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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day001.03


Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day001.03
Last-Modified: 2000/07/20


        This happy situation, namely having my works
        published in the leading publishing houses of the world,

                                                        [Page 17]



        ended a year ago, a year or two ago, under circumstance
        which I shall venture, if your Lordship permits, to
set
        out later in my remarks.  Suffice it to say that this
very
        day, during the night, the Australia/Israel Review has
        published in Sydney, Australia, a presumably well-
informed
        article (of which I have provided a copy to your
Lordship;
        I have marked the sentence on which I rely) coming as
it
        does from their corner, which provides one missing
link in
        the circumstances under which St Martin's Press
finally
        terminated their contract to publish my book,
"Goebbels.
        Mastermind of the Third Reich".  I quote:
                   "... One of the catalysts for the case was
        Irving's", they are talking about this action today,
         "experience with American publisher, St Martin's
Press,
        which, after being warned by Lipstadt and others about
        Irving's approach to history, then cancelled its
agreement
        to publish Irving's book 'Goebbels.  Mastermind of the
        Third Reich' in the United States."
                  So these Defendants have done very real
damage
        to my professional existence.  May I, first of all,
set
        out the very real pecuniary damage which can be done
to an
        author in general terms, my Lord, by an attack on his
        reputation.  It is not merely that he suffers injury
and
        hurt to his feelings from unjustified attacks,
whatever
        their nature; an author, by virtue of his trade, lives
a
        precarious financial existence.  A tenured professor
or

.          P-18



        other scholar can look forward to a brief career,
lengthy
        vacations, high rewards and eventually a pension.
Perhaps
        some members of the legal profession enjoy the same
        fortunate expectations.
                  A writer leads a much lonelier and more
        hazardous existence.  When he first embarks on his
career
        he may write a string of works that are never
published.
        I was fortunate in this respect.  When I first started
        advertising in The Times in 1961, inviting British
airmen
        who had taken part in the principal operations of
Royal
        Air Force Bomber Command to come forward, among those
who
        contacted me was Mr William Kimber, a publisher of
great
        repute, who himself felt deeply about the ethical
        questions raised by these saturation bombing
operations.
                  I , therefore, did not have the usual
problem
        that faces most first time authors, namely that of
        crossing the difficult threshold from being an
unpublished
        to a published author.  My first book, "The
Destruction of
        Dresden" was serialised by The Sunday Telegraph and
        attracted much critical acclaim.  It was only then
that
        I took the perhaps fateful decision to become a
writer.
                  If I may now advance rapidly some 20 or 30
years
        (and I sense the court's relief) I would repeat a
brief
        conversation I had with my accountant at a time when I
was
        earning more than 100,000 a year.  My accountant, no
        doubt with his eye on the commission involved, asked
what

.          P-19



        steps I had taken in anticipation of retirement.  My
        immodest reply was that I did not intend to retire,
and
        when he murmured something about pensions, I replied
that
        my books were my pension fund.
                  If I may explain that remark?  If an author
has
        written a good book, it will be published and
republished,
        and on each occasion a fresh ripple of royalties
reaches
        the author's bank account.  Admittedly, the ripples
become
        smaller as the years progress, as the years recede,
but if
        he his written enough books in his 30 or 40 years of
        creativity, then the ripples together make waves large
        enough to sustain him into and beyond the years of
        retirement.  Indeed, they should also provide
something of
        a legacy for his children of whom I still have four.
                  That situation no longer obtains, my Lord.
By
        virtue of the activities of the Defendants, in
particular
        of the Second Defendant, and of those who funded her
and
        guided her hand, I have since 1996 seen one fearful
        publisher after another falling away from me,
declining to
        reprint my works, refusing to accept new commissions
and
        turning their backs on me when I approach.
                  In private, the senior editors at those
        publishing houses still welcome me warmly as a friend
and
        they invite me to lunch in expensive New York
restaurants,
        and then lament that if they were to sign a contract
with
        me on a new book, there would always be somebody in
their

.          P-20



        publishing house who would object; such is the nature
of
        the odium that has been generated by the waves of
hatred
        recklessly propagated against me by the Defendants.
                  In short, my "pension" has vanished, as
        assuredly as if I had been employed by one of those
        companies taken over by the late Mr Robert Maxwell.
                  I am not submitting that it is these
Defendants
        alone who have single handedly wrought this disaster
upon
        me.  I am not even denying that I may have been partly
to
        blame for it myself.
                  Had I written books about the Zulu Wars, as
the
        Air Ministry earnestly advised me back in 1963, when
my
        book "The Destruction of Dresden" was first published,
        I would, no doubt, not have faced this hatred.
                  Unfortunately, World War II became my area
of
        expertise.  I generated a personal archive of
documents, a
        network of sources and contacts, a language ability, a
        facility to research in foreign archives and
eventually a
        constituency of readers who expected and wanted me to
        write only about the Third Reich and its criminal
        leadership.
                  What obliges me to make these sweeping
opening
        remarks is that I shall maintain that the Defendants
did
        not act alone in their determination to destroy my
career
        and to vandalise my legitimacy as an historian.  That
is a
        phrase that I would ask your Lordship to bear in mind.

.          P-21



                  They were part of an organized international
        endeavour at achieving precisely that.  I have seen
the
        papers.  I have copies of the documents.  I shall show
        them to this court.  I know they did it and I now know
        why.
                  Nearly all of these villains acted beyond
the
        jurisdiction of these courts.  Some of them, however,
        acted within, and I have on one disastrous occasion
tried
        to proceed against them too.
                  I mention here (and only in a few words)
that
        one example:  as the court will, no doubt, hear, I was
        expelled in the most demeaning circumstances from
Canada
        in November 1992.  I need not go into the background
of
        that event here, but I shall certainly do so later if
in
        their attempts to blacken my name further the
Defendants
        indulge in that exercise in this court.
                  Seeking to establish why Canada, a friendly
        government of a country which I had entered unhindered
for
        30 years or more, should suddenly round upon me as
        savagely as a rottweiler, I used all the appliances of
        Canadian law to establish what had gone on behind
closed
        doors.
                  I discovered in the files of the Canadian
        Government, using that country's Access to Information
        Act, a mysterious and anonymous document blackening my
        name had been planted there for the purpose of
procuring

.          P-22



        precisely the ugly consequence that had flowed from it
in
        1992.
                  Stupid lies, among the stupid lies that this
        anonymous document contained about me was the
suggestion
        that I had married my first wife because she was "the
        daughter of one of General Francisco Franco's top
        generals" in order to ingratiate myself with the
Spanish
        fascist regime.  Another suggestion was that I lived
too
        well for an author -- I have lived for 32 years, over
32
        years, in the same house off Grosvenor Square, my Lord
--
        and that to sustain such a level of living purely from
my
        income as an author was impossible; the implication
being
        that I was receiving secret cheques from Nazi
fugitives in
        South America.
                   I telephoned my first wife to ask her what
her
        father had been.  She reminded me that he was an
        industrial chemist, a dedicated enemy of the regime
after
        two of his brothers had been shot by Franco's men.  So
        that was the true story.
                  It took over a year to establish beyond a
doubt
        who was the author of this infamous document.  It
turned
        out to have been provided secretly to the Canadian
        Government by an unofficial body based in London whose
        name I do not propose to state in this court here, my
        Lord, as they are not formally represented in this
        action.

.          P-23



                  Suffice it to say that when I applied to a
judge
        in chambers for leave to take libel action out of
time,
        the culprits made no attempt to justify their libels,
but
        pleaded that the Statute of Limitations had run, which
        plea was allowed, though I maintain with regret, by
        Toulson J.  The mendacious body concerned then had the
        temerity to pursue me to the threshold of the
Bankruptcy
        Court for the legal costs it had incurred in that one
day
        hearing, amounting to over 7,500.  It is a rough
life,
        being an independent author, my Lord.
                  This brings us to the present case.  In
1993,
        the First Defendant (as they allow in their witness
        statements) published "Denying the Holocaust", the
work
        complained of, within the jurisdiction, written by the
        Second Defendant.
                  The book purports to be a scholarly
        investigation of the operations of an international
        network or conspiracy of people whom the Second
Defendant
        has dubbed "Holocaust Deniers".  It is not.  The
phrase
        itself, which the Second Defendant prides herself on
        having coined and crafted, appears repeatedly
throughout
        the work and it has subsequently become embedded in
the
        vernacular of a certain kind of journalist who wishes
to
        blacken the name of some person, where the more usual
        rhetoric of neo-Nazi, Nazi or racist and other similar
        epithets is no longer deemed adequate.  Indeed, the
phrase

.          P-24



        appears over 300 times in just one of the Defendants'
        experts reports, "Holocaust denier", 300 times in one
        report, my Lord.
                  It has become one of the most potent phrases
in
        the arsenal of insult, replacing the N-word, the F-
word
        and a whole alphabet of other slurs.  If an American
        politician, like Mr Patrick Mr Buchanan, is branded
even
        briefly a "Holocaust denier", his career can well be
said
        to be in ruins.  If a writer, no matter how well
reviewed
        and received until then, has that phrase stuck to him,
        then he too can regard his career as rumbling off the
edge
        of a precipice.
                  As a phrase, it is of itself quite
meaningless.
        The word "Holocaust" is an artificial label commonly
        attached to one of the greatest and still most
unexplained
        tragedies of this century.
                  The word "denier" is particularly evil
because
        no person in full command of his mental faculties, and
        with even the slightest understanding of what happened
in
        World War II, can deny that the tragedy actually
happened,
        however much we dissident historians way wish to
quibble
        about the means, the scale, the dates and the other
        minutia.
                  Yet meaningless though it is, the phrase has
        become a part of the English language.  It is a poison
to
        which there is virtually no anti-dote, less lethal
than a

.          P-25



        hypodermic with nerve gas jabbed in the neck, but
deadly
        all the same.  For the chosen victim, it is like being
        called a wife beater or a paedophile.  It is enough
for
        the label to be attached for the attachee to find
himself
        designated as a pariah, an outcast from normal
society.
        It is a verbal Yellow Star.
                  In many countries now where it was
considered
        that the mere verbal labelling was not enough,
governments
        have been prevailed upon to pass the most questionable
        laws, including some which can only be considered a
total
        infringement of the normal rights of free speech, free
        opinion and freedom of assembly.
                  Germany has not had an enviable reputation
in
        any of these freedoms over the last century, my Lord.

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