ignominious war in Iraq is destroying his
country's economy, and the Americans don't
see it, as they are living inside one big
Bubble. He is just printing dollars. War
on the never-never. War by
20, 2004 (Sunday)
(NJ) -- Baltimore (Maryland, USA)
WAKENED at hotel in New Jersey
at three a.m. or so by wedding guests talking
loudly for an hour next to the pool outside my
I set out at ten a.m. for Baltimore;
Benté phones during the drive down the
Turnpike -- Michael has managed to fix a phone line
to work in the next flat. I say I will try to get
cash to her on Monday or Tuesday to meet the huge
Visa card bill that is due on the 23rd -- air
ticket to New Zealand etc.
There is a horrendous traffic jam just after the
Delaware Memorial Bridge, and it takes 45 minutes
to move through five miles to the toll plaza. I
comment on this to the post-menopausal woman in the
booth, saying, "forty-five minutes to pay two
bucks!"; she snarls "assh*le" at me, before I can
move on, chastened. On the other side of I-95, I
see another inexplicable jam of four lanes of
traffic backed up for ten or fifteen miles, caused
so far as I could see by a lone car broken down in
the slow lane, with a man standing next to it
importantly holding up everybody up! Welcome to
Sunday, have a nice America.
Arrive in Baltimore at two p.m. Glenn, my host,
a young lawyer, is there with his good looking
young Serbian wife. They have two sons and a
daughter. Their house is built in an English-style
"sub-division" as they call it here, on a wooded
hillside. How well people live here in the USA.
What a paradise. She has prepared a very tasty
buffet of delicacies, and I scoff some. Ten or
fifteen guests turn up and I speak to them in his
drawing room; it makes a very nice ambience, and I
must do it again. My after dinner talk is now at
its peak, I think, and I hold them for around 80
minutes. Book sales phenomenal. I persuade 14 year
old daughter to take pictures, and they seem
I drive down to Washington DC, after phoning my
host for the week, Ned, to alert him to my coming.
The Beltway is clogged with roadworks at night (it
is already 9:30 p.m., and it takes an hour to
Ned is a film buff, -- at once point he unreels
from his memory the half-dozen lines from My
Fair Lady about women being "... infuriating
bags". I ask him about the precise Humphrey Bogart
quote from Casablanca, about "of all the
places. . .", as I use it in my talk,
about how Nick Berg -- allegedly -- ran into
that friend of Zacharia Moussaoui in a bus
across the Oklahoma desert and let him use his
laptop. He gives it to me off the top of his head
-- he has it on video and DVD, he explains.
21, 2004 (Monday)
Up at 8 a.m. after a good, good sleep. I dream I
have reached the opening of our Cincinnati
conference and just realized I have invited no
speakers. How to fudge round that! (Usual kind of
performance-anxiety dream.) In fact we have some
good names lined up already, including one expert
who will deliver an appraisal of the controversial
Willis Carto in the revisionist-history
cause. Today will be a fixed-location day, catching
up on rest and paperwork until the dinner function
this evening. . . Under the door Ned has
pushed a slip of paper. "Of all the gin joints in
all the towns, in all the world, she walks into
mine." Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) after
Ilsa László (Ingrid Bergman)
comes into Rick's in Casablanca.
I am now about 3,000 miles out from Chicago,
according to the car's meter, and I am still only
one third of the way round the circuit.
Long call from Benté to 9:28 a.m. The
Visa account has come, it is nearly £4,000, as
anticipated. Touch and go, but we should just make
it. Then we are in the clear for months.
Whole afternoon in downtown Washington is taken
up with finding a means of transferring money to
London fast. I have $5,000 to send after the
Canadian currency is converted. Western Union want
a $215 fee but will transfer the cash only if it is
collected as pounds in the UK at a criminal rate of
exchange, roughly 2:1; I cancel the deal. Travelex
much the same. Finally I stuff the cash into a
FedEx envelope and hope it gets there safe on
Wednesday. Use up all my cash, down to less than a
hundred bucks. Off then to Pennsylvania Avenue,
tonight's location. Nice set up, helpful staff, but
a very surly Greek manager who becomes downright
hostile as the evening wears on and tries to weasel
P., the host, out of hundreds of dollars.
Restaurant hostess is a goodlooking Heather
Liebermann, 21, very intelligent but sensitive;
she is an "intern" (i.e., an unpaid gopher in the
Capitol building across the street) during the day,
and she becomes very antsy after somebody tells her
I am anti-semitic, etc. I am resigned but
indignant. Deborah Lipstadt and her gang
have a lot to answer for.
22, 2004 (Tuesday)
UP at 8 a.m. Benté phones with details of
the move. The Iraqi apartment owner is allowing us
to instal our comfortable twelve-year old sofas in
the new apartment she has leased and he will remove
their tatty uncomfortable ones. More praise for
Michael, father of one of Jessica's friends, who
spoke Arabic to owner's workers. Says I should have
paid the cash into a US bank yesterday and she
would have written a cheque in London. True, I
should have done that. Just too exhausted sometimes
to think straight.
The morning starts with forty-eight messages on
AOL already. Many of them are spam, including an
irritating number of messages "forwarded" from
Germans, evidently a new kind of spam. I write to
P., who organised last night's big Washington DC
dinner: "Thanks for all your help, Peter; it was a
great evening. Do you have phone number or address
for Anne R., whose credit card failed, we
took down an invalid number."
Key West agent emails: "Thankyou for update as
to your time of arrival and departure. That gives
me ability to rent over 4th of July (remember, when
England so graciously consented to grant us our
THEN there is an unexpected email.
It is from my London attorney, Paul
Morrison, who reports that Deborah Lipstadt
wants to throw in the towel. Her law firm Mishcon
de Reya has written to plead that she now wishes to
withdraw her cross-application -- she
to the High Court in London in December for all my
possessions to be handed over to her, under the
"loser pays all" rule.
We have had several days in Court already
hearing her frivolous claim, which in our view had
little merit, as the Jewish press had boasted that
all her costs had been
paid by Stephen Spielberg, Edgar
Bronfman and others, who were not parties to
the libel action, i.e. they were "intermeddlers",
as the English law so quaintly terms such people.
Her friends are now in consequence about Six
Million dollars out of pocket. ("Six Million?" they
once spluttered. "A gross exaggeration.")
He asks if I have any objection to Ms Lipstadt
being removed from the proceedings? No indeed, but
the contentious issue is, as he says, whether
Lipstadt should be liable for the gratuitous legal
and other costs inflicted on me consequent upon her
intervention. "How say you?"
"Yes, we must ask for reasonable costs.
By her intervention she has caused serious legal
costs to be inflicted on me, and my financial
circumstances should be evident to the Court. Up
to that point as you know I was acting in
person, but thereafter, after her application
was made in December, I felt I had to engage
Counsel and your goodself.
In addition, she has caused the hearing of my
application against the Trustee [for the
return of all my illegally seized possessions
and archives] to be delayed by up to six
months, with a consequent further injury to me
by depriving me of the relief I sought in that
application (return of archives and library and
tools of trade) by even longer.
"We always regarded her intervention is
frivolous. We should of course keep mum about
how useful her application has been by virtue of
obtaining sight of her and Trustee's consequent
exhibits, including Trustee's correspondence
with Mishcon de Reya. I assume that if they
withdraw their statements, we can still rely on
its exhibits. She has a literary income in
England, and if we are granted a costs Order, we
can garnishee that (Irving vs. Penguin Books
Ltd: it has a familiar ring).
"I am currently in Washington, and shall not
reach a fax machine until I get to Key West.
Five thousand miles to drive of the circuit, via
Chicago, between then and now. Needless to say
this is a satisfactory outcome, and I
The legal battle against the government's
Trustee will of course continue with added
I would expect the Trustee now to settle my
claim double quick; but will they agree to pay
meaningful compensation without a Court battle? --
I doubt it.
I write that as an addendum to Paul, then add:
"The Trustee believed that I was demanding
compensation only to gain leverage; I was not."
All day doing paperwork. No packaging done,
which may cause problems in the Florida tour; and
not much cash in hand for mailing things out.
I doze from 5 to 6. Ned invites me to dinner. I
scoff a 22-ounce steak, "My compliments to Mr
Porterhouse," I tell the Bolivian waitress.
23, 2004 (Wednesday)
BENTE phones with a list of little moans. The US
dollar is right down, at £516 for $1,000. That
is absurd. George Bush's ignominious war in
Iraq is destroying his country's economy, and the
Americans don't see it, as they are living inside
one Big Bubble. He is just printing dollars and
devaluing as he goes along. War on the never-never.
War by credit-card. That will make problems with
the $5,000 which I sent her. Sofas, phone lines,
DSL line, etc. The old 499 phone line -- which I
have had for thirty-six years -- is now connected
up in the new apartment, but nothing else.
killed Nick Berg?