The Family Part V
Welcome to the fifth installment in my examination of the elite and highly secretive Christian sect variously known as "The Family" or "The Fellowship." In the first installment of this series Abraham (Abram) Vereide, the founder of the organization, and the religious vision that served as his inspiration for the Family were considered as well as a "chance" encounter with a "former" military officer of some means who provided early financial backing for the organization.
Part two moved along to the Family's early efforts in union busting and the possibility that it had forged ties with the Pentagon and the US intelligence community at a very early date via the murky netherworld sometimes referred to as "industrial security." The third installment of this series considered the Family's extensive dealings with the US fascist underground prior to the Second World War while part four examined the organization's efforts to recruit numerous "former" Nazis in the ruins of post-war Germany.
With this installment I would say a word about the next generation of leadership that had began to supplant Vereide in the late 1950s and which laid the ground work for the truly international efforts of the Family during the second half of the twentieth century. Several of these individuals show indications of a "deep" background. Consider, for instance, Clifton J. Robinson, supposedly a mild-mannered missionary who specialized in Asia, opening several key frontiers for the Family. Robinson's missionary work was reportedly influenced by a most curious source he encountered during his time in the Far East."Among his most fruitful meetings was time spent with William H. Sullivan, U.S. ambassador to Laos. As chairman of the State Department's Vietnam Working Group in 1963, Sullivan had been one of the architects of the war, a de facto 'field marshal,' according to General William Westmoreland. Such a man was an unlikely source of inspiration for Robinson, who called himself a Quaker. But preaching Abram's ideal overseas had put him at odds with the Society of Friends. Like another lapsed Quaker, Richard Nixon, Robinson had no patience for pacifism. He saw himself as a man of action, a 'jungle' missionary on the move. He spoke with a quick velvety voice of an old-time radio announcer and used it to dispense axioms and analogies about the need for key men in the Cold War, Bruce Barton jingles as interpreted by James Jesus Angleton, top man religion as geopolitical strategy. Sullivan provided fodder for Robinson's commando theology.
"'He said the strategy of the VC was the same as International Christian Leadership's,' gushed Robinson, 'except applied physically and militarily.' Robinson's vision of Worldwide Spiritual Offensive could not yet accommodate Ho Chi Minh's tactics, but Sullivan convinced him their enemy was a worthy one. 'They spent hours, days, weeks, whatever time is necessary setting up for the LEADERS and then either by ambush, assassination, or other intrigue, they do away with them – not the people, the leaders. He said to kill 32 top level people' – as the Vietcong had done the previous month – 'was tantamount to immobilizing thousands.'
"The lesson was that the Fellowship should understand itself as a guerrilla force on the spiritual battlefield. Specifically, Sullivan, who directed the CIA's 'secret air war' in Laos and turned its Hmong minority into cannon fodder against the North Vietnamese, wanted the Fellowship to recruit Buddhist businessmen to collaboration by matching them with Jaycees under the guise of a ' "brotherhood of leadership" – or some such slogan.' Robinson also took Sullivan's words as an endorsement of Abram's key man strategy...
"Evangelical steamroller such as the Billy Graham Crusade might win millions, but the Fellowship could neutralize the enemy – 'bold satanic forces,' as Abram described it, the Vietcong's 'sweep of communism,' America's 'secular cyclone' – by conquering the select few souls of the strong.
'Assassination' was just a figure of speech to Robinson; Abram wanted elites to 'die to the self,' to submit totally to Jesus of their own volition even as they held on tightly to the power that could advance His kingdom. Long after Abram's death – and Ho's total victory in Vietnam – the Fellowship would distribute a tract purporting to be 'ten steps to commitment from a Vietcong soldier.' "
(The Family, Jeff Sharlet, pgs. 206-207)
SullivanAmbassador William H Sullivan is a man with a most curious history. At the time that he was advising Robinson from Laos, some very strange things were unfolding in that country as well as in surrounding nations.
"The junction of Burma, Thailand, and Laos, the Golden Triangle, is the site of the bulk of the world's opium production and thereby the source of enormous fortunes for the French and later the Americans. The French held effective control over the Southeast Asian opium traffic until 1965. Between 1946 and 1955 the Mixed Airborne Commando Group (MACG) and the French Air Force managed the shipment of opium from Burma to Laos. A guerrilla corps comprised mostly of Laotian Meo tribesmen and led by Colonel Roger Trinquier, MACG remained unusually independent despite its direct connection to the SDECE and Deuxieme (Second) Bureau. To finance their secret Indochina operations, these organizations turned to the smuggling of gold and opium, with MACG in charge of the latter. Large quantities of opium were shipped to French Saigon headquarters and passed on to the Corsican Mafia, who in turn smuggled the drug to Marseilles.
"When the French withdrew from Indochina in1955 after their defeat by the Vietminh, and after the CIA pushed aside the SDECE, MACG leaders communicating through CIA agent Lucien Conein offered the Americans their entire guerrilla force. Against Conein's advice they refused. History would cast doubt on the wisdom of that decision.
"In 1955 CIA agent General Edward Lansdale began a war to liquidate the Corsican supply network. While Lansdale was cracking down on the French infrastructure, his employer the CIA was running proprietaries, like Sea Supply and CAT, that worked hand-in-hand with the opium-smuggling Nationalist Chinese of the Golden Triangle, and with the corrupt Thai border police.
"The Lansdale/Corsican vendetta lasted several years, during which many attempts were made on Lansdale's life. Oddly enough, his principal informant on Corsican drug routes and connections was the former French Foreign Legionnaire, Lucien Conein, then of the CIA. Conein knew just about every opium field, smuggler, trail, airstrip, and Corsican in Southeast Asia. He spent his free time with the Corsicans, who considered him one of their own. Apparently they never realized it was he who was turning them in.
"When Lansdale returned from Vietnam in the late fifties, the Corsicans recouped some of their losses, chartering aging aircraft to establish Air Opium, which functioned until around 1965. That year, the Corsicans' nemesis Lansdale returned to Vietnam as advisor to Ambabassador Lodge. There was also an upheaval in the narcotics traffic, and perhaps the two were connected. CIA-backed South Vietnamese and Laotian generals began taking over the opium traffic – and as they did so, increasing amounts of morphine and low-quality heroin began showing up on the Saigon market.
"The first heroin refineries sprang up in Laos under the control General Ouane Rattikone. President Ky in Saigon was initially in charge of smuggling from the Laotian refineries to the South Vietnamese; and Lansdale's office, it is to be remembered, was working closely with Ky. Lansdale himself was one of Ky's heartiest supporters, and Conein went along with whatever Lansdale said.
"One result of the smuggling takeover by the generals was the end of the Corsican's Air Opium. The KMT Chinese and Meo tribesmen who cultivated raw opium either transported it themselves to the refineries or had flown there by the CIA via CAT and its successor, Air America, another agency proprietary. Though the Corsicans still sent drugs to Marseilles, the price was becoming prohibitive, since they were forced to buy opium and morphine in Saigon and Vientiane rather than pick up the opium for peanuts in the mountains.
"In 1967, a three-sided opium war broke out in Laos between a Burmese Shan State warlord, KMT Chinese and General Rattikone's Laotian army. Rattikone emerged victorious, capturing the opium shipment with the help of U.S.-supplied aircraft. The KMT, for its part, managed to reassert its dominance over the warlord. The smuggling picture was becoming simplified, with Southeast Asian opium divided among fewer hands, and most of the Corsicans out of the way.
"General Lansdale returned to the U.S. in 1967, leaving Conein in Vietnam. The next year Conein greeted a new boss, William Colby. Since 1962 Colby had run the agency's special division for covert operations in Southeast Asia, where his responsibilities included the 'secret' CIA war in Laos with its 30,000-man Meo army. He shared that responsibility with the U.S. ambassador in Laos, William H. Sullivan, who would later preside over the Tehran embassy during the fall of the Shah."
(The Great Heroin Coup, Henrik Kruger, pgs. 133-134)
Continues at: http://visupview.blogspot.com/2015/02/t ... art-v.html