Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Five years on, Jerry Duggan's family still pressing for investigation
What did he stumble upon in Wiesbaden?

FIVE years ago, early in the morning of March 27, 2003, a young man's body was found by the side of a dual carriageway about five kilometres outside Wiesbaden, in Germany.

The body was identified as that of Jeremiah Duggan, aged 22, a British student. German police told reporters that the young man had committed suicide by leaping in front of two cars. According to their story he had first bounced off the bonnet of one car, then picked himself up to run in front of another. Why he chose this unusual kind of suicide was not explained, nor how he came to be that far out of town at the time of the morning when he did it.

Jeremiah Duggan's family and friends have never accepted the "suicide" explanation. Nor did a St.Pancras coroners' court which reviewed the case. Next Thursday, April 3, at 2pm, Jerry's mother Erica and others will present a petition to Downing Street asking for a full investigation into the death of Jeremiah Duggan. Besides the forensic details, they are concerned as to what a peculiar political cult might have had to do with it, and why this outfit has been so anxious to avoid an investigation.

Jerry Duggan was the son of an Irish father, Hugo, and a Jewish mother, Erica, whose family were refugees from Germany. His uncle Hans whom I used to know was an active communist involved in the struggle against Apartheid in South Africa before he came to Britain. Jerry was studying in Paris in 2003 when the Iraq war started. Friends and teachers remember him as a cheerful, friendly young man, with an inquiring mind, concerned about what was happening in the world, but not committed to any political affiliations. When someone sold him a paper called Nouvelle Solidarite however, Jerry was interested in what it had to say about the war. He agreed to attend a conference in Germany, hosted by the Schiller Institute.

At the conference, disturbed that some seemed to blame the war on Jews, Jerry stood up and identified himself as a Jew, to argue against them. If he sensed some hostility, he nevertheless decided to stay on in Wiesbaden for a cadre school.

In the early hours of the morning of March 27, 2003, Jeremiah made two 'phone calls, one to his girlfriend in Paris, and another to his mother, Erica, in London. "Mum, I'm in big, big trouble", he said. He told her he was really frightened, and needed to get away from the organisation and the people he had been staying with. Two hours later he was found dead by the roadside.

With neither a proper medical examination nor witness statements, German police apparently decided that the student had committed "suicide" by running into the path of two motor vehicles. An Inspector Shaecher apparently accepted a claim from the people at the Schiller Institute that the young student they had invited to their school had been receiving treatment for depression, or mental illness, at London's Tavistock clinic. Erica Duggan says there was no truth in this.

The inspector told her there were no "suspicious circumstances" to investigate about the death, and and that he had no grounds to investigate the Schiller Institute which was a "respectable organisation".

No suspicious circumstances? As Erica Duggan hired lawyers and made her own enquiries, she learned that strangely, neither of the cars that were supposed to have hit her son had any traces of blood or tissue. On the other hand when a Schiller Institute official handed back Jeremiah's passport which they had been holding it did have bloodstains. The Insitute denied that the couple with whom Jerry had stayed in Wiesbaden were anything to do it, but it seems they were members.

As for "respectability", both the Schiller Institute and the French paper Nouvelle Solidarite are offshoots of a cult launched in the United States by a man called Lyndon LaRouche, who used to be active under the name "Lyn Marcus" among left-wing circles. LaRouche and his followers in the United States gained notoriety for violent attacks on other left-wing groups, such that Communists and Trotskyists, among others, suspended their mutual hostility in order to oppose him. The cops on the other hand seem to have looked the other way. Before long LaRouche had moved well over to the Right, hobnobbing with various politicians and supporting Reagan's "star wars", though his clever ways with finance earned him a stretch in prison.

When she opened Jeremiah's bag and looked at his papers, Erica Duggan found examples of the LaRouchite world view, in which Jews and the British, particularly the Royal Family, figured in various conspiracies.

The LaRouchites moved into Europe particularly Sweden and then Germany, in the 1970s, when many US draft resisters and GI dissidents were entering these countries. In Sweden one of the LaRouche "Swedish Labour Party's members was arrested as a suspect after the assassination of Social Democrat premier Olaf Palme. LaRouche set up the Schiller Institute in Germany together with his partner Helga Zepp, to give his movement a more cultural image. They appear well-funded, with headquarters in both Wiesbaden and Leesburg, Virginia. The LaRouchite magazine Executive Intelligence Review, to which companies can subscribe, mixes the theories with enough well-informed analysis and fact as to sound authoritative and convincing.
Last November 100 British MPs signed a motion calling on the Attorney General to hold an investigation into Jeremiah Duggan's death. They all received letters from the LaRouchites urging them not to follow this through. Like Erica Duggan, whom the LaRouchites accused of working for George Bush and Tony Blair, just because she wanted to know what really happened to her son, this has made them all the more determined to uncover the truth.

Today a friend of Jerry Duggan is doing a sponsored sky dive to raise funds for the justice campaign. That hardly sounds like some state-backed conspiracy. Jeremiah Duggan could have been any of us when young, concerned about the state of the world and looking for answers, trying out what seemed an attractive venture, an international anti-war conference, only in his case to stumble into something else. Jeremiah's mother Erica deserves support and strength to pursue truth and justice for her son, and in doing so benefiting others still to come.

The Justice for Jeremiah campaign website:

St.Pancras Coroners report in Guardian:

Book on Lyndon LaRouche and the New American Fascism:

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At 4:21 AM, Blogger Charlie Marks said...

I recall Newsnight highlighted the story of Jerry's death on two occassions. The whole affair demonstrates that the LaRouche cult is not merely a circle of conspiracy theorists... Your article, unlike many in the mainstream media, brings up the issue of violent anti-communist actions by the larouchies in the past. That violent past, mixed with Judeophobia, make me think that Jerry's death was not suicide. Certainly, there needs to be an investigation.

At 8:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, the massed ranks of the left are finally taking this case seriously!

Well, Charlie Pottins and Marks are......



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