For Part One of this article, which covered the history of various key Nazis brought to work for the U.S. military, and how this history was withheld in Air Force training documents, click here. Both Part One and Part Two of this article take off from an investigation by Jason Leopold at Truthout and documents obtained via FOIA by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

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Not Just Rocket Scientists — the MKULTRA Connection

According to the Air Force “Space History,” Paperclip was limited to the operation to move the Nazi rocket scientists. But Paperclip and assorted similar programs brought hundreds of Nazi scientists to the U.S. According to Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair in their book, Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press (out of print), these included Kurt Blome, “who had tested Sarin nerve gas on prisoners at Auschwitz;” Hermann Becker-Feyseng and Konrad Schaeffer, who conducted hideous experiments on prisoners at Dachau, injecting salt water into the veins, or forcing salt water down the throats of dozens of prisons, all of whom died.

According to Cockburn and St. Clair, “One of the most despicable cases was that of Nazi aviation researcher Emil Salmon, who during the war had helped set fire to a synagogue filled with Jewish women and children. Salmon was sheltered by US officials at Wright Air Force Base in Ohio after being convicted of crimes by a denazification court in Germany.”

The list of Nazi scientists goes on and on, especially those employed by the Air Force. Consider the case of Dr. Hubertus Strughold, dubbed the “Father of American Space Medicine.” In 1995, the Anti-Defamation League got Secretary of the Air Force “to remove Dr. Hubertus Strughold’s name from the Aeromedical Library at Brooks Air Force Base near San Antonio, Texas…. “Dr. Strughold headed the Third Reich’s [Luftwaffe] Institute of Aviation Medicine during the war, which subjected concentration camp inmates to abuse and torture, thinly disguised as ‘experiments.'” (X-File fans might remember the character of Conrad Strughold, who was based upon Dr. Strughold.)

Among the most secret of the Paperclip scientists were those brought to Edgewood Arsenal. Investigative journalist Hank Albarelli, Jr., in a fascinating article on Paperclip, wrote about one of the scientists brought to Edgewood as part of Nazi importation program. (Disclosure: I have also co-authored a few articles with Albarelli, and hosted his FDL Book Salon for his landmark book on the killing of Frank Olson, A Terrible Mistake.)

Dr. Friedrich “Fritz” Hoffmann… came to America in 1947 through the Paperclip pipeline. During the war, Hoffmann had been based in Frankfurt and Gatow, a district of Berlin, where he conducted a myriad of chemical experiments for the Third Reich.

In the U.S., Hoffmann was initially posted at Camp Detrick and Edgewood Arsenal, where he continued his work with refining lethal sarin and tabun gases for warfare objectives, utilizing a specially built gas chamber, put together along with Edgewood Arsenal research chief Dr. Seymour Silver, within which countless animals were destroyed, and at least 25 alleged ‘volunteer’ American servicemen were experimented upon. Reports that several servicemen died in these experiments have persisted for decades, but the Pentagon refuses to release any documents concerning the experiments.

Hoffman later turned to LSD experiments at Fort Detrick’s Special Operations Division, Frederick, Maryland. According to Albarelli, “primates would be fed a steady diet of psychotropic drugs in efforts to study various stages of induced ‘psychotic behavior.’ These experiments would quickly evolve into human experiments conducted among U.S. service personnel at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland and several federal prisons,” including Atlanta federal penitentiary.

According to Hunt, at least eight former Paperclip Nazis worked in the Edgewood program, testing LSD and other substances on unwitting soldier “volunteers.” One, James B. Stanley, testified to Congress of the terrible effects of the testing on him, though he had no idea for almost twenty years what had happened to him. According to a 1991 news article in the Baltimore Sun:

Mr. Johnston told the [House] subcommittee that Mr. Stanley, who now lives in Palm Springs, Fla., was a 24-year-old sergeant in 1958 when he volunteered for what the Army said was a test of protective clothing for its chemical warfare program at Edgewood.

But instead of donning clothing at Edgewood, Mr. Stanley on several occasions met with a man he thought was a psychologist who instructed him to drink from a glass of water, the congressman said.

“He did not know that glass of water contained LSD,” said the congressman. “Ultimately after a series of bizarre and disturbing behavior changes, Sergeant Stanley lost his job with the Army, his marriage, and all he had worked for. A promising life had suddenly disintegrated in a very short time.”

Stanley only found out about what really happened in 1975 “when he received a letter from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda inviting him to take part in a follow-up study of individuals given doses of LSD in the late 1950s.” Stanley sued the U.S. government for damages, and the case went all the way to the Supreme Court, who turned down his claim 5-4 in 1986. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor dissented on the disallowance of the Bivens claim, which would have financially compensated Stanley for damages.

No judicially crafted rule should insulate from liability the involuntary and unknowing human experimentation alleged to have occurred in this case. Indeed, as JUSTICE BRENNAN observes, the United States military played an instrumental role in the criminal prosecution of Nazi officials who experimented with human subjects during the Second World War, ante, at 687, and the standards that the Nuremberg Military Tribunals developed to judge the behavior of the defendants stated that the “voluntary consent of the human subject is absolutely essential . . . to satisfy moral, ethical and legal concepts.” United States v. Brandt (The Medical Case), 2 Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuremberg Military Tribunals Under Control Council Law No. 10, p. 181 (1949). If this principle is violated the very least that society can do is to see that the victims are compensated, as best they can be, by the perpetrators. I am prepared to say that our Constitution’s promise of due process of law guarantees this much. Accordingly, I would permit James Stanley’s Bivens action to go forward, and I therefore dissent.

Today, there is an ongoing case, Vietnam Veterans of America, et al. v. Central Intelligence Agency, et al., attempting to “seek declaratory and injunctive relief only – no monetary damages.” See the plaintiffs’ website for more information and access to all the documentation in the case, which includes relevant government documents going back decades. The website notes the government’s failure to obtain adequate informed consent — a key principle of Nuremberg — as the government engaged in experiments, including “the use of troops to test nerve gas, psychochemicals, and thousands of other toxic chemical or biological substances and perhaps most gruesomely, the insertion of septal implants in the brains of subjects in a ghastly series of mind control experiments that went awry.”

The Dangers of Historical Revisionism and Secrecy

The historical revisionism around the history of U.S. military and intelligence activities continues apace. It flourishes in part because of the secrecy that has long surrounded these activities, and the difficulty of obtaining even open source material. Many of the best books are out of print (Hunt, Cockburn and St. Clair, etc.).

While little is in print about Operation Paperclip, or the U.S. military use of former Nazis, there have been some important books about U.S. policy and the Nazis in recent years, as U.S. policy in regards to the Nazis is far broader and just as scandalous as the Paperclip project. U.S. corporate collaboration with Hitler’s regime is the subject of Edwin Black’s controversial IBM and the Holocaust. Black’s book reports how “As the Third Reich embarked upon its plan of conquest and genocide, IBM and its subsidiaries helped create enabling technologies, step-by-step, from the identification and cataloging programs of the 1930s to the selections of the 1940s.”

Another overlooked book is John Loftus’s America’s Nazi Secret, which is an updating of his previous book, The Belarus Secret. Loftus, who was a prosecutor with DoJ’s Office of Special Prosecutions, charged with hunting down and deporting Nazis in America, discovered that the CIA had laundered evidence of war crimes to clear East European and Russian Nazis or fascist sympathizers so they could enter the U.S. under special programs, and that his very own Department of Justice colluded in this. The East Europeans and Russian fascists were used by the Office of Policy Coordination, a special intelligence network later folded into the CIA, in assassination and sabotage programs aimed at the Soviet Union or persons deemed politically dangerous in the post-World War II internment camps sprinkled throughout Europe in the late 1940s.

Indeed, DoJ’s Office of Special Investigation (OSI) report, “Striving for Accountability in the Aftermath of the Holocaust,” released last year carries none of this information. Instead, OSI reserved an entire chapter of the work to attack Loftus and his investigations, a fact I had not realized last November when I posted on the FOIA release of the OSI report.

The mainstream press appears to be little interested in pursuing this material. And, as we have seen, in Part One and Two of this posting, how the U.S. military uses a sanitized version of history to educate those who are training to be the instruments of mass murder. The U.S. government also pursues programs and policies that are Nazi-like, like the pilotless drone program, or top secret experiments on drugs (an IG report on the drugging of detainees at Guantanamo was totally classified upon publication a few years ago), or the targeting of communities (like Muslims or Arabs) based on ethnicity. I say “Nazi-like” not just because I or some other writer wishes to label them so, but because in certain cases they represent literally the continuation of Nazi research or ideology brought to America.

Jeff Kaye

Jeff Kaye

Jeffrey Kaye is a retired psychologist who has worked professionally with torture victims and asylum applicants. Active in the anti-torture movement since 2006, he has his own blog, Invictus, previously wrote regularly for Firedoglake’s The Dissenter, as well as at The Guardian, Truthout, Alternet, and The Public Record. He is the author of Cover-Up at Guantanamo, a new book examining declassified files on treatment of prisoners at the Guantanamo detention camp.