Stop commemorating Holocaust, German extreme right says

This 2016 video is called Engineering Evil – Inside the Holocaust.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

AfD politician: Stop commemorating the Holocaust

Today, 13:16

Björn Hocke, a prominent member of the right-wing populist

Journalists, stop using the historically wrong euphemism ‘populist’ for racists and neo-fascists.

party Alternative for Germany, has come under fire because of his statements about the handling of Germany’s World War II past.

At a meeting of the youth wing of the AfD yesterday he called the German commemorations of the Holocaust “crippling memory politics”. He wanted more attention for the German victims: “Our way of remembering must rotate 180 degrees.”

He also called the Holocaust Memorial in the center of Berlin a “monument of shame”. …

The president of the Central Council of Jews reacted angrily. “To describe the Holocaust Memorial as a monument of shame is shocking and unacceptable,” he told Bild daily.

See also here. And here.

This is not so surprising for an AfD politician. After all, one of the AfD leaders is Lady Beatrix Von Storch, née Duchess of Oldenburg; the granddaughter of Johann Ludwig, Count Schwerin von Krosigk. The finance minister of Hitler’s Third Reich from its beginning until its collapse in May 1945. Hitler rewarded him with the nazi party’s Golden Swastika badge. After the war, in Nuremberg, Count Schwerin von Krosigk was convicted to ten years in prison for war crimes and, eg, his role in the persecution of Jews in the Kristallnacht. Lady Von Storch was recently in the news for anti-Semitism.

Extreme right meeting in Germany

This video says about itself:

(6 Apr 2016) Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder and former head of France’s far-right National Front party, has been convicted of denying crimes against humanity for repeating that the Nazi gas chambers are a “detail” of World War II history.

A Paris court convicted then sentenced Le Pen on Wednesday to a 30,000 euros (34,000 US dollars) fine plus paying damages to three associations, plaintiffs in the case.

Le Pen, 87, was convicted of the same offence in 2012 for claiming the Nazi occupation of France was not “particularly inhumane”.

Decades ago, Le Pen was convicted for saying the gas chambers were “a detail of the history of the Second World War”.

He repeated the remark last year.

From Avaaz:

Dear friends,

It sounds like a far-fetched conspiracy — the top fascist leaders in Europe are coming together to plot their takeover from a remote German castle. But that’s exactly what’s happening this weekend, and we can expose them.

This affects all of us everywhere. There are elections in France, Germany, and the Netherlands this year — and the far right wants a clean sweep. If they get it, they’ll … rip-up human rights, and gut environmental and climate protections — causing irreversible global harm.

Join this global call to expose this summit for what it is — an assault on our future. If enough of us sign, the Avaaz team in Germany will deliver our voices directly to press at the summit.

Let’s stand up to reject the rise of fascism.

Here’s just a smattering of some of these politicians:

Marine Le Pen, France’s Front National.

Geert Wilders, Netherlands Party for Freedom: “Islam is not a religion, it’s an ideology, the ideology of a retarded culture.”

We’ve already got Trump in the United States, let’s not lose Europe to this tide of hate!

In just 4 days, Europe’s far right hopes to show the media that they are on the rise. But if we can launch a million-person strong movement to stop this extremism, Avaaz staff can deliver our voices to press in Germany and turn the story on its head.

Let’s stand up to reject the rise of fascism.

In dark times, great movements are born. We’ve shown that we can fight back and win against major corporations like Monsanto, major moguls like Rupert Murdoch and now we need to come together to beat a movement that threatens everything we love. I know we can.

With determination,

Iain, Danny, Alice, Nell, Risalat, and the whole Avaaz team.

More information:

Europe’s Rising Far Right: A Guide to the Most Prominent Parties (New York Times)

Germany’s AfD Divided by Le Pen Meeting (EU Observer)

Europe’s far right parties are holding their first-ever “counter-summit” in Germany (Quartz)
Europe’s far-right parties are holding their first-ever “counter-summit” in Germany

What Europe’s Far Right Sees in Trump’s Win (The Atlantic)

German police accused North Africans falsely

This video says about itself:

5 January 2017

German police in Cologne apologise after referring to North Africans as “Nafris” in a tweet. The police department has, however, defended racially profiling them during New Year festivities.

Translated from Judith van de Hulsbeek, Dutch NOS TV correspondent in Germany:

Hardly any North Africans in Cologne at New Year

Today, 16:31

Among the large groups of men who went to the New Year celebration in Cologne this year came, there appear to have been hardly any North Africans. This is in contrast to what the German police said before. …

After the New Year events there was commotion about a tweet by a policeman, in which he labeled a large group of men as ‘Nafris’, abuse for supposedly criminal North Africans. …

The police investigated whether among the men were persons accused of the assaults on New Year a year ago. But there is no evidence for that. “None of the suspects of Cologne in 2015-2016 and none of the 75 persons who had then received an exclusion order have been reported this year,” said Police Chief Mathies in a press release.

German demonstration against deportations to Afghan war

Pro-Afghan refugees rally at the Opernplatz in Frankfurt, Germany

By Marianne Arens in Germany:

Demonstration in Germany against deportations to Afghanistan

12 January 2017

More than a thousand people protested last Saturday in Frankfurt against the German government’s deportation of refugees to Afghanistan. After a rally at the central Opernplatz square, a growing number of people joined the peaceful demonstration in the downtown area.

On December 14, 34 Afghan refugees were deported in a special charter plane from the Rhein-Main Airport, and additional group deportations to Kabul are planned later this month. Last year, a total of 25,000 people were deported from Germany, primarily from the Frankfurt Airport.

The rally in front of the old opera house was called on January 7 by the Frankfurt Afghan Hindu Cultural Association and other associations of Hindus and Sikhs. Their placards read “Stop Deportation and Persecution,” “We are human beings and not numbers!” “Equal Rights for Refugees,” “Keep families together,” and “I would like to live as a human being instead of dying as a Sikh in Afghanistan.”

Before 1980, up to 220,000 Hindus and Sikhs lived in Afghanistan, according to a spokesperson of the organizers. However, their number has fallen to 1,300 because under neither the Taliban nor the current NATO-supported government has it been possible for them to live a peaceful life, free of physical threat. In reality, the country is highly unsafe for all civilians today.

“We came to Germany with high hopes,” continued the spokesperson. “We have settled down and become a part of the society and support newcomers whenever we can. But that belongs to the past.” The group deportations into a land of crisis have struck refugee communities from Afghanistan at the heart, he said: “The war in Afghanistan has caught up to us. Once again, families will be torn apart, we must once again fear for our relatives.”

Janine Wissler spoke for the Left Party in Hesse and called briefly and perfunctorily for a halt to the deportations: “The group deportations to Afghanistan must be ended,” said the deputy Left Party president …

Immediately after Wissler spoke, two refugee aid personnel sharply criticized the practice of “voluntary departure” … . Tina and Daniel of the Wiesbaden Refugee Council said that anyone who gives credence to the official line about “safe” countries of origin and pressures the refugees to return voluntarily is acting hastily and irresponsibly. This practice places the refugees in enormous danger, they said.

As several speakers emphasized, the security situation deteriorated massively in Afghanistan last year. The foreign office has warned German tourists and business people against even short-term travel in the country. Afghanistan is anything but a “safe country of origin”: random raids by the Taliban and NATO air attacks endanger people day in and day out. A spokesperson reported that last week a Sikh representative in Kunduz was shot openly in the street: “Hindus and Sikhs are being sent to their deaths with eyes open.”

Many German youths also participated in the demonstration

Many German opponents of deportations, above all young people, took part in the demonstration. The mass deportation of refugees has provoked widespread horror and the plans for central deportation centres remind many of the Nazi concentration camps. …

Since last fall, the German federal government, which has called Afghanistan a safe country of origin, has maintained a cynical agreement with the government in Kabul concerning rejected asylum applicants. Parallel to this, the federal parliament has prolonged the engagement of the federal army in Afghanistan.

Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière is preparing new deportation centres near the large German airports as part of his plans to centralize the entire security apparatus, and Chancellor Angela Merkel is supporting this course with her injunction “deport, deport, deport.”

The Hesse Minister President Volker Bouffier (Christian Democratic Union) suggested several days ago that refugees picked up in the Mediterranean should be sent back to Africa. In addition, special intake centres should be built in Tunisia or Egypt, he said. Bouffier added that he completely supported a similar suggestion from the Christian Social Union, one of Merkel’s coalition partners at the federal level.

Federal President of the SPD Sigmar Gabriel criticized Thomas de Maizière’s police-state plans from the right, downplaying them as purely “symbolic politics.” And Federal Minister of Justice Heiko Maas (SPD) spoke of a “preventive offensive” and demanded changed laws, so that detention pending deportation would also be possible when the countries of origin do not cooperate.

Joschka Fischer advocates ‘green’ German militarism

This video from Germany is called Uli Rippert’s contribution to May Day 2016: Once again, German militarism is rearing its ugly head.

From all the ‘green’ stuff which German politician Joschka Fischer used to talk about, the only two ‘greens’ left by now are the olive-green of military uniforms; and the green of the logo of the BP Big Oil polluters with whom Fischer associated as he became a Big Oil millionaire.

By Peter Schwarz in Germany:

Germany: The Greens’ Joschka Fischer calls for national rearmament

10 January 2017

Anyone who wants to know what prominent political circles in Germany are thinking should read the newspaper columns by ex-Green Party leader Joschka Fischer. The former anarchist and street fighter, who made a political career with the Greens, and then as foreign minister oversaw the first Bundeswehr (armed forces) missions abroad, never distinguished himself with an independent opinion. He provides, however, a sensitive measure of political trends. He sets his course according to the prevailing wind, before others even perceive this.

Fischer has long spoken for that section of the German bourgeoisie that holds a strong European Union (EU) and a close military alliance with the US within the framework of NATO to be indispensable. The coalition of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Greens broke up prematurely in 2003 not least because Fischer rejected the close relationship between Chancellor Gerhard Schröder (SPD) and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It is all the more remarkable that Fischer now calls for a “security option on the basis of the nation state” and places the future of NATO in question. He draws the conclusion from a possible rapprochement between Moscow and Washington under the new US president, Donald Trump, that Germany should massively upgrade its military—irrespective of the EU, and if possible, in cooperation with France.

On Monday, in the Süddeutsche Zeitung, he published an “Outsider’s view” headlined, “Europe’s Agenda 2017: Squeezed between Presidents Putin and Trump, the EU cannot remain a ‘soft power.’” He calls the coming to power of Trump on January 20 a “watershed moment” for Europe, which will deeply shake the EU. He sketches out a scenario in which Russian President Vladimir Putin and Trump attempt “to destabilise the EU by supporting nationalist forces and movements within its member states.”

What had even more far-reaching consequences for the EU, said Fischer, was “the announcement by the new American president to review the American security guarantee for Europe and to put the relationship of the US with Russia on a new basis.” If this were “at the expense of NATO, this would radically change the security situation for Europe.”

Although Fischer advises the “EU should now shore up what it has left with respect to NATO and focus on salvaging its own institutional, economic, and legal integration,” he continued, “It should also look to its member states to provide a second security option. The EU itself is based on soft power: it was not designed to guarantee European security, and it is not positioned in its current form to confront a hard-power challenge.”

As a Green, Fischer clothes his call for military rearmament in phrases about the preservation of peace. If Europe wants “an enduring peace” then “it first must ensure that it is taken seriously,” he writes. This is “clearly not the case today.” That is why Europe, “in the Trump era, beyond the US security guarantee, must substantially strengthen its own [military] capabilities.”

Fischer therefore advocates a joint effort by France and Germany: “Other countries such as Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, and Poland will also have a role to play, but France and Germany are indispensable.” But he also has to admit that many diplomats hold the differences between Germany and France on military issues to be insurmountable. Although he hopes that Berlin and Paris find a compromise under pressure from Trump and Putin, ultimately his proposal amounts to a massive strengthening of German militarism.

That Fischer is not alone is shown by the German reaction to the American hacker accusations against Russia. Although the US intelligence agencies have so far produced no factual evidence to support their allegation that the Russian government influenced the US elections, the German media supports what they say as an indisputable fact. The anti-Russian hysteria in Germany is also assuming grotesque proportions. Significantly, the edition of the Süddeutsche Zeitung containing Fischer’s column bears the headline: “Berlin fears Russian hackers.”

The American ruling class is currently gripped by a fierce dispute over the future foreign policy direction. While outgoing President Obama and sections of the security apparatus want to escalate the confrontation with Russia, Trump and his followers regard China as their priority opponent.

The German media have largely taken the side of the Obama camp in this conflict. While some, during the Ukraine conflict, had warned against escalating the confrontation with Russia, with regard to Germany’s economic interests, they now fear a rapprochement between Washington and Moscow at the expense of the EU, and above all Germany.

They are responding by stepping up the campaign for the revival of German militarism, which began three years ago when German President Gauck, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen proclaimed the “end of [German] military restraint.” The return of militarism is being accompanied by a massive upgrade of the police and state monitoring apparatus to suppress any social and political opposition—with the Greens playing a leading role.

United States ‘alt-right’ Islamophobic fake news on Germany

This video from the USA says about itself:

Media Fawns Over Neo-Nazis (The So-Called Alt-Right)

2 December 2016

Donald Trump’s base includes Nazis, Neo-Nazis, White Supremacists and the KKK, including his Chief Strategist Steve Bannon, a former executive of the Neo-Nazi website, Breitbart. The Los Angeles Times and Mother Jones both wrote fluff pieces praising their fashion and ascendancy in Washington thanks to Donald Trump.

Jimmy Dore breaks it down.

From teleSUR:

Breitbart Takes Fake News to New Level with Muslim Attack

7 January 2017

The “news” story portrayed a deliberate attack on a Dortmund church by a “mob” of Muslims.

Far-right white nationalist website Breitbart has been criticized by German authorities and media for falsifying a story of a new year’s eve where a church was supposedly set on fire by a group of Muslims in Dortmund.

On Jan. 3., Breitbart published a story titled “Revealed: 1,000-man mob attack police, set Germany’s oldest church alight on New Year’s Eve.” The group reportedly chanted “Allahu Akbar” while setting the church alight, as the website cited live information from local media outlet Ruhr Nachrichten.

However, Ruhr Nachrichten then hit back at the story, saying that Breitbart’s reporting of the event has been “using our online reports for fake news, hate and propaganda.” The German outlet explained that the far-right website falsely connected a number of separate incidents to fabricate the story.

Local media reported that there were some individuals who launched fireworks in the crowd with police ordering a number to leave and took some into custody, and a small fire which lasted for 12 minutes started on the Church’s roof. Yet, there were no reports from the media or authorities which indicated that the fire was intentionally lit.

Importantly, while local media reported that there were around 1,000 people gathered in Dortmund’s Leeds Square for New Year celebrations and that there were groups of foreign people attending, it could not be seen as a “mob,” like Breitbart portrayed. It was also pointed out that the Church in questions was in fact, not the oldest in the country.

Ruhr Nachrichten‘s editor Peter Bandermann said that Breitbart also sensationalized how Syrians in the crowd were using the phrase “Allahu Akbar,” explaining that “this statement is a Muslim prayer as normal as ‘Amen’ in the Church.”

Bandermann added, “The fact is: there was no sign that terrorism was being celebrated in Dortmund.”

Police told local media that overall the celebrations amounted to a quiet night and later stated in a report that the number of call-outs for New Year’s celebration had actually decreased significantly from last year.

Thousands of users read and shared the Breitbart story, before it was revealed as a falsification. “The danger is that these stories spread with incredible speed and take on lives of their own”, Eva Kühne-Hörmann, justice minister of nearby Hesse, told the Guardian.

Breitbart was known as a mouthpiece for U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s campaign for promoting racism and white nationalism. Its former director Steve Bannon is now Trump’s chief strategist.

Breitbart already runs a website from London and is rumored to be opening up outlets in France and Germany ahead of elections later this year and to play on the increasing anti-immigration sentiment within the continent.

A number of German companies including BMW and Deutsche Telekom have already pulled their advertising from the website.

See also here.

Politico co-founder offers effusive praise for Breitbart, a platform for white nationalism. The normalization of bigotry: here.