Friday, 17 October 2008

No offence

This headline: Holocaust denial accused intended no offence, extradition hearing told caught my eye in the news bar so I went off and read a report that told me virtually nothing beyond what it says in the headline. The 'intended no offence' bit was the part that made me wince most. The only thing more cowardly than the sort of assault that deniers make on the millions that died is their attempted worming when faced with a challenge.

Once the irritation of that abated I looked up the guy involved: Frederick Toben. Turns out he's pretty hard core in terms of holocaust denial. He's an Australian-German who founded the Adelaide Institute which at first glance seems to be another collection of anti Semitic nutters. Toben, like David Irving, has also collected a whole bunch of qualifications and uses this in part to veil his prejudice. Toben has done time already for breaching Germany's holocaust denial laws and publishes articles on a website that is, frankly, re-assuring. The lack of technical expertise in its construction and the nauseating colour scheme seem to suggest that the ranks of followers don't even extend to one web savvy geek. (Have a look here but don't waste time reading any of the crap please- unless of course you want to see what utter bollocks this bloke is touting). Incidentally, by calling him a denier and an antisemite I am, in Tobin's own words an intellectual terrorist: " If you label a person 'antisemitic', then you lose your moral and intellectual integrity, and you become an intellectual terrorist! " The exclamation mark nails that non argument, don't you think?

On the website and without irony he proudly writes of his words written in prison that denying him his viewpoint denied him his humanity. It goes without saying that he clearly down't know what denying someone of their humanity really means.

Having said that...the only discomfort I feel as a consequence of what I hope is his current discomfort is that he was arrested at Heathrow because he has broken a German law. I'm sure it wouldn't take too long for me (and presumably others who would actually welcome a chance to leap to his defence) to find something that would render this decision absurd. In a world of anti terrorism legislation and ever growing infringements on civil liberties I feel that his arrest for something that is not an offence in the UK will lead to notoriety and cause celebre status for him as well as a precedent that could mean potential for arrest of journalists out of step with their governments.

If, on the other hand, he was arrested for being an odious tosser and that is, as a consequence of some ancient and never repealed by-law, an offence then let the bastard rot.

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