John Demjanjuk is a retired auto worker from Cleveland. He was born in Ukraine, served in World War II as a Russian soldier, was captured and held as a prisoner of war. Demjanjuk’s captors were soldiers of the German army. Today, as you read this column, Demjanjuk is standing trial for his very life once again. He is facing another Nazi war crimes indictment.
Think about the dynamics of this dilemma for John Demjanjuk. He’s being tried in Germany, by the very country who captured him. They say he was a Nazi war criminal. I don’t know about you, but on its surface it just doesn’t add up.
Demjanjuk is not a war criminal and certainly was never a Nazi. I can remember my first acknowledgment of the “Demjanjuk” ordeal. It seems like yesterday. I was in my Washington, D.C. office in the old Cannon Building in the late ‘80s. One of my staffers came into my office in a sort of cloak-and-dagger mode stating that the “son of convicted Nazi mass murderer ‘Ivan the Terrible’ is in the reception room, and we told him you are not here.” I then inquired of his purpose to meet with me, since I was not his congressman. I was then informed that young John Demjanjuk Jr. told them that he has “been to every office in the House and Senate, and no one would even speak with him because the matter was too sensitive.”
John Demjanjuk Jr. further stated that “they did not want to involve Jim Traficant” because they said that they “knew the government hated him, but he’s our last resort for any help.”
My staffer said, “Do not meet with him; you’ll be ostracized, destroyed, ruined. Let him go back to his own congressman and the two senators of Ohio.”
My staff further advised that I was probably already targeted by the powerful Israeli lobby, since I was an opponent of foreign aid, and certainly my involvement with John Demjanjuk would guarantee that American Israeli Public Affairs Committee [AIPAC] would not quit till I was removed from Congress.
I went to the door so I could overhear the conversation between John Demjanjuk Jr. and my staff. I could feel the pain in his voice. John Demjanjuk Jr. finally stated: “My dad’s not asking to meet with anyone. I’m asking, and I’ve never even had a parking ticket. What kind of government is this, that I can’t even talk to my elected officials about my family’s grave concerns?”
I then ordered my staff to bring John Demjanjuk Jr. and his brother-in-law Ed Nishnic into my office. My staff told me this decision would destroy my career in Congress. I met John Demjanjuk Jr. and Ed Nishnic and offered them a seat to discuss their problems.
John Demjanjuk Jr. is a fine young man, a son any father would be proud of. His demeanor was that of a troubled and worried young man. He was accompanied by his brother-in-law Ed Nishnic and basically let Ed Nishnic explain their plight.
Ed Nishnic is also a remarkable man. Like John Demjanjuk Jr. he’s very intelligent and was very determined to prove the innocence of his father-in-law. I stated emphatically, that “I’ve decided to meet with you for one reason and one reason only: No American should ever be turned away when seeking help from our government.” I then said, “Your dad has been convicted of mass murder, the extermination of one million Jewish prisoners. He has been sentenced to death. I want you to know up front, that if he is really guilty I could personally pull the switch at his execution.”
I then told them I would hear their concerns. (Be advised that the mainstream media wrote that “Jim Traficant supports Nazi mass murderer” as soon as word spread that I had met with the “Demjanjuk” family.)
Nishnic handed me two report summaries of OSI investigators (Office of Special Investigations, the group within the Justice Department created by Congress to apprehend and prosecute Nazi war criminals). They had interrogated one Otto Horn in Berlin, Germany. Horn was a former SS Nazi guard who had assisted “Ivan Grozny” (Ivan the Terrible), at the Treblinka, Poland concentration camps.
These two reports were originals, not copies, and were signed by agents Garand and Daugherty, and were witnessed by prosecutor Moscovitz, who handled the denaturalization trial of John Demjanjuk in Cleveland. The reports were stamped as received by the Justice Department and signed by unit chief Eli Rosenbaum.
I read the documents very carefully without input from John Demjanjuk Jr. or Ed Nishnic. I could not believe my eyes. I could not believe what I was reading. The Justice Department had committed a great crime. Moscovitz, Garand and Daugherty suborned the perjury of Otto Horn in order to convict an American citizen wrongfully—an American now denaturalized, stripped of his citizenship and waiting to be executed. (The authenticity of these two documents cannot be denied.)
At trial, Horn stated that “John Demjanjuk was Ivan Grozny.” But in these two early reports, two years before the trial, Horn could not identify Demjanjuk from the photographs displayed before him.
I had a problem. A big problem. I knew without a doubt that John Demjanjuk was not Ivan the Terrible. John Demjanjuk was in fact another victim, soon to be known as one of the most vicious and infamous mass murderers in world history. John Demjanjuk was awaiting execution as the infamous Ivan of Treblinka, Ivan the Terrible.
I would be defamed and ostracized because I would be compelled to prove the innocence of John Demjanjuk on the strength of these two Justice Department documents. John Demjanjuk was innocent—convicted of mass murder, sentenced to death and awaiting execution—and no one seemed to care.
I thought, what has happened to our great country that it could produce this type of brutal crime against this American and his family?
I realized I had a difficult task ahead, but with the help of John Demjanjuk Jr. and Ed Nishnic, I believed we could prove John Demjanjuk’s innocence. It was imperative to do so. I had these two powerful documents to start with.
Otto Horn’s testimony at the Cleveland denaturalization trial (via videotape) was very direct. Horn had been shown a series of photographs when interrogated in Berlin.
Moscovitz spread eight photos of Caucasian males in uniform, all in their early 20’s. Horn testified that he identified John Demjanjuk immediately. Moscovitz then spread eight more photos of Caucasian soldiers in uniform, but now in their 40’s. Horn again testified that he identified John Demjanjuk, even as an older man, because he knew him so well. Horn’s testimony stripped John Demjanjuk of his citizenship, and he was sent to Israel to stand trial as Ivan the Terrible.
Now, back to the two reports of Horn’s interrogation in Berlin two years earlier. Garand and Daugherty wrote in their reports immediately after their interview with Horn: “We spread eight photos of Caucasian men in uniform, all in their early 20’s. Horn studied the photos at length and stated that ‘one man looks familiar’ [not John Demjanjuk] but FAILED to identify anyone.”
The report goes on:
“We then gathered the eight photos and put them in a stack with John Demjanjuk’s on top. We then spread eight more photos of older men in uniform with John Demjanjuk’s photo among them. Horn studied these photos at length, and looking at the John Demjanjuk photo on top of the stack, then back to John Demjanjuk’s photo in the older soldiers spread, said that ‘this is the same man’ but FAILED again to identify John Demjanjuk as Ivan.”
Be advised that Horn lied through his teeth, and U.S. prosecutor Moscovitz allowed it. Horn later testified at the Israeli trial that he positively identified John Demjanjuk from the photo spreads. When the defense team crossed-examined Horn, they asked if he could see the first photo spread when he was examining the second set. Horn testified:
“They put the first set of photographs in an envelope and removed them from my view.” Horn lied again. John Demjanjuk was convicted, and sentenced to death.
I immediately began my own investigation by utilizing a number of FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] requests on John Demjanjuk. The government response was “classified”; thus I got nothing. At this point I conferred with John Demjanjuk Jr. and Nishnic to evaluate what options were available. We came up with a plan.
We decided to research any and all legal activity that involved the Treblinka camp. BINGO. We discovered that a Ukrainian-American from Chicago, by the name of Feodor Federenko, had been tried for war crimes at Treblinka. Federenko was acquitted. He then traveled to his homeland to visit his family, but was arrested by the Soviet KGB, was tried again in Russia, was convicted and executed. [No doubt our government arranged his demise].
I immediately sent out a new FOIA request, this time on Federenko. Most agencies threw my FOIAs in the wastebasket, but the State Department sent me two telegrams:
The first was from one of our OSI agents in Europe seeking information about Treblinka. The second was the response from the State Department listing the names of four men who had made statements about Treblinka. At the bottom of this was the following; “if you need further help, be advised we have another 100 pages in the file.”
I acted immediately. I phoned the State Department and reached a Mrs. Poindexter, an honest, competent government worker. I asked her to send me those 100 pages, citing the fact that Federenko was deceased and his case was not “classified.” Mrs. Poindexter complied.
Those 100 pages saved the life of John Demjanjuk. They contained the testimony of 17 witnesses about Treblinka.
All 17 identified “Ivan”:
1. He was taller than John Demjanjuk;
2. He had dark hair, not blond like John Demjanjuk;
3. He was nine years older than John Demjanjuk;
4. He had a long scar on his neck.
There was also a photo of two SS Nazi guards who had been identified by one of the witnesses, who said: “The short guard with pistol is Tkachuk. The tall guard is the man the Jewish prisoners feared the most, ‘Ivan Grozny’—IVAN MARCHENKO.”
All 17 witnesses identified a man named Ivan Marchenko as “Ivan the Terrible.”
I asked Congress for a hearing. Congress refused, the case was “too sensitive.” The federal courts would not accept my evidence. I took my evidence to the floor of Congress. I said John Demjanjuk was not “Ivan the Terrible.” A man named Ivan Marchenko was the real “Ivan.”
That night, the U.S. Justice Department issued a statement that “there were two Ivans.”
The next day I released the photo of Marchenko. The Justice Department was silent.
I then forwarded all my evidence to John Demjanjuk’s defense team in Israel, who then submitted it in to the Israeli Supreme Court.
I flew to Israel with John Demjanjuk Jr. and Ed Nishnic, at my own expense. I did a live interview with Bryant Gumbel on the Today show. I stated that if Israel executed John Demjanjuk that Israel will lose $20 billion a year from U.S. taxpayers. Gumbel said that “Israel only gets $3 billion a year.” I countered, “That’s just the foreign aid bill, Bryant. Israel gets military aid, loans, loans converted to grants, and trade compacts and other money. I say that Israel gets $20,000 for every man, woman and child from America every year.”
The interview was over.
I was phoned the following night and was told that John Demjanjuk would be released and delivered to me at the Tel Aviv Airport. We took him home.
I called a press conference for New York. While the press gathered, I ducked out with John Demjanjuk on a small plane. When approaching Cleveland, I directed the pilot to seek a landing pattern at the airport, then directed the flight to a small airstrip near Independence, Ohio, thus eluding the press.
John Demjanjuk went to a safehouse, He was home. I flew toWashington.The next day the Sixth Circuit Court in Cincinnati, Ohio issued the following statement; “A TRAGIC BUT HONEST MISTAKE BY OUR GOVERNMENT.”
That was no mistake. Moscovitz, Garand and Daugherty should have been sent to prison. I said then, “Since when did sensitivity waive our Bill of Rights?” When we allow the rights of one American to be violated, we endanger the rights of all Americans.
Germany should send John Demjanjuk home. How, in God’s name, can Germany accept any evidence from the U.S. Justice Department who suborned perjury in the first trial, withheld evidence, obstructed justice, and violated John Demjanjuk’s civil rights?
SHAME ON GERMANY AND SHAME ON THE U.S.A. What has happened to our great country?
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Make Congress Read Their Bills Before Voting
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TWIC - A Backdoor Real ID Card
Real ID is dying. But the Department of Homeland Security has a new plan to subject every American to a national ID card anyway. They plan to pick off one occupational field at a time, starting with the maritime industry. One man is fighting back. Meet him, and help stop this backdoor Real ID plan.
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Most Americans probably believe a bill has to have majority support in Congress before it can become the law of the land. Sadly, this common sense expectation is totally wrong. Congressional leaders routinely pass laws that a majority opposes. DownsizeDC.org believes every bill should have to stand or fall on its own merits. Toward this end we have crafted the “One Subject at a Time Act” (OSTA).
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Top 11 Reasons You Should Fight Hate Laws
Unless we resist now, a thought crimes bureaucracy like those regulating Australia, Canada and Europe will soon rule America. In these nations, federal hate laws have destroyed citizens' rights to free speech. Punishment of politically incorrect bias is the ultimate goal of this legislation.
A national hate law would shatter Americans' First Amendment rights, which are now sadly unique among Western democracies. We would lose our precious freedom to express politically incorrect ideas, moral judgments, or whatever personal convictions the reigning thought police deem "hateful."
Think this can't happen in America? Think again.
Hostile work environment law and campus speech bans already severely curtail free expression in American workplaces and universities. A US federal hate law would follow the examples of Europe, Canada, and Australia where Christian pastors have been indicted simply for quoting politically incorrect Scripture in their sermons. Iceland's Orwellian hate law, for example, promises two years' jail if you verbally "insult" a person on the basis of their nationality, skin color, race, religion, or sexual orientation.
If a federal hate law were passed, free expression across the political spectrum would be threatened. What would happen to blasphemous art like Piss Christ or South Park, to Ann Coulter or Al Franken, to Christians protesting sodomy or homosexuals attacking the Bible? Every American, from left-leaning feminists to red state Republicans, should protest "anti-hate" legislation. If Rosie O'Donnell were an Icelander, she could have been prosecuted for verbal "assault" for her recent statement that radical Christianity is as dangerous as radical Islam. Political activists in nations with hate laws have already been indicted for criticizing Islam, Zionism, and homosexuality. Hate laws threaten your freedom to speak your mind, no matter what's on it.
Here are some of the most powerful, bipartisan reasons to fight this legislation.
1. Speech bans are a political weapon used by those in power to silence their opponents and politically unpopular minorities.
Hate laws empower the government to enforce the orthodoxy of whoever happens to be in charge. The government can define which biases or "hatreds" are unacceptable and which are okay. For instance, hate laws in our PC age allow women to derogate men but would silence men from legitimate (though possibly hurtful) speech like a discussion of biological gender differences.
In 2004 Swedish feminist Joanna Rytel wrote a hate-filled screed published in a major daily. Her article describes white men as arrogant, sex-obsessed and exploitative, explaining that Rytel just wants to "puke" on them. Stockholm authorities refused to indict Rytel under their hate law, saying it was passed to protect ethnic minorities, not white Swedes. This is one example of speech bans' uneven enforcement; they are used to punish certain kinds of hate and allow others.
Because almost every exercise of free speech offends someone, government officials would end up enforcing speech bans on the basis of their own bias. Speech bans simply can't be evenhanded unless everyone is shut up altogether.
In the real world, speech can and does wound. That's a cost of life. We naturally resent painful realities like economic competition, unfair comments, and hard work. But in each case, the cures we've tried were far worse than the sickness. Speech bans might censor some hurtful speech but would empower government to silence minorities and strip the intellectual marketplace of legitimate and needed expression-the kind that creates positive, social change precisely because it is minority and challenges the sins of the group.
2. Hate speech bans don't work.
Genuine racism and false hatreds exist in this world. Bans on hate speech, however, won't solve the problem. If you only break off a tick's body, its head will burrow deep beneath the skin. The only effective response to bad ideas is the truth. We should combat falsehoods with more and freer discussion, not less.
3. Hate laws aren't necessary.
ADL claims an epidemic of hate sweeps America that can only be fought with stiffened penalties for bias-driven crimes. Yet the FBI's 2005 Uniform Crime Report shows alleged hate crimes form a tiny 1/15 of 1 percent of all crime in America. Law enforcers' time would be far better spent fighting the 99.85 percent of crime that's happening every minute across our nation rather than getting entangled in discerning and testifying against the perceived motivations of a tiny minority of criminals.
Hate laws would require vast government bureaucracies, complicate law enforcement, and distract police and prosecutors from dealing with actual physical crimes. Government and law enforcement should focus on criminal acts, not words or motivations, in a nation where someone is murdered every 22 minutes, raped every 5, robbed every 49 seconds and burgled every 10 seconds. Discerning and prosecuting criminal motivations would only be a good plan if law enforcers had God's omniscience and time to waste. Ours have neither.
4. Hate speech bans are unconstitutional.
Because the First Amendment underwrites our most precious civil liberty, the US Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled against speech bans. In 1972 the Court declared, "[A]bove all else, the First Amendment means that government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its ideas, its subject matter, or its contents." (Police Department of Chicago v. Mosley, 408 U.S. 92)
Some forms of speech are restricted; these include threats and "fighting words" that incite "an immediate breach of peace." But these restrictions are (and must remain) extremely narrow and content-neutral-the government is not allowed to censor speech based on the viewpoint it expresses but only on whether it constitutes an immediate threat. Hate laws, however, would punish the viewpoints expressed in speech, in violation of the Constitution.
International use of ADL-designed hate laws shows that the first kinds of speech to be sanctioned are extreme right, white nationalist speech and Holocaust reductionism. The average person is slow to defend such speech. But hate laws quickly broaden to punish forms of expression the average citizen would never dream of stifling. Sweden's 2002 modified hate law, for example, explicitly exposes Christian sermons to prosecution!
All forms of controversial political and religious speech are potentially vulnerable to prosecution under hate laws. This contradicts Supreme Court Justice Holmes Jr. who said in 1929, "[I]f there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment [loyal defense] than any other, it is the principle of free thought-not free thought for those who agree with us but freedom for the thought we hate."
5. Speech bans will be used against the very minorities they were meant to protect.
Speech bans silence some to protect the feelings of others. But when the government has power to silence expression that power can be wielded against the very people who once enjoyed its protection. Liberals, the champions of unrestrained speech in the 1960s, now vote as a bloc in Congress to support speech restrictions. Yet already in countries such as Canada, England and Australia, leftist critics of Islam have become the victims of hate laws, indicted for religious "hate speech."
Leftist artists Rowan Atkinson and Salman Rushdie realize hate laws don't just threaten white nationalists like David Duke but liberals as well- they recently fought for revision of Britain's hate law because it could be used to outlaw art that blasphemes or criticizes religion. Atkinson and Rushdie are just a few of hate laws' leftist critics who know that persons of all political persuasions have a stake in defeating this legislation.
6. Speech bans chill legitimate and valuable speech.
Under the threat of possible indictment, many people will refrain from discussing controversial but important ideas. Speech bans are often broad and vague, leaving citizens unsure what might get them hauled into court.
This is what has happened in American workplaces, where hostile work environment law has left many employees unsure what they can say. Many Americans avoid all controversial speech and voluntarily refrain from exercising First Amendment rights at work. Hate laws would extend this dangerous minefield to the national political scene.
Legal philosopher Edmond Cahn points out that speech bans would leave our bookshelves empty. "[T]he officials could begin by prosecuting anyone who distributes the Christian gospels, because they contain many defamatory statements not only about Jews but also about ChristiansThen the officials could ban Greek literature for calling the rest of the world "barbarians." Roman authors could be suppressed because when they were not defaming the Gallic and Teutonic tribes, they were disparaging the ItaliansThen there is Shakespeare, who openly affronts the French, the Welsh, the Danes" (Beyond the Burning Cross, E. Cleary, Random House, 1994)
7. Speech bans greatly reduce the possibility of healthy, democratic change.
Criminalizing speech that expresses "hate" or "bias" would require us to outlaw history's most valuable speech, especially the political and religious speech that threatens social stasis and ignites progress.
Aggressive speech is often the only tool available to political, social, or religious minorities whose access to government lobbying and mass media is limited. Those agitating for social change often need to use inflammatory and even "hateful" language to startle the public into hearing their message. Socrates compared himself to a horsefly biting the lazy flanks of his republic. We should certainly know enough by now to prefer the annoyance of stinging speech (even when we don't see its value) to a tyrannical majority that plods, unchallenged, toward slavery.
Americans are so used to our mudslinging, no-holds-barred political discourse that we find it hard to envision the way freedom of speech could disappear. But the freedom we enjoy is extremely rare in history, and quickly lost. Free expression for intellectuals is the first thing to go when tyrants rise to power; the history of oppressive regimes makes it clear that freedom of political speech is a delicate exception and the overarching tendency is for majorities or elites to get power and silence all opposition.
8. The government's interest in reducing violent crime does not outweigh our interest in preserving civil liberty.
Hate law advocates including the ADL argue that hateful speech incites violence, and appeal to the government's interest in reducing violent crime. But it would be unfair to ban, for instance, white racist speech or Christian sermons against homosexuality without also banning the plethora of other speech that might incite crime. Gangsta rap and videogames would be open to censure; we would also have to ban pornography, especially sadomasochistic porn, which certainly inspires violence against women.
Yet bans against these kinds of speech have been repeatedly declared unconstitutional. The government has an interest in lowering violent crime of all stripes but has always found the value of the First Amendment to be greater. It's unjust to argue that a few kinds of speech must be banned because they possibly incite violence (e.g., criticism of Jewish actions or homosexuality) yet permit huge categories of speech (violent sexual entertainment) that do the same. This would happen, however, under hate laws' unequal and partial enforcement. The ADL is not truly driven by the desire to reduce violent crime but rather to enforce a social and political orthodoxy.
Instead of passing a hate law that would shatter the First Amendment and impossibly complicate law enforcement, people concerned with hate-driven crimes should focus on improving our existing justice system and making sure hard crimes don't go unpunished.
9. Speech bans are offensively paternalistic.
They presume we can't think for ourselves, reject racist or hateful ideas for ourselves, or deal with the hurt caused by others' free expression. Are we such children that we need the government to cover our ears? Speech bans especially condescend toward the minorities they portray as helpless victims whose feelings must be sheltered from ideas they can't combat in a free intellectual market.
10. Speech bans permit government to do something an individual could not morally do.
Frederic Bastiat's classic treatise on The Law says government exists only to prevent injustice by defending our basic rights to person, liberty, and property. Government does not exist to guarantee our economic outcomes, redistribute our wealth, or protect our psyches. Speech bans would empower government to silence individuals by force. This is immoral whether it's one person silencing another person or the government silencing a fringe group of dissenters. Human fallibility requires at least enough humility to allow others to question, challenge, and dissent from our ideas. John Stuart Mill explains, "If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
11. Speech bans deny self-determination and individual freedom by criminalizing self-expression.
By censoring speech, hate laws censor thought and restrict our access to ideas. This is the essence of mind control. They deny the personal growth that comes from sharing ideas-including hateful, prejudiced, or false ideas-and having them challenged in a free intellectual marketplace.
Hate law speech bans have been repeatedly declared unconstitutional and would rend the very foundation of our freedom and democracy. Far from combating hate, The Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act is actually the most hateful and enslaving legislation to ever reach Congress; it would invade states' rights in law enforcement, enabling a hate crimes bureaucracy to police our thoughts and expression. Government could censor by force all speech that dissents from the reigning orthodoxy. Every American must speak up now in defense of the freedom for which our forefathers gave their very lives.
Freedom of expression is one of the most fundamental rights that individuals enjoy. It is fundamental to the existence of democracy and the respect of human dignity. It is also one of the most dangerous rights, because freedom of expression means the freedom to express one's discontent with the status quo and the desire to change it. As such, it is one of the most threatened rights, with governments - and even human rights groups - all over the world constantly trying to curtail it.
Make your voice heard today or it will be silenced tomorrow.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free."
"The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government. . . lest it come to dominate our lives and interests."
"Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle! Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress."
Edward R. Murrow
"We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it."
"“To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.”
"You measure democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists."
Martin Luther King Jr.
"An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law. "