Losing a Wise Friend
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I met Bradley the first time in September 1999 during David Irving’s Real History Conference in Cincinnati, where we both presented papers to Irving’s audience. I did not interact much with him during that conference. That changed, however, after I had to leave England in a hurry just two months later due to a veritable manhunt for me initiated by the British media. I came to the U.S. in an attempt to find a safe haven there, but those plans weren’t panning out as hoped. I’ve described my failed attempts at getting some kind of permission to remain in the U.S. elsewhere. What matters here is that I ended up having to leave the U.S., which is how Bradley got involved again. In February and then again in May 2000 I stayed at Bradley’s home in Baja California for a number of days each time. I was (understandably) depressed back then, and Bradley tried hard to lift me up. When another three months of tourist visa time was about to expire in August, I decided that this in-and-out of Mexico won’t work much longer, so I arranged with Bradley to actually move to his neighborhood. I lived next door to Bradley in a small rented house between late July and mid-October of 2000. During the day I worked for my little revisionist outlet, but when it was dinner time, Bradley’s wife Irene insisted that I come over and have dinner with them. After dinner I stayed, and Bradley and I talked. That’s when Bradley became a close friend of mine.
We realized that our outlooks on things were rather similar. For instance, neither of us was ever interested in riches, in social status or in gaining power and influence. We both were looking for some way of dedicating our lives to some worthwhile idealistic cause. He tried to find glory and meaning in the army, serving in Korea and reporting from Vietnam during that country’s war. He tried being a deputy sheriff, and he even tried bull-fighting, of all things. But the real bull fight, so to speak, the one he fought for the rest of his life, he entered only at the age of 49.
Realizing our similar outlook on life, we started doing revisionist projects together, for instance by interlinking our two websites and indexing all papers (I even announced that in my German journal in an ad, see at the bottom of this article). I left my Mexican abode again in mid-October 2000, returning to the States in order to apply for political asylum.
This, too, was a doomed attempt, but it took five years before the U.S. authorities finally arrested me in November 2005 and deport me back to Germany, where I was duly incarcerated and prosecuted for my offensive scientific (revisionist) views. Again, this is not the place to discuss this in detail. The reader can find out about that elsewhere.
However, I had married a U.S. citizen in the meantime, and in the long run that was my magic bullet to finally get permanent legal residence in the States (legalese for a “green card”). But the U.S. government wasn’t willingly granting me that permission. Quite to the contrary. More than a year after my release from the German prison system, and I still had made no headway. Hoping that this might change soon, I decided to wait right across the border – in Rosarito, Mexico, in Bradley’s home. So in September of 2010, Bradley and his wife once more received me with open arms and allowed me to stay at their home until my immigration case was finally resolved. But the weeks of waiting turned into months. At the end it took 10 months, until July 2011, to finally obtain that coveted immigrant visa. Seven of these ten months I spent with Bradley and his family. During that time I had little else to do but to assist Bradley in what he was doing, in participating in the Smith family life, and in talking to Bradley.
Bradley’s legacy is monumental. Among revisionists, there are few who have achieved as much as he has. Ernst Zündel comes to mind, whose ingeniously fought trials triggered a landslide of worldwide attention and interest in Holocaust revisionism. Next Robert Faurisson, who was the grand strategist and prime expert advisor on Zündel’s defense team. He almost single-handedly made his own nation listen to the revisionist message, in spite of all establishment attempts to silence him. And of course Willis Carto, who between the late 1970s and the early 1990s gave fledgling Holocaust revisionism massive organizational and financial support.
Ever since Bradley got involved in revisionism, his mission was to spread the message to U.S. campuses and the mass media. His initial success was staggering, as he caught the enemies of free speech with their shields down and on their wrong foot. They smartened up to him eventually, but Bradley sought and always somehow found gaps in their system of censorship to break through the wall of silence anyway. And he did so until his very last breath.
How did he do it? A man of little formal education and basically no financial means, how did he manage to stand up against the million-, nah, billion-dollar Holocaust Industry which could easily out-scream and out-censor him?
I think a big part in the picture is his personality. He was a gentle and kind person, always respectful and willing to help; he gave everyone the benefit of the doubt; he did not judge, but he gently, and often with lots of humor, gave friendly advice. If you met or spoke to him personally, you couldn’t possibly be mad at him or hold any grudges, no matter how much his opinions might differ from yours. He was, in his own way, disarmingly charming. Whenever he appeared in public or was confronted face-to-face by his opponents, this personality shone through and made it difficult to call him names. He simply didn’t fit the prejudice which the mainstream media like to spread about us revisionists.
Was he in it for the money? Actually, the opposite is probably true. He sacrificed his comfortable life in southern California and had to move to Mexico because he couldn’t afford living in the U.S. anymore, and during all his years of revisionist engagement, he struggled to make ends meet. As we revisionists know, there is no money in revisionism, only hardship and ostracism.
Was he faking his fight for censorship just to force his view upon others? Well, already in the 1960s he went to jail for his struggle for free speech when selling Henry Miller’s then-banned Tropic of Cancer in his bookstore. So he has the history to prove that he has always been in it for the mere ideal.
Was he in it for hating the Jews (e.g., Henry Miller)? Bradley’s first wife was Jewish, and in those years living among and socializing with Jews was his daily bread. Later on, that made the more anti-Semitically inclined among his potential supporters suspicious, but the enemies of free speech could not justifiably call him an anti-Semite – although they still tried.
Was he in it for white supremacism? Bradley married an indigenous Mexican, which the more racially inclined among his potential supporters disliked, but his detractors had a hard time calling him a racist.
And so the list goes on. Bradley didn’t fit the mainstream’s clichés, and that’s another reason why he was so successful. People outside the revisionist community, the ones Bradley was most interested in talking to, were willing to listen because of him. They were willing to help because of him. They were willing to change their minds because of him.
Another aspect of his success was his creative chaos. I have always tried to properly organize my work and also my workplace, and having been in Brad’s office for seven months, I eventually couldn’t take it anymore and tried getting things a little bit organized there as well. It didn’t work. Bradley was willing to try, but he would always resort to the way he was used to doing things. To his credit, I must say that it seems like this creative chaos never really impeded the effectiveness of his work. I have never heard people on the outside complaining about resources getting squandered because of a lack of organization. Maybe the truth is that he needed this chaos. His creativity to try new things at an instance’s notice made his operation function and succeed to the degree it could. He didn’t waste time organizing things through. He just did them. Had his operation grown considerably beyond the one or two office helpers he had on occasion, his way of doing things might have faltered, but truth is, things never got out of control. He spent his time not with organizing things through, but always with trying to find new ways of circumventing the walls of silence surrounding revisionism and the struggle for free speech.
Another contributing factor to Bradley’s success, I might even say to his getting involved in revisionism in the first place, was his profound skepticism that there is something like “the truth” or “reality” which we can ever be certain of. I remember sitting in Brad’s office one of those long, agonizing days of waiting for news from the U.S. immigration services. For the first time I started reading and watching the material which the 9/11 Truth Movement had been putting out over the previous years during which I had been incarcerated. I ran into a scientific paper by a chemist on the massive amounts of nano-thermite found in the dust of the collapsed WTC Twin Towers. Up to that point I never fully bought into the theory that 9/11 was an inside job, but being myself a chemist, that analytical result swayed me.
It was a déjà-vu experience, because in 1989 I had had the very same experience when reading about Leuchter’s analytical findings on cyanide residues in the alleged gas chambers of Auschwitz. I got really excited about all this 9/11 stuff and was willing to once more throw myself into the battle. When I told this to Bradley, it took him only a few sentences to prick my balloon of illusions and let out all the hot air. How could I be sure of their findings? How could I be sure that there aren’t other explanations? How could I be sure I could contribute anything to the 9/11 Truth Movement’s struggle which they would value, or vice versa, which revisionists would cherish? Well, having a prominent Holocaust Denier in their midst would probably backfire for the 9/11 Truth Movement big time, I figured, so I changed my mind. We had many discussions where he made me see that I hadn’t considered this or that perspective. He never tried hard to change my mind, because that’s not how Bradley worked. He merely threw in his caveats, his humble opinion, inviting it to be considered. And this was so effective. I can at times be quite opinionated, but Bradley had the means to soften me and open up my mind. He worked like a mind relaxative on people.
Even when it comes to revisionist findings, Bradley had a very skeptical attitude. He was fairly sure that we revisionists were right in general, but when it came to the details, he wasn’t sure. He wasn’t even interested in finding out. The territory was too shifty, too unsteady. New findings would constantly move the goal posts in that game of trying to “hit the truth,” and he wasn’t interested in playing that game. He was interested, ironically, in opposing the institutionalization and enforcement of “Truths” such as the Holocaust in its authorized edition.
Where did his skepticism that “the truth” is knowable come from? He had not studied philosophy in general or epistemology in particular to have familiarized himself with the theories of humanity’s best thinkers as to why we can never be absolutely certain about “the ultimate truth” of anything. I think his approach was rather different, and very personal.
In a recent article he described briefly his humorous exchange he had with a psychiatrist about some of the odd experiences he had throughout his life, some of which he had described in his book A Personal History of Moral Decay. While I stayed with him, he told me several more of these episodes. A favorite story was when one of these days he saw a mouse floating in midair through his office. He knew it couldn’t be true, but he was quite fascinated by the sight. “There’s phenomena, but no symptom,” as his psychiatrist put it. Now, I could put a label on it, but I won’t because I’m not an expert, and I think any label primarily triggers prejudices rather than understanding.
Our brains are miraculous organs. During sleep they create an illusionary world full of at times quite realistic sights, smells, sounds and feelings, called dreams, while during wakefulness they confine themselves to receiving information through our senses and interpreting them as best as they can (which is frequently quite bad, by the way). At least that’s the way it should be. For some of us, that strict separation between sleep’s active illusions and wakefulness’s passive perception of reality doesn’t hold. The brain can create illusions at any time, not merely during sleep. For most of us this rarely ever happens, and if it does, it is so minor that we might not even notice it, or dismiss it as a quirk.
Bradley was different. Throughout his adult life, Bradley’s brain was on rare occasion playing peculiar tricks on him. They never were intrusive or frequent in such a way as to impede his life, but they made him always skeptical about whether his perceptions were real or not. He never trusted his own brain. This showed even in the way he often talked about his own brain doing peculiar things, making him think and do this and that. Bradley didn’t need to study philosophy to know that our brains are incapable of reliable perceiving reality. He knew it because he lived it. And so, when he hit the proverbial brick wall of Holocaustian dogmas claiming to be the incontrovertible and undeniable truth, the inevitable happened.
“How can we be sure?”
We cannot. He could not. And so he set out to tell everyone that it’s wrong to insist that we most certainly know the truth about “the Holocaust,” and that it is wrong to force people to believe in the one and only “truth” about this event. The Holocaust orthodoxy’s dogmatic attitude, backed by powerful lobby groups, by the Industry’s big money, and by almost all governments of the world, the U.N. included, was the extreme opposite of everything his brain told him. So he just couldn’t help it. He had to say it, he had to try to make the world understand that it’s just not right to pretend certainty when there can be no such thing.
Knowing one’s limits, also and especially one’s limit to be able to “know,” is one of the hallmarks of wisdom. Bradley was a wise man. And he was my best friend.
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|Title:||Losing a Wise Friend, Bradley Reed Smith, February 18, 1930 to February 18, 2016|
|First posted on CODOH:||Feb. 20, 2016, 3:46 p.m.|