Friday, December 23, 2005

Conspiracy of the Jews?—Part II


When I published “Conspiracy of the Jews?” two weeks ago, I was roundly criticized by many readers for going over the line.

In that piece I questioned why Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne had thought to slam the respected New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman for having a pro-Israel bias in his editorials, in a Motley Fool rant about ace financial reporter Herb Greenberg and star "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer.

It was hard to imagine any CEO bringing up an issue in a manner smacking of anti-Semitism, and I was skeptical even Patrick Byrne would have written the following about Greenberg and Cramer:

"They resemble Thomas Friedman's write-ups on the Arab-Israeli conflict: "Let's see, Arabs, Israel, Arabs... Israel, Arabs........ Israel...... okay, I gotta call this one for the Israeli's." In op-ed after op-ed."


What on earth, I asked, did Tom Friedman’s supposed pro-Israel bias have to do with the subject of Byrne’s rant, other than that all Byrne’s targets in the piece were Jewish?

Yet, while Byrne really did write that stuff, readers used the space below to call “Conspiracy of the Jews?” “hysterical” and “claptrap” and worse.

So in case you're one of the hundreds of millions of Americans who do not listen to something called the Christian Financial Radio Network, let me “drill down,” as the analysts like to say, into the religious issue, by reporting here on an interview CFRN did with Overstock.com CEO Patrick Byrne, including a segment about who or what appears to be behind the naked shorting financial scandal he believes to be hurting his company.

The interview took place on Friday December 16th, and it lasted for an hour and a half. (You can listen to it at a speeded-up rate in far less time on the CFRN web site).

In the midst of the usual paranoid-sounding diatribe against the so-called naked short-selling scandal, Byrne is encouraged to get specific about the root causes of the problem. The host asks:

“Are we dealing with the traditional old-boy network or has organized crime gotten involved?”

To this, Patrick Byrne says the following, and I quote him:

“Every rabbit hole you go down leads to either [sic] the Italian mob, the Russian mob or the Israeli mob, and nobody's ever asked about that, and I haven't pressed the issue…but every rabbit hole you go down you end up in one of those three places….

“The Israeli mob and the Russian mob are the two ones [sic] who scare me.”

Those are the words of Patrick M. Byrne, CEO of Overstock.com.
I am not making them up.

Byrne goes on to discuss, briefly, the “Russian mob” as a kind of band of marauders who perpetrate scams and then retreat to their “dachas” on the Caspian Sea for a break before the next scam.

He elaborates in far greater detail on the nefariousness of the so-called “Israeli mob”:

“If you Google 'ecstasy Israeli mafia' you'll find articles that basically the Israeli mob…is thought to control 75% of the ecstasy trade in the United States.”

Now, as with Byrne’s bringing up Thomas Friedman’s supposed pro-Israel tendencies in a Motley Fool rant, I find it hard to understand how Israel’s supposed domination of the ecstasy trade in the United States relates to naked short-selling on the U.S. stock exchanges.

But let’s assume, for a minute, that it does.

And let’s do exactly what Patrick Byrne says: let’s Google 'ecstasy Israeli mafia' and see what we come up with.

Okay, I Googled the phrase and I got 30,600 results in 0.16 seconds.

Hmmm. Patrick Byrne appears to be right: when you type in those three words, you get articles that—this is incredible—accuse Israel of controlling the U.S. ecstasy trade!


Let's look at the first page, one link at a time.

The first two links are to the web site of an author touting a book he wrote about the rise and fall of an Israeli kingpin in the ecstasy trade, but he doesn’t particularly focus on the Israelis-as-uber-mobsters angles that Patrick says “scare me.”

The third listed link resulting from this Google search recommended by Patrick Byrne—and I am not making this up—is to the web site of Al Jazeera.

Yes, you have it right: that Al Jazeera.

For a moment, let’s skip the fourth and fifth links and go to the sixth link of the Google search results: it is a Lyndon LaRouche web site, and it contains what it calls “a contender for the story of the new century: the investigation of the connections between detained Israeli spies and the events of Sept. 11.”

The article explains that the 9/11 attacks were “a coup d’etat” attempt against George Bush involving—you guessed it—Israelis. I am not making that up.

The seventh link on the Google search is to the web site of "Radio Islam," and the web page is headed:
Jews and Crime.

The sub-headings read as follows:


Jewish Gangsters
—Jewish Money Laundering and Counterfeiting
— Jews and Drugs
—Jews and Arms Sales
—Israel a Haven for Jewish Criminals
—Jews and Scandals
—Jews and Slave Trade
—Jews and the Sex Industry

There are more, but you get the picture.

Sick as this these are, it is the fourth and fifth links that are the most disturbing to me, for they lead to a web site for something called “The International Campaign for Real History.”

Recall that Patrick Byrne said, and I quote:


“If you Google 'ecstasy Israeli mafia' you'll find articles that basically the Israeli mob…is thought to control 75% of the ecstasy trade in the United States.”

Well, the article that comes up on “Real History” is called “The agony of the Ecstasy” by one Nathan Guttman, and it starts out as follows:


The most commonly heard estimate is that Israeli criminals control no less than 75 percent of the Ecstasy market in the U.S.

I don't know if this particular web site is the one where Patrick Byrne got his alleged facts about the so-called Israeli mafia. I certainly hope not. Because if the phrase “The International Campaign for Real History” makes your throat tighten a little and your mind start to hope it’s not about what you think it’s about—well, I’m sorry.

That’s exactly what it’s about.

The site is historian David Irving’s, and if you have never heard of David Irving, then the following quote from him, which you can find on the links to this site, explains what he means by 'Real History':

“Until the end of this tragic century there will always be incorrigible historians, statesmen, and publicists who are content to believe, or have no economically viable alternative but to believe, that the Nazis used 'gas chambers' at Auschwitz to kill human beings. But it is now up to them to explain to me as an intelligent and critical student of modern history why there is no significant trace of any cyanide compound in the building which they have always identified as the former gas chambers.”

I am truly sorry to have published this two days before both Christmas Day and the start of Hanukkah, but until yesterday I had not bothered to listen to yet another seemingly trivial rant by the CEO of Overstock.com.


Patrick Byrne is scheduled to be on Bloomberg TV this morning to talk about holiday sales results.

I hope they ask him tougher questions than that.


Jeff Matthews
I Am Not Making This Up

© 2005 Jeff Matthews

The content contained in this blog represents the opinions of Mr. Matthews. Mr. Matthews also acts as an advisor and clients advised by Mr. Matthews may hold either long or short positions in securities of various companies discussed in the blog based upon Mr. Matthews' recommendations.




2 comments:

the management said...

Jeff - it isn't "that" Al Jazeera; it's slightly worse than that. The Arab news station has the URL english.aljazeera.net. They're not associated with Al Jazeera magazine which owns aljazeera.com. The magazine at aljazeera.com is actually quite significantly more nuts and certainly much less reputable than the TV network.

Jeff Matthews said...

To all: I am not going to publish further comments on this blog at this time. The comments this particular post has received are too inflammatory and go in a direction I do not want to go. The post speaks for itself.

Thanks and we will restart the commentary at a later date.