After four years, the Justice Department finally released a report by the Office of Special Investigations about the secret safe haven US officials gave Nazi criminal scientists–in direct defiance of President Harry Truman’s policy.
The report details the secret government policy, Project Paperclip, which gave Nazi scientists a safe haven in the U.S. as well as high level employment after World War II. While official American policy after the war was to prosecute war criminals for the atrocities committed under Adolf Hitler, many sectors of the U.S. government–in particular, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)–concealed incriminating evidence in order to bring these individuals into the U.S.
The New York Times, which first reported about the OSI report, refrained from touching upon the lasting insidious influence that morally debased Nazi scientists have had on various U.S. officials and public agencies that approved unethical human experiments in America.
Below, we post the entire commentary, Nazis in America, by John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute who focuses on the insidiuous influence the Nazi scientists have exerted on US officials.
The Paperclip masterminds brazenly had the German scientists’ records changed to expunge evidence of war crimes and ardent Nazism and secure permanent immigration status for them in the U.S.
"Many of the 1,600 scientific and research specialists and their dependents brought to America under Project Paperclip had been deeply involved in Nazi society during the war. However, some U.S. officials, determined to recruit these men, sidestepped the problem of their Nazi backgrounds by “cleansing” and re-writing their information files to eliminate incriminating evidence. As a way of identifying the German scientists, American officials put an ordinary paperclip on their personnel files—thus the origin of the operation’s name."
Under Project Paperclip not only rocket scientists were recruited, but convicted war criminals– including doctors who had conducted medical atrocities on concentration camp inmates, such as: experiments with plague vaccines, experiments that force fed chemically altered seawater to starved Dachau concentration camp inmates…
American democratic principles were subverted by officials who adopted the Nazi utilitarian philosophy which posits that the ends justify the means.
"Nazi attitudes toward research on human subjects were imported and adopted by various U.S. officials."
MKULTRA, the notorious CIA mind control experiments with LSD and other chemical agents, were the brainchild of Nazi Paperclip scientists:
"Nazi science that was reminiscent of concentration camp experimentation was used as the basis for research in the US on Americans."
“The Machiavellian attitude behind these operations was born when a World War II ally became a new enemy and the world axis shifted…[but] no matter how necessary intelligence activities may be, they cannot be allowed to operate unchecked, in secrecy and darkness, shielded from the democratic process of accountability. Otherwise, in the end we become our own worst enemy.”
Vera Hassner Sharav
Nazis in America
By John W. Whitehead
December 28, 2010
“All men having power ought to be distrusted to a certain degree.”—James Madison
After a lawsuit and pressure from private interest groups, the Justice Department finally released a 617-page report detailing how the American government not only welcomed but employed Nazis after World War II. Although this might appear to be ancient history, this report is perhaps more relevant to our age than it might seem. After all, if our benevolent government leaders—part of the so-called “greatest generation”—brought Nazis home to roost back then and enlisted them in subjecting Americans to all manner of experiments, what are they capable of doing to us now?
Take Project Paperclip, for example. Few have heard of it because the U.S. government has successfully concealed most of the facts surrounding the project. The government has passed it off as a short-term operation limited to an innocent investigation of Germany’s scientists after World War II. In reality, Project Paperclip was the largest and longest-running operation involving Nazis in the history of the United States, and its effects are still being felt today.
At the close of World War II, U.S. officials and the Allied countries discovered that Germany had achieved a technological superiority far beyond what they had imagined. In Nazi Germany, 20,000 scientists had revolutionized the weapons of war, and reports written by Allied investigators described the Germans’ “astonishing achievement” and “superb inventions.” In order to learn about the new German technology and weaponry, Russia, France, Great Britain and the United States began transporting German experts to their respective countries for interrogation. The Cold War was just beginning, and U.S. officials were determined to use any means necessary to keep the scientists responsible for Germany’s scientific supremacy out of Russian hands. At the same time, they aimed to acquire a technological lead against Russia. Thus, the United States began recruiting Nazi scientists.
In 1945, President Harry S. Truman authorized Project Paperclip, a program designed to bring selected German scientists to work for the United States during the Cold War. However, Truman expressly forbade 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.” The War Department’s Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency (JIOA) was to conduct background investigations of the scientists, to be approved by the State Department.
Against Truman’s orders, however, the JIOA, Army intelligence and the CIA concealed incriminating information about the Germans they were hiring. Many of the 1,600 scientific and research specialists and their dependents brought to America under Project Paperclip had been deeply involved in Nazi society during the war. However, some U.S. officials, determined to recruit these men, sidestepped the problem of their Nazi backgrounds by “cleansing” and re-writing their information files to eliminate incriminating evidence. As a way of identifying the German scientists, American officials put an ordinary paperclip on their personnel files—thus the origin of the operation’s name.
While official American policy after the war was to prosecute war criminals for the atrocities committed under Adolf Hitler, many sectors of the U.S. government concealed incriminating evidence in order to bring these individuals into the U.S.
For example, Wernher von Braun was described in early security evaluations as “a serious potential security threat.” He had been a member of the SS and risen to the rank of major under Hitler. From 1937 to 1945, he was the technical director of the Peenemunde rocket research center in Germany, where the V-2 rocket was developed. When von Braun was brought to the United States in 1948, his file was re-written: “No derogatory information is available on the subject. He does not constitute a security threat to the United States.” Von Braun worked on guided missiles for the U.S. Army and later became director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. In 1970, he became NASA’s associate administrator.
Arthur Rudolf was operations director of the Mittelwerk factory at the Dora-Nordhausen concentration camps, where, according to Tom Bower in The Paperclip Conspiracy, 20,000 workers died from beatings, hangings and starvation. A member of the Nazi Party since 1931, Rudolf’s 1945 security evaluation read: “100% Nazi, dangerous type, security threat.” However, when the JIOA took an interest in Rudolf’s scientific work, it changed his dossier to read: “Nothing in his records indicating that he was a war criminal or an ardent Nazi.” As a result, Rudolf became a U.S. citizen. He later designed the Saturn 5 rocket used in the Apollo moon landing and received NASA’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Medal. He remained in the United States until 1984, when an investigation of his war record finally began and he fled to Germany.
Kurt Blome, a high-ranking Nazi scientist, told U.S. interrogators in 1945 that he had experimented with plague vaccines on concentration camp prisoners. He was tried in the Nuremberg War Trials—but acquitted—on charges of extermination of sick prisoners and conducting experiments on humans. Only two months after the trial, he was interviewed at Camp David, Md., about his scientific expertise. His file showed no record of his Nuremberg trial. Blome was hired by the U.S. Army Chemical Corps to work on chemical and biological warfare.
Hermann Becker-Freyseng was convicted at Nuremberg and sentenced to 20 years in prison for conducting experiments on Dachau concentration camp inmates, including starving them and force-feeding them chemically altered seawater. Before the trial, however, he was paid by the Army Air Force to write reports about his inhumane experiments.
Georg Rikhey worked for the JIOA at Wright Field from 1946 until his arrest a year later for Nazi war crimes. During the war, Rikhey headed the slave labor factory Mittelwerk at the Dora concentration camps. Among other atrocities, there are reports that Rikhey had numerous slave laborers hung from a crane to die slowly in public view. During his time in the United States, Rikhey’s job was to translate 42 boxes of Mittelwerk documents shipped from Normandy—the very documents a U.S. Army war crimes unit sought to use as evidence of Rikhey’s own crimes.
Defenders of Project Paperclip cite achievements such as the moon rockets and jet planes as positive products of postwar research in our country. But what Paperclip’s defenders fail to mention is the shockingly inhumane psychochemical experimentation conducted on over 7,000 U.S. soldiers under the project.
Edgewood Arsenal, located near Baltimore, Md., is the most secret military base in the country. Paperclip scientists worked there between 1947 and 1966 conducting experiments on American citizens. Initially, their main efforts were to test the poison gases that had been invented by the Nazis during the war. Soon, the testing turned to LSD and other mind-control agents. Nazi science that was reminiscent of concentration camp experimentation was used as the basis for research in the United States on Americans.
MKULTRA, for example, is the name of the mind control experiments conducted on U.S. soldiers under Project Paperclip. Reviewing the experiments in the late 1950s, one CIA auditor wrote of them: “Precautions must be taken not only to protect operations from exposure to enemy forces but also to conceal these activities from the American public in general. The knowledge that the agency is engaging in unethical and illicit activities would have serious repercussions.”
Master Sergeant James Stanley, for one, remembers being locked in an isolated room with barred windows, padded walls and furniture bolted to the floor. A doctor instructed him to drink a glass of clear liquid containing LSD, telling him it was water. An hour later, Stanley’s head filled with terrifying visions and he became violently ill.
In 1992, the highly respected physician Dr. D.C. Hammond gave a lecture at the Conference on Abuse and Multiple Personality. In his discussion of horrifying brainwashing methods being used in the same way all over the country, he notes its beginning:
Here’s where it appears to have come from. At the end of World War II, before it even ended, Allen Dulles and people from our Intelligence Community were already in Switzerland making contact to get out Nazi scientists. As World War II ends, they not only get out rocket scientists, but they also get out some Nazi doctors who have been doing mind-control research in the camps. They brought them to the United States.
The recruitment of the men responsible for atrocities committed under Hitler to fight the Cold War resulted in serious breaches of U.S. security, as well as extremely inhumane treatment of American soldiers, similar to that of concentration camp prisoners. On the security level, as Linda Hunt writes in Secret Agenda:
In direct defiance of President Truman’s policy, the Paperclip masterminds brazenly had the German scientists’ records changed to expunge evidence of war crimes and ardent Nazism and secure permanent immigration status for them in the U.S.
Ostensibly that was done in the interest of national security. Once here, however, the scientists were given access to classified information that revealed the inner-most workings of our defense system. As a result, it was not long before the very people brought here to ensure our security had themselves become a security risk. Eventually some of the scientists took advantage of security lapses and left the country with classified material. German specialist Heinz Gartmann, for example, left Wright Field air base with turbojet rocket engine blueprints in his hand luggage. The full extent of the damage from incidents like that is still unknown.
Even worse, on a moral level, Nazis went unpunished and federal law was violated. Worst of all, as Linda Hunt has documented, Nazi attitudes toward research on human subjects were imported and adopted by various U.S. officials. “The Machiavellian attitude behind these operations was born when a World War II ally became a new enemy and the world axis shifted…[but] no matter how necessary intelligence activities may be, they cannot be allowed to operate unchecked, in secrecy and darkness, shielded from the democratic process of accountability. Otherwise, in the end we become our own worst enemy.”
Please visit www.rutherford.org/OnTarget to view
Whitehead’s weekly video commentaries.
THE NEW YORK TIMES
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 Adolf 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.”
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: November 14, 2010
An earlier version misspelled the given name of Adolf Eichmann as Adolph.