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Lyndon LaRouche, Cult Figure Who Ran for President 8 Times, Dies at 96

Category: Political News,Politics

In his efforts to build a worldwide organization, Mr. LaRouche was helped by his wife, Helga Zepp-LaRouche, a native of Germany who had been a journalist there. Information about his survivors was not immediately available.

Mr. LaRouche was at the apex of his power in the mid-1980s, when he moved his headquarters to a large rented estate in Northern Virginia, in Round Hill, outside Leesburg. When neighbors wondered aloud why he had turned the estate into an armed camp, rigged with electronic security and patrolled by men with semiautomatic rifles, Mr. LaRouche went on the attack. He said that the Leesburg Garden Club was “a nest of Soviet fellow travelers.”

In 1987, after an F.B.I. investigation, Mr. LaRouche was convicted in Virginia on charges of scheming to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and of deliberately defaulting on more than $30 million in loans from thousands of his supporters. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison and sent to a federal penitentiary in Minnesota.

The conviction hurt his movement but did not end it. He was released from prison in 1994, after serving a third of his sentence. He immediately announced that he would run for president in 1996. He ran again in 2000 and 2004. After Barack Obama was elected in 2008, Mr. LaRouche warned that the new president was in “grave and imminent danger” of being assassinated by the “British Empire,” a familiar target of Mr. LaRouche’s.

By 2015 he had long turned against Mr. Obama, calling for his impeachment and accusing him in one instance of orchestrating Turkey’s downing of a Russian fighter jet involved in the war in Syria. “Obama organized an act of war, and has thus endangered the United States, as well as all of humanity,” Mr. LaRouche wrote.

But he could be bipartisan in his attacks. He accused the Bush family of collaborating with Nazi Germany during World War II, and said that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a product of a neoconservative conspiracy, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, to deceive the American people. That view was expressed in a series of pamphlets, titled “Children of Satan.”

But Mr. LaRouche was heartened by the election of President Trump, though he perceived a British conspiratorial hand reaching into the United States to foment efforts to “politically paralyze” the president and bring about his impeachment.

That would be a mistake, he said. As his website declared, “Not since William McKinley has a president been so clear in his intent to return the nation to the economic tradition of Alexander Hamilton, to end the policies of British imperial free trade, and make a full commitment to industry, manufacturing, scientific advancement and world peace.”

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