At least one prominent Teamster official is thinking of supporting Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche, leader of the neo-Nazi U.S. Labor Party, for President of the United States in 1980.
"I think very highly of Mr. LaRouche and his platform--he's the most intelligent of all the candidates," said Detroit-based general organizer Rolland McMaster in a telephone interview Jan. 2.
McMaster, who has long been regarded as the union's top muscle man and a pivotal behind-the-scenes figure in its internal politics and dealings with organized crime, claimed that his views on LaRouche are shared by Teamster leaders in a number of locals across the nation.
"It's what everybody is tossing around," he said, "especially since LaRouche lined up with the Democrats." (The USLP leader, who received 40,000 votes nationwide in 1976, announced his 1980 candidacy on the USLP ticket in February. In September, however, he decided to enter the Democratic primaries and his campaign literature dropped all mention of the USLP.)
McMaster, whose career as a labor leader includes 18 months in federal prison in 1966-67 after a conviction on 32 counts of labor extortion, declined to name any of the locals involved in the alleged deliberations, although he did say they were planning a meeting "in the very near future."
Later in the interview, he said he had discussed the possible LaRouche endorsement with "Teamster leaders in Florida" over the Christmas holidays.
Was the Federal Election Commission's Dec. 18 approval of LaRouche’s request for matching funds discussed in Florida? "That's why we were discussing it [a possible endorsement]," said McMaster. He also cited LaRouche’s strong support for the Teamsters on trucking deregulation and other issues of vital concern to the union leadership.
Our Town checked McMaster's claim of widespread Teamster interest in LaRouche's candidacy with a source among high-level Midwest Teamsters. We were skeptical at first, because of IBT general president Frank Fitzsimmon's widely publicized letter last June disassociating the IBT from LaRouche's campaign.
The source confirmed, however, that McMaster had indeed told Fitzsimmons to "shove it" on the LaRouche issue and that apparently several other Teamster officials were friendly to LaRouche. But our source insisted that the actions of McMaster and his cronies did not reflect any covert support for LaRouche by Fitzsimmons and the IBT General Executive Board.
McMaster himself was careful not to implicate the General Executive Board. "Under our democratic process," he said, "individual locals can support whoever they like...the Teamster union is one of the most democratic goddamn outfits in America."
The IBT general organizer also discussed the question of funding. "Teamsters donate money to DRIVE [the international’s political action arm]," he said, "but a certain portion is sent back to the locals for disbursement to the candidates of their choice." McMaster indicated that some locals might donate to the LaRouche campaign, even if the international endorses one of LaRouche's rivals.
The attempts by LaRouche and his aides to win campaign backing from the Teamsters began soon after LaRouche announced his candidacy in early 1979. According to New Solidarity (the USLP's biweekly newspaper), LaRouche met with "leaders of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters" in Washington on March 29.
We asked McMaster about this meeting. "Yes, it took place," he said. "I was there." He would not identify any of the IBT officials who had allegedly participated, but he did say Frank Fitzsimmons had not been present.
In the following months, the relationship of the USLP to McMaster and other IBT officials went through ups and downs as the small sect groped its way towards a level of tactical sophistication appropriate for dealing with a powerful established institution. (The USLP is not itself a factor in internal IBT politics; our sources in the union say that only one Teamster in the entire nation is actually a member of the USLP.)
LaRouche's campaign aides announced in mid-May the formation of a "Teamster Committee to Elect LaRouche President" (TCELP) in Detroit as a result of a "series of private meetings" with "leaders of the IBT from across the State of Michigan."
Two weeks later, the name of McMaster (who in fact has a strong following among Teamster officials across Michigan) was brought into play. The TCELP began circulating a "Public Statement of Rolland McMaster" endorsing LaRouche for President.
According to the text as printed, McMaster said he had made his decision after meeting privately with LaRouche on May 20 and attending a conference of the Michigan Anti-Drug Coalition which LaRouche addressed. (The coalition, a USLP front organization formed in December 1978 with the cooperation of the Black Muslims, has been widely criticized in the Detroit area media for promoting the concept that "Zionism" is responsible for illegal drug trafficking in the U.S.)
"I was moved by this evening's event," the statement continued (referring to the anti-drug conference). "I feel the fight against drugs is the major social issue in the United States today."
"If only for the reason that he is committed to saving our next generation from drugs, I will now endorse Lyndon LaRouche for President of the United States for 1980. From the response of the many other labor leaders in the audience, I am sure many of these join me in these sentiments."
The statement did not identify any of the "other labor leaders" in the audience, but it did include an appeal to the trade union movement in general: "I...urge other Teamster officials and leaders of other unions across the country to meet and familiarize themselves with Mr. LaRouche and consider endorsing his candidacy for the reasons I have."
The "McMaster statement" was not a total surprise to close observers of the Michigan IBT. In the months preceding this statement, a tactical alliance had already begun to emerge between the USLP and the forces around the IBT's top leg-breaker. For instance, officials of Local406 in Grand Rapids (a local "heavily influenced" by McMaster, according to sources in the Teamster reform movement) had worked with the neo-Nazi sect in late 1978 to defeat an insurgent slate in the local's election. In addition, Central Conference organizer Lawrence McHenry, widely regarded as McMaster's right-hand man, cooperated with the USLP in an attempt to have Pete Camarata, co-chairman of Teamsters for a Democratic Union (TDU), expelled from Local 299 in Detroit. McHenry had then given an interview to New Solidarity in two parts in April 1979) in which he used the USLP's conspiracy theory to attack the TDU and other union reform groups.
The USLP immediately set about using the "McMaster statement" to give the false impression of a groundswell of Teamster support for LaRouche. According to New Solidarity, the party printed up and distributed almost a quarter of a million copies of the statement nationwide to Teamsters and the general public during late May and early June.
The reaction of McMaster's rivals in the Michigan IBT hierarchy was swift, as was the clampdown by an embarrassed international leadership. The Detroit joint council, led by international vice president Robert Holmes, passed a resolution repudiating the USLP. And Frank Fitzsimmons fired off a letter to the TCELP June 11 demanding that it "cease misleading our members and the American public with suggestions that the Teamsters support and endorse your programs and candidate."
The Fitzsimmons letter was printed in the July 1979 issue of the International Teamster, which is mailed to every union member nationwide. (By this time, McMaster had become extremely cautious and would neither confirm nor deny the authenticity of the public statement bearing his name.)
Sources within the IBT say that the hullabaloo was caused by the USLP's lack of restraint in using the "McMaster statement." Instead of circulating it discreetly and on a modest scale--as a personal statement rather than an official union pronunciamento--the USLP went public with it on a massive scale. This presumptuousness violated the previous tacit agreement between the USLP and the Teamsters; i.e., that the alliance would remain covert and low-key, with the party accepting payment for its services in non-ideological currency.
In addition, Fitzsimmons was no doubt annoyed by a TCELP bulletin, passed out together with the "McMaster statement," which quoted the Teamster president as saying in a May 15 speech in California: "We need candidates ready to bite the bullet of hard facts, and I for one will be looking for a man or woman ready to do so regardless of the political consequences."
Given Fitzsimmons' past use of USLP rhetoric against Teamster dissidents, as well as his close association with McMaster, the leaflet could only be interpreted as implying that Fitzsimmons was really behind the "McMaster statement," and that the Teamster general president was himself considering an endorsement of LaRouche.
All of our sources agree that the prospect of such an endorsement was (and is) extremely remote. But the reformers in TDU, long a target of USLP/Fitzsimmons smear campaigns, could not help but chortle at the Teamster chief's discomfort. In an article "The Big Lie Bites Back" the TDU newsletter Convoy noted that "the U.S. Labor Party has been doing Fitz's dirty work. But now it seems the time to pay the piper has come...The 'USLP connection' is becoming an embarrassment to [union] officials now that the big lie technique is being turned on them."
Our Town discussed this incident with USLP defectors, who pointed out that the party's inept handling of the TCELP campaign is but one in a long string of similar errors dating back to the party's leftist phase in the late 1960's.
"They don't know how to accept anything less than total support," said one defector who left the party several years ago. "They always end up isolating themselves."
The USLP's reaction to the Teamster rebuff, however, indicates that Lyndon LaRouche is capable of learning from his tactical errors (like Adolf Hitler after the Munich beer hall putsch).
For instance, the USLP leader did not throw a tantrum and denounce the Teamsters as tools of the "Zionist" conspiracy, as he might have done in years past.
He moved instead to disarm his critics in the union by a politely worded open letter from the TCELP to Fitzsimmons stating that "We applaud your decision and that of the Honorable Executive Board to refuse to endorse any presidential candidate at this time; as you explained letter to us...." The TCELP also expressed a modest wish that the IBT consider LaRouche on his merits, just like the other candidates, at a future date.
A second open letter was sent to Fitzsimmons, signed by LaRouche himself. It implied a sympathetic understanding of the pressures operating on the IBT from "the White House, the Kennedy machine, and Governor Connally" to discourage close cooperation with the LaRouche campaign. And the USLP leader drew a sly analogy between the alleged slander campaigns against the USLP and those against the IBT: two organizations united in the common misfortune of being "singled out...for lying defamation and vicious persecution." LaRouche then expressed his continued confidence in the IBT as "the potential backbone of the American system within the labor movement."
The USLP leader continued: "When the IBT leads the on issues of fundamental importance to this nation and its people, the building trades and other unions will follow--some quicker, some slower, but they will move. With such a nucleus of organized forces, farmers, entrepreneurs, minority forces, and others will group themselves together with such a force." The invitation to the Teamsters to get in on the ground floor of a Fascist mass movement could not have been more clear, especially with LaRouche pointing out that Teamster officials could enjoy "thousands" of executive posts under an American System presidency.
LaRouche's minions mobilized to pass out a few thousand copies of these letters as a New Solidarity "extra"--to save face and to cover their fuehrer's strategic retreat. But he did retreat, "applauding" his own chastisement. The "Teamsters for LaRouche" hype ceased. The references to the "McMaster statement" ceased. And the labor reportage in the USLP newspaper returned to its customary themes of fighting against TDU and sneering at the Justice Department.
As a result of this tactical shift, LaRouche was able to avoid a break with officials such as McMaster. Yet the Michigan Teamster leader has been extremely cautious and discreet since the TCELP debacle. For instance, in the Jan. 2 telephone interview he was careful to praise LaRouche only as a Democrat, not as the chieftain of the USLP. ("I'm not a cultist," he said.)
In addition, LaRouche has preserved the USLP/Teamster tactical alliance (against union dissidents, etc.) even with union officials who have no interest in his presidential campaign. For instance, in Detroit flagship Local 299 (which made a big show of rejecting the LaRouche campaign last summer):
"I go down to the union hall," says a member of TDU. "Lying there on the counter, right beside the official union newspaper, is a stack of New Solidarity."
"I want to see one of the union officers," says another dissident in Local 299. "On the table in the waiting room they've got Executive Intelligence Review." (The latter is the USLP weekly business magazine, sold to businessmen and labor leaders at a subscription price of $400 per year.)
This member also described membership meetings at the union hall: "You go there and you find Joe Spaniolo [USLP member in Local 299--ed.] selling his paper. The union leaders make a big show of going over and being friendly with him."
The USLP also continues to show its usefulness to IBT leaders on the national level, according to the union's reform groups. For instance, New Solidarity attempted to whip up indignation last summer about how the reform group PROD had enclosed copies of its newsletter in a mailing to PROD members announcing a Federal government hearing on truck safety. (The mailing was sent out in Dept. of Transportation envelopes, and PROD admits that it was a mistake to enclose the newsletter.) New Solidarity even called for a Justice Department investigation. According to TDU and PROD spokesmen, the Teamster leadership then jumped on the bandwagon and urged Teamster locals around the country to write letters of protest to their congressmen about the PROD mailing.
More recently, the USLP concocted a 60-page special report by Executive Intelligence Review, "Trucking Deregulation: A Disaster Worse Than Vietnam," which presents legitimate arguments against deregulation (an issue on which both Teamster leaders and Teamster reform groups happen to agree) but then adds a typical LaRouche attack on the Council of Foreign Relations and the "Rothschilds."
Our Town called the USLP business magazine to find out how sales (at $10 each) are going. "We're getting bulk orders from Teamster locals and trucking companies all over the country," chirped staff member Susan Tobin.
TDU national organizer Ken Paff in Detroit said he has not yet heard any reports from the field about the alleged bulk purchases. On the other hand, Rolland McMaster on Jan. 2 confirmed the purchases.
Certainly there is no reason to believe that Teamster locals won't continue to buy USLP literature or work with the neo-Nazi group in discreet ways. The smear tactics of the USLP have proven their effectiveness and have spread widely in the union.
Just how widely was indicated by an experience of Steve Early, former staff attorney for PROD: "I went up to Alaska on an organizing tour last May," he said. "Now, you know there's no USLP in Fairbanks, Alaska. But guys were getting up at meetings or calling into radio talk shows I appeared on--they were friends of the local union officials, I guess--and asking questions like 'What is your relationship to the Baader-Meinhoff gang?' That type of question could only have come from reading USLP literature."
Another reason the alliance continues is the simple fact that the USLP defends the Teamster leadership right down the line, regardless of what the media, the Teamster reformers, or law enforcement agencies say and do. And USLP cadre increase this rapport by coming to Teamster locals with little tidbits such as the transcripts of phone conversations between USLP security staffers and high-ranking Justice Department strike force officials, in which the USLP callers (posing as freelance journalists) elicit indiscreet responses to questions about government tactics against the Teamster hierarchy.
At the very least, the result of such efforts is a bemused tolerance--a willingness to overlook the USLP's uglier side. For instance, Joe Edgar, president of the Portland, Oregon joint council, told a reporter last summer, regarding the local USLP leader, "[He] comes to see me....He's never pushy and I kind of like the guy. On some things I agree with him and an others I don't."
But strong pressures also serve to retard USLP/Teamster cooperation. Most important, according to TDU's Ken Paff, is the "union leadership's desire for respectability."
After years out in the cold, the Teamster bosses want to gain a legitimate status in the mainstream of American society. "This is one reason they listen to warnings to keep their distance from the Labor Party," says Paff.
Yet is respectability a realistic goal for a union bureaucracy tied hand and glove to organized crime--and thus subject to periodic government investigations and prosecution?
Lyndon LaRouche thinks it isn't. He therefore urges the Teamster leaders to go on the offensive against legitimate society--and to help rally a coalition that could eventually kick the Eastern establishment and good government types out of Washington and reconstruct American society in the image of Local 299 (thus guaranteeing the Teamster bosses a permanent hold on their union's multibillion dollar pension funds).
It is significant that Rolland McMaster shares this pessimism about winning respectability within the system. In mid-1978, McMaster told journalist Dan Moldea that he believed the union leadership was being "chopped up" by law enforcement agencies, and that its past attempts to curry favor with mainstream national politicians had been a disaster.
Whether in Detroit or in Union City or in Hallandale, Florida, it is this "outsider" mentality of the old-style Teamster leaders which LaRouche appeals to. The Teamster bosses are still, after years of government harassment, the U.S. labor movement's outlaw elite. And LaRouche offers them nothing less than a fullblown outlaw political programme--a programme through which they can feel superior to society while continuing to spit in its face.
The U.S. Labor Party has hailed Rolland McMaster as "one of the most respected and knowledgeable voices in all of organized labor."
No statement could more clearly reveal the hypocrisy of the USLP's public stance (see Our Town, Sept. 2, 1979) as an organization crusading against organized crime.
In The Hoffa Wars (Paddington Press. 1978), journalist Dan Moldea presents a comprehensive account of the history of labor racketeering in America's largest union. Moldea devotes more attention to McMaster than to any other past or present Teamster leader, with the sole exception of the late James Hoffa.
Moldea describes in detail like role within the IBT of McMaster's goon squads--the purveyors of the violence and threats through which the union leadership maintains control of the rank and file.
The aim of the violence, of course, has always been to keep the IBT under the thumb of organized crime.
Edward Partin, a former Teamster official whose testimony led to Hoffa's 1964 jury tampering conviction, was the first to lift the lid on McMaster's pivotal role in Teamster dealings with organized crime.
"According to Partin," writes Moldea, "McMaster was a personal Hoffa liaison to Meyer Lansky, Santos Trafficante, the Dorfman family and the syndicate in Chicago, and the Genovese mob of New Jersey and New York."
For instance, McMaster's connection with Trafficante (a major figure in the early 1960's CIA/mob plot to assassinate Fidel Castro): According to Moldea, the earliest contact between the two "was in 1957...the same year Trafficante was arrested at the Appalachian Conference...." Hoffa had sent McMaster to Miami that year
to establish Local 320, which served as a front for many of the mob's gambling and narcotics activities. Trafficante--who, according to union officials, was also instrumental in setting up the local--occupied a small office in the union hall.
The key man who helped McMaster start Local 320 was an assassin for Sam Giancana named David Yaras, once a pinball and slot machine concessionaire under Al Capone....
A year after McMaster and Yaras set up Miami Local 320, McMaster, with Hoffa's approval, made a convicted New York extortionist, Harold Gross, the head of it. Gross was a close friend of McMaster and a former associate of the syndicate hit team, Murder, Inc. His duties included passing out sweetheart contracts and shaking down taxicab companies, service stations, and parking lot owners...
McMaster's main territory was the IBT Central Conference, where he ran the iron and steel negotiating and grievance committees and Hoffa's flagship Local 299. He was also the owner of several dummy corporations set up to receive payoffs from trucking bosses.
On Jan. 27, 1959, McMaster appeared before the McClellan Committee and invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 50 times in response to questions about his shakedown activities.
In 1962, McMaster was convicted of labor extortion in Federal court, but did not enter prison until 1966 thanks to appeals. In the interim, he had a falling out with Hoffa who removed him from the leadership of Local 299.
The rift between the two was permanent, and when McMaster came out of prison (shortly after Hoffa went in), he threw his loyalty to the new president, Fitzsimmons. As a result, he was given back his control of Local 299.
The ensuing violence and depredations on the local's treasury by McMaster and his goons prompted one group of dissidents to adopt the slogan "Take the Hood out of Brotherhood." Hoffa loyalists were able to capitalize on this type of discontent, and in 1970 the Detroit joint council voted (over the opposition of Fitzsimmons) to remove McMaster from his fiefdom.
In 1972, with Hoffa out on parole, Fitzsimmons appointed McMaster to head up a special Central States task force with the dual purpose of organizing steel haulers and blocking any Hoffa-led rebellions.
This McMaster operation, known by IBT leaders as the "Hoffa watch," was staffed by assorted ex-convicts and thugs and became little more than a smokescreen for a roving shakedown racket. (The Detroit Free Press later reported that although $1.3 million was spent on the two-year drive, less than 800 drivers were organized.)
Dan Moldea quotes one participant as saying the training program for the organizers of this drive included lessons in arson. As to the procedure for signing up union members:
In one incident an Ohio driver was assaulted by two unidentified organizers when he refused to sign an intent card. One of them, holding a blowtorch, told the driver where the driver's eight-year-old son attended school, as well as the route he walked to and from classes. To emphasize that he meant business, the organizer then lit his own cigarette with the blowtorch.
Moldea points out that even after the truth about the organizing drive was revealed in the media, Fitzsimmons declined to take disciplinary action against McMaster. Indeed, the Teamsters' top organizer appears to have never operated under restraints. The Moldea book describes literally dozens of beatings, firebombings, dynamitings, etc. alleged to have been carried out by members of McMaster's goon squads, both under Hoffa and under Fitzsimmons.
In 1976, McMaster made a strong bid (backed by Fitzsimmons) to regain control once again of Local 299. He was narrowly defeated, but in the estimate of Moldea he remains perhaps the second most powerful Teamster official in Michigan. In the Byzantine mire of IBT politics, he is associated most closely with international vice president Roy L. Williams, chairman of the Central Conference of Teamsters. Williams is regarded by most observers as the probable successor to the ailing 72-year-old Fitzsimmons.
[The LaRouche presidential campaign flier below was passed out in August 1979 on the same day that "Nazis on the Rise," the first article in the 1979-80 Our Town series, hit the streets. LaRouche's fulminations against the "Zionist evil" (which he suggested was out to assassinate him) would soon be followed by smear leaflets against Our Town's publisher, visits and calls to the paper's office by imposters, two multimillion dollar libel suits, threats to banks and other institutions that allowed stacks of the free-distribution paper on their premises (many caved in), death threats, and general nonstop harassment. Although the following tirade was aimed at influencing the black community, other fliers, articles and brochures would target a primarily white audience. LaRouche's incendiary language did not stop the Federal Election Commission from giving him $327,864.01 in matching funds (U.S. taxpayer money) during the 1979-80 campaign. He would receive far more in subsequent campaigns.--DK]
LaRouche Tells Black Leaders: We'll Destroy the Zionists Politically
NEW YORK, Aug. 23 (NSIPS)--Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., U.S. Labor Party chairman and 1980 presidential candidate, released this statement from his campaign headquarters in New York City today:
"The firing of UN ambassador Andrew Young by John Connally associate Robert Strauss and Secretary of State Cyrus Vance is intimately tied to the current assassination effort against me by the Permindex organization which carried out the killing of John Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Now, as then, one major object of the assassination is to trigger race riots in the ghettos across the country. These riots are intended to be anti-semitic, as shown by the blatant interference of the Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad, in carrying out Young's firing.
"No black leader or organization should fall into this trap by condoning any violent action. My message to you is to cool it. We have already identified the enemy clearly. The Zionist evil has been revealed as one key arm of the British intelligence body, which is behind the operation to destroy America and human productive potential worldwide. We are poised to destroy this enemy politically, if we collaborate. This is the only responsible course of action before us.
"John Connally, along with his Zionist backers, are the drugpushers, the evil men who are poisoning the youth of the ghettos and the cities. They are the mortal enemies of this country, and of black minorities in particular. Now that they are being exposed by my party and threatened with becoming the target of the anger of the black community already enraged by the slave-trader mentality of the Zionists, they have brought in the enforcer, Permindex. Together, they hope to be able to silence me, and diffuse effective political opposition by sending the ghettos into flames.
"Black leaders must recognize the cold facts. I am a chief target of assassination because I have had the guts to identify the enemy boldly and directly. Anyone attacking me in the way that the Zionist rag "Our Town" did is fully in cahoots with the drug-running network known internationally as Dope, Inc. Anyone seriously committed to defeating the drug-running networks should consult with me and my representatives. That is the only way we can ensure we can win."
MULTIMILLION $$$ MANHATTAN COMPUTER FIRM IS CLOSELY LINKED TO U.S. LABOR PARTY EXTREMISTS:
Computron financial report names USLP chief Konstandinos Kalimtgis as majority owner.
Affidavit of former USLP organizer alleges laundering of Computron profits into party coffers.
Computron president Andreas Typaldos writes a secret report on how to computerize USLP intelligence files.
Typaldos' wife arrested in 1974 cult kidnapping case.
USLP members, including former members of party security staff, dominate Computron board of directors.
USLP presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche gets long-term "credit" from Computron, use of company car and apartment, loan of credit cards from top Computron officers.
No doubt about it: Computron Technologies Corporation, one of New York's fastest growing computer software houses, is closely linked to the U.S. Labor Party, a group widely regarded as neo-Nazi.
Our Town first raised the lid on Computron in a Sept. 9, 1979 article charging that the multi-million dollar firm had shared office space with the USLP from 1975 to 1977 and that several of its top officers are party members.
Computron promptly slapped a $65 million libel suit on us, but we continued our investigation of the firm and its method of soliciting clients (including such corporate biggies as AT&T, Mobil Oil, Colgate-Palmolive and Bristol-Meyers).
The results of our probe fully support the charges in the Sept. 9 article and make a mockery of the Computron suit.
First of all, who owns Computron? We obtained a financial report of the firm, dated Dec. 31, 1977, with a schedule of partners' capital. The schedule, unaudited but issued on the stationery of Mann, Brown & Bauman, Certified Public Accountants, lists the current chairman of the U.S. Labor Party, Mr. Konstandinos Kalimtgis, as controlling 55 percent of the partnership operating income and over 60 percent of total capital accounts.
Kalimtgis, who also uses the names "Gus Axios" and "Costas Axios," has long been the closest and most trusted aide of USLP founder Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche, Jr. Party documents identified Kalimtgis for many years as the USLP chief of staff. In September 1979, he replaced LaRouche as titular chairman so that LaRouche could enter the 1980 Presidential primaries as a "Democrat."
Kalimtgis' domination of Computron dates back to the firm's founding in 1973, according to his own testimony in Morris County (N.J.) Criminal Court. Kalimtgis was arrested with two comrades in December of that year, on charges of carrying firearms without a permit (police discovered the weapons when they stopped and searched the car in which the three were traveling). In their May 1975 trial, which resulted in two convictions later overturned on appeal, Kalimtgis identified himself as "the owner of Computron" and described his direct involvement in the firm's work at the time of his arrest ("I wrote programs, developed systems...") He also identified the current president of Computron, Andreas Typaldos, as his business partner, and said the two of them had been working together on a software contract the day of his arrest. [See note at end of article.]
The USLP chief's continuing role at Computron was revealed in an apartment application he filed in July 1978 at a luxury apartment building ("The Century") in Riverdale, N.Y. Again describing himself as Computron's owner, he claimed an annual salary of $56,000. An attached credit report quoted Andreas Typaldos (already a resident of the Century) as saying that Kalimtgis was the major stockholder in the firm and had been a vice president for the preceding four and a half years, paid via "salary and profits."
USLP defectors who worked with Kalimtgis on a daily basis at party headquarters during the years in question, strongly deny that Kalimtgis functioned as a fulltime Computron executive. "He spent the majority of his time on party business," said a spokesman for the defectors. "If he was getting a full salary from Computron, it represented in part a reimbursement for party work."
One of Kalimtgis' most visible party capers was a four-week national speaking tour in 1977, in which he was accompanied by Col. Tom McCrary, the chairman of the ultraconservative Independent Party of Georgia. The following year, Kalimtgis joined with two comrades to write the 400-page USLP book Dope, Inc., which attempts to prove that Jews control the world narcotics traffic. While Kalimtgis was pursuing these extracurricular activities, Typaldos and other Computron executives were making him rich. The above-mentioned credit report on Kalimtgis quotes Typaldos as saying that his partner earned over $144,000 in the first five months of 1978 and would probably earn "over $300,000" by the end of the year. (In 1979, according to software trade publications, Computron reported sales of $5 million.)
The growth of Computron has been aided, USLP defectors say, by a party decision to conceal the firm's political connections. For instance, Computron moved out of USLP headquarters in 1977 to offices of its own at 888 Seventh Ave. and party members at the firm were reportedly ordered to keep their mouths shut about politics in the presence of clients and nonparty employees.
Apparently as a result of the policy, Kalimtgis began to stay away from the Computron offices--especially after the firm moved once again to 810 Seventh Ave. (its current headquarters). Said one Computron employee: "He only comes around occasionally to chat with Andy or other party members who work here."
Kalimtgis is able to monitor the firm on a day-to-day basis, however, through his wife Chrissa (also a party member), who is the Computron office manager. "Chrissa has her office in the back, beside Andy's," said our source. "She's the one who writes the checks."
The 1977 financial report cited above lists Andreas Typaldos as controlling 45 percent of the operating income. As president of the firm, his political role is reportedly the opposite of his partner's. "The National Executive Committee [highest organ of the USLP--ed.] expects Andy to concentrate on making money and to avoid any political moves that would jeopardize company sales," said one USLP defector.
In line with this assignment, Typaldos and his wife Renee, both of whom are plaintiffs in the Computron suit against Our Town, use the alias "Reniotis" inside the party. In Our Town's previous article on Computron, we pointed out that the telephone number for Andreas and Renee Reniotis listed in the USLP internal directory is the same as the Bronx Telephone Directory number for Andreas Typaldos at 2600 Netherland Ave. ("The Century"). Since then, we have obtained a 1977 business card of the Computron president, listing two office addresses. One of them is Suite 1104 at 231 W. 29th St. in Manhattan, part of the space rented at the time by the USLP for use as a national headquarters.
We have also interviewed more than a dozen personal acquaintances and former party comrades of the Typaldoses, all of whom confirmed that the Computron president and his wife are deeply involved in the USLP. And we have uncovered several instances in which the USLP activities of the Typaldoses have become, under their real names, a matter of public record:
* On Jan. 3, 1974, Renee Typaldos was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court, together with five other party members (one of whom is now a Computron employee), on charges of kidnapping a woman defector and holding her against her will for three days in a Washington Heights apartment. According to the New York Times account, the defector only escaped by throwing a note out the window to a passing stranger, who notified the police. The charges were later dismissed after the defector decided not to testify (reportedly, she felt pity for her former comrades).
* On Sept. 2, 1977, Renee Typaldos signed her real name to an affidavit of service in a New York Federal District Court suit, affirming that she had served papers on the plaintiff on behalf of defendant National Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC), cadre organization of the USLP. Again, on Nov. 1, 1977, she signed an affidavit of service in another New York Federal District Court suit, this time on behalf of Lyndon LaRouche and several other USLP members who are suing former FBI directors Clarence Kelley and Edward Levy. (In both instances, the lawyer representing the USLP side was David Heller, Computron's staff attorney.)
* In February 1979, Renee Typaldos was included in a list of prospective witnesses submitted by the plaintiffs in LaRouche v. Kelley. The list is composed of individuals who are expected to testify on how they have been harassed or persecuted by the FBI as a result of their USLP membership.
* In December 1979, Renee Typaldos made a contribution of $200 to Citizens for LaRouche (CFL), the USLP leader's 1980 presidential campaign committee. The contribution is included in records filed with the Federal Election Commission as part of a CFL matching funds application.
* In January 1979, a credit card belonging to Andreas Typaldos was used by the LaRouche campaign to pay for their New York to Washington D.C. air fares, and two rooms for two days at the Washington Hilton. The debt to Typaldos of $1,086.62 was noted in the campaign committee's July 10, 1979 quarterly report to the FEC.
As to the use of the pseudonyms: Renee "Reniotis" is an occasional reporter for New Solidarity, the USLP newspaper; while Andreas "Reniotis" is an important advisor in the party’s inner councils (reportedly he belongs to the National Committee, one step beneath the NEC).
Our Town has obtained a copy of a 13-page memorandum prepared for the NEC by "A. Reniotis" and dated Nov; 3, 1974, when Andreas Typaldos was already the president of Computron. The memorandum, entitled "Organization (Part I--Intelligence)," is a proposal for streamlining the party's intelligence work along "process management" lines. The author asks "Are we now...working out the 'technical' implications of depending less and less on [press clippings], of developing shrewder investigative methods, of secure intelligence transmissions, etc...?" He then suggests various improvements, including "possible computerization" of the party's intelligence files.
"We have an idle 5 million char. disk capacity waiting," he boasts, referring (according to USLP defectors) to a computer lent to Computron by a leading hardware manufacturer.
The defectors say the idea of computerizing the intelligence sector's thousands of files and dossiers was rejected after considerable discussion. "We just didn't have the manpower," said one source. But he also recalled that the Reniotis proposal had helped to stimulate use of the Computron computer to keep track of USLP literature sales and other party business. "People from the operations and finance sectors were at the computer terminal in Room 1104 every day of the week," he said, referring to the 1975-1977 period.
According to the 1977 Computron financial report, Typaldos and Kalimtgis controlled 100 percent of the firm's operating income. But the report also listed a Computron vice president, Gennaro Vendome, as a minor third partner. Vendome has been with Computron since 1973, but defectors from the USLP say he has never been a party member. Nevertheless, Federal Election Commission records show that, as of Jan. 25, 1980, he had contributed $600 to LaRouche's presidential campaign, and his wife had contributed $250.
Computron was incorporated in Delaware in 1978 as Computron Systems Company, Inc. In 1979, it changed its name to Computron Technologies Corporation but continued to conduct most of its business as Computron Systems Co., now described as a "division" of Computron Technologies. Apparently, all this had little effect on the actual control of the firm: In an interview with Computer Systems News (Feb. 4, 1980) Gennaro Vendome described the firm as being run today by himself and the two partners with whom he founded it in 1973. The article does not name the other two partners, but from the evidence. above, Vendome could only have been referring to Kalimtgis and Typaldos.
Under Delaware law, a privately held corporation is not required to list its shareholders. However, Computron did provide the Delaware Secretary of State with a list of the members of its board of directors; and it would appear from this list that the USLP is in the saddle: four out of six members are longtime trusted party cadre, and the remaining two have been identified by USLP defectors as politically sympathetic to the party. In addition, all of the non-owners on the board are Computron executives, dependent on the three "partners" for their livelihoods.
Vendome and Typaldos are included on the list, but Kalimtgis is not. The other four members are:
* Mark Stahlman, Computron vice-president for research and development. He is a longtime member of the USLP/NCLC and formerly served on its security staff. According to defectors, he continued to sit in on security's weekly staff meetings even after being hired by Computron. "He was the electronics expert," said one source. Records of the New York Public Service Commission show that on Sept. 21, 1976, Stahlman appeared on behalf of NCLC (as its "technical advisor") at an informal PSC hearing held to adjust a $22,000 NCLC phone bill. When the USLP/NCLC moved to its current headquarters in February 1979, Stahlman reportedly advised the organization on questions relating to the installation of new centrex and telex systems. Stahlman writes on occasion for New Solidarity and is listed in the party's internal phone directory.
* Paul Teitelbaum, executive vice-president of Computron. He is also a long time USLP/NCLC member and is listed in the internal phone directory. According to party defectors, he served on the security staff both before and after being hired by Computron. In 1976, he conducted a USLP daily news program ("New Solidarity World News") on Channel C in New York City. In the application filed with Teleprompter, he is identified as the show's "producer" with a telephone number at USLP headquarters. In March 1979, his American Express credit card was used by Citizens for LaRouche to rent rooms for LaRouche and three aides at a Detroit hotel (a subsequent campaign finances report to the FEC lists the debt to Teitelbaum as $1,357.96).
* Fletcher James, Computron vice president. He is also a longtime USLP/NCLC member, and he is listed in the internal phone directory. His wife, Marilyn James, is a former security staffer and writes frequently for party publications. In the preface of Dope, Inc., Fletcher James' employer, Kalimtgis, acknowledges Marilyn James as one of three researchers (including also a Computron systems analyst) who supplied the "core" of this anti-Semitic tract.
* Elias Typaldos, Computron vice-president and brother of Andreas Typaldos. He is listed in the USLP internal phone directory, and party defectors describe him as "a former member who remains sympathetic." He is the only Computron board member, however, who is not listed in FEC files as having lent or contributed money to the LaRouche presidential campaign.
The USLP's influence at Computron is by no means restricted to the above individuals. A Los Angeles Times article on Feb. 16, 1980, quoted LaRouche as saying that "about forty" of his followers work for Computron. Total staff of the computer firm, according to industry publications, is 85.
Not surprisingly, support for LaRouche's presidential campaign is evident on all levels of the Computron staff. According to FEC records, 22 employees of the firm including 3 vice presidents, 5 systems analysts, 11 programmers, the office manager, and the staff attorney contributed a total of $6,510 to Citizens for LaRouche between Jan. 1 and Nov. 26, 1979. This was almost 20 percent of all LaRouche campaign funds contributed in New York State during the eleven-month period. And it was followed by additional contributions in December and January, including one from Daniel LaRouche, 22 year old son of the candidate, who works as a programmer in Computron's main office.
LaRouche has also benefited from a lenient Computron credit policy. In 1976, when he ran for President on the USLP ticket, the firm extended credit of $4,650 (for computer services) to the Committee to Elect LaRouche President (CELP). As of the fall of 1979, FEC records show that $3,800 was still owed and no payments had been made since early 1977. There is no record in New York State courts that Computron has ever taken legal action regarding this debt.
In May 1977, the FEC launched an investigation into debts of over $30,000 owed by the LaRouche campaign to two other USLP business fronts: Campaigner Publications and New Solidarity International Press Service. The FEC believed some of these debts might constitute illegal in-kind contributions, since the two businesses shared office space and common personnel with CELP and the USLP during the 1976 campaign. In June 1977, the FEC subpoenaed the records of both corporations, but they refused to comply. As of May 1980, they were still resisting a Federal District Court order to open their books.
Computron also shared office space and common personnel with CELP and the USLP in 1976, but was not incorporated at the time and hence was not subject to the laws limiting corporate spending. Computron's relationship to the 1980 LaRouche campaign, however, may merit scrutiny: The Feb. 1980 quarterly filing of Citizens for LaRouche (CFL) reveals that Computron has extended credit of $9,000 to the campaign for "computer program and setup" and "computer services," in spite of the 1976 debt.
Computron may have given other forms of aid to LaRouche's electoral bids. An FBI surveillance memorandum from 1976, released under the Freedom of Information Act, reports on a conference held by the USLP at the Town and Campus Restaurant in Elizabeth, N.J., in October 1976, featuring a presidential campaign speech by LaRouche. According to the report, "LaRouche arrived in a 1974 Peugot, New Jersey license 783 FMT, registered to Computron Systems Co., 2125 Center Ave., Fort Lee, N.J." (The address in Fort Lee was Computron's New Jersey branch office, which has since moved to a larger space in Secaucus.)
In addition, Our Town has unraveled the byzantine tale of how LaRouche moved into the Century in Riverdale. As told by USLP defectors and by sources in the building--and documented by rental office records--the story runs as follows: In 1977, Andreas and Renee Typaldos moved into the Century. In July 1978, Mr. Typaldos recommended Konstandinos and Chrissa Kalimtgis for an apartment and also requested an apartment on the same floor to be rented in the name of Computron. Typaldos said the latter apartment would be used by a Mr. and Mrs. LaRouche. (Mr. LaRouche was reportedly described as a "money man" the firm was bringing over from Europe.) But then, apparently, the Computron owners decided to exercise greater discretion. They told the rental office to forget the Computron application, cross out the names of Mr. and Mrs. LaRouche, and rent the apartment directly to Kalimtgis, to be used as a study and for entertaining company guests. The leases were signed (with Typaldos as guarantor on the lease for the Kalimtgis family apartment) and the Kalimtgises moved in. But then a second couple unexpectedly moved into the business apartment. The rental office was informed that this couple was Mr. and Mrs. Henke, and that Mr. Henke was a Computron executive. In fact, Mr. Henke (Uwe Henke von Parpart) was an operative of the USLP National Executive Committee, not a Computron employee, and lived in Upper Manhattan, not in Riverdale. The real occupants of the business apartment were Lyndon LaRouche and Helga Zepp-LaRouche, who moved in with a shotgun and round-the-clock security guards. (The coven was completed in November, when Computron vice presidents Stahlman and Teitelbaum also rented an apartment in the Century.)
Before long, rumors began to spread among the building staff, as LaRouche was observed passing in and out with his stony-faced security guards, and as the FBI began to prowl around asking questions. When Our Town's Sept. 9, 1979 article appeared, the management of the Century finally decided to take action. Kalimtgis was told that the LaRouche couple's occupancy was in violation of the lease and that the apartment must be vacated. Without a strong case to stop eviction proceedings, the, LaRouches moved out quietly in late October. New Solidarity, however, later romanticized the incident, claiming that assassination threats were the cause of the move. The USLP paper blamed it all on Our Town, saying that we had published LaRouche's address (in fact, we had only noted a "rumor" that LaRouche lived in the building).
With the rumor confirmed by LaRouche's own paper, the question immediately presents itself: Was LaRouche, who campaigned for the presidency throughout his stay in the Century, actually getting an illegal campaign contribution in the form of free rent? Sources within the building say that the rent was paid by Kalimtgis and that the final check (after the LaRouche’s moved out) was accompanied by a letter from Chrissa Kalimtgis on Computron stationery. It is doubtful if LaRouche was reimbursing the Kalimtgises or Computron for these payments: Although rent on the apartment was over $8,500 per year, LaRouche's total personal income in 1979 was only $6,000 according to a financial disclosure statement he filed with the FEC in February 1980.
Computron's close links to the LaRouche campaign are paralleled by its links to various party front organizations, such as World Composition Services, New Solidarity International Press Service, and the Fusion Energy Foundation (FEF).
The FEF, which is the party's tool for pro-nuclear power propaganda, occupies Suite 2404 at 888 Seventh Ave., formerly an office of Computron. One of its three directors, Steven Bardwell, is a Computron systems analyst. In addition, Computron helps to subsidize FEF via advertisements in Fusion, the FEF's monthly magazine. The symbiotic relationship of FEF and Computron was indicated by an article in New Solidarity early in 1979, announcing that the FEF had developed a computer model for economic forecasting based on the ideas of Lyndon LaRouche. Credit for the breakthrough was given to Computron systems analyst Bardwell and to Uwe Henke von Parpart, that ubiquitous operative described in USLP publications and elsewhere as FEF director of research, USLP director of research, Computron director of research, and a graduate of the West German Naval Academy. According to USLP defectors, the pair developed the model with the help of Computron facilities.
Quick to jump on the bandwagon was the New Solidarity International Press Service, LaRouche's "private political intelligence gathering agency," which is staffed in large part by the spouses of Computron employees. The Mar. 20, 1979 issue of Executive Intelligence Review (EIR), a weekly magazine of the NSIPS which targets corporate board rooms at a subscription price of $400 per year, announced that it would begin publishing its own "computer-generated indices of economic performance and potential" and "computer simulations of regional and sectoral economic activity" based on the model. In addition, the magazine offered "computer simulations of questions of interest to EIR's clients" which would be "undertaken on a special contract basis." It is not difficult to guess the computer firm to which EIR would subcontract such jobs.
Conversations with past and present Computron employees, as well as USLP national office defectors, indicate a variety of ways in which the existence of Computron is a direct prop for the USLP.
First, the software firm provides salaries for several party functionaries who reportedly spend a major portion of their working hours on party business. One example, of course, is Kalimtgis. Another is Ed Spannaus, a founding member of the party, who serves as its national ballot security specialist while employed at Computron as a documentation writer. (Our sources also point to the ambiguous role of Computron's staff attorney, Mr. Heller, who maintains a second office at USLP headquarters and is currently handling several complicated suits for the party.)
Second, a Computron salary sometimes gives the USLP two workers for the price of one. In at least a dozen cases, Computron employees have spouses working fulltime for the party or for party front groups, either as volunteers or on small stipends. "The Computron salary makes this possible," claimed one defector, pointing out that most party couples live very modestly in Washington Heights or Inwood apartments, have no children, and almost never take vacations. "It's a no-frills life," he said.
Third, the existence of Computron acts as a safety valve for the party. When a party operative begins to develop doubts and the "persona-stripping" therapy sessions fail to whip him back into line, the offer of a job at Computron may prevent him from defecting. Relieved from the onerous duties of political organizing, he is plunked down in the clean, well-lit, low-pressure environment of Computron, surrounded by his old friends, with Renaissance paintings on the wall and the piped-in music of Mozart and Beethoven. Here he can remain, doubts and all, just so long as he doesn't openly challenge the party line. According to former members who have made a full break, this tactic has saved the USLP from many an embarrassing defection--and from many an embarrassing revelation of party secrets.
Fourth, USLP defectors charge that profits from Computron and other party-controlled businesses are laundered illegally into the party's coffers. This allegation has become a matter of public record in a New York State Supreme Court suit in which three party loyalists (two of them Computron employees) are suing two defectors for control of a small research firm which holds a patent on a water desalination process. In a sworn affidavit on May 29, 1979, defector Eric Lerner, head of the research firm, told the court that "it is the policy of the USLP to use corporations...as channels for funding of USLP." He went on to describe a face-to-face conversation in July 1977 with Uwe Henke von Parpart (who oversees the party's finances on behalf of the National Executive Committee): "I was informed by...Henke...that a data processing company, Computron, was used...to funnel money into the USLP. I was repeatedly informed by various members of the National Executive Committee, including...Henke...that my firm would be expected to funnel future profits into the USLP in a manner similar to that already used with Computron."
Whatever the truth about Computron's finances, strong documentary evidence exists that the corporation's policies are based on the blind fanaticism of the LaRouche worldview. In its libel suit against Our Town, Computron includes two New York Times reporters and attorney Roy Cohn as defendants, thus indicating agreement with the bizarre USLP viewpoint (expressed in LaRouche's own suit against the same defendants and in various USLP newspaper articles and leaflets) that the ongoing Our Town series is motivated by a "conspiracy" of these defendants.
Indeed, the Computron suit takes matters further than the LaRouche suit by including as a defendant Irwin Suall, the fact-finding director of B'nai B’rith's Anti-Defamation League. Mr. Suall and the ADL have long been targets of hate propaganda by the USLP and the USLP's allies in the anti-Semitic Liberty Lobby.
As to the purpose of the alleged conspiracy, New Solidarity and LaRouche say the defendants intended to finger LaRouche for assassination because of his opposition to "Zionism." The Computron suit adopts a similar theory, alleging that Computron president Typaldos and his family have been threatened with assassination and kidnapping, all at the direct behest of Defendants.
Note on Konstandinos Kalimtgis' Morris County, N.J. trial: One of Kalimtgis' co-defendants was Zeke Boyd, a former Black Panther Deputy Defense Minister who switched to the USLP and is now Lyndon LaRouche's bodyguard. Defectors from the USLP say that Kalimtgis and Boyd played a leading role in Operation Mop-Up, a series of over sixty violent attacks by USLP security squads in 1973 against members of Communist groups. At the time of their Morris County arrest, Kalimtgis and Boyd were on their way to visit one Ronald Kastner (according to Kalimtgis' testimony). Kastner was later identified in the Albany Times as the owner of a farm near Argyle, New York, which was used in 1974 to conduct paramilitary training for American, West German, and Mexican cadre of the LaRouche organization. Today, Kastner is a top executive of World Composition Services, the USLP's typesetting firm, which is listed as a client of Computron in the latter's 1979 sales brochure.