|Everywhere and in every era, the police, and the related pillars of the state, embody, in its purest form, the morality of the state they serve. Thus, to gain a truer picture of a state than that which is presented by its ideological apparatus, look to its coercive apparatuses, its military, its intelligence service, and its police.|
On January 30, 2005, the NY Times published a report on the determination of the CIA not to publish a large number of documents relating to its relationship with Nazis in the immediate post World War II era. The reticence of the CIA in this subject area is entirely consistent with the perspective presented in the following essay which is at complete variance with the official US history. The Times report and a curious report from Reuters are both appended.
The Continuity of History
t has been a working hypothesis of mine for some time now that the US inherited the core foreign policy objective of the Third Reich, namely the elimination of the Soviet Union.
The rationale for this perspective begins in the First World War, which began in August 1914. The principal belligerents were England, France, and Czarist Russia (the Allied Powers) on one side, and Germany and Austria (the Central Powers) on the other. They had prepared their military forces, their populations, and their secret treaties to divide up the spoils they were all sure they would get when their side won. The US cagily waited on the sidelines hoping to join in for a cheap win after the two sides had exhausted themselves.
After a few initial victories by the Central Powers, the war became a bloody stalemate with casualties in the millions. In February of 1917, a wave of strikes and military desertions broke out in Russia which greatly weakened the eastern front and caused enormous anxiety among the remaining Allies because the loss of even one could tip the balance of forces in favor of the Central Powers. In April, presumably capitalizing on the heightened anxiety of the Allies, the US declared war on the Central Powers.
So far it was business as usual, even down to the opportunist looking for bargains at a distress sale. But in November, an event occurred in Russia which shook every capitalist/monarchist government to its very foundations. The Bolsheviks, under Lenin, took control of the Russian Revolution, which had meandered since April, and drove it to its conclusion: They eliminated the Russian aristocracy and Russian capitalism, took Russia out of the war, and began setting up a worker's state.
As a result of this thunderclap which was heard around the world, the elites in all the belligerent states realized that a new common enemy had arisen which made their own squabbles over spheres of influence and colonies look petty. There was no compromising with this enemy. With him it was all or nothing. It was as if the world had been invaded by Martians.
In November 1918, the Allies and the Central Powers decided to stop fighting among themselves while they decided what to do about their common enemy. Their first response was to send troops into Russia to put down the Bolsheviks. By 1921, the Red Army under Leon Trotsky had driven out these interventionist armies and the new USSR could begin the task of building a worker's state.
The first prognosis from the capitalists/aristocrats on the future of the new worker's state was that it would soon collapse because everyone knew that workers are too stupid to manage the intricate task of running a country. By the early 1930's this prognosis was proven not only wrong, it was actually reversed: With the capitalist states inextricably mired in a depression since 1929, the USSR was going from success to success as measured by key economic indicators.
That moved the problem of the USSR from being a steady irritant to the explosively critical stage: Its elimination was essential to the continuation of the capitalist world as they knew it. The only question was: Who would do the job?
There were only two countries on the short list: Hitler Germany and the United States.
The stakes were enormous because whoever slew the Communist dragon would be in a position to extract the more or less grateful recognition of its hegemony over the world from the remaining capitalist states.
As everyone knows, Germany decided to go first, while the US followed its World War I strategy of opportunism. After some preliminary skirmishes with France and England, which were essentially live ammunition training for the Wehrmacht, Hitler began the main event in June 1941 with the invasion of the Soviet Union. His goal: To eradicate Bolshevism, the declared scourge of every capitalist state, from the face of the earth.
In a Euclidian world where a straight line is the shortest distance between two points, the United States would have helped Germany defeat the common enemy. It did not. In a magnificent demonstration of the essential treachery of capitalism, it helped the "enemy" with war materiel under the Lend-Lease program, the quantity of which was supposed to enable the Soviet Union to fight Germany to a standstill but no further and then, after a long bloody stalemate as in World War I, the situation would be ripe for another cheap victory for the US.
This strategy failed. In line with the prevailing Capitalist paradigm, Hitler and the US underestimated the military/industrial strength of the Soviet Union. With its own resources and the supplementary US Lend Lease, the Red Army stopped the Wehrmacht at Stalingrad in the winter of 1942-43 and then pushed it back to Berlin where it capitulated on May 8, 1945.
This was not the US' expected scenario at all: Its strategy of re-fighting the last war had ended with the Red Army encamped in the heart of Europe. This was ignominy of the first order which is reminiscent of attempts by inventors to fly using machines with flapping wings who wind up sitting in the wreckage of their dreams. One consequence was the mass migration westward of the elites of a dozen small eastern European countries in an arc from Estonia to Bulgaria who had welcomed their Nazi liberators from the "yoke of Communism" in 1941.
Thus, in 1945, it was back to the drawing board for a new strategy to deal with the failure. In May of that year, the potentially new factor in the order of battle in the old war against the Soviet Union was the atomic bomb which was about to be tested in a desert in New Mexico.
Viewed from the historical perspective of Hitler Germany and the US as being twinned by their mutual commitment to the international task of defeating the Soviet Union, this weapon is in fact the realization of Hitler's dream of a wunderwaffe [wonder weapon] to reestablish Germany's military superiority. [After the defeat at Stalingrad, public morale in Germany began to seriously deteriorate. The response of the Propaganda Ministry was to hint at unspecified wunderwaffe which were in development and which would turn the deteriorating military situation around.]
The wunderwaffe was placed in President Truman's hands on July 16, 1945 with the first successful test of an atomic bomb near Alamogordo, NM and it had the same effect as it would have had in Hitler Germany: It neutralized the military superiority of the Red Army and elated the US leadership.
The news of the successful test of the atomic bomb near Alamogordo, NM on July 16, 1945 reached President Harry Truman on the eve of the Potsdam Conference in a suburb of Berlin. Contemporary observers noted the immediate stiffening of Truman's negotiating resolve with respect to Stalin.
With Hitler having struck out, the US was now at bat. Its alliance with the Soviet Union was switched to hostility overnight. Nazi human resources, with their fanatical hatred of the Soviet Union, were recruited by the US to continue their anti-Soviet activities. Ships at sea carrying Lend Lease material were ordered to return to the US in mid-voyage. The Marshall Plan for aid to countries devastated by the war was denied to the Soviet Union, an ally, while it was extended to West Germany, the former enemy. The US propaganda line relative to the USSR was reversed and a Communist witch hunt known as McCarthyism was started in the US.
This switch in US policy was anticipated by the upper echelon Nazis because they were fully aware of the identity of interest of the US and the Third Reich relative to the Soviet Union. The only difference of opinion among them was over the timing of the US double cross. The optimists, which included Hitler, expected it as the Red Army entered Europe.
The important thing is that the expected repeat of the Wilsonian cheap victory in World War I did not occur. It took another 45 years after the defeat of Nazi Germany and trillions of dollars in debt to extirpate the ghosts of the hated Bolsheviks of that fateful year of 1917.
The truly remarkable thing is how few people remember what it was all about.
If this was our battle, if these were our ends,
January 30, 2005
C.I.A. Said to Rebuff Congress on Nazi FilesBy DOUGLAS JEHL
ASHINGTON, Jan. 29 - The Central Intelligence Agency is refusing to provide hundreds of thousands of pages of documents sought by a government working group under a 1998 law that requires full disclosure of classified records related to Nazi war criminals, say Congressional officials from both parties.
Under the law, the C.I.A. has already provided more than 1.2 million pages of documents, the vast majority of them from the archives of its World War II predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services. Many documents have been declassified, and some made public last year showed a closer relationship between the United States government and Nazi war criminals than had previously been understood, including the C.I.A.'s recruitment of war criminal suspects or Nazi collaborators.
For nearly three years, the C.I.A. has interpreted the 1998 law narrowly and rebuffed requests for additional records, say Congressional officials and some members of the working group, who also contend that that stance seems to violate the law.
These officials say the agency has sometimes agreed to provide information about former Nazis, but not about the extent of the agency's dealings with them after World War II. In other cases, it has refused to provide information about individuals and their conduct during the war unless the working group can first provide evidence that they were complicit in war crimes.
The agency's stance poses a sharp test between the C.I.A.'s deep institutional reluctance to make public details about any intelligence operations and the broad mandate set forth in the law to lift the veil about relationships between the United States government and Nazi war criminals.
The dispute has not previously been made public. Critics of the C.I.A.'s stance, including all three private citizens who are members of the working group, said they were disclosing the dispute now in hopes of resolving the impasse by March, when the working group's mandate is to expire.
"I think that the C.I.A. has defied the law, and in so doing has also trivialized the Holocaust, thumbed its nose at the survivors of the Holocaust and also at Americans who gave their lives in the effort to defeat the Nazis in World War II," said Elizabeth Holtzman, a former congresswoman from New York and a member of the group. "We have bent over backward; we have given them every opportunity to comply."
At the request of Senator Mike DeWine, Republican of Ohio, the Senate Judiciary Committee plans to hold a public hearing on the matter early next month, and is planning to call C.I.A. officials and members of the working group as witnesses, Congressional officials said.
A C.I.A. spokesman said the agency had already declassified and released 1.25 million pages of documents under the law, including those related to 775 different name files.
"The C.I.A. has not withheld any material identified in its files related to the commission of war crimes by officials, agents or collaborators of Nazi Germany," he said.
The spokesman acknowledged that the C.I.A. had refused to disclose other material "that does not relate to war crimes per se" and that the agency was working on a report to Congress to justify its actions under exemptions spelled out in the law.
A spokeswoman for the panel, formally known as the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group, said it would not comment on the dispute. The group is led by a representative of the National Archives, and includes representatives of the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the Defense Department and other government agencies, and has taken no formal stand on the matter, people involved in the issue said.
But in interviews, all three public members of the group, including Ms. Holtzman; Richard Ben-Veniste, a Washington lawyer; and Thomas H. Baer, a former federal prosecutor, made plain their opposition to the C.I.A.'s position. Congressional officials said the three had a sympathetic hearing from Senator DeWine, a sponsor of the 1998 law, known as the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act.
The 1998 law that established the working group directed that it "locate, identify, inventory, recommend for declassification and make available to the public at the National Archives and Records Administration, all classified Nazi war criminal records of the United States."
Under the law, the heads of government agencies have the power to exempt from release nine categories of national security information. But to assert such exemptions, agency heads are required to submit a report to Congressional committees, a step the C.I.A. has not yet taken, the Congressional officials said.
"I can only say that the posture the C.I.A. has taken differs from all the other agencies that have been involved, and that's not a position we can accept," Mr. Ben-Veniste said. In a separate interview, Mr. Baer said: "Too much has been secret for too long. The C.I.A. has not complied with the statute."
A book, "U.S. Intelligence and the Nazis," that was released by the working group in May provided a partial picture of those dealings. It has shown that the American government worked closely with Nazi war criminals and collaborators, allowing many of them to live in the United States after World War II.
Historians who have studied the documents made public so far have said that at least five associates of the Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann, the architect of Hitler's campaign to exterminate Jews, had worked for the C.I.A. Eichmann, who was arrested by the Allies in 1945, escaped and fled to Argentina. He was captured by Israeli agents in 1960, tried and hanged. The records also indicate that the C.I.A. tried to recruit two dozen more war criminals or Nazi collaborators.
American officials have defended the recruiting of former Nazis as having been essential to gaining access to intelligence after World War II, particularly about the Soviet Union and its cold war allies. Among former Nazis who were given refuge in the United States was Wernher von Braun, the German scientist who developed the V-2 rocket in World War II for the Nazis and played a major role in the development of the American space program.
After World War II, the Allied powers who occupied Germany defined war crimes broadly, declaring the Nazi SS to be a criminal organization guilty of exterminating and persecuting Jews and killing prisoners of war and slave laborers. They identified as a war criminal anyone who was a principal, accessory to, or consented in the commission of war crimes, or anyone who was a member of an organization or group connected with the commission of such crimes.
Exactly how many pages of documents the C.I.A. is still withholding is not clear, according to people involved in the dispute. But they said that at minimum, they believed it amounted to hundreds of thousands of pages.
A report made public by the working group in 1999 said an initial survey by the C.I.A. estimated that more than two million pages of documents among records in the agency's files for the years 1947 to 1998 included "operational, personality, country, and project files; analytical products, source material, and biographic reports" related to Nazi war criminals. The agency estimated that an additional 2.1 million pages among the files of its predecessor organizations, including the O.S.S., from 1941 to 1947, could be covered by the group's mandate.
The group outlined its objections to the C.I.A.'s position in a letter sent to the agency in February 2004, according to Congressional officials. The group's mandate to examine intelligence documents related to the Nazi war criminals was to expire last year. But Congress agreed to extend it until the end of March 2005, in a step that Congressional officials from both parties said was intended in large part to allow more time to resolve the impasse.
U.S. Settles Nazi 'Gold Train' Lawsuit
Mon Dec 20, 2004 12:24 PM ET
By Michael Christie
IAMI (Reuters) - The U.S. government has agreed to settle a lawsuit with tens of thousands of Hungarian Holocaust survivors over a trainload of gold, jewelry and other property seized by the U.S. Army at the end of World War II, lawyers said on Monday.
The agreement over 24 boxcars filled with $200 million worth of art and household goods stolen by the Nazis and then confiscated by the United States, still has to be worked out in detail, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, Sam Dubbin, told a Miami court.
Government documents cited by the lawsuit said some of the property was requisitioned by U.S. military officers to furnish homes and offices, sold in army commissaries or kept by military personnel as trinkets.
"This money won't bring back my parents, my loved ones and my sister. I don't care if I get one dollar or $100,000 I just want closure," said Holocaust survivor Jack Rubin from Boynton Beach, Florida.
Rubin, 76, was 15 when the Nazis took him to Auschwitz concentration camp.
He was forced to help load what became known as the "Gold Train" with gold, jewelry, art, clothing, Oriental rugs and other household goods and religious articles.
The train was seized by the U.S. Army in Austria in 1945 and the suit said the army falsely classified it as unidentifiable and enemy property, which avoided having to return the goods to their rightful owners.
The suit was brought by Hungarian Jews in Miami, where many of them live.
But any agreement will also apply to Holocaust survivors in Australia, Israel and elsewhere, Dubbin said. While many owners of the goods died in Nazi concentration camps during the war, he estimated that between 30,000 and 50,000 people could benefit from the deal.
JUSTICE URGED TO REACH DEAL
Financial details of what is believed to be the first suit against the United States over property stolen by the Nazis were not made public.
"There are still significant issues to be worked out, but we are confident that we can indeed work them out," Dubbin said.
The class-action lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Miami in 2001 on the 56th anniversary of Germany's surrender to the Allies. It alleged that the United States made no effort to return the goods and lied to Hungarian Jews who sought information about their property after the war. The property was estimated to now be worth ten times its original $200 million valuation.
The Justice Department sought to have the case thrown out.
Daniel Meron, principal deputy assistant attorney-general and a lawyer for the government, declined to clarify why it decided to stop fighting the case except to say the two sides "managed to narrow our differences."
The Justice Department had faced calls from members of Congress from both parties, and newspaper opinion pieces urging it to settle.
U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz, who had also urged a settlement, said she was delighted.
She set a deadline of Feb. 18 for a detailed agreement to be submitted and a follow-up hearing on Feb. 25.
Hungary's prewar Jewish population numbered 800,000, of whom only 200,000 survived the Holocaust and remained in Hungary after the war, according to a U.S. presidential commission on Holocaust assets.