the hate goes on - and the hate goes on ... Adolf still rules!
PUBLIC SERVANT = GRAVE ROBBERS AT WORK
Desecration of grave by a German senior public prosecutor
In Passau about 90 so-called
extreme right-wing buried a comrade, Friedhelm Busse, 79, and Thomas Wulff
placed a verboten flag on the coffin before the grave was closed. Two days later
senior public prosecutor, Joachim
Peuker, ordered the grave be opened and to retrieve the evidence - a swastika flag. Legal action has been initiated.
NPD-CHEF VOIGT - Justiz läßt Hakenkreuzfahne aus frischem Grab holen
Trauerfeier wollten Rechtsextremisten einen verstorbenen Kameraden auf besondere
Weise ehren: Eine verbotene Hakenkreuzfahne wurde vor den Augen von NPD-Chef
Voigt ins Grab gelegt. Die Staatsanwaltschaft Passau ließ das Grab öffnen,
stellte die Fahne sicher - und ermittelt.
Hamburg - Für die braunen
Kameraden war es eine Ehrensache: Rund 90 Rechtsextremisten versammelten sich am
Samstag in Passau, um Abschied von Friedhelm Busse zu nehmen, einem altgedienten
Aktivisten der militanten Neonazi-Szene. Busse war im Alter von 79 Jahren
Hakenkreuzfahne für einen braunen Kameraden, vorn am Grab steht NPD-Chef Voigt:
Trauerfeier für Friedhelm Busse
Chef der 1995 verbotenen Freiheitlichen Deutschen Arbeiterpartei (FAP) wurde
unter anderem wegen Volksverhetzung und Verunglimpfung des Staates zu 28 Monaten
Gefängnis verurteilt - auf Kundgebungen hatte er erklärt: "Wenn
Deutschland judenfrei ist, brauchen wir kein Auschwitz mehr."
In einer Erklärung vom 24.
Juli verneigte sich die NPD vor dem "bekannten und bundesweit anerkannten
Aktivisten und Kameraden" - er habe "früh seine Liebe zur Heimat
entdeckt", sei 1944 freiwillig der Waffen-SS beigetreten und habe als
Panzerjäger noch im April 1945 gegen die Alliierten gekämpft "und
versuchte so, der Besatzung Deutschlands entgegenzuwirken", heißt es auf
der Internet-Seite der rechtsextremen Partei. Mit Busse verliere "die
nationale Bewegung in Deutschland eine Symbolfigur".
Und auch wenige Tage später am
Grab zeigte die NPD Präsenz: Parteichef Udo Voigt trat am Samstag als Redner
auf, auch NPD-Kader Thomas Wulff kam nach Passau. Dessen Auftritt hat jetzt zu
Ermittlungen der Staatsanwaltschaft geführt: Wulff soll bei der Trauerfeier
eine verbotene Hakenkreuzfahne auf dem Sarg ausgebreitet haben. Der Passauer
Oberstaatsanwalt Joachim Peuker bestätigte SPIEGEL ONLINE einen entsprechenden
Bericht der "Süddeutschen Zeitung". Die ersten Vernehmungen sollten
bald erfolgen, sagte Peuker.
Die Staatsanwaltschaft ließ
das Grab am Montag öffnen und stellte die Fahne sicher. Nach Angaben der Behörde
handelt es sich demnach um eine Reichskriegsflagge aus den Jahren 1935 bis 1945
mit großem Hakenkreuz in der Mitte.
Dem Oberstaatsanwalt zufolge
hatte ein Sicherheitsbeamter beobachtet, wie die Fahne auf den Sarg geworfen
wurde - Beamte des Staatsschutzes waren während der Trauerfeier auf dem
Friedhofsgelände, weil die Behörden mit Ausschreitungen gerechnet hatten. Nach
dem Begräbnis kam es zu Krawallen, bei denen ein Reporter angegriffen wurde,
elf Personen wurden vorübergehend festgenommen.
Sollte sich der Verdacht bestätigen,
drohen Wulff - der sich nach einem Obergruppenführer der Waffen-SS selbst
"Steiner" nennt - wegen der Verwendung verfassungswidriger Kennzeichen
bis zu drei Jahre Haft oder eine Geldstrafe.
Industrialist Family Breaks Silence Over Nazi Ties
nine months after a German television documentary highlighted the exploitation
of Nazi prisoners that helped the Quandt family make its fortune, a family
member spoke up about the issue.
The Quandt family, which owns close to 47
percent of the shares in German car maker BMW, had been maintaining a wall of
silence following the broadcast of a film that put the spotlight on the stories
of former Nazi prisoners who were forced to work in a battery factory owned by
magnate Guenther Quandt (1881-1954). The workers recounted beatings,
mistreatment and even deaths at the factory in the film which premiered at the
Hamburg Film Festival last year.
Hoping to repair the family's damaged
reputation, Stefan Quandt used the recent award ceremony for the "Herbert
Quandt Media Prize" to undercut the documentary's integrity, German daily FAZ reported on Thursday, July 31.
"The allegation that the family's
assets can be traced back to the time of the Third Reich defrauds fifty years of
entrepreneurial success on the part of my great grandfather Emil and my
grandfather Guenther Quandt before the year 1933," he was quoted as saying.
Integrity of media
The documentary's broadcast has tarnished the
Quandt moniker to such an extent that three prominent members of the board of
trustees responsible for awarding the prize resigned their posts.
Mathias Müller, Editor in Chief of Der
Spiegel, Gabriele Fischer, Editor in Chief of Brand Eins and Christoph Keese, former Editor in Chief of Welt
am Sonntag and current CEO of Public Affairs for the publishing giant Axel
Springer have called for the cancellation of the prize until the family's role
during the time of the Nazis was clarified.
But the Quandt family is determined to see the
media prize live on. After the documentary was aired, the family hired historian
Joachim Scholtyseck to spend three years exploring the family history.
Scholtyseck's findings may lead the Quandts -- one of Germany's last corporate
dynasties that has not dealt with its past -- to finally face the skeletons in
the family closet.
Nazi ties misjudged
her re-marriage to Joseph Goebbels, Magda Quandt directly linked the family to
the Nazi regime
In addition to being one of the most important
German arms producers during World War II, the Quandt family also had a private
connection to the Nazis.
Guenther Quandt's first wife Magda Ritschel married Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's
future propaganda minister, two years after divorcing Guenther. Their first son
Harald then lived with her and Goebbels.
Stefan Quandt, however, found fault with the
documentary for leaving out a very important aspect of the Quandt-Goebbels
connection: the fact that Guenther Quandt took legal action against Goebbels in
1934 in order to gain custody over Harald.
"The court did not accept the claim against the influential Minister
Goebbels and the lawyer representing my grandfather was removed from his leading
position in the lawyers' association," he said.
He also said that his family members were only
human and that the circumstances of their time were largely beyond their
"Some people followed national socialism from conviction," he said.
"Some agreed to small or large compromises. Others were forced. In a world
of fear and instability, it wasn't any different for Guenther and Herbert Quandt
the gas chambers exempt?
of Ernst Zündel’s decades' fight against the monstrous Canadian Human Rights
speech a casualty of 'hate' powers
James Allan, The Australian, August
AT the beginning of June, I wrote in these pages about
what was happening to Mark Steyn, the well-known columnist who writes for
newspapers in the US, Canada, Britain, New Zealand, and here in Australia. I
outlined the incredible powers to suppress speech by human rights commissions in
Canada. Having just returned from a few weeks back in my native Canada, it's
time for an update on the Steyn saga.
But first, a quick refresher. There are human rights
commissions in Canada at the federal and provincial levels that were established
three or four decades ago. They have jurisdiction over what might loosely be
thought of as hate speech, the governing statutes referring to "any
statement that is likely to expose a person or group or class of persons to
hatred or contempt".
To be in breach of these hate speech provisions you don't need to say something
untrue; you don't need to actually subject some group or person to hatred or
contempt; you don't have to counsel violence. You only need to say something
that the people who are chosen to staff these commissions -- and, trust me, this
is not a representative cross-section of Canadian society, but more like the
most ultra-PC university professor you know -- happen to think is likely to
expose some group or person to hatred or contempt.
Once the commission thinks that, it can fine you, order
you to pay money to those who complained, force you to apologise, and more. Oh,
and those who complain don't have to spend a penny on lawyers.
You will have to spend a fortune defending yourself. And there is no costs rule,
so even if you win, you lose. But, in fact, once someone is hauled before a
commission, the actual track record is that they always lose -- 100 per cent of
That picture of an Orwellian nightmare, a nightmare where
you can say something that is wholly true, and you can prove it is true, and yet
you can be severely punished and stifled and forced to issue a bogus apology by
hack bureaucrats, is the one that was and is facing Mark Steyn in Canada.
What had happened is that one of the chapters of Steyn's
New York Times' (and for that matter Canadian) No1 bestseller America Alone
had been excerpted and published by Canada's largest weekly magazine. The
Canadian Islamic Congress, through the agency of three law students, brought
complaints against Steyn and the magazine before the federal human rights
commission, and also before two provincial ones. (That's another Orwellian
aspect to all this; there is no rule against double, triple or any other
multiple jeopardy, as there is no limit to how many complaints can be lodged
before different tribunals for the same words.)
Anyway, that's where things stood a while back. Since then
more has come out that makes these Canadian tribunals or commissions seem even
more like kangaroo courts than they already did, which is saying an awful lot.
First off, one of the two provincial tribunals, Ontario's, realised that under
its statute it didn't have jurisdiction to hear the complaint on a technicality
(though Steyn, who is nothing if not supremely funny, said he would waive the
technicality). Anyway, the Ontario tribunal grudgingly dismissed the complaint
but then, incredibly, said that it thought Steyn and the magazine had infringed
What's amazing about that? What's amazing about it is that this Ontario
commission made that statement without having heard any evidence by anyone on
any of the complainants' claims. (You can probably guess how many self-styled
civil rights campaigners were noisily complaining about the infringement of
Steyn's rights, can't you?)
Next -- and here we leave the usual politically correct
drivel that infests this whole thing and move into the realm of outright
corruption -- it turned out that some of the goings on at the Canadian tribunal
seemed to involve a serial complainant who may have gone on to websites under
aliases to provoke comments that could then be complained about. This
complainant may even have been a former employee. And more.
Anyway, discretion being the better part of valour, the
Canadian Human Rights Commission less than a month ago decided it would not go
ahead with the Steyn prosecution (though the Canadian Islamic Congress has just
indicated it will appeal that decision). Instead, the commission opted for an
in-house review of this hate speech provision and of its practices by a Canadian
law professor -- someone I once worked with in Hong Kong, as chance would have
No one knows what this law professor will decide. I have
no doubt he will be scrupulously independent. I also have no doubt that if you
subscribe to the view that "if you tell me the answer you want then I can
appoint the sincere, honest people who will deliver you that answer", then
the commission would be hard pressed to find anyone better.
That leaves the third complaint for the same thing, this
one lodged before the British Columbia Human Rights Commission. That commission
has already heard the evidence against Steyn and the magazine. One well-known
Canadian journalist had a daily blog of the trial -- if the sort of
no-rules-of-evidence, wholly one-sided fiasco that ensued can be described as a
Let's just say that the off-the-cuff rulings as regards what could and could not
be presented seemed remarkably to go the complaints' way every time and that
the question of the truth of what Steyn had written was completely beside the
Anyway, these British Columbia apparatchiks have reserved
their ruling for a few months. Rumour in Canadian law circles has it that it may
not come down until perhaps October. No one is sure which way they'll go. It's
past track record suggests the tribunal would very much like to fine Steyn, make
him apologise, and maybe even prevent him from writing for that Canadian
On the other hand, public opinion in Canada is strongly turning against these
commissions and tribunals.
So to keep busy until it releases this ruling, what did
these British Columbia human rights commissioners decide to do? The answer is so
incredible that it must signal the end of all satire in Canada. You simply
couldn't make up anything as good as this.
You see, these mickey-mouse pseudo-judges have now moved on to prosecuting a
fellow named Guy Earle, a stand-up comedian. Apparently during the course of his
act he offended a couple of lesbians. They complained that he responded to their
heckling of him in a hateful manner.
So endeth the update of the wonderful state of free speech
in my native Canada. I think I need a drink, or I'd have to cry.
James Allan is Garrick professor of law, University of
Janet Albrechtsen | The Australian, July
SOME stellar phrases dominated the election campaign last
year. Australia faced a "fork in the road", said Kevin Rudd. As Prime
Minister, he faces his own fork in the road. Rudd announced he was Multilateral
Man, a modern social democrat leader who would forge a new foreign policy for
Australia. Eschewing the Howard years, Rudd would apparently take us down a new,
more inclusive road. He would fully embrace multilateralism as the best way to
achieve global peace. But here's the thing. Multilateralism is not an inherent
good. Sometimes its very inclusiveness ensures a rotten result.
That much was obvious at the confab in Durban in 2001 when
a conference aimed at combating racism degenerated into a bigoted hate-fest
against the US and Israel. Non-government organisations in Durban handed out
pamphlets depicting Israelis as modern-day Nazis and free T-shirts demanding the
dismantling of Israel.
Even former US secretary of state Colin Powell - a good
friend of the UN - walked out, declaring that "you do not combat racism by
conferences that produce declarations containing hateful language". Such
was the moral bankruptcy at the Durban festival of hate, the then UN high
commissioner for human rights, Mary Robinson, refused to be part of the ceremony
that tabled the forum's documents. Multilateralism, Durban-style, provided a
platform, under the auspices of the international community, for anti-West
Westerners and the most egregious abusers of human rights to rail against the
The Durban I debacle means that, if Rudd really is a
sensible fusion between hardheaded realism and liberal idealism, as some have
claimed, he will need to show that he can be choosy about multilateralism. And
the measure of his commitment to multilateralism ought to go something like
this. Meaningful multilateralism that actually achieves a common good is the
Harmless multilateralism is understandable. Nothing
gained, nothing lost. But oppressive multilateralism that allows repressive
regimes to hijack agendas for their own cause to thwart real progress is
unforgivable. Rudd's test will be the next UN conference on racism. Dubbed
Durban II - as a follow-up to Durban I - the meeting next year in Geneva looks
set to become a multilateral platform aimed at suppressing free speech in the
name of preventing Islamaphobia.
How do we know? Let's start with who's in charge. That
would be the UN's premier Human Rights Council which, as the preparatory
committee for Durban II, elected Libya as its chair and includes Cuba, Pakistan
and Iran. In multilateral land at the UN, Iran - a country whose leadership is
openly committed to the destruction of Israel - will be involved in setting the
agenda for the next global conference on racism. The HRC was meant to be the
answer to the UN's discredited former Human Rights Commission. Nothing has
Next consider what's being said in the lead-up to Durban
II. The Organisation of the Islamic Conference represents the most powerful
voting bloc at the UN and many of its members happily sit on the Human Rights
Council. In June, OIC secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu said "mere
condemnation or distancing from the acts of the perpetrators of Islamophobia"
is not enough. He wants Western nations to tighten basic freedoms of speech so
there are no more cartoons or documentaries critical of Islam.
Other OIC members such as Pakistan and Indonesia, and of
course Iran, also have free speech squarely within their sights. Reasonable
people agree that hate speech is abhorrent. But if hate speech were the real
target of DurbanII, we should expect to hear denunciations of Holocaust
inversion, where Israelis are treated as the new Nazis. Instead, under the cloak
of hate speech and Islamophobia, the real agenda of many of the countries
responsible for Durban II is stomping on criticism of Islam.
As hard-nosed realists, the OIC bloc knows how to exploit
the multilateral idealists in the West. Through sheer numbers they can and do
throw around their weight to hijack agendas. One need only track the anti-Israel
bias at Turtle Bay headquarters and the UN's other multilateral minions. At the
HRC each year, special agenda item No8 is devoted to scrutinising one country:
Israel. No other country. Just Israel.
Australia's former ambassador to the UN, Mike Smith, has
denounced the "singling out of one country for criticism under a unique
agenda item". But with other democracies silent on the issue, the unequal
targeting of Israel prevails. Gritty realism explains why OIC members adore UN
conferences. It provides them with the perfect platform to invite anti-West
Westerners to help promote their cause, ensuring worldwide media coverage on the
evils of Islamophobia. For them, multilateralism is a highly effective way to do
business. And why wouldn't they rail against free speech?
The West has shown itself to be a faint-hearted supporter
of its most cherished freedoms. Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal
reported on the latest supine surrender in The Netherlands, the home of
tolerance. "On a sunny May morning, six plainclothes police officers, two
uniformed policemen and a trio of functionaries from the state prosecutor's
office closed in on a small apartment in Amsterdam. Their quarry: a skinny Dutch
cartoonist with a rude sense of humour. Informed that he was suspected of
sketching offensive drawings of Muslims and other minorities, the Dutchman
surrendered without a struggle." If charged, the cartoonist who uses a nom
de plume - Gregorius Nekschot - faces two years in prison.
This is precisely what many OIC members have in mind. And
they have worked out that multilateralism is their best way to push their agenda
against freedom of expression using the cloak of Islamophobia and the apparent
legitimacy of the UN. They prevailed at Durban I in 2001. Next year in Geneva
they get another shot. Canada has already refused to be part of Durban II. So
has Israel. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said: "France will not
allow a repetition of the excesses and abuses of 2001." As European Union
President, he has promised to withdraw if the hate-fest is repeated. The
question is, what will other democracies do?
The US will have a new president in the lead-up to Durban
II. If it is Barack Obama, he faces the same dilemma that confronts our Prime
Minister. Both pitch themselves as a new generation of modern social democrats
committed to multilateralism. If they are realists, they will reject Durban II
as oppressive multilateralism. Being part of Durban II will give legitimacy to
an agenda that looks destined to attack basic democratic freedoms. Dewy-eyed
human rights activists, international lawyers and those on the jetsetting gravy
train of multilateral shindigs will never admit it. But multilateralism for the
heck of it is a one heck of a mistake.
struggle with affluenza come intimations of morality
Jill Rowbotham | The Weekend Australian, August
CLIVE Hamilton has considerable drawing power among the
reading public, but will a book about non-religious spirituality based on the
premise that we need to be good for goodness's sake walk off the shelves?
Professor Hamilton took to the airwaves yesterday morning
to talk up his latest offering, The Freedom Paradox: Towards a Post-secular
Ethics. He explained to Radio National Breakfast host Fran Kelly that
despite a surfeit of material possessions, people were unhappy and there was
"a deep anxiety because people do want to know moral rules to live
by". They needed "inner freedom", which was "the ability to
act on the basis of own considered will". His solution was not a return to
traditional religious faith, but a new metaphysics. He said people identified
fundamentally with other human beings and by articulating and building on that
sense of a "moral self", a new moral certainty could be constructed.
Professor Hamilton founded the Australia Institute think tank, which he left in
February after 14years.
Recently appointed the professor of public ethics at the
Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics, a joint centre of the
Australian National University, Charles Sturt University and the University of
Melbourne, he is also a prolific writer. His books include Affluenza,
co-written with Richard Denniss, Silencing Dissent (edited with Sarah
Maddison) and Scorcher: The dirty politics of climate change.
When canvassed, several other public intellectuals were of
mixed opinions. Former NSW premier Bob Carr was supportive of the professor's
take on the meaning of life. "Good luck to him," Mr Carr, a fellow
environmentalist, said. "Few people who survived Auschwitz continued to
believe in the all-powerful all-good heavenly Father or the scriptures.
"Therefore Clive Hamilton seems to pick up this challenge, ignore the
illusions of secular prosperity and lead us to something different. Who would
not see some value in it? "I think the environmental urgency he responds to
forces us to new thinking about the mysteries of existence."
But columnist and Sydney Institute executive director
Gerard Henderson was scathing. "What's next? The meaning of death?" he
asked. "It's not very fashionable to espouse religious views (so) he's
espousing a non-spiritual spirituality, which leaves everyone feeling somewhat
confused. He didn't know the solution, it seems to be to charge up with some
communal force but he doesn't say what it is or what it means."
University of Western Sydney's history and politics senior
lecturer David Burchell identified a personal transition with Professor
Hamilton. "He's become a sage," Dr Burchell said. "It's the idea
of the classic philosopher's life where you set yourself up as critical of
modern life." It reminded him of "Western takes on Eastern
philosophy". But he said Professor Hamilton had picked up on a general
feeling among some parts of the community, where the mix of elements including
living simply, being anti-materialist and spiritual, and this was exacerbated by
extreme anxiety about climate change. "It's incredibly emotionally
Melbourne Business School's Paul Kerin was concerned about
whose moral standards should apply. "The big issue for me is this is all
about morals and has political implications that are not spelled out," he
said. "I don't want someone deciding political implications on (the basis
of) their own morals, which would impinge on my freedom."
Prominent Melbourne Anglican Ian Harper said truth was a
thing that was being discovered all the time. "What I would endorse is that
Clive Hamilton is resonating with a very ancient religious and philosophical
tradition," Professor Harper said. The book will be launched on Tuesday in
Canberra by High Court judge Michael Kirby.
lone Anthrax gunman - The FBI ties up loose ends
seven years of destroying evidence and intimidating witnesses, the FBI has
finally "caught" the individual responsible for the 2001 anthrax
attacks. Or so they say. Bruce Ivins may or may not have been involved in the
anthrax attacks. Now that he's dead, we'll never know because it will be
What we do know for sure is that the anthrax attacks, right on the heels of
9/11: 1) terrorized Congress and 2) gave Bush/Cheney a reason to stop the FBI
investigation of the 9/11 attacks.
That's right...The FBI stopped the 9/11 investigation before it even got
started. Look it up. The FBI STOPPED its 9/11 investigation just weeks after
9/11 and "focused" all of its resources on finding the source of the
Seven years later, their heroic efforts have finally born some fruit. A lone
gunman. Dead by his own hand. With the noble G-Men hot on his sinister trail.
Cased closed. Move along. There's nothing to see here folks.
War Two just as pointless and self-defeating as Iraq, asks Peter Hitchens
Last updated at 21:01 19 April 2008
makes me feel like a traitor to write this. The Second World War was my religion
for most of my life. Brave, alone, bombed, defiant, we, the British, had won it
on our own against the most evil and powerful enemy imaginable. Born six years
after it was over, I felt almost as if I had lived through it, as my parents
most emphatically had, with some bravery and much hardship in both cases.
Tommies commandeer a German machine gun during battle for Caen in 1944
my toy soldiers, tanks and field-guns, I defeated the Nazis daily on my bedroom
floor. I lost myself in books with unembarrassed titles like Men Of Glory,
with their crisp, moving accounts of acts of incredible bravery by otherwise
ordinary people who might have been my next-door neighbours. I read the
fictional adventures of RAF bomber ace Matt Braddock in the belief that the
stories were true, and not caring in the slightest about what happened when his
bombs hit the ground. I do now.
this came all those patriotic films that enriched the picture of decency, quiet
courage and self-mocking humour that I came to think of as being the essence of
Britishness. To this day I can't watch them without a catch in the throat. This
was our finest hour. It was the measure against which everything else must be
set. So it has been very hard for me since the doubts set in. I didn't really
want to know if it wasn't exactly like that. But it has rather forced itself on
I lived in Russia at the end of the Soviet era, I found a country that made even
more of the war than we did. I even employed a splendid old Red Army war veteran
to help me set up my office there: an upright, totally reliable old gentleman
just like my father's generation, except that he was Russian and a convinced
Stalinist who did odd jobs for the KGB. They had their war films, too. And their
honourable scars. And they were just as convinced they had won the war
single-handed as we were. They regarded D-Day as a minor event and had never
heard of El Alamein.
I caught myself thinking: "They're using the war as a way of comforting
themselves over their national decline, and over the way they're clearly losing
in their contest with America." And then it came to me that this could be a
description of my own country. When I lived in America itself, where I
discovered that the Second World War, in their view, took place mainly in the
Pacific, and in any case didn't matter half as much as the Civil War and the
Vietnam War, I got a second harsh, unwanted history lesson.
here comes another. On a recent visit to the USA I picked up two new books that
are going to make a lot of people in Britain very angry. I read them, unable to
look away, much as it is hard to look away from a scene of disaster, in a sort
of cloud of dispirited darkness.
story? British soldiers at Basra Palace during the Iraq War - a conflict
justified on the precedent of the Second World War
are a reaction to the use - in my view, abuse - of the Second World War to
justify the Iraq War. We were told that the 1939-45 war was a good war, fought
to overthrow a wicked tyrant, that the war in Iraq would be the same, and that
those who opposed it were like the discredited appeasers of 1938.
I didn't feel much like Neville Chamberlain (a man I still despise) when I
argued against the Iraq War. And I still don't. Some of those who opposed the
Iraq War ask a very disturbing question. The people who sold us Iraq did so as
if they were today's Churchills. They were wrong. In that case, how can we be
sure that Churchill's war was a good war? What if the Men of Glory didn't need
to die or risk their lives? What if the whole thing was a miscalculated waste of
life and wealth that destroyed Britain as a major power and turned her into a
bankrupt pensioner of the USA? Funnily enough, these questions echo equally
uncomfortable ones I'm often asked by readers here. The milder version is:
"Who really won the war, since Britain is now subject to a German-run
other is one I hear from an ever-growing number of war veterans contemplating
modern Britain's landscape of loutishness and disorder and recalling the
sacrifices they made for it: "Why did we bother?" Don't read on if
these questions rock your universe.
two books, out in this country very soon, are Patrick Buchanan's Churchill,
Hitler And The Unnecessary War and Nicholson Baker's Human Smoke. I know Pat
Buchanan and respect him, but I have never liked his sympathy for "America
First", the movement that tried to keep the USA out of the Second World
for Nicholson Baker, he has become famous only because his phone-sex novel, Vox,
was given as a present to Bill Clinton by Monica Lewinsky. Human Smoke is
not a novel but a series of brief factual items deliberately arranged to
undermine the accepted story of the war, and it has received generous treatment
from the American mainstream, especially the New York Times. Baker is a
pacifist, a silly position open only to citizens of free countries with large
navies. He has selected with care to suit his position, but many of the facts
here, especially about Winston Churchill and Britain's early enthusiasm for
bombing civilian targets, badly upset the standard view.
Churchill preferred war to peace, claims U.S. author Patrick
is Churchill, in a 1920 newspaper article, allegedly railing against the
"sinister confederacy" of international Jewry. I say
"allegedly" because I have not seen the original. I also say it
because I am reluctant to believe it, as I am reluctant to believe another Baker
snippet which suggests that Franklin Roosevelt was involved in a scheme to limit
the number of Jews at Harvard University. Such things today would end a
political career in an instant. Many believe the 1939-45 war was fought to save
the Jews from Hitler. No facts support this fond belief. If the war saved any
Jews, it was by accident.
outbreak halted the "Kindertransport" trains rescuing Jewish children
from the Third Reich. We ignored credible reports from Auschwitz and refused to
bomb the railway tracks leading to it. Baker is also keen to show that Hitler's
decision to exterminate the Jews of Europe came only after the war was fully
launched, and that before then, although his treatment of the Jews was
disgusting and homicidal, it stopped well short of industrialised mass murder.
implication of this, that the Holocaust was a result of the war, not a cause of
it, is specially disturbing. A lot of people will have trouble, also, with the
knowledge that Churchill said of Hitler in 1937, when the nature of his regime
was well known: "A highly competent, cool, well informed functionary with
an agreeable manner, a disarming smile, and few have been unaffected by a subtle
years later, the semi-official view, still pretty much believed, was that Hitler
was the devil in human form and more or less insane. Buchanan is, in a way, more
damaging. He portrays Churchill as a man who loved war for its own sake, and
preferred it to peace. As the First World War began in 1914, two observers,
Margot Asquith and David Lloyd George, described Churchill as "radiant, his
face bright, his manner keen ... you could see he was a really happy man".
also (rightly) gets it in the neck from Buchanan for running down British armed
forces between the wars. It was Churchill who, as Chancellor of the Exchequer,
demanded deep cuts in the Royal Navy in 1925, so when he adopted rearmament as
his cause ten years later, it was his own folly he was railing against.
every country needs men who like war, if it is to stand and fight when it has
to. And we all make mistakes, which are forgotten if we then get one thing
spectacularly right, as Churchill did. Americans may take or leave Mr Buchanan's
views about whether they should have stayed out, but the USA did very well out
of a war in which Britain and Russia did most of the fighting, while Washington
pocketed (and still keeps) most of the benefits.
Buchanan's chilly summary, I found myself distressed by several questions. The
First and Second World Wars, as Buchanan says, are really one conflict.
By Christmas 1940, Stalin (right) had murdered many more people than
Hitler, and had invaded nearly as many countries
went to war with the Kaiser in 1914 mainly because we feared being overtaken by
Germany as the world's greatest naval power. Yet one of the main results of the
war was that we were so weakened we were overtaken instead by the USA. We were
also forced, by American pressure, to end our naval alliance with Japan, which
had protected our Far Eastern Empire throughout the 1914-18 war. This decision,
more than any other, cost us that Empire. By turning Japan from an ally into an
enemy, but without the military or naval strength to guard our possessions, we
ensured that we would be easy meat in 1941.
the fall of Singapore in 1942, our strength and reputation in Asia were finished
for good and our hurried scuttle from India unavoidable. Worse still is
Buchanan's analysis of how we went to war. I had always thought the moment we
might have stopped Hitler was when he reoccupied the Rhineland on March 7, 1936.
But Buchanan records that nobody was interested in such action at the time.
Nobody? Yes. That includes Churchill, who said fatuously on March 13:
"Instead of retaliating by armed force, as would have been done in a
previous generation, France has taken the proper and prescribed course of
appealing to the League of Nations." He then even more wetly urged
"Herr Hitler" to do the decent thing and withdraw.
doesn't think that Britain and France could have saved Czechoslovakia in 1938,
and I suspect he is right. But this is a minor issue beside his surgical
examination of Britain's guarantee to help Poland in March 1939. Hitler saw our
"stand" as an empty bluff, and called it. The Poles were crushed and
murdered, and their country erased from the map. Hitler's eventual defeat left
Poland under the Soviet heel for two generations.
then embarked on a war which cost us our Empire, many of our best export
markets, what was left of our naval supremacy, and most of our national wealth -
gleefully stripped from us by Roosevelt in return for Lend-Lease supplies. As a
direct result we sought membership of a Common Market that has since bled away
our national independence. Would we not have been wiser to behave as the USA
did, staying out of it and waiting for Hitler and Stalin to rip out each other's
Hitler really set on a war with Britain or on smashing the British Empire? The
country most interested in dismantling our Empire was the USA. Hitler never
built a surface navy truly capable of challenging ours and, luckily for us, he
left it too late to build enough submarines to starve us out. He was very
narrowly defeated in the Battle of Britain, but how would we have fared if, a
year later, he had used the forces he flung at Russia to attack us instead? But
he didn't. His "plan" to invade Britain, the famous Operation Sealion,
was only a sketchy afterthought, quickly abandoned. Can it be true that he
wasn't very interested in fighting or invading us? His aides were always baffled
by his admiration for the British Empire, about which he would drone for hours.
course he was an evil dictator. But so was Joseph Stalin, who would later become
our honoured ally, supplied with British weapons, fawned on by our Press and
politicians, including Churchill himself. By Christmas 1940, Stalin had in fact
murdered many more people than Hitler and had invaded nearly as many countries.
We almost declared war on him in 1940 and he ordered British communists to
subvert our war effort against the Nazis during the Battle of Britain. And, in
alliance with Hitler, he was supplying the Luftwaffe with much of the fuel and
resources it needed to bomb London.
so simple, is it? Survey the 20th Century and you see Britain repeatedly
fighting Germany, at colossal expense. No one can doubt the valour and sacrifice
at the end of it all, Germany dominates Europe behind the smokescreen of the EU;
our Empire and our rule of the seas have gone, we struggle with all the problems
of a great civilisation in decline, and our special friend, the USA, has
smilingly supplanted us for ever. But we won the war.
by Nicholson Baker, is published on May 6 by Simon and Schuster.
Churchill, Hitler And The Unnecessary War, by Patrick Buchanan, is published on May 13 by Crown
War Worth Fighting
Revisionists say that World War II was
unnecessary. They're wrong.
Hitchens | NEWSWEEK, Jun
there any one shared principle or assumption on which our political consensus
rests, any value judgment on which we are all essentially agreed? Apart from
abstractions such as a general belief in democracy, one would probably get the
widest measure of agreement for the proposition that the second world war was a
"good war" and one well worth fighting. And if we possess one
indelible image of political immorality and cowardice, it is surely the dismal
tap-tap-tap of Neville Chamberlain's umbrella as he turned from signing the
Czechs away to Adolf
Hitler at Munich. He hoped by this humiliation to avert war, but he was
fated to bring his countrymen war on top of humiliation. To the conventional
wisdom add the titanic figure of Winston
Churchill as the emblem of oratorical defiance and the Horatius who, until
American power could be mobilized and deployed, alone barred the bridge to the
forces of unalloyed evil. When those forces lay finally defeated, their ghastly
handiwork was uncovered to a world that mistakenly thought it had already
"supped full of horrors." The stark evidence of the Final Solution has
ever since been enough to dispel most doubts about, say, the wisdom or morality
of carpet-bombing German cities.
scholarship has nevertheless offered various sorts of revisionist interpretation
of all this. Niall Ferguson, for one, has proposed looking at the two world wars
as a single conflict, punctuated only by a long and ominous armistice. British
conservative historians like Alan Clark and John Charmley have criticized
Churchill for building his career on war, for ignoring openings to peace and for
eventually allowing the British Empire to be squandered and broken up. But Pat
Buchanan, twice a candidate for the Republican nomination and in 2000 the
standard-bearer for the Reform Party who ignited a memorable "chad"
row in Florida, has now condensed all the antiwar arguments into one. His case,
made in his recently released "Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary
War," is as follows:
was faced with encirclement and injustice in both 1914 and 1939.
in both years ought to have stayed out of quarrels on the European mainland.
Churchill was the principal British warmonger on both occasions.
The United States
was needlessly dragged into war on both occasions.
principal beneficiaries of this were Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong.
Holocaust of European Jewry was as much the consequence of an avoidable war as
it was of Nazi racism.
Fool, Christopher, for believing in the Holocaust LIE because your argument then
rests on a false premise – ed.]
does not need to close his book with an invocation of a dying West, as if to
summarize this long recital of Spenglerian doomsaying. He's already opened with
the statement, "All about us we can see clearly now that the West is
passing away." The tropes are familiar—a loss of will and confidence, a
collapse of the desire to reproduce with sufficient vigor, a preference for
hedonism over the stern tasks of rulership and dominion and pre-eminence. It all
sounds oddly … Churchillian. The old lion himself never tired of striking
notes like these, and was quite unembarrassed by invocations of race and nation
and blood. Yet he is the object of Buchanan's especial dislike and contempt,
because he had a fondness for "wars of choice."
term has enjoyed a recent vogue because of the opposition to the war in Iraq, an
opposition in which Buchanan has played a vigorous role. Descending as he does
from the tradition of Charles Lindbergh's America First movement, which looked
for (and claimed to have found) a certain cosmopolitan lobby behind FDR's
willingness to involve the United States in global war, Buchanan is the most
trenchant critic of what he considers our fondest national illusion, and his
book has the feel and stamp of a work that he has been readying all his life.
he faces an insuperable difficulty, or rather difficulties. If you want to
demonstrate that Germany was more the victim than the aggressor in 1914, then
you must confine your account (as Buchanan does) to the very minor legal
question of Belgian neutrality and of whether Britain absolutely had to go to
war on the Belgian side. (For what it may be worth, I think that Britain wasn't
obliged to do so and should not have done.) But the rest of the Kaiser’s
policy, most of it completely omitted by Buchanan, shows that Germany was
looking for a chance for war all over the globe, and was increasingly the
prisoner of a militaristic ruling caste at home. The Kaiser picked a fight with
Britain by backing the white Dutch Afrikaner rebels in South Africa and by
butchering the Ovambo people of what is now Namibia. He looked for trouble with
the French by abruptly sending warships to Agadir in French Morocco, which
nearly started the first world war in 1905, and with Russia by backing
Austria-Hungary's insane ultimatum to the Serbs after the June 1914
assassinations in Sarajevo. Moreover, and never mentioned by Buchanan at all,
the Kaiser visited Damascus and paid for the rebuilding of the tomb of Saladin,
announced himself a sympathizer of Islam and a friend of jihad, commissioned a
Berlin-to-Baghdad railroad for the projection of German arms into the Middle
East and Asia and generally ranged himself on the side of an aggressive Ottoman
imperialism, which later declared a "holy war" against Britain. To
suggest that he felt unjustly hemmed in by the Royal Navy's domination of the
North Sea while he was conducting such statecraft is absurd.
maybe a little worse than absurd, as when Buchanan writes: "From 1871 to
1914, the Germans under Bismarck and the Kaiser did not fight a single war.
While Britain, Russia, Italy, Turkey, Japan, Spain, and the United States were
all involved in wars, Germany and Austria had clean records." I am bound to
say that I find this creepy. The start of the "clean record" has to be
in 1871, because that's the year that Prussia humbled France in the hideous
Franco-Prussian War that actually annexed two French provinces to Germany. In
the intervening time until 1914, Germany was seizing colonies in Africa and the
Pacific, cementing secret alliances with Austria and trying to build up a naval
fleet that could take on the British one. No wonder the Kaiser wanted a
this is not to say that Buchanan doesn't make some sound points about the secret
diplomacy of Old Europe that was so much to offend Woodrow Wilson. And he is
excellent on the calamitous Treaty of Versailles that succeeded only—as was
noted by John Maynard Keynes at the time—in creating the conditions for
another world war, or for part two of the first one. He wears his isolationism
proudly: "The Senate never did a better day's work than when it rejected
the Treaty of Versailles and refused to enter a League of Nations where American
soldiers would be required to give their lives enforcing the terms of so
dishonorable and disastrous a peace."
no soldier of any nation ever lost so much as a fingernail in the service of the
League, which was in any case doomed by American abstention, and it's exactly
that consideration which invalidates the second half of Buchanan's argument,
which is that a conflict with Hitler's Germany both could and should have been
averted. (There is a third Buchanan sub-argument, mostly made by implication,
which is that the democratic West should have allied itself with Hitler, at
least passively, until he had destroyed the Soviet Union.)
in order to believe his thesis one has to be prepared to argue that Hitler was a
rational actor with intelligible and negotiable demands, whose declared,
demented ambitions in "Mein Kampf" were presumably to be disregarded
as mere propaganda. In case after case Buchanan shows the abysmal bungling of
British and French diplomacy—making promises to Czechoslovakia that could
never have been kept and then, adding injury to insult, breaking those promises
at the first opportunity. Or offering a guarantee to Poland (a country that had
gleefully taken part in the dismemberment of Czechoslovakia) that Hitler well
knew was not backed by any credible military force.
is at his best here, often causing one to whistle at the sheer cynicism and
stupidity of the British Tories. In the Anglo-German Naval Agreement of June
1935, for example, they astounded the French and Italians and Russians by
unilaterally agreeing to permit Hitler to build a fleet one third the size of
the Royal Navy and a submarine fleet of the same size as the British! Not only
was this handing the Third Reich the weapon it would soon press to Britain's
throat, it was convincing all Britain's potential allies that they would be much
better off making their own bilateral deals with Berlin. Which is essentially
Buchanan keeps forgetting that this criminal foolishness is exactly the sort of
policy that he elsewhere recommends. In his view, after all, Germany had been
terribly wronged by Versailles and it would have been correct to redraw the
frontiers in Germany's favor and soothe its hurt feelings (which is what the
word "appeasement" originally meant).
we should have encouraged Hitler's hostility to Bolshevism and discreetly
rearmed in case he should also need to be contained. This might perhaps have
worked if Germany had been governed by a right-wing nationalist party that had
won a democratic vote.
in point of fact Germany was governed by an ultra-rightist, homicidal, paranoid
maniac who had begun by demolishing democracy in Germany itself, who believed
that his fellow countrymen were a superior race and who attributed all the evils
in the world to a Jewish conspiracy. It is possible to read whole chapters of
Buchanan's book without having to bear these salient points in mind. (I should
say that I intend this observation as a criticism.) As with his discussion of
pre-1914 Germany, he commits important sins of omission that can only be the
outcome of an ideological bias. Barely mentioned except in passing is the
Spanish Civil War, for example, where for three whole years between 1936 and
1939 Germany and Italy lent troops and weapons in a Fascist invasion of a
sovereign European nation that had never threatened or "encircled"
them in any way. Buchanan's own political past includes overt sympathy with
General Franco, which makes this skating-over even less forgivable than it might
the one occasion where Spain does get a serious mention, it illustrates the
opposite point to the one Buchanan thinks he's making. The British ambassador in
Berlin, Sir Neville Henderson, is explaining why Hitler didn't believe that
Britain and France would fight over Prague: "[Hitler] argued as follows:
Would the German nation willingly go to war for General Franco in Spain, if
France intervened on the side of the Republican government? The answer that he
gave himself is that it would not, and he was consequently convinced that no
democratic French government would be strong enough to lead the French nation to
war for the Czechs."
this instance, it must be admitted, Hitler was being a rational actor. And his
admission—which Buchanan in his haste to indict Anglo-French policy completely
fails to notice—is that if he himself had been resisted earlier and more
determinedly, he would have been compelled to give ground. Thus the whole and
complete lesson is not that the second world war was an avoidable "war of
choice." It is that the Nazis could and should have been confronted before
they had fully rearmed and had begun to steal the factories and oilfields and
coal mines and workers of neighboring countries. As Gen. Douglas MacArthur once
put it, all military defeats can be summarized in the two words: "Too
late." The same goes for political disasters.
the book develops, Buchanan begins to unmask his true colors more and more. It
is one thing to make the case that Germany was ill-used, and German minorities
harshly maltreated, as a consequence of the 1914 war of which Germany's grim
emperor was one of the prime instigators.
It's quite another thing to say that the Nazi decision to embark on a Holocaust
of European Jewry was "not a cause of the war but an awful consequence of
only is Buchanan claiming that Hitler's fanatical racism did not hugely increase
the likelihood of war, but he is also making the insinuation that those who
wanted to resist him are the ones who are equally if not indeed mainly
responsible for the murder of the Jews! This absolutely will not do. He adduces
several quotations from Hitler and Goebbels, starting only in 1939 and ending in
1942, screaming that any outbreak of war to counter Nazi ambitions would lead to
a terrible vengeance on the Jews. He forgets—at least I hope it's only
forgetfulness—that such murderous incitement began long, long before Hitler
had even been a lunatic-fringe candidate in the 1920s. This "timeline"
is as spurious, and as sinister, as the earlier dates, so carefully selected by
Buchanan, that tried to make Prussian imperialism look like a victim rather than
closing example will demonstrate the corruption and prejudice of Buchanan's
historical "method." He repeatedly argues that Churchill did not
appreciate Hitler's deep-seated and respectful Anglophilia, and he continually
blames the war on several missed opportunities to take the Führer's genially
outstretched hand. Indeed, he approvingly quotes several academic sources who
agree with him that Hitler invaded the Soviet Union only in order to change
Britain's mind. Suppose that Buchanan is in fact correct about this. Could we
have a better definition of derangement and megalomania than the case of a
dictator who overrules his own generals and invades Russia in wintertime, mainly
to impress the British House of Commons? (Incidentally, or rather not
incidentally, it was precisely that hysterical aggression that curtain-raised
the organized deportation and slaughter of the Jews. But it's fatuous to suppose
that, without that occasion, the Nazis would not have found another one.)
is of course true that millions of other people lost their lives in this
conflict, often in unprecedentedly horrible ways, and that new tyrannies were
imposed on the countries—Poland, Czechoslovakia and China most notably—that
had been the pretexts for a war against fascism. But is this not to think in the
short term? Unless or until Nazism had been vanquished, millions of people were
most certainly going to be either massacred or enslaved in any case. Whereas
today, all the way from Portugal to the Urals, the principle of human rights and
popular sovereignty is at least the norm, and the ideas of racism and
totalitarianism have been fairly conclusively and historically discredited.
Would a frightened compromise with racist totalitarianism have produced a better
Churchill may well have been on the wrong side about India, about the gold
standard, about the rights of labor and many other things, and he may have had a
lust for war, but we may also be grateful that there was one politician in the
1930s who found it intolerable even to breathe the same air, or share the same
continent or planet, as the Nazis. (Buchanan of course makes plain that he
rather sympathizes with Churchill about the colonies, and quarrels only with his
"finest hour." This is grotesque.)
he closes his argument, Buchanan again refuses to disguise his allegiance.
"Though derided as isolationists," he writes, "the America First
patriots kept the United States out of the war until six months after Hitler had
invaded Russia." If you know anything at all about what happened to the
population of those territories in those six months, it is rather hard to be
proud that America was neutral. But this is a price that Buchanan is quite
willing to pay.
myself have written several criticisms of the cult of Churchill, and of the
uncritical way that it has been used to stifle or cudgel those with misgivings.
("Adlai," said John F. Kennedy of his outstanding U.N. ambassador
during the Bay of Pigs crisis, "wanted a Munich.") Yet the more the
record is scrutinized and re-examined, the more creditable it seems that at
least two Western statesmen, for widely different reasons, regarded coexistence
with Nazism as undesirable as well as impossible. History
may judge whether the undesirability or the impossibility was the more salient
objection, but any attempt to separate the two considerations is likely to
result in a book that stinks, as this one unmistakably does.
a NEWSWEEK contributor, is a columnist for Vanity Fair. ©
over faked Holocaust book in Mass. Court
DENISE LAVOIE, Associated Press Writer
(AP) — It was a shock to Misha Defonseca's readers this year when
she admitted that the best-selling story of her tortured childhood
during the Holocaust was false, but her U.S. publisher saw it as an
opportunity to undo a stinging, 7-year-old court judgment.
Daniel says she never would have been ordered to pay Defonseca and
her ghost writer $32.4 million over her handling of profits from
"Misha: A Memoire of the Holocaust Years" had the jury
known the book was filled with lies.
never lived with wolves to escape the Nazis, never killed a German
soldier in self-defense, never walked 3,000 miles across Europe in
search of her parents. Contrary to the book's claims, Defonseca
admitted in February that she isn't even Jewish.
is asking a judge to throw out the verdict; a hearing is set for
Thursday in Middlesex Superior Court.
is a case where everyone was so enamored and felt so much sympathy
for the Holocaust survivor, it just overwhelmed everyone in the
case, including the jury," Daniel said in an interview with The
Associated Press. "Now to find out that the book was not true,
that is fraud on the court."
and her ghost writer, Vera Lee, said the truth of the 1997 book had
no bearing on the jury's finding that Daniel cheated them out of
has nothing to do with that," said Defonseca, 71, of Dudley.
credibility issue is something Jane is digging up now," Lee
said. "That's not what the trial was about. It was about the
fact that she cheated us."
met Defonseca in the 1990s while Daniel was doing publicity for a
video company that had made a memorial video for Defonseca about her
dog. "She said the reason she was so attached to dogs is
because she had been so attached to wolves," Daniel recalled.
Once she heard Defonseca tell her whole story, she asked her to
write a book.
harrowing tale of a little Jewish girl's survival became a
best-seller in Europe, was translated into 18 languages, was turned
into a feature film in France, and drew interest from the Walt
Disney Co. and Oprah Winfrey.
the book sold only 5,000 copies in the United States after Daniel
had a falling out with Defonseca and Lee.
two sued Daniel for breach of contract. In 2001, a Middlesex
District Court jury found that Daniel had failed to promote the book
as promised and had hidden profits. The jury awarded Defonseca $7.5
million and Lee $3.3 million, but those amounts were later tripled
by a judge who found Daniel and her small publishing company, Mt.
Ivy Press, had misled both women and tried to claim royalties
herself by rewriting the book.
a brief telephone interview, Defonseca would not discuss her
admission that she made up most of the details of the book. In
February she acknowledged that her book was a fantasy that she kept
story is mine. It is not actually reality, but my reality, my way of
surviving," Defonseca said in a statement released by her
admitted the book was not true after a genealogical researcher
working with Daniel on her own book about the case uncovered
inconsistencies in her story, including records that showed
Defonseca was baptized Catholic and had attended an elementary
school in Schaarbeek, Belgium, in 1943, during a time in which she
said in her book she was living with wolves in Ukraine.
lawyers are asking a judge to overturn the jury's award because
Defonseca "perpetrated a hoax" on Daniel, her publishing
company, the public, the trial judge and a state appeals court that
upheld the verdict. They said Defonseca directly violated a
provision in her publishing contract with Daniel in which she
affirmed that the content of the book was true.
the outset, she breached her contract, but nobody knew it until much
later," said Brian McCormick, one of Daniel's lawyers.
attorney Frank Frisoli said too much time has gone by for Daniel to
challenge the verdict now. Also, after the judgment, Daniel reached
agreements with both Lee and Defonseca to settle with Daniel for far
less than $32.4 million. Daniel said her father paid $425,000 to
Defonseca, while Lee received $250,000 from a settlement Daniel
received after suing her literary agent and has the right to sell
her house in Gloucester.
said that she warned Daniel several times during the writing of the
book that some aspects of Defonseca's story were incredible, but
that Daniel dismissed her concerns.
think she went along thinking she had a blockbuster and she didn't
want to hear anything about it not possibly being true," Lee
news of the hoax came out in February, however, Lee said that she
had always believed Defonseca's stories and that and no research she
did gave her a reason to do otherwise.
always maintained that this was truth as she recalled it, and I
trusted that that was the case," Lee said then.
has said she could not fully research Defonseca's story before it
was published because the woman claimed she did not know her
parents' names, her birthday or where she was born.
acknowledges she had doubts about portions of Defonseca's story, but
said she believed it after talking to Holocaust survivors.
you read a lot of Holocaust literature, all survivor stories are
miraculous," she said.
Farrow: Kangaroo Canada
Steyn is the author of the bestselling America Alone, a witty
tirade against the decline of the West, a portion of which appeared
in the Canadian magazine Maclean’s. Ezra Levant was the
publisher of a journal called the Western Standard, which in
2006 reprinted cartoons depicting Muhammad from a Danish newspaper.
Steyn and Levant have now been hauled before Canada’s human rights
commissions to answer to charges of hate speech.
commissions (HRCs, for short) were set up in the 1960s and 1970s
with the aim of combating discrimination on a practical level. In
recent times, however, they have transmogrified into mechanisms for
enforcing politically correct ideologies and silencing dissent.
“It never occurred to us,” remarks Alan Borovoy, one of the
originators of the HRCs, “that this instrument, which we intended
to deal with discrimination in housing, employment and the provision
of goods and services, would be used to muzzle the expression of
is exactly what has happened, through the mechanism of Section 13 of
the Human Rights Act, which prohibits hate messages. Under
Canada’s criminal code, the incitement of hatred is already
counted a crime—but against that charge, truth and good faith are
viable defenses, and the burden of proof lies with the accuser. Not
so with the Human Rights Act. As James Allan, a law professor in
be in breach of these hate-speech provisions, you don’t have to
counsel violence; you don’t have to urge discrimination; you
don’t have to express hatred; you don’t even have to have said
or written something that did, in fact, subject some group to hatred
or contempt. All that is needed is that your comments, in the view
of the sort of people chosen to staff these tribunals, are
‘likely’ to expose someone or some group to contempt or
like many other bemused observers, refers to the HRCs as kangaroo
courts. Their proceedings display a bouncy ineptitude and,
simultaneously, a sinister level of collusion. Take, for example,
Richard Warman, a former investigator for the national commission
who decided that it was more fun to be the aggrieved victim of
a human rights violation. He has filed twenty-six complaints so far,
including more than half of Section 13 complaints to the Canadian
Human Rights Commission (CHRC). What’s more, he has a perfect 100
percent conviction rate for these complaints.
quasi-judicial bodies are staffed by political appointees who have
neither the qualifications nor the independence of regular judges.
Their ad hoc procedures provide no firm rules for evidence; bigoted
comments, posted by strangers to websites in foreign jurisdictions,
have been judged admissible, for example. No actual proof of harm is
required in order to obtain a conviction. Investigations and
deliberations are driven by far-reaching, utopian mandates to
“reduce discrimination and promote social change.”
growing train of hate-speech prosecutions might have been derailed
as long ago as 1990, when an appeal brought Section 13 under review
by the Supreme Court in Taylor v. Canada. The court found,
however, that the Charter’s guarantee of freedom of expression
“is not unduly impaired.” Writing for the majority, Chief
Justice Dickson opined that, “as long as human rights tribunals
continue to be well aware of the purpose” of Section 13, “there
is little danger that subjective opinion as to offensiveness will
supplant the proper meaning of the section.”
view now appears rather naive. Allegations have been made that
agents or former agents of the CHRC have themselves posted hate
messages online under pseudonyms, and even by way of Internet
identity theft, and that their activities in manufacturing offenses
have been covered up by evidence and transcript tampering.
Meanwhile, for evidence that “subjective opinion as to
offensiveness” is getting the upper hand, one need look no further
than the recent judgment against Stephen Boissoin. A Protestant
pastor, Boissoin was brought before the Alberta commission for a
letter to his local newspaper in which he issued a “war cry”
against “the aggressive propagation of homo and bisexuality” and
articulated some decidedly countercultural opinions, asserting that
“where homosexuality flourishes, all manner of wickedness
commissioner who heard the complaint—which was brought by a
heterosexual, an activist named Darren Lund—might well have noted
that political orientation, unlike sexual orientation, is not a
protected category. Neither, for that matter, is moral orientation.
From which it follows that the coercive power of the state ought not
to be used to settle the agenda wars of private citizens. Instead,
Commissioner Lori Andreachuk—with the support of the Alberta
attorney general, whose office intervened on Lund’s side—decided
that Boissoin’s views could not be tolerated. “In this case,”
she wrote, “the publication’s exposure of homosexuals to hatred
and contempt trumps the freedom of speech afforded in the
the absence of any particular victim, Andreachuk determined that
Boissoin should pay Lund $5,000 for his personal sacrifice in
lodging the complaint and should also provide him with a written
apology. But here is the kicker, which highlights the naiveté of
the Supreme Court’s view that Section 13 is “sufficiently
precise and narrow.” The commissioner also ordered Boissoin and
his organization to “cease publishing in newspapers, by email, on
the radio, in public speeches, or on the Internet, in future,
disparaging remarks about gays and homosexuals.” She further
prohibited them “from making disparaging remarks in the future
about Dr. Lund or Dr. Lund’s witnesses,” and directed that
“all disparaging remarks versus homosexuals . . . be removed from
current web sites and publications of Mr. Boissoin.” In short, she
served up a comprehensive lifetime ban that prohibits Pastor
Boissoin from ever saying anything that someone like Darren Lund
might find offensive.
can appeal, but many appeals are not heard and many others are never
made for the simple reason that the appellant cannot afford it. And
in the absence of a successful appeal, the remedies of the kangaroo
courts are enforceable by the criminal courts, and the prospect of
jail awaits anyone who refuses to comply. Nor do those who escape
conviction escape punishment. The process itself, as Steyn points
out, is a punishment. The complainant is liable for nothing, not
even the cost of a lawyer, while the accused is liable for
everything. “Even if I was eventually acquitted,” says Levant,
“I would still lose—hundreds of hours, and tens of thousands of
dollars in legal bills. That’s not an accident; that’s one of
the tools of these commissions. Every journalist in the country has
been taught a lesson: Censor yourself now, or be put through a
erosion of Canada’s Charter liberties—especially freedom of
expression and freedom of conscience and religion—is evident in
any number of other cases. The journal Catholic Insight is
under investigation for reproducing in its pages biblical and
magisterial teaching about homosexuality. The Protestant charity
Christian Horizons has just been fined, and its leadership ordered
to undergo reeducation, for the crime of having a Christian code of
conduct to which its employees must adhere. The Christian Heritage
Party reports that three complaints have been filed against it,
“alleging ‘hatred’ and ‘contempt’ in the party’s
twenty-year-old policy of opposing special rights for
the complaint against Steyn and Maclean’s offers a
particularly poignant illustration of how bad things have become.
Even before proceedings got under way in another jurisdiction, the
Ontario Human Rights Commission issued a news release lamenting its
own lack of competence to hear the case. Without benefit of evidence
or deliberation, its leader (former Toronto mayor Barbara Hall) left
no doubt as to what she thought the outcome should be: “The
dissemination of destructive, xenophobic opinions” must somehow be
under oath what value he attached to freedom of speech, Dean Steacy,
a CHRC investigator, replied: “Freedom of speech is an American
concept, so I don’t give it any value.” American onlookers might
be forgiven for turning aside with a shrug, but they would do well
to consider a remark by the irrepressible Ezra Levant: “What
happens in Canada today often happens in the United States tomorrow.
We’re like a political laboratory for bad experiments.”
Canada became such a laboratory is an interesting question. But a
more important question is how the whole idea of rights has been
transformed into a cover for monstrosities like the HRCs—for an
intellectual, moral, and juridical violence that has turned rights
into the enemy, rather than the friend, of basic human freedoms.
That question has an answer too long to attempt here. Even to raise
it, however, is to bump up against a curious fact: The mainstream
media, for the most part, has turned a blind eye to this violence,
even where it threatens (as in the Levant and Steyn cases) the
freedom of the press.
explanation for that, I think, lies in the myth that the concept of
human rights is entirely a modern invention—and an invention that
defines the morality of our own secular age. The thought that the
very foundations of our morality should prove so flimsy is more than
we can bear. Are we not the great generation of rights? The truth
is, of course, that authentic human rights discourse belongs to a
tradition that the West has now largely abandoned, and that what
passes for that discourse today is something else. The threat that
this something else poses can scarcely be overestimated.
Those in Canada who think repealing Section 13 will solve the
problem are mistaken (though that would be a good first step);
likewise those in America who think it will be enough if the
creation of HRCs, which some states are considering, is prevented. A
society with a bad conscience, we may be sure, will always find ways
to police speech and pursue thought crimes.
we do have a bad conscience. Not merely because we have broken with
the past but because we have committed ourselves to the obvious
absurdity of claiming that pluralism is our only norm,
multiculturalism our only cultural foundation, diversity our only
basis for unity, and tolerance our highest virtue.
the highest virtue.
That goes a long way to account for the spectacle of intolerance
that Canada has been offering the world.
FARROW is associate
professor of Christian Thought at McGill University and author of
several books, including Ascension and Ecclesia and
Nation of Bastards .
Copyright (c) 2008 First Things (August/September 2008). http://www.firstthings.com/
$376 billion of long-term U.S. agency debt is mostly in Fannie and
Old Order is collapsing: Freddie,
Fannie Failure Could Be World `Catastrophe,' Yu Says
22 (Bloomberg) -- A failure of U.S. mortgage finance companies Fannie
Mae and Freddie
Mac could be a catastrophe for the global financial system, said Yu
a former adviser to China's central bank. ``If the U.S. government
allows Fannie and Freddie to fail and international investors are
not compensated adequately, the consequences will be catastrophic,''
Yu said in e-mailed answers to questions yesterday. ``If it is not
the end of the world, it is the end of the current international
and Fannie shares touched 20-year lows yesterday on speculation that
a government bailout will leave the stocks worthless. Treasury
won approval from the U.S. Congress last month to pump unlimited
amounts of capital into the companies in an emergency.
$376 billion of long-term U.S. agency debt is mostly in Fannie and
Freddie assets, according to James
head of Asian sovereign ratings at Fitch Ratings Ltd. in Hong Kong.
The Chinese government probably holds the bulk of that amount,
according to McCormack. Industrial
& Commercial Bank of China
yesterday reported a $2.7 billion holding. Bank of China Ltd. may
have $20 billion, according to CLSA Ltd., the Hong Kong-based
investment banking arm of France's Credit Agricole SA. CLSA puts the
exposure of the six biggest Chinese banks at $30 billion.
seriousness of such failures could be beyond the stretch of people's
imagination,'' said Yu, a professor at the Institute of World
Economics & Politics at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences
in Beijing. He didn't explain why he held that view. China's
government hasn't commented on Fannie and Freddie. Yu is
``influential'' among government officials and investors and has
discussed economic issues with Premier Wen
this year, said Shen
a former Citigroup Inc. economist in Beijing, now an economist at
business magazine Caijing.
confidence in Fannie and Freddie has dwindled on speculation that
government intervention is inevitable. Washington-based Fannie
has fallen 88 percent this year, while Freddie
of McLean, Virginia, has slumped 91 percent. Paulson got the power
to make purchases of the two companies' debt or equity in
legislation enacted July 30 that was aimed at shoring up confidence
in the businesses. He has said the Treasury doesn't expect to use
that authority. The two companies combined account for more than
half of the $12 trillion U.S. mortgage market.
contact the reporter on this story: Kevin
in Beijing on email@example.com;
Updated: August 22, 2008 06:09 EDT