An Update from Political Prisoner, Ernst Zündel
Friday, 6 June 2008
To my Zündelsite Readers -
Here is a slightly edited update about Ernst's legal situation in Mannheim, written to a German couple in Canada, who kindly sent me a typed copy for our archives.
I should also add that as of June 2, 2008, we have filed extensive papers in the federal court in Knoxville asserting our right to continue litigating Ernst's case in the United States that will focus heavily on his political kidnapping aspects - a focus that has been denied us so far.
I am excited about this new front because we are in possession ofsome pretty devastating documents obtained through various Freedom of Information Acts in three countries that show a web of political coordination - and shenanigans in this international manhunt for one pacifist activist that staggers the imagination!
My readers and, hopefully, the media will hear about that in a few weeks!
Ingrid Zündel - zgrams@zgrams.Zündelsite.org
I want to thank you for the birthday card, the E 5.00 and the stamps you enclosed for me. A word of caution! The [greeting card] you sent had elaborate foam pads behind the actual image to give it a 3-D feeling. Although it is nice, it was suspicious even to the Canadian Postal authorities - it was bulgey and it was held back, opened and examined in Toronto already - and thus received "Special Handling Attention", which delayed it for that reason.
Once it arrived here in prison, it again caused suspicion for the same reason, because it could contain dope or worse. Remember they had the same fears in Canada at Toronto West and did not let me have some cards. So keep that in mind, please, and let our friends know that these nice, expensive cards cause problems for people in prisons.
Plain cards, and even some photocopies are now allowed, even the odd booklet. They do not allow me full size books - they go to the "Asservaten Kammer" and are kept there till I am released on 1. March 2010, unless of course higher courts overturn the verdicts etc. of lower courts. In my opinion - after the kind of "quality" of Justice I have seen and hear of every day from other prisoners - the Germans have a long way to go before they even come near Anglo-Saxon legal traditions and treatments of people in courts. Only Ignoramuses about the situation here and Germanophiles cannot see what ails this system.
They have no verbatim/word for word transcripts in criminal trials, which invites - no, it guarantees! - abuses and injustices. The German system of Criminal Justice can not recover its reputation of fairness or procedural correctness until they restore what was ROUTINE in Germany and is still routine in Canadian, American and British justice [systems] for centuries!!! The Inquisition had verbatim transcripts, even Nuremberg Tribunals had transcripts - although there, testimony could be expunged from the record, which was done for instance in Streichers case where, incredibly, the Streicher Defense-Attorney agreed to have important testimony about Streichers torture stricken from the record at the request of the prosecutors - with the consent of the presiding judges!
Every regime since before Bismarck, including the Weimar Republic and even the Third Reich [and what followed] had verbatim transcripts till 1972 - then it was done away with in criminal proceedings, but not in civil proceedings - apparently. The reason? "To make the court more efficient" - a lie of course. I suppose civil suits can remain inefficient?
Even Judge Blais in Toronto was astonished when I mentioned the "no transcript" situation. But who is aware of these "details of history" as Jean Marie Le Pen would call them? No one!
But now for the actual legal situation on the ground here. -
I still am battling for my mail from 2005, 2006. 2007. There are approximately 1500 pieces of mail in boxes that have not been released to me. I negotiated a release-deal-method with officials - instead, after releasing some postcards and short letters - suddenly 185 letters were seized that were 2 to 3 years old. The reason for the seizure? People wrote me letters and cards that contained compliments, calling for me to hang in there etc.! - That, it was felt, was opposed to the aim of my conviction!
Remember, I am still subject to spot censorship!
I was also ruled ineligible for transfer to the pensioners' prison in Singen and was ordered to serve my whole time - that means till March 1, 2010 - here in Mannheim. The reasons? They were amazingly frank about it. The Singen Facility would allow me to live in a much more relaxed and open atmosphere, with frequent trips into town to shop, etc. Media people would seek me out, and that would result in articles - and that, in turn, would bring unrest into the institution, made up of mostly elderly people, all of whom would have suffered under the old regime. Thus, for the good of the other inmates, I would have to be kept here, even though by age 62 I was to be entitled to serve my time in an "Altenknast".
It was decided by the prison administration's resident jurist - that I would get no relaxation of conditions - but would have to serve my time in full, ohne "Freigang", which is when one gets to go into town in the presence of uniformed (?) prison officials. Instead I would serve my time, locked up in prison.
I have hired a new woman lawyer. She is a specialist in Prison Rights - and has now submitted these decisions to the local "Strafvollstreckungskammer" - which has a reputation to see things the prisons and the convicting judges do - as a rule. That means we will have to appeal that "3 rulings package" to the Oberlandsgericht Karlsruhe. All that of course takes time. That is the aim of all this chicanery, for every day I am forced to spend in the "non-relaxed" atmosphere - [the opposite of what] I am entitled to by age and tradition - means what in America is known as cruel and unusual punishment. Should the OLG Karlsruhe decide against me, then I could appeal it to the Bundesgerichthof and the Bundesverfassungsgericht.
[Comment: The first instance has already turned down Ernst's appeal...]
All these legal moves take their time because the Courts are busy, dockets are full. Add this to the legal fees and especially the court costs, which are steep here and have been regularly assessed against me - for instance a 1 1-2 pge. decision, naturally against me, at E 1200.00 just for this one sheet of paper that had to be paid "sofort" [immediately]. My court costs for the Mannheimer Verfahren were assessed at E 59,829.00. To this must be added the payments for legal fees for my own "Wahl-Anwalte" (chosen Solicitors) like Rieger, Dr. Schaller, Sylvia Stolz, R.A. Bock and Gisa Pahl in Hamburg, and now this new Mannheim specialist lawyer. These costs, too, had to be paid at once. [Ingrid and I are] paying off these horrendous costs in installments.
Dr. Schaller challenged the "non-counting" of my two years and one month in Canadas Guantanamo North- (Toronto West and Thorold), with the local "Staatsanwaltschaft-Strafvollstreckungskammer". They ruled that the two years would not be counted, as the lower court had decided last year already. We challenged that with the appeal court (Oberlandesgericht-Karlsruhe). They, too, ruled against me - the two years would not be counted.
Now I have to decide if [we] can raise the money to go on to the Bundesgerichtshof and then the Bundesverfassungsgericht - and of course for the legal fees for my lawyers.
And, finally, one of the most important legal moves was to submit "eine Beschwerde" (a complaint) an appeal for review and redress with the European Court of Human Rights in Strassbourg. That was one hell of a document to prepare, and I had to wrestle and argue with my own lawyers, to expand the document to the events of my kidnapping and expulsion first from the US, then explain the reasons for the arrest and proceedings in Canada before Blais - and how all this came about. Luckily we gained access to very important documents during the Mannheim and the American proceedings that showed E-Mails and lots of faxes on official letterheads by the highest authorities in America, Germany and Canada, documenting and detailing at least some aspects of this "Operation Atlantik" as the Germans called the hunt for my capture in documents going way back to the 1990s. Dr. Schaller's document finally condensed all this down to 63 pages - and for the first time explained it more or less coherently, given the constraints and format of these Strasburg proceedings.
The title of the documents is:
"Ernst Zündel gegen BRD". The date it was submitted was May 8, 2008. All that work, legal research, preparation etc. have to be paid.
Comment: Our readers need to understand that all the bills are handled and paid by me, his wife, since of course Ernst is prevented from keeping such regular, emotionally and time-consuming fundraising efforts going from inside his cell.
If you would like to be put on our mailing list for updates or by contributing to our efforts to keep this case before the courts and media, please write to:
3152 Parkway, 13-109
Pigeon Forge, TN 37863
Can you send money to Ernst directly to help him pay for stamps, phone calls, and the occasional "shopping trip" to the prison store?
Yes, in small amounts. Ernst is allowed to receive small bills in cash in Euro or US$ from his friends and supporters. Please don't send any checks or money orders to him, especially from countries other than Germany. Ernst cannot deposit or cash them.
His address is:
D - 68169 Mannheim
Is the Zionist State of Israel imploding?
"The end of Zionism is nigh. A Jewish state may endure, but it will be a state of a different sort, dreadful and alien to our values."
Avraham Burg: The Holocaust Is Over: We Must Rise from Its Ashes
Fredrick Töben comments: “Statistics on my YouTube page http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=bNCiaHk4LBM indicates viewers come mainly from Australia, Germany, California, Alaska, India and Patagonia, that region of southern Chile and Argentine where Jewish activity is thriving. Is this where many Jews are re-locating as they flee the Promised Land of Israhell?
The ‘ethnic cleansing’ of Palestine. Judaism is universal
By Eric Rouleau
Avraham Burg is the scourge of the Israeli establishment. Though he has been in turn a prominent leader of the Labour Party, chairman of the World Zionist Organisation and speaker of the Knesset, he regularly expresses opinions at odds with those of most of his fellow Israelis. Burg lost hope of influencing those in power and quit politics in 2004.
The views he expresses in his latest book The Holocaust Is Over: We Must Rise from Its Ashes (to be published by Macmillan in autumn 2008) are brutally frank. On the occupation of the Palestinian territories he writes: “For years I tempered my position to avoid a breach within Israeli society. I have now changed. Today I ask: are [all Jews] my brothers? My answer is no… Since the Shoah, I believe there is no such thing as genetic Judaism, only Jewish values… Even if they are circumcised and respect the Sabbath and the Ten Commandments, the wicked occupiers are not my brothers.”
Throughout the book Burg contrasts the “Judaism of the ghetto”, whose racism he deplores, with “universal Judaism”, whose humanism he supports. He rejects the Old Testament notion that the Jews are God’s chosen people, as that amounts to a claim of racial superiority. “The cancer of racism is eating away at us,” he told the Israeli daily Yedioth Aharonoth in 2003. He has also written that the terrible tragedy of the Shoah demonstrated that Jehovah was not the protector of the chosen people any more than He was responsible for their misfortunes. He believes in a God who has given man the power of decision-making and thus responsibility for his actions.
Burg is the son of a universally respected rabbi who was leader of the National Religious Party and its representative in the Knesset in nearly every government since the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. Burg himself was educated in a yeshiva (religious school) and his work quotes liberally from the Torah and the Talmud to show that holy texts can often be misinterpreted and distorted, or simply have lost their relevance.
Burg accuses Zionist leaders of having appropriated the Shoah – a tragedy not only for the Jews but all humanity – for often shameful ends. He takes issue with the fact they have turned it into an essential part of Jewish identity, which they’ve thereby reduced to a litany of past persecutions. In Burg’s view, this distorts Jewish history and conceals centuries of peace and good relations with other peoples.
Burg reminds readers, for example, of the concern shown towards his Jewish subjects by the ancient Persian ruler, Cyrus the Great; of the fruitful relations that Jews enjoyed with their Muslim compatriots in the Middle Ages in places such as Aragon, Castille and Andalucia; and the privileged position of Jews in the Americas and other countries across the world. He also points out that for centuries Jews lived alongside Germans before the Nazis came to power. He believes that Jews who are well integrated in their societies should not be stigmatised for not wanting to emigrate to Israel, especially as the diaspora plays a positive role in world civilisation.
Burg is against the use of the word Shoah (catastrophe) for the Holocaust, since it gives it a unique character, beyond comparison with other genocides. This exclusivity, he believes, undermines compassion and solidarity with non-Jewish victims. It also feeds the paranoia that anti-semitism is a universal, timeless phenomenon: “The whole world is in league against the Jews.”
Zionist leaders have made use of the Holocaust in a variety of ways. It can be used as emotional blackmail to bring both political and financial advantage. Or serve as a reminder to the Germans of their criminal guilt and to the Americans and Europeans that they looked the other way while the Jews suffered at the hands of the Nazis. The Israeli authorities thereby guarantee themselves impunity, whatever their violations of international law and human rights, and whatever war crimes they carry out, such as targeted executions of Palestinians.
Burg takes issue with Israeli scholars who ignore all genocides but those suffered by the Jews, and with laws which punish only crimes against Jews. He opposes Jewish immigrants being automatically granted Israeli citizenship on religious and genetic grounds. A committed secularist, he has also criticised the “religious fundamentalists” who show contempt for national sovereignty. Noting that his country often picks its leaders from members of the military or the secret services, he has warned that “the nightmare of a state run by rabbis and generals is not impossible”.
He thinks that it is time that Jews and Israelis freed themselves from the nightmare of the Holocaust, “which must of course be remembered forever, but no longer by prostrating ourselves in the dust” because “we must get rid of the Auschwitz mentality as well as the culture of trauma and terror”.
Burg does not consider himself anti-Zionist, except when the principles of Herzl and the values of the declaration of independence are betrayed. That is what happens when Israel is transformed into a “colonial state run by an immoral clique of corrupt outlaws”, as he put it in his Yedioth Aharonoth interview. In the same article he went on: “The end of Zionism is nigh… A Jewish state may endure, but it will be a state of a different sort, dreadful and alien to our values.”
Such views unsurprisingly provoked an outcry in Israel. But they also drew enthusiastic support from those Israelis who are eager to see root and branch reform of their country. Avraham Burg, who is in his early 50s, can hope that his dream may one day become reality. And, like the wave of iconoclasts in the Israeli intelligentsia who have absorbed the work of the new historians, he is living proof that his society is undergoing profound change.
Despite Israel's ban, Norman Finkelstein should return to Israel in the name of freedom and democracy
I have a dream for Israeli democracy. This dream of mine may not be as elegantly articulated or stirring as Martin Luther King's, but it nevertheless represents some creative brainstorming. It all began with this short passage in the Jerusalem Post last week:
The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) detained and deported Finkelstein, who is a prominent critic of the Israeli occupation, when he landed at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Friday. He was interrogated for several hours and held in an airport holding cell before being returned to Amsterdam, where he had been lecturing. Finkelstein said he was told he could not return to Israel for at least 10 years.
On Tuesday, the Shin Bet said that if [Norman] Finkelstein tried returning to Israel it would need to re-evaluate its position."
This got me to thinking: by God, the Shin Bet is tacitly inviting Finkelstein to try again. I started wondering: why not test the Shin Bet's statement? Why not return to Israel?
Then my brainstorming became grander and bolder: don't just return to Israel, but make a bold political statement out of Finkelstein's return. After the ugliness at DePaul University, where Finkelstein was denied tenure, local Chicago activists organised a teach-in on academic freedom that included Ben Gurion University professor Neve Gordon, John Mearsheimer and Finkelstein himself.
So I started thinking why not do something similar in Israel with Finkelstein again being either the guest of honour or featured speaker. You could turn this into an academic conference on issues like Israeli democracy, ethnic identity and conflict in Israel, Israel-Syria peace negotiations and the critical importance of freedom of travel and speech in democratic society. The conference could happen both in Israel and in the West Bank – say, at Bir Zeit University (since one couldn't expect Israelis to be able to travel freely to the West Bank nor Palestinians to travel to Israel to attend either session).
Think of the interesting figures you could invite who have had experiences similar to Finkelstein's who could address this gathering:
1. Tariq Ramadan, whose US visa to teach at Notre Dame was revoked in part because Daniel Pipes and other neocons lied, claiming Ramadan was a supporter of Islamic terror.
2. Yigal Arens, computer security expert at the University of Southern California and son of former Israeli defence minister Moshe Arens. The younger Arens was invited to lead a section of a Ben Gurion University conference in his field. But the Shin Bet conference participants objected to his presence because he is a strident critic of Israeli policy. Conference organisers disinvited him.
3. Avrum Burg, whose new book The Holocaust is Over, scandalised the Israeli political elite when it was published in Hebrew last year because Burg, scion of a distinguished Orthodox Zionist family, has moved to France and turned his back on Israeli Zionism.
4. Menachem Klein, professor at Bar Ilan University, whose academic department refuses to grant him tenure because his analysis of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict violates the department's narrow political-academic consensus.
5. Neve Gordon, professor at Ben Gurion University, who has endured a savage letter-writing campaign to his university president and trustees smearing his name and seeking to get him fired for his critical writing about Israeli policy. Another Israeli academic, Steven Plaut, called him a "kapo" and "Juden-Rat," and ended up losing a libel case brought by Gordon and a subsequent appeal.
6. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, an Israeli-Arab law professor at the Hebrew University who was denied permission to exit Israel (again while at Ben Gurion airport) to attend an academic conference; all this at the hands of the same Shin Bet which deported Finkelstein.
7. Hadeel Abukwaik, one of seven Palestinian Fulbright winners who recently gained permission to take up their US studies after it was initially denied by the IDF, which refused to allow them to exit Gaza.
8. Juan Cole, professor at University of Michigan, denied an endowed chair at Yale University after a campaign by right-wing alumni attacking him for being anti-Israel.
9. Rashid Khalidi, professor of Middle East studies at Columbia University, similarly smeared while he was under consideration for an endowed chair at Princeton and also fired from teaching a course to New York public school teachers about the Middle East, because of false charges made by Daniel Pipes of supporting Arab radicalism.
10. Nadia Abu El-Haj, professor of anthropology at Barnard College, targeted by pro-Israel militants who attempted unsuccessfully to deny her tenure for her critical writings about Israeli archaeology.
11. Sami Bahour, Palestinian-American entrepreneur and peace activist denied entry to Israel for no discernible reason.
12. Zvi Schreiber, Israeli technology entrepreneur and developer of G.ho.st, a program allowing computer users to access their computers anywhere in the world. The project is a collaboration between Israelis and Palestinian programmers.
13. Rabbi Menachem Froman, founder of Gush Emunim and a West Bank settler, who is close to Hamas. The Shin Bet prevented Froman from holding a joint press conference to promote his ideas about Israeli-Palestinian peace.
As part of this conference, I'd love to hear a concert by Mira Awad, a wonderful Israeli Arab singer and popular theatre and TV actress who hasn't been able to get a contract to produce her first recording. Her music is not considered commercial enough (as defined by Israeli-Jewish record executives). And why not add to the concert David Broza, who recorded the first Israeli-Palestinian musical duet for his song B'Libi. And Noa and Khaled, whose performance in Hebrew and Arabic of John Lennon's Imagine is stirring beyond belief. And Idan Raichel, whose music is at the cutting edge of the intersection of Israeli and world music. A performance by the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra under Daniel Barenboim would also be stirring.
I also devised a few ideas about how to shame/compel the Shin Bet into granting Finkelstein entry. He could fly to Israel with several of the conference speakers, forcing the Shin Bet to grant entry or eject all of them. (The could call the flight the Voyage of the Banned.) Other conference speakers could meet him at Ben Gurion along with his lawyer, Michael Sfard (just in case). Joining them could be a few journalists, TV cameras and perhaps an MK or two. I'd say this might give the Shin Bet pause. And if it didn't, the conference organisers could hold the event anyway and leave an empty "Elijah's chair" on stage for anyone detained by the Shin Bet.
Of course, it's easy to dream. Israelis would have to be the ones to do the hard work to make this dream a reality. But it was great fun dreaming a dream of Israeli democracy and of forcing the Shin Bet to live up to the ideals of its own country's Declaration of Independence.http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/jun/06/israelandthepalestinians
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