Skip to comments.Austria arrests Irving over Holocaust
Posted on 11/17/2005 5:17:01 PM PST by Anti-Bubba182
VIENNA (Reuters) - Historian David Irving, known for his controversial views on World War Two, has been arrested in Austria on suspicion of denying the Holocaust, an interior ministry spokesman said on Thursday.
Irving was arrested on November 11 near the town of Hartberg in the southern province of Styria under a warrant issued in 1989, interior ministry spokesman Rudolf Gollia said.
"He is on remand in Vienna," Gollia said.
Asked what Irving had been arrested for, Gollia said: "It is to do with ... Holocaust denial."
The spokesman declined to comment on whether or when he would be charged.
A High Court ruling in 2000 rejecting Irving's libel action against an American professor and her publishers declared Irving "an active Holocaust denier ... anti-Semitic and racist".
Denying the holocaust is a crime in Austria which carries a sentence of 1-10 years.
Irving's Web site (www.fpp.co.uk) said he had been invited by students to address a university association in Vienna. In a message dated November 11, it said he was on a one-day visit to the Austrian capital.
This very law can at some point in the future be turned against the very same people that support it today.
If a law like this can be justified, then any law forbidding any type of speech can be justified.
Which is why our founding fathers gave us the first amendment.
Austria certainly has the right to pass such a law, and fortunately, we have the right to be critical of the law (with out it being assumed we support the views of the person being prosecuted).
That is what reasonable people do.
I know we all get frustrated with those that disagree with us from time to time, and secretly wish they would just shut up, or there was a way to shut them up, but preventing people from expressing their views does not mean you won them over to your side.
This type of outside force tends to keep people quiet on the surface, but it is like a boiler with the safety valve plugged up. Instead of the pressures being released safely, it builds until there is an explosion.
The best example of this is the old Soviet Union. They had plenty of laws that prevented people from speaking out until eventually it exploded.
Perhaps, but that's why the United States is better.
I have no problem with Austria censoring Irving's books or even banning him from the country. But jailing him, is beyond the pale IMHO. I agree it's their laws, whatever, but I'm just glad (at least for now) we don't have that in the US.
Austria Arrests Irving over Holocaust Denial
Obviously the man had nothing to do with the actual Holocaust, though he does threaten to dilute its historical by denying it today.
Thought crimes are offensive, to be sure, but you're out of line when you say this:
"That's worse than the Holocaust."
Admit it: you wish you hadn't used that exponential bit of hyperbole.
"...dilute its historical IMPACT by denying it..."
They think it sucks to live in a nation with no guaranteed right to health care.
Because of our different histories--particularly, because we haven't had fascist governments and occupation armies--Americans and Europeans have completely different ideas of what everyone has to agree to in order for a democratic government to endure.
We're worried about losing our freedoms. Europeans are worried about fascism and the total destruction of war. Our laws reflect that difference.
Yes, I'm grateful that the U.S. has had a strong democratic government for as long as we have. We're able to withstand the total free discourse of ideas--a discourse that, 15 years after the fall of Communism and 60 years after World War II, many European countries fear could once again lead them down the path of tyranny and murder.
And I get the "slippery slope" argument, especially regarding freedom of speech. All dictatorial regimes have used censorship and propaganda as methods to control their citizens. But lets keep our perspective and stay with this one example rather than entertaining all hypothetical situations.
The Austrians have the right to decide this for themselves. If the Austrians want to jail Irving for what they consider to be inciteful speech or hate speech, then it is their right. Even we place limitations on the freedom of expression. My only hope is that we limit freedom of speech on a case by case basis and for reasons more substantial than just not liking what someone has to say.
You can't slander. You can't scream "FIRE" in a crowded theater. You can't lie in advertising. All violations of freedom of speech. That the holocaust happened is an objective FACT. That it was pure evil is a subjective opinion. To me, lying is a greater offense than having an opinion I find offensive. In all but extreme situations, we are free to have and express offensive opinions, but not to lie about facts.
If Irving is wrong on a point, he should be defeated with facts.
Not amazed at all. Since THIS is an AMERICAN political board I assumed Americans were to whom I was talking to.
I am well aware of the lack of an First Amendment in Austria.
As well as of many other Freedoms which Americans proudly practice on a regular basis.
That's the difference between Europeans and Americans.
We are not sheep.
Second. Please hear me clearly now, if this had happened here, I would be outraged that someone had been jailed and threatened with prison for writing his twisted version of history. However, the Austrians, with a different culture and historical perspective than we have, especially about WWII and the holocaust, have a right to do what they believe about this issue. , up to a point.
He went there, to their country and this is what they feel is appropriate. If the Austrians want to line him up and shoot him or turn him into soap or some other Nazi atrocity, I'd most definitely be outraged, but the mere threat of 1-10 years (not a sentence at this time) hasn't risen to my threshold for outrage yet. If they cut off his head and showed the video on tv? That would more than do it, but detaining him and a possible threat of Austrian prison? Not there yet.
Again, it's their country. But: If our government tried that here, I'll stand with you.
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