“The New York Times” has obtained the full text of a report by the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI) which reveals astonishing facts about how US government agencies and most notably the Central Intelligence Agency created a “safe haven” for Nazis and their collaborators in the US.
The full text contains 600 pages and provides evidence about more than two dozen of the most notorious Nazi cases of the last thirty years.
Among the cases is, for example, the case of Otto Von Bolschwing, a former associate of one of the most notorious Nazi war criminals Adolf Eichmann, who masterminded and personally executed the plan “to purge Germany of the Jews”. Von Bolschwing, it has been revealed, helped Eichmann to develop the plan. After World War II he was granted access to the US and worked for the CIA. The report states that CIA officers were informed of Von Bolschwing’s Nazi past and even debated what should be done if Von Bolschwing were confronted about it — whether to deny any Nazi affiliation or “explain it away on the basis of extenuating circumstances.”
Another revealed case concerns 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. Later, Rudolph was highly honored by NASA and credited as the father of the Saturn V rocket.
The report says that Justice Department investigators found evidence that Rudolph was much more actively involved in exploiting slave laborers at Mittelwerk than he or American intelligence officials had acknowledged.
And cases like this are numerous. The most striking fact is that overtly the US officials have for decades urged other countries to prosecute former Nazi war criminals, but, as it turns out, covertly were using them for various purposes citing the “national interests”. The report reveals that quite a number of Nazis were granted free access to the US and later used for intelligence and other purposes, although government officials were well informed of their past.
“America, which prided itself on being a safe haven for the persecuted, became…a safe haven for persecutors as well,” says the report.
The very fact that such an investigation was conducted by an office under the Justice Department is not surprising. It is hardly any secret that there exists deep mistrust and sharp rivalry between various law enforcement agencies, including the CIA and the Justice Department. Throwing a stone into the other’s domain is only too natural.
But then, why was the report kept secret for four years after it was initially compiled in 2006? And why, when sued by David Sobel, a Washington lawyer, and the National Security Archive under the Freedom of Information Act, the Department did provide Mr. Sobel with only a partial copy with more than 1,000 passages and references deleted based on exemptions for privacy and internal deliberations?
One of the explanations is simple: the report cites several cases when the Justice Department officials were the ones who concealed the facts about the Nazi past of applicants for entry into the US.
But actually, the reason is much deeper. The report clearly shows the level of the overall American (without any distinction between agencies) complicity and deception in such operations.
And this brings us to the most vital question. It is universally acknowledged that the very notion of “human rights” is far above any political or other practical considerations. The US is trying hard to present itself as the leading proponent of human rights in the world. But the “NY Times” revelations show that when it comes to designing a nuclear warhead, or providing substantial intelligence data, or any other issue, much more earthly than the “human rights”, but bearing directly on the “national interests”, the very notion of “human rights” may easily be forgotten. The notorious “double standards” are once again at work.
What implications and consequences the whole case may have for the fate of Barack Obama who pledged to make his administration the most transparent one, is still to be seen. Probably, none – there are still two years to go before the next presidential elections.
But the fact that America’s image has once again been tarnished remains unquestionable.