Operation Paperclip: Nazi scientists to America

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Operation Paperclip: Nazi scientists to America

Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

08 Oct 2007, 14:02 #1

Operation Paperclip
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Operation Paperclip (also credited as Project Paperclip) was the code name under which the U.S. intelligence and military services extracted German scientists from Nazi Germany, during and after the final stages of World War II. In 1945 the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency was established and given direct responsibility for Operation Paperclip.[1]
Real conspiracies: Operation Paperclip, which assimilated Nazis into the U.S. establishment, shows the antecedents for labeling people of conscience enemies of the state - Viewpoint
Richard Thieme

One way a government mobilizes support for morally dubious actions is to make those actions sound like the right thing to do. Decisions made for other reasons entirely, for reasons of strategy, say, or economic advantage, are cloaked in religious rhetoric, and when our leaders claim the moral high ground, we the people want to believe them.

Recent caricatures show how Muslim terrorists like Osama bin Laden and Christian crusaders like George W. Bush use nearly identical rhetoric to justify their actions. Both abuse their religious traditions to manipulate believers in those traditions.

Those who worry about such things are often pained because the desire to believe and follow our leaders is twisted, that desire being contradicted by obvious discrepancies in what our leaders are doing rather than saying.

This gets a person with a strong conscience into a real pickle. The simple fact is, any person willing to act on the convictions of a strong conscience is as much an enemy of the state as an avowed terrorist because he or she will not accept the designer lies of the state as the motivation for its morally dubious actions.

Perhaps this is illustrated best with a historical example. Let's use Operation Paperclip.

The United States and its Western European allies agreed after World War II to deny immigration rights and work opportunities to Nazis with scientific and technological expertise who were more than trivially connected to the Third Reich. Those who joined the party before 1933 or advanced in the SA (Brown Shirts) or the SS or were identified by credible witnesses as participating in atrocities were included in that category.

Contradictions arose, however, after the war. Denying German scientific expertise to the Soviets and using it ourselves became primary motivations for wanting those Germans here, working for us. Over time the need for German proficiency in aerospace design, lasers and other advanced research superseded moral concerns for what they had done during the war.

Operation Paperclip was the name of the project that assimilated Nazi scientists into the American establishment by obscuring their histories and short-circuiting efforts to bring their true stories to light. The project was led by officers in the U.S. Army Although the program officially ended in September 1947, those officers and others carried out a conspiracy until the mid-'50s that bypassed both law and presidential directive to keep Paperclip going. Neither Truman nor Eisenhower were informed that their instructions were ignored, and if there is a lesson to be learned from Operation Paperclip, it is that, as Elie Wiesel said of the Holocaust, the world can get away with it.

Please note: Those who documented Operation Paperclip are not "conspiracy theorists." They are journalists and scholars who described a genuine conspiracy.

Fast forward 50 years.

When Total Information Awareness--the effort to mine and correlate vast amounts of data about Americans and non-Americans alike--became public knowledge, it was assailed for further eroding civil liberties already undermined by the Patriot Act, rights previously guaranteed by the Constitution.

Asked at a news conference about Total Information Awareness, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld laughed and said, well then we'll change the name and do it anyway.

Rumsfeld was just stating the obvious. Data mining has long been an important area of research for the intelligence establishment. The ability to filter out irrelevant data and align the many signals transmitted by our daily transactions into profiles with predictive value has been pursued for a long time. Rumsfeld was just saying, OK, if there's a problem with the name, we'll change the name and do it secretly.

It's the combination of eradicating rights guaranteed by the Constitution such as habeas corpus and modern technologies that enable the national security state to know and anticipate the tendencies of the souls of its citizenry, all in the name of counterterrorism, that makes us nervous.

This is not a conspiracy theory. It is a literal description of what our leadership is doing

Back in the early days of Paperclip, when those with consciences and/or memories of Nazi atrocities tried to stop the steamroller, they were accused of being communist agents or sympathizers or useful idiots who did not know they were manipulated by the Communist Party.

Real enemies during the Cold War became the justification for labeling persons of conscience enemies too, a strategy that was canny and intentional.

Today real terrorists are the justification for targeting persons of conscience as if they are enemies not only of America but of the American Empire too.

"Even before 9/11, U.S. armed services professionals were engaged in operations in 150 countries a year," noted Robert Kaplan approvingly in the 2003 Pitcairn Trust Lecture on World Affairs. "It is already a cliche to say that by any historical standard the United States is more an empire, especially a military one, than many care to acknowledge."

Kaplan goes on to advocate the efficient use of covert action to overthrow regimes and destabilize enemies of the empire. "The U.S. had 550,000 troops in Vietnam but didn't accomplish much," he observes, contrasting that effort with the successful appropriation of rightwing groups in El Salvador with only special forces miners on the ground.

That, he suggests, is the model for the future.

I discussed this with two neighbors yesterday on a sunny lawn with autumn flowers in bloom. One said she was concerned for what had happened to the America she knew. The other said she was too busy with her job and taking care of her children to do much about it. Both felt helpless to do anything anyway, and that's the intention.

Those feelings of helplessness are typical, I would guess, but there was something else in the conversation. "You'd better be careful," one warned. "You're probably on the list."

Now, that's relatively new. The belief that there is a list, the belief that with technological advances we can be tracked, databased and identified as enemies, the belief that we are so tracked, that the information will be used against us, that's new. Among middle-aged Midwest conservative people, that's new.

Those beliefs, intermittently reinforced by stories of police or FBI questioning innocent people for speaking aloud their objections to empire, is one means of control of mainstream citizens who "want to believe the American myth," as one put it, while evidence accumulates that the high moral ground is one more means for keeping us acquiescent and compliant.

It was warm on the lawn among those flowers, yet soon enough, shorn of our real history, shorn of constitutional rights, we'll be shivering like sheep in the first chill breeze of autumn.

One could do worse than revisit Paperclip and other forgotten events, the real antecedents of our current situation, One could do worse than refuse to surrender to denial or design.

Richard Thieme speaks, writes and consults on the human dimensions of life and work, the impact of technology, and "life on the edge." He has written for Information Security Magazine, Salon, Forbes and the Village Voice.

COPYRIGHT 2003 National Catholic Reporter
COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group
"One way a government mobilizes support for morally dubious actions is to make those actions sound like the right thing to do."

Some things never change....

"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

"The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses." -- Malcolm X

"The eternal fight is not many battles fought on one level, but one great battle fought on many different levels." -- The Antagonist

"Truth does not fear investigation." -- Unknown

Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

08 Oct 2007, 14:24 #2

Operation Paperclip
Encyclopedia of Science - History of Rocketry

Code-name of the American scheme to detain top German scientists at the end of World War II and relocate them to the United States; it was originally called Operation Overcast. The scientists included Wernher von Braun and more than 100 of his colleagues who had worked on the V-2 and other "V" weapons. These personnel and the hardware that came with them formed the backbone of the future American space program.

The origins of Paperclip

In May 1945, after the fall of the Nazi regime, Russian soldiers secured the German atomic research laboratories at the prestigious Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in the suburbs of Berlin, giving Stalin the foundations of what would become a vast Soviet nuclear arsenal. Meanwhile, US forces removed V-2 missiles from the labyrinthine Nordhausen complex, built under the Harz Mountains in central Germany, just before the Soviets took over the factory, in what would become their area of occupation. And the team which had built the V-2, led by von Braun, also fell into American hands.

Shortly afterward Major-General Hugh Knerr, deputy commander of the US Air Force in Europe, wrote: "Occupation of German scientific and industrial establishments has revealed the fact that we have been alarmingly backward in many fields of research. If we do not take the opportunity to seize the apparatus and the brains that developed it and put the combination back to work promptly, we will remain several years behind while we attempt to cover a field already exploited."

Thus began Operation Paperclip, the exercise that saw von Braun and more than 700 others spirited out of Germany from under the noses of the United State's allies. Its aim was simple: "To exploit German scientists for American research and to deny these intellectual resources to the Soviet Union."

Hidden truths

President Truman authorized Paperclip in August 1945 and, on November 18, the first Germans reached America. Truman, however, had insisted that anyone found "to have been a member of the Nazi party and more than a nominal participant in its activities, or an active supporter of Nazism militarism" be excluded. Under this criterion even von Braun himself would have been ineligible to serve the US. A member of numerous Nazi organizations, he also held rank in the SS. Among his senior associates were Arthur Rudolph, chief operations director at Nordhausen, where 20,000 slave laborers died producing V-2s; Kurt Debus, a rocket launch specialist and SS officer whose report stated: "He should be interned as a menace to the security of the Allied Forces;" and Hubertus Strughold, later called "the father of space medicine," whose subordinates had conducted human experiments at Dachau and Auschwitz, where inmates were frozen and put into low-pressure chambers, sometimes until they died. All of these men were cleared to work for the US, their alleged crimes covered up and their backgrounds glossed over by a military which saw winning the Cold War as its all-consuming priority.

Having been transferred to their new home at Fort Bliss, Texas, a large Army installation just north of El Paso, the German scientists and engineers were given the job of training military, industrial, and university personnel in the intricacies of rockets and guided missiles and helping refurbish, assemble, and launch a number of V-2s that had been shipped from Germany to the White Sands Proving Ground in New Mexico.
"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

"The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses." -- Malcolm X

"The eternal fight is not many battles fought on one level, but one great battle fought on many different levels." -- The Antagonist

"Truth does not fear investigation." -- Unknown

Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

08 Oct 2007, 16:05 #3

by Lieutenant Colonel William L. Howard

NewsMine : coldwar imperialism : operation paperclip.txt

By February 1945, the Allied offensive in Europe was striking toward the heart of Germany. On January 27, 1945, with the Russian forces closing in on Berlin, the first refugee caravans had reached the outskirts of Berlin with stories of the brutal behavior of the Red Army, and a wave of terror swept through the city. Many citizens, however, still had faith in Goebbels' promise that wonder weapons would save Germany at the last moment. By then, V-2s, developed at the experimental rocket station in Peenemunde under the leadership of 34-year-old Dr. Wernher von Braun, were causing havoc in London, Antwerp and Liege.

One of the men responsible for creating these Wunderwaffen (miracle weapons), General-Major Walter Dornberger, was holding a conference in Berlin. He had just been entrusted with the job of producing a missile that would unerringly destroy and plane attempting to attack Germany. The 10 members of "Working Staff Dornberger," after reviewing the many experiments made in this field--from nonguided anti-aircraft rockets to remote-controlled missiles for launching from ground or air--concluded that their only chance for success was to concentrate on a few projects. They agreed to retain only four guided anti-aircraft rockets.

Meanwhile, in Peenemunde, at the mouth of the Oder, Dr. von Braun, the technical director of the rocket station, was holding a secret meeting with his chief assistants. Together they had developed the A-4, a rocket they regarded as the first step to space flight. But Hitler saw it as a long-range weapon, and Goebbels had renamed it the V-2, Vengeance Weapon-2.

Dr. von Braun explained to his assistants that he had called the meeting because of conflicting orders received that day--both from SS officials. SS-Obergruppenfuhrer Dr. Hans Kammler, named special commissioner of the project by Himmler, had sent a teletype directing that the rocketeers be moved to central Germany, while Himmler himself, as commander of Army Group Vistula, had dispatched a message ordering all of Dr. von Braun's engineers to join the Vokssturm, the Peoples' Army, so that they could help defend the area from the approaching Red Army.

"Germany has lost the war," Dr. von Braun continued, "but let us not forget that it was our team that first succeeded in reaching outer space. . . . We have suffered many hardships because of our faith in the great peacetime future of the rocket. Now we have an obligation. Each of the conquering powers will want our knowledge. The question we must answer is: To what country shall we entrust our heritage?"

A suggestion that they stay and turn themselves over to the Russians was emphatically rejected; they finally voted unanimously to surrender to the United States Army. The first step was to obey Dr. Kammler's order and evacuate to the west. There was no time to lose; preparations for the move would take more than two weeks., and they could already hear the faint rumble of Zhukov's artillery to the south.

In mid-November 1944, American and British forces had entered Germany and were approaching the Rhine River. By March 9, 1945, American forces had succeeded in seizing the Ludendorff Bridge at Remagen and had established a bridgehead on the east bank. Twelve supersonic V-2s were launched toward the bridge from Holland. They landed in a scattered pattern, with only one causing any appreciable damage with it hit a house 300 yards east of the bridge, killing three Americans.

Dr. von Braun, who was recovering at Nordhausen from a serious automobile accident--his torso and left arm were still encased in a huge cast--heard a report on Easter Sunday that American tanks were only a few miles to the south. He was afraid the SS would follow the Fuhrer's "scortched earth" policy and destroy the tons of precious V-2 documents and blueprints. Dr. von Braun instructed his personal aide, Dieter Huzel, and Bernhard Tessmann, chief designer of the Peenemunde test facilities, to hid the documents in a safe place.

It took three Opel trucks to carry the 14 tons of papers. The little convoy headed north on April 3 toward the nearby Harz Mountains. By the end of the day Tessmann and Huzel found an abandoned iron mine in the isolated village of Dornten. Thirty-six hours later, all of the documents had been hauled by a small locomotive into the heart of the mine and hand-carried into the powder magazine.

On April 10, work in the underground V-2 factory at Nordhausen stopped. The rocket specialists, engineers and workers--4,500 of them--scattered to their homes, and the slave workers were returned to the nearby concentration camp.

The next morning, April 11, Task Force Welborn of the 3rd Armored Division approached Nordhausen from the north as Task Force Lovelady came in from the south. Both commanders had been alerted by Intelligence to "expect something a little unusual in the Nordhausen area." They thought at first this meant the town's concentration camp, containing about 5,000 decayed bodies. But several miles northwest of Nordhausen, in the foothills of the Harz, they ran into other prisoners in dirty striped pajamas who told them there was "something fantastic" inside the mountain.

The two commanders peered into a large tunnel and saw freight cars and trucks loaded with long, slender finned missiles. With Major William Castille, the combat command's intelligence officer, they walked into the bowels of the mountain, where they found a complex factory. V-1 and V-2 parts were laid out in orderly rows, and precision machinery stood in perfect working order.

When Colonel Holgar Toftoy, Chief of Ordnance Technical Intelligence in Paris, learned of the amazing find, he began organizing "Special Mission V-2." Its job was to evacuate 100 complete V-2s and ship them to White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico.

Dr. Wernher von Braun and his leading V-2 scientists voluntarily surrendered to the U.S. 44th Division. Almost as important was the recovery of the 14 tons of V-2 documents hidden by Tessman and Huzel in the Dornten iron mine.

Despite a slow start, Colonel Toftoy's "Special Mission V-2," led by Major James Hamill, also succeeded in its mission. One hundred complete V-2s were evacuated only hours before the Russians occupied the area. Major Hamill had been ordered to remove the rockets "without making it obvious that we had looted the place," yet, curiously, was not told that Nordhausen would be in the Soviet zone. Consequently, it never occurred to him to destroy the remaining rockets.

By April 19, 1945, the Russian high command announced that the Russian drive on Berlin had begun. By April 28, elements of the First United States Army had linked up with the Russians at Torgau. In Berlin, Hitler committed suicide on April 30 and Admiral Doenitz was placed in charge. German forces surrendered on May 7, and victory in Europe was declared.

Shortly after VE Day, Magnus von Braun, brother of Professor von Braun, was sent as an emissary to contact the American authorities and inform them that a large number of the Peenemunde scientists and technicians, who had scattered to the four winds after the collapse of the Nazi regime, were living in small villages throughout the Alps.

This was the beginning of "Operation Overcast" which was renamed Operation Paperclip. The American authorities, realizing the progress that had been made by German scientists in the field of guided missiles, saw a chance to gain from their experience and start not from scratch but from the Germans left off. Approximately 150 of the best scientists and technicians were rounded up and, after preliminary interrogation and background investigations by U.S. intelligence agencies, were offered five-year contracts to come to the United States and work for the U.S. Army. In turn, we promised to provide housing for their families, who had to remain Germany until arrangements could be made to bring them to the United States.

The first group of seven guided-missile scientists signed by contract under Operation Paperclip arrived at Fort Strong, New York, September 20, 1945, and from there were taken to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Here, in the tightly guarded Industrial Area, in the midst of secret military developments of all kinds, but always with a GI escort, these scientists carried on the work began at Peenemunde.

The research at Aberdeen was concerned with the processing of German guided-missile documents captured by U.S. military forces. Here, these men scanned thousands of documents, all of the stamped "GEHEIM," the equivalent of "SECRET." It is impossible to estimate the amount of time and money saved by having these scientists and technicians available to assist us in segregating, cataloging, evaluating and translating more than 40 tons of documents.

The purpose of the project at Aberdeen was to provide Fort Bliss, Texas, and White Sands Proving Ground, where an additional 120 German scientists and technicians were working of the development and testing of guided missiles, with documents or translations thereof.

Operation Paperclip came to a fitting conclusion with the naturalization of the first group of more than 50 German scientists and technicians on November 11, 1954, in Birmingham, Alabama.

A 1947 photo of the German team at Fort Bliss, Texas. Dr. von Braun, inset, is in the front row, seventh from right.

Posted October 7, 199
"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

"The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses." -- Malcolm X

"The eternal fight is not many battles fought on one level, but one great battle fought on many different levels." -- The Antagonist

"Truth does not fear investigation." -- Unknown

Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

08 Oct 2007, 16:18 #4

CIA Use of Nazi Research

The following are not all Nazi war criminals hired to work
for the U.S. though several are. All of them worked with
such, and/or worked at similar unethical experiments.

Dr. Sidney Gottlieb.  Ex head CIA Chemical Biological Warfare
    program. Testified in congressional hearings about
    developing a system of running a pipe under a target's
    door to deliver incapacitating, poisonous or suggestibility
    increasing gas.

Dr. Ray Teichler.  Gottlieb's assistant, and CIA liason aty
    Edgewood Arsenal. Assistant to Edgewood Medical Laboratories
    division of human experimentation director.

Karl Tauboeck.  Nazi scientist constulting for the CIA.

Friedrich Hoffman.  Nazi scientist consulting for the CIA.

Otto Ambrose.  Worked for J. Peter Grace.

Dr. Albert Klingman.  Participated in joint CIA/Army program
    at Edgewood, got prison inmates for these experiments;
    also had a climatic control chamber.

Edgewood Arsenal.  Run by U.S. Army Chemical Corps, which
    had acquired 8 Nazi scientists.

Dr. Robley Evans.  Radiation in WW II, using some data from
    ongoing Nazi radiation experiments on humans, mostly by
    Dr. Boris Rajewski.  Asked for conscientious objectors
    to be sent to him for this.

Dr. Boris Rajewski.  Nazi radiation experimentor.

Gerhard Schubert.  Nazi radiation experimentor, brought to
    the U.S.

Hermann Daenzer.  Nazi radiation experimentor, brought to
    the U.S. 

Wolfgang Luther.  Nazi radiation experimentor, brought to
    the U.S.

Dieter Strang.  Nazi radiation experimentor, brought to
    the U.S.

Arthur Demnitz.  Nazi radiation experimentor, brought to
    the U.S. 

Dr. Robert Stone.  Also requested and used Nazi data incl.
    Rajewski's report, later with Dr. Evans on the Nuclear
    Energy Propulsion for Airplanes Advisory Committee which
    tried to bring Rajewski to the U.S.

    Evans and Stone did classified radiation weapon development
    research for the AEC and military. Evans secretly a CIA
    consultant for their project to use radiation as a means
    of killing just one person.

Col. Boris Pash.  Started CIA radiation warfare research,
    had made CIA assassination teams from Nazi recruits,
    directed the Alsos Mission to locate and whitewash useful
    Nazi war criminals, and siezed 70,000 tons of uranium ore
    and radium.

Dr. Webb Haymaker.  Co-authored a book with Nazi scientist
    Hubertus Strughold. Co-developed Boron Neutron Capture
    Therapy (BNCT) from CIA ideas to use radiation to affect
    brain centers. They consulted with him on this.

    Boron is injected, and a neutron beam aimed at it in the
    brain, causing a "tiny nucear explosion." NO CURES,
    most patients died.

Dr. William Swee.  Co-developed BNCT. Worked in 1933 and 1934
    in Nazi Germany, observed sterilization of unwitting
    epileptics by aiming radiation at their genitals from under
    a desk they were told to sit at, yet though he called
    this "outrageous behavior," he never revealed this to
    war crimes investigators.

And if you think that the all-wise CIA must be excuseable
as being privy to knowledge or having special competence we
do not, consider this:

    "Think of it: thirty billion dollars a year goes to an
    intelligence establishment that cannot hire one spy in
    the south end of Mogadishu to pinpoint the location of
    a famous warlord who gives press interviews and
    broadcasts radio statements of defiance. Somalia has
    exposed the weakness of U.S. defense intelligence."
          - William Safire, N.Y. TIMES, Oct. 7, 1993 p. A29.

End of File.
"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

"The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses." -- Malcolm X

"The eternal fight is not many battles fought on one level, but one great battle fought on many different levels." -- The Antagonist

"Truth does not fear investigation." -- Unknown

Joined: 12 Sep 2006, 17:57

08 Oct 2007, 16:31 #5

Operation Paperclip

Code-name of the American scheme to detain top German scientists at the end of World War II and relocate them to the United States; it was originally called Operation Overcast. The scientists included Wernher von Braun and more than 100 of his colleagues who had worked on the V-2 and other "V" weapons. These personnel and the hardware that came with them formed the backbone of the future American space program.
even this, though revealing, is limited somewhat: 'space program' should of course read 'defensive offensive military capabilities program'
the 'war "against" terror' is a travelling circus, ready to pitch its macabre death display wherever self determination has a chance, in any place where transnational corporate interests say so, and while we sit in thrall at the spectacle, our pockets are being picked, and while we marvel at the shock and awe on display we should know, that the ring master's plan is that it is we who will be the future stars of the show

Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

08 Oct 2007, 17:06 #6

Secret Agenda: The United States Government, Nazi Scientists, and Project Paperclip, 1945 to 1990 (Hardcover)
by Linda Hunt (Author)

Blowback: America's Recruitment of Nazis and Its Effects on the Cold War (Hardcover)
by Christopher Simpson

Unholy Trinity: The Vatican, The Nazis, and The Swiss Banks (Paperback)
by Mark Aarons (Author), John Loftus (Author)

Search Amazon for any of these and quite a few 'related' items pop up.
"The problem with always being a conformist is that when you try to change the system from within, it's not you who changes the system; it's the system that will eventually change you." -- Immortal Technique

"The media is the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that's power. Because they control the minds of the masses." -- Malcolm X

"The eternal fight is not many battles fought on one level, but one great battle fought on many different levels." -- The Antagonist

"Truth does not fear investigation." -- Unknown

Joined: 25 Nov 2005, 11:41

20 Oct 2007, 20:14 #7

salon.com > News May 3, 2000
URL: http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2000/05/03/nazi

Our Nazi allies

A German amateur investigator finds information on the U.S. government's friendly dealings with war criminals. Meanwhile, the FBI and CIA guard their records.

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Ken Silverstein

Dieter Maier, an amateur investigator working from his home on the outskirts of Frankfurt, Germany, has uncanny luck finding out about U.S. ties to the Nazis.

For the past 20 years, Maier has been filing a steady stream of requests for information to a variety of U.S. government agencies, largely for the existential pleasure of historical inquiry, and also out of a fear of a rebirth of Nazism, fascism and racism in Germany. The more he knows about the past, he says, the better prepared he is to deal with the future and present.

What is most startling about Maier's success, however, is that he appears to have had an easier time finding information on U.S. collaboration with Nazis after World War II than a committee appointed by Congress to extract the same controversial data.

Maier, through Freedom of Information Act requests, has unearthed new information on characters like Karl Heinz-Priester, one of the most prominent postwar neo-Nazi leaders. According to "The Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right," Priester, a former Waffen SS liaison officer, helped found the National Democratic Reich Party in 1949. After being expelled for his dictatorial tendencies, Priester set up the equally virulent German Social Movement and became a leading player in the international fascist movement.

Maier received files from U.S. Army Intelligence that show that Priester was on the U.S. payroll as an informant, a fact never before reported. Priester was terminated as a U.S. spy in 1959 when it was deemed that his usefulness was falling off, or as it was put on his file card: "Subject's services no longer needed. Production and performance poor." (The FOIA is, unfortunately, a hit-and-miss proposition. I also filed a request on Priester, and was sent, among other things, the identical file card -- with the notations identifying Priester as a U.S. agent blacked out.)

That U.S. officials collaborated with Nazis after World War II is, of course, well known. Just one day after Germany's surrender, on May 10, 1945, the Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered Gen. Dwight Eisenhower to arrest all suspected war criminals, though advising him "to make such exceptions as you deem advisable for intelligence and other military reasons." In other words, cut deals with war criminals who could be usefully employed by U.S. intelligence. Over the years, the United States found a spot on the payroll for thousands of former Nazis, especially as part of intelligence gathering operations aimed at the Soviet Union, our wartime ally but soon-to-be mortal foe.

Not much has been learned about these programs since, with successes such as Maier's rare. But that was supposed to change in the fall of 1998, when Congress passed the little-noticed Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act. It requires government agencies to turn over to the National Archives all files relating to Nazi looting and war crimes, including documents that detail American ties to Nazi war criminals.

"The former Soviet Union has opened its archives. Eastern European countries have done so; even Argentina has begun to open its files on Nazis. Why are ours still closed?" asked former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman, D-N.Y., at the time. Holtzman is now a member of the Interagency Working Group, which Congress established to oversee implementation of the NWCDA. Federal agencies are to comply with the law by January 2002, but it's unlikely this timetable will be met. Up to 10 million pages are expected to be released, but only 1 million pages, many of them innocuous, have thus far been declassified.

There are some logical reasons for the delay. The job is enormous, and of course involves the review of tons of paper held by numerous government agencies. Meanwhile, Congress failed to appropriate enough funding to implement the NWCDA and then cut declassification budgets sharply last year. (In the case of the Defense Department, they were cut by about half, to $100 million.)

Still, there are no encouraging precedents for this degree of disclosure. "From the end of World War II to Vietnam to Iran-Contra -- you name it and [the CIA] lied about it," says Christopher Simpson, author of "Blowback," the definitive book so far on U.S. collaboration with the Nazis.

Holtzman is optimistic the files will ultimately be released. But, "There's a long history of concealing these files," she says. "The impulse to open them up is not in the genes."

The FBI finally turned over seven boxes of largely insignificant material to the National Archives in January, one day before it met with the IWG to discuss the bureau's general lack of progress. Army Intelligence, a prime repository of Nazi material, also has been slow to turn over its holdings. The Army has individual files on some 20,000 Nazi-related figures, but thus far has released only about 450.

The CIA, whose records are most eagerly anticipated by researchers and historians, has long promised to turn over its files. In 1992, the agency said it would review and voluntarily provide Nazi-related files, no matter how embarrassing. No disclosures followed. Between 1996 and 1999, Under Secretary of State Stuart Eisenstadt pressed the CIA to release material regarding looted Jewish assets. This was when the topic gained international attention with the disclosures about gold stolen by the Nazis that eventually wound up in Swiss banks. "All we could pry loose were a few files and that was with the State Department leaning on them," recalls one person familiar with the process.

Thus far, the CIA has not turned over a single piece of paper to the National Archives, a record of noncompliance matched only by the National Security Agency.

Ken Levit, special counsel to the CIA and the agency's representative on the disclosure act, says 1 million OSS (the agency that preceded the CIA) files remain classified and are currently under review to determine if they are "relevant" enough to disclose. He predicts the CIA will turn over 6,000 pages of OSS files this week and several thousand more in the weeks to come. "The act is a big priority for us," Levit says.

However, Levit could not guarantee that the CIA will turn over a single page of its own files. "There will likely be other [declassification of material], but there it's hard to predict," he says.

In the past, some disclosures have been extremely humiliating, such as the news that America's most notorious Nazi "asset" was Klaus Barbie, an SS man and Gestapo officer recruited by the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Corps (CIC) in 1947. The French, who wanted to try Barbie for such war crimes as sending Jewish children to Auschwitz and ordering the murder of resistance leader Jean Moulin, learned that he was being sheltered by the CIC. When Paris demanded that he be turned over, the U.S. Army helped Barbie flee to South America on a clandestine "ratline." (In 1983, the Bolivian government extradited Barbie to France, where he was convicted of crimes against humanity and died in prison.)

There was also Reinhard Gehlen, the Gestapo general who oversaw military intelligence programs throughout Eastern Europe for Hitler. Gehlen, who got his start by extracting information from Russian POWs who were systematically starved to death following Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union, surrendered to U.S. troops in 1945. He offered to provide intelligence on Russia in return for light treatment at the hands of the Allies, and was flown to Washington (disguised as an American general) for interrogation and training. In the summer of 1946 -- when the policy of de-Nazification was already being supplanted by one of anti-communism -- he was sent back to Germany to set up the country's new intelligence agency. In "Blowback," Simpson estimates that the United States spent some $200 million and employed at least 4,000 people to construct the Gehlen Org over the next decade.

Simpson says that among the most important CIA files still classified are ones concerning Otto von Bolschwing, who as an SS officer served on Adolf Eichmann's staff and was one of the chief masterminds behind the plan to exterminate the Jews. In 1941, he was the top SS officer in Bucharest, Romania, and instigated a pogrom in the city during which hundreds of people were murdered. Some of those killed were hung on meat hooks at a meat-packing plant, had their throats cut, and then were branded "kosher meat" with red-hot irons.

Von Bolschwing was recruited by U.S. intelligence at the end of the war and assigned to the Gehlen Org. In 1954, the CIA brought him to the United States. Since as a Nazi criminal he was ineligible to reside here, the agency provided the INS with a letter saying it had conducted a full investigation of him and had found no derogatory information. Von Bolschwing was discovered to be living in California in the 1970s, prompting Justice Department proceedings to deport him. In the end, he was stripped of his citizenship but allowed to remain in the country due to his age and the fact that he was suffering from a degenerative brain disease. He died in a California nursing home.

The CIA has always claimed, quite implausibly, that it didn't know von Bolschwing was a war criminal. But so far it has given no sign that it will turn over his file.

Maier's research offers other hints at information still hidden in agencies' files. Consider what he discovered about SS officer Otto "Scarface" Skorzeny, one of Hitler's most rabid followers and a man whose files should certainly be released under the NWCDA. In 1943, Skorzeny led a commando raid that rescued Benito Mussolini from an Allied prison. The following year, he kidnapped Hungarian Regent Mikl�s Horthy, who was planning to sign a peace agreement with the Russians. Such exploits led the Allied press to dub Skorzeny "the most dangerous man in Europe."

In 1948, Skorzeny escaped from an American POW camp. He moved to Spain and became intimately involved in postwar neo-Nazi movements, and is suspected of involvement in the disposition of looted assets. According to several published accounts, including one by former U.S. intelligence agent Miles Copeland, Skorzeny, who died in 1975, helped the CIA train the Egyptian security services in the 1950s.

Other than a few bland pages from the Treasury Department, government agencies have turned over nothing on Skorzeny under the NWCDA. Meanwhile, Maier has uncovered a 1951 Air Force memo that details a meeting in Spain that year between Skorzeny and an unnamed American intelligence agent. The meeting occurred while Skorzeny was a fugitive on a U.S. arrest warrant, and hunted by German authorities for possible prosecution on war crimes charges.

The U.S. agent was clearly on good terms with Skorzeny -- "Customary greeting is not unlike being welcomed by a huge bear or engulfed by a Saint Bernard dog," reads his account. The agent seems to have been no fan, though, of Scarface's wife, Countess Ilsa von Finkelstein. During the conversation, Skorzeny complained that the U.S. Treasury had frozen the profits from the sale of his war memoirs. Reads the memo: "Commenting on this particular point, his wife displayed her rare appearing sense of humor: 'Good God, do you realize that by our money going to the U.S. Treasury, Rolf [Skorzeny's alias] is actually paying for re-arming the French!'"

The memo contains repeated references to Skorzeny's desire to aid America in the fight against communism (though he feared "a loss of face in his [Nazi] followers" should he openly collaborate with the U.S.). "His primary interest appears to be to find some kind of position for himself relative to the only trade he knows -- soldiering," the agent reported. "He champions the cause of those nationals of other countries who fought with the German allies against the Russians and who are now held in prison, and plunks for the creation of the nucleus of a German Commando Cadre in Spain about which could be formed a new German army to combat the Russians."

Skorzeny apparently had knowledge of a number of wanted war criminals, including Hans-Ulrich Rudel, Hitler's most decorated airman. Skorzeny indicated to the American agent that he had met with Rudel -- who at the time had found refuge in dictator Juan Peron's Argentina -- on a recent trip to Lisbon, Portugal. Rudel, Skorzeny said, was bitter toward his former enemies "inasmuch as he was tried as a war criminal and convicted, [and] he cannot legally return to Germany." However, Skorzeny reported that Rudel had returned several times to Germany "in the black" and was "anxious to be on the side of the United States if given the opportunity."

The memo closed by saying that the reporting officer "sees Skorzeny frequently and has succeeded in winning his confidence completely, but it is felt that this source has scarcely been scratched when one considers the wealth of information he possesses. Skorzeny will continue to be watched and pertinent information forwarded when available."

The primary disclosures under the NWCDA so far are found in thousands of pages released by the Army concerning the little known Field Intelligence Agency Technical. That agency's goal was to ensure that the Allies received ample payment from Germany for war damages. Since Germany was devastated by war's end, it was clear that such reparations would need to take the form of "ideas, formulae, processes, and know-how� concerning German scientific and industrial technology," as one Army memo put it.

Hence, FIAT investigators scoured Germany looking for anything that might be suitable war compensation.

German scientists themselves were primary targets of FIAT investigators, whose job included finding suitable candidates for a top-secret program called "Overcast." As Simpson reported in "Blowback," the Joint Chiefs of Staff initiated that program in July 1945 to, according to a military memo, "exploit chosen rare minds whose continuing intellectual productivity we wish to use." Overcast evolved into Operation Paperclip, through which the U.S. secretly brought over hundreds of Nazi scientists to work in American military and industrial labs.

All of this was done in the strictest secrecy. A March 1947 military memo I discovered in the documents reads: "Every effort will be made to prevent this operation from being publicized. All communications concerning the movement will refer to the [scientists] as 'German civilians.' No interrogation or interviews by the press or other persons not directly concerned with the movement will be permitted."

Nor did the Army want word of such programs to leak out in Germany. A 1946 memo written by U.S. Brig. Gen. G.K. Gailey said his office "appreciates fully the technical value of Overcast and similar projects. It also appreciates that these scientists can execute the maximum of creative and recreative work when they know that their dependents are comfortable, and their property safeguarded." Nonetheless, Gailey felt it prudent to keep such programs unknown to the general German populace, who might resent perks offered to scientists, such as extra rations and fuel. "The moral effect on the other citizens and the lessening of respect for Military Government and the local German government, as organizations of special privileges, will do much to lessen the value of the instruction of true democracy which we are endeavoring to fost[er]," he wrote.

FIAT investigators screened German scientists, supposedly to ensure that no war criminals were brought to the United States. Instead, Nazi Party members and collaborators had their records cleaned up in order to justify their immigration to America. Paperclip's most famous beneficiary was Wernher von Braun, an SS officer who helped develop the V-2 rockets for Hitler and later went to work for NASA, ultimately rising to the post of deputy assistant director of planning. (Harvard mathematics professor and musician Tom Lehrer satirized von Braun in a song named after him: "Don't say that he's hypocritical," Lehrer sang, "say rather that he's apolitical. 'Once the rockets go up, who cares where they come down? That's not my department,' says Wernher von Braun.")

The case of Paperclip recruit Wilhelm Eitel is discussed in great detail in the FIAT files. Eitel joined the Nazi Party in 1933 and during the war worked at the strategically important Kaiser Wilhelm Institute. FIAT had a wealth of negative material on Eitel, including numerous sworn statements from people who said he had "embraced the cause of Nazism even before the [Nazis] assumed governmental power in Germany."

One person said Eitel was a member of the dreaded "Brown Shirts" and tried to foster Nazi ideas at the institute. Eitel was also said to have worked with Nazi Interior Minister Wilhelm Frick -- who was hanged at Nuremberg -- to fire Jewish scientists at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute in 1933. This was at a time, according to one government memo, when Nazi policies "had not as yet been formulated by law in Germany and when other colleges and universities still attempted to protect their scholars who were persona non grata with the regime." The FIAT records reveal damning personal information on Eitel as well: He sought to flee Berlin at the end of the war with his wife's sister, with whom he was having an affair, prompting his wife to hang herself.

U.S. Army Intelligence initially deemed Eitel to be a "security threat," but it was soon determined that his past should be overlooked due to his "preeminence in his field ... and potential value to possible enemies of the United States." Just as importantly, one FIAT examiner wrote in another memo, Eitel was "most collaborative and anxious to help."

Hence, FIAT orchestrated a whitewash. The agency determined that Eitel was an "ardent Nazi, but by no means a vicious one," and therefore worthy of U.S. sponsorship. "Since Dr. Eitel and his people are without means of support we might have to arrange some way to assist in paying him something or getting food to him," one memo reads. "He is in a very bad way now and if we do not act at once it may be too late." Soon the Army intervened with German occupation authorities to get Eitel off the rock pile where he was required to work one day a week, then set him up translating scientific material, work for which he was generously compensated.

In 1946, FIAT brought Eitel to Tennessee, where he worked in a Navy lab. The government even paid to have a grand piano shipped in for his daughter.

But the FIAT papers have been the highlight of generally uninteresting documents released so far. And the slow pace of compliance has clearly produced some frustration. The IWG has held a series of meetings with the CIA, the FBI and the Army during the last two months, to try to get officials at those agencies to speed up their efforts.

Simpson, for one, says that the ultimate question of compliance with the NWCDA may be settled in the courts or in a political showdown with Congress. And while members of the IWG with whom I spoke are not openly critical of the performance of intelligence agencies (though they also must surely fear alienating them by saying so), one senses they are not entirely satisfied with the record to date.

When asked, Michael Kurtz, chair of the IWG and assistant archivist of the United States, is careful with his words. "A healthy degree of skepticism is warranted," he says. "How much material gets declassified remains to be seen."
salon.com | May 3, 2000


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About the writer
Ken Silverstein is a contributing editor for Harper's magazine. His book "Private Warriors," a look at the post-Cold War arms trade, will be published in May. A grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism helped fund the reporting for this story.
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