On April 21 federal marshals seized the Washington, D.C., area offices and froze the bank accounts of Fusion magazine and The International Journal of Fusion E ergy, both published by the Fusion Energy Foundation, a LaRouche affiliate. The day before, a federal judge had secretly signed an order placing the foundation, along with three other LaRouche affiliates, into involuntary bankruptcy. Lawyers for the groups say the organizations were financially sound.
In a news conference after the raids, U.S. Attorney Henry Hudson acknowledged that the seizures were a "somewhat extraordinary remedy" but said they were necessary to ensure payment of $21 mil lion in fines levied by a Massachusetts grand jury that had indicted two LaRouche organizations on charges of credit card fraud. A federal judge had cited the four LaRouche affiliates for contempt of court for failing to provide subpoenaed documents to the grand jury.
"We supplied just about every thing the grand jury asked for," said Carol White, a longtime friend of LaRouche's and editor-in-chief of Fusion. Both publications had issues in press but, without access to offices or funds, have suspended publication.
White said that LaRouche, who is on the board of directors for both magazines, has no role in the daily operations of Fusion, which was founded in 1976.
"This is a government vendetta—political censorship of LaRouche's ideas. None of our creditors chose to put us into bank ruptcy—only the government," White said. LaRouche and his followers advance theories about Soviet conspiracies and international drug trafficking involving such people as Henry Kissinger and Queen Elizabeth.
Dennis Szybala, Hudson's assistant, said he would "prefer not to comment" on the case. Requests for interviews to numerous other federal officials involved in the matter went unanswered.
Fusion magazine is published six times a year in German, French, Japanese, Spanish and English and is aimed at a lay audience. The International Journal, described as a scholarly magazine, is published four times a year in English. Both publications champion nuclear energy but also report on AIDS re search, the strategic defense initiative and various space programs.
Bostick, who said he is not a member of any LaRouche organization, believes "the Department of Justice wants to crush the magazines before they publish information which could send quite a few officials of the department to jail." He would not elaborate. He acknowledged that "Fusion can be very one-sided at times," but added, "that's not grounds for pre venting it from being published."
That view is shared by Stephen Dean, a former manager of the Department of Energy's magnetic confinement fusion division and now president of Fusion Power Associates, a Gaithersburg, Md., industry interest group. "I have every copy of Fusion ever published," said Dean. "It's probably the best source for the layman on fusion energy concepts. The articles are well-researched and well-written."
Dean said Fusion was argumentative and flamboyant, and that scientists in the fusion community were reluctant to express support for the magazine because of its "association with the devil, LaRouche." But he said the government's actions are "a gross abuse of the legal system—a violation of due process."
Also concerned, but less sure of the facts, are officials of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Society of Professional Journalists. Mark Frankel, head of the AAAS Office of Scientific Freedom and Responsibility, has sent copies of Fusion articles to a number of scientists for their evaluation and is reviewing the legal materials in the case.
Meanwhile, in mid-June a federal district judge refused to dismiss charges against the LaRouche organizations. The case will now go to trial, but attorneys say they are having trouble with jury selection because of the heavy publicity the case has received.