Anne McLellan   Letter 03   19-Dec-1997   A bomb exploded at his doorstep
The present Letter 3 to Anne McLellan makes frequent reference to three articles by Robert Gillette which were published in the Los Angeles Times:
@  27-Apr-1986  Did Soviets manufacture evidence?
@  27-Apr-1986  Impossible to treat them worse
@  28-Apr-1986  The main witness was a joke

December 19, 1997

The Honourable Anne McLellan, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Room 360, Justice Building
239 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H8

E-mail: [email protected]

Dear Ms. McLellan:

Just what expertise is it that Neal Sher — recently hired by your government — will be sharing with Canadian Nazi hunters?  One would expect that the most relevant expertise would be expertise in Canadian law, and yet that does not seem to be a plausible answer, as Neal Sher is an American.

Ottawa Editor David Vienneau (Toronto Star, Dec 8/97) quotes Sher as saying that his Nazi hunting relies on "imaginative law enforcement techniques, aggressive tactics and a fire in the belly," which falls short of being informative.  The Vancouver Sun (Dec 13/97) was able to pin Sher down even less precisely: "Neither Sher nor McLellan explained the exact nature of his role or how much time he'll spend in Canada."

However, a series of three articles by Robert Gillette in the Los Angeles Times (August 27 and 28, 1986 — a copy is enclosed) does suggest a more concrete answer to this question, and that answer is not one that is flattering to Mr. Sher.  The answer suggested by Robert Gillette is that Mr. Sher has built a career upon trusting evidence that others judge to be untrustworthy.  From this emerges the hypothesis that the methodology that Mr. Sher hopes to sell to Canadian prosecutors is the habit of relying on the unreliable.

Any reader of the Gillette articles might come away with the following questions to which Mr. Sher might owe Canadians an answer:

(1) Will Mr. Sher tell Canadians why the 1980 Soviet-American agreement was oral and why its terms were kept secret? The 1980 agreement that the Soviet Union would provide the United States with war-crimes evidence was never written down:

But there was to be no formal written agreement, only an oral understanding, making this a unique arrangement between the two superpowers at a time when relations in every other field were rapidly deteriorating.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, April 27, 1986, p. 1)

The question that arises is why this international agreement should differ from all others in never being put to paper?  What is it that the average American might disapprove of in this agreement that he or she should be  denied knowledge of it?  And now that Canada seems about to embark on the same course of trusting Soviet data — if Mr. Sher is to have his way — do not Canadians have a right to ask about the nature of the Soviet-American agreement whose precedent they seem about to follow?

(2) Will Mr. Sher tell Canadians what the Soviets got out of the 1980 agreement? The 1980 agreement was reached at a time of heightened tension between the United States and the Soviet Union which resulted from the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.  Gillette speaks of the United States "angrily imposing economic and diplomatic sanctions."  Indeed, the United States led the boycott by 54 nations and territories of the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow, which was to the Soviet Union both a slap in the face and an economic loss; to which the Soviet Union responded by leading a boycott by 15 nations of the 1984 Summer Games in Los Angeles.  If while suffering such indignities and setbacks the Soviet Union nevertheless agreed to cooperate with the United States in any area, it would not have been from good will, but from bad will which had been overridden by self-interest.  And the Soviets did agree to cooperate, and to the surprise of U.S. Justice Department representatives, demonstrated that their cooperation was prompted by internal motives and so did not need to be purchased or bartered: "To the Justice Department's surprise, the Soviets asked nothing in return for supplying the evidence the Americans wanted" (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, April 27/86, p. 1).

Therefore, a highly pertinent question is what Soviet interest was being served by providing the United States with evidence against emigres living in the United States?  The answer, of course, might be that:

In the case of accused American war criminals, the critics believe, the Soviet aim is not only to bring a small number of bona fide murderers to justice but to tar traditionally anti-communist emigre communities in the United States as broadly as possible with the same brush.  The Soviets, the critics say, want to stir dissension among emigre groups and to blacken them in the eyes of Soviet citizens.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, April 27, 1986, p. 30)

(3) Will Mr. Sher tell Canadians his justification for ignoring each of the many reasons for distrusting Soviet evidence? Why is it that the U.S. Nazi-hunting arm — the OSI (Office of Special Investigations) — was not deterred from relying on Soviet evidence by indications that this evidence was biased or coached or coerced?  Specifically, among the indications of the unreliability of Soviet evidence were:

(i) Soviet legal system unreliable.  The Soviet legal system has demonstrated itself to be a robotic arm of the Soviet dictatorship and propaganda machine, and to be unacquainted with the concept of due process:

It would be, as [OSI head] Ryan observed, a "wildly improbable marriage" between the judicial authorities of a democracy and those of a "totalitarian regime," who evinced "no hint that they understood what we were talking about" when the Americans tried to explain the basic concepts of due process that Westerners consider essential to a fair trial."  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, April 27, 1986, p. 1)

They [American lawyers and judges] note, for example, the Soviet Union's long history of bending justice and inventing evidence to suit its political aims, from the theatrical show trials of old Bolsheviks in the 1930s to the trials of Anatoly Shcharansky and other human rights activists in the 1970s and 1980s.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 27/86, p. 30)

(ii) Heavy reliance on eyewitness testimony.  Although on the question of the accused's membership in various police or military units Soviet evidence may have been documentary, on the more important question of participation in war crimes, the evidence tended to rely almost exclusively on easily-fabricated eyewitness accounts.

(iii) Selection of eyewitnesses entirely in the hands of the Soviets.  It would appear that American investigators were not allowed to conduct their own search for witnesses, but instead were given access only to those eyewitnesses supplied by the Soviets.

(iv) Soviet witnesses not allowed to come to the U.S.  Up to the time of the Gillette articles, the Soviet witnesses had never been allowed to leave the Soviet Union to testify in the United States.

No Soviet witness in a war crimes case has yet appeared in an American court, although some have traveled to West Germany to testify in other cases.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 27/86, p. 30)

(v) Atmosphere during cross examination is coercive.  The atmosphere during American cross-examination of Soviet witnesses is conveyed by such facts as that the Soviet representatives might refer to the defendant as "the Nazi war criminal" (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 27/86, p. 31), and to his American defense attorney as "the private advocate of the Nazi murderer" (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 28/97, p. 7).  Other characteristics of these cross-examinations conducted on Soviet territory leave the impression that they are manipulated and coerced:

The Soviets strictly control the American's access to witnesses.

Their testimony is videotaped for use in American courts.  U.S. defense lawyers have the right to cross-examine the witnesses, and OSI will even pay the lawyers' travel expenses to the Soviet Union.  But, in all cases, Soviet prosecutors supervise the taking of depositions, frequently seek to restrict cross-examinations and often urge the witnesses to adhere to written summaries or "protocols" of their earlier interrogations by the KGB.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 27/86, p. 30)

Not only did the witness testify in an intimidating atmosphere, the judge [Debevoise] said, but OSI attorneys contributed to this atmosphere by what he called their "extreme deference" to the presiding Soviet prosecutor, "who was nothing more than their partner in the prosecution of this case."  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 27/86, p. 32)

In no case were American investigators (representing either the prosecution or the defense) allowed access to a witness who had not been first interrogated by the KGB.

(vi) Soviet witnesses are immune to charges of perjury.  Soviet witnesses are aware that they will be punished if they deviate from the Soviet line, but that no investigation of the facts will ever be permitted, so that their statements will never be proven wrong.  For these Soviet witnesses, therefore, no mechanism exists for either detecting or punishing perjury:

[Philadelphia trial lawyer John Rogers] Carroll said his experience in two evidentiary hearings in the Soviet Union in 1981 and 1983 convinced him that cross-examination of witnesses under Soviet controls "has little effect on someone who knows that all he has to do is stick to his story and he won't get into trouble."

"He (a witness) knows I can't go into his story, investigate the details," Carroll said.  "He won't be prosecuted for perjury.  He knows that none of the normal sanctions (against false of misleading testimony) apply here."  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 27/86, pp. 30-31)

(vii) Soviet archives are for KGB use only, and so off limits to Westerners.  American investigators were never allowed to examine the Soviet archives, but were only handed materials selected by Soviet authorities from these archives.  Thus, inculpatory material provided by the Soviets could not be balanced by exculpatory material that might have existed in the archives:

The Soviets have refused to give OSI prosecutors or defense attorneys access to wartime archives to search for other evidence that might bear on a defendant's guilt or innocence.  Lawyers, and some federal courts, have objected that these restrictions make it almost impossible to guarantee a defendant's due process right to a meaningful defense.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 27/86, p. 30)

(viii) The more verifiable Polish evidence is less often relied upon than the less verifiable Soviet evidence.  Polish policy toward war crimes evidence contrasted with Soviet policy — unlike Soviet witnesses, Polish witnesses were allowed to go to the U.S. to testify, and U.S. investigators were given access to the Polish archives.  At the same time, Poland was the locus of the most serious Holocaust crimes of World War II.  One would expect, then, that Polish evidence would have been more frequently used by the OSI than Soviet evidence.  However, exactly the opposite proved to be the case:

Soviet evidence has played a major role in these cases, often with little corroborating evidence from other sources.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 27/86, p. 30)

However, the OSI's cases have led the agency to depend far more heavily on Soviet evidence than on Polish.  It has taken testimony for instance, from fewer than half a dozen Polish witnesses since 1980, but in the same period has interviewed more than 100 Soviet witnesses.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 27/86, p. 30)

(ix) Direct testimony that Soviet evidence is tainted.  Gillette cites three sources testifying that Soviet evidence is manipulated and coerced:

(a) Frederick Neznansky.

[Judge] Debevoise gave particular weight to testimony by a former Soviet prosecutor, now living in the United States, who explained how witnesses are commonly manipulated in Soviet courts.

The former prosecutor, Frederick Neznansky, acknowledged that many witnesses are truthful and that many investigations are honestly conducted.  But he said that when the evidence fails to support the desired result, there is intense pressure from prosecutors and judges alike to remold it.

"The way it's explained to a witness is often very lofty," Neznansky said.  "The accused is a criminal against the Communist Party, against the state, and is probably a parasite and an enemy of the people.  So it is the civic duty of the witness to testify in the appropriate way."  ...

Failing this, he said, "sometimes they (witnesses) are threatened.  Not in a serious way, but people could be told they will be fired (from their jobs) if their testimony is not appropriate."  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 27/96, p. 32)

(b) Imants Lesinskis.

Similarly, a former officer in the Latvian KGB who defected to the United States in 1978, Imants Lesinskis, said he found that witnesses in war crimes cases with which he dealt as a propaganda officer were often totally compliant.

"They had been in Soviet (labor) camps for many years and they were afraid to go back.  So if you asked them the right questions, they confirmed all," Lesinskis said.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr, 27/86, p. 32)

(c) Unidentified Soviet official.

The day after [Philadelphia trial lawyer John Rogers] Carroll left, however, a Soviet official involved in the hearing approached an American diplomat who was serving as a liaison between the team from the Office of Special Investigations and local authorities.

Speaking privately and with some emotion, one source said, the official disclosed that the five witnesses had not been brought to Cherkassy the day before the hearing began, as the Americans had been told, but had been confined in the town for well over a week of intensive coaching and rehearsals of their testimony.

Tailoring the Testimony

This source, who was fully informed of the incident that summer, said the official was unable to specify to what extent their testimony was actually perjured — that is, false or misleading.  But the official made it clear that the Soviet aim in drilling the witnesses on their stories was to tailor them to the needs of the American prosecutors, making the testimony as incriminating as possible.

It was in this context that the official asked in disbelief how the Americans could allow themselves to be "taken in" by what was, in fact, a staged performance.

"Don't you people know that we remember what we are told to remember, that we say what we are told to say?" the informant was reported to have said.  He reportedly went on to describe Moscow's purpose in essentially the same political terms used by OSI's critics in the United States.

"This is the way the (Soviet) regime tries to legitimize itself in the eyes of Ukrainians, by discrediting the emigres," the official was quoted as saying.

The U.S. Embassy in Moscow promptly reported the incident to the Justice Department.  Several weeks later, the American diplomat was flown to Finland, where representatives of the Office of Special Investigations — among them the current director, Sher — spent about 90 minutes debriefing him in the security of the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki.

In an interview with The Times in January in which this incident was not mentioned, Sher said there was no evidence that the Soviets have ever dictated how witnesses were to testify to OSI attorneys or in any similar war crimes cases.

"There is no indication that the Soviets have said (to witnesses), ‘You have to say this or you have to say that,'" Sher said.  He added that if at any time the KGB had "spoon-fed a witness," then this "would show up on cross-examination.  ...  Our system provides the means to detect it."

Asked in a more recent interview how he reconciled this with the Soviet official's statement in Cherkassy, Sher acknowledged that he had debriefed the American diplomat in whom the Soviet official had confided but said the OSI concluded the incident had no significance.

"We looked at it very carefully," Sher said.  "It was clear to us that there was no hard evidence about anything, that these witnesses were not compromised."

He said that he did not recall any reference to the coaching of witnesses.  "It was clear to us that what was said was an offhand remark, nothing hard to it, a comment by someone who may have been disgruntled," he said.

However, a U.S. diplomat who served in Moscow and was familiar with the incident said this characterization was not correct.  He said that although any Soviet official who would dare to make such a disclosure would be disgruntled almost by definition, this did not impugn the accuracy of remarks that seemed carefully considered, informed and sincere.

"The official's point, the diplomat said, "was to let us know we were being misled."

Out of Court Settlement

Sher said the case was later settled out of court not because of concern about compromised testimony but out of consideration for the defendant's poor health.

Carroll, the defense attorney in the case, said he was never told about the incident, although it would have substantially affected his handling of the case.  "As for telling me anything about the coaching of witnesses — never," Carroll said in a telephone conversation.  "Why would they?  I was the other side."

He said the case lay dormant on the docket of U.S. District Judge E. Mac Troutman of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for more that two years, from 1983 until last October.  Then Troutman, impatient with the Justice Department's lack of action, prodded the Office of Special Investigations to settle it out of court.  To his amazement, Carroll said, OSI agreed to settle without trial, but offered no plausible reason for its action.

"I keep close track of these things, but this was one of only two cases I had ever heard of in which they agreed to settle," he said.  "They said they did it out of consideration for the guy's health, but that's patently false.  They never do anything for anyone's health."

He noted that the Justice Department deported 86-year-old Adrija Artukovic to Yugoslavia last December on a stretcher to stand trial on charges of directing the execution of thousands of civilians during World War II.

Other attorneys have complained that OSI continued prosecuting two other suspected war criminals even thought they were hospitalized with terminal cancer and closed the cases only on receipt of death certificates and photographs of the bodies.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 28/97, p. 7)

(4) Will Mr. Sher give Canadians a stronger justification for using Soviet evidence than he has been able to give in the past?

Neal Sher's defense of his use of Soviet evidence has been inept, one might say almost childishly naive:

"As a practical matter, it is difficult to conceive of even the KGB — or anyone else for that matter — fabricating document after document and suborning perjury from witness after witness in every one of OSI's cases," the agency's current director, Neil M. Sher, said.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 27/86, p. 30)

In the above quote, we see Neal Sher putting forward the argument that some of the Soviet evidence that he relies upon in his prosecutions is likely to be valid.  From Neal Sher's point of view, it would seem, it is enough that as some of his Soviet evidence must be valid, then some of those whom he denaturalizes and deports must have been guilty.  This is a standard of evidentiary quality that Canadian prosecutors might shy away from importing into Canada.

Another of Sher's statements, which has already been quoted further above, again reflects his naivete:

He [Sher] added that if at any time the KGB had "spoon-fed a witness," then this "would show up on cross-examination.  ...  Our system provides the means to detect it."  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 28/97, p. 7)

But we have already seen above that the circumstances of the cross examination of a Soviet witness are such as to make it next to impossible to discredit him.  It is not, in fact, "our system" that is being implemented in the cross-examination of a Soviet witness on Soviet territory — it is an attempt to blend our system with the Soviet system.

The OSI, under Sher's direction, has made other attempts to justify its use of Soviet evidence, and all of these justifications ranged from naive to disingenuous.  In the passage below, for example, Neal Sher's OSI argues that Soviet fraud is inconceivable first because it is beyond the means of the Soviets to perpetrate it, second because it would inevitably be detected by the Americans, and third because the possibility of getting caught would make it "illogical" for the Soviets to practice it.  Any adult who has spent some of his time on planet earth in recent years should be able to see that offering such justifications as the three above for trusting Soviet evidence demonstrates appalling naivete.  Here is a description of the Neal Sher OSI justification — it is in response to District Judge Dickinson R. Debevoise rebuking "the OSI for failing to ensure that Soviet witnesses in the case had not been coerced" (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 27/97, p. 30).

"While the Soviet Union may act with impunity in legal proceedings confined to its own borders, it cannot do so in cases under the scrutiny of foreign judges, lawyers and witnesses."

Successful fraud by the Soviet Union in these matters, the OSI argued in its appeal, "is beyond its capabilities" and in any case would be "inevitably doomed to exposure."

Asked in an interview whether this was not, in effect, an assertion of infallibility on the part of the American judicial system, Sher said it was not.  "It is just an assertion of complete faith in the ability of our courts to ascertain the truth," Sher said.

Illogical Premise

He added that it would be illogical for the Soviets to risk destroying the credibility of all the evidence they supplied by tampering with some of it for propaganda purposes.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 27/86, p. 30)

Perhaps the most frequent defense of Soviet evidence, as well as the most fatuous, is the following:

In public statements, both the Office of Special Investigations and Jewish organizations have stressed the lack of concrete proof that the Soviets have actually falsified evidence in war crimes cases.

In its report last June, for example, the Anti-Defamation League said, in a passage underlined for emphasis: "For all their claims and charges, the emigre activists have been unable to document a single instance, over the past 40 years, of forged evidence or perjured testimony being obtained from the Soviet Union for use in Western trials of accused Nazi war criminals."  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 28/86, p. 6)

The above defense, however, evades the point that OSI critics are making — that the Soviets do not give free access to their witnesses and do not open their archives, so for these reasons the evidence must be regarded as undependable, and for these very same reasons it is impossible to prove that it is undependable.

Also, since 1986, the trial of John Demjanjuk — which relied on a Soviet-supplied ID card which purportedly placed John Demjanjuk at the Trawniki SS training camp — was judged by several prominent documents examiners to be a forgery, among these the renowned American authority, William J. Flynn.  One may note, incidentally, that the defense was never allowed to subject this ID card to laboratory testing, and that to this day the card has never been tested by any impartial laboratory.  Among the mysteries of this card is that it is known that Soviet ink was used to write something on the back of the photo before it was glued to the ID card, but the Soviets would not allow anyone to detach the card to see what the Soviet writing said.  Of course there is a very big problem with explaining how it is that a Nazi ID card has Soviet writing sandwiched in between the photo and the card itself.  Here is a golden opportunity for the Soviets to demonstrate that this Trawniki ID card is authentic — all they have to do is to hand it over to a Western forensic laboratory for examination.  But they do not.  The card is kept in Moscow.  If the inheritors of the Soviet justice system have indeed abandoned the Soviet tradition of dirty tricks, then why is this card still being protected from scrutiny?

In short, Neal Sher's OSI seems unable to come to grips with, and certainly not to refute, the criticism put forward by others:

The agency's [OSI's] critics, on the other hand, argue that it fails to recognize the ease with which Soviet witnesses can be manipulated, perhaps because excessive zeal has clouded its judgment.

"The Soviets have everything they need — the motive, the experience, the control — to create staged cases," John Rogers Carroll, a Philadelphia trial lawyer, said in a recent interview.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 27/86, p. 30)

(5) Will Mr. Sher reassure Canadians that the OSI habit of tampering with already-suspect Soviet evidence will not be encouraged in Canada?  The suppression and destruction of exculpatory evidence was a tactic employed by the OSI to devastating effect in the denaturalization of John Demjanjuk and his extradition to Israel.  Can Mr. Sher reassure Canadians that in cases where the suppression or destruction of exculpatory evidence is clearly illegal, he will refrain from doing so, or from encouraging Canadian prosecutors to do so?

(6) Will Mr. Sher tell Canadians why they should adopt OSI methods today, when they have rejected them in the past? Is Neal Sher bringing Canada something new, or something that Canadians have long ago considered and rejected and — Neal Sher hopes — forgotten that they have considered and rejected?  Referring precisely to the Neal Sher reliance on Soviet data, we find Canada rejecting OSI methodology as far back as 1986:

In Canada, where a royal commission has spent more than a year determining whether, or how, to conduct its own investigation of suspected war criminals, misgivings about the use of Soviet evidence are shared by some members of Parliament.

"The American approach is totally inadequate," Andrew Witer, the chairman of a newly formed parliamentary committee on human rights, said in a recent interview.  At a minimum, Witer said, Soviet witnesses should be interviewed in a "non-prejudicial" setting such as an embassy, out from under the gaze of a Soviet prosecutor.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 27/86, p. 30)

(7) Will Mr. Sher tell Canadians how today's FSU justice is appreciably better than yesterday's USSR justice?

But, it might be argued, there is no more Soviet Union.  The totalitarian Soviet Union has been broken up into democratic countries.  Therefore, the evidence we get from the FSU today will be better than the evidence we got from the USSR yesterday.

The answer that springs to mind, and that Mr. Sher should be invited to comment on, is that the old nomenklatura that formerly ruled the USSR is still in place and today rules the FSU.  More specifically, the personnel who administered yesterday's USSR justice are the personnel who administer today's FSU justice.  Of all the institutions of the former Soviet union, it is those which administer justice that have undergone the least change since independence.  Therefore, if Soviet evidence was unreliable, FSU evidence must be considered to be unreliable as well — that is the possibility that Mr. Sher should refute for Canadians before they replace their Canadian justice with his OSI justice.

(8) Is Mr. Sher able to assure Canadians that when they reject his OSI justice, they will not be subjected to JDL justice? The great harm that your invitation to Neal Sher may bring is to encourage Jewish groups to continue to place higher value on the outcomes that they wish to see from war crimes proceedings than on the observance of due process.  The danger is that they will attempt to dictate to Canada a minimum quota on war crimes extraditions no matter what methods are used to meet that quota.  Instead of allowing Canada to take pride in the lower extradition rate that results from allowing its prosecutors to eschew unreliable evidence, they may prefer to pressure these same prosecutors to follow the American model of relaxing ethical standards.

But there is an even worse scenario.  That worse scenario is that Neal Sher's presence here in Canada may serve to provoke the passions of Jewish groups not only into a blind indignation but also into threats of violence, and ultimately into violence itself.  Such an expectation is not unreasonable in view of events that have taken place in the United States.  Lawyers who represent the accused may expect to be subjected to threats:

Like several others, he [a Midwestern attorney who asked that his name not be used] said his law firm had received anonymous threats after it had defended an accused war criminal.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 27/86, p. 32)

And accused persons who are acquitted may expect to be subjected to bombs.  The Gillette articles mention three bomb blasts leading to the killing of two individuals acquitted by the courts and the wounding of a passer-by in the third case.

For example, there was the case of Tscherim Soobzokov:

The controversy took a violent turn last year, with twin bomb attacks — one of them fatal — on two former Soviet refugees who had been cleared of war crimes charges.  A spokesman for the FBI in Washington, Lane Bonner, said the bureau is continuing an intensive investigation into the two bombings and believes that the militant Jewish Defense League may have been responsible.

Last Aug. 15, Tscherim Soobzokov, 67, whom the Office of Special Investigations had sought unsuccessfully to deport, was lured out of his home in Paterson, N.J., at 4:30 a.m. by a ruse — a fire set in his car — and suffered massive injuries to his lower body as a bomb exploded at his doorstep.  His wife, daughter, 4-year-old grandson and a neighbor were also injured.

Accused by the Office of Special Investigations of having served in the German Waffen SS, the combat arm of Hitler's elite security force, Soobzokov had been a target of protests by the Jewish Defense League after the Justice Department dropped its charges for lack of evidence.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 28/97, p. 6)

And there is also the case of Elmars Sprogis — when the courts rejected OSI evidence as "potentially coerced" and "unworthy of belief" in the case of this former Latvian police officer, that was not the end of the matter:

Four months later, on Sept. 6 [1984], Sprogis, 70, narrowly escaped injury when a bomb exploded at his home in Brentwood, N.Y.  The Federal Bureau of Investigation has said that this, and a similar bombing three weeks earlier in Paterson, N.J. — which killed a naturalized Ukrainian who had been cleared by the OSI — may have been carried out by the militant Jewish Defense League.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 27/86, p. 31)

Note that the above quotation also makes reference to the murder of a Ukrainian who had been "cleared by the OSI."  "Fingered by the OSI for the benefit of the JDL" might have been a more apt description.  Gillette further elaborates the attempt on Sprogis's life:

Then on Sept. 6, the day Soobzokov died, a similar bomb detonated at 4:30 a.m. in the Long Island community of Brentwood, N.Y., damaged the home of Elmars Sprogis, 70, a retired construction worker exonerated by a federal appeals court in 1984 of persecuting Jews in his native Latvia.  Sprogis was not hurt, but a passer-by, who apparently was attracted by a fire set in Sprogis' car as a lure, was seriously injured.

Shortly after the explosion, the Long Island newspaper Newsday received a telephone call in which an apparently recorded voice reportedly said: "Listen carefully.  Jewish Defense League.  Nazi war criminal.  Bomb.  Never again."

The FBI has since warned defense attorneys involved in war crimes cases to be alert to the possibility of further violence and to urge their clients to take precautions against reprisals.  (Gillette, Los Angeles Times, Apr 28/86, p. 6)

In view of the American experience, Canadians can only pray that inviting Neal Sher to Canada will not be opening up a Pandora's Box of inter-ethnic conflict.  Let us hope that the pinnacle of Neal Sher's success in Canada will not be to finger a handful of septuagenarians and octagenerians who lack the means to retain adequate legal representation, to drag them through the courts, to see them acquitted, and then to watch them letter-bombed by those who feel their own judgements to be higher than those of the courts.  Let us hope that there will be no occasion to lay the responsibility for such spilled blood at the feet of Canada's Minister of Justice who ignored warnings to avoid introducing into Canadian law the corrosive and divisive influence of an American who comes under a cloud of doubt as to his integrity and competence.  If the introduction of Neal Sher's OSI methodology to Canada signals the Chretien government's readiness to strip targets of Jewish enmity of due process protection, I hope that it does not also signal a willingness to see them blown up.  I therefore urge you to warn the relevant Canadian law-enforcement agencies of the possibility that when Neal Sher's attempt to corrupt Canadian prosecutors comes undone — as I trust it will — Jewish efforts will turn to violence.

Yours truly,

Lubomyr Prytulak

cc: Neal Sher