Russ BellantOld Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party

Chip Berlet | Cohortal ValidationAPPENDIX—“Chronology of 1988 Bush Campaign Controversy”

Bellant engages his Political Research Associates cohort to validate his "findings" and to provide a chronological account of events pertaining to the Nazi invasion of America. Berlet recounts the "Coalition of American Nationalities Republican and Bush Campaign responses to charges (with selected other responses)". The appendix is adapted from a news article Berlet authored.

The 1charges [that the Bush campaign "recruited an ethnic support coalition which included racists, fascists, anti-Semites, Nazi apologists, and even aging Nazi collaborators"] primarily came from three sources: a report by Detroit-based free-lancer Russ Bellant (published by Political Research Associates in Cambridge); a series of articles by reporter Larry Cohler and Walter Ruby appearing in Washington Jewish Week; and articles by David Lee Preston in the Philadelphia Inquirer. Both press sources focused on the Bush campaign's recruitment of Eastern European nationalists who had emigrated to the U.S. after World War II, having fled countries such as Latvia, Rumania, Bulgaria, and the Croation [sic.] section of Yugoslavia. As the Bellant report revealed, these ethnic activists had gravitated towards the Republican Party due to a shared emphasis on rolling back communism and 2gaining independence for the nations near the Baltic coast and the Balkans which now are under Soviet domination.

Contention versus Fact
Berlet obfuscates the role of Political Research Associates (PRA) and his own as Bellant's exposé quisling. Bellant was a long time analyst for the PRA, and Berlet was the PRA's senior analyst (from 1981–2011). Berlet obfuscates that the other two sources arose as the direct result of Bellant circulating a draft of his report to a selection of journalists intended to maximize the report's impact. Berlet obfuscates that the two press source investigations originated from the same point, Bellant's report. Repetition is not validation—and certainly not where Bellant's ignorant charges regarding the Latvians and Latvian Legion are concerned.

Berlet appears unsure of his geography, Latvia, for one, being "on" the Baltic, not "near" it. In all of these sorts of "exposés" we are repeatedly struck by the casual ease with which people and entire nations are branded as Nazis by those that know little, if anything, about them—and, similarly, how such contentions are readily accepted as fact.

From Berlet's subsequent chronology:

9/18/88Philadelphia Inquirer reporter David Lee Preston reports that since 1969, several dozen alleged Nazis, fascists, and anti-Semites have held leadership posts in the Heritage Groups Council. He quotes Alan A. Ryan, Jr. (now with the legal office of Harvard University but formerly director of the Justice Department's OSI war criminal probe) as saying 3he had read Bellant's report and found it to be "well documented and reliable." Preston also reports that in 1972 a 4convicted Nazi war criminal Boleslavs Maikovskis of Minneola, N. Y. served on the advisory board of the Latvian-American section of the Republican's Heritage Council for the Re-Election of the President.

...

11/1/88—Author 5Charles R. Allen Jr., an expert on the emigre Nazi network, questions the candor of Bush when he "professed ignorance of [the] pro-Nazi backgrounds" of the ethnic campaign supporters. In a Village Voice article, Allen produces a 1983 photograph of George Bush shaking hands with Yaroslav Stetsko, then leader of the pro-Nazi Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations. The photo was taken at a White House reception. Bush signed the photo: "To the Honorable Yaroslav Stetsko with best wishesGeorge Bush." Allen also produced a 1976 RNC memo in which Bush, as RNC Chair, is reported to have reviewed the past work of the Republican Heritage Groups Council and set goals for the coming year.

11/4/88—The Philadelphia Inquirer reports charges concerning the background of Bush ethnic coalition leader Akselis Mangulis. Even before the story appears in print, the Bush campaign announces Mangulis has resigned, although the woman who answers the phone at the Mangulis residence tells reporters Mr. Mangulis was not asked to resign and would not resign.

  • 6Mangulis, a Latvian member of CAN, is accused of belonging to the Latvian Legion which during World War II was connected to the Nazi SS.
Contention versus Fact

As Ryan believes service in the Legion and award of the Iron Cross for bravery brand one a Nazi, we are unsurprised by Ryan's positive assessment of Bellant's report. After all, at least 10,000 Nazis had snuck into the United States under the guise of "displaced persons" who had lost their homeland. Ryan posited (Quiet Neighbors, published after he left the OSI) that 10% of the 400,000 (predominantly from the Baltic States) displaced persons (DPs) were Nazis. But so as to not be "alarmist," he halved the percentage, then halved it again. The OSI's subsequent review of its own activities acknowledged that Ryan's resulting 10,000 was a gross over-estimation. What is lost in this is that Ryan's Nazi-hunting zeal while heading the OSI was driven by his estimate that 40,000 Nazis had entered the U.S. As the 400,000 included men, women and children, at a conservative mix of 1:1:1 (the average family group consisted of 2.9 people, "The DP Story"), 40,000 of a third of 400,000 (133,333) translates to Ryan operating on the actual assumption that some 30% of the DP adult male population were Nazis—a number as staggering in its misconception as in its bias.

Maikovskis was shown to have dealt with the occupying Nazi forces as the police chief in Rēzekne, Latvia, in that role having signed over Jews to the Germans and then reporting subsequently that the Germans burned down the town. Maikovskis' defense was that he had not harmed any Jews and that to not cooperate meant getting shot. Meanwhile, Maikovskis had been convicted in a Soviet show trial of personally murdering hundreds of Jews—as a show trial, lending credence to Maikovskis' account. However, as Maikovskis had not revealed this in his application to enter the United States, that was enough to deport him under the terms of the Holtzman amendment. "Convicted" does not mean Maikovskis was convicted in a court of law. We hope to investigate his case further.

Charles R. ("Chuck") Allen Jr., far from being an "expert," was one of the Soviet Unions' most effective "useful idiots," even active in the "U.S.-East German Friendship Society," a career left-wing journalist. We suspect that his anti-Nazi fervor was as politically as morally driven, equating anti-Sovietism with Nazi fascism in a replay of the Eastern Front in WWII.

Herein lies the most pernicious contention, the statement as fact that the Latvian Legion were connected to the "Nazi SS." The accusation, per se, is that Mangulis was a member of a criminal organization. While hierarchically part of the "SS", the Legion were front line units under Wehrmacht command and had no Nazi sympathies or alliances. Bellant erases Mangulis' pride in having fought against Soviet reoccupation and sadness at the tragic loss of his homeland and replaces it with fear and despair for one's reputation, self, family, and friends over false accusations.

Updated: June, 2017

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