Tuesday, November 25, 2008

More than fascist, more than Nazi, I am Italian

A reader has sent me a summary (not a strict translation) of a story originating in Rome. It’s one more news story that illustrates the growing resentment in Europe toward the Holocaust Marketing Industry and its refusal to allow any real debate on the Holocaust question.


Some 250 students, age 17-18, in a School of Fine Arts in Rome, went on a trip to Auschwitz organized by the mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, a youthful neo-fascist, today an anti-fascist, and accompanied by Alemanno M. Pacifici, leader of the Jewish community of Rome.

On their return students and teachers met on Saturday, Nov. 15 to discuss the trip when teacher Roberto Valvo, who had said nothing about the project till then, literally "exploded," declaring that the Holocaust is "a lie invented by the British" and that Italians should think more about their own dead than the Jews, who "aren't Italian" anyway. The preceding Wednesday he had told a meeting of teachers that "There's no proof of the Shoah; let's speak rather of Italian victims and not of the Jews."

To a student who asked "are you fascist" he replied, "More than fascist, more than Nazi, I am Italian." And to a group of students he said, "To film the extermination camps after the liberation they had recourse to Alfred Hitchcock. It would seem that they would have been able to get somebody a bit more impartial."

The disciplinary commission is apparently studying sanctions . . . .

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Töben Extradition - criminalising history in Europe's courts

Media Conference Announcement

Date: Monday 24th November 2008

Time: 2pm

Venue: contact Lady Renouf 0207 460 7453 between 10-12 am, thereafter mobile 07903133584, Monday

Subject: Töben Extradition - criminalising history in Europe's courts

By Lady Michelle Renouf.

The Fredrick Töben Defence Committee will hold a media conference at 2pm on Monday 24th November to discuss the serious implications for Britain and Europe of Dr. Töben's arrest and the attempt to extradite him to Germany, which failed in the High Court this week.

Until a few days ago Dr. Töben was facing a five year jail sentence. The public prosecutor in Mannheim, Germany, had openly boasted that this Australian academic, who had broken no U.K. law, would almost certainly receive and serve the maximum sentence due to his failure to "recant" historical opinions which the German state chooses to criminalise.

Dr. Töben had been arrested on 1st October while in transit at Heathrow Airport and held in prison for fifty days on a European Arrest Warrant. At Monday's media conference questions will be raised about the position of the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, who had personally guaranteed to Parliament that no one in such cases would be extradited to Germany, then had allowed this arrest and extradition procedure to go ahead. Also under scrutiny is the position of Mr. Gareth Julian, Crown Prosecution Service head of extradition, who permitted a serious waste of public money as well as a grave injustice by permitting this process to carry on for two months, despite the inadequacy of a warrant for which the Crown is unable even to mount a case on appeal.

The function of Scotland Yard's Serious and Organised Crime Agency, which improperly certified the warrant and liased with German prosecutors, is also under an embarrassing cloud after the prosecution's ignominious retreat.

Aside from these questions of ministerial dishonour and bureaucratic incompetence on the grossest scale, there are serious issues of principle at stake in the Töben case, which would have taken the case as far as the House of Lords had German prosecutors been capable of constructing a valid arrest warrant.

Is the expansion of the European Union into the sphere of judicial affairs now allowing German law to be imposed even on passengers transiting Heathrow Airport? Is Germany's law restricting research and source critical interpretation of Holocaust history now being extended into Britain, not through Act of Parliament, but via a procedural back door? Most important of all - what is this "revisionism" which so many European states wish to criminalise, and why should the stakes be so high that an academic dispute results in long prison sentences imposed on authors, publishers and even their lawyers?

Monday's media conference will address these questions, and outline the next stage in the conflict between European criminal law and the freedom of academic research. A new initiative in U.K. education policy now seems to be governed by the same principles which underlie German criminal law, and which were spelled out in Guidelines for Teaching about the Holocaust at the Stockholm International Forum 2000: "Care must be taken not to give a platform for deniers... or seek to disprove the deniers' position through normal historical debate and rational argument".

International guests at the media conference will explain how revisionists intend to respond to these new challenges, whether in the courtroom or the classroom, while civil libertarians will examine the threat to Europe's traditions of sceptical enquiry.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

UNESCO announces plan to battle Holocaust denial

This one came across my desk only today. It was published in Haaretz on 23 October 2007, more than a year ago. Barak Ravid writes: “The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) announced on Tuesday it would launch a program to promote awareness of the Holocaust by means of battling every form of Holocaust denial and formulating educational curriculums ….”

I’ll have to ask Mogens Schmidt, the gent who is the Deputy Assistant Director General for Communications and Information, Division for Freedom of Expression, Democracy and Peace, UNESCO, about this. What program has UNESCO launched, and how has it battled “every form of Holocaust denial” to date? And how does this all fit in with UNESCO’s three principal strategic objectives, including the promotion of “the free flow of ideas and universal access to information?”

Monday, November 10, 2008

On the question of wakefullness

Back from an overnight at the VA hospital in La Jolla where I had my fourth chemo infusion. I found the first few months wrestling with this cancer business new and rather interesting. Saturday night, last night, getting ready to leave the house, with a two to three-hour traffic line waiting for me in the dark at the border, I realized that whatever charm the business had held for me before last night, last night I wanted to be quit of it. I had to go, so I went. It was after 10pm when I arrived. Then a long night in a room with a couple other guys who were already asleep when I got there. I coughed most of the night and couldn’t sleep.

This morning when Dr. Go found me coughing in his office he held up the infusion procedure so that I could get my chest x-rayed. If I had an infection in the lungs he would call off the infusion. I didn’t, so we went ahead with it, five and a half hours, after getting started two hours late. Couldn’t sleep in the chair, though I was stretched out full length. A long night, a long day. Glad to be back at the house. With regard to the cancer-rite-of-passage, the bloom is off the rose for me. Now the adventure is to find a way to be awake, to be conscious, as much as possible. I understand that I have more or less failed the test of wakefulness the last couple weeks. Not entirely, but more or less.

In part, I failed by trying to work when I should have gone to bed. As if memory and desire—the mind--were in a contest with the body. There is no contest so far as the body is concerned. It wants what it wants without reference to anything else that exists. (In this moment, while it is not particularly pertinent, I recall Alan Watts noting, “we do not beat our hearts.”) Mind is another story. Mind betrays wakefulness endlessly with its obsession for remembrance on the one hand, and for the imaginings of desire on the other. I know the story well. The past, the future. It’s what caused me in the moment, again and again these past few weeks, to go against the soundness of the body in its need for rest. There is no desire there on the part of the body. Only perceived need. The body beats its own heart for its own reasons. Mind has nothing to do with it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Deborah Lipstadt and Holocaust Remembrance

Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J,
Loyola University
Office of the President
New Orleans, LA 70118

05 November 2008

Dear President Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J.

I note that the 2008 President's Forum on Current Issues and Controversies will seek to explore a compelling contemporary issue facing society today -- "Holocaust Remembrance." The Guest Lecturer will be Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at EmoryUniversity. A subsequent Loyola press release, dated November 3 updates and narrows the focus of Dr. Lipstadt's exploration to "Contemporary Holocaust denial: a clear and present danger."

To one who stands to one side of the existing taboos on the American campus, it is clear that Holocaust Remembrance is a studied effort on the part of the multi-billion-dollar Holocaust Marketing Industry (henceforth HMI) to promote the "forgetting" of whatever does not forward the Marketing Plan itself.

The HMI marketing program is undercut by one of the great ideals of the university, the concept of a free flow of ideas, so HMI argues against the free flow of ideas with regard to the Holocaust, against intellectual freedom, and anyone who dares try it is condemned out of hand with the most vicious vocabulary imaginable. You may expect Dr. Lipstadt to "forget" a good part of this matter in her address at Loyola.

To that point you should expect Dr. Lipstadt to forget, in the sense that she will not raise it at all, or will not raise it seriously, how HMI is used to morally justify the arrest and imprisonment of men and women throughout much of Europe who question the charge that Germans used weapons of mass destruction ("gas chambers") to murder millions of civilians during WWII. Dr. Lipstadt has said that she does not think it wise to imprison men and women for memory crimes, but she acts out the role of "Bystander" so long as the HMI marketing plan remains solid.

HMI forwards its never-ending charge of "unique monstrosity" against the Germans and uses every means at its disposal to crush any person who attempts to question the charge-as if Germans do not deserve the same human consideration that all others deserve. At the same time, neither HMI or Professor Lipstadt can provide, with proof, the name of one person who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz. I have asked her that question. She has not replied.

I have asked the same question of Dr. Paul Shapiro, Director, Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, as well as some 3,000 other American academics. Neither Dr. Shapiro or any other academic has attempted a reply. Do you believe that in every instance this silence is honorable?

Those who market Holocaust Remembrance specialize in "forgetting" that the free flow of ideas is meant for all, not only for those who are disposed to buy what is being marketed. It is meant as well for those who are disposed not to buy it, so long as they are not convinced that what they are being sold is the truth.

The primary way that HMI spokeswoman Dr. Lipstadt defends herself against any questioning of the Auschwitz gas-chamber charge or that of the "unique monstrosity" of the Germans (two examples of Holocaust "denial") is to use an irrational vocabulary that invariably characterizes those who do ask such questions as "extremist antisemites" and to compare them to "Nazi rats" spreading a "virulent form [a bacillus] of antisemitism ..." She claims that revisionists "camouflage their hateful ideology ... under the [mere] guise of scholarship ..." But she will not venture to name one person, with proof, who was killed in an Auschwitz gas chamber by her "Nazi rats."

I am going to guess (forgive me) that among the academics at Loyola there will not be one who will seriously challenge anything that Professor Lipstadt has to say about "Holocaust," or "Remembrance," or "gas chambers," or about the "unique" monstrosity of the Germans. Not one. And so it goes, as we say.

In any event, thank you for your attention, and good luck with your 2008 President's Forum. I imagine it will be a fine and even a merry affair.

Bradley R. Smith
Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust
PO Box 439016
San Ysidro, California 92143
Desk: 209 682 5327
Email: bsmith@prodigy.net.mx

Blog: http://bradleysmithsblog.blogspot.com/

Web: http://www.codoh.com/

Note: This will be copied to students and academics at Loyola.