Council for the Defense of Freedom
Last updated: January 9, 1989
Published by the International Relations Center / Interhemispheric Resource Center.
Council for the Defense of Freedom
Background: Founded as the Council Against Communist Aggression,the Council for the Defense of Freedom (CDF) changed its name in 1980. (3) The group organized in 1951 to "disseminate information to promote national security and world freedom," and was largely a reaction to hostilities that were occurring between what are now North and South Korea. (1) CDF has approximately 6200 members who are interested in "combating communist aggression and ensuring national security."(6) CDF feels that the Western world’s resolve has faltered in the face of new strategies and tactics employed by "communist aggressors." The CDF maintains that "After Korea, they (communists) relied less on massive military action and more on subversion combined with insidious propaganda campaigns to confuse our people and undermine our determination to contain and shrink the communist empire."(1) The CDF advocates building a military establishment "second to none," and abandoning detente. (5)
Funding: CDF is listed as a nonprofit 501(C)(3) organization by the IRS. Funds for the CDF come through tax-deductible contributions and subscriptions to The Washington Inquirer. (1,3)
Activities: The CDF Publishes The Washington Inquirer, a weekly paper that criticizes and rebuts reports from the national press dealing with issues of importance to conservatives, such as defense and "traditional" values. They launched The Washington Inquirer after the overthrow of Anastasio Somosa in Nicaragua because "our media concealed the communist control of the rebellion that overthrew the anti-communist government that had been one of our most faithful allies."(1)
Although the CDF claims to be a non-partisan educational organization, one is hard-pressed to find backing for that claim. Many of the articles in the Inquirer are not ground-breaking stories, but are attacks on the mainstream media for their seeming support of leftwing causes and regimes. In one article by Mario Rosenthal, for instance, the author attacks the New York Times’ El Salvador correspondent, Lindsey Gruson, because Gruson’s views "closely parallel the Soviet Union view on the situation in El Salvador."(7) Much like Accuracy in Media–a group to which CDF has close ties–the Inquirer also attacks television dramas for promoting "Soviet propaganda."(8)
An example of the Inquirer’s reactionary reporting and "Big Media" paranoia can be observed in a CDF pamphlet describing the paper: "The Inquirer tells about scandals our Big Media prefer to ignore–the scandalous conduct of the media and the media stars. While the Big Media were going after the (former) Secretary of the Interior James Watt for using the word `cripple’, the Inquirer was telling about the foul language used" by CBS’s Dan Rather in refusing an interview. (1) A brief list of Inquirer headlines shows their ideological orientation: "Nicaragua Ready for MIGs" (a story that proved to be false),"Betraying Angola’s Patriots" (a story in support of UNITA leader Jonas Savimbi),"Deploy SDI Now!," "Cubans Hit the Beach in Nicaragua" (the author says they were sent under the auspices of volunteers to help rebuild after Hurricane Joan, but the "real" reason was because they were Angolan troops who had the AIDS virus, and Castro didn’t want them back in Cuba). (9,10,11)
The Inquirer is distributed weekly to all members of Congress, some offices of the executive branch, and the Washington press corps. (1)
Although publishing the Inquirer is the main activity of the CDF, they are involved in other "educational" activities activities as well. They helped found the Committee for a Free Afghanistan (CFA), a Washington-based lobby for the rebels of Afghanistan which has heavy rightwing support. (5) The CFA is the most successful of six "country committees" that the CDF created in 1982. These committees focused on countries that had been "taken over by communists or were waging war with Soviet troops," including Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Vietnam. According to authors Jon Lee Anderson and Scott Anderson, the original purpose of the committees was largely educational, but they were soon overshadowed by the U.S. Council for World Freedom’s "aggressive international campaign."(12)
Other activities of the CDF include: distributing letters and documents to aid in defeating the "vast counterrevolution conspiracy of Lenin’s Communism against the principles of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights," compiling statistics, maintaining a speakers bureau, conducting research and presenting awards. It has a 20,000 volume library and has quarterly board meetings. (6)
Government Connections: Several of the National Committee members are members of the U.S. Congress. All are well known conservatives or neoconservatives.
Jeremiah Denton is the sponsor of the Denton Amendment which allows private voluntary organizations to ship "humanitarian" aid free-of-charge, on a space-available basis. This amendment has come under fire because many of the groups that make use of this provision are rightwing groups that provide support for the U.S. policy of Low Intensity Conflict in Central America. (23)
Private Connections: Donald Irvine is the Executive Secretary of Accuracy in Media (AIM), a group that also attacks the so-called "Big Media" not for erroneous reporting, but for what they consider to be an attack on conservative causes and individuals. (5,13)
Reed Irvine, father of Donald Irvine, is the chair of AIM and the head of Accuracy in Academia (AIA). AIA "monitors" what college professors teach. It is a relatively weak organization. (5,13,14) Irvine writes a column which is published weekly in the Washington Inquirer.
AIM and the CDF are intimately linked. CDF chair Marx Lewis is on the national advisory board of AIM. Murray Baron, president of AIM, Wilson C. Lucom, vice president of AIM, and Bernard Yoh communications director for AIM, are all on the board of directors of the CDF. (4,13) The CDF operates out of AIM’s offices. (4)
Bernard Yoh was a hitman for the Shanghai police during the Sino-Japanese war and organized the South Vietnamese counterinsurgency forces during the Vietnam War. He also advised the Brazilian Generals in the 1964 Brazilian coup. (4)
Marx Lewis, Reed Irvine, Walter Judd, Stefan Possony and Jay Parker were all members of the American Council for World Freedom, the predecessor to the now-defunct United States Council for World Freedom. (12,24) Both groups wre U.S. affiliates of the World Anti-Communist League. (12)
Jay Parker is the president of the Lincoln Institute and head of the National Conservative Political Actio
n Committeefunded Blacks for Reagan 1984. He has also attended Unification Church-sponsored conferences. (12) In 1983 he was a speaker at a seminar in Honduras sponsored by CAUSA (the political arm of the Unification Church) which focused on on the "evils of communism." He has served on the board of directors of the U.S. Council for World Freedom as well. (12) Parker is on the National Advisory Board of the American Freedom Coalition, a political education and lobbying group founded in 1987 to promote "traditional values" such as a strong defense, opposition to abortion, pornography, and communism, and the right to own property. (2)
Walter H. Judd is also on the National Advisory board of the American Freedom Coalition. (2) He is a member of the international committee of reference for New Life 2000, a global evangelism project of Campus Crusade for Christ. (15) Judd has served on the seminar faculty of the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade (CACC), an aggressively anticommunist evangelical organization. (16,17)
Fred Schwarz is the president and founder of the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade. The CACC sponsers "anti-subversive" seminars in the U.S. and overseas and is devoted to the spread of Christianity and anticommunism. (6,16)
Stefan Possony is a professor emeritus at the Hoover Institute of War and Peace at Stanford University. (12) He has served on the seminar faculty of the CACC. (16) He was also on the board of directors for the U.S. Council for World Freedom. In the early 1970s, as a member of the ACWF, Possony was the author of a report on the Mexican chapter of the World AntiCommunist League, known popularly as the Tecos. In that report, Possony noted the neo-Nazi links of the Tecos as well as their anti-semitism and anti-Americanism. He didn’t recommend, however, that the ACWF leave the WACL or that the WACL disaffiliate the Mexican chapter. Possony did leave the ACWF in 1975 because of the Tecos but rejoined the reinvigorated USCWF in 1981–before the Tecos were finally ousted from the WACL. (12)
Eugene Lyons, senior editor of Readers Digest, has served on the seminar faculty for CACC. (16)
Frank Barnett is the founder and president of the National Strategy Information Center (NSIC). The NSIC is a rightwing think tank for military strategy. It has a history of working with hard-line, anti-Soviet groups promoting an aggressive U.S. foreign policy. (18) Barnett founded the NSIC in 1962 along with Morris Liebman. Other founding directors and advisers of the NSIC include ultra-rightist beer baron Joseph Coors; Frank Shakespeare, chair of the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation; and former CIA director William Casey. (19,20,21) Barnett was also a prominent member of the Committee on the Present Danger. (18) Before founding the NSIC, he served as the director of research for the ultra-rightwing Smith Richardson Foundation, and a program director of the Institute for American Strategy. (22)
Misc: The following quote appears in a flyer from the CDFdescribing the Washington Inquirer: "It tells the truth about such totalitarian cesspools as the Soviet Union, Cuba, `The Peoples’ Republic’ of China, and their puppets."(1)
Comments:U.S. Address: The Council for the Defense of Freedom, 1275 K Street NW, Suite 1160, Washington DC, 20005. (202) 789-4294.
Principals: Marx Lewis, chair; Roy Brewer, vice chair; Gerald Gidwitz, vice chair; Victor Lasky, vice chair; Rev. Dennis Comey, vice chair; Benjamin McLaurin, vice chair; Donald Irvine, tres; Board of Directors: Murray Baron, Allan Brownfeld, Frank Fusco, Reed Irvine, Wilson Lucom, Francis McNamara, Otto Otepka, Jay Parker, E. D. W. Spingarn, Adm. Elliott Strauss, Bernard Yoh; National Committees: Karl Baarslag, Frank R. Barnett, Earl Copeland Jr. , Bishop Fred Corson, Rep. Phillip Crane, Rep. William Dannemeyer, Sen. Jeremiah Denton, Col. Hamilton Fish, Dr. B. A. Garside, Harry D. Gideonese, Alan Grant, Montgomery M. Green, Rev. David C. Head, Robert Heckert, Rep. Bill Hefner, Sen. Jesse Helms, Walter H. Judd, William Kaufman, Howard E. Kershner, Walter Kirschenbaum, Irene Kuhn, Sarah Limbach, Rep. Trent Lott, Dr. Charles W. Lowry, Wingate Lucas, James R. Mcllroy, Herbert Philbrick, Merlyn S. Pitzele, Hugo Pollock, Paul R. Porter, Stefan Possony, Benjamin Protter, Bernard Rabkin, Dr. Fred C. Schwarz, Rep. Bill Stump, Dr. Richard L. Walker, C. Dickerman Williams. (1,4)
Sources:1. Flyer about The Washington Inquirer by Council for the Defense of Freedom, no date.
2. A Promise for Their Future, AFC brochure, Sep 1987.
3. Interview by Deb Preusch with a Council spokesperson, Feb 13, 1986.
4. Letter from Ian MacKenzie, CDF, Dec 7, 1988.
5. Michael Massing, "The Rise and Fall of Accuracy in Media," The Nation, Sep 13, 1986.
6. Encyclopedia of Associations, 23rd ed, 1989.
7. Mario Rosenthal, "Times Pushes Soviet Line," Washington Inquirer, July 7, 1989.
8. Washington Inquirer, Nov 25, 1988.
9. Washington Inquirer, Feb 14, 1986.
10. Washington Inquirer, Dec 2, 1988.
11. Washington Inquirer, Dec 9, 1988.
12. Jon Lee Anderson and Scott Anderson, Inside the League (New York, NY: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1986).
13. Accuracy in Media brochure, no date.
14. Jon Wiener, "Reed Irvine Rides the Paper Tiger," The Nation, Apr 5, 1986.
15. National Religious Broadcasters 89 Convention News, Feb 1, 1989.
16. "What is the Christian Anti-Communism Crusade?" booklet 1977.
17. Letter from Peter Brock, Oct 8, 1988.
18. Jerry Sanders, Peddlers of Crisis: The Committee on the Present Danger and the Politics of Containment Militarism (Boston, MA: South End Press, 1983).
19. John Saloma III, Ominous Politics (New York, NY: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1984).
20. Special Operations in U.S. Strategy, NSIC, 1984.
21. "The Coors Extended Family," Political Research Associates, 1989.
22. Frank R. Barnett, "A Proposal for Political Warfare," Military Review, Mar 1961.
23. New Right Humanitarians (Albuquerque, NM: The Resource Center, 1986).
24. Don Devereux, "Singlaub and the Good War," newsletter, Aug 31, 1989.
The underlying cites for this profile are now kept at Political Research Associates, (617) 666-5300. www.irc-online.org.