Democrats Now Ventureby Jeffrey Steinberg and Scott Thompson
To the Dark Side of the Moon
"When you defecate, do you use a mask? This is no laughing matter, this is serious. When you were kids, did you ever taste the cooties from your nose? ... Why didn't you feel they were dirty? Because that's a part of your body. The Reverend Moon has discovered something that no one else had thought about."
Rev. Sun Myung Moon, at the Nov. 23, 1996 opening ceremony of Tiempos del Mundo newspaper in Buenos Aires, attended by former President George Bush.
On Jan. 9, 1994, the Reverend Jerry Falwell traveled secretly to Seoul, South Korea. Falwell, then the head of the Moral Majority and the proprietor of the "Clinton Chronicles" series of scurrilous videos, attacking the President, was accompanied by his direct mail handler, Dan Riber, and Ronald Godwin, the former executive director of the Moral Majority, who had recently left that post to become the Vice President of the Unification Church-owned Washington Times Corp. The secret Seoul meeting was with the Unification Church leader Rev. Sun Myung Moon and some of his key operatives; and it resulted, within a few years, in the Moonies' takeover of the Falwell operation, through a bailout of Falwell, who was, at the time of the Seoul pilgrimage, already on the verge of bankruptcy. Falwell was facing $73 million in debt, accrued by his Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. With the aid of the Moonies, Falwell would shed that debt and, in the process, bilk his loyal supporters out of most of that money.
Just as organized crime's favorite ploy is to capture control over prominent, but vulnerable politicians or businessmen by "buying up their markers" at Las Vegas or Atlantic City casinos, Moon's favorite ploy, throughout the 1990s, was to buy up right-wing politicos and wanna-be Elmer Gantrys, at the point they hit the financial skids. Moon had already established a track record for using his nearly bottomless pool of Asian and Ibero-American offshore cash, to "buy up the markers" of prominent figures in the Christian Right, starting with Richard Viguerie, the Buckleyite direct mail guru, who found himself in deep financial kimche in the late 1980s.
In 1982, the Moon organization had hired Viguerie to do direct mail solicitations for the just-launched Washington Times newspaper (which has lost an estimated $100 million a year, from its inception). According to an Oct. 15, 1989 Washington Post account, a company owned by Moon controller and bagman Col. Bo Hi Pak, of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency (KCIA), bought a piece of Fairfax County, Virginia commercial real estate from Viguerie for $10 million—far more than the property was actually worth, at the point that Viguerie was about to go broke. The Moon money saved the day for the Radical Right's legendary direct mail-meister.
History of Grovelling in Lynchburg
The Falwell bailout by Moon was a far more complex deal. It was first exposed by investigative journalist Bob Parry in a 1997 series, titled "The Dark Side of the Moon," which were published on the Internet by the Consortium for Investigative Journalism (CIJ, www.consortiumnews.com).
During the 1980s, Falwell accumulated $73 million in debt, largely in the form of bonds, sold by a Texas company, Church & Institutional Facilities Development Corp., which marketed the commercial paper to finance Falwell's operations and the expansion of Liberty University. All told, 2,500 fans of Falwell's Moral Majority and Old Time Gospel Hour TV show, ponied up their hard-earned money to purchase the bonds. Falwell burned through the money, and, by the end of the 1980s, when the political might of the Christian Right began to decline, Falwell found himself on the verge of financial ruin. At first, according to a U.S. Senate source familiar with the case, Falwell was able to fend off his creditors, by turning to such Christian fundamentalist deep pockets as the Arthur DeMoss Foundation.
According to court records on file in Bedford County, Virginia, by the Summer of 1993, two Virginia associates of Falwell, Dan Reber and Jimmy Thomas, began devoting most of their time and energy to finding a bigger "financial angel" to bail out Liberty University and Falwell's other front operations. Reber and Thomas were the sole proprietor of the non-profit Christian Heritage Foundation of Forest, Virginia, and they also ran a small outfit, Direct Mail Communications, which they founded in 1989, located in a strip mall in the same rural town.
Just months after DMC had been created by Reber and Thomas, it was purchased by one of the Moon fronts, Mail America, for $2.5 million, a hefty sum for a company that was only a months old, with no track record of making money. What DMC had was the line into Falwell, handling direct-mail solicitations for Falwell's entire empire; but, according to court records, the firm was never even compensated for the postage costs. Was Moon, then, already subsidizing Falwell's operations in the early 1990s? What is confirmed by the court documents, obtained by Bob Parry, is that in the Summer of 1993, Reber, Ronald Godwin, the architect of the Moon buyout of DMC, Falwell, and Dong Moon Joo, the publisher of the Washington Times, met in Lynchburg, Va. to discuss Falwell's financial dilemma. The Summer 1993 meeting led to Falwell's January 1994 trip to Seoul.
Clearly, a bailout deal was hatched during the South Korea session. On July 26, 1994, Falwell made his first appearance at a Moonie event, sitting next to Reverend Moon at the head table of a gala affair for the Youth Federation for World Peace. It would be the first of many grovelling appearances that the pudgy televangelist would make before Moon-manufactured organizations.
In January 1995, Reber and Thomas bought half of Falwell's Liberty University debt—for pennies on the dollar. The total that the duo shelled out was $2.5 million. The purchase of the Falwell debt came shortly after Reber and Thomas' Christian Heritage Foundation received a contribution of $3.5 million from Moon's Women's Federation for World Peace. Federation vice president Susan Fefferman confirmed, in a Parry interview, that the $3.5 million had gone to "Mr. Falwell's people" for the benefit of Liberty University.
One of the attorneys in a Bedford County court case that evolved out of the DMC-centered financial shenanigans, had a different take on the "bailout." Doug Hudman told Parry that most of the bondholders, who lost their shirts, were "moms and pops cashing in their IRA [individual retirement account] money because their local minister and Falwell's letters said they'd be doing God's work. The true victims are the ... believers who think their money was going to a good cause. All it was doing was going to fund Mr. Falwell's continued indebtedness. It's kind of sickening."
Worse: Falwell's bailout by the Moonies consolidated a nearly total takeover of the already-demented Christian Zionist Right by the Moonies and their controllers.
By 1986, the list of Christian Right prominents who were adorning the head tables of Moon-front affairs included Falwell, Ralph Reed, Beverly and Tim LaHaye, Gary Bauer, Paul Crouch, and Robert Schuller. Moon's collection also included some prominent elected officials, who became virtually addicted to Moon's reported six-figure honoraria checks. Thus, former President George H.W. Bush found himself standing next to Reverend Moon, addressing a crowd in Buenos Aires in November 1996, for the opening of the South American version of Moon's Washington Times. Former President Gerald Ford had already become one of the regulars on the Moon-front circuit.
Among the members of Congress who also lent their names to Moonie fronts are: Rep. J.C. Watts (R-Okla.) and Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), who were poster boys for Moon's Faith-Based Initiative for Family and Community Revival, a group that many on both the Right and the Left regard as the gatekeeper to President George W. Bush's "Faith-Based Initiative" pots of gold. Another Moon front, the Empowerment Leadership Roundtable, headed by longtime Moon hireling and former aide to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Jack Kemp, David Caprara, prominently featured Santorum and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-Conn.)
When the Moonies ran a demonstration in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, demanding that George Bush be declared the victor over Al Gore in the November 2000 elections, even Pat Robertson sent his personal emissary, Billy McCormack, to read a statement of endorsement from "Diamond Pat."
Dipping for Narco-Dollars?
The White House National Office of Drug Control Policy has been running a series of TV ads, warning kids that the money they spend for illegal drugs could be going into the pockets of terrorists who are out to destroy the United States. The same could, perhaps be said for Reverend Moon.
While the House International Relations Committee conducted an exhaustive study of the Moonies' role in the "Koreagate" influence-buying scandal in the late 1970s, and found that the "church" had been established as a front for the KCIA and had been linked to the Japanese Yakuza organized-crime apparatus, no such study was done in the 1980s heyday of Iran-Contra, of Moon's involvement with some of Ibero-America's most vicious narco-terrorists.
On July 17, 1980, the "Cocaine Colonels Coup" took place in Bolivia, placing General García Meza and Col. Luis Arce-Gómez in power. The money behind the coup came, principally, from the world's then-leading cocaine trafficker, Roberto Suárez, Colonel Gómez's cousin.
Within weeks of the coup, Col. Bo Hi Pak, the real ruler of the Moon empire, arrived in Bolivia's capital, La Paz, to bless the new regime. Soon, the photo of Pak and General García Meza was adorning the pages of every Moon publication around the world. According to Parry, Moon's World Anti-Communist League (WACL) front had poured $4 million into the cocaine coup—money that would be repaid many times over, before the putschists were ousted from power. Another Moon front, CAUSA, which became a principal conduit of suspect funds to the Lt. Col. Oliver North-led Iran-Contra "Enterprise," set up shop in La Paz, under the control of Thomas Ward, a Moon functionary, who was frequently seen in the company of Nazi butcher Klaus Barbie, who ran the "Cocaine Colonels" intelligence organ.
While most of the Cocaine Colonels wound up in jail as drug traffickers, Moon's operation in Bolivia escaped scrutiny, and the Korean guru seemed to have early warning of the regime's collapse. Moon had moved his South American operations to Uruguay and Honduras, two other major hubs of Contra hot-money flows, before the colonels fell.
Beginning in 2000, through another string of front groups, Moon began the same "buy up the markers" operations, targetting the Democratic Party, the remnants of the civil rights movement, and the growing Islamic community in the United States. At one recent Midwest Islamic event, Moon's church boss in America, Rev. Michael Jenkins, delivered a donation to a prominent imam who had just completed a sermon denouncing Reverend Falwell for his vicious smear against the Prophet Mohammed, whom Falwell labeled "a terrorist." Reverend Jenkins, true to Moonie form, didn't even blush at the attacks against Moon's favorite fundamentalist.