Posts Tagged ‘BND’


By Marcel Fürstenau

Deutsche Welle, November 11, 2012

How much influence did former Nazis wield in establishing and operating Germany’s postwar democracy? That’s what parliament debated. But tackling the issue was not easy, since many files still remain classified.

It almost seems a bit antiquated. More than six decades after the end of the murderous Hitler regime, members of the German parliament debated to what extent federal ministries and public offices in the country have dealt with their Nazi past. It comes after the opposition Left Party’s parliamentary group submitted a formal request to the government for information about the post-war era.

The parliamentary debate coincided with a separate event – prosecutors bringing formal charges against supporters and the sole surviving member of a neo-Nazi cell suspected of committing ten murders between 2000 and 2007.

The revelations about the neo-Nazi gang, the National Socialist Underground (NSU), are a hugely pressing and current issue. By comparison, the debate about postwar Germany’s Nazi past seems so outdated. But the past is constantly catching up with Germany as it struggles to find out how the neo-Nazi cell could have evaded authorities for more than a decade.

The charges against NSU member Beate Zschäpe mark a decisive phase in long-running efforts to shed light on the group’s suspected racially-motivated killing spree.

By contrast, the question of just how far West German authorities were riddled with former Nazi party members seems nowhere near resolution.

That impression is strengthened by the government’s 85-page response to the Left Party’s request about old Nazis in the halls of power. It’s an interim summary of ongoing research conducted by historians in the archives of many ministries and federal agencies.

Shredding files not new

The debate in the German parliament was marked by constant references to the current neo-Nazi scandal that has rocked the country.

Since the NSU’s discovery, Germany’s national security apparatus has come under intense scrutiny for its failure to connect the dots and apprehend the suspects. Earlier this year, it was discovered that intelligence files on right-wing extremists had been destroyed the same month the NSU was discovered on the orders of an official in the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s domestic intelligence service.

The shredding of important files pertaining to far-right extremism has sparked outrage and shock, raising suspicions that incriminating information was covered up and that the perpetrators may even have been protected.

But it’s not the first time it has happened. In the late 1990s, files on mass murderer Alois Brunner, a high-ranking SS officer, disappeared. The German intelligence service (BND) was said to have destroyed files containing conflicting information as to whether Brunner had worked for the BND at some point.

Adolf Eichmann lived undercover in Argentina for several years.

Brunner was a close aide and confidante of Adolf Eichmann who organized the Holocaust from his desk in Berlin. He was sentenced to death in 1961 in Jerusalem. Though the BND knew Eichmann’s location, he lived undetected in Argentina for several years.

The BND is also believed to have protected war crimes criminal Klaus Barbie who was responsible for sending hundreds of Jews in France to their death. Just like Eichmann, Barbie went underground in South America. He even worked as an agent for the BND in the mid 1960s.

Opposition calls for change

The fact that files on Barbie, Eichmann and others responsible for war crimes still remain classified has sparked anger among several German politicians and led to heated exchanges in parliament.

Wolfgang Thierse, president of the German parliament, has appealed to members of the ruling parties – the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) – to stop blocking the opening of the files.

Volker Beck, head of the parliamentary group of the opposition Green Party, said it could not be in the public’s interest to block publishing files with references to the Nazi past in order to “protect the work of our intelligence agencies.” And especially not in light of the current debate about right-wing extremism in Germany, Beck added.

Jan Korte, from the opposition Left Party, spoke of a “second guilt” of Germans, a reference to a book of that name written by Ralph Giordano, a German writer and publicist. It focuses on the denial and suppression of Germany’s Nazi past.

But not everyone sees things that way. Armin Schuster, a member of the CDU, said Korte was too one-sided in his criticism of West Germany’s Nazi past. Former communist East Germany, too, had several ex-Nazis in leading positions, Schuster added.

Foreign ministry investigation a model

The one thing that politicians across party lines agreed on, however, was that an increasing number of ministries and federal agencies have been willing to commission investigations to investigate their Nazi pasts.

One of the most high-profile efforts was undertaken last year by historians Eckart Conze and Norbert Frei who looked into Nazi involvement at the foreign ministry. The no-holds-barred report was commissioned in 2005 by then-Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer.

The controversial study on Nazi involvement at the foreign ministry was marketed as a bestseller.

Several ministries and agencies have followed the foreign ministry’s example and initiated research projects to dig around in their past. That includes the BND, the Federal Crime Office (BKA), as well as the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV).

The German government, by its own admission, says it “wholeheartedly” supports such research projects. It is important that “the results of such work lead to a critical discourse in the public sphere,” it said.

But critics, such as the Left Party’s Jan Korte, have raised doubts about the independence of the scientists and researchers commissioned for the investigations.

Korte has pointed to the conditions laid down by the government for investigating the Nazi past at the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, including a ban on researchers making any public statements during the project phase. Each statement also must be discussed beforehand with the head of the project at the BfV. “That is censorship and not befitting of what’s at stake here,” Korte maintained.


NAZIS in the News

Posted: December 1, 2011 in Far-Right, Media, Nazis
Tags: , , ,

By Alex Constantine

The Daily Mail gossip sheet is reporting: “Patrick Swayze’s niece dumps Neo Nazi husband, just two months after their wedding.” She can’t very well say that she didn’t know — the word “RACIST” is tattooed across his forehead. “The 23-year-old has ditched white separatist Joshua Steever, 31, after her family pressured her to end the relationship. … Danielle, the daughter of the late Dirty Dancing star’s brother Don, tied the knot with Steever in a secret pagan ritual back in August. …”

Secret pagan ritual. It simply doesn’t get any better than this …

The esstablishment media, of course, like nice, safe, tidy stenographed courtroom reporting, but insights do break through the fog of acceptable reality now and then, as in this story from Spokane, Washington:Court Documents Reveal Evolution Of MLK Day Bomber’s Racist Beliefs.” Here, we find, “It took white supremacist Kevin Harpham a few months to collect bomb materials. But newly unsealed documents show he was mired in the Neo-Nazi movement for more than a decade. Harpham is the man who pleaded guilty to planting a bomb at Spokane’s Martin Luther King Day parade last January. … ”

That’s one more non-Muslim terrorist for Newt Gingrich and Fox News to ignore …

And WeHo News today treats us to “Fascinating Fascist: Gertrude Stein,” and warms us to the topic with this quote from Ms. Stein in New York Times Magazine, May 6, 1934:

“I say that Hitler ought to have the peace prize, because he is removing all the elements of contest and of struggle from Germany. By driving out the Jews and the democratic and Left element, he is driving out everything that conduces to activity. That means peace…. By suppressing Jews… he was ending struggle in Germany.”

The revelations are found in a new book, “Unlikely Collaboration: Gertrude Stein, Bernard Faÿ and the Vichy Dilemma,” by Barbara Will. Philippe Mora, a West Hollywood filmmaker, is the book’s reviewer, and asks, “Gertrude Stein nominating Hitler for Nobel peace prize? What the hell was going on here? … A new book goes a long way to explain it. Barbara Will has written a brilliant, disturbing, even shocking historical saga about modernist icon Gertrude Stein, explaining why this gay Jewish woman escaped the Nazis and Auschwitz in Occupied France. Ms. Will’s profound research revealed a simple, troubling answer: Ms. Stein was an enthusiastic collaborator and an international apologist for the Vichy Government. … ”

The Nazis were nothing if not covert operators, of course, so the revelations can take a long, long time to reach the public print. The BBC is reporting: “German intelligence files on ex-Nazis shredded.” The German intelligence apparat — founded by Nazi spy/CIA recruit Reinhard Gehlen — is another reason that truth drags its feet where Nazis are concerned: “Investigators have found that in 2007 the German Intelligence Service (BND) destroyed files of 250 BND employees who had been in the Nazi SS or Gestapo.” The BND called the destruction of the Nazi files ‘regrettable and annoying.'” Then why did the BND destroy them? Never mind. The answer is obvious. “Four independent historians are investigating the BND’s old links with the Nazis.” Ah, well, that explains it. Now we’re getting down to brass tacks. “They say some of the missing papers concern suspected war criminals. The historians did not allege a deliberate cover-up, but they urged the BND not to destroy any more files.” I won’t deconstruct this confused logic. We all know that the cover-up was not a breathtaking coincidence.

Hitler’s dirty laundry is given the literal treatment in this story from the Sydney Morning Herald on November 30: Bedtime with Hitler: Nazi leader’s linen for sale‎.

Coming to e-bay?