Is there a figure on the American political scene more corrupt, more dangerous, more influential, and yet more hidden from the light of day that ultra right-wing Republican fanatic Sung Myung Moon? The grotesque cult that Moon organized and has led for many years has had a pernicious and growing influence on our politics. Nowhere is this more evident than in Moon's connections with the Bush family. Robert Parry at Consortium News has a trenchant analysis of Moon's backing of the radical right in general and the Bushes in particular:
He launched the Washington Times in 1982 and its staunch support for Reagan-Bush political interests quickly made it a favorite of Reagan, Bush and other influential Republicans. Moon also made sure that his steady flow of cash found its way into the pockets of key conservative operatives, especially when they were most in need, when they were facing financial crises.
For instance, when the New Right’s direct-mail whiz Richard Viguerie fell on hard times in the late 1980s, Moon had a corporation run by a chief lieutenant, Bo Hi Pak, buy one of Viguerie’s properties for $10 million. [See Orange County Register, Dec. 21, 1987; Washington Post, Oct. 15, 1989]
Moon also used the Washington Times and its affiliated publications to create seemingly legitimate conduits to funnel money to individuals and companies. In another example of Moon’s largesse, the Washington Times hired Viguerie to conduct a pricy direct-mail subscription drive, boosting his profit margin.
Another case of saving a right-wing icon occurred when the Rev. Jerry Falwell was facing financial ruin over the debts piling up at Liberty University.
But the fundamentalist Christian school in Lynchburg, Va., got a last-minute bail-out in the mid-1990s ostensibly from two Virginia businessmen, Dan Reber and Jimmy Thomas, who used their non-profit Christian Heritage Foundation to snap up a large chunk of Liberty’s debt for $2.5 million, a fraction of its face value.
Falwell rejoiced and called the moment “the greatest single day of financial advantage” in the school’s history, even though it was accomplished at the disadvantage of many small true-believing investors who had bought the church construction bonds through a Texas company. But Falwell’s secret benefactor behind the debt purchase was Sun Myung Moon, who was kept in the background partly because of his controversial Biblical interpretations that hold Jesus to have been a failure and because of Moon’s alleged brainwashing of thousands of young Americans, often shattering their bonds with their biological families.
Moon also used [a front organization] to pay substantial speaking fees to George H.W. Bush, who gave talks at Moon-sponsored events. In September 1995, Bush and his wife, Barbara, gave six speeches in Asia for the Women’s Federation. In one speech on Sept. 14 to 50,000 Moon supporters in Tokyo, Bush said “what really counts is faith, family and friends.”
Moon’s wife, Hak Ja Han Moon, followed the ex-President and announced that “it has to be Reverend Moon to save the United States, which is in decline because of the destruction of the family and moral decay.” [Washington Post, Sept. 15, 1995] In summer 1996, Bush was lending his prestige to Moon again. Bush addressed the Moon-connected Family Federation for World Peace in Washington, an event that gained notoriety when comedian Bill Cosby tried to back out of his contract after learning of Moon’s connection. Bush had no such qualms. [Washington Post, July 30, 1996]
In fall 1996, Moon needed the ex-President’s help again. Moon was trying to replicate his Washington Times influence in South America by opening a regional newspaper, Tiempos del Mundo. But South American journalists were recounting unsavory chapters of Moon’s history, including his links to South Korea’s feared intelligence service and various neo-fascist organizations.
In the early 1980s, Moon had used friendships with the military dictatorships in Argentina and Uruguay – which had been responsible for tens of thousands of political murders – to invest in those two countries. There also were allegations of Moon’s links to the region’s major drug traffickers. [For details on the drug ties, see Robert Parry’s Lost History.]
Moon’s disciples fumed about the critical stories and accused the Argentine news media of trying to sabotage Moon’s plans for an inaugural gala in Buenos Aires on Nov. 23, 1996. “The local press was trying to undermine the event,” complained the church’s internal newsletter, Unification News. Given the controversy, Argentina’s elected president, Carlos Menem, decided to reject Moon’s invitation.
But Moon had a trump card: the endorsement of an ex-President of the United States, George H.W. Bush. Agreeing to speak at the newspaper’s launch, Bush flew aboard a private plane, arriving in Buenos Aires on Nov. 22. Bush stayed at Menem’s official residence, the Olivos.
As the headliner at the newspaper’s inaugural gala, Bush saved the day, Moon’s followers gushed. “Mr. Bush’s presence as keynote speaker gave the event invaluable prestige,” wrote the Unification News. “Father [Moon] and Mother [Mrs. Moon] sat with several of the True Children [Moon’s offspring] just a few feet from the podium” where Bush spoke.
“I want to salute Reverend Moon,” Bush declared. “A lot of my friends in South America don’t know about the Washington Times, but it is an independent voice. The editors of the Washington Times tell me that never once has the man with the vision [Moon] interfered with the running of the paper, a paper that in my view brings sanity to Washington, D.C.”
Bush’s speech was so effusive that it surprised even Moon’s followers. “Once again, heaven turned a disappointment into a victory,” the Unification News exulted. “Everyone was delighted to hear his compliments. We knew he would give an appropriate and ‘nice’ speech, but praise in Father’s presence was more than we expected. ... It was vindication. We could just hear a sigh of relief from Heaven.” While Bush’s assertion about Moon’s Washington Times as a voice of “sanity” may be a matter of opinion, Bush’s vouching for its editorial independence simply wasn’t true. Almost since it opened in 1982, a string of senior editors and correspondents have resigned, citing the manipulation of the news by Moon and his subordinates. The first editor, James Whelan, resigned in 1984, confessing that “I have blood on my hands” for helping Moon’s church achieve greater legitimacy.
By fall 1996, Bush and Moon had been working in political tandem for at least a decade and a half. The ex-President also had been earning huge speaking fees as a front man for Moon for more than a year. Throughout these public appearances for Moon, Bush’s office refused to divulge how much Moon-affiliated organizations have paid the ex-President. But estimates of Bush’s fee for the Buenos Aires appearance alone ran between $100,000 and $500,000. Sources close to the Unification Church told me that the total spending on Bush ran into the millions, with one source telling me that Bush stood to make as much as $10 million from Moon’s organization. The senior George Bush may have had a political motive, too. By 1996, sources close to Bush were saying the ex-President was working hard to enlist well-to-do conservatives and their money behind the presidential candidacy of his son, George W. Bush. Moon was one of the deepest pockets in right-wing circles.
(And, might I remind you of a couple of my other postings regarding Moon, his basic insanity, and his Republican ties? You can find them here, and here.)
Yes, Moon, along with a number of other shady and very, very rich radical rightwing Republicans, has been driving our politics rightward tirelessly. Moon is perhaps the most extreme of them all. Read Parry's whole article, and then tell me this Moon son of a bitch doesn't alarm the hell out of you.