Welcome to the sixth installment in my examination of the elite Christian sect variously known as "The Family" or "The Fellowship." Founded in 1935 by a man named Abraham (Abram) Vereide, this highly secretive network seems to have established ties with both the US deep state as well as major corporate powers from a very early date. By the 1950s it had arrived as a major political powerhouse --every US President since Dwight Eisenhower has attended the group's annual National Prayer Breakfast.
Part one of this series considered the alleged spiritual experience that spurred Abram to found the Family as well as the well connected "former" military officer who assisted Vereide get the organization off the ground. The second installment considered the group's likely ties to the murky netherworld of industrial security as well its early political manipulations in Washington state. Part three looked at the group's extensive ties to the pre-WWII fascist underground while part four concerned he group's postwar efforts to recruit numerous "former" Nazis and fascist in Europe. The fifth and most recent installment considered the deep backgrounds of the next generation of Family leadership as well as Douglas Coe, the man who succeeded Veriede as the organization's head.
|Coe, center, with George H.W. Bush to his left|
"... One of his first conquest was Haiti, then just entering a long darkness of dictatorship that still reverberates today. Winning Catholic Haiti's acquaintance to U.S.-style Cold War evangelicalism had been a Fellowship ambition since 1955, when an Abram associate had declared it a 'soft spot of communism' that would require the ministrations of 'Magnificent Americans' preaching a new equation of Christ and free markets. 'I have been expecting to hear that you are making this your personal prospect,' joked one of Coe's Oregon friends, a man who claimed to have been led by the Lord into building a small trucking parts empire. It wasn't God, though, who the trucking boss thought would draw Coe to island nation, one of the poorest in the world. 'Am told they have wonderful golf courses.'
"Coe counseled a Haitian senator and then Haiti's ambassador to the United States, easing both into commitments to a Christ-led nation, with the understanding that the Christ Coe preached led not towards the socialism that tempts any bitterly poor people but towards an economics of 'key men' who would share their wealth as God instructed them. Senators Frank Carlson and Homer Capehart, both members of the Foreign Relations Committee, did the follow-up work, leading a Fellowship delegation of twelve businessmen to instruct the Haitian parliament in prayer cell politics. Francois 'Papa Doc' Duvalier, who would declare himself not only president for life but also the nation's official 'Maximum Chief of the Revolution' and 'Electrifier of Souls' – he was the weirdest and most vicious dictator in the Western Hemisphere – impressed the senators with his spirituality.
"Perhaps he told them, as he was fond of saying, that he literally personified Haiti, that he was a stand-in for God. A personality! That was the Fellowship's whole theology in a nutshell, so they didn't bother to ask questions about his Vodoun-driven militia, the Tonton Macoute assassins. Instead, they promise to twist arms in Washington on Papa Doc's behalf: foreign aid, exemptions on sugar tariffs. It wouldn't be a hard sell. The Cold Warriors in State, under Ike and every administration that followed, preferred Papa Doc's public proclamations of Christian brotherhood to a free black nation that might seek support from the Soviet Union."
(The Family, Jeff Sharlet, pgs. 215-216)
|Family-backed Senators Frank Carlson (top) and Homer Capehart (bottom); Capehart was already addressed in part four, where it was noted that he assisted the Family in their efforts to save numerous "former" Nazis in the wake of WWII|
"In the winter of 1956-57 Haiti, the poorest nation in this hemisphere, erupted in violence, and the president was deposed. The country reeled into chaos, with successive governments tumbling like bowling pins. Haiti's nearest neighbor on the east, Rafael Trujillo, decided to throw secret support behind a forty-nine--year-old country doctor named Francois Duvalier as the best bet to restore stability. The mild-mannered Duvalier, who had studied at the University of Michigan, easily won the September 1957 election.
"One of his first moves was to have some of his most loyal aides fitted with weights and dumped and the Gulf of Gonave, the Papa Doc version of starting with a clean slate. Another was to seek even more United States support. In 1958 Marine 'advisers' arrived, and by the end of 1961 some $20 million in aid was in his coffers. In January 1962 Haiti in effect sold its vote in the Organization of American States to the United States for a $5 million price.
"But the Kennedy administration was unable to stomach Papa Doc's chamber of horrors for long. Late in 1962 it dispatched a psychiatrist to Port-au-Prince, and had the embassy arrange a private dinner with Papa Doc. The psychiatrist returned to Washington with the diagnosis, 'Duvalier is a psychopath – there are unmistakable symptoms of paranoid megalomania. He is a very sick man.'
"At first the Kennedy administration tried to persuade Duvalier to clean up his act, but when the futility of reform became clear, a virtual ultimatum was delivered by Ambassador Raymond Thurston. As Duvalier later recounted it to European journalist, 'Ambassador Thurston appeared one evening to tell me plainly that I must go. He came and said that the country was in revolt and my enemies were about to seize power, but that the United States would save me personally provided, of course, that I give no trouble and went quietly.' This was the same type of unofficial word that had been given the Batista and Trujillo, and the result was even more empathic no. Duvalier gave Thurston twenty-four hours to pack and leave.
"The White House reacted by suspending aid and recalling the Marines and diplomatic mission. It had already cut off arms. Papa Doc seized the occasion to deliver a rambling speech soothsaying doom for John Kennedy. When Kennedy was struck down at Dallas in November 22, 1963, Duvalier planted the rumor that he had sent zombies to Texas.
"Under Lyndon Johnson relations with Haiti were repaired somewhat, although it was not until the next administration took over that the old status quo was restored. The event was symbolized by the appearance of Nixon envoy Nelson Rockefeller in Port-au-Prince in 1969.
"Economic and military aid ensued. In November 1970 Washington secretly lifted the arms ban and granted export licenses to a Miami firm, Aerotrade, Inc. A major stockholder in the company was Haitian Defense Minister Luckner Cabronne, who was once quoted as saying that 'a good Duvalierist stands ready to kill his children or children to kill their parents.' Despite these ravings, Cabronne had solid business instincts. He controlled the tourist resort at Ibo Beach, the country's taxi system, and Air Haiti. The Marines were again sent in, but this time they were superannuated ones on Aerotrade's payroll who were to serve as advisers. Weapons, munitions, and a half dozen patrol craft were also imported.
"The concept of using Haiti as a dagger pointed at the heart of Cuba was nothing new, as we have seen. What was new was the idea of using Haiti without Duvalier. During the six-year hiatus between the severance of normal relations by JFK and their resumption by Nixon, that benighted nation was the target of some half a dozen invasion plots in which the CIA was not a totally innocent party."
(Deadly Secrets, Warren Hinckle & William Turner, pgs. 283-285)
"... Although there was no confiscations of American property, no Castro-style agrarian reform, American businessmen faced repeated shakedowns and harassment from the Duvalier government. Foremost among the entrepreneurs rooted in Haiti was the Texan Clint Murchison, Jr. To be on the safe side, Murchison registered in Washington, D.C. as a lobbyist for Duvalier.
"Murchison owned flour mills ('Caribbean Mills'), and a mammoth meatpacking business called HAMPCO, 'Haitian-American Meat and Provision Company, S.A.' At the flour mills, grey flour was ground for the poor out of imported surplus wheat. In the fiscal year ending June 1962 HAMPCO shipped 1,609,886 pounds of meat; between July 1, 1961 and September 30, 1963, 5,237,242 pounds of meat left Haiti.
"Sanitary conditions at HAMPCO were sub-standard. There were no health inspections, and the meat was unfit for the U.S. market. Instead, it was shipped to Puerto Rico where regulation was non-existent.
"When 'certain deficiencies' finally led to a HAMPCO being denied in import certificate even to Puerto Rico, Senate Majority Leader Lyndon Johnson secretary, Bobby Baker, made the trouble evaporate – for a commission of one cent per pound. Johnson received his kickback. The scandal was being investigated in late 1963 by Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, who planned to add this example of Lyndon's malfeasance to his growing list of justifications for removing Lyndon Johnson from the 1964 presidential ticket.
"Nor was Lyndon Johnson, Murchison and Bobby Baker the only Texans reaping profits from Haiti. George H.W. Bush's partner in Zapata Off-Shore oil, CIA operative Thomas J. Devine, working out of New York, was also doing business in Haiti. By 1985, cheap labor and tax concessions would result in the presence of two hundred and forty factories in Haiti owned by US businessmen. The minimum wage was now only three dollars a day.
"Still, American corporations concluded that Duvalier was to blatantly corrupt and unreliable. It was not so much Duvalier's corruption that made the U.S. uneasy. They had dealt with corruption before. Rather, it was the fear of the nationalization of American businesses, along with an unreasonable tax burden, and unpredictable shakedowns for cash, that by 1963 lead CIA to enter into serious discussions about how most efficaciously to remove Papa Doc."
(Our Man in Haiti, Joan Mellen, pgs. 9-10)
"The House Committee added to what was known about the de Mohrenschildts' intelligence connections. It revealed that, when leaving Dallas in May 1963 for Haiti, the de Mohrenschildts travel to Washington and took part in a Pentagon-CIA meeting with de Mohrenschildt's business ally, a Haitian banker named Clemard Joseph Charles. A former CIA contract agent has since suggested that one of de Mohrenschildt's purposes in moving to Haiti was to oversee a CIA-approved plot to overthrow Haitian dictator Francois 'Papa Doc' Duvalier.
"This seems quite possible. Clemard Charles did advocate the overthrow of Duvalier in the Washington meeting...; and in 1967, the year in which the de Mohrenschildts were smuggled secretly out of Haiti, Charles was reportedly jailed for his role in an anti-Duvalier plot. Charles was jailed again for having financed an abortive military revolt of April 1970, in which a major role was played by the French intelligence agent Andre Labay, later arrested as a major drug trafficker. At the time of the meeting in May 1963, a U.S. task force of eight ships with 2,000 Marines was menacing Duvalier by their presence just outside of Haitian waters.
"From the outset Clemard Charles may have had mob contacts and assistance for his intrigues in Haiti. His influence there increased in 1964, when he helped Duvalier break a U.S. arms embargo and acquired two T-28 fighter planes, possibly with help from U.S. organized crime. After his exile to the United States in late 1970s, Charles's business deals involved a number of intelligence and organized crime figures. In 1979 Charles discussed yet another possible ouster of Duvalier with veteran guerrilla warfare expert Mitchell WerBell III, a veteran of Cuban exile missions against Castro, and a representative of the Nugan Hand Bank, a bank involved in both intelligence operations and the financing of drug deals. During the savings-and-loan scandals of the 1980s, Charles laundered money for Mario Renda, a leading mob moneybroker for failed savings-and-loan banks, a number of them control by alleged Carlos Marcello associate Herman Beebe. Charles also became an officer or director of Florida corporations with Albert Krieger, the attorney for convicted drug figures Larry Freeman and Jack DeVoe, and with Frank Sturgis...
"De Mohrenschildt was also in contact with the dubious milieu of Herman Beebe and his associates, from as early as 1960...
"In other words, George de Mohrenschildt, so often described in assassination books by his intelligence connections, may have had links to the world of crime as well. But such intriguing connection should not make us forget that first and foremost de Mohrenschildt was an oil exploration geologist, and that his travels overseas were above all to countries like Haiti where oil was being sought. His repeated visits to Haiti in 1956, 1961, 1962, and March 1963, led to a proposal for a holding company with Charles for various investments, including a casino... De Mohrenschildt's self-described role in the deal was to obtain the support of oil companies, along with U.S. aid sources in Washington...
"So de Mohrenschildt was not just a 'spook,' as he has often been described; and his operation in Haiti should not be projected abstractly as an intelligence plot, or even an intelligence-mafia plot, so much as another export overseas of the U.S. way of doing business..."
(Deep Politics and the Death of JFK, Peter Dale Scott, pgs. 78-80)
After its early "successes" in Haiti, the Family really began to stretch out. Next up were inroads to South Korea and Ethiopia.
"And so it went through the 1960s, Coe and Halverson and Robinson and dozens of lesser brothers traveling the world for the Fellowship, almost always finding their way through Christ leading to the next hot spot in the Cold War. Not only did South Korea host a prayer breakfast, but it's dictator, General Park Chung Hee, tried to use the Fellowship to channel illegal funding to congressional candidates of Nixon's selection. (Nixon's representative, a Fellowship man named John Niedicker, declined.) Coe and Carlson double-teamed Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, a strategic prize in the struggle between United States and the Soviet Union. Selassie, who like Papa Doc considered himself an embodiment of the divine, depended on his Fellowship brethren to represent his interests in the United States.
"Those interests were considerable. For two decades, the United States provided more aid to Ethiopia than to the entire rest of the continent. In return, the emperor granted the National Security Agency basing rights for the largest overseas intelligence facility in the world, a high-tech 'listening post' from which the United States could keep tabs on the Middle East. He also deeded the Fellowship a prime parcel in downtown Addis Ababa from which to proselytize the rest of Africa. Just like dominoes, Coe wrote home to Salem."
(The Family, Jeff Sharlet, pg. 216)
|Haile Selassie, the long time emperor of Ethiopia|
By the late 1950s the Fellowship's influence had become both vast and very concentrated on Cold War hot spots. Journalist Wayne Madsen, writing for Insider magazine, notes:
"By 1957, ICL had established 125 groups in 100 cities, with 16 groups in Washington, DC alone. Around the world, it had set up another 125 groups in Canada, Britain, Germany, France, Northern Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Lebanon, Ethiopia (where Emperor Haile Selassie gave ICL property in Addis Ababa to build its African headquarters), India, South Vietnam, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Australia, New Zealand, Guatemala, Cuba, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Bermuda. ICL’s international activities coincided with activities in countries where the CIA was particularly active – an obvious by-product of the close cooperation between Vereide and the CIA’s Allen Dulles and James Jesus Angleton. Angleton and his close associate, Miles Copeland, favored using private businessmen to conduct operations that the CIA was barred from conducting statutorily. The ICL fit the bill very nicely. And although the Fellowship despised homosexuals, that did not stop FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who was strongly rumored to have been gay, writing a prayer for Vereide."
|the infamous James Jesus Angleton, whom the Matt Damon character in The Good Shepherd was based upon|
Indonesia is a nation that rarely concerns Americans despite having one of the most curious (and longest) history's on earth. In recent years growing evidence has begun to emerge that the island archipelago may well have been the cradle of civilization and that many of the world's great myths originated from there. In more recent times the largest Islamic nation on Earth has been at the center of political intrigues both before and especially after the Second World War. While all of this is far beyond the scope of this present series, a word should probably be said about the extensive Nazi presence in the island nation that dated from the 1920s.
The Nazi party in Indonesia was founded by a man named Walther Hewel. Hewel had joined the Nazi party before Hitler himself and had become a close friend of the future Fuhrer as well as a devoted party member from an early date. Hewel marched with Hitler at the Beer Hall Putsch when he was only 18 and then would serve time with the Fuhrer at Landsberg Prison. Upon his release he became a kind of international agent for the party.
"Beginning with his sojourn in England, Hewel – a committed Nazi and true believer – was active in promoting Nazi ideals. Encouraged by Rudolf Hess to form alliances with British fascists, he then went on to create an active Nazi Party in Indonesia starting in March 1927 and remained in Java until called back by Hitler at the end of 1935 to serve as ambassador to Spain and then as a special advisor to Nazi Foreign Minister Ribbentrop (who was hanged at Nuremberg). The positions in Spain and in Indonesia are suggestive, since they would form an important – but largely unrecognized – leg of the Ratline.
"While in Indonesia, Hewel formed Nazi Party units throughout Java: in Jakarta (then known as Batavia), Bandung, Medan, Padang, Semarang, Makassar... and Surabaya. In fact, Hewel was known to Bunker inhabitants as 'Surabaya Wally...
"Hewel would remain in Dutch-controlled Indonesia for nine years, during which time he saw the Nazi Party in that country grow and expand, largely among ex-patriate German and Dutch communities in those cities..."
(Ratline, Peter Levenda, pgs. 86-87)
"While Japan extended its authority over most of East Asia from Korea and China to the Philippines, Singapore, Malaya, Indochina and Indonesia, it had virtually no direct contact with the armed forces of Germany. It did, however, control important natural resources in those territories – like rubber, tin and other commodities – that were essential to the war effort in Europe. Rubber, in particular, was necessary for the production of tires and other components of tanks, trucks, jeeps and aircraft parts, and rubber was abundant in Malaya and Indonesia, areas under Japanese control.
"Thus, a system was established whereby the Germans would transport jet engine technology, machine tools and raw materials the Japanese did not have – such as uranium – in exchange for rubber, tin, tungsten, and whatever else was needed by the German war machine. The method of transportation was the U-boat. The port of call was Penang on the western coast of Malaya, with the first such shipment arriving on July 15, 1943 via German U-boat U-511. The submarine was actually a gift to the Japanese Navy by Adolf Hitler himself, in return for a Japanese submarine shipment of desperately-needed war material on Japanese sub I-30. Thus we have the rather bizarre image of Nazi U-boats bearing the swastika on their conning towers sailing into Asian ports halfway around the world from Germany.
"The Asian U-boat bases represented the only occasion in the entire war when the Germans and the Japanese actively cooperated militarily. German U-boats would refuel in the Indian Ocean on their way to and from Malaya, out of range of British bombers, in an operation that was conducted quickly and efficiently. The submarines themselves had been outfitted more as cargo ships than as engines of destruction, and towards the end of the war they were carrying V-2 rocket components to the Japanese. There has been much speculation that the Japanese were working on their own version of the atomic bomb at the time and, had they managed to build the V-2 rocket using German blueprints and parts, they would have had not only the bomb but also an effective delivery system.
"As the British grew in strength in Asia in 1944, and using India as a base, they began to bomb Penang in order to disrupt the U-boat traffic from Europe and also to deny the Japanese that important port that controlled the sea lanes in the Melaka Straits. At that time the decision was made to move the base to Indonesia, to Batavia (now Jakarta), as well as Surabaya, and the shipments carried on as before.
"Aside from the Nazi U-boat presence, in 1943 a Gestapo team arrived in Indonesia to coordinate their activities with the Japanese and against whatever Dutch resistance there was in the archipelago. The Netherlands had been invaded in 1940, and the Dutch in Indonesia were cut off and without any support or resources from their homeland. The Japanese promised Indonesians their independence from Holland if they would support Japan in its project of wiping out Dutch resistance, and future Indonesian leaders like Sukarno were cooperating with Japanese for the oldest of reasons: 'The enemy of my enemy is my friend.'
"The Gestapo then began rounding up whatever Jews they could find, for arrest and imprisonment...
"Thus, we have a documented Nazi presence in Indonesia going back to the 1920s (long before Hitler came to power in Germany) and which does not disappear until the end of the war in the Pacific, for the Nazi U-boats that were stranded in Indonesia after the German surrender were commandeered by the Japanese for their own use. That meant that U-boat crews were also stranded in Indonesia and many found themselves unable – or unwilling – to return to Germany.
"Many U-boat crewman discovered Indonesia to be a relatively congenial berth after the rigors of submarine warfare on the losing side. Although they were taken prisoner by the Allies once Japan surrendered, some managed to escape and others were charged with guarding the Dutch against the Indonesian rebels. Some became active in the Indonesian revolt against the Dutch, who returned Indonesia in force after the Japanese surrender. Several died in Indonesia and are buried in what has to be one of the strangest cemeteries in the world – Eight Hundred Statues."
(Ratline, Peter Levenda, pgs. 90-92)
|wreck up a U-boat found near Indonesia|
|the Eight Hundred Statues graveyard, located near Bogor, Indonesia|
"Indonesia's 1965 coup followed a very different trajectory. Since the Second World War, the country had been led by President Sukarno, the Hugo Chavez of his day (though minus Chavez's appetite for elections). Sukarno enraged the rich countries by protecting Indonesia's economy, redistributing wealth and throwing out the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, which he accused of being facades for the interests of Western multinationals. While Sukarno was a nationalist, not a Communist, he worked closely with the Communist Party, which had 3 million active members. The U.S. and British governments were determined to end Sukarno's rule, and declassified documents show that the CIA had received high-level directions to 'liquidate President Sukarno, depending upon the situation and available opportunities.'
"After several false starts, the opportunity came in October 1965, when General Suharto, backed by the CIA, began the process of seizing power and eradicating the left. The CIA had been quietly compiling a list of the county's leading leftist, a document that fell into Suharto's hands, while the Pentagon helped out by supplying extra weapons and field radio so Indonesian forces could communicate in the remotest parts of the archipelago. Suharto then sent out his soldiers to hunt down the four to five thousand leftists on his 'shooting lists,' as the CIA referred to them; the U.S. Embassy received regular reports on their progress. As the information came in, the CIA crossed names off their lists until they were satisfied that the Indonesian left have been annihilated. One of the people involved in the operation was Robert J. Martens, who worked for the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta. 'It really was a big help to the army,' he told the journalist Kathy Kadane twenty-five years later. 'They probably killed a lot of people, and I probably have a lot of blood on my hands, but that's not all bad. There's a time when you have to strike hard at a decisive moment.'
"The shooting lists covered the targeted killing; the more indiscriminate massacres of which Suharto is infamous were, for the most part, delegated to religious students. They were quickly trained by the military and then sent into the villages on instructions from the chief to the navy to 'sweep' the countryside Communist. 'With relish,' wrote one reporter, 'they called out their followers, stuck their knives and pistols in their waistbands, swung their clubs over their shoulders, and embarked on the assignment for which they had long been hoping.' In just over a month, at least half a million and possibly as many as 1 million people were killed, 'massacred by the thousands,' according to Time. In East Java, 'Travelers from those areas tell of small rivers and streams that have been literally clogged with body; river transportation has at places been impeded.' "
(The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein, pgs. 67-68)
"... It declared independence; nine days later Suharto's army invaded, on the pretext that its neighbor was communist. Two hundred thousand people – nearly a third of the island's population – were killed during the long occupation, to which the United States gave its blessing. Gerald Ford, the only president to have been a member of an actual prayer cell (when he was in Congress, with Representatives John Rhodes, Al Quie, and Melvin Laird, a cell that reconvened in 1974 to pray with Ford about pardoning Nixon), told Suharto, 'We will understand and will not press you on the issue. We understand the problem and the intentions you have.' Kissinger, with Ford in Jakarta, added, 'It is important that whatever you do succeeds quickly because the use of U.S.-made arms could create problems.' Suharto did not succeed quickly – the killing continued for decades – but he never lacked for champions in the U.S. Congress, which saw to it that American dollars kept his regime in bullets until he was driven out in 1998.
"The massacre of Indonesia preceded Suharto's friendship with the Family, but the slaughter and slow strangulation of East Timor coincided with it. A document in the Family's archives titled 'Important Dates in Indonesian History' notes that in March 1966, the Communist Party was banned and Campus Crusade arrived in April. Suharto wasn't a Christian, but he knew that where missionaries go, investors follow. He also wanted to use God – any God --to pacify the population. In 1967, Congressman Ben Reifel sent a memo to other Fellowship members in Congress noting that a special message from Suharto calling on Indonesians to seek God, discover his laws, and obey them was broadcast at the same time as a Fellowship prayer session in the Indonesian parliament for non-Christian politicians. The Fellowship never asked Indonesians to renounce Islam, only to meet around 'the person of Jesus' – considered a profit in Islam – in private, under the guidance of the Fellowship's American brothers.
"By 1969, the Fellowship claimed as its man in Jakarta Suharto's minister of social affairs, who presided over a group of more than fifty Muslims and Christians in parliament. Another Fellowship associate, Darius Marpaung – he'd later claim that God spoke through him when he told a massive rally that the time had come to 'purge the communist,' an event that helped spark the massacre – led a similar group in Indonesian's Christian community. 'President Suharto is most interested and would like to increase his contact through this medium with the other men of the world,' wrote Coe's first follower, Senator Mark Hatfield, in a memo to Nixon that year. 'He has indicated he would like to meet with the Senate [prayer] group if and when he comes to the United States.'
"In the fall of 1970, Suharto did both. Coe often boasted that nobody but congressman, himself, and maybe a special guest attended such meetings, but this time Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird and Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, joined the Indonesian dictator. In October 1970, Coe wrote to the U.S. ambassador to Chile, Edward Korry. Suharto had just become the first Muslim to join the Fellowship's off-the-record Senate prayer group for a meeting 'similar to the one we had with Haile Selassie,' the emperor of Ethiopia...
"In 1971, Coe entertained a small gathering at the Fellowship House with stories from his most recent round of visits to international brothers, 'men whom God has touched in an unusual way.' Among them was General Nguyen Van Thieu, the president of South Vietnam, who arrange for Coe to tour the war zone in the personal plane of his top military commander; the foreign minister of Cambodia, 'most eager to carry out our concept'; and Suharto. In Cliff Robinson's telling, 'Doug and I were escorted up the steps of the palace, no attempt to make any secret of it, and the president there so warmly welcomed us and the first thing he said as I walked into the room was to express his appreciation for what had been done, and to say that the momentum that we had seen started in this must not be allowed to slacken... Along toward the end, one of the men suggested it would be good if we had prayer together. And Darius Marpaung suggested that the businessman who was there would lead us in a prayer. And I think I have seldom been in a meeting where the prayer was so God-inspired.'
"Coe and Robinson weren't the only representatives of the Fellowship to seek such inspiration with Suharto. In 1970, a memo to Fellowship Congressmen from Senator B. Everett Jordan, a North Carolina Dixiecrat, reported that Howard Hardesty, the executive vice president of Continental Oil, listed as a key man in the Fellowship's confidential directory, had traveled to Indonesia to spend the day with the Fellowship prayer cells and join Suharto for dinner. The following year, Senator Jordan himself traveled to Jakarta on the Family's behalf, where a special prayer breakfast meeting of forty parliamentary and military leaders was assembled for him by the vice president of Pertamina, the state oil and gas company that functioned like a family business for Suharto. Such corporate/state/church chumminess was hardly limited to the dictatorial regimes. Jordan may well have traveled to the meeting on a plane provided that year for congressional members of the Family by Harold McClure of McClure Oil, and the year previous, he boasted in a memo to congressional Family members, oil executives and foreign diplomat had used the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington to meet for 'confidential' prayers.
"By 1972, some of Abram's old hands were concerned about the moral vacuum the Family now called home. Elgin Groseclose, the American economist who'd help the Shah run Iran in the 1940s, worried that Muslims who saw through the façade of the 'brotherhood of man' would ask, 'Down what road am I being taken?' And, perhaps, decide to take Americans for a ride instead. 'This is been one of the aspects of the... movement that has long troubled me,' concluded Groseclose. 'Where does politics end and religion begin?'
"Poor Groseclose. He could not grasp power. Suharto got it. 'We are sharing the deepest experiences of our lives together,' Cliff Robinson wrote of his brother the dictator. 'It was at this point when I was with President Suharto of Indonesia that he said, "In this way we are converted, we convert ourselves – no one converts us!" ' "
(The Family, Jeff Sharlet, pgs. 246-249)
|induced famine was a favorite tactic of Suharto's in East Timor|
Perhaps it is here that the most perfect manifestation of Douglas Coe's concept of Jesus plus nothing emerges. Stripped of all ideology and context, even an Islamic genocidal maniac like Suharto had a place as a "key man" of Christ. And so it went with Jesus plus nothing throughout the Cold War. After the fall of the Soviet Union the Family never quite managed carnage on the scale of Indonesia but they've certainly planted some promising seeds for such in the future. In the next installment we shall look at the more recent intrigues of the Family. Stay tuned.