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The Plot To Overthrow FDR

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FTR #448 The Coup Attempt of 1934

archer.gifRecorded March 7, 2004
MP3 One seg­ment

NB: This stream con­tains both FTRs #448 and #449 in sequence. Each is a 30 minute broadcast.

In obser­va­tion of the 70th anniver­sary of the event, this pro­gram recounts the 1934 fas­cist coup attempt in the United States. Appalled at Pres­i­dent Roosevelt’s New Deal, pow­er­ful indus­tri­al­ists and financiers grouped around the Mor­gan indus­trial and finan­cial inter­ests attempted to recruit World War I vet­er­ans into an army of insur­rec­tion. The goal of the con­spir­a­tors was the over­throw of Amer­i­can democ­racy and the insti­tu­tion of a fas­cist gov­ern­ment. Because they selected Marine Corps gen­eral Smed­ley Buter to lead the coup, the attempt was foiled. Although a critic of Roo­sevelt, But­ler (a two-time win­ner of the Con­gres­sional Medal of Honor) betrayed the coup plot­ters to the Pres­i­dent. Fol­low­ing a badly atten­u­ated Con­gres­sional inves­ti­ga­tion by the McCormack-Dickstein Com­mit­tee, the mat­ter was laid to rest. It is worth not­ing that proof of the plot was con­crete and well-documented, but none of the plot­ters was impris­oned, because the con­spir­a­tors were among the most pow­er­ful and pres­ti­gious indus­trial and finan­cial mag­nates in the country.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: The role of Gen­eral Dou­glas MacArthur in the con­spir­a­to­r­ial process lead­ing up to the coup attempt; MacArthur’s rela­tion­ship to the House of Mor­gan; the role of the Du Ponts in the coup prepa­ra­tions; Rem­ing­ton Arms’ agree­ment to pro­vide weapons to the con­spir­a­tors; the sym­pa­thy of key Gen­eral Motors exec­u­tives for the coup attempt; the pro­found sym­pa­thy on the part of the con­spir­a­tors for Hitler and Mus­solini; the crit­i­cal aid given by the coup plot­ters’ asso­ci­ated busi­ness inter­ests to the Third Reich; the domes­tic fas­cist orga­ni­za­tions orga­nized and financed by some of the con­spir­a­tors and the busi­nesses that they ran; the main­stream press’ cover-up of the story and its sig­nif­i­cance. Note that this pro­gram is excerpted from Radio Free Amer­ica Pro­gram #10, recorded on 7/11/1985. For more infor­ma­tion on the MacArthur group in the mil­i­tary and its fas­cist ten­den­cies, see RFA#’s 10–13—available from Spitfire—as well as FTR#’s 426, 427, 428, 446.

1. One of the main ele­ments in the story of the 1934 coup attempt is the piv­otal role of a group of pow­er­ful indus­trial and finan­cial interests—many of which were openly sup­port­ive of Hitler and doing busi­ness with the Third Reich—in orga­niz­ing the plot. Mem­bers of the Du Pont fam­ily, exec­u­tives with Gen­eral Motors (con­trolled at the time by the Du Ponts), key fig­ures in the Mor­gan bank­ing con­stel­la­tion and mem­bers of the National Asso­ci­a­tion of Man­u­fac­tur­ers attempted to trans­late their hatred of FDR and his New Deal into action. (Note that the Mor­gan bank­ing inter­ests financed the Du Ponts’ indus­trial oper­a­tions to a con­sid­er­able extent. The Mor­gan inter­ests were the pri­mary ele­ment in financ­ing the Du Ponts’ estab­lish­ment and oper­a­tion of Gen­eral Motors. Pin­ning their hopes on Marine Corps Major Gen­eral Smed­ley Butler—a two-time win­ner of the Con­gres­sional Medal of Honor—the con­spir­a­tors sought to enlist unem­ployed and des­per­ate World War I vet­er­ans into a fas­cist army of insur­rec­tion, mod­eled after the French Croix de Feu (“Cross of Fire”.)
(Trad­ing with the Enemy; by Charles Higham; Dell [sC]; Copy­right 1983.)

2. Because he had sup­ported the grant­ing of a promised bonus pay­ment to World War I vet­er­ans, Butler—a “sol­diers’ general”—was the coup plot­ters’ even­tual choice to lead the con­spir­acy. The plot­ters pre­ferred Gen­eral Dou­glas MacArthur (a son-in-law of Edward Stotes­bury, a key Mor­gan part­ner), but MacArthur had opposed the bonus and then led the bloody sup­pres­sion of the “Bonus Army” that assem­bled in Wash­ing­ton D.C. to demand their promised pay­ment. Accord­ing to But­ler, MacArthur was aware of the plot, and was involved in the plan­ning. (Idem.)

3. Weapons for the actual coup were to have been pro­vided by Rem­ing­ton Arms, also owned by the Du Ponts. The Du Ponts admired Hitler, and both Du Pont Chem­i­cals and Gen­eral Motors were heav­ily involved in busi­ness enter­prises in Ger­many that con­tributed to the Third Reich’s war prepa­ra­tions and also helped to finance the Nazi Party. (Idem.)

4. In addi­tion to their enthu­si­asm for Hitler and Mus­solini, many of the plot­ters and their asso­ciates were very active in the estab­lish­ment, financ­ing and oper­a­tion of domes­tic fas­cist groups. The Du Ponts helped to estab­lish the fas­cist Lib­erty League, the bru­tal Black Legion and the asso­ci­ated Wolver­ine Repub­li­can League to help break labor unions and ter­ror­ize work­ers in their var­i­ous indus­tries, par­tic­u­larly Gen­eral Motors. (Idem.)

5. When gen­eral But­ler exposed the con­spir­acy and the story broke in the papers, the con­spir­a­tors dis­missed the reports, the McCormack-Dickstein Committee’s report was sup­pressed for sev­eral years and the plot­ters got off scot-free. No one was ever impris­oned for their role in the trea­so­nous insur­rec­tion, despite con­crete evi­dence of their guilt. (Idem.)

6. In addi­tion to their attempted over­throw of the con­sti­tu­tional author­ity, many mem­bers of what author Charles Higham calls “the fra­ter­nity” insti­tuted labor poli­cies that were dia­met­ri­cally opposed to Pres­i­dent Roosevelt’s eco­nomic agenda. (Idem.)

7. Pres­sure by the con­spir­a­tors helped to get MacArthur re-appointed as Army Chief of Staff, a highly unusual devel­op­ment. The pro­gram presents an inter­view with for­mer Speaker of the House John McCor­mack, who co-chaired the con­gres­sional com­mit­tee that inves­ti­gated the coup. He affirms the accu­racy of the charges made by But­ler, and the grave dan­ger that the plot posed to the repub­lic.
(The Plot to Seize the White House; by Jules Archer; Hawthorne Books [HC]; Copy­right 1973.)

8. MacArthur’s father-in-law (key Mor­gan part­ner Edward Stotes­bury) helped to finance domes­tic Amer­i­can fas­cist groups. (1000 Amer­i­cans; by George Seldes; Boni & Gaer [HC]; Copy­right 1947.)



Repost: FTR #602 The Plot to Seize the White House — Interview with Jules Archer
archer.gifMP3: Side 1 | Side 2 (FTR 448)REALAUDIO
NB: This stream con­tains both FTR #602 fol­lowed by a FTR #448. Each is a 30 minute broad­cast. Orig­i­nally recorded July 1, 2007

PREFACE, DECEMBER 30, 2008: With an appar­ent new Great Depres­sion bear­ing down upon us and a Demo­c­ra­tic reform President-elect wait­ing in the wings, it is vital to remem­ber what tran­spired dur­ing the first Great Depres­sion and Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first admin­is­tra­tion. Dom­i­nant ele­ments of the Amer­i­can power elite attempted to stage a fas­cist coup. It is note­wor­thy that many of these same indi­vid­u­als and insti­tu­tions sup­ported and financed Hitler and Mus­solini. The Bush fam­ily was part of the milieu that birthed the coup attempt. The Bush family’s sup­port for the Third Reich con­tin­ues to be a source of con­tro­versy, despite the fact that it is well doc­u­mented.

(For a brief and inter­est­ing his­tor­i­cal syn­op­sis of the coup attempt, lis­ten to the BBC Radio pro­gramme: The White House Coup.)

Sup­ple­ment­ing pre­vi­ous cov­er­age of the U.S. fas­cist coup attempt of 1934, this broad­cast is an emo­tional pro­fes­sional mile­stone for Mr. Emory. When first under­tak­ing this field of research, he read inves­tiga­tive reporter, author and anti-fascist Jules Archer’s The Plot to Seize the White House, pub­lished in hard­cover by Hawthorne books.

After learn­ing that Mr. Archer was alive, well and 90-years young, Mr. Emory was delighted to find out that The Plot to Seize the White House is being repub­lished in paper­back by Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing. This inter­view com­mem­o­rates Mr. Archer’s work and cel­e­brates the pub­lish­ing of the paper­back edi­tion of his book.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Dis­cus­sion of the Lib­erty League, a con­sor­tium of wealthy and pow­er­ful indus­tri­al­ists and financiers who were the core of the coup plot; the coup plot­ters’ enthu­si­as­tic sup­port for Hitler and Mus­solini; the nomen­cla­ture of the mem­bers of the coup cabal; an overview of the career of Gen­eral Smed­ley But­ler, the patri­otic hero who betrayed the coup plot; the media’s sup­pres­sion of accu­rate reportage on the coup plot; the role of a small num­ber of inves­tiga­tive reporters who brought the coup to light; the sup­pres­sion of part of the report of the McCormack-Dickstein Com­mit­tee (formed to inves­ti­gate the coup).

1. Begin­ning with analy­sis of the career of Marine Corps Gen­eral Smed­ley But­ler, the pro­gram high­lights Butler’s sin­gu­lar pop­u­lar­ity among enlisted men. “A soldier’s gen­eral” But­ler stood up for the “grunt” and didn’t auto­mat­i­cally favor the “Brass” (the offi­cer corps). This qual­ity made him the choice to be “The Man on the White Horse” to lead the coup attempt. Men who served with But­ler (such as for­mer Marine Corps Com­man­dant David Shoup) praised But­ler in the most extrav­a­gant terms. It is worth not­ing that But­ler was a prac­tic­ing Quaker who came to feel that war, in gen­eral, was “a racket.”

2. After not­ing Butler’s extra­or­di­nary career, the dis­cus­sion sets forth two issues that might be unfa­mil­iar to younger lis­ten­ers: the “bonus” from World War I and the Gold Stan­dard. Sol­diers who enlisted in World War I were promised a cash bonus, which they never received. When the Great Depres­sion struck, many of the vet­er­ans orga­nized and mobi­lized in order to pres­sure the gov­ern­ment to grant them the bonus to which they were enti­tled. A march by the “Bonus Army” in Wash­ing­ton, D.C. was vio­lently bro­ken up by troops under the com­mand of Gen­eral Dou­glas MacArthur, the first choice of the plot­ters to lead the coup. Franklin Delano Roo­sevelt removed the U.S. from the Gold Stan­dard, a deci­sion which alien­ated many of the wealthy. The coup plot­ters wanted Smed­ley But­ler to make a speech at an Amer­i­can Legion con­ven­tion in favor of the Gold Stan­dard, the the­ory being that But­ler could present this as desir­able to the bonus marchers. Their “bonus” would then be backed by gold.

3. Much of the pro­gram high­lights points of infor­ma­tion set forth in FTR#448 about the coup attempt itself. In par­tic­u­lar, this por­tion of the broad­cast cen­ters on the Lib­erty League, a domes­tic fas­cist orga­ni­za­tion that was the back­bone of the coup plot.

“ . . . Head­ing and direct­ing the orga­ni­za­tion were Du Pont and J.P. Mor­gan and Com­pany men. . . . Heavy con­trib­u­tors to the Amer­i­can Lib­erty League included the Pit­cairn fam­ily (Pitts­burgh Plate Glass), Andrew W. Mel­lon Asso­ciates, Rock­e­feller Asso­ciates, E.F. Hut­ton Asso­ciates, William S. Knud­sen (Gen­eral Motors), and the Pew fam­ily (Sun Oil Asso­ciates). J. Howard Pew, long­time friend and sup­porter of Robert Welch, who later founded the John Birch Soci­ety, was a gen­er­ous patron, along with other mem­bers of the Pew fam­ily, of extrem­ist right-wing causes. . . . Two orga­ni­za­tions affil­i­ated with the league were openly fas­cist and anti­la­bor. One was the Sen­tinels of the Repub­lic, financed chiefly by the Pit­cairn fam­ily and J. Howard Pew. Its mem­bers labeled the New Deal ‘Jew­ish Com­mu­nism’ and insisted ‘the old line of Amer­i­cans of $1,200.00 a year want a Hitler’. . . . ‘The brood of anti-New Deal orga­ni­za­tions spawned by the Lib­erty League,’ the New York Post sub­se­quently charged, ‘are in turn spawn­ing fascism.’”

(The Plot to Seize the White House; by Jules Archer; Copy­right 1973, 2007 by Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing Inc.; Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing [sC]; ISBN-13: 978–1-60239–036-2; p. 31.)

4. An impor­tant point of infor­ma­tion for younger lis­ten­ers con­cerns the Amer­i­can Legion. Orig­i­nally formed as a reac­tionary orga­ni­za­tion used by the National Asso­ci­a­tion of Man­u­fac­tur­ers to break strikes, the Amer­i­can Legion even­tu­ally cast off its reac­tionary lead­er­ship and became the respectable vet­er­ans orga­ni­za­tion that it is to this day. In Butler’s time, the Legion was seen as a pos­si­ble recruit­ing ground for sol­diers for the coup plot.

5. Jules high­lights some of the key fig­ures in this drama includ­ing: coup fig­ure Ger­ald McGuire (a wealthy bond sales­man who was selected by the coup plot­ters as their pri­mary con­tact with Smed­ley But­ler); Robert S. Clark (another coup plot­ter who had known But­ler when serv­ing in the mil­i­tary in China); Grayson M-P.Murphy (another of the wealthy coup plot­ters, Mur­phy was a Mor­gan part­ner and had been dec­o­rated by Ben­ito Mus­solini); Han­ford McNider (a wealthy for­mer leader of the Amer­i­can Legion, seen as a pos­si­ble sec­ond choice to But­ler to lead the coup.)

6. In addi­tion, Jules Archer sets forth some of the jour­nal­ists who worked to expose the coup: Philadel­phia Record jour­nal­ist Paul Comly French (assigned to help cover the story as it was being revealed by Gen­eral But­ler); George Seldes (the ven­er­a­ble anti-fascist writer whose work has been accessed by Mr. Emory for decades, Seldes was an early and pro­lific writer about the coup attempt); John L. Spi­vak (another early anti-fascist writer who revealed that the report of the McCormack-Dickstein Com­mit­tee con­tained key omis­sions about the coup plot).

7. Sadly, the main­stream media did not give effec­tive cov­er­age to the coup attempt—in fact they helped to cover it up. Jules Archer cites The New York Times and Time as two of the many pub­li­ca­tions that exer­cised will­ful cen­sor­ship of the cov­er­age of the coup plot. It is also worth not­ing that Amer­i­can acad­e­mia has also remained largely obliv­i­ous to this piv­otal event.

Edited by Steven Gaal
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My bandwidth does not allow easy viewing of videos nor do I have sufficient data allowance to download. Could you give a brief summary of the details? It sounds very interesting.

Many thanks!

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Weekend Edition December 2-4, 2011
The American Liberty League vs. Gen. Smedley Butler
Wall Street’s Failed 1934 Coup

“In the last few weeks of the committee’s official life it received evidence showing that certain persons had made an attempt to establish a fascist organization in this country…There is no question that these attempts were discussed, were planned, and might have been placed in execution when and if the financial backers deemed it expedient.”

– Report of the McCormack-Dickstein Committee

A Patriot, not the Traitor they wanted

You know the coup plot they teach all young Americans about in 10th Grade History class? Oh yeah…

In November 1934, famed double Medal of Honor winner Marine Gen. Smedley Butler gave secret testimony before the McCormack-Dickstein committee – a precursor to the House Committee on Un-American Activities. In it, Butler told of a plot headed by a group of wealthy businessmen (The American Liberty League) to establish a fascist dictatorship in the United States, complete with concentration camps for “Jews and other undesirables.”

Show Me the Money

Butler had been approached by Gerald P. MacGuire of Wall Street’s Grayson M-P Murphy & Co. MacGuire claimed they would assemble an army of 500,000 mostly unemployed WWI veterans and march on DC. The plutocrats wanted Butler to lead the coup, thinking that, like the Bolsheviks, taking one major city (DC as Petrograd) would lead to the fall of the government. They promised to put up $3 million as starters and dangled a future $300 million as bait. Butler went along with the plot until he could learn the identities of all the schemers. Not a one of them was ever called to testify or was charged with Treason. Virtually all of them were founding members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

The League was headed by the DuPont and J.P Morgan cartels and had major support from Andrew Mellon Associates, Pew (Sun Oil), Rockefeller Associates, E.F. Hutton Associates, U.S. Steel, General Motors, Chase, Standard Oil and Goodyear Tires.

Money was funneled thru the Sen. Prescott Bush-led Union Banking Corporation (yes, those Bushes) and the Prescott Bush-led Brown Brothers Harriman (yes, that Harriman) to the League (and to Hitler, but that’s another story). The plotters bragged about Bush’s Hitler connections and even claimed that Germany had promised Bush that it would provide materiel for the coup. This claim was entirely believable: a year earlier, Chevrolet president William S. Knudsen (who himself had donated $10,000 to the League) went to Germany and met with Nazi leaders and declared upon his return that Hitler’s Germany was “the miracle of the twentieth century.” At the time, GM’s wholly-owned Adam-Opal Co. had already begun producing the Nazi’s tanks, trucks and bomber engines. James D. Mooney, GM’s vice-president for foreign operations was joined by Henry Ford and IBM chief Tom Watson in receiving the Grand Cross of the German Eagle from Hitler for their considerable efforts on behalf of the Third Reich.

The Whitewash

While the Committee found that Gen. Butler was telling the truth, discrediting such a stalwart was problematic for the plotters. Quickly, the corporate press weighed in and sought to raise doubts about the war hero, settling on branding him naive. The discredit Knudsen meme was: “it was all idle cocktail party chatter.” This red herring was trumpeted under the Associated Press headline “The Cocktail Putsch.” New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia dismissed the plot as “someone at the party had suggested the idea to the ex-Marine as a joke.”

From 1934 through 1936, the League got thirty-five pro-League front page stories in the New York Times. TIME ridiculed Butler in a Dec. 3, 1934 cover story, even though Butler’s story was corroborated by VFW head James E. Van Zandt, who also said he was approached to lead the coup. Though, TIME did put a footnote on an early 1935 article stating; “Also last week the House Committee on Un-American Activities purported to report that a two-month investigation had convinced it that General Butler’s story of a fascist march on Washington was alarmingly true.”

Solely, the Scripps-Howard papers backed FDR and presented the truth.

Whatever Happened to the “Economic Royalists?”

President Franklin D. Roosevelt labeled the plotters “economic royalists” and survived their, thankfully, ham-handed efforts. Jan. 3, 1936, FDR blasted the American Liberty League before a joint session of Congress where he announced the ban on military exports to Italy.

“Our resplendent economic aristocracy does not want to return to that individualism of which they prate, even thought the advantages under that system went to the ruthless and the strong. They realize that in thirty-four months we have built up new instruments of public power. In the hands of a people’s government this power is wholesome and proper. But, in the hands of political, puppets of an economic aristocracy, such power would provide shackles for the liberties of the people. Give them their way and they will take the course of every aristocracy of the past – power for themselves, enslavement for the public.”

FDR was never able to bring any of the plotters to justice. He wasn’t even able to rein in Prescott Bush until 1942 when the government seized the assets of Bush’s pro-Nazi enterprises – garnering Bush a $1.5 million windfall once the assets were returned in 1951! It’s obvious that the fascist mindset of the “economic royalists” has never gone away and is the driving force behind the modern-day ascent (and the ultimate demise of) of the American Empire, the attacks on worker’s rights and pensions, the attacks on our minimal safety nets, etc.

In its day, the League promoted itself as a bastion of all concerned about “burdensome taxes imposed upon industry for unemployment insurance and old age pension.” The League sought to “combat radicalism” and to “teach respect for the rights of persons and property, and generally to foster free private enterprise.”

J.P. Morgan and Chase are now one. The fortunes of the Mellon, Rockefeller, DuPont, Pitcairn (Pittsburgh Plate Glass) and Pew families have sky-rocketed. Pew and Rockefeller have morphed into a cabal of foundations that fund/neuter progressive grass roots efforts.

1936’s Occupy Movement

William S. Knudsen was the sole inside plotter who turned against the plot, renounced Hitler and is credited with pushing GM into a settlement of the Flint Sit-Down Strike . Underpaid, overworked workers took over and stayed in their plants, starting with Flint’s Fisher Body #3 and fought off attacks by GM-controlled police and hired goons. FDR and Michigan Gov. Frank Murphy called out the National Guard, not to roust the strikers, but to form a cordon between the strikers and the goons. Murphy’s father and grandfather had been hung by the British as Irish revolutionaries and many of the strikers were ethnic Irish laborers, so he as very sympathetic.

After 44 days, Knudsen, now GM vice-president, declared that “Collective Bargaining’s time has come” With his ally, two-time Flint Mayor, life-long civic booster/philanthropist, GM’s top shareholder and fellow board member C. S. Mott assisting; GM settled, leading the way to the 40-hour work week, overtime pay, union organizing rights, pensions, etc. Mott even saw to it that health clinics were set up in the factories for the workers and their families. Coup plotter/GM President and Chairman Alfred P. Sloan, who had wanted to reclaim the plants with guns blazing stepped partly aside as GM head and Knudsen replaced him as president. GM went on to become the world’s top corporation for 40 years, the country saw the rise of a middle class and wealth disparity was at the lowest levels ever in the US.

It likely was not entirely altruistic of Knudsen, as two years later FDR put Knudsen in charge of the National Defense Advisory Commission. On his watch, some $12 billion in armament contracts were awarded to GM by the U.S. War Production Board, which also was conveniently chaired by Knudsen. At the same time, GM’s Opal factories built most of Hitler’s trucks and bomber engines. This part of the “win-win” did not lead to any charges against Knudsen or GM. Instead, it led to the Danish immigrant Knudsen becoming the first civilian commissioned as a U.S. Army General.

The Lesson

The take-away lesson to never forget is that, as Roosevelt noted, economic royalists have their own decidedly non-populist agenda. Since they paid no price at all for their coup attempt, they have never wavered from their elitist ideology. They now simply rig elections, set up massive “security” apparatuses and roust anyone who stands up to their dominance. (NY Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the 12th richest American worth $19.5 billion, recently bragged: “I have my own army in the NYPD, which is the seventh biggest army in the world. I have my own State Department, much to Foggy Bottom’s annoyance.”)

Union busting goes on unabated. The US has a greater percentage of its people incarcerated than any country at any time in history. And, thanks to recent Supreme Court decisions, no one can match the political clout of the financiers. The “royalists” now own the government, as well as the press and their own armies. War profiteering still tops the agenda, followed closely by attacks on workers’ wages, pensions, health care… FDR and the Sit-Downers’ hard-won safety net is under assault.

As the great populist Sen. Robert La Follette, Jr. said at the time, the American Liberty League (and all its following incarnations) cannot “be expected to defend the liberty of the masses of the American people. It speaks for the vested interests.”

The other lesson is: Occupying the Means of Production gets the goods.


MICHAEL DONNELLY lives in Salem, OR. He can be reached at pahtoo@aol.com


Thursday, July 26, 2007


The 1933 coup plot and Prescott Bush

Edited by Steven Gaal
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  • 2 weeks later...

more POTUS plots


Here's an article I wrote a few years ago on HINKLEY & COMPANY - BK (BILL KELLY)


“Minds are malleable, but not self-malleable, a condition politicians and PR men use to sinister advantage.”
-William S. Burroughs.

After John Hinkley shot President Reagan, he said, “The movie isn’t over yet!”

And indeed it isn’t. Political assassinations and coup d’etats are the most frequently used methods of changing governments and controlling power, and we shouldn’t expect that to change.

Now we hear from Hinkley every few years or so when he exercises his right to seek release from St. Elizabeth’s hospital, where he is incarcerated. Hinkley is in a hospital, rather than a prison, because of a quirk in our judicial system that says he is not responsible for his actions. If that is the case, then who is responsible for Hinckley’s actions?

After the assassination of President Kennedy the murder of a president was made a Federal, rather than a local crime, so a Federal investigation would take precedence over local police, courts and authorities. Unlike the Hinkley-Reagan affair, the assassination of President Kennedy was successful and the government changed hands, minds and policy, while Hinkley’s attempt on Reagan failed and the constitutional powers did not change.

Because we still haven’t determined exactly who was responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy, or the attack on Reagan, we certainly haven’t seen the last of political assassinations in our society. We haven’t heard the last of John Hinckley, Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan B. Sirhan or Mark David Chapman, the seemingly unimportant people who unexpectedly rise from the masses to take a monumental action that makes a mark on history and changes the course of our times.

As Hinkley said, the movie isn’t over yet. Hinkley failed in his mission, but created an important case study that helps us understand the ongoing implications of assassination in our society.

War dawns slowly as a political hot spot becomes unmanageable and a limited conventional war gets out of hand, though we know the crisis is coming, but assassination, as a political incident, happens suddenly and often unexpectedly, except to those who intend it to happen. Since Hinkley shot Reagan, Sadat of Egypt, Aquillo of the Philippines, Ghandi of Inida, and dozens of other world leaders have become victim of assassins. Of all political avenues, assassination is the most likely, but least expected to happen.

“Well, it seems, you know, that there was this…there was this thing I had to do, the moment I had been heading for all my life, like going through that door, as I say, the door to someplace.” – Taxi Driver

John Hinkley came crashing through that door on a lazy springtime afternoon in March, 1981, just outside a side door of the Washington Hilton Hotel. It’s now nicknamed the Hinkley Hilton since Hinkley jumped out of a crowd of newsmen to shoot President Reagan, his press secretary James Brady, a secret service agent and a security guard.

Hinkley’s alleged motive, a psychological, rather than political one, is that he shot the President to impress movie actress Jody Foster. Hinkley had repeatedly seen the movie, “Taxi Driver” in which Foster plays the role of a prostitute protected by a crazed taxi driver who stalks a politician with the intent to kill him, but then kills a pimp and a drug pusher. Rather than being sent to prison, he is declared a hero.

While the facts of Hinkley’s life were being investigated and disseminated by the news media shortly after the attack, John Wright of Lansing, Michigan was arrested and charged with threatening the life of then Vice President George Bush. Wright had bragged, “that he could be more famous than Siran Siran or Lee Harvey Oswald.”

As news of Hinkley’s actions spread through the media, Edward Michael Richardson, Michael Vandewehe and possibly other “copy cat” assassins, as they came to be called, went through the Taxi Driver door on the heels of Hinkley. And like Hinkley and Wright, they found themselves in jail, charged with threatening the life of or attempting to assassinate the President of the United States.

On April 9, 1981, less than two weeks after the shooting at the Hinkley Hilton, Edward Michael Richardson was charged with two counts of threatening the life of the President. The first count stemmed from a letter Richardson wrote and delivered to Jody Foster Yale dormitory, while the second charge related to a letter found in Richardson’s hotel room in which he stated that he was going to Washington D.C. “to bring completion to Hinkley’s reality.” Richardson was arrested in New York City with a loaded pistol while getting on a D.C. bound bus.

From Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, a Philadelphia suburb, Richardson had spent some time in the
military and was once a student of the Reverend Carl MacIntire’s Shelton College, a fundamentalist religious school with campuses located in Cape Canaveral, Florida and Cape May, New Jersey.

Within days of Richardson’s arrest, the Secret Service charged Michael VandeWehe of Wildwood, New Jersey, with threatening the life of the President. VandeWehe was considered a threat even though he was then incarcerated in the Cape May County jail at the time. The Secret Service said that he wrote and mailed a letter from the jail that made a “direct threat against the life of the President.”

Before Reagan was shot, the Secret Service had commissioned a study by a panel of 27 experts to prepare a report on the methods of predicting violent acts. The Secret Service also compiles files on thousands of citizens that are potential threats to the President, and some 400 individuals are considered a serious enough threat to be kept under periodic surveillance. Neither Hinkley, Wright nor VandeWehe were considered to be a threat to the President before March, 1981.

Hinkley’s case also made its mark in the legal journals as a precedent to be cited because of Hinkley’s insanity plea, and attempts by the victim’s attorneys to make Hinkley’s psychologists responsible for his actions if he was not.

If Hinkley and the copy-cats were acting on psychological impulses, rather than on political, ideological or mercenary motives, then someone else could be held responsible for their behavior if it can be shown that they were conditioned or acting as an agent of others.

Rather than acting as a deranged lone-nuts on primitive instincts, perhaps one or even some of these assassins were psychologically conditioned or brainwashed by scientists with a more sophisticated motive – and fit the archtypical Manchurian Candidate model.

If Hinkley was conditioned by the film “Taxi Driver,” it might not have been just be environmental and social circumstances, but rather by design. Using drugs, hypnosis and multimedia programming techniques, individual subjects have been programmed to kill with a high degree of predictable response, so it is a possibility that deserves further investigation.


The U.S. Government, the military in particular, conducted psychological experiments on human subjects years, decades ago, and today, anyone with the knowledge and the tools could be in the business of privately programming and training assassins and terrorists.

We know coup d’etats and political assassinations occur routinely in third world countries and so-called “Bananna Republics,” but our own system of government is equally vulnerable and more likely targeted for such manipulation. Until President Reagan, who survived the attempt on his life in the first weeks of his presidency, none of the previous five presidents actually served out their full two terms, eight years of office, since President Kennedy was assassinated.

Men with pistols, rifles, bombs and even samurai swords have been arrested at the White House gates, where guards have been on the lookout for suicide bomb trucks and remote control kamikaze airplanes.

The Secret Service, a branch of the Treasury Department, is responsible for the security of the president and thus keeps the files on thousands of people who are potential threats. Some are violent prone suspects, others religious fanatics, ideological demagogs, professional hit men, espionage agents and trained terrorists. Others are just plain nuts.

Their common name – assassins, comes from the Arabic word Hashshishin, which means, “users of hashish,” the euphoric drug, but their legend stems from a secret society that began in the 11th century Persia as a religious order. Their leader, it is said, “carries the death of kings in his hand.”

Most of Western civilization first learned the tales of the Assassins from Marco Polo, who passed through Persia in 1273 enroute to China. Polo reported that the Shek of the Assassins lived in a fortified valley between two mountains, which is probably the fabled, impenetrable fortress at Alamut. There the Sheik had a beautiful fruit bearing garden “watered with streams of wine, milk and honey.” Drugged and taken to the hidden garden, young impressionable recruits were courted by dancers, musicians, magicians and beautiful women. They were inebriated in ecstasy, then drugged again and brought before the Sheik. Having experienced paradise, they became slaves to its pleasures, and the Sheik’s whim. “Away they went,” Polo said, “and did all that they were commanded. Thus it happened that no man escaped when the Sheik of the mountains desired his death.”

The role of the order of the Assassins, while they have passed into mythology, is still relevant, not only linguistically, but in regards to a contemporary understanding of assassination as a political weapon in our own society. In the 1000 years the term assassins has been used, assassins are still programmed and conditioned in ways similar to their ancient counterparts, but by much more sophisticated and predictable ways.

As the victim of an assassin President Lincoln became the last casualty of the Civil War. In 1900 Theodore Roosevelt assumed power when President McKinley was shot and killed by a “glassy-eyed anarchist.” Assassins sparked Word War I by killing Archduke Ferdinand as he rode in a motorcade, and the Reichstag fire that herald Hilter’s rise to power was allegedly started by a “lone-nut.” French Admiral Darlin was assassinated by a British trained assassin in North Africa, while Hitler was the target of a failed assassination-coup attempt in 1944. After the war Leon Trotsky was targeted, stalked and eventually assassinated in Mexico City by Soviet agents.

The assassination of President Kennedy precipitated two decades of political unrest that included the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy and the wounding of Presidential candidate George Wallace, all by assassins who fit the archtypical assassin prototype – James Earl Ray, Siran Siran and Arthur Bremmer. Richard Nixon’s handpicked successor, Michigan congressman Gerald Ford, served on the Warren Commission inquiry into President Kennedy’s assassination before assuming that office himself. As President he dodged bullets from two attacks, one from Sara Jane Moore, and FBI informant, and the other from Squeaky Frome, one of Charles Manson’s disciples.

Assassins in the United States have not confined themselves to presidents and presidential contenders, but have also killed Union officials, foreign diplomats, journalists and cultural figures. United Mine Workers union president Tony Boyle was convicted of ordering the murder of his union rival Jock Yablonski, Chilean secret police agent Michael Townley turned states’ evidence in admitting his participation with renegade Cubans in the Dupont Circle bombing assassination of former Chilean ambassador Leitter in downtown Washington D.C., and one-time fan, Mark David Chapman shot and killed former Beatle John Lennon.

By March, 1981 America and the world had been numbed by the accustomed ring of the assassin’s gun when Hinkley opened fire on the President’s entourage. Had he been successful, Hinkley would have made George Bush president of the United States with the flick of his finger and altering the course of history. The possibility that Hinkley was programmed or conditioned to shoot the President may have been privately evaluated, but has not been analyzed in a public forum.


The U.S. government has learned much about the psychological makeup of assassins, not by studying the profiles of subjects, but by attempting to create them. The state-of-the-art of conditioning assassins has advanced considerably sincethe days of the Hashshishin and the garden fortress at Alamut.

From 1949 until 1974 the U.S. CIA and the U.S. Department of Defense conducted sophisticated mind and behavior control research, using students, agents, soldiers and prisoners as human guinea pigs in a number of experiments that used drugs, hypnosis, audio[visional and electronic programming techniques.

One such project, called ARTICHOKE, began using drugs for investigating interrogation techniques, which stemmed from attempts to understand brainwashing procedures used on American prisoners of war by the Chinese in North Korea. Eventually the program became directed towards finding “whether a person could be secretly induced to commit an assassination against his will.”

One CIA contract agent, Jessica Wilcox (aka Candy Jones), a model and radio personality, was programmed to commit suicide by her CIA psychiatrist (See: “Candy Jones,” by Donald Bain, Playboy Press).

Although both the CIA and the military claim that their research ended in 1974, there are indications that the mind control programs merely became “operational” when the “experimental” stage ended, and techniques for programming assassins were secretly blended in with the normal routine of clandestine and military affairs.

The discovery of a CIA handbook in Central America that gave guidelines on developing criminals as agents to eliminate selected government officials is evidence of this, along with the fact that it was used in Vietnam, supports the contention that the U.S. government uses assassination as a tool of foreign policy.


In the summer of 1975, a year after the government claimed it halted such research, Dr. Irwin Sarason organized a conference in Oslo, Norway for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), which addressed the topic of “The Dimensions of Stress and Anxiety.”

Dr. Sarason had produced a film which showed the success of school students who asked questions, and presented the film to a group of juvenile delinquents, who learned how to ask questions and showed marked improvement in their studies.

The U.S. Office of Naval Research offered to fund Sarason’s work, provided it was classified, so it could be used by the Navy psychiatric lab in San Diego, California, where “spys were being trained to resist interrogation.”

Peter Watson, a former psychologist and a reporter for the London Sunday Times attended the Oslo conference and participated in a seminar conducted by U.S. Navy Lt. Commander Thomas Narut, a psychologist then assigned to the U.S. Navy Regional Medical Center in Naples, Italy.

Lt. Commander Narut gave a talk on “The Use of Symbolic Models and Verbal Intervention in Inducing and Reducing Stress.” He claimed his work involved teaching “combat readiness units” to cope with the stress of killing.

After his general discourse, Watson talked privately with Narut, who told the London Times correspondent that he had done his doctoral dissertation on whether certain films provoke anxiety. Narut said that he studied whether forcing men to do irrelevant tasks while watching violent films made them cope better with anxiety associated with violence.

Narut also told Watson that the U.S. Navy programmed assassins on an assembly line basis, and that he personally worked with men whom he referred to as “hit men and assassins,” who were involved in commando type operations and placed in U.S. embassies abroad. These men, Narut told Watson, were on call to kill selected victims when necessary. The U.S. Marine Corps, which is in charge of protecting embassies abroad, comes under the Department of Navy, and much of the advanced training for the Marines takes place at its bases in San Diego, California.

Narut said that drugs and hypnosis were no longer necessary, and that such conditioning was accomplished by a standardized behavior modification process called audio-visual desensitation. Subjects were desensitized to mayhem and carnage by viewing films of people being injured and killed in different ways, with mild bloodshed being succeeded by progressively violent scenes. They became acclimated to the brutality and eventually dissociated their feelings from the violence.

Narut was quoted as saying the best killers were classified as having “passive-aggressive” personalities, or men “with strong drives that were usually kept under tight control.” These types he said, “were usually calm, but from time to time would exhibit outbursts of temper during which they could literally kill without remorse.” Men with these “qualities” could be identified through psychological testing, using the Minnesota Multi-Phasic Personality Inventory test, which is used in schools, businesses and corporations, as well as the military, and can measure hostility, depression and psychopathy.

After subjects with the right psychological qualities were selected and recruited they were sent either to the Naples Medical Center or the Navy Neuropsychological Lab in San Diego, California, where according to Narut, they were audio-visually desensitized by being strapped into a chair with their head clamped in such a way that they couldn’t look away from the screen and their eyelids prevented from closing.

After Watson’s story about the conversation with Narut was published in the London Sunday Times, Narut called a press conference to say that he had been talking only in “theoretical” and not “practical” terms.


“You see, I had this plan to make myself somebody at last, a celebrity. To go down in history. Had this plan I was working on, though, in the meantime, I needed to stay as real with myself as I could. Because when you think of all those other guys, Oswald, Booth and Arty Bremer, the lot, if it’s one thing about them marks them out as real losers is they got a little unreal sometimes…” – Taxi Driver

There has been much discussion on the effects the media has on people and whether it can instigate action, but the question shouldn’t be whether or not the film “Taxi Driver” had a mental impact on John Hinkley, but whether the conditioning was coincidental or deliberate. Are Hinkley, Richardson and VandeWehe really “lone-nuts” acting on their own perverted psychological motives, or were they deliberately programmed by the government, military, the CIA or some sinister psychologists who specializes in such behavior modification?

John Hinkley’s father was a wealthy oil man from Dallas, Texas, where Hinkley grew up and went to school. Hinkley bought his gun at a shop on Elm Street, not far from the Dealey Plaza intersection where President Kennedy was ambushed.

Hinkley’s family moved to Evergreen, Colorado, where they were living in March, 1981. John W. Hinkley Sr. owned Vanderbilt Oil Company, and was active in a number of religious and charitable organizations, although he has more recently been devoting his time to promoting a foundation for mental health research.

Although Hinkley’s main problem seemed to simplyl be finding direction in his life, his parents recognized some mental disturbance in him, and Hinkley saw no less than three doctors about his mental condition in the year before the shooting. In Lubock, Texas, Hinkley saw a Dr. Rosen, who prescribed an anti-depressant called Serentil, and valium, a tranquilizer.

Hinkley also saw Dr. John Hooper, who gave him biofeedback treatments. His father is also quoted as saying, “I made arrangements with a psychologist by the name of Durrell Benjamin, our company psychologist, to see John.”

This doctor told Hinkley’s father that, “John was immature and that we needed to work out a long-range plan to make John self sufficient.” Hinkley wanted to attend a writer’s school at Yale, and Benjamin recommended that he do so. Yale is where Jody Foster was attending school at the time.

They had Hinkley draw up a written agreement – contract that read: “I will receive the sum of $3,000 in checks, taken from my stock,…to last from September 17 to February 1st…and I do pledge to try to make the coming weeks and months as productive as possible. It is now or never. Thanks for the money and one more chance. John Hinkley, Jr.” The next day he left for New Haven, Connecticut and Yale, but he never enrolled in the writer’s school.

“I worked so hard for it. Swallowed pill after pill, wrote all night long,…making calculations and learned to make myself comfortable to the feel of these guns.” – Taxi Driver

Hinkley had seen a number of films with Jody Foster in them, some repeatedly, and in the month of August that year, he saw some on television. According to one report, “It was his feeling that the movies had been put no TV to excite him into action.”

Returning to his parent’s home in Colorado briefly, Hinkley went back to Lubbock, Texas where he purchased some weapons, the same caliber pistols bought by “Travis,” the hero of “Taxi Driver,” who he emulated. From Texas Hinkley went to Washington, D.C., Columbus, Ohio, and then to Dayton, Ohio, where he stalked then President Carter, who was making a campaign stop. Hinkley then went back to New Haven to see Jody Foster, then went to New York city where he sought out young prostitutes.
Traveling to Lincoln, Nebraska, Hinkley contacted one of the leading activists in the American Nazi party, and fraternized with rightwing military types, before going to Nashville, Tenn., where Carter was campaigning. Picked up at the Nashville airport where his guns had registered on a metal detector, Hinkley was arrested with unregistered weapons in a city where the President was visiting, yet he was never considered a threat to the President and placed on the “watch” list, as thousands of other Americans routinely are “red flagged.”
After paying a fine Hinkley went back to New Haven where he checked into the Colony Inn Hotel before moving to the Sheraton Park Plaza, never in need of money. Returing to Texas, Hinkley purchased two more handguns and then traveled to New Haven, Washington and Colorado, where he saw Evergreen psychologist Dr. John Hooper.

In an effort to make Hinkley relax, Hooper prescribed a series of biofeedback treatments. According to an account in Rolling Stone Magazine, “He was given earphones similar to those he wore in the nearby pistol range when he was practicing shooting at human silhouettes. An electrode was attached to his forehead. But while he was supposed to be relaxing, he was actually fantasizing about assassination and Jody Foster.” Dr. Hooper however, said at the time he had never even heard of Jody Foster.
Towards the end of 1980 Hinkley went to Washington D.C. where he was on December 8, when Mark David Chapman shot and killed John Lennon. Hinkley then began stalking Ronald Reagan, and posed for pictures in front of the Ford Theater, where Lincoln was assassinated.

After seeing Dr. Hooper again in January, 1981, Hinkley went to New Hampshire in February, then to D.C. where he got a room at the Capitol Hill Quality Inn and visited the offices of Sen. Edward Kennedy, but Kennedy wasn’t in. He then visited the White House before going to New York where he planned to commit suicide at the Dakota, where Lennon was killed.

Returning to Colorado once again, on February 19th he left his parents a note saying, “Dear Mom and Dad; Your prodigal son has left again to exorcise some more demons.”
In New Haven, Conn. Hinkley stalked Jody Foster, delivered her a note, and then traveled to New York, from where he called home at 4:30 a.m. on March 6th. Hinkley’s father contacted Dr. Hooper, who advised him to give his son $100 and say goodbye. A friend of Hinkley’s father gave him the money to fly home, and on Saturday, March 7, Hinkley’s father picked him up at the Denver airport.

Staying at the Golden Hours Motel in Lakewood for a week, Hinkley moved to the Motel 6 in Lakewood rather than stay at home. He registered under the name of “Travis,” like his “Taxi Driver” hero. On March 25th his mother drove him to the airport and put him on a plane to Hollywood, California, where he stayed for less than a day. After four days on a bus, Hinkley arrived in New Haven, via D.C., then went back to D.C. and got a room at the Park Central Hotel, less than two blocks from the White House. There he watched TV, ate fast foods and read a Washington Star newspaper that contained the President’s itinerary.
After writing a letter Hinkley picked up a John Lennon button, which he put into his left coat pocket, then put his .22 in his right pocket and proceeded to the Hilton Hotel where the President was making an appearance.

As Hinkley was shooting the president, quite by coincidence, his brother Scott Hinkley was at the White House with his good friend, the son of Vice President George Bush. Bush’s daughter reportedly arranged dates for Scott Hinkley, and Ms. Maureen Bush, a niece of George Bush, is said to have been photographed at a Nazi rally with John Hinkley. The ironies were compounded however, when Michael Richardson was arrested in New York.

In the two weeks after Hinkley’s attack on Reagan, the Secret Service investigated over 300 threats against the life of the President, and Richardson was the most interesting of the copy-cat assassins.


From Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania, Richardson was arrested on April 7, 1981 at the New York City bus terminal with a loaded .32 cal. Pistonl. He had been in New Haven, where he left a note in his hotel room saying he was leaving for Washington “to bring completion to Hinkley’s reality.”

“Our duel realities merged into a single vision,” wrote Richardson, and indeed their trails had previously crossed. Unlike Hinkley, Richardson had briefly served in the military. He was trained at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, from January 4 to March 31, 1977, and received an early honorable discharge after three months of basic training, but the reasons for his discharge were not disclosed. At his arrangement in New York however, U.S. Attorney John Martin said Richardson stabbed someone during his brief military stint.

After attending Delaware Community College in Pennsylvania in 1979, Richardson started school at the Rev. Carl MacIntire’s fundamentalist bible school, Shelton College, near Coca Beach, Florida. He also reportedly went to Cape May, New Jersey, where he spent the summer at MacIntire’s school there, earning extra money by helping to paint Macintire’s Christian Admiral Hotel on the beach. After two semesters, Richardson left Shelton and moved to Lakewood, Colorado, where he move in with his two sisters in December1980.
Hinkley’s parents lived in Evergreen, Colorado, near Lakewood, and Hinkley had stayed at the Golden Hours motel in Lakewood in March 1981.

Richardson left Colorado in mid-March, Hinkley on March 25. In a letter mailed from Grand Junction, Colorado on March 25, and received by the Evangelist Magazine the day Reagan was shot, someone warned, or mysteriously predicted that Reagan would be shot and the country “turned to the left.”
Richardson’s family attorney, Joseph F. Moore, Jr. said that the connections were only “cosmic,” and not evidence of conspiracy. No one however, inquired as to whether Richardson underwent any psychiatric treatment while in Colorado, or looked into whether or not Hinkley’s doctors, particularly Dr. Hooper, also treated Richardson.

Besides their joint fixation with Jody Foster and guns, and their “cosmic” Lakewood, Colorado connections, Hinkley and Richardson were both affiliated with evangelical ministries. Richardson, a student of the Rev. Carl MacIntire, pastor of the Bible Presbyterian Church in Collingswood, N.J. and Cape May, and president of Shelton College, was the founder of the International Council of Christian Churches (ICCC).

MacIntire was also a close, personal friend of J. Edgar Hover, who shared MacIntire’s fanatic anti-communist fervor. MacIntire has frequently condemned the competing World Council of Christian Churches (WCCC), which includes parishes from Communist countries. MacIntire’s radio show, the 20th Century Reformation Hour, was broadcast behind the Iron Curtain and called for a Christian crusade against communism.

John Hinkley’s father, who sponsored a philanthropic foundation that ran a Denver soup kitchen for the poor and homeless, and where his son sometimes dined, was also on the board of directors of World Vision, and ran the World Vision center in Denver.

Both MacIntire’s ICCC and Hinkley’s World Vision are members of the ecumenical federation called the Evangelical Foreign Missions Assocation (EFMA) of Evanston, Illinois. One of the main functions of both ICCC and World Vision, which has its headquarters in Redwood Valley, California, is to operate refugee camps, especially refugee camps that attend to those who have fled communist countries.

According to John Judge, in the June-July issue of The Continuing Inquiry magazine, “World Vision is an evangelical, anti-communist missionary operation that works around the globe…and administers refugee camps in Ghana (where the Jonestown massacre occurred), and at Sabra and Shatilla camps in Lebanon where the Isralie massacre occurred.” Judge says that World Vision also operated along the Honduran border where CIA mercenaries fought Nicaraguan Sandinistas and El Salvadorian revolutionaries and that Alpha 66 and Omega 7 anti-Castro Cubans terrorists were hired to run some of the camps. One such camp also employed Lennon’s killer Mark David Chapman, who worked at the Haitian refugee camp at Ft. Chaffee, Arkansas.

The CIA first began interviewing refugees from communist countries in East Europe in the late 1940s and early 1950s as part of Reinhard Gehlen’s Operation Wriger, and the practice continued through the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and religious organizations like the ICCC and World Vision. Providing food and shelter in exchange for intelligence information is only the basis for the cooperation, and CIA evaluation of the refugee intelligence indicated that children were the most reliable of sources. Some of the foreign missionaries not only accepted money and assistance in exchange for intelligence information, but provided access to select refugees so they could be recruited and trained as assets, operatives and agents.
It is purely speculative whether or not Chapman, Hinkley or Richardson were targeted, recruited, trained or conditioned because of their association with these ministries, but the possibility is there.

Besides these associations, there is Hinkley’s bizarre association with the Islamic Guerilla Army (IGA). On December 16, 1981, Jack Anderson reported, “…Hinkley is widely believed to have acted out a crazy desire to impress actress Jody Foster. It’s an explanation that has gained credence by its very absurdity…But there is a possibility that Hinkley became associated with some Iranian terrorists who call themselves the Islamic Guerrilla Army (IGA)…In January 1981 an informant told the FBI and Secret Service that the IGA planned to assassinate Reagan sometime between Mid-March and early April, and that one of the assassination teams had the code name of ‘Hicks’ – a student who had been arrested in Nashville in October for illegal possession of firearms…Another informant, a government undercover agent, identified Hinkley as theman he saw at the Denver airport in 1979 with leaders of the Earth Liberation Movement (ELM), a communist backed group with ties to the IGA.”

John Hinkley’s father said that, “(Conspiracy) is one of the first things we looked at. The government looked into it and didn’t find anything. There’s absolutely no truth, no substance to conspiracy. John is very ill; he is a sick person. He did this for a vary pathetic reason.”


Like Richardson, Michael VandeWehe also served in the military, where something strange happened to him. VandeWehe was charged with threatening the life of the president after Hinkley’s attack on Reagan even though he was already incarcerated in the Cape May County jail at Cape May Court House, New Jersey.

Born in Cooperstown, New York, VandeWehe grew up in the Chelsea section of Atlantic City. His brother Richard died in a motorcycle accident in 1975 while stationed in Okinawa as a Marine. Michael joined the Marines in 1978. His father noted, “He felt he had to take his brother’s place.”

After basic training Michael was transferred to Iceland, where he was stationed for two years. But something happened there that forced him to be sent to Bethesda Naval Hospital in Washington, where he was treated in the psychiatric wing in May, 1980.

As for his stay in Iceland, his father said, “Something happened there, but we’re not sure what.” Released from the hospital in June of 1980, VandeWehe was discharged from the Service and returned to his parents home in Wildwood, New Jersey. Not permitted to move in with his parents, who stayed at the Sandman Towers senior citizen complex, named after former Congressman Charles Sandman, Michael got a room at a local boarding house.

When he missed a rent payment, he was locked out of his room and his belongings confiscated by his landlord. Arrested for burglary, theft and criminal mischief for taking merchandise from a burnt out Wildwood bar, VandeWehe was released and then rearrested and charged with aggravated assault for striking his landlord, who attempted to prevent him from removing his clothes from his room.

“You can’t take a young boy like this right from the hospital and put him out on the street,” his father said at the time. A week after Hinkley shot Reagan, VandeWehe wrote a letter from the Crest Haven jail that the Secret Service said, “made a direct threat against the life of the President.”

Although VandeWehe’s home inWildwood is only a few miles from the Rev. Carl MacIntire’s Christian Admiral Hotel and Shelton College in Cape May, there does not appear to be any known association between VandeWehe and MacIntire or Richardson and their proximity seems only a coincidence. Much like the Lakewood, Colorado proximity between Hinkley and Richardson.

What is interesting however, is the last chapter of the book “The Parallax View,” a novel about a reporter who investigates and penetrates a private network of programmed assassins for hire. Although the screenplay of the movie based on the book, which stars Warren Beaty, was altered to provide for a different ending, the suspense novel ends on the two mile long coastal road that runs between VandeWehe’s Wildwood and Cape May, where MacInire and Richardson were at the Christian Admiral.

Also unlike the movie, in which a commission concludes there was no conspiracy in a political assassination, the book ends with a suspicious local policeman investigating an automobile accident, and concluding it is a murder.

“The movie isn’t over yet” – John Hinkley, Jr.

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