("Quid coniuratio est?")
GLORIA IN EXCELSIS
Now. The first article I'm going to be reading here comes from "Counterspy" magazine, Volume IV, Number 1. And it was published in 1980.
This is a statement by a group of radical feminists who called themselves "The Red Stockings," who (despite the fact that neither Nip [co-host] nor myself would agree with nor identify with their ideological underpinnings), they did some excellent and readily verifiable research. And that research is "front and center" in the following letter which they mailed to "Counterspy." (By the way, "Counterspy" is one of the top publications covering the activities of the U.S. intelligence establishment. It's now been renamed, "The National Reporter.")
...the following statement from the Red Stockings Collective (this from September 6, 1979). It's headlined,
We feel that we must respond to the latest in a series of attempts to suppress the inquiry into the details and nature of Gloria Steinem's association with the Central Intelligence Agency. We are alarmed that the most visible commentary on these events comes from several well-known figures in the feminist movement who not only condone but endorse this suppression.
Because feminism's appeal and impact spring from a fundamental intellectual honesty, it is particularly distressing that the suppression of dissent may be seen as some kind of official feminist position.
In 1975, after Red Stocking researched Gloria Steinem's affiliations and raised questions about her political past, Steinem published a "statement," in connection with her activities on behalf of the Independent Research Service, a CIA-funded group. Many feminists found this document neither entirely credible nor to the point, and they have insisted upon seeking more enlightening answers.
Because of the conscious counter-revolutionary role that the CIA has played at home and abroad over the years, it makes sense to expect a participant in the women's movement, especially one who has come to symbolize it, to fully discuss her past relationship to the CIA. We are still waiting to hear Steinem's opinion of the Agency. The last one she gave characterized the CIA as "liberal" and far-sighted. [New York Times, Feb. 21, 1967, according to Emory.]
The events that prompted us to send out this letter include:
Gloria Steinem, Clay Felker(sp?) (most recently publisher of Esquire), and Ford Foundation president Franklin Thomas, were among those who threatened to sue for libel if Random House allowed the CIA chapters to be published in the Random House edition of Red Stocking's Feminist Revolution. At the same time, Newsweek and Washington Post publisher Katherine Graham and Warner Communications (a major Ms. [magazine] stockholder) also complained. The offending chapters were deleted. Thus, Steinem and her powerful supporters successfully used the threat of litigation to exercise prior restraint over publication.
When Steinem learned that the Village Voice had assigned journalist Nancy Borman(sp?) to prepare an article on the censorship of Feminist Revolution, her attorneys, Greenbaum, Wolf & Ernst(sp?), threatened suit against the Voice if any mention of Steinem's CIA association appeared in this article.
After some delay, to allow the Voice's legal counsel to review the material, the Voice published the article on May 21st, 1979. And, in subsequent issues, several letter writers responded with attacks on Borman and the Voice.
In May of 1979, when Heights and Valley News, a New York City neighborhood paper published by the Columbia Tenant's Union [CTU], began a series on the material deleted from Feminist Revolution, Steinem's attorneys again threatened suit. But instead of threatening the Columbia Tenant's Union corporation, they sent a letter to each of CTU's 32 board members. Board members cannot be individually sued for a corporation's acts except in a few instances not relevant here. But Steinem's attorneys stated in their letter to the board members that publication of the material "could subject them to individual liability." Heights and Valley News stood up to this attempt at intimidation and is continuing the series.
All this legal harassment was in response not to any actual instance of false, malicious defamation, but to the potential raising of embarrassing questions about some feminist relations with the power elite. We think that Steinem and her associates have not made a convenient case for cutting off discussion.
And at the bottom they have a few questions they ask about the implications of this for the women's movement. And there's a series of signatories to this particular statement. And the only two names I recognize here are, a woman by name of Marge Piercy who's a well-known feminist poet, and also a woman named Louise Billotte, who is a KPFA [radio] staff member.
There are a number of points to be brought up concerning this particular statement, here in "Counterspy."
First of all, Steinem, as the article pointed out, has never denied her relationship to the Independent Research Service. However, people who have attempted to highlight the nature of the Independent Research Service relationship to the CIA and, in turn, Steinem's relationship to Independent Research Service, have been threatened with litigation and have had a lot of pressure put on them. The pressure in this instance not only coming from Steinem herself, but also from a man named Clay Felker (whose role in establishing Ms. magazine we're gonna take a look at), as well as Katherine Graham. We're gonna take a look at Katherine Graham, her relationship with CIA, and her involvement with Ms. [magazine], in just a couple of minutes.
Not only was the book Feminist Revolution "leaned on" (I guess you'd say) by the Ms. axis, but also the Village Voice, when writing an article about the censorship of Feminist Revolution, also had similar pressure put on them.
And the interesting thing is, the attorneys Greenbaum, Wolf & Ernst are a law firm that produced some of the people helping to defend, among others, Richard Nixon, in the Watergate case.
The fact that the Independent Research Service is, for all intents and purposes, a CIA front, is a matter of record.
If there was nothing to be covered up, why all of the pressure to cover it up? Even Steinem's own resume will maintain that she was related to the Independent Research Service.
So keep an eye on these events, and remember the names Clay Felker and Katherine Graham. We're going to come back to those a little bit later.
[...to be continued...]
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