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Shock, Awe and Antioch: The Bush Administration’s Attack On Progressive Education


October 10, 2007

As the Free Press goes to press, the Antioch College Alumni Association has raised $12 million in donations and pledges in an effort to keep the socially-conscious college from closing next year.

Mysteries still surround Antioch’s rapid and poorly explained closing. The Board has bizarrely turned to the “marketing, branding and public relations firm” of Simpson Scarborough to peddle the closing decision.

SimpsonScarborough CEO Christopher Simpson previously worked as an editor and writer for the notoriously right-wing Washington Times – a newspaper owned by Rev. Sun Myung Moon. The dark side of Moon, a self-proclaimed Messiah, is well-documented in the public record. A 1977 congressional report placed Moon on the payroll of the Korean CIA. Moon also has financial ties to former CIA Director George H.W. Bush.

Simpson also previously served as press secretary for the infamously racist U.S. senator, Strom Thurmond. How did the planned demise of America’s most socially liberal and activist college end up in the hands of a marketer with such strong right-wing credentials? Revolution Online first raised this question in a July 31, 2007 posting.

When the Antioch Board of Trustees made the decision to close, three of the former Trustees had clear ties to the U.S. military and security industrial complexes. A Trustee who argued strenuously for the closing, Lawrence Stone, runs Metron Inc. The company’s brochure reports its goals: “Objective: Support our DOD [Department of Defense] and Intelligence clients with advanced, mathemathics-based products for dynamic target tracking, threat activity and event detection and large-scale warfighting simulation and analysis.”

The Metron website stresses that its Oasis Group, among other things, is “…working directly with the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) and the Space and Naval Warfare Command (SPAWAR).” Metron provides “war games support” and lists CACI as a client, the company that supplied the interrogators for Abu Gharib. Pulitzer Prize winner Seymour Hersh reported that Major General Antonio Taguba wanted two CACI employees reprimanded for ordering military police to physically abuse Abu Bharib prisoners.

Bruce P. Bedford, one of only three Trustees not a former alum, served on the board of Arlington, Virginia company GlobeSecNine in 2005. Bear Sterns described the company as having “a unique set of experiences in special forces, classified operations, transportation security and military operations.”

Business Wire noted: “GlobeSecNine invests in companies providing U.S. defense, security, global trade management and supply chain solutions to the public and private sectors, and has a strategic alliance with The Scowcroft Group, a business advisory firm headed by former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft.”

Bedford served on the GlobeSecNine board of advisors with Scowcroft and co-founder of the CIA Counter-Terrorism Center, Fred Turco. Others affiliated with the company are tied directly to the prison industrial complex.

On July 3, 2007, Michael Alexander’s name was removed from the list of Antioch trustees. Two days earlier, he had been sworn in as president of Lasell College in Newton Massachusetts. In 1998 Alexander founded AverStar, where he served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and did business primarily with NASA and the Defense Department. In 2000, Alexander’s AverStar defense company merged with the Titan corporation.

In March 2005, Titan pled guilty and paid the largest penalty under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in history for bribery and filing false tax returns.

L-3 Communications acquired the Titan Corporation on July 29, 2005. As their corporate website described the company, it “is a leading provider of Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems, secure communications systems, aircraft modernization, training and government services. The company is a leading merchant supplier of a broad array of high technology products, including guidance and navigation, sensors, scanners, fuzes, data links, propulsion systems, simulators, avionics, electro optics, satellite communications, electrical power equipment, encryption, signal intelligence, antennas and microwave components. L-3 also supports a variety of Homeland Security initiatives with products and services. Its customers include the Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, selected U.S. Government intelligence agencies and aerospace prime contractors.”

The L-3 Communications Titan Group brags that 8,000 of its 10,000 employees have “security clearances” and that they are a leading provider of C4ISR, Command, Control, Communications, Computer, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance – “developing and supporting the systems of today and tomorrow for the United States and Allied Militaries and defense-related agencies in order for them to carry out their assigned missions,” according to their website.

While Antioch board members Bedford and Alexander cozyed up with U.S. intelligence and Homeland Security, students at the university sponsored a national teach-in to expose the atrocities of Guantanamo Bay on October 5, 2006.

How a college targeted by the FBI and its notorious COINTELPRO operation during the Cold War as a “vanguard of the New Left” managed to place two “spook”-connected trustees on their board is a mystery worth exploring.

In a June 28, 2007 weekly Yellow Spring News article, Stone argued, “If the Board hadn’t decided to close the college, the budget shortfall could take down the entire university system.” The Dayton Daily News is reporting that a $5 million accounting error caused the radical college to close. Bedford served as Treasurer just prior to the decision to close the college.

The role of a Thurmond/Moon-connected PR firm and three trustees tied to the U.S. military and security industrial complexes must be heavily scrutinized. Antioch alumni should be ashamed to allow their college to die until they get to the bottom of this spooky mystery.

Bob Fitrakis is the author of The Fitrakis Files: Spooks, Nukes, and Nazis, on the role of the CIA in Ohio politics.

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