News Release

Interviews Available: Nazi Link to German Scandal, Elian and the Cuba Embargo, Sunday’s Mexican Election


Former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl is scheduled to testify before a parliamentary inquiry on Thursday. In the Los Angeles Times on June 25, free-lance investigative journalist Martin A. Lee exposed the Nazi link to the current slush fund and influence-peddling scandal in Germany involving Kohl. Lee traces the roots of the corruption scandal to Kohl’s close relationship with Fritz Ries, an influential German industrialist who made a fortune during the Third Reich from expropriating “Aryanized” Jewish property and from slave labor in factories near Auschwitz. After the war, Ries became Kohl’s principal patron within the West German business community. Ries also retained as his chief of staff and legal advisor Eberhard Taubert, a veteran of Goebbels’ Propaganda Ministry. Taubert was subsequently recruited by the CIA to serve as an espionage asset in the shadow war against the Soviet Union. “Intent on turning West Germany into a strong, prosperous bulwark against Soviet-bloc communism, U.S. policymakers sanctioned the lenient treatment given to dubious characters like Ries and Taubert,” Lee explains. “In the interest of fighting communism, the U.S. turned a blind eye to political corruption in West Germany for years. Undoubtedly, this encouraged Kohl to do whatever he thought was necessary to maintain his political party’s grip on power, even if it meant breaking the law.”

Director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs, Birns said today: “The Elian Gonzalez case exposed Miami’s right-wing anti-Castro lobby as an extremist group that does not accept basic tenets of this country’s political culture. Their fanatic antics before a national TV audience opened the way for the anti-embargo forces to kick in. Since this group included such paladins of respectability as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and some members of the Reagan administration’s national security team, all of a sudden they provided credibility to the notion that the embargo had outlived its usefulness…. In Mexico, the long-ruling PRI party is facing its strongest challenge ever in the election this Sunday. With the election being so close, it will take only a small amount of fraud to ensure that the PRI wins by a squeaker, as was the case in 1994. Lurking in the background is the growing strength of the military. The role of Mexico’s increasingly modernized military is expanding, and with that development there is a direct correlation to its growing predilection to use violence against political dissidents, threatening the country’s still frail democratic values. Washington is implicitly condoning this use of repression by extending millions of dollars of military aid to Mexico, without adequate human rights safeguards.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy: Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167