Thursday, June 15, 2006

Why CIA kept shtum about Eichmann

EICHMANN in Argentina.
ALLEN DULLES in quandary?

ISRAELI politician Menachem Begin, the former Irgun Zvai Leumi terrorist commander who went on to become prime minister and launch the 1982 Lebanon war as well as picking up a Nobel peace prize, was involved in a 1952 bomb plot against West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, according to a story in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The bomb was detected, but killed a disposal expert and injured two colleagues. French police arrested five Irgun members in Paris. Both Israel and West Germany played down the affair.

Elieser Sudit, who was one of the conspirators, claims "The intent was not to hit Adenauer but to rouse the international media.",,1797768,00.html

Begin and his right-wing party were opposed to the German Reparations agreement under which West Germany paid compensation for Nazi war crimes against Jews to the Israeli government. There were big emotional demonstrations in Tel Aviv against acceptance of this 'blood money', protests which temporarily seemed to unite Right and Left, though as Sudit makes clear, the motives were not the same. "We thought the Germans should pay directly to the survivors of the Holocaust and that the government of Israel should not take the money from them in the name of the Jewish people and buy tractors with it for the kibbutzim".

Begin's Herut(Freedom) party was not just nationalist, but dedicated to private capital, and bitterly opposed to the then dominant labour co-operative economy linked with Zionist institutions and protected by Ben Gurion's Labour government.

But the German Reparations agreement was backed by the United States, which underwrote this form of aid to the Israeli state so as to ease West Germany's acceptance as a business partner and ally, sapping opposition to German rearmament and membership of NATO. At this stage Begin's brand of nationalism, like his party's attachment to private capital, was just a petty-bourgeois nuisance.

It is quite probable that Israeli security services got wind of the plot against Adenauer and thwarted it, just as they later tipped off the French authorities about a scheme to help the liberation fighters in Algeria. The bomb plot story follows disclosures about another aspect of US-German Cold War collaboration.

IT'S probably not much of a surprise, but the US intelligence services knew where Adolf Eichmann was hiding all the time that the hunt was supposed to be on to find him.

The revelations came in 27,000 pages of material released in the United States by the Nazi War Crimes and Japanese Imperial Government Records Interagency Working Group (IWG), including biographies, correspondence, reports, memorandums, messages, telegrams and other records that were kept from public view for decades..

The information on Eichmann came in a memo to the CIA from their allies in the West German Federal Intelligence Service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND). This was a direct successor to the so-called Gehlen Org, the US-backed spy organisation run by Reinhardt Gehlen and largely staffed by his former Nazi colleagues.

"The March, 1958 memo from the West German Intelligence to the CIA that confirmed Eichmann’s alias and his whereabouts in Argentina confirms what Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal had already discovered from his own sources and forwarded to Israel and West Germany in the early ‘50s," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.

"This shocking memo also confirms what Mr. Wiesenthal often said: ‘When the Cold War finally ends and history will ask who won, the answer will be neither the West nor the East but the Nazis.’ "

"Prosecuting former Nazis "was of no interest to U.S. officials at the height of the Cold War," said Neil Sher of the US Justice department's Office of Special Investigations. "Eichmann was then hiding in Argentina; he had absolutely no value to the United States. It’s just a callousness in not disclosing it." It was also a function of the government’s determination not to reveal its extensive use of former Nazis in intelligence activities, he said.

Critics of the policy of using former Nazis say they often provided little useful information, rather using their position to pursue their own interests, and settle scores. Sometimes they were vulnerable to blackmail, or turning, by the Soviet Union.

Heinz Felfe, a former SS officer said to be bitter over the Allied firebombing of his native Dresden rose in the Gehlen Organization to oversee counter-intelligence, before he was uncovered as a KGB agent.
A newly-released 1963 C.I.A. damage assessment, written after Felfe was arrested in 1961, found that he had exposed "over 100 C.I.A. staffers" and caused many eavesdropping operations to end with "complete failure or a worthless product."

But the Nazi officers who found new positions in various countries, often with the help of the CIA, did not only provide a spying network that the Americans and more directly, the BND could turn to. They put some of their old techniques to use, whether torturing communists in Egypt or murdering dissidents in Chile (Walter Rauff, the SS officer who devised the mobile gas chambers used on the Eastern Front, became an adviser to General Pinochet) .

As head of the Gestapo's Jewish affairs office, Eichmann organised the deportations and extermination of European Jews, making sure the trains ran to the camps. Captured by US forces at the end of the war, he gave a false name and went unrecognized, hiding in Germany and Italy before fleeing to Argentina in 1950.

According to Timothy Naftali, of the University of Virginia, Israeli agents hunting for Eichmann came to suspect that he was in Argentina but did not know his alias. They temporarily abandoned their search around the time, in March 1958, that the BND told the CIA that Eichmann had been living in Argentina as Clemens, said Mr. Naftali, of the University of Virginia.

The West German government was wary of exposing Eichmann because officials feared what he might reveal about figures like Hans Globke, a former Nazi government official then serving as a top national security adviser to Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, Mr. Naftali said.

In 1960, also at the request of the West German authorities, the C.I.A. persuaded Life magazine, which had purchased Eichmann's memoir from his family, to delete a reference to Globke before publication, the documents show.

Dr.Hans Maria Globke was responsible for drafting the infamous Nuremburg Race Laws which as Eichmann said, were "the basis for the Final Solution". Escaping prosecution to become Adenauer's attorney general, he helped many old Nazi cronies back into top jobs in the Federal Republic.

Ironically, in view of the information the C.I.A. received in 1958, documents previously released by the C.I.A. showed that it was surprised in May 1960 when the Israelis captured Eichmann. Cables from the time show that Allen Dulles, the C.I.A. director, demanded that officers find out more about the capture.

The documents also provide new information about the case of Tscherim Soobzokov, a former SS officer who was the subject of a much-publicized deportation case in 1979 when he was living as an American citizen in Paterson, New Jersey. He was charged with having falsified his immigration application to conceal his SS service, which ordinarily would have barred his entry. But the charge was dropped when a CIA. document turned up showing that he had disclosed his SS membership.

The newly declassified records show that he was employed by the C.I.A. from 1952 to 1959 despite "clear evidence of a war crimes record," said historian Richard Breitman of American University. Because it valued Soobzokov for his language skills and ties to fellow ethnic Circassians living in the Soviet Union, the C.I.A. deliberately hid details of his Nazi record from the Immigration and Naturalization Service after he moved to the United States in 1955. But Soobzokov ultimately did not escape his past. He died in 1985 after a pipe bomb exploded outside his house. The case has never been solved.

(C.I.A. Knew Where Eichmann Was Hiding, Documents Show
By SCOTT SHANE, New York Times, June 7)

Paragraphs in bold above are my own.

After Eichmann's trial, the Israeli government lost interest in pursuing Nazis. Even the campaign against German scientists in Egypt was called off, and the Mossad chief replaced, as better relations with West Germany extended to collaboration with the BND, including a deal with ex-Nazi Otto Skorzeny.

In Latin America, Mossad and the ex-Nazi networks found themselves on the same side, at least for a time. This probably explains the lack of interest in pursuing Klaus Barbie, the "Butcher of Lyons", who became an adviser to a right-wing Bolivian military regime.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office also sat on documents in its possession concerning Barbie. We may wonder how much the British "secret state" knew about Eichmann too.

  • Lastly, a word about Allen Dulles, who headed the CIA from 1953-1961. A former director of the Schroeder Bank, he and his brother John Foster Dulles were partners in Sullivan and Cromwell, a Wall Street law firm whose clients included IG Farben. John Foster Dulles, Eisenhower's Secretary of State notorious for Cold War brinkmanship, had been a director of the German combine's US subsidiary GAF.
  • As well as handling the CIA's relations with post-war Nazis, Allen Dulles initiated its coup plots in countries like Guatemala and Iran against governments which tried to free their people from the rule of American Big-Business.
  • Dulles was sacked by President Kennedy in 1961, it's said after his plots against Cuba included a plan to stage incidents in the United States for which the Castro regime would be blamed, in order to prepare the American public for war.
  • After Kennedy was assassinated, Allen Dulles sat on the Warren Commission which many people regard as having suppressed rather than investigating what was known. He sat on what he knew about the CIA-Mafia links in anti-Cuban conspiracies.

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