Thursday, November 12, 2009

Notorious Murderer Wolfgang Werle's Feelings Are Hurt

Where's Waldo? Find the slander in this Wikipedia article.

Come on folks, keep looking.


Turns out, in the New, Improved, Sensitive New Age We Would Never Incinerate So Many Jews It Would Compromise The Air Quality Germany, the delicate sensibilities of convicted murderers are a precious, precious orchid that we must protect.

Read it first in The Register

Attorneys took the action on behalf of Wolfgang Werlé, one of two men to receive a life sentence for the 1990 murder of Walter Sedlmayr. In a letter sent late last month to Wikipedia officials, they didn't dispute their client was found guilty, but they nonetheless demanded Wikipedia's English language biography of the Bavarian star suppress the convicted murder's name because he is considered a private individual under German law.

Werlé's "rehabilitation and his future life outside the prison system is severely impacted by your unwillingness to anonymize any articles dealing with the murder of Mr. Walter Sedlmayr with regard to our client's involvement," they wrote. "As your article deals with a local German public figure (such as the actor Walter Sedlmayr), we expect you are aware that you have to comply with applicable German law."

Apparently the German-language Wikipedia has pussied out and engaged in a little small-scale denial, which if it had been about six million Jews instead of one gay actor, would itself be a crime in the Heimat.

Will Murderer Werle's solicitous solicitors bring suit against the German newspapers next, requiring them to hire an army of Winston Smiths to revise the microfiche archives?

As a blogger who has been drawn into reporting about a notorious criminal case in which insidious revisionism has been a noxious force from the beginning, this hits rather close to home.

If everyone cannot report the name of a convicted felon -- much less the facts of the crime as determined by a court of law -- then no one is shielded from lies and atrocity. From being stabbed in the neck and kidneys and then beaten to death with a hammer, say.

I don't suppose anything can be done for German citizens if the German government decides to shut down the internet in order to help a hammer-murderer get all self-actualized 'n stuff. It would be up to them, whether to, you know, follow orders.

But I certainly hope, as Professor Chaos just noted, that the US Government supports its Constitution -- as protecting ourselves from foreign oppressors is kind of the whole point. The appropriate response to a foreign court attempting to extract money or silence from an American citizen engaged in lawful speech is "Why don't you try to come and get it?"

As for Herr Werle the hammer-murderer and his deep need to buy carpentry tools in privacy -- shame about that Streisand Effect.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Corrosive as this is to the interests of justice, I do have to wonder whether Germany's quasi-censorship of Nazi books and materials (e.g. Mein Kampf) hasn't laid down a certain precedent for this. Not that I'm fond of Nazis or anything, but if you can legally suppress noxious speech of one form, then the next becomes a bit easier. For the most part, our First Amendment in this country has survived surprisingly well, something I'm immensely grateful for.

  3. just give it to the tabloids and let them have a field day with this

  4. Completely agree, Rob. Also I hate Illinois Nazis

    I'm an old school civil libertarian, and yes, a card-carrying member of the ACLU.

    I still firmly believe that the remedy for noxious speech is more speech, and think it is a huge mistake to try to suppress any idea. Just makes the candy more tantalizing to cretins when you do that.

    And the fact that I bald-facedly censored a post you sent to a list I own today has absolutely no bearing on my convictions! Do as I idealize, not as a moderate!

  5. In the case of two murderers: Wolfgang Werle and Manfred Lauber who murdered Bavarian actor Walter Sedlmayr in 1990 and now want the entry for their names to be removed from The unites States version of Wikipedia. German privacy law allows the suppression of a criminal’s name in news accounts once he has paid his debt to society. However in the United States First Amendment Rights to free speech protect San Francisco based Wikipedia to publish their names and because the article is not defamatory but only speaks of the true facts of the case Wikipedia should not have to remove the names of two convicted felons. Also, the Constitution of the United States is the “supreme law of the land” and it should prevail over any other laws including foreign laws. At stake is the integrity of history itself. If all publications have to abide by the censorship laws of every country just because they are accessible over the global network, then the United States has no longer jurisdiction in its own land.

  6. Just an FYI, this post is getting a LOT of hits from German Google searches, and also a lot of other visitors from Germany and Austria.

    Why a lil' ol' SAR and dog and farming blogging in Appalachia, rather than bigger news sites, I dunno.

    I'm disappointed that American mainstream media have not picked up on this much.

  7. Holy Crap Batman!

    Google "Wolfgang Werle," and today at least, the very first of 736,000 hits is "Raised by Wolves."


    I do not understand how teh Googles works. I truly don't.

  8. You used "Wolfgang Werle" in the title of your blog piece. Thus, your blog now is "interesting" to teh Googles for those keywords, because it shows up in the <title> tag, and in an <h3> tag. Both are considered high-value tags, as is the fact that you appear to be a human operating a blog. (I know a little bit about this sort of thing thanks to my day job.)


I've enabled the comments for all users; if you are posting as "anonymous" you MUST sign your comment. Anonymous unsigned comments will be deleted. Trolls, spammers, and litigants will be shot.