Sunday, February 14, 2010

Why the Eurosceptics were right all along

The abstract principle of national sovereignty has been made very real by this crisis.

German chancellor Angela Merkel. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The Eurosceptics are in the ascendancy. They may be mostly Tories, but they have been proven right. In previous recessions, the troubled eurozone countries -- Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain -- would have eased their economic problems by devaluing the currency, printing money (now called "quantitative easing") and cutting interest rates. These levers are no longer available, so they have no alternatives to immediate cuts in public spending, together with steeply rising unemployment, falls in wages and drastic reductions in benefits.

Thus, as the Eurosceptics warned, a single currency leads to loss of sovereignty, which sounds like an abstract idea until you get a crisis like this. It applies even to the more economically successful countries. If the eurozone is to survive, Germany may have to keep rates lower than it might wish, risking inflation. Eventually, like Greece, it will have to accept greater EU control over public spending levels. Neither country can run a wholly independent fiscal policy within the eurozone, any more than Cardiff or London can within the sterling zone.

You could argue that, with proper democratic controls, a single European treasury would be good for everybody. But the pro-Europeans never made that argument, preferring to insist that the loss of sovereignty was an illusion.

Claims Conf. Fraud Put At $350,000; No Survivor Funds Bilked

The Claims Conference fired three employees last week who allegedly approved more than 100 fraudulent Holocaust-era claims — filed primarily by Russians now living in Brooklyn — that bilked the German government out of more than $350,000, The Jewish Week has learned.

A federal investigation has reportedly been launched but it is not known if the employees, one of whom was the supervisor of the Hardship Fund, were complicit in the fraud. The Claims Conference declined to reveal their names.

“The German government was defrauded,” said Gregory Schneider, the Claims Conference’s executive vice president. “No money was taken from Holocaust survivors. ... This was done by very sophisticated persons or a group whose aim it was to defraud. And the fact that it is connected with the Holocaust makes it even more disgusting.”

Julius Berman, chairman of the Claims Conference, said he was “outraged that anyone would engage in a fraud of what we consider holy money.”

Schneider said the dismissals came last Thursday, a little more than two months after two of 10 employees processing Hardship Fund claims brought fraudulent documents to him. Two different claimants submitted them two weeks apart.

“I was unwilling to accept within a space of two weeks that this was a coincidence,” he said. “So within 72 hours of those claims being brought to me we hired an outside party to confirm my suspicions. They began to document what we thought was fraud going on.”

He said the information gathered in a forensic audit by the law firm of Proskauer Rose was subsequently turned over to the U.S. Attorney in Manhattan, Preet Bharara. Bharara’s spokeswoman, Yusill Scribner, said only: “It is the office policy not to confirm or deny the existence of investigations.”

Schneider said he also directed that neither the New York office nor the other processing offices in Germany and Israel pay Hardship Fund claims in December, January and February while the investigation proceeded. Thus, he said, about 4,500 claims have gone unpaid.

The law firm found that the fraud was limited to the Hardship Fund and to the New York office, Schneider said. He said Brooklyn residents claiming to be survivors from the former Soviet Union submitted most of the fraudulent claims, although some applications were also sent from other parts of the United States. He said it is “too early” to know how many fraudulent claims had been paid, but he put the number at “likely more than 100.”

Schneider said he has now directed that all pending Hardship Funds claims from the German and Israeli offices be paid this month. There are 1,500 pending claims in New York and Schneider said those that have been verified are also to be paid in coming days; he declined to say if additional fraudulent claims had been filed since November.

Each verified claimant receives a onetime payment from the government of Germany if he or she was forced to flee to the East during the Holocaust and was then compelled to remain in Soviet bloc countries after the war. By the time they were able to migrate to the West, the deadline to file for German reparations had ended.

But in negotiations in 1980 with the Claims Conference, which is formally known as the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Germany agreed to pay each of them a flat $3,500 under the newly created Hardship Fund that to date has paid more than $940 million.

In the last 12 months alone, payments were made to about 92,000 survivors worldwide.

In the last two years, there has been a surge in Hardship Fund applications because Germany broadened the eligibility criteria to include Jews who were in Leningrad at any time during the Nazis’ 900-day siege of the city from September 1941 through January 1944, or fled from Leningrad during those years; Germany paid 7,000 claims in 2008 and 18,000 last year.

There is no deadline for filing an application, and those who were previously rejected because they did not meet all German government criteria may file a second application.

“The tremendous expansion of the program made it easier for the fraud to be perpetuated,” Schneider said. “There were so many more claims filed that a few doctored documents could slip through.”

Applicants must submit proof of their birth date and place of birth as part of the qualification process. It was those documents that were found to have been fraudulent, Schneider said. In addition, all claimants must sign their application and have it notarized.

“We believe beyond a doubt that we were defrauded and a victim of a crime,” Schneider said. “We have cooperated in every possible way with the authorities.”

Berman, the Claims Conference chairman, has formed a three-member task force headed by Sheldon Rudoff to recommend what measures to take to “ensure that no fraudulent claims slip through the cracks again,” Schneider said.

Under the current process, three separate people — a caseworker, the supervisor and a person in another country — must approve each application.

“I’m angry and upset,” Schneider said. “The fact that some thugs perpetrated a fraud will not deter the Claims Conference from making sure survivors live their final years with some dignity as we pursue a measure of justice for them.”

Detroit schools offer class in how to work at Walmart

Walmart has been widely condemned for offering its employees only low-paying, dead end jobs. Even President Obama criticized Hillary Clinton during the 2008 presidential campaign for having served on Walmart's board and stated that the firm ought to pay "a living wage."

In inner-city Detroit, however, where the unemployment rate is estimated at an astonishing 50%, the prospect of a Walmart job may appear far more attractive.

Four inner-city Detroit high schools have decided that employment with Walmart is an opportunity worth training their students to pursue. The schools have teamed up with the giant merchandiser to offer a for-credit class in job-readiness training that also includes entry-level after-school jobs.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the principal at one of the schools optimistically suggested that "the program will allow students an opportunity to earn money and to be exposed to people from different cultures -- since all of the stores are in the suburbs."

The announcement of the program outraged Donna Stern, the Midwest coordinator for the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights And Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN). "They’re going to train students to be subservient workers" she told the Free Press. "This is not why parents send them to school."

Detroit area schools have cooperated on projects with Walmart in the past. Last summer, Walmart sponsored a letter-writing contest in which students could win classroom supplies, and at Christmas Walmart donated presents to needy students in a Detroit suburb.

Neither of those acts of corporate generosity, however, carried the same racial overtones as training inner-city students for a career as suburban Walmart store clerks. The fact may be that Detroit's schools are now desperate enough to accept help wherever they can find it.

The school district has been running badly in the red, and though emergency financial manager Robert Bobb has already closed 29 schools as a cost-cutting measure, it was reported this week that "the 84,000-student Detroit Public Schools could face additional layoffs and about 40 more school closings."

Detroit's teachers have also been chafing at a contract accepted by their union that forces them to make involuntary long-term loans to the school district out of their paychecks. A Detroit Federation of Teachers union meeting on Thursday broke down in chaos after members tried to put the question of recalling the union president on the agenda.

Florida Snow Could Mean Snow in All 50 States at Once

There could be snow on the ground in all 50 states simultaneously by the end of the week in what would be a weather oddity.

KOTV reports Patrick Marsh, a student employee at the NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory in Norman, Oklahoma, is currently trying to collect photos of snow on the ground in all 50 states.

Marsh says Florida is the only state without snow on the ground at this point, but he said two to four inches of snow is forecast today in some parts of the state.

There is currently even snow on some of the mountain tops in Hawaii.

Marsh says this afternoon, he's going to begin asking for photos of the snow from all 50 states.

If that happens, he says he'll put them into a Google Earth map and make a "snow snapshot of America."

Issuer of 79.9% Interest Rate Credit Card Defends Its Product

APR Shocks Many, but Issuer Says They Are Pricing for the Risk

If you have bad credit in the new era of credit card regulation, be prepared to pay -- dearly -- for the privilege of using credit. That's the message underlying recent credit card offers that feature jaw-dropping interest rates of up to 79.9 percent.

The sky-high rates may be a sign of things to come in the market for so-called subprime credit cards as issuers who lend to the riskiest of borrowers try to figure out how to stay in business and comply with the new credit card reform law.

"We need to price our product based on the risk associated with this market and allow the customer to make the decision whether they want the product or not," according to a statement issued by Miles Beacom, CEO of Premier Bankcard, the South Dakota credit card marketer that mailed test offers in September and October featuring 79.9 percent and 59.9 percent annual percentage rates (APRs) on cards with $300 credit limits. Premier markets credit cards issued by First Premier Bank.

Yes, It's Legal

A national bank charging 79.9 percent interest on a credit card is legal -- as long as the issuer fully discloses the terms as required by the federal Truth in Lending Act. Still, the high rate has been met with shock across the country because it is so much higher than prevailing APRs and penatly interest rates. The Weekly Rate report national average for bad credit credit cards was 14.15 percent on Feb. 12.

The high interest rate offers may add urgency to an ongoing debate on Capitol Hill over reinstituting nationwide usury rates that cap credit card interest rates. On Dec. 11, a lawmaker introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives to cap credit card rates at 16 percent -- the latest attempt among several in recent years to limit rates. The powerful and well-financed banking lobby has successfully quashed those efforts.

Credit counselors warn consumers to be sure they read the fine print of these new offers and seek advice about other options before signing up for the cards.

"Anyone who feels they have no choice but to get one of these should get help from a credit counselor," advises Sandy Shore, a counselor with Novadebt, a New Jersey-based consumer credit counseling agency. "There are other alternatives, like a debit card or even a secured card. The counselor can give the consumer other ways to reestablish their credit, depending on their circumstances."

Law Limits Upfront Fees

New restrictions in the Credit CARD Act of 2009 limit the upfront fees credit card issuers can charge on subprime accounts. The low-credit, high-cost cards, known as fee harvesting credit cards, are issued to people with bad credit or no credit history and feature credit limits of $500 or less. Issuers typically charge a slew of fees at the outset to compensate for the risk of lending to people with poor repayment histories. Starting Feb. 22, 2010, the law will limit upfront fees to no more than 25 percent of the available credit on the account.

As a result, subprime credit card marketers are testing the waters with offers that essentially shift the pricing on their products from upfront fees to high interest rates.

The First Premier card's test offer featured a $75 upfront fee -- exactly 25 percent of the card's credit limit, as the new law mandates. "Because of the new regulations that limit the fees on a credit card to 25 percent of a credit card's line, we will need to shift the premium from upfront fees on risk to the interest rate," Beacom says. "We have to be able to price the product to offset the risk."

In December, the bank's regular Gold card, as advertised on its Web site, include a 9.9 percent APR and the following upfront fees: $29 account setup fee, $95 one-time program fee, $48 annual fee and a $7 monthly servicing fee.

"There's 70 million people out there who have been identified with problem credit," says Beacom, adding those are people with FICO scores lower than 640. "These are people who have had problems with their credit in the past."

He likened people with bad credit to bad automobile drivers who must pay higher auto insurance premiums if they want to continue driving. "These are people who have had those same accidents or speeding tickets with their credit."

He adds: "It's going to be very difficult for these individuals to obtain credit after February."

Prior to the credit crunch, a subprime borrower might take eight to 16 months to build a good enough credit record to qualify for lower interest rates on prime cards. Today, however, because the prime lenders have dramatically tightenend their credit standards, it could take 16 to 24 months or longer to build their credit.

Competitive Market Changes

In addition to Premier, the Nevada-based Credit One Bank has also mailed out offers featuring different fee structures, according to Andrew Davidson, senior vice president of Mintel Comperemedia, a Chicago direct-mail research consulting firm. Mintel is tracking how credit card offers are changing in light of the credit card law restrictions. "The indication here is that the subprime issuers are looking at ways to work within the new law," Davidson says. "Some suggest they will stop operating in that space, but the reality is there are always going to be people who need to establish credit and rebuild their credit."

He notes that while many credit card issuers scaled back direct mail card offers during the recession, "First Premier has consistently been mailing during the downturn." The reason: Demand is high among people with bad credit. "If they can work around these laws so that they can have a business model that works, they can continue to have a successful operation," Davidson adds.

One of First Premier's competitors in the subprime credit card market, CompuCredit, apparently could not find a model that worked for them while complying with the new law. Under fire from consumer advocates, facing lawsuits and mounting losses, CompuCredit decided to stop marketing the high-fee cards to bad-credit consumers.

Credit One's Platinum Visa card offer mailed in August 2009 featured a 23.9 percent APR and a range of annual fees that were card law compliant, that is, no more than 25 percent of the credit limit on the card, according to Mintel.

An spokeswoman for HSBC, another marketer of subprime cards, said it has no plans for testing. Premier's Beacom says the new regulations may make it impossible for subprime issuers to continue to make money in that high-risk niche market.

"The cost of funding for these products is very difficult these days," he says, noting that his competitors are also testing different product offerings. "One, many or maybe all" of the subprime issuers could go out of business, he says.

Beacom says it's too early to tell if the 79.9 percent card offers will last. It normally takes them nine to 12 months to analyze the results of a test product.

Customers who sign up for the high-interest card and want to back out can get full refunds and close the accounts, Beacom says.

"From our initial research we know that 83 percent of the people who accepted the offer are fully aware of the interest rate they are receiving and the purpose of the credit card to help re-establish credit. If anyone accepts the offer and didn't fully understand it or no longer wants it they can take advantage of our full refund of fees policy."

Response to 79.9% Offer 'Phenomenal'

Has First Premier gotten any takers on the 79.9 percent cards? Beacom called the response "phenomenal," adding 2 percent of people receiving the offers have applied for the cards. Their normal response rates is 1 percent to 1.2 percent, he says. "It's double what our normal product was."

Shore, the New Jersey credit counselor, urged consumers not to jump at the first high-interest offer they receive. "I would caution anyone who is considering a card like this to wait. Other credit card issuers will be adjusting their products and there may be better alternatives coming out," Shore says.

"No one should be shocked at the interest rate on [the First Premier] card," Shore notes. "These cards are being marketed to consumers with very poor credit. The APR is actually much lower than the old subprime cards because the fees are much less."

In other words, when you added up all the fees on the old cards, they're the dollar equivalent of a huge interest rate on the amount borrowed. (For example, $250 in fees on a $300 credit limit would amount to an 83 percent interest rate.)

"If someone wants to take a chance on a card like this, they should use it only as a convenience and pay the whole thing off when the bill comes," Shore adds. "Many consumers who have credit that poor do not have good credit habits and are likely to carry balances."

Beacom from Premier says the astronomic interest rate will only affect revolvers -- people who do not pay their entire balances off each month. "People pay it off every month, they pay no interest," he adds.

Those getting the offer have a choice, Beacom says.

"If everything is fully disclosed, if they want it fine, if they don't want it fine," he adds."People should be able to make that decision rather than the government cutting off access and saying they know best."

"Our goal is really to keep these lines controlled because these are people who have had problems in the past," Beacom says. "It's really to help build up the discipline without them getting into credit trouble again."

"Whether it works or not, time will tell," he adds.

USA accidentally admits that Iran has no nuclear weapons program

The White House on Thursday said Iran's declaration of producing first stock of enriched uranium for a research reactor was based "on politics", and "not on physics."

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Thursday that Iran had produced the first stock of 20 percent enriched uranium at the Natanz enrichment facility.

But White House spokesman Robert Gibbs cast doubt on Ahmadinejad's announcement.

"The Iranian nuclear program has undergone a series of problems throughout the year," Gibbs said. "We do not believe they have the capability to enrich to the degree to which they now say they are enriching."

After potential suppliers failed to provide fuel for Tehran's research reactor, which produces medical isotopes for cancer patients, Iran announced Tuesday it had started enriching uranium to the level of less than 20 percent.

The announcement prompted President Barack Obama to threaten Iran with “significant regime of sanctions.”

Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said Iran could not wait for Western countries to "waste time" as the Tehran research reactor ran out of fuel.

He said a fuel swap with Western countries did not require Iran to relinquish other ways of supplying the fuel.

The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax

Richard Sloan's ANNUAL Bronx Tour SAT, MAY 16 2009

Mark Falzini's new book on Lindbergh Case Characters

Attorney, Jim Castagnera on Ramsey and Lindbergh cases.

A Talent To Deceive by Bill Norris

Master Detective by John Reisinger

The Lindbergh Syndrome by Robert Lockwood Mills

Guilty, Sentenced to Death for Murder of Lindbergh Baby Feb 18, 1935

Various Things Done by the Prosecution to Hinder and Hold Up the Defense C Lloyd Fisher 1935

Clarification of Table Evidence by Mark Falzini

Rules of the NJ State Court of Pardons 1933 (pdf)

Tom Wescott in Ripper Notes about Ransom Symbols (pdf)

New German Book on Lindbergh's Secret Life

Chasing the Lindbergh Legacy (Part 2) by Mike Holfeld ( WKMG) (Part 1) The Struggle For DNA

Forensic Analysis Of Soils Associated With Lindbergh Case by Liz Pagel (pdf)

FAIRNESS ON TRIAL (PDF) by Judge W Dennis Duggan, JFC

This website is committed to the ongoing investigation of a very old crime. The information contained here amounts to several hundred pages of collected data. It is combined with a good mix of opinions by a variety of skeptical individuals who continue to study and debate this intriguing case. Links to other websites on any of these pages do not necessarily reflect endorsement of the theory that Bruno Richard Hauptmann was innocent or that Charles Lindbergh was guilty. My original intention in publishing this site was to scrutinize and test Ahlgren and Monier's shocking, but rational, theories which were published by Branden Books in 1993. After six years, and the encouragement of so many dedicated people on the LKH Public Forum, this site has grown into a gigantic depository of archival material that is found nowhere else online - and it is still "unfinished."

Most people discover this site while searching for historical information but, unfortunately, "history" is often misinterpreted. There are thousands of factual answers to a multitude of questions within these pages. The real challenge, however, is finding the courage to ask the right questions. Good luck! - Ronelle Delmont

History Is Cheap

Ever since the publication of Anthony Scaduto's Scapegoat in 1976 there has been more than enough evidence to warrant an official re-investigation of that tainted event known as the "Trial of The Century." Yet, the case remains closed in spite of a mountain of evidence that clearly shows how an innocent man was framed, in 1935, by desperate New Jersey cops and a politically ruthless prosecutor.

For more than 60 years Anna Hauptmann fought for exoneration of her husband. In the mid 1980s, based partly upon Scaduto's newly disclosed evidence, she made what would become her final appeal, to NJ Gov. James Florio. His useless advice to the courageous and broken hearted widow was that "history" would have to be the judge of whether her husband was framed by Attorney General David Wilentz and the New Jersey State Police.

History?! What a cheap excuse. There really is nothing cheaper than "history" when it comes to answering for a frame-up. No one pays and no one apologizes. Smart politics.

The True Crime The true Crime of the Century was not a kidnap/murder but rather, the execution of an innocent man - the murder of Richard Hauptmann.

Since it is never possible to reverse such unjust punishments, many of us would argue that the death penalty be abolished. If, almost seven decades later, we find ourselves questioning the validity of a death sentence how can we ever be certain that our Capital Punishment Laws are not simply feel-good, legalized murder laws?

"But, a jury found him guilty according to the laws of his day. We must agree with the ruling of the Flemington Court - if they said he was guilty, he must have been guilty."

According to this "logic" we have no right to ever question the verdicts of Grand Inquisitors, Jim Crow juries, or Stalinist show trials.

Life sentences, rather than irreversible death penalties, would, at the very least, assure any future innocent defendants - (the rest of us!) - that no one in the United States would ever again be murdered by "justice."

Richard Hauptmann was put to death only nineteen months after his arrest. Compared with today's more cautious judicial timescales his defense took no more than the blink of an eye.

Listen to Richard Hauptmann's Statement of Innocence

Why Did You Kill Me? by Richard Hauptmann

New! 12/04 Death In Texas by Sister Helen Prejean

The Tragedy On May 20, 1927, Charles Augustus Lindbergh became a world hero. He was the first aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in a solo flight.

After 33 hours The Spirit of St. Louis touched down in Paris and the handsome, 25-year-old pilot became a living god. His life, only five years later, would become known as a public tragedy when, on a Tuesday evening, March 1, 1932, his twenty-month-old son, Charles, Jr., disappeared from his crib.

After receipt of numerous ransom notes the sum of $50,000 in cash was handed over to a man in a Bronx cemetery known only as "John". On May 12, 1932 the child's decomposed body, lying in a shallow grave only two miles (walking distance) from his home, was found by a truck driver. The baby had been dead since the night of his disappearance. Lindbergh, in command of the entire investigation from its inception, ordered an immediate cremation. No legitimate autopsy was ever performed. There is no corpse to exhume for forensic testing.

Lindbergh scattered the ashes of his firstborn child out of an airplane in August 1932 and a long line of "real Lindbergh babies" have staked their claim for a share in the Lindbergh fortune ever since.

The Trial Two and one half years later, on September 19, 1934, a suspect, Bruno Richard Hauptmann, was arrested. He had been traced through a gasoline purchase he made in upper Manhattan in which he used a gold certificate that had been part of the Lindbergh ransom cache. Hauptmann was extradited from the Bronx and tried for murder in Flemington NJ in 1935 upon what almost every researcher has admitted was questionable evidence. His explanation - labeled the "Fisch Story" by prosecutors - has never, to this day, been proven to be false.

Hauptmann was found guilty in Feb 1935 and sent, in spite of the selfless efforts of NJ's (Rep) Governor, Harold G. Hoffman, to the electric chair on April 3, 1936. He was convicted and put to death as the lone kidnapper and lone murderer.

So, why did Prosecutor David Wilentz, under pressure from Governor Hoffman and others, offer him a last minute deal to commute his death sentence to life in prison - in exchange for the names of his accomplices?!

Hauptmann never wavered from his original claim that he was completely innocent. He chose to die rather than lie. Offered $90,000.00 for his public "confession" by a Hearst newspaper Hauptmann spurned all monetary offers and swore he had nothing to do with the crime.

Outrageously unfair news coverage presented what appeared to be a public outcry for the electric chair - but there were many who were not so sure.

The Hallam Report

Some of the more famous skeptics of the day were Clarence Darrow and Eleanor Roosevelt. The famous aviatrix who resembled Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, wrote an eloquent plea to the NJ Governor. Very few people, however, were able to think rationally amidst the rampant hostility, caused by grossly distorted news coverage. Xenophobic sentiment played a major role in the Flemington Courthouse Circus.

Hauptmann's defense attorney, Ed "Death House" Reilly, was literally bought and paid for by a Hearst newspaper, in exchange for that lawyer's privileged inside "scoop." Reilly spent no more than 40 minutes with his client over the course of the entire trial.

Hauptmann, an immigrant, never had access to a translator during the entire two- month trial yet the State of NJ "bugged" every conversation he had with his lawyer or wife.

No Discovery After sixty nine years this case will not die. Frightening discrepancies point to a prosecutorial frame-up. No one could ever say that Hauptmann's trial was fair. Even those who believe he was guilty agree it was an unfair trial. Exculpatory evidence, available at the time of the trial, was suppressed. The Defense was not advised of such evidence nor were they allowed to handle or view the supposedly incriminating evidence.

Without the vital safeguards of our modern legal system's "discovery" requirements - set in place to protect the integrity of American trials - this Trial of the Century turned out to be the Lynching of the Century.

The Truth? The public, and especially the Hauptmann family, deserves to know the truth. If Hauptmann was innocent then the question still remains - who did kill the Lindbergh child? Doubts about Hauptmann's guilt have caused a variety of interesting theories to arise over the years. The most common, of course, is the "Gang Theory"

There is also a popular theory, originated and explained by the late Noel Behn in his book Lindbergh : The Crime - that Lindbergh's' sister-in-law, Elizabeth Morrow, killed her nephew in a jealous rage over having been spurned by the handsome and famous aviator.

Wayne D. Jones, another tireless researcher, claimed, in his book Murder of Justice: New Jersey's Greatest Shame, that the Lindbergh baby was kidnapped with the help of the family butler, Oliver Whately.

"They think when I die, the case will die. They think it will be like a book I close. But the book, it will never close." - Bruno Richard Hauptmann

The bitter truth of the doomed man's words will always remind us of the blight upon the American justice system that Flemington's legacy still represents.

This website challenges, not only the tainted evidence of Col H Norman Schwarzkopf's NJ Police Dept. but the twisted propaganda published by NJ Police-authorized writer, Jim Fisher. His books, Lindbergh: The Case and The Ghosts of Hopewell have been touted as "objective" but only by people who do not know or understand this case.

Fisher, a rigid defender of the Flemington trial, its verdict, its Judge, and its Prosecutor, has attempted to "set the record straight." But, all he has really accomplished, in our view, is the perpetuation of a very old hate crime.

Perhaps some day there will be a N J Governor brave enough to posthumously exonerate Bruno Richard Hauptmann. (Sacco and Vanzetti cost Michael Dukakis dearly when the Mass. Governor exonerated them several years ago.)

But, let's never forget that Anna Hauptmann died, on October 10, 1994, waiting for history.

DNA and The Ladder Contrary to public knowledge of this case there has never been an iota of hard evidence linking Hauptmann to Hopewell, NJ on the night of March 1, 1932

- except for a ladder.

It was found on the muddy ground Tuesday evening March 1, 1932 approximately 50 yards from the baby's window. After having extradited Hauptmann from the Bronx, (where the only charge against him was extortion), NJ Attorney General, David Wilentz, desperate for any hard evidence against Hauptmann, would later claim that a single rail (Rail 16) had actually been a piece of floorboard in Hauptmann's attic. This obviously fabricated evidence was used by NJ Police to criminally place Hauptmann in NJ on March 1, 1932.

Forensic testing of the "kidnap ladder" and the attic floorboard - both on public display at the West Trenton State Archives & Police Museum - is necessary to exonerate Hauptmann. Authorization for DNA testing, however, needs to come either from NJ's Attorney General or, from New Jersey Superintendent of Police.

If the floorboard's DNA does not match the ladder rail the pieces cannot possibly be from the same tree. If they are not part of the same tree it would be conclusive evidence of an arranged frame-up by Lt. Louis Bornmann, the "discoverer" of the "evidence" and Prosecutor David Wilentz.

Lt.Bornmann moved into Hauptmann's Bronx home and "found" this "evidence" by himself, without witnesses, after 37 FBI and NYC cops had already scoured Hauptmann's attic 19 times!

DNA and The Envelopes There are also several envelopes in the NJ State Archive that may hold the key to the mysteries surrounding this case.

Click here to read about the struggle over DNA testing

Monier and Ahlgren The most rational explanation for what took place on March 1, 1932 has come from Stephen Monier and Gregory Ahlgren, co-authors of :

<=""> cover<="" a>="" vspace="3" width="130" align="LEFT" border="0" height="180" hspace="3"> CRIME OF THE CENTURY: THE LINDBERGH KIDNAPPING HOAX (Branden Books)

In 1993, Stephen Monier, a Goffstown, NH Police Chief and Gregory Ahlgren, a Manchester, NH defense attorney, presented their shocking, but plausible, research pointing responsibility for the child's death, not to any stranger nor to any sort of a gang - but to the baby's father himself.

By re-investigating this case as if it happened today, rather than the hero-worshipping world of the 1930s, Ahlgren and Monier have given spellbound readers a new understanding of how easy it was for an idolized celebrity to take charge of the most sensational investigation the country had ever known.

Charles Lindbergh commandeered the entire kidnap investigation from the moment it began. All law enforcement officers - including NJ Police Chief H Norman Schwarzkopf (Senior) - took orders from Charles Lindbergh, the missing baby's father!

No Kidnapping? The Crime of the Century, as an authentic kidnapping, has now been debunked by Ahlgren and Monier. Their book offers so many logical reasons why there may never have been a kidnapping at all.

And so, Charles Lindbergh, Mason, Eugenicist, social misfit and sadistic prankster, emerges as the most likely suspect.

He may have negligently killed his son during a botched kidnap prank (his pranks were usually quite cruel) or during rough "play" with his toddler. Lindbergh's belief in Eugenics (White Supremacy) also makes him suspect since it is possible his firstborn son was severely harmed during a 14-hour flight he forced his wife to undergo while in her 7th month of pregnancy. If there was anything "wrong" with the Eaglet Lindbergh might even have wanted to be relieved of the "stigma" to his name and reputation.

Forensic specimens of bone and hair of the unfortunate child are also housed at the NJ State Archive.

But, in either case - accidental or purposeful - the "kidnap of the century" appears to have been a hoax, a la Susan Smith or JonBenet Ramsey.

A devious ploy to account for a missing child.

The Trial Adoring jurors at Flemington in 1935 were not suspicious of Lindbergh's outrageously false ear-witness testimony.

At the Flemington trial Lindbergh was unable to remember where he had been during the day of his son's disappearance yet he claimed to remember Hauptmann's voice, shouting from afar only two short words - 3 years earlier!

His original testimony, at the time of the cemetery drop-off, revealed that he had been sitting in a car with the windows rolled up - more than half a block away.

Lindbergh's testimony at Hauptmann's trial is disturbing. Not only were the jurors dazzled by the famous aviator's presence but none of them thought to question Lindbergh's ability to identify a person in this manner. They must have assumed that the daredevil who flew to Paris also possessed supernatural hearing.

It is simply not possible for human hearing to be that keen nor is it possible for human memory to be that reliable. Based upon such horrendous standards Hauptmann's execution was really the murder of justice itself.

And so, if Ahlgren and Monier are correct, Charles Lindbergh, as well as the State of New Jersey, deserve inexcusable blame for the framing of an innocent man.

Anti-Semitism? Was Charles Lindbergh really an anti-Semite?

Could that question have anything to do with this case?

In spite of recent reappraisals by family-authorized writer Scott Berg, youngest daughter Reeve Lindbergh and the most unlikely of all apologists , Steven Spielberg, many people still believe Charles Lindbergh was nothing less than an unrepentant pro-Nazi, anti-Semite.

This belief is not necessarily based upon what Charles Lindbergh said in his public speeches before the Jewish Holocaust but for all the things he never said after it was over.

Some "gifts" do need to be given back. Hitler's medal, - the Service Cross of the German Eagle With Star - adorned with four swastikas, was presented to Lindbergh by Hermann Goering, Though many people begged him to give it back Lindbergh stubbornly refused saying it would be an insult to Germany. It has been, for over 60 years, part of the Lindbergh Collection at the St Louis Missouri Historical Society were Lindbergh donated this highly offensive possession which he continually, even after the war, refused to denounce. It has been viewed by thousands of people as part of a touring Lindbergh memorabilia exhibit throughout the country. Much worldwide respect would have come Lindbergh's way had he publicly retracted some of his "values" before he died in 1974. Lindbergh found no fault, no mistake, no regret nor any corrections necessary in his own behavior or values. He believed he was a perfect individual - everyone else was wrong. At the time of his death he continued to maintain a belief that the U.S. should not have fought Hitler.

Ahlgren and Monier have provided an intriguing psychological theory to account for Lindbergh's pre-war attitude in relation to his participation at Hauptmann's trial.

Tania M. Gensemer The idea for this website was originally created by a high school student who was not afraid to think skeptically. Tania M. Gensemer was outraged by a 1996 HBO movie, which was based upon Ludovic Kennedy's book The Airman and The Carpenter . Her own research on this case was an attempt to find the truth, without prejudice. After creating some of these pages, at age 16, she was soon threatened with a law suit by an individual (with an opposing website on this subject) claiming to have copyrights to some of the photos she originally used here.

The intimidation of a high school student, (though she actually listed all of her sources and acknowledged the opposing website), is one of the reasons this website now exists. Although some people may be disturbed by some of the theories on this site, they deserve to be tested in "the light of day." Ronelle Delmont has revised and rewritten all of Tania's original 45 pages and will continue expanding this website in her honor.

Ronelle Delmont A popular lecturer and book reviewer in South Florida. She has been enlightening audiences about Crime of the Century: The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax for over 5 years.

Ronelle's Favorite Book Reviews 1994-2003 update coming soon!

The L.K.H. Skeptics Much valuable information on this website was contributed to the attached message board - The Lindbergh Kidnapping Hoax Public Forum - by a host of very dedicated skeptics - and non-skeptics. Their participation in this ongoing debate has lasted for six years - and shows no sign of waning. Thanks to Siglinde Rach, Kurt Tolksdorf, Sue Campbell, Sam Bornstein, Brian, Steve Romeo, Michael Melsky, Mike A., Philip Migliore, Michael Donner, Richard Sloan, Lane, Tanialee, Melinda Rose, Carol, Bob Aldinger, Harold Olson, Barbara, Nancy, John Overall, Dena, Pericles, RAS, JDB, MJR, EMM, et al. Many of their LKH message board contributions will be scattered throughout these pages.

Mark Falzini Special thanks to Mark Falzini, Archivist at the W Trenton, NJ State Police Museum, who manages to remain objective in spite of the demands made upon him by researchers, theorists, and "real" Lindbergh "babies" - some of whom have been embattled for decades.

'Systematic, cynical, aggressive': expert verdict on Tesco and Asda prices

Batteries, medicines and children's toys among items whose prices were increased in runup to Christmas

Tesco and Asda signs

Tesco said the sample of products used in the Guardian investigation was 'skewed and unrepresentative'. Photograph: Troika

Supermarket giants Tesco and Asda dramatically increased prices on key items in the runup to Christmas in what an independent expert has called "a systematic, cynical and aggressive attempt to exploit demand", a Guardian investigation can reveal. Batteries, lightbulbs, medicines, Christmas drinks and must-have children's toys were among essentials whose prices were increased.

Both companies ran marketing campaigns before Christmas and at New Year boasting of thousands of price cuts but many consumers will have been unaware that they were also raising thousands of prices in the same period.

Data acquired from third party analysts and published on our website shows that between 9 and 22 December 2009, Asda increased prices on more than 2,000 lines while Tesco upped the price of over 1,500 lines. Professor John Bridgeman, the former director general of the Office of Fair Trading who conducted official inquiries into the supermarket sector, said that in his view the data showed "a cynical attempt to exploit demand in the week before Christmas and force prices up" and "extract maximum profit" from shoppers who were too busy to go elsewhere.

In Asda products that doubled or nearly doubled in price immediately before Christmas included a four-pack of Duracell Plus AA batteries, certain razor blades, gravy pouches, Lemsip, toothbrushes and pickles; Walkers Sensations crisps went up 45%, a 1.25-litre family bottle of Coca Cola went up 37%. In Tesco Nurofen was up 33%, a pack of Warburton's teacakes up 34.4%, a bottle of Beefeater gin was up 37.6% and various lightbulbs were up over 20%, for example. The must-have toy for girls, the Peppa Pig playset, went up 50% from £19.97 to £29.97 on 19 December.

The two retailers did not challenge the accuracy of the figures we put to them, but rejected Bridgeman's interpretation. They said the majority of the increases we have identified were on products that were coming off promotion. Bridgeman described ending advertised promotional discounts in the busiest week of the year as "cynical". Consumers did not expect promotions to end the week before Christmas, he said, and the rises would exploit the less well-off most as they have to manage budgets very carefully and shop week by week.

"There was no warning that the week or two before Christmas the retailers would aggressively raise certain prices. It's a cynical abuse of the busy shopper," he said.

The prices in our tables were taken from the grocers' online stores, which they say reflect the national pricing policies in their shops. The number of price rises in the period we analysed appeared high, affecting around 6% of lines in Tesco and about 9% of those in Asda. Bridgeman, who is now an international consumer consultant on supermarkets, said the constant churn in prices both up and down had made it virtually impossible for consumers to shop on price and most people had given up.

Both supermarkets, according to Bridgeman, would be able to use their sales data or information from loyalty cards to identify those purchases customers feel they have to make at Christmas and then target these categories for some steep rises "to extract maximum profit" from shoppers who have neither the time nor capacity to go elsewhere. So household cleaning goods, shaving products, toiletries, lightbulbs, batteries, pickles, sauces, herbs and spices typically consumed at Christmas, favourite seasonal drinks, hangover and indigestion pills, and must-have family presents were all categories seeing dramatic hikes on some lines.

Asda said: "The vast majority of products [that went up] were four-week promotions that simply reverted back to their original low price. Our customers know they don't just have to take our word for it. All of our prices are online and independently verified by, which proves that Asda had more low prices every single week in 2009 compared to any other supermarket."

Tesco said: "The suggestion that we had a policy of forcing prices up for customers in the runup to Christmas is totally wrong. The Guardian has used a skewed and unrepresentative sample of products to make a series of partial and misleading accusations which misrepresent Tesco and the highly competitive market in which we operate."

It also said it did not use data from its Clubcard in the manner suggested by Bridgeman. "In fact we cut the prices of hundreds of our most popular Christmas lines." Tesco said the price rises we had identified changed "as promotions ended, as supplier costs increased, or changed in line with the market". In the runup to Christmas it says it cut the price of 2,638 products and as some promotions ended, others not identified in our data began. Its promotions are advertised using various methods, including shelf-edge labelling and the dates on which promotions end are included, it told us.

Bridgeman estimated that the price rises in Tesco "had probably added around £15 per £100 spent to baskets for many households" but said that there was currently no useful week-by-week comparison available on a representative £100 basket of both food and non-food goods bought in the major UK supermarkets.

The Guardian investigation was an important contribution to understanding supermarket price volatility which was of vital interest to Britain's consumers, he said. Tesco did not respond specifically to Bridgeman's figure of £15 per £100 spent this year, but said it was misleading. "The average Tesco basket spend was lower in every week in the runup to Christmas this year than last year. In December our overall food inflation was 0.14%. This compares to 0.74% in November and a six-month average of 0.12%."