Wow, I'd say Austria has some indentity issues.
A judge on Friday denied a request for bail by David Irving, the British historian accused of violating Austria's laws against denying the Holocaust, who pleaded in court to be set free and allowed to return to his home in England. The ruling means that Irving, whose highly eccentric and widely rejected views of Nazi history have gained him notoriety, will remain in prison while Austrian prosecutors prepare an indictment against him.
Irving was arrested on Nov. 11, while on a trip to speak to a far-right student group. But the charges against him date to 1989, when the prosecutors charge he delivered two lectures in Austria in which he contended that the Nazi gas chambers never existed.
Austria, which was annexed by Germany before World War II and was a part of the Third Reich until the defeat of the Nazis in 1945, is one of a handful of countries - others include Germany, France, Belgium and Poland - that have laws forbidding the expression of the opinion that the Holocaust did not take place.
Christian Fleck, an Austrian sociologist, published a long article in the daily Der Standard on Wednesday arguing that Irving had committed "an opinion offense against which it is not appropriate to evoke the danger of the resurrection of the NSDAP." The initials stand for the National Socialist German Workers Party, the full name of the Nazi Party.
I know, I know, we're all living under the Bush/Rove/Cheney Regieme, and the Patriot Act is one big Gestapo tactic being flung upon us, wonk, wonk, wonk . . . HOWEVER . . . on this blog, or on the radio, or in the newspaper, or on a sign in my yard, I can claim George Bush is the best president ever, and that the Gophers will play in the next Rose Bowl, and that the moon landing was staged by Hollywood, but I will not be jailed for such silliness.
This is not Austria. This is the United States of America.