In what constitutes a corporate media “scoop,” the New York Times recently reported on how “newly disclosed records and interviews” broke [sic] this story: “In the decades after World War II, the CIA and other United States agencies employed at least a thousand Nazis as Cold War spies and informants and, as recently as the 1990s, concealed the government’s ties to some still living in America.”
Such is life in a corporate propaganda state…
The Nazi-CIA connection is ancient news but is finally getting play some seven decades later when it’s safe to file it under “Mistakes, well-intentioned.”
Here’s my “scoop”: The Nazi-CIA connection should be filed under “Policy, standard operating.” Please read on for a much-needed history lesson…
“Reinhard the Fox”
“I am a general and chief of the intelligence department of the High Command of the German Army. I have information of the highest importance for your Supreme Commander and the American government, and I must be taken immediately to your senior commander.”
It was with these words that General Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s notorious eastern front espionage chief, began his relationship with the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and the budding US intelligence community. As the OSS was transformed into the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), yet another of many dark alliances emerged.
After surrendering on May 22, 1945, Gehlen, or “Reinhard the Fox,” was eventually interviewed by OSS founders “Wild” Bill Donovan and Allen Dulles after flying to Washington in the uniform of a US general. According to his biographer, Leonard Mosley, Dulles recommended that the Nazi super spy be given a budget of $3,500,000 and “set up in business as the supplier of Russian and east European intelligence.”
But the shrewd Gehlen had some conditions:
1 His organization would not be regarded as part of the American intelligence services but as an autonomous apparatus under his exclusive management. Liaison with American intelligence would be maintained by a US officer whose selection Gehlen would approve.
2 The Gehlen Organization would be used solely to procure intelligence on the Soviet Union and the satellite countries of the communist bloc.
3 Upon the establishment of a German government, the organization would be transferred to it and all previous agreements and arrangements canceled, subject to discussions between the new sovereign authority and the United States.
4 Nothing detrimental or contrary to German interests must be required or expected from the organization, nor must it be called upon for security activities against Germans in West Germany.
Considering that Gehlen was essentially a prisoner of war who could have been brought up on war crimes, these demands were remarkable. Even more remarkable, at first blush, is the fact that the US complied. However, when viewed through the prism of the rapidly escalating Cold War, a Nazi-CIA alliance becomes rather predictable.
With German defeat imminent, Gehlen instructed several members of his staff to begin microfilming intelligence on the USSR beginning in March 1945. After secretly burying this material throughout the Austrian Alps, Gehlen and his men sought a deal.
Upon his surrender, Gehlen was taken to Fort Hunt, Virginia, where he convinced his US counterparts that the Soviets were planning a westward expansion. Before the end of 1945, Gehlen and most of his high command were freed from POW camps and ready to supply what rabid American cold warriors were dying to hear.
“There are few archbishops in espionage”
“By way of the torture, interrogation, and mass starvation of the 4 million-plus Soviet POWs at his disposal, Gehlen procured the information that would save him and some of his Third Reich cohorts from the gallows. He and his staff eventually became known as “the Gehlen Org,” which was funded by the United States until a new German government came to power.
For nearly a full decade, the Gehlen Org was essentially the CIA’s singular source for Eastern European intelligence. The fruits of this relationship manifested themselves in a deadly Cold War and, true to his job experiences in the war-torn Soviet Union, Reinhard the Fox did whatever it took to stay in business.
“Gehlen had to make his money by creating a threat that we were afraid of, so we would give him more money to tell us about it,” explains Victor Marchetti, formerly the CIA’s chief analyst of Soviet strategic war plans and capabilities.
When Allen Dulles became CIA Director in 1953, (brother John was already Eisenhower’s Secretary of State by that time), his response to the claim that Gehlen, a known Nazi war criminal, was purposely intensifying the Cold War and influencing American public opinion was: “I don’t know if he’s a rascal. There are few archbishops in espionage … Besides, one needn’t ask him to one’s club.”
Other salaried US recruits from the pool of available murderers included:
Hermann Lauterbacher, former deputy leader of the Hitler Youth.
Franz Buensch, a propagandist who worked for Goebbels and authored the pornographic book, The Sexual Habits of Jews.
SS Obersturmführer Hans Sommer, widely known for setting fire to seven Paris synagogues in October 1941.
Adolf Eichmann’s chief aide, Alois Brunner (a.k.a. “Georg Fischer”). Said to be responsible for 128,500 murders, Brunner was sentenced to death (in absentia) by the French government for crimes against humanity. He was known for his lack of compassion for Jewish children, labeling them “future terrorists” who must be murdered.
SS officer Baron Otto von Bolschwing, a senior aide to the notorious Adolf Eichmann, who assisted in drawing up the SS’s “first comprehensive program for the systematic robbery of Europe’s Jews.” Under orders from von Bolschwing, some of the many Jewish victims in a 1941 Bucharest pogrom were butchered in a meat packing plant, hung on hooks, and literally branded as “kosher meat,” while others — including a five-year-old girl — were skinned alive and left hanging by their feet like slaughtered livestock. Von Bolschwing himself stated that in 1945, “he volunteered his services to the Army CIC, which used him for interrogation and recruitment of other former Nazi intelligence officers” — an offer the US readily accepted.
SS Obersturmführer Robert Verbelen, who had once been sentenced to death in absentia for war crimes, including the torture of two US Air Force pilots. After the war, he served in Vienna as a contract spy for the US Army, which was completely aware of his background.
Dr. Kurt Blome, who admitted in 1945 that he had been a leader of Nazi biological warfare research, a program known to have included experimentation on prisoners in concentration camps. In 1947, he was acquitted of crimes against humanity and then hired by the US Army Chemical Corps to conduct a new round of biological weapons research.
Blome’s colleague, Dr. Arthur Rudolph, who was accused in sworn testimony at Nuremberg of committing atrocities at the Nazis’ underground rocket works near Nordhausen but was later given US citizenship and a major role in the US missile program.
The enemy of my enemy is my friend
Finally, there was General Walter Dornberger, who was never indicted nor tried for war crimes, but was brought over to this country by the US Air Force in 1947 for his expertise in rocketry and missile technology.
What the Air Force and Corporate America chose to ignore is the fact that much of Dornberger’s research at the underground Nazi factory near Nordhausen was carried out with help of slave labor from the nearby Dora concentration camp. At least 20,000 prisoners were killed in the course of Dornberger’s project.
While it may be pointed out that Dornberger did not directly control the slaves used to do his work, he did set the schedule that eventually worked them to death. Even after food ran out for the slave laborers in early 1945, Dornberger, who had visited the Nordhausen factory on many occasions and was familiar with the goings-on there, never slowed down his work orders.
Despite all this, once he was safely in Cold War-crazed America, the valuable Herr Dornberger rose to the level of senior vice-president in the Bell Aerosystems Division of Textron Corporation and died a well-respected anti-communist in 1980.
“We are not Boy Scouts”
How does the CIA justify its post-Good [sic] War activities — some of which involved working side-by-side with mass murderers in order to raise the stakes in an already pernicious Cold War?
“We are not Boy Scouts,” explained agency director Richard Helms in the late 1960s.
Never forget, comrades: This is what we’re up against…
Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this Book: Mickey Z. on Activism. Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, he can be found on the Web here. Anyone wishing to support his activist efforts can do so by making a donation here.