Nations Built on Lies
Volume 1 – How the US Became Rich
CHINESE ENGLISH POLSKI PORTUGUESE SPANISH
© Larry Romanoff, October, 2021
Part 4 – IP Theft and Copying
Contents Part 4
International Grand Theft
World War One Seizures
Operation Paperclip – World War II
And The Winner of the “Copying Olympics” is:
A Nation of Outlaws
International Grand Theft
One item deliberately deleted and carefully airbrushed from the American historical record involves the enormous seizures of assets from Germany after both World Wars. Having been forced into wars it did not want, wars intended primarily to accomplish its permanent destruction, Germany was unconscionably looted of all foreign property and assets after the first war, and of all foreign and most domestic property after the second war, and on both occasions of all its IP, inventions, patents and virtually the nation’s entire knowledge base. After the first war, the US alone confiscated well over a billion dollars of private property, and countless billions after the second war. During the first war, the US also interned and deported many thousands of Germans, almost all of whom were US citizens. Here is part of that story.
World War One Seizures
During the First World War, the US government seized all property in the US in which there were German interests (1) (2) (3) (4), including all corporate and individual assets and any assets for which ownership could have been attributed to either the German government, Germany’s political rulers or even the country’s elite class. This policy was not by any means limited to Germany’s assets solely in the United States, nor was it limited to Germany. The position of the US government was that all of Germany’s worldwide assets were available for confiscation, in all nations where German firms or individuals held property or assets of any kind (5). Therefore, all worldwide assets should be seized and the proceeds from this looting paid into the US Treasury. They applied this policy to many nations, embedding into the post-war treaties this right of the conqueror to loot and plunder all nations. In simple terms, the West, led by the US which was in turn led by its European banking controllers, enshrined into law their “right” to confiscate all the international (worldwide) property and assets of the governments, the corporations, and the individuals of Germany and its allies. And confiscate, they did. Many respected international authorities were violently opposed to this policy, claiming that confiscation of enemy property was not only morally wrong but contrary to all the statutes and traditions of international law. Their claims were ignored.
The Jewish- American lawyer Seymour J. Rubin wrote that it was “clear and compelling that for reasons of justice” a victor or a conqueror should confiscate all the property and assets of the vanquished. It is worth understanding the rationale espoused by Mr. Rubin and subsequently adopted in legislation by the US, and applied worldwide with a vengeance. In an undated but post-1950 treatise for the US government, Malcom S. Mason outlined Rubin’s position as follows: “External investments are no longer private property. A country uses its nationals’ external investments as an instrument of national policy”. A Jewish-Dutch lawyer apparently agreed with Rubin, stating that “The private owner is nowadays nothing but a trustee on behalf of his Government”, adding that all governments, but especially Germany, “establish governmental controls over external investment that completely denatures their ostensibly private character”. These gentlemen added further that “The traditions that have grown up with respect to the enemy’s private investments were established when property meant something different from what it means today, and when war meant something different from what it means today.”
These are far-reaching pronouncements with enormous implications. The position of the American government, driven on by its Jewish legal scholars (and bankers), is that all multi-national corporations are not private entities but rather are foreign-policy tools of foreign governments, “trustees” acting on behalf of their national government, and should be treated as such. The Americans have held this position since prior to the First World War, have enshrined it in legislation, and hold precisely the same position today – with the exception of course of American multi-nationals which magically are entirely private enterprises totally unrelated to the US government in any way whatsoever, and would never, ever, be considered or used as tools of US foreign policy. No hypocrisy here. And to lead the uninformed and gullible further down Alice’s rabbit-hole of imagination, they glibly dismiss the entire matter by claiming “the old traditions” about respecting private property were established when “property” meant “something different” than what it means today, though they conveniently decline to tell us what these differences might be. In any case, by all this legal sleight-of-hand, the American version of ‘rule of law’ maintains its halo intact. Nothing else to see here. Let’s move on.
On October 22, 1917, President Wilson appointed a man named A. Mitchell Palmer to a newly-created position as America’s ‘Alien Property Custodian’ (6) (7) (8), a post he held for some years. This was a special wartime agency charged with the responsibility to “seize, administer and sell” any “enemy property” in the US. This ‘enemy property’, of course, meant anything belonging to Germans and, given the extensive propaganda by our Jewish propagandists Lippman and Bernays against the expression of any kind of anti-war sentiment, this definition included the belongings of more than a few dissidents. These seizures were justified as a plan to counter a (non-existent) German plan to control the entire world’s commerce, and therefore to make American industry “independent of German ownership”.
The position of the US government, so eloquently expressed by Palmer, was that “The same peace which frees the world from the menace of autocratic militarism of the German Empire should free it from the menace of its autocratic industrialism as well.” What this means is that Germany had been entirely too successful in its commercial development, otherwise defined as a plan of world domination, and that just as Germany deserved total physical destruction for its determination to protect itself in war, Germany’s industries deserved full destruction as well, on the specious basis that both were “autocratic”. Or, to express it in simpler terms, any nation proving superior to the US was by definition morally reprehensible and deserving destruction by the will of God.
The Smithsonian Magazine published a brief article on this very subject on July 28, 2014, written by another Jewish-American, Daniel A. Gross (9), to which I will make some reference. According to Gross’ article, any property in the US owned by German corporations or individuals, or local immigrants of German extraction, was “just an extension of German property” – which gave the US the right to take it, these actions all being subsequently determined to be “legal” according to the uniquely American definition of rule of law. Rules of justice, equity and law notwithstanding, this peculiar view of ‘what’s yours is mine’ proved to be so profitable for the US government and American industry generally that Roosevelt executed this same program to a vastly greater extent after World War II.
These seized enemy assets were put into what Palmer called trusts, to be temporarily administered and then disposed of, with the provision that the administrators and eventual purchasers could be only “real Americans”, i.e. not of German descent. Given Palmer’s complete control over administration and disposition, the trusts’ management positions, the establishment of a sale price, and the eventual selection of purchasers, were all within his discretion and resulted in enormous political patronage. The extent of Palmer’s seize-and-sell program was astonishing in its scope. Within less than a year Palmer boasted that he controlled more than 40,000 trusts with assets of nearly one billion (in 1918!), and his program had only just begun. This was much more than nothing, since the total US Federal Government revenues in those years were only between $800 and $900 million, meaning that in less than one year the US government confiscated from Germans corporate and personal assets more or less equivalent to an entire year’s government revenues, with more to come.
As America’s Alien Property Custodian, Palmer began by simply confiscating entire corporations that had German ownership but quickly expanded to include any enterprise that harbored “pro-German sentiments”, i.e., objected in any way to US participation in the war. At first, these included any company producing materials that might be significant to a war effort, and included medicines, pharmaceutical firms, dye companies, chemicals, mining companies, virtually any kind of manufacturing, all metal industries, breweries, newspaper and publishing houses, textile companies, shipping lines and much more, gradually expanding to include firms of all kinds. In a very short time, Palmer’s office had taken control of hundreds of the largest commercial enterprises in the US. But he also confiscated an enormous number of small and irrelevant firms, solely on the basis of their ownership by persons of German extraction (or having pro-German sentiments), including a pencil-making company in New Jersey, a small chocolate factory in Connecticut, and various small German-owned breweries in Chicago and other cities.
Much of the record has been classified, buried or destroyed, but it appears that Palmer simply identified and seized virtually every German-owned business in the US, excepting perhaps small retailers. Very little escaped this confiscation net, Palmer having created a huge professional team consisting of many hundreds of bankers and investigators tasked with finding any “hidden assets”. There were eventually so many firms and seized assets offered for sale to “real Americans” that Palmer’s Alien Property office was for some years by far the largest corporation in America, and which he boastfully described as “the biggest general store in the country”.
The evidence suggests that the US government, basking in violent anti-German public support for these policies thanks to Lippman and Bernays, did more than steal from corporate owners and the rich. The Smithsonian article noted, as had others, that Palmer reported widely with more than a hint of pride of his seizure of “small holdings” from individuals, including “three horses” from someone, “some rugs in New York City”, and “some cedar logs”. The record appears to indicate that Palmer, with the eager support of the US government, simply sought out every American of German ancestry and confiscated all their assets. This is not an unreasonable assumption since it is precisely what Palmer did with corporations – search out every firm owned by a person of German ancestry and confiscate it.
One of the more notable seizures was the entire Bayer chemical company which was sold for a pittance at public auction on the steps of its own factory in New York, the purchaser being the Jewish-owned Sterling Products Company (10) (11) (12) (13). Bayer was at the time one of the largest companies in the world, producing not only chemicals but a vast assortment of medications including Aspirin which was at the time the world’s most popular drug and most valuable patent. Bayer lost all of its foreign assets and most of its export markets, the Americans seizing not only the company’s US assets but most of its foreign subsidiaries as well, the US military going into South America, for example, and simply taking ownership of all Bayer’s corporations and assets. And of course, Palmer’s group confiscated all Bayer’s patents and trademarks, which were auctioned off to its (Real American) competitors.
To the extent this matter exists at all in America’s historical narrative, the apologists dismiss the entire affair by airily claiming that “Bayer’s patents expired during the First World War, and the company lost the trademark rights to aspirin in various countries”. Ignorant American historians, living in their fairyland of historical mythology, also claim that, according to the ‘Geneva conventions’ or some such, when a country loses a war, all its IP, patents, copyrights and trademarks automatically expire. That’s nonsense, of course. Bayer’s patents and IP did not ‘expire’; they were stolen. As with all other German firms, the US claimed worldwide ownership of all the IP and patents of all German products outside Germany itself. The Sterling Company was famous for using Bayer’s stolen patents as the basis to file huge lawsuits against Bayer for the production and attempted export of its own products. For example, when Bayer, who still manufactured Aspirin in Germany, attempted to export that drug to other countries, the Sterling company in the US, the firm that bought Bayer’s confiscated US company and assets, immediately filed massive lawsuits against Bayer for trademark and patent infringement – of Bayer’s own products!
And it was not only that the seizure and sale of German assets were used to bring American industry into a competitive position at virtually no cost, but the destruction of German industry was of equal importance. Several years after the end of the war, the US passed tariff legislation that imposed prohibitive duties as well as anti-dumping fines on any German products that competed with American firms, and German exports to nations other than the US automatically attracted lawsuits. US-based ICI and DuPont were in a position similar to Sterling, benefitting from the seizure of German assets and patents, prohibitive import duties on competing products, and German exports effectively banned worldwide. BASF and Agfa suffered the same treatment as Bayer, their American assets sold for pennies to US-based Kodak, followed by the institution of severe protectionist policies to ensure Kodak’s domination of the US domestic market with German IP.
Again, the thrust was two-fold; one, to enhance US industry through a massive theft of assets and IP, and two, to destroy German industry however possible. German products, companies and subsidiaries outside Germany were almost all seized by the Americans (and in part by the UK), Germany was refused permission to export many products, and huge import tariffs were applied to all others, making exports virtually impossible. As part of the treaties to end World War I, Germany was denied membership in the worldwide Patent Union, meaning that German patents and IP were deemed invalid outside Germany, permitting primarily the Americans to simply copy and steal all new German research and discoveries the moment they occurred. To further this end, the Americans created their ECHELON commercial espionage program – which still operates to this day – to ensure that American industry could learn of all German research and product developments and new domestic patents, passing all of it on to US corporations. The damage to Germany was of course, enormous.
Only one week before the formal end of the war, the US government passed additional legislation permitting it to confiscate and sell all the thousands of patents registered to German individuals and corporations, both in Germany and in the US. Since German firms were world leaders in many commercial areas, American companies could now have full access to German IP and knowhow at a price of only pennies. In one instance, Palmer sold nearly 5,000 chemical patents to a US Chemical NGO which then provided them under license to American firms. It should not go unnoticed here that while the confiscation of military assets after a war may be legally valid, the confiscation of individual and corporate property has always been illegal by all international law. These restrictions however, seldom bother the Americans. They simply passed new legislation “permitting” themselves to seize any and all personal and corporate assets from Germans, whether in the US, Germany, or any other country, and proceeded to plunder with their halos intact and, as always, following the “rule of law”.
I will refer in more detail later to the US program of internment of German and German-American nationals within the US, but I would note here that quite large (and understated) numbers of these people were incarcerated in internment camps in the US during the First World War. American history books briefly inform us of the incarceration of Japanese during the Second War, but American history (and historians) have gone dark on the similar incarceration of Germans during the First War. One reason this is important is that under Palmer’s authority, all property belonging to interned immigrants or others, whether or not they had been charged with any crime, constituted a kind of ‘war property’. Palmer’s opinion, shared by American courts, Congress, and the White House, was that “All aliens interned by the government are regarded as enemies, and their property is treated accordingly”.
Upon declaration of war, Wilson immediately proclaimed all German citizens as “enemy aliens” who had to complete alien registration forms and be fingerprinted. All German citizens in the US were forced by the new Trading with the Enemy legislation to disclose all their assets and property to Palmer’s custodian group. Individuals were forced to disclose all bank accounts and other assets and property, while businesses were forced to turn over all financial and accounting records and customer lists. It was then on Palmer’s decision alone that these people, their businesses or their assets, might constitute any kind of threat to the US, real or imagined, justifying their immediate incarceration and seizure of their assets. To add flavor to these egregious offenses, incarceration was often short-term, ending immediately upon all the victim’s assets being seized and sold.
The historical narrative softens this blow by claiming Palmer assumed control of these assets only “for the duration of the war”, but the seizures and sales were permanent, not temporary. It is true that a few favored and fortunate individuals like Prescott Bush (George Bush’s father), the Dulles Brothers, and similar highly-placed bankers and other traitors, all guilty of varying degrees of what we might call financial or industrial adultery, did indeed have their (German) assets returned after the war, but these were very much the exception and required an enormous amount of political power, not only for the asset returns but to escape the jailer and the hangman.
One source lists the value of confiscated personal property from these individual German-Americans alone at more than $300 million, which would correspond with my information, and these are dollars from 1915, not 2015. It is a matter of public record, which Gross acknowledges in his article, that “historian Adam Hodges found that even women who were American citizens, if married to German and Austro-Hungarian immigrants, were classified as enemy aliens – and they alone lost a combined $25 million in property to the government”. If these women had property worth $25 million confiscated by their government, the men certainly lost much more since women in 1915 seldom held assets of any consequence and if the wife’s assets were plundered then the husband’s most assuredly were as well. And these were not necessarily people who were interned, but simply those classified as ‘enemy aliens’. Yet more testimony to the stratospheric moral level of rule of law in America. The confiscation of personal property was to prevent German-Americans from aiding the German war effort, though defenders of these policies failed to explain how someone of German ancestry owing a house in the US would be aiding Germany’s European war, and how confiscating that home would make the world safe for democracy. It needs to be noted that the US government did not embark on this vast confiscation program on its own initiative, but was obeying its puppet-masters. Similarly, the government did not profit materially from the seizures, distributing the confiscated property to its closest friends either free or at pennies on the dollar.
But in some ways, this was only the tip of the iceberg. In conjunction with the vicious anti-German propaganda efforts of Lippman and Bernays, and their sponsorship of Wilson’s anti-dissident legislation (the Espionage Act and Trading with the Enemy Act), Palmer hired a young transvestite lawyer named J. Edgar Hoover who immediately spearheaded the identification of “enemy aliens” and “dissidents” resident in the US. This began of course with those of German heritage but rapidly expanded to include anyone suspected of being against the war in Europe and resisting US entry into that war. With all this assistance and with increasing public suspicion and hatred of Germany, in a few short years the US government had compiled a list of more than half a million persons, forced them to register as enemy aliens, spied on them, deported countless thousands of them whether American citizens or not, sent huge numbers of them to internment camps – and of course, confiscated all their assets.
The Greatest Intellectual Property Theft in History
Operation Paperclip contains several parts which I will discuss separately. Briefly, and following from the great success after World War I, the initial overall purpose of Operation Paperclip and its progenitor Operation Overcast was to plunder Germany of all its scientific and industrial knowledge, to the maximum extent possible. The original plan was to steal documents and, where possible, working samples, but the depth and breadth of German industrial knowledge proved much too complex to be usefully understood from a simple examination of documents. In spite of the immense trove of scientific, technical, and industrial knowledge confiscated from Germany, the US failed to benefit due to a lack of know-how. It became quickly apparent that the process would require an extensive debriefing of German scientists and technicians to obtain adequate working knowledge of German industrial and scientific theory and processes. This realisation led immediately to the creation of vast internment camps containing all the scientists and technicians the Americans could take into custody before the arrival of the Russians and others, where these people could be debriefed over time. When it became apparent that plundering and debriefing would be insufficient, Operation Overcast became Operation Paperclip which involved the forcible transfer of countless thousands of these same individuals to the US.
There were two further separate, and more or less unrelated, waves of these forcible transfers, which generally fall under this so-called ‘Paperclip’ umbrella. These involved not secrets of military or commercial benefit but those related to politics, espionage and the dark side of terrorism, torture and world domination. One portion involved the Americans’ determination to build a European espionage and black ops network to contain Russia and obtain political control of Western Europe. It included the recruitment of a vast espionage network, led by a man named Reinhard Gehlen, that included a substantial ‘black ops’ capacity with a specialty in attracting and training domestic terrorists. Operation Gladio, which produced decades of US-sponsored terrorism in Europe, was a direct result of this portion of Paperclip.
The other even more sinister and deadly category was the Americans’ pathological interest in interrogation and torture, in chemical and biological warfare, and in human experimentation, and which led to the importation of thousands of individuals from both Germany and Japan, specifically for the purpose of transferring to American minds the world’s collection of documented perversion in these areas. From this, the US government created a vast collection of Germans and especially Japanese with experience in the dark skills of torture and interrogation techniques, human experimentation and biological warfare. For many decades, these imported ‘experts’ served their American masters on secret projects at Fort Bragg and Fort Detrick. As one author noted, “The US military was not slow to apply much of this knowledge, using their newly-gained experience in biological weaponry against civilians in Greece, Korea and Viet Nam.” These programs never stopped. They briefly reared their heads in public during Korea and Vietnam, during the exposure of the US military’s so-called “University of the Americas”, and yet again during the Iraq war at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay. It is worth noting that much of this “research” occurred while George H. W. Bush was head of the CIA. And so another direct result of Paperclip was the CIA’s vast MK-Ultra program that included brainwashing, torture, and a terrible litany of human abuse that endures to this day. I will deal with these latter two in a later book in this series.
Operation Overcast has been described as being “as massive a logistical enterprise as that of any major war campaign, involving enormous pre-planning and coordination that included literally dozens of government agencies and departments, ancillary groups like the Library of Congress, hundreds of US corporations and countless thousands of individuals.” Today this operation is generally identified as a post-war immigration/transfer to the US of German scientists and technicians, primarily those with useful military knowledge and skills, but it began in a different place and expanded far beyond this limited historical version. As in virtually every other area, American history has been revised, rewritten, deleted and sanitised to prevent the truth from escaping into the world at large.
As we’ve seen, Germany had already been mercilessly looted after the First World War, including the confiscation of virtually all her valuable foreign assets (14a) (14b) (14c) (14d) (14e) (14f), and plans were well under way to repeat the process long before the Second War ended. Following from, and building upon, their great success after World War One, the Americans decided to forego what were now seen as the moderate benefits of simply confiscating German companies and stealing their patents and intellectual property in foreign countries. They now planned to go directly to the source and plunder the entire nation of Germany itself. It is necessary to appreciate the almost savage determination of the Americans to plunder Germany’s knowledge to the maximum extent possible, spurred on in part by an equal determination to deny these prizes of war to Russia. To accomplish this, the logistics and management of this entire vast looting program were firmly in place by 1942 or 1943, then known by the code name of Operation Overcast, which was to be a treasure hunt throughout occupied Germany for military and scientific booty.
To accomplish these ends, the Americans were ready well before Germany surrendered, to the extent that hundreds of teams of scientists and industrialists, military and other specialists, were virtually embedded with the troops during their final land assault on Germany. These IP collection teams were only minutes or hours behind the troops, often entering dangerous areas in their headlong rush to confiscate everything useful lest it be destroyed before their arrival. These hundreds of well-prepared small groups had been selected in advance, and were generally experts in their fields, whether scientific, military or industrial, and qualified to judge what material was useful or valuable to their narrow field of expertise.
A few groups were tasked with collecting and evaluating military items, but by far the largest contingent was the TIIB, the Technical Industrial Intelligence Branch, part of the US Department of Commerce and tasked with examining every single segment of German industry and to collect any and all information including documents, patents, processes, models, working samples, anything that might be of interest or use to American industrial firms. Michaels noted that in 1946 alone, the TIIB sent more than 400 investigators to Germany for commercial purposes, and that they alone confiscated millions of pages of documents and hundreds of thousands of pounds of equipment and product samples. Even the Library of Congress had its own Foreign Mission which was to locate and confiscate all books and journals published in Germany that might possibly be of interest to any part of corporate or scientific America.
Every kind of German company was targeted in this process, regardless of size, so long as it might contain research information or products of potential use to American companies. Michaels notes that “much of this information had already been compiled and made available … by the United States intelligence agencies”, meaning that these teams were well-informed and knew where to begin their searches. In particular, all universities, research institutes, patent offices, laboratories of all kinds, all government agencies like Germany’s equivalent of a National Research Council, and much more, were all on the list. Libraries were another specialty, not only the public version but more notably those existing within large corporations like I.G. Farben or the German aircraft manufacturers, which contained not only many tens of thousands of books and other publications, but valuable research and proprietary information not in the public domain. And of course, the physical facilities of all German industrial firms were directly targeted for these search-and-seize missions, including chemical firms like I. G. Farben, auto firms like Volkswagen, major aircraft companies like Dornier and Messerschmitt, pharmaceutical firms like Hoescht, but the searches covered virtually everything. The internal research facilities of these thousands of firms were emptied of all their research documents, publications, and proprietary information. Entire factories and physical production facilities were combed for anything of commercial value. Even the Steiff stuffed animal factory was emptied of its patterns, proprietary books and documents, production methods, patents, and samples of teddy bears.
The first part of this Operation Overcast was the outright theft of everything not nailed down, including but not limited to samples of aircraft, vehicles and every kind of product and invention, as well as libraries of books and scientific documents from literally countless sources. The Americans totally looted corporate files and archives, government patent offices, university libraries and document archives, entire warehouses of military files, and much more. Michaels tells us they went through Germany’s print and microfiche storehouses in waves, and what one wave didn’t take, the next one did, until virtually nothing remained. The document haul alone was in the tens of thousands of tons. No one counted the number of samples, prototypes, working models, of vehicles, aircraft, military appliances, and vast numbers of commercial items, and the number of books stolen was likely in the millions. Theodore von Karman, a world-famous aeronautical scientist who was a member of one of the search-and-loot teams, wrote that more than 3 million documents weighing more than 1,500 tons were collected and shipped to the US in one batch, referred to later as “the motherlode”. His comments:
“The Annual Report of the Secretary of Commerce for 1946 talks about 3,500,000 pages that TIIB selected. If one adds the documents brought to the United States and processed at Wright Field [aircraft-related], and those deposited at the Library of Congress, then the number of pages becomes astronomical. I remember that when I came to the Library in 1957, there were large green boxes, ‘footlockers’ 8 feet long, stored, to the very ceilings, in the hallways and vestibules of the 4th floor of the Adams Building, containing documents to be processed by the Air Information and Air Technology Divisions under contract to the Air Force.”
And this was just the military haul alone. The scientific, commercial, industrial and research volume would have added enormously to the total, as would the collections sourced by the US Library of Congress which had its own mission to confiscate more or less whatever books and publications it could find, and its volume of looted books was in the uncounted hundreds of thousands, to say nothing of the vast trove of commercial material it plundered. Michaels wrote, “I am not sure that there was, in the end, an exact accounting of how many documents/pages were taken from Germany, or if that was at all possible. Some documents contained more than 1,000 pages, others, like patent applications, only one.”
The Second Wave – Forcible Emigration
The original intent (of the project named Operation Overcast) was to steal documents and working samples, and to debrief scientists wherever necessary to obtain working knowledge of theory and processes. Since the extent of necessary debriefing could not reasonably be known in advance, the plan was to gather up all German scientists and technicians to prevent their dispersion, and to imprison them in concentration camps until they could be fully debriefed and all useful information extracted. However, German knowledge was far in advance of anything imagined by the Americans, and it was realised almost at the beginning that simple confiscation and debriefing would be hopelessly insufficient. As one example, the US military located and ‘liberated’ the components for more than 100 V-2 rockets but discovered they had no idea how to assemble the pieces nor any understanding of either the scientific principles or the mechanics of how the rockets functioned. From this one dilemma and so many others in so many industrial areas, the Americans realised that, just as occurred after World War One, they were so far behind Germany they weren’t able to even understand, much less utilise, much of the scientific and other knowledge they had stolen. They now realised they had no choice but to relocate to the US their thousands of captive engineers and technicians, and eventually a great many skilled craftsmen as well. As one author noted,
“The American experience of virtual hopelessness in deciphering Germany’s wartime rocket program alone, quickly led to the solution of confiscating not only the documentation and products but the people as well, for hundreds of other scientific, military and commercial processes.” And thus was born the project we now generally refer to as Operation Paperclip.
It hasn’t received notice in the historical narrative, but these deportations were forcible – the Germans and Japanese being sent to the US “whether they wanted to go, or not”. The alternative presented to them was a trial and probable execution as war criminals, the US having essentially full authority and discretion to make these determinations and thus leaving the victims with little choice. These “relocations” were not only forcible, but abrupt, with only one day’s notice in many cases:
“On orders of Military Government you are to report with your family and baggage as much as you can carry tomorrow noon at 1300 hours (Friday, 22 June 1945) at the town square in Bitterfeld. There is no need to bring winter clothing. Easily carried possessions, such as family documents, jewelry, and the like should be taken along. You will be transported by motor vehicle to the nearest railway station. From there you will travel on to the West. Please tell the bearer of this letter how large your family is.”
While these first waves consisted of personnel transfers with an exclusively military benefit, all subsequent waves were of purely commercial interest, the Americans forcibly importing scientists, technicians, skilled workmen and specialist craftsmen in virtually every industry, including steel, metal fabrication, glass, porcelain, printing, dyes and fabrics, electronics, musical instruments, auto manufacturing, aircraft design. The list is almost endless. The US imported specialist craftsmen from Germany in many industries to enhance the skills of their domestic industry and to create new trades and industries.
After further debriefing was deemed impossible, and many thousands of the most attractive knowledge candidates had been transferred to the US, there was still an enormous remainder in American concentration camps in Germany, people for whom the Americans had no further need but claimed an unwillingness to leave any intellectual residue for the Russians. This in turn led to a plan by American General R. L. Walsh, known as the German “Urwald-Programm” or jungle program (15a) (15b) (15c) (15d) (15e) (15f) which was a massive plan to disperse and resettle these people as widely as possible anywhere and everywhere in the Third World, as one way to prevent Germany from ever again forming a critical mass of industrial knowledge.
But this is yet another historical myth covering yet another sinister agenda. If this large remainder of hundreds of thousands of scientists, technicians and craftsmen were deemed useless to the US, they would be equally useless to Russia. The real intent was to complete the total destruction of Germany by forever depriving the country of not only its best scientific minds which had already been transferred to the US, but also to deprive Germany forever of this entire second and third tier of scientific intellectuals, to totally prevent a German attempt to rebuild itself after the war – which destruction of Germany was after all one of the main original goals of Paperclip and its many brethren, as it was of the war itself. Those not transferred to the US or the UK or scattered worldwide, were initially kept isolated and imprisoned for years, effectively disabling any possibility of Germany’s recovery. But in the end, those ‘debriefed and not especially valuable’ millions were either executed outright or starved to death, totaling millions of Germans, a large part of the content of Bacque’s “Other Losses” (16) It should be noted, as Bacque has done, that the death by starvation of the many millions of German civilians was a planned and deliberate process that eventually encompassed 12 to 14 million German citizens killed in the five years after the war ended (17) (18a) (18b) (18c) (18d) These were famous as “Eisenhower’s Death Camps”
It now seems that the popular photos we have all seen, of piles of emaciated dead bodies, were not of Jews killed by Germans (as we have been told) but of Germans killed by the Americans. An undetermined number of those incarcerated and killed were women, and more than a few were children.
In 1987, Tom Bower wrote a book titled “The Paperclip Conspiracy” (19) in which he detailed the extent, and the value, to the US military alone, of the importation of these German scientists. He listed scores of dramatic German achievements that had been far beyond the ability of the US at the time: advanced aircraft power plants, guided missile control, in-flight refueling, high-temperature alloys, precision optics, infra-red detectors, new diesel engines, new fuels and lubricants, a wind tunnel running at Mach 8, which was three times the speed and ten years ahead of the best American effort, high-altitude reconnaissance and mapping, acoustic weapons. He further noted the American military opinion that the Germans had “made contributions of an unusual and fundamental nature” in the realms of equipment design and development, generators, microwave techniques and crystal structures. In a review of this book, Publisher’s Weekly wrote, “Bower’s revelations are individually shocking and cumulatively devastating . . . will appall readers.”
Here are a few observations paraphrased from Bower’s book:
In the opinion of American military leaders at the time, the Germans were “superlative specialists …. the best available in the world today”, that they possessed a level of “professional education and training that were much superior to that of any US personnel available”. According to Bower’s research, American officials claimed, “These German engineers are industrious, have technical and scientific training second to none, have production and operational experience in all types of advanced aircraft power plants and have demonstrated initiative, invention and practicability of design.” Military officials claimed the presence of these Germans was saving the Air Force countless millions of dollars and ten years’ work in weapons development.
In an elsewhere-referenced article by Andrew Walker, he wrote that “Major-General Hugh Knerr, deputy commander of the US Air Force in Europe, wrote: “Occupation of German scientific and industrial establishments has revealed the fact that we have been alarmingly backward in many fields of research. If we do not take the opportunity to seize the apparatus and the brains that developed it and put the combination back to work promptly, we will remain … years behind while we attempt to cover a field already exploited.”
US military experts stated that these German engineers and scientists brought to the US dramatic achievements that were far beyond American ability at the time. In terms of specifics, this included guided missile control, the techniques for in-flight refueling, pilot equipment for high-altitude flying, high-temperature alloys, precision optics, infra-red detectors, new diesel engines, new fuels and lubricants, high – temperature alloys, precision optics, and a gun sight for night – fighters “of epoch – making importance”. The Germans has a wind tunnel running at Mach 8, which was three times the speed and ten years ahead of the best American wind tunnel. They had also achieved amazing levels in the optics of high-altitude reconnaissance and mapping, acoustic weapons, and much more. Bower further noted the American military opinion that the Germans had “made contributions of an unusual and fundamental nature” in the realms of equipment design and development, generators, microwave techniques and crystal structures.
In a BBC news article on 21 November 2005 titled, “Project Paperclip – Dark side of the Moon” (20). Andrew Walker detailed how 60 years ago these imported German scientists provided the US with cutting-edge technology in which it still leads today. He claims, as do so many others, that “The range of Germany’s technical achievement astounded Allied scientific intelligence experts accompanying the invading forces in 1945.” In addition to the items coved in Tom Bower’s book, Walker lists “supersonic rockets, nerve gas, jet aircraft, guided missiles, stealth technology and hardened armour” as just a few of the groundbreaking technologies developed in Germany during the war. US forces recovered and removed the components for about 100 German V-2 ballistic missiles from the underground Nordhausen complex, and brought both these and Wernher von Braun from Germany to the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico. It was entirely von Braun who masterminded the American moon landings, Arthur Rudolph who led the team that designed and built the Saturn V rocket, and Hubertus Strughold who designed NASA’s on-board life-support systems, while other German rocket specialists designed the Apollo and other launch systems.
Walker argues, as do most others, that Germany’s Horten Ho 229 was the first stealth aircraft, complete with radar-absorbing skin and single-wing shape, and that the US-based Northrop B-2 stealth bomber (at $2 billion each) is virtually a clone of the German design from 1944. He notes too, that modern US cruise missiles are still based on the German V-1 rocket design and that NASA’s X-“state of the art” X-43 hypersonic aircraft exists only due to German pioneering in jet aircraft.
Secrets by the Thousands
One of the few recorded instances of public documentation and acknowledgement of this massive theft was an article in the October, 1946 issue of Harper’s Magazine written by C. Lester Walker and titled, “Secrets by the Thousands”. His article begins with the following:
“Someone wrote to Wright Field recently, saying he understood this country had got together quite a collection of enemy war secrets, that many were now on public sale, and could he, please, be sent everything on German jet engines. The Air Documents Division of the Army Air Forces answered: “Sorry – but that would be fifty tons (of documents)”. Moreover, that fifty tons was just a small portion of what is today undoubtedly the biggest collection of captured enemy war secrets ever assembled. If you always thought of war secrets – as who hasn’t? – as coming in sixes and sevens, as a few items of information readily handed on to the properly interested authorities, it may interest you to learn that the war secrets in this collection run into the thousands, that the mass of documents in mountainous, and that there has never before been anything quite comparable to it.
The collection is today chiefly in three places; Wright Field (Ohio), the Library of Congress, and the Department of Commerce. Wright Field is working from a documents mother lode of fifteen hundred tons. In Washington, the Office of Technical Services reports that tens of thousands of tons of material are involved. It is estimated that over a million separate items must be handled, and that they, very likely, contain practically all the scientific, industrial, and military secrets of Germany. One Washington official has called it the greatest single source of this type of material in the world, the first orderly exploitation of an entire country’s brainpower.”
Walker confirms that the US organised a colossal search for what it euphemistically termed “war secrets” but which was simply a treasure hunt for military, commercial and scientific knowledge that the US lacked. To accomplish this task, various US agencies formed more than 500 intelligence groups, ranging in size from a few to a dozen or more individuals, which closely followed the invading US army into Germany with the intent of confiscating everything of value before the other Allied forces arrived. Most of these Joint Intelligence Objectives search teams were ordered to locate and confiscate industrial and scientific secrets in particular. According to Walker, these US heroes “performed prodigies of ingenuity and tenacity” in accomplishing their task. To some extent, he was correct. In one case the German Patent Office put some of its most secret patents down a sixteen-hundred-foot mine shaft, but the Americans found it and confiscated the entire contents as US “war reparations”.
German citizens were regularly forced by the Americans to sign documents testifying that they had turned over “all scientific and trade data, and if not, would accept the consequences” – which meant being delivered to the Russians for execution. Most capitulated under these threats. These were not staff of military research establishments but of commercial enterprises such as optical and pharmaceutical companies, not at all related to ‘war secrets’. The US had multiple photo crews and microfilm recording teams that often worked 24 hours a day documenting their finds. Walker noted that at Hoechst alone, the enormous German chemicals firm that resulted when IG Farben was split into various components, the US had more than 100 researchers who would “struggle feverishly to keep ahead of the forty OTS document-recording cameras which route to them each month over one hundred thousand feet of microfilm”. To put this into measurable perspective, the US was extracting several million pages of documents each month from Hoechst alone. Such was the scale of the US theft of German scientific and commercial secrets.
Walker then proceeds to give readers “some outstanding examples from the war secrets collection” which included 1,000-watt micro-miniature vacuum tubes made of porcelain rather than glass, that were virtually indestructible, and a tenth the size of the best the US could make. He listed an apparently miraculous magnetic recording tape, and infrared devices for perfect night vision and a “remarkable diminutive generator which operated it”. He states that German infrared technology was so advanced that, according to US military sources, “German cars could drive at any speed in a total black-out, seeing objects clear as day two hundred meters ahead. Tanks with this device could spot targets two miles away. As a sniperscope it enabled German riflemen to pick off a man in total blackness. …It stepped up current from an ordinary flashlight battery to 15,000 volts.” Prior to these discoveries the Americans had no idea these items even existed, much less of how to design or manufacture them.
Walker listed an array of electronic items including remarkable condensers that appeared to be magic to American scientists, the manufacture of large sheets of synthetic mica, which was important for many manufacturing processes and which the Americans had never been able to make, in any size, but which immediately increased American cold steel production by 1,000%. The Germans had perfected the process of cold metal extrusion, which the Americans also could never do, and which now permitted US manufacturers to increase the production speed of many items by ten times. Walker stated that the head of a military communications unit told him this one “war secret” alone would totally revolutionise dozens of American metal fabrication industries.
Walker went on to state that “In textiles the war secrets collection has produced so many revelations that American textile men are a little dizzy.” He relates discoveries of a German rayon-weaving machine (“discovered” by the American Knitting Machine Team that was scouring Germany) that increases production by 150%. There were looms that produced seamless hosiery for ladies, textile needle-making machinery that the American firms had never dreamt possible, a patented way to separate the wool from sheepskin leaving a perfect hide surface.
Walker’s sources told him, “… of all the industrial secrets, perhaps the biggest windfall came from the laboratories and plants of the great German cartel, I. G. Farbenindustrie. Never before, it is claimed, was there such a store-house of secret information. It covers liquid and solid fuels, metallurgy, synthetic rubber, textiles, chemicals, plastics, drugs, dyes. One American dye authority declared, “It includes the production know-how and the secret formulas for over fifty thousand dyes. Many of them are faster and better than ours. Many are colors we were never able to make. The American dye industry will be advanced at least ten years.”
In one of his excellently-researched articles, Daniel Michaels wrote:
“One of the largest hauls of classified information harvested by the Allies came from laboratories and plants of IG Farben, a syndicate with close American ties that held an almost complete monopoly on chemical production. Chemistry of course was the foundation for the creation of most synthetics. The enormous IG Farben Building in Frankfurt, which housed records of estimable value, was ‘miraculously’ spared during World War II bombing orgy, proving that better bombing accuracy was possible if the Allies had wished it. The vaults of the Farben Building contained secret industrial information on, among others, liquid and solid fuels, metallurgy, synthetic rubber, textiles, chemicals, plastics, drugs and dyes. Several U.S. Army officers stationed in the Farben Building after the war commented that the value of the files and records confiscated would (from that source alone) have been sufficient to finance the war.”
Michaels also noted that among the great aeronautical discoveries were “the papers describing the sweptback wing and providing considerable wind-tunnel data which showed clearly that the sweptback plane had superior speed properties near the speed of sound. These data were the first of their kind. Schairer (a Boeing engineer) quickly wrote to his Boeing associates to stop work on the Mach 1 transonic plane with the straight wing which they had designed, telling them of his find. He microfilmed the data and used them when he got back to Seattle to design the B-47, the first U.S. sweptback bomber….”
Walker continues: “In matters of food, medicine, and branches of the military art the finds of the search teams were no less impressive. And in aeronautics and guided missiles they proved to be downright alarming. … the Germans had discovered was a way to sterilize fruit juices without heat. Milk pasteurization by ultra-violet has always failed in other countries, but the Germans had found how to do it …” His sources told him the Germans had invented a continuous butter-making machine, something the Americans had always wanted but couldn’t figure out how to do it. Samples of the machine were immediately confiscated and shipped to the US dairy companies. The Germans had invented remarkable new ways of preserving food, and air conditioning and water reclamation so efficient that “German submarines could travel from Germany to the Pacific, operate there for two months, and then return to Germany without having to take on fresh water for the crew.”
Walker tells us as well that a US Army surgeon claimed German medical secrets, many of which were startling and revolutionary, would save American medicine “years of research”, items that included a process for producing synthetic blood plasma on a commercial scale, and substitutes for both blood liquid and adrenaline. These were also areas where the Americans had tried for years, and failed, but Walker then crowed, “Today we have the secret of manufacture.” And let’s not forget these were all categorised by the Americans as “war secrets”, this categorisation somehow justifying their theft.
The Germans also had developed methods of reviving bodies in cases of complete standstill of heart and cessation of respiration, Walker noting that “Before our war with Japan ended, this method was adopted as the treatment for use by all American Air-Sea Rescue Services, and it is generally accepted by medicine today.” Likewise, the Germans had already discovered the medical importance of negatively-ionised air and methods of creating it.
Walker further proceeds to tell us, “But of highest significance for the future were the German secrets in aviation and in various types of missiles. The V-2 rocket which bombed London, an Army Air Force publication reports, was just a toy compared to what the Germans had up their sleeve. When the war ended, we now know, they had 138 types of guided missiles in various stages of production or development, using every known kind of remote control and fuse: radio, radar, wire, continuous wave, acoustics, infra-red, light beams, and magnetics, to name some; and for power, all methods of jet propulsion for either subsonic or supersonic speeds. Jet propulsion had even been applied to helicopter flight. The fuel was piped to combustion chambers at the rotor blade tips, where it exploded, whirling the blades around like a lawn sprinkler or pinwheel.” He goes on to mention supersonic rockets with speeds of almost 6,000 miles per hour with intercontinental range, that could reach New York from Germany in about 40 minutes. He tells us, “Little wonder, then, that today Army Air Force experts declare publicly that in rocket power and guided missiles the Germans were ahead of us by at least ten years.”
Walker completes his article with examples of how “the American public”, i.e., American companies “are eating up” all this information, with hundreds of thousands of requests for documents on every conceivable commercial application. American companies like Bendix, Pillsbury, Pioneer, Pacific Mills, requested German patent and process information on record player changers, flour and bread production methods, insect repellent compounds, crease-resistant finishes for spun rayon. And of course Polaroid, the great American camera company obtained all its information from the exploitation of German photography and optics documents, as did Kodak after World War I, without which the company would have amounted to nothing.
I would note here that I have seen several claims that this October, 1946 issue of Harper’s is unavailable publicly in print form. They claim that even in libraries or other collections that contain every issue of Harper’s since inception, this one issue is missing. I have not researched the matter and cannot confirm the accuracy of the claim. This article is available online from Harper’s, for a price, if you know the title and publication date. The issue is of course that there are few people alive who would be aware of the existence of this article and even fewer who could specify the precise title or date of publication.
Walker tells us American companies believe the prospecting is so good that “Company executives practically park on the OTS’ front doorstep, wanting to be first to get hold of a particular report on publication. Some information is so valuable that to get it a single day ahead of a competitor may be worth thousands of dollars.” Many executives claimed the German information was worth millions or even many tens of millions to their firm, and all parties eventually agreed that the entire trove of stolen IP from Germany was worth at least $10 billion in 1945 dollars.
In his book, Friedrich George wrote:
“It is of course impossible to determine exactly how much the confiscation, sale, and the industrial exploitation of the German patents enriched the United States and Israel in dollars. Prof. John Gimbel, in his book Science, Technology, and Reparations: Exploitation and Plunder in Postwar Germany, estimates the ‘intellectual reparations’ taken by the U.S. and the UK alone amounted to about $10 billion. In 1952 the publisher Herbert Grabert ventured an estimate of $30 billion. Converted into 2008 dollars these estimates would amount to hundreds of billions. If the loot taken by the Soviet Union were also taken into account, the sum would likely approach $1 trillion. An infusion of this amount into the U.S. economy over a period of years easily explains U.S. postwar prosperity.”
George’s final comment above should be engraved on the outside front cover of every American history and economics textbook. As we will see later, that brief period of US prosperity that lasted only about 40 years and was responsible for the creation of the American middle class, resulted from two things. One was this massive theft of the entire IP of what was the most scientifically-creative nation in the world, and the other the socialist labor contract that was instituted to prevent what would almost certainly have been a popular revolution in the US.
Daniel W. Michaels wrote a series of informative and excellently-researched articles on this matter, one titled “The Great Patents Heist”, which is filled with detail and background. (21) (21a) (21b) (21c) (21d) (21e) (21f) Michaels was for decades employed as a translator of German for the US Department of Defense and the Naval Maritime Intelligence Center, and has much personal experience of the extent of this theft. John Gimbel also wrote a treatise titled, “Science, Technology, and Reparations. Exploitation and Plunder in Postwar Germany”, which was published by the Stanford University Press in 1990.
Michaels begins by stating, “It is quite acceptable to American pride to acknowledge that immigrants have contributed to our prosperity and greatness. It’s a little harder to swallow that a good deal of our scientific lead and prosperity has come from simply seizing German patents and inventions after World War I, and far more so after World War II.” He notes that the most creative period in world history may have occurred in Germany between 1932 and 1945, and that it was the theft of this German scientific research that fueled America’s post-war technology boom. It was Truman’s Executive Order 9604 – which, he notes, was also known as the “License to Steal” – that constituted what was perhaps the greatest robbery in the history of the World, the theft of all German intellectual property, products, processes and patents existing to that time.
The US today makes a great show of protecting intellectual property while disclaiming any past or present efforts to obtain by clandestine or dishonest measures the IP of other nations, desperately insisting its espionage and other efforts deal only with ‘terrorism’ or national security issues. These denials can be easily dismissed as outright lies when faced with these revelations and the subsequent Project Echelon. Truman’s Executive Order 9604 provided for the seizure of “scientific and industrial information, including all information concerning scientific, industrial and technological processes, inventions, methods, devices, improvements and advances” discovered in Germany, and “regardless of its origin”.
“The theft of intellectual property is not new, but the extent and ruthlessness of what the “wannabe” superpowers did in Germany from 1945 to 1948 was unprecedented. The United States … literally stole the entire extant store of German patents, designs, inventions and trademarks. Germans, who were not forthcoming in informing the U.S. Occupation Forces of the existence and location of such records could be imprisoned, punished and even threatened with death for “insufficient reporting”.
When World War II ended, America’s elite determined that the United States would not lapse back into its prewar depressed state, but rather would revitalize its economy and have a first-class military and industrial establishment. To this end, Germany’s advanced military hardware, aeronautical and industrial secrets would simply be confiscated and transplanted in America … reinvented and stamped “Made in the U.S.A.”. To ensure that the Allies would have an insurmountable head start in exploiting the patents, the Germans were even forbidden to use or refer to their own inventions after they were confiscated. The German Patent Office was closed by the Allies and (when it reopened), the first number assigned was 800,001, indicating that some 800,000 original patents had been looted by the Allies.”
Of course, thefts of this kind have always been against all international law. Gimbel noted in his book that “Concerning the legality of the U.S. confiscations of German property, William G. Downey, chief of the Army’s International Law Branch in the Judge Advocate General’s Office, quoting extensively from The Hague Convention rules on the seizure of private enemy property, wrote: “It is a generally recognized principle of the international law of war that enemy private property may not be seized unless it is susceptible of direct military use. An army of occupation can only take possession…of property belonging to the state.” But as we have seen in so many other instances, neither domestic nor international law have restrained the US government from any course of action it chose to take.
Michaels’ article quoted as follows from the memoirs of Konrad Adenauer, the first chancellor of the German Federal Republic:
“At the end of 1948 the director of the American office for technical services, Mr. John Green, gave the press a report on his activities, which were concerned with the exploitations of German patents and industrial secrets. According to a statement made by an American expert, the patents formerly belonging to IG Farben have given the American chemical industry a lead of at least 10 years. The damage thus caused to the German economy is huge and cannot be assessed in figures. It is extraordinarily regrettable that the new German inventions cannot be protected either, because Germany is not a member of the Patent Union. Britain has declared that it will respect German inventions regardless of what the peace treaty may say. But America has refused to issue such a declaration. German inventors are therefore not in a position to exploit their own inventions. This puts a considerable brake on German economic development.”
Adenauer’s comments about a “brake on German economic development” were a gross understatement at best. Since the German economy was in ruins after the war, without sufficient funds even for immediate rebuilding of basic infrastructure, new research and development were not an immediate priority. Germany had been deprived of all prior IP in existence to that point and, by its deliberate exclusion from the international Patent Union, could not patent or exploit any new discoveries. All new German inventions or scientific discoveries were simply confiscated by the US and, thanks to the massive and overwhelming infiltration of the US’ Project Echelon, American espionage would almost certainly discover and therefore seize any German inventions regardless of how carefully protected they might have been. But even more, Germany had already been deprived of all its best scientific minds, either by forced deportation to the US or scattered throughout the world.
It was almost ten years later that Adenauer was still demanding of then US President Eisenhower a resolution to the question of American confiscation of German patents and trademarks. Eisenhower apparently assured Adenauer that no further German IP or other assets would be confiscated, and that restitution of the stolen German IP assets “would be considered” at some future date. As of 2016, that ‘restitution date’ has not yet arrived. But around that time, at least ten years after the end of the war, in May of 1955, the Americans, “aware of the improprieties involved in their seizure of German industrial secrets”, forced Germany to sign the ‘Paris Agreement’ and “to renounce all claims or objections to Allied actions during the occupation”. The so-called “agreement” stated:
“The [German] federal government shall in the future raise no objections against the measures which have been, or will be, carried out with regard to German external assets or other property, seized for the purpose of reparation or restitution, or as a result of the state of war, or on the basis of agreements concluded, or to be concluded by the Three Powers with any other Allied countries, neutral countries or former allies of Germany.”
George wrote, “It is clear from the above provision that the Allies, chiefly the United States, still maintain the right to monitor German industry by means of the ‘Echelon’ eavesdropping program and other intelligence agencies. The fruits of this ongoing surveillance are sent, among other destinations, to U.S. and Israeli recipients.”
As I have written at length elsewhere and, as Michaels notes in his article, the US was never much of a contender, much less a leader, in any scientific or industrial innovation, producing mostly poor-quality consumer goods that seldom equaled even the average of other industrialised nations, and never equaled the best of anything. Many Americans will object to this categorisation, but it happens to be the documentable truth and one not suffering for lack of hard evidence. US wartime production was notable for its volume, as were its consumer goods in the pre and post war periods, but American goods were never notable for quality – except in the minds of Americans. Michaels noted too that even during the stress of wartime, the Americans produced nothing worthy of admiration or even attention. The propaganda machine has so rewritten the US historical record that virtually no Americans are aware of the bland and underwhelming truths of their own nation, most having been terminally infected by the Disney-inspired jingoistic babble of American superiority supported by a truly legendary level of ignorance. More later.
I’ve detailed elsewhere that US autos were primarily designed and sold as fashion accessories rather than machines of transportation, and their aircraft and other war machinery suffered from the same misdirected priorities and general lack of ability. One example I provided was that of the “world-famous” (to Americans) North American P-51 Mustang fighter aircraft which “saved all of Europe single-handedly” (in the minds of Americans), and “is widely considered (by Americans) the best piston single fighter aircraft of all time”. To re-state, this aircraft’s original designation was the XP-78, a name almost nobody has ever heard of, and for good reason. The aircraft’s performance was underwhelming to say the least and, with its American-built Allison engines, was of no more use during wartime than a lawn mower. It was the re-fitting of this aircraft with the British Rolls-Royce Merlin engine that gave it sufficient speed and range to make it useful, but the original American version wouldn’t have made a list of the top 500. This is a typical example of pre-war American ingenuity and innovation, as well as of American jingoism and historical revisionism.
In the meantime, and contrary to the fervent belief of virtually all Americans, we could note Michaels’ observations that German scientists had done most of the basic work related to civilian postwar industrial technologies. As one example, he notes that Germans were “enjoying color TV and color photography a decade before the American public could buy its first black-and-white sets”, and this was only one of many dozens of creations for which Americans now inexplicably take credit. German scientists developed the electronic quartz-crystal timepieces, transistor and semiconductor technology, the first programmable computers, the industrial production of integrated circuits, processes for the creation of synthetic goods including fuels and lubricants, synthetic mica for the production of steel, synthetic sapphires and other precious stones, and so much more. As one notable result, it was from these thefts and the subsequent thefts through the Echelon program that the US took the lead in semi-conductor manufacture. Without the massive thefts of Germany’s discoveries, our semi-conductor world would look very different today, and companies like Intel would likely not exist.
Another item of enormous consequence is this quote from Michaels’ article, relating to Nobel prizes in which Americans today take an unwarranted pride:
“Even during the war, the United States was not particularly noted for major breakthroughs in pure science or innovative technologies. The National Science Foundation brought this deficit in American capabilities sharply to the attention of the government in a 1946 report indicating, among other factors, that up to that date the United States had been the home of only four Nobel Prize winners in chemistry as compared to 37 recipients in Europe, eight U.S. winners in Physics to 39 in Europe, and six in medicine, to 37 in Europe. Most of these prizes were awarded to Germans and Austrians.”
And that is the truth of American innovation and scientific discovery. It was due solely to the massive theft of German IP, products and processes after both World Wars, and the simultaneous denial to Germany of the use and credit of their own inventions, that discoveries and Nobel prizes began accruing to America. And, if that weren’t bad enough, virtually all of these discoveries and prizes were not made by, nor awarded to, “Americans”, but to the German and other scientists forcibly emigrated to the US after the Second War. As I’ve noted elsewhere, there exists substantial documentation from many studies that even today more than 75% of all discoveries and patents are to the credit of Chinese, Indian and German scientists resident in the US. The “Americans”, whoever they are, still exhibit no innovative ability, nothing having changed in the past 100 years.
Results and Aftermath of Paperclip
After this massive theft and orgy of looting, post-War Germany had to begin re-inventing its world all over again. Faced with the forced worldwide loss of its scientists, technicians and craftsmen through dispersal and death, the only useful knowledge left in the country was that remaining in the memories of those few scientists still in the country. Moreover, Germany was under severe restrictions on research, development, patents and marketing after the war. With all German postwar inventions summarily confiscated and patented primarily by American firms, primarily through US government-sponsored espionage, research in Germany came to almost a standstill, as one would expect. Since Germany lacked the financing ability for long-term research and was in any case deprived of all future advantage of the results of any such research, we can’t be surprised at a certain lag in enthusiasm. Then, to put the final nail in the coffin, the US government offered attractive research opportunities to any competent German scientists, including new graduates, resulting in a flood of the best German minds emigrating to the US in search of opportunities. Project Paperclip finally ceased its more public marauding, following a bitter protest from West Germany that these American programs – Paperclip and Echelon – had “stripped Germany of all its scientific skills”.
If not for Operation Paperclip and the importation of several tens of thousands of German and Japanese scientists, the US would not likely have taken the lead in development of anything. It was only from a combination of all these that the US prospered in scientific development after the war, and it was only these prior events that resulted in the great shift of Nobel Prizes suddenly being allocated to so-called “Americans”. Without this massive forcible surrender of IP, patents and know-how, the theft of millions of books and documents forming the entire historical record of Germany’s inventions, and the forced transfer of tens of thousands of the most competent scientists, the US would have been nothing. For Americans today to complain about the theft of US commercial secrets or the copying of American IP is an hypocrisy so obscene as to warrant the death penalty.
Operation Paperclip has never really ceased, not in any of its forms. Even today, scientific immigration is a small but focused area of economic colonisation practiced by the US, a predatory immigration policy existing since the end of World War II, meant to vacuum up and concentrate the best and brightest people – and the cash – from both developed and developing nations, programs presented in generous humanistic terms, but that really function as just another colonisation tool.
Scientists and researchers playing musical chairs among the Western nations may create no net benefit or loss to any country, but laying out the red carpet to the brilliant and rich in the world’s developing countries is neither accidental nor benign, and incurs great losses to those nations because they are least able to afford this drain. It may well be true that many of these migrants would have had little opportunity to pursue their research or other work in their home countries, but this fact serves only as an illusion to mask the larger reality. This emigration removes forever the potential contributions to domestic development by these people, however small they might have been, and permanently transfers those contributions to the US, thereby magnifying – and serving to maintain – the income disparity between rich and poor nations. In fact, while it may be true that these emigrants would have accomplished little at home, it is equally true that without them the US would also have accomplished little, and the economic disparity would not have increased. It may be true that many emigrants to the US feel gratitude for the opportunity to further their careers, but this is from the point of view of American individualism which ignores the larger social losses.
The inscription on New York’s Statue of Liberty, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore”, is just feel-good nonsense for Hallmark Greeting Cards that never had truth in it. There is no ‘wretched refuse’ reaching American shores today, and there hasn’t been for a long time. It is only the rich and gifted who are welcomed. Americans have been brainwashed into believing their country is the richest because they are the best and brightest, but that has never been true. For millennia, China led the world in inventions, discoveries and innovation, and more recently countries like Germany and Japan have consistently surpassed the US in almost every field except weapons of war and fraudulent banking. It is a fact supported by overwhelming documentation that most everything the US claims as its own, was stolen from someone, and the parts not stolen were invented by people who were.
And The Winner of the “Copying Olympics” is:
There is yet another factor that contributed heavily to the wealth of America today, one the US history books seem to neglect. The US government and corporations today produce volumes of propaganda accusing China of copying American products or ideas, of having no respect for American IP, but the Americans are in no position to criticise anyone for copying products or stealing IP, since for 200 years or more they were the world’s masters of IP theft and product piracy.
During most of the nation’s existence, American companies freely and without compensation copied everything that was made in Europe. Not only did they freely copy, but the US government erected impossibly high tariff barriers against foreign products, so that the originals from Europe would be too highly-priced to sell in America, while manufacturers of the local copies of course flourished. The US government often offered very high rewards – as much as the earnings of several lifetimes to anyone who could steal and copy foreign technology, as happened with the cloth weaving machines that were the backbone of British industry for a century. When the great American Thomas Jefferson was US Ambassador to France, he conspired to steal and smuggle out of Italy a strain of ‘miracle rice’ which was banned for exports and sales to foreigners. Jefferson was a brave man because, his diplomatic immunity notwithstanding, the theft was punishable by death had he been caught. This was true with almost everything. Many English authors despaired of ever selling their popular written works in the US, due to import regulations and high duties but, on travelling to America, were more than surprised to discover their books widely on sale in shops everywhere. When Charles Dickens discovered the extent of the piracy of his works in the US, he wrote a book condemning Americans as thieves, a book which was immediately pirated and offered for sale everywhere in the US.
For most of 200 years the US ignored the IP, the patents, the copyrights, of any person or company in any nation. It is only relatively recently that Americans ceased copying, and then only because there was little left anywhere to copy. But now that these American firms are finally able to create their own designs and products, they’ve suddenly “gotten religion” and have become sanctimoniously possessive, condemning others for precisely the same things they did so freely for so long. Americans have very selective memories, exhibiting great facility in forgetting their own sins, but have no apparent trouble in remembering – and harping on – yours. One American columnist wrote that if it were Europe or Asia that produced all those Hollywood movies, the US would very quickly find a way to reproduce them at home without paying royalties or recognising any IP rights. There is more than ample evidence that the US even today will freely copy anything it wants, while ignoring other nations’ claims to copyright or patent.
Stephen Mihm wrote an excellent book titled “A Nation of Outlaws” (22) in which he deals at length with 200 years of American patent and copyright violations and widespread IP theft. He perceptively recognises a “fast and loose brand of commerce” as simply a stage in a nation’s development, a stage which the US experienced in the same way that Japan did 30 years ago and that China is doing today. It is only the moralistic Christianity pervading American society that drives Americans to condemn China today for something they did so freely not very many years ago, and which they still do today. In truth, the US was by far the most rampant thief of all nations in the world’s history.
This is another of the prime reasons the US became a rich nation – because over two centuries it copied, stole, or took by force, much or even most of the world’s inventions, recipes, patents and processes, while refusing to permit imports on any reasonable or fair terms, thereby enabling America and its corporations to prosper at the expense of the world. There is little to be proud of, in America’s inventiveness or innovation. Few Americans today are aware of this part of their nation’s history because most of the perpetrators are now dead and because their history books have all been nicely sanitised – cleansed of all the facts of piracy, forcible theft and dirty tricks that are so much a part of the American legacy.
The US media have constantly accused the Chinese of using copied or unlicensed American software but, while some claims were no doubt valid, the picture of America being a hotbed of morality while the rest of the world consisted of thieves is patently false. Software copying originated in the US, not in China, and I can testify that unlicensed commercial software has always been in widespread use by corporations and governments in North America. Microsoft and many other firms have had this problem even with many branches of the US government and the military, and US corporations of all sizes installing many tens of thousands of copies of unlicensed software without paying the license fees. The US media ignore these stories, preferring to write about China. As one example of many, in November of 2013, a US firm named Apptricity was planning to sue the US government for almost $250 million for unlicensed copying and installation of the firm’s software. Apptricity supplies the US military with logistics software used to track the locations of troops and critical missions shipments (23). The license fees are $1.35 million for installation on each server, and another $5,000 per computer using the software. But it seems the US government had installed this software on almost 100 servers and almost 10,000 individual computers without telling the company and without paying the necessary license fees, and had been doing this for more than ten years. The company’s total loss in fees alone was almost $250 million. According to the company, “As on every other known subject, American pronouncements of moral superiority are all just hypocrisy”. What else is there to say?
More than this, Americans have no shame in claiming credit for the inventions of others. There are hundreds of examples, a current one being the military stealth aircraft of which Americans are so apparently proud, and to which they repeatedly refer as evidence of their superior innovation ability. But stealth technology is just one more thing the Americans stole, in this case from Germany. At the end of the Second World War, US troops arrived in Berlin well in advance of the other Allied forces and wasted no time in looting the nation of all commercial and military secrets. By the time the Allies arrived in Berlin, the US military and government had packed up and shipped home more than 1,600 tons of documents on science and physics, nuclear energy, countless commercial patents and processes, and the German military’s research on stealth aircraft technology. The US stealth aircraft today are a virtual copy of what the Germans designed and invented 70 years ago, from the shape and configuration of the fuselage, to the coatings, engine placements, everything. The engines of course are modern and different, but all of the science and technology, and most of the know-how was simply stolen from Germany.
Similarly, the F-86 Sabre jet was built using design principles stolen from German aerodynamic research. It was German IP, not American inventiveness, that permitted Americans to boast about this famous aircraft holding world speed records for years. Also, much of current US aircraft technology was taken from the Canadian Avro Arrow, which was the first supersonic aircraft of its kind. Many Americans today claim some of this technology was American, but the truth is that the Canadians at the time had no wind tunnels and had contracted to do their aerodynamic testing in the US, following which the Americans copied – and stole – all of it.
America’s entire space program resulted from information stolen from Germany and from the post-war importation of thousands of Germans – many of whom were known war criminals. Werner von Braun and countless people like him who had invented all of Germany’s missile technology were brought to the US with all their knowledge of rocketry and missiles, to help put America into space. It is absolutely true that the US could never have managed any of those feats without the technology and know-how stolen from Germany. American inventiveness is mostly a jingoistic myth created by the American propaganda machine.
The US did the same to Germany after the First World War. As part of the conditions of surrender set in the Treaty of Versailles, Germany was forced to surrender all its patents to the US, in every commercial and military field, from fabrics to printing inks, from rockets and missiles to tanks and vehicles. Much of everything that Germany knew, designed, created up to that time, was surrendered to the US military and US commercial corporations. Countless German patents, including things as common as Bayer Aspirin, were seized by the Americans. This is copying and stealing – by military force – on very grand scale never before seen by any country. The US did the same after the collapse of the former Soviet Union, approaching former Soviet satellite nations as comrades in arms with the purpose of looting everything available, especially anything with military value.
An example from another category is the antiviral drug Tamiflu, which controls the spread of influenza, and which was patented by Hoffman LaRoche. The active ingredient in Tamiflu is extracted from star aniseed, which grew only in China and had been used there for several thousand years as a TCM prescription. There were many unhappy people with that pharma patent, since it was seen as effectively entering China, copying a Chinese medicine and claiming the worldwide rights to it. The same was true with ephedrine, a plant drug now widely used for treating colds, that was common in China for many centuries and introduced to the West only rather recently, but now patented by Western pharma companies.
Coca-Cola, originally called Kola Coca, was invented more than 140 years ago in a small town in Spain, the creators of the formula for the world’s best-selling soft drink having been cheated of its ownership and billions of dollars (24). The process was a well-kept secret at the time and quickly became a world-famous product, winning dozens of international gold medals and other awards. Unfortunately, Bautista Aparici, one of the company’s founders, attended a trade fair in Philadelphia and gave a sample and a brief description of the process to an American he happened to meet, and a short time later US pharmacist John Pemberton changed the name to Coca-Cola and patented the product and process, the US government refusing to recognise the original Spanish patent. The official story is that this drink was “invented by Dr. John Smith Pemberton on May 8, 1886, at Atlanta, Georgia”, in the USA, and was named Coca-Cola because at that time it contained extracts of Coca leaves and Kola nuts, and that the company’s book-keeper renamed the drink because he thought the two ‘C’s’ would look better in advertising. None of that is true. The drink was indeed made from kola nuts and coca leaves, but the new name was a cheap attempt to differentiate itself after Pemberton stole and patented the original formula. All the stories about Pemberton inventing Coke’s secret formula in his laboratory are fabricated nonsense, with the company’s website cleverly designed to airbrush out the drink’s early history and avoid the truth becoming known. Beverage World magazine produced a special issue to commemorate the one-hundredth (American) anniversary of Coca-Cola, claiming Coke was “a totally American product born of a solid idea, nurtured throughout the past century with creative thinking and bold decision-making, and always plenty of good old-fashioned hard work. That is as it should be; it is the American way”. Not by a long shot. Coca-Cola is just one of hundreds of products the Americans have stolen and patented with the full protection of their courts operating under the peculiarly American definition of ‘rule of law’.
Nike is another famous American brand with an airbrushed past, based on a similar manner of IP theft as was Coca-Cola, and benefiting equally from the American government and judicial system. The published hype about Nike tells us the story of Bill Bowerman and Phil Knight beginning their rags-to-riches story by selling sport shoes out of the trunk of a car, but eventually accumulating billions in revenue because they were Americans – innovative, creative, resourceful and entrepreneurial. But actually, they were just thieves who stole a wildly popular product from a Japanese firm and marketed it under their own name. Here is the story: Phil Knight was a runner at the University of Oregon, with Bill Bowerman as his coach, both on the lookout for better quality running shoes. Knight was on a tour of Japan, searching for a way to avoid having to work for a living, when he discovered the Onitsuka Tiger running shoe, a product far superior to anything available in the US at the time. Knight, with no apparent credentials other than a creditable boldness and some knowledge of running, presented himself to Onitsuka as the representative of a major American company looking to import sport shoes and convinced the firm’s executives he was legitimate. Knight and Bowerman borrowed some money and placed an $8,000 order which quickly sold out, the process repeating. The two men began selling the designs as their own and eventually used their profits and credit to copy and manufacture Onitsuka’s designs for themselves in the US. An Onitsuka executive, on a surprise visit to the US and to Nike’s premises, was himself surprised to discover his firm’s designs in the warehouse with an American brand on them. Naturally a major court case ensued, with the US courts, always committed to fair play and religiously following a rule of law, ruled that Knight and Bowerman did no wrong and that the two companies could “share” the patents, the IP and the brand (25). Had the US courts performed their function in a responsible and ethical manner, it is a certainty Nike would have disappeared in an instant since it was only the popularity of Onitsuka’s styles that kept the enterprise alive. Lacking this, Knight and Bowerman had little else to sell and a proper court judgment would have left them in poverty. This story is typical since there are almost no examples of American courts rendering fair judgments against Americans in favor of foreigners, and the few cases I could list on one side of this fence would be countered by hundreds of examples on the other side. The sanitised narrative of Nike usually fails to mention Onitsuka or, if it does, merely states that the relationship “began to sour” or that it “eventually dissolved”, without ever providing specifics. There are many small details in this story, but the essence is that Nike simply copied and stole Onitsuka’s fabulous designs and manufacturing and the US government and courts protected them.
American companies didn’t always steal from Europe or Asia; sometimes they stole from each other. Microsoft today might well be only a bit player if Bill Gates hadn’t directly stolen the ‘windows’ and the mouse concept from Apple, and hadn’t had sufficient financial backing to pay for litigation until Apple was finally ground down and lost. Kodak and Polaroid might be American firms, but their IP was virtually all German. Without those IP thefts they might well have disappeared generations ago. I believe Intel also benefitted enormously from German semi-conductor research. American aircraft manufacturers like Boeing likewise owe much of their existence to stolen German IP. Interestingly, US automakers were so busy selling fashion accessories it never even occurred to them to steal foreign IP until it was too late. Similarly, IBM is widely credited with having invented the first US computer, but that isn’t true either. IBM took the inventions of Dr. Hermann Hollerith, who was a US government employee, and whose inventions which were in the public domain, and cloaked them in countless patents “in order to destroy competition by limiting supply and controlling price”. As a kind of medal for its predatory behavior, the US Department of Justice issued a report that called IBM an “international monster”. That’s not exactly a credential. And in any case, as detailed elsewhere, functioning digital computers were built in Germany long before IBM discovered them. There are dozens of stories like this, of US firms worshipped by Americans and used as evidence of American entrepreneurship and innovation and as proof of the US being the world’s cradle of opportunity, and almost all of them are stories built on lies where, in virtually every case, the American firm simply stole another company’s products, patents, processes and IP and was protected from sanction by the nation’s courts. When the Americans today accuse companies from other nations of stealing their IP, that is hypocrisy refined to an extreme degree.
In spite of all the hypocritical noise made today about China, the US is still one of the worst violators of IP in the world, making its own rules to benefit American corporations and stubbornly ignoring the IP legislation and practices of other nations. The Americans more or less invented brand advertising and jealously guard their brands, but there are entire categories of famous names, products and proprietary processes originating in other countries that the Americans refuse to recognise even though they are fully protected in the other 96% of the world. These are not oversights; the US government deliberately establishes its own rules as to which kinds of IP it will respect and which it will ignore, with the rules always designed to benefit only American firms. Any IP that doesn’t fit US political and commercial ideology will simply be ignored. These names and processes have been protected by laws and treaties in all developed nations and most undeveloped ones for more than 100 years – except by the Americans who adamantly refuse to sign despite repeated requests dating back more than a century. These products include French champagne and cognac, Burgundy, Rhone and Chablis wine, Italy’s Chianti, Portugal’s Port and Madeira, Spain’s sherry and Hungary’s Tokay. They include Japan’s Kobe beef and Italy’s Parmesan cheese, and of course virgin olive oil. There are more than 600 of these specialised registered copyrights for which the US permits its corporations to violate all international copyright laws and profit illegally from the use of famous names. Champagne, by both French and international law, is a name that can be applied only to a wine produced by a particular method in the Champagne region of France. But not according to the US, whose winemakers gleefully sell US ‘champagne’, in clear violation of their own claimed standards and of international laws. On the other hand, anybody printing “Florida Orange Juice” on a product that isn’t from Florida, will meet the full force of US law. European patents on wine or cheese are not valid in the US. Americans are nothing if not hypocritical.
One of the world’s most famous cheeses is Parmigiano (Parmesan), from the Parma region of Italy. The cheese, the cows, the ingredients, the methods and processes, even the animals’ feed, are patented, trademarked, registered and protected by both Italian and international law – except in the US. American firms produce a pathetically substandard version of this cheese and market it as ‘original’ when it is no such thing, their violations protected by their own government. And in fact, most cheeses sold in the US are mostly adulterated rubbish, and many contain no cheese at all. Bloomberg did a recent study of grated cheeses, and many brands, including Kraft, tested for high cellulose content – cheese made of wood. Kraft’s response: Michael Mullen, a Kraft spokesman, said, “We remain committed to the quality of our products”. Well, that’s nice, Michael, but would you like to explain the wood in your cheese, or is cellulose part of your quality commitment? One company whose cheese tested high for cellulose content said, “We strongly believe that there is no cellulose present in our cheese.” What does that mean, ‘we strongly believe’? You made the cheese. How can you not know what’s in it? This isn’t like religion where faith will save you. Another company with high wood pulp content said, “We think the test could have been a false positive.” There was a company named Castle Cheese in Pennsylvania that marketed fake cheeses for 30 years before the FDA caught up with them and discovered their “Italian Parmesan” was actually American imitation cheese containing cellulose from American trees and leftover rubbish rinds and trimmings from other cheap, fake American cheeses. But the American Cheese Association tells us, “The wholesomeness of our dairy products is a treasured part of our story.” Right. One media report wrote, unbelievably, “[American] Parmesan suppliers have been mislabeling products by filling them with “too much cellulose”, made from wood pulp, instead of using cheaper cheddar.” “Too much” cellulose? I would have thought anything above zero was too much, but then this is America, and things are different here. So, genuine Italian Parmesan cheese, made in Wisconsin with wood pulp from Idaho trees. No IP problems here. And no food adulteration like we have in China.
Olive oil is one of the culinary delights of the world, something that has been produced for centuries in Southern Europe and the Middle East, with processes that have long been proven to produce the best product. The most valuable oil, which we call “Virgin Olive Oil” or “Extra-Virgin Olive Oil” is produced by a gentle cold physical pressing of the olives done in a particular manner. The oil that flows from this ‘first press’ is rather thicker, is a dark green color, and is the most fragrant and tasty, and the most healthful. Subsequent pressings produce a thinner and increasingly lighter-colored oil. More pressings, usually done with the assistance of steam to squeeze out every drop of this oil, are still thinner, the color decreasing from a medium to a light yellow and eventually to almost clear. Each subsequent pressing produces oil that is rather less valuable than the one previous, so being able to claim that an oil is ‘Virgin Olive Oil’ carries a substantial financial premium.
But the US has its own rules here too. The “old European ways are not efficient” so the Americans have devised their own methods of extracting this oil, none of which meet international standards. More than that, American species of olives, being grown in a climate not especially suited to this fruit, produce only a yellow oil, with nothing like the attractive color, fragrance or health benefits of the best European oils. The Americans therefore create the propaganda that “color is irrelevant” in olive oil, and that their processes are superior to all others, and freely market a substandard oil that is neither ‘virgin’ nor ‘olive’, often blended with inferior and leftover vegetable or seed oils. The result is that if we purchase “Virgin Olive Oil” in Europe or the Middle East, what we get is virgin olive oil. In the US we know only that we are buying an adulterated and substandard fake. Recognising that many people refuse to buy into the ‘irrelevant color’ propaganda, American producers bottle their olive oil in dark green glass bottles, which of course makes it impossible to see exactly what one is buying. The American story is that the dark glass – always green, just like the color of ‘Virgin’ oil – is to protect the oil from the ravages of exposure to sunlight. It must surely occur to thinking people somewhere that cooking and salad oils are normally stored in a dark kitchen cupboard and seldom left sitting out in the parking lot fully exposed to the blinding sunshine, and therefore not actually requiring protection from sunlight. But then this is America, and maybe things are different here.
This is an important subject, so here is an opinion not my own. I copied this portion of an article from a website some years ago, and cannot now find the source. Perhaps I can rectify that and properly credit the author in another printing. The title of the article was “Things you should know – Olive Oil”. Here is a synopsis of the content:
Olive oil is one of the healthiest cooking oils because it is packed with nutrients and antioxidants. Numerous studies provide evidence of the olive’s ability to prevent disease and promote well-being. You can use olive oil for stir-frying Chinese foods, just as any other vegetable oil. For frying, it’s best to use the cheaper grades (lighter color) and not waste expensive oil just for frying.
When fresh olives are picked from the trees, they are placed in containers and subjected to brief but firm pressure, without heat, and that first flow of oil is called “Virgin Olive Oil”. It is generally green in color, the darker the better. “Extra-Virgin” oil is lower in acid content and has the finest flavor and aroma of all the virgin oils. As the olives are subjected to increased pressings and to heat, hot water and steam, and even chemical solvents, to remove every trace of oil from the olives, the color becomes lighter, from green to yellow to white, and the taste and flavor disappear altogether. The European methods of pressing olive oil are superior to the centrifuge processes used in the US which are geared to inexpensive large-volume production, but American publications defend the US methods and disparage any others. American olive oil is almost always either illegally blended with cheaper oils such as soybean or hazelnut or else is grossly substandard, made from overripe or rotting olives. And the poorer white or light-yellow grades are often colored with juice from crushed parsley or some other green vegetable, to make the color a darker green and pass off the oil as a more expensive grade. And with the growing demand for extra virgin olive oil, producers and marketers now label poorer quality olive oils as extra virgin. In one recent US study, 70% of all so-called “virgin” or “extra-virgin” olive oils were fake. In any case, the US is not a member of the International Olive Oil Council and so has no restrictions on labels or quality claims. For US production, automotive grease can legally be bottled and labeled “Extra Virgin”.
It is difficult to obtain accurate information on olive oils outside of the European countries where olives are grown. Most of the information published on the internet is produced in the US and favors US-based production with olives grown in California. But California olives are not the same type as the European, nor are they grown in the same climatic conditions. European oils tend to be fruitier in taste and aroma, just as French wines tend to be superior in these respects. However, the Americans downplay the differences and promote the characteristics of US oils. For example, the taste and flavor of the oil tends to improve with the darker color. US olives produce only yellowish-colored oil so all the American publications state that color is no indication of quality or taste. The vast majority of the olive-oil brands in American supermarkets are not from olive-growers but from entrepreneurs who obtain the oil from middlemen, who don’t necessarily get it directly from the grower, either. A serious additional problem is that the olive oil testing institutions in the US, like the Olive Center at the University of California, are all secretly funded by California olive-oil companies and are partial to promoting local oils. I would add my own comment here that I seldom see good olive oil in China. Most of the product sold in the supermarkets here is badly overpriced cheap grade product, essentially colorless and tasteless left-over oil purchased cheaply from Europe. This is just one more example of foreign companies taking advantage of Chinese consumers who haven’t the experience to judge products correctly.
And if you ever needed evidence that Americans have no shame, we have this gem from early in 2014. A Washington Post article detailed how American shoppers are more likely to choose a European brand of olive oil because they are seen as more authentic – which of course they are, being pure olive oil for one thing. But American producers, unable to compete on a ‘level playing field’, and finding that in spite of their natural competitiveness and moral superiority they have managed to obtain only a 3% market share for their substandard product primarily due to low quality and widespread adulteration, are aggressively demanding that the US government enact import restrictions on foreign oil on the grounds that these are not really virgin oil. They are insisting the government legislate what they call “mandatory quality controls” which would naturally be defined to permit US oils to pass and European oils to fail. And of course, many US politicians who know where and how to find money to finance their election campaigns and lifestyles, are eager to assist. One such politician, Doug LaMalfa, who is himself a farmer from Northern California, stated that imported olive oil should be labeled as “extra rancid” instead of “extra virgin”. Democracy and capitalism at their finest, but California’s ambitions to compete with European olive oil have yet to be fulfilled.
A similar situation existed for a very long time with pistachios. For countless generations Iran was the largest producer of pistachios, and still is, in spite of American marketing rhetoric that tells us otherwise. The US promotes itself as the largest pistachio producer in the world, but it is no such thing. Or at least it wasn’t prior to 2011, the latest date for which I have statistics. In fact, in most prior years, Iran’s production was equal to, or greater than, all other nations combined. Iran had almost 75% of the total pistachio orchard area of the world in 2004, with exports double those of the US. These nuts are native to the Middle East and Asia where they have been cultivated for thousands of years, the US for a century importing all its product primarily from Iran. California first planted these nut trees in the middle 1800s with even less success than with their olive oil. This situation continued until about 1980 when, in a spirit of helpfulness, the US Commerce Department placed a total embargo on Iranian pistachios, forcing Americans to purchase their own substandard domestic nuts in the name of free trade. The embargo was briefly lifted, then enforced again for another 15 years, eliminated for a short time then enforced permanently when Iran became part of the “Axis of evil”. Placing a total ban on Iranian nuts was just the boost needed for the California pistachio industry, especially considering that the US bullied and browbeat the Europeans into following suit, the Americans then boasting it was their “high food safety standards” keeping Iranian pistachios out of the American market, the claim being an outright lie. The main factor eliminating Iranian pistachios was a 320% duty, without which they could be sold in the US at far less than the Americans’ cost of production.
Few of us may remember that pistachios used to be dyed a pretty red, with a powdered food coloring that happily transferred itself to hands and clothing, but we still sometimes see them at Christmas, festively dyed in red, green and white. The American marketing machine tells us that Iran dyed its pistachios because the hulls contained unappetising splotchy stains from primitive and backward Iranian harvesting methods, covering their sins by dying them. There has never been any evidence presented for this accusation, but then California produces large volumes of pecan nuts which have naturally splotchy hulls and which the Americans have bleached and dyed for generations, and still do today, to disguise their unattractive appearance. So, when patriotic, hard-working, god-fearing Americans dye pecans, they are simply employing modern agricultural best practices while making the world safe for democracy, but when Iran dyes pistachios this is precisely the kind of deceitful conduct we would expect from those primitive non-Christian ragheads. Americans are such a pain in the ass.
The American pistachio marketing machine is in China in full force, promoting their third-grade product with heavy doses of chauvinism, jingoism, false claims and deceptive marketing. The local media tripped over themselves to inform viewers that Miss Air-Head California herself travelled to Hangzhou to promote the American crop. We were told the US is the largest producer of pistachios in the world (untrue) and that the American nuts are never chemically treated or bleached, also untrue. There is probably no food produced in the US that isn’t subjected to various toxic chemicals and pesticides, with pistachios just as suspect as KFC’s chemical chicken. The Americans and importers boasted that “American pistachios are bigger in size and even the smallest ones are bigger than those from Southeast Asia”, as if size were relevant. To any thinking person, the only significant consideration is taste, an area in which American pistachios cannot compare to those from Iran or Greece, any more than American olive oil can compete with the Italian product. Then we’re told, almost breathlessly, that these American pistachios are “authentic and taste exactly the same as those in the US”, leading us to conclude that pistachios from all other countries are somehow fake. As to the reference about ‘tasting the same’ as those in the US’, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. American pistachios are virtually tasteless and suitable only for animal feed, as anyone who has tasted the Iranian product can testify. There are almost no agricultural products from the US that have any taste worthy of mention, and I find it distressing that so many Chinese will so foolishly and naively buy into totally false American claims of product or other superiority.
A Nation of Outlaws
Stephen Mihm, an assistant professor of American history at the University of Georgia, has written a fascinating book titled “A Nation of Outlaws” (22), detailing many of the scams, counterfeits and frauds the US experienced while industrialising. The passage below is taken from his book and is reprinted here with the kind permission of Stephen and of Steve Heuser, an editor of the Boston Globe where this article appeared on August 26, 2007. It helps to provide solid documentation for my thesis that development is a process, with most nations passing through similar conditions at the same stages in the process. I’m sure you will enjoy reading it.
SCOURGE of the FREE WORLD! PEDDLERS of POISONOUS FOODS!
FLAGRANT PIRATES of LITERARY WORKS! COUNTERFEITERS of MEDICINE!
A century ago, that wasn’t China – it was the US.
When Charles Dickens, left, arrived in Boston in 1842, he was startled to see what Americans would do for profit and infuriated to find bookstores filled with unauthorized copies of his work.
“If recent headlines are any indication, China’s rap sheet of capitalist crimes is growing as fast as its economy. Having exported poison pet food and toothpaste laced with antifreeze earlier this year, the world’s emerging economic powerhouse has diversified into other, equally dubious product lines: scallops coated with putrefying bacteria, counterfeit diabetes tests, pirated Harry Potter books, and baby bibs coated with lead, to name but a few. Politicians are belatedly putting China on notice. Representative Frank Wolf of Virginia delivered one of the more stinging counterattacks last month, warning that the United States “must be vigilant about protecting the values we hold dear” in the face of China’s depredations.
His anger reflects the mounting disgust with how recklessly China plies its trade, apparently without regard for the things that make commerce not only dependable but possible: respect for intellectual property, food and drug purity, and basic product safety. With each tawdry revelation, China’s brand of capitalism looks increasingly menacing and foreign to our own sensibilities.
That’s a tempting way to see things, but wrong. What’s happening halfway around the world may be disturbing, even disgraceful, but it’s hardly foreign. A century and a half ago, another fast-growing nation had a reputation for sacrificing standards to its pursuit of profit, and it was the United States. As with China and Harry Potter, America was a hotbed of literary piracy; like China’s poisonous pet-food makers, American factories turned out adulterated foods and willfully mislabeled products. Indeed, to see China today is to glimpse, in a distant mirror, the 19th-century American economy in all its corner-cutting, fraudulent glory.
China may be a very different country, but in many ways it is a younger version of us. The sooner we understand this, the sooner we can realize that China’s fast and loose brand of commerce is not an expression of national character, much less a conspiracy to poison us and our pets, but a phase in the country’s development. Call it adolescent capitalism, if you will: bursting with energy, exuberant, dynamic. Like any teenager, China’s behavior is also maddening, irresponsible, and dangerous. But it is a phase, and understanding it that way gives us some much-needed perspective, as well as some tools for handling the problem. Indeed, if we want to understand how to deal with China, we could do worse than look to our own history as a guide.
A bit of empathy might even be in order. One hundred and fifty years ago, even America’s closest trade partners were despairing about our cheating ways. Charles Dickens, who visited in 1842, was, like many Britons, stunned by the economic ambition of our nation’s inhabitants, and appalled by what they would do for the sake of profit. When he first stepped off the boat in Boston, he found the city’s bookstores rife with pirated copies of his novels, along with those of his countrymen. Dickens would later deliver lectures decrying the practice, and wrote home in outrage: “my blood so boiled as I thought of the monstrous injustice”. In the United States of the early 19th century, capitalism as we know it today was still very much in its infancy.
Most people still lived on small farms, and despite the persistent myth that America was the land of laissez-faire, there were plenty of laws on the books aimed at keeping tight reins on the market economy. But as commerce became more complex, and stretched over greater distances, this patchwork system of local and state-level regulations was gradually overwhelmed by a new generation of wheeler-dealer entrepreneurs. Taking a page from the British, who had pioneered many ingenious methods of adulteration a generation or two earlier, American manufacturers, distributors, and vendors of food began tampering with their products en masse – bulking out supplies with cheap filler, using dangerous additives to mask spoilage or to give foodstuffs a more appealing color.
A committee of would-be reformers who met in Boston in 1859 launched one of the first studies of American food purity, and their findings make for less-than-appetizing reading: candy was found to contain arsenic and dyed with copper chloride; conniving brewers mixed extracts of “nux vomica,” a tree that yields strychnine, to simulate the bitter taste of hops. Pickles contained copper sulphate, and custard powders yielded traces of lead. Sugar was blended with plaster of Paris, as was flour. Milk had been watered down, then bulked up with chalk and sheep’s brains. Hundred-pound bags of coffee labeled “Fine Old Java” turned out to consist of three-fifths dried peas, one-fifth chicory, and only one-fifth coffee.
Though there was the occasional clumsy attempt at domestic reform by midcentury – most famously in response to the practice of selling “swill milk” taken from diseased cows force-fed a diet of toxic refuse produced by liquor distilleries – little changed. And just as the worst sufferers of adulterated food in China today are the Chinese, so it was the Americans who suffered in the early 19th-century United States. But when America started exporting food more broadly after the Civil War, the practice started to catch up to us.
One of the first international scandals involved “oleo-margarine,” a butter substitute originally made from an alchemical process involving beef fat, cattle stomach, and for good measure, finely diced cow, hog, and ewe udders. This “greasy counterfeit,” as one critic called it, was shipped to Europe as genuine butter, leading to a precipitous decline in butter exports by the mid-1880s. (Wily entrepreneurs, recognizing an opportunity, bought up genuine butter in Boston, affixed counterfeit labels of British butter manufacturers, and shipped them to England.) The same decade saw a similar, though less unsettling problem as British authorities discovered that lard imported from the United States was often adulterated with cottonseed oil.
Even worse was the meatpacking industry, whose practices prompted a trade war with several European nations. The 20th-century malfeasance of the industry is well known today: “deviled ham” made of beef fat, tripe, and veal byproducts; sausages made from tubercular pork; and, if Upton Sinclair is to be believed, lard containing traces of the occasional human victim of workplace accidents. But the international arena was the scene of some of the first scandals, most notably in 1879, when Germany accused the United States of exporting pork contaminated with trichinae worms and cholera. That led several countries to boycott American pork. Similar scares over beef infected with a lung disease intensified these trade battles.
Food, of course, was only the beginning. In the literary realm, for most of the 19th century the United States remained an outlaw in the world of international copyright. The nation’s publishers merrily pirated books without permission, and without paying the authors or original publishers a dime. When Dickens published a scathing account of his visit, “American Notes for General Circulation,” it was, appropriately enough, immediately pirated in the United States.
In one industry after another, 19th-century American producers churned out counterfeit products in remarkable quantities, slapping fake labels on locally made knockoffs of foreign ales, wines, gloves, and thread. As one expose at the time put it: “We have ‘Paris hats’ made in New York, ‘London Gin’ and ‘London Porter’ that never was in a ship’s hold, ‘Superfine French paper’ made in Massachusetts.” Counterfeiters of patent medicines were especially notorious. This was a bit ironic, given that most of these remedies were pretty spurious already, but that didn’t stop the practice. The most elaborate schemes involved importing empty bottles, filling them with bogus concoctions, and then affixing fake labels from well-respected European firms.
Americans also displayed a particular talent for counterfeiting currency. This was a time when individual banks, not the federal government, supplied the nation’s paper money in a bewildering variety of so-called “bank notes”. Counterfeiters flourished to the point that in 1862 one British writer, after counting close to 6,000 different species of counterfeit or fraudulent bills in circulation, could reasonably assure his readers that “in America, counterfeiting has long been practiced on a scale which to many will appear incredible”. What was it that made the 19th-century United States such a hotbed of bogus goods? And why is China’s economic boom today, as New York Times writer Howard French clucked earlier this month, “minted in counterfeit”?
Piracy, fraud, and counterfeiting, whether of currency, commodities, or brand-name electronics, flourishes at a particular moment in a capitalist society: the regulatory interregnum that emerges in the wake of fast-paced capitalist change. This period is one in which technology has improved, often dramatically, and markets have burst their older boundaries. Yet the country still relies on obsolete ways of controlling commerce. Until there’s something to replace them, counterfeiters and other flim-flam operators flourish, pushing new means of making money to their logical, if unethical, conclusion. Indeed, the ease with which counterfeiters and corner-cutters operate in China today can be attributed to many of the same failings that plagued the United States 150 years ago: a weak, outdated regulatory regime ill-suited to handling the complexities of modern commerce; limited incentives for the state to police and eliminate fraud; and, perhaps most important of all, a blurring of the lines between legitimate and fraudulent means of making money.
All of these are typical of capitalism in its early, exuberant phase of development. The United States may have been the worst offender, but early industrial Britain had significant problems with food adulteration and counterfeiting, and Russia from the 1990s onward has been the scene of some of the worst capitalist excesses in recent memory. And in all likelihood China’s recklessness is just that: a phase that will eventually pass when the nation’s regulatory institutions catch up with its economic ambition.
But understanding the parallels does suggest a way to move forward. The rogue industries of the United States eventually responded to stiff international economic pressure. Beginning in the 1880s, the European meat boycotts spurred Congress to pass a raft of federal legislation aimed at imposing some inspection controls on the exports of meat. In response, European countries opened their doors to American meat again. And in 1891, Congress finally bowed to decades of angry lobbying and passed an international copyright law that protected foreign authors.
At a certain point, some of the push for change can come from within. As a capitalist system evolves, there can come a time when some players in the economy prefer to be held to more stringent standards, even ones that impose additional costs. Partly, this happens when a country begins producing and exporting original goods that might appeal to counterfeiters elsewhere. The United States, for instance, strengthened its copyright laws to protect the growing number of American authors whose books sold overseas. If the Chinese movie business gains a significant international audience, it’s safe to say that Hollywood will get a better reception next time it complains about knockoff DVDs of the latest Bruce Willis flick.
In the scandal-racked American food business, several industry leaders converted to the cause of regulation in no small part because there was money to be made: Certain competitors would be put at a disadvantage, and the new federal laws would banish the inefficiencies of the older patchwork of state-level regulation. But at a more fundamental level, producers began to realize that they could reap big profits from simple trust. By 1905, business leaders were testifying in Congress that the federal government could “do much toward preserving the reputation of US foods abroad” – in other words, they could make more money if potential trading partners believed the United States was finally cleaning up its act. And that’s exactly what happened with the passage of the landmark Food and Drug Act the following year.
With each regulatory advance, the United States began gaining the trust of its own consumers, along with the rest of the world. In the process it went from being an upstart to the most powerful economy on the globe. China is far more than an upstart already, but as recent events suggest, it has a long way to go before it emerges, as the United States once did, from its own reckless youth. Indeed, if the Chinese are truly following Deng Xiaoping’s apocryphal maxim, “to get rich is glorious”, then their own entrepreneurs and industries may eventually recognize that to get rich while bowing to international standards may be equally glorious – and even more profitable.”
A Tragic Lesson
Seventy years before the poisonous syrup diethylene glycol was found in Chinese-made toothpaste, it was used in an American-made antibiotic, left, with fatal results.
“Some of the worst of regulatory lapses in China involve diethylene glycol, a deadly poison that has shown up in everything from toothpaste to cough syrup. More than 100 people, mostly children, died in Panama after ingesting cough syrup laced with the poison, which product counterfeiters in China had used as a cheap substitute for the sweetener glycerin.
The case has attracted outrage, and deservedly so. But what hasn’t gotten a lot of mention is that America had almost the exact same experience some 70 years ago. In 1937, drug companies operated with considerable latitude when mixing and selling new medications. In the spring of that year, the chief chemist of Tennessee-based S.E. Massengill Company hit on a way to deliver sulfa drugs used to treat strep throat and other infections in a liquid form by dissolving them in diethylene glycol. No one tested the drug for safety, and in the fall of that year shipments of “Elixir Sulfanilamide” went out across the country.
Within a month, it’s estimated that more than 100 people, mostly children, had died horrific deaths as their kidneys shut down and they went into convulsions. The owner of the company, when pressed to admit some measure of culpability, famously answered, “We have been supplying legitimate professional demand and not once could have foreseen the unlooked-for results. I do not feel that there was any responsibility on our part.”
That was just plain wrong: the toxicity of diethylene glycol was already established. And even if it hadn’t been, simple animal testing would have revealed that the syrup was poisonous. But this was a different era, where the failure to conduct the necessary tests – like the failure of Chinese manufacturers to test their raw materials – had tragic results. Then, as now, not everyone responsible shrugged their shoulders and moved on. Massengill’s chief chemist, Harold Watkins, committed suicide while awaiting trial; earlier this month, Zhang Shuhong, owner of a Chinese toy factory accused of using banned lead paint, did the same. And the episode led to the passage of the Federal Drug, and Cosmetic Act the next year, ushering in a new era of drug safety.
There are literally hundreds of such stories to tell about American product quality and product safety. They are all different, but they are all the same. As only one example, in the recent past, we have seen much attention paid in the West to problems with children’s toys made in China, mostly about paint containing lead which is recognised as dangerous to children. The world has always known that lead was a poisonous metal which could be fatal if ingested. What isn’t widely known or discussed, is that Western manufacturers used lead in paint for many products, including toys, and did so for most of the last century, knowing that some children died from it. They used it because lead is a cheap and efficient way to produce a very high-gloss and shiny finish on a paint, and they did so in spite of the knowledge of its dangers. These same people who now complain about China, spent huge sums of money on political influence, PR and damage control, to prevent legislation that would prohibit this use. US laws prohibiting lead in paint for children’s products did not happen from American virtue, moral superiority or the willing employment of “best practices; they changed only after the factories moved to China.”
Part 5 of 6: Asset Theft and Financial Crimes
Image credit: https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202109/17/WS6143dbbda310e0e3a6822281.html
Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 32 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’. (Chapt. 2 — Dealing with Demons).
His full archive can be seen at https://www.moonofshanghai.com/ and https://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/
He can be contacted at: email@example.com
Reference links – How the US Became Rich – Part 4
During the First World War, the US government seized all property in the US in which there were German interests
WWI, US seized German assets all over the world
- Mitchell Palmer America’s ‘Alien Property Custodian’
Smithsonian Magazine July 28, 2014
World war 1; the US government seized bayer chemical company
(19) The Paperclip Conspiracy: The Hunt for the Nazi Scientists
(20) BBC: “Project Paperclip – Dark side of the Moon”
(21) The Great Patents Heist
The link does not work but you can read about the same here:
(21a) The Great Patents Heist. John Nugent. (wintersonnenwende.com)
(21 b) Dunkirk (newensign.com)
( 21c) The Great Patents Heist | VikingLifeBlog (wordpress.com)
(21d) The Great ‘jewish’ Patents Heist of the Third Reich (renegadetribune.com)
(21e) The Great Patents Heist | I R O N L I G H T (wordpress.com)
Stephen Mihm “A Nation of Outlaws”
Apptricity sues the US government for $250 million
Copyright © Larry Romanoff, Moon of Shanghai, Blue Moon of Shanghai, 2021