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 œ100,000 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 œ7,500. 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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