Balkinization  

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Catholic Church and intellectual freedom

Sandy Levinson

The Catholic Church, courtesy of Pope Benedict XVI, is currently facing facing "an internal and external political crisis," according to the New York Times. The reason is simple: The German-born and -raised former Joseph Ratzinger has welcomed back into full communion within the Church an excommunicated priest who had not only rejected the reforms of Vatican II, but also denies the existence of the Holocaust. The Vatican has released a statement stating that the views of Richard Williamson were “unknown to the Holy Father at the time he revoked the excommunication.” One may or may not choose to believe this. If it is true, it suggests a failure on the part of Vatican "vetters" that makes any of the Obama team's mistakes small beer indeed.

I obviously have not an iota of sympathy for a Holocaust denier, which is legitimately taken to be synonymous with the most virulent form of anti-Semitism. But I also confess to having very mixed views on reading that the "Vatican Secretariat of State said that Bishop Williamson 'must absolutely, unequivocally and publicly distance himself from his positions on the Shoah.'" What, precisely, is Bishop Williamson supposed to say? A. "I've looked at the relevant materials, and I realize that I've been wrong all these years. It is as if my eyes have genuinely opened for the first time, and I see that the Holocaust really and truly happened. I am grateful to the Holy Father for giving me this opportunity to learn the errors of my previous opinions, and I happily renounce them." B. "Nothing I've read has led me to change my views, which were, obviously, the result of study of the work of David Irving and others who persuaded me by the force of their argument, but I bow to the position of the Holy Father and hereby 'distance myself' from anything I've earlier said. My American friends might think of the position of what they call "inferior courts" who, with some regularity, follow precedents of the United States Supreme Court even if they are not persuaded by these decisions. Thus, to quote an American federal district judge for whom Sanford Levinson once clerked, 'Although I agree thoroughly with the Supreme Court dissenters rather than with the majority in [a recent decision on criminal procedure],it is obvious that this case would on appeal be controlled by [the case]. Therefore, in deference to the superior force and authority' of the Papacy, which is structurally identical to the Supreme Court whose 'force and authority' Judge McMillan was submitting to, I hereby agree to 'distance myself' from the view that I in fact believe and, in deference to the Holy Father, profess to believe something I do not."

The Church obviously has a very checkered history regarding what some of us believe is captured in the notion of intellectual freedom, including the freedom to be dreadfully wrong. "Recantation" or "distancing" would not only raise the most severe questions about Bishop Williamson's own intellectual integrity (assuming one can use such terms with regard to a Holocaust denier); it would also reinforce the view that the Church--especially under the current Pope?--does not intend to be friendly to anyone who fails to toe a given Vatican line.

Comments:

To me, the interesting thing is not that it demonstrates that the Vatican doesn't like dissent -- I mean, hello, this is a fundamental characteristic of the Church, is it not? -- it's the rather odd epistemological view that if one "recants" a view then one no longer actually holds it. That is, isn't the problem having a Bishop that actually is a Holocaust denier, not merely having one that says he is? And does the Vatican really believe that he will cease to be a Holocaust denier merely by saying so? But then, I guess for an institution that thinks muttering some hocus-pocus words can turn a cracker into Christ -- and not in some namby-pamby symbolic way like those silly Protestants -- this is par for the course.
 

Thanks, Sandy, for keeping comments on.
 

Well, let's see, Joe could have chosen not to accept Dick back, thus showing that Joe and his sponsor are not cool with either bigotry or indifference to fact. That option obviously isn't available any more.

Joe now has the three remaining options: toss Dick out again, which would embarrass Joe and generally undermine Joe's image of knowing what he's about, an image he values; tell Dick to say it isn't so, which as you point out isn't very believable, raising as it does questions such as exactly when did he discover this, what new fact convinced him, how was it this fact was unavailable to him for the previous thirty years, and so on; or stonewall and hope the issue goes away.

Joe went for option three for a while. Now he goes for option two. Perhaps he's hoping if Dick doesn't make nice, that'll give him (Joe) an opening to go for option one with minimal blowback: "well, I tried to be reasonable, I tried to work it out, but in the end he wouldn't work with me here, so I had to let him go".

This is a problem that Joe has created for Joe, so I have little sympathy for him. I'd go so far as to say it'd serve Joe right if Dick offered a surface apology with no substance, thus leaving Joe with neither a publicly acceptable reason to fire Dick nor a way to relieve the public pressure on Joe. Joe of course is hoping this doesn't happen.

The context of intellectual freedom seems beside the point. Popes have told dissenting clergy to shut up, say the opposite of what you've been saying, go far away from everyone and do little, get with the program or I'll fire you, and so on, for centuries. The merits of the issue have seldom been allowed to interfere or even become relevant. The Roman church has in spite of this somehow managed to create an impressive body of scholarship and scholars; go figure; but the bottom line is the Pope doesn't have to let intellectual freedom even become an issue, and seldom does. And in any case Joe's problem isn't with Dick's scholarship, it's with his positions. Dick can't defend them, but Joe would have the same problem with Dick even if Dick could (just ask Galileo).

An intellectually honest response to Dick would be to say he has no more place in this organization than someone who believes the earth is flat, and the particular tenor of his warped views of reality is offensive to us, and the fact that he's gone with his cretinous bigotry for thirty years doesn't lead us to believe that we can reason with him, so his ass is fired -- and he's perfectly free to believe what he likes, just not with the name of our organization attached to him. This too is an option open to Joe, but he doesn't seem to grasp that. So much for intellectual freedom; not an issue here.
 

Perhaps, taking a page out of George W. Bush's playbook, the pope can revoke the excommunication rescission before it is delivered to and accepted by the appropriate authority.
 

I don't really see, like some of the other commenters here, that intellectual freedom necessarily has a place in a strictly hierarchical religious organization.
 

Oh, I'd allow as how even strict hierarchical religious organizations can choose to respect intellectual freedom, and the more they do, the more the future is interested in them.

And to give the Roman church its due, it has tolerated and even valued scholarship.

But it has chosen a bottom line that's implicit in the matter of Dick as in so many others. It never occurs to Joe that he can't control Dick's views, merely his membership status. That Joe doesn't get this is illuminating; it reveals a bottom line.

For that matter, why does Dick want to be a member of an organization that considers his views factually incorrect and morally bankrupt? And why does this question never occur to Joe? Why doesn't Joe just ask Dick this? Wouldn't it be an obvious question, and a fair one, and relevant? Of course; but again, that Joe hasn't asked it reveals a bottom line.

I'd say this bottom line is not necessary to all strict hierarchical relgiious organizations; it's not inherent. It is easy for such organizations to fall into, to be sure.

I'd also point out there are advantages to a strict hierarchical religious organization. And the really weird part of this present situation, not without irony, is Joe isn't even using some of such advantages available to him.

It is for instance within Joe's power to simply say, once and without appeal and utterly binding on every member of the clergy, that denial of the Holocaust has no place in this organization, period, end of story, starting now, immediately, and for the rest of time. That is one thing you can do in a strictly hierarchical organization -- and you can see the advantages. No messing around, no committee work, no votes, no need for validation, no delay, no nonsense.

Now the irony would be: because of Joe's apparent reluctance to use the power he has, it would appear he got himself into a great deal more trouble at the end of the day.
 

Well, as Sandy suggests, it would set a sort of odd precedent to make certain facts about history part of the core official church doctrine from which members of the organization may not deviate. Though I suppose I don't see the harm in it; you know, surely if all priests are forced to affirm the triune nature of Christ, it isn't such a stretch or burden to force them to affirm the reality of the Holocaust. But I suppose the fear is that you'd have a slippery slope where the Church could get to mandating all sorts of official Church lines on secular world affairs.
 

This comment has been removed by the author.
 

Debating the Holocaust: A New Look At Both Sides by Thomas Dalton, PhD

Publisher's Note: This is a non-Revisionist title for Theses & Dissertations Press. It will be the first book on the Holocaust, in publishing history, that will not take a Traditionalist or a Revisionist point of view. When you purchase this book, one-third of the proceeds will go to Germar Rudolf and his family.


http://www.amazon.com/Debating-Holocaust-Look-Both-Sides/dp/1591480051/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233219533&sr=1-1

Founded in 2000 the publishing company Theses & Dissertations Press is at the center of a worldwide network of scholars and activists who are working -- often at great personal sacrifice -- to separate historical fact from propaganda fiction. The founder of Theses & Dissertations Press is Germar Rudolf. Who is currently serving prison time for his published works and will be released on July 4, 2009.

As the new director of Germar Rudolf's American publishing division, I wish to express my outrage that the Holocaust, unlike any other historical event, is not subject to critical revisionist investigation. Furthermore I deplore the fact that many so-called democratic states have laws that criminalize public doubting of the Holocaust. It is my position that the veracity of Holocaust assertions should be determined in the marketplace of scholarly discourse and not in our legislatures bodies and courthouses.


Peace.

Michael Santomauro
Editorial Director
Call: 917-974-6367
ReporterNotebook@Gmail.com
 

I think the Church already does this, albeit implicitly. Imagine, for example, how it would react to a priest who denied that there ever was such a thing as the Council of Nicea, and insisted that the Creed was a forgery.
 

There are interesting parallels among ethics repositories, religions, which at some transits in time mingle politics and history. Ratzinger is handicapped by some of his institution's history, though he takes a cerebral didactic revisionist approach to explicating that subjective dilemma. Renouncing the V-II conference would be an excellent step forward, but, also, for some in the current primate's coterie, an idealized portal to a configuration even more retrogressed than the current polity of his institution as ethicscentric. Nevertheless, he is too current with respect to central European history to escape his need to withdraw, or seek his candidate's withdrawal from ahistoricality. There was another German, also young and bright, a contemporary of Ratzinger in some respects, though born in late century XIX, Joseph Pehm born in the town Csehimindszenty, Hungary. Pehm at some time changed his name to Mindszenty. He endured house arrest and prison, later becoming a refugee in the US embassy. His various forms of containment by authorities in Hungary spanned two occupations, one by Germany, then by the Soviet Union. The US' Time magazine even featured 'Mindszenty' on its cover once when he was a famous prelate.

Note, that this comment skips the post question concerning freedom, instead perhaps focusing on a central European sense of history and oppression. I think much of what Ratzinger's instincts guide him to do emanates from that matrix, which is a configuration of orthodoxies and ethics.
 

As someone who has (to her great sorrow) spent waaay too much time worshipping in *canonical* traditionalist parishes (i.e. those parishes that celebrate the 1962 mass and are in the local RC diocese) Williamson's comments don't really shock me. There are already plenty of in communion with Rome clergy and laity who hold very irregular political views, to put it mildly. Realistically Rome can't police people's political views (unless its liberal clergy who are punished for speaking out, of course), but at a minimum Williamson needs to be reduced to the status of a layperson, so his noxious views are merely the private rants of a reactionary buffoon.
 

Willliamson is a fruitcake - I've assembled a sampler from his personal blog here.

IMHO too much attention has been paid to the Holocaust denial, where Williamson is out on his own, and not enough to the ancient charge of Jewish deicide. This was pretty standard Catholic fare until Vatican II disowned it in Nostra aetate. Williamson's whole group, the Society of St Pius X, contest the Vatican II decrees as dangerous innovations, and have declared their intention of continuing to agitate against them. The Pope hasn't said anything against this.
 

PS: And since the falsity of deicide is a matter of Church doctrine not historical fact, there are no issues of intellectual freedom that could impede the Pope from requiring the Lefebvrists to toe the line.
 

James: excellent points. Clearly Dick is free to spout nonsense and bigotry on other points. Joe says nothing, does nothing, about that. So this has little to do with intellectual freedom. Rather, it's about the Roman church's acceptance of anti-Semitism, which it appears is substantial and longstanding. So even today, Dick's anti-Semitism has to go a long way before Joe will object.

So in light of that, perhaps this is a good thing. Perhaps it will force the Roman church to confront its heritage of and continuing anti-Semitism. Dick is not making it easy for Joe to walk away from that; well, good.
 

I am not a Catholic myself, but it is my understanding that the Catholic Church distinguishes between things that are heretical, i.e., basic articles of faith that you cannot dissent from and still be a Catholic, and things that are merely wrong. (Morally or factually, Holocaust denial being both).

My understanding is that:

(1) Articles of faith and heresy are usually confined to theological matters and do not include Holocaust denial.

(2) The Church only excommunicates for actual heresy.

(3) It can, nonetheless, deny a pulpit to a priest for being wrong enough.

IOW, I agree with Amandainsjc.
 

Consider: this church denies not only a pulpit but priesthood, completely, immediately, and irrevocably, to any priest who gets married. And no heresy involved. Doesn't need to be. "It's the policy of this organization" is all that's needed.

So tell me again why Dick is still a priest?

Joe has the power any time he wants to make bigotry as unacceptable in the priesthood as getting married. If he chooses not to, that tells us more about him, and his organization, than it does about Dick.
 

the catholic church has amassed a substantial body of scholarly literature from a field largely composed of their own john yoo's.

free scholarship within narrowly defined boundaries.

any hiererarchical religous organization is going to be fundamentally opposed to intellectual freedom whenever it feels threatened.
 

Agreed w/ Enlightened Layperson -- being an asshole is not a religious disqualification, even if it suggests an imperfect practice of the church's teachings.

Being any kind of clergy, however, can and should require something more.

Thus, I think the Vatican's response is correct, just a week or two late, for what should've been a no-brainer.

In particular, the Curia's attitude that Benedict didn't have to condemn the denialists, because he did so last year or whenever, is just petty. "Aw, honey, I told you *last* week I loved you! I'm just going to refer you to my previous statement."
 

The original post said,
>>>>>>> The Vatican has released a statement stating that the views of Richard Williamson were “unknown to the Holy Father at the time he revoked the excommunication.” One may or may not choose to believe this. If it is true, it suggests a failure on the part of Vatican "vetters" that makes any of the Obama team's mistakes small beer indeed. <<<<<<<

Williamson's statements of holocaust denial were made just days before his excommunication was lifted. So far as I know, holocaust denial is not grounds for excommunication in the Catholic church. IMO it is wrong to suggest "a failure on the part of Vatican 'vetters'." Also, Williamson has been denied status as Catholic bishop.

My own position is that a "systematic" Jewish holocaust was impossible because the Nazis had no objective and reliable ways of identifying Jews and non-Jews. It is generally just assumed that the Nazis "just knew" who was "Jewish" and who was not.

michael santomauro said (10:26 PM) --
>>>>>>>
Debating the Holocaust: A New Look At Both Sides by Thomas Dalton, PhD

Publisher's Note: This is a non-Revisionist title for Theses & Dissertations Press. It will be the first book on the Holocaust, in publishing history, that will not take a Traditionalist or a Revisionist point of view . . .

. . . .I wish to express my outrage that the Holocaust, unlike any other historical event, is not subject to critical revisionist investigation.

Michael Santomauro
Editorial Director
<<<<<<<

Good for you, Michael.
 

My understanding is that:

(1) Articles of faith and heresy are usually confined to theological matters and do not include Holocaust denial.

(2) The Church only excommunicates for actual heresy.


I thought Williamson was originally excommunicated by JPII for joining with a rogue archbishop who made Williamson a bishop without Vatican permission. Is that theological? It seems more of a power play designed to ensure that the Vatican controls all promotions above a certain level.

I'm not sure I follow why improper promotion would be a mortal sin but holocaust denial would be just a venial sin.
 

My own position is that a "systematic" Jewish holocaust was impossible because the Nazis had no objective and reliable ways of identifying Jews and non-Jews.

Who exactly would hold the Nazis accountable for making mistakes (or intentional errors) in classification? That is, why would objectivity or reliability matter at all?

Back on target, though, it is interesting that Catholic fraternities kicked Germar Rudolf out of their ranks for Holocaust denial, but the Pope isn't willing to second guess his decision to readmit Williamson into a much more elevated fraternity...
 

PMS_Chicago said,
>>>>> Who exactly would hold the Nazis accountable for making mistakes (or intentional errors) in classification? <<<<<<

For one, people who thought that the Nazis mistakenly identified them as Jews would hold the Nazis accountable. It seems that had the Nazis attempted a "systematic" Jewish holocaust, we would have heard more complaints from people who thought that the Nazis mistakenly identified them as Jews.

>>>>>> why would objectivity or reliability matter at all? <<<<<<

Would the Nazis have attempted to exterminate all of the Jews of Europe if the Nazis had no objective and reliable ways of identifying Jews and non-Jews?

The problem here is that any questioning of official holocaust dogma is considered taboo and holocaust revisionists and deniers are ostracized. For example, Sandy Levinson says in the original post, "I obviously have not an iota of sympathy for a Holocaust denier, which is legitimately taken to be synonymous with the most virulent form of anti-Semitism." That's ridiculous -- how can someone who says something like that have any credibility.
 

PMS,

This is a good place to practice not feeding trolls. If we can't even freeze out a Holocaust denier, what chance do we have with Charles?
 

I don't deny the Holocaust.
 

The issue goes beyond the views of one individual regarding Holocaust denial. The group being considered for reaffiliation with the Church is permeated with anti-semitism.

They recently expunged a few of the more blatant screeds from the SSPX web site. The expunged material is still availailable in the Google cache at:

http://209.85.173.132/search?q=cache:R1H38qBhOPIJ:www.sspx.org/against_the_sound_bites/mystery_of_the_jews.htm+sspx+jews&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=us&lr=lang_en

If the link doesn't work, try googling "The Mystery of the Jews" and look for the cached copy from the SSPX web site.
 

Larry, you sound dreadfully ignorant.

You sound like the subject of Errol Morris' film, 'Mr. Death' in that you start with the observation that an attempt to exterminate the entire European Jewish population is such an outrageous and horrifying idea (which it is) that therefore it probably didn't happen.

Kindly educate yourself, Sir.
 

There are good reasons why questioning the holocaust (in general, rather than very specific details) is rightly considered virulent antisemitism.

It is because the understanding of the holocaust was assiduously constructed using scientific methods from historical artifacts. In other words, in its basic claims, it is a scientific truth. It is not because it is a particular "Jewish" truth. Or a political position. So it is simply not scholarably credible to try to knock down any central pillars of the understanding of the holocaust, and because it is so central to modern Jewish history and identity, people rightly consider it antisemitic behaviour.

People who claim there are legitimate debates about broad claims about the holocaust are engaging in scientific dishonesty. They cherry pick their favourite scholars (ooh, they have phds from real universities, give lectures, and write books!), and they simply ignore (without any comment), or politically dismiss the complete historical record assembled by the whole community of scholars (eg "They are Jews! How can they say anything different", "They are in it for money and status").

Revisionists' motivations for doing this are almost always not because they truly believe that the history of the holocaust is important and that their version is the historically correct one, but because they do not like what happened in the world after the holocaust, or the political positions of Israel, or they do not like how the holocaust is used to justify certain political positions of Israel or of how the holocaust is an important part of Jewish identity.

It is similar, in all its ways, to other forms of denialism. Motivated not by a quest for truth, but by politics, unhappiness and fear.
 

>>>>>> This is a good place to practice not feeding trolls. <<<<<<

>>>>>> Larry, you sound dreadfully ignorant. <<<<<<

>>>>>> There are good reasons why questioning the holocaust (in general, rather than very specific details) is rightly considered virulent antisemitism. <<<<<<<<

Scoffing: the scornful treatment of what is worthy -- is based on an illusion whereby falsehood is made to look large and important and truth small and stupid, not by thorough and studied reason, but mere belittlement.

The introduction to the book "IBM and the Holocaust" by Edwin Black says,

When Hitler came to power, a central Nazi goal was to identify and destroy Germany's 600,000 Jews. To Nazis, Jews were not just those who practiced Judaism, but those of Jewish blood, regardless of their assimilation, intermarriage, religious activity, or even conversion to Christianity. Only after Jews were identified could they be targeted for asset confiscation, ghettoization, deportation, and ultimately extermination. To search generations of communal, church, and governmental records all across Germany--and later throughout Europe--was a cross-indexing task so monumental, it called for a computer. But in 1933, no computer existed . . . . .

. . . . I was haunted by a question whose answer has long eluded historians. The Germans always had the lists of Jewish names. Suddenly, a squadron of grim-faced SS would burst into a city square and post a notice demanding those listed assemble the next day at the train station for deportation to the East. But how did the Nazis get the lists? For decades, no one has known. Few have asked.


The book claims that the Nazis identified all of the Jews of Europe by using primitive IBM Hollerith machines to process data stored on billions of IBM Hollerith cards, but that is absurd. Even if all the necessary data had been available, those primitive machines simply did not have such data-processing capability -- all they could do was just read, sort, and merge a few cards at a time.

"I'm always kicking their butts -- that's why they don't like me."
-- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
 

those primitive machines simply did not have such data-processing capability

Larry, I would ask you--for starters--to go and rent Claude Lanzmann's film, Shoah. It is 9.5 hrs long. Please watch every minute of it. After you have done that, come back and let's discuss the Holocaust.

The "argument" you have presented is laughable for it's generalized, sweeping abstraction. It's almost as though you can't bear to get any closer than a country mile to the actual nitty-gritty facts of the case.

At least if you sit through the entire 9.5 hours you will have made a reasonable case that you aren't utterly feeble-minded.
 

>>>>>>those primitive machines simply did not have such data-processing capability

Larry, I would ask you--for starters--to go and rent Claude Lanzmann's film, Shoah. It is 9.5 hrs long <<<<<<

And I would ask you -- for starters -- why don't you answer my comments directly instead of asking me to watch a 9½ hour film, doofus.

My statement that those very primitive IBM Hollerith machines did not have such data-processing capability is true -- all they could do was just read, sort, and merge a few cards at a time.

>>>>>> The "argument" you have presented is laughable for it's generalized, sweeping abstraction. <<<<<<

Edwin Black, in his book "IBM and the Holocaust," raised the same question I did -- how did the Nazis identify the Jews? See my previous comment.
 

http://www.amazon.com/Debating-Holocaust-Look-Both-Sides/dp/1591480051/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233219533&sr=1-1


No Order, No Plan, No Budget

Lanzmann knew very well the weakness of the Exterminationist thesis and the strength of Revisionist arguments. Supposedly, there was a gigantic extermination program for which no one can find any trace of an order, a plan or a budget! And the weapon allegedly used to carry out the crime has simply disappeared! Even Le Nouvel-Observateur (26 April 1983, p. 33) ended up repeating for the general public the acknowledgement by specialists: "There is no photograph of a gas chamber." This means that the "gas chambers" which are still shown to tourists at Struthof (Alsace), Mauthausen, Hartheim, Dachau, Majdanek and Auschwitz are really only phony mock-ups. Lanzmann participated in the famous colloquium held at the Sorbonne (29 June to 2 July 1982) at which its two organizers, Raymond Aron and François Furet, were suddenly confronted with that cruel truth. The awareness that he lacked any proof or documentation reportedly strengthened Lanzmann's determination to respond to the Revisionists with an emotional film and some montages of "testimonies."

Making a Film Out of Nothing

Lanzmann filmed railway tracks, stones and countrysides ad nauseam. He accompanies these striking images with a clumsily lyrical commentary and with camera movements intended to "evoke" deportations and gassings. He himself commented in his maudlin way: "As a result of our filming the stones at Treblinka from all angles, they have finally spoken" (Libération, 25 April 1985, p. 22). He asserted, without proof, that the Nazis erased the traces of their gigantic crime. He declares: "it was necessary to make this film from nothing, without archival documents, to invent everything." (Le Matin de Paris, 29 April 1985, p. 12). Or again: "It is therefore a case of making a film with traces of traces of traces ... With nothing one comes back to nothing." (L'Express, 10 May 1985, p. 40). His loyal followers admire him most of all for that "Not a single archival image," exclaims J.F. Held (L'Evénement du jeudi, 2 May 1985, p. 80). "This film is a fantastic repetition" (L'Autre Journal, May 1985, p. 48); "The strength of this film is not in showing what took place -- in fact it refrains from doing that -- but in showing the possibility of what took place" (André Glucksmann, Le Droit de vivre [The Right to Live], February-March 1986, p. 21). The director worked to make the filmgoer believe what he wanted him to believe. Imaginations asked only to be put to work and the result exceeded all expectations.. Proud of his art of persuasion, Lanzmann told America's leading newspaper: "There was one man who wrote to me after seeing the film saying it was the first time he had heard the cry of an infant inside the gas chamber. It was perhaps because his imagination had been put to work." (New York Times, 20 October 1985, Sect 2, p. H-1). In the main camp at Auschwitz, Lanzmann filmed the crematory where the tourists are shown, on the one hand, the crematory room and, on the other hand, an adjacent room called a gas chamber (in reality, a room for bodies awaiting cremation). But Lanzmann's camera remains in the first room; it does its pirouettes and its circlings so well that the sudden, ever-so-brief appearance of the so-called gas chamber, almost pitch dark, can only be noticed by a specialist The unprepared viewer might believe that Lanzmann has clearly shown him a gas chamber. This is pure sleight of hand. Lanzmann can prove equally well that he did or did not show the "real" gas chamber. In a sense he did both.

Shoah begins with a lie of omission. In the list of those who made the film possible, especially financially, Lanzmann carefully avoids indicating his primary source of funding: the State of Israel. Menachem Begin himself began by arranging for $850,000 for what he called a "project in the national Jewish interest." (The Jewish Journal, New York, 27 June 1986, p. 3, and the Jewish Telegraph Agency, June 20, 1986).

Lanzmann used physical and verbal tricks of all kinds to fool some of the people interviewed as well as the viewers of the film. In order to obtain German "witnesses," he invented a non-existent institute he called the "Centre de recherches et d'études pour l'histoire contemporaine." He also forged the letterhead of the "Académie de Paris" on his own stationery (Mrs. Ahrweiler, the Jewish chancellor of the Académie, is a friend of Lanzmann's). Lanzmann procured false identity papers, taking the name Claude-Marie Sorel and apropriating the title of "Doctor in History." He promised and he gave 3,000 deutschmarks to each of his German "witnesses," further assuring each before his interview that it would be sealed for thirty years ("Ce que je n'ai pas dit dans Shoah," VSD, interview by Jean-Pierre Chabrol, July 9, 1987, especially p. 11). Thus, these Germans "testified" for money.

Lanzmann's number one "witness" is barber Abraham Bomba. In a scene "crying out with truth" we see Bomba working in his shop, where he imitates on a customer's head the gestures that he supposedly used while cutting the hair of the victims "in the gas chamber at Treblinka." Here again there is a bit of trickery. Bomba had been a barber in New York; he moved to Israel to retire, and there Lanzmann rented a shop and orchestrated the entire scene in cooperation with Bomba [Jean-Charles Szurek, L'Autre Groupe, 10, 1986, p. 65; Times (London), 2 March 1986; L'Autre Journal, May 985, p. 47).

A Barber Shop in the Gas Chamber

Let's deal in some detail with the "witnesses" in Shoah. We are not talking about "witnesses" in the legal sense of the term. None of the a "witnesses" was verified and examined. No "witness" was cross-examined. No "testimony" seems to have been reproduced in its complete form, and Lanzmann presented only nine and a half hours of the 350 hours of film that he shot. The "testimonies" are, furthermore, systematically cut and are given only in fragments, on the basis of images carefully chosen to condition the viewer. The testimony that is dearest to the promoters of Shoah is that of Abraham Bomba. Unfortunately, it teems with physical impossibilities and serious vagueness. Bomba wants us to believe that at Treblinka he worked in a room which was both a barber shop and a gas chamber! The room measured four meters by four meters. He said that narrow space contained 16 or 17 barbers and some benches; approximately 60 or 70 naked women entered along with an unknown number of children; it took about 8 minutes for that entire group to have its hair cut; no one left the room; then 70 or 80 more women entered, again with an unknown number of children; the hair cutting for that whole group lasted about 10 minutes. Therefore, those present by then numbered about 146 or 147 people, not counting the children, and other space was occupied by the benches -- all this in a space of 16 square meters! This is all pure nonsense.

The barbers involved in this process worked non-stop. They sometimes left the room, but only for five minutes, which was just the amount of time needed to gas the victims, remove the bodies and clean up the room everything "was clean" then. They do not tell us what gas was used or how it was introduced into the room. And how did they go about getting rid of the gas after the operation was completed? Lanzmann does not ask questions like that The Germans would have needed a gas that acted with lightning speed, that would not stick to surfaces and would not remain on and in the bodies to be removed.

Bomba is a mythomaniac who was very likely inspired by page 212 of Treblinka by J.F. Steiner (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1967), a book denounced even by Pierre Vidal-Naquet as an incredible fabrication (Les Juifs, la mémoire et le présent, Maspero, 1981, p.212), which was at least in part written by the novelist Gilles Perrault (Le Journal du dimanche, 30 March 1986, p. 5).

"Witness" Rudolf Vrba was an originator of the Auschwitz myth. He had been imprisoned at Birkenau in the best of conditions.. (For example, he had a room of his own.) He recounted so much nonsense about Auschwitz in April 1944 that at the Zündel trial in Toronto in January 1985 he suffered a humiliating experience. The prosecutor who had called for his testimony against a Revisionist suddenly refrained from questioning him any further, since it had become quite evident that Vrba was a shameless liar. He completely invented facts and figures. In particular, he said that he had personally counted 150,000 Jews from France who had been gassed during a period of 24 months at Birkenau. However, Serge Klarsfeld, the Nazi-hunter, has shown that during the entire war period the Germans deported no more than about 75,721 Jews from France to all of the camps. Asked to explain about an alleged visit by Himmler to Auschwitz for the inauguration of new "gas chambers," Vrba, whom his ghost writer, Alan Bestic, presented as taking a "immense trouble over every detail" with a "meticulous, almost fanatical respect for accuracy" (I Cannot Forgive, by Rudolf Vrba and Alan Bestec, Bantam Books of Canada, 1964, p. 2), was obliged to confess that he had availed himself of what he called "poetic license."

A Witness Saved by Some Naked Young Women

"Witness" Filip Müller is much the same. He is the author of Eyewitness Auschwitz: Three Years in the Gas Chambers (New York: Stein and Day, 1979; the French edition has a preface by Claude Lanzmann). This sickening bestseller is the result of the work of a German ghostwriter, Helmut Freitag, who did not shrink from engaging in plagiarism. (See Carlo Mattogno, "Filip Müller's Plagiarism," reprinted in Auschwitz: un caso di plagio, Edizioni la Sfinge, Parma, 1986. Müller plagiarized from Doctor at Auschwitz, another bestseller, supposedly written by Miklos Nyiszli). In the film Müller says that up to 3,000 people could be gassed at the same time in the large'gas chamber at Birkenau, and that at the moment of the gassing "nearly everyone rushed toward the doors and, finally, that "where the Zyklon had been thrown in it was empty." He avoids saying that the room in question (which was, in fact, a Leichenkeller [corpse cellar]) was at most 210 square meters in size, which would have prevented any movement inside. He said that it took only three or four hours for the crowd of people to enter the disrobing room (with 3,000 coat hooks!?), undress, go into the gas chamber, be gassed there, be transported into the crematory room, and there be cremated and reduced to ashes. He does not reveal that there were only 15 ovens. If, let us suppose, it took one and a half hours to burn one corpse completely, it would have taken 12 days and 12 nights of uninterrupted operation to do what he described. And there were several groups of victims to be gassed and burned each and every day. In the film, Müller describes how victims sang the Czech national hymn and the Jewish hymn, the "Hatikva." He is inspired here by an "eyewitness account" according to which the victims sang the Polish national hymn and the "Hatikva" until the two songs blended into ... the "Internationale" (a narrative reprinted by Ber Mark, Des voix dans la nuit [Voices in the Night], preface by Elie Wiesel, Plon,1982, p.247).

In the book (p. 113-114) but not in the film, Müller recounts how, after deciding to die in the gas chamber, he was dissuaded by a group of naked young women who forcibly dragged and pushed him out so they could die all alone: he would serve as a witness. On pages 46-47 he describes how Nazi doctors

felt the thighs and calves of men and women who were still alive and selected what they called the best pieces before the victims were executed. After their execution ... the doctors proceeded to cut pieces of still warm flesh from thighs and calves and threw them into waiting receptacles. The muscles of those who had been shot were still working and contracting, making the bucket jump about.

This is Filip Müller, Claude Lanzmann's great "witness."

Another "witness," Jan Karski, talks with emphasis about the Warsaw Ghetto, but doesn't say anything. It is unfortunate that Lanzmann did not let us hear about Karski's supposed experience at the camp at Belzec, after which Karski claimed that Jews were killed there in railway cars with quicklime. Raul Hilberg would later say that "I would not mention him in a footnote" ("Recording the Holocaust," The Jerusalem Post International Edition. June 28, 1986, p. 9)

"Witness" Raul Hilberg is much more interesting. Lanzmann has been criticized for devoting film time to this American professor, of Austrian-Jewish origin, who had no first-hand experience of the camps. Hilberg is the high priest of the Exterminationist view. He is the man who ended up by acknowledging that there was no order or plan or budget for the extermination of the Jews. He nevertheless believes desperately in such an extermination. His despair as an intellectual is particularly interesting. A careful viewer of the film can observe the extent to which Hilberg resorts to pure speculation to defend his theory. This is especially obvious when he talks about the German railways, which he says brought Jews from Warsaw to Treblinka in the most open and undisguised way. He recalls the precise hours of departure and arrival. And he concludes ... that this is how the Jews were sent to the gas chambers of Treblinka. At no point does he prove to us that Treblinka had such gas chambers.

"Witness" Franz Suchomel is a former sergeant at Treblinka. As long as he talks about things other than the so-called homicidal gassings he is relatively precise. When he gets to the subject of gas chambers he becomes vague. He does not make clear their locations, their size, or how they operated. Sometimes he talks about the "gas chamber" and sometimes about the "gas chambers" without Lanzmann asking him to explain that ambiguity. He does not even reveal what kind of gas it was. He talks about "motors." The legend which has been accepted is that there was a Diesel engine there (Gerstein). But a Diesel engine is not appropriate for asphyxiating people. He never talks about having been present at a gassing. He says that on the day of his arrival "just at the moment when we were passing by, they were in the process of opening the doors of the gas chamber ... and the people fell out like sacks of potatoes." Therefore, at most he saw some bodies. Nothing would have justified him in claiming that the place was a gas chamber. He had just arrived. At best he was reporting a guess. Besides, everything that he says implies that in this camp there were some Jews, some bodies, perhaps one or more funeral pyres and, probably, some showers and some disinfection gas chambers. He shows a portion of a plan but only very vaguely. What is this plan? He talks authoritatively about gassings at Auschwitz, where he never set foot. He talks with equal authority about the gassings at Treblinka, but never as an eyewitness. He is like those self-taught persons who show off the results of their reading on a given subject, but are confounded by a simple, direct and precise question. But Lanzmann never asks Suchomel that kind of question.

Since the myth of the gas chambers is in danger, Exterminationists have a tendency to fall back on the story of the "gas vans." Claude Lanzmann often takes us for a ride on these too. It is perhaps on this subject that his "witnesses" are the most improbable and contradictory. In order to save the day for the Exterminationists, Lanzmann forces us to listen to the reading of a document (he, who did not want documents) about the "special Saurer vans." There is only one problem: he has seriously distorted the text, trying in particular to remove its most obvious absurdities. Specialists will find the complete document in NS-Massentotungen durch Giftgas [NS Mass Killings by Poison Gas], (S. Fischer, 1983), pp. 333-337.

Treblinka: Not Secret at All

The brave Polish peasants from the vicinity of Treblinka and the locomotive engineer all seem to have been especially dazzled by the wealth of the Jews who arrived on the trains. If they thought that -- the Germans were going to kill the Jews, they believed that it would be done mainly by strangling or hanging them. Not one peasant nor the mechanic actually witnessed homicidal gassings. Now such gassings on such a scale could hardly have escaped their attention. There was nothing secret about Treblinka, located only 100 kilometers from Warsaw. Richard Glazar, questioned by Lanzmann, does not say in the film what he confided to historian Gitta Sereny Honeyman: all the Poles between Warsaw and Treblinka must have known the area. They, and especially the peasants, went there to sell things to the Jews in the camp. Polish prostitutes catered to the Ukrainian guards. Treblinka was a real "circus" for the peasants and the prostitutes. (Into That Darkness, London, Andre Deutsch, 1974, p. 193). Lanzmann fears the Revisionists. He has said: "I often meet people who say Shoah is not objective because it does not show interviews with those who denied the Holocaust But by trying to discuss that point, you will find yourself caught in a trap" (Jewish Chronicle, 6 February 1987, p. 8).

In fact, on those rare occasions when Revisionists have been able to draw Exterminationists into a discussion, the latter have not done well. But the general public understands less and less why Exterminationists refuse to discuss the issues on radio or television. If the Revisionists tell lies, why not refute them in public? Besides, are they telling lies? Wasn't it Serge Klarsfeld himself who recognized that no one has yet published "real proofs" of the existence of the gas chambers but only beginnings of proofs" (VSD, 29 May 1986, p. 37)?

The last war with Germany ended on May 8, 1945. But some people apparently think that it is necessary to continue that war by continuing to spread the horrible inventions of war propaganda. They carry on the war by means of trials or through the media, which more and more increase their Holocaust drumbeating. It is time they stopped. They have already done too much. Peace and reconciliation demand a different kind of behavior. "Shoah business" is leading us all into a dead end. The younger generation of Jews has better things to do than to wrap themselves up in the absurd beliefs of the Holocaust religion. Their refusal to become interested in the film Shoah would be, if confirmed, a first sign of the younger generation's rejection of the official mythology, at least about the Second World War and its results.
 

STOP! Given the mess we already have endured on this blog, let's not encourage holocaust deniers. We will not disabuse them, and they will not persuade us. Let it go; perhaps they will follow.
 

Check out this new Christian band that just released their first album.

From what I heard on the samples site, they sound really good.

Introducing the new Christian National Anthem: Guns & Jesus.


http://ccrg.info/cas.htm
 

Check out this new Catholic band that just released their first album.

From what I heard on the samples site, they sound really good.

Introducing the new Christian National Anthem: Guns & Jesus.


http://ccrg.info/cas.htm
 

Dear Friends,

Sample Chapters and Contents for New Book:


http://www.DebatingTheHolocaust.com


DEBATING THE HOLOCAUST: A New Look At Both Sides by Thomas Dalton, PhD
 

Updates as of March 2009:

The Vatican has stated that Dick's apology isn't good enough. Most of us would agree; it's pretty lame, in no way affirming the facts of the Holocaust, just regretting that he caused any pain. Covered by this Boston Globe editorial and this CNN item.

Dick has been removed as head of the seminary he ran and expelled from Argentina. He's under investigation for breaking German law in his Holocaust denial. But he's still a Roman Catholic bishop and priest as of this writing.

Coverage tends to frame it in terms of Israel-Vatican relations. Editorial opinion runs strongly against Dick but lets Joe off the hook. I have yet to see any coverage that notes Joe has the power to defrock Dick any time, and with great power comes great responsibility. Reader views make that point, however: what is Joe waiting for?
 

mesothelioma Mesotheliomais a form of cancer that is almost always caused by exposure to Asbestos In this disease, malignant cells develop in the mesothelium, a protective lining that covers most of the body's internal organs. Its most common site is the pleura (outer lining of the lungs and internal chest wall), but it may also occur in the peritoneum (the lining of the abdominal cavity), the heart the pericardium (a sac that surrounds the heart or tunica vaginalis.
Most people who develop
mesothelioma have worked on jobs where they inhaled asbestos particles, or they have been exposed to asbestos dust and fiber in other ways. Washing the clothes of a family member who worked with asbestos can also put a person at risk for developing Mesothelioma Unlike lung cancer, there is no association between mesothelioma and smoking but smoking greatly increases risk of other asbestos induced cancer.Compensation via
Asbestos funds or lawsuits is an important issue in
mesothelioma The symptoms of
mesothelioma include shortness of breath due to pleural effusion (fluid between the lung and the chest wall or chest wall pain, and general symptoms such as weight loss. The diagnosis may be suspected with chest X-ray and CT scan and is confirmed with a biopsy (tissue sample) and microscopic examination. A thoracoscopy inserting a tube with a camera into the chest) can be used to take biopsies. It allows the introduction of substances such as talc to obliterate the pleural space (called pleurodesis, which prevents more fluid from accumulating and pressing on the lung. Despite treatment with chemotherapy, radiation therapy or sometimes surgery, the disease carries a poor prognosis. Research about screening tests for the early detection of mesothelioma is ongoing.
Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 20 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos. Shortness of breath, cough, and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space are often symptoms of pleural
mesotheliomaSymptoms of peritoneal
mesothelioma include weight loss and cachexia, abdominal swelling and pain due to ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity). Other symptoms of peritoneal
mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction, blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.
These symptoms may be caused by
mesothelioma or by other, less serious conditions.
Mesothelioma that affects the pleura can cause these signs and symptoms:
chest wall pain
pleural effusion, or fluid surrounding the lung
shortness of breath
fatigue or anemia
wheezing, hoarseness, or cough
blood in the sputum (fluid) coughed up hemoptysis
In severe cases, the person may have many tumor masses. The individual may develop a pneumothorax, or collapse of the lung The disease may metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body.
Tumors that affect the abdominal cavity often do not cause symptoms until they are at a late stage. Symptoms include:
abdominal pain
ascites, or an abnormal buildup of fluid in the abdomen
a mass in the abdomen
problems with bowel function
weight loss
In severe cases of the disease, the following signs and symptoms may be present:
blood clots in the veins, which may cause thrombophlebitis
disseminated intravascular coagulation a disorder causing severe bleeding in many body organs
jaundice, or yellowing of the eyes and skin
low blood sugar level
pleural effusion
pulmonary emboli, or blood clots in the arteries of the lungs
severe ascites
A
mesothelioma does not usually spread to the bone, brain, or adrenal glands. Pleural tumors are usually found only on one side of the lungs
Diagnosing
mesothelioma is often difficult, because the symptoms are similar to those of a number of other conditions. Diagnosis begins with a review of the patient's medical history. A history of exposure to asbestos may increase clinical suspicion for
mesothelioma A physical examination is performed, followed by chest X-ray and often lung function tests. The X-ray may reveal pleural thickening commonly seen after asbestos exposure and increases suspicion of
mesothelioma A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI is usually performed. If a large amount of fluid is present, abnormal cells may be detected by cytology if this fluid is aspirated with a syringe. For pleural fluid this is done by a pleural tap or chest drain, in ascites with an paracentesis or ascitic drain and in a pericardial effusion with pericardiocentesis. While absence of malignant cells on cytology does not completely exclude
mesothelioma it makes it much more unlikely, especially if an alternative diagnosis can be made (e.g. tuberculosis, heart failure
If cytology is positive or a plaque is regarded as suspicious, a biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of
mesothelioma A doctor removes a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. A biopsy may be done in different ways, depending on where the abnormal area is located. If the cancer is in the chest, the doctor may perform a thoracoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor makes a small cut through the chest wall and puts a thin, lighted tube called a thoracoscope into the chest between two ribs. Thoracoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the chest and obtain tissue samples.
If the cancer is in the abdomen, the doctor may perform a laparoscopy. To obtain tissue for examination, the doctor makes a small incision in the abdomen and inserts a special instrument into the abdominal cavity. If these procedures do not yield enough tissue, more extensive diagnostic surgery may be necessary.
There is no universally agreed protocol for screening people who have been exposed to
asbestosScreening tests might diagnose mesothelioma earlier than conventional methods thus improving the survival prospects for patients. The serum osteopontin level might be useful in screening asbestos-exposed people for
mesotheliomaThe level of soluble mesothelin-related protein is elevated in the serum of about 75% of patients at diagnosis and it has been suggested that it may be useful for screening. Doctors have begun testing the Mesomark assay which measures levels of soluble mesothelin-related proteins (SMRPs) released by diseased mesothelioma cells
Incidence
Although reported incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years, mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer. The incidence rate is approximately one per 1,000,000. The highest incidence is found in Britain, Australia and Belgium: 30 per 1,000,000 per year. For comparison, populations with high levels of smoking can have a lung cancer incidence of over 1,000 per 1,000,000. Incidence of malignant mesothelioma currently ranges from about 7 to 40 per 1,000,000 in industrialized Western nations, depending on the amount of asbestos exposure of the populations during the past several decades. It has been estimated that incidence may have peaked at 15 per 1,000,000 in the United States in 2004. Incidence is expected to continue increasing in other parts of the world. Mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but this disease can appear in either men or women at any age. Approximately one fifth to one third of all mesotheliomas are peritoneal.
Between 1940 and 1979, approximately 27.5 million people were occupationally exposed to asbestos in the United States.[ Between 1973 and 1984, there has been a threefold increase in the diagnosis of pleural mesothelioma in Caucasian males. From 1980 to the late 1990s, the death rate from mesothelioma in the USA increased from 2,000 per year to 3,000, with men four times more likely to acquire it than women. These rates may not be accurate, since it is possible that many cases of mesothelioma are misdiagnosed as adenocarcinoma of the lung, which is difficult to differentiate from mesothelioma.
Working with asbestos is the major risk factor for mesothelioma. A history of asbestos exposure exists in almost all cases. However, mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to asbestos. In rare cases, mesothelioma has also been associated with irradiation, intrapleural thorium dioxide (Thorotrast), and inhalation of other fibrous silicates, such as erionite.
asbestos
is the name of a group of minerals that occur naturally as masses of strong, flexible fibers that can be separated into thin threads and woven.
asbestos
has been widely used in many industrial products, including cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation. If tiny asbestos particles float in the air, especially during the manufacturing process, they may be inhaled or swallowed, and can cause serious health problems. In addition to mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer, asbestosis (a noncancerous, chronic lung ailment), and other cancers, such as those of the larynx and kidney.
The combination of smoking and
asbestos exposure significantly increases a person's risk of developing cancer of the airways (lung cancer bronchial carcinoma). The Kent brand of cigarettes used
mesothelioma in its filters for the first few years of production in the 1950s and some cases of
. have resulted. Smoking modern cigarettes does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma.
Some studies suggest that simian virus 40 may act as a cofactor in the development of mesothelioma.
Asbestos was known in antiquity, but it wasn't mined and widely used commercially until the late 1800s. Its use greatly increased during World War II Since the early 1940s, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos dust. Initially, the risks associated with
. exposure were not publicly known. However, an increased risk of developing mesothelioma was later found among shipyard workers, people who work in asbestos mines and mills, producers of asbestos products, workers in the heating and construction industries, and other tradespeople. Today, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets limits for acceptable levels of
. exposure in the workplace, and created guidelines for engineering controls and respirators, protective clothing, exposure monitoring, hygiene facilities and practices, warning signs, labeling, recordkeeping, and medical exams. By contrast, the British Government's Health and Safety Executive (HSE) states formally that any threshold for
mesothelioma must be at a very low level and it is widely agreed that if any such threshold does exist at all, then it cannot currently be quantified. For practical purposes, therefore, HSE does not assume that any such threshold exists. People who work with
asbestos wear personal protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure. Recent findings have shown that a mineral called erionite has been known to cause genetically pre-dispositioned individuals to have malignant mesothelioma rates much higher than those not pre-dispositioned genetically. A study in Cappadocia, Turkey has shown that 3 villiages in Turkey have death rates of 51% attributed to erionite related
mesotheliomaExposure to
asbestos fibres has been recognised as an occupational health hazard since the early 1900s. Several epidemiological studies have associated exposure to asbestos with the development of lesions such as asbestos bodies in the sputum, pleural plaques, diffuse pleural thickening, asbestosis, carcinoma of the lung and larynx, gastrointestinal tumours, and diffuse mesothelioma of the pleura and peritoneum.
The documented presence of
asbestos fibres in water supplies and food products has fostered concerns about the possible impact of long-term and, as yet, unknown exposure of the general population to these fibres. Although many authorities consider brief or transient exposure to
asbestos fibres as inconsequential and an unlikely risk factor, some epidemiologists claim that there is no risk threshold. Cases of mesothelioma have been found in people whose only exposure was breathing the air through ventilation systems. Other cases had very minimal (3 months or less) direct exposure.
Commercial
asbestos mining at Wittenoom, Western Australia, occurred between 1945 and 1966. A cohort study of miners employed at the mine reported that while no deaths occurred within the first 10 years after crocidolite exposure, 85 deaths attributable to mesothelioma had occurred by 1985. By 1994, 539 reported deaths due to mesothelioma had been reported in Western Australia.
Family members and others living with
asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing
mesothelioma and possibly other asbestos related diseases. This risk may be the result of exposure to
asbestos dust brought home on the clothing and hair of
asbestos workers. To reduce the chance of exposing family members to asbestosMany building materials used in both public and domestic premises prior to the banning of
asbestos may contain
asbestos Those performing renovation works or activities may expose themselves to asbestos dust. In the UK use of Chrysotile asbestos was banned at the end of 1999. Brown and blue
asbestos was banned in the UK around 1985. Buildings built or renovated prior to these dates may contain asbestos materials.
For patients with localized disease, and who can tolerate a radical surgery, radiation is often given post-operatively as a consolidative treatment. The entire hemi-thorax is treated with radiation therapy, often given simultaneously with chemotherapy. Delivering radiation and chemotherapy after a radical surgery has led to extended life expectancy in selected patient populations with some patients surviving more than 5 years. As part of a curative approach to
mesothelioma radiotherapy is also commonly applied to the sites of chest drain insertion, in order to prevent growth of the tumor along the track in the chest wall.
Although
mesothelioma is generally resistant to curative treatment with radiotherapy alone, palliative treatment regimens are sometimes used to relieve symptoms arising from tumor growth, such as obstruction of a major blood vessel.
Radiation Therapy when given alone with curative intent has never been shown to improve survival from
mesothelioma The necessary radiation dose to treat mesothelioma that has not been surgically removed would be very toxic.
Chemotherapy is the only treatment for
mesothelioma that has been proven to improve survival in randomised and controlled trials. The landmark study published in 2003 by Vogelzang and colleagues compared cisplatin chemotherapy alone with a combination of cisplatin and pemetrexed (brand name Alimta) chemotherapy) in patients who had not received chemotherapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma previously and were not candidates for more aggressive "curative" surgery. This trial was the first to report a survival advantage from chemotherapy in malignant pleural
mesothelioma showing a statistically significant improvement in median survival from 10 months in the patients treated with cisplatin alone to 13.3 months in the combination pemetrexed group in patients who received supplementation with folate and vitamin B12. Vitamin supplementation was given to most patients in the trial and pemetrexed related side effects were significantly less in patients receiving pemetrexed when they also received daily oral folate 500mcg and intramuscular vitamin B12 1000mcg every 9 weeks compared with patients receiving pemetrexed without vitamin supplementation. The objective response rate increased from 20% in the cisplatin group to 46% in the combination pemetrexed group. Some side effects such as nausea and vomiting, stomatitis, and diarrhoea were more common in the combination pemetrexed group but only affected a minority of patients and overall the combination of pemetrexed and cisplatin was well tolerated when patients received vitamin supplementation; both quality of life and lung function tests improved in the combination pemetrexed group. In February 2004, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved pemetrexed for treatment of malignant pleural mesothelioma. However, there are still unanswered questions about the optimal use of chemotherapy, including when to start treatment, and the optimal number of cycles to give.
Cisplatin in combination with raltitrexed has shown an improvement in survival similar to that reported for pemetrexed in combination with cisplatin, but raltitrexed is no longer commercially available for this indication. For patients unable to tolerate pemetrexed, cisplatin in combination with gemcitabine or vinorelbine is an alternative, although a survival benefit has not been shown for these drugs. For patients in whom cisplatin cannot be used, carboplatin can be substituted but non-randomised data have shown lower response rates and high rates of haematological toxicity for carboplatin-based combinations, albeit with similar survival figures to patients receiving cisplatin.
In January 2009, the United States FDA approved using conventional therapies such as surgery in combination with radiation and or chemotherapy on stage I or II Mesothelioma after research conducted by a nationwide study by Duke University concluded an almost 50 point increase in remission rates.
Treatment regimens involving immunotherapy have yielded variable results. For example, intrapleural inoculation of Bacillus Calmette-Guérin (BCG) in an attempt to boost the immune response, was found to be of no benefit to the patient (while it may benefit patients with bladder cancer.
mesothelioma cells proved susceptible to in vitro lysis by LAK cells following activation by interleukin-2 (IL-2), but patients undergoing this particular therapy experienced major side effects. Indeed, this trial was suspended in view of the unacceptably high levels of IL-2 toxicity and the severity of side effects such as fever and cachexia. Nonetheless, other trials involving interferon alpha have proved more encouraging with 20% of patients experiencing a greater than 50% reduction in tumor mass combined with minimal side effects.
A procedure known as heated intraoperative intraperitoneal chemotherapy was developed by at the Washington Cancer Institute. The surgeon removes as much of the tumor as possible followed by the direct administration of a chemotherapy agent, heated to between 40 and 48°C, in the abdomen. The fluid is perfused for 60 to 120 minutes and then drained.
This technique permits the administration of high concentrations of selected drugs into the abdominal and pelvic surfaces. Heating the chemotherapy treatment increases the penetration of the drugs into tissues. Also, heating itself damages the malignant cells more than the normal cells.

What is the mesothelium?
The mesothelium is a membrane that covers and protects most of the internal organs of the body. It is composed of two layers of cells: One layer immediately surrounds the organ; the other forms a sac around it. The mesothelium produces a lubricating fluid that is released between these layers, allowing moving organs (such as the beating heart and the expanding and contracting lungs to glide easily against adjacent structures.
The mesothelium has different names, depending on its location in the body. The peritoneum is the mesothelial tissue that covers most of the organs in the abdominal cavity. The pleura is the membrane that surrounds the lungs and lines the wall of the chest cavity. The pericardium covers and protects the heart. The
mesothelioma tissue surrounding the male internal reproductive organs is called the tunica vaginalis testis. The tunica serosa uteri covers the internal reproductive organs in women.
What is mesothelioma?
mesothelioma (cancer of the mesothelium) is a disease in which cells of the mesothelium become abnormal and divide without control or order. They can invade and damage nearby tissues and organs.
cancer cells can also metastasize (spread) from their original site to other parts of the body. Most cases of mesothelioma begin in the pleura or peritoneum.
How common is mesothelioma?
Although reported incidence rates have increased in the past 20 years, mesothelioma is still a relatively rare cancer. About 2,000 new cases of mesothelioma are diagnosed in the United States each year. Mesothelioma occurs more often in men than in women and risk increases with age, but this disease can appear in either men or women at any age.
What are the risk factors for mesothelioma?
Working with asbestos is the major risk factor for mesothelioma. A history of . exposure at work is reported in about 70 percent to 80 percent of all cases. However, mesothelioma has been reported in some individuals without any known exposure to
Asbestos is the name of a group of minerals that occur naturally as masses of strong, flexible fibers that can be separated into thin threads and woven. . has been widely used in many industrial products, including cement, brake linings, roof shingles, flooring products, textiles, and insulation. If tiny asbestos particles float in the air, especially during the manufacturing process, they may be inhaled or swallowed, and can cause serious health problems. In addition to mesothelioma, exposure to asbestos increases the risk of lung cancer, asbestosis (a noncancerous, chronic lung ailment), and other cancers, such as those of the larynx and kidney.
Smoking does not appear to increase the risk of mesothelioma. However, the combination of smoking and asbestos exposure significantly increases a person's risk of developing cancer of the air passageways in the lung.
Who is at increased risk for developing mesothelioma?
asbestos has been mined and used commercially since the late 1800s. Its use greatly increased during World War II. Since the early 1940s, millions of American workers have been exposed to asbestos dust. Initially, the risks associated with asbestos exposure were not known. However, an increased risk of developing mesothelioma was later found among shipyard workers, people who work in asbestos. Today, the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets limits for acceptable levels of asbestos exposure in the workplace. People who work with asbestos wear personal protective equipment to lower their risk of exposure.
The risk o f asbestosrelated disease increases with heavier exposure to asbestos and longer exposure time. However, some individuals with only brief exposures have developed mesothelioma On the other hand, not all workers who are heavily exposed develop asbestos-related diseases.
There is some evidence that family members and others living with asbestos workers have an increased risk of developing mesothelioma, and possibly other asbestos-related diseases. This risk may be the result of exposure to
asbestos dust brought home on the clothing and hair of
asbestos workers. To reduce the chance of exposing family members to
asbestos fibers, asbestos workers are usually required to shower and change their clothing before leaving the workplace.
What are the symptoms of mesothelioma?
Symptoms of mesothelioma may not appear until 30 to 50 years after exposure to
asbestos Shortness of breath and pain in the chest due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleura are often symptoms of pleural mesothelioma. Symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma include weight loss and abdominal pain and swelling due to a buildup of fluid in the abdomen. Other symptoms of peritoneal mesothelioma may include bowel obstruction blood clotting abnormalities, anemia, and fever. If the cancer has spread beyond the mesothelium to other parts of the body, symptoms may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.
These symptoms may be caused by
mesothelioma or by other, less serious conditions. It is important to see a doctor about any of these symptoms. Only a doctor can make a diagnosis
How is
mesotheliomadiagnosed?
Diagnosing mesothelioma is often difficult, because the symptoms are similar to those of a number of other conditions. Diagnosis begins with a review of the patient's medical history, including any history of asbestos exposure. A complete physical examination may be performed, including x-rays of the chest or abdomen and lung function tests. A CT (or CAT) scan or an MRI may also be useful. A CT scan is a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body created by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. In an MRI, a powerful magnet linked to a computer is used to make detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures are viewed on a monitor and can also be printed.
A biopsy is needed to confirm a diagnosis of mesothelioma. In a biopsy, a surgeon or a medical oncologist (a doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating cancer) removes a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope by a pathologist. A biopsy may be done in different ways, depending on where the abnormal area is located. If the
cancer is in the chest, the doctor may perform a thoracoscopy. In this procedure, the doctor makes a small cut through the chest wall and puts a thin, lighted tube called a thoracoscope into the chest between two ribs. Thoracoscopy allows the doctor to look inside the chest and obtain tissue samples. If the
cancer is in the abdomen, the doctor may perform a peritoneoscopy. To obtain tissue for examination, the doctor makes a small opening in the abdomen and inserts a special instrument called a peritoneoscope into the abdominal cavity. If these procedures do not yield enough tissue, more extensive diagnostic surgery may be necessary.
If the diagnosis is mesothelioma, the doctor will want to learn the stage (or extent) of the disease. Staging involves more tests in a careful attempt to find out whether the cancer has spread and, if so, to which parts of the body. Knowing the stage of the disease helps the doctor plan treatment.
Mesothelioma is described as localized if the cancer is found only on the membrane surface where it originated. It is classified as advanced if it has spread beyond the original membrane surface to other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes, lungs, chest wall, or abdominal organs.
How is
.treated?
Treatment for mesothelioma depends on the location of the
cancerthe stage of the disease, and the patient's age and general health. Standard treatment options include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. Sometimes, these treatments are combined.
Surgery is a common treatment for
mesotheliomaThe doctor may remove part of the lining of the chest or abdomen and some of the tissue around it. For cancer of the pleura (pleural
mesotheliomaa lung may be removed in an operation called a pneumonectomy. Sometimes part of the diaphragm, the muscle below the lungs that helps with breathing, is also removed.
Stereo Tactic Radiation Therapy also called radiotherapy, involves the use of high-energy rays to kill
cancercells and shrink tumors Radiation therapy affects the
cancercells only in the treated area. The radiation may come from a machine (external radiation) or from putting materials that produce radiation through thin plastic tubes into the area where the
cancercells are found (internal radiation therapy).
Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells throughout the body. Most drugs used to treat
mesotheliomaare given by injection into a vein (intravenous, or IV). Doctors are also studying the effectiveness of putting chemotherapy directly into the chest or abdomen (intracavitary chemotherapy).
To relieve symptoms and control pain, the doctor may use a needle or a thin tube to drain fluid that has built up in the chest or abdomen. The procedure for removing fluid from the chest is called thoracentesis. Removal of fluid from the abdomen is called paracentesis. Drugs may be given through a tube in the chest to prevent more fluid from accumulating. Radiation Therapy and surgery may also be helpful in relieving symptoms.
 

Update as of October 2009: Dick is still a priest and bishop.

Joe has had months to tell Dick the organization has no place for bigots. Joe has not done so.

During this entire time Joe has had all the power he needs to fire Dick. Joe has not done so.

That convinces me the Roman church remains a home for anti-semitism. It is tolerated at the highest levels.

I'm not happy to say this. But I see no other conclusion that's consistent with the facts.
 

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