Luke Harding: "That fact is incontestablebut it is the result not of some grand conspiracy, but of the way the Soviet Union restricted Jews' ability to assimilate and rise up in society. While ethnic Slavs dominated all the best career slots in the highly bureaucratised official society, Jews who wanted to get ahead were forced into the black market economy. When communism collapsed and the black market was legalised as free market capitalism, the Jewish entrepreneurs had a head start."
The eXile: "Putin is an old KGB hand, and the KGB is notorious as a pale, Slavs-only club."
Luke Harding: "Putin's previous employer was the KGB, a notorious Slavs-only club."
For the blogger, it was an life-shattering experience every bit as transformational as Jack Lemmon's moment in the film Missing. "...[I]t's a FUCKING COPY-AND-PASTE JOB...But do English-language journalists bite translated copy all of the time and nobody knows?"
Yes, Virginia, there is a Hackburglar.
But thanks to you, readers, we at The eXile managed to come out of our post-party stupor and "take appropriate measures." We are fighting this.
What, we thought, could possibly teach Harding and his colleagues not to steal our goddamn bone? We've tried humiliation. We've tried logic, argument, rhetoric, invective. We've tried horse sperm. None of them worked. The hacks just keep on hackin'.
We thought long and hard, and decided that the only way to resolve this was to do it the White Man's way: demand that the Guardian pay us for our work, and that they get control over their Moscow correspondent, who seems to view Moscow the way Joe Pesci's character in Casino looked at Las Vegas.
This past Monday, we took our case to his Bosses. We emailed Luke's editor, David Munk, our complaint along with an invoice for 500 pounds sterling, which was seriously lowballing, not even half of what we were owed; but we figured it was a friendly gesture on our part.
As we went to print this past Wednesday, Munk still hadn't answered. So we sent a follow-up email expressing our serious disappointment, along with a new invoice demanding 1000 pounds sterling plus VAT. Then we called him. His secretary nervously answered that he was seriously busy with production since it was the "end of the day," and she didn't think he'd take our call.
"Does he know who you are?" she asked patronizingly.
"I'm not sure; maybe, maybe not," we answered, fully patronized.
Within seconds, a breathless Munk took the phone. He chastised us for our letter - "I don't think threatening us with lawsuits or libel is going to help" - but then informed us that the matter had been passed to the Guardian's ombudsman, Siobhain Butterworth. "She will decide the matter and make her recommendation," Munk told us in a deeply peeved tone of voice.
Munk wouldn't say how long it would take for Butterworth to decide the case. So we'll just have to wait.
Meanwhile, we at The eXile have decided that if justice is served and the Guardian pays us our fee, that we will donate 10% of the money to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit that deals with intellectual property rights issues.
To be continued...