the seizures in late 1942 of five U.S. enterprises
he managed on behalf of Nazi industrialist Fritz
Thyssen, Prescott Bush, the grandfather of President
George W. Bush, failed to divest himself of more
than a dozen "enemy national" relationships
that continued until as late as 1951, newly-discovered
U.S. government documents reveal.
the records show that Bush and his colleagues
routinely attempted to conceal their activities
from government investigators.
partners in the secret web of Thyssen-controlled
ventures included former New York Governor W.
Averell Harriman and his younger brother, E.
Roland Harriman. Their quarter-century of Nazi
financial transactions, from 1924-1951, were
conducted by the New York private banking firm,
Brown Brothers Harriman.
White House did not return phone calls seeking
the additional seizures under the Trading with
the Enemy Act did not take place until after
the war, documents from The National Archives
and Library of Congress confirm that Bush and
his partners continued their Nazi dealings unabated.
These activities included a financial relationship
with the German city of Hanover and several
industrial concerns. They went undetected by
investigators until after World War Two.
the same time Bush and the Harrimans were profiting
from their Nazi partnerships, W. Averell Harriman
was serving as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's
personal emissary to the United Kingdom during
the toughest years of the war. On October 28,
1942, the same day two key Bush-Harriman-run
businesses were being seized by the U.S. government,
Harriman was meeting in London with Field Marshall
Smuts to discuss the war effort.
Harriman was concealing his Nazi relationships
from his government colleagues, Cornelius Livense,
the top executive of the interlocking German
concerns held under the corporate umbrella of
Union Banking Corporation (UBC), repeatedly
tried to mislead investigators, and was sometimes
supported in his subterfuge by Brown Brothers
of the assets of UBC and its related businesses
belonged to Thyssen-controlled enterprises,
including his Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart
in Rotterdam, the documents state.
Livense, president of UBC, claimed to have no
knowledge of such a relationship. "Strangely
enough, (Livense) claims he does not know the
actual ownership of the company," states
a government report.
Pennington, manager of Brown Brothers Harriman
and a director of UBC "for many years,"
also lied to investigators about the secret
and well-concealed relationship with Thyssen's
Dutch bank, according to the documents.
later reported that the company was "wholly
owned" by Thyssen's Dutch bank.
such ongoing subterfuge, U.S. investigators
were able to show that "a careful examination
of UBC's general ledger, cash books and journals
from 1919 until the present date clearly establish
that the principal and practically only source
of funds has been Bank voor Handel en Scheepvaart."
yet another attempt to mislead investigators,
Livense said that $240,000 in banknotes in a
safe deposit box at Underwriters Trust Co. in
New York had been given to him by another UBC-Thyssen
associate, H.J. Kouwenhoven, managing director
of Thyssen's Dutch bank and a director of the
August Thyssen Bank in Berlin. August Thyssen
was Fritz's father.
government report shows that Livense first neglected
to report the $240,000, then claimed that it
had been given to him as a gift by Kouwenhoven.
However, by the time Livense filed a financial
disclosure with U.S. officials, he changed his
story again and reported the sum as a debt rather
than a cash holding.
yet another attempt to deceive the governments
of both the U.S. and Canada, Livense and his
partners misreported the facts about the sale
of a Canadian Nazi front enterprise, La Cooperative
Catholique des Consommateurs de Combustible,
which imported German coal into Canada via the
web of Thyssen-controlled U.S. businesses.
Canadian authorities, however, were not taken
in by this maneuver," a U.S. government
report states. The coal company was later seized
by Canadian authorities.
the war, a total of 18 additional Brown Brothers
Harriman and UBC-related client assets were
seized under The Trading with the Enemy Act,
including several that showed the continuation
of a relationship with the Thyssen family after
the initial 1942 seizures.
records also show that Bush and the Harrimans
conducted business after the war with related
concerns doing business in or moving assets
into Switzerland, Panama, Argentina and Brazil
- all critical outposts for the flight of Nazi
capital after Germany's surrender in 1945. Fritz
Thyssen died in Argentina in 1951.
of the final seizures, in October 1950, concerned
the U.S. assets of a Nazi baroness named Theresia
Maria Ida Beneditka Huberta Stanislava Martina
von Schwarzenberg, who also used two shorter
aliases. Brown Brothers Harriman, where Prescott
Bush and the Harrimans were partners, attempted
to convince government investigators that the
baroness had been a victim of Nazi persecution
and therefore should be allowed to maintain
appears, rather, that the subject was a member
of the Nazi party," government investigators
the same time the last Brown Brothers Harriman
client assets were seized, Prescott Bush announced
his Senate campaign that led to his election
1943, six months after the seizure of UBC and
its related companies, a government investigator
noted in a Treasury Department memo dated April
8, 1943 that the FBI had inquired about the
status of any investigation into Bush and the
gave 'a memorandum' which did not say anything
about the American officers of subject,"
the investigator wrote. "(Another investigator)
wanted to know whether any specific action had
been taken by us with respect to them."
further action beyond the initial seizures was
ever taken, and the newly-confirmed records
went unseen by the American people for six decades.
Does It All Mean?
why are the documents relevant today?
story of Prescott Bush and Brown Brothers Harriman
is an introduction to the real history of our
country," says L.A. art book publisher
and historian Edward Boswell. "It exposes
the money-making motives behind our foreign
policies, dating back a full century. The ability
of Prescott Bush and the Harrimans to bury their
checkered pasts also reveals a collusion between
Wall Street and the media that exists to this
Drobny, a Chicago entrepreneur and philanthropist
who will soon launch a liberal talk radio network,
says the importance of the new documents is
that they prove a long pattern of Bush family
war profiteering that continues today via George
H.W. Bush's intimate relationship with the Saudi
royal family and the bin Ladens, conducted via
the super-secret Carlyle Group, whose senior
advisers include former U.S. Secretary of State
James A. Baker III.
the post-9/11 world, Drobny finds the Bush-Saudi
connection deeply troubling. "Trading with
the enemy is trading with the enemy," he
says. "That's the relevance of the documents
and what they show."
Lader, an abortion rights activist and the author
of more than 40 books, says "the relevance
lies with the fact that the sitting President
of the United States would lead the nation to
war based on lies and against the wishes of
the rest of the world." Lader and others
draw comparisons between President Bush's invasion
of Iraq and Hitler's occupation of Poland in
1939 - the event that sparked World War Two.
others see an even larger significance.
discovery of the Bush-Nazi documents raises
new questions about the role of Prescott Bush
and his influential business partners in the
secret emigration of Nazi war criminals, which
allowed them to escape justice in Germany,"
says Bob Fertik, co-founder of Democrats.com
and an amateur 'Nazi hunter.' "It also
raises questions about the importance of Nazi
recruits to the CIA in its early years, in what
was called Operation Paperclip, and Prescott
Bush's role in that dark operation."
and others, including former Justice Department
Nazi war crimes prosecutor John Loftus, a Constitutional
attorney in Miami, and a former Veterans Administration
official, believe Prescott Bush and the Harrimans
should have been tried for treason.
say Fertik and Loftus, there should be a Congressional
investigation into the Bush family's Nazi past
and its concealment from the American people
for 60 years.
American people have a right to know, in detail,
about this hidden chapter of our history,"
says Loftus, author of The Secret War Against
the Jews. "That's the only way we can understand
it and deal with it."
his part, Fertik is pessimistic that even a
Congressional investigation can thwart the war
profiteering of the present Bush White House.
"It's impossible to stop it," he says,
"when the worst war profiteers are George
W. Bush and Dick Cheney, who operate in secrecy
behind the vast powers of the White House."
Buchanan is a journalist and magazine writer
based in Miami Beach. He can be reached by e-mail
Michael is a New Orleans-based journalist and
the author of Religious Conceit. His most recent
book is Weapons of Mass Dysfunction: The Art
of "Faith-Based" Politics, due in
early 2004. He can be reached by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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