Arizona politics greatly influenced by former associates of Bronfman, Lansky
By Michael Collins Piper — AFP
SELF-STYLED REPUBLICAN “reformer” John McCain is right now positioned as one of the top figures in the race for the GOP presidential nomination. But one thing about McCain that the mass media chooses not to report is his family connection to the organized crime-connected interests that have run the state of Arizona (through both major political parties) since at least the 1940s.
To understand McCain—in particular his devotion to the interests of Israel—it is necessary to recognize the little-known fact that the powerful Bronfman family empire, based on its Seagram’s liquor fortune and its controlling influence over the Time-Warner media conglomerate, has been the primary behind-the-scenes force dominating Arizona politics.
While the Bronfman family first came to power in Montreal in the 1920s under Sam Bronfman, a foremost partner of U.S.-based organized crime chieftain Meyer Lansky whose so-called “Mafia” henchmen peddled Bronfman liquor in the United States during Prohibition, the current head of the family, Edgar Bronfman, spent many years as president of the powerful World Jewish Congress.
The Bronfmans, along with the Rothschilds of Europe, the Oppenheimers of South Africa, and Armand Hammer of the United States—all patrons of Israel and the global Zionist network—constituted what has been dubbed the “Billionaire Gang of Four.” But the Bronfman family has emerged as the virtual royal family of American Zionism, and their tentacles reach far and wide throughout the United States through a vast array of holdings little known to the public.
One particularly famous Texas-based mob functionary, nightclub keeper Jack Ruby, for example, is known to have actually been a lieutenant of the Bronfman family (a point that has often been lost or suppressed in the legends surrounding Ruby’s ties to organized crime). And it is known—although again not mentioned by most JFK assassination “researchers”— that Ruby was a key player in a Texas-based network smuggling arms (stolen from U.S. military installations) to Israel, the Bronfman empire’s favorite foreign nation.
Aside from that historical digression, the fact (relevant to our review of John McCain) is that McCain’s home state of Arizona has long been under Bronfman control.
While most Americans perceive Arizona as a paradise of cowboys, cacti and wide-open spaces and a conservative stronghold independent of the corruption and intrigue found in the big cities like New York, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles, Arizona ranks right up alongside the great crime capitals. That status can be traced directly to the influence of the Bronfmans.
The Bronfmans are the “godfathers” behind the political career of John McCain.
In 1976 a crusading Phoenix reporter, Don Bolles, was murdered by a car bomb after writing a series of stories exposing the organized crime connections of a wide-ranging number of well-known figures in Arizona, including one Jim Hensley. Five years later “Honest John” McCain arrived in Arizona as the new husband of Hensley’s daughter, Cindy. “From the moment McCain landed in Phoenix,” according to Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity, “the Hensleys were key sponsors of his political career.” But the people behind the Hensley fortune are even more controversial.
McCain’s late father-in-law was the owner of the biggest Anheuser-Busch beer distributorship in Arizona—one of the largest beer distributors in the nation. But the mainstream media has had nothing to say about the origins of the Hensley fortune that financed McCain’s rise to power. The Hensley fortune is a regional offshoot of the big-time bootlegging and rackets empire of the Bronfman dynasty.
McCain’s father-in-law got his start as a top henchman for Kemper Marley, who, for 40 years until his death in 1990 at age 84, was the undisputed behind-the-scenes political boss of Arizona. But Marley was much more than a machine politician. In fact, he was also the Lansky crime syndicate’s top man in Arizona, the protege of a Lansky lieutenant, Phoenix gambler Gus Greenbaum.
In 1941 Greenbaum had set up the Transamerica Publishing and News Service, which operated a national wire for bookmakers. In 1946 Greenbaum turned over the day-to-day operations to Marley while Greenbaum focused on building up Lansky-run casinos in Las Vegas, commuting there from his home in Phoenix. Greenbaum, in fact, was so integral to the Lansky empire that he was the one who took command of Lansky’s Las Vegas interests in 1947 after Lansky ordered the execution of his own longtime friend, Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, for skimming mob profits from the new Flamingo Casino.
Greenbaum and his wife were murdered in a mob “hit” in 1948, their throats cut. The murder set off a series of gangland wars in Phoenix, but Marley survived and prospered.
During this time Marley was building up a liquor distribution monopoly in Arizona. According to Marley’s longtime public relations man, Al Lizanitz, it was the Bronfman family that set Marley up in the liquor business. In 1948, 52 of Marley’s employees (including Jim Hensley) went to jail for federal liquor violations—but not Marley.
The story in Arizona is that Hensley took the fall for Marley and, upon his release from prison, Marley paid back Hensley’s loyalty by setting him up in the beer distribution business. That beer company today, said to be worth $200 million, is what largely financed John McCain’s political career. The support from the Bronfman-Marley-Hensley network was integral to McCain’s rise to power.
The attorney who handled Hensley’s legal defense, forging the deal that set in motion Hensley’s windfall (that now benefits McCain), was William Rehnquist, who later became chief justice of the United States, later to be joined on the court by one of his own former girlfriends from Arizona, Sandra Day O’Connor. The one-vote margin on the Supreme Court that handed the presidency to George W. Bush following the 2000 election debacle might be considered a product of the “Bronfman bloc.”
McCain’s father-in-law had also dabbled in the dog racing business and he expanded his family fortune further by selling his dog racing track to an individual connected to the Emprise Corp., run by the Buffalo-based Jacobs family.
The Jacobs family was the leading distributor for Bronfman liquor smuggled into the United States during Prohibition and controlled the “spigot” of Bronfman liquor pouring into the casks of local gangs that were part of the Lansky syndicate. Expanding over the years, buying up horse and dog racing tracks and developing food and drink concessions at sports stadiums, the Jacobs family’s enterprises were once described as being “probably the biggest quasi-legitimate cover for organized crime’s money-laundering in the United States.”
While John McCain himself cannot be held personally responsible for the sins of his father-in-law, the fact is that this “reformer” owes his political and financial fortunes to the good graces of the biggest names in organized crime. Today, the Las Vegas gambling industry is among McCain’s primary financial benefactors. This brief overview is just the tip of the iceberg but it does say much about McCain and the political milieu that spawned him, particularly in light of McCain’s front-line position as one of Israel’s leading congressional water-carriers.
Doing Israel’s bidding is a McCain family tradition. Following Israel’s 1967 attack on the USS Liberty, resulting in the murder of 34 Americans, McCain’s father, Adm. John McCain, was one of the key players inside the U.S. Navy helping cover up the deliberate nature of Israel’s savage attack. “Like father, like son” clearly means something when it comes to the McCains.