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writing for godot

A Little Piece of 1% History

Written by Ivars Vilums   
Friday, 29 July 2016 05:25
Although never mentioned in the history books in school, a coup to depose President Franklin Roosevelt and seize control of the United States government by powerful financial interests almost succeeded once. There was a plot in 1933-34 by a group of financiers (The American Liberty League - virtually all of them founding members of the Council on Foreign Relations) that picked retired Marine General Smedley Darlington Butler (with General Douglas MacArthur alleged to be the back-up leader if Butler declined) to lead a coup against FDR and put in place a fascist, military-type government, complete with concentration camps for undesirables. They felt that FDR was too much of a socialist and that he would destroy their wealth if they did not act.

Butler was promised an army of 500,000 men, mostly unemployed WWI veterans, for a march on Washington, D.C., and financial backing of $3 million immediately with an additional $300 million later - a huge amount in that day! The League was headed by the DuPont and J.P Morgan cartels and had major support from Andrew Mellon Associates, Pew (Sun Oil), Rockefeller Associates, E.F. Hutton Associates, U.S. Steel, General Motors, Chase, Standard Oil and Goodyear Tires.

Money was funneled through the Senator Prescott Bush-led Union Banking Corporation (which was later shut down for being a money laundering front for the Nazis) and the Prescott Bush-led Brown Brothers Harriman which today is the oldest and largest private bank in the US. The plotters bragged about Bush’s Hitler connections and even claimed that Germany had promised Bush that it would provide matériel for the coup. A year earlier, Chevrolet president William S. Knudsen (who himself had donated $10,000 to the League) went to Germany and met with Nazi leaders and declared upon his return that Hitler’s Germany was “the miracle of the twentieth century.” At the time, GM’s wholly-owned Adam-Opal Co. had already begun producing the Nazi’s tanks, trucks and bomber engines. James D. Mooney, GM’s vice-president for foreign operations was joined by Henry Ford and IBM chief Tom Watson in receiving the Grand Cross of the German Eagle from Hitler for their considerable efforts on behalf of the Third Reich.

Butler listened to what they were planning but he saw it as treason and he reported it to Congress. Congress (and even FDR!) felt that it would be too great a blow to the ailing economy to pursue actions against the financial titans - THEY WERE TOO IMPORTANT TO FAIL! Although Butler testified in detail, all of the names he gave were redacted from the record and not a one of them was ever charged with a crime or even called to testify.

Butler gave secret testimony before the McCormack-Dickstein committee which is the committee that predated the House Committee on Un-American Activities. In his testimony he stated that he had been approached by Gerald P. MacGuire of Wall Street’s Grayson M-P Murphy & Co. with the plot. The plan was to run a series of articles in the controlled public media that would make people believe that President Roosevelt was dealing with severe health issues and needed help. Troops, led by Butler, would then arrive to assist and FDR would be forced into a figurehead role and the situation used to justify an “assistant president” or “secretary for general welfare” to be appointed with full dictatorial powers to get through the crisis which, of course, would never end.

After his testimony there was an orchestrated campaign using the corporate owned press to discredit and downplay the story. From 1934 through 1936, the League got thirty-five pro-League front page stories in the New York Times ridiculing General Butler. TIME ridiculed Butler in a Dec. 3, 1934 cover story, even though Butler’s story was corroborated by VFW head James E. Van Zandt, who also said he was approached to lead the coup. The Scripps-Howard papers were the only press that presented the truth.

The League promoted itself as a bastion of all concerned about “burdensome taxes imposed upon industry for unemployment insurance and old age pensions.” The League sought to “combat radicalism” and to “teach respect for the rights of persons and property, and generally to foster free private enterprise.” FDR called the plotters “economic royalists.”

William S. Knudsen was the sole inside plotter who turned against the plot and later championed workers rights leading the way to the 40-hour work week, overtime pay, union organizing rights, and pensions. As president of General Motors, GM went on to become the world’s top corporation for 40 years. During that time the country saw the rise of a middle class and wealth disparity was at the lowest levels ever in the US. Later, however, he became instrumental in the rise of, as President Eisenhower called it in his farewell address, “The Military Industrial Complex.” Knudsen, a Danish immigrant, become the first civilian commissioned as a U.S. Army General.

Smedley Butler is one of the unsung heroes of our times. Although he is never even mentioned in the history books taught in our schools he really deserves a long and thoughtful chapter devoted to his interesting life and revelations. Decorated during the first part of his life he was later denigrated and publicly ridiculed for being the whistleblower who stopped a fascist coup against FDR by powerful financial interests who continue to exert their power over the world today. He later wrote about how he had become disillusioned about US military operations and felt that the US military had become little more than a tool to enforce private economic interests. Today, denigrating and destroying whistleblowers has been refined to a science and the US military is constantly employed across the world to further those same powerful interests.

Today, the “economic royalists” own not only the US government, both major political parties, the press and their own armies, but also control or coerce many governments across the globe. War profiteering still tops the agenda, followed closely by attacks on workers’ wages, pensions, and health care. The Nazis - not so much Hitler who was just their front man - but those actually behind him, didn't lose the war, they just changed their approach after they milked all they could out of WWII. Today, as in WWII, profits are made from all sides. The only important thing is that wars drag out as long as possible and new ones replace them as they wear out. Fear and debt are the methods of choice to keep it all running. Whether it is fear of immigrants, Russia, China, black people, police, Muslims, Christians, Communists, Socialists, Capitalists, the other party, or the other candidate it doesn't really matter as long as people remain too busy being afraid and struggling to pay bills to figure it out and act to change things.

Now it appears that those same interests are ramping up for a new holocaust for the world. Somehow, like a disease that ultimately kills its victim, it is never satisfied but it can be stopped. We have the knowledge and the means. It will take a commitment to a better vision as well as the will and fortitude and hard work of many to manifest that vision. It can be done. We should not settle for less. There is nothing stopping us but our beliefs. your social media marketing partner


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+5 # ReconFire 2016-07-30 17:44
Great Article, just want to add one thing, a Gen. Butler quote, "War is a racket".
-7 # newell 2016-08-01 15:36
This all may be true, but no documentation?
+2 # Brice 2016-08-02 15:06
Yes, this is a very important piece of history, that was deliberately underplayed even at the time. This was at a time though when people were more optimistic than sensible and thought they could get to the lofty heights of some of the big tycoons of the time. Little did they know.

Personally, I think the corporations succeeded because when was the last time we heard of a corporation being broken up ... now corporations are part of the government, basically THE government. We either have to get corporations our of the government or get people into the corporations in such a way as they can force democratic change from inside them.

* ( first article - Why Bernie Has Been The Only Successful Leftist In American Politics ? )
+1 # Totusek 2016-08-15 13:24
It's currently easy to find related online historical documentation and/or articles relating to Smedley D. Butler and/or "War Is a Racket":

Smedley D. Butler "War Is a Racket" [ ] [ ]

Major General Smedley Butler | Americans Who Tell The Truth [ ]

War is still 'a racket' - by Thomas E. Ricks (Foreign Policy - the Global Magazine of News and Ideas - January 15, 2015) [ ]

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