Holocaust-Denying Brits Languish in Santa Ana Jail, Become Worldwide Far-Right Celebrities
Sheppard runs The Heretical Press, an online repository of far-right essays, photos, and just plain bizarre entries (don't they realize R. Crumb is being satirical when he publishes a comic titled "When the Niggers Take Over America"?), to which Whittle contributes. According to British reports, authorities raided Sheppard's flat in 2004 after a copy of his Tales of the Holohoax were found inside a synagogue. After discovering the contents of The Heretical, they arrested Sheppard and Whittle for distributing hate speech online.
If that's not Orwellian enough for you, refry this: Sheppard and Whittle claimed that British courts had no jurisdiction over The Heretical and its materials since its servers hum along in Torrance. But the Brits don't care.
British courts had to convict Sheppard and Whittle in absentia, however. In July 2007, the two skipped bail and made their way to LAX, where they promptly turned themselves over to authorities and asked for political asylum, claiming the British government was harrassing them for their "satire." Immigration officials hauled them to the Santa Ana Jail, which has a contract to help out the government with immigrant detainees. Read their case for asylum here.
"This is a test case for the US on whether the American court will protect anti-semites and those that incite the hate that leads to anti-Jewish or anti-Muslim violence, or whether it respects a British court decision and sends these people back for sentence," a Parliament member told the Post.
The fates of the Heretical Two is in the hands of Immigration Judge Rose Collantes Peters, who has a past of thumbing her nose at British courts. In 2004, she went against the wishes of the American government and ruled that la migra couldn't deport Sean O'Cealleagh, a bartender at O'Malley's in Seal Beach, for having been convicted in England for his role in the murder of two British soldiers during a 1988 Irish Republican Army funeral. This past Tuesday, Peters heard final arguments in the case of the Heretical Two, with Sheppard and Whittle acting as their own attorneys because the attorney originally recommended to them by Mark Weber of the Holocaust-denying Newport Beach-based Institute for Historical Review dropped out after not getting paid enough cash (according to The Heretical Press home page). Peters is expected to deliver her verdict within 30 days.
The saga of Sheppard and Whittle has drawn nary a press report in the United States, even though it involves all sorts of free-speech questions. But the Heretical Two have become far-right causé célebres, earning support from the aforementioned IHR, David Duke, and other types of trash.
Then again, supporters of the Heretical Two make this interesting point:
The question is not whether you like Sheppard and Whittle, or agree with their writings, or the other material posted on the Heretical site. It is, quite simply, whether you are prepared to help ensure the effective representation of two men seeking to set a vital precedent for genuine asylum seekers from oppressive, liberticidal regimes, seeking refuge in the world's last true free speech zone.
What do YOU think?