Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

Monday, February 28, 2005

NAZI PAST OUR PRESENT


A woman called tonight that has seen our video called Arsenal of Hypocrisy: The space program and the military industrial complex. She was very moved by the part of the video that tells the story about the Nazi rocket scientists brought to the U.S. after WWII in the secret military program called Operation Paperclip. I first learned about the story when I read the book Secret Agenda by former CNN investigative reporter Linda Hunt. The book told in detail how 1,500 top Nazi scientists were smuggled into the U.S. through Boston and West Palm Beach, Florida. One hundred of them, along with 100 copies of Hitler's V-2 rocket, were brought to Huntsville, Alabama to create the U.S. space program. Wernher von Braun, the head of Hitler's team that built the V-1 and V-2 rockets was made the first director of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville.

In Germany the Nazis had a concentration camp called Dora where 40,000 Jews, French resistance fighters, homosexuals, communists and other prisoners of war (including a black American GI) were brought to build the V-1 and V-2 inside a mountain tunnel called Mittelwerk. By the time the slaves were liberated by the allies, over 25,000 had perished at the hands of the Nazi rocketeers.

Hitler's military liason to von Braun's rocket team was Maj. Gen. Walter Dornberger. Several times Dornberger and von Braun met with Hitler requesting more money and more slaves so they could step up the rocket production effort. Hitler was anxious to use the rockets to terrorize the cities of London, Paris and Brussels toward the end of the war as the Nazi army began to lose. Dornberger and von Braun showed Hitler moving pictures of the V-2 rocket launches to prove they were making significant progress.

Dornberger came to the U.S. along with von Braun's rocket team during Operation Paperclip. According to author Jack Manno in his book Arming the Heavens: The Hidden Military Agenda for Space, 1945-1995, Dornberger was appointed as a vice-president at Bell Aviation Corporation and went on to serve on the first military oversight committee that ensured that NASA was controlled by the Pentagon from the first days. It was Dornberger who first came up with the idea of "missile defense" as an offensive program that would have nuclear powered satellites orbiting the planet and able to hit targets on Earth.

Kurt Debus, the chief of V-2 launch operations in Hitler's Germany, later became Chief of Operations for NASA at Cape Canaveral. When tourists converge on the Kennedy Space Center they will pass by a portrait of the former German SS member that hangs in the entrance in honor of Debus's service as the center's first director.

In a recent book called The Hunt for Zero Point, respected military journalist Nick Cook talks much about the "black" (the Pentagon's secret) budget. For 15 years Cook has been a defense and aerospace writer for Jane's Defence Weekly, which some consider the bible of the international weapons community. Cook spent the last 10 years researching secret military programs in the U.S. and believes that over $20 billion a year is spent on these programs outside the purview of Congress. Cook states, "It [black programs] has a vast and sprawling architecture funded by tens of billion of classified dollars every year. The height of its powers was probably in the Reagan era. But it has not stopped since then. In fact, under the Bush administration it is having something of a resurgence. Stealth technology is a primary example...research into anti-gravity technology...has been going on for quite some time."

Cook traces the roots of the U.S.'s secret programs back to the Nazi scientists brought to the U.S. after WW II in Operation Paperclip. He states, "We know the size and scope of Operation Paperclip, which was huge. And we know that the U.S. operates a very deeply secret defense architecture for secret weapons programs...it is highly compartmentalized...and one of the things that's intrigued me over the years is, How did they develop it? What model did they base it on? It is remarkably similar to the system that was operated by the Germans - specifically the SS - for their top-secret weapons programs."

"What I do mean," says Cook, "is that if you follow the trail of Nazi scientists and engineers who were recruited by America at the end of the second world war, the unfortunate corollary is that by taking on the science, you take on - unwittingly - some of the ideology...What do you lose along the way?"

Could this be what former President Dwight Eisenhower was talking about just a few years later when in 1961 he warned the American people to "beware" of the power of the military industrial complex? Could Eisenhower's prophetic warning been that an ideological contamination had come from America's embracing of the Nazi operatives?

The woman who called me tonight recently wrote a letter to the editor telling her community the story about the Nazi's creating the U.S. space program. The responses called her crazy. Even her own son, a local fire fighter, was outraged with her over the letter and told her that she should support George W. Bush or not talk politics to him ever again. She called me to ask for more evidence which I gladly will provide her.

I was impressed by this woman's great courage to step out and to tell a story that America wants to bury with the rest of our dark past. But the woman was right, this story informs the present -- maybe more than that -- guides and directs the present. This is a story that must rise from the dead if we are to halt U.S. plans for global empire. We must face our collective national demons. Let the telling begin.

9 Comments:

Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

"This is a story that must rise from the dead if we are to halt U.S. plans for global empire. We must face our collective national demons. Let the telling begin."

Very dramatic. Except .. been there, done that. I've heard so much about this that .. I can't remember _not_ knowing about Operation Paperclip and the fact that a number of Germans were exported to help jump start the US rocket program.

And so? We imported a few hundred rocket scientists in 1945 and fifty years later we've got Nazi (gasp) influences in space policy? It's probably far too much to believe that "secret weapons programs" have existed for hundreds of years; pick a weapon project and it's been a secret. The Nazis (hiss) didn't invent the idea of secret weapon projects, Mildred.

It blows the mind that sane adults can believe this pap.

3/3/05, 12:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't wait for you expose on Greek Fire and it's Nazi connections.

3/3/05, 10:17 AM  
Blogger Karl Hallowell said...

From what I recall, secret projects predate the influx of former Nazi scientists. After all, the Manhattan Project had been in existence for years and a lot of those involved were refugees from prewar Europe.

But let's suppose the US did copy Nazi Germany's secret projects structure. What's wrong with that? It's illogical to say something is bad merely because the Nazis thought of it first. For example, is killing tens of millions of innocent people bad because the Nazis thought of it first? An act should be good or bad in itself, not because of moral connotations based on who might have been involved.

Note in particular that the US never copied concentration camps or slave labor when they supposedly copied the Nazis. Ie, we don't have secret bases filled with slave labor building our rockets.

Alternately, one could consider the evil of Nazism to be a moral taint that infects any organization that let the survivors in. But many movements can be "tainted" in a similar fashion. For example, the KGB has long been involved in funding and supporting anti-war groups in the Western world. Should that imply that anti-war activism is immoral, particularly now well after such support would have vanished?

Finally, I note that you ignore other factors. For example, it's illogical to blame all these scientists for the very lethal working conditions of Mittelwork at Dora. Many of them had pretty ugly choices themselves. Ie, work at Mittelwork or serve in the military, say on the Russian front.

3/3/05, 11:51 AM  
Blogger Brian Dunbar said...

"For example, the KGB has long been involved in funding and supporting anti-war groups in the Western world. Should that imply that anti-war activism is immoral, particularly now well after such support would have vanished?"

You see, the KGB, however misguided their actions and, perhaps, the results of some of those actions were, were really the good guys. At least they were fighting the right fight for the wrong people. Which makes them, and whatever taint they left on the Peace Movement a Good Thing.

And that is a pretty massive taint. The entire wellspring of the Peace Movement comes from KGB funds, if I've read that correctly. How jolly.

Nazis bad, Communists good. Keep that in mind as you read this blog.

3/3/05, 12:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now sing we the praises of Werner von Braun,
A man whose allegiance is ruled by expedience.
Call him a Nazi, he won't even frown.
"Eh, Nazi, Schmazi," says Werner von Braun.

-Tom Lehrer, 1964

How noble and courageous of you to report a story that's been known for over 40 years.

Can you say "grasping at straws"? I knew you could.

Jim C.
zgystardst /at/ yahoo =dot= com

3/4/05, 1:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having worked in the rocket industry during the 60's, I was well aware of the relationship to which this article refers. The interests and amibitions of those who dream of controling the world are not limited to the disastrous NAZI era. We started the evoluntion to fascism when the first English colonists in New England visited genocide on their aboriginal neighbors, who, I might add, assured the survival of those same colonists. During the 1800's, the process was refered to as "Manifest Destiny", and more recently, "Lebens raum". I suggest that we are seeing ourselves as we really are, and it is very different from the propaganda. I know that there are people of goodwill here in America, but they have no access to power. Our highest calling is to consume.

Zarathustra

3/10/05, 3:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For all you "pap" posters and "grasping at straws" ilk, ask yourself this: If the V-2 rocket were a French program and we were talking about scientists from the Saddam Hussein regime, would your comments be any different?

Yes we can all understand the political reasons for bringing Nazi scientists into the NASA program, but that does not make them moral or just.

Again...

If the Russians had got to them first, would you be so apt to rationalize them as scientists, or would you simply refer to them as Nazis?

Perhaps you would call them two peas from the same pod.

Bush talks about Hussein and his rape rooms (the notorious Abu Ghraib) and then has his minions caught crimson fisted (literally) performing torture in the very same prison.

I've heard rational for that to. But oh gee, if I'm against the invasion of a sovereign state, that must make me an apologist of its CIA-sponsored client THUG, huh?

Pappy and Graspy need to get themselves and education in propaganda and doctrinal systems before they can even begin to look at the history of fascism and Nazi links inside the U.S.

Prescott and Union Bank. I'm sure you'd be soft on that too, right?

3/14/05, 7:13 AM  
Anonymous Matt C. said...

I think, if I read the same blog other commentor are talking about here, Mr. Gagnon was speaking about two books he'd read. He's writing about "Secret Agenda," by Linda Hunt and "The Hunt for Zero Point," by Nick Cook, respectively. Unlike a lot of writers today, he is providing his audience with a context for his own observations and assessments. Far from 'breaking news' or propogating another conspiracy theory, he's giving his reader a break.

The other comment/observation I'd like to add here is about our own Dr. Openhiemer. This useful American was ousted from the scientific and policy draughting community for his outspokeness regarding the perils nueclear development. In other words, we don't exactly have a open policy of dissent in this country either.

Which is what makes Thom Leher's song so intelligent (and, the above use of him not); it went on:

"In English and Russain
I know how to count-down
Und I'm learning Chinese
Says Werner von Braun. . ."

Matt C.

4/27/05, 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's Tom, not "Thom."

My word, I knew that, too. . .

Sorry.

Matt C.

5/14/05, 10:35 AM  

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