So, one more winter season is kaput, the best snow conditions in 50 years gone the way of all things. Like the song says, referring to a girl, every time I say goodbye to the Alps, or to the Med six months later, I die a little. Mind you, the sea is feminine, especially in her rages, but the mountains are as masculine as they come, majestic, dangerous and permanent.
This has been the Madoff season, and I didn’t make any new friends by naming names and expressing certain opinions about them. How strange people are. They take innocents down the Swanee and then howl that they’re being hard done by. Too bad. I read somewhere that Madoff was fond of Savile Row suits, expensive watches and very large houses in Palm Beach, on the Côte d’Azur and in the Hamptons. He would be, of course, but what bothered me the most was the fact that he owned three boats. Crooks and conmen try to clothe themselves in establishment credentials, and until recently — and the arrival of the oligarchs — boats were reserved for gentlemen. Al Capone never owned one, nor did my friend Frank Costello, the real life Godfather, who once upon a time got me out of a hell of a scrap with some very nasty people.
What I find outrageous is that Bernie’s crooked family is getting the benefit of the doubt. He supposedly managed billions in a small space run by a handful of his family and a few associates. His ghastly wife, Ruth, supervised the firm’s accounts, yet she’s walking around free and claims his ill-gotten gains as her own. When I was approached by a good friend last August and asked to invest in Madoff, no one could tell me anything about him except that I had to keep it quiet. Thank God for the mother of my children, who put her foot down for reasons unknown. He certainly fostered a climate of fear, and now we know why. Robbing Peter to pay Paul is an old trick and discretion is paramount.
While we are on the subject of gullibility, what I’d like to know is why this Binyam Mohamed is taken at his word when he claims he underwent medieval torture in the hands of the Americans in cahoots with the Brits. The other thing I’d like to know is why I, a poor little Greek boy, cannot insult militant Muslims who boo British troops in Luton by calling them towelheads, yet they can call the troops murderers and child killers? I realise the sainted editor has to adhere to certain modern conventions, but being called a towel is less of an insult than being called a murderer. Muslims vilify Christians and Jews, seek death for apostates, call for Jihad against the West, yet only Taki is silenced for pointing out the fact that they wear tablecloths on their heads. A Dutch MP is banned from entering England, and a British MP is banned from entering Canada (lucky him), both men judged to be dangerous to the peace, as ridiculous an excuse as the one about Madoff’s wife not being in on the con.
Freedom of speech is not for everyone, certainly not for those who dare point out that militant Islam is the greatest danger to our way of life in the past two centuries, and that what Israel is doing to the Palestinians constitutes war crimes and genocide. Incidentally, I am very proud of my betrothed, the deputy editor of The Spectator, whose dispatch from Gaza was as fair as it was timely. Israeli ‘religious’ soldiers were exposed by their secular brothers-in-arms for killing unarmed civilians, women, children and babies. And this from a country conceived to shelter the weak from just such crimes. Religious nationalist elements in the Israeli army have totally changed the principles of the occupiers, and it will get worse now that Netanyahu and his gang are in power. ‘Iran is Germany, and it’s 1938,’ said Netanyahu on CNN in November, ‘except that this Nazi regime that is in Iran wants to dominate the world, annihilate the Jews, but also annihilate America.’ Nothing like framing the issue in Holocaust terms in order to get American Jews to open up their wallets. Heaven help the Palestinians.
If Netanyahu is a warmonger and a zealot, what can one say about Gaddafi, the clown who has run Libya into the ground these past 40 years and is now playing nice with the West. Nothing works in that oil-rich country, absolutely nothing, except that the Gaddafi children are getting richer and more arrogant by the minute. Some of you may remember that I met one of the sons at Nat Rothschild’s in New York, mistook him for a drug dealer but made no offers to buy. He looked arrogant and cheap, like dealers tend to do. The other one, grandiosely named Hannibal, was arrested with his vile wife in Geneva for allegedly beating up and mistreating his servants. The Swiss caved in quicker than you can say oil, once the head clown threatened to cut off the black stuff. They let the couple go and most likely apologised. We should have invaded and overthrown these clowns years ago, if only to stop the cruelty they inflict on their people. Instead we went after Iraq and Afghanistan doing Israel’s bidding. The Israelis don’t mind Gaddafi. He is the perfect example of what is wrong with Arab potentates, and he wears funny costumes to boot.