News from Western Europe, Wednesday 8th May 2013

EUROPE

Tranlsated from Germna – Zeit Online: World Jewish Congress calls for ban all neo-Nazi parties. ‘At the conclusion of its annual meeting of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) hasurged governments in Europe to ban right-wing extremist parties. States should consider to ban neo-Nazi parties and organizations who wanted to overthrow the democratic order and threatened minorities, the WJC said in Budapest.

The WJC described in his report “The rise of neo-Nazism in the political party system” three examples of right-wing parties: the German NPD, the far-right party Jobbik Hungarian Parliament (the better) and the ultra-nationalist party Golden Dawn in Greece.

The anti-Semitic discourse, the aggressive chauvinism and anti-capitalist and anti-socialist rhetoric of political organizations had strong similarities with the ideology of the Nazi NSDAP, said the report’s author, Briton Robin Shepherd. “That’s why the term neo-Nazi parties is appropriate.”

In addition to a ban, the report recommends to isolate these parties. Representatives of the democratic forces should strictly refuse to meet with people from these parties at public events or to maintain private dealings with them.’

FRANCE

France 24: Al Qaeda in North Africa calls for attacks on France. ‘An Algeria-based al-Qaida offshoot said in an online video on Tuesday that Muslims have an obligation to attack French interests around the world because of France’s military intervention in Mali.

In a message posted on YouTube, Abou Obeida Youssef Al-Annabi, a notable in the Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb group, or AQIM, said the “crusade” led by France in Mali makes its interests “legitimate targets.”

French President Francois Hollande said he takes the threat seriously. Hollande ordered the Jan. 11 intervention to stamp out AQIM and two other groups of radicals that controlled northern Mali.

The speech by Al-Annabi said the military campaign against AQIM “is an issue of religion being disgraced and a people being annihilated and an identity destroyed.” He said, “It is an obligation on you, Muslims, to respond … by confronting French interests everywhere.”

“These interests,” Al-Annabi said, “have become legitimate targets for you,” warning that France risks falling into “the same swamp which America fell in in Iraq and Afghanistan.”’

The Independent: French ministers refuse to attend conference with Islamic scholar who teaches at Oxford University. ‘He is an Islamic scholar who teaches at Oxford University and a former member of a working group on extremism set up by Tony Blair. Time magazine once described him as the “leading thinker” among Europe’s second and third-generation Muslim immigrants.

Yet two French ministers have suddenly announced that they will not attend a conference in Florence tomorrow on the future of the European Union because of the presence of the scholar, Tariq Ramadan. He is due to be a panellist at the conference, entitled The State of the Union, speaking about “migration, identity and integration”[…]

The philosopher is a controversial figure who has been accused of advocating violence and for some years was banned from entering France. A French  right-wing MP attending the conference, Bruno Le Maire, told Le Monde: “I’m not in the habit of yielding to people whose views I don’t share – I fight them.”’

Reuters: France struggles to fight radical Islam in its jails. ‘In France, the path to radical Islam often begins with a minor offence that throws a young man into an overcrowded, violent jail and produces a hardened convert ready for jihad.

With the country on heightened security alert since January when French troops began fighting al Qaeda-linked Islamists in Mali, authorities are increasingly worried about home-grown militants emerging from France’s own jails.

But despite government efforts to tackle the problem, conditions behind bars are still turning young Muslims into easy prey for jhadist recruiters, according to guards, prison directors, ex-inmates, chaplains and crime experts interviewed over the last few months by Reuters.’

GERMANY

Translated from French – Le Figaro: At Schöneweide in Berlin nest of neo-Nazi. ‘The people of Schöneweide inner city of the former East Berlin, where the neo-Nazis have made ​​their nest, received reinforcements. Some 3,000 protesters, holding placards showing Playmobil sporting a Hitler mustache crossed a sense forbidden scroll beneath the windows of the extreme right on the eve of May 1st militants. While in Munich opens the trial of the NSU (National Socialist Underground) , the small group responsible for a series of ten racist murders, they came to show they do not underestimate the danger posed by the movement neo-Nazis and they have not abandoned the area in the brown plague.

Mailed to their balconies or in the streets away from the demonstrators, skinheads take photographs of the procession, targeting local youth, students, retired or left-wing anti-fascist demonstrators to try to intimidate them. Sometimes they point to with a smile showing their device to signify that they are stuck. “In a few years, Schöneweide became the stronghold of the Nazis.That’s why we march here. Person or in any Schöneweide Berlin can say he did not know that terror lurks here, “says an organizer of the associative group” network against the Nazis “in his megaphone.’

Photos – Huffington Post: ‘Tannhauser,’ Nazi-Themed Opera By Wagner, Creates Scandal In Germany. ‘A modern production of Richard Wagner’s opera “Tannhauser” is causing a stir in Germany because of Nazi-themed scenes showing people dying in gas chambers and members of a family having their heads shaved before being executed.

A spokeswoman for the Dusseldorf opera house said Tuesday that members of the audience “booed and were shocked” by Saturday’s opening performance.

Monika Doll said the company of Deutsche Oper am Rhein is debating whether to tone down the provocative parts, added to the original by producer Burkhard Kosminski.’

Translated from German – Der Spiegel: Gay marriage: federal judge set deadline for equality. ‘The Federal Constitutional Court has issued an ultimatum to the federal tax equal treatment of same-sex marriage. Up to 18 June should be a law would be treated by the same-sex partnerships in the real estate transfer tax as well as married couples, according to a letter from the Deputy Court President Ferdinand Cemetery at Bundestag President Norbert Lammert (CDU), on the the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” .

Since a change of legislation is pending to date, the Senate intends to proceed on the agenda for its meeting on 18 and 19 Put June cemetery writes according to the report. Perhaps the court wants to create a transitional subsequently by enforcement order, it says in the SZ.’

Football violence: Police searched homes of fans. ‘Rostock’s prosecution has secured large amounts of evidence during searches against violent football fans in four states. This is about mobile phones, computers, but also batons, drugs and pyrotechnics, as police spokeswoman Yvonne Hanske said in Rostock on Tuesday.

450 officials – especially the federal police – raided 43 homes in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Hamburg, Berlin and Brandenburg on Tuesday morning. Against 38 suspects between 20 and 40 years of age is determined for a serious breach of the peace and aggravated assault.’

Translated from German – Süddeutsche: Germany, immigration country. ‘Germanyhas atracted many immigrants since 1995: More than one million people moved in 2012 from abroad – 369,000 more than were leaving. Mainly the migrants came from the Southeast European crisis countries. But most immigrants still come from Poland.

The adjournment of the process is normal. ‘Of course, the members want the NSU victims as soon as possible and find out exactly why her father, her son, her brother was shot […] But in court, there are rules and there are rights. And it is offered in a state of law that lawyers use these rights. It is normal to process the beginning of bias against judges are made. It also belongs to this normality that judges take for thinking about these requests a week.’

Comment – The Guardian: The Beate Zschäpe trial is a chance to show how enlightened Germany is. ‘It is not just details of the crimes that are shocking, but the fact that it has taken 13 years to bring the first murder to court, with investigators originally suspecting the victims’ families. The whole episode seemed to show that institutional racism is still a much bigger problem in Germany than the authorities like to admit, and that the country is urgently in need of the kind of reforms that Britain saw in the wake of the death of Stephen Lawrence. Were the police just incompetent, or “blind in the right eye”? A placard at a demonstration outside the courtroom on Monday asked the same question in simpler and more urgent terms: “How could they kill so many?”

Yet it is crucial to remember that the answer won’t be found at the high-profile Zschäpe trial, but in an investigation already under way into police conduct. Three senior officers from the domestic intelligence agency – have already lost their jobs. The Green party and leftwing Die Linke are furthermore calling for a ban on recruiting police informers from far-right circles. Recently many have criticised the authorities for failing to recognise that the trial against Zschäpe will fulfil a similarly political role: seats for the media were originally assigned on a first-come first-served basis, which meant Turkish and Greek newspapers were left out. The federal court intervened, seats were reassigned – to the effect that major TV outlets and newspapers were left out at the expense of local radio stations and a women’s magazine. Add to the farcical tone of the proceedings, the defence team carries the surnames Sturm, Stahl and Heer (Storm, Steel and Army). But the courts insist that everything must be done to stop this becoming a show trial – and I believe they are right.’

RUVR: Neo-Nazis trial in Germany: ‘Several NSU members were informers’. ‘The media report that the special services could possibly have made mistakes but the victims’ lawyers intend to prove that German judicial authorities were involved in the activities of that far-right radical group.

The NSU is responsible for the deaths of ten people, nine of whom are of Turkish origin. There are five defendants and 500 pages of a bill of indictment. The central person in the case of the right-wing extremists tried in the Munich Supreme Court is 38-year-old Beate Zschaepe.

She is considered to be a member of a terrorist group and is charged with preparing murders and robberies. Over 17 months that she has spent under investigation she has not given any testimony. Photos from the sites of the crimes, weapons and agitprop clips were found in her house.

There is ample evidence, lawyer Mehmet Daimaguller told The Voice of Russia on behalf of the families of two victims of the neo-Nazis. However, he is convinced that those who are in the dock now are only the tip of the iceberg.

“It is impossible to remain underground for 14 years without anyone knowing in such a country as Germany. Another thing that particularly interests us is the role played by German special services and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. We know that several NSU members were informers of various constitutional bodies” –  Daimaguller said.’

Translated from German – Zeit Online: Friedrich wants to regionalize Islamic Conference. ‘The states should be more involved in the Islamic Conference, said Interior Minister Friedrich. The responsibility should remain with his ministry despite criticism.

German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has rejected the demand of Muslim organizations to outsource the Islamic Conference after the election of the Interior. His ministry is responsible for social cohesion and thus also for the Islamic Conference, the CSU politician said at the last meeting with Muslim organizations in this term.

Instead, Frederick wants the German Islam Conference (DIK) more anchor after the elections in those countries. The DIK should be regionalized. “This is one of the structural tasks, particularly the next legislative session,” he said.

The Home Secretary also welcomed the initiative launched by the DIK to support projects in the field of youth against Islamophobia, anti-Semitism and extremism. Prevention in these three areas are the focus of this year’s DIK-plenum.’

ITALY

Gazzetta del Sud: Survey says media discriminates in coverage of Roma minority. ‘Media reports show only the negative side of Roma and Sinti in Italy, according to a survey of newspaper articles released Tuesday. The survey by Naga, which often focuses on health care services for foreigners, found that “discriminatory statements” were made in 37.2% of articles studied. Another 32.3% of articles differentiated between “us” – meaning Italians – and “them,” referring to Roma and Sinti, said Naga, a non-profit organization working for better treatment of foreigners in Italy.

For 10 months, beginning last June, Naga followed numerous newspapers, including local and national journals including Il Corriere della Sera, La Repubblica, La Stampa, Il Sole 24 Ore, Il Giornale, Libero, La Padania, and La Prealpina. The survey suggested that some newspaper reports on negative events made reference to Roma people even when they were not directly involved in the story.’

Translated from Italian – Repubblica: M5S, forbidden to post Email parliamentarians. ‘The Guarantor for the protection of personal data has ordered a ban on dissemination and further process the contents of the mail addresses of the Members of the Movement 5 Stars originally spread in the network. “The newspapers, websites and anyone who holds these e-mails to them eventually discharged, will be required to delete them, even from its archives,” says the Authority in a statement.

After the first strong warning to would be respected the privacy of parliamentary involved, launched immediately as a result of ‘ hacking of the emails , the Guarantor yesterday adopted a measure (which will be published in the Official Gazette) whose motivations lie in violation of several rules. “The work accomplished – continues the statement – to the detriment of Deputies set up, first of all, a serious violation of a fundamental right enshrined in the Constitution’

THE NETHERLANDS

Translated from Dutch – Volkskrant: Extremists riled hunger strikers. ‘Hunger Strikes among detained asylum seekers in border prison and detention center Schiphol Rotterdam, are driven by left-wing extremist circles that more powerfully oppose the Dutch asylum and immigration policy. Include Wednesday, reports The Telegraph.’

NORWAY

The Washington Post: After Breivik, Norway pushes to extend prison sentence for terrorism to 30 years. ‘The Norwegian government has proposed extending the maximum prison sentence for terrorism to 30 years, in the wake of Anders Behring Breivik’s attacks last year that killed 77 people.

In its proposals to Parliament on Tuesday, the government also put forward a motion to criminalize participation in terrorist organizations, but said courts should define such groups.’

SPAIN

BBC News: Eta suspect Fuentes Villota can be extradited to Spain. ‘An alleged member of the Basque separatist group Eta can be sent to Spain to face terrorism charges, a UK court has ruled.

Raul Angel Fuentes Villota, 46, was arrested in Liverpool last year, having been on the run for 17 years.

He skipped bail in Spain in 1995 while facing charges of attempting to bomb a police officer’s car in 1991.

A district judge in London said he would let Spanish courts decide whether his evidence was obtained by torture.

Sitting at Westminster Magistrates’ Court, Judge Nicholas Evans said Spain was a “trusted extradition partner”.

Raul Fuentes Villota told a hearing last month that he was tortured while being held by Spanish police in 1991, including having pencils placed between his fingers and squeezed to inflict pain on his hands.’

UPI: Corruption charges to be dropped against Spanish princess. ‘Financial corruption charges against Spain’s Princess Cristina will be dropped, an appeals court decided Tuesday.

Both prosecutors and attorneys for the princess had urged the court to drop the preliminary charges on grounds there was insufficient evidence to try her, CNN reported.

Judge Jose Castro, a magistrate investigating a case against Cristina’s husband Inaki Urgandarin, issued the charges against the princess last month.’

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