Thursday, February 26, 2009

Deborah Lipstadt and the art of the blowhard

Deborah Lipstadt’s blog, which is very professional, has links to her own posts regarding

“Holocaust Denial,”
“Holocaust Denial: Iranian,”
“Holocaust Denial: Making it Illegal,”
“Holocaust History,” and
“Holocaust: Use and Abuse of.”

She has no link/s to her own blog posts regarding “Gas chambers.”

Of course not. Blowing hard about “Holocaust” is a blowhard’s dream. “Holocaust” refers to a vast collection airy generalities, some true, some false. Gas chambers are material, physical structures. They can be examined. Their ruins can be examined. Their construction plans can be examined. The art of the Holocaust blowhard stops at the doorway to the “gas chambers.” No blowhard wants to discuss the murder weapon. Why would she? Look at how far these puckerwoods have come without establishing a murder weapon.


Dreamed I was in a hotel banquet room attending a function of some kind when William Buckley came in. He was very old, short, bent over, hump-backed, his face florid, his nose aquiline. He was at the end of it all, used a cane to hold himself up, but he was in high good spirits, smiling energetically and even laughing as he greeted those in the room, eager to enjoy himself and help those he greeted enjoy themselves. He didn’t look anything like William Buckley, and I don’t know how it was that I recognized him.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The ADL on Smith and extremism in America

The Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith has reworked its pages on Extremism in America and completely overhauled the pages devoted to Smith. I am listed as one of the top 30 extremists in America. I used to be listed as one of the top ten extremists in America, but it’s not easy to maintain such a heady position. I don’t know who some of the comrades on the list are. And then I think some of those on the list are dead, while others no one has heard from for years. So if we’re going to be serious here I might still be among the top 15 or 20 extremists in America who is alive and working, at least in the fervid, self-absorbed imaginations of those who write this muck.

There are now ten pages of material devoted to my career, such as it is. Not everything published here is wrong, but much of it is wrong, much of it taken out of context, intentionally looked at from the worst perspective, and/or just plain stupid. The guy responsible for writing this stuff does not identify himself by name. Of course. When you specialize in defaming the other guy, it’s best to stay in the dark. The program at the Anti-Defamation League is to focus on defaming those of us who do not believe what the ADL insists everyone is obligated to believe. Its specialty is to express hatred for those who do not hate those whom the ADL hates and believes all others are obligated to hate.

Reading this makes me realize again what difficulties student journalists are up against when I submit an advertisement to their campus paper. Student editors will have to face off with an organization backed by a budget of $40,000,000 (correct me if I’m wrong) and some 500 employees. In almost every circumstance the student editor will have to stand alone, without any support from one academic on that campus (I will be glad to hear of any exceptions to this observation). And it is not just the 40-million dollar budget of the ADL that student journalists are up against. The ADL is only one segment of an immense Holocaust Marketing Industry which in America and Europe has raised, and spent, tens of billions (billions) of dollars to forward its own interests.


"Bradley Smith, Extremist

“Though he often tries to present himself as a free speech activist, Bradley Smith has functioned as a propagandist for the Holocaust denial movement since 1983. He has achieved his greatest notoriety as the director of the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust, whose mission is to disseminate Holocaust denial to students on college campuses. In more recent lectures promot-ing his book, Break His Bones, Smith has sought to refocus his message on the free speech issue and to “decriminalize Holocaust history.” Privately, he admits that his aim continues to be pro-moting “revisionism” and anti-Israel propaganda.”


This is all more or less true, looking at it in the most negative light possible. The last phrase about “anti-Israel” propaganda is not quite right. I argue against the U.S. alliance with Israel for the reason that, in my view, that alliance has been a disaster for America in more ways than one. And because it is only growing worse.

But here is where the ADL research team first demonstrably shows its carelessness and/or bad faith.

ADL claims I have published one book: “Break His Bones: The Private Life of a Holocaust Revisionist (book).”

I’ve published three books. This ADL list of publications of my books does not list my first book, Confessions of a Holocaust Revisionist, and does not list my third book, The Man Who Saw His Own Liver. In short, the ADL list of my published books misses two out of three. Is this the best research the ADL can buy? Is it something else?

In any case, I believe any student journalist at any campus in America would want to think twice about taking the ADL at its word. Meanwhile, Confessions of a Holocaust Revisionist is online here.


I’ve had a recurrent dream the last couple weeks. I’m in a car, parked, when I begin to drive it backwards. In each dream the brakes do not work. I can’t stop the car from moving backwards. This morning I woke with the same dream, but this time I had spied my mother in the rearview mirror driving a bus, parking it at the curbing some fifty yards behind me. She wasn’t old and she looked pretty in a momma kind of way. I wanted to go back and say hello. I began backing up to where she was parked but when it was time to slow down the brakes did not work. No matter how hard I pressed on the brake pedal the car would not slow down. I woke up before I crashed.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Taboo at Temple University

Chris Stover
Editor in Chief:
The Temple News

24 February 2009

Dear Chris Stover:

This letter addresses a cultural taboo that I feel you, and many other campus journalists, have been trapped in. I want you to know that I do not see you as a perpetrator, but as a victim of this taboo against a free exchange of ideas on the Holocaust.

As you know, I was to run an ad in The Temple News on 03 February titled “A Question for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.” At the last moment, on 02 February, TTN advertising manager Vanessa Rottet advised me: “I am sorry but we will not be able to run your ad due to its content. The editor-in-chief will not allow it to run. Thanks for understanding. Vanessa.” The “content” of the ad includes the following text:

“I have asked the Director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Dr. Paul Shapiro, if he can “provide, with proof, the name of one person who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz.” Dr. Shapiro does not respond. I copied my letter to Dr. Shapiro’s colleagues at the Museum. They do not respond. I have asked more than 2,000 American academics the same question. None has responded.”

I wrote you asking how I might revise the text of the ad so that it would be viable for the TTN. I received no response. We placed three telephone calls to your desk. No response. So, this letter.

I am going to assume you sincerely believe that Germans used homicidal gas chambers during WWII to kill millions of innocent civilians. At the same time I am going to assume that you have no significant knowledge of revisionist arguments regarding the authenticity of the gas-chamber stories. If I am right, you are in the same boat as your professors, one difference being that, as a class, academics at Temple are in a position where they can publicly shame you as an “anti-Semite,” make you feel guilty, and put at risk your career in journalism if you do not at least pretend to believe what they believe about gas chambers.

The taboo among the professorial class is so pervasive that there may not be one professor at Temple University who would back you, as a journalist, in allowing one question to be raised about the authenticity of the “gas chambers” in the Temple News. One primary responsibility of the journalist in a free society, however, is to ask precisely those questions protected by establishment taboo.

Find out for yourself. Ask. That’s what journalists do.

Ask Edward Trayes, Director of Temple’s Master of Journalism Program. Will he encourage you publicly, in the name of a free press, to allow the gas-chamber question to be addressed in the pages of the Temple News?

Ask Andrew C. Isenberg, Chair of Temple’s Department of History, if he will support a call for addressing doubts about the German gas-chamber story in the pages of the Temple News.

Ask Laura Levitt, Director Jewish Studies at Temple, if she would encourage the Temple News to allow this question to be asked and followed up in your pages: “Is there one professor at Temple who can provide, with proof, the name of one person killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz?”

Try it. Don’t allow yourself to be shamed in the name of an academic taboo. Do not let the response of some professors, and the silence of others, make you feel guilty for advancing, rather than rejecting, the cause of intellectual freedom. See what you discover about the health of journalism and academic standards with regard to The Great Taboo at Temple.

I know. It’s risky. But no matter which way the cat jumps, it will make a good story for you.

Bradley Smith, Founder
Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust

PS: I will copy this to persons at Temple and the off-campus press who I feel might have some interest in reading it.


Saturday, February 14, 2009

Primo Levi and the Common Man

** Today I hired a second man to help with the Campus Campaign. I can’t keep up with it by myself. The work isn’t complicated, but there is a lot of follow-though involved. Time con-suming. He lives close by, speaks English, and has a history of working in journalism. Contribu-tions are up a bit, so I can pay him. I have three part-time workers now. Two helping with the Campus Campaign, and my wife helping with the mail and shipping. We do all the work in the house here. Most of it in the one room looking out on the little patio that was my Mother’s bed-room when she died. I am reminded that the budget for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum last year was over fifty million (50,000,000) dollars. And that is only a fragment of the monies invested by the Holocaust Marketing Industry to forward their story. And crush ours. What are the odds?

** I’ve just run across some misfiled documents, including one for a “Perpetrators” conference held last month in Germany. I was going to do some work with it but it got away from me. An initial announcement for the conference quotes Primo Levi.

"Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men."

I haven’t read Levi. I’ve had him around for years but never picked him up. It’s the same with most of the guys lying around here, with a lady or two in the mix. But I like what Levi says here. Monsters exist, but the common men are more dangerous.

That is, the common men are responsible for all the killing. Men like me. The monsters can only become monsters with the principled, enthusiastic help of common men. It wasn’t President Bush who did the killing in Iraq. He is not a monster. It was the common men who did the killing, who are doing it today. The same is obvious in all our great wars in the name of our various principles. There was a time when great leaders did commit themselves to the killing, Alexander comes to mind first, but no more.

The Bill O’Reillys also come to mind. All those folk who pray today for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and who will pray for all the common men who kill there and who will kill in next war organized in the name of this or that. If the one man who kills another is not responsible for that killing, who is? I’m not saying that no killing of a man can ever be justified. I am saying that the man who does the killing is responsible for that killing. And he is invariably, the exceptions are so rare they are completely insignificant in the nature of things, the common man.

I am no exception. Or was not when I was young. I’ve written about that elsewhere. I did not exhaust the subject, but I did write about it. The romance of battle in the mind of a boy, a teenager, a young soldier volunteering to place himself in a context where it would be a good to kill and risk being killed. Not on principle, but for the fun of it. The excitement. Always with the stories of great and romantic battles written down in books by admirable men who admired how admirably common men killed. And all the wonderful stories of the killings carried about brilliantly in memory. The romance of it all.

What could be more romantic, tell me, than commonplace Jews killing Palestinians in Gaza? Men, women, children? Anyone who gets in the way?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Youngstown State University, the ADL, and Judaic and Holocaust Studies

On 10 February The Jambar at Youngstown State published a 400-word letter from Shari Kochman, a Regional Director of the Anti-Defamation League, in response to my ad titled “A Question for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.” It was a standard ADL screed specializing in defamation of character, without addressing the question to hand. She has a pretty name, this Shari, but demonstrates a mean spirit, if I can use that liberal catch-phrase, in her felt need to censor all questioning of the gas chamber tales.

“There is no doubt that The Jambar has the right to decide what advertisements it chooses to publish. Freedom of the press is one of the treasured hallmarks of our free society. Newspaper editors are also obliged, however, to make editorial judgment calls every day. They are under no legal or ethical obligation to publish every letter or ad submitted to them.

“Indeed, they would likely reject obscene material, libelous screeds, and obviously inflammatory claims like "there was no slavery in the United States." Unfortunately, The Jambar 's editors have acted irresponsibly in publishing Bradley Smith's ad, which promotes a view of history that is manifestly false and profoundly offensive.”

From there on it gets better (worse), while at the same time Shari makes no attempt to demonstrate that even one of her defamatory remarks is true. She counts on students and academics alike at Youngstown State to recognize the angle forwarded so successfully for so many years by the Holocaust Marketing Industry.

In the same 10 February Letters page of The Jambar there is a letter sponsored by The Judaic and Holocaust Studies Advisory Committee and signed by a dozen or so heads of departments at Youngstown. The Committee does not approve of the ad, which distresses me considerably, but commits itself publicly to the “gassing” claims. That means “gas chambers.” I’ll have to ask academics at Youngstown State if there is one among them, particularly one associated with The Judaic and Holocaust Studies Committee, who can provide the name of one person, “with proof,” who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz. If Jews and others were not offed by Germans in the Auschwitz gas chambers, the chances are they were not offed by Germans in gas chambers anywhere else.

On 12 February The Jambar published an insightful letter written by a student, C.T. Alusheff.

“In response to the recent out lash against Bradley Smith and The Jambar for printing his ad, I neither advocate nor admonish Mr. Smith's views. However, this is still a free country and while his ad was suggestive in nature, I did not find any racial or ethnic slurs or hate remarks among the content of the ad, which I saw in two separate editions of The Jambar. As far as Shari Kochman citing The New York Times' ad review process, has she forgotten the full page add they ran with the caption General Betray-Us? This ad was given at a steeply discounted price and received national attention due to its nature. However, the paper received no legal recourse nor should it have. With the privilege of free speech comes the responsibility of not taking offense to something you disagree with.”

With the privilege of free speech comes the responsibility of not taking offense to something you disagree with!

The good sense and decency expressed by this observation should shame the ADL folk and the Youngstown Judaic and Holocaust Studies people. Mr. Alusheff has nothing to gain by speaking out like this. The folk representing the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the Youngstown Judaic and Holocaust Studies people have a lot to gain. They will continue participating in raising enormous sums of money, they will ensure that their careers remain on track, and that they will continue to be looked upon with favor by their academic peers and by professional journalists everywhere.

Students by themselves, organizing to promote intellectual freedom with regard to the gas-chamber tales, which effectively questions the unique monstrosity of the Germans, could wreck havoc on campuses across America. It needs to start on one campus. It’s not without risk for those who commit themselves to it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Writing, not writing, about Vietnam, Revisionism, and the daily round

Late last night, passing time at the computer, wasting time, I read some journal entries from 1985. I’d forgotten they were in the machine. That was the first, or the second year I worked with the Institute for Historical Review. I was publishing the monthly newsletter Prima Facie. It was distributed to some 4,000 journalists around America. It was a good idea. My idea. Willis Carto was about to fold it in because of costs and lack of response. The journal was full of the guys who worked in and around the Institute. The writing was more like notes for something else. Poorly written, poorly expressed, poorly organized.

It was around that time that I must have stopped, for the last time, being a writer in any serious kind of way. I had already been writing for 30 years, always found it worth my time, but never as a professional. It never occurred to me to try to make a living as a writer. Getting into revisionism was the final nail in that coffin. I have written a few nice things since the 80s, they’re in Confessions, in Bones and Liver. With Confessions I never even tried to sell it. I still have a few soft-cover copies of the book 20 years later. I had hopes that Liver, which was staged as The Man Who Stopped Paying, would find an audience, but when it failed I took it as a normal turn of events. I wasn’t even disappointed.

It’s not accurate that I had never thought to make a living with the writing. That’s why I went to Vietnam in 68. In my mind I would catch a freighter bound for Saigon, jump ship there, and look for the war. I would not do the politics of the war, but record how it was to be on the ground in the middle of the war. How it would be on the highways, in the towns and cities, the countryside. How it would be to risk my life a little, how it would be for me in Vietnam remembering how it had been for me in Korea. Once I got there I had yet another failure of imagination. I did not place myself above the scene and consider it as a professional, but allowed myself to be absorbed by small events, never imagining the structure for the book as I moved along. After nine, ten months, when I was back in Hollywood with Jenny, while I had some 60,000 words and the memory of mind and heart to work with, I put the whole affair to one side. I had to make some money. I borrowed 3,000 dollars from a book dealer on Hollywood Boulevard and opened a print shop and picture framing business. And there was the end to the Vietnam book.

I recall one time when Jenny asked me about what I was doing. Ignoring the book manuscript to contribute money to the household. I told her to not worry about it. That I was doing what I wanted to do. That was the truth of the matter. And there you have it. What kind of writer is that?

Six years ago I did put some writing together with Break His Bones, but there is no market for revisionism, and I was not interested in trying to make a market for it. I ran ads for the book in student newspapers at Harvard, Texas and Berkeley, but in each instance they were censored after one or two runs. I just let it go. That’s how it is for revisionist writers. That isn’t how it is really. The primary reason I did not sell Bones is that I did not make a real effort to sell it. I think at the time I told myself I was too busy trying to keep my head above water. There are hardly a dozen people in all the world who make a living via Holocaust revisionism. Millions, hundreds of millions of dollars are raised by the other side, those who want, who feel they must, destroy revisionism in the name of the taboo they support. That’s just how it is. The real reason I did not, have not, sold Bones is a failure of imagination. The simplest thing for me to have done was to go on the road with the book. That was the ticket for me.

On the Road. I still remember when I first read Kerouac. In 1958/59. I was on a subway returning to Manhattan from the Bronx where I had visited with a young Greek lady. I still recall how stirring it was to read how Kerouac used his experience, how he used his language. Those were the days when I took it for granted I would be, was, a writer. It was the next year that I first read Henry Miller. And I still remember her name. Takis. Still recall the night with her in my studio apartment in the Village lying on my bed chatting when she suddenly turned and threw herself on top of me, put her mouth on mine, pressed against me all the way down, and then the moment I reacted how she pushed herself away and leapt off the bed. After half a century I still feel the excitement of the moment, and the sense of loss.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

No Fear, Cancer and God

Yesterday morning at the VA I did labs at 7am, and met with Dr. Go at 8am. He told me that the cancer is gone. It is not just that I am in remission, but that I am in complete remission. He was happy. He was laughing. It was as if he’d had about three shots of Chinese whiskey.

“You don’t have cancer, Bradley. It’s gone.” He said it twice, speaking with real enthusiasm. I suppose part of it is that he is pleased that he can be responsible for doing successful work. I don’t imagine that his success rate is all that high. There in the office he was more excited by what he had found, and had not found, than I was.

The last time I was to his office he mentioned that he was about to become a father. I asked him now if he had given birth. Yes, he had. He had photos in his cell phone. Maybe it’s what they call a Blackberry. I’ve never seen a Blackberry up close. The baby was three weeks in the photos. In a way, three-week-old babies look a lot alike. He was different, but I was reminded of An-tony, our third grandchild who is three months now but a while back was three weeks himself.

At 10am I had an appointment with Infusion. That’s where I went through the chemotherapy process. One session each three weeks, six sessions in all. The port they used for the infusions is still in my chest. It had to be irrigated. A brief process, and other than sticking the needle through the chest skin, no fuss, no muss. I bid farewell to one and all and went downstairs and out into the cold. In the Jeep I called my wife to give her the good news. She didn’t answer. I called Marissa in Las Vegas and told her the news and asked her to call her mother in another hour or so. I’d had a bad night, was exhausted, had to drive the freeway south and so on.

There were thunder showers so heavy I could not see well to drive. They came and went. In Chula Vista in the parking lot at Sears the rain was very heavy. I stayed in the Jeep and slept for two hours. I was warm, I was tired, and the rain blowing heavy against the windows was very nice. Then I picked up my new glasses at Sears optometry, ran some other errands, and drove south across the border.

At the house, there was company. When the lady was gone Irene told me in Spanish how it had been for her the night before, knowing that I was going to see Dr. Go and that this might be it. I was sitting on the sofa while she was in her armchair. She had been anxious and scared. She had prayed, she had cried. She couldn’t sleep. Now she was praising God and telling me that God had taken notice of me, that He had expressed His interest in me, and that it was time that I opened my heart to Him. Her sincerity flooded the room.

“That is what is so painful,” she said. “Once you open your heart to Him I will be able to say goodbye to you without this pain. Once you are with God, I will be content when it pleases Him to take you. The way you are now, I don’t know how you are now. It is very difficult.”

For myself, I think Dr. Go was more excited by the news that I am cancer-free than I was. There is a certain way in that, from the beginning, I didn’t take it seriously. While the cancer was ex-hausting, and the chemotherapy on top of it was unusually exhausting, there was no anxiety. I don’t know why. There was the rare moment over the last six, seven months, when I felt a fleet-ing note of anxiety about the prospect of dying shortly, but it was rare. The exhaustion was with me for months, but not the anxiety. And then after those occasional moments when I did feel a note of fear, I was aware that the fear was in imagining what the future might be. When I was awake to what was there at any given moment, there was no fear.

I think that has always been more or less the way it has worked for me. A number of good stories come to mind. No fear, just like the bumper stickers have it. With me, having no fear is not a matter of courage. It’s only the absence of fear. It hasn’t been deep. Nothing profound. I like the way I put it to the lady doctor at the VA hospital early on in the examination process. She pushed me to tell her what kinds of concerns I felt, was there a lot of anxiety, was I worried? That I had the right to be scared.

“No, no,” I said. “I think it's just that I'm too shallow to worry about it.”

A Joke Between My Daughter and Me, Campus ad, Bishop Williamson

** Out on the street at midnight last night with my daughter, 22 years old, two kids, but I don’t want to record her name here. She has a real job on the other side with folk who might not appreciate the work her father does. I’ll call her “Pretty.”

Anyhow, Pretty and I were out at the curb at midnight last night when I had a dizzy spell and fell against the car. It lasted only an instant. It was nothing. It made me laugh. I knew the first thing we would both think of, though it had nothing to do with it, was the cancer.

So I was laughing and I said: “I thought for a minute there that maybe you’d lost me,” playing off the cancer business.

Pretty was laughing too.

“Not tonight, Dad," she said. "Please?”

What a kid!

** Today is Sunday and this afternoon it’s to the other side again for an overnighter at the VA Hospital in La Jolla. Tomorrow morning I’m going to do blood tests at 7am, see Dr. Go, my oncologist, at 8, and have the port in my chest irrigated at 9. I finished the last of the chemotherapy sessions six weeks ago. Monday last I had a PET scan, four Cat Scans and the usual blood work. Tomorrow, with all the info to hand, Dr. Go is going to tell me how long he thinks I have. I don’t know what difference it will make, but I’d like to know.

** Earlier this week I edited the opening of the ad I’m using to read:


British Bishop Richard Williamson is being condemned by the Vatican and Jewish organizations for saying he does not believe the Germans mass-murdered Jews and others in gas chambers during WWII. Is he wrong? Is he right? How can we know?

I have asked the Director of the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, Dr. Paul Shapiro, “to provide, with proof, the name of one (one) person who was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz . . . .”


On Wednesday last I sent an insertion request with this text to The Cornell Daily Sun, The Hatchet at UC Sacramento, The Spectrum at SUNY-Buffalo, The Hoya at Georgetown U, The Daily Northwestern, The Daily Cal at Berkeley, and the U Chicago Maroon. The Spectrum re-jected it outright. The others have yet to answer. This is the second time the Maroon has not re-sponded.

Bishop Williamson’s questioning of the gas chambers was intentionally inflated to mean that he “denies the Holocaust,” however that might be defined. American and European journalists went along with the Holocaust Marketing Industry (HMI) on this, as they regularly do. They regularly behave like girls with this story. My apologies to the ladies in the profession.

The word beginning to circulate is that a new chapter is going to be opened with the Bishop Williamson story.

** I see that I have made a note asking myself why the ideal of intellectual freedom is not a dogma. If dogma suggests a system of belief, and is a negative, and intellectual freedom is a system of belief, why is it not a dogma? Maybe because there is no system to it. It’s an ideal without system. Is that possible? Or is the issue that there are good dogmas and bad dogmas, each based on what the individual finds most beneficial to herself? Typically, dogma has its supporters and its enemies. If the argument for intellectual freedom is a dogma I find it a good dogma in that, of itself, it has no enemies.

Friday, February 6, 2009

We will not protect bad ideas from public scrutiny

The Jambar at Youngstown State University has published a sound editorial on intellectual freedom and the responsibility of a free press in response to criticisms it has received for publishing my ad, "A QUESTION FOR THE U.S. HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM."

The otherwise fine editorial asserts that I call into question "whether the Holocaust actually occurred," which can mislead the reader. While I do question “gas chambers,” gas chambers are one thing, the “Holocaust” another. We should not conflate them. Never mind that it is commonplace among mainline journalists and even academics to do exactly that.



Issue date: 2/5/09

We will not protect bad ideas from public scrutiny.

We ran an ad last week which appears again today from a man named Bradley R. Smith of the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust. In it, he calls into question whether the Holocaust actually occurred.

The response from readers has been, uniformly, to ask us why we would run such an ad. They point out how offensive the ad is, especially to those who have had relatives die in the Holocaust, or survive it. They wonder why we would give voice to what many would classify as hate speech.

As a newspaper, we are in a position to control speech, or to defend it. We could easily say that since this particular ad is extreme in nature, it should be suppressed. But then, who defines extreme? If we start to suppress the voices we don't believe in, it would start with this ad, but could spill over into far less volatile areas.

If we set that precedent, perhaps future editors could take it a step further and suppress views they disagree with on issues such as abortion, global warming or taxes.

If we only allow the acceptable voices to be heard, what would happen when we disagreed with the acceptable voices?

We are an open forum. Just as Smith was able to run his ad in our pages, anyone is free to shout him down, and is welcome to do so.

We enjoy a tremendous freedom in this country. It is not a freedom not to be offended. Rather, it is a freedom to hear all voices, and have ours be heard. It is through the marketplace of ideas that bad ideas are defeated.

President Woodrow Wilson said, "I have always been among those who believed that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking."


Sunday, February 1, 2009

UNESCO & its problem with a Free Press

Abdul Waheed Khan
Assistant Director-General for
Communication and Information (CIF)

01 February 2009

Dear Assistant Director-General:

I have your news release dated 30 January 2009 regarding the cowardly “grenade attack” against the Anhanguera Communication Network headquarters in the city of Campinas, São Paulo Brazil. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Nevertheless, we agree with UNESCO Representative in Brazil, Vincent Defourny, when he states that the attack “displays a willful disrespect against the fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of the press, and the right to information, nonnegotiable principles of democracy [and] draws attention to the fact that threats against press freedom are real, even in democracies [and] reinforces the international perception that a careful monitoring and enhancement of mechanisms to protect the practice of journalism should be a constant concern to public authorities and society as a whole.”

What are we to make of the fact that you, Mr. Khan, are unwilling to protest the fact that in “democracies” such as France, Israel, Germany, Switzerland, Austria and others it is illegal to question in the press the existence of German homicidal gas chambers during World War II, and that if you do pose such questions you will be prosecuted and imprisoned?

Are we to take it, Mr. Khan, that UNESCO’s ideals, and yours, with regard to “freedom of expression and freedom of the press” are meant for some democracies, but not for all?

Your frank response will be very much appreciated.

Bradley R. Smith, Founder
Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust
PO Box 439016
San Ysidro, Ca. 92143


NOTE: I will copy this letter to your colleagues at CIF, and to offices in the UNESCO international Field Network so that we are all on the same page.