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(CN) – The Army and CIA satisfied their obligations under the FOIA by releasing thousands of pages about a Nazi general turned U.S. spy, the D.C. Circuit ruled.
“Removing the cloak from the cloak-and-dagger business of spying can be a lengthy and arduous process,” wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Patricia Ann Miller at the beginning of a 38-page opinion.
Beginning in the 1970s, journalist Carl Oglesby “relentlessly pursued” the story of Gen. Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s senior military intelligence officer on the Eastern Front, who became a double agent for the U.S.
The Eastern Front in World War II was the theater of conflict between the Axis powers and the Soviet Union. The battles that took place there between June 1941 and May 1945, are widely considered elements of the largest military conflict in history.
At the same time, Gehlen secretly served as chief of the Gehlen Organization, a Nazi spy ring during World War II, which the U.S. allowed to continue after the war despite denazification programs.
The group was reportedly reconstituted as a functioning espionage network under U.S. command after secret meetings took place at Fort Hunt in Virginia, a military interrogation center during the World War.
Oglesby claimed that control of the organization shifted back to the West German Federal Republic after 10 years of American control. Gehlen died in Starnberg, Germany on June 8, 1979.
Oglesby sued the federal government in 1987 to challenge several agencies’ responses to his Freedom of Information Act requests submitted in August 1985.
After Oglesby died in 2011, Aron DiBacco and Barbara Webster, the domestic partner and daughter of the journalist, replaced him in the case.
These litigation efforts forced the Army and CIA to release more than ten thousand pages of documents related to Gehlen.
In addition, the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act passed by Congress in 1998 resulted in the disclosure of millions of pages of government records from the World War II era, some of which were responsive to DiBacco’s request.
A federal judge concluded in 2013 that these responses satisfied the government’s duty under the FOIA, and the D.C. Circuit largely agreed Friday.
“DiBacco levels five challenges to the Army’s search, which did not produce certain materials she believes exist and had hoped to find. But FOIA is not a wishing well; it only requires a reasonable search for records an agency actually has,” Millett said, writing for the three-judge panel.
The Army’s FOIA search did not yield a single document regarding the purported secret meetings held at Fort Hunt in the summer of 1945 between Gehlen and high-ranking U.S. officials, including George Strong and Allen Dulles.
DiBacco believes documents from these meetings must exist, but her belief is merely speculative, the court said, and does not undermine the adequacy of the Army’s search.
Further, DiBacco’s argument that the Army transferred documents to the National Archive to avoid responding to her FOIA request “beggars belief.”
“The Army’s transfer of documents to the National Archives was done for a proper and eminently sensible reason: to fulfill the Army’s obligations under the Disclosure Act to disclose all relevant materials and ‘make them available to the public at the National Archives[.]’ That is the antithesis of a suspect motive; following the law is exactly what agencies are supposed to do,” Millett said.
The court upheld the CIA’s redaction of protected national security information from approximately 475 pages of its disclosure.
(CNN) Donald Trump’s glittering empire of New York skyscrapers and Atlantic City casinos have long had a darker side, allegations that the mob helped build them.
Trump’s alleged ties to New York and Philadelphia crime families go back decades and have been recounted in a book, newspapers and government records.
“The mob connections of Donald are extraordinarily extensive,” New York investigative journalist Wayne Barrett told CNN in an interview.
Barrett, the author of the 1992 unauthorized biography “Trump: The Deals and the Downfall,” wrote that Trump’s life “intertwines with the underworld.”
The allegations are getting new scrutiny as Trump runs for president, largely on his record as a successful, and extraordinarily wealthy, businessman. As Trump cements his leads atop the polls, questions about how he made his billions, and who helped him make them, are starting to take center stage.
A Trump spokesperson did not respond to multiple requests for comment on this story.
To be sure, organized crime had ties to the New York and New Jersey construction industry in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, making contact between developers and mafia-controlled companies almost unavoidable at times.
“There was a certain amount of mob association during which the father and he were building, which was very difficult to avoid in the New York construction world,” Barrett said, adding, “He went out of his way not to avoid them, but to increase them.”
In a recent Federalist article, David Marcus writes that Trump bought the property that his Atlantic City casino Trump Plaza would one day occupy — for twice market price — from Salvatore Testa, a Philly mobster and son of one-time Philly mob boss Philip “Chicken Man” Testa. (Springsteen fans might recognize the elder Testa from the opening lines of the song, Atlantic City.)
In his book, Barrett writes that Testa and a partner, who together headed a Philly mafia hit-squad called the Young Executioners, bought the property for “a scant $195,000” in 1977. In 1982, Trump paid $1.1 million for it.
“The $220 per square foot that Trump paid for the Testa property was the second most expensive purchase he made on the block, even though it was one of the first parcels he bought,” Barrett wrote.
The casino was built with the help of two construction companies controlled by Philly mobsters Nicademo “Little Nicky” Scarfo and his nephew Phillip “Crazy Phil” Leonetti, according to, as Marcus notes, a New Jersey state commission’s 1986 report on organized crime.
Trump also had a decade-long relationship with Scarfo’s investment banker, according to Barrett’s book.
In Manhattan, Trump used the mob-controlled concrete company S&A to build Trump Plaza condos. Anthony “Fat Tony” Salerno, head of the Genovese crime family, and Paul Castellano, the don of New York’s Gambino family, controlled S&A, according to federal court records Barrett cited in his book.
Barrett noted that he built the Trump Tower out of concrete, instead of steel, at a time when the mafia controlled much the concrete industry.
“While dealing with the concrete cartel was inevitable for any developer in the period when Trump Tower was built, Donald took the relationship several steps further than he had to,” Barrett wrote.
In a Philadelphia Inquirer article from the time the book was published, reporter David Cay Johnston summed up Barrrett’s unauthorized biography, writing that it “asserts that throughout his adult life, Donald Trump has done business with major organized-crime figures and performed favors for their associates.”
Trump was a target of a 1979 bribery investigation and was questioned in a 1981 racketeering probe, but neither federal investigation led to criminal charges, Johnston wrote.
More recently, Johnston, a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, wrote an article called “21 Questions for Donald Trump” where he asked, “Why did you use concrete instead of steel girders” to build the 58-story Trump Tower?
Austria’s prestigious Salzburg University posthumously revoked Thursday the honorary doctorate of Nobel-winning ethnologist and zoologist Konrad Lorenz (1903-1989) because of his Nazi past.
The university cited the Austrian’s 1938 application to join the Nazi party in which he says that he had “of course always been a National Socialist as a scientist” and that “my life’s work … has been in the service of National Socialist thinking”.
Lorenz won the Nobel prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1973 together with German Karl von Frisch and the British Nikolaas Tinbergen. Salzburg’s honorary doctorate came in 1983 but his Nazi past was kept quiet at the time, the university said.
Salzburg University, which last year began looking into the past awarding of degrees, on Thursday also stripped German jurist and former SS member Wolfgang Hefermehl (1906-2001) of his honorary doctorate.
This work has had significant impact on the social and biological sciences and is now a classic point of reference for investigations of behavioral patterns. Lorenz presents his findings on the mechanism of aggression and how animals control destructive drives in the interest of the species. Translated by Marjorie Kerr Wilson. A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book
Dallas: We are not afraid to stand up to fascism
By Alan Bancroft and Doug Thompson
Liberation, Dec 13, 2015
For several weekends, the progressive community of Dallas has gone out to confront the ugly fascist elements directing anti-Islamic hate against our Muslim brothers and sisters. People are challenging the hate in this central Texas city.
On Dec. 12 in Dallas there were two counter-protests against the Islamophobic right wing. One was against “B.A.I.R.” (“Bureau of American Islamic Relations”), which held an armed protest at the Islamic Association of North Texas in Richardson. The other was against the Texas Rebel Knights, a branch of the Ku Klux Klan that planned to protest the Islamic Center of North Texas in Irving.
The resounding show of solidarity for the mosque in Irving in the weeks prior to the KKK’s appearance led to the rescheduling of the Rebel Knights’ protest, while the armed rally by B.A.I.R. in Richardson was met with more than double their numbers by the counter-protesters who appeared in solidarity with the North Texas Muslim community. The cancellation of the KKK’s appearance meant the movement of the anti-fascist rally to the MLK Community Center near downtown Dallas, a location with more visibility.
The overwhelming support shown by the people of North Texas for the Islamic community against the extreme, xenophobic right wing ideologies of B.A.I.R. and the Texas Rebel Knights sends a clear message that even among a hotbed of reactionary conservatism, people will not stand by and allow fascism to arise unchallenged.
The people of the Dallas area have increased their level of organization to push back divisive hateful terrorists’ tactics. The resounding message “We invite all the people to stand with us….unity with the community….power to the people.” See the video below by Liberation News of Rev. Dr. Michael Waters of Joy Tabernacle AME Church (in long robe) and Eric Folkerth of Northaven church (in stole) at the demonstration.
As the ruling class foments fascist candidates and violence through the 2016 election campaign, people in places like Dallas are showing that those who have been disenfranchised by this horrible profit system must come together in unity and to stand up to fascism. All people of conscience need to unite to push back the emerging fascist movement in the U.S. that is using places like Dallas as testing ground to promote their ideology. The participants’ lack of fear in the face of fascist elements who are supported in many ways by candidates running for president is sending a message nationwide–if we can push back the fascists here and fight for unity we can win back the country.
Dealer: Gun linked to Paris attack came through Delray firm
The M92 semi-automatic pistol’s serial number matched one the Zastava arms factory delivered in May 2013 to the family-owned Century International Arms in Delray Beach, said the arms dealer, Milojko Brzakovic.
How the pistol got from Delray to France remains unclear.
Century owner Michael Sucher did not answer calls Thursday. Doors were locked at the company’s Congress Avenue location just south of Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach, where TV news trucks were gathering Thursday afternoon.
Employees trickling out of the building to go home declined comment. Sarah Levine, who worked next door, said “I had no idea that there was anything connected with guns or arms dealing in this vicinity.”
Century, a buyer and re-seller of military-grade surplus guns, is one of the largest arms dealers in the United States. Its specialty is buying firearms from overseas and reselling to dealers. The Palm Beach County business imports up to 25,000 guns every year from the Serbian firm alone, the AP reported.
In addition to the Delray Beach location, Century also holds federal firearms licenses in Georgia, Vt., a town of about 4,700 residents about 10 miles from the Canadian border.
The Vermont location is licensed to import guns, build guns and import destructive devices, including very large-caliber guns or armor-piercing ammunition. The company also markets its own brand of ammunition, Red Army Standard, which is manufactured in Cold War-era factories.
This is not the first time that Century Arms has wound up in headlines.
In 2011, The Palm Beach Post detailed how Century Arms has prospered — trading in pistols, sniper rifles and assault weapons, sometimes with the help of “unauthorized brokers” — based on secret diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks, an international organization that publishes secret information.
One secret cable detailed how World War II-era rifles donated during the Cold War made their way illegally from a Guatemalan government warehouse to Century Arms in 2007 for $130 million.
An Israeli arms dealer and frequent middleman for Century Arms helped carry out the illegal transfer of American M-1 rifles, the cables said.
In 1987, John Rugg, a former police officer and longtime Century Arms employee, told a U.S. Senate committee that the company was involved in supplying arms, including rockets and grenades, to the Contras of Nicaragua during the 1980s-era Iran-Contra scandal.
In 2011, the Center for Public Integrity reported that Century Arms’ Romanian-manufactured WASR-10 “has become a favorite of the Mexican drug cartels and in recent years hundreds of them have been traced to crimes in Mexico.”
At least seven of the weapons used or discovered after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris have been identified as being produced by a factory located in central Serbia. Most were manufactured before Yugoslavia broke up in a civil war in the 1990s, and most are modified versions of the Soviet AK-47, sometimes known as the Kalashnikov.
In fact, Century Arms has a history of buying arms from Eastern Europe. In 2004, Italian authorities temporarily halted shipment of 7,500 AK-47s from Romania to Century Arms. And the Center for Public Integrity reported that Century had extensive business dealings in Romania, even before the fall of the country’s communist dictator, Nikolai Ceausescu.
Century Arms sells to individuals or businesses with a federal firearms license, using its website to direct most retail traffic to a network of dealers.
Tom Cash, a former special agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administrations’ Florida and Caribbean operations, said that should make it possible for authorities to track down who bought the gun.
But the purchaser can be anybody, he said, because there are no restrictions on who can get such a license.
William Hartung, a policy analyst with the Center for International Policy in New York, agrees there’s no guarantee the gun won’t wind up in the wrong hands, even when purchased by a licensed buyer. “Sometimes, somebody with a legal right purchases it and then they sell it or they lose it,” he said. “There have been examples of that.”
Marc Adler, president of Allan Adler, a Boca Raton consulting firm that specializes in firearms, said taking a handgun out of the country involves reams of paperwork and approval by federal agencies.
“The export of firearms is very heavily regulated,” said Adler, who questions how the gun could have legally left the country. “The only way I think it can happen would be some type of illegal transfer.”
Brzakovic, the Serbian factory official, said all the guns linked to the Paris attacks were delivered legally, including the gun sold to Century Arms.
That gun is a derivative of the AK-47, a military-grade assault rifle. The gun was delivered as a semi-automatic, but it’s unknown if it had been altered to an automatic. The so-called “shortened Kalashnikov” is listed by U.S. arms dealers as selling for about $460 a piece.
The M92 pistol, said Brzakovic, “is a semi-automatic weapon, a hunting and sporting weapon … it cannot fire barrage fire, only single shots … which are legal in America.”
Of the other guns linked to the Paris attack, “One was delivered to Bosnia in 1983, one to Skopje, Macedonia, in December 1987, one to Golubici, near Knin (Croatia) in 1988, one to Zagreb (Croatia) 1987,” he told the AP.
Brzakovic said it would be wrong to accuse his company, Zastava, of selling weapons to terrorists.
“Here’s where the weapons ended, there’s the data. Zastava cannot be blamed for where it went afterward,” Brzakovic said.
But he, too, agreed that an illicit gun deal could have taken place even after arms were delivered legally.
“Wherever there are wars, there are bigger possibilities for abuse and to hide the channels for guns. They end up where they shouldn’t,” he said.
11 December 2015
The German Interior Ministry (BMI) employed more former Nazis after the Second World War than previously thought. Between 1949 and the beginning of the 1970s, there were more former Nazis in leading positions than in other ministries, such as the foreign office or the justice ministry, which were also teeming with former Nazis.
This was demonstrated in the concluding report of a preliminary study by historians, which appeared on October 29. In December 2014, Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière ordered a project group, led by Professor Frank Bösch (ZZF Potsdam) and Andreas Wirsching (IfZ Munich-Berlin), to study the role of National Socialists in the Interior Ministry of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Interior Ministry of former Stalinist East Germany (GDR).
The Interior Ministry had blocked such a study for longer than most of the other ministries and authorities. Since they had something to hide, this is not surprising! Immediately after the founding of the BMI in 1949, half of all newly hired department heads, branch and subdivision leaders were former members of the Nazi Party. This percentage rose to 66 percent between 1956 and 1961. This number in the Interior Ministry was only exceeded by the number in the Federal Criminal Office (BKA), which is under the control of the Interior Ministry. The proportion of ex-Nazis in the BKA was 75 percent.
Among former Nazi Party members, numerous former Nazi storm troopers (members of the SA, whose murderous thugs helped Hitler gain power) worked for the BMI. Their proportion grew from 17 to 45 percent in 1961 and then fell to 25 percent. This meant that at the beginning of the 1960s almost half of all leading BMI officials had been active in Nazi storm troop divisions, and at the beginning of the 1970s, every fourth official was a former storm trooper.
Even former SS members were to be found in the BMI. At the beginning of the 1970s, the proportion of former members of Hitler’s elite corps, some of whom ran concentration camps, was between seven and eight percent.
More Nazi Party members were also placed in East German government positions than the official German Democratic Republic (GDR) statistics admit. The proportion was clearly lower than the 66 percent who worked in the Interior Ministry of the Federal Republic. According to the study, only about 7 percent of former NSDAP members were active in the armed bodies of the GDR Interior Ministry. In the civil areas that were considered “unpolitical,” such as science and culture, about 20 percent were former Nazis.
The network of Keller and Globke
The personnel of the Federal Republic Interior Ministry were personally assembled by Chancellor Konrad Adenauer (Christian Democratic Union) in 1949. He commissioned Erich Keßler, former SA senior squad leader and, in 1945, section head in the Reich Ministry of the Interior, to prepare the “principles of a new civil servants policy” and “possible candidates for leading positions in the federal administration.”
At Keßler’s side was Hans Globke, who led Adenauer’s chancellery starting in 1953. Globke was undersecretary in the Reich Interior Ministry and was involved in the infamous “Nuremberg race laws.” He resigned in 1963 when the GDR sought to prosecute him for his role.
The circle around Globke and Keßler, which included Ritter von Lex, former organizer of the 1936 Olympic Games, was responsible for a “wide-ranging hiring policy” (closing report, page 26). Globke and Keßler quickly abandoned their initial hesitancy to bring especially notorious Nazi officials into key ministries. Out of 44 leading officials of the BMI, there were 24 former Nazi Party members. Fifteen percent had belonged to the SA and seven percent to the SS.
Globke and Kessler made use of networks of former Nazis. One of these networks clearly came from Eastern Prussia, in particular, the right-wing faculty of the University of Königsberg. A whole line-up of state secretaries and speakers, some of whom came from the families of the former Junker nobility in Eastern Prussia, occupied leading posts in the central division of the BMI. This included Keßler himself, along with Ritter von Lex, Sklode von Perbandt, Botho Bauch and Reinhard Dullien.
The superficial justification for this hiring practice was that one needed the “expertise” of the Nazi functionaries in building and management. At any rate, it rapidly became evident that the practice aimed at more than this: the Cold War had begun and the Adenauer government and the Western Allies needed the old anticommunist Nazi elite at the front lines of the struggle against the GDR. The former Nazis served as the basis of the efforts of the Foreign Ministry to rearm the Interior Ministry and suppress the KPD and other left-wing organizations.
The Adenauer Decree
The authors referred to Adenauer’s “Memorandum on the internal and external security of the federal territory” from August 29, 1950, as well as his government decree on the “political activity of members of the public service against the democratic system.” Adenauer conjured up a double threat scenario: the Federal Republic was threatened both by the GDR and the Communist Party, which supposedly was working toward a revolutionary upheaval (page 61).
While the government decree accused Communist Party members—who were pursued by the Nazis and had frequently organized resistance—of a “severe breach of duty,” former membership in the Nazi Party was no longer seen as a hindrance to employment or a reason for dismissal. For such officials, the “traditional picture of an unpolitical management expert” sufficed (page 51).
A certain Karl Behnke played a leading role in the drafting of the Adenauer decree. He was an expert in this area. As an official in the Third Reich, he had driven opponents of the Nazis from government service.
Parallel to Adenauer’s decree, there were public efforts to rearm the German military with the help of American occupation authorities. Federal Interior Minister Gustav Heinemann resigned in October 1950 as a result. Under his successors, Robert Lehr and Gerhard Schröder (both CDU), the number of leading ministry employees with a Nazi past increased. Schröder himself was a former member of the Nazi Party. In 1957, he initiated the debate over the emergency laws, which were finally passed in 1968 under a grand coalition government.
Under Schröder’s direction, 15 out of a total of 17 leading and central branch posts of the BMI were occupied by former Nazi Party and SA members. Key branches such as domestic security, the immigration department and the press office were in the hands of leading officials of the fascist dictatorship.
One of these men was Erwin Gehrhardt, press spokesman of the BMI starting in 1959 and leader of the press law department starting in 1965. Gehrhardt joined the Nazi Party as early as 1924 and was active as an SA squad leader. As a student, he had written for the Götting Kampfblatt. In 1929, he became a member of the Alliance of National Socialist German Jurists, and in 1932 he began making propaganda speeches at numerous Nazi gatherings. When he was hired into the BMI, these activities were downplayed as the “sins of youth.”
Kurt Breull led the residency and immigration department from 1953 to 1964. As a junior lawyer, he was already a vehement anti-Semite. As a leading official in the Federal Republic, he seamlessly continued his anti-Semitism. Breull of all people was the Interior Ministry official responsible for the Föhrenwald Displaced Persons Camp. The camp housed Jews who had survived the Holocaust and whose efforts to emigrate to Israel had failed.
Breull treated these Jews as “illegal” and instructed the diplomatic mission not to issue any more visas for entry, made federal border checks stricter and tried everything he could to deport those already in the camp and deny them social services. In the end he failed because of the opposition of local authorities and the population.
Intelligence agencies under the control of former Nazis
The development of the security organs makes it especially clear how much the West German state based itself on the personnel of the fascist dictatorship in spite of its professions of democracy. In the course of the anticommunist propaganda of the 1950s and 1960s, the security apparatus was massively expanded. Close collaborators of Hitler’s Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick, who was sentenced to death in Nuremberg in 1946, and SS head Heinrich Himmler, were more or less seamlessly brought into federal service.
Reinhard Gehlen, head of the department “Foreign Armies East” is one of the best-known examples. After the war, he collaborated with the United States to build the German foreign intelligence agency, became a federal official in 1950, and hired a large number of his former employees into the Federal Intelligence Agency.
Another example is Max Hagemann, who led the BMI public security subdivision and played a leading role in the building of the Federal Criminal Office (BKA). He was active in the Reich Ministry of Justice before 1945, most recently as a consultant for the Reich Commission for the “Handling of Enemy Property.” From there, he moved to the “Central Office for Asset Management” founded by the allies and became a BMI consultant for police and police law in 1949. As a leading editor of the journal Kriminalistik, Hagemann propagandized against supposed “hereditary criminals” in a fight that was “merciless to the point of destruction.” He also wrote a review praising Globke’s commentary on the race laws.
The traces of Nazism in the present
The preliminary study on the Nazi past of the Interior Ministry concentrates on the continuity of personnel. The larger study planned, which should last until 2018, aims to give special attention to how former Nazi members influenced domestic policy.
However, the results of the preliminary study already permit one to draw important conclusions. On the surface, it may appear as though the Federal Republic was founded under democratic auspices following the destruction of the Third Reich. However, from the very beginning, there were parallel structures in the state apparatus that were deeply rooted in the Nazi dictatorship. As the authors of the study themselves remark, there was a “public recognition of the crimes committed ‘in the German name’ and a distancing from neo-Nazi tendencies, which were declared taboo, while at the same time there was also a conscious integration of a large number of perpetrators and supporters from the Nazi period” (page 14).
According to the study, the “authoritarian state” and antidemocratic orientation of the officials did not disappear after 1945 and this is reflected in the current policies of the BMI. There are “clear indications of a continuing anti-Semitic attitude in the residency and immigration departments,” and an “authoritarian practice of censorship in the culture department,” as well a “social conservative-oriented understanding” in the social department.
In addition, the investigation of the Federal Criminal Office in 2011 showed “how concepts of the fight against crime, which were developed during the Second World War in the context of the fight against partisans, were once again put to use in the combatting of terrorism in the 1970s, and ‘cultural racism’ found its reflection in discriminatory measures against Sinti and Roma.”
The historians explained in their paper that Germany had developed “a stable democracy” in later years in spite of the large number of former Nazis in the ministry. But more recent events bring this claim into question. Seventy years after the end of the Nazi dictatorship, there may no longer be any more former Nazi party members in the state apparatus, but that is only because those who are still alive are all of retirement age. Their tradition, on the other hand, is alive and well.
For example, the series of racist murders carried out by the neo-fascist National Socialist Underground took place under the supervision of the security agencies and the police. Moreover, many questions surrounding the Munich Oktoberfest terror bombing have never been explained. Finally, the security agencies continue to spy massively and illegally on the population. Along with the sharpening of social contradictions and the revival of German militarism, the basic antidemocratic, racist and militaristic tendencies of the German state are returning with full force.
Descendants of former officials of the Third Reich are to be found in leading positions to this day. Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière himself, whose father enjoyed Hitler’s confidence as an officer of his general staff, is one of the best-known examples.
The return of the antidemocratic, racist and militaristic tendencies of the Nazi dictatorship cannot be understood, however, merely in personal or individual terms. Rather, it must be recognized that the root cause of war and fascism—the capitalist profit system, which is once again trying to solve its crisis with wars and dictatorial methods—remained in place at the so-called “hour zero,” after the end of the Second World War.
December 4, 2015
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump knew a man he named as a senior business adviser in 2010 had been convicted in a major Mafia-linked stock fraud scheme, according to Associated Press interviews and a review of court records.
Trump had worked with Felix Sater previously during the man’s stint as an executive at Bayrock Group LLC, a real estate development firm that partnered with Trump on numerous projects after renting office space from the Trump Organization. But Sater’s past was not widely known at the time because he was working as a government cooperator on mob cases and the judge overseeing Sater’s own case kept the proceedings secret. After Sater’s criminal history and past ties to organized crime came to light in 2007, Trump distanced himself from Sater.
Less than three years later, however, Trump tapped Sater for a business development role that came with the title of senior adviser to Donald Trump. Sater received Trump Organization business cards and was given an office within the Trump Organization’s headquarters, on the same floor as Trump’s own.
Trump said during an AP interview on Wednesday that he recalled only bare details of Sater.
“Felix Sater, boy, I have to even think about it,” Trump said, referring questions about Sater to his staff. “I’m not that familiar with him.”
According to Trump lawyer Alan Garten, Sater’s role was to prospect for high-end real estate deals for the Trump Organization. The arrangement lasted six months, Garten said.
The revelation about Sater’s role is significant because of its timing and directness, and marks the first time the Trump Organization has acknowledged publicly that Sater worked for Trump after the disclosures of Sater’s criminal background. Trump has said that among his secrets of success is that he surrounds himself with the “best and most serious people” and with “people you can trust.”
Sater never had an employment agreement or formal contract with the Trump Organization and did not close any deals for Trump, Garten said.
“He was trying to restart his life,” Garten said. “I believe he was regretful of things that happened in the past.”
Trump did not know the details of Sater’s cooperation with the government when Sater came in-house in 2010, Garten said. But Garten noted that U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch praised Sater’s cooperation with the federal government, when senators asked about him during her confirmation hearings early this year. She said Sater cooperated against his Mafia stock fraud co-defendants and assisted the government on unspecified national security matters.
“If Mr. Sater was good enough for the government to work with, I see no reason why he wasn’t good enough for Mr. Trump,” Garten said.
He pleaded guilty in 1998 to one count of racketeering for his role in a $40 million stock fraud scheme involving the prominent Genovese and Bonanno crime families, according to court records. Prosecutors called the operation a pump-and-dump scheme, in which insiders manipulate the price of obscure stocks and then sell them to hapless investors at inflated prices. Five years earlier, a New York State court had sentenced Sater to more than a year in prison for stabbing a man in the face with a broken margarita glass.
Sater declined to discuss his work with Trump.
“Obviously a Donald-and-the-bad-guy piece is not interesting for me to participate in,” Sater wrote in an email to AP. His lawyer, Robert Wolf, said information about Sater in public records and lawsuits obtained by the AP was defamatory. He credited Sater’s stint as a government cooperator with potentially saving American military lives, although he did not provide details. Wolf told the AP to write about Sater’s past “at your own risk” but did not cite specific concerns.
The Koch brothers’ company sold chemicals to Iran, the proceeds from which may have gone to Republican interests. Tea Party leaders, meanwhile, make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. And yet the Tea Party still claims to be populist?
The Tea Party has gone to great lengths to portray itself as a grassroots, populist movement that grew organically. And, yes, when CNBC’s Rick Santelli first sparked the movement, the Tea Party was indeed organic.
As the group’s scope and influence grew, however, it became further entrenched in and intertwined with the Republican establishment, a fact perhaps best illustrated by the rise of former House Majority Leader Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks becoming a bellwether for the Tea Party’s electoral initiatives.
Now, over two years later, the Tea Party has become nothing more than a glorified baby brother for the Republican Party, as many political observers have noted.
“Far from an uprising against Wall Street and big business, Tea Partiers are among the most pro-big-business segments of the electorate, the poll found: 54 percent rate big business warmly; only 20 percent coolly,” wrote ‘Salon’s’Joan Walsh last year, after reviewing surveys of the movement’s members. “They are likewise far from the independent, nonpartisan movement some in the media seem to believe they are: The Tea Party is strongly affiliated with the GOP: 86 percent of movement supporters and activists either identify with or lean toward the Republican Party…”
And in a 2010 investigation of Utah Sen. Mike Lee, a lawyer who rode the Tea Party wave last November, I found that Lee’s professional life included representing the company EnergySolutions in a lawsuit requesting they be allowed to manage and bury out-of-state nuclear materials, clearly a violation of the Tea Party’s strict federalist ideology, as well as common sense.
Lee put the nuclear industry above his state’s interest, as well as Utah citizens’ will: 76 percent of the public opposed EnergySolutions’ proposal. For Lee, business interests were more important than the American public and safety, suggesting that the Tea Party has money, not the people, on its mind.
Two news stories out today hammer that point home.
First, a Bloomberg report on Koch Industries. That company is run by Charles and David Koch, two longtime Republican donors who have helped fund and shape the Tea Party. They’re also shameful capitalists, more interested in the bottom line than the American people, American lives or American laws.
In addition to revealing that officials at Koch Industries’ French subsidiary offered bribes to secure business deals, the report shows that the States-based company paid over $400 million in fines from 1999 to 2003 for environmental and price-fixing, including $296 million for negligence on a Texas pipeline that exploded and killed two teenagers. The most politically revealing detail of the analysis, however, comes in the form of Koch Industries’ dealings with one of our nation’s — and the Republican Party’s — greatest enemies: Iran.
A Bloomberg Markets investigation has found that Koch Industries — in addition to being involved in improper payments to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East — has sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran, a country the U.S. identifies as a sponsor of global terrorism.
Yes, two of the GOP’s largest donors claim to love the United States, yet love taking money from a rogue state more…
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the movement, Politico reports that national Tea Party and Tea Party-affiliated groups are raking in record donations: $79 million last year, a 61 percent increase from 2009’s numbers. And those numbers will likely only increase: Americans for Prosperity, a group founded by the Koch brothers, and Armey’s FreedomWorks told the website they will raise $156 million ahead of the 2012 election. Armey will take home at least $500,000 of that for his related work with Americans for Prosperity.
That group’s president, Tim Phillips, receives $363,000 per year for his work, while FreedomWorks pays its co-chairman Matt Kibbe $321,000 per year. Another national Tea Party group, Tea Party Express, paid out about $2.8 million to right wing consultant Sal Russo’s firm, Russo Marsh.
You get the idea: Russo, Armey, Kibbe and the rest of the Tea Party’s leaders, as well as their funders, Charles and David Koch, are making serious bank while the movement’s rank-and-file continue to suffer under economic malaise: the average Tea Partier makes about $50,000 a year, far less than what their fearless leaders make, and a number certainly eclipsed by the $20 billion each of the Koch Brothers have amassed over their careers. [The Kochs do not generally reveal their annual salaries.]
The economic disparities appear to be having political ramifications within the movement, as well: larger groups are siphoning donors and support from local “rag-tag” groups, according to Politico’s analysis, potentially creating a power vacuum that will destroy the movement’s grassroots base in favor of D.C. insiders. And local leaders are already grumbling about the apparent inequality.
“If the liberty movement does not professionalize and does not build infrastructure — and not just for the sake of professionalizing like the parties — it’s just going to spin its wheels, burn itself out and be over,” Chris Littleton, founder of the Cincinnati Tea Party, told Politico’s Kenneth P. Vogel. “Money equals impact. There’s no way around it. Especially sustainable impact.”
The fact that Tea Party activists, and their backers, the Koch brothers, are making money with underhanded tricks should come as no surprise. Anyone who is paying attention understands that the conservative movement is founded not on the constitutional freedoms rank-and-file Tea Party adherents celebrate, but on a twisted individualism that pits citizen against citizen in a sick game of survival of the fittest — and richest — that tainted Washington in the first place. The men and women behind the movement are more interested in themselves than the American people who support them.
Originally published by DeathandTaxes on October 3, 2011
Museum expresses deep concern over two bills passed by the Ukrainian parliament in April
Ukraine’s decision last month to extend official recognition to a nationalist militia that collaborated with the Germans during World War II has drawn condemnation from the US.
In a statement last week, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) expressed deep concern over two bills passed by the Ukrainian parliament in April.
One allowed for official government commemoration of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, an ultra-nationalist faction that sought to establish an independent Ukrainian state, while the second would ban propaganda and symbols associated with both the Nazi and Soviet regimes.
While the law’s prohibition on the use of such symbols does not apply within academic contexts, it does prevent broadcast media from airing material that “justifies the fight against participants in the struggle for Ukraine’s independence in the 20th century,” according to a translation of the law provided by the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group.
Such provisions, the USHMM claims, “attempt to legislate how the history of Ukraine should be discussed and written, especially regarding the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA).”
“As Ukraine advances on its difficult road to full democracy, we strongly urge the nation’s government to refrain from any measure that preempts or censors discussion and politicizes the study of history,” the Washington- backed Holocaust memorial organization entreated.
While the UPA, an offshoot of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists, engaged in warfare against both the Soviet Union and the Nazis, it also collaborated with Germany and took part in actions against local Jews.
“The Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) fought for Ukrainian independence against Poland until 1939, from 1939-1941 against the Soviet Union, and after that against Germany,” the Ukrainian Embassy in Tel Aviv said.
“The attempt in summer of 1941 of the liberation movement to try to restore Ukrainian independence was suppressed by the German occupiers. The OUN leaders were imprisoned in concentration camps.”
While OUN chief Stepan Bandera and his faction initially fought on the side of the Germans, they later turned against Berlin and the nationalist figure wound up in a concentration camp. He was killed by the KGB in Munich in 1959.
Such public support for Bandera has drawn criticism, especially from Jewish groups and from Russia, which maintains that Ukraine is sliding toward fascism. Jewish leaders in Ukraine have accused the Kremlin of using allegations of anti-Semitism to justify its annexation of Crimea and backing of pro-Moscow rebels in their country’s east.
“The passage of a ban on Nazism and Communism equates the most genocidal regime in human history with the regime which liberated Auschwitz and helped end the reign of terror of the Third Reich,” Wiesenthal Center director for Eastern European Affairs Dr. Efraim Zuroff said last month after the passing of the bill.
Not everybody agrees, however, with one Jewish communal leader, speaking on condition of anonymity following a pro-Bandera march in Kiev earlier this year, saying that “in contemporary Ukraine, Bandera has nothing to do with anti-Semitism, but more with national self-identity of Ukrainians.”
Support for Bandera for many has less to do with anti-Semitism than anti-Russian sentiments, he added.
CIA runs shadow war with Afghan militia implicated in civilian killings
By Sudarsan Raghavan
TOR GHAR, Afghanistan — Months after the Obama administration declared combat operations over in Afghanistan, the CIA continues to run a shadow war in the eastern part of the country, overseeing an Afghan proxy called the Khost Protection Force, according to local officials, former commanders of that militia and Western advisers.
The highly secretive paramilitary unit has been implicated in civilian killings, torture, questionable detentions, arbitrary arrests and use of excessive force in controversial night raids, abuses that have mostly not been previously disclosed. …
In several attacks, witnesses described hearing English being spoken by armed men who had interpreters with them, suggesting American operatives were present during assaults where extreme force was used.
In an e-mailed statement, the agency’s spokesman, Dean Boyd, said that “we’ve taken significant steps to help the Afghan National Directorate of Security address allegations of human rights abuse.” The directorate, known as the NDS, ostensibly oversees the Khost force. Boyd declined to comment on any specific claims of abuse. …
The CIA, separate from the U.S. military, enjoys looser rules of engagement that have enabled it to expand targets to include the Taliban and its allies, the Haqqani network.
Here in this strategic eastern border province, which has long served as a key gateway for militants entering from Pakistan, the KPF fights in conjunction with the CIA out of Forward Operating Base Chapman. …
ISIS 2.0: Meet the New Extremist Group the CIA is Paying to Kill Innocent Civilians in Afghanistan
By Justin Gardner
… The American military has nurtured one Afghan paramilitary group that is being accused of “civilian killings, torture, questionable detentions, arbitrary arrests and use of excessive force in controversial night raids.”
The Khost Protection Force (KPF) … were lured into the proxy service of the CIA with promises of better pay, equipment and conditions than the Afghan army. And just like the CIA, they enjoy virtual immunity.
“In Khost, the KPF is more influential than the Afghan army and police, and unaccountable to the provincial government, often acting outside normal chains of command. Locally, militias such as the KPF are called “campaign forces,” an informal name Afghans use for pro-government armed groups.”
The Washington Post interviewed “witnesses of six separate attacks by the militia in the past year, as well as court documents in the only known legal case filed against the unit, after one or more of its men shot dead a 14-year-old boy.” …
One man described how the KPF shot his father dead as he opened the gate to their home, then threw a grenade inside which killed his mother. The farmer and housewife were supposedly mistaken for others who were suspected of trafficking guns.
Several other accounts tell of “English being spoken by armed men who had translators with them, suggesting American operatives were present during assaults where extreme force was used.”
According to sources, the CIA still directs KPF operations, pays salaries, and provides training and equipment. CIA operatives will travel with the KPF during raids, ready to call in warplane or drone strikes.
While US and Afghan spokespersons praise the KPF as being essential to the fight against the Taliban, local residents are growing more outraged by the killings of their friends and family by US proxy fighters. Hundreds protested last month in the streets of Khost City, marching toward Camp Chapman with the bodies of two civilians killed by the KPF.
“Death to Americans,” they chanted. “Death to American slaves.” …
“… Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who introduced a competing bill aimed at undercutting the provisions to block those on the terror watch list, warned that the Democratic legislation would mean ‘the government can take from you valuable constitutional rights,’ calling it ‘un-American.’ …”
December 4, 2015
WASHINGTON — Senate Republicans voted against barring suspected terrorists, felons and the mentally ill from getting guns on Thursday afternoon, parroting National Rifle Association arguments that doing so would strip some innocent people of their constitutional rights to gun access just a day after yet another massacre on U.S. soil.
A pair of Democratic measures – one to close background check loopholes to make it harder for felons and the mentally ill from buying guns, another to ban those on the terror watch list from buying guns – both went down in flames against near-unanimous GOP opposition.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) told the Daily News that he was “aghast” that Republicans blocked the bills.
“To say it’s okay for would-be terrorists to buy guns after what happened in Paris in California shows just a total disregard for public safety and a total fear of the NRA. and it’s hard to believe the NRA could be so unreasonable. They’re digging their own grave,” he said.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said the NRA is a “quasi-militant wing of the Republican Party” on the Senate floor Thursday morning before the vote.
“Those who choose to do the NRA’s bidding will be held accountable by our constituents,” Reid said. “Something has to be done. We must take a stand. The American people are desperately looking for help, some help, any help.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), who introduced a competing bill aimed at undercutting the provisions to block those on the terror watch list, warned that the Democratic legislation would mean “the government can take from you valuable constitutional rights,” calling it “un-American.”
“You’d have to believe that the federal government is always right and is all-knowing” to support the legislation, Cornyn said, pointing out that not everyone on the terror watch list is a terrorist.
Sen. Chuck Grassley was even more fiery as he echoed the NRA, arguing background check legislation “won’t prevent the next shooting or reduce crime or fix the mental health system” and warning Congress needs to “be worried about protecting the Second Amendment.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the sponsor of the bill focused on terror suspects, pointed out that the idea originated with the Bush administration in 2007.
Her legislation was blocked, with all but one Republican and just one Democrat voting against it.
Republican senators first voted in favor of a half-measure that would allow the Department of Justice to issue an injunction against someone on the terror watch list within 72 hours of their attempt to purchase a gun. If that injunction doesn’t go through, the sale goes forward, however. That amendment passed with just one Democratic supporter and one Republican voting against it.
Minutes later, most Republicans stood together to block resurrecting earlier legislation to improve the background check process. All four Republican senators running for president — Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) — voted against it.
Editor’s Note: Periodically, an article appears in Google’s news bank alluding to “conspiracy theories” about Bob Marley’s death. My own work on Marley’s struggles with the CIA and ultimate demise contained not theories. I operated like any other journalist, gathered credible sources and information and published the results. It never occurred to me that I was engaged in “theorizing. ” I am not a “theorist.” But if the “mainstream” media filters information, and Agency personnel are lionized as “heroes,” the CIA-coined phrase “conspiracy theory” can be applied without question by poorly-informed American proles and marginal writers on the web whose motives are suspect. The effect is marginalization of credible journalism. I reported nearly two decades ago that the death squad that shot Marley and his family was trained by the CIA. At the time, this was dismissed as a “conspiracy theory.” Years later it was reported by mass media that the CIA was indeed linked to the Shower Posse death squad. The pejorative label “theory” is often used by grinning dimwits incapable of thinking without help from a media bandwagon, imho, and their mental programmers in the press and on the web. Bob Marley understood mental slavery. It’s a shame so many conformist Americans do not. – AC
By Chris Burke
AllVoices, Jun 04, 2010 (Reposted)
The Jamaican ‘Shower Posse’ has made international headlines recently for inciting rebellion and murder in the streets of Kingston, Jamaica. This international gang situated in Tivoli Gardens, Kingston, Jamaica, is so-named for the gang’s ‘showering’ of bullets on its enemies. Christopher “Dudus” Coke, the gang’s leader, was attempting to escape extradition for several serious felony charges in the United State, for which the Jamaican people refused to abide.
New reports are surfacing around the world reveal that the United States of America is responsible for creating and cultivating this violent gang, the Shower Posse. The American government’s roll is said to be CIA training, arming and supporting the Shower Posse. It is interesting to note that “Dudus” was a second generation Shower Posse leader. His father, Lester, was co-founder of the gang before “Dudus” took the reins following his father’s murder in a jail cell in Kingston. If Gary Webb’s book, “The Dark Alliance,” is to be believed, US forces had Lester Coke murdered in jail to prevent him from revealing CIA secrets.
Why did the United States CIA empower, weaponise and support the Shower Posse in the 1970s? According to The Dark Alliance, “Norman Descoteaux, the CIA station chief in Jamaica began a destabilization program of the Manley government in late 70s.” Edward Seaga was the then leader of the Jamaican Labour Party in the 1970s. Seaga’s opposition was Michael Manley who had become a problem for the United States when he began to openly criticize American foreign policies and was meeting with U.S. enemy, Fidel Castro, in the 1970s.
During this time, the Cold War Era, the United States resisted an alliance between Jamaica and Cuba. As such, the United States weaponized Seaga’s bodyguards to take out the Manley “communists”. This act began the decades long streak of violence and drug trafficking of the Shower Posse, creating a climate of fear and intimidation in Jamaica ever since.
With the recent violence in Jamaica and the controversy over alleged drug lord, Christopher “Dudus” Coke, many people are talking about the infamous Jamaican Shower Posse and the neighborhood of Tivoli Gardens, where they have their base. What is being ignored largely by the media is the role that the American government and the CIA had in training, arming and giving power to the Shower Posse.
It is interesting that the USA is indicting Christopher “Dudus” Coke, the current leader of the Shower Posse for drug and gun trafficking, given that the CIA was accused of smuggling guns into Jamaica and facilitating the cocaine trade from Jamaica to America in the 70s and 80s. In many ways Dudus was only carrying on a tradition of political corruption, drug running, guns and violence that was started with the help of the CIA. Christopher “Dudus” Coke’s father was was Lester Coke, also known as Jim Brown, one of the founders of the Shower Posse and a fellow champion and protector of the impoverished Tivoli Gardens neighborhood in Kingston. Coke was a political enforcer and bodyguard to Edward Seaga, the leader of the Jamaican Labour Party. Seaga’s opponent Michael Manley had begun to adopt “socialist” stances and began openly criticizing American foreign policies and meeting with U.S. enemy, Fidel Castro, in the 1970s.
Given the cold war the US was having with Russia, the CIA did not want Jamaica to be friendly with communists. According to Gary Webb’s book,”The Dark Alliance,” Norman Descoteaux, the CIA station chief in Jamaica began a destabilization program of the Manley government in late 70s. Part of that plan was assassinations, money for the Jamaican Labour Party, labor unrest, bribery and shipping weapons to Manley’s opponents, like Lester “Jim Brown” Coke. Author, Daurius Figueira writes in his book, “Cocaine And Heroin Trafficking In The Caribbean,” “In fact, it meant that illicit drug runners linked to the JLP were integrated into a CIA linked illicit drugs guns and criminal trafficking pipeline.”
Former CIA agent, Philip Agee, said “the CIA was using the JLP as its instrument in the campaign against the Michael Manley government, I’d say most of the violence was coming from the JLP, and behind them was the CIA in terms of getting weapons in and getting money in.” One of Lester Coke’s associates, Cecil Connor, would claim that he was trained by the CIA to fight political wars for the JLP through killing and spying. Connor would stuff ballot boxes and intimidate voters to help the JLP win elections. Connor would go on from being a political thug to being part of the international Jamaican based cocaine ring known as the Shower Posse. He wound up testifying against Lester Coke and his cohort Vivian Blake, only to return to his native St. Kitts to become a drug kingpin who almost held the country hostage.
Christopher “Dudus” Coke’s father, Lester Coke has also been accused of working with the CIA. Timothy White speculates, in his biography of Bob Marley, “Catch A Fire,” that Jim Brown was part of a team of armed gunman that attempted to assassinate Bob Marley led by JLP enforcer Carl “Byah” Mitchell. Authors Laurie Gunst and Vivien Goldman also make the same assertions in their books, “Born Fi Dead” and “The Book Of Exodus.” Marley’s manager Don Taylor claims that one of Marley’s attackers was captured and admitted that the CIA had agreed to pay him in cocaine and guns to kill Marley. Lester Coke would later be burned to death in a Jamaican jail cell, while awaiting extradition to the United States. Many people have claimed that he was killed so he wouldn’t reveal his secrets dealing with the CIA, JLP and criminal activity.
In its efforts to destabilize the Jamaican government in the 1970s, the CIA created a group of drug dealing, gun running, political criminals. Through the cocaine trade, these criminals would eventually become more powerful than the politicians they were connected to. The CIA destabilization program did not only destabilize Jamaica in the 70s, but it destabilized Jamaica for the next 40 years. Given the secrecy of both CIA and Jamaican society, it is unclear exactly what was the CIA’s role in creating the Shower Posse. Did they give them guns? Were they given cocaine? Were they trained how to smuggle drugs? Did the CIA use the Shower Posse to try and kill Bob Marley? These are all questions that the CIA should answer. If what is alleged about the CIA is true, then they are partially responsible for the cycle of gun trafficking, gun smuggling and violence that plagues Jamaica today. If the US can extradite the son of one of the CIA’s political enforcers for trafficking guns and cocaine, shouldn’t the CIA be investigated for training Jamaicans on how to conduct political warfare, arming them, giving them cocaine and helping them traffic it?
Given the revelation that the CIA allowed Nicaraguan drug dealers to sell cocaine in the US to fund their revolution against their communist government, it is not that far fetched to believe that they would arm Jamaicans to with guns and give them cocaine to fight communists in Jamaica.
. http://newsone.com/world/casey-gane-mccalla/how-the-cia-created-the-jamaican-shower-posse/ T
While hiding out in Argentina, Adolf Eichmann, one of the chief architects of the Holocaust, wanted to continue the war against Jews, writes Bettina Stangneth, author of Eichmann Before Jerusalem.
Adolf Eichmann on trial for war crimes in Jerusalem in 1961. He was sentenced to death and hanged in 1962.
We are obsessed with Nazis. For the past 70 years, since the Second World War ended, dozens of books have been published annually about Adolf Hitler, the Third Reich and the Holocaust. In a new work, German philosopher Bettina Stangneth explores Adolf Eichmann’s ability to hide from Nazi hunters for well over a decade before he was caught and tried in Jerusalem in 1961. I reached her in Hamburg to talk about Eichmann Before Jerusalem: The Unexamined Life of a Mass Murderer, a runner-up for the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature, sponsored by McGill University. Our conversation has been edited for length.
Eichmann was able to avoid capture for a long time after the war. He lived in northern Germany under a pseudonym and then, in the 1950s, he moved to Argentina, with the help of the Red Cross and Juan Peron.
We should never forget that Eichmann, when he was in power, had a lot of experience with immigration because at first the Nazis planned to deport the Jews, not execute them. He was an expert in escape, hiding himself, dealing with money and papers. He recognized in 1944 that the war would be lost, so he had a long time to prepare his own escape and find hiding places. He tried to kill as many Jews as possible in the last months of the war and the next aim was to think about his life post-Hitler. He began to prepare papers for a false identity and to make preparations with his family.
Philosopher Hannah Arendt witnessed Eichmann’s trial. Her book, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, suggests Eichmann presented himself as an average man unthinkingly conducting mass murder. You disagree.
Eichmann had a long time to prepare for this trial and to think about the role he wanted to play. He decided to show himself as a bureaucrat. Arendt concluded that far from exhibiting a malevolent hatred of Jews, which could have accounted psychologically for his participation in the Holocaust, Eichmann was an utterly innocuous individual. He was following orders.
At the trial, he learned how to look like a grey, confused bureaucrat. He was a very good actor. This ability to lie and manipulate was his big talent. But in Jerusalem his poker face didn’t work. There was too much evidence of his guilt. There were too many documents, too many testimonies, too many survivors. You cannot hide such a crime, the biggest crime in history.
German philosopher Bettina Stangneth says Hannah Arendt’s notion of the banality of evil does not go far enough in explaining the actions of Adolf Eichmann and other senior Nazi figures.
Eichmann boasted that he created the term “The Final Solution,” and it was he who originally claimed six million Jews had been killed. He was proud of his work and even after the war sought acknowledgement of his deeds, except when he was on trial for his life.
For Eichmann the war wasn’t over in 1945. Like many determined Nazis, he believed the war with the Jews would continue. He was prepared to fight again even though he had no gas chambers, no Adolf Hitler. For him the only weapon left was the pencil in his hand. In Argentina, Eichmann planned to write books his whole life to prepare for the next battle.
Eichmann left thousands of pages of conversation and tapes from interviews in the 1950s. Why would he allow people to interview him, especially when Nazis were being hunted?
A lot of Nazis were willing to talk. Nazis were members of a club in Argentina and had the same aim: to get back to Germany, to get into power and to kill the Jews again. Their plan was to teach the world how great the National Socialist idea was and to try it again.
Being in the Nazi party during the 1940s was the biggest, most emotional time of their lives. They were young men and their careers stopped in mid-life, when they were in their 40s. In Buenos Aires they had the illusion that if they had managed in 1933, they could manage it again.
Germany after 1945 was not strong; there was no stability and no one knew what would happen. There were many dangers for the young democracy. Eichmann actually wanted to fly to Frankfurt and give a press conference to explain his reasons for doing what he did. He didn’t like life in Argentina. He wanted his famous name back. His friends and family convinced him not to do it.
“… . In Germany, a lot of people were convinced admirers of Adolf Hitler. After 1945 they said they hadn’t been Nazis … they had no choice. This big lie was comfortable. …”
What also amazes me was that Germany didn’t impose stiff sentences on former Nazis; they received short sentences.
It is a shame. In Germany, a lot of people were convinced admirers of Adolf Hitler. After 1945 they said they hadn’t been Nazis, they were just obeying orders, they were victims themselves, they had no choice. This big lie was comfortable and it became the religion of the Germans after the war. They liked to tell each other, “OK, we had no idea about Auschwitz, we had no idea about the deportation to the east. We are innocent.”
You are German but you seem very angry by how your country reacted so slowly to seek out Nazis.
I am disappointed. This disappointment has something to do with the fact that trying to hide the past still isn’t over. I tried to get access to the Eichmann files from the German secret service. I got a large part of these files but many pages aren’t available. They are blacked out. This is my Germany. I was born in 1966. Today, still, Nazi files are hidden and are not available for research and I have to ask why. It makes me angry. Why should it be dangerous for our image in the world to write about Eichmann today? He has been dead for over 50 years and we fear him even today.
Why write a book about Eichmann when Hannah Arendt wrote one?
Hannah Arendt is very important to me. She is living proof that it is possible to be a woman and a philosopher. She is one of the reasons I wanted to look at Eichmann. I had no plans to criticize her but I found many new sources.
We need her notion of the banality of evil. It is an evil with thoughtlessness. It is possible to go to your office every day and never ask yourself if what you are doing is evil. I don’t think Arendt is wrong but I don’t think it is enough to explain what happened.
We still have a small movement here who believe National Socialism was good. This group is larger than we would like to believe. It’s scary. People in Germany are convinced (Chancellor) Angela Merkel has only one aim: to destroy the German race. They think that is why she is inviting Syrians to come. We need a multicultural society. It is the only way to fight against people who are dreaming about a pure race.
What if the “psy-war” the young Kissinger was captivated by is still ongoing?
“… Psy-war derived from the wartime Office of Strategic Services and was later practiced with increasing sophistication by the OSS’s postwar successor, the Central Intelligence Agency. One proponent listed psy-war’s contents as “economic manipulation, incitement of riots, terror, diversionary diplomacy, sabotage, guerrilla and paramilitary actions, etc. …”
In These Times, November 23, 2015
Before Richard Nixon appointed Henry Kissinger as his National Security Advisor and then Secretary of State, before Kissinger oversaw massive bombing campaigns in Cambodia and Laos, and well before Christopher Hitchens imagined putting him on trial for war crimes everywhere from East Timor to Chile, Henry Kissinger was an academic for two decades at Harvard University. An undergraduate in Harvard College in the Truman years, he received his Ph.D. from Harvard during the Eisenhower administration, and was a faculty member there through the Kennedy and Johnson administrations.
These years of Kissinger’s striving in Cambridge provide the core of Niall Ferguson’s recently published intellectual biography, Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist. It is the first of two volumes and it deals with Kissinger’s first forty-five years, from his birth in Weimar Germany to the day President-elect Richard Nixon appointed him as his National Security Advisor. Against the commonplace conceptualization of Kissinger as the last master-practitioner of unsentimental Realpolitik diplomacy, Ferguson’s lingering attention to Kissinger’s scholarship produced during his years at Harvard allows him to reframe Kissinger as an intellectual who sought to use ideas to transform the world.
As Ferguson notes, in one of The Idealist’s most compelling discussions, Kissinger as a young scholar was captivated by the arts of pscyhological warfare, or “psy-war,” then in fashion. In the early Cold War, psy-war was part of “the new ‘great game,’” Ferguson writes, “and the best and the brightest from the Ivy League colleges thirsted to play it.” Psy-war derived from the wartime Office of Strategic Services and was later practiced with increasing sophistication by the OSS’s postwar successor, the Central Intelligence Agency. One proponent listed psy-war’s contents as “economic manipulation, incitement of riots, terror, diversionary diplomacy, sabotage, guerrilla and paramilitary actions, etc.”
In The Idealist, Ferguson provocatively suggests that Kissinger conceived of his legendary International Seminar at Harvard as itself a psy-war op. Indeed, Kissinger even asked the CIA’s deputy director for administration for funds to run the seminar. But, against the long-running criticism that Kissinger abused a haven of academic inquiry, Ferguson spends almost four pages dismissing as “trivial” the CIA’s funneled funding of Kissinger’s seminar. His argument is deceptive: he emphasizes that the amount of funds delivered was trivial, and leaves the impression that the ethical questions involved are consequently also trivial.
Ferguson also writes that Kissinger contacted the FBI when he found “ban the bomb” flyers in the mail, defending Kissinger thus: “it was certainly not imprudent in the midst of the ‘Red Scare’” to do so. Here Ferguson seems to confuse paranoia over communist subversion with actual communist subversion. He further obfuscates by adding, as justification for Kissinger’s action, that during the same year, 1953, the foreign policy expert on the Soviet Union George Kennan “judged it wise to seek J. Edgar Hoover’s permission before subscribing to Pravda.”
This is, to say the least, an indirect defense: finding “ban the bomb” flyers in the mail is hardly the same as subscribing to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’s official organ; and putting the FBI on the scent of antinuclear activists is decidedly not the same as trying to preempt your becoming a target of the FBI. Though Ferguson doesn’t make it clear, the envelope Kissinger opened to find the flyer was not addressed to him. He had opened someone else’s mail. Whatever defense of Kissinger might be mounted, Ferguson doesn’t attempt it; he instead resorts to sleight of hand.
How did the intellectual passions that Ferguson traces in Kissinger the scholar translate into the actions of Kissinger the practitioner? Since Ferguson’s volume ends with Kissinger entering government, his accounting of Kissinger’s exercise of power remains largely to be seen. However, in his new Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman, historian Greg Grandin interrogates precisely the real-world, and worldwide, consequences of Kissinger’s ideas once he’s in Nixon’s White House. Grandin particularly focuses on Kissinger’s role, by orchestrating the devastating bombing campaign in Cambodia, in the rise to power of Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge. Aside from “the magnitude of cruelty or its body count,” the Cambodian bombing is a smoking gun for Grandin because the choice to carpet bomb derived from logic “the opposite of Machiavellian realism: it was executed to try to bring about a world Nixon and Kissinger believed they ought to live in—one in which they could, by the force of their material power, bend peasant-poor countries like Cambodia (and Laos and North Vietnam) to their will—rather than reflect the real world they did live in.”
For Grandin, Kissinger’s Cambodian campaign was something like the genesis of neoconservatism. Indeed, as both he and Ferguson are undoubtedly aware, there is a present-day significance to the publications of their very different books that is larger than historiographical concerns of so-called “Kissinger studies.” Ferguson is perhaps the most prominent intellectual proponent of a post-9/11 American empire, and Grandin has proven himself to be one of the American left’s most intelligent and indefatiguable anti-imperialists.
In The Idealist, Ferguson reflects on his past study of “that strange empire that dare not speak its name, the United States of America.” In the past, he has suggested that this empire is hampered by three deficits: those of financing, manpower, and attention. Ferguson now adds that studying Kissinger has led him “to realize my approach was unsubtle.” To solve his unsubtlety, he has added a fourth deficit, “the history deficit: the fact that key decision makers know almost nothing not just of other countries’ pasts but also of their own.” Ferguson suggests that the American imperialists don’t see anything wrong with their ignorance, and even worse, “they know just enough history to have confidence but not enough to have understanding. Like the official who assured me in early 2003 that the future of a post-Saddam Iraq would closely resemble that of post-Communist Poland, too many highly accomplished Americans simply do not appreciate the value, but also the danger, of historical analogy.”
Certainly one of those highly accomplished Americans is Henry Kissinger. In one particularly effective passage, Grandin problematizes precisely Kissinger’s deployment of historical analogy, relating the incident when, asked by a British interviewer if he felt responsibility for Pol Pot, Kissinger replied, “Absolutely. I feel just as responsible as you should feel for the Holocaust because you bombed Hamburg.” Grandin points out the senselessness of the comparison, beginning with its confusion of simple chronology.
But maybe Grandin is giving Kissinger too much credit, taking him too seriously: isn’t Kissinger here obviously not interested in logic but rather employing a little psy-war diversionary diplomacy? And, if we are to take Ferguson at his word, why does he accept as earnest his ignorant, ugly American in Mesopotamia, blithely analogizing about eastern Europe and the end of the Cold War? There’s no reason to presume that the official ingenuously invested intellectual value in the comparison; more likely, he was conducting his own psy-war op, doing his part to sell the war. But, then, there’s no reason to presume that Ferguson himself isn’t conducting psy-war in The Idealist, either.
The Kochs have been complaining about a “lack of civility in politics” as they seek to boost their public image–but one of their top operatives helped propel perhaps the most egregious case of race-baiting voter fraud hucksterism in recent years.
At the helm of this “competitive intelligence” operation is a man named Mike Roman, Vice President of Research for Kochs’ Freedom Partners and who was paid $265,000 last year, according to Freedom Partners’ recent tax filing.
But who is Mike Roman? He’s been described generally as a longtime GOP operative. However, he’s also the guy who was behind the release of the 2008 “New Black Panthers scaring old white ladies at the polls” video. The clip dominated Fox News for months and went on to fuel unfounded allegations that the Obama administration’s Department of Justice was biased against white people.
Roman made a name for himself by releasing the video, which showed a New Black Panther Party (NBPP) member holding a billy club outside a Philadelphia polling place, on his voter fraud-peddling “Election Journal” website. He then worked with Republican vote fraud conspiracist J. Christian Adams to try uncovering evidence that voters were intimidated–which they could not find. But that didn’t stop Roman, along with Fox News and the conservative echo chamber, from conjuring up a vast racist conspiracy inside the Obama administration, a theme that continues today.
As the conspiracy theories grew, Roman was given a column at Breitbart.com, where he continued to push a “scandal” narrative and to suggest a wide-ranging conspiracy involving ACORN, NBPP, and the Obama administration to steal elections. (Roman even launched a voter fraud app.)
Apparently Roman’s years of stoking unfounded paranoia about stolen elections prepared him for a high-ranking position in the Koch operation.
In his role as the Kochs’ top spy, Vogel reported, Roman has “worked to keep himself and his activity low-profile even within the discreet Koch operation.”
“They act all cloak and dagger–like the CIA,” one source told Vogel. “There was a joke about how hardly anyone ever met Mike Roman. It was like, if you wanted to find him, he’d be in a trench coat on the National Mall.”
His favorite reads include books like “Data Mining and Analysis” and “Intelligence Analysis: a Target-Centric Approach,” as well as Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, the left-wing organizer’s manual that has gained traction on the right in recent years.
Mike Roman’s favorite author? Charles Koch.
– See more at: http://www.prwatch.org/news/2015/11/12980/koch-spy-voter-fraud#sthash.o8yNRz3n.dpuf
Bernie Sanders Calls Planned Parenthood Shooting A Consequence Of Republican Rhetoric
Politicus, November 28th, 2015
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders connected the dots and called out the unintended consequences of Republican rhetoric while responding to the Colorado Planned Parenthood shooting.
In a statement, Sen. Sanders said, “While we still do not know the shooter’s motive, what is clear is that Planned Parenthood has been the subject of vicious and unsubstantiated statements attacking an organization that provides critical health care for millions of Americans. I strongly support Planned Parenthood and the work it is doing and hope people realize that bitter rhetoric can have unintended consequences.”
The name is so mnemonic that once you hear it, you can never get it out of your head: “David Corn,” the Washington editor for The Nation, that straggling house organ of the American left. Though I may occasionally find reason to respect an article appearing in The Nation, it is all too often a keen disappointment. The magazine suffers from suffocating intellectual claustrophobia, and one reason for this is the continual recycling of controlled, “gatekeeper” celebrities of the left like Corn, who make a living by upsetting the apple cart … but not too much. He has an internal limit switch.
The Corn Method: He finds “respectable” stories, scoops just below the headlines … and brushes up against political conspiracies and covert operations routinely, but watches his language, avoids inflammatory words like “fascism,” feigns professionalism.
He despises “conspiracy theories.” Corn is a “professional” journalist, afer all – unlike the swinish, bothersome conspiracy theorists he derides in his columns.
The Nation claims that David Corn “broke news of the Bush-Enron oil deal.” Not exactly – in fact, he cribbed the story from a book written by … a “conspiracy theorist.”
“Did George W. Bush once have a financial relationship with Enron?” Corn writes. Breaking news? The year was 1986, and “according to a publicly available record” – that is, the “conspiracy” book First Son, by Bill Minutaglio (so much for “breaking” the story) – Bush and Enron “drilled for oil together–at a time when Bush was a not-too-successful oil man in Texas and his oil venture was in dire need of help. Bush’s business association with Enron, it seems, has not previously been reported.” Except in Minutaglio’s book …
So far, no conspiracy. Unscathed so far. Whew. But Corn is strolling onto the doggy path, and must hold his nose and watch his tongue lest someone notice that he’s now engaging in silly “conspiracy theories”: “It shows the credibility of the Bush gang and that of Enron deserve questioning when either one is talking about the other.”
What’s this? A conspiracy of silence? The credibility of Bush and Enron may have deserved “questioning?” They had no credibility, even in the ’80s – if you paid those addled “conspiracy theories” any heed, or even read the Texas Observer, where the corruption was all laid out.
Ironically, David Corn, Noam Chomsky, Marc Cooper and other writers for The Nation frown on anyone who deals in “conspiracies,” and often speak condescendingly about these geeky mollusks. In fact, there are “conspiracy theorists” on the Internet who probed deeply into Bush’s connections to Enron before Corn, but along he comes with Ivy-League grooming and deportment, detailing a conspiracy theory without actually using the pejorative to describe his own work, based on a “publicly available record” (a published book), and all the while praying to his personal god that no one notices that he’s deeply engaged in conspiracy theories himself.
He generously shares his “professional” knowledge: “The CIA doesn’t smuggle drugs …” – gasp – the baldest lie in American history.
To be polite, Corn does a fair imitation of a dissenting writer … for someone who travels on a State Department visa. On November 9, 2001, Corn boasted in an AlterNet posting that he “had been dispatched to Trinidad by the U.S. State Department to conduct a two-day seminar on investigative reporting for local journalists (your tax dollars at work!).” (Corn, “Why Bush Needs to Spin the War.”) Journalists who eschew conflicting with the interests of their readers are not dispatched by the State Department, for God’s sake – a branch of government that has no use for dissident writers, and in foreign countries has even been known to plot their deaths (eg. CBS reporter George Polk). (And good writers do not spout the stupid cliche about your tax dollars in so lame a context.)
David Corn finds “conspiracy theories” maddening: “Please stop sending me those emails. You know who are. And you know what emails I mean … Okay, I’ll spell it out — those forwarded emails suggesting, or flat-out stating, the CIA and the U.S. government were somehow involved in the horrific September 11 attacks.” There are the ridiculous emails “about a fellow imprisoned in Canada who claims to be a former U.S. intelligence officer and who supposedly passed advance warning of the attack to jail guards in mid-August. There are emails, citing an Italian newspaper, reporting that last July Osama bin Laden was treated for kidney disease at the American hospital in Dubai and met with a CIA official. There are the emails, referring to a book published in France, that note the attacks came a month after Bush Administration officials, who were negotiating an oil deal with the Taliban, told the Afghans ‘either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.’”
I know these allegations well. The sources include Le Figaro, India Times, Wall Street Journal and the BBC. These are wretched, unprofessional “conspiracy theorists?” Why are they giving him the shingles?
“Such a plot — to execute the simultaneous destruction of the two towers, a piece of the Pentagon, and four airplanes and make it appear as if it all was done by another party is far beyond the skill level of U.S. intelligence,” Corn insists.
Corn knows the classified agency’s precise skill level? But perhaps the CIA is not so skillful, after all, as he maintains, and that’s why the foreign press has been blowing the whistleand David Corn keeps receiving those irksome “e-mails.”
“Are there enough people of such a bent in all those agencies? That’s doubtful,” Corn sniffs. “CIA officers and American officials have been evildoers. They have supported death squads and made use of drug dealers overseas.” That is, they conspired to kill and drug the country for political ends – terrorist activity. Some would call this “conspiracy.” But when Corn touches a conspiracy, it’s no mere theory. It’s “professional” journalism …
“They have assisted torturers [sic], disseminated assassination manuals, sold weapons to terrorist-friendly governments, undermined democratically-elected governments, and aided dictators who murder and maim. They have covered up reports of massacres and human rights abuses. They have plotted to kill foreign leaders….” All this, at the CIA’s laughable “skill level” …
David Corn can acknowledge this orgy of conspiracies and still argue, “Would George W. Bush take the chance of being branded the most evil president of all time by countenancing such [9/11] wrongdoing? Oil may be in his blood, but would he place the oil industry’s interests ahead of his own?”
Corn isn’t joking. Excuse my language, but this is one sadistically facile argument. Bush IS considered the most evil president of all time. Would Bush place the oil industry’s interests ahead of his own? They are symbiotic, it goes without saying, and this corrupt chief executive with a CIA dad was capable of anything.
“Conspiracy theories may seem more nuisance than problem,” a statement contradicted by the public’s continuing taste for conspiracy theories at the cinema, on the Internet, magazine rack, and everywhere else, “but they do compete with reality for attention.” Could it be that they compete with David Corn for attention, and that’s one reason why he resents them?
Corn actually admits he cannot muster an argument to those accursed “e-mails.” But in the end, we must depend on “common sense” – his.
“The spies and special agents are not good enough, evil enough, or gutsy enough to mount this [9/11] operation.” This is the same organization that dragged the country into Vietnam, pulled off a coup in Chile, an immense bloodbath. Not evil enough? They couldn’t arrange or allow to happen the 9/11 devastation? “That conclusion is based partly on, dare I say it, common sense, but also on years spent covering national security matters.” Whizzy-wow – an appeal to authority. “(For a book I wrote on the CIA, I interviewed over 100 CIA officials and employees.)” In the end, it comes down to “common sense” and trust in his credentials, not a valid, reasoned debunking at all.
So how, in a crowded room, are we to distinguish David Corn from any mainstream media CIA apologist/clown? Fact is, Corn’s writing on the CIA is tame, old hat, in my opinion, but better than nothing, I guess. However, Corn’s sense of Black Tuesday is VERY common.
David Corn, find an honest line of work, please. Maybe at the State Department …
November 24, 2015
MINNEAPOLIS — Simmering racial tensions boiled over yet again Monday night when several men shot five people who had been protesting the recent police killing of an African American man in Minneapolis. Police on Tuesday afternoon said they had arrested two suspects and were seeking others.
On Monday night, five people suffered non-life-threatening gunshot injuries when at least one person opened fire on a crowd outside the Minneapolis Police Department’s 4th Precinct building, authorities said. Afterward, police said they were searching for “3 white male suspects” who fled the scene.
By Tuesday afternoon, police said they had arrested a 32-year-old Hispanic man in South Minneapolis and a 23-year-old white man in nearby Bloomington. The suspects were not identified and no other details were released.
“We are sparing no efforts to bring any and all those responsible to justice,” Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges (D) said on social media, where she called the shooting “abhorrent.”
Protesters have been camping out in front of the 4th Precinct since Nov. 15, when two Minneapolis police officers were involved in the contentious killing of 24-year-old Jamar Clark.
Although Clark’s family called for an end to the protests after the recent shooting, Black Lives Matter Minneapolis vowed to return to the 4th Precinct on Tuesday for another demonstration. Throughout the morning, protesters continued to gather outside the police station.
Federal authorities said Tuesday that they knew about the shooting and were working with local police during the investigation.
“The Department of Justice is aware of the incident and is coordinating with the Minneapolis Police Department to assess the evidence and determine if federal action is appropriate,” the department said in a statement.
About 10:40 p.m. Monday, police responded to the scene, about one block from the police station. Soon, 911 calls started to pour in, police said.
A video from a journalist at the scene showed people fleeing, then screaming for an ambulance. A young African American man was seen writhing in pain with an apparent gunshot wound to the leg while fellow protesters — then police and paramedics — tried to help.
Henry Habu, a nearby resident, said he was there during the shooting.
Habu said there were three men and a woman in ski masks who were filming the demonstrations. One witness reported seeing three men in masks; another reported one. Still, when protesters asked them who they were and why they were filming, Habu said, they deflected the questions.
Several people involved in the demonstrations — including a Black Lives Matter organizer and the NAACP Minneapolis chapter president — have called the alleged gunmen white supremacists. Authorities, however, have not confirmed those claims.
Habu said the outsiders appeared to fit the description of white supremacists whom protesters had been told to watch out for — those wearing masks or camouflage clothing. He said that at one point, those who were wearing masks walked away, and some protesters followed them.
“They tried to fight,” he said. “There was a scuffle.”
Carrie Brown and several other older members in the community said they tried to defuse the situation.
“One of the white protesters who had been with us since the beginning said, ‘Be careful, those guys are white supremacists,’” Brown said, referring to the three men and one woman in balaclavas. “We asked them to remove their masks, asked who they were, invited them to come and protest with us peacefully once they did that.”
“One of our young men reached out and touched one of them and said, ‘Oh he has a vest on’ like a bulletproof vest,” she added.
One witness, who did not want be named, was among those who followed the outsiders up the street.
“About midway down the block the group sort of thinned out and I said, ‘Maybe we should turn around, not make them feel like we’re all up on them,’ and the minute I turned around I heard four shots,” he said. “One whizzed right by me. I was going to get down but then I just ran.”
Habu said shots rang out and he saw people disperse, running back to the demonstration camp.
Brown said she heard about 15 shots and, when she turned around, “four boys on the ground.” She said she tended to one who had been shot in the leg.
“He just kept saying, ‘Don’t leave me, don’t leave me,’” she said.
Several witness said police used pepper spray on those who were trying to help — apparently to get protesters away from the victims so that medical personnel could reach them. Brown said an officer put a gun to her face and told her to move back.
“I couldn’t move,” she said. “He [the gunshot victim] had his hands wrapped around me. They pried his hands off of me.”
Three victims were transported to North Memorial Medical Center, police said, and two others were transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center. Police described the injuries as not life-threatening.
Nekima Levy-Pounds, president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP, returned to the scene after the shooting incident.
Rep. Keith Ellison (D), who represents the area in Congress and has supported the demonstrators, spoke out about the shooting.
“I don’t want to perpetuate rumor,” he said, according to Minnesota Public Radio. “I’d rather just try to get the facts out. That’s a better way to go. I know there’s a lot of speculation as to who these people were. And they well could have been, I’m not trying to say they weren’t white supremacists. But I just haven’t been able to piece together enough information to say with any real clarity.”
The shooting occurred the night before the one-year anniversary of a Missouri grand jury’s decision against indicting white Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. That decision helped reignite powerful frustration about the way African Americans are treated by police.
In Minneapolis, protesters have been camping out in front of the 4th Precinct since Nov. 15, when two Minneapolis police officers were involved in the contentious killing of Clark.
Authorities said officers were responding to a call for help from paramedics, who said Clark was interrupting their attempts to help an assault victim. Clark, who was unarmed, was also a suspect in the assault, police said.
“At some point during an altercation that ensued between the officers and the individual, an officer discharged his weapon, striking the individual,” the state Department of Public Safety said in a Nov. 17 statement.
Even before his death, however, his shooting was already causing outrage. Several witnesses claimed that Clark was handcuffed at the time of the fatal shooting, although police claimed otherwise. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is now investigating the shooting at the request of MPD.
As protests gained strength last week, Hodges, the mayor, also asked the Justice Department to open a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting.
Both Black Lives Matter organizers and the Minneapolis NAACP have called on authorities to release video of the shooting.
But Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton (D) said Monday that video footage taken from an ambulance at the scene was inconclusive. Dayton, who met with protesters and Clark’s family on Saturday, said he has urged federal investigators to release the tapes as soon as possible.
Although largely peaceful, the demonstrations have been disrupted by several other incidents. More than 50 protesters were arrested on Nov. 16 after they shut down a highway. And on Friday, police announced they had arrested two men for spray-painting profanity on the 4th Precinct’s walls.
After Monday night’s shooting, Clark’s family has thanked protesters for their “incredible support” but said demonstrations outside the police station should stop.
“Thank you to the community for the incredible support you have shown for our family in this difficult time,” Clark’s brother, Eddie Sutton, said in a statement. “We appreciate Black Lives Matter for holding it down and keeping the protests peaceful.
There’s not nearly as much disagreement regarding what happened to John and Robert Kennedy as major communications corporations would have you believe.
By now there’s not nearly as much disagreement regarding what happened to John and Robert Kennedy as major communications corporations would have you believe. While every researcher and author highlights different details, there isn’t any serious disagreement among, say, Jim Douglass’ JFK and the Unspeakable, Howard Hunt’s deathbed confession, and David Talbot’s new The Devil’s Chessboard.
Jon Schwarz says The Devil’s Chessboard confirms that “your darkest suspicions about how the world operates are likely an underestimate. Yes, there is an amorphous group of unelected corporate lawyers, bankers, and intelligence and military officials who form an American ‘deep state,’ setting real limits on the rare politicians who ever try to get out of line.”
For those of us who were already convinced of that up to our eyeballs, Talbot’s book is still one of the best I’ve seen on the Dulles brothers and one of the best I’ve seen on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Where it differs from Douglass’ book, I think, is not so much in the evidence it relates or the conclusions it draws, but in providing an additional motivation for the crime.
JFK and the Unspeakable depicts Kennedy as getting in the way of the violence that Allen Dulles and gang wished to engage in abroad. He wouldn’t fight Cuba or the Soviet Union or Vietnam or East Germany or independence movements in Africa. He wanted disarmament and peace. He was talking cooperatively with Khrushchev, as Eisenhower had tried prior to the U2-shootdown sabotage. The CIA was overthrowing governments in Iran, Guatemala, the Congo, Vietnam, and around the world. Kennedy was getting in the way.
The Devil’s Chessboard depicts Kennedy, in addition, as himself being the sort of leader the CIA was in the habit of overthrowing in those foreign capitals. Kennedy had made enemies of bankers and industrialists. He was working to shrink oil profits by closing tax loopholes, including the “oil depletion allowance.” He was permitting the political left in Italy to participate in power, outraging the extreme right in Italy, the U.S., and the CIA. He aggressively went after steel corporations and prevented their price hikes. This was the sort of behavior that could get you overthrown if you lived in one of those countries with a U.S. embassy in it.
Yes, Kennedy wanted to eliminate or drastically weaken and rename the CIA. Yes he threw Dulles and some of his gang out the door. Yes he refused to launch World War III over Cuba or Berlin or anything else. Yes he had the generals and warmongers against him, but he also had Wall Street against him.
Of course “politicians who ever try to get out of line” are now, as then, but more effectively now, handled first by the media. If the media can stop them or some other maneuver can stop them (character assassination, blackmail, distraction, removal from power) then violence isn’t required.
The fact that Kennedy resembled a coup target, not just a protector of other targets, would be bad news for someone like Senator Bernie Sanders if he ever got past the media, the “super delegates,” and the sell-out organizations to seriously threaten to take the White House. A candidate who accepts the war machine to a great extent and resembles Kennedy not at all on questions of peace, but who takes on Wall Street with the passion it deserves, could place himself as much in the cross-hairs of the deep state as a Jeremy Corbyn who takes on both capital and killing.
Accounts of the escapades of Allen Dulles, and the dozen or more partners in crime whose names crop up beside his decade after decade, illustrate the power of a permanent plutocracy, but also the power of particular individuals to shape it. What if Allen Dulles and Winston Churchill and others like them hadn’t worked to start the Cold War even before World War II was over? What if Dulles hadn’t collaborated with Nazis and the U.S. military hadn’t recruited and imported so many of them into its ranks? What if Dulles hadn’t worked to hide information about the holocaust while it was underway? What if Dulles hadn’t betrayed Roosevelt and Russia to make a separate U.S. peace with Germany in Italy? What if Dulles hadn’t begun sabotaging democracy in Europe immediately and empowering former Nazis in Germany? What if Dulles hadn’t turned the CIA into a secret lawless army and death squad? What if Dulles hadn’t worked to end Iran’s democracy, or Guatemala’s? What if Dulles’ CIA hadn’t developed torture, rendition, human experimentation, and murder as routine policies? What if Eisenhower had been permitted to talk with Khrushchev? What if Dulles hadn’t tried to overthrow the President of France? What if Dulles had been “checked” or “balanced” ever so slightly by the media or Congress or the courts along the way?
These are tougher questions than “What if there had been no Lee Harvey Oswald?” The answer to that is, “There would have been another guy very similar to serve the same purpose, just as there had been in the earlier attempt on JFK in Chicago. But “What if there had been no Allen Dulles?” looms large enough to suggest the possible answer that we would all be better off, less militarized, less secretive, less xenophobic. And that suggests that the deep state is not uniform and not unstoppable. Talbot’s powerful history is a contribution to the effort to stop it.
I hope Talbot speaks about his book in Virginia, after which he might stop saying that Williamsburg and the CIA’s “farm” are in “Northern Virginia.” Hasn’t Northern Virginia got enough to be ashamed of without that?
This article was originally published at DavidSwanson.org and has been used here with permission.
To order “The Devil’s Chessboard”:
In its effort to vet one of the leading GOP presidential candidates, Dr. Ben Carson, the New York Times didn’t properly vet its primary source in this vetting, former CIA officer Duane Clarridge—an indicted liar and overseer of Contra death squads in Central America.
While the Times‘ Trip Gabriel briefly notes the former, he completely omits the latter, instead offering this starry-eyed description:
Mr. Clarridge, described by Mr. Carson’s top adviser, Armstrong Williams, as “a mentor for Dr. Carson,” is acolorful, even legendary figure in intelligence circles, someone who could have stepped out of a Hollywood thriller. He was a longtime CIA officer, serving undercover in India, Turkey, Italy and other countries, and sprinkles his remarks with salty language.
As head of Reagan’s CIA division in Latin America in the 1980s, Clarridge took part in the effort to overthrow Nicaragua’s Sandinista government by illegally supplying funds and arms to the Contras—a right-wing terrorist movement thatcommitted brutal war crimes. This was not an unforeseen consequence, but the point of the operation; asked by CIA Director William Casey to come up with a strategy for dealing with the Sandinista revolution, Clarridge writes in hismemoirA Spy for All Seasons:
My plan was simple:
Take the war to Nicaragua.
Start killing Cubans.
Clarridge acknowledges that his plan, “stated so bluntly, undoubtedly sounds harsh.”
He also boasts of having come up with the idea of mining Nicaragua’s harbors to interfere with shipping:
I remember sitting with a glass of gin on the rocks, smoking a cigar (of course), and pondering my dilemma, when it hit me. Sea mines were the solution…. To this day I wonder why I didn’t think of it sooner.
The mines were, as conservative icon Sen. Barry Goldwater pointed out, an “act of war”—and predictably resulted in the deaths of civilians, something that doesn’t trouble Clarridge overly much. Or, apparently, the New York Times.
The Times vaguely alludes to the Iran/Contra scandal but without mentioning what it entailed, namely that Clarridge had an operational involvement with terrorist death squads.
In addition to this bloodsoaked past, Clarridge has more recently been a freelance hit-list generator for the Defense Department in Afghanistan (New York Times, 3/14/10)–part of what the Times referred to as “an off-the-books spy operation.”
The kid-glove treatment would even extend to ethnic slurs, which the Timesglosses over without citing specifically. Gabriel quotes Clarridge dismissing the notion—spread by right-wing media—that there are Chinese troops in Syria, “using an ethnic slur for the Chinese.” If a top adviser to a leading presidential candidate is referring to Chinese people as “Chinks”—or the equivalent—isn’t that a newsworthy fact that the New York Times ought to report?
It’s not a surprise a New York Times Beltway insider like Trip Gabriel would whitewash Clarridge’s brutal resume to the point of unrecognizability, but it doesn’t make using a grotesque violator of human rights and a known liar to kneecap Carson any less sleazy. On the issue of policy knowledge, it is more than fair to point out Carson’s shortcomings. But the bigger story here—that a leading candidate’s primary international adviser is a CIA goon with a bloody (or as the Times would put it “colorful”) past—is buried in a story about a routine DC pissing match.
This is how America’s war crimes are laundered, by absorbing the most complicit and criminal into respectable circles by passing them off as “experts” with “legendary” pasts. The Times would have better served its readers by pointing out, in clear and honest terms, what this “colorful, even legendary” past amounted to. It would help put Clarridge’s testimony—and Carson’s potential nomination—into historical and moral context.
Adam H. Johnson is an associate editor at AlterNet and writes frequently for FAIR.org. Follow him on Twitter at @adamjohnsonnyc.Jim Naureckas is the editor of FAIR.org.
“I think most people who have dealt with me think I am a pretty straight sort of guy, and I am.” (Tony Blair, 21st October 2011, BBC1.)
Given the ongoing revelations on the extent of Tony Blair’s duplicitous collusion in the illegal bombing and invasion of Iraq, it seems – to muddle metaphors – the “bunker busters” and Cruise missiles are finally coming home to roost.
In what has been dubbed “an apology” Blair even took to CNN in an interview with his pal Fareed Zakaria to – sort of – explain himself. It was no “apology”, but a weasel worded damage limitation exercise as more and more revelations as to disregard for law – and to hell with public opinion – surface. The fault was that “… the intelligence we received was wrong”, there were “mistakes in planning” and a failure to understand: “what would happen once you removed the regime”, said Mr. Tony. Statements entirely untrue. It is also now known he plotted with George W Bush in April 2002, a year before the onslaught, to invade, come what may.
He also found it: “hard to apologise for removing Saddam.” Sorry Mr. Blair, the all was lawless, illegitimate and criminal – and Saddam Hussein was not “removed”, he was lynched, his sons and fifteen year old grandson extra-judicially slaughtered in a hail of US bullets – the all in a country whose “sovereignty and territorial integrity” was guaranteed by the UN.
Whatever opinions of the former Iraqi government, the crimes committed by the US-UK war of aggression and aftermath, make the worst excesses of which Saddam Hussein’s Administration were accused pale by comparison.
Blair brushed off the mention of a war crimes trial and made it clear that he would trash Syria as Iraq, had he the chance. To this barrister (attorney) by training, legality is clearly inconsequential.
Now no less than the UK’s former Director of Public Prosecutions (2003-2008) Sir Ken Macdonald has weighed in against Blair. That he held the post for five years during the Blair regime (Blair resigned in 2007) makes his onslaught interesting. Ironically Macdonald has his legal practice at London’s Matrix Chambers, which he founded with Blair’s barrister wife Cherie, who also continues to practice from Matrix Chambers.
In a scathing attack, Sir Ken states (1):
“The degree of deceit involved in our decision to go to war on Iraq becomes steadily clearer. This was a foreign policy disgrace of epic proportions …” Referring to the CNN interview he witheringly dismissed Blair’s performance saying: “ … playing footsie on Sunday morning television does nothing to repair the damage.”
Moreover: “It is now very difficult to avoid the conclusion that Tony Blair engaged in an alarming subterfuge with his partner, George Bush, and went on to mislead and cajole the British people into a deadly war they had made perfectly clear they didn’t want, and on a basis that it’s increasingly hard to believe even he found truly credible.”
Macdonald cuttingly cited Blair’s: “sycophancy towards power” being unable to resist the “glamour” he attracted in Washington.
“In this sense he was weak and, as we can see, he remains so.” Ouch.
“Since those sorry days we have frequently heard him repeating the self-regarding mantra that ‘hand on heart, I only did what I thought was right’. But this is a narcissist’s defence, and self-belief is no answer to misjudgment: it is certainly no answer to death.” No wonder Sir Ken had headed the country’s legal prosecuting service.
Macdonald’s broadside coincides with further “bombshell revelation” in the Mail on Sunday (2) revealing that “on the eve of war” Blair’s Downing Street “descended in to panic” on being told by the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith that “the conflict could be challenged under international law.”
There was “pandemonium”, Blair was “horrified” and the limited number of Ministers and officials who had a copy of the written opinion “were told ‘burn it, destroy it’ “ alleges the Mail.
The “burning” hysteria centered on Lord Goldmith’s thirteen page legal opinion of 7th March 2003 – just twenty days before the attack on Iraq. The “pandemonium” related to the fact that at this late juncture with: “ … the date the war was supposed to start already in the diary”, Goldsmith was still: “ saying it could be challenged under international law.”
It is not known who gave the “burn”, “destroy” order, but the Mail quotes their information as coming from a former senior figure in Blair’s government. They then “got to work on” Lord Goldsmith. Ten days alter His Lordship produced an advice stating the war was legal. It started three days later, leading eminent international law Professor Philippe Sands to comment memorably: “We went to war on a sheet of A4.”
A spokesman for Tony Blair called the claims or orders to destroy “nonsense” adding that it would be: “ … quite absurd to think that anyone could destroy such a document.” With what is now known re the lies, dodging and diving related to all to do with Iraq under Blair, the realist would surely respond: “Oh no it wouldn’t.”
The US of course stole and destroyed or redacted most of the around 12,000 pages of Iraq’s accounting for their near non-existent weapons, delivered to the UN on 7th December 2002 and Blair seemingly faithfully obeyed his Master’s voice or actions.
In context of the lies and subterfuge of enormity being told both sides of the Atlantic at the time, it is worth remembering George W. Bush, that same December, on the eve of a NATO summit, addressing students and comparing the challenge of the Iraqi President to the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1938, which led to World War II.
We face … perils we’ve never seen before. They’re just as dangerous as those perils that your fathers and mothers and grandfathers and grandmothers faced.
On 1st November this year, in an interview on BBC1, Blair was asked: “If you had known then that there were no WMDs, would you still have gone on?”
He replied: “I would still have thought it right to remove (Saddam Hussein.”)
Adding: “I mean obviously you would have had to use and deploy different arguments about the nature of the threat.”
Thus he would, seemingly, have concocted a different set of lies to justify the assassination of a sovereign head of State.
Perhaps he had forgotten the last line of Attorney General Goldsmith’s legal advice of 12th February 2003: “ … regime change cannot be the objective of military action.” (3)
So is Charles Anthony Lynton Blair, QC. finally headed for handcuffs and a trial at The Hague? Ian Williams, Senior Analyst with Foreign Policy in Focus, New York, has a view. He believes:
… it’s increasingly serious enough to be worrying to him. And I think Tony Blair is rapidly joining Henry Kissinger and Chilean Dictator Augusto Pinochet and other people around the world.
Now, he’s got to consult international lawyers as well as travel agents, before he travels anywhere, because there’s said, (may be) prima facie case for his prosecution either in British courts or foreign courts under universal jurisdiction or with the International Criminal Court, because there is clear evidence now that he is somebody who waged an illegal war of aggression, violating United Nations’ Charter and was responsible for all of those deaths.
Justice, inadequate as it might be given the enormity of the crime, may be finally edging closer for the people of Iraq as international jurisprudence slowly encroaches on Tony Blair.
The former spy chief who provided Tony Blair with ‘evidence’ justifying the invasion of Iraq in 2003 is now raking in vast sums of money, working for accountancy firms, stock brokers, oil companies and investment banks.
Sir John Scarlett was head of the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) when former Prime Minister Blair used the now infamous ‘dodgy dossier’ on Saddam Hussein’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) to claim the Iraqi leader could launch an attack on Britain within 45 minutes.
Critics of the spy chief say he let Blair’s spin-doctor Alistair Campbell pressure him into “sexing up” the document.
Since leaving the civil service, Scarlett has worked for a string of multinational corporations, including PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and BP, earning hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Blair promoted Scarlett to the head of MI6 in 2004, a year after the invasion of Iraq, in a move many saw as a reward for his assistance in justifying the Iraq War.
The spymaster left MI6 in 2009 to work in the private sector, taking a role on the advisory board of PwC in 2010 and as a paid adviser to global insurance company Swiss Re.
In the same year, Scarlett also took a job with investment bank Morgan Stanley and risk management firm Chertoff Group, founded by former US Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff.
Within a year of leaving MI6 Scarlett also took a position on the board of Times Newspapers and an advisory position for the Norwegian multinational oil company, Statoil.
The private company Scarlett ran with his wife, Gwenda Stilliard, had cash assets of £89,573 ($136,185) in 2012 and £683,625 ($1.03 million) a year later.
According to the Independent, over the past three years Scarlett shared £800,000 ($1.2 million) from another private consultancy firm, SC Strategy that he co-owned with the former independent review of anti-terrorism legislation Lord Carlisle.
In January 2015 Scarlett joined the board of BP as a non-executive director. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond approved the move, advising him: “You should not draw on privileged information available to you from your time in Crown Service.”
The UK government’s Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba), which monitors the ‘revolving door’ between government and the private sector, approved all of Scarlett’s job applications.
A former MI6 official and colleague of Scarlett told the Independent he was one of many spy chiefs cashing in on the booming security industry.
“After 9/11 there was an intelligence free-for-all in the United States,” he said.
“The division between state and commercial security got shot to hell, blurred. Booz Allen Hamilton, Chertoff, and other connected firms, now pull in billions in state contracts.
“And as their net and international influence spread, and large corporations place increasing faith in tailored intel, the British CVs of John Scarlett or John Sawers [MI6 chief from 2009-2014] or Mark Allen [a deputy chief at MI6], all look worth shelling out for,” he added.
What is it? Hanging from the seven-story dome of the largest indoor atrium in federal government hands, the newly installed sculpture is sleek yet weighty, covered in polished metal but seemingly lifelike.
More than 36 feet long, it could be an abstracted sea creature starting a dive. Seen sideways from a few stories up, it brings to mind a huge plunging bird, wings tucked in and about to hit the water. And from ground level looking up, the piece could be a rocket headed your way, caught as it approaches a hard landing.
What makes the sculpture additionally confusing is that it hangs in the most recently finished building on the outer Silver Spring campus that has become the new home to the Food and Drug Administration. The campus has four other ambitious sculpture installations, and all relate closely to the agency’s mission of assessing new drugs, devices, vaccines and biologics. But this one does not.
That’s because the artist, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, set out to lure viewers into a challenging world — to first attract them by the appealing look of the sculpture, then invite them to wrestle with the troubling tale about all that surrounds it.
“Prototype for Re-Entry”
If they take up the challenge, they will find that “Prototype for Re-Entry” is perhaps most importantly a window into the past. Artistically, it harks back to the day in 1912 when three prominent sculptors and painters visited the Paris Air Show and saw propellers and other soon-to-be military objects that the three concluded were more artistically important than anything they had ever created.
But regarding the FDA site itself, now home to 8,500 scientists, engineers, managers and support staff, the sculpture is a symbolic entryway into a morally uncomfortable and ultimately redemptive history.
It’s a past that includes captured German equipment and scientists from the Nazi era; the development of weaponry from nuclear warheads to intercontinental ballistic missiles (as well as later an array of NASA heat shields); the making — and subsequent cleaning — of a befouled and hazardous site surrounded by homes and businesses; the coming together of a community group that has moved impossibly large mountains and just may have lit the fuse that will allow a long-neglected and diverse far-eastern section of Montgomery County to really take off; and the rise of an art- and architecture-rich, environmentally friendly and scientifically pioneering billion-dollar-plus center dedicated to promoting human health and well-being.
Few grounds outside of battle zones have been contested and transformed with quite the sharp turns as this one, where “Prototype for Re-Entry” approaches but never lands.
One of the world’s first supersonic wind tunnels while still in Germany during World War II. It was used to test the aerodynamics of the V-2 rocket. (W.C. Spring)
It was more than 70 years ago, at the chaotic end of World War II, that the singular fate of the 660 acres that would become the Naval Surface Weapons Center was decided. Five miles from the District line and alongside New Hampshire Avenue in a neighborhood known as White Oak, the land was wooded and the surroundings were country; suburbia was still a decade away. In Germany, as the Nazi regime crumbled, the Allied armies made a dash to both defeat the enemy and seek out the spoils they believed they needed.
The biggest prize was missile and rocket technology, for which the Germans were envied. The V-2 was the world’s first supersonic guided missile and the first rocket to cross into space, and near the end of the war it caused great destruction in London and elsewhere in Europe. Its signature as a weapon of terror was that, because it was flying faster than the speed of sound, it would not be heard until it had delivered its payload.
The V-2 was the culmination of science that the Germans had been perfecting since the early 1930s, first the theoretical physics, aerodynamics and propulsion of rockets and missiles, then their military applications after Adolph Hitler consolidated power. Central to their success was a series of pioneering wind tunnels developed to test how missiles would behave as they rose to the edge of space and fell toward their targets, how fins could make them go farther but become less stable, how the vicious heat of supersonic travel affected missile surfaces. These supersonic wind tunnels — far more sophisticated than any others in the world — were first built at the secret Nazi weapons center at Peenemündeon the Baltic Sea, and after a series of British air raids they were transferred to the Bavarian town of Kochel.
The Kochel facilities were in what was to become the American zone when the war ended. Once American officials understood what they had found in the resort town, they quickly shipped it to the United States, as well as some of the wind tunnel scientists. By early 1946, when the White Oak Naval Ordnance Laboratory was still under construction, two wind tunnels and nine German scientists were on their way. And by mid-1948, the wind tunnels, compact by modern standards, had been rebuilt exactly as they had been in Germany, but on a secluded, wooded area deep within the White Oak site. Twelve former-enemy-but-now-on-contract German scientists and engineers were present to oversee construction and begin testing again.
White Oak was hardly the only military facility to receive former enemy scientists. Under Operation Paperclip,more than 1,600 former Nazi scientists were transferred to the States after the war — a program that was largely hidden when it began and became controversial only decades later when formerly classified information was released. The American military had desperately wanted the German scientists’ expertise, and civilian leaders were equally adamant that they not fall into the hands of our new opponent: the Soviet Union. America’s biggest haul was Wernher von Braun and his much-in-demand team of rocket scientists.
As far as historians can determine, the 12 German scientists at White Oak were the only ones on permanent duty in the Washington area. And except for the men and women who worked with them in highly classified silence, nobody knew they were there.
We can only speculate about how the Americans received these former enemies. It was doubtless complicated at start, but later accounts of those days describe collegial working relationships and even friendships as the years went on. The Germans had a lot to teach about the aerodynamics of V-2s and later intercontinental missiles. Peter Wegener, one of the 12 White Oak Germans, wrote “The Peenemünde Wind Tunnels, A Memoir” and emphasized the pure science, as opposed to the applied military side. If any of them had been members of the Nazi party, he wrote, it was because they could do their work only if they joined.
That may have been true of Wegener, the liberal son of a famous German movie star, but it was not the case for many others, said Michael J. Neufeld, an expert on the Nazi era and senior curator of the Division of Space History at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
“I think it would be fair to say that some of the scientists just went along with the Nazi program, but others were doubtless true believers,” he said. “They quickly dropped that once the war ended, but our government’s initial decision to deny entry to former active members of the Nazi Party was generally not enforced. Remember, by the late 1940s, being a former Nazi in America really wasn’t a problem. Being a Communist was.”
The really difficult moral issue, Neufeld and others have argued, is how aware the scientists were that their work on V-2 aerodynamics was implicated in one of the most ghastly chapters of the Holocaust and the war. With Peenemünde largely out of commission, the Germans moved mass production of their V-2s to an abandoned gypsum mine under a mountain in central Germany. The high command forced inmates from a nearby concentration camp to dig tunnels for heavy machinery coming in and out and later to assemble the rockets. Historical accounts of the site, known as Mittelwerk, report that 20,000 inmates were worked to death. It is generally agreed that more people died making V-2s under these brutal conditions than died in the explosions that followed the later missile launches.
Wind tunnel memoirist Wegener wrote that he had seen the hellish scene at the V-2 factory near the very end of the war and that his short visit to retrieve documents there left a permanent scar. If he had been reassigned to Mittelwerk, he wrote with an understatement that speaks volumes, “I do not know what I would have done.”
All of the German scientists who worked at White Oak are deceased, and knowledge about what they may have done and seen during the war years is limited. Many were lauded here for super-charging American missile technology, and many went on to illustrious careers at NASA and in academia and industry. But it’s hard to avoid a moral queasiness about their long-ago presence at White Oak, which is perhaps part of why it has been kept largely hidden for so many years.
Dan Marren, who oversees wind tunnel 9 at White Oak, stands in the now abandoned supersonic tunnel 2 in the Naval Ordinance Laboratory building. The building stopped operation in the ’90s. (Greg Kahn/GRAIN/for the Washington Post)
The Naval Surface Weapons Center at White Oak prospered throughout the Cold War, conducting classified research and development on torpedoes, mines, nuclear triggers and much more. At the supersonic and later hypersonic lab, the two German wind tunnels provided data for creation of ever more sophisticated and longer-traveling missiles. And according to the current site director, DanMarren, the German scientists were instrumental in overseeing the design and construction for seven other wind tunnels later built at White Oak, including tunnel 9, which remains state-of-the-art and in high demand.
But after the Cold War ended, the naval center was on the chopping block, and in 1995 the official order came down to close the base. It didn’t help that in 1992 improperly stored explosives went off, rocking the leafy suburban neighborhoods by then surrounding the site and sending a plume of smoke 500 feet into the air.
The closing of the base was a crisis for the nearby Hillandale and White Oak communities.In the eyes of Hillandale resident Betsy Bretz and some of her neighbors, however, it was also the opportunity of a lifetime. A community organizer who happened to be married to a Navy aviator, she had worked in neighborhood action programs in the South during the 1960s and was head of the Hillandale Citizens Association during the base closing. What she and many of her neighbors gradually came to see as a desired future was the rise of the first-ever consolidated FDA campus on the Navy site and then the birth of a spin-off health and science corridor nearby. The eastern section of Montgomery County — long a stepchild to the likes of Bethesda, Chevy Chase and Potomac — would finally take its place as an economic, residential and commercial magnet.
At the time, the FDA was spread across 48 buildings in 28 locations and was in dire need of consolidation and much-improved facilities. A plan to buy land for a new campus in upper Montgomery County had been killed in Congress. Despite sometimes intense opposition in Congress and from some area residents as well as a lawsuit by the Sierra Club, an agreement for the FDA to move to a General Services Administration-developed White Oak campus was inked in 1997.
But there was a major obstacle: An Environmental Protection Agency report concluded that seven White Oak locations posed significant environmental threats, including a dump with buried chemicals, acids, explosive compounds and kerosene. The report stated that there “may be an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health or the environment.” White Oak became the equivalent of a Superfund site.
As Bretz tells it, the Navy balked at cleanup. But she and her Labquest Partnershipcommunity and advocacy group — along with top EPA managers who met in her living room — began a campaign that helped persuade top brass to spend $48 million to bring the site up to the highest environmental standards.
Betsy Bretz is the longtime leader of Labquest, the community group she created to lobby to bring FDA to the closed Naval Surface Weapons Center. (Greg Kahn/GRAIN/for The Washington Post)
What followed was years of battles — usually spearheaded by Bretz and the Labquest “family” — to secure the permissions and money needed to build the Federal Research Center, which would house the FDA on 130 acres. Ever tenacious, Bretz recruited Maryland’s U.S. senators and representatives, former state senator and Hillandale resident Ida Ruben, county officials and federal agency leaders for the fight. When the most recently finished building was dedicated last year, the dais included many of those officials and Bretz. As then-FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg put it, Bretz “has played such an important role in this project from the beginning.” Many others describe that role as “essential.”
What in time became a broadly supported effort resulted in the construction or rehabilitation of 16 LEED-certified, energy-efficient buildings, a power plant to deliver all the site’s electricity needs (and to sell power when unneeded), and the creation of a 21st-century place to work for a fast-growing and ever more important agency. FDA officials say it is now considerably easier to recruit top talent.
But for Labquest, the goal was just half achieved. The group envisioned the rising of an off-campus but FDA-focused “epicenter” with scores of buildings filled with major international and national companies, as well as lively gathering places and construction of a new Washington Adventist Hospital with a close FDA association.
Montgomery County planners were originally highly skeptical, however, and years of Labquest frustration followed. That county skepticism has now disappeared and has been replaced with active involvement in the Viva White Oak development partnership alongside the Gudelsky family, prominent area developers and philanthropists. Bretz and her Labquest colleagues (who number more than 100 and include residents as well as representatives from every level of government) trust that their allies will soon get the final permissions for construction to start.
“We’ve had a vision now for more than 20 years, and we’ve come a very long way,” Bretz said. “A community can be a victim to change, or it can be proactive. We’ve had many, many obstacles, but we’ve played that active role and consider what we have now to be something of a miracle.”
One of Bretz’s biggest fans is Dan Marren, who manages a staff of 30 at wind tunnel 9: “We would have been shut down or moved if it hadn’t been for Betsy — no doubt about it.” Instead, they remain at White Oak under Air Force control now and are busy doing work for the Defense Department, private defense contractors and quite frequently NASA. Tunnel 9, the only one that remains active, was completed in 1976. But with its ability to produce speeds up to Mach 14 in a test cell that is more than five feet in diameter, it remains state-of-the-art and in constant use.
As for the original German wind tunnels, the technological heart of one is on display at the current wind tunnel, and other equipment is in an abandoned building behind it. Ironically, the German government has requested, on behalf of a German museum, the return of the key test sections of the tunnels. Nothing has come of the request.
GSA art commissions start with a decision by a panel of experts about which artist they might approach to gauge interest and ideas. As explained by Christine Ewing, formerly the GSA national capital region fine arts specialist and now GSA campus director, Manglano-Ovalle came to mind. The panel was looking for a hanging sculpture, and the professor of art theory at Northwestern University had created many of them. They were looking for someone interested in the meeting of science and art, and he had a track record there as well.
Under the GSA’s Art in Architecture Program — which collects up to 50 cents toward public art for every $100 spent on a federal building — the artist has a kind of supervised freedom to create what he or she wants. Sensing that the artist would find the wind tunnel most interesting, Ewing brought Manglano-Ovalle over for a look and talk with Marren.
Immediately, the artist was drawn in by the beautiful shapes and surfaces of the missiles, warheads and other military technology on display. He was smitten, rather like the three artists who were so moved by the beautiful propellers at the 1912 Paris Air Show. One of those three artists was Constantin Brancusi, who went on to create a series of highly acclaimed works — all called “Bird in Space.” Re-creating a modified version of that iconic sculpture on a grand scale is precisely what Manglano-Ovalle set out to do.
On the face of it, his idea had little to do with regulating foods and drugs. But it had much to do with the intersection of science and art — in this case the study of aerodynamics for space travel and weapons of war, just as the FDA studies new molecules, devices and biological agents. And to hit that theme harder, Manglano-Ovalle proposed creating a small model of his sculpture for testing in wind tunnel 9 to see if it had the aerodynamics necessary to fly.
Marren didn’t know if the artist was joking when he made the request, but the wind tunnel director decided to make it happen. A small team of student volunteers was brought together to work with the artist, and Marren squeezed in a short time when the model — then still called “Bird in Space” — could be inserted into the wind tunnel without interfering with ongoing testing. The artist nonetheless ended up paying $15,000 out of his commission to learn that, yes, the sculpture could fly — a most satisfying marriage of art and science.
But inevitably, “Prototype for Re-Entry” sheds light on the history of the original wind tunnel complex as well — especially in the hands of an artist who is drawn to “where the beautiful meets the monstrous.”
“Yes, it’s very important that what happened at wind tunnel Number 1 not be forgotten because it came here shrouded in moral ambiguity,” he said. “It’s an important part of our own history.”
And now, as an authentic “swords to plowshares” transformation continues in and around White Oak, it’s a history at last ready to be told.
Marc Kaufman is a former reporter and editor at The Washington Post. For 16 years, he has lived in Hillandale less than one mile from the wind tunnel site without knowing about its presence or history. To comment on this story, e-mail wpmagazine@
Instead of putting the SS monster on trial, the US recruited him as a spy – a move which backfired when he joined forces with South American drug lords
As the brutal Butcher of Lyon, notorious Nazi Klaus Barbie spent the Second World War torturing children and sending whole families to the death camps.
But when the conflict ended, the Gestapo captain didn’t face instant arrest and swift justice. Instead, the US allowed him to start a new life as a CIA spy, smuggling him into Bolivia where he helped hunt and kill the revolutionary Che Guevara .
It was a disastrous mistake. Once in South America, Barbie went on to join forces with some of the region’s most feared drug lords, including Pablo Escobar , to launch a global cocaine trade currently worth £60 billion a year.
He even became a colonel in the Bolivian army, enlisted the help of terrorists called Fiances of Death and used drug money to fund a military coup, creating a narco-state where the traffickers could build a cocaine empire immune from prosecution.
Peter McFarren, an American journalist who tracked down Barbie and interviewed him several times, says: “Barbie may not have been physically involved in shipping kilos of drugs, but he played a decisive role in the growth of the cocaine trade in Bolivia, Peru and Columbia.
“He was the liaison between these kings of cocaine and the government, military and mercenaries.”
Barbie was the ultimate partner in crime for the drug lords. He proved his ruthlessness after he was appointed leader of Hitler’s secret police in Lyon in 1942, aged 29.
Charged with hunting down members of the French Resistance, he earned his Butcher nickname by personally torturing men, women and children with sexual abuse, electrocution and breaking bones.
After the war, some of Barbie’s new associates almost earned a similarly ferocious reputation. They included Pablo Escobar, the richest gangster in history who amassed a £30billion personal fortune and killed thousands of Colombians to maintain his empire.
The King of Cocaine held a monopoly on the import of coca paste from Bolivia to Colombia. At one point he was responsible for 80% of the powder smuggled into the US.
Barbie almost certainly visited him at his 5,000-acre estate, Hacienda Napoles, with its private airport and its own zoo.
It is likely the sadistic Nazi, who had a lucrative sideline as an arms trader, also supplied him with weapons.
But Barbie’s closest ally was Bolivian warlord Roberto Suarez Gomez, another notorious drug dealer, who inspired the character Alejandro Sosa in gangster film Scarface.
While not as rich as Escobar, when his eldest son was caught by US police in 1982, Suarez Gomez wrote to President Ronald Reagan offering to pay Bolivia’s £2.5billion foreign debt as a ransom for his release.
Barbie met Suarez Gomez regularly in the early 1980s, acting as a go-between for the drug lord and corrupt Bolivian army colleagues he wanted to bribe.
McFarren, who co-wrote a biography on Barbie called The Devil’s Agent, says: “I’ve spoken to people directly involved in those meetings, so we know Barbie received money from Suarez Gomez and the cocaine trade.”
But the pair had bigger plans. They plotted to overthrow an entire government. Barbie’s letters reveal he was paranoid there would be a Communist revolution in Bolivia and he would be deported to France to stand trial for war crimes.
Meanwhile Suarez Gomez wanted the freedom to expand his cocaine empire without fear of prosecution. So they arranged a military coup to install General Luis Garcia Meza Tejada as commander of the army, then as president in 1980, all funded by cocaine cash.
For the next two years the government was directly involved in, and profited from, the cocaine trade. Corrupt officials ensured it left the drug dealers free to pursue a policy of ruthless expansion.
McFarren says: “Overthrowing a democratic government with money from the drug trade was unheard of. It set a dangerous precedent of how democracy could be interrupted by the dollars and terrorism of cocaine trafficking bandits.
“In Columbia and Peru there were individual government officials and military police who were part of the cocaine trade. But I can’t think of another regime that was completely in the pocket of the trade, and Barbie played a key part in that.”
It is remarkable Barbie even made it to Bolivia. In the Second World War he was responsible for 14,000 deaths, but after Germany’s defeat he was recruited by the CIA to fight communism.
When it emerged Barbie may face prosecution for his horrific war crimes, the CIA enlisted the help of the Vatican to change his name to Klaus Altmann, and he fled to Bolivia in 1951.
Once in South America he kept a low profile, working at a remote lumber mill for 10 years. But Barbie found a new outlet for his sadistic talents by the 1960s, advising the Bolivian military on interrogation and torture techniques.
“We know he was involved in several cases where people were tortured and killed in Bolivia” says McFarren.
He also boasted he helped the CIA hunt down Che Guevara in 1967. The Argentinian had played a key role in the Communist revolution in Cuba, but was now leading a guerilla army in Bolivia.
Barbie’s position of power guaranteed him safety from extradition to France and he went to great lengths to preserve it, betraying anyone without hesitation.
When the daughter of close friend Hans Ertl, who made propaganda for Hitler, joined an anti-government guerilla group, Barbie denounced her so she could be captured and killed.
McFarren says: “There were people who found it abhorrent Barbie was able to live well in Bolivia and become a public figure after everything he’d done. But many people were indifferent to it, he blended into the fabric of Bolivia.
“He wasn’t seen as a horrible Nazi murderer. He became a grandfatherly figure. I saw him on the streets with his wife, hanging out in the local cafe.”
Yet Barbie remained paranoid that his past would catch up with him, as McFarren learned in 1981 as a freelance journalist for New York Times.
While investigating the drug money flooding the Bolivian government, McFarren traced Barbie to his villa in Cochabamba city, near the Andes.
Barbie appeared on his balcony but, when pressed for an interview, called the local barracks. McFarren was soon staring down a machine gun barrel.
McFarren says: “Heavily armed civilians surrounded the whole district and had us arrested. They threatened to torture us and pull out our finger nails.Their main concern was how we found out where Barbie lived.
“After a few hours of interrogation we were let loose, but we had to leave the country the next day because we got all kinds of death threats.”
The military coup, and the arrest of McFarren, put Barbie back on the map. It was precisely what he hoped to avoid.
After the collapse of the military dictatorship, Barbie was extradited to France in 1983 to stand trial. By then 70, he remained unrepentant for his many crimes, declaring: “When I stand before the throne of God I shall be judged innocent.”
Tried on 41 counts of crimes against humanity, he was found guilty and jailed for life in July 1987. He died four years later of leukaemia and cancer of the spine.
McFarren says: “Most Nazis who escaped prosecution disappeared, often to South America, but they stayed off the radar.
“But Barbie became a public figure. That makes him unique. And, despite that, he was able to live with impunity in Bolivia for more than 30 years. In that respect, America has a lot to answer for.”