Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Family wants new inquest on Jeremiah Duggan

THE family of a student killed after attending a political cult's conference in Germany four years ago say they have new evidence to support their case for a fresh inquest.

Jeremiah Duggan, 22, died in Wiesbaden, where he had gone to attend a youth cadre school organized by the Schiller Institute and the La Rouche Youth Movement, both part of US presidential candidate Lyndon La Rouche's organisation.

Jeremiah was said to have run out into a busy road and been struck by two vehicles. German police ruled it was suicide. The St.Pancras Coroner's Inquest in London in November 2003 accepted that ‘he received fatal injuries when he ran into the road and was hit by two private cars', but not that it was suicide, saying that the young man "had been in a state of terror.’

Besides Mrs. Erica Duggan's account of how her son phoned home in a state of fear and distress saying he was in serious trouble, the coroner had heard a report from Scotland Yard describing the LaRouche outfit as a "political cult with sinister and dangerous connections."

Now solicitors Leigh Day & Co who are acting for Mrs. Duggan are asking the Attorney General to order a new inquest. If it is granted, Leigh Day & Co believe the new evidence may lead to an outcome of ‘unlawful killing’.

Forensic pathologists employed by Leigh Day found that there were no traces of skin, hair, blood or clothing on either of the vehicles which were supposed to have hit Jeremiah Duggan, nor was there any trace of blood, tissue or clothing on the road. The victim's body bore no tyre marks or other signs of contact with a vehicle.

"The final resting place of both cars, one parked neatly behind the other following impact at around 80-90 KPH indicates that the cars are likely to have been moved prior to forensic examination, thus compromising the integrity of the forensic investigation by the German authorities", the solicitors reported.

Most damning if confirmed, the investigators considered that Jeremiah's head injuries were more consistent with being struck blows than with a road traffic accident, and his arms showed signs of ‘defence wounds’ suggesting that he tried to protect himself. He had ingested quantities of his own blood before he died, which suggests he had been injured some time before rather than being killed instantly by a fast car. The experts suggest that Jerry may have lost his life elsewhere, and was then left in the busy road to make it look as though he had been killed in an accident.
New evidence shows 'suicide' student was beaten to death
Mark Townsend and Jamie Doward,
Sunday March 25, 2007 The Observer

Jerry Duggan had been studying at the Sorbonne in Paris when he bought a copy of Nouvelle Solidarite, the LaRouche movement's French-language paper, and was befriended by its editor Benoit Chalifoux. Although he had not been involved in politics before the student was concerned about the war with Iraq, and persuaded to attend the Wiesbaden conference to learn more about the LaRouchite's explanation of world affairs.

Although now regarded, not without justification, as a right-wing conspiracy theorist, Lyndon LaRouche, a one-time member of the Socialist Workers Party in the United States (not to be confused with its British namesake) had enough grounding in Marxist economics together with scholarly style to make his ideas sound intellectually respectable and impressive, to the impressionable young and even to some who should know better. But it seems at Wiesbaden some of his followers may have let the cover slip in their excitement.

Erica Duggan says she was told "Jerry had reacted strongly when he heard the Jews being blamed for the Iraq war. He had stood up and exclaimed: 'But I'm a Jew!'". Nevertheless, he decided to attend a cadre school held by the LaRouche Youth Movement in a nearby youth hostel.

At around 4:15 a.m. on Thursday, March 27, 2003 the student telephoned his girlfriend. In a statement to police she said he sounded incoherent and faint. He said: "I'm under too much pressure. I don't know what the truth is any more, or what are lies." He said his arms and legs hurt and he had discovered some "very grave things" but could not tell her about them on the telephone. He said he would return to Paris the next day and would tell her then.

Then he telephoned his mother in London just before 4:30 a.m. He said in a quiet voice: "Mum, I'm in terrible trouble, deep trouble. I want to be out of this. It's too much for me. I can't do this. I want out..." The line went dead. He called back seconds later and said, "I am frightened."

That was the last anyone heard from Jeremiah Duggan. About three quarters of an hour later he supposedly ran out into the traffic. Later German police did find that a senior officer at the Schiller Institute, Ortrun Kramer, was in possession of Duggan's passport. The family wants to know whether Kramer took possession of Duggan's passport before his death.

The LaRouchite movement has claimed the whole Jeremiah Duggan affair and the allegation of murder is part of a conspiracy against Lyndon LaRouche to thwart his presidential ambitions, and counter his movement's opposition to the Iraq war and exposure of global warming claims. Linking in Jerry Duggan's visit to the Tavistock Clinic in London, and a meeting his mother had after his death with Baroness Symonds at the Foreign Office, LaRouche's head of "counter-intelligence" Jeffrey Steinberg, writing in the movement's Executive Intelligence Review blames a "Trans-Atlantic network" orchestrated by US vice president Dick Cheney and his wife.

Oddly, it does not seem to have occurred to the conspiracy-minded La Rouchites to ask for an investigation themselves, into the suspicious death at the hands of "persons unknown" - presumably imperialist agents of some kind - of a potentially promising recruit of theirs. They seem to prefer arguing that it was suicide, or an accident, and denying there is anything to investigate.

Jeremiah Duggan: suspicious death abroad
Justice for Jeremiah

Tim Wohlforth, who met LaRouche when they were both dissidents from the American SWP, has written about the cultist's evolution from left-wing milieu to rightist at:

An article that could not be published in News Line

I never knew Jeremiah Duggan or his parents, though I did meet an old uncle of his who was inter alia a refugee from Nazi Germany, a South African communist, and an excellent singer. He was involved in anti-Apartheid campaigning, and occasionally attended Jewish Socialists' Group meetings. Friends who do know the family don't see them as the kind of people associated with Dick Cheney or the British Foreign Office, let alone sacrificing their son for a conspiracy.

I never encountered the La Rouche movement, either, I'm happier to say, but... One morning in 1976, when I was working on the Workers Revolutionary Party's daily paper, The News Line, my colleague Jack Gale took a 'phone call from somebody in Sweden who was asking for information about a former British soldier who had gone to that country. This ex-squaddy had been in the news some time before for trying to get Amnesty to investigate the use of torture by British forces in Aden.

The caller indentified himself as being from the "Swedish Labour Party". But as Jack said to me, surely the main reformist party in Sweden was called the Social Democrat party? So was this just another name or another crowd altogether? Who was this Swedish Labour Party? It so happened that I had already been reading something about La Rouche moving his operations into Europe (notably Germany, where US forces were stationed, and Sweden, where many GIs opposed to the Vietnam war had surfaced). The LaRouchites had set up European Labour Committees, and were using the name Labour, or Workers Party.

Whoever the caller from Sweden was, I don't think they got any information from us about the ex-soldier who had turned up in Sweden. Instead, I decided to write an article for News Line about La Rouche and his organisation, mainly using material that had been published by our co-thinkers in the Workers League in the United States. It described how Lyndon LaRouche, who had formerly used the "party name" Lyn Marcus, had moved to the right, mobilising his ex-student supporters in the United States in organised gang attacks on left-wing organisations such as the Socialist Workers Party and Communist Party. The suspicion arose that state forces which had turned a blind eye to such violence might have more than an interest in promoting this sinister tendency internationally. At any rate the left and the labour movement in Europe should be alerted.

That article never saw light of day. News Line editor Alex Mitchell strode into the office telling me we could not possibly publish anything like this. He may have been instructed by Gerry Healy, the WRP's top (indeed sole) leader whom he always had to consult closely. By way of explanation he remarked "we don't want some LaRouchite nutter throwing a bomb into the workshop", or words to that effect. The implication I took was that I had been very irresponsible to risk exposing us to such danger.

The strange thing about this caution, mind you, is that back in the mid-1970s the WRP had launched an extensive project to expose agents and conspiracies within the Left, from the GPU organised assassination of Leon Trotsky through to FBI infiltration of the Socialist Workers Party. Alex Mitchell travelled backward and forward to the United States researching a series of articles co-authored with David North of the Workers League, on "Security and the Fourth International". When a comrade called Tom Henehan was murdered in New York and another, whose name I have forgotten, in Sri Lanka, the Healyite International Committee and its American sympathisers had no hesitation in linking their martyrdom to the Security investigation, suggesting it had touched bone, and implicating the leadership of the SWP in the murder conspiracy.

(Without detracting in any way from the courage of the two comrades, nor the political circumstances of their deaths, I have seen no evidence of the "Security" connection. Indeed, when I tried to check the name of the Sri Lankan victim I found that he was not even mentioned when the North group commemorated Tom Henehan. My guess even at the time was that the comrade was murdered by thugs because he was organising plantation workers, and he should be honoured as a martyr for the working class rather than used or tossed aside according to whether you can drag in the Socialist Workers Party).

Going back to 1976-7, it seemed strange - you can say what you like about real or alleged agents in the United Secretariat or the Socialist Workers Party, even implicate them in murder, but you had better not mention another organisation in case they really are agents and murderers.

In 1986, following the assassination of Swedish prime minister Olaf Palme, the spotlight briefly fell on the LaRouche movement when literature from the European Workers Party was found at the home of Victor Gunnarson, the first murder suspect. The LaRouchites had been running a hate campaign for some time against Palme, who was also resented by the Pentagon for his neutralism and providing a haven for war resisters.

Also in 1986, after Healy had made an undignified exit from the WRP accused of sexual abuse, slanders and other offences, and Alex Mitchell had proclaimed loyalty to the old reprobate before resuming his career in the capitalist press, I returned to the old office and found among other things, a possible clue to the reticence; a series of letters between Gerry Healy and Lyndon LaRouche during the latter's brief sojourn among SWP dissidents. It evidently had not taken Healy long to see through "Lyn Marcus"/La Rouche and his grand scheme, nor had the Workers League in the US been afraid to expose him. But they reacted quite fiercely to my somewhat flippant treatment of the Healy/LaRouche letters, possibly because I went on to suggest that "Security and the Fourth International", in which they had such a stake, was a flawed investigation.

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At 5:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would be most gratful for any infomation re. Alex Mitchell. I worked with him at the Sunday Times forty years ago and would be most gratful if anyone could update his location. Best wishes [John Bray] e-mail to


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