Edmonton Journal
Letters to Editor

Disinformation by Omission

(Re: "MP sorry for Nazi Germany analogy" by Janice Tibbets, Edmonton Journal, May 10, 2001)

Sometimes facts that are omitted from a story can be just as crucial as those that are reported in presenting the truth.

This most certainly applies in this case where certain facts that were unreported go a long way to explain Andrew Telegdi's principled and courageous position in regards the deportation of Canadians of Central and East European origin.

The story tersely states that:

"The court found (Helmut) Oberlander, a member of a Nazi unit that exterminated tens of thousands of Jews during the Second World War, lied about his past to get into the country in 1957."

What is omitted is the fact that Judge Andrew MacKay found "no evidence that Oberlander was personally involved in criminal activities or war crimes."

What is omitted is in what capacity Oberlander served this unit - as a translator - and that the judge found he did this "not voluntarily, by free choice, but in fear of harm if he refused."

What is omitted is the fact that, when the government announced its policy of using the civil court system to deport so-called war criminals, the Department of Justice stated in a press release that:

"The key criterion in all these proceedings is the existence of some evidence of individual criminality. If that cannot be proven, no proceedings will be considered."

According to the government's own position, proceedings should never have even been brought up against Oberlander and, if Elinor Caplan was to follow her own government's guidelines she would never have recommended to Cabinet that Oberlander be stripped of his citizenship.

What the story also omitted was the fact that the judge ruled that Oberlander lied when he came to Canada "on a balance of probabilities". This means there is a 50.01 percent chance one way and a 49.99 percent the other way.

Another fact the story omitted is that there is no way anyone can prove whether someone lied upon entering Canada during that period because the government has destroyed all the immigration files.

Yet another fact the story omitted was that in two of the Denaturalization and Deportation cases that have been decided by the courts, two different judges found that there was no legal authority to turn back immigrants for what they did during the war, and in two others (Oberlander and Wasyl Odynsky), the same judge found that there was.

Since there is no appeal process, there is no opportunity to establish a precedent for the rule of law and this makes this whole process a judicial lottery in which a person's fate depends upon which judge he happens to draw.

Oberlander's case is not an exception, but the norm for these Denaturalization cases. In all cases except one, the judge has found no evidence of any war crimes having been committed by the respondent.

If the media began to present all the pertinent facts in these cases, instead of just selected ones, then people would realize that this process is not designed to bring "Nazi war criminals" to justice, but is a witch hunt of innocent people designed to placate a powerful lobby.

Marco Levytsky,
Editor, Ukrainian News.