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By Cliff Kincaid

May 6, 2008

Tom Hayden, who cheered for a communist military victory in Vietnam, is calling attention to Senator Hillary Clinton’s old ties to communists. But Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein, formerly of the Washington Post, wonders if Hillary’s comments on Senator Barack Obama’s ties to communist terrorist Bill Ayers constitute McCarthyism.

Bernstein, now an election analyst for CNN, has reason to be concerned about where all of this may lead. His parents were members of the Communist Party USA, and he says in his book about them, Loyalties, “I am proud of the choices they made.”

The Hayden and Bernstein pieces have to be understood in the context of the Democratic Party being on the verge of nominating a “working class hero” as their presidential candidate who does not attract many votes from the working class. And that is why Senator Clinton sees an opening and believes she can still seize the nomination. But she’s got some skeletons in her closet, too.

The basic message of Hayden and Bernstein seems to be that the Democrats should abandon the practice of linking either presidential candidate to communists because they are both tainted. But we’re just beginning to get to the heart of the issue. Do we have candidates that are in any way linked or sympathetic to the greatest killing machine in the history of planet earth? The Black Book of Communism puts the death toll from communism at about 100 million. A memorial to the victims of communism has been erected in Washington, D.C.

On one of the major issues of our time, have these candidates been right or wrong?

We know where Obama’s pastor Jeremiah Wright stands. We know that his charge that the U.S. created AIDS was based on Soviet disinformation. But he also had this to say in his National Press Club speech: “Our congregation stood in solidarity with the peasants in El Salvador and Nicaragua, while our government, through Ollie North and the Iran-Contra scandal, was supporting the Contras, who were killing the peasants and the Miskito Indians in those two countries.”

In fact, Ollie North, a member of the staff of the National Security Council, was implementing a policy of the Reagan Administration to thwart a communist takeover of Central America. Some of the Miskito Indians were actually helping in the fight against the Soviet- and Cuban-backed Communist Sandinistas.

Whose side was Obama on during the fight for Central America?

Hayden’s Pro-Communist Record

One can understand why Hayden, a member of “Progressives for Obama,” takes offense. Hayden and Ayers were key members of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the violence-prone group that laid siege to college campuses in the 1960s. One of their main goals was making sure the communists conquered South Vietnam. Ayers, of course, would go on to plant bombs as a member of the SDS-spawned Weather Underground communist terrorist group. Hayden would win notoriety as Jane Fonda’s husband and become a politician.

Progressives for Obama” is quite a collection. A quick review discloses two names from the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, an off-shoot of the old Moscow-controlled Communist Party USA (CPUSA). They include Carl Davidson, formerly of SDS, and Jim Campbell. Two other names come from the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), whose Chicago branch has backed Obama from the start. They are Barbara Ehrenreich and Cornel West. West showed up at Jeremiah Wright’s National Press Club speech to cheer and whistle.

Hayden is almost as controversial as Ayers, a self-described communist. A leader of protests against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, Hayden wrote a June 4, 1968, “Dear Col. Lao” letter that ended, “Good fortune! Victory!” This was a letter to a North Vietnamese official. So here we have someone who was cheering for the communist enemy killing Americans. They openly displayed flags of the Viet Cong, the organization sponsored by the regime in Hanoi, North Vietnam, also known as the National Liberation Front.

Hayden, in brief, played a pivotal role in America’s Vietnam defeat and the deaths of millions.

Hayden’s letter to Col. Lao was designed to introduce him to Robert Greenblatt, the coordinator of the National Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam. The MOBE was run by a group that included members of the Communist Party, the Socialist Workers Party, the Workers World Party, the SDS, and other such organizations.

Is this the kind of “patriotism” that Obama approves? What does Senator Clinton think of an Obama supporter who worked for an enemy victory in Vietnam?

It is apparently acceptable to somebody because Hayden’s website boasts that he has received awards from such groups as the League of Conservation Voters, the Sierra Club, the Rainforest Action Network, and Paw-PAC (animal welfare).

Isn’t it interesting how someone who became a cheerleader for the communists now gets awards for protecting trees and animals?

By contrast, the book, A Viet Cong Memoir, includes a note of apology “to my betrayed comrades, who believed they were sacrificing themselves for a humane liberation of their people.” One of the authors, Truong Nhu Tang, a founder of the Viet Cong, escaped the communist takeover in a boat. He was one of hundreds of thousands of “boat people.”

Hayden’s failure to apologize indicates he’s a true believer. And he’s enthusiastic about Obama.

Spanking Hillary

Hayden currently contributes to the far-left Huffington Post website and The Nation magazine, where he made much of Hillary’s work for a communist law firm. One of his citations is Carl Bernstein’s book about Hillary, A Woman in Charge. This is actually an old story. We covered it in an AIM Report back in 2003. Hayden, of course, doesn’t really care whether she associated with communists. He calls her work there “honorable.” He just thinks she’s a hypocrite for calling attention to Obama’s communist ties, such as the “imagined association” between Obama and Ayers. (Their relationship is described by the Obama campaign as “friendly.”) Hayden also finds fault with Hillary for making an issue out of Obama’s association with his pastor Jeremiah Wright.


Hayden decries the “campaign of defamation” against Obama, who has “transformational appeal.”

Carl Bernstein added his voice to the controversy, saying in a dispatch on the Huffington Post not only that Hillary worked for that firm but that her linking of Obama to Ayers might be “21st century McCarthyism” or “ideological demagoguery.”

This is what “McCarthyism” has become—telling the truth about communists.

Bernstein has a personal conflict of interest, having written a book, Loyalties, about his parents Al and Sylvia Bernstein being members of the Communist Party USA. He reveals that Democratic liberal Senator Edward Kennedy helped him obtain government documents about his father’s case in particular. His father was questioned about a possible relationship with a member of a Soviet espionage network named Louise Bransten.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Bernstein says that he feared coming upon some “parental Pumpkin Paper.” But his father explained away the Bransten connection by saying he had only attended a “party” with her. That closed the case for Carl Bernstein, who was part of the Washington Post investigative team that brought down President Richard Nixon in the Watergate scandal. As journalist Victor Lasky would later point out in It Didn’t Start With Watergate, it was a scandal in which Nixon or his staff stood accused of using tactics employed by previous Democratic administrations.

Nixon was a special target. As a Congressman, he had seized upon the hidden documents known as the Pumpkin Papers of former communist Whittaker Chambers in order to make the case that former State Department official and United Nations founder Alger Hiss was a Soviet spy. Chambers had publicly named Hiss as a communist. The Pumpkin Papers proved it.

In his father’s case, Bernstein writes that documents showed that Louis B. Nichols, the assistant director of the FBI for internal security matters, said that he would be probably be able to furnish a witness identifying Alfred Bernstein as a Communist Party member. (Bernstein confirms that his father and mother were members). Later, Bernstein writes, Nichols would become “the Bureau’s liaison to Richard Nixon’s White House.” Bernstein includes this information as if it’s damaging to the FBI, Nixon, or both.

But whatever one can say about Nixon, he was not naïve about the communist threat. And he was right on target about Hiss.

The Pattern

Bernstein and his partner, Bob Woodward, worked for a paper, the Washington Post, whose late owner, Katharine Graham, was known as a prominent liberal committed to the success of the Democratic Party. Less well-known is the fact that she had worked for a time as a reporter in San Francisco and developed a rather sympathetic view of “radical” labor leader Harry Bridges, who turned out to be a secret member of the CPUSA central committee. “One of her [Katharine Graham’s] sources was Harry Bridges, the head of the longshoremen’s union,” says the official Washington Post website, still unable to set the record straight about this notorious communist agitator.

After Watergate and the forced resignation of Nixon, Bernstein would turn his attention to the sins of the Central Intelligence Agency, writing a piece for Rolling Stone, the rock-and-roll publication, entitled, “The CIA and the Media.” He also spent some time at ABC News trying to expose secret U.S. support for anti-communist fighters in Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation.

Getting to the Hillary connection, in his Huffington Post dispatch on “The Question of Hillary Clinton’s Guilt-By-Association Tactics,” Bernstein wrote about Jessica Mitford, the “muckraking journalist” whose husband Robert Treuhaft, ran the communist law firm where Hillary worked.

Bernstein said, “In the 1980s, Jessica Mitford visited the Clintons at the governor’s mansion in Little Rock. She and Treuhaft had left the communist party in 1958, years after the revelation of Stalin’s murderous crimes, but—Jessica Mitford wrote in her memoir, A Fine Old Conflict, she quit ‘not primarily over some issue of high principle, but because it had become dull....boring. Rather like London’s debutante circuit.’”

He goes on, “When Jessica Mitford died in 1996, Hillary Clinton wrote Bob Treuhaft a lovely condolence letter from the White House…” But does any of this make Hillary a Stalinist, he asked. Or a Communist sympathizer? Of course not, he replies. All of this is just silly, he says. And it’s just as silly, he suggests, for Hillary to make an issue of Obama’s ties to Bill Ayers.

But wait. In Mitford’s 1977 book, A Fine Old Conflict, she writes about how Al Bernstein signed her up as a member of the United Federal Workers Union, which she considered “a step towards finding the Communist Party.” The union, she adds, had been publicly denounced by the House Committee on Un-American Activities as Communist-dominated. This charge was “not wide of the mark,” she admits.

The afterword of another Mitford book, Poison Penmanship, is written by Bernstein, who praises Mitford for educating the public about how journalism should be a “simple process” of seeking “the best obtainable version of the truth.”

They Can’t Handle the Truth

If this is the case, then why is Bernstein afraid of pursuing the truth about Obama? Why the outrage over Senator Clinton drawing attention to a well-documented personal connection between Obama and a communist terrorist? Is there something else more damaging that has to be hidden from public view? Does new information have to be discredited in advance as “McCarthyism?”

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The information may have to do with Obama’s upbringing. Obama says that he was raised by his mother and grandparents. But those aren’t the only people who had influence over him during his formative years. His own book, Dreams From My Father, talks about a mysterious “Frank” giving him advice, reading poetry, and telling him not to believe that—expletive deleted—about the American way of life when he went off to college. We know who “Frank” is. He was a member of the Communist Party who started writing for the Honolulu Record at the suggestion of Paul Robeson, another secret member of the CPUSA, and Harry Bridges. His “poetry,” like the sermons of Pastor Wright, was laced with anti-American sentiments.

Don’t wait for Carl Bernstein or the Washington Post or the rest of the major media to cover any of this. But it will come out.

© 2008 Cliff Kincaid - All Rights Reserved

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Cliff Kincaid, a veteran journalist and media critic, Cliff concentrated in journalism and communications at the University of Toledo, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Cliff has written or co-authored nine books on media and cultural affairs and foreign policy issues.

Cliff has appeared on Hannity & Colmes, The O’Reilly Factor, Crossfire and has been published in the Washington Post, Washington Times, Chronicles, Human Events and Insight.

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We know where Obama’s pastor Jeremiah Wright stands. We know that his charge that the U.S. created AIDS was based on Soviet disinformation.