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Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A tornado warning is a flat, gray tone, nothing like the rising and falling London Blitz sirens of 1940, but still frightening enough.

Irving tour

Above: Our truck carries us through Houston, Texas, to the next talk location in Dallas

click for origin[Previous Radical's Diary]


June 26, 2008 (Wednesday)
Oklahoma City (Oklahoma)

SEVERAL people phone during the day, is the Wichita function going ahead? I have to say no, L. let us down by not finding a location in time.

June 27, 2008 (Thursday)
Oklahoma City (Oklahoma) - Wichita (Kansas) - Omaha (Nebraska)

WE set out at 8:20 am and I drive all day the 550 miles to Omaha, Nebraska. A violent thunder storm (left and below) as we cross into Nebraska from Kansas. Gabriela's injured foot prevents her from driving. I speak in the evening, at six pm at the V.'s restaurant after the dinner.


June 26, 2008 (Friday)
Omaha (Nebraska)

I READ proofs of Banged Up all morning. I email to Sharon S. back in central Texas: "So what happened? I have now driven on from Dallas to OKC and now Omaha, and I am heading further east. I phoned around 10:30 pm and again at half hour intervals and you did not reply, when I was at Arlington [Texas]. If you had given me an address over the weeks and months of our e-correspondence earlier, I could have driven over; but you did not. I cannot make any meaningful progress like this." - All this is re the Gutierrez mystery. [Her late father nailed down Gutierrez on the location of the Eva Braun diaries and Eva's correspondence with Adolf Hitler].

W., who earlier offered to set up the Washington DC meeting, now recants:

Unfortunately, we do not have the ability at this point to set up a physical meeting for you here in Washington, but I think I have a better solution. We would set up a live video stream of you speaking here in Washington... [etc].

I suspect the California meeting has put his nose out of joint. I reply simply, "Wholly unacceptable."

At 4 pm I go to a McDonald's in Omaha, and work online for the permitted free hour. As I return to our hosts I look behind me and see another huge storm-cloud. Scarcely am I back in the house when sirens begin wailing across the sprawling city, a tornado warning: the tone is a flat, gray tone, nothing like the rising and falling London Blitz sirens of 1940, but still frightening enough.

I have gone upstairs for a snooze, but after only fifteen minutes, as the sirens' wailing continues, I hear a high wind and Mrs Jacobs comes running upstairs, calling for me insistently to come down into cellar. I am reluctant, of course, but she tugs at my elbow like a schoolmarm. The lights have all gone out, and the sky outside is black from horizon to horizon as the storm passes right over the city.

A colossal wind is raging as I lever myself down the stairs; it is already bending the trees, and I can see bushes, whole bushes, tumbling down the street. The sirens are lost in the howl of the wind and a tuneless rushing noise begins. A violent rainstorm lashes the city, and hailstones like golfballs pelt the streets of this leafy, up-market (only one Black: an accountant) neighborhood - much worse than the hail that hit the car yesterday on the drive up here. The sky grows slowly lighter, but the downpour continues for some minutes, the rain flowing in rivers down the hilly streets.

Mrs Jacobs ventures out in her dark Muslim dishdash, after the rainstorm subsides, to see the damage. Trees are down all along the street - including one in the middle of the next house's garden, its ten-inch thick trunk snapped in two like a matchstick.

The neighbours form in clusters to point and gossip, like after the Blitz in the East End. A tree has come down on the roof of the house two doors down, and already the hum of a chainsaw reports that the neighbours are clearing the damage. For hours they sweep, and haul, and chop, and cut.

A perfect calm returns, but across the city I can hear the blare and sirens of fire engines. The battery-operated radio asks people to keep off the streets, as downed 15,000-volt power lines festoon the sidewalks. One hundred and twenty thousand homes are without power.

Two young people have been killed by a tree crushing their car in Council Bluffs, the - to an English ear rather oddly named - twin city of Omaha across the Missouri. The newscaster says the winds across the city reached a sustained ninety miles an hour, and I can believe it. Some of the Jacobs' trees have lost heavy branches, ten or twenty feet long, but our white Avis rental truck is standing unscathed amidst the damage, covered with leaves blown flat onto it by the tornado, like some of Jessica's stick-ons as a child. Unfortunately Gabriela has opened every window two or three inches against yesterday's heat, so now we shall have to cope with today's, uh, damp.

I chat with the Jacobs until midnight, and eventually the lights come back on.


June 28, 2008 (Saturday)
Omaha (Nebraska)- Waterloo (Iowa) - Dubuque

I draft emails to organisers in New Jersey ... and Washington DC.

Set out for Waterloo around midday. Gabriela my P.A. is in a stiff mood, her leg hurting. Things do not get better as we pull into Waterloo after the 300-mile drive. The location turns out to be a large Beck's beerhall going down about sixty feet underground; a flight of steps (no elevator) leads to the basement floor, one area of which has been set with a long table for my guests. A hundred customers shout and sing. Any idea of privacy or actually talking to my guests is impossible. I am furious with K., who has done this. I guess, correctly, that this is his own favourite local joint. I decide to cancel the evening, and sit in the car until 7 pm listening to A Prairie Home Companion.

Gabriela texts me that guests have arrived, and at 7 pm the table is indeed full. They eat and drink but I apologize there will be no talk. A tall thin, quiet-spoken man volunteers to find a location in Mabel's Lanes, a bowling alley two blocks away; another man, the town manager of Denver, thirteen miles away, offers his function room.

We move at 8 pm to the bowling alley, a private room, and disturbed only mildly by the clack and rumble of the bowling lanes I speak to the surviving guests, who walk away with only a few books (G. having decided defiantly to turn up in sweat-shirt, slacks, and general sartorial disarray).

We set off on the highway to Chicago around 11 pm. Every hotel from Waterloo onwards is full, as the Iowans have lost their homes in terrible floods. We inquire of the SatNav system and check on "local hotels", getting further and further afield in the darkness, visiting remote but pretty little Wisconsin riverside towns like Guttenberg on the way.

A resort hotel 26 miles away, the Eagles Crest, says by phone that they have one cabin left, and we book that; the truck's SatNav leads us a wild song-and-dance through the darkened and blustery Wisconsin countryside to the very banks of the Mississippi, which is flowing only a few inches below the brim.

The road changes several times to an unmetalled farmyard track, and as it turns along the river edge the surface becomes very wet indeed and the heavy vehicle sinks suddenly up to its axles in a brown, gritty morass of stinking Mississippi Silt. Standing on the running board so as not to sink into the morass, I pee out of the vehicle, which does not help the liquidity problem.

Unease fills the now motionless vehicle; as the wheels spin I can feel it settling downward, and it sits onto its bottom panel, floating on top of the mud; visions of expensive tow trucks, coming only at dawn, float past; and then of us, floating off down the Mississippi before then. The river is slowly rising just a few feet away. For the first time I turn on the 4x4 switch, first to 4L, and then to 4H. I gun the engine back and forth, as I learned on countless construction sites as a youth, driving concrete dump trucks; the car rocks to and fro and suddenly slides and slithers backwards under its own power out of the pond.

The GPS system still instructs us to go forwards, the treacherous arrows blithely meandering right out across the blue of the river and along its center; we disobey and lurch heavily back. A miraculous escape.

With the wheels heavily out of balance, either with their balance weights torn off by the glutinous morass or by heavy chunks of mud clinging inside the rims, we run south down Route 52. Eventually we haul into Dubuque at 3 a.m. where we find a Holiday Inn with a room left.


June 29, 2008 (Sunday)
Dubuque (Iowa)

TODAY, thank goodness, a quiet Sunday with no functions, but a mound of paperwork for the coming weeks. The truck looks a sorry sight, with inches of silt caked on its running boards and rear.


June 30, 2008 (Monday)
Dubuque (Iowa) - Chicago (Illinois)

INTERESTING letter from a Latvian, Ivars Kraulis, about the General Bruns testimony. I shall post it later this week. The Eugene Register-Guard [] has printed this letter:

On June 20, The Register-Guard printed a letter from Bob Bussel criticizing the newspaper's "bland" coverage of the presentation of Holocaust denier David Irving.
However, the situation was even worse than Bussel realized, for Irving's horrifying talk made clear he is no longer simply a Holocaust denier but rather something even uglier, a Holocaust apologist or sympathizer.
Our normally reliable newspaper missed the point on this one, for while it correctly noted that Irving "generally avoided using the word Holocaust" and "instead he called the mass killings during World War II 'the great Jewish tragedy,'_" the story left out the punch line.
Irving explained that he meant the tragedy was not that all those Jews were killed, but rather that "Jews never asked themselves why they were killed ... why they are hated so." This claim that Jews were responsible for their own death is the most reprehensible statement I have ever heard from a public platform in the United States and deserves complete condemnation.
The Nazis killed millions of Jews, Poles, Russians and Roma (Gypsies) because they were brutal, racist thugs. It's unfortunate that at a time when reasonable people are raising serious questions about such issues as the Jewish lobby in America and Israel's endless expansion into Palestinian land, the Pacifica Forum chooses to immerse its intellectual arguments in the most foul, bigoted anti-Semitism.
To rephrase Voltaire, "Though I loathe what you say, I will defend your right to a university room in which to say it."
Douglas Card

"Reprehensible"- that's a long word for such a shallow brain.

WHERE IS DAVID IRVING SPEAKING IN THE USA? Apply for details. Register at the door, or cheaper online [link]. A NEW LIST OF CITIES HAS NOW BEEN POSTED

July 1, 2008 (Tuesday)
Dubuque (Iowa) - Chicago (Illinois)

Sikorski's planeAWAKE much of the night worrying about air tickets. The Daily Telegraph (London) at last asks: DID BRITISH DOUBLE AGENT KIM PHILBY MURDER POLISH WAR HERO GENERAL SIKORSKI? - and guess whose 1967 book first opening this case is not mentioned; I post the link with the photo of the British Liberator aircraft in which Sikorski, his entire staff and daughter perished, lying wheels-upwards on the seabed off Gibraltar in July 1943 (an exclusive picture from my Accident, The Death of General Sikorski (London 1967).

Gabriela, at first subdued, is this morning very efficient and bustling. We complete the Ohio (Columbus) mail out. Several people call about this evening's talk.

At the local post office, we post the Ohio letters, then drive on to a mall in Niles for her final pre-Peru shopping. I sit in Barnes & Noble, reading a New York Times over coffee; as I reverse in the parking lot, a scrawny, ugly, middle-aged woman screeches that I have damaged a car behind me - I did feel a very slight bump, but the car is a dirty white clunker with its rear fender already badly splintered in parts, nothing I have done.

We set out to Irving Park Road at five for the night's meeting; the boulevard extends westwards from Chicago's Lakeshore all the way inland for many miles. Shortly my mobile phone rings - a police officer at Niles - who threatens me with arrest for "leaving the scene of an accident" if I do not return at once to them. It will be a 25-mile round trip. Hey ho.

I have to pull off the Interstate to take his call. A cop car pulls up behind us on the shoulder, and we lose another ten minutes as the officer checks license, passport etc., and waves us on in a friendly way. At Niles I sign a yellow police form, and finally get to the Edelweiss restaurant at 7:02 pm - the many people assembled to hear me rising to their feet and applauding as I walk in, coffee-stained and disheveled.

Gabriela has already set up the book table, and shortly vanishes to reappear looking the most fetching yet, wearing a thin, chiffonous, purple and mauve dress and high heels. Book sales zoom.

Personal assistant Gabriela is a former Peruvian beauty queen, who has just completed a degree in marketing.

Below: I address some of my dinner guests in Chicago.

Something odd about today, I decide: I feel like the guy on whose back pranksters have pinned a notice reading KICK ME PLEASE, and wonders why it's happening.

Bill Rasmussen has come over from Michigan, bringing N. from Virginia, the purchaser of his Heydrich collection...


July 2, 2008 (Wednesday)
Chicago (Illinois)

AT FIVE a.m. I have to drive G. to O'Hare airport as she returns to Peru [... She rejoins the tour at Niagara Falls on July 12.] The drive to the airport is a swift smooth plunge down the I-90 and back. Life on the road, it is so difficult.

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