Ralph Kästner: An overlooked Holocaust-related political prisoner

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Sannhet
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Ralph Kästner: An overlooked Holocaust-related political prisoner

Postby Sannhet » 3 days 14 hours ago (Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:04 am)

The story of a political prisoner:

_______________________________

Ralph Kästner
Political Prisoner

Ralph Kästner - drawing.png
Ralph Kästner - drawing.png (17.11 KiB) Viewed 207 times

(name sometimes appears as Ralf Kästner; his legal name appears to be the spelling with a 'ph')

_______________________________

Summary of the case

Ralph Kästner entered Freiburg prison in October 2019, to serve a 2.5-year sentence for administering a news aggregator website, Altermedia, which contained politically banned material including Holocaust Denial content and regular support for Holocaust Dissidents. Many will remember Altermedia. It is now gone.

The process of Ralph's prosecution began suddenly with a police raid in January 2016. Trial lost; appeals failed. He sits in prison today. If he serves his full term, he will be released in spring 2022, a net disruption to the prime of his life, from the raid to his release, of over six years, with more disruptions thereafter because he will be under active surveillance and I assume a kind of political probation, perhaps subject to a ban on political activity for a period of years.

Personal Bio

Ralph Kästner was born 1988 in the Schwarzwald area and raised there. He was politically interested and active as of the mid-2000s.

In the 2000s, despite the restrictions on free speech in Germany, a number of websites serving German and German-speaking audiences went online which would have been illegal to host in Germany itself. They were hosted and nominally administered in the US with its First Amendment protections. One of these, and among the most successful, was Altermedia. Altermedia included material including both main articles and comments, of a Holocaust Revisionist nature and it was clear that the administrators of Altermedia-Deutschland were disbelievers in the Holocaust. It is with Altermedia that Ralph Kästner's adult life-arc revolves. It is why he sits in prison as of this writing. I would propose he is another of the political prisoners related fairly directly to Holocaust Revisionism.

Political background of the case: The crisis year of 2015

In the early and mid 2010s, Kästner served as an administrator of the Altermedia-Deutschland site (formerly at Altermedia.de, since banned and erased from the Internet; searches at CODOH-Forum show references to Altermedia regularly through late 2015).

In 2015, it appears that a major political investigation was ordered against Altermedia. Many will recall there was a kind of political crisis ongoing in Germany in late 2015 and 2016, starting with a late August 2015 decision (later revealed to be unilateral, even unconsulted with cabinet or etc.) to announce that all Mideast refugees were welcome in Germany and would be given asylum, "without limit" (keine Obergrenze were Kanzerlin Markel's precise words). This act triggered the sudden breakthrough by the AfD, the most well-known story of the 2010s in Bundesrepublik politics; the first real, sustained breakthrough by a party seen as "to the Right" of the CDU since 1945. It's only natural that the "political police" would take counter-measures against forces of the Right at this time.

Ralph Kästner was not involved with the AfD but with another dissident political party called DIE RECHTE (a pun that means "rights," as in legal rights, and "the Right" in a political sense). This party ran locally and received thousands of votes; it received some 25,000 votes in the EU-Parliament election of 2019. Its base, I believe it's fair to say, are young men who are consciously looking to push the boundaries of discourse.

Ralph-Kästner-politischer-Gefangener-in-der-BRD.jpg

Above is a photograph of Ralph Kästner under a banner for the minor political party he was involved with. Below is is Ralph Kästner at a protest against the "Aslyflut" (Asyl, aslyum[-seekers]; Flut, flood) in 2015?, from the time before he was raided:

Ralph Kästner - Asylflut Protest.jpeg
Ralph Kästner - Asylflut Protest.jpeg (9.92 KiB) Viewed 207 times

That is Ralph at the center. The sign says "Asylflut Stoppen."

(pictures from https://politische-gefangene.de/ and https://freiheit-fuer-ralph.info/)

____________________

The raid and prosecution process, 2016 to 2019

After some years of administering the news website Altermedia-Deutschland, the German government moved to crack down. An investigation led to Ralph Kästner, who their investigation identified as the administrator. The long-running attempt to host the website in the US (and for a time, Russia) to skirt the speech laws in Germany was at an end. I don't know the legal process by which they did this, but there it was. The January 2016 raid led to an immediate ban on the website and to the threat of charges to any German nationals involved, but the foremost to the man they claimed was the "administrator," Ralph Kästner.

Ralph's charge became „Bildung einer kriminellen Vereinigung“ (formation of a criminal association). The process begun, the predictable conviction came in February 2018. Appeals were ongoing in 2018 and 2019. With the final appeal predictably failing, Ralph Kästner, whose political avocation was already greatly disrupted by this process and whose reputation was destroyed (called a Neo-Nazi, etc.), was arrested and brought to prison to begin his sentence. That brings the story up to the present.

There was a February 2018 Spiegel article about the case, which called Altermedia a "Hetzportal" (Hetze means agitation, as in political agitation; a possible functional translation of the quasi-legal English term "hate speech" is Hetzpropaganda). The Spiegel article also specifies one of the crimes of Altermedia as having Denied the Holocaust (der Holocaust geleugnet). Several other associated were given criminal convictions without prison time and placed on probation (Bewährungsstrafen).

____________________

Thoughts on the low-profile and unknown Holocaust Denial prosecutions and the Kästner case

There are many more prosecutions that relate, directly or indirectly, to Holocaust Revisionism than we ever learn of. An old Bradley Smith Report from maybe 2008 or so cited an obscure German government report that said there had been some tens of thousands criminal processes under the law that covers political crimes including Holocaust Denial, since its introduction; some large share of these have at least some Holocaust Denial component to them. Only a few, of course, end up with actual prison terms served. The demonstration effect works well enough if you jail the top figures. Mass jailings are unnecessary. (To my knowledge, the US Embassy has never filed any complaints about this issued a diplomatic protest about these ongoing political prosecutions.)

One wonders (I have), who are these other tens of thousands of cases? Many end up with dropped charges, but the effect of intimidating the victims is real enough. The large majority of these cases are never publicized at all; many are minorly publicized. Only a small sliver are those high profile figures like the 90-year-old political prisoner Ursula Haverbeck, or the colorful longtime dissident Horst Mahler, or the provocative anti-Holocaust lawyer Sylvia Stolz who gives animated speeches about how the Holocaust story is a fraud, who openly dares the government to jail her for it. Other obviously high-profile cases, of the 1990s to present, include the imprisonment of scholars outright, like Germar Rudolf, and those involved at fairly close-range with anti-Holocaust scholarship, such as Ernst Zundel. There are many well-known names on that list. But there are many more.

This Ralph Kästner case is one of the relatively lower-profile cases that I have learned about. A search through CODOH-Forum archives shows this man's name has never appeared here, so I think it worth the time.

There is no Holocaust Revisionist Rights group to publicize these cases. (There was once a "Verein zur Rehabilitierung der wegen Bestreitens des Holocaust Verfolgten" [Association for the Rehabilitation of those Persecuted for Disputing the Holocaust], formed in 2003 and banned in 2008.) CODOH, I suppose, is the closest the world has right now to such a group, now that IHR has long abandoned its own founding mission. If DenierBud ever gets control of the IHR, maybe that can change.

There appears to be almost no international awareness of the Ralph Kästner case, which is a shame. Let this be a little flag in the Internet sands for him.

_______________________

Websites:

- Freiheit-fuer-Ralph.info (Freedom for Ralph)

- Politische-Gefangene.de (Political Prisoners dot DE)

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Re: Ralph Kästner: An overlooked Holocaust-related political prisoner

Postby Lamprecht » 3 days 13 hours ago (Fri Jul 31, 2020 11:42 am)

This Ralph Kästner case is one of the relatively lower-profile cases that I have learned about. A search through CODOH-Forum archives shows this man's name has never appeared here, so I think it worth the time.

Possibly he can be added to the list, or mentioned in the thread

Official list of Revisionist scholars persecuted / imprisoned for questioning the "Holocaust"
viewtopic.php?t=12642

Did he write any revisionist articles, or just share things that were written by others? This is not an accusatory question, I understand the value of a "news aggregator" can easily be just as great or even more so than the individual authors of the articles.
"There is a principal which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance -- that principal is contempt prior to investigation."
-- Herbert Spencer

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Re: Ralph Kästner: An overlooked Holocaust-related political prisoner

Postby stinky » 2 days 17 hours ago (Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:50 am)

Another good post Sannhet.
:thumbup:
It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled

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Re: Ralph Kästner: An overlooked Holocaust-related political prisoner

Postby Sannhet » 2 days 9 hours ago (Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:20 pm)

Lamprecht wrote:Did he write any revisionist articles, or just share things that were written by others? This is not an accusatory question, I understand the value of a "news aggregator" can easily be just as great or even more so than the individual authors of the articles.

As far as I know, the original entries at Altermedia were anonymous and unattributed. By design it was unclear who wrote what, given they knew they were in a legal gray zone. There was at-least-implicitly Revisionist content on a regular basis and open references to major Revisionist scholars/scholarship).

Something else of interest I've just discovered

The police raid against Altermedia occurred at pre-dawn Wednesday January 27, 2016. There were at least two twitter accounts apparently tied to admin computers (which were all seized), possibly to now-political-prisoner Ralph Kaestner's own. They were:

https://twitter.com/AltermediaD
and
https://twitter.com/AltermediaDE

Neither of these accounts ever 'engaged' with Twitter as a platform and seem to have had an auto-repost mechanism in place (just as the former @CODOHForum apparently once did, as you discovered). The account's last-ever tweet was on the evening of Jan. 26, Germany time:

Two of the final tweets from this account, both dated Jan. 25th 2016, were Revisionist in nature:

Jan 25, 2016
Sag die Wahrheit – und hol dich der Teufel!: Dies ist mein Vorwort zur 2. Auflage des Buches Holocaust-Revisio... [dead link]
@AltermediaD
·
Jan 25, 2016
Prof. Robert Faurisson unsere besten Wünsche zu seinem 87. Geburtstag: Robert FAURISSON - Der totale Sieg der.. [dead link]

Lots more mentions of the Holocaust from this account:

https://twitter.com/search?q=holocaust%20(from%3Aaltermediade)&src=typed_query&f=live

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Re: Ralph Kästner: An overlooked Holocaust-related political prisoner

Postby Sannhet » 2 days 8 hours ago (Sat Aug 01, 2020 4:38 pm)

By the way, Altermedia had been in the crosshairs of the political-police for years. Holocaust Denial was a major reason, at least of how they were able to formally/legally target them.

A former editor-in-chief was Axel Möller. Negative public attention began for him in 2007; prosecutions were inevitable, given the way German politics works, and netted him 3.5 years in prison in addition the headache of prolonged trials and legal fees. He served his prison time from late 2011 to mid 2015. For running a news website and various political crimes including Denying the Holocaust.

In the five years since former Altermedia editor-in-chief Möller release from prison, it seems he's kept a low profile. Political-suppression mission accomplished. There are lots of hits for Alex Möller on CODOH-Forum but none since late 2015.

Ralph Kaestner will have been one of those who took over at Altermedia after Möller was forced out by government intervention and prison.

Former Altermedia editor Möller (born the same year as Germar Rudolf, it so happens -- 1964) was of East German origin. He had been active in politics since 1992 until his trial and imprisonment in 2011. At first he joined the minor Deutsche Volksunion (DVU), a party that made gains in the 1990s but failed the break through in a sustained way as the AfD did in the late 2010s.

Germar Rudolf claims to have had some interest in the platform of the then-rising Repulikaner party in Germany in the early 1990s. The Republikaner party was similar to the DVU and I believe at times they collaborated (agreed not to contest the same elections to not split the vote). By Rudolf's telling, the first time he ever heard a real person express doubt about the Holocaust was someone in a Republikaner circle in 1989. Möller for his part was still behind the metaphorical 'wall' in 1989, being an East German. By the time politics opened up in early 1990, Möller may have been around similar circles before joining the DVU in '92. He probably spent his entire political life knowing the Holocaust was untrue, which no doubt informed his editorship of the dissident news-site Altermedia (r.i.p.).

Altermedia had a sterling reputation in some German circles in its heyday specifically because Möller was such a skilled writer, writing some mix of poetry and news-commentary, employing the full flourish of the German language. This was a delight to read and brought the tens of thousands of regulars back to Altermedia and hundreds of thousands of occasional reader back again and again. Any given post there would get hundreds of comments in those days. It's a shame the entire archive were ordered scrubbed by the German government.

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Re: Ralph Kästner: An overlooked Holocaust-related political prisoner

Postby Sannhet » 2 days 5 hours ago (Sat Aug 01, 2020 7:45 pm)

Sannhet wrote:The police raid against Altermedia occurred at pre-dawn Wednesday January 27, 2016. [After which Altermedia was shut down by order of government and scrubbed from the Internet.]

I didn't notice this at first but:

January 27 is Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Coincidence?


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