"Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons." Bertrand Russell

Saturday, March 26, 2005

How low is the "Bottom Line"?

Buying online has got complicated:

With Dell you are asked the usual sort of questions relating to address etc, before they get down to the nitty gritty.

Customer Information:

*required field

Q4. Will the product(s) be used in connection with weapons of mass destruction, i.e. nuclear applications, missile technology, or chemical or biological weapons purposes?

This is the sort of disclaimer IBM could have done with 60 years ago.

"When Adolf Hitler came to power in 1933, most of the world saw a menace to humanity. But IBM saw Nazi Germany as a lucrative trading partner. Its president, Thomas J. Watson, engineered a strategic business alliance between IBM and the Reich, beginning in the first days of the Hitler regime and continuing right through World War II. This alliance catapulted Nazi Germany to become IBM's most important customer outside the U.S. IBM and the Nazis jointly designed, and IBM exclusively produced, technological solutions that enabled Hitler to accelerate and in many ways automate key aspects of his persecution of Jews, homosexuals, Jehovah's Witnesses, and others the Nazis considered enemies. Custom-designed, IBM-produced punch cards, sorted by IBM machines leased to the Nazis, helped organize and manage the initial identification and social expulsion of Jews and others, the confiscation of their property, their ghettoization, their deportation, and, ultimately, even their extermination.

Recently discovered Nazi documents and Polish eyewitness testimony make clear that IBM's alliance with the Third Reich went far beyond its German subsidiary. A key factor in the Holocaust in Poland was IBM technology provided directly through a special wartime Polish subsidiary reporting to IBM New York, mainly to its headquarters at 590 Madison Avenue.

And that's how the trains to Auschwitz ran on time." (1)

"No machines were sold to the Nazis-only leased. IBM was the sole source of all punch cards and spare parts, and it serviced the machines on-site-whether at Dachau or in the heart of Berlin-either directly or through its authorized dealer network or field trainees. There were no universal punch cards. Each series was custom-designed by IBM engineers not only to capture the information going in, but also to tabulate the information the Nazis wanted to come out."

Which has not been denied:

" "The fact that Hollerith equipment manufactured by (IBM's German unit) Dehomag was used by the Nazi administration has long been known and is not new information," IBM representative Carol Makovich wrote in an e-mail interview. "This information was published in 1997 in the IEEE Annals of the History of Computing and in 1998 in Washington Jewish Week."" (2)

"When Hitler came to power in 1933, his desire to destroy European Jewry was so ambitious an enterprise, it required the resources of a computer. But in 1933 no computer existed. What did exist was the Hollerith punch-card system. It was invented by a German-American in Buffalo, New York, for the Census Bureau. This punch-card system could store all the information about individuals, places, products, inventories, schedules, in the holes that were punched or not punched in columns and rows.

This is the same technology we saw in Florida in the presidential election. The Hollerith system reduced everything to number code. Over time, the IBM alphabetizers could convert this code to alphabetical information. IBM made constant improvements for their Nazi clients."

From the same private tyrannies that gave you Fanta.

1. Truthout
2. http://news.com.com/2009-1082-269157.html
3. The Corporation