• "God invented war so Americans could learn geography" -- Mark Twain.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Things We Teach Ourselves

The News: An Ohio man was sentenced to 16 years in prison for disciplining his children with cold showers, dunking and making them wear a dog shock collar. Judge Timothy Campbell said the case sounded "like something from Guantanamo Bay."

The Note: Our Guantánamo Bay?

©WCG, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jews Demand to Dictate Church Doctrine

The News: Seeking to heal the rift with so-called “traditional” Catholics, Pope Benedict annulled the excommunication of four Lefebvrist bishops, among them Bishop Richard Williamson who had allegedly denied that millions of Jews were gassed as part of a deliberate Nazi policy.

The Pope’s action “provoked outrage” (NYT) and drew criticism from self-appointed “Jewish groups.” The Anti-Defamation League claimed that lifting William’s excoummunication “undermines” Catholic-Jewish relations. ADL director Abe Foxman stated that the Pope’s action “sends a terrible message to Catholics...that there is room in the [C]hurch for those who would undermine the [C]hurch’s teachings and would would foster disdain and contempt for... Judaism.”

Rabbi David Rosen director of the International Jewish Committee for Interreligious Consultations urged the Vatican to “reiterate” its “unqualified ...condemnation of all and any Holocaust denial.”

Shimon Samuels of the Simon Wiesenthal Center warned of a “political cost” to the Vatican. In a thinly veiled threat of blackmail, Samuels added “I am certain as a man who has know the Nazi regime in his own flesh, [the Pope] understands you have to be very careful and very selective.”

The Note: The instantaneous and furious reaction of the Jewish-Zionist establishment bespeaks the theologico-political agenda they are pursuing. All cultures are founded on a fundamental myth or epic which defines the contours and course of a civilization. The agenda being pursued by the Pope’s outraged critics is none other than to supplant “The Holocaust” as our defining myth. This is not, as some claim, a gambit for money, but rather for power.

At the outset, let it be stated what ought not to be an issue: that the Nazis pursued an aggregate of policies designed to ethnically cleanse territories under their control and to ‘segregate out’ undesired elements from German national life. These policies resulted in “substantial” fatalities among the target groups and, therefore, qualified as genocide pursuant to current definitions under international law. All the rest is “detail” of either a prurient or historically useful interest, depending on the particulars at issue. (Fn-1)

But what also ought not to be at issue is any man’s right to question the prevailing historical narrative. The accusation that Bishop Williamson has “denied” the “Holocaust” is decidedly not an historical accusation but simply an accusation of blasphemy!

The science of history is not physical science. History is an account of conduct and events which are attested to by writings, statements, and circumstantial evidence involving few hard “measureable” facts. History -- or more precisely historical accounts -- are always being re-examined and revised in light of new discoveries and new methodological approaches. The charge that someone “denies” an account is a fundamentally anti-historical accusation.

Those who make the accusation, are never very clear which part of “the Holocaust,” exactly, it is forbidden to question. “Holocaust” -- which strictly speaking means “firestorm” -- is not an historically accurate term. During the world war, millions did die in firestorms, but virtually none of these victims were Jews. The victims of firestorms were primarily Germans and Japanese. The Jews cribbed the word as a rhetorical and dramatic label for their own devastating experience. As thus used, the term stands for a cluster of assertions and images which we are presented as orthodox historical fact. But that orthodox historical account has itself been repeatedly revised by the “non-deniers” and “non-revisionists” themselves. ( Fn-2 )

The epithet of “holocaust denier” is nothing more than a cry to stir up and let loose a legal or media lynch mob. Unfortunately, it usually works. But when the New York Times reports that Williamson “said he did not believe that six million Jews died in the Nazi gas chambers,” it has to be asked which part of the blasphemy is objected to? Is the Times asserting “holocaust denial” consists in denying that six million Jews were gassed? That would be interesting because no one --- absolutely no one -- has ever claimed that six million were gassed. In fact, virtually no historian accepts the six million figure in any case. The Jewish historian Raul Hilberg’s last estimate was 5.1 million and some estimates go as “low” as 3 million. So what exactly was the bishop’s sin?

The bishop’s sin was reading the Leuchter Report -- a 1988 study by a chemical engineer who advanced a number of technical and forensic arguments as to why gas chambers could not have existed. Needless to say the report provoked polemical “counter-studies” (as well as assaults on Leuchter’s credentials and motives), most notably the 1998 Van Pelt Report. However, the sheer voluminousness of Van Pelt's report bespeaks the complexity of the issue. One does not need 1117 pages to prove something that is supposedly "self-evident".

The importance of the polemic is that the existence of killing gas-chambers would provide strong circumstantial evidence of a program of genocide and one, moreover, that would seem to have been particularly targetted at Jews. The problem is that there is only circumstantial evidence of this circumstantial fact. People like Abe Foxman can grow wroth all they want and can heap endless invective on their victims, but the facts to date are far more uncertain than they -- and their propagandists in the press -- would have one believe.

At the Nuremberg Trials (the full records of which are still not fully available to the public), the existence of gas-chambers was presumed almost off-handedly. For example, Justice Parker’s opinion indifferently adopted Commandant Hoess’s estimate that 2.5 million were “gassed” at Auschwitz and Eichman’s (hearsay) report that 6 million Jews perished “of which 4,000.00 were killed in extermination institutions.” As stated, neither the totals nor the gross breakdowns are accepted today. ( Fn-3 )

The latest judicial examination of the issue took place in 2000, in the suit for libel brought by historial David Irving against Deborah E. Lipstadt, who had accused Irving of being a “holocaust denier”. Although Justice Gray, ultimately gave judgement to Lipstadt, he acknowledged the validity of Irving’s contention that there was “little clear evidence of the existence of gas chambers designed to kill humans.” (Opinion, § 13.75) Gray’s opinion makes clear that both the numbers of deaths attributable to killing and the actual existence of gas chambers is fundamentally a question of interpretation and not fact. (Fn-4 Excerpts)

But if the question is one of interpretation, what is left to “deny”? Are people to be branded (and in the case of Germany) prosecuted because they disagree with the self-officialized interpretations of Abe Foxman and the Weisenthal Institute? And if so, how is this different from an Inquisition?

The whole question of Nazi occupation and racial policies, and their conduct of the war in the East, is an extremely complicated topic that is virtually inseverable from the entire question of Nazi ideology and rule. Further complication arises from whether we adopt a juridical or sociological mode of analysis. While the existence or non-existence of “gas chambers” is a significant detail it is by no means sufficient to answer all questions or paint the full picture.

Undoubtedly bishop Williamson was in over his head; but so too are bimbos in the press that blather inanely about the sheer perversity of “denying that six millions were gassed.” Hilberg has conceded that the “six” million figure is “symbolic.” Is gassing “symbolic” too? Were there just “some” prototype gassings or were they carried out on a mass scale? Was Auschwitz a labor camp (as the presence of industrial factories would suggest) or was it a “killing centre” -- how much of “factory of death” is symbolic too? How much historical symbolism and how many "dramatized accounts" are wrapped up in a metaphorical label?

To be fair to the bishop, none of this was anything he was out and about sermonizing. As a Tridentine Catholic, Williamson holds to some archly-conservative views on a variety of topics that run counter to any number of currently prevailing truths and orthodoxies and which will no doubt provoke modernists of all stripes. He can claim no immunity from fair debate on the merits, on account of his cloth. But that is not what this is about. What has been raised is not a debate but an accusation of neo-blasphemy for having dared to question an asserted truth about "the holocaust".

A look at the video interview shows that the remarks in question were something he had said years ago in Canada. These were dredged up from the past by the interviewer who was evidently sniffing about for copy. Williamson was clearly taken off guard and made the tactical mistake of answering off-the cuff from memory, which led him to make what seems to me to be the further mistake of quoting Leuchter’s estimates of deaths at Auschwitz for the total number of Jewish fatalities in the war. Nevertheless, his broader point was that “as far as” he had “understood the evidence” as weighed by experts there was “no direct evidence” of a “deliberate policy” to gas Jews. If they changed their conclusion, he would probably change his. Those remarks were not that far removed from Justice Gray's findings as to the paucity of direct evidence on the issue. [Bishop Interview ]

But in the end, what of it? In the end, the whole brouha boils down to no more than that a bishop had read and was convinced by historical interpretations advanced by people who seemed to him be experts in their field. Big deal.

Far more telling is the reaction of a holocaust establishment that seems intent on hunting down every “denier” as ruthlessly as Eichman “scoured” Europe for Jews. Is Williamson to be haled before some Weisenthal Tribunal and punished for reading the wrong book?

In the end, the Jewish/Zionist establishment doesn’t really care about Williamson. He is simply the bait in a larger game. According to Foxman, the the Pope’s action allows room in the Church for those “who would would foster disdain and contempt for... Judaism.” This is nonsense, but telling nonsense.

The Pope did not reinstate Williamson and the others because they had supposedly “denied the holocaust” -- he reinstated them as an matter of rapprochment within the Church among Catholics. This no one else's business. It is not for Abe Foxman to say who should or should not be incorporated into the Body of Christ.

Neither Williamson’s statement, much less the Pope’s action, in anyway foster “disdain of Judaism” -- even if he had known of remarks made by Williamson years ago. Foxman’s leap from “gas chambers” to “Judaism” is so utterly illogical that one is left wondering if he believes the two to be the same. He does. As Gilad Atzmon writes:

"Philosopher Yeshayahu Leibowitz, the German born Hebrew University professor, was probably the first to suggest that the Holocaust has become the new Jewish religion. 'The Holocaust' is far more than historical narrative, it indeed contains most of the essential religious elements: it has its priests (Simon Wiesenthal, Elie Wiesel, Deborah Lipstadt, etc.) and prophets (Shimon Peres, Benjamin Netanyahu and those who warn about the Iranian Judeocide to come). It has its commandments and dogmas ('never again', 'six million', etc.). It has its rituals (memorial days, Pilgrimage to Auschwitz etc.). It establishes an esoteric symbolic order (kapo, gas chambers, chimneys, dust, Musselmann, etc.). It has its shrines and temples (Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Museum and now the UN). If this is not enough, the Holocaust religion is also maintained by a massive economic network and global financial infrastructures (Holocaust industry a la Norman Finkelstein). Most interestingly, the Holocaust religion is coherent enough to define the new 'antichrists' (the Deniers) and it is powerful enough to persecute them (Holocaust denial laws)." [Article] [Fn 5 Holodays]
Rabbi Rosen’s demand that the Vatican issue “unqualified ...condemnation of all and any Holocaust denial.” is nothing other than a bald and bold attempt to dictate the Church’s doctrinal magisterium.

Precisely because it would be absurd for the Church to go about condemning historical accounts of this and that, any such action by the Pope would ipso facto elevate the issue to a doctrinal level. Given the fact that the Church does not even condemn denial of Christ’s Divinity and Resurrection, Rosen’s demand is nothing less than that the Church adopt a new and higher object of devotion and that it accept the Suffering Jew as the New Lamb of God.

©WCG, 2009

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Good Caesar

The News:
Moving swiftly to undo the most notorious tyrannies of the previous regime, President Obama issued executive orders scheduling the close of Guantánamo prison, prohibiting secret CIA renditions and forbidding harsh interrogation techniques. Obama also cancelled Bush/Cheney secrecy acts designed to keep their official papers under seal.

The Note: The president's action cannot but be welcome. However, the question remains, Why were our institutions so incapable of resisting the clear tyranny and shameful thugishness of the neocon administration? Why was Congress so cowardly and supine in face of acts which undermined our liberties and appalled the world? Why did the Supreme Court cowtow and grovel like some trembling satrap before supposed presidential "prerogatives"? Obama's orders today are like those of the "good Caesars" of yore who released the falsely imprisoned, remitted unjust penalties and burned the secret reports of informers. But none of these welcome rectifications restored the Republic. The rule of law is not restored by the acts of a man.

©WCG, 2009


Friday, January 16, 2009

Anguish & Shame

The News: Another Israeli "precision bomb" supposedly "targetted" at combatants only, again managed to slaughter more civilians and more children, this time the daughters of Izz el-Deen Aboul Aish a gynecologist who had worked in one of Israel's main hospitals before he was imprisoned without leave in the Gaza Ghetto pursuant to the Israeli imposed "blockade". In an audio-cast that will not be shown on the AIPAC and Zionist controlled US media, Israeli television broadcast Aboul Aish's desperate cries for help and anguished utterances of grief,

"My girls were sitting at home planning their futures, talking, then suddenly they are being shelled," he said in a voice shaking with emotion. "I want to know why they were killed, who gave the order?"

The Note: The doctor's cries are almost unbearable to listen to. But equally of note is the look of unease, disquiet and shame that slowly overcomes the Israeli broadcaster. This is what it looks like when conscience makes contact with synderesis. It is more than we will see on U.S. television, whose anchor-people float adrift on a dead sea of moral indifference masquerading under the rubric of "news neutrality". They would do well to remember Dante's observation that between heaven and hell lies the land of the neutrals despised equally by those above and those below. And we would do well to remember that although these anguished cries are the direct result of Israeli barbarism, they are also the result of the psychotic cunning of the American Jewish establishment and the prostituted cowardice that pervades Congress. We would do well to remember, that all vintage is always trampled out eventually.

©WCG, 2009

[Reuters report here]

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Besmirching the Law

The News:
As half the world has read and seen, a young black man was shot point blank in the back by a transit police officer in Oakland California. The transit officers -- dressed in the now usual flak gear -- had detained four youths for rowdy behaviour on a train. The four were kept seated against the wall on the ground while the officers "investigated." A cell-phone video taken by a passenger on the train showed Oscar Grant, hands up front, being told to lie face down on the ground. Grant complied whereupon Johannes Mehserle, 27, pulled out his gun and shot him in the back. The victim died shortly thereafter.

Mehserle immediately resigned from the force, thereby immunizing himself from having to answer questions during any internal investigation. As a (now) ordinary citizen, Mehserle can invoke his Miranda rights against self-incrimination. Meanwhile, the local District Attorney's Office announced that it was proceeding with a thorough investigation into the matter in order to decide whether or not to charge Mehserle.

Outraged Blacks took to protesting, during which three were arrested and charged forthwith with resisting police officers.

The Note: The incident illustrates, yet again, the lawlessness of the cops and the utter bankruptcy of the US criminal (in)justice system.

There can be little doubt that rancid racism pervades US police forces. Blacks are routinely harrassed and brutalized by cops beyond whatever may be necessary to enforce the law. But the underlying and more important point is that, in doing so, cops show themselves to be a law unto themselves. This in turn points to a still yet greater evil: the prostituted corruption of the justice system that is supposed to supervise the police.

By statute, police are given special license to carry arms and use such force as would otherwise be prohibited to the rest of us in most situations. But license is not the same as carte blanche. An officer's use of force must always conform to limits and standards set by the force and, ultimately, to the mandates of the law.

Police have always resisted any notion of supervision. They have resorted to the excuse that determining whether force was properly used in any situation requires a specialised expertise that "ordinary" people do not have. The analogy used is that it requires a military man to judge military tactics. There is some merit to the argument, but not nearly as much as cops would pretend. As much as they may want to para-militarize themselves, civilian law enforcement is not war and involves far simpler and ordinary considerations. Ultimately, the plaint that police conduct should be investigated internally is simply a demand to be the judge of one's own case -- a claim that has always repugnant to the univerally fundamental notions of justice.

But it is precisly that repugnancy that politicians and the judiciary have connived to perpetuate. Across the land, every attempt to set up citizen-oversight boards has been watered down to the point of meaninglessness. A host of privileges, exemptions and procedures exist to embarrass any serious investigation by third parties. Mehserle's self-immunization is an example.

Certainly every ordinary citizen should have the right to refuse to answer police questions. But Mehserle was not an "ordinary" citizen. He was a special licensee and agent of the state. He undertook a special oath to uphold the law and he was granted a variety of benefits in exchange for his commitment. The idea that a police officer could unilaterally abrogate all his duties and undertakings simply by walking away from them is offensive to fundamental notions of responsibility. Certainly Mehserle could shield himself from investigation for events that took place from and after his resignation; but it is sheer repugnancy to law to say that he can shield himself ex post facto for events occuring before his resignation. And yet a debased law allows precisely that.

The trump card in the argument for police self-patrolling is that local district attorneys will exercise ultimate oversight and will bring criminal charges when appropriate. But the present case illustrates what a farce that argument is.

The unfortunate fact is the most district attorneys, far from regarding themsleves as custodians of law think of themselves as no more than the legal arm of law enforcement. The cops handle the case up to the court house door, the prosecutor takes it on from there. But that is not correct. Obviously, police and prosecutors must collaborate; but they do not do so as equals or as team-mates. Over and over again the highest state and federal courts have said that a prosecutor's paramount duty is to the law and to see that justice is done. A prosecutor (as all attorneys) is an officer of the court not a law enforcement officer. Disgracefully, far from hewing to their fiduciary duties to the law, most prosecutors act no better than water boys for th team.

Again, the present case serves as an example. The local District Attorney had no problem arresting and charging three protesters who were said to have assaulted crowd control officers. And yet, that same office announced it would take two or more weeks to investigate the shooting incident. Baloney. With a video showing one man shooting a prostrate man in the back, there isn't a prosecutor in the land who would not be at clerk's desk at eight in the morning with a complaint charging first degree murder. .... provided, the suspect was not a cop.

The excuse dished up by the Oakland District Attorney -- that they needed to investigate whether the shooting might not have been a mistake -- is slop worse than SOS. "Mistake" is a defense; it is brought up by the accused. To be sure, prosecutors routinely take into consideration potential defenses that could be brought up during trial. But a case consisting of an unprovoked shooting of a prostrate man, is not one of them. With evidence like that, any prosecutor would be more than eager to file charges, delighted at the prospect of seeing a defendant trying to argue "ooops".

What "we have to investigate" really means in this case is "we have to two-step and shuffle" to see if we can't figure out a way to plausibly argue "insufficient evidence" to bring charges against Mehserle. That's all there is to "investigate" because the case-for-murder is otherwise patently visible. The notion, being leaked and floated, that Mehserle thought he had pulled out his taser is just as patently absurd. An experienced officer mistakes the feel of a gun for the feel of a taser? Oh puleeze.

But aside from the ludicrousness of the hypothesized defense, is the fact that the "prosecutors" are spinning their wheels trying to dream up utterly risible excuses. Step back. Mehserle has resigned from the force and refuses to talk . Faced with a situation where the prime suspect in a homiced refuses to talk and refuses to make known his excuse or explanation, so called "prosecutors" are sitting around trying to figure out what possible defenses the suspect could maybe come up with if and when he stops not talking.

It is beyond belief; and the only explanation for this prosecutorial conduct is that they are foot-dragging and trying to figure out how not to charge Mehserle with murder. Law and Justice are utterly besmirched.

©WCG 2009


Thursday, January 8, 2009

Israel Accuses Vatican of Terrorist Propaganda

The News: Speaking in an on-line interview, Cardinal Renato Martino, head of the Vatican's Office for Justice and Peace, condemned the resort to violence and likened the conditions in Gaza to those of a concentration camp.

The Cardinal's remarks were ignored by the major US media outlets; however they did not go unnoticed in Israel which condemned the comparison. Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told Reuters that "The vocabulary of Hamas propaganda, coming from a member of the College of Cardinals, is a shocking and disappointing phenomenon” which was totally removed from "truth and dignity".

The Note: What would Israel know about truth? It has so consistently twisted, shifted and blurred the truth that it wouldn't recognize a lie if it walked smack into it. Virtually every humanitarian organization in the world, including the International Red Cross and UN Relief Agencies have condemned both Israel's food and fuel blockade of Gaza and its grotesquely disproportionate response to Hamas "rocket" attacks. Are they all lying? Of course not.

Dropping 1000 pound bunkerbuster bombs is not what one would call "proportionate" to the firepower of hand-held rockets and mortars that, at most, can punch a hole in a roof a thousand or so meters away. Five hundred Palestinian deaths to three of four Israeli casualties is no nowhere close to one eye for one eye.

Most importantly, withholding food and fuel from people trapped in a walled and barb-wired enclosure is what ghettos and concentration camps are all about. Not even the philo-semitic US press which all but has its copy written for it in the Israel Foreign Office has been able to suppress the fact that for the past year Israel has subjected Gaza to a blockade of food, fuel and medicine. When food is withheld, people starve. Is that too a lie?

"Israel is committing a shocking series of atrocities by using modern weaponry against a defenceless population - attacking a population that has been enduring a severe blockade for many months," according to UN Relief coordinator Richrd Falk speaking in a BBC interview.

Israel's conduct is so outrageous that the International Red Cross has taken the unusual step of publicly condemning Israel's violation of humanitarian law after, its aid workers were shot at, barred from rendering assistance and, after four days, found the starved and emaciated bodies of four children huddling next to their dead mother amid the corpses of 10 other women and children. [Reuters report and video here]

Dignity? What would Israel know about dignity? True dignity, as opposed to pomp, power and pride, avoids whining, bombast and hypocricy.

Back in February 2008, Israeli threatened Gaza with a "holocaust". Faced with a stunned and shocked world, Israel's hasbarah mavens started back-pedalling, arguing that "holocaust" really only meant a "snafu," mess-up, chaos in the kitchen and stuff like that -- which is why Zionists build Snafu Memorials everywhere they can. Any bear with a brain understood what Israel was threatening.

By the end of the year, Israel was making good on its threat. Haaretz military correspondent Amos Harel has called the operation Israel's version of "shock and awe." Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilani, acknowledged that the Israeli military "has made preparations for long weeks of action" and according to Prime Minister Olmert's the bombardment was "the first of several stages approved by the security cabinet". This would be followed by a land incursion which Southern Command General Yoav Galant would "send Gaza decades into the past".

What is a "shocking phenomenon" is that Israel can so shamelessly drape itself in the mantle of dismayed piety when conduct it has admitted and even bragged about is pointed out critically. If blasting an imprisoned and starved enclave back decades is not what concentration camps and holocausts are all about then nothing is.

Even in Israel, and even on the pages of Haaretz or the Jerusalem Post one can find acknowledgement of facts that are buried deep in the U.S. press, if they are printed at all. Even in Israel, there is trenchant criticism by Jews of self-brainwashing, paranoia and suspicion that has taken hold of the greater part of Jewish society. There is no denying there that the "barrage of rockets" penetrating "into" Israel are little more than an obnoxious nuisance that inflict minor property damage on a farming town several hundred meters from Gaza. There is no denial there that the real aim behind the official crocodile tears is to displace a Hamas that was duly elected in elections Israel itself had insisted upon. There is no ignorance in Israel that what the government really wants is to impose a Quisling regime -- a compliant "council" -- to keep Concentration Camp Gaza quiet.

But while the entire rest of the world is aware of and appalled by Israel's conduct, the United States is kept in the dark by a government and media that is abjectly subservient to zionist interests. Instead of dignity and truth, the US gets barraged with belligerent nonsense such as the White House statement that "These people are nothing but thugs, so Israel is going to defend its people against terrorists like Hamas." Or, it gets fed, from neocon word-punks on the New York Timesmore of the same old untruths extolling an Israeli success in Gaza as a victory in the war on terror. Yes indeed... the endless, murderous victory of the victimized bullies.

Cardinal Martino spoke up for the weak and defenceless with truth and dignity. It is the regime in Israel that resorts to hypocrisy and lies in order to obscure its shameless crimes.

©WCG, 2009


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Our Right to Charity

The News: Due to the global economic crisis and falling oil prices, Venezuela-owned CITGO announced that it was dropping its "cheap heating oil program" which provided low cost fuel to 200,000 U.S. households. A spokesman for Citizens Energy Corp., which distributed the oil for CITGO, said the decision was a shock coming as it did "not only in the middle of the winter, but in the middle of an economic shot."

The Note: While the decision creates an indisputable hardship for the indigent recipients, the reaction seems to assume that we -- as Americans -- are entitled to charity. Does it ever occur to anyone in this country -- the foremost exploiter of other people around the world -- that maybe Venezuelans are having a hard time of it too? The cheek is astounding. Hugo Chavez got no thanks from us when he instituted the program. In fact, our media spat in his face and said the move was "just propaganda". Of course, that didn't stop us from quietly accepting the charity. Nor, apparently, does it stop us from raising a victimized wail when a global economic disaster we and we alone caused requires Venezuela to take measures to protect its own.



Monday, January 5, 2009

Hidden Messages

The News: Reuters reported today that the abduction of a U.S. anti-kidnap expert in northern Mexico last month remained a mystery with no clues to the man's whereabouts. Felix Batista, based in Miami, had been invited to Coahuila by state police to give seminars on security. He was abducted on December 10th and has not be heard or seen since. No ransom has been demanded.

The Note: Ransom was not the point now, was it?