“This electrostatic generator (Van de Graaf generator) atom-smasher was built at the Carnegie Institution in Washington D.C., and used between 1920 and 1940. This structure was also the talk of ‘death-rays’.”

FBI wanted Tesla’s ‘death ray’ invention for War Dept, documents show / 29 Sep, 2016

“The FBI has finally published its cache of files relating to Nikola Tesla, 73 years after “two truckloads” of his property were seized by the US government following the renowned inventor’s death. The declassified documents have been released under the Freedom of Information Act and revealed the FBI and government’s serious interest in the death ray – a particle beam weapon which Tesla claimed to have invented.

The long-awaited release also contains information on Tesla’s ball lightning experiments and an FBI plot to arrest a family member who they believed was trying to get his hands on Tesla’s treasure trove of documents. Serbian-born Tesla is most famous for designing the AC electricity supply system. He was also known for his foresight, predicting the smartphone and video calling.

“Also called the “Peace Ray” and “teleforce,” Tesla’s macroscopic particle beam projector was first mentioned publicly in “Invents Peace Ray,” New York Sun, July 10, 1934″

Tesla died at the age of 85 in a New York hotel suite on what was believed to be January 7, 1943. However, one of the newly-released documents, a letter dated January 12, 1943 states that an inquiry established Tesla actually died on January 8. It also detailed how the government office of Alien Property Control seized all of Tesla’s property, sealed all articles and brought them to the Manhattan storage warehouse in New York City.

The letter expressed concern that, as Tesla was a naturalized US citizen, they may not have jurisdiction over his property but felt confident they could keep the material from any other agency for at least two days. In 1951 an American court declared that Sava Kosanovic, was the rightful heir to the property and the material was transferred to Belgrade and is now housed in the Nikola Tesla Museum in Belgrade.

Also among the documents released is a letter addressed to J Edgar Hoover, the first Director of the FBI, highlighting an article about Tesla’s death ray invention, suggesting it could be of “vital importance” to the War Department, “as well as that of other nations now controlled by insane dictators”.

It also recommended the “constant guarding” of Tesla to ensure his protection against “alien enemies” who may be interested in “the secret of such an invaluable instrument of war and/or defense”. Another document shows the FBI’s concern that a nephew, Sava Kosanovic, whom they said Tesla “intensely disliked” was trying to gain possession of “these important documents and plans”. The Bureau also feared that he would “make such information available to the enemy”.

A memorandum in the FBI records dated January 9, 1943, stated that Tesla had performed many experiments in connection with the wireless transmission of electrical power, “commonly called the death ray”. A protege of Tesla, Bloyce Fitzgerald, said in an interview with a government official that Tesla told him just a month before his death that these experiments had been completed and perfected. Fitzgerald said he was also aware of a revolutionary type of torpedo designed by Tesla.”

Nikola Tesla’s Connection to Donald Trump
by Paul Ratner  /  July 31, 2016

“As unpredictable as the current U.S. Presidential elections have been, a striking historical sidenote lies in their connection to the famous Serbian inventor Nikola Tesla. A few days after Tesla died on January 8th, 1943, his possessions were seized by officials from the amazingly-named government Office of Alien Property.

MIT professor John George Trump in June 1952

About 3 weeks after that, all of Tesla’s things and documents were given a thorough examination by a group of FBI agents that included none other than John G. Trump, the uncle of Donald J. Trump. Trump’s uncle was, by all accounts, a very accomplished and intelligent man, an M.I.T. Professor of Engineering, who helped design X-ray machines for cancer patients and did radar research work for the army during World War 2. John G. Trump’s analysis of Tesla’s papers concluded that: “Tesla’s “thoughts and efforts during at least the past 15 years were primarily of a speculative, philosophical, and somewhat promotional character,” but “did not include new, sound, workable principles or methods for realizing such results.”

But such official dismissal of the significance of the papers Tesla left behind understandably did not sit well with many folks throughout the next 73 years. As if the government would be willing to admit that it found plans for, let’s say, the Death Ray that Tesla was working on in the last years of his life. That kind of situation is ground zero for conspiracy theories. The papers have partially been released but are still really hard to track down. What became of Tesla’s most secret tech is still potentially a mystery if you are inclined to believe that sort of thing. Who has the papers? Did Tesla really develop the Death Ray?

The three founders of HVEC stand by the company’s Emperor tandem test facility. L-R: Robert Van de Graaff, Denis Robinson, John Trump.

Donald Trump himself often refers to his Uncle, invoking John Trump’s intelligence as a sort of voucher for his own genetic and historical pedigree. “My uncle used to tell me about nuclear before nuclear was nuclear,” Trump said in one interview, according to the New Yorker magazine. This would likely be referring to hydrogen bombs rather than the first nuclear bombs as Trump was born in 1946, after the Atomic Age was already upon us. Trump also recalled to the Times how the uncle “would tell me many years ago about the power of weapons someday, that the destructive force of these weapons would be so massive, that it’s going to be a scary world.”

Certainly, expected talk from someone entrusted by the government to look into game-changing, doomsday weaponry.  John G. Trump’s brilliance and his connection to the intellectual history of the country make him, in Trump’s view, a kind of guarantee that he himself is smart. As he mentioned to the Boston Globe: “My father’s brother was a brilliant man. We have very good genetics.”  Similarly, he told to NBC about his uncle to point out that: “I mean it’s a good gene pool right there” – [Trump pointed to his head] – “I have to do what I have to do.”

The physicist John Trump, in a high-voltage research lab at M.I.T. He was the younger brother of Donald Trump’s father, Fred.
Physicist John Trump, in a high-voltage research lab at M.I.T.

Donald Trump’s Nuclear Uncle
by Amy Davidson  /  April 8, 2016

“In September, 1936, a reporter for the Associated Press watched the unveiling of a new kind of X-ray machine, said to be able to generate a million volts of power. The scientist operating the device was John G. Trump, a professor of engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Trump was working the controls and explaining how high-speed electrons ran along a porcelain tube to a “water-cooled gold target,” when suddenly “two of the high-voltage sparks hit him squarely on the nose.” And yet, according to the A.P. account, the direct strike caused him only “slight discomfort.” Professor Trump told the reporter, “That’s an advantage of this machine. It’s completely grounded and those sparks can’t kill you.”

MIT professor John George Trump.

“My uncle used to tell me about nuclear before nuclear was nuclear,” Trump said in one interview, “before nuclear” referring, perhaps, to the development of hydrogen bombs, rather than basic atomic bombs (which occurred when Donald was about six years old), or perhaps just to that netherworld where things wait until Trump judges them to be fashionable or flashy enough to exist. He mentions his uncle so often, and in such extravagant terms—“brilliant,” “one of the top, top professors at M.I.T.”—that it seems worth asking what the professor and his arcane knowledge mean to him. There are two different sets of answers, which might be put into the category of foreign and domestic.

But first, it’s worth noting that John Trump really does seem to have been a brilliant scientist. He was at M.I.T. for decades, and the X-ray machines he helped design “provided additional years of life to cancer patients throughout the world,” as the Times put it in his obituary, in 1985.

“John Trump helped redesign these 12-meter-high Van de Graaff generators, seen here in an airship hangar at Round Hill, Massachusetts.”

Trump was involved in radar research for the Allies in the Second World War, and in 1943 the F.B.I. had enough faith in his technical ability and his discretion to call him in when Nikola Tesla died in his room at the New Yorker Hotel, in Manhattan, raising the question of whether enemy agents might have had a chance to learn some of his secrets before the body was found. (One fear was that Tesla was working on a “death ray.”)

As Margaret Cheney and Robert Uth recount in “Tesla, Master of Lightning,” Professor Trump examined Tesla’s papers and equipment, and, in a written report, told the F.B.I. not to worry: Tesla’s “thoughts and efforts during at least the past 15 years were primarily of a speculative, philosophical, and somewhat promotional character,” but “did not include new, sound, workable principles or methods for realizing such results.” Professor Trump may have neglected to make that sort of distinction clear to his nephew.”

Staff of Alien Property Custodian’s office. A. Michel Palmer stands front row, third from left.

The U.S. Confiscated Half a Billion Dollars in Private Property During WWI
by Daniel A. Gross  /  July 28, 2014

“Posselt was a young editor and translator who emigrated from Austria-Hungary in 1914. His nationality—like that of millions of German-speaking immigrants in the United States during World War I—attracted suspicion and anger from nationalistic Americans. In the course of the war, the federal government registered around half a million “enemy alien” civilians, spied on many of them, and sent approximately 6,000 men and a few women to internment camps. Perhaps more strikingly, it seized huge troves of private property with dubious relevance to the war effort, ultimately amassing assets worth more than half a billion dollars—close to the entire federal budget of pre-war America.

“Federal agents had been looking for a good reason to arrest Posselt: they’d searched his home around a dozen times in the year prior. Now that they had one, they sent him to Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia, one of four main internment camps built during the war. Even after they found the poem, though, they didn’t charge him with any particular crime. “Posselt is not accused of any conspiracy but is only accused of guilty knowledge,” noted one report. “He is very bright in his writings, and might cause trouble if released.”

War had dressed the Department of Justice in decidedly bigger britches, partly thanks to two bills passed into law by Congress in 1917, the Espionage Act and Trading with the Enemy Act. Both were designed to mobilize domestic legal efforts in support of the war, and both are still on the books. The Espionage Act, for instance, is currently being used to prosecute government leakers including former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. In Posselt’s case, Department of Justice reports simply made general reference to the Espionage Act and recommended internment for the remainder of the war.

Inside a barracks for lower level detainees

Most reports of American WWI internment camps describe relatively benign conditions, including rigid schedules and military discipline, but few instances in which prisoners were underfed or overworked. Posselt wrote about the experience in the magazine American Mercury several years after the war, and the worst experiences he described were a handful of suicides, several dozen transfers of prisoners to asylums, and outbreaks of disease that came near the end of the war.

“In Hot Springs, North Carolina, residents of an alien internment camp active from 1917 to 1918 built an authentic German village. They used tobacco tins to construct the church.”

But on the whole, far from decrying the inhumanity of conditions at Fort Oglethorpe, Posselt described an odd collection of imprisoned intellectuals. They were allowed to organize courses taught by interned professors of biology, mathematics, literature, and languages. Several dozen musicians, many of whom had been recruited from Europe to join American orchestras, regularly performed to help keep up morale. In another camp, captured sailors built themselves a small village designed to look authentically German.

A cabin built in Swiss style in the alien internment camp in Hot Springs, North Carolina 

Even so, the internment of immigrants required a remarkably low standard of evidence. The historian Adam Hodges, for instance, discovered that local law enforcement used federal internment policies to justify the arrest of labor organizers and perceived political radicals. At the federal level, one high-profile case involved the conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Karl Muck. Despite newspaper reports that he was a patriotic German, Muck was in fact a citizen of neutral Switzerland. He was accused of refusing to play the Star-Spangled Banner at a concert (a charge later shown to be false) and disparaging the American government in love letters. Muck was sent to Fort Oglethorpe, along with 29 members of his orchestra, and the famed conductor was ultimately deported.

America certainly wasn’t unique in its imprisonment of civilians during the war. If anything, its policies seem relatively lax compared to those of England, for example, where at least 30,000 enemy aliens were interned starting in 1915. In Germany, several thousand British citizens and large numbers of French and Russian citizens were sent to camps, according to an American legal history written just after the war. (These figures are separate from the hundreds of thousands of soldiers who were captured during combat.) Internment supposedly prevented immigrants from spying or joining the military of their home countries, but given that women and children also experienced imprisonment in Europe, the basic rationale was easily manipulated. In many countries, members of government not only had public approval for these policies—they faced public criticism if they didn’t support internment.

A typical German house in the internment camp village

In retrospect, American internment policies are troubling, but they’re dwarfed by a quieter and more sweeping practice of property seizure. Under the Trading with the Enemy Act, President Wilson appointed an “Alien Property Custodian” named A. Mitchell Palmer to take control of property that might hinder the war effort. Among other things, this meant all property belonging to interned immigrants, regardless of the charges (or lack thereof). “All aliens interned by the government are regarded as enemies,” wrote Palmer, “and their property is treated accordingly.”

The basic argument was that property seizure prevented immigrants from financially or materially supporting enemies of America. Under Palmer’s direction, the Office of the Alien Property Custodian grew to employ hundreds of officials and used several high-profile cases of espionage and industrial sabotage to defend its work. German chemical companies in the United States were particularly vulnerable to seizure: not only did dye and pharmaceutical companies divert raw materials from the war effort, they could also in theory produce explosives.

The agency’s powers were remarkably broad, however. In Munsey’s Magazine, Palmer described the Alien Property Custodian as “the biggest general store in the country,” noting that some of the companies seized were involved in “pencil-making in New Jersey, chocolate manufacture in Connecticut, [and] beer-brewing in Chicago.” There were small holdings seized from individuals, too. “Among them,” he continued with an odd hint of pride, “are some rugs in New York; three horses near Joplin, Mississippi; [and] a carload of cedar logs in the South.” (Historians will probably never figure out why Palmer wanted those rugs in New York.) The historian Adam Hodges found that even women who were American citizens, if married to German and Austro-Hungarian immigrants, were classified as enemy aliens—and they alone lost a combined $25 million in property to the government.

“Late in 1918, Palmer (right) reported managing almost 30,000 trusts with assets worth $500 million. He estimated another 9,000 trusts worth $300 million awaited evaluation.”

The war ended in November 1918, just a year after the passage of the Trading with the Enemy Act. In that time, the Alien Property Custodian had acquired hundreds of millions of dollars in private property. In a move that was later widely criticized—and that political allies of the Alien Property Custodian likely profited from directly—Palmer announced that all of the seized property would be “Americanized,” or sold to U.S. citizens, partly in the hopes of crippling German industries. His attitude echoed a wider sentiment that the Central Powers deserved to pay dearly for the vast destruction of the war. In one high-profile example, the chemical company Bayer was auctioned on the steps of its factory in New York. Bayer lost its U.S. patent for aspirin, one of the most valuable drugs ever produced.”



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