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Thursday, June 27, 2013

Kasab Taburu (Butcher Brigade), Part Four

     "The plan to exterminate the Armenians was accelerated and shaped by the rapid rise of military officers to crucial positions of power.  This new military authority remained free from the restraints of the Ottoman legislature.  With the proclamation of the Temporary Law of Deportation of May 27, 1915, which ordered the forcible deportation of the Armenians, Ottoman officers were given the power to take charge of the wholesale removal of the Armenian population, and the Ministry of War under Enver was authorized to administer the details.
         In creating an efficient killing process the Special Organization systematically recruited, organized, and deployed tens of thousands of convicted criminals for the purpose of massacring the Armenian population.  In this astonishing use of the nation's criminal manpower, the military authorities were given autonomy to authorize the release of thousands of convicts from the prisons.  While the Ottoman government had deployed convicts in small numbers in the Balkan War of 1913, and the sultan had also emptied some prisons for the sake of killing Armenians in the 1890s, the harnessing of the criminal element of Ottoman society was brought to an entirely new threshold in 1915.
       The organization of the chetes--the ex-convict killer bands--was similar to the Reich Security Main Office's einsatzgruppen,or mobile killing units.  While Raul Hilberg claims that the Reich Security Main Office conducted 'for the first time in modern history. . . a massive killing operation,' it appears in fact that the CUP's Special Organization was the first state bureaucracy to implement mass killing for the purpose of race extermination.  Arnold Toynbee was among the first to assess the role of these killing squads when he wrote that:' Turkish "political" chetes. . .made their debut on the western littoral, and in 1915, after being reinforced by convicts released for the purpose from the public prisons, they carried out the designs of the Union and Progress Government against the Armenians in every province of Anatolia except the vilayet of Aidin.'
       The CUP's killing program also involved a hierarchy of command.  At the top of this chain, Dr. Shakir played a role not unlike that of Nazi Reich Security Head, Reinhard Heydrich.  The miltary hierarchy was essential to the operation, and accordingly the Special Organization units were mostly directed by active or reserve officers.  The small detachments were commanded by lieutenants and captains, the larger ones by majors.  In order to ensure that the officers would lead the killing efficiently, they were given incentives of Armenian booty and spoils.  The killing squads and their leaders were motivated by both the ideology of jihad , with its Islamic roots, and pan-Turkism influenced by European nationalism.  The confession made by a Turkish gendarmerie captain named Shukru to the Armenian priest Krikoris Balakian in Yozgat in 1916 dramatizes the role of jihad in the killing process.  Captain Shukru admitted to Balakian, a deportee he assumed would soon be dead, that he had been ordered to massacre all the Armenians of Yozgat because it was a 'holy war.'  When it was over, he told the priest, he 'would say a prayer and his soul would be absolved.'
       The killer bands, or chetes, who played such a significant role in the killing process, were estimated to be about thirty to thirty-four thousand in number.  While Talaat, Shakir, Enver, Gokalp, Nazim, and the others found the idea of using ex-convicts to be an effective means of carrying out genocide, there was another hidden agenda.  Using ex-convicts, they believed, would enable the government to deflect responsibility.  For as the death tolls rose, they could always say that 'things got out of control,' and it was the result of 'groups of brigands.'"  The Burning Tigris by Peter Balakian, pgs. 182-183

Monday, June 24, 2013

Chicago Sewers

        The People's Republic of Illinois is the home of the corrupt Hyde Park socialists Obama, Axelrod, and Jarrett.  The Machine controls the bulk of the state house.  This is the reason Estase has always said that the cloaca maxima of Shiitown empties into Springfield.  The junior senator, Mark Kirk, who is on record saying that confirming Federal judges is "a waste of time," now is wasting his power on passing the Amnesty Bill.  This is to make up for his record of rock-ribbed conservative votes, like when he voted for gay marriage.  What use are Illinois Republicans, assuming there actually are any?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Genderflection and the Empathy Gap

       Estase believes that political correctness is something that often involves double standards.  Women are usually given consideration based solely on this attribute.  Estase calls this genderflection.  I will use this in context.  The press made great deference to the fact that Ruth Bader Ginsberg was a grandmother.  This was an example of the press genderflecting to a Supreme Court Justice for the virtue of being female.  Justice Ginsberg is an indefatigable supporter of abortion.  So she wishes for fewer women to actually be grandmothers.  But she is female, and by happenstance has grandchildren, so she must be a great person.  Estase loathes it when people say something like, "As a parent, I find it horrible that kids were hurt at the Boston Marathon bombing."  So, if you don't have kids, it doesn't bother you to see kids hurt?  You have to be a parent to have empathy?  That would be like saying, "As a man, I hate seeing a man get a basketball slammed into another man's crotch."  So women don't understand that having a basketball hit your testicles doesn't feel good?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Kasab Taburu (Butcher Brigade), Part Three

       "On November 14, less than two weeks after the Ottoman Empire entered the war, the sheikh-ul-Islam (the chief Sunni Muslim religious authority in the Ottoman world), Mustafa Hayri Bey--who was a CUP appointment and not, as it was traditionally, the sultan's choice--made a formal declaration of jihad in Constantinople, followed by well-organized demonstrations in the streets.  Even though the Germans and the Austro-Hungarians were the only Christians exempt from the jihad, they were uneasy about this aspect of the Ottoman religious war cry.  Wagenheim wired the Wilhelmstrasse (Foreign Ministry) that the unleashing of religious passions among the Turks was liable to do more harm than good.  He noted that there had already been anti-Armenian violence and other disorder in the city, and he assured the kaiser that he was doing everything 'to prevent further troubles for which we would be held responsible.'  The Entente governments were alarmed about the jihad, and the Italians, for example, now bolstered their armies in Libya, where they feared trouble.
       To promote the idea of jihad, the sheikh-ul-Islam's published proclamation summoned the Muslim world to arise and massacre its Christian oppressors.  'Oh Moslems,' the document read, 'Ye who are smitten with happiness and are on the verge of sacrificing your life and your good for the cause of right, and of braving perils, gather now around the Imperial throne.'  In the Ikdam,the Turkish newspaper that had just passed into German ownership, the idea of jihad was underscored:  'The deeds of our enemies have brought down the wrath of God.  A gleam of hope has appeared.  All Mohammedans, young and old, men, women, and children must fulfill their duty. . . . If we do it, the deliverance of the subjected Mohammedan kingdoms is assured.'  Jihad pamphlets appealed to the need to exterminate all the Christians--except those of German nationality.  'He who kills even one unbeliever,' one pamphlet read, 'of those who rule over us, whether he does it secretly or openly, shall be rewarded by God.'  In the worldwide Islamic revolution that was coming, 'India' would be 'for the Indian Moslems, the Caucasus for the Caucasian Moslems, and the Ottoman Empire for the Ottoman Turks and Arabs.'
       At the American embassy the day after the jihad proclamation, over tea and cakes, Enver assured Ambassador Morganthau that jihad proclamations would not mean any harm to Americans, nor would there be any massacres.  In the midst of his assurances, Morgenthau's secretary came into the room to report that a mob was demonstrating 'against certain foreign establishments,' and already had attacked an Austrian shop that was advertising 'English clothes' for sale.  Enver brushed off this news as nothing to worry about, but shortly after he left, a report came to Morgenthau that a mob had looted a French dry goods store, the Bon Marche, and was heading toward the British embassy.  A few minutes later the mob marched to 'Tokatlian's, the most important restaurant in Constantinople, ' as Morgenthau called it.  Then Turks broke the mirrors and windows and smashed the marble table tops;  within minutes the restaurant was 'completely gutted.'
        If the jihad failed to incite a worldwide call for three hundred million Muslims to take arms against Christians, it did fan the flames of Turkish nationalism and continued to escalate what Jay Winter has called 'the culture preparation of hatred.'  As the American ambassador put it, the jihad 'started passions aflame that afterward spent themselves in the massacres of the Armenians and other subject peoples.' "The Burning Tigris by Peter Balakian Pgs. 169-170

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Kasab Taburu (Butcher Brigade) Part Two

       "In ways that were similar and anticipated the Nazi race-hygeine ideology of the 1930s, which depicted the Jew as a 'harmful bacillus' and 'bloodsucker' infecting the German nation from within (Hitler called the Jew 'a maggot in a rotting corpse' and 'a germ carrier of the worst sort'), pan-Turkist ideology envisioned the Armenian as an invasive infection in Muslim Turkish society.  One Turkish physician, Mehmed Reshid, a staunch party member who was appointed governor of Diyarbekir in 1915--and would be responsible for the deaths and deportations of hundreds of thousands of Armenians--likened the Armenians to 'dangerous microbes,' asking rhetorically, 'Isn't it the duty of a doctor to destroy these microbes?'  Known as the 'executioner governor,' Dr. Mehmed Reshid tortured Armenians by nailing horseshoes to their feet and marching them through the streets, and by crucifying them on makeshift crosses.  After the Genocide Reshid confessed 'My Turkishness prevailed over my medical calling.'  Other physicians, like Dr. Behaeddin Shakir and Dr. Mehmed Nazim, both CUP leaders, also believed that Armenians were gavurs who had become 'tubercular microbes' infecting the state.
        {Ziya} Gokalp's pan-Turkism was bound up in grandiose romantic nationalism and a 'mystical vision of blood and race,' and was influenced by the German nationalism of Herder and Wagner, who were also key influences on Nazi Aryan ideology.  Gokalp believed that for Turkey to revitalize itself, it had to reclaim a golden age, which he defined as a pre-Islamic era of Turkic warriors such as Genghis Khan and Tamerlane.  It is ironic that Hitler also extolled Genghis Khan in his speech about the future of German world domination and his immediate plan to invade Poland.  Speaking to his elite generals eight days before invading Poland in 1939, Hitler praised the virtues of power and brutality, referring to how easy it had been to dispense of defenseless people like the Armenians.  'Genghis Khan led millions of women and children to slaughter--with premeditation and a happy heart.  History sees him solely as the founder of a state.  It's a matter of indifference to me what a weak western European civilization will say about me.'  And then the fuhrer asked rhetorically:  'Who today, after all, speaks of the annhilation of the Armenians?'
        For Turkey to be strong again, Gokalp believed, it had to emulate this great military past, and it had to be a pure, homogenous nation.  A nation, Gokalp wrote, must be 'a society consisting of people who speak the same language, have had the same education and are united in their religious and aesthetic ideals--in short those who have a common culture and religion.'
       Gokalp declared with passion that nationalism was the new religion in the twentieth century, and that loyalty to the nation must be, for the healthy state, unqualified and total.  'I am a soldier, it [the nation] is my commander/I obey without question all its orders.  With closed eyes/I carry out my duty,' his doggerel went.  Like Mehmet Reshid, he espoused the idea that non-Turks were invasive germs that threatened the health of the state.  'Greeks, Armenians, and Jews' were 'a foreign body in the national Turkish state.'  Believing the Armenians and Greeks to be parasites, Gokalp and the other pan-Turkists strove to rid their society of this Christian bourgeois element.  Gokalp's theory of national economy advocated a homogenous Turkish bourgeoisie, and during the Balkan Wars, a Turkish boycott of Greek and Armenian businesses was a major manifestation of the new xenophobia.  As Tekinalp put it, 'The rigorous boycott' created 'a feeling of brotherhood. . . in the hearts of people all over the empire.'   It was only a beginning, for as U.S. Ambassador Henry Morgenthau put it, the boycott with its attack on Christians, especially the Greeks in this case, foreshadowed what would happen to the Armenians later.  Turkish rage at the gavur bourgeosie would explode in more extreme ways when the wholesale theft and pillaging of Armenian wealth became institutionalized during the Genocide.
        The Young Turk leaders, especially Enver Pasha, went beyond pan-Turkism and became obsessed with the idea of pan-Turanism, an ideology based on the hope of reclaiming the Caucasus and central Asia--an idea laced with some of the occultlike fantasy characterized by the Nazi belief about ruling the world for a thousand years.  For Enver it fueled his desire to wipe out the Armenians, whom he saw as an obstacle to Turkish expansion into the Russian Caucasus and then into central Asia, and it dictated some of his military strategy.  The pan-Turanist part of Gokalp's ideology made a special appeal to Turkish fantasies.  It was predicated on an irridentist idea that the Ottoman Empire could revive itself by achieving some sort of union among 'all peoples of proven or alleged Turkic origins,' both inside and outside the Ottoman Empire.'
       The idea encapsulated a dream of creating an empire among the Turkic peoples from Albania through Anatolia, into the Caucuses and then into central and east-central Asia.  As the Turks drove east, Gokalp believed, they would find the mythical origin of their culture,' a Shangri-La-like area in the steppes of Central Asia.'  By 1910, as the idea of Turkification became increasingly popular, the CUP decided to make the Turkish language compulsory in all schools throughout the empire, and it reiterated this at annual meetings in the ensuing years leading up to World War I.
       By 1914, as Turkey positioned itself to join Germany in the war, the Young Turk leadership was embracing various elements of pan-Turkism, pan-Turanism, and Turkification.  Obsessed with their mortal enemy, Russia, and angry about Russian rule of the Turkic peoples of central Asia, the Young Turks used pan-Turkic goals as a rationale for entering the war.  Throughout the press from Tasvir-i Efkar and Sabah to government organs such as Tanin, and opposition papers like Ikdam and Zaman, pan-Turkist propaganda was very much part of the zeitgeist.

       Turkey's new alliance with Germany and partnership in World War I accelerated the empire's militarization program.  By March 1914 the Germans had become an entrenched presence in the empire and in the Ottoman military.  High-ranking German officers now found themselves holding commanding positions in the Ottoman army and navy.  Gen.  Liman von Sanders had arrived in Constantinople in December 1913 and was to become commander of the First Ottoman Army Corps, and also inspector-general of the Ottoman army, while Maj. Gen. Fritz Bronssart von der Goltz, Maj. Gen. Freidrich Kress von Kressenstein, Gen. Eric von Falkenhayn, Maj. Gen. Hans von Seekt all assumed positions of power in the Ottoman army.  The German rear admiral Wilhelm Souchon became commander of the Ottoman navy, as did his successor Vice-Adm. Hubert von Rebeur-Paschwitz.
       To the new American ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Henry Morgenthau, the aggressive presence of the German army in Turkey seemed nothing less than evidence of the kaiser's plan 'to annex the Turkish army to his own.'  It was certainly no coincidence that Enver Pasha had been trained in Berlin, where he was military attache in 1909.  He worshipped German kultur, and in Morgenthau's view, was little more than ' a cog in the Prussian system.'  With the new German leadership, Morgenthau found himself witnessing changes in the Ottoman army.  'What. . . had been an undisciplined, ragged rabble was now parading with the goose step, the men were clad in German field gray, and they even wore a casque-shaped head covering, which slightly suggested the German Pickelhaube [spiked helmet].'  Of this the 'German officers were immensely proud,' for they felt they had transformed 'the wretched Turkish soldiers of January into these neatly dressed, smartly stepping, splendidly maneuvering troops.'
       By the summer of 1914, Morgenthau described the German officers as 'rushing through the streets every day in huge automobiles,' and filling 'all the restaurants and amusement places at night, consuming large quantities of champagne.'  In particular, General von der Goltz, who had accrued the title of pasha, drove through the streets in a flashy car 'on both sides of which flaring German eagles were painted,' and a 'trumpeter on the front seat' announced them as they barreled down the boulevards.
       Although the Ottoman Empire signed a secret treaty with Germany on August 2, 1914, many high-ranking Turks were still pro-British, including Yussuf Izzedin, the heir apparant to the sultanate, and Grand Vizier Said Halim.  Jemal Pasha was a Francophile, the majority of the cabinet were not pro-German, and public opinion was more pro-English than pro-German.  But Enver and Talaat had succeeded in engineering the German ascendancy, and this struck Morgenthau as ironic because England, not Germany, had been 'Turkey's historic friend.'
       By the summer of 1914, an aggressive German public relations campaign had coopted the Turkish press and fueled the new Turkish-German alliance.  German ambassador Hans von Wangenheim purchased the Ikdam, one of Turkey's largest newspapers, and began vigorously promoting Germany at the expense of France and Great Britain.  The Osmanischer Lloyd, one of Turkey's largest newspapers, and became an organ of the German embassy, and a new wave of censorship followed, in which the Turkish press was ordered to publish only pro-German sentiment.  Russia was portrayed as Turkey's chief enemy, responsible for Turkey's recent losses, and Germany as its ally.  As Morgenthau put it:  'The Kaiser suddenly became 'Hadji Wilhelm.''
       Trainloads of Germans from Berlin--some 3,800 of them--began landing in Constantinople.  Most of them were mechanics sent by the kaiser to work in ammunition plants and to repair Turkish destroyers for war.  Like the military officers, this new crew of Germans also filled the cafes at night and paraded through the streets 'in the small hours of the morning, howling and singing German patriotic songs.'  It was a movement in which the gradual erosion of British dominance seemed to have given way fully to German hegemony in Turkey.  To the close-up diplomatic eye of the American ambassador, it seemed that the British had not played the game properly.  British ambassador Sir Louis Mallet 'had not purchased Turkish officials with money, as had Wagenheim;  he had not corrupted the Turkish press, trampled on every remaining vestige of international law, fraternized with a gang of political desperadoes, and conducted a ceaseless campaign of misrepresentations and lies against his enemy.'  The Burning Tigris by Peter Balakian pgs. 164-166, 167-169.

Kaiser Saluting the Head of the Mohammedan Church (1917)

From Macomb (IL) Daily Journal ,Saturday December 29, 1917.  Caption:  "This photograph, one of the very few showing the kaiser in Constantinople, shows him saluting the Cheek-Ul-Islam, head of the Mohammedan church.  It has just come to the United States after publication in Germany.  In the photograph are showed the Cheek, the sultan of Turkey, Enver Pasha, minister of war, who has been charged with being the German agent in Turkey, and the kaiser."

Sunday, June 09, 2013

The Roundup, Part Four

       "Rosina Sorani and her brother, Settimio, had spent the day in their apartment wondering what they should do.  She had been on her way to work when she saw the trucks parking on the Via del Portico d'Ottavia.  She had calmly turned round and retraced her steps.  From then on they had taken turns to use the telephone;  Rosina to try and contact Foa, her brother to reach Father Weber and Renzo Levi.  Settimio finally contacted the Pallotine priest late in the afternoon who said he would come at once.  When he arrived he explained he had been in the Vatican all day helping to deal with the situation. 
       Weber said he would take them to where Foa, Almansi, and Levi met after going into hiding.  It was a dairy shop run by a Catholic widow and her daughter.  While she provided them with coffee, the three most powerful men in the Jewish community listened to Weber's news.
       They had discussed how they could save the Jews.  Foa suggested he should write an appeal to the pope to intervene.  Weber said Pius was doing all he could.  Levi proposed a direct approach should be made to either the German embassy or its mission to the Holy See to ask for the freedom for the old and sick and the women and children.  He would personally guarantee to pay any sum of money in exchange for their release.  The money would be raised from America.  Weber had asked how long it would take to find such a sum.  Levi thought it would take 'a few days.'  The Pallotine father had looked at the others and said he feared there were only hours left in which to negotiate any deal.
       Nevertheless Ugo Foa decided he would still write to the pope and Weber said he would bring the letter to the Vatican.  When he gave it to Weber it contained a sentence which caught his attention.  Foa had written there were a number of people in the ghetto who were classified under the racial laws as Mischlinge-- the offspring of parents who were of mixed religion.  Some, Foa wrote, had even been baptized and while they still lived in the ghetto were regarded as Catholics.  They should be allowed to go free.
       Pfeiffer hurried to see Maglione.  After reading the letter the secretary of state produced a copy of the racial laws and found the relevant passage.  He had taken the book and Foa's letter with him to the pope.  Pius told Maglione to inform Weizsacker and asked to intervene to have the Mischinlinge freed and arrange for a senior member of the Vatican  to go to the Collegio Militare, taking with him a copy of the racial laws to show to the officer in charge.  Maglione proposed sending Bishop Hudal, given he was the signatory of the letter to Stahel.
        Hudal's role in the roundup has remained secret until now.  In his own notes of the matter Maglione only referred to him as a 'Vatican official.'
        On Sunday morning, dressed in his bishop's robes, Hudal introduced himself to Dannecker at the entrance to the Collegio Militare as 'the most senior Reverend Alois Hudal, the senior German-speaking bishop abroad.'
       Twenty-one months later he would use similar words to receive Heinrich Mueller in his palatial office in the Pan-Germanic college to discuss with the former German gestapo chief the help Nazi war criminal needed from Hudal to obtain Vatican documents to hide in South America.
       There is no evidence the pope and the Vatican were implicated in the matter-- let alone an organization which became known as ODESSA, which appears to have been the brainchild of Hudal.  In 2011 Mossad files show that figures like Franz Stangl, the commandant of Treblinka;  Klaus Barbie;  Martin Bormann;  and Adolf Eichmann were all assisted with false papers and hiding places provided by Hudal while they were en route to hide in Latin America at the end of the war.
       The details emerged in 1945 when Dannecker was captured and interrogated by American forces.  He had been hiding in Bad Tolz in Bavaria organizing Nazi resistance to the Allied occupation.  He had already instructed his wife to poison their two children;  one died, the other was saved.  Dannecker was found hanging in his cell awaiting trial.
        That Sunday morning at the Collegio Militare what passed between them ended with Dannecker agreeing with Hudal that 274 'non-Jews'--spouses and offspring--caught in the roundup were to be set free.
       They left the barracks soon after the bishop drove back to the Vatican.  In the meantime Weizsacker had told Maglione he was unable to help free the non-Jews."  The Pope's Jews by Gordon Thomas pgs 222-224

Friday, June 07, 2013

The Roundup, Part Three

       "It was around 5 A.M. when on Saturday Prince Filippo Doria Pamphilj awoke.  For days now he had knelt on his prie-dieu and prayed about whether it was time to tell the Resistance to place the detonators in the tunnel beneath his family palazzo on the Via del Corso to ensure the enormous baroque edifice, with its thousand rooms, which had become the Waffen SS headquarters and barracks in Rome, would be totally destroyed.
       Over the past weeks, the forty-three-year-old prince, dressed in a coalman's clothes, had led the demolition team through the tunnels as they worked by the light of a lantern placing the explosives beneath a palace where for centuries the family had lived and welcomed monarchs, popes, and rulers of Europe with two exceptions:  Prince Filippo had refused to entertain Mussolini or Hitler when they came to Rome.
        His decision had cost the price his liberty--imprisoned in one of Mussolini's concentration camps.  After pressure from the Vatican to free him.  Pope Pius had advised Filippo to go into hiding from the furious Fascists.
        The palace gardener, by then a member of the Resistance, had found the prince a home in Trastevere among its working-class population, and introduced him to the partisan leaders, who promised he would be safe among them.  They showed him some of their hideouts.  He had told them about the tunnels.  When the Germans arrived he proposed the palace should be blown up.
        Even hard-bitten men of the Resistance had hesitated.  The damage could be widespread, the revenge of the Germans guaranteed, and he would become a prime target, together with his family.
       Prince Filippo discussed the matter with his wife, Gesine, and their daughter, Princess Orietta.  Gesine had reminded her husband that the palace would eventually pass to Orietta as their only child and she would be entitled to an inheritance which would include four princedoms, two dukedoms, and immense estates including a castle, a thirteenth-century abbey, and the church of St. Agnes in Rome's Piazza Navona.
        Orietta told her father he must do what he felt was right.
        Since then Prince Fillipo knelt every morning as dawn broke on his prie-dieu and prayed to make the right decision.
        On that morning his devotions were interrupted by the roar of trucks emerging from the Collegio Militare and moving down the road on the opposite bank of the Tiber.

         The pope's first orders were given calmly.  Maglione was to continue to stay in contact with Weizsacker.  Father Pankratius was to obtain information from the German high command in Rome.  The secretary of state's two assistants--Montini and Tardini--were to work together to contact the religious houses where Jews were being sheltered and told what was happening.  Father Leiber was to inform Osborne and Tittmann and ask them if their governments would protest to Berlin;  the pope's secretary would make a similar request to neutral missions to the Holy See.  Pascalina was to inform Chief Rabbi Zolli and ask him to convey the news to all the other Jews hiding in the Vatican.  D'Altishofen, the Swiss Guard commander, was to contact the Rome police for information.  Ottaviani was to inform O'Flaherty, who should send his priests out into the streets to establish what was happening.  The Vatican switchboard was alerted and it began to handle priority calls from the network Pius had mobilized to help the Jews.
        Through the long day Pius remained in his office receiving reports and issuing new orders.  To Father Leiber he was 'leading the smallest state on earth to challenge the military masters of Rome.  It was clear that upon his courage and decision-making would depend the lives of those being taken into the military college.'

        It was midmorning when Weizsacker was shown into Maglione's office.  The secretary of state said the ambassador must intervene with the foreign minister in Berlin to have the roundup cancelled 'for the sake of humanity and Christian charity.'
       Weizsacker's response came after a pause.  'It would be more powerful if the pope was to publicly protest against the deportation.'
       The words would form part of the claims and counterclaims of what followed in the short meeting between the two diplomats.  Weizsacker claimed he praised the Holy See for its balanced attitude throughout the war and asked if it 'was worthwhile putting everything in danger just as the ship is reaching port?'
        Maglione would insist, 'I reminded him that the Holy See had no wish to be put in a position where it is necessary to protest but if the Holy See is obliged to do so I trust the consequences to divine providence.'

        Hudal had been given a seat around the table for the noon meeting on Saturday which the pope regularly held in a salon in the Apostolic Palace with his senior advisors.  They included Maglione, Montini and Tardini, Monsignor Leiber, Monsignor Ottaviani, and Father Pfeiffer.
         After Maglione had reveiwed his meeting with Weizsacker, Ottaviani reported that the convents and religious houses were sheltering ghetto Jews who had managed to escape and Father Weber had brought a number into the Vatican.
         Each person had before him a copy of the letter Gumpert and Kessel had composed and which Pankratius had brought to Hudal.  It now became the subject of discussion.
         Hudal said he found the content acceptable but that the signatory was too low-ranking to represent the views expressed.  As it involved the Holy See it should be signed by someone with a suitable rank in the Vatican as he was certain then that General Stahel would transmit the letter to Berlin.  Further it should be brought to the Stadtkommandant by Father Pfeiffer to reinforce the letter represented the Holy See's position.
        While agreeing to this approach, Maglione had a question:  Who should sign the letter?  Hudal said he would be honored to put his name to the letter.  It was left to the pope to say the document should not be written on Vatican stationery but on Bishop Hudal's German college notepaper as its rector.  This would be interpreted by his critics as 'evidence' that the pope did not wish to be further involved in the fate of the Jews.

        At 5 P.M. Father Pfeiffer arrived at General Stahel's office in the Hotel Flora and handed over the letter bearing Hudal's signature.  After reading it Stahel sighed, shook his head, and summoned his aide to take it to the communications room to have it encoded and transmitted to the Foreign Office in Berlin.  The matter was now in other hands, the general said.
        Back in his office in the Apostolic Palace Father Pfeiffer informed Maglione and Hudal of Stahel's decision.  The secretary of state told Father Pfeiffer to inform Weizsacker.
        Pfeiffer's confirmation it was on its way to Berlin was the signal for Weizsacker to prepare his own response to the roundup.  He began to write in a fine copperplate.
       'With regards to Bishop Hudal's letter I can confirm that this represents the Vatican's reaction to the deportation of the Jews of Rome.  The Curia is especially upset considering that the action took place, in a manner of speaking, under the pope's own window.  The reaction could be dampened somewhat if the Jews were to be employed in labor service here in Italy.  Hostile circles in Rome are using this event as a means of pressuring the Vatican to drop its reserve.  It is being said that when analogous incidents took place in French cities, the bishops there took a clear stand.  Thus the pope, as the supreme leader of the church and as bishop of Rome, cannot but do the same.  The pope is also being compared with his predecessor, Pius XI, a man of more spontaneous temperament.  Enemy propaganda abroad will certainly view this event in the same way, in order to disturb the Curia and ourselves.'
       He signed and sealed the letter and put it aside to go in the diplomatic pouch to Wilhelmstrasse in Berlin.  That decision would later arouse more speculation than anything else Weizsacker had done during his tenure in Rome.  Was the latter a clear indication he was prepared to risk his career, and very likely his life, to try and save the Jews?  If so, knowing the urgency of the situation, why had he not immediately encoded it and sent it to Berlin?  The diplomatic pouch would not leave until Monday.  By then, he could reasonably deduce, the fate of the Jews would be settled.  From what he had heard Judenaktionen were swift operations."  The Pope's Jews , pgs.204-5, 209-10, 214, 215-16,21-19.

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Kasab Taburu (Butcher Brigade) Part One

"The Armenian massacre was the greatest crime of the war, and failure to act against Turkey is to condone it;  because the failure to deal radically with the Turkish horror means that all talk of guaranteeing the future peace of the world is mischievous nonsense;  and because when we now refuse to war with Turkey we show that our announcement that we meant 'to make the world safe for democracy' was insincere claptrap."  Theodore Roosevelt to Cleve Dodge 1917

         "The British consul Henry Barnham, who oversaw Aintab and Birecik in Aleppo Province, made it clear in his account how powerfully the killing of Armenians was motivated by Islamic fanaticism and a jihad mentality:
                   The butchers and the tanners, with sleeves tucked up to the shoulders,
                    armed with clubs and cleavers, cut down the Christians, with cries of
                     'Allahu Akbar!'  broke down the doors of the houses with pickaxes
                     and levers, or scaled the walls with ladders.  Then when mid-day came
                     they knelt down and said their prayers, and then jumped up and resumed
                     the dreadful work, carrying on far into the night.  Whenever they were
                      unable to break down the doors they fired the houses with petroleum,
                      and the fact that at the end of November petroleum was almost
                      unpurchaseable in Aleppo suggests that enormous quantities were bought
                       up and sent north for this purpose.
       Muslim clerics played a perpetual role in the massacring of Armenians;  imams and softas would often rally the mob by chanting prayers;  and mosques would often rally the mob by chanting prayers;  and mosques were often used as places to mobilize crowds, especially during Friday prayers.  Christians were murdered in the name of Allah.  One survivor, Abraham Hartunian, described the desecration of two Armenian churches (one Gregorian--Armenian Apostolic--and the other Protestant) in the town of Severek in Diyarbekir Province:
                     The mob had plundered the Gregorian church, desecrated it, murdered all
                      who had sought shelter there, and, as a sacrifice, beheaded the sexton on
                      the stone threshold.  Now it filled our yard.  The blows of an axe crashed
                       in the church doors.  The attackers rushed in, tore the Bibles and
                       hymnbooks to pieces, broke and shattered whatever they could,
                        blasphemed the cross, and, as a sign of victory, chanted the Mohammedan
                         prayer:  'La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammedin Rasula-llah' (There is no other
                        God but one God, and Mohammed is His prophet). . . . The leader
                         of the mob cried:'Muhammede salavat!' Believe in Mohammed and deny
                         your religion.  No one answered. . . . The leader gave the order to
                         massacre.   The first attack was on our pastor.  The blow of an axe dec-
                         apitated him.  His blood, spurting in all directions, spattered the walls
                        and ceiling.
         Two letters from a Turkish soldier on duty in Erzurum with the Fourth Company, Second Battalion, Twenty-fifth Regiment, written to his parents and brother in Harput, also lend insights into Turkish attitudes about killing Armenians.  The letters came into the hands of a British consul after the massacres in that city and were put into the consular file marked 'Confidential.'
                   My brother, if you want news from here we have killed 1,200 Armenians, all
                   of them as food for the dogs. . . .Mother, I am safe and sound.  Father, 20
                    days ago we made war on the Armenian unbelievers.  Through God's grace
                    no harm befell us.  There is a rumor afoot that our Battalion will be order-
                    ed to your part of the world--if so, we will kill all the Armenians there. 
                     Besides, 511 Armenians were wounded, one or two perish every day.  If
                     you ask after the soldiers and Bashi Bozouks, not one of their noses has
                     bled. . . .May God bless you.
        In these letters, massacring Armenians is seen as a commonplace occurence sanctioned by Islam as well as by the government.  As Dadrian put it:  'Here is a regimental unit of the standing army engaged in broad daylight in peacetime killing operations against unarmed civilian populations.'
       Among the most ghoulish scenes recorded was the extermination of the Armenians of Urfa.  Urfa, once ancient Edessa (the city to which Christ's disciples brought Christianity, in this dry region of southeastern Anatolia), had been the site of massacre in October 1895 during the wave of autumn killings of that year, and the Armenians remained under siege in their quarter of the town for the following two months.  Then, on December 28th at midday, a bugle sounded and Turkish soldiers and civilians invaded the Armenian quarter.  Doors of houses and shops were smashed open with axes and clubs, and people were shot on the spot.  Their material goods and valueables were stolen, and kerosene was poured on the rest.  At sunset, when the bugle sounded again, the killers retreated, and the Armenians who had survived sought refuge in their cathedral.  (Traditionally synagogues and churches were to be respected as places of refuge under Islamic law.)
       The next morning the Turkish troops fired through the church windows and broke down the iron door, mockingly calling on 'Christ now to prove himself a greater prophet than Mohammed.'  They began killing everyone on the floor of the church by hand or with pistols.  From the altar they gunned down the women and children in the gallery.  Finally the Turks gathered bedding and straw, on which 'they poured some thirty cans of kerosene'  and set the church ablaze.  British Consul G.H. Fitzmaurice's careful description reveals something about the religious ethos underpinning the killings:
                 The gallery beams and wooden framework soon caught fire, whereupon,
                  blocking up the staircases leading to the gallery with similar inflammable
                  materials, they left the mass of struggling human beings to become the prey
                  of the flames.
                            During several hours the sickening odour of roasting flesh pervaded the
                  town, and even to-day, two months and a half after the massacre, the smell
                  of putrescent and charred remains in the church is unbearable. . . . I believe
                  that close on 8,000 Armenians perished in the two days' massacre of the 28th
                  and 29th December. . . . I should, however, not be at all surprised if the
                  figure of 9,000 or 10,000 were subsequently found to be nearer the mark.
      The massacres of the 1890s fully inaugurated the modern fate of the Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.  Abdul Hamid's policy of massacre began in what the social psychologist Irvin Staub has called a 'continuum of destruction.'  As Staub notes, 'A progression of changes in a culture and individuals is usually required for mass killing or genocide.  In certain instances--the Armenian Genocide, for example--the progression takes place over decades or even centuries and creates a readiness in the culture.'
       The Hamidian massacres also initiated the idea that massacre could be committed with impunity.  While the European powers set up an investigative commission after Sasun and Van, and asked the sultan for reforms, there was no forceful intervention to halt the massacres, nor was there any punishment in the aftermath.  There was, to be sure, worldwide coverage of the events and attendant outrage, and there was an outpouring of humanitarian relief and philantropy for the surviving victims.  The sultan was vilified in the European and the U.S. press as the "Bloody Sultan,"  and depicted as a paranoid despot and a defiler of human freedom.  Yet in the face of such world opinion, Abdul Hamid remained unrepentant, continuing to deny his actions and blame the victims.
       By the end of the 1890s, the lack of political recourse or punishment let the sultan off the hook, and left Turkish society engaged in a culture of massacre that permanently dehumanized Armenians in an evolutionary process that would culminate in genocide in 1915.  As Christian infidels, Armenians had already been marginalized.  Now they became fair game.

        On the night of April 12 {1909}, some units of soldiers in the First Army Corps in Constantinople revolted.  As dawn broke on the morning of April 13, there was an astonishing sight:  Regiments of soldiers marched in the morning mist across the bridges from the suburbs to the Golden Horn, shooting their rifles into the sky to announce their advent.  Several hundred filled the courtyard outside the parliament in Saint Sophia Square, while others poured into the old Byzantine plaza known as the Augusteon.
        As the mullahs, hojas (religious teachers), and softas in their white turbans and robes joined the soldiers, cries of 'Down with the Constitution!' and 'Long live the shari'a !' resounded in the plaza and throughout the streets of the city.  The presence of the Muslim zealots created such tension that the chief of the Constantinople police was soon in the streets confronting them as they demanded the dismissal of the minister of war and the president of the chamber.  The softas and their religious colleagues were also protesting the sight of women in public, a complaint that had become commonplace after the revolution.  As the day went on, riots broke out in the streets and the soldiers and the softas sacked and looted the CUP's {Committee of Union and Progress} newspaper offices, sending many CUP members into hiding.
        In the chaos Grand Vizier Hilmi Pasha resigned, as did other cabinet members.  Although the sultan issued an order that the shari'a would be protected, for the moment the government was in disarray.  By telegraph, the news of the counterevolution reached the army in Salonika, and within days an 'Army of Deliverance' was mobilized and sent to the capital.  Enver Bey, who was in Berlin at the Turkish embassy, rushed back to join his army, and on April 23 the Young Turk troops entered Constantinople.  After some clashes with the softas and soldiers, which were over by about five o'clock in the afternoon, the Deliverance Army quashed the counterrevolution.  The CUP was now in a position to increase its influence over the next few years, in what would be an unstable and transitional time for the Ottoman government.

       During that span of about five hundred years, the Christians of the Balkans, the majority of whom were Slavs, lived under Ottoman Muslim rule, and were accorded the traditional Ottoman treatment of those of infidel status.  The Balkan Christians, like the Arminians, were subjected to heavy taxation, arbitrary violence, political disenfranchisement, and cultural oppression;  some of them converted to Islam.  There were constant rebellions and uprisings against the Turks, which were put down by the Ottoman army.  Finally, by 1828, Greece had successfully fought its war for independence.  In 1876 the Bulgarians staged a rebellion, only to be brutally massacred by Ottoman forces in what quickly became known as 'the Bulgarian horrors.'  In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the Balkan states petitioned continually for reform.  After the Russo-Turkish War of 1877, article 23 of the Treaty of Berlin promised reforms for the Armenians.  With the Treaty of Berlin the Bulgarians had achieved partial autonomy, and the process of Balkan secession had begun.
       By 1912, as new Balkan alliance were formed in opposition to Ottoman rule, the Turks again responded with massacre.  In the summer of 1912 the Ottoman army carried out two massacres, one in Ishtib, east of Skopje, and another in Kocani, southeast of Skopje, the capital city of Kosovo.  In October 1912, the tiny state of Montenegro began a war of rebellion against Ottoman rule.  Five days later the other Balkan states demanded reforms and mobilized their armies.  On October 17 the Ottoman Empire had declared war on Bulgaria and Serbia, and the next day Greece declared war on the Ottoman Empire.  What ensued was astonishing.  Within a day Turkey suffered heavy losses to the combined fronts of the Balkan armies, and was forced to stage an eleventh-hour defense near Constantinople.  By October 26 the Serbs had won at Skopje in Kosovo, by November 8 the Greeks had taken Salonika, and by November 29 Albania had declared its independence.
       Throughout the period of the Balkan crisis, Turkish sentiment was marked by rage.  In the streets of Constantinople on the eve of the war students and CUP members shouted:'We want war!', 'To Sofia, to Sofia!', 'Down with Greece!  Greeks, bow your heads!' and the hatred of European intervention was clear as they chanted 'Down with article 23, down with it!', 'Down with equality!', 'The Balkan dogs are trampling on Islam.'
        An editorial in the newspaper Tanin, a quasi-official voice of the CUP, declared: 'Europe's intervention and Europe's desire to control our internal affairs is a warning to us to ponder the fate not only of Rumelia [Macedonia], but also eastern Turkey, for it will be impossible to spare eastern Turkey the fate awaiting Rumelia.'  In the Turkish mind, the struggle to keep the Balkans was never far from the Armenian Question."  The Burning Tigris by Peter Balakian pgs. 112-115, 146-147,160-161, and 308