Update: I got it a bit wrong on how much Hitchens had been roughed up and the exact sequence here.Guardian story, here. Beirut Daily Star story, here.
He had underplayed it, I guess. From another witness I got that he'd been roughed up more than he let on.
First of all, there weren't ten goons, but around six.
Second, the goon squad, and not just the look-out man, did in fact get to Hitchens. They knocked him down to the ground, kicked him while he was down, and stamped on his writing hand (which I'd known). I had thought they escaped the gang, but they didn't, not quite; they got roughed up by them before a cabbie got them away.
Oh, and the errand they were on: Well, they were on their way to a bar. But they hadn't gotten there yet. It was about, oh, 3 or so in the afternoon. We had downtime between events (which were scheduled around the clock pretty much) and I guess they just wanted to check out a local watering hole.
Here's what I know word-of-mouth about the Syrian Nazis: They're actual Nazis, first of all, having taken inspiration from Hitler and sporting a modified swastika on their posters and flags. They're a small party, I'm told. They had been banned years ago but are back, but not in force. There are about 300 of them (again, this is what I am told) and are more of a street-gang of bullyboys than an actual party. However, they have the backing of Syria, and they do, when called upon, murder people.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
A brawl in Beirut shows Hitchens isn't just talk when it comes to confronting evil...From Ace of Spades HQ:(ht Michelle Malkin)