January 12, 2008

IQ-Race Crimethink Alert! Francis Crick, James Watson's DNA partner, also guilty

Besides Everest-conquerors Edmund Hillary and Tensing Norgay, another famous pair of names forever linked with the year 1953 are the discoverers of the structure of DNA, James Watson and Francis Crick. The Englishman Crick is usually considered the greater theoretical genius of the two, although Watson, before his recent firing for political incorrectness on the race-IQ issue, displayed an amazing knack for getting people to get important things done, despite (or perhaps because of) his irascible personality.

Watson has, of course, been in the news lately, getting dumped from his post as chancellor of the Cold Springs Harbor Laboratory. Now, a reader has pointed out to me that Watson's elder partner, Crick (1916-2004), was also guilty of holding the same views on race and IQ.

Some of the Francis Crick Papers are now online, and they are certainly illuminating. For example, during the controversy in 1969-1971 over IQ and race launched by Arthur Jensen's 1969 Harvard Education Review article and William Shockley's call for financial incentives and penalties to encourage higher IQ reproduction, Crick, a strong supporter of Jensen, threatened to resign as a Foreign Associate of the American National Academy of Sciences if steps were taken to "suppress reputable scientific research for political reasons."

In contrast, in 2007 almost nobody stood up for James Watson.

Really, isn't it about time that we dig up the bones of Crick and fire him? How can we live with ourselves knowing that there are thought criminals who escaped their just rewards by the trick of dying before we could properly humiliate them? Judging from these letters, it sounds like several other greats, such as Ernst Mayr and C.P. Snow, deserve posthumous show trials and exemplary punishment too. I'm sure there are others...

By the way, Francis Crick was, according to Nobel Laureate Peter Medawar, named after Darwin's cousin Sir Francis Galton, inventor of regression analysis and coiner of the term "eugenics." It is striking how many of the great biologists of the 20th Century, such as Crick, Ronald A. Fisher, and William D. Hamilton were part of the Galtonian tradition. Galton is constantly denounced these days as a pseudo-scientist, yet many of the great subsequent discoveries in genetics and statistics were made by Galton's enthusiasts.

Here are some letters from and to Francis Crick. The first exchange, in 1971, concerns an earlier letter signed by biochemist John T. Edsall, evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr, and five other members of the American National Academy of Sciences responding negatively to Shockley's call for research into the origins of average IQ differences among the races.

Crick replied to Edsall:

22 February 1971

Dr. John T, Edsall
Fogarty International Center
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland 2 0014

Dear John,

I have been very distressed to see the letter to the President of the National Academy by you and six other Academy members regarding a Proposal by Dr. [William] Shockley [Nobel laureate in physics]. Like you I have not published anything on the population problem, but f have become fairly familiar with the literature of the subject. I have also talked to Dr, Jensen when he visited the Salk Institute recently.

Unlike you and your colleagues I have formed the opinion that there is much substance to [Berkeley psychologist Arthur] Jensen’s arguments. In brief I think it likely that more than half the difference between the average I.Q. of American whites and Negroes is due to genetic reasons, and will not be eliminated by any foreseeable change in the environment. Moreover I think the social consequences of this are likely to be rather serious unless steps are taken to recognize the situation.

While any present conclusions are tentative, it seems likely that the matter could be largely resolved if further research were carried out. I should thus like to know two things. Would you and your colleagues please state in detail why they think the arguments put forward by Jensen are either incorrect or misleading. Secondly, would they please indicate what research they think should be done to establish to what extent "intelligence" is inherited. This is surely the important point, and is equally valid for a country without a racially mixed population.

The most distressing feature of your letter is that it neither gives nor refers to any scientific arguments, but makes unsupported statements of opinion, This, I need hardly remind you, is politics, not science. The voice of established authority, unsupported by evidence or argument, should have no place in science, and I am surprised to find that you, of all people, should put your name to a letter of this character written to the Academy on a matter of scientific research. I am cure you will realize that if the Academy were to take active steps to suppress reputable scientific research for political reasons it would not be possible for me to remain a Foreign Associate.

I hope you will forgive me writing so frankly, but we have known each other now for a long time, and I have a great respect for your opinion on matters such as this. I am not, for the moment, sending a copy of this letter to anyone else.

Finally I should comment on the last paragraph in your letter. I cannot answer for Shockley, but I know that both Jensen and I would agree with you on that point. But this has no bearing on how intelligent, on the average, people’s children are likely to be.

I leave here tomorrow, and expect to be back in Cambridge on 1st March.

Yours sincerely,

F. H. C. Crick

FHCC :11

Edsall answered with a quite conciliatory letter, to which Crick replied:

29th March, 1971

Dr. John T. Edsall
Fogarty International Center
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Md. 20014

Dear John

I was very pleased to receive your letter of March 5, especially as it strikes a rather different note from your letter to the Academy. I agree with you that [Nobel physics laureate William] Shockley arouses a maximum of antagonism, but this I think is due to his manner rather than his matter. In fact, [Berkeley psychologist Arthur] Jensen pointed out to me that while he and Shockley say much the same thing, Shockley always manages to upset people!

I agree with you about Jensen’s paper, I’m afraid none of us is immune from bias on this subject, but his seems quite small. I do not agree with you about [Harvard geneticist Richard] Lewontin. He makes a useful point - that the difference between two populations may still be due to environment, even though within both populations the variance may be largely genetic but it is one that most people in the field are aware of. Otherwise his tone is to be deplored, although it shows how strongly people feel about this subject.

As to your point about the I. Q. results on American Indians being mainly due to their cultural tradition, this may be so, but personally I doubt it. How do you explain the relatively poor I. Q. performance of the children of middle-class American negroes?

I. Q. tests do seem to me to be useful, in spite of their obvious limitations, if only because people’s social aspirations are highly correlated with I. Q. That is, if the population as a whole is asked to rank occupations (most people would rank doctors higher than dustmen), then this ranking is almost perfectly correlated with the average I. Q. of the people in the occupational groups (i.e. doctors have, on average, a higher 1, Q. than dustmen). Naturally for comparing differences between two cultural groups an I. Q. test should be, as far as possible, culture-free.

I have not seen the report of the Academy Committee headed by [sociologist] Kingsley Davis, but I look forward to reading it in due course.

What I miss most is constructive approaches to this problem, Can the “environmentalists” set up in an experiment an environment which will make the I. Q. difference disappear? If they can’t do that, then the hope of doing anything on a large scale in a social context is remote. Can the “geneticists” produce an experimental test which will show definitively that more than half the difference is genetic? Incidentally, a reasonable- design for such an experiment exists, but nobody (except possibly Shockley) will fund it, mainly due, I suspect, to the attitude of people like yourself and your colleagues, and of [Oxford geneticist Walter] Bodmer and [Stanford population geneticist] Cavalli-Storza.

I still feel that if you and your colleagues do not agree with Jensen’s tentative conclusions, you would do a useful job by refuting his argument point by point. Also, I would like to see your plans for research in this field, so one can see how long a period is likely to be involved.

May I make a general suggestion, which I put forward in a lecture a year or so ago, which might be drawn to the Academy’s attention? A most powerful research tool is the study of identical twins separated at birth. Jensen has recently looked into all the cases for which I. Q. data are available and finds there are only about 125 of them. Why should not a Twins Institute be formed? This would encourage people who have twins to let one of them be adopted by another family. Both the rate of production . of twins and the rate of adoption are sufficiently high that worthwhile numbers would soon accumulate. It is essential to keep track of such cases, and examine them periodically, and this would be the job of the Institute. Let me emphasize that there would be no compulsion for people who have twins to let one (or both) be adopted, though they might be encouraged by a modest subsidy given in return for the right to examine the children periodically. Such a scheme seems to me so humane and useful (contrast it with military conscription) that once people had become used to the idea, I think it would be socially acceptable. What do you feel?

If you wish do please show our letters to your colleagues. I would be interested in their reactions.

Yours sincerely,

F.H.C. Crick

Edsall replied in a letter you can read here, suggesting that population growth was the crucial problem of the era.

Crick answered in a short letter that hasn't been fed through an optical character reader, so I will excerpt from it. After agreeing with Edsall on the importance of population limitation, Crick wrote:

I don't think the small amount of money which is needed to start eugenics research will in any way compete with this. The main difficulty is that people have to start thinking out eugenics in a different way. The Nazis gave it a bad name and I think it is time something was done to make it respectable again.

As far as I can see, we are in agreement on all this except perhaps for a slight difference of emphasis.

The "Twin Institute" proposed by Crick was eventually more or less brought into existence by University of Minnesota psychologist Thomas J. Bouchard, whose landmark "Minnesota Twins" study of twins raised apart began in 1979 and was published in 1990.

There proved to be enough twins raised apart due to personal reasons so that Crick's suggestion of paying parents to give their twins up for adoption separately was not part of Bouchard's study. Indeed, today, Crick's idea sounds cruel, but that realization, paradoxically enough, dates largely from Bouchard's study, which included many joyous scenes of identical twins being reunited for the first time since early childhood. At the time Crick wrote, before the "Minnesota Twins" project he advocated, people were less aware of the emotional power of genetic similarity.

During Crick's exchanges with Edsall, he received an April 14, 1971 reply from famed Harvard biologist Ernst Mayr, who was another signer of the anti-IQ research letter that Crick deplored. Mayr said, in part:

If I may summarize my own viewpoint, it is that positive eugenics is of great importance for the future of mankind and that all roadblocks must be removed that stand in the way of intensifying research in this area. Shockley with his racist views is unfortunately the worst roadblock at this time, at least in this country; hence, his sharp rejection by some of us who are very much in favor of positive eugenics.

To which, Crick replied:

21st April, 1971

Dr. Ernst Mayr
Harvard University
The Agassiz Museum
Cambridge, Mass. 02138
U.S.A.

Dear Ernst

I agree enthusiastically with practically everything you say, but I still feel that the present position which has arisen because of Shockley is unfortunate. What I would like to see is a good programme of research supported by people like yourself. You will have to reconcile yourself to the fact that whatever you do will have political implications and repercussion. Incidentally what do you think of my suggestion for a Twins Institute?

As to racism, what about negative racism? That is, the acceptance by Universities (like Harvard) of students with considerably lower standards merely because they are black. This policy is certainly going to lead to trouble. Either many of them will drop out, or they will have to be given degrees where white people would be failed. There was a recent article in Science about this.

I myself do not feel very strongly either way about the Black-White distinction. If I have a prejudice it is against the poor, and in favour of the rich, but such an attitude is almost equally unacceptable to most people.

Yours sincerely

F. H. C. Crick

Earlier, Crick had received a note from Lord C.P. Snow, the famous scientist and novelist, author of The Two Culture, asking him,

"Did you make some trenchant remarks recently on the radio about genetic factors in various kinds of individuals and groups destinies?"

Crick replied:

17 April 1969

Lord Snow
85 Gaton Terrace
London, S.W.l

Dear Charles

I gave a talk to University College on 'The Social Impact of Biology’ and the BBC subsequently broadcast a shortened version of it. As I covered a very broad range of topics I decided not to publish it, and no manuscript exists as I spoke from notes. As far as I remember I said that the biological evidence was that all men were not created equal, and it would not only be difficult to try to do this, but biologically undesirable. As an a[s]ide I said that the evidence for the equality of different races did not really exist. In fact, what little evidence there was suggested racial differences.

Had I enlarged on the subject I would have dwelt on the probable positive differences, such as, for example, the Jews and the Japs, rather than speak only about Negroes. From what I hear you have been saying something along these lines,, I would certainly love to see what you've written when you’re satisfied with it.

F.H.C. Crick

In a lengthy 1977 letter to Nobel Laureate Peter Medawar, Crick outlined his views on IQ and eugenics. He had this to say about one frequently cited figured on the anti-Jensen side

Lewontin, in particular, is known to be strongly politically biased and himself admits to being scientifically unscrupulous on these issues. That is, he takes them as political ones and therefore feels justified in the use of biased arguments.

My view on positive eugenics as a policy is that the Galtonians never had an answer to the challenge posed them in 1922 by G.K. Chesterton, in Eugenics and Other Evils. Chesterton pointed out that the "positive eugenics" of society arranging marriages among the most fit was self-defeating. If arranged marriages actually succeeded in breeding better men and women, the first thing these healthier, smarter, more robust individuals would do would be to tell society to butt out of arranging their marriages, and they'd go back to choosing their own mates!

Still, Chesterton's objection is far less valid, and Crick's concerns even more valid, when the question is the impact of immigration. Countries like Canada have a consciously positive selectionist immigration policy of trying to identify applicants who will most benefit the existing population while keeping out people who would be detrimental. In contrast, anybody who advocates that we Americans take a look at the Canadian perspective is likely to get called a Nazi.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Quote of the Day

Exit polls in all-white New Hampshire found no difference between Clinton and Obama voters on the issues, but sizable ones on demographics. The Guardian reports:
"[Hillary] noticeably won the votes of those on lower incomes and without college degrees. In the words of that Clinton adviser: 'If you have a social need, you're with Hillary. If you want Obama to be your imaginary hip black friend and you're young and you have no social needs, then he's cool.'"

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

January 10, 2008

Hillary, R.I.P.

That's Sir Edmund Hillary of Everest, age 88, not the candidate.

The NYT misleadingly headlines:

Edmund Hillary, First on Everest, Dies at 88

Sir Edmund Hillary was the mountaineer who, with Tenzing Norgay, his Sherpa guide, was the first to scale the 29,035-foot summit of Mount Everest.

This common notion that Norgay was Hillary's "guide," as if Hillary was some tourist being dragged to the top by the experienced climber Norgay, is an old chestnut. The whole concept of a "guide" makes no sense when you think about it: It's not like Mt. Everest was some secret that only local guides knew the path to. It was the biggest mountain in the whole world and nobody had ever climbed it before.

The correct term for Hillary and Norgay is "partners," but that word is being taken over by the gays, so we're back to "mountaineer" and "guide."

There were no tourists and no guides anywhere near Everest back then The Sherpas, due to their genetic knack for high altitude living, were employed as specialist high altitude porters, but they did not have a culture of climbing mountains until the British had arrived and led them up onto the peaks.

By 1953, the best Sherpa porters had learned technical climbing skills from the British Commonwealth mountaineers. So, there wasn't much of a distinction between Anglo climbers and the very best Sherpas. Moreover, portering equipment up the mountain is about 95% of multi-stage expedition climbing, which consists of planting camps in relays higher and higher up the mountain, with the more expendable members of the party doing the heavy lifting, while the leader tries to arrange the workload so his best climbers just have to get themselves up the mountain, in order to be rested for the summit dash.

Of the 400 people in the expedition, Hillary and Norgay were designated early as one of the two possible summit teams.

Hillary, a big man, had greater upper body strength than Norgay, so he generally took the lead to carve out steps with his ice-ax. Although Indian and Nepalese politicians promoted the story that Norgay made it to the top first, it was always most plausible that Hillary reached the top a few seconds before Norgay. The two men were admirably vague about the exact order, rightly insisting that they made it as a team. Finally, in 1999, after Norgay's death, Hillary confirmed the he had led, hacking footsteps in the ridge until it stopped going up and he found himself standing on top of the world.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

East Africa's Tall vs. Average War

The New York Times reports about a Tutsi general who operates his own army in the chaotic Congo:

Fighting in Congo Rekindles Ethnic Hatreds

... It began with the Rwandan genocide, in which Hutu extremists killed 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu in 1994. Many of the genocide’s perpetrators fled into Congo, igniting regional conflicts that were fueled by the plunder of Congo’s minerals, lasted for nearly a decade and killed, by some estimates, as many as four million people through violence, disease and hunger.

Now a new wave of anti-Tutsi sentiment is sweeping Congo, driven by deep anger over the renegade Tutsi general. Many see his rebellion as a proxy for Rwanda, to the east, whose army occupied vast parts of Congo during the most devastating chapter of the regional war and plundered millions of dollars’ worth of minerals from the country, according to many analysts, diplomats and human rights workers.

The current battle is in many ways a throwback to the earliest and most difficult questions at the heart of the Congo war, and also a reflection of longstanding hostilities toward Tutsi, who are widely viewed here as being more Rwandan than Congolese.

Many Congolese Tutsi see themselves as members of an especially vulnerable minority, one that has already suffered through genocide and whose position in Congo has always been precarious. But many other Congolese see Tutsi, many of whom have been in Congo for generations, as foreign interlopers with outsize economic and political influence.

At the center of this latest rebellion is the renegade general, Laurent Nkunda, a Congolese Tutsi with longstanding ties to the Tutsi-led Rwandan government.

Yet, the Rwandans themselves are deeply linked to the government of Uganda.

Indeed, Rwanda's Tutsi President Paul Kagame was the Intelligence chief for Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni when the latter overthrew Ugandan President Milton Obote (Idi Amin's successor, if you are keeping score at home) in 1986. Museveni then helped finance his friend Kagame's Tutsi invasion of Hutu-ruled majority-Hutu Rwanda in 1990. As Kagame came closer to winning the war in 1994, the Hutu leadership went nuts, like Revolutionary France fighting refugee invaders in 1793, and launched the genocide, which was shut down when Kagame's Tutsis won.

In Burundi, the Tutsi minority has managed to stay in power over the Hutu majority for all these years of independence.

So, what's going on? Underneath it all, there's a vague, intermittent struggle in East Africa that keeps popping in different forms up between the tall, thin, black Nilotics (like the Tutsis, Luo, and the shorter, dark brown Bantus.

For example, in Nairobi in 1987, Barack Obama noticed the physical difference between the "
... tall, ink-black Luos and short, brown Kikuyus ..." Currently, the Luos are rebelling against the domination of Kenya's government by the Kikuyus, with hundreds dead in ethnic clashes. Indeed, the Luo leader Raila Odinga told the BBC after a recent phone call from Obama that he is the American Senator's first cousin (which I doubt).

There are exceptions to this pattern (for example, the main rebels in Uganda, the Lord's Resistance Army, are mostly tall Luo-speaking Acholis), but the underlying dynamic across several East African states tends to be tall vs. medium. (There are also short and very short pygmoid peoples in this region, such as the Twa of Rwanda, but they are not power players.)

The tall black Nilotics generally see themselves as more intelligent than the shorter brown Bantus. Obama's Luo relatives in Kenya told him: "The Luo are intelligent but lazy." The Bantus tend to fear that they will be outsmarted by the Nilotics if they give them a fair shake, so they often treat the tall people like the Jews tend to be treated in Eastern Europe.

The dividing lines between the Nilotics and Bantus are not sharp. There's been lots of interbreeding. (This is Africa, after all.) But, they still exist. The situation is rather like that in Latin American, where after five centuries of interbreeding, the economic elites are still pretty white-looking, and the indigenous masses occasionally organize under demagogues like Hugo Chavez to fight back.

All this obscure anthropology is becoming increasingly relevant because the U.S. has been building new military bases in Kenya as part of the War on Global Islamic Extremism. I suspect we will increasingly be sold bills of goods by ambitious locals in East Africa who want U.S. subsidies for their indigenous power struggles, such as Tall vs. Medium, which they will mask with rhetoric about fighting Global Islamofacism.

We'll be especially vulnerable to being suckered into imagining local conflicts are part of the frontline in the War on Terror because our cultural anthropology experts these days mostly refuse to use vulgar physical descriptions, even though helpful shorthand tags like Obama's phrase "tall, ink-black Luos" are extremely useful in keeping the players straight. That kind of thing just isn't done anymore in polite society.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

January 9, 2008

New study: 150,000 violent deaths in Iraq in first 3 years

I blogged at length in October 2006 about the controversial Lancet study that claimed 600,000 deaths by violence in Iraq. I eventually realized it was probably exaggerated because, paradoxically enough, Iraq was too violent for the study to have been carried out the way the authors claim:

Maybe what happened is that the interviewers didn't actually go much door-to-door at random, but instead arrived in a neighborhood, put the word out, and then either had people who wanted to talk to them come see them or were invited to the homes of people who wanted to see them. That might account for the very high % of people with death certificates available.

Or it could be that the interviewers got in contact ahead of time with neighborhood leaders to see if their presence would be welcome to reduce their chances of being killed. (That's not good random surveying hygiene, but are you going to blame them?) Then, in a neighborhood where the local big shot wanted their presence, he might have passed the word around to aggrieved families to get ready to tell their stories to the interviewers when they showed up. This could cause a bias upward in the number of deaths reported.

The more I think about the mechanics of carrying out the survey on the street without getting killed, the more I suspect that the Iraqi interviewers didn't actually implement the purely random survey design that the American professors from MIT and Johns Hopkins dreamed up for them. It would be nuts to to let luck determine which streets you'd choose, as the report claims they did. You'd want to only go where you knew you'd be safe. Then you'd tell the Americans you did exactly what they told you to do.

I eventually reached this bottom line:

That number seems high to me. I really can't say, but it just feels excessive. But if you cut it in half to "only" 300,000, would I feel all that dubious? Probably not.

Here's the bottom line: I doubt that the Iraqi death toll has reached 600,000 ... yet. But the odds are awfully high that, sooner or later, it will.

Now a new World Health Organization study says that in the first 3.0 years of this war that is now 4.8 years old, 150,000 people were killed:

Both teams used the same method -- a random sample of houses throughout the country. For the new study, however, surveyors visited 23 times as many places and interviewed five times as many households. Surveyors also got more outside supervision in the recent study; that wasn't possible in the spring of 2006 when the Johns Hopkins survey was conducted.

Despite reaching a lower estimate of total deaths, the epidemiologists found what they termed "a massive death toll in the wake of the 2003 invasion."

Iraq's population-wide mortality rate nearly doubled, and the death rate from violence increased tenfold after the coalition attack. Men between 15 and 60 were at the greatest risk. Their death rate from all causes tripled, and their risk of dying a violent death went up elevenfold.

So, extrapolating on this estimate for the subsequent 1.8 years of war (the first half of which was quite bloody, while the first year after the invasion was fairly peaceful), the total death toll so far would be in the 225-250,000 range.

By the way, I've also estimated that U.S. armed forces fire about 275,000 bullets in anger each day.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

James Watson vs. Sibel Edmonds

The James Watson brouhaha began, I believe, with a story published in the London Times on a Sunday. By Wednesday of that week, a few comments deep within the article had set off a brouhaha around the world.

In contrast, last Sunday's London Times featured an article with the eye-opening title "For sale: West's deadly nuclear secrets" about former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds's far-reaching charges. Yet, according to Google News, that London Times story has gotten zero coverage so far in the American mainstream press.

It's good to know we've got our priorities straight!

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

White tailback wrap-up

LSU won the BCS national championship in college football, defeating Ohio State 38-24, with a white runner as its primary ballcarrier. Is this the first time in the history of the BCS? Jacob Hester had a standard Jacob Hester game against #1 ranked Ohio St., rushing for 86 yards on 21 carriers, finishing with over 1100 yards for the season. LSU dominated the game because it converted on 12 of 19 third or fourth down attempts versus 5 of 16 for the Buckeyes.

This guy isn't going to dominate the NFL, but you'd be crazy not to want him on your team. How many other star tailbacks play on special teams? This is guy who rushed for almost 1600 yards as a junior in high school, then switched to fullback and didn't reach 900 as a senior because that's what the team, with future USC star John David Booty as QB, needed. Heck, he played nose guard for awhile in high school. Hester was only a two star recruit (out of five maximum) coming out college, so when he signed with mighty LSU, their average recruit ranking dropped. It took Hester four years to emerge as the main running back at LSU, but he played regularly in various roles for all four years. And he's done a good job keeping all the faster black backs on the Tigers, who aren't getting big stats because Hester gets the ball the most, reasonably happy and focused on supporting the team. Hester's wife cooks dinner for all the running backs at their place two nights before each game.

How many colleges and pro teams have shot themselves in the foot by assembling too many black chiefs and not enough white Indians? USC, for example, started the year ranked #1 in part because they had 10 running backs (all black, of course) who had been superstars in high school, but that's just asking for trouble among black players raised on gangsta rap, with its message of "Get Rich or Die Trying."

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

"The Truth about Jena"

The Atlantic Monthly sends Amy Waldman down to Jena, LA to uncover what was behind the vast civil rights brouhaha, and she comes up with the same thing I did back in September from my house: football.

The Truths About Jena:

Why America’s black-and-white narratives about race don’t reflect reality

In the fall of 2006, Mychal Bell was a football hero, and his hometown, Jena, Louisiana, loved him for it. As his high-school team posted its best season in six years, Bell scored 21 touchdowns, rushed for 1,006 yards, and was named player of the week three times by The Jena Times. The paper celebrated his triumphs in articles and photographs, including a dramatic one in which Bell, who’s black, stiff-arms a white defender by clutching his face guard. But within weeks after the season’s end, Bell was transformed into a villain, accused of knocking out a white student, Justin Barker, who was then beaten by a group of black students. The parish’s white district attorney charged Bell and five others with attempted second-degree murder. Six months later—after the DA had reduced the charges against Bell—a white jury convicted him, as an adult, of aggravated second-degree battery, a crime that carried a possible 22-year prison sentence. By then, he, along with his co-defendants, had been transformed yet again: together, they’d been dubbed the Jena Six and had become icons of a 21st-century civil-rights movement. [More]

As I wrote in The American Conservative:

Similarly, in September, when Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton led thousands of demonstrators in a march on the small town of Jena, Louisiana to protest supposed racism in the treatment of six black high-school students accused of beating unconscious then stomping the body of a white schoolmate, the assembled national media got the story almost 180 degrees backward. We weren’t witnessing a revival of the Emmett Till Era of lynchings, as the pundits insisted, but another example of the O.J. Simpson Age of stars athletes whose off-field misdeeds are excused until they finally go too far.

The Jena Six hadn’t been despised outcasts: they were the best football players in a gridiron-obsessed small town. Mychal Bell, the only one of the Six tried so far, was an All-State junior who scored 18 touchdowns in the 2006 season. A local minister, Eddie Thompson, explained, “For the most part, coaches and other adults have prevented them from being held accountable for the reign of terror they have presided over in Jena.” As Abbey Brown wrote in the Alexandria-Pineville Town Talk: “Bell was adjudicated—the juvenile equivalent to a conviction—of battery Sept. 2 [2006] and criminal damage to property Sept. 3. … A few days later, on Sept. 8, Bell rushed 12 times for 108 yards and scored three touchdowns.”

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

January 8, 2008

More Obama Family Mania

It's been a busy day here at the Institute for Advanced Obama Relations Studies.

After I discovered the identity of Obama's estranged half-American half-brother Mark earlier this evening, readers alerted me to the BBC story that the losing presidential candidate in the recent Kenyan elections, Raila Odinga, the Luo leader who has helped stir up so much violence (600 deaths) in the wake of his dubious defeat, today claimed he is Obama's first cousin!

Following a couple of calls from Obama, which Obama's spokesman acknowledged, Odinga asserted that he was Obama's father's sister's son.

There's certainly a striking contrast between Odinga and Obama's half-brother Mark, who has kept completely quiet about being the half-brother of one of the world's most famous men.

European monarchs were always related to each other across national boundaries, with lots of consequences. It would certainly make the future more, uh, interesting if the American and Kenyan elites were closely linked by blood.

I don't recall, however, any mention of Odinga in Obama's extended family-obsessed Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, but I haven't reviewed it thoroughly looking for him. I believe Odinga was still in prison for his part in a 1982 coup attempt when Obama first visited Kenya in 1987, so that might account for Obama not mentioning him.

Or Odinga might just be blowing smoke.

Odinga's father was the first vice-president of Kenya and then a leader of the opposition (the Luo have usually been out of luck in the ethnic struggle for power in Kenya). His name was Oginga Odinga.

The Kenyan candidate's website says that Raila Odinga's mother's name was Mary.

In Obama's book, there is a long narrative by Obama's "grandmother" (who was actually the third wife of Obama's polygamous grandfather -- his real grandmother, the second wife, ran off with another man and her two children were raised by the third wife). It mentions four children of the Senator's grandfather (by his three wives), none of whom were named Mary.

So, I don't see much evidence that Odinga is Obama's first cousin or half-first cousin.

But he might be a more distant relative. For instance, Obama's paternal grandfather was one of five children of one of his father's four wives -- that provides a lot of opportunities for Obama and Odinga to be second cousins or second half-cousins.

As Theodore Dalrymple has pointed out, Africans tend to have an elastic sense of relatedness, depending on how much somebody can do for you. The problem with being a Big Man in Africa, according to Dalrymple, is that the number of relatives you are socially obligated to subsidize keeps expanding as fast as your power. When Odinga spoke, shortly before the actual votes were counted in New Hampshire, his fellow Luo seemed headed assuredly for becoming the Biggest Big Man in the World, so Odinga might have been speaking a little expansively about the closeness of his relationship with Obama.

Perhaps Odinga is trying to boost his political standing within Kenya by getting people to believe that it's only a matter of time before he has his kinsman, the President of the United States, on his side in his struggle. It has become common for the losing side in disputed elections to reverse the decision by overthrowing the government with the backing of the U.S., as in Serbia and Ukraine, so creating the image of being backed by America can create a sense of inevitability.

A lot of people in Kenya assume that a President Obama would intervene to help his fellow Luo finally win the power that has so long been denied them in Kenyan politics. It would be helpful if Obama issued a categorical statement that if elected, he would not intervene in Kenyan affairs. This might persuade more Luo that rather than hope for ultimate victory through the deus ex machina of President Obama, that they are going to have to work things out with their fellow Kenyans.

Obama could also play a useful or detrimental role in a larger issue involving Kenya. The U.S. has been pouring military force into Northern Kenya, near the border with Somalia, which the Pentagon sees as a crucial front in the War on Terror, as Esquire and the NY Times Magazine have reported. The Pentagon plans to have two dozen U.S. forts in East Africa by 2012. We recently backed Ethiopia's invasion of Somalia. (I called this our Prester John strategy, since the Grand Strategy of post-Crusades Europe was to form an alliance with Priest John, king of Christian Abyssinia, to open a second front in Christendom's struggle with the Musselmen.)

Meanwhile, the NYT Magazine article by Joshua Hammer, The Africa Front, reports on a Kenyan legislative candidate who is raising money from American Jews for his campaign by portraying his opponent, a local Muslim, as a potential jihadist.

I hope that a President Obama, with his intimate knowledge of the corruption and disingenuousness of Kenya, would be less inclined to get America so involved in Northeast African politics. I would hope he's aware that we are much more likely to be manipulated by local power brokers into lining their pockets than we are to succeed at smiting terrorists. He should speak up about the folly of our overly interventionist East Africa policy.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

I've uncovered the identity of Obama's estranged half-brother

Perhaps the most poignant and telling episode in Barack Obama's 1995 autobiography, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance, is the story of his first and last meetings in Kenya two decades ago with his doppelganger, his half-white half-brother Mark, who was then a physics student at Stanford.

As any of the handful of people who have read all 442 superbly-written but humorlessly obsessive pages of Obama's "Story of Race and Inheritance" can attest, extended family is central to the would-be President's psychology. Moreover, Obama has encouraged voters (for example, in the opening of his famous keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convetion) to make up fantasies about how his complex family background means that Obama holds whatever views on race that they do. Thus, we constantly hear all the chatter about how Obama "transcends race."

In reality, it is Mark who "transcends race," and Obama rejects him for doing so.

Like Obama, Mark is also a son of Barack Obama Sr. and a white American woman. But, as the excerpt from Obama's memoir below shows, Mark's realism, well-adjusted response to being of mixed racial background, and lack of ethnocentrism disturbed Obama because, while Mark looks much like him, Mark's values are different. After their lunch in Nairobi in the late 1980s, Obama cut off ties with Mark.

I've now figured out who Mark is. Here's his picture, with his eyes blanked out to preserve his privacy. [I've now taken his picture down -- enough people have seen it to know I have it, but leaving it up much longer would just allow somebody enterprising to try to track him down.] He has had a long career in high technology and other industry. He lives and works abroad, neither in America nor in Africa. I'm not going to reveal his surname. It's not "Obama." And I'm not going to tell you how I found him.

There's no evidence on the Internet that Mark has ever attempted to boost his career by calling attention to the fact that he's the half-brother of a potential President of the United States. This is in sharp contrast to Billy Carter (Billy Beer and a dubious loan from Col. Gadaffi) and Donald Nixon (Nixonburger and a dubious loan from Howard Hughes). So, I'm not going to drag him into the madness of the campaign.

Unlike Obama, who long dreamed of Kenya but knew little about it, Mark spent his summers off from his American studies in Kenya at his mother and step-father's pleasant Nairobi home, where Obama met him on his first trip to Africa in the late 1980s. Here's what Obama wrote about him (pp. 341-345):

"'So, Mark,' I said, turning to my brother, 'I hear you're at Berkeley.'

"'Stanford,' he corrected. His voice was deep, his accent perfectly American. 'I'm in my last year of the physics program there.'"

They meet once more, for lunch:

"I asked him how it felt being back for the summer.

"'Fine,' he said. 'It's nice to see my mom and dad, of course. … As for the rest of Kenya, I don't feel much of an attachment. Just another poor African country.'

"'You don't ever think about settling here?'

"Mark took a sip from his Coke. 'No,' he said. 'I mean, there's not much work for a physicist, is there, in a country where the average person doesn't have a telephone.'

"I should have stopped then, but something -- the certainty in this brother's voice, maybe, or our rough resemblance, like looking into a foggy mirror -- made me want to push harder. I asked, "Don't you ever feel like you might be losing something?'

"Mark put down his knife and fork, and for the first time that afternoon his eyes looked straight into mine.

"'I understand what you're getting at,' he said flatly. 'You think that somehow I'm cut off from my roots, that sort of thing.' He wiped his mouth and dropped the napkin onto his plate. 'Well, you're right. At a certain point, I made a decision not think about who my real father was. He was dead to me even when he was still alive. I knew that he was a drunk and showed no concern for his wife or children. That was enough.'

"'It made you mad.'

"'Not mad. Just numb.'

"'And that doesn't bother you? Being numb, I mean?'

"'Towards him, no. Other things move me. Beethoven's symphonies. Shakespeare's sonnets. I know -- it's not what an African is supposed to care about. But who's to tell me what I should and shouldn't care about? Understand, I'm not ashamed of being half Kenyan. I just don't ask myself a lot of questions about what it all means. About who I really am.' He shrugged. 'I don't know. Maybe I should. I can acknowledge the possibility that if I looked more carefully at myself, I would …'

"For the briefest moment I sensed Mark hesitate, like a rock climber losing his footing. Then, almost immediately, he regained his composure and waved for the check.

"'Who knows?' he said. 'What's certain is that I don't need the stress. Life's hard enough without all that excess baggage.'

"… Outside we exchanged addresses and promised to write, with a dishonesty that made my heart ache."


Notice that it's Obama's own dishonesty that is (supposedly) making his heart ache -- he can't know what's in Mark's heart as they exchange addresses, but Obama knows that he will not write to his own half-brother. The physics student is Obama's intellectual equal, but his realism about Kenya, his lack of an identity crisis, lack of black ethnocentrism, and lack of illusions about their mutual father leave Obama so uncomfortable that he doesn't want to hear from Mark anymore.


Their family tree, which is complicated by Kenya's traditional polygamy, looks like this: Barack Obama Sr.'s bigamous second marriage to the Presidential candidate's mother Ann dissolved when he chose to abandon his new family in Hawaii to take up a Harvard scholarship rather than the more generous New School of Social Research scholarship that would have paid enough for Ann and Barack Jr. to come with him to New York City. He then married Mark's white American mother Ruth and brought her to live in Kenya (where the Senator's polygamous pop introduced his surprised American bride to her co-wife Kezia, whom he had married at age 18).

Obama Sr. and his third wife had two sons, Mark and David, before their bitter divorce. Their American mother then married an affluent and genial man who had moved to Kenya from a different African country, had sons of their own, and all the boys were educated at a prestigious international school in Nairobi.

Mark absorbed his mother's values, but the younger boy, David, rebelled as a teenager against his mother's Western ways. Obama wrote: "He told her he was an African, and started calling himself Obama." David, who was Mark's full brother, ran away from home. Months later, the Senator's hard-drinking half-brother Roy (Obama Sr.'s first son by his Kenyan first wife -- Roy later took up the name Abongo when he became an Afrocentric teetotaling Muslim) happened to see David begging on the streets. Roy took him in.

One night, not long before Obama's 1987 visit to Kenya, Roy and young David went out drinking on Roy's motorcycle. Roy got into a drunken brawl and was jailed, so he lent the boy the key to his motorcycle. David crashed it and died.

Roy/Abongo's complicity in the death of Mark's full brother David left relations between Keiza's family and Ruth's family even frostier than before. Upon his visit in 1987, Obama spent almost all his time with Keiza's relations, such as his half-siblings Roy/Obongo and Auma.

The details about Mark in Obama's memoir all check out. Obama didn't include his last name, but he also didn't alter any details about Mark to protect his identity, so I can ascertain with virtually absolute certainty that the Mark pictured above is the Mark depicted in Obama's bestseller. For example, I've found a paper in a physics journal authored by Mark and others at Stanford. I've been able to determine that for the Mark shown above, his parents live in Nairobi; his youngest half-brother's first name is the same as that given in Dreams; and that his step-father's family comes from a different African country, the same one Obama reported.


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

New Hampshire exit polls

Here are the Democratic and Republican exit polls.

A reader points out that for the Democrats, the most obvious factor is that younger Democratic men really don't like Hillary. Otherwise, nothing much jumps out at you. They certainly don't seem to differ due to any issues.

The reader adds:

The Dem side was driven by who you are while the GOP was by what you believe. Note that the largest divergences between Romney and McCain were on Iraq, the economy and immigration. Under the surface, it appears Romney was the de facto surrogate for GWB.

My favorite stat: Among voters under 24, Ron Paul beat Hillary (different sets of course, but you get the point).

The Republicans could be called the Cancer Kids, since three of them are battling cancer -- McCain, Giuliani, and Thompson. Maybe that's the issue that will finally get Romney out of his second place rut -- "I'm probably cancer free!"

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

"Jerusalem square to be named after Pollard"

From the Jewish Telegraph Agency:

A Jerusalem square will be symbolically dedicated to Jonathan Pollard ahead of President Bush's visit to Israel.

Mina Fenton, a Jerusalem city councilwoman, announced this week that the capital's Paris Square will be symbolically renamed "Pollard Square" in a ceremony on Jan. 7, two days before George W. Bush begins his first visit as U.S. president to Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

The move is meant to help lobby Bush to pardon Pollard, a former U.S. Navy analyst who is serving a life prison sentence for spying for Israel. Bush leaves office in 2009.

Paris Square is located between the U.S. Consulate in west Jerusalem and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's official residence. Fenton said there are no plans to formally change the square's name.

On Monday, the Knesset State Control Committee decided to ask State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss to prepare a confidential special report on Israeli government efforts to secure the release of Johnathon Pollard.

Successive U.S. administrations have refused to grant clemency to Pollard, who is considered a Jewish hero by many Israelis.
Pollard was a cokehead who stole some of the crown jewels of our national security secrets -- information relating to the our nuclear missile submarine deterrent -- in return for money from the Israelis. (The Israeli government is widely believed to have then bartered the American secrets to the Soviets. I wouldn't know, but that's what I hear.)

Perhaps in response, Times Square in New York should be renamed "U.S.S. Liberty Square"?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Christopher Hitchens on Obama

In Slate, Hitch unloads on Obama. It's a lot of fun, but Hitchens totally misses how similar Obama is to Christopher Hitchens, Esq.

[By the way, I've discovered Obama's estranged half-brother, Mark, the Stanford physics graduate who is the son of Obama's polygamous father's other white American wife. According to the candidate's 1995 autobiography, Obama cut off ties with the one half-brother who is his intellectual equal because Mark's lack of ethnocentrism and his realism about Africa disturbed him.]

Back to Hitch, who writes:

Identity Crisis:
There's something pathetic and embarrassing about our obsession with Barack Obama's race.


To put it squarely and bluntly, is it because he is or is it because he isn't? To phrase it another way, is it because of what he says or what he doesn't say? Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois is the current beneficiary of a tsunami of drool. He sometimes claims credit on behalf of all Americans regardless of race, color, creed, blah blah blah, though his recent speeches appear also to claim a victory for blackness while his supporters—most especially the white ones—sob happily that at last we can have an African-American chief executive. Off to the side, snarling with barely concealed rage, are the Clinton machine-minders, who, having failed to ignite the same kind of identity excitement with an aging and resentful female, are perhaps wishing that they had made more of her errant husband having already been "our first black president."

Or perhaps not. Isn't there something pathetic and embarrassing about this emphasis on shade? And why is a man with a white mother considered to be "black," anyway? Is it for this that we fought so hard to get over Plessy v. Ferguson? Would we accept, if Obama's mother had also been Jewish, that he would therefore be the first Jewish president?

This is a a very odd thing for Christopher Hitchens to say. According to an old drinking buddy of Hitch's, he used to claim he was "the world's biggest anti-Semite," but then, Hitchens made the belated discovery that he is something like 1/8th or 1/16th Jewish through the maternal line. The famous atheist has taken to dropping in on synagogues as a gesture of ethnic solidarity and moved far in the neocon direction politically, much to the bemusement of his brother Peter Hitchens.

The simple reality is that identity politics really are important to people, including Obama and Christopher Hitchens.

The more that people claim Obama's mere identity to be a "breakthrough," the more they demonstrate that they have failed to emancipate themselves from the original categories of identity that acted as a fetter upon clear thought.

One can't exactly say that Sen. Obama himself panders to questions of skin color. One of the best chapters of his charming autobiography describes the moment when his black Republican opponent in the Illinois Senate race—Alan Keyes—accused him of possessing insufficient negritude because he wasn't the descendant of slaves! Obama's decision to be light-hearted—and perhaps light-skinned—about this was a milestone in itself.

Hitchens is referring to Obama's campaign autobiography, The Audacity of Hope (which is named after one of the sermons by Obama's spiritual advisor, Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.). He clearly hasn't read Obama's first autobiography, which he aptly subtitled A Story of Race and Inheritance.

Last week happened to be the week that the nation of Kenya—birthplace of Obama's father—was convulsed by a political war that contained ghastly overtones of violent and sadistic tribalism. It would sound as absurd to a Kenyan to hear praise for a black candidate as it would sound to most of my European readers to hear a recommendation of a "great white hope." A white visitor to Kenya might not be able to tell a Kikuyu from a Luo at a glance, but a Kenyan would have no such difficulty. The time is pretty much past, in our country, when a Polish-American would not vote for a candidate with a German name or when Sharks and Jets were at daggers drawn, but this is all because (to borrow from Ernest Renan's definition of a nation) people agreed to forget a lot of things as well as to remember a number of things. So, which are we doing presently?

Hitchens doesn't seem to be a aficionado of the musical -- the Sharks in West Side Story were, of course, visibly Puerto Ricans.

Sen. Obama is a congregant of a church in Chicago called Trinity United Church of Christ. I recommend that you take a brisk tour of its Web site. Run by the sort of character that the press often guardedly describes as "flamboyant"—a man calling himself the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.—this bizarre outfit describes itself as "Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian" and speaks of "a chosen people" whose nature we are allowed to assume is "Afrocentric." Trinity United sells creationist books and its home page includes a graphic link to a thing called Goodsearch—the name is surmounted with a halo in its logo—which announces cheerily that "Every time you search or shop online! Our Church earns money." Much or most of what Trinity United says is harmless and boring, rather like Gov. Mike Huckabee's idiotic belief that his own success in Iowa is comparable to the "miracle" of the loaves and fishes, and the site offers a volume called Bad Girls of the Bible: Exploring Women of Questionable Virtue, which I have added to my cart, but nobody who wants to be taken seriously can possibly be associated with such a substandard and shade-oriented place.

All this easy talk about being a "uniter" and not a "divider" is piffle if people are talking out of both sides of their mouths. I have been droning on for months about how Mitt Romney needs to answer questions about the flat-out racist background of his own church, and about how Huckabee has shown in public that he does not even understand the first thing about a theory—the crucial theory of evolution by natural selection—in which he claims not to believe. Many Democrats are with me on this, but they go completely quiet when Sen. Obama chooses to give his allegiance to a crackpot church with a decidedly ethnic character.

The unspoken agreement to concede the black community to the sway of the pulpit is itself a form of racist condescension. The sickly canonization of Martin Luther King Jr. has led to a crude rewriting of history that obliterates the great black and white secularists—Bayard Rustin, A. Philip Randolph, Walter Reuther—who actually organized the March on Washington. It has also allowed a free pass to any demagogue who can manage to get the word reverend in front of his name. The white voters who subconsciously make the allowance that black folks sure love to hear their preachers are not only patronizing their black brothers and sisters but also helping to empower white ministers or deacons who make the same pitch, from Jimmy Carter to Mike Huckabee. The Iowa caucuses of 2008 were not the end of our long national nightmare about race, but another stage in our protracted national nightmare of piety, "uplift," and deceptive optimistic windbaggery.

If Hitchens ever read Obama's real autobiography, Dreams from My Father, he'd be reassured to learn that Obama's celebrated "conversion" to Christianity at his Afrocentrist Church had much less to do with faith in Jesus Christ than in the same kind of gesture of ethnic solidarity that motivates Hitchens' visits to synagogues.

By the way, I apologize for the ridiculous profusion of typefaces, point sizes, and leading in this post. Trying to format consistently my posts is the bane of my blogging career.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

January 7, 2008

Sailer in VDARE: "Why Hasn't Crime Fallen Further?"

Here's an excerpt from my new VDARE.com column "Why Hasn't Crime Fallen Further?"

This 19-year-old idiot's criminal career (now on ice for a loooong time) reminded me that the real sociological mystery is not why the crime rate came down after its crack-driven peak in the early 1990s (when, for example, New York City alone experienced over 4,000 murders in just 1990-1991), but—why it hasn't fallen farther?

According to the FBI, the number of homicides dropped sharply from 1992-1999, but has gone up slightly since then.

It's traditionally said that crime doesn't pay. That's not necessarily true for organized criminals. But it's becoming ever truer for run-of-the-mill disorganized criminals.

Think how easy it was to steal stuff back when crime was just starting to boom in the mid-1960s. In those innocent days, many folks not only parked their cars unlocked in their driveways overnight, for example, but left their car keys in the ignition! You could pursue a lucrative career in auto theft just by climbing into random cars and driving them away.

One of my earliest memories of reading the news in the mid-1960s is of all the articles warning citizens to start taking their car keys with them. But even when that lesson sunk in, many people still didn't lock their cars. A common memory of my boyhood is my father and I seeing a parked car with its headlights left on, so he'd open the car door and switch them off before the battery drained down. In that trusting era, thieves merely had to hotwire the ignition.

And even if they got caught, punishment was light back in those naively liberal days. Indeed, the imprisonment rate was lower in 1975 than in 1960, although the murder rate had more than doubled.

In response, owners began to lock their cars. Since my childhood, I've tried a few dozen times to turn off the headlights of strangers' cars, but the last time the car turned out be open was 1972. And automakers began armor plating the ignition system, and then adding steering wheel locking systems.

As it became harder for crooks to steal cars in toto, they started smashing the windows and prying out the expensive new 8-Track stereos. This set off a defensive arms race to harden the target that is still going on. Ultimately, though, electronic in-dash gizmos got so cheap that these days it really isn't worth fighting past all the defenses just to sell the loot to a fence for a small fraction of its heavily discounted retail price. [More]


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

Is Sibel Edmonds trustworthy?

For years, I've been hearing the name "Sibel Edmonds," without being able to make sense out of her story, in part because the U.S. government has been blocking its publication under the State Secrets Act. Now, the London Times has run a long article, "For sale: West's deadly nuclear secrets," about the West Asian-born American citizen who worked for the FBI as a translator in 2001-2002. And it's hot stuff:

One of Edmonds’s main roles in the FBI was to translate thousands of hours of conversations by Turkish diplomatic and political targets that had been covertly recorded by the agency.

A backlog of tapes had built up, dating back to 1997, which were needed for an FBI investigation into links between the Turks and Pakistani, Israeli and US targets. Before she left the FBI in 2002 she heard evidence that pointed to money laundering, drug imports and attempts to acquire nuclear and conventional weapons technology.

“What I found was damning,” she said. “While the FBI was investigating, several arms of the government were shielding what was going on.”

The Turks and Israelis had planted “moles” in military and academic institutions which handled nuclear technology. Edmonds says there were several transactions of nuclear material every month, with the Pakistanis being among the eventual buyers. “The network appeared to be obtaining information from every nuclear agency in the United States,” she said.

They were helped, she says, by the high-ranking State Department official who provided some of their moles – mainly PhD students – with security clearance to work in sensitive nuclear research facilities. These included the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico, which is responsible for the security of the US nuclear deterrent.

In one conversation Edmonds heard the official arranging to pick up a $15,000 cash bribe. The package was to be dropped off at an agreed location by someone in the Turkish diplomatic community who was working for the network.

The Turks, she says, often acted as a conduit for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s spy agency, because they were less likely to attract suspicion. Venues such as the American Turkish Council in Washington were used to drop off the cash, which was picked up by the official.

Edmonds said: “I heard at least three transactions like this over a period of 2½ years. There are almost certainly more.”

The Pakistani operation was led by General Mahmoud Ahmad, then the ISI chief.

Intercepted communications showed Ahmad and his colleagues stationed in Washington were in constant contact with attach├ęs in the Turkish embassy.

Intelligence analysts say that members of the ISI were close to Al-Qaeda before and after 9/11. Indeed, Ahmad was accused of sanctioning a $100,000 wire payment to Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, immediately before the attacks.

The results of the espionage were almost certainly passed to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist.

Khan was close to Ahmad and the ISI. While running Pakistan’s nuclear programme, he became a millionaire by selling atomic secrets to Libya, Iran and North Korea. He also used a network of companies in America and Britain to obtain components for a nuclear programme.

Khan caused an alert among western intelligence agencies when his aides met Osama Bin Laden....

In researching this article, The Sunday Times has talked to two FBI officers (one serving, one former) and two former CIA sources who worked on nuclear proliferation. While none was aware of specific allegations against officials she names, they did provide overlapping corroboration of Edmonds’s story.

One of the CIA sources confirmed that the Turks had acquired nuclear secrets from the United States and shared the information with Pakistan and Israel. “We have no indication that Turkey has its own nuclear ambitions. But the Turks are traders. To my knowledge they became big players in the late 1990s,” the source said.

According to Google News, this story that appeared in a famous English newspaper on Sunday has not appeared in the American mainstream media yet as of late Monday. Am I breaking the law by quoting the London Times?

Justin Raimondo has lots more background here at Antiwar.com, including the claim that the crooked spy who was #3 in the State Department was Marc Grossman, who had been U.S. ambassador to Turkey in 1994-1997. Pakistan blew off its first nuclear bomb in May 1998, so the timing of his ambassadorship is interesting (but infinitely far from conclusive). Grossman is now vice-chairman of the Cohen Group lobbying-consulting firm, headed by former Clinton Defense Secretary William Cohen.

Something that finally dawned on me in in recent years is that a lot of the countries that Americans don't take seriously, such as Italy, Mexico, and Turkey, are actually very interesting places. We Americans think of Italy as populated by comic Mario Brothers characters, but to Italians today, and to anyone who has tried to make sense of the Niger Yellowcake Forgery, it's still almost as Machiavellian a place as it seemed to Shakespeare. As I wrote in 2005:
Most Americans feel a deep aversion toward conspiracy theories. To label something as a "conspiracy theory" is to dismiss it out of hand. Americans believe they believe in high-minded principles and believe their enemies believe in evil ideologies. Thus, when members of our government decided to respond to 9/11 by invading Iraq, lots of educated Americans suddenly decided that Osama and Saddam were united by their ideology of Islamofascism, thus justifying the Iraq Attaq. Nobody, including all the alleged Islamofascists, had ever heard of "Islamfofascism" before, but the term quickly became popular among certain classes of Americans. Suggestions that the various players in the Bush Administration were motivated by less principled reasons were denounced as conspiracy theories.

In Italy, in contrast, conspiracy theories are most people's preferred explanation for how the world works, for the simple reason that, in their part of the world, conspiracies are the main mechanism for actually getting anything done. The notion that political operators would favor something on principle seems laughable. The political is personal, in the sense that if you want to understand historical events, you need to understand the connections among the players.

Similarly, we think of Turkey as the Mexico of Europe (and we try to think of Mexico as little as possible), but Turkey turns out to be just as byzantine as you would expect the old Byzantine Empire to be.

For example, Turkey's foreign minister from 1997-2002, Ismail Cem, was a member of the Donmeh, a tiny, little-known, but powerful hereditary group of Salonikan crypto-Jewish followers of Sabbetai Zevi, the 17th Century false messiah and apostate. The strong ties between Israel and the Turkish state are helped by the ethnocultural affinities of a sizable fraction of the Turkish elite.

Does any of this make Sibel Edmonds' story true? No, but it's some background to consider when contemplating the Imperial Fun House.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer