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08 May 2014

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David Habakkuk

Babak Makkinejad,

I wrote that:

'What he was saying was part of a British conversation, which I am not certain I can explain to Americans. Part of it, however, is that Sir Gerald is well aware that Israeli policies have caused massive antipathy in precisely many of those people here that Jews have traditionally trusted and had good reason to trust.'

Perhaps you will explain to me what relevance the number of people in the House when Sir Gerald Kaufman made his comments has to my argument.

jdledell

Babak - You are 100% correct. I guess I fell into the typical Israeli descriptions of the demographics. One of those things I should eject from my thinking cap.

David Habakkuk

Colonel Lang,

Unfortunately I have only just started reading the ‘Soldaten’ book to which I referred. My sister gave me, at Christmas, a much less scholarly book by a lady called Helen Fry which was specifically about the Jewish ‘enemy aliens’ who were recruited to monitor the conversations at Trent Park.

I need to find time to read the ‘Soldaten’ book carefully, but my initial impression is that, as so often, the truth turns out to be much more complex and ambiguous than different kinds of conventional wisdoms want to suggest.

My friend’s younger brother, Adam Ganz, wrote a radio play about Trent Park, called ‘Listening to the Generals’. Part of it was a kind of fictionalised transformation of his father’s role, and – critically – of his relationship to the girl he married, who was English.

This was interpolated with – quite unfictionalised – re-enactments of the arguments between the captured German generals, which followed the transcripts quite literally.

I was reminded of these recently, reading an account by the late Joachim Fest of the events leading up to Hitler’s suicide. Not long before his own suicide, Hitler’s chief adjudant, General William Burgdorf, exploded in a conversation with Bormann and General Hans Krebs:

“Leave me alone, Hans: somebody has to say all this! Young officers went to their deaths by their hundreds of thousands.” And for what, he was asking himself. The answer was, neither for the Fatherland nor for the future. Only now did he realize that “they died for you … Millions of innocent of beings [were] sacrificed, while you, the leaders of the Party, enriched yourselves with the wealth of the people. You lived it up, amassed immense riches, stole Junker estates, built palaces, deceived and oppressed the people. You trampled our ideals into the mud, our ideals, our morals, our soul. For you a human being was only a tool for your unquenchable hunger for power. You destroyed our centuries-old culture and the German people. This is your terrible burden of guilt.’

In her book, Helen Fry writes that at Trent Park Peter Ganz ‘heard the admissions of guilt by the Generals and details of war crimes against the Jewish people.’

Ironically, perhaps, when Adam Ganz portrayed his father talking his English girlfriend about his entry to Buchenwald, he recalled him saying – if I recall him right – that the Jews he met there had nothing in common. Which is actually a factual statement about Jews in Europe, until the anti-Semites and Zionists decided to collaborate in the preposterous fiction that Jews are all fundamentally alike.

Perhaps what Burgdorf says may make it possible to understand why a German Jew who had listened to accounts of atrocities committed by his country’s soldiers against many peoples – Russians and other Slavs, as well as Jews – could spent his career instructing British people in the complexities of German culture.

turcopolier

jdledell

The Israeli Jews have many strange "tics' about the native population and their culture. For example they seem always to pronounce the hard "H" in Arabic as "kha." There is such a sound in Arabic but it is altogether a different letter. Because of this mispronunciation words like "Hamas" seem always pronounced by Hebrew speakers as "Khamas." This is especially odd since there are equivalent letters in Hebrew. In the same way Hebrew speakers who are not native speakers of Arabic never seem to realize that they have distinctive accents that are instantly recognizable by Arabs. A few years ago I met a young Israeli scholar who was not interested in being identified as such. He had traveled extensively, he said, in Yemen with Sunni jihadis. I told him that he had learned his Arabic at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. I then recounted to him the many ways that his accent betrayed him. "You are lucky to be alive," I told him. I am not a speaker of Hebrew but I, too have an accent. most Arabs tell me that they cannot determine if Yemeni or Qudsi influences predominate. pl

Patrick D

Jeff, I'm a pro-American American and the issues you've raised are irrelevant.

SST is highly critical of U.S. policy and actions in the Middle East and the actors in the U.S. and in the region that work to perpetuate it because it is mostly disconnected from our actual national interests.

Since the most significant elements of that policy are the "special relationship" with Israel and the mostly transactional relationship with Saudi Arabia, the actors behind those relationships are criticized and posters who, knowingly or not, seem to support them are grilled.

It wasn't long ago an Arab-American woman was grilled here about her possible pro-insurgent sympathies regarding the Syrian civil war and received some very unflattering straight talk about the nature of political culture in most Arab countries.

The governments, societies, and cultures of Arab countries regularly receive quite negative commentary here.

But that is not the point for you, is it? It is the fact that SST is not slavishly devoted to Zionism and does not promote Israel's interests at the expanse of American interests that bothers you and betrays you as a propagandist.

turcopolier

David Habakkuk
IMO Burgdorf was pretty much a Nazi Party toady. he would not have had a job as Hitler's adjutant if he had not been. And he was a principal in Rommel's forced suicide So it is doubly interesting that he would have made this little speech to Bormann and Krebs. In the wiki on him it is recorded that while "in the bunker" he made another speech in which he said that after the war, when they had finished purging the Jews, they would have to move on to the Catholics, beginning with those in the Wehrmacht. At that point the Catholic officer he was speaking to rose and left the bunker. We should remember that Burgdorf shot himself in the bunker.

I think it is a shaky business to make a general judgment on the people of as large a drafted force as the WW2 Heer on the basis of interested pleading based in large part on covert recordings of the conversations of captured officers. Those who made the recordings had every reason to interpret what they heard in the worst possible of meanings. In any event would not these officers have known something of what the German government was doing whether or not they could have done anything about it? Would they have not discussed their collective guilt in having failed to stop what the government was doing whether they had been active participants or not? If the evidence against them was so good why were they not tried as a group for war crimes? pl

Phil Cattar

Because George Mitchell is half Lebanese He was probably not considered an honest broker by the Israelis.They most likely did not really care.It is easy to go in to negotiations when you have no intention of really coming close to what the other side wants.Old man Asad was a master of this...................When Clinton almost had an agreement ironed out, Arafat got wind of Ariel Sharon's planned visit,with soldiers, to the mosque in Jersulam.Arafat begged Barak not to let Sharon follow thru on the visit.Barak could not stop Sharon's visit.The talks fell apart right at the end.

Phil Cattar

You can access the "The Daily Star" on the net.It is out of Lebanon and seems has a wide range of POV.....My sister and niece visited Israel for 12 days last year. Not on a guided tour.She has no axe to grind.Her description of her trip matches things the Colonel mentioned.............BTW on the Daily Star read the comments on articles......... everyone is free to express themselves.

turcopolier

David Habakkuk

"General Dietrich von Choltitz is quoted as saying in October 1944: "We all share the guilt. We went along with everything, and we half-took the Nazis seriously, instead of saying "to hell with you and your stupid nonsense". I misled my soldiers into believing this rubbish. I feel utterly ashamed of myself. Perhaps we bear even more guilt than these uneducated animals." (This in apparent reference to Hitler and his supporting Nazi Party members." This is from the wiki on Trent Park. I take this to be the "cri de coeur" of an honorable man berating his fellows for their lack of moral courage. This is about their collective guilt for weakness. This is the man who refused to burn Paris and in so doing defied Hitler. pl

lally

"freedom of speech there is, must be, inherently a right limited by national security prerogatives."

That's what they all say.

Israeli media censorship is a serious affair and highly institutionalized; many layered and time-sensitive. The Judiciary sometimes issues gag orders on reporting that gag orders have been imposed on a certain incident or criminal cas.. The system seems fairly efficient.

Fortunately, during the run-up to our attack on Iraq, the Israeli military censor didn't consider Israeli media reporting on American (& Israeli) preparations a security issue for Israel, per se. Up until 11/02, they talked quite freely about plans going forward.

US media and politicians were still pretending there was a debate over whether or not we would depose Saddam.

optimax

Martin

Under the Treaty of the Little Arkansas the government promised to pay the 112 survivors compensation and never did. Wonder how many direct descendants that is today?

David Habakkuk

Colonel Lang,

I may well have overstated my case. However, a few observations, for what they are worth.

The evidence from Trent Park was not used in war crimes prosecutions, in substantial measure because it was anticipated that similar methods were likely to be useful in future conflicts – including possibly conflicts with the Soviets. Ironically, people who had worked there remained silent for much longer than those who had worked at Bletchley Park had to.

The evidence on which ‘Soldaten’ is based does not simply come from Trent Park. This was one of three centres run by the British. In addition, as early as summer 1941, the U.S. War Department had decided to build similar centres, which came to include Camp Tracy in California for Japanese POWs, and Fort Hunt in Virginia for Germans. A kind of de facto division of labour seems to have emerged, where we concentrated on the Wehrmacht elite, while you focused on ordinary men.

In relation to the war in the East, a central fact was that Hitler decided to conflate two kinds of war which were, in principle, quite different. One was a supposed struggle for survival against the forces of – supposedly Jewish – Bolshevism, the other a war of annihilation and enslavement against the Slavs.

Had he simply concentrated on the war against Bolshevism, he could have successfully exploited both the bitter anti-Soviet feelings alike of non-Russian ethnic groups – including many Slav groups – and also among Russians themselves. In particular, he could have exploited the hatres generated by collectivisation, alike among non-Russians and Russians.

This was what former diplomats at the German Moscow Embassy – such as Hans von Herwarth – wanted the Germans to do. A brief version of his account of the catastrophically suicidal nature of Hitler’s policy can be found at

http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=EK8p35upc8gC&pg=PA67&lpg=PA67&dq=Herwarth+%22Operation+Barbarossa%22&source=bl&ots=CuVgzH0G9l&sig=J0An2Hf1xmFf1jApL1oEd8VALpw&hl=en&sa=X&ei=455wU-_SMcGV7AacwoH4BA&ved=0CEMQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=Herwarth%20%22Operation%20Barbarossa%22&f=false

The point that the Germans got themselves into a vicious circle – whereby abominable treatment of Slavs, including Russian POWs being simply left to starve, and eat each other – gave stimulus to a ruthless partisan movement, which provoked yet more ruthless reprisals, and yet more hatred from peoples who might have been the Germans' allies.

So the distinction between ‘rational’ anti-partisan measures and ‘hoodlum’ behaviour became blurred.

The claim Herwarth makes that this pattern was absent in the North Caucasus is probably fair. Whether he resorted to ‘denial’ in relation to the Wehrmacht role in atrocities in other theatres of war is however a moot point. A propensity to be acutely aware of the atrocities committed against our side, while resorting to denial in relation to those we have committed, is hardly uncommon among human beings.

These matters bear upon current dilemmas. The atrocities committed by the Soviets in the West Ukraine – both in the period between the occupation of their occupation of the area following the Nazi-Soviet Pact and the onset of ‘Operation Barbarossa’, and following its reconquest by the Red Army in I think 1944 – were horrendous. But then, so too were the atrocities committed against Russians.

It appears that the State Department’s notion of doing intelligence – probably also that of the CIA – is to believe implicitly what the West Ukrainian nationalists tell them. Accordingly they are incapable even of beginning to grasp the way that the events of 1941-5 mean that Ukrainians in the East and South can be pulled in different directions.

How John Brennan cannot have realised that to have Ukrainian nationalists shouting ‘burn Colorado, burn’ while people did burn inside the Trade Unions Building in Odessa would polarise opinion in the Donbass against Kiev simply defeats me. Is the man simply thick?

turcopolier

David Habakkuk

"Colonel Lang, I may well have overstated my case." Perhaps so. Fort Hunt is just down the road from here along the GW Parkway on the way to Mt. Vernon, Washington's estate. It is now a park. The number of Japanese PWs captured in the whole world was so small that Camp Tracy must have been a quiet place. Fort Hunt was originally an administrative post for the command of the Washington, DC coast artillery defenses. These defenses were built to defend the capital from British attack. It was later used by CIA to imprison Soviet defectors during Angleton's mole hunt. The buildings are almost all gone now. During WW2 my father was stationed for a time at Camp Ellis, Illinois where several thousand PWs from Panzer Army Afrika were kept. My mother was horrified one day to look out her front window on post to see a column of these Germans marching by on their way to a grass cutting or gardening detail. They were singing something like the Panzer Lied or Westerwald and there I was five years old marching along with them in the front rank while the MP guards led the group. My father thought it was funny. She did not. So, I have a long history of consorting with that enemy. I understand that in England, enlisted prisoners were loaned out to farmers. I am sure you know that under Geneva IV commissioned officer PWs can not be required to do manual labor. That meant nothing to the Japs but with regard to British Commonwealth and US prisoners the Germans were quite scrupulous about it unless you were unlucky enough to be captured by the Waffen SS. They might do anything but even then Bittrich's men behaved decently towards the British at Arnhem. It sounds to me as though life in the British zone of occupation was less pleasant for the Germans than in the the US zone. pl

Larry Kart

Re: one of the points that David Habbakuk made above:

From historian Paul W. Schroeder’s long, brilliant (IMO) essay "Embedded Counterfactuals and World War I as an Unavoidable War”:

http://www.vlib.us/wwi/resources/archives/texts/t040829a/counter.html

(See this passage *** in particular, though the paragraph as a whole adds context):

"Can one envision a plausible scenario in which Napoleon sometime in his career -- say, in 1805 -- decides to stop his course of conquest and settles down to establish a durable system of French hegemony in Europe? Certainly one can imagine this; many of his associates tried hard to persuade him to do so, and I have argued elsewhere that objectively a durable French hegemony was entirely feasible. The only trouble is that for this counterfactual to work, Napoleon would have had to cease being Napoleon, and if he had been a person capable of thus transforming himself, it is impossible to see how he could ever have reached a point in 1805 or another time at which a stable French hegemony in Europe became possible. Napoleon, in other words, comes to us historically in one piece. To change what he was capable of becoming and doing after 1805 is to change what he was and was capable of doing before then. The same point, that counterfactual alterations change the past as well as the future, can easily be illustrated by other examples. *** Could Nazi Germany have defeated the Soviet Union in 1941, destroying the regime and replacing it with German satellite regimes? Quite possibly, by exploiting the nationalities' and peasants' discontent, posing as liberators, giving the peasants back their land, etc. But in order to do that, Hitler and the Nazis would have had to cease being Hitler and the Nazis, and abandon not only the goals for which they had invaded the Soviet Union, but those for which they had seized power. The whole Nazi past as well as the future is changed."

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