Thursday, April 19, 2007

Deny the Holocaust at your peril

UPDATE: all blog comments and updates are being collated at the bottom of this post.

In the beginning of February, I wrote two posts about how the EU were attempting to criminalise Holocaust denial throughout the EU. Well, guess what? Yes, the Financial Times have finally caught up!
Laws that make denying or trivialising the Holocaust a criminal offence punishable by jail sentences will be introduced across the European Union, according to a proposal expecting to win backing from ministers Thursday.

Offenders will face up to three years in jail under the proposed legislation, which will also apply to inciting violence against ethnic, religious or national groups.

Yes, that's right; the EU will curb free speech right the way across Europe. Oh good.
Diplomats in Brussels voiced confidence on Tuesday that the controversial plan, which has been the subject of heated debate for six years, will be endorsed by member states. However, the Baltic countries and Poland are still holding out for an inclusion of “Stalinist crimes” alongside the Holocaust in the text – a move that is being resisted by the majority of other EU countries.

Well, if we are going to have this illiberal law, then I really do think that trivialising the crimes of the USSR and its hideous fucking leaders would be a really good idea. However, I do not think that this law is a good thing at all.

It's not just Holocaust denial that is covered by this either.
The latest draft, seen by the Financial Times, will make it mandatory for all Union member states to punish public incitement “to violence or hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin”.

They will also have to criminalise “publicly condoning, denying or grossly trivialising crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes” when such statements incite hatred or violence against minorities.

Actually, the document that I have also criminalises "incitement to discrimination" too. But the really bad news for bloggers is in Article 10: Jurisdiction (I will publish the whole document, but I need to get some clearance first). [Emphasis mine.]
Article 10
  1. Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to establish its jurisdiction with regard to the conduct referred to in Articles 1 and 2 where the conduct has been committed:
    • (a) in whole or in part within its territory; or

    • (b) by one of its nationals; or

    • (c) for the benefit of a legal person [i.e. a company, charity, etc—DK] that has its head office in the territory of that Member State.

  2. When establishing jurisdiction in accordance with paragraph 1(a), each Member State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that its jurisdiction extends to cases where the conduct is committed through an information system and:
    • (a) the offender commits the conduct when physically present in its territory, whether or not the conduct involves material hosted on an information system in its territory;

    • (b) the conduct involves material hosted on an information system in its territory, whether or not the offender commits the conduct when physically present in its territory.

That's right, a blog is "an information system" and it doesn't matter where it's hosted; you can still go to gaol.

As I pointed out when I last wrote about this, if this legislation had been in force at the time, John Band would not simply have taken down Shot By Both Sides: he could be in prison. Further, under provision of this framework, if it was determined that the company that he worked for could have stopped his action, it could have been compulsorily wound up.

This is, in and of itself, a terribly dangerous piece of legislation, but there is a far more worrying aspect to this whole debate; if the EU is allowed to make criminal law, then what use is our veto on Criminal Justice and Home Affairs? And do you want your criminal law made by an unelected Commission; a Commission made up of people like Mandelson? If these people make bad law, there is nothing that we can do about it: neither our current nor future governments can repeal it or alter it (at least, it would be so difficult as to be 99.99% certain to fail).

And where does it stop? After all, the EU has also talked about criminalising "green crimes"; will your humble Devil soon be in a criminal court, charged with "denying anthropogenic global warming"?

This is a stinking, illiberal shackle on free speech—odious though they are, how long do you think the BNP's website will last under this legislation?—and should have been resisted at all costs, if only because of the wider implications of an EU criminal system. Instead, the MSM has ignored it until too late.

The Independence and Democracy Group (which includes UKIP) will vote against this filth; does anyone want to bet that Spam Cameron's merry men in the EPP will vote for it? Of course, they will—why do you think that there's been no mention on this in the column of Dan Hannan MEP?

We're all fucked.

UPDATE: all blog comments and updates are being collated at the bottom of this post.


Amir said...


Another great post.

The Longrider is going to have a heart-attack when he reads this!

I can’t put into words just how much I hate the European Union. It’s almost as if Soviet Russia never went away; the EU makes Cuba look like fucking Hong Kong.

Elaib said...

My personal favourite aspect of this piece of legislative scariness is this - and there is some competition,

Article 6
Sanctions for legal persons

1. Each Member State shall take the necessary measures to ensure that a legal person held liable pursuant to Article 5(1) is punishable by effective, proportionate and dissuasive sanctions, which shall include criminal or non criminal fines and may include other sanctions, such as:

(a)exclusion from entitlement to public benefits or aid;

(b)temporary or permanent disqualification from the practice of commercial activities;

(c)placing under judicial supervision;

(d)a judicial winding up order.

So you can be locked up (1-3 years)and then when you get out you can be barred fronm working, and to make matters even better you cannot get benefits...

I have a friend whose grandfather was a copper in Antwerp during the war. A run of the mill copper. He was charged with collaberation in 1946, and convicted. After 4 years in prison he faced these penalties. No job, no benefits, and he was allowed to vote for the first time in 1986. Though ashamed his fam,ily lookwed after him throught the forty years.
Today people (Lib Dems and Labour)are talking about giving prisoners the vote, the self same people are supporting laws that would deny it for thought crime.

Any chance of the British - or dammit the European - bloggosphere getting together on this to fight it?

The Tin Drummer said...

Any chance of the British - or dammit the European - bloggosphere getting together on this to fight it?

Count me in, for what it's worth. Elaib, that was a heartbreaking story - do you know how widespread that sort of punishment was?

Neal Asher said...

Well, the supporters of AGW doctrine call those who don't agree with them 'deniers', implying that they are like holocaust deniers. This then is 'trivializing the Holocaust' so presumably they should be thrown in prison?

Ed said...

What about trivialising/denying the necessity of the European Union?

Am I allowed to air my disgust at this sort of move by the Brussels elite?

Ed said...

ps My grandfather did not fight in both world wars just so my generation could be subject to this kind of legislation. I expect that view is very politically unacceptable to the elite, however.

Machiavelli's Understudy said...

As I understand it, the legislation covers opinions expressed in public.

Would it be different if, say, a blogger in the EU e-mailed their private opininion to a counterpart in the US, who subsequently posts it on a blog, a la 'this is what was said in private'?

Anonymous said...

PA Holocaust denial in new PA schoolbooks:
WWII without a Holocaust
I wonder what sort of reaction this will have from the eu

Anonymous said...

This legislation is outrageously anti muslim and should be stopped.

Anonymous said...

Better off out. That's all there is to it.

Or is saying that now banned too?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps Bloggers should form a Union, then you'd be untouchable.

Political interference with Bloggers' Union meetings - online (environmentally friendly) ones with educational and political consciousness raising debates - would surely then be denial of the workers' right of association and illegal.

Exile said...

All the more reason to be in Brussels on the 9th of September..

Brussels Demo

Lilith said...

Fuck, first we have the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill, now this.

Will I be able to say "Bob Dylan is not a genius" under this law? It is barely acceptable as is. It is so nearly illegal for one little boy to call another little boy "Gay" that the police get involved anyway.

Anonymous said...

Holocaust denial is not a free-speech issue.

It is a criminal incitement issue. It is a criminal conspiracy issue. It is campaigning for mass murder.

Holocaust deniers do not just deny that the Holocaust occurred. They defame the Jews and accuse them of dishonesty, extortion and blackmail. They insult the memory of the dead victims. And they threaten the lives and wellbeing of the living.

Anonymous said...

The holocaust never happened in the 1940's it happenend way back when. The way these people are going on now, they dint even know what the word means, theyve gone beyond that, the new word should officially be MURDERED. ripeace

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Anonymous said...


Oh yeah? So what has happened for the last ten years, exactly?

Over at the ASI, they are posting some of the winning entries of the Young Writers on Liberty. One does not want to put such keen minds off,...