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FTR #298 Update on German Corporate Control Over American Media

MP3 One Seg­ment [1]
RealAu­dio [2]
NB: This RealAu­dio stream con­tains FTRs 297 and 298 in sequence. Each is a 30-minute broad­cast.

1. Begin­ning with a sto­ry about an award being giv­en to Ber­tels­mann CEO Thomas Mid­del­hoff, the pro­gram high­lights some inter­est­ing aspects of Ger­man cor­po­rate con­trol over the Amer­i­can media. “In a qui­et water­shed of Jew­ish phil­an­thropy, the hon­oree at a UJA-Fed­er­a­tion ben­e­fit din­ner next month will be Thomas Mid­del­hof, the chief exec­u­tive of Ber­tels­mann, a Ger­man media con­glom­er­ate that pub­lished Nazi pro­pa­gan­da for Hitler’s army. Those who choose Mr. Mid­del­hoff, to be hon­ored at the Steven J. Ross din­ner on May 15 stress that Mr. Mid­del­hoff was born after the war and has inves­ti­gat­ed Ber­tels­man­n’s past and made what repa­ra­tions he could . . . . The $1,000-a-plate Ross din­ner, at which Matthew Bronf­man’s broth­er Edgar Bronf­man Jr. was a pre­vi­ous hon­oree, attracts some of the most promi­nent cor­po­rate and media fig­ures in New York. This year, Tom Brokaw, the NBC News anchor, will be the mas­ter of cer­e­monies and Stephen M. Case, the chair­man of AOL Time Warn­er, will present the award . . . . Elie Wiesel, a writer and Holo­caust sur­vivor, will deliv­er the key-note speech. Last fall, ran­dom House, which is owned by Ber­tels­mann, pledged $1 mil­lion to the Holo­caust Sur­vivors’ Mem­oir Project, for which Mr. Wiesel is the hon­orary chair­man. Mr. Wiesel is the hon­orary chair­man. Mr. Wiesel said he agreed to speak because he trust­ed Mr. Mid­del­hoff. ‘While it was in the end Ran­dom House that gave the mon­ey for the sur­vivors’ mem­oirs, the agree­ment was with Ber­tels­mann, and it was Mid­del­hoff who made the com­mit­ment,’ Mr. Wiesel said . . . . Not long after Mr. Mid­del­hoff became chief exec­u­tive in 1998, crit­i­cal sto­ries about Ber­tels­man­n’s war his­to­ry appeared in The Nation mag­a­zine and a Swiss mag­a­zine. Mr. Mid­del­hoff then cre­at­ed an inde­pen­dent com­mis­sion, head­ed by the his­to­ri­an Saul Fried­lan­der, to look into the com­pa­ny’s past. In Jan­u­ary 2000, the com­mis­sion found that Ber­tels­mann had not opposed Hitler, as the com­pa­ny had pre­vi­ous­ly claimed. Rather, it said, the com­pa­ny had ties to the Nazis, and was the largest sup­pli­er of read­ing mate­r­i­al, includ­ing Nazi pro­pa­gan­da, to the Ger­man mil­i­tary. Three months lat­er, Ber­tels­mann announced that it would con­tribute to the Ger­man fund to com­pen­sate work­ers used as slave labor in the Nazi era.” (“Past Col­lides With Clo­sure as Jews Hon­or a Ger­man” by Tamar Lewin; New York Times; 4/30/2001; p. A18.)

2. The giv­ing of this award to Mid­del­hoff is iron­ic and grotesque in a num­ber of dif­fer­ent respects. (Much of the series on Ger­man cor­po­rate con­trol over Amer­i­can media is devot­ed to Ber­tels­mann and there is an abun­dant amount of infor­ma­tion on the firm in the oth­er pro­grams in this series.) The avail­able evi­dence strong­ly sug­gests that Ber­tels­mann is part of the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion. (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. The Bor­mann group is a pri­ma­ry ele­ment of the analy­sis pre­sent­ed in the For the Record pro­grams.)

3. Review­ing some of the salient aspects of the Ber­tels­mann firm, we high­light the grotesque qual­i­ty to the grant­i­ng of the award to Mid­del­hoff.  (“Ber­tels­man­n’s Nazi Past” by Her­sch Fis­chler and John Fried­man; The Nation; 12/28/98; p. 1.)

4. “Issu­ing more than 20 mil­lion vol­umes, Ber­tels­mann was the largest sup­pli­er to the army and sup­plied the SS. When Ber­tels­mann applied after the war for a sec­ond pub­lish­ing license, it was turned down by occu­pa­tion author­i­ties. [Ber­tels­mann patri­arch Hein­rich] Mohn had ‘for­got­ten’ to men­tion that he had been a ‘pas­sive’ mem­ber of the SS, as well as a sup­port­er of the Hitler Youth and a mem­ber of the pres­ti­gious Nation­al Social­ist Fly­ing Corps, accord­ing to de-Naz­i­fi­ca­tion files in the cen­tral state archive in Dus­sel­dorf.” (“Ber­tels­man­n’s Nazi Past” by Her­sch Fis­chler and John Fried­man; The Nation; 12/28/98; pp. 1–2.)

5. As indi­cat­ed in the New York Times arti­cle cit­ed above, when the infor­ma­tion about the fir­m’s Nazi past was print­ed in The Nation, Mid­del­hoff formed an “inde­pen­dent” com­mis­sion to inves­ti­gate it. One of the appointees to that com­mis­sion was Dirk Baven­damm (Ber­tels­man­n’s offi­cial his­to­ri­an), whose work and views call into ques­tion the degree of sep­a­ra­tion that the com­pa­ny has effect­ed from its Third Reich her­itage.

6. “His book Roo­sevelt’s Way to War (Roo­sevelt’s Weg zum Krieg) was pub­lished in 1983. Rewrit­ing his­to­ry, he stat­ed that Roo­sevelt, not Hitler had caused World War II. He also wrote that Amer­i­can Jews con­trolled most of the media,’ and he claimed they gave a false pic­ture of Hitler. Did the book impress [Hein­rich’s son Rein­hard] Mohn, then the major­i­ty share­hold­er of Ber­tels­mann? The firm hired Baven­damm as its house his­to­ri­an, and in 1984 he com­plet­ed a his­tor­i­cal study, 150 Years of Ber­tels­mann: The Founders and Their Time—with a fore­word by Mohn. A year lat­er, Baven­damm edit­ed the fir­m’s offi­cial his­to­ry, which set forth the untrue sto­ry that the firm had resist­ed the Nazis and had been closed down by them. Mohn also asked Baven­damm to write the autho­rized his­to­ry of the Mohn fam­i­ly, pub­lished in 1986 under the title Ber­tels­mann, Mohn, Scip­pel: Three Families—One Com­pa­ny. In a sec­ond book, Roo­sevelt’s War (pub­lished in 1993, reis­sued in 1998), Baven­damm accus­es the U.S. Pres­i­dent of enact­ing a plan to start World War II. In the same book he sug­gests that Hitler’s threats in ear­ly 1939 against Euro­pean Jew­ry were a reac­tion to Roo­sevelt’s strat­e­gy against Ger­many. After the rev­e­la­tions about Ber­tels­man­n’s Nazi past appeared, the com­pa­ny announced that it had asked ‘the his­to­ri­an and pub­li­cist Dr. Dirk Baven­damm to look at the new infor­ma­tion and begin to rein­ves­ti­gate the role the pub­lish­ing house played in those days’ and defend­ed his work.” (“Ber­tels­man­n’s Revi­sion­ist” by Her­sch Fis­chler and John Fried­man; The Nation; 11/8/99; p. 1.)

7. In that con­text, it is inter­est­ing to spec­u­late about Ber­tels­man­n’s motives in back­ing the sur­vivors’ mem­oir and con­tribut­ing to the fund to com­pen­sate vic­tims of the Third Reich. (Pub­lic rela­tions con­sid­er­a­tions are prob­a­bly para­mount in this regard.) It is also inter­est­ing to note that the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion, to which Ber­tels­mann appears to belong, wields con­sid­er­able in Israel and with­in that coun­try’s sup­port net­work abroad. “Since the found­ing of Israel, the Fed­er­al Repub­lic of Ger­many had paid out 85.3 bil­lion marks, by the end of 1977, to sur­vivors of the Holo­caust. East Ger­many ignores any such lia­bil­i­ty. From South Amer­i­ca, where pay­ment must be made with sub­tle­ty, the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion has made a sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tion. It has drawn many of the bright­est Jew­ish busi­ness­men into a par­tic­i­pa­to­ry role in the devel­op­ment of many of its cor­po­ra­tions, and many of these Jews share their pros­per­i­ty most gen­er­ous­ly with Israel. If their pro­pos­als are sound, they are even pro­vid­ed with a spe­cial­ly dis­pensed ven­ture cap­i­tal fund. I spoke with one Jew­ish busi­ness­man in Hart­ford, Con­necti­cut. He had arrived there quite unknown sev­er­al years before our con­ver­sa­tion, but with Bor­mann mon­ey as his lever­age. Today he is more than a mil­lion­aire, a qui­et leader in the com­mu­ni­ty with a cer­tain share of his prof­its ear­marked, as always, for his ven­ture cap­i­tal bene­fac­tors. This has tak­en place in many oth­er instances across Amer­i­ca and demon­strates how Bor­man­n’s peo­ple oper­ate in the con­tem­po­rary com­mer­cial world, in con­trast to the fan­ci­ful non­sense with which Nazis are described in so much ‘lit­er­a­ture.’ So much empha­sis is placed on select Jew­ish par­tic­i­pa­tion in Bor­mann com­pa­nies that when Adolf Eich­mann was seized and tak­en to Tel Aviv to stand tri­al, it pro­duced a shock wave in the Jew­ish and Ger­man com­mu­ni­ties of Buenos Aires. Jew­ish lead­ers informed the Israeli author­i­ties in no uncer­tain terms that this must nev­er hap­pen again because a rep­e­ti­tion would per­ma­nent­ly rup­ture rela­tions with the Ger­mans of Latin Amer­i­ca, as well as with the Bor­mann orga­ni­za­tion, and cut off the flow of Jew­ish mon­ey to Israel. It nev­er hap­pened again, and the pur­suit of Bor­mann qui­et­ed down at the request of these Jew­ish lead­ers. He is resid­ing in an Argen­tine safe haven, pro­tect­ed by the most effi­cient Ger­man infra­struc­ture in his­to­ry, as well as by all those whose pros­per­i­ty depends on his well-being. Per­son­al invi­ta­tion is the only way to reach him.” (Mar­tin Bor­mann: Nazi in Exile; Paul Man­ning; Copy­right 1981 [HC]; Lyle Stu­art Inc.; ISBN 0–8184-0309–8; pp. 226–227.)

8. It is iron­ic to note that Holo­caust sur­vivor Wiesel lauds Ran­dom House for its sup­port for the sur­vivors’ mem­oir. Ran­dom House­’s behav­ior vis-à-vis a book authored by a key wit­ness in Holo­caust revi­sion­ist David Irv­ing’s unsuc­cess­ful libel suit against Deb­o­rah Lip­stadt and her pub­lish­er sug­gests that Wiesel’s acco­lades are, at the very least, pre­ma­ture. “[Queens Coun­sel and Lip­stadt attor­ney Antho­ny] Julius won because the pro­fes­sor of mod­ern his­to­ry at Cam­bridge had demol­ished Irv­ing’s schol­ar­ship. Richard J. Evans went through Irv­ing’s sources and pro­duced an exhaus­tive 740-page analy­sis which detailed how Irv­ing had twist­ed evi­dence in the Nazi inter­est. Irv­ing had cen­sored him­self as well as the past by cut­ting ref­er­ences to death camps from his ear­ly work when it was reprint­ed. Evans has writ­ten a book on the affair—Lying about Hitler: His­to­ry, Holo­caust, and the David Irv­ing Tri­al. You are free to buy it in Amer­i­ca and read the pro­fes­sor’s account of the case and reflec­tions on his­tor­i­cal inter­pre­ta­tion. I’ve no doubt it is a seri­ous study. Evans is the author of In Defense of His­to­ry, a patient cri­tique of the wild sub­jec­tiv­i­ty of post­mod­ernist the­o­ry. You were meant to be free to read Lying about Hitler in Britain. But last week, Evans’ pub­lish­ers, Heine­mann, a branch of the Ran­dom House con­glom­er­ate, ordered that the book should be pulped. [Jus­tice] Gray’s ver­dict, which came after years of col­lect­ing evi­dence and months of cross-exam­i­na­tion in an enor­mous­ly expen­sive tri­al, might as well nev­er have hap­pened. Heine­mann said they did not dare pub­lish because Irv­ing was appeal­ing against Gray’s rul­ing. In fact, Irv­ing has been refused per­mis­sion to appeal, and it is that deci­sion he is con­test­ing. In the very unlike­ly event of Irv­ing win­ning and the Court of Appeal agree­ing to con­sid­er Gray’s con­dem­na­tion, the crush­ing evi­dence against him should deny him vic­to­ry. Gran­ta Books cer­tain­ly think so and snapped up Lying about Hitler. Gran­ta did­n’t ‘see any ter­ri­ble legal night­mares’ and was ‘very enthu­si­as­tic and keen to pub­lish.’ We shall still be able to make up our own minds about Evans’ writ­ing. If the sto­ry stopped there, the moral of the cen­sor­ship of Evans would mere­ly be that robust authors should think hard before sign­ing a con­tract with Ran­dom House.” (“With­out Prej­u­dice: A Ploy Named Sue” by Nick Cohen; The Observ­er [Lon­don]; 3/18/2001.)

9. The views and work of Ber­tels­mann his­to­ri­an Baven­damm and the actions of Ran­dom House sub­sidiary Heine­mann in pulp­ing the Evans book should be com­pared with the Nazi tract Ser­pen­t’s Walk.

10. Mr. Emory has dealt with this book exten­sive­ly. 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.)

11. 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 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 merge, 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 . . . . But all we ever hear about are the poor, inno­cent Jews and the awful ‘Holo­caust,’ when, in fact, there nev­er was an ‘exter­mi­na­tion pol­i­cy,’ a ‘Final Solu­tion,’ or any­thing like it!” (Ibid.; pp. 42–43.)

12. The vision of the future pre­sent­ed in this book should appear sober­ing under the cir­cum­stances. In light of this vision, the actions of Ran­dom House (and Ber­tels­mann) sub­sidiary Heine­mann in destroy­ing the Evans book and the views and actions of offi­cial Ber­tels­mann his­to­ri­an Dirk Baven­damm, the award giv­en to Mid­del­hoff would appear to be less than appro­pri­ate.