Moral Low Ground

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Justice Dep’t Report: U.S. Hired, Helped Nazi War Criminals After WWII

Nazi war criminals: hung a few, hired a few.

A 600 page report detailing American collaboration with leading Nazi war criminals  that the Justice Department wanted to keep secret has been released, the New York Times reports.

The problem with the Times article is that it barely scratches the surface of America’s involvement with Axis war criminals from Japan as well as from Germany.

Moral Low Ground investigated our nation’s shocking partnership with some of the most monstrous men (and women) ever to walk the earth. We’re talking about doctors and scientists that performed horrific medical experiments on tens of thousands of human subjects, including children imprisoned in concentration camps. In one case, a Japanese doctor accused of dissecting live American POWs and eating their livers was hired to work for the United States. This is not a pretty story. You’ve been warned.

Wait, you’re asking yourself, didn’t the United States try and execute these kinds of criminals at the Nuremberg Trials? Yes, there were trials, and some men did hang. But there’s much more to this story that we’ve forgotten over the years.

In 1949, John McCloy left his job as president of the World Bank to become the U.S. High Commissioner of Allied-occupied Germany. It wasn’t his first experience in that country; McCloy had been an attorney for the German chemical giant IG Farben in the 1930s. He also sat with Hitler in the Fuhrer’s box at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

In a stunning amnesty, McCloy commuted the life sentences of five of the worst Nazi doctors, including Dr. Herta Oberhauser, a woman who injected healthy children with oil and removed their limbs and organs without anesthesia while they were still alive and conscious. Commissioner McCloy also reduced the sentences of other criminal Nazi doctors by as much as half. We’re talking about doctors who purposely drowned, gassed, froze, burned, poisoned, and dissected living, breathing human beings.

Why did John McCloy pardon such sadistic criminals? The reason for this baffling leniency goes far beyond fond memories of watching the Olympics in the Fuhrer’s luxury box. At the end of World War II the Allies were astonished to discover that the Nazis had achieved superior levels of technical advancement on many fronts. By the time of their defeat, the Germans had developed supersonic rockets, nerve gas, jet aircraft, guided missiles, stealth technology, hardened armor and a host of other cutting-edge technologies. Both the Americans and the Soviets scrambled to secure these valuable secrets for themselves and to prevent them from falling into the other’s hands.

Von Braun: from the SS to NASA. (Photo: NASA)

To this end, President Truman authorized Project Paperclip, which oversaw the importation of more than 700 German scientists into the United States. These were the minds that would launch America to the moon. Some were also murderous criminals in Hitler’s Third Reich. Truman expressly prohibited anyone found “to have been a member of the Nazi party and more than a nominal participant in it’s activities” from entering the United States under Paperclip. But that would exclude too many of the Germans, so the U.S. simply altered the files of hundreds of these war criminals. Some of them went on to become heroes here in America, like Werner von Braun, architect of the Apollo Program. He had been a member of various Nazi organizations and was a ranking member of the dreaded SS.

Arthur Rudolph was team leader of the Saturn V project, building the rocket that carried Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon in 1969. Rudolph had plenty of experience building rockets. He was formerly the boss at Nordhausen, where he oversaw the deaths of 20,000 slave laborers building the V-2s than rained terror over England. Allied intelligence labeled Rudolph as “100% Nazi, dangerous type.”

Then there was Hubertus Strughold, who became known as “the father of space medicine” for his work designing NASA’s on-board life support systems. But Strughold hadn’t always been so keen on sustaining life. Under his supervision at Dachau and Auschwitz, concentration camp inmates were frozen to death and killed in low-pressure chambers.

Some Paperclip scientists came to be involved with Project MK-ULTRA, America’s twisted foray into mind control and radiation research (for which President Clinton apologized in 1995), as the Nazis had been carrying out the exact same sorts of research, but without any of the pesky moral and ethical encumbrances that supposedly limited this kind of work in the United States.

Nazi doctors and scientists worked side by side with their American counterparts for decades, engaging in precisely the same criminal research that had seen many Germans condemned to death at Nuremberg. This was all okay, of course, since it was now the Cold War and the imperative to defeat the evil communists was apparently strong enough to justify working hand in hand with the same monsters we wanted to hang not ten years earlier.

Klaus Barbie, the Butcher of Lyon; our man in Bolivia.

Project Paperclip wasn’t the only time the United States protected Nazis. Klaus Barbie, the notorious Gestapo commander known as the “Butcher of Lyon,” received travel documents and safe passage to Bolivia from the CIA in return for information about the Soviet Union. Barbie, who was responsible for liquidating the Jewish population of Lyon and crushing the French resistance there, was a CIA asset in Bolivia where he oversaw the construction and operation of concentration camps for the U.S.-backed dictatorship of General Hugo Banzer. The fact that at least 11,500 French people– many of them Jewish children– were sent to their deaths by this monster was apparently of little concern to the United States.

Nazis weren’t the only bad guys who ended up on Uncle Sam’s payroll. Dr. Shiro Ishii was the head of Imperial Japan’s military bio-warfare division, the notorious Unit 731, that performed experiments that would make the Nazi doctors proud. Or faint. Yet within three years of the war’s end, Dr. Ishii was working for Americans, sharing his vast germ warfare knowledge in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Japanese doctors had dissected living American P.O.W.s. On May 5, 1945 a B-29 had finished a bombing run over southwestern Japan and was flying back to Guam when it was rammed by a Japanese fighter plane. The surviving crew bailed over hostile territory and nine American airmen were subsequently captured and handed over to doctors. Toshio Tono was one of them. “Since they could see white smocks… they didn’t struggle,” recounted Tono. “They never dreamed they would be dissected.”

A doctor removed one of the American’s lungs while he was fully conscious to study the effects of surgery on the respiratory system. Dr. Tono says they also gave this airman a saltwater IV to see if seawater was a viable alternative to traditional saline solution. It was not. The next victim had part of his liver removed so the Japanese could learn if a human being can survive such an ordeal. He could not. They cut out part of another American’s brain to see if they could control epilepsy. They could not. Every one of the prisoners died in agonizing pain. “There was no debate among the doctors about whether or not to do the operations,” said Dr. Tono, “that is what made is so strange.”

Japanese Unit 731 doctor performs a vivisection.

After the war ended, thirty people were brought before a war crimes tribunal. Of these, 23 were charged with vivisection and wrongful removal of body parts. Some were even charged with cannibalism– the Japanese allegedly ate the prisoner’s livers. Various sentences, ranging from death to imprisonment, were handed down.

Then something funny happened. Actually, it wasn’t funny at all; by 1958 all of the convicted Japanese had been freed. Not a single one of the death sentences was carried out. General Douglas MacArthur, who oversaw the post-war occupation of Japan, personally ordered the reduced sentences. Why on earth would he do such a thing? Because members of Unit 731 and other Japanese war criminals possessed immense knowledge of biological warfare and medical research. The United States wanted to harvest the fruits of their twisted labor for its own purposes. Dr. Shiro Ishii and many others like him were granted immunity in return for their knowledge and expertise. The past was forgotten and these criminal Japanese and German scientists found new homes and new fame in an America that welcomed them with open arms.

These facts have long been known to historians and researchers, yet the American public seems to have forgotten them– or more likely, most people never knew. Today’s New York Times piece is a welcome examination by the mainstream media of one of the darkest chapters in our nation’s history but, as usual, America’s flagship mouthpiece of the corporate ruling elite doesn’t dare delve deep enough down into the depravity. That’s why you read Moral Low Ground, your antidote to corporate media bullshit.

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3 Comments

  1. richard weinsteinSeptember 8, 2011 at 11:59 amReply

    How could we let this happen? Why weren’t all war criminals of this magnitude executed. Who the hell should care what they knew? Was it more important then settling the score for some 11million people? We should have dismantled Germany and Japan for good! Everyone one of the war criminals should have been executed. For Christ’s sake look what they did. NEVER AGAIN I can tell you that!

  2. T. SilvaDecember 24, 2011 at 5:55 pmReply

    How unjust that some of these demons got to live into their 80s & 90s while millions of innocents died so very young. Yet, I believe in a Just God and am sure that they are receiving the “reward” for their deeds together with anyone else who aided them.

  3. jay essMay 30, 2013 at 4:15 pmReply

    a sad accident, was led to this site by a link, really awful stuff, about man’s inhumanity to man, can give one nightmares or at least a sickening realization, how cruel people can be — I assume it’s all historically accurate (One detail: I take exception, including von Braun — although member of SS you say, as far as I know he was by nature purely a scientist, aeronautics, never involved in war crimes); T Silva brings up the important point, people who are God-fearing — Christian, Jewish, or Shinto whatever — believe that there will always be a divine reckoning by a God of Justice, if such crimes unpunished in this world then in the next.

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