The PLO’s formal position is the acceptance of a two-state solution and are prepared to bend over backwards and cede to almost every Israeli demand to achieve this.

“He (Abbas) agreed to a demilitarized state; he agreed to the border outline so 80 percent of settlers would continue living in Israeli territory; he agreed for Israel to keep secui ty sensitive areas (mostly in the Jordan Valley – NB) for five years, and then the United States would take over. He accepted the fact that in the Israeli perception, the Palestinians would never be trustworthy.,7…515821,00.html


Netanyahu’s Solution: Violence. Deception.  Smoke & mirrors and Machiavelian opportunism.


Nobody deserves to die the way the young Israeli settlers did but they weren’t completely innocent either seeing as they were illegal settlers living off stolen property in their Jews only colony.

That aside, it is apparent to me at least that this is/was a manufactured crisis cynically stage-managed by the right-wing, bloodthirsty lunatics the people of Israel thought fit to govern.. As Obama’s original choice for Chief-of-Staff and son of an Irgun terrorist Rahm Emanuel said “never let a good crisis go to waste”.

In the first place Shin Bet would/should have been made aware of this incident in virtual real time. The apparent killings of the Israelis were recorded in a phone call made to Israeli police. The scene of the crime could be established with mobile phone tracking.

Second, The PA informed the Israelis of the disappearance of the two suspects within 24 hours of the murders. Within 24 hours of this their homes were raided. I find it hard to believe the shallow graves took so long to find as the Israelis were buried on land belonging to one of the suspects family.

During this time the Israeli public were whipped up into an ultra-nationalistic frenzy by their ultra-nationalist state through racist rhetoric and an imposed a gag order on the media which prevented the details being released confirming the near certainty that the young Israeli men were already dead which would have helped the Israeli mob’s bloodlust to subside.

IDF soliders were posting masked pictures of themselves promising genocide or “death to Arabs” in revenge.

While Israelis were kidnapping Arab children and burning them alive in racist attacks and the racial hatred was reaching a crescendo the head of state announces the death of the teenagers and promises more bloodshed and followed in the long line of Israeli leaders in making veiled racist slurs against the Palestinian people.


They were abducted and murdered in cold blood by human animals…Vengeance for the blood of a small child, Satan has not yet created

– Netanyahu

And it’s not just the racist leaders of old he is mimicking. Bibi is also following in his own fathers footsteps.

Q: Operation Cast Lead was one of the worst beatings we ever handed on a civilian population.
A: That’s not enough. It’s possible that we should have hit harder.

Q: You don’t like the Arabs, to say the least.
A: The Bible finds no worse image than that of the man from the desert. And why? Because he has no respect for any law. Because in the desert he can do as he pleases. The tendency toward conflict is in the essence of the Arab. He is an enemy by essence. His personality won’t allow him any compromise or agreement. It doesn’t matter what kind of resistance he will meet, what price he will pay. His existence is one of perpetual war.

More of his disgusting views can found here:…n-arabs/44215/ Including a mentality that perfectly describes the racist mob violence currently occuring in Israel,

On Arab citizens of Israel

I think we should speak to the Israeli Arabs in the language they understand and admire – the language of force. If we act with strength against any crime they commit, they will understand we show no forgiveness. Had we used this language from the start, they would have been more careful.

How a Group of Christians Smearing Muslims Benefits the Jewish State

November/December 2012, Pages 13-14 Special Report How a Group of Christians Smearing Muslims Benefits the Jewish State By Maidhc Ó Cathail In the course of his much-ridiculed albeit deadly serious A

via How a Group of Christians Smearing Muslims Benefits the Jewish State.

Origins of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, 1949-1950

Origins of the Congress for Cultural Freedom, 1949-1950

The following is taken from the the CIA’s website at

The Congress for Cultural Freedom is widely considered one of the CIA’s more daring and effective Cold War covert operations. It published literary and political journals such as Encounter, hosted dozens of conferences bringing together some of the most eminent Western thinkers, and even did what it could to help intellectuals behind the Iron Curtain.

Brian Crozier obituary

Brian Crozier obituary

Intelligence expert who formed his own organisation to counter communist propaganda

Brian Crozier with Reagan

The intelligence expert Brian Crozier, who has died aged 94 after a long illness, was the ultimate cold-war warrior: a political vigilante who unashamedly cultivated a close, mutually beneficial, relationship with MI6, MI5 and the CIA, successfully courted Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, and praised the dictators Pinochet and Franco. He lectured army officers about the risks of a Marxist-Leninist takeover of the ruling Labour party in the 1970s. On one occasion, after telling a group of officers about the potential need for a military coup, the audience, in his words, “rose as one man, cheering and clapping for fully five minutes”.

In the 1960s, at MI6’s suggestion, Crozier was approached by the Congress for Cultural Freedom, a CIA-funded agency that financed publications around the world, including Encounter magazine in Britain. In 1966, with the help of CIA funds, he set up a British-based agency, Forum World Features, and later founded the Institute for the Study of Conflict. He also contributed to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s Information Research Department (IRD), a shady organisation whose unattributable reports distributed to susceptible journalists and MPs were designed to highlight the dangers of communist subversion. The IRD was disbanded by David Owen soon after he was appointed foreign secretary in 1977.

That year, continuing in his role of what British intelligence agencies call “an alongsider”, Crozier set up a new group, “The 61”. Its aim was to make up for what he perceived as the failure of western governments to counter communist Soviet propaganda effectively. A former senior MI6 officer, Nicholas Elliott, was one of its fundraisers.

Among Crozier’s friends was Charles Elwell, MI5’s head of counter-subversion until 1981, who instructed his officers to monitor the activities of trade union leaders, as well as the National Council for Civil Liberties and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament. So, too, was Stephen Hastings, a Tory MP with whose help he set up the Shield Committee, designed to combat subversion, a phenomenon Crozier described as the “political equivalent of Aids”. He presented a further proposal for a “Counter-Subversion Agency” at a meeting in the City in the summer of 1978, chaired by Thatcher and attended by Sir Keith Joseph, Willie Whitelaw, Lord Carrington and Harry Sporborg of Hambros bank (who had been deputy head of the wartime Special Operations Executive). Thatcher suggested the new agency should be attached to No 10, but Carrington vetoed the plan.

My Dinner with Jack

My Dinner with Jack

The Jamboree in Jamba, the making of ‘Red Scorpion,’ and other tales of the Abramoff era.

Apr 3, 2006, Vol. 11, No. 27 • By MARK HEMINGWAY

ONE OF ABRAMOFF’S REDEEMING QUALITIES is that he was an unrepentant Cold Warrior. His story that night began when he was a young activist obsessed with ending communism. According to another unrepentant Cold Warrior, former Reagan speechwriter Dana Rohrabacher, who now represents Orange County in Congress, Abramoff back in those days was “a young idealist with so much energy that it just bubbled over. He was irrepressible during the Cold War and in trying to end the threat of communism.”

In the summer of 1985 Abramoff helped plan and organize an event that, as Abramoff told me, inspired Red Scorpion. Abramoff joined forces with Jack Wheeler, another anti-Communist activist, to create the “Jamboree in Jamba”–known more formally as the Democratic International. The pair approached Lewis Lehrman, a conservative benefactor who made a fortune off his Rite-Aid drugstores, with the idea: For years the Soviets had been sponsoring what amounted to supervillain summits, where Sandinistas, African Communist insurgents, and representatives of the PLO and Cuba convened presumably to stroke their fluffy white cats and update their arms-dealer Rolodexes.

Abramoff convinced Lehrman that this put the “good guys” at a comparative disadvantage–the Nicaraguan contras, the Afghan mujahedeen, Savimbi’s rebels in Angola, and other freedom fighters needed a meeting of their own. Congress was in the process of cutting off aid to the contras, and anything that could be done to bolster the group’s public reputation would be politically helpful to Reagan. Lehrman agreed to fund it, and Rohrabacher was brought in to help muster support from inside the White House. Abramoff and Wheeler would handle the details on the ground.

According to Abramoff, the event was a goat rodeo from the start. Hardly a government in the world was enamored of the idea, and simply deciding where to hold the event was no small affair. Only two governments were publicly supportive: South Africa and Israel, and for PR reasons it was quickly decided that neither country was a suitable venue.

So they settled on Jamba, Angola, the home base of Savimbi’s UNITA movement (National Union of Total Independence for Angola), which was fighting the Cuban troops that propped up the Soviet-backed Angolan government. Not exactly the most hospitable locale.

Logistically, the event was a nightmare. Simply trying to get the attendees into the Angolan hinterland provoked international incidents. Pakistan blocked some Afghan rebels from leaving, and skittish Thai officials almost stopped Laotian anti-Communist leader Pa Kao Her from departing Bangkok.

Facilities consisted of little more than grass huts and an airstrip, and managing the various cultures and egos proved challenging, as demonstrated by Abramoff’s deft and hilarious impersonation of a frenzied Afghan warlord who insisted on ranting and raving for 45 minutes, long after the translator who had been procured on his behalf proved worthless. Not only was Abramoff’s mimicry compelling, he gestured wildly with his hands in a way that caught me totally off guard, making me laugh harder. He clearly wasn’t afraid to embarrass himself, a quality that was endearing, considering I had started out the evening somewhat intimidated. I also became aware of how carefully he was gauging my reaction to his tale. He didn’t care about impressing me; it was obvious he had little to prove. But he did tell his story in a generous way–he wanted me to enjoy it, and I did.

The final insult in Jamba was running out of food. Abramoff, who keeps kosher, had packed all his own provisions into the African jungle. Upon leaving the event early, he stood on the stairs of the plane auctioning off his remaining cans of tuna for as much as $20 to ravenous members of the press who had yet to leave.

The jamboree itself ended up being largely ceremonial. Everyone pledged to share intelligence, and Lehrman read a letter Rohrabacher had drafted on Reagan’s behalf, expressing solidarity with those struggling against the Soviet empire. The Time reporter on the scene concluded that the meeting marked the beginning of “a new lobby to urge Congress to support the Nicaraguan contras and other anti-Communist guerrillas.” Considering the improbability of the thing coming together at all, everyone involved considered it a success.

A Fledgling Alliance

A Fledgling Alliance

They converged in the bleak scrublands of southeastern Angola. Rebel Leader Jonas Savimbi played host to the others: spokesmen for the Nicaraguan Democratic Force, the Afghan mujahedin and the hill tribes opposing the Communist regime in Laos. For two days they talked and socialized in Jamba, stronghold of Savimbi’s well-armed and organized movement against Angola’s Marxist government, and stood shoulder to shoulder with the American who had brought them together: Lewis Lehrman, millionaire Republican leader of a lobby called Citizens for America. The group announced the formation of an alliance, Democratic International, to support “the fight for independence from Soviet colonialism.”

The catalyst of the new alliance had even larger purposes in mind. The growth of anti-Soviet guerrilla movements, said Lehrman, is part of “the second stage of the American Revolution, (which was) always intended by the founders to be a world revolution.” Lehrman dramatized his notion by presenting each of the four rebel leaders with a copy of the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

The conferees applauded when Lehrman read words from President Reagan: “Around the world we see people joining together . . . to free their nations from outside domination and an alien ideology . . . Their goals are % our goals.” Lehrman did not point out that this letter was not from Reagan to the new allies, but from Reagan to “Dear Lew.”

Some governments affected by the rebel movements were even more cautious than Reagan. Pakistan blocked Afghan rebel leaders from traveling to the meeting from Pakistani base camps. Mujahedin Colonel Ghulam Wardak flew to Africa from Washington, where he is recovering from battle wounds. Nervous Thai authorities, according to a Lehrman aide, created “tremendous problems” before allowing Laotian Guerrilla Leader Pa Kao Her to fly to the conference from Bangkok. But South Africa, which supports Savimbi, allowed participants to fly from Johannesburg.

The rebel leaders professed a common goal, and agreed to exchange intelligence and advisers. Although all are against the Soviets, the four could not express an anti-Communist stance in their communique because rebel forces in both Laos and Afghanistan are supported by Communist China. The likely next step will be the opening of a Democratic International office in Washington. Upshot: a new lobby to urge Congress to support the Nicaraguan contras and other anti-Communist guerrillas.

| Profile of a Christian Right Candidate: Dick DeVos (Part Two)

| Profile of a Christian Right Candidate: Dick DeVos (Part Two).

Part two of this series focuses on Dick DeVos’ involvement in the Council for National Policy, a national rightist leadership and networking group; and the political and social funding patterns of the Dick and Betsy DeVos foundation.  If you wish to read the introductory Part One, click here. You will be able to click to Part Two at the end of Part One. — ed.

Council for National Policy

Perhaps nothing shows DeVos’s extremism more than his membership in the secretive Council for National Policy ( CNP ). The Council was created in 1981 by leaders of the extremist John Birch Society to move the United States in a very rightward direction. The Birchers, as they were known, explicitly rejected democracy, as did many of the allies they recruited for the CNP. For years they organized White Citizens Council to fight the civil rights movement and later melded into the militia movement.

The membership list of the CNP is secret, its meetings are secret and their post meeting activities are secret. Beyond acknowledging that it exists, the CNP prefers the underground conspiratorial style. Membership lists obtained by this writer show why they prefer secrecy.

The CNP includes all the key funders and leaders of the far right: Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, James Dobson and D. James Kennedy; Richard Shoff, a former leader of the Indiana Ku Klux Klan; a core of the proapartheid lobby that fought to support to the end, in open concert with the last ruling national socialist regime in the world, the South African apartheid government. Also part of the CNP are members of the Coors brewery family and Texas oilman Nelson Bunker Hunt.

Ex-lobbyist and confessed felon Jack Abramoff ( who also lobbied on behalf of Blackwater ) and his cohort in crime, former Amway distributor Tom Delay, is also in the CNP.

Abramoff established the International Freedom Foundation in the 1980’s to conduct campaigns against Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress. It was later discovered that the IFF was a covert instrument of ( apartheid ) South African Military Intelligence. Jesse Helms was its main Senate contact.

CNP member Ralph Reed, former director of Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition and Abramoff associate, wrote a training manual for that group that asserted that the Bible requires employees to submit to their employers because the Bible commanded slaves to submit to their masters.

Members of the Congress such as DeLay, Dan Burton, Jon Kyl, Don Nickles Jesse Helms and other elected officials are part of the CNP, giving members access to the legislative process. AntiUnion activists such as Reed Larson, Mark Mix and others of the National Right to Work Committee and Tom Ellis of the white supremacist Pioneer Fund are also members. The Pioneer Fund once received an award from Nazi Germany for its racialist work

The thrust of the so-called religious leaders of the CNP is toward a movement called Christian Reconstructionism, which claims that our contemporary society is “unBiblical” and should be ruled by theocratic church authority. Also known as Dominionists, these proponents assert that democracy is “heretical,” as are the issues of working people and organized labor; civil rights and social justice issues, as well as empowerment of the disenfranchised. They would replace the Constitution with a form of rule based on Old Testament law. As extreme and bizarre as that sounds, many powerful, politicized religious broadcasters are secretly part of this movement and coordinate political action with others through the CNP. Among those associated with this movement is D. James Kennedy, whose generous funding from the DeVos family allows him to deliver scathing lectures against the gays and lesbians, against civil liberties and for “reclaiming America” to a rightwing version of godliness.

This is the most influential coalition that Dick DeVos is part of. He came in through his father, who is a governor of the CNP. His late father-in-law, Edgar Prince, was the single largest donor to the Council. DeVos Jr.’s foundation also has given the CNP at least $28,000. Others in the DeVos circle that are also in the CNP include Billy Zeoli, head of Gospel Films in Muskegon. Gospel Films is heavily funded by the DeVos’s. In the mid-1990’s it had at least six top Amway distributors and two DeVos family members on its board. Zeoli speaks at Amway rallies and collection packets are passed out for donations for him from Amway distributors.

Why does DeVos and his network value being in a conspiratorial organization with so many persons with extreme political agendas? More disturbing is the question is how such a network could operate in secret with such radical goals and yet maintain ties to the White House and Congress, all without accountability. This is the closest thing we have to the leadership core of a fascist political movement and the world is silent.

The DeVos Foundation: Funding the Far Right

An important indicator of Dick DeVos’s extreme social outlook is also reflected in the financial contributions that he and his wife have made through their Dick and Betsy DeVos Foundation. Besides the anti-public education support discussed earlier, DeVos has given substantial support to groups that work against public education, for privatization policies that often result in lower wage employment with fewer if any benefits and for so-called religious Dominion groups that work against democratic values.

The foremost example of the latter category is the Foundation for Traditional Values ( FTV ), a Lansing based group that asserts that the United States was created as a “Christian Nation” that was subsequently subverted. Their standard text claims that the subversion of Christianity began with the constitutional amendment to abolish slavery in the 1860’s. FTV is affiliated with D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministry ( supported by millions from Dick’s father ) and a small religious cult, Maranatha, that was politically active in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

FTV conducts seminars across the midwest teaching people that they must create a “Christian Republic” and thereby purge secularism from America. They conduct annual two week political action youth training programs in the state capitol building and hold large fundraising events where the DeVoses are prominent sponsors. The DeVos’s foundation has given FTV well over $100,000.

Groups that actively support campaigns to privatize public services have been generously supported by DeVos. The Mackinac Center in Midland, the Acton Institute in Grand Rapids and the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. have all been steady recipients of DeVos largesse.

Mackinac publishes a periodic newsletter urging municipal, county, school district and state officials to get rid of various public functions and turn them over to private companies that almost always pay less and provide fewer if any benefits. They even conducted a campaign in one school district to get employees to decertify from their Union. They regularly attack Unions as inimical to their goals.

Privatization is a concern that goes even beyond shifting work to low wage, non Union employers. It destroys institutions that citizens have control over and shifts resources to profit making companies that legally have to serve first their owners, not the public interest. As they shrink the public sector’s ability to serve the people, business comes to dominant even the core services of government. The advocates of privatization see the long term effect as reducing or eliminating services. Those who advocate these policies, including the DeVos recipients, want to weaken government to such a degree that it cannot regulate the public sector or use taxing power to aid the needy and disenfranchised. They are philosophically and fundamentally antidemocratic.

The head of Mackinac, Lawrence Reed, is involved in other extremist groups, including one that sponsored a trip to Mozambique so that he could return and write favorably about Renamo, a militia that terrorized unarmed villagers in that country. The U.S. Department of State estimated that Renamo massacred over 100,000 innocent civilians. He has also been active in U.S. and international groups that supported Latin American death squad leaders. The concept of freedom that Mackinac purports to advocate is very obscure indeed.

The Heritage Foundation has a similar record of supporting right wing terrorist groups, as well as brutal dictators that in some cases had murdered thousands of their own citizens. In its early days it also supplied legal aid to a Ku Klux Klan campaign in West Virginia to stop use of textbooks that addressed diversity. Today Heritage is part of the fight to privatize Social Security, reduce social programs and environmental safeguards, resist the minimum wage and encourage government policies against Unions.

The Acton Institute, whose board includes Dick DeVos’s wife Betsy, promote the ideas of business without government regulation and dismisses environmental concerns.

The DeVos foundation has given Acton, Heritage and Mackinac over a half million dollars, with smaller amounts going to similar groups.

In 2001, Dick DeVos’s foundation gave $35,000 to the Center for Individual Rights ( CIR ), the group that brought the lawsuits to stop affirmative action at the University of Michigan, at other campuses and in hiring and promotion policies nationwide. Since these suits were initiated in 1997, it is clear that DeVos was helping fund them. Later the CIR would support Ward Connerly’s ballot initiative and fought in court to keep the fraudulent Proposal 2 on the ballot. CIR’s client Jennifer Gratz joined with Connerly to get the signatures on the ballot to create Proposal 2.

In a 2003 study of groups organized to eliminate civil rights in the United States, the CIR was described as “perhaps the most politically extreme of the of the groups challenging affirmative action, civil rights and racial equality in the United States today.”

The report, The Assault on Diversity, published by the Institute for Democracy Studies, states that early funding for CIR came from the Pioneer Fund, a group founded in 1937 for the purpose of funding racialist research to advocate notions of Nordic supremacy. It has maintained its racialist mission ( see related John Birch story ).

The CIR’s funding comes from a network of foundations, including the Pioneer Fund, Bradley and Olin foundations that also funded Charles Murray’s The Bell Curve. Murray’s book, published in 1994, asserted that whites were an intellectually superior race and therefore justified the ending of affirmative action and education programs that countered the legacy of racism.

The CIR, girded by The Bell Curve sponsors, are doing that, with help from DeVos.

The DeVos and Prince families together have at least 11 foundations, all of which fund to some degree the far right wing. Dick DeVos, in his 1997 book, Rediscovering American Values, notes that “Judeo-Christian tradition encourages a ten percent tithe.” He then states that he and Betsy have “consistently put more than ten percent of our income” into their foundation. Their 1996 foundation tax return shows them only donating $16,750 to the fund, far short of 10% of his income as President of Amway. In 1994, he only gave $12,828. Most of the money for the foundation came from his parents, as did the Amway Corporation itself.

Not only is tithing the wrong term for capitalizing a foundation, it should be noted that a considerable number of his religious and policy group recipients are related to his efforts to elect him Governor. DeVos is nevertheless using this book as a campaign fundraising tool, complete with a preamble from D. James Kennedy.

No one has focused on undermining public education in Michigan more than Dick DeVos. When he was appointed to the State Board of Education by John Engler, he used it to attack public education. While on the Board, he wrote a fundraising letter for Teach Michigan, a group that supported charter schools, vouchers and home schooling as alternatives to public schools. In the letter he called for “radical changes in our public education system.” The change advocated in the letter stated that “our tax dollars should follow students to qualified institutions, regardless of who runs them.” This concept, designed to take money from public education and give it to private and religious schools, was the basis for DeVos’s voucher proposal on the 2000 ballot. It was overwhelmingly rejected by the voters.

It was Teach Michigan that funded the effort to write the charter school law for the Engler administration. They hoped that by taking resources from public school districts that it would begin a downward spiral that would eventually lead to the collapsing of some districts. Parents would then seek the private schools that DeVos and Teach Michigan wanted. DeVos not only wrote the fund raising letter, he served on the Teach Michigan advisory board and also gave them at least $41,500 through his foundation. His father, father in law and friends also wrote checks to support Teach Michigan.

So determined is DeVos to weaken public schools that also funds a political action committee, Great Lakes Education Project, to help elect candidates to the state legislature that support “school choice.” Almost all of the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent in 2004 came from DeVos himself.

Devos has named David Brandon, president of Domino’s Pizza, as his campaign chairman. As successor to Tom Monaghan, he now only inherited control of a fast food business, but allied himself with a billionaire who has committed his life and fortune to organizing conservative Catholics into a national political force. Monaghan’s Catholic Campaign for America, Legatus and his murky relationship with a secretive group of men who share his goals of Catholic power gave Monaghan soldiers to go with his money.

Brandon, currently on the U of M Board of Regents and a big donor to the Michigan GOP, has aspirations for higher office. The alliance of these forces adds more deep pockets and foot soldiers to DeVos’s campaign. DeVos has been giving money to Monaghan’s projects through his foundation.

| Profile of a Christian Right Candidate: Dick DeVos (Part One)

| Profile of a Christian Right Candidate: Dick DeVos (Part One).

DeVos Family Network

Dick DeVos was born into the Amway fortune in Grand Rapids.  His role as international vice president and later president of Amway is due to his anointment by his father. He married Elizabeth ( Betsy ) Prince, daughter of Edgar and Elsa Prince, who generated a family fortune in Holland, just south of Grand Rapids. Both family influences are reflected in the candidate for Governor that we see today.

The Prince family is also deeply connected to extreme right and Republican Party politics. No one in the United States gave more money to James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, its Michigan Family Forum affiliate, or its Washington, D.C. arm, the Family Research Council, than the late Edgar Prince. This network formed little known political action committees across the state and country that were more influential but less well known than Pat Robertson’s Christian Coalition.

The brother of the would-be First Lady of Michigan, Erik Prince, also adopted the extreme right views of his parents but has used his wealth to start a military mercenary army. The company that it operates under, Blackwater USA, started in 1997 and quickly started getting contracts when George Bush became president. The are a major contractor in Iraq, hiring former Special Forces, Rangers and Navy SEALS to run security for U.S. ambassadors and unconventional warfare in the streets of Iraq’s cities.

The Bush administration also hired them to go into New Orleans days after Katrina, armed with machine guns and authority to kill, using veterans of Iraq. “Blackwater mercenaries are some of the most feared professional killers in the world,” according to Jeremy Scahill, a journalist who has traveled with them, and Daniela Crespo, who also covered them in New Orleans. Blackwater patrolled and ransacked homes in the Black residential areas of New Orleans. The mercenary outfit is being sued by families of four of their deceased employees in Iraq and by Columbian commandos who were allegedly underpaid.

Blackwater also owns two airlines that were used by the CIA to illegally transport kidnapped citizens of other countries and take them to secret prisons in eastern Europe, where they could be tortured and held incommunicado indefinitely. This “extraordinary rendition” program was condemned in Europe and the Congress for its gross violations of international law.

Since George Bush became President, Blackwater has reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in federal contracts, but is now a featured topic in the new documentary film Iraq for Sale: the War Profiteers.

Inheriting Rightist Politics

The Amway of Dick’s father has funded extreme right groups for over thirty years, In 1975 the elder Richard DeVos, for instance, funded the publication of a book that called for the U.S. to be transformed into a “Christian Republic.” This did not mean to merely increase church attendance, but to create movement to where authoritarian church structures would govern the United States, something like the Islamic states in other regions of the world. Richard Sr. and Jr. have been the most generous benefactors of this movement, along with Dick Jr.’s late father-in-law.

Dick Jr. was nurtured in a milieu of a far right wing that believes that the most privileged elite deserve to govern with minimal obligations to the middle or working classes or the poor. They take a hostile or skeptical view of public services, public education and taxpayer funded activities in general. They believe that this is the natural order of things and are comfortable with a form of politically motivated religious authoritarianism that supports their empowerment.

Dick DeVos and his family network have a variety of instruments for spreading their political influence, including membership in formal coalitions, family foundations, political action committees and the Amway corporate system.