John Train and the
Corruption of Public Television
by Tony Papert
In early 2003, the 20th year of an aggresive campaign to compel public television to become a conduit for "neo-conservative" a/k/a Synarchist propaganda, Pat Mitchell, president of the Congressionally established Public Broadcasting System (PBS), accepted an invitation to tea with Lynne Cheney in her residence in Washington's Naval Observatory, as Ken Auletta reported in The New Yorker on June 7, 2004. It is Lynne Cheney, with her ties to Britain's Baroness Symons and Tony Blair, who sits at the top of the Synarchist food-chain in American politics, not her blinded enforcer of a husband, the Vice President.
That same 20-odd-year right-wing campaign also gave birth to the fraudulent film "The Path to 9/11," which ABC Television intends to air on Sept. 10. It was leftist-turned-rightist David Horowitz, for instance, who created the Committee for Media Integrity in 1988, to cut off funding for public television unless it played and paid him and his "neo-conservative" cothinkers. Horowitz then created the "Wednesday Morning Club" in 1992 to prepare a right-wing takeover of Hollywood, and more recently connived with the "Youth with a Mission" cult to launch "The Path to 9/11" hoax in 2006.
Auletta reports that there with Mrs. Cheney to greet Mitchell was Michael Pack, who proposed that the Vice President's wife host a series of one-hour television programs aimed at middle-school students. "We brought Pat Mitchell there to see if it was acceptable to have the Vice President's wife be on a show on public television," Pack later explained. But within weeks, Pack had to recuse himself from the project when he was appointed senior vice president and head of all television programming at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which rations PBS's Federal funding and that of local stations. The Lynne Cheney Hour project was put on ice.
But who is Michael Pack? He appeared on the scene in the late 1980s as a corrupt producer of "documentaries" for public television, and also of sex-education films on homosexuality for public schools. Corrupt not because he is a neo-conservative, a supporter of the Bush "faith-based initiative," the Iraq War, and all the rest. No. Corrupt because in every one of his "public" television documentaries, he has been paid to lie by private interests. In 1998, for instance, Pack was producing a documentary on the police beating of Rodney King in Los Angeles. The Summer 1998 newsletter of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund closed with the following postscript: "We are not finished paying for the production costs of 'The Rodney King Incident,' so we'd appreciate any donations you are able to send. Those contributing at least $50 will receive a video tape of the film. There is a reply envelope enclosed for your convenience...."
Did the policeman mailing in his $50, know that Pack was getting $75,000 for the same "documentary" conduited from the neo-conservative Olin Foundation?
In 1994, as part of the campaign to take over Hollywood, Pack partnered with neo-con film critic Michael Medved to produce "Hollywood vs. Religion." James Dobson's "Focus on the Family" picked up part of the tab.
But the greater part of Pack's documentary efforts were paid for more simply: by checks from the Northcote-Parkinson Foundation, the private foundation of New York investment banker John Train, also the founder and architect of the "Get LaRouche Task Force" which sent Lyndon LaRouche to jail on false charges in 1989. But although Train is a millionaire, this was not Train's money, or even that of his tax-exempt foundation. The money originated with other foundations, and was merely passed through Northcote Parkinson. For the most part, the sources were the funders of the so-called conservative revolution: the Olin and Bradley Foundations. Another was the Ford Foundation. Still another was the Bodman Foundation, a cash-cow for the "Get LaRouche" operation, through the American Family Foundation and the latter's Cult Awareness Network (since renamed).
The amounts which Pack obtained through Train's foundation were significant: often from $200,000 to $750,000 or more per year. Nor was that the only source: Others included the taxpayer dollars of the CPB itself. More than once has Pack garnered half a million dollars for a single "documentary." Let the reader decide whether these huge sums actually went into the films of a producer famous for his "talking heads" documentaries.
The frauds which Pack was paid to perpetrate are too long to report here. In "God and the Inner City," he tried to sell Bush's faith-based initiative to bribe black ministers. His life of George Washington was narrated by neo-con ignoramus Richard Brookhiser, copyrighted by the Straussian Claremont Institute, and featured John Train in the credits. As head of television at the CPB from 2003-06, Pack had a $70 million production budget, with which he paid similar producers for "documentaries" interviewing notorious neo-cons Richard Perle on the "Case for War," Robert Kaplan on "Inside the American Empire," and Frank Gaffney on "Islam vs. Extremists."
He even paid ex-LaRouche associates Dan Polin and Ken Mandel to produce "The Trial of Saddam Hussein." And therein hangs a tale. It is Michael Pack's connection to ex-LaRouche associates which is the incriminating proof against Pack and his puppeteer, John Train.
Train: An American Tory
Born in 1928, John Train is part of the Anglophile financier oligarchy denounced by Franklin Roosevelt as "the American Tories." Train's family fortune came, in great measure, from the 19th-Century profits of Enoch Train and Company, a clipper-ship firm that served as a junior partner of the British East India Company in the opium trade. Train's grandfather on his mother's side was a founding partner of JP Morgan.
Train has a long history in the dirtiest parts of the "bankers' CIA." He established the Paris Review in 1951 as a front for the Congress for Cultural Freedom, which brainwashed the Baby Boomer generation with modernist countercultural perversion,—all in the name of "fighting communism." As part of the "secret government" apparatus of spook Walter Raymond and Ollie North, Train headed the Afghan Relief Committee, which funded butcher Gulbuddin Hekmatyar ("fighting communism").
But Train's filthiest deed for this network was triggered by President Reagan's March 23, 1983, television address, embracing LaRouche's plan for what Reagan called a "Strategic Defense Initiative," to break the Cold-War deadlock of thermonuclear "mutually assured destruction" in favor of agreement to use revolutionary new technologies, both for nuclear defense, and for development of the Third World, in what physicist Edward Teller called "the common aims of mankind."
The U.S. government had taken up LaRouche's proposal, but Russia's new General Secretary, Yuri Andropov, flatly rejected it. If the Soviets had agreed as well, the events of the past quarter-century would have been completely different. Instead of an economic collapse of the Eastern bloc, followed immediately by that of its former opponents, we would have experienced a combined ramping up of both for the tasks of this new century.
Train set out to strangle this hope and imprison its author; if he could not kill LaRouche outright, he was determined that he rot in jail for the rest of his life.
Exactly one month after Reagan's televised address, on April 23, 1983, Train convened at his home, the first of at least three meetings of the "Get LaRouche Task Force." Participants included National Security Council consultant Roy Godson; FBI informant John Rees; Mira Lansky Boland of the ADL; a representative of PFIAB Chairman Leo Cherne's Freedom House, a private intelligence outfit; ultra-right Pittsburgh billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife; LaRouche-baiter Chip Berlet; and several dozen journalists from media outlets including NBC-TV, Readers Digest, Business Week, the New Republic, and the Wall Street Journal. The purpose was to launch a media slander campaign against LaRouche which would lead to his indictment, conviction, and imprisonment. Ten major media slanders followed within the next 30 months.
In 1987, Train established the Northcote Parkinson Fund, primarily to fund public television initiatives promoting "free market economics and politics." From the beginning, the recipients of most of the funds were Michael Pack and his associates.
During approximately 1979-81, Pack infiltrated Dan Polin, his business partner in his company Manifold Productions, into the environment of LaRouche's associates. Then, in 1988, Peck and Polin induced former LaRouche associate Ken Mandel to form another phony PBS outfit, "Great Projects Productions," with Polin. The hand-off from Manifold to Great Projects was a two-part series on "America's Political Parties" (1988 and 1992), in which both companies and all three principals participated, and shared the largesse conduited through John Train with his Venetian methods.
The crime against public television was an element in a far greater crime.