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Posted on 08/26/2003 9:13:14 AM PDT by

The John Birch Society has long been our country's premier purveyor of conspiratorial interpretations of past history and current events. This posting is devoted to discussing some details from FBI files which speak to the unreliability and inaccuracy of JBS data and conclusions.

In 1964, FBI Director Hoover stated that he "had little respect for Robert Welch" (founder and leader of the the Birch Society) because of Welch's defamatory comments about President Eisenhower, the Dulles brothers, Chief Justice Warren, and others. He referred to Welch and the Birch Society as "extremist" and "irresponsible".

Also see Hoover's testimony (copied below) before the Warren Commission (Volume V, page 97) when he was asked about an article on JFK's assassination that was published in the JBS magazine, American Opinion:

"Mr. Hoover: I have read that piece. My comment on it is this in general: I think the extreme right is just as much a danger to the freedom of this country as the extreme left. There are groups, organizations, and individuals on the extreme right who make these very violent statements, allegations that General Eisenhower was a Communist, disparaging references to the Chief Justice and at the other end of the spectrum you have these leftists who make wild statements charging almost anybody with being a Fascist or belonging to some of these so-called extreme right societies. Now, I have felt, and I have said publicly in speeches, that they are just as much a danger, at either end of the spectrum. They don't deal with facts. Anybody who will allege that General Eisenhower was a Communist agent, has something wrong with him. A lot of people read such allegations because I get some of the weirdest letters wanting to know whether we have inquired to find out whether that is true. I have known General Eisenhower quite well myself and I have found him to be a sound, level-headed man."

Bureau documents make it clear that, on numerous matters, the FBI thought that the Birch Society was not only wrong on substance, it also injured our society by its reckless and venomous attacks.

Here is one example:

Robert Welch and the JBS referred to author Harry A. Overstreet as a Communist sympathizer or dupe and they denounced Harry's 1958 book "What We Must Know About Communism" as being designed to insure that we did nothing effective against the Communist conspiracy. (See October 1959 Edward Janisch article in Birch magazine American Opinion which was entitled, "What We Must Know About Overstreet" for an example of how the JBS attacked and vilified a loyal American.)

In subsequent years, Welch described his campaign against Harry Overstreet as one of the Birch Society's greatest accomplishments.

What Welch did not know however, is that the FBI assisted Overstreet in writing this book! In fact, internal FBI documents refer to the book as being a useful supplement to J. Edgar Hoover's book "Masters of Deceit" and the FBI asked the American Legion to add the Overstreet book to its recommended reading list (which it did). In a letter to the Director of the Americanism Commission of the Legion, FBI Assistant Director C.D. DeLoach said: "We agree that it is a good one and would you please put it on your approved list."

In October 1958 the Bureau prepared a formal review of the Overstreet book. It was described as a welcome "new aid" in combatting the Communist menace. Quoting from the review memo:

"This new book presents cogent advice to the thinking public. It reflects ideas common to the thinking which has gone on in the Bureau for many years."

FBI Director Hoover told the Attorney General that it "would be a good idea (to) encourage everyone in the Justice Department to read it" and he remarked that he was disappointed that reviews of the book had been cool.

The controversy over Overstreet and his book continued for years due, largely, to the JBS smear campaign against him which took the form of attempting to get Harry's speaking engagements around the country cancelled due to his alleged pro-Communist sympathies or planting hostile questioners in his audiences.

At one point Harry's wife Bonaro wrote to their primary contact within the Bureau (Lou Nichols) to express their frustration and anger at being attacked in Texas by American Legion representatives. Nichols and the Bureau's liaison to the Legion (Asst Director C.D. DeLoach) contacted officials of the American Legion to set the record straight about Harry and his wife, whereupon attacks by Legioneers stopped.

In February 1961 J. Edgar Hoover responded to an inquiry about the Overstreet book. The Bureau file copy has the following notation: "We have had cordial relations with Dr. and Mrs. Harry Allen Overstreet and have furnished them considerable assistance in connection with their books."

The Bureau subsequently assisted Harry with other books that he wrote, including: "The Strange Tactics of Extremism" (1964) and "The FBI In Our Open Society" (1969). In "Strange Tactics" Harry devoted a chapter to former FBI agent (and Birch supporter) Dan Smoot. Harry dissected falsehoods that Smoot published in his newsletter, Dan Smoot Reports.

FBI Assistant Director DeLoach prepared a review of "Strange Tactics" and he specifically applauded Harry's discussion of Smoot because the Bureau thought Smoot was propagating extreme rightwing viewpoints and was wrongly capitalizing on his former association with the Bureau to inflate his credibility.

Smoot, along with Fred Schwarz (Christian Anti-Communism Crusade), Billy James Hargis (Christian Crusade), and Edgar Bundy (Church League of America), were often described sarcastically in Bureau memos as "professional anti-Communists."

Incidentally, Harry Overstreet probably belongs in the Guiness Book of Records since he would be the only alleged Communist sympathizer ever to author a highly commendatory review of J. Edgar Hoover's 1958 book "Masters of Deceit" which appeared in the June 1958 issue of National Parent-Teacher (national PTA magazine). Upon learning about it, J. Edgar Hoover sent Harry a thank-you note.

When Harry died in 1970, Hoover sent a condolence telegram to his wife, Bonaro. It praised Harry's "many contributions" to the fight against Communism and offered deepest sympathies from "his many friends at the Bureau".

Robert Morris, the former Chief Counsel of the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, had a close personal relationship with the Overstreets. Morris wrote to me in March 1989 about the Overstreets. Here is an excerpt:

"I did know Harry and Bonaro Overstreet in the late 1950s and 1960s. They were introduced to me by Louis Nichols when he was Assistant Director of the FBI. They were most helpful to me in my capacity of Chief Counsel to the U.S. Senate Internal Security Subcommittee...They became my friends and I am still grateful for their friendship."

Former FBI Security Informant Herbert Philbrick of "I Led 3 Lives" fame, and the California Senate Factfinding Subcommittee on UnAmerican Activities both referred to Harry Overstreet as an expert with extensive knowledge about how to fight Communism.

This is merely one example of how the Birch Society did enormous damage to our country by impugning the integrity and loyalty of Americans who did not share their warped viewpoints.

Anyone interested in further details about Overstreet or the FBI's negative evaluations about Robert Welch and The John Birch Society, feel free to contact me at:

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: anticommunism; birch; bircher; birchsociety; catholiclist; conspiracy; conspiracytheories; fbi; jbs; johnbirch; johnbirchsociety; johnmcmanus; newamerican; thenewamerican; williamfjasper
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1 posted on 08/26/2003 9:13:15 AM PDT by
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the JBS mentality is about as close to the terrorist state of mind as any islamic terrorist group!...a bunch of catholic and jew hating whackos!
2 posted on 08/26/2003 9:16:57 AM PDT by rrrod
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In general, when I read the New American, it contains information that i have seen elsewhere from independent sources.

I cannot speak to the period of time you cite, but anything over the last few years or so, in the issues that I have perused, is accurate (as far as I am able to determine).

3 posted on 08/26/2003 9:18:48 AM PDT by sauropod
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To: rrrod
Fred Koch, founder of Koch Industries, funded Robert Welch's creation of the JBS.
4 posted on 08/26/2003 9:19:47 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
thanks for the post..i believe i had read that once or heard it ..
5 posted on 08/26/2003 9:22:18 AM PDT by rrrod
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I'm still waiting for the million or so Chicom troops which the JBS in the '50s insisted were massing just over the Mexican border to invade.

The must be getting a bit long in the tooth by now.

How does one orchestrate an infantry assault when the troops can't to get around without canes and walkers?

6 posted on 08/26/2003 9:26:33 AM PDT by quidnunc (Omnis Gaul delenda est)
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Growing up in that era, I found a lot of what the JBS said to be true. We're seeing now some of the things they talked about come to pass. Government control over states, Government interfering with land use planning, religion forced out of schools and government buildings, and more.Kooks to some, true. Visionaries to others, also true.
7 posted on 08/26/2003 9:28:08 AM PDT by bedolido (Quitters Never Win! Winners Never Quit! But those who never win and never quit are idiots!)
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You say, "The Birch Society is not an accurate source of info."

Well, Duh.

Name an "accurate source of info". I've searched the world over and not found one. All are a mixture of truth, half truth, and lies. And all often enough stupid in that they insult the intelligence of the reader.

My hobby is intelligence analysis, propaganda analysis, and human stupidity analysis. The world is my playpen.

8 posted on 08/26/2003 9:35:30 AM PDT by Iris7 ("..the Eternal Thompson Gunner.." - Zevon)
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Let's see, the FBI, which barbequed 80 some people at Waco and murdered the Idaho wife, and lied and covered up the whole time, has said through J. Edgar that the JBS is not to be trusted? Did Hoover say this before or after he denied the existence of the Mafia? You're an idiot.
9 posted on 08/26/2003 9:35:47 AM PDT by Charlesj (Ed Harris not worth another look)
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To: Charlesj
10 posted on 08/26/2003 9:37:15 AM PDT by rrrod
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To: quidnunc; hchutch
That damn rumor has been around since the 19-blankety-blanking-50s?

Good grief. The whacko right needs to get some new bogeymen.

11 posted on 08/26/2003 9:40:06 AM PDT by Poohbah (Crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women.)
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the hell you say. ;-)
12 posted on 08/26/2003 9:42:04 AM PDT by Recovering_Democrat (I'm so glad to no longer be associated with the Party of Dependence on Government!)
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To: sauropod; rrrod
My observations echo your own, sauropod. The New American does indeed give perspectives that are quite unadulterated, with details and analysis that the mass media purposefully ignores. Their insights are indeed quite often prophetic. And what they see in the future is dark indeed.

As for your statements, rrrod, besides the ad hominem attacks, do you have anything factual to back up your assertations? Where you get your ideas from? Certainly not from what the JBS publishes, something that can be readily proven by simply reading their publications.

Click the Gadsden flag for pro-gun resources!

13 posted on 08/26/2003 9:42:56 AM PDT by Joe Brower ("Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe." - H.G. Wells)
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To: *Conspiracy
14 posted on 08/26/2003 9:43:30 AM PDT by Libertarianize the GOP (Ideas have consequences)
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To:; Charlesj
"I have known General Eisenhower quite well myself and I have found him to be a sound, level-headed man."

Suggested reading:

The Politician by R. Welch.


15 posted on 08/26/2003 9:49:32 AM PDT by nothingnew (The pendulum is swinging and the Rats are in the pit!)
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To: Joe Brower
Bump and see my #15.


16 posted on 08/26/2003 9:51:34 AM PDT by nothingnew (The pendulum is swinging and the Rats are in the pit!)
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To: Poohbah; BlueLancer; dighton; general_re; Texas_Dawg; Catspaw
delighted ping
17 posted on 08/26/2003 9:53:20 AM PDT by Chancellor Palpatine (This is the fault of outsourcing, offshoring, immigration and PC. We're all doomed.)
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To: rrrod; ninenot; sittnick
I am not now and never was a member of the JBS, nor do I subscribe to many JBS eccentric notions. I would like to interrupt your fantasy that the JBS was anti-Catholic on the basis of simple justice.

We may start with the fact that Robert Welch, a devout Baptist until quite late in his life, converted to Roman Catholicism before his death as did his wife. There was a Roman Catholic priest from Bridgeport and later from Monroe, Connecticut, Fr. Francis Fenton who had long served as a JBS National Council member. A major hero of the society was the late Senator Joseph R. McCarthy who was quite Catholic. The JBS in-house publisher Western Islands Press published books against communism by Richard Cardinal Cushing of Boston. The famous novelist on religious themes Taylor Caldwell was a long time member of the JBS Council as well. See her novel Captains and Kings for most JBS theories. A very substantial percentage of JBS folks are Catholic.

If I were more familiar with JBS, I suspect that one could do a similar rendition as to Jews close to Welch and active in the JBS.

Can you recite one, just ONE instance of terrorism perpetrated by the JBS in its entire near 50-year existence? I didn't think so. You owe an apology.

18 posted on 08/26/2003 9:55:13 AM PDT by BlackElk ( We're off to hunt the RINOs, the RINOs who want to rule Oz! Becuz, becuz, becuz.....)
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To:; snopercod
I am strongly anti-totalitarian, wherever it is based along the political spectrum. All kinds of organizations which seek near-fanatical control populate all along that spectrum. Sometimes there are concentrations of them.

There are "enormous" concentrations on "the left" half of the spectrum, but there are not "enormous" concentrations on "the right" half.

The momentum has been rather strongly going "left" over the last decades.

Kinda makes the small concentrations on "the right" stand out in the dwindling.

Such concentrations, whether "left" or "right" are not, in my view, places to go in order to get from the others --- this is a big mistake that many people make, an unneccesary move.

I agree with your idea that we should know more about what is on "the right," but I would add that we should know more about any extremist concentrations anywhere along the spectrum.

Hitler and company were not "right wing;" they were fascist national socialists on the right of communism.

"Skinheads" who nowadays fancy the symbols of N.A.Z.I. Germany, are misinformed to the point of delirium which prevents them from seeing that they are themselves, "enormously dangerous" to anybody because they willfully ignore the truth.

Yet one can find such an extreme anywhere along the spectrum.

It seems there are a lot of people who identify with some frequencies and claim a resonance, but fail to learn where they are at.

What at first appears to be soothing, may be discovered to be destructive ... if a body cares to notice before it's too late.

19 posted on 08/26/2003 9:56:26 AM PDT by First_Salute
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To: Joe Brower
Joe Brower wrote:

And what they're not adulterated with is truth and facts.

Joe Brower also wrote: …with details and analysis that the mass media purposefully ignores.

And rational people call it fantasy and/or paranoia.

Joe Brower also wrote: Their insights are indeed quite often prophetic. And what they see in the future is dark indeed.

The JBS is to politics what Earnest Angeley, Jimmy Swaggart and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker are to religion.

We're all doomed unless we send them money so they can continue to battle tooth and nail against that old devil Satan or the NWO as the case may be.

20 posted on 08/26/2003 9:58:33 AM PDT by quidnunc (Omnis Gaul delenda est)
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