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Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Stashynsky precedent

Even if Demjanjuk did commit a Nazi war crime, it was ultimately Hitler who ordered it

In Bavaria fifty years ago this month, a KGB agent killed our grandpa Stepan Bandera with a double-barreled prussic acid spray gun. The physical extermination of Bandera was only part of Moscow’s devious plan: the covert killing in mysterious circumstances was complemented with a propaganda campaign whose goal was to cast the shadow of responsibility for the murder onto the Ukrainians themselves, i.e. to make it seem as if Ukrainian leaders were killing off one another. "Ah, those Ukrainians... fighting amongst themselves again..." Sound familiar?

How do we know the truth about this poisoning? It might have never come to light had not the assassin come forth with the details of the killings.

KGB agent Bogdan Stashynsky fled from East to West Berlin the day before the Wall was erected and turned himself in to the Americans. For the murder of two men he was sentenced to a mere eight years imprisonment by a German court. From what we know today, he served only four of those years and was given a new life and identity in exchange for the valuable information he provided US intelligence services about the inner workings of the KGB. Stashynsky was given a break in the name of political expediency. The German high court deemed him to be merely an accessory to murder. The real guilty party: the Soviet state and its leaders. Hmmm, was the German court under pressure from the Americans?

Below are some excerpts from the German court’s 1962 verdict. It might come in handy for those prosecuting and defending John Demjanjuk in Bavaria today.

Don’t get me wrong. I hate Nazis as much as Jake and Elwood do. Our grandfather’s two brothers – Vasyl Bandera and Oleksandr Bandera were killed in Auschwitz. And Stepan Bandera spent most of WWII in the Sachsenhausen Nazi concentration camp. I felt justice was being served as I watched Tarantino’s inglourious basterds carve swastikas into fascist foreheads. But even Demjanjuk has already been exonerated by Israel’s own judicial system, ferchrissakes!

Assume for a moment that the Germans actually do have a Nazi camp guard from the former Soviet Union awaiting trial for war crimes. The Germans are therefore prosecuting a Prisoner of War they caught and incarcerated. The German are prosecuting a non-German for crimes ordered from up top by Adolf Hitler and “German Nazi persons.”

Was this theoretical person merely an accessory to murder? (A German court found that Stashynsky was on the lowest rung of the responsibility ladder.) Or did he/she commit over 29,000 acts of murder of his/her own volition?

The leukemia-ridden 89 year old John Demjanjuk was deemed fit to stand a trial that is slated to begin November 30 and likely to last for months… Could it be that politics is influencing Germany’s judicial system today as it did 50 years ago? Say it isn’t so, Otto…

Written Motivation
in the Stashynsky Trial
of the Federal High Court in Karlsruhe

Penal Code §§ 47, 49, 211

A person who commits homicide with his own hand is as a rule the perpetrator; under certain, limited circumstances, however, he may solely be an assistant

Federal High Court, Verdict of October 19, 1962 – 9 StF 4/62
On October 19, 1962, pronounced the following verdict:

I. The accused is found guilty on two charges of aiding and abetting a murder and on a charge of treachery.
II. He is sentenced to a total punishment of eight years penal servitude.
III. Allowance is made for imprisonment pending trial.
IV. The costs of the proceedings are to be borne by the accused.

ARGUMENTS (excerpts)

II. 2) “…certain modern states under the influence of radical political views, and in Germany under National Socialism, have adopted the method of planning political murders or mass-murders, and of issuing orders that such foul crimes are to be committed. In committing such officially ordered murders, the persons who merely receive and carry out these orders are not prompted by the usual personal or other motives defined by criminology. On the contrary, they find themselves in the morally confusing and often hopeless situation of having been ordered to commit most heinous and reprehensible crimes by their own state, which to many persons, as a result of clever mass-propaganda, seems to be an indisputable authority. They obey such orders and instructions under the influence of political propaganda, or under pressure of commands from the authority in power, or under similar influences exercised by their own state, from whom, on the contrary, they might justifiably expect the preservation of law and order. These dangerous criminal impulses emanate not from the persons who receive the orders, but from those who represent the state power and thus violently abuse this power…”

V. “…But in committing these murders he [Stashynsky - SB] was merely the unwilling tool of ruthless political instigators … His guilt is mitigated by the fact that in his earliest youth, in spite of the Christian atmosphere of his parents’ home, he was constantly obliged to witness political acts of violence and bloodshed. The cunning manner by which the KGB caught him in its clutches… has also been taken into consideration by the Court… On the strength of the evidence adduced in this trial the guilt of those from whom he received his orders is far greater. The accused cannot therefore be burdened with the guilt of the high-ranking instigators of these crimes (i.e. ‘the Soviet Russian persons from whom he received his orders’).”

3rd Court of Criminal Appeal of the German Federal High Court in the hearings of the trial on October 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 15th and 19th, 1962, in which the following took part: President of the Senate, Dr. Jagusch as President of the Court, Federal Judge K. Weber, Federal Judge Dr. Wiefels, Federal Judge Dr. Hengsberger, Federal Judge Dr. Schumacher as advisory judge, Federal Attorney Dr. Kuhn and Judge Oberle of the District Court as representatives of the Federal Attorneyship, Chief Clerk of Court Hatz as certificating official of the Court

Source: Murder International, Inc.: Murder and Kidnapping as an Instrument of Soviet Policy, Hearing Before the Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws of the Committee on the Judiciary, United States Senate, Eighty-Ninth Congress. First Session. March 26, 1965. (Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1965).