Sunday, March 16, 2008

Metro Weekly interviews "Cold War" undercover spy against gays and left-wing elements during Vietnam era


The Metro Weekly, for March 13, 2008, has, on p. 25, a story by Will O'Bryan "Inside Man", about Butch Merritt, whom the government hired to spy on left-wing activities and on some elements of the gay community around 1970 (the Gay Liberation Front, etc.) In the interview he indicates that he got himself classified 4-F with a letter from a doctor as a "homosexual." He admits being told this was not a respectable thing to do. However Randy Shilts notes that the Army tried hard not to reject recruits or draftees for homosexuality in the Vietnam period, and in fact the Army had stopped "asking" for a while around 1966. (The movie "Before Stonewall" (1996) demonstrates the issue of trying to get out of the draft this way.) I actually went from 4-F through 1-Y to 1-A to avoid the "stigma" from my 1961 William and Mary expulsion for homosexuality and actually served in the Army as a "draftee" from 1968-1970.

The direct link to the Metro Weekly interview ("Inside Man: Butch Merritt was a leading spy in America's homegrown cold war against homosexuals") is here.

The book by David Mixner, Stranger Among Friends (1996) details Mixner's own being set up by an FBI "sting" or undercover domestic spy investigation in 1969, when closet-case J Edgar Hoover (with Roy Cohn -- as in Tony Kushner's "Angels in America") was still in power.

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