PJ Media

'U.S. to Gaza' Fundraising Arm Linked to CIA Traitor Philip Agee

Throughout this summer and fall, the anti-Israel group “U.S. to Gaza” held many fundraisers around the United States, seeking to raise as much as $370,000 to join a “peace flotilla” to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

A Pajamas Media investigation has determined that the non-profit organization which accepts the public’s donations and will pay for all of its activities is a shadowy and virulently anti-American group innocuously called the Institute for Media Analysis. The Institute’s founders are considered the forerunners to WikiLeaks, which unabashedly releases classified national security documents. For forty years, the Institute’s leadership deliberately exposed the names of thousands of CIA officers to the public. They bragged that they have been dedicated to “a worldwide campaign to destabilize the CIA through exposure of its operations and personnel,” putting thousands of CIA officers at grave risk.

It is likely that many of those donating to the “peace” cause do not realize the history of the group that will be handling their contributions. Nor is it likely they realize the controversial reputation of the foundation’s leadership and their persistent efforts to harm American CIA officers. But it’s possible the scandal which once enveloped the Institute’s leadership could affect the reputation of “U.S. to Gaza” itself and weaken the group’s claim that it is non-violent.

The “U.S. to Gaza’s” tax exempt foundation, based in New York, is run by long-time radicals William Schaap and Ellen Ray. Their defiant and continued disclosures of CIA field officers ultimately led to the passage of the U.S. Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, which made it a federal crime to intentionally reveal the identity of a covert intelligence officer.

An advisor to the Institute’s president and board — Philip Agee — has been linked to the assassination of a CIA station chief by terrorists. Mr. Agee’s activities also may have spurred a machine gun attack on an American intelligence official in Jamaica.  In 1981, the New York Times described the work of the foundation’s leaders as “malicious and incredible.”

Schaap and Ray, who are married, have established a reputation as conspiracy theorists, ranging from the assassination of President Kennedy to the gunning down of the Rev Martin Luther King, Jr. They see the hidden hand of the U.S. government in many coups, assassinations, and political events around the world.  They have openly advised Marxist governments and movements, warning of CIA “disinformation” campaigns everywhere.

Ray is the Institute’s president.  Schaap and Ray make up two of the organization’s four officers. They have never disclosed the source of their funds. Internal Revenue records show that since 1996 they have funneled nearly $3 million to far left causes.

For decades the couple has flitted through radical chic circles, mingling with Hollywood directors such as Oliver Stone and former Weather Underground terrorists. They have railed against what they call U.S. government “propaganda and disinformation” campaigns in the former Soviet Union, Latin America, the Middle East, and Southeast Asia.

The Institute is closely linked to the late CIA renegade agent Philip Agee, who disclosed the names of 250 of his fellow agents in his sensational book, Inside the Company: CIA Diary. Agee has been publicly accused of being, in part, responsible for the 1975 assassination of Richard Welch, the CIA’s station chief in Athens.  Schaap and Ray have defended Agee. Together they co-founded and published regular “covert action” bulletins to expose CIA officers. Mr. Agee had served as a formal advisor to the bulletin until his death in early 2008.

The U.S. to Gaza organizers say they raised $50,000 from a single New York dinner cruise that sailed around Manhattan with 400 supporters last summer.  In August, “U.S. to Gaza” reported they had raised about $150,000. All of that money goes through the Institute.

The “U.S. to Gaza” organizers also have christened their new boat The Audacity of Hope after the title of President Obama’s second book.

“U.S. to Gaza” is a mix of aging American radicals and newly minted Muslim-American activist groups — a convergence of two radical movements that are uniting to make the Gaza campaign reminiscent of the heady radical days of the Vietnam War.  Such bygone names like Black Panther chief Angela Davis and Weather Underground leaders Bernadine Dohrn and Bill Ayers are associated with the effort.  In that regard it is appropriate that they are funneling their money through a virulently anti-American institute.

Two of the most prominent Muslim-American signers of their fundraising appeal are Rashid and Mona Khalidi. The couple is well known as fiercely pro-Palestinian advocates.  Mr. Khalidi, who previously claimed his work was limited to academics, has increasingly joined a number of more aggressive activist groups of which the “U.S. to Gaza” has one of the highest profiles.  Mr. Khalidi has been described as a close “friend and dinner companion” to President Obama when they lived in Chicago and both taught at the University of Chicago.

The organizers obviously hope that by naming the boat The Audacity of Hope, they may be able to link President Obama to the flotilla effort.  The American ship is expected to be part of a group of about a dozen ships to challenge the Israeli blockade of the Gaza strip.

Schaap and Ray have waged campaigns against both the CIA and FBI. Their effort was spearheaded using a number of anti-American magazines variously called CounterSpy, the Covert Action Information Bulletin and Covert Action Quarterly.

The stated mission of the publications was to launch “a worldwide campaign to destabilize the CIA through exposure of its operations and personnel.” The publications eventually identified thousands of CIA intelligence and field officers and exposed many of them to potential death. In one issue alone, Schaap’s quarterly revealed 69 CIA officers in 45 countries, sparking an outcry in Congress.

But clearly Schaap and Ray’s best known connection is to Agee, a personal friend who helped publish the Covert Action Information Bulletin and Covert Action Quarterly.  His resume reveals the depth of the anti-American flavor of the Institute’s president and directors.

After resigning from the CIA as a field operative, Agee wrote Inside the Company while basking in the sunshine in Cuba.  He was a personal guest of Fidel Castro, whose government gave him a home in Cuba and two assistants help him write it.

It was the publication of that book which identified Richard Welch as a Latin American CIA operative.  In 1975, after he was assigned station chief in Athens, Greece, Welch was assassinated in front of his wife by Marxist terrorists. The Greek group, N-17, eventually assassinated 23 people in 103 attacks on U.S., British, Turkish, and Greek targets. Their first attack was against Welch.  Schaap and Ray have defended Agee and claimed his link to the Welch killing was not proven.

Schaap and Ray also outed an American government official in Jamaica who was a target for violence. His home was sprayed by machine gun fire a few days after their news conference.

The work by the Institute’s founders has been widely condemned in U.S. intelligence circles.  At the CIA’s 50th anniversary ceremony, former President George H.W. Bush called Agee a “traitor.”  Prompted in large part by Agee’s disclosures and the work of Schaap and Ray, the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982, making it illegal to knowingly divulge the identity of covert CIA officers. The House vote was 315–32, with all opposing votes coming from Democrats. The Senate vote was 81–4. (One of the four “no” votes came from then-Senator Joseph Biden.)

Expelled after brief stays in France, the Netherlands, and Italy, Mr. Agee settled under the protection of Marxists in Grenada and the Sandinistas in Nicaragua.  He eventually lived part time in Cuba, where he died in 2008 at the age of 72.

Schaap and Ray have traveled to Cuba to meet Castro and government officials. They frequently boasted to friends that they introduced Hollywood filmmaker Oliver Stone to the Cuban leader.

Schaap’s paranoid attitudes are revealing. In an eight-part video series, Schaap speaks before what is referred to as a “trial” of the government’s “assassination” of Martin Luther King, Jr. In a presentation titled “The Media, CIA, FBI & Disinformation,” he complains about U.S. “propaganda and disinformation” campaigns going back to World War I. Schaap even says that U.S. government agencies pursue “neurological warfare.” Supporting the proposition, Schaap said:

I’m not a doctor, but what I understood (is) that the brain’s pattern and thinking are a physical aspect of the human brain, that’s how we develop patterns of thought and association.

The government’s campaign of neurological warfare prevents Americans from drawing conclusions about various conspiracy theories, Schaap argued.

Schaap has advised Marxist governments and movements throughout his career and has warned of a CIA menace everywhere.  He accused the CIA of coups and interference ranging from Fiji in the Pacific to Grenada in the Caribbean.

Schaap’s video series is also posted on a bizarre web site called “911 Blogger.” The site has established something called the “International Center for 9/11 Studies” to examine the theory that the American government was behind the September 11 attacks.

For Schaap and Ray, the “U.S. to Gaza” fundraising campaign may be a resurrection of their efforts, which have decreased over time. According to IRS 990 documents, while the Institute for Media Analysis has received nearly $3 million in funding since 1996, its contributions have dwindled over the last several years. In 2009, it raised no funds at all. Yet this year, as the conduit of funds for the U.S. to Gaza national appeal, its coffers may be refilled.

The Institute has contributed funds from undisclosed sources to far left media outlets including Pacifica Radio, Democracy Now, and Law & Disorder Radio.  Over the years Schaap and Ray have donated about $110,000 to the left-wing Center for Constitutional Rights.  The Center has defended many radical groups and enemy combatants held at Guantanamo Bay.  Michael Ratner, the head of the Center, is a leader with the “U.S. to Gaza” campaign.

This undertaking also may represent a new, invigorated alliance between the old Left and radical Muslims in the United States. The anti-Israel, anti-American axis is likely to resurrect many faces from the sixties and introduce new ones from the Muslim-American side.

Stay tuned.