FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Our Ba’athists

by MICKEY Z.

“When the Second World War/came to an end/We forgave the Germans/And we were friends/Though they murdered six million/In the ovens they fried/The Germans now too/Have God on their side.” –Bob Dylan

In his inexhaustible quest to turn Operation Iraqi Freedom (sic) into another Good War, President (sic) Bush has taken a page from post-war Germany. As reported by everyone from the Wall Street Journal to the World Socialist Website (WSWS), the U.S. is installing former Ba’ath Party officials into positions of power throughout Iraq, i.e.

Zuhair Al-Noaime is Baghdad’s new police chief. Prior to this role, he joined the Iraqi police in 1966 and held the rank of general. According to the British Independent, the former informer networks of the Ba’athist political police, the Mukhabarat are now operating in Baghdad “neighborhood watches.” Fah Haran, the new mayor of the northern Iraqi town of Bayji, was a leading Ba’athist. Ghalib Kubba, appointed by the British to run Basra, is (according to the Los Angeles Times) “a partner of Uday Hussein [Saddam’s son]. It’s well known. All commercial people from the first class in Iraq, all of them are partners of Saddam Hussein.” “The Christian Science Monitor reported on April 21 that the Bush administration refused to endorse a proposal by exiled Iraqi lawyers for large-scale prosecution of Ba’athists” said James Conachy on the WSWS. A lawyer told the Monitor: “There is a bit of ambivalence [in the Bush administration] about moving ahead with it. There’s a fear that if they [the Iraqis] have an independent structure for the judiciary, it would interfere with political plans.”

Marine Lieutenant Colonel William Schafer summed up the situation for the Wall Street Journal: “You could say that everyone here worked for Saddam Hussein because if you didn’t, you didn’t survive. No one is totally clean, so you look at the levels of what people did.”

All this (and more) takes place as the U.S. media drones on about the successful model of German “de-Nazification.” To accept this premise, however, would be to ignore the fact that immediately upon the defeat of Germany, the United States went about recruiting Nazis to help with the next good war…against the USSR.

Besides higher profile criminals like Klaus Barbie and Reinhard Gehlen, some those “recruits” included: Alois Brunner (a.k.a. “Georg Fischer”): Sentenced to death (in abstensia) 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, von Bolschwing assisted in drawing up the SS’s “first comprehensive program for the systematic robbery of Europe’s Jews.” Under his orders, 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.” SS Obersturmführer Robert Verbelen: Sentenced to death in abstentia for war crimes, including the torture of two U.S. Air Force pilots, after the war, Verbelen served in Vienna as a contract spy for the U.S. Army-which was completely aware of his background. Dr. Kurt Blome: The admitted leader of Nazi biological warfare research, a program that included experimentation on prisoners in concentration camps. In 1947, he was acquitted of crimes against humanity and then hired by the U.S. Army Chemical Corps “to conduct a new round of biological weapons research.” Dr. Arthur Rudolph: Blome’s colleague, Rudolph was accused “in sworn testimony at Nuremberg of committing atrocities at the Nazis’ underground rocket works near Nordhausen but was later given U.S. citizenship and a major role in the U.S. missile program.”

Investigative reporter Christopher Simpson explains another aspect of this model of “de-Nazification”: “Many leaders of Wall Street and of the U.S. foreign policy establishment had maintained close ties with their German counterparts since the 1920s, some having intermarried or shared investments. This went so far in the 1930s as the sale in New York of bonds whose proceeds helped finance the Aryanization of companies and real estate looted from German Jews…U.S. investment in Germany accelerated rapidly after Hitler came to power.” Such investment increased “by some 48.5 percent between 1929 and 1940, while declining sharply everywhere else in continental Europe.” These pre-war business liaisons carried right on over into the post-war tribunals. “The dominant faction of America’s establishment had always opposed bringing Germany’s elite to trial,” Simpson adds.

The impact these “former” Nazis had on shaping U.S. policy towards the USSR was vast. The number of humans who suffered and died because of the resultant Cold War is beyond calculation.

Today’s powerless and disenfranchised might wonder: What role will “former” Ba’athists play in the future of Iraq, the Middle East, and elsewhere?

MICKEY Z. is the author of The Murdering of My Years: Artists and Activists Making Ends Meet and an editor at Wide Angle. He can be reached at: mzx2@earthlink.net.

 

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. This piece first appeared at World Trust News.  

More articles by:
May 30, 2016
Ron Jacobs
The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?
James Abourezk
The Intricacies of Language
Porfirio Quintano
Hillary, Honduras, and My Late Friend Berta
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes on ISIS are Reducing Their Cities to Ruins
Uri Avnery
The Center Doesn’t Hold
Rodrigue Tremblay
Barack Obama’s Legacy: What happened?
Matt Peppe
Just the Facts: The Speech Obama Should Have Given at Hiroshima
Deborah James
Trade Pacts and Deregulation: Latest Leaks Reveal Core Problem with TISA
Michael Donnelly
Still Wavy after All These Years: Flower Geezer Turns 80
Ralph Nader
The Funny Business of Farm Credit
Paul Craig Roberts
Memorial Day and the Glorification of Past Wars
Colin Todhunter
From Albrecht to Monsanto: A System Not Run for the Public Good Can Never Serve the Public Good
Rivera Sun
White Rose Begins Leaflet Campaigns June 1942
Tom H. Hastings
Field Report from the Dick Cheney Hunting Instruction Manual
Weekend Edition
May 27, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Silencing America as It Prepares for War
Rob Urie
By the Numbers: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are Fringe Candidates
Paul Street
Feel the Hate
Daniel Raventós - Julie Wark
Basic Income Gathers Steam Across Europe
Andrew Levine
Hillary’s Gun Gambit
Jeffrey St. Clair
Hand Jobs: Heidegger, Hitler and Trump
S. Brian Willson
Remembering All the Deaths From All of Our Wars
Dave Lindorff
With Clinton’s Nixonian Email Scandal Deepening, Sanders Must Demand Answers
Pete Dolack
Millions for the Boss, Cuts for You!
Gunnar Westberg
Close Calls: We Were Much Closer to Nuclear Annihilation Than We Ever Knew
Peter Lee
To Hell and Back: Hiroshima and Nagasaki
Karl Grossman
Long Island as a Nuclear Park
Binoy Kampmark
Sweden’s Assange Problem: The District Court Ruling
Robert Fisk
Why the US Dropped Its Demand That Assad Must Go
Martha Rosenberg – Ronnie Cummins
Bayer and Monsanto: a Marriage Made in Hell
Brian Cloughley
Pivoting to War
Stavros Mavroudeas
Blatant Hypocrisy: the Latest Late-Night Bailout of Greece
Arun Gupta
A War of All Against All
Dan Kovalik
NPR, Yemen & the Downplaying of U.S. War Crimes
Randy Blazak
Thugs, Bullies, and Donald J. Trump: The Perils of Wounded Masculinity
Murray Dobbin
Are We Witnessing the Beginning of the End of Globalization?
Daniel Falcone
Urban Injustice: How Ghettos Happen, an Interview with David Hilfiker
Gloria Jimenez
In Honduras, USAID Was in Bed with Berta Cáceres’ Accused Killers
Kent Paterson
The Old Braceros Fight On
Lawrence Reichard
The Seemingly Endless Indignities of Air Travel: Report from the Losing Side of Class Warfare
Peter Berllios
Bernie and Utopia
Stan Cox – Paul Cox
Indonesia’s Unnatural Mud Disaster Turns Ten
Linda Pentz Gunter
Obama in Hiroshima: Time to Say “Sorry” and “Ban the Bomb”
George Souvlis
How the West Came to Rule: an Interview with Alexander Anievas
Julian Vigo
The Government and Your i-Phone: the Latest Threat to Privacy
Stratos Ramoglou
Why the Greek Economic Crisis Won’t be Ending Anytime Soon
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail