Thursday, December 31, 2009

The madness of Michael Scheuer

Michael Scheuer, who headed the CIA's so-called "bin Laden unit" during the Clinton presidency and in that role helped develop and put into practice "extraordinary rendition", has taken a trajectory toward increasingly radical and, frankly, batty thinking in recent years. That may explain his attraction to the equally batty Ron Paul, for whose 2008 presidential campaign Scheuer served as chief foreign policy adviser and legitimacy fig leaf. Scheuer's ideas on foreign policy now sometimes encompass contradictory extremes concerning the United States' role in the world -- a sort of cognitive dissonance tolerable only to an ideologue with an inflated opinion of his own abilities. Thus Scheuer the advocate for American exceptionalism and extraordinary rendition is also Scheuer the critic of American intervention who blames the United States for creating terrorism. His latest piece, published on Antiwar.com, is a case in point. It's title alone speaks volumes about Scheuer's confusion: Barack Obama, Interventionist and Ultimate Jihadi Hero. Here's a quote:

Then there is Iran. Listening to Obama as he spoke gave the impression that he was eager to get the Detroit-attack stuff out of the way so he could rhetorically intervene in Iran’s internal affairs. Joining with our allies — read other Western interventionists and pawns of Israel — Obama said he wanted to condemn the Tehran regime’s at-times-lethal crackdown on opposition demonstrators. He said that Ahmadinejad and the ruling clerics were trampling on the "universal rights" of Iranians, and that such actions must stop. There are, of course, no universal political rights; this idea is the pipedream of Western secular intellectuals and interventionists, and is part and parcel of the interventionist nonsense Obama included in his Nobel speech about the "perfectibility" of the human condition through the efforts of "enlightened" men and women.

Obama’s mind is emerging as a mind filled with war-causing secular theology of the French Revolution. That revolution was all about enlightened leaders "perfecting" the common man for what the revolutionary elite deemed to be his own good, and using the vehicles of government edict, fanatic secularism, and force to do so. (Sounds a bit like the universal health-care plan, doesn’t it?) The French Revolution went on to father Hitler, Stalin, the Khmer Rouge, and other mass-murdering regimes. In the American context, the revolution’s impact has been the slow but increasingly complete replacement of the Founders’ sturdy non-interventionism — which recognized the pivotal and necessary role religion plays in all polities — by our current bipartisan elite’s obsession with interfering in other peoples’ internal affairs, especially if those internal affairs are interwoven with religion. For Obama and most members of our governing elite, today’s Iran fairly screams for Western intervention to break the mullahs’ backs and install secularism; to destroy an Israeli foe and ensure AIPAC funds to continue to flow into their pockets; and to make them feel good about themselves, no matter the cost to Americans and their children.


Bad writing doesn't always reflect bad ideas, but in this case that connection is clear. Let's take the errors in that excerpt in order:

1) President Obama's reaction to the attempted airline bombing in Detroit has not been to avoid dealing with it, as Scheuer and others on the right (such as Dick Cheney) contend. The president has ordered immediate reviews of the errors which allowed the bomber to get a visa and board a plane with a bomb before issuing an official, in-depth response. That decision to get as much information about the issue as quickly as possible before he acts seems a wise one for any leader in such a situation, regardless of their ideological orientation. (The previous administration had no need for such a deliberative process considering that they predetermined their course of action before a review of facts. Their only consideration was how to sell that decision to the public in light of those facts.) When President Obama does issue a comprehensive official statement on the attack, such pointless criticisms as those made by Scheuer, Cheney, etc. will disappear to be replaced, no doubt, by other criticisms similarly motivated mostly by a desire to sling mud. Such criticisms really say nothing about the president's policies or his decision-making processes, but say a great deal about the partisan motivation of the critics.

2) Criticizing the horrendous human rights abuses committed by the Iranian regime hardly constitutes "rhetorically interven(ing) in Iran’s internal affairs" as Scheuer puts it. Those words, which could have come directly from the mouth of a spokesman for Ahmadinejad, set a ridiculous standard of what constitutes intervention. Scheuer's isolationism, in this instance, excludes any response whatsoever to the outrages committed by Iran's leaders against those unfortunate enough to live under their rule. That simply takes isolationism, or as he would term it "non-interventionism", to an absurd extreme.

3) Scheuer argues against the idea of universal rights, calling the very concept "the pipedream of Western secular intellectuals and interventionists". Setting aside the evident anti-intellectualism of the comment (and its inexplicable use of the word "secular"), Scheuer's idea that the concept of inalienable human rights -- the sort advocated by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison -- is somehow the product of elitist war-mongers is simply astounding. Scheuer, like Ron Paul, argues that he is motivated by a desire to restore the U.S. to a state envisioned by its founders, yet is painfully ignorant of American history. He absurdly links the Jeffersonian ideas embodied in the Declaration of Independence to "Hitler, Stalin, the Khmer Rouge, and other mass-murdering regimes", tenuously arguing that the French Revolution believed in those same ideas and (he says) that revolution went on inspire Hitler, Stalin, et al. As if that French connection weren't tenuous enough, Scheuer finds a way to throw the idea of universal health care into this logical morass, saying it's all a part of a plan by elites to control the lives of the masses. (Scheuer previously demonstrated a weak grasp of U.S. history by attributing the "America First" slogan of World War II isolationists to the founding fathers. Read here.)

4) Speaking of elites, Scheuer has no trouble identifying the "elite group" he claims to be behind the president's criticism of the Iranian regime's brutality: it's the Zionists. The president's condemnation of Iranian abuses, he says, is just part of a conspiracy to vanquish a foe of Israel which is being carried out by cash-wielding agents of AIPAC. Scheuer's anti-Israel paranoia is nothing new. In the past, he accused those who wanted to build the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum of putting Israel's interests before those of the United States. (Read here.) He also accused Americans who serve in the IDF of disloyalty, singling out for criticism Rahm Emanuel who actually served Israel in a civilian capacity. (Read here.) Scheuer likes to accuse Jews of being traitors.

The absurdity and bigotry of these paranoid views is evident. What remains unclear to me is how this man still maintains a good enough reputation as an expert on foreign affairs to qualify him to be interviewed on topics such as Afghanistan, about which he was interviewed recently by BBC World Service. How on earth can anyone read his ravings and continue to maintain that he is an expert on anything? It is bad enough when paranoid views are promoted on Fox News by a self-described "rodeo clown" such as Glenn Beck. Scheuer may be a clown, but he doesn't describe himself as one. Neither does the BBC. Maybe they should.

Judging by that BBC interview, Scheuer seems to have broken his habit of compulsively addressing his interviewers as "sir" or "ma'am" at least once per answer. That odd mannerism of excessive politeness just sounded a little quirky. However, he has already shown himself in many interviews and columns to be a proponent of paranoid views concerning Jews, dangerously ignorant about history, and biased beyond reason against President Obama. Now that he has added this column defending the right of the Iranian regime to oppress its people, condemning those who criticize that horror, and summarily dismissing the Jeffersonian ideals upon which this country is based as being of a piece with Nazism and Stalinism, maybe its time for news organizations and presidential candidates to stop giving Scheuer a forum.


http://farm1.static.flickr.com/219/512483040_7bfae51f15.jpg

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

"'Palestinians drove Iraqi Jews to Israel"

from MEMRI via Point of no return: 'Palestinians drove Iraqi Jews to Israel':
At last, an Iraqi tells it like it was: the Palestinian Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, who incited the 1941 Farhoud attacks, was guilty of the political stupidity of driving the Jews of Iraq into Israel. The following are excerpts from an interview with Iraqi author Dr. Rashid Al-Khayoun, which aired on Al-Arabiya TV on December 4, 2009. (With thanks: Sacha, Lily)

Here is the MEMRI clip.

Dr. Rashid Al-Khayoun: When you meet an Iraqi Jew today on the streets of Europe or elsewhere, he remembers his co-existence with his Muslim or Christian neighbor.

Interviewer: When did the Iraqi Jews begin to lose that sense of security and tolerance?

Dr. Rashid Al-Khayoun: When pan-Arab nationalism grew stronger in Iraq, from the late 1940's to the early 1950's. The Jew began to be the target of deliberate affronts. Iraqi Jews are known for their patriotism. They have nothing to do with Israel. The issue of Israel and Zionism...

Interviewer: But many of the Jews moved to Israel.

Dr. Rashid Al-Khayoun: They were coerced to move.

Interviewer: Who forced them?

Dr. Rashid Al-Khayoun: The wave of pan-Arab nationalism within Iraq.

Interviewer: So they thought that Israel would be better for them than Iraq?

Dr. Rashid Al-Khayoun: They did not go [straight] to Israel. First, they went to European countries, to Iran*... They tried to find an interim region from where they could later return to Iraq. You shouldn't be surprised if I told you that the first to study [the possibility] of expelling the Jews from Iraq was the so-called Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin Al-Husseini.

Interviewer: What, Amin Al-Husseini banished the Jews of Iraq to Palestine?

Dr. Rashid Al-Khayoun: Yes, Amin Al-Husseini played a significant role, along with German Nazism, in dragging the Jews out of Iraq.

Interviewer: How?

Dr. Rashid Al-Khayoun: In the days of the "Farhoud" pogroms, at the end of May and the beginning of June 1941 – which was called the revolution of Rashid Ali Al-Kilani... This is well known. The "heroes" of the Farhoud were Amin Al-Husseini, and some Syrian and Palestinian teachers. I am not accusing these people of collaborating with Israel, but I am accusing them of political stupidity. You drive out a group of peoples who are doctors, blacksmiths...

Interviewer: How did this happen? How did they pressure the Iraqi Jews to move to Israel?

Dr. Rashid Al-Khayoun: By organizing the Farhoud. This was determined by government investigations...

Interviewer: Tell us the story.

Dr. Rashid Al-Khayoun: Amin Al-Husseini was in Iraq then, and so were teachers from Palestine and from Syria. They believed that every Jew was a Zionist, but they failed to understand the mentality of Iraqi Jews. Iraqi Jews lived in Iraq 3,500 years ago. When Cyrus, the Persian king who invaded Babylon and occupied it, he issued a decree, inscribed on a clay cylinder – which can be found at the British Museum. The decree stated that any Jew who wants to return to his country, to Jerusalem, may do so. Only very few returned. The [others] said: This is our country. At the beginning of the modern Iraqi state, the French commander met with the dignitaries of Iraqi Jewry – the English commander, pardon me – and talked to them about the Balfour declaration. They said categorically: "This is our country, and Jerusalem and Palestine are holy places, and we go on pilgrimage there, like the Muslims go to Mecca." This was the position of the Jews.

Interviewer: In the case of Farhoud specifically, how can you accuse Amin Al-Husseini and German Nazism?

Dr. Rashid Al-Khayoun: It is not me who is making accusations. These are legal investigations by the government. The pan-Arab nationalist incited the mob to attack the Jews for two days.

* Hundreds of Jews did leave for Iran and India after the 1941 Farhoud and some returned to Iraq, but it is incorrect to say that most Jews went to Israel 'indirectly': 90 percent of the community was airlifted to Israel in 1950 -51, although the first flights were routed via Cyprus.

Read transcript in full

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Nat Hentoff: "Obama is possibly the most dangerous and destructive president we have ever had."


Former Village Voice columnist Nat Hentoff has given a startling interview to John W. Whitehead, a conservative attorney who runs something called the Rutherford Foundation. (I hadn't heard of Whitehead before reading this interview. The Rutherford Foundation website portrays him as a constitutional scholar who has argued several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, but the cover of his memoir which is prominently displayed on the website bills him as "The Man Who Defended Paula Jones".)


Whitehead's interview with Hentoff is cross-posted on the paleo-conservative Lew Rockwell website (read here: America Under Barack Obama by John W. Whitehead) where I found it. Here are some excerpts.



Nat Hentoff: I try to avoid hyperbole, but I think Obama is possibly the most dangerous and destructive president we have ever had. An example is ObamaCare, which is now embattled in the Senate. If that goes through the way Obama wants, we will have something very much like the British system. If the American people have their health care paid for by the government, depending on their age and their condition, they will be subject to a health commission just like in England which will decide if their lives are worth living much longer...

I am beginning to think that this guy is a phony. Obama seems to have no firm principles that I can discern that he will adhere to. His only principle is his own aggrandizement. This is a very dangerous mindset for a president to have.

JW: Do you consider Obama to be worse than George W. Bush?

NH: Oh, much worse... Obama is a bad man in terms of the Constitution. The irony is that Obama was a law professor at the University of Chicago. He would, most of all, know that what he is doing weakens the Constitution..."

...and...


NH: I am an atheist, although I very much admire and have been influenced by many traditionally religious people. I say this because the Left has taken what passes for their principles as an absolute religion. They don't think anymore. They just react. When they have somebody like Obama whom they put into office, they believed in the religious sense and, of course, that is a large part of the reason for their silence on these issues. They are very hesitant to criticize Obama, but that is beginning to change. Even on the cable network MSNBC, some of the strongest proponents of Obama are now beginning to question, if I may use their words, their "deity."

JW: Is the so-called health commission that you referred to earlier what some people are referring to as death panels? Is that too strong a word?

NH: That term was used with hyperbole about the parts of the health care bill where doctors are mandated, if people are on Medicare and of a certain age or in serious physical condition, to counsel them on their end-of-life alternatives. I don't believe that was a death panel. It was done to get the Medicare doctors to not spend too much money on them. The death panel issue arose with Tom Daschle, who was originally going to be the Health Czar. Daschle became enamored with the British system and wrote a book about health care, which influenced President Obama.

In England, you have what I would call government-imposed euthanasia. Under the British healthcare system, there is a commission that decides whether or not, based on your age and physical condition, the government should continue to pay for your health. That leads to the government not doing it and you gradually or suddenly die. The present Stimulus Bill sets up the equivalent commission in the United States similar to that which is in England. The tipoff was months ago on the ABC network. President Obama was given a full hour to describe and endorse his health plan. A woman in the audience asked Obama about her mother. Her mother was, I believe, 101 years old and was in need of a certain kind of procedure. Her doctor didn't want to do it because of her age. However, another doctor did and told this woman there is a joy of life in this person. The woman asked President Obama how he would deal with this sort of thing, and Obama said we cannot consider the joy of life in this situation. He said I would advise her to take a pain killer. That is the essence of the President of the United States.

JW: Do you think Obama is shallow?

NH: It's much worse than that. Obama has little, if any, principles except to aggrandize and make himself more and more important...

JW: What do you think of the Tea Party protests?

NH: I spent a lot of time studying our Founders and people like Samuel Adams and the original Tea Party. What Adams and the Sons of Liberty did in Boston was spread the word about the abuses of the British. They had Committees of Correspondence that got the word out to the colonies. We need Committees of Correspondence now, and we are getting them. That is what is happening with the Tea Parties. I wrote a column called "The Second American Revolution" about the fact that people are acting for themselves as it happened with the Sons of Liberty which spread throughout the colonies.


Over the course of a long career, Hentoff achieved fame as a jazz critic and as a liberal columnist advocating free speech and civil rights. Since his firing by the Voice last year, he has worked for the libertarian Cato Foundation.



Viva Palestina supporters ask where their money's going

Solomonia has a report of Southern California supporters of Viva Palestina who have asked Galloway and the other leaders of the group where their money has been going. Their requests for an accounting of the funds has been met by Galloway's resounding silence on the subject and continued requests for more funds.

Read here: Solomonia: Do You Know Where Your Free Gaza Money Is Going?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Protestant missionaries: the Palestinians are like Jesus and Israel is like the Romans

Representatives of several U.S. Protestant denominations have published a letter comparing Israel to the Roman Empire and the Palestinians to Jesus. (Read it here: "O Come, O Come Emmanuel!") The letter, which takes the form of an Advent prayer quoting Isaiah's prayer for the coming of the messiah, was signed by missionaries representing, among other denominations, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, United Church of Christ, and the United Methodist Church.

Their letter starts on a religious note (" 'O Come, O Come Emmanuel!' we will sing and pray as we make the advent journey to Christmas"), but it quickly shifts gears. The second paragraph provides a distorted, one-sided outline of Israeli actions in Gaza and the West Bank over the past year, using the typical tactics of describing the incursion into Gaza in isolation from its historical background, using casualty numbers which do not differentiate combatant casualties from civilian ones, and suppressing information about Hamas use of human shields.

The letter also claims that Israel in 2009 evicted hundreds of Palestinian families in the West Bank and destroyed their homes in order to expand Israeli settlements. In support of this shocking claim, the letter cites a webpage at the Palestine Monitor website (read here) which in turn cites an unnamed study by the U.N. Rather than supporting the letter's claim that hundreds of West Bank homes were destroyed, the U.N. study figures quoted by Palestine Monitor claim only 43 homes were demolished (excluding those damaged in the Gaza war) and makes no mention whatsoever of settlement expansion. The Palestine Monitor article does go on to claim without citing a source that hundreds of Palestinian homes are "threatened by Israel’s policies", however, that article simply does not support the claim made in the missionaries' letter concerning hundreds of West Bank home destructions to expand settlements in 2009.


The letter then goes on to compare Israel's actions to those of the ancient Romans, stating:

Reflecting on the society into which Jesus was born, we see many similarities to life here today. The ancient Israelites were occupied and suffered at the hands of a foreign power. The Roman occupied lived freely, able to use and abuse the local population at will, while the subjugated peoples lived in constant uncertainty and anxiety, never sure how they would be treated or whether they would be singled out for random punishment. This is being repeated today for Palestinians living under the longest occupation in modern history, generally trying to live life and survive, but sometimes crossing the line into illegal and counterproductive violence, such as firing rockets from Gaza into Israel. O Come, O Come Emmanuel!

To put this comparison in perspective, remember that the Roman forces in Judea are said to have massacred tens (if not hundreds) of thousands including woman and children, literally festooning roads with their crucified victims. The Roman war against the Jews included the Romans burning Jerusalem, including the temple, to the ground.

And of course, there was that whole Christ-killing thing... The letter goes on to subtly invoke that old standby, Jewish deicide:

What the Palestinian community faces, Jesus knew when he walked these stony hills.


True to form, the letter concludes with both a prayer and a pitch for members of these denominations to put their religious commitment to promoting peace and justice into action through participation in church-sponsored anti-Israel activism. It provides links to various websites which purport to even-handedly promote peace but, in fact, focus mainly on Israel-bashing -- for example, one maintained by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America entitled "Peace Not Walls". (Read here.)

That ELCA webpage touts a fraudulent series of four maps purporting to show Palestinian losses and Israeli gains since 1946. In fact, it offers free of charge laminated cards bearing that series of maps to those who request them. These maps (which are commonly promoted by anti-Israel activists) utterly distort the history of the region by conflating several categories of "having land" (individual ownership, various forms of political control, etc.), by completely ignoring the historical context of Arab losses and by simply lying. The first map (labeled "Palestinian and Jewish land 1946", see below), shows land owned by Jews or Jewish agencies in white and all other land in the area, including the Negev and Judean wilderness, in green. It claims that the green was "Palestinian land", although, in fact, most of this land was not owned by either Jews or Arabs, was under the political control of the British Empire and was vacant.

http://weblogs.asp.net/blogs/rosherove/WindowClipping%20(6)_3u9DbQ.png

Thus a map of the 1947 U.N. partition plan which divided the area between Jews and Arabs appears to show a massive loss of "Palestinian land", reflecting the fact that the largely vacant and inarable Negev desert was partitioned by the U.N. to Israeli political authority. The third map in the series (labeled "1949 - 1967") shows further decline in "Palestinian land" which resulted from Arab losses in the 1948 war. That map fails to mention that that war was a war of aggression started by the Arab states, thereby absolving them of responsibility for those losses. That map also describes the Egyptian-occupied Gaza Strip and the Jordanian-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem as "Palestinian land". The last map (labeled "2000") inexplicably shows more than half of the West Bank, including the entire Jordan Valley excluding Jericho, as "Israeli land".

http://deutsche.files.wordpress.com/2007/10/palestine-2disrael-2dloss-2dland-2d1946-2dto-2d2000.jpg


All prayers for peace and for the coming of the messiah aside, it doesn't take much to see this sort of thing for what it is: deliberately distorted anti-Israel propaganda dressed up in sheep's clothing. It would do every party to this conflict so much more good if those who purport to advocate peace would do so by promoting accurate, well-balanced views of the history of the conflict and by avoiding deliberately inflammatory invocations of Christ-killing imagery. At this or any other time of year, is that too much to ask?


NOTE: For those interested in following up on this letter, either by researching its signatories or by replying to them, the names of the signatories are listed below:

  • Allison K. Schmitt, deployed staff member, Global Mission, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America;
  • Bethany Fullerton, Bethlehem;
  • Rev. Ian W.Alexander, Global Ministries – UCC/Disciples;
  • Heather & Ryan Lehman, Jerusalem
  • Janet Lahr Lewis; United Methodist Liaison in Israel and Palestine
  • Rev. Mark K. Holman, Pastor of the English-speaking Congregation at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer, Old City, Jerusalem
  • Peter Miller, Jerusalem

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Moldovan Priest Leads Mob in Destroying Menorah Display

from Ynet via The Vicious Babushka



Dozens of people led by an Orthodox priest smashed a menorah in Moldova's capital capital Chisinau, using hammers and iron bars to remove the candelabra during Hanukkah, officials said.

The 1.5 meter (5-foot)-tall ceremonial candelabrum was retrieved, reinstalled and is now under police guard.

Police said they were investigating but there was no official reaction from Moldova's Orthodox Church, which is part of the Russian Orthodox Church and counts 70 percent of Moldovans as members.

The national government said in a statement that "hatred, intolerance and xenophobia" are unacceptable.

Jewish leader Alexandr Bilinkis called on the Orthodox Church to take a position over the priest's actions.

The Jewish community was thriving before World War II but there are now estimated to be just 12,000 Jews in the former Soviet Republic. Twenty years ago there were 66,000 Jews. Many immigrated to Israel.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The neglected story of the Holocaust in North Africa

from JTA: Roundup of Tunisian Jews remembered


Holocaust memorial institutions in France and Israel commemorated the roundup 67 years ago of Tunisian Jews.

Ceremonies Wednesday at Yad Vashem and Sunday at the Memorial de la Shoah in Paris marked the Dec. 9, 1942 roundup of Tunisian Jews as part of an effort to raise awareness of Jewish suffering in Nazi-occupied North Africa during the Holocaust.

Jews in Tunisia were forced to wear yellow stars and work in labor camps; some were deported to Auschwitz. Jews in other Vichy France colonies in Algeria and Morocco, as well as in Italian-occupied Libya, suffered similar fates.

Martin Gilbert, the pre-eminent Holocaust historian, also marked the anniversary with a statement.

"In my historical work over the past 50 years, I have been struck by the neglect of the story of the Jews of North Africa and the dangers facing them under Vichy French and Italian Fascist rule," Gilbert said in his statement, released Wednesday.

"The story of the persecution of the Jews in North Africa during the Second World War is an integral part of the history of the Holocaust in France; the fate of the Jews living in French North Africa was directly connected to the fate of the Jews living in Metropolitan France. The collaborationist Vichy France extended its anti-Jewish laws -- passed in France -- to its three North African colonies. Thousands of Jews were sent to camps for slave labor between 1940 and 1943."


For those who haven't read Robert Satloff's great book Among the Righteous: Lost Stories from the Holocaust’s Long Reach into Arab Lands, a chapter of it called “The Arabs Watched Over the Jews” is available here in pdf. Here's the first paragraph:

At every stage of the Nazi, Vichy, and Fascist persecution of Jews in Arab lands, and in every place that it occurred, Arabs helped Jews. Some Arabs spoke out against the persecution of Jews and took public stands of unity with them. Some Arabs denied the support and assistance that would have made the wheels of the anti-Jewish campaign spin more efficiently. Some Arabs shared the fate of Jews and, through that experience, forged a unique bond of comradeship. And there were occasions when certain Arabs chose to do more than just offer moral support to Jews. They bravely saved Jewish lives, at times risking their own in the process. Those Arabs were true heroes.


You can get a copy of that book here. A podcast interview with Statloff is available here.

This article from a Tunisian Jewish website concerns the heroic acts of Si Khaled Abdelwahab which saved the lives of several Tunisian Jews. It makes the point that North African Arabs largely resisted the financial incentives to assist in rounding up Jews. It also very pointedly quotes Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center concerning contemporary Holocaust denial in the Arab world:

"If you deny the Shoah, you also deny that there were noble Arabs and Muslims, those who put their lives on the line to rescue Jews."

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday cheer

Jonathan Hoffman blogs at Harry's Place about a Christmas program at a London church by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The piece explores what some folks consider Christian values, and how they use that term as a wedge to distinguish themselves from Jews, who they portray as intrinsically evil. Amazing how that rationalization for self-righteous hate never seems to die. Read the post here: Carols with Caryl and more. Embedded below is a video of two interviews outside the church conducted by Jonathan Sacerdoti.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hungary: Catholic Church dignitary peddles racist flyer of neo-Arrow Cross party

Written by Karl Pfeifer, cross-posted from Engage – the anti-racist campaign against antisemitism

Their tongue is as an arrow shot out: it speaketh deceit: one speaketh peaceably to his neighbour with his mouth, but in heart he layeth his wait

Jeremiah 9:8

Sometimes even a hardboiled observer of Hungary can be surprised by what is possible in a member country of EU. I had to write one year ago about antisemitism inside the Catholic and the Reformed Churches of Hungary[1]. But usually I do not look into Hungarian Catholic or Reformed Church website. A leaflet of the neo-Arrow Cross party Jobbik distributed in Budapest – an invitation to the ceremony of the installation of a cross on a big place in the centre of Buda, part of Budapest, on the western side of the Danube – sent to me by snail mail not only astonished me, but made me curious. Could it be that a catholic priest is peddling explicit racism? Could it be that a Calvinist bishop gives a speech at such an event?

The answer is an unequivocal YES.

The organizer of his event, dean Antal é Musits organized this event according the leaflet. So I looked into the website of his church [2] and I found the mentioned Jobbik leaflet in jpg [3]. On this Jobbik leaflet peddled by dean Musits I found the following sentence:

“The society of Christian gentlemen is expecting people of our race with hot tea with rum.”

(A Keresztény Úriemberek Társasága forró, rumos teával várja a magunkfajtákat.”)

In order to understand exactly what this means, one should know that the word ‘Christian’ in this Hungarian context means not a member of a Christian church, but non-Jewish. The word ‘magunkfajta’ is based on the word ‘faj’ which means ‘race’. The word ‘fajta’ has more than one meaning, it means ‘of our kind’, but also ’somebody of our race’. In the context of a Jobbik leaflet ‘magunkfajta’ means our race.

I thought I’d surprise a Hungarian Catholic in my acquaintance with this news, but he told me that in Hungary it is not uncommon for Catholic bishops to promote, in church and usually implicitly, the political right-wing party Fidesz, and even Jobbik. A Catholic priest peddling in Budapest a racist leaflet on the web site of his church did not surprise him. Cistercian monk Ákos Előd Brückner declared that Hungarians should feel proud to have such organisations as Jobbik. This is not surprising either.

I am not amazed by the fact that a Bishop of the Calvinist church is speaking at an event organized and promoted by racist and antisemitic Jobbik. After all I had to write several times about Lóránt Hegedüs junior, who also racist and antisemitic, and appears at the events of the infamous Hungarian Guard [4].

So I did some research on this bishop. Tamás Csuka is a Bishop of the Reformed Church and a retired brigadier (formerly chief pastor of the Hungarian Army) and as of September 2009, still active in his church [5]. Bishop Csuka consecrated the flags of the Hungarian Guards [6] and gave an antisemitic speech at this gathering in Budapest on November 28.

I wrote in 2007: “The violence is a particular concern in view of Jobbik’s belief that the coalition “should not be able to finish its term”, which ends in 2010″.

To collaborate with a racist party when violence is rampant is a dangerous policy. The Catholic and Reformed Churches feel the need to declare publicly their antagonism to racism and at the same time to be “realistic” and cater for that a substantial part of their members who are racist and antisemitic.

They do SPEAK OUT OF BOTH SIDES OF THEIR MOUTH, to the world they say “We are against racism” but in Hungary, by promoting the political business of the right and extreme right more or less implicitly, church dignitaries signal that racism and antisemitism are acceptable for believers.

1) http://www.hurryupharry.org/2009/07/26/hungary%E2%80%99s-biased-justice/

http://blog.z-word.com/2008/10/the-cosmopolitan-parasite-class-antisemitism-in-hungary/

2) Szent Imre Plébánia: http://www.szentimre.hu/archives/1455

3) http://www.szentimre.hu/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/keresztallitas.jpg

4) see 1

5) http://www.reformatus.hu/archiv/2009/folytat_hirek.php?cikk=1249299678

6) http://www.searchlightmagazine.com/index.php?link=template&story=210

As far as I am informed, the Hungarian ministry of defence did not take action against Tamás Csuka. K.P.

http://esbalogh.typepad.com/hungarianspectrum/2007/08/th-hungarian-gu.html

Monday, November 30, 2009

The ‘Crime’ of Praying with a Tallit, and a Plea for Tolerance

from the Forward, a first person account and opinion by Nofrat Frenkel, a woman arrested at the Kotel for wearing a tallis: The ‘Crime’ of Praying with a Tallit, and a Plea for Tolerance.

The response of the “righteous women of the Kotel” to my donning a tallit never delayed in coming: every Rosh Hodesh I could expect a different type of “blessing.” Curses in Hebrew and Yiddish, venomous treatment toward me and my tallit, and speculation regarding my gender and religion: “A man in the women’s section!” “He’s not even Jewish!” “Perhaps she’s dressed up for Purim?”

I tried not to hear. I tried to concentrate on my prayers and to pray to God “who blesses His people Israel with love” that He should bless His people with the love of man for His fellow man. How can I pray for the building of the Temple when the people are not ready for it? When someone performing a biblical mitzvah is derided and ridiculed?

One Rosh Hodesh, when I had finished my prayers and was making my way out from the prayer area, I suddenly saw a group of tallit-wearing women standing and praying

together. It was my first meeting with the Women of the Wall — Conservative, Reform and Orthodox women who have been meeting to pray together every Rosh Hodesh over the past 21 years. Some wear a tallit, tefillin or a yarmulke, some do not: each according to her religious outlook. I immediately felt that my place was with them.


Nofrat Frenkel (right), the author, reading from the Torah.

Each month we suffered verbal violence. The police looked on with amusement. The high court had decided some years ago that prevention of violence is justifiable grounds for the police acting to avoid an “offense to public sensitivity.”

We were forbidden to continue praying with ritual objects, forbidden to read from the Torah in the women’s section. We were allocated another space, away from the main Kotel plaza, a place for second-class citizens, in which we could pray without, God forbid, forcing the offended public to be exposed to the brutal sight of women performing the mitzvahs of tzitzit and reading the Torah.

The morning of Rosh Hodesh Kislev, November 18, was a cold Jerusalem morning. We stood, 42 Women of the Wall, and prayed in the women’s section. Our tallitot were hidden under our coats; the sefer Torah was in its regular bag. There was no booing, no pushing, no shouting.

We were surprised that our service passed off without any disturbance, and we thought that, perhaps, they had already become accustomed to our presence and that we could even read from the Torah, opposite the stones of the Kotel. Then, just moments after we had removed the sefer Torah from its bag, two men entered the women’s section and began abusing us.

All we wanted was to conclude our prayers in peace, so we decided to forgo the Torah reading there and go, as on every other Rosh Hodesh, to read the Torah at the alternative site. As we were exiting with me carrying the Torah, a policeman met us and began forcefully pushing me toward the nearby police station.



Read the rest...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tax-exempt churches back anti-gay laws

from the National Catholic Reporter via Crooks and Liars: Portland ME Catholic Diocese Donated $550K To Defeat Same-Sex Marriage Campaign

U.S. Catholic churches are doing their part to make sure gay citizens remain second class. From the National Catholic Reporter:

Gathering money from 50 U.S. dioceses, the Portland, Maine, diocese contributed more than $550,000 to the campaign to rejected Maine's law extending civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples, according to financial records filed with the state agency that tracks political contributions.

In the Nov. 3 referendum, Maine voters rejected 53 to 47 percent the same-sex marriage law.

Supporters and opponents of the law spent more than $7 million, according to the Portland Press Herald.

During the summer, Bishop Richard J. Malone of Portland sent an appeal to other Catholic bishops seeking contributions to defeat the law that the state legislature passed and the governor signed in May.

According to financial records filed with Maine's campaign finance watchdog, the Portland diocese donated nearly $286,000 to Stand For Marriage Maine, which was seeking to repeal the same-sex law. Malone had ordered a second collection be taken up at Masses one September weekend which netted $86,000.

After Portland, Maine, the largest diocesan contributors were the Philadelphia archdiocese and Phoenix diocese, each giving $50,000. The sees of Newark, N.J., St. Louis, Mo., and Youngstown, Ohio, each contributed $10,000. The Diocesan Assistance Fund of Providence, R.I., gave $10,000.00.




When he interviewed a representative of the Philidelphia archdiocese about their donation, the NCR reporter got a response combining "God is on our side", and "this only promotes Catholic education" with "this is no different from feeding the poor". Bad PR is instructive because its deceptiveness is so flagrant.

Donna Farrell, communications director for the Philadelphia archdiocese said in a statement that Malone had requested donations to assist with education and to help people understand the timeless teaching of the church that marriage is between one man and one woman.

“As part of the universal church, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia responds to various requests for donations which come from outside the diocese, in order to advance the mission of the church by promoting and defending the teaching of Christ,” Farrell said.

“Examples of contributions which have been made by the archdiocese for other purposes include those to feed the hungry and provide for the needy in mission countries, to assist victims of natural disasters; to support Catholic military chaplains and pastoral care for our men and women in uniform and to defend the dignity and sanctity of life from conception to natural death.

"The archdiocese responds to such particular requests in addition to its ongoing commitment to provide tuition assistance for Catholic education, to sustain struggling parishes and to ensure that the Gospel message is known and realized.”


Now would Ms. Farrell care to explain why I should fund this form of anti-gay political campaign with my tax dollars?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Jews like Danish. Immigrants to Denmark like Jews not so much.

from the Copenhagen Post Online: Ethnic groups wary of Jews

New study shows five ethnic groupings in Denmark have negative attitudes towards Jewish people

More than 1500 immigrants from Turkish, Pakistani, Somali, Palestinian and Eastern European backgrounds have been interviewed, along with 300 ethnic Danes, for a study on attitudes towards Jews, reports Kristeligt Dagblad newspaper

Every person involved in the study, which will be published in a book about Denmark and foreigners, was asked three questions about their opinions on different groups in society, not just Jews.

But Jews didn’t fare well.

A third of respondents from non-Danish ethnic backgrounds said one ‘couldn’t be too careful enough in relation to Jews in Denmark’. In comparison, 18.2 percent of Danish respondents felt the same.

Three quarters of the former category said they wouldn’t like to see a family member marry a Danish Jew and 31.9 percent felt there were too many Jews in Denmark.

Of the Danish respondents, 14.7 percent said they didn’t want a Jew to marry into their family.

‘The study shows that anti-Semitic feelings are not just found in extremist circles. The opinions are far, far more widespread among immigrants than we normally imagine,’ said Professor Peter Nannestad of the Department of Political Science at University of Aarhus, who authored the study.

Chief Rabbi Bent Lexner from the Mosaisk Troessamfund, the religious community for Jews in Denmark, is not surprised by the results of the study.

‘The nice Danish naivety is apparent if you think it isn’t like that because that’s how the situation is. It’s not coincidental that the government is working on an action plan for how to create better information about the Jewish community in Denmark for these groups,’ Lexner said.

There are about 7000 Jewish people living in Denmark.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Buchanan: Go back where you came from, non-Christian, non-Europeans!


Eisenhower's America was a nation of 160 million with a Euro-Christian core and a culture all its own. We were a people then. And when we have become, in 2050, a stew of 435 millions, of every creed, culture, color and country of Earth, what holds us together then?

Disdain for xenophobic paleoconservatives like Buchanan?



Thursday, November 5, 2009

Buchanan website: swine flu vaccine plot by "elites" to kill 2/3 of the world's population

According to a video posted on Pat Buchanan's website, a secret group of "elites" have put in place a plan to lessen the world's population through use of the swine flu vaccine. The video by Dr. Rauni Kilde, described as the former Chief Medical Officer of Finland, claims that the unnamed secret cabal plans to use harmful vaccines to reduce the world population by as much as 5 billion in order to alleviate overpopulation.






For some reason, the folks at the Buchanan website failed to include a second, more complete video of the interview with Dr. Kilde. That's the one where, in addition to vaccines, she also discusses UFO's and what she describes as "mind control" techniques.





According to the info helpfully provided on YouTube by the interviewer:

Our first attempt with Rauni had vital sections deleted by hostile agencies. In this re-interview Rauni discusses a major UFO Conference in Moscow, with 3 high ranking US Military. She roundly condems the Swine Flue racket as a fraud similar to the 1976. She is under constant harassement as was proven when major sections of the 1st interview destroyed in London.


Thank you Pat Buchanan for bringing this sort of sane, well-considered analysis to the health care debate.


UPDATE (11/6/09): You can read a bit of Dr. Kilde's writing here. It concerns her belief that a secret program has been implanting behavior-changing microchips into the brains unwitting human subjects since the 1940s.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Israeli commandos seize huge Iranian arms shipment

Traficant to testify for Demjanjuk; working for Holocaust denial website

Disgraced former Congressman Jim Traficant was recently freed from federal prison after serving seven years of hard time for corruption and tax evasion. He surprised many people who haven't followed his case by claiming in subsequent interviews that he had been framed by the "Israel lobby".

Now, according to a column he has published on the neo-fascist, Holocaust denial website American Free Press, Traficant is planning to travel to Germany to testify on behalf of John Demjanjuk. Demjanjuk has been indicted for war crimes committed while allegedly serving as a guard at the Sobibor concentration camp during World War II; the trial is set for later this month. Traficant also announced that he would be writing a regular column for American Free Press. (Read Traficant's AFP column here. Read a Youngstown, Ohio Business Journal report on this here; and Editor and Publisher, here.)

Demjanjuk has been a cause célèbre on the far-right, getting support from Pat Buchanan, who compared him to Christ (read here), David Duke (read here) and David Irving (read here). Of that group, only Buchanan and Traficant had careers in the political mainstream. Buchanan worked for two Republican administrations (Nixon and Reagan), made one serious and two not so serious bids for the presidency, and has for a long time regularly regurgitated political opinions as a cable news talking head. Traficant served as a Democratic congressman from Ohio's 17th CD for almost 9 terms, his last term having been abbreviated by a conviction and subsequent expulsion from Congress for corruption and tax evasion.

It looks like Traficant's rehabilitation is not going well, his first post-prison employment being with Willis Carto's American Free Press. Carto, for those lucky enough not to know of him, has been for the last 50 years perhaps the important organizer of neo-fascist groups and publisher of anti-Semitic literature in the United States, devoting a personal fortune to that cause. (Readhere and here and here.) American Free Press and The Barnes Review are currently Carto's most popular magazines/websites. With Carto's dotage, the public face of AFP is frequently Michael Collins Piper. Piper has been courting Traficant for AFP, writing an entire book (readhere) and a number of columns (read here) all devoted to defending Traficant and blaming "Zionists" for his downfall. In fact, Piper has become a virtual press agent for Traficant, both enabling and capitalizing on his extremism in the process. AFP and Piper have also provided Traficant with material support, raising funds for him (see below) and now giving him a job as a columnist.



By way of background, Piper is also the author of Final Judgement, a book which combined JFK assassination conspiracy theory with anti-Semitic Israel bashing, achieving levels of implausibility which even others on the conspiracy theory circuit mock. (Read here.) An advertisement for another of Piper's books, Judas Goats: The Enemy Within -- which is described as "the shocking story" of a Jewish fifth column "subverting the American nationalist movement" --appears on the AFP website. Also advertised: The High Priests of War, The New Jerusalem: Zionist Power in America , Dirty Secrets: Crime, Conspiracy & Cover-Up in the 20th Century, and The GOLEM: Israel's Hell Bomb. His AFP articles have a similar focus on anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and support for Holocaust denial.


Far-right Emissary to the Muslim World

Piper has been described as the U.S. far-right's emissary to the Muslim world, devoting a great deal of attention to building ties between the neo-fascist far-right and Muslim anti-Zionists. He has worked particularly closely with former Malaysia PM Mahathir bin Mohamad and his chief aide Matthias Chang. Piper led a delegation of "9/11 truth" advocates to a Kuala Lumpur conference hosted by a foundation run by Mahathir and Chang. That conference, which nominally concerned Islamic culture, was devoted largely to bashing Jews and Israel. (Read more about that in a well-written news account here and in Piper's account here. ) There Piper continued to promote the line that the governments of Israel and/or the United States were behind 9/11. This has been one of Piper's main themes, starting almost immediately after 9/11 in an article containing the following:
"Did Ariel Sharon help orchestrate the September 11 terrorist attacks to instigate all-out US war against Israel's enemies? Don't discount it."
Since that time, Piper's articles blaming Israel for 9/11 have been disseminated by, among many others, the pro-Palestinian Internation Solidarity Movement (ISM) (read here in French, auto-translated here).

Pictured below are Piper, Mahathir and British journalist Yvonne Ridley of Iran's Press-TV at the Kuala Lumpur Islamic Culture conference. Piper writes of Ridley's presentation that

"British journalist Yvonne Ridley, now a convert to Islam, reflected on her own experiences in the media and emphasized how the media has promoted bias against Muslims. She also noted that while Bush has advocated “democracy,” the very moment the Palestinians elected a government that Bush did not like, the president moved to block aid and effectively starve the Palestinians — that is commit genocide against them...

"Following this conference, (Piper's group was) invited for a private visit with Dr. Mahathir, the former Malaysian prime minister, at his office at the Perdana Global Peace Organization. Joining us were his former political secretary, Matthias Chang, who remains a close advisor to Dr. Mahathir, Mrs. Ridley, and Mrs. Sabariah Abdullah and Miss Abida Anwar from Saba Islamic Media, the publisher of the Malaysian editions of my books."

Ridley, the former Taliban hostage who subsequently converted to religious Islam and political Islamism, is employed by the Iranian dictatorship as a television host on their English language propaganda station, Press-TV.



Piper has extensive ties to Matthias Chang, which I discussed at length in this article concerning Chang's connections to Cynthia McKinney. McKinney has touted Chang's trilogy of books called Future Fastforward and attended several of his anti-Israel conferences. Chang's trilogy argues that a "Zionist" conspiracy of "shadow money-lenders" works to destabilize the world economy and start wars in order to establish a world-controlling "oligarchy". Chang oddly claims this oligarchy will mirror that of the former Soviet Union -- odd because that oligarchy has not fared particularly well. Chang's books are published in the U.S. by AFP and promoted by Piper, and Chang participated in one of their annual conferences at Piper's invitation.

Piper writes of Chang's presentation at the Kuala Lumpur conference as follows.


"No-nonsense Malaysian attorney and author Matthias Chang gave a rousing address titled “The Killing Machine,” which was supplemented with a highly effective multimedia presentation. Although not a Muslim — he’s a Christian of Chinese descent — Chang strongly told the Muslims of Malaysia that they should stand up to the United States and Israel in the ongoing scheme to wage war against their fellow Muslims in Iran, all of which is part of a broader agenda for world domination. This, of course, is outlined in Chang’s book, Future Fastforward, available from AFP."


Strange Bedfellows

Piper's international outreach is not limited by either logic or loyalty to "anti-Zionist" Muslims. Like others on the far-right, he also makes common cause with anti-Muslims. In this, he has much in common with Lady Michele Renouf. After he joined with Renouf to support the Holocaust denier David Irving in his legal battles (read here), she reciprocated by giving a presentation at the 2006 annual conference of the AFP in Washington, D.C. (pictured below) . As I mentioned above, they also both appeared at the Tehran Holocaust denial conference. (An edited video of her presentation at that conference is available here at a racist website.) Renouf addressed the audience wearing a green robe and Islamic headscarf, and called Ahmadinejad "a hero" for opening a debate about the Holocaust. Also there was David Duke, who called the Holocaust a myth designed to oppress Palestinians and gain world domination.

Renouf, like Piper, is attempting to build bridges between the far-right and Muslim anti-Zionists. She has been involved with a group called the "New Right" which brings together elements of George Galloway's Respect party and the BNP. She has also appeared several times on Press-TV as their resident expert Holocaust denier. (Read here.) Interestingly, the BNP has at times attempted to distance themselves from the Holocaust denial of David Irving and Michele Renouf, and at other times condemned that Holocaust denial as not extreme enough. I guess that's the problem with this kind of extremist historical revisionism: it is by nature arbitrary and subject to the whims of those who espouse it.






























Both Piper and Renouf share an emphatically anti-Jewish, not anti-Muslim, belief system, distinguishing them from some others on the far-right. In attempting to bring together the far-right with Muslims they navigate hazardous shoals. Their dilemma: how to bring together two groups which are sometimes enemies. Their simple answer: focus exclusively on the issue of "anti-Zionism" and avoid the dangerous contradictions inherent in their position.


The David Duke - Traficant - Piper connection

Traficant's opposition to Israel and his work on behalf of Demjanjuk have gained him support from members of the anti-Semitic far-right better-known than Michael Collins Piper, namely the neo-Nazi and former KKK leader David Duke. In August, Traficant, in a statement given to the media on his behalf by Piper, disavowed in strong terms support given him by Duke. Duke had published on his website, purportedly without permission, Piper's pitch to raise so-called "canteen contributions" for Traficant to use while in prison. Duke also published on his websites several columns and videos supporting Traficant, even publishing a piece written by Traficant himself. Traficant has refused to reveal to the media how much money he has received from Duke and Piper's fundraising efforts. The Warren, Ohio Tribune Chronicle report on this subject credulously quoted Traficant and Piper's disavowal of Duke, but completely neglected to mention that Piper, like Duke, is a far-right anti-Semite. (Read here.)

If that reporter had known who Piper was, he could have asked why Traficant would attempt to distance himself from one far-right bigot with the assistance of another. Piper's explanation might have tried to distinguish Duke's white nationalist opposition to "Jewish Supremicism" from Piper's "American nationalist" opposition to ZOG. After that, Piper might have explained why both he and Duke will be featured speakers at this weekend's American Free Press conference in Washington, D.C. (Read about that at Duke's website here; WARNING: HATE GROUP WEBSITE. The phone number Duke gives to register for that conference belongs to Piper's office. Read here, bottom of page.) He then could have gone on to explain their many years of association and cooperation.

So Piper, when talking to mainstream reporters comes on like he hates David Duke. But, when the media's not looking, he invites Duke to speak at his "free speech" conferences. (By the way, if you want to read about the overt Nazism on display at earlier AFP/TBR conferences, I wrote about one of them here, about halfway down the page. Here's a photo of Hutton Gibson appearing at one with Holocaust denier Frederick Töben.)

[Duke, maybe even more than Piper and Renouf, flies headlong into the propellers of the dispute between Muslim anti-Zionists and Europe's xenophobic right, supporting whichever side is most appropriate to his current audience. Of course, even supportive audiences must, on some level, expect a bit of the charlatan from Duke, the man who has traded white robes, pointed hoods and swastika armbands for business suits, pseudoscholarly conferences and honorary PhDs. And his approach is precisely that of Piper and Renouf, he avoids this issue by relying on shared anti-Semitism, something all sides can agree on (read here and here and here). His audiences cooperate by not confronting him with difficult questions.]

To give you a sense of who Piper is, embedded below is a video of Piper arguing that Jewish influence on the United States government is the most important issue today, an argument which I believe he has made throughout his career. Start watching at about 1:40. He says that U.S. politicians of both mainstream parties grovel before Jews on hands and knees and that only AFP will report this. He should expect angry letters from David Duke and many others in response to this slight.



Traficant's Career Choice

Traficant's new position with AFP and his connection to Piper makes a lot of sense when you listen to what Traficant has to say now that he's out of stir. He claims that his support for John Demjanjuk led the "Israel lobby" to frame him: the old "I'm not corrupt, the evil Jews set me up" defense. (The fact that the Israeli Supreme Court previously found Demjanjuk not guilty of earlier charges and freed him seems to have escaped his notice.) It seems appropriate somehow that Traficant, his political career essentially over, has found an ideological home with this neo-fascist magazine in decline. Other disgraced former politicians have taken a similar route of blaming their decline on the Jews and have found a niche in which they can operate; Cynthia McKinney and George Galloway come to mind. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see them sharing a stage at some "anti-Zionist" event, hosted perhaps by Mahathir or Ahmadinejad. That event will no doubt be covered at length by AFP and Press-TV.


(Read more about all this on Piper's website here.)

If anyone reading this has more information on the Traficant / American Free Press connection, feel free to write me at adamhollandblog (at) yahoo.com.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Republican Leader Met With Holocaust Museum Shooter

James von Brunn, the neo-Nazi accused of killing security guard Stephen Johns in an attack on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum on June 10, 2009, corresponded with and visited the home of General Albert C. Wedemeyer, a major figure in the U.S. military and in Republican politics during the 1940s, 50s and 60s.


Von Brunn's meeting with Wedemeyer took place in the spring of 1981 at Wedemeyer’s home, and their correspondence lasted for a year after that, until March, 1982. During this period, in December, 1981, von Brunn was arrested for entering the Federal Reserve Board headquarters in Washington, D.C. armed with guns and a phony bomb, stating that he intended to conduct a "citizen's arrest" of the Fed’s board members for treason. (He was arrested and tried for this and served a six year sentence in a federal prison.) After von Brunn's arrest, Wedemeyer broke off their friendship.

Largely forgotten now, Wedemeyer had at one time been a prominent figure in politics and in the military. Before the U.S. entered World War II, General Albert C. Wedemeyer was the author of the Victory Plan, which served as the basis for U.S. strategy in the war. During the war, Wedemeyer served in a number of key positions in East Asia, rising in 1944 to be commander of the China theater. He later played key roles in two Republican presidential campaigns (those of Robert Taft and Barry Goldwater), and would serve as a key fundraiser for and adviser to Ronald Reagan. He was on the original board of directors for the magazine The National Review and served as an adviser for John Birch Society founder Robert Welch's magazine American Opinion. Wedemeyer also played a major role in framing the debate over “who lost China” – an issue which was central to the McCarthy era anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s.

Wedemeyer met with von Brunn at the general's farm in Boyds, Maryland in the spring of 1981 and corresponded with him sporadically for about 10 months thereafter. Their correspondence is collected in Gen. Wedemeyer’s papers at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. While Wedemeyer's ties to far-right groups were public and well-known, historian Joseph W. Bendersky in his 2000 book The "Jewish Threat": Anti-Semitic Politics of the U.S. Army, found extensive evidence that, behind the scenes, Wedemeyer worked to promote anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist policies within the U.S. military establishment. Wedemeyer's correspondence with von Brunn shows just how extreme Wedemeyer's politics were.

In June and July of 1981, the two exchanged letters concerning von Brunn's belief that a Zionist conspiracy had taken over the United States in order to "destroy the White Race". Von Brunn wrote to Wedemeyer that he believed that Jews were conspiring to send African-American soldiers to Germany in order to "destroy the white gene pool". The only remedy for this, Von Brunn wrote, was "DESTROYING THE ZIONIST OCCUPIED GOVERNMENT" (caps in original). Shockingly, General Wedemeyer wrote in response that he was "in complete accord with (this) objective", but felt that it was not achievable.

In January, 1982, one month after his arrest at the Fed Board headquarters, von Brunn sent Wedemeyer a description of the attack in the form of a detailed military mission report which he apparently also sent to a number of other recipients.

In March, 1982, von Brunn sent General Wedemeyer a rambling five-page political manifesto in the form of a memo to his attorney planning a legal defense for the Fed Board attack. Von Brunn justified the attack as an attempted citizen's arrest for various "crimes" he accused the Federal Reserve of having committed. On the back of this memo, von Brunn wrote a handwritten apology to Wedemeyer for an angry outburst, indicating that the two had a conversation around the time of the Fed attack. (Based on this note, it seems possible that von Brunn attempted to contact Wedemeyer after his arrest, was rebuffed by Wedemeyer and grew angry in response.) Von Brunn's note also states his belief that the U.S. government was controlled by evil "illuminati" intent on instituting "One World Gov't", and expresses his belief instead in "One World with Western Man uber alles".

Von Brunn’s attempts to continue his correspondence with Wedemeyer were discouraged in a polite letter from Wedemeyer’s secretary in March 1982. This letter stated that Gen. Wedemeyer had "no interest in the matter described in (von Brunn’s) letter", and that he believed that political change should be pursued only by legal means.


The von Brunn / Albert Wedemeyer letters

General Wedemeyer's papers are archived at the Hoover Institution Library at Stanford University. Through the courtesy of the librarians there, I've been able to review five letters exchanged by von Brunn and General Wedemeyer, and von Brunn's 1982 political manifesto.


Letter #1

Dated June 14, 1981; addressed to Gen. Wedemeyer, Boyds, Maryland.

Von Brunn opens by stating that

"(t)here is no doubt that Zionists have controlled our Executive Branch for many years".

He credits General George S. Brown with having revealed that

"the Zionists control the machinery of the U.S. Government: Congress, Treasury, mass-media, etc."

This undoubtedly refers to a 1974 incident in which General Brown, then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, expressed his opposition to the emergency airlift of weapons to Israel during the Yom Kippur War by complaining to a student forum at Duke Law School that Israel had too much influence in the U.S. because Jews "own the banks in this country". (Read here.)

Von Brunn goes on to expresses his certainty that Germany was doomed because

"(t)he Morgenthau Plan, in spirit, remains in effect."

The Morgenthau Plan to deindustrialize and demilitarize Germany was considered during 1944 negotiations among the allies. By 1945, its most extreme proposals had been modified, and the plan was completely abandoned in 1946.

Von Brunn then cites F. J. P. Veale's book Return To Barbarism (misspelling the author's name as "Veal") as providing evidence of

"what is in Jews minds regarding Germany and the White Race. Hamburg, Dresden, and the Nuremberg Trials set the precedent."

Veale, a former follower of British fascist Oswald Mosley (read here) authored Return To Barbarism to counter revelations of Nazi atrocities with charges that the Allies committed similar, if not worse, crimes against humanity. The book argues that the Nuremberg war crimes trials were unjust and illegal, and criticizes in particular the presence of Jews among the prosecutors. In the 60 years since it was first published, this book has been a favorite of the isolationist far-right and among deniers of the Holocaust. It was lauded by the father of Holocaust denial, Harry Elmer Barnes. Most recently, in 2008, Return to Barbarism reared its head again as one of the sources for Patrick Buchanan's book Churchill, Hitler and the Unneccessary War. (Read reviews here and here.) Veale’s book is currently published by the pro-Nazi group Institute for Historical Review.

Von Brunn next prophisizes that

"(t)hose Germans who escape nuclear holocaust will be subjected to the negro (sic) invasion. One that has been taking place since 1945. The blacks could never have mounted an invasion of Europe on their own, but dressed in American uniforms and encouraged by the military the negros (sic) are helping to destroy the irriplacable (sic) white gene pool. When the gene pool is forever polluted the race is forever destroyed. That's genocide."

At this point, the text goes to all capitals:

"THERE IS NO MORE TIME. EUROPE MUST BE SAVED. THAT MEANS WE MUST DESTROY OUR ZOG. AMERICA IS THE ENEMY OF EUROPE. IN DESTROYING THE ZIONIST OCCUPIED GOVERNMENT WE CAN SAVE OUR NATION AND REESTABLISH THE OBJECTIVES OUR FOUNDING FATHERS HAD IN MIND."

With that, von Brunn;s tone shifts. He thanks General Wedemeyer and his wife for having him at their home, praises Mrs. Wedemeyer's beauty, and bids the general "God bless". In a post-script, von Brunn gives Wedemeyer his son James (Jim) von Brunn's address and phone numbers in San Francisco.


Letter #2

Dated July 3, 1981; addressed to Jim von Brunn, 367 Tourmaline Drive, Hebron, MD 21830.

General Wedemeyer writes that he recieved von Brunn's June 14 letter. He states that he has read Veale's Return to Barbarism and "may other books developing similar ideas". Then, shockingly, he writes

"I have given considerable thought to the project you mentioned and deem it impractical at this particular time and under the conditions described by you. I am in complete accord with the objective, but it would never, in my professional opinion, be accomplished in the manner outlined so dramatically by you."

Wedemeyer then indicates that he would attempt to contact von Brunn's son in San Francisco that month if his schedule permits.


Letter #3

Dated, January 4, 1982.

This letter was apparently sent by von Brunn to several unnamed recipients (all male -- the salutation is "Sir".) It describes in great detail, in a form reminiscent of a report on a military maneuver, his attack on the Federal Reserve Board Headquarers in Washington, D.C. on the fortieth anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Von Brunn also gives what he states to be his legal rationale for attempting to "arrest" the Federal Reserve Board members for treason. He writes that the attack was based on his belief that the Fed

"seek(s) to destroy the sovereignty of all Nations of the West in a continuing effort to create One World Usurocratic Dictatorship. HIGH TREASON."

(The term "usurocracy" was coined by poet Ezra Pound and was popularized among the American far-right by Eustace Mullins.)


Letter #4

Dated March 20, 1982; handwritten on the verso of a memo from von Brunn to "Elizabeth Kent, Attorney".

Written three and a half months after von Brunn's arrest at the Federal Reserve, this letter appears to follow an argument between the two men. Von Brunn apologizes to Gen. Wedemeyer for "my behavior towards you", citing stress and von Brunn's dashed hope for "a better rapport with you". He reaffirms his admiration for Wedemeyer.

Turning then to his constant themes, he states that

"the International Bankers" have "tighten(ed) their chains around all of mankind. France, Europe, Britain - yes, and China - have fallen. America is next. Like the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) and Illuminati, I too believe in One World Gov't -- with an exception -- One World with Western Man uber alles and not at the expense of U.S. sovereignty.

God bless.

James von Brunn"

This letter, was handwritten on the back of a copy of a memo von Brunn had apparently written to his attorney, Elizabeth Kent. This memo, which purports to outline his defense for the charges associated with his attack on the Fed Board headquarters, focuses on von Brunn's belief that the Federal Reserve is an instrument of a conspiracy of Jewish bankers under the control of the Rothschilds, Warburgs and Rockefellers to create a "one world usurocracy". Von Brunn implicates in this conspiracy the Council on Foreign Relations, Illuminati, "Bilderbergers" and Trilateral Commission. The memo concludes with a reading list including (among others) works by Francis Parker Yockey, Caroll Quigley, W. Cleon Skousen, Eustace Mullins, and Willis Carto.


Letter #5

Dated March 24, 1982; from “Elaine K. Hill, Secretary to General Wedemeyer” to von Brunn.

Wedemeyer’s secretary writes that Wedemeyer has read von Brunn’s letter and enclosures dated March 20, 1982.
“It is his view that one should in every case resort to existing legal means to accomplish objectives in any field of endeavor," in spite of opposition to "developments at home and abroad which are not to his liking…”


Background of General Albert C. Wedemeyer

Albert Coady Wedemeyer, who graduated from West Point in 1919, was the only U.S. Army officer to attend and graduate from Berlin's German War College, the Kriegsakademie, where he studied from 1936 -1938. Wedemeyer felt great affinity for Germany and its military. At the Kriegsakademie, he was very impressed with the German style of military education and with German innovations in tactics, both of which he considered vastly superior to those of the U.S. military. He also strongly supported Nazi anti-communism, which he similarly felt to be superior to the anti-communism of the United States. This support was not dimmed even by World War II. In his 1958 memoir Wedemeyer Reports, he compared the threat of Nazism with that of communism, writing: "I was convinced that the German search for Lebensraum did not menace the Western World to anything like the same degree as the world-wide Communist conspiracy centered in Moscow." He also wrote that "(t)here were some aspects of the Third Reich which seemed good at the time -- for example, the public works program; encouragement of the arts, music, and sciences; the building of roads and communications; and cultural opportunities such as travel abroad for underprivileged people at government expense." While in Germany, Wedemeyer befriended a number of influential German military officers, and became a close friend of Col. Truman Smith, the U.S. military attaché stationed in Berlin, who shared Wedemeyer's affinity for Germany.

Upon Wedemeyer’s return to the United States in 1938, General George Marshall assigned him to work at the War Plans Division (later the Plans and Operations Division), where he used his knowledge of the German military to author reports analyzing German military tactics and assessing Germany's strengths and weaknesses. After the start of World War II in 1939, Wedemeyer was a prominent isolationist activist, campaigning against United States participation in the War both within the U.S. military establishment and publicly as a member of America First. His father-in-law and mentor, former Chief of Staff Stanley Embick, was considered the most ardent advocate of isolationism within the military establishment. Col. Truman Smith, who had been withdrawn from Berlin, became Wedemeyer's closest associate, their families living together for a time at Fort Benning, Georgia. Wedemeyer and Smith were considered to have the greatest knowledge of and the closest connections to the German military establishment of any U.S.military officers. The two were also members of America First and were close friends of and advisers to its most famous member, Charles Lindbergh, whose beliefs concerning the war they shared.

Wedemeyer's private papers confirm his isolationism and its underlying motivation. Historian Joseph W. Bendersky reviewed Wedemeyer's personal notes and his correspondence with Truman Smith from the late 1940s, some of which concerned these years. He found that Wedemeyer wrote to Smith that "the British, Zionists and Communists" were to blame for the United States involvement in World War II. Wedemeyer also wrote that President Roosevelt's Jewish advisers (Samuel I. Rosenman, Felix Frankfurter and Henry Morgenthau, Jr.) "did everything possible to spread venom and hatred against the Nazis and to arouse Roosevelt against the Germans". He went to blame Roosevelt's manipulation of events with "much help from the Jews" for United States entry into the war. Wedemeyer also wrote that he saw Jews as responsible for creating and spreading communism. (Jewish Threat, pp. 274-5)

In 1940, under General Marshall’s orders, Wedemeyer drafted the so-called “Victory Program” which planned U.S. strategy if it entered the war. In one of the most notorious leaks of classified material in U.S. history, the Victory Program plan was leaked to the press, and a report detailing its contents was published in the Chicago Tribune on December 4, 1941 (three days prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor) under the banner headline "FDR'S WAR PLANS!". In the course of a subsequent FBI investigation into the leak, it was revealed that Lindbergh and Wedemeyer had met in the preceding months at the Fairfield, Connecticut home of Truman Smith. This meeting would became a focus of the investigation based on suspicions within the FBI and the Roosevelt administration that the three men harbored Nazi sympathies. Although the FBI later publicly exonerated Wedemeyer of leaking the report, J. Edgar Hoover reportedly stated in private that he believed Wedemeyer guilty. Roosevelt similarly stated in private his belief that Lindbergh was a Nazi sympathizer.


During World War II and in the years after, General Wedemeyer was closely associated with General Douglas MacArthur. In spite of Wedemeyer's knowledge of the German military, and perhaps because of his sympathies with it, he was assigned not to the European Theater, but to Burma. With MacArthur's support, Wedemeyer reached the peak of his power in 1944, replacing General Joseph Stillwell as U.S. commander of the China Theater. Wedemeyer simultaneously served as chief of staff to Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, the Chinese Nationalist leader.

After the war's end, Wedemeyer led the Office of Plans and Operations, where he had first risen to prominence 10 years earlier. In this capacity, he toured Germany with an eye toward planning the defense of Western Europe against the Soviets, dealing with the issue of "displaced persons" and stabilizing Germany politically. During this tour, he complained to General Eisenhower that journalists covering his tour were "communist sympathizers", specifically singling out Jewish reporters. Wedemeyer's view of Jews as communist subversives within the U.S. military, which he had held since at least the 1930s, were influenced at that time by cosnpiracy theories promoted by an intelligence officer by the name of Col. Frederick S. Doll. Doll had become convinced that Jewish intelligence officers and reporters formed a pro-communist fifth column, specifically focusing his suspicions on a fellow G-2 officer named Col. Fred Herzberg, whom he knew to be an advocate for the civil rights of blacks in the military. Based on this, Doll concocted a vast communist conspiracy in which other like-minded officers, such as Gen. Wedemeyer, believed. Wedemeyer became involved in a movement to protect Col. Doll from disciplinary action with regard to his spurious charges against Herzberg, and worked to promote Doll's broader allegations.

In September, 1947, Gen. Wedemeyer issued a plan to assist the Chinese Nationalists, the so-called Wedemeyer Report. This plan advocated for a massive United States military presence of 10,000 advisors to be garrisoned in China's main cities, and for U.S. support for a massive Nationalist attack on Mao's communist forces, stating that this was necessary to prevent a communist victory. This ambitious plan was shot down by General Marshall and the Truman administration. Wedemeyer subsequently testified against Truman and Marshall's decision at several congressional hearings.

In 1948, Wedemeyer issued several reports opposing U.S. support for the creation of the State of Israel, including a memo to the Secretary of the Army. (That memo advised the Secretary of the Army to withhold the attached report from the National Security Council until the Secretary of State requested he do so. This may have reflected Wedemeyer's view of the relative sympathies for Israel within those agencies.) These reports, which wer marked "Top Secret", stated that the creation of Israel would endanger the U.S. security.

After Mao's vistory in China, the American right coalesced around the idea of assigning domestic blame for the communist victory. Journalist Joseph Alsop, who was a close friend of Wedemeyer’s, published a series of articles in the Saturday Evening Post under the title "Why We Lost China", based in part on Wedemeyer's contention that, by failing to execute his plan, the United States had let the communists take over China. Senator Joseph McCarthy infamously elaborated on this idea to allege that communist subversion within the military and the State Department were to blame for the decision not to put Wedemeyer's plan into effect. This issue would play a central role in the anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s, with McCarthy eventually accusing General Marshall of complicity in letting China go communist (a position which Wedemeyer would later disavow).

After retiring from the military in 1951, General Wedemeyer played a prominent role in right-wing and Republican politics. He served in Sen. Robert Taft’s 1952 presidential campaign as national chairman of the Citizens for Taft Committee, as one of Taft's most prominent advisors on foreign and military affairs, and as a major campaign fundraiser and organizer. Taft and Wedemeyer advocated a foreign policy which combined two irreconcilable ideas then popular on the right: isolationism and anti-communism. At their 1952 national convention, the Republicans chose instead the pragmatism of Dwight Eisenhower.

For the rest of the 1950s, Wedemeyer was active as a public speaker, an author for a number of conservative publications and as a board member of several right wing organizations. In 1951, Wedemeyer had been chosen by Texas oil magnate H.L. Hunt to serve on the board of Facts Forum, a group which exerted a great deal of influence through grass roots organizing: sponsoring meetings and debates and distributed books and pamphlets. It focused on far-right issues such as support for Senator McCarthy’s anti-communist campaign and opposition to labor unions. Fact Forum also broadcast a radio and television talk show hosted by Dan Smoot. Serving with Wedemeyer on the board of directors of Facts Forum were two of his associates from America First: America First board member Hanford MacNider and leader General Robert Wood.

In 1954, Wedemeyer was chosen by General Wood to serve on the board of the group “For America”, which he intended to be a “right wing ADA [Americans for Democratic Action]”. Also on the board were Pat Manion and former MacArthur aide General Bonner Fellers. Wedemeyer also helped lead H.L. Hunt'sLIFE LINE”, which was essentially Facts Forum under another name, running a similar program of public meetings and producing a daily radio program. “LIFE LINE” (whose name was spelled in all capitals as per Hunt’s instructions) ran Strom Thurmond’s 1954 write-in campaign for the U.S. Senate.

Wedemeyer served on the board of directors of William F. Buckley's National Review, starting with magazine's founding in 1955. In 1957, Wedemeyer published a memoir cum political manifesto entitled Wedemeyer Reports which spent several months on the bestsellers list. He served as an adviser to John Birch Society's magazine American Opinion, but distanced himself from the group in 1961 after Robert Welch's letters accusing President Eisenhower of being a communist agent became public. Welch refused to renounce these statements when asked about them by the press. Wedemeyer, with an eye toward mainstream acceptance, called this "reckless". Wedemeyer also served on the boards of the American Security Council and Free Cuba Radio. In 1960, Wedemeyer announced that he had filed his candidacy for the Republican nomination for congressman, but he dropped out of the race before the primary.

Wedemeyer's support for a Barry Goldwater presidency started early. In 1959, Wedemeyer became a leader of Pat Manion's "Draft Goldwater" movement, heading a group called Americans for Goldwater. (Others in the group included Arkansas Governor Orval Faubus, Robert Welch, Brent Bozell, Herbert Kohler, J.F. Schlafly, Dan Smoot and actors Joel McCrea and Adolphe Menjou.) Goldwater, recognizing that Nixon would inevitably win the nomination, decided not the run in 1960, but the campaign preparations, good publicity, and, most importantly, the mailing lists generated by the group would give the 1964 Goldwater a head start.

Wedemeyer (along with Pat Manion) would play an important role in convincing Goldwater to seek the 1964 Republican nomination, and went on to help lead the fundraising for the campaign as part of Goldwater's Committee of 100. He vacationed with Goldwater in the summer of 1964; Wedemeyer sponsored Goldwater’s attendance at the Bohemian Grove , and hosted Goldwater for several days on Wedemeyer's yacht off the California coast. Just before the 1964 election, Wedemeyer participated in a nationally televised campaign rally at Knott's Berry Farm, during which he sat on the dais with John Wayne and several political figures.

After Goldwater's disastrous loss in the 1964 election, Wedemeyer worked behind the scenes in Republican politics. In late 1964, he joined with William F. Buckley, William Rusher and others associated with the National Review to form the American Conservative Union (“ACU”), another group modeled on the ADA. The ACU, building on the experience of the Goldwater campaign for the Republican nomination, innovated among conservative groups in its use of direct mail for fundraising, something which continues to influence political campaigns. The ACU also helped shape the “southern strategy”, the Republican Party’s abandonment of black voters in order to pick up anti-civil rights southern white voters.

In the mid to late 1960s, Wedemeyer headed the American Economic Foundation, which raised funds for conservative candidacies such as Ronald Reagan’s 1966 campaign for governor of California. Concurrent with his leading the AEC, he was also involved with two overtly nativist organizations which campaigned in favor of racial discrimination in immigration policy: the American Committee on Immigration Policies and Conservatives for Immigration Reform.

After the 1960s, Wedemeyer faded from public view, his isolationism and far-right views having largely fallen into disfavor within the Republican establishment. But the election of Ronald Reagan to the presidency gave him one more moment in the limelight. First, President Reagan named Wedemeyer an informal military advisor, a largely honorary position. Then, in March, 1985, Wedemeyer was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan in a ceremony at the White House, along with such celebrity honorees as Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and Jacques Cousteau.

Wedemeyer at the 1985 Medal of Freedom ceremony.



Further reading:

Bendersky, Joseph W.; The "Jewish Threat"; The Anti-Semitic Politics of the U.S. Army (Basic Books, 2000)

Cook, Fred J., "The Ultras", The Nation, June 23, 1962.

Epstein, Benjamin R. and Forster, Arnold; The Radical Right; Report on the John Birch Society and Its Allies (Random House, 1967)

Goldberg, Robert Alan; Barry Goldwater

Lichtman, Allan J.; White Protestant Nation (Atlantic, 2008)

Perlstein, Rick; Before the Flood: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus

Wedemeyer, Albert C.; Wedemeyer Reports!



CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Gen. Wedemeyer co-founded the John Birch Society and served on its Board of Directors. In fact, his formal role with the group was limited to his serving as an adviser for its magazine American Opinion. Thanks to those who contacted me to correct the record.

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