Is James Sanchez really a 'minority' scholar laboring to advance Holocaust studies? Or is he an anti-Semitic Holocaust denier?
On Feb. 4, 2005, a loose-knit group that included neo-Nazi and Holocaust denial organizations organized a series of small demonstrations in cities across the country to protest the ongoing trial in Germany of Ernst Zundel, author of The Hitler We Loved and Why, for denying the Holocaust. Photographs taken at the rally in Seattle and posted by a neo-Nazi group show five Zundel supporters holding "Respect Human Rights" signs. One of them is a tall white man with a full white beard. He is James Joseph Sanchez, a widely published Seattle researcher and a man of many faces.
At different times to serve different purposes, Sanchez has adopted a variety of personas: quiet academic; raging anti-Semite; struggling "minority business owner"; proud "majority-American"; esteemed Holocaust researcher and generous donor of his work to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum; and neo-Nazi sympathizer whose work is championed by leading Holocaust deniers like Zundel.
A prolific and intelligent writer with a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern history, Sanchez has published numerous annotated bibliographies on subjects ranging from "sub-national economic regionalization in the Soviet Union" to "satellite-based education infrastructure in Alaska." The U.S. Air Force recommends his book, Al Qaeda and Jihadi Movements Worldwide, to war college students. He makes a living selling research materials from home as well as maintaining an online database of abstracted articles on Pacific Rim industries.
Other than his highly visible position alongside left-wing linguist Noam Chomsky on the editorial board of the Palestine Chronicle, a Seattle-based magazine that "seeks to expose the influence of the strong Jewish American lobby upon our government, media, and institutions," Sanchez presents himself as nothing more or less than a respectable, if somewhat snooty, mainstream scholar.
Beneath The Mask
But from time to time and ever so slightly, he lets his mask slip. Four months after taking part in the pro-Zundel demonstration last year, Sanchez attended David Duke's white supremacist conference in New Orleans in the company of several members of the Seattle unit of the neo-Nazi organization National Alliance. When questioned by the Intelligence Report about his participation in the neo-Nazi street protest and his attendance at Duke's European-American Unity & Rights Organization (EURO) event, he flatly refused to answer. "Frankly, you do not have the standing to demand that I respond to your questions," he said. "And you have no standing to make accusations against me."
Sanchez seemed assured of his own standing when he accused the Jewish beneficiaries of reparations for Holocaust victims of extortion and fraud in a 2001 essay for the Media Monitors Network Web site. "The formula for reparations to phony Jewish victims proves this money is taken from people with no provable responsibility, for improvable acts of dubious historicity, to be paid in the name of 'victims' who are infallible," he wrote.
His 2001 essay, "Transmuting History Into Gold," marked the closest Sanchez has come to publicly denying the Holocaust. When offered the opportunity to clarify precisely what he means by "dubious historicity" in this article, Sanchez declined comment. Whatever he meant, one thing is clear: leading Holocaust deniers consider him a compatriot. "Sanchez is on our side, and lives and breathes our cause," Carlos Whitlock Porter, who calls the Holocaust "a universe of lies," wrote in 2005. Zundel himself in May 2001 urged followers to read an article that, according to Zundel, Sanchez had posted to the Web site of the Committee for the Open Debate on the Holocaust, a denial site run by Bradley R. Smith. The article ridiculed the outrage of Jewish leaders over Asian businesses using Holocaust imagery in advertising. "Every once in a while, Dr. Sanchez publishes some gem that makes us look at the Old Holocaust through yet another prism," Zundel said.
Not all extremists share Zundel's enthusiasm. In August 2002, Sanchez E-mailed subscribers to his news-summary service a link to a CNN story about the manager of a "housewife next door" pornography Web site who hijacked a Web site used by Islamic terrorists. Sanchez added this cover note: "Jewish pornographer, who started out pimping his wife, is presented as the truest of patriots by CNN." That caused Glenn Spencer, leader of the anti-immigration hate group American Patrol, to abruptly tell Sanchez to cancel his subscription.
Sanchez wrote back, "I think you should protest to CNN, not me. CNN describes, as you can see on the story cited, this twisted pimp as 'living the American dream.' There is a difference between Jewish ideals and Majority-American ideals and this difference cannot be ignored by anyone, like you, who works to preserve American identity from immigration."
"As I said, please remove me from your list," Spencer replied.
Sanchez shot back one last E-mail. "Done," he wrote. "But I observe that you cannot defend your allegiances in honest debate. Poor you. Have you considered a name change to 'Jewish Patrol'?"
Playing the Minority Card
That same month in 2002, James Sanchez wrote a letter to the Seattle mayor's office complaining about a proposed grant program aimed at helping local African-American business owners. "The Mayor's proposal is illegal and racially discriminates against Majority-Americans," he wrote.
Sanchez's concerns for the rights and values of "Majority-Americans" are noteworthy, considering that beginning in 1996 Sanchez registered himself as a disadvantaged minority business owner with Harvard University's Minority Business Enterprise Program, according to records from Harvard's Office of the Controller. Under this program, Sanchez's reference materials company, Reference Corporation, has received preferential buying treatment from Harvard faculty and staff. Asked by the Intelligence Report to clarify how a minority business owner can also be a "Majority-American," Sanchez once again declined to answer.
Elsewhere, Sanchez seemed clearer about his racial status. In an April 2004 letter to the editor of USA Today, he described himself as "very much a run-of-the-mill Anglo-Saxon." The letter went on to complain that Christian whites were vastly overrepresented among the dead in the war in Iraq. "[T]he death of White Christian men is meaningless in America, because their lives are not valued," he wrote. "After all, they are not minorities."
That wasn't the only revealing Sanchez letter to the editor. On Dec. 13, 2005, he wrote to his local Seattle Times, which had just reported that race riots in Australia were provoked by white neo-Nazis. Saying that the violence was really started by Muslim "rape gangs," Sanchez accused the paper of lying and taking part in a "racist assault on European-Australians and European-Americans." The paper, he raged, supported "any non-White rape gang on Earth that rapes White women."
A Librarian's Work
In addition to Reference Corporation, Sanchez also does business as Venona Information Services and Aristarchus Knowledge Industries. Under the Aristarchus label he sells "Nuremberg War Crime Trials Online," a CD-ROM containing footnoted transcripts of the entire proceedings of the International Military Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany, in 1945 and 1946. For this product, Sanchez claims to have compiled, digitized and annotated all of the original 126,000 pages of court transcripts for the first time ever in compact disc format. He began selling the Nuremberg CD-ROMs for as much as $995 in 1995.
Since then, "Nuremberg War Crime Trials Online" has been added to the library collections of more than 50 major American universities, including Columbia, Yale, Georgetown and the University of California at Berkeley. Sanchez also personally donated a copy to the library of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C.
Despite Sanchez's anti-Semitism, Holocaust Museum officials have no plans to scrutinize the historical accuracy of the Nuremberg transcripts he donated, which are now made available to researchers and museum visitors. "The Museum does not engage Holocaust deniers and [in any case] fact-checking every item in the library would be an impossible task," said museum spokesman Andrew Hollinger.
Other than university libraries across the country and the Holocaust Museum in D.C., "Nuremberg War Crime Trials Online" is available directly from Sanchez, and also, for purchase, from one other source -- the California-based Institute for Historical Review (IHR), probably the most important Holocaust denial organization in the world. The IHR bills Sanchez's CD-ROM as "a useful tool for researchers."
The only substantial comments Sanchez offered the Intelligence Report for this story concerned the commercial success of his Nuremberg trials CD-ROM.
His report was less than glowing.
"Truthfully, empirically speaking, based on sales, few people care about it. It is a great pity that there is so little interest in it, I think. On the other hand, because of this project, I have talked to a lot of interesting researchers through the years and have been cajoled into donating hundreds of copies to schools and researchers and museums," he wrote. "I have also had a wee bit of extremely negative response. I have received what I considered to be a death threat. I have been denounced for publishing the CD-ROM by several people who stated it was somehow 'sacred' and had been 'dirtied' by my compilation, and I have encountered one very horrid Nuremberg 'groupy.'" These comments were not further explained.
"Truly," Sanchez concluded, "a librarian's work is never done."