Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day001.07 Last-Modified: 2000/07/20 Even as I speak of Weidenfeld, it reminds me that during the 1960s and 1970s I became vaguely aware of forces gathering to oppose me. George had originally bought the rights to publish my biography of "Hitler's War". At some stage Weidenfeld's repudiated the contract. Publishers can always find an excuse, a loophole to do so if they want, and I was not unhappy as it gave me the chance to offer it to an equally prestigious Publishing House, Messrs Hodder & Stoughton, for an even larger fee. At the Frankfurt book fair on October 13th 1973 . P-52 -- my diary entry relates the whole of this -- George Weidenfeld sat next to me at dinner and lamented after a few cocktails his mistake in "tearing up" the contract for "Hitler's War". When I asked him why he had done so, he explained: "I had to do so. I came under pressure from three Embassies. One of them was a NATO power", which I took to be Germany, "one of them was France and the other was Israel". It is right that I should state here, and the correspondence shows, that he later denied having said this, but I took a very detailed diary note that same night, which is in my discovery, the bundle of which - - it is marked "Global" -- we shall look at briefly over the next few days, if your Lordship pleases. So it became gradually evident (and I have to emphasise that I cannot pin down any particular year in which I finally realized that I was being victimized by this hidden campaign) that I was the target of a hidden international attempt to exclude me, if it could be done, from publishing further works of history. It did not affect my attitude towards the Jews in the way that people might expect it to. I did not go on the stump, up and down the land, vituperating against them. I merely made a mental note that I had to be on the look-out for trouble. Such trouble had already begun . P-53 in November 1963 when a three-man squad of burglars, evidently at the commission of the English body to whom I earlier made reference, my Lord, was caught red- handed by the police, whom I had alerted, as they raided my North London apartment, disguised as telephone engineers and equipped with stolen GPO passes. There is a reason why I mention this. The leader of that gang (whose name I shall not mention as he is not represented in this court) told the police that he had hoped to find my secret correspondence with Hitler's henchman, Mr Martin Bormann! Perhaps I ought to add that there is no secret correspondence with Bormann. I mention this episode for a reason, my Lord. This gentleman subsequently became editor of a left wing "Anti-Fascist" machine called "Searchlight", and he has made it his lifelong task over the intervening 30 years to take his malicious revenge upon me for the criminal conviction which he earned as a result of his felony. His magazine repeatedly inveighed against me, reporting sometimes true, often part true, but usually totally fictitious rumours about my activities and alleged "Nazi" connections around the world in an attempt to blacken my name. I will not say that the rumours are all untrue, my Lord. They never are. I believe Mr Winston Churchill . P-54 once famously said: "The world is full of the most dreadful stories and rumours about me, and the damnable thing about them is that most of them are true!" At least, so rumour has it. But the untrue ones about me are the ones that have a habit of surfacing again and again with their original polish undimmed. I mention this case, as the Defendants here seek to rely heavily on the outpouring of this troubled soul, the editor of "Searchlight". The court might wonder why I took no action against this journal or, indeed, any of the other parties who had defamed me over the years. One of the things that Mr Rubinstein, like Mr Kimber, my publisher, dinned into me very early on was to avoid at all costs taking libel action. My Lord, I am sure I do not need to labour the reasons why in this opening statement. Suffice it to say that I had already realized by 1970, at the time of the "Convoy PQ17" libel action -- that is Broome v. Cassell -- that libel actions are time consuming, costly and vexatious, and are indeed in the words of the cliche "to be avoided like the plague". Besides, this particular magazine had no assets, so any type of litigation would have been quite pointless. I might add that only once in recent years have I been forced to take action in this jurisdiction . P-55 under the Defamation Act against a major national newspaper four or five years ago, which resulted in an immediate settlement out of court which I can only describe as most satisfactory. The terms of this settlement are covered by the usual Court Order, though I fancy they are known to the Defendants here who asked for, and were given, full disclosure of the relevant papers. It will become evident to this court from the evidence that I lead over the next few days, my Lord, that the international community started to intensify its campaign to destroy me and to truncate my career as an author either before or at about the same time as The Viking Press and other publishers published my well- known biography of Adolf Hitler, "Hitler's War", which was 1997. The court will be shown at least one internal document, dated April 1977, which I have identified as emanating from the Washington files of the so-called Anti-Defamation League, a part of the B'nai Brith, in the United States, which reveals quite unabashedly how they tried to pressure television producers to cancel invitations to me to discuss "Hitler's War" book on their programmes. It failed. The programme in question went ahead and the ADL noted, aghast, in a secret memorandum that I was well versed in the matters of history, a . P-56 formidable opponent who could not, however, be called anti-Semitic. I would have to be destroyed by other means. This is a document in my discovery. By various entirely legal means, I obtained several such disturbing documents from within their files. From them and, in particular, from their details registered out the Data Protection Act in this country, it appears that these bodies, which are also embedded in our society in Britain and elsewhere, have seen their task, unbidden, as being to spy upon members of our society, to maintain dossiers on us all, and to deploy those dossiers when necessary to smite those of us of whom they disapprove. As the court will see, the dossiers are explicitly designed to hold such material on the subjects' personal lives, criminal records, credit delinquencies, marital difficulties, dietary habits and even sexual proclivities. That is what we know from their details of registration. It is not anti-Semitic to reveal this. The spying and smearing by these bodies goes on against fellow Jew and non-Jew alike. The Jewish writer, Noam Chomsky, relates that he found, quite by chance, that they were "monitoring" (for that is the word they use) him too. Several of our own most notable personalities . P-57 have already commented on this unsavoury element of British life. In an article in a UK magazine, the writer, Mr Auberon Waugh, remarked upon how he too inadvertently found that such a file was being kept on him. May I add that these "dossiers" provided by this London body to the Canadians, to the Anti-Defamation League, and to various similar bodies in Australia, South Africa and elsewhere, have been drawn upon heavily and without question by the Defendants in this action, which my justification, I submit, for drawing your Lordship's attention to this disturbing and sleazy background. When I attempted to take the libel action against the London-based body that I have mentioned, its Director, Mr Michael Whine, admitted in an affidavit that his body had taken upon itself to "monitor" -- here is that word again -- my activities, as he called them, for many years. He also freely admitted that when secretly called upon by his Canadian associates in 1992 to provide them with a smear dossier for the purposes of destroying my presence in Canada by planting it in government files in Ottawa, he willingly agreed to do so. This is how that file turned up in Canadian Government resources; which in turn is how it came into my hands, years later, through lengthy "Access to Information Act" procedures; otherwise I would never have known why I found myself being taken in handcuffs aboard an Air Canada . P-58 flight in 1992, after 30 years as an honoured visitor in that country and deported, an event to which the Defendants make gleeful reference in their book "Denying the Holocaust". I may be rather naive, but this kind of thing offends me as an Englishman, as no doubt the idea will offend many of those present in court 37 today. The notion that a non-Governmental body, unofficial body, equipped evidently with limitless financial resources, can take it upon itself to spy upon law-abiding members of the community for the purpose of destroying them is one that I find discomfiting. I have never done it to my fellow human beings. I can think only of the wartime Gestapo and its offshoots in Nazi-occupied Europe as a body engaged in similar practices. It is an offensive and ugly comparison, I warrant, and one that I have never made before, but in a legal battle of this magnitude, I consider it necessary to use ammunition of the proper calibre. My Lord, I will now come to the matter of the glass microfiche plates containing the diaries of the Nazi propaganda Minister, Dr Joseph Goebbels. Your Lordship will have seen from the Statement of Claim that the Defendants have accused me of having improperly obtained these glass plates from the Moscow -- it was in 1992 - - or damaged them. . P-59 May I set out some of the antecedents of this matter? Your Lordship will, perhaps, remember the widespread newspaper sensation that was caused by the revelation at the beginning of July 1992 that I had succeeded in retrieving from the former KGB archives in Moscow the long last diaries of Dr Joseph Goebbels, a close confidant of Adolf Hitler and his propaganda minister and, indeed, his successor as Reich Chancellor. I may see here that scholars have been searching for a number of diaries ever since the end of World War II. I would mention here only the example of the diaries of Hitler's Intelligence Chief, Vice-Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, in the search for which I was concerned in the 1960s and 1970s. (The Canaris diaries offered to myself and Messrs William Collins Limited on that occasion turned out to be fake, which I established by the use of the appropriate forensic laboratory in the City of London, Messrs Hehner & Cox). Forensic tests are to play quite a large part in these current proceedings too. In writing my own biographies of the leading Nazis, I have attached importance to primary sources, like the original diaries which they wrote at the time. When I have found these documents, as many scholars know, I have invariably and without delay donated them (or copies of them) either to the German Federal Archives in Koblenz or . P-60 to the Institute fur Zeitgeschichte, which is the Institute of Contemporary History in Munich. In the case of the Goebbels' diaries, after I retrieved them from Moscow, I additionally gave a set of copies to the archives of Monchen-Gladbach, his home town, where they maintain a collection of Goebbels' documents, the municipal archives.
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