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Shofar FTP Archive File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day001.07


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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