Since I seem to have attracted several truly idiotic Holocaust deniers in the comments after this post, including, believe it or not, Eric Hunt, the anti-Semite who attacked Elie Wiesel at a San Francisco hotel in 2007 and who now runs a blog full of Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism where he recently bragged about attending an appearance by arch-Holocaust denier David Irving and bleating about a vacuous legal suit he’s bringing against Steven Spielberg and Irene Weisberg Zisblatt over what he considers to be a “defamatory” documentary.
How do I deserve such “honors”?
In any case, while I’m on the subject, something happened to good ol’ Holocaust denier David Irving that has caused me a bit of amusement but also disturbs me as well. I feel a great deal of schadenfreude, but at the same time I can’t help but detest how Irving’s embarrassment came about, no matter how much contempt I have for the man. Specifically, what happened is this:
A group identifying themselves as “anti-fascist hackers” broke into the web site and AOL e-mail account of controversial British historian and accused Holocaust-denier David Irving and obtained his private communications as well as attendee lists for his current U.S. speaking tour.
The hackers posted Irving’s e-mail correspondence online, as well as the user name and password for his web site account and AOL e-mail account, which shared the same password. The hackers also posted the e-mail addresses and other personal information — such as names, phone numbers and shipping and credit card billing addresses — of people who made donations through his web sites, purchased his books or bought tickets for his appearances.
Irving’s username and password for his Authorize.net account, which handles the credit card transactions on his web site, were also exposed.
The data was posted on the WikiLeaks site Friday evening in advance of Irving’s Saturday speaking engagement at the Catholic Kolping Society of America in New York City. The organization reportedly canceled the event on Friday after someone contacted it.
I actually was aware that something was wrong after one of my online acquaintances mentioned on an e-mail list to which I belong that Irving’s website seemed to be down. Having had a bit of experience elsewhere with websites being down for extended periods of time, I thought little of it. It turns out to have been more serious than I had thought.
On the one hand, it’s hard to feel too sorry for David Irving and the pathetic band of white power rangers pining for the glory days of Adolf Hitler because their communications were hacked and exposed this way. Indeed, it was quite amusing to see some of Irving’s private e-mails with his young blonde assistant, Jaenelle Antas, revealed some trouble in paradise. But I felt profoundly dirty after having read those e-mails because what these moronic “anti-fascist” hackers have done is illegal and immoral.
If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about such groups, it’s their extreme self-righteousness, their certainty that their beliefs are so right and their enemies so vile that any tactic, even illegal and immoral tactics, are acceptable in their war. Moreover, as I pointed out before, in their self-righteousness they are distressingly all too often about as anti-free speech as it gets. Again, they seem to think that the self-ascribed rightness of their cause gives them carte blanche to suppress speech they don’t like. It’s not an issue of countering hate speech like Irving’s with speech refuting it. They want to shut people like Irving up. Indeed, check out the e-mail these hackers sent:
Hitler-loving Holocaust-denying David Irving’s speaking tour is being attacked on the streets and on the internet as he makes his way to speak on Saturday in New York City. We have released private email communications, phone numbers and addresses of Irving as well as destroy all files, backups, emails, and databases on his website irvingbooks.com and fpp.co.uk. We also released personal information on people who have attended the speaking tour, made book purchases, or online donations as a warning to those who would support people like David Irving.
We did this to expose this Nazi-sympathizer for who he is and to shut down/disrupt any possibility of Irving rearing his fascist head in public during his tour. To David Irving and all aspiring white-power, anti-immigrant, queer-bashing, racist pigs – give it up! We will fight you on the streets and on the internet until you are swept into the dustbin of history.
While I sympathize and would also like to see Irving’s ideas, as well as the fascist ideals espoused by him and so many of his followers, relegated to the dustbin of history, I don’t want to see it done by sinking down to his level when it comes to tactics, as can be seen in this little cached excerpt from a posting to Irving’s website in 2004:
IN DENVER THERE IS A GANG plotting violence to disrupt my penultimate engagement there. Their ringleader [SEE SPECIAL ITEM] is Sara Salzman, (right), a local Holocaust specialist; she has bragged to the press that she intends to make my visit to Denver as “nasty” as possible.
Forewarned is forearmed. Thanks to expert friends — and to Bill Gates’ shortcomings in providing proper email security for PC’s — we immediately hack a handy “keyhole” into the directives Mrs Salzman issues.
In future she should go Mac, or pay for better firewalls. I expect my keyhole to enable me to identify her moles and lead her entire greasy gang somewhat astray when Saturday comes.
Yes, my schadenfreude is increased by realizing that “what goes around comes around,” so to speak. I also can’t help but smile a bit at what is no doubt the serious discomfiture of people attending Irving’s little hatefests who no doubt would really have preferred that their names not be made public. At the same time I’m saddened that elements on “our side” have actually arguably gone Irving in illegal tactics. One can only imagine the wailing and gnashing of teeth if a fascist hacker had gotten into an “anti-racist” anarchist account and done exactly the same thing these misguided “activists” did to Irving.
Few people would love to see Irving’s ideas ending up in the dustbin of history more than I would, but tactics such as this are not the way.