Posted Tuesday, March 12, 2002

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 Hands up, all those who even knew that this video footage existed! Not very many, I will wager.





March 12, 2002 (Tuesday)
Key West


I AM stuck here for a few more days, sorting out the commercial problems caused by the paperwork requirements of the new Patriot Act. To get a cellphone, it turns out that I need a local ID: wow, that will definitely stop al-Qaeda! I cycle round to the local ID office on South Roosevelt Boulevard. The clerk looks at my I-94, and points out there are only 30 days left on it and they need 31, as the paperwork has to go up to Tallahassee. . . Heigh-ho.


FOLLOWING in the tracks of The Washington Post -- which since the editorial reign of Katherine Graham has contracted something of a blind spot on all matters Israeli and Palestinian -- the New York Post has now also published a studious attempt to downplay the stories about the huge Israeli spy ring wound up by the FBI over the last few months. I have no idea about the politics of the Post, other than that they were the most vociferous in 1996 in demanding that St Martin's Press not publish my Goebbels biography (and they were the first to reveal a few days later that Steve Wasserman at Random House had taken up the project: forcing Steve, regretfully, to ditch it too).

Although we are informed that the author of the Post's piece, Mr. Daniel Pipes, is Jewish this does not of itself disqualify his views on the Middle East, or on the events of September 11. There may be something in what he says, or there may not. At very least, the articles that he refers to, and his own response, are evidence of a stunning general lack of belief in the pronouncements of the US Government authorities.

There are obviously grounds for continuing disbelief, as other Jewish authors also now register: Michelle Malkin listed six of them in her article yesterday. Each fresh revelation causes me too more puzzlement: while I cannot accept the conspiracy theories surrounding the attack on the Pentagon -- some even go so far as to suggest that no plane was involved -- I can only marvel at the bumbling of the Pentagon official who two days ago finally released three spectacular surveillance-camera photos of the resulting fireball blasting out of the West Wing, taken at about half-second intervals, but no shot of the airliner actually impacting.


THE pecuniary interest that some people have in exploiting the tragedy is now coming, ever so delicately, to the fore. Two nights ago I sat, like millions of others, entranced by the two-hour CBS television special on the World Trade Center collapse: the programme was founded on the video material produced by two French brothers, Jules and Gedeon Naudet, film producers who had been following the life of one New York Fire Department rookie (or "probie"). For the first time we found ourselves watching hours of video footage filmed actually inside the Twin Towers as the planes hit and listening to the soundtrack as the bodies started thudding into the pavement around.

According to Film News Now, September 17, 2001 (six days after the event), "Having been alerted by the ladder company, two FBI agents were waiting at the brothers' home Tuesday night. The FBI confiscated the five hours of priceless video footage, permitting Jules to make a dupe of the moment of impact. That crucial scene was confided to the Gamma photo agency, which distributed it to TV stations and print media worldwide for dissemination on the day after the disaster. "

Hands up, all those who even knew that this video footage existed! Outside the industry, not very many, I will wager.

But here those shots were -- the last moments of brave Father Judd, the bafflement and paralysis of the fire commanders, the sheer terror of it all brilliantly displayed. And there was the human angle: Jules did not know if brother Gideon had survived, and vice versa. Toward the end of the production, we saw their tearful embrace as they found each other again -- and then, I confess, a hardened cynicism set in: hey, who filmed that fire-station embrace? It wasn't Jules, and it wasn't Gideon. So they had re-enacted it for the camera.

Come to that, why had none of this extraordinary footage been released for six months; not even a whisper of its existence came to the public ear. Surely these two brothers can't have been holding out for the best price they could get on their footage? I would like to hear that they have donated their windfall proceeds to the Firemen's Scholarship Fund.

Of their individual heroism there is no doubt whatever but, as I wrote on this website, already on the very first night, as Jules' extraordinary chance 8:56 a.m. shot of the 757 smacking into the first Tower was released at midnight, why had he held onto that shot all day? Even in the midst of tragedy, it seems, market forces must prevail.


AN UNNECESSARILY smug postscript: I am the only person possessing colour photographs of the aftermath of the 1945 British air raid on Dresden. The colour transparencies were given to me in 1961 by Dresden-survivor Walter Hahn, who was issued with a special pass by the gauleiter on February 25, 1945 to penetrate the army and police cordons and film the hellish scene as the thousands of victims were cremated in the Altmarkt square on makeshift funeral pyres of five hundred civilians at a time. (Rather more than the WTC's three thousand died in that inferno: about thirty times that number, I still aver).

On the morning after he died, the communist People's Police sealed off his street in Dresden and raided his house, seizing all his photos; that they never found the colour pictures remains a mystery to me.

A few weeks ago, I donated my set of the colour photos to the Dresden city archives, with instructions that all resulting fees earned by the photos be paid to the fund for the reconstruction of the city's cathedral, the Frauenkirche. Being banned myself from Germany, it is unlikely I shall ever see it.

Hitler's War

THIS morning our printers have informed us that the new edition of Hitler's War is ready for delivery. Fortunately, the books are the property of Parforce UK Ltd, so the enemy cannot seize them and grind them into dust. Not even the New York Post can see to that.

We need another ten thousand pounds for Parforce to settle the bill for this printing, and I shall post an offer on our front page inviting one of our supporters to make a one-year loan of this amount. "Keep it in the family," my parents used to say! We offer the best rates around (ten per cent on this particular loan), and it would be a pity if the wrong people should benefit.

[Previous Radical's Diary]

Relevant items on this website:

Vast Israeli Spy Network Dismantled in the US
The New York Post: A Spy Myth is Born

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