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No Joke

LaRouche targets usually don't bother responding to such theatrical accusations. However, a LaRouche follower once baited Kissinger so mercilessly that his wife, Nancy Kissinger, nearly throttled the woman. The Kissingers were at Newark airport in 1981, en route to Boston, where Henry was to undergo triple-bypass surgery, when a LaRouche activist shouted insults at Henry such as, "Is it true that you sleep with young boys at the Carlyle Hotel?"

Nancy Kissinger took the woman by the throat and asked, "Do you want to get slugged?" The woman pressed charges, but a judge acquitted Nancy of misdemeanor assault.

Lyndon LaRouche addresses supporters during an April 30 Webcast in Washington. (Stuart Lewis - EIRNS)

More than two decades later, LaRouche is still unnerving Henry Kissinger. At the White House Correspondents' Association dinner last May a man approached Kissinger and invited him to meet his "nemesis" -- LaRouche, attending the dinner with representatives of his publication Executive Intelligence Review. Kissinger declined with obvious horror. LaRouche, appearing pleased with his residual power to alarm, was jovial. "Keep out of mischief," LaRouche told a reporter who witnessed the exchange, "unless you enjoy it."

LaRouche is more than a mischief-maker; he's a felon. In 1988, LaRouche was convicted of mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and conspiracy to hide his personal income. Prosecutors argued that aggressive LaRouche fundraisers solicited more than $30 million in loans from supporters, many elderly, with false assurances they'd be repaid. While some lenders lost their life savings, the LaRouche organization spent millions on property, a swimming pool and a horse riding ring, according to testimony.

LaRouche maintained that the convictions were engineered to silence him politically and set him up to be murdered in prison. He survived. One of his cellmates was disgraced televangelist Jim Bakker, who later described LaRouche as amusing, erudite and convinced their cell was bugged. "To say that Lyndon was slightly paranoid," Bakker wrote in his autobiography, "would be like saying the Titanic had a bit of a leak."

In 1992, LaRouche ran for president from his cell, and taxpayers helped pay his way. The Federal Election Commission reluctantly awarded him federal campaign matching funds behind bars. Under federal campaign law, candidates seeking their party's presidential nomination qualify for matching funds by raising at least $5,000 in each of 20 states. The law makes no exceptions for felons.

Now, standing in the Washington hotel meeting room, LaRouche reveals a new plot afoot to deny him his rightful position of influence. Alluding to the death of Jeremiah Duggan, which has been covered in the British media, LaRouche suggests it's a hoax concocted by Cheney and his wife, Lynne, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair to discredit him.

"This crowd is really coming after me," LaRouche says as his followers -- many of them in their early twenties -- nod their heads sympathetically. "They're trying to run an international, fake scandal through the British press, which they're going to bring into the United States . . . Because Cheney knows that if I'm not excluded . . . Cheney would be out."

For all LaRouche's attacks on the "dummy" and the "beast-man," the Bush-Cheney administration has been good for LaRouche. The nation at war has been good for LaRouche. It has allowed him to recruit students who weren't born when he was convicted of multiple felonies. The LaRouche Youth Movement has "hundreds" of members in the United States and "perhaps a lesser number abroad," LaRouche says by e-mail.

His new acolytes believe him when he says he can stop the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and save the world. They also believe that he's shaping them to help rule the world. He does so, they say, not merely by educating them about politics, history and the arts, but by turning them into authentic geniuses.

"You can actually teach genius," says 21-year-old Ed Hamler, one of LaRouche's new followers.

MEGHAN ROUILLARD, 20, LEFT GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY to join the LaRouche Youth Movement. "Being a patriot means doing everything in your power to change the country," she says as she and other youths mill about the Marriott lobby after the Webcast.

LaRouche is preparing them to wage a new American revolution, Matthew Ogden, 21, says. He was a music student, studying bassoon at Indiana University, when planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Now, like Rouillard, he spends much of his time trying to persuade other young people to escape "the whatever generation, the culture of dullness" and become "historic individuals."

Youth movement members attend LaRouche-sponsored classes where they learn how great figures of history such as Benjamin Franklin are similar to LaRouche. "You understand how they were operating in history and, even though they are dead, now you are actually carrying on their mission," Ogden explains. Hamler left Philadelphia University, where he'd been studying graphic design, two years ago to work fulltime for LaRouche, he says. "Morally , I couldn't not join," says Hamler who grew up in what he describes as a Philadelphia ghetto.

Hamler's parents didn't object, he says, because they're poor and understand the need to change the world. Rich people whose kids quit school to join LaRouche "freak out," Hamler says, "because they are in the baby boomer fantasy."

To LaRouche followers, baby boomers are a lost cause. Ruined by the conformity of the 1950s and the nuclear bomb scares and failed idealism of the '60s, they want to hide inside the cocoon of their mindless materialism. They expect their kids to do the same. "I can't stress this enough, baby boomers are insane," Hamler says. "They say: 'Don't mess with this LaRouche guy. You can't endanger my comfort zone.' They look at their kids as objects. They look at their kids as an extension of what they can get in life. But my parents are cool, so I don't have that problem."

LaRouche, he says, challenges young people to ask the most important question: What is truth? "LaRouche and the youth movement have discovered a method where you can discover truth," Hamler says.

What's the method? "We have to double the square," Hamler says, smiling.

LaRouche followers are big on doubling the square. Outside the room where LaRouche just spoke is a signboard marked with a square and the teasing question: "Can you double this square?" As Hamler leads a reporter through trying to double the square, a small crowd gathers. Young faces light up with encouraging smiles.

"This is from Plato; don't worry," Hamler says. "Let's say you have a square with an area of one, what are your sides going to be? That's right, one times one is one. Your area is one. Now, what I'm going to need you to do is double the area of the square. Physically, how could I produce a square with the area of two?"

A square where each side is two won't do. Its area would be four. "Once you investigate things like this, what you automatically run into is what is called the paradox," Hamler says. "You run into a problem that lies outside the way you are already thinking . . . You are going to have to think outside the way you were thinking to make this discovery, to make a breakthrough."

You could draw a square where each side is the square root of two -- but that number has an infinite decimal, with numerals stretching on forever. "How can you have a finite measurement?" Hamler asks. "How can you have a discrete side?"

So the problem can't be solved?

"No, it's doable," Hamler's friend chimes in. "There is a solution. But you are coming to see for yourself right now what happens when a system of thinking is, in itself, not adequate for the creation of something that you are looking for. When that's the case, if you are not willing to change the way you are thinking about it, you are screwed."

"That's what the baby boomers are, screwed," Hamler says.

The cheerful young men clearly relish this exercise. It's an important recruiting tool on street corners and college campuses across the United States and Europe. To join forces with LaRouche -- to enter his world of conspiracies and counter-conspiracies -- you have to accept that everything you know, even the way you think, is wrong.

THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, Jeremiah Duggan, an energetic young man with a mop of dark curls, moved to Paris to study. He carried an ambitious double course-load: French at the British Institute and English at the Sorbonne. He had a sunny personality, an international array of friends and a broad range of interests, according to his mother and friends. He wrote poetry. He relished literature, art and music -- the Beatles most of all. Jeremiah was always softhearted, the kind of person who believed every homeless person he passed on the street was his responsibility, his mother says. In Paris, spurred by world events, he paid attention to politics for the first time. He also fell in love with a French voice student.

In December 2002, he brought his girlfriend home to London to meet his family and experience their traditional Friday night Shabbat. Jeremiah's German-born grandfather lit the candles and sang kiddush. Later, Jeremiah's girlfriend and his grandfather sang a duet, an aria from "The Magic Flute." In the flickering candlelight Jeremiah looked so proud that his mother swore she would never forget the expression on his face. She hasn't. That visit was the last time she saw her son alive.

In early 2003, Jeremiah telephoned to say he'd met a LaRouche activist who wrote for a French-language LaRouche newspaper, Nouvelle Solidarité. The literature he gave Jeremiah to read in French didn't always make total sense, but Jeremiah chalked it up to his difficulty translating unfamiliar political terms, his mother says. The following March, on the eve of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Jeremiah phoned home to say the LaRouche activist had invited him to Germany for an antiwar conference and protest. Busy cramming for exams, he asked his mother to search the Internet for information about LaRouche. She tried, but misspelled the name as Laroche, and found nothing to alarm her. If she had spelled the name correctly, she might have learned that LaRouche's campaign Web site champions him as "the only qualified candidate for U.S. President with a political movement representing what Franklin D. Roosevelt referred to as the 'forgotten man.' " She also might have found anti-LaRouche electronic bulletin boards, where former adherents claim psychological abuse and parents of current followers seem desperate to extricate their children from the group. She could have found the Anti-Defamation League Web site, which charges that LaRouche is anti-Semitic and has ties to radical right Islamic groups. She might have stumbled across a LaRouche campaign press release, which lambastes its critics.

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