FACES AND PLACES
by Myron B. Kuropas
OSI "rehabilitation" complete?
The Office of Special Investigations (OSI) has been "rehabilitated." Totally!
The proof lies in a cover story that appeared in the January 29 issue of USA Today, which begins: "Secreted in a nondescript office building in Washington, the nation's Nazi hunters are waging and winning the last battle of World War II."
The article does mention the Demjanjuk debacle and the fact that "the 6th U.S. Circuit excoriated OSI, saying the agency knew the [Demjanjuk] ID might be fake and hid the evidence." Not mentioned, however, was that the court vacated its earlier extradition ruling "on the ground that the judgments were wrongly prosecuted as a result of prosecutorial misconduct that constituted fraud on the court."
Sadly, USA Today has Rep. James Traficant, the OSI's harshest critic in Congress, dismissing that little bit of chicanery as the result of "a couple of overzealous agents" who "went beyond their charge, tried to make headlines, and it never was properly investigated" [by the Justice Department]. Despite this, Congressman Traficant supports funding for OSI. Meanwhile, the OSI is still making headlines and, as I've mentioned on these pages before, it's all part of a cleverly conceived cover-up.
In the article, the OSI claims to have denaturalized or deported 71 of the 102 men it has charged. I suspect that the vast majority simply left the country on their own rather than face the ordeal the Demjanjuk family had to endure. Even though all of its trials have been civil, where "a preponderance of evidence" is enough to convict, the OSI claims that it has held to a standard that is " 'substantially identical' to the criminal standard: proof beyond a reasonable doubt." Since most of those accused by the OSI must hire their own lawyer (in contrast to criminal trials where the courts provide legal counsel), all the OSI has to do to "win a case" is to go to the media and announce that they are "investigating" someone and it's over. No trial. No due process. Guilty by accusation. And that, dear friends, is what the OSI calls justice.
Until 1992, the OSI had investigated over 1,400 alleged Nazis and actually "extradited" five alleged "Nazis," a smashing success rate of .003 percent!
The original OSI gang is gone. Allan Ryan, the first head of OSI, is enjoying a position at Harvard University. Remember him? He authored "Quiet Neighbors: Prosecuting Nazi War Criminals." According to Mr. Ryan, most "Nazis" settled in America as a result of the "brazenly discriminatory" Displaced Persons Act of 1948, which Mr. Ryan argued "was written to exclude as many concentration camp survivors as possible and to include as many Baltic and Ukrainian, ethnic German refugees as it could get away with." According to Mr. Ryan, some 116,000 Baltic and Ukrainian displaced persons and 53,000 Volksdeutsch came to the United States after World War II. "If even 5 percent of those people had taken part in the persecution [of Jews]", he writes, "than over 8,000 Nazi criminals are here." The figure later grew to 10,000. Mr. Ryan devoted an entire chapter to John Demjanjuk in his book, suggesting that this was the OSI's most significant case.
Neal Sher, another OSI director, also is gone. The last I heard he was working for The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the most influential foreign policy lobby on Capitol Hill.
Eli Rosenbaum, whose visage appeared on the front page of USA Today, is the present director of the OSI. Once associated with the World Jewish Congress, Mr. Rosenbaum is well-known to longtime The Ukrainian Weekly readers for his responses to some of my articles in the 1980s.
Still smarting from the beating the OSI took in the wake of the Demjanjuk debacle, Mr. Rosenbaum does not rule out the possibility of doing it all over again. According to USA Today, "Rosenbaum won't comment on the still-active case, except to say that Demjanjuk's work at other camps merits denaturalization" and that the "lawyers who worked on the original case no longer are at OSI." Does this mean that the "original lawyers" weren't zealous enough?
After Mr. Demjanjuk was found innocent, there were many appeals in Israel because, as the prosecution argued, he had served at other camps. The Israeli attorney general, however, concluded that "The public has no interest in opening proceedings against Demjanjuk on alternative charges if in the end there is no certainty that he will not be acquitted of those as well. An additional acquittal would look like a debacle, and we cannot rule out such an acquittal." According to Yoram Sheftel, Mr. Demjanjuk's Israel lawyer, "the attorney general was forced to acknowledge that he did not have hard evidence to prove any alternative charge against Demjanjuk." As we know, of course, simply because there is no hard evidence does not mean that the OSI won't "find any." And if Israel doesn't want to re-try Mr. Demjanjuk, who will? There are rumblings that Ukraine might be persuaded to do so.
On Monday, February 3, CBS had a follow-up to the 60 Minutes broadcast titled "Canada's Dark Secret" (did anyone notice, by the way, that there was hardly a mention of the findings of the Deschenes Commission?) In the Monday broadcast was the "surprise" announcement by Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that her grandparents were Jews who had "probably" died in the Holocaust. Horrific shots of the Holocaust were part of the broadcast. Immediately following the Albright announcement was an "Eye on America" segment about Nazis in your neighborhood, starring Eli Rosenbaum. Borrowing from Allan Ryan's book of 13 years ago, comments like "hidden Nazis next door" and "some of the worst Nazis may be your neighbors" permeated the broadcast. More Holocaust pictures.
There was a time when the Ukrainian and Baltic communities were actively and systematically monitoring the excesses of the OSI. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, that is no longer the case. One doesn't hear from Americans for Due Process any more. The Coalition for Constitutional Justice and Security is off the map. Americans for Human Rights in Ukraine (AHRU), which pioneered the Demjanjuk defense effort in the United States, is involved with other issues. The UNA's Heritage Defense Committee is quiet.
While the OSI spins its web, we diddle.
Readers may reach me at my e-mail address: email@example.com
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, February 16, 1997, No. 7, Vol. LXV
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