The Voice of the White House
Washington, D.C. May 30, 2016: “We are on a brief vacation until June 1.”
The Müller Washington Journals 1948-1951
At the beginning of December, 1948, a German national arrived in Washington, D.C. to take up an important position with the newly-formed CIA. He was a specialist on almost every aspect of Soviet intelligence and had actively fought them, both in his native Bavaria where he was head of the political police in Munich and later in Berlin as head of Amt IV of the State Security Office, also known as the Gestapo.
His name was Heinrich Müller.
Even as a young man, Heini Müller had kept daily journals of his activities, journals that covered his military service as a pilot in the Imperial German air arm and an apprentice policeman in Munich. He continued these journals throughout the war and while employed by the top CIA leadership in Washington, continued his daily notations.
This work is a translation of his complete journals from December of 1948 through September of 1951.
When Heinrich Müller was hired by the CIA¹s station chief in Bern, Switzerland, James Kronthal in 1948, he had misgivings about working for his former enemies but pragmatism and the lure of large amounts of money won him over to what he considered to be merely an extension of his life-work against the agents of the Comintern. What he discovered after living and working in official Washington for four years was that the nation¹s capital was, in truth, what he once humorously claimed sounded like a cross between a zoo and a lunatic asylum. His journals, in addition to personal letters, various reports and other personal material, give a very clear, but not particularly flattering, view of the inmates of both the zoo and the asylum.
Müller moved, albeit very carefully, in the rarefied atmosphere of senior policy personnel, military leaders, heads of various intelligence agencies and the White House itself. He was a very observant, quick-witted person who took copious notes of what he saw. This was not a departure from his earlier habits because Heinrich Müller had always kept a journal, even when he was a lowly Bavarian police officer, and his comments about personalities and events in the Third Reich are just as pungent and entertaining as the ones he made while in America.
The reason for publishing this phase of his eventful life is that so many agencies in the United States and their supporters do not want to believe that a man of Müller¹s position could ever have been employed by their country in general or their agency in specific.
Thursday, 30 March 1950
Poor Owen Lattimore is coming to the surface. We have known for a long time that he was a great friend of the communists, although most carefully indeed, not a member of the party. (According to left wing logic, if a man is not a member of the party, he is not a communist!)
McCarthy hinted and on the 26th, (Drew, ed.) Pearson exposed him. We shall see where this goes. L. has the reputation of fighting over matters. No doubt he will become fierce and dramatic just like Harry White was. Much shouting and finger pointing. Fierce denials. “We aren’t communists, we are only agrarian reformers.” And then they rape your wife, loot your house and burn it down with your old grandmother inside because they have always lived under someone else’s bridges (but in their own filth.)
I have been translating Stefan George into English, just for entertainment and because George does not translate well. In fact, it is very difficult to translate poetry into another language. One can certainly get the meaning of the original but to capture the spirit of it in the new language is very hard indeed.
Here is my rendition of the Prince of Vermin (Der Fürst des Geziefers, ed.)
The Prince of Vermin enlarges his realm
Lacking no treasure, his luck holding firm
Destruction to all other rebels!
You rejoice, enthralled by the demonic fire,
Feast on the remains of the past
And sense the danger before the end.
They put down your tongues in the
Stray aimless like cattle through the burning courtyard
And loud sounds the terrible trumpet.
Crazy Stauffenberg likened the Prince to Hitler but that doesn’t really fit the case. Not even Stalin could fit. And Roosevelt did not destroy his own people. Perhaps Churchill who did destroy England, or maybe Mussolini. One of the first Caesars such as Caligula or Nero could fit the picture. More likely, Lenin because of the terrible wave of blood that followed in his train. Not a profitable way to spend my leisure hours but entertaining.
Am still working on the state dinner for T.
Friday, 7 April 1950
A great fuss about Lattimore here. He, of course, denies being a communist, which is to be expected. McCarthy has been challenged and claims to have the necessary material. But of course, he does not. Hoover does and M. can’t get at it
The President is greatly annoyed with everyone, saying that those who attack his favorite, Acheson, and his people, are attacking his bipartisan foreign policy. Truman actually has no foreign policy. He has very little knowledge of what is actually going on in the world and the CIA is not helping this situation by feeding him deliberately false information. T. equates communism with Hitler and Franco. All three are, or were, police states. A great revelation! Both Russia and Germany have always been police states. The new, democratic Germany is now an American police state and Franco goes without saying.
I saw first hand the chaos of the so-called democratic Weimar Republic and have much knowledge of the equal chaos in pre-1936 Spain when the left was in power.
Communists can only destroy; they are constitutionally incapable of creating anything. Their attitude is that evil capitalists have taken control of the western nations and that this control rightfully belongs to the workers and peasants. In Russia, Lenin tried to give control to these groups only to drive his country to the brink of economic chaos and complete starvation.
Capitalism, while it does have its faults, is not to be compared with Marxism.
In capitalism, most men can succeed if they are able. In communism, the idea is that no one individual is ever permitted to succeed…only the masses. This is the product of a lunatic former Prussian civil servant who should have spent his life babbling in London coffee houses. It is ironic that Marx’s doctrines which he intended for a highly industrialized Germany were instead shoved down the uncomprehending throats of a highly rural and very primitive Russia. When the war broke out in 1914, Russia was just beginning to move into an industrialized phase…a phase which was dealt a terrible blow by the war they so eagerly embraced and was finally killed by the lunatics such as Lenin and his crew of intellectual nihilists.
Of course everyone here is very upset about what they call the “loss” of China.
Someone has to pay for the loss of such a potentially huge market so the left-wing ninnies of the Roosevelt era will have to take the blame. The real blame lies in the U.S. support of Chiang who is vicious, stupid and entirely corrupt. Mao, the communist, is far cleverer than Chiang.
This country poured millions of dollars into the support of a thoroughly corrupt warlord and lost China in the process. Now, someone has to pay the butcher’s bill for their stupidity. Of course the Chinese are born capitalists and when the ideological madness passes, (as it always does in the end), China will be back to doing business in the same marketplace.
Even if Stalin died today, I personally doubt if Russia would be able to follow the Chinese example. The country is basically too far behind the West in technology but more important, the Russians have never been independent and have always been a country with potential but no performance.
Here, it is said by the idiots in the CIA, Russia is overtaking the United States every day and we must spend hundreds of billions of taxpayer’s dollars to keep ahead of them. I know this is nonsense and the CIA monkeys know this is nonsense but it makes money for business here, keeps the army moving along and allows the CIA to establish more and more control through fear of an enemy that fears this country (and with very good reason) far more than we ought to fear them. This would have me burned at the stake if the Inquisition were still in force, but fortunately, things are so completely disorganized in Washington that no one would pay the slightest attention to anything I had to say.
I see that the actual danger is not from Stalin but from China. This country actively fought against the communists in the 1920s, sending troops to Murmansk and Vladivostok and fighting in Russia. That was then and memories fade.
Now, we have supported Chiang with weapons and money, the communists have won and this is now. I see the Chinese as far more dangerous than the Russians because basically, they are far more intelligent and at this moment, do not like us at all.
They also have a huge manpower pool, even if they have a very limited industrial base. If they should develop this, and they have the brains to do this, then we here should watch them very carefully indeed. One of my CIA colleagues here was talking about this the other day but officially the agency is of the opinion that China will take years to develop and would never attack the West.
There is as much proof in support of this theory as there is for mine: absolutely none whatsoever. Right now, the U.S. is preoccupied in Europe and doesn’t want any problems in Asia. Therefore, the CIA sees Europe as the main theater and not Asia.
What if Mao invaded Taiwan? Would we defend it? At the present moment, not likely. Or what if they attack their ancient enemy, Japan? There we might do something in defense. Or Korea? A very poor country, long a slave state of Japan but divided in half with a communist government in the north. Or French-Indo China (Vietnam, ed.) Another divided country.
This country appears to be in the same position that Hitler was in 1939. If he went to war with Poland, would the British and French attack his almost undefended western borders? Given their disunity, probably not, but it was a real gamble then. Now, of course, we realize that there was no danger whatsoever and the enemies, who I must point out, had declared war on us, not the other way around, finally got around to attacking us long after the Polish campaign was over and we had reinforced our troops holding the Westwall.
However, I regard the Chinese as a more formidable foe than the decaying British and French. These were, to quote Shakespeare (whom I have been reading lately) “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”
China, on the other hand, is full of people who have been engaged in warfare for two decades and have just chased out the last of the corrupt warlords.
I regret now not having spent more time studying the problems of Asia. Of course during my work in Germany, there was no need for this and there are only so many hours in a day.
I have now been reading up on the Orient but I doubt if there will be much need for anti-Oriental counter intelligence. A Russian who speaks perfect English, (and many of them do) can pass for an American, but an Oriental is still an Oriental and easily identified. Besides, the Russians can appeal to the left wing in this country and the Chinese cannot.
There was sympathy for China during the last war but not the intimate connection that the Russians had with labor people, intellectuals, Jews and so on.
I have developed a great liking for Chinese food.
I am afraid McCarthy will have to soak his head in the toilet and calm down or he will stifle the anti-communist movement in the cradle. I will have the Msgr. talk firmly to him as soon as possible. McCarthy’s problem is that he loves to hear the sound of his voice and delights in attention. This leads him into intemperance that in turn makes him a very large target. He should surface quietly from time to time, let loose a few well-chosen shots and then go back into his bunker. Now, he runs around making wilder and wilder accusations that will eventually trip him up.
And of course, McCarthy doesn’t really care about communist infiltration in America. All he does care about is to pull the tails of the establishment monkeys and make faces at them. There are others to deal with but he gets the most newspaper coverage.
Turkey’s Erdogan accuses Russia of arming PKK militants
May 30, 2016
by Orhan Coskun and Ece Toksabay
ANKARA-Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has accused Russia of providing anti-aircraft weaponry and rockets to militants of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), government officials said on Monday, confirming reports in local media.
Speaking to reporters on board his airplane after a visit to the southeastern province of Diyarbakir over the weekend, Erdogan accused Moscow of transferring weaponry to the PKK via Iraq and Syria, the pro-government Star newspaper said.
“At this moment, terrorists are using anti-aircraft guns and missiles supplied by Russia. The separatist terrorist organization is equipped with these weapons. They have been transferred to them via Syria and Iraq,” the newspaper reported Erdogan as saying.
The “separatist terrorist organization” is a Turkish government term for the PKK, which has waged a three-decade insurgency against the state that has left more than 40,000 people dead, mostly PKK militants in the largely Kurdish southeast.
Two Turkish government officials confirmed Erdogan’s comments, but Russia said Turkey must show proof for its claims.
While Erdogan has previously castigated Russia for its support of Kurdish fighters in Syria, the latest comments appear to be the first time he has accused Moscow of supplying arms to the PKK, seen as a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and Europe.
Responding to the accusation, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying: “When someone says something, let them show evidence.”
However, Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus was relatively upbeat on Monday about the outlook for relations with Russia, a rare departure from months of tough rhetoric after Turkey shot down a Russian warplane last year.
“Neither Russia nor Turkey can afford to sacrifice their relationship with each other,” Kurtulmus, the government’s official spokesman, told a news conference.
“I wish such tensions had never emerged, but I believe that Turkish-Russian ties can be fixed in a short while. These two countries have no problems that cannot be overcome. I hope that these issues will be solved through dialogue.”
He did not directly address Erdogan’s comments about Russian military support for the PKK.
Ankara also considers the Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters to be terrorists and has been enraged by both Russian and U.S. backing for the militia in its battle with Islamic State in Syria.
NATO member Turkey is part of the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State in Syria and is also a vocal opponent of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Moscow backs Assad but says it also supports the Syrian Kurds in the struggle against Islamic State.
Relations between Ankara and Moscow hit their worst point in recent memory after Turkey shot down the Russian plane over Syria last year, prompting a raft of sanctions from Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in April promised support for Syrian Kurds, saying they were a serious force in the fight against terrorism.
Moscow has accused Ankara of hindering Kurdish forces in their battle against Islamic State and of using the fight against terrorism as a pretext to crack down on Kurdish organizations in Syria and Turkey.
(Additional reporting by Ercan Gurses in Ankara, Seda Sezer in Istanbul and Lidia Kelly in Moscow; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Gareth Jones)
Ticking Closer to Nuclear Midnight
President Obama embraced Japanese survivors of the Hiroshima bomb, but his policies, such as heightening tensions with Russia, have raised the potential for a far worse nuclear catastrophe
May 27, 2016
by Johnathan Marshall
Even if you’ve never won an office raffle, a sports pool or a lottery, consider yourself supremely lucky. Unlike the atomic bomb victims who were recognized by President Barack Obama’s visit to Hiroshima, you’ve never experienced the horrors of nuclear war.
That’s nothing any of us should take for granted, says former Defense Secretary William Perry. On at least three occasions, he noted recently, the U.S. military received false alarms of a Soviet nuclear attack. At least twice the Soviet military went on high alert from similar alarms. And anyone who lived through the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 survived “as much by good luck as by good management,” he added.
The consequences of an accidental nuclear war would be staggering. Thousands of U.S. and Russian warheads, some of them orders of magnitude larger than the one that wiped out Hiroshima, are primed for launch on warning. Besides wiping out tens or hundreds of millions of people in urban centers, they would put a large fraction of the world’s population at risk from starvation.
A 2013 report by Physicians for Social Responsibility concluded that even a limited regional nuclear exchange — say between India and Pakistan — could “cause significant climate disruption worldwide” and jeopardize food supplies to as many as two billion people.
Many authorities believe the threat of accidental war is even greater today than during most of the Cold War. Last year, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists moved its famous Doomsday Clock forward to three minutes to midnight, its “direst setting” since the nuke-rattling days of the early Reagan era.
The group cited continued bluster and brinkmanship between NATO and Russia, including the shooting down of a Russian warplane by Turkey, as indicators of today’s risky nuclear environment.
National security experts and reporters such as Eric Schlosser, author of Command and Control (2014), have compiled long lists of nuclear accidents and near-misses, some of which might have cost millions of lives but for a few quick-thinking heroes. Here’s a small sample:
–In 1958, a B-47 dropped a 30 kiloton Mark 6 atomic bomb into a family’s backyard in Mars Bluff, South Carolina. Its high-explosive trigger blasted the home and left a 35-foot crater. A few months later, another B-47 dropped a Mark 39 hydrogen bomb near Abilene, again setting off its high explosives but not a nuclear blast.
–In 1961, a B-52 exploded over North Carolina, dropping two Mark 39 hydrogen bombs. One of them nearly detonated after five of its six safety devices failed. The Air Force never did recover the uranium trigger.
–In October 1962, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a Soviet submarine thought it was under attack from U.S. warships, which were practicing dropping depth charges in the Sargasso Sea. The submarine commander ordered a launch of nuclear missiles, but was persuaded to stop by his second-in-command.
Other near misses during that mother of all nuclear crises in 1962 included a reckless U.S. spy plane over-flight of Siberia, the explosion of a Soviet satellite that U.S. authorities interpreted as the start of a Soviet missile attack, American test launches of two nuclear-capable ICBMs, and a screw-up at a Minuteman site that allowed a single operator to launch a fully armed missile.
–In 1966, a B-52 bomber collided with a refueling tanker over Palomares, Spain and broke apart, dropping its four hydrogen bombs. Two of them partially detonated, contaminating a wide region with radiation.
–Two years later, a B-52 crashed in Greenland, losing three hydrogen bombs and contaminating nearly a quarter million cubic feet of ice and snow.
–In 1979, a technician mistakenly confused NORAD’s computers with a war games simulation, triggering signals of a Soviet nuclear launch. The Strategic Air Command scrambled its bombers before learning of the false alarm.
–A year later, a defective computer chip prompted the Pentagon to waken President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser with reports of a massive launch of Soviet missiles from submarines and land-based silos.
–In 1985, a glint of sunlight confused a Soviet early-warning satellite, which reported that the United States had launched five intercontinental ballistic missiles. Fortunately, the watch commander risked his career by not reporting the alarm, saving the day.
–In 1995, Russia’s early-warning system confused a small Norwegian weather rocket with an incoming U.S. Trident missile. The Russian military went on high alert, notifying President Boris Yeltsin and preparing a possible counter-attack before recognizing the mistake.
Tensions Reduce the Odds
As MIT nuclear expert Theodore Postol noted last year, “Had the false alert of 1995 occurred instead during a political crisis, Russian nuclear forces might have been launched. American early warning systems would have immediately detected the launch, and this might then have led to the immediate launch of US forces in response to the Russian launch.”
Recent years have brought us accounts of missing nuclear missiles, drug use by Minuteman missile crews, shocking security breaches, crew commanders falling asleep, computer failures, a silo fire that went undetected by smoke alarms, and much more
And just this week we were reminded by the Government Accountability Office that the Pentagon’s “Strategic Automated Command and Control System” uses 8-inch floppy disks and 1970s-vintage computers.
The Pentagon insisted in 2014 that the system “is extremely safe and extremely secure” — after all, how many hackers know how to operate such ancient technology? — but Princeton University’s Bruce Blair, a former Air Force ICBM launch-control officer, said this week, “The floppy disks are associated with a nuclear-communications system that was unreliable even when the system was upgraded in the 1970s.”
No doubt the odds of any one of these accidents triggering a war or mass catastrophe were low. But odds increase with the number of incidents. If the probability of a disaster from one incident is only one in 100, the odds of ruin from 20 such incidents rise to nearly one in five. Those are not comforting numbers.
That’s why it’s critical that the United States and Russia get serious about promoting world security by eliminating first-use and “launch on warning” policies that heighten the risk of accidental wars. They must also sharply reduce the size of nuclear arsenals that are difficult to track, safeguard and maintain.
Instead, President Obama has embarked on a trillion dollar program of nuclear modernization and a dangerous policy of confrontation with Russia in Eastern Europe. (Russia is not blameless in these matters, of course.) Such policies are, in turn, prompting China’s military to pursue a nuclear expansion program of its own — including a dangerous shift to hair-trigger alerts and a launch-on-warning policy.
Former Defense Secretary Perry warns that all of this is putting the world “on the brink of a new nuclear arms race.” That’s not what we expected from the President who was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in part for his call to reduce the threat of nuclear weapons. Let’s hope Obama’s visit to Hiroshima rekindles his commitment to helping create a safer world.
Why water scarcity is a bigger threat to Pakistan’s security than militancy
Pakistan is facing an acute water shortage and may run dry by 2025, according to a latest study. Experts say the water scarcity is also stoking violent conflicts in the country, which is already battling insurgency.
May 30, 2016
A country which is dealing with homegrown Islamic militancy and an exponential rise in extremism might not be too concerned about water shortage, or at least it would not be its top priority. That is why the Pakistani government has hinted that it will significantly increase the defense budget for the next financial year, ignoring the fact that water scarcity could be a bigger menace than Islamic terrorism.
The Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) has warned that the country may run dry by 2025 if the authorities didn’t take an immediate action. According to a yet-to-be released report, parts of which have been made available to the media, the Islamic country touched the “water stress line” in 1990 and crossed the “water scarcity line” in 2005.
If this situation persists, Pakistan is likely to face acute water shortage or drought-like situation in the near future, predicts the PCRWR, which is affiliated with the South Asian country’s Ministry of Science and Technology.
The organization says there is an urgent need to carry out research at various levels to find a solution to the crisis. “Unfortunately, the PCRWR has no funds to ensure sustainable research,” said a ministry official.
Islamabad-based water expert Irfan Chowdhry confirms the report’s findings and says that Pakistan is on the verge of a huge catastrophe. “It is alarming that our capacity to preserve water has shrunk over the years. We haven’t built new dams since the 1960s, and the capacity of existing ones to store water is decreasing,” Chowdhry told DW.
Climate change and poor management
Pakistan has the world’s fourth highest rate of water use. Its water intensity rate – the amount of water, in cubic meters, used per unit of GDP – is the world’s highest. This suggests that no country’s economy is more water-intensive than Pakistan’s.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Pakistan is already the third most water-stressed country in the world. Its per capita annual water availability is 1,017 cubic meters – perilously close to the scarcity threshold of 1,000 cubic meters. Back in 2009, Pakistan’s water availability was about 1,500 cubic meters.
The bulk of Pakistan’s farmland is irrigated through a canal system, but the IMF says in a report canal water is vastly underpriced, recovering only one-quarter of annual operating and maintenance costs. Meanwhile, agriculture, which consumes almost all annual available surface water, is largely untaxed.
Experts say that population growth and urbanization are the main reasons behind the crisis. The issue has also been exacerbated by climate change, poor water management, and a lack of political will to deal with the crisis.
“Pakistan is approaching the scarcity threshold for water. What is even more disturbing is that groundwater supplies – the last resort of water supply – are being rapidly depleted. And worst of all is that the authorities have given no indication that they plan to do anything about any of this,” Michael Kugelman, South Asia expert at the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center, told DW.
The expert says that the Pakistani authorities need to step up efforts to overcome the crisis, which is partly man-made. “First of all, Pakistan’s leaders and stakeholders need to take ownership of this challenge and declare their intention to tackle it. Simply blaming previous governments, or blaming India, for the crisis won’t solve anything. Next, the government needs to institute a major paradigm shift that promotes more judicious use of water,” Kugelman emphasized.
Ashfaq Ahmed Sheikh, the director of the PCRWR, told DW that the authorities had already introduced several schemes in the cities of Sheikhupura and Sargodha and saved up to 50 percent water in the rice fields, without compromising on the production. He called on the government to initiate more such projects all over the country.
A cause of conflicts
The scarcity of water is also triggering conflicts in the country. Experts say the economic impact of the water crisis is immense, and the people are fighting for resources. Three out of four Pakistani provinces blame the most populous and politically empowered province, Punjab, for usurping their water sources.
“The government is ignoring the interests of our province,” Ayaz Lateef Palejo, a nationalist leader from the southern Sindh province, told DW. “There is massive corruption in the water sector, and we are unhappy with the situation,” he added.
Kugelman also believes that the economic implications of the conflict are creating rifts among the population, which are likely to aggravate the security situation in the country.
“The political implications of the crisis have yet to be determined, but we can expect that if nothing is done and the situation gets worse, pressure on the political leadership will intensify. In the years ahead, this could lead to unrest-and, if things get sufficiently out of hand, perhaps even a military takeover. None of this can be ruled out. Such is the seriousness of the situation,” said Kugelman.
“Some may say that loose nukes and Islamist militant takeovers are the big fear for Pakistan. For me, the nightmare is water scarcity, because in Pakistan it is very real and already upon us,” the expert added.
Additional reporting by Sattar Khan, DW’s correspondent in Islamabad.
by Harry von Johnston, PhD
When Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, she did so prompted by the highest of motives. Yet she, herself, relates the incident that when she first met Abraham Lincoln in 1863, he commented “So you are the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!”
Few will deny that the printed word in this instance fanned the flames of passion which brought about one of the bloodiest and saddest wars of American history, with brother sometimes pitted against brother, father against son. Perhaps if there had been less appeal to the emotions the problems might have resolved themselves through peaceful means. However, almost universally read at the time, few people then recognized the potency of one small book or the injustice done the South through its wide acceptance as a fair picture of slavery in the South.
Propaganda, as a weapon of psychological warfare is in even wider use today. Communists were masters of the art. Often they used the direct approach; just as often they employed diversion tactics to focus the eyes and ears of the world in directions other than where the real conflict was being waged. For many years, through propaganda alone, the dead threat of Hitler and Nazism had been constantly held before the public in a diversion maneuver to keep attention from being directed against the live threat of Stalin, Khrushchev and Communism.
Such has been the effect, if not the deliberate intention of many who have promoted its distribution, of a book of popular appeal-The Diary Of Anna Frank. It has been sold to the public as the actual diary of a young Jewish girl who died in a Nazi concentration camp after two years of abuse and horror.
Many Americans have read the book or seen the movie version, and have been deeply moved by the real life drama it claims to present. But have we been misled in the belief that Anna Frank actually wrote this diary? And if so. should an author be permitted to produce a work of fiction and sell it to the world as fact, particularly one of such tremendous emotional appeal?
The Swedish journal Frio Ord published two articles commenting on The Diary of Anna Frank. A condensation of these articles appeared in the April 15, 1959 issue of Economic Council Letter, as follows:
“History has many examples of myths that live a longer and richer life than truth. and may become more effective than truth.
The Western world has for some years hem made aware of a young Jewish girl through the medium of what purports to he her personally written story, “Anne Frank’s Diary.” Any informed literary inspection of this book has shown it to have been impossible as the work of a teenager.
A noteworthy decision of the New York Supreme Court confirms this point of view, in that the well known American writer, Meyer Levin, has been awarded $50.000 to be paid him by the father of Anna Frank as an honorarium for Levin’s work on the “Anna Frank Diary.”
Mr. Frank, in Switzerland, had promised to pay to prominent Jewish author, Meyer Levin. not less than $50,000 because he had used the literary creation of author Levin in toto, and represented it to his publisher and the public as his late daughter’s original work.
Inquiry of the County Clerk. New York County. as to the facts of the case referred to in the Swedish press, brought a reply on April 23, 1962, giving the name of a New York firm of lawyers as “attorneys .far the respondent.” Reference was to ”The Dairy of Anna Frank 2203-58.”
A letter to this firm brought a response on May 4, 1962 that “Although we represent Mr. Levin in other matters, we had nothing to do with the Anna Frank case.”
On May 7, 1962, came the following reply from a member of a firm of New York lawyers to whom the original inquiry had been forwarded:
“I was the attorney for Meyer Levin in his action against Otto Frank and others. It is true that a jury awarded Mr. Levin $50,000 in damages, as indicated in your letter. That award was later set aside by the trial justice. Hon. Samuel C. Coleman. on the ground that the damages had not been proved in the manner required by law. The action was subsequently settled between the litigating parties, while an appeal from Judge Coleman’s decision was pending.
I am afraid that the case itself is not officially reported, so far as the trial itself, or even Judge Coleman’s decision, is concerned. Certain procedural matters were reported. both in 141 New York Supplement. Second Series 170. and in 5 Second Series 181. The correct file number in the New York County Clerk‘s office is 2241-1956 and the file is probably a large and full one which must include Judge Coleman’s decision. Unfortunately, our file is in storage and 1 cannot locate a copy of that decision as it appeared in the New York Law Journal early in the year 1960.”
The Diary Of Anna Frank was first published in 1952 and immediately became a bestseller. It has been republished in paperback, 40 printings. It is impossible to estimate how many people have been touched and aroused by the movie production.
Why has the trial involving the father of Anna Frank, bearing directly on the authenticity of this book, never been “officially reported”? In royalties alone, Otto Frank has profited richly from the sale of this book, purporting to depict the tragic life of his daughter. But is it fact, or is it fiction? Is it truth or is it propaganda? Or is it a combination of all of these? And to what degree does it wrongfully appeal to the emotions through a misrepresentation as to its origin?
School publications for years have recommended this book for young people, presenting it as the work of Anna Frank. Advertising in advance of the movie showing has played up the “factual” nature of the drama being presented. Do not writers of such editorials and promoters of such advertising, “fan the flames of hate” they rightly profess to deplore?
Many American Jews were shocked at the handling of the Eichmann case, the distortions contained in the book Exodus and its movie counterpart, but their protests have had little publicity outside of their own organ, Issues, by the American Council for Judaism. Others who have expressed the same convictions have been charged with anti-Semitism. Yet it is to be noted that both Otto Frank and his accuser Meyer Levin, were Jewish, so a similar charge would hardly be applicable in pursuing this subject to an honest conclusion..
File number 2241-1956 in the New York County Clerk’s office should be opened to the public view and its content thoroughly publicized. Misrepresentation, exaggeration, and falsification has too often colored the judgment of good citizens. If Mr. Frank used the work of Meyer Levin to present to the world what we have been led to believe is the literary work of his daughter, wholly or in part, then the truth should be exposed.
To label fiction as fact is never justified nor should it be condoned.
Since actual period documentation does not exist in support of the Holocaust myth, it has always been incumbent on its supporters to create it.
Not only is the “Anna Frank” diary now considered to be a fake, so also is “The Painted Bird” by Jerzy Kosinski. This book, which is a mass of pornographic and sadistic imagery which, had it not been taken so seriously by the Jewish community, would be merely the pathetic manifestation of a self-serving and very sick person.
This was duly exposed as a shabby, though much revered (by the Jewish community) and quoted, fraud. When this was exposed, Kosinski committed suicide. Later, in Kosinski’s footsteps we find the next fiction entitled “Fragments,” by a Swiss Protestant named Bruno Dosseker who spent the war in Switzerland as a young child. Dosseker posed as a very young Baltic Jewish concentration camp inmate named Binjamin Wilkomerski. This work consists of allegedly fragmented “memories” and is very difficult to read
Dosseker became the poster boy for the Holocaust supporters and was lionized by the international Jewish community, reaping considerable profit and many in-house awards for his wonderful and moving portrayal of German brutality and sexual sadism.
Another book, allegedly by a Hungarian doctor, concerning his deportation from Budapest in 1944 and subsequent journey by “Death Train” to Auschwitz is another fraud. There was never such a doctor in Hungary during the period involved and the alleged route of the train from Budapest to Auschwitz did not exist.
These sort of pathetic refugees from the back wards seem to be drawn to the Holocausters…and they to them. There are now “Holocaust Survivors” as young as thirty which is an interesting anomaly because the last concentration camp was closed in 1945. Perhaps they consider the last frenzied spring sale at Bloomingdale’s department store to be what they survived.
Next we can expect to see a book based on twenty-seven volumes of secret diaries prepared on a modern word processor within the current year by an alleged inhabitant of the Warsaw ghetto, describing the Nazi slaughter of tens of millions of weeping Jews by means that would shame a modern African state.
And, predictably, the publication of these howlers would be greeted with joy on the part of the fund raisers and fanatics, praised in the columns of the New York Times and scripted by Steven Spielberg for a heart-wrenching and guaranteed Oscar-winning film.
Hundreds of thousands of DVD copies will be donated to American schools and the Jewish community will demand that subservient executive and legislative bodies in America create a Day of Atonement as a National Holiday to balance the terrible Christian Christmas and the wickedly Satanic Halloween.
Conservationists must hate these books because so many otherwise beautiful and useful trees are slaughtered for their preparation
Insofar as the Anna Frank diary is concerned, herewith is some background on Anna Frank, her family and her alleged diary.
The Franks were upper class German Jews, both coming from wealthy families. Otto and his siblings lived on the exclusive Meronstrasse in Frankfurt. Otto attended a private prep school, and also attended the Lessing Gymnasium, the most expensive school in Frankfurt.
Otto attended Heidelberg University. After graduation he left for a long vacation in England.
In 1909, the 20 year old Otto went to New York City where he stayed with his relatives, the Oppenheimers.
In 1925 Anna’s parents married and settled in Frankfurt, Germany. Anna was born in 1929. The Frank’s family business included banking, management of the springs at Bad Soden and the manufacture of cough drops. Anna’s mother, the former Edith Holländer, was the daughter of a manufacturer.
In 1934, Otto and his family moved to Amsterdam where he bought a spice business, Opekta, which manufactures Pectin used in making household jellies.
On May 1940, after the Germans occupied Amsterdam Otto remained in that city while his mother and brother moved to Switzerland. Otto remained in Amsterdam where his firm did business with the German Wehrmacht. From 1939 to 1944, Otto sold Opeka, and Pectin, to the German army. Pectin was a food preservative, and a anti infectant balm for wounds and as a thickener for raising blood volume in blood transfusions. Pectin was used as an emulsifier for petroleum, gelatized gasoline for fire bombing. By supplying the Wehrmacht, Otto Frank became, in the eyes of the Dutch, a Nazi collaborator.
On July 6, 1942 Otto moved the Frank family into the so-called ‘Secret Annex’. The annex is a three story, mostly glass townhouse that shares a garden park with fifty other apartments.
While he was allegedly in hiding, Otto Frank still managed his business, going downstairs to his office at night and on weekends. Anna and the others would go to Otto’s office and listen to radio broadcasts from England.
The purported diary begins on June 12, 1942, and runs to December 5,1942 . It consists of a book that is six by four by a quarter inches. In addition to this first diary, Anne supplemented it with personal letters. Otto said Anna heard Gerrit Bolkestein in a broadcast say: ~ “Keep a diary, and he would publish after the war”, and that’s why Anne’s father claimed she rewrote her diaries second time in 1944.
In this second edition, the new writer changed, rearranged and occasionally combined entries of various dates.
When Anna allegedly rewrote the diaries, she used a ball point pen, which did not exist in 1945, and the book took on an extremely high literary standard, and read more like a professional documentary than a child’s diary. In Anna’s second edition her writing style, and handwriting, suddenly matured.
The actual diary of Anna Frank contained only about 150 notes, according to The New York Times, of October 2 ,1955.
In 1944, German authorities in occupied Holland determined that Otto Frank had been swindling then via his extensive and very lucrative Wehrmacht contracts. The German police then raided his apartment attic, and the eight Jews were sent to Westerbork work camp and forced to perform manual labor .Otto himself was sent to Auschwitz.. Anna, her sister Margot, and her mother, subsequently died of typhus in another camp.
In 1945, after being liberated from German custody, Otto returned to Amsterdam, where he claimed he found Anna’s diary cleverly hidden in the Annex’s rafters. However, another version has a Dutch friend, Meip Geis finding Anna’s diary of fictional events, which she then gave to Otto Frank.
Otto took what he claimed were Anna’s letters and notes, edited them into a book, which he then gave to his secretary, Isa Cauvern, to review. Isa Cauvern and her husband Albert Cauvern , a writer, authored the first diary.
Questions were raised by some publishers as to whether Isa and Albert Cauvern, who assisted Otto in typing out the work used the original diaries or whether they took it directly from Mr. Frank’s personal transcription.
American author, Meyer Levin wrote the third and final edition
Meyer Levin was an author, and journalist, who lived for many years in France, where he met Otto Frank around 1949.
Born in 1905, Meyer Levin was raised in the section of Chicago notoriously known in the days of gangster warfare as the “Bloody Nineteen Ward.” At the age of eighteen he worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and during the next four years became an increasingly frequent contributor to the national literary magazine, The Menorah Journal. In 1929 he published The Reporter , which was the first of his sixteen novels.
In 1933 Levin became an assistant editor and film critic at the newly-created Esquire Magazine where he remained until 1939.
Perhaps his best-known work is Compulsion (1956), chronicling the Leopold and Loeb case and hailed by critics as one of the greatest books of the decade. The compelling work was the first “documentary novel” or “non-fiction novel.”
After the enormous success of Compulsion , Levin embarked on a trilogy of novels dealing with the Holocaust. The first, Eva (1959) was the story of a Jewish girl’s experiences throughout the war and her adjustment to life after the concentration camps. This was followed by The Fanatic (1963), which told the hypnotic story of a Jewish poet dealing with the moral questions that arose from his ordeal at the hands of the Nazis. The last in the triptych, The Stronghold (1965), is a thriller set in a concentration camp during the last days of the war.
At the outset of World War II Levin made documentary films for the US Office of War Information and later worked in France as a civilian expert in the Psychological Warfare Division. He eventually became a war correspondent for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, with the special mission of uncovering the fate of Jewish concentration camp prisoners. Levin took his role very seriously, sometimes entering concentration camps ahead of the tanks of the liberating forces in order to compile lists of the survivors.
After the war Levin went to Palestine and turned his attention again to the motion picture camera. His film My Father’s House told the story of a child survivor searching for his family in Palestine. He wrote this story as a novel as well and the book was published in 1947.
Levin also joined the Hagana underground and helped smuggle Jews from the interior of Poland to Palestine, then basically an Arab country under the control of the British..
In 1951 Levin came upon a copy of the French edition of the Anna Frank diary He made a number of attempts to have the work published in English, and conceived it as a play and film. When the diary finally found an American publisher, his play was accepted for production but then suddenly barred, ostensibly for being “unstageworthy,” and another writer’s version was commissioned.
Levin fought for the rights to perform his version of the play, claiming that the real reason the producers refused to stage his work was because they thought it “too Jewish.” He saw the suppression of the play as an extension of the Stalinist attack on Jewish culture and, outraged that even Anna Frank could be censored, he took the producers to court and began an agonizing, prolonged struggle that dragged on for years.
Levin eventually won a jury award against the producers for appropriation of ideas, but the bitterness of the trial made him many enemies in the Jewish and literary communities.
Although Levin’s version of the play is still banned by the owners of the dramatic rights, underground productions of the work are frequently staged throughout the world.
Meyer Levin died in 1981
Levin rewrote the various post-war treatments of the Anna Frank diary with an eye toward a Broadway production, but Otto decided to cut him out, refusing to honor his contract or pay him for his work. Meyer Levin sued Otto Frank for his writings, and the New York Supreme court awarded Meyer Levin $50,000, for his ‘intellectual work’.
In 1980, Otto sued two Germans, Ernst Romer and Edgar Geiss, for distributing literature denouncing the diary as a forgery. The trial produced a study by official German handwriting experts that determined everything in the diary was written by the same person. The person that wrote the diaries had used a ballpoint pen throughout.
Unfortunately for Herr Frank, the ballpoint pen was not available until 1951 whereas Anne was known to have died of typhus in 1944.
Because of the lawsuit in a German court, the German state forensic bureau, the Bundes Kriminal Amt [BKA] forensically examined the manuscript, which at that point in time consisted of three hardbound notebooks and 324 loose pages bound in a fourth notebook, with special forensic equipment.
The results of tests, performed at the BKA laboratories, showed that “significant” portions of the work, especially the fourth volume, were written with a ballpoint pen. Since ballpoint pens were not available before 1951, the BKA concluded those sections must have been added subsequently.
In the end, BKA clearly determined that none of the diary handwriting matched known examples of Anna’s handwriting.
They also determined that the paper on which the diary was written contained paper whiteners which were not in use before 1951.
The German magazine, Der Spiegel, published an account of this report alleging that (a) editing postdated 1951; (b) an earlier expert had held that all the writing in the journal was by the same hand; and thus (c) the entire diary was a postwar fake.
The BKA information, at the urgent request of the Jewish community, was redacted at the time but later inadvertently released to researchers in the United States.
How an industry helps Chinese students cheat their way into and through U.S. colleges
May 25, 2016
by Koh Gui Qing, Alexandra Harney, Steve Stecklow and James Pomfret
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The advertisements were tailored for Chinese college students far from home, struggling with the English language and an unfamiliar culture.
Coaching services peppered the students with emails and chat messages in Chinese, offering to help foreign students at U.S. colleges do much of the work necessary for a university degree. The companies would author essays for clients. Handle their homework. Even take their exams. All for about a $1,000 a course.
For dozens of Chinese nationals at the University of Iowa, the offers proved irresistible.
“Test-taking services. Paper-writing. Take Online Courses for you,” says the social-messaging profile of one Chinese coaching outfit used by Iowa students, UI International Student Services. A pitch emailed by another business ended with this reassuring claim: “Your friends are all using us.”
Today, the University of Iowa, one of the largest state universities in the American Midwest, says it is investigating at least 30 students suspected of cheating. Three sources familiar with the inquiry say the number under investigation may be two or three times higher.
University spokespeople declined to name the students or comment on their nationality, citing academic privacy laws.
But those familiar with the investigation said that most, perhaps all, of the cheating suspects are Chinese nationals. They stand accused of cheating in online versions of at least three courses, including law and economics. Three of the Chinese suspects admitted to Reuters that they hired Chinese-run outfits to take exams for them.
A May 8 letter sent by the university to a fourth Chinese student, who allegedly had imposters take his midterms for him, says the school will recommend expulsion. “We are unable to be sure that you will not cheat in the future, since your past actions call your future behavior into question,” it reads. Foreigners in the United States on student visas face possible deportation under U.S. immigration law if expelled from school.
The Iowa cheating rings are the latest evidence of how a vibrant East Asian industry is corrupting the U.S. higher education system by gaming entrance exams, concocting college applications and completing college coursework on behalf of students. These nimble operators not only help students cheat their way into universities. They also help them cheat their way through.
The companies are prospering by exploiting two intersecting interests: the growing demand by Chinese nationals to study overseas, and the desire by U.S. colleges to profit from foreign students willing to pay full tuition.
As Reuters reported in March, some companies are leveraging weaknesses in the SAT, a standardized college entrance exam, to help clients gain an unfair advantage on the test by feeding them questions in advance.
In addition, Reuters has identified companies in China that help students contrive their entire college application – embellishing or ghostwriting application essays, doctoring letters of recommendation from high school teachers, and even advising kids to obtain fake high school transcripts. Other providers continue the illicit assistance after admission, such as those that performed coursework for hire in Iowa City.
“The reality is for international students, particularly in Asia, there’s a worry about whether the application is authentic, whether the essay is authentic, whether the person who shows up at your door is the same person who applied,” said Joyce E. Smith, chief executive of the National Association for College Admission Counseling in Arlington, Virginia.
The cheating services extend far beyond Iowa. At the University of Washington, the University of Alabama and Penn State University, for example, students received Chinese-language advertisements by email this semester from unnamed firms. The pitch: Students could raise their grade point averages and graduate early if they hired the outfits to take classes and do assignments for them. The ads, reviewed by Reuters, offered a money-back guarantee. Students who didn’t get As would get refunds.
The market for such services has major potential. About 761,000 degree-seeking foreign students now study in the United States, according to the Institute of International Education. A third come from China. Department of Commerce statistics show that Chinese students spent almost $10 billion on tuition and other goods and services in America in 2014.
Of course, not all Chinese students are dishonest, and American students aren’t immune to the lure of cheating. Still, the temptation to break the rules is great in China because the stakes are extraordinarily high.
Most seats at universities in China are awarded through a competitive national entrance exam known as the gaokao, a test that requires years of round-the-clock preparation. A growing number of Chinese parents are reluctant to put their children through that gauntlet. U.S. universities offer an easier way to get ahead, with a quality education and better job prospects.
To help those students succeed, a multi-faceted industry is taking advantage of vulnerabilities in the U.S. higher education system. For colleges, vetting the applicants who use these services can be daunting. The case of Xuan “Claren” Rong shows why.
A native of Shenzhen, a city of about 11 million people on the Chinese mainland near Hong Kong, Rong spent part of high school in America. He entered the MacDuffie School, a boarding and day school in Granby, Massachusetts, as a ninth-grader in September 2011.
“He seemed to be a diligent, hard-working kid,” said Steven Griffin, MacDuffie’s head of school. Trouble was, “he was in the middle of the pack in terms of his grades,” Griffin recalled. “Apparently that was not good enough for his family.”
Reuters reviewed Rong’s transcript at MacDuffie, which the school verified as authentic. It shows his overall grade point average as of April 2014 was 2.8 out of 4 – about a B – though it was marred with Ds in Latin and Physics. Rong was supposed to graduate in 2015 but dropped out after his junior year.
In March 2014, he became a client of Cunshande, a company that helps Chinese students get accepted to top U.S. colleges. Cunshande, also known as Transcend Education, is located on the 25th floor of an office tower in the financial district of Shenzhen.
Its founders – Kevin Li and Michael Du – both attended one of America’s top public schools, the University of California, Los Angeles. Li said they began advising Chinese students on applying to American colleges while at UCLA. Du wouldn’t comment other than to say in an email that he is “no longer involved with the operations at Transcend.”
Li and Du opened Transcend in Shenzhen about five years ago. Li said Transcend has about 40 clients a year and charges between $12,000 and $18,000 for its services, which he described as mentoring and counseling students.
A receipt shows that Claren Rong’s parents paid about $13,700 to Transcend. With the company’s help, Rong applied to at least 15 U.S. colleges, emails reviewed by Reuters indicate. He was accepted in 2015 by the University of California, Davis.
In March 2015, more than a hundred U.S. colleges began receiving emails from an anonymous former Transcend employee. The emails included details about 40 Chinese applicants, including Rong.
“I am writing this e-mail to inform you that the student Xuan Rong … under the influence of Cunshande, a company which ghostwrites applications for Chinese students applying to American universities, committed application fraud,” the tipster wrote to some of the schools.
Rong, the tipster alleged, claimed in his college applications that he attended a Chinese high school in downtown Shenzhen, where he maintained an A average in his sophomore and junior years. In fact, the tipster said, Rong was attending MacDuffie in Massachusetts.
The tipster attached two transcripts for Rong – his real one from MacDuffie, the other from the school in Shenzhen. Both transcripts list grades for his sophomore and junior years, even though Rong didn’t take classes at the Shenzhen school those years.
Admissions offices often lack the staff to pursue such red flags. At UC Davis, where Rong was admitted, 68,519 people applied to attend the school this fall. One of every five were international students. The school has just seven admissions officers on staff to vet those 13,560 international applicants.
Even so, an admissions officer at UC Davis, Mitsuko Leonard, did email the former Transcend employee, promising that “any real evidence you are able to provide will be considered.”
The tipster responded five days later, on March 30, 2015, offering information about 21 students in 217 attached documents. Leonard forwarded the material to the UC president’s office. “Yikes… this is from the anonymous source in China. Please review,” she wrote.
Most of the attachments were different versions of college essays that, the tipster claimed, had been doctored by Transcend employees. They included nine versions of an essay by Rong. The evolving drafts, reviewed by Reuters, display dramatic improvement in grammar and writing. The email also included a “Special Note” about where Rong attended high school.
The tipster alleged that Rong’s parents had obtained “a fake Chinese high school transcript” from a local Chinese high school to “hide his poor” average at MacDuffie. The attachments included his legitimate transcript from the Massachusetts school.
UC Davis didn’t contact the school at that time, and it admitted Rong.
Griffin, MacDuffie’s school head, said a UC Davis representative called months later, in late September, asking about Rong. The call came shortly after Reuters obtained, through a public records request, the correspondence between the admissions office and the Transcend tipster.
A UC Davis spokesman initially told Reuters the university couldn’t comment on specific students. He later said Rong would be leaving the university after the fall semester in December 2015.
Rong declined to comment. His father, Yuanxin Rong, confirmed in an interview in Shenzhen last November that UC Davis had expelled his son. “The university said that we didn’t provide the right information” in his application, he said.
Rong’s father also confirmed that his son submitted a bogus Chinese high school transcript. He said Transcend had advised his family to obtain a transcript from the Chinese high school because of his son’s low grade point average at MacDuffie.
Ketty Kang, director of the international department at Cuiyuan High School in Shenzhen, confirmed that the school issued a transcript for Rong showing he spent his sophomore and junior years there. “I should have added more information to say he wasn’t actually at the school for several years,” she said.
Li, the co-founder of Transcend, initially said he had no knowledge of the Chinese transcript for Rong. Reuters obtained a copy of the transcript, which was a Microsoft Word file. Its metadata – computer information about the document – showed that it had last been saved by Li. Shown a copy of the document and the metadata, Li conceded that Transcend had the fake transcript on file and that he had seen it before. But he said Transcend played no part in obtaining the document.
Li told Reuters the company does not ghostwrite applications. He also said Transcend doesn’t help students create teacher recommendations for themselves. Drafts seen by Reuters of more than 200 recommendation letters written for more than 50 Transcend students suggest otherwise.
The metadata on those documents indicates that they, too, had been stored on Transcend’s computers. Letters of recommendation are customarily confidential, and teachers rarely let anyone change them. The letters disclosed by the tipster bear signs of having been scripted or altered by students or Transcend employees.
Two of the recommendations are for Rong. Both claim he attended Cuiyuan High. One referred to his “outstanding academic performance.” In another, a teacher claimed he had taught Rong math in 11th grade and that he was “a great student.”
In a purported teacher’s recommendation for another student, Li commented in the margins, “This part needs to be expanded.” He added that two other paragraphs could be “combined into one and shortened so we have enough space for this expanded paragraph.”
Shown a copy of that letter, Li said Transcend never changes recommendations. Transcend’s input on that particular letter, he said, was “definitely authorized by the school teacher.”
The teacher says otherwise. Phillip Stout, then a teacher at Shenzhen Middle School, said he did write a letter for the student, whose name Reuters is withholding. But Stout said he never gave a copy of the letter to the student or authorized anyone to change it. He also said he never heard of Li or his company. How Transcend got the letter is a mystery to Stout. “If somebody else is editing it, it’s not something I ever wanted,” Stout said. “It’s upsetting to hear.”
Rong’s father said the family would now try to find another U.S. school for his son. He expressed no remorse about obtaining the fake Chinese transcript.
“We just wanted to get in a better school,” he said. “It’s normal. Anyone would do that.”
“THEY TEMPTED US”
The situation at the University of Iowa illustrates how Chinese cheating-service providers can cause trouble long after admission.
At Iowa, four or five so-called transcript evaluators review international applications from potential freshmen, according to a school spokesman. For the fall 2016 term, nearly 5,000 international students applied, leaving each of the admissions officers to scrutinize on average about a thousand applications.
In 2015, 4,540 international students were enrolled at Iowa. Of those, 2,797 were from China. That’s 9 percent of the school’s student body. Most or all of the students accused of cheating are Chinese nationals.
An email sent on April 25 to faculty members of Iowa’s business school explained how the suspects were caught. The students, wrote Kenneth G. Brown, associate dean at the university’s Tippie College of Business, had taken online examinations monitored by a proctoring services company, ProctorU.
The contractor discovered that students taking online classes had other people take their exams for them, he wrote. ProctorU is able to monitor students through the cameras mounted in the computers used to take the test. In checking the faces of the exam-takers against the identification photos of the legitimate students, ProctorU came to believe that imposters had stepped in for the students. It then alerted the university.
“Some of these students conducted this type of cheating in more than one class,” Brown wrote. He said that some of the ringers cheated for more than one student. Brown declined to comment. ProctorU confirmed the outlines of how it detected the cheating.
It isn’t clear if the university has identified any of the ringers, known as “gunmen” in China. But the three Chinese students interviewed for this article mentioned several services they had used. The students spoke on the condition that they not be named.
One, a third-year transfer student from a Chinese university, said UI International Student Services took a midterm exam for her in March. In a series of Chinese-language messages via the WeChat app, UI International confirmed to Reuters that it has provided “substitute” course-taking services to students at the University of Iowa. But contradicting the student, UI International denied taking exams for students and said none of its clients had been accused of academic fraud.
UI International told Reuters that it also provides services at a handful of other American colleges, which it declined to name. Its students-for-hire are all undergraduates, UI International said, but not all are Chinese.
“We’re students, too, making a little hard-earned money,” UI International said in the WeChat exchange. “I hope you can have mercy on us in your writing. Don’t wipe us out. Thanks a million.”
Another student caught in the cheating crackdown, a sophomore, said she hired a company that goes by the names Fanyi Translation and Fanyi Creation Translation. Fanyi’s website, fanyishop.com, became inaccessible May 23. It had carried the motto “diligently creating value.”
Its specialties include writing papers for students. “We have native English speakers from the UK and the US who can guarantee the quality of the writing,” the site said. Fanyi charged 5 cents a word for “polishing” an existing piece of writing and 21 cents a word for “gold medal expert service” – editors writing bespoke pieces for the student. Fanyi also said it would create documents for students going abroad, including personal statements and recommendation letters.
Fanyi accepted payment in U.S. and Canadian dollars, British pounds and Chinese renminbi, by Visa, MasterCard and UnionPay, its website said. Reuters was unable to reach the operators of the company.
The transfer student who said she used UI International is a 21-year-old junior. She has been at Iowa for two semesters. She paid $1,200 to UI International to take the midterm exam for her in the Introduction to Law course, she said.
“At the start, I wasn’t looking for someone to take my exams for me,” she said. “But when I did my homework, I discovered the grades I got for my homework were always very poor. Then I began to worry.”
“My family is very strict with me and has very high expectations for my grades,” she said. Her mother teaches at a university back home in China, she said. “My mother’s health is not good, too, and I didn’t want to disappoint her, which led me to make a wrong decision.”
The sophomore student who hired Fanyi Translation said she paid the service $1,400 to take the midterm exam for her in the same law course. The service, she said, “sweet talked and tricked us. They told us they can get As for us – that they can guarantee Bs and strive for As.”
Fanyi delivered on one promise: She got a B on her midterm. But because she was caught cheating, she failed the course.
“We really regret it now,” she said.
A third student, also a sophomore, said he paid $2,400 through PayPal to someone a friend recommended through WeChat. The service would take two online economics classes for him. The sophomore didn’t even know the ringer’s name. A mediocre student, he thought the service would help his grades. He said he recognizes that what he did is wrong.
When the university told him he’d been caught, he said, “it was a bolt out of the blue. I was really scared.”
Now, the student is looking to put the incident behind him. He says he hopes to stay in the United States – and transfer to another school.
Additional reporting by Renee Dudley in Boston and Jane Lanhee Lee in Davis, California.