Digging Into Turkey’s Attempted Coup

Digging Into Turkey’s Attempted Coup
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

On July 15th, the government Turkey survived a coup attempt that sought to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As a member of both the United Nations and NATO, an ally in the conflict seeking to defeat ISIS, and with a bid for acceptance into the European Union on the table, faraway Turkey became an instant concern to the West. The unrest especially drew attention because of Turkey’s proximity to the land currently possessed by the Islamic caliphate ISIS.

The government Turkey survived a coup attempt that sought to unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, pictured above. (Image by Government of Chile [CC BY 3.0 cl], via Wikimedia Commons).

What happened in Turkey clearly stems from its early 20th century moves away from militant Islamism. For 600 years, the Islamic Ottoman Empire ruled the region from which it launched several attempts to conquer Europe. Perhaps the most famous of these was the naval battle at Lepanto in 1571 when an outnumbered fleet of Europeans defeated the Islamic foe. Other forays by Islamic forces met defeat at Vienna and Belgrade. This series of setbacks led to several centuries of a most welcome live-and-let-live policy by the Islamic world.

After World War I, in which Turkey participated, a more modernized nation began to take shape. Determined Islamists bristled under the leadership of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, who became Turkey’s leader in 1923. The term “Ataturk,” meaning father of Turkey, is an addition to the name of the country’s leader who is greatly revered by more secular Turkish Islamists. A Muslim himself, Ataturk relaxed but didn’t destroy the Islamic hold on the nation. His rule had always angered some who resented the acceptance of numerous Western ideas and values for their country.

In 2014, a more determined follower of Islam, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, won election as the nation’s president. The July 15th coup, led by those who preferred Ataturk’s ways, sought to erase numerous trends and revisions in Turkish life. But quick action by Erdogan and his followers overwhelmed the less militant Muslims in the military and many other posts within the nation. In a matter of days, Erdogan’s followers accomplished firing 9,000 police officers and 21,000 educators. They suspended 21,000 schoolteachers and either detained or suspended 10,000 soldiers, 2,700 judges and lawyers, 1,500 university deans, and 1,500 of the government’s finance officials. Added to this upheaval, the government shut down more than 100 electronic and print media outlets and instituted censorship over other suspected adversaries of the government. President Erdogan had quickly demonstrated his determination to reemphasize Islamic practices as he put an emphatic stop to the modernization of the past century.

Turkish officials blamed the attempted coup on Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Islamic cleric who has lived in self-imposed exile in the United States for the past 15 years. The Erdogan government calls his followers in Turkey the Gulenist Terror Organization (FETO). Gulen has emphatically denied having any role in the failed coup, but the Erdogan government has demanded his extradition from America. He remains – for now – at his home in Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, the Turkish government has enraged secular Turks by canceling some celebrations honoring Ataturk while commemorating past Ottoman victories and celebrating the birthday of Mohammed.

It seems completely correct to believe that Turkish Islamists led by President Erdogan have gained more power because of the incident and their success in quashing it. Erdogan has reached out to some of his adversaries in hopes of calming fears, but Turks who wanted modernization – and they include freedom from some of the Islamic-style strictures seen in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere – are the losers. Will there be more unrest generated by those who want a return to Ataturk’s ways? Only, time will tell. But Turkey is now in the hands of a more regimented government that has gained more power by severely putting down the forces behind the failed coup.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Another Turkey Coup Attempt: Will it Affect Us?

Another Turkey Coup Attempt: Will it Affect Us?
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

The nation of Turkey sits in Western Asia. That is, most of it. A small part of Istanbul, the great city in Western Turkey (formerly Constantinople), can be found across the Bosphorus Strait that separates Asia from Europe. This European portion of Turkey (a mere three percent of the nation’s land area) is geographically and even culturally part of Europe.

Flag of Turkey (image by David Benbennick (original author) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons).

A charter member of the United Nations (membership since 1945), Turkey also became a member of the NATO alliance as far back as 1952. A huge U.S. air base sits in the Asian part of the nation. In addition, Turkey has applied for membership in the European Union. Therefore, what happens in Turkey is of great concern to the West, certainly including the United States.

Turkey has experienced several coup attempts in recent years (1960, 1971, and 1980). Each failed and each sought to increase the secularization of the nation. The latest attempted coup d’état during July 15-16 failed almost immediately. After a surprising absence in the early hours of the plot, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan emerged and reasserted control. Immediately, the government forces captured several thousand military personnel along with an equal number of judges. Some commentators labeled the coup a failure through ineptitude. But others have speculated that Erdogan engineered the short-lived event in order to centralize and increase his power.

Turkey is at least 95 percent Muslim; some claim that the figure should be 99 percent.  Without doubt, yearning exists among a small percentage of the people for a more Westernized style of living. But Islam rules, not as strictly as in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and elsewhere, but a dominant force nevertheless. Erdogan himself is a relatively strict follower of Mohammed. Suspicion has arisen that he engineered the plot so it would quickly fail and, while being put down, provide him an opportunity to increase his power and send a message throughout the nation not only that he is solidly in control, but that Islam and many of its controlling strictures would continue to prevail, even grow tighter.

Over the years, military forces within Turkey have become a sort of watchdog or guardian of a partial secularization of the nation. Hence, a more committed Muslim such as Erdogan would surely seize any opportunity to water down, even eliminate, such a challenge to Islam’s power. Ergodan’s allies have claimed that Fethullah Gulen, an exiled Turkish cleric living in Pennsylvania, engineered the coup. Gulen immediately denied having any role whatsoever. But Ergodan has asked the U.S. to extradite Gulen to face charges back in Turkey. Is such a request real? Or has it emerged to help cover up Ergodan’s creation of the now-failed plot that will undoubtedly result in an increase in his power and more dominance by Islam.

Three years ago in Egypt, the military rose up and, in a lightning coup d’état, deposed elected president Mohammed Morsi, a strict follower of Islam. That country went from rule by increasingly dominant Islamists to a more westernized secularism under the generals. Turkey seems to have undergone exactly the opposite transition as a result of the recent coup attempt. How Erdogan deals with the judges and military personnel he has in custody will indicate how deeply Islam will rule in the future. Meanwhile, ISIS in next-door Syria and Iraq looks northward to Turkey to see if help in achieving its draconian goals will be forthcoming from its nearest neighbor.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Slovakia’s Leader Takes a Turn as Head of the EU Council

Slovakia’s Leader Takes a Turn as Head of the EU Council
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

In the wake of the British vote to leave the European Union, Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia took over as President of the European Council. Starting July 1, he will hold that rotating post for six months, followed by another head of state from one of the remaining 27 EU member countries.

Prime Minister Robert Fico of Slovakia took over as President of the European Council (image by MGlen (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons).

Fico has always been an ambitious politician. In the 1980’s when his country (then part of Czechoslovakia) was under Communist rule, he joined the Communist Party. After the so-called “Velvet Revolution” and the end of formal Communist rule, and before Slovakia and the Czech Republic split, he left the Communist Party and won election to the Czechoslovakian parliament in 1992. When Slovakia became independent, he wrangled with fellow political leaders, suffered several setbacks, and eventually formed his own political party that saw him win election as Prime Minister in 2006. After a brief period out of office, voters returned him to the nation’s top spot in 2012.

Cheered by the Brexit result and an outspoken foe of forced immigration into his country, Fico has stated, “Islam has no place in Slovakia; they change the character of a country.” He has pointed disdainfully to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s willingness to accept roughly one million refugees, many Muslims among them. He is well aware of the ruckus raised as a result of this influx into Germany by an angry German population.

Everywhere in Europe, the Brexit result spurred an increase in outspoken objections to immigration. Fico certainly knows this and is responding to that attitude, exactly as should be expected of an ambitious politician. Just prior to Britain’s move to quit the EU, he notified EU heads of state that the Council’s customary “informal” gathering at which he will preside will convene in Bratislava in September, not in Brussels where it usually convenes. The leader of Britain will not be invited to attend.

At the September EU Council meeting, the leaders of the remaining 27 EU states will discuss attempts to diminish the clout of the European Commission, a more powerful body than the EU Council, where decisions increasingly rile member nations. “Brexit brings a new dynamic,” said a Slovak official, an attitude quickly spreading throughout Europe after the shock wave from Britain. Fico himself has stated, “Crucial decisions in the future of Europe cannot be decided by a small group of member states,” a reference to EU decision-making by the six founding countries.

The key matters contributing to the British anti-EU stance – forced immigration, dictation from Brussels, and national independence – are felt all over Europe. They will surely be on the agenda at the Bratislava meeting. Robert Fico’s handling of the conference, and the attitude of other leaders in attendance, will reveal whether the future will bring a crumbling of the EU, or a salvaging of the pact despite the damage inflicted by British voters.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


World Government Promoters Punched by Brexit

World Government Promoters Punched by Brexit
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Nationhood is good. World government is bad. Read about an early try at world government in Genesis and know that God Himself intervened to prevent it. Genesis further shows that God set people apart by inducing various languages which led to them starting nations.

The vote by the British people to exit the European Union is good because it restores elements of their nation’s sovereignty many of which had eroded over past decades. United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, a leader in the Brexit campaign, jubilantly and significantly stated that June 23rd should henceforth be known as “Britain’s Independence Day.”

The main issues impelling the people to vote “Leave” were immigration, arrogant dictation from Brussels, and restoration of independence. In 2015 alone, Britain took in 330,000 migrants, an enormous influx that swayed a huge number of voters. Veteran London Times columnist Philip Collins, a supporter of the “Remain” minority, angrily offered his opinion: “This was a referendum about immigration disguised as a referendum about the European Union.“

With a hard-won 52 to 48 majority, the people of Britain said that 53 years of membership in the pact was enough. Most had been persuaded that their country had signed a promising trade arrangement. It was certainly sold that way, not only o Britain, but to the other formerly independent nations who have joined. There was always some British skepticism about what they joined, a cautious attitude that kept their leaders from adopting the Euro currency. Even pro-EU Britons didn’t want to replace the pound with the Euro.

Over in Brussels, EU leaders now worry about rising antipathy toward the pact in France, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Hungary, and elsewhere. A total of 28 nations had signed on to the arrangement that began a step-by-step and deceitful accumulation of power beginning in 1952 when only six nations formed the European Coal and Steel Community. This early arrangement later adopted the name European Economic Community. Britain joined in 1973, the year the pact dropped some of its pretenses by omitting the word “Economic” and subtly indicating its ultimate political goal with the new name, “Economic Community.” By 1991, six more nations joined and the group’s name became European Union.

In a burst of honesty during his 2000 visit to Britain, former USSR dictator Mikhail Gorbachev glowingly described the EU as “the new European Soviet.” His remark created worries for many. Some in Britain began to fear losing their country while arrogant rule from Brussels took increasing control over lawmaking power. In 2003, Christopher Booker and Richard North issued their comprehensive book “The Great Deception,” capably tracing the lies given to the British people about the EU. Then, in 2004, this writer received a letter from an official of the UKIP stating, “The EU was sold to the British people as a ‘trading agreement’ and has turned into a ‘Political Union’ which is changing our laws and traditions.” That summed up the growing British awareness about what was happening.

A few weeks before the June 23rd referendum, a meddling President Obama visited Britain to urge the people to choose staying in the pact. At one point, he angered many by stating that should the vote to leave the EU prevail, Britain would have to go to “the back of the queue” for any UK-US trade agreement. He is credited with helping the “Leave” proponents gain more votes.

Back in 2003, the EU sought to impose a new Constitution on member nations. It openly and repeatedly stated overall subservience to the United Nations. When voters in France and Holland rejected this Constitution, the steps toward UN control showed up in a new “treaty” taking them toward a UN world government. This time, only the leaders of member nations were required to give their approval.

World government under the UN has always been the goal of the EU’s creators. But barriers have now been erected on the sought-after prize. We salute the 52 percent of Britain’s voters and trust that they will now understand how enormous has been their contribution to the sovereignty of all nations.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


London Mayor Chides Obama

London Mayor Chides Obama
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Left-to-right: Lord Coe, Boris Johnson, David Cameron – World Economic Forum Annual Meeting (image by World Economic Forum Flickr account, some rights reserved).

Boris Johnson is London’s mayor. He also holds membership in Britain’s Conservative political party, just like Prime Minister David Cameron who is his friend. But the two couldn’t be farther apart about the upcoming June 23rd national referendum. Will the people side with their Prime Minster and stay in the 28-nation European Union? Or will they vote to quit the EU as Johnson urges?

During Barack Obama’s recent visit to England, he managed to anger many Britons by siding with the Cameron position. Because he is an outsider, many think he should have minded his own business. Mayor Johnson quickly responded to the Obama meddling, saying that testimonials on the matter from “American presidents” are unwelcome. Obama’s statement included the following assertion: “If one of our best friends is in an organization that enhances their influence, and enhances their power, and enhances their economy, then I want them to stay in it.” Many doubt that assessment of England’s EU membership. He even suggested that a “No” vote on the referendum by British voters would place them “in the back of the queue” regarding trade deals between Britain and the United States. That got some Brits downright angry.

Johnson took the opportunity presented him by the U.S. president’s comments to list some of the reasons why British voters should want out of the EU. He pointed out that “the Euro [financial] crisis is far from over and the EU remains a gigantic engine of job destruction.” He reminded his countrymen about the promise that England “wouldn’t have to pay for the Greek bailouts” but when the need for such a financial rescue arose, “we did [pay for them].” He scorched the EU Commission’s plan to insert “a new European approach to company law, to property rights, to every aspect of employment law.” He even noted, “the EU has removed a democratically elected government – in both Italy and Greece – and installed Brussels-approved technocrats.” And he feared that such action by the EU “technocrats” would be repeated in England.

As for possible intimidation by Mr. Obama and Britain’s “business leaders, fat cats of every description,” Johnson said that it wouldn’t work because the British people were not about ”to file meekly to the polls and consent to stay in the EU that was costing them the tidy sum of “350 pounds a week.” (The British have never discarded their British pound for the Euro and still rely of the pound.) And he urged his countrymen to realize that the EU court has been “adjudicating on UK criminal law,” that “immigrants should have a job offer before entering the UK,” and that “social and employment legislation should be left to national control.”

Boris Johnson and David Cameron have maintained friendly relations for many years. But Johnson is widely suspected of angling for the post now held by his friend. Should the British people vote to leave the EU, Johnson’s stature would rise and possibly take him all the way to #10 Downing Street. Because many British voters, like voters in any country, don’t like outsiders meddling in their nation’s affairs, the comments issued by Barack Obama may have created an easier path for Johnson to become Prime Minster than existed previously. The choice Britons will make on June 23rd has even more riding on it than staying in or exiting the EU.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Europe Is Awakening!

Europe Is Awakening!
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

In Europe, over several decades, there were numerous warnings about the creation of what would become the European Union. Those who saw the full intention of its early promoters sounded many alarms about the loss of sovereignty for their nations to a burgeoning “Eurostate.” But the concerns raised over previous years didn’t stop the piece-by-piece progression toward one central government for all of Europe. Many throughout the continent are now seeing where they are being taken.

“Great Britain will stage a national referendum on June 23 on whether to leave the European Union” reports The New American, Feb. 25, 2016.

In 2003, for instance, British authors Christopher Booker and Richard North weighed in with their condemnation of the sovereignty compromising European Union in a full-length book entitled “The Great Deception: The Secret History of the European Union.” It awakened some. In that same year, Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus objected to the creation of a European Union Constitution designed to govern each of the EU’s member states. With its clearly stated subservience to the United Nations, the document stated: “… this Constitution establishes a European Union [that] shall have primacy over the law of member states.” Of this proposed EU Constitution, Klaus said passage would mean “there will be no more sovereign states in Europe – only one state will remain.” He pointed to EU headquarters in Brussels at the seat of that eventual “one state.”

In 2005, when voters were asked to approve the new EU Constitution, those in France and Holland soundly rejected it. Dealt a stinging rebuke but not a defeat, the Eurocrats regrouped and in 2006 sent the proposed Constitution (now termed a “treaty”) for another try at ratification. They didn’t send it back to the people however. It was sent to national leaders who met in Lisbon and, there, it won unanimous acceptance and became the dominant government for all of the 25 EU nations.

In Britain over the past few decades, a newly formed United Kingdom Independence Party gathered increasing strength with its call for withdrawal from the EU. On June 23rd, the people of Britain will get a chance to reject EU membership in a long-promised referendum. Supporters of leaving, collectively known as the Brexit (BRitish EXIT) movement, may well pull their country out of the EU. If they prevail, other nations where negativity about EU membership has grown are likely to follow.

On March 15th, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban delivered a major speech in which he blamed “Brussels” for the massive immigration of Middle Eastern refugees into Europe. He thundered, “Today Europe is as fragile, weak, and sickly as a flower being eaten away by a worm.” Pointing to numerous attitudes that he and others were “forbidden” by political correctness to mention, he nevertheless noted that Europe was “threatened by migration,” that “immigration brings crime and terror,” that the arriving masses “endanger our way of life, our culture, our customs, and our Christian civilization,” and that Brussels is “now making a plan for a United States of Europe” that will accomplish destruction of each European nation state. He added that Hungary would refuse to accept hundreds of thousands of Islamic immigrants (as Germany has already done) in a “forced resettlement scheme.”

Yes, many more Europeans are awakening to the designs of the European Union’s leaders whose goal, said Orban, is to “blend cultures, religions and populations until our proud Europe will finally become bloodless and docile … swallowed up in the enormous belly of the United States of Europe.” And he called on his countrymen and fellow Europeans “to defeat, rewrite, and transform the fate intended for us.” His countrymen owe him a great debt of appreciation.

Such awareness and the accompanying courage to publicly speak out about the very real threats to Europe’s nations are welcome developments. The rising tide of resistance in Britain to EU dominance is more good news. Similar awareness and courage must also arise and grow here in the United States because plans have already been formulated to do to our country what has been done in Europe.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Foreign Meddling in U.S. Politics

Foreign Meddling in U.S. Politics
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

As president of Mexico from 2000 to 2006, Vicente Fox disappointed both his countrymen and his neighbors in the United States. Concerned Americans were already feeling the effects of the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that spurred the flood of migration into the U.S. It also paved the way for relocation of numerous industries and countless jobs to Mexico after its passage.

President George W. Bush, Mexico’s President Vicente Fox and Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, right, stand in front of the Chichen-Itza Archaeological Ruins Thursday, March 30, 2006. White House photo by Kimberlee Hewitt.

Soon after his surprising election victory that broke a 70-year stranglehold on the Mexican presidency held by the the PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional), Fox became Mexico’s leading cheerleader for NAFTA, even, as the Wall Street Journal noted, calling for it to become “something like the European Union.” In 2002, he told an audience in Spain of his goal: “Eventually our long-range objective is to establish … an ensemble of connections and institutions similar to those created by the European Union.”

NAFTA opened the floodgates for U.S. factories to close their doors and head for Mexico’s lower worker pay. Many U.S. workers lost their livelihoods and the bleeding hasn’t stopped. General Motors will soon open a huge automobile production facility in the middle of Mexico. But the harm done to U.S. manufacturing and workers isn’t the only negative aspect of NAFTA because America’s sovereignty is at stake should a Fox-backed plan to merge Canada, the U.S., and Mexico into a North American Union materialize. That would constitute a huge step toward building a Western Hemisphere union similar to the European Union that has already compromised the independence of its 28 member nations.

Based on his statements and performance, it’s easy to classify Vicente Fox as a world government booster. But many in England are now backing a plan to have their nation quit the European Union. Other Europeans are reconsidering their entanglement in the EU because they increasingly realize that the pact they thought was merely a trade agreement has become their de facto ruler. The rush toward a “new world order” has been slowed in Europe but Fox has cheered building it in the Western hemisphere.

It comes as little surprise, therefore, to hear Fox outspokenly injecting himself into current race for the presidency here in America. GOP frontrunner Donald Trump has stirred Fox’s ire with his plan to build a fence along the Mexico-U.S. border and to have Mexico pay for it with tariffs on Mexican goods heading north. Trump has also pointed to the cascade of drugs and crime that entered through the America’s porous southern border.

From his home in south-central Mexico, Fox has brazenly called on Americans to reject Trump. He adds that Hillary Clinton will “save” the U.S. from a “Trumpist nightmare” and that Donald Trump is “making the United States look very bad.”

Trump ought to remind Fox that his own people thought so little of the leadership he gave them that millions fled to the United States.

Foreign leaders are certainly entitled to their opinion regarding candidates for office in other countries. But they ought to keep their choices to themselves. In this instance, however, Vicente Fox’s openly stated choice of Hillary Clinton and his distaste for Donald Trump will likely help swell support for the real estate mogul in his bid for the U.S. presidency.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.