Before the Second World War, a photograph was taken by the side of a road in a quiet little valley in South Australia. The photograph depicted eight men standing around a tree. A perfectly innocuous photograph, save that the trunk of the tree was draped with the Nazi flag.
They were labelled >>the Hitler Club<<. They were led by Australia's >>Nazi No 1<<, Doctor Becker, whose son Heini later went on to become a prominent South Australian Member of Parliament.
This is the story of Doctor Becker and the other members of the Nazi Party in South Australia's >>Little Berlin<<, and the misguided witch-hunt that interned, persecuted and deported them and many others. It is a story of immigration, of an Australia in formation, of the complexity of loyalties and the juggling of the old and new. But most of all, in the hands of two South Australian magistrates, it is a story of injustice that must never be allowed to be forgotten.
Gary Gumpl was born in Adelaide after his parents, Hungarian and Yugoslav nationals, migrated from European Displacement Camps. He graduated in law from the University of Adelaide in 1973. Prior to his appointment as a Magistrate in 1987 he spent several years as a prosecutor in Darwin. Richard Kleinig is a fourth generation Australian of German descent with ancestral ties to the Barossa Valley. After graduating from the University of Adelaide, he spent four years in private practice and 11 years in the SA Attorney General’s office as a research officer and legal and policy adviser. He was appointed a Stipendiary Magistrate in 1989.
Gumpl and Kleinig: The Hitler Club
ISBN: 9781921221095; Published: 01-07-2007; Price: A$29.95 Pan Macmillan Australia
Fredrick Töben: For the Record
The reader who has been receiving copies of this newsletter over these past 14 years, and who has sent in material for publication, will have noticed that sometimes submitted material appears six months, a year – even two and more years – after Adelaide Institute receives same.
The reason for this delay lies within the nature of the task of assembling a newsletter. Sometimes material received is not directly relevant to a particular issue being aired in the newsletter.
For example, Newsletter No 340 may have caused surprise because we placed a full-coloured photograph of Adolf Hitler on the back page of the six-page newsletter. Are we now following National Socialist propaganda, or what?
Not at all, but within the context of our aim to illuminate taboo topics without fear or favour, the time had come to balance the equation as far as Adolf Hitler’s historical status is concerned. David Brockschmidt did a splendid job in this regard.
Some years ago Richard Krege sent me a copy of John Clive’s 1981 published book: Barossa – ISBN 0 586 05581 9. On its back cover I read:
>>What is the deadly secret of the Barossa, the wine-growing valley in South Australia settled since the 1850s by a peaceful, law-abiding community of German immigrants? What is the connection between the disappearance of young Trudie Langbein from a deserted beach near Adelaide and the operations of SSS, the German-based missile development corporation ready to sell its expertise to a nuclear-hungry Third World?<<
Finally I have now found a reason to read this book to see if Richard’s comment is justified that it spreads German hatred. Here’s my brief review of this 1981-published book.
Although the >Holocaust< is not mentioned, there is the stereotypical picture of the evil German at work. The story begins during World War Two when Australia rounded up Germans, even naturalized Germans, and sent then to concentration camps – sorry, the National Socialists were the only ones who had concentration camps, other nations had detention centres!
Together with his mother, Gerda Spengler, a ten-year-old boy, Erich, visits his father at one of these camps. A disturbing raw scene of humiliation perpetrated upon his mother by a depraved guard, Dyker, causes his father to snap. Subsequently the father, Gunther, impresses upon the son to be independent and never to take anything from Australians. This opening scene acts as a kind of Prologue, and the story begins in 1970.
Erich, the boy, has become a man who works for the SSS – yes, cornier it could not be put, not just SS but triple-S – and procures small children for experimental purposes. By having abducted a single mother’s 4-year-old girl, Trudie, the German Barossa community comes into focus. The abducted girl’s mother, Sharon Langbein, becomes the heroic woman of the book who breaks out of the German community’s oppressive morality by raising the child on her own, rather than aborting it.
The star of the book is a burned-out American reporter, Mike Brockway, who has landed a job at Australia’s national broadcaster, ABC Television. He is the one who almost single-handedly deciphers the machinations of the SSS, connecting the dots, so to speak, of disparate events that make the whole SSS enterprise such a >dangerous< project. He is the one who connects the present with the terrible past - the German rocket industry, Peenemünde, a disused airfield near Stuttgart, and of course Wernher von Braun, the Kennedy Space Centre, and lots more incidents.
Then there is Bill Redstone, an English financier, who came to the Barossa to meet up with Dr Kauffmann, Christian Streicher and Vaas, the men who head SSS. As a child during World War Two Redstone had also had a traumatic experienced but of a slightly different nature to that witnessed by Erich Spengler, but also sexual: a British officer unsuccessfully tried to get into his trousers.
There is also Jiggs, the fiercely independent hermit, and his two camels, who discovers the clandestine rocket launching site beyond Coober Pedy’s opal fields.
Then there is the good German, Bruno Heissler, the rocket expert who forsakes his SSS employment when he finds out that the SSS research includes child experimentation: >>How could he have pretended to himself that the stories he’d heard about Vaas’s experiments with the victims of the concentration camps were merely the excuses of Jewish Nazi hunters.<<
The end is, of course, predictable because Germans are still the nasties – Bloody Germans – who embody evil and so always lose at what they start out to do.
Now fast forward to 4 July 2007.
On this day a somewhat surprising book appears in Australian bookshops: The Hitler Club. A favourable review appeared three days earlier on the local paper. It is reproduce here in full because it sheds light on what Germans all over the world have had to suffer, are still suffering to this day – the unjustified humiliation and degradation of things German, of their spirit. Still, that’s the >battle of the wills< in raw, and many Germans still have not learned how effectively to fight back when lies are told about what Germans did during World War II.
Hence, empathetic understanding is certainly now flowing to the Indian doctor who worked in a Gold Coast hospital. Dr Mohamed Haneef is still in detention as Australia’s Federal Public Prosecutor attempts to label him as a terrorist supporter. The procedure used on Dr Haneef is much the same as that used on Dr Becker – media leaks attempt to poison the public against Dr Haneef. Fortunately Dr Haneef’s legal counsel released documents that clearly indicate this character assassination attempt by the authorities.
I can also personally relate to the Haneef and Becker legal treatment because during the 1980s I had the same procedure applied to me by the Victorian Director-General of Education when I and five supporters appeared before him. Had I not taped that meeting, then my subsequent dismissal from the Education Department would not have been reversed by a judge. It was my word against that of the Director-Generals, and only because I could prove he lied, did I win my case – and I was before a judge who cared about the legal principle of natural justice. When caught out blatantly lying in court, the judge referred to the Director-General Dr Norman Curry’s behaviour as >>shifting ground<<.
However, the stress of all this had the same consequences on my marriage as that suffered by Dr Becker. Only extraordinary women stand by their men in such circumstances. It is quite understandable that Adolf Hitler did not have a wife and family because the stress involved in attempting to swing the world climate around, against usury in particular, is horrendous. However, Germans who understood and wished to realize the vision knew from an innate sense of justice that what was being attempted was good and beautiful. Unfortunately goodness and beauty are such fragile values that unless they are robustly defended, they will wilt under the pressure of evil and ugliness.
Secret papers clear 'Nazi spy'
NIGEL HUNT, Sunday Mail,
July 01 2007
ADELAIDE magistrates Gary Gumpl and Richard Kleinig have told Heini Becker more about his father than he ever dreamt of knowing.
While the former State MP knew his father was deported in 1947 because he was a Nazi, he had no idea how relentlessly Australian authorities persecuted Dr Johannes Becker – whom they dubbed "Australia's No. 1 Nazi".
On Wednesday, The Hitler Club, a book detailing the victimisation of Dr Becker by not just the authorities, but the Barossa Valley medical Establishment, will be published.
Using previously classified government security files and many other accurate sources, The Hitler Club details Dr Becker's activities in the Barossa Valley after migrating to South Australia in 1927, his internment for seven years when World War II broke out in 1939, his subsequent >>sham<< deportation hearing in 1947 and his unsuccessful escape bid while waiting to be deported to Germany.
Mr Becker yesterday said the book was >>timely<< and served to publicly exonerate his father, who died in Germany in 1961.
>>They called him a spy, but what did he ever do when he was in Australia to warrant this?<< he asked. >>All he did was relay some harmless information to the early settlers in the Barossa Valley about what was happening in Germany.<<
Mr Becker said he last saw his father when he was aged 12, but he could still remember being teased at school because of his background and the >>hysteria<< surrounding the case.
The experience left him "very bitter" in later years and the fresh information and details of events provided to him by the authors was now >>somewhat cathartic<<.
>>I remember my mother being in tears some days because she was being harassed by the security police. She was at breaking point,<< he said.
Mr Becker said there were >>many lessons<< to be learned from what occurred – primarily that it could happen to anyone >>even today<<.
>>The big problem is what chance do you have of seeing the files the government may have on you and correcting any false information<< he said.
While there have already been comparisons between his father's case and that of terror-supporter David Hicks, Mr Becker says they are poles apart. >>The only similarity is the fact Hicks was held for so long without charge,<< he said.
He urged >>every law student or anyone interested in human rights<< to read The Hitler Club.
Mr Gumpl, whose interest in the topic was first sparked when he saw the picture of Dr Becker and his associates – dubbed the Hitler Club – on the internet in 2005, said Australians should be disturbed at what happened to Dr Becker.
>>For the last five years, we have heard how the Americans refused to grant David Hicks basic human rights and allow him due process,<< Mr Gumpl said.
>>Well, Australia did it during the war to many people. In our analysis, Dr Becker was vastly worse off than Hicks because Hicks eventually had his day (in court).<<
Mr Kleinig said, when they started researching Dr Becker's activities and found a huge amount of material in the national archives they worked from the assumption they would discover >>some Nazi atrocity or something like that<<. However, they found this was not the case and soon did >>a 180-degree turn<<.
>>That's why this story is unusual because, unlike most Nazi stories, this turns that whole paradigm on its head,<< he said.
>>The prosecutor and jailer of Becker became his judge and jury. That is so fundamentally against all concepts of justice that it beggars belief.<<
The rise and fall of South Australia’s top Nazi
TO HEIL & BACK
For a short time in late 1947, Dr Johannes Becker – once Australia’s No 1 Nazi – became the nation’s most wanted man. The German migrant, interned by the government without reason three days after the start of World War II, spent nearly seven years behind bars before being released on parole. Disillusioned, he stowed away on a ship bound for Panama, but was caught and then deported to Germany in a blaze of publicity – leaving his family behind.
In the book The Hitler Club, available this week, South Australian magistrates Gary Gumpl and Richard Kleinig have meticulously pieced together Becker’s life and the events that led to his deportation.
After analysing the transcripts of his deportation hearing in 20 archive files, they concluded that the judge’s findings were flawed and unsupported by evidence – the hearing was no better than a show trial.
As outlined here, the book reveals how Becker was denied natural justice by the Establishment that preached but did not practice fair play.
When Australian post-World War I immigration restrictions were lifted in 1925 a number of German nationals came to live in the Barossa Valley, the heartland of earlier German settlement.
They sought to escape the chaos enveloping their coutnry during the years of the Weimar Republic. Among them was Dr Johannes Heinrich Becker – a Nazi – who was born in Thuringia in 1898 of a middle-class family of academic bent.
He had served two years in the 13th Pioneer Battalion of the German army, in various theatres on the Western Front – including battles at Verdun and Somme – where he was wounded. He was awarded the Iron Cross for bravery.
He then undertook studies at Marburg University for a medical degree graduating in 1924. Marburg was a vital centre for the newly emerging Nazi Party under Adolf Hitler.
Disembarking at Port Adelaide in September 1927, Becker moved to Tanunda on the advice of the then State Attorney-General, Hermann Homburg, and quickly established a thriving medical practice.
But his encouraging start soon faced virulent opposition from six local doctors concerned at the new arrival’s stunning success.
These doctors were registered under the South Australian Medical Practitioners Act 1919, but Becker was not and they made their opposition to him known from the outset.
But to their consternation, Becker continued to build his practice. He was proving to be immensely popular, especially among the older German speakers of the valley and their families.
He treated the poor, who were grateful for his show of compassion, free of charge. He became a revered figure among the farmers and winegrowers of the Barossa region but was, to the established corps of doctors, an upstart whose presence was resented. They were determined to thwart him at every turn.
In 1929 things came to a head. One of the doctors approached Smith’s Weekly, a national newspaper run by the emerging Packer empire, with the story that Becker had managed to kill several patients by his >>quackery and exotic methods<<.
Becker sued the paper and won a handsome award of £5000 damages in the Supreme Court of South Australia. The award was halved, by majority decision, in the High Court of Australia, when the paper appealed.
Becker also successfully sued the doctor who first broke the story to the journalists, for slander. Despite, or because of, these successes Becker was not able to obtain registration as a medical practitioner.
The Federal Council of the British Medical Association continued to reject his ongoing applications, largely on two grounds – that his qualifications in obstretics did not match local standards and the German medical authorities did not acknowledge reciprocity between their doctors and those from Britain.
This impasse continued until mid-1934 when Becker sued the MBA, again in the Supreme Court. Curiously, before the hearing began, the BMA, abandoned its long-running objections to Becker’s allegedly inferior credentials in obstetricks and relied solely on the ground of lack of reciprocity. Becker’s case failed and his leave to appeal to the High Court was refused.
Undaunted from then until late 1935, the unregistered Becker continued to carry on his practice, heavily modified under legal advice, in and around Tanunda.
However, in late 1935 police prosecuted him in the Tanunda Magistrates Court, presumably at the behest of the MBA. He was found guilty and convicted of the offence of holding himself out to be a medical practitioner when he was not alwfully entitled to. He was fined £15.
In August 1932, one month after his High Court libel success, Becker married local woman Mona Gertrude Price, who, it was rumoured, had been previously engaged a staggering seven times. They eventually had two children – a son Heini Jnr, and a daughter Marlene.
In March of the same year, Becker joined the Nazi Party, the emerging political juggernaut which was seen by many in the early 1930s to be the answer to Germany’s postr-war woes.
While a medical student, Becker had attended rallies at the Hofbrauhaus in München, observing first hand Hitler and the birth of the party.
Becker and Mona travelled to Germany between October 1933 and March 1934 to visit his dying mother. When they returned he bore the title of Landkreisleiter, the chief organizer and principle figure of the Nazi Party in Australia.
Becker and his party comrades now came under increasing surveillance by the Security Service whose operatives – paid and unpaid local spies and informers – labeled them >>The Hitler Club<<.
They were a tiny band of sundry German nationals meeting in a far-off land eager to hear the latest news of Germany’s re-emergence as a world force. They had no real power and never pretended to exercise any.
Unlike the ubiquitous militant villains in the Third Reich, The Hitler Club was a small fraternity of ex-patriates gathering over beer, port and cigars while bemoaning the humiliations of the Versailles Treaty – that ended World War I.
Apart from raising money for Germany’s poor and paying their party subscriptions, they only distributed propaganda leaflets and held motion picture shows depicting the improving conditions in New Germany.
Significant and permanent differences of opinion and style soon emerged between Becker and the recently appointed German Consul-General in Sydney, Dr Rudolf Asmis.
Asmis was a career diplomat, an intellectual and, from Becker’s perspective, worst of all a Junker – one of the Prussian aristocracy whom he loathed.
Becker saw the need, through a grass-roots approach to proselytize about the New Germany that was emerging under Hitler. In contrast, Asmis – a late-coming, reluctant National Socialist – thought propaganda could best be disseminated by a trickle-down effect: if harnessed, the upper echelons of the German community in Australia would ensure the rank and file were to follow.
The almost complete lack of cordiality between the two men persisted for several years to the dismay of Germans and New Germany sympathizers in South Australia and other states.
It was only after the successful medical prosecution of Becker in Tanunda that their differences were resolved. Berlin sacked Becker from his party office in November 1936 and installed a new Landkreisleiter in Sydney with whom Asmis could work much better. A new head of the local Nazi Party in Adelaide was appointed from the State Consulate.
Berlin preferred the less radical career diplomat to the trench fighter; it was a safer option.
Although retaining his membership of the party, from late 1936 Becker played no further role as an official. Nevertheless, on Monday, September 4, 1939, the day after war was declared, Becker was arrested at his Tanunda home. He was prepared for his fate.
Becker remained incarcerated until July 1946 when he was finally released on parole. He was eventually allowed to return to Tanunda pending his deportation to Germany.
During his internment Becker suffered several callous beatings at the hands of Nazi >>basher gangs<< whose existence was known to the authorities but who did nothing to prevent their depredations.
Becker was targeted in particular because he denounced the internment camp’s Nazi leader, Dr Haslinger, whose authoritarian and undemocratic streak he resented.
In early 1941 a Nazi Party Court of Honour was convened and Becker was suspended indefinitely. That was the end of his involvement with the party and the Australian authorities knew all about it at the time.
During his seven years behind barbed wire, Becker spent time at Keswick Army Barracks, Gladstone Gaol in the Mid North, Loveday in the Riverland and Tatura Camp in Victoria. His wife and children visited him on no more than four or five occasions. When he was released he rejoined his family at the Freeling Hotel in the Barossa Valley, a pub run by his wife’s sister.
His wife and children had moved there almost immediately after his arrest. But by September 1946 Becker returned to Tanunda, with official permission, after a major domestic argument.
Mona had admitted to him that she had been having an affair with an Australian tail-gunner in the air force. She told him their marriage was over and, in rage and disbelief, Becker punched her in the face.
In October 1945 the Federal Labor Government appointed Brigadier William Ballantyne Simpson as a judge of the Australian Capital Territory. His first role was to sit as a Commonwealth Royal Commission of Inquiry, called the Aliens Deportation Tribunal.
It was his brief to recommend to the Government those who should be deported: he was to decide whether they were >>fit and proper<< persons.
While not acting in a strictly judicial capacity, but rather exercising executive powers, the judge carried with him the full weaponry of judicial privileges.
As part of his judicial oath, he was required to hear the evidence in relation to each internee and base his recommendations on that alone.
This type of regime – a time-honoured means of blurring the hallowed constitutional separation of powers – permitted the Government to retreat behind Simpson’s judicial façade and deflect criticism.
From 1942 until the day before his judicial appointment, Simpson had been the Director-General of the Commonwealth Security Service. He had been privy to all intelligence and security reports relating to each of the internees, including Becker’s.
He had been accountable only to the Attorney-General, Dr Herbert Vere Evatt KC, who had sat as a judge on the High Court during Becker’s libel action in 1932.
The transcript of Becker’s hearing is an extraordinary testament to his status as a sitting duck. Not once were allegations of unlawful or criminal conduct raised with him.
Indeed, it was never explained to him what was and what role the judge was expected to play.
Becker was blind without aid. Over 34 pages of transcript reveal a studied avoidance by the Commonwealth of any issue of real significance or, for that matter, relevance. The tribunal was merely going through the motions.
There is no hint Becker ever took a step towards committing espionage, subversive activities or other deeds contrary to the national interest or security. The inescapable conclusion is that the authorities had nothing on Becker.
But Judge Simpson was happy to recommend his deportation while disregarding the criteria he had applied to permit other German nationals and Nazis to stay. His findings regarding Becker’s unsuitability to stay in Australia bore little or no relationship to the evidence he had heard: on that basis the authors of this book believe the judge was determined to work towards a pre-ordained outcome.
By then Becker had had little or nothing to do with the Nazi Party for nearly 11 years. That did n ot count; nor did his compassion, experience and skills as a doctor, his good works in medicine and other realms, his role as a husband and father, his favourable general reputation in the community. His good behaviour and cooperation during internment did not matter. Nothing seemed to count in his favour any more.
Simpson, the spy catcher, had finally caught his man who happened to be an easy, defenceless scapegoat.
Besides, Simpson was publicly performing in the light of reflected glory: Becker’s matter was being heard at the same time as Hess, Goering, von Rippentrop, Speer and other surviving architects of Jewish annihilation [sic – FT] were being called to account at Nürnberg.
With the 20th century’s greatest trial being reported in the media every day, what hope did Becker have? He chose to flee to South America.
Although he was originally scheduled to leave in January 1947, the Allied Control Commission in Germany was inundated with returning refugees and could take no more.
Becker was finally due to leave in late November 1947. In the meantime, he publicly advertised his intention to apply for Australian naturalization. This drew the wrath of the RSL and newspapers. The federal minister, Arthur Calwell, reassured them: Becker was only on parole pending his deportation.
After his recapture on a ship on Sydney Harbour, Becker was deported amid a blaze of lurid, sometimes hysterical publicity.
He set foot on the devastated soil of Germany in February 1948 and resumed medical practice in Bremen until his early retirement, due to ill health, in 1960.
He wrote numerous letters to his former wife – Mona obtained a divorce in 1953 on the ground of her husband’s desertion, and remarried – and children over the intervening years and entertained visiting friends from the Barossa Valley.
Mona never replied to him. He never remarried.
Daughter Marlene went to see him for the first time since his deportation and arrived in Germany on February 25, 1961. She missed seeing him by four days – he died in his 63rd year on February 21.
In mid-1948, Becker was given the >>all clear<< by an Allied de-Nazification process in West Germany. Australian authorities expressed dismay at the haste with which it was done.
When the Americans asked them to forward a replacement of a >>lost<< dossier on Becker so they could renew an investigation into his activities, the Australian Securities Service decided Becker’s permanent exclusion from Australia was sufficient sanction.
The very existence of an original dossier must be seriously doubted. The truth would seem to be that Australia had nothing on him.
In their conclusion the authors write:
>>We can with confidence conclude, on the material … provided to us, that Becker’s Nazism was a pretext for his expulsion from Australia. It was not, and in conscience could never be, the real reason.
The Establishment was minded to have him expelled for personal and professional reasons. They did not like the cut of that man’s jib. But they could never allow their bitter, petty and personal feelings and jealousies to be seen to carry the day.
Gentlemen do not behave like that.
Instead, they – aided and abetted by arms of the state, the press and their supporters as well as lobbyists such as the RSL, the legal and medical profession – dealt a confidence trick on the public.
It was an act of institutional bullying.<<
Edited extract from The Hitler Club published by Brolga Publishing and distributed by Pan Macmillan Australia.
Letters to the Editor
Is the tide of German hatred receeding in Australia
Secret papers clear >Nazi spy<
What a timely article this is, especially in view of the political world again hotting up into the them-us polarisation where, if you are against me, you become my enemy.
The book is timely because many Australians of German origin could tell some more horrifying tales that befell them as recently as the 1970s when the >Holocaust< story became a dogma that stigmatised all those who were of German origin or those who cherished German culture.
With the Terrorism Laws in place dissenting opinions will again ruthlessly be suppressed, and I saw this beginning of intellectual terrorism during the >Adelaide Festival of Ideas< session on Friday morning , 6 July 2007, when Rabbi Levi incited against Muslim fundamentalism, mentioning the establishing of a >universal caliphat< , which reminded me of the claim that >Hitler, the dictator, wanted to rule the world<.
Rabbbi Levi also reiterated the canard that the Iranian president incited the Muslim world to drive the Israelis into the sea.
I corrected Rabbi Levi by pointing out that the president actually prays the Zionist, racist state of Israel will dissolve just as the Soviet Union disintegrated, so that democratic elections can be held within the area and that the people there decide what kind of political system they want, and not one that suits the US or Israel.
When Rabbi Levi pointed out the nuclear danger Iran poses, I interjected and said that Iran held to the position that a nuclear option was out of the question for the Middle East because it would be rather suicidal for all Iranians. The audience applauded my statement.
1 July 2007
Note from Fredrick Töben on the Eric Hunt-Elie Wiesel matter - Adelaide 4 July 2007
1. I know that Eric Hunt sent an email bragging about his exploits to Ziopedia's Andrew Winkler and to Adelaide Institute. Ziopedia ran the story but Adelaide Institute decided not to distribute it.
2. The reason for not sending the story through the list and posting it on Adelaide Institute's website was prompted by Hunt's gloating tone as he recounted his manhandling of Wiesel. Even if one personally does not like what Elie Wiesel has done in the past, as an old man he does not deserve to be manhandled in such a way. This offends against the Categorical Imperative, much like Adelaide Institute opposes the British academic boycott against Israel because if we boycott, then our claim of supporting free expression becomes lopsided.
This is the dilemma faced by the civil libertarian Holocaust believers who wish to silence those who refuse to believe in the Holocaust. Alan Dershowitz recognized this when he realized that during the 1984/5 and 1988 Zündel Toronto Holocaust trials Raul Hilberg, et al, were being demolished as credible witnesses on the Holocaust. Likewise with the 1988 John Demjanjuk trial in Jerusalem where witness testimony reached an absurd level, even too much for the Israeli justice system.
Henceforth Dershowitz advised that matters had to be lifted out of the space-time sphere and into the abstract-memory, away from the physical world where court proof was conclusive and had physical reality to it. Now in Germany, as we saw during the December 2006-March2007 Rudolf and Zündel trials, any kind of evidence has become irrelevant. Proof that substantiates an allegation has become unnecessary - summary offences, once the domain of civil wrong, have become capital-criminal offences.
3. A couple of days after Hunt had been apprehended and the world media ran the Hunt-Wiesel story, comment was made that Hunt's email had appeared on an >antisemitic website in Australia< - yes, it was not Adelaide Institute but Ziopedia - a website run by anti-Zionist Andrew Winkler, and has mainly Jewish contributors, so according to the Australian Jewish News.
So now website censors are gunning for Ziopedia.
4. The article below specifically mentions the Hunt email appearing on a >>website for Holocaust deniers<<. To my knowledge Ziopedia is primarily an >anti-Semitic< website, but the logic of its thrust inevitably includes the >Holocaust<, which it fearlessly includes in its countless articles.
5. Eric Hunt now claims insanity, as per article following. This now is the first step to lifting >Holocaust denial< away from the criminal into the >insanity< category. Welcome to Soviet justice, US-style, where Soviet dissidents were certified to be insane.
6. Whatever the outcome of the Hunt case in the USA, it will have a ripple effect ... On 24 May 2007, a lower court in Germany - Amtsgericht Ebersberg - refused Munich State prosecutors’ request to have Lawyer Sylvia Stolz examined. The Munich prosecutor wished her to undergo a psychiatric examination – the first step towards following the Soviet model of declaring dissidents insane and in need of psychiatric treatment and detention.
7. This reminds me what a former Soviet Union psychiatrist told me in 1999 about certifying dissidents: >>You get a sheet of paper with, say, six squares on it, each one but the last has some kind of drawing in it, a tree, a house, a face. Then you ask the individual to describe what they see in those squares. I would get them certified on the strength of what they said about the empty square – worked every time.<<
DEFENDANT PLEADS INSANITY in Elie Wiesel kidnapping
3 July 2007
A 22-year-old New Jersey man told a San Francisco Superior Court judge this morning he was not guilty by reason of insanity of charges that he attacked and imprisoned Nobel laureate author Elie Wiesel.
The court plans to convene again July 11 so lawyers can discuss the appointment of mental health experts to evaluate the psychiatric status of the defendant, Eric Hunt, at the time of the alleged offenses, according to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.
Hunt is facing felony charges of false imprisonment, battery, elder abuse, stalking and committing a hate crime in connection with the alleged Feb. 17 attack on Wiesel, a 78-year-old Holocaust survivor and author, in a San Francisco hotel. He remains in custody.
After the assault, Hunt allegedly bragged on a website for Holocaust deniers about attacking Wiesel. He as extradited from New Jersey earlier this month.
Police say Hunt accosted Wiesel in an elevator at the Argent Hotel, telling him he wanted an interview, before trying to drag him into his hotel room. Wiesel began yelling, and was able to escape.
Bay City News –http://www.sanfranciscosentinel.com/?p=3111
Wiesel Attack: Man Arrested
Police in America have arrested a 22-year-old man in connection with a physical attack on Nobel laureate Eli Wiesel in a San Francisco hotel earlier this month.
The man, who was named as Eric Hunt, was arrested in New Jersey and is being held in preparation for extradition to California.
Hunt, of Sussex, New Jersey, was being sought on a long list of charges, including attempted kidnapping, elder abuse, false imprisonment and hate crimes. His bail has been set at $500,000 (£256,000).
Wiesel, 78, told Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, that he was dragged from a lift during an altercation at the Argent Hotel, which took place on 1 February.
Police opened an investigation into the incident after a visitor to an anti-semitic website claimed responsibility for the attack. The man, who gave his name as ‘Eric Hunt’, said he had intended to drag Wiesel into his room and persuade him to admit his accounts of the Holocaust were fictional.
Wiesel told the newspaper: "I feared for my life in a way that hadn't happened to me since 1945, before the end of the war."
He added that he had not been injured during the incident and that the man had fled when he raised the alarm.
The German defence ministry said Cruise has >>publicly professed to being a member of the Scientology cult<<. Scientology masquerades as a religion to make money, Germany said, but leaders of the church reject this. Cruise's producing partner Paula Wagner said the star's own convictions had no relation to the film's content. >>Personal beliefs have absolutely no bearing on the movie's plot or themes,<< she said.
>Heroic and principled<
Scientology has been monitored in Germany in the belief that its activities are >>directed against the free democratic order<< in the country. Its status there as a commercial enterprise has prompted repeated protests from the organisation.
Cruise will play Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg in Valkyrie, leader of the 1944 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler using a bomb hidden in a briefcase, scheduled for release next year. German defence ministry spokesman Harald Kammerbauer said that Germany's military >>has a special interest in the serious and authentic portrayal of the events of July 20, 1944 and Stauffenberg's person<<. Wagner said Cruise's portrayal in the film would be as a >>heroic and principled figure<<, while >>Germany is the only place we can truly do the story justice. We believe the film will go a long way toward reminding the world that even within the ranks of the German military, there was real resistance to the Nazi regime,<< she added.
Stauffenberg's son Berthold told the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper earlier this week that he objected to Cruise taking the role because of his involvement with Scientology. >>He should keep his hands off my father,<< Mr von Stauffenberg said. Mr Kammerbauer, meanwhile, said that official requests for filming in the country had yet to be received.
Monday, 23 July 2007 3:16 PM
Queensland Premier Peter Beattie has accused the Federal Government of "incompetence" and of hiding behind a cloak of anti-terrorism secrecy in the case against accused terrorism supporter Mohamed Haneef. Speaking on Southern Cross Radio, Mr Beattie said leaks and inconsistencies in the case against Haneef were undermining public confidence in Australia's anti-terrorism laws.
"I've got to tell you I've never seen such an incompetent explanation of what's going on from the Federal Government, they should wake up to themselves," he said. "I don't enjoy being in this position, they should just wake up to themselves and tell the Australian people the truth." He says if mistakes have been made, authorities should own up. "The Minister, at the end, the buck stops with him, [he] should be explaining it," he said. "You either say 'we stuffed it up, I'm sorry we stuffed it up and this is now what we're going to do', or you find some explanation that frankly I can't find at the moment."
Yesterday Mr Beattie said the AFP's handling of the case had been reminiscent of the "Keystone Cops".
His comments today came as The Australian newspaper reported that AFP officers wrote the names of terrorism suspects in Haneef's personal diary after he was taken in for questioning in Brisbane.
The paper said police then asked Haneef if he had written the names, before admitting their mistake.
*Haneef's lawyer angry over new leaks*, 22 July 2007
There has been an angry reaction to the latest allegations about a Gold Coast doctor charged under counter-terrorism laws.
According to a Brisbane newspaper, the Australian Federal Police are investigating Mohamed Haneef over a possible plot to attack a Gold Coast high-rise building.
Haneef's lawyer Peter Russo says he knew nothing about the allegations until last night, when he was contacted by a reporter.
The AFP will not confirm whether its officers found photographs of a prominent Gold Coast landmark and documents relating to the destroying of structures, while searching Haneef's unit.
Mr Russo says having the allegations surface in this manner is wrong.
"The police had the opportunity to put it before the magistrate, the police had the opportunity to charge a different charge," he said. "The police had the opportunity to put it out in relation to the immigration issue on both occasions it hasn't happened, but we have to go and read it in the Sunday Mail."
Mr Russo says it smacks of desperation. "The problem with it is no one wants to claim it, but I'm more concerned about the sinister tone of how the info has come out," he said. "A link to a tall building and a link to September 11 can only do one thing in the public arena, and that's create fear."
Haneef has been charged under new counter-terrorism laws in connection with failed car bombings in the UK and has spent almost three weeks in custody.
Labor keeps distance
The Federal Opposition is refusing to criticise the treatment of Haneef, despite concerns emerging about the legal case against him. It was revealed earlier this week the mobile phone SIM card belonging to Haneef was not found in the exploded jeep at Glasgow Airport, as the Crown Prosecutor initially told a Brisbane court.
Legal groups and the minor parties have been highly critical of the way the AFP and the Federal Government have handled the case, including the cancellation of Haneef's work visa.
Labor frontbencher Lindsay Tanner has told ABC TV's Insiders it would not be right for the Opposition to weigh in at this stage.
"We are the alternative government, we have a responsibility to treat these issues seriously, to not form judgements in advance when we don't know the detail of what's going on," he said. "We were certainly critical of what's going on, if it turns out after all the evidence is detailed and the legal process has concluded, that there has been a mishandling for the case, but it is in the courts."
*Haneef predicament 'every Muslim's fear'*, 21 July 2007
A Muslim civil rights advocate says the handling of the case of the Gold Coast doctor Mohamed Haneef has confirmed the Muslim community's worst fears.
Haneef is facing charges of recklessly providing support to a terrorist organisation involved in the recent UK attempted car bombings.
In Brisbane last Saturday, the court was told that Haneef's SIM card was found in the car that was driven into Glasgow airport.
But the ABC has been told by sources in the UK and Australia that the SIM card was first seized by police eight hours later, when his cousin Sabeel Ahmed was arrested in Liverpool.
Dr Waleed Kadous from the Australian Muslim Civil Rights Advocacy Network says the fears felt by Muslims date back to the introduction of the counter-terrorism legislation last year.
Dr Kadous says the Haneef case has left many thinking "there but for the grace of God go I". "[It was] every Muslim's fear that this could happen to him," he said.
"They can imagine being in the same situation as Haneef was in, that they left a SIM card with a relative before leaving country and then something happens a year later.
"They can imagine borrowing money from someone and paying the loan back, these are not unusual things."
*Haneef's visa appeal chances are good, Burnside says*, 19 July 2007
High-profile lawyer Julian Burnside QC says Mohamed Haneef's appeal in the Federal Court against his visa revocation has a good chance of success.
Haneef remains in a Brisbane jail on terrorism-related charges after Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews cancelled the Indian doctor's visa, despite a Brisbane Magistrate granting him conditional bail earlier this week.
According to court documents, the defence argues that the Minister acted improperly because he cancelled Haneef's visa in order to keep him in custody after he had been granted bail.
The documents also accuse the Minister of failing to take into account the nature and extent of Haneef's alleged association with his cousins, who are suspects in the recent foiled UK bomb plot.
Mr Burnside says the grounds for the defence case are unusual, but good.
"The timing of events suggests that it was the grant of bail that prompted the Minister to cancel the visa and it's quite clear that the Minister did not intend to deport Dr Haneef," he said.
"And that's the usual reason for cancelling a visa."
Mr Burnside says the cancellation of the visa may have been for an improper purpose. "Now, if you cancel a visa and put a person in detention, not in order to put them on a plane out of the country but in order to hold them here for a couple of years to face trial, then that looks like an improper purpose," he said.
Meanwhile, about 40 people have shown their support for Haneef at a protest rally in central Brisbane today.
The rally, organised by Haneef's legal team, was held outside the Immigration Department's buildings on Adelaide Street.
Haneef's lawyer Peter Russo addressed the crowd and criticised the Australian Federal Police's handling of his client's case. "It is important the we understand that if matters are to be dealt with in secrecy there has to be some accountability built into the legislation," he said. "There is no accountability built into this piece of legislation and as a result of that my client was detained for approximately 12 days without even being spoken to."
Mr Russo says his client was moved to tears when told about the protest rally.
He says Haneef has been isolated for so long that he does not realise how much media attention his case has been receiving.
"I think for him he hasn't understood the impact that it's had on the rest of the community and I don't think he regards himself as being such an important person," he said.
Fredrick Töben comments: Revisionist Ernst Zündel spent two years in a Toronto, Canada, prison before being deported to Germany in 2005. This process of legal persecution also relied on the >security risk< argument where evidence against Zündel remained secret. Likewise, Germar Rudolf’s deportation from the USA is helpful to Australia’s public prosecutors who are using the same pattern of legal persecution on Dr Haneef.
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