-- from The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute’s website)
(Note: The following historical article about the hidden financial history of the U.S. alternative media and its historical left gatekeepers was written in 2002. So in 2012, some of the left gatekeepers mentioned in this 2002 historical article may have moved on to other positions within the U.S. alternative media/left subculture or mainstream U.S. media or academic world during the last 10 years.)
The Nation Institute/Radio Nation/The Nation Magazine
The Nation Institute's Radio Nation show is [was] a promotional/advertising tool for a liberal-left establishment magazine, The Nation, that generally tends to be a Democratic Party-oriented publication. Neither the magazine nor its radio tie-in show that is [was] aired on Pacifica radio stations and many college radio stations may be eager to encourage much discussion about the historic relationship between foundations and the CIA or about the evidence of a 9/11 conspiracy which grassroots journalists and researchers have discovered. Yet in a 1996 interview with former Boston Phoenix media critic Dan Kennedy, Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel claimed that "We have a monopoly on weekly progressive journalism in this country." But are [were] Radio Nation listeners and readers of The Nation magazine actually being provided with authentically progressive anti-war, anti-corporate and anti-establishment journalism each week by The Nation editor?
The Nation magazine, a for-profit limited-partnership, was started in 1865 by a British abolitionist named E.L. Godkin and in the early 20th-century it was owned by Oswald Garrison Villard, a descendent of U.S. abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. It was subsequently owned by a Wall Street financier--the father of a Nation writer named Bobby Tuckman--who sold it to then-Nation editor Freda Kirchwey in the 1930s for $35,000 (which he loaned to her). Nation editor-owner Kirchwey was a former member of the early 20th-century Intercollegiate Socialist Society (ISS) campus group that Jack London and Upton Sinclair had headed.
By the early 1940s, however, The Nation was an increasingly large money-loser and was in danger of folding because of its financial difficulties. So in early 1943, Kirchwey decided on a reorganization plan to keep The Nation publishing. She divested herself of her individual ownership and created a new, nonprofit organization, Nation Associates, which would own The Nation on a nonprofit basis--although Kirchwey would still determine the magazine's editorial direction by serving as its publisher. In 1955, Kirchwey retired and a health insurance industry executive named George C. Kirstein became the magazine's publisher and the principal financial backer of the nonprofit Nation Associates, which continued to own the magazine.
In the 1970s, however, The Nation was on the verge of bankruptcy again, until a group of investors led by Hamilton Fish III purchased ownership of The Nation. Although Hamilton Fish's group of investors sold The Nation in 1985 to a former Wall Street investment banker (whose real estate and utilities properties were worth about $200 million in 1991) named Arthur Carter, as recently as 2000 Hamilton Fish was being paid $83,000 a year salary by the magazine's tax-exempt Nation Institute affiliate for being the Nation Institute's president.
After purchasing The Nation in 1985, Arthur Carter began publishing his New York Observer weekly newspaper in 1987 [which was sold in the 21st-century], under the initial supervision of former New York Times Company Vice-Chairman James Goodale, a Wall Street corporate lawyer at Debevoise & Plimpton who was a member of the Democratic Party National Convention's rules committee in 1988. Although [former] New York Observer owner Carter sold The Nation magazine in 1995 to a group of investors that included Columbia University Magazine Journalism Center Director Victor Navasky, former Corporation for Public Broadcasting [CPB] Chairperson Alan Sagner, Hollywood actor Paul Newman, novelist E.I. Doctorow and the current editor, Katrina vanden Heuvel, Arthur Carter has continued to sit on the board of trustees of the Nation Institute in recent years.
Nation magazine editor Katrina vanden Heuvel is the daughter of International Rescue Committee [IRC] board member William vanden Heuvel. Nation editor Vanden Heuvel's father is mentioned in the book The Cultural Cold War by Frances Stoner Saunders in the following reference to the CIA-linked Farfield Foundation:
"First president of the Farfield [Foundation], and the CIA's most significant front-man, was Julius `Junkie' Fleischmann, the millionaire heir to a high yeast and gin fortune...He had helped finance The New Yorker...`The Farfield Foundation was a CIA foundation and there were many such foundations,' Tom Braden went on to explain...Other Farfield directors included William vanden Heuvel a New York lawyer who was close to both John and Bobby Kennedy."
A short review by Michael Rogin of The Cultural Cold War book, entitled "When The CIA Was The NEA," appeared in The Nation's June 12, 2000 issue. It also made a reference to "small CIA-created nonprofits, especially the Farfield foundation," yet failed to disclose to The Nation readers that the father of the magazine's editor used to sit on the Farfield Foundation board.
In the 1950s, the Farfield Foundation helped subsidize the activity of the liberal anti-communist American Committee for Cultural Freedom. As the book The Higher Circles by G. William Domhoff noted in 1970:
"It seems that in the mid-fifties the head of the American Committee for Cultural Freedom was having trouble getting money for his project. So he wrote to Edward Lilly, a member of a governmental agency for coordinating intelligence and psychological warfare operations, to plead his case. At the same time he wrote to [non-communist leftist
] Thomas, asking him to get in touch with [then-CIA Director] Allen Dulles via telephone. Shortly thereafter the American Commitee for Cultural Freedom received $14,000 from the Farfield Foundation and the Asia Foundation...Thomas then wrote to the committee head: `I am, of course, delighted that the Farfield Foundation came through...'" Norman
The 1982 book Rooted In Secrecy: The Clandestine Element in Australian Politics by Joan Coxsedge also observed that:
"The CIA is not so crude as to simply hand over money directly. It normally uses wealthy philanthropists such as the J.M. Kaplan Fund and foundations such as the Asia Foundation, the Farfield Foundation and the Hoblitzelle Foundation."
Born in 1930, Nation editor Vanden Heuvel's father apparently served between 1953 and 1954 as the executive assistant to CIA founder William "Wild Bill" Donovan, when Donovan was the U.S. Ambassador to Thailand. In their 1998 book White Out: The CIA, Drugs and the Press, Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair made the following references to the political role that U.S. Ambassador to Thailand Donovan played around the time that IRC board member Vanden Heuvel apparently was Ambassador Donovan's executive assistant:
"General Phao had been made director of Thailand's national police after the CIA-backed coup of 1948 led by Major General Phin Choohannan. Phao's 40,000-member police force, the Police Knights, immediately engaged in a campaign of assassinations of Phin and Phao's political enemies. These troops also assumed control of Thailand's lucrative opium trade...Phao's control of the opium trade was directly abetted by the CIA, which had funneled him $35 million in aid...
"In the 1950s the CIA backed General Phao in a struggle with another Thai general for monopoly of control of Thailand's opium and heroin trade...Backed by squads of CIA advisers, Phao set about the task of turning Thailand into a police state. The country's leading dissidents and academics were jailed...Phao also cornered the country's gold market, played a leading role on the top twenty corporate boards in the country, charged leading executives and businessmen protection fees and ran prostitution houses and gambling dens. Phao became great friends with Bill Donovan, at that time U.S. ambassador to Thailand."
In the early 1960s, Nation editor Vanden Heuvel's father served as U.S. Attorney-General Robert F. Kennedy's special assistant. According to Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press, around the time that William Vanden Heuvel was his special assistant, RFK "was obsessed with the elimination of Castro," and "told Allen Dulles that he didn't care if the Agency employed the Mob for the hit as long as they kept him fully briefed."
During the 1960s and 1970s, Nation editor Vanden Heuvel's father also became increasingly active in the International Rescue Committee [IRC] In addition to being a current board member of the IRC, William vanden Heuvel has, in the past, held the posts of IRC President, IRC Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Planning Committee of the IRC.In an essay that appeared in the Summer 1997 issue of New Politcs magazine, entitled "Albert Shanker: No Flowers," Paul Buhle made the following reference to the International Rescue Committee's historical role:
"Eric Chester's important recent volume, Covert Networks: Progressives, The International Rescue Committee and The CIA, offers a well-researched perspective on one of the most interesting Cold War (and post-Cold War) operations linked on one side to favorite causes of prominent liberals and on the other to assorted intelligence agency projects...The International Rescue Committee [IRC] became a central mechanism--through its spin-off American Friends of Vietnam [AFVN]--for selling the impending Vietnam War to the U.S. public...The young Daniel Patrick Moynihan, working as its public relations officer, had described the IRC as the `ideal instrument of Psychological Warfare.'
"The IRC was subsequently involved directly or indirectly in a shef of other operations...As during the U.S. saturation bombing in Southeast Asia, the IRC followed U.S. trained and funded military forces decimating large districts of El Salvador..."
The book cited by Buhle, Covert Network: Progressives, The International Rescue Committee, and The CIA by Eric Thomas Chester, was published in 1995 by M.E. Sharpe Inc. An unsigned review of the book that appeared on the Internet described Chester's book in the following way:
"The Cold War period in American history was characterized by a seamless cooperation among international charities, quasi-governmental organizations, major foundation, funding conduits, and the CIA...This book singles out the International Rescue Commitee, and to a lesser extent the Ford Foundation."
During the 1980s, the Interhemisperic Resource Center in Albuquerque also examined the political role that the IRC has played historically. Besides noting that the IRC board members in the 1980s included folks like Richard Holbrooke, Henry Kissinger, Ronald Lauder, Albert Shanker and William vanden Heuvel, the Interhemisperic Resource Center also observed:
"The IRC has consistently followed policies which have indeed coincided with U.S. foreign policy interests. It has operated in such geopolitical hotspots as Southeast Asia, Central America, Afghanistan, and Eastern Europe, conducting programs which have bolstered Washington's anti-communist activities...
"Many of IRC's members have ties to the intelligence community, and at least one author calls the IRC "a long-time ally of the Central Intelligence Agency."
"...In 1987, it received approximately 72 percent of its fundings from U.S. government contracts and grants...
"In 1987, IRC received a $1 million grant from the National Endowment for Democracy [NED], which was appropriated by the U.S. Congress, through the Agency for International development [AID], to `assist the independent Polish trade union Solidarity...'Recently, IRC's major focus has been on the Afghan refugees...IRC has published 10 books for the National Endowment for Democracy-funded American Friends of Afghanistan [AFA]...
"[Former IRC Chairperson] Leo Cherne [since-deceased] has a long history of intelligence connections. He served as a member of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board from 1973-1976, the chairman from 1976-1979, and most recently, served as the vice-chair on former President Ronald Reagan's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board...In 1954 Cherne sent a cable to a U.S. government official about the situation in Vietnam, `If free elections were held today all agree privately communists would win...Future depends on organizing all resources to resettle refugees, sustain now bankrupt government...' During the Reagan Administration, Cherne was involved in private fundraising efforts coordinated by the National Security Council aimed at disseminating propaganda supporting U.S. foreign policy.
"William Casey [former IRC president] was one of the members of an IRC commission that visited Indochinese refugee camps in 1978 and advocated `a virtual open-door policy' for letting the refugees into the U.S. Under Reagan, Casey was head of the CIA until his death in 1987...
"John Richardson [former IRC president} was the Assistant Secretary of State for Cultural Affairs from 1969-1977. He served as the head of the U.S. Information AGency's [USIA] Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty from 1961-1968. During those years, it was closely linked to the CIA...
"The IRC was heavily involved in supporting the regime of Ngo Dinh Diem in Vietnam. In fact, the executive committee for the pro-Diem lobby, the American Friends of Vietnam, was virtually identical to that of the IRC. The strongest supporer of Diem in the group was former IRC official Joseph Buttinger..."
In the late 1960s, The Nation editor's father was the president of the IRC at the same time former CIA Director William Casey was the chairman of the IRC's executive committee. And according to the minutes of the IRC board of directors meeting of June 15, 1967, "Leo Cherne appointed the following Middle East Subcommittee: William Casey, Leo Cherne, David Sher, William vanden Heuvel and Edwin Wesley" and "The Board meeting adjourned at 7:10 and was followed by the first meeting of the Middle East Subcommittee."
Besides sitting on the IRC board next to Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel's father in both the late 1960s and the mid-1970s, former CIA Director Casey was also one of the original investors and a director of the Capital Cities media conglomerate that gobbled-up ABC in the 1980s--before, itself, being gobbled-up by the Disney Company media conglomerate in the 1990s. Former IRC President Casey also sat on the board of directors of the LILCO utility company, which operated the Shoreham nuclear power plant on Long Island, despite the opposition of U.S. anti-nuclear power activists in the 1970s. Prior to managing Reagan's successful 1980 campaign for the GOP presidential nomination, IRC board member Casey had also worked in the corporate law firm of Rogers & Wells, where he represented the special interests of clients like Saudia American Lines, International Crude Oil Refining Company and the Government of Indonesia. As Reagan's CIA director until his death in 1987, former IRC board member Casey continued to retain control of over $3 million worth of stock in companies like DuPont and Exxon while he simultaneously made decisions at the CIA which affected the profitability of his personal stockholdings.
Casey was not the only IRC director who became involved in politically partisan Establishment party presidential campaigns in the 1970s and early 1980s. During the 1976 presidential campaign, Nation editor Vanden Heuvel's father also chaired the New York State presidential primary campaign committee of former U.S. President Jimmy Carter. In a January 12, 1976 letter to Robert Shnayerson, the then-editor-in-chief of Harper's magazine, Nation editor Vanden Heuvel's father wrote:
"It is my understanding that you were considering an article regarding the presidential candidacy of former governor Jimmy Carter in your March issue of Harper's magazine. In that context, I send you a copy of a telegram from Congressman Andrew Young addressed to a recent column published by the Village Voice. I hope you will find it interesting and relevant.
"If there are any questions, please call me at either 425-XXXX or 757-XXXX.
"Yours sincerely, William vanden Heuvel."
The telegram referred to in IRC board member William vanden Heuvel's letter (sent by former Carter Administration Ambassador to the UN Andrew Young to a Bardle B. at Carter Headquarters on 1/9/76) made the following reference to a column written by Alexander Cockburn:
"The January 12 column by Alexander Cockburn, `The Riddle of Jimmy Carter, Can A Dark Horse Change His Spots,' is a wonderful example of the creation of `The Big Lie' by a compilation of half truth and distorted facts.
"Jimmy Carter is not and never has been guilty of the kind of implied racism of these charges. He is one of the finest products of a most misunderstood region of our nation."
But according to A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn:
The Democratic candidate for President in 1976, Jimmy Carter, was a member of the Trilateral Commission...Indeed, the number of Trilateral Commission members appointed to important posts in the Carter administration was startling. Brzezinski became his National Security Adviser...Walter Mondale, the new Vice-President, was a member of the Trilateral Commission. So were Ambassador to the United Nations Andrew Young, Secretary of the Treasury Michael Blumenthal, and Secretary of Defense Harold Brown...The price of food and the necessities of life continued to rise faster than wages were rising. Unemployment remained officially at 6 or 8 percent--unofficially, the rates were higher. For certain key groups in the population--young people, and especially young black people--the unemployment rate was 20 percent or 30 percent.
"By 1978 it was clear that blacks in the United States, the group most in support of Carter for President, and without whose support he could not have been elected, were bitterly disappointed with his policies. He opposed federal aid to poor people who needed abortions, and when it was pointed out to him that this was unfair, because rich women could get abortions with ease, he replied: `Well, as you know, there are many things in life that are not fair, that wealthy people can afford and poor people cannot.'"
On October 6, 1976 the then-executive vice president of The New York Times, Sydney Gruson, also wrote the following letter to William vanden Heuvel (on New York Times Company stationary), which was apparently mailed to Carter/Mondale Headquarters at 730 Fifth Avenue in Manhattan:
"Dear Bill: Enclosed is the resume of my brother that I spoke to you about. He is an extremely talented fellow. Anything you can do will be deeply appreciated. How about bringing your fellow in for lunch before the election? As ever, Sydney."
The Nation editor's father then wrote the following letter on October 12, 1976 to one of the people who apparently would be responsible for offering people jobs in a new Carter Administration--Jack Watson of the King & Spalding corporate law firm:
"Sydney Gruson is the Executive Vice President of the New York Times. He made a special point the other evening of taking me aside and asking me to forward a resume for his brother, Edward Gruson. It would be helpful if you could have someone review the resume--and perhaps a note from you to Sydney Gruson as well as to his brother would be most useful.
"Sincerely, William vanden Heuvel."
That same day, the 1976 Carter/Mondale New York Campaign official Vanden Heuvel also wrote the following letter to New York Times Executive Vice President Sydney Gruson:
I have forwarded Edward's resume with a special note to Jack Watson. If Governor Carter does win the election, I assume Jack will have a major transitional role, including personnel. In my next conversation with him, I will pursue the matter.
My guess is that Governor Carter's schedule is not going to permit lunch before the election. The debates make scheduling almost impossible because they require essentially three days for each event.
Hoping to see you very soon.
As ever, William vanden Heuvel
After Trilateral Commission member Carter was elected president, he eventually named William vanden Heuvel to be his deputy permanent representative to the United Nations. The IRC board member vanden Heuvel's daughter, Katrina, meanwhile attended Princeton University, majoried in politics and apparently graduated from Princeton in 1981. According to an article by Van Wallach which appeared in a March 20, 1996 issue of a Princeton alumni publication, Katrina vanden Heuvel began working "as a Nation intern for nine months after taking the `Politics and the Press' course taught by Blair Clark, the magazine's editor from 1976 to 1978" and "returned to The Nation in 1984 as assistant editor for foreign affairs." In 1988 she married a professor named Stephen F. Cohen, who was also a contributing editor of The Nation in 1996. In recent years, a "Stephen F. Cohen--NYU" has also been on a Post-Soviet Affairs magazine editorial board that also includes a "James Noren--Central Intelligence Agency." In 1989, IRC board member vanden Heuvel's daughter was then named "The Nation editor-at-large, responsible for its coverage of the USSR" and "in 1990 she co-founded Lyi I Myi...a quarterly journal linking American and Russian women," according to the Princeton alumni publication.
After the former New York Times Magazine editor-turned Nation magazine editor, Victor Navasky, organized the for-profit business partnership (which included Katrina vanden Heuvel as one of the business partners) to buy The Nation magazine from [former] New York Observer owner Arthur Carter, Navasky appointed Katrina vanden Heuvel as the editor, while he assumed the title of publisher and editorial director.
By 1996, Nation editor Vanden Heuvel had "moved the magazine's content into new venues through a syndicated radio program and a World-Wide web page," according to the Princeton alumni publication article. Like Pacifica's Democracy Now! show and FAIR's CounterSpin show, the syndicated Nation magazine radio show, Radio Nation, is [was] also subsidized by Establishment foundation money. The money is [was] granted to the non-profit division of The Nation magazine, The Nation Institute, on whose board of trustees sits Nation editor Vanden Heuvel and the former member of the PBS board of directors who used to head the MacArthur Foundation's "genius grant" program, Catharine Stimpson. The Dean of an NYU Graduate School in recent years, Stimpson has also been the treasurer of The Nation Institute in recent years. Of the $1.4 million in annual revenues which The Nation Institute takes in, around $88,000 is [was] spent on producing the magazine's syndicated Radio Nation show, which is [was] aired on around 100 U.S. radio stations, including Pacifica Radio's stations. Nation magazine editors and writers who attempted to smear and marginalize 9/11 conspiracy journalists and researchers in recent months, like David Corn, also apparently attempted to use Radio Nation as a self-promotional, radio tie-in media outlet for advancing their careers as professional journalists in the Establishment's mainstream media world.
(end of part 3 of 2002-written historical article)
[Update on this 2002-written historical article: In 2008, The Nation/Nation Institute “non-profit” and tax-exempt alternative left-liberal politically partisan media group was, coincidentally, the recipient of 3 “charitable” grants, totaling $545,000, from the tax-exempt Lannan Foundation “philanthropy.”]