[Posted 23 December 2003]
Moreover, Gehlen brought numerous SS and Gestapo figures into the Gehlen Org, as his part of the US intelligence apparatus was known. US intelligence officials were required under the terms of the Nuremberg Tribunal to arrest these men. Given that US intelligence officials would inevitably discover whom he was recruiting, Gehlen would not have dared to involve SS and Gestapo officers without US approval. [2B] Did USSR intelligence know about the Gehlen Org? Of course they knew. They knew that the US was basing its foreign operations on the extensive apparatus of war criminals responsible for the deaths of millions in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and the Balkans. For the Soviets, this was proof positive that the US meant to overthrow the Soviet regime and replace it with people who had sided with the Nazis during World War II.
Thus the creation of the Gehlen Org constituted the most extreme provocation, helping guarantee the climate of intense hostility which came to be called the ‘Cold War.’ This is the exact opposite of the IWG claim that the recruitment of Nazis was a practical (if regrettable) *response* to the Cold War. c) Third, the comment that “some [of Gehlen’s men] may have been war criminals” is simply shocking. The Law under which the IWG was formed is “The Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act.” Note the use of the term “war crimes.” As we shall see, one does not need to read the declassified documents to know that Gehlen’s Org was composed of the worst war criminals. And I shall show that the US intelligence officials who recruited Gehlen and company had to know with whom they were dealing. The statement that Gehlen's men "may have been war criminals" clearly indicates that the IWG is trying to cover up what happened: that the US knowingly reconstructed the Nazi war criminal machine. 4) The IWG's statement that the CIA “continued the relationship until 1956” is a bad joke.
Reading it, one might get the impression that the CIA broke with Gehlen and company in 1956, but that is not true. In 1956 the US intelligence group known as Gehlen’s Org became the BND, the Western German equivalent of the CIA. [2C] And it was run by Reinhard Gehlen. " Thus, the US reinstated in Germany the apparatus that had planned and carried out Nazi foreign operations during the World War." These men had vast experience of war and racist mass murder and they had the knowledge that the US was sponsoring them. When the BND, for example, conspired with Croatian fascists in the late 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, the people doing the conspiring were the same Nazis who had butchered Yugoslavia during World War II.
Let me note, for the record, that this re-creation of the Nazi foreign operations apparatus was an outrageous betrayal of the hundreds of thousands of US and Allied troops who fought and died believing they were ridding the world of the horror of Nazism. US and then German covert operations - obviously the most critical expression of the foreign policy of any country - were built out of the criminal Nazi apparatus. This information is staggering. But what is just a staggering is that *ordinary people have no idea that these damning records have been released.*
I have been reading media coverage of the release of the Gehlen documents and two things are striking: there is very little coverage, and what does exist is a whitewash. Consider for example an article that appeared in the 'alternative' newspaper, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, entitled “The CIA’s Worst Kept Secret."  In this article the author, Martin Lee, portrays the creation of the CIA via the recruitment of thousands of Nazis as a ‘mistake’. But how could such a mistake be made? According to Lee, the US spymasters were fooled by Gehlen and/or didn’t ask too many question because they preferred not to know the answers. From April 1, 1942 on, Gehlen was head of the so-called ‘Foreign Armies East,’ the infamous intelligence service of the Nazi Army within the Soviet Union. Martin does state that before the war ended, Gehlen arranged with the U.S. that the Americans would adopt his entire staff.
One of the US officers with whom Gehlen met was General Edwin L. Sibert, chief of military intelligence in the American zone in Germany. Another was Allen Dulles, a top official at the OSS, predecessor of the CIA. During the latter half of the war, Dulles ran the OSS station in Berne, Switzerland, conducting espionage operations in Nazi Germany. In the 1950s he was director of the CIA. According to Lee, Gehlen fooled Dulles:  “Although the Yalta Treaty stipulated that the United States must give the Soviets all captured German officers who had been involved in ‘eastern area activities,’ Gehlen was quickly spirited off to Fort Hunt, Va. The image he projected during 10 months of negotiations at Fort Hunt was, to use a bit of espionage parlance, a ‘legend’ - one that hinged on Gehlen’s false claim that he was never really a Nazi, but was dedicated, above all, to fighting Communism.
Those who bit the bait included future CIA director Allen Dulles, who became Gehlen’s biggest supporter among American policy wonks.” In support of this thesis, Lee quotes Richard Breitman, an historical consultant and the main public voice of the IWG: “‘It was a horrendous mistake, morally, politically, and also in very pragmatic intelligence terms,’ says American University professor Richard Breitman, chairman of the IWG review panel.” But did General Sibert make a “horrendous mistake”? Was spymaster Allen Dulles fooled? Is it possible that American spies who spent the war fighting German intelligence did not know what Gehlen and his Foreign Armies East had done in conquered Russia? Doesn’t this look like an attempt to minimize the impact of the CIA-Nazi documents? This way of writing guarantees that the small amount of information that reaches the public concerning the Nazi origins of the CIA is framed so as to suggest that it was all a blunder. But how could US officials use Nazi war criminals 'by mistake'?
These people were responsible for the worst crimes in the Soviet Union, Eastern Europe, and the Balkans, slaughtering millions of Jews, Serbs, Roma ('Gypsies') and others. How could such well-known monsters be recruited as the building blocks of US foreign operations 'by mistake'? By reconstructing the Nazi apparatus, the US Establishment put a Nazi stamp on US foreign policy, spat in the face of the victims of the Holocaust, guaranteed maximum hostility in the USSR, and had a major impact on domestic US politics as well. Such a huge effort, with such far-reaching implications, carried out with painstaking attention to detail, cannot have been a blunder.
Mr. Lee writes that: '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.' 
[My emphasis] But Gehlen's boys were not just spies. As we shall see, they were the worst war criminals of the century.
According to Lee, Gehlen fooled US spymaster Allen Dulles into believing he had never been a ‘sincere’ Nazi. But what is a Nazi? It is common in the US these days to use ‘Nazi’ to describe someone who is mean or repressive. Sometimes the word is even used to describe a harsh comic figure, as in Seinfeld’s ‘Soup Nazi.’ But the Nazis were not just brutal. The central feature of Nazism, which attracted supporters from Cairo to New York, was fanatical racism, especially towards Jews. That racism derived false intellectual justification from the pseudo-science of Eugenics, which originated in Britain and gained prominence in the US in the first half of the century, and was adopted by Hitler’s Nazis. Eugenics posits the existence of supposedly inferior, imagined “races”. Coincidentally, these groups coincide with existing objects of bigotry - Black people, Jews, Slavs, American Indians, Mexican Americans, ‘Gypsies’ and so on. According to Eugenics, these groups, and also people with physical or mental disabilities or whose behavior is considered anti-social, must (according to Eugenics) be eliminated from the gene pool, one way or another.
In this way, a Master Race is to be created. Eugenics was financed by pillars of the US Establishment, such as the Rockefeller and Carnegie Institutes and the Ford Foundation. Eugenics was endorsed by the US State Department and the Supreme Court. The Nazis took to eugenics like ducks to water. During World War II, the Nazis incorporated Eugenics in all their military plans. The Nazi troops had been indoctrinated with the idea that it was necessary to kill off these "inferior specimens" in order to save first Germany and then humanity. Starting in April 1942, Reinhard Gehlen was in charge of the Nazi military intelligence organization in the Soviet Union, Foreign Armies East. What did the Nazis do in the vast areas they conquered? This part of the USSR was populated mainly by Slavs, with a large Jewish minority, and many Roma (‘Gypsies’). The Nazi goal was to destroy what they bizarrely called “Jewish Bolshevism.” They aimed to eliminate all Jews and Roma and to reduce the Slavic population by 30 million, enslaving those who survived. This plan created hell on earth.
According to Prof. Christopher Simpson, a member of the Historical Advisory Panel of the IWG and the author of Blowback, a study of the Nazi-CIA marriage: [Excerpt from "Blowback" starts here]
The slaughter that followed the German attack on the Soviet Union in June 1941 is without equal in world history. Next to the Nazis’ operation of the anti-Jewish extermination centers at Treblinka, Sobibor, Birkenau, and elsewhere, the most terrible crimes of the entire war took place in the name of anticommunism in the German-occupied territories on the eastern front. Civilian casualties in these areas were so enormous, so continuous, and so extreme that even counting the dead has proved impossible. Scholars have attempted to deduce the numbers of fatalities from captured German records, reports of Einsatzgruppen (mobile execution squads), prisoner of war (POW) camp mortality reports, and Soviet census statistics. The evidence indicates that between 3 and 4 million captured Soviet soldiers were intentionally starved to death in German POW camps between 1941 and 1944. About 1.3 million Jews were exterminated inside Nazi-occupied Soviet territory, mainly through mass shootings but also through gassing, deportation to extermination camps, looting and destruction of villages, hangings, and torture. The generally accepted figure for all Soviet war dead is 20 million human beings - about 15 percent of the population of the country at the time - but the destruction was so vast that even this number can be only an educated guess. The Nazis deliberately used famine as a political weapon in the East, and it soon became the largest single killer. As the German invasion of the USSR began, General (later Field Marshal) Erich von Manstein ordered that “the Jewish-Bolshevist [sic!] system must be exterminated.... In hostile cities, a large part of the population will have to starve.” Nothing, Manstein continued, “may, out of a sense of mistaken humaneness, be distributed to prisoners or to the population - unless they are in the service of the German Wehrmacht.”  [Excerpt from "Blowback" ends here]
Take note of General Manstein’s words: “a large part of the population will *have to* starve.” He speaks of these people as if they were disease-carrying animals whom public health officials must put to sleep. Those who object to withholding food from “the population” suffer from “mistaken humaneness”... Thus the entire Wehrmacht, not just the SS or Gestapo, was enlisted in a slaughter which was “without equal in world history.” What about Reinhard Gehlen? His intelligence group, Foreign Armies East, was responsible for evaluating information obtained from the interrogation of POWs. These POWs were mostly Slavs or Jews. As part of the general plan for so-called ‘racial purification,’ Gehlen and his people helped to formulate a sub-plan for POWs which used mass torture and mass murder to extract maximum information, with the result - beneficial to those with a eugenics ideology - that millions of Slavs and Jews were killed in the process: [Excerpt from "Blowback" starts here]
Gehlen derived much of his information from his role in one of the most terrible atrocities of the war: the torture, interrogation, and murder by starvation of some 4 million Soviet prisoners of war. Even Gehlen’s defenders - and there are many of them, both in Germany and in the United States - acknowledge he was instrumental in organizing the interrogations of these POWs. The success of this interrogation program from the German military’s point of view became, in fact, the cornerstone of Gehlen’s career. It won him his reputation as an intelligence officer and his major general’s rank. [That is, it was because of these monstrous interrogations that in 1942 Gehlen was put in charge of Foreign Armies East, Nazi military intelligence in the USSR - J.I.] But these same interrogations were actually a step in the liquidation of tens of thousands of POWs. Prisoners who refused to cooperate were often tortured or summarily shot. Many were executed even after they had given information, while others were simply left to starve to death.
True, Gehlen’s men did not personally administer the starvation camps, nor are they known to have served in the execution squads. Such tasks were left to the SS, whose efficiency in such matters is well known. Instead, Gehlen’s men were in a sense like scientists who skimmed off the information and documents that rose to the surface of these pestilent camps. Now and again they selected an interesting specimen: a captured Russian general ready to collaborate, perhaps, or a Ukrainian railroad expert who might supply the locations of vulnerable bridges when given some encouragement to talk. Gehlen’s officers were scientists in somewhat the same way that concentration camp doctors were: Both groups extracted their data from the destruction of human beings. [Excerpt from "Blowback" ends here]
So Gehlen and his organization were involved in the monstrous crimes on the Eastern front in the same way that Eichmann and his men were involved in the death camps: as planners, and also in the same way as people like Dr. Mengele, as gatherers of information. Moreover, this information was then processed and provided to the Nazi Army in order to help them “pacify” the conquered areas. Thus Gehlen and Co. also aided in carrying out the mass murder of civilians. To this end, they employed a vast network of spies, corrupt government officials, Nazi sympathizers, Soviet officers and troops who had gone over to the Nazi side, willing thugs, and so on. Gehlen’s Foreign Armies East intelligence apparatus was organizationally distinct from the SS and the Gestapo, who actually carried out the organized killing. During official US interrogations, with stenographers present, Gehlen stated that he would never use SS or Gestapo men. The SS and Gestapo had been declared criminal organizations at the Nuremberg Tribunal and the US officials who employed Gehlen were required to arrest anyone whom they knew had been a member of either organization. So in order to protect his hosts, Gehlen had to say, on record, that he would never employ men who had been in the SS. [2B] But despite Gehlen’s supposedly ‘plausible denial,’ in fact the Org was full of SS killers. [Excerpt from "Blowback" starts here] At least a half dozen of his first staff of 50 officers were former SS or SD men including SS Obersturmfuehrer Hans Sommer, who had set seven Paris synagogues to the torch in October 1941, SS Standartenfuehrer Willi Krichdaum, Senior Gestapo leader in Southeastern Europe and SS Sturmbannfuhrer Fritz Schmidt, Gestapo Chief in Kiel Germany, each of whom was given responsible positions in the new Gehlen organization.  [Excerpt from "Blowback" ends here] Gehlen’s Foreign Armies East had only dealt with the occupied USSR. By recruiting members of the SS and Gestapo, Gehlen and his US backers extended the Org’s reach directly to Eastern and Southeastern Europe. For example, Willi Krichdaum, mentioned above, was the senior Gestapo official in Southeastern Europe. That includes Yugoslavia, where the Nazis committed some of their worst crimes. Men like Krichdaum would know the names of members of Waffen SS divisions from their areas. The Waffen SS was recruited from Volksdeutsche (people of German descent living outside Germany) and non-German Nazi volunteers from all over Europe. The more extensive Gehlen’s Org became, the more ties it had to these Nazis - these Waffen SS volunteers who had quietly returned to their countries of origin (the UK, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Yugoslavia, Italy and so on). Thus Gehlen’s Org gave US intelligence a readymade political apparatus all over Europe. Once Gehlen and the US representatives worked out the details for Americanizing his Nazis, the next step was to reconstitute the whole structure, including middle leaders and the rank and file. For that purpose, Gehlen’s Org screened displaced persons arriving in Germany. Gehlen chose Franz Six to oversee the screening: [Excerpt from "Blowback" starts here] Gehlen’s man in émigré enterprises, SS Brigadefuhrer Franz Six, is a major war criminal and is still alive at last report. He was once described by Adolf Eichmann as a Streber (a ‘real eager beaver’) on the so-called Jewish Question and as a favored protégé of SS chief Himmler’s. Eichmann should have known: His own first efforts in the Holocaust were carried out under Six’s personal command in the “Ideological Combat” section of the security service. In 1941 Six led the Vorkommando Moskau, an advance squad of the Nazi invasion, whose job it was to seize Communist party and NKVD archives in order to compile lists of hunted Soviet officials and to liquidate those who were caught. Six’s Vorkommando never made it to Moscow, but his own reports indicate that his unit murdered approximately 200 people in cold blood in Smolensk, where they had stopped on the march to the Russian capital. The Smolensk victims, Six wrote headquarters, included “46 persons, among them 38 intellectual Jews who had tried to create unrest and discontent in the newly established Ghetto of Smolensk. [Excerpt from "Blowback" ends here] Franz Six and his underlings knew what they were looking for: [Excerpt from "Blowback" starts here] Although it is true that the majority of the postwar refugees in Germany were not Nazi collaborators and had not committed war crimes, it is also true that the minority who had done such things were exactly the ones who were sought out by the Org as Gehlen’s [CIA] group came to be known.  [Excerpt from "Blowback" ends here] These people were the all-important link between Gehlen’s people and the local Nazi apparatus on the ground in Russia and Eastern and Southeastern Europe. With their recruitment, a huge part of Hitler’s foreign operations apparatus had been recreated.
As noted, one of the men who spoke to Gehlen was General Sibert, head of military intelligence in the US occupation zone in Germany. As Christopher Simpson notes: “It is after all the job of any professional intelligence officer to learn everything there is to know about the groups on his payroll that might reveal their loyalty. General Siebert who by then had become the leading American sponsor of the Gehlen organization had not gotten to be chief of US Army intelligence in Germany by being naïve.”  And Sibert was not the only top US intelligence man involved. There was Allen Dulles, the famously cunning station chief of US intelligence in Berne, Switzerland. His *job* was to work with intelligence sources in Germany. Gehlen wasn’t a minor figure. He was the head of German intelligence in the main theater of operations - the Soviet Union. One didn’t have to be in intelligence to know that the Germans were committing monstrous war crimes in Russia - this was shown on newsreels in every theater in America. And of course Dulles, a shrewd intelligence chief, would be aware that Gehlen’s organization took part in planning and providing intelligence for these war crimes. The group set up to plan Gehlen's Org: “...included Richard Helms, for example, who was later to become CIA Deputy Director for Clandestine Operations and eventually Agency [that is, CIA] director under Presidents Johnson and Nixon, William Casey, CIA director under President Reagan...”  It is simply absurd to believe that men like Sibert, Dulles, Helms and Casey were fooled. And in any case, what did it matter whether Gehlen was a ‘sincere’ Nazi or not? He was reconstituting the Nazi apparatus, and the US was using that apparatus as the crucial European section of its intelligence operation. And that, quite obviously, was no mistake.
In conclusion, a word about Dr. Breitman
Earlier I wrote that Richard Breitman has been the main public voice of the IWG, "the Interagency Working Group to locate, identify, and make available to the public Nazi war criminal records." (see above). On the IWG Website, Breitman is listed as one of five "IWG Historical Consultants".
http://www.archives.gov/iwg/iwg_roster/historical_consultants.html But he is not one of five. He is the IWG person most consistently quoted by the mass media and it is his reports and comments that dominate the IWG presence on the Internet. These comments consistently serve to muddy the waters, negating the very facts he is reporting! An example of this is Breitman’s report, published on the IWG Website, concerning the relationship between US counter-intelligence officers and Hermann Julius Hoefle. Here is the first paragraph of Breitman’s report:  "Hermann Julius Hoefle, a major Nazi war criminal who went unpunished after 1945, served briefly in 1954 as a paid informant for the U. S. Army Counter-Intelligence Corps. According to a newly declassified Army Investigative Repository Records (IRR) file on Hoefle, the CIC was aware of Hoefle's SS background but failed to discover what Hoefle had really done during World War II. " The key phrase is "failed to discover", which implies that the intelligence officers avoided digging into Hoefle’s past lest they discover something they didn’t want to know. Breitman is suggesting that, by not knowing Hoefle was a war criminal, the CIC people rationalize employing him for intelligence purposes. Since the above-quoted excerpt is the first paragraph of a 1000 word report, it is the part that people are most likely to read. It tells them how to view the rest of the text. A bit later in the report, Breitman reinforces this view, that the American officers sinned by avoiding knowledge, when he states that: “A CIC assessment of Hoefle's character in February 1954 did not penetrate beyond the surface: ‘Subject is punctual, militant in action, truthful and trusting in a person only after his trustworthiness has been proven. Subject has been found to be most appreciative and courteous….’” Notice the phrase, “did not penetrate beyond the surface.” Again, the impression is created that the CIC did not want to know too much. It is only after the first half of the report - constructed so as to give us a phony sins-of-omission interpretation - that Breitman provides the information that flatly contradicts such an 'interpretation': "Hoefle had told CIC officials that during the war he had served in the Waffen-SS, that he was affiliated with the organization of partisan groups in fighting the Russians, and that he had taken part in security work in Poland in regard to German personnel. ‘Security work’ involved the murder of some two million Polish Jews.
Anyone with some knowledge about Nazi Germany and with access to his SS file in the Berlin Document Center could have exposed these falsehoods and evasions.” Were the CIC officers *not* people with some knowledge about Nazi Germany? Did they not know that “security work” in Poland involved the murder of two million Jews? Did they not know that the partisans whom Hoefle helped organize were involved in mass murder in Russia? Of course they knew. After all, these US officers hadn’t just wandered in off the street! They were intelligence experts with the job of interrogating Nazis!
Moreover, a bit later Breitman mentions that: “…the CIC was aware that Poland wanted to prosecute him for war crimes” So: CIC knew “security work” in Poland involved the killing of two million Jews; they knew Hoefle was involved in security work; they knew what Hoefle's so-called partisans did in Russia and they knew that Hoefle was wanted for war crimes in Poland. Given what the CIC *did* know, their description of Hoefle: “Subject is punctual, militant in action, truthful and trusting in a person only after his trustworthiness has been proven. Subject has been found to be most appreciative and courteous…” - is not, as Breitman suggests, noteworthy for its superficiality; rather, it suggests a friendly relationship with a man whom the CIC officers knew perfectly well was a racist mass murderer. In one of the excerpts quoted earlier, Breitman false-criticized the CIC because, “Anyone… with access to his SS file in the Berlin Document Center could have exposed these falsehoods and evasions.” I call this false criticism because it clearly implies that the CIC erred by *failing* to consult Hoefle’s file at the Berlin Document Center when, as we have seen, they did not *need* to consult Hoefle’s file. This is already damning evidence that Breitman is trying to cover-up - but in fact, it is worse, for near the end of the Hoefle report, Breitman mentions that: “ … there apparently was a cursory check of Berlin Document Center records about him…” So the CIC *did* consult the Berlin Document Center file! It took a lot of hard work for Breitman to produce a report whose conclusion, that the CIC acted in willful ignorance, so obviously contradicts the very facts he presents.
These facts prove that the CIC knew exactly who Hoefle was! The IWG membership includes, on the one hand, five people representing the intelligence community and the State Department. On the other hand, it includes Elizabeth Holtzman, who has crusaded for the exposure of Nazi war criminals, and Eli Rosenbaum, the legendary Director of the Office of Special Investigations at the Department of Justice, who has led the prosecution of Nazis for illegal entry to the US. The presence of Holtzman and Rosenbaum suggests that part of the IWG sincerely wants to get out the whole truth. However, the fact that Breitman, who tries to hide the truth, is the effective spokesperson for the IWG suggests that the forces of cover-up are in control. Indeed, the IWG's attempt to hide the truth, so obvious in Breitman’s writing, tells us that not only did the US foreign policy Establishment recreate the Nazi’s race-driven foreign operations machine and put it back in power in Germany, but the powers-that- be remain loyal to these monstrous policies to this day.
Editor, Emperor’s Clothes