On February 7, 1982, two LaRouchians met the Devil, not in a graveyard at midnight, but in the well-lit terminal at Newark International Airport. They abandoned their literature table and rushed to exorcise him with a barrage of hostile questions. "Jesus Christ," muttered Dr. Henry Kissinger, their longtime hate figure. He and his wife, Nancy, kept walking toward the boarding area, en route to Boston, where he was scheduled to undergo triple-bypass heart surgery.
"Dr. Kissinger," shouted twenty-eight-year-old Ellen Kaplan, "is it true that you sleep with young boys at the Carlyle Hotel?" It was a standard LaRouchian accusation. Nancy Kissinger would have ignored it on other occasions, but she was distraught by the prospect of her husband's operation. According to her attorney, her hand reached out and came in contact, very lightly, with Kaplan's throat. Others assert that her actions were less restrained. Whatever the truth, Kaplan retreated, and the Kissingers continued on their way.
A trivial event, one might say. Yet its consequences included a warrant for Mrs. Kissinger's arrest, a heavily publicized assault trial, and a LaRouchian harassment campaign against Dr. Kissinger on four continents. This campaign, waged from mid-1982 through late 1984, is unique in the annals of radical protest against public figures. It involved a torrent of propaganda attacks in at least six languages, carefully planned disruptions of Kissinger's public appearances, the planting of defamatory rumors in the international press, scores of malicious pranks, and the expenditure of millions of dollars on network television ads denouncing him.
Some observers have viewed LaRouche's anti-Kissinger campaign merely as an example of irrationalism and cultism—the expenditure of enormous resources on an effort better suited to an insane asylum. Yet there were coolheaded pragmatic reasons for it. LaRouche had gained a measure of credibility with the Reagan administration over the previous year. He had to disguise his anti-Semitism better.
LaRouche's solution was to select a Symbolic Jew. Kissinger, with his thick Central European accent, "Semitic" features, rationalistic worldview, and reputation for secretive highest-level intrigue, was the perfect choice. The fact that he was Jewish was almost universally known—indeed, he was probably the most famous Jew in the world. What's more, he was a controversial one, disliked by many conservatives and by almost all leftists. Even many moderates had questions about his record as secretary of state. A campaign against him, no matter how nasty, could gain an unspoken sympathy across the political spectrum. Building on this dislike of Kissinger, the LaRouchians could turn it into a dislike of his alleged archetypal qualities.
The LaRouchians had attacked Kissinger on an overtly anti-Semitic basis throughout the late 1970s. When New Solidarity called for the "immediate elimination" of the "Jewish Lobby" from American public life, it said the first stage should be "the naming of names, such as Henry A. Kissinger." A subsequent editorial railed against infiltration of Washington by agents of the "Zionist-British organism." Heading the list was the "Israeli-British" agent Kissinger. When Kissinger's The White House Years was published in 1980, a review by LaRouche in EIR used Mein Kampf-style images of infection and contamination. America's moral "rot," he said, was due to "such alien 'Typhoid Marys’ of immorality" as Kissinger. LaRouche then dashed off The Pestilence of Usury, a pamphlet sold at airport literature tables. Among the villains was Kissinger, said to be the servant of oligarchs "far worse than Hitler . . . nasty, evil."
America's traditional neo-Nazis and white supremacists recognized what LaRouche was doing. The Christian Defense League, a hate group based in Louisiana, developed its own line of anti-Kissinger pamphlets mimicking LaRouche's rhetoric. Robert Miles, the premier theoretician of the Aryan Nation/Identity crowd, stated in a 1984 article: "We agree with LaRouche on . . . his efforts to dislodge the Kissingerites from positions of influence." Miles also praised LaRouche for "exposing the neo-atheist materialism of Kissinger to the dismay of the Talmudists."
LaRouche once again reframed reality so that his Jewish followers could tell themselves that the anti-Kissinger campaign was "anti-Nazi," He called it Operation Nuremberg, an effort to punish Kissinger for alleged crimes a "hundred times worse than Hitler's." The government would never punish Kissinger; only the NCLC could do it. The NCLC might lack the power to exact the ultimate penalty, but it could psychologically torment Kissinger. LaRouche used his vaunted profiling technique to determine what Kissinger supposedly feared the most: ridicule. The NCLC set out to confront him with it, much like the interrogator in Nineteen Eighty-four who confronted Winston Smith with rats. LaRouche called this "psychological terror."
He framed his plan in such a way that no matter what happened, he would look all-powerful to his followers. If Kissinger expressed anger, this would be proof that LaRouche had freaked him out. If he ignored LaRouche, this would be proof that LaRouche had frightened him into silence. In either case LaRouche could claim that the trauma was festering and that Kissinger would sooner or later commit suicide or die of a heart attack.
After the Newark Airport tussle the LaRouchians dispatched Ellen Kaplan to criminal court to swear out an assault complaint. This tactic had gained them media attention on earlier occasions, as when FEF members filed assault charges against Peter Fonda after he ripped up their poster at Denver International Airport calling for feeding his sister Jane to the whales. The New York Post's gossip page took note of Kaplan's assault complaint, but the story would have stopped there except for a simple mishap: The summons was delivered to the Kissingers' Washington home at a time when it was closed up. Mrs. Kissinger did not receive it in time to file an answer before a routine warrant for her arrest was issued.
The LaRouchians were ecstatic. They called a press conference in Manhattan. Kaplan briefly recounted her story, and then NCLC regional director Dennis Speed outlined the plan to psychologically harass Kissinger through ridicule. In an ideal world the press would have walked out at this point. Instead, Kaplan and Speed's remarks—including the canard about the Carlyle Hotel—were given national coverage.
On May 21, Mrs. Kissinger's attorney moved for dismissal in New Jersey State Superior Court, arguing the case was "too trivial" for trial. The judge denied the motion and set a trial date. An editorial in the New York Daily News asked why the courts should be party to schemes that merely "add injury to the original insult."
When the non-jury trial convened on June 10, the media turned out in force. Kaplan took the stand and delivered a litany apparently designed for maximum quotability: Mrs. Kissinger "took her left hand and grabbed my neck. I was very scared. She sneered, bared her teeth, and I thought she was going to bite…." Municipal judge Julio Fuentes found Mrs. Kissinger not guilty. Sometimes, he observed, it is "spontaneous and somewhat human" to assault someone.
Although press columnists denounced Kaplan as "swinish," "lowest," and "filthiest," LaRouche must have felt satisfied. First, he had escaped denunciation himself—most news accounts didn't even mention that Kaplan was connected to him. Second, the public had been exposed to a baseless charge against Kissinger, and it was inevitable the accusation would stick in many people's minds, in that twilight zone where people half believe something because they want to believe it, (Former NCLC security staffer Charles Tate says the Carlyle Hotel story came from a "demented" source who also purveyed hysterical rumors of nationwide homicidal conspiracies.)
The chief significance of the incident was on the level of archetypes: LaRouche had presented the media with a subliminal version of the medieval Christian blood libel—the belief that Jews kidnap and sacrifice Gentile children. In his Newark version, ritual sacrifice was replaced by the contemporary crime of sexual abuse. It was the perfect opener for Operation Nuremberg. In the summer of 1982, the LaRouchians announced the next step—an international campaign to draw the noose of psychological terror around the neck of "Fat Henry."
What followed was a multileveled effort by hundreds of LaRouche's followers. Most important was the planting of defamatory stories about Kissinger with overseas newspapers. This was easiest to achieve in Mediterranean and Third World countries where conspiracy theories are a basic part of the political culture, many intellectuals are anti-American and anti-Israel, and Communists and ultra-rightists subsidize mass circulation dailies. LaRouche's intelligence staff concocted different stories for different audiences. Always there was a plot, and always it reflected anti-Semitic stereotypes. Kissinger and his friends were portrayed as plotting the assassination of prominent Gentiles, collecting usurious debts for the International Monetary Fund, engaging in real estate swindles, betraying America to its enemies, and encouraging moral degeneracy on behalf of a cosmopolitan value system. The supporting cast included, in one version or another, the CIA, the KGB, Mossad, the Mafia, the Freemasons, and a powerful homosexual cabal.
The LaRouchians held press conferences in various world capitals to release official-looking reports on behalf of Lyndon LaRouche, representing him as a leader of the U.S. Democratic Party, international publishing tycoon, friend of Giscard d'Estaing and Helmut Schmidt, and economist of world renown. Reporters for sensation-mongering newspapers often failed to check whether LaRouche's credentials were really what his followers claimed.
LaRouche's European Labor Party (ELP) presented a legal brief to the Italian government tribunal investigating the Red Brigade's kidnapping and murder of former Prime Minister Aldo Moro. The brief said Kissinger was behind not only the Moro murder but a wide range of terrorist acts—a “strategy of tension" designed to prevent Italian Communist Party participation in the government, A former Moro aide then told the tribunal about a 1974 conversation in which Kissinger, who was secretary of state at the time, told Moro that the U.S, government disapproved of his plan to bring the Communist Party into the government. The LaRouchians said this proved their case. The fact that Moro was kidnapped in 1978, when Kissinger was no longer secretary of state, didn't faze them at all.
This story obviously was aimed at the left, but the ELP also developed a version for the right: Kissinger was a member of the "Homintern," a secret gay brotherhood operating at the "highest levels of several governments." The KGB had learned about this and had blackmailed him into becoming their agent. Just why a KGB agent would have wanted to murder Aldo Moro and keep the Communists out of the Italian cabinet was not explained. The LaRouchians boasted that story number one (Kissinger/CIA) was picked up by Moscow's Literaturnaya Gazeta, while story number two (Kissinger/KGB) was supposedly reported in Italian, French, and Tunisian newspapers and on Venezuelan television.
The 1981 attempted assassination of Pope John Paul was also grist for the mill. To blame Kissinger fit right in with LaRouche's theory that the Jews controlled Europe in the Middle Ages through selective poisoning of popes. The LaRouchians also enticed the Arab media with a story that Kissinger had formed a real estate consortium to buy up the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
In mid-1982 the LaRouchians learned that Kissinger was planning a trip to Argentina, which was in political turmoil following the Falklands fiasco. A press statement was sent to Buenos Aires from the office of "U.S. Democratic Party leader" LaRouche reminding Argentinians that Kissinger had supported the British. The statement also accused Kissinger of murdering Aldo Moro, attempting to murder Helga LaRouche and braining a Rumanian waiter with a whiskey bottle during a sex orgy in Acapulco.
EIR later claimed that the LaRouche statement was distributed by TELAM, the Argentine government press agency, and was printed under banner headlines in a Buenos Aires daily. A follow-up news release said that Kissinger intended to put the squeeze on Argentina for the usurers of the International Monetary Fund and would destroy any politician who opposed him. According to EIR, this release also was distributed by TELAM and printed in at least two Argentine newspapers. LaRouche's Mexican Labor Party joined the act with a demonstration at a Chase Manhattan branch in Mexico City to protest an upcoming Kissinger visit. Kissinger's name was again linked to IMF usury and threats to national sovereignty.
In late 1982 the LaRouchians set up a "special-operations 'Kissinger watch'" in Wiesbaden. This coincided with the arrival in Europe of LaRouche security aide Paul Goldstein (who according to FBI claims was hiding from a Manhattan grand jury investigating the NCLC's harassment of Roy Cohn). EIR boasted that the Kissinger Watch had "tracking capabilities extending from Ireland through the Middle East." In fact, security staffers merely called up Kissinger Associates in New York, posing as journalists, to obtain Kissinger's travel schedule.
The objective was to create a "controlled aversive environment" around Kissinger—schoolboy pranks, crank calls, demonstrations. When he was about to leave Munich for London to meet with British officials, an imposter called Britain to say Kissinger wasn't coming, then called Kissinger's hotel room to say the British had canceled. When he visited Milan, the LaRouchians released a banner supported by hundreds of balloons proclaiming that "Kissinger Killed Moro." When he traveled to Stockholm, Swedish ELP members disrupted his press conference and had to be removed by the police. New Solidarity boasted that this took place "under cascades of flashbulbs and television cameras," and that the story "reached as far as Singapore and Mexico via satellite hook-ups."
When Kissinger gave a speech in Worms on German-American Friendship Day, an ELP leaflet urged the audience to buy Seymour Hersh's biography of Kissinger, The Price of Power. According to EIR, a prankster dressed as Kissinger jumped up as the event began and shouted: "That man on the podium is not the real Dr. Kissinger. I am the real Dr. Kissinger. I will now tell you the truth about Aldo Moro. . ." EIR said that as the prankster was being carried out, a second one, dressed as Nancy Kissinger, jumped up to continue the disruption.
The campaign was no less intense in the United States. When Kissinger appeared on ABC-TV's Nightline in August 1982, the LaRouchians mobilized at the studio in Manhattan. Covering both exits, they pelted his limousine with eggs, forcing him to make his escape hidden in a catering truck. When he spoke at Georgetown University, they passed out copies of EIR containing an article entitled "How Henry Kissinger Will Be Destroyed." When his friends gave him a birthday party, the LaRouchians passed out a fake "medical alert bulletin" alleging that he had AIDS (again, the Mein Kampf theme: contamination). When he addressed the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, picketers carried signs such as "It's Anti-Semitic to Call Kissinger a Jew."
LaRouche meanwhile issued a personal attack in Kissinger. Circulated in leaflet form under the title "The Politics of Faggotry," it was a kind of manifesto of the harassment campaign, uniting LaRouche's loathing of Kissinger, Roy Cohn, gays, discotheque music, and the Roman Empire into a single extraordinary vision. To understand Kissinger's evil species-nature, LaRouche said, one must "think back to the Emperor Nero and his court. Think of Studio 54, then of Nero's court, and then of Studio 54 again. Think of Roy Cohn's parties . . . Think of Nero, and then of Kissinger, and then of Nero and then of Roy M. Cohn. That is the kind of faggot Henry Kissinger is." (Questioned about this quote in a 1984 deposition, LaRouche knew he was on shaky ground. He backed down and said Kissinger merely had the "personality of a faggot.")
LaRouche noted the tug-of-war in Washington between hard-liners on the White House staff and State Department moderates. He reasoned that given the bumbling moves of the hard-liners in foreign affairs, it was only a matter of time before the moderates, whose ranks included some former Kissinger protégés, would begin to exert a preponderant influence. By portraying this process as a Kissinger-backed conspiracy, LaRouche could inject his brand of anti-Semitism into the New Right.
A 1983 EIR special report accused Kissinger of "coordinating a drive to consolidate control of the Reagan administration for the Trilateral Commission wing of the Republican Party." When Reagan appointed Kissinger to head the White House Commission on Central America, New Solidarity claimed that "a wave of fear and foreboding is now sweeping through the United States." An accompanying article alleged "intense resistance among Reagan Kitchen Cabinet insiders to Kissinger involvement in administration policy making." (The LaRouchians were in contact at the time with Judge William Clark's assistant, Richard Morris.) But Kissinger was said to hold all the aces. He had supposedly obtained, via the "Israeli mafia," blackmail videotapes of top administration officials in bed with Alfred Bloomingdale's mistress, Vicky Morgan. At this point the LaRouchians downplayed the theme of Kissinger the "British" agent, which always had been too esoteric for most Americans. Now the Symbolic Jew was given a guise the New Right could easily comprehend: a good old-fashioned Commie traitor like the Rosenbergs. New Solidarity announced that Kissinger, although still linked to the British, was also a "secure and long-term asset of the Soviet KGB." This charge was soon extended to other Jews in the U.S. government and to many Israeli leaders.
In 1984, LaRouche adopted the campaign slogan "Vote for the man that Kissinger hates the most." This was a variation on the 1980 campaign theme that LaRouche was the man the Zionists hated the most. LaRouche purchased fifteen half-hour spots on national television, incessantly attacking Kissinger as a traitor. Under federal law the networks had to sell LaRouche the time and could not censor his remarks, for he was a registered candidate. EIR boasted that LaRouche's television chats reached "up to 15 million people." When he referred to "Kissinger and his friends" and "Kissinger and people like him," the real meaning was obvious to many viewers.
A LaRouchian internal briefing of March 7, 1984, reporting on the organization's daily round of telephone calls, alleged that the anti-Kissinger campaign was making headway in important circles. "Republican and military layers in the south and mid-Atlantic states are queasy about Kissinger," the memo said. It cited a "high level military contact who is a former astronaut." This individual supposedly hated Kissinger and believed "the Administration has been going 'downhill' ever since the removal of Clark from the NSC. He wants all our material on Kissinger." (It should be noted that internal briefings routinely exaggerated the NCLC's influence: High-level officials described as enthusiastic allies were sometimes just listening to them out of curiosity.)
The LaRouchian hysteria about Kissinger resulted in a strong indirect warning to the former Secretary of State in July 1982. An EIR news brief quoted a prediction by an unnamed psychic that if any attempt should be made on the life of LaRouche, "a list of 13 well-known political figures, headed by Henry Kissinger, Nancy Kissinger, and Alexander Haig will meet sudden death by either massive heart attacks or strokes." Death fantasies about the Symbolic Jew thereafter became commonplace in LaRouchian publications. When Hersh's The Price of Power was published, New Solidarity reported that Kissinger was on the verge of a "potentially fatal coronary.” EIR boasted that, as a result of Operation Nuremberg, Kissinger had become a "cardio-vascular risk" and might "choose [a] coward's way out" (i.e., suicide). When Hungarian-Jewish writer Arthur Koestler (the author of Darkness at Noon) committed suicide along with his wife in 1983, New Solidarity suggested various ways in which Henry and Nancy Kissinger and Federal Reserve Board chairman Paul Volcker (the arch-usurer, in LaRouche's eyes) could follow the Koestlers' example. In what could be read as an allusion to the Holocaust, the article asked: "Why should the worthwhile vast majority of the human race settle for attempts to solve its antisocial problems on a case-by-case basis? Why not get organized to settle with such characters all at once?"
The LaRouchians privately discussed various extreme measures. Former LaRouche bodyguard Lee Fick told NBC Nightly News that Paul Goldstein had asked him to put a bomb under Kissinger's car. Charles Tate recalls a security staff meeting on the lawn of LaRouche's Loudoun County mansion at which members were told Kissinger must die. But this rage ultimately was just sublimated into more nasty leaflets and EIR articles. The LaRouchians had come to believe that really clever conspirators never carry out an assassination themselves, but simply spread hate propaganda about the targeted person which might trigger an attack by some disturbed personality or fanatic. That way, they can never be held legally responsible,
As a result of the menacing rhetoric, Kissinger wrote FBI director William Webster for advice in 1982. He was careful to emphasize that he was not asking the FBI "to interfere in any manner with LaRouche's First Amendment rights." When the harassment escalated, Kissinger sent a second letter. The FBI checked to see if there were grounds for prosecution under the federal statute pertaining to interstate obscene or harassing phone calls. There weren't.
When the LaRouchians obtained copies of this correspondence under the Freedom of Information Act, they immediately released it to the press in an effort to embarrass Kissinger. Jack Anderson, in an archly written 1985 column on the FOIA documents, made no moral distinction between victim and victimizer. He referred to a "decade-long feud" between Kissinger and LaRouche, as if Kissinger had been partly responsible. In 1987, James Ridgeway of The Village Voice rehashed this story, also affecting neutrality: LaRouche had harassed Kissinger, but Kissinger had an "animus" against LaRouche, Ridgeway said. The Voice illustrated Ridgeway's column with pictures of Kissinger, LaRouche, and Webster with the caption "The Three Faces of Evil." This type of press coverage encouraged the LaRouchians, when they came under federal indictment, to use the Kissinger-Webster letters as proof that the FBI and the prosecutors were motivated by a vendetta.
The press was not alone in displaying a curious blindness to the true nature of the anti-Kissinger campaign. None of the major Jewish organizations spoke out, even in the face of blatantly anti-Semitic LaRouchian headlines such as "Kissinger Mafia Pollute the Holy Land.” The Reagan administration also said nothing. Indeed, many administration officials continued to meet with the LaRouchians at the height of the anti-Kissinger campaign, all but egging them on. Kissinger was well aware of this. In a 1984 interview he called the administration's dealings with LaRouche "outrageous, stupid, and nearly unforgivable."
LaRouche's rhetoric against Kissinger sometimes became so wild that it ceased to be effective propaganda. But LaRouche was playing not just to the general public and Washington conservatives, but also to his own followers. On this level, what might have seemed demented to an outsider was often a highly effective tactic for manipulating the NCLC membership. For instance, when New Solidarity said Kissinger had organized a "multimillion-dollar special counterintelligence team" to combat LaRouche, this built up the NCLC's belief in LaRouche's status as an international figure—a man so important that even the famous Kissinger would stay up all night thinking about how to thwart him. It also helped to maintain the NCLC's siege mentality as an organization surrounded by innumerable enemy agents.
Furthermore, the alleged machinations of Kissinger served as a convenient explanation for NCLC setbacks. When LaRouchian candidates did poorly in elections, it was because of vote fraud arranged by Kissinger. When an NCLC member defected, it was because agents of Kissinger had bribed him. When a journalist wrote a scathing article about LaRouche, it was because he was part of a Kissinger psychological warfare network. Thus, by a strange inversion, the setbacks became a proof of the NCLC's success, for Kissinger would only bother to do these things if the NCLC was a real and growing threat to the forces of evil.
Ultimately LaRouche's greatest gain from harassing Kissinger was in making an example of him. In powerful circles in Washington, New York, and Chicago, many people became aware of how much the attacks had upset Kissinger and disrupted his life. And these people recognized just how few options were open to him in fighting back. He couldn't sue: That would just give the LaRouchians an additional forum in which to attack him, as well as the opportunity to go rummaging through his financial records in pretrial discovery. He couldn't call a press conference about LaRouche: That would just be dignifying the NCLC leader's insidious charges (besides, LaRouche would respond with new and nastier charges). He couldn't have LaRouche arrested, since the NCLC chairman acted mostly through intermediaries who either stayed within the law or engaged in telephone mischief too petty to prosecute.
Thus did Kissinger's ordeal become an object lesson for anyone in authority who might be tempted to stand up to LaRouche. Each leaflet and each demonstration helped to solidify LaRouche's public image as an unpredictable wild man who refused to play by the rules. The message—don't mess with Lyndon LaRouche—was received loud and clear. Along with his penchant for filing libel suits and collecting dossiers on his enemies, LaRouche's anti-Kissinger campaign helps to explain why, even in the late 1980s, he continued to enjoy a remarkable degree of immunity from public criticism.
CLICK HERE FOR THE REFERENCE NOTES TO THIS CHAPTER.
CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE TO NEXT CHAPTER.