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Tag: World War II

Records: Folk Legend Peter Seeger Hounded by FBI for Years Over Alleged Communist ties

Pete Seeger, via Wikipedia.

Pete Seeger, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Singer-songwriter Peter Seeger was hounded by the FBI from the 1940s to the early 1970 because of his political views and his opposition to deporting Japanese Americans after World War II, according to bureau documents obtained by Mother Jones. 

The nearly 1,800-page file shows that the FBI began pursuing Seeger when he was an Army private and wrote a letter protesting a proposal to deport Japanese Americans following the end of World War II.

The folk legend also joined the Communist Party in the 1940s, which later acknowledged. The FBI continued to try to tie him to the Communist movement.

Here is his letter of protest to the California chapter of the American Legion:

Dear Sirs –

I felt shocked, outraged, and disgusted to read that the California American Legion voted to 1) deport all Japanese after the war, citizen or not, 2) Bar all Japanese descendants from citizenship!!

We, who may have to give our lives in this great struggle—we’re fighting precisely to free the world of such Hitlerism, such narrow jingoism.

If you deport Japanese, why not Germans, Italians, Rumanians, Hungarians, and Bulgarians?

If you bar from citizenship descendants of Japanese, why not descendants of English? After all, we once fought with them too.

America is great and strong as she is because we have so far been a haven to all oppressed.

I felt sick at heart to read of this matter.

Yours truly,

Pvt. Peter Seeger

I am writing also to the Los Angeles Times.

Painting Looted by Nazis Returned to Poland, FBI Announces

Portrait of a Young Man

Portrait of a Young Man

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A painting believed to have been looted by the Nazis during World War II has been returned to the government of Poland, the FBI announced.

A U.S. serviceman brought the “Portrait of a Young Man” by Krzysztof Lubieniecki to America. The Baroque painting was later sold to art collectors in Ohio, the Associated Press report. 

A relative of the servicemen recognized the painting and its likely origin, the FBI said.

The FBI turned over the painting to the Polish Ministry of Cultural and National Heritage.

It’s believed that the painting was created around 1728.

Anne Applebaum: What FBI Director James Comey Got Wrong about His Speech on the Holocaust

By Anne Applebaum
Washington Post

The Polish ambassador to Washington has protested, the Polish president has protested, the speaker of the Polish parliament (to whom I am married) has protested — and the U.S. ambassador to Warsaw has apologized profusely. Why? Because James Comey, the director of the FBI, in a speech that was reprinted in The Post arguing for more Holocaust education, demonstrated just how badly he needs it himself.

In two poorly worded sentences, he sounded to Polish readers as if he were repeating the World War II myth that most drives them crazy: Namely, that somehow, those who lived in occupied Eastern Europe shared full responsibility for a German policy. Comey put it like this:

“In their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn’t do something evil. They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do.”

There are a number of problems with that pair of weak sentences, starting with the vast difference between Germany and the rest. During the war, Germany had a state policy of exterminating the Jews. This policy involved not “accomplices” but hundreds of bureaucrats, tens of thousands of soldiers, train schedules and plans. Germany also encouraged the creation of collaborationist governments in other countries – Vichy France, for example – some of which used their own police officers to send their Jewish citizens into the German death camps.

Germany also occupied Poland, but there was no Polish “Vichy.” During the war, there was no Polish state at all. Indeed, it was the absence of the Polish state that enabled the Germans to create a lawless, violent world, one in which anyone could be arbitrarily murdered, any Jew could be deported — and any Pole who helped a Jew could be shot instantly, along with his entire family. Many were. Millions of others died too – Polish intellectuals, priests and politicians were all Nazi targets.

In the course of the war, most of Poland’s infrastructure, industry and architecture were destroyed. In that atmosphere, many people were frightened by or indifferent to the fate of the Jews, and some murdered in order to avoid being murdered. But that doesn’t mean that “in their minds” they “didn’t do something evil.”

To read more click here.

Other Stories of Interest

 

Files Show FBI Investigated Death Threat Against the Late Tim Russert and His Family

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

The hard-charging late Tim Russert, who hosted NBC’s “Meet the Press” for more than 16 years, may have been beloved, but apparently not be everybody.

The Hill newspaper reports that FBI files show that someone left a threatening voicemail for Russert at the tv station on March 7, 2001 at about 9:20 p.m. Authorities suspected a 75-year-old World War II veteran in poor health.

“Yeah, Tim Russert, Mr. Clinton’s, uh, polls are down and yours is down. We haven’t forgotten I’ve called you a couple years ago and we still got you on the f—king platter,” the caller said, according to FBI transcript of the message.

“Believe you me, motherf—ker. That goes for your 15- or 16-year-old kid, too. You protect him, you motherf—ker. You’re no good, you’re absolutely no good, and nothing would treat me or do me any better than to put a bullet right between your f—king eyes, you p—k,” said the caller, according to an FBI transcript of the voice mail.

The D.C. police reported that a similar telephone call was made to Russert roughly four months. Authorities believed it may have been the same person, the Hill reported.

In that call,  the person said he “didn’t like the way someone had been treated, possibly ALBERT GORE, and advised he knew where RUSSERT lived and where his son attended school,” according to FBI documents, the Hill reported.

The files showed, according to the Hill, that the FBI’s San Francisco office tracked down a likely suspect — a 75-year-old World War II veteran who was “extremely difficult” to live with. The man suffered from diabetes and arthritis and had suffered a heart attack and a stroke.

The Hill reported that the Justice Department declined to prosecute, but the FBI warned him he’d be prosecuted is he continued his shenannigans.

Feds Seize Paintings Stolen By Nazis in Poland

"Self-Portrait From Palette" by Julian Falat was painted circa 1896.

By Allan Lengel
For AOL News

Federal authorities have seized two Julian Falat paintings stolen by the Nazis during World War II from New York auction houses, with the hope of returning the national treasures to the Polish government.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office announced today that it had filed a civil forfeiture complaint on Wednesday to seize the two paintings — “Off to the Hunt” and “The Hunt” — which were stolen by the Nazis from the National Museum in Warsaw. U.S. authorities said the U.S. District Court in Manhattan had authorized the seizure of the paintings pending the outcome of the case.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said that in 2006 the Polish government learned that the two paintings were being offered for sale by two New York auction houses. The Polish government contacted the U.S. government for help in recovering them.

To read more click here.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

Justice Dept. Reports Says U.S. Was “Safe Haven” For Nazis and Their Collaborators

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — A 600-page, never-released Justice Department report concludes that the American intelligence officials created a “safe haven” in the U.S. for Nazis and their collaborators after World War II, the New York Times reports.

“It describes the government’s posthumous pursuit of Dr. Josef Mengele, the so-called Angel of Death at Auschwitz, part of whose scalp was kept in a Justice Department official’s drawer; the vigilante killing of a former Waffen SS soldier in New Jersey; and the government’s mistaken identification of the Treblinka concentration camp guard known as Ivan the Terrible,” the New York Times reported.

It also discusses the successes and failures of the Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations, created in 1979 to deport Nazis, the Times reported.

The Times reporter Eric Lichtblau writes:

“Perhaps the report’s most damning disclosures come in assessing the Central Intelligence Agency’s involvement with Nazi émigrés. Scholars and previous government reports had acknowledged the C.I.A.’s use of Nazis for postwar intelligence purposes. But this report goes further in documenting the level of American complicity and deception in such operations.”

To read more click here.

To read full report click here.

Longest Serving Fed Prosecutor Stepping Down After 59 Years

justice dept. logoBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

WASHINGTON — There’s longevity on the job, and then there’s John “Jack” C. Keeney.

On Friday, the Justice Department held a retirement ceremony to mark the end of his 59-year career as the longest serving federal prosecutor in U.S. history.

According to a Justice Department account of the event, as Keeney “walked on stage at 3:09 p.m., the sea of Justice Department employees past and present leapt to their feet and did not stop applauding for a full minute. Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer set the tone for what he called a ‘remarkable’ day and an historic Justice Department ‘homecoming’.”

Read more »