McDONALD’S PRIVATE SPIES
By Paul DeRienzo

Reprinted from "Overthrow" December 1983.

Was the Flight 007 Caper intended to be the masterstroke of Larry McDonald’s intelligence career, a Far Right scheme to develop, with the S. Koreans, an independent capability to spy upon the Soviets? 

Everything we know about the Congressman’s, background strongly suggests it.

Larry P. McDonald (D-Ga.), a urologist who was once charged with federal conspiracy in connection with a scheme to raise money for the Birchers by smuggling the worthless cancer nostrum, laetrile, into the U.S. for distribution to thousands of gullible cancer victims, met his demise on his way to ceremonies marking the 30th anniversary of the U.S.-South Korean alliance. McDonald had just become head of the John Birch Society, representing a victory for the ‘western goals’ faction associated with the KCIA and the ‘old guard’ around Robert Welch. A lifetime member of the National Rifle Association, he was known to keep over 200 guns in his home. But he also played a major role in legitimizing his brand of lunatic fringe politics in the U.S.

McDonald had recently been most visible testifying before the Senate Subcommittee on Anti-Terrorism, where he entered thousands of pages into the Congressional Record on the activities of the left, progressive individuals and organizations like the Yippies. In the Record, protected by congressional immunity, McDonald could print the most vicious lies without risking suit for slander or libel. Thereafter, it might be reprinted with impunity, and the rantings of Larry McDonald were widely disseminated in right wing circles.

McDonald was also a major sponsor of private intelligence" operations, most recently operating the intelligence-gathering arm of the Birchers, the Western Goals Foundation, as a tax-exempt organization "to strengthen the political, economic and social structure of Western Civilization so as to make any merger with totalitarians impossible."

Western Goals (Linda Guell, Director) was founded by McDonald in 1979, "to fill the critical gap caused by the crippling of the FBI, the disabling of the House un-American Activities Committee and the destruction of crucial government files." McDonald told the Atlanta Journal in 1981 that, because of the limitations on the CIA and FBI, Western Goals "will outdistance them in a short period of time." What he did not tell the Journal was the extent to which Western Goals personnel were themselves responsible for that "crippling" and "disabling" through their own abuses and excesses.

Listed on the Western Goals letterhead, as "editor" is one John Rees. In the early and mid ’70s, Rees (a.k.a. John Seeley) and S. Louise Rees (a.k.a. Sheila O’Connor), edited another kind of McDonald publication, a semi-clandestine bulletin known as Information Digest.) , Which numbered amongst its subscribers more than 40 police "intelligence divisions" (red squads), and was associated with the LEIU. (Not to be confused with the now defunct federal LEAA, the Law Enforcement Intelligence Unit continues as a private network).

The Reeses had infiltrated the left in Washington, D.C. around the time of Mayday, in ’71, trading heavily on their NLG cover, at one point even housing YIP organizers for the July 4th, 1973 Smoke-In and Impeach Nixon rally. The Reeses also ripped off $500 in receipts from the sale of Yipster Times and buttons, and at one point, John Rees threatened to punch out a Yippie who protested the theft.

The Digest, which stopped publication in 1974, was a detailed summary of left 4ctivities, but the very nastiness of their dirty tricks and thoroughness with which they violated the privacy of various groups and individuals proved to be their undoing. The Reeses were exposed in 1976 in hearings of the New York State Assembly as "private spies" with ties to McDonald, the House Internal Security Committee, Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, New York State Police and FBI. (See Counterspy [Spring, 19761, and the National Lawyers Guild paper, Guild Notes [May, 19761.) According to Chip Berlet, editor of the National Lawyers Guild publication Public Eye, Rees continued to maintain "an informal private/public network" of active duty and retired FBI agents, police officers and private security experts. Private intelligence is provided by companies such as Pinkerton, Wackenhut and Ma Bell, as well as by Western Goals.

Rees has been extraordinarily prolific as an editor of "private intelligence." He has placed more than 120 articles in Birch publications in recent years. Most recently, along with Arnaud de Borchgrave and Robert Moss,-authors of the witchhunt novel The Spike, he began publishing Early Warning, a $1,000-a-year newsletter on international trends.

Under Rees’s direction, the Western Goals Foundation has published a series of special reports with titles like "Red Locust" (on Soviet support-for "terrorists" in Southern Africa), "Outlaws of Amerika" (an attack on the National Lawyers Guild as a support group for the Weather Underground), and attacks on the nuclear freeze movement which Rees says is controlled from Moscow. Readers Digest author John Barron admits he used Rees’s material as a primary source for his 1981 broadside at the anti-nuclear movement. There they gain a semblance of "respectability," something the Birchers or Western Goals could never provide.

Western Goals & The LAPD

It is not surprising, then, that the Foundation was recently tied into political infighting between the Los Angeles Times and the LAPD chief, Daryl F. Gates. The LA Times, which is owned by the Trilateral Commission-connected Times-Mirror Co., has been gunning for Gates since they made and issue of spying by the infamous LAPD Public Disorder Intelligence Division (PDID).

The intrigue began in November 1982, when an associate superintendent of the LA unified school district, Jerry Halverson, was called into his boss’s office for a meeting. According to sworn testimony he has given in a lawsuit filed by the ACLU sponsored Citizens’ Commission on Police Repression, Halverson was shocked to find the editor of the LA Times Metro Section, Noel Greenwood, leading the meeting, and Police Commissioner Reva Tooley was also present. Greenwood revealed that his sources in the police department applied some heavy beans, saying that the PDID was keeping files on "very important people," and that some of those files were among those that the police commission had ordered destroyed in 1975. According to-his informants, those files had instead been offered to the school district.

Halverson admitted that files had been offered to him for storage, but he said that they were never accepted. However, Halverson said that someone in military intelligence might have taken them.

Investigations growing out of the ACLU suit have dug up evidence of a partnership between elements of PDID and the Western Goals Foundation. According to a deposition taken from the chief file keeper for the PDID, Lt. Thomas Shiedecker, Jay Paul had presented the LAPD with a scheme to acquire a new computer for the department. Paul said that he had conservative businesspartners who would donate a computer; one of those business partners was Congressman Larry McDonald. The LAPD agreed to the deal.

The computer was placed in the law offices of Paul’s wife, Anne Love, in Long Beach, to be programmed. The ground rules set by the LA police commission were that the computer would be accessible to Western Goals but no PDID files would be put into the computer.

At a recent Alexandria, VA, court hearing to compel foundation director Guell to testify in LA, a LAPD detective stated publicly that Western Goals computer discs do, in fact, contain information from the LAPD intelligence files. Meanwhile, in Baltimore September 15, a judge ordered John Rees to testify in LA and supply the jury with discs and printouts sent by Paul. 

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