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Who Killed Congressman Larry McDonald?

February 27, 2010

Ronald Reagan, the Western Goals Foundation & the Downing of KAL Flight 007
By Mae Brussell
Hustler magazine, February 1984

In the aftermath of the Korean Air Lines disaster that shocked the world on September 1, 1983, the editors of the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner contended with a series of nagging questions. Prominent among them was the following:

Q: Is there reason to believe that Rep. Lawrence McDonald of Georgia, an admittedly ultra-right U.S. congressman traveling on 007, may have been deliberately assassinated aboard the flight?

A: “While the [U.S.] government has made no such charge, McDonald’s widow claims that her husband, the national chairman of the John Birch Society, was ‘murdered.’ She holds that it was no accident that ‘the leading anti-Communist in the American government’ had been on a plane that was ‘forced into Soviet territory’ and shot down.”

Another question to be addressed is: Why would the Soviet Union wish to make a martyr of Larry McDonald? If the Russians are the experts at terrorism they’re supposed to be, it would seem obvious that they could find an easier way to get rid of the congressman than chasing his airplane over Soviet territory for 2 1/2 hours. They could have easily blown him away anywhere in the world.

Furthermore, it is hard to believe that KAL Flight 007 was forced into Soviet airspace, as if a giant mechanism had sucked McDonald toward his mortal enemy. During the strange 2 1/2 hours that 007 ventured as far as 226 miles inside Soviet airspace, the Russians were testing new missiles directly below. They didn’t need any more problems.

And I doubt that McDonald, fanatic as he was, deserves the label of “leading anti-Communist in the American government.” He has pretty stiff competition from A.G. “Fritz” Kraemer, Sven Kraemer, John Lenczowski, Paula Dobriansky, William Clark, Jeanne Kirkpatrick, William Casey, Henry Kissinger, Dr. Ernest Lefevre, William F. Buckley, James Buckley, Richard Pipes, General Daniel O. Graham and a cast of thousands.

An article that appeared immediately after the shooting down of 007 accused Secretary of the Navy John Lehman of responsibility for “the deaths of 269 over Sakhalin Island.” Lehman’s strategic design, known as “Horizontal Escalation” in defense circles, outlines a series of provocations against the USSR. Lehman: “He who gets the signal to fire first in the North Pacific will enjoy a tremendous tactical advantage. This region … is most probably where we shall witness confrontation with the Soviet Union.”

Thus, while Europe and the U.S. divert the public with NATO missile debates, plans are formulated for a first strike in the Pacific. South Korea, Japan and the U.S. are at collectively at work on these plans. Sending spy planes over the Soviet Union serves the purpose of provocation.

Five days after the 007 incident, former CIA spy Ralph McGehee told a college audience that the Korean airliner was indeed on a spy mission. He also believes that the Russians thought 007 was an RC-135 intelligence plane.

It was Senator Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina) – another archconservative ideologue; anti-union, anti-government, anti-Communist and an opponent of an international treaty on genocide – who arranged McDonald’s invitation to attend the celebration commemorating the 30th anniversary of the official U.S. entry into the Korean War.

Instead of traveling together, however, Helms and McDonald arrived in Anchorage, Alaska – the first stop of the journey to South Korea – on separate planes. The fact that McDonald was the only person in the 36-member American delegation to fly alone seems strange. After refueling, the Boeing 747 carrying Helms arrived at its destination safely. But McDonald – and his fellow passengers on Flight 007 – were not so fortunate.

As depicted in the books by Ian Fleming, 007 was James Bond’s “license to kill.” In this case, who had the license to kill? Was it the CIA and its Korean counterpart, the KCIA? They were formed at approximately the same time and work together closely.

The fact that McDonald and Helms flew on separate planes brings up several more unanswered questions. Who sat next to McDonald? Korean Air Lines must have a boarding pass for that passenger. If nobody used the seat, and if McDonald was accompanied by others in the American delegation, why didn’t one of them occupy the seat? Where were the staff or advisory members of McDonald’s Western Goals Foundation, a data bank in Alexandria, Virginia, that serves as a national right-wing clearinghouse for negative information about leftists? Why was McDonald left to die alone?

Who actually gained by Flight 007’s violation of Soviet territory? Not the Russians. They were in preparation for the next week’s meeting in Madrid, Spain, between U.S. Secretary of State George Schultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, also the resumption of arms-reduction talks and the annual United Nations meeting. An incident of any kind would – and did – set world opinion against them at a critical time.

On the other hand, the U.S. government benefited by gathering valuable military information about Soviet radar and defensive capabilities in the hours preceding the crash. Other benefits to the State Department and Pentagon included favorable MX-missile and binary nerve-gas votes from a knee-jerk Congress.

Clearly, Larry McDonald did not die at the hands of Soviet planners. The most important explanation for his demise relates to recent revelations about his clandestine activities. A prior relationship between McDonald and President Reagan started to surface before the crash. Illicit espionage concealed behind a cloak of righteous Americanism at any price was about to be exposed.

The media, along with many other institutions and individuals, had purposely withheld the darker side of Reagan’s years as California governor from the 1980 Presidential campaign. Now the dirty laundry of the past was starting to leak out.

Key backers, financiers and appointees of Ronald Reagan have always been involved in political spying – and worse. California was rife with intrigue. Nixon and Reagan were from California. And California is where the bubble burst. The trail leading to the connection between Reagan and McDonald is long and winding. But the facts prove collusion between informers hired by Reagan when he was governor and McDonald’s Western Goals Foundation. The methods – and even the persons involved – were the same in both cases.

The first indication that something was even more rotten than usual in California came on August 15, 1980, when Warren Hinckle – the former editor of Ramparts magazine – noted that the snooping of Jerry Ducote appeared to involve members of Ronald Reagan’s gubernatorial staff. (Ducote was a former sheriff’s deputy employed by Reagan’s backers to infiltrate suspected subversive groups.)

“What is happening in Santa Clara County today is the germ of the biggest scandal of the next 1 1/2 years,” Hinckle said. “People thought that with Watergate it was all over. But this is the next layer of Watergate.”

On January 4, 1983, nearly 2 1/2 years after Hinckle’s prediction, Detective Jay Paul of the Los Angeles Police Department supplied a weary team of investigators with the connection between Larry McDonald and Ronald Reagan. That day marked the end of McDonald’s usefulness to the larger network he served. He had become a liability to some very important people.

A carefully-constructed web of deceit was brought down by the massive volumes of files illegally assembled on law-abiding citizens by the L.A. Police Department’s Public Disorder Intelligence Division (PDID). The files were ordered destroyed in 1975, but it was later discovered that LAPD officers kept the data-bank information.

Enraged by this disobedience, the Los Angeles Police Commission officially requested the files. But by then, Lieutenant Thomas Scheidecker had stolen at least 10,000 pages of documents, and PDID Detective Jay Paul had moved a huge batch of files to his garage in Long Beach. Attorney Ann Love, his wife, was paid $30,000 a year to feed a sophisticated $100,000 computer data that had been ordered destroyed.

Broken Seals was a typical piece of Western Goals ultra-con propaganda, an alarming “report on the attempts to destroy the foreign and domestic intelligence capabilities of the United States.” The foreword was written by Daniel O. Graham, former director of the DIA, who went on to chair the High Frontiers Foundation in support of Reagan’s Strategic Defense Initiative.

The information eventually wound up in the computer of the Western Goals Foundation And lo and behold, the man who paid Ann Love was Representative Larry McDonald, chairman of Western Goals.

Also caught up in the web was John Rees, an editor at the Western Goals Foundation, and a longtime associate of Jerry Ducote by way of their common employers and similar methods of accumulating data. Both acted as agents provocateurs.

“An agent provocateur is a police agent who is introduced into any political organization with instructions to foment discontent . . . or to take a case in order to give his employers the right to act against the organization in question,” according to Colonel Victor Kaledin of Imperial Russian Military Intelligence.

Ducote was employed by key Reagan supporters and the John Birch Society. Rees collaborated with the Birch Society and a host of other right-wing groups, feeding them information to harass and embarrass those who opposed their point of view.

Reagan’s man, Ducote, and Larry McDonald’s crony, John Rees, worked together at the San Francisco-based Western Research, also known as Research West. Ducote secluded himself behind unmarked doors, running a blacklisting service for industry. The results of his spying were added to a repository of information used by Governor Reagan to screen out potential state employees with leftist political tendencies contrary to his own beliefs.

At the same time, photographs of rallies and demonstrations – along with copies of underground newspapers – were supplied to Western Research by agents of the Los Angeles Police Department. In turn, Western Research sold background information on employees and advised corporations about possible risks.

Research West, an incarnation, maintained close ties with law enforcement and corporate data banks, employing spies to feed information to utility companies anxious to identify anti-nuclear activists. Clearly, blacklisting didn’t end with the death of Senator Joseph McCarthy. The witch hunt never ceased.

Last January in Los Angeles, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit on behalf of 131 law-abiding groups and individuals who were illegally spied upon. Among the defendants in this case were 54 police officers from the LAPD’s Public Disorder Intelligence Division.

The law firm representing the defendants was Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher. Curiously enough, Attorney General William French Smith was a partner in that firm. And none other than President Ronald Reagan is a client of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher in all personal legal matters.

Time was running out for Larry McDonald after many years of stealing, bugging and compiling. He was about to be subpoenaed by a Los Angeles County grand jury. His testimony – particularly the parts relating to the feeding of illegal police intelligence files to his Long Beach computer – could embarrass and even damage a great number of powerful people.


Several weeks after the downing of Flight 007, Soviet President Yuri Andropov blamed the United States for a “sophisticated provocation, masterminded by U.S. special services, an example of extreme adventurism in politics.”

How could the United States have written such a script? Larry McDonald was going to embarrass President Reagan if too many of the documents from California were exposed. They shared common spies and common enemies. So let’s assume that the CIA, FBI and all federal agencies that worked with McDonald – particularly the Pentagon – wanted him silenced immediately. At the same time, because McDonald was so violently anti-Communist, why not make the Soviets responsible for his murder? A New Right martyr could be created in the struggle against communism. Remember the Pueblo?

The scenario might have continued in the following way:

• There would be a celebration in South Korea early in September. McDonald had strong ties to Korean-born Reverend Sun Myung Moon, leader of the Unification Church (the Moonies) and the South Korean military. Arrange for McDonald to attend that celebration in South Korea.

(Dorothy Hunt, CIA officer and wife of Watergate defendant E. Howard Hunt, was blown up in a commercial airliner over Chicago, and nobody seemed to care. Undoubtedly, her murder scared into silence the primary witnesses who could have embarrassed President Nixon at the time he was paying them to “plead guilty” before sinking his presidency. Incidentally, the espionage activities of both E. Howard Hunt and Congressman McDonald were entangled with the Los Angeles Police Department.)

• Send spy planes over the USSR continuously. The Soviet Union does not appreciate such flights violating its territory. By putting McDonald on a commercial airliner and timing its incursion inside Soviet airspace with spy-plane operations at the same time, an attack by Soviet missiles would be assured.

One of the many mysteries of Flight 007 is the total lack of communication between its pilots and U.S., Korean and Japanese listening posts. This is known as maintaining radio silence.

Furthermore, 007 left Kennedy Airport in New York with a defective radio and navigational system. When the pilot on the first leg of the flight disembarked in Anchorage, he assumed the plane’s malfunctioning parts would be repaired. But this didn’t happen.

It is common knowledge to all pilots flying over Soviet territory that aircraft going beyond a certain point inside Russian borders will be forced to land or shot down. If the CIA and the National Security Agency wanted Larry McDonald dead, thereby assuring an international incident, isolating the pilots from instructions or warnings would be essential. The way to accomplish this is either to tamper with radio transmissions or the pilots’ minds – or both.

Chun Byung In, the pilot in command of 007, held the rank of colonel in the South Korean Air Force. He was considered reliable enough to have flown the Korean president to the U.S. in 1982 and fly overseas routes linking Southeast Asia to the Middle East, Paris to Los Angeles, and New York to Seoul. The co-pilot on 007 was Lieutenant Colonel Sohn Dong Hui.

According to news reports, Chun boasted to close friends that he was carrying out special tasks for American intelligence, and he even showed them some of the plane’s spying equipment or surveying Soviet military installations. Spying was sometimes the covert mission of regularly-scheduled commercial flights that began in New York City and ended in Seoul.

After the 007 disaster, it was reported that Koreans often flew over Soviet airspace to reduce fuel expenses. But spy cameras with the ability to photograph Soviet military bases are a more plausible reason for Korean jets losing their way so often.

Reports indicate that Korean Air Lines concluded a secret agreement with the CIA in the early 1970s to carry out intelligence surveys of Soviet territory. These reports further suggest that when Flight 007 was shot down, the U.S. intelligence mission utilized a reconnaissance satellite programmed to pass overhead at the same time. This allowed the U.S. to record electronic traffic denoting the whereabouts of Soviet air-defense systems as they were activated to meet a presumed threat.

After triggering the radar warning of a threat to the USSR, the pilot of a U.S. RC-135 reconnaissance plane used maneuvers typical of American spy planes to frustrate Soviet air defenses. Eventually, he dove below the radar cover off the Kamchatka Peninsula to distract air-defense crews and allow Flight 007 to enter Soviet airspace undetected.

Meanwhile, attempting to dodge Soviet fighter planes 226 miles inside the USSR, pilot Chun requested permission to elevate to 35,000 feet. Moments later, he shouted, “Rapid … a rapid decompression.” Flight 007 was hit by a missile.

Chun’s last words –”one-zero, one-zero-delta”– left everyone confused, as did the plane’s final radio transmissions. Neither Matsumi Suzuki, head of Japan’s Sound Research Institute, nor the Japanese broadcast network NHK could explain what “delta” meant. Was that Chun’s “Rosebud”?


Exactly who was Larry McDonald, the strange and complex individual who wore so many robes? At first he was a doctor specializing in urology who prescribed the discredited drug laetrile to cancer patients. He was also a man who concealed the ownership of 200 guns. In 1974, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, later chairman of both the tax-free Western Goals Foundation and the John Birch Society.

The best way to describe most people is to understand who their heroes are. McDonald reportedly kept two photographs on the walls of his Congressional office that give some clues to his mental state.

One picture was of Senator Joseph McCarthy.

The other was of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

Senator McCarthy began his Senate career after World War II with financial assistance from two known Nazi sympathizers in Wisconsin – Frank Seusenbrenner and Walter Harnischfeger. Fred J. Cook’s The Nightmare Decade details the pro-Nazi backers of McCarthy and how the senator knew of their “passionate ultra-rightism and admiration for Hitler.”

Harnischfeger’s nephew, in fact, often displayed an autographed copy of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. He also flaunted a watch-chain swastika.

In December 1946, 43 of Hitler’s top military officers received death sentences or long prison terms at the Dachau Trials for the bloody massacre of American soldiers at Malmedy, France. One of McCarthy’s primary objectives as he entered the Senate was to facilitate their release. By 1949, thanks to Congressional hearings, he directed another maneuvering. McCarthy’s efforts paid off. The 43 Nazis were freed.

When McCarthy conducted his House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) hearings in 1953 and accumulated data on law-abiding citizens for future fascist purposes, most of his information came from combined United States intelligence and Nazi war criminals. He also drew upon the extensive files of a spy network known as ODDESSA, an association of former SS officers formed between 1943 and 1945, when it became obvious the Third Reich could not win the war against the Soviet Union.

After McCarthy died in 1957, it is reasonable to assume that Larry McDonaid – by way of Louise Rees – took over the massive computerized files that now contain millions of names worldwide.

Louise Rees, the wife of John Rees, an editor at McDonald’s Western Goals Foundation, worked for McCarthy and Roy M. Cohn, counsel for the senator’s 1953 Permanent Investigations Subcommittee of the Government Operations Committee. Western Goals lists Roy M. Cohn, now a New York lawyer, on its advisory board. And when McDonald went to Washington as a representative from Georgia in 1974, Louise Rees was his paid staff aide.


There is no beginning or end to the Larry McDonald tragedy. His right-wing fanaticism drew him to the crueler side of blackmailers, burglars, assassins, terrorists, wiretappers, and people dedicated to waging a future war with the Soviet Union.

And there he was, last August 31 and September 1, apparently sitting all alone on Flight 007. If that was by Soviet design, then all in his entourage were communists who knew in advance.

But since the American delegation was screened and cleared for travel with a congressman, then the CIA and U.S. agents knew something they wouldn’t share with him – even to save his life.

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