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FTR #302 Update on German Corporate Control over the American Media

Lis­ten: Side 1 [1] | Side 2 [2]

This pro­gram sup­ple­ments an ongo­ing series, begin­ning in Decem­ber of 1998.

1. The pro­gram begins with a recap of an arti­cle that was high­light­ed in FTR #299. Because the impli­ca­tions of the arti­cle for Amer­i­can telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions (and, con­se­quent­ly, this series) would be dif­fi­cult to exag­ger­ate, it is reviewed here. In a sweep­ing rul­ing, the FCC gave the go ahead to Deutsche Telekom (con­trolled by the Ger­man gov­ern­ment) to pur­chase Amer­i­can mobile tele­phone com­pa­nies. (The head of the FCC is Michael Pow­ell, Col­in Pow­ell’s son.) More impor­tant­ly, the rul­ing gives the go-ahead to the future pur­chase of Amer­i­can telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies by com­pa­nies that are con­trolled by for­eign gov­ern­ments. The gov­ern­ing pro­to­col to deter­mine whether such pur­chas­es are accept­able will be the WTO’s stan­dard of being “in the pub­lic inter­est.” “. . . . Although extend­ed reg­u­la­to­ry debates can fre­quent­ly lead to doc­u­ments full of mealy-mouthed bureau­cratese, the 97-page order issued by the FCC is as sweep­ing and prece­dent-set­ting as Mr. Pow­ell had want­ed. It goes fur­ther than any pre­vi­ous rul­ing in the agen­cy’s 66-year his­to­ry to open up the U.S. telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions mar­ket to for­eign com­peti­tors. ‘This is the green light. This is the paved road. This is the auto­bahn,” said Rudy Baca, an ana­lyst of inter­na­tion­al tele­coms reg­u­la­tion with the Pre­cur­sor Group. ‘It’s more defin­i­tive than most peo­ple expect­ed.’ At the heart of the debate over the deal was a dis­creet sec­tion of the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions act that con­tains seem­ing­ly con­tra­dic­to­ry guid­ance on how to deal with for­eign tele­coms owned by their gov­ern­ments. One part of the law states flat­ly that no U.S. phone licens­es can be held ‘by any for­eign gov­ern­ment or rep­re­sen­ta­tive there­of.’ But anoth­er sec­tion allows a com­pa­ny to buy the license if the FCC rules it in the pub­lic inter­est. The inter­pre­ta­tion of the lan­guage is cru­cial, since out­side the UK, most big over­seas com­pa­nies remain at least par­tial­ly in the hands of gov­ern­ments. After the Voic­eS­tream deal clos­es, for instance, Telekom will still be 45 per cent-owned by the Ger­man gov­ern­ment. The same is the case for impor­tant inter­na­tion­al play­ers such as France Tele­com and Japan’s NTT. In its Telekom-Voic­eS­tream rul­ing, the FCC found the word­ing call­ing for an out­right ban applies only if a for­eign gov­ern­ment itself tries to acquire a license — a high­ly unlike­ly sce­nario that, for all intents and pur­pos­es, makes the clause moot. Instead, all com­pa­nies where a gov­ern­ment owns a stake will be gov­erned by the pub­lic inter­est waiv­er. In addi­tion, the FCC went even fur­ther, say­ing that due trade com­mit­ments, any pur­chase by a com­pa­ny from a WTO coun­try will be assumed to be in the pub­lic inter­est, a clear sign that the agency has opened the flood gates. ‘The FCC has con­firmed that it will be apply­ing U.S. law to U.S. WTO com­mit­ments, said Scott Blake Har­ris, for­mer head of the FCC’s inter­na­tion­al bureau who worked for Voic­eS­tream in the deal. Ana­lysts pre­dict that the order could lead to a new save of for­eign invest­ment, which could tar­get even the largest U.S. car­ri­ers. The FCC’s sweep­ing rul­ing, how­ev­er, has incensed the deal’s oppo­nents, includ­ing Sen­a­tor Ernest Hollings, who came with­in a hair’s breadth of block­ing the merg­er through leg­is­la­tion last year. He has vowed to rein­tro­duce the bill this ses­sion and include a pro­vi­sion that would force the Ger­man gov­ern­ment to sell most of its stake in Telekom if it want­ed to retain Voic­eS­tream. ‘They basi­cal­ly rewrote the law,’ said one crit­ic. “They just changed 65 years of jurispru­dence.’ ” (“US Rul­ing on Telekom Could Lead to Wave of Invest­ment” by Peter Spiegel in Wash­ing­ton; Finan­cial Times; 5/2/2001; p. 8.)

2. As the sto­ry indi­cates, the FCC rul­ing estab­lish­es WTO mem­ber­ship and “the pub­lic inter­est” as the pri­ma­ry cri­te­ria for eval­u­at­ing pur­chas­es of Amer­i­can telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions firms by com­pa­nies con­trolled by for­eign gov­ern­ments. Much of the first half of the pro­gram reviews infor­ma­tion about Robert Zoel­lick, one of the prin­ci­pal archi­tects of the WTO. (The arti­cles are excerpt­ed from FTR 273. Zoel­lick was appoint­ed as U.S. Trade Rep­re­sen­ta­tive by George Bush.)

As not­ed else­where, WTO mid­wife Zoel­lick is a fel­low and board mem­ber of the Ger­man Mar­shall Fund of the Unit­ed States. (“Robert Bruce Zoel­lick” by Joseph Kahn; New York Times; 1/12/2001; p. A15.) This orga­ni­za­tion, in turn, is inex­tri­ca­bly linked with the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion.

3. The eco­nom­ic and polit­i­cal com­po­nent of a Third Reich gone under­ground, the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion con­trols cor­po­rate Ger­many and much of the rest of the world. It was cre­at­ed and run by Mar­tin Bor­mann, the orga­ni­za­tion­al genius who was the “the pow­er behind the throne” in Nazi Ger­many.

4. Paul Man­ning describes this orga­ni­za­tion in some detail in his book Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile [3]. “By the 1970s, the West Ger­mans had con­clud­ed that influ­enc­ing U.S. pub­lic opin­ion is bet­ter accom­plished with a skilled touch than with a meat cleaver, which had char­ac­ter­ized their efforts dur­ing the two world wars. An exam­ple of such skill was the staged news event of June 5, 1972, when Willy Brandt announced at Har­vard Uni­ver­si­ty that the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many would donate 150 mil­lion marks ($47 mil­lion) to estab­lish a foun­da­tion in hon­or of the Mar­shall Plan — a states­man­like approach to the recov­ery of for­mer ene­mies, and to the recov­ery gen­er­al­ly of West­ern Europe. Brandt stat­ed that the mon­ey would arrive in equal install­ments for the next fif­teen years, for the estab­lish­ment and oper­a­tion in the Unit­ed States of an inde­pen­dent Amer­i­can-run edu­ca­tion­al foun­da­tion spe­cial­iz­ing in solu­tions to Euro­pean prob­lems, to be known as the ‘Ger­man Mar­shall Fund of the Unit­ed States — A Memo­r­i­al to the Mar­shall Plan.’

5. “The over­rid­ing func­tion of this Ger­man George C. Mar­shall Research Foun­da­tion is pub­lic rela­tions, to cos­me­tize the Ger­man indus­tri­al­ists and bankers whose cor­po­ra­tions whose cor­po­ra­tions had worked so suc­cess­ful­ly for the Third Reich. In Octo­ber 1978, the Mar­shall Foun­da­tion was uti­lized as a plat­form for Dr. Her­mann J. Abs, now hon­orary pres­i­dent of Deutsche Bank A.G., as he addressed a meet­ing of busi­ness­men and bankers and mem­bers of the For­eign Pol­i­cy Asso­ci­a­tion in New York City on the ‘Prob­lems and Prospects of Amer­i­can-Ger­man Eco­nom­ic Coop­er­a­tion.’ This lun­cheon meet­ing was chaired by his old friend, John J. McCloy, Wall Street banker and lawyer, who had worked close­ly with Dr. Abs when McCloy served as U.S. High Com­mis­sion­er for Ger­many dur­ing those post­war recon­struc­tion years. At that time, Her­mann Abs, as chief exec­u­tive of Deutsche Bank, was also direct­ing the spend­ing of Amer­i­ca’s Mar­shall Plan mon­ey in West Ger­many as the chair­man of the Recon­struc­tion Loan Cor­po­ra­tion of the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many. With them on the dais were Hen­ry H. Fowler, Wall Street invest­ment banker and for­mer U.S. Sec­re­tary of the Trea­sury; Hen­ry Cabot Lodge, for­mer U.S. ambas­sador to the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many; George C. McGhee, anoth­er for­mer Amer­i­can ambas­sador to West Ger­many, also a trustee of the Mar­shall Foun­da­tion and a mem­ber of var­i­ous pri­vate and gov­ern­ment advi­so­ry groups. These, along with the oth­ers on the dais and in the audi­ence, rep­re­sent firms and banks that are among the most pres­ti­gious in the Unit­ed States and through­out the world; all ben­e­fit­ed from the rebirth and rebound­ing pros­per­i­ty of the new Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many. Know­ing­ly or no, these fig­ures and their cor­po­ra­tions are indebt­ed to the man who was not there, the finan­cial and admin­is­tra­tive genius who set the foun­da­tion for the post­war recov­ery of West Ger­many, Mar­tin Bor­mann.” (Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Man­ning; Copy­right 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stu­art Inc.; ISBN 0–8184-0309–8; pp. 261–262.)

6. Man­ning goes on to describe the func­tion of the Ger­man Mar­shall Fund, an inter­est­ing fac­tor to con­tem­plate in con­nec­tion with Zoel­lick, his piv­otal role in the cre­ation of the WTO and, in turn, the WTO’s impor­tant role as the yard­stick by which pur­chas­es of Amer­i­can telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions firms will be mea­sured by the FCC. “The Stroking of Amer­i­can pub­lic opin­ion by Ger­man inter­ests, as by those of Japan, is cal­cu­lat­ed to open fur­ther the Amer­i­can mar­ket. The Unit­ed States remains the rich­est and the most prof­itable mar­ket on the face of the earth, and these busi­ness­men and bankers know that they either buy their way in or nego­ti­ate their way in. They know that if they are going to suc­ceed as world com­pa­nies they must have a gen­er­ous slice of the U.S. mar­ket, and today this can be accom­plished only through ties, treaties, and agree­ments, no longer entire­ly through retained earn­ings and bank lines of cred­it.” (Ibid.; p. 262.)

7. Zoel­lick­’s even­tu­al ascent to a posi­tion of pow­er in this insti­tu­tion is par­tic­u­lar­ly inter­est­ing to note in the con­text of some of his oth­er actions, pro­fes­sion­al asso­ci­a­tions and beliefs. A mem­ber of the Bush State Depart­ment, Zoel­lick was a strong, effec­tive advo­cate with­in James Bak­er’s for­eign pol­i­cy estab­lish­ment for speedy Ger­man reuni­fi­ca­tion, and he played a piv­otal role in bring­ing it about. “Mr. Zoel­lick, the oth­er lead­ing can­di­date for the trade job, was a for­eign pol­i­cy wun­derkind under Mr. Bak­er. He helped design and car­ry out Unit­ed States pol­i­cy on Ger­man reuni­fi­ca­tion a decade ago. He also helped start NAFTA nego­ti­a­tions from his post in the State Depart­ment.” (“Bush Seek­ing to Over­haul Pol­i­cy Mak­ing” by Joseph Kahn and Frank Bruni; New York Times; 1/6/2001; p. B14.)

8. Sig­nif­i­cant­ly, Zoel­lick mid­wifed a diplo­mat­ic com­pro­mise to cre­ate the World Trade Orga­ni­za­tion. (“Robert Bruce Zoel­lick” by Joseph Kahn; New York Times; 1/12/2001; p. A15.)

9. With regard to Ger­man reuni­fi­ca­tion, Zoel­lick con­vinced the Bush admin­is­tra­tion to embrace Ger­man uni­ty. “A con­fi­dant of for­mer Sec­re­tary of State James A. Bak­er III, he ral­lied west­ern allies to back a speedy Ger­man reuni­fi­ca­tion and fina­gled a com­pro­mise that led to the cre­ation of the World Trade Orga­ni­za­tion. . . .But he is most wide­ly remem­bered in for­eign pol­i­cy cir­cles for being the Unites States’ rep­re­sen­ta­tive at the mul­ti­par­ty nego­ti­a­tion of the future of divid­ed Ger­many. He per­suad­ed the Bush admin­is­tra­tion to embrace Ger­man uni­ty despite the qualms of allies and alarm in the for­mer Sovi­et Union.” (Ibid.; p. A15.)

10. Anoth­er cred­it on Zoel­lick­’s cur­ricu­lum vitae, is his par­tic­i­pa­tion with James Bak­er, his appar­ent men­tor, in the “Flori­da Recount,” that gave Bush his “vic­to­ry.” “Zoel­lick also served as coun­selor to the Trea­sury sec­re­tary dur­ing the Ronald Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion, in addi­tion to oth­er posts. He is a pro­tégé of James A. Bak­er III, the long­time Repub­li­can offi­cial. Both trav­eled to Flori­da to help George W. Bush dur­ing the recent bal­lot recount con­tro­ver­sy.” (“Bush’s Trade Chief Rat­ed as Smart, Smooth Nego­tia­tor” by Jonathan Peter­son; Los Ange­les Times; 1/12/2001; p. A15.)

11. With the types of con­nec­tions exem­pli­fied above, Zoel­lick is viewed with favor in Europe. “The appoint­ment will be greet­ed favor­ably in Europe, where Mr. Zoel­lick has strong con­tacts in both gov­ern­ment and busi­ness. He was one of a hand­full of Bush advis­ers that a senior EU del­e­ga­tion sought out last month when they vis­it­ed Wash­ing­ton.” By Edward Alden, Richard Wolffe and Stephen Fidler; Finan­cial Times; 1/12/2001; p. 4.)

12. Zoel­lick­’s par­ti­san role on behalf of Ger­many dur­ing the clos­ing phase of the Cold War, his piv­otal role in the cre­ation of the WTO, and his sig­nif­i­cance in the Bush/Baker milieu would seem to augur well for con­di­tions in Amer­i­ca for Ger­man cor­po­ra­tions. Giv­en FCC Chair­man Michael Pow­ell’s recent actions on acqui­si­tions of Amer­i­can telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies, Zoel­lick­’s actions have helped to open up the Amer­i­can telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions land­scape to Ger­man cor­po­rate preda­tors. (“US Rul­ing on Telekom Could Lead to Wave of Invest­ment” by Peter Spiegel; Finan­cial Times; 5/2/2001.)

13. This, in turn, is to be eval­u­at­ed in terms of the sce­nario pre­sent­ed in the Nazi tract Ser­pen­t’s Walk. Mr. Emory believes that, like The Turn­er Diaries (also pub­lished by Nation­al Van­guard Books), the book is actu­al­ly a blue­print for what is going to take place. It is a nov­el about a Nazi takeover of the Unit­ed States in the mid­dle of the 21st cen­tu­ry. The book describes the Third Reich going under­ground, buy­ing into the Amer­i­can media, and tak­ing over the coun­try. “It assumes that Hitler’s war­rior elite — the SS — did­n’t give up their strug­gle for a White world when they lost the Sec­ond World War. Instead their sur­vivors went under­ground and adopt­ed some of their tac­tics of their ene­mies: they began build­ing their eco­nom­ic mus­cle and buy­ing into the opin­ion-form­ing media. A cen­tu­ry after the war they are ready to chal­lenge the democ­rats and Jews for the hearts and minds of White Amer­i­cans, who have begun to have their fill of gov­ern­ment-enforced mul­ti-cul­tur­al­ism and ‘equal­i­ty.’ ” (From the back cov­er of Ser­pen­t’s Walk by “Ran­dolph D. Calver­hall;” Copy­right 1991 [SC]; Nation­al Van­guard Books; 0–937944-05‑X.)

14. This process is described in more detail in a pas­sage of text, con­sist­ing of a dis­cus­sion between Wrench (a mem­ber of this Under­ground Reich) and a mer­ce­nary named Less­ing. “The SS . . . what was left of it . . . had busi­ness objec­tives before and dur­ing World War II. When the war was lost they just kept on, but from oth­er places: Bogo­ta, Asun­cion, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Mex­i­co City, Colom­bo, Dam­as­cus, Dac­ca . . . you name it. They real­ized that the world is head­ing towards a ‘cor­po­racra­cy;’ five or ten inter­na­tion­al super-com­pa­nies that will run every­thing worth run­ning by the year 2100. Those super-cor­po­ra­tions exist now, and they’re already divid­ing up the pro­duc­tion and mar­ket­ing of food, trans­port, steel and heavy indus­try, oil, the media, and oth­er com­modi­ties. They’re most­ly con­glom­er­ates, with fin­gers in more than one pie . . . . We, the SS, have the say in four or five. We’ve been com­pet­ing for the past six­ty years or so, and we’re slow­ly gain­ing . . . . About ten years ago, we swung a merg­er, a takeover, and got vot­ing con­trol of a super­corp that runs a small but sig­nif­i­cant chunk of the Amer­i­can media. Not open­ly, not with bands and trum­pets or swastikas fly­ing, but qui­et­ly: one huge cor­po­ra­tion cud­dling up to anoth­er one and gen­tly munch­ing it up, like a great, gub­bing amoe­ba. Since then we’ve been replac­ing exec­u­tives, push­ing some­body out here, bring­ing some­body else in there. We’ve swing pro­gram con­tent around, too. Not much, but a lit­tle, so it won’t show. We’ve cut down on ‘nasty-Nazi’ movies . . . good guys in white hats and bad guys in black SS hats . . . lov­able Jews ver­sus fiendish Ger­mans . . . and we have media psy­chol­o­gists, ad agen­cies, and behav­ior mod­i­fi­ca­tion spe­cial­ists work­ing on image changes.” (Ibid.; pp. 42–43.)

15. Before turn­ing direct­ly to the sub­ject of music, the broad­cast address­es the grad­ual remak­ing of the image of the Third Reich that is rep­re­sent­ed in Ser­pen­t’s Walk. In the dis­cus­sion excerpt­ed above, this process is fur­ther described. “Hell, if you can con granny into buy­ing Sug­ar Turds instead of Bran Farts, then why can’t you swing pub­lic opin­ion over to a cause as vital and impor­tant as ours?’ . . . In any case, we’re slow­ly replac­ing those neg­a­tive images with oth­ers: the ‘Good Bad Guy’ rou­tine’ . . . ‘What do you think of Jesse James? John Dillinger? Julius Cae­sar? Genghis Khan?’ . . . The real­i­ty may have been rough, but there’s a sort of glit­ter about most of those dudes: mean hon­chos but respectable. It’s all how you pack­age it. Opin­ion is a godamned com­mod­i­ty!’ . . . It works with any­body . . . Give it time. Aside from the media, we’ve been buy­ing up pri­vate schools . . . and help­ing some pub­lic ones through phil­an­thropic foun­da­tions . . . and work­ing on the church­es and the Born Agains.” (Ibid.; pp. 42–44.)

16. Next, the pro­gram con­sid­ers an odd law­suit, which embraces evi­den­tiary trib­u­taries run­ning in the direc­tion of the remark­able and dead­ly Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion, as well as the issue of cul­ture and his­tor­i­cal revi­sion­ism. The heirs to Hitler’s per­son­al pho­tog­ra­ph­er are suing to obtain paint­ings done by Hitler. (“Court Con­sid­ers Own­er­ship of Seized Hitler Paint­ings” by William H. Honan; New York Times; 5/8/2001; pp. B1-B6.)

17. Some experts view the return of the paint­ings by the Unit­ed States gov­ern­ment to be con­ducive to a restora­tion of Hitler’s image and a reha­bil­i­ta­tion of his pol­i­tics. (Idem.)

18. The rights to pho­tog­ra­ph­er Hein­rich Hoff­man’s pic­tures of Hitler were held exclu­sive­ly by Mar­tin Bor­mann, sug­gest­ing at least the pos­si­bil­i­ty that the con­sid­er­able sum from the law­suit would be des­tined for the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion. (Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile; by Paul Man­ning; Lyle Stu­art Inc.; 1991; p. 44.)

19. Just as the Hitler water­col­ors were seen by some as pre­sent­ing the threat of mar­ket­ing “a kinder, gen­tler Hitler,” so too were a series of forged sketch­es attrib­uted to Hitler while he was serv­ing in the Ger­man army dur­ing World War I. Those draw­ings received the enthu­si­as­tic endorse­ment of Dirk Baven­damm, the offi­cial house his­to­ri­an for the Ber­tels­mann firm. (“Ber­tels­man­n’s Revi­sion­ist” The Nation; 11/8/99. [4]) This “cul­tur­al revi­sion­ism” would fit in well with the sce­nario pre­sent­ed in Ser­pen­t’s Walk.

20. The broad­cast con­cludes with sup­ple­men­tal dis­cus­sion of per­son­al­i­ties in the Hitler water­col­ors case whose Nazi careers over­lapped Bor­man­n’s sphere of influ­ence. (Quest by Frank Bran­den­burg and Ib Mel­chior; Copy­right 1990 [SC]; Pre­sidio Press; p. 109.)