(Archived Post Dated July 15, 2010)
The judge's ruling details the damages SPLC and Holthouse, as the "senior editor" of the woe-fully misnamed "Intelligence Report" did to Lewy.
Lewy seeked compensatory and punitive damages totaling $8 million.
Now eight million bucks is chump change to SPLC, which has hundreds of millions in the bank -- nothing "Poverty" about SPLC -- but the interesting thing is that this is the first time that SPLC may be in real danger of paying up for one of their multitude of lies. If successful, even if settled out of court, this will encourage the cannibals of the lawyer tribe to eat one of the richest and fattest of their own in a death of a thousand damage award entrees. Nothing encourages the legal sharks like blood in the water. The race to see who will get SPLC's palatial glass Taj Mahal in Montgomery will be fun to watch.
Couldn't happen to nicer anal sphincters.
The lawsuit focuses attention on SPLC's "Intelligence Report" and especially on its "senior editor" David Holthouse.
Holthouse is no stranger to publicity. A perusal of some of his recent stories indicates the "journalistic standards" he operates by.
For those of you with first-hand experience of Knob Creek, I draw your attention to Holthouse's 2006 conflationary racist tar baby epic on that event. It will give you a flavor of the "journalism" Holthouse practices. . .
We'll no doubt be hearing a lot more about David Holthouse. . . Sipsey Street Irregulars
Southern Poverty Law Center Apologized To Professor Guenter Lewy Over Armenian Genocide Charges : Read More . .
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Southern Poverty Law Center and Guenther Lewy controversy
by pamela barsam brown
Published: Wednesday January 26, 2011
Denver - The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) describes itself "as a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society." It has, for many years, maintained a highly distinguished record on American human rights while it has staunchly supported the historical record on the Armenian genocide.
But last fall, faced with the threat of a law suit related to its 2008 report on the Armenian genocide, and specifically its reference to a controversial book by retired University of Massachusetts professor Guenther Lewy, SPLC retracted a portion of its findings and issued an extended public apology.
Subsequently, this SPLC retraction/apology was vehemently challenged by the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS) stating, in part, "The apology ignores the unanimous consensus of the International Association of Genocide Scholars that the Armenian case constitutes genocide in accord with all of the acts and intentions stipulated in the UN Genocide Convention. The IAGS has issued several open letters about the definitive conclusions concerning the genocidal facts of this history."
Richard Cohen, president of the SPLC responded to the IAGS as additional voices of public protest made their way on to the internet.
Amid these exchanges and on behalf of the Rocky Mountain Hye Advocates (RMHA), I attempted to facilitate bridge-building between the national genocide community and the SPLC.
Our concern focused on the significance of the Cohen's response to IAGS with its Armenian genocide clarification NOT having been added to the SPLC Web site. The result left this otherwise valiant human rights organization with its earlier retraction/ apology to a Turkish genocide denier Lewy prominently remaining above its 2008 report.
On December 30, I had an opportunity to discuss the subject with SPLC directly.
In our telephone conversation, Cohen cordially proceeded to offer his version and commentary on what had transpired between Professor Lewy and the nearly 50-year-old civil rights organization.
SPLC's 2008 Armenian Genocide report appeared in its Investigative Intelligence Magazine and its newsletter, HATEWATCH.
That coverage concluded with a quote by Gregory Stanton, president of the International Association of Scholars. He stated, "Denial is the final stage of genocide. It is a continuing attempt to destroy the victim group psychologically and culturally, to deny its members even the memory of the murders of their relatives. That is what the Turkish government today is doing to Armenians around the world."
Scott Jaschik wrote in Inside Higher Ed on December 20, 2010 that; "Later Stanton, also President of Genocide Watch and a research professor in genocide studies and prevention at George Mason University," commented on the published SPLC retraction saying "he understood the law center's need to settle the lawsuit. We just wish that the statement they agreed to publish in their apology had not repeated Lewy's claim that there was no evidence of 'premeditation' of the Armenian genocide.' He said that statement is "beyond a shadow of a doubt" not true -- and that the Southern Poverty Law Center is helping to suggest otherwise."
Cohen agreed that Lewy's interpretation of the Armenian genocide is broadly disputed. The fact is this is not the first time that Lewy's off-beat revisionist views on genocide have caused controversy. They are an integral part of his academic reputation.
David B. MacDonald wrote in his 2008 book Identity Politics in the Age of Genocide that Lewy "actually denies the Armenian genocide in a manner similar to his denial of the American Indian and Roma genocides," and "while the sources he uses are either Turkish or pro-Turkish, Lewy insists that 'debate' is ongoing and there has been no resolution". In part, Lewy maintains, despite documented historical facts, that the genocide was not a government-planned annihilation but a wartime measure.
But the Lewy legal challenge emerged not from a criticism of his views, but from the SPLC linking him to the Turkish government and lobby. This is where Cohen felt the SPLC language had misrepresented him and owed him an apology.
Cohen amplified this conclusion by offering his personal view of Lewy. He told me that following a 2005 Lewy visit to Turkey to attend an ‘academic meeting on the Armenian genocide' he found he was in the company of nationalist historical revisionists.
According to Cohen, Lewy then wrote to his Turkish meeting host saying, "I do not want you to publish my paper with those other papers." Cohen did not volunteer the outcome of Lewy's request.
Cohen also maintained in an email message the following day that, "I responded to the International Association of Genocide Scholars' letter as a courtesy and as a friend and in the interest of truth. No one ‘forced' me to do it."
As the SLPC quoted the IAGS in its 2008 Armenian genocide report and cited its longstanding history of activism on behalf of supporting the historical facts of the Armenian genocide - this was really more than just a courtesy.
Cohen also stated that he had widely disseminated his response to the IAGS. That may be so but it does not appear to have hit its mark as it is NOT available on any WEB site we could find. There is, however, criticism of the genuflecting the SPLC assumed in its overreach to Professor Lewy.
Cohen is clearly sensitive to the Armenian genocide and during our conversation offered that if he was Armenian and his ancestors had been wiped out by the Turks he would also be enraged.
And Cohen is clearly uncomfortable with the public criticism this apology has brought to the SPLC. He suggested a review of the SPLC web pages dealing with the Armenian genocide and its tolerance curriculum - ones developed under his early leadership and released nearly ten years ago. They include the following:
SPLC needs to reiterate its Armenian Genocide position
The SPLC's declared moral imperative is to expose the plans and actions of White Supremacist groups. We at RMHA believe Richard Cohen when he says the 2008 report took the organization off-message.
Of course, as SPLC President Cohen shapes that message and the SPLC 2002 material on the Armenian genocide was loud and clear on its position and engagement.
The result remains the SPLC continues to face the reverberations of an inconvenient outcome. While it skirted a law suit it bungled its principled public image.
This is now, to my mind, NOT a Lewy story but one that is owned by the SPLC under Richard Cohen's leadership. It is time that he and the SPLC Board of Directors recognize this.
We firmly believe the organization, despite its agreement with Professor Lewy - one that Cohen admitted may have gone too far in its accommodation - should have made a greater effort to secure public coverage of its subsequent IAGS letter.
In fact, he told the Boston Globe as reported by columnist Alex Beam on January 4, 2011; "I think we would have won the case on summary judgment. We had a defense: Lewy is a public figure and we didn't act with actual malice."
For both of these missteps, Cohen has left the Lewy story line in place - one that may serve the interests of Professor Lewy and the Turkish lobby but one that is a disservice to the admirable and extraordinary civil liberties record of the SPLC.
This unsatisfactory conclusion requires the SPLC to reexamine the bitter taste and human distress its missteps have caused the national American Armenian community.
The SPLC is strongly urged to release another public notice, this time with greater determination and a significant force of staff power, to correct its message on the Armenian genocide and rectify the mess they themselves created.
After all, the SPLC is, at heart, a human rights organization and its needs to unequivocally speak and act like one.
Pamela Barsam Brown is the founder and co-editor of Rocky Mountain Hye Advocates [RMHA], a Colorado statewide Armenian genocide advocacy group.
(c) 2011 Armenian Reporter.