Review of “Jackals: The Stench of American Fascism” by Alex Constantine
By Mike Kuhlenbeck — The Greanville Post
Before Adolf Hitler’s election in 1933, the staff of The Munich Post first condemned the Nazi Party by publishing an editorial against the “corrupt leader of the German fascists” in August 1920. The Post continued publishing denouncements of Hitler and his jackal pack, especially in the newspaper’s final years before its printing presses were shut down by the new regime. Its reporters and editors were subsequently arrested and sent to concentration camps.
Writing at a time before fascist billionaire Donald Trump took the reins of the Oval Office, journalist Alex Constantine explains his motivation for authoring Jackals: The Stench of American Fascism:
“Anti-fascist warnings are still coming nearly a century after the emergence of Hitler. The humanitarian spirit that drove the editors of the Munich Post to oppose the senseless political violence propagated by the ruling class of Germany survives in this book to oppose the senseless political violence propagated by the ruling class of America’s blighted democracy.” (Pg. 307)
Constantine has authored one of the most important (and overlooked) books of 2016 with Jackals, published by TrineDay last March. An investigative polemic delivered in the courageous tradition of anti-fascist reporter George Seldes and radio researcher Mae Brussell, Jackals is a revised edition of an e-book previously made available at the website The Constantine Report (an invaluable journalism resource) titled: Terror on the Right. Constantine’s latest work explores the alarming ties between the “domestic intelligence underground and the far-right political establishment and the media.”
There is nothing new about the working relationship between the Neoconservatives (Neo-Cons) and the Alt-Right (“Alternative Right”) or earlier movements such as the “Tea Party” receiving corporate funding despite its perceived “grassroots” orientation. Americans tend to forget (not that they were properly informed in the first place) that fascist regimes were elevated into power by broad nationalist movements based on militant reaction, made possible by the financial and institutional support from the ruling class of each nation in question. History professor F L. Carsten notes the differences, and more importantly the similarities, between the reactionary groups of Europe in his book The Rise of Fascism (1967):
“Although these movements differed widely from country to country, there were certain features which they had in common. They were violently nationalist-—a nationalism very different from that of nineteenth-century conservative or liberal groups, so much so that the term ‘the new Right’ has been coined to describe them. They were also, in most cases, strongly anti-Semitic, using the Jews as a convenient scapegoat for the ills of capitalist society. Finally, they were appealing not only to the middle and lower middles classes, but also to the lower classes, attempting to wean them from the ideals of socialism and internationalism, and to provide a popular basis for the new movements.” (Pgs. 10-11)
The Duke and Duchess of Windsor (Wallis Simpson), were known for their pro-Nazi sympathies, a matter which the Crown tried to play down.
“Corporate influence on American foreign policy escalated in the dawn of the twentieth century, and depended on right-wing autocrats to maintain stability,” Constantine writes, occasionally referring to them as “the Lords of Industry,” an apt phrase culled from the Seldes lexicon. Once Fascist leader Benito Mussolini seized power, other movements followed and were warmly greeted by prominent members of the US ruling class (like those of their European counterparts; the Duke and Duchess of Windsor were widely regarded as Nazi symps, along with a hefty share of the UK’s nobility) view movements such as his as their best line of defense against organized labor and other social justice movements. “The rise of labor unions and social movements threatened to usurp the power, wealth and privilege of the ruling class,” Constantine writes. Along with gaining public support in the streets, fascist groups were supported by the land-owning elite and business executives whose only political allegiance was to the Dollar.
“During the war, some 2,000 corporations in the U.S. collaborated with the Nazis to enhance their bottom lines.” Corroborating this figure in an email correspondence with the author, the “2,000” figure is correct when considering “major corporations (Ford, GE, GM, Kodak, the corporate predecessor of American Home Products, Standard Oil, Monsanto, etc.) who collaborated and profited from the draw on slave labor. Then along came numerous subsidiaries, directly or indirectly involved. Before the war, the Nazis put together a vast web of contractual marketing and patent agreements that ran the number up considerably.”
After the war, the US Government did not invest the time or resources to investigating Nazis and their enablers from other countries. As if the world’s rulers were incapable of unleashing more evil after fascism and another world war, nuclear weapons were introduced to an already devastated planet. As the governments of the US, Great Britain and their allies were about to close one chapter of their history, they were already plotting global hegemony and territorial expansion. To secure this vision, an “Iron Curtain” had to be provoked and drawn and new enemies forged in “The Cold War,” the product of one of the most successful ongoing propaganda campaigns on record in support of the “military-industrial complex.” The latest threat of a boogeyman armed with a nuclear warhead clenched between its beastly fangs (in this case the Soviet Union) provided the ultimate banner for the general public to rally behind.
By spoon-feeding the people a poisonous daily diet of nightmare scenarios, many people started forgetting the horrors uncovered during The Nuremberg Trials. Thanks to these psychological operations (PSY-OPS), many Americans started ignoring the real monsters, ones with human faces who hide behind the scenes, who manipulate political discussion to suit their own agendas. An excellent summary by U.S. Deputy Chief Counsel at the Nuremberg Trials Abraham Pomerantz describes an unsettling trend he noticed developing in his homeland:
We have absorbed into our own legal system the German tyranny that we fought and inveighed against. The approach, copied from the Nazis, works this way: The press and radio first lay down a terrific barrage against the Red Menace. [Or the enemy du jour.] Headlines without a shred of evidence shriek of atom bomb spies or plots to overthrow the government, of espionage, of high treason, and of other bloodcurdling crimes. We are now ready for the second stage: the pinning of the label ‘Red’ indiscriminately on all opposition. (As cited in Jackals, Pg. 167)
US Senator Joseph McCarthy, the fake paranoid rotgut fascist from Wisconsin who helped lead the political witch-hunts of the 1950s, “never read books” according to his campaign manager and friend Urban Van Susteren, father of future Fox News talking head Greta Van Susteren. There was one notable exception: Hitler’s Mein Kampf, which McCarthy used as a political strategy guide. Both McCarthy and the House of Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) had cheerleaders in the American Nazi Party (founded by former US Naval Commander George Lincoln Rockwell), with members displaying home-made signs reading, “Nazis Support The House Committee of Un-American Activities,” and other slogans outside the hearings.
McCarthy, like Trump, is another mascot whose shameful legacy demonstrates how the lessons of the Second World War were recorded but not taken to heart by the American people. The manufactured threats of Witchcraft, Communism and now Terrorism, are shaped by a ruling class dependent upon the public’s ignorance in order to prevent them from challenging the social order. Just as hallucinations of “demonic forces” suffered by the children of Salem Village led to mob rule, public executions and the confiscation of property by the wealthier members of the community, modern decrees dictated and enforced in the name of “National Security” and “Law and Order” also increase the financial gains and secure the social status of the ruling class.
Journalist Peter Schrag penned the revelatory article “America’s Other Radicals” when working for Harper’s Magazine in 1971. Describing the so-called Far-Right of American politics, Schrag observes that “despite their struggles” and “quarrels over tactics,” these rightward fellow-travelers have common targets: “the Communist Conspiracy, the welfare state, the poverty program, civil rights, foreign aid, and, more recently, the peace movement, education, student activism, and black militancy.” Any semblance of democratic action is a threat to the parasitic elite, who cling to their status with the help of “law and order.” Constantine dedicates an entire chapter to one of the most influential of these groups, the John Birch Society (JBS).
The JBS was founded in 1959 by wealthy former Republican activist Robert Welch as a nationalist front harboring stuff-shirted, pseudo-intellectual crackpots whose collective paranoia helped to create the toxic swamp serving as a breeding ground for media mutants like Alex Jones, Glenn Beck and Mark Dice just to name a few. Named after an American missionary, the JBS (of which Birch had no role in founding) preached the cartoonish paranoia where every “red, white and blue-blooded American” should sleep with a gun under their pillow in case a “Red Commie” is sleeping under the bed, getting ready to assault Lady Liberty once she falls asleep.
JB Society leaders often present themselves as folksy populists who display a pocket-sized edition of the US Constitution in one hand, and the Holy Bible (written in English) in the other, when questioned about their motives behind the rhetoric. The Warfare State (1962) author Fred J. Cook paints a more disturbing picture when portraying the early JBS “as secret as the Ku Klux Klan” and as “unbalanced as the Nazi Party of Hitler, with many of whose ideas and methods it would itself find quite compatible.” (As cited in Jackals, Pg. 169)
Groups like JBS helped undermine “any attempt to trespass on the self-serving authority of the country’s military-industrial plutocrats.” From its inception, the JBS “had a corporate foundation” chiefly comprised of oil companies and military contractors. The roster of former JBS members includes: Fred Koch (founder of Koch Industries and father to the Koch brothers), Howard Buffett (investment broker and father to billionaire Warren Buffett), Ezra Taft Benson (former Secretary of Agriculture under President Dwight Eisenhower), General Edwin A. Walker (US Army) and a slew of other corporate and military profiteers.
“The JBS waged its grassroots, populist approach to psychological warfare with bullets of scapegoating literature,” according to Constantine.
JBS pamphleteers howled about the “Communist Conspiracy,” promoting their twisted ideas in a slew of publications, some of which still exist in different incarnations. Among JBS’s “oiliest of propagandists” is Gary Allen (whose 1971 book None Dare Call it Conspiracy is one of the primary screeds on which many of today’s prevalent right-wing internet myths are rooted) promoted the idea that American taxpayers pay “the lion’s share of expenses for the United Nations” which was “dominated by a gaggle of Marxist dictatorships and third-world totalitarians.” Robert W. Lee, author of The United Nations Conspiracy (1982) said Americans were being led down “the garden path toward a Marxist World Government” courtesy of the UN. Larry Abraham (Allen’s co-author for None Dare Call It Conspiracy), stated in his uniquely titled work Call it Conspiracy (1985) ludicrously oversimplified the writings of Communist philosopher Karl Marx as a “codified” version of the “Illuminati” conspiracy.
The talk of “the Illuminati” and “Insiders” is rooted not so much in the idea of a privileged few (“the One Percent”), but in the ideological soil of the so-called “Jewish Conspiracy” as described by the still-quoted (but long-discredited) anti-Semitic text The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, originally published in Tsarist Russia and later found its way to Europe and a renewed anti-Semitic plague spread from there. Hitler and the American automobile industrialist Henry Ford fashioned their own take on the lies perpetrated by this text, which already helped lay the foundation for fascist movements to exploit economic crises and scapegoat different segments of the population in order to build their envisioned oligarchic dystopia. Before the Hungarian government embraced Nazi rule, Prime Minister Gyula Gömbös called the “the socialism of Marxism” a “destructive heresy foisted on simple workers by self-serving international Jews.”
“Psychologically, we are conditioned by every intimation and nerve impulse of the military-industrial culture to accept the fascist extreme,” according to Constantine, “and fear a Red Dawn fantasy.”
The JBS often finds itself nesting under the sheets in the same political bed with groups like the KKK, which unlike the JBS openly espoused anti-Semitic and racist views. The Civil Rights movement was seen as integral to the “Communist Conspiracy” by the Birchers so they bitterly opposed integration. Allen served as a speechwriter for Alabama Governor and American Independent Party candidate for President George Wallace, who infamously belched “Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever!” The National Youth Alliance was founded by the late Holocaust-denier Willis Carto, evolving (using the term loosely) from the anti-Semitic wing of Youth for Wallace (YW). When writing in the revised edition of Religion and the Racist Right, (1997) scholar Michael Barkun stated that Carto was “one of the best funded and most indefatigable right-wing organizers.”
For a group that rails against “Big Government,” Birchers often partake in activities that one would fear could undermined democratic principles and personal liberty. For example, the Birchers had their own “intelligence branch” known as the Western Goals organization, the purpose of which was to collect information on what they perceived as threats to the “American Way,” as previously described by Schrag in Harper’s. While cloaking themselves in the American flag, Birchers (or those of a similar social-political persuasion) spied on fellow citizens, particularly those deemed as “subversives” and reported them to local and federal authorities. They were, for all intents in purposes, acting like “Good Americans” in the same sense Nazi supporters were acting like “Good Germans.”
From the 1950s to the 1970s, the FBI’s series of counter-intelligence programs COINTELPRO, as well as the CIA’s “Operation CHAOS” which monitored left-leaning individuals travelling abroad. Political analyst Michael Parenti writes in his book Democracy for the Few about how the FBI and the police “have given a free hand to or have actually assisted right-wing extremists” by providing “information and encouragement to organizations like the Minutemen and the John Birch Society.” Once COINTELPRO and other programs were exposed in the 1970’s, they were dissolved but survived in various incarnations since that time, allowing the government’s under-the-table support for reactionary violence to continue.
Jackals was published the same year as the 35th anniversary of “The Greensboro Massacre,” where five members of the Marxist-Leninist group the Communist Workers’ Party (CWP) were assassinated by racist thugs in Greensboro, North Carolina, during an anti-Klan protest on the morning of November 3, 1979. CWP members and supporters gathered at the Morningside Homes neighborhood for a peaceful demonstration that turned bloody when a nine-car caravan filled with members of the Ku Klux Klan and National Socialist Party of America arrived at the scene. According to researcher Tiffany George Butler Quaye Ph.D., they “unloaded eighty-eight shots of gunfire” into the crowd, killing CWP members César Cauce, Michael Nathan, William Sampson, Sandra Smith and James Michael Waller, and injuring at least ten other people.
Allegations made by CWP organizers that the assassins were tipped-off by law enforcement about the rally’s location is consistent with the US Government’s repression of working-class movements. Confirming these suspicions, it was later revealed that an undercover agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF) had joined one of the hate groups involved in the shootings.
Investigative journalist Jim Redden writes in his book Snitch Nation (2000) “In the mid-1970’s, a BATF agent named Bernard Butkovich infiltrated the American Nazi Party unit in Forsyth County, North Carolina,” encouraging the other members “to commit a variety of illegal acts, offering to procure hand grenades and teach bomb-making classes.” Preparing for the Nov. 3 rally, Butkovich encouraged them to bring weapons, saying, “I wouldn’t go without a gun.” Butkovich’s role in the North Carolina murders was revealed during a subsequent trial. 16 Klansmen and neo-Nazis arrested and charged with murder. Though never convicted, they were named in a civil suit brought by survivors.
“In the end, jurors found two police officers, a police informer and four Klansmen liable for compensatory damage,” according to Intelligence Report magazine published by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Jackals, by its physical appearance and number of pages, is a bit off-putting considering its vast scope of espionage, geopolitical intrigue, the assassination of political leaders, terror plots and other acts against the human conscience committed by the Deep State. Constantine delivers an important, eye-opening glimpse of a history hidden in plain sight, exposing what amounts to ongoing psychological warfare against the American people and the motives behind the mass deception. The author’s observation on how “Americans, like the Germans, have been living with the stench of fascism since the early ‘20s” is deadly accurate.