Stefan Lemieszewski; DEMANUK.028 = Demjanjuk Book Review; 1996-09-09
The following book was reviewed in the
Executive Intelligence Review (August 30, 1996):

Justice served , at last

by Katherine Notley
Defending "Ivan the Terrible":  The Conspiracy to Convict John Demjanjuk
by Yoram Sheftel
Regnery Publishing, Washington, D.C. 1996
445 pages, hardbound, $27.50

There are two major facets of this book, written by John Demjanjuk's
Israeli defense attorney: First, and most prominent in Sheftel's book
itself, is the corruption within the Israeli justice system that led it
to conduct a show-trial with the sole purpose of convicting Demjanjuk as
the Nazi war criminal "Ivan the Terrible." Second, but more important,
is that the book reveals the depravity deep within the U.S. Justice
Department permanent bureaucracy, in which a U.S. citizen, known to be
innocent, was accused of being Ivan the Terrible, stripped of his
citizenship and extradited to Israel to stand trial, on the only charges
for which Israel invokes the death penalty: Nazi crimes of genocide.

EIR has consistently exposed this Justice Department permanent
bureaucracy, since it was given a sort of formal existence with the
creation of the "Nazi-hunting" agency, the Office of Special
Investigations (OSI), going back to its beginnings in 1978. As later
described by Lyndon LaRouche, during Independent Hearings to Investigate
the Misconduct of the U.S. Department of Justice over Aug. 31 - Sept. 1,
1995 (at which Sheftel presented rivetting testimony on the Demjanjuk
case), this permanent bureaucracy acted as a mobile political hit-squad,
beyond any law-enforcement mission of the department or particular
political appointees, to take out of action or neutralize opponents of
the hit-squad's employers. It was, of course, this permanent
bureaucracy, in lockstep with the OSI's collaborators in the
Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, that was tasked to take LaRouche
"out of action" by jailing him.

The OSI's geopolitical mission

In the case of the OSI, it was established under the patronage of Henry
Kissinger in the late 1970's, as part of his geopolitical "condominium"
with the Soviet regime. Under the arrangements between the OSI and the
Soviet Procurator General's office, evidence targetting U.S. citizens
from eastern Europe as Nazi war criminals, could be accepted into U.S.
courts, undisputed. The brazenness with which the OSI collaborated with
the KGB -- as in the cases of Tscherim Soobzokov and Karl Linnas  --
were beginning to tarnish its "Nazi-hunting" image: In the former, the
OSI shopped out KGB-manufactured evidence to the New York Times, which
pilloried Soobzokov, who was able to prove his innocence in a suit
against the Times. Notwithstanding, Soobzokov was subjected to Jewish
Defense League demonstrations outside his Paterson, New Jersey home, and
shortly thereafter was killed when a pipe-bomb exploded on his front
porch. Linnas was accused by the Soviets of committing war crimes in his
homeland, Estonia. Nonetheless, the OSI had him deported to the Soviet
Union, in spite of the fact that the United States had never recognized
Soviet rule over the Baltic states (a.k.a. "the captive nations").
Linnas, who had consistently claimed his innocence, conveniently died in
a Soviet prison, before trial.  1. 

1.  Two other cases also had far-ranging strategic and international
significance: those of German-American rocket scientist Arthur Rudolph
and Austrian President Kurt Waldheim. EIR has extensively covered the
Rudolph travesty. On the Waldheim case, Dr. Hans Koechler of the
International Progress Organization testified before the Independent
Hearings on the lying duplicity of the OSI.

Hence, the OSI turned to Isreal, a U.S. ally, offering it a "really big
Nazi" to try, in an effort to bolster the OSI's flagging credibility:
With the usual contribution of forged documents from the Soviet KGB, the
OSI sought to have retired Cleveland auto worker John Demjanjuk
denaturalized and deported to Israel to stand trial as "Ivan the
Terrible." This "Ivan the Terrible" was a Ukrainian who relished his job
running the diesel motor that pumped gas into the gas chambers at
Treblinka, where some 870,000 Jews died.

Yoram Sheftel's odyssey

This is the terrain onto which Yoram Sheftel, an  Israeli criminal
defense attorney, stepped, when he offered to Demjanjuk's American
defense team to be his Israeli attorney. He did know at the time, how
profoundly the trial of John Demjanjuk for the crimes of "Ivan the
Terrible" was, as he writes in the preface to the American edition,
"first and foremost, an American story, a story of a travesty of justice
on an almost unprecedented scale."

Sheftel became interested in the Demjanjuk case in 1986: From press
reports alone, he became convinced that the Israeli court intended to
conduct a show-trial (of course, ending in conviction and hanging), of
this, the only other Nazi war crimes trial since that of Adolf Eichmann.
His suspicions of the evidence against Demjanjuk centered on two
features: the photo ID spread in which Treblinka survivor Elihu
Rosenberg had identified Demjanjuk as Ivan the Terrible; and the famous
"Travniki document," an SS identity card bearing the photo and signature
of Ivan Demjanjuk, which had been discovered by the Soviets and kept by
them, from both the U.S. and Israeli authorities.

The questionable court evidence aside, Sheftel was convinced that the
Demjanjuk case would be a show-trial by the fact that the court had
rented a theater in which to conduct the trial and that it was televised
live. It hardly bespeaks the impartiality of the three-judge panel
(there are no jury trials in Isreal), whose interest would lie in having
sent Ivan the Terrible to a deserving death. Only well into the trial
itself, did Sheftel discover that the judges had also retained a
news-clipping service, and perused the news coverage in chambers daily
-- the U.S. equivalent of having the jury reach a verdict based on TV
news reports.

But Sheftel's central focus was to discredit the contradictory testimony
surrounding the photo spread identification of Demjanjuk as Ivan the
Terrible, and the Travniki document. It was the two key pieces of
evidence that led Sheftel, via Poland and the Soviet Union, back to the
doorstep of the Office of Special Investigations. In 1976, the OSI had
sent the photo spread of eight men, six poor-quality photos of the same
size, and two, very clear and much larger photos of John Demjanjuk and
Fyodor Federenko (the latter deported to the Soviet Union and hanged  in
1986), to Israeli authorities, with the request that they show the
spread to survivors of the Sobibor concentration camp. None of the ten
Isreali survivors could identify any of the men. Yet, Treblinka survivor
Elihu Rosenberg tentatively identified the 1951 photo of Demjanjuk as
Ivan the Terrible. In 1981, at Demjanjuk's denaturalization trial in
Cleveland, Rosenberg made his identification positive. But, in 1978,
Rosenberg had failed to identify any of the same photos as Ukrainian
guards from Treblinka.

The tale of the so-called Travniki document is even more fascinating.
Travniki was an SS training camp for Ukrainians, many of whom openly
joined the Nazis. Demjanjuk had not been at Travniki: He had been a
prisoner of war who was recruited into a Ukrainian division under SS
command to fight the Soviets -- the well-known Vlasov's army.

Demjanjuk's photo and signature on the Travniki document were damning
enough: The problem was, that, at the time that Ivan the Terrible was at
Treblinka, the bearer of the Travniki document (presumably Ivan
Demjanjuk) was some 60 miles away. Ultimately, as part of his defense,
Sheftel brought in expert testimony proving the document to be a KGB
forgery, that Demjanjuk's signature had been forged, and his photo
affixed after the war.

As expected, Demjanjuk was convicted and sentenced to death in April

The Supreme Court appeal

The appelate process in Isreal, in contrast to the United States, hears
the facts of the case and can accept new evidence. All things being
equal, Sheftel would have had to prove no more than that the lower court
had blatantly ignored all the evidence toward "reasonable doubt," that
John Demjanjuk was Ivan the Terrible. Sheftel knew that proving
"reasonable doubt," would not be enough: He would have to find the real
Ivan the Terrible. Ultimately he found that the trial led back to the
United States, where the Office of Special Investigations not only had
the proof that one Ivan Marchenko was the sadistic gas chamber diesel
motor operator, but that the OSI, in order to evade detection, had been
throwing the incriminating files into a dumpster belonging to a
McDonald's restaurant across the street from their offices!

In the meantime, the appeal went through a series of lengthy delays, not
the least after Sheftel's co-counsel for the appeal, Dov Eitan,
committed suicide, and Sheftel was nearly blinded when an assailant
threw acid in his face as he was leaving Eitan's funeral. But as the
delays piled up, more and more evidence came into the defense's hands,
from authorities in Poland and the Soviet Union -- then undergoing the
upheavals that ended in the collapse of communism -- proving that Ivan
Marchenko was Ivan the Terrible. Back in the United States, Demjanjuk's
family, sifting through the files the OSI had thrown into a McDonald's
dumpster, found a reference to a telegram from the U.S. embassy in
Moscow to the State Department, regarding testimony about Fyodor
Federenko's activities at Treblinka. When the full cable came to light
as a result of Freedom of Information Action (FOIA) requests by Rep.
James Traficant (D-Ohio) to the State Department, it revealed that, in 
August 1978, the Office of Special Investigations had over 100 pages
worth of testimony from Treblinka guards identifying Nikolai Shelaiev
and Ivan Marchenko as the gas chamber operators.

One guard, Sergei Vasilienko, had identified "Marchenko Ivan, the
operator of the motor of the gas chambers in Treblinka camp. The Jews in
the work crews called him Ivan the Terrible. He was noted for his
cruelty to the people, during the process of their extermination. He
beat them with obvious enjoyment, with whatever came to his hand,
however he wanted."

OSI's 'fraud on the court'

This is just a glimpse of the mountain of evidence that Sheftel
presented to the Supreme Court, not only that his client was not Ivan
the Terrible and that Ivan Marchenko was, but that the U.S. Justice
Department had proof in its possession before it had begun
denaturalization proceedings against Demjanjuk, and in full knowledge
that should Demjanjuk be extradited to Israel to stand trial, that he
would receive  the death sentence. The U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of
Appeals, increasingly concerned that it had upheld the extradition and
denaturalization of a man whom the prosecution knew to be innocent,
appointed a Special Master, Judge Thomas Wiseman, whose judgment on June
28, 1993 read: "The statements of former Treblinka guards and laborers
recently obtained from the Soviet Union constitute an harmonious chorus
which inculpate a man named Ivan Marchenko as the Ivan who worked at the
gas chambers, and thus exculpate Mr. Demjanjuk from those specific
crimes," and that, from 1978 on, the Department of Justice possessed
this evidence.

On July 29, 1993, the Israeli Supreme Court handed down its 400-page
decision: "We acquit the appellant by reason of doubt of all charges in
the charge sheet, which involve his identification and his activity in
the Treblinka extermination camp, as the man known in the camp as a
guard called Ivan the Terrible .... For the reasons set out  in the
judgment, we did not find it appropriate to convict the appellant of any
other charge at this point in the matter."

Although the court had no other choice but to acquit, it had done so
while rubberstamping not only the highly questionable identification
procedures carried out in Israel, but also, more importantly, the open
collusion between the OSI and the Israeli prosecution to knowingly
convict and execute an innocent man. Demjanjuk, who had been in an
Israeli prison for seven years, continued to sit on death row, while the
prosecution fished desparately for an excuse to try him as another guard
from another camp, bolting through the door left open by the Supreme
Court acquittal. The impasse was only broken on Aug. 3, 1993, when the
Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Ohio "decided to allow Demjanjuk to
return to the United States, to take part personally in the inquiry into
the legality of his extradition," wrote Sheftel. Still it was not until
Sept. 22, 1993 that Demjanjuk would return home.

And despite the fact that the Sixth Circuit's Special Master, Judge
Wiseman, had excoriated the OSI for withholding exculpating documents
from both the defense and the court itself, saying that "OSI attorneys
acted with reckless disregard for the truth," and committed "fraud on
the court," the permanent bureaucracy within the U.S. Department of
Justice to this day, remains unrepentant, and unpunished.

Stefan Lemieszewski; DEMANUK.028 = Demjanjuk Book Review; 1996-09-09