On the Anvil
The Doctor And The Nutcracker
By Nigel Jackson, Melbourne, 27 October 2002
On 17 September 2002 Justice Branson handed down a federal Court judgment against Dr Fredrick Töben, director of the Adelaide Institute, and in favour of the plaintiff, Mr Jeremy Jones, a senior office-holder of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry.
The Court found that Dr Toben had published material on the World Wide Web “which is reasonably likely, in all of the circumstances, to offend, insult, humiliate and intimidate Jewish Australians or a group of Jewish Australians” and that Dr Töben had published the offending material “because of the ethnic origin of Jewish Australians”.
Dr Töben was instructed to remove from the Adelaide Institute website (a) a document headed About Adelaide Institute and any other material with a substantially similar content, and (b) any material conveying four stated imputations. These imputations were (i) that there is serious doubt that the Holocaust occurred; (ii) that it is unlikely that there were homicidal Gas chambers at Auschwitz; (iii) that Jewish people who are offended by and challenge Holocaust denial are of limited intelligence; and (iv) that some Jewish people, for improper purposes, including financial gain, have exaggerated the number of Jews killed during World War Two and the circumstances in which they were killed. Dr Töben was also forbidden to publish any such material in the future.
It should be at once apparent to any reasonable person that this finding largely inflicts injustice rather than justice on Dr Töben. In the first place, it is wrongful that any person can be punished, merely for publishing material, on the basis of subjective claims by others that they have been offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated. Justice Branson claimed to be using “an objective test” to determine the case, but it did not appear to be truly objective, as will be shown below. Her finding now proves beyond doubt that the objections that have been made to federal and state ‘anti-vilification’ legislation, that the key terminology is too vague and too subjective, are valid.
In the second place, most of the demands made upon Dr Töben are manifestly unjust. The blanket rejection of About Adelaide Institute is quite excessive. And there are no adequate grounds for proscribing any Australian citizen from expressing the views that there is serious doubt that the Holocaust occurred, that it is unlikely that there were homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz and that some Jewish people, for improper purposes, including financial gain, have exaggerated the number of Jews killed during World War Two and the circumstances in which they were killed.
Whether or not these views are correct or incorrect is beside the point. Neither the State nor the judicial system is entitled to censor controversy over historical events. To admit otherwise is to bow to tyranny. We can agree, however, that it is discourteous and improper to state or imply that Jewish people who are offended by and challenge Holocaust denial “are of limited intelligence”; and there is no need to regret that particular restriction upon Dr Töben’s publishing. Certainly, on a number of occasions in the past he has published tasteless and unnecessarily provocative remarks about Jews and Jewish groups, forgetting that on such sensitive and painful topics as the Nazi regime’s treatment of Jews the utmost effort should be made to express dissident views considerately, gently and with all requisite qualifications.
I will now examine Justice Branson’s judgment in some detail, to expose a number of shortcomings and significant implications, and then to suggest directions for the future, whereby patriots can work to redress an iniquitous situation and better defend any similar cases under current legislation.
At several stages (for example, Section 27 and28) of her judgment Justice Branson indicated that Dr Töben’s approach to his task of defence was inadequate in various ways. He claimed to be unable to find legal counsel (and this may have been because he sought assistance only on a pro bono basis); he submitted irrelevant documents of a discursive, argumentative and
sometimes defamatory nature; and he delayed proceedings for various reasons until the plaintiff was forced t request a summary judgment, which Justice Branson duly gave. It is probable that her criticisms of Dr Töben in this context are valid. In a court of law it is not sufficient to proclaim, however sincerely one believes it, that one is a knight of Truth, while ignoring duly established legal procedures. It should also be remembered that “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread.” Patriots challenging unjust behaviours of the powers-that-be have a duty not to disregard common sense and not to take on more than they can cope with.
An objective test
In Sections 83, 84 and 87 Justice Branson explained her understanding of the need for an objective test to determine guilt and what such a test may be. “An objective test must be applied in determining whether the act complained of has the necessary offensive, insulting, humiliating or intimidatory quality.”
A judge has to answer the questions: “Would the act, in all the circumstances in which it was done, be likely to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate a person or a group of people of a particular racial, national or ethnic group?”
Justice Branson pointed out that the relevant Racial Hatred Bill “requires an objective test to be applied by the Commission so that community standards of behaviour rather than the subjective views of the complainant are taken into account”.
There is no reason to doubt that she was following the law as she perceived it, but there is good reason to fear that the law itself is deficient. On such complicated matters as were before her, the opinions of “the man in the street” are worthless. The average person is simply too ignorant to have a valid and useful opinion. This is the more the case when one considers the shocking gullibility of modern mass man to suggestion by the major media. Indeed, there is very good reason to suspect that the same Money Power which has pressed for racial vilification laws in many countries around the world, has had undue influence on legislatures (including the Australian Parliament) and possesses undue power over the mass media.
It is in this sense that I see Dr Töben as in fact the victims of a skilfully wielded political nutcracker. Thus I do not place the same significance on parliamentary debates as did Justice Branson when in Section 107 she commented: “The debate as to whether the Racial Discrimination Act should proscribe offensive behaviour motivated by race, colour or national or ethnic origin, and the extent to which it should do so, was conducted in the Australian Parliament by the democratically elected representatives of the Australian people.”
I am unconvinced that such debates really represent either the conscious wishes of the electorate or their real interests. And, as noted above, the electorate is often grossly misled by the major media.
Justice Branson conceded that “there is no direct evidence that any person was offended, insulted, humiliated or intimidated” by the material to which the plaintiff objected, but pointed out that, under the law, such evidence is not necessary. “The court must make an objective assessment itself of what is reasonably likely.”
She explained how this assessment was to be made: “It is the test of reasonableness which guides any court in its function of determining whether the matter complained of is capable of conveying any of the imputations pleaded by the plaintiff.” The court must estimate “what the ordinary reasonable reader, listener or viewer (drawing on his or her own knowledge and experience of human affairs) could understand from what the defendant has said in the matter complained of.”
In Section 89 Justice Branson also pointed out that “it is not for the Court in a case of this kind to seek to determine whether or not the Holocaust occurred.” Her role was to decide whether the plaintiff had substantiated his complaint that the defendant “engaged in conduct rendered unlawful by Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act”. However, she added that it was appropriate to note “that it is generally accepted in Australia and elsewhere that the Holocaust did occur.”
Justice Branson proceeded to make her subsequent findings on that basis. While she may well have followed the letter of the law scrupulously, it seems clear that in fact those findings were her subjective assessment based on her awareness of the subjective and largely uninformed, if not misinformed, views of the public.
A reader who doubts this might like to study the discussion of subjectivity and objectivity based on the philosophy of Kant, in P D Ouspensky’s Tertium Organum.
The Court’s Findings
Justice Branson sensibly accepted a legal precedent that to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate “are profound and serious effects, not to be likened to mere slights”. Her first important finding is stated in Section 93, as follows:
“The applicant gave evidence that the Australian Jewish community has the highest percentage of survivors of the Holocaust of any Jewish community in the world outside of Israel. Each of the first two imputations identified in Section 88 above thus challenges and denigrates a central aspect of the shared perception of Australian Jewry of its own modern history and the circumstances in which many of its members came to make their lives in Australia rather than in Europe. To the extent that the material conveys these imputations it is, in my view, more probable than not that it would engender feelings of hurt and pain in the living by reason of its challenge to deep seated belief as to the circumstances surrounding the deaths, or the displacement, of their parents or grandparents. For the same reason, I am satisfied that it is more probable than not that the material would engender in Jewish Australians a sense of being treated contemptuously, disrespectfully and offensively.”
A number of observations are pertinent in response. In the first place it is regrettable that the term ‘Holocaust’ has not been defined in the course of the case. It is possible to accept that death and great suffering was unjustly visited on very large numbers of Jews under the Nazi regime, without believing in the ‘gas chambers’ claims. Such treatment of the Jews could still fairly be labelled a holocaust; and a person holding such a position could not fairly be called a Holocaust denier, though certainly a Holocaust revisionist.
My current impression is that Dr Töben in fact holds such a position. It is regrettable that his material objected to included Dr Robert Faurisson’s laconic comment: ‘No holes, no Holocaust’. He invited misunderstanding. I am not sure that Justice Branson did as much as she could have done to protect him from such misunderstanding.
There is no doubt that the relevant imputations ‘challenged’ the relevant perception, but I see no grounds for the additional claim by Justice Branson that they “denigrated” it. To me that claim appears to be an obvious non sequitur and a regrettable evidence of subjectivity. It should be noted that nowhere in her judgment does she express any concern at all that the current legislation itself may be worthy of serious question. It may well be true that “feelings of hurt or pain” might be aroused by polemical theses challenging deeply held beliefs; but Section 18C does not protect such feelings. Overall, there seems to be no logical basis for Justice Branson’s conclusion at the end of Section 93. It nhas been plucked out of the air.
In Section 94 she stated: “ I am also satisfied that it is more probable than not that the third and fourth of the imputations identified above, by reason of their calumnious nature, would offend, insult, hurt and wound members of Australian Jewry and engender in them a sense of being treated contemptuously, disrespectfully and offensively.”
A calumny is a false accusation. Other definitions of the word depend upon that central fact of falsity. As regards the claim by Dr Töben about Jewish critics of his position being “of limited intelligence” and so on, Justice Branson’s use of the word ‘calumnious’ is valid. That also happens to be an issue on which ordinary Australians and “community standards” could validly give an informed opinion.
The same judgments cannot at all be made as regards her application of the word ‘calumnious’ to the imputation that “some Jewish people, for improper purposes, including financial gain, have exaggerated the number of Jews killed during World War Two and the circumstances in which they were killed.”
This is a complex historical judgment, which has at times been made by both Jewish and non-Jewish historians. It is a matter on which the common man could not give an informed opinion. And Justice Branson’s application of the word ‘calumnious’ to it is completely inconsistent with her remark quoted above that it was not for the Court to determine whether or not the Holocaust occurred. She has made a historical claim without having produced an iota of support for it, a claim that, in any case, is out of place in her judgment. This appears to me to be a very serious judicial error.
In Section 96 Justice Branson went on to make a series of very questionable assertions, as follows:
“ … the publication … would cause damage to the pride and self-respect of vulnerable members of the Australian Jewish community, such as, for example, the young and the impressionable.” Such people might “well experience … pressure to renounce the cultural differences that identify them as part of the Jewish community. I am satisfied that it is more probable than not that there are members of the Australian Jewish community who will become fearful of accessing the World Wide Web to search for information touching on their Jewish culture because of the risk of insult from the material.”
That is drawing a very long bow indeed. Surely it is more reasonable to feel that young and old members of the Jewish community would be more than well fortified to contemplate Holocaust revisionism on the basis of their knowledge, derived from family, school and synagogue, of the magnificent traditions of Judaism and the intellectual achievements of Jews throughout the past four thousand years. The kind of fearfulness referred to by Justice Branson would surely be rare and the indicator of a morbidly timorous nature. I argue that her views here defy common sense.
Citing legal precedents, Justice Branson proceeded to explain that she would take the position that “if an act is done for one or more reasons, it is enough that one of the reasons is the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of a person or group of people.” For her, the test to be applied was “whether race is a ‘material factor’ in the performance of the act.” From this, Justice Branson continued: “It is abundantly clear that race was a factor in the defendant’s decision to publish the material.”
But is it really so abundantly clear?
It may well be that some material published by Dr Töben expressed an animus against Jewish people generally. That expression is unacceptable and should be condemned; but it may be explicable by the age-old human phenomenon of passion aroused in the polemicist. Justice Branson herself noted in Section 81 that Dr Töben has written: “If I offend anybody because I show poor taste in my sometimes blunt and honest questioning, then I apologise.” A more specific apology for past errors might, however, be more appropriate; and it is a pity that conciliation could not have led to that result.
However, his essential reason for mentioning Jews in the material objected to was surely not their Jewishness, but the anti-social acts of which he believes them to be guilty. Justice Branson commented in Section 99: “The material includes many references to Jews and events and people characterized as Jewish. It is particularly concerned with the Holocaust and with the conduct of German forces during World War Two, matters of particular importance to Jewish people. It is, in my view, plainly calculated to convey a message about Jewish people.” None of this, however, proves anything other than the fact that Dr Töben was identifying the particular group of people he feels are engaged in anti-social behaviour. Such identification does not, surely, ipso facto, constitute race being a material factor in the material objected to!
If such identification is not to be allowed, then it will become impossible legally to make legitimate criticisms of alleged anti-social behaviour by any named ethnic and/or religious group. It is impossible to believe that the federal Parliament intended such when it passed the Racial Discrimination Act and the Racial Hatred Act. It is very surprising that Justice Branson showed no awareness of this need to distinguish necessary identification from illicit use of race in published polemics.
Justice Branson pointed out that a defence available to Dr Töben, but which he did not avail himself of, is contained in Section 18D(b) of the Racial Discrimination Act, which states that Section 18C does not render unlawful “anything done reasonably and in good faith in the course of any publication made for genuine academic or other genuine purpose in the public interest.” It is regrettable that Dr Töben did not plead this defence.
However, it is even more regrettable that Justice Branson made in Section 101 the unsupported claim that nothing of the “various material produced to the Court” by Dr Töben “established that he relevantly acted in good faith”. I have known Dr Töben for many years and read many of his relevant writings. To me, it is obvious that he has written and published in good faith at all times, though, as I have noted above, by no means always wisely and courteously. This finding by Justice Branson arouses misgivings in me as to her possible lack of freedom from bias.
The meaning of the word ‘academic’ is also important in this context. In an earlier case or hearing involving either Dr Töben or the Tasmanian Mrs Olga Scully, one of their legal
Opponents endeavoured to equate ‘academic’ with membership of a university faculty and/or official status within the university world. The word should, however, be used in a wide sense such as ‘promoting any of the recognised fields of higher learning, for example, philosophy, the arts and the sciences, in a mode of enquiry purposing to seek the truth, such as was the practice of Plato, founder of the Academy in ancient Athens”. Not to accept such a wider definition would ignore the fact that many spectacular intellectual achievements in human history have been achieved by amateurs and enthusiasts working outside the recognised centers and parameters of learning of their time.
I am quite satisfied that, in general, the writings and publishing activities of Dr Töben and the Adelaide Institute are genuinely academic in that sense. It would be no rebuttal of such a position to point out that university history departments around the world do not include Holocaust revisionists on their staffs. Genuinely innovative theses often have to wait a generation or more before their truths are accepted into official circles.
On the ABC Radio National program, The Law Report, on 12 September 2002, hosted by Damien Carrick and involving Dr Töben together with four eminent guests none of whom were sympathetic to his ideas, Peter Wertheim, the lawyer who represented Mr Jones in the case, responded as follows to the suggestion that Dr Töben has been simply trying to present evidence and engage in a debate about what history is and what the truth is: “Well, that was just one of the many rationalizations that Fredrick Töben tried to put forward in the proceedings, and which was stripped away brutally in the judgment. The material isn’t just objective, academic material.”
Wertheim’s claims are false. As Justice Branson had explained, the relevant defence was not mounted and so was not adjudicated. Wertheim also said: “It’s not just put in a dispassionate or academic context; it’s put in a polemical context.” It is possible for writing to be both academic and polemical, however.
Wertheim then asserted: “This is not a genuine, bona fide academic pursuit, a free enquiry into some matter of genuine historical controversy or curiosity. This is an attempt to whitewash the crimes against humanity of the Nazis …” No such finding was made by the court, nor did Wertheim produce a scintilla of evidence to justify his damaging claim.
In Section 111 Justice Branson expressed approval of a view published by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that “There is also a significant symbolic value in the public denunciation of the actions that are the subject of this complaint. Similarly, there is the potential educative … benefit that can be achieved by open discussion of the principles enunciated in this or any Tribunal decision.” This value and this benefit are likely to be very different from what she had in mind, however.
The news of Justice Branson’s judgment was reported in Melbourne and other national media in a fairly muted way. “We got the ratbag!” could sum up the overall presentation. Intellectual support for Dr Töben’s revisionism was totally, or almost totally excluded. Plenty of vilification of him was allowed to appear, however – a vilification for which the law, no doubt, offers him no means of redress.
For example, in the radio program referred above, Wertheim spoke of the Adelaide Institute website as one “that just spews out racial hatred” and later referred to ‘ratbag views’, while June Factor, also Jewish, described Dr Töben’s views (unspecified) as “so far from mine there’s almost hardly to be a spectrum on which we can both fit’ and ‘nonsensical, ahistorical’, and Kath Gelber (possibly also Jewish) claimed that Dr Töben has been dressing a message up “as pseudo science”.
In a letter to The Sunday Age on 29 September Henry Silver (probably Jewish) referred to “those mischievous claims of the Holocaust deniers” and to “racist demagogues … dancing on the graves of Holocaust victims”, specifying Dr Töben and David Irving by name. Rex Jory in the Adelaide Advertiser on 20 September wrote: “ I detest the insulting, anti-Semitic views of … Fredrick Töben” and later referred to “a ridiculous proposition which was long ago debated and found baseless” as well as to Dr Töben’s “historically and racially offensive views”. The Advertiser itself on 19 September described Dr Töben as “one of the tiny and deluded band of Holocaust questioners” and then produced a truly defamatory assertion that material such as Dr Töben’s “is not only wrong but absurd, distressing and which is synonymous with the worst – by size and its vile, systematic organization – genocide in recorded history.”
Jewish spokeswoman Nina Bassett in The Australian on 20 September stated that “what Töben has for many years been putting up on his website is not stupid; it is demonstrably false and viciously brutal.” And Angela Shanahan four days later in an opinion article in The Australian referred to “Töben’s bogus claims”. Whatever their motives, the media in general appear to have assisted Dr Töben’s opponents in deeply blackening his name; and one is reminded of John Stuart Mill’s famous phrase “unmeasured vituperations”. It seems like incongruity, if not hypocricy, for those decrying vilification in one context to be practicing it so enthusiastically in another. It is also further evidence of the nutcracker at work.
Ideally, Justice Branson’s judgment should be appealed all the way to the High Court; but such may be beyond Dr Töben’s resources, emotional and financial. If he has capitulated, as his remarks on the ABC Radio National program suggest, then the struggle for truth and intellectual freedom must be waged by other patriots. Perhaps every reader of Heritage who approves of this column could send a copy of it to his or her Parliamentary representatives, with supporting comments. It would also be good to see the publication somewhere of expert legal opinion on the Branson Judgment. In my view, it is clear that the law itself needs to be changed, but that will not happen overnight.
In the meantime, this column may be helpful to future defendants of actions such as those brought against Dr Töben and Mrs Scully. Our opponents are claiming that the judgment is a useful precedent for their own cause. However, it seems so full of holes that it may ultimately be usable to our own advantage.
Fredrick Töben: Right of Reply - Adelaide, 2 November 2002
Mr Jackson’s considerations are, as usual, sensitive and perceptive, but there are just some matters that need augmenting.
1. It was Justice Michael Kirby who, during the 1980s while I was fighting the Victorian Education Department’s absurd education policies, advised me on a number of legal matters. He spelled out to me the importance he attached to bureaucracies ‘giving reasons’ for their decisions made, something in the past senior bureaucrats did not have to do. Also, he elucidated the mechanism whereby laws developed, i.e. strong litigants actually contributed to a clarification of problems, legal and non-legal.
2. The example is to hand of those who for the past two decades have maintained that the extent of the ‘Holocaust’ has been exaggerated – plodding along without spreading the message much beyond the inner circle of friends. My stance has been a radical one that has now brought upon me the 17 September Federal Court gag order. Whether this is a matter of “fools rushing in…” is a matter of preference. For example, some who are faced with employment termination, take the practical course and transfer out so that family life remains in-tact. This is the moral problem of sacrificing your principles for practical effects. Likewise with my German imprisonment. Why should I have the mistrust and paranoia suffered by the many who fear life? My conjecture was that having once spoken with a German public prosecutor, without mishap, then surely why should a second time end in disaster, as it then did in 1999? Yet, what a learning experience it was!
3. Justice Branson’s comment that I offered no defence is wrong. I did write up a defence, even a cross-appeal, but it was not done properly because I could not get a legal person to help me. She suggested I read books and use the Court’s library system, i.e. become a lawyer through the Internet within a few weeks. The pro bono issue did not even arise. Out of 20+ Australian legal firms, one responded with a no, and another said they’d like to see $100,000. That was the extent of my legal help.
4. Most of the material complained of had been written by two supporters of Adelaide Institute, both of whom are Jewish!
5. The rather blunt expression, “are of limited intelligence”, is not my phrase and I welcome anyone to lead me to an article where I use these words. I did, however, state numerously that many of those who criticise us for what we are doing, are either ignorant of the facts or are liars. Likewise I said that some appear to be mental midgets and physical/materialist giants in the way they treat us personally and our work. Here I would have had Professor Deborah Lipstadt in mind because in 1994 on her Australian visit she claimed on ABC TV that there is just no discussion about the Holocaust, something patently untrue. Fondly I recall how in panic we rang from Australia Ernst Zündel in Toronto after Lipstadt had made a public statement about the gas insertion holes being found by Robert Jan van Pelt in the blueprints at the Auschwitz Museum.
6. And finally, throughout my years of battling for truth and justice, I have relied on a number of high-profile Australians (and individuals overseas) who have, from behind the scene and out of the public spotlight, always counseled me whenever I ran past them our next proposals, our next projects. Such a man was Sir Walter Crocker.
Sir Walter Crocker dies, aged 100
Sir Walter Crocker, a former Lieutenant-Governor of South Australia, has died aged 100.
The one-time diplomat and World War II veteran died in the Western Hospital at Henley Beach.
Sir Walter was born in Broken Hill and studied at the University of Adelaide, graduating in 1925. He then studied at Oxford and Stanford University in the United States.
Sir Walter gained his early experience during the 1930s in the Nigerian Colonial Service, going on to work for the League of Nations in the International Labour Organisation in Geneva, from 1934 to 1940.
In 1946, he was invited to be the first chief of the Africa Section in the UN's Secretariat in New York, where he served until 1949. That year he became founding professor at the Australian National University in Canberra.
He joined the diplomatic service in 1952 and served Australia with distinction for 18 consecutive years at an ambassadorial level in India, Indonesia, Canada, Nepal, Belgium, The Netherlands, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Italy.
After his retirement from the diplomatic service in 1970 Sir Walter returned to Adelaide, serving on the council of the University of Adelaide from 1971 to 1978, the year he received his knighthood.
He was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of SA in 1973, serving in the role until 1982.
Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Downer said Sir Walter had lived a "long, rich and varied life characterised by distinguished service in a variety of fields". "I was privileged to enjoy a personal friendship with Sir Walter and I will greatly miss his deep insight, warm charm and vast knowledge," he said.
Fredrick Töben comments
I first met Sir Walter during Adelaide's 1991 War Crimes Trial protest. I had never protested before in my life, but when I heard that this near 90-year-old would appear with a placard, I decided to become a concerned citizen and join the protesters.
Sir Walter's placard read: Vengeance & Hatred Poison Communities As Well As Persons.
Mine read: Canadian - British - Australian War Crimes Trials: International ... 'Coincidence'?
On 10 November 1991 Sir Walter said the following:
"As a fourth generation South Australian, and with a life-long commitment to Australia's best interest, some of them neither fashionable nor popular, and with some professional knowledge of the circumstances of the case, I am much concerned about the way the trial has been brought about. Our Federal Government, in spite of including a number of men of undoubted integrity and ability, has agreed to the trial through giving in to the pressures of a lobby which represents very few Australians, and no Australian interests, but which is buttressed with great wealth, with exceptional self-centred persistence, and with ruthless cleverness. A connected lobby has been operating with similar effects in England, Canada and France. Its propaganda, accepted by a large segments of the mass media, has confused and misled Australians, even those normally informed."
After the protest rocks were thrown through Sir Walter's lounge window!
Since that time I have had the pleasure of regularly accepting Sir Walter's invitation to have morning tea at his home. Our conversations ranged far and wide, and I was encouraged to take notes of matters raised especially relating to the Middle East and the circumstances surrounding the founding of the State of Israel.
The fact that I had also spent time at Minna, Niger State, Nigeria, where Sir Walter had served, some of these morning tea meetings were for me rather jovial but always instructive and insightful sessions. That Sir Walter could at his age still sustain a serious conversation for almost two hours was for me indicative of a person who had gone through life worrying about our human condition.
Throughout my almost decade-long ordeal with the Zionist onslaught on Adelaide Institute, it was always a delight for me to be given a clear perspective on matters. Frayed nerves calmed as the wisdom of a century flowed over me. For that alone, I thank Sir Walter.
His funeral is on Monday, 18 November, the day on which he asked me to ring him to arrange our next 'de-briefing session' concerning my up-coming Federal Court case.
It was not to be.
Sir Walter and Fredrick Töben sharing the same sentiment
Sir Walter Crocker, et al, opposing the 1991 War Crimes Trial at Adelaide, Australia
My last letter from Sir Walter
624 Seaview Road,
GRANGE S.A. 5022
18th September, 2002.
Dr. Fredrick Toben,
The Adelaide Institute,
P.O. Box 3300,
NORWOOD. S.A. 5067
If you had time I would be interested to have your account of what happened in court (including the coming appeal case).
Your visit, therefore, would have to be about a month hence as I am tied up at the moment with urgent family affairs.
I suggest you telephone me - or if I am absent, telephone my Secretary, and fix up a time.
During Adelaide Institute’s 1998 Revisionist Symposium, both Arthur Butz and Jürgen Graf had a conversation with Sir Walter.
Says Butz: ‘My regrets. I remember the tea you and I had with him in 1998. He was so British.’
Graf says: ‚Ich erinnere mich sehr gut an den Besuch bei Walter Crocker im August 98. Möge ihm die Erde leicht werden - sit ei terra levis!’
Sir Walter was for the people, but not of the people, and he exemplifies what Revisionists do so well“ ‚We sich einzetzt, setzt sich aus!’ – loosely translated: If you commit yourself to a cause, then you should not worry about personal popularity.
Outspoken statesman a man for all reasons
By Don Riddell, The Advertiser, 16 November 2002
Sir Walter Russell Crocker
Lieutenant-Governor, diplomat, academic, author
Born: March 25, 1902; Broken Hill
Died: November 14, 2002; Adelaide
Sir Walter Crocker was a Lieutenant-Governor of South Australia, distinguished Australian ambassador to many countries and uncompromising critic of his times.
He was deeply involved with both the League of Nations and the United Nations, and felt sharply the cynicism which killed one and diminished the other.
"It is a measure of the richness and complexity of his character that Sir Walter Crocker has defied all efforts to stitch neat labels on him," journalist Stewart Cockburn wrote when Sir Walter retired as Lieutenant-Governor in 1982, aged 80.
"For well over half a century he strode life's stage in so many roles — as a decorated military officer, scholar, farmer, diplomat, author and confidant of world figures whose names were household words. He has attracted innumerable friends and admirers and —through an intrepid independence of spirit — quite a few critics."
That independence of spirit was still flowing strongly on the threshhold of his 90th year when he carried a banner outside the Adelaide Magistrates Court protesting against what he called the "disastrous" decision to prosecute Ivan Polyukhovich for alleged war crimes.
Sir Walter took to many causes before they became popular.
As a diplomat, he enraged convention by saying we should recognise Mao Tse Tung's China in the early 1960s and opposed what he saw as the giving away of Australia's foreign policy to the Americans, particularly over the war in Vietnam. As an environmentalist, he denounced what he saw as the selling of the "cream" of Australia's mineral wealth to Japan and the US. But he condemned the emotionalism which could not see the need to cull kangaroos or insisted only Australian trees should be planted. As an academic, he fought for the "beauty and elegance" of proper English. "Mere yabbering" broke down communication. He spurned what he called "the impudently pretentious trivialities which mark some of the social sciences".
As a human being, he loathed pornography. "What a price society has had to pay," he wrote in one of his books, Australian Ambassador, "for allowing inventions of such cultural potency as the cinema and television to fall into the hands of illiterates and bullies, interested only in money."
Born of pioneer SA families, Sir Walter was brought up on his father's grazing property near Terowie. He went on to a brilliant academic career at the universities of Adelaide, Oxford and Stanford, and was the first professor of international relations at the Australian National University. In World War II, he became a lieutenant-colonel in the British Army, winning the French Croix de Guerre and the Belgian Ordre du Lion. At the end of the war, he joined the volunteers called for by Lord Casey, then Governor of Bengal, to carry out relief work in the famine then ravaging the area. In 1946, he was invited to set up and head the Africa section of the new UN Secretariat in New York. He joined the Department of External Affairs in 1952 as High Commissioner to India.
For the next 18 years, he was one of Australia's most senior diplomats and acted as troubleshooter for Lord Casey, then Australia's Minister for External Affairs. He was ambassador or high commissioner to 10 other countries after India, including Indonesia, Canada, Italy, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.
He did not keep his opinions to himself. The book Australian Ambassador, published in 1971, had such revealing chapters as 'Three thousand Cocktail Parties for my Country and Other Aspects of the Diplomat's Life'. His outspoken attitude almost certainly cost him the job of permanent head of the department.
He retired to a property at Tarlee in 1970, but was soon called upon to take on the role of Lieutenant-Governor and a position on the University of Adelaide council.
Knighted in 1978, Sir Walter never revealed his party political feelings and it was a surprise when he was one of the 12 prominent Australian citizens who co-wrote the famous 'Kenneth Myer letter' which, in 1972, urged Australians to vote the Labor Party into office after it had been out of power for 23 years. "The Whitlam Government did not turn out as most of us had hoped," he said later.
Sir Walter Crocker, whose marriage was dissolved many years ago, is survived by two sons, Robert and Christopher, four grandchildren, and nephew John, who lived with Sir Walter from the age of seven, and his two children.
Remember: The anti-Revisionists use a classic form of persecution. Rather than talk with Revisionists, they talk about them and vilify them. Pierre Vidal-Naquet put it clearly in 1992:
I have thus imposed on myself the following rule: one can and should enter into a discussion concerning the ‘revisionists’; one can analyze their texts as one might the anatomy of a lie; one can and should analyze their specific place in the configuration of ideologies, raise the question of why and in what manner they surfaced. But one should not enter into debate with the ‘revisionists’. It is of no concern to me whether the ‘revisionists’ are neo-Nazi or extreme left wing in their politics; whether they are characterized psychologically as perfidious, perverse, paranoid, or quite simply idiotic. I have nothing to reply to them and will not do so. Such is the price to be paid for intellectual coherence…Will truth have the last word? How one would like to be sure of it.
Talk is cheap, and Vidal-Naquet illustrates it so well, but he has forgotten one imperative that propels Revisionists forward: It is unethical to hold on to any vital information because ignorance can never be justified. His alleged intellectual coherence remains self-serving and dialectical. It lacks moral and intellectual integrity. It does not make contact with the physical world.
How would he respond to the following statement?
If the State of Israel continues to exist, then racism remains a legitimate form of political activity.
If Israel expels the Palestinians, then this will be the greatest Holocaust of all times perpetrated by the Jewish people.
Think on these Things
There is nothing new in the return of inspectors of so-called weapons of mass destruction in Iraq
An attempt to subjugate a defeated state and population 'forever' was made with the Versailles Treaty in 1920 against Germany and its World War One allies.
To enforce the 'de-militarisation' an Inter-Allied Military Control Commission was formed, which had the power to go anywhere, anytime in Germany to find concealed and illegal weapons. The Commission, formed out of intentionally chosen technical experts and German-haters, soon became notorious for its chicaneries, which extended not unexpectedly into centres of industrial espionage, economical sabotage, especially in areas where the victors feared German competition. The German chemical industry was therefore its favorite target.
In spite of extensive use of bribery and treason in finding forbidden weapons it was an almost total failure. Yet the commission continued to hang around Germany until 1927 when it was reluctantly disbanded.
General von Seekt, chief of the Reichswehr — the German army of that time — had personally ordered and insisted on adhering to the limitations imposed upon Germany by the treaty. That patriotic officers of lower rank did not always comply was a different matter. But in principle this mattered little, for Germany was effectively disarmed, much weaker than the smallest of its aggressive neighbours, for example, Czechoslovakia. Remember, that even that 'shitty little state' of Lithuania was able to annex part of East Prussia in 1923.
This reminds us of what is now happening in Iraq.
Suring the 1920s French politicians unashamedly and without proof pulled the 'secret German armaments and hidden armies' card and, for their own vindictive ends, made unending demands for 'reparations' with which to blackmail the feeble Weimar republic.
It is worth to remember that the previous search for 'weapons of mass destruction' in Iraq was a failure, and when Iraq kicked out the inspectors, it was not because of their useless search, but for espionage condoned by that infamous Australian 'diplomat' Richard Butler.
The de-militarisation Commissions for the other loser states of World War One were just as ineffective as in Germany. Austria and Hungary were bankrupt; in Bulgaria the army saw to it that the investigators were utterly frustrated and thereby accomplishing nothing, while in Turkey they never managed to start at all because Turkey refused to ratify the Treaty of Sevres.
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