Archive/File: people/i/irving.david/libel.suit/transcripts/day032.06 Last-Modified: 2000/07/25 And "that the true or legal innuendo of the word 'Hizbollah' is that used to refer to and describe a known international terrorist organization ... in the Lebanon, also known as Hizbollah whose guerrillas kill Israel citizens and soldiers ... provoking retaliation, and which organization has been determined by President Clinton ... as being among the enemies of peace and, whose officials and armed activists are now being hunted down by the ... Israeli army". As for the Hamas, much the same, I set out in paragraph 12 of my statement of claim that "the true or legal unnuendo of the words 'Hammas' is that of an Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organization similar in nature to the Hizbollah". I submitted to your Lordship at the beginning of this trial a representative selection of news reports from reputable, reliable outlets, including the BBC, on the murderous nature of the organizations involved, concerned. In my pleadings I also argued that by these . P-59 allegations I had "been brought into hatred, ridicule, contempt, risk of personal injury and/or assassination". I know, my Lord, the law of defamation has no concern for people's personal safety, but it certainly has concern for their reputation; and the allegation that I was consorting with the violent extremist body who goes around with machine guns and bombs and bullets is substantially more serious, in my view, than the allegation that I consort with people who use their fountain pens to disseminate crack pot ideas. In my pleadings -- the nature of the libel, and the damage that it caused, hardly needed arguing in detail here. Put in into domestic context, if the Defendants, if the Defendants, had equally untruthfully stated, for example, in a Channel 4 television documentary (and there is a reason why I say that) that I had consorted with Ulster loyalist death squads who were part of a conspiracy to murder Roman Catholic nationalists, itself a grave accusation which would also put me at risk of assassination, and if the Defendants made no attempt to justify that libel, then I respectfully submit that your Lordship would have no hesitation giving judgment in my favour. I submit there is no difference fundamentally between these examples. Now, I was going to say that the Defendants have relied on section 5 of the Defamation Act, but . P-60 I understand from what Mr Rampton said yesterday that they are not relying on that section 5 at all, my Lord. MR JUSTICE GRAY: No, I do not think that is quite right. I think what he said was that they say they do not need section 5, that is their primary position, but that if they do need it, then, indeed, they rely on it. So do not assume that it has disappeared out of the picture because it has not. MR IRVING: In that case, I will leave it as I originally wrote. I am aware that your Lordship is also capable, of course, of putting something in section 5 if you consider it to come under section 5. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I probably would be, but that I believe to Mr Rampton's position. MR IRVING: This is not the place to make a submission, but my position is that there is no common sting between those allegations. They are totally different kinds of extremism. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Elaborate on that later. MR IRVING: In other words, they accuse a respectable Englishman of consorting with terrorists and murderers, and then plead the relative insignificance of the accusation when it turns out to be a reckless lie. And there are other incendiary lies which they have stuffed into that particular sand-bucket, section 5 of the Defamation Act, in the hope that they will sputter out: . P-61 the Defendants repeated the story in that book - first published in Izvestia - that I placed a portrait of Adolf Hitler over my desk. For that lie -- I have had hundreds of journalists visiting me over the 30 years and never once has that picture occurred to any of them for there is no such picture. For that lie too they have offered no justification. I read incidentally recently in Literary Review that Lloyd George had signed photographs of both Hitler and Mussolini on display, and that was a British Prime Minister. The only signed paragraph in my apartment, as many journalists have observed, is one of Sir Winston Churchill. So I submit that your Lordship should not accept the Defendants' contention, if they wish to stand by it, that these allegations should be disregarded on the basis of section 5. Even if they could sufficiently justify their claim that I deliberately bent history in favour of Hitler, and I do not believe they can, I submit that they have not, it would still "materially injure the plaintiff's reputation", which is the word of the Act, section 5, to say that I had a portrait of Hitler above my desk. The claims which they do seek to justify suggest that I am culpably careless and (perhaps unconsciously) sympathetic to Hitler; bad enough, bad enough, but having a portrait of that man -- I am sorry, having a portrait of that man above my desk implies a full-hearted 100 per cent . P-62 conscious commitment to that man, which is very different. I have provided your Lordship on an earlier occasion in one bundle a number of passages quoted from AJP Taylor's works, a very famous English historian and writer. Taylor himself accepted that they inevitably improved Hitler's image -- the words that Taylor had written -- maybe he did not originate the actual mass murders himself, wrote Taylor; maybe he did slip into war with Britain rather than planning it; maybe the Anschluss with Austria was more a stroke of good fortune, which he grasped, rather than long planned as a take-over; maybe the Nazis did not burn down the Reichstag building in 1933. These views of Taylor have been criticised as being wrong, even as being too sympathetic to Hitler. But everybody would accept that to suggest that Taylor had a portrait of Hitler "over his desk" would suggest something far worse. So it should be for me too. Again, for the purpose of section 5, the allegation that I bend history in favour of Hitler because I am said to admire him, and that I consort with other people holding such views, is a very different kettle of fish from stating, as the Defendants do, that I consort with people who are widely regarded as violent and murderous terrorists. I continue now from the bottom of the page: . P-63 My Lord, the Court will be aware from the very outset I argued that this hearing should not, effectively, leave the four walls of my study, where I wrote my books; and that what actually happened 50 or 60 years ago was of less moment to the issues as pleaded. The matter at issue, as pleaded by the Defendants, is not what happened, but what I knew of it, and what I made of it, at the time I put pen to paper. We had some argument on that matter, my Lord. To take crude example: neglecting to use the Eichmann memoirs, releases to us only a few days ago, had they contained startling revelations - which they did not - could not have been held against me because they were not available to me in the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s. But your Lordship took a different view and I respectfully submit that it was wrong. MR JUSTICE GRAY: May I interrupt you again? I do not think that is right. I think everybody agrees that the Eichmann memoirs, because they have surfaced so late, really have no bearing on this trial at all. MR IRVING: I gave that as a particularly crude example of why what mattered was what happened in the walls of my study as I wrote, what was on my desk, so to speak, and not what actually happened. MR JUSTICE GRAY: I see. MR IRVING: Your Lordship took a different view, and I respectfully submit that it was wrong. The Defendants . P-64 have invested a sizeable fortune in reresearching the Holocaust, and possibly for that reason we have all been dragged through that vast and inhuman tragedy yet again, because of the money spent on it now, and again quite needlessly, in my submission. It would have sufficed for their purposes if they could have proved, on the basis of the total disclose of my files which I made to them and their experts, that I had indeed "distorted, misstated, misquoted and falsified", their words. Fearing or finding, however, that they were unable to prove wilful fraud, in effect, in my submission, they have fallen back on the alternative plea in the tort of negligence: that "Mr Irving ought to have known". I respectfully submit that this unsettle change of defence should not have been allowed to them, it should not have been available to them, as it was not pleaded at the outset. It has to be specifically pleaded, in my submission, my Lord, at the time. If my submission on the law is, however, wrong, then your Lordship must ask what effort would have been reasonable on the part of an individual historian, acting without institutional support like that of Yad Vashem, and with the doors of the archives increasingly being slammed against him because of the activities of the bodies to which I shall shortly refer. What it would have been reasonable to expect me to do to find out what happened? . P-65 These Defendants have reportedly spent some $6 million, and 20 man-years or more, in researching this case: this blinding and expensive spotlight has been focused on the narrowest of issues, yet it has still generated more noise than illumination. I heard the expert witnesses who were paraded before us use phrases like the "consensus of expert opinion" as their source so often - in fact, I did a check, the word "consensus" occurs 40 times in the daily transcripts of this trial - that I began to wonder what the archives were for. I suggest that these experts were more expert in reporting each other's opinions and those of people who agree with them than in what the archives actually contain and what they do not contain which is equally important. The phrase "Holocaust denier", which the Second Defendant boasts of having invented, is an Orwellian stigma. It is not a very helpful phrase. It does not diminish or extend thought or knowledge on this tragic subject. Its universal adoption within the space of a few years by media, academia government and even academics seems to indicate something of the international endeavour of which I shall shortly make brief mention. It is, in my submission, a key to the whole case. Perhaps this court should raise its gaze briefly from the red and blue files and bundles that are around the court room of documents for a brief moment, and re-read George Orwell's appendix . P-66 to "1984", which seems very relevant to this case. From the witness box, with its revelations of the "consensus of opinion", and "moral certainty", and the mass male voice choir of the "social sciences" that we heard about from Professor Funke, on which the Defendant's German expert, Professor Hajo Funke, relies for his certainty, his certainty, as to what is right-wing extremism, we seem hear more than a vague echo of Orwellian Newspeak -- a language that moulds minds, and destroys reputations and livelihoods. Orwell was wrong in one point: he thought it would take the forces of the State to impose Newspeak: Professor Lipstadt and her reckless publishers Penguin Books Limited -- I shall justify that adjective -- have sought to impose it through the machinery of the literary and media establishments. Only the Royal Courts of Justice here in London, independent and proud, can protect the rights of the individual from now on. And those rights include the right, as Lord Justice Sedley recently put it in another Court in this building, of any person to hold to, and to preach, unpopular views, perhaps even views that many might find repellent. My Lord, I have not hesitated myself to stand here in the witness box and to answer questions. Mr Rampton rose to the occasion, and he, or indeed I, may yet regret it. Your Lordship will recall that, when . P-67 I brought a somewhat reluctant and even curmudgeonly Professor Donald Watt, who is not the Professor I mentioned earlier incidentally, doyen of the diplomatic historians, into the witness box, he used these words: "I must say, I hope that I am never subjected to the kind of examination that Mr Irving's books have been subjected to by the defence witnesses. I have a very strong feeling that there are other senior historical figures, including some to whom I owed a great deal of my own career, whose work would not stand up, or not all of whose work would stand up, to this kind of examination". I am not throwing myself on the charity of this court, my Lord, but I am asking that the court should be reasonable in the standards that it sets. That effectively is a line that Professor Watt has supported me in. It is fair to say, of course, that I had to subpoena Donald Watt. MR JUSTICE GRAY: Yes, I am aware. MR IRVING: When I invited him to mention some names, of course, he declined. What he was saying was that whatever mistakes or whatever unconventional interpretations of mine, the Defendants have revealed with their multi-million dollar research, and I am going to admit some mistakes that I have made, not many, this does not invalidate me as an historian, or my historical methods and conclusions. . P-68 Your Lordship will find that Professor Watt continued by suggesting that simply by facing the challenge of the views that I had put forward, "and basing them on historical research rather than idealogical conviction," this had resulted in other historians devoting an "enormous burst of research" to the Nazi massacres of the Jews, an area which can now in consequence support journals and conferences. He said, "This, I think, is a direct result of the challenge which Mr Irving's work posed and the consistency and the effort which he has put into maintaining it in public". In other words, I forced the others to do their homework finally at last. In other words, Watt stated that, far from being a Holocaust denier, my work has directly increased historical research into, and the understanding of, the Holocaust. The German Professor Eberhard Jaeckel made the same controversial -- and he is no friend of mine, of course -- point in his essay in the book published by the Us Holocaust Memorial Museum a year or two ago, namely that before my book Hitler's War was published in 1977, the first edition, there had been virtually no meaningful research into the tragedy at all. Professor Hans Mommsen, Professor Raul Hilberg, Professor Gordon C Craig, these and many others have more or less supported my claim to be regarded as a serious historian. I of course say things . P-69 like that with the utmost personal distaste. I do not believe in blowing my own trumpet. The outcome of my research, my books, and my speaking is therefore that people in general are more, and not less, aware of the horrors of the Holocaust, and they are certainly better informed. One of the most damaging accusations which Mr Rampton has repeated again this morning, is that I, the plaintiff, driven by my obsession with Hitler, distort, manipulate and falsify history in order to put Hitler in a more favourable light, thereby demonstrating a lack of the detachment, rationality and judgment necessary for an historian. I submit that, in assessing whether I am an historian who "distorts, manipulates and falsifies" your Lordship should give most weight to my avowedly historical written works. Your Lordship will be thoroughly aware of why I am saying this. I suggested my speeches, very occasional lapses of taste in them, lapses of taste Mr Rampton has identified and mentioned repeatedly, I think three altogether, are relevant purely as background material. Of those written historical works, I submit that your Lordship give most weight to my flagship work Hitler's War. I ask that your Lordship read (again, if your Lordship has already done so) the introduction to the 1991 edition. This was published well . P-70 after the year when the Defendants (wrongly) assert that I "flipped over" to become what they call a Holocaust denier. I have always differed from my colleagues in my profession in insisting on using original documents, including where possible the authors' drafts of books or memoirs rather than the heavily edited West German editions, later rewritings, or posthumous adaptations. I also make use of many more unpublished original documents than my historian colleagues, in my belief. In the 1960s and 1970s, I must add, of course, that was much more difficult than it is today.
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