Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Racist Right Martyr?

Holocaust Denier and far right activist, David Irving who has moved in many white supremacist circles in the United States, such as among the so-called American Renaissance movement, has suddenly been turned into a far right-wing cause celeb with his three year conviction in Austria for Holocaust denial.

Let's face fact folks, Irving is many things -- and few of them decent -- but he is no poster boy for free speech and free thought. The idea that Irving and his case could become a cause... sickens me to the core. This is an author who in subsquent editions of his most famous work, Hitler's War, that Hitler was not responsible for the campaigns of genocide that occured under the German regime prior to and during World War II.

We should not call Irving a martyr, we should call him what he is: A Liar. And that is at best. Of course, I am always amazed at the right-wing's inability to feret out any liars these days.

Why me worry? Why I am a right-wing darling because I believe in freedom of speech. Well, certain speech that is.

Backlash at jailing of historian who denied Holocaust
From Roger Boyes in Vienna

DAVID IRVING, the far-right British historian, sat stunned and open-mouthed yesterday when an Austrian court found him guilty of denying the Holocaust and sentenced him to three years in jail.

"I'm very shocked and I'm going to appeal," Irving, 67, said as he was bundled out of the Vienna courtroom by armed anti-riot police.

From the public gallery a British supporter shouted "Stay strong, David", before he too was led away.

But in Britain there was dismay at a verdict that could turn Irving into a right-wing martyr.

Irving had pleaded guilty to denying the Holocaust in two speeches in Austria in 1989. He was arrested when he re-entered the country, where it is a crime to deny the Holocaust, last November, and had been in custody since.

During his seven-hour trial yesterday Irving sought to convince the jury that he had changed his mind and now acknowledged the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis.

"I made a mistake when I said there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz," he told the court.

But the judge and jury were unswayed. One hundred and fifty-eight people have been convicted of Holocaust denial in Austria between 1999 and 2004, but only a handful other than Irving have been imprisoned.

Lord Janner, chairman of the Holocaust Educational Trust, was pleased by the conviction.

He said: "It sends a clear message to the world that we must not tolerate the denial of the mass murderers of the Holocaust. The Nazis tried to wipe out an entire people . . . We must learn the lessons of the past to build a decent society for the future."

The verdict came amid a furious debate in Europe over freedom of expression, with many defending the media's right to publish cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed. The Arabic television station al-Jazeera was there to broadcast the verdict to its Islamic audience.

In Britain Nick Griffin, the leader of the British National Party, was recently acquitted of making speeches inciting racial hatred.

Abu Hamza, the radical Islamic cleric, was last week sentenced to seven years in prison for inciting racial hatred and soliciting murder.

In Britain there was some alarm at the severity of the sentence.

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