What Fresh Hell Is This?

August 25, 2010

So Who Is John Rees?

Earlier today I wrote about a right wing think-tank called The Maldon Institute and the huge financial support it gets from Pittsburgh Tribune-Review owner, Richard Mellon Scaife.

So who's this John Rees who works for the think tank Scaife so heavily funds?

He's a piece of work. According to Sourcewatch:
John Rees was active during the 1980s as a right-wing journalist and private intelligence operative. Among the publications he was associated with are Review of the News and American Opinion, published by the John Birch Society, and his own Information Digest. In addition, he collaborated with the Birch Society's late Congressman Larry McDonald in the activities of the Western Goals Foundation.
Here's more from Public Eye:
The most influential private domestic spying operation during the 1980's was run by John Rees, a veritable right-wing spymaster who has published Information Digest, a gossipy newsletter, for over twenty years.

Rees spent the early years of the Reagan administration as the spymaster for the right-wing Western Goals Foundation. The Foundation was the brainchild of the late Rep. Larry McDonald, former leader of the John Birch Society. Western Goals published several small books warning of the growing domestic red menace, and solicitated funds to create a computer database on American subversives.

Western Goals Foundation was sued by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) when it was caught attempting to computerize references to "subversive" files pilfered from the disbanded Los Angeles Police Department "Red Squad."
Remember the 2000 RNC Convention in Philadelphia? Something from the ACLU to remind you:
The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania today denounced the use of state police to infiltrate political activist groups that planned protests at last month's Republican National Convention.
And guess who was there? There's this from Salon.com:
A previously sealed police affidavit made public earlier this month details how Philadelphia police used state troopers to infiltrate planning meetings and the puppet warehouse, where activists were constructing giant, satirical floats and other props. Some state troopers even posed as union carpenters and helped build floats.

More disturbing still, the affidavit cites a report by an obscure right-wing think tank to contend that some of the protest groups are funded by Communists and "Soviet" sympathizers.

Specifically, the affidavit claims that PCAN, the Pennsylvania Consumer Action Group, is a "United States conveyer for People's Global Action (PGA), a self-styled 'leaderless' international network of groups opposed to the global market economy. Funds for the PGA ... allegedly originate with Communist and leftist parties and from sympathetic trade unions. Other funds reportedly come from the former Soviet-allied World Federation of Trade Unions."

In fact, People's Global Action is the international umbrella group that formed two years ago in Geneva to help launch the WTO protests in Seattle. And PCAN is a consumer rights group in Reading, Pa. While PCAN organized the permitted and peaceful "unity march" that led off the GOP protests on July 30, it had nothing to do with the street blockades that took place later that week.

The affidavit attributes its information to a report by the Maldon Institute, a private think tank funded by conservative multimillionaire Richard Mellon Scaife. Scaife is best known for financing several investigations of President Clinton in recent years. Maldon Institute director John H. Rees is a contributor to the right-wing John Birch Society and publishes a newsletter devoted to "intelligence-gathering" which is distributed to police.
So why does all this matter?

Guess who writes the Dateline DC column for Richard Mellon Scaife's Tribune-Review?

John H. Rees.

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