By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
In a 1,500-word article about the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign, The Washington Post waited until the 25th paragraph to note that the self-declared socialist faces an “obstacle” to winning the presidency. The paper said that “…Sanders has not faced the kind of media scrutiny, let alone attacks from opponents, that leading candidates eventually experience.” The authors, Philip Rucker and James Wagner, added, “Sure to follow his summer surge is an autumn of investigations that could reveal new details about his personal background and record.”
What these investigations would find is that Sanders was a collaborator, if not a member, of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), the same group that backed Obama’s run for the presidency. DSA describes itself as the largest socialist organization in the United States and the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International.
There is a video showing Obama campaigning for him when Sanders ran for the Senate. Interestingly, Sanders, who won his Senate seat in 2006, called Obama “one of the great leaders of the United States Senate,” even though Obama had only been in the body for about two years.
One of the more interesting members of the DSA is Kurt Stand, a communist spy for the Soviet Union (and then Russia) and East Germany who was sentenced to prison in 1998 and released in 2012. He served over 17 years. He was convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage, attempted espionage, and illegally obtaining national defense documents.
Where is he now? Thanks to the DSA, we know that Stand has returned to the organization, which is campaigning hard for Sanders for president. Indeed, DSA has posted photos of Stand and his comrades promoting “socialist values” and the Sanders campaign at the Greenbelt (Maryland) Labor Day Festival.
According to the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Defense Intelligence Agency, Stand and his comrades, Therese Marie Squillacote and James Michael Clark, were on a mission “to cultivate other spies” in the Washington, D.C. area. Stand allegedly received $24,650 for his recruiting and coordinating efforts, according to a summary of the case. The summary says Stand and his comrades apparently became enamored with socialism when going to college: “Clark, Squillacote, and Stand attended the University of Wisconsin in the 1970s where they were affiliated with leftist groups, specifically the Progressive Student Forum and the Young Workers Liberation League, the youth arm of the Communist Party USA.”
It looks like there is quite a bit of overlap between the various socialist, communist and progressive groups.
When he was in prison, Stand came out in strong support of Barack Obama for president, saying, “The conversations I’ve listened to and taken part in over these past months have made me a stronger supporter of Obama than I otherwise would have been; have strengthened my perception that his election could be a critical part of building a movement of resistance to our country’s current direction, could help provide the space or framework in which more radical alternatives are again spoken and heard.”
At the end of his letter, dated June 2008, Stand said that “radicals and progressives ought to join those—including those in prison—who have already decided to back Obama, see where the campaign can take us, see what can then be accomplished.”
Bernie is now his candidate.
In the same edition that carried the story about Sanders’ run for the Democratic presidential nomination, The Washington Post ran a story, “The Bernie Sanders of Britain,” about the Marxist who has taken over leadership of the British Labor Party. The online version carried the softer headline, “Leftist Jeremy Corbyn elected leader of Britain’s Labour Party.” Corbyn “has previously called for Britain to leave NATO, favors unilateral nuclear disarmament and champions the nationalization of vast sectors of the economy, including the railways and the energy industries,” the paper reported. Corbyn admires Russia’s Vladimir Putin and excuses the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Sanders, labeled by his critics as “Bolshevik Bernie,” told The Huffington Post that he was “delighted” to see that the British Labor Party had elected Corbyn as its new leader.
While Hillary Clinton has been sidetracked by her email scandal, Sanders has been popularizing socialism and expanding the Democratic Party base, noted Jeff Weaver, the Sanders campaign manager who was quoted in the Post. The unspoken assumption is that these new voters will turn out for whoever is the Democratic presidential nominee. This explains why Sanders has been spared media scrutiny. The media figure that he won’t get the nomination but that he will bring more people to vote for the eventual Democratic nominee.
Bill Ayers, the former communist terrorist and Obama supporter, is hopeful about what Sanders can do for the far-left. “Certainly among the Sanders supporters there are many who will flock like liberal sheep to Hillary once the Bern burns out,” he writes. “However, I believe that among the Sanders supporters there are thousands who are dissatisfied, who are disgruntled, but who do not have a coherent left analysis, who therefore are open to our ideas as they weren’t before they got involved in the Sanders surge. These seekers will be open (certainly many of them) to ideas from the Left of Sanders.”
Ayers adds, “We must think as organizers. Yes, demonstrate, fight in the streets but spend some time and energy going to places where the Sanders campaign has gathered a crowd or a meeting but go not to disrupt, disrupting there would show how true we are to our knowledge, to our anger, to our need to show ‘them’ us… So I think that we should jump in the water. After all, the anti-war multitudes of the 60s and 70s were only disgruntled, dissatisfied people and without a coherent left analysis, yet we jumped in. Why? Because a movement can only be built on motion. Motion is people open, people leaving their normal placid acceptance if only a little, if only briefly. So, things swirled. Liberal anti-war marches. My collective would go, stand alongside the marchers with paper Viet Cong flags and pins, encouraging people to wear the flags. We gave maybe a thousand away. A good left action. We also had leaflets with our analysis of the war on Vietnam. Many people took those. Good. Better than if we had stayed home.”
This is how a pro-communist message was inserted into the “anti-war” demonstrations that convinced a Democrat-controlled Congress to cut off aid to a non-communist South Vietnam, paving the way for a communist victory in Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia.
The Washington Post is correct that Sanders has a lot to explain.
Let’s take the USSR first. Sanders went on his honeymoon to the former USSR. He was a supporter of the communist Sandinista regime in Nicaragua. He was a collaborator with the U.S. Peace Council—a Communist Party front—against the Reagan military build-up. He worked with the Venezuelan regime of Hugo Chavez to distribute Venezuelan oil in the U.S.
The Post is right that Sanders deserves “media scrutiny” and “investigations that could reveal new details about his personal background and record.” So what accounts for the delay in the media doing their jobs? Would the results cast the Democratic Party in a bad light?
It’s no wonder, as we previously reported, that Sanders has been concerned that the NSA is conducting surveillance on links between American politicians and foreign regimes and movements. As I noted at the time, one of the NSA’s greatest successes was known as Venona, the code name given to the intercepted and deciphered KGB and GRU (Russian military intelligence) messages between Moscow and the Soviet espionage network in the United States. The project led to the apprehension of such spies as State Department official Alger Hiss.
Has the NSA been watching Bolshevik Bernie? This could make Hillary’s email scandal look mild by comparison.
Of course, Sanders would twist it against the NSA, arguing that he was just an innocent victim. The facts suggest otherwise.