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John Judge, a Remembrance
by David Ratcliffe
Remarks delivered at the Celebration of the Life of John Patrick Judge
(See film of remarks, starting at 54:35)
National Press Club, Washington DC
31 May 2014
It is good to be here. I am grateful for the honor of sharing this remembrance with all of you and to Marilyn for putting all this together. I teach piano in Boston.
I am going to speak about a significant period in John’s life that involved his efforts to carry on the work of his dear friend Mae Brussell. For more than 25 years Mae Brussell was America’s foremost researcher into the hidden history of war, political assassinations, covert operations and espionage, terrorism and mind control, secret societies, banking and organized crime, and the origins and rise of international fascism. She held the George Seldes Award for 1987 from the Society of Journalists, and was listed in The International Who’s Who of Intellectuals in 1983.
Mae authored many articles including “Why Was Martha Mitchell Kidnapped?” and “Why Is the Senate Watergate Committee Functioning As Part of the Cover Up?,” “Why Was Patty Hearst Kidnapped?” (about the SLA and the CIA) in The Realist, and “The Nazi Connection to the John F. Kennedy Assassination” in Rebel. Mae’s weekly radio show, World Watchers International ran for 851 weeks on California stations KLRB-FM, Carmel, and KAZU-FM, Pacific Grove for a total of 17 years of newscasting.
Mae lectured at various universities on the subject of political assassinations, their inter-locking links, the causes, and the people behind the murders. She was among the first researchers to connect the murders of John and Robert Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and others, relying on her exhaustive cross-reference index of the Warren Commission evidence, and a steady diet of 15 daily newspapers, 150 monthly periodicals, and some 1,000 books a year.
I met John in 1987 through Tom Davis. I was living in Santa Cruz and for some years had been listening to World Watchers. Tom was another first-generation assassination researcher and a friend of Mae’s who ran Tom Davis Books (PDF), and provided Mae with all her book purchases. After first ordering books from Tom through the mail, in time I was able to visit him at his office-warehouse in Capitola.
Tom told me about the work John had been doing and gave me printed copy of some of his writings and his address. I corresponded with John and saw him in Santa Cruz when he was in the area speaking.
In June 1988 Mae Brussell was diagnosed with cancer which became terminal. John wrote a proposal dated September 3 and submitted an outline for a Mae Brussell Library and Research Center that included four sections: “Purpose”, “Functions and Services”, “Income Generation”, and “Basic Structure, Requirements”.
Mae accepted John’s proposal and asked him to “make it so.” John moved to Santa Cruz from D.C. with the help of Bill Kelly and threw himself into this endeavor with all his passion, drive, and saavy. Although the challenges were immense, John intended to leverage what Mae had studied and amassed over 25 years and create a self-supporting research center. It is noteworthy that in John’s proposal, three of the four similar libraries in other topic areas he cited still exist: Data Center in Oakland, Edgar Cayce Association for Research and Enlightenment in Newport News, and Highlander Center in Tennessee.
Initially John set up the Center under the umbrella of Downwinders, Preston Truman’s established non-profit. There were many processes John was endeavoring to establish in parallel as well as lay the ground work for. One was a flyer (PDF) mailed out to many introducing the center and its goals. Another was creating and publishing a Newsletter to further help raise income. An outline for the first newsletter lists a super-set of content from what was later published.
In a February 1992 letter (PDF) to both the MBRC and his own CONSPIRACY! mailing lists, John wrote that “Mae Brussell designated me to set up the research center in her name in Santa Cruz ... because we had worked together as researchers for close to 16 years, and she trusted my judgement and knowledge.... Unfortunately, Mae made no provisions in her will, or any financial planning for this continued work.”
With publication of the first 20-page Newsletter in late summer, 1989 (PDF), John believed that the organization had turned the corner financially. Tragically, it was at this point that the rug began to be pulled out from under him by individuals who did not want him to run the center. One of Mae’s daughters felt the collection should have been put in her care and moved to force John from the organization. A fellow researcher gave in to personal jealousy and professional envy at John’s being chosen by Mae to be the director of promoting and furthering her life’s work, and began making baseless public attacks on John’s integrity, agent-baiting, and claims that he had stolen money, as well as ridiculous charges including supposed links to the Charles Manson family, the Aryan Brotherhood, and Western Goals, all of them fascist intelligence operations that John helped Mae expose.
Since the fall of 1988 I had volunteered in various capacities to help John get the center established. The work was demanding and as time passed I was more and more aware of how John was not receiving essential support and help from a number of Mae’s friends and followers who did not agree with Mae’s decision to entrust her work to John.
In a February 1990 letter of resignation, I wrote,
John alone took on the fundamental financial responsibility of launching this project, and without his own initial seed-money/non-interest loans, it would not have come this far. Mae trusted John’s judgement enough to leave her work in his care with the goal of establishing a research organization and directing its course. John’s experience and background in studying and chronicling the story of how fascism came to America made him a viable and credible choice for Mae to entrust her life’s work to. However lack of support for John, including theft of center materials which were never returned as they were promised to be, unjustified rejection of Wendy Govier who offered a tremendous array of news media resources and MBRC access to such media as well as a prior history of substantial support for the center’s goals, and a desire by board members to have control of the center’s charter and direction without an accompanying acceptance of the responsibilities and duties inherent with such authority, all demonstrate a violation of Mae’s trust in John to continue and further her own work.
John eventually resigned, as he wrote in 1992, “unable in good conscience to bring anyone into such an organization, or continue working with any sense of integrity.” The way this period in John’s life came to a close was one of the most painful and heartbreaking phases of his journey here. He had the highest hopes for what he envisioned was possible to increase awareness of what Mae had put together for an ever widening audience of people in America and the world.
Earlier this week my dear friend Marty Schotz wrote Marilyn the following:
Though I am unable to attend the event commemorating John’s life, I wanted to share a quote from a recent issue of The Monthly Review, which I think is very relevant to John. John’s hope for a museum of hidden history, was really a hope for a museum of true history. In this connection, consider the following from W.E.B. DuBois:
In this present moment it is vital to appreciate how similar John’s goal of creating the Museum of Hidden History is to what he sought to manifest in the late eighties. Each of these projects expresses a recurring desire and purpose of his life: the Museum of Hidden and True History is now ever more vital to pursue manifesting. Marilyn urges all of you who understand this to explore with her the multitude of ways you can contribute to making it so.
Since 1987 I have treasured John’s friendship through the years. Among other gifts, it was John who introduced me to Fletcher Prouty at the end of 1988 while work at the MBRC was ramping up. In the end, this introduction resulted in my self-publishing Understanding Special Operations, the interview I conducted with Fletcher in May 1989.
Twenty-five years later, in a May 2013 e-mail to a few friends including John, I posed the question “who are the David Phillipses, the Richard Helmses, the James Angletons, Ted Shackleys, David Sanchez Moraleses, and William Harveys of today, who execute the imperatives of this era’s Terror Warriors? It seems that people who physically or psychologically murder other people are, in some elemental respects, walking dead themselves.”
John replied to me alone with the following:
In an old and vivid dream I want to write into a story, I was with a group of people trying to confront and catch a killer who had traveled over time, a sort of Jekyll/Hyde/Jack the Ripper character. In the dream we were in the Victorian era London streets of fogs, carriages and gas lamps in a brick factory district, hiding in an alcove to see him go by in his hat and cape.
John’s devotion to honoring and serving Life’s needs was an extraordinary boon to our single, fragile, and miraculously gifted human family. His understanding, sensitivity, brilliance, vulnerability, ironic and farcical sense of humor was a tonic to all who knew him. The light from the fire in his heart continues to light Life’s love and all who serve it – and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.