The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.Continue reading
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The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.Continue reading
The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.Continue reading
This is a modified py-6 that occupies the entire horizontal space of its parent.
“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 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.
Also see: “Donald Trump walks out over questions about his mafia connections during BBC Panorama interview” (Independent, 8 July 2013)
“Why the Silence about Donald Trump’s Mob Ties?” (Pensito Review, September 8, 2015)
July 31, 2015
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?
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.
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.
By Pat Beall, John Pacenti and Mike Stucka
Palm Beach Post, December 10, 2015
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
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 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 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.
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 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
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.
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
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.
By Sudarsan Raghavan
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. …
December 4, 2015
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.
EDITORIAL: MAKING MASS MURDER EASY
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)
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.
By Casey Gane-McCalla
NewsOne, June 3, 2010
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
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.
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.
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.
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.