- In what appears to be something out of a surreal dream,
the German trial of Ernst Zundel has been temporarily ended because all
his lawyers could not get one of their many motions accepted by the court
- I guess there is a German rule that says: defense lawyers
have to produce a semblance of competence by making at least one motion
stand up. I don't really know. Anyway, Zundel has a new lawyer, and the
trial may re-open in February.
- The charge? Denial of the Holocaust. Or something like
that. In Canada, during his three trials, Zundel was charged with threatening
national security. Threatening how? By denying the accepted story, in certain
respects, of the Holocaust.
- After perusing a number of articles about Zundel on the
rense.com site, I presume that Zundel is a very unpopular man because he
is stating that the Nazi extermination of Jews during WW2 has been grossly
exaggerated, in terms of actual numbers of Jews killed.
- So far, I find no evidence that Zundel has committed
a crime against any person or piece of property, in the usual sense of
crime. Nor do I find any direct inciting to violence on the part of Zundel.
- In other words, he is being held in prison (as he was
in Canada) because he expresses certain thoughts.
- Of course, in several European countries, Holocaust denial
is itself a crime.
- There are a couple of issues here. One is, can your words
be taken by other people as reason for THEM to commit a violent crime?
As far as I'm concerned, there are nutcases and morons running around from
the Arctic Circle to Tierra Del Fuego who will, on the slightest provocation,
steal property and commit assault.
- One only has to look at the laws in the US to see that
indirect participation in a "crime" is a growing trend. For example,
a person can be found innocent of robbery but found guilty of conspiracy
to commit robbery.
- "We talked about it, we planned it, but then we
got cold feet."
- "Who cares? Guilty of conspiracy. This court is
- Note that Zundel is not being charged with conspiracy.
I'm merely pointing out that INDIRECT labels can be extended in all sorts
- In fact, as political correctness spreads like ink on
a blotter all over the planet, people are warned that the slightest off-center
remark might damage another person within hearing distance for life.
- Then comes the issue of Zundel's accuracy in his written
and spoken comments about the Holocaust. Is he right? Is he wrong? Is he
really trying to deceive? Is he saying what he says because, in his heart,
he is a racist or an anti-Semite?
- The circular argument goes this way: since Zundel obviously
knows what he is saying is false, he must have another strategy; he must
be trying to float a lie for an ulterior motive.
- Well, if it is now the law to make an examination of
someone's heart and soul in judging criminal innocence or guilt, we can
hang it up and move to another planet.
- By any rational standard, who the hell cares what Zundel
is saying, in so far as his innocence or guilt is concerned? He's saying
it. He has the right to say it. He can say it from now until the cows come
- In my experience, it is the incredibly shallow and inexperienced
and desperate people who try to divine other citizens' ulterior motives
at the drop of a hat and pin all sorts of labels on them, over and over.
- I'm reminded of the many painstaking domeheads, back
in the day, who would take the work of a famous artist and apply their
own version of psychoanalytic theory to his work and, in the process, try
to reduce that artist to ashes.
- Now, it may be that Zundel has actually done things I
don't know about. So far, I haven't found anything that really surprises
me. I'm willing to be shown---but as far as I can tell, the man is being
prosecuted for stating what he believes to be facts.
- It also appears that his defense team in Germany is not
permitted to offer evidence that Zundel's version of the Holocaust is accurate.
- "You're being prosecuted for saying X. And we will
not allow proof that X is true. The crime is saying X. Shut up."
- Here I'm reminded of US trials in which federal prosecutors
try to ramrod a defendant who has sold medicines not approved by the FDA.
In court, when the defendant's lawyers move to introduce evidence that
the medicine in question actually cures disease, the judge refuses to allow
- "We're not here to determine whether the defendant
is a hero in healing people. We only want to know whether he sold a substance
to treat a disease, and whether the FDA has approved this substance. If
the FDA has not certified it as safe and effective, the defendant is guilty
- It also reminds me of US Supreme Court Justice Scalia's
famous remark: the revelation of new exculpatory evidence is not sufficient
to warrant a re-trial for a person who is currently serving time in prison
for having committed a crime. New trials are only granted when it's shown
that the previous trial was, procedurally speaking, deeply flawed. In other
words, who cares whether the convicted person is really guilty?
- Do Zundel's statements about the Holocaust offend many
people? Of course. Is that a crime? No. Does the principle of free speech
exceed the fact that people are offended? Yes.
- What about 9/11? What about the justification for waging
war in Vietnam and Iraq? What about claiming that AIDS is not a contagious
germ-driven disease? What about people who claim that FDR knew the Japanese
were going to attack Pearl Harbor and let it happen? What about people
who say Bill Clinton sold out America by letting military-tech secrets
flow from here to China, in exchange for a few dollars placed in his re-election
campaign fund? What about people who say we never went to the moon? What
about people who say that George Bush has the intellect of a chimp?
- In these and hundreds of other situations, it is quite
possible to make statements that will offend others deeply. Shall we put
a censor to work scrubbing all these statements out of existence? Shall
we hold show trials and put people in jail?
- On the road to freedom, we say that potential victims
of others' speech are going to have to suck it up and get past all that.
It may not be nice, but that's the way things work. On the road to tyranny,
we say that anything you might say that will cause a person emotional distress
is illegal and you will be punished severely for it, by the legal system,
backed up by official guns and official prison bars.
- I know which way I'm going. If Zundel has done nothing
other than revise, downward, accepted estimates of the Holocaust, if he
has done nothing other than claim he knows who is protecting the official
scenario, then let him out of jail. Let him go and let him live his life.
Stop trying to put him on trial.
- What about people who claim there was tremendous black
African participation in selling fellow Africans to the American slavemasters,
who then brought those slaves to this country? That picture contradicts
the official scenario. Why aren't those Holocaust deniers being arrested
and tried and placed in prisons?
- And by the way, wasn't there a US court case about a
year ago in which---to the consternation of many---it was ruled that a
media news outlet (FOX) could lie with impunity? Could escape even a judgment
in a civil suit?
- So even if Zundel is intentionally lying through his
teeth, so what? Does he have fewer rights than FOX or CNN?
- See, at the end of the day, accuracy and truth don't
matter at all, when it comes to speech. Now if you tell a number of lies
aimed at a particular and specific person or group, with the idea of injuring
their reputations, then that is actionable in a suit. But Zundel is not
being sued. If he were, he could introduce evidence to support his statements
as being true. He is being tried on criminal charges by the German State,
and if he is found guilty, he can be sentenced to a jail term. It's a whole