John McCain was associated with a far-right group that derided opponents of President Reagan’s visit to a Nazi cemetery.
Senator McCain (R-Ariz.), the Republican presidential candidate, joined the U.S. Council for World Freedom’s board around the time he was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1982.
At the time, the group was distancing itself from the former Nazis and fascists who made up the international group with which it was affiliated, the World Anti-Communist League. McCain’s endorsement was a boon to the council, reportedly cited in a 1981 Anti-Defamation League report because of those international ties.
McCain first sought to distance himself from the group in 1984, when the council was named as involved in efforts to support the Contras, the right-wing militias in Nicaragua, The Associated Press said in a report Tuesday. The McCain campaign supplied the AP with a letter he wrote that year resigning his position, but the group apparently did not take note.
It was later revealed that the council was acting as a front for the CIA in Nicaragua, and in 1986, McCain again asked the group to remove his name from its letterhead, and this time it complied, the AP reported. In the interim, however, McCain attended the group’s Freedom Fighter of the Year award ceremony in October 1985.
A few months earlier, the group’s newsletter had derided opponents of Reagan’s decision to mark 40 years since the end of World War II with a visit to Bitburg, a German cemetery that includes the graves of members of Hitler’s notorious SS death squads. Jewish groups led the opposition to the visit.
“Those misguided souls who accused President Reagan of insensitivity for visiting the German cemetery at Bitburg are wallowing in years of pity over the past crimes of the Nazi regime which collapsed over 40 years ago,” Robert Goldsborough writes in the newsletter, in a facsimile obtained Tuesday by the Washington Post. “They want to keep the memory of the holocaust alive so that it can never happen again. Crocodile tears! It is happening again … and again, and again, right now, in the modern world; only the crimes of today are not being perpetrated by the Nazis but by their philosophical and demonical soul mates, the communists.”
It is not clear what role Goldsborough had with the group. According to the Washington Post, Goldsborough in a 1998 interview named the top four men who “controlled the world”: Whiskey magnate Edgar Bronfman, financier George Soros, then-Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin and then Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan. All are Jewish.