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If the Tea Party Weren't Bad Enough, Here's Rev. Moon(ie)

If the Tea Party Weren't Bad Enough, Get Prepared for the Return of Rev. Moon(ie)

Bill Berkowitz
August 2, 2011

If you're planning to attend, or tune in and watch the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Gangwon Province, South Korea in 2018, be aware that one of the biggest financial beneficiaries of those games will be the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his Unification Church, although it is fair to say that the Reverend, now 91, may not be around to reel in the profits.

Last month, I was at a friend's home for lunch and sushi dominated the takeout fare. Not particularly liking sushi, and being the party pooper that I am, I mentioned the fact that the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church was heavily involved in the world sushi market. "Who," the well-educated younger folks seated around the table wanted to know, "is Rev. Moon?"

Trying to recap more than 50 years of Moon-ness is like having Tolstoy's War and Peace made into a classic comic book.

It's practically impossible to get a handle on the whole thing, but here are some things that come to mind:

• Potential members recruited off college campuses by nefarious means;
• CAUSA International, Moon's anti-communist operation;
• The tax evasion scheme that cost Moon 18 months in prison in the 1980s;
• Support for Richard M. Nixon during Watergate and his close relationship to the Reagan administration and the Bush family (http://www.consortiumnews.com/archive/moon.html);
• Ownership of News World Communications, his international news operations which has included the conservative daily Washington Times and United Press International, as well as publications in a number of foreign countries;
• Large financial contributions to keep Jerry Falwell's Liberty University afloat;
• A myriad of front groups that draw in all sorts of powerful religious and political leaders;
• Financial incursions into the black community;
• Well-publicized and predictably arena/stadium mass marriages;
• Support for Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan's Million Family March in Washington DC;
• His coronation as the "king of peace" in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in March 2004, where Moon called himself the Messiah and claimed that his teachings have helped Hitler and Stalin be "reborn as new persons"; and,
• A number of major business operations, including computers and religious icons in Japan, seafood in Alaska, ginseng in Korea, huge tracts of land in South America, a recording studio and travel agency in Manhattan, a horse farm in Texas and a golf course in California;

2018 Winter Olympics in Korea

One long-time Moon watcher told me in an email that "Moon doesn't do anything that is not tied to the rest of the plan," and in the case of the 2018 Olympics, it is clear that "all the profits that accrue to Tongil Business [Group] goes to support church activities i.e. support the promotion of Moon in his role as the Messiah."

The Week reported that "According to the Korean Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade, the Olympics could bring in as much as $27 billion, while the Hyundai Research Institute estimates that it will inject $61 billion into the economy, factoring in investments, spending, and increased consumption. In Thursday trading, shares in South Korean construction firms and resort companies surged by as much as 15 percent."

After it was determined that Korea would be getting the games, Japan Today reported that "South Korean president Lee Myung-bak promptly announced the nation would invest the equivalent of 40 billion Japanese yen into upgrading facilities."

The magazine Asahi Geino reported that the Yongpyong Ski Resort, which will host some of the events, has close ties with the Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity, aka the Unification Church.

"The church is the largest shareholder of the Yongpyong ski resort, with 49.9% of shares," says Yoshifu Arita, a well known investigative journalist and currently a member of Japan's House of Councilors. "In addition, the Segye Ilbo newspaper founded by the church [called Sekai Nippo in its Japanese edition] owns another 12.59%.

"In other words, for all intents and purposes, the resort is owned by the Unification Church. In books and other church publications, the hotel, condominiums, ski slopes and other facilities are introduced as 'sacred territory.' The site has also been the venue for 'special training seminars' attended by Japanese church members, at which ... Moon ... participated."

The YongPyong Resort - owned and managed by the Unificationist Tongill Business Group -- is called "The Mecca of winter sports" on its website, has "hosted the World Cup Ski Competition in 1998 and 2000, as well as the Winter Asian Games in 1999." In 2018, it will be hosting the alpine downhill and slalom skiing events.

With the awarding of events of the 2018 Winter Olympics to the Moon-owned ski resort, Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church is back in the news, sort of. Ever since the brouhaha over who would be running the Washington Times and which of the Moon children would be heading the rest of his business empire kind of died down, we haven't heard much from the 91-year-old Moon, who also likes to be known as the True Father, Messiah, King of America, etc.

Sushi, guns and the True Father/Messiah

According to an April 2006 report in the Chicago Tribune, a Moon-run operation called True World Group "which builds fleets of boats, runs dozens of distribution centers and, each day, supplies most of the nation's estimated 9,000 sushi restaurants."

In a 1980 speech titled "The Way of Tuna," - during which he called himself "king of the ocean" -- Moon said: "I have the entire system worked out, starting with boat building. After we build the boats, we catch the fish and process them for the market, and then have a distribution network. This is not just on the drawing board; I have already done it."

And there is Kahr Arms, Moon's Worcester, Massachusetts-based gun-making company that is now run by his son, Kook Jin Moon. "I see an irony, if not hypocrisy, that someone who professes peace and says he's completing Jesus's work also manufactures for profit an implement with no purpose other than killing people," Tom Diaz, author of Making a Killing, a book critical of the firearms industry, told the Washington Post in 1999. "What's the message, turn the other cheek, or lock and load?"

In late-July, the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence announced a settlement in a 2002 wrongful death suit in which Kahr agreed to pay the family of Danny Guzman, who was killed, and Armandoi Maisonet, who was wounded, nearly $600,000, in a shooting involving a gun allegedly stolen from the company.

In mid-July Kahr announced that it - along with its sister companies Auto-Ordnance (AO) and Magnum Research (MRI) -- would be sponsoring a TV series called "Student of the Gun," which, according to AmmoLand.com, "will give viewers a detailed look at all sorts of firearms and their uses and training applications." (The show is carried on the Pursuit Channel, available to all Direct TV and Dish Network customers.)

As John Gorenfeld, author of King of America (formerly titled Bad Moon Rising) has pointed out, "Years ago, Moon was widely considered a dangerous madman, the next Jim Jones. He inspired TV specials with names like "Escape From The Moonies." His cult separated college students from their families, persuaded them to take to the streets by the hundreds to sell flowers and underwrite Moon's mansions and yacht. So completely did they surrender to Moon that he even assigned them spouses at fabulous stadium weddings."

Another veteran journalist I asked about Moon's relevancy in the second decade of the twenty-first century, pointed out that while "Moon is clearly not as important as he once was, partly because of his age and partly due to the divisions in his empire, he still writes very big checks for the Washington Times and other right-wing propaganda operations. How significant his benefit from the Korean Olympics will be is another question."

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