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Legacy of slavery

Bush on Nigeria

Body of secrets:
Attack on the USS Liberty

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Riding my Elevator

Date: 6/26/20
Not from NPR: A personal observation

When I entered the elevator of my high-rise, there were already four young persons of color in there that did not wear a face mask. A few floors down, another black person came in, again, not wearing a mask. Now, we were six people in the elevator, with nobody talking, no chance of socially distancing, I thought that I might start a conversation with the following remark:

Isn't it strange that I, who is white, is the only one wearing a mask?

For a few seconds no one replied, but then a young, otherwise intelligent looking young man answered:

You can take off your mask. Masks don't do anything for you, in fact, they can be dangerous, as you rebreathe the carbondioxide that you are trying to get rid off.

I was surprised that he mentioned carbondioxide, though I knew, that he got this wrong. With a face mask you are likely to rebreathe only 1 or 2% of the carbondioxide you are exhaling, an amount too small to be of significance in any such calculation. Thus, I replied, admittedly sounding a bit haughty:

I am a physiologist. I studied these things for all my life, and I can tell you with absolute certainty, you are dead-wrong.

When we arrived on the first floor, we all left, everybody scattering in different directions.

Clearly, you can't say much about the attitudes of young blacks in Atlanta, based on this single observation. Yes, my high-rise is very close to Georgia Tech and many of the young black men that I met in the elevator may study there, or not. The one or the other might be a member of a basketball team, just judging by their athletic build and great height.

As we often walk in the neighborhood, my wife and I, we meet blacks that behave very much like those in the elevator, no masks. When we pass each other, they nevertheless give us plenty of space, as we give them. Asians, in our non-scientific study, are almost always wearing a mask, Whites more often than not wear a mask, as are Indians.


NPR wins the fight against the Washington Redskins

Today, on July 13, 2020, NPR announced that it had finally won the fight against the Redskins.

If by any chance you have read my opinion piece on the redskin saga (click here), you may remember that the expression Redskins is not meant as a slur of the American Indians, at least not when you judge it by Karl May's wildly popular books. Karl May assumed that the Redskins mentioned there refer to the custom of American Indians painting their faces in earth colored tones, not that skalps taken from Indians were red from all the blood that the poor victims had lost.


Legacy of slavery

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Shows are listed in reverse chronological order (last show first):


Bush on Nigeria

Brazil Claims Fewer Problems with Slavery

Date: 4/19/00
Show: The World (PRI)

False: A BBC report from Brazil claims that Blacks there have fewer problems with their country's history of slavery since, unlike in the US, Blacks were allowed to have slaves too, not just Whites.

True: Free Blacks in the US were allowed to own slaves. In fact, the average black slave owner had more slaves than its white counterpart. Obviously, for NPR slavery is particularly evil if Whites are the masters. Perhaps, this is why NPR prefers to talk about past slavery in the U.S. rather than current slavery as it is practiced in sub-Saharan Africa.


Body of secrets

Nigeria, Country or Continent?

Date: 10/12/00
Show: Morning Edition (NPR)

George Bush

©PBS: Governor Bush during the third Presidential debate

False: After the second Presidential debate, NPR reported that Governor George W. Bush mistook Nigeria to be a continent. Improbable as that claim may be, it fits nicely to the stereotype fostered by the liberal press that the Republican Presidential candidate is a political dimwit.

True: Bush demonstrated considerable knowledge of foreign politics in the debate, including a tidbit known only to foreign policy wonks — the fact that the administration was training Nigerian troops for future crisis situations such as in Rwanda. The claim that Bush thought Nigeria is a continent is based on the following exchange with moderator Jim Lehrer:

So what would you say, Governor, to somebody who would say, "Hey, wait a minute. Why not Africa? I mean, why the Middle East? Why the Balkans, but not Africa when 600,000 people's lives are at risk?"

Well, I understand. And Africa is important, and we have got to do a lot of work in Africa to promote democracy and trade. And there's some — the Vice President mentioned Nigeria. It's a fledgling democracy. We've got to work with Nigeria. That is an important continent.

Obviously, Bush uses the last sentence to summarize his answer: "Yes, Africa is an important continent!" Neither Bush's nor Lehrer's command of the English language is flawless, but — then again — neither one is trying to land a job as an English High School teacher.


The Waffle House:
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Body of Secrets: Attack on the USS Liberty

Date: 6/7/01
Show: Morning Edition (NPR)

Bob Edwards   ©PBS: Bob Edwards

The anti-Israeli bias of NPR News may seem surprising, given that many of the activists that fight for progressive causes all over the world are Jewish. But then, if you're progressive, it is OK to sacrifice your own family — if only for a just cause.

A particular egregious example for the bias is an interview conducted by Morning Edition's Bob Edwards with James Bamford. In his new book "Body of Secrets," Bamford claims that an attack by the Israeli Defense Forces on the USS Liberty during the Six Day War was a deliberate act to cover up the killing of Egyptian prisoners of war at El Arish, a coastal town on the Sinai peninsula. This and similar claims have earned Bamford his own page on CAMERA, a web site tracking anti-Israeli bias in the media.

Apart from the idiocy of the supposition that the IDF would commit a massacre to cover up another one, there have been numerous investigations into the incident — including inquiries by both houses of Congress — that all came to the same conclusion: the attack on the USS Liberty was a case of mistaken identity, helped along by the confusion of war and a tragic series of mistakes on both, the Israeli and American side. Perhaps the best account available on the internet is Michael B. Oren's report in the Azure, entitled The USS Liberty: Case Closed.

Despite the fact that an April 24, 2001 appearance of Bamford on NPR's Fresh Air had already spawned numerous protests, among them a scathing rebuke by the media watch dog Honest Reporting, Edwards coyly prompts Bamford to unleash another anti-Israeli barrage:

audio file EDWARDS:
What about the — ah — the Liberty?

The USS Liberty was an NSA eavesdropping ship [lengthy monologue] It was a tragic incidence that had never been investigated by the US government [lengthy monologue] In addition, the ship had its name in […] 5 foot English letters on the stern — USS Liberty.

Hard to confuse it with the Egyptian navy.

The attacking torpedo boats actually mistook the ship for the Egyptian freighter El-Quseir, not a ship of the navy. The marking "USS Liberty" had been freshly painted over with the letters GTR-5. When the Israeli commander recognized the name, he ordered the attacks to be stopped, fearing that it was a Russian vessel.

Although the attack on the Liberty takes up only a single chapter in Bamford's book, the interview almost exclusively revolves around it — the only other subject being broached is his claim that, in the sixties, the US Joint Chiefs of Staff concocted a plan for an invasion of Cuba. Of course, after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the adoption of free market principles by the People's Republic of China, there aren't too many countries left that progressives like Edwards really do care about.

An update

If after ten investigations (five of them congressional) who all came to the same conclusion it was still needed, recently released surveillance tapes from the National Security Agency further strengthen the case that the attack on the USS Liberty was an accident. Former Navy pilot and federal judge A. Jay Cristol who obtained the tapes through the Freedom of Information Act commented in an interview with the Jerusalem Post on Bamford's claim that the IDF attacked the Liberty to cover up war crimes against Egyptian troops:

Would you comment on the claims of author James Bamford that the Liberty was attacked to prevent the United States from learning of massacres of Egyptian prisoners in the Sinai?

Mr. Bamford provides as his source of this claim two Israeli journalists, both of whom have denied statements attributed to them by Bamford. First, it is literally impossible for an electronic intelligence gatherer to overhear murders taking place in a desert more than a dozen miles away. The Sinai was returned to Egypt in 1973. Egypt has made no claim that such murders took place. No mass graves have been located and no Egyptian soldiers from the '67 war are missing or unaccounted for. Mr. [Bamford's] writings are much closer to fiction than to history.
[, 7/10/03]

Judge Cristol wrote an excellent book on the Liberty incident, but I doubt that he'll ever be invited on Morning Edition.

  • The Liberty Incident: Who is A. Jay Cristol?
    Not surprisingly, the surviving crew members disagree with Judge Cristol. In a scathing critique of his book, the USS Liberty Veterans Association accuses him of being a charlatan.
  • The Liberty Incident [A. Jay Cristol, 2003]
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Revised 6/12/20