Willis Carto archive

Including information about his associates

A Response to Recent Spotlight Attacks

Carto’s Smears Continue

By Mark Weber
Director, Institute for Historical Review

April 3, 2001

Since late December, The Spotlight — the weekly paper of Liberty Lobby — has been publishing, in nearly every issue, a series of articles attacking me, Greg Raven, Ted O’Keefe, Bill Hulsy and others associated with the Institute for Historical Review (IHR).

Many of these articles appear under the heading Spotlight on Mark Weber, and several are supposedly based on inside information provided by my wife, Priscilla Gray Weber. Not coincidentally, she and I are in the middle of a contentious divorce.

I dislike reading, much less responding, to such vicious and untrue attacks. Normally I ignore such rubbish, believing that to respond is generally a waste of time. But this recent series has been so relentless and strident that it calls for a response.

First of all, there is nothing really novel about these attacks. They are new only in their intensity and virulence, not their essence. Since late 1993, Willis Carto, the man who controls The Spotlight and Liberty Lobby, has been using the paper to attack the IHR, telling readers that I, together with other evil conspirators, thugs, crooks, and criminals, have subverted and destroyed the IHR by turning it over to control by the CIA, the Israeli Mossad or the Church of Scientology, or combinations of all three. (For much more on all this, see the on-line Willis A. Carto Information Site, or Willis Carto’s Hidden Record, a booklet available from the IHR.)

One recent issue, for example (Jan. 29), cited explosive inside information to announce that I am a secret friend and a buddy of Irv Rubin, head of the Jewish Defense League, the terrorist outfit that, over the years, had repeatedly harassed the IHR. Another recent issue (Feb. 12) suggests that, even at the age of 19, I was operating as an undercover CIA agent in West Africa, and that my teaching job at a secondary school in Ghana was a cover story. In the Spotlight on Mark Weber series, my name appears weekly in block letters under an illustration. These have included photographs or drawings of, variously, a rat, a weasel, a snake, a toilet bowl, a cockroach, and a devil.

Entirely typical of The Spotlight's technique is an item on the front-page of the January 22 issue, which encouraged readers to telephone Harvey Taylor and Jack Riner, two sincere patriots [who] have been unwitting pawns in the conspiracy to destroy Liberty Lobby and The Spotlight. Taylor and Riner are long-time IHR supporters and members of the Board of Directors of the IHR’s parent corporation. Readers were told that Taylor and Riner have been manipulated by Mark Weber and his CIA handler, Andrew Allen. The paper gave their private home telephone numbers. More than 30 persons called Taylor, one of them to threaten his wife. (Riner was away from home during this period.)

Taylor spoke with a number of the callers, explaining that it is Carto and The Spotlight who have been lying. He mentioned, for example, that Carto had forged fraudulent corporate documents to enable him to embezzle millions of dollars from the IHR.

The very next week (Jan. 29), an Important Notice, also on the front page, told readers that Taylor and Riner are not really sincere patriots after all. The Spotlight has learned, it said, that Taylor had been a willing player in the conspiracy even before it surfaced, and had been acting as a double agent, reporting back to Mark Weber and his handlers. Moreover, there is also new evidence that Taylor twice committed perjury. Readers were also promised additional evidence of Taylor’s duplicitous double-dealing.

All this is pure Carto: brazenly violating the privacy of a sincere patriot by prominently publishing his home telephone number as an open invitation to harassment, and then, when this apparent attempt at intimidation backfires, denouncing the victim as a newly-exposed double agent.

What’s behind Carto’s campaign?

In 1993 the IHR and its parent corporation, LSF, terminated its relationship with Willis Carto and his wife, Elisabeth, after information had come to light showing that they had been diverting money from the IHR. Our lawsuit to recover the diverted funds came to trial in November 1996 in California Superior Court in San Diego county. After considering voluminous evidence, including witness-stand testimony by the Cartos and many hundreds of pages of documents, Judge Runston G. Maino concluded that the Cartos, together with Liberty Lobby and several associates, had improperly diverted $6.43 million from IHR/LSF. He ordered the defendants to pay back this amount, plus several years' interest.

True to form, The Spotlight has repeatedly vilified Maino, calling him, for example (Dec. 31, 2000), an obviously biased, confused and vindictive judge who contemptuously flouted the clear law and facts. What readers are not told is that it was Willis Carto who decided to entrust his own fate, and that of Liberty Lobby, to this obviously biased man. At the outset of the 1996 trial, Carto decided to forego a jury, and instead have Judge Maino decide the case on his own.

Winning the judgment against the Cartos and Liberty Lobby was one thing; enforcing it has proven quite another.

Over the years we made numerous efforts to resolve the destructive Carto-IHR dispute. In 1999 we concluded an agreement with Carto and Liberty Lobby that should have ended the seemingly interminable name-calling and legal wrangling. Unfortunately, but not entirely unexpectedly, Carto and Liberty Lobby soon broke the agreement. They're now liable for the entire amount of the 1996 judgment, plus years of accumulated interest — altogether now more than $12 million. And that’s why we're back in court.

Meanwhile, my strife-ridden six-year marriage was coming to an end. After I filed for divorce in September 2000, my soon-to-be ex-wife, Priscilla, repeatedly vowed to hurt me, my colleagues and my friends. To make good on this pledge, she turned for help to both Willis Carto and the Anti-Defamation League, the powerful Jewish organization that over the years has fiercely attacked me and the IHR (for example, on the ADL web site). In December she met for lunch with two ADL officials: Joyce Greenspan, the head of the ADL’s local, Orange County office, and a woman from the ADL office in Los Angeles.

But while the ADL did not offer any money, Carto proved more forthcoming.

Working together with him, she provided inside information that Carto used to produce a series of false and malicious Spotlight articles. In return (as Priscilla has acknowledged to me and others), Carto paid, or arranged to have paid, $3,000 to her divorce attorney. The Cartos also gave her a few gifts, including a computer printer. As Priscilla has also told me and others, Carto embellished and twisted even what she revealed, so that the Spotlight articles supposedly based on her candid interview are doubly unreliable.

For more than seven years, Willis Carto and Liberty Lobby have tried to destroy the IHR through the courts, initiating a dozen lawsuits, including three against me personally. Fighting off these attacks forced us for years to divert precious money and time from productive work. But now, having failed in the courts, Carto is limited to hurling abuse in the pages of his weekly tabloid.

While we fully expect the Spotlight smears to continue with undiminished ferocity, their actual impact is ever more negligible. We are pleased, for example, that not a single prominent or reputable person, and no one who has independently looked into the matter, endorses The Spotlight claims. Personally I have been gratified by the many calls and letters from friends and supporters around the country who contacted me to express their sympathy and solidarity, and to voice their indignation at Carto’s sordid campaign.

With the Carto threat now largely behind us, we can devote ever more time and resources to productive work. Building on last year’s highly successful 13th IHR Conference, and with a steadily growing staff, we are publishing more books and putting out more tapes. Our flagship Journal of Historical Review is getting back on schedule, with Ted O’Keefe as the new (and returned) editor. We are working ever more closely and productively with scholars, journalists, writers and activists around the globe. Our enemies are understandably enraged that the IHR is generating unparalleled and increasingly respectful media attention, both in the US and abroad, most recently in connection with our role in organizing the banned Revisionism and Zionism conference in Beirut.

In all this, the Spotlight campaign, however personally aggravating it might be, is now merely a vexatious irritant. It cannot deter us from making the IHR an ever more effective voice for historical awareness.