Documents on the Fight to Preserve the Right to Free Speech

David Irving Lodges a Formal Complaint with the Data Protection Agency about the Board of Deputies of British Jews and its Illegal use of a Database
Quick navigation  

 

81 Duke Street, Grosvenor Square, London W1M 5DJ

London, November 4, 1996

Dear Mr Jones,

You will recall that you wrote me on November 14 last year. Allow me first for the sake of convenience to recapitulate the gist of the letter I wrote you on November 17 last:

I am embarking on what may prove an uphill road, to stem the tide of defamatory data which has been spewed out against me around the world -- I am a well-known published historian, and have been for thirty-four years. This campaign reached a climax in mid-1992, after I returned from Moscow with the long-lost diaries of Nazi propaganda minister Dr Joseph Goebbels, which I had retrieved from the former Soviet secret state archives. You may remember the furore after the Sunday Times purchased rights in this material from me and serialised the diaries.

There were two consequences. The international Jewish community started a violent onslaught on my name and on my career. They obliged the Sunday Times to violate its contract with me, and it stopped all payments to me; I had to litigate in the High Court, and that costly action reached a favourable (though necessarily secret) conclusion this last September [1995].

The second consequence was that later in 1992 the same people started a world-wide campaign to halt my global lecture tours, on which I depend for income. I was physically assaulted in England; I was arrested and deported from Canada; I was banned from Australia, South Africa, Germany, Italy, and other countries.

All this is, of course, of not the slightest professional interest to you. What follows however is :

Lawyers acting on my behalf began a painstaking process of extracting from the governments of those countries the files of data that they had been given to persuade them to ban me. In Canada, we used the Access to Information Act. In Australia, we used forced Discovery after libel actions started by me against five newspapers and journalists. We found evidence of data being wilfully and recklessly supplied by the Board of Deputies of British Jews, a very powerful and wealthy London-based private (i.e. non government) organisation to foreign embassies in London and to their contacts and agencies in those countries -- i.e. outside the United Kingdom. (A glance at the Board's registration under your Act will confirm that this alone is prima facie evidence of the commission of an offence).

The data thus disclosed are defamatory and untrue in the extreme: [. . .] At present I am undertaking legal manoeuvres to smoke the Board out and to oblige it to admit authorship of the documents -- which bear all the hallmarks of having been updated regularly on a database. [. . .]
I put the Board on Notice in September [1995] under the Act, asking to see copies of their data on me. I warned that I was "acting on information received." The Board asserted that they had no data on me which were covered by the Act. This is most improbable. In writing, I invited the director who signed the letter, would you be willing to swear to that (denial) in an affidavit? He did not reply, and after a reminder flatly refused ("the answer is no.")

I am proceeding warily. When I have taken my inquiries as far as I can, I shall approach you again, if I may, to discuss what, if anything can be done. I shall wish to

(a) seek the enforcement of the disclosure provisions of the Act,
(b) seek sanctions against the Board for any offences found to have been committed; and
(c) ultimately seek redress and compensation for the world-wide damage that their unfair trafficking in defamatory and untrue data has inflicted on me.


I am now approaching you again, as anticipated. I was anxious not to do any injustice to this Data User, by acting prematurely. The situation has however clarified somewhat since the above letter was written; I have issued High Court proceedings under the Defamation Act 1952 against the Board of Deputies of British Jews; lawyers acting for them have confirmed in writing that their clients wrote the lengthy report, but when I again approached the Board and gave notice under the Act to see all and any data which they hold on me as defined under the Act, they again wrote to me denying that they hold any such data that relates to me.


It is of course quite possible that they are speaking the truth. I can comment only that

(a) the libellous report, of which I now enclose a copy, follows closely the categories as set out in their Registration Certificate No. C.1041013 under the Act, and
(b) the report has clearly been regularly updated, so if it is held on a Word Processor it no longer comes under the W.P. exemption.

May I therefore now formally ask you

(a) to consider carrying out an inspection of this Data User to see whether they are holding data on me which comes under the Act, and
(b) to consider what enforcement action should thereupon be taken.


Yours sincerely,

David Irving

Data Protection Agency
Mr Phil Jones, Asst Registrar
Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF

file: ILL WIND

This Website comments:-

  1. The Data Protection Agency showed the utmost readiness to assist. Its officers duly carried out a search of the Board of Deputies of British Jews but, forewarned, they had removed their database to safety.


    EVERY subject now has the statutory right under the Data Protection Act, 1984, to give the Board of Deputies forty days' notice in writing to provide copies of all data maintained by the Board on them, and to require the Board to make such corrections as the subject concerned may require.
    Subjects who suspect that they are being victimised should write in the first instance by Recorded Mail to the Research Unit, Board of Deputies of British Jews, marking their letter for the attention of Michael Whine, Director, Research Unit, Commonwealth House, 1 - 19 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1NF.
    If the Board refuses to give satisfaction within forty days, the subject should then complain in writing to the
    Registrar of the Data Protection Agency, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF; the agency has statutory powers to search and seize databases in the event of non compliance with the Act.


© Focal Point David Irving 1998