Tuesday, April 05, 2005

ward churchill northern brother

Ahenakew says he still believes Jews started Second World War

Tue Apr 5,10:09 PM ET


SASKATOON (CP) - David Ahenakew told his hate trial Tuesday that he still believes Jews were the cause of the Second World War and he doesn't think there is anything wrong with his opinion.

The former head of the Assembly of First Nations and member of the Order of Canada is charged under the Criminal Code with wilfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group after he made public his opinions in a speech to a Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations' conference more than two years ago.

"I didn't think I said anything wrong during my speech," Ahenakew testified under cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Brent Klause.

Klause pointed to the interview Ahenakew had with a reporter right after the speech where he called the Jews a "disease" and said Hitler was justified when he "fried six million of those guys."

"So you stand by your comments?" Klause asked.

"Yeah," Ahenakew replied.

Ahenakew, 71, testified it was the Germans who told him about the Jews when he served overseas in the military. He joined the military in 1951.

His testimony was the culmination of a day filled with tension. Agitated members of the public gallery at points yelled "racist" as Klause asked questions of Ahenakew in front of Judge Marty Irwin, who is hearing the case without a jury.

Ahenakew's defence lawyer, Doug Christie, in turn attacked the media for its reporting on the case.

The jeers against Klause came when he suggested to Ahenakew: "You are not an unsophisticated individual from some remote northern band."

Irwin asked Klause to re-phrase the question, which he did, but at the morning break he was approached by at least one individual who swore at him and told him he was offended by the remark.

Klause returned after the break and apologized to the court. But the decorum in the gallery didn't improve and in the afternoon, Klause had to ask the judge to put a stop to remarks being made.

"This is not a circus," Klause said, prompting Irwin to ask everyone for quiet.

Ahenakew was on the stand Tuesday in support of his lawyer's application to have tapes of both the reporter's interview and his speech thrown out as evidence.

Christie had argued both were private conversations and can't be used in the prosecution of a hate crime.

But Irwin disagreed, saying Ahenakew knew or should have known that his speech to about 300 people and his remarks to a reporter could end up being published.

"Reporters report," Irwin said. "It's not for the court to pass judgment on the journalistic ethics of the media."

Outside the courtroom, Christie told reporters that the ruling makes the media a tool of a police state.

"This is a setback for anybody who doesn't want to see the media get a licence to promote hatred if they can find someone in a moment of passion to quote," Christie said.

"You are now capable of being used to, not only promote hatred with impunity, but to gather evidence against people in private conversations to be used against them indiscriminately. I wouldn't want to be in your position."

Irwin listened to the both the tape of Ahenakew's speech, made by the FSIN, and the tape of his comments to the reporter, James Parker of the Saskatoon StarPhoenix, in deciding the merits of Christie's application.

"How do you get rid of a disease like that, that's going to take over, that's going to dominate?" Ahenakew told Parker. "The Jews damn near owned all of Germany prior to the war. That's how Hitler came in. He was going to make damn sure that the Jews didn't take over Germany or Europe.

"That's why he fried six million of those guys, you know. Jews would have owned the God damned world. And look what they're doing. They're killing people in Arab countries."

Ahenakew testified that he believes he was goaded into making his remarks by Parker and called their conversation a confrontation rather than an interview.

Parker has already testified that he heard Ahenakew mention the Jews in his speech and was seeking clarification when he approached him.

Ahenakew called Parker's subsequent story a "blatant distortion" but offered little explanation as to why he thinks that.

"What it says to me is they (the media) are out to destroy," Ahenakew said.

Testimony will continue on Wednesday.

Both sides have agreed that the evidence given for the purposes of Christie's application will stand as evidence to be used in determining guilt or innocence.

But both sides have indicated that they might need to recall any or all of the witnesses, including Ahenakew.


Blogger Emmunah said...

Is this guy a native american? If so let me know okay? I am sorry you have one of those too. Ward said "chickens come home to roost"..so I sent him some chickens. I don't know if he got the message:).

11:52 PM  
Blogger Emmunah said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:52 PM  
Blogger Emmunah said...

Sorry, I double posted. I forgot to mention, they were called Plymouth Rock Chickens, and they aren't the eating kind:).

did you know the Raelians, those UFO people, who said they cloned a human baby? But then never produced any baby? Well, they made Ward an Honorary Priest of the Raelian Church. I'm sure they meant well...but it doesn't bode well for Ward LOL!

11:57 PM  
Blogger yochanan said...

He is Canadian.

It just shows bigotry comes in all etnic groups.

6:34 AM  

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