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Introduction by Mark Lane
Copyright Mark Lane, 1993


[The numbers in brackets indicate the page numbers in the soft cover version. They are provided in the ebook for reference/citation purposes]


. . .For almost five decades I have attempted to set the record straight in any number of matters and thus I have become entangled in controversy. Some of those efforts have had international ramifications; responding to the false assertion by the United States government beginning in 1963 that its president had been murdered by a solitary madman. Some had but local consequences; exposing the unjust imprisonment and brutal treatment imposed upon children by the state at a "school" for "mental defectives" at a place called Wassaic, New York, a decade earlier.
. . .Not being prescient I was never armed before tilting at each windmill of the state with knowledge as to my chance for success, even measuring victory by the minimal standard of convincing a few that there might be some substance in my argument worthy of examination – or at least that although I said those things I was almost certainly certifiably sane. In early 1964 a happy ending predicated upon even so cleverly biased a barometer, seemed illusory. There I stood alone proclaiming the troubling facts, shouting the mandatory questions almost silently into a government and media created windstorm of abuse, ridicule and disinformation. Some years later almost everyone agreed with me and added that they always had.
. . .For some many years publishers would not print my books, colleges canceled contracts for me to lecture, radio and television stations excluded me from their interview programs, some issued an edict "barring" me "for life." In time those loyal executives have left, some voluntarily seeking the good life elsewhere, some have been ousted in a coup others in a less violent manner simply died. I have surfaced once again on their stations and programs with still more inconvenient matters to place on the agenda resulting in further executive proclamations of fealty to the throne and my subsequent, but almost immediate, dismissal from the debate.
. . .Therefore, wounded, scarred, a little tired, but neither exhausted nor discouraged and still eager both to see things as they are and dream of how they might be changed, I learned to


[ii] approach with some care each new potential conflict against an enemy possessing the seemingly mutually exclusive attributes of quasi-omnipotence and invisibility.
. . .This latest chapter begins in 1945 when Willis Carto and I both worked in an organization committed to the overthrow of governments by the use of force and violence. It was the United States Army, World War II was raging, and Willis and I were not to meet, or even know of each other until four more decades had passed. We each served honorably in the military, each were discharged honorably; Willis having served with a bit more distinction, was awarded the Purple Heart, a decoration originating with George Washington. He was in the Far East theater, while I served in the European theater. How entertaining our euphemistically inclined generals made it all seem at the time.
. . .During 1946 on furlough from the Army of Occupation while stationed near Hitler's hometown, Linz, Austria, I drove to Dachau. The curator of the establishment showed me some cells, pointed to the gas chambers where hundreds of thousands had been executed, and explained that a debt was owed by the democracies to the few Jews who had survived.
. . .I brought no engineering degree to the concentration camp. I was still a teenager who had entered the army immediately after having been graduated from high school and my skepticism regarding official pronouncements in general had not as yet been finely honed upon the stone of repeated government falsification.
. . .I left Germany to return to my headquarters outfit in Austria, a pilgrim, one more witness to the fact that hundreds of thousands of prisoners had been gassed to death in Dachau.
. . .Through the time machine known as the writer's prerogative we move swiftly forward into the mid 1980's. Do not scoff at this device; if applied appropriately it can save you countless hours of tiresome plodding.
. . .Readers of Plausible Denial will know the details surrounding my meeting with Willis Carto and Liberty Lobby. It will suffice for others to know that I was retained to represent that organization when E. Howard Hunt brought an action against it for defamation. It seemed he denied that he had been involved in the assassination of President Kennedy


[iii] and thought the allegation written by a former CIA official and printed in The Spotlight, published by Liberty Lobby, might be demeaning. We won the case before a jury which tried the issue in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida in Miami.
. . .At about that time a lawyer named Fleming Lee was working for Liberty Lobby. He told me that a man named Mel Mermelstein was suing the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), a group of which I had never heard, and also Liberty Lobby. As Mr. Lee explained it, Mr. Mermelstein was a concentration camp survivor who was alleging that the holocaust had occurred, that he could prove it and that those who denied it had occurred, such as the IHR and Liberty Lobby, were both incorrect and villains.
. . .I had met Mr. Mermelstein at a party in Orange County, California, some time before. Before the social event had ended I knew him well enough to call him Mel. As you may observe I now call him Mr. Mermelstein. I now know him even better.
. . .The night I met Mr. Mermelstein, I remember it well. I had recently returned from my first visit to Beirut and a journey through the displaced person's camps in southern Lebanon where Palestinians, barred from returning to their homeland by the Israeli government, were concentrated in substandard conditions but surviving due to the efforts of the Palestine Liberation Organization.
. . .I spent hours with Yasir Arafat hearing positions presented on behalf of the PLO with which most Americans were unfamiliar. Upon my return I spoke with Rabbi Elmer Berger, Alfred Lilienthal, Haviv Schieber and others in an attempt to aid in the process of encouraging a peaceful solution before the U. S. supported settlements on the West Bank created a fait accompli and the conditions for war without a foreseeable end.
. . .Mr. Arafat showed me a sculpture which he kept on his desk. He said, "Mr. Lane, this is a Red Indian. Do you know why I have it on my desk?"
. . .The question seemed rhetorical. I remained silent. He continued. "To remind us that we Palestinians must never become the Red Indians of America. We must resist. Only then


[iv] can we survive. We will resist against every odd, like the Jews in the – what is the word – ghetto – yes, the ghetto in Warsaw."
. . .I recounted that exchange to Mr. Mermelstein. He seemed to be listening intently – awaiting the proposal that was certain to arrive.
. . .I suggested that he, a survivor of a concentration camp, together with a leader of the American Indian Movement, accompany me to Beirut, meet with Arafat, observe the conditions under which the Palestinian refugees were compelled to exist, and then perhaps feel called upon to enter the peace process as honest brokers and new voices to and for America.
. . .Mr. Mermelstein seemed genuinely interested. I did not know then if he was motivated by the desire to do a good work or his eye was upon the public relations aspect of the proposed enterprise. In either event he was on the verge of committing himself to the first stage of the process when his wife, hearing of the conversation, walked over and told him that the idea was preposterous, out of the question. She then indignantly led him away from me.
. . .I next saw him years later when I took his deposition, portions of which are presented in this book.
. . .When Mr. Lee told me a little about the Mermelstein case he also asked if I would like to get involved on behalf of Liberty Lobby. My response was no less firm than had Mrs. Mermelstein's been to the suggestion, as she appraised it, that her husband consort with the enemy.
. . .I said that I knew Mel slightly, was not antagonistic toward him, indeed was sympathetic in view of his suffering, that I also knew there had been a holocaust, and that Mel had survived it. I added, as a historic touch, that I had seen the gas chambers at Dachau some forty years before.
. . .Although Mr. Lee suggested a substantial fee to defend Liberty Lobby against the Mermelstein suit, I demonstrated, I thought as I rejected that offer that there are some things lawyers should not do.
. . .The result of that first contest between Mr. Mermelstein and Liberty Lobby is set forth in this book. I played no part in it. I was never informed as to how the matter progressed. I did not even know who was representing Liberty Lobby at the time.
. . .The final contest began much later. For me it started when


[v] I realized that the charge that Liberty Lobby denied that the holocaust had occurred was a myth. By that time almost every Jewish organization established to document the details of the holocaust had agreed, albeit reluctantly and belatedly, that there had been two types of camps – concentration camps and death camps. The death camps had been equipped with gas chambers. They agreed as well that there never had been any gas chambers in any camps located in Germany – a position which Liberty Lobby had proffered years before it was acceptable to do so, years before the truth became the conventional wisdom. Dachau was located in Germany. My eyewitness testimony was revealed for what it had been all along – hearsay at best, the result of cleverly manipulated political propaganda at worst.
. . .It was only after Mr. Mermelstein had brought another lawsuit, this time for defamation against the IHR and Willis Carto, that I became interested. The article, published by the IHR, which formed the basis for the action, acknowledged that the holocaust had occurred, that Mr. Mermelstein had likely survived it and that he personally exaggerated what he had seen and experienced in an ever-growing series of articles, lectures, books and interviews which more than superseded each other and in some instances repudiated claims he had previously asserted. The IHR article concluded that exaggerated stories tended to discredit the truthful accounts of other holocaust survivors.
. . .Since the article had not been defamatory, was in fact truthful, and since Mr. Mermelstein and his high-powered Los Angeles law firms added Liberty Lobby as a defendant, an organization which played no part in the publication of the article, I decided to look into the matter. When it became clear that Mr. Mermelstein and his by then numerous giant law firms were predicating their defamation suit upon the prejudice they might engender by claiming that the defendants had insisted that the holocaust had never taken place (although the evidence upon which they relied for proof of defamation found the IHR saying just the opposite) I began to view the lawsuit and the demands for huge sums of money from Liberty Lobby, an organization in no way responsible for publishing the nondefamatory article, – as little more than attempted extortion.


[vi]
. . .It was at that point that I advised my client, Liberty Lobby, not to settle the case, to offer no money to Mr. Mermelstein and his law firms and instead to aggressively defend against the false claims. I then agreed to represent Liberty Lobby in what became the last battle of the Mermelstein war.
. . .For me the truth, the First Amendment and the appropriate response of our judicial system to a difficult case were considerations which overcame my distaste for grappling with out-of-control Zionists who considered their cause so worthy that it might best be served by falsification of the record, deceit and character assassination.
. . .After the discovery period, documented in this book, had been completed, I entered into a courtroom presided over by Hon. Stephen Lachs, a judge of the Superior Court of the State of California.
. . .In a more perfect society it would be irrelevant to disclose that Judge Lachs is of the Jewish faith and that Mr. Mermelstein's Jewish lawyers almost openly threatened him with unspoken consequences flowing from the Jewish community in Los Angeles if he failed to find for Mr. Mermelstein. Indeed it is irrelevant because Judge Lachs turned his courtroom into a perfect judicial chamber over which he presided with fairness, candor and resources of patience rarely seen since the passing of Job.
. . .He made it clear that he did not like the defendants and that he despised some of their earlier writings. Having said that he made it even more apparent that justice was to prevail and that Mr. Mermelstein's lawyers would not be permitted to lie to the jury in his courtroom. You will not, he asserted to them, tell the jurors that the defendants ever denied that the holocaust had occurred, simply because they have never said that.
. . .In the end, after Mr. Mermelstein testified and the law had been argued, digested, reargued and summarized, Judge Lachs threw the case out, leaving but a few crumbs to be litigated. Mr. Mermelstein's lawyers then voluntarily dismissed what little was left of the case.
. . .Mr. Mermelstein appealed and the California Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the wisdom of Judge Lachs' rulings. That ruling together with the decision by Mr.

 

[vii] Mermelstein and his many lawyers that it would be useless to attempt to seek further review by a court concluded the legal contest.
. . .A
nd that was the end of the matter as far as I was concerned. I had prepared a case, taken depositions, argued the matter and together with a California lawyer, William Hulsy, who represented the IHR, had won the case.
. . .Even if Liberty Lobby had published the article in question, which it did not, and even if the article had been defamatory, which it was not, and even if the defendants had argued that the holocaust had not occurred, which they did not, I was counsel, not a defendant, and my work was accomplished in the courtroom, not elsewhere. In that courtroom I assured Judge Lachs that Liberty Lobby had never denied the existence of the holocaust, invited him to read the thousands of pages of evidence on the question, which he did with almost unprecedented judicial dedication and I asserted for myself that if Liberty Lobby had ever denied the existence of the holocaust I would not have represented it in that trial.
. . .In spite of my meticulous efforts in this case I learned in 1993 that Deborah Lipstadt, who calls herself a historian, listed me as a "holocaust denier" due to my participation at the trial.
. . .That Ms. Lipstadt has no respect for the truth is abundantly evident in her book Denying the Holocaust. Her cavalier attitude toward the facts is also apparent as she attempts to publicize her book through false and defamatory claims. Since she claims that Mr. Carto and Liberty Lobby are the leading holocaust deniers in the United States in her book, it is instructive to discover how she deals with Judge Lachs, the only jurist ever to issue a finding on the question. This "historian" never mentions him. How does she approach the Mermelstein v. Liberty Lobby trial? With equal honesty. She pretends that there was no ruling, no decision, no dismissal of all charges, no legal victory for Mr. Carto and Liberty Lobby and no opinion by the California Court of Appeals. She writes only:

Mermelstein has subsequently filed action against the IHR and Carto for malicious

 

[xiii] prosecution. That case remains in litigation. Despite the financial loss and public ridicule the Mermelstein case caused the IHR, there were those in the organization's leadership who continued to maintain that, given the press coverage generated by the contest, it succeeded. (1)


. . .Since it is apparent that Ms. Lipstadt cannot be trusted to recount with any degree of accuracy the facts which comprise a recent judicial proceeding held in the United States, for which there exists a verbatim transcript which comprises an unquestioned record of what transpired, it is clear that she cannot be trusted to present the truth about the disputed details surrounding events which occurred more than half a century ago, thousands of miles from here for which no certified record is available.
. . .However, even Ms. Lipstadt, in presenting the current conventional wisdom of those "experts" and organizations upon which she relies for the "actual truth" about the holocaust, concedes that there were no death camps and no gas chambers located anywhere in Germany, before, during or after World War II. Had revisionists made the same claims before the "authorities" were constrained by the undeniable facts to reach the same conclusion, they would have been pilloried, abused and ridiculed. They did and they were.
. . .Now Ms. Lipstadt concedes, in relying upon her authorized historians, "there had been no homicidal gas chambers in German concentration camps." (2)
. . .She writes:


After the war there had been persistent confusion about the difference between concentration camps and death camps. The latter, located outside Germany, had facilities for the express purpose of murdering people, primarily Jews. While there were no death camps in Germany, there were many concentration camps, in which multitudes died from overwork, disease, starvation, beatings, and severe


[ix] mistreatment. Much of the confusion centered around the idea that there was a functioning homicidal gas chamber in Dachau." (3)

...Ms. Lipstadt complains that "[e]very time historians who study the Holocaust correct a mistake in the record, deniers immediately claim that they do so because their previous lies were about to be exposed." (4) To demonstrate the accuracy of her assertion she publishes a footnote which reads --

____________________________________________

1 / Deborah Lipstadt, Denying the Holocaust (New York: The Free Press, 1993) p. 141.
2 / Ibid., p. 78.
3 / Ibid.
4 / Ibid.

 

. . ."This is what they have done in relation to the charge that Nazis used Jewish cadavers for the production of soap. When scholars of the Holocaust corrected this notion, the deniers were quick to charge they did so in order to avoid being exposed as willful liars." (1)


. . .Based exclusively upon her recently published false allegations Ms. Lipstadt has become a minor media celebrity, a source for America to took to when the truth is sought in difficult and related matters. For example, USA Today consulted her regarding the misconduct of U.S. and Israeli government zealots who suppressed evidence in an effort to convict John Demjanjuk.
. . .Mr. Demjanjuk is innocent; the facts, the law and finally the Supreme Court of Israel have so decreed. A United States Circuit Court of Appeals, just one step from the U.S. Supreme Court, held that U.S. government officials hid the evidence from it and from Mr. Demjanjuk's attorneys and may have deliberately attempted to deceive the court. That matter is now under investigation.
. . .What sense of outrage does Ms. Lipstadt express against the officials who framed Mr. Demjanjuk, what does compassion dictate must be done to compensate him for his agony? She says, "the Demjanjuk case was apparently bungled." (2) She laments the "chilling effect" (3) which may prevent the prosecution of other Demjanjuks. As for her approach, "I'd prosecute them if they had to be wheeled into the courtroom on a stretcher." (4) So much for compassion to say nothing of the presumption of innocence which in the past in other matters has been thought of as the cornerstone of our judicial system.
. . .The Demjanjuk case, contrived by Neal Sher, director of


[x] the Office of Special Investigations of the Department of Justice and his colleagues, was offered as a gift to Israel to prove that the holocaust occurred. In fact both Israeli and U.S. officials stated before the shameful show trial began that the prosecution and a conviction were necessary to demonstrate the existence of the holocaust. Mr. Demjanjuk's acquittal cannot alter a rational view of history any more than his conviction and execution might have. It does demonstrate, however, that unworthy politicians, prosecutors, reporters and historians continue to avoid the truth regarding this matter while they dominate the American news media.
. . .The statement published in The New York Times attributed to a leader of the Likud Party and a member of the Israeli parliament perhaps put it most succinctly and blatantly: "The judges [the Supreme Court of Israel] may have acted according to the way of the law, but they have not done historical justice." (5) Never, he warns us, should the facts be permitted to shape or modify our view of events.
. . .You should read Mike Piper's account of the Mermelstein-Liberty Lobby wars. You certainly will find neither the details nor the truth published elsewhere as Ms. Lipstadt has so eloquently demonstrated.
. . .As for me this introduction will serve as sufficient proof by those insufficiently concerned with the truth that I too have become a "denier." Please Ms. Lipstadt, The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, and The Washington Times, please – do not throw me into the briar patch.


____________________________________________

1 / Ibid.
2 / USA Today, August 18, 1993.
3 / Ibid.
4 / Ibid.
5 / The New York Times, August 19, 1993.

 

 

Best Witness Cover Dedication Contents Introduction
  Preface Afterword Back Cover Back to Catalog Page