I am reading an interesting book from the late 70's titled "Spooks: the Haunting of America....." by Jim Hougan. It details intelligence operations (from all corners of the spook millieu) including Watergate, the CBS War to oust Papa Doc, and.....well im only 98 pages in but it is fascinating. However, I paused when I encountered this:
"Infatuated with the goldbug theories of crank economist Ludwig Von Mises and with the stern "positivism" of Ayn Rand [Michael] Oliver fixed upon the Bahamas' Abaco as the site for his future utopia. having learned his lesson on the Minerva Reef, the libertarian resolved that revolution rather than landfill was the best means to a new republic."
"Crank" economist comment aside, is anyone here familiar with Michael Oliver's Minerva or Abaco prjoects? I have heard Doug Casey mention it before and I am not sure if he was involved, but someone who was involved was Mitch WerBell a fascinating character from the world of espionage detailed in Jim Hougans book. Hougan is obviously scornful of libertarians but his account of the intelligence involvement with Olivers projects is intriguing.
If anyone is interested in the intelligence relationship with Michael Oliver's "libertopian" projects detailed in Hougans book ill provide a summary.
Like the LaRouchians, WerBell had a fondness for grandiose schemes. In 1966 he became involved in a plot to invade Haiti. Having trained the invasion force, he brought CBS-TV to cover the embarkation. Federal agents swooped down and arrested the plotters. Shortly thereafter WerBell obtained a contract with Papa Doc Duvalier to retrain the Haitian security forces.
In the late 1960s he developed the Sionics silencer, the world's first efficient machine-gun silencer, which became extremely popular among drug traffickers, Mafia hit men, and Central American death squads. Needing start-up capital, WerBell went to Stewart Mott, the noted philanthropist and antiwar activist. WerBell told Mott the device could be used as a lawn-mower silencer to fight noise pollution. Mott invested a substantial sum.
In 1974 WerBell sold Nevada real estate mogul and Libertarian Party leader Mike Oliver on a scheme to invade the island of Abaco and declare it independent from the Bahamas. It was to become a tax haven run on libertarian principles. With Oliver's backing, WerBell began to train a handful of mercenaries, and sent his friend Walt Mackem to the island to organize the trappings of a secessionist movement. As with the Haitian scheme, the feds swooped down. WerBell was arrested along with his co-conspirators, but the charges against him were dropped.
Im impressed you know this stuff however I would add that CBS helped in funding the Haitian excursion, and that it is unlikely that WerBell ever attempted to gain Mott's investment with a lawn-mower siliencer pitch. I think what is more likely is that Mott wanted in on an exclusive investment group (Quantum) that included several CFR members and an ex-CIA director. The 29 initial investors (names were kept private, but you can dig many of them up) were given a live demonstration of the machine gun before they signed on.
What do you make of Mott's involvement because it was him who claimed that he was interested in applications like a lawnmower/snowblower siliencer (which seems bs)?
If anyone is interested in the intelligence relationship with Michael Oliver's "libertopian" detailed in Hougans book ill provide a summary.
Reply to SpaceMonk:
I took the entire summary from a lyndon larouche website. I personally don't know much about it.
Mitch Werbell was nicknamed the "wizard of whispering death." He is one of the more eccentric examples of the kind of men drawn to the world of espionage. Like a character in a spy movie he carried a hidden-sword cane, and a "swagger stick" that doubles as a rocket launcher. His expertise was in coup-d'etat, assasination, and gun running. As mentioned above he, along with Dr. Ingram, invented the Ingram submachine gun, and accompaning surpessor, with investment capital from 29 (initially) investors whose pool became Quantom Ordinance Bankers Inc (later Quantom Corporation). The initial firm was known as SCIONICS but the investors decided make it subsidary of Military Armaments Corporation (hence MAC-10 submachine gun). The group's members are certainly of interest since they consist of the power elite but Hougan does not name very many names (the group was very secret). WerBell commenting to Hougan said, "I wont tell you who Quantom's stockholders are but I assure you that everyone of these 29 individuals is a Whos Who and you would recognize each name. If I said Nelson Rockefeller-you'd recognize that name, wouldn't you. Well, thats the caliber of men we are talking about!"
As noted above Stewart Mott was one of the 29. What I found interesting was Hougan's apparent surprise at a so called "good" power elite (since he was nominally anti-war), considering that Hougan has done plenty of research into the shadow side of the State (but then again his hostility to libertarianism makes his statist bias clear). Im sure people here will not pass over the following with the same naivete as the author:
Stewart Mott whom the author was surpised to find as an investor, claimed he was not interested in (or even aware of) the siliencer's use with an SMG. Nevermind the fact that WerBell gave live demonstrations of the gun to all of his investors, and to prospective investors and buyers like Averell Harriman (it is unclear if Harriman was a member of Quantom or not, but WerBell did demonstrate the weapon for him). Hougan doesnt buy Mott's excuse that he was interested in snow blower and lawn mower applications (nonsense), but seems to think Mott was somehow "duped" into investing and came up with the lawnmower line ex post. It was Mott himself who revealing said the surpressor was needed for a "peace mission to Moscow"! What is of interest with regard to Mott, is that Hougan, who wrote a book on CIA's involvement in Watergate thinks it is vindicating (of Mott) that he "had the ears of....Ben Bradlee, Edward Bennet WIlliams, Senator Charles Percy, and newsman Dan Rather." These names should spell interlligence/power elite to someone like Hougan, but for some reason he regards these men as a rigtheous counter-force to the so called right wing elements in the CIA millieu.
By 1974 WerBell was ousted from MAC and started a "private" espionage service called Defense Services Inc., which operated off of WerBell's estate dubbed (ironically) the Farm. Enter Michael Oliver, a lithuanian born libertarian randian. Oliver was a wealthy man interested in establishing a minarchist state that would have private money production and no taxes. His first attempt at his project was in the Minerva Reef, essentially a rock in the South Fiji Ridge. He formed Ocean Life Research Foundation, which was designed to serve as the finnacial conduit for the creation of the "Republic of Minerva." Other interested liberty-minded people funneled money into the Foundation to the tune of a couple hundred k's. The plan was to create more land area vis-a-viz a landfill. Unfortunately the liberty seekers would have to contend with the almighty 325-pound Tyrant of Tonga (an island which was inconvientely located 260 miles east of Tonga), King Taufa'ahau. King T promised unconditional amnesty to Tonga prison inmates if they were to seize the Minerva reef and claim it for the great state of Tonga. And so it goes.......
However Oliver did not give up he decided the next site for his project would be Abaco island in the Bahamas (which became independent of Britian in 1973). On Abaco 300,000 acres of crown land was turned over to the Abaco state. The land was held by the state, which denied the potential of a very roomy island life for the mere 6,000 inhabitants. Oliver saw potential for the overthrow of the Abaco state in the discontent of the inhabitants and planned to replace the state of Abaco with a (ideologically) minarchist regime. To do this he turned to WerBell and they began a campaign to overthrow the Abaco state. They formed the Abaco Independce Movement, a supposedely native organization, which is right out of the CIA playbook, and began diseminating propaganda. Bumper stickers opposing Abaco president Pindling were adorned on the islands small number of cars, por-indepence leaflets were distributed, and a sort of radio free Abaco was beamed from Florida. Even more hillarious were the hundreds of copies of Ayn Rand's For the New Intellectual were smuggled onto the mostly illiterate island. WerBell sent a former company man Walt Mackem to pose as tourist on Abaco and do what spooks do. It was necessary for WerBell to secure a promise from the British government (or at least elements of) that they would not interevene, and to do this he used his contacts in the British Parliment/House of Lords Colonel Colin Mitchell and Robert Hamilton.
With England to stay out of the way, an image of Abaconian discontent sewn, and WerBells arsenal of SMG's on call, the Abaconian coup was ready to go. An interesting series of meetings took place that I think can be ellucidated by folks in the libertarian community since I suspect a few prominent libertarians, some of whom are still alive, attended. This was the purpose of my intitial question regarding Doug Casey. I have seen a speech of his before where I believed he mentioned Minerva and his involvement in similar projects. But these meetings, which took place at Duke Ziebert's Class Reunion Bar, and WerBell's suite at the Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington. It was here where (to quote Hougan) " CIA veterans, free-lance spooks, and libertarian idealists agreed upon a New Year's Revolution to begin Jan 1st, 1975."
Alas, it never happened. In 74' WerBell was subpoenaed to testify about a MAC 10 deal to Robert Vesco. The charges were a clear frame up since Intelligence was heavily involved with Vesco and it is likely they were trying to divert attention to WerBell instead of DEA/CIA that was dealing directly with Vesco. It would seem that it came out around this time that WerBell was doing wetwork for the DEA, and since he was technically freelance it is was far more convienent to cast blame on an individual rather than one of the holy institutions of the state. However it was due to this that WerBell was "too hot," to be able to follow through on the Abaco project. Or at least that is the story according to Hougan.
So for those of you interested in this stuff I have a few questions:
Does anyone know any libertarians involved with this? Was Doug Casey involved?
Do you think it is likely that the project fell through only because of WerBell's PR problem, or was it something else?
-on the above question I would like to add that Hougan's world view seems to place libertarians on friendly terms with so called right-wing CIA people. I think on the one hand he attributes to much ideology to the spooks and too little opportunism to the libertarians.
Any futher thoughts, comments?
the lydonlarouche article above says:" As with the Haitian scheme, the feds swooped down. WerBell was arrested along with his co-conspirators, but the charges against him were dropped."
I dont think this happened, although im not sure. It is possible that some other mercs associated with the Abaco plan were picked up, but WerBell himself was subpoenaed (not arrested) on the Vesco affair. And while the Feds did interevene in the WerBell organized, CBS funded Hatian scheme, they did so directly, where as if they intervened in this Abaco affair it was not openly.