Posted Saturday, March 2, 2002

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 Would a newspaper group of the reputation of Guardian Newspapers Ltd have risked commissioning such an illegal act?





March 2, 2002 (Saturday)


I AM rather troubled by the lengths to which The Observer and its parent Guardian Newspapers Ltd are going in their latest smear crusade. They have of course every motive to see my name and fortunes destroyed, as they are defendants in my next libel action. Over the last few days they have been contacting very many of my most important friends around the world, and pressing them for information. I have attempt to alert my most important likely targets, and apologised to them that this newspaper group has stolen my computer files.

I get emails from major supporters in Scandinavia, Switzerland and elsewhere, reporting approaches made to them, and a letter this morning from A., in the East End of London, who has been with us since 1994.

Received your letter this a.m. but I'm afraid "they" beat you to it. I was out on Wednesday and when I arrived home I found on the floor the card and the note: I had no idea what it was all about so I phoned our chum and he started asking me questions about somebody called David Irving. I hadn't a clue what he was on about at first until he mentioned that I had been giving you money. I pointed out that I wasn't in the habit of giving anyone money and that it was a loan on which you were paying me interest.
   When I asked him how he knew about my investment he mumbled something about amounts of £5,000 were public knowledge. I didn't believe him somehow. He tried pumping me for answers that I know nothing about, and then the frighteners -- "Do you know that he is to be declared bankrupt next week?"
   "Christ," I said. "Does that mean there'll be no (You Know Who)'s War vol. iii?" (I don't think he got that one ).
   And then the ultimate question "Are you aware that he is an Holocaust denier?.
   Rather irreverently I replied "I don't give a s**t what he denies just so long as his cheques don't bounce. " I think he was a little hurt at my flippancy I don't know why, I wasn't flippant. I hope I did right. Roll on the next "divi."

A. shows me the scribbled note and business card pushed under his door by this Observer editor. It reads:

Could you please give me a call as soon as possible about a story I am writing for Sunday's Observer. -- My details are on my card. But just in case, my direct line is 0207 713 4378. Martin Bigot, Home Affairs Editor

I do hope that nobody uses the address on the card (c/o The Observer, 119 Farringdon Road, London EC1R 3ER) or the email address to send their opinions to this effete warrior against free speech.

I must admit that I am rather tickled by the idea of Mr Bigot trying to put "the frighteners" -- a word full of East-End promise -- on a Cockney whose family withstood the worst that Adolf Hitler could send over in 1940. A., and people like him, are the salt of the English earth.


MY own investigation into the leaked confidential documents stolen by The Observer continues. I send an email and letter to a Wandsworth computer firm, remarking on a minor fault still plaguing the G3, and adding: "The second matter is substantially more serious (and I hasten to add that I do not want to cast any suspicion on the management of your company in any way). I am a writer under heavy attack by certain media organs these last two years. During the time that my computer was being repaired at your premises, data were possibly stolen from its hard drive and sold in the last few days to Guardian Newspapers Ltd. The data include my confidential address lists, and no doubt much else. Journalists from The Observer and The Guardian have visited people in the last few days who were supporting my legal actions -- the newspaper group is a defendant in a forthcoming action -- and have put to these people data that have been retrieved from this computer file."

First I phone the computer firm: an Asian gentleman very courteously expresses shock, says their employees have all been there fourteen years or more, and suggests that the enemy may have hacked into my computer system. This is not impossible, although we have installed firewalls, but from the names thrown up two days ago by Don Guttenplan it is evident they have only the older lists -- none of the data is from the latest lists. The G3 had not been used for four months.

I wonder who was behind it, whether it was straightforward theft off the computer, or hacking into my system from outside. The one is as illegal as the other, as the Press Complaints Commission or even the rather less toothless Metropolitan Police will no doubt agree.

Would a newspaper group of the reputation of Guardian Newspapers Ltd have risked commissioning such an illegal act? They must realise that all such operations will become fully disclosable under further Discovery in the libel action against them, as no privilege is available to them to protect their sources.


As for "bankruptcy," Guardian Newspapers Ltd are more likely to reach that frightening stage than I am. Although Parforce UK are not even the palest shadow compared with the £6.1 billion Pearson Group -- parent company of Lipstadt's publisher Penguin Books Ltd -- they do have sizeable assets now that the big books are in print.

The last people to try it against me were those unlikely bedfellows the Duke of Westminster, my distant landlord and the wealthiest man in Britain, and the Board of Deputies of British Jews, both back in 1997. The Duke's minions, the leading London law firm of Biddle's, made the mistake of attempting to serve the petition on me in the precincts of the Law Courts on the morning of the actual hearing (I fancy that I can hear m'learned friends already chuckle out loud as they read that -- it is not only improper, it is a contempt of court to serve documents within the precincts.) The Court threw it out and awarded me costs against the Duke's lieutenants.

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, who are also not short of the odd bob or two, were discomfited to hear, in the court, that at that very moment a brown paper bag containing the money they had demanded, in tens and fives, had been delivered before the appointed deadline into the grasping hands of Mishcon de Reya, their familiar-sounding law firm.

The costs had arisen, as my friends know, from a failed libel action. The lawyer concerned, the well-known Anthony Bibulous (Lipstadt's publicity-shy champion, left), had successfully warded it off for the Board, not by justifying the lies which his clients had secretly planted in Canadian government files in order to engineer my deportation in 1992, but by snivelling that my action was out of time.

Suffice it to say that in this latest attempt being staged by Penguin Books, it is not I who am plunging into difficulties with time.



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