Notify me of new HIR pieces!

HIR mailing list

PLO/Fatah's Nazi training was CIA-sponsored

Historical and Investigative Research - 22 July 2007
by Francisco Gil-White

The US government has been pushing very hard to give Mahmoud Abbas’s Al Fatah its own state, carved out of the Jewish state. Al Fatah (also known as the PLO, and now the ‘Palestinian Authority’) was trained in the 1950s by CIA-sponsored German Nazis. These facts are not widely known or understood.

Table of Contents

Short preface

Did the US government, as commonly believed, really support the creation of Israel?

Did the US government accept the new Jewish State?

The US sent Nazis to assist the defeated Egyptians

Historian Timothy Naftali claims the US had nothing to do with this

The CIA's Nazis trained Al Fatah in Egypt

Short preface

On first inspection, for most people, it would seem that the following statements cannot all be simultaneously true.

1) There is a US-led effort to give Fatah/PLO (now more often called the 'Palestinian Authority') strategic territory of the Jewish State in the near future.

2) The Jewish State was created for the express purpose of protecting Jews from those who wish to commit genocide against them.

3) The US government sponsored German Nazi training for Fatah/PLO.

4) The US government has a pro-Israeli foreign policy.

If we agree that statements 1, 2, and 4 correspond to fact, many would say, then a representation of the world without intolerable contradictions would require us to remove statement 3. However, suppose statement 3 could be shown to be a documented historical fact? In that case, a representation of the world without intolerable contradictions would require us to remove statement 4.

A natural reaction might be: "But why should anybody bother even to consider statement 3? We already know that the State of Israel was created by the United States government to protect the Jews." Since this is what most people appear to believe, I will begin here, the better to create the conditions for statement 3 -- which happens to be a historically documented fact -- at least to be considered.

Did the US government support the creation of Israel?

Many believe that the State of Israel was created thanks to the support of the United States. But the following facts put the lie to that notion.

It is true that in 1947 the US government voted at the UN in favor of partitioning what had been British Mandate Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state. However, the entire State Department was opposed to the creation of a Jewish State. Why then did Truman order his UN ambassador to vote in favor of partition?

The precipitating event seems to have been a passionate speech by the Soviet Union's Andrei Gromyko at the UN General Assembly in favor of a Jewish State. He spoke much about the common suffering of Russians and Jews at the hands of the Nazis, and the need for a persecuted people to have a safe haven where to protect itself from genocide. Such a speech reduced the US government's political options, for it did not wish to appear in public as less anti-Nazi than the Soviets.

The Israeli War of Independence (also known as the 1948 War) exploded the year after that because a large coalition of Arab armies launched a genocidal attack against the Jews of what had been British Mandate Palestine. Azzam Pasha, secretary general of the Arab League (a British creation), announced that this would be “a war of extermination and a momentous massacre, which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.”[1]

The US and British governments both assisted the Arab attack. The United States slapped an arms embargo on the Israeli Jews. The British government used the troops it still had not evacuated from the Middle East to help the Arabs. It also sent the Arab armies captured Nazi officers to lead the attempted genocide.[1a] In spite of all this, the combined Arab armies suffered a bewildering, humiliating defeat in the War of 1948, and perhaps especially so the Egyptian army.

Did the US government accept the new Jewish State?

Historian Christopher Simpson has documented, with material obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, that immediately after 1945 the US government had begun secretly recruiting a great multitude of Nazis, including many notorious war criminals, in order to construct the US intelligence services. As the Washington Post wrote in its review of Simpson’s book, “It is no longer necessary -- or possible -- to deny the fact: the U.S. government systematically and deliberately recruited active Nazis by the thousands.”[1b] The Washington Post should have written that it was tens of thousands, however.

Frank Wisner was one of the main architects of the absorption of Nazis to create the CIA.[2] Following Egypt’s defeat in the 1948 war, Simpson explains, “Frank Wisner had dispatched his top troubleshooter to the Mideast, Kermit (‘Kim’) Roosevelt, to Cairo as early as 1951 to open secret negotiations with Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser and his insurgent Society of Free Officers,” who were getting ready to launch a coup d’état in that country.[3]

Notice: after Egypt loses its genocidal war against Israel, the CIA sends its “top troubleshooter.” A failed genocidal war against Israel is something to fix.

The US sent Nazis to assist the defeated Egyptians

Kermit Roosevelt reported to his superiors that there was, in his words, “a large area of agreement” with Nasser. “Nasser asked Roosevelt for aid in building up Egypt’s military intelligence and internal security squads,” the inferiority of which had been demonstrated by their defeat against the Israeli Jews. “So CIA director Allen Dulles turned to [Reinhard] Gehlen in 1953 for help in the Egyptian situation.”[3]

Reinhard Gehlen had spearheaded the recruitment of the Nazi infrastructure for the CIA, something he was eminently qualified to do because Gehlen had been “Hitler’s most senior military intelligence officer on the eastern front.”[4] In fact, Gehlen was a monster. Simpson explains that

“Gehlen derived much of his information from his role in one of the most terrible atrocities of the war: the torture, interrogation, and murder by starvation of some 4 million Soviet prisoners of war. …Prisoners who refused to cooperate were often tortured and summarily shot. Many were executed even after they had given information, while others were simply left to starve to death.”[5]

When the US government recruited Gehlen after the war, they asked him to recreate the Nazi intelligence infrastructure, and this became known as the ‘Gehlen Org,’ with its headquarters in Pullach, West Germany, which country had become a satellite of the US. A great many of the nazis that the US recruited were not part of the ‘Gehlen Org,’ because some were brought into the US as immigrants and even turned into US soldiers, while others were used as direct CIA assets in different parts of the world. But certainly the ‘Gehlen Org’ had within it a sizeable chunk, and many of the important leaders.

Christopher Simpson writes that “at least a half dozen -- and probably more -- of his first staff of fifty officers were former SS or SD men, including SS Obersturmführer Hans Sommer (who had set seven Paris synagogues to the torch in October 1941)…”[6] In the year 2005, historian Timothy Naftali explains that “newly released information from the CIA and the Army,” as a consequence of the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act,

“make it possible to assess the extent of Gehlen’s recruitment of former officers of the SD [the intelligence service of the SS] and Gestapo. It turns out that it was widespread. At least one hundred of Gehlen’s officers and agents had served with the SD or the Gestapo, and the number may in fact be significantly higher. …some of those hired had participated in the worst atrocities committed by the Nazi regime.”[7]

When, following the defeat of the Egyptians in the War of 1948, the US turned to Gehlen for help in improving Egypt’s intelligence and military capability, Gehlen turned to Otto Skorzeny.

Skorzeny had been an enormous and tremendous Nazi -- the stereotype of the tall, golden-haired ‘Aryan’ that the führer, himself a short brunette, was always so excited about. Skorzeny was celebrated in the Nazi press as “Hitler’s favorite commando.” He was an expert in sabotage, assassination, and difficult missions behind enemy lines. In 1948 he had mysteriously escaped while awaiting trial -- or perhaps not so mysteriously, given that his father-in-law Hjalmar Schacht (Hitler's Finance Minister) had his own sentence abolished by John McCloy, the US High Commissioner in Germany. Skorzeny played an important postwar role in the ratline operations Odessa and Die Spinne that spirited a great multitude of Nazis to safety.

What Gehlen wanted was for Otto Skorzeny to train the Egyptians. Skorzeny, however, was reticent, so the US government begged, promising him that his Egyptian salary would be supplemented by a generous CIA subsidy, and that the US would cover all his operational costs. They also sent a US general to beg in person. But Skorzeny kept playing the prima donna, so Gehlen pressured father-in-law Hjalmar Schacht to convince him, finally with success.[8]

Historian Timothy Naftali claims the US had nothing to do with this

I must make here a brief parenthesis. Much of Christopher Simpson’s information on all this comes from Reinhard Gehlen’s own memoirs, written in the 1970s, and from what Miles Copeland, who worked as a CIA agent in that region, asserted in one of his books. According to Timothy Naftali, writing in 2005, the documents that were more recently released with the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act make it doubtful that the CIA really led the effort to give Nazi training to the Egyptian forces. But careful: Naftali is not saying that the new documentation has refuted the idea that Skorzeny’s Nazis trained the Egyptians; on the contrary, he asserts that “Skorzeny…[and] dozens of aging Nazis…did indeed trek to Cairo in the first years of Nasser’s regime to prepare the Arabs for battle with the new Jewish state.” According to Naftali, however, the CIA had nothing to do with Skorzeny.[9]

Naftali is obviously defending the US government from the implicit accusation that it was preparing a genocidal attack against Israel, but his defense, in light of the facts, is a bit strident, and I shall now list the reasons why.

First, when I consult the historian’s footnote at the end I find that the recently released documents in fact show the CIA trying to bring Skorzeny to the United States, and that requests for other CIA documents on the agency’s relationship with Skorzeny have been denied. Second, according to the same Naftali, a year before the Egyptian operation was to begin, CIA director Allen Dulles had -- amazingly -- flown all the way to Germany to confer with Reinhard Gehlen in order to suggest to him that they should work together not only in the Soviet sphere but in other parts of the world; Naftali concedes that in historical context Dulles was probably referring to the Syrian and Egyptian invitations to have the former Nazis come train their intelligence and military services. Third, according to Naftali there is evidence that the Nazis in Egypt were being sponsored in part by the embryonic Defense Ministry of Konrad Adenauer.[9] This matters because Christopher Simpson documented that the US had installed Konrad Adenauer as West German prime minister when Gustav Hilger, one of the top Nazis recruited by the US government, had vouched for Adenauer as someone who would support US policies.[10] And what was the US policy for West Germany? Naftali himself explains that it was to turn Reinhard Gehlen into “the first chief of centralized intelligence of Western Germany” -- in other words, to put the Nazis back in power (this was done in 1956).[11] Finally, there is this: in a different article Naftali documents that the Nazi Leopold von Mildenstein, who participated with Skorzeny in the operation to train the Egyptians, secured immunity for himself -- when arrested by the West German police -- by explaining that he was a US agent.[12]

Naftali’s confidence that the CIA had nothing to do with the Egyptian operation appears adventurous, to say the least, especially given that Gehlen boasted in his memoirs that he had set that operation in motion with “the full approval” of the United States, as Naftali himself concedes.[13]

The CIA's Nazis trained Al Fatah in Egypt

Coming back to Simpson’s summary of what happened in Egypt, this is what he writes:

“Over the next 18 months Skorzeny used CIA money to recruit for the Egyptian security services about 100 German advisers, many of whom he reached through neo-Nazi organizations and SS escape networks. Among his wards were Hermann Lauterbacher, an SS man and former deputy leader of the Hitler Youth, and Franz Buensch, a Goebbels propagandist best known for his pornographic work The Sexual Habits of Jews. Buensch, Gehlen’s resident chief in Cairo, was a veteran of Eichmann’s SS ‘Jewish Affairs’ office. This talented group was later joined by Alois Brunner.”[14]

SS Sturmbannführer Alois Brunner was a man “considered by many to be the most depraved Nazi killer still at large.” He had been Adolf Eichmann’s most important deportations expert, for he had a “keen sense of the exact types of terror and psychological manipulation necessary to disarm his victims,” which he employed to get them into the ghettoes, and then on the trains and to the death camps. In his role as master exterminator, he “rushed from Berlin to Gestapo offices throughout occupied Europe to train local Nazi satraps in how to carry out the destruction of Jews quickly and thoroughly.” Thoroughly means precisely that: “He did not neglect the murder of children because (as he told Berlin lawyer Kurt Schendel, who was pleading on behalf of a group of French orphans) they were ‘future terrorists.’” According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Brunner personally took charge of murdering 128,500 people, and was condemned to death in absentia by the French government -- but the CIA protected this man whom Adolf Eichmann characterized as “one of my best men.”[15]

Now, according to the postwar testimony of Adolf Eichmann’s top lieutenant Dieter Wisliceny, Hajj Amin al Husseini, the former Mufti of Jerusalem, was even more important than Eichmann as an architect of the German Nazi Final Solution. This means Alois Brunner was also one of Husseini’s “best men.”[16] And Husseini was already there in Egypt when Brunner arrived, because Husseini had taken refuge there after the war. No doubt they were delighted to see each other.

Adolf Eichmann could not be with Husseini and Brunner, but they must have celebrated the fact that he was safe: the year before, the 430th Detachment had informed the US High Command in Austria that,

“At this time, 1952, the apprehension of war criminals is no longer considered a mission of CIC [Army Counter-Intelligence Corps]. …Therefore, it appears the Salzburg police authorities should be advised that the arrest of [Adolf Eichmann] and [his] transfer to CIC is no longer desired.”[17]

(The CIA, in fact, always knew where Eichmann was hiding, and protected him.[18])

No doubt Brunner and Husseini lamented not having Eichmann there with them, but at least Leopold von Mildenstein was there. Mildenstein was one of Goebbels’ great propaganda experts, and an expert also in Zionism and the Middle East. Earlier, he had in fact mentored Adolf Eichmann himself.

Timothy Naftali explains:

“Mildenstein…turned up in Egypt working for the government of Gamal Abdul Nasser. In December 1956, the Turkish press reported that he had been hired by Egypt’s powerful ‘Voice of Arabs’ radio station along with other former associates from Goebbel’s organization. Mildenstein’s experience in inciting the Arabs against Jews in the Second World War was highly prized in Egypt. This was confirmed by a CIA report from Cairo, which listed him among a group of influential former Nazis who were shaping the actions of the Nasser government.”[19]

The training of the Egyptian intelligence and military services were not the only contributions of the Nazis to the effort to destroy the Jews from Egypt. In 1958, the terrorist Al Fatah (Arab Liberation Movement) was created in Cairo. Who created it? It was “organized…by veterans of the Mufti’s [Hajj Amin al Husseini’s] former Arab Higher Committee,” explains historian Howard Sachar. “From the outset,” he says, “the Fatah’s reputation depended largely upon the success of its Moslem traditionalist approach of jihad against Israel, and upon conventional infiltration methods.”[20]

The leader of Al Fatah would be the famous Yasser Arafat. In a declaration that Arafat made to the Arab press in August of 2002 he made it clear that he was quite proud of his origins, for he referred to the former Mufti as “our hero, Hajj Amin al Husseini,” and boasted that he had been Husseini’s soldier in the genocidal War of 1948 against the Israeli Jews.[21]

In a rare mention of Al Fatah’s origins in the press, David N. Bossie wrote as follows in August 2002, in the Washington Times:

“The mufti [Hajj Amin] barely escaped trial for [war crimes] by fleeing to Egypt in 1946. There he made young Yasser Arafat, then living in Cairo, his protégé. The mufti secretly imported a former Nazi commando officer into Egypt to teach Mr. Arafat and other teenage recruits the fine points of guerrilla warfare. Mr. Arafat learned his lessons well; the mufti was so proud of him he even pretended the two of them were blood relations.”[22]

I make two corrections to what Bossie writes. The first is that Husseini didn't "barely escape." He escaped easily. After the British government declared in public that it did not consider Husseini a war criminal (over the protests of British members of parliament in the House of Commons), the French government, which had Husseini in custody, placed him on house arrest. He was thus at liberty to make visits to Paris from the luxurious suburban villa where they 'held' him, and escaped.[22a]

The second correction is that it wasn't Husseini who imported the “former Nazi commando officer.” For this was Otto Skorzeny, whose specialty was precisely the “conventional infiltration methods” for which Al Fatah would become famous. He had been sent to Egypt by the CIA.


Is this article useful? Help us do more with a donation .
Would you like to be notified of new articles? Sign up (it’s free) .


The Nazi training of Al Fatah was CIA-sponsored.

The current leader of Al Fatah and president of the so-called ‘Palestinian Authority,’ Mahmoud Abbas (a.k.a. Abu Mazen), naturally received this Nazi training as well, because “Abu Mazen of the founders of Fatah, one of the original Arafat band of brothers.”[23]


Left: Mahmoud Abbas. Right: Fatah troops giving the Nazi salute at a rally

The US government is consistent. After assisting the birth pangs of Al Fatah with CIA-sponsored Nazi training, and then mobilizing an entire diplomatic process known as the Oslo process to get Al Fatah inside the Jewish state, in recent times it brazenly took upon itself to give Al Fatah direct CIA training [see 1994 section], and now it is pushing with all its superpower might for the final stage of the Oslo process to be concluded: a fully fledged Fatah terrorist state on Israel’s flank, carved out of the Jewish state.


Footnotes and Further Reading

[1] Sachar, H. 1982. A history of Israel: From the rise of Zionism to our time. New York: Knopf. (p.333)

[1a] Never mind that it was barely three years since the Jews had finished suffering the Nazi Final Solution; the British aid to the Arabs included sending captured German Nazi officers to lead the Arab armies that had openly pledged themselves to wipe out the Israeli Jews. This was demonstrated in a detailed article, which quoted official British documents at length, and which appeared in The Nation in 1948:

In 1948, The Nation exposed British support/instigation of Arab violence aimed at crushing Israel in cradle

The British Record on Partition
(First part of the article)
Reprinted from The Nation, May 8, 1948
Comments by Jared Israel

For the pdf to the entire Nation piece, go here:

To read the same document in text format, go here:

To place the above British policy in the context of the history of British policy toward the Jewish people, read:

How did the 'Palestinian movement' emerge? The British sponsored it; by Francisco Gil-White.

[1b] Uncle Sam's Nazi's, The Washington Post, April 24, 1988, Sunday, Final Edition, BOOK WORLD; PAGE X11, 905 words, Peter Grose, REVIEW

[2] “Policy concerning clandestine use of former Nazi collaborators during the early cold war years was shaped by a series of National Security Council directives and intelligence projects sponsored by the Policy Planning Staff of the State Department, then under the leadership of George F. Kennan, according to records discovered recently in the US State Department archives. Kennan was at the time assigned the task of internal policy oversight of all US clandestine operations abroad. His initiatives -- along with those of Allen Dulles, Frank Wisner, and a number of other latter-day CIA executives -- helped convince Truman’s NSC to approve a comprehensive program of covert operations that were explicitly modeled on the Vlasov Army, an anti-Communist émigré campaign created by the SS and the Nazi Foreign Office during World War II. Scholars and propagandists who had once collaborated in formulating the Nazis’ political warfare program were brought into the United States to provide the brains for the new operation.

Wisner, the dynamic director of the CIA’s clandestine operations directorate, gradually gathered many of the threads of earlier Nazi utilization efforts into agency hands. Wisner believed in the tremendous espionage potential of the Eastern European émigré [i.e. Nazi collaborationist] organizations, their value as propagandists and agents of influence, and the unique advantages of using soldiers who had no provable ties to the US government for certain particularly sensitive missions, including assassinations…

Wisner’s clandestine campaigns were originally aimed at the USSR and its satellites. Before the decade was out, however, the American people also became an important target for CIA propaganda programs. …over the winter of 1951-52…, according to National Security Council records, Wisner began large-scale programs designed to bring thousands of anti-Communist [read: pro-Nazi] exiles to the United States as a means of rewarding them for secret operations overseas and to train others in guerrilla warfare against East Bloc countries. The CIA secretly subsidized the work of right-wing refugee relief organizations aiding such immigrants, including some groups with clear ties to extreme nationalist and Fascist organizations in Europe. The agency simultaneously funded millions of dollars into advertising and staged media events inside the United States during the same period, with support for these overseas ‘refugee liberation’ projects as a primary theme.

Tens of thousands of Eastern European refugees emigrated to the United States throughout the late 1940s and 1950s. …just as any large group of humans contains some criminals, so, too, did this emigration. The difference this time was that of the criminals who did come, many were experienced right-wing political activists who were highly organized and blessed with the patronage of the CIA.”

SOURCE: Simpson, C. 1988. Blowback: America's recruitment of Nazis and its effects on the Cold War. New York: Weidenfeld & Nicholson. (pp.8-9).

[3] Blowback (p.249)

[4] Blowback (p.40)

[5] Blowback (p.44)

[6] Blowback (p.45)

[7] Naftali, T. 2005. "Reinhard Gehlen and the United States," in US Intelligence and the Nazis. Edited by R. Breitman, N. J. W. Goda, T. Naftali, and R. Wolfe, pp. 375-418. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (p.377)

[8] Blowback (pp.249-51)

[9] Naftali, "Reinhard Gehlen and the United States," (pp.404-05)

[10] Blowback (pp.115-16)

[11] Naftali, "Reinhard Gehlen and the United States," (p.375)

According to the released US government documents, “Working immediately after the war with Army Intelligence, the Gehlen Organization became the responsibility of the CIA, which continued the relationship until 1956.”(a) What happened in 1956? “Gehlen’s organization became the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), West Germany’s foreign intelligence agency,” when the CIA handed over the Gehlen Organization to the West Germans.(b)


(a) “CIA Intends to Release Records on Cold War Spymaster”; Interagency Working Group (IWG); The National Archives; October 5, 2000

(b) “April, 2001 Historical Analysis of 20 Name Files from CIA Records”; Interagency Working Group (IWG); The National Archives ;By Dr. Richard Breitman, Professor of History, American University, IWG Director of Historical Research.

[12] Naftali, T. 2005. "The CIA and Eichmann's Associates," in US Intelligence and the Nazis. Edited by R. Breitman, N. J. W. Goda, T. Naftali, and R. Wolfe, pp. 337-374. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (p.342)

[13] Naftali, "Reinhard Gehlen and the United States," (p.404)

[14] Blowback (p.251)

[15] Blowback (pp.248-49)

[16] “How did the ‘Palestinian movement’ emerge? The British sponsored it. Then the German Nazis, and the US”; from UNDERSTANDING THE PALESTINIAN MOVEMENT; An HIR Series, in four parts; Historical and Investigative Research; 13 June 2006; by Francisco Gil-White

[17] Naftali, "The CIA and Eichmann's Associates," (p.338)

[18] “THE CIA PROTECTED ADOLF EICHMANN, ARCHITECT OF THE HOLOCAUST: Has the US ruling elite been pushing a pro-Nazi policy?; Historical and Investigative Research; 8 June 2006; by Francisco Gil-White.

[19] Naftali, "The CIA and Eichmann's Associates," (p.342)

[20] Sachar, H. 1982. A history of Israel: From the rise of Zionism to our time. New York: Knopf. (pp.619, 698)

[21] Al-Quds (Palestinian daily newspaper) Aug, 2, 2002; Translation: Palestinian Media Watch:

[22] Washington Times; August 9, 2002; "Yasser Arafat: Nazi trained", by David N. Bossie.

[22a] For the manner in which the British government, over the objections of the House of Commons, protected Hajj Amin al Husseini from prosecution by declaring him not a war criminal, see:

Pearlman, M. 1947. Mufti of Jerusalem: The story of Haj Amin el Husseini. London: V Gollancz. (78-82)

For the manner in which the French allowed Husseini to escape, read on:

“On 8th June, 1946, Mr. Duff Cooper held a Victory Day Garden Party at the British Embassy in Paris. M. Bidault, French Foreign Minister at the time, was one of the guests. He arrived late, bringing with him the interesting news that Hajj Amin al Husseini, former Mufti of Jerusalem, had fled from his villa in the fashionable Paris subub of Rambouillet, where he had been under surveillance since the end of the war.

...He had been in France since May, 1945, having been captured by French forces near the Swiss border after his unsuccessful attempt to find refuge in Switzerland with Germany's collapse. He had been brought to Rambouillet and kept under surveillance.

M. Bidault revealed that, some months before his flight, the French Government had received the Mufti's assurance that he would not seek to escape. Since November, 1945, surveillance had been relaxed, and Hajj Amin had been permitted to visit Paris. He had taken the opportunity of visiting the Legations of the Arab States at will, and had secured a passport from one of these Legations.

Now he had fled.”

SOURCE: Pearlman, M. 1947. Mufti of Jerusalem: The story of Haj Amin el Husseini. London: V Gollancz. (p.7)

[23] SOURCE: THUS FAR AND NO FATAH FOR MR PALESTINE; Resistance is growing within the PLO over Yasser Arafat and the Israeli peace process, The Guardian (London), November 12, 1993, THE GUARDIAN FEATURES PAGE; Pg. 24, 1204 words, DAVID HIRST



















































































































































































Notify me of new HIR pieces!

HIR mailing list