Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The Bush gay prostitution scandalS

Todd Blodgett. You probably don't know the name. The question is: Why don't you know it?

After all, if a man with Blodgett's bizarre history had gotten anywhere near a Democratic president, the right-wing media would have used a pneumatic nail-driver to punch that name into the consciousness of every living American.

A 1989 Washington Times article connected Blodgett to a gay prostitution ring whose clientele involved high-level Republicans. Blodgett later involved himself with such noted modern American racists as Willis Carto and William Pierce. For a while, Blodgett owned Resistance Records, the notorious neo-Nazi music label.

But this fellow was no mere fringe-dweller. Blodgett, whose father was a prominent GOP politician in Iowa, had worked in the White House. He briefed Ronald Reagan. Next time you see an episode of The West Wing, imagine someone like Herr Blodgett working next to Josh and Leo -- and if that image seems absurd, remind yourself: Such a thing actually occurred.

More than that: In 1988, at the very time when his DC-area apartment housed gay prostitution activity, Blodgett served on the Bush/Quayle election committee as a domestic policy advisor.

Again: Imagine how the pundits would have howled if a man with that background had served as a Clinton election advisor. Would they have ever allowed us to forget?

Again: Why don't more people know the name of Todd Blodgett?

The information related above comes from sources most people would consider respectable. You can find much of it in this piece published by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Yet even those researchers outraged by Prescott Bush's long-ago financial dealings with the Third Reich never mention the Nazi sympathizer who worked on the Poppy Bush campaign.

The Guckert/Gannon controversy has induced the more adventurous researchers to take another look at the previous big scandal involving gay prostitution and the White House. Some believe that the current imbroglio may have roots in the older one.

That earlier matter generated surprisingly few reports in the mainstream media. A key figure in the gay prostitution ring was a lobbyist named Craig Spence, who, while shopping his tale around for possible publication, divulged that the CIA used the ring for blackmail purposes. He also prophesied that he might turn up as the victim of a fake "suicide." His body was later found in a hotel room; the coroner declared his death to be a suicide.

Question: Why would the most substantive report on the 1988-89 scandal appear in the Washington Times?

That paper, after all, is owned by the Reverend Moon, the bizarre would-be Messiah and accused money-launderer. Moon has infamously close ties to the far right and to the Bush family. (Here's a nice photo of Poppy and Barbara with Mrs. Moon and Bo Hi Pak, the Reverend's right-hand man.) So why did Moon's underlings briefly tarnish a GOP-held White House in 1988-89?

This puzzler has been gnawing at me in recent days. Then my thoughts turned to that other big scandal of the 1970s -- the one never discussed in school textbooks.

Many Americans of a certain age first heard of Moon in relation to the 1976-78 Koreagate controversy. Today, most "quickie" accounts of that scandal describe it as an attempt by the South Korean government to bribe American congressmen. But the affair ran deeper than many suppose.

Jim Hougan (author of Secret Agenda, the best book on Watergate) argued that the secret heart of this scandal, as in Watergate, may have concerned sex and extortion. Ton Sun Park (sometimes spelled Tongsun or Tong Sun Park) was a South Korean agent of influence who ran the George Town Club. This club provided a base of operation for the sexual blackmail of leading legislators and other politicians. Various published accounts hold that the notorious "renegade" CIA agent Ed Wilson secretly filmed embarrassing activities by politicos of the day. (Hougan's source for much of this information was Wilson's partner, the fugitive Frank Terpil.)

And who was the director of the CIA in 1976? George H.W. Bush.

In 1977, Congressman Donald Fraser investigated Moon's links to this very same operation. His report indicated that Moon and Park both functioned on behalf of the KCIA, itself created by, and intertwined with, the American CIA. As Bob Fritakis has summarized:

Moon earned notoriety in the Koreagate scandal after female followers of the Unification Church were accused of entertaining and keeping confidential files on several US congressmen whom they "lobbied" at a Washington Hilton I-Intel suite rented by the Moonies.
Moon has always had a strange obsession with sex.

Early Korean news accounts of the cult accused Moon of requiring sex from a number of his female followers. At least one illegitimate pregnancy resulted. (For an eye-opening account of his sexual rites and attitudes -- which strike even this jaundiced observer as odd -- see here.) Despite this history, Moon now emphasizes chastity. A much-repeated Moon quote holds that "the head of the love organ is shaped exactly like a poisonous rattlesnake. And just like a rattlesnake, it's always looking for a hole."

Perhaps that rattlesnake hunt explains Moon's close relationship with both Bush the elder and W.

The best investigation of the Moon-Bush linkage is this chapter of Robert Parry's excellent series "The Dark Side of Reverend Moon." Parry notes a number of instances in which the elder Bush has trumpeted the cause of the Korean "Messiah," a figure despised by most people. I cannot think of a historical parallel for such a relationship: A former president has endorsed a perverted, Yakuza-linked Korean cultist who denounces the Unites States as "satanic."

Parry's article notes that Moon had ties to the Reagan-Bush administration from the very beginning. Still, Bush seems not to have made any public gestures on behalf of Moon until the 1990s.

I therefore theorize that the afore-cited 1989 Washington Times article -- the one exposing Craig Spence, Todd Blodgett and the DC gay prostitution ring -- constituted a warning shot. The piece revealed much, but hinted at far worse revelations to follow. Who knows what manner of sexual dirt might have seen ink if Bush refused to ally himself to the good Reverend?

I note that, although Moon went to jail for tax evasion during the first Reagan administration, he did not make a return trip to the pokey while Bush was in office. In fact, all investigations of Moon's nefarious activities were shut down.

For many years, rumor has claimed that Bush himself patronized the Spence ring. I have never seen those rumors backed by any evidence I would consider persuasive.

We can be certain, though, that sexual blackmail underlies much of the covert politics of the past decades. The CIA's blackmail adventures played a still-hazy role in both the Watergate affair and in our Middle East relationships. (The Nixon administration cemented ties with Saudi rulers by providing them with appropriate "company" during stateside trips). Koreagate provided a continuation of the same theme, as did the 1989 scandal. In all of these cases, the Agency's fingerprints became briefly visible.

Does the pattern continue to the present day? I note that Jim Guckert once took pains to deny involvement with American intelligence -- even though no-one had accused him of such involvement. Odd behavior.
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