Saturday, February 28, 2009
Children sodomized at Abu Ghraib and on tape
After Donald Rumsfeld testified on the Hill about Abu Ghraib in May, there was talk of more photos and video in the Pentagon's custody more horrific than anything made public so far. "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse," Rumsfeld said. Since then, the Washington Post has disclosed some new details and images of abuse at the prison. But if Seymour Hersh is right, it all gets much worse.
Hersh gave a speech last week to the ACLU making the charge that children were sodomized in front of women in the prison, and the Pentagon has tape of it. The speech was first reported in a New York Sun story last week, which was in turn posted on Jim Romenesko's media blog, and now EdCone.com and other blogs are linking to the video. We transcribed the critical section here (it starts at about 1:31:00 into the ACLU video.) At the start of the transcript here, you can see how Hersh was struggling over what he should say:
"Debating about it, ummm ... Some of the worst things that happened you don't know about, okay? Videos, um, there are women there. Some of you may have read that they were passing letters out, communications out to their men. This is at Abu Ghraib ... The women were passing messages out saying 'Please come and kill me, because of what's happened' and basically what happened is that those women who were arrested with young boys, children in cases that have been recorded. The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling. And the worst above all of that is the soundtrack of the boys shrieking that your government has. They are in total terror. It's going to come out."
"It's impossible to say to yourself how did we get there? Who are we? Who are these people that sent us there? When I did My Lai I was very troubled like anybody in his right mind would be about what happened. I ended up in something I wrote saying in the end I said that the people who did the killing were as much victims as the people they killed because of the scars they had, I can tell you some of the personal stories by some of the people who were in these units witnessed this. I can also tell you written complaints were made to the highest officers and so we're dealing with a enormous massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there and higher, and we have to get to it and we will. We will. You know there's enough out there, they can't (Applause). .... So it's going to be an interesting election year."
Notes from a similar speech Hersh gave in Chicago in June were posted on Brad DeLong's blog. Rick Pearlstein, who watched the speech, wrote: "[Hersh] said that after he broke Abu Ghraib people are coming out of the woodwork to tell him this stuff. He said he had seen all the Abu Ghraib pictures. He said, 'You haven't begun to see evil...' then trailed off. He said, 'horrible things done to children of women prisoners, as the cameras run.' He looked frightened."
So, there are several questions here: Has Hersh actually seen the video he described to the ACLU, and why hasn't he written about it yet? Will he be forced to elaborate in more public venues now that these two speeches are getting so much attention, at least in the blogosphere? And who else has seen the video, if it exists -- will journalists see and report on it? did senators see these images when they had their closed-door sessions with the Abu Ghraib evidence? -- and what is being done about it?
(Update: A reader brought to our attention that the rape of boys at Abu Ghraib has been mentioned in some news accounts of the prisoner abuse evidence. The Telegraph and other news organizations described "a videotape, apparently made by US personnel, is said to show Iraqi guards raping young boys." The Guardian reported "formal statements by inmates published yesterday describe horrific treatment at the hands of guards, including the rape of a teenage Iraqi boy by an army translator.")
Thursday, February 26, 2009
PlayStation and painful skin disorders
LONDON (Reuters) - Gamers beware: Keeping too tight a grip on the console and furiously pushing the buttons can cause a newly identified skin disorder marked by painful lumps on the palms, Swiss scientists said Tuesday.
Called "PlayStation palmar hidradentitis" by the scientists, the skin disorder can cause painful lesions on the palms similar to patches found on the soles of children's feet after taking part in heavy physical activity, they said.
"The tight and continuous grasping of the hand-grips together with repeated pushing of the buttons produce minor but continuous trauma to the (palm) surfaces," Vincent Piguet and colleagues at University Hospitals and Medical School of Geneva reported in the British Journal of Dermatology.
A spokesman for Sony Corp, which makes the PlayStation, noted the study involved one person and said the company had sold hundreds of millions of the consoles since the product was introduced in 1995.
"As with any leisure pursuit there are possible consequences of not following common sense, health advice and guidelines, as can be found within our instruction manuals," Sony spokesman David Wilson said.
"We would not wish to belittle this research and we will study the findings with interest, but this is the first time we have ever heard of a complaint of this nature."
Excessive gaming is already seen as a public health issue, sparking addictive behavior that can lead to a range of psychological problems, the researchers said.
Other researchers have identified acute tendonitis from playing too much of Nintendo Co Ltd's Wii, and now a disorder related to the PlayStation can be added to the list, the team said.
Their study described the case of a 12-year-old girl who attended the Geneva hospital with intensely painful lesions on her hands, which she had developed four weeks earlier. She had no other lesions anywhere else on her body.
After questioning, the doctors discovered that several days prior to the appearance of the lesions the girl had started to play a game on her PlayStation for several hours each day.
The researchers suspected that grasping the console's hand-grips together with repeated pushing of the buttons produced minor but prolonged injury to the palm of the girl's hands, which can be made worse by sweating during a tense game.
The doctors recommended the girl stop playing and she recovered fully after 10 days, the researchers said.
"If you're worried about soreness on your hands when playing a games console, it might be sensible to give your hands a break from time to time, and don't play excessively if your hands are prone to sweating," Nina Goad of the British Association of Dermatologists said in a statement.
The Death Lab called Gaza
It was as if they had stepped on a mine, but there was no shrapnel in the wound. Some had lost their legs. It looked as though they had been sliced off. I have been to war zones for 30 years, but I have never seen such injuries before.
—Dr. Erik Fosse, Norwegian cardiologist who
worked in Gaza hospitals during the recent war.
What Dr. Fosse was describing was the effects of a U.S. “focused lethality” weapon that minimalizes explosive damage to structures while inflicting catastrophic wounds on its victims. While the weapon has been used in Iraq, Gaza was the first test of the bomb in a densely populated environment.
The specific weapon—the GBU-39—is a Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) and was developed by the U.S. Air Force, Boeing Corporation, and University of California’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in 2000. The weapon wraps the high explosives HMX or RDX with a tungsten alloy and other metals like cobalt, nickel or iron, in a carbon fiber/epoxy container. When the bomb explodes, the container evaporates and the tungsten turns into micro-shrapnel that is extremely lethal up to about 60 feet.
Tungsten is inert, so it does not react chemically with the explosive. While a non-inert metal like aluminum would increase the blast, tungsten actually limits the explosion.
Within the weapon’s range, however, it is inordinately lethal. According to Norwegian doctor Mad Gilbert, the blast results in multiple amputations and “very severe fractures. The muscles are sort of split from the bones, hanging loose, and you also have quite severe burns.”
Those who survive the initial blast quickly succumb to septicemia and organ collapse. “Initially, everything seems in order … but it turns out on operation that dozens of miniature particles can be found in all their organs,” says Dr. Jam Brommundt, a German doctor working in Kham Younis, a city in southern Gaza. “It seems to be some sort of explosive or shell that disperses tiny particles … that penetrate all organs, these miniature injuries, you are not able to attack them surgically.” According to Brommundt, the particles cause multiple organ failures.
If, by some miracle, victims do survive, they are almost to certain develop rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), a particularly deadly cancer that deeply embeds itself into tissue and is almost impossible to treat. A 2005 U.S. Department of health study found that tungsten stimulated RMS cancers even in very low doses. Out of 92 rats tested, 92 developed the cancer.
While DIMEs were originally designed to avoid “collateral” damage generated by standard high explosive bombs, the weapon’s lethality and profound long-term toxicity hardly seems like an improvement. And in Gaza, the ordinance was widely used. Al-Shifta alone has seen 100 to 150 such patients.
Was Gaza a test of DIME in urban conditions?
Dr. Gilbert told the Oslo Gardermoen,“There is a strong suspicion I think that Gaza is now being used as a test laboratory for new weapons.”
The characteristics of the GBU-39 are likely to make it a go-to weapon in the future. The bomb is small and light—less than six feet long and only 285 pounds—that means an aircraft can carry four times as many weapons. It can also be dropped 60 miles from its target. Internal wings allow the bomb to navigate to its target. It can penetrate three feet of reinforced concrete. It can also be mounted on drones, like the Predator and the Reaper, and compared to other weapons systems, is a bargain.”
Marc Garlasco, Human Rights Watch’s senior military advisor, says “It remains to be seen how Israel has acquired the technology, whether they purchased weapons from the United States under some agreement, or if they in fact licensed or developed their own type of munitions.”
In fact, Congress approved the $77 million sale of 1.000 GBU-39s to Israel in September, 2008, and the weapons were delivered in December. Israel was the first foreign sales of the DIMES.
DIME weapons are not banned under the Geneva Conventions because they have never been officially tested. However, any weapon capable of inflicting such horrendous damage is normally barred from use, particularly in one of the most densely populated regions in the world.
For one thing, no one is sure about how long the tungsten remains in the environment or how it could affect people who return to homes attacked by a DIME. University of Arizona cancer researcher Dr. Mark Witten, who investigates links between tungsten and leukemia, says that in his opinion “there needs to be much more research on the health effects of tungsten before the military increases its usage.”
DIMEs were not the only controversial weapons used in Gaza. The Israeli Self-Defense Forces (IDF) also made generous use of white phosphorus, a chemical that burns with intense heat and inflicts terrible burns on victims. In its vapor form it also damages breathing passages
International law prohibits the weapon’s use near population areas and requires that “all reasonable precautions” be taken to avoid civilians.
Israel initially denied it was using the chemical. “The IDF acts only in accordance with what is permitted by international law and does not use white phosphorus,” said Israel’s Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi on Jan. 13.
But eyewitness accounts in Gaza and Israel soon forced the IDF to admit that they were, indeed, using the substance. On Jan 20, the IDF confessed to using phosphorus artillery shells as smoke screens, as well as 200 U.S.-made M825A1 phosphorus mortar shells on “Hamas fighters and rocket launching crews in northern Gaza.”
Three of those shells hit the UN Works and Relief Agency compound Jan. 15, igniting a fire that destroyed hundreds of tons of humanitarian supplies. Al-Quds hospital in Gaza City was also hit by a phosphorus shell. The Israelis say there were Hamas fighters near the two targets, a charge that witnesses adamantly deny.
Donatella Rovera of Amnesty International said, “Such extensive use of this weapon in Gaza’s densely-populated residential neighborhoods … and its toll on civilians, is a war crime.”
Israel is also accused of using depleted uranium ammunition (DUA), which in a UN sub-commission in 2002 found in violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions, the International Convention Against Torture, the Conventional Weapons Convention, and the Hague Conventions against the use of poison weapons.
DUA is not highly radioactive, but after exploding some of it turns into a gas that can easily be inhaled. The dense shrapnel that survives also tends to bury itself deeply, leaching low-level radioactivity into water tables.
Other human rights groups, including B’Tselem, Gisha, and Physicians for Human Rights, charge that the IDF intentionally targeted medical personal, killing over a dozen, including paramedics and ambulance drivers.
The International Federation for Human Rights called upon the UN Security Council to refer Israel to the International Criminal Court for possible war crimes.
While the Israelis dismiss the war crimes charges, the fact that the Israeli cabinet held a special meeting on Jan 25 to discuss the issue suggests they are concerned they could be charged with “disproportionate” use of force. The Geneva Conventions require belligerents to at “all times” distinguish between combatants and civilians and to avoid “disproportionate force” in seeking military gains.
Hamas’ use of unguided missiles fired at Israel would also be a war crime under the Conventions.
“The one-sidedness of casualty figures is one measure of disproportion,” says Richard Falk, the UN’s human rights envoy for the occupied territories. A total of 14 Israelis have been killed in the fighting, three of them civilians killed by rockets, 11 of them soldiers, four of the latter by “friendly fire.” Some 50 IDF soldiers were also wounded.
In contrast, 1330 Palestinians have died and 5450 were injured, the overwhelming number of them civilians.
“This kind of fighting constitutes a blatant violation of the laws of warfare, which we ask to be investigated by the Commission of War Crimes,” a coalition of Israeli human rights groups and Amnesty International said in a joint statement. “The responsibility of the state of Israel is beyond doubt.”
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann would coordinate the defense of any soldier or commander charged with a war crime. In any case, the U.S. would veto any effort by the UN Security Council to refer Israelis to the International Court at The Hague.
But, as the Financial Times points out, “all countries have an obligation to search out those accused of ‘grave’ breaches of the rules of war and to put them on trial or extradite them to a country that will.”
That was the basis under which Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was arrested in Britain in 1998.
“We’re in a seismic shift in international law,” Amnesty International legal advisor Christopher Hall told the Financial Times, who says that Israel’s foreign ministry is already examining the risk to Israelis who travel abroad.
“It’s like walking across the street against a red light,” he says. “The risk may be low, but you’re going to think twice before committing a crime or traveling if you have committed one.”
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Chilling warning; social websites harm children's brain
Social networking websites are causing alarming changes in the brains of young users, an eminent scientist has warned.
Sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Bebo are said to shorten attention spans, encourage instant gratification and make young people more self-centred.
The claims from neuroscientist Susan Greenfield will make disturbing reading for the millions whose social lives depend on logging on to their favourite websites each day.
But they will strike a chord with parents and teachers who complain that many youngsters lack the ability to communicate or concentrate away from their screens.
More than 150million use Facebook to keep in touch with friends, share photographs and videos and post regular updates of their movements and thoughts.
A further six million have signed up to Twitter, the 'micro-blogging' service that lets users circulate text messages about themselves.
But while the sites are popular - and extremely profitable - a growing number of psychologists and neuroscientists believe they may be doing more harm than good.
Baroness Greenfield, an Oxford University neuroscientist and director of the Royal Institution, believes repeated exposure could effectively 'rewire' the brain.
Experts are concerned children's online social interactions can 'rewire' the brain
Computer games and fast-paced TV shows were also a factor, she said.
'We know how small babies need constant reassurance that they exist,' she told the Mail yesterday.
'My fear is that these technologies are infantilising the brain into the state of small children who are attracted by buzzing noises and bright lights, who have a small attention span and who live for the moment.'
Her comments echoed those she made during a House of Lords debate earlier this month. Then she argued that exposure to computer games, instant messaging, chat rooms and social networking sites could leave a generation with poor attention spans.
'I often wonder whether real conversation in real time may eventually give way to these sanitised and easier screen dialogues, in much the same way as killing, skinning and butchering an animal to eat has been replaced by the convenience of packages of meat on the supermarket shelf,' she said.
Lady Greenfield told the Lords a teacher of 30 years had told her she had noticed a sharp decline in the ability of her pupils to understand others.
'It is hard to see how living this way on a daily basis will not result in brains, or rather minds, different from those of previous generations,' she said.
She pointed out that autistic people, who usually find it hard to communicate, were particularly comfortable using computers.
'Of course, we do not know whether the current increase in autism is due more to increased awareness and diagnosis of autism, or whether it can - if there is a true increase - be in any way linked to an increased prevalence among people of spending time in screen relationships. Surely it is a point worth considering,' she added.
Psychologists have also argued that digital technology is changing the way we think. They point out that students no longer need to plan essays before starting to write - thanks to word processors they can edit as they go along. Satellite navigation systems have negated the need to decipher maps.
A study by the Broadcaster Audience Research Board found teenagers now spend seven-and-a-half hours a day in front of a screen.
Educational psychologist Jane Healy believes children should be kept away from computer games until they are seven. Most games only trigger the 'flight or fight' region of the brain, rather than the vital areas responsible for reasoning.
Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood, said: 'We are seeing children's brain development damaged because they don't engage in the activity they have engaged in for millennia.
'I'm not against technology and computers. But before they start social networking, they need to learn to make real relationships with people.'
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Gone in Sixty days
Bank of America and Citigroup won’t live to see May. The two banks will be nationalized in the coming weeks, and we think that the announcement can come as soon as tomorrow evening (Friday evenings are when major bank announcements and failures occur).
The US government has already committed half a trillion dollars to these two firms which is more than 10 times the amount it would cost to buy and control both companies. The market doesn’t believe that $500 billion is enough to save these companies.
All the kings horses and all the kings men can’t put humpty dumpty back together again.
Today both banks made fresh new lows with Citi closing at $2.51 and Bank of America closing at $3.93. The 1 year charts below show the short term price movements. You should understand that when a bank stock’s chart looks like this, even a HEALTHY bank would be in trouble. Nobody wants their deposits tied up in a company that trades at $2. The outflows of deposits from Bank of America and Citi must be catastrophic.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Who stole America's $550 billion?
On September 15, 2008, $550 BILLION disappears from the American banking system in a matter of hours and Congress is choosing to NOT look into this theft? Why?
Let's narrow down the suspects. We can leave Iran, Syria and North Korea off the list, since if any of those states had been in on this heist, Bush would have went on national TV, addressing the nation about the actions of one of these "rogue" nations and said he had directed the Pentagon to take any and all necessary actions to recover the purloined loot.
That has not happened, either with Bush or Obama.
So, what other nation would have the balls to steal that much money from Americans?
It would be a nation that attacked one of our ships in broad daylight, firing rockets, large caliber machine guns and dropping napalm on the ship in a brutal and savage attack that lasted 75 minutes.
They would be so sadistic that they would machine gun survivors trying to escape, even shooting up the life rafts.
An attack that murdered 34 of our people.
It would be a country that has sent an army of spies to steal sensitive military info and financial data from the USA, at the same time, always proclaiming that the USA is their "best friend."
A country that, thru the use of tremendous amounts of money and threats, has taken over the US Congress.
A country that sent some of its intelligence operatives to a New Jersey state park on 9/11, to "document" that tragic event.
A country who's leaders said that 9/11 was very good for them.
A country that is well known for its use of "false-flag" attacks against its allies, to get those allies enraged and fighting wars for that nation.
A country that is so paranoid, it thinks the entire world is out to get them, and has threatened to nuke the entire world, using their "Sampson" option.
Hmmm, wonder what nation could be so depraved, sadistic and immoral? Any guesses?
At 2 minutes, 20 seconds into this C-Span video clip, Rep. Paul Kanjorski of Pennsylvania explains how the Federal Reserve told Congress members about a “tremendous draw-down of money market accounts in the United States, to the tune of $550 billion dollars.” According to Kanjorski, this electronic transfer occured over the period of an hour or two.
Here is a transcript of what Kanjorski says in the video:
On Thursday Sept 15, 2008 at roughly 11 AM The Federal Reserve noticed a tremendous draw down of money market accounts in the USA to the tune of $550 Billion dollars in a matter of an hour or two.
It was an electronic run on the banks.
The treasury intervened but had they not closed down the accounts they estimated that by 2 PM that afternoon. Within 3 hours. $5.5 Trillion would have been withdrawled and collapsed and within 24 hours the world economy.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Who's the Terrorist? A Song from the Heart of Gaza
Who's the terrorist?
I'm the terrorist?!
How am I the terrorist when you've taken my land?
Who's the terrorist?
You're the terrorist!
You've taken everything I own while I'm living in my homeland
You're killing us like you've killed our ancestors
You want me to go to the law?
You're the Witness, the Lawyer, and the Judge!
If you are my Judge
I'll be sentenced to death
You want us to be the minority?
To end up the majority in the cemetery?
In your dreams!
You're a Democracy?
Actually it's more like the Nazis
Your countless raping of the Arab's soul
Finally impregnated it
Gave birth to your child
His name: Suicide Bomber
And then you call him the terrorist?
You attack me but still you cry out
When i remind you it was you who attacked me
You silence me and shout:
"Don't they have parents to keep them at home?"
"But you let small children throw stones!"
You must have forgotten you buried our parents under the rubble of our homes
And now while my agony is so immense
You call me the terrorist?
Who's the terrorist?
I'm the terrorist?
How am I the terrorist
When you've taken my land?!
Who's the terrorist?
You're the terrorist!
You've taken everything I own
while I'm living in my homeland
Why terrorist?! Because my blood is not calm
Because I hold my head for my homeland
You've killed my loved ones
Now I'm all alone
My parents driven out
But I will remain to shout out
I'm not against peace
Peace is against me
It's going to destroy me
You don't listen to our voices
You silence us and degrade us
And who are you?!
And when did you become ruler?
Look how many you've killed
and how many orphans you've created
Our mothers are crying
Our fathers are in anguish
Our land is disappearing
And I'll tell you who you are!
You grew up sported
We grew up in poverty
Who grew up with freedom?
And who grew up in continument?
We fight for Our freedom
But you've made that a crime
And you, the terrorist call me the terrorist!
Who's the terrorist?
I'm the terrorist?
How am I the terrorist
When you've taken my land?!
Who's the terrorist?
You're the terrorist!
You've taken everything I own
while I'm living in my homeland
So, when will I stop being a terrorist?!
When you hit me and I turn the other cheek
How do you expect me to thank
the one who harmed me?!
I tell you what!
You tell me how you want me to be!
Down on my knees with my hands tied up
My eyes to the ground
Surrounded by bodies
Families driven out
Our children orphaned
Our freedom chained up
We'll remain patient
We'll suppress our pain
Most importantly you feel secure
Just relax and leave us all the pain
You see our blood is like that of dogs
When dogs die they receive sympathy
So our blood is not as valuable as a dog's
No - My blood is valuable
And I will continue defending myself Even if you call me a terrorist
Saturday, February 14, 2009
When the new government forms after yesterday's elections, it will receive an economy in crisis. Moreover, treasury officials are terrified, not of the giant deficit this year, but of giant deficits in the following years, which would be the road to ruin.
The figures are frightening. Tax collection in 2009 will fall as much as NIS 40 billion ($10 bn) short of earlier estimates. The budget is already short about NIS 10 billion ($2.5 bn) to meet costs because of Operation Cast Lead and other past and future demands from the defense establishment.
Almost a third of that NIS 10 billion ($2.5 bn) comes from the military campaign in the Gaza Strip, and never mind that it's over. It cost NIS 3 billion ($0.75 bn), which has to come from somewhere.
Then there is an amount to be allocated to the leverage funds, which are supposed to be joint government-private vehicles (still in the envisioning stage) to rescue businesses in trouble. These funds are supposed to lend troubled companies about NIS 5 billion ($1.25 bn) (although some observers now think the state can get away with lending less).
A third element is around NIS 1.5 billion ($375 million) to cover the demands of coalition partners in the new government, say people in the Finance Ministry.
The upshot is that with tax collection falling far short of the estimates on which the 2009 budget was based, and with costs surging far above expectations, the 2009 budget is apparently about NIS 50 billion ($12.5 bn) short. And that, dear reader, is equivalent to 7% of Israel's gross domestic product.
The 2009 deficit, which should have been 1% of GDP, will likely be 5%, no more, because Israel simply cannot allow itself a larger deficit.
The Finance Ministry plans to slash budgets by about NIS 8 billion ($2.0 bn) from defense spending, education, welfare and healthcare.
How much these essentials can be spared depends on the next government's support for reducing defense spending.
The government plans to finance the deficit by raising money through further local bond issues, and overseas too, by utilizing U.S. guarantees to raise money at relatively low cost. It would step up the activities of the Israel Bonds organization.
The treasury would prefer to raise money by taking advantage of the rest of the $9 billion in guarantees granted to Israel by the United States in 2003, during the second intifada.
That gave Israel the right to issue $9 billion worth of bonds on the U.S. market, repayment of which is guaranteed by Washington. American backing for the bonds means that the interest Israelis have to pay on the bonds is as low as possible - just a hair above the rates on comparable bond issues backed by the Federal Reserve. Israel has used only $4.4 billion of the guarantees. The last time the state issued bonds in the United States backed by the guarantees was in 2004.
However, the United States plans to deduct $1 billion out of the remaining $4.6 billion, to punish Israel for its investments in territories beyond the Green Line.
If Jerusalem can't reverse that decree, it will still have $3.6 billion in guarantees. In any case, the Finance Ministry wouldn't blow the whole amount inside a year: It would probably spread the amount to 2010 and perhaps 2011 as well.
Everybody at Finance agrees that Israel's problem isn't just a giant deficit this year. It's the state of the economy in the following years.
The Finance Ministry does not dismiss the importance of the deficit in 2009, but it's a lot more worried about the deficit of 2010.
We can deal with a one-time high deficit, say officials, but a high, multiyear deficit could destroy Israel.
The aim of the 2009 budget, which will be approved in May at the earliest, and that of 2010, which (hopefully) should be submitted for cabinet approval in August or September, is to attain manageable deficits and decrease them over time.
The Finance Ministry says that if the world begins to emerge from its crisis in 2009 or 2010, Israel could achieve modest economic growth.
But ministry chieftains say the way to keep spending under control is to trim the defense budget. It's not a new idea, yet it's a revolutionary vein of thought. What we have is top Finance Ministry people admitting up front that Israel can't increase its defense budget by NIS 100 billion in 10 years. The new government, they believe, is going to face hard choices on this issue.
The David Cole / JDL Affair
As An Example
IN JANUARY 2, 1998, David Cole renounced Holocaust revisionism and all of the work that he had done for the cause of historical truth. Many people are wondering what happened. What brought on this change of heart? From all appearances it was a result of threats made against him by the Jewish Defense League (JDL).
In response to his public comments that there are serious flaws in the popularly accepted quasi-historical accounts of the Holocaust, they launched a campaign of hate against him that produced an old-fashioned signed statement of recantation. This campaign included a vicious and threatening diatribe, "Monstrous Traitor," that offered a reward for his home address and was posted on the JDL Website for some weeks or months. When Cole offered them a statement of reversal of the offending opinions, they took down the page aimed at inciting violence toward him and replaced it with the statement of acceptable thought. The JDL used terror tactics openly, and it worked.
Intolerance, threats and force are not typically a good atmosphere in which to find truth. Irrespective of this encounter with intellectual muggers, his work will stand or fall on its own merits in the long term. The film "David Cole interviews Dr. Franciszek Piper" is every bit as valid now as it was prior to the strong-arm intimidation of the man who made it.
The conclusions of David Cole's film have been confirmed recently in Robert Jan Van Pelt and Deborah Dwork's, "Auschwitz: 1270 to the Present." According to Van Pelt and Dwork:
"Visitors [to Auschwitz] are not told that the crematorium they see is largely a postwar reconstruction." (p.363)
We await Van Pelt and Dwork's retraction, but will not be holding its breath in the meantime.
IN REGARD TO ANYTHING relating to the Middle East or Jewish subjects, the USA has many of the characteristics of a totalitarian country and many of the groups who call themselves "liberal" or "peace camp" or "radical" are on that subject the most intolerant, the most totalitarian, the most dishonest and racist. . . . A totalitarian society not only does not tolerate a freedom of opinion, but it cultivates by all means in its power a "received opinion," which all have to parrot, not only without checking it, but often without any understanding of what it means.
Perhaps some Americans will think that I exaggerate. But the danger of a totalitarian regime was always thought to be exaggerated before it arrived. Only afterwards, when it was too late, was it found that the society was already totalitarian in some aspects which were merely enlarged.
There is only one sure antidote to the totalitarian danger: To fight all aspects of totalitarianism in all the parts of one's society and to follow always the dictum of Socrates that the unexamined life is not worth living, and therefore with the utmost freedom and without fear of any blackmail to examine everything in the light of a universal concept of justice, applicable equally to all human beings.
- Israel Shahak
In forging their own brand of totalitarianism in the U.S., the Zionists continue to manipulate the victims of the Nazi holocaust as their chief weapon.
- Alfred Lilienthal
WHILE THIS PAGE is ostensibly about David Cole, his case really only serves as an illustration of a problem seldom discussed in public, and therefore not known to most of the public. Cole's experience demonstrates graphically a fairly benign instance of the methods used around the world, day in and day out, to relentlessly and ruthlessly quash attempts by honest people to examine in detail a historical event of legitimate interest to a great many, if not all people in the West and Middle East. The concern about this is not mollified by the fact that many of those who engage in this program of intimidation through slander, mass propaganda and physical threats do so in sincerity, with a firm conviction that what they do has a greater good which more than justifies its wrongs. We ignore these wrongs at the risk of our legitimate rule of law and our own freedoms. The seeming dichotomy of great wars fought by opposing religions who both seek to convey the love of their God to all people, and who will slaughter millions of them to do that, is no mystery if you look at it from the zealot's or fanatic's perspective. The fact that others do not see the greater good at work is due to their own spiritual shortcomings he tells himself, and in the land of the heathen you do what you must to survive and keep the faith. Whatever you must.
Our position on this affliction of the fanatic is a simple one. The one universal good that outweighs all others must be a person's right to follow any life path they choose so long as they offer no infringement on the rights of others. Our Declaration of Independence speaks of the inalienable rights we all have to our lives, liberty and pursuit of happiness, which is to say the sanctity of our own bodies, freedom of movement and association, and freedom of thought.Those who seek to deprive others of any of these outside the unfortunate but necessary repressions of the State we call justice earn for themselves what they gave. The principle is that of equity at its most basic level. As you deprive others of their liberty, so shall society see that you are deprived in equal measure, because there is no justification for any individual to take away any other individual's freedoms, even to the smallest part. That power is and must be confined to our mechanisms of government.
The right to harbor unpopular, even intolerant beliefs, and the right to express them are protected by the Constitution, which spells out the unqualified right of all Americans to unfettered freedom of speech. But intimidation aimed at silencing speech, and thus infringing on that right, be it through slander, threats or force, is not so protected. In fact, people who used those exact methods of intimidation to keep blacks from voting found themselves jailed for conspiring to deprive others of their lawful civil rights.
The basis for this was a post-Civil War law passed to address widespread abuses of that kind. That law has expanded quite liberally to include now a variegated collection of non-enumerated rights, such as going to school or working at a job, free of harassment aimed at depriving you of those opportunities. It is not necessary to argue about whether everything falling under this aegis is a legitimate "right" in order to see the illegitimacy of how it is applied, because we will look in a direction that should be a given, toward the inarguable central rights, to see how they fare in the protection game.
It is fashionable now to approve the increasing scope of civil rights law, yet some attempt to make the case that applying it to portions of the Bill of Rights is not proper or not needed. A common rationale is that differences of opinion are private matters that government should not, cannot be involved in. A valid point when only differences of opinion are present, invalid when coercion is applied to limit or deny freedom of speech or deprive someone of their livelihood (such as black-balling dissident authors in the publishing industry). Once coercion enters, the argument is without logic, for if government oversight is valid for protecting any one right then it is valid for all. Politically selected application of justice is a repugnant practice that coarsens and weakens all involved.
Yet that is exactly what is taking place in this country today. Holding generally unpopular views on a number of topical subjects can put you in a class where Justice is truly blindfolded. No one seems to see the blatant abuses committed by those who oppose those views, including vicious beatings on the steps of courthouses, arson, letter-bombs, terrorizing with threats of harm. If you happen to be pushing a topic deemed by popular opinion to be so lacking in merit that it somehow poses a danger to the citizenry, you will find little interest on the part of authorities to address these crimes or lessen their occurrence. This is nothing less than state and public sanctioned vigilantism, or terrorism, and it has no place in societies that would call themselves civilized
One of the hottest areas for this is Holocaust historical revisionism, which to a newcomer seems an oddity. (Emotions run high over history ?? That's the class you sleep in.) Attempts to point out glaring inconsistencies in the popular and now institutionalized account bring howls of rage from those who disagree. If the initial rage isn't enough to make someone cease and desist (which it often is), then the ante is raised and will keep on being raised to whatever level is needed to silence the target. It may start with simple slander, automatic and unfounded labels of "anti-Semite", "denier", "hater", "Nazi" and more are pasted on with the often expressed intent of destroying resolve and/or career, legitimate aims because the target is deemed "unfit" to be a member of any decent society. Those who don't give up are then marginalized by campaigns to convince the public of their evil and 100% erroneous views, their universally undesirable nature. When these aren't effective enough, then threats of injury or death are employed, such as with David Cole. At the extreme end, people are killed, like American-Arab peace activist Sami Odeh, murdered by a letter-bomb of suspected Zionist origin.
The open existence of and tolerance shown for this despicable practice fouls our national social fabric immensely. This is a major thing we'd like to see the public become aware of and hopefully say, "You know, this seems pretty un-American to me. And even if I'm wrong about that, it sucks to allow people to hurt others because they don't like their opinions. And I believe government should give some attention to what's going on." The rest of our job would then be very easy, as frightened people with much knowledge of the truth of the matter could at last speak openly. We might turn out to be right, and we might be wrong. But it would be settled quickly and we could quit hassling about it. Those who claim their feelings are so tender that this can't be allowed would be over it before you know it, and life would go on a little more peacefully.
If getting rid of a death-threat by giving in to coercion was what it took for Cole to regain peace of mind, we understand and neither resent nor condemn, only empathize. No one should be faced with an ultimatum to choose between their beliefs and their personal safety in the United States of America. That is a despicable, and in our minds, criminal affair.
We are all forced to recite a government mandated litany affirming a nonsensical collective belief in non-existent Arab terrorists every time we board an airplane. While we dociley play these sheep-like roles in the instillment of our own "good think," the real terrorists operate publicly and unhindered because they belong to any of a number of designated groups whose excesses one is forbidden to criticize, however legitimately or temperately.
It is disturbing to realize how very far this nation, and much of the Western world, has fallen from the fiery spirit which threw off the yokes of ancient tyrranies in the 18th and 19th centuries, ushering in the Age of Enlightenment. That light now dims because we are all too willing to take "Give me liberty or give me death!" and Newspeak convert it to, "Give me liberty at any cost except personal discomfort or civic involvement." This is how it comes to be that good men stand and say nothing, how in fact we came to be where we are now.
But let us return to the matter at hand, David Cole's run-in with the dark side of the strident opposition to open examination of a historical issue. Addressing the possibility that this complete reversal of belief was sincere, then we hope David Cole is successful in his new endeavors whatever they may be. Perhaps we'll meet on opposite sides in some future debate forum. That would be a treat, because David was always a worthy opponent; quick, well informed, and with a gift for public speaking. He'll do well in any situation, because he has enough intelligence to sort truth from pretense all by himself.
As long as the moral vigilantes and intellectual terrorists among us allow him to, that is.
David Thomas 1/18/98
Forty-Six Important Unanswered Questions Regarding the Nazi Gas Chambers
By David Cole
Professor Deborah Lipstadt, author of Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, is the leading voice on college campuses and in the media arguing against intellectual freedom with regard to the holocaust controversy. She is passionate -- well, obsessive -- about not wanting to exchange views with revisionists.
"[A]t times," she writes, "I have felt compelled to prove something I knew to be true. I had constantly to avoid being inadvertently sucked into a debate that is no debate and an argument that is no argument." She adds that revisionism is "totally irrational . . . not responsive to logic" and that "evidence plays no role" in revisionist research.
I'm going to go out on a limb here. I know that Deborah Lipstadt and hundreds of other trained scholars with access to the relevant archives in Europe and the old Soviet Union have studied the Nazi gas chambers for half a century and know everything there is to know about them. Despite this universally accepted fact, I am presenting here a few questions about the notorious homicidal gassing chambers that are being raised by a young scholar named David Cole.
David Cole traveled to Europe twice to make on-site inspections of the still extant "gas chambers." The lady who financed each of these little expeditions wanted me to go with Cole to direct the project. I thought that would be a nifty idea. I'd never been to Europe and here was my chance. But Cole kept telling me he could handle it on his own. After awhile I got the message. He didn't want me to go. In the end, each time he went alone, or rather he and a camera woman. I think he was right. He didn't need direction from me. He handled his responsibilities very well on his own.
When you read David Cole's 46 unanswered questions about the Nazi gas chambers you may feel yourself hard-pressed -- despite what Deborah Lipstadt would have you believe -- to find them totally irrational, not responsive to logic, or that evidence plays no role in their design. Of course, you are probably not the towering intellectual that Deborah Lipstadt is, so if you find a few or perhaps more than a few of the 46 questions disturbing in their logic and rationality, precisely because they are based on the physical evidence commonly used to identify the "gas chambers," why not ring up Professor Lipstadt at Emory University and ask her for the correct answers to these interesting puzzles?
Then pass her answers on to me. I'll run them by David Cole and see what he has to say about them. Maybe we'll be able to post Lipstadt's criticisms of the 46 Questions here, along with David's response to her criticisms. In the academy they call this process peer review. Ms. Lipstadt would probably point out to you that David Cole is not part of the "academy." Let's not call it peer review then. Let's just call it talking it over. Tell her you have 46 questions about the German gassing chambers and you would like to talk them over with her.
Bradley R. Smith
9 October 1995
The Zyklon-B Issue
AT THE FORMER concentration camps of Auschwitz and Auschwitz-Birkenau, we find the following scenario: The buildings which used to serve as the camp delousing facilities still have extremely high traces of the gas Zyklon B, which was used in these buildings to disinfest clothing, mattresses, etc. Also, there is heavy blue staining on the walls both inside the delousing chambers, INSIDE the hallways between the delousing chambers, and OUTSIDE the building, on the EXTERIOR WALLS of the delousing facilities.
However, the interiors of the Krema 1 gas chamber (Auschwitz Main Camp) and the Krema 2 and 3 gas chambers (Auschwitz-Birkenau), where hundreds of thousands if not millions of people are said to have been gassed, show only minute traces of Zyklon B and no blue staining.
Also, the Auschwitz camp barracks and offices, which were fumigated with the Zyklon B from time to time, show similarly minute traces of the gas, and no blue staining.
(1) What explanation can there be for the low levels of traces, and absence of blue staining, in the homicidal gas chambers?
(2) If one suggests that the Zyklon traces in the homicidal gas chambers have been "weathered away", how can one explain the traces and staining on the OUTSIDE of the delousing complexes...traces which have NOT been weathered away after fifty years?
(3)It has been suggested that the amount of Zyklon B needed to kill people, even cumulative millions of people, would not leave traces as strong as the amount needed to kill lice in the delousing chambers. But when we factor in the Zyklon B traces still existing in the camp barracks and offices, we see that infrequent gassings will still leave SOME traces. Thus, we have the traces in the camp offices and barracks, which reveal what levels of traces would remain, fifty years after the fact, in rooms which were gassed infrequently.
Then we have the delousing chambers, which reveal what levels of traces would remain, fifty years after the fact, in rooms which were gassed frequently. Can it not be expected that the levels of traces in the homicidal gas chambers, while perhaps not being as high as those in the delousing rooms, would AT LEAST be substantially higher than the traces in the buildings which were only fumigated infrequently? Yet the traces in Kremas 1, 2 and 3 are not markedly higher than the office and barracks traces. Does this not suggest that the traces which DO exist in Kremas 1, 2 and 3 come from the same fumigation routine that all the other buildings went through?
(4)Once one has fashioned an explanation for the minute traces and no blue staining in Kremas 1, 2 and 3 at Auschwitz, how does one THEN explain the HIGH levels of Zyklon B traces and DEEP, FLOOR-TO-CEILING blue staining in three of the four Majdanek gas chambers? Far fewer people are said to have been killed at Majdanek than at Auschwitz. The four Majdanek gas chambers would never have had to handle the workload of Kremas 1,2 and 3. Yet whereas Kremas 1,2 and 3 have only minute traces and no blue staining, three of the four Majdanek gas chambers have heavy traces and deep blue staining. How could gassing a GREATER amount of people (at Auschwitz) leave minute traces and no blue staining, yet gassing a much SMALLER amount (at Majdanek) leave heavy traces and deep blue staining?
(5)The gas chambers at the Majdanek camp not only have heavy Zyklon B blue stains on the INSIDE, but also on the OUTSIDE walls, as well. What could account for this? The delousing facilities at Birkenau have heavy blue staining on their outside walls, staining which is said to come from the mattresses which were propped up against the outside walls and beaten after delousing (to rid them of Zyklon B residue). Do the heavy blue stains on the outside walls of the Majdanek gas chambers therefore suggest that these rooms were used as delousing facilities? Isn't the building which contains the gas chambers labeled the "Bath and Disinfection" complex? If, as with Auschwitz, it is said that gassing people wouldn't leave blue stains on the INSIDE walls of a homicidal gas chamber, how then, at Majdanek, could gassing people leave heavy blue stains not only on the INSIDE walls but also on the OUTSIDE ones as well?
(6) To sum up the Zyklon B issue, we can take an overview of the Nazi gas chambers and their respective states RE Zyklon B traces:
Krema 1 (Auschwitz Main Camp): Minute traces, no blue staining
Krema 2 (Auschwitz-Birkenau): Minute traces, no blue staining
Krema 3 (Auschwitz-Birkenau): Minute traces, no blue staining.
Majdanek gas chambers 1, 3 and 4: Heavy traces, heavy blue staining (on inside and outside walls).
Dachau gas chamber: No traces, no blue staining.
Mauthausen gas chamber: No traces, no blue staining.
The revisionist explanation for the above is:
Kremas 1, 2 and 3 were not used as gas chambers; -- the only Zyklon B they saw was from the routine camp fumigations.
Majdanek rooms 1, 3 and 4 were delousing rooms, like the ones at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
The Dachau gas chamber was a shower.
The Mauthausen gas chamber was a shower
What theory can be offered which explains the wildly divergent states of the gas chambers re Zyklon B traces, while still supporting the concept of mass homicidal gassings at these camps?
Unanswered Questions Regarding the Physical Evidence at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp (Poland)
(7) Why was the area between Kremas 2 and 3, the area where thousands of people were marched daily to their deaths, left completely unfenced? The ditches which run the length of the camp perimeter would make a person invisible both to ground fire AND fire from the guard tower. Why would the Nazis risk an attempted escape, especially considering the fact that many inmates were gassed after they had been in the camp for a while, and knew what their fate would be if marched into either of those buildings? Doesn't the Auschwitz State Museum claim that the inmates would often "riot" as they were being marched toward Kremas 2 and 3?
(8) Why were Kremas 2 and 3 not hidden in any way from the view of the inmates? Isn't it claimed at the Auschwitz State Museum that gassings were stopped at Krema 1 (Auschwitz Main Camp) and moved to Birkenau because the inmates were starting to get an idea of the homicidal purpose of Krema 1? Why then were Kremas 2 and 3 put in plain sight of all sectors of the Birkenau camp, with no camouflage of any kind? Wouldn't this just create hundreds of thousands of "eyewitnesses", with everyone in the camp becoming well aware of the exterminations (and with many of these inmates later transferred to other camps in other parts of Europe to "spread the word" about the gassing program)? How could this profit the Nazis?
(9) It is claimed that there were four holes on the roofs of Kremas 2 and 3, which served as Zyklon B induction holes. The best piece of evidence that these holes ever existed is found in the U.S. aerial photos taken of Auschwitz during the war. Is there any discrepancy between the size of these holes as depicted in the U.S. aerial photos, and the size of the holes as depicted on the model of the Krema 2 gas chamber (on display at the Auschwitz State Museum and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum), the size as theorized by Jean-Claude Pressac in his book "Auschwitz; Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers", the size as depicted in the movie "Triumph of the Spirit" (which recreated a gassing at Krema 2), and the size as described over the decades by eyewitnesses? Indeed, can it be said that the holes as depicted in the aerial photos are ridiculously large...larger than what would have been needed for pouring in a can of Zyklon B gas?
(10) Why are the four holes not present today in the roof slab of Krema 2? The roof slab, though collapsed, is intact and both the top and underside of the roof are still visible. There are two crudely chiseled holes at opposite ends of the roof slab (one is more like a huge crack than a hole), but the other two holes are non existent, and the underside of the roof, with the two-by-fours lining the ceiling still visible, shows no sign of two holes having ever been present. There are also no traces of the two holes on the top of the roof. How can the absence of the two holes, and any traces of the two holes, be explained?
(11) What circumstances would produce the Krema 2 roof slab as we now see it, with two holes visible and the other two non-existent? If the Nazis attempted to erase the traces of the roof holes, why did they stop after two? Why would they expend much effort to erase all traces of two of the roof holes, then not make any effort to erase the two which survived the demolition?
(12) Could the still existing roof holes have been added after the liberation, by the Soviets or Poles? Doesn't Pressac admit that these two holes don't correspond with the positions of the holes in the aerial photos (Pressac says that this might be because the roof "shifted" during demolition, but even if the roof "shifted", that wouldn't account for why these holes, which were supposed to run in a straight line down the middle of the roof, have changed their positions, and are no longer in a straight line down the middle of the intact roof slab)? These holes are in incredibly bad condition; their edges are consistently rough, with not an inch of smoothness left. And they are no longer circular. They look like someone took a jack-hammer and roughly hammered through the roof slab. It is explained by Auschwitz State Museum officials that the demolition of the roof is what accounts for the awful condition of the holes (that is, they USED to be round and smooth until the demolition).
But if one observes the wreckage of the "undressing room" roof slab, which was similarly destroyed and is now in even worse shape than the gas chamber roof slab, one sees the remains of the undressing room front ventilation hole, which is still round and smooth even after the demolition and fifty years of laying around as rubble. Why did the undressing room roof hole survive intact, while the two still existing gas chamber roof holes emerged from the demolition without even the slightest trace that they had once been round and smooth? If we consider that the two still existing gas chamber roof holes don't correspond with their supposed position on the roof, can we theorize that MAYBE these two holes were chiseled in after the liberation? It is now admitted by the Auschwitz State Museum that the Soviets, after liberation, drilled four "Zyklon B induction holes" in the roof of Krema 1 (Auschwitz Main Camp). One needn't assume bad faith on the part of the Soviets (they might have honestly believed that they were "restoring" the roof to the state in which it had once been), but this act clearly establishes that the Soviets DID in fact drill post-liberation "Zyklon B induction holes" in roofs that, at that time, had none. Is it possible that this accounts for the two sloppy "Zyklon B induction holes" in the roof slab of the Krema 2?
(13) It is said that the Nazis destroyed Kremas 2 and 3 in order to hide the proofs of their gas chambers. But what "proof" of gassings would have been provided by Krema 2 if Krema 2 had not been dynamited? There are no heavy Zyklon B traces or blue stains on the walls, and great care was obviously taken to remove even the slightest trace of two of the Zyklon B induction holes. The Krema 2 gas chamber would have resembled an ordinary morgue. Was the destruction of Krema 2 an attempt to hide the evidence of a gas chamber, or simply the destruction of a cremation facility in the face of the advancing Soviets? Were cremation facilities at other camps, camps that were never claimed to have gas chambers, also destroyed?
(14) If one is to believe that four Zyklon B induction holes were at one time in the roof slab of Krema 2, it must be assumed that the Nazis went through great pains to meticulously hide any traces of at least two of those holes. Yet we are told that when the Soviets, after liberation, "reopened" the Zyklon B induction holes in the Krema 1 gas chamber state (at the time of liberation, it was being used as an air-raid shelter), they know exactly where to "reopen" the four holes because the traces where these holes had been were STILL VISIBLE. The idea that the Zyklon B induction hole traces were still visible is supported by the Auschwitz State Museum officials, and by author Jean-Claude Pressac. Why didn't the Nazis attempt to "cover-up" THOSE holes, especially keeping in mind that the Krema 1 gas chamber had been abandoned as a gas chamber AT LEAST a year before liberation, giving the Nazis more than enough time to erase the traces.
The Nazis were apparently able to do an incredibly good job of erasing the hole traces in the Krema 2 roof, even though time was short (the Nazis knew the Soviets were advancing, and they were busy making preparations to abandon the camp), yet we are told that they did NOT attempt to likewise cover up the hole traces in the Krema 1 roof slab, even though they had at least a year to do so. Why would the Nazis do such a fastidiously good job of hiding the existence of Zyklon B induction holes in a roof that they were then going to dynamite (Krema 2), yet allow the hole traces to remain in a roof that was left intact for the advancing Soviets (Krema 1)? Isn't that backwards?
Unanswered Questions Regarding the Physical Evidence at the Mauthausen Concentration Camp (Austria)
(15) The gas chamber at concentration camp Mauthausen (in Austria) has no locks on the doors, and no holes or fittings where locks may once have been. The doors can be opened from inside or outside. How could human beings have been gassed in this room?
(16) The peepholes in the two Mauthausen gas chamber doors have no hemispherical metal grid covering the glass, as would have been necessary to prevent the victims from knocking out the glass and causing a gas leak. There are no holes or fittings where a grid might once have been. Doesn't Pressac write extensively about the need for such hemispherical grids? Doesn't Pressac recount survivor testimony regarding the need for such grids during a homicidal gassing? With no grid, what stopped the inmates from knocking out the glass, using either their hands or the ample shower piping in the chamber?
(17) Why are there no Zyklon B traces, or blue stains, in this chamber?
(18) The hole in the ceiling of this chamber, through which the Zyklon B crystals were supposedly poured, is small enough to be blocked by the inmates hands, and the ceiling is low enough for them to block the hole. How could the Zyklon B be effectively poured in?
(19) There is a large drain in the floor of this room. There are no holes or fittings where a cover for this drain might have been attached. What would stop the victims from brushing the Zyklon B crystals down this drain?
(20) Unlike the Dachau "fake shower room", which indeed has fake shower heads (which were directly screwed into the concrete to a maze of water pipes which run the length of the ceiling AND across the walls. Doesn't this room resemble a real shower room? How do we know it wasn't?
(21) What would have been the wisdom of construction a fake shower room with such a maze of pipes running across the ceiling and walls? Wouldn't the victims have torn these fixtures down? Doesn't Pressac write about how the victims in the Auschwitz gas chambers would destroy the electrical fixtures and anything else in the chamber? Wouldn't the pipes serve as perfect weapons with which to smash a hole through the unguarded peepholes (not to mention the doors have no locks)? And if the prisoners didn't wish to block the Zyclon B induction hole with their hands, the showers heads would've fit inside the hole nicely. Why wasn't the "fake shower heads screwed directly into the ceiling" method (a la Dachau) employed here?
(22) Considering the absence of Zyklon B traces, locks on the doors, peephole covers, and a viable means of pouring in the Zyklon B, and factoring in the floor drain and the water pipes and genuine shower heads in this room, why can't we assume this was a genuine shower room?
Unanswered Questions Regarding the Physical Evidence at the Dachau Concentration Camp (Germany)
(23) The method of Zyklon B induction for the Dachau gas chamber is claimed to be via two chutes carved through one of the walls, through which the Zyklon B would be poured. What would have stopped the victims from putting their backs against the mouths of these chutes, thus preventing the crystals from entering the room?
(24) If the crystals WERE able to enter the room, the two chutes are located just above two large drains in the floor. There are no holes or fittings where covers for these drains might have been. What would stop the crystals from falling down the drains?
(25) There is a mystery room (not open to the public but visible through several windows) adjoining the gas chamber room. This room appears to have water and steam pipes which appear to lead into the gas chamber. Was the gas chamber room actually a shower? What is the purpose of this "mystery room"? What can be gained by ignoring this room which, it stands to reason, must have had SOME purpose?
(26) It is often said that the Nazis tried to hide the evidence of their extermination program by speaking in code, and rarely speaking of the exterminations on the record. It is similarly held that, as it became clear that they were losing the war, the Nazis tried to destroy the proofs of their crimes (the destruction of the four Birkenau Kremas is said to have been part of this "cover-up"). How, then, does one explain the Dachau gas chamber? The obviously false shower heads are incontrovertible proof of the homicidal purpose of this room. It is impossible not explain away the fake shower heads/a homicidal gas chamber. Yet we are to believe that this gas chamber was NEVER USED. And we are also supposed to believe that the room in its present state is exactly as the U.S. Army found it when the camp was liberated. Now, the details of the liberation of Dachau are well known: Dachau was not taken in some surprise attack. The guards at Dachau knew that the Americans were on their way. Therefore, we are asked to believe that the Nazis, KNOWING the camp would be surrendered, left the gas chamber room (which was not even being USED as a gas chamber) in a state which unashamedly points to its homicidal purpose. Why were the fake shower heads not removed?
Why was there no attempt at a "cover-up," like at Auschwitz? Unlike the Auschwitz gas chambers, THIS one was not even in use! What good was an unused room which only served to scream to the world "the Nazis are gassing the Jews"? Why would the Nazis, who were NOT using the "gas chamber" to kill people, leave it in this blatantly homicidal state, especially as the Americans drew closer? Keep in mind that, with the fake shower heads, this room was also impossible to us as a SHOWER. Therefore, this room served NO PURPOSE: it wasn't used as a gas chamber, and couldn't be used as a shower. We are asked to accept that the Nazis kept a large, USELESS room in one of the more important buildings in the Dachau camp (the "gas chamber" is located in the building which houses the Zyklon B clothing fumigation cubicles) and that this room remained UNUSED for years but was never stripped of the fake shower heads which pointed irrefutably to the Nazi's murderous intentions.
Surely, understanding the great pains the Nazis took to keep their gassing/extermination plans a secret, and the great pains they supposedly took at OTHER camps to "hide their crimes" once the Allies were advancing (i.e. the destruction of Kremas 2 through 5 at Auschwitz), we can expect that they would have performed the very simple task of removing the fake shower heads (and perhaps plastering over the marks where the shower heads had been). Why didn't the Nazis do this?
There might be a simple answer to the Dachau shower head issue. The height of the ceiling in the "Dachau gas chamber" is presently 7.6 feet. However, in Document L-159, No. 47 of the 79th Congress, 1st Session (Exhibit NO. USA-222; IMT, XXXVII, p. 621), which details the U.S. Army's investigation of the Dachau camp after liberation, the ceiling of this room is measured at 10 feet high. The fake shower heads which exist today embedded in the 7.6 foot high ceiling are made of sheet metal. Document No. 47 describes the 10 foot high ceiling as having "brass fixtures", which might very well have been genuine shower heads and pipes but which, in any event, are long absent from the ceiling of this room. Basically, sometime between the liberation of Dachau, and the media blitz regarding the "Dachau gas chamber", a 10 foot high ceiling with bass fixtures became a 7.6 foot high ceiling with cone-shaped sheet metal fake shower heads. How? I think we can take a guess!
Remember that the record of the U.S. Army (and the U.S. government, for that matter) is not very good when it comes to being honest about Dachau. If we are to assume that the Army created a fraudulent "gas chamber", it helps to understand that there is already proof that the Army was less than honest when presenting Dachau to the world. Most notable in this respect is the photographic sleight-of-hand which is still employed today (especially at the Weisenthal Center's high-tech "Museum of Tolerance" here in L.A.) where a photo of a door to one of the Dachau ZYKLON B FUMIGATION CUBICLES, complete with poisonous gas warning, skull and crossbones, and gassing schedule, is shown (often with a soldier standing in front) along with the caption that this is the door to the Dachau "HOMICIDAL" gas chamber (thus giving the impression that Zyklon B gas was used in the alleged homicidal gas chamber). This is pure fraud, and not the kind of fraud that the Army could have perpetrated "by accident". In pictures released by the Army, the doors to the small fumigation cubicles were portrayed as the doors to the alleged homicidal gas chamber...and this is something that doesn't happen by accident. For people like my mother and her family, Jews living in the U.S. during the forties, it's the Dachau gas chamber propaganda that they most clearly remember as their first exposure to the concept of homicidal gas chambers.
Unanswered Questions Regarding the Physical Evidence at the Majdanek Concentration Camp (Poland)
(27) Gas chamber 1 has two doors, both of which open INTO the gas chamber room. How can a homicidal gas chamber have two doors which open IN? Wouldn't the bodies be pressed up against the doors, as described numerous times by eyewitnesses?
(28) The main door into the gas chamber 1 has no locks. It can be opened from either the inside or the outside. There are no holes or fittings where a lock might have been. What stopped the inmates from opening this door?
(29) Gas chamber 1 has a plate glass window in it. There are no holes or fittings around the window where bars or any other kind of cover might once have been. Since the plaster around the window is covered with blue stains, we know that it is the plaster that existed during the time Zyklon B gas was used in this room. If there WERE bars or any other type of cover attached to this window, why are there no traces? What would have stopped the inmates from trying to climb out the window, or breaking the window and causing a gas leak?
(30) There is a room INSIDE gas chamber 1. Why would there be a separate room INSIDE a gas chamber? Doesn't this room indicate that gas chamber 1 was used for something OTHER than killing people?
(31) Gas chambers 2 and 3 are designed backwards. Chamber 2 has a Zyklon B induction hole in the ceiling, but no Zyklon B traces or blue stains. Chamber 3 has heavy, floor-to-ceiling Zyklon B traces and blue stains, but no Zyklon B induction hole. And, like the roof of Krema 2 at Auschwitz, the ceiling shows no sign of a hole having ever been there. Why would chamber 2 have a Zyklon B induction hole and no traces, and chamber 3 plenty of traces but no hole?
(32) The ceilings in chambers 2 and 4 are low enough so that the Zyklon B induction holes could have been blocked by the victims. What would have stopped the inmates from blocking the holes?
(33) The doors to chambers 2,3 and 4 are built to latch from the outside AND the inside. The latches can be opened from either side. Does this suggest that the rooms were used for something other than killing people?
(34) Getting back to the issue of hemispherical grids covering the peepholes, it is said that the point of these grids was to prevent the inmates from breaking the glass of the peepholes and causing a gas leak. Yet the hemispherical grids attached to the peepholes on the doors of chambers 2, 3 and 4 are attached on the OUTSIDE of the doors. These grids wouldn't prevent someone INSIDE the room from breaking the glass...but they WOULD prevent someone OUTSIDE the room from doing so. Why are the grids not on the inside? Does this contradict with the statements by Pressac and the eyewitnesses regarding the need for grids in a homicidal gas chamber?
(35) The Majdanek camp is built on a hill. At the top of the hill is the camp crematorium. At the opposite end of the camp, at the bottom of the hill, is the "Bath and Disinfection" complex, which houses the gas chambers. From the Nazi's point of view, what was the wisdom in putting the gas chambers at the opposite end of the camp from the ovens, and at the bottom of the hill (after each gassing, the dead bodies would have to have been dragged up the hill, the length of the entire camp, to the ovens)?
(36) As the Nazis were preparing to abandon the Majdanek camp, they destroyed the crematorium building. Why were the gas chambers not similarly destroyed? Why would the Nazis leave their weapons of mass murder intact for the world to see? How hard would it have been for the Nazis to destroy the gas chambers, just like they did the crematorium building? At least, shouldn't the Nazis have filled in the Zyklon B induction holes, which serve as direct proofs of homicidal gassings? Either way, the destruction of the crematorium is clear proof that the Nazis had both the time and the ability to demolish buildings in the camp if they wanted to. Why were the gas chambers not demolished?
(37) In his book "Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers", Jean-Claude Pressac publishes a photo of the Majdanek gas chambers, with the caption "Photograph taken at the Majdanek concentration camp in June 1979, showing one of the disinfestation gas chambers thought to be a homicidal gas chamber." On page 555, he also has this to say about the Majdanek gas chambers: "I am sorry to say, and I am not the only one in the West, that the Majdanek homicidal and/or delousing gas chambers are still waiting for a true historian, which is mildly upsetting in view of the fact that the camp fell into the hands of the Russians intact in 1944." Do these comments suggest that the gas chambers at Majdanek may in fact have been disinfestation gas chambers? At least, don't these comments suggest that there has not yet been a thorough investigation into the purpose of these rooms? **
(38) To sum up the Majdanek gas chamber issue: If we take Pressac's comments and then factor in the doors that don't lock, the doors that open INTO the gas chamber, the doors with latches that can be manipulated from both the outside AND the inside, the window in gas chamber 1, the room inside gas chamber 1, the lack of any Zyklon B induction hole in gas chamber 3, the lack of any Zyklon B traces in gas chamber 2 (which DOES have a "Zyklon B induction hole"), the heavy blue stains on the OUTSIDE of the building, and the location of the building, at the bottom of a hill, at the opposite end of the camp from the crematorium, is it reasonable to suggest that these rooms were delousing chambers?
In what can only be considered an unfortunate example of how major disputes between Holocaust historians are shielded from the public, the same room Pressac describes in his book as a "disinfestation gas chamber" is featured in the book "The World Must Know," the official book of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington D.C., written by Museum director Dr. Michael Berenbaum. In that book, Berenbaum describes the room as a HOMICIDAL gas chamber and, what's more, a CASTING of this room was made for display AT THE MUSEUM, as PROOF of the homicidal gas chambers! Thus, in both Berenbaum's book AND in the Museum itself, the ONLY material proof given of homicidal gassings is THIS ROOM, a room Pressac staunchly believes to be a disinfestation gas chamber (in fact, in his Auschwitz book, Pressac actually RIDICULES those who say that this Majdanek room is proof of homicidal gassings, and criticizes everyone from the man who prosecuted Faurisson in France to the Majdanek State Museum personnel for perpetuating a fraud).
But does anyone give a damn that the general public, all the millions, might be receiving fraudulent information? Some might suggest that disputes such as these should be kept private so as not to shake the public's confidence in Holocaust history, or in the Holocaust historians. But don't you think we have a RESPONSIBILITY not to knowingly feed the public falsehoods or unproven claims disguised as unquestioned facts? Don't you think we have a responsibility to be honest about our research? If not, what makes us any different from the "historians" of the Soviet Union, or Hitler's Germany, who knowingly tailored their research to produce a politically expedient conclusion? When the ends begin justifying the means, watch integrity go flying out the window.
As bad as the public misinformation about Majdanek is, the Stalin-esque purging of Pressac's "Auschwitz; Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers" from the official record is worse. This master-work of historiography, once loudly heralded in the press (see enclosed clippings), is NOW nowhere to be found when references to Pressac are made. A recent article in "Publishers Weekly," detailing a forthcoming U.S. Holocaust Museum book containing 29 original essays from Holocaust scholars including Berenbaum and Pressac, not only neglects to mention Pressac's gas chamber book, but seems to suggest that Pressac's conversion from revisionist to gas chamber believer came only recently, as he was researching his just-published "slim volume" about the Auschwitz crematorium. The entire period of the 1980's, which Pressac spent researching his gas chamber book after his "conversion", is omitted.
Yet scholars around the world continue to use Pressac's gas chamber book (if they're lucky enough to have one of the few copies), mainly because, even if one disagrees with Pressac's conclusions, his book is STILL the best (and the only) single source for the blueprints, construction slips, alteration plans, and inter-office communiques regarding the Auschwitz "gas chambers". Neither side in this debate agrees entirely with Pressac...but for the gas chamber supporters, his book is an embarrassment because it IS so thorough. It is the most thorough work yet produced about the gas chambers, yet Pressac cannot find that elusive objective proof of gassings. So now, apparently, the historians have just decided to pretend the book doesn't exist. I've always referred to the Pressac gas chamber book as the most popular book that never existed!
Four Unanswered Questions About Stutthof
When preparing the original 38 questions, I didn't bother with the tiny Stutthof "gas chamber" because so few people take it seriously anymore. Stutthof was the camp where the Nazis supposedly made the "human soap.". When the soap story was dropped, so was much of the testimony about the Stutthof "gas chamber." However, recently an NBC prime-time news show, "The Crusaders," decided to revive this rarely mentioned "homicidal gas chamber," producing a segment about Stutthof that played up the existence of an intact gas chamber at the camp. This segment of "The Crusaders" has now been adopted as part of California's public school Holocaust-education curriculum. Therefore, I thought a brief overview of, and a few questions about, the Stutthof "gas chamber" were in order
Brief Overview: The Stutthof concentration camp, located 35 km east of Gdansk, was designed for Polish civilians and designated as a "civilian internees camp." The Stutthof "gas chamber," a relatively small building (8 meters long, 3 meters wide, and 2.30 meters high) located next door to the camp crematorium (which was destroyed as the Nazis abandoned the camp, and has been rebuilt by the Poles) has walls soaked both inside and out with the tell-tale blue staining that comes from repeated Zyklon B usage. There is a stove and chimney outside, for heating the interior. Inside, a long clay heating conduit runs the length of one wall. This building was clearly a delousing gas chamber. The Zyklon granules would be placed on the heating conduit, and the stove would be fired up. The conduit would become hot, and the granules would release their gas. The two doors would then be opened for natural ventilation. This is an "old style" German Zyklon B delousing chamber, built before the more modern chambers, like the ones at Dachau, were designed (the newer, more energy efficient chambers came equipped with Zyklon evaporators, which would heat the granules on a kind of hot plate, and blow the gas onto the clothes, mattresses, etc. This was more energy efficient because it was a waste of fuel to heat an ENTIRE ROOM when it was only the ZYKLON GRANULES that needed to be warmed up. These Zyklon evaporators remain at Dachau today, in the delousing chambers of "Barrack X.").
The "evidence" of homicidal usage of the Stutthof gas chamber is a "Zyklon B induction hole" in the roof. We are told that the Zyklon would be poured in through the this hole on the heads of the unsuspecting victims. The roof of this chamber is accessible only via ladder.
Let's pause to read what Pressac has to say about Stutthof:
"It is not known when this gas chamber FOR DELOUSING PRISONERS' EFFECTS (emphasis his) was installed. Its dimensions are close to the standard dimensions of those erected by BOOS or DEGESCH...From 22nd June to the beginning of November 1944, it was used as a HOMICIDAL gas chamber for groups of about 100 people, Zyklon B being poured in through a small opening of 15 cm diameter in the roof, a system apparently introduced on the advice of SS Lieutenant Colonel Rudolf Hoess, former commandant of Auschwitz-Birkenau and at that time head of Department D1 of the WVHA-SS (SS Economic Administration Head Office). While the history of this gas chamber is known from TESTIMONIES reported by Father Krzysztof Dunin-Wasowicz, there has been no scientific examination of the "murder weapon" since 1945, which means that we do not know how the chamber functioned as a delousing installation and are unable to provide material proof of its criminal use.
(Pressac cont.) The number of victims is estimated at one or two thousand. The visit (to Stutthof) did not greatly impress us." (Pressac; "Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers" pages 539-540)
The Stutthof Museum personnel agree with Pressac's claim that this was FIRST AND FOREMOST a delousing chamber, used as such for years, only LATER "converted"into a homicidal one.
Now, let's ask some questions, picking up from where we left off in the "38 Questions"
(39) The Stutthof "gas chamber" has a large floor drain right in the middle of the room, DIRECTLY BELOW the "Zyklon B induction hole." Any granules dropped through this hole would automatically go right down the drain. What's more, the floor of this room is DEPRESSED in the middle, where the drain is, so that any water or, in this case, Zyklon granules, would automatically roll into the drain. what would stop the Zyklon granules from going down the drain, since they were being poured into the room directly over this drain? And, if a few granules missed the drain, wouldn't they simply roll, or couldn't the inmates brush them, down the drain?
(40) The roof of this room is low enough so that a tall person could reach up and block the "Zyklon B induction hole." However, the thoughtful Nazis, by installing the heating conduit that runs the length of on wall, have made it possible for ANYONE, of whatever height, to stand on this conduit and block the hole. What would stop the inmates from blocking the "Zyklon B induction hole," especially since they would be EXPECTING foul play (this room was the official Stutthof delousing chamber, known as such by all the inmates. No Stutthof inmate would expect to be given a "shower" in this room, and indeed the Stutthof Museum makes no claims about such a deception (neither do the eyewitnesses)?
(41) Why was this building - a clear "proof" of Nazi crimes, what with its " Zyklon B induction hole," - not DESTROYED as the Nazis evacuated the camp? Amazingly, the crematorium RIGHT NEXT DOOR was blown up, and, in fact, one side of the gas chamber building was actually HIT by shrapnel from the exploding crematorium. Yet the gas chamber was allowed to remain intact, even though, as reported by the Stutthof survivor interviewed on the "Crusaders" TV show, at the end of the war the Nazis were ordered to KILL EVERY INMATE at Stutthof, in order to erase any evidence of the gassings (by killing all the eyewitnesses). For some unknown reason, this order was never carried out, and the Stutthof inmates were evacuated west.
Why would the Nazis BLOW UP the crematorium, yet leave the "homicidal" gas chamber standing? Why would the Nazis decide to KILL EVERY INMATE in order to "cover up" their crimes, yet leave the PHYSICAL EVIDENCE of those crimes standing? Why wouldn't the Nazis AT LEAST cover up the "Zyklon B induction hole," which would serve as CLEAR AND INDISPUTABLE PROOF of homicidal usage (unless we dare to imagine that this hole was put in by the Soviets/Poles, as they ADMIT doing at the building the Nazis abandoned knowing it was soon to fall into Soviet hands. Considering the great pains that the Nazis went through to "cover up" the gassings elsewhere, how hard would it have been to dynamite THIS building along with the crematorium just a few yards away?
(42) Since personal testimony is all we have to go on regarding the homicidal usage of this chamber, and since much of this testimony also mentions the "human soap" - which has long been officially debunked - what evidence do we have that the testimony about the Stutthof homicidal gas chamber is any more reliable than the testimony about the human soap?
I could add one more question (but I won't), something about the fact that the Stutthof gas chamber is located in full view of all the inmates, inmates who were NOT destined for extermination, and not, to a great extent, Jewish. Strangely, the secrecy-obsessed Nazis also seemed obsessed with conducting their homicidal gassings in the most open, noticeable places possible...especially at the non-"extermination" camps (at Mauthausen, another non-extermination camp, the "gas chamber" is right in the middle of the inmate barracks), thus hoping, I suppose, to create tens or hundreds of thousands of "eyewitnesses" to something the Nazis would not even discuss privately in coded transmissions. Go figure.
The following four questions are based on personal meetings I had during my last trip to Europe in October of 1994. In Lublin, Poland, I met with Tomasz Kranz, Curator of the Majdanek State Museum. I spoke at length with Mr. Kranz, who has been Curator for ten years, in his office on the Majdanek concentration camp site, Two weeks later, in a suburb outside Paris, I met with Jean-Claude Pressac, the celebrated Holocaust author who has become perhaps the man most recognized with defending the gas chamber theory. I met with Mr. Pressac in his office, and got to spend roughly six hours discussing gas chambers, Holocaust history, the demands of publishing in the mainstream, and much more.
For the purpose of this list of questions, I have chosen four simple ones based on these meetings.
(43) Majdanek Curator Tomasz Kranz had to admit, after I raised the same questions I've raised in this list, that the biggest Majdanek "gas chamber," chamber #1, was not intended or used homicidally. Big revelation. With the doors, window, and everything else that precludes homicidal usage, this is a conclusion even a five year old child would come to. Although Kranz could offer no evidence for homicidal usage in the other three chambers, chamber #1 was the only one he was willing to completely jettison as a homicidal room. Pressac went further. He is only willing to even CONSIDER homicidal gassings in chamber #3. Of course, he has no evidence. What's more, he admits that the Soviets laid down fake "gas piping" in chamber #3 to give the room the appearance of a homicidal gas chamber. This is certainly in keeping with Soviet precedent regarding the mishandling and faking of important historical evidence. Pressac could offer no REAL evidence for gassings in this room. But my question is: Why does Curator Tomasz Kranz continue to allow this room to be represented to tourists and the world as a homicidal gas chamber, when he privately acknowledges it never was? If there is agreement that this room was never homicidally used, why continue to promote it as a death chamber? If the Majdanek Curator and Europe's most well known Holocaust author express such uncertainty about homicidal usage of this and the other rooms, why are people like me who ask basic questions like these labeled as anti-Semitic irrational cranks? If, as Pressac believes, rooms 1,2 and 4 were not homicidal gas chambers, what evidence is there that anyone was killed in room 3?
(44) At Auschwitz Birkenau, the rooms in Kremas 4 and 5 that are supposed to have been used as homicidal gas chambers all had drains in the floor that led right into the camp sewage system. These floor drains can still be seen today. Since, in these "gas chambers," it is said that the Zyklon pellets were dumped in loose, what stopped the pellets from going down the drain or being kicked or brushed down by the victims? Pressac was aware of this problem. He has tried to prove that the Zyklon pellets would present no problem. He has tried to prove that the Zyklon pellets would present no danger in the camp sewer, since the water would (in his opinion; this is a debatable point) "neutralize" the poison so it wouldn't present a danger when going through Birkenau's large sewage treatment plants. But Pressac misses the point; the question of just how harmful the Zyklon would be in the sewer is SECONDARY to the point that if the Zyklon is IN the sewer that means it's NOT in the gas chamber doing the job the Nazis intended! If the victims can dump the Zyklon into the sewer, that means they themselves won't be gassed. How could these rooms have functioned as homicidal gas chambers?
(45) There is a large square manhole in the floor of the Krema 1 "gas chamber" at the Auschwitz Main Camp. The manhole has a concrete cover with a metal handle. It is possible for anybody of normal or even below-normal strength to lift off the lid, and the manhole is large enough for anyone of any size to climb down. What would stop the victims from climbing down the manhole to either escape the gas chamber via the sewer OR at least escape the gas? And even if escape wasn't possible, what would stop the victims from kicking or brushing the Zyklon B pellets down the manhole and closing the cover? There is something I should mention here, since several times I've talked about the possibility of the victims brushing the pellets down floor drains of in this, the worst case yet, a manhole. Zyklon B can kill a human being quite effectively when its gas is INHALED. It kills through the lungs. It doesn't kill through the skin (unless it is in contact with the skin for a very long period of time and in a very high concentration). Therefore, the pellets could easily be handled by victims in a gas chamber without posing any threat to the victims via absorption through the skin. In fact, a Zyklon mixture was frequently brushed directly onto people's arms and legs during disinfestation procedures at Auschwitz, and Zyklon was also used in a liquid solution to bathe people in for delousing. As for the Zyklon pellets giving off their gas, it should be remembered that Zyklon B begins giving off gas when warmed. The hotter it is, the quicker the evaporation.
Yet Kremas 1 ( and 2 and 3) were not only UNHEATED but partially or completely UNDERGROUND! All three rooms were used or designed as morgues; they were MEANT to be cold all the time. It has never been explained just how the Zyklon was heated, especially in the freezing winter months. The best that the other side can do is say that the body temperatures of the victims warmed the rooms. But that would take time, and the "confession" of Auschwitz Commandant Hoess speaks of a very swift process - herd 'em in, drop down the gas, ventilate the room. No time mentioned to let the victims warm up the room. Zyklon pellets dropped down into a cold room, landing on the cold floor, would not only give off gas slowly, but would be safe to brush down a drain or manhole. What would stop the inmates from doing this? (For the record, there is a floor drain in the Krema 1 "gas chamber" AS WELL as a manhole...but with a manhole of that size, the drain becomes almost irrelevant!)
In 1992 I ran my manhole question past Dr. Franciszek Piper, Senior Curator of the Auschwitz State Museum, and he had no answer. When I ran it by Pressac, he thought I was trying to put one over on him; he didn't believe there WAS a manhole in Krema 1! I was floored that he had never seen it. We argued about this for some time until I had to go through his files and find a picture of Krema 1 and POINT OUT the damn manhole. Now HE was floored. "Over the last ten years I've been to Krema 1 more times than I can possibly count," he said (in French, of course), " and I've never noticed the manhole!"
"The next time you go, Jean-Claude," I responded, "you should look down!" "Ah, that is the problem David," he said. "You look down while I look up." Well, for the record, I look up too. My aim is to notice things, to take these gas chambers seriously; to walk into these rooms and ask three questions:
"How is this gas chamber supposed to have worked?" "What would have happened if it worked that way?," "What evidence is there that it did?"
The mainstream historians gloss over the difficult questions. They have nothing to gain by challenging their own beliefs. As a result, all too often they don't pay attention to the crucial details of their own stories. They come up with their conclusion first, and then they only pay attention to the evidence that supports that conclusion. They don't look at ALL the evidence.
As a result, the mainstream Holocaust historians have only had to explain the problems and discrepancies in their story (like the absence of Zyklon B traces) after revisionists have pointed out these problems. Mainstream Holocaust historians have never tried to explain problems with the gas chamber story willingly; they've always had to be prodded into doing so. (This, by the way, is not a situation unique to Holocaust history. The value of a society where dissent is allowed to exist is that often times it is the existence of two or more opposing sides to an issue that prompts and encourages the search for the truth; each side critiques the other side mercilessly and, therefore, the public is made aware of possible flaws in ALL sides. If a school of thought is insulated from criticism, as Holocaust history is in all the countries where questioning the gas chambers in an illegal and punishable offense, that school of thought can remain unchecked for errors).
As for the manhole, apparently the other side has not yet been able to rationalize its presence in as supposedly homicidal gas chamber. I welcome their attempts. Maybe there's something I'M missing. It doesn't matter to me if one proceeds with the hypothesis that there were homicidal gas chambers, or with the hypothesis that there weren't. As long as we search in good faith for the facts. The only crime is to wish away the difficult questions, pretending they don't exist and slandering the people who do nothing more than ask them.
(46) Another thing I learned from Pressac is that he believes that the Krema 1 "gas chamber" had THREE "Zyklon B induction holes," running in a straight line in the ceiling. But the Auschwitz State Museum believes that there were FOUR holes, running in two lines of two holes. When the Poles and Soviets put holes in the Krema 1 roof after liberation, this is the version they installed; four holes in two lines. This is the version that can be seen today in Krema 1. But Pressac says they're wrong; it was THREE holes in a straight line. Who's right? Were there three holes or four? And how do we know that there were ever ANY holes? There are no holes present in any of the aerial photos, and there were no holes when the Soviets liberated the camp.
The important question is; HOW can such a debate (three holes or four?) among major Holocaust scholars exist in the first place? It is only because hard evidence for gassings at Auschwitz is so lacking that something like this can still be an issue fifty years later. Whatever the evidence for gassings at Krema 1, it is apparently not good ENOUGH evidence to provide a description of the gas chamber that all scholars can agree on. Now, it would be one thing if we had tons of SUPPLEMENTARY evidence (i.e. Zyklon B traces in the walls that were heavier than all the other rooms, evidence of people entering the building en masse and never coming out, a special ventilation system and heating equipment, or German coded transmissions or documents talking about gassings, etc.); then we could at least say "Well, we know there were gassings, we're just not sure about the design of the gas chamber." But there is no supplementary evidence. We have no description of the Krema 1 murder weapon, but we ALSO have no evidence of any murders in Krema 1. Even the best prosecutor in the world would be hard pressed to get a conviction were this case to be tried in any standard American court.
All that we have are testimonies. And just a few. Yet Pressac spends much of his gas chamber book demolishing these testimonies as false. We have the testimony of camp Commandant Hoess, the man who SHOULD have been able to provide us with the best description of the Krema 1 gas chamber, but Pressac, Hilberg, Lipstadt, Chris Browning, and most other Holocaust scholars dismiss his account as unreliable, fabricated, or just plain false. So what's left? Pressac searches in vain for ANY hard evidence to reproduce in his chapter on Kremas 1, and ends up with nothing. As a result, this chapter is perhaps the most awkward in Pressac's book. Pressac begins the chapter by affirming his belief in homicidal gassings in this room, but then goes on to offer no evidence, and what's more he doubts the credibility of the testimonies, which are the only evidence he offers. One is left saying "Jean-Claude Pressac believes in Homicidal gassings in Krema 1...I'm just not sure why."
What I try to do is look at the evidence that calls gassings into question (the manhole, the floor drain, the lack of Zyklon B traces, the absence of documentary evidence, the lack of evidence in the aerial photos, the lack of ventilation, the fact that the room is extremely cold, etc. etc.) and weigh that against any evidence FOR gassings (a few testimonies which the experts themselves doubt). You can see how a debate over the design of this "gas chamber" can still be raging among mainstream historians; it is because of the lack of evidence.
And it is therefore legitimate to ask, "If you don't know whether there were three or four holes, how do you know that there were ANY holes?"