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James Bond and the killer bag lady
December 3, 2012 2:27 AM   Subscribe

" Assassin Jerome Johnson was a black neo-Nazi as well as a practiced marksman and member of the NRA. He also thought he was God. The night before murdering Colombo, he arrived by bus from Cambridge, Mass., carrying a caged monkey. " Mark Ames and Alexander Zaitchik dive into the shadowy CIA underworld, tracing the murder of CIA house banker Nicholas Deak.
posted by MartinWisse (35 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite

 
If Nicholas Deak had never existed, Graham Greene would have tried — and failed — to invent him.

"Deak was a unique talent at a unique time in American history. With Europe in ruins, the country emerged from the war as a true global power in need of imperial know-how. Within the ranks of the OSS, Deak stood out. The blue-blood Yalies that dominated the agency had little experience in global affairs and even less in global finance. And so they turned to the cosmopolitan half-Jewish foreigner to help move the nascent empire’s money around the strategic chessboard."

Sorry. Graham Green would never have tried to invent such a character. Greene liked lonely, alienated, isolated types. He wouldn't have known what to do with a cosmopolitan bon vivant like this Deak guy. Joseph Conrad maybe, but not Greene.
posted by three blind mice at 3:22 AM on December 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Sorry. Graham Green would never have tried to invent such a character.

But if he had, the article suggests that he would have failed. You can't argue with that.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:28 AM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow, what a story. Thanks for posting.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:29 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


True story: the head of IT for the United Nations once asked me & my girlfriend to hack a computer belonging to the CIA for him. When we turned him down he apologized for putting us in an awkward position & explained that he too meant the cooking school not the spy agency. I bet the guy who named it has a lot of egg on his face. And before anybody says it, yes you could say the yolk's on him.
posted by scalefree at 4:32 AM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


There are black neo-Nazis?
posted by ceribus peribus at 4:42 AM on December 3, 2012


When you're God, you can be anything.
posted by ardgedee at 4:57 AM on December 3, 2012


Mark Ames wrote about this in The eXile and connects it to an experiences of his in Russia.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:58 AM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


I adore stories like this.
posted by empath at 5:59 AM on December 3, 2012


There are black neo-Nazis?

There are Russian neo-nazis, which is even stranger.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:03 AM on December 3, 2012


There are Russian neo-nazis, which is even stranger.

Why is that strange? Even without considering Molotov-Ribbentrop, Russian nationalist history has more than a few commonalities with Nazi philosophies.
posted by kmz at 6:12 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are Russian neo-nazis, which is even stranger.

There were some Israeli neo-Nazis in the news a few years ago. IIRC, they were from a Russian background and vandalised Jewish cemeteries with swastikas.
posted by acb at 6:15 AM on December 3, 2012


There are over 20 million reasons for that to be strange, kmz.
posted by Skeptic at 6:17 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fascinating join-the-dots piece. Sounds implausible, but Ames/Zaitchik do a cracking job of finding the evidence they can, accepting they can't draw the full picture, and not overstating what they did find. The fact that the woman who pulled the trigger had been treated by someone with a history of misuse of drugs on mental patients for the CIA for attempted mind control purposes is pretty staggering, for example.
posted by imperium at 6:29 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Why is that strange?

Because Stalingrad?
posted by mhoye at 6:39 AM on December 3, 2012


There are black neo-Nazis?

Nazis can be any skin colour or ethic/national group.

True Proper WW2 era Aryan Nazis like Indiana Jones might knock into planes are just the tip of the ice burg.

There are Russian neo-nazis, which is even stranger.

Not at all. Don't get hung up on the Nazi label.
Hell, there are Israeli Neo-Nazis.
You gonna get your hate on, you may as well swipe some stylin' threads and an organisational system that works.
posted by Mezentian at 6:46 AM on December 3, 2012


Because the real nazis actually considered any Russians to be subhumans only marginally better than Jews and equally fated to be destroyed?

Being a Russian fascist or slav supremacist makes sense, but to glorify the man who wanted you and your entire race to disappear from the face of the Earth?
posted by MartinWisse at 6:47 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Being a Russian fascist or slav supremacist makes sense, but to glorify the man who wanted you and your entire race to disappear from the face of the Earth?

That was 70 years ago. They got over it. Plus, Stalin was (arguably) worse.
Also, those who are not taught history are doomed to repeat it.
As I understand it (from the outside) these Russian group set themselves up at the top of a pyramid, and see themselves as true Aryians, and even Belarussians and Ukrainians come in for stick, violence, death.

Hate isn't exactly rational.
posted by Mezentian at 6:50 AM on December 3, 2012


Hate isn't exactly rational.

Right. I think the neo-nazi Hitler worship is more about liking the guy because he had a plan they liked. Not so much because they think he was right about the Aryan thing, but that they believe he was right about the extermination thing.
posted by gjc at 7:11 AM on December 3, 2012


"As with Stanford, the university employed a military-linked behavioral psychiatrist, Dr. Donald Dudley, who later became infamous for carrying out experiments in behavior modification. Dudley taught there from the 1960s through the early 1990s, and also worked at nearby mental institutions where Lang was periodically committed. The landmark lawsuit that ended Dudley’s career revealed that Dudley’s hobby was taking patients brought to him for lesser mental illnesses, pumping them full of drugs, hypnotizing them, and trying to turn them into killers.

We know this thanks to a suit brought by the family of Stephen Drummond, who entered Dudley’s care in 1989 for autism treatment. He was returned to his family in 1992 suffering from severe catatonia. According to lawsuit testimony, Dudley shot Drummond up with sodium amytal and hypnotized him with the intention of “erasing” a portion of his brain and turning him into an assassin. When Drummond’s mother confronted Dudley, the mad scientist threatened to have her killed, claiming he worked for the CIA. Dudley was arrested soon after the confrontation in a local hotel where he had shacked up to “treat” a suicidal 15-year-old drifter. Dudley had given the boy sodium amytal and several other drugs, hypnotized him, and convinced him that he was part of a secret army of assassins. Police were called in when the boy threatened hotel staff with a .44 caliber handgun. Not long after, Dudley died in state custody and his estate was forced to pay the largest psychotherapy negligence lawsuit in history. During the trial, it emerged that Dudley had possibly subjected hundreds of victims to similar experiments. Lang was not mentioned.
"
So this Dr. Donald Dudley was a neuropsychiatrist who happened to be both bipolar and unmedicated, was not the least bit shy about his purported connections to the CIA, how "he was going to take over hospitals, police forces and schools", how he was one of a select few people who was in charge of the world, and had the good judgement to tell a mother that "she was fortunate he wanted her son to be one of his trained soldiers."

I mean, its obvious he was brainwashed by the reptilians himself;

Its all like, CONNECTED man.
posted by Blasdelb at 7:47 AM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


“Lang and the Argentineans — it’s like a jigsaw puzzle,” said Kuhlmann with a sigh. “You have to fill in the missing 30 percent. That doesn’t work in a court of law.”

Luckily for sensationalist journalism, you only need 30% to build a story!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:49 AM on December 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


Reading that was like listening to Dave Emory in the middle of the night. The only thing missing is the dependence on "milieu".

That tidbit at the end about the Argentines' cozy relationship with the Reagan administration suggests that maybe the Argentines thought they could count on US support for the Falklands invasion (or at least count on the US staying on the sidelines). And as I recall, it was kind of a close thing at the outset.

I guess the lesson here, for both Argentine nationalists and CIA frontmen, is don't trust right wing American spies.
posted by notyou at 8:19 AM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's ironic that Jerome Johnson is so far the focus of the comments here, as he had nothing to do with the Deak hit.

As Thomas Pynchon sez, "If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers."

Lois Lang is the focus of this article, and that's strange enough as it is.
posted by chavenet at 8:45 AM on December 3, 2012 [5 favorites]


Was anyone able to read beyond the first page, or was that actually where the article ended? After the paragraph:
“Lang and the Argentineans — it’s like a jigsaw puzzle,” said Kuhlmann with a sigh. “You have to fill in the missing 30 percent. That doesn’t work in a court of law.”

I get "Continue Reading", but clicking it just takes me back to the top of the article.
posted by Joh at 8:50 AM on December 3, 2012


There are black neo-Nazis?

A neo-Nazi party in Greece has been trying to get votes by making speeches in villages where Nazis had executed the grandparents of some of these villagers.
posted by ersatz at 9:49 AM on December 3, 2012


It's ironic that Jerome Johnson is so far the focus of the comments here, as he had nothing to do with the Deak hit.

I wouldn't be so sure about that!

Jerome Johnson was a known associate of Joseph "Crazy Joe" aka "Joe the Blond" aka "Big Joe" Gallo, who was assumed by the mob to have put the hit on Colombo. In retaliation for the Colombo murder, touching off the second Colombo mob war, Gallo was gunned down on April 7, 1972, as he ate a seafood dinner with his wife; daughter; sister; bodyguard, Peter "Pete the Greek" Diapoulas; and the Greek's girlfriend after coming from the Copacabana where he'd attended a concert by Don Rickles.

Rickles was returning to the club scene after playing the Staff Sergeant "Crapgame" in the offbeat WWII war comedy, Kelly's Heroes, about a secret sceme to raid Nazi gold from a bank vault during the chaos of the invasion. Much like Deak, Rickles played the role in the gold scheme of the man who could make things happen through his numerous connections. Also starring as the character "Big Joe" was Telly "the Greek" Savalas and his big fat Greek brother, George, as 1st Sergeant Mulligan.

The connection to Argentine mob is the hard part, though if one can be made, I'm sure this has something to do with it. The more I look into this, I believe Eastwood's GOP convention "speech" was really just some sort of flashback to his days as a Peronist interrogator.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:01 AM on December 3, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is a very good story in need of a better editor:

Deak’s firm was not penalized for its role in the scandal — bribing foreign officials wasn’t yet illegal in the U.S. — but the damage to his firm’s image was real. The scandal brought down Japan’s government and governments in Western Europe; it also led to the passage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the first serious attempt to criminalize overseas bribery. The damage to Deak’s public image was real.
posted by staccato signals of constant information at 10:25 AM on December 3, 2012 [2 favorites]


Was anyone able to read beyond the first page, or was that actually where the article ended?

I had the same problem on an Android phone. It would load but then some script would kick in and hide everything after the first few paragraphs. I just kept hitting the X to stop the page from loading and was eventually able to read it. Was so annoying that I looked for a Salon Android app, but they don't have one.
posted by freecellwizard at 11:26 AM on December 3, 2012


"That doesn't work in a court of law" is the end of the article.
posted by koeselitz at 12:52 PM on December 3, 2012


Gallo was gunned down on April 7, 1972, as he ate a seafood dinner with his wife
As documented in the Bob Dylan song, Joey: "Joey, Joey, why'd they have to come and blow you away?"
posted by e1c at 2:19 PM on December 3, 2012


Are the authors suggesting that Johnson's monkey was some sort of secret chimp?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 2:47 PM on December 3, 2012


A neo-Nazi party in Greece has been trying to get votes by making speeches in villages where Nazis had executed the grandparents of some of these villagers.

Do they call themselves "neo-Nazi"? Do they show up heiling Hitler and claiming "Deutscheland uber alles"?

They sound like 21st century Greek National Socialists which != Germany's NSDAP 1920-45. Might not be pretty but it isn't the same thing.
posted by codswallop at 3:16 PM on December 3, 2012


Do they show up heiling Hitler

Yes.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:29 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]


Wow. You got me there. I hadn't heard that bit.

I mean I knew about the antisemitism and the straight arm salute but that's no biggie, we used to have both in the US. It is pretty weird for nationalists to be fixated on someone of another nation.
posted by codswallop at 3:55 PM on December 3, 2012


Looks like Hitler is a hit with the kids in India, too:

My wife teaches French to tenth-grade students at a private school here in Mumbai. During one recent class, she asked these mostly upper-middle-class kids to complete the sentence “J'admire …” with the name of the historical figure they most admired.

To say she was disturbed by the results would be to understate her reaction. Of 25 students in the class, 9 picked Adolf Hitler, making him easily the highest vote-getter in this particular exercise; a certain Mohandas Gandhi was the choice of precisely one student. Discussing the idea of courage with other students once, my wife was startled by the contempt they had for Gandhi. “He was a coward!” they said. And as far back as 2002, the Times of India reported a survey that found that 17 percent of students in elite Indian colleges “favored Adolf Hitler as the kind of leader India ought to have.”


Damn, India, we should have let China invade your sorry ass back in '62 after all.
posted by 2N2222 at 5:46 PM on December 3, 2012


I mean I knew about the antisemitism and the straight arm salute but that's no biggie, we used to have both in the US. It is pretty weird for nationalists to be fixated on someone of another nation.

They also sent their condolences to the family of Belgian collaborationist and SS member Léon Degrelle, attended an NPD rally and have a chant extolling Nazi collaborationists in Greece. The worrying part is that they poll at 10%, but that's a long story. Sorry for the derail, Martin.
posted by ersatz at 4:08 AM on December 4, 2012


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