Doug Christie – The Battling Barrister

Douglas Christie, the courageous Canadian lawyer known as the “battling barrister”, died on March 11th a month before his 67th birthday.  He was perhaps best known for his vigour and tenacity in defending the Canadian-German publisher Ernst Zündel during more than a decade of legal persecution.  His client had been accused in a 1983 “human rights” tribunal and at criminal trials in 1985 and 1988 of “spreading false news”, a legal concept drawn from mediaeval England but applied in this case to Mr Zündel’s publication of the booklet Did Six Million Really Die?, which questioned the orthodox historical account of the deliberate murder of Jews in homicidal gas chambers.

Doug Christie (centre) with his wife and fellow lawyer Keltie Zubko (left) and their most famous client, German-Canadian publisher Ernst Zundel, outside the Zundel appeal hearing in September 1989.

At the end of the second Zündel trial in 1988 Doug Christie insisted that the courts had no business dictating versions of history, which “by definition, is always an opinion.”  In effect this argument eventually prevailed.  Although Ernst Zündel was convicted and his first appeal failed, the Supreme Court of Canada ultimately agreed with Mr Christie, ruling that S.181 (the law of “spreading false news”) was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court ruled the “greatest danger of S.181 lies in the undefined phrase ‘injury or mischief to a public interest’, which is capable of almost infinite extension.”

Imre Finta

In May 1990 Mr Christie successfully defended the retired Hungarian policeman Imre Finta in Canada’s first ever “war crimes” trial – a prosecution which in his closing speech to the jury he described as “a futile and unjustified exercise”, pointing out that “it’s the practice of states that win wars to judge those who lose them.”  Describing the war crimes law as a “convoluted and diabolically twisted piece of legislation”, he urged the jury to send a message to governments around the world that “the war is over”.  The jury agreed; sadly governments did not, and have continued to intensify legal restrictions on freedom of historical and scientific enquiry.

Mr Christie’s first landmark case was in 1983 when Jim Keegstra, a schoolteacher in Alberta, several hundred miles from Mr Christie’s home province of British Columbia, was dismissed from his job and charged under Canada’s “hate crime” legislation for expressing his opinions about Jewish history and the Holocaust.  Keegstra was a devout Christian and a former activist in the Social Credit Party, once a powerful force in Canadian politics.  Doug Christie argued in Keegstra’s defence that his client was expressing legitimate religious views.  One did not have to agree with those views, and some Jews might find them offensive – just as Keegstra might find Judaism offensive.  However the Canadian constitution was intended to protect religious and political freedom, so “hate crimes” seeking to criminalise certain views should be struck down as unconstitutional.

The Keegstra trial began on the precise 60th anniversary of the most famous attempt to criminalise opinion in the American courts, the so-called “monkey trial” of 1925, when Tennessee science teacher John Scopes was prosecuted for attempting to teach Darwin’s theory of evolution.  Keegstra was in a sense the modern Scopes, accused of perpetrating the modern heresy of “anti-semitism”.

Defending Keegstra in his 1987 appeal, Mr Christie argued that as part of his Christian outlook his client believed that a group of Jews (including Zionists) had been “seeking economic and political opportunism in the guise of religion,” and that “Mr Keegstra said this was wrong, contrary to Christ and contrary to all men.”

Consequently Mr Christie argued that the “hate speech” law used to convict Mr Keegstra was an unconstitutional infringement of basic freedoms.   The Appeal Court agreed and quashed the conviction, but eventually the Supreme Court voted 4-3 to reinstate the judgment.  The argument in the Supreme Court was of fundamental worldwide importance: did the social “benefit” of curbing extremism and promoting tolerance outweigh the constitutional evil of restricting free speech? This restriction would not apply solely to those few people prosecuted but also, in the words of the dissenting Supreme Court judgment which backed Doug Christie, “those individuals not caught may find their expression restricted by the fear of running afoul of a vague and subjective law.”

Eventually the Supreme Court of Canada found against Keegstra, but their December 1990 judgment was only by the narrowest margin of four justices to three.  The dissenting judges endorsed Mr Christie’s arguments, writing:  “…our commitment to the marketplace of ideas precludes us from presuming that those who promote hatred will be successful in fomenting it among the majority of Canadians.  Moreover, freedom of expression is an individual liberty of such importance that it can be overridden only by an extraordinarily weighty public goal.”

Soon after this Keegstra judgment Doug Christie began representing Malcolm Ross, another schoolteacher dismissed for “anti-semitism”, and again managed to win in the appeal courts, only to face ultimate defeat in the Supreme Court of Canada.

In these and other landmark cases, Doug Christie was a valiant champion of the public interest in objective law and unimpeded scholarship.

The A.K. Chesterton Trust provided a great service to friends of freedom around the world by transferring to DVD a video recording made in 1994 of an address by Doug Christie to an invited audience at Liss Forest, Hampshire.

Mr Christie was in the UK to represent the redoubtable patriot Lady Birdwood, who was being prosecuted under Britain’s notoriously oppressive race laws for daring to publish a pamphlet entitled The Longest Hatred.  The octogenarian Lady Birdwood was convicted of “inciting racial hatred” and given a three month suspended prison sentence.

Doug Christie visiting Arbroath Abbey in 2002

Doug Christie makes clear in the DVD his belief that the prosecution of Jane Birdwood was but one facet of a worldwide campaign against free research and the free expression of opinion.  He argued that the forces supporting, for example, the French Revolution used a supposed commitment to “individualism” to break up the traditional authority of Christendom.  These same forces having achieved power now oppose individualism in the name of their own dominant ideology. Anyone standing in the way of that dominant ideology must be demonised and crushed by the full force of the law.  Courageously and sustained by his traditional Catholic faith, Mr Christie stood up for the victims of this process in trials and civil actions across Canada and the United Kingdom.

He argues that today’s New World Order “has every bit as much intention of destroying Truth as Communism did in a more visible and brutal way,” and believes that it is the most honourable course to fight for the right to tell the truth.

Doug Christie’s most celebrated case was in defence of the German-Canadian artist and publisher Ernst Zündel.  At the instigation of Jewish activist Sabina Citron, Zündel was twice prosecuted in the Canadian courts for “hate crimes” in 1985 and 1988, before his conviction was finally overturned by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1992.  His supposed crime of reporting “false news”, which dates back to the attempts of English kings and barons in the 13th century to suppress public criticism, was ruled unconstitutional.

In this DVD Doug Christie does not speak in detail about the Zündel case, as at that point in April 1994 he believed that Zündel had won and the story had ended with “Ernst Zündel a free man in Canada today.”  Sadly this optimism proved unfounded.  Having failed in their own courts, the Canadian authorities took action via their Human Rights Commission during the late 1990s.  Even after he moved to the USA and married a US citizen, Zündel was subjected to a judicial kidnapping near his Tennessee home in 2003 and deported to Canada, where a “national security” loophole was exploited to deport him to Germany in 2005.  He was imprisoned in Germany from 2005 to 2010.

Despite this eventual outcome, Doug Christie and Ernst Zündel will go down in history for pinning down “Holocaust historian” Raul Hilberg.  Asked by Doug Christie during the 1985 trial whether he could name a single scientific report that substantiated the use of any homicidal gas chamber during the Third Reich, Prof. Hilberg replied “I am at a loss.”

Doug Christie points out in this DVD that Ernst Zündel had to spend more than a million dollars to win his victories for free speech, but he argues that the many small and large donations to Zündel’s cause were contributions to the vital cause of building a “bulwark of freedom”: we must not wait “until the enemy is within our gates” but must support the defence of freedom wherever in the world the frontier happens to be at any moment: “We have a cause that transcends national boundaries.”

Outside the courtroom Doug Christie was active in attempting to redraw those national boundaries.  He believes that out of the failure of multiculturalism “smaller nations will emerge; better nations, true to themselves.”  In 1980 he founded the Western Canada Concept, a party that campaigned for the secession from Canada of its western provinces: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia.

In 2005 he formed the Western Bloc Party with similar objectives: candidates have included former schoolteacher Paul Fromm, who alongside Doug Christie and others organised the Canadian Free Speech League and promoted events by international free speech activists including Lady Michèle Renouf.

Towards the end of the 1994 DVD Doug Christie asks his audience: “Are we criminals that we must hide in a basement?”  It is thanks to the courage and commitment of activists such as this brave Canadian lawyer that at least some of our traditional freedoms and values survive in 2012.

England’s political police strike again

Simon Sheppard was arrested on 25th January 2013 for ‘poor conduct’ which constitutes a breach of his licence conditions.
He handed copies of his latest article entitled ‘Spree Killers’ – which was published in issue 52 of Heritage and Destiny – to two workers in a local library for their assessment. They claimed the public found his comments about the prevailing attitude to mixed race couples a century ago ‘offensive’ and promptly denounced him to the police. However the article was not given out to the public and was four pages long, so ‘the public’ would have had to deeply peruse the text in order to be offended.

Author and publisher Simon Sheppard is presently incarcerated in Hull Prison for political ‘crimes’.

We have been informed unofficially that the people who were upset are far closer to the centre of government; so this is purely political. The article had already been seen by police and probation workers at a York MAPPA3 (Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements) meeting and they made no objection.
Simon was held at York police station cell for two day awaiting transport to Hull prison, delayed by extremely heavy snowfall, but is now back in prison (and is now at a new prison address, see below). Please write and show your support for Simon and for free speech:

Simon Sheppard A8042AA
A Wing
HM Prison Northallerton
15A East Road
Northallerton
DL6 1NW

Why the Assange case matters

On 1st February 2012 I attended a hearing at the new Supreme Court in London, where lawyers for Julian Assange – founder of the whistleblowing website Wikileaks – were challenging the validity of the European Arrest Warrant under which Assange faces extradition to Sweden, where he has been charged with rape.

assange-supremecourt

Julian Assange arriving at London's Supreme Court on 1st February 2012

Many observers suspect that these rape charges are a pretext to silence Wikileaks, and potentially might see Assange extradited to the USA, where he would face a very long prison sentence for publishing more than 250,000 secret diplomatic cables.  These leaks, which began to be published on Assange’s website in February 2010, were a major catalyst for the Tunisian revolution that kicked off last year’s “Arab Spring”.  Wikileaks also published BNP membership lists in 2008 and 2009.

But the Supreme Court hearing did not look into the merits or otherwise of either the Wikileaks publications or the Swedish charges.  It centred rather on the validity of the European Arrest Warrant, and in doing so raised issues important to all of us.

Until the last decade there were long established principles for extraditing alleged criminals across national borders, recognising that different countries have very different legal systems.  First of all there would have to be an extradition treaty between the countries concerned, and the initial extradition request would be made between governments.  Then there would have to be a court hearing, in which for example an English court would have to be convinced that: (a) Assange’s alleged offences would have been criminal in the UK as well as in Sweden – the principle of “dual criminality”;  (b) there was at least a prima facie case against him;  (c) he could expect a fair trial.

Jack Straw, co-architect of the European Arrest Warrant system

Jack Straw, co-architect of the European Arrest Warrant system

All of this was thrown out as part of the ideologically driven push for European Union.  The political elite eventually realised that “harmonisation” of laws and procedures across the continent would prove too problematic, so they opted instead for the principle of “mutual recognition”.  Jack Straw, Home Secretary in Tony Blair’s government at the turn of the millennium, suggested moving towards a position “where each Member State recognises the validity of decisions of courts from other Member States in criminal matters with a minimum of procedure and formality”.

In practice this meant the new European Arrest Warrant system, under which English courts are no longer allowed to question whether the alleged “crime” is covered by English law, nor whether there is even a prima facie case against the accused, nor even (in most cases) whether the accused could expect a fair trial.  All the English court is allowed to do is check whether the European warrant has been validly made out, then rubber stamp the warrant and send the accused on his way to a European trial.

All this would be bad enough, but the issue addressed in Assange’s apopeal is that in his case (and others) the arrest warrant has not been issued by any sort of judge, but by a public prosecutor – so at this stage the case has not even be considered by anyone independent.  As Assange’s barrister Dinah Rose pointed out, this contravenes the tradition of nemo iudex in causa sua – no-one should be a judge of his own case.

Worse still, it appears that during the passage of the European warrant system into English law, this potential problem was flagged up more than once, only to be fobbed off by government ministers with the assurance that in practice there would be no need to worry.  In January 2002 for example, Home Office minister Bob Ainsworth told the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee: “it will not be possible for authorities that clearly are not courts, that are not judicial authorities to issue requests for European arrest warrants as they will not be recognised.”

Dr Fredrick Toben, whose legal team defeated a German extradition effort by overturning a European Arrest Warrant

Dr Fredrick Toben, whose legal team defeated a German extradition effort by overturning a European Arrest Warrant

Yet in the present case a Swedish prosecutor – clearly not a court – has issued a warrant which has indeed been recognised by the English courts, and unless the Supreme Court overturns that recognition Julian Assange will be extradited on exactly the type of warrant that Tony Blair’s minister assured Parliament would never be allowed. The Assange case is in this respect reminiscent of the Toben case, under which Australian academic Dr Fredrick Toben faced extradition to Germany for “crimes” that did not even amount to an offence under English law.  That case fell at the first hurdle when Toben’s defence team challenged the validity of the German warrant: this time the Supreme Court will have to make a historic decision addressing the fundamental principles of the European Arrest Warrant.

Stop Anglophobia! Leicester (23/05/2010)

The Streets of Leicester, 23 May 2010:

May 23 2010 – Stop Anglophobia Demo: Leicester City Clock Tower.

Overall it was a fantastic turnout and a well executed peaceful demo against the continuous Anglophobia happening here in England and also its surrounding countries. Lets keep up the good work!

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The English Shieldwall: http://englishshieldwall.weebly.com/support-us.html

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Stop Anglophobia – Facebook Page/Photos

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Stop Anglophobia – YouTube Video

EDL Demo in Support of Geert Wilders, Parliament, 5 March 2010

EDL vs. UAF: EDL win on points… scoring a significant victory for Freedom

EDL vs. UAF, Parliament 5 March 2010

Various Sources, 5 Mar 2010: The English Defence League take to the streets of London protesting against Muslim extremism and in support of Geert Wilders, who attends the House of Lords to show his controversial film Fitna.

Anti-fascists scrabble around all week putting out emergency emails calling for support, but are heavily outnumbered by the EDL on the day, whose Divisions have travelled from all over the country to be there.

Given the significant nature, size and location of the demonstrations, there is, shockingly, little in the way of media coverage.

Check the following links for MSM reporting of the demonstrations (the Guardian video is recommended, but ignore the obvious pro-UAF, anti-EDL bias), along with EDL Media and other right-media coverage:

“Support Geert Wilders” March a Complete Success, ENGLISH DEFENCE LEAGUE [external site]

English Defense League On the Scene Reportage of “Support Wilders” March, RIGHT SIDE NEWS [external site]

Geert Wilders anti-Islam film gets House of Lords screening, GUARDIAN [external site]

When the English Defence League came to London, GUARDIAN Video [external site]

Muslims outraged at UK screening of ‘Fitna’ film, Al Arabia [external site]

“God bless the Muslims. They’ll need it when they’re burning in effing hell.”, NEW STATESMAN [external site]

Journalists launch campaign to challenge BNP in run-up to election

If ever you needed proof of media bias (oh, and how Amnesty International doesn’t do what it’s constitution states it exists to do, namely: “to protect people wherever justice, fairness, freedom and truth are denied.”)…

Lefty Journalists’ organisation, 9 Feb 2010: Campaigning journalists and media workers are to launch EXPOSE, a campaign aimed at “revealing the undemocratic and racist nature” of the British National Party.

The new campaign will tackle the BNP’s “attempts to construct a respectable public image” and support media workers who refuse to work on uncritical programmes or material [emphasis added], the group announced today.

EXPOSE aims to brief reporters and news editors to help them challenge the BNP’s statements and spokespersons in the run-up to the UK election, the campaigners said.

A launch rally at the Amnesty UK headquarters in London on 23 February…

http://www.journalism.co.uk/2/articles/537506.php? (Copy/paste link for full article, external site)

The defeated Equality Bill contains Harmanesque poison

Harriet Harman sneeringDAILY TELEGRAPH, 26 Jan 2010: Last night the Government was defeated in three key votes on the Equality Bill. The Bill is not all bad. It consolidates into one Bill a lot of anti-discrimination law (some good, some not so good) that is at present scattered across several Acts, making it easier to read and understand.

However, there are within it some really nasty Harmanesque capsules of authoritarian poison, and a prime example of European judicial Imperialism. Last night it was the Churches who were to be the victims, but in a packed House things did not go the way of the Government.

Before the main clash between the Government and the largely religious lobby, the prominent homosexual Labour peer Lord Ali moved some amendments which posed some awkward questions for those of us who do not believe that the state should look into men’s heads and seek to criminalise their thoughts, rather than their actions. Fortunately in the face of the Government’s opposition he did not push his amendments to a vote, although he might do at a later stage.

Link to full article [external site]

New film uncovers racism in Germany

Another attempt to prove whites are racist – this time in Germany – but no attempt to explore or expose the racism taking place against whites in their own countries.

BBC.co.uk, 6 Nov 2009: Is Germany a racist country? That is what a new documentary, Black on White, is trying to find out. Its findings are shocking. But, as Damien McGuinness reports, the filmmaker himself has been criticized by black Germans for his methods.

For more than a year, journalist Gunter Wallraff travelled across Germany wearing a dark-haired curly wig and with his white skin painted black.

Equipped with a secret camera, and calling himself Kwami Ogonno, he went to predominantly white areas to see how a black man with a foreign accent is treated.

The experience, he said, was even more depressing that he had expected.

Read full article [external link]

Supermarket racism takes the biscuit

DAILY TELEGRAPH, Australia, 30 Oct 2009: THREE years ago Coles supermarkets made the fateful mistake of naming a chocolate biscuit “Creole Creams”.

The biscuits were part of Coles’ generic “You’ll love . . . ” brand. And for three years everybody did love them – or at least nobody hated them.

But back in 2006 society wasn’t so enlightened. We now know the terrible truth: That biscuit is a racist.

Read full article [external link]

Police injured in anti-BNP protest

Yahoo! News, 23Oct09: Protesters have laid siege to the BBC’s Television Centre in a fruitless bid to halt the filming of Question Time resulting in six arrests and injuries to three police officers.

Anti-fascist demonstrators managed to burst through security into the White City building’s reception while more than 500 waved placards outside.

Police were forced to divert traffic as the demonstrators crowded outside the main building chanting “Shame on you”.

Read full article [external link]

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