All our website visitors should read and savour this article in the United States' premier Jewish newspaper. It mocks any suggestion that they operate as a "global conspiracy" -- yet here is a New York editor pulling strings with Australian Jewish and World Jewish Congress leaders to put pressure on the Australian government to "reprimand" an anonymous civil servant for providing expert assistance in his own time for a High Court action being fought in Britain. . .
New York, March 10, 2000
Leibler seeks reprimand
Irving's Case Getting Aid from Aussie
Mills, a Civil servant, Playing Role in Trial
by Blake Eskin
NEW YORK -- An Australian civil servant is advising provocateur David Irving in his Holocaust-denial libel suit against Emory University professor Deborah Lipstadt. Michael Mills, an asset manager for the Department of Finance and Administration at Canberra, provided Mr. Irving with 32 pages of detailed questions for his cross-examination last month of an expert witness for Ms. Lipstadt, Peter Longerich, in the trial under way in London. Mr. Mills is a regular participant in an on-line Holocaust discussion group for academics, where is identified by his Australian governmental e-mail address.
Mr. Mills's briefing -- which formed the basis for Mr. Irving's attack on a 134-page report by Mr. Longerich, a professor at the University of London -- is a further sign of support from Down Under for Mr. Irving, who has been refused an Australian entry visa since 1993; This month's number of Australian Style, a glossy magazine of which Rupert Murdoch's son Lachlan is a director, includes a flattering profile of Mr. Irving by Helen Darville, who compared him to Winston Churchill and who stopped just short of saying that Mr. Irving is the victim of an international Jewish conspiracy. Ms. Darville is best known in Australia for posing as a Ukrainian immigrant named Helen Demidenko and writing a purportedly autobiographical and critically acclaimed novel blaming Jewish Communists for famine in the Ukraine and other Soviet atrocities, and using this to justify Ukrainian complicity with the Nazis. In the same issue, Australian Style published an excerpt for Mr. Irving's web site.
"I find it extremely disquieting," the president of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, Nina Bassat, said of Mr. Mills's role in the trial. "One assumes that government policy is developed with a historic impartiality and that people administering government policy come to it without bias."
"Any implication that the government is a vehicle of any sort for this is unspeakable and outrageous," said the chairman of the governing board of the World Jewish Congress, Isi Leibler. "I think the government should reprimand him forthwith." Mr. Leibler is a former head of the Australian Jewish community.
Mr. Mills's unofficial briefs examine paragraph by paragraph Mr. Longerich's argument that Hitler knew about the mass murder of the Jews, which, the historian writes, "followed a standardised pattern, were centrally directed and expressed the policy of the National Socialist regime." Mr. Irving acknowledged the influence of Mr. Mills in the on-line diary he maintains on his web site.
"I cross examine somewhat better all afternoon, on the basis of the brief provided by Michael [...]. an expert, of Australia," Mr. Irving wrote. "A very useful brief it is too, and it helps to narrow down the issues, though it lengthens the cross-examination." Mr. Mills told The Forward that Mr. Irving invited him and other individuals on his electronic mailing list to comment on the expert opinions provided by Mr. Longerich and historians Christopher Browning and Robert Jan Van Pelt. Mr. Mills said in an e-mail that he declined Mr. Irving's offer of payment, "as I am not permitted as a public servant to accept outside paid employment." He said, however, that Mr. Irving had sent along a copy of his biography of Goebbels "as a token of appreciation."
Mr. Mills said he prepared his reports at home on his own time. "I do not think I have used the name of the Australian Government, or its resources, in the work that I did on the Expert Opinions," he said.
Mr. Mills is a frequent contributor to H-Holocaust, an electronic mailing list for a primarily academic audience. His H-Holocaust postings include his Australian government e-mail address, and some, but not all, include a disclaimer that "the above views are mine and not those of my employer."
A subscriber to H-Holocaust, Gabriel Schoenfeld of Commentary magazine, recognised Mr. Mills as the "Michael" in Mr. Irving's diary.
"I regard myself as a dissident researcher," Mr. Mills said, and in some spheres, such as H-Holocaust, he has been taken as such. Some of his H-Holocaust messages question the sourcing or reliability of statistics. In one posting earlier this year, Mr. Mills wrote, "It is legitimate to adopt a critical attitude toward the relatively large number of Jews who particularly in the first decade after the Bolshevik revolution collaborated with the Soviet Government in the persecution of other peoples."
Mr. Mills has been banned from the on-line Holocaust discussion forum at About.com. The guide to the About.com Holocaust site, Jen Rosenberg, told the Forward she removes messages from individuals who espouse Holocaust denial or "revisionism" and blocks repeat offenders from participating in its forum.
A times, Mr. Irving seems to have strayed from Mr. Mills's briefing on Mr. Longerich. For example, where Mr. Mills suggests that Mr. Irving ask Mr. Longerich to say whether he fund the phrase Vernichtung durch Arbeit, or extermination through work, in a particular communication of Himmler's. Mr. Irving in court repeatedly asks Mr. Longerich to admit that the phrase was invented after the war. Mr. Longerich replies repeatedly that it was a phrase used during the war.
Mr. Mills said he also prepared a report on the expert testimony of Mr. Browning, but he did not think it had much influence on Mr. Irving's testimony.
Of Mr. Irving, Mr. Mills said, "I do not necessarily agree with any statement he has made in regard to what happened at Auschwitz, now I necessarily disagree with his statements." He defended Mr. Irving's publication of the Leuchter Report, which said, based on a faulty chemical analysis, that the gas chambers at Auschwitz could not have been used at such. "The investigations made by Leuchter, even if inaccurate and perhaps tendentious, are something that should have been done long ago, in a more competent way," Mr. mills said, in a 1998 review on amazon.com. Mr. Mills questions the accuracy of "Fragments" five months before the authenticity of the purported holocaust memoir was publicly challenged by Swiss writer Daniel Ganzfried. "If Wilkomirski's memories of childhood concentration camp experiences are indeed genuine, it is most probable that they are to be located at Buchenwald rather than at Majdanek," Mr. Mills wrote. "Fragments" has been withdrawn from the market by its publishers.
Mr. Mills also comments off-line on the Holocaust and on matters affecting Jews. In January he wrote letters to Canberra newspapers defending Konrad Kalejs, an Australian citizen who has been accused of leading Nazi death squads that killed 30,000 Jews in his native Latvia.
And in 1997, Mr Mills wrote to The Canberra Times concerning the death of one of the Australian Maccabiah athletes who died after a bridge in Israel collapsed, throwing them into a polluted river. "It seems ironic that this person, whose participation in the Maccabiah Games may reasonably be interpreted as indicating a strong commitment to the Zionist enterprise, should have lost her life as a direct result of the 'redemption' inflicted on this unhappy land by her fellow Jews," Mr. Mills wrote.
Ms. Bassat criticised the letter about the Maccabiah bridge collapse.
"Forgetting any racial undertones, any anti-Semitic content, it was an extraordinarily cruel letter, and it makes you wonder about the quality of mercy of a person like that. He was making political capital of personal tragedy."
Website hint: If you wish to congratulate Gabriel Schoenfeld, or express admiration for his liberal mindset, click on his name.