Saturday, May 31, 2008

LaRouche promoting anti-Obama Soros conspiracy theory

The Lyndon LaRouche organization is promoting a byzantine conspiracy theory portraying George Soros as puppetmaster for Barack Obama (see excerpt and link below). He may be calculating that this theory will appeal to Republicans, giving his fringe views an air of legitimacy.

LaRouche has a history of success using similar tactics involving Soros-related conspiracy theories. In 2003, he and his minions charged Soros with profiting from an international drug cartel (read here and here). During the 2004 presidential campaign, that charge was actually repeated by mainstream Republicans such as then Speaker of the House Rep. Dennis Hastert (read here), David Horowitz (read here) and Accuracy in Media (read here).

LaRouche has a long history of recklessly charging political figures with drug dealing -- most famously Henry Kissinger (read here) and Queen Elizabeth (read here). Those accusations were laughed out of the market of public opinion, for obvious reasons, but the Soros accusations seem to find more receptive ears. For years, Republican organizations such as the National Legal Policy Center have promoted a world view featuring Soros as Satan (read here), a trope readily picked up by Fox News. (Googling 'Soros +"Fox News"' gets 465,000 hits. He's their favorite target, and no charge seems too wild for them if Soros is in the story.)

So LaRouche may be calculating that this will be another way for him to sneak the camel's nose of extremism under the Republican tent. The Republicans should take care if they let that nose in. Pretty soon, the whole camel could follow.

Here's the rough draft of the conspiracy theory, with the LaRouchian paranoia still intact. Watch for cleaned-up versions in the Republican rumor mills. Some of his charges actually originated in the Republican blogs and media outlets, so his views may resonate there.

from LaRouche Political Action Committee: "How Soros Financed Obama's Campaign"

In late 2006, George Soros, the British empire/Wall Street gatekeeper of the Left, vetted Senator Barack Obama's potential Presidential candidacy on behalf of financier oligarchs. Soros then introduced Obama to a selected financier group, and Obama soon afterwards announced he would seek the White House.

By the way, in January, LaRouche was absolutely certain that Obama was a stalking horse for a Bloomberg presidential bid (read here: 'Obama Will Get Chopped Down To Prepare Bloomberg Run'), a certainty which he now seems to have forgotten.

Aspen Times publishes anti-Semitic diatribe

Last year, I posted about a "peace activist" and "9/11 truth" advocate named Steve Campbell who tried to broadcast a Holocaust denial video on his local public access cable channel in Aspen, Colorado. The gist of the video, called "Judea Declares War on Germany, is Jews bad, Nazis good. He got the video from a distributor of neo-Nazi videos and literature who claims to have a network of people broadcasting his material on public access stations around the country. (Read here and here and here and here and here and here.) The station in Aspen wisely decided not to broadcast the Nazi propaganda.

Not nearly as wise is the Aspen Times. They've decided to publish an anti-Semitic diatribe written by the very confused Mr. Campbell. Their reasoning? They claim Campbell's letter begins a debate over plans by a local citizen to commemorate the Holocaust. Bennett A. Bramson of Snowmass, Colorado, stated in a letter to the Aspen Times (read here) :

Amongst my other activities, I now have two new missions in life, which I hope others will step up to join me in fulfilling:

1). Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley should have an annual community Holocaust commemoration on Yom Hashoah (unless on Shabbat), which I will gladly organize and serve as presenter, moderator or facilitator (at no cost), and;

2). We need to raise the money for a community Holocaust Memorial.
In response to this commendable wish, the editors of the Aspen Times saw fit to publish the following:

"Beginning a debate":

Regarding the May 3 (The Aspen Times and Aspen Daily News) by Bennett A. Bramson: Mr. Bramson, Jesus Christ had you and your ilk pegged about 2,000 years ago.

“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty, (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.’” — Revelation 2:9

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within they are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. So you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” — Matthew 23:27-28

“You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks according to his own nature, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” — John 8:44

“Fill up, then, the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?” — Matthew 23:32-33

In his video, “Cole in Auschwitz,” David Cole states: “This tape is the first in a series of tapes covering my September 1992 trip to Europe to investigate first-hand the sites of the alleged “Final Solution.” It is by no means intended to be the last word on the Holocaust controversy, but just the opposite: I hope this tape can begin an open debate that’s long overdue. … What is fact, and what is simple wartime propaganda regarding the event we have come to know as the Holocaust.”

By the way, Cole (a Jew) later recanted after threats from the Zionist thought police.

Steve Campbell
Glenwood Springs
I really don't know why the Aspen Times sees fit to publish this sort of hateful attack on Jews and Judaism. It does nothing to further the "debate" over Mr. Bramson's wish to commemorate the Holocaust. The "debate" is entirely of the Aspen Times' manufacture. Maybe they would like to elucidate their rationale for manufacturing such a debate and for publishing this gratuitous hate speech. If you wish to ask them personally, the publisher of the Aspen Times can be emailed here.

Personally, I believe that most of the citizens of Aspen, and maybe even Campbell's freiends in the "Roaring Fork Peace Coalition", don't give a roaring fork what Campbell has to say. But for some reason, the editors of the local paper continue to give him a forum to promote hate. They should stop.

UPDATE:

In 2006, the Aspen Times published an anti-Semitic letter from Campbell. This letter is still online here at the website of the Glenwood Post Independent, a sister publication of the Aspen Times . Warning: the letter features links to hate websites.

Campbell is also apparently working to publicize the writing of notorious anti-Semitic polemicist Ted Pike (read here and here).

Among Campbell's supporters are conspiracy nut David Icke (read here), neo-Nazi organization Stormfront (read here), and white supremacist Curt Maynard (read here).

Friday, May 30, 2008

Did Bush's "appeasement" speech refer to Obama?

This blog received the following comment:
Randy said...

Geo W Bush commented on the appeasement naming no one particularly. But Senator Obama retorted as if he were the object of the speech comments. This was only days before Jimmy Carter meeting with Hamas, so it could well have been former President Carter that Bush was pointing to without saying so.

Here's my response:
Adam Holland said...

Randy:

Thanks for your comment.

I've heard that argument made, but it has some problems. One problem: in the run-up to the speech, Bush aides were spinning the speech as an argument against Obama's proposed diplomacy with U.S. enemies. (I'm looking for the reports of this and will post them when I find them. If any readers of this blog know where those reports are, feel free to post them here.) Moreover, former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson published an editorial in the Washington Post the week before the speech which stated "By simultaneously embracing appeasement, protectionism and retreat, President Obama would manage to make Jimmy Carter look like Teddy Roosevelt." This piece also fantasizes an anti-Obama demonstration in Tel Aviv "(t)ens of thousands protest.. carrying signs reading 'Chamberlain Lives!'"(READ HERE)

After the speech, when objections were raised to the propriety of a sitting President campaigning oversees, especially in such negative terms, Bush aides began spinning in the opposite direction, saying that Obama WASN'T the target -- it was Jimmy Carter. The beauty part of that defense is that while it doesn't say that Obama isn't Neville Chamberlain, it implies that he is Jimmy Carter.

It really stretches credulity to claim that this isn't a deliberate attack on Obama. I just don't believe that Bush considers Carter that big an issue. Let's face facts: Carter is yesterday's news. Bush, and everyone else, is a lot more interested in the next President than that 70's guy.

May I say once and for all that argument by analogy, especially broadly drawn historical analogy (person A = person B) is so logically flawed as to be virtually useless. Let's analyze the underlying principles before declaring Obama to be Chamberlain and McCain to be Churchill. You must admit that that equation is frankly laughable.

And then there's this from the Huffington Post:

According to 29-year CIA veteran and former NSC official Bruce Riedel, Wednesday's announcement of joint peace negotiations between Israel and Syria revealed President Bush's diminished standing in Middle East affairs.

"Think of the irony," Riedel said. "George Bush goes to Jerusalem last week. He gives an impassioned speech about never dealing with nasty regimes [that sponsor terror]. He basically says 'don't make agreements that appease [them].' And less than a week later, the Israeli government announces it is engaged in peace negotiations with the Assad dictatorship in Syria. We're talking about a rather distasteful regime that likely had a hand in the murder of [former Lebanese Prime Minister] Rafik Hariri. I guess [Israeli Prime Minister] Ehud Olmert didn't think the speech was meant for him."

Washington State Greens promote "9/11 truth" conspiracy theories




Airplane wreckage near the Pentagon, 9/11/2001


In researching Washington State Green Party for a story on their advocacy of a deceptive referendum which would divest Seattle's pension fund from companies doing business in Israel (a story I hope to post soon), I was surprised to discover the extent to which they promote "9/11 truth" and other related conspiracy theories.

They have on their platform committee a working group devoted to "9/11 truth" (read here and here and here) which has succeeded in getting the national Green Party to consider a platform provision on that subject that seems likely to be approved. (Read that resolution here.) The resolution refers to "the purported crash of United Airlines Flight 93" and calls for an investigation by "impartial experts in the fields of physics, structural engineering (and) architecture".

The Washington State Greens' website features an essay called "9/11 Truth is THE Issue: A Lesson for Green Politics" by Richard Curtis, PhD. Curtis is adjunct professor of philosophy at Seattle University and a prominent member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, David Ray Griffin's group, and who also chairs the Green's "9/11 truth" working group. In addition to being an advocate for 9/11-related conspiracies, he's also an advocate of Pearl Harbor conspiracy theory (read here), arguing that FDR knew of the attack beforehand and let it happen to facilitate U.S. entry into the war. This extremely absurd belief, originated by "historical revisionist" / Holocaust denier Harry Elmer Barnes (read here) is common among "truthers". They are apparently unaware of how close Japan came to winning the war at Pearl Harbor. If the Japanese had destroyed our fuel supplies and aircraft carriers at Pearl Harbor, the U.S. very well might have lost the war in the Pacific. There is absolutely no way that risk would have been deliberately taken.

The failure of conspiracy theorists to consider the tremendous risks and minimal benefits of the inside jobs they imagine is just as true of 9/11 'inside job' conspiracies as well. Why would the Bush administration risk having an attack on the United States to start a war? Haven't these "9/11 truth" people ever heard of the Gulf of Tonkin? If the U.S. were seeking to create an illusory act of aggression as a pretext for a war, why would it have been an attack on New York and Washington, and not an attack on a U.S. aircraft or ship, or the border of an ally being breached, or something with fewer loose ends and risk of exposure. Not to mention, as evil as the conspiracy theorists believe our government to be, who would believe that they actually want that sort of harm to come to this country? Setting aside the innumerable errors of fact in their case, as well as the questionable (and always essential) belief that the conspiracy could be kept quiet, the "truther" theories never really give a plausible motive for taking such incredible risks when lesser ones would have been just as effective.

Dr. Curtis argues at length in his piece that the 9/11 "official conspiracy theory" was a lie generated by a corrupt two party system, thus linking the Green Party's reason for being (i.e. as an alternative to the two parties) with the "9/11 truth" movement. I strongly recommend that anyone considering support for the Greens or their proposals read this Green Party document (CLICK HERE) before they do so to get an indication of where the Greens are coming from.

The document connects 115 disparate assertions in "proving" that 9/11 was an inside job, but, amazingly, cites this website: (Serendipity: Geopolitics, Drugs, Religion, Music and More!) as its sole source. It contains several demonstrably false assertions, including several to the effect that no plane hit the Pentagon. It does not address the hundreds of witnesses who ACTUALLY SAW THE PLANE HIT THE PENTAGON INCLUDING AN A.P. REPORTER (read here). (No explanation for the missing passengers and crew of that flight is offered. In fact, in a debate with Chip Berlet on Democracy Now, David Ray Griffin himself was unable to defend his assertion that a missile and not a plane struck the Pentagon other than to say that his case was cumulative as opposed to deductive, and therefor not as weak as its weakest links (read here).

Curtis also falsely re-asserts the commonly believed falsehood that there was an unusual spike in put orders for stocks which would reasonably be expected to go down in price as the result of the attack, an argument which is addressed and DEBUNKED HERE. Curtis also implies that Zbignew Brzezinski was in with Bush on the conspiracy, an allegation I'm sure that Brzezinski would find very puzzling indeed.

Green Party supporters: feel free to contact me to let me know why I shouldn't think this stuff is just plain mishuga.

By the way, if you haven't read the transcript of David Ray Griffin's DEMOCRACY NOW! debate with Chip Berlet, you should. You really get a sense of the twisted logic and shoddy research underlying the "truth" movement. READ IT HERE. Read the Popular Mechanics webpage on the attack on the Pentagon HERE.

Halliburton Sold Nukes to Iran?

This story from last year is resurfacing now and it's well worth reading.

from Global Research.ca via Project Censored: : “Halliburton Secretly Doing Business With Key Member of Iran’s Nuclear Team,” Author: Jason Leopold

According to journalist Jason Leopold, sources at former Cheney company Halliburton allege that, as recently as January of 2005, Halliburton sold key components for a nuclear reactor to an Iranian oil development company. Leopold says his Halliburton sources have intimate knowledge of the business dealings of both Halliburton and Oriental Oil Kish, one of Iran’s largest private oil companies.

Additionally, throughout 2004 and 2005, Halliburton worked closely with Cyrus Nasseri, the vice chairman of the board of directors of Iran-based Oriental Oil Kish, to develop oil projects in Iran. Nasseri is also a key member of Iran’s nuclear development team. Nasseri was interrogated by Iranian authorities in late July 2005 for allegedly providing Halliburton with Iran’s nuclear secrets. Iranian government officials charged Nasseri with accepting as much as $1 million in bribes from Halliburton for this information.

Oriental Oil Kish dealings with Halliburton first became public knowledge in January 2005 when the company announced that it had subcontracted parts of the South Pars gas-drilling project to Halliburton Products and Services, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Halliburton that is registered to the Cayman Islands. Following the announcement, Halliburton claimed that the South Pars gas field project in Tehran would be its last project in Iran. According to a BBC report, Halliburton, which took thirty to forty million dollars from its Iranian operations in 2003, “was winding down its work due to a poor business environment.”

However, Halliburton has a long history of doing business in Iran, starting as early as 1995, while Vice President Cheney was chief executive of the company. Leopold quotes a February 2001 report published in the Wall Street Journal, “Halliburton Products and Services Ltd., works behind an unmarked door on the ninth floor of a new north Tehran tower block. A brochure declares that the company was registered in 1975 in the Cayman Islands, is based in the Persian Gulf sheikdom of Dubai and is “non-American.” But like the sign over the receptionist’s head, the brochure bears the company’s name and red emblem, and offers services from Halliburton units around the world.” Moreover mail sent to the company’s offices in Tehran and the Cayman Islands is forwarded directly to its Dallas headquarters.

In an attempt to curtail Halliburton and other U.S. companies from engaging in business dealings with rogue nations such as Libya, Iran, and Syria, an amendment was approved in the Senate on July 26, 2005. The amendment, sponsored by Senator Susan Collins R-Maine, would penalize companies that continue to skirt U.S. law by setting up offshore subsidiaries as a way to legally conduct and avoid U.S. sanctions under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA).

A letter, drafted by trade groups representing corporate executives, vehemently objected to the amendment, saying it would lead to further hatred and perhaps incite terrorist attacks on the U.S. and “greatly strain relations with the United States primary trading partners.” The letter warned that, “Foreign governments view U.S. efforts to dictate their foreign and commercial policy as violations of sovereignty often leading them to adopt retaliatory measures more at odds with U.S. goals.”

Collins supports the legislation, stating, “It prevents U.S. corporations from creating a shell company somewhere else in order to do business with rogue, terror-sponsoring nations such as Syria and Iran. The bottom line is that if a U.S. company is evading sanctions to do business with one of these countries, they are helping to prop up countries that support terrorism—most often aimed against America.

UPDATE BY JASON LEOPOLD

During a trip to the Middle East in March 1996, Vice President Dick Cheney told a group of mostly U.S. businessmen that Congress should ease sanctions in Iran and Libya to foster better relationships, a statement that, in hindsight, is completely hypocritical considering the Bush administration’s foreign policy.

“Let me make a generalized statement about a trend I see in the U.S. Congress that I find disturbing, that applies not only with respect to the Iranian situation but a number of others as well,” Cheney said. “I think we Americans sometimes make mistakes . . . There seems to be an assumption that somehow we know what’s best for everybody else and that we are going to use our economic clout to get everybody else to live the way we would like.”

Cheney was the chief executive of Halliburton Corporation at the time he uttered those words. It was Cheney who directed Halliburton toward aggressive business dealings with Iran—in violation of U.S. law—in the mid-1990s, which continued through 2005 and is the reason Iran has the capability to enrich weapons-grade uranium.

It was Halliburton’s secret sale of centrifuges to Iran that helped get the uranium enrichment program off the ground, according to a three-year investigation that includes interviews conducted with more than a dozen current and former Halliburton employees.

If the U.S. ends up engaged in a war with Iran in the future, Cheney and Halliburton will bear the brunt of the blame.
But this shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone who has been following Halliburton’s business activities over the past decade. The company has a long, documented history of violating U.S. sanctions and conducting business with so-called rogue nations.

No, what’s disturbing about these facts is how little attention it has received from the mainstream media. But the public record speaks for itself, as do the thousands of pages of documents obtained by various federal agencies that show how Halliburton’s business dealings in Iran helped fund terrorist activities there—including the country’s nuclear enrichment program.

When I asked Wendy Hall, a spokeswoman for Halliburton, a couple of years ago if Halliburton would stop doing business with Iran because of concerns that the company helped fund terrorism she said, “No.” “We believe that decisions as to the nature of such governments and their actions are better made by governmental authorities and international entities such as the United Nations as opposed to individual persons or companies,” Hall said. “Putting politics aside, we and our affiliates operate in countries to the extent it is legally permissible, where our customers are active as they expect us to provide oilfield services support to their international operations. “We do not always agree with policies or actions of governments in every place that we do business and make no excuses for their behaviors. Due to the long-term nature of our business and the inevitability of political and social change, it is neither prudent nor appropriate for our company to establish our own country-by-country foreign policy.”

Halliburton first started doing business in Iran as early as 1995, while Vice President Cheney was chief executive of the company and in possible violation of U.S. sanctions.

An executive order signed by former President Bill Clinton in March 1995 prohibits “new investments (in Iran) by U.S. persons, including commitment of funds or other assets.” It also bars U.S. companies from performing services “that would benefit the Iranian oil industry” and provide Iran with the financial means to engage in terrorist activity.

When Bush and Cheney came into office in 2001, their administration decided it would not punish foreign oil and gas companies that invest in those countries. The sanctions imposed on countries like Iran and Libya before Bush became president were blasted by Cheney, who gave frequent speeches on the need for U.S. companies to compete with their foreign competitors, despite claims that those countries may have ties to terrorism.

“I think we’d be better off if we, in fact, backed off those sanctions (on Iran), didn’t try to impose secondary boycotts on companies . . . trying to do business over there . . . and instead started to rebuild those relationships,” Cheney said during a 1998 business trip to Sydney, Australia, according to Australia’s Illawarra Mercury newspaper.

Iran Forming Islamic Revolution Guard Unit for Special Missile Projects?

from MEMRI Iranian Media Blog:

 IRGC commander Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari

Iran is considering establishing a special section within the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) for strengthening its missile projects, IRGC commander Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said on May 25.

Jafari mentioned that in line with changes in missile projects, a special and independent unit might become necessary, especially considering the "new conditions and form of threats."

He said, "An independent command may soon be established to strengthen the structure and improve the activity of our missile division."

The IRGC has in the recent months tested several missiles in military maneuvers, including new types of land-to-sea and sea-to-sea missiles whose range covers the entire Persian Gulf.

Source: Fars, Iran, May 27, 2008

Lebanese Militia Affiliated with Hizbullah Blows Up a Model of Israeli Nuclear Plant on TV

from MEMRI

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Yet Another Republican Won't Run for Fossella's Seat

The Republicans are having a heck of a time finding a candidate to run in New York's 13th CD, the one district within New York City previously considered to be solidly Republican.

from the
New York Times Blog

State Senator Andrew J. Lanza said today that he will not run for the Congressional seat now held by Representative Vito J. Fossella, a Republican who represents Staten Island and parts of Brooklyn.

The decision by Mr. Lanza, a Republican, is a blow to the leadership of his party in Staten Island, who had looked at him as their best hope in retaining the seat. The seat has been held by Republicans for 28 years and party officials are meeting tonight to determine who they will endorse.

Mr. Lanza said that he was concerned that being in Congress would offer too little time to be with his wife and three young children.

“At the end of the day, the overriding concern was my family,” Mr. Lanza said in an interview this afternoon. “My kids are in their formative years and I’ve talked to people in congress. And it’s clear that it would require that I would not be there during those formative years. I didn’t want to look back 10 years from now and count the hundreds of things I wouldn’t be there for with my kids when they need me the most.”

Mr. Fossella announced last week that he would not seek a sixth full term in November. He was arrested on May 1 on charges of driving while intoxicated and admitted soon after that he had fathered a daughter, who is now 3, out of wedlock.

With Mr. Lanza’s decision, the Republicans officials have no one to run from what they consider to be their A-list of party elected officials. In the days after Mr. Fossella’s arrest, City Councilman James S. Oddo, the Republican leader, said he would not run for Congress, but instead for Staten Island borough president next year.

Last week, Daniel M. Donovan Jr., the Staten Island district attorney, said he would not run, although he had been considered the Republican’s best hope. Later in the week, Stephen J. Fiala, the county clerk and commissioner for jurors for Staten Island and a former city councilman, also said he would not run.

For the last week, the speculation has centered on Mr. Lanza. But the senator has been under intense pressure from Republican leaders to remain in his current position in Albany. Had he run for Congress, Mr. Lanza would have been forced give up his State Senate seat at a time when the Democrats need to capture just two seats to take control of that chamber for the first time in 40 years.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What Obama's Uncle Charlie Saw

Comments made on Memorial Day by Barack Obama concerning his uncle's role as a liberator of a concentration camp in World War II have attracted considerable attention. Obama told the story of his great-uncle being among the liberators of a death camp he erroneously identified as Auschwitz (read here). Republican blogs (read here and here) immediately pounced, stating correctly that Auschwitz was liberated by the Red Army, and charging Obama with lying . Fox News followed suit, absurdly claiming that the fact that the uncle was in fact a great-uncle was scandalous (read here). The Obama campaign replied that, in fact, the story was true and that the concentration camp involved was a satellite camp of Buchenwald.

This news story revealed in some of Obama's opponents a sad lack of interest in the truth and willingness to distort an honest mistake into a deliberate lie. It also betrayed a lack of knowledge of the history of the Holocaust. The true history behind the story is so astounding and so important that it merits much more attention than this manufactured controversy. Anyone knowing the history of the liberation of the concentration camps would readily understand how the trauma of what he saw caused Senator Obama's uncle to isolate himself at home for several months after returning from the war. What he saw was the outside world's first view of what came to be called the Holocaust.

Obama's great-uncle Charles Payne served with the 89th Infantry Division (read here and here and here). Strictly speaking, this division didn't liberate either Auschwitz or Buchenwald. Obama's uncle Charlie was one of the liberators of Ohrdruf (read here and here), a subcamp of Buchenwald which was famous at the time both for being the first camp liberated by the Allies and because of the actions of General Eisenhower who visited the camp a week later. Eisenhower was said to be more deeply shocked and angered by what he saw there than by any other experience of the entire war.
Robert Abzug wrote the following in his book entitled "Inside the Vicious Heart" (read here):

Soon after seeing Ohrdruf, Eisenhower ordered every unit near by that was not in the front lines to tour Ohrdruf: "We are told that the American soldier does not know what he is fighting for. Now, at least, he will know what he is fighting against." Eisenhower felt it was essential not only for his troops to see for themselves, but for the world to know about conditions at Ohrdruf and other camps. From Third Army headquarters, he cabled London and Washington, urging delegations of officials and newsmen to be eye-witnesses to the camps. The message to Washington read: 'We are constantly finding German camps in which they have placed political prisoners where unspeakable conditions exist. From my own personal observation, I can state unequivocally that all written statements up to now do not paint the full horrors."


Survivors told Eisenhower prisoners were hung with piano wire



(Film of Generals Eisenhower, Omar Bradley and George Patton and other U.S. officers inspecting the camp is viewable online here and here.) Eisenhower also ordered that German civilians in the area tour the camp to see exactly what the Nazi regime had done.


Civilians from town of Ohrdruf were forced to view the bodies

Seeing these films and photographs and reading the following eyewitness accounts by some of the camp's liberators, one can see why what Obama's uncle saw at Ohrdruf was so traumatic.

from the website of the Society of the 89th Infantry Division of World War II: "Ohrdruf / Reimahg"

The 89th Infantry Division in World War II was the first unit to actually come upon a Nazi concentration camp. The discovery of the Ohrdruf camp, by the 89th Infantry Division, is memorialized in the Holocaust Museum located in Washington, DC.

Ohrdruf was a work camp, not an extermination camp, but the difference is difficult to discern. Prisoners were literally worked to death and disposed of by burning in incinerators, which was the most "cost-effective method". As the Allies approached, panic set in for the guards. Those inmates who couldn't walk were shot. Others were forced to march towards a "safe haven", with most of them dying in the effort. It was a horrible and unbelievable scene which seared its way into one's memory.

The following comments were written by Carl Peterson, President of the Division Society (read here):

The Ohrdruf hellhole was one of many sub camps of the nearby Buchenwald Concentration Camp outside (the town) of Weimar, Germany, which is located about 32 miles ENE from Ohrdruf. The Buchenwald camp had been established back in 1938. Buchenwald had it all including an execution facility and crematorium. From what I had been able to determine, the Ohrdruf Camp dated back to June of 1944, when 1000 men were sent there presumably from Buchenwald. These men were immediately put to work digging tunnels into the nearby hills. Gun emplacements and more tunnels were later built at a point eight miles from the camp at a place that had been set aside to become an underground headquarters for Adolph Hitler and his government. Some of the tunnels were designed to contain railroad tracks, which would allow a train from Berlin carrying Hitler, and key members of the government to be parked under ground. After five months only 200 of the original 1000 men remained alive due to very poor working conditions and shortage of food and proper clothing. However as time passed more and more inmates were provided from Buchenwald and other locations. As the hospital in Ohrdruf became jammed with sick, a series of "death transports" routinely and as often as twice a week were used to transport the dead to Buchenwald's crematorium. There are reports of a crematorium at Ohrdruf; however that effort came late and was primitive compared to the capability of the Buchenwald camp to dispose of dead bodies, and to dispose of very sick persons by injections followed by a trip to the crematorium. Some of the inmates were Yugoslav prisoners of war, a matter against the rules of international law. As of 25 March 1945, a report from Buchenwald reflects a total of 9943 inmates, about 6000 of whom were Jews, were at Ohrdruf all working on tunneling and construction of underground facilities. In early April of 1945, during the afternoon of April 5th, which was one day after the liberation of Ohrdruf, 9000 prisoners from Ohrdruf arrived at Buchenwald in desperate and starving condition, after a forced death march over the approximately 32 miles separating the two camps. Hundreds of others had collapsed along the route of march from weakness. They were shot without mercy by the SS. At Buchenwald, the Jews. if they could he identified, were immediately taken away for execution. By this time there was some open resistance at Buchenwald, which worked to the advantage of some of the Jews and others.

At Ohrdruf, generally the only inmates that remained as the American forces were closing in, were those who were unable to make the forced march to Buchenwald for a few reasons such as being too weak to do so. The SS was disposing of these inmates with a shot to the back of the head or neck; or in some reports, they had been machine gunned to death. However, earlier at Ohrdruf before the proximity of the American forces created panic: many inmates had been put to death by hanging, after which the bodies were shipped to Buchenwald for disposal. But in the panic situation of the pending liberation, bodies had been dumped into makeshift pits one of which was a crematorium which did not do its job very well - and became the object of photographs which some of us have seen and others have viewed the scene in person.
The following is from Bruce Nickols, one of the liberators of the camp (read here):

From the outside, the camp was unremarkable. It was surrounded by a high barbed wire fence and had a wooden sign which read, "Arbeit Macht Frei." The swinging gate was open, and a young soldier, probably an SS guard, lay dead diagonally across the entrance. The camp was located in the forest and was surrounded by a thick grove of pine and other conifers. The inside of the camp was composed of a large 100 yards square central area which was surrounded by one story barracks painted green which appeared to house 60-100 inmates.

As we stepped into the compound one was greeted by an overpowering odor of quick-lime, dirty clothing, feces, and urine. Lying in the center of the square were 60-70 dead prisoners clad in striped clothing and in disarray. They had reportedly been machine gunned the day before because they were too weak to march to another camp. The idea was for the SS and the prisoners to avoid the approaching U.S. Army and the Russians.

Adjacent to the "parade ground" was a small shed which was open on one side. Inside, were bodies stacked in alternate directions as one would stack cordwood, and each layer was covered with a sprinkling of quicklime. I did not see him, but someone told me that there had been a body of a dead American aviator in the shed. This place reportedly had been used for punishment, and the inmates were beaten on their back and heads with a shovel. My understanding is that all died following this abuse.

I visited some of the surrounding barracks and found live inmates who had hidden during the massacre. They were astounded and appeared to be struggling to understand what was happening. Some were in their 5 tier bunks and some were wandering about.

This was the first camp to be "liberated" by the Allied armies in Germany. Orhdruf was visited by Generals Eisenhower, Patton and Bradley and there are photographs of them observing the bodies of the machine-gunned inmates. According to Eisenhower, Patton had refused to visit the punishment shed, as he feared he would become ill. He did vomit at a later time.

Further into the camp was evidence of an attempt to exhume and burn large numbers of bodies. There was a gallows, although I really cannot remember whether I saw it or not. I don't remember leaving the camp. I recall being numb after seeing the camp. I had just turned 20 years old and I had read the biographical "Out of the Night." It was a pale and inadequate picture of a German concentration camp by a refugee German author.

I recall becoming very upset when we got back to our quarters, but the whole experience was far beyond my understanding. I wrote a letter to my parents describing the experience, which was read at a local gathering of businessmen. It was widely disbelieved.

American soldiers of the Fourth Armored Division survey the dead at Ohrdruf, a subcamp of the Buchenwald concentration camp. Germany, April 1945.

Soldiers of the U.S. Fourth Armored Division survey the dead at Ohrdruf, April 1945.

According to General George Patton's diary (read here):

It was the most appalling sight imaginable. In a shed . . . was a pile of about 40 completely naked human bodies in the last stages of emaciation. These bodies were lightly sprinkled with lime, not for the purposes of destroying them, but for the purpose of removing the stench.
When the shed was full--I presume its capacity to be about 200, the bodies were taken to a pit a mile from the camp where they were buried. The inmates claimed that 3,000 men, who had been either shot in the head or who had died of starvation, had been so buried since the 1st of January.



Americans view cremation pyre at Ohrdruf on April 13, 1945

Captain Alois Liethen, who was one of the first American soldiers to see the camp, wrote the following to his family in a letter dated April 13, 1945 (read here):


As long as I am writing a horror tale I might as well describe some of the people who were in charge of this camp. The commandant (a man whose name I knew bak (sic) in the states and who I am looking for now more than ever was an SS Hauptsturmfuhrer BRAULING, and his right hand man was another SS man by the name of STIBITZ. Their favorite pasttime together with one or two other camp officials was to go out to the burning pit with a bottle of whisky each where they would sit and watch the burning of the weeks accumlation (sic) of dead bodies while they joked and drank their whiskey. Personally, the stench of the pit was enough to drive me nuts and a bottle of whiskey might have been a good thing for me while I was there. I have smelled a lot of foul odors -- like out at the rendering works and other places -- but this one was the worst. Evidently they were in such a hurry that they didn't get enough tar and wood on the last pyre for there were about fifty half burned cadavers lying there in chars.

Here are some excerpts of a speech by Rabbi Murray Kohn, a survivor of the camp, to a reunion of the 89th Division (read here):

It has been recorded that in Ordruf itself the last days were a slaughterhouse. We were shot at, beaten and molested. At every turn went on the destruction of the remaining inmates -- indiscriminant criminal behavior. Some days before the first Americans appeared at the gates of Ordruf, the last retreating Nazi guards managed to execute with hand pistols, literally emptying their last bullets on whomever they encountered leaving them bleeding to death as testified by an American of the 37th Tank Battalion Medical section, 10 a.m. April 4, 1945...

I must tell you something about Crawinkle, (a satelite camp of Ordruf). It was recently discovered after the reunification of east and West Germany that in nearby Crawinkel, the Nazis were preparing the Fuhrerbunker, the final headquarters of Hitler from where he planned to strike a deal with the Americans to join in fighting the Red Army. We worked around the clock, the project was known as the Olga Project. We were excavating inside the hills a bunker. Ten thousand people died there and it was completed with rivers of blood right down to the cutlery to embellish Hitler's table.

Conclusion

The current U.S. presidential campaign has already featured the bizarre spectacle of President Bush, in a speech to the Knesset, drawing an analogy between Obama's desire for diplomacy with our enemies and Neville Chamberlain's abandonment of the Sudetenland. That sort of campaign by false historical analogy misuses history. Now we see the Republican campaign stoop to distortion and innuendo utterly misusing history again. I say to the Republicans look at the true history of the liberation of the camps in which Uncle Charlie took part and soberly reflect on the humanity involved. Anything less would be a disservice to those who suffered in the camps and to the troops who liberated them.

Rep. Brad Sherman: Cal. Campus Event Encourages Violence and Spreads Hate

Rep. Brad Sherman (whose 27th District encompasses a large swath of the San Fernando Valley) has spoken out against the University of California at Irvine’s Muslim Student Union hate Israel fest called "Never Again? The Palestinian Holocaust". Read his press release here.

Testimony: Olmert took $150,000 in bribes. Barak: Olmert should resign

from The New York Times: U.S. Businessman Testifies He Gave Olmert $150,000 Over 13 Years

Long Island businessman at the heart of a corruption case involving Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told an Israeli court on Tuesday that he gave about $150,000, mostly in cash stuffed into envelopes, to Mr. Olmert over the course of 13 years.

In testimony that is likely to embarrass the prime minister acutely at the very least, the businessman, Morris Talansky, said that much of the money was earmarked for election campaigns but that some was for Mr. Olmert’s personal expenses.

It included at least $25,000 in cash meant for a vacation in Italy and almost $5,000 to cover Mr. Olmert’s bill at a Washington hotel because Mr. Olmert’s own credit card was “maxed out,” Mr. Talansky said.

Some of the money was intended as a loan but has not been repaid “to this very day,” he said during seven hours of questioning at the Jerusalem District Court.

According to the prosecution, the money was provided between 1992, when Mr. Olmert first ran for mayor of Jerusalem, and late 2005, when Mr. Olmert was Israel’s minister of industry and trade. He became prime minister in early 2006.

Mr. Olmert, who is formally suspected of receiving illicit funds, has described the money as legitimate contributions for election campaigns and has emphatically denied ever taking a bribe. He has not been indicted in the case but has pledged to resign if charged.


from
The New York Sun: Defense Minister Barak Calls for Olmert's Ouster

Israel's defense minister said today he would use his considerable power to topple the coalition government if Prime Minister Olmert does not step aside to face corruption allegations.


Sounds like a death knell for the Kadima Labor coalition.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Washington State Greens promote "9/11 truth" conspiracy theories


Airplane wreckage near the Pentagon, 9/11/2001

[NOTE, June 30, 2009: the Washington State Green Party website is no longer fully funcitonal, so a number of the linked-to documents are no longer available. A notice at the Washington Green Party's URL (here, halfway down the page) states that the party itself is "dormant". I'm looking for archived copies of the linked-to material elsewhere. My apologies for the dead links below!]


In researching Washington State Green Party for a story on their advocacy of a deceptive referendum which would divest Seattle's pension fund from companies doing business in Israel (a story I hope to post soon), I was surprised to discover the extent to which they promote "9/11 truth" and other related conspiracy theories.

They have on their platform committee a working group devoted to "9/11 truth" (read here and here and here) which has succeeded in getting the national Green Party to consider a platform provision on that subject that seems likely to be approved. (Read that resolution here.) The resolution refers to "the purported crash of United Airlines Flight 93" and calls for an investigation by "impartial experts in the fields of physics, structural engineering (and) architecture".

The Washington State Greens' website features an essay called "9/11 Truth is THE Issue: A Lesson for Green Politics" by Richard Curtis, PhD. Curtis is adjunct professor of philosophy at Seattle University and a prominent member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth, David Ray Griffin's group who also chairs the Green's "9/11 truth" working group. In addition to being an advocate for 9/11-related conspiracies, he's also an advocate of Pearl Harbor conspiracy theory (read here), arguing that FDR knew of the attack beforehand and let it happen to facilitate U.S. entry into the war. This extremely absurd belief, originated by "historical revisionist" / Holocaust denier Harry Elmer Barnes (read here) is common among "truthers". They are apparently unaware of how close Japan came to winning the war at Pearl Harbor. If the Japanese had destroyed our fuel supplies and aircraft carriers at Pearl Harbor, the U.S. very well might have lost the war in the Pacific. There is absolutely no way that risk would have been deliberately taken.

The failure of conspiracy theorists to consider the tremendous risks and minimal benefits of the inside jobs they imagine is just as true of 9/11 'inside job' conspiracies as well. Why would the Bush administration risk having an attack on the United States to start a war? Haven't these "9/11 truth" people ever heard of the Gulf of Tonkin? If the U.S. were seeking to create an illusory act of aggression as a pretext for a war, why would it have been an attack on New York and Washington, and not an attack on a U.S. aircraft or ship, or the border of an ally being breached, or something with fewer loose ends and risk of exposure. Not to mention, as evil as the conspiracy theorists believe our government to be, who would believe that they actually want that sort of harm to come to this country? Setting aside the innumerable errors of fact in their case, as well as the questionable (and always essential) belief that the conspiracy could be kept quiet, the "truther" theories never really give a plausible motive for taking such incredible risks when lesser ones would have been just as effective.

Dr. Curtis argues at length in his piece that the 9/11 "official conspiracy theory" was a lie generated by a corrupt two party system, thus linking the Green Party's reason for being (i.e. as an alternative to the two parties) with the "9/11 truth" movement. I strongly recommend that anyone considering support for the Greens or their proposals read this Green Party document (CLICK HERE [NOTE: the Washington State Green Party website is no longer fully funcitonal, so this document is unavailable. A notice at their URL states that the party itself is "dormant". I'm looking for archived copies of the linked-to material.]) before they do so to get an indication of where the Greens are coming from.

The document connects 115 disparate assertions in "proving" that 9/11 was an inside job, but, amazingly, cites this website: (Serendipity: Geopolitics, Drugs, Religion, Music and More!) as its sole source. It contains several demonstrably false assertions, including several to the effect that no plane hit the Pentagon. It does not address the hundreds of witnesses who ACTUALLY SAW THE PLANE HIT THE PENTAGON INCLUDING AN A.P. REPORTER (read here). (No explanation for the missing passengers and crew of that flight is offered. In fact, in a debate with Chip Berlet on Democracy Now, David Ray Griffin himself was unable to defend his assertion that a missile and not a plane struck the Pentagon other than to say that his case was cumulative as opposed to deductive, and therefor not as weak as its weakest links (read here). I spite of this, he and his associates such as Curtis still make these baseless allegations.)

Curtis also falsely re-asserts the commonly believed falsehood that there was an unusual spike in put orders for stocks which would reasonably be expected to go down in price as the result of the attack, an argument which is addressed and DEBUNKED HERE. Curtis also implies that Zbignew Brzezinski was in with Bush on the conspiracy, an allegation I'm sure that Brzezinski would find very puzzling indeed.

Green Party supporters: feel free to contact me to let me know why I shouldn't think this stuff is just plain mishuga.

By the way, if you haven't read the transcript of David Ray Griffin's DEMOCRACY NOW! debate with Chip Berlet, you should. You really get a sense of the twisted logic and shoddy research underlying the "truth" movement. READ IT HERE. Read the Popular Mechanics webpage on the attack on the Pentagon HERE.

Iran still developing nuclear weapons

from the New York Times: Atomic Monitor Signals Concern Over Iran’s Work:

The International Atomic Energy Agency, in an unusually blunt and detailed report, said Monday that Iran’s suspected research into the development of nuclear weapons remained “a matter of serious concern” and that Iran continued to owe the agency “substantial explanations.”

The nine-page report accused the Iranians of a willful lack of cooperation, particularly in answering allegations that its nuclear program may be intended more for military use than for energy generation.

Part of the agency’s case hinges on 18 documents listed in the report and presented to Iran that, according to Western intelligence agencies, indicate the Iranians have ventured into explosives, uranium processing and a missile warhead design — activities that could be associated with constructing nuclear weapons.

“There are certain parts of their nuclear program where the military seems to have played a role,” said one senior official close to the agency, who spoke on the condition of anonymity under normal diplomatic constraints. He added, “We want to understand why.”

The atomic energy agency’s report highlights the amount of work still to be done before definitive conclusions about the nature of the program can be made, a task that the official associated with the agency said would require months.

(...)

Iran has dismissed the documents as “forged” or “fabricated,” claimed that its experiments and projects had nothing to do with a nuclear weapons program and refused to provide documentation and access to its scientists to support its claims.

The report also makes the allegation that Iran is learning to make more powerful centrifuges that are operating faster and more efficiently, the product of robust research and development that have not been fully disclosed to the agency.

That means that the country may be producing enriched uranium — which can be used to make electricity or to produce bombs — faster than expected at the same time as it a replaces its older generation of less reliable centrifuges. Some of the centrifuge components have been produced by Iran’s military, said the report, prepared by Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the agency, which is the United Nations nuclear monitor.

The report makes no effort to disguise the agency’s frustration with Iran’s lack of openness. It describes, for example, Iran’s installation of new centrifuges, known as the IR-2 and IR-3 (for Iranian second and third generations) and other modifications at its site at Natanz, as “significant, and as such should have been communicated to the agency.”

The agency also said that during a visit in April, it was denied access to sites where centrifuge components were being manufactured and where research of uranium enrichment was being conducted.

The report does not say how much enriched uranium the Iranians are now producing, but the official connected to the agency said that since December, it was slightly less than 150 kilograms, or 330 pounds, about double the amount they were producing during the same period about 18 months ago.

“The Iranians are certainly being confronted with some pretty strong evidence of a nuclear weapons program, and they are being petulant and defensive,” said David Albright, a former weapons inspector who now runs the Institute for Science and International Security. “The report lays out what the agency knows, and it is very damning. I’ve never seen it laid out quite like this.”

Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the atomic energy agency, however, said that the report vindicated Iran’s nuclear activities. It “is another document that shows Iran’s entire nuclear activities are peaceful,” the semi-official Fars News Agency quoted him as saying.


read the rest here




Monday, May 26, 2008

Iran promotes Holocaust denial in the U.K. (part 2)

from the great blog Harry’s Place » PressTV: Britain’s Neo-Nazi Broadcaster:

The more I look at PressTV, the more it becomes clear that the secondary function - beyond promoting the interests of the regime behind Ahmadinejad - is to promulgate neo-Nazi material.

The European far Right doesn’t get much play in the British media. Because fascist politics in this country is very much a fringe pastime, the zany theories advanced by neo-Nazis tend to be given the “skateboarding duck” treatment. Quite properly, they’re not treated seriously: because they’re not serious arguments and those advancing them are not serious people.

A case in point is “Lady” Renouf: a David Irving groupie who was in her youth a glamour model of some sort. In recent years, Renouf has been active in forging links between the British far Right and the Islamic Republic, which has emerged as a state sponsor of Holocaust denial. She is also part of a group which calls itself the “New Right“, which brings together fascists (including BNP officers) with members of Islamist groups, including the Islamic Party of Britain, whose board includes Dr Mohammed “Dancing Cows” Naseem, one of the most senior members of RESPECT.

All this is, I admit, all pretty obscure. I expect that very few people have heard of Renouf and the various nutters and bigots who populate the circles in which she moves. That is wholly understanding. This is trainspottery stuff.

Not for PressTV, of course. Renouf and the Government of Iran are bedfellows: so for PressTV, she is an insightful pundit.

PressTV, which promotes and endorses the lies of the neo-Nazi Nicholas Kollerstrom also repeatedly features Renouf as a guest on their shows. Indeed, Renouf boasts that she played the key role in getting PressTV to shill for Kollerstrom.

About to appear herself on a Press TV live panel discussion Lady Renouf suggested to the channel, which at last offers UK viewers a democratic choice of information sources, that they interview Dr Kollestrom, who had been persecuted by the mainstream media, thus to provide him with some redress for the vilification and libel he has recently suffered following his scientific article published on a U.S. website.

On 14th May the channel duly filmed an interview with the science historian Dr Kollerstrom and a second interview with Lady Renouf, who provided the background regarding the stark contrast between the open democratic approach she had experienced at the Tehran conference, as compared to the tyrannical and closed programme of this year’s government sponsored Berlin conference, where no revisionist was invited - though the conference was supposed to be all about revisionists and their (source) criticism.

nk-mr.jpg

Kollerstrom and Renouf

None of this is at all surprising. PressTV takes the views of neo-Nazis seriously. As the British propaganda arm of the Iranian Government, it regards neo-Nazis as allies.

I do not think that PressTV should be shut down by Government edict. If neo-Nazis want to broadcast their lies, then the State should not stand in their way. The British National Party has its own “BNP TV” virtual station on Youtube. PressTV is merely a better funded version of that station, with shows fronted by Andrew Gilligan.

I do think, however, that the British Government should take the following action. First, steps should be taken to prevent the flow of funds from Iran to PressTV in the United Kingdom. Iran is already subject to extensive financial sanctions. A simple amendment to the existing legislation should ensure that Iran’s propaganda arm operates from overseas, and not from within this country.

Secondly, non-UK nationals who are involved in this station should be deported, and new recruits should be prevented from entering this country. Great Britain can do very well without the presence of Iranians who have clearly come to this country in order to “foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence” by establishing a TV station which pumps out racist lies. This Government excluded hatemongers, Qaradawi and Feiglin. It should use that power again, here.

Mary Lefkowitz' battle against a bigot

from the Telegraph: Race Odyssey: history in black and white (Michael Burleigh reviews History Lesson: A Race Odyssey by Mary Lefkowitz)

For several decades, universities on both sides of the Atlantic have not been pleasant places to work.

Since the 1960s, humanities and social science faculties have been the last redoubt of the Left, whether in its Marxist totalitarian or post-modernist, multicultural incarnations. Academics have been allowed to have their way in imposing a stifling political correctness.

However, their parallel subjection to market forces, increasingly litigious students, or in America, aggressive groups that monitor on-campus ideological biases, has not diminished their sense of professional resentment.

This darker climate is reflected in successive literary representations of the modern academy. David Mamet's play Oriana or Philip Roth's novel The Human Stain evoke a much nastier world than that of Kingsley Amis's Lucky Jim or David Lodge's Howard Kirk, since issues of gender and race were involved.

Occasionally, what many academics suffer in aggrieved silence hits the newspapers or, increasingly, the courts. Life as it pullulates under the rock briefly sees the light of day.

Mary Lefkowitz is a retired classicist who until recently taught at Wellesley College, a women's liberal arts college in Massachusetts. Her troubles involved an Afro-Caribbean colleague called Anthony Martin from the Africana Studies department. By all accounts, he had done much to advance the careers of young black women under his tutelage.

One evening in October 1991, Martin was part of a group reading Twelfth Night in a college hall. He wanted to pee. On his re-ascent from the men's room, Professor Martin was stopped by a student dorm officer, one Michelle Plantec, who had been trained to ask all non-resident visitors: 'Excuse me, sir, who are you with?' This seemingly straightforward challenge, evidently heavy with undertones that Martin was similarly attuned to spot, prompted the professor to respond by screaming at Plantec that she was 'a f---ing bitch, a racist and a bigot'.

Faced with the on-campus black caucus that soon lined up against her, Plantec had a nervous breakdown and left Wellesley.

Meanwhile, Professor Lefkowitz was becoming increasingly concerned about how Afrocentric ideology was corrupting Classics. She wrote a prominent review of Martin Bernal's book Black Athena, which had absurdly claimed that the cultural and philosophical achievements of ancient Greece had been filched from the ancient Egyptians who had really been black 'Africans'.

Her demolition of the notion of a 'stolen legacy' outraged black activist academics, including Professor Martin.

Lefkowitz fuelled the flames by querying whether one of Martin's own Africana Studies courses should be re-titled 'Africans in the Greek and Roman world', rather than 'Africans in Greece and Rome'.

She was also astonished when, in the interests of a quiet life, a Dean remarked: 'He has his view of ancient history, and you have yours,' a relativist view that took no cognisance of Lefkowitz's 30 years in the field, or that Martin was an expert on the radical nationalist Marcus Garvey rather than Homer.

This dispute about the wording of a course description soon involved one of the less explored varieties of racism in America - namely that many middle-class blacks hate Jews, although anecdotal evidence suggests that this is not an entirely one-way street.

Lefkowitz discovered that recommended reading for one of Martin's courses included an anti-Semitic tract that accused the Jews of involvement in the slave trade.

Since the Germans had 'compensated' Jews for the Holocaust, shouldn't Jews pay reparations for their (non-existent) role in an 'equal' abomination?

As animosities deepened, Lefkowitz attracted the support of local and national Jewish organisations, while Martin upped the ante with a book called The Jewish Onslaught: Despatches from the Wellesley Battlefront.

This act of anti-Semitic mania resulted in Martin not receiving an annual pay rise, although he did become a celebrity speaker on the black campus circuit where such views were commonplace. If the boot had been on the other foot, one suspects that Lefkowitz would have been fired.

A Hull graduate and Gray's Inn barrister by training, Martin sued Lefkowitz for malicious libel - in an article she had raked up the old incident with Ms Plantec - and Wellesley College for racial discrimination in refusing him a merit award.

After several years in the courts, Martin's various suits were summarily dismissed. He has since retired to Trinidad, whence he bobs up on the Holocaust denial circuit.

Lefkowitz herself has become a noteworthy cause, like David Irving's nemesis, Deborah Lipstadt.

Wellesley College shares a home state with Salem, which was also famous for witch hunts. Nowadays they seem to take the form of marshalling advocacy groups, alumni, student claques, rival gangs of colleagues and clients, and ultimately lawyers, newspapers, student informers and spies.

Lefkowitz's enthralling little book reveals far more about this sordid world than she, as an insider, probably realises.


Friday, May 23, 2008

UK prepared to pull out of Durban II if it replays previous bias

from The Jewish Chronicle (London)

Britain would pull out of the so-called “Durban II” conference on racism if it descends into another round of attacks on Israel and thinly veiled antisemitism.

Europe Minister Jim Murphy told MPs that while Britain would continue to work towards making the conference a success, he promised that a repeat of the blatant bias of the conference in 2001 would not be tolerated.

The first conference — the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Tolerance, to give its official title — was held in Durban in 2001.

A review of that event — a meeting whose shorthand name is “Durban II” — is due to take place next year, although no venue has been selected yet.

Preparatory work has begun, and suspicions about the direction it will take have already been aroused because one session took place during Passover, and another is scheduled to take place on Yom Kippur.

Answering a question from John Mann (Labour, Bassetlaw) and Tim Boswell (Con, Daventry), chair of the parliamentary All-Party Antisemitism group, about preparations for Durban II, Mr Murphy said: “The preparatory work [for the review conference] is ongoing, but there should be no repeat of the disgraceful antisemitism that blighted events surrounding the 2001 world conference against racism.”

Mr Mann said that “with Libya chairing the preparatory committee and Cuba and Iran supporting it as officers, the signs are not good”.

He sought assurance from Mr Murphy that “if there is even the slightest whiff of anything comparable” to what happened at the conference, Britain would not take part.

Mr Murphy reiterated: “I wish to be clear that the UK government will play no part in a gathering that displays such behaviour. We will continue to work to make sure that the conference is a success, but we will play no part in an international conference that exhibits the degree of antisemitism that was disgracefully on view on the previous occasion.”

Both Canada and Israel have said already that they will not take part in the review conference. France’s President, Nicolas Sarkozy, has said France would try to curb the “excesses and abuses” of the first one.

Iraq Contractors Fail To Comply With Fraud Regulations

from the AP via The Huffington Post:Audit: 98% Of Iraq Contractors Failed To Comply With Fraud Regulations

n internal audit of some $8 billion paid to U.S. and Iraqi contractors found that nearly every transaction failed to comply with federal laws or regulations aimed at preventing fraud, in some cases lacking even basic invoices explaining how the money was spent.

Of the money paid during a five-year period _ from 2001 through 2006 _ $7.8 billion in payments skirted billing rules with some violations egregious enough to invite potential fraud, warned the Defense Department's inspector general.

The findings provided fresh fodder for anti-war Democrats, who say the Bush administration has turned a blind eye to the problem of corruption and fraud by relying too heavily on contractors to manage the war.

"There is something very wrong when our wounded troops have to fill out forms in triplicate for meal money while billions of dollars in cash are handed out in Iraq with no accountability," said Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Results of the investigation were released at a committee hearing on Thursday, the same day the House approved legislation by Waxman intended to strengthen anti-fraud measures and increase transparency in contracting. Waxman's bill was passed as part of a major military policy bill, which authorizes $601.4 billion in defense spending.

In its report, the IG estimated the Army made more than 180,000 commercial payments from stations in Iraq, Kuwait and Egypt in the five-year period. The payments were made for various supplies and services, including bottled water, food and trucks.

In one example, $11 million was paid to a U.S. company without any record of what goods or services were provided, the IG wrote.

Overall, investigators estimated that the Army made some $1.4 billion in commercial payments that lacked even minimum supporting documentation, such as a certified voucher or invoice.

"Payments that are not properly supported do not provide the necessary assurance that funds were used as intended," the IG concluded.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

'Turner Diaries' published in Czech Republic

from Romea.cz - Romanies (Gypsies) on-line: Romano Vodi: "Czech police investigating publishing of Nazis's bible"

Czech police will start investigating the publishing in the Czech Republic of the Turner Diaries that experts consider the bible of world neo-Nazism, criminal police spokeswoman Pavla Kopecka told CTK today.

She said police experts on extremism had monitored the publication of the book. "We learnt that the book containing harmful information was published in the Czech Republic from the media," Kopecka said.

Police will investigate whether the publisher has committed a crime, she added.

The Turner Diaries, written in 1978 by William Luther Pierce, leader of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, depicts a violent revolution in the United States which leads to the overthrow of the United States government and, ultimately, to the extermination of all Jews and non-whites.

So far the book was legally published only in the United States and now in the Czech Republic.

However, the book has been banned in many countries, for instance in Germany, and even its possession is considered a crime. In Germany the book should not be even mentioned in the media.

Political observer Zdenek Zboril says the book is based on strong white racism and anti-Semitism and expresses great admiration of Nazism. It is also dangerous because it is directed against the system as a whole, Zbvoril said.

In the Czech Republic the book is being distributed by the Kosmas publishing house.

However, it was published by the Kontingent printing house that was probably established only for this purpose because the book is so far the only one it printed.

Book publisher Lukas Jirotka says he is fighting against neo-Nazism by publishing the book. He denied that he wanted to promote neo-Nazism and said that on the contrary, he wanted to point to the danger posed by radicals.

There is a big interest in the book in Czech bookshops and Kosmas also offers it on the Internet with the following note: "The content of the book reflects its author's racism and his extreme right conviction."

Kosmas says the book is one of the most popular among far right extremists around the world though it is not much readable.

"The text whose author had been a long-standing activist with the history of membership in many racist and neo-Nazi groups at the time of its first publication in 1978 already reflects the ideology and goals of these people and their movement," Kosmas said.

In the past, the Czech police also dealt with the publication of Hitler's Mein Kampf by Michal Zitko in 2000.

Zitko was charged but the court proceedings lasted five years and he was finally acquitted of the charges.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

British Fascists Reach Out to European Counterparts

from Lancaster Unity: Disquiet in the BNP over a strange invitation

Some longstanding members of the BNP have been asking why Nick Griffin, the BNP leader, took time out from the election campaign only three days before polling day to attend a secret meeting in London with three leading European extremist politicians, one of whom has a recent conviction for Holocaust denial.

Initially billed as a press conference, its true purpose seems to have been to further Griffin’s ambition to become a Member of the European Parliament by building links with far-right MEPs.

The meeting had been organised by Arthur Kemp, the former agent for the South African apartheid regime and now keeper of the BNP’s ideological Holy Grail. Making the arrangements on behalf of the visitors was Georg Mayer, a senior officer in the Austrian Freedom Party. Mayer had also acted as the spokesperson for the short-lived Identity Tradition Sovereignty (ITS) group in the European Parliament until its collapse late last year when five ultra-nationalist Romanian MEPs walked out in protest at anti-Romanian remarks by their Italian colleague Alessandra Mussolini, the dictator’s granddaughter.

Their ill-conceived plan was to send out invitations to the media to attend the press conference only a short time in advance. Initially three MEPs were down to attend, then fairly late in the day Marie-Rose Morel, a member of the Flemish Parliament for the extreme-right Vlaams Belang (Flemish Interest) and former Flemish beauty queen, said she would come along too.

The star guests were to be Bruno Gollnisch, a French MEP and vice president of the far-right National Front, and Andreas Mölzer, an Austrian MEP and leading member of the Austrian Freedom Party.

Their presence revealed the true face of the BNP and confirmed Griffin’s continued failure to break away from Holocaust denial and antisemitism. In January 2007 a French court handed Gollnisch a three-month suspended prison sentence and fined him €5,000 (£4,000) for denying the Holocaust. The court in Lyon found he had “disputed a crime against humanity” in remarks he made during a news conference in the city in October 2004.

Gollnisch, who was chair of the ITS group, had questioned the number of Jews who died in the Holocaust and said the “existence of the gas chambers is for historians to discuss”.

Mölzer is the publisher of Zur Zeit, an Austrian political magazine in which racism, antisemitism and xenophobia are staple features. Its recent promotion of openly Nazi and antisemitic books prompted the Berlin weekly Junge Freiheit, on which Zur Zeit was originally modelled, to sever all connections. All that did not stop Griffin giving an interview to Zur Zeit earlier this year, in which he assured Mölzer of his firm belief in “nationalist cooperation” to deal with the “Islamic threat” and “the tide of Third World immigration” and to oppose the entry of Turkey into the EU.

The third MEP who was due to come was Philip Claeys, a VB MEP who was the vice-chair of the ITS. He did not want to show his face at the press conference but was keen to join a private meeting.

Claeys had previous links with the British far right. In May 2005 he addressed a conference organised by Right Now!, a now-defunct magazine that claimed to be the “voice of the patriotic and conservative Right”. It was Right Now! that hosted a column by Nick Eriksen, who at the beginning of April was forced to stand down as number two on the BNP’s list of candidates for the London Assembly to save the BNP from further bad publicity over his despicable views on rape expressed on his blog.

Writing in Right Now! under the name “John Bull” Eriksen maintained that voting BNP represents the “only solution” to remedy the current malaise in Conservative politics. BNP members regularly attended the magazine’s conferences and no doubt listened avidly to Claeys railing against Islam in general and Turkey in particular.

Arrangements for the press conference were proceeding in secret, though not without Searchlight’s knowledge through one of our main moles in the BNP hierarchy. What puzzled us was why, at a time when the BNP was trying to shed its antisemitic image in a bid to win Jewish votes, the party leadership should want to parade a bunch of Holocaust deniers before the media.

But Kemp had made a fatal mistake, possibly intentionally, in his choice of Jason Douglas to pick up the guests from the station in his black cab. This decision had also surprised some party members who know what a loose tongue Douglas has. Douglas, a convicted football hooligan, runs three BNP groups in east London.

The BNP had been attempting to play on what it sees as historic enmity between the Jewish and Muslim communities. But Jewish organisations had denounced the BNP’s advances and were giving strong support to calls by the HOPE not hate campaign for a high turnout of Jewish voters against the BNP in the London and other local elections.

Then suddenly despite weeks of secrecy, Simon Darby, the BNP’s press officer and deputy leader, used his blog to announce on 24 April that the party was “honoured to be playing host to a special press conference to be held on the afternoon of Monday 28th April 2008” with “a number of guests from allied Parties from Europe”. He even named Gollnisch and Mölzer.

Had Darby boobed? Two days later the BNP had pulled the plug on the press conference, with Darby lamely declaring: “It looks like we’ve lost the venue, but our foreign friends have been most understanding about this.”

Searchlight was unconvinced, believing this to be a smokescreen to cover up Darby’s breach of security in publicising the event so far in advance. Other senior figures in the BNP then tried to reinforce the claim that the meeting was off.

Sure enough, in the early afternoon of 28 April, Gollnisch, Mölzer and Mayer arrived at St Pancras International station on the Eurostar and were whisked off, not to a press conference but to a private meeting with Griffin. They were two short. Claeys, already nervous, had pulled out as had Morel, so it was just the beasts without the beauty.

Searchlight later tracked down the visitors at the plush Rembrandt Hotel in South Kensington where they were staying. By that time, Griffin had already sped off into the night.

The hotel confirmed the three men’s presence and a Searchlight reporter had an illuminating telephone conversation with Mayer before he caught the 8.05am Eurostar back home the next morning.

So what was Griffin playing at? Is he so consumed with his desire to join these latter-day fascists in the European Parliament next year that he did not care what damage exposure of such a meeting might have done to the electoral chances of Richard Barnbrook, the BNP’s lead candidate for the London Assembly? Such selfishness would be typical of Griffin.

Some senior and very angry BNP officers think the whole thing was set up by the intelligence services to discredit the party on the eve of the election. Perhaps that is something Colin Auty, who is challenging Griffin for the party leadership, might like to investigate.

One thing we can be sure about is the sort of disgusting company Griffin intends to keep if ever he does manage to make it to the European Parliament.


Hat tip: lgf:Eurofascists Jockeying for Legitimacy
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Jews in annual pilgrimage to Africa's oldest synagogue


from AFP via Yahoo News:


Jews from around the world arrived on the Tunisian island of Djerba on Wednesday for an annual pilgrimage to Africa's oldest synagogue, with organisers expecting a significant jump in participants.

"Visitors have been arriving by the hundreds since Sunday to take advantage of a longer stay on the island, and there will be about 6,000 for the big day," organiser Perez Trabelsi said of Thursday's events at the Ghriba shrine.

They arrived amid heavy security, however, with authorities seeking to prevent an attack similar to the one carried out by a suicide bomber at the site in 2002 that killed 21 people.

Police set up barricades, while an electronic gate filtered visitors entering the area around the sacred site, believed to be 2,500 years old.

The total number of pilgrims in Djerba, which is popular with tourists, is expected to be 40 percent higher than last year, including a record 1,500 from Israel, said Trabelsi. The number of visitors dropped sharply after the 2002 attack.

Most, or some 4,000, will come from France, while others are due from Italy, Britain, Germany and Canada.

Tourism minister Khalil Laajimi was expected in Djerba to welcome the pilgrims and pay homage to Tunisia's Jewish community.

The Jewish community in Tunisia is still one of the largest in the Arab world but its numbers have dropped from 100,000 on independence from France in 1956 to round 1,500 today. Most emigrated to France or Israel.

Nearly half of those who remain live in Djerba.

The April 2002 attack just before the pilgrimage saw a suicide bomber ram the wall of the synagogue with a lorry laden with natural gas, which blew up killing 14 German tourists, five Tunisians and two French visitors.

The Al-Qaeda network claimed responsibility for the attack, which brought the flow of foreign pilgrims down from around 1,500 in 2001 to about 200 in 2002.

(Read more here and here and here.)








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