Russ BellantOld Nazis, the New Right, and the Republican Party

OSI[1] | Motives and Methods“THE CAMPAIGN AGAINST OSI”

The case against Vilis Hāzners presented a microcosm of the Soviet-INS/OSI-Israeli (source of coached witnesses) connection. That is not the focus of our examination here; however, the salient point is that Alan A. Ryan, Jr. et al. have staunchly stood by the legitimacy of Soviet evidence and maintained they never accepted any "unsolicited" evidence—ignoring that the original list of alleged Latvian collaborators came from confirmed Soviet propaganda, raising legitimate concerns on the part of the communities accused. And while critics denounce émigrés for "circling their wagons" as if they were all accused, recall that Elizabeth Holtzman declared that "all Latvians are Nazis."

There is perhaps no current issue which sets 1the émigré fascist network apart from mainstream American society more than the campaign against the Office of Special Investigations.

The OSI was established by a 1978 act of Congress to discover and deport Nazi war criminals who entered the U.S. after World War II. 2Almost immediately the Ukrainian Quarterly (published by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America) denounced OSI, as did the quasi-Nazi Liberty Lobby and the neofascist Lyndon LaRouche organization. Soon the Lithuanian-American Council, the American Lithuanian Community, and the Joint Baltic American National Committee—all members of the ASC's Coalition for Peace Through Strength—joined in the anti-OSI campaign. Other Coalition for Peace Through Strength groups that 3actively opposed the OSI pursuit of Nazi collaborators were the Byelorussian-American Association, Congress of Russian-Americans, and the 4World Federation for a Free Latvia.[a]

While some organizations 5claimed they only opposed the methods employed by OSI, others called for its abolition. The specific method used by OSI which drew the sharpest criticism concerned the use of evidence from Soviet citizens, archives, and prosecutors. 6Even though such evidence is independently scrutinized and tested by the U.S. government and must meet U.S. rules of evidence in court, the anti-OSI groups call it “KGB evidence” without offering any proof of their own to back up that assertion. All of the above groups claim there is an “OSI/KGB partnership.”[b] None of the groups has supported the legal proceedings against even one suspected war criminal, even when the accused has publicly confessed his crimes. The charges of KGB plots, according to the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, appear to be a "propaganda smokescreen that seeks to exploit anti-communism," in an attempt to stop the OSI investigations and legal proceedings.[c]

[a]Ad in Darbininkas, a Lithuanian newspaper, Sept. 7, 1984, p. 4.
[c]The Campaign Against the U.S. Justice Department's Prosecution of Suspected Nazi War Criminals (New York: Anti-Defamation League, 1985), p. 12. (Hereafter cited as ADL Special Report)
Contention versus Fact

Bellant continues to press his case for an organized pan-ethnic émigré fascist conspiracy.

This guilt by association attack has no place in legitimate journalism.[2]

The issue is not OSI's pursuit of Nazis, it is its determination to convict at any cost once someone is denounced. There was zero tolerance in the OSI for the possibility the accused was innocent. And when accusations fell apart as in the Hāzners case, Alan A. Ryan, Jr. blamed prosecutorial incompetence, with no admission of the possibility Hāzners had been wrongly accused. Not to mention Jewish activists promising mob justice against those who "escaped" conviction and extremists taking matters into their own hands, subsequently bombing and shooting others accused.

Bellant does not spare the Latvians in his smear campaign. The "Pasaules Brīvo latviešu apvienība" (PBLA), founded in 1955, has had as its mission the preservation and protection of Latvian language and culture, pursuit of Latvia's freedom while under Soviet occupation, and since occupation, supporting activities strengthening Latvia's independence. When the director of the OSI considers Latvians war criminals simply because they served in the Waffen-SS, of course Latvians will organize to oppose that prejudiced and historically unsupported viewpoint—one to which Bellant subscribes.

Given the surrounding context, "claimed..only," Bellant basically alleges that émigré organizations opposing the OSI did so only to defend their Nazis.

The claim that Soviet evidence has been tested to the rigors of U.S. courts—a WJC claim per the JTA news story Bellant cites—is patently false. Immigration "trials" are administrative proceedings in which hearsay is admissible. There is no entitlement to representation. When defense attorneys did travel to the USSR to depose "witnesses," it was done in the presence of multiple Soviet officials scrutinizing testimony.

The claim that émigrés have not produced proof of their contentions of Soviet falsification is Bellant's own, not in the news story. Bellant, again, is wrong. By 1988, both Paulis Ducmanis (primary anti-Latvian propaganda author) had come forward and Imants Lešinskis (KGB operative planting anti-Latvian propaganda in the West) had defected and confirmed Krushchev's organized anti-nationalities campaign to employ false propaganda to discredit anti-Soviet émigré communities: Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians, and Ukrainians heading that list. Both those events had occurred prior to Bellant's report. Per United States v. Kungys, 571 F. Supp. 1104 (D.N.J. 1983): "Lesinskis worked for the KGB from 1956 to 1978 when he defected. One of his early assignments was with "Motherland's Voice", an agency engaging in propaganda designed to discredit Latvian emigres abroad by characterizing them as war criminals or collaborators during the German occupation or by characterizing them as acting under orders of western intelligence agencies." Charges could be connected to some fact or be completely fabricated.

Intense emotions and rhetoric have accompanied the anti-OSI efforts. The World Jewish Congress has charged that the motivating factor behind such activity is "the fear that the 7Justice Department's prosecutors are exposing the American public to the historical facts that Hitler's annihilation of six million Jews was carried out not by the Germans alone, but rather with the extensive collaboration of Lithuanians, Latvians, Ukrainians, Estonians, and other Europeans."[a]

[a]Kevin Freeman, Charges Emigre Groups are Thwarting OSI Activities," Daily News Bulletin, Jewish Telegraph Agency, April 3, 1985, p. 3.
Contention versus Fact

Opposition did not emanate from the fear that collaborators would be uncovered. It has always been in everyone's best interest to root out and punish the guilty. However, the Holtzman Amendment, by eliminating the crucible of actual court proceedings and removing defendants' legal protections, allowed hearsay and propaganda into the "courtroom." The entire purpose of the amendment was to make it as easy as possible to deport the accused. It removed the strict rule of law from the hunt for Nazis. Administrative proceedings do not hold to the same standards of evidence as a court of law.

Opposition rose from the simple fact that entire nations were being branded as Nazis, from Elizabeth Holtzman's denouncement that all Latvians are Nazis to Efraim Zuroff's blanket indictment of all the peoples lying between the USSR and Germany as "fanatic" supports of Hitler's industrialized extermination of their centuries old Jewish neighbours. The back story to such claims is the syllogism that it was only with fanatical local support that the Holocaust could have been as devastating and complete, thereby proving fanatical support.

[1]Office of Special Investigations (United States Department of Justice)
[2]Per Wikipedia: Guilt by association can sometimes also be a type of ad hominem fallacy, if the argument attacks a person because of the similarity between the views of someone making an argument and other proponents of the argument. This form of the argument is as follows:
  1. Source S makes claim C.
  2. Group G, which is currently viewed negatively by the recipient, also makes claim C.
  3. Therefore, source S is viewed by the recipient of the claim as associated to the group G and inherits how negatively viewed it is.

An example of this fallacy would be "My opponent for office just received an endorsement from the Puppy Haters Association. Is that the sort of person you would want to vote for?"

Updated: June, 2017

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