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Cat Defender

Exposing the Lies and Crimes of Bird Advocates, Wildlife Biologists, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, PETA, the Humane Society of the United States, Exterminators, Vivisectors, the Scientific Community, Fur Traffickers, Cloners, Breeders, Designer Pet Purveyors, Hoarders, Motorists, the United States Military, and Other Ailurophobes

Sunday, July 22, 2018

As Their Colleagues Across the United States Continue to Defame and Wage War Against the Species, a Handful of Foreign Correspondents for The New York Times Are Hypocritically Turning to Cats for Their Salvation and Deliverance

Malicki Has Found at Least Some Use for The Times

"For me, it was an emotional crutch. There's just something about coming across an affectionate animal, wherever you are. And I think that's heightened when you're in an unfamiliar environment."
-- Jack Healy

Whether genuine altruism actually exists or merely puts in cameo appearances from time to time as self-interest cleverly disguised is a topic that long has divided philosophers. That which is not in dispute, however, is that man's attitude toward and treatment of others varies greatly depending upon time, place, and circumstances.

That phenomenon manifests itself everywhere and throughout all walks of life regardless of whether it is commented upon or if even notice is taken of it. Yet, it is still somewhat surprising that an organization as well-known and influential as The New York Times has been able to get away for so long with its blatant lies about cats. (See Cat Defender posts of December 8, 2007, June 15, 2009, and July 9, 2018 entitled, respectively, "All the Lies That Fit: Scheming New York Times Hires a Bird Lover to Render His 'Unbiased' Support for James M. Stevenson," "The American Bird Conservancy, The New York Times, and the Humane Society Unite to Form as Achse bes Bösen Against Cats," and "The Slimy, Underhanded, and Utterly Despicable New York Times Fabricates Another One-Sided, Scurrilous Screed Against Cats and This Time Around the Target of Its Libels Is a TNR Colony at the Googleplex in Mountain View.")

Of course having billions in the banks and an army of ruthless shysters at its beck and call helps. So, too, does having enough firepower in order to drown out any and all opposing views.

Safely ensconced behind locked doors at their palatial digs in West Manhattan, the members of the Sulzberger Gang are thus free to munch on their bagels with schmears and nibble at their knishes to their fat bellies' delight, wear out the carpeting with their nonstop strutting and preening, and to wallow head over heels in their overinflated opinions of themselves while at the same time staring down their long, dirty, and disjointed schnozes at the remainder of creation. Subtract the erudition, culture, and snobbish apathy exhibited by Henry Leeds, and the portrait of them that emerges is not all that dissimilar from the one that Gene O'Neil painted of the professor in Act I, Scene I of his 1928 play, Strange Interlude.

After describing the glassed-in bookcases that line the walls of his private library and their numerous volumes of Greek, Latin, German, French, and Italian classics, he went on to observe:

"The atmosphere of the room is that of a cosy, cultured retreat, sedulously built as a sanctuary where, secure with the culture of the past at his back, a fugitive from reality can view the present safely from a distance, as a superior with condescending disdain, pity, and even amusement."

All of that is old news, however. What is not nearly as well-known is the petit fait that while Times' staffers in Manhattan are busily libeling and denigrating the species some of their colleagues stationed around the world in its numerous bureaus are turning to its members for solace and companionship in their hours of greatest need and distress.

One of them is Jack Healy who befriended a brown and white female named Malicki while he was serving as the newspaper's Baghdad correspondent from 2010 to 2012. "For me, it was an emotional crutch," he later admitted to The New York Times on June 5, 2017. (See "A Times Tradition: Meet the Bureau Cats.") "There's just something about coming across an affectionate animal, wherever you are. And I think that's heightened when you're in an unfamiliar environment."

Longtime technology editor Walter Baranger likewise befriended a white cat with ginger markings named Purdah while he was stationed in Kabul in 2001. He later was transferred to Baghdad where he came to know and sought out the comforts provided by that war-torn city's numerous homeless cats.

Purdah with Jane Scott-Long

"The cats were a catharsis. You were able to take care of them," he explained to The New York Times. "You knew you were making a difference. And it took your mind off the war for a while."

Dionne Searcey, The Times' current West Africa bureau chief in Dakar, has likewise adopted a pair of homeless cats. One of them is named Muus who spends a good portion of his time gingerly pussyfooting around the shards of broken glass that are embedded in the top of the security wall that surrounds her office. The other one is a brown and gray cat named Spotty Slash Dotty who is said to enjoy nothing better than reclining in laps and on the tops of desks.

"Mostly they're here to help our three kids feel comfortable," she told The Times. "At least I can make one little difference for a street cat."

Her predecessor, Adam Nossiter, adopted a cat named Louis whereas the newspaper's international editor, Michael Slackman, took on the care of two strays, Yodarella and Spunky, during his five-year stint in Cairo. "Spunky is my soul mate," he proclaimed to The Times.

Although commendable, the assistance that members of the species have received from the likes of Healy, Beranger, Searcey, Slackman, and Nossiter pales in comparison to that supplied them by John F. Burns and his wife Jane Scott-Long. As far as it is known, they began befriending cats way back in the 1990's while they were stationed in New Delhi.

They even thought so much of a stray named Scuzzie whom they met in 1994 that they repatriated him to their home in Cambridge. When the couple moved on to Islamabad in 2001 Scott-Long began regularly feeding the homeless cats that lived in the nearby woods.

After The Times opened a bureau in Baghdad in 2003, the couple came along with it and soon they were sheltering and feeding up to as many as sixty cats at a time over the course of the net several years. They even brought a white cat with flecks of ginger named Scooter and her three kittens, Apache, Bradley, and Stryker, home to Cambridge with them and while they were serving out their six-months of mandatory quarantine under English law, she gave birth to three additional kittens.

"As The Times' bureau chief, part of my routine was to ask, each night, how many cats we had seated for dinner," Burns wrote in The New York Times on October 14, 2007. (See "What Cats Know About War.") "In a place where we could do little else to relieve the war's miseries, the tally became a measure of one small thing we could do to favor life over death."

In doing so, he and Scott-Long openly defied an edict issued by the Bush-Cheney Gang not to either feed or adopt cats; rather, the bloodthirsty imperialists wanted all the cats for themselves so that they could kill them en masse. (See Cat Defender post of June 16, 2008 entitled "Targeted for Elimination by the American War Machine and Cheney's Henchmen, Baghdad's Cats Are Befriended by an English Mercenary.")

Spotty Slash Dotty Loves to Lounge on Cluttered Desks

Burns and Scott-Long also courageously thumbed their noses at the Americans' sottise that feeding the cats would rob them of their survival instincts. "At The Times' compound, too, we have never been certain how long we will remain in Iraq," Burns candidly admitted in the October 14, 2007 article. "But in my mind, at least, the benefits to the cats and our own morale outweighed the longer-term concerns, the more so because conditions beyond our walls seemed to offer scant prospects that most of them, denied our shelter, would survive for very long anyway."

In spite of their superlative efforts on behalf of Baghdad's homeless feline contingent, Burns and Scott-Long were sorely remiss in not better protecting them from being preyed upon by both dogs and respiratory infections. Although given that just about all of the city's practicing veterinarians were either dead or had fled for their lives by the time that they had arrived, there is perhaps little that they could have done about the latter calamity.

There can be little disputing, however, that Burns is guilty, like his fellow colleagues at The Times Judith Miller and Michael R. Gordon, of fully supporting the American invasion and that is totally unpardonable because the war doubtlessly claimed the lives of untold tens of thousands of cats. By contrast, Saddam Hussein reportedly kept hundreds of them at his presidential palace and that, if nothing else, is a strong point in his favor. (See The Independent of London, October 16, 2007, "John F. Burns: How a Brit Came to Star at The New York Times.")

Burns and Scott-Long are not the only Times' staffers to have put their hearts, money, and labors where their mouths are when it came to helping out the homeless cats that crossed their paths while they were living in foreign lands. Healy in particular had a an especially difficult go of it while getting Malicki out of Baghdad.

For starters, it took him hours in order to get an Iraqi exit visa for her. Following that, he was inadvertently clawed and bitten by the terrified cat when officials at a security checkpoint forced him to remove her from her cage.

"My hands were completely destroyed: puncture wounds, bites," he related to The New York Times in the June 5, 2017 article cited supra. He nevertheless refused to let go of her and they eventually made it home to Denver where he was able to secure treatment at a hospital emergency room.

At last report, Malicki was still alive and living with him. Even so, her turbulent years in Baghdad have left an indelible mark on her that can still be seen in her eating habits. "She's still the same gluttonous beast she was back in Iraq," Healy testified to The Times.

Nossiter likewise brought along Louis with him when he departed Dakar in favor of Paris where he now serves as a correspondent for the paper. "I'm extremely fond of him, and he's an indispensable part of the household," he told The Times on June 5, 2017. "And the kids would have revolted anyway."

His uprooting has come at a terribly high price, however. "He's used to spending his days outside: chasing lizards, climbing the mango tree. Now he lives in an apartment in the First Arrondissement, in the heart of the fashion district," Nossiter continued. "He can go out on the balcony and observe the Chanel® workshop across the street but it's not quite the same thing."

A Trio of Homeless Cats Trying to Stay Alive in Baghdad in 2007

He is alive, however, and that is the important thing. If Nossiter had cruelly left him behind, his prospects of surviving on his own would have been slim indeed.

It is not known whatever became of Baranger's cat, Purdah. If it is still alive, it would be at least seventeen years old by now.

The fate of Slackman's second cat, Yodarella, is likewise unknown. The more pressing concern of the moment is the fate of Muus and Spotty Slash Dotty once Searcey moves on from Dakar.

The efforts of seven employees of The Times on behalf of cats hardly constitutes an epidemic of ailurophilia. That is especially the case considering that the newspaper operates approximately six bureaus in the New York area, fourteen elsewhere across the United States, and twenty-four in foreign lands.

Perhaps most illuminating of all is the disturbing reality that even within that select group of two-hundred or so Times' employees who work abroad, the fate and well-being of even those cats that the newspaper has immortalized in print count for almost nothing. For example, in staffers Alissa Rubin and Alan Cowell's  28, 2017 remembrance in The New York Times of Scott-Long, who died last September of breast cancer, they make no mention whatsoever of the dozens, and possibly even hundreds, of cats that she came to the aid of in New Delhi, Islamabad, Kabul, Baghdad, and doubtlessly elsewhere as well.

They even recall a visit that they made to her home in Cambridge last summer and explicitly mention the presence there of her Tibetan Terrier, Alfie. Strangely enough, however, they do not utter so much as a solitary syllable about the cats that she and Burns brought home with them from Baghdad. (See "In an Era of 'Forever Wars,' the Middle East Bureau Manager Who Made Our Coverage Possible.")

It is far from clear what to make of that glaring omission but the first thought that comes to mind is that Scuzzie, Scooter, Apache, Bradley, Stryker, and the trio of kittens that were born in quarantine are either now dead or they have been fobbed off on others. Another possibility is that Rubin and Cowell are dog-lovers and simply did not feel that the presence of the cats merited so much as mentioning.

Owing to the dearth of data available, it is difficult to draw any firm conclusions regarding The Times' foreign correspondents and their overall treatment of cats. Nonetheless, once human frailties, the difficulties involved in repatriating cats, and the nomadic lifestyle of journalists are taken into consideration, it seems reasonable to conclude that Burns, Scott-Long, Healy, and Nossiter constitute a distinct minority. The remainder of their colleagues, should they endeavor to care about cats at all, most likely behave toward them pretty much as captive audiences do everywhere.

C'est-à-dire, they exploit them for the love, companionship, and succor that they so freely provide under trying circumstances without returning very much in kind. Consequently, filial and unbreakable moral bonds are seldom established between them and their feline benefactors.

A Baghdad Mother with Her Kittens in 2007

For example, transitory relationships of this sort are commonly formed in prisons. (See Cat Defender posts of October 27, 2005, September 29, 2006, November 2, 2006, and February 1, 2007 entitled, respectively, "Inmates at Women's Prisons in California Save Lives by Fostering Feral Kittens," "Avenal State Prison Reverts to Its Old Ailurophobic Ways by Scrapping a TNR Program and Cutting Off the Cats' Food Supply," "A Three-Legged, Bobtailed Cat Named Opie Melts the Hearts of the Hardened Criminals at a Tennessee Prison," "and "A Prison in Vermont Is Giving Its Felines the Boot Despite Opposition from Its Female Inmates.")

The same casual and exploitative relationships additionally exist between students of all age brackets and cats. (See Cat Defender posts of April 14, 2008, May 19, 2014, October 15, 2012, November 21, 2012, July 12, 2017, September 15, 2017, and October 3, 2017 entitled, respectively, "Room 8 Lives On in the Hearts of the Pupils and Teachers That He So Profoundly Touched at Elysian Heights Elementary School," "Even after Fourteen Years of Faithful Companionship and Exemplary Service, Teachers, Students, and Administrators at Westbrook High Remain Clueless as to Simba's Intrinsic Value," "Texas A&M Ushers In a New Academic Year but Things Are Just Not Quite the Same Without Its Beloved Bisbee," "Officials at Plymouth College of Art Should Be Charged with Gross Negligence and Animal Cruelty in the Tragic Death of the School's Longtime Resident Feline, PCAT," "A Death Watch Has Begun for King Loui I Who Has Been Abandoned to Wander the Dangerous Streets of Aachen by His Derelict Owner and the Ingrates at RWTH," "King Loui I's Days of Roaming the Perilous Streets of Aachen Come to Sad End Shortly after He Is Diagnosed with Inoperable Throat Cancer," and "Jordan, the University of Edinburgh's Library Cat, Disappears into Thin Air but No One Either Cares, Knows, or Is Willing to Say What Has Happened to Him.")

Even confirmed cat-haters are sometimes able to overcome their ingrained antipathy toward the species in order to exploit them if it suits their evil designs. For instance, wildlife refuges such as Carolina Wildlife Care near Columbia, South Carolina, and Big Cat Rescue in Tampa routinely shanghai them into nursing wild animals who have lost their mothers.

Zoos, such as the Zoologischer Garten Berlin, the Linton Zoo in Cambridge, and the Artis Royal Zoo in Amsterdam also exploit them in a similar fashion and as playmates for their inmates. (See Cat Defender posts of June 3, 2008, October 6, 2008, April 12, 2013, and July 24, 2008 entitled, respectively, "The Berlin Zoo Reunites Old Friends Muschi and Mauschen after a Brief Enforced Separation," "In Memoriam: Thomas Dorflein, 1963-2008," "Arnie of the Linton Zoo Is Remembered as a Wonderfully Loving and Charismatic Cat Who Gave Back Far More Than He Received During His All-Too-Brief Sojourn Upon This Earth," and "A Red Panda That Was Rejected by Her Mother but Later Adopted by a Cat Dies Unexpectedly at an Amsterdam Zoo.")

Still others, such as the Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo in Washington force them into lugging around on their tiny necks bulky cameras so that their cat-hating researchers can gather data on their predatory behavior. In addition to the numerous cats that she shanghaied into becoming guinea pigs and then later killed, Nico Dauphiné even went so far as to attempt to poison a nearby TNR colony. (See Cat Defender posts of July 12, 2011, November 18, 2011, and January 6, 2012 entitled, respectively, "The Arrest of Nico Dauphiné for Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats Unmasks the National Zoo as a Hideout for Ailurophobes and Criminals," "Nico Dauphiné, Ph.D., Is Convicted of Attempting to Poison a Colony of Homeless Cats but Questions Remain Concerning the Smithsonian's Role," and "Nico Duaphiné Is Let Off with an Insultingly Lenient $100 Fine in a Show Trial That Was Fixed from the Very Beginning.")

The most perplexing conundrum of all concerns the behavior of those foreign correspondents of The Times who not only care deeply about cats but whose lives have been enhanced by the assistance that they have received from them. Specifically, how can they in good conscience continue to work for a company that has embarked upon a ruthless and underhanded campaign of outright lies and libels designed to hang the entire species?

Moreover, if they harbored in their bosoms so much as the slightest bit of devotion to sound journalistic practices that alone should be sufficient in order to prompt them to publicly denounce their colleagues' patented dishonesty, the one-sidedness of their reportage, the gargantuan lengths that they go to in order to manipulate and fabricate both facts and photographs, and the fervor of their ingrained hatred of cats. That is not the case, however.

Au contraire, they willingly have allowed themselves to be compromised solely for the sake of remaining members in good standing of the notorious Sulzberger Gang. As a consequence, the world is left to ponder just how many other Faustian bargains that they have entered into and, correspondingly, the veracity of everything that they continue to say and do.

Most reprehensible of all, those correspondents whose lives have been enhanced by the cats that they have encountered in their travels owe a huge debt of gratitude to them and all members of the species and by refusing to face up to their solemn obligations they can only be labeled as ungrateful. To willingly do the bidding of such a sleazy and slimy piece of shit as The New York Times and the vile interests that it fronts for is bad enough in its own right but to be known as a pack of ingrates is far worse.

Photos: Jack Healy (Malicki), Walter Baranger (Purdah with Scott-Long), Dionne Searcey (Spotty Slash Dotty), Joao Silva of The New York Times (three cats in Baghdad), and Edward Wong of The New York Times (a Baghdad mother with her kittens).