New Zealand’s “Cyber Crime Law”:
The Back Door to Censorship
The following letter is addressed to Minister of Justice Simon Power in response to reports that the New Zealand Government is considering ratifying an international law against cyber crime, that includes clauses criminalizing so-called “holocaust denial,” “racism,” “xenophobia,” and “verified genocides.”
Minister of Justice
3 September 2011
Dear Mr. Power:
I have read a report stating that “posting racist or xenophobic messages on the internet and Holocaust denial could be illegal if New Zealand signs up to a international cyber-crime agreement. A protocol of the convention requires nations to make ‘the dissemination of racist and xenophobic material through computer systems’ a crime. It also makes denial or justification of the Holocaust and other verified genocides illegal.”
My concern is that, as has been the case on multiple occasions overseas, such a law will prohibit scholarly research and discussion under the guise of highly subjective definitions of “verified genocides” and the unscholarly, loaded term “holocaust denial.”
Such prohibitions would result in the enshrining of certain contentious subjects into dogmas. This attitude motivated a lengthy persecution of the eminent New Zealand Jewish academic Dr. Joel Hayward, formerly of Massey University, starting ca. 2000. This resulted in his having a nervous breakdown and becoming unemployable in New Zealand, because he had written his MA Thesis in 1993 on holocaust historiography, and had concluded that revisionist literature includes some valid points. I believe that those who initiated the campaign against Dr. Hayward, headed up by so-called holocaust revisionist expert, Dr. Dov Bing of Waikato University (a malicious liar) would have no hesitation in trying to silence anyone they deemed to be a “holocaust denier.”
I have marginal interest in the “Holocaust” at best, and have not taken a particular interest in the subject since the Hayward persecution a decade ago. What does concern me is that freedom of enquiry, protected by the Bill of Rights, will be encroached upon via the guise of acting against “international cyber crime.” The implication is that so-called “holocaust denial” will be criminalized in the manner of totalitarian regimes, and become a literal “thought crime” in the Orwellian sense.
My own background is as one of New Zealand’s more widely published researchers in both the scholarly and broader media, on a variety of subjects, from geopolitics to metaphysics, having been published by the Foreign Policy Journal, India Quarterly, World Affairs, Red Star, Russian Ministry of Defense, Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies, Geopolitica, Moscow State University, Trinity College, Novosti Foreign Service, Radio Free Asia, USA Today, Forbes, BBC, etc. etc.
When writing my Doctoral theses (plural) I was taught that scholarship necessitates a dialectical approach. A one-sided view that is made sacrosanct by prohibiting debate does not provide for a dialectic. While scholarly standards in New Zealand are undermined by fraud, incompetence and corruption, that is no reason to reinforce the dysfunctional aspects of tertiary education by introducing gratuitous legislation from overseas that limits freedom of enquiry. My primary concern is best expressed by Professor Noam Chomsky, who said of the persecution (and I use the term with deliberation) of French academic Prof. Robert Faurisson:
[I]t is elementary that freedom of expression (including academic freedom) is not to be restricted to views of which one approves, and that it is precisely in the case of views that are almost universally despised and condemned that this right must be most vigorously defended. It is easy enough to defend those who need no defense or to join in unanimous (and often justified) condemnation of a violation of civil rights by some official enemy. . . . The uproar that ensued is of some interest. In Le Matin (socialist), Jacques Baynac wrote that my fundamental error was to “defend, in the name of freedom of expression, the right to mock the facts” – “facts” determined, presumably, by some board of commissars or a reconstituted Inquisition.
. . . There are, in fact, far more dangerous manifestations of “revisionism” than Faurisson’s. Consider the effort to show that the United States engaged in no crimes in Vietnam, that it was guilty only of “intellectual error.” This “revisionism,” in contrast to that of Faurisson, is supported by the major institutions and has always been the position of most of the intelligentsia, and has very direct and ugly policy consequences. Should we then argue that people advocating this position be suspended from teaching and brought to trial? . . .
As Chomsky indicates there are more types of “revisionism” than so-called “holocaust denial.” Revisionism per se is an integral part of all scholarship, literally meaning to revise an opinion at any given time, on the basis of new evidence. Those who aim to criminalize “holocaust revisionism” do not concede that it is a legitimate form of revisionism, and therefore call it by the intellectually meaningless term “holocaust denial.” Several other examples of revisionism include:
Maoists and other communists deny the extent of the genocide alleged to have been committed against the Ukrainian kulaks, the figure said to have reached as high as 7 million deaths caused by deliberate starvation to annihilate an ethnically based class. The following is from a Maoist website:
In the midst of this sort of political resistance, many Ukrainians resisted delivering grain to the state. Werth says that in response, Stalin starved 4 million of them to death in 1932-3 for a total of 6 million when other regions of the Soviet Union are counted for being in a similar situation. . . . In fact other bourgeois media like Village Voice of January 12, 1988 has already debunked the idea that there was this massive Ukrainian famine. It was tremendously exaggerated and was mostly created by Ukrainian fascists. The paper caught them in the act of fraud in propaganda creation.
While it is generally recognized by scholars that millions of kulaks were exterminated, as an ethnic class, there are those who question this. The Ukrainian famine, its causes and extent, are debated among academics. Prof. Grover Furr, a Stalinist, is particularly insistent in attempting to refute the allegation. That is his prerogative, and if he has new and credible evidence he should be encouraged to publish it. Why should those scholars, who question at least one aspect of the Jewish Holocaust, be denied the same opportunities, and be criminalized?
Many Tibetans and others allege that the Chinese regime, which the New Zealand Government is so eager of cultivate, is pursuing a policy of genocide, including the displacement of ethnic Tibetans by Han. For example, the debate goes typically:
The Dalai Lama has called Chinese policy in Tibet “cultural genocide.” Many think that traditional Tibet is unlikely to survive in a meaningful way simply because there are too many Chinese and too few Tibetans. The historian Ian Buruma wrote in the Los Angeles Times: “Are the Tibetans doomed to go the way of the American Indians? Will they be little more than tourist attraction, peddling cheap mementos of what was once a great culture?”
Some Chinese argue that the Chinese have more of claim on Tibet than Americans have on much of the United States. China and Tibet have a relationship that goes back centuries which is more than Americans can say about their relationship with native Americans. In the 1940s, native Alaskans made up more than half of the population of Alaska. Now they make up about 15 percent as a result of migration of people from the people from the lower 48 states. Does that mean that the United States practices “cultural genocide.”
Would one risk prosecution for questioning the widely held view that the Chinese are attempting genocide against the Tibetans? Conversely, could one also be prosecuted for anti-Chinese “racism” for stating that such genocide is taking place?
Most scholars agree that the Morgenthau Plan, enacted de facto by the USA during the first few years following World War II, was intended to exterminate the bulk of the German ethnos and ensure that Germany could not reconstitute as a nation. Ironically, Deborah Lipstadt, whose book, Denying the Holocaust, seems to be the origin of the term “holocaust denial,” claims that “the plan was never put into effect.” She is therefore a Morgenthau denier. Would those who claim that genocide against the Germans did not occur, be subject to these proposed laws on “genocide denial,” or is it really only intended for those who question details of the Jewish Holocaust?
There are those who insist that Israel intends to commit genocide and ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians. Will the new law prohibit Zionist apologists such as Dov Bing from “denying the Palestinian genocide”?
The proposed law reportedly states that it would prohibit “denying verified genocides.” How can a “verified genocide” be enshrined into law in perpetuity? It would be countered by some interests that the genocide of Tibetans, Ukrainian kulaks, and Germans is not “verified,” but that genocide against Jews is. The whole matter becomes subjective, or to repeat what Prof. Chomsky had stated: “facts determined, presumably, by some board of commissars or a reconstituted Inquisition.”
The scholarly approach would be to allow all such accusations to be open to debate. The supporters of such legislation to inhibit debate will proclaim that “Holocaust denial,” itself a term meaningless for scholarly purposes, is solely intended to serve apologists for Hitlerism or anti-Semitism. There are those, as indicated above, who also claim that accusations of genocide against Ukrainians or Tibetans are propaganda to serve “anti-communist” or capitalistic interests.
Will the law be applied equitably? Experience shows that whenever such laws are enacted, they are not applied equitably.
As mentioned, the term is meaningless and intended to stifle debate. In fact, the individual who seems to have coined the term, Deborah Lipstadt, will not debate her detractors. Any debate is shut-down by claiming that “holocaust deniers” are neo-Nazis, and without scholarly merit.
In reality, the founders of what can more accurately be termed “holocaust revisionism” as a branch of a broader revisionism, were socialist academics; namely, Dr. Harry Elmer Barnes, a leading American historian, and Dr. Paul Rassinier, a Socialist Deputy in the French Assembly and a decorated French resistance hero, who had been interned in Buchenwald and Dora. Rassinier’s experiences during internment did not accord with what was being alleged after the war.
Dov Bing, a supposed New Zealand expert on holocaust denial and an unscrupulous lie-monger, states out one side of his mouth that holocaust revisionism is to “make National Socialism acceptable,” while out the other side stating that it was perpetuated in France “by an obscure group of post-war Trotskyites led by Rassinier,” who denounced the Holocaust as “Stalinist atrocity propaganda.”
Would a discussion or citing of Dr. Rassinier’s concentration camp reminisces be liable to prosecution? Would a New Zealander posting Dr Barnes’ Blasting the Historical Blackout, a scholarly evaluation of A. J. P. Taylor’s Origins of the Second World War, on a website, be liable to prosecution?
Would the following be liable to prosecution, for example, if posted on the internet:
- Pointing out that in 1989 the death toll at Auschwitz was officially reduced from 4 million to 1.5 million; the figure that is on the new plaque as of 1995.
- Pointing out that scholars such as Jean-Claude Pressac and Fritjof Meyer, who are definitely not “holocaust deniers’ “have concluded that the figure of Auschwitz deaths was 700,000 and 550,000 respectively?
- Pointing out that until 1960, all German concentration camps were said to be extermination camps, but that year Dr. Martin Broszat of the Institute for Contemporary History in Germany acknowledged that this was incorrect?
- Pointing out the fraudulent nature of certain ‘holocaust memoirs’ such as that of the prize-winning, much-lauded Fragments by Binjamin Wilkomirski (a.k.a. Bruno Doessekker)?
- Pointing out that elderly folk (e.g. Frank Walus) have been convicted of “war crimes” in relation to “The Holocaust,” on the basis of perjured testimony, and even although found innocent on appeal, have nonetheless been ruined financially and physically, while those responsible due to their perjury, have not been held to account?
- Pointing out that according to Prof. Yehuda Bauer, head of Hebrew University’s Holocaust history department, the widely accepted view that Germans manufactured soap from the fat of exterminated Jews, is incorrect?
There are those, including supposedly reputable academics, who would presumably state that this letter constitutes “Holocaust denial’; such is their bigoted political agenda.
Harassment of Scholars
I could continue with hundreds of such questions that can be posed by anyone interested in an objective assessment of such matters. My point is not to present a case in regard to “holocaust revisionism” one way or another. My concern is in regard to the stifling of scholarly research under the guise of prohibiting anti-Semitism, etc., and as to whether such questions as those posed above, will constitute thought crime? There are many who claim that criticism of Israel is disguised anti-Semitism. The matter of so-called holocaust denial is treated in the same manner by the same interests.
The effect of such laws overseas has been to prosecute and frankly persecute credible scholars who question at least some aspect of what has for many become a dogma. The nearest case in point is the plight of Dr. F. Toben, who has lived most of his life in Australia, and had part of his education in New Zealand at Canterbury University. He has been jailed and bankrupted by years of vexatious litigation, for reporting on his own perspective of concentration camps such as Auschwitz, which he has visited. The same can be said of German-Canadian Ernst Zundel, French academic Robert Faurisson, veteran French communist philosopher Roger Gaurady, and many others who are neither neo-Nazis, nor violent yobs, but credible scholars who have been fined, jailed, deported, beaten, and bankrupted for questioning some aspect of what is apparently supposed to be revealed wisdom.
I hope that the New Zealand Government will not be bulldozed and bamboozled into ratifying a far-reaching law that, under the guise of combating international cyber-crime, has a clause that defines what is acceptable in regard to scholarly research, and will — deceptively — suppress freedom of thought through the back door.
I hope that the agreement on cyber crime might be ratified by New Zealand with a proviso that the clause intended to criminalize scholarly research is not acceptable and breaches the Bill of Rights.
1. “Holocaust denial may become illegal in NZ,” Dominion Post, 24 August 2011, A9, http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/5495477/Holocaust-denial-may-become-illegal-in-NZ
2. “Joel Hayward’s Old Website,” http://www.joelhayward.com/
3. Example, the Roel Van Leeuwen thesis fraud, Waikato University, 2008.
4. My emphasis.
5. Noam Chomsky, “His right to say it,” The Nation, 28 February 1981, http://www.chomsky.info/articles/19810228.htm
6. “The Black Book of Communism Debunked,” The Maoist Rebel News, 10 August 2011, http://maoistrebelnews.wordpress.com/2011/08/10/the-black-book-of-communism-debunked/
7. “The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine,” http://www.artukraine.com/famineart/bibliography.htm Note that the Ukrainian famine is referred by these academics as “genocide.”
8 “China and Tibet: Repression, Migration, Aid and Money,” Facts and Details, http://factsanddetails.com/china.php?itemid=202&catid=6&subcatid=37
9. D. Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (London: Penguin, 1994), p. 44.
10. “Palestinian Genocide,” http://sites.google.com/site/palestiniangenocide/
11. D Bing, ‘The techniques of holocaust denial’, New Zealand Jewish Chronicle, Wellington, April 2000.
12. P. Rassinier, Debunking the Genocide Myth (Costa Mesa, Cal.: Noontide Press, 1978).
13. Dr. R. Faurisson, “How many deaths at Auschwitz?,” http://www.vho.org/tr/2003/1/Faurisson17-23.html
14. Dr. R. Faurisson, ibid.
15. “Wiesenthal re-confirms ‘No extermination camps on German soil’,” Institute for Historical Review, http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v13/v13n3p-9_Staff.html
16. “Fragment of a Fraud,” The Guardian, 15 October 1999, http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/1999/oct/15/features11.g24
17. Dick Chapman, “A life ruined by Nazi hunt,” Toronto Star, 13 April 1983, http://www.telusplanet.net/public/mozuz/slepokura/slepokura20050924TorontoStar.html
18. Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Tel Aviv, “Soap story discounted,” Jewish Press, 7 May 1990.
19. Example, the Trotskyite compulsive liar and smear-monger Dr. Scott Hamilton, presented by the news media as an “expert on holocaust denial” in New Zealand.
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