The President and the Pakistani: The Reality

The President and the Pakistani, currently running at the Waterloo East Theater claims to be based on:

The incredible chapter in the life of Barack Obama, when he lived in a crime-ridden and violent neighbourhood with an illegal Pakistani immigrant, this is a gripping play about a night when a hunt for the truth exposes the lies we want to believe in.

Barack Obama did indeed share a sixth floor walk-up in Harlem with a Pakistani by the name of Sohale Siddiqi in the early eighties. The play portrays the idealistic Obama struggling to pay the rent in a filthy apartment surrounded by criminals and bums. The setting of the play may be accurate, but the story is not.

First off, Barack is referred to as ‘Barry’, the given name Obama used for most of his life up to his undergraduate years at Occidental College in California. Obama later transferred to Columbia, always intending to move into nearby Harlem. Thus, he would likely have gone by ‘Barack’ during his time in New York. Going to Harlem with an illegal Pakistani immigrant was a politically-motivated gesture to demonstrate where his loyalties lay. Adopting the name ‘Barack’ was a similar gesture. As I have written before, Obama has had a life-long obsession with being ‘black enough’ to be the black leader he wanted to be.  Obama admits that he “ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of twelve or thirteen, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself with whites”. Thus, he ended up manufacturing an identity and personal narrative. He insisted that people at Occidental call him ‘Barack’, as he recounts in a typical conversation on page 104 of Dreams from my Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance:

“Barack’s my given name. My father’s name. He was a Kenyan”.

“Does it mean something?”

“It means ‘Blessed’. In Arabic. My grandfather was  a Muslim”.

This was all true, but Obama had been using the name ‘Barry’ up to this point. The change was for a reason:

[C]onfusion made me question my own racial credentials… To avoid being mistaken for a sellout, I chose my friends carefully. The more politically active black students. The foreign students. The Chicanos. The Marxist professors and structural feminists and punk-rock performance poets [page 100].

On page 105 he admits:

What I needed was a community, I realized, a community that cut deeper than the common despair that black friends and I shared when reading the latest crime statistics, or the high fives I might exchange on a basketball court. A place where I could put down stakes and test my commitments.

So he moves to Harlem. This was a carefully considered choice. ‘The President and the Pakistani’ doesn’t make that clear. Obama didn’t need to live in a dump with low-lives. He could afford better. He found the illegal immigrant Siddiqi through wealthy Pakistani colleagues at Occidental: Imad Hussein, Mohamed Hasan Chandoo, and Wahid Hamid. Obama would visit Pakistan himself, staying at the grand estate of Muhammad Mian Soomro, who in 2007 became Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister.

It wasn’t allegiance to Islam that led Obama to do all this. It was an expression of racial and Third World solidarity. Siddiqi was secular, as well as a heavy drinker and drug abuser.  Obama had expressed pride in his grandfather’s conversion to Islam, purely because he felt it was evidence he was anti-white. Obama had a long interest in Nation of Islam, and his links to them and other anti-white black nationalist movements are shockingly extensive. His image of Islam as anti-European skewed his perception of his grandfather. He notoriously claimed he took part in the Mau Mau uprising and was tortured by the British. In fact, his third wife, whom Obama calls Granny, would tell Obama that his grandfather very willingly served the British and admired their ways. Plus, he only converted to Islam because he found Christianity too soft and feminine.

‘The President and the Pakistani’ begins by portraying Obama and his new friend as a comic bromance getting up to all sorts of wacky antics. It ends with Obama making a commitment to straighten up and act serious after his Pakistani friend’s dog is stabbed by drug dealers. He complains about the cocaine all over the table after he’s invited some friends over for an anti-apartheid meeting. These particular details may or may not be true. We do know, however, that Obama did swear off drugs in this period. He also started jogging. He developed the habits typical of Reagan era yuppies trying to grow up, even briefly contemplating a career in the private sector. He admits in his own account that Siddiqi said he was “becoming a bore”.

‘The’President and the Pakistani’ has proved to be a hit. But don’t believe will give you the real Obama. If it did, no theater would have it.

Barack Obama and Sohale Siqqiqi in 1981

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More on my least favorite charity, Trócaire

Must read articles:

1. Dr. Mark Dooley, Catholic philosopher, slams Trócaire in yesterday’s Irish Daily Mail. Dooley says that as the official overseas development agency of the Catholic Church, Trócaire has no business waging ideological battles, particularly in such a selective manner. He also says the Trocaire position is far away from that of most practicing Catholics he knows in Ireland, which is encouraging.

2. Why I Don’t Care for Trócaire (Irish Independent, March 2007). An excellent piece. Trócaire is something of a sacred cow in Irish society and deserves more skepticism.

3. Shedding Light on the Pay of Charity Chiefs (Irish Examiner, September 2011). Trócaire CEO Justin Kilcullen is noticeably overpaid. He gets €2.32 per €1,000 of Trócaire income, but the CEO of Concern gets only €0.78 per €1,000. Concern’s has an income of €167 million but Trocaire has only €63 million.

4. Garry Walsh isn’t the only IPSC figure at Trócaire. The idiot activist Eoin Murray is their Campaigns Coordinator. He is the former National Coordinator of the IPSC and writes for Electronic Intifada.

Obama, Edward Said, and the Politics of Identity

This month’s issue of Standpoint magazine features an editorial on one of Obama’s lesser-known intellectual influences. Of all the relationships from Obama’s past, this is one of the most troubling. And yet, when it comes to Barack Obama and Edward Said, its hard to think of two people with more similar personal histories and characters.

Barack Obama was first introduced to the postmodernist professor Edward Said when he took a class of his at Columbia University in 1982. There is no mention of this in the otherwise highly revealing Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance. It warrants a mention in the more recent Barack Obama: The Story by David Maraniss. According to Maraniss, the young Obama was not impressed with Said’s over-theoretical approach and his handling of the class. Obama apparently called Said a “flake” when he handed back the students’ papers late and suddenly cancelled the class for the next term.

How much did Said’s ideas influence Obama? It would be going too far to say that he inspired Obama to become an Alinsky-style community organizer in Chicago, as Standpoint actually suggests. Obama was heading down that route well before 1982. Obama would, however, meet Said several times as a political ally and friend when climbing the political ladder in the 1990s:

From left to right: Michelle Obama, then Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, Columbia University Professor Edward Said and Mariam Said at a May 1998 Arab community event in Chicago. Edward Said delivered the keynote speech.

I don’t want to go so much into the links between Edward Said’s Orientalism and Barack Obama’s own worldview, if there is any. What I find more interesting in this case is the personal identities of the two men, and how they have presented their narratives. Here we find remarkable similarities. I believe both Obama and Said largely invented their personal narratives in order to make gains in their respective fields as well as to serve ideological goals.

Obama

In the case of Obama, I highly  recommend Steve Sailer’s masterwork America’s Half-Blood Prince: Barack Obama’s “Story of Race and Inheritance”, which is a thoughtful analysis of Obama’s intellectual and ideological foundations based on his own 1995 autobiography. This book is very different in style and content from Obama’s Audacity of Hope in 2006, for understandable reasons.

Sailer examines the obsession Obama had, from a very young age, over whether he was “black enough” to be a black leader. Obama had good reason to doubt his ‘blackness’. After all,  he was mostly raised by his devoted white grandparents in Hawaii, where he enjoyed a very privileged upbringing and went to the finest schools. It was clearly difficult for Obama to write Dreams from My Father as a book of suffering and conflict, as he tries to do in order to (as Sailer says) “turn himself into an authentic angry black man”. Given that most of his troubles lay solely within his own head, the Obama of this book comes off as a mere self-obsessed whinger.

Every aspect of Obama is incredibly politicized. In Dreams, Obama admits he “ceased to advertise my mother’s race at the age of twelve or thirteen, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself with whites”. Part of this act was his fundamental decision to identify with his black scoundrel and bigamist of a biological father – who abandoned him at the age of two and his mother at 19 – over the white family that actually raised him. His  mother, Ann Dunham, was possibly at fault here. As she grew to resent her Indonesian second husband, in part due to his business activities with Americans, she began to ingrain the young Obama with romantic notions of his Kenyan father, an anti-western socialist. Ann would leave her son with his grandparents in Hawaii on two occasions; the second time to do research for her 1067-page anthropological dissertation with the hilarious title of Peasant Blacksmithing in Indonesia: Surviving and Thriving Against All Odds.

While living in New York, Obama even made the decision to break up with his serious white girlfriend of a year for reasons of race: “Well… there was a woman in New York that I loved. She was white… I pushed her away… She couldn’t be black, she said. She would if she could, but she couldn’t. She could only be herself, and that wasn’t enough”. Eventually he would marry a woman named Michelle, another figure obsessed with her own blackness. Michelle’s doctoral dissertation at Princeton is called Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community. That’s seven words, two of them ‘black’.

Across 460 pages of Dreams, Barack Obama never strays from the subject of race, and never ceases to agonize over his “racial credentials”. He claims that from the age of ten “I was trying to raise myself to be a black man in America, and beyond the given of my appearance, no one around me seemed to know exactly what that meant”. Because of the desperate shortage of racial tension and black people in Hawaii, he actually had to learn about being black from “TV, movies, the radio; those were places to start. Pop culture was color-coded, after all, an arcade of images from which you could cop a walk, a talk, a step, a style”. He found meaning in his blackness and the grievance he developed against the race of his own mother and grandparents in Hawaii. The happiest moment in this autobiography is when his alcoholic half-brother Roy’s converts to Islam and asserts his black identity by changing his name to Abongo.

Obama’s maternal grandfather Stanley Armour Dunham, mother Ann Dunham, Maya Soetoro and Barry Soetero/Barack Obama

Said

The case of Edward Said is similarly absurd, but at least he didn’t have to learn about being an Arab from TV. Like Obama, Said manufactured a narrative, downplaying a wealthy upbringing in Egypt and America in favor of portraying himself as a Palestinian refugee. This issue briefly came to public attention in 1999 when an Israeli-American lawyer and academic by the name of Justus Reid Weiner claimed to have found proof that Said lied about much of his early life. These allegations have been hotly contested. Here, I will stick to what we do know about Edward Said.

In a 1998 issue of the London Review of Books, Said reminisced: “I was born in Jerusalem and spent most of my formative years there… after 1948… my entire family became refugees, in Egypt”. Said claimed that he and his family were kicked out of  their “beautiful old house” in the wealthy Arab neighborhood of Talbiya, Jerusalem. He frequently posed dramatically before this building during a documentary film he did that same year for the BBC, called In Search of Palestine.

What Said did not make clear is that his aunt owned the house in Talbiya. Said’s immediate family often visited Jerusalem and stayed in the house, part of which was also the Yugoslavian consulate. Edward Said was born in Jerusalem on one of these trips, but the family’s permanent address recorded on his birth certificate is in Cairo and the line for a local address is left blank. Said’s father, Wadie (or William), was an American citizen and permanent resident of Cairo nine years prior to his son’s birth in 1935. There he owned and ran the very successful Standard Stationery Company, which grew to include a branch in Alexandria in 1929 and eventually a second store in Cairo itself. Said’s mother Hilda (or Musa), a Christian born in Nazareth, but of Lebanese extraction, moved to Cairo on marrying Wadie in 1932. There they resided for decades, including many years in Cairo’s most affluent neighborhood on the island of Zamalek in the Nile River.

Curiously, while Said wrote lots of moving words about growing up in the house in Talbiya, claiming to remember exactly the rooms where he first read Sherlock Holmes and Tarzan, nowhere did he ever mention the presence of a Yugoslavian consulate upstairs. Considering the consulate attracted numerous visitors, ranging from regular seekers of visas to diplomats and even the King of Yugoslavia himself, it seems a great oversight on Said’s part. Golde Meir herself showed  up for a formal function only weeks before Said claims his family was forced to flee the country. Such trivial matters escaped young Edward’s memory.

Said made an interesting claim while speaking at a Palestinian university, alleging that Martin Buber, arguably the greatest moral philosopher of the 20th century, lived in the house from which his family had fled. The “great apostle of coexistence between Arabs and Jews”, he bitterly remarked, “didn’t mind living in an Arab house whose inhabitants had been displaced”. Powerful stuff, but the real story is much more interesting. Martin Buber and his family, all refugees from Nazi Germany, did indeed move into the ground-floor and basement of the house in Talbiya in 1938. However, Said’s aunt Nabiha Yusef evicted the Bubers in 1942. This memorable event took place when Edward Said insisted he was growing up in the same house. The Bubers claimed Mrs. Yusef broke the lease and contested the eviction in court. Once again, Said forgets all about it. Buber’s granddaughters have testified that they remember Said’s aunt and her children, but not little Edward and his four sisters. Probably because he just wasn’t there.

The (darkly) funny thing is that in 1952 a revolutionary mob burned Wadie Said’s flagship store in Cairo to the ground. Several years later President Nasser actually forced Said’s family out of the country after nationalizing the family business. Said didn’t write much about this devastating loss. He never wailed about it for the cameras of the BBC. This is because he supported Nasser’s pan-Arab socialism, and, of course, the loss couldn’t be blamed on Israel.

There is another aspect of Said’s fabricated history aside from the question of where he grew up. This revolves around his  copious outpourings on the subject of  ‘identity’. Said spoke endlessly about how he as a “Palestinian (sic) going to school in Egypt, with an English first name, an American passport” grew up with “no certain identity at all”. His 2000 memoir, titled Out of Place was dedicated to this deceptive reminiscing. In fact, decades before Out of Place, Said revealed in his personal correspondence that despite his Christian background and western education, he never felt like a minority in Egypt and regarded his heritage as “Arab-Islamic” (this is shown in Efraim Karsh’s excellent Islamic Imperialism: A History).

Said pulled off a great trick. He endeared himself to Palestinians, the wider Arab and Muslim world and (most importantly) white western leftists. He would devote an entire career to hating imperialism, despite his suspicious fondness for the structures of the Ottoman Empire and Islamic rule over the Iberian peninsula (again, demonstrated in the excellent work of Karsh).

Barack Obama is quite similar to Said. He’s run into problems over his birth certificate. He also became the black leader he wanted to be, but not exclusively a leader of blacks along the lines of Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. His speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention emphasized the “improbable love” between his white mother and black father. Obama became America’s Half-Blood Prince, a healer in the great racial divide. With the election in November, it would be wise to reflect on his accomplishment.

Hegelian Chic

High-end fashion has been known for esoteric advertising, but this one took me by surprise in the pages of my New Yorker this week. The only words, apart from ‘Brunello Cucinelli‘ at the bottom (cut out in my photo) are from Hegel: “The State is the actuality of the ethical idea”.

Brilliant! (I have absolutely no idea whats going on).

 

 

Racist, Crack Abuser and Pro-Obama Delegate: Marion Barry at the DNC

When it came to the Republican National Convention, the media made sure to have a 24-hour watch seeking out ‘RACISM!’ in every corner.

My favorite accusation of ‘RACISM!’ came from the Yahoo! News chief, who claimed that Republicans were “happy to have a party when black people drown” (in reference to the timing of the RNC with Hurricane Isaac).

Yet not much attention has fallen upon the presence of Marion Barry at the DNC. For many Americans, Barry is a bad memory who embodies all the evils of the early 90’s recession and the state of Washinton DC at the time. Now he’s coming to affirm Obama’s nomination in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Marion Barry first came to infamy when he was filmed smoking crack and busted in a FBI sting-operation in 1990. This year, he was filmed making racist remarks about the ever-productive Asian community in the United States: “We’ve got to do something about these Asians coming in, opening up businesses, those dirty shops. They ought to go, I’ll just say that right now, you know.”

Here are some other notable statements from this great American wordsmith:

“The contagious people of Washington have stood firm against diversity during this long period of increment weather.”

“I promise you a police car on every sidewalk.”

“If you take out the killings, Washington actually has a very very low crime rate.”

“First, it was not a strip bar, it was an erotic club. And second, what can I say? I’m a night owl.”

“Bitch set me up.”

“I am clearly more popular than Reagan. I am in my third term. Where’s Reagan? Gone after two! Defeated by George Bush and Michael Dukakis no less”.

“The laws in this city are clearly racist. All laws are racist. The law of gravity is racist”.

“I am making this trip to Africa because Washington is an international city, just like Tokyo, Nigeria or Israel. As mayor, I am an international symbol. Can you deny that to Africa?”

“People have criticized me because my security detail is larger than the
president’s. But you must ask yourself: are there more people who want to kill me than who want to kill the president? I can assure you there are.”

“The brave men who died in Vietnam, more than 100% of which were black, were the ultimate sacrifice”.

“I read a funny story about how the Republicans freed the slaves. The Republicans are the ones who created slavery by law in the 1600′s. Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves and he was not a Republican”.

“What right does Congress have to go around making laws just because they deem it necessary?”

“People blame me because these water mains break, but I ask you, if the water mains didn’t break, would it be my responsibility to fix them then? WOULD IT!?!”

“I am a great mayor; I am an upstanding Christian man; I am an intelligent man; I am a deeply educated man; I am a humble man”.

Unfortunately, Barry is a member of a Designated Victim Group, which in America means pretty much any member of a NAM (Non-Asian Minority). Thus, he can never be ‘RACIST!’ enough to be driven from an event like the DNC or an institution like the DC city council.

Forty Years On, and Watergate Still Doesn’t Make Sense.

Public Perception vs. The Truth

In all seriousness, what is the root of the American fixation on Watergate and Richard Nixon? The fortieth anniversary of the break-ins this year has led to mass media commemoration and yet more pats on the pack for the folks at the Washington Post.

Its not as if there haven’t been worse political scandals before or since: Chappaquiddick, JFK’s disgusting sex and drug habits, Iran-Contra and Bill Clinton’s entire political career come to mind. What we have been through in the last ten years alone is enough to sicken even the most seasoned of political observers. Compared to the American government’s lies about Pat Tillman, and Obama’s arming of violent Mexican gangs that went on to murder Americans under Fast and Furious, Watergate seems almost like a jolly college prank.

Ben Bradlee happens to agree. As the former executive editor at the Washington Post said to his friend Jeff Himmelman in Yours in Truth: A Personal Portrait of Ben Bradlee:

“Watergate … achieved a place in history … that it really doesn’t deserve. … The crime itself was really not a great deal. Had it not been for the Nixon resignation, it really would have been a blip in history.”

Not only that, Bradlee went on to express his doubts about much of Woodward and Bernstein’s account of the story:

“Did that potted palm thing ever happen? … And meeting in some garage. One meeting in the garage. Fifty meetings in the garage … there’s a residual fear in my soul that that isn’t quite straight… I just find the flower in the window difficult to believe and the garage scenes…

If they could prove that Deep Throat never existed … that would be a devastating blow to Woodward and to the Post. … It would be devastating, devastating.”

Witnesses say that Bob Woodward became highly stressed when he heard what Bradley told Himmelman, and repeated the statement about “a residual fear… that that isn’t quite straight” countless times to himself. Woodward tried to get Bradlee to withdraw his statements. He even threatened legal action to prevent Himmelman from publishing them. It didn’t work. Far more people really should have heard the words of Bradlee.

There may indeed have been a Deep Throat in the form of Mark Felt. But we now know – thanks to Max Holland’s great work in Leak: How Mark Felt Became Deep Throat – that the man was no hero. Felt was not motivated by his conscience or a sense of justice. He simply wanted to get back at Nixon for not appointing him as J. Edgar Hoover’s successor. He also wanted to bring down the outsider and squeaky-clean L. Patrick Gray to protect the FBI’s ‘turf’.

It seems to me that the obsessive focus on the identity of Deep Throat distracted the public from the more important questions raised during Watergate. For the Washington Post and the Pulitzer Committee, there is the important matter of the unethical and flagrantly illegal methods used by Woodward and Bernstein in the course of their work. This was discovered years before Felt revealed himself.

However, the most important mystery concerns the real story behind the break-ins at the offices of the DNC – something still largely unknown by the American public.

The Break-Ins: What Really Happened

The clue to solving this mystery begins with a woman known as Maureen Elizabeth Kane Owen “Mo” Biner. “Mo” was the wife of the far more famous John Dean: one of those responsible for the espionage at the Democratic National Committee and mastermind of the subsequent cover-up. As the man who pleaded guilty to a single felony count in exchange for becoming a key witness for the prosecution, history has judged Dean favourably. This might not be justified, but we’ll get to that. Maureen was the author of Mo: A Woman’s View of Watergate. Its a real turd of a book, devoted mostly to her love for John and what the people at the centre of the Watergate scandal were wearing. For the discerning reader, there is one part of interest: a wedding photograph with a woman called “my very dear friend Heidi”. We don’t read much at all about this dear friend elsewhere in the book. That is because “Heidi” was in fact Erika “Heidi” Rikan, a.k.a. Cathy Dieter: a notorious DC stripper at Washington’s Blue Mirror Club, a madam, and mistress of the mafia boss Joe Nesline.

Rikan and Maureen Biner were roommates and long-time friends. In all likelihood, Biner was once a prostitute. Before dating John Dean, she was the girlfriend of the notorious deviant and sexual blackmailer Bobby Baker. He once tried to compromise John F. Kennedy by setting him up with the East German spy Ellen Rometsch.

The truth is that the break-ins at Watergate were entirely the result of a sex scandal involving a DC call-girl ring. Larry O’ Brien’s office was not even the main target.

In 1971, a call-girl operation was set up in the DNC’s Watergate offices and nearby Columbia Plaza by Phillip Mackin Bailey. Bailey was a Washington attorney known for representing prostitutes. With his amassed contacts, somewhere along the line he began pimping. Its a good business in Washington. Bailey set up the DNC operation at the request of Biner’s dear friend “Heidi” Rikan. Her lover, Nesline, was also linked to a sexual blackmail operation run out of the Georgetown Club involving the Korean intelligence agent Tongsun Park and the CIA agent Ed Wilson. Both appeared in Rikan’s address book.

Bailey arranged for a secure telephone line between the Watergate offices and Rikan’s operation, where the clientele could hear a description of all the girls available. For this they used the office phone of the frequently-absent Democratic Party employee R. Spencer Oliver. It was in the desk of his secretary, Ida Maxine Wells. A key to this desk was found in the possession of the Watergate burglar Eugenio Martinez when he was arrested on June 17th, 1972, only to be kept in the National Archives until this very day.

Bailey was arrested on account of his sleazy activities only days after the initial Watergate burglary. One of the Assistant US Attorneys who investigated Bailey’s ring, John Rudy, later testified in a different case that he had evidence tying R. Spencer Oliver to Bailey’s call-girl ring. He claims he was told by his superiors to suppress it because it was politically explosive.

Maureen “Mo” Dean, listening to her husband’s testimony at the Watergate Hearings

Rudy also uncovered an address book listing all of Bailey and Rikan’s girls and clientele. It included the name and contact details of a woman they dubbed “Clout”. This was a name used for Rikan’s dear friend Maureen Biner. Biner was by this time dating John Dean. Hence, she was political “clout”.

The first Watergate break-in was actually masterminded by the chief executive of the infamous White House Plumbers, G. Gordon Liddy, as well as John Dean, simply to get sexual dirt on the Democrats. Such operations had been planned and done before. In October 1971, John Dean ordered a White House security advisor, John Caulfield, to investigate a recently-busted call-girl ring in New York to see if any Democratic politicians happened to be clients. In January of the next year, Liddy proposed something called ‘Operation Gemstone’. ‘Gemstone’ aimed to spy on the Washington headquarters of Ed Muskie and George McGovern, as well as the site of the Democratic National Convention – the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami. The Fontainebleau was also connected Meyer Lansky and the Syndicate, and prostitutes were expected to be at the convention. Operation Gemstone proposed recruiting prostitutes to help videotape convention attendees in compromising positions.

Nixon certainly did not order the break-in. The legendary lawyer James F. Neal, prosecutor of the Watergate Seven, did not believe this was the case. He cited Nixon’s surprised reaction to news of the burglary on June 23, 1972 when he asked his aide, Harry Haldeman: “who was the asshole that did it?”

Dean very quickly married Biner, asking Haldeman for some very brief time off to do so. A wife cannot be forced to testify against her husband, after all.

The second break-in was planned by John Dean, who needed to find out if a picture and contact information of “Mo” (his own nickname for her) was in the desk if Ida Maxine Wells.

Wiretaps transcripts exist of the conversations that took place over the phone in Oliver’s office, but they have been sealed by a federal judge. Philip Mackin Bailey spent the rest of his life in and out of mental institutions.

While the full truth will likely remain buried for a long time, its quite clear from available evidence that the typical picture the public has of Watergate is severely distorted.

They Were No Heroes

Not only does the John Dean get off easy and appear regularly on news shows, Woodward and Bernstein are still considered the princes of American journalism. This is despite the fact we now know from Jeff Himmelman that Carl Bernstein interviewed a Watergate grand juror. The intrepid duo showed contempt for one of the most sacred institutions of the justice system and lied about it for 40 years. And The Post knew about the whole thing.

Himmelman discovered this second gem from his work on Yours in Truth. He found seven pages of interview notes with what was clearly a Watergate grand juror in the Washington Post’s records. This is the source that Bernstein falsely described as a secretary for the Committee to Re-elect the President in ‘All the President’s Men’, whom he called ‘Z’.

What’s more shocking is that Bob and Carl had the audacity to attempt contacting several other Watergate grand jurors, the names of which Woodward had illegally obtained from the District Court clerk’s office. One juror complained to the prosecuting attorney, Earl Silbert in December of 1972. Silbert’s team informed Judge John Sirica. Sirica called Woodward and Bernstein into court two weeks later and warned against any further meddling. Edward Bennett Williams, chief legal counsel to the Washington Post, was dispatched to a private meeting with the judge. Sirica wanted the journalists to be jailed. Assured that their attempts to breach the secrecy of the grand jury were unsuccessful, he merely issued a warning to all reporters to avoid any grand juror contact.

Forty years on, the traditional account of Watergate given by John Dean and the Washington Post is becoming hard to defend indeed.

Oh, Happy Day: The Downfall of Chris Andrews

Reading the Sunday Independent this morning nearly caused me to die from laughter. It appears that one of the most odious men in Irish politics, Chris Andrews of Fianna Fail, has been drummed out of his party after an elaborate sting operation exposed him as the man behind the fake Twitter profile @brianformerff. The account was dedicated to attacking Fianna Fail.

I have waited a long time for this idiot’s online nonsense to properly catch up with him. I initially took issue with a tweet that reeked of anti-Semitism. I was willing to give Andrews the benefit of the doubt and put it down to populist Israel-bashing rather than anti-Semitism. Delving deeper into the activities of Andrews uncovered darker things, however. My own blog happened to be the first website to disseminate a picture of him being quite chummy with Mr. Assad of Syria (see above). This was actually in a leaflet sent to his constituents, and one of them passed it to me.

The story of how Andrews was exposed this weekend reads like  a great espionage or detective novel. Consensus at the moment seems to be that this was all done by some opponents within Fianna Fail. When the party finally disbands, many of its adherents might just find work in G-2, the Garda Security and Intelligence Branch, or private investigations. According to the Sindo (Ireland’s best newspaper, in my humble opinion), the sleuth behind this:

[S]pent months tracking down the identity in what almost became a personal crusade and used ingenious IT techniques.

The author used a third party service called SnapBird.org which records every tweet posted indefinitely, even after they have been deleted.

He used SnapBird to recover a complete transcript of @brianformerff tweets which included messages sent in response to tweets posted by a range of newspaper and broadcast journalists, RTE and Newstalk Twitter accounts.

He discovered that each tweet had originated from the Twitter web interface, meaning it had been posted from a web browser on a computer, rather than sent from a mobile phone or other portable device.

Based on the times that tweets were posted by @brianformerff, he deduced that the Tweets were being posted while the user was on a work break, using a company computer or an internet cafe.

The next stage in the hunt was uncovering the IP address of the computer where the tweets originated.

“I created my own web redirection service which would allow me to take links to articles of interest, for example in the Irish Times, and then transform them into short links that would pass through a redirection server I controlled. In this way, if someone read the tweets and clicked on the link, I would be able to establish the IP address of the computer that was being used at the time.”

The author created a new twitter account, @john_cant _type, based on the persona of a politics student based in Kildare. He started sending several messages and tweets to “brian” and other users to establish himself as a genuine twitter user.

Eventually @brianformerff responded to a post from @john_cant_type to a link to an article at Silicon Republic. The bait was taken and the IP address was tracked to an internet cafe, Amazon cyber/net Rathmines which offers web access “at the very reasonable rate of €1/hour”.

What happened next descended almost into the realms of farce. The author waited for tweets from @brianformerff and then rushed to the internet cafe to try and catch Chris Andrews. Eventually the plan worked and the author used photography and video surveillance, even taking covert photographs of tweets as they were being posted in the internet cafe by Chris Andrews and analysing if the word count and structure matched the tweets appearing in cyberspace under the tag @brianformerff.

They did.

Many of the tweets are comedy gold. In one exchange with Sarah Ryan, a rival of Andrews within Fianna Fail, he says:

‎”FF say they want change from past but they still elect to continue dynasties like @SarahCatRyan to internal positions in party!!”

This is coming from Chris Andrews: grandson of Todd Andrews, son of Niall Andrews and his nephew of David Andrews. Oh, and cousin of Barry Andrews. He is the fourth member of his family to sit in the Dáil. If he has any work history prior to entering politics, he has never revealed it.

Others tweets are more childish:

‎”@CllrMcGuinness You left FF because you tried to get a job using the party and that effort failed now cop on to yourself!”

“@CllrMcGuinness How is the drinking going are you still trying to get off it?”

Pride of his family, Chris is.

Trawling through these tweets, it just seems like the gift that keeps on giving. Thank you for the laughter, Chris Andrews.

What is EAPPI?

Last week, the General Synod of the Church of England endorsed something called the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI). EAPPI is a program I knew little about, but I was intrigued by the statement of the Board of Deputies of British Jews on the matter. It mentioned that one EAPPI publication called ‘Chain Reaction’ endorsed hacking Israeli websites and sit-ins at Israeli embassies. If the Synod was aware of this, their endorsement was a completely inappropriate and rotten act that damage the credibility of their church. I desperately wanted to see the EAPPI material in question.

I must mention that I am a researcher for Anglican Friends of Israel, which has a natural interest in this subject. My research was carried out on AFI’s behalf.

I contacted EAPPI and the Quaker Press Office. EAPPI in the UK and Ireland operates out of the Quakers. I asked them for a copy of ‘Chain Reaction’, as there was no version on their website. EAPPI said it ceased publication 4 years ago and they could not supply one, electronic or otherwise. I did not believe them. The Board of Deputies and several other contacts of mine were later able to give me a copy.

And here is the funny thing. When calling the Quaker Press Office, I used my real name and said I was from AFI. Anne van Staveren, their press officer, called me back and insisted that ‘Chain Reaction’ was put out by ‘a group of individuals’, and was clearly trying to distance the Quakers and EAPPI from it. She even went so far as to say it was not EAPPI’s publication.

When I called EAPPI, for obvious reasons I never mentioned Anglican Friends of Israel. They seemed to have no problem taking responsibility for ‘Chain Reaction’ and did not try to deny it was theirs.

The whole thing stank to high heavens. The Quakers and EAPPI were clearly lying and conspiring to cover up the truth about their past publications, in the wake of the attention EAPPI received from the Synod’s endorsement.

The Board of Deputies provided this screen capture from EAPPI’s website:

Not an official EAPPI publication, eh?

Here is a typical issue of Chain reaction. Pages 23-25 contain an article by Ronan Quinn and Trond Botnen. It does indeed endorse hacking Israeli websites, sit-ins at Israeli embassies and illegal activities. Ronan Quinn is an interesting figure I have never encountered before. He’s clearly active in Palestinian and left-wing causes. Note also the endorsement of Trocaire, an Irish Catholic charity heavily biased against Israel.

The lies of EAPPI and the Quakers have little to do with Christianity, but everything to do with left-wing politics. Which highlights a great absurdity of out times. How on earth can even left-wing Christians like Stephen Sizer stand alongside Communists, responsible for the murder and torture of millions of his co-religionists, and Islamists like Raed Salah, responsible for the murders of countless Christian missionaries and the destruction of ancient Christian communities all over the Middle East? How can they do all this in the interests of undermining Israel, the only country in the Middle East where Christianity is actually going and Christians enjoy basic freedoms?

Oy vey is mir.

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See also: NGO Monitor on EAPPI.

Azaria Chamberlain, The Cult of Sentimentality, and Racial Politics: Rants and Recommendations for This Week

So, Azaria Chamberlain was killed by a dingo after all. Nice work, Australians: all it took was three decades and years from an innocent mother’s life.

I’ve only recently become familiar with this case as it features prominently in Theodore Dalrymple’s powerful little volume Spoilt Rotten! The Toxic Cult of Sentimentality; a copy of which I received as a birthday present back in February.

Linda Chamberlain, mother of Azaria and two other children, was on an outing in the Australian outback in 1980 when her daughter disappeared. She went to the police and suggested her infant might have been taken by a dingo. Simply because she maintained a cool, unemotional demeanor before the police and the public she was deemed suspect. On flimsy and circumstantial evidence and some dodgy forensics, she was charged with murder and sentenced to life in prison. Linda Chamberlain served four years before the evidence was discredited and the case remained unsolved until this very week. Had Linda cried for the cameras in 1980, the poor woman would likely never have had to undergo the ordeal the Australian police and public made for her.

In his book, Dalrymple deems sentimentality “the progenitor, the godparent, the midwife of brutality”; which has become a serious danger to sensible policy-making, as well as a corruption of human relations. It analyses similar cases where the media and the mob interpreted the lack of emotion from a parent after the murder or disappearance of their children as evidence of guilt, such as in the disgraceful treatment of the McCanns and Joanne Lees (another Austrialian bungle). He also includes the outcry over the lack of emotion shown by the Queen after the death of Princess Diana, contending that “the tabloid newspapers carried out what can only be called a campaign of bullying against the sovereign” and that this was simply “bullying rather than expressing any genuine grief”. Dalrymple links the toxic cult of sentimentality with everything from the decline of British schooling to the Make Poverty History idiocy. Its a great work that slaughters many a sacred cow.

Read the saga of Linda Chamberlain, then read Dalrymple’s book, and prepare to get angry.

On another note, I’ve been reading the more recently released Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department by the inspiring J. Christian Adams. Adams is a former Department of Justice Attorney who resigned in disgust after witnessing firsthand the crooked, racially-motivated decisions of the Obama/Holder regime. Fascinating revelations in the book include how Eric Holder has prevented the prosecution of black mobs in Philadelphia – who have been intimidating and assaulting white voters at voting booths – while he has tried at the same time to instill fear into black communities by claiming his opponents are trying to block their access to the polls.  This is extremely disturbing stuff, and Adams is putting the names and incriminating statements of many officials in the Department out there for us all to see. The fact that nobody is suing him is a surefire indicator that the book is all truth. These scandals are part of a broader Democratic Party strategy to create a sense of siege among American blacks, while portraying themselves as their protectors. The Obama regime has helped to ferment what is nothing less than a censored race war, and the lid can’t be held down forever.

Read this book, and prepare to get even angrier.

The Perpetual Bonfire

Weep for George Zimmerman, the world’s first white Hispanic. For he has been trapped in the perpetual Bonfire, the one you’ll probably figure is a reference to the famous work on racism, corruption, politics and the law by the great Tom Wolfe.

As in Bonfire of the Vanities, certain professionals constantly on call to be offended rushed to the front lines at the first opportunity in the drama, in order to make sure facts never get in the way of a good narrative. These shameless hucksters include such ‘anti-racist’ icons as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson, both of whom happen to be anti-Semites.  Sharpton even helped incite a black mob to riot, loot and murder across an observant Jewish neighborhood in 1991.

Al Sharpton! The adviser to the liar Tawana Brawley, who tried to ruin the lives of six innocent men by falsely accusing them of rape.

Jesse Jackson! Who pledged to cover the tuition fees of the liar Crystal Magnum, the stripper/ho who similarly tried to ruin the lives of three innocent university athletes with false accusations of rape. That lovely victim is currently being held on a murder charge.

When these belligerent black activists get excited about a victim, I get suspicious, because they’re ready to hi-jack any case and make it all about themselves.

One equally odious figure stepped in early on to inject a little racial politics. “If I had  a son, he’d look like Trayvon”, says Barack Obama. Though I doubt Oh Bummer would permit his son to get suspended from school three times and have a Twitter account under the name of ‘No Limit Nigga’, where he could express such gems as: “2 glock 40’s…. bitch u got 80 problems”.

Whatever happened that night, George Zimmerman/Sherman McCoy is probably doomed to be found guilty in a show trial and stabbed or strangled to death in a racial hothouse of a prison. All because the media and the President needed him to be an evil racist.

Of course, one feels equally sorry for the boy who has died. Yet at least there may be a silver lining for Trayvon Martin’s family, if their attempts to trademark the phrases “I am Trayvon” and “Justice for Trayvon” are successful. In this, they follow in the noble tradition of the King family, who managed to squeeze $800,000 out of the folks who built a memorial to their father in Washington D.C.