You have undoubtedly heard of IBM. The 100-year-old company pioneered computing as we know it today, and its complex systems run everything from transit networks to entire governments.
But the company has a dark history, one that investigative journalist Edwin Black will be speaking about next month as a guest of the Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center.
“I’m coming out to Seattle to present the latest discoveries and developments in the case against IBM’s conscious program of co-planning the Holocaust with the Third Reich,” Black told JTNews.
From identifying Jews to placing them in ghettos to extermination, Black’s 2002 book, “IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi Germany and America’s Most Powerful Corporation,” which he re-released earlier this year with new documentation and photos, discusses Big Blue’s six-phase program to eliminate Europe’s Jews.
“They would juxtapose all the physical and work requirements against all the work requirements of the Third Reich,” Black said. Using machines named for Herman Hollerith, inventor of the electronic tabulating machine, the program would move Jews “back and forth across the continent, matching slave Jews with slave labor, and then they were worked to death. Once they would no longer render service, they would be exterminated.”
Some of these new images show the Hollerith punch cards designed specifically for the SS to measure slave labor as well as letters expressing verbal approval of these machines to be built for Hitler’s government.
According to Black’s book, all of the Third Reich’s concentration camps had IBM offices, and workers used codes for every person who entered.
“They had a code for suicide, for execution, for escape, for release,” he said.
They also had codes for each population: Gypsies, Jehovah’s Witnesses, homosexuals. For Jews, said Black, “it was Code 6.”
At any given time, Black has between 20 and 50 volunteer researchers around the world, working in libraries and archives trying to find any damning needle in the haystack.
“There are probably millions and millions of frames [of microfilm] at the National Archives that have never been looked at or placed into perspective,” Black said.
He also came across more than 60,000 of the Hollerith punchcards at Auschwitz, “but they didn’t know what they were used for,” Black said. “Most of the historians who had approached the topic were from the cotton paper age and they didn’t understand the technology.”
In the time between the first and second releases of “IBM and the Holocaust,” Black worked with the Bavarian State Police, as well as with the U.S. and German governments to get access to many of these documents. Of everything he and his team sifted through, the majority may never reach the public eye.
“I was only able to publish a fraction of the documents that I had,” he said.
Black said the documents he plans to show during his visit to Washington State — in addition to the Holocaust Center luncheon he also will speak at Temple De Hirsch Sinai, teach a CLE for attorneys, and at Pacific Lutheran University — “will be extremely shocking, and the documentation will be inescapable.
“I’m coming to the seat of modern information technology: Microsoft, Amazon, many other development companies,” Black added. “I’m going to change their entire outlook on the information age…. The information age was not born in Silicon Valley, but in Berlin in 1933.”
More pressing than the historic significance of Black’s IBM discoveries are his discoveries on Iran’s nuclear warhead program, all of which are based on attributable public documents, he said.
An article he wrote earlier this month for the Times of Israel (and posted in the World News section of www.jtnews.net) gives specifics of the progress — and how close Iranian physicists have come to completion of a warhead.
“While everyone is talking about centrifuges, centrifuges only constitute the equivalent of gunpowder,” he said.
But the gunpowder must be molded into a bullet, the rifle must be placed into the hands of an expert marksman, and the marksman must be preparing his aim.
“That’s where we are with Iran,” Black said. “They have developed the enriched uranium, they have shaped it and machined it into a dense spheroid to create the warhead, compact enough to fit into a Shahab 3 missile. They have tested in an R265 shock generator [which will] trigger the neutron initiator that will create the mushroom cloud.”
The missile has been tested to detonate at 625 meters, the height at which the atomic bombs were detonated over Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.
“This has been going on for years and it’s been documented for years,” Black said.
Black worked with three nuclear experts to confirm his findings, he said.
The uranium enrichment process is not yet complete, but given that the process of enrichment from 3.5 percent to 20 percent “is 75 percent of the task of reaching weapons-grade,” according to the Times of Israel article, and that enough uranium has been enriched to create about six warheads, the goal of 90 percent enrichment could be a matter of months.
Once they reach that point, and “once they move this underground they will then enter what [Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak] calls the zone of immunity,” Black said. “They could enter the zone of immunity at any moment.”
Israel will need to make a decision about a launching a preemptive strike against Iran, and whether such an attack falls within the timeframe of U.S. interests on Iran has become a strong point of contention, at least publicly.
Black believes the situation has reached the point of urgency, and he expects to see movement on Israel’s part within weeks, but that is his own informed opinion.
“He who knows does not talk,” he said, “and he who talks does not know.”