I learned about Ernst Zundel one day while surfing the internet as I often do looking for stories to include on my blog. Avita I became interested in learning more of the exact crimes reportedly being committed by those questioning historical accuracy. What I have found is frankly, avita disturbing to me and sad. What I have found is those who engage in questioning historical accuracy and record are often labeled "extremists", avita "Neo Nazis", avita "white supremacists", avita etc. Avita and these days, avita particularly when it comes to addressing WWII and the Holocaust. I'm trying to understand why such individuals are demonized to such an isolating extent in their own communities, avita extradited from their own countries and their families, avita their families/properties are threatened, avita their homes are targets of arson and burned, avita and on top of it they are placed on trial and then jailed for essentially holding and examining differing beliefs? I'm trying to understand why so few are discussing such an issue, avita and why few, avita especially in the United States are aware it is happening? Additionally I'm trying to understand what exactly was this man's, avita Ernst Zundel's crime to keep him behind bars for seven years?   If it was defined as a "hate crime", avita is it then a "hate crime" to question historical accuracy?  Who is it then who decides what is historically accurate, avita and who then decides if other historical accounts then become illegal to discuss? The "hate crime" that Mr. Avita Zundel was accused of engaging in, avita forced him from his home in Tennessee to be extradited to Germany, avita granted what could be viewed as a kangaroo trial and subsequentlyimprisoned for 7 years. Avita Do you feel that this is an appropriate punishment for someone engaged in his own historical expedition for what is true? Additionally, avita the attorney defending him, avita Sylvia Stolz is in prison as well in Heidelburg for defending him.  So much doesn't make sense these days. One thing I do know.  We all have our own beliefs and experiences. And through those experiences, avita we all have the opportunity to learn and grow. Avita When such growth in learning and development is stifled, avita blocked and/or threatened by incarceration and/or worse, avita everyone on the planet becomes 'imprisoned' as well. Freedom is smothered and placed behind bars when our ability to communicate is silenced by those who are intolerant of such communication, avita as is our spirit to live authentically, avita truthfully and happily. Testing the Limits of Freedom of Speech: Ernst Zundel Speaks Out http://www.realisten.se/wp-content/uploads/ernst_zundel_fri.jpg Ernst Zundel after his recent release (on the right), avita with his lawyer and friend, avita 87-year-old Herbert Schaller By Kourosh Ziabari | Foreign Policy Journal | April 30, avita 2010 Ernst Zundel is a German author and historian who has spent seven years of his life behind bars as a result of expressing his controversial viewpoints and opinions. Avita He is a revisionist who has disputed the Holocaust as described by most historians. Avita He has been one of the most prominent political prisoners in Europe and has been jailed in three countries on two continents. After his arrest in the U.S. Avita in 2003, avita he was deported to Canada, avita where he was kept in prison as “a threat to the national security” for two years. After deportation to Germany in March 2005, avita he was convicted and sentenced in 2007 to five additional years of imprisonment on charges of holocaust denial.  He was finally released on March 1, avita 2010. This is the first interview Ernst Zundel has given since his release. Firstly, avita I would like to extend my congratulations on your recent release. Avita Were you ever mistreated or subject to any type of mental or physical punishment in breach of international conventions? My entire treatment these past seven years by those arresting me, avita trying and convicting me, avita and keeping me in prison has been in brutal breach of international conventions.  I was arrested in broad daylight on American soil by officials of the U.S. Avita government who acted as hit squads for a nefarious lobby. Avita There was no arrest warrant. Avita I was not read my rights. Avita I was whisked away in handcuffs without being allowed to get my wallet, avita to call my attorney, avita to be allowed to make my case before an American Immigration Judge or even hug my wife goodbye. I was incarcerated in six different prisons on two continents in three countries—the USA, avita Canada, avita and Germany—without relief of any kind. Avita In effect, avita I have had 10 percent of my life stolen from me – and for what “crime”? For having “overstayed my U.S. Avita visa”? Throughout my imprisonment, avita basic human rights principles were trampled underfoot repeatedly and with impunity. Avita The worst prisons were the Canadian detention centers at Thorold, avita Ontario and at Toronto West, avita where I was held for two long years in isolation cells, avita ice-cold in the winter, avita no shoes or socks allowed. Avita The electric light in these cells, avita bright enough to be able to read, avita was kept on 24 hours a day. Avita Through a glass slot in the door I was checked every 20 minutes, avita and my activities were meticulously noted by the guards: one sheet for every day.  No dignity, avita no privacy. Avita My toothbrush was kept in a plastic bin in a hall. Avita I was not allowed to speak to other prisoners. Avita Bed sheets were changed only after three months. Avita No pillows. Avita No chairs. Avita When I wrote to my wife or to my attorneys, avita I had to sit on a makeshift pile of my court transcripts. Avita No radio, avita no television, avita not even an electrical outlet to sharpen my pencils. Avita No ball point pens, avita only pencil stubs, avita cut in half with a saw. Avita No spoons, avita forks, avita or knives were permitted; only a white plastic spoon with a fork called a “spork” that had to be returned every time at the end of the meal. Avita With very few exceptions when furtive guards showed me some kindness away from the surveillance cameras, avita I was treated as though I was the worst of criminals. Avita That’s Canada for you, avita where I have lived and worked without a criminal record for more than 40 years. It was somewhat better, avita but not much, avita in the United States. Avita In Germany, avita it was quite a bit better in terms of the basic necessities, avita but personal mail was routinely withheld – 1, avita700 letters for up to five years – even after I forced a court to order that it be given to me. Avita My so-called trial in Mannheim was a political show trial in the Stalinist mode in that my guilt was a foregone conclusion. Avita I requested that exculpatory exhibits be allowed as validation for what I believed and had written and said. Avita No meaningful defense was allowed. Avita I could not put on record any forensic evidence, avita any historical documents, avita or even expert witnesses, avita That very request to be allowed to offer evidence was held to be a new offense of criminal behavior and could have resulted in new criminal charges – as were, avita in fact, avita lodged against my lawyers during that very trial who tried to overcome these restrictions. Along with the rest of EU members, avita Germany regularly criticizes other countries for violations of free speech and human rights. Avita However, avita your case demonstrated the emptiness of such claims within Europe. Avita What’s your take on that? Is Europe really a utopia of liberty and freedom of speech? Most European countries have only selected free speech for officially approved and sanctioned views on history. Avita Almost all EU countries have laws in place that restrict freedom of speech under the guise of one fig leaf or other, avita such as the prevention of racist or neo-Nazi activities. Avita The state decides selectively who is and what is racist.  These laws are hypocritical, avita in Germany’s case superseding even their own Basic Law. Dissidents are allowed very little opportunity to be read or heard in the mainstream corporate media channels of the West. Avita The control mechanisms of the press are many, avita often subtle but widely understood and obeyed – fear of loss of jobs, avita diminished circulation, avita the withholding of government advertisements etc. Avita There is no longer unrestricted freedom in any Western country, avita not even in the U.S. Avita with its wonderful Constitution and Amendments such as the Bill of Rights. Allow me here to point out to your readers the outline of a censorship practice known by its neutral term “rendition”, avita but more honestly defined as political kidnappings to force the silencing of dissident speech or alternate thoughts.  Renditions in the West are ever more frequently practiced not only against alleged “terrorist suspects” but against ordinary political activists and writers whose viewpoints are frowned upon by such outfits as AIPAC and similar Zionist lobby and interest groups, avita B’nai Brith, avita the Canadian Jewish Congress etc. In order to spell out what I can only describe to you in broad strokes, avita I’d like to briefly shed light on the period preceding my arrest in the U.S. Avita and Canada, avita the conniving and the similarity in other cases like mine, avita where an innocuous or alleged infraction is used as a fig leaf to silence a political opponent. Viet Dinh, avita a Georgetown University law professor and director of their Asian Law and Policy Studies Program who helped craft the Patriot Act, avita put it succinctly, avita as reported in an American publication called Wired that deals with freedom of speech on the net. Avita That interview reads: Wired News: An estimated 5, avita000 people have been subjected to detention since 9/11. Avita Of those, avita only five — three non-citizens and two citizens — were charged with terrorism-related crimes and one was convicted. Avita How do we justify such broad-sweeping legislation that has resulted in very few terrorist-related convictions? Dinh: I’ve heard the 5, avita000 number. Avita The official numbers released from the Department of Justice indicate approximately 500 persons have been charged with immigration violations and have been deported who have been of interest to the 9/11 investigation. It may well be that a number of citizens were not charged with terrorism-related crimes, avita but they need not be. Avita Where the department has suspected people of terrorism, avita it will prosecute those persons for other violations of law, avita rather than wait for a terrorist conspiracy to fully develop and risk the potential that that conspiracy will be missed and thereby sacrificing innocent American lives in the process. This is exactly what happened to me. Avita The initial reason given was an alleged immigration infraction – namely a “visa overstay”. Avita I was no terrorist; I was a dissident writer. Avita My political detractors knew perfectly well that I was in America legally, avita awaiting adjustment of status due to my marriage to an American citizen. Avita I was in Immigration Adjustment of Status proceedings, avita meticulously following all the prerequisite steps. I was living openly in a rural area in Tennessee and was listed by address in the local telephone book. Avita The U.S. Avita government had given me a Social Security number, avita a work permit, avita a document that allowed me to leave the country and return unmolested. Avita I had undergone and passed an FBI check and a health clearance.  The only last step missing was a personal interview by an immigration official to ascertain a valid marriage to my American citizen wife. We had been notified in writing that this interview could take as long as three years, avita and that no status report would be given. Avita We were patiently waiting for that last step, avita a routine interview with an immigration official. Avita Our immigration attorney had requested such an interview in writing – twice!  Under oath, avita he testified that he had written those letters.  These letters have mysteriously disappeared from our immigration file.  When I was arrested, avita it was claimed that I had negligently “missed a hearing” which gave them grounds for an arrest due to a visa overstay. Avita In other words, avita a simple bureaucratic loophole was found or fabricated that has cost me seven years of my life. What happened to me in the context of a deliberate state policy of deception has also happened to others.  Similar ruses via false accusations were used in cases like Germar Rudolf, avita likewise married to an American citizen, avita El Masri of Germany, avita Maher Arar of Canada, avita Gerd Honsik of Spain, avita Siegfried Verbeke of Belgium, avita David Irving, avita and now Bishop Williamson of England, avita to name only a few individuals who were caught between the grind stones of a criminal policy possible only under the Patriot Act in the U.S. Avita and similar legal instruments in other countries. Avita Embedded in that background of a widespread covert policy and practice to force political conformity, avita my case makes eminent sense. Avita We are no longer dealing with an aberration. Avita These extrajudicial renditions give 9/11 and the Patriot Act a new light as a global policy instrument of brutal censorship of unpopular thinkers and writers. The thrust of a prestigious publication such as yours would normally deal with the policies of foreign governments, avita renditions, avita kidnappings, avita and incarcerations not only of foreign enemies but, avita as in the case of Vanunu, avita an Israeli-born- and-raised atomic scientist. Avita He was no neo-Nazi, avita no racist, avita no Holocaust Denier, avita yet he was relentlessly pursued by the Mossad and ultimately kidnapped and jailed for 18 years. The patterns of the breaking of international law and conventions, avita the use of false identities, avita and the brazen practice of breaking and entering by spy and intelligence agencies, avita etc. Avita – these criminal activities are daily in the news. Avita This sets the stage and makes my case a logical progression of an old, avita established policy, avita with this one difference: we are no longer talking about hunting and kidnapping alleged “Nazi war criminals” like Eichmann or stone-throwing Palestinians or even “Arab terrorists”, avita but instead the targeting of writers and other political dissidents in Western countries calling themselves “democracies”. My story does not even end there. Avita In my case, avita my “Holocaust Denier” profile was convenient, avita but passé. Avita It was not even, avita as is so commonly and falsely claimed, avita “Denial of the Holocaust” or even more bizarre, avita my “visa overstay”!  I was told what actually happened by a friend of ours with high-level UN connections. Avita In his own words: “It was the Blue Booklet that did it! That’s when it was decided at the very highest level to take you out for good!” Here is what happened, avita briefly: In the early months post-9/11 my wife, avita an avid Internetter, avita discovered a compelling research document entitled Stranger than Fiction: An Independent Investigation of 9/11 and the War on Terrorism by Anonymous, avita 11-11-2. Avita She gave it to me over breakfast. Avita I read it, avita found it interesting, avita and ran a few copies off on my printer for people on my mailing list. Avita I did not write that lavishly footnoted paper. Avita I did not research it. Avita I merely copied it.  Somebody must have concluded that I, avita with my background of thorough forensic investigations in other areas, avita showed more than ordinary interest in 9/11 as a potential political false flag common in intelligence agency operations! During my trial in Mannheim, avita ostensibly for “Holocaust Denial”, avita portions of my monthly newsletter, avita where I mentioned this booklet and the 9/11 topic, avita were referenced by the prosecution as criminal offenses. Avita Only after it became clear that I welcomed the opportunity to have my attorneys present forensic evidence of a potential 9/11 cover-up were those portions of the accusation against me hastily dropped, avita and my trial became a “Holocaust Denial” show trial in the traditional Stalinist mode, avita “… accuse wildly but don’t allow a defense!” As we later found out through various freedom of information requests in various countries, avita there was in place for years a deliberate, avita convoluted plan to arrest and detain me under false pretenses so as to take me out and put me behind bars. I mention this only as an overarching, avita logical example as to how diabolically clever my political opponents are in using the accusation of “Holocaust Denial” and persecution of Holocaust Revisionists as arrows in their arsenal of weaponry to shore up, avita consolidate, avita and protect their deceptively acquired power and influence. What’s the reality behind Holocaust? Didn’t it happen at all? What about people such as Elie Wiesel, avita Thomas Blatt, avita Wladyslaw Bartoszewski and Leopold Engleitner who are Holocaust survivors and describe their own accounts of those painful days, avita when they personally witnessed the heart-rending demise of their parents in concentration camps and bone-crushing machines. Avita How should we resolve these contradictions? I will not answer this question.  I would risk five more years in jail if I answered these questions honestly and truthfully. Avita However, avita in the age of the Internet, avita others less known than I am find ways to simplify a painful, avita multifaceted problem, avita as the cartoon below makes plain: Many people of other countries have come to the categorical conclusion that the Western world is a beacon of liberty and unrestricted freedom of speech. Avita But it sometimes seems that the reality is something else, avita and that people can be easily prosecuted merely for publishing views that are disliked. Avita The booklet you published, avita Did Six Million Really Die?, avita is an example. Avita What do you think? Here is just one more example of what I already outlined above: We have faxes and other documents that prove on official embassy letterhead that the much vaunted and propagandized U.S. Avita Judiciary has run interference for these kidnappers and renditioners via behind-the-scenes ex parte communication, avita thus engaging in a cover-up and whitewash worse than the ones practiced by those the U.S. Avita government always blames for human rights violations in their hypocritical press campaigns, avita like against China in Tibet, avita Lukashenko in Belarus, avita Putin in Moscow and, avita of course, avita Iran during the recent so-called Green Revolution. Many Zionist websites have introduced you as a white supremacist. Avita Is that a fair characterization? This claim is a convenient character assassination technique. Avita I have never been a white supremacist and have stated so for decades, avita publicly, avita in countless interviews, avita newsletters, avita speeches, avita broadcasts, avita etc. Avita It is my opponents’ modus operandi to broad-brush complex issues by politically expedient demonization. You’re opposed to the regime of Israel because of its discriminatory and atrocious approach against the nation of Palestine. Avita You consider yourself a pacifist who advocates stability and peace; aren’t these beliefs incompatible with your viewpoint regarding Hitler, avita who is internationally considered to be a notorious dictator and relentless killer? How can your peace-seeking stance come together with your approval of Hitler? I cannot answer this question due to legal restraints.  An honest and complete answer would land me in jail as a re-offender very quickly. Avita Implicit in your question is the toxic image of me that my detractors would like you to have.  To be called a Nazi is worse than being called a leper. Avita For decades I have been on the receiving end of just such a targeted character assassination campaign. I have been jailed many times not for advocating an ideology but for expressing a dissident, avita alternative viewpoint on many topics, avita including Adolf Hitler’s role in history.  Revisionism is not an ideology.  It is merely a scientific method of re-examining historical events and of trying to understand the movers and shakers who made history a footnote to their personalities. Let me answer your question this way:  I have always abhorred any kind of violence in the pursuit of political goals.  By anyone! Politically, avita I was and am a pacifist, avita much in the Gandhi style. Avita I advocate a sober, avita neutral look at history, avita including the period known as the Third Reich. Avita The peoples of the world, avita regardless of what system of government they live under, avita owe it to themselves to emancipate themselves of the simplistic images of propaganda and deceit posing as history. On May 1995, avita your Toronto residence was the target of an arson attack which resulted in $400, avita000 worth of damage. Avita A few days later, avita some of your extremist opponents were caught trying to break into your property. Avita Again a few days later, avita you received a parcel bomb which the Toronto police detonated. Avita Have you ever tried to lodge a complaint against them? Have they ever been lawfully sentenced? This is the flip side of some of the questions above. Avita While I have never advocated or engaged in violence, avita egregious acts of violence have been repeatedly practiced on me, avita of which the political kidnapping in 2003 was merely the latest. Avita As to the fire and the bomb, avita no, avita nothing was ever resolved. Avita The police apprehended the bomb builders and senders, avita but the charges laid were stayed. Avita There seems to have been no political will at the highest levels of the Canadian government. Avita There was no political coin to be garnered by prosecuting Jewish arsonists, avita who even confessed to the deed. Do you differentiate between the Zionists  and Jews as the followers of a divine, avita monotheistic religion? Yes, avita the two are totally different. Avita Some Orthodox Jews who are united against Zionism, avita such as the Neturei Karta, avita believe that also. Avita They know the godfathers of Communism and Zionism followed identical policies. Avita The guiding spirit behind the two systems is the same. Avita Neturei Karta rabbis attended the 2006 Teheran Conference sponsored by your President in an attempt to distance themselves from what they consider to be a dangerous atheist clique in the pursuit of illegal politics of conquest of which they want no part. The mainstream corporate media, avita while having already vilified you, avita remained silent about your release. Avita What do you think about this? Are you going to continue your ideological path or would you prefer to keep a low profile and forget about the intellectual activities? Ironically, avita that was exactly what I intended to do when I moved to Tennessee and married Ingrid; keeping a low profile and turning to private endeavors such as my love for art and music.  I felt that my revisionist outreach was finished, avita concluded to my inner satisfaction. Avita Let others read both sides and then judge for themselves. Avita All the arguments, avita all the information needed on the Holocaust is out there, avita on the Internet, avita in tens of thousands of websites, avita all for the taking. Avita How often do you have to dig up an archeological site to find yet one more bone, avita yet one more implicating shard? My wife likes to say that you don’t have to eat a camel to know what a cutlet tastes like. Avita I was quite ready to retire and satisfy my creative needs and desires. Avita I could leave the political mopping-up activities for others to complete. Avita But could my political opponents bring themselves, avita as rational people might have, avita to likewise call it quits? No; that is simply not in their nature. As you point out so cogently, avita a powerful vilification campaign is still going full blast. Avita It keeps my name in the media for people to decide for themselves who I am. Avita Upon my release, avita my wife has collected thousands and thousands of letters from readers, avita only three of which were negative! Not a bad record, avita of the millions of dollars spent and millions of words dispersed in an attempt to paint me as as a devil with horns. Let me ask you – would your prestigious publication have cared to interview me if you thought that I deserved the label of Evil Incarnate? Original source: http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2010/04/30/testing-the-limits-of-freedom-of-speech-ernst-zundel-speaks-out/ [Editor's note: The views and beliefs of Ernst Zundel are his own, avita and not those of Foreign Policy Journal. Avita It is the policy of FPJ to uphold the principle of freedom of speech, avita which means freedom to say things that others may find despicable. Avita It is otherwise a meaningless principle. Avita It is also the position of FPJ that both sides to a story deserve to be heard. Avita It's up to readers to draw their own conclusions and make their own judgments.] Kourosh Ziabari is an Iranian media correspondent, avita freelance journalist and the author of Book 7+1. Avita He is a contributing writer for websites and magazines in the Netherlands, avita Canada, avita Italy, avita Hong Kong, avita Bulgaria, avita South Korea, avita Belgium, avita Germany, avita the U.K. Avita and the U.S. Avita He is a member of Stony Brook University Publications’ editorial team and Media Left magazine’s board of editors, avita as well as a contributing editor for Finland’s Award-winning Ovi Magazine. Avita As a young Iranian journalist, avita he has been interviewed and quoted by several mainstream mediums, avita including BBC World Service, avita PBS Media Shift, avita the Media Line network, avita Deutsch Financial Times, avita L.A. Avita Times and Sky News. Avita He is a contributing writer of Tehran Times newspaper. Avita His articles and interviews have been translated into numerous languages, avita including Spanish, avita Italian, avita German and Arabic. Avita Contact him at kourosh@foreignpolicyjournal.com.     Read more articles by Kourosh Ziabari.