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The Schiller Institute's
30th Anniversary Conference

It's Time To Create A World Without War

New York, NY, June 15, 2014

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Neil Gallagher
The Lantern of the Prophet Still Shines


Former New Jersey Congressman Cornelius (Neil) Gallagher (1959-73), now 93 years old, was a friend of President John F. Kennedy, and worked in Congress to expose FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s violation of Americans’ freedoms and privacy, and Hoover’s threats and blackmail against government officials, for which Gallagher was ultimately driven out of office by Hoover. He addressed the conference by video.

Walter Jones: Watch the Video
Neil Gallagher.

Thank you very much, for the invitation to attend the 30th anniversary of the Schiller Institute. I certainly want to compliment Helga on this great institution that has been so helpful in developing the intellectual contact of the last 30 years of some of the great problems that we face. And I’m delighted to send my greetings to Lyndon LaRouche, for whom I’ve had such great admiration for so many years, for the inspiration he has given to so many thinking Americans. And to my friend Attorney General Ramsey Clark, I send my greetings, and I regret that I am not there in person to say hello to all of you and to all of the attendees to the Schiller 30th anniversary. I wish you all well.

You are certainly discussing some very, very important subjects that remain dear to my heart, and to the hearts of many thinking Americans, who wonder if anybody’s doing anything about anything, as we drift off course in so many areas. Especially, lately, with the revelations of the NSA. You know, I might say, while the Snowden revelations are a shock to most people, the whole idea of surveillance in America, is not one that came upon the scene in the last several months, in this last year. This has been going on, growing like a cancer, ever since the end of World War II, where we would accept many infringements on our liberties, in order to win a war.

Your conference of “A World Without War,” I think is so important. But one of the things that’s very important, is that we see that there is a war within our country, by the people who control the surveillance state, against the very people who are its victims and potential victims. And I single out, too, our Congress: One of the things that I find extremely troublesome, is the fact that so many good men, both Democrats and Republicans, in positions of great importance, of knowledge in the intelligence areas, are resigning from the Congress. That is most troubling, and at the height of their careers, and where their election is not ever in question, they are strictly walking away.

‘Healthy To Lie’

Why is that? One of the problems is that the intelligence is so overwhelming, that it’s really taking away the freedom of expression and freedom of thought, that might be directed in saving our country, now by the very men who do not want to put up with the kind of surveillance that is taking place.

Now, you might say, well, the old cliché, “I have nothing to hide.” It’s not a question of nothing to hide. It’s a question of how that information can be used to destroy careers, families, people, who may not agree with one agency of the government, but may agree with the others: The ability of any agency now, to destroy any political career is beyond question.

Now, you might say, “How is that?” Well, the old New York Times v. Sullivan case which said that it’s healthy to lie about people, gave unparalleled power to the government agencies who controlled the flow of information, in that that can be handed to what they call “investigative reporters,” who can then generate interest against any public figure, with impunity, and therefore, making life very, very difficult.

I speak of this with some authority: I was a member of the Congress, and my field was foreign affairs. Several of my bills were the Peace Corps, which I helped draft, and I co-managed the passage of the Peace Corps; the Arms Control Agency, the Law of the Sea, various foreign affairs matters that I was very interested in as a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

However, I did not seek to get into the privacy thing, it was thrust upon me, by a lady whose young daughter was totally abused by a government agency using a polygraph to examine her sex life and her religious beliefs, and all sorts of racial innuendoes. Only because she wanted a job as a clerk-typist! And this 17-year-old girl’s mother ran down, and happened to run into me in the hall of Congress as she was looking for a Congressman. I have four daughters, and I was shocked that our government was this intrusive. So much so, that later on, I caused a hearing to be held on the use of polygraphs and personality testing, which were discriminatory by the user. All you had to be would be 21 years old, a high school graduate, and two weeks training at Ft. Gordon to be a polygraph examiner. Now, this young boy could determine your career, whether you get a job, if he didn’t like you because you might have been Jewish, or black, or Catholic, or Italian, whatever it may be, he had that power to control that interview, through the knowledge that he acquired.

That was 40 years ago. Now, look at what we’re going through today, where every single individual is now subject to all the intrusions that are going on in life today. And who controls all of this? That is the great mystery that I think we must examine. Is it controlled at all? Or is it out of hand? Is it, in fact, threatening the very tenets of our democracy?

When I was down in Congress, I can’t really say that there was anyone down there that didn’t deeply believe in our country. We were just coming off the war, many were in World War II, and to be shot at makes you believe that there’s some purpose to put your life on the line. I think, for many of the men of that age, who went down to Congress with me, we believed that! We did not believe that we went down there, to serve a Mr. Hoover, at the fear of losing our career.

Is there anyone around now? We don’t know who’s around now; all we know, unless the information comes under control, unless Congress starts setting up some limitations, unless the responsibility of justice is returned to the Federal benches, I believe that there are continuing problems.

The Warren Commission

I set an example in my own career, two examples: One was, [Louisana Sen.] Hale Boggs, who was Majority Leader, a dear friend of mine; he was a member of the Warren Commission. There were only seven people on the Warren Commission: He represented the House, along with Gerry Ford, from the House of Representatives. He came to the conclusion that the Warren Commission should be reopened, and that the information that they gathered about the killing of President Kennedy was insufficient and tarnished, and wanted to reopen the case.

There’s a lot of history on this, on the various people involved in this, but Hoover was determined to destroy Hale Boggs, and in fact, in my opinion, he did! As you may or may not know, after [Hoover’s] doing all sorts of terrible things to him and his family, Boggs was making a speech in Alaska and his plane mysteriously blew up. And to this day, nobody’s ever found the remains of Boggs or the other occupants of that plane.

In my case, by refusing to prostitute my committee, they came after me with a series of lying stories, about a body in the basement in my home, and that I had to ask the Mafia to remove a body in my basement. It was the most ridiculous thing—it was a joke in my hometown! But it played in Peoria, when Life magazine started writing these stories.

When it appeared that I would survive the election, and in fact did survive the election, the number three man in the FBI got ahold of my lawyer, and said Mr. Hoover wanted me out of the Congress in seven days, or they would write another story about my family, my family, and that the body in the basement died in my bed, sleeping with my wife. They were going to write another story. And this was in my home, where I have four daughters, my mother and my mother-in-law would live with us, and it was ridiculous, and yet, they were about to write another story.

It was at that point, that I went a little crazy, and took on Mr. Hoover, and started making speeches about him, demanding his impeachment, demanding that the President fire him; and I went after him, and I hope, really, I contributed somewhat to his mysterious death, that they said was a heart attack, but which remains one of the great mysteries in America—how Hoover really died.

The first man from the Nixon Administration, a man by the name of Egil Krogh, who ran the [Watergate] “plumbers,” he was the first man over at Hoover’s house. I asked him, later on, as we became friends—while they had the motive, they had the means, they had the cadre, they had the ability, and they had the men who would do it, who did in fact fear Hoover, and what later would spill the beans, if Nixon wanted him to resign over what later became Watergate. I asked him, did they really kill Hoover? And he jumped up and said, “Hoover killed himself,” ran out and never spoke to me again.

When one of the men, Anthony Summers, was writing a book about the death of Hoover, [he reported that] there was never an autopsy, nobody ever knew how he really died. He was laid out in the Rotunda for four hours. Everybody marched around him to make sure he was dead, and didn’t get up again, though there was some doubt whether he would or would not, because of his power. But Anthony Summers asked Krogh about his statement to me. Krogh said, “Well, I remember talking to Neil,” but he said, “I never remember discussing Hoover’s death.” So that remains one of the great mysteries, and maybe one of these days when the files are opened, 60 years from now, we’ll really find out how this monster really died.

So, these are some of things that are troublesome, and coming up to date, the fact of the matter is that one man, with his information, could control the members of the Judiciary Committee, threatening to indict Chairman Emanuel Seller’s brother, if they didn’t oppose my bill to create a permanent committee to preserve privacy, then he would make sure that Seller’s brother would be indicted. Now, this is was the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee! The man who delivered the Civil Rights Bill; this was giant in the Congress! And yet, he was frightened by the threat of Hoover.

I was different. Not that I was not frightened, I was enraged, that I, a sitting member of the Congress, could be subject to the kind of thing that Hoover and several of his elite troops were going to subject my wife and me to. I made a speech every single day, and finally, he said, what was I mad at him for? And took back some of the stuff that they had written. But then, Nixon got in, they controlled the Justice Department, and the first thing that the whole Nixon crowd did was, start sending Democrats to jail.

So, does it have anything to do with today? Yes. It has to do with today, because of the information systems that Snowden has disclosed, and of which we are all aware of, makes us all vulnerable, unless steps are taken to protect freedom, democracy, democratic institutions, and our privacy. Or else, what is the use of a government that is turning its back, and enlarging this threat each day, under some new excuse? Whether it’s drugs, whether it’s the Mafia, terrorism, whatever all of these threats are, the career police will manage it. That does not mean that every single citizen should be under a presumption of some kind of guilt, or has something to hide from his own government.

You know, I recently recalled the words of W.H. Auden, in his book Being There. He mentions the change in ages, when Winter sets in to one age, and a new age begins. I think we are at that stage. And I’m happy to think about one of the lines in the book, that “the lantern of the prophet has gone out” as Winter sets in to our civilization. And I’m happy that you’re all there today, and to know that the lantern of the prophet, the economic prophet Lyndon LaRouche, that his lantern still shines brightly. And I think that that’s a very hopeful sign, that people can build on that kind of faith, and that kind of trust. And I believe that if we do that, we will be more successful in not allowing the Winter of the American Age to come to pass and set in. Because we do not know what the new age will bring us.

So, Helga and Lyndon, Ramsey, and all of you in attendance, I applaud you. You give hope that our future will be a better one, rather than one that we should fear. And I thank you for your invitation and the invitation to join with you. I wish you all well. Thank you.