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Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism

Copyright 1989 Dennis King. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the author's permission. If you enjoy the excerpt, you can order the book. 

 Page 252: Chapter Twenty-six

To Roy Cohn,
with Love

Security's most amazing operation was its smear campaign against 
New York attorney and power broker Roy Cohn. It was a classic 
case of Freudian reaction formation - LaRouche the Red-baiter of 
the 1980s, going after Cohn, the former aide to Joe McCarthy; 
LaRouche, the propagandist for organized crime, going after Cohn, 
its attorney and fixer; LaRouche, who lives like a millionaire 
but last paid income tax in 1973, going after Cohn, who evaded 
the IRS through similar tactics for most of his adult life. No 
two antagonists ever deserved each other more.

The war on Cohn was triggered indirectly by an investigative 
series I wrote for the Manhattan weekly Our Town in 1979. These 
were the first articles to call attention to LaRouche's 
neo-Nazism. Former NCLC members say the series freaked out the 
national office staff. Especially affected were Jewish members, 
who had rationalized the turn to neo-Nazism via various 
self-deceptions.

LaRouche moved quickly to blunt the psychological effect on his 
followers and launch a counterpunch. The first step was to 
announce that the articles signaled yet another assassination 
attempt against him. 

Previously, such announcements had led to security alerts and 
mobilizations, whipping up enough hysteria to keep his followers 
from thinking about things he didn't want them to think about. 
But for a security alert to be scary, the enemy must be scary - 
not just a neighborhood newspaper but a giant global conspiracy. 
Naturally that conspiracy had to include Jews and drug 
traffickers. In a broadside entitled "We'll Destroy the Zionists 
Politically," LaRouche announced: "I am a chief target . . . 
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  .   .   .   Dope, Inc."

LaRouche filed a $20 million suit against Our Town, which 
retained Roy Cohn as its defense attorney. When Security 
discovered that Cohn had represented Our Town on several previous 
occasions, they blamed him for the articles. The NCLC issued a 
leaflet with a picture of Cohn and the caption: "Roy Cohn, the 
mobster who wants to see LaRouche dead." It described him as a 
major figure in Dope, Inc., and one of the plotters behind the 
assassination of John F. Kennedy. As the weeks passed, NCLC 
ascribed more and more importance to Cohn in their global 
conspiracies. This propaganda was too hysterically worded to have 
much effect on the general public, but inside the NCLC it 
effectively diverted attention. By constant repetition LaRouche 
linked Our Town's articles to the name, face, and odious 
reputation of Cohn. He even claimed Cohn had personally written 
the series. This was a trick LaRouche had described well in 
"Beyond Psychoanalysis" (1973): If one is faced with dangerous 
thoughts, one can "block the process of assimilation" by the 
"commonplace ruse" of slapping a nasty label on them. The Our 
Town articles called for a chain-reaction label: Cohn, McCarthy, 
Mafia, Faggot. This was effective because many of LaRouche's 
followers were former leftists with a gut hatred of McCarthyism, 
and Cohn was McCarthyism's premier living symbol. The NCLC 
members thus could regard themselves as the successors of the 
Rosenbergs, suffering jolt after jolt from Roy Cohn's Our Town, 
Roy Cohn's New York Times, and Roy Cohn's Anti-Defamation League.

On another level the anti-Cohn rhetoric reinforced the NCLC's 
anti-Semitism at the very moment when outsiders were harshly 
questioning it. One of the oldest ploys of anti-Semites is to 
focus on an individual Jew who is genuinely sinister, and to 
describe his crimes in a manner that suggests that criminality is 
an innate Jewish trait. The LaRouchians had frequently railed 
against Meyer Lansky, the financial wizard of organized crime, 
and long-deceased Jewish gangsters of the Prohibition era such as 
Bugsy Siegel of Murder, Inc. But such figures had always been too 
remote from the mainstream Jewish community to be convincing 
symbols. Cohn, however, was a power in New York politics, with 
ties to many prominent and respectable Jews. The LaRouchians thus 
could allege that he represented both a Jewish conspiracy and 
behavior patterns typical of rich Jews. (In fact, Cohn was an 
aberrant personality who could have come from any ethnic group. 
Neither of his two historic partners in demagoguery, McCarthy 
and J. Edgar Hoover, was Jewish, and his most sinister clients 
were Italians.)

Cohn's unrepentant McCarthyism, his homosexuality, his role in 
selecting judges in New York, and his notoriously unethical 
behavior before the bar all became grist for the propaganda mill, 
topped off by his media image as the meanest man in New York - an 
image he carefully cultivated to enhance the price of his legal 
services and the effectiveness of his courtroom theatrics. 
LaRouche transformed this into Cohn, the meanest Zionist in New 
York, the personification of the alleged inner meanness of 
Zionism itself. NCLC members then joined in the Cohn-hating much 
as the fictional denizens of George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four 
rallied for hate sessions directed at the scapegoat Emmanuel 
Goldstein. Critical thinking within the NCLC national office was 
almost completely blocked, and no defections occurred for over a 
year.

But LaRouche's troubles in the outside world were by no means 
squelched. The New York Times echoed Our Town's findings in a 
front-page series, and the story spread to newspapers in New 
Hampshire, where LaRouche was making his Democratic primary 
presidential bid. He tried to counter the reports by claiming he 
was being libeled by Cohn and "the mob" as a result of his 
antidrug stance, but such protestations were not effective with 
the general public, and he received only 2,300 votes in the 
primary. He thus faced a new dilemma: He had built up Cohn as the 
enemy, but by the logic of this myth, Cohn had caused LaRouche's 
humiliating New Hampshire defeat. All LaRouche had been able to 
do to Cohn was fulminate. Some form of revenge would have to be 
extracted if LaRouche's reputation as a dangerous fellow was not 
to melt away.

A stroke of luck gave LaRouche the means to extract his revenge 
in an extraordinary manner, boosting his followers' view of 
themselves as a potent force and sending a message to the 
Establishment: Don't mess with Lyndon LaRouche if you have 
anything to hide. This lucky event was the convergence of the 
LaRouchians' rage with that of Richard Dupont, a former lover, 
business associate, and law client of Cohn's. Richard was the 
co-owner of Big Gym, a gay health club that had been evicted from 
its Greenwich Village quarters in 1979. Previously Richard had 
dreamed of purchasing the property, but it ended up in the hands 
of a real estate developer. Richard blamed this on Cohn's having 
made a deal behind his back, and he started to talk to anyone who 
would listen. He said that Cohn had been the silent partner in 
Big Gym, and that Cohn's personal assistant, Russell Eldridge, 
had been assigned to skim off cash and procure young men from 
among the club's clientele to service Cohn's insatiable sexual 
needs.

Through the years Cohn had double-crossed many clients, from rich 
elderly ladies through mobsters, and always with impunity. But in 
Richard he found a victim with an almost superhuman-thirst for 
revenge and a cunning to match his own. Richard was determined to 
bring down his powerful betrayer, and was willing to run whatever 
risks were necessary. He contacted many of Cohn's past victims in 
preparation for a lawsuit. He waged a campaign of hundreds of 
crank calls to Cohn and various of his associates at their homes 
and offices. He wrote "Roy Cohn Is a Fag" up and down the 
sidewalk in front of Cohn's town house. He sent fire trucks and 
police on a false alarm to Cohn's Greenwich, Connecticut, estate, 
disrupting a dinner party that included Mr. and Mrs. Donald 
Trump, the Baron and Baroness di Portanova, and Mrs. S. I. 
Newhouse. When Cohn was in the hospital recovering from plastic 
surgery, Richard slipped into the room, wearing a white coat and 
with a stethoscope around his neck, to remonstrate with Cohn and 
give him a bouquet of wilted flowers.

Richard also developed a remarkable network of informants in 
Cohn's office and among Cohn's lovers. He knew where Cohn was at 
virtually every moment. Secretaries, switchboard operators, and 
business underlings all helped him, as did Cohn's lovers. His 
most important source was George Dowling, who ran the skimming 
operations at Cohn's porn theaters and parking lots. Dowling 
despised Cohn and provided Richard with information of the most 
sensitive nature. Richard then called up the head of real estate 
at the Rock Island Railroad in Chicago and told him how Cohn's 
associates were skimming off and double.ticketing approximately 
$350,000 a year from parking lots leased from the railroad. The 
Cohnheads promptly lost the franchise.

Said Kalev Pehme, a former Our Town editor who knew Richard well 
and often dealt with Cohn on news stories: "Richard had a 
profound understanding of Cohn's closet homosexual self-hate. He 
constantly preyed on this and on Cohn's vanity. It was the 
cumulative effect, one little thing after another, and suddenly 
you had this powerful figure breaking down because Richard sent 
him wilted flowers. Richard just kept hitting him like a 
prizefighter, little blows, you're woozy, then you're gone."  
Pehme attributed Richard's success in gaining the cooperation of 
Cohn's lovers to this same psychological understanding. "Richard 
would help them get over Roy. They were often innocent types, not 
boys, but men, with battered egos, no self-esteem, completely 
dominated and used by Cohn. Richard would commiserate with them 
in the most astonishing compassionate way. He developed 
tremendous rapport with them, and they told him everything."

In early 1980 a friend of Richard's was handed an NCLC anti-Cohn 
leaflet in front of Bloomingdale's. She passed it on to Richard, 
who asked Pehme about it.

Pehme warned him that the LaRouchians were a cult, but Richard 
figured any enemy of Cohn was worth meeting. He soon recognized 
that, cult or not, they had the resources to do what he and other 
Cohn victims had not been able to do on their own. As to the 
LaRouchian ideology, it simply was of no interest to him.

Over the next few months Richard met on numerous occasions with 
Paul Goldstein and other Security staffers, providing them with 
devastating information about Cohn's personal life, finances, and 
professional double-dealings. The result was collected and 
published in a magazine, Now East, whose two issues were devoted 
almost entirely to stories about Cohn and other attorneys at 
Saxe, Bacon, Bolan & Manley, as well as their clients.

Goldstein, Richard, and members of the New Solidarity editorial 
staff plotted out the first issue and its follow-up at Richard's 
apartment on West Eighth Street. Richard insisted that there be 
no anti-Zionist rhetoric, which he knew would destroy the 
magazine's effectiveness. Pornographic cartoons depicting Cohn in 
flagrante were drawn by a LaRouchian staff artist, while other 
cartoons were plagiarized and adapted from The New Yorker. 
(Richard supplied the captions.) The advertisements were taken 
without permission from legitimate gay publications. The entire 
production was written, laid out, typeset, printed, and paid for 
by the LaRouche organization, under Goldstein's direct 
supervision. Yet its masthead listed a fictitious editorial staff 
and the address of a telephone answering service used by Richard.

For Richard, it was sweet revenge. For the LaRouchians, it was a 
weird inversion of their experience with Our Town. The latter had 
dared to lay out the LaRouchians' dark secret, their closet 
Nazism. Now the LaRouchians were laying out Cohn's secrets.

As soon as the press run of the 52-page magazine was completed at 
LaRouche's PMR Printing Company, the bundles were whisked off to 
Staten Island and stored in George Dowling's garage. From there, 
they were distributed by Richard, his friends, and members of the 
Security staff. The first copies were passed out during New 
York's Gay Pride parade in June 1980. Copies of this and the 
subsequent issue were distributed to Cohn's clients and 
colleagues, to Manhattan's federal court judges, and to the city 
rooms of the metropolitan dailies. Stacks were left at East Side 
restaurants frequented by Cohn, such as "21" and P.J. Clarke's. 
Charles Tate recalls being assigned to pass out copies at a 
meeting of a conservative Catholic group attended by Tom Bolan, 
one of Cohn's law partners.

The first issue's lead article was an "Open Letter to the Gay 
Community" bearing Cohn's name, in which he purportedly confessed 
his homosexuality and apologized for selling out Big Gym. Other 
articles provided details about the skimming operations at 
Cohn-linked businesses and a combination of real and fictitious 
stories about his glitzy clients such as Buddy Jacobson, Gloria 
Vanderbilt, Steve Rubell of Studio 54, Baron and Baroness di 
Portanova, and Gloria Steinberg, estranged wife of financier Saul 
Steinberg. In addition, Now East included the names of young men 
who allegedly had slept with Cohn, details about his health, and 
a drawing of a graveyard with his name on a tombstone.

The second issue followed in November, with a cover drawing 
labeled "Roy Cohn . . . Fairy." It included articles about a male 
model alleged to be Cohn's latest lover, Cohn's tax-evasion 
methods, and how he double.crossed several clients including an 
organized crime boss.

Veteran Cohn watchers say that much of the information in the two 
issues was accurate, some was exaggerated, a few things were 
concocted. But even the false material bore an aura of 
believability (and hence a great capacity for embarrassing and 
humiliating Cohn) because of the skillful way in which it was 
interwoven with the factual material - the secrets that no one 
else had ever dared print about New York's vaunted "legal 
executioner." The reported incidents of professional misconduct 
were far more outrageous than those which led to Cohn's 
disbarment in 1986, shortly before his death from AIDS. In 
addition, the magazine discussed Cohn's silent partnership in a 
Staten Island Parking lot skimming operation run illegally on 
city Property by Enrico Mazzeo, former real estate manager for 
the city's Department of Marine and Aviation. Mazzeo already was 
the target of a Brooklyn federal strike force probe. In November 
1983 he was found dead in a car trunk in Brooklyn, the victim of 
a  gangland-style execution.

Cohn was desperate to stop the flow of information to Richard, 
but there were just too many inside sources. When John LeCarre's 
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy was dramatized on television, 
Dupont and the LaRouchians began to refer to these sources 
collectively  "Geraldine" - after LeCarre"s "Gerald the Mole." 
Cohn went to his old antagonist Manhattan District Attorney 
Robert Morgenthau with a desperate request for help. In October 
1980 Richard was indicted on thirteen criminal counts, mostly 
acts of petty harassment which, under ordinary circumstances, a 
district attorney wouldn't waste his time on. The Village Voice 
noted that Morgenthau  and Cohn had seemed very chummy at a party 
the night before Richard's 6 A.M. arrest. The Voice believed the 
indictment said more about Cohn's power in New York politics than 
about Richard's criminality.

Morgenthau's office was well aware of the involvement of the 
LaRouchians with Richard. Assistant DA Harold Wilson called Our 
Town about them on several occasions in August and September 
1980. Yet none of them were indicted. Richard's attorney, John 
Klotz, believes a political decision was made to let them off: 
"Just after Richard's arraignment I went to Wilson. I said, 
'Let's work something out, we'll help you get LaRouche.' Wilson 
said to me, 'After I convict Dupont, I will immunize him and put 
him in front of a grand jury. I don't need your help.'"

That second grand jury was never convened. Former associates of 
Cohn and LaRouche say that an agreement was arrived at: LaRouche 
would stop harassing Cohn, and there would be no reprisals 
against LaRouche. Now East ceased publication, and New Solidarity 
scaled back its attacks on Cohn. According to Anne-Marie Vidal, a 
former member of the NCLC inner circle, LaRouche aides paid a 
substantial sum to Cohn to introduce LaRouche to important people 
and persuade the media to leave the NCLC alone. According to law 
enforcement sources, such a deal was indeed made, but Cohn never 
delivered what he had promised.

Dupont's trial in the summer of 1981 lasted five weeks. Wilson 
never once mentioned the defendant's LaRouche connection or the 
involvement of the LaRouchians in Now East, although its 
distribution was included among the charges against Dupont. This 
was an extraordinary omission. LaRouche's probable involvement 
had been mentioned repeatedly in The Village Voice. Bringing his 
name into the case could only have strengthened Wilson's hand, 
especially with Jewish members of the jury. Nevertheless, the 
prosecution maintained that Dupont published and distributed Now 
East alone. Defense counsel Klotz's questioning of Richard 
brought out that he was dyslexic, never graduated from high 
school, had no experience in newspaper layout or any other aspect 
of newspaper work, and could not have produced the magazine on 
his own. This left a hole wide enough to run a bulldozer through. 
All Wilson had to do was ask Richard who his accomplices were, 
and then claim that Richard, far from being a little guy seeking 
justice, was a sinister ally of the infamous LaRouche. But this 
was no ordinary trial. It was a political trial in which the real 
prosecutor was not Wilson but Roy Cohn, disguised as the star 
witness. And Cohn had gained a vested interest in keeping 
LaRouche's name out.

Everything about the wilted-flowers trial was potentially 
explosive: a homosexual Dallas, with Cohn as J.R., providing a 
window into the profoundly disturbed world of power in New York. 
But Judge Bentley Kassal's rulings, the prosecution's tactics, 
and Cohn's influence with the media kept that window mostly 
closed. If it had been opened, the public would have learned much 
about high-level New York political corruption, foreshadowing the 
Donald Manes-Stanley Friedman-Mayor Koch scandals of the 
mid-1980s. But editors at the metropolitan dailies allowed the 
trial only minimal play. Even The Village Voice only nibbled at 
the edges. There were no TV cameras on the courthouse steps. 
People v. Dupont disappeared into the Memory Hole.

The jury found Richard not guilty on both felony counts, but 
guilty of six misdemeanors. To convict him of crank phone calls 
to Cohn cost the taxpayers over $250,000. But when Michael 
Hudson, a victim of straight-forward loan fraud by the 
LaRouchians, went to the DA's office in 1982, he was told his 
complaint was too complicated (unlike the 
sexually-politically-psychiatrically entangled Dupont case!). 
Indeed no prosecutor seemed to be willing to take on LaRouche. In 
1979 a New York Times editorial had urged a probe of his 
nonprofit Fusion Energy Foundation. But the State Attorney 
General's office, which is in charge of monitoring nonprofit 
organizations, took no action. It was one of the few times this 
publicity-conscious office ever ignored The New York Times.

Meanwhile, LaRouche's NCLC developed Manhattan-centered scams in 
the early 1980s that~according to subsequent indictments and 
civil RICO suits-would rip off the public for tens of millions of 
dollars. Even as this was beginning, The Village Voice and Our 
Town published articles pointing out LaRouche's financial 
improprieties and links to racketeers. Neither Morgenthau's 
office nor State Attorney General Robert Abrams' office nor the 
Federal Strike Force showed any inclination to look at this. The 
first real probe in 1984 had to begin in Boston. Abrams only went 
after LaRouche in the summer of 1986, when Roy Cohn was safely on 
his deathbed and several state attorney generals from Alaska to 
Florida were already on the case-investigating a conspiracy that 
began in Abrams' own backyard.

                   *      *     *

If you have enjoyed the excerpt, you can order the book.
 
E-Mail: jklotz@walrus.com.  Return to Klotz Law Homepage
 

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