Phalange-linked Paper Attacks Dead Father of Koch Brothers

Carlos Slim
Carlos Slim / AP
January 12, 2016

A newspaper backed by a billionaire telecom tycoon whose family supported a fascist Lebanese political party attacked the deceased father of libertarian philanthropists Charles and David Koch on Tuesday for his work in early Nazi Germany.

Fred Koch, the family’s late patriarch, "helped construct a major oil refinery in Nazi Germany that was personally approved by Adolf Hitler, according to a new history of the Kochs and other wealthy families," the New York Times’ Nicholas Confessore reported, citing a new book by anti-Koch activist Jane Mayer.

The refinery in question was completed in 1933, the year Hitler was elected Chancellor, and six years before Time Magazine named him Man of the Year.

Confessore notes that Koch Industries does not mention the 83-year-old refinery project on its website.

Nor do the few New York Times stories on Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim’s investments in the New York Times Company mention his family connection to a violent right-wing political faction.

Slim’s late wife was a cousin of Lebanese presidents Bashir and Amin Gemayel, who founded the country’s Kataeb political party, known in English as the Phalange. That party has been tied to militias responsible for massacres in Beirut and Lebanese refugee camps in the early 1980s.

Julian Slim, Carlos’ father, was also linked to the Maronite Christian party’s activities in Lebanon. His "political views were close to Al Kataeb," according to Slim, a biography of Carlos Slim by Mexican reporter Diego Enrique Osorno.

The elder Slim encouraged radicals in Mexico’s Lebanese immigrant community to support Phalange activities during the country’s protracted civil war, Osorno reported.

Julian Slim hosted a Phalange delegation at his Mexico City home, according to Osorno. He lavished praise on the "illustrious" delegation and told fellow Lebanese immigrants to support their activities

They "work to maintain civic glories and the independence of our ancestors’ homeland," he said, according to a translation of a quote in Osorno’s biography.

The Slim family was also involved, according to Osorno, with a controversial Mexican intelligence agency implicated in high-level corruption and drug trafficking before its dissolution in 1985.

"Using freedom of information requests, Osorno also documents how Slim’s brother Julian, who died in 2011, apparently interrogated suspected leftist insurgents while a member of Mexico’s feared, now defunct, intelligence agency the federal security directorate (DFS)," the Guardian noted in a review of the biography.

The New York Times continues to wield influence in the American political conversation despite the fact that its largest individual shareholder is a secretive Mexican oligarch with a shadowy past. Its story on the Koch family’s business activities in early Nazi Germany garnered significant coverage on Tuesday.

Confessore, the story’s author, previously worked for The American Prospect, a left-wing magazine with a very small circulation that has been supported by the Ford Foundation, which was founded by the son of notorious Nazi sympathizer Henry Ford with money that came in part from the export of Ford manufacturing technology that would fuel the Nazi war machine.