Adventures in Geopolitical Ethics

Yet another example of the old adage in American foreign policy, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend if there are commies at the door."

Adolf Eichmann, Germany 1940. Photo from United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Photo Archives.

Adolph Eichmann, a.k.a. "Clemens"

CNN's The Situation Room reported on Tuesday, before the Mossad nabbed Eichmann, the CIA knew he lived in Argentina, had an alias, "Clemens" (really close to the real alias at the time of the Israeli operation  “Clement”) and this information was passed to the CIA in 1958 by West German Chancellor Adenauer. One reason for West German and American inaction in the face of knowledge of Eichmann's whereabouts as reported by CNN and Reuters, was "that the West German government had allegedly not wanted to see Eichmann captured because they feared what he might say about Chancellor Konrad Adenauer's national security adviser, Hans Globke."  Hans Globke is widely believed to be one of the chief architects of the Nuremberg Race-Laws. 

This issue is so big and yet so banal as evidenced by the  CIA documents (PDF).  Notice the typographical error in the nearly 50 year old document, where Eichmann's birthplace is said to be Israel.  Oh, does this cry out for a serious semiotic analysis. 

Consortiumnews.com had already reported in 2001 on this sordid affair:

Pried loose by Congress, which passed the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act three years ago, a long-hidden trove of once-classified CIA documents confirms one of the worst-kept secrets of the Cold War – the CIA's use of an extensive Nazi spy network to wage a clandestine campaign against the Soviet Union.The CIA reports show that U.S. officials knew they were subsidizing numerous Third Reich veterans who had committed horrible crimes against humanity, but these atrocities were overlooked as the anti-Communist crusade acquired its own momentum. For Nazis who would otherwise have been charged with war crimes, signing on with American intelligence enabled them to avoid a prison term.

"The real winners of the Cold War were Nazi war criminals, many of whom were able to escape justice because the East and West became so rapidly focused after the war on challenging each other," says Eli Rosenbaum, director of the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations and America's chief Nazi hunter…

The key figure on the German side of the CIA-Nazi tryst was General Reinhard Gehlen, who had served as Adolf Hitler's top anti-Soviet spy. During World War II, Gehlen oversaw all German military-intelligence operations in Eastern Europe and the USSR.

As the war drew to a close, Gehlen surmised that the U.S.-Soviet alliance would soon break down. Realizing that the United States did not have a viable cloak-and-dagger apparatus in Eastern Europe, Gehlen surrendered to the Americans and pitched himself as someone who could make a vital contribution to the forthcoming struggle against the Communists…

Based near Munich, Gehlen proceeded to enlist thousands of Gestapo, Wehrmacht, and SS veterans.

Even the vilest of the vile – the senior bureaucrats who ran the central administrative apparatus of the Holocaust – were welcome in the "Gehlen Org," as it was called, including Alois Brunner, Adolf Eichmann's chief deputy. SS major Emil Augsburg and gestapo captain Klaus Barbie, otherwise known as the "Butcher of Lyon," were among those whodid double duty for Gehlen and U.S. intelligence."It seems that in the Gehlen headquarters one SS man paved the way for the next and Himmler's elite were having happy reunion ceremonies," the Frankfurter Rundschau reported in the early 1950s.

As revealed Wednesday, even Eichmann was worth hiding to hold back the red storm.

In the words of CIA Russia expert Harry Rositzke, "We knew what we did. It was absolutely necessary that we used every son of a bitch as long as he was an anti-communist."

After a more complete picture of this affair comes to the fore and other similar CIA trists are revealed, the question for those of us living in the Al Qaeda age is, "Which sons of bitches are worth recruiting to stem the tide of…?"

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One comment on “Adventures in Geopolitical Ethics

  1. You can never trust anti-Commies. Despite all the harm done by show trials and gulag wastelands, the McCarthyites are still conflating the mission to marketize with the fight against boogeymen. An addendum to your question: “who are the next Nazis in the fight against al Qaeda?” would go something like this:

    Which organization can we attack next (ACLU, People for the American Way, PETA, NOW, the Rainbow Coalition, et al) to deflect attention from operational failures in Iraq? Immigrants or gays to boost approval ratings? A terror alert or the elusive secret cell?

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