8/25/1972 FBI Information Digest Special Report on VVAW
For detailed information about the individuals and groups cited in this report, see:
Guide to Contents, Abbreviations, and Names in the 8/25/1972 FBI Information Digest Special Report on VVAW
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UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT
TO : Acting
Director, FBI DATE: 9/27/72
FROM : SAC,
BALTIMORE (100-27909) (P)
SUBJECT : VIETNAM
VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR
OO: NEW YORK
On 9/20/72, [ - REDACTED - ] made
available a critique of the VVAW, which is being submitted to the Bureau and
office of origin for information value. [Two lines Redacted]
[1 1/2 line paragraph, Redacted]
2-Bureau (Encl. 1)
2-New York (Encl. 1)
VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR
September 10, 1967, the Daily Worker, then the name of the official
newspaper of the Communist Party, U.S.A. (CPUSA), provided the first-published
information on a new antiwar organization, the Vietnam Veterans Against the War
(VVAW), whose location was given as 17 East 17th Street, New York City.
formed earlier in 1967: at an April 15
peace parade in New York City, a small group marching with Veterans for Peace
(VFP) carried a banner on which was painted "Vietnam Veterans Against
Six weeks later
following a Memorial Day Peace Action in Washington, D.C., sponsored by VFP
[7127 South Chicago Avenue, Chicago] and an Ad Hoc Veterans Committee [5
Beekman Street, Room 1033, New York City], a meeting was held at Washington's
Willard Hotel at which the concept of a VVAW organization began to take shape.
for the Memorial Day action and the meeting was obtained by means of a
full-page advertisement in the New York Times of 5/22/67 which was
credited to the Ad Hoc Veterans Committee for Memorial Day Peace Action, with
an Arthur Knight named as secretary.
On 8/30/65, Arthur Knight was identified as a member of CPUSA and as press
director of the Manhattan County Committee of the Communist Party [MEMBER]
in the '50's in sworn testimony by Ethel Newton, a former member of CPUSA who
rejoined the Party to act as a source for the FBI. In 1966, Knight, who was an employee of the Communist bookstore,
the Jefferson Bookstore, on East 16th Street, N.Y.C., was observed at the CPUSA
of Communist Arthur Knight in the formation of VVAW was not the only
contribution to the new organization by America's red enemies. Through correspondence produced as exhibits
before the House Internal Security Committee (HISC) on 4/15/70 by FBI
undercover operator Louis Salzberg [published by HISC as a part of its material
on the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam (New Mobe)], it is
possible to unravel something of the Communist intrigue that resulted in the
establishment of VVAW.
On May 8,
1967, Corliss Lamont [C.P. Member], identified as a member of CPUSA in
sworn testimony before a Senate Committee in August, 1951, wrote to a Bernard
Koten stating that he would contribute $1,000 [the first of several large
payments to be made during the next year] toward the cost of the New York
Times advertisement calling for the Memorial Day action.
Lamont letter concluded, "We [Helen and Corliss] agree with you
and Wolins that the Vets can be very important in stopping Johnson's war of
aggression in Vietnam."
involvement of Bernard Koten takes on considerable significance when his record
On May 2, 1956,
Bernard L. Koten accompanied by his attorney, Joseph Forer, appeared under
subpoena before the Senate Internal Security Sub-Committee.
Joseph Forer of the Washington, D.C. law firm of Forer and Rein, is a member of
the National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and is a frequent defender of CPUSA members
and causes. His law partner, David Rein
[C.P. Member], was identified as a member of CPUSA in December, 1955 by
Herbert Fuchs in sworn Congressional testimony. In 1966-67, David Rein was "president pro tem" of the
VFP Washington, D.C. organization.
Koten hearing before the Senate Sub-Committee, it was established that he had
lived and travelled extensively in the Soviet Union from 1932 to 1938, and that
he had attended, as both a student and teacher, the Moscow State Pedagogical
also established at this hearing that on his return to the U.S., Koten had
become the sole employee of the American-Russian Institute and subsequently of
its successor, the Library of Intercultural Studies. In these posts he described himself as a "researcher"
and as the "research director."
refused to answer questions regarding membership in CPUSA, Party membership in
Russia, or Party membership during the three years he served with the U.S. Army
in World War II.
the Senate hearing, a classified FBI report was entered into the record. It read:
"Bernard Koten, research director of American-Russian
Institute, is friend and contact of William Hermann Eckart Johnson and his
wife, Annette F. Johnson, who are employed at present on the secret Russian
desk of the War Department, Washington, D.C. and who are suspected of giving
out info to the NKVD."
during the hearing the Committee Counsel said that the American-Russian
Institute was a recruiting agency for Soviet intelligence. Koten was the Institute's sole employee.
That a classified FBI report on Koten was published was in itself
ironical. The report was one stolen by
Judith Coplon, a Justice Department clerk, which was seized at the time of her
arrest while she was passing it with other papers to a Soviet intelligence
agent, Valentin Gu*censored*ev, who was tried with her.
The report was an exhibit in the 1950 trial of
Judith Coplon, who was convicted of passing classified U.S. documents to the
Russians. On appeal the conviction was
overturned on a technicality.
[Miss Coplon's defense
team included Leonard Boudin and Albert H. Socolov, whom she married. Socolov has a law office at 299 Broadway,
N.Y.C., and lives in Brooklyn with his wife].
Koten was back in the Soviet Union as a visitor, leading a group of tourists
organized by the Afton Agency. In Kiev
he suddenly dropped out of sight to the consternation of the new leaderless
tourists. However he reappeared with
Intourist, the Russian tourist organization, offering the explanation that he
had been arrested for a homosexual offense involving a Soviet citizen.
when he became involved with the VFP organization, Koten was living at 1370 St.
Nicholas Avenue, #22R, New York, N.Y., and was working in the Russian
Collection of the New York University General Library.
Wolins mentioned in the Lamont letter is yet another member of CPUSA. LeRoi Wolins of Chicago, Illinois [C.P.
Member], was identified by the late J. Edgar Hoover as a CPUSA member in
testimony on the FBI appropriation for 1968.
In 1970, HISC was told that Wolins was the organizer, financial angel
and mastermind of a national organization, Veterans for Peace in Vietnam (VFP),
based in Chicago.
Wolins' record of involvement with CPUSA dates back to the '50's. He had been secretary of the Chicago chapter
of the National Council of American-Soviet Friendship, an organization dating
back to 1943 which was found to be a "Communist front" within
the meaning of the Internal Security Act of 1950.
On July 5, 1967, Ron Wolin [member, Veterans for
Peace], New York organizer for VFP, sent a letter reporting on his activities
to Leroi Wollins in which he wrote:
"Probably most significant is the fact that our action [the
New York Times advertisement and its subsequent Memorial Day
demonstration] provided the first national platform for Vietnam veterans and
gave impetus to the organization of at least two Vietnam vet's groups, Vietnam
Veterans Against the War in New York and United Vets for Peace and Freedom in
Ron Wolin is a self-proclaimed believer in the communist theories of Leon
Trotsky and is an identified member of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) (HISC
Annual Report, 1971). He has associated
himself with many of the SWP's GI organizing projects. Radical sources indicate that in 1967 Wolin
kept his political views quiet to enable a working relationship to develop with
members of CPUSA.
30, 1967, a check for $488.52 was sent to Corliss Lamont by the VFP
organization with a covering letter which said:
"The contributions on the ad came to something under
50% of its cost. Pursuant to our
commitment, we're accordingly returning to you herewith our check for
$488.52. Thanks again for your help in
making the ad possible. Its
effectiveness in turn helped ensure the success of the Memorial Day action in
formative months, VVAW was closely associated, if not practically identical,
with Veterans for Peace in Vietnam (VFP) which had been formed a year earlier
(January 1966) by LeRoi Wolins. VFP
operated, and still does, from 431 South Dearborn Street, Chicago, and from
P.O. Box 4598, Chicago, Illinois 60680 (312/922-0065).
to the National Guardian of 3/26/66, one purpose of the VFP was "to
neutralize veterans organizations such as the Marine Corps League, Veterans of
Foreign Wars, and other veterans and right-wing groups."
1967, VFP participated in the major antiwar action at the Pentagon and set up
some thirty chapters in various parts of the country, often with the assistance
of identified members of CPUSA. [For
example, David Rein in Washington, D.C.; Louis Bortz and Leo Jackson in
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; and Arthur Knight, New York City].
members took an active role with the most militant antiwar groups such as the
Chicago Peace Council, the New York Fifth Avenue Peace Parade Committee, and
later, the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam.
While VFP was expanding the involvement of CPUSA members a matter of public
record, Senator George McGovern wrote the organization an "open letter"
which he concluded in the following words:
"I wish you well in your efforts to bring about an honorable and
early end to the war."
August 25, 1972 (cont.)
Senator McGovern's support
for antiwar veterans groups continued over the years. In May 1972, he entered into the Congressional Record
[E4465 - 5/17/71] the content of an "ad hoc" hearing that he
conducted on April 23 which provided a number of VVAW members with the
opportunity to make charges which the Senator characterized as "tragedies"
and "atrocities," "exactly what the Nazi forces did in
occupied territory in Europe during World War II."
Introducing the material,
Senator McGovern said, "The testimony ... demonstrates that the Vietnam
Veterans Against the War probably represent the majority view of those who have
served in combat."
And it is interesting to
note that at the hearing conducted by Senator McGovern, the first
"witness" was Scott Camil who related how his unit tortured and
killed prisoners, raped women, and mutilated corpses.
Camil is now under
indictment as a leader of a conspiracy to disrupt the Republican Convention in
Miami Beach by organizing "fire teams" to attack with
automatic weapons, fire and incendiary devices police stations, police cars,
and stores in Miami Beach on various dates between August 21 and 24, 1972.
In addition to those
federal charges brought in Tallahassee, Florida, Camil faces state narcotics
charges as well as kidnapping charges.
links between the Communists of the VFP organization and the VVAW of 1967 and
the present time is VVAW chairman, Jan Crumb.
In 1967, Crumb was listed as "Viet Vets editor" of Veterans
Stars and Stripes for Peace, the VFP publication. In the 8/21/67 issue of The Militant, the official
newspaper of the SWP, he was identified as VVAW chairman. Three years later (11/24/70), the CPUSA's Daily
World reported Crumb as VVAW president, a role that he apparently continues
Crumb, dob 1/26/43, of 208 Dean Street, Brooklyn, New York, works as a
researcher for CBS News in New York City [212/765-4321, X-6008]. Using the name "Jan Barry" he has
contributed book reviews to various newspapers, including the Washington
An SP 4
in the U.S. Army, Crumb claims to have been in Vietnam with the 10th Aviation
Company from December 1961 to October 1963.
In July 1964, he was appointed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point,
and resigned in November of that same year.
whose family comes from Interlaken, New York, was a participant in the VVAW
Winter Soldier project; using the name Jan Barry, he was an editor and
contributor to Winning Hearts and Minds, a paperback book of "war
poems by Vietnam Veterans" which is published by 1st Casualty Press,
208 Dean Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11217 [Crumb's residence]. [In listing himself as a contributor to Winning
Hearts and Minds, Crumb marked himself as "Jan Barry" of Interlaken,
Others involved with Jan Crumb in the earliest days of VVAW were Francis R.
Rocks, secretary/treasurer; Mark Donnelly [Mark E. Donnelly] and David
the years 1967 through 1970, little was heard of VVAW. But over the Labor Day weekend of 1970, the
group sponsored "Operation RAW - Rapid American Withdrawal" with the
purpose of protesting the war in Southeast Asia, demanding an increase in
Veterans Administration funds, and calling for a war crimes investigation.
RAW [I.D., 9/11/70, refers] involved an 80-mile trek from Morristown,
N.J. to Valley Forge, Penna. by about 84 veterans. During the march, VVAW performed a number of guerrilla theater
actions. On September 7, 1970, at
Valley Forge's Grand Parade Ground, a rally of about 1,000 people heard
speeches from Representative Allard K. Lowenstein, Jane Fonda, [attorney] Mark
Lane, Donald Sutherland, Rev. James Beval and VVAW executive secretary Al
to the New York Times [9/5/70], Hubbard was "a 32-year old
former Air Force pilot who wore three rows of military decorations on his
September 1970 until April 22, 1971, Al Hubbard [MEMBER OF SUBJECT
ORGANIZATION], with his Afro hair style and his many decorations, thrived
in the limelight of being an ex-captain, a Negro militant, and a leader in the
eight months of watching Hubbard pose in those various roles, a belated
investigation by the media established that the eloquent "captain"
was actually a former staff sergeant with no record of any service in Vietnam,
and that his "wounds" resulting in a 60% disability allowance were
probably related to a 1961 back injury suffered during a soccer game.
William Overend, a CBS newsman, published the Hubbard saga in the conservative
National Review [the story was printed in the Congressional Record [S7929 -
6/2/71]. It concluded with a statement
a liberal, it had occurred to me that raising questions about Al Hubbard might
hurt the antiwar movement, but as a journalist it didn't seem that should be a
factor. I was wrong. No one would touch the story. Not David Sanford of the New Republic; not
any other editor of any liberal publication I contacted."
despite this story, Hubbard has continued to be accepted by VVAW and the
antiwar movement as a leader.
January, 1971, VVAW was ready to move fully into a leadership role in the
antiwar movement, choosing as its vehicle the implementation of the demand made
during Operation RAW for a war crimes investigation.
Winter Soldier Investigation, organized from 967 Emerson Street, Detroit, was
convened in a Howard Johnson motel in midtown Detroit, January 31 - February 2. Some 100 Vietnam veterans claimed to have
seen and/or taken part in war crimes and atrocities.
verbatim transcript ran to almost 1,000 pages; a video-taping was made of the
"investigation;" and in 1972 Beacon Press, under the auspices of the
Unitarian Universalist Association, published an edited transcript as a
paperback book. [A list of participants
in Winter Soldier is available].
6 and 7, 1971, Senator Mark Hatfield had the entire Winter Soldier transcript
read into the Congressional Record.
The term Winter Soldier was used by VVAW to indicate its belief that they are
"true patriots," and they quote Tom Paine, "The summer
soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis shrink from the service of
his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and
of Winter Soldier has been estimated in the range of $50,000. Major contributors included the actress Jane
Fonda and attorney/author Mark Lane.
Radical sources indicate that other contributions came from Dick
Gregory, Phil Ochs, Alison Montgomery, Barbara Dane, Donald Sutherland, and the
United States Servicemen's Fund (USSF).
Section Two of Information Digest Special Report on VVAW
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