Inquest opens tomorrow into the death of Jeremiah Duggan

November 03, 2003

The mysterious death of Jeremiah Duggan


1. Summary of the case
2. Brief background on the Lyndon LaRouche movement
3. "Mystery death of anti-war student Family calls for new German police inquiry after crucial questions left unanswered" (Guardian, July 12, 2003)
4. "The lost boy" (Independent, August 28, 2003)

[Note by Tom Gross]

This email dispatch concerns the death of Jeremiah Duggan, a 22-year-old British student, was who was killed – possibly murdered in an anti-Semitic hate crime – after he attended an anti-Iraq war protest in Germany in March 2003.

Neither the British nor German police have properly looked into the accusations surrounding Jeremiah's death by Duggan's family and friends. The German police ruled it a suicide and refused to investigate further. After a long battle to persuade the British coroner to look at wider aspects of the case, tomorrow, 4th November, an inquest opens in London at the Hornsey Coroner's Court.

Journalists (only) on this list, or news editors in Germany, the US and elsewhere who wish to assign their correspondents to interview Jeremiah's mother, Erica Duggan, or her solicitors in London, and other experts, can send me an email with their contact details which I will forward to Erica Duggan, who is a subscriber to this email list.

I attach a "Summary of the Case," followed by two news reports from The Guardian and Independent newspapers in Britain.


1. Summary of the Case:

Jeremiah Duggan took part in a "peace conference" at the Schiller-Institute in Wiesbaden, Germany, on the weekend of 21-23 March, 2003. The conference was called to protest the war in Iraq.

Unbeknown to Jeremiah, the Schiller Institute is run be Helga Zepp-LaRouche, wife of the American extremist Lyndon LaRouche, who has been accused of holding "neo-Fascist" views. The Schiller Institute is said to have links with various extreme-right wing organizations.

After the conference, Jeremiah Duggan stayed on to take part in an education seminar.

At 3.20am on the night from Wednesday – Thursday, 26-27 March 2003, Jeremiah called his girlfriend in Paris and his mother in London saying that he was "in terrible trouble" and that he wanted "out". His mother says he had publicly announced at the meeting earlier that evening that he was a Jew and had strongly protested other speakers who had blamed the Jews for the war in Iraq and the rest of the world's problems.

Half an hour after he called his mother, he was dead. He was hit by a series of vehicles on a road outside Wiesbaden. The German police have ruled the death a suicide. Jeremiah's parents, girlfriend and friends strongly dispute this. They say there was no indication that Jeremiah wished to commit suicide. They believe that he may well have been hunted down and killed by people linked to the Nouvelle Solidarite or LaRouche sects. (Nouvelle Solidarite is a French newspaper published by LaRouche. Duggan had been taken in by people connected to the newspaper.)

The Prosecutor's Office in Wiesbaden has not investigated further.

Mr Duggan was studying English literature at the Sorbonne in Paris at the time of his death. He had never been politically active, but as the war with Iraq began he decided to join the protests. Jeremiah's parents say he was a mature and balanced young man.

2. Brief background on the Lyndon LaRouche movement:

[Erica Duggan and her lawyers and various researchers in the US and Europe that they can put journalists in touch with, have much more substantial material on this.]

The millionaire politician, economist and convicted criminal Lyndon LaRouche is largely unknown in Europe. In the US, he has been derided as an anti-Semitic former Trotskyist turned right-wing conspiracy theorist, whose views appear to have switched towards the left again.

The Schiller Institute, which held the meeting in Wiesbaden attended by Jerry Duggan, is run by his wife, Helga Zepp-LaRouche. LaRouche publishes several newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe, in which he expounds his worldview.

In 1994, Lyndon LaRouche tried to run for US President. In Europe, LaRouche founded the extreme right party "Ouvrir Européen" in France, and a similar organization in Italy. In Germany he set up the Europäische Arbeiterpartei (EAP).

Delegates of the Schiller-Institute take part in Croatian National Independece Days. One member of the Schiller-Institute Delegacy was Roy Frankenhauser, "Grand Dragon" of the Ku Klux Klan in Philadelphia and employee of LaRouches Security Service in 1983.

Chip Berlet and Joel Bellmann: Lyndon LaRouche: Fascism Wrapped in an American Flag, Public Eye 1989, (3 parts)



Mystery death of anti-war student Family calls for new German police inquiry after crucial questions left unanswered

By Hugh Muir
The Guardian
July 12, 2003

The family of a British student who died mysteriously after attending meetings organised by a rightwing political group in Germany have called for a new investigation into his death.

Jeremiah Duggan, 22, was hit by a series of vehicles on a road outside Wiesbaden, western Germany, in March. German police concluded that Mr Duggan, who was studying English literature at the Sorbonne in Paris, had committed suicide.

But following private inquiries, his family are pressing for the German authorities to take a fresh look at the case and at the activities of the group he was staying with. The Metropolitan police yesterday confirmed its officers are liaising with their German counterparts and Interpol.

He had travelled to Wiesbaden with a group of young men selling the newspaper Nouvelle Solidarité, a French version of a newspaper published by Lyndon LaRouche, an American rightwing extremist condemned by leading Jewish organisations as an anti-semite. LaRouche served five years of a 15-year sentence for fraud and conspiracy in 1984, has a following in many countries and has contested seven presidential elections as a minor candidate. The Schiller Institute in Wiesbaden, where the conference was held from March 21 to 23, is run by his German wife, Helga.

Mr Duggan's relatives complain the German investigation was insufficient. Erica Duggan, 57, a retired teacher from north London, said: "We have told them from the start that there is no way this was suicide." Her solicitor, Jackie Turner, said: "There are too many unknowns. Too many things were not followed up."

Mr Duggan, a talented poet, arrived in Paris in September 2001 and was studying both at the Sorbonne and the British Institute, where he was doing a degree in French. He had never been politically active, but as the war with Iraq began he decided to join the protests.

In March, he met a man selling newspapers outside the Hotel des Invalides, close to the British Institute. Mrs Duggan recalls: "He was very impressed with him and 'his wonderful ideas'." Struck by references to LaRouche, Jeremiah asked his mother to look him up on the internet, but it was not considered a priority.

Conspiracy theories

Had they dug deeper they would have been concerned. The Guardian has detailed some of LaRouche's "conspiracy theories". The former Trotskyist has spoken of a worldwide Zionist conspiracy taking in the freemasons, Henry Kissinger and the royal family. He described senior members of the Bush administration as "Children of Satan".

LaRouche made the war in Iraq a touchstone issue and it was the broad anti-war stance that attracted Jeremiah. "He said he had been watching pictures of the war and it was terrible. He was determined to join a protest," explained Mrs Duggan. "He told me and his French girlfriend Maya that he would be travelling to Germany with his new friends. She told me later that she had a bad feeling about them."

On March 22, Jeremiah phoned his father to wish him happy birthday and told them he was at the Schiller Institute. Lyndon LaRouche spoke at the conference and Jeremiah apparently asked him questions. On the Monday night, he told his girlfriend the lectures had been interesting.

But after three more days without contact, Mrs Duggan began to worry. "I woke up at 2.30am on Thursday and I didn't know why. I just sat next to the phone and at 5.24am it rang. He was terrified. He said, 'Mum, I am in deep trouble.' I asked him what the problem was and he said, 'You know Nouvelle Solidarité. I want out. I don't want any more.'" They were cut off, but Jeremiah called back moments later. "I could tell he was in terrible distress. He said, 'I want to see you, now!' and that he was in Wiesbaden. Then the line cut." Mrs Duggan called Colindale police station and then Maya, who had also received a disturbing phone call. "He told her he had found out some very grave things and that he was going to get the train the next day. He complained of pains in his arms and legs. Later that morning, his girlfriend also received a call from someone called Sebastian who said Jeremiah had run off."

At 3.30pm, two Met officers arrived to tell Mrs Duggan that her son was dead. "They said it was suicide. I shouted and screamed that there was no way."

Mrs Duggan and her husband, Hugo, travelled to Wiesbaden the next day, but felt the case was already closed. "They said he had psychological problems, because that is what Sebastian told them. They said he ran five kilometres out of Wiesbaden and that at 6am he had run in front of a car and knocked off the wing mirror. The police said he kept running and was hit by another car 10 minutes later and was killed. Another car then ran over his body."

But as the Duggans pieced together details of the conference, one anecdote disturbed them most of all. "It seems he had no idea about who he was with at all. Someone blamed the Jews for the war in Iraq and for the problems of the world. Jeremiah stood up and said 'But I am a Jew'. Everyone went quiet. Jeremiah would have been very upset by that."

An inquest has been opened and adjourned at Hornsey coroners court, in north London.

The Duggans know how he died, but remain determined to find out why. The Foreign Office has accepted the result of the German investigation but says it will help the family raise concerns.

A spokesman for the Schiller Institute said there is little more to discover. "The conference was attended by about 500 people, including politicians and scientists. There were no rightwing elements present and the British student was killed after the conference was over."



The lost boy

The last Erica Duggan heard from her son Jerry was a distressed phone call from Germany, where he was involved in a powerful anti-war group. Half an hour later, he was dead. The police say it was suicide, but she is not satisfied she knows the truth of how he died. Terry Kirby investigates

The Independent (London)
August 28, 2003

Just before 4.30am one morning last March, Erica Duggan, a retired teacher, was drinking a cup of tea at her kitchen table in north London when the telephone rang. Why she had woken so early and gone downstairs she still cannot fathom. Perhaps it was some sixth sense; a mother's intuition.

She picked up the receiver and heard the trembling voice of her 22-year-old son, Jerry: "Mum, I'm in terrible trouble, deep trouble. I want to be out of this. It's too much for me. I can't do this. I want out..."

So far as Mrs Duggan knew, Jerry, who was studying French in Paris, was then somewhere in Europe with a group of fellow opponents to the Iraq war. Before she could ask what was so alarming him, the phone went dead. Seconds later it rang again. "I'm frightened," he said. "I want to see you now."

"Where are you?"


"How do you spell that?"

"W. I. E. S..." The line went dead.

About 30 minutes later, according to motorists interviewed by police, Jerry Duggan ran on to the Berliner Strasse dual carriageway, five kilometres south of Wiesbaden. Lurching from the side of a garage, he collided with a car heading into Wiesbaden, ripping off its wing mirror. Ten minutes later, another kilometre down the road, he leapt in front of a second vehicle, which knocked him down. He was then run over by a third car and died instantly.

Later that day, Mrs Duggan and her ex-husband, Hugo, both desperate with worry at not having heard from Jerry since the early morning call, were preparing to fly to Germany when the police arrived at Mrs Duggan's house to say that Jerry's body had been found on the Berliner Strasse. The German police, they said, believed he had committed suicide. "I just screamed and shouted," says Mrs Duggan. "I knew this could not be possible." She refused to believe that her son, with no history of mental instability, had chosen to die by a relatively unusual and unreliable method and for no obvious reason.

When the Duggans discovered how he had spent his last days, they realised he had become involved in something far more complicated than a simple left-wing anti-war protest. Jerry had spent most of the last week of his life at a conference and then a meeting at Bad Schwalbach, near Wiesbaden, hosted by the Schiller Institute, part of an organisation fronted by Lyndon LaRouche, a wealthy American economist. A former communist who reinvented himself as a right-winger and has been accused of holding anti-Semitic views, LaRouche has recently swung to the left again and was a strong opponent of the war on Iraq. Next year he plans to stand in the US presidetial elections for the eighth time.

LaRouche's organisation produces magazines and newspapers sold by supporters outside colleges and universities where they can find recruits for what he terms his "cadres": young, impressionable, intelligent people, anxious to debate world issues. "LaRouche presents them with a very attractive package that seems to offer solutions for every problem," says Chip Berlet, an American political researcher.

One person seeking solutions was Jerry Duggan. "Jerry always wanted to know," says his mother. "I think now he was a bit politically inexperienced, but he always asked very straight questions others would not. He would have been a good journalist. He would latch on to people and try and find out about them."

One person who apparently latched on to Jerry, and encouraged his emerging anti-war views, was Benoît Challifoux, a man he met towards the end of January, outside the British Institute in Paris, where Jerry was studying for his University of London French degree. Challifoux was selling the paper he worked for, Nouvelle Solidarité, a LaRouche publication. "Jerry said he was impressed by this man's ideas. He said they met a few times and the man began e-mailing him and teaching him things and telling him to read certain articles," his mother says.

Mrs Duggan and her son assumed these people were conventional left-wingers. "Jerry asked me to look up Lyndon LaRouche on the internet; he said he was too busy on his course project. He didn't know much about him but seemed to believe he had been in prison for being anti-American. But I got the spelling wrong and searched for LaRoche. I got nothing."

Jerry's parents felt their son knew what he was doing. He was mature, balanced and, they assumed, becoming worldly wise. After boarding school and college in Sussex, he had lived alone in Paris. He travelled to India, and visited Israel to train as a youth leader, reflecting a growing interest in his Jewish background, although he was equally interested in his Irish identity, which came from his father. "Jerry was terribly popular, he was interested in music and wrote poetry. He had a lovely girlfriend and was having a wonderful time in Paris. He had so much to live for," Mrs Duggan says.

Jerry Duggan had become preoccupied with world affairs after September 11. Last winter, alarmed that war against Iraq would lead to a global conflict, he decided to make a stand. "He thought it could be the beginning of a third world war," his mother says. "He wanted to become more active in protests against the war."

Herself the child of Jewish refugees from Nazism, Mrs Duggan had protested against Apartheid in South Africa in her youth. So when, in March, Jerry said he would not be returning to England for his father's 60th birthday because he was "going away with some people" to protest against the war, any annoyance was mixed with pride. "He said Nouvelle Solidarité were more extreme than Marxists. He told his friends he was going to a conference. I thought he was going off to wave a banner somewhere."

On Friday 21 March, as the world woke to the news of the bombardment of Baghdad, Jerry left the Nouvelle Solidarité offices with about 10 young men in a convoy of cars. He was waved off by his girlfriend Maya, a student at the Paris Conservatoire.

The event he attended was not an anti-war protest per se. Called "How to Reconstruct a Bankrupt World", it was a series of speeches by LaRouche supporters or invited guests on the global economy and the idea of a Eurasian railway, a concept supported by LaRouche. LaRouche himself spoke on the Friday afternoon, giving an address entitled "Physical Geometry as Strategy", which did include some anti-war passages. The conference, which finished on the Sunday night, passed an emergency declaration calling for an end to the war.

On the Saturday night, Jerry called to wish his father happy birthday and left messages through the weekend on Maya's mobile to say that he was fine and had found the conference interesting.

The couple planned to meet on Tuesday night on his return to Paris, so Maya was surprised when he called to say he was still in Wiesbaden and could not return until the following Sunday, when he could get a lift. She was upset; it would mean missing a birthday celebration with friends. But he told her he felt it was important he stayed in Weisbaden. Jerry also told Maya he loved her more than ever, which surprised her. It was not his style to make such a forthright declaration. "Jerry seemed upset and troubled. I felt somehow he was in danger."

The next she heard from him was at 3.20am on Thursday morning. He was incoherent and faint. "I'm under too much pressure," he said. "I don't know what the truth is any more, or what are lies." He said he would get the train back to Paris as soon as he could. An hour later he called his mother. It would be their last conversation.

Later, after fruitless calls to the local police and Scotland Yard, Mrs Duggan called Maya in Paris. Maya had just received a call from Sebastian, a 24-year-old Frenchman who said he had been staying with Jerry at a flat used by the Schiller Institute. He asked Maya if she had heard from Jerry, who, he told her, had left the flat and not returned.

Mrs Duggan called Sebastian, who passed her on to Ortrum Cramer, a member of the management of the Schiller Institute. Cramer confirmed that Jerry was missing and told Mrs Duggan: "We cannot take responsibility for the actions of individuals. We think your son has psychological problems."

The German police conclusion of suicide dovetailed with accounts given them by Sebastian and Cramer. Sebastian later visited Maya and, according to her, said that on the night of Jerry's death, they had talked into the early hours. She said he told her Jerry had been agitated, suspicious and doubtful of the Schiller Institute, and unsure what he had been doing there. He had asked Sebastian if he trusted LaRouche and his motives. "He was full of anxiety and upset, and said he felt as if he was a prisoner," Maya recalled Sebastian telling her. During this period, Jerry is believed to have called Maya and his mother. Then, Sebastian told Maya, Jerry said he wanted to go out for cigarettes. Sebastian said he would accompany him, for reasons that remain unclear. At the bottom of the stairs, Jerry had run off. Sebastian briefly followed, then returned to the flat.

When the Duggans arrived in Wiesbaden, anxious to establish what had happened to their son, they were told that Sebastian had returned to Paris, where he now works for Solidarité et Progress, the LaRouche political organisation in France. But they met Cramer and Dr Jonathan Tennenbaum, the scientific adviser to the institute. Mrs Duggan said Tennenbaum told them: "Jerry was in conflict. He wasn't sure he wanted to be fully committed." He also told them that Jerry had reacted strongly when he heard the Jews being blamed for the Iraq war. He had stood up and exclaimed: "But I'm a Jew!" The Duggans became even more confused.

After returning from Wiesbaden and conducting their own research, the Duggans became more reluctant to accept that Jerry committed suicide, as more questions arose. First: why were the German police so sure Jerry had committed suicide? Why had there been no post-mortem examination or inquest? In addition to the suggestion that Jerry had psychological problems, the Duggans believe the Schiller people had told the German police two things: that Jerry was known to the Tavistock Institute in London, which they described, wrongly, as a mental institution; and that Maya, looking at a map, had asked Sebastian whether Wiesbaden was on a river. It was apparently believed by police that these indicated mental problems and were evidence that Jerry was prone to suicidal thoughts.

One of LaRouche's more bizarre published theories is that the Tavistock, the respected family-therapy centre in London that Jerry had briefly attended when his parents divorced 15 years before his death, is a centre for brainwashing in collusion with American intelligence. "How would they have viewed Jerry if he had questioned their ideas about the Tavistock and said he had been there?'' Mrs Duggan asks.

Second, how had Jerry covered the 5km from the flat to the place he died in less than 35 minutes? The Duggans believe that the police did not seek witnesses who might have seen Jerry between the two points. He was relatively fit, and he could have run it in that time. But why run all the way? If he was trying to hitch a lift, he was on the wrong carriageway. If he wanted to get back to Paris, why didn't he head for the bus or railway station? Third, was there a third person staying in the flat who could shed light on events? According to Maya, she was told by Sebastian that there was.

Jerry's funeral took place in north London in April. "Jerry was very well-liked. There were many young people there. And all of them thought he was the last person to commit suicide," Mrs Duggan says.

The Duggans do not accept the official conclusion on what happened to their son. They are lobbying the Foreign Office and German authorities to re-open the police investigation and conduct a full inquiry. The family hopes to meet soon with officials at the prosecutor's office in Wiesbaden. The Foreign Office says that, while it is helping the familyin dealing with the German authorities, it cannot interfere. An inquest in London has been opened and adjourned.

Cramer told The Independent that after the conference, Jerry Duggan had stayed to attend an "education" meeting for young institute members and their friends. "I believed he had psychological problems, based on the conversations he had with people. I don't know what happened on the night he died, but the Schiller Institute played no part in his death.'' She said she had nothing to add to the German police report and referred all detailed inquiries to a statement issued by LaRouche, who said the Duggan affair was a "hoax" constructed by supporters of Tony Blair and the US Vice-President, Dick Cheney. It was "such an obvious fabrication that no further comment is necessary," said LaRouche.

The family have set up a fund to back their campaign. And Mrs Duggan still has questions she wants answered. "What was going on in Jerry's mind? Was he running away from somebody? If so, who was he running away from? And why? We want to know how and why Jerry died. That's all."



The mystery man fighting the 'enemy within'
The Independent -- Sidebar to above article

The millionaire politician, economist and convicted criminal Lyndon LaRouche is almost unknown in the UK. In the US, he has been derided as an anti-Semitic former Trotskyist turned right-wing conspiracy theorist, whose views appear to have switched towards the left again.

The Schiller Institute, which held the meeting in Wiesbaden attended by Jerry Duggan, is run by his wife, Helga Zepp-LaRouche, and is just one branch of LaRouche's substantial organisation. Now in his eighties, he travels the world, appearing as the star turn at meetings mostly organised by his supporters.

LaRouche publishes several newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe, in which he expounds his world view. His more extreme theories include one suggesting that the British Royal Family is responsible for the explosion in global drugs trafficking, but his views on politics are simple: he opposed both Iraqi conflicts, and he believes that America is in the grip of a "flock of neo-conservative fascists".

Since his release from prison in 1994 after serving five years of a 15-year sentence for tax evasion and mail-fraud conspiracy, his organisation has tried to build links with left-wing bodies, and has cultivated ties with Louis Farrakhan's Nation of Islam, according to Chip Berlet of Political Research Associates, a US think tank that monitors the right.

He came to prominence in the Sixties, when he founded the National Caucus of Labor Committees as an offshoot of the radical student politics of the time. By the mid-1970s he had performed an about-face, declaring war on the "enemy within" leftists, liberals, environmentalists. LaRouche publications printed what many saw as anti-Semitic articles.

Some have accused him of running a political cult. His followers are disciplined and young. "Give me 1,000 more youth leaders like these,'' he told the LaRouche Youth Movement in a recent webcast, "and I'll take over the country.'' There have been claims by ex-members of his "cadres" that emotional manipulation is used to bind people to the cause. In Germany his political party, the EAP, was in 1996 decreed by the government to be a "political sect".

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.