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BOOK REVIEW: "The Essential Mae Brussell" edited by Alex Constantine

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"The Essential Mae Brussell: Investigations of Fascim in America."
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BOOK REVIEW: The Essential Mae Brussell: Investigations of Fascism in America edited by Alex Constantine (Feral House) 2014

It really wasn’t until I started reading the investigative work of anti-fascist writer and researcher Alex Constantine, of The Constantine Report, some years ago that I first heard of Mae Brussell.

Up until then, I noticed that a lot of the “conspiracy-theory research” out there had a decidedly right-wing bent to it. It seemed that there were few anti-fascists out there who were seriously digging for the truth and exposing the “ex-Nazi-scientist-Old Boy OSS clique in the CIA using Mafia hit men,” as a San Francisco Examiner columnist once said, explaining Brussell’s research.

So, who was Mae Brussell? Well, up until the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963 in Dallas, Texas, she was a housewife and mother of five children, living in southern California.

After that point, however, the plucky Brussell, with a mind like a steel trap, quickly sees countless flaws in the “official” investigation into JFK’s murder, purportedly by a lone gunman named Lee Harvey Oswald (something we addressed in our recent review of Adam Gorightly's new book Caught in the Crossfire).

Brussell dove into researching the assassination and Oswald’s life and found she had a distinct knack for poring over newspaper articles, documents and the entire Swiss-cheese-holed Warren Commission Report on the assassination.

In the introduction to The Essential Mae Brussell, from The Realist’s Paul Krassner, who published much of Brussell’s work, he calls Brussell the “Bionic Researcher” who inspired a group of conspiracy researchers (“Brussell Sprouts”) who followed in her footsteps (the aforementioned Alex Constantine among their number) and have long after her curious death from a “fast-acting cancer” in October 1988.

As Brussell explained to Krassner, the Nazis that were brought to the U.S. in Operation Paper Clip, were involved in a lot of, well, Nazi-like suppression, dirty tricks and outright murder of dissidents and activists in the U.S. That includes labor leaders (Saul Alinsky, Jimmy Hoffa, Walter Reuther, etc.); Mafia leaders (Sam Giancana, etc.); musicians (Tim Buckley, Jimi Hendrix, Brian Jones of The Rolling Stones, Jim Morrison, etc.) and actors/activists like Freddy Prinze.

And Brussell is no Sixties-era “gonzo journalist” in the vein of Hunter S. Thompson or other counterculture writers of that era. Brussell’s findings are presented in a factual, straightforward fashion. You get the impression that Brussell – like “brussel sprouts” – is giving you something that is “good for you,” whether you like it or not. That something is the truth.

“The right-left political and economic spectrum is a farce,” she says.

Richard Milhous Nixon, sworn in as president in January 1969, had a long, political history prior to his winning the prior autumn. And while Brussell personally wrote Nixon a letter saying she wanted to help him expose those who used him for their nefarious ends, Nixon does not respond and of course he resigns in disgrace in the aftermath of Watergate, which was an event rife with dangerous right-wing elements linked to fascists and Nazis.

“Documents exist to prove that the CIA and the FBI planned the murder of Richard Nixon in 1972,” Brussell explains in 1978 interview.

“I am outraged that our judicial system since 1947 has been patterned after Nazi Germany,” she said, continuing. “Patsies are dead or locked away. The assassins walk the streets or leave the country, ‘home free.’”

Or, they are murdered by the state, as was the case with a number of members of the Symbionese Liberation Army in 1974. Of all of the chapters in Essential that truly captivated and shocked me, it was the one titled “Why Was Patricia Hearst Kidnapped?” which originally appeared in The Realist in 1974. This has to be one of the wildest, craziest things to happen in the past 40 or so years.

Essentially, the daughter of newspaper magnate Randolph Heart – Patty Hearst – was kidnapped by a radical “leftist” terrorist group called the Symbionese Liberation Army or simply SLA – in all likelihood created by a military intelligence group with special knowledge about methods to achieve mind control.

“The kidnapping of Patricia Campbell Hearst was as vital to the creation of the Symbionese Liberation Army as the murder of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand was to the beginning of World War I,” writes Brussell, adding later, “America’s first political kidnapping was necessary to justify the creation of laws and police SWAT teams. They can later be used against guerilla or terrorist activities.” Boy, does that ever sound like America 2014!

Throughout the chapter on Hearst and the SLA, I was riveted by the story of these young people, many of whom weren’t overtly political or doctrinaire, suddenly transform, seemingly overnight, into a violent, radical terrorist group, although by the end of it, the state had killed far more of them then they of innocent civilians during the winter-into-spring of 1974.

Brussell offers up a list of “motives” for the creation of the SLA, from discrediting communes to turning the population into informers. “See something, say something” takes on a decidedly more ominous tone (and we’re talking about events from four decades ago!)

Chapters on the murder of actor/comedian John Belushi is examined as is the shoot down of KAL 007 by a Soviet fighter jet in 1983, an event that took the life of far-right, John Birch Society leader U.S. Rep. Larry McDonald (R-Ga.) as he headed to South Korea for an event there. Brussell’s research on that trip suggests that McDonald was isolated from the rest of his entourage, who were on a separate flight, and that KAL 007 was deliberately flowing over Soviet airspace and shot down. It was all planned, it would seem.

And then there was the seemingly purposeful destruction of the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1986. Brussell’s findings result in far more ominous conclusions that those dished out by the pathetic, lapdog media of the time (and I might add, little has changed since then – in a sense, things have worsened in our Orwellian society).

Who killed Mama Cass Elliot? And why? What of Janis Joplin? Why was “The Man” pushing LSD on concertgoers at rock festivals? What did the system do to Phil Ochs, the “troubadour of the New Left”? And who or what shattered his mind so that he became a bloated, right-wing thug by the mid-1970’s and called himself “John Butler Train”? This was after his obsession with the JFK assassination and a concert with Bob Dylan remembering the life of the recently-slain Marxist leader of Chile, Salvador Allende.

Then there was the CIA-conducted assassination of John Lennon ("Power to the People," "Imagine" and "Give Peace a Chance," among many other hippie-era anthems) and other rock musicians who “The Man” felt were dangerous to their militaristic goals. Lennon was coming out of seclusion in 1980, just as the thuggish-but-smiling Ronald Reagan was elected as president. The military-industrial complex and associated alphabet-soup agencies saw the rested former Beatle as a potential threat to SDI, Star Wars, and the arms race. Enter Mark David Chapman, a dubious character from Georgia who ends up hating Lennon and the Beatles after initially loving the English rock group. He ends up hanging out on military bases and with Christian charity groups and traveling the world while having little money to speak of. He finds himself in New York City in December 1980 …

As Brussell put it: “The murder of John Lennon was the tragic finale to an era, a reminder that once an artist becomes as popular and as political as he, enemies will be waiting to ensure that the artist fails to awaken slumbering youth.”

Chilling stuff.

And yet when I read Brussell’s writings I see it as critically important. Brussell did everything she could to warn the American people about the secret government that was running the show and preventing true freedom and democracy to flourish. Leaders of the people would rise, only to be cut down by the Nazis and fascists that populate – to this day – the American government and important, influential sectors of American society, particularly in the media. Their goal is to continue with their white supremacist goals and keep minorities and the disenfrachised under their thumb for as long as possible.

And while I didn't give it 5 Rusties, primarily due to some editing issues that will likely be addressed in the next printing, The Essential Mae Brussell is an important book and should be sought after and read by any and all Americans who are concerned about the dark turn our country has taken - a country that needs more Mae Brussells.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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