December 6, 2002

10 questions for 'the philosophical whore of North Beach'

National Review Online recently posted "Ten Questions for Adel al-Jubeir," yet another rant by Stephen Schwartz, the Michael Ruppert of the Right, who claims that the Saudi government was really behind the 9/11 attacks. It is the usual fare from the neocons' resident Saudi-phobe, a weird mixture of smears and unintentional humor. For example, Schwartz asks when terrorists arrested by the Kingdom are going to be named, and given public trials but he might well ask the same question of John Ashcroft, who has rounded up thousands without identifying them and claims the authority to haul them before secret tribunals.

Schwartz also wants to know "where has bin Laden ever denounced, by name, the Saudi regime or anybody in it? Where has bin Laden ever called directly for the overthrow of the Saudi state?"

Peter L. Bergen, author of Holy War, Inc., who interviewed Bin Laden, has the answer:

"Bin Laden also believed the House of al-Saud, the family that has ruled Arabia for generations, were 'apostates' from Islam. Apostasy is a grave charge to level against the Saudi royal family, who style themselves the protectors of the two holiest places in Islam, Mecca and Medina, and practice the most traditional form of Sunni Islam."

Bergen reiterates the accusation of Khaled al-Fawwaz, an Al Qaeda sympathizer who acted as Bergen's intermediary with Bin Laden, that "several assassination attempts have been mounted against [Bin Laden] by Saudi intelligence services."

More recently, Bin Laden's desire to overthrow all the governments of the Middle East a goal shared with Ariel Sharon is reiterated in his latest letter, reproduced here. Addressed to the American people, the letter complains, in the midst of a long litany of grievances, that America has in effect already conquered the Muslim lands:

"c) Under your supervision, consent and orders, the governments of our countries which act as your agents, attack us on a daily basis;

"(i) These governments prevent our people from establishing the Islamic Shariah, using violence and lies to do so.

"(ii) These governments give us a taste of humiliation, and places us in a large prison of fear and subdual.

"(iii) These governments steal our Ummah's wealth and sell them to you at a paltry price.

"(iv) These governments have surrendered to the Jews, and handed them most of Palestine, acknowledging the existence of their state over the dismembered limbs of their own people.

"(v) The removal of these governments is an obligation upon us, and a necessary step to free the Ummah, to make the Shariah the supreme law and to regain Palestine. And our fight against these governments is not separate from our fight against you."

The idea that, because the Evil One doesn't mention them by name, the Saudis are excluded from his holy wrath, is just flat out loony. What other nation of any size in the Middle East could be accused of stealing the nation's wealth and selling it to us "at a paltry price"? Could it possibly be the Saudis, who sit atop the largest known oil and gas reserves in the world? Duh-uh!

But facts Bin Laden's own words, and the testimony of those who have direct knowledge of his views – are of no interest to ideologues of Schwartz's ilk. Schwartz is embarked on another one of his fanatical crusades, and isn't about to let reality get in his way. Back in Schwartz's radical-Trotskyist-"punk" days, he was pushing "world revolution," and it seems like only yesterday that he was promoting a Kosovar "revolution" in the Balkans you know, the one that ethnically cleansed the former Serbian province, and set up an Albanian thugocracy. Today it is in the Middle East where revolutionary instability specifically, the fall of the Saudi monarchy is his latest project.

Busy, busy, busy, and always in the service of conflict. Where there is war class war, senseless war, eternal war there is Stephen Schwartz, circling over the battlefield and feeding off the carnage. Caw! Caw! Caw!

Schwartz lived for a while in Bosnia, where he converted to Islam the Sufi version and became a fervent supporter of the Bosnian government and, when he got back to the U.S., a tireless advocate of U.S. military intervention on behalf of his Bosnian Muslim and Kosovar brethren. In a piece for the Weekly Standard, Schwartz effusively praised Bosnian fundamentalist leader and "President" Alija Izetbegovic in terms he once reserved for the pro-Government "heroes" of the Spanish Civil War:

"Many strategists in Western capitals ask where we will find Muslims prepared to stand by the West. One tested Muslim statesman who is widely respected, even idolized, in the Islamic world is the wartime president of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Alija Izetbegovic. A learned and pious Muslim who was imprisoned for his faith by Tito's Communist regime, Izetbegovic led the fight for the survival of Bosnian Islam. He is an authentic warrior in a legitimate jihad."

So I have a few questions for Schwartz, ten to be exact:

1. Why, as reported in Dani, September 24, 1999, a Bosnian Muslim newspaper, did the Bosnian government, through their embassy in Vienna, grant Osama bin Laden a passport in 1993?

2. Why did the Bosnian government grant Mehrez Aodouni, a known Al Qaeda terrorist, a passport?

3. In February of 1996, NATO forces raided the training center of the Bosnian Muslim secret police (AID), located in the ski resort near Fojnica, and arrested several persons for planning terrorist actions. Iranian instructors were teaching future terrorists from AID how to make bombs disguised as children's toys and plastic ice cream cones. Yet you have consistently claimed that the Bosnian government is an "ally" of the U.S. in the fight against terrorism – so what's up with that?

4. Why don't you ever mention the pro-Al Qaeda "muhajedeen" in Kosovo and Bosnia, who fought alongside your beloved Kosovo "Liberation" Army fighters and were granted citizenship, passports, and state support for their terrorist activities? And why did your hero, Bosnian "president" Alija Izetbegovic, have direct links to the Third World Relief Agency, since busted for terrorist ties, along with leading members of his Muslim party?

5. The Dayton peace agreement, that ended Bosnia's civil war, ordered all foreign soldiers to leave the country: but hundreds of these foreign fighters, connected to Bin Laden, remain in Bosnia and Kosovo – why don't your Bosnian-KLA friends arrest them?

6. Why don't you ever state in any of your numerous articles that you are a Muslim convert?

7. You have been quoted as saying:

"We Muslims know that Allah permits us to take up the sword. We know that Allah permits us to fight the Jihad. That Allah permits us to fight the Jihad in Allah's way...As it says in the Quran: 'Never say of those who have died in Allah's way that they are not with us, They are with us even though you cannot see them.'"

Do you deny this?

8. Your Muslim name is "Suleyman Ahmad." Have you changed it back to "Stephen Schwartz"?

9. Back when you were a Commie (of the Trotskyist variety) you called yourself "Comrade Sandalio." What's up with all the phony names?

10. On May 6, 1987, the following account was published in the San Francisco Examiner:

"When 'New Age Rightist' Stephen Schwartz discovered graffiti calling him 'the philosophical whore of North Beach,' the former Trotskyite turned red with rage. He uncapped his felt-tipped pen and was printing a reply to the scurrilous scribblings when he was busted by Mayor [Diane] Feinstein's anti-graffiti police squad on a charge of malicious mischief, defacing the wall of a Vallejo Street construction site. Schwartz...has demanded a trial to exonerate his exercise of free speech. 'I was just going to answer that I was not the philosophical whore of North Beach,' said Schwartz, 37."

So, what was the upshot of the trial, Stephen – are you "the philosophical whore of North Beach," or not?

– Justin Raimondo

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Justin Raimondo is the editorial director of He is also the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement (with an Introduction by Patrick J. Buchanan), (1993), and Into the Bosnian Quagmire: The Case Against U.S. Intervention in the Balkans (1996). He is an Adjunct Scholar with the Ludwig von Mises Institute, in Auburn, Alabama, a Senior Fellow at the Center for Libertarian Studies, and writes frequently for Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard.