Panetta Report 2: Leon Panetta Paid Tribute to Pro-Communist Peace Activist
Panetta Report 1 here.
While a Southern California based congressman in the 1970s and ’80s, CIA director and Obama Secretary of Defense nominee Leon Panetta, was close to a pro-communist, Santa Cruz based “peace activist” named Lucy Haessler.
In spite (or perhaps because of) Haessler’s involvement with the Women’s International Democratic Federation, Panetta placed a tribute in the Congressional Record, April 11, 1984, to mark Haessler’s 80th birthday.
Panetta noted that Lucy Haessler attended several conferences of the East German based organization in France, the Soviet Union, Poland and East Germany.
He did neglect to mention however that the W.I.D.F. was a well-documented Soviet front.
Congressman Panetta also commended Haessler for her activism in opposition to the Vietnam War and the deployment of US Cruise and Pershing II missiles in Europe. Haesslers activism in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and Women Strike for Peace, are also noted. Both organizations were also affiliated with another Soviet front, the World Peace Council and were heavily infiltrated by the Communist Party USA and its allies.
Congressman Panetta rounded off the tribute by hoping that Mrs. Haessler would “continue her valiant efforts, and with her help, we may yet realize her 80 year old dream: Peace on Earth.”
This tribute raises an important question. In the context of the time, in what was effectively the height of the “Cold War,” why did Congressman Panetta consider it appropriate to praise an activist so clearly sympathetic to the “other side?” The Soviet affiliations of the Women’s International Democratic Federation were well known at the time. Given Panetta’s close ties to the Santa Cruz left, including to long time communist Hugh DeLacy and his own leftist views, it is inconceivable that Panetta did not understand the significance of Haessler’s activism.
When confronted about the tribute by Human Events magazine in their May 12, 1984 issue, Panetta pleaded ignorance of the far left nature of Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, but indicated that if he had known, it wouldn’t have mattered anyway.
Said Panetta, “Let me tell you something. I dont know if you know about Santa Cruz, but Santa Cruz is a center for people who’ve been activists in all kinds of organizations. If I started doing those kinds of checks on people who help out… I’d never stop. Its that kind of place.”
Panetta also described Lucy Haessler as, “An activist in Democratic politics, and worked in the campaigns ever since I’ve been running.”
Lucy Haessler organized the 1979 national Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom Biennial Conference at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Haessler invited three main speakers: Communist Party affiliated scientist and “peace” activist Linus Pauling, Randall Forsberg, founder of the thoroughly socialist infiltrated Nuclear Weapons Freeze Campaign and Rep. Leon Panetta.
Leon Panetta might claim that Lucy Haessler was just another Democratic Party activist. However in 1966, Lucy Haessler and her then husband Carl Haessler, a Detroit United Auto Workers official and former Socialist Party USA member, sponsored an event that put them firmly in the Communist Party camp.
April 28, 1966, Carl and Lucy Haessler were sponsors of the Herbert Aptheker Testimonial Dinner, held on the occasion of the Communist Party USA’s senior theoretician, Herbert Aptheker’s 50th birthday, the publication of his 20th book and the 2nd anniversary of the American Institute for Marxist Studies. The event was held in the Sutton Ballroom, The New York Hilton, Avenue of the Americas, 53rd to 54th Street, New York City. Almost all speakers, organizers and sponsors were known members or supporters of the Communist Party USA.
Note that Mr. and Mrs. Haessler’s names appear on the sponsors list right above that of then Communist Party USA Chairman Gus Hall.
It is quite possible that Leon Panetta was not aware of the depth of Lucy Haessler’s Communist Party affiliations, he might just not have known of all of his close friend Hugh DeLacy’s communist background.
It seems strange however, that both of the Panetta Congressional Record tributes we have identified so far, were awarded to Communist Party affiliates.
As Director of the CIA, and probable US Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta is entrusted with the responsibility of safeguarding US National Security. Should it then be of concern that Panetta has been on such friendly terms with clear enemies of that security? Is there a hint here of the fox guarding the chicken house?
The US Senate needs to do its job. Before he is approved for the most important defense post in the nation, Leon Panetta needs to do some explaining to the American public.
Which of the 100 Senators sworn to protect the Constitution of the United States of America has the courage to put personal popularity to one side and begin asking Leon Panetta some very probing questions?
Panetta Report 3 here