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Simon Sheppard (51) and Stephen Whittle (42) have become the first people in the UK to be convicted of inciting racial hatred online. Sheppard and Whittle ran websites featuring pictures of murdered jews alongside cartoons and articles deriding ethnic groups. They were tried at Leeds Crown Court last year but before the Jury could return a verdict the two men fled to the USA attempting to claim political asylum. Whittle, who wrote the offensive articles, was condemned to two years and four months, Sheppard, who published it online, to four years and ten months.
Read more here
Facebook is under fire over its policies, after it emerged that the social networking site has refused to close groups that promote Holocaust denial despite complaints. Read more here
Chancellor Angela Merkel has got herself involved in Vatican politics, which, if nothing else, makes a change from the Vatican sticking its nose in to everyone else’s internal politics.
Speaking about Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to readmit members of the ultra-traditionalist Society of Pius X into the Vatican fold, in spite of some members’, well, interesting historical viewpoints, Merkel has demanded clarification of the Vatican’s position on Holocaust deniers in its ranks:
‘This is not just a matter, in my opinion, for the Christian, Catholic and Jewish communities in Germany but the Pope and the Vatican should clarify unambiguously that there can be no denial,’ said the Chancellor.
The problem is that really, it is just a matter for the Vatican. If Richard Williamson and the rest of the Lefebvre-ists had been excommunicated because of their tolerance of Holocaust denial, then one could feasibly criticise Benedict from readmitting them without them having purged their ranks of this great sin. But they were excommunicated for their objections to various policies emerging from the Second Vatican Council, such as ecumenicism and the abandonment of the Latin mass. If the Pope has reached some sort of resolution with them over these issues, then he has every right, by the internal logic of the church over which he has absolute dominion, to readmit them.
If you’re interested in this sort of thing, you can hear Richard Williamson’s views on the Holocaust here.
If you’re interested in how conspiracist phenomena overlap, you can hear Williamson explaining that 9/11 was an inside job here.
(Warning: may be upsetting for fans of rational argument and George Orwell).
Holocaust denier Frederick Toben was returned to custody today, having been denied bail at Westminster Magistrates Court. Toben, 64, is facing extradition to Germany under a European Arrest Warrant.