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Minority report.

How delightful to read of the departure of Arthur Louis Hugo Rudolph from these shores. We are all supposed to be in his debt because he designed the Saturn rocket and the Pershing missile. But death cancels all debts, and Rudolph was in the death business. Honored and well-paid in America until this year, he has renounced his American citizenship and gone back to Germany rather than face deportation. Having joined the Nazi Party in 1931, which suggests zeal rather than conformity, he rose to be overseer of the Dora concentration camp. Dora's inmates were used as slaves in the construction of Hitler's missile sites, and were worked to death in the race to build enough V-bombs to destroy London. Incentives on the production line included public hangings and torture. Deaths averaged 160 a day. Commenting on Rudolph, Neal Sher, director of the Justice Department's Office of Special Investigations, said, "It is an awful irony that his experience and expertise in rocketry had to be used in this country over the bones of so many innocent victims of Nazi Germany's crimes against humanity."

I'm sure that Sher is a decent man, but I fail to see the "irony" here. Rudloph and his type were brought to the United States not in spite of their Nazi past but because of it. It was precisely their Hitlerite expertise that was in demand. As head of the Central Intelligence Agency's Office of Policy Coordination in the late 1940s and the 1950s, Frank G. Wisner brought to this country a number of known and wanted war criminals. He recruited the leaders of the Byelorussian collaborationist regime; men who had served in the Waffen SS. He enlisted the aid of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Immigration and Naturalization Service in burying their past and creating new identities for them. The idea was to employ those debased characters in a rollback operation to liberate Eastern Europe. Wisner at least had the decency to commit suicide when all this crazed "liberating" came to nothing, but his gruesome clientele survived to get jobs with Radio Liberty and to expire, unmourned but also unpunished, in their beds. Gen. Reinhard Gehlen, who was Hitler's chief of military intelligence on the Eastern front and who must have seen a thing or two, was reincarnated by his American handlers as the head of West German espionage. He parlayed the deal through his knowledged of Communism in the East. More recently, we have learned that Klaus Barbie was recruited into the American Counter Intelligence Corps (C.I.C) only two years after the fall of the Third Reich and only three years after he ceased to be, in the wearisome newspaper cliche, "the butcher of Lyon."

Barbie was employed by the C.I.C. as an agent in the American zone of occupied Germany until French outrage over the discovery of his employment forced him to flee to South America. This flight, too, was made possible by the C.I.C. and its wide network of frinds among Croatian and Austrian Nazis. Thereafter, Barbie made himself useful to the extreme right in Bolivia (his country of adoption) as well as in Chile, Argentina and El Salvador. Those who found use for him cannot claim they were ignorant of his real identity.

If it is read against this background, the C.I.A. handbook for coutnerrevolutionaries in Nicaragua becomes readily intelligible.

How do you employ fascists while denying that your methods are fascistic and while hysterically flapping the banner of democracy? The answer is that you cannot--but you can lie about it to a gullible Congress. In Washington late last month, a new official justification for the famous terroist manual was put forward. It now is claimed that the booklet was designed to tame the contra forces, whose fondness for sadism and pillage was becoming an embarrassment. According to Edgar Chamorro of the laughably named Nicaraguan Democratic Force (F.D.N.), the level of indiscriminate killing by his forces had reached such a pitch that the C.I.A. pamphlet was designed to steer and canalize the violence. (This ingenious excuse, incidentally, involves the first official confirmation of reports about contra atrocities which have long been denied.)

It seems according to Chamorro and to C.I.A. officers, that one John Kirkpatrick (good name) visited the "rebels" in September of last year and established during his fact-finding tour that they went in for massacre, forced recruitment, torture, rape and public execution. Like the apocryphal pianist in the brothel, he affected to be shocked at this revelation. On hi return to honduras, he began work on "psychological operations in guerrilla warfare," which urged the lads to be more selective in their killing and to master such destabilizing tactics as booking Nicaraguan hotel rooms and the not showing up.

Three questions arise: One, Where do they find people like Kirkpatrick? Two, Given that his manual suggests murdering one's own side in order to create martyrs, who bombed Eden Pastora? Three, What else did anybody expect? A contra leader mentioned by Chamorro and known as Commander Suicide was a former Somocista National Guard officer. It seems that his associates were hurt and surprised when he "went on a rampage" of murder, kidnap and rape. Apparently he was so depressing in his addiction to these pursuits that he had to be executed by Argentine officers attached to the contras. What do you have to do before the Argentine right considers you a war criminal? Stoke the ovens with non-Jews?

This is being done in our name and with our money. It is being arranged by the political descendants of those who hired Barbie, Gehlen, Rudolph and the rest. (It was Frank Wisner, also, who arranged the C.I.A.'s removal of the Jacobo Arbenz government in Guatemala in 1954.) They believe that fascists are mere instruments, with no recoil in the hands of those who employ them. They also believe, as the Nazis did, that nothing done against the world Communist conspiracy can be immoral. Rudolph's Pershing missile, now being pressed on a reluctant Europe, is a weapon of genocide. Rudolph, Barbie and his co-thinkers were practitioners of it. The apparent readiness to use either, or both, is a mark of where the cold war has led us and may lead us yet.
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Title Annotation:the C.I.A. counterrevolutionaries' handbook and the use of fascist tactics to spread democracy
Author:Hitchens, Christopher
Publication:The Nation
Article Type:column
Date:Nov 17, 1984
Previous Article:Don't write - sue.
Next Article:Sovieticus.

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