Friday, June 12, 2015

No-Go Zones

            Fox News apologized for referring to several areas in Europe as “no-go zones.” The apology followed an interview with Steven Emerson, Executive Director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, who incorrectly claimed Birmingham, England was a Muslim city. The apology claimed the “no-go zone” statement was also incorrect.  Julie Banderas asserted, “we have made some regrettable errors on air regarding the Muslim population in Europe, particularly with regard to England and France. To be clear, there is no formal designation of these zones in either country and no credible information to support the assertion there are specific areas in these countries that exclude individuals based solely on their religion.”  Fox’s Jeanine Pirro, host of “Justice with Judge Jeanine,” also apologized stating, “Last week on this program a guest made a serious factual error that we wrongly let stand unchallenged and uncorrected. The guest asserted that the city of Birmingham, England, is totally Muslim and that it is a place where non-Muslims don’t go. Both are incorrect.”
            It has been suggested that Fox made these apologies as a result of pressure from Saudi billionaire, Alwaleed bin Talal, a major stockholder in Fox’s parent company.  But that doesn't explain why CNN went the same way. Anderson Cooper stated, “In the wave of the Paris attacks, several guests on this program mentioned ‘no-go zones’ in France. I didn’t challenge them and twice referred to them as well. I should have been more skeptical, I won't make the same mistake again." Apparently the claim that there are “no-go zones” is now taboo. Both Media Matters and the Washington Post have declared it to be a myth.
            Are “no-go zones” really a myth?  It appears to depend on the terminology used. The French government admits to 751 “Sensitive Urban Zones.” Daniel Pipes claims it would be more appropriate to describe them as “Dar al-Islam” -- the House of Islam, or a place where Islam rules. In Britain there are as many as eighty-five Sharia courts in operation.  The Dutch government has released a list of forty “no-go” zones in the Netherlands. 
            Several people have commented on this sensitive subject. A senior bishop of the Church of England, Pakistani-born Michael Nazir-Ali, warned that Islamic extremists had created “no-go” areas across Britain too dangerous for non-Muslims to enter. This comment sparked a firestorm criticism.  Germany’s Chief Police Commissioner Bernhard Witthaut asserted, "Every police commissioner and interior minister will deny it. But of course we know where we can go with the police car and where, even initially, only with the personnel carrier. The reason is that our colleagues can no longer feel safe there in twos, and have to fear becoming the victim of a crime themselves. We know that these areas exist. Even worse: in these areas crimes no longer result in charges. They are left 'to themselves.' Only in the worst cases do we in the police learn anything about it. The power of the state is completely out of the picture.”
            Of course, it is the government’s decision to enforce or not enforce its laws within its territory. The decision has been made to avoid conflict by allowing semi-autonomous regions within their states.  Alcohol and pork are prohibited in these areas but polygamy is not.  The Rotherham, England, child sex scandal reveals that the authorities are willing to go to great lengths to appease their Muslim constituents. 
            A recurring complaint following riots is the absence of police. During the 2011 riots in Britain Home Secretary Theresa May ruled out the use of water cannons or asking for Army help. She insisted, "the way we police in Britain is not through use of water cannon. The way we police in Britain is through consent of communities." The “consent of communities" was totally ineffective.  On the other hand, “sticks” proved to be extremely effective. Like the riots in Watts it was left to immigrants to defend their property.  Hundreds of Turkish shopkeepers took to the streets in north London to defend their businesses. One man said, “This is Turkish Kurdish area. They come to our shops and we fight them with sticks.”
In order to solve a problem an issue must first be recognized as a problem. To insist that “no go zones” are a myth is a recipe for disaster.  Even when “no go zones” are recognized as a problem it is unlikely that the solutions implemented will solve the problem if the present mindset is maintained.
            Of course this is a problem that should not concern us here in the United States.  That is unless you are near Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge south of Garcia Road.  There you will find a warning sign erected by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service:

 Active Drug and Human Smuggling Area
 Visitors May Encounter Armed Criminals and Smuggling Vehicles Traveling at 
High Rates of Speed
 Stay Away From Trash, Clothing, Backpacks, and Abandoned Vehicles
 If You See Suspicious Activity, Do Not Confront! 
Move Away and Call 911
BLM Encourages Visitors To Use Public Lands North of Interstate 8  For more information, Call (623) 580-5500

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Book Review - Eisenhower and the German POWs

Eisenhower and the German POWs
Edited by
Gunther Bischof and Steven Ambrose

            Steven Ambrose and the Eisenhower Center Studies on War and Peace have compiled a critique of James Bacque subtitled "Facts Against Falsehood."  Two pages of acknowledgements show that they did not lack for resources.  Eight "professional" historians dispute Bacque's claim that approximately 1 million POWs perished while in custody of the Western allies.  Their objective is not only to discredit Bacque, but to maintain the progressive fairytale that U.S. postwar policy was largely humanitarian.  In the process they inadvertently provide ammunition to critics of this policy.  They do not appear to have coordinated their story and the book contains some glaring contradictions.
            The authors provide numerous warnings about amateur historians.  Revisionists like James Bacque and Nikolai Tolstoy cannot be relied upon because the "awareness of the ineluctable quality of historical evidence is less present in the mind of the untrained."   Yet many of the accusations lodged against Bacque can be applied to the authors of this book.  All thinking people have a perspective that determines what they will emphasize and what they will ignore. Even "objective" reporters must rely on the information they have access to.  Eyewitnesses to an accident or a crime render entirely different accounts of what took place.  When the witnesses have an agenda they want to further the report is further distorted.  The authors provide several examples of potential distortions.
            Ambrose claims, "The available evidence, however, clearly does not support such a conclusion (of mass deaths)" (p. 13).  How reliable is the "available evidence," and how eager are the professional historians to recognize inconsistencies in this evidence?  We can refer to participant's memoirs.  One example is a statement by Fleet Admiral William Leahy, President Roosevelt’s Chief of Staff, recorded in his ironically entitled memoir, I Was There: “A number of important political questions were considered at this meeting [Quebec], but I did not attend the political sessions.”  In fact every account of the Quebec Conference places him there.  In addition to memoirs of participants, intelligence analysts provide an excellent source of information.  Thomas Barker gives the example of Nigel Nicolson (p. 193).  When Nicolson sent a situation report warning that returnees were likely to be butchered, he was reprimanded by his divisional commander.  Barker claims, "He rapidly changed his tune."  Ambrose gives the example of a statement made by General Eisenhower ("We should have killed more of them" (p. 8)) that Department of Defense reviewers ordered removed from Eisenhower's published papers.  Ambrose probably saw no need to delete it because he thought it was a jocular comment.  This is very revealing about Ambrose's sense of humor.  Thomas Barker reveals that Nikolai Tolstoy's book on the repatriation is virtually banned in Britain.  The distribution of the "Mashke Commission" report on POWs was limited by Willy Brandt  "to avoid exacerbating relations with the Soviet Union  (p. 203).”   Clearly, the record was not accurately kept in spite of Thomas Barker's claim that,  "Although never deliberately swept under the rug, the story was unknown to most readers of English (p. 189)."
            To repeat, writers have their biases.  I am no exception.  I make outrageous allegations.  Do not take them at face value.  Be skeptical.  A source that I might find credible might not meet your standards.  I allege that the United States government at the direction of progressive politicians was massively involved in the slave trade.  This was in violation of the U.S. Constitution and international agreements.  I have many sources for this allegation including Steven Ambrose and his fellow contributor, Brian Loring Villa.  Ambrose in his refutation of Baque's allegation that prisoners were starved claims they were not starved but transferred "mostly to be used as labor (p. 23)."   Villa is much more frank which is uncharacteristic of these critics.  He frankly states: "the EAC (European Advisory Commission) terms became convenient for the British and for any other nation that wanted German POW slave labor (p.63)."  Later he writes, "It is interesting to observe that Prime Minister Clement Attlee, who presumably represented the interests of working men, insisted on exploiting German slave labor (p. 68)."  Reudiger Overmans appears to praise the U.S. for its POW policies.  "The United States was the first of the Allies to release all its POWs (p. 148)."   Yes, the United States released these POWs.  The Army did this by surrendering control of its camps to the British and French. 
            George Orwell observed, "Food is a political weapon.”  It had been used with great "success" by the Soviets in the 1930s.  An integral part of the Morgenthau Plan was to use this weapon in Germany.  Ambrose begins his criticism of Bacque by quoting the JCS 1067 Directive's provision for preventing "disease and unrest."  This "disease and unrest" provision was contained in the original "Handbook for Military Government in Germany" which was rejected by FDR.  The modified JCS provision states, "You will estimate requirements of supplies necessary to prevent starvation or widespread disease or such civil unrest as would endanger the occupying forces.”  This is a significant difference that I am sure Ambrose was aware of.  Yet he failed to quote the entire provision.  Ambrose et al. repeat the claim that there was a world food shortage.  For some reason James Tent mentions that Secretary of Agriculture Clinton P. Anderson told President Truman, "Fortunately for this country and the world American farmers produced record crops of both wheat and corn again in 1946 (p. 109)."  The book deals primarily with the treatment of POWs.  It claims that they were not starved.  However, if U.S. forces were willing to starve women and children, would they hesitate to starve soldiers?  Tent dismisses the possibility of "hunger edema of massive proportions," by saying, "Patently this did not happen in postwar Germany."  Yet Herbert Hoover reported during his 1947 mission, “Famine edema is showing in thousands of cases, stated to be 10,000 in Hamburg alone. The increased death toll among the aged is appalling.”  Possibly the most damning and most discreditable sentence in the book is provided by Tent: "By the spring of 1947, and thereafter to the end of the military occupation, the number and variety of supplemental programs expanded to the point that some observers asked with only slight irony if there were any normal consumers - that is, those consuming 1,550 calories per day - left in the British and American zones (p. 111)."  "Some observers!"  Would Bacque be allowed to make such an egregious attribution?  The editors of this screed failed Tent in a major way.  On page 123 they provide an example "normal consumers."  The caption reads, “Seven German infants picked at random from a Catholic children's hospital in Berlin showing malnutrition in various stages. October 23, 1947."   This answers Ambrose's question, "Was Eisenhower a monster?"  Yes he was.  But Ambrose is correct in that these were not Eisenhower's initiatives.  Eisenhower was merely a large cog in an even larger machine: The Leviathan.  His successor General Clay would not allow humanitarian organizations to operate in Germany because, according to Tent, his "distaste for carpetbaggers (p. 108)."  As we all know, the Catholic Relief Services, the American Friends Service Committee and the Unitarians are infamous for employing carpetbaggers.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Diana West Does It Again

            Diana West’s American Betrayal was subject to yet another attack in National Review.  A rebuttal followed In Breitbart.  The comments in response to this article were overwhelmingly critical of Ron Capshaw’s assault.  Why would an enterprise continue with a policy that is obviously unpopular with its customers?  One of the most damning charges concerned the dishonesty of the article.  Howard Glickstein described “the consistently dishonest treatment NR has given to Diana West's book.”  He asserted, “You have knowingly and repeatedly published as facts demonstrable falsehoods that any fact checking intern would catch,” and that, “Dozens of lies are not an accident.”  Anyone who has read American Betrayal knows that Capshaw’s article does not provide a fair assessment of her work.  This is a matter of integrity.  As Glickstein asks, “The inescapable question: since you're lying about this, what else are you lying to me about?”

            I have not done much research on the decision to invade Northern France as opposed to continuing the march through Italy.  I was willing to concede that Diana West’s critics might have a point.  Would it be easier to reach Germany by crossing a 22 mile channel or by going over the Alps?  Diana comes down on the Alpine route.  She asserts the decision was made to benefit the Soviets.  Her critics point out that this is absurd.  However, there are suspicious contortions in the record that might indicate that she is correct.  She quotes General Eisenhower remarks at the Cairo Conference, “Italy was the correct place in which to deploy our main forces and the objective should be the Valley of the Po. In no other area could we so well threaten the whole German structure including France, the Balkans and the Reich itself. Here also our air would be closer to vital objectives in Germany”  “The next best method of harrying the enemy was to undertake operations in the Aegean . . . From here the Balkans could be kept aflame, Ploesti would be threatened and the Dardanelles might be opened.”  Curiously Eisenhower makes no mention of this in his memoir, Crusade in Europe.  In fact she states, “Eisenhower doesn’t mention his enthusiastic advocacy of military measures in line with Churchill’s preferred strategy in his memoir. Anywhere.”  She goes to quote his memoir, “My own recommendation, then as always, was that no operation should be undertaken in the Mediterranean except as a directly supporting move for the Channel attack and that our planned redeployment [out of Italy] should proceed with all possible speed.”

            There is a major problem with researching events during this conflict.  The level of mendacity is appalling.  Memoirs are naturally self-serving and the official records are not much better.  Why did it take 18 years for the State Department to publish the records of the Cairo Conference?  The decision to halt U.S. forces before they could liberate Berlin, Prague, and Vienna is often attributed to Eisenhower.  However, it is more likely that this was agreed to during one of these wartime conferences.  Bryton Barron, assistant chief of the State Department’s research and publications division, reveals that government publications are bowdlerized in his Inside The State Department.  Diana West does the research and uncovers the inconsistencies.  Apparently this is unforgivable.