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Posted Wednesday, October 20, 2004

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Toronto, Wednesday, Oct 20, 2004


Zündel defence based on age draws scorn

By Kirk Makin

IF Holocaust-denier Ernst Zündel is allowed to remain in Canada on the basis that he is aging and out of touch, Osama bin Laden could one day make the same claim, a federal prosecutor argued yesterday.

Prosecutor Donald MacIntosh said that Mr. Zündel's bid to avoid deportation to Germany relies on the viewpoint of a motley crew of white-power advocates and racist skinheads who say he is a spent force.

"If Osama bin Laden were present here and this court had to decide whether he is a threat to security . . . he could find some young al-Qaeda members that would say: 'He's old and out of touch,' " Mr. MacIntosh said. "It would be a travesty of justice."

Zündel with former lawyer Doug ChristieLaunching closing arguments yesterday in the deportation hearing of Mr. Zündel, 65, Mr. MacIntosh said the "old-and-out-of-touch defence" became a familiar refrain during the 18-month hearing.

He warned Mr. Justice Pierre Blais of the Federal Court that were he to give it any credence, it "would be contrary not only to all the jurisprudence, but would bring the administration of justice into disrepute."

Judge Blais must decide whether it was reasonable for the federal Justice Minister and Minister of Employment and Immigration to invoke a rarely used security certificate in order to deport Mr. Zündel as a threat to national security.

Created to combat terrorism after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, the controversial security-certificate procedure allows for evidence to be presented to a judge in strict secrecy. The defence is left to guess at the evidence.

Mr. MacIntosh said yesterday that for 30 years, Mr. Zündel has assiduously portrayed himself as an intellectual pacifist, all the while covertly associating with a who's who of right-wing extremists.

"Mr. Zündel has no credibility whatever," he said. "In every case, he has characterized his associations with the most violent racists as being totally benign and totally innocent."

He told Judge Blais that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service is not alleging that Mr. Zündel has been an active participant in terrorist acts, but rather, that anyone who provides the intellectual fuel for violence is equally dangerous to national security.

The government has a duty to act against purveyors of racist and anti-Semitic material if it "fosters violence or incites people to commit violence or creates an atmosphere conducive to violence," Mr. MacIntosh said.

A key defence witness at the hearing -- Mr. Zündel's former lawyer, Douglas Christie (right) -- testified earlier this year that Mr. Zündel has often expressed contempt for many of the very same extremist leaders the government alleges he associates with and advises.

However, Mr. MacIntosh played down Mr. Christie's testimony yesterday, saying he is a "close friend" of Mr. Zündel's who has lost his objectivity.

"He has a very rose-coloured view, a benign view, of Mr. Zündel," he said.

Mr. MacIntosh lavished praise on Judge Blais for his conduct in the case. He said the judge has carefully balanced national security against Mr. Zündel's rights as a non-citizen who has nonetheless lived in Canada for most of his adult life.

However, he said that Judge Blais must factor another important consideration into the mix -- foreign relations.

"The ministers had a bona fide belief that the integrity of Canada's international relations were affected by Mr. Zündel's dissemination of anti-Holocaust material into Germany, Austria and 40 countries around the world," Mr. MacIntosh said. "Canada has a duty to do something about this. Mr. Zündel seeks to destroy the multicultural fabric of society."

Mr. MacIntosh also cautioned Judge Blais to ignore Mr. Zündel's attempts to condemn Jewish community leaders for lobbying the government to get rid of Mr. Zündel. This kind of lobbying is perfectly acceptable in a participatory democracy, he said.

"They are entitled to attempt to influence members of Parliament," Mr. MacIntosh said. "To deflect attention, Mr. Zündel is raising all these red herrings."



Our dossier on the Ernst Zündel case
CSIS intercepted Zündel's mail, ex-agent says
Ernst Zündel is entitled to a hearing to challenge his deportation to Canada, a federal appeals court says
Who is Ernst Zündel and Why Is He in Jail?
Some Good News in the Zündel Case

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