Friday, October 22, 2010

AMERICA'S NEO-NAZI UNDERGROUND: THE WORLD OF WILLIS CARTO






EXCERPTED FROM THE INVESTIGATOR, SEPTEMBER 1981

This article was bylined Charles Bermant, but most of the material was investigated and written by Robert Eringer.

Willis Carto and Liberty Lobby sued The Investigator and its owner, Jack Anderson, the syndicated columnist. It went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and became a landmark case.

Willis Allison Carto is a trim 56 year-old of medium-build and thinning pate.

Why does the Anti-Defamation League believe Carto to be the leading anti-Semite in the country? And why did the late Drew Pearson describe Carto as a "Hitler fan?"

Why does Scott Stanley, the managing editor of the John Birch Society's American Opinion, say, "In my opinion, the preservation of anti-Semitism as a movement has occured because the the activities of Willis Carto?"

Carto was born to a family of Huguenot stock on July 19, 1926 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He grew up in Mansfield, Ohio and served with the Army in the Philippines during World War II. After the war, he attended Denison University.

In 1952, Carto moved to San Francisco and went to work as a debt collector for Household Finance Corporation.

After drifting from one right-wing group to another, he decided to organize "a lobby for patriotism" he would call Liberty Lobby. In an attempt to raise $75,000 seed money, he wrote to 700 conservartives whose names and addresses he borrowed from right-wing mailing lists.

By 1970, Liberty Lobby's annual income had risen to nearly a million dollars.

Another significant benchmark was reached in September, 1975, with publication of The Spotlight, a weekly newspaper with 36 pages per issue and a staff of 25.

Though he was founder, sole owner and motivating force behind Liberty Lobby, Willis Carto's name does not appear on the masthead of The Spotlight. He refuses to be interviewed and keeps an unlisted telephone number.

He directs his operations from a plush penthouse in Torrance, California, a suburb of Los Angeles, and conducts his business from a public telephone, according to Spotlight Managing Editor Jim Tucker.

The Spotlight trafficks in sensationalism, character assassination, innuendoes and outright misrepresentations. Typical of the headlines splashed across its pages are "Soviet Spy in White House," "Rockefeller Named Dope Overlord" and "The Diary of Anne Frank is a Fraud."

Vincent A. Drosdik III, a one-time assistant editror of The Spotlight who says he quit after nine months because he "couldn't take the inside-the-office racism," tells of an instance where a feature was contrived to serve Carto's political prejudices. The target was Yugoslavia's Marshal Tito.

"Tito was schedculed to come to town," drosdik recalls. "Carto had this wild hair up his ass about getting Croatian exiles to protest the visit. We couldn't find any. So we went to our typesetter and renamed her 'Ginny Dragonovich.' We quickly made up a poster for her and took her to the Capitol building. Well, the 'protest' lasted all of two minutes--just enough time to photrograph her."

Carto also owns Noontide Press, his personal publishing house, and The Institute for Historical Review, which publishes books, a purported "adademic" quarterly, and stages conventions.

The Institute was set up to disprove that any Jews died in World War II gas chambers. The Institute argues that perhaps 35,000 Jews died of disease and war injuries, but that none died in extermination programs.

The Institute first attracted media attention when it offered a $50,000 "reward" to anyone who could prove that the death of six million Jews in the Holocaust ever took place. The Institute also offered $25,000 for proof of the authenticity of Anne Frank's diary.

An ex-Liberty Lobbyiest says, "Carto has a lot of organizations he sets up solely for the purpose of raising money. They vanish as soon as they've served their purpose." And Birch Society editor Scott Stanley notes that "Whenever you find anti-Semitic literature coming out from some little fly-by-night front, it seems to be associated with the Carto network."

This article marked the beginning of the end of Willis Carto's influence among American populists. For many years thereafter, Carto was mired in lawsuits, self-initiated and as a defendant, and in 2001 Liberty Lobby ceased to exist.