The Dark Side of Rev. Sun Myung Moon
Part 8, Rev. Moon & His 'Green Card'
By Robert Parry
Rev. Sun Myung Moon received his status as a U.S. "lawful
permanent resident" nearly 25 years ago, during President Nixon's administration,
according to a Justice Department document recently released under a Freedom
of Information Act request.
In a letter dated April 7, 1975, James F. Greene, then deputy
commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, listed the date
when Moon obtained his "green card" as April 30, 1973. But it
was unclear from the released document whether Moon received any preferential
treatment from the Nixon administration.
By 1973, Moon already was a controversial figure. The South
Korean theocrat was under public criticism for brainwashing impressionable
young Americans who were recruited into Moon's Unification Church. Moon
also was raising INS concerns by bringing hundreds of foreign followers
to the United States on tourist visas and then assigning them to mobile
But Moon was making himself useful to the Nixon administration
by organizing support for the Vietnam War and later for Nixon's defense
against the Watergate scandal. Moon's pro-Nixon activities led to a face-to-face
White House meeting between the South Korean and the besieged U.S. president
on Feb. 1, 1974.
Though the Justice Department released no documents about
how Moon gained his resident alien status, Nixon did have a history of assisting
political patrons with immigration problems. According to Seymour Hersh's
The Dark Side of Camelot, Nixon received a $100,000 bribe from Romanian
industrialist Nicolae Malaxa, a Nazi collaborator who moved to the United
States in 1946. Nixon battled to gain preferential treatment for Malaxa
so he could stay in the United States, which Malaxa did until his death
in 1972. Hersh reported that the Central Intelligence Agency had a copy
of the $100,000 check made out to Nixon.
According to a 1978 congressional investigative report on
the "Koreagate" influence-buying scandal, "Moon had laid
the foundation for political work in this country prior to 1973 [though]
his followers became more openly involved in political activities in that
and subsequent years." The report added that Moon's organization used
his followers' travels to smuggle large sums of money into the United States
in apparent violation of federal currency laws.
That flow of money helped transform Moon into possibly the
U.S. conservative movement's most important source of financial support.
Since the early 1970s, Moon has poured billions of dollars into conservative
causes, including an estimated $100 million a year to subsidize the daily
Washington Times newspaper. Moon's organization also funnelled money to
many conservative political figures, including Rev. Jerry Falwell and former
President George Bush. [See The Consortium series last year.]
According to other Justice Department records released under
FOIA requests, Moon's legal alien status has protected him and his movement
from government investigations into their sources of money and other legal
Though eligible for citizenship in 1978, Moon never became
a U.S. citizen. Then, about two years ago, frustrated by the apparent decline
in his church's membership, Moon began denouncing the United States as "Satanic"
and reviling Americans as individualistic. In 1996, Moon moved his base
of operation to Uruguay.
Nevertheless, Moon has not renounced his "green card,"
according to U.S. officials familiar with his case. ~
Robert Parry is a veteran investigative reporter, who broke
many of the Iran-contra stories in the 1980s for The Associated Press and
Newsweek. Robert Parry's latest book is Secrecy & Privilege: Rise
of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq. It can be purchased at
It's also available at
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