Monday, February 20, 2006

Eric Alterman: 1 Free Speech: 0

Welcome to this week's episode of 'The State Determines What Is The Truth'.

UPDATE: Blowback?

UPDATE: This is really fuckin sickening stuff. I mean, they just jailed this dude. Don't agree with the government? FUCK YOU. JAIL, MOTHERFUCKER!

Look at Irving now, seemingly trying to backtrack:

"I said that then, based on my knowledge at the time, but by 1991 when I came across the Eichmann papers, I wasn't saying that anymore and I wouldn't say that now," he said.

"The Nazis did murder millions of Jews," added Irving, who addressed the court in fluent German.

But who knows what he actually believes now? And who cares? It's just such a pathetic sight. Can you imagine yourself, about to walk into a U.S. court, for your sentencing, and you're forced to say, "I know I said Bush was an asshole sixteen years ago! I know it! I said it! But that was a long time ago! Since I've come across the Fox News Channel, I realize how wrong I was! As soon as I discovered Fox News I wasn't saying that anymore, and I wouldn't say that now!"

UN-FUCKING-BELIEVABLY HORRIBLE. And YOUR FUCKING FRIENDS, like Eric Alterman, APPROVE of this SHIT. How the fuck did we get here? Fuckin 'liberals', man. Gangster Nazi Totalitarian fucks.

I'll end with a quote of something Chomsky wrote on the matter:

It is a poor service to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust to adopt a central doctrine of their murderers.

Learn, you fuckin fucks, before it's too late.

UPDATE: Good point:

A few Austrians, such as Lothar Hobelt, an associate professor of history at the University of Vienna, believe it should never have been set up at all.

"This is a silly law by silly people for silly people," he said.

"In fact, having a law that says you mustn't question a particular historical instance, if anything, creates doubt about it, because if an argument has to be protected by the force of law, it means it's a weak argument."

Is the argument so weak that the government has to stop people from talking about it in the 'correct' way?

UPDATE: IRAN calls 'the West' hypocritical on freedom of expression. Jesus.

Even a wingnut agrees with the ACLU and Chomsky on this - holy shit! Eric Alterman - defend your position, son!

Dissident Voice points out that it's OK to insult Muslims, but insulting Jews is against the law.

Australia-based email/news service Crikey thinks free speech is a good thing:

It cannot be said too often that a belief in free speech means defending the rights of people we disagree with. Those whose views are agreeable to the majority are never in much danger. Free speech must protect bigoted, wrong-headed and offensive speech, or it protects nothing.

That is why the three-year jail sentence handed down overnight in Austria on Holocaust-denier David Irving is so disturbing. It would be hard to find a clearer case of penalising someone purely on the basis of their opinions.


One of Irving's strongest opponents, Deborah Lipstadt, whom he unsuccessfully sued for libel in 2000, put it very well: "I am not happy when censorship wins, and I don't believe in winning battles via censorship", she told the BBC. "The way of fighting Holocaust deniers is with history and with truth."

Austria's laws against Holocaust denial, like Germany's, were an emergency measure enacted shortly after World War II. The threat of a Nazi revival could then be reasonably regarded as a "clear and present danger" that would override concerns about free speech. But to make the same argument today is just nonsense.

"Free David Irving" doesn't have the same sort of cachet that, say, "Free Nelson Mandela" had. But while he stays in jail, Europe's claim to be the home of free speech will ring hollow.

Holocaust author says free speech is a good thing - 'The ironies of history are seldom subtle.'

New Zealand Prime Minister says Austrians probably went 'too far'.

UPDATE: Globe and Mail bashes. Part 2.

Articles like these make me think that nobody cares to remember that more than just Jews died in the Holocaust. 6 million Jews. 12 million or so, total. Who were the other 6 million? They don't exist, apparently. Does this author of this this referenced Independent article get jailed, now?

Another prominent Erving opponent comes to the defense of...Erving?

Not all members of the Jewish community were as convinced by the sentence. Rabbi Dr Jonathan Romain, director of the Jewish Information and Media Service, questioned whether Irving should have been jailed. "I welcome yet another public rebuff for David Irving's pseudo-historical views, although personally I prefer to treat him with disdain rather than with imprisonment.

UPDATE: This case makes me wonder - will Saddam still be entitled to a trial? And after he's convicted, will Iraq pass a law against denying the Kurd genocide? And will I, Peter Smith, go to jail for claiming that there was, indeed, a genocide committed by the United States of America, in Vietnam, and that President Lyndon Johnson was the commander of that genocide? Two to four million civilians. I know - it's not quite six or twelve million, but it's a high enough number where I suspect the U.S. government would rather have me in jail than running around repeating it.

The Austrian Embassy gets letters:

That law should be overturned immediately and he should be released immediately! Freedom of speech!

Quoting Chomsky:

"It is a poor service to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust to adopt a central doctrine of their murderers."

The Austrian President gets something, too (almost identical - this is to an email address which permits a 'subject' line):

Subject: Sir, that law is a travesty. Free Irving immediately, and repeal that law!

That law should be overturned immediately and Irving should be released
immediately! Freedom of speech!

Quoting Chomsky:

"It is a poor service to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust to
adopt a central doctrine of their murderers."

UPDATE: I Think As I Please:

I think as I please
And this gives me pleasure.
My conscience decrees,
This right I must treasure.
My thoughts will not cater
To duke or dictator,
No man can deny —
Die gedanken sind frei.

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