TBR News November 8, 2013

Nov 07 2013

The Voice of the White House

            Washington, D.C. November 6, 2013: “What has not been spoken, or written, concerning the wholesale official snooping on the American, and foreign, public by American intelligence agencies is the fact that the snoopers are spying on American Congressmen for the President, and also on American business entities for their business secrets. These are passed, for cash of course, to their rivals who are friendly with the snoopers. They also spy on foreign banks and businesses, in their own countries, and pass the information to “Interested American” entities like rival banks and businesses and the White House. And trust me, the snoopers are also spying on their girl or boy friends, their wives or husbands, their children and anyone they choose. That none of this has anything to do with what is laughingly called National Security is something that vastly amuses everyone…except the victims. Believe that Obama is determined to keep the domestic spying in place and unhindered.”

C.I.A. Is Said to Pay AT&T for Call Data

November 7, 2013

by Charlie Savage 

New York Times


 WASHINGTON — The C.I.A. is paying AT&T more than $10 million a year to assist with overseas counterterrorism investigations by exploiting the company’s vast database of phone records, which includes Americans’ international calls, according to government officials.


The cooperation is conducted under a voluntary contract, not under subpoenas or court orders compelling the company to participate, according to the officials. The C.I.A. supplies phone numbers of overseas terrorism suspects, and AT&T searches its database and provides records of calls that may help identify foreign associates, the officials said. The company has a huge archive of data on phone calls, both foreign and domestic, that were handled by its network equipment, not just those of its own customers.


The program adds a new dimension to the debate over government spying and the privacy of communications records, which has been focused on National Security Agency programs in recent months. The disclosure sheds further light on the ties between intelligence officials and communications service providers. And it shows how agencies beyond the N.S.A. use metadata — logs of the date, duration and phone numbers involved in a call, but not the content — to analyze links between people through programs regulated by an inconsistent patchwork of legal standards, procedures and oversight.


Because the C.I.A. is prohibited from spying on the domestic activities of Americans, the agency imposes privacy safeguards on the program, said the officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because it is classified. Most of the call logs provided by AT&T involve foreign-to-foreign calls, but when the company produces records of international calls with one end in the United States, it does not disclose the identity of the Americans and “masks” several digits of their phone numbers, the officials said.


Still, the agency can refer such masked numbers to the F.B.I., which can issue an administrative subpoena requiring AT&T to provide the uncensored data. The bureau handles any domestic investigation, but sometimes shares with the C.I.A. the information about the American participant in those calls, the officials said.


Dean Boyd, a spokesman for the C.I.A., declined to confirm the program. But he said the agency’s intelligence collection activities were lawful and “subject to extensive oversight.”


“The C.I.A. protects the nation and upholds privacy rights of Americans by ensuring that its intelligence collection activities are focused on acquiring foreign intelligence and counterintelligence in accordance with U.S. laws,” he said. “The C.I.A. is expressly forbidden from undertaking intelligence collection activities inside the United States ‘for the purpose of acquiring information concerning the domestic activities of U.S. persons,’ and the C.I.A. does not do so.”


Mark Siegel, an AT&T spokesman, said: “We value our customers’ privacy and work hard to protect it by ensuring compliance with the law in all respects. We do not comment on questions concerning national security.”


The C.I.A. program appears to duplicate work performed by the N.S.A. But a senior American intelligence official, while declining to address whether the AT&T alliance exists, suggested that it would be rational for the C.I.A. to have its own program to check calling patterns linked to overseas terrorism suspects.


With on-the-ground operatives abroad seeking to disrupt terrorist activities in “time-sensitive threat situations,” the official said, the C.I.A. requires “a certain speed, agility and tactical responsiveness that differs” from that of other agencies. “That need to act without delay is often best met when C.I.A. has developed its own capabilities to lawfully acquire necessary foreign intelligence information,” the official said.


Since June, when documents leaked by the former N.S.A. contractor Edward J. Snowden began to surface, an international debate has erupted over the scope of N.S.A. surveillance and the agency’s relationships with American companies that operate networks or provide Internet communications services. Many of the companies have protested that they are legally compelled to cooperate. The AT&T-C.I.A. arrangement illustrates that such activities are not limited to the N.S.A., and that cooperation sometimes is voluntary.


While officials in Washington are discussing whether to rein in the N.S.A. on American soil, governments in Europe are demanding more transparency from the companies and threatening greater restraints. AT&T is exploring a purchase of Vodafone, a European cellphone service provider, and European regulators and politicians have vowed to intensely scrutinize such a deal.


AT&T has a history of working with the government. It helped facilitate the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program by allowing the N.S.A. to install secret equipment in its phone and Internet switching facilities, according to an account by a former AT&T technician made public in a lawsuit.


It was also one of three phone companies that embedded employees from 2003 to around 2007 in an F.B.I. facility, where they used company databases to provide quick analysis of call records. The embedding was shut down amid criticism by the Justice Department’s inspector general that officers were obtaining Americans’ call data without issuing subpoenas.


And, for at least the past six years, AT&T has embedded its employees in federally funded drug investigation offices to analyze call records, in response to subpoenas, to track drug dealers who switch phones. A briefing document for that program said AT&T had records of calls handled by its switches — including “a tremendous amount of international numbers that place calls through or roam on the AT&T network” — dating back to 1987, and described efforts to keep its existence “under the radar.”


The history of the C.I.A. program remains murky. It began sometime before 2010, and was stopped at some point but then was resumed, according to the officials. They said the House and Senate Intelligence Committees had been briefed about it.


While the N.S.A. is separately vacuuming up call metadata abroad, most scrutiny in the United States has focused on its once-secret program that uses court orders to domestic phone companies under the Patriot Act to assemble a comprehensive database of Americans’ calls.


Some lawmakers have proposed modifying it to have the phone companies, not the N.S.A., control the data, similar to how the C.I.A. has been operating.


Still, there may be limits to comparisons. The N.S.A. is subject to court-imposed rules about the standard that must be met before its analysts may gain access to its database, which contains records from multiple providers. The C.I.A. appears to have a freer hand, and officials said it had submitted significantly more queries to AT&T for data.


In addition, while both programs analyze cross-border calls of Americans, the N.S.A.’s Patriot Act database does not include purely foreign calls, while AT&T does not use purely domestic calls in analyzing links for the C.I.A., officials said.


Absent an emergency, phone companies are usually legally forbidden to provide customers’ calling records to the government except in response to a subpoena or a court order, and the C.I.A. has a mandate to focus overseas. Lawyers who reviewed the program, officials said, concluded that AT&T’s partial masking of American phone numbers satisfied those restrictions, citing a statutory exception to data privacy laws covering “the acquisition by the United States government of foreign intelligence information from international or foreign communications.”


That same exception has come to public attention before. It was apparently invoked by a still-secret Jan. 8, 2010, memo written by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. A 2010 inspector general’s report described the memo as allowing the F.B.I. to obtain call records “on a voluntary basis from providers, without any legal process or a qualifying emergency.”


While the bureau said it would not use that memo, the report warned that the existence of the government’s still-classified legal theory created a “significant gap” in “accountability and oversight” and urged Congress to modify the statute. Lawmakers have not acted on that recommendation.


If the CIA Can’t Find Its Own Secrets, Snowden Didn’t Stand a Chance

November 6, 2013

by Jeff Stein



          In the vast river of documents and charts flowing from Edward Snowden, only a few of the CIA’s have bubbled to the surface, even though the fugitive whistle-blower worked for the spy agency nearly as long as he did for the NSA and its contractors.


The simplest explanation could be that Snowden had far less access to sensitive secrets as a lowly CIA Internet technician than he did when rooting around the NSA’s computers for three years. But anyone who has worked at the CIA could supply another explanation: We can’t easily find some of our deepest secrets, either – and we like it that way.


The reason lies in the computers holding the names of the CIA’s foreign spies, contacts and potential assets.


As every spy trainee learns, running “traces,” the agency’s word for a background check on a potential recruit, is one of the first steps in a process that ends with seducing a foreign official, soldier, nuclear scientist, or terrorist banker into spying for the United States. It’s as fundamental and necessary as waiting for a green light at an intersection.


An initial search might find nothing more than what Google can turn up: a name, address, job history, and immediate relatives. If the target comes from the Middle East or a tribal society like Pakistan, the file might have something about the individual’s religion, clan or political affiliations. It should also say whether the person has worked for a U.S. intelligence agency, and how that turned out. If the target is on a “burn list” – fired for reasons ranging from corruption to fabricating information to selling secrets – that should glow red in the traces.


Or the search might turn up nothing. Too often, a handful of CIA veterans tell Newsweek, operatives find that a name that should be in the file – say, of a ranking foreign official – isn’t. Or that important information is missing or incomplete; either outcome can introduce havoc, and even a fatal error, into a recruitment pitch.


Compounding the problem, especially since 9/11, is that Arabic and other non-Roman alphabetic names can be transliterated in myriad ways.


Add to that built-in security hurdles, and you’ve got a system that is unreliable and hard to use. “There are too many different databases,” a longtime CIA officer says. “There is no one centralized trace system. You gotta have three different accesses, because of our special handling issues, and even then you don’t know what’s in there. It’s like that terrorist database. It’s a nightmare.”


That the CIA “has the best trace system in the entire intelligence community,” he adds, “should tell you everything you need to know.”


CIA veterans – and FBI agents who have had temporary assignments with the CIA – marvel at the operations directorate’s reports system, called Hercules, which allows a headquarters desk officer to punch up overnight cables from a CIA station in, say, Islamabad, with the click of a mouse. Compared to the FBI’s clunky and long-troubled computerized case management systems, it’s a dream.


But the CIA’s traces system is a labyrinth with many trapdoors. Former CIA operations officer Ilana Greenstein recalls that her training session in 2002 on how to use it stretched over three days. In Baghdad three years later, she learned firsthand its limitations. As a favor to a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) operative, she asked for a trace on a potential Iraqi agent who swore he was working with a CIA-backed group.


The answer came back negative. Just as the DIA was about to reject the Iraqi as a liar, Greenstein asked for the trace to be run again with different name spellings. Bingo: He was telling the truth. (Greenstein, who won six exceptional performance awards before quitting the agency in 2008, says she was reprimanded for letting her DIA colleague into the CIA’s classified facility.)


Another former senior CIA operative calls the system “inherently inaccurate.” As chief of a CIA station abroad, he once searched for information in the files on a foreign ministry official he was interested in recruiting. “I checked out our local database and didn’t see anything,” he says. “So I wrote a cable requesting a headquarters database check. It came back negative. The next day, I went into the office and there was an email in there from my predecessor, saying, ‘Hey I know this guy. He’s already been encrypted’ – given a code name – ‘and here’s his crypt.’ So I punched in the crypt, and there was a whole bunch of stuff I pulled up. That’s because there was a slight misspelling of the last name. So it doesn’t take much to miss something.”


Minor glitches can turn into major gaffes when the White House is on the line. It’s not uncommon for top administration officials to ask the CIA for information on a foreigner who makes contact claiming to have inside information on Iran’s nuclear program, a Syrian official who wants to defect, and so on.


“I have seen this several times: Every time you get a request from the White House or the State Department about somebody – ‘This guy has shown up, what do you know about him?’ – I have seen the entire seventh floor pucker up and cross their fingers because we have been burned so many times,” says a CIA officer.


“Or the Pakistani interior minister says, ‘We’ve just arrested this guy, and he’s your spy,’ and we’re asked about it. And we say we don’t have anything on him. But sure as s**t, two weeks later, there it is in the database and no one ever saw it: It was in a restricted-handling database, and no one ever looked. And this has happened on numerous occasions, in all those different scenarios [in which] they come back to us and we don’t have anything.”


The difficulty is compounded when rival intelligence agencies don’t let the CIA, nominally the leader of overseas spying missions, know what they’re up to. In Beirut a few years ago, Lebanese security queried the CIA about a man detained for suspicious activity. “Not ours,” the agency responded after a files check. Turned out he was the FBI’s counterterrorism spy. The Lebanese were not pleased and left they guy in jail.


Despite such confusion, there’s little call to reform the system, agency veterans say. In its screwball way, it works – like an old lawn mower that needs several cranks to get going – while making it harder for people like Snowden to steal the family jewels.


“The mind-set is (and I can understand the mind-set), ‘You know what? We’ve got sensitive stuff, and we don’t want [anyone like Snowden] just showing up and being able to access it,’” says the longtime CIA officer, a view echoed by a half-dozen other agency veterans.


“The [feeling] is, we’ll suck it up for source protection, because if you have a very efficient system, it means every source is in there for the taking – and there are sources in there you really, really don’t want people to know about.”


It doesn’t make much sense, he concedes. It’s one thing to make something hard to find, it’s another thing to lose it. But most CIA operatives are willing to live with the system’s lapses if – however inadvertently – they help prevent intruders like Snowden from stealing secrets.


“It’s not that the traces are all screwed up,” he insists, belatedly backpedaling on the numerous anecdotes suggesting just that. “You hear about the bad things, but in general, 90 percent of the time, you get what you need.”


The CIA declined to comment for this story.


Jeff Stein is a Newsweek contributing editor in Washington.


NSA Spying Torpedoes American Business Dealings in Europe


November. 1, 2013

by J.D. Tuccille


          From the beginning of the NSA mass-surveillance scandal, revelations that the U.S. spy agency was not only scooping up international communications, but had conscripted American companies into the effort have opened doors for foreign firms. Tech companies in other countries are relatively shielded from pressure by U.S. spooks (whatever their relationships with spy agencies in their own countries) and some American entrepreneurs, like Ladar Levison of Lavabit, actively urge people to avoid U.S.-based services. Worse, though, the NSA’s connection to some companies is giving European politicians cover to discriminate against American businesses. Never mind that Europeans do their own fair share of spying; they now have legitimate concerns to raise about the security of data in the hands of Apple, AT&T, Google, and other familiar names.

Reports Juergen Baetz of the Associated Press:

             BRUSSELS—The backlash in Europe over U.S. spying is threatening an agreement that generates tens of billions of dollars in trans-Atlantic business every year—and negotiations on another pact worth many times more.


A growing number of European officials are calling for the suspension of the “Safe Harbor” agreement that lets U.S. companies process commercial and personal data—sales, emails, photos—from customers in Europe. This little-known but vital deal allows more than 4,200 American companies to do business in Europe, including Internet giants like Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon.


Revelations of the extent of U.S. spying on its European allies is also threatening to undermine one of President Barack Obama’s top trans-Atlantic goals: a sweeping free-trade agreement that would add an estimated $138 billion (100 billion euros) a year to each economy’s gross domestic product.


The Safe Harbor agreement allows companies to move data around their networks as needed. In its absence, data from Europeans might have to be stored and processed only within the physical confines of Europe—a huge expense and possibly insurmountable hurdle for many companies. Many U.S. companies would effectively be unable to operate in Europe if they were reachable by European law.


Some companies could explicitly be barred from expanding their presence in Europe out of fears that they operate as pipelines to the NSA. According to the Wall Street Journal’s Anton Troianovski:


AT&T Inc.’s ambitions to expand in Europe have run into unexpected hurdles amid the growing outcry across the region over surveillance by the National Security Agency. German and other European officials said any attempt by AT&T to acquire a major wireless operator would face intense scrutiny, given the company’s work with the U.S. agency’s data-collection programs.


Resistance to such a deal, voiced by officials in interviews across Europe, suggests the impact of the NSA affair could extend beyond the diplomatic sphere and damage U.S. economic interests in key markets. AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson has signaled repeatedly in recent months that he is interested in buying a mobile-network operator in Europe, highlighting the potential for growth on the continent at a time when the U.S. company faces headwinds at home.


Some of this resistance to American companies is legitimate; Europeans are as outraged as Americans about the spying scandal—quite possibly more so, given that continent’s long history with authoritarian regimes and secret police. And some of these moves are just opportunistic; the NSA has turned into a great excuse for European politicians to openly favor well-connected companie in their own countries at the expense of U.S. firms.


In a recent report (PDF), the European Parliament called out Britain, France, Germany, and Sweden for tapping directly into communications networks—though it insisted “The capacities of Sweden, France and Germany (in terms of budget and human resources) are low compared to the magnitude of the operations launched by GCHQ and the NSA and cannot be considered on the same scale”. Germany’s BND worked closely with the NSA to facilitate spying, and France’s DGSE needed no encouragement to hoover up communications data, though it apparently aided the NSA, as did a counterpart agency in Spain. Britain’s GCHQ is reported to have burrowed its way into Begian telecommunications firms in the course of its extensive cooperation with the NSA.


In other words, European government officials are shocked. Shocked!


But, however cynical the response, by compromising the independence of American firms, U.S. officials created a hell of a justification for other countries to torpedo those companies and favor their own.

LAX shooting comes amid mounting aversion to the TSA

The agency created to increase public safety has become the subject of ridicule and mockery among those it was designed to protect.

November 2, 2013

by Brian Bennett, Washington Bureau

LA Times


WASHINGTON — The killing of a TSA screener in Los Angeles is symptomatic of a growing antipathy toward government workers and TSA personnel in particular, experts said Saturday.


Specialists on hate crimes and union officials decried what they said was a general atmosphere of mockery and derision toward TSA agents that they said is amplified by late-night talk show hosts, politicians and news media.


“When people or institutions are vilified on national television and in the public square, you often see people latch on to them as enemies to be destroyed,” Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in an interview.


Potok has tracked radical groups for more than two decades. He said alleged shooter Paul Anthony Ciancia appeared to have subscribed to anti-government theories about a conspiracy to take away American freedoms and create a single global government.


The violent outburst Friday has put airport screeners around the country on edge, just weeks before terminals will see a rush of passengers during the stressful holiday season.


As Ciancia allegedly blasted his way through the checkpoint, the 23-year-old was looking for transportation security officers to shoot, officials said, and cursing the Transportation Security Administration.


A note found with Ciancia contained a rant against the government and the words “kill TSA,” said a federal law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.


“I would love to see people stop making villains out of government workers — they are good people” said J. David Cox, the president of the American Federation of Government Employees, the union that represents 45,000 TSA employees. TSA officers are verbally abused by passengers every day, Cox said.


“They may go through your luggage, they may question your name on your ticket, but all that is for your protection. It is not to harass you,” he said.


Cox said he will call on Congress to provide better security for TSA agents. TSA officers are not armed and not authorized to make arrests. Cox wants to see airports required to station armed security guards at each checkpoint and to make it a federal crime to assault a TSA officer. The fact that TSA officers don’t have arrest authority is “something to be revisited,” Cox said.


Amie Stepanovich, director of the domestic surveillance project at the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, said in an interview that there is a “growing sense of frustration” among the public that the TSA procedures are designed to make the public feel safer, without actually improving security.


“There is an increasing perception that the steps [TSA officers] are taking to make the public feel safer don’t match up to making the public actually be safer,” Stepanovich said.


The TSA “is seen as another administrative step. We used to be able to walk through metal detectors and get on an airplane, now we have to go through long search lines before we can leave,” Stepanovich said. Her organization has sued the TSA in the D.C. District Court of Appeals to compel the agency to release more information on airport body scanners, such as test results, fact sheets and estimates regarding radiation risks.


Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has called for airport screening to be handed over to private companies and says the current screening procedures are too broad and invasive.


At a fundraising dinner in June for an organization that advocates for increased privacy protections, Paul told attendees that the next time they are asked by the TSA to raise their arms above their heads in a body scanner, they should ask themselves: “Is this the pose of a free man?”


In a video called “Top 4 Things Adam Hates about the TSA” posted online in September, comedian and radio personality Adam Carolla talked about his frustration with airport searches.


“I hate that part of society where everyone is just a criminal, basically what we do at the airport — they are telling you what a big fan they are while they are patting you down,” he said.


TSA Administrator John S. Pistole traveled to Los Angeles on Saturday to meet with the family of Gerardo I. Hernandez, 39, who was shot and killed Friday. Pistole, who was the No. 2 ranking official at the FBI from 2004 to 2010 before running the TSA, also met the two TSA officers who are recovering from gunshot wounds, TSA officials said.


Hernandez is the first TSA officer killed in the line of duty since the agency was created 69 days after the Sept. 11, 2001, jetliner attacks.


“No words can explain the horror that we experienced today when a shooter took the life of a member of our family and injured two TSA officers at Los Angeles International Airport,” Pistole said in a letter to TSA employees sent on Friday.


“This act of violence reminds us of the risks the brave men and women of TSA face every day as they work to protect the traveling public,” acting Secretary of Homeland Security Rand Beers said in a statement.




Holocaust memorabilia found on eBay: UK newspaper report

November 2, 2013



 LONDON – EBay has removed from its listings around 30 items of memorabilia from the Nazi Holocaust, including clothes worn by concentration camp victims, after a newspaper investigation discovered they were on sale on the e-commerce website, Britain’s Mail on Sunday said.


The newspaper said its reporters found a range of items on the site over the past week, including what was presented by the vendor as a complete Auschwitz uniform worn by a Polish baker who perished in the Nazi death camp.


The Mail on Sunday said it had alerted eBay and that the online auctioneer had removed 30 items from sale and offered to make a donation of 25,000 pounds ($40,000) to a suitable charity.


In a statement, eBay said: “We are very sorry these items have been listed on eBay and we are removing them. We don’t allow listings of this nature, and dedicate thousands of staff to policing our site and use the latest technology to detect items that shouldn’t be for sale.


“We very much regret that we didn’t live up to our own standards. We have made a donation to charity to reflect our concern,” said the company, which receives a commission on items sold and charges vendors a listing fee.


The Mail on Sunday said eBay had been unable to say how long such items may have been for sale on its website.


The paper said the purported Auschwitz uniform had been priced at 11,300 sterling by the vendor, a Ukrainian man based in Canada, who had sold another batch of clothing purporting to be linked to Auschwitz for $18,000 last year.


The report quoted the vendor, named as Viktor Kempf, as saying he had been criticized in the past for selling such items, but did so to “document” them and to fund history book projects.


“I don’t want people to think I’m just doing it for the money. These periods in history are horrific, nobody should ever forget them,” Kempf was quoted as saying.


Other items found on eBay by the British paper included shoes and a toothbrush said to have belonged to concentration camp victims as well as yellow Star of David armbands used by the Nazis to identify Jews for persecution.


(Reporting by Estelle Shirbon; Additional reporting by Jennifer Ablan in New York; Editing by Peter Cooney)



Denying Holocaust Forgeries, Hoaxes, and Fabrications

May 30th, 2013


            While in the United States, protected as it is by the 1st Amendment, the Holocaust has become a secular religion, with state support in the form of a national museum. Accusations of ill will or bad faith are often made against anyone with reservations about the elevation of this project into something combining a cult, an entertainment resource and an industry, each claiming to represent the unvoiced dead”—Christopher Hitchens[1]


by  Jonas E. Alexis



            Deborah Lipstadt, the author of Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, is the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University. Jewish writer and historian D. D. Gunttenplan declares that Lipstadt came to teach at Emory not because of her serious scholarship, but because of the Jewish influence.[2]

One can say that Lipstadt’s scholarly endeavor began when she started to assign the book Fragments: Memories of a Wartime Childhood 1939-1948 to her students.

Written by Benjamin Wilkomirski, the book came out in 1995 and received immediate success. The book was also translated into nine languages.[3]


            Journalist Melissa Katsoulis writes that sales “across Europe and the English-speaking world were impressive. It won the prestigious Prix Memoire de la Shoah in France, the Jewish Quarterly’s prize in London and also its American equivalent, the National Jewish Books Award. Feted by critics, historians and book-buyers alike, Wilkomirski found himself finding off interview requests from television, newspaper and magazine editors, and for the next three years rose to become one of the most sought-after and well-loved survivors of Hitler’s astrocities. He was even sent on a lecture tour of America by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.”[4]


            Jewish professor Daniel Jonah Goldhagen of Harvard, who also has been known for summoning historical fiction and fabrication,[5]also supported the book,[6] as well as major newspapers such as Publishers Weekly and the Jewish Quarterly.[7]


            The sad part of the story is that the whole story turned out to be a complete hoax, a fabrication by a non-Jew. As Norman Finkelstein puts it, “Half-fruitcake, half-mountebank, Wilkomirski, it turns out, spent the entire war in Switzerland. He is not even a Jew.”[8]


            After three years, Wildomirski was discovered to be a liar by a real Jew, Daniel Ganzfried, “himself the child of a survivor…Writing for the news magazine Weltwoche, he presented his dossier of research into the man he had been secretly studying for over a year: a close reading of Fragments, he argued, showed that the author had not actually been in the camps at all—his accounts of the workding, layouts and customs of those places simply did not chime with the testimonies of those whose presence in them could easily be verified (which Wilkomirski’s could not).”[9]


            Though Wilkomirski defended the book’s accuracy, the fraud was obvious to Ganzfried. To set the record straight, his literary agent Eva Koralnik hired Stefan Machler, a historian, to “separate fact from fiction…Six months later, in 1999, Marchler’s report was complete.”[10]


            When Fragments was discovered to be a hoax, Wilkomirski faded into obscurity. “I feel pity for him because I know him personally,” declares Heide Grasnick, one of his editors, “He’s not a happy person.”[11]


             But the fraud and complete fabrication do not matter to publishers who want to cash in on the hoax: “Arthur Samuelson (publisher): ‘[It] is a pretty cool book…It’s only a fraud if you call it non-fiction. I would then reissue it, in the fiction category. Maybe it’s not true—then he’s a better writer!”[12]


            A better writer? What about the thousands of people who spent money to buy a real memoir? Are they just losers? Doesn’t Samuelson owe them an apology?


            As the late Jewish historian Raul Hilberg himself wrote, “How did this book pass as a memoir in several publishing houses? How could it have brought Mr. Wilkomirski invitations to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum as well as recognized universities? How come we have no decent quality control when it comes to evaluating Holocaust material for publication?”[13] Hilberg continues to say that the book “hovers between the highly unlikely and the utterly impossible.”[14]


            Despite the revelation of Fragments as a hoax, Deborah Lipstadt stated that the book was still “powerful as a novel.”


            The problem with this vacuous assertion is that Wilkomirski did not write a novel and never intended his book to be read as such! Wilkomirski went around telling the entire world that the story was true. Lipstadt was supposed to seize that moment and issue an apology, which would have placed her in a historical context. But she once again had to succumb to ideology and in the process knock herself out of any meaningful historical discussion.


            Moreover, on behalf of her website hdot.org, Lipstadt claims that she received $120,000 from the Claims Conference, the Jewish organization we have exposed in the article entitled “The Rise and Fall of the Holocaust Industry.”[15]


            This brings to light the driving ideology behind those who use the Holocaust as a weapon to subvert history.


            As the Israeli writer Boas Evron once declared, “The memory of the Nazi extermination” became “as a powerful tool in the hands of the Israeli leadership and Jews abroad.”[16]


            This tool is powerful because the Jewish establishment tells us who can and cannot wear the badge of the Holocaust


            There are other powerful novels that turned out to be complete forgeries. Norman Finkelstein writes,


            “The first major Holocaust hoax was The Painted Bird, by Polish émigré Jerzy Kosinski. The book was ‘written in English,’ Kosinski explained, so that ‘I could write passionately, free from the emotional connotation one’s negative language always contains.’ In fact, whatever parts he actually wrote—an unresolved question—were written in Polish. The book was purported to be Kosinski’s autobiographical account of his wanderings as a solitary child through rural Poland during World War II…The book’s motif is the sadistic sexual torture perpetrated by the Polish peasantry….


            “In fact, Kosinski conjured up almost all the pathological episodes he narrates. The book depicts Polish peasants he lived with as virulently anti-Semitic. ‘Beat the Jews,’ they jeer. ‘Beat the bastards.’ In fact, Polish harbored the Kosinski family even though they were fully aware of their Jewishness and the dire consequences they themselves faced if caught.”


            In the New York Times Book Review, Elie Wiesel acclaimed The Painted Bird as ‘one of the best’ indictments of the Nazi era, ‘written with a deep sincerity and sensitivity.’ Cynthia Ozick later gushed that she ‘immediately’ recognized Kosinski’s authenticity as ‘a Jewish survivor and witness to the Holocaust.’ Long after Kosinski was exposed as a consummate literary hoaxer, Wiesel continued to heap encomiums on his ‘remarkable body of work.’”[17]


            Here is more bad news: “The Painted Bird became a basic Holocaust text. It was a best-seller and award-winner, translated into numerous languages, and required reading for high school and college classes.”[18]


            Wiesel also falls under the category of Holocaust fabrication. He says he is a Nazi survivor and has made claims that he saw Jewish babies “thrown into flames…with my own eyes.”[19] Not only that, Wiesel claims that he read Emmanuel Kant’s The Critique of Pure Reason in Yiddish.[20]


            There is more: Wiesel recalled that he once got hit by a taxi in Times Square and “I flew an entire block. I was hit at 45th Street and Broadway, and the ambulance picked me up at 44th.” Just in case you think that Wiesel was simply dreaming about being a superhero, he laid all doubts to rest when he went on to say, “The truth I present is unvarnished. I cannot do otherwise.”[21]


            Pierre Vidal Naquet, a French-Jewish historian whose book Assassins of Memory: Essays on the Denial of Holocaust we shall examine in the future, declared that “You just have to read parts of Night to know that certain of his descriptions are not exact and that he is essentially a Shoah merchant. . . who has done harm, enormous harm, to historical truth.”[22]


            The late Christopher Hitchens, who found out late in life that he was Jewish, said, “Is there any more contemptible poseur and windbag than Elie Wiesel? I suppose there may be. But not, surely, a poseur and windbag who receives (and takes as his due) such grotesque deference on moral questions.”[23]  Wiesel used to work for the newspaper Zion in Kampf, a propaganda machine for a terrorist group named the Irgun.[24]


            Wiesel, like Simon Wiesenthal, turned out to be a pathological liar who cooked up his story as he went along.[25] Wiesel, like Wiesenthal and in many cases Deborah Lipstadt and Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, has the tendency to force his subjective fantasy into historical and objective reality as opposed to letting historical reality undergird his weltanschauung.


            Moreover, virtually everyone has to be subservient to this weltanschauung. How else could Wiesel have gotten a Nobel Peace Prize? How else could he have been called a “messenger to mankind” by the Norwegian Nobel Committee?[26]


            And how else could he have gotten honorary degrees from major institutions such as Lehigh University, DePaul University, Seton Hall University, Michigan State University, University of Vermont, Bucknell University, Washington University, University of British Columbia, University of Warsaw, etc?[27]


            Wiesel did not like the publication of Norman Finkelstein’s The Holocaust Industry. The book probably would have slipped into obscurity had it not been endorsed by Raul Hilberg. Wiesel and the U.S. Holocaust Museum, says Finkelstein, “relentlessly pleaded with [Hilberg] to retract his endorsement of my book. He refused.”


            After David O’Connell exposed Wiesel for the lies and contradictions that his own testimony entailed, thought police Deborah Lipstadt tried to get O’Connell fired from Georgia State University, where he teaches French. The university took almost a year to straighten the facts out, and found out that the errors were not O’Connell’s but Wiesel’s.


            Although Lipstadt was upset that O’Connell did not get fired, she found out to her surprise that, as E. Michael Jones put it, “academic life still had a remnant of integrity.”[28] But it would have been very interesting if the university fired O’Connell. E. Michael Jones wrote:


             “There is probably another reason why the attempt to oust Professor O’Connell failed. The administration at GSU knew if they fired O’Connell on trumped up charges of fraud, that he would then sue them, and the lawsuit would lead to a discovery process that would have been disastrous for both the university and the system of thought control run by the powerful Jews who were orchestrating the campaign, demanding vengeance.


            “In a way, it’s a shame this case didn’t go to trial. It would have been interesting to learn how Professor Lipstadt heard about Professor O’Connell’s article in the first place, and it would have provided a nice counterpoint to the Lipstadt-Irving libel trial in London. It would also have exposed the inner workings of Jewish thought police like Deborah Lipstadt and the role she plays as an enforcer of the Jewish hegemony over academe today…Professor O’Connell has challenged Professor Lipstadt to a debate, but…Professor Lipstadt doesn’t debate Holocaust deniers.”[29]


             Another individual who fooled the public, particularly Oprah Winfrey, about his experience during the Holocaust was Herman Rosenblat. Rosenblat told the entire world that “he met his wife while he was a child imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp and she, disguised as a Christian farm girl, tossed apples over the camp’s fence to him. He said they met again on a blind date 12 years after the end of war in Coney Island and married. The couple celebrated their 50th anniversary this year. Ms. Winfrey, who hosted Mr. Rosenblat and his wife, Roma Radzicki Rosenblat, on her show twice, called their romance ‘the single greatest love story’ she had encountered in her 22 years on the show.”[30]


            This “single greatest love story” also turned out to be one of the greatest hoaxes ever concocted in Holocaust history. Later, Rosenblat had to issue a letter of apology declaring, “To all who supported and believed in me and this story.


            I am sorry for all I have caused to you and every one else in the world. Why did I do that and write the story with girl and the apple, because I wanted to bring happiness to people, to remind them not to hate, but to love and tolerate all people. I brought good feelings to a lot of people and I brought hope to many. My motivation was to make good in this world.”[31]


            The sad part is that Rosenblat’s tory had previously and approvingly appeared in books such as Chanukah by Shimon Apisdorf way back in 1997.[32] Rosenblat’s story got another boost by two psychologists Greg Smalley and Shawn Stoever back in 2009.[33] Rosenblat had also “won a contest sponsored by the New York Post for ‘the best love story sent in by a reader.’”[34] Marjorie Gaber of Harvard writes:


             “When the Rosenblats returned to The Oprah Winfrey Show eleven years later, Winfrey lauded their romance as ‘the single greatest love story, in twenty-two years in doing this show, we’ve ever told on the air.’ The story was picked up in the ‘couples’ volume Chicken Soup for the Soul…”[35]


             Fabrications and forgeries like these happen precisely because in certain arenas individuals are condemned if they question the veracity of popular “historical” events.


            Yet this abuse of the truth should compel honest historians to challenge the damage that has been done in the name of the Holocaust. As Finkelstein puts it, when falsehood is passed off as historical evidence, “restoring the integrity of the historical record and the sanctity of the Jewish people’s martyrdom”[36]  gets overlooked.


            We certainly want everyone to know what the historical records allow and do not allow. The physical persecution of all people, including Jews, Christians, Muslims, Russians, etc., must never be overlooked.What everyone should resent is the elevation of one group almost to the exclusion of everyone else.


            Current events have taught us that the people who are being physically persecuted are the precious Muslims and Christians in the Middle East by the Zionist ideology. We have seen at least 500 people die by violence in Iraq alone.[37] Who cares about those people, since they are not Jews? Who cares about their lives and children?


            This Zionist dream is being spread virtually all over the West. How else would John McCain ally with terrorist groups such as the Syrian rebels?


            Here’s a man who knows very well that the rebels are terrorist groups, but he still goes out of his way to say “hi” to them in Syria! “Every single day, more and more extremists flow in…” McCain declares in a recent interview, “But they still do not make up a sizeable portion.”[38] 7,000 terrorists cannot be considered as a great portion? The only way that McCain can come up with nonsense like this is because he is trapped in Zionist matrix.He has to think “zionistically.” As some have already pointed out, should we send McCain to Guantanamo for associating with terrorists?


            An Issue of Great Importance


             In the next few articles, we will be discussing history as it relates to Nazi Germany. To this end, the reader is asked to put on his or her thinking cap in order to examine the issues that will be raised and thoroughly discussed.

             Emotion, by the way, is not part of our thinking cap. While emotion can be a good virtue, if used properly, when it comes to truth, facts, and objective reality, emotion should take a back seat.


            Professor Walter E. Williams once said that “There are some ideas and feelings that sound plausible but given just a wee bit of thought can be shown to border on lunacy.” In a similar vein, Thomas Sowell declared, “Fallacies are not just crazy ideas. Usually they are notions that sound very plausible, which is what enables them to be used by politicians, intellectuals, the media, and all sorts of crusading movements, to advance their causes or their careers.”[39]


I disagree with both gentlemen on many issues, and this will be pointed hopefully in the fall. But they are both correct here.


We will give fallacies about the history of Nazi Germany a wee bit of thought and will discover that those fallacies, whether held ignorantly or willfully, border on flimsiness. Therefore, I ask the reader to drop emotional feeling and be ready to look at the facts through the lens of logic, reason, and historical and intellectual honesty.


But before we move on to this extremely important topic, we need lay out what history is about and what serious historians ought to be doing. Our story will begin with the next article entitled, “What is history?” In the process, we will meet one of the most controversial historians of our time and discover that much of what he has said so far has been right in line with historical thought.





[1] Christopher Hitchens, “The Strange Case of David Irving,” L.A. Times, May 20, 2001.

            [2] D. D. Guttenplan, The Holocaust on Trial (New York: W. W. Norton, 2002), 67-68.

[3] Stefan Maechler, The Wikomirski Affair: A Study in Biographical Truth (New York: Random House, 2001).

            [4] Melissa Katsoulis, Literary Hoax: An Eye-Opening History of Famous Frauds (New York: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., 2009), 237.

            [5] http://www.veteranstoday.com/2013/05/08/was-pope-pius-xxii-a-nazi-collaborator/.

            [6] Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry, 67.

[7] Harvey Peskin, “Holocaust Denial: A Sequel,” The Nation, April 1, 1999.

[8] Ibid., 60.

[9] Katsoulis, Literary Hoax, 237-238.

[10] Ibid., 238.

[11] Ibid., 240.

[12] Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry, 60.

[13] Ibid., 60.

[14] Peskin, “Holocaust Denial: A Sequel,” The Nation, April 1, 1999.

            [15] http://www.veteranstoday.com/2013/05/19/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-holocaust-industry/.

[16] Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry, 41.

[17]Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry, 56.

[18] Ibid., 56.

[19] Elie Wiesel, Night (New York: Hill and Wang, 2006), 32. As soon as this book was chosen by Oprah Winfrey in 2006 for her magazine, it then reached the New York Times best seller list.

[20] Yair Sheleg, “The Finkelstein Polemic,” Haaretz, March 30, 2001.

[21] Quoted in Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry, 82.

[22] http://vho.org/aaargh/fran/livres6/OConnellWiesel.pdf.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elie_Wiesel.

[27] Ibid.

[28] E. Michael Jones, “Holocaust Denial and Thought Control: Deborah Lipstadt at Notre Dame University,” www.culturewars.com.

[29] Ibid.

[30] Motoko Rich and Joseph Berger, “False Memoir of Holocaust is Canceled,” NY Times, December 28, 2008.

[31] Katsoulis, Literary Hoaxes, 251; see also Marjorie Garber, The Use and Abuse of Literature (New York: Anchor Books, 2012), 189.

[32] Shimon Apisdorf, Chanukah (Baltimore: Leviathan Press, 1997), 138-139.[33] Greg Smalley and Shawn Stoever, The Wholehearted Marriage (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009), 253-254.

[34] Marjorie Garber, The Use and Abuse of Literature (New York: Anchor Books, 2012), 189.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Finkelstein, The Holocaust Industry, xiii.

[37] “Iraq Death Toll In May Passes 500,” Huffington Post, May 28, 2023.

[38] http://news.yahoo.com/senator-john-mccain-confident-identifying-good-guys-syria-020628870.html.

[39] Thomas Sowell, “Summer Reading,” Creators.com, May 20, 2005.


Rand Pauls plagiarism allegations, and why they matter

November 4, 2013

by Aaron Blake

Washington Post


Over the last week, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has been accused of multiple counts of plagiarism — both in speeches he gave and in a book he wrote.


So what has happened, and what does it mean going forward?


Here’s what you need to know.


What is he accused of?


The first accusations of plagiarism came from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, who noted that Paul recounted the plot of the film “Gattaca” using the same verbiage used on the film’s Wikipedia page.


Since then, there have been several other revelations.


1. BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski reported that Paul had also lifted language from Wikipedia while discussing the movie “Stand and Deliver” in a June 2012 speech.


2. Politico’s Alexander Burns reported that Paul, in a 2013 response to President Obama’s State of the Union address, used language that was exactly the same as a 2011 Associated Press report. And in a speech at Howard University earlier this year, Paul used language similar to the conservative Christian group Focus on the Family while discussing vouchers.


3. Kazcynski reported Saturday that three pages of Paul’s recently published book (more than 1,300 words) borrowed heavily from a 2003 study by the conservative Heritage Foundation, along with another example involving the Cato Institute.


How has Paul responded?


Paul hasn’t denied that the language was borrowed. Instead, he has argued that he is the victim of “haters” out to destroy his political career.


“The footnote police have really been dogging me for the last week,” Paul said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “I will admit that. And I will admit, sometimes we haven’t footnoted things properly.”


Paul added: “In some of the other things that are now going to pop up under thousands of things I’ve written, yeah, there are times when they have been sloppy or not correct or we’ve made an error.”


But while acknowledging that the cribbing went too far, Paul has also suggested that it wasn’t that bad.


Paul has argued that his speeches aren’t meant to be meticulously footnoted academic papers. He has also noted that he cited the movies he talked about and, in the case of his book, that the Heritage Foundation study and Cato were cited in the endnotes. Heritage and Cato have both released statements saying they don’t take issue with Paul’s use of their work.


In other words, Paul has sought to draw a line between sloppiness and dishonesty.


“I take it as an insult and I will not lie down and say people can call me dishonest, misleading or misrepresenting,” he said. “I have never intentionally done so.”


So is it plagiarism?


Yes, as long as the language was directly lifted and wasn’t quoted.


Despite Paul’s insistence that he provided citations, plagiarism is about the words used used as much as the ideas expressed.


So while Paul did indeed cite the movies “Gattaca” and “Stand and Deliver,” the issue is more about whether he acknowledged that he was using the exact language that Wikipedia used.


In the case of the Heritage Foundation and Cato, even if the think tanks were cited in the endnotes, that doesn’t give Paul license to re-print entire sections of their work without making clear that he has done so.


If a passage is paraphrased in the author’s own words, and footnoted or sourced in an endnote, then it isn’t considered plaigirism. But Paul’s problem is that some passages were used verbatim (or very close to it).


Whether you think plagiarism is a major sin or not, it’s pretty clear that this is plagiarism.


How much does it matter?


Plagiarism allegations have touched many politicians, often to little effect. The offenders include President Obama, who during the 2008 presidential campaign appeared to lift language from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick (D). Others accused in recent years include former senator Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.


The one political plagiarism example that everyone cites, of course, is Obama’s second-in-command, Vice President Biden. Biden’s 1988 presidential campaign was infamously derailed amid multiple allegations of plagiarism, most notably from British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock.


So if a series of allegations sunk Biden’s presidential hopes, what about Paul, who is himself a leading presidential hopeful in 2016?


At this point, it’s pretty clear that Biden’s sins were much more extensive than Paul’s.


From Rutgers University professor David Greenberg:


Biden lifted Kinnock’s precise turns of phrase and his sequences of ideas—a degree of plagiarism that would qualify any student for failure, if not expulsion from school. But the even greater sin was to borrow biographical facts from Kinnock that, although true about Kinnock, didn’t apply to Biden. Unlike Kinnock, Biden wasn’t the first person in his family history to attend college, as he asserted; nor were his ancestors coal miners, as he claimed when he used Kinnock’s words. Once exposed, Biden’s campaign team managed to come up with a great-grandfather who had been a mining engineer, but he hardly fit the candidate’s description of one who “would come up [from the mines] after 12 hours and play football.” At any rate, Biden had delivered his offending remarks with an introduction that clearly implied he had come up with them himself and that they pertained to his own life.


As you can see, Biden was guilty of more than just plagiarism; he apparently appropriated someone else’s life story. The plagiarism allegations also fit into a pattern of exaggerations that called into question Biden’s character itself.


In Paul’s case, the plagiarism — for now — appears to be more about sloppiness.


But when it comes to presidential politics, sloppiness can be deadly as well. And given the growing number of examples, it’s pretty clear the sloppiness wasn’t limited to one or two circumstances.


Paul, we all must remember, is still something of a political outsider, having won just one statewide election. He’s a gifted messenger himself, but he’s got a largely untested political team around him, and that team’s handling of this situation will say a lot about whether it can put up with well-funded and experienced opposition research operations during the 2016 presidential campaign.


“This is a make or break moment,” said one GOP consultant allied with the tea party and requested anonymity to discuss the matter candidly.


Paul’s plagiarism problems aren’t huge news right now. To the extent that they belie a sloppy operation and similar problems that lie ahead, they could matter a great deal.


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