Radio Captains Courageous

 

Church, State and the Pirate Ship Saga

By Neil Earle

Radio Caroline was the first of the offshore “pirate ships” beaming into Britain, though the idea had been tried off California and elsewhere in the 1930’s.

(Jingle) “Radio London reminds you: Go to the Church of your choice.”

(Pause)

(Announce, loudly): “THE WORLD TOMORROW! Garner Ted Armstrong brings you the plain truth about today’s world news with the prophecies of the World Tomorrow!

(GTA): “And greetings friends, this is Garner Ted Armstrong with the good news of the World Tomorrow. World leaders admit that they are frightened, that they are engaged in a fantastic nightmare. They’re scared. They don’t know what to do. They’re wondering what is going to happen in the future and none of them really know.”

This was a typical opener for a “World Tomorrow” radio show beaming down on millions of Englishman in the Greater London area between late 1964 and August 15, 1967. This period is now somewhat notable in British broadcasting circles as the heyday of the Pirate Ships. A fascinating tale, this, of how the Armstrongs, Herbert and Garner Ted (successful radio evangelists based in America) ended up in a curious roundelay involving Her Majesty’s government in London, the BBC, some of Britain’s elite publications and a host of over-the-top radio personalities – some of whom ended up as legends of British popular culture.

This has been a very long day. Let me sign off with this good news.

I took another nap. When I awoke, I realized the suitcase I took out of the dumpster was the history of Armstrong and Radio London. I put it there in my fictional story. I got up and blogged on this connection. I found much. I found blueprints for a New Radio London and a Memorial – to be built in the future. Some say Armstrong, was CIA. They should employ my divine psychic abilities.

John 007

Astwood is today’s Culpeper Manor.

http://www.culpepperconnections.com/archives/uk/places/feckenham.htm

Chapter One

‘The Hammer and the Hand’

John Ambrose could not believe his good fortune. On his way to Safeway in his vintage 1972 Ford Truck, he noticed the gate to the grounds of KORE radio was open. Pulling over, he entered what he considered hallowed ground. It was his dream to own this radio station that had been for sale over a year. His heart began to pound when he saw workman hauling boxes out of Armstrong’s old radio station that was just sold. To John’s dismay, it was being torn down. Taking shaky steps towards the dumpster, John knew he must act. He could not stop himself from climbing the built-in ladder. Looking inside, his eyes instantly spotted the handle of an old suitcase. Before he grabbed it, he knew what this suitcase looked like. Getting a firm grip, John gave a mighty tug, and, there was debris and papers flying about him, when he heard a voice!

“Hey! What are you doing! Get out of there!”

John pretended he did not hear the command. With shaking hands, he clicked the clasps, and lifted the lid of the suitcase.

“Holy shit! John said, as he beheld the title of the manuscript………

“The Last Russian Prophecy of Herbert Armstrong.”

http://www.asecondlook.info/personal/2016-pirate-ships.htm

https://www.campaignforindependentbroadcasting.co.uk/the-world-tomorrows-version-of-60s-offshore-radio-history/

http://www.offshoreradio.co.uk/btoney.htm?fbclid=IwAR1pHDAgsqHk-pyyj4zqzQlu-2JCSCcibjIXnEVV_-vvFuwHSR3AuWDXF-0

He wrote about the hopes that had been shattered across the Middle East after Arab Spring uprisings in 2011 failed in several countries. And he wrote about governments’ efforts to imprison dissidents, block internet communication and censor the media.

He suggested the formation of a transnational media outlet – like Radio Free Europe, which was created by the United States government during the Cold War – that could be a platform for Arab writers, reporters and thinkers.

“We need to provide a platform for Arab voices,” Mr Khashoggi wrote.

“We suffer from poverty, mismanagement and poor education. Through the creation of an independent international forum, isolated from the influence of nationalist governments spreading hate through propaganda, ordinary people in the Arab world would be able to address the structural problems their societies face.”

 

Ben Toney

14th February 1931 – 10th May 2018

Ben Toney, a photo he shared on Facebook.

The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame was very sad to hear that Ben Toney, the man who programmed Britain’s first Top 40 radio station – Radio London – has died at the age of 87.

Ben Toney, a photo he shared on Facebook.

Born in Texas, Ben’s family moved to California when he was young. Times were tough – it was the great depression – and his family didn’t have much money but, at the age of eleven, he was given a present that would change his life: a radio. He fell in love with broadcasting.

Following his schooldays, Ben joined the navy. Still fascinated by radio he sometimes entertained his ship-mates by playing records to them over the ship’s public address system. After four years in the navy, he attended the University of North Texas where he was president of the Radio Club and worked part-time on the local station KZEE in Weatherford, Texas. When he graduated he joined KZEE full-time but soon transferred to country station KCUL. In 1959 he moved to KRBC in Abilene, Texas, a Top 40 station, where he worked as an airtime salesman while waiting for a DJ position to become available. When it didn’t, he was off to KJIM in Fort Worth, a station owned by actor James Stewart, but returned to KRBC when he was offered the post of Programme Director. The next stop was WTAW where he combined sales and presenting.

In August 1964 he took a phone call which would change his life. It was from Don Pierson. Don was setting up an offshore station for Britain and was looking for a Programme Director. He had asked the advice of Bill Fox owner of a station in Don’s home town of Eastland, Texas. Fox had worked with Ben at KRBC and was happy to recommend him for the position. With a good knowledge of radio programming and four years naval experience, Toney was ideal for a ship-based radio station. The two men met up and Pierson offered him the job. After thinking about it for a while, and consulting his boss, Ben decided to take it.
Don Pierson’s original plan was that Radio London would re-broadcast tapes of Dallas Top 40 station KLIF with the local references removed. Station Managing Director Philip Birch thought it should be more like Radio Luxembourg, with lots of short sponsored shows. Ben didn’t like either of those ideas. He argued that Radio London should make its own programmes – maybe three hours in duration – with each one fronted by a personality disc-jockey. By the time Radio London launched, Don Pierson had been ousted from the company and Philip Birch had come round to Ben’s way of thinking. KLIF used jingles made by the PAMS company of Dallas. Similiar jingles were ordered for Radio London.

In October 1964 the Radio London ship, mv Galaxy, left Miami. Ben was on board as it crossed the Atlantic. At that time the ship was not 100% sea-worthy and it was not an enjoyable journey. When the Galaxy docked in Madeira so that its engines could have some much-needed servicing, Ben left the ship and flew the rest of the way to London where he got busy recruiting disc-jockeys for the new station.

The initial on-air team was a mix of experience and enthusiasm: Senior DJ Tony Windsor had been a successful broadcaster in Australia; Pete Brady had been on radio in Jamaica; Paul Kaye and Earl Richmond had learnt their craft with British Forces Broadcasting; Dave Dennis had just a few months airtime behind him, having been on two earlier pirates, Radio Atlanta and Radio Invicta; and young Kenny Everett was completely new to radio. Ben sat them down to listen to recordings of American Top 40 radio he had brought with him and explained how the music rotation would work. When test transmissions began in December 1964, it quickly became apparent that the two former BFBS guys were struggling with the unfamiliar format. Dave Cash and Duncan Johnson, both of whom had commercial radio experience, were welcome additions to the team.

Singer Lulu, left, Ben Toney, and journalist (and later DJ) Anne Nightingale at the 1965 British Song Festival. Photo shared on Facebook by Ben.

Radio London’s playlist was the Fab 40, a chart which differed significantly from the official sales Top 40. For a start, the records moved up it much faster. And once they started going down, they dropped out pretty quickly too. The records in the Top 10 got played the most (two every half-hour, which meant they came round every two and a half hours). Three of the records between 11 and 40 were played each half-hour, which meant that these more lowly-positioned tracks had a slower five hour rotation. The Fab 40 frequently contained a number of records which were unique to Big L. Whereas most of the other stations followed the sales charts, Radio London always liked to champion the music it believed in. A number of groups and singers got their first taste of fame because of it.

British listeners had never heard radio like this before! The jingles, the up-front playlist, the slick disc-jockeys and, of course, Ben’s format – it was a winning combination.

Ben’s secretary in the office at 17 Curzon Street was Ronagh Clarke. A relationship developed between the two of them and they married in October 1965.
While Ben was working for Radio London, he appeared in a film alongside a number of his colleagues, singer Kiki Dee and the Small Faces pop group. Dateline Diamonds was a B-movie. In those days cinemas would often screen a secondary film, usually one made on a low budget, before the main feature and Dateline Diamonds was one of these. It went on general release with Doctor In Clover, a comedy starring Leslie Phillips. Although it has not aged particularly well, Dateline Diamonds can still be seen periodically on the Talking Pictures TV channel.

Ben’s contract with Radio London ran out in March 1966. By then the station was established as the most popular and profitable of the offshore broadcasters. The man who had originally hired him, Don Pierson, was now in the process of setting up a rival operation to house two outlets – Swinging Radio England and Britain Radio. Don asked Ben to advise him but, when it became apparent that his advice wasn’t going to be followed, he decided to return to the States. He and Ronagh set up home in Houston, Texas.

Six months later, they were back in the UK. A record plugger friend called Don Agness, who worked for Leeds Music, introduced Ben to band leader Cyril Stapleton. He had invested in Radio 270 and wanted Ben’s advice. Ben visited the ship, mv Oceaan 7, and spent some time on board. He wrote a report for Stapleton but was not interested in staying with the station as he and Ronagh had just discovered that they were expecting a baby. It was time to go home, although Ben did visit Radio 270 again the following year for some more consulting work and this time, it has been reported, he presented a few programmes on the station too.

Ben took a job with KNAL in Victoria, Texas, but he found that the radio industry in the States had changed while he had been away. FM radio was on the rise and the old AM stalwarts were in decline. From there he joined the Interstate Broadcasting Company, a new regional news network, as a salesman trying to persuade stations to take the service. Unfortunately IBC failed. Ben then took a job surveying for maritime oil deposits. It was while he was working away at sea that sadly his wife Ronagh passed away in October 1978.

He continued working but retired in February 1993 at the age of 62 to look after his sick mother. He lived in Springtown, Texas. In 2011 he wrote about his time with Big L. Extensive extracts from The Amazing Radio London Adventure can be found on the Radio London website. Ben was a regular poster on Facebook and continued to speak very fondly of his time with Radio London, and of the friends he had made there. It was the only one of his many jobs that he listed on his Facebook profile. He was obviously very proud of what he had achieved with the station – and quite rightly so. He and his colleagues had changed the face of British broadcasting.

On 6th April 2018 Ben’s daughter Raquel posted on Facebook: “To all my dad’s friends and family, you may be wondering why he is not online. He had a little fall a few days ago (nothing broken) and is in hospital getting some physio etc and will be there for a few, maybe 6, weeks. He just wanted me to let you know that he is doing fine and that he won’t be on his computer until he gets back home.” Then on 20th April: “My dad took a turn for the worse and has now been moved to a hospice. Can you please keep him in your thoughts and prayers. He has family with him and is being kept as comfortable as possible.”

Ben passed away during the afternoon of 10th May 2018 at the VA Medical Centre in Dallas. His daughter Raquel and niece Cheryl were with him at the end. Raquel posted on Facebook: “The hospital staff gave him a very moving military send off and they took care of him so well all throughout his stay there …. We really appreciate all the thoughts and prayers that you sent previously. Cheryl and I read them out to him and he really loved that. R.I.P dad. I just know you are already on that pirate ship in the sky playing top 40 and singing along.”

There is a three page tribute to Ben on the Radio London website.

Ben Toney with Johnny Dankworth and with Cleo Laine. Both pictures shared by Ben on Facebook.

 

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From the February 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

Herbert W. Armstrong was the world’s leading televangelist and one of the most prominent religious leaders of the 20th century. In 1953, his radio program The World Tomorrow began airing on Radio Luxembourg. It marked the beginning of a significant work in Britain and Europe.

In autumn 1954, Mr. Armstrong conducted his first public appearance campaign in Britain in order to speak directly to his radio listeners. About 3,000 traveled to hear him speak. In 1955 he opened the first Worldwide Church of God office outside of America in London. In 1956, after holding two weeks of public meetings, the wcg’s first congregation inside the British Isles began in London.

Mr. Armstrong was unhappy with The World Tomorrow’s broadcast schedule: The best time Radio Luxembourg offered was 11:30 p.m. Monday night, a poor time for attracting regular listeners. Radio Luxembourg’s signal was also weak and patchy in much of Britain. The Church’s growth was steady, but slow.

Then, in 1959, the Church purchased a building for a small college in Bricket Wood, near Watford, just north of London. Then the work surged. Mr. Armstrong advertised in Reader’s Digest, and the work hired three extra staff members to cope with the response. Public campaigns added many new Church members. In autumn 1960, Ambassador College-Bricket Wood opened with 33 students. The following school year, 67 students were enrolled. The year after that, the student body exceeded 100.

Finally, in 1965, a door opened for the broadcast to go out daily, at a good time slot and on a radio channel easily accessible by most of the country. Mr. Armstrong called it “the biggest news that ever happened in the history of this work.” The broadcast went out on Radio London, a “pirate” radio station off the coast of southeast England. Soon, more of these “pirate” stations were added. Mr. Armstrong estimated that 7 to 8 million people were listening to the program via these stations.

The college helped the work expand to Europe. During the 1960s, offices opened in several countries including Germany, France and Switzerland, with staff largely made up of Bricket Wood graduates. Advertising campaigns were conducted across Europe.

But Mr. Armstrong’s time on daily radio was short-lived, lasting only 2½ years. In 1967 the British Parliament outlawed these “pirate” radio stations, and the World Tomorrow broadcast stopped.

In July 1971, the wcg began the newsstand program. Plain Truth magazines were distributed on stands for people to pick up and read, first in England and then across the world. By the summer of 1972, 70,000 copies of the Plain Truth were going out each month on newsstands. By 1973, more than 400,000 people in the UK were receiving the Plain Truth.

Due to costs and other considerations, however, the Bricket Wood college campus had to be closed. The last-ever Bricket Wood class graduated in May 1974. The newsstand program across Britain and Europe was canceled. The sudden disappearance of the Plain Truth from newsstands across the country was so dramatic that the British press wrote about it.

Later, however, Mr. Armstrong revived the work in Britain. Plain Truth subscription hit a new peak in 1984.

Do you remember the work of Herbert W. Armstrong? The Philadelphia Church of God has picked up the mantle that was dropped after his death in 1986. The Trumpet reports on world news in light of biblical prophecy, using the Plain Truth as its model—but with greater urgency because of the shortness of the time. In the Key of David program, presenter Gerald Flurry follows in Mr. Armstrong’s footsteps (visit keyofdavid.com). Herbert W. Armstrong College has just opened a new campus in England to resume the labor that ceased with Ambassador College-Bricket Wood’s closure. There is much work to be done in a short amount of time!

Church, State and the Pirate Ship Saga

By Neil Earle

Radio Caroline was the first of the offshore “pirate ships” beaming into Britain, though the idea had been tried off California and elsewhere in the 1930’s.

(Jingle) “Radio London reminds you: Go to the Church of your choice.”

(Pause)

(Announce, loudly): “THE WORLD TOMORROW! Garner Ted Armstrong brings you the plain truth about today’s world news with the prophecies of the World Tomorrow!

(GTA): “And greetings friends, this is Garner Ted Armstrong with the good news of the World Tomorrow. World leaders admit that they are frightened, that they are engaged in a fantastic nightmare. They’re scared. They don’t know what to do. They’re wondering what is going to happen in the future and none of them really know.”

This was a typical opener for a “World Tomorrow” radio show beaming down on millions of Englishman in the Greater London area between late 1964 and August 15, 1967. This period is now somewhat notable in British broadcasting circles as the heyday of the Pirate Ships. A fascinating tale, this, of how the Armstrongs, Herbert and Garner Ted (successful radio evangelists based in America) ended up in a curious roundelay involving Her Majesty’s government in London, the BBC, some of Britain’s elite publications and a host of over-the-top radio personalities – some of whom ended up as legends of British popular culture.

The genius behind the pirate ship idea was the offshore positioning of creaky vessels and the occupation of abandoned World War Two-era sea forts as staging platforms to beam in the music millions in “swinging England” craved. As covered earlier, Radio Luxembourg had represented the first crack in the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) exclusive monopoly over radio broadcasting in Britain. But on March 28, 1964, from a 763-ton vessel propelled by a 1,000 h.p. diesel engine off England’s southeast coast came the jived up sounds of Radio Caroline, broadcasting on 199 metres. Radio Caroline was the first of the offshore “pirate ships” beaming into Britain, though the idea had been tried off California and elsewhere in the 1930’s. 1

This British version of “offshore radio” was the brainchild of Irish entrepreneur Rohan O’Rahilly. O’Rahilly soon had competition from another swashbuckling entrepreneur named Alan Crawford. Both men came to the same conclusion about radio at the same time. An arrangement was made whereby Radio Caroline, now called Radio Caroline North, steamed to a position five miles off the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea while Crawford’s 470-ton Mi Amigo became Radio Caroline South, perched off the Essex coast. A Texas businessman named Don Pierson soon got into the act and set up Wonderful Radio London that Christmas, 1964.2

The assault was on. What tart British journalist Christopher Booker dubbed as “the farce of the pirate radio stations” had begun.3

Farcial only because of the nearly three year battle that soon ensued between the British Government and the “pirate ships,” as they were soon dubbed. Though the official term was “offshore broadcasting” there was just enough “nuts to the Establishment” tone embedded in the talented tonsils of deejays Simon Dee, Robbie Dale, Kenny Everett, and others to bother Harold Wilson’s Labour Government no end. “Some tastes are worse than wild” Lord Sorenson complained in the House of Lords. The House of Lords no less! Pop music and trendy D.J. patter in a pseudo-American style wafted onto an island population seeking relief from some of the BBC’s stuffier productions. “I can’t understand the Government’s attitude over the pirates,” Beatle George Harrison declaimed in an interview. ”Why don’t they make the BBC illegal as well. It doesn’t give the public the service it wants, otherwise the pirates wouldn’t be here to fill the gap.”4

Politics and Religion

Perhaps the “quiet Beatle” had missed the point. Not only had American religious broadcasters rushed in with their programming – from The Lutheran Hour to the Seventh day Adventist’s Voice of Prophecy – but concerns were being raised in parliament about the political nature of the matters being discussed along the blue yonder.5 Though there was never direct evidence in Hansard, the official record of British Parliamentary Debates, the indirect evidence is compelling that Garner Ted Armstrong may have been a particular thorn in the flesh. A December, 1966 Good News article by Charles Hunting, then Business Manager for the RCG’s United Kingdom operation, reported on the tug of war between the pirate ships and Her Majesty’s government, with “The World Tomorrow” often caught in the middle. “The Last Battle for Britain” was the hyperbolic, but not unreasonable in terms of broadcasting, title. Charles Hunting’s centerpiece was a quote from an editorial appearing in The Guardian, one of Britain’s most prestigious dailies. The writer may have got to the nub of the issue:

One reason why the Government got shifting over radio pirates was the threat of new pirate stations pouring out political polemic instead of perpetual pop. That seems to have been forestalled, but MPs are starting to take an interest in the pronouncements of one Garner Ted Armstrong, an American evangelist… who brings “news of the World Tomorrow.” News mostly about fundamentalist religion, but news too of political trends. One recent broadcast said that Britain was about to scuttle out of Gibraltar as a result of American pressure.6

Ouch! Ted was never averse to treading on Whitehall’s toes. In some ways as a red-blooded banjo-playing American he reveled in twisting the lion’s tail. Slightly up-tight Britain was never his favorite place to visit, though he admired the stalwart British character. So it came to pass that he was pleasantly surprised and bemused to hear his own voice coming out of several car radios one evening in the middle of Picadilly Circus. Interestingly, Dr. Scott Lupo, presenting on the Armstrongs at academic conferences in England in the 1990’s, found former British listeners turned academics remembering The Plain Truth’s dire warnings against the Common Market evolving into a future danger for Britain.7 Diverse audiences decode diversely. Broadcast scholar Eric Gilder even suggests on his web site that the Armstrongs received funding from the CIA in order to keep Britain out of Europe and safely pro-American. This is certainly untrue but…in popular culture decodings take place on multiple levels.8 In the event, typical British suspicion of Americans definitely affected the way GTA’s message was being received.

Ted’s days as “Captain Outrageous” in well-targeted Britain would be numbered but not before substantial inroads had been made into British thinking-man’s culture. The faceless bureaucrats across the Channel did make a tempting target for red-blooded Brits fearful of becoming perpetual Little Englanders in Europe’s shadow. The result? Guardian editors in sympathy with an irritating American orator – good heavens!

Thus tweaked, the British lion turned this challenge from the ether into a minor comic opera of sorts. The BBC’s supporters in parliament tried to turn the screws:

April 27, 1967: M.P Mr. Faulds asked the Secretary of State: “Will he amend the ‘Representation of the People Acts’ to give him power to proceed against persons who broadcast political propaganda from illegal radio stations.” Answer: “The Postmaster General has already done so.”

May 11, 1967: Faulds was back: “This is the first time that this country has been subjected to a stream of misleading propaganda from outside our territorial waters. I do not think that this is a matter for jokes.”

June 1, 1967: Sir C. Osborne counters: “Why should pirate radio stations be denied free speech on political matters?”9

Official harassment began. The Government Post Office (GPO) cut off Caroline’s ship-to-shore telephone. The Foreign Office lodged a protest with the government of Panama, where the Caroline was registered. The Times was suitably indignant. M.P.s fulminated. British audiences, however, were distinctly unamused. They rallied to the pirates from the beginning, especially the youth. “Within weeks,” wrote Booker, “a Gallup Poll provided the evidence – the Caroline was already rivaling Radio Luxembourg in popularity with around 7 million radio listeners.” Radio Caroline spawned a host of imitators – Radio 270, Radio Scotland, Radio 370, and five others. Roger Lippross, now a California resident after serving as the church’s publishing representative, was enchanted. He had remembered the distinctive Armstrong voice from Radio Luxemburg in the 1950’s when his father had forced him to burn RCG (Radio Church of God) booklets and other “American propaganda.” Now Radio Caroline North beamed into his home between Blackpool and Liverpool and the young pre-press expert was hooked.

Today he looks back and reminds us: “It was actually illegal to be listening to pirate radio!”

Tuned-in Britain

The struggling Radio Church of God in Britain was quick to eye this strategic opportunity. With the appearance of off-shore radio, Ambassador College executives in England could dream of saturating the British Isles with “The World Tomorrow.” A fascinating spin-off is the fact that for all the Armstrong media dominance in the United States and Canada, some of the most insightful appraisals as to their impact on 1960’s culture would come from irreligious, slightly-jaded Great Britain. Great Britain – where radio broadcasting was state-controlled even down to the 1980’s.

How did it happen?

Charles Hunting’s article traced it to the chance meeting of two old friends on a London street in late 1964. One of them was the advertising representative for “The World Tomorrow” in England. His friend was selling radio time on a new radio station due to soon start broadcasting off shore. The Good News reported:

A hurried conference was arranged with the station manager and Mr. Herbert Armstrong flew in from the United States. It was a difficult and tense situation! Although The World Tomorrow was one of the world’s largest buyers of radio time…a very sensitive situation developed. The station wanted to get away from the staid, rather dreary broadcasting format that was the normal bill of fare for British listeners. They wanted to project a new radio image – alive, fast-moving, totally musical-type programming. Talking programs were “out!” Educational-type programs were “out!” Religious programs were totally unacceptable!10

But HWA with his blood well up was hard to refuse, as Charles Hunting reported. “After two conferences with Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong and four-and-a-half hours of conversation, they were ‘in’ and probably the most costly single commercial radio contract in history was signed. Now, all stations have accepted The World Tomorrow program.” This was not an exaggeration. Robert Chapman and other sources mention “The World Tomorrow” and “Herbert W. Armstrong’s Radio Church of God” as the largest advertiser on the pirate ships.11 Edward Smith’s detailed notes of Bricket Wood Bible Studies and Church Services are eloquent on that score. Church leaders of that era were worried about cost overruns, as much of the money was coming from the United States churches.12 The Pirate Ship venture was proving expensive but, just as in America, the radio broadcast was a tremendous boon to the Work in Britain. Charles Hunting measured the sweep of that dramatic surge. “Just twenty short months ago [writing in 1966] there was no broadcasting of the World Tomorrow in England, and no possible hope of any,” he intoned,” Today, with the exception of a very few areas, the entire nation has access to the program.”

Access indeed!

Throughout 1965 and 1966 responses to the pirate ships dramatically pushed the WCG’s work ahead in Britain. The Bricket Wood office received about 135,000 letters in 1965 alone. This meant the addition of some 53,000 people to The Plain Truth mailing list – the church’s life blood. The 1966 Envoy reported that British Mail staggered away with sixty-five tons of PT subscriptions! By the end of 1965 there had emerged a total of nine WCG churches across the British Isles, servicing some 900 people. Festival attendance figures were always a primary index of church growth. It was thus exhilarating to report that Britain’s festival attendance zoomed from 1532 in 1965 to 3350 in 1972. As early as the June, 1965 Plain Truth editor Herman Hoeh was suitably ecstatic if a little hyperbolic about potential audience:

From the estuary of the Thames River “The World Tomorrow” can now be heard on Radio London by millions all over southern England at 8 o’clock in the evening. It booms in over London as a local station. And from the Irish Sea, Radio Caroline North beams the gospel over the British Isles daily at the same time – 8 p.m. Never in all history has there been anything like it. The potential listening audience of these two superpower stations broadcasting from ships at sea, is a condensed, concentrated 55 million people! The British Isles are, in area, only about the size of the southern half of California…yet more than 55,000,000 people are condensed in that little area.13

“Rare Sincerity”

By 1967, the growth of the British churches, fueled by the phenomenon of nationwide broadcasting, was impressive. Even more encouraging was the obvious impact of the radio program on the British Isles as a whole. Even faster than in the United States, Garner Ted Armstrong became virtually a household name almost overnight. Charles Hunting’s December, 1966 Good News report recorded a high-profile evaluation of “The World Tomorrow” from a leading medical journal. A letter to the editor penned in elegant style the listener’s pique at the seemingly indecent haste of the British Postmaster General (PMG) to ban the pirate ships:

The sudden urgency on the part of the PMG to ban “pirate” radio stations interests me. Is it because of the threat of an extra recruit allegedly about to broadcast political propaganda?…A type of propaganda is already being broadcast from private radios. Every day a remarkably attractive and compelling American orator, one Garner Ted Armstrong, puts over some extraordinarily healthy views to millions of listeners. His “plain truth” doctrine, under the generic title The World Tomorrow, always delivered with rare humor and sincerity, contains material which may well vex certain MPs [Members of Parliament] of all parties.

“Rare humor and sincerity” – a telling phrase. Garner Ted’s dramatic flair and yen for rhetorical “cut and thrust” could be quite appealing to the British temperament, American accent and all! “Heavy irony is always appreciated more in England than America,” says Roger Lippross “and Ted was almost fatally addicted to good sarcasm.” Some of his irreverent one-liners – “You could get yourself killed in a peace march,” “We can destroy the world fifty times over when once would be quite enough,” “What’s Lent? Something that sticks in your navel?” – took on legs. More highbrow listeners enjoyed the RCG’s tweaking of the accepted liberal myths of the 1960’s. That was one level. On another, worried Anglican parishioners could enjoy Ted’s witty sallies against evolution. Scoffing at evolution was particularly controversial in England, the home of Charles Darwin. Ted’s verbal Molotov cocktails were embedded even in the booklet titles he advertised over the air – the irresistible “A Theory for the Birds,” “Some Fishy Stories.” Then he would pause dramatically as a staged afterthought: “I think they call it evil-ution in England.” Or he might ask coyly: “Is it significant that the most popular idea for the origin of the universe is described as a huge cloud of gas?”

Rare humor had always been a Ted Armstrong stock in trade. But what were those “extraordinarily healthy views”? This phrase underscores just how much of a “broad text” of the popular culture the Armstrong radio insurgency had become. The upscale British listener continued his analysis:

For example, he advocates proper and reasonable discipline for children; deplores the “new morality;” is saddened by Britain’s decline as a world power; does not care for “weirdoes;” assaults sentimental Christianity as being against Bible teaching; is horrified by Britain’s obsession with gambling; considers that granting independence to unready countries is a mistake – and so on. Is this the real reason for the new drive to stop that voice as well as less attractive sounds?14

There was even subdued comedy “in house.” Herbert Armstrong with his dander up was often entertaining to watch, especially if you were well out of range. He decoded the controversy in an altogether different way. His Midwestern law and order proclivities were outraged at the mention of the phrase “pirate ships.” Pirate ships? “Pirate ships?” HWA was always ready to fulminate on the subject even years later: “They were not pirate ships!” he would protest to no-one in particular. Years later in the USBC booklet he was still settling scores. “They were not illegal! They violated no law of man,” he wrote. “But the British authorities called them ‘pirate’ ships. They were not pirates. They were not marauders…They harmed no one. But most governments of man would like to control what their people hear or do not hear.” As was not unusual, HWA’s hearers would glance down politely at the floor to hide slightly concealed smiles. In some ways this predictable Amstrong pique at Whitehall and its ways would be a rhetorical dress rehearsal for the far greater strife with the state of California in the next decade. In 1967, however, the British government was indeed able to bring pressure to bear to squelch the offshore broadcasting in the form of the Marine Broadcasting Offenses Act, to go into effect August 14, 1967. This was not, it turned out, a happy moment for the British churches. But for a while the Armstrong radio onslaught had thrown sedate Britain for a loop.

A Frenetic Summer

The implementation of the Marine Offenses Bill effectively ended the Worldwide Church of God’s radio insurgency in the British Isles. Bricket Wood Bible Studies and Sabbath services were replete with updates on this last-ditch “Battle for Britain” as the intensely mission-driven WCG put it. Elder Ed Smith’s detailed notes from the messages delivered to the headquarters congregation give some of the flavor of that frenetic summer with Pirate Ships, the Six Day War, WCG expansion into the Middle East and “end-time fever” all jumping around in the hopper:

May 5, 1967 – Good comments about HWA’s broadcast about sex. Many letters from teenagers. John Butterfield (head of Ambassador College Press) visited a printing seminar and spoke to groups of young people who had heard “The World Tomorrow” broadcast. An amendment is under way in parliament to suspend the Marine Offences Bill until BBC offers some suitable replacement. Radio Caroline vows to carry on regardless (Charles Hunting).

May 6, 1967 – Our new office being furnished in Jerusalem. The Marine Offences Bill to be raised in the House of Lords on Monday for its third reading before it goes back to the House of Commons to become law (Ronald Dart).

May 12, 1967 – Last night the first “World Tomorrow” television program broadcasted since 1955 – in USA on Channel 22; meanwhile new mail from radio ships up to 892 letters this week – third highest total ever. Radio London has the best reception; Radio Scotland heard in Glasgow… and coming through loud and clear (Charles Hunting).

May 20, 1967 – John Jewell, Mail Receiving Department head, will be going to Nicosia to assist in establishing a new office in Cyprus (Raymond McNair).

May 26, 1967 – Now nearly six weeks since Mrs. Armstrong died. New mail from radio ships now reached 897 letters this week. Only Radio 390 broadcasts once a day – all other ships twice daily (Raymond McNair).

May 27, 1967 – Middle East situation could blow up very soon, foul up God’s Work there. Remember Radio 390 and the ship situation in prayers (Raymond McNair).

June 2, 1967 – This week in U.K. the new mail from radio ships was above 1000 letters – the second highest response. Breakdown was: Radio London, 253 letters; Radio Caroline, 225; Radio 355, 190; Radio 390, 189, etc. There are only a few years left. Time has come for Israelis to take over the Temple site (Raymond McNair).

June 3, 1967 – Exciting news: entire Bricket Wood Chorale (the college choir) to be sent to Pasadena next January. Troubled situation in the Middle East – our advertising man, Milt Scott, has backed out; Stanley Rader also. We have perhaps four and a half years to go (before January, 1972); this world reeling in its corruption won’t be here in ten years; London won’t be here unless saved by God’s mercy (Herbert Armstrong).

June 10, 1967 – HWA has received many letters about Mrs. Loma Armstrong’s good example; Israelis will be building a temple very soon; perhaps only four more Ambassador graduations to go (Hebert Armstrong).

June 16, 1967 – Ship stations being allowed to carry on until BBC introduces a replacement; God had TV, radio and the press invented for the use of his church and no other purpose; God has warned the people through HWA and GTA (Hebert Armstrong).

June 23, 1967 – GTA in Texas; wife Shirley just had a still birth with normal labor but lost this little girl at five and a half months; they had hoped for a little daughter. HWA conferred today with Jordanian government representative Adli Muhktadi – “World Tomorrow” will now begin on Amman radio on July 1 (short wave and medium wave); HWA fells sympathy for King Hussein and the Jordanians; every penny they receive (from WCG) will be allocated to help Palestinian refugees; Jordanians look with favor on the Work of God (Herbert Armstrong).

July 1, 1967 – Pray for situation in Palestine; our broadcast due today on radio Amman; don’t get careless because of the Postmaster General’s latest dictum – a reprieve from banning the ship stations till September (Raymond McNair).

July 7, 1967 – The WCG’s broadcast named in the Sunday Sun newspaper; the article suggested that religion could save the North Sea radio pirates since their people could survive on “Church of God” revenues; “The World Tomorrow” has been the big financial backing behind these ships (John Portune).

July 15, 1967 – The ship stations due to be thrown off the air on August 15; all expect to end their transmissions by midnight, August 14. God can continue to hear our prayers and keep these stations open. Two new offices now established (Cyprus and Jerusalem); pray for safety of Mr. and Mrs. Raymond Dick and family; new office opening in Mexico City.

July 22, 1967 – Mr. Robert Boraker (Letter Answering Department, U.K.) back from seven months in Pasadena; speaks on crisis of Mrs. Armstrong’s sickness yet Mr. Armstrong very concerned about Mrs. Boraker’s health battles; Mr. Armstrong very lonesome in the evenings without his wife; a call for a further church day of fasting (re. pirate ship legislation) this week (Robert Boraker).

July 28, 1967 – Radio 390 off the air for good; their last message goes out tonight at 5:10 PM, closing with the national anthem; Radio London is also through; Radio Caroline will be on until August 15; feel a sense of loss as a part of the Work is shut down (Charles Hunting).15

A Bang Not a Whimper

The WCG’s pirate ship venture expired in fighting style. Edward Smith was in Belfast for the Sabbath of August 5, 1967 to hear local pastor James Wells report that Radio Manx on the Isle of Man will keep broadcasting. The next week, in Glasgow church, pastor Colin Adair passed on the news that the previous week was a record week for mail in the WCG’s British operation. People sough frantically to receive a Plain Truth subscription before the doors closed and 1119 of them wrote to the Bricket Wood office. The official tally went as follows:

Radio 355 – 367 letters

Radio London – 282 letters

Radio Caroline – 271 letters

Radio Scotland – 97 letters

Radio 270 – 63 letters

Radio 390 – 32 letters

Radio Manx – 6 letters

“People are hoping for an alternative to the pirate ships,“ Colin Adair commented to his congregation. “They will feel lost without the broadcast. People are very sorry at the loss of the stations. They are pleading for us to stay on.” The next week at the weekly Bricket Wood Bible Study, Raymond McNair cited a London Daily Mail headline, “Ban Silences Radio God,” a direct slap at “The World Tomorrow.” This echoed the previous week’s article in the London Observer referencing the “Pirate Radio Church of God.” As had and would occur in the United States, Herbert Armstrong’s media efforts were often underscored in counterpoint. Nevertheless, the Daily Mail and the Observer were respected British institutions. In their apparent glee at the Armstrong’s demise they were perhaps pointing up the impact the church was having in those tumultuous years. Meanwhile, one Letter to the Editor in the Daily Mail, lamenting the broadcast’s disappearance was headlined: “Final Link With Sanity Has Been Broken.”

Echoes of the pirate ship insurgency did remain, even four decades later. On September 28, 2003, a tongue-in-cheek obituary in the London Sunday Times satirized a BBC Radio 4 report announcing the passing of “one of religion’s best-known and best-loved voices.” Writer Paul Donovan asked: “What? Was Radio 4 going to say something nice about Garner Ted Armstrong, the American evangelist who believed Anglo-Saxons were one of the lost tribes of Israel and whose apocalyptic sermons on ‘The World Tomorrow’ went out for years on the North Sea pirate ships and another 300 stations worldwide?” The answer was, as expected, in the negative but a reflection, nevertheless, of one writer’s cultural memory. The February 5, 2005 Liverpool Echo Flashback, taking a look back at popular radio’s history of abundant variety, opined: “Religion was not forgotten either. At 11:30 P.M. each night the strident voice of American evangelist Garner Ted Armstrong would ring out telling us he was ‘bringing Christ to the nations.’”

Popular culture artifacts sometimes achieve a kind of lasting notoriety, as the fascination over Elvis Presley attests. As broadcasters, the Armstrongs were, in their way, unforgettable. The pirate ship era is remembered in WCG (now GCI) folk memory as one of the seminal periods of church growth in Great Britain. The ghost of the pirate ships themselves still haunt the air waves through the continuing adventures of Radio Caroline and the teasing suggestion on pirate web sites that the Labour Party’s defeat in the 1970 U.K. election could be traced to the loss of precious 18-year-old votes. These new teen voters chose to protest their government’s shut-down of one of the symbols of the Swinging Sixties. “God moves in mysterious ways” the British poet Edward Cowper had written. Thus, even in 1967, Charles Hunting could be philosophical about it all. As the WCG (U.K.) CFO he mentioned in the August 25 Bricket Wood Bible Study that the bill for the radio broadcasts in just one month came in at $65,000 – “a considerable sum: in Edward Smith’s phrase for the Britain of 1967. But one the church was more than willing to pay at the time.

(ED. – Excerpted from an unpublished manuscript “Blow the Dust Off Your Bible: Herbert Armstrong and American Popular Religion” by Neil Earle.)

1 “Radio Caroline,” Wikipeida.org/wiki/Radio_Caroline (5/3/2007)

2 “Wonderful Radio London,” Wikepdia.org/Wonderful_Radio_London (5/4/2007)

3 Christopher Booker, The Neophiliacs, page 236.

4 George Harrison quoted in “Disc” magazine, Ray Coleman interview, August 6, 1966.

5 Robert Chapman, Selling the sixties: the pirates and pop music radio (London: Routledge, 1992), page 189.

6 Charles F. Hunting, “The Last Battle for Britain,” The Good News (December, 1966), pages 8, 21.

7 Scott Lupow, personal communication, January, 2006. The teaching of a United Europe as allegedly foreshadowed in Revelation 17 and becoming the instrument of Britain’s demise was an Armstrong standard.

8 Eugene Michel, the WCG’s “Mr. Accounting” for many years, cheerfully dismisses this suggestion as he does the theories of support from Howard Hughes or H.L. Hunt (personal interview, May 8, 2007).

9 Hansard, General Index, Sessions 1966-67 (April 18, 1966-October 27, 1967).

10 Charles Hunting, The Good News (December, 1966), pages 8, 21. Most WCG details flow from this article.

11 Robert Chapman, Selling the sixties, page 188; “The Pirate Radio Hall of Fame,” http://www.offshoreradio.co.uk/djse2h.htm (5/3/2007).

12 Edward Smith, private communication, October 26, 2006.

13 Herman L. Hoeh, “And Now ‘The World Tomorrow’ Broadcast Blankets British Isles,” The Plain Truth (June, 1965), page 23.

14 Charles Hunting, page 21.

15 Edward Smith, personal communication, October 26, 2006. WCG (U.K.) quotes that follow from here.

The Radio Church of God, later the Worldwide Church of God was not only a religion, it was a also a geo-political movement whose teachings were buried within a religious context.

The overseas broadcasts seemed to follow the strange establishment of CIA client stations such as “Radio Swan” (later called “Radio Americas”) which played a key role in the Bay of Pigs invasion. This station has a well documented history tied to the CIA. The same is true of stations like “Radio Tangier International” in Africa, and his Russian language broadcasts from “Radio Monte Carlo”.

C.I.A. threat assessment file

Yet it is the “Radio Luxembourg” and “Radio Caroline North”, “Radio 270”, “Radio Scotland”, “Radio 390” and “Wonderful Radio London” broadcasts that are most interesting because they represented the US interests in developing Europe as a single entity. The French under de Gaulle advanced the idea of a United States of Europe” having similar powers to the United States of America, while the USA and the UK advanced the idea of a United Europe as a single trading block that would be tied to the USA. Armstrong’s broadcasts and supporting literature had a history dating back to pre-WWII in which he warned that a United States of Europe would eventually defeat both the UK and USA with a person similar to Adolph Hitler as its leader. This is thoroughly documented in both the recordings of his broadcasts and his literature. In fact before WWII ended Armstrong thought that the USA would lose and when it actually won, he immediately began predicting that a USE would arise from the ashes and try again. His dire warnings predate even the earliest of the Benelux agreements for trade in iron, steel and coal.
-From Wiki Talk on “Herbert W. Armstrong”

From AR 48:

The FBI Files on the WCG

Have you ever wondered what information on the WCG might be found in the files of the FBI? Kentuckian Gene Bailey has. And his curiosity prompted him to contact FBI offices around the country to request copies of their files on the WCG under provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA,” 5 USCA Sec. 552).

Unfortunately, while the FOIA seems to hold out much promise for investigators, utilizing it can be time consuming. Bailey has had to wait well over a year to receive the first release of documents since his initial request. And utilization of the FOIA is not without financial costs. The FBI has charged Bailey plenty just for photocopying and he has also incurred attorney’s fees. Furthermore, the FOIA does not really make all government held information accessible. The FOIA provides numerous loopholes or exceptions whereby the government may withhold information at its own discretion. For example, the government may withhold information when it feels its release would jeopardize an ongoing investigation, national security, or the concealment of a confidential informant. The government may also withhold information which it feels impinges on a living citizen’s privacy rights. Where files contain information about a living individual, the government generally will not release that information without the individual’s permission. Thus, in order to get the FBI’s files on Joseph W. Tkach, one would have to obtain Tkach’s written permission. Bailey has written to Tkach requesting such permission, but “The Apostle” never responded or cooperated in any way.

In spite of the numerous exceptions and restrictions built into the law, Bailey has discovered much by utilizing the FOIA. For instance, the FBI’s office in Los Angeles has admitted that they have seven main files pertaining to Herbert W. Armstrong and two main files pertaining to the WCG. One of those files originated in and was coordinated by the FBI’s Atlanta office. Other filed investigations were reported to FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C.

So far, the FBI’s Los Angeles office has given Bailey 72 pages of information. Most of those pages are heavily censored with blacked-out sections. The Los Angeles office also informed Bailey that they are withholding 164 pages of information in their entirety. The FBI has not even hinted what those 164 pages contain.

In addition to the Los Angeles office, other FBI offices have files on the WCG. The FBI’s Washington, D.C. office has informed Bailey that their office has about 500 pages of information about HWA and the WCG. There is an additional 112 pages dealing with Ambassador College, the Plain Truth, the World Tomorrow, and Stanley R. Rader. The government originally told Bailey he should have all the documents he requested by March. But they have now informed him that it will take another three to four months for the government to decide how much, if any, of the remaining files can be released. The government has stated that the large file on HWA is designated as “classified” for national security reasons. Whether or not it will be declassified and released to Bailey remains to be seen.

It is not surprising that the FBI should have taken an interest in HWA. While we were never able to verify the allegation, it was rumored for years that certain members of HWA’s entourage were smuggling illegal drugs into the U.S. by concealing the powdery substances in sealed canisters of World Tomorrow video tape and in the bulkheads of the WCG’s corporate jet.

But Bailey has learned from the FBI that other federal investigative agencies have had files on the WCG. Those agencies, the FBI said, include the Air Force’s Special Investigations Office and the Central Intelligence Agency. Regarding the latter, one CIA employee told Bailey that after each meeting with foreign leaders during the 1970s and early 1980s Herbert Armstrong and his Jewish attorney-accountant Stanley R. Rader had probably been debriefed by the CIA and that there would be files on those debriefings. But now, however – months after being told by the government that the CIA had files on the WCG – Bailey has been told by the CIA that no such files can be found!

In addition to contacting numerous federal agencies, Bailey has written to the secretaries of state for the 50 states in an attempt to ascertain exactly who the corporate agents of record are for the Worldwide Church of God, Inc. and the Church of God, International, Inc. in each of the separate states. As a result, Bailey made some startling discoveries. In a number of states, the agent for both the WCG and the CGI are the same individual – a current WCG minister. In one case the agent listed for the CGI was never in the CGI headed by Garner Ted Armstrong and is now deceased. For Minnesota, there are two agents listed for CGI: an individual who is no longer in either CGI or the WCG, and Ralph Helge who is actually the chief attorney for the WCG. Even more curious is the fact that in some states (Utah, for example, in a state filing dated April 19, 1982) the list of CGI directors includes the names of such WCG luminaries as Ralph Helge, Ellis LaRavia, and Raymond McNair and their addresses are all listed as 300 West Green Street, Pasadena, California. It is difficult to fathom what possible excuse can be given for the maintenance of such legal confusion. Certainly one has to suspect some kind of chicanery is involved. While we reported back in 1978 (AR 6) how the WCG was trying to tie up the name “Church of God, International” so that Garner Ted Armstrong’s new church would be inconvenienced, since then GTA’s Tyler, Texas organization has clearly become known everywhere as “the Church of God, International.” With WCG people in Pasadena still registered as doing business under the same name it is quite conceivable that property left by will to Garner Ted’s CGI could eventually wind up in one of Worldwide’s CGI shells.

Bailey is continuing his investigations and says he hopes that by mid-September all his requests for documents from the various government agencies he has contacted will be processed. He also says he would be willing to provide a photocopy set of all those documents to anyone who will send him enough to cover his printing and mailing expenses. Ralph Helge has already sent in a check. Those interested should write to: Gene Bailey, P.O. Box 1144, Nicholasville, KY 40340-1144. However, Mr. Bailey emphasizes that at this time he has no way of knowing exactly how much information will be contained in the government files yet to be reviewed. It may turn out that very little will be released.

Hopefully, within four months we will have had a chance to look over those documents ourselves. We hope to provide our readers with a synopsis of their contents in a future issue of Ambassador Report.

HWA Remembered (Part IV)

One of the most intriguing aspects of the life of Herbert W. Armstrong was his frequent visits with the heads of state and/or top leaders of many nations: Israel (very often), Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, India, Nepal, Singapore, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Kenya, Thailand, South Vietnam, the Philippines, Japan, Belgium, Spain, Austria, West Germany, Great Britain, Romania, and Communist China.

Because HWA met with such communist leaders as Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania (in October 1971) and Deng Xiaoping of China (on Nov. 7, 1984), some have speculated that HWA was a communist sympathizer. There is not the slightest evidence that HWA was ever sympathetic to communist ideology. But whether he was sympathetic to the way totalitarian communist regimes actually operate is another matter.

HWA never hid the fact that he did not believe democracy to be God’s form of government. In this regard, it is interesting to note HWA’s long friendship with Leopold III of Belgium. According to the WN (Feb. 10, 1986, p. 2), Leopold was instrumental in arranging many of HWA’s meetings with heads of state. But unknown to most Worldwiders is the fact that Leopold, a staunch Roman Catholic, had been forced to abdicate his throne in 1950. The underlying reason was that Leopold had surrendered Belgium to the Nazis in 1940 and had refused to flee the country to set up a Belgian government-in-exile in France or England. He spent most of the war in Germany. One international relations expert told AR, “Deep down Leopold was really a f——- fascist.” After Leopold died, his widow presented HWA with the Cross of the Veterans of King Leopold (WN, May 13, 1985, p. 1).

Because HWA was meeting regularly with powerful world leaders it is not surprising that the CIA would have taken an interest in HWA. During the Cold War years the CIA, not unlike the KGB, made extensive use of members of the clergy as sources for information. A prime example is the CIA’s use of many in the Roman Catholic Church’s hierarchical priesthood as informants in Western and Eastern Europe. The CIA would have been only too happy to have used HWA in a similar way.

But was HWA being used for more than just information gathering? Over the years, many noticed that in a number of cases, after HWA visited a country, that country’s government would fall or there would be a major change of leadership. Examples: Ethiopia after HWA visited Haile Selassie, the Philippines after HWA visited Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, India after HWA visited Indira Gandhi, and Egypt after HWA visited Anwar Sadat. (Some even recall how HWA was to have met with Allende of Chile but Allende was overthrown and killed – with CIA help, many say – shortly before HWA was to go to that country.)

Because of the above coincidences (and perhaps because Rader was reported to have had friends in the White House during Republican administrations beginning with Nixon), some at WCG headquarters kidded that HWA or someone close to him was somehow being used by the CIA to bring down governments. While the idea sounds like something out of a spy novel, such a theory should not be dismissed out of hand.

It will be interesting to see if the CIA ever finds its file on HWA’s travels or if the FBI ever releases its large Washington file on the WCG.

From the Exit & Support Network:

Herbert W. Armstrong, along with his wife Loma, were very active in international governmental affairs following the United Nations (UN) first meeting held in San Francisco in 1945. Not only was Armstrong involved with the League of Nations, he, too, had a vested interest in the Security Council of the UN. Armstrong’s penchant for hobnobbing with the elite and power-hungry may have stemmed from his earlier rebelling Fascist days with the Ku Klux Klan, but his proclivity to center himself amidst the world’s most controversial Communist dictators proved to be his greatest asset during his later years. Armstrong’s intimate association with Communist leaders from countries such as Japan, Arab nations, Israel, Philippines, South Africa and Chile, among others, largely surrounded covert “one world government aspirations.” We now discern Armstrong’s activities with the “ecumenical agenda” of “one world religion.” He often boasted about his many speaking engagements with the Kiwanis Clubs, Rotary Clubs, Lions Club, Knights of Columbus and other Catholic organizations. Few, however, realized Armstrong was actively and secretly supporting what he so overtly preached against to the small flock that financially supported his nefarious adventure-few, that is, with the exception of the ministers and evangelists who are currently engaged in the Worldwide Church of God cover-up. Armstrong states in his autobiography, Vol. 2, pg. 113, that he attended Catholic mass at the first United Nations meeting in 1945. Why didn’t thousands of followers see through the duality of agenda and conflicts of interests throughout the six decades? Didn’t the hierarchy of the multimillion-dollar corporate empire see through the hypocrisy? Or were the bulk of “God’s ministers” actually part of the big “Aryan” lie?

The Ecumenical Movement apparently was on Herbert W. Armstrong’s agenda from the start of his international Communist propaganda printing business. The WCG archive chronicles the duplicitous activities escalating throughout the 1960s into the 1970s. The ESN has received several cogent testimonies indicating very strong ties between Stanley R. Rader and Vatican interests. Certainly this seems contradictory to Stanley R. Rader’s Jewish background, but as the data continues to surface, the strong Catholic and papal WCG ties will be clarified. The WCG literature is brimming with telling articles related to what we now know to be the NEW AGE, or Ecumenical Movement. It would have been difficult for insiders to discern any pro-ecumenical stand with WCG, as the inside teaching propagated the Catholic Church as the whore and beast power of Revelation. We find on pg. 15 and 16 of the 1974 Good News magazine, an array of pictures with Herbert Armstrong; Stanley Rader, Legal Counsel, and Osamo Gotoh (the overseas campaign director, and head of Ambassador College Asian studies). The article chronicles Armstrong’s visit with President Marcos in Manila. A caption describes the pictures:

“On arrival at Manila Airport, Mr. Armstrong is presented with a lei. A government highway patrol car and motorcycle escorts Mr. Armstrong’s party from airport to hotel. Mr. Armstrong, guest of honor at Kiwanis Club luncheon, is presented bronze plaque. Mayor of Manila presents Mr. Armstrong with the key to the city. Mr. Armstrong speaks at the Knights of Columbus.”

The article goes on to say:

“Mr. Armstrong spoke before over 200 members of the Knights of Columbus and the Daughters of Isabella at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. In the evening he was honored dinner guest, along with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and an Associate Justice, at the home of former Philippine vice-president Lopez.

“Mr. Armstrong traveled north to Angeles City to visit Angeles University, where an honorary doctor’s degree in humanities was conferred upon him. Mr. Armstrong spoke to the assembled crowd concerning the missing dimension in education.”

Why would Herbert Armstrong receive an honorary Ph.D. from a Catholic University? Why would he engage with the Knights of Columbus Catholic organization? Why would he and his ministers preach one belief and act on another? What was going on here? Do the evangelical allies supporting Tkach myths know the answer?

Angeles University was opened in 1962 by Dr. Barbara Angeles in the Philippines.

Herbert W. Armstrong befriended many international “dignitaries” that were later exposed for horrific crimes. We strongly question if it was just coincidental that Armstrong and Rader consumed over 300 days a year during the 1960s and 1970s, intermingling with corrupt leaders involved with intelligence agencies, the Mafiosi, drugs, money laundering, pornography, arms weapons, and associated criminal activities. As we continue to delve further into Armstrong/Rader/Gotah history and compare it to international events, facts should continue to clarify events and associations.

 

Rader turned the WCG into a proprietary company for the C.I.A.


A letter at the Exit & Support Network reveals even more:

Herbert W. Armstrong and His Communist Friends:

March 5, 2006

Around 1985 or 1986, I remember viewing a film at the Feast of Tabernacles where HWA was showing off the Pasadena campus to Armand Hammer. HWA was bragging to Armand about what he had accomplished and kept saying, “Not bad, eh?” Armand’s father, Julius, co-founded the American Communist Party and Armand laundered money for the communist government and was involved in pro-Soviet activities. I recently read that Armand was considered “an accomplice of every Russian leader from Lenin to Gorbachev.” It always bothered me that Herbert Armstrong and Armand were friends. That made me suspicious. –H. N., Former WCG member

Comment: HWA also met with other communists; i. e., Alger Hiss at the first United Nations meeting in San Francisco, 1945. Read this part in HWA’s November 24, 1967 letter to Plain Truth subscriberswhere he boasts about how Alger Hiss signed his entry pass into that meeting. Also see the 5-29-07 letter: “HWA Used Mein Kampf as a Guide in Controlling People” which tells about HWA, Armand Hammer, and Alger Hiss.

Read more HERE

About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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