Calgary Herald | 20Oct2006 | Wallace Klinck
Letter to Editor

Anti-"hate" legislation as a threat to freedom

The Calgary Herald
Letters to the Editor
P.O. Box 2400, Stn. M
Calgary, AB

Dear Editor:

Re the recent conviction of an Alberta man under the Federal Anti-"hate" legislation, some important things to consider are: Did the accused actually promote or engender any "hatred"? Was any evidence produced to show that anyone was actually influenced by such alleged inducement of hatred or that anyone intended to act illegally upon it? And what is hatred in any objective sense? Is not hatred a subjective matter, i.e., is not one person's object of hatred often another's object of love? Who has the moral or legal right, or ability, to adjudicate or enforce action against subjective opinion? The presiding magistrate is cited as accepting that the accused genuinely believes the content of his website. Is it just or reasonable to prosecute an individual for expressing publicly what he genuinely believes? Most especially when the law under which he is tried makes an exception when statements are made in a sincere effort to contribute to a matter of public concern? Is it probable or even possible that outlandish expressions are to be taken seriously by any rational mind or likely to be viewed with anything other than skepticism, disapproval, amusement -- or even concern for the party making the statements? Indeed, the more outlandish or rabid such statements may be, will they generally not be even more likely regarded as less credible? Surely, to think otherwise is to adjudge the population at large as mentally incompetent and undeserving of intellectual freedom.

The Crown apparently solicited representation from a minority group to demonstrate offense allegedly experienced by that "group." Can that representation actually legitimately claim to represent or speak for such a group? Indeed, can such a group actually be defined -- inasmuch as realistically it may be subdivided into differentiated or even dissenting subgroups and/or individuals? In a society professing even a semblance of freedom is it appropriate, just or reasonable, to confer upon unqualified legislative or judicial officials the power to pronounce upon philosophical, historical and theological matters which historically have challenged the best minds in areas of open debate reserved for philosophers, theologians, historians -- professional and amateur academics, political commentators and ordinary citizens? Does the politico-judicial system possess a natural and legitimate right to dictate the content of public enquiry -- or is this the inherent and sacred right of the individual citizen in pursuing his civic responsibility? Surely we have had sufficient evidence of, and experience with, the disastrous consequences of allowing the state to determine public opinion by force of law, while simultaneously repressing the expression of dissenting or alternate ideas. Simply put, that is the acceptance of totalitarianism. Historically, the governing political and judicial establishment has been explicitly denied the right to determine by force or intimidation ideological thought and communication -- and has been expected to protect these latter above all as inherent sacred rights of citizens at large. Willful neglect of this responsibility demonstrates flagrant contempt for the intelligence and decency of the population at large and is a blatant denial of democratic freedom in any meaningful sense. The last thing Canadians need, or can permit as a supposedly free people, is dictation by the state of what we may think or communicate among ourselves as citizens.

Canada's relatively recent adoption of anti-"hate" legislation and "Human Rights" tribunals (whose naked political nature is exposed by their disallowance of truth as a means of defence) is a patent violation of historic protections achieved at considerable sacrifice under the British Common Law. It exempts politically active and influential minority interests from general public scrutiny and criticism -- giving them relatively free reign without accountability. This is reminiscent of the Bolshevik Peoples' Courts where if the state, or a personal enemy, wished to destroy personally or politically those who were disliked or opposed, all that was necessary was to lodge a fabricated complaint of "anti-social" expression or behaviour and the politically motivated kangaroo court would ensure the ruination of the accused individual. Such destructive consequences are the inevitable outcome of anti-"hate" law, which, properly identified, is actually anti-opinion legislation -- the very foundation of tyranny. A public intimidated into silence will become a society based upon lies promulgated by an evermore arrogant and oppressive establishment.

We have established a historic body of both criminal and civil law which, with occasional appropriate revision, would appear to be quite proper and adequate to preserve our historic freedoms while discouraging and/or punishing objectively provable illegal acts of violence, coercion, defamation, fraud and theft or damage committed by individuals against the persons or property of other citizens. Our precious inheritance of Constitutional protections against state persecution, as evolved under British Common Law, must not be sacrificed because of hypothetical, speculative or abstract anomalies or allegations. Canada's contrived anti-"hate" laws are an insult to public intelligence and a menace to our historic traditions of freedom. A properly outraged public should demand their immediate elimination.

Yours sincerely
Wallace M. Klinck
Sherwood Park, AB

Edmonton Journal | 02Sep2006 | Bill Mah

Hate-monger gets 16 months

Sets benchmark for similar Internet hate-crime cases, Crown prosecutor says

A judge handed a Two Hills man a 16-month jail sentence Friday for inciting hatred against Jews on his website in what is being called a ground-breaking Internet hate-crime case.

Reni Santana-Ries, 63, was convicted last December by a jury on one count of promoting hatred through his site called Federation of Free Planets, which denies the Holocaust and says Jews created diseases such as AIDS and Ebola.

"The level of the hatred is appalling," said Court of Queen's Bench Justice Philip Clarke.

Clarke gave the 63-year-old formerly known as Reinhard Gustav Mueller jail time instead of a conditional sentence to be served in the community and prohibited him from using the Internet for 36 months.

He also ordered the website shut down. It still operates out of the United States.

The maximum sentence is two years.

"There is a complete absence of any mitigating circumstances except for the first-time offence, and an absence of remorse," Clarke said.

"He sincerely believes the hate he has posted on his website."

A pre-sentencing report written by Sentana-Ries's probation officer says the engineering technician by trining believes he is being treated unfairly and he acted to share the truth as he saw it.

The balding, grey-haired man stared stright ahead as the judge announced his sentence.

His wife Seila quivered with emotion outside the courtroom as Sentana-Ries was led away by provincial sheriffs.

"It's so unfair," she said. "They should never lock him up. He's done so many good things."

She said her husband was trying to alert people to what Sentana-Ries called his "investigative journalism."

"It was for the people, for everybody."

In court Thursday, Sentana-Ries, acting as his own lawyer, read a long statement detailing the radio messages his wife receives from extraterrestrials and the government conspiracies to silence him and his wife that even reached the Crown's office. Crown prosecutor Steven Bilodeau said outside court that the conviction and sentence sets a benchmark for similar Internet hate-crime cases.

"The Crown wanted a strong message because it's the first hate-crime conviction involving hate on the Internet," said Bilodeau, who handles technology and Internet crimes.

"Putting hate on the Internet means everyone can see it, not just people you run into on the street corner and its really hard to get rid of."

Bernie Farber, chief ececutive officer of the Canadian Jewish Congress, was called by the Crown to testify during the sentencing hearing about the website's impact on the Jewish community.

He verbally sparred on the stand with Sentana-Ries, who acted as his own lawyer, during cross-examination.

Farber applauded the sentence on Friday, calling it a precedent-setting longest sentence given to an Internet hate-monger.

"What Justice Clarke has done is put hate-mongers on notice that they and their message will just not be tolerated in multicultural Canada."

[email protected]