Lawyers You’ll Like: Bill Schapp
Attorney William Schapp graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1964 and has been a practicing lawyer since. Bill specialized in military law and practiced in Asia and Europe. He served as the editor in chief of the Military Law Reporter in Washington for a number of years. In the ’70’s and ’80’s he was a staff counsel of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York City. In the late ’80s, he was an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York, where he taught courses on propaganda and disinformation.
Attorney William Schapp:
One of my first cases at this big Wall Street firm, they had some outside counsel working on it, one of whom was David Lubel, and Dave Lubel, who I think had been a recruiter for the Communist Party in his youth, was always good at spotting somebody who was worth recruiting. He started to tell me there was this convention of this lawyers’ group.
It was the 1967 National Lawyers Guild convention in New York. He dragged me to one event. I met Bill Kunstler, I met Arthur Kinoy, I met Victor Rabbinowitz. I’d been on Wall Street for a year or two. I said I didn’t know there were lawyers like this.
- I joined the same day and met Bernadine Dohrn, and a few weeks later she called me and said, we need your help.
- She said, you gotta defend a bunch of Columbia students. The next thing I knew the riot started at Columbia and she said you have to go down there and defend them.
- I signed up to be staff counsel on the National Lawyers Guild Military Law Project in Okinawa, Japan.
- When you work overseas in that kind of a climate with the military, you learn a lot fast about American imperialism.
- Once you learn that, you learn about the CIA.
- That led us to originally working on Counter Spy magazine and then on Covert Action Quarterly.
- The original purpose was to expose the CIA. We worked with Lou Wolf who is an expert in uncovering CIA agents in US embassies, not through any classified documents but because if you knew how to read the paperwork and State Department things, you could tell who are the “ringers.”
- We were so successful that Congress passed a law against us.
- Our goal was to make these people ineffective, because the only way most of the CIA officers could work, particularly the ones that were assigned to an embassy, was to have to pretend to be something else.
- They were all third assistant political secretaries and those were all phony things. Their job was to finagle their way into various community organizations in whatever foreign capital they were posted, to recruit people to turn against their own countries and become traitors to their own countries, to become spies for the U.S.
- We thought if we identified these people, it might make their job a little bit harder, which it did.
- Of course, the problem with that is the government said we were trying to get them killed, which we weren’t trying to do, and nobody we did expose ever did get killed.
- Philip Agee had been an adviser to Counter Spy. Counter Spy folded when Welch got killed, cause the pressure was too much, We later started Covert Action Quarterly.
- He was not the person discovering who the undercover people were; Lou Wolf was doing that.
- Phil wrote articles for us in every issue and we worked very closely with him.
- Once you start exposing these things, they really don’t have any defense.
- They tried to catch us in something phony. We would get tips that would turn out to be CIA trying to get us to print some story that wasn’t true, so they could then discredit us.
- We had more interference from the government when we were doing military law work, before Covert Action Quarterly.
- They would plant bugs in our attic in Okinawa, things like that.
- The Intelligence Identity Protection Act has 2 parts. One makes it a crime for someone in the government who has classified information to reveal someone’s identity. The second part makes it a crime to reveal the identity of someone you did not learn from classified information or you position.
- Regarding the newsletter Lies of Our Times – it was in the 90s, from 1990 to 1995, I think. To a certain extent, the abuses we were crying out about got a little bit better over time because that’s sometimes the helpful result of that kind of exposure.
- We were just tired of people thinking that if it was in the New York Times it must be true.
- The fact is that those people lie all the time.
- I think we’ve gotten to a point where people recognize that the government lies to them and that there’s an awful lot that goes on that they don’t know.
Guest – Attorney William Schapp graduated from the University of Chicago Law School in 1964 and has been a practicing lawyer since. Bill specialized in military law and practiced in Asia and Europe. He served as the editor in chief of the Military Law Reporter in Washington for a number of years. In the ’70’s and ’80’s he was a staff counsel of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) in New York City. In the late ’80s, he was an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York, where he taught courses on propaganda and disinformation.
In addition to being a practicing lawyer, Bill was a journalist, publisher and writer specializing in intelligence as it relates to media. He was the co-publisher of the magazine Covert Action Quarterly for more than 20 years. He also published a magazine on propaganda and disinformation titled Lies of Our Times. He has written numerous articles and edited many books on the topic of media and intelligence.
A Panel Discussion: Militarization, Domestic Spying, and the Boycott of Israel
We hear a presentation by David Swanson of New Yorkers Against the Cornell-Technion Partnership (NYACT). David Swanson is working to organize a movement to end war at WorldBeyondWar.org. His books include War Is a Lie. He blogs at davidswanson.org and warisacrime.org.
Recorded by Deep Dish TV