Archive | July 27th, 2011

IsraHelli grocery store keeps Arab baggers and Jewish cashiers apart


Zio-Nazi say’s Kill All Arabs!

It appears that Rami Levi chain has given in to a demand from local rabbis at Gush Etzion branch, in wake of romance between a Palestinian bagger and Jewish cashier.


In an effort to prevent fraternizing between the Palestinian packers and the female Jewish cashiers, baggers are no longer working at the checkout counters most of the week. An exception was made for the Wednesday and Thursday night shifts, when the checkout counters are so busy that there is little opportunity for conversation.

The decision followed a storm that arose in the Gush Etzion settlements after it was reported that a local girl working as a cashier had become romantically involved with one of the Palestinian baggers.

Workers at the supermarket and a leading local rabbi say the Palestinian worker was fired, but Levi denies that, saying, “He’s gone off to Jordan. When he returns, we’ll see.” The cashier quit on her own.

Ever since Rami Levi Shivuk Hashikma opened its Gush Etzion branch, it has been a source of local controversy. It is located near a gas station and not within a settlement, making it possible for Jewish and Arab shoppers to mingle freely. Most of the workers are Palestinians from the area, who handle deliveries, bag groceries and stack shelves. The cashiers are mostly young women from the settlements.

While there have been periodic media reports lauding the supermarket as an island of Palestinian-settler coexistence, right-wing groups and some locals have issued calls to boycott it, saying it was leading to inter-religious relationships. These campaigns did not fare well. In fact, the supermarket has been so crowded that small grocers in the area’s communities have started to fear for their business.

Over the past two weeks, however, after reports of the cashier-packer affair spread, Rabbi Gideon Perl, the rabbi of Alon Shvut, met with chain owner Levi and demanded that he take action to prevent a recurrence.

“There was an affair between a cashier and a bagger that nearly resulted in her leaving home,” Perl told Haaretz. “There was a plan to take her to his village.

“I was asked to talk to Rami Levi and his staff about the problem, and told them that one of the things we had feared when the store opened a year ago was exactly this.

“I’m pleased by the steps Rami Levi has taken. The Arabs don’t particularly like this [interreligious relationships] either, and it seems that Rami Levi understands the problem. The worker was fired and will not return. You need a whip to teach people a lesson after something like this happens.”

Levi denies the worker was fired. He declared himself “against assimilation” and insisted that “there was suspicion of an affair. There was no affair. These extremist groups keep getting involved and making everybody crazy.

“This is the ‘peace supermarket,’ he said. “Extremist Palestinians and Jews don’t like it.”

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NATO Strike Kills 7 at Libya Hospital


Engineering school also hit, Brits call it ‘spy HQ’

A NATO airstrike killed seven people in a hospital in Zlitan, western Libya, on Monday, according to locals and government officials. Medical equipment was visible among the twisted wreckage of the building,the Associated Press reports, after being taken on a government tour of the site.

“In this whole area there is no military,” an ambulance driver told the AP.

Zlitan is in the Misrata District, and has been attacked by rebel forces from the district capital of Misrata several times over the past few months, though attempts to capture the town have, as elsewhere, failed.

Gadhafi’s minders also showed off several food warehouses they say were damaged in strikes, still on fire during the tour.

The dead included three doctors. NATO is refusing to release information on the strike before Tuesday.

Also Monday, British jets bombed the Central Organization for Electronic Research, an engineering academy that Major General Nick Pope said was cover for Libyan intelligence services and Gadhafi’s “nefarious activities.”

Though several civilian targets have been hit in NATO’s air war, they have usually denied it or claimed that the sites were military in nature. These claims will be difficult to make about a hospital.

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Exploiting a Tragedy


By Stephen M. Walt

As soon as the shocking and tragic news from Norway hit the airwaves, it was entirely predictable that various right-wing Islamophobes would type first and think later. They were so eager to exploit the tragedy to peddle their pre-existing policy preferences that they blindly assumed the acts had to have been perpetrated by al Qaeda, by its various clones, or by some other radical Muslim group. 
This is the sort of bias one expects from an ideologue like Jennifer Rubin (who gets taken to task for her rush-to-judgment by James Fallows here). Sadly, it is also not out of character for the supposedly respectable Wall Street Journal, whose editorial page has been a reliable source of threat-mongering and distortion for years. Even as Norwegian officials were cautioning that they had no reason to suspect Islamist groups, the Journal was plunging ahead with an editorial entitled “Terror in Oslo,” which drew the following utterly bogus conclusion:

Norway certainly did not buy itself much grace from the jihadis for staying out of the Iraq war, or for Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s demand that Israel open its borders with Gaza, or for his calls for a Palestinian unity government between Fatah and its terrorist cousin Hamas.

Norway can do all this and more, but in jihadist eyes it will forever remain guilty of being what it is: a liberal nation committed to freedom of speech and conscience, equality between the sexes, representative democracy and every other freedom that still defines the West.  For being true to these ideals Norwegians have now been made to pay a terrible price.”

Given that remarkable statement, the Journal’s editors must have been deeply disappointed to learn that the person who was actually charged in the case, Anders Behring Breivik, was not in fact a jihadi, a critic of Israel, or even a Muslim. Instead, he is a right-wing Norwegian Islamophobe who is reportedly obsessed with the dangers of multi-culturalism and a contributor to extremist websites like Jihad Watch and Atlas Shrugs.  In other words, he’s the sort of person who might well subscribe to the Wall Street Journal not for its coverage of the business world, but for its predictably hardline editorial “insight.”

As I write this (Saturday noon EDT), the editorial has still not been removed from the WSJ website and no apology or retraction has been issued.  The Journal and its editors are obviously free to continue to sow the seeds of hatred and paranoia, but the rest of us are equally free to view them with appropriate contempt.   And let us also take time to reflect on Norway’s sorrow, and to remember that hatred and violence can erupt from many directions.

UPDATE:  Obviously aware of the egg on its face, the Journal has posted a rewritten version of the editorial on its website here. Note the marked absence of any apology for its initial rush-to-judgment. You can find a fascimile of the original editorial here. And for an interesting commentary suggesting that right-wing hate-mongering websites might have contributed to the murderous mind-set behind the attack, see Paul Woodward’s War in Context here.

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University

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Norway Gunman Used Drugs, Thought He Was ‘Warrior,’ His Lawyer Says



OSLO — A lawyer representing the anti-Muslim extremist who carried out the massacre in Norway sought to fill in some of the wide gaps in public knowledge about his client on Tuesday, portraying him as a “very cold” person who lived in his own world, buttressed by drugs and the belief that he was a warrior doomed to die for a cause others did not comprehend.

The lawyer, Geir Lippestad, declined to say whether his client, Anders Behring Breivik, 32, would plead insanity as a defense when his case comes to trial. However, he told a news conference, “this whole case has indicated that he is insane.”

Police and court officials have said Mr. Breivik has admitted to detonating a large bomb in Oslo that killed eight people and then killing 68 mainly young people at a summer camp run by the ruling Labor Party on the nearby island of Utoya. The attacks on Friday amounted to one of the worst massacres in postwar Europe.

“He believes that he is in a war and in a war you can do things like that,” Mr. Lippestad said.

“He is in a bubble,” Mr. Lippestad said, adding that Mr. Breivik took drugs to “be strong, to be efficient, to be awake.” The lawyer did not say which drugs his client had used.

He called Mr. Breivik “very cold.”

Mr. Breivik was arraigned Monday on terrorism charges and is being held in solitary confinement. The lawyer, who said he had met his client three times, most recently on Monday, said Mr. Breivik would undergo medical examinations to assess his mental state.

“I will look into the papers when they are ready,” he said.

The lawyer said the police had told him Mr. Breivik was cooperating with them, but has refused to answer questions about his assertion that he had accomplices in at least two other “cells” in Norway and “several abroad.”

“He tells what he has done, everything he has done, but he won’t say anything about other cells,” the lawyer said.

“He has a view of reality that is very difficult to explain,” Mr. Lippestad said. “He says that the rest of the world doesn’t understand his point of view, but in 60 years time, they’ll understand him.”

“He believes someone will kill him,” Mr. Lippestad said, adding that Mr. Breivik had expected to be killed during the attacks on Friday or on his way to court on Monday. “I cannot describe him because he is not like anyone,” the lawyer said.

Asked if the rampage was aimed at the Labor Party, or at Muslim immigrants, Mr. Lippestad said: “This was an attack on the Labor Party.”

The lawyer acknowledged that he was himself a member of the party. Mr. Breivik did not know of his lawyer’s political affiliation, he said.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Norwegian authorities defended the police response to the attacks, which Mr. Breivik said on Monday he launched to save the country from ruin. He also denied in his first court appearance that he was guilty of any crime and hinted for the first time that he had collaborators.

The police took over an hour to reach the island of Utoya on Friday with a police SWAT team apparently traveling by road and boat, even though a television news crew had been able to fly over the island in a helicopter before Mr. Breivik gave himself up.

On Tuesday, Justice Minister Knut Storberget called the police work on the day of the rampage “fantastic,” news reports said, and suggested that this was not the right time to question the way security forces responded.

“It is very important that we have an open and critical approach, but there is a time for everything,” Mr. Storberget said after talks with Oslo’s police chief, Reuters reported. The minister also denied that police had ignored threats posed by right-wing extremists. “I reject suggestions that we have not had the far right under the microscope,” he said.

Carol Sandbye, a spokeswoman for the Oslo police, said on Tuesday that prosecutors would consider charging Mr. Breivik with crimes against humanity. That offense carries a maximum penalty of 30 years, compared to 21 years for the current charges of terrorism.

The developments came a day after Judge Kim Heger summarized remarks by Mr. Breivik at a closed-door custody hearing.

The police said later they were not ruling out the possibility that Mr. Breivik’s claim of accomplices, which he described as “two more cells” in an organization he called Knights Templar, was accurate. But they also noted that he had previously told them he had acted alone.

Some security analysts, like Tore Bjorgo, a professor at the Norwegian Police University College and an expert on right-wing extremism, were also skeptical, questioning whether the Knights Templar organization that Mr. Breivik claimed in his manifesto to have helped form in 2002 really existed or was simply an effort to claim a more elaborate history and role.

Mr. Breivik became much more extreme in the last two or three years, Mr. Bjorgo said. “That’s why I have some real doubt about this Templar claim in 2002,” he said. “It doesn’t correspond to his history. I’m not convinced it’s a real organization. It could be a fantasy or a threat, or it could be to try to show that he is part of a larger network.”

Mr. Breivik’s brief appearance on Monday at an Oslo courthouse came as Norwegians were still grappling with the enormity of the attacks.

By Monday evening, at least 100,000 mourners had converged on Oslo to honor the victims and repudiate the suspect’s ideology of hatred toward Muslims and advocates of multiculturalism, who he said were ruining Norway and threatening Western European civilization.

The judge ordered Mr. Breivik held in jail for eight weeks, half of it in isolation, with no access to the outside except through his lawyer. The judge refused to open the hearing to the public. Mr. Breivik, who had asked for an open hearing to explain his actions and his views about Muslims and to wear some sort of uniform, was denied on both counts. He was photographed in a car leaving the hearing wearing a red sweater embossed with a Lacoste alligator emblem.

Judge Heger said Mr. Breivik had been charged with “acts of terrorism,” including an attempt to “disturb or destroy the functions of society, such as the government” and to spread “serious fear” among the population. At a televised news conference, the judge said Mr. Breivik had acknowledged carrying out the attacks but had pleaded not guilty, because he “believes that he needed to carry out these acts to save Norway” and Western Europe from “cultural Marxism and Muslim domination.”

The police also revised the death toll downward to 76 from 93, saying that eight people were now known to have died in the bomb blast in central Oslo, one more than before, and 68 on the island of Utoya, instead of 86. The police said they had been too occupied with searching for the dead and missing to confirm their counts, and to prevent further confusion, they said, they declined to provide any figure for those still missing.

Legislators said a list of the dead might not be available until next Monday or Tuesday, when they planned to hold a memorial ceremony, followed by funerals all over Norway.

Mr. Breivik’s estranged father, a retired career Norwegian diplomat, expressed shock and despondency over the news that his son was a mass killer, in an interview published by Expressen, a Swedish tabloid, done from southern France, where he lives. The father, Jens David Breivik, said he was overcome with grief for the victims, might never return to Norway and hoped that others would not blame him for his son’s actions. “He should have taken his own life, too,” the father said. “That’s what he should have done.”

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Jewish author cited by gunman voices regret


A Jewish author cited in the Norway massacre suspect’s rambling, 1,500-word manifesto expressed regret Monday that her writing might have served to inspire his rampage.

Gisele Littman, who writes under the name Bat Ye’or, said that since her books are in the public domain she had no control over who quoted her.

“Of course I regret if this man took inspiration from what I wrote or from what other writers wrote,” she told The Associated Press by telephone from her home in Switzerland. “As an insane person he should have been treated before, and I am greatly saddened for all the young innocents who tragically lost their lives, and for their families.”

Anders Behring Breivik cites Littman’s work approvingly many times in the document he posted shortly before Friday’s attacks.

Her 2005 book “Eurabia: the Euro-Arab Axis” explores the relationship between European and Muslim countries. The term ‘Eurabia’ has been used by some to describe the growing influence of Islam in Europe, though Littman contended that her arguments are more complex.

She said some Europeans harbor a suppressed fear of Islamic colonization that might erupt into violence.

“I think there is a lot of frustration, for instance in France and England, and I think discussions in our society should be encouraged,” said Littman.

Referring to Breivik’s attack, she added: “I’m afraid that this is something other people will imitate.”

“I think the police must be very vigilant. This problem of Norway is a problem of Europe,” said Littman, whose next book is titled “Europe, Globalization, and the Coming Universal Caliphate.”

Littman is a Cairo-born Jew whose website says she fled the country in the 1950s after her nationality was revoked. She settled in England, where she married, before moving to Switzerland.

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IsraHellis Debate on the Web: Did Norway Get What It Deserved?


By J.J. Goldberg

The Norway massacre has touched off a nasty war of words on the Israeli Internet over the meaning of the event and its implications for Israel. And I do mean nasty: Judging by the comments sections on the main Hebrew websites, the main questions under debate seem to be whether Norwegians deserve any sympathy from Israelis given the country’s pro-Palestinian policies, whether the killer deserves any sympathy given his self-declared intention of fighting Islamic extremism and, perhaps ironically, whether calling attention to this debate is in itself an anti-Israel or anti-Semitic act.

The debate seems to be taking place almost entirely on Hebrew websites. There’s a bit of bile popping up on the English-language Jerusalem Post site as well (for example, there are a handful of choice comments of a now-they’ll-know-what-it-feels-like variety following this Post news article reporting on Israel’s official offer of sympathy and aid). In Hebrew, though, no holds are barred. I’ve translated some of the back-and-forth from the Ynet and Maariv websites below, to give you taste.

The debate exploded aboveground on Saturday in an opinion essay at Ynet (in Hebrew only) by Ziv Lenchner, a left-leaning Tel Aviv artist and one of Ynet’s large, bipartisan stable of columnists. It’s called “Dancing the Hora on Norwegian Blood.” He argues that the comment sections on news websites are a fair barometer of public sentiment (a questionable premise) and that the overwhelming response is schadenfreude, pleasure at Norway’s pain. As I’ll show below, that judgment seems pretty accurate.

He goes on to blame the Netanyahu government, which he accuses of whipping up a constant mood of “the whole world is against us.” Again, a stretch—a government can exacerbate a mood, but it can’t create it out of whole cloth. Israelis have been scared and angry since long before this government came in two and a half years ago, for a whole variety of reasons. The government isn’t working overtime to dispel the mood, but it can’t be blamed for creating it. Finally, Lenchner argues, on very solid ground, that the vindictive mood reflected on the Web is immoral and un-Jewish, citing the biblical injunction “do not rejoice in the fall of your enemy.”

His article has drawn hundreds of responses—more than any of the articles he complains about. They fall into four basic categories in roughly equal proportions: 1.) Hurray, the Norwegians had it coming; 2.) What happened is horrible but maybe now they’ll understand what we’re up against; 3.) What happened is horrible and the celebrations here are appalling; 4.) This article is a bunch of lies, Ziv Lenchner invented this whole schadenfreude thing because he’s a lying leftist who wants to destroy Israel.

It’s worth noting that at some point late on Saturday several readers found links to Norwegian news sites showing that some kids at the campground where the shooting took place had been brandishing signs a day or two earlier calling for a boycott of Israel. These links were posted (here and here) and the mood quickly got darker—sympathy for the shooting victims dropped fast.

The background to this, as Ynet reported in a news article, is that Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Store had visited the campsite on Wednesday, two days before the shootings, as he does every year (he was a camper there as a kid) and addressed the group. He was asked from the audience about Palestinian statehood, and he said Norway was looking forward to the Palestinians’ U.N. bid, but he wouldn’t recognize a Palestinian state before that. He was also asked about boycotting Israel. He said it was a bad idea and would make the conflict worse rather than help bring peace. At some point during the day, some of the campers held up the signs that appear in the photos. Israeli readers seem to have concluded that the pictures show the camp program was anti-Israel and therefore fair game.

Here are some of the responses to Lenchner’s article:

15. Almog, Beer Sheva: they have it coming, period. Your article is pointless. Anyone who acts without mercy towards us, there’s no reason I should pity them!!!! Let them continue to respect and honor Muslims.

16. Gidon: I never enjoyed any support from Norway all these years when there were terror attacks in Israel just the opposite you bent, corrupt person let them understand that terror is not a solution to anything you self-righteous Jew

54. Roi, Bet Shemesh: Ziv Lenchner you’re a leftist!! If you haven’t noticed you’re a leftist like the rest of the media!!! Enough with the leftist incitement!!! There’s no getting away from it Norway was always against the state of Israel it’s not new and never will be!! We’re not in favor of the attack but to say that maybe they’ll understand us better after what happened is entirely legitimate!!!

103. Yossi, the north: Oslo … Maybe they’ll learn in Oslo that they’re not immune they’ll feel what many Israelis have felt and some of them can no longer feel because of the activity of Israelis and Norwegians in Oslo.

104. Ilan, on the stoning of gays [sic]: Anti-Jewish? Have you ever heard of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth? Suddenly a few little Jew-boys have popped up and “invented” a new Torah! Before the Torah is moral it is first of all for survival and the destruction of all enemies! Sing to the Lord for He is highly exalted the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea [Exodus 17:21, after the drowning of Pharaoh’s army—JJG]

303. Effie: I feel no sorrow about it!!!! Anyone who doesn’t feel the no pain of my people shouldn’t ask sympathy for his own pain.

392. We’re more unfortunate: Enough demagoguery! The Norwegians and Europe generally are super-anti-Semitic. So 100 people were killed there are 7 billion more people in the world. I don’t pity them they’re my enemies they hate Israel so they have it coming!!!

393. The whole world dances on Jewish blood. Europe is the same Europe and even more anti-Semitic. The killer is right!!! Europe is defeated, Norwegians are becoming a minority.

458. Very sorry: With all due sorrow they were waving a sign on the island the day before calling to boycott us. So I really don’t feeling like showing empathy. Very sorry. If you don’t believe me here the link to the lovely picture:

When the first news report appeared Friday on Ynet, the Yediot Ahronot website and Israel’s most trafficked news site, comments seemed to run about 3- or 4-to-1 (at a rough eyeball guess) hostile rather than sympathetic. The reported death toll at this point was 11, and the perpetrators were assumed to be Islamic extremists. Here are a few typical comments:

181. Noam: Ha Ha Ha! Europeans, this is your “liberalism”

240. D.A.: Bring the Oslo criminals to justice?

242. Radical Dreamer: Let them eat what they cooked.

243. Just a Person: Speedy recovery to the wounded and condolences to the families.

260. Shai, Tel Aviv: Give Norway back to the Arabs! End the occupation of Norway!

268. Shimon: Good news for Shabbat. So may they increase and learn the hard way.

285. Nir, Hasela Ha’adom: Allow me a few moments of pleasure.

315. Moshe, Haifa: I’m sorry, it doesn’t move me. From my point of view, let them drown in blood.

Ynetnews, the English website, carried an English translation of the story. The comments are far more moderate: almost none express outright pleasure, and there’s a rough balance between sympathy and sarcasm.

When the news came out on Saturday that the killer was not a Muslim but a right-wing Norwegian nationalist angered at multiculturalism, liberalism and tolerance of Islam, the tone sharpened. Suddenly there was a rush of comments claiming the killer was right and the victims had it coming. Here is Maariv’s report on the killer’s 1,500 page manifesto, calling for a European-wide uprising to “reclaim” the continent (here, for you English-language readers, is NPR’s report on the same document). Maariv’s readers piled on.

1. Y.: The best thing to come out of this is that Norway will be divided.

12. Gandi: the boy wanted to send a message. Extreme, yes, but they don’t understand anything else.

13. Yossi: To commenter no. 1: You’re mentally ill. How can you see anything good the depraved murder of boys and girls think for a minute (if you’re capable) what if some of them were your relatives

To self-righteous Yossi: Coming soon to all the Norwegians. And all the Europeans.

Y.: My relatives aren’t Muslims. It’s time for Europe to deal with these Arabs. From my point of view they could kill 1,000,000 of them here too.

AA: You leftists have to be wiped out too. And it will happen soon. When the economic house of cards comes down, even your shoes won’t be left (unlike last time)…

18. Anti-Left: Of course I condemn this terrible murder but in a larger sense he was right!

19. Ron: A freedom fighter for Norway cleared of foreigners…!!! But this time it won’t be easy for you … Muslims aren’t Jews — who go willingly to death!

Horrifying but correct, Muslims will teach them a few lessons. They won’t go like sheep to the slaughter, but today neither will we!

We also let them piss on us

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A. Loewenstein Online Newsletter


How many people failed to deal with Murdoch hacking?

26 Jul 2011


Far too many and the question is why:

The former Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Lord Macdonald was warned by his own employees as far back as 2006 that there were a “vast array” of News of the World phone-hacking victims.

Lord Macdonald, who has since been hired by the newspaper’s owner, Rupert Murdoch, was sent a memo nearly six months before the reporter Clive Goodman and the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire were convicted, revealing that the charges they were facing related to just a fraction of the potential victims.

However, the hacking investigation was never widened despite pressure on the police and Lord Macdonald, the head of the Crown Prosecution Service at the time, to do so.

In a letter released yesterday, the former Attorney General Lord Goldsmith revealed: “The Director [of Public Prosecutions] and I were aware that the particular cases referred to were not isolated examples.” Lord Goldsmith said protocol prevented him from speaking to the police, but this did not apply to the Crown Prosecution Service, which Lord Macdonald led at the time, and whose lawyers briefed him on other victims of hacking.

The Met had to reopen its inquiries into criminality by the NOTW in January this year when it became apparent that police and prosecutors had failed to fully investigate the widespread phone hacking by the newspaper five years ago.

The revelation is embarrassing for Lord Macdonald because when he examined emails held by News Corp as part of his new job assisting the company’s internal investigation earlier this year, he took “three to five minutes” to decide that the material constituted evidence of criminality and needed to be passed to police.

He told the Home Affairs Select Committee last week: “The material I saw was so blindingly obvious that trying to argue that it should not be given to the police would have been a hard task. It was evidence of serious criminal offences.”

He added that a police probe into alleged illegal payments to officers could have been launched as far back as 2007.

Glorious Murdoch journalism still smiling daily

25 Jul 2011


North Korea like you’ve never seen it

25 Jul 2011

It’s the most tightly controlled nation on the planet. Yet in this fascinating dispatch by Jean H. Lee, The Associated Press bureau chief in Seoul (who traveled with David Guttenfelder, AP’s chief Asia photographer), signs of a country in transition:

At Kim Il Sung Plaza, a determined young man in a blue suit scoots by on inline skates, his tie carefully pinned to his shirt, as a friend spins circles around him. At a cemetery up on the hill, we spot a bride in a billowing, embroidered red Korean gown, a white-and-pink spray of flowers tucked into her hair. Her groom, tall and handsome, wears a red boutonniere affixed to his officer’s uniform just beneath his Kim badge.

And, in an astonishing turn of events, we are invited to a briefing at the grand People’s Cultural Palace, making us the first American reporters to cover a North Korean press conference, we are told. Journalists from the North Korean press corps snap open Compaq laptops and set up Sony video cameras, and portraits of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong Il serve as the backdrop.

Ten North Koreans repatriated after their fishing boat strayed into South Korean waters file into the room, the men in suits and the women in traditional Korean dresses. Tearful, emotional, they accuse the South Koreans of mistreatment.

A question-and-answer session follows: The Pyongyang Times wants to know what happened to the four North Koreans, including the boat’s captain, who stayed behind in the South. A query from the state broadcaster prompts all 10 to rise to sing an ode to Kim Jong Il.

When we leave the concrete jungle of Pyongyang, we encounter a completely different scene. The rush-rush pace of the big city comes to a halt, and we go from skyscrapers and granite monuments to hills denuded of the pine trees that once blanketed the region. Now I understand why the wind in North Korea is so fierce; with no trees to stop it, it whips straight across the peninsula and slams the window in my hotel room in Pyongyang shut with a bang.

Mountains frame the landscape; in between, every bit of land is furrowed and farmed. We see more oxen than tractors, more manual labor than machinery. Without running water in some parts, women crouch by a riverbed to wash clothes and draw water from a village well.

The land turns lush as we near Mount Myohyang, where we climb a hiking trail said to be one of Kim Jong Il’s favorites. The rugged landscape is largely untouched, aside from the massive odes to the two Kims carved into the side of the rock.

North Korea figures large in the Western imagination as a place frozen in a Cold War time warp even as allies Russia and China have embraced capitalism. The government strives to maintain strict control over information, and people, coming in and out of the country. For outsiders granted a visa in a process that can feel as elusive as winning the lottery, the experience often is so stilted that they return home painting a picture of an Orwellian society.

Still, things are changing, if slowly.

Two years ago, I flew into Pyongyang from China on a spotless but ancient Russian jet, a bumpy Air Koryo flight that had me gripping the armrests. Our flight’s arrival was displayed at the airport on a “flipper” board straight out of a 19th-century railway station.

Now, the airliners are modern, with TV screens that drop down to show cartoons, musical concerts and North Korean films. And the old arrivals board is shuttered; instead, our flight appeared on a wide-screen electronic display rigged up beneath it.

Electronic goods are hugely popular, and we could barely get past all the boxes of South Korean-made Samsung TVs that North Koreans were lugging back from their travels. Cell phones jangled everywhere. David had to relinquish his iPhone upon arrival, standard practice for foreign visitors, but we later requested, and received, a Chinese-made Huawei cell phone.

More than 535,000 people in North Korea now use cell phones, a huge jump from 70,000 in 2009, according to Orascom Telecom, the Cairo-based firm that launched North Korea’s 3G network in December 2008. Most can make only domestic calls.

The digital revolution comes amid a succession movement and a campaign to improve the economy. Last year, Kim Jong Il, now 69, unveiled to the world the son he is grooming to succeed him: Kim Jong Un, Swiss-educated and said to be keen on computers and technology.

Orascom also is said to be pumping money into the construction of the pyramid-shaped Ryugyong Hotel, which rises 105 stories high and serves as a glistening backdrop to the towering bronze statue of Kim Il Sung on Mansu Hill. The concrete Ryugyong had stood abandoned for years, a reminder of Pyongyang’s decay, until the Egyptians stepped in to help amid the mad rush to get the city ready for the 100th anniversary celebrations next year of Kim Il Sung’s birth.

Buildings across Pyongyang are getting a facelift. Theaters are being refurbished, and apartment complexes repainted in pastel pinks and greens. There is more to come: restaurants, a park and “deluxe” twin tower apartments, according to the state-run Korean Central News Agency. On one corner, men with mallets were knocking down the walls of a building to the rousing blare of a military band parked on the sidewalk.

The amusement park near the Arch of Triumph got an overhaul last year, with brand-new rides from Italy and a hall filled with Japanese arcade games. Children race around. Grandmothers watch from the sidelines, tending to the babies. Two girls in Minnie Mouse shirts step gingerly onto rocks in a pond to pose for a photo, and then shriek as they nearly lose their balance.

“Welcome! Welcome!” a young couple calls out in English, waving to us to join them on the roller coaster. Moments later, we are screaming in unison as the ride dips, flips and shoots around the rails at lightning speed.

Officially, North Koreans detest us Yankees. Tour guides, officials and soldiers state as fact that the South Koreans and the “miguk nom” _ American bastards _ started the Korean War in 1950.

But once you get away from the rhetoric, North Koreans love Americana, whether they realize the source or not. You see Mickey Mouse everywhere: on backpacks, shirts, bags. They know “The Lion King” and “Terminator.” One orchestra played “Camptown Races,” perhaps as a welcome to the Americans in the audience.

I never thought I’d see an Oompah band in North Korea, but there was an all-female troupe of tuba and trombone players in white suits and brass buttons led by majorettes twirling batons. John Philip Sousa, famous for composing patriotic American odes, would roll over in his grave.

Pyongyang’s foreign community is a small and select group of diplomats, aid workers, entrepreneurs and English teachers. Our hotel, on the other hand, was full of foreign visitors: Russian dancers and Italian singers in town for an arts festival, a French parliamentarian traveling with his son, Chinese tourists in sunglasses and sweatpants, American doctors in scrubs on a medical mission.

The common thinking is that North Koreans are shut off from the rest of the world. But Robert Carlin, a former U.S. State Department official who has made dozens of trips to the country, once said it is the opposite: We know less about North Korea than they know about us.

We’re funding the Afghan insurgency and we feel fine

25 Jul 2011

The head of the World Bank says that the Afghan economy is in desperate need of support and the West should give more money to the corrupt Karzai regime. Good move.

Here’s the reality of what that support has given in the last years:

A year-long military-led investigation has concluded that U.S. taxpayer money has been indirectly funneled to the Taliban under a $2.16 billion transportation contract that the United States has funded in part to promote Afghan businesses.

The unreleased investigation provides seemingly definitive evidence that corruption puts U.S. transportation money into enemy hands, a finding consistent with previous inquiries carried out by Congress, other federal agencies and the military. Yet U.S. and Afghan efforts to address the problem have been slow and ineffective, and all eight of the trucking firms involved in the work remain on U.S. payroll. In March, the Pentagon extended the contract for six months.

According to a summary of the investigation results, compiled in May and reviewed by The Washington Post, the military found “documented, credible evidence . . . of involvement in a criminal enterprise or support for the enemy” by four of the eight prime contractors. Investigators also cited cases of profiteering, money laundering and kickbacks to Afghan power brokers, government officials and police officers. Six of the companies were found to have been associated with “fraudulent paperwork and behavior.”

“This goes beyond our comprehension,” said Rep. John F. Tierney (D-Mass.), who last summer was chairman of a House oversight subcommittee that charged that the military was, in effect, supporting a vast protection racket that paid insurgents and corrupt middlemen to ensure safe passage of the truck convoys that move U.S. military supplies across Afghanistan.

The military summary included several case studies in which money was traced from the U.S. Treasury through a labyrinth of subcontractors and power brokers. In one, investigators followed a $7.4 million payment to one of the eight companies, which in turn paid a subcontractor, who hired other subcontractors to supply trucks.

The trucking subcontractors then made deposits into an Afghan National Police commander’s account, already swollen with payments from other subcontractors, in exchange for guarantees of safe passage for the convoys. Intelligence officials traced $3.3 million, withdrawn in 27 transactions from the commander’s account, that was transferred to insurgents in the form of weapons, explosives and cash.

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Was Oslo Suspect Practicing What We Preach?

by Enver Masud

Ivanwald, situated in a cul-de-sac at the end of 24th Street North in Arlington, Virginia, is the stronghold of a widespread “invisible” and powerful organization, working for “democracy” and “free markets,” but in reality extending the American empire.

Founded by a Norwegian immigrant Abraham Vereide (known as Abram) – now led by Doug Coe, the network – organized much like Ivanwald into cells of five, and “populated by elite, politically ambitious fundamentalists,” is the subject of Jeff Sharlett’s book: “The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power.”

The organization has operated under many guises, some active, some defunct: National Committee for Christian Leadership, International Christian Leadership, the National Leadership Council, Fellowship House, the Fellowship Foundation, the National Fellowship Council, the International Foundation. These groups are intended to draw attention away from the Family, and to prevent it from becoming, in the words of one of the Family’s leaders, “a target for misunderstanding.”

Established in 1935 to oppose FDR’s New Deal and the spread of trade unions, the Family’s network spans the world organizing weekly prayer meetings at which the rich and powerful meet to advance their agenda.

The Family’s only publicized gathering is the National Prayer Breakfast – “attended by Pakistan’s famously corrupt Benazir Bhutto.” Its keynote is often delivered by an outsider. One such address was delivered by Saudi Arabia’s Prince Bandar.

Every president since Eisenhower has attended the National Prayer Breakfast Abram founded in 1953.

The Family, writes Sharlet, that hosts Prayer Breakfasts in public, in private preaches a gospel of “biblical capitalism,” military might, and American empire.

The following, from Jeff Sharlett’s book, is a glimpse of the Family’s activities:

Marshall Green, American ambassador in Indonesia compiled for Indonesia’s president Suharto a “shooting list”: “the names of thousands of leftist political opponents, from leaders identified by the CIA to village-level activists, the kind of data only local observers – conservative missionaries, classically – could provide.” . . . Green and his men followed the results of their gift closely, checking off names as Suharto’s men killed or imprisoned them.A document in the Family’s archives titled “Important Dates in Indonesian History” notes that in March 1966, the Communist Party was banned and Campus Crusade arrived in April. Suharto wasn’t a Christian, but he knew that where missionaries go, investors follow. He also wanted to use God – any God – to pacify the population. In 1967, Congressman Ben Reifel sent a memo to other Fellowship members in Congress noting that a special message from Suharto calling on Indonesians to “seek God, discover His laws, and obey them” was broadcast at the same time as a Fellowship prayer session in the Indonesian parliament for non-Christian politicians.

By 1969, the Fellowship claimed as its man in Jakarta Suharto’s minister of social affairs, who presided over a group of more than fifty Muslims and Christians in parliament. Another Fellowship associate, Darius Marpaung – he’d later claim that God spoke through him when he told a massive rally that the time had come to “purge the communists,” an event that helped spark the massacre – led a similar group in Indonesia’s Christian community.

. . . in December 1975, when Portugal relinquished its claims to the tiny island nation of East Timor. It declared independence; nine days later Suharto’s army invaded, on the pretext that its neighbor was communist. Two hundred thousand people – nearly a third of the island’s population – were killed during the long occupation, to which the United States gave its blessing.

[Senator] Brownback said he’d met with King Abdullah about starting a fellowship group around the person of Jesus. . . . Abdullah let him know he’d made contact with the senator’s man and agreed to “fellowship” with him on a regular basis.

The Iraqis come up often, particularly with regard to their conversion … 900,000 bibles in the Arabic language [were] distributed by Christians in Iraq.

David Kuo . . . and a few others transformed the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives into the very Republican vote-getting machine its critics had accused it of being from the start.

In 2002, “roundtable” events with faith and community leaders, organized by the Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, “contributed to nineteen out of twenty victories in targeted races.”

The Family’s members include Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and former U.S. attorney general John Ashcroft, a leader in the Family, who maintained his prayer cell while presiding over the Department of Justice.

Senators Don Nickles (R., Okla.), Charles Grassley (R., Iowa), Pete Domenici (R., N.Mex.), John Ensign (R., Nev.), James Inhofe (R., Okla.), Bill Nelson (D., Fla.), and Conrad Burns (R., Mont.) are referred to as “members,” as are Representatives Jim DeMint (R., S.C.), Frank Wolf (R., Va.), Joseph Pitts (R., Pa.), Zach Wamp (R., Tenn.), and Bart Stupak (D., Mich.).

The Family operates through dozens of affiliates. One such affiliate has a townhouse next door to the Capitol – the C Street Foundation at 133 C Street SE in Washington, DC. Numerous affiliates are headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Organizations led by evangelists Billy Graham, Ted Haggard, Jerry Falwell, and others are affiliated with the Family.

It is estimated that 10 percent of the nation’s children are educated at home and in fundamentalist academies via curricula and books prepared by the Family and its affiliates.

At the National Prayer Breakfast on February 5, 2009, President Obama took the opportunity to announce the creation of the White House Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Representatives from some 120 countries were invited for the occasion.

Re the bombing/shooting in Norway, this is a reprint of  Enver Masud’s 2009 article.

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A Modern Kidnapping on U.S. Soil


Ernst Zundel – politically targeted by the Holocaust Lobby

by Dr. Ingrid Rimland Zundel

By the time the New Millennium rolled around, Ernst Zundel and I had been engaged for several years in a precarious but emotionally rewarding battle for Freedom of Speech, so poignantly described by Dr. Robert Faurisson, acknowledged “Dean of the Holocaust Deniers” world-wide, as “…. the great intellectual adventure at the end of the Twentieth Century.”

We saw ourselves as Europeans of the classical tradition – pure at heart, splendidly accurate in what science had discovered, engaged in a noble endeavor, determined to win at all costs. That our rivals shrieked like banshees about to be castrated whenever we challenged the hoary argument of the “six million” did not matter to us, in the beginning.

We were used to be shrieked at – to be called all kinds of nasty names. Name-calling came with the terrain where even the bravest tread gingerly, as you do in a minefield that a hitherto unopposed enemy has strewn with explosives. We told ourselves that sometimes freedom is expensive. That was the price to be paid so that the people of the Western nations could breathe freely again and not have to look over their shoulder.

Twelve years ago, Fred Leuchter, dispatched by Ernst in the middle of his Second Great Holocaust Trial in Toronto, had gone to Auschwitz, looking for holes in the ceiling through which the hapless Jews, so untold Holocaust Survivors claimed, had been murdered with Zyklon B, by the millions. Fred didn’t find what he had expected to find – and Dr. Faurisson, that master of exactitude, coined four immortal words:

“No holes, no Holocaust.”

Instead, Fred found enormous holes in the traditional account of what was alleged to have happened.

It was a buoyant time. T-Shirt appeared, bumper stickers, cartoons, posters, articles. More articles. And yet more articles. All claiming victory. Forensic science had made mincemeat of a nauseating tale –but there was still no end to arguments. And why? Because out of the woodwork came scores of Chosenites who shrieked, as they had always shrieked: “You no-good effing racists! Prove it!”

We thought we had. What were they – dense? Bloated like ticks with false information? We didn’t realize, at first, this was war of a different kind – NOT war like any other war that had so far been fought!

After the Leuchter Expedition, filmed every millimeter for posterity, Ernst certainly thought that the battle was over. I remember I asked him at the time what else there was to be done, and he said: “Mopping up!”

Holocaust revisionism had reached a plateau – maybe some mopping up was needed, some polishing of arguments, defining terms, buffing statistics? You could argue numbers, or footnotes, or splitting yet another hair five ways – but, as I used to say when I came aboard in 1994, “Do you need to swallow a camel to know what a cutlet tastes like …?”

Both Ernst and I agreed that the Auschwitz details were grindingly boring after the main dispute was settled by forensic science. When one discovers after prodigious detective work that one single murder alleged to have happened did not, in fact, happen as claimed – what do you do? You try to nail down the liar and call his story bluff.

And you expect the relatives to be delighted – not turn on you and call you names. Right? Wrong. Not if you are collecting insurance on a so-called crime that never was.

We found ourselves in a strange bind. It is a platitude to say you cannot “prove” a negative. No murders by gassing had happened. We knew that much. That those who had a stake in claiming what they did would argue otherwise is understandable because a great deal was at stake. Who wants to be defrocked and shown up as a liar and a fraud?

Ernst’s hard-fought-for scientific victory slipped through his fingers like drops of mercury. I don’t think many realized why.

We all agreed that a gigantic fraud had been committed, but then – why preen oneself on one’s political “neutrality”? Why share our dearly bought platform with fraudsters, inviting our deadly enemies to speak at our conventions to make sure every obscure argument could still be aired for them? Why always cover both sides of the issues? There were no two issues.  There were no two sides. Science had spoken. That should have been enough.

A book needs to be written, a song be composed, a film needs to happen to explain why gentiles start squirming like spinsters the moment some oaf starts to call us some names.

That’s our Achilles Heel. We cannot bear to have our spirit impugned – we’d rather smooch with our deadly foes and fawn over their falsehoods and deceptions. Let not our neighbor think we might be “antisemites”, ohmygod!

That’s why there was never a draw. In fact, the war heated up.

Ernst and I chafed under the appalling situation inside Germany. Sack cloth and ashes for our blood relations – a Nobel Prize for Elie Wiesel who, to this day, insists he has a tattoo on his forearm that nobody has ever inspected. “I don’t like to expose my body,” he says.

As we began to realize, the Leuchter findings were not the end result. The were merely a means to an end – meaning: Lifting the guilt from our pathologically guilt-ridden brothers and sisters who had NOT gassed six million Jews, who had not even dreamed of such a grotesque idea – but who meekly agreed that they had.

THAT was the task at hand – regardless of how often and how pathetically that trickster, Elie Wiesel, moaned about smoke coming out of postwar-reconstructed chimneys, as admitted by Auschwitz curator Dr. Franciszek Piper to one of Ernst’s young Jewish friends who put on his yarmulke and got Piper to admit it on tape. That chimney had been “reconstructed.” As David Irving put it: “I’d like to hav e some ‘reconstructed’ money…”

I speak of disenchantment. I do not mean to minimize our Revisionist comrades’ research. They had done a magnificent job, putting nail after nail in the Holocaust coffin. That tiny handful of revisionists all over the world had demolished a gargantuan swindle – yet all that exacting labor for naught? If yet another Chosenite appeared and shrieked at them that they were Nazis, Racists, White Supremacists, the absolute scum of the earth – why, they would fall all over themselves to find additional data, more charts, more detailed footnotes, yet more and more obscure quotations –the better if it came straight from the horse’s mouth!

“All our mannerly pals need”, was my refrain to Ernst, impatient with the direction of Holocaust Revisionism, “is ear locks.”

Look, once upon a time I wrote a dissertation. I know where footnotes come from. I am with David Irving on that issue also – what is the point of quoting each other, or worse, quote yet another professional “survivor” who grins right in your face while lying through his teeth? How often do you have to dig up yet another archeological site and come up with yet another formless shard? What is the point of all that effort, all that sweat, all that money in bringing to the fore the evidence of criminal behavior – and keep on toadying up to the criminal?

Both Ernst and I felt that a course correction was called for.

I was still living in San Diego. Ernst ran his outreach operation from Toronto. That once pristine realm called Canada, asleep at the switch for too many years, by then was mired in a political cesspool, thanks to a bunch of Marxists of the reddest dye who palmed themselves off as Human Rights crusaders. They even had the gall, to my chagrin, to finger and attack my nascent website, baptized ”The Zundelsite”.

One thing led to another. We knew we did not need to be at the receiving end of endless unjust slander. There was no point in arguing what had already been argued to exhaustion. All the crucial information on the Hoax was neatly parked in cyber space, and folks with eyes to see and ears to hear could find out what we said – and didn’t say – about Auschwitz.

What I am telling you is that both Ernst and I essentially withdrew from the original “denial” battlefield. We were looking for a different venue where we could be pro-active. We wanted to find Spartans of the Spirit who would roll up their sleeves and map out where we needed to go.

After Y2K came and went and the world did not come to an end, our world together began.

We hat no idea we were being stalked. My spouse is a romantic fellow, of a caressing warmth. He had made me a bench high up on our hill for my birthday, with a heart in the middle and a breathtaking view of the National Park called the Smokies. Up there, it was peaceful and heavenly quiet. No ARAs to plague us. No fire bugs to burn up Zundel’s house. We both are introspective souls, and we enjoyed our silences as much as we enjoyed our vigorous discussions. We wanted to regroup.

Yet every once in a while, Ernst would say quietly: “Every day is precious. Every day.” And one day, he added: “I know it will not last.”

I said that that was defeatist talk. He just took my hand, looking stubborn.

Onother day we drove to Maryville, a nearby town. There was a stoplight next to a prison. As we were waiting for the light to change, Ernst said while staring straight ahead: “That’s where I’ll end up. You’ll see.”

I hated that. I said: “Whatever do you mean? You haven’t done anything wrong. You are here legally. You are my husband. I am a US citizen. We have applied for a green card and have been tentatively approved. We are in the telephone book. It’s not as if you are some scruffy wetback from Mexico. They can just haul you into some dungeon, with nobody any the wiser!”

Once we came back from our morning walk, and there stood a girl by our driveway. With a camera. She turned her back to us as we passed by. There was no reason for her to be there, and to this day I scold myself that we did not confront her and ask what she thought she was doing.

We very seldom watched TV, so we missed the 9/11 morning drama until our meter man told us. Later, we were sitting in the kitchen, stuffing letters for our supporters. An iron fist got hold of my heart, and I could feel my face getting hot. After what seemed an eternity, Ernst said in a voice that was not his voice:

“That was a coup. Henceforth, this will no longer be a kinder, gentler nation.”

Ernst is a horse-and-buggy man. He has never, to this day, sent an email. He wouldn’t know what to do with a website. I used to run off articles for him that he would read at breakfast.

On the other hand, and this needs to be said and understood, Ernst has an infallible radar for things that are not of this world – that are, to use a fancy term, preternatural. I have often heard him say: “Why do I know these things? Where does this knowledge come from?”

About two weeks after the attack, Ernst started brooding on “the dust.” He used to ask three, four times a day: “Why so much dust? Somebody ought to analyze that dust…”

He talked about the dust, again and again, weeks and then months after the Twin Towers shattered.

He knew instinctively that there was something wrong with the official story – this long before there was a 9/11 Commission, before there were suspicious citizens groups, years before there was aggressive alternative media.

I printed out an article. It was written by “Anonymous” who blamed the Chosenites. Recall that, in the early days, all talk was of the Arabs. Today we know who wrote that lengthy, meticulously researched essay – a fellow by the name of Albert D. Pastore, Ph.D. But then, we didn’t know – and neither did the New World Order guys who somehow got wind of what Zundel had read.

Not written, mind you! Merely read! Not even officially published. Ernst merely ran off some 50 or so copies amid the clutter in our garage on our second-hand copier, gave it a blue cover, and sent it to some friends.

Ernst kept obsessing on “the dust.” It was at hand to think of Fred Leuchter, whom Ernst had sent to Auschwitz as a forensic sleuth, and who might be enticed, Ernst told me casually, to go and see if there was something he might find that would explain “the dust”.

Maybe our phone was bugged. Maybe Ernst sent that booklet to Fred – and maybe it was intercepted. He doesn’t remember he did, and I don’t recall details either.

Somebody must have clear freaked out. Remember the collapse of the official Holotale right in the court room in Toronto in 1988? Was Zundel unto something again? He had that reputation.

Several years later, after Ernst had already been taken into custody, a friend of ours who is a European diplomat with contacts within the UN, called me one merry morning and told me: “It was the blue booklet that did it!”

“They kept watching him,” explained our friend. “After you guys moved to the hills of Tennessee, they watched him. They were biding their time. When Ernst published that blue booklet, that was the last straw! That’s when it was decided to take him out for good.”

“Who decided?”

“Somebody at the State Department. At the highest level.”

“Who? At what ‘highest level’”?

“At the VERY highest level,” our friend told me, and that is all he ever said to me, though I pushed him and pushed him for details.

“Colin Powell? Dick Cheney? Maybe even Bush? Who?”

He wouldn’t say. He hasn’t told me to this day. He only added: “I have already said too much.”

You be the judge as to how it was done. Here are a few of the documents I have since secured and squirreled away. You judge for yourself what went on.

So now you know that the Powers-that-be were freaked out very early – by what Ernst Zundel’s radar had picked up brooding on “the dust” in the spring-scented hills of Tennessee.

All this to prevent the distribution of a little saddle-stitched booklet that pointed a finger at the Usual Suspects? I do believe that our enemies freaked out. They acted on their fear – and thus transported Zundel back into the Vaterland where he is now the best-known dissident, much like that famous Russin nonconformist, Solzhenitsyn.

I believe there is a lesson there for the 9/11 warriors. They might want to borrow a page from the Revisionist crowd and the opportunities lost chasing footnotes and splitting hairs five ways. The crucial question was not EVER for Revisionists – nor is it now for 9/11 Truthers – HOW it was done. There is Building 7. What more does one need? The crucial question is: WHO did it – and WHY. Ernst lost his freedom. In seven years of prison, he almost lost his life. I might lose mine. You might lose yours. Why lose America because somebody calls you a name?

Since 9/11, it’s been ten years. Much work has been done, and much time has been lost. Wherever you look, good people play ostrich from fear. So what if someone calls you a “conspiracist” – and worse?! Consider the source. Consider how much is at stake. Is it not prudent to put all those scholarly egos aside – and ferret out the culprits?

Remember: Sometimes freedom is expensive.

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