After 14 years of legal wrangling at the cost of millions of dollars to both sides, the US government has ruled on discretionary grounds by an unelected bureaucrat named Ron Rosenberg, Chief, Administrative Appeals Office of the US Department of Homeland Security, that Ernst Zündel (78) is banned from joining his family in the US.
Within hours of my illegal arrest in February 2003, fourteen years ago, I had been given an expulsion order with stiff penalties, should I dare to set foot in America ever again in the future. Should I be so brazen as to attempt a re-entry and be caught, I was to be arrested â€œforthwithâ€, detained, tried, and found guilty â€“ and put in prison to face a 20-year sentence as an illegal â€œre-offender.â€
I also tried to see Ingrid at least twice a year, always in some dishevelled Third World country. When traveling to Belize, the Dominican Republic, Mexico etc. to meet Ingrid â€“ who cannot travel to Europe because we know for certain there were at least two Interpol arrest warrants out for her as well because of her Zundelsite/Internet work â€“ I usually had to overfly Canada and the USA.
Next, we were told US authorities were going to admit us â€œlegallyâ€ into the US â€“ as visitors! Fat chance for me, I thought! All the while, I feared, I might be sent back to the Vaterland. I crossed my fingers and toes in hopes that would not happen. But luck was on my side. I, too, was bureaucratically â€œparoledâ€ into Missouri, USA â€“ a minor miracle!
At first it looked like the fuel line problem could be easily repaired, and that we could fly on to Cancun. However, the mechanical problems were too difficult for the local mechanics to fix, and it was decided to order a replacement plane from Germany. That would take another 12 â€“ 13 hours â€“ with me getting ever more groggy from lack of sleep, lack of food and drink, and a simmering, low-level anxiety that sat in the pit of my heart.
Meanwhile, our passports were scanned; finger prints and iris scans were made of each passenger; and of course, thanks to Internet bio information about me that had been surreptitiously studied by the American authorities as well as several passengers, I took on ever more the trappings of an heroic global dissident celebrity.
I began to be treated not just with curiosity but with an open, smiling reverence by black and white alike. I will always remember a few of them with great fondness â€“ for instance, a tall, handsome Mexican-American veteran, with decades of experience in the US military, as well as a picture-book tall, blue-eyed Aryan from the Midwest, coming from a family of nine children.
All of them were super-correct in their treatment of me â€“ very helpful and accommodating. I told them that I felt homesick for my beloved little art gallery in the Tennessee Mountains â€“ and being so near to where Ingrid and I had our place.
Those uniformed, battle-hardened men seemed visibly moved. There sat a real live, officially criminalized White Supremacist-Holocaust-denying-Hate-monger among otherwise perfectly normal people, looking and talking exactly like them! â€œA criminal of moral turpitudeâ€ is how the US government documents described me!
Once again, I was the last one to be checked before having been granted â€œparoleâ€, and promptly taken to a room for secondary screening. This procedure took several more hours of interviews by security people, and in the end, I was patted down and thoroughly searched, all my belongings, my money, my address book seized â€“ and I was taken to a holding cell, windowless, brightly illuminated â€“ the kind that I had already experienced in my decades-long travails while battling one of the worldâ€™s most vicious political lobbies.
The personnel who checked me into this cell seemed ashamed of what they were ordered to do â€“ and fell all over themselves letting me know that they did not approve of this travesty â€“ and were simply following Homeland Security orders.
I was given some small pillows, two bright yellow FEMA blankets to avoid hypothermia, and my two black, uniformed police or border guards, still armed to the teeth, told me that this was going to be my home until the replacement plane from Germany had arrived.
Soon additional, ever-so-friendly American guards came with three bottles of water, some potato chips and a hearty ham sandwich. No Muslim terrorist, this one, expecting special dietary favors!
It was long after midnight. I slept a little, in spite of the bright lights. There was a video camera on the ceiling, the usual surveillance equipment.
The hours passed slowly. After a while, two officers came to see me for an update. They told me that the plane from Germany was experiencing strong headwinds and would again be several hours later than expected.
The night shift changed to the day shift, and familiar faces â€“ officers I had talked with before in the waiting room â€“ came to take over. Obviously, they too had checked up on me on the Net. They brought me a tooth brush and toothpaste, and a little later, to my utter surprise, a piping hot pizza and a delicious California salad, along with more water and even a Coca Cola â€“ crowning this â€œhatemongerâ€ prison fare feast with a piece of delicious blueberry pie.
To my relief, there was no attempt to send me back to Germany â€“ and once the plane arrived, we were all processed one more time and allowed to board the replacement Condor plane. It was about 8:30 pm, March 16, by the time we took off to Cancun!
I did not have a telephone number for Ingrid, since no phone had been as yet installed in our little home in Mexico. I cleared the Mexican customs, got all the proper stamps, took an airport taxi and arrived at the door of my very relieved American citizen lady â€“ who greeted me with â€œAm I happy to see you!â€
We had lots to tell each other long after midnight â€“ wrapped in two bright yellow FEMA blankets I had asked to have as souvenirs, which the guards had allowed me to keep.
Als Asylneger wär das dem Ernschtl nicht passiert.