We Were Warned Years Ago, Now Media Consolidation is Worse Than Ever Before
Dateline: Orange County
As we reported earlier, the Los Angeles Times has some big plans to extend their newspaper monopoly to the entire Southern California region. In a previous article entitled: The Los Angeles Times, the Shameful Showboat of a Powerful Press Monopoly, we wrote that the Tribune Company, owner of both the San Diego Union and the L.A. Times, was sneaking around the bankruptcy court hearings offering to loan the owners of the Riverside Press-Telegram and the Orange County Register 3 million dollars at no interest to tide them over for a while until the bankruptcy court held an auction, where they planned to buy up the Register and the Press Telegram. Here’s what we said:
“Things have since become even stranger, when the Orange County Register filed for bankruptcy late last year. The same company also owns the Riverside Press Telegram. So here comes the Tribune, now owner of the Times and San Diego Union, offering a 3 million dollar loan at zero interest rate to the company that owns the Register and Press-Telegram. This would give them a crack at buying the two papers out of bankruptcy, and thus increase their monopoly over all of Southern California. If that works out, the Tribune will own the Times, the San Diego Union, The Riverside Press-Telegram and the Orange County Register. Any beginning psychic can see more layoffs, consolidated printing, consolidated news, and immense power over the entire Southland. Oh, and the big hurt on real freedom of the press.”
Plot Foiled by Alert Anti-Trust Attorneys
Luckily for the entire population of the Southland, the Anti-Trust Division of the Justice Department was paying attention to all this. Today, March 17, 2006, the Justice Department filed suit to block this outrageous monopoly grab by the Tribune Company. Below is the complete Press Release from the Department of Justice:
Acquisition Would Monopolize Newspapers in Orange and Riverside Counties in California
The Department of Justice filed a civil antitrust lawsuit today seeking to block the acquisition by Tribune Publishing Company, publisher of the Los Angeles Times, of Freedom Communications Inc., publisher of the Register in Orange County, California, and the Press-Enterprise in Riverside County, California. Tribune was selected as purchaser of Freedom’s newspapers following a bankruptcy auction and will seek bankruptcy court approval of its acquisition on March 21. The department is seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent the sale to Tribune from proceeding.
According to the department’s complaint, filed in federal district court in Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Times and the Register together account for 98 percent of newspaper sales in Orange County and the Los Angeles Times and Freedom’s newspapers together account for 81 percent of English-language newspaper sales in Riverside County. Tribune’s acquisition of its most significant competitor would give it a monopoly over newspaper sales in each county and allow it to increase subscription prices, raise advertising rates and invest less to maintain the quality of its newspapers.
“If this acquisition is allowed to proceed, newspaper competition will be eliminated and readers and advertisers in Orange and Riverside Counties will suffer,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “Newspapers continue to play an important role in the dissemination of news and information to readers and remain an important vehicle for advertisers. The Antitrust Division is committed to ensuring that competition in this important industry is protected.”
Tribune Publishing Company is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Chicago. It publishes 11 major daily newspapers across California, Illinois, Florida, Maryland, Connecticut, Virginia and Pennsylvania.
If Not Blocked, Newspaper Competition Will Be Eliminated
The Justice Department did make one small error in that in Los Angeles and San Diego, newspaper competition is already defacto non-existent and has been for decades due to the Times either buying up their competition or secretly financing certain owners of “competing” papers that won’t really compete. If this bankruptcy sale goes through, the Tribune will “own” the Southland. It’s not just the advertising revenue that is at stake, it is the cultural control and even more important, the political control. Which candidates, for instance, will get “press coverage”, and which candidates will be endorsed by the Tribune political tribunal? We sincerely hope that the Justice Department is successful in their efforts to prevent this press monopoly from going any further.
As if we don’t already know enough about Rio Tinto and their proxy Resolution Copper in their role of manipulating Sen. John McCain’s “land swap” deal into last year’s National Defense Authorization Act, new information has surfaced about their horrible record of treatment of their own workers world wide in a study released by IndustriALL Global Union. Now that Resolution has its hands on the ancient Apache land of Oak Flat and the 160 billion dollars of copper underneath it, what can be expected from the company in dealing with its workers?
A recent report entitled “Rio Tinto: The Way It Really Works“, documents how the stated propaganda and public relations spin in the mainstream press ignores the facts on their dealings with indigenous peoples around the world. Rio Tinto was slammed in the report for their “systematic failures in environmental, social and governance factors.” Rio Tinto is charged with anti-union behavior, failures in worker health and safety, including their role in many deaths of workers around the world, irresponsible political activity, and failure to respect indigenous peoples’ rights, among many other charges. This report should give pause to the U.S. Senate, and hopefully help the Apache Native Americans reverse the unethical “land-swap” deal. Here is the entire report:
As Ron Johns, an editor on the graphic novel “Red Eden a Vision of Mars” has stated about the Rio Tinto copper scheme in Arizona: “Really, it’s like the last straw in a 200 year rampage against (Native Americans), broken treaties, banishment to desert so-called reservations, starvation, slaughter. And now this Oak Flat thing, where McCain gives away something that even President Eisenhower said should be left to the Apaches and the public forever, untouched. You can’t even make up this kind of stuff in fiction, nobody would believe it,” Johns said.
The clock has been ticking on the Pacifica Foundation legal front, but for them there are clocks ticking in every room of the building. First, there are matters under investigation by the State of California, Attorney General, including the fraud charges filed by Pacifica Board member and whistleblower Steve Brown. Then there is allegedly an investigation of Pacifica’s long-time attorney Dan Siegel that is at the California Bar Association, although a quick check on their website does not reveal any pending case. Thirdly is a lawsuit filed by Gary Null, charging fraud, and violations of the F.T.C. Mail Order Rule, Intellectual Property Theft, Trademark Infringement, Trademark Counterfeiting, Copyright Infringement, and False Advertising.
The serious charges do not end there. Pacifica in Exile reported recently that the new Chief Financial Officer had discovered the possibility of internal fraud. Here’s the text: Berkeley-While Pacifica waits and waits and waits for an audit of the 2014 fiscal year, which ended 17 months ago, new CFO Sam Agarwal informed the national finance committee that “fraud was a major concern of the auditor”, which is currently Armanino LLP. In fact, he said it twice in a minute and a half. Agarwal added that “we don’t know if all the donations have been accounted for” and that “it would be very easy for anyone to open up a bank account and deposit the donations and that would not be recorded in the Pacifica books”.
As whistleblower Steve Brown points out in his recent document sent to Pacifica Board members and the entire Pacifica community, Gary Null’s offer has been withheld from the greater board by the ruling clique, so it will be turned over to the FTC and possibly the FBI. The Pacifica Board has not even bothered to launch an internal investigation, or offer an apology to Null, or even to acknowledge the lawsuit. This could mean serious consequences for members of the Board.
Here’s the document sent by whistleblower Steve Brown:
Attached is a letter that was sent by Gary Null’s attorney to Dan Siegel (Pacifica’s attorney) on March 2. It concerns Gary Null’s lawsuit against Pacifica management (civil action no: 1:16-cv-241, united states district court, eastern district of new york).
The letter offered a settlement that might help Pacifica’s officers, station management, and national board members avoid facing federal prosecution, paying thousands of dollars in fines, and serving prison sentences of up to 5 years.
Because the letter affects not only the welfare of Pacifica (which could face multi-million-dollar fines), but also the welfare of at least 12 members of the Pacifica National Board (who could be fined personally for refusing to stop criminal activities of which it had been made aware), every board member has a legal right to read this letter – and, as Pacifica’s ultimate governing body, a legal duty to decide how to respond to it.
But you were not allowed to exercise that right. That is because Gary Null’s letter (along with other important information about the risk to Pacifica and its board members) was not shared with you as board members. Ooops, sorry. That is too mild a description. What I meant to say is that this information was deliberatelywithheld from you as board members. This means that decisions that only the board is legally empowered to make, in the open, are being made, in secret, by Dan Siegel, Lydia Brazon, and their tiny “inner circle,” who have been making fools out of you for the past three years. And may soon make you defendants in a federal prosecution as well.
In addition, Dan Siegel, the foundation’s attorney, has issued (either knowingly or stupidly) dangerously incorrect and misleading information about the federal statutes that Pacifica has violated. He says that those statutes do not apply to Pacifica. As an attorney, he ought to know better, and I suspect that he does. Nevertheless, he is telling Pacifica staff members to go right on committing more of the same illegal actions.
Because Gary Null has received no response to this or prior letters, let alone assurances that Pacifica management will agree to stop the commission of criminal acts and fire those responsible (regardless of whose friends they are or whose factions they belong to), this matter will be turned over to the federal government for prosecution.
When that happens, none of the members of this board will be shielded from personal liability, since you were all put on notice, multiple times, about the nature and scope of the criminal activities at Pacifica, and urged to stop them – which you would not do. Moreover, a majority of this board, whose names are on record, also deliberately voted to defeat a board motion that would have compelled an investigation into these criminal activities.
Why is Gary Null suing Pacifica and its management?
Although Gary Null has suffered financial and related damages as a result of the illegal activities that were condoned and apparently deliberately committed by members of management, he is not seeking monetary gain from this lawsuit (even though his statutory reimbursement for compensatory and punitive damages could be at least $600,000 and possibly as much as $3 million). Instead, as he has told me (and as his letter clearly states in Item 9), his only purpose is to bring about a cessation of illegal activities at Pacifica and the dismissal of those responsible — who have by their actions shamed and dishonored the foundation to which he has devoted more than 40 years of his life.
However, because the settlement offer in his letter has not been accepted (that is, because Pacifica management refused to stop the illegal activities or dismiss those responsible), this matter will be turned over to the federal authorities. At that point, Gary Null will no longer have control over the prosecution or the penalties, which will be in government hands. Federal statutes dictate fines of up to $16,000 per violation by the FTC, and since there are at least 5,000 violations already in evidence — and perhaps 25,000 more that could be added in discovery – well, do the math; your calculator probably can’t even count that high. There are also fines of up to $250,000 per violation for the criminal intellectual property thefts committed by management, which carry prison terms of 5 years (even for first offenders).
But I guess none of you board members give a damn. Or maybe you feel bullet proof. In any case, it looks like you will continue to twiddle your thumbs, evade your responsibility to guide the foundation, and let Siegel, Brazon, Wilkinson & Co. drag you and the Pacifica down with them.
That is why I am distributing this message along with Gary Null’s letter to the entire Pacifica community, so that they will know whom to blame for whatever fines are levied on Pacifica – and whom to sue, in a shareholder’s derivative suit, in order to recover those fines for Pacifica, out of your pockets and those of management. Which is likely, because a quick search on Google reveals that, in such lawsuits, the courts are being increasingly attentive to the claims of shareholders seeking reimbursement from negligent and/or lawbreaking management and boards of directors. Especially in non-profit corporations.
In fact, the wheels are already turning. For the past 11 months or more, Dan Siegel has been under investigation by the California Bar Association for professional misconduct in this and other matters (Case No. 15-0-15488); and Pacifica management is also under investigation, for this and other matters, by the Office of the Attorney General of California (Case Filename: Pacifica Foundation Radio CT011303). Soon, it appears, the federal government may join them.
So sleep soundly, Dan Siegel, Lydia Brazon, Margy Wilkinson, and the majority board members who voted down the motion to investigate the criminal behavior in Pacifica. You may soon be trying to cover your faces with a hat as you are “perp-walked” out of Pacifica headquarters in handcuffs by an FBI SWAT team.
Stephen M Brown
Director, Pacifica National Board
Dateline: Sacramento, California
On February 20, 2016, Steve Brown, a member of the Pacifica National Board, filed a very serious complaint with the State of California Registry of Charitable Trusts. In his complaint, Mr. Brown asserts that there has been ” a continuing pattern of serious criminal activities at Pacifica (still going on) that has been condoned, abetted, and/or committed by members of Pacifica management and its board of directors during (at least) the past three years.”
Mr. Brown, after much agonizing, has decided to become a whistleblower, and expose the mail – order practices of several of the Pacifica radio stations and its management, who have chosen to look the other way and ignore Mr. Brown’s frequent demands that the practices stop. He outlines a consistant pattern of fraud at Los Angeles station KPFK, station WPFW in Washington D.C., and at WBAI in New York City.
The charges put forth by Mr. Brown relate to the millions of dollars these stations took in while promising the donors they would receive “premiums” in the mail, often they would be DVDs, or CDs. These charges have been ongoing in the internet media for some time. Other websites, such as www.PacificaInExile.com have also reported the anger of donors who did not receive product that they had ordered. These violations have amounted to thousands of dollars over the years, leaving angry donors.
Here is the complete text of the charges filed with the California Attorney General’s Office.
Deputy Attorney General
State of California
Department of Justice
Registry of Charitable Trusts
P.O. Box 903447
Sacramento CA 94203-4470
February 20, 2016
Re: Pacifica Foundation Radio Complaint # CT011303
Dear Ms. Mossler:
I write to inform you of new and even more serious violations of civil and criminal statutes by the persons originally named in Complaint # CT011303. They make intervention by your office more critical than ever. It may be the last chance to save the Pacifica Foundation.
Complaint # CT011303 was filed by 8 former Pacifica board directors (with my approval and support as a current director) because the foundation’s executive director, Margy Wilkinson (and her successors) – together with the foundation’s corporate counsel, Dan Siegel, and the board majority faction they control – had been colluding in a pattern of illegal activities that could not be blocked by normal internal controls.
However, now the situation has worsened. Because your office has not yet taken action (perhaps because our foundation is too small?), those persons have been emboldened to behave even more recklessly – and illegally – thereby placing the assets and safety of the Pacifica Foundation at even greater risk.
For example, a lawsuit (civil action no: 1:16-cv-241, united states district court, eastern district of new york) has just been filed by Gary Null against the foundation and three of its executive directors for violations of the FTC Mail Order Rule (16 CFR Part 435) and violations of federal criminal statutes dealing with intellectual property theft.
Although the current and former executive director, and the majority board members of their faction, had been put on notice, numerous times, by myself and other minority directors, that illegal violations were occurring (and had been occurring for at least 2 years), they refused to stop these activities or fire those responsible, apparently because the violations increased foundation revenue. If the above-referenced lawsuit against the foundation and its officers and directors prevails (as I believe it will, because its causes of action are valid), the statutory fines and penalties that can be imposed on the foundation – especially by the FTC, Justice Department, and US Postal Service – could amount to tens of millions of dollars. This would absolutely destroy the foundation. That it is why it is so important that your office intervene.
Here are only a few recent violations of law that have been abetted and/or committed by Pacifica’s management and controlling board faction, which neither I nor the foundation’s minority directors have been able to block or roll back.
1. Violations of the FTC Mail Order Rule (16 CFR Part 435)
by Pacifica Radio Station KPFK
In a recent fund drive, Pacifica Radio Station KPFK solicited on-air donations of approximately $800,000 from about 7,500 California residents by promising to send them a variety of merchandise (value: $50 to $300) in return for their donations. The FTC Mail Order Rule https://www.ftc.gov/enforcement/rules/rulemaking-regulatory-reform-proceedings/mail-internet-or-telephone-order requires that such merchandise be delivered within 30 days of receiving payment, unless otherwise stated in the solicitation; or, if it is known that delivery will take longer (but not more than 60 days), a specifically worded notice specifying when delivery will take place, or offering a refund, must be sent to each recipient.
However, the station did not deliver any of the merchandise within 30 or 60 days, nor did it send the required delay notices. Instead, the station manager privately informed her staff – and also let it be known to the foundation’s executive director and board – that she had already spent the money intended for acquisition of the promised (and paid-for) merchandise, and therefore would not deliver that merchandise until a year(!) past the order date (with a good chance that it would not be delivered at all). This violates 16 CFR Part 435 in numerous ways, for which the station can be fined as much as $16,000 per violation. These statutory fines apply even if the merchandise is eventually delivered. And each late and/or undelivered item of merchandise counts as a single violation, making Pacifica’s possible exposure $16,000 x 7,500 = $120,000,000.)
2. Violation of the FTC Mail Order Rule (16 CFR Part 435)
by Pacifica Radio Station WPFW
In a recent fund drive, Pacifica Radio Station WPFW solicited on-air donations of between $300-$400,000 from approximately 4,000 Washington, DC, resident by promising to deliver a variety of merchandise (value $50-$300) in return for their donations. In this case, it is my understanding that — not only was no merchandise delivered and no notices sent — but station management knew, in advance of solicitation, that it did not have the money to acquire that merchandise, and would probably never deliver it to any of those who had paid for it. Because this is a “knowing violation,” in addition to the statutory fines (of up to $64,000,000), the matter could be referred to the Justice Department for further prosecution and penalties.
3. Violation of the FTC Mail Order Rule (16 CFR Part 435)
by Pacifica Radio Station WBAI
In a recent fund drive, Pacifica Radio Station WBAI solicited approximately $500,000 in donations by promising to deliver a variety of merchandise (value $50-$300) to approximately 5,000 New York City Metro Area residents in return for their donations. However, only a fraction this merchandise was delivered, and that was long after the 30- or 60-day limit allowed by the FTC. Moreover, no FTC-mandated delay notices were sent, and the balance of the merchandise has not, to my knowledge, been delivered, and may not ever be.
Hundreds of complaints about non-delivery of merchandise by this station have been received personally by me and others, after the donors were unable to elicit a response from the station. To verify for myself the station’s illegal delivery practices, I sent $200 to WBAI on February 2, 2015, in response to one of its numerous on-air fundraising solicitations; in return for my donation it was promised that I would receive a book and a DVD by Webster Tarpley (approximate value $50). It is now one year later, but I have not received this merchandise, nor do I expect that I ever will.
I estimate that, in the last 12 months, at least 5,000 orders have been unfulfilled by this station, and many more fulfilled late, in violation of FTC regulations. Those 5,000 orders alone risk statutory fines of up to $16,000 x 5,000 = $80,000,000. If solicitations from the past 36 months are included, the number of unfilled orders – merely at WBAI alone — could rise to 15,000 or more, risking statutory fines of up to $240,000,000.
The only way to determine the exact number of delinquent orders is to examine the records at all 5 Pacifica stations. However, when I requested these records at WBAI – and by law, as a director, I am entitled to examine all foundation records without exception – my requests were ignored and the records withheld. Absent action by your office, these records will remain hidden, and the defrauding of tens of thousands of residents in the foundation’s five broadcasting areas – Los Angeles, San Francisco, Houston, Washington DC, and New York – will continue.
4. Violation of federal criminal statutes against intellectual
property theft by Pacifica Radio Station WBAI
Much of the merchandise used by Pacifica radio stations to solicit donations consists of commercially produced CDs and DVDs, mostly feature-length films, documentaries, and self-help videos. Normally, the stations would purchase these items from reputable vendors at wholesale prices ranging from about $10-$20 each, and then deliver them to donors. But at Radio Station WBAI, in some cases (I do not know how many, because records have been withheld) the station manager would purchase only a few copies from vendors, then illegally duplicate tens or hundreds or thousands more to fulfill the balance of orders. This has been going on at WBAI and other Pacifica stations for many years. Because the practice can save the foundation up to $100,000 or more a year, it is not stopped by the foundation’s officers or the board faction in control, no matter how often the practice is brought to their notice and protested. Not only does this break the law; it also cheats the donors by sending them fraudulent substandard copies instead of the genuine merchandise they were promised in return for their money.
I and two other minority directors have first-hand personal knowledge of illegal CD and DVD duplication at WBAI. I collected some of these fraudulent copies myself, and know of two specific vendors whose copyrighted products have been illegally duplicated in this way. One of them, Gary Null (whose lawsuit I referenced at the beginning of this letter), has acquired some of these illegal copies on his own and identified them as fakes. Intellectual property theft is one of the causes of action in his lawsuit. I understand that statutory fines for theft of intellectual property are $250,000 per violation, and include prison terms of 5 years for first offenders.
I do not know how many vendors have been defrauded, or how many illegal copies have been made. The documents and records that would reveal these numbers have, as I noted, been withheld from me — either with the acquiescence of foundation officers and board members, or their active cooperation.
5. Pacifica’s attorney provides deceptive and destructive
advice to management and staff members
In response to one of my frequent protests against Pacifica’s ongoing FTC violations and illegal duplication of copyrighted material, a staff member at KPFK said she would cease to solicit donations for the station because of the risk of civil or criminal penalties against her and/or the foundation. In response, the foundation’s attorney, Dan Siegel, issued an email announcement saying that she should continue her solicitations, because Pacifica was exempt from punishment under the FTC Mail Order Rule. This was false and misleading advice, which Siegel had reason to know – as an attorney – since the statute explicitly states that non-profits and charities such as Pacifica are not exempt.
Siegel is not an FTC lawyer; he is an employment lawyer. Had he exercised reasonable fiduciary diligence and called the FTC for a Staff Opinion, he would have quickly been told that Pacifica is not exempt, and that its practices are indeed actionable violations of FTC law. Nor is there any exemption for Pacifica from federal criminal statutes that prohibit the theft of copyrighted material.
Sadly, Dan Siegel’s deceptive and (what I must regard as) self-serving advice to foundation staff members carried great weight, because Siegel, in addition to being the foundation’s attorney, has also served as its executive director. This willingness to wink at or deliberately violate state and federal law seems to be just one example of the recklessness with which Siegel and his faction have been running (and running down) the foundation.
In the earlier filing of this complaint, it was noted that the goal of Dan Siegel and his faction was apparently to bankrupt the foundation, so that its licenses and assets (estimated to be worth $100 million or more) could be acquired by a shadow corporation named “KPFA Foundation,” which Siegel and another board member had created for this purpose 27 months ago. This shadow corporation, I might add, was created in secret, its existence deliberately withheld from the foundation’s executive director and board of directors. However, as our corporate attorney, was not Siegel legally obligated to disclose to the board (1) the existence of that corporation, (2) its purpose, which was inherently antithetical to the welfare of Pacifica, and (3) his controlling interest in that corporation? But he never did so, until its existence was uncovered, accidentally, 4 months ago, by the secretary of the Pacifica board, to her great astonishment.
After its discovery, Siegel then admitted that the purpose of his shadow corporation, whose legal address is that of the law firm he owns, was indeed to acquire the licenses and assets of the Pacifica Foundation, in the event that it went bankrupt (an event that he and his faction were uniquely placed to engineer, and towards which they have apparently been working). Therefore, the only way Siegel’s secret corporation could succeed, is if Pacifica were to fail. Is this not an unacceptable conflict of interest for Pacifica’s attorney, and a reason for him to be severed from the foundation? Yet because his faction controls the board, he is impossible to remove, and therefore continues to exert what seems to be a deliberately destabilizing influence on the health of the foundation.
Although I am not an attorney, I would think that if a corporation’s officers and board of directors are made aware of illegal activities under their control, but refuse to use their authority to stop those activities, they are in effect abetting those activities – and are therefore accessories after the fact. As such, do you think they are appropriate custodians in whom to entrust the care of such a valued public asset as Pacifica?
The fines and penalties that Pacifica might suffer due to the reckless and illegal behavior of its management would be a number with so many zeroes that it could not fit on the output screen of my calculator. It would mean the death of Pacifica. I hope your office will not stand by and allow the current management faction to wreck our foundation. I hope, as well, that if you decide to act, it will not be too late.
Stephen M Brown
Director, Pacifica National Board
When contacted about this story Rachele Huennekens, Press Secretary of the Office of Attorney General Kamala D. Harris stated “We don’t comment on any potential or ongoing investigation, as a matter of law and policy.”
Dateline: Los Angeles
Media Mogul Rupert Murdoch says the Los Angeles Times may be sold soon to some local wealthy investors. The Tribune Company denied it, but Mr. Murdoch may be right, he knows a lot of important people, and he hears things: the whispers of the high and mighty, the beeping digital sounds of huge amounts of cash flowing into investment accounts, the rustling of papers as they are being readied by high powered lawyers. Mere mortals can’t hear things like that. Only a demi-god, only The Murdoch can detect these things.
Since achieving near monopoly status in the City of Los Angeles in the 1950’s, the Los Angeles Times has used its influence to push the agendas of the City’s wealthiest players, and also to push around poor people, Hispanics, and anyone else who got in their way. The tale of social destruction spans through the last six decades, and it is now an opportune time to explore a little of the sordid history of this once-powerful media giant, now that rumors are floating around that the paper might once again be sold to some interested wealthy elites and brought back under control of the downtown Moguls of Business and Real Estate.
Bunker Hill, just west of City Hall, used to be a stronghold of working class people in the 1940’s. The City bigwigs hated the area, they saw it as having a blockade effect, preventing them from expanding westward. They thought that Bunker Hill was, well, too damned big and way too tall. So Mayor Fletcher Bowron and the Los Angeles Times started a campaign to “clear the slums” from Bunker Hill. Having poor and working class people living up there on the Hill was just not right. Why, all those poor folks were literally looking down on the rich Moguls and Real Estate Kings who headquarted out of the L.A. City Hall. What would be next, having some of them run for City Council?
The plan that was eventually put out was to launch the largest “redevelopment” project in the nation. Everything up on that damned hill was to go: The people, the buildings, even the Hill itself was to be cut way down. Millions upon millions were to be spent. It was a tough fight. There were around 10,000 people living up on the Hill, and they did not want to move. Many worked in the downtown area, and were quite happy up there. Things really heated up in the 1952 City elections. Norris Poulson ran for Mayor against incumbent Fletcher Bowren. Looking back on it, both men wanted to say “bye bye” to Bunker Hill, so one wonders what all the fuss was about. Probably over spoils, but who keeps track of that in this City? Not the L.A. Times. In fact, incumbent Fletcher Bowren claimed that the Times wanted to control City government and have their own puppet in the Mayor’s office by supporting rival Norris Poulson. It turns out Bowren was a psychic, as well as a politician.
The owner of the Los Angeles Times in those days was Norman Chandler. He championed the Bunker Hill “slum clearance”, and also pushed for folks to vote for proposition bonds to get the money to do it. The downtown bankers liked that a lot, Bonds are a good business. In 1959 the Bunker Hill Project was approved. The only long-faces were the thousands of ordinary working-class people who were pushed out of their homes and apartments, not to speak of the many businesses, shops, hotels and other commercial entities.
With the coming of the 1960’s the destruction began. It also marked a change in leadership at the Times – Otis Chandler took over. To get the feel of what Bunker Hill was like, here’s a great video of author Jim Dawson, with an illustrated lecture on the Lost Realm of Bunker Hill, which was at Book Soup in 2012. It’s a wonderful history lesson.
And just in case you are wondering, yes, the “redevelopment” project was still chugging along last year, 2015. The Hill is now dotted with massive condo projects, office buildings and other monuments, including the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion (yep, Norman Chandler’s wife), the Disney Music Center, art museums and churches, and super rich guy Eli Broad’s Museum, one of the men whispered about as a possible buyer of the Times. In addition, we have the huge occult Aztec type layout of Grand Park which runs westward from City Hall, and is lined with City and County Offices and Courts. It has more than a symbolic reference to the Aztec pyramid and sacrificial grounds. It’s where the working and poor people sacrifice their hard earned wages to pay the fines and tributaries to the various courts and government buildings. The centerpiece, the Los Angeles City Hall, with its Egyptian style pyramid atop it, was designed by John Austin, a 33rd Degree Mason.
Another pet project of the Times and Norman Chandler was Chavez Ravine. In the 1940s and 1950s it was home to several thousand working class hispanics and whites. The “slum clearance” slogan was pushed here also during the Bowren regime. Some progressive folks in the Los Angeles Department of Housing had a plan to spend over 100 million dollars to build a series of public housing structures in Chavez Ravine. This was the excuse to move in and buy up the housing from the working class who lived there. The City acquired most of the property on the cheap, promising the folks the grand new public housing they were going to get.
After Poulson took over as Mayor in 1953, the Times and the Elites decided to put an end to the socialist virus called public housing. They accused a few housing department employees of being “reds”, and having communist affiliations. These accusations caused a big uproar and a surge of anti-communist feeling. So in 1957 the City gave a shout out to Walter O’Malley, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, inviting him to come to Los Angeles, where the City would build him a swell ball park. This was a much better solution – who would want some public housing full of Mexicans and communists? A major league baseball team would be so much better, and bring more cash into the pockets of the wealthy moguls, so the bait and switch worked, and on May 8, 1959 an army of County Sheriffs forcefully removed the remaining Hispanic hold-outs and a convoy of bulldozers flattened the houses and quaint farms that had dotted the hillsides in Chavez Ravine. A big win for the Times. A big loss for the 3,800 folks who were pushed out of their homes with nowhere to go.
Here’s a video that tells the truth of this ugly incident. One wag said that maybe the Chavez Ravine operation is what Donald Trump is referring to when he wants to “make America great AGAIN”.
Although the Times did not become the “official” monopoly newspaper in Los Angeles until the Herald-Examiner went out of business in 1989, it was basically the defacto monopoly by the mid 1970s. What happened was a devastating strike hit the Herald in the late 1960s and lasted until 1977, but by this time the Hearst owned paper was in dire straits, with circulation plunging to around 350,000 daily. The Times took full advantage of the Hearld’s woes, and boosted its ad revenue and circulation. With power and money, the paper went on a binge, buying up competition papers in small towns in the early 1990s.
The Times bought the Glendale News-Press and the Burbank Leader, both local Southland papers, and merged them into a once a week couple pages of the Times local editions. They purchased other Southern California papers as well. The effect of this was not only to increase their monopoly on news, but the merged papers carried little more than local puff and news-release type stories. Gone were the good old days free-swinging local papers investigating scandals and keeping their eyes on City Halls and corrupt influences. When the Tribune Company bought both the Times and later the San Diego Union it just made the situation worse. Not only were the reporting staffs cut back for economic reasons, but only the biggest national scandals can barely be covered, the local wrong-doing in City Halls and Redevelopment Agencies across the Southland are hardly ever mentioned.
About the time of the Herald strike in the late 1960s a counter-culture revolution developed in the big cities across America. Fueled by the peace movement against the war in Indochina, and a general rejection of the status quo values, the youth and a big chunk of the working class wanted something different, the truth in news reporting for a start. Pot smoking and mind-altering drugs came into general use. This cultural revolution also give birth to an array of alternative newspapers and comix. Most big cities eventually had so-called “underground” newspapers, publishing stories that the young generation really wanted to read, not only in politics, but also music, art, poetry and human psychological exploration. An arts and crafts movement began, packaged food was rejected for fresh, healthy vegetarian fare, and suddenly folks wanted to grow their own food and their own dope.
Los Angeles became a cultural battleground, and a small fledgling underground called The Los Angeles Free Press, exploded on the streets. The stories were all the things that the Los Angeles Times refused to print or just ignored. In the alternative world view the cops weren’t always so good, the Black Panthers were heroes, pot was almost necessary to deal with the lies of the establishment, and rock n’roll electrified the soul. The Freep, as it was usually referred to, fielded armies of hippies to sell the weekly paper on major corners, supplying the long-haired vendors with some extra money to live on, and greatly increasing the status of the Freep and other undergrounds, like Open City, The Staff, and the Los Angeles Star.
Did all this bother the Times? Sure it did. They had lost a big portion of the young generation as readers. This is the generation that later piled into the internet. The hippies hated the Times, and carried those feelings forward as they aged. The working class never trusted the Times, and the Herald was in a decades long strike on its own road to oblivion, so no support from labor on that front. The effects on the Times was really felt 15 -20 years later as their once loyal readership finally started to age and wane. No fresh blood to replace them, partly because of the memories of the youth of the 1970s. The Times also got caught in a moral vice of its own making. Because it was so opposed to the counter-culture revolution, it missed out on millions of dollars of advertising revenue. A big part of that revolution was the sexual awakening, when “free love” ruled the day. Massage Parlors opened everywhere, many actually nothing more than low level cat houses, but their ads were refused by the Times. The Freep, on the other hand, had a different policy, called the “show me the money” policy, and soon the massage parlor and personal sex ads were fueling the growth of not only the Freep, but many of the undergrounds. The money was enough to sustain the entire movement for years. And the Times never got a dime of it.
Freedom of the Press had exploded onto the streets of Los Angeles by the early 1970s. Scores of new alternative papers were published and distributed in metal newsracks that were placed on busy corners. Some of the hippy Freep distributors got into newsrack distribution, flogging sexual freedom newspapers like Swing, Saturday Night Swinger, Impulse, His and Hers, and many others. Hemp related and a stunning array of other odd political and religious newspapers appeared out of nowhere. Rolling Stone started its life as a newsrack paper selling for 25 cents. In front of the old Ships Restaurant in Westwood, for instance, there were somewhere around 50 newsracks at one time, making it difficult to even get on the bus at the corner. This was a huge burst of actual freedom of the press, but neither the Herald or the Times liked it one bit. The phalanx of alternative papers were cutting into the big boys, and that had to end.
Cities across the Southland started to pass ordinances, coincidentally all alike, limiting newsracks to only 2 per corner. Many cities demanded that the owner register the newsrack and pay a yearly fee. Since the Herald and the Times held most of the good spots and were thus protected they had no interest in joining any lawsuits to defend freedom of the press and fight these laws. Many of the newsrack dealers in fact suspected that the Times was somehow pushing these laws, using its power and influence behind the scenes with various city officials, something never proven. Times and Herald newsrack dealers put many of their racks on private property locations, where the sometimes controversial, and often randy alternatives could not go. Denny’s and Bob’s Big Boy coming to mind. These ordinances killed freedom of the press as far as newspapers go. Yes, you can PRINT a newspaper, but you can’t realistically DISTRIBUTE it, thus nullifying true freedom of the press as far as distributed newspapers go. The Times failed to protect and fight for that freedom, a shameful stance that may someday come back to bite them.
A little known episode in 1998 sheds light on how the Times has striven to keep control of the Los Angeles newspaper market. When the Daily News came up for sale, the Times was afraid that the Orange Counter Register would buy it and give the Times some tough competition that it didn’t want. Really, just how much “conservative” news can there be? It would have been like Cheech and Chong fighting over a doobie, whoever wins, the doobie goes up in smoke.
So the Times did the only thing that true gentlemen of the wealthy elite always do, they financed another media group to buy the Daily News on the condition that they wouldn’t give the Times a lot of grief. A secret $50 million dollar loan helped the other group buy the paper, and to make sure the new owners didn’t get too full of themselves and think they could move in on the Times main territory, the Times got an option to buy the Daily News, as reported by Editor and Publisher and by the Times itself in a special edition published years later when snoopy accountants found out about it.
Things have since become even stranger, when the Orange County Register filed for bankruptcy late last year. The same company also owns the Riverside Press Telegram. So here comes the Tribune, now owner of the Times and San Diego Union, offering a 3 million dollar loan at zero interest rate to the company that owns the Register and Press-Telegram. This would give them a crack at buying the two papers out of bankruptcy, and thus increase their monopoly over all of Southern California. If that works out, the Tribune will own the Times, the San Diego Union, The Riverside Press-Telegram and the Orange County Register. Any beginning psychic can see more layoffs, consolidated printing, consolidated news, and immense power over the entire Southland. Oh, and the big hurt on real freedom of the press.
If this big business deal plays out in favor of the Tribune Co., then they could really ask a high price for the group if they indeed want to sell. On the other hand, maybe the money losing papers will drag the whole mass of their Empire down the drain, including all the local newspapers they also own. The Dawn of a New Monopoly or the Black Hole of all Southland Newspapers? Only the Times will tell.
Dateline: Washington, D.C.
by Uncle Paulie
Dateline: Washington, D.C.
U.S. Senate Leaders are rushing to aid Flint, Michigan by providing matching funds to the State of Michigan to replace contaminated lead pipes and repair the drinking water system. Sen. Debbie Stabenow called the area “beyond a Superfund Site”, referring to Environmental Clean-up sites that are considered the most dangerous. She further said that over 9,000 children under the age of 6 were exposed to lead poisoning. This is probably the worst case of mass poisoning of children in the history of America.
The problem arose after the Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, took over the City of Flint and appointed a “regulator”, an un-elected “dictator” to run the City, called an “emergency manager”. This man, Darnell Earley, switched the water supply from safe Detroit water to the polluted Flint River. This caused corrosion in the old pipes and lead then leached out into the water, causing mass poisoning. (Anyone around here old enough to remember what happened in Ancient Rome? We guess nobody in charge in Flint, MI remembers, or has ever read a book about it. History repeats when education fails.)
Political activist and filmmaker Michael Moore has called for the immediate arrest of Governor Rick Snyder for this crime. You can read his paper on his web site, Click Here.
This is one of the greatest tragedies of the decade, and it will have on-going effects for years to come.
By Ed Murray
The Cold War, 1972. The Americans and the Soviets were pretty much at a standstill. Neither side could risk a major military adventure that could escalate into mutual atomic destruction. Vietnam was winding down, ending in a loss for the Americans. Things were looking bleak, with a cultural revolution in the United States. In fact, cultural warfare was the only battleground left to fight in. Capitalism vs Socialism was a deadlock. The Soviets had launched an athletic offensive. They also ruled the cultural intellect with their mighty chess empire. Then along came a lone American, a young man who grew up in poverty, was socially inept for the most part, and had no real support from the institutions in his own country. He, alone, clawed his way to the top and challenged the Soviets in mid 1972 for the title of World Chess Champion in Reykjavik, Iceland. The lone kid from Brooklyn beat the Russian Boris Spassky and the entire Soviet apparatus. He cracked their psyche, and basically humiliated them, accomplishing something that no one had thought possible. The Soviet cultural colossus was shown to be vulnerable, and to be defeated after the decades of effort that they had put into it meant a staggering psychological loss. Bobby Fischer had become America’s hero, and the Cold War took a turn against the Soviets.
To get some idea of the tremendous task that faced Fischer, here’s a few quotes from the time of his victory:
Burt Hochberg, writing in one of the leading chess magazines put it this way: ” By fulfilling his lifelong ambition, Bobby Fischer has made History. His struggle to reach his goal was strewn with obstacles. He had to overcome the apathy of his countrymen while talented Soviet players have been conscientiously trained, financially aided, and hero -worshipped by the citizenry. The political power wielded by the Soviets in various chess bodies seemed aimed to frustrate Bobby at every turn. In the match itself, Bobby’s solitary preparation was pitted against a massive, concerted effort by the high-powered Soviet chess hierarchy.
Yet he won. And this is only the beginning!”
Chess master Kasparov remarked, “Fischer fits ideologically into the context of the Cold War era: a lone American genius challenges the Soviet chess machine and defeats it”.
Dutch grandmaster Jan Timmen calls Fischer’s victory “the story of a lonely hero who overcomes an entire empire”.
Fischer’s sister observed, “Bobby did all this in a country almost totally without a chess culture. It was as if an Eskimo had cleared a tennis court in the snow and gone on to win the world championship”.
David Friedman, in Best Ever Sports Talk: “The top Soviet players were provided with
state stipends and worked together in an organized fashion in order to maximize the chance that one of their number would always retain the world title; the Soviet Union could not compete with the West
economically, scientifically or in many other ways but chess and Olympic sports were two areas that the Soviets sought to dominate in order to “prove” the superiority of communism over capitalism. It is
no exaggeration to say that one lone American genius, by virtue of his talent, willpower and tenacity, overcame the collective efforts of the Soviets and wrested the World Championship from them after they controlled it for a quarter century.”
His win had also led to a chess boom in the United States. The U.S. Chess Federation had about 5,000 members. At the end of 1972, after Fischer beat Soviet Boris Spassky, membership had swelled to over 70,000. Suddenly, intellectual pursuits were back in style. America’s normal promotion of militarism and athletics took a back-seat when it’s youth took up chess.
About the time of his ascendancy to the top of the chess world, Fischer was noted to having joined a Pasadena religious group called the Worldwide Church of God. Their somewhat controversial leader was Herbert W. Armstrong, who generally preached a version of British Israelism,, that the British people and some other Europeans were the true Israelites, not the Jews, and therefore they were the ones chosen and blessed by God. Among other things, Armstrong started Ambassador College and built the Ambassador Auditorium in Pasadena, both great achievements.
Bobby Fischer was a high-profile member of the Church. He also was a big donor, giving over $100,000 to the Church at that time (1970s) according to an interview with Church leader Stanley Rader published in the Wordwide News in 1979. Because of his celebrity, Fischer was given an apartment on Church property and was often cared for by Church officials. He didn’t drive, so the Church often provided him with a car and a driver. The “chauffeur” told me that he was designated to take Bobby around, mainly on shopping trips. “Bobby was pretty eccentric, and because he grew up alone without much supervision from his mother, and with no father around, he was short on social mores and interactions with others. He didn’t mean anything about it, that’s just the way he was.”
Taking Bobby on a shopping trip for some new threads in Beverly Hills, the chauffeur shook his head, “He kind of rampaged in and out of these exclusive men’s shops, trying on things, making a big mess, and then on to the next store. He kept me busy, as I had to follow after him and apologize to the annoyed shopkeepers.”
“One time I was driving Bobby back to Pasadena from some event. It was night-time and I was going up the 110 freeway. Bobby was asleep in the back seat. Suddenly, I looked down at the gas gauge and saw that it was on empty, so I pulled off at the next off ramp, and as I sailed down the ramp I ran out of gas. I could see a gas station at the bottom and was able to make the light and barely pull in. Bobby woke up just at that moment and wanted to know what was wrong. ‘Just stopping for gas’ I said. I was really sweating, if I had run out of gas on the freeway with Bobby in the back seat I would have been fired as well as humiliated by everyone.”
Contrary to rumors, Bobby was fond of his mother, Regina. She didn’t drive either, so when Bobby was in Pasadena, he would send for her and being somewhat thrifty buy her a ticket on a Greyhound Bus. A long trip for mom, coming from the East Coast. The chauffeur would pick her up at the bus depot..
The late 1970s and early 1980s were not kind to the Wordwide Church of God or to Bobby Fischer. On January 3, 1979 the California Attorney General sent armed deputies to seize the Pasadena H.Q. of the Church. This came about from a split in the Church, between Herbert W. Armstrong and his son Garner Ted Armstrong, and others, who reported financial mis-deeds to the Attorney General. At the time, the Church had assets of 100 million dollars. Stanley Rader, a Church leader and close to Herbert, led the fight against the Attorney General, and eventually beat him back in Court, but a lot of PR damage had been done, and the Church never fully recovered. Herbert Armstrong died in 1986 at the ripe old age of 93. Stanley Radar retired in 1981.
Meanwhile, in May of 1981 Bobby Fischer was arrested walking down the street in broad daylight in Pasadena. The charge was bank robbery, an absurd charge as Fischer was very wealthy at the time. It was and still is common for cops to stop people who didn’t “look right” to them, using any phony excuse they could think up. Were the cops in Pasadena just stupid or were orders sent from the top to hassle the Worldwide Church of God’s number one celebrity? Bobby published a pamphlet about this event in 1982, called “I Was Tortured in The Pasadena Jailhouse!” This is now a somewhat rare booklet, selling on the internet at times for over $300. The good news is that has been posted on a web site for all to read. It is a horrifying story, but not an unusual event, even after nearly 30 years of so-called advancement of our civilization, we see nation-wide on-going crimes and murders of civilians by cops. It seems that every day there is some new video footage of a citizen being unlawfully killed. So going back to 1981, before video cameras and cell phones, a lot of police misconduct was unreported. The fact that Fischer had the money to print a booklet on the event and distribute it, is something that most citizens would not be able to do.
Fischer charges in his booklet, that he was abused, choked, thrown into a cell naked, denied food and water, denied a phone call, and more. You can read if for yourself, click here. It is a very sad commentary on the Pasadena Police Department. Fischer’s story is totally believable. Pasadena is a very wealthy community, sometimes called Beverly Hills North. The main job of the Police is to protect the elites and wealthy people and businesses. Homeless people are not treated well. There is no parking anywhere on any street in Pasadena after 10pm at night. So was Fischer just mistaken for a homeless guy? It seems unlikely, and the attitude and statements of the cops would make one think that orders came down from someone high up in the City Government.
But what a thing to do! This was America’s hero, the World Chess Champion. The guy who single-handedly turned the Cold War in our favor. Unfortunately, this was not all that Fischer was to suffer from an ungrateful and at times criminal government.
In 1992 Fischer went to Yugoslavia to play in the World Chess Champion Tournament, billed as the Revenge Match of the Century where he again beat Soviet champion Boris Spassky. Bobby won this, despite a long time away from the tournament circuit, once again an unbelievable feat. Unfortunately, this was a time that the United States and its neo-con government, along with NATO was starting to break up the country of Yugoslavia, using a process of “regime change” that continues to this day, especially in the middle east. U.S. President George H.W. Bush retaliated against Fischer by putting out an “Executive Order” No. 12810 on June 5, 1992, prohibiting transactions with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. This led to a Grand Jury Indictment against Bobby, and for over the next decade he was a man without a country. He was threatened with imprisonment if he returned to America, and U.S. authorities attempted to seize his passport and confiscate his money. This was his “thank you” for his part in winning the Cold War against the Soviets, beating them not once, but twice.
Robbed of His Lifetime Collection of Memorabilia
On January 14, 1999 Bobby Fisher called a radio station in the Philippine Islands where he vented his anger on a number of things, primarily that he had lost all of his memorabilia that was stored in a Bekins Storage Company facility in Pasadena, California. He claimed he had paid thousands of dollars to keep his personal items safe, but his agent, Bob Ellsworth, who he called a “secret Jew” had failed to pay the storage rent and his stuff was auctioned off. His collection comprised of rare books, magazines, and even records of his winning chess games, as well as personal books signed to Fischer by former President Richard Nixon.
Fischer, angry that all his personal effects had been sold off by Bekins Storage in Pasadena, because of an oversight in payment by Fischer’s agent Bob Ellsworth, to whom he had been giving $5,000 per year to take of those matters, blamed Jews, not only for the loss of his stuff, but for various business deals that he felt ended up swindling him. Unable to come to the U.S. to get his belongings, or confront the alleged theft of monies owed to him, his only outlet was a radio program on a station in the Philippines, which no one in the West listened to or even knew existed. Years later, tapes of these broadcasts surfaced on the Internet. Meanwhile, about all Bobby could do was to stew about it, occasionally calling this radio program to vent his anger. You can read the transcript of the radio show Click Here, but be aware that Fischer uses explicit language and his rant contains wild charges against “the Jews”. You can google search more of his rants, in one call right after the attacks on the World Trade Center, he made some heavy anti-American statements that were in extremely bad taste, considering how many innocent folks died as a result. To many who have heard these rants, Fischer comes across at this time as completely unhinged.
His agent, Bob Ellsworth claimed that he went to the auction and used his own money to personally buy back 80 percent of the material, all of the best stuff, to pay for his mistake in not making Bobby’s payment to Bekins. He further claimed he later delivered the material back to Fischer in Hungary, yet Fischer seemed to have a disconnect, and still continued to talk about the loss of his memorabilia.
But why all the anger at “the Jews”? Bobby’s mother Regina was said to be Jewish. It is now almost a certainty that his real father was Paul Nemenyi, a brilliant physicist, who was also Jewish, and fled Europe and the Nazis to the U.S. Many of his friends throughout his life were Jewish. By this time, had he been pushed over the edge mentally? All his accomplishments ignored, all his memorabilia stolen, his indictment and persecution by Bush and the U.S. government, now a man without a country, all this must have affected him. And what was the source of his rage against Jews? Was it subconscious anger at his father, who was rarely around? When he was growing up, did his mother tell him who his real father was? Or was that only a part of it? And how could such a brilliant man blame everything bad that happened to him on “Jews”, when a majority of his real trouble was caused by George H.W. Bush, certainly not a Jew, but a self-proclaimed Christian?
A glimpse of it could be from his years spent in Pasadena, California, and the Los Angeles area. This is all speculative, of course, but may lead to some understanding. Start with Bobby’s immense ego. His brilliant accomplishments in the world of chess, and the feedback given to him served to balloon his ego. Statements that he made, and statements from his friends lean to this. Every once in a while, we hear of some famous person who secretly worships Hitler because of the power he held. This fascination in complete power is represented by Hitler, although the facts of the German Third Reich show that Hitler was not nearly as powerful as outsiders thought. But image is everything.
In Pasadena, Bobby supposedly had a picture of Adolf Hitler over his bed. He attended the Worldwide Church of God, whose British-Israelite message excluded some Jews as the “chosen” people, and said that white Britons and other European folks were the true descendants of the ten Lost Tribes of Israel, and hence God’s special, chosen ones. He was reading anti-Jewish pamphlets like “The Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion“. How strongly did these things affect him, along with his own self-imposed isolated living habits that started when he was a child in Brooklyn? Did he turn even more inward, carrying this angst that slowly built up whenever someone who was Jewish did him wrong, and ignoring the outside world and the good things his many Jewish friends did to help him along the way? His few really close friends describe him as being a simple man, and a very kind person. But his high I.Q. would point to a much more complicated person. What was going on inside the Fischer skull? Even the mighty Soviets were baffled. Unless Bobby left a manuscript somewhere that explains his behavior, we will probably never know the root cause of this and the hurtful things he said about Jews, including many of his former friends who did a lot to help him during his rough times.
For a time his final years were spent in exile in Japan. He married a Japanese woman who was a chess champion of Japan. However, his U.S. passport was revoked and he was imprisoned in Japan, and threatened with deportation back to the United States. His chess friends intervened, and in March, 2005 he was granted full citizenship in Iceland. He moved to Reykjavik, the scene of his victory over Spassky, and moved into the same building as his friend Gardar Sverrisson. Iceland was loyal to Fischer – he had put the country on the map during the chess match, and they were happy to give him sanctuary. This is where he spent his final years. When he died, as his request, he was quietly buried in a local church, with only a few people present. It was so quiet that even the pastor of the church did not know about it, until after he was buried.
There was a big legal struggle for his estate. Bobby’s sister, Joan, had married Russsell Targ, who is familiar to many as a “Remote Viewer” and co-founder of the Stanford Research Center, an intelligence operation to investigate paranormal and parapsychology for military and intel purposes. How much did Bobby know about his brother-in-law’s operations? At any rate, Bobby’s wife, Targ’s sons, and a woman in the Philippines all laid claim to Bobby’s millions. The woman from the Philippines claimed Bobby was the father of her daughter, so the authorities dug up Bobby and took DNA samples, which proved he was not the father. Targ’s sons lost and got stuck with a large legal bill. The Japanese wife was the winner.
Since then, Bobby’s friend Gardar Sverrisson has written a book called Bobby Fischer’s Final Years, which is only published presently in Icelandic. We hope to see it in English at some future time.
“Look what I have done for the U.S., Nobody has single-handedly done more for the U.S. than me. When I won the world championship, in 1972, the United States had an image of, you know, a football country, a baseball country, but nobody thought of it as an intellectual country. I turned all that around single-handedly, right? But I was useful then because there was the Cold War, right? But now I’m not useful anymore. You see, the Cold War is over and now they want to wipe me out, steal everything I have, and put me in prison.”