By censoring the film, they urged me to see it John Colson October 20, 2007

Aspen Times Weekly   Opinion 

The refusal by GrassRoots TV last week to air a 'Holocaust denial' film was disturbing.


The film, which purports to tell the story of how 'Judea Declares War on Germany,' and at the same time questions the accepted view of the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis against Jews and others, apparently scared the board so badly that its members could no longer read the stationís mission statement clearly.


In the process, the board has placed itself squarely on the wrong side of an ongoing battle over our rights as citizens of the United States to consider all viewpoints and draw our own conclusions on any number of questions and issues.


It is an attack on our right to think.


Iíve been observing this battle all of my adult life, starting with our countryís ill-considered Vietnam War and the government's attempt to paint the conflict in the red, white and blue of patriotic fervor.


As I went through my high school years, while the war escalated and our streets back home erupted, I confronted a bewildering array of supposed 'truths' expressed in cultural and political propaganda on everything from the dangers of rock music and marijuana to the jingoistic sentiments represented by the phrase, 'America, love it or leave it.'


The prevailing blue-collar culture in suburban Maryland outside Washington, D.C., where I was living in those years, enforced conformity with violence, which in my case manifested mainly in demands that I cut my hair, dress like everyone around me and think and behave as I was told by teachers, fellow students and the police.


I rebelled, and Iím glad I did.


I learned to be sceptical, to think for myself about everything around me, and to make up my own mind about what I saw, read and heard. And in many cases, my conclusions were radically different from the ideas being foisted upon me by society.


This is the intellectual tide that has carried me along throughout my life, and I donít like it when supposedly clear-thinking, progressively minded adults tell me I canít look at something because they think it is wrong, or evil or subversive.


I find this kind of paternalistic, smothering attitude wrong on so many levels itís hard to enumerate them.


For one thing, when a group of people begin to see themselves as the guardians of what is 'right,' I begin to look for evidence that they are wrong. Canít help myself. And I believe I am not alone in this.


So, when the GrassRoots TV board decided to nix the film, they left me wondering if maybe the film contains some information I really need to know. I still havenít seen the film, mostly because it really hasnít risen to the level of a 'must-see' in my mind, but also because Iíve just been too busy to check it out.


But I intend to, and that, it seems to me, directly contradicts the intent of the GrassRoots board.


It could be, of course, that the board believes that the stationís viewers are so complacent and lazy that they will simply cave in to this blatant censorship and forget about the whole thing soon enough.


If so, that is truly dangerous thinking. It is Orwellian in the most basic sense of the phrase, in that it assumes that by controlling what we see and hear they can control what we think. But history has shown us that this does not work, at least not usually, and that the suppression of objectionable ideas leads to frustration, which can lead to curiosity, which can lead to exploration and possibly to action, maybe even revolution.


More than a century ago, a small number of women and their supporting cast of men rebelled against the idea that women should not have the right to vote. The prevailing wisdom at the time was that women were too delicate and simple to deal with the tangled and complex ideas and passions of politics.


Well, we got that wrong, as the explosive womenís suffrage movement showed, and all the effort to block the movement only made it stronger.


The same was true of the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s.


Society as a whole was wrong on both counts, and it took a lot of violence, death and turmoil to get it right.


Iím not saying the Grassrootsí decision is on a par with those historic movements or the film has historic merit. But the underlying principles have parallels, and the GrassRoots board has erred on the side of fear and prejudice.


John Colson can be reached at



Dear Mr Colson


I am pleasantly surprised to read your thoughtful article because it is so balanced and does not reveal any malice but rather a really mature and mentally challenging item.

This whole episode of Grassroots TV banning the video amazes me especially because it was made just on ten years ago, and more importantly the film was made on no kind of budget at all. Four years ago US-based Revisionist of HonestMedia, Mark Farrell, turned it into a  DVD. I had nothing to do with it because  since the 2002 Federal Court of Australia court order, the contents of it would  put me squarely in contempt of court.


An associate of mine in the film industry put the whole film together and my input was rather of a limited nature. Although I make a point about the Protocols it is one book I have not read, nor have I read Mein Kampf Ė not yet. Perhaps if after my court case at bthe end of November 2007 I have to spend 3-6 months in an Australian prison for contempt of court I will have time to give those books my undivided attention.


The whole affair proves to me how far Revisionist research is ahead of public opinion Ė but thanks to the internet this gap is rapidly closing.


Thank you again for presenting a view that augments mine: If you take away my freedom to think and to speak, you take away my humanity and you commit a crime against humanity Ė truth is my defence.




Dr Fredrick TŲben

Adelaide Institute


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