Mahler's Symphony of Stupidity

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Horst Mahler, co-founder of the left-wing terror group Rote Armee Fraktion (Red Army Faction), spent ten years in prison for various acts of "revolutionary violence" committed in the late 1960s and early 1970s. (He was defended, incidentally, by former German Prime Minister Gerhard Schroeder and former Interior Minister Otto Schily.) Now a member of the neo-Nazi party NPD, Mahler is heading back to jail—this time for greeting Jewish journalist Michel Friedman, a longtime target of Mahler's anti-Semitic opprobrium, with "Heil Hitler, Herr Friedman!" According to this story in the German tabloid Bild, Mahler was sentenced to ten months in jail today. The DPA has what appears to be the only English-language account of the trial, explaining that Mahler was convicted of "sedition, using gestures of an anti-constitutional organization and criminal insult during the interview at a Munich airport hotel." Sedition? Mahler is a colossal scumbag—an anti-capitalist, anti-American, Holocaust-denying loon—but this is just silly:

Michel Friedman, 52, whose previous posts include deputy chairman of Germany's national Jewish body, justified the abrasive interview last October for a print magazine as his journalistic duty, saying he would never have given Mahler time for a private chat.

Vanity Fair's German edition contends that its publication of the interview in a 10-page spread revealed the absurdity of Holocaust denial. Friedman, who is also a lawyer, filed a police complaint against Mahler after their talk.

Mahler was ejected from the courtroom for misbehaviour after alleging that the Holocaust had not happened. Mahler confirmed saying "Heil Hitler." The judge said she found him incorrigible.

In 2006, he arrived at jail to serve a sentence and did the stiff- armed Heil Hitler salute at the gate. Nazi symbols are illegal in Germany.

He has also been active in and worked as lawyer for the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD). German authorities have confiscated Mahler's passport to stop him attending Holocaust denial events abroad.

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  1. This thread has been pre-Godwinned for your viewing pleasure.

  2. fight fire with fire.

    or nazi with nazi i guess.

    that seems like a poor strategy.

  3. It’s difficult applying our standards of liberalism (classical liberalism, that is) to other countries, with different histories and cultures.

    We have enough to worry about in regards to our own loss of freedoms.

  4. That’s ironic – Mahler the composer was Jewish.

  5. Mahler confirmed saying “Heil Hitler.” The judge said she found him incorrigible.

    I served six years in the military, Does that make me patriotic? How many years did Cheney serve?

  6. Mahler the composer was Jewish.

    Yeah. What’s in a name, eh?

  7. I wish that people would realize that in order to protect free speech they sometimes will be exposed to speech that is offensive.

    I am denying the holocaust, not because I believe it didn’t take place, or that I don’t feel it is one of the top 50 or so darkest chapters in our racial history, but because it makes me a criminal in Germany.

    The fight for freedom is the fight for all freedom, not just the ones that inconvenience you the least.

    It is like a black preacher who is an anti-gay rights activist. The cognitive dissonance is overwhelming. Free speech for some! Little flags for others!

  8. I served six years in the military, Does that make me patriotic? How many years did Cheney serve?

    By any conceivable measure (except for the mass murder thing), Hitler was more of a German patriot than Cheney is an American one.

    Which just goes to show how fucking stupid it is to elevate patriots to sainthood.

  9. Adolf Hitler was a gay painter with daddy issues… not that theres anything wrong with that!

  10. Casey Serin is REVEALED!!!!

  11. For some reason, the Germans take the NAZI thing very seriously.

  12. Which just goes to show how fucking stupid it is to elevate patriots to sainthood.

    Ya i might need to post this joke a couple more times until someone actually gets it….or at least until Elemenope does.

  13. I sincerely believe in free speech for all human beings everywhere. But I find it terribly hard to work up sympathies for this guy. My lack of tears means I have to turn in my Cosmotarian card.

  14. My lack of tears means I have to turn in my Cosmotarian card.

    Apologist for former communist turned Nazi apologist is code for “Jew”

  15. By any conceivable measure (except for the mass murder thing), Hitler was more of a German patriot than Cheney is an American one.

    Hitler was & Cheney is a Nationalist. Neither patriots.

  16. Joshua,

    A certain Rev. Wright would like to speak with you in the corner over there…

  17. Not much fun in Stalingrad.

  18. Ya i might need to post this joke a couple more times until someone actually gets it….or at least until Elemenope does.

    I got the joke, really I did. I just thought

    1. It wasn’t that funny
    2. It was a good an opportunity as any to smack around our Sith-lord-in-vice-chief

    Hitler was & Cheney is a Nationalist. Neither patriots.

    Major difference: Hitler suffered and was imprisoned for his criticism of the German state. So far as I know, Cheney has never criticized his beloved fiefdom nor suffering in pursuit of changing it.

    Yeah, I’m gonna flog this “Cheney is a wussier patriot than Hitler” thing till it dies, because he’s a douche and deserves it, and as it has already been pointed out, this thread comes gift-wrapped as pre-Godwinned.

  19. Wow. According to Reason Magazine, being “an anti-capitalist, anti-American” are signs of being a scumbag?

    If I ever needed any extra incentive to stop reading this blog, this is it. Go to hell, vulgar libertarian scumbags.

  20. Wow. According to Reason Magazine, being “an anti-capitalist, anti-American” are signs of being a scumbag?

    You left out the “Holocaust denial” part.

    If I ever needed any extra incentive to stop reading this blog, this is it. Go to hell, vulgar libertarian scumbags.

    I wish you hadn’t stopped reading the blog before you got to the part about the Holocaust denial, though.

    I sincerely believe in free speech for all human beings everywhere. But I find it terribly hard to work up sympathies for this guy.

    I have no sympathy for him either, but that’s all the more reason to watch out: freedoms are taken from the unpopular guys first, and then the more mainstream freedoms are targeted.

  21. Pleased to meet you, squire. I also am not of Minehead being born but I in your Peterborough Lincolnshire was given birth to. But am staying in Peterborough Lincolnshire house all time during vor, due to jolly old running sores, and vos unable to go in the streets or to go visit football matches or go to Nuremburg. Ha ha. Am retired vindow cleaner and pacifist, without doing war crimes. Oh…and am glad England vin Vorld Cup. Bobby Charlton. Martin Peters. And eating I am lots of chips and fish and hole in the toads and Dundee cakes on Piccadilly Line, don’t you know old chap, vot!

    And I vos head of Gestapo for ten years.

    (‘Hilter’ elbows him in the ribs)

    Ah! Five years!

    (Hilter elbows him again, harder)

    Nein! No! Oh. NOT head of Gestapo AT ALL! I was not, I make joke!

  22. Yes! We pissed off an anti-capitalist America hater!

  23. Jesus Christ, Elemenope. If that’s the difference, give me Cheney every time! 😛

  24. Francois Tremblay –

    You would instead characterize Horst Mahler as _____________?

    Just this once, think before posting.

  25. Jesus Christ, Elemenope. If that’s the difference, give me Cheney every time! 😛

    Indeed.

    Fuck patriotism. Give me a man that can think. (Not to imply that Cheney can do that with any great capacity, either.)

  26. Francois Tremblay, eh? If I’ve told you monkeys once, I’ve told you a thousand mille times, you have to put the cheese down before you put your hands up in the air!

  27. I think what bubba said bears repeating: For some reason, the Germans take the NAZI thing very seriously.

  28. Wow. According to Reason Magazine, being “an anti-capitalist, anti-American” are signs of being a scumbag?

    -You left out the “Holocaust denial” part.

    Yeah, but the problem with Moynihan’s remark is that it puts being anti-capitalist and anti-American on the same level as Holocaust denial. I’ve known plenty of people who would describe themselves as anti-capitalist and anti-American, and while I think their passions are misguided, I don’t think that makes them scumbags.

    Here’s a helpful chart, with the merely misguided on the left and the true scumbags-by-nature on the right:

    Anti-capitalists : Stalinists, Maoists, etc.
    Anti-Americans : al-Qaeda
    Nationalist idiots : Holocaust denying Nazi fucks.

  29. So a guy goes from being a Marxist Socialist to being a National Socialist, in the former role he helps found a group that kills several people, gets away with only 10 years hard time, then as a National Socialist he commits an act of free speechand gets 10 months. Did I miss anything?

  30. Banning things only makes them more popular. This applies to all sorts of things, no matter how stupid (such as Nazi symbols).

  31. It’s not “Red Army Faction.” It’s “Red Army Fraction.”

    A faction is a portion of a political entity that is at odds with some other portion of that entity. The DLC and the Kossacks are factions of the Democratic Party.

    A fraction is a subset of a political entity which is both in communion with that larger entity, and a microcosm of it. The Young Republicans are a fraction of the GOP.

    The Baader-Meinhoff gang adopted the name Rote Armee Fraktion to make the point that they were in communion with the revolutionary communists, and also that they functioned just like them. The idea that they were somehow at odds with the Red Army or some segment thereof, which the word “faction” implies, is a complete inversion of what their name means. Marxist-Lenninist parties don’t have factions; enforced unity of ideology and leadership and the suppression of dissent and divides are integral parts of what Marxist-Lenninism are all about.

    It’s unfortunate that his mistranslation of “Fraktion” is common, because it misleads people about what the Baader-Meinhoff people were all about.

  32. I know, I sound like the guy who keeps saying “Kleenex-brand facial tissue.”

    The Europeans need to ditch their stupid speech codes. It’s not 1946, the Nazis aren’t coming back. I think the problem is that none of the politicians want to be “the guy who’s soft on Naziism.” Their opponents would be all over them, regardless of whether they agreed in their heart of hearts, just like our own politicians who know better about marijuana decriminalization.

  33. Joe: In Germany, factions, including party caucuses in the federal and regional parliaments, are called “fractions” (in German “Fraktion”) so the Red Army Faction is equally valid as Red Army Fraction in the translation of Roter Armee Fraktion.

    It is easy from America to criticize Germany for curtailing the civil liberties of Nazi scumbags (sorry for redundancy). But Germany was bombed into rubble because Nazis took power, and banning the reformation of the Nazi Party is a form of prophylaxis.

    Until 1968, the Communist Party was also banned, but was able to maintain an underground existence with aid from East Germany and the KGB.

    Mahler came into the news on Sept. 12, 2001 when he put up a graphic of the twin towers burning on his website, with some kind of caption like “Die Capitalist Swine.” It is hard to have sympathy for him.

  34. Gene,

    I don’t think the Baader-Meinhoff Gang named themselves that to point out that they were a faction of the German body politic, so much as to draw attention to their unity with the Reds in Moscow.

  35. I am certainly against the German government making “Nazi speech” against the law, but would have loved it if the Jewish gentlemen had beaten the holy shit out of the Nazi and a $2.00 (USA fiat) civil penalty imposed.

  36. Until 1968, the Communist Party was also banned, but was able to maintain an underground existence with aid from East Germany and the KGB.

    They also had/have the Green party.

    Mahler came into the news on Sept. 12, 2001 when he put up a graphic of the twin towers burning on his website, with some kind of caption like “Die Capitalist Swine.” It is hard to have sympathy for him.

    The German Ward Churchill?

  37. German authorities have confiscated Mahler’s passport to stop him attending Holocaust denial events abroad.

    Hmm, wonder what the legal basis for that action is. That’s a new one for me. For what other reason can Germans’ liberty to travel freely be curtailed like this? Just for expressing an idiotic belief?

    The guy was an A#1 asshole in the 60s and I’m not surprised he still is one now.

    Born stupid, forgot half of it and never learned anything new. Oh well…

  38. Joe,
    It is not a mistranslation. As Gene notes, both translations are considered acceptable. But I suppose a H&R post of mine is complete without you disagreeing with some part of it.

  39. with some kind of caption like “Die Capitalist Swine.” It is hard to have sympathy for him.

    No, it’s just german for “The Capitalist Swine.” No one who speaks German can be an evil man!

  40. “Fuck patriotism. Give me a man that can think.”

    What about a *patriot* who can think?

    Wait, America already rejected Ron Paul. Oh, well.

  41. I told him not to mention the war.

  42. It’s fascinating to see people complain about the lack of free speech in Germany, since these laws exist in the first place is because the Allies forced them on Germany.

    I think they’re a bit ridiculous at this point (there is probably more support for Nazi ideas in the UK or Russia nowadays than there is in Germany), but I think discussions that don’t mention the role the US had in this lack of free speech are missing something.

  43. The Europeans need to ditch their stupid speech codes.

    Weekly AWj, on the books.

  44. Michael,

    You linked to a series of books that translated it as “Red Army FRACTION.”

    Thanks.

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