World League for Freedom and Democracy

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The World League for Freedom and Democracy (WLFD, formerly the World Anti-Communist League, WACL) is an international anti-communist political organization founded in 1966 in Taipei, Taiwan, under the initiative of Chiang Kai-shek. It was founded with the aim of opposing Communism around the world through "unconventional" methods. It had eight regional branches, with a presence in up to 100 countries on six continents. The honorary life chairman of the WACL was Dr Ku Cheng-Kang, a senior leader of the Kuomintang (KMT), and the president of Taiwan's National Assembly.

The US chapter of WACL, the United States Council for World Freedom (USCWF), has been one of the most active branches. USCWF was founded in 1981 by Major General John K. Singlaub. This branch has generated controversy, as it has been found to have illegally supplied firearms to guerillas in the Iran-Contra Affair and, in 1981, the USCWF was placed under watch by the Anti-Defamation League, which noted the organization had increasingly become a point of contact for extremists, racists and anti-Semites.[1]


The WACL held annual conferences at various locations throughout the world. Its core activity involved providing financial and material aid to right-wing organizations and anti-communist militias around the globe, notably by providing scholarships for psychological warfare training at the Political Warfare Cadres Academy in Taiwan. However, by the mid-eighties WACL had become the leading non-governmental supplier of arms to anti-communist rebel movements in southern Africa, Central America, Afghanistan and the Far East.[2]

It has been alleged but not proven that The League had close ties with the governments of Taiwan under Kuomintang rule, and (to a lesser extent) South Korea. Numerous groups participated, including the Unification Church of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon. The WACL also enjoyed support from both the Carter and Reagan administrations in the United States, particularly with regard to its role in Central America,[3] and many US Congressmen, most notably 2008 presidential nominee Senator John McCain (R-AZ),[4][5] who sat on the USCWF Board of Directors in the early 1980s.[6][7] McCain has said previously he resigned from the council in 1984 and asked in 1986 to have his name removed from the group's letterhead. [8]

At the 17th Annual WACL Conference held in San Diego, California, John K. Singlaub, president of the WACL's US chapter, read a letter from President Ronald Reagan which said in part, "The World Anti-Communist League has long played a leadership role in drawing attention to the gallant struggle now being waged by the true freedom fighters of our day. Nancy and I send our best wishes for further success ."[9]

Singlaub was the former US Chief of Staff of both United Nations and American forces in South Korea, but was relieved in 1977 by US President Jimmy Carter after publicly criticizing Carter's decision to reduce the number of troops on the peninsula. Singlaub became a member of the WACL in 1980, and founded and became president of its US chapter, the United States Council for World Freedom.

In 1978, Roger Pearson, became the chairman of the WACL, until he was expelled in 1980 after allegations were made of him having been member of neo-National Socialist organizations.[10][11]

During the 1980s, the WACL was particularly active in Latin America, notably by aiding the Contra forces in Nicaragua.

The WACL produced numerous publications, such as Can the Two Chinas become One? by S.Senese, and D.Pikcunas, (1989).

The 21st WACL Conference was held in Geneva, 27-29 August 1988, and was addressed by US Congressmen Richard Armey, South Vietnam's President Nguyen Van Thieu and George Wortley, and Major-General Singlaub.

The League held its 22nd World Conference in Brussels in July 1990. But following the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe in 1990 and 1991, WACL's main purpose, at least in Europe, became less clear.

On September 17, 1994, The Irish Times reported that the WACL is now known as the World League for Freedom and Democracy. It is still sponsored by Taiwan and South Korea, and now officially has turned itself to "global affairs, the need for peace initiatives and co-operating with developing countries."

Two further reports claim that the World League for Freedom and Democracy is responsible for producing what its opponents call "troops of killers", while ostensibly organizing to provide support for Corazon Aquino from the right-wing in the Philippines (The Village Voice, February 27, 1996), and for supporting the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) movement in Mozambique (The Guardian, August 6, 1994).

  2. David Pallister, David Beresford and Angela Johnson. "Guns, Goons, and Western Goals", The Guardian, April 24, 1993.
  3. Growth of Reagan's Contra Commitment excerpted from the book The Iran-Contra Connection Secret Teams and Covert Operations in the Reagan Era. Retrieved on 2008-10-17.
  4. Smith, Ben. A shot across the bows. Retrieved on 2008-10-17.
  5. Yost, Pete (2008-10-07). "McCain linked to group in Iran-Contra affair". Yahoo! News. Associated Press.;_ylt=AnJWCYk9wUkGEzkMplfpwIRsnwcF. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  6. Meet the Press transcript for Oct. 5, 2008
  7. "US election: Democrats threaten to hit McCain on Iran-Contra link". The Guardian. 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2008-10-07. 
  8. "McCain tied to Iran-Contra group". 2008-10-07. Retrieved 2008-10-17. 
  9. Censored News 1986. Retrieved on 2008-10-17.
  10. Paul W. Valentine (1978-05-28). "The Fascist Specter Behind The World Anti-Red League". Washington Post. 
  11. Tim Kelsey; Trevor Rowe (1990-03-04). "Academics were funded by racist American trust". The Independent.