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FTR #614 Oleaginous Diplomacy – “Who Still Talks Nowadays of the Extermination of the Armenians?”

Recorded October 14, 2007
MP3: Side 1 [1] | Side 2 [2]

Further disturbing an already turbulent Middle East political landscape, the diplomatic dispute between the U.S. and Turkey over a congressional resolution brought the Ottoman Empire’s World War I genocidal campaign against its Armenian minority briefly into the forefront of world events. This broadcast explores the cynical diplomacy following “the Great War,” and how an early manifestation of the politics of petroleum or “oleaginous diplomacy” led to the exoneration of most of the Turkish individuals and institutions that perpetrated the crimes against the Armenians. Eager to divvy up the petroleum rich portions of the defeated and dissolving Ottoman Empire amongst themselves, the victors of World War I were eager to collaborate with Turkish political patriarch Kemal Attaturk’s realpolitik, which skillfully and effectively traded access to oil-rich territory for the cover-up of Turkish war crimes. Among the key State Department officials behind the critically important American involvement in this cynical maneuvering was Allen Dulles, whose experience in the obfuscation of the campaign against the Armenians served as a prelude to his collaboration with the Third Reich. From the standpoint of international law, the adjudication of the Turkish crimes against the Armenians and the triumph of “business necessity” over morality and law served as an important precedent and foundation for future generations to turn a blind eye to murder. The successful cover-up of the Armenian genocide was a major influence on Hitler’s political and military thinking, convincing him that his plans for mass murder could be realized with repercussions that were relatively small in relation to the enormity of the crime. The program highlights the preservation of the German business elite that served Hitler and profited from his campaigns of conquest. Once again, Allen Dulles and other prime movers of the American power elite were instrumental in neutralizing the machinery of international justice, in order to preserve a strong Germany as a bulwark against communism. Note that this description contains supplemental information that was not in the original broadcast.

Program Highlights Include: Discussion of the American occupation of the German city of Aachen and how it set a pattern for postwar preservation of the busniness elite that had allied with Hitler; Palestinian national movement leader and Waffen SS general Haj Amin el-Husseini’s service in the Turkish army during World War I; postwar German chancellor Ludwig Erhard’s work with SS-connected industrial planning groups during the closing phase of World War II.

1. Beginning with discussion of the influence of the Armenian genocide on Hitler’s thinking, the program notes how he used the Armenian massacres as a precedent for his own genocidal actions. “Hitler was well aware of Turkey’s genocide of Armenians and of the failure of the international community to respond adequately to it. As early as June 1931, Hitler commented in an interview that the ‘extermination of the Armenians’ had led him to ‘the conclusion that masses of men are mere biological plasticine’ over which Aryans would eventually triumph. He returned to this theme in a formal talk to his commanding generals on the eve of their invasion of Poland in 1939: ‘Our strength is in our quickness and our brutality,’ he exclaimed. ‘Genghis Khan had millions of women and children killed by his own will and with a gay heart. History sees only in him a great state builder. . . . Thus for the time being I have sent to the East . . . my Death’s Head Units with the order to kill without pity or mercy all men, women, and children of the Polish race or language. Only in such a way will we win the vital space that we need. Who still talks nowadays of the extermination of the Armenian?’ On at least three other occasions, Hitler pointed to the brutality of Turkey’s regime and its willingness to strike without mercy as a worthy model for his own government. . . .”
(The Splendid Blond Beast: Money, Law and Genocide in the 20th Century; Christopher Simpson; Common Courage Press [SC]; Copyright by Christopher Simpson; ISBN 1-56751-062-0; p. 76.)

2. The Armenian genocide was covered-up because of a familiar dynamic—the reality of “petro-politics” or, quoting the title of the program, “oleaginous diplomacy.” Adjudication of the slaughter of the Armenians was eclipsed by the desire of the victorious powers in World War I to control the enormous oil resources becoming available in the dissolving Ottoman Empire. Turkish patriarch Kemal Attaturk exercised great cunning and savvy in manipulating the victors off against each other, in order to effect the acquittal of the perpetrators of the Armenian genocide. In addition to the openly bigoted Mark L. Bristol, one of the principals who brought about the cover-up of the Armenian genocide was Allen Dulles, who was establishing a personal and professional precedent. Dulles not only was deeply involved in the oleaginous diplomacy that divvied up the Ottoman Empire and covered-up the Armenian genocide, but played a central role in helping to finance Nazi Germany, covering up the Nazi genocide and aiding the Nazi flight capital program after the war. (For more about this, see—among other programs—FTR# 361 [4], 578 [5].) “Importantly, Britain, France, and the United States were at that time vying with one another to divide up the vast oil and mineral wealth of Turkey’s Ottoman Empire. Kemal skillfully played the three powers against each other and insisted on amnesty for the Ittihadists as part of the price for his support in the division of the defunct empire. Though often overlooked today, the Ottoman holdings were of extraordinary value, perhaps the richest imperial treasure since the European seizure of the New World four centuries earlier. The empire had been eroding for decades, but by the time of the Turkish defeat in World War I, it still included most of what is today Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, and the oil sheikdoms of the Persian Gulf. The European governments sensed that the time had come to seize this rich prize. . . . The U.S. High Commissioner to Turkey was Admiral Mark L. Bristol, a man with a reputation as a bigot and a determined advocate of U.S. alliance with Mustafa Kemal. ‘The Armenians,’ Bristol wrote, ‘are a race like the Jews—they have little or no national spirit and poor moral character.’ It was better for the United States, he contended, to jettison support for the Armenian republic as soon as possible, stabilize U.S. relations with the emerging Turkish government, and to enlist Kemal’s support in gaining access to the oilfields of the former Ottoman Empire. Bristol’s argument found a receptive audience in the new Harding administration in Washington, whose affinity for oil interests eventually blossomed into the famous Teapot Dome bribery scandal. . . . As High Commissioner to Turkey, Bristol had considerably more power than might be enjoyed by any conventional ambassador. As the civil war unfolded inside Turkey, Bristol barred newspaper reporters from access to areas where renewed massacres of Armenians were taking place, purportedly to avoid inciting further atrocities against civilians. His correspondent at the State Department in Washington was Allen Dulles. After the Paris conference, Dulles had served briefly as chief of staff to Bristol, then moved on to Washington to become chief of the State Department’s Near East desk just as ‘oleaginous diplomacy’ was reaching its heyday. . . .”
(Ibid.; pp. 32-37.)

3. As World War II in Europe drew to a close, the dynamic that we saw in the cover-up of the Turkish genocide against the Armenians once again manifested itself—business considerations took precedence over matters of law and decency. And once again, Allen Dulles played a leading role in the proceedings. (For more about Dulles and his central role in aiding the Bormann capital program and reestablishing the German business elite after the war, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 532 [6], 578 [5].) Of more than passing interest in this episode is the fact that the Marshall Plan was, in reality, a program designed to return to power the German business elite that had supported Hitler and the war and profited generously from Nazi slave labor. It was misrepresented to the American people. “By December 1945, the publicly mandated denazification program sharply collided with the unofficial (but actual) political and economic objectives of the U.S. occupation government. That month, the U.S. Denazification Policy Board confidentially recommended that existing policies and practices be shifted to better fit the ‘longer term’ goals of the occupation. Publicly, the orientation of the denazification program was to remain the same as it had been under JCS 1067. ‘Every person who exercised leadership and power in support of the Nazi regime should be deprived of influence or power,’ the board recommended, ‘whether or not he was formally affiliated with the Party or any other Nazi organization.’ At the same time, however, the board introduced a new consideration that would fundamentally alter the program in the U.S. zone of Germany: ‘Denazification . . . should not be carried so far as to prevent the building of a stable democratic society in Germany. . . we must avoid the creation of a huge mass of outcasts who will provide fertile soil for agitators and a source of social instability.’18 . . . Opposition within the U.S. to denazification and decartelization in Germany was led almost exclusively by the corporate and foreign policy elite that had been most active in U.S.-German financial relations during the 1920s and 1930s. The disproportionate political leverage of this group, its ability to shape media coverage of foreign policy issues, to influence government policy, and eventually to shift public opinion was dramatically manifested in the realignment of U.S. policy concerning denazification and decartelization in the brief period between 1945 and 1947. . . . The reports of Brown and Reed were in reality briefs for the European Recovery Program-the Marshall Plan. They illustrate the extent to which that enormously popular and respected program became entangled with the revival of German businessmen who had participated in Nazi crimes. Particularly important in this effort was the ‘Committee for the Marshall Plan,’ founded in September 1947. It labeled itself a citizens’ organization but was in reality funded and administered by the same economic and foreign policy elite that has been discussed thus far. Its initial sponsors included Averell Harriman and Robert Lovett (who will be remembered from the Brown Brothers, Harriman bank). Allen Dulles, Dean Acheson, Winthrop Aldrich (chairman of the Chase Bank), Philip Reed (of GE), and others of similar stature, most of whom had been active in U.S.-German finance since the 1920s. Labor was represented by hard-line anti-Communists active in the CIA-sponsored penetration of European trade unions, such as James Carey and David Dubinsky. . . .”
(Ibid.; pp. 262-268.) [7]

4. An early “test case” with regard to prosecution of Nazi war crimes concerned the American occupation of the German city of Aachen. Note that the information is presented in the Supplemental Section in order to flesh out the listeners’ understanding. It was not in the original program.
(Ibid.; pp. 186-187.) [8]

5. The German business elite that had elevated Hitler to prominence and then served him loyally was restored to its former dominant position. The trials of the industrialists were a farce, and a superficial one at that. This information, too, was not in the original broadcast. (Ibid.; pp. 269-271.) [9]

6. Emblematic of the continuity between the business elite of the Hitler period and that of the “new,” postwar Germany is the fact that the second chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany was Ludwig Erhard, who worked closely with the SS during the closing years of the war. Erhard was credited with Germany’s “economic miracle,” while serving as Adenauer’s principal adviser. “ . . . But as the was turned against the Third Reich, a number of business leaders in the Himmlerkreis began to cooperate in clandestine and semiclandestine contingency planning for the postwar period. Two of the best known of these groups, the Arbeitskreis fur aussenwirtschftliche Fragen (Working Group for Foreign Economic Questions) and the Kleine Arbeitskreis (Small Working Group), were nominally sponsored by the Reichsgruppe Industrie association of major industrial and financial companies. They brought together Blessing, Rasche, Kurt von Schroeder, Lindemann, and others from the Himmlerkreis with other business people, such as Hermann Abs (Deutsche Bank), Ludwig Erhard (then an economist with the Reichsgruppe Industrie and later Konrad Adenauer’s most important economic advisor) . . .”
(Ibid.; pp. 154-155.) [10]

7. Another point of commonality between the Armenian genocide and the Third Reich, is the career of Haj Amin el-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem. The first leader of the Palestinian national movement, Husseini held the rank of general in the Waffen SS. The Mufti began his career as an officer in the very Turkish army that perpetrated the genocide. “ . . . Haj Mohammed Effendi Amin el Husseini was born in 1893 in Jerusalem, then the capital of Palestine, which was then a part of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. His grandfather Mustapha and his half-brother Kemal had been the Muftis of Jerusalem in the 1890s. Husseini attended the Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, where he studied Islamic philosophy, but he never completed his studies and left after a year. In 1914, he obtained a commission in the Ottoman Turkish Army as an artillery officer, stationed in Smyrna. . . .” For more about the Grand Mufti, see—among other programs—FTR#’s 332 [11], 369 [12], 414 [13], 416 [14], 456 [15].]
(“Islam Under the Swastika: The Grand Mufti and the Nazi Protectorate of Bosnia-Hercegovina, 1941-1945” by Carl Savich.) [16]

8. Two video productions are being generated by a couple of documentary filmmakers. One is a DVD of a three-lecture series called “The First Refuge of a Scoundrel: The Relationship Between Fascism and Religion [17].” In addition, there will soon be a documentary about Mr. Emory, titled “The Anti-Fascist.” For more about this project, visit TheAntiFascist.com [18].