Extreemrechts in Oekraïne Een monster met eigen ambities

Bewapende en goed georganiseerde fascistische milities fungeerden als de stoottroepen van de Euromaidan ‘revolutie’. Het waren deze krachten die de door de EU gesponsorde ‘vredesdeal’ afwezen. In plaats daarvan riepen ze versterkingen op van hun bondgenoten in Lviv, veelal lokale politiefunctionarissen, omsingelden het parlement in Kiev en zorgden voor de aanstelling van een regering die voornamelijk bestaat uit ultra-nationalisten en openlijke fascisten.

De fascistische leden van de huidige Oekraïense regering zijn Andriy Parubiy, commandant van de Maidan zelfverdedigingskrachten en een van de oprichters van de partij Svoboda (‘Vrijheid’). Hij werd benoemd tot secretaris van de Nationale Veiligheids- en Defensieraad, die de leiding heeft over het ministerie van defensie en de krijgsmacht. Zijn adjunct-secretaris is Dmytro Yarosh, leider van Pravy Sektor (‘Rechtse Sector’) en een voormalig huurling die vocht met het Tsjetsjeense verzet. Belangrijke posten zijn toegekend aan Svoboda-leden Oleksandr Sych (vice-premier), Ihor Tenyukh (defensie), Serhiy Kvit (onderwijs), Oleh Makhnitsky (procureur-generaal), Ihor Shvaika (landbouw) en Andriy Mokhnyk (milieu).
Pravy Sektor commandant Stepan Kubiv is de nieuwe voorzitter van de Nationale Bank van Oekraïne. Dmytro Bulatov en Tetiana Chornovol, beiden verbonden met de antisemitische en ultra- nationalistische paramilitaire organisatie Oekraïense Nationale Vergadering – Oekraïense Nationale Zelfverdediging zijn respectievelijk geplaatst op het Ministerie van Jeugd en Sport en de nieuwe ‘anti-corruptie commissie’ van de regering.

Fascisten binnen de staatsmacht

Door de sociale crisis in Oekraïne hebben nu de twee vleugels van het Oekraïense fascisme – de straatvechters en de politici – een plek binnen de staatsmacht veroverd. De regering die nu gevormd is heet officieel een ‘voorlopige’ of ‘tijdelijke’ regering en heeft algemene verkiezingen uitgeschreven op 25 mei. Maar extreemrechts laat er geen gras over groeien en probeert nu al zoveel mogelijk van zijn agenda gerealiseerd te krijgen. In de eerste dagen van hun functioneren binnen de staatsmacht werden tientallen van hun gevangen medestanders vrijgelaten en dienden ze moties in om de officiële status van het Russisch en andere minderheidstalen te beëindigen, de autonomie van de Krim af te schaffen en de Communistische Partij van Oekraïne (KPU) te verbieden. Met deze acties namen zij een zware verantwoordelijkheid op zich voor het uitlokken van een golf van pro-Russische sentimenten in het Oosten en in het bijzonder op de Krim.
De aanwezigheid van zoveel fascisten in de zelfbenoemde ‘overgangsregering’ is geen toeval. De groeiende wanhoop van een groot deel van de Oekraïense bevolking die steeds verder verarmde door de economische crisis heeft een hoofdrol gespeeld tijdens de Maidan protesten en het manoeuvreren tussen de rivaliserende Europese en Amerikaanse imperialisten. Fascistische en extreemrechtse milities namen steeds meer het voortouw in de protestbeweging en kwamen uiteindelijk in een positie waar hun eisen voor deelname aan de staatsmacht niet konden worden genegeerd. Vanaf het begin mobiliseerde de Euromaidan-beweging steun op basis van een reactionair beroep op chauvinistische en nationalistische ideeën van de Oekraïens sprekende bevolking die is geconcentreerd in het westen van het land.
Met neo-nazi ’14/88′- en White Power-symbolen op hun schilden en de rood-zwarte vlag van het in de Tweede Wereldoorlog met de nazi’s collaborerende Oekraïense Opstandingsleger van Stepan Bandera, traden de fascisten naar voren als de sterkste kracht binnen de Euromaidan beweging.
Hoewel het wellicht mogelijk was om een meer algemeen verzet tegen het impopulaire regime van Janoekovitsj te mobiliseren vervreemdde de invloed van extreem-rechts en zijn identificatie met nationalistische iconen als Stepan Bandera het Russisch-sprekende oosten van het land.

Niet moet worden vergeten dat er veel meer Oekraïners tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog vochten in het Sovjet-leger en partizanengroepen dan in de pro-nazibeweging van Bandera, en dat, hoe grof en weerzinwekkend de misdaden van het stalinisme in Oekraïne ook waren (de hongersnood, de zuiveringen, de NKVD die nationalistische gevangenen om het leven bracht in 1941 en de massale deportatie van Krim-Tataren), die van de Duitse bezetter nooit uit het bewustzijn verdwenen.
De discipline van extreemrechts en de afwezigheid van een even gedisciplineerd links zorgde ervoor dat de progressieve activisten verdreven werden van de Maidandemonstraties en dat er aanvallen werden uitgevoerd op feministen, vakbondsleden en anarchisten, zodat er een fysieke en politieke hegemonie over de beweging in het westen en het centrum van het land ontstond.
De fascistische milities van Svoboda, waarvan de leider Oleh Tyahnybok een van de drie belangrijkste sprekers van de Euromaidan beweging was, en de Pravy Sektor vormden de voorhoede van de opstand. Ook prominent aanwezig waren Spilna správa en de zogenaamde Afghantsy (Afghanistan veteranen).
De fascisten consolideerden hun positie binnen Euromaidan. Ze gebruikten hun strijdlustige gewapende bendes, eerst om het plein te verdedigen, en daarna om in het offensief te gaan. Begonnen werd met de bezetting van overheidsgebouwen om die te gebruiken als basis voor verdere vooruitgang, daarna werden politiebureaus en kazernes aangevallen, gevolgd door aanvallen op kantoren van de communistische partij en de vakbonden. Zij gebruikten hun positie om zich te wapenen en hun aanhangers voor te bereiden op de machtsovername. Zo veroverden zij een plaats in de leiding van de protestbeweging. Tyahnybok deelde het podium op het Maidanplein met oppositieleiders Vitali Klitschko en Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Hij werd daar omhelsd door de Amerikaanse senator en Republikeinse presidentskandidaat John McCain.

EU compromis mislukt

De bemiddelingspoging van de EU om tot een vredesakkoord te komen mislukte toen extreemrechts en de muitende politie weigerden om een regering van nationale redding te aanvaarden. Het accent lag nu op hun eigen milities als een levende belichaming van verlossing van het Russische imperialisme.
De pogingen van de EU om een compromis tot stand te brengen, waarin ook de ontwapening van zowel de politie als de milities was opgenomen, kwamen te laat. Oppositieleiders die zich ervoor uitspraken werden weggehoond. De milities weigerden hun wapens in te leveren, in plaats daarvan kwamen er bussen vol versterkingen uit Lviv, het nationalistische bolwerk in het westen, dat zich reeds onafhankelijk van de regering in Kiev had verklaard. Het compromis, dat ook gericht was op het ondermijnen van de invloed van georganiseerd extreem-rechts, door het bevorderen van Klitschko als alternatief met ‘schone handen’, bezweek onder de fascistische invloed, ondersteund door kogels uit geweren die waren gedistribueerd door of in beslag genomen uit de politiedepots. Hun aanhangers eisten het hoofd van Janoekovitsj, in sommige gevallen letterlijk, maar zeker niet zijn samenwerking of die met zijn partij in het samenstellen van een coalitie die de associatieovereenkomst met de EU zou uitvoeren.

Svoboda en de ‘respectabele’ nationalistische partners besloten dat hun belangen samenvielen toen ze gingen mobiliseren om Janoekovitsj te verdrijven, maar toen het uitliep op een gewapende strijd om de macht werden de nationalisten geconfronteerd met een monster met eigen ambities.

De EU, die de aanwezigheid van de fascisten ‘tolereerde’ zolang ze een nuttig instrument in de strijd tegen Janoekovitsj waren, wilde Klitschko aan het bewind of op zijn minst als een sterke controle op Julia Timosjenko ’s Batkivshchyna (‘Vaderland’). Maar de VS was Europa te slim af, door bereid te zijn een fascistische aanwezigheid in de regering te tolereren en zo de EU buiten spel te zetten.

Het inmiddels beruchte afgeluisterde telefoongesprek van de Amerikaanse onderminister van Buitenlandse Zaken Victoria Nuland onthult de omvang van de rol van de VS in het bepalen van de samenstelling van de overgangsregering. Ze stond erop dat ‘Yats’ ( Yatsenyuk ) en niet Klitschko premier zou moeten zijn, en stond toe dat Svoboda verschillende ministeries zou kunnen hebben zolang Tyahnybok niet op een belangrijke post kwam. Haar commentaar ‘Fuck the EU’ liet weinig twijfel over de houding van de VS naar zijn vroegere bondgenoten in Berlijn.

De opkomst van Svoboda

De crisis in Oekraïne heeft Svoboda van onbekendheid naar internationale bekendheid gebracht. Met 15.000 leden en 37 parlementsleden is Svoboda de grootste extreem-rechtse organisatie in Oekraïne. Het heeft verbindingen in het Europees Parlement met de Hongaarse Jobbik, de British National Party, het Franse Front National (FN), de Nederlandse PVV en een aantal andere Europese extremistische partijen.
Svoboda werd opgericht in 1991 als de Sociaal-Nationale Partij van Oekraïne (SNPU). De naam en het logo met de Wolfsangel werden aangenomen om de identificatie met Hitlers nazi’s uit te drukken. In de vroege jaren deed de SNPU veel moeite om zich te onderscheiden in het moeras van fascistische sekten die in het westen van Oekraïne ontstonden na de ineenstorting van de Sovjet-Unie. In 1999 richtte de SNPU de ‘Patriotten van Oekraïne’ op, een paramilitaire groep die verantwoordelijk is voor de aanvallen op linkse politici en vakbondsmensen.
Patriotten van Oekraïne werd ontbonden in 2004, toen de partij Oleh Tyahnybok als leider koos tijdens het partijcongres van dat jaar. De SNPU begon met de hervorming van zijn publieke imago, met het voorbeeld en de adviezen van FN leider Jean-Marie Le Pen die zijn eigen organisatie had geleid van onbekendheid naar de derde partij van Frankrijk.

Het Wolfsangel-logo van de SNPU

De eerste stap was om de naam te veranderen en ter vervanging van de swastika-achtige Wolfsangel kwam de Tryzub, een symbool van het Oekraïense nationalisme. Bovendien werden plannen besproken om een rechtse politieke partij samen met het Congres van Oekraïense Nationalisten en de Organisatie van Oekraïense Nationalisten (OUN) te vormen.
Om de heroriëntatie kracht bij te zetten kondigde Svoboda, zoals de partij intussen heette, zijn steun aan voor de presidentiële kandidatuur van de anti-Russische politicus Viktor Joesjtsjenko. Door een combinatie van zuiveringen en meer nadruk op sociale vraagstukken probeerde Tyahnybok de al te openlijke identificatie met neo-nazisme van Svoboda af te schudden. Maar tijdens een bijeenkomst waarbij Tyahnybok optrad als spreker bij een gedenkteken van Stepan Bandera, riep hij de Oekraïense bevolking op te strijden tegen de ‘Moskoviet-Joodse maffia’, die volgens hem het land beheerste. Hij prees Bandera’s organisatie, de oorspronkelijke OUN, voor ‘de strijd tegen de Russen, Duitsers, joden en ander gespuis die onze Oekraïense staat wilden vernietigen’. Bandera ’s OUN was verantwoordelijk voor de vernietiging van tienduizenden etnische Polen en Joden tijdens de Tweede Wereldoorlog. In 2005 publiceerde Tyahnybok een open brief waarin hij de ‘criminele activiteiten van het georganiseerde Jodendom’ aan de kaak stelde, die zo hij beweerde ‘genocide’ wilde plegen tegen het Oekraïense volk.

Het nieuwe logo van Svoboda

De groei van Svoboda

Tyahnybok werd als leider van de partij meerdere malen herkozen en werd lid van de Verchovna Rada, het Oekraïense parlement. De politieke doorbraak voor Svoboda kwam in de regionale verkiezingen van 2009 in Ternopil oblast, waar de partij op de eerste plaats eindigde met 35 procent van de stemmen, door in te spelen op de ondergang van zowel het Blok van Julia Timosjenko en Joesjtsjenko’s Ons Oekraïne, voormalige bondgenoten die waren uitgevallen.
Bij de regionale verkiezingen van 2010 kreeg Svoboda zetels in zeven regionale raden en in drie een meerderheid. Bij de algemene verkiezingen van 2012 veroverde zij 37 zetels in het parlement, de Verchovna Rada en 10 procent van de stemmen. Terwijl in de landelijke westelijke regio’s Svoboda bijna 40 procent van de stemmen kreeg behaalde de partij in het geïndustrialiseerde oosten minder dan 5 procent en in sommige regio’s slechts 1 procent.

Ook in 2012 trad Svoboda toe tot het ‘Verzetscomité tegen de dictatuur’, een front opgericht om te protesteren tegen de strafrechtelijke veroordeling van JuliaTimosjenko, en de partij beloofde om samen te werken met de Verenigde Oppositie coalitie van Timosjenko’s Vaderlandpartij en Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s ‘Front voor Verandering’ als de oppositie de verkiezingen zou winnen. Dit was het ontstaan van de “Drievoudige alliantie’, die het regime van Janoekovitsj in 2014 omver zou werpen door geweld.
Svoboda maakte slim gebruik van de desillusie bij de bevolking met de regering van Timosjenko en Joesjtsjenko. De partij nam deel aan tal van protesten met populistische leuzen over sociale kwesties en tegen het ‘onvaderlandslievende’ (dat wil zeggen, pro-EU) beleid, dat de aandacht afleidde van de reactionaire, extreemrechtse politieke lijn van haar leden en leiders, een politiek die een onoverkomelijke barrière vormde voor de groei van de partij in de oostelijke en zuidelijke delen van het land.
Onder Joesjtsjenko’s presidentschap profiteerde Svoboda van de rehabilitatie door Joesjtsjenko van nazi-collaborateur Stepan Bandera en zijn nadruk op het Oekraïense nationalisme. Maar een belangrijk deel van Svoboda ’s populariteit komt ongetwijfeld ook voort uit het feit dat het wordt gezien als onbezoedeld door banden met de oligarchen, waarvan de onderlinge strijd (West met Timosjenko en Joesjtsjenko tegen Oost van Janoekovitsj) het land op de rand van economische ondergang bracht. Net zoals Hitler niet van de daken schreeuwde over zijn financiering door industriëlen Thyssen en Krupp, maakt Svoboda veel propaganda met ‘het verwerpen van elke financiering door de oligarchen’ en beweert dat het vooral kleine en middelgrote bedrijven zijn die hen financieren.

Demonstratie van extreemrechts met portret van Bandera en op t-shirt Wolfsangel

Nadat Janoekovitsj Partij van de Regio’s in 2010 de presidentsverkiezingen won, kreeg Svoboda veel publiciteit op de door Janoekovitsj gecontroleerde tv-zenders. Dit was een berekende zet om Svoboda als de partij van de oppositie te profileren, waardoor Janoekovitsj zijn tegenstanders aan de kaak kon stellen als nationalisten, Banderisten en fascisten. Dit zou moeten leiden tot een politiek doodvonnis in de Russisch-sprekende regio’s, waar nog steeds een sterke collectieve identificatie bestaat met het Sovjet-leger en de strijd van de partizanen tegen de nazi’s.
Gezien de jaarlijkse processies die de partij ter herdenking van de sterfdag van Bandera organiseert, kan een dergelijke beschuldiging tegen Svoboda niet worden afgewezen. Terwijl Svoboda ontkent dat het racistisch is, maar gewoon ‘pro-Oekraïens’, blijft het lidmaatschap van de partij voorbehouden aan etnische Oekraïners.

Ideologie van extreemrechts

Svoboda tracht haar eigen ideologie te ontwikkelen door het combineren van nationalistische reactionaire tendensen uit de ‘Twee Revoluties’ doctrine, die werd ontwikkeld door de voormalige OUN leider Yaroslav Stetsko. De essentie van deze leer is dat ‘de revolutie niet zal eindigen met de oprichting van de Oekraïense staat, maar door zal gaan om gelijke kansen voor alle mensen te creëren en materiële en spirituele waarden te delen en in dit opzicht is de nationale revolutie ook een sociale’.
Met andere woorden, zodra de politieke revolutie het heersende politieke regime omverwerpt, zal een ‘sociale’ revolutie volgen. Deze sociale demagogie leent het taalgebruik van de arbeidersbeweging, wat typisch is voor het nationaal-socialisme. Een onderzoek van het politieke programma van Svoboda laat zien dat de ideologie ten grondslag ligt aan deze nationale en sociale revolutie: staatscontrole over banken en belangrijke industrie, nationalisatie van de landbouwgrond, de bevordering van het gezin en de kerk, beperkingen op de sociale en economische rechten van vrouwen, achterstelling van nationale minderheden, promotie van de ‘Oekraïense cultuur’ enzovoort. Er zijn aanwijzingen dat er een geleidelijke matiging van het extremisme van de partij is om stemmen te winnen als bewijs van een verschuiving van de neo-nazi wortels. Er is geen twijfel aan dat de leiders van Svoboda politieke lessen hebben getrokken aan de hand van de ontwikkeling van een aantal West-Europese extreemrechtse partijen, als het FN in Frankrijk en de Alleanza Nazionale in Italië. Deze waren al tot de conclusie gekomen dat de klassieke fascistische strategie van het openen van de strijd om de macht door middel van het winnen van de fysieke controle in de straten in de omstandigheden van hun land contraproductief was en gingen over tot een strategie van het innemen van belangrijke overheidsinstellingen en ideologische posities door electorale middelen.
Maar de omstandigheden die aanleiding gaven tot de meest succesvolle van deze extreemrechtse projecten, het Front National van Jean-Marie Le Pen, zijn niet de omstandigheden in Oekraïne, waar de fascisten zich al hebben verzekerd van de fysieke controle over de straten en de machtskwestie op de agenda staat. In Oekraïne zijn de sociale voorwaarden aanwezig voor een levensvatbare binnenlandse fascistische straatbeweging. Dat blijkt uit de leidende rol van de fascisten in de Maidan beweging.

Stoottroepen

Svoboda concentreert zich op de penetratie van het staatsapparaat, met name de politie en het leger. Om zich ‘salonfähig’ te voorzien van ‘burgerlijk-democratisch fatsoen’ besteedt het de mobilisatie van een vechtende straatbeweging nu uit aan Pravy Sektor en andere groepen, die op hun beurt weer worden gestigmatiseerd door hun constante strijd met de politie en de ‘rechtstaat’. De aanwezigheid van zoveel fascisten in de regering creëert evenwel een ingebouwde instabiliteit in de vorm van een conflict tussen de behoeften van Svoboda om te reageren op zijn massabasis in de verarmde kleinburgerij en de wens van de grote oligarchen om hun monopolies uit te breiden, door de stedelijke en landelijke bevolking slachtoffer te maken van een IMF herstructurering of schuldbetalingen. Toch hebben de grote oligarchen geen bijzondere loyaliteit naar de Vaderlandpartij of Timosjenko persoonlijk. Dat blijkt wel uit het feit dat velen van hen eerder Janoekovitsj steunden. Maar zoals de wind waait waait mijn petje, luidt een oud Nederlands spreekwoord. En dus zal de nieuwe regering, onder leiding van oligarchen van Timosjenko ’s Vaderlandpartij, met de steun van verschillende oligarchen die werden benoemd als regionale gouverneurs, nu proberen haar macht te consolideren. Zij kan de politieke en financiële steun van Washington verwachten die haar aantreden enthousiast ontving.
De fascisten zijn de stoottroepen van een offensief van de nieuwe regering tegen de verarmde bevolking die zich zal verzetten tegen de te nemen impopulaire maatregelen, vooral in de oostelijke regio waar de Russisch-sprekenden in de meerderheid zijn. Of Timosjenko en de leiders van de Vaderlandpartij hen al dan niet openlijk steunen maakt al niet meer uit, de fascisten zijn nu sterk genoeg om zelfstandig te mobiliseren en het initiatief te nemen als zij het gevoel krijgen dat de nieuwe regering zwakte of besluiteloosheid toont. Maar zij zullen ook een bittere vijand blijken te zijn van de democratische en libertaire elementen die de vroege fasen van de Maidandemonstraties ondersteunden.
Als extreemrechts een grote aanhang verwerft bij de verkiezingen in mei, met meer leden in de Rada en dus meer ministers, dan zal een echte fascistische radicalisering van de staat kunnen optreden. In een land waar de regering zeer instabiel is, met een tijdelijke balans tussen de burgerlijke neoliberale en fascistische politici, met territoriale verdeeldheid tussen het oosten en het zuiden aan de ene kant en het centrum en het westen aan de andere kant, moet de linkse oppositie vechten om hun eigen vormen van bestuur en zelfverdediging te creëren. Ze moeten niet de macht van de resterende regionale oligarchen in het oosten, die nog niet zijn overgegaan naar het Kievregime, accepteren noch van die van het westen die de nieuwe regering van na de staatsgreep omarmen. Maar allereerst zal er het besef moeten ontstaan dat men met verdeeldheid altijd het slachtoffer zal worden. Het gaat dan om de verdediging van minderheden in Oekraïne: Tataren en Grieken op de Krim, Roemenen en Hongaren in het westen, Russen in het midden en oosten en joden. Elke poging om een eentalig en mono-etnisch Oekraïne te creëren zal alleen een verschrikkelijke ramp worden in de lijn van de oorlogen in Kroatië, Bosnië en Kosovo in de jaren 1990.
De enige zekerheid ligt in een strijd voor een Oekraïne, waarin de economische en militaire middelen van het hele land onder de controle en ten dienste van de hele bevolking staan. Het gaat dan om een samenleving die de materiële sociale en culturele behoeften van eenieder bedient en die zich met hand en tand verzet tegen de reactionaire imperialistische machten Rusland uit het Oosten en de EU en VS uit het Westen. Tegen de politiek van de wanhoop zijn het antwoord en de inspiratie te vinden in de werkelijk democratische en internationalistische geest van de Bosnische protesten. ‘Weg met nationalisme!’ is de leuze daar, wanneer ze vechten voor alle nationaliteiten in hun land tegen bezuinigingen en ongelijkheid. Eenheid in de strijd van alle nationaliteiten tegen de nationale haat, armoede en kapitaal: dat is waar de hoop voor Oekraïne ligt.

Bas van der Plas/INSUDOK, 12 maart 2014
Met dank aan Luba en Tatyana uit Lugansk

Find this story at 12 March 2014

copyright Bas van der Plas/INSUDOK

NEONAZIS & EUROMAIDAN. From democracy to dictatorship.

“Whoever is not jumping is a Moskal” is a chant that women and
men of different ages who took to Kiev Independence Square in winter
2013-2014 repeated trying to get warm. They kept jumping and
laughing, for nobody in the ‘brave new world’ of the Ukrainian revolution under Stepan Bandera’s banner fancied gaining the character of a staunch enemy of Ukrainian statehood.
Mass demonstrations of “angry citizens” in Ukraine had objective
reasons. This was a protest against ineffective and corrupt government, against police and bureaucratic abuse of power, against unclear and dead-end policies of the President and the Government.
All national liberation movements use the popular ideas and political sentiments that dominate the society as their positive manifesto.
Thus, exclusively le -wing ideologies were mainstream in the
Russian Empire in 1917, radical Islamism was most popular in Arab
countries during the Arab spring of 2012, whereas nationalism, also
radical, turned mainstream in the Ukraine of 2013-2014.
The book describes the development of Ukraine’s nationalist
groups since 1991 un l present day. It focuses on the history of
the parliamentary right-wing radical Svoboda party and the nonparliamentary Right Sector movement. The authors study the ideology, psychology and methods of political struggle of these structures. The experts seek to answer the questi on: how did the radical neo-Nazi groups manage to become the key driving force behind the Ukrainian revolution?

Stanislav Byshok, Alexey Kochetkov

Find this story at 2014

copyright Stanislav Byshok, Alexey Kochetkov

What Cold War CIA Interrogators Learned from the Nazis

At a secret black site in the years after the end of WWII, CIA and US intelligence operatives tested LSD and other interrogation techniques on captured Soviet spies—all with the help of former Nazi doctors. An excerpt from Annie Jacobsen’s Operation Paperclip, published this week.

It was 1946 and World War II had ended less than one year before. In Top Secret memos being circulated in the elite ‘E’ ring of the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff were preparing for ‘total war’ with the Soviets—to include atomic, chemical, and biological warfare. They even set an estimated start date of 1952. The Joint Chiefs believed that the U.S. could win this future war, but not for reasons that the general public knew about. Since war’s end, across the ruins of the Third Reich, U.S. military officers had been capturing and then hiring Hitler’s weapons makers, in a Top Secret program that would become known as Operation Paperclip. Soon, more than 1,600 of these men and their families would be living the American dream, right here in the United States. From these Nazi scientists, U.S. military and intelligence organizations culled knowledge of Hitler’s most menacing weapons including sarin gas and weaponized bubonic plague.

As the Cold War progressed, the program expanded and got stranger still. In 1948, Operation Paperclip’s Brigadier General Charles E. Loucks, Chief of U.S. Chemical Warfare Plans in Europe, was working with Hitler’s former chemists when one of the scientists, Nobel Prize winner Richard Kuhn, shared with General Loucks information about a drug with military potential being developed by Swiss chemists. This drug, a hallucinogen, had astounding potential properties if successfully weaponized. In documents recently discovered at the U.S. Army Heritage Center in Pennsylvania, Loucks quickly became enamored with the idea that this drug could be used on the battlefield to “incapacitate not kill.” The drug was Lysergic acid diethylamide, or LSD.

It did not take long for the CIA to become interested and involved. Perhaps LSD could also be used for off-the-battlefield purposes, a means through which human behavior could be manipulated and controlled. In an offshoot of Operation Paperclip, the CIA teamed up with Army, Air Force and Naval Intelligence to run one of the most nefarious, classified, enhanced interrogation programs of the Cold War. The work took place inside a clandestine facility in the American zone of occupied Germany, called Camp King. The facility’s chief medical doctor was Operation Paperclip’s Dr. Walter Schreiber, the former Surgeon General of the Third Reich. When Dr. Schreiber was secretly brought to America—to work for the U.S. Air Force in Texas—his position was filled with another Paperclip asset, Dr. Kurt Blome, the former Deputy Surgeon General of the Third Reich and the man in charge of the Nazi’s program to weaponize bubonic plague. The activities that went on at Camp King between 1946 and the late 1950s have never been fully accounted for by either the Department of Defense or the CIA.

Camp King was strategically located in the village of Oberursel, eleven miles northwest of the United States European Command (EUCOM) headquarters in Frankfurt. Officially the facility had three names: the U.S. Military Intelligence Service Center at Oberursel, the 7707th European Command Intelligence Center, and Camp King. In 1945, the place housed captured Nazis but by 1948 most of its prisoners were Soviet bloc spies. For more than a decade Camp King would function as a Cold War black site long before black sites were known as such—an ideal facility to develop enhanced interrogation techniques in part because it was “off-site” but mainly because of its access to Soviet prisoners.

It was an international crisis in June of 1948 that gave Operation Paperclip momentum at Camp King. Early on the morning of June 24, the Soviets cut off all land and rail access to the American zone in Berlin, an action that would become known as the Berlin Blockade. “The Soviet blockade of Berlin in 1948 clearly indicated that the wartime alliance [between the Soviets and the United States] had dissolved,” explained CIA deputy director for operations Jack Downing. “Germany then became a new battlefield between east and west.”“In our conversation of 9 February 1951, I outlined to you the possibilities of augmenting the usual interrogation methods by the use of drugs, hypnosis, shock, etc., and emphasized the defensive aspects as well as the offensive opportunities in this field of applied medical science,” wrote Dulles.
At this time, the CIA believed the Soviets were pursing mind control programs—supposedly a means of getting captured spies to talk—and the Agency wanted to know what it would be up against if the Russians got hold of its American spies. Since the end of the war, the various U.S. military branches had developed advanced air, land and sea rescue programs, based in part by research conducted by Nazi doctors during the war. But the Soviets had also made great advances in rescue programs and this presented a serious, new concern for the Pentagon and the CIA. If a downed U.S. pilot or soldier was rescued and captured by the Russians, that person would almost certainly be subjected to unconventional Soviet interrogation techniques. In an attempt to determine what kinds of Soviet techniques might be used, a research program was set up at Camp King. Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) reveal that the U.S. developed its post-war enhanced interrogation techniques here at Camp King, under the CIA code name Operation Bluebird.

Initially, Bluebird was to be a so-called “defensive” program. Officers were instructed “to apply special methods of interrogation for the purpose of evaluation of Russian practices,” only. In other words, to merely mimic Soviet techniques. But it did not take long for the CIA to decide that the best defense is offense, and the Agency began developing enhanced interrogation techniques of its own. FOIA documents reveal that the CIA saw LSD as a potential, “truth serum.” What if its officers could drug captured Soviet spies, interrogate them using LSD, and somehow make them forget that they’d talked? Inside Camp King, the LSD program was expanded and given a new code name.

“Bluebird was rechristened Artichoke,” writes John Marks, a former State Department official and authority on the CIA’s mind control programs. The goal of the Artichoke interrogation program, Marks explains, was “modifying behavior through covert means.” According to the program’s administrator, Richard Helms—the future director of the CIA—using drugs like LSD were a means to that end. “We felt that it was our responsibility not to lag behind the Russians or the Chinese in this field, and the only way to find out what the risks were was to test things such as LSD and other drugs that could be used to control human behavior,” Helms later told journalist David Frost, in an interview, in 1978. Soon, other U.S. intelligence agencies were brought on board to help conduct these controversial interrogation experiments at Camp King. As declassified dossiers reveal, with them they brought Nazi scientists from Operation Paperclip.

‘Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brougt Nazi Scientists to America’ By Annie Jacobsen. 592 pages. Little, Brown and Company. $30. ()

Back in the United States, the CIA teamed up with the Army Chemical Corps at Camp Detrick, in Maryland, to conduct further research and development on the chemistry of mind-altering drugs. Scientists and field agents were culled from a pool of senior Army bacteriologists and chemists, then assigned to a unit called the Special Operations Division, a division of the CIA. The men worked inside a classified facility, designated Building No. 439, a one-story concrete-block building set among similar-looking buildings at Camp Detrick so as to blend in. Almost no one outside the Special Operations Division knew about the Top Secret work going on inside. One of these field agents was Dr. Harold Batchelor, the Army scientist in charge of consultations with Nazi doctor and former Deputy Surgeon General of the Third Reich, Dr. Kurt Blome. Another Special Operations Division agent was Dr. Frank Olson, a former army officer and bacteriologist turned agency operative whose sudden demise—by covert LSD poisoning—in 1953 would nearly bring down the CIA. Batchelor and Olson were assigned to the program at Camp King, where Dr. Blome was chief physician. Their assignment, according to documents obtained through the FOIA and interviews with Olson’s former partner, Norman Cournoyer, was to use unconventional interrogation techniques on Soviet prisoners, including dosing them with LSD.

In April 1950, Frank Olson was issued a diplomatic passport. Olson was not a diplomat; the passport allowed him to carry items in a diplomatic pouch that would not be subject to searches by customs officials. Frank Olson began taking trips to Germany, flying to Frankfurt and making the short drive out to Camp King. In one of the rare, surviving official documents from the program, Deputy Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles sent a secret memo to Richard Helms and CIA Deputy Director for Plans Frank Wisner regarding the specific kinds of interrogation techniques that would be used. “In our conversation of 9 February 1951, I outlined to you the possibilities of augmenting the usual interrogation methods by the use of drugs, hypnosis, shock, etc., and emphasized the defensive aspects as well as the offensive opportunities in this field of applied medical science,” wrote Dulles. “The enclosed folder, ‘Interrogation Techniques,’ was prepared in my Medical Division to provide you with a suitable background.” Camp King was the perfect location to conduct these radical trials. Overseas locations were preferred for Artichoke interrogations, explained Dulles, since foreign governments “permitted certain activities which were not permitted by the United States government (i.e. anthrax etc.).”

The next trip on record made by Frank Olson occurred on June 12, 1952. Frank Olson arrived at Frankfurt from the Hendon military airport in England and made the short drive west into Oberursel. There, Artichoke interrogation experiments were taking place at a safe house called Haus Waldorf. “Between 4 June 1952 and 18 June 1952, an IS&O [CIA Inspection and Security Office] team… applied Artichoke techniques to two operational cases in a safe house,” explains an Artichoke memorandum, written for CIA Director Dulles, and one of the few action memos on record not destroyed by Richard Helms when he was CIA director. The two individuals being interrogated at the Camp King safe house “could be classed as experienced, professional type agents and suspected of working for Soviet Intelligence.” These were Soviet spies captured by the Nazi spy ring, the Gehlen Organization, now being run by the CIA. “In the first case, light dosages of drugs coupled with hypnosis were used to induce a complete hypnotic trance,” the memo reveals. “This trance was held for approximately one hour and forty minutes of interrogation with a subsequent total amnesia produced.” The plan for the enhanced interrogation program was meant to be straightforward: drug the spies, interrogate the spies, and give them amnesia to make them forget. Instead, the program produced questionable results and evolved into one of the most notorious CIA programs of the Cold War, MKULTRA.

 

LSD, the drug that induces paranoia and unpredictability and makes people see things that are really not there, would become its own strange allegory for the Cold War. Its potential use as a truth serum would also become a cautionary tale. One CIA report, declassified and shared with Congress decades later, in 1977, expressed Agency fears about Soviets plans to use LSD against Americans during the Cold War: “the Soviets purchased a large quantity of LSD-25 from the Sandoz [Pharmaceutical] Company [the only supplier of LSD at the time]… reputed to be sufficient for 50 million doses,” the report read. The CIA believed the Soviets might drug millions of Americans with LSD, through the U.S. water system, in a covert, psy-ops attack.

Or so the CIA thought. A later analysis of the information revealed that the CIA analyst working on the report made a decimal point error while performing dosage calculations. The Soviets had in fact purchased enough LSD from Sandoz for a few thousand tests—a far cry from 50 million.

It was a bizarre plan, in a foreign place, during a strange time. The Cold War had become a battlefield marked by doublespeak. Disguise, distortion, and deception were accepted as reality. Truth was promised in a serum. And Operation Paperclip, born of the ashes of World War II, was the inciting incident in this hall of mirrors. As it grew, it created monsters of its own.

02.11.14 Annie Jacobsen

Find this story at 11 February 2014

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New Book ‘Operation Paperclip’ Shows Nazi Scientists Worked For CIA During Cold War

The United States recruited Nazi scientists after the end of World War II and put them to work on secret military and intelligence programs during the Cold War — that is the astonishing topic of a new book published this week.

In “Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program that Brought Nazi Scientists to America,” journalist Annie Jacobsen documents how the Joint Chiefs of Staff brought more than 1,600 German scientists to work for the U.S. after 1945.

The book describes the roles of 21 Nazi scientists who were part of Operation Paperclip, drawing on declassified intelligence and historical records to detail their startling role in America’s Cold War effort. According to Jacobson, the scientists had helped Adolf Hitler to develop weapons such as sarin gas and weaponized bubonic plague, and several had even stood trial for war crimes.

But the U.S. military was consumed by a new looming menace, the prospect of ‘total war’ with the Soviets post WWII. “Operation Paperclip” employed the scientific brainpower of the Third Reich to help develop America’s arsenal of rockets and chemical and biological weapons, as well as aviation and space medicine.

The intelligence community saw another use for the Nazi scientists, Jacobson adds. They were running a secret black site in Germany to test the effects of LSD on captured Soviet spies, part of the Cold War battle to stay ahead in the art of mind-control.

Jacobsen explains in an excerpt of the book published on The Daily Beast:
In an offshoot of Operation Paperclip, the CIA teamed up with Army, Air Force and Naval Intelligence to run one of the most nefarious, classified, enhanced interrogation programs of the Cold War. The work took place inside a clandestine facility in the American zone of occupied Germany, called Camp King. The facility’s chief medical doctor was Operation Paperclip’s Dr. Walter Schreiber, the former Surgeon General of the Third Reich. When Dr. Schreiber was secretly brought to America—to work for the U.S. Air Force in Texas—his position was filled with another Paperclip asset, Dr. Kurt Blome, the former Deputy Surgeon General of the Third Reich and the man in charge of the Nazi’s program to weaponize bubonic plague. The activities that went on at Camp King between 1946 and the late 1950s have never been fully accounted for by either the Department of Defense or the CIA.

“Does accomplishment cancel out past crimes?” Jacobsen asks in her book, noting that several Nazi scientists were celebrated with awards in America, and one had a government building named after him.

She writes: “Some officials believed that by endorsing the Paperclip program they were accepting the lesser of two evils – that if America didn’t recruit these scientists, the Soviet Communists surely would. Other generals and colonels admired and respected these men and said so.”

Posted: 02/13/2014 10:09 am EST Updated: 02/13/2014 1:00 pm EST

Find this story at 13 February 2014

Copyright huffingtonpost.com

Behind the secret plan to bring Nazi scientists to US

As the Allied troops advanced through France in November 1944, three experts in biological weapons huddled, by candlelight, in a grand apartment in Strasbourg, France, guarded by US soldiers.

The scientists were poring through documents left behind by Dr. Eugen Haagen, a high-ranking Nazi who specialized in weaponizing deadly viruses. They were looking for evidence of the Third Reich’s progress in atomic and biochemical warfare; what they found were chronicles of devastating carnage.

“Of the 100 prisoners you sent me, 18 died in transport,” Haagen wrote in a memo dated Nov. 15, 1943. “Only 12 are in a condition suitable for my experiments. I therefore request that you send me another 100 prisoners, between 20 and 40 years of age, who are healthy and in a physical condition comparable to soldiers. Heil Hitler.”
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Hermann Oberth (forefront) with officials of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency at Huntsville, Alabama in 1956.
Photo: Corbis

Haagen was once a world-renowned genius who had won a fellowship from the Rockefeller Foundation in New York City, who had been shortlisted for a Nobel Prize, who helped create the first vaccine for yellow fever. Yet here was evidence that he — and could it only have been just one doctor? — had been conducting medical experiments on live humans.

Samuel Goudsmit, leader of this investigative unit, made a list. Haagen was at the top, and he added any names referenced or copied on Haagen’s memos, including Dr. Kurt Blome, the Third Reich’s deputy surgeon general, and Walter Schreiber, the surgeon general. These men were now among America’s most wanted — but not in the way one might assume.

Within the year, hundreds of the Third Reich’s upper echelon would be relocated to the United States, where they would be given excellent jobs, healthy salaries, and all the benefits of living in a free society.
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The von Braun rocket team is congratulated by Nazi brass in 1942
Photo: Corbis

It was a secret program known as Paperclip, and it remains one of the most complicated and controversial epochs in American history. And, still, one of the most classified.

In her new book “Operation Paperclip: The Secret Intelligence Program to Bring Nazi Scientists to America” (Little, Brown and Company), author Annie Jacobsen uses newly released documents, court transcripts, and family-held archives to give the fullest accounting yet of this endeavor — one shared by the British, the French, and the Russians, all of whom enlisted and embraced top Nazis.

Wernher von Braun, the Nazi scientist crucial to the development of the V-2 rocket — which held a payload of 2,000 pounds and flew five times beyond the speed of sound — saw it coming: In March 1945, he conscripted two friends to stash his most important research out in an abandoned mine; when Germany lost, von Braun said, he’d use these documents to broker a new life in the United States.

He knew that no matter what atrocities were eventually discovered, no major world power would refuse the technological advances made by the Nazis — nor could they afford not to know how to combat them, vaccinate against them, outpace them.

That same year, the Department of Defense created a top-secret, elite task force called the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency, or JOIA. They were subordinate to the Joint Intelligence Committee, which briefed the Joint Chiefs of Staff on national security threats.

“To understand the mind-set of the Joint Intelligence Committee,” Jacobsen writes, “consider this: Within one year of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the JIC warned the Joint Chiefs of Staff that the United States needed to prepare for ‘total war’ with the Soviets — to include atomic, chemical, and biological warfare — and they even set an estimated start date of 1952.”

As of May 1945, Werner von Braun was No. 1 on America’s list for desired Nazi rocket scientists. When he surrendered to US forces on May 2 — having voluntarily decamped from a luxury ski resort in the Alps — von Braun and his colleagues were treated to a hearty breakfast of eggs, coffee and bread, then given freshly made beds in which to sleep.
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President Truman ‘was not made aware of the initiative’
Photo: Harry S. Truman Library

“I did not expect to be kicked in the teeth,” von Braun later told an American reporter. “The V-2 was something we had and you didn’t have. Naturally, you wanted to know all about it.”

Also at the top of the list was Dr. Kurt Blome, Hitler’s head of cancer research and a diehard Nazi. He was discovered at a checkpoint on May 17, 1945, and in his initial interrogation, Blome admitted that he had seen experiments “which led to later atrocities e.g. mass sterilization, gassing of Jews.”

Then came the capture of Georg Rickhey, an expert on the Third Reich’s impenetrable underground bunkers. Rickhey was interrogated by Col. Peter Beasley, who told him, “As an American officer, I want my country to have full possession of all your knowledge. To my superiors, I shall recommend that you be taken to the United States.”

Among those tasked with finding and apprehending the most wanted men in the Third Reich — and the number of government agencies that became involved — there was deep discord about the morality of Operation Paperclip.

Jacobsen accessed the transcript of a volatile meeting, secretly recorded, at the War Department. The names were redacted.

“One of the ground rules for bringing them over,” said one general, “is that it will be temporary, and at the return of their exploitation they will be sent back to Germany.”

“I’m opposed,” said another general. “And Pop Powers [nickname of an unknown official] is opposed, the whole War Department is opposed.”

It didn’t matter. Unofficial US policy held that it was imperative to secretly procure those Nazis who could accelerate America’s scientific, technological and economic advancement.

This was an increasingly delicate operation. On May 7, 1945, Life magazine had run a series of photos from the concentration camps, and the official US line held that countries such as Uruguay and Argentina, which were welcoming Nazi refugees, should turn them over to stand trial.

Simultaneously, the US government was learning more and more about just what the Nazis had done: the extermination of millions of Jews; the mass sterilization, the live experiments and operations conducted without anesthesia on humans code-named “adult pigs,” the systematic yanking of gold teeth, the slave labor and starvation, the drowning of men in ice-cold tubs and the many failed attempts to resurrect them, the exploding bodies forced into high-altitude chambers in efforts to master space flight.

“German science presents a grim spectacle,” wrote Dr. Leopold Alexander, a Viennese Jew who immigrated to the US in 1933. When the US entered the war, Alexander enlisted, and at its end was sent to Germany to determine what the Nazis had wrought and learned medically.
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Wernher von Braun holds a model rocket Aug. 5, 1955, at the Pentagon in Washington.
Photo: AP

“Grim for many reasons,” he continued. “First it became incompetent and then it was drawn into the maelstrom of depravity of which this country reeks — the smell of concentration camps, the smell of violent death, torture and suffering.”

He went on to call the Third Reich’s experimentation “really depraved pseudoscientific criminality . . . It sometimes seems as if the Nazis had taken special pains in making practically every nightmare come true.”

Meanwhile, the Allies held elite Nazis in two luxurious locales: the Palace Hotel in Luxembourg, renamed “Ashcan,” and Crane Mountain Castle in Hesse, Germany, renamed “Dustbin.”

Here, the most warped and wicked Nazis lounged in well-appointed rooms, strolled through apple orchards, played chess, smoked and drank, and gave each other lectures in grand halls. In the mornings, Hitler’s doctor taught a workout class.

In June 1945, officers at Dustbin put out an alert for Dr. Otto Ambros, valuable for his work with toxic gases — specifically tabun, developed by the Nazis and a chemical far more lethal than sarin. Ambros was picked up by an American soldier, who then drove him to a meeting in Heidelberg with members of the US Chemical Warfare Service.

So comfortable were these negotiations that when the US contingent told Ambros to retrieve the documents relating to tabun production, they let him drive off on his own. Ambros never returned; instead, he fled to an area controlled by the French, who let him return to civilian life in Germany.

The War Department moved quickly. In July, they made their top-secret project official, circulating a memo titled “Exploitation of German Specialists in Science and Technology in the United States.”

Jacobsen writes that President Truman “was not made aware of the initiative,” which was initially known as Operation Overcast.

Months later, when the War Department began tagging the files of their most reprehensible Nazi recruits with paper clips as intra-office code — these Nazis were truly to be smuggled in, made known to no other bureaucracies — the program became known as Operation Paperclip.

Meanwhile, Truman ordered the Department of Commerce to propagandize the advances made by the Nazis, ones that were now making Americans’ lives easier, more comfortable: Women could buy stockings that wouldn’t run, butter churned so fast and juice now sterilized so simply that there would be an abundance for all. Electrical equipment that had once been the size of crates was no bigger than your smallest finger.
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William Picketing, James Van Allen, and Wernher von Braun (L to R) brandish a model of the first American satellite “Explorer 1″, 31 January 1958.
Photo: OFF/AFP/Getty Images

By January 1946, two months after the Nuremberg trials had begun, there were more than 160 Nazis — many with their families — living and working in the United States.

A good number were housed at a facility called Hilltop in Dayton, Ohio, where many complained they were little more than “caged animals.” The US military scientists working alongside them were disgusted by their new colleagues, expressing “emotions . . . ranging from vehemence to frustration.”

The other group — at 115, the largest — was a team of rocket scientists held on Fort Bliss in Texas. Their leader was Wernher von Braun, who, it turned out, really loved America. He was enthralled with the desert and the open-air jeeps driven by Army personnel. He became an evangelical Christian. He was permitted to return to Germany to marry his 18-year-old cousin — von Braun was 46 — and bring her back to the US. If he had one complaint, it was his research budget.

As he later said, while working for the Third Reich “we’d been coddled. Here they were counting pennies.”

In November 1946, shortly after 10 Nazis were executed at Nuremberg by US Master Sgt. John C. Woods (“I hanged those 10 Nazis . . . and I am proud of it”), news broke that the US had smuggled hundreds of Nazis into the country, and that about 1,000 more were coming. (The final count was close to 1,600.) The government attempted damage control, then message control: These men, so mild-mannered with their silver hair and American sport jackets, had never been members of the Nazi party. The Army disseminated pictures of the men and their families engaged in wholesome outdoor activities, and any reporter requesting an interview had to submit their copy, pre-publication, to the army for approval.

Not everyone was fooled. Eleanor Roosevelt publicly decried the program, as did Albert Einstein. By March 1947, Paperclip had generated such lacerating public opinion that General Eisenhower, then the US Army chief of staff, demanded a briefing. It lasted 20 minutes, and upon emerging, Eisenhower said he approved of the project.

The legacy of Paperclip, Jacobsen writes, speaks to the triumph of pragmatism and self-interest above unthinkable atrocity.

Wernher von Braun helped get us to the moon; in the years before the landing, he was photographed with President Kennedy. Heinrich Rose and Konrad Buttner, two hardcore Nazis, conducted experiments for the US on how best to protect soldiers in atomic warfare.

Today, the Space Medicine Association and the National Space Club continue to bestow awards named after Nazis. When Jacobsen asked Steve Griffin, head of the National Space Club, why they memorialize Nazi Kurt Debus in this way, he was dispassionate and logical.

“Simple as it is,” he said, “Kurt Debus is an honored American.”

By Maureen Callahan February 1, 2014 | 12:29pm

 Find this story at 1 February 2014

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Nazis Were Given ‘Safe Haven’ in U.S., Report Says

WASHINGTON — A secret history of the United States government’s Nazi-hunting operation concludes that American intelligence officials created a “safe haven” in the United States for Nazis and their collaborators after World War II, and it details decades of clashes, often hidden, with other nations over war criminals here and abroad.

The 600-page report, which the Justice Department has tried to keep secret for four years, provides new evidence about more than two dozen of the most notorious Nazi cases of the last three decades.

It describes the government’s posthumous pursuit of Dr. Josef Mengele, the so-called Angel of Death at Auschwitz, part of whose scalp was kept in a Justice Department official’s drawer; the vigilante killing of a former Waffen SS soldier in New Jersey; and the government’s mistaken identification of the Treblinka concentration camp guard known as Ivan the Terrible.

The report catalogs both the successes and failures of the band of lawyers, historians and investigators at the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, which was created in 1979 to deport Nazis.

Perhaps the report’s most damning disclosures come in assessing the Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement with Nazi émigrés. Scholars and previous government reports had acknowledged the C.I.A.’s use of Nazis for postwar intelligence purposes. But this report goes further in documenting the level of American complicity and deception in such operations.

The Justice Department report, describing what it calls “the government’s collaboration with persecutors,” says that O.S.I investigators learned that some of the Nazis “were indeed knowingly granted entry” to the United States, even though government officials were aware of their pasts. “America, which prided itself on being a safe haven for the persecuted, became — in some small measure — a safe haven for persecutors as well,” it said.

The report also documents divisions within the government over the effort and the legal pitfalls in relying on testimony from Holocaust survivors that was decades old. The report also concluded that the number of Nazis who made it into the United States was almost certainly much smaller than 10,000, the figure widely cited by government officials.

The Justice Department has resisted making the report public since 2006. Under the threat of a lawsuit, it turned over a heavily redacted version last month to a private research group, the National Security Archive, but even then many of the most legally and diplomatically sensitive portions were omitted. A complete version was obtained by The New York Times.

The Justice Department said the report, the product of six years of work, was never formally completed and did not represent its official findings. It cited “numerous factual errors and omissions,” but declined to say what they were.

More than 300 Nazi persecutors have been deported, stripped of citizenship or blocked from entering the United States since the creation of the O.S.I., which was merged with another unit this year.

In chronicling the cases of Nazis who were aided by American intelligence officials, the report cites help that C.I.A. officials provided in 1954 to Otto Von Bolschwing, an associate of Adolph Eichmann who had helped develop the initial plans “to purge Germany of the Jews” and who later worked for the C.I.A. in the United States. In a chain of memos, C.I.A. officials debated what to do if Von Bolschwing were confronted about his past — whether to deny any Nazi affiliation or “explain it away on the basis of extenuating circumstances,” the report said.

The Justice Department, after learning of Von Bolschwing’s Nazi ties, sought to deport him in 1981. He died that year at age 72.

The report also examines the case of Arthur L. Rudolph, a Nazi scientist who ran the Mittelwerk munitions factory. He was brought to the United States in 1945 for his rocket-making expertise under Operation Paperclip, an American program that recruited scientists who had worked in Nazi Germany. (Rudolph has been honored by NASA and is credited as the father of the Saturn V rocket.)

The report cites a 1949 memo from the Justice Department’s No. 2 official urging immigration officers to let Rudolph back in the country after a stay in Mexico, saying that a failure to do so “would be to the detriment of the national interest.”

Justice Department investigators later found evidence that Rudolph was much more actively involved in exploiting slave laborers at Mittelwerk than he or American intelligence officials had acknowledged, the report says.

Some intelligence officials objected when the Justice Department sought to deport him in 1983, but the O.S.I. considered the deportation of someone of Rudolph’s prominence as an affirmation of “the depth of the government’s commitment to the Nazi prosecution program,” according to internal memos.

The Justice Department itself sometimes concealed what American officials knew about Nazis in this country, the report found.

In 1980, prosecutors filed a motion that “misstated the facts” in asserting that checks of C.I.A. and F.B.I. records revealed no information on the Nazi past of Tscherim Soobzokov, a former Waffen SS soldier. In fact, the report said, the Justice Department “knew that Soobzokov had advised the C.I.A. of his SS connection after he arrived in the United States.”

(After the case was dismissed, radical Jewish groups urged violence against Mr. Soobzokov, and he was killed in 1985 by a bomb at his home in Paterson, N.J. )

The secrecy surrounding the Justice Department’s handling of the report could pose a political dilemma for President Obama because of his pledge to run the most transparent administration in history. Mr. Obama chose the Justice Department to coordinate the opening of government records.

The Nazi-hunting report was the brainchild of Mark Richard, a senior Justice Department lawyer. In 1999, he persuaded Attorney General Janet Reno to begin a detailed look at what he saw as a critical piece of history, and he assigned a career prosecutor, Judith Feigin, to the job. After Mr. Richard edited the final version in 2006, he urged senior officials to make it public but was rebuffed, colleagues said.

When Mr. Richard became ill with cancer, he told a gathering of friends and family that the report’s publication was one of three things he hoped to see before he died, the colleagues said. He died in June 2009, and Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. spoke at his funeral.

“I spoke to him the week before he died, and he was still trying to get it released,” Ms. Feigin said. “It broke his heart.”

After Mr. Richard’s death, David Sobel, a Washington lawyer, and the National Security Archive sued for the report’s release under the Freedom of Information Act.

The Justice Department initially fought the lawsuit, but finally gave Mr. Sobel a partial copy — with more than 1,000 passages and references deleted based on exemptions for privacy and internal deliberations.

Laura Sweeney, a Justice Department spokeswoman, said the department is committed to transparency, and that redactions are made by experienced lawyers.

The full report disclosed that the Justice Department found “a smoking gun” in 1997 establishing with “definitive proof” that Switzerland had bought gold from the Nazis that had been taken from Jewish victims of the Holocaust. But these references are deleted, as are disputes between the Justice and State Departments over Switzerland’s culpability in the months leading up to a major report on the issue.

Another section describes as “a hideous failure” a series of meetings in 2000 that United States officials held with Latvian officials to pressure them to pursue suspected Nazis. That passage is also deleted.

So too are references to macabre but little-known bits of history, including how a director of the O.S.I. kept a piece of scalp that was thought to belong to Dr. Mengele in his desk in hopes that it would help establish whether he was dead.

The chapter on Dr. Mengele, one of the most notorious Nazis to escape prosecution, details the O.S.I.’s elaborate efforts in the mid-1980s to determine whether he had fled to the United States and might still be alive.

It describes how investigators used letters and diaries apparently written by Dr. Mengele in the 1970s, along with German dental records and Munich phone books, to follow his trail.

After the development of DNA tests, the piece of scalp, which had been turned over by the Brazilian authorities, proved to be a critical piece of evidence in establishing that Dr. Mengele had fled to Brazil and had died there in about 1979 without ever entering the United States, the report said. The edited report deletes references to Dr. Mengele’s scalp on privacy grounds.

Even documents that have long been available to the public are omitted, including court decisions, Congressional testimony and front-page newspaper articles from the 1970s.

A chapter on the O.S.I.’s most publicized failure — the case against John Demjanjuk, a retired American autoworker who was mistakenly identified as Treblinka’s Ivan the Terrible — deletes dozens of details, including part of a 1993 ruling by the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that raised ethics accusations against Justice Department officials.

That section also omits a passage disclosing that Latvian émigrés sympathetic to Mr. Demjanjuk secretly arranged for the O.S.I.’s trash to be delivered to them each day from 1985 to 1987. The émigrés rifled through the garbage to find classified documents that could help Mr. Demjanjuk, who is currently standing trial in Munich on separate war crimes charges.

Ms. Feigin said she was baffled by the Justice Department’s attempt to keep a central part of its history secret for so long. “It’s an amazing story,” she said, “that needs to be told.”

New York Times, November 12, 2010

By Eric Lichtblau

Find this story at 12 November 2010

The report

Copyright New York Times 2010