Source: JTA Sunday, 8 December 2013, 23:17
The former mayor of a village in Austria has resigned following an uproar caused by his statement in favor of hanging Jews and journalists.
Karl Simlinger, who ran the village of Gfohl, which is located 43 miles northwest of Vienna, resigned Friday, the news agency Novum reported.
Simlinger made the statement on Tuesday night during a town hall meeting, according to the news site tips.at.
“I don’t give a shit about asylum seekers, but the journalists are at fault. They should be hanged; they are like the Jews,” he was quoted as saying. Simlinger denied making the comment at first, before releasing a statement on Friday in which he confirmed making the statement.
“It wholly runs contrary to my worldview,” he wrote in the statement, in which he said he would resign. “It was not my intention to cause offense and I apologize unreservedly.”
On Dec. 5, Willi Mernyi, the chairman of the Mauthausen Committee, a nongovernmental agency devoted to Holocaust commemoration, said he had petitioned the Austrian federal prosecutor’s office to prosecute Simlinger for alleged violation of Austria’s laws against racial hate speech, the OTS news agency reported.
CZECH REPUBLIC | Czech Police arrest right-wing extremists who were arming themselves
Source: Romea Saturday, 7 December 2013, 23:50
Detectives from the Organized Crime Detection Unit (Útvar pro odhalování organizovaného zloèinu - ÚOOZ) arrested five men from the Bruntál and Olomouc areas at the end of November and charged them with possessing weapons without permits.
During house searches the detectives found weapons, dozens of kilograms of gunpowder, explosives and ammunition, as well as ultra-right themed materials.One of the suspects is a soldier.
Detectives have been investigating information from military intelligence regarding the domestic right-wing extremist scene in northern Moravia since the start of 2013, police reported today on their website. "We arrested a total of five persons as part of this action, all of whom were charged with possessing weapons without permits," Pavel Hanták, the ÚOOZ spokesperson, confirmed to TV Nova. Those arrested range in age from 26 to 33 and face between two and eight years in prison if convicted.
During the past few months the investigation, part of an action code-named Timothy, began to confirm that the men had illegal arms. "According to the detectives' information, the main suspect had reportedly hidden what was primarily a larger amount of ammunition and material for producing it (cartridges, gunpowder and shot) in his home, in his previous place of residence, and at his workplace. He was also reportedly producing ammunition to order, either in his home or at his job," the police press release reads.
The five men were arrested on 26 November by ÚOOZ detectives in collaboration with other police units. According to police information, another detained suspect was purveying weapons made to order. That particular suspect had illegally produced hundreds of rounds both at his home and workplace. "The amount confiscated is rather large," Hanták said.
Among those detained is a Czech solder who is also a right-wing extremist. "One professional soldier also figures in the case. He is a sergeant from the unit in Žatec working as a driver," Czech Defense Ministry spokesperson Jan Pejšek has confirmed.
During the house searches, police found several illegal firearms, both long-barreled and short-barreled, a silencer, several dozen electric detonating fuses, components for devices for ammunition clips, a large amount of already-produced ammunition, dozens of kilograms of gunpowder and thousands of ignition caps, bullets and empty shell casings. "Ultra-right themed materials were also discovered," police said, adding that there is no other information to provide about the case right now.
Czech soldiers use Glock pistols, the same make of pistol confiscated by police in this action. The Czech Defense Ministry says it is now investigating the matter. "I do not have any indications that the gear could have come from Army warehouses.
The soldier has been relieved of duty," Pejšek has said about the case. Not all of those charged remain in custody. They face anywhere between two and eight years in prison depending on the severity of the charges against them.
Source: Jerusalem Post Saturday, 7 December 2013, 23:48
The mayor of the Austrian town of Gföhl said on Tuesday in city council meeting that journalists who reported on asylum seekers should be hanged like the Jews.
The Austrian news outlet Heute.at reported on Wednesday that Gföhl’s mayor Karl Simlinger expressed fury about asylum applicants who would be lodged in a planned complex. “I don’t give a shit about asylum seekers, but the journalists are to be blamed. They should be hanged; they are like the Jews.”
City council representatives Günter Steindl and Sabine Mai confirmed Simlinger’s statements to the news outlet Heute.at. Gföhl is located in the Austrian state of Lower Austria, with a population of nearly 4,000.
Heute.at reported that Steindl documented Simlinger’s statements in a contemporaneous log during the city council meeting. He asked Simlinger, “Do you know what you just said?” Simlinger responded in the affirmative. Simlinger told Heute.at that “the asylum discussion took a toll on me.”
He accused journalists of misreporting events. Simlinger said he has to stand by his word. “I never said the word Jews. I only quoted from Duden. Mr. Steindl should be careful because that goes in the direction of defamation.“ Duden is a German word and grammar book. Steindl and Sabine Mai said it is inexcusable that the mayor voiced “xenophobia and anti-Semitism."
Source: UPI Saturday, 7 December 2013, 23:46
Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela was a "terrorist," a member of an Italian political party known for racially charged statements, says.
Francesco Vartolo, a member of the anti-immigrant Northern League, made the comments after Mandela's death was announced Thursday, the Italian news agency ANSA reported Friday. ''Finally the terrorist Mandela, the beast who thirsted for white blood and was transformed into a hero by global propaganda, will find himself before all the people that he had killed with bombs in churches or with tires on fire around the neck,'' Vartolo, a borough councilor in Verona, wrote on his Facebook page.
Vartolo's comments were condemned by Luca Zaia, a major Northern League official and governor of the Veneto region that includes Verona. He said the statement did not represent the party's views.
Another League official, Lombardy Gov. Roberto Maroni, said in a Twitter message: "Honor to the memory of one of humanity's greats." Northern League Sen. Roberto Calderoli recently became the focus of a criminal investigation after he compared the country's first black cabinet minister, Cecile Kyenge, to an orangutan.
Source: MCA/Romania Saturday, 7 December 2013, 00:03
A group of neo-fascists, legionnaires, members of the revived "Miscarea Legionara" ( The Legionnaires' Movement or the Green Shirts ), participated at the celebrations presenting their Nazi salute in broad daylight, in public places, in the heart of the capital. All legal. With the approval of the local authorities.
In January 1941 "Miscarea Legionara" , a political group brought to power by Marshal Ion Antonescu, killed over 120 Jews and vandalized hundreds of Jewish business and establishments in a pogrom that took place over less than three days in Bucharest, , a pogrom that was triggered by a military operation initiated by Marshal Antonescu, the ruler of Romania at that time.
Later on many of the legionnaires later joined the communist party. The post-1989 revolution legionnaires claim to be reviving "national pride" and are freely promoting the dogma of the WWII legionnaires, with impunity.
The Romanian authorities do not see any threat in the new "Miscarea Legionara" and no steps are being taken in order to dismantle this group which promotes extreme nationalism, racism and anti-Semitism, all wrapped up under "the love for country and God".
Neo-fascists in Romania are taking advantage of the legislative vacuum created by the fact that the modified Law 107/2006 is blocked by members of the Romanian Movement and the Romanian Parliament.
Law 107 issued in 2006, based on the Ordinance of the Government issued in 2002, is the law that combats anti-Semitism, racism and the promotion of fascist and Nazi symbols in Romania.
Because of changes imposed by the Parliament in 2006, the law has allowed Holocaust deniers and anti-Semitism to escape punishment for their public display of racist opinions.
This is why since 2010, MCA Romania together with other Jewish organizations in Romania, has worked on modifying the law, which was presented to the Romanian Government in 2011. Since then the adoption of the modified law was blocked by the Ministry of Justice.
Four months ago The National Institute for the Holocaust Research together with leading politicians placed a formal request for the law to be adopted, without any further delay, by the Romanian Parliament. Nothing has yet happened. This is why fascists, extreme nationalists, anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers act freely in Romania.
Source: Independent Friday, 6 December 2013, 22:06
David Duke, former leader of the Ku Klux Klan, has been kicked out of Italy, where he was allegedly trying to establish a pan-European neo-Nazi group.
An Italian court said Duke, a Holocaust denier who ran for the US presidency in 1992 and 1998, was "socially dangerous for his racist and anti-semitic views". The court yesterday backed enforcing a Swiss travel and residence ban against the 63-year-old, which is valid across the whole Schengen area.
Luciano Meneghetti, deputy police chief in the northern Italian province of Belluno, told Reuters that Duke moved to the Valle di Cadore mountain village after being granted a visa to study and write there by the Italian embassy in Malta.
When police discovered the ban, which was made in 2009, Duke lodged an appeal with the Belluno administrative court to avoid expulsion.
And, according to the International business Times, the sentence added: "He was also previously arrested and expelled from the Czech Republic as suspected of promoting the launch of a movement for the suppression of human rights and fundamental freedoms."
Duke's lawyer Filippo Augusto said he left the country immediately. He could appeal again.
HUNGARY | Strange Bedfellows: Hungarian far-right Jobbik Party embraces Muslim nations, seeks 'Eurasian' ideal of statehood
Source: IBT Friday, 6 December 2013, 19:35
Gabor Vona : Reuters
The seemingly strange link between the European far right and Islam emerged again recently over reports that Gábor Vona, the chairman of Hungary's ultra-nationalist Jobbik party, praised Muslims during a visit to Turkey and called for his country to reposition its foreign policy eastward.
The Morocco World News reported in early November that Vona even told a Turkish university audience that “Islam is the last hope for humanity in the darkness of globalism and liberalism.” On a speaking tour of Turkish colleges, Vona also highlighted Hungary's ethnic and blood links with the Turks, recalling the once-enormous Ottoman Empire which conquered Hungary and stretched as far west as Vienna.
“We’re not coming to Turkey to build diplomatic and economic relations, but to meet our Turkish brothers and sisters,” Vona declared, according to Islametinfo.fr. Vona praised the personal friendships he has enjoyed from various Muslims throughout his life, including a Palestinian who attended his wedding as a guest.
He also threw down the gauntlet by making a sharp distinction between his views on foreign policy and those of other Western nations. “The West does not tolerate seeing my party support Turkey and other Turanian peoples, such as Azerbaijanis, in international conflicts.” [Turanians refer to an allegedly mythical people who originated somewhere in Central Asia and migrated westward thousands of years ago. Many Turkish nationalists believe they are descended from these peoples and dream of forming a new Pan-Turanian empire stretching from Asia to Europe.]
In addition, Vona separated himself from other far-right European leaders who generally disdain Muslims, particularly Turks, who now form significant ethnic minority communities in several Western European states. “Africa has no power... South-America [suffers] from perplexed identity due to their much congested societies,” Vona said on his party's website. “Considering all this, there’s only one culture left which seeks to preserve its traditions: It is the Islamic world.”
In a broader context, Vona suggested that a nationalistic, conservative society founded on both European and Asian (Eurasian) principles would comprise ideal statehood, in stark contrast to the neoliberal, multicultural, consumerist Western countries, which he perceives as trapped in a hopeless and perhaps irreversible decline. “We have been urging... the improvement of ... relations with Russia, China, India, Central Asia and the Muslim world,” he said on his website.
Vona claimed that the conservative, traditional societies of Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia treasure family, faith, patriotism and their ancient cultures, in contrast to the West, particularly the U.S., which he accuses of sinking into moral and spiritual decay.
"Some European countries and especially the nations of Asia still preserve a lot of the universal human traditions,” he told a Turkish college audience. “We need to be able to integrate the essence of the European as well as the Asian mentality. The practical European and the profound Eastern approach need to shape us together.”
Vona proposed that three modern states already embody this confluence of cultures – Russia, Turkey and his own Hungary. “These three nations are European and Asian at the same time, due to their history, fate and disposition,” he said. “These nations are destined to present the Eurasian alternative."
Vona said Turanism can help create a powerful alternative to the decadent and weakening West. "'This is our common mission and the universal task of Turanism: to build a bridge between East and West, Muslim and Christian and struggle together for a better world,” he declared. “We must show that Christians and Muslims are not enemies but brothers. Perhaps none else than us Hungarians and Turks are able to do that; but we are, because we are connected by our common blood.”
Founded only 10 years ago, Jobbik – which means "Movement for a Better Hungary" -- espouses strong opposition to immigration and carries a particularly virulent strain of anti-Semitism and homophobia, but cannot be dismissed as a lunatic fringe organization of misfits.
Indeed, in the recent Hungarian parliamentary elections, the party snagged one-sixth of the popular vote, granting them 47 out of the 386 seats in the National Assembly, making Jobbik the third-largest party in Hungary (only France's far-right National Front of Marine Le Pen performed better at the polls, among right-wing extremist parties on the continent).
Dr. Dieter Dettke, an adjunct professor at Georgetown University in Washington and a former Woodrow Wilson Center Scholar, who has conducted extensive research on Jobbik, told International Business Times that the party’s core supporters comprise both the younger generation and the better educated, and that they are primarily motivated by nationalism as well as by a desire to lash out against the status quo.
On his website, Vona admits that some members of his party adhere to anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic and anti-immigration views, but no more so than members and supporters of both Hungary's ruling Fidesz party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban or the country's mainstream Socialists, MSZP.
He also declared Islam is the most able force that can resist the “unipolar” world order advocated by the United States. Vona conceded that most other far-right parties in Europe do not share his passion for Islam.
"Obviously, in countries such as Austria or France that are suffering from the problem of immigration, [it is] very difficult [for them] to consider the Islamic world as an ally in the struggle against globalism,” he said. “I can understand their anger. But they also need to understand that based on the behavior of [some]… the entire Islamic community of half a billion can't be judged.”
Vona also cautioned that he is not calling for the mass conversion of Christians to Islam, nor does he necessarily support further immigration of Muslims into Europe. In a December 2010 interview, Vona expressed neither endorsement nor opposition to Turkey’s long-denied application into the European Union, but assured that he didn't fear its ramifications, citing that the Turks now enjoy a buoyant economy and powerful military. “Immigration needs to be regulated to make sure that we don’t end up where Germany is, but besides this, the Turkish membership [in the EU] wouldn’t pose any danger for us, but the exact opposite,” he said.
“In my view, we could gain a key ally in Turkey against certain European groups under the influence of the American-Israeli lobby. One thing seems certain, Turkey could be Hungary’s key ally.” (Interestingly, Vona himself wants Hungary to leave the EU, describing financial dependence upon Brussels as a kind of colonialism and even “enslavement.”)
The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that Vona has also reached out to the Muslim nation of Iran. Not surprisingly, Jobbik has praised Iran's strident anti-Zionism while condemning Western sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear program and allegations of sponsoring state terrorism.
“The Persian people and their leaders are considered pariahs in the eyes of the West, which serves Israeli interests,” said Marton Gyongyosi, Jobbik’s foreign policy chief. “This is why we have solidarity with the peaceful nation of Iran and turn to her with an open heart.” (Gyongyosi is notorious for having called for the registration of Hungarian Jews, describing them as a potential national “security risk.” He also lambasted Zionism as a “threat” to global peace).
Jews in Hungary and elsewhere are concerned by Jobbik’s flirtation with the Iranian regime. Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League in the U.S., wrote in 2011 that anti-Semitism “binds” the Hungarian ultranationalists with the ayatollahs of Tehran in a “nexus of hate.” “That is all they have in common,” he added.
Jobbik is determined to increase Hungarian bilateral trade with Iran, which has plunged from $400 million to $40 million – a 90 percent drop -- since 2000.
Coincidentally, next year will mark Holocaust Remembrance Year in Hungary, the 70th anniversary of the deportation of at least 450,000 Hungarian Jews to Nazi death camps. “We know that we were responsible for the Holocaust in Hungary,” Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics told a Jewish conference in Budapest. “We know that Hungarian state interests were responsible.”
The ruling Fidesz party, which, through coalitions, controls two-thirds of the parliament, dwarfing Jobbik’s 47 seats, has condemned anti-Semitism in the country repeatedly. (As a bizarre aside, last year it was revealed that Csanad Szegedi, a senior Jobbik leader and member of the European Parliament, was himself Jewish and that his grandmother, Magoldna Klein, was a Jewish Holocaust survivor.
Dettke commented that Szegedi is now leading a normal life as a Jewish Hungarian). There are no more than 100,000 Jews residing in Hungary – down from about 800,000 in 1941. Roma (Gypsies) are far more numerous, representing as much as 10 percent of Hungary’s total population today.
Dettke said the party is seeking to establish a role with mainstream right-wing parties. “But because of its anti-Semitism, its pro-Islam attitude and its quaint ideology of Turanism, Jobbik is not acceptable for many other right-wing political parties, in the UK, Netherlands for example."
But Dettke noted that Jobbik has some significant leverage in the Hungarian parliament – already it has imposed its will on a number of issues on the Fidesz majority, including provisions for a passport for every Hungarian abroad and a surtax on multinational companies, as well as Orban’s increased geopolitical focus on the Middle East and Asia.
Dettke adds also that, given Jobbik’s not-insignificant popular support, Orban has to pander to them – to a degree. “Orban pays a dangerous game of copying and at the same time trying to outflank Jobbik,” he said. “This could lead to [the] legitimization of Jobbik,” adding that Jobbik could draw even more votes both in Hungarian national elections as well in the European elections next May.
Source: ekathimerini.com Thursday, 5 December 2013, 09:50
Another 12 people are likely to be added to the list of Golden Dawn supporters suspected of committing a range of crimes, which is due to include the murder of a Pakistani immigrant that had not been officially linked to the neo-Nazi party until now, Kathimerini has learned.
Special magistrates Ioanna Klapa and Maria Dimitropoulou have steadily been building the case against the party’s leader, MPs and members, who are accused of running or being members of a criminal organization.
Sources said 12 more people thought to have been involved in criminal actions related to the far-right party are likely to face charges.
Incidents which are set to be added to the case file include the murder of a 27-year-old Pakistani man on his way to work in Athens on January 17 this year. He was stabbed by two men on a motorcycle. Two suspects aged 25 and 29 were arrested. Golden Dawn fliers were found at one of the men’s houses.
Another incident allegedly connected to the party is the near-fatal stabbing of a 17-year-old pupil outside a school in Neo Faliro, southern Athens, in January. One of the two men arrested, aged 20, has since been identified as having links to Golden Dawn.
The party’s deputy leader, Christos Pappas (photo), failed on Wednesday in his bid to be granted conditional release from pretrial custody. Earlier this week, Golden Dawn chief Nikos Michaloliakos also had his request turned down.
Source: revolution-news.com Thursday, 5 December 2013, 03:37
On the evening of December 4th, on Khreshchatic St. in Kiev, three labour union activists were beaten ferociously by a group of far-right zealots (who are a part of so-called Ukrainian “democratic opposition”).
Around 30 hooligans attacked the activists. Denis Levin, who has spent all of his conscious life protecting workers' rights, was pepper-sprayed and beaten up. One of his brothers, Alexander, got his nose fractured; the other, Anatoliy, got his ribs injured.
The tent, which belonged to the Confederation of Free Labor Unions of Ukraine (CFLU), was cut with knives. Nazis also broke activists’ sound amplifiers and stole their generator.
CFLU is an active participant in the “Euromaidan” protest movement. Activists who were attacked had been passing around leaflets proposing people join labour unions. Leaflets had the symbols of CFLU on them.
The attack was watched by a deputy of Ukrainian parliament, one of the far right “Svoboda” party media persons, Igor Miroshnichenko. The deputy, with his comrades from “Svoboda” on that very day, took over a student’s demonstration in order to advertise their party.
There is a video on which Miroshnichenko, after the attack had occurred, says about the activist: “He looks like Lenin on a tank to me. If he protects Lenin there, I’ll beat his mug up myself… Hey, aren’t you a communist?”
The call to rip the tent up was made by a “comedian” and “showman” Antin Mukharskii from a stage on a square where “Euromaidan” is taking place. Mukharskii called the labour union activists “rotten provocateurs”.
Far-right militants, who knew Denis Levin as an energetic left activist, shouted “shavka!” while attacking their victims. (“Shavka” is a word used by neo-Nazis to denote people who have anti-fascist views.)
Source: Guardian Wednesday, 4 December 2013, 18:09
- A German court has given a senior member of the country's main far-right party a suspended eight-month prison sentence for selling CDs featuring content glorifying nazism and inciting violence.
Berlin municipal court convicted Sebastian Schmidtke, head of the National Democratic party's Berlin branch, of offences including incitement and displaying the symbols of anti-constitutional organisations – a charge that covers banned Nazi paraphernalia.
The court on Wednesday found that a shop owned by Schmidtke sold music CDs with lyrics that stirred hatred against Jews, foreigners and gay people, called for violence, and used banned slogans glorifying nazism. It says Schmidtke, who can appeal against the ruling, denied selling CDs in his shop.
Germant's 16 state governments this week launched a drive for the country's highest court to ban Schmidtke's party.
Source: spiegel.de Wednesday, 4 December 2013, 14:31
German authorities may have to sharply revise statistics for the number of people killed by right-wing extremists since 1990. The official figure is around 60, but police combing through unsolved cases have identified a further 746 suspicious slayings or attacks.
Statistics for the number of people killed by right-wing extremists in Germany since 1990 may have to be increased dramatically, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Officially, authorities currently say neo-Nazis have killed around 60 people, including the 10 mostly Turkish immigrants shot dead by the National Socialist Underground terrorist group between 2000 and 2007.
Anti-racism groups and analysts have long put the figure much higher, at close to 200. But even that may grossly understate the true number of victims, the Osnabrücker Zeitung newspaper reported.
It cited the German Interior Ministry as saying police had re-examined a total of 3,300 unsolved killings and attempted murders between 1990 and 2011 and had concluded that there could be far-right involvement in 746 open cases with 849 victims. The checks were ordered after the NSU case came to light in 2011. For years, police had ruled out right-wing extremism as the motive behind those killings.
The case was only solved by chance following the suicide of two NSU members, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt, after a bank robbery in 2011. DVDs claiming responsibility for the crimes, and a pistol used in the murders, were found in the apartment used by the NSU in the eastern city of Zwickau.
Cases to Be Re-Opened
The NSU case exposed deficiencies in Germany's security services, such as a lack of coordination between police and the domestic intelligence agencies.
A parliamentary report released in August made dozens of recommendations for reforms, including more racial diversity among police and security forces. But it stopped short of stating that Germany has institutional racism in its security services -- a problem anti-racism campaigners frequently refer to.
The Interior Ministry could not immediately be reached for comment. It was not clear how many of the 746 cases and 849 victims referred to killings and how many to attempted killings. The cases will now be sent back to regional police forces for re-investigation.
The ministry will decide next year whether to re-examine other categories of unsolved crimes such as bomb attacks and bank robberies to determine whether there might be a far-right link to them.
Germany's federal states on Tuesday launched a fresh attempt to outlaw the far-right National Democratic Party of Germany (NDP) on the grounds that its ideology is similar to that of Hitler's Nazi party and that it is seeking the militant overthrow of Germany's democratic order. One analyst told SPIEGEL ONLINE on Tuesday that the NPD was a "center of gravity for violent right-wing extremism."
Source: thelocal.es Wednesday, 4 December 2013, 14:22
Neo-Nazi paraphernalia, violent behaviour and racist chanting have become all too common sights at the Bernabeu. Photo: Pierre Philippe Marcou/AFP
Real Madrid's president plans to kick out extreme-right 'Ultra Sur' fans from its stadium and replace them with younger, better-behaved supporters.
Since its establishment some 33 years ago, Real Madrid's 'Ultras Sur' fan group has provided relentless atmosphere and cheering to the Bernabeu Stadium.
Their 'passion' isn’t to everybody’s liking though, as neo-Nazi paraphernalia, violent behaviour and racist chanting have become all too common sights at the stadium's south stand.
This explains why Real president Florentino Pérez has now decided to reassign the ultras' seats to a group of younger, more respectable season-ticket holders, Spanish radio station COPE reported on Monday.
Some ultra fans have already been banned from the Bernabeu, COPE added.
Pérez's decision has been reinforced by the news of four other ultra fans being fined €3,000 ($4,000) and banned from sporting events for twelve months after they displayed swastikas and other Nazi symbols at the Real-Atlético game last October.
Internal disagreements among members of the troublesome group are said to be at the root of a bar brawl outside the Bernabeu after the game against Real Sociedad on November 9th.
Those disputes may also explain why the stand behind the south goal at the Bernabeu - the place where ultras always gather- has been partially empty for the past few home games.
Football-focused daily AS said that Pérez is planning to take away the ultras' 885 seats to create a new 'Fans Sur' stand of 1,600 seats by next January.
Source: European Jewish Congress Tuesday, 3 December 2013, 18:29
French comic receives hefty fine for antisemitic comments
French comic Dieudonné has been ordered to pay a 28,000 euros fine by a Paris appeals court for incitement to racial hatred following comments made against Jews.
He had appealed an earlier decision of a lower court which awarded a 20,000 euros fine.
Dieudonné has used the well-known French song about hot cocoa by Annie Cordy with a satirical version known as “Shoah nanas”. His supporters have utilised the similar sounding “chaud ananas”, the latter word meaning pineapples, to brandish the exotic fruit during his performances.
Dieudonné has six previous convictions for antisemitic incitement.
Source: Deutsche Welle Tuesday, 3 December 2013, 18:28
After a failed try in 2003, German officials are again seeking to ban the country's largest far-right party. State leaders plan to file their case soon with Germany's highest court - but it's a controversial move.
Germany's far-right National Democratic Party (NPD) is now exploiting any opportunity to raise its profile. It regularly mobilizes its members in protest against foreigners and immigration to Germany, while promoting right-wing ideology.
Recent examples abound. The group organized a rally this summer against asylum seekers, who were taking up residence in a shelter in Berlin's outer Hellersdorf district. During Germany's federal election campaign earlier this year, the NPD distributed condoms to "foreigners and selected Germans." Online and at public events, the group voices its opposition to parliamentary democracy.
The interior ministers of Germany's 16 states say such actions make it obvious that the NPD is in violation of constitutional principles such as the provision of respect for human dignity. As a result, they have launched a second attempt to ban the party, which is represented in two of Germany's state parliaments. A similar effort failed in 2003.
Beginning Tuesday (03.12.2013), the states' petition will be discussed one final time at a conference of interior ministers before it is sent on to Germany's Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe. Its supporters believe that, this time, the ban will succeed.
Claudia Luzar heads a group aiding victims of right-wing violence, but she opposes banning the NPD
But Federal Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich of the conservative CDU party does not share their optimism. The news magazine Der Spiegel reports that Friedrich said, "The states will have to go it alone," in reference to the fact that Germany's federal government and parliament are not involved in the petition to ban the party, as they were in 2003.
Political scientist Claudia Luzar also believes the motion to ban the NPD will fail. The Dortmund-based professor read through the 244-page document and said, "There are no new revelations in the petition. I think it will have no effect."
During the 2003 effort to ban the party, the federal government under the former (Social Democrat) Chancellor Gerhard Schröder helped lead the charge. But the constitutional court, the country's highest, never ruled on whether the NPD was in violation of the constitution, because the case collapsed on procedural grounds.
The problem in 2003 was that informants working for German police and intelligence had infiltrated the NPD all the way up to its leadership. The informants were receiving money from the state for delivering privileged information on the right-wing group's activities, and they also had influence on the party's leadership. Since the state could have had an active hand in shaping the NPD's approach, the court said a ban could not be enforced.
Meanwhile, however, those behind the renewed attempt to ban the party believe informants are no longer active at the top levels of the NPD. The state interior ministers say information for their ban petition was collected entirely without the aid of insider sources.
Hundreds of people protested recently against asylum seekers. The sign reads "Live safely! Stop the asylum flood"
Tax funds going to the NPD
Should the petition fail once more, it would be disastrous, activist Patrick Gensing said in an interview with DW. "After the failure 10 years ago, the NPD has become very strong because there's a feeling that it cannot be outlawed," said Gensing, who has been active on the issue of right-wing violence. He runs the blog publikative.org, which DW honored with its BOBs Award.
Despite the risk, Gensing welcomes the states' initiative. "For minorities who are affected by the NPD's agitation, it's unconscionable that such a party exists in Germany," he said.
Adding insult to injury is the fact that the NPD finances itself in large part with German taxpayers' money, because of its status as a legal party with small representation in two state parliaments. If the organization were declared illegal, it would no longer be able to draw funding from taxes.
Mathias Wörsching, who works for the Mobile Counseling Team against Right-wing Extremism (MBR) in Berlin, would also like to see the party prohibited. "A ban on the NPD would be a big help to everyone who's working against right-wing extremism in Germany," he said.
Mathias Wörsching believes banning the NPD is the right thing to do
Lack of societal pressure
But the activist also says he's concerned the state's petition will not meet the criteria necessary for a ban. Part of what's missing, according to Wörsching, is clearly perceptible pressure from society to carry out the prohibition.
That pressure is not particularly high right now. Even if there's widespread agreement that the NPD advocates extremism and violates constitutional principles, not everyone supports a ban on the group. Even politicians within the Left and Green parties in Germany have voiced opposition to an outright ban.
Claudia Luzar agrees that prohibiting the party entirely is the wrong way to go. "It would simply ensure that the party's leaders go underground, and we couldn't control them any more," she says. "The problem of right-wing violence will not be eliminated that way."
The political scientist tells DW that there is a dearth of long-term projects aimed at combating extremism. And, she adds, the police, intelligence authorities, activist groups and researchers must work together more closely in order to stop right-wing ideology from spreading.
SPAIN | Franco's legacy rattles Spain
Source: Wall Street Journal. Tuesday, 3 December 2013, 18:15
Franco supporters chanted a fascist song last month in Madrid near the 38th anniversary of his death.NurPhoto/Sipa Press
A series of headline-grabbing incidents in recent months has prompted soul-searching among Spaniards over dictator Francisco Franco's enduring legacy—and the disruptive potential for extremism to flare at a time of deep economic distress.
Over the summer, several Spaniards posted pictures of themselves holding fascist flags or giving Nazi salutes on social-media sites. In September, a self-described fascist group assaulted a cultural center in Madrid representing Catalonia, a region that was repressed by Franco and is now home to a growing political movement seeking independence from Spain.
A week later an Argentine judge sought the arrest of some Franco-era security officials for alleged crimes against humanity. That was a marked contrast to the passive approach of Spain's own judiciary, which has left the Franco regime's abuses unpunished in the interest of preserving the country's peaceful transition to democracy.
Now some Spaniards worry that the failure to thoroughly confront Spain's authoritarian past—what has been dubbed "the Pact of Forgetting"—has left the door open to an emergence of extremism in a new generation devastated by years of economic crisis and 50% youth unemployment.
"In these moments of crisis and disappointment with politics, this creates a Petri dish for extremist movements, as they provide simple answers to complex problems," said Jordi Rodriguez, professor of politics at the University of Navarra.
Esteban Ibarra, president of a group called Movement Against Intolerance, said Spain was experiencing its worst wave of far-right extremism since the mid-1990s, during a previous economic and political crisis.
In a recently released review for 2012, the group tallied hundreds of far-right incidents. Most were minor offenses like graffiti or workplace discrimination, but they also included an arson attempt at a mosque and the killing of an immigrant from Guinea that had racist overtones.
In addition, "there has been a spectacular increase of extremist activity on the Internet, websites that are xenophobic, anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic or anti-Catalan," Mr. Ibarra said.
Human-rights groups have long complained about the lack of official statistics in Spain on hate crimes.
An Interior Ministry spokesman said that while Spain doesn't have an agency dedicated solely to tallying up and combating extremists, as some other countries do, police and security forces know who the potential troublemakers are and closely monitor their actions.
Franco ruled from 1939 to his death in 1975, after overthrowing a democratic republic and vanquishing its supporters in a civil war that claimed as many as half a million lives. During his long reign, tens of thousands of regime opponents were executed, historians say.
In 1977, Spain's parliament passed an amnesty law that protected officials of the dictatorship and those involved in Civil War-era crimes, including supporters of anti-Franco forces, from prosecution.
Since then, many Spaniards who were sympathetic to Franco were absorbed into the conservative PP, and began to embrace more-centrist positions. That has had the effect of draining the potential membership pool for extreme-right parties, analysts say.
Spain's largest neo-fascist group, the Alianza Nacional, has a core of 300 members—tiny compared with Greece's Golden Dawn or the far-right National Front in France, both of which have had members elected to public office.
But the absorption of the Franco legacy into the political mainstream has created some contradictions that bedevil Spain and the PP to this day.
Monuments to Franco and his followers still dot the Spanish landscape, despite a 2007 law that prodded officials to start removing them. "This is the only country where you can be a democrat without being an anti-fascist," said Rafael Escudero Alday, a law professor at Madrid's Carlos III University.
That paradox was evident in the recent flurry of photos of young PP activists offering fascist homages. In one of the photos, a small town PP councilman posed at Franco's burial place holding a fascist banner.In another, a local leader of a PP youth organization is shown making a Nazi salute.
In yet another image, the party's secretary of sports in a midsize city appears with a group brandishing a flag bearing a racist insignia.
Beatriz Jurado, head of the youth arm of the PP, said the party was investigating the photographs and was prepared to take disciplinary action. She said it was unfortunate that people were drawing broad conclusions based on "the reprehensible attitude of three or four people in an organization with more than 100,000 members."
While the photo debate was raging, the Alianza Nacional stormed the Catalan cultural center in Madrid on Sept. 11—Catalonia's regional holiday—and disrupted a commemoration by chanting "Catalonia is Spain" and allegedly setting off a tear-gas canister.
The group has no affiliation with the PP, which condemned the assault. Several alleged culprits were arrested "within days," the Interior Ministry spokesman said.
On Spain's Oct. 12 national holiday, some 300 "ultras," as the far-right militants are known, congregated again in Barcelona, the Catalan capital, shouting "separatists, terrorists" and "this is our land and we've got to defend it."
An Argentine judge issued an arrest warrant on Sept. 18 for four Spanish citizens who allegedly beat political prisoners during the dictatorship. Two of the accused are dead, and the other two haven't commented.
The Allianza's leader Pedro Pablo Pena called it a show of patriotism against Catalonia's pro-independence government, which he accused of being "outside the law."
There is concern that right-wing extremists might incite a backlash from the left. In October, an explosive device went off in the middle of the night at municipal building in the town of Beade, not long after it was revealed that the mayor kept a portrait of Franco and other far-right paraphernalia in his office. No one was hurt and no one has claimed responsibility.
Attendance at Alianza meetings is still far below what it was in the 1980s, in the aftermath of Franco's death, Mr. Pena said. The group is focusing its recruiting efforts in downtrodden, traditionally left-leaning neighborhoods.
In a 200-page ruling crammed with detail about alleged tortures, Federal Judge Maria Servini de Cubria cited Argentina's constitution and international law to justify her jurisdiction, even though no Argentines were among the alleged victims. The case faces many hurdles, including the Spanish amnesty law and the statute of limitations, said Julio Muerza, a law professor at the University of Navarra.
While some Spaniards accused the judge of grandstanding, others said it was high time a court somewhere dug into the crimes of the dictatorship. United Nations experts had previously criticized the amnesty as overly lenient.
"The consequence of not acknowledging these crimes is that we're now seeing a generation of young people who don't know the truth," said Emilio Silva, president of the Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory, a group representing victims of the dictatorship.
Source:spiegel.de Tuesday, 3 December 2013, 18:06
Right-wing extremists at a demonstration in Berlin: Police are hoping to use a smartphone app similar to Shazam to stop the neo-Nazi music.
German authorities are considering using software akin to a smartphone app that would help them identify neo-Nazi music in seconds, SPIEGEL has learned.
The interior ministers of the country's 16 regional states will meet this week to discuss an new method dubbed "Nazi Shazam," in reference to the mobile phone-based music identification service Shazam, which can identify music bands and song titles from a short sample picked up via the phone's microphone.
The new software would let police quickly identify neo-Nazi rock music, which officials regard as a "gateway drug" into the far-right youth scene.
The regional police office in the eastern state of Saxony has developed a prototype system of registering audio fingerprints from neo-Nazi rock. It has the advantage of "sparing resources and enabling very quick investigations," said an internal government assessment.
Police could use it to recognize neo-Nazi music being played on Internet radio stations or to intervene quickly if it is played at gatherings.
Last year, the Federal Review Board for Media Harmful to Minors indexed a total of 79 pieces of music for espousing neo-Nazi ideology or having racist lyrics. The indexing imposes restrictions on sales and forbids them from being made accessible to people aged under 18.
It's unclear whether Germany's interior ministers will adopt the system, though. A number of legal issues need to be addressed before it can be deployed. For example, lawyers need to determine whether the automatic identification of music being played in a hall would constitute acoustic surveillance.
FRANCE | Anti-racism demos held in France
Source: Press TV Monday, 2 December 2013, 18:00
French people in Paris protest against racism on November 30, 2013 Thousands of French people have held demonstrations nationwide in protest against racism, following recent racial attacks against the country’s black justice minister.
The protests were held in 80 cities across France on Saturday and were organized by several groups including the Unite against racism group.In Paris, the organization estimated that some 25,000 demonstrators participated.
Protesters held banners with anti-racist slogans and wore badges reading, “We are all Taubiras against racism,” referring to Justice Minister Christiane Taubira.
“It was time to take to the roads to display a powerful speech, solidarity, collective,” said Cindy Leoni, the leader of the association SOS Racisme.
Taubira has been the target of racist slurs recently. On November 13, a far-right magazine published a cover, showing a picture of the minister with a caption that read, “Clever as a monkey, Taubira gets her bananas back.”
The United Nations has condemned the racial attacks against Taubira, calling the abuse a strong manifestation of the rising racism in many parts of Europe.
On November 22, Taubira was given a petition signed by 100,000 people expressing support and sympathy as well as condemning the racist abuse against her.
Organizers of the petition criticized French cabinet members for not reacting quickly enough to the racial attacks.
Separately, French Interior Minister Manuel Valls has also been sued by a leading human rights watchdog in France for his racist comments against the Roma population in the country.
Valls has said that most of the estimated 20,000 Roma migrants living in France should be “taken back to the border” since they could not be integrated into the French society.