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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Dealing With the Devil, Part Two

       "{Stewart} Menzies decided to bring {D'Arcy} Osborne to London to brief him as the plotters moved their plan along.  It was vital to know which of the Italian generals could be trusted when the time came.  Osborne was instructed to consult the Vatican doctor 'about my health.'  The physician recommended that Osborne should be given permission by the Italian government to fly to Switzerland to consult a specialist.   {Vatican Secretary of State} Maglione had informed the Italian foreign ministry, that under the Lateran Treaty, Osborne's medical condition permitted him to travel to a neutral country on the understanding he would return.
       Inside a week Osborne was in London.  He briefed Menzies who gave him a letter from a Swiss doctor confirming he had examined Osborne and was treating him for stress.  The doctor was an MI6 contact in Geneva.  Osborne was then driven to Buckingham Palace and privately knighted by King George VI.  He would become the Duke of Leeds, a title he could not use until after the war.  Before he returned to Rome he had spent a day with an instructor at the MI6 Cipher School to learn how to use the latest codes.
       Over dinner with Menzies, Osborne had told him about Hugh O'Flaherty and his visits to see Allied prisoners.
      'An useful-sounding chap--even if he is a little anti-British,' Menzies said.

       Baron Ernst von Weizsacker, a former German naval officer, had replaced Diego von Bergen as ambassador to the Holy See.  He had finally been recalled to Berlin by the foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop for 'poor quality of reports.'  Weizsacker had spent five years at the foreign ministry, and risen to be undersecretary.
       His journey to the upper echelon of the ministry had included reading the daily reports from the Einsatzgruppen, the special SS units systematically murdering Polish and Russian Jews.  He had attended the Wannsee Conference in Berlin to finalize 'the Final Solution of the Jewish Question' and had signed a copy of the minutes.  On his desk came the railway schedules from Adolf Eichmann's office for deportations to the death camps.  At some point, he later insisted, 'I became sickened of what was being done in the name of the German people.'
       He had persuaded Ribbentrop to allow him to take charge of a less odorous task--analyzing the intercepted traffic by the Forschungsamt, the German code-breaking unit.  It included messages between the Holy See and its nunciatures.  By 1943 the German cryptologists had managed to break some of the Vatican codes, but the success did little to add to Germany's war effort.  Nevertheless, Weizsacker had to present his analysis to Admiral Canaris.
       At first their meetings were no more than briefing the spy chief in his office and answering a few questions.  But gradually Canaris had begun to explore Weizsacker's attitude to the war.  Though he realized the risk he was taking, Ribbentrop's deputy had said its continuation could only result in Germany's defeat and dismemberment.  A negotiated settlement was the only hope.  Weizsacker would recall how Canaris had 'sat perfectly still, his eyes fixed on me.  When he spoke his question was simple.  Did I believe that the Vatican could act as a mediator?  I replied that Hitler would only accept papal mediation if he was satisfied of the Pope's sympathy for Germany.'
       There were further meetings in which Weizsacker was encouraged to criticize von Bergen's reports to Ribbentrop.  In the meantime Canaris had told the foreign minister of the importance of having Weizsacker in Rome.  In a memo dated May 8, 1943, which would surface at the Nuremberg Trials, Canaris wrote to Ribbentrop:  'Weizsacker is one of the most interesting phenomena of the time, a type brought to light and perfected through disinterested idealism and shrewdness, such as is particularly rare in Germany.  I strongly urge he should be posted to Rome where he can most usefully serve our nation.'
       On July 10 Weizsacker presented his credentials to Pope Pius XII.  Canaris had briefed the new ambassador on what he expected from him.

       {Bishop Alois} Hudal was the rector of the pan-Germanic college of Santa Maria dell'Anima, the main training center in Rome for German priests.  He had become a member of the Nazi Party after Hitler had thanked him for a telegram supporting the annexation of Austria.  In 1937 Hudal had sent a copy of his book The Foundations of National Socialism to Hitler and with a letter of thanks from the fuhrer came a golden Nazi Party membership badge.  The book was published in the same year that the papal encyclical Mit Brennender Sorge openly attacked National Socialism.  While Hudal continued in his post, his steady rise in the Vatican had stopped as his pro-Nazi views became known.
       By 1943 Hudal had found a new outlet.  He became an informer for the RSHA--Reichs-sicherheitshaptamt--Reich Security Main Office.  Its chief Ernst Kaltenbrunner saw Hudal's recruitment as an intelligence triumph at a time when Germany was trying to establish a rapproachment between the Holy See and the Third Reich.
       Hudal regarded himself as providing important information.  His RSHA controller, Waldemar Meyer, who regularly travelled secretly to Rome, saw Hudal as the eminence grise of the Vatican.  'He knows everybody and everybody respects him.'
       Hudal had also aligned himself with Giovanni Preziose, a rabidly anti-Semetic former priest who edited La Vita Italiana , the Jew-baiting Rome newspaper patterned on Der Sturmer .  He was also in touch with a Benedictine monk, Prior Hermann Keller, who Kessel called 'an agent of the gestapo.'  Kessel described them to Weizsacker as 'our pro-Nazis in the Vatican.'

       Throughout the summer of 1943 Pope Pius had continued to express his horror over the fate of the Jews.  On June 2 he had used Vatican Radio to warn that 'any man who makes a distinction between Jews and other men is unfaithful to God.'  In a direct warning to Hitler Pius said:  'He who guides the fate of nations should not forget that he who bears the sword is not the master over life and death.'  Seven days later, after Goebbels boasted that Berlin 'was now free of Jews,'  the pope had written a long text in German on the rights of Jews which Vatican Radio broadcast.  In July the pope broadcast to Yugoslav Jews that he would continue to pray for them because 'every man has the stamp of God.'
       In between he had written letters to nuncios and bishops asking them to urge their host countries to do everything possible to save the Jews and 'replace the hatred with charity.'  In his speeches and sermons Pius constantly called for help 'for the hundreds of thousands who because of their race are condemned to die.'   More than once he had quoted the Apostle Saint Paul--'there is neither Gentile nor Jew'--adding he used the word Jew as a call to reject racial ideology.  He had gone so far as to say he was 'ready to let himself be deported to a concentration camp rather than do anything against his conscience,' Pascalina would recall.
       He had also turned Vatican Radio into a powerful weapon which, despite attempts to jam it had become a success in attacking the Nazis.

       Pius turned to another matter.  Earlier that morning he had received a telephone call from Count de Salis.  The Red Cross director estimated that soon there could be up to four thousand Allied troops hiding in the city who, having walked out of their prison camps, would be waiting for British and American armies to reach Rome.
       The pope turned to Father Weber.  He said that during the summer hundreds of Jews had been provided with travel documents and smuggled across the Austrian and Slovenian borders into Italy.  But many had been caught by German forces and either had been shot or rounded up for transportation to the concentration camps.   Survivors were fleeing to Rome.
       It was for that reason Pius said he had convened the meeting.  In his view there was a very limited chance of moving those Jews farther south.  They would be entering a war zone and would either be shot by the Germans or left to fend for themselves by the Allies.  The only solution was for the Vatican to prepare to accept them.  That itself would have its own problems.  Reports from nuncios in the Third Reich indicated its ghettos had been systematically emptied of their Jews.  There was no guarantee that would not happen in Rome, despite assurances form von Weizsacker, the German ambassador, that its Jewish population would be allowed to continue their normal lives.
       What was needed, continued Pius, was a properly organized system of safe places which were under the protection of the Lateran Treaty.  In Germany and other parts of the Third Reich the Nazis had not respected church property.  In Vienna troops had been billeted in a convent and the St. Francis deSales girls' school turned into a barracks.  It was all part of the Nazis' systematic war against the church.  The pope said that daily he recieved reports of priests and nuns in Poland and elsewhere being sent to concentration camps.  They had all been accused of helping the Jews and speaking out against Nazism.  More than ever the Vatican had a duty to protect the Jews on its doorstep.  Just as the Nazis had taken over Catholic institutions in the Third Reich so the Vatican must turn every possible convent, monastery, and institution in Rome into a secret refuge for the Jews and escaped prisoners of war.
       To provide such assistance would be difficult, even dangerous as the Germans would regard it as a breach of the Lateran Treaty.  But it was a risk that must be taken.
       The pope turned to Ottaviani and said that given {Monsignor Hugh} O'Flaherty's experience in visiting prisoner-of-war camps he wanted him relieved of all but essential duties in the Holy Office and to concentrate on organizing a plan to provide sanctuary for both the Jews of Rome and the soldiers." The Pope's Jews by Gordon Thomas pgs.92-93,94-95,96-97,100 and115-116.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Coming Soon: Infanticide!

       In a particularly acrimonious exchange in a history seminar at a state university, Estase made the prediction (this was in 2008) that abortion was no longer sufficient for the pro-choice movement.  Based on the votes (including that of then-Senator Obama) against the Born Alive Infant Protection Bill, Estase submitted to his classmates that within the next ten years, mainstream politicians would support infanticide.  After all, ethicist Peter Singer supports infanticide.  What's more, Roe v. Wade used as part of its argument that abortion was legal in ancient Rome.  Infanticide was legal and widely practiced in ancient Greece, vide Sophocles' Oedipus Rex ,where the title character survived an infanticide attempt.  If ancient Roman attitudes are a basis for Constitutional law, then ancient Greek attitudes are a basis for Constitutional law.  The high court is entirely likely to create a ruling authorizing infanticide, especially in light of the fact that the Journal of Medical Ethics published an article by Alberto Giubilini and Francesca Minerva called for infanticide for babies with Down's Syndrome.  The deadly duo wrote a follow-up to their original article recently (with a petasus tip to where they opined that we hoi polloi must be eased into baby killing.  They say, "Second, issues in bioethics deal with topics, such as life, death, the moral status of human beings (and many others) that touch upon people's most profound and personal values.  For this reason, very often ideas which go against traditional values are perceived with an immediate feeling of shock and an immediate impulse to rebut the proposition, prior to any rational, cold reflection.  And the problem is that such reactions cannot be easily dismissed as a sign of irrationality of people who cannot fully appreciate the opportunities of new biotechnologies or the freedom and well-being that some medical options can promote."  Come again?  Reminds me of that brilliant asshole, Jonathan Swift, and his unfortunately prophetic "A Modest Proposal."  Dean Swift parodied the Whig spirit of projects.  In this, he proposes a novel solution to Ireland's poverty.  If they lack animal protein and cannot feed their kids, why not encourage the Irish to eat their babies?  After all, it is nothing but "an immediate feeling of shock and an immediate impulse to rebut the proposition, prior to any rational, cold reflection."  Why yes, maybe eating babies is a good solution to poverty!  After all, it would be sad if we couldn't "fully appreciate the opportunities or the freedom and well being" that eating babies might offer.

Dealing With the Devil

       "On September 1, 1939, Hitler invaded Poland.
       In the early hours of that first day in the month, his bedside telephone woke Luigi Maglione.  The caller sas Archbishop Giulo Pacini, the papal nuncio in Warsaw to report German forces had begun invading Poland by land and air.  Maglione ordered the nuncio to prepare to destroy confidential papers and to 'look after the code book and seek a place less immediately threatened by the advancing German armies.'  The cardinal ended with the benediction, 'May the Lord protect you.'
       Maglione dialed the Vatican switchboard and the night-duty nun connected him to the pope's bedroom.  When Pius heard the news he went to his chapel to pray.  Meanwhile, Pascalina had aroused the other nuns in their rooms on the floor below to join her in the apartment's kitchen and told them 'our world, the whole world, is changing' and asked them to pray.
       Father Leiber was the first to arrive in the apartment having heard the Vatican Radio announcement that war had broken out.  He joined the pope at prayer in the chapel.  Maglione appeared shortly afterward.  He had already sent his aides, Tardini and Montini, to their offices in the secretariat of state to begin telephoning members of the diplomatic corps with the news.
        The secretary of state went with the pope and Father Leiber to the dining room where Pascalina served them breakfast.  While the pope sipped his warm milk he began to issue his first orders.  Maglione was to send a GREEN code message to Pacini to start organizing Poland's Jews into hiding in every available shelter.  A second similarly encoded order was to go to the Istanbul nuncio, Monsignor Angelo Guiseppe Roncali (the future Pope John XXIII) to 'prepare thousands of baptismal certificates to give to Jews which will allow them passage through Turkey to the Holy Land.'
        Other messages were to be sent to all other nuncios and bishops in neutral countries ordering them to increase 'all pressure you can' on their host governments to provide visas for Polish Jews. 
        Pope Pius had also asked Father Leiber to contact the head of the Pallotine fathers in Rome, Father Anton Weber.  The religious order was founded in Rome in 1835 by Vincent Pallotti, an Italian priest, to send missionaries across the world to set up schools and clinics.  A month ago Father Weber had telephoned from the order's General House on Rome's Pettinari Street and asked Pascalina to arrange an audience.  When he explained the reason she had quickly found a place for him on the pope's daily schedule.  Pius had asked Father Leiber to attend.
       The pope's secretary recalled, 'Weber asked His Holiness to approve the Pallotines be allowed to set up a network to bring German Jews to Rome where they would be safe.'  On that September morning Father Leiber had been ordered to tell Weber he should start his clandestine network.
        Two days later Britain and France declared war on Germany.
       In his office in midtown Rome the representative of the Red Cross, Count Alexander de Salis, held a meeting to discuss events with Ugo Foa.  With them was a slim elegantly dressed woman, Princess Enza Pignatelli Cortes, the daughter of one of Rome's Black Nobility families, aristocrats who had supported the Vatican following the seizure of the papal states.  She was respected for organizing fund-raising events for Catholic charities and her friendship with Pius XII dated since he was secretary of state and she had invited him to address the girl's private school where she once was a pupil.  Since then Pius had been a regular guest at her palace near the Arch of Constantine.
        Seated beside Princess Cortes was Dante Almansi.  The barrel-chested forty year old came from modest origins in Trastevere and was the only Jew appointed deputy chief of the Rome police force.  He had been dismissed under the racial laws and Foa had made him his deputy on the Jewish community committee.  Both were very different personalities.  Almansi had not quite lost his streetwise stare that suggested he often did not believe what he heard.  Foa had the self-control of a judge.
       Beside Almansi set Renzo Levi, a short, stocky man who was a wealthy Jewish industrialist.  The group was completed by lawyer Settimio Sorani.  Where Levi was forceful and decisive, Sorani was gentle and persuasive and Foa had appointed him as legal counsel to the community's committee.  He lived with his sister, Rosina, who was Foa's secretary.
         His minutes of the meeting included Foa's figures for 3.5 million Jews living in the Soviet Union;  3 million in Poland;  360,000 in Germany;  500,000 in Hungary;  300,000 in Czechoslovakia;  over 250,000 in France;  almost 200,000 in the Netherlands;  and 100,000 in Belgium.  Including Spain and Portugal and smaller nations like Sweden and Switzerland, Foa said close to 10 million Jews lived on the European continent.  All were now at risk.
       Almansi asked his first question:  What could the Red Cross do to help them?  De Salis explained it would use its influence with all governments to help the Jews.  But the organization must respect the Vatican's neutrality.  The day after the invasion of Poland de Salis said he was telephoned by D'Arcy Osborne.  The diplomat had told him that both himself and Charles-Roux, the French ambassador, had made a joint approach to Cardinal Magione to get the pope to condemn the invasion.  The secretary of state had refused, saying that 'the whole world will condemn the Germans without the Vatican's intervention.' 
       Princess Cortes said she was certain that 'Italy does not want to be in this war.  But His Holiness cannot say much, if anything at all.  Yet his silence must not be misunderstood.  I know he will do everything to help the Jews.'
       Pucci's account of the pope fleeing to America had created consternation at the Foreign Office;  its two diplomatic sources of information in Rome were clearly out of kilter.  At Loraine's meeting with Osborne was the local MI6 station chief.  He told Osborne Pucci was a German informer and his story was 'totally untrue and created in Berlin for its man in the Vatican to pass on to Pucci.'  The intelligence officer had asked to see any further information Pucci offered.  A dismayed Osborne has agreed.
        Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, the director of the Abwehr, had spent another weekend in his office at 76/78 Tiritzaufer, two former town houses, overlooking the beautiful chesnut and lime trees in Berlin's Tiergarten.  Since dawn he had read the reports that came from his chiefs of intelligence throughout the world.  That afternoon he had gone for a stroll in the Tiergarten with his deputy, Colonel Hans Oster, walking along the bridle paths where they passed several members of the German general staff taking afternoon rides.  Canaris let his dachshund, Seppel, off its lead, watching the dog run in and of the bushes, as he told Oster that the Abwehr must do nothing to prolong the war by a war by a day, that while a defeat for Germany would be a disaster, a victory for Hitler would be a catastrophe.
        Therefore he was ready to make a new move to once more try and involve Pope Pius XII in the plot to overthrow the fuhrer.  He was sending to Rome Josef Mueller, a Bavarian lawyer, who had joined the Abwehr at the outset of war.  His well-tanned face, reddish-brown hair, and customized black suit was a familiar sight around the Munich diocese in the building's courtrooms.  Mueller's success had given him connections in the Vatican where he was respected in the Holy Office and the secretariat of state for winning cases for the church.
         Canaris has told Mueller that the the first visit first visit to Rome by Colonel Oster and his co-conspirators had failed because they had asked 'too much too soon' in their meeting with the pope's secretary, Robert Leiber.
        Mueller's own brief in Rome would be to try and once more persuade Father Leiber to get the pope to support 'negotiations with Britain and a new and honorable government in Berlin after Hitler had been overthrown.'  Once contact had been made with Father Leiber and he agreed to present the proposal to Pius, the pope should send for D'Arcy Osborne who would act in the intial stage as the go-between with the Holy See and the British government.  If the discussion continued to move forward more senior diplomats would be called in to carry the plan to conclusion--the removal of Hitler.
       His legal skills had taught Mueller to take his time in preparing a brief.  He had studied the Abwehr file on Pope Pius XII and read his speeches. He concluded that the pope shared his own pro-Jewish sentiments.  When the time came he would use that as part of his argument tha a new German government would guarantee that Jews would no longer be persecuted.  He had also decided he would not go to Leiber at once, but approach him through another German in a powerful position in the Vatican.  Monsignor Ludwig Kaas had been a contact of Pius since his days as a nuncio in Germany and Kaas had represented the Catholic Center Party in the Reichstag.  When Hitler came to power Kaas had moved to Rome to become secretary of the congregation in charge of St. Peter's Basilica.
       On May 10, 1940--the day Neville Chamberlain resigned and Winston Churchill became Britain's Prime Minister--Mueller arranged to meet Leiber.  While no record exists of their meeting, later the widow of one of the principal conspirators, Hans von Dohnanyi, revealed that her husband, a lawyer, had drafted articles of peace terms for the pope to review.  According to Frau Dohnanyi, Leiber had taken them to Pope Pius XII, who had told the secretary to inform Osborne that the German opposition to Hitler continued to gather momentum.
       Two days after meeting the pope's secretary,  Mueller had flown to Berlin to brief Canaris.  The spymaster doubted the peace initiative would succeed with Churchill now in office.

       The day after Mussolini delivered his declaration of war the pope asked Father Leiber to find space in his audience schedule for him to see Ugo Foa.  He told his secretary he would meet the Jewish community leader in the papal apartment 'as an old friend.'  It was the signal that Pius wanted no note taker present to keep a record of the meeting.
      It was late afternoon when Foa was escorted into the pope's study.  It would be their first meeting since Mussolini had introduced the Nazi-inspired racial laws.  Since then Rome's Fascist press had continued its attacks on the pope for his criticism of the anti-Semetic legislation.  Foa had brought with him a letter from Dr. Nahum Goldmann, the president of the World Zionist Organization thanking the pope for his 'unflinching support of the Jews.'
       There were now over four thousand Italian Jews--army officers, civil servants, academics, and journalists--who were still unemployed as a result of the racial laws. 
       The pope began by saying that as well as helping them, he had not forgotten his 'near neighbors,'  the Jews of Rome's ghetto.  If any were experiencing problems he had arranged for the papal nuncio to Italy, Monsignor Borgongini Duca to deal with the matter 'loud and clearly' with the Fascist authorities.
       Foa would recall how the pope had spoken with 'quiet passion as he said he would lay to rest any thought he would follow a plan more conciliatory to the totalitarian states than his predecessor.  He made it clear that the safety of the Jews was growing more intense and was one of the gravest of the many other serious problems he now faced.'
       Pius had said he would employ all the weapons in his power:  prayer, liturgy, and international law to confront the Nazis, who for all their technical skill were filled with a spritual emptiness, in what the pope defined as the 'Age of Agnosticism driven by anti-Semitism.'
       In the meantime if any member of the Jewish community wished to leave Rome he had arranged with the Pallotine fathers to assist them in obtaining foreign visas.  It may take a little while to obtain the documents but they would be forthcoming.
       Finally Pius had said he wanted to assure the community that he would continue to attack anti-Semitism and protect the Jews.  He handed Foa a bound copy of Summi Pontificatus , with the words 'where there is a question of saving souls, we feel the courage to deal with the Devil in person.'
       Foa had responded with a Hebrew saying.  'A man is compared to the stars in Heaven and to the dust of the earth.  He can soar to heights.'

       A few months ago the pope had reluctantly received Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler's foreign minister, with one purpose.  He was determined to express his condemnation of Nazi atrocities and its anti-Semetic policies.  When von Ribbentrop had tried to dismiss the charges as 'Allied propaganda,' Pius had quoted from a file of reports sent by nuncios and bishops across Europe detailing evidence of atrocities.  The New York Times reported that the foreign minister had left the Vatican looking crestfallen.
       Since then the pope had ordered Vatican Radio to broadcast the evidence and L' Osservatore Romano to continue to publish it.  The New York Times had editorialized, 'The Vatican has spoken with authority that cannot be questioned and has confirmed the worst intimidation on Jews.'
       But the reports of atrocities had increased along with the attacks by Goebbels's propaganda machine on Pius as 'the Jew lover.'  The pope had countered by asking all Catholic bishops in Nazi Germany to sign a protest against the Nazi Pary plan to extend the wearing of the Star of David to include the offspring of mixed marriages.  The Nazi response was to seize convents, Catholic hospitals, and other church property throughout Germany;  Catholic organizations were closed down and religious images removed from schools.  The Pope's Jews  by Gordon Thomas pgs.49-51, 59-61,66-68, and 72 

Don't Tell Isaac Kramnick About This!

   Reprinted in Walpole and the Whig Supremacy by H.T. Dickinson.  No doubt the reason this cartoonist depicted Walpole as shitting out his benefits upon Members of Parliament was because of a deepseated anal eroticism (see my previous blog "NIH Report:  Rob Halford a Member of TEA Party.")

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Still More Profiles In Asshattery

        "Other Americans held firmly to an opposite view.  Admiral William Standley, who had been Chief of Naval Operations during Roosevelt's first term, put his name to a manifesto recognizing 'the fact and the logic of the situation by declaring that a state of war exists between this country and Germany.'  Groups that supported Churchill were attacked by isolationist leaders with large followings.  Father {Charles} Coughlin said:  'Sneakingly, subversively and un-Americanly hiding behind sanctimonious stuffed shirts, these men form the most dangerous fifth column. . . . They are the Judas Iscariots within the Apostolic college of our nation.'  Coughlin had sometimes used Joseph P. Kennedy as a channel to the President before Kennedy went to London as an ambassador.  Now Coughlin had drifted into fascism, enthusiasm for the corporate state, and a noisy anti-Semitism that so worried some influential American Jewish leaders that they feared to voice pro-British sentiments.  In contrast, it was the son of a prominent Jewish banker banker who did more than almost any single man to further Stephenson's campaign for help, especially for the fifty destroyers.  He was Henry Morgenthau, Jr., who joined the War-Wagers with gusto.
        Morgenthau, a long-time neighbor of Roosevelt, had been unswervingly loyal to him since the outbreak of World War I.  He worked in the state administration when Roosevelt became governor of New York, then followed his friend to the White House.  As Secretary of the Treasury, he was the best ally Stephenson could have found, for he wielded direct power as an official and greater indirect influence as a trusted counselor to the President.  He did his best to make sure that the Stephenson-Roosevelt relationship was never exposed, directing formal arrangements through the proper diplomatic channels or by way of a British Purchasing Mission run by another Canadian within the growing complex of Stephenson's organization in New York.
       'After the Purchasing Mission opened shop at 15 Broad Street,' Morgenthau said later, 'swarms of salesmen from the garment district flocked to it, offering samples of women's underwear.  It did no harm and reinforced the impression of open buying.'  The head of the mission was Arthur Purvis, ' the leading Canadian industrialist, a man of the highest integrity, with no enemies and indeed no critics,'  in the words of John Buchan, then Governor-General of Canada.  Purvis was to provide the surface gloss on Stephenson's economic endeavors until he was killed the following year in an air crash on the transatlantic run, which had become the unpublicized means of shuttling important cargoes quickly between the secret allies.
       Morgenthau discussed with Stephenson the dire implications of the delay in getting help to Finland during the Russian invasion.  The President had described the Soviet attack as 'this dreadful rape,' and it was estimated that ninety-eight percent of the American people shared his outrage.  But the legality of transferring or selling surplus arms to the Finns had been argued between the State, War, Navy, and Treasury departments until the day the Russians finally broke the Mannerheim Line, when the Senate finally passed a totally useless bill for nonmilitary financial help.
       Direct sales to Britain were regarded as illegal although Stephenson's American friends unearthed old bits of legislation to show how to circumvent the Neutrality Law, originally passed in 1936 to prevent the United States getting into war as it had in 1917.  'It was purely retroactive,' commented Stephenson, 'but it effectively tied Roosevelt's hands.'  On the morning that the evacuation of Dunkirk was finished, Edward Stettinius had resigned as chairman of United States Steel to begin work on a plan to get the most urgently required arms to Britain.  He was an old and trusted friend of Stephenson.  Though he might be faulted for his impetuous declarations in public, he had a flair for dramatic action and anticipated Churchill's so-called beer-bottle speech.  The new Prime Minister, promising to fight the German invaders with everything to hand, added in an aside what sounded like 'with bloody beer bottles if necessary.'  Stettinius wrote later:  'As the Prime Minister spoke, stack after stack of guns for the defenders of Britain were being moved from America's arsenals. . . . Word had been flashed all along the line to give them right of way.'  The legality that cleared the line was Attorney General Robert Jackson's opinion that arms owned by the U.S. government could be sold without advertisement by the Secretary of War under a 1919 statute still in force.

       There would always be political dangers inherent in this co-operation.  Secret knowledge could be used to get rid of awkward opponents.  There was a strong temptation to do this in the case of Ambassador Kennedy.
       'My God!'  Churchill roared after one of Kennedy's teetotal sermons.  'You make me feel I should go around in sack-cloth and ashes!'  Kennedy, for his part, told the President that Churchill 'is loaded with brandy from ten in the morning.'  Kennedy had been described by the British Foreign Office as a possible future president, and already he threatened to throw his weight into the scales against Roosevelt.  If someone else moved into the White House after the elections in November, what would happen to the Wizard's scientific secrets and all the carefully nurtured apparatus labeled INTREPID in New York?
       Lord Beaverbrook, responsible for the herculean effort of aircraft production that put Spitfires into RAF hands only just in time, kept up a relationship with Kennedy while reporting to Stephenson on the diplomat's activities.  Beaverbrook made no apology for his actions later.  'My son was shooting down Germans in the air,'  he said.  'I was obliged to be ruthless on the ground.'  He had made up his mind to 'shoot down Kennedy' after Donovan's midsummer visit, which ended with the Beaver cabling Big Bill on his arrival in Washington:  YOU ARE LIKE UNTO RIVERS OF WATER IN A DRY PLACE.
       Although Beaverbrook and Stephenson had a lot in common--they were both Canadians raised in a strict Scottish Presbyterian code, self-made millionaires, and strong-willed-- the press baron was not noted for reticence.  Beaverbrook described Ambassador Kennedy's final weeks to Stephenson in these words: " 'We loyally hushed up the betrayal of U.S. Embassy communications.  But Kennedy was soon back at it.  He wanted an unconditional guarantee that we send the whole British fleet to American ports in the likely event of our surrender.  To the very last, he was worried about money.  The British should be made to pay cash for arms.  British-owned securities in the United States should be taken over and sold to raise the money.  He feared Roosevelt was holding private conversations with you, so nothing would get on record about the President's blank-check arrangements for unsecured British credit.  When Churchill said we shall defend our island whatever the cost may be,  Kennedy warned Washington:  'Remember all speeches are being made in beautiful sunshiny weather.'  Even Russian Ambassador Ivan Maisky was astonished at Kennedy's state of panic, and is commenting acidly upon 'Capitalist Kennedy seeking personal concessions on imports of Haig and Haig whisky and Gordon's Gin, for which he holds exclusive distribution rights in the United States, in exchange for his help in obtaining American supplies, a crude form of blackmail.'  The London Spectator thinks there seem to be plenty of eminent persons in the United States to give isolationist advice without the Ambassador, knowing our ordeal, joining their number."
       Beaverbrook said bluntly that Kennedy's presence threatened the strategy settled upon to carry Britain through the period when 'we shall be losing the war in a conventional sense until mid-1941.  Hitler has put off the invasion until Spring 1941 and that gives us six months to launch psychological counteroffensives-- small secret warfare campaigns designed to play on what we know of the Fuhrer's temperament.
       'Hitler cannot stand opposition.  Our hopes rest upon inciting him to lunatic actions.  He must see the insults offered his supermen by barefoot peasants.  It will be good for our morale too, knowing we are defeated but still striking back.  These plans depend on keeping the right man in the White House.  Kennedy claims he can put 25 million Catholic votes behind Wendell Wilkie to throw Roosevelt out.'
       Foreign Minister Lord Halifax, now committed to the total-war concept, reported Kennedy as having said he had arranged widespread publication of an article by himself in the United States five days before the presidential election:  'Kennedy gave me to understand it would be an indictment of President Roosevelt's administration. . . .'
       Beaverbrook sent Stephenson a detailed report of the Ambassador's conversations in which compromising statements were made.  The report was submitted to FDR at once.  Stephenson described the scene:  'I sat back and watched FDR across his cluttered desk.  He had a way of reading, tilting the sheet from side to side.  You could tell when he was angry by small signs.  On this occasion the sign was the sudden acceleration in the tilting of the sheet.  Then he folded the sheet very calmly, very slowly, and he tore it just as slowly and calmly into very tiny pieces which he dropped into a wastebasket.  And then, in front of me, he drafted a cable to Kennedy which said in essence:  THE LIQUOR TRADE IN BOSTON IS NOW CHALLENGING AND THE GIRLS OF HOLLYWOOD MORE FASCINATING STOP I EXPECT YOU BACK HERE BY SATURDAY.
       Lyndon B. Johnson later said he was with the President when Kennedy arrived in New York and telephoned on Sunday, October 27.  'Ah, Joe, old friend, it is so good to hear your voice. . . .'  When Roosevelt replaced the telephone, he drew his forefinger razor-fashion across his throat, Johnson later recalled.
       The Kennedys dined with the Roosevelts that evening.  Two days later, Joseph P. Kennedy spoke on nationwide radio.  A startled public learned he now believed 'Franklin D. Roosevelt should be re-elected President.'  He told a press conference:  'I never made anti-British statements or said, on or off the record, that I do not expect Britain to win the war.'  British historian Nicholas Bethell wrote:  'How Roosevelt contrived the transformation is a mystery.'  And so it remained until the BSC {British Security Coordination} Papers disclosed that the President had been supplied with enough evidence of Kennedy's disloyalty that the Ambassador, when showed it, saw discretion to be the better part of valor.
       'If Kennedy had been recalled sooner,' said Stephenson later, 'he would have campaigned against FDR with a fair chance of winning.  We delayed him in London as best we could until he could do the least harm back in the States.'
       Kennedy's London was being torn apart by a new campaign of terror bombing.  Just when the German Air Force seemed likely to swamp RAF Fighter Command, the attacks were switched from vital bases to England's open cities.  Hitler stopped bombing fighter airfields and bombed London instead.  It was a turning point in the Battle of Britain;  and a decisive factor in making Kennedy get out of the smoking capital despite the efforts of society and the bureaucracy to detain him. 
       The Chief Diplomatic Advisor to Churchill, doubtless under stress from the nightly bombing, indulged in an undiplomatic comment that went into the sealed Kennediana file.  Robert Vansittart wrote:'Mr. Kennedy is a very foul specimen of a double-crosser and defeatist.  He thinks of nothing but his own pocket.  I hope that this war will at least see the elimination of his type.'  It may seem unfair to exhume this bitter note, years later, but it does give deeper meaning to the generous amends made after the war by President John F. Kennedy when he proclaimed Churchill an honorary citizen of the United States for his leadership 'in the dark days and darker nights when Britain stood alone--and most men save Englishmen despaired of England's life.'"  A Man Called Intrepid by William Stevenson pgs. 144-46 and 159-63.

Harry Hopkins: Asshat

      "Among the Americans who saw themselves as War-Wagers was the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Sherwood, destined to collaborate closely with Stephenson.  Sherwood had gained fame as an antiwar writer.  But with the evidence of Nazi evil before him, he confessed sadly that war was not the worst tragedy.  In that grim summer of 1940, he was promoting aid for Britain when he was tackled by Harry Hopkins, who was to become the President's ambassador-at-large.
       'What are you warmongers plotting now?' Hopkins demanded.
      Sherwood replied that he was helping Stephenson get fifty old American destroyers.  Hopkins protested that, with an election coming up, such public demands embarrassed Roosevelt.  The playwright shrugged and said some of his colleagues were persuading Roosevelt's rivals to adopt the proposal too.  Anyway, it was in line with the President's general policy.
      'What do you know about his policy?' snapped Hopkins.  'You know this country is neutral.'
       Sherwood told Stephenson later that he was shaken by evidence that someone so close to the President should be a narrow-minded isolationist.
       Hopkins remarked further, in curt terms, 'The whole country's isolationist except for a few pro-British fanatics like you.  If the President gave up fifty destroyers, how d'you suppose he'd keep the confidence of the people?'
       Sherwood answered hotly: 'You don't give the people credit for sense.  They're a damn-sight more anti-Nazi than you think.  It's time Roosevelt plucked up courage to speak frankly the way he's done before.'
       A sudden grin spread over Hopkins's lean face.  'Then why waste your breath shouting at me?  Say these things to the people yourself.'  A Man Called Intrepid by William Stevenson pg. 142-43

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Canaris Plot

       " The election of Pope Pius XII saw a new arrival in the marketing of real or spurious Vatican intelligence.  Dressed in a velvet jacket and black trousers an chain smoking through a slim holder like one of the characters in the film's he reviewed for L'Osservatore Romano , Virgilio Scattolini was also a novelist and playwright;  his talents had made him a popular figure at Rome's society dinner parties.  His visits to the newspaper gave him access to a confidential document:  the papal audience schedule.  It contained the time and length of each meeting and who had been present.  Secretary of State Cardinal Maglione always attended those meetings with foreign ministers and members of the Holy See diplomatic corps.  Each schedule also contained a concise summary of what was discussed.
       Scattolini immediately saw how the document could improve his income.  Melding the summaries with dinner party gossip, he began to provide the papal audiences with a life of their own.  With the same skill with which he gave his stage actors persuasive dialogue he provided Pope Pius XII with imaginary views on such diverse subjects as how he intended to use international law to shape his policies or how Britain's empire was so vast and expensive to rule it could never afford to enter European war.  Eamon de Valera, Ireland's prime minister, was said to have described Winston Churchill as having 'a warlike attitude.'  In another summary, Count Ciano, Mussolini's son-in-law, was credited with telling Pius Italy would never go to war to support German aspirations.
      Scattolini's Notiziario, news bulletins, were immediately seen as the work of a Vatican insider.  Diego von Bergen, the German ambassador to the Holy See, became one of the first subscribers to Scattolini's concoctions.
      Soon his version of papal audiences had a growing subscription list of diplomats, journalists, and intelligence officers, all eager for any information on the pope's views as the war clouds darkened over Europe.  The Rome offices of the Associated Press and United Press, engaged in intense rivalry, rushed to circulate Scattolini's fantasies.  The New York Times and The Times of London published accounts from Notiziario.  The very authority of those newspapers gave creditability to the bogus reports.  Soon every embassy in Rome subscribed.  Messengers would arrive at Scattolini's apartment with an envelope of money to collect a copy of the latest bulletin.  In the United States the Bank of America ordered its traders to read Notiziaro before trading.  In London it was studied in the Bank of England as carefully as the market.
      In Berlin, Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop had formed a Buero Ribbentrop, a highly secret office designed to check on usually rather pedestrian diplomatic reports from Reich embassies.  The Buero was staffed by handpicked analysts from the foreign ministry intelligence department and its political office.
       Pope Pius XII, with his years spent in Germany, his admiration for its culture, who spoke its language fluently and had surrounded himself with German staff, had become a target for the Buero.  Von Ribbentrop ordered it to find out more about papal policies.  He appointed an old classmate, Rudolf Likus, to do so.  Given the rank of an SS major, the moon-faced Likus had a habit of finger snapping to show his delight and did so when he read a copy of Scattolini's work.  He flew to Rome and offered Scattolini double what he was charging if he would send his reports to Berlin before they were published.
       Scattolini continued to excel himself with fictitious summaries of papal audiences.  Likus presented them to von Ribbentrop with confidence and authority, pointing out he had personally met Scattolini in his apartment and concluded he was 'der am Vatikan taetige Gewahrsmann'--'our man in the Vatican.'
       Reassured, the foreign minister began to send the reports to Hitler. On his next visit to Rome Likus informed Scattolini who was reading his work.  The forger told Likus that, for a further substantial increase in his fee, he would arrange for material to be passed on exclusively to Berlin and never published elsewhere.  An elated Likus agreed.  Hitler's fantasist in the Vatican continued to allow his imagination to flow freely.

         In July 1939, {Stewart} Menzies learned from an MI6 officer in Munich that two Abwehr officers had travelled to Rome.  They were Colonel Hans Oster, the head of the Abwehr's central division and his deputy Major Hans von Dohnanyi, a lawyer who was responsible for gathering intelligence about foreign diplomats in Berlin.  On MI6 files both men were described as 'very possibly anti-Hitler.'
       The MI6 Rome station established that both men had come to see Father Robert Lieber, the pope's German secretary.  The meeting was to see if Pius XII would become involved in a plot to remove Hitler.
       The plan was the creation of Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, the head of the Abwehr, Germany's foreign intelligence service.  He had come to see that Hitler was leading Germany to both physical and moral destruction.  Imbued with courage and nerve Canaris was determined the fuhrer must be stopped. 
        Canaris had met Pius XII during his time as a nuncio in Berlin and had found common ground in discussing history.  Traditionally popes as temporal leaders down the centuries had often performed the role of adjudicator in disputes between states;  the treaties which divided the borders between Spain and Portugal were an example.  Now, a decade after their Berlin meeting, Canaris had pondered whether Pope Pius XII would be prepared to help depose Hitler.  While it could expose Pius XII to danger for himself, like every spy chief, Canaris was long used to putting aside such matters as the safety of an asset.
       Canaris had sent the two Abwehr officers to Rome to explore his idea with Father Leiber, another contact the spymaster had made in Germany.  Oster explained to the pope's secretary how a growing underground opposition to Hitler--members of the German high command--were committed to returning Germany to democracy by dismantling the Third Reich and creating a federation which would include Austria.  But before doing anything the opposition wanted an assurance from the British and French governments that neither would exploit what would undoubtedly be Germany's vulnerability at the time.  They had come to Rome to see if the pope would be ready to obtain that guarantee.  It called for D'Arcy Osborne to act as the intermediary between Pius and Britain's prime minister, Neville Chamberlain, to obtain it.
       Von Dohnanyi added that to show they believed the pope was the ideal person to help and be ready to challege Hitler, they were aware that on April 4, 1933, only days after the new Nazi government had taken office, the then Secretary of State Pacelli had ordered the apostolic nuncio in Berlin, Cesare Orsenigo, to warn the fuhrer against persecuting the Jews after his government had announced a national boycott of all Jewish businesses.  The two envoys said it was proof to Canaris that the pope had shown courage in his first initiative to intervene on behalf of the Jews.
       Father Leiber had thanked them but made no other comment.  It was not until 1962 that he chose to reveal this early aspect of the pope's determination to defend Hitler's Jews."   The Pope's Jews by Gordon Thomas (pgs.39-41and 42-43)

Another Abortion Murder

         (May 18, 1893) Carlyle W. Harris, convicted of administering poison to his child wife, was electrocuted in Sing Sing prison at 12:40 o'clock Monday afternoon.  Thus the last act in one of the most noted and intricate murder trials on record is closed.  Young Harris had been a medical student and played the role of a fast youth at Ocean Grove when he was first introduced to Mary Helen Potts.  The rest of the story is easily summed up:  Clandestine meetings, a secret marriage, an illegal operation twice performed to hide the fact of their union, discovery by the girl's mother and a demand for a public marriage, procrastination by Harris, and finally the preparation of some headache pills for his young wife which caused her death by morphine poisoning.  Harris showed no concern at her death, and refused to allow her to be buried under his name.  Suspicion was aroused, trial and conviction followed, Gov. Flower refused a pardon, and the executioner's chair ended a base and blighted life.
      The fact that Harris spent his last hours preparing a written statement of his innocence is in keeping with his character, and only shows his remarkable powers of secretiveness and self-control.  It was natural that he should wish to preserve the name of his family from utter obliquy and to sustain his mother's unwavering faith in the innocence of her boy.  The saddest scene in this remarkable drama--more tragic far than that which ended all in the death-room Monday--was that in which the mother, after having fought off death for a year with all the intensity of a mother's love, stood before her son's prison cell to say a last farewell.  Few mortals come to know the anguish of such an hour.  The Harris tragedy is one of a class which must continue as long as there are men who look upon women as flowers to be plucked and flung away, and as long as there are women left to be deceived.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Fox News Quote

"Speech is for fools, but is for genius to observe." Benjamin Disraeli

Commentarius de Prognosticis: Was Thatcherism Catholic?

Commentarius de Prognosticis: Was Thatcherism Catholic?

Do You Know Who Works for Your Catholic Charity?

     Tip of the petasus to  The Planned Parenthood lobbyist behind the recent opposition to a born-alive protection act in Florida, Alisa Lapolt-Snow, used to be an employee of Catholic Charities.  Do you know who works for your Catholic charity, now that it has become obvious that heavy hitters in Campaign for Human Development, Catholic Relief Services, and now Catholic Charities turn out to be pro-aborts, or worse yet, pro-infanticide?

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Chopping Broccolino

       Petasus tip to Pirate's Cove, Shiitown, under the rule of Rahm Emmanuel, announces new taxes on guns, primarily a $25 surcharge on all gun sales in suburban Cook County, with proceeds to pay for indigent shooting victims in the county.  As Chicago Police has lower manpower than at any time in the last forty years, it becomes necessary to tax those who wish to defend themselves.

        MSNBC announces Karen Finney to join staff of ascerbic, angry leftists.  Columbia University hires former terrorist Kathy Boudin to a professorship.  Bill Ayers. . . call me!  So in other words, the end times progress further.

       Make sure to avoid Howard County, Maryland, if you're conservative.  District Attorney Dario Broccolino has decided not to prosecute a confederate of Brett Kimberlin, the convicted terrorist who now spends his time SWATting his enemies.  Rule of law?  No thank you, and if you want to be protected from stalkers, Maryland is no place to visit.

Dangerous Extremists

"I am a defender of freedom and the American way of life."- from The Army Creed

       With a tip of the petasus to The Gateway Pundit, a training graphic used to train Army reservists in Pennsylvania lists Catholics as "Religious Extremists."  This is a disturbing, and some would say, predictable result of the politicization of the U.S. Army under Oh Blah Blah.  This raises several questions.

1)Who in the command structure decided Catholics are an extremist group?  Is it the official position of the Department of the Army, or of any subsidiary group such as Training and Doctrines Command?

2)Assuming that it actually is the position of DA that Catholics are an extremist group, this raises two related questions.
       2a)Will Catholics be allowed to leave the Army voluntarily, or will they be forced to separate from the Army as a involuntary move to promote the good order of the Army?
      2b) Are Catholic priests serving in the Chaplain Corps to be kept in service, or will the Army remove them as a threat to subvert good order?

       Perhaps the passage in the Army Creed should be revised to read, "I am a defender of modern liberalism and the Obama way of life," as it is becoming increasingly clear that the Army is just another institution of the United States Government hostile to people of faith.

Thursday, April 04, 2013

More Profiles in Asshattery

     "On the face of it, {OSS founder Bill} Donovan would seem poorly qualified to work with Britain in any sensitive capacity.  He was a Catholic of Irish descent, and a Republican who might seem also to represent all that was anathema to a Democratic administration.  But Roosevelt trusted him and had already sent him on personal intelligence missions abroad.  He was, in Stephenson's opinion, just the man to be taken into Britain's confidence.  It was an unparalleled display of faith at a time when another Irish Catholic, Joseph P. Kennedy, created such cold hostility.  Kennedy, quickly recovering from the scandal of his Embassy's leaky security, was now complaining that the President circumvented him altogether. 

      The reason for keeping Donovan's journey secret from the Embassy was Kennedy's continuing defeatism.  He had written Roosevelt:  'England is fighting for her possessions.  They are not fighting Hitler. . .They will spend every hour figuring how to get us in.'  And he warned American businessmen that Britain was broke and lacked even gold to pay for arms.

      This brought Donovan's Irish temper to a boil.  He prided himself upon hiding it;  his value to Roosevelt was built on iron self-control.  There had been a moment when he thought he should call on Kennedy at the U.S. Embassy.  Now, unsure about keeping his temper in check, he let the temptation pass.  'Joe's joined the knockers and the kickers,' he told Stephenson.  The Ambassador deplored the fact that Americans in London had formed the 1st American squadron of the RAF and wore British Home Guard uniforms with red eagles for shoulder flashes.  And Kennedy's dispatches, becoming more defeatist than ever, matched those of Ambassador William Bullitt in France, who believed the physical and moral defeat of the French had been so complete that 'they accept the fate of becoming a province of Nazi Germany [and] hope England will be rapidly and completely defeated.'  Just to make the British feel better about the desertions and betrayals, the French General Leon Huntziger told German General Walther von Brauchitsch:  'France is fighting with Germany against Britain." A Man Called Intrepid , by William Stevenson p.117, 120-21,and 131-32