Jamie McCarthy's Response to the Zündelsite

7 October 1995

Mr. Zündel, I'm going to give you my personal responses to some of the issues you raise. There are a number of factual matters which need to be objectively corrected, but I'd like to offer my subjective opinion on some matters, as well. And I do (finally) have an offer for you.

I do apologize for the lateness of this reply. I've been very busy doing programming work for Nizkor, and trying to keep my clients happy.

Allow me to present a few minor points before getting to the topic I most want to talk about.

First point ("abusive and unfair"):

You write:

If I did to Nitzkor [sic] what you have done to me - post your site by name as a "hate monger" site on the Internet - I would be in prison tomorrow. You won't, because the "Holocaust" umbrella has given you that licence - to be abusive and unfair....

Nizkor has not done this.

Nizkor links to your site on this page: http://www.almanac.bc.ca/other-sites/denial-promotion.html

We do not call your site, or any other, a "hate-monger" site. In fact, we do not use the word "hate-monger" anywhere on our web.

We do refer to you as "one of the most prominent Holocaust revisionists." This is the only editorial comment we have made about you on our web site. Is this what you call "abusive and unfair"?

Here is an example of something I would call "abusive and unfair" -- from the current News Flash on your site:

The "Ken McVey [sic] clause," means that "watch groups," financially subsidized and working at the behest of special interests who have not-so-hidden agendas, would be groomed, stroked and egged on into vicious and libelous actions to vilify and lord it over others who hold a different point of view.

You are implying that Ken McVay (and the Nizkor site):

Mr. Zündel, your own words belie your claim that it is Nizkor that is being "arrogant" and using "strident tones"; that we will "offend and shock"; that we indulge in "temper tantrums and spoiled-brat attitudes."

But I will not expend further time on your inflammatory rhetoric, because my primary interest is discussing the facts of the Holocaust with you and other deniers.

Second point (consulting with "other revisionists"):

In my email of the 11th, I stated the following:

I am unsure why you would feel it necessary to consult with "other revisionists" and "scholars" to decide whether or not to honor your own calls for "letting both sides be heard" and for the "free marketplace of ideas." Either the Zuendelsite is firmly committed to those ideals, or it is not.

Your reply to this began:

Why do I consult with my attorneys and scholars before I say or write anything?

You then began discussing Canada's "hate laws" and so on. But those laws are not what I asked about.

As an aside: I must admit that I find it difficult to believe on the one hand that you post the "66 Q&A" on your web site, and on the other hand claim that you'll be imprisoned for speaking your mind and that you have to consult your lawyers about everything. If you were frightened of the law, you wouldn't be doing what you're already doing. And in any case, I can't see how a single link to Nizkor could be questionable in any way.

Nevertheless! I did not ask you about your reliance on attorneys. I understand that legal matters can occasionally be confusing and nonsensical. I asked you why you need to consult with other revisionists. (And "scholars," which I assume means "revisionist scholars.")

That question remains unanswered.

Third point (a table of contents of cross-links):

You write:

In the spirit of cooperation I suggest that you create an up-front Table of Contents on which you specify which document on our site you are referring to or challenge when you post your replies. Zundelsite.

This is a good idea. In fact, it's such a good idea that I had come up with it myself already. Nizkor was going to do this anyway.

In fact, Nizkor will establish a table of contents of web pages which address specific Holocaust-deniers' web pages all throughout the web. We will organize them by site, of course, so your web site will have its own table of contents.

I haven't done this yet because there is so far only one such page at Nizkor: http://www.almanac.bc.ca/rue/RUEann-R2.html. (It addresses Greg Raven's web site; it's six months old; no, he hasn't commented on it or even shown any acknowledgement that the page exists.)

I will notify you via email when this page has been set up.

Fourth point (freedom on the net):

I assume that your discussion of the "free"ness of the net was prompted by my asking you to join us on alt.revisionism. You begin by saying how wonderful the world-wide web is; then you say that you are not necessarily "free" to express your views; then you explain that you want "an honest exchange via web sites."

You say: "Let us not be so smarmy and pretend the Internet is 'free.' We both know better." You point out that your previous service provider cancelled your access. To which I say, yes, they were free to do so, and they did. They were under no obligation to accept your money if they did not want to -- that's the way things work in a free society. Now, you have found another provider that will continue to work with you, as they are free to do.

What more did you expect, Mr. Zündel? That service providers would be obligated to provide you with service? Nonsense. The Internet is not a public train system that has to sell everyone a ticket. On the contrary, it is the most free system that there could possibly be: no one is obligated to do anything they don't want to.

You've found a provider who will give you access, evidence that the free market works. And if your current provider changes their mind, there will be dozens of others who will be happy to help you promote your material. And even if you don't find a single small-scale provider who will take your money, you have your choice of backbone providers, who take absolutely no notice of how you choose to use their wires. It would cost more, but then no one said freedom was going to be free.

Contrary to what you claim, there is no "goon squad," nor any "network terrorists" who "monopolize" newsgroups and "stifle" them. That's absolute nonsense, and insulting to myself and my acquaintances who take the time to respond to Holocaust-denial with reasoned facts. We couldn't "monopolize" or "stifle" a newsgroup even if we wanted to -- it's just technically not possible.

Your contention that there are "ethnic-specific limits" to being allowed to use the Net, I find to be utterly ridiculous. This is a claim which I'm sure you know to be totally without basis, Mr. Zündel. Please tell me which ethnic groups are not allowed to use the Net!

Fifth point (offensiveness and open debate):

You state that newsgroups such as alt.revisionism "exist in a sewer." I disagree. alt.revisionism, and all newsgroups, are like a crowded cocktail party.

At a party, you may be engaged in a serious conversation about weighty matters with the four or five people standing near you. Others, possibly in the next room or possibly just ten feet from you, may be arguing about something which you find uninteresting, offensive, or inane. They may even be yelling, or running around with lampshades on their heads.

The important point is that you don't have to pay any attention to the immaturity unless you want to. Modern Usenet software makes it easy to hold a discussion with a select group of people. If any party-crashers get too obnoxious, you can use what's called a "killfile" to completely and utterly ignore them. Or you can comment briefly to your fellow conversationalists on how rude they are. Or both.

And unlike a real cocktail party, once they're ignored, they can't affect you at all -- no fistfights on Usenet, and no police to respond to the neighbors' complaints about the noise! (Well, there are self-appointed "net.cops", but they usually respond only to gross violations of "netiquette.")

You say that I have resorted to "abusive, foul-mouthed methods." I challenge you to tell me where I have been abusive or foul-mouthed. On the contrary, I present my rebuttals with courtesy and restraint. What I have to say is not always easy to hear, but I do present it politely. And I resent, a little bit, your saying that I am "abusive" and "foul-mouthed" when that is not so.

Yes, there are immature people who say things that you will find offensive. And you imply that the reason that Greg Raven, Bradley Smith, Fritz Berg, Michael Hoffman, and Ross Vicksell left Usenet was that they found it to be offensive.

I don't think this is true. You make it sound as if I, and "people of my mindset," are solely responsible for the content of alt.revisionism, and the lack of Holocaust-related discussion on the net in general. I'll grant that no one is a perfect lady or gentleman all the time, and that includes "people of my mindset." But I think you need to look at the other side of the coin.

If I and people of my mindset are rude, there must be a reason. You seem to think that we are naturally rude people, that our supposed rudeness has had no provocation other than "revisionists" stating their claims.

This is not the case. We are ordinary people, amateurs at history and the Holocaust, drawn from all walks of life. The one thing that we do have in common is that we've been exposed to Holocaust-deniers, Jew-haters, and Nazis who are rude in the extreme and who often have little respect for netiquette:

I've listed only a few examples here. After incidents such as these, it's amazing that "people of my mindset" are willing to engage in reasoned discourse.

And willing we are. Given a suitable forum!

Now, you are surely in favor of "free expression." But debate requires more than the mere ability to express one's views. Debate requires a forum where arguments can be presented, countered, and defended with ease and speed. And it requires archiving what has been said, so that it may be reviewed.

The web offers none of these things. Believe me, I know. I've been maintaining the web page at http://www.almanac.bc.ca/other-sites/correspondence/zuendelsite/ to keep track of our correspondence. This letter is only the seventh that we've exchanged. I've had to spend a great deal of effort to showcase both your text and mine, to archive our writings, and so on. It's a pain. So much of a pain that I frankly have no desire to engage in the sort of debate that I routinely participate in on Usenet. To link and archive and cross-link and double-check that many web pages would occupy me twenty-four hours a day. It's not worth it; I'd spend five times as much effort on technical matters as I would actually reading what you write, and responding to it.

Usenet, on the other hand, is perfectly suited to open debate. That's basically what it was designed for.

The freedom to speak one's mind goes along with others' freedom to say things that you will find offensive, Mr. Zündel. If you cannot accept this reality, if you refuse to enter alt.revisionism because some people may happen to use obscenities, then I find your calls for "open debate" to ring hollow. You don't appear to really want open debate. You want debate with a restricted clientele. (I don't suppose I'd even be invited, since I'm so "abusive" and "foul-mouthed.") And you want it on your own terms, terms which I find to be unnecessary and time-consuming obstacles, for reasons stated above.

If what you want is open debate, it's waiting for you on alt.revisionism. You can join us at our little 24-hour party, and if people offend you, you are free to ignore them.

And if what you want is something else, then please don't pretend.

Sixth and most important point (your offer and my counter-offer):

You write:

I will create a link to Nitzkor [sic] at the bottom of every single document we post if you are willing to do likewise. I will not create links to specific documents to which you choose to respond...

Well, I thank you for the offer; it's more than I've gotten from any other pro-revisionism site.

(And, I checked your site just as I was about to send you this letter; it seems you've made good on this promise. But I'm not sure why you need to refer to Nizkor in such a derogatory manner. That only makes it more ironic that you have wrongly accused Nizkor of referring to your site in a derogatory manner.)

I appreciate your making the effort, Mr. Zündel, but this is not at all what I was looking for. The web is hardly conducive to debate even at its best, but what you've done does not help matters one bit. Debate requires specific answers to specific arguments. A standard "click here to visit Nizkor" link at the bottom of every page in no way links argument to counterargument, or claim to rebuttal.

It does nothing whatsoever to advance debate.

Also, as an aside: it is quite easy for your site to use standard "boilerplate" headers and footers, it is quite difficult for Nizkor. Your site and mine use different software. I am busy enough getting files up at all, much less editing each one to be sure it complies with your wishes. I can only maintain the site in my spare time. I don't get paid for it. I don't have time to write one more piece of software to put custom footers on each Nizkor document.

Furthermore, linking to another site on every page is messy, in my opinion. Such links are traditionally kept on a separate page, for good reason. If people want to find web sites with viewpoints opposing Nizkor's, we have a thoughtfully-laid-out listing of other sites, only one click off our home page. Your site, and dozens of others, are included, and they're very easy to find.

You go on:

I will not create links to specific documents to which you choose to respond, simply because of the time and costs involved in linking specific references. For us, this is a logistics and manpower consideration - we simply don't have the resources to do this as you suggest. We don't have tax-supported funds to help us in our efforts.

The question of which of us is better-supported financially has been dealt with in Ken McVay's open letter, which was sent the day before you posted this response. I presume you've had a chance to read it by now.

Specifically regarding your implication that "tax-supported funds" support the maintenance of the Nizkor web -- again, this is simply totally false. It is extremely irritating that you persist in making such false statements about our project.

First of all, no "tax-supported funds" have gone into the Nizkor project at all. It is totally financed by private donations. Second of all, volunteers maintain the Nizkor web.

No funds whatsoever, and especially no tax-supported funds, go to support the "logistics and manpower" (and womanpower) necessary to have gotten the Nizkor web site up and to keep it running smoothly. Only the hardware and the net connection see those funds. The hard work on the web pages, countless hours of it, is done exclusively by volunteers.

When you think of the literally hundreds of unpaid hours which I have personally invested in the upkeep of the Nizkor web, I believe you'll understand why it irritates me that you claim that I and my fellow volunteers are making use of "tax-supported funds."

You conclude:

We can automate links at the bottom of each document, but we don't intend to hand-link every petty argument that you might choose to throw at us. We have to husband our resources and focus on our goals - not yours.

I understand perfectly that your goals take top priority for you, just as Nizkor's goals take top priority for me.

I do not understand why you refer to cross-linking argument to counterargument, claim to rebuttal, as something "petty." That's what open debate is! I'm afraid that this only reinforces my belief that open debate is not really what you're after.

As you surely have concluded by now, I must decline your offer to link our sites with links at the bottom of every single page. Nizkor will not reciprocate.

However, I would like to make you a counter-offer. Since your lawyers have apparently agreed that a link to Nizkor is acceptable, then the only obstacle in your way must be the "logistics and manpower" required to actually write the code to insert the links.

I hereby offer my own services in this regard. On your pages where it is appropriate, I will gladly download your HTML code, and add a single sentence near the bottom that reads something like:

A reply to this web page is available on the Nizkor web site, at (URL here).

That's it. No tricks, no suggestive wording, nothing which you might object to. The neutral phrasing should be perfectly acceptable to each of us. And, if and when your site has a reply to something on Nizkor, I will be happy to include a link to it at the bottom of Nizkor's web page, with the wording:

A reply to this web page is available on the Zündelsite, at (URL here).

I will then email you a copy of the new HTML code, which will be exactly the same as the old code except with that one sentence added. You or your webmaster may then simply copy it over the old file.

(After checking, of course, that I have not done anything sneaky. I give you my word that I would not do anything so unethical, of course, but I expect you'd want to follow a "trust but verify" policy. I'll be happy to suggest software tools which can verify my change quickly, with almost zero "logistics and manpower" required.)

After you copy the new file over the old one, the link will be in place, and Nizkor will not have to bother you about it anymore. A few seconds of your or your webmaster's time will be all that's required. A small price to pay for "Letting Both Sides Be Heard," as Mark Weber beseeches us to do on your web page http://www.webcom.com/~ezundel/english/incorrect.006.html.

So there you have it, Mr. Zündel. This is a real offer from Nizkor, an offer to help both sides be heard.

I'd still much prefer that we meet on alt.revisionism, where it is much easier and quicker to discuss the issues. But since you will not agree to that, then we can at least directly link one site's arguments to the other site's rebuttals, and vice versa.

What do you say, Mr. Zündel?

Seventh and final point:

To be frank, Mr. Zündel, I am growing a bit tired of having to correct your erroneous statements. I've spent a great deal of my time in this reply explaining why your incorrect assumptions are incorrect.

In the future -- and I say this with courtesy and respect -- please try not to make false statements concerning the net and the Nizkor Project. It wastes both of our time when I have to continually make corrections, and it means that my responses will be longer and less focused on the more important issues which should concern us.

Thank you. I await your reply.

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