jueves, 24 de noviembre de 2011
Estonia’s anti-fascist committee says the proof of Gorshkov’s atrocities in a Belarusian concentration camp is solid and undoubted. But instead of seeing off his days from behind bars, he now lives the life of a free man in this Baltic state. “Gorshkov was deported from the US and stripped of US citizenship. That says a lot, doesn’t it? Tallinn gave him shelter and tried to hide him here, but then under international pressure the authorities had to initiate an investigation,” Zarenkov reveals. However, the probe yielded no results. After months of investigation, Estonian authorities closed the case.
The advisor of the Office of Estonian Prosecutor General Carol Merzin said that “A well-grounded doubt remains that the Gorshkov mentioned in the materials is not the Mikhail Gorshkov who is at present a citizen of the Republic of Estonia. The case will be closed, as it has been impossible for the investigative team to to find any additional evidence.” The decision raised eyebrows in Israel – at first. But then Simon Wiesenthal’s center recalled which country they were dealing with. “I called Washington, spoke the people who handled his prosecution case whether they had any doubt about [Mikhail Gorshkov’s] identity. And they said no, none whatsoever,” insists Efraim Zurov from the Simon Wiesenthal Center. “This doesn’t surprise me personally, because for the last 15 years I’ve been dealing with the Estonians. The Estonians have totally failed in terms of prosecuting Nazi war criminals. It seems there’s no will in Tallinn to bring these people to justice.”
And the Gorshkov story is not a one-off case. From sanctioning SS veterans’ marches to glorifying former Nazi collaborators – this has been Tallinn’s policy for the past decade. Recently, one man made just about every headline in Estonia. Almost on a scale of a national holiday, in October the country marked the 90th birthday of Harald Nugiseks, the only remaining holder of the Iron Cross, one of the highest awards in Nazi Germany. The Nuremberg Tribunal sentenced the Nazi leadership to either executions or prison terms 65 years ago. This trial of history was meant to get rid of Nazism for good. But the SS marches in Baltic states, and other cases of rehabilitation of fascism nowadays, suggest that history lessons have not been fully learned.
martes, 22 de noviembre de 2011
The London-based group Football Against Racism in Europe (Fare) co-ordinated a series of events in the two countries last month aimed at raising awareness. It included training at the National Stadium in Warsaw for stewards in recognising racist and fascist symbols of Polish extreme right-wing movements, who have often used footballas a recruiting ground. Anti-semitism has also been a problem in Poland,and Legia Warsaw were fined €10,000 (£8,540) by Uefa last week after an offensive banner was displayed attheir Europa League game against Hapoel Tel Aviv. According to Fare, there have also been instances of racism in the past at Lviv, one of the four Ukranian 2012 venues and a specially arrangedmulti-racial game were held there and in Warsaw last month.
jueves, 17 de noviembre de 2011
In addition to the requested prison terms, the Public Attorney for Hate Crimes and Discrimination, Miguel Ángel Aguilar, requested that the Spanish Home Secretary begin proceedings for the illegalization of ultra right-wing party ENE, as well as for the closure of their website.
martes, 15 de noviembre de 2011
The head of a Berlin-based foundation that supports programs against right-wing extremism talks to DW about a new form of far-right terror in Germany, and urges the state to do its job and protect people.
Since 1998, the Berlin-based Amadeu Antonio Foundation has supported civil society programs aimed at fighting right-wing extremism and xenophobia. In an interview with Deutsche Welle, the foundation's head, Anetta Kahane, shares her assessment of the far right's activities in Germany and calls for political action.
DW: Politicians in Germany have now started to talk about a new form of right-wing extremism in light of what's become known about the National Socialist Underground group. Opposition leaders claim the fight against right-wing extremism has been neglected in Germany for decades. Do you share this opinion?
Anetta Kahane: That's right, because this is not a very new situation. These people have been murdering for 10 years, and the question is whether the state did enough to protect the victims. I do not think they did enough; they have to be much more professional in persecuting right-wing extremists.
Apparently, cooperation between local police and intelligence people across the country hasn't been good enough, to say the least. Is this a structural or a political problem?
It's a structural problem. Right-wing extremism has always been ignored if it takes place in East Germany, as if we, in the whole Federal Republic, didn't have to care about what is going on in East Germany.But it has always been our view that if you ignore it in one place, it can happen in other places, too - it's like an infection. And this was the case in Thuringia: the secret service and the police didn't have a professional distance from the neo-Nazi groups and this has been obvious to us for a long time.
Do you view the National Socialist Underground group as only the tip of the iceberg, with many more such ultra-violent groups on the rise in the country?
I don't know - but there are a lot of violent groups and they are ready to kill. If they want to do it, they take their weapons - because they all have weapons - and they will kill people.
Chancellor Angela Merkel's government now stands accused of slashing the budget to fight right-wing extremism. Would increased financial resources be an appropriate way to prevent further activities by dangerous far-right groups, or does it take more to get on top of the problem? What exactly is needed?
This case is a police case. This is not for civil society to resolve. And the police and secret service have to be able to protect the people from this; it is their job, and they have to do their job.On the other hand, of course it's also important to create new projects and establish the old ones to fight right-wing extremism. If people had known more about neo-Nazis and right-wing extremism, they might have been suspicious - but this is the problem: in many of these towns and cities, people don't care, and sometimes, they also agree.
It hasn't really come as a big surprise to see policymakers and organizations across Germany renewing calls to ban the far-right National Democratic Party (NPD). Would such a move have a tangible effect at all?
No. I think these militant and criminal murders have nothing to do with the NPD. You can forbid and ban - this is stupid because everyone involved with neo-Nazi issues knows that in these kinds of cases, a ban has no effect. On the contrary, I think there would be much more illegal activity without the NPD party.
jueves, 10 de noviembre de 2011
Describing how police-parent cooperation worked, the now 36-year old, former leader of the Haugesund-based group named Einzats, writes, “it was extremely annoying. Every time there was a concert, demo, or a real party (...) my mother and father came and said they had already made other plans [for us]. It was inescapable. Now I understand why.” The student also alleges officers never called him in for a discussion, but says contact with two people whilst in jail was one decisive reason for rejecting extremism. “They [a cook and a warder] made huge efforts to meet me halfway, confront my attitudes, and treat me with respect, whilst at the same time questioning what I stood for.”
Whilst police methods were successful then, Right-Wing extremism is now on the rise in Norway following Anders Behring Breivik's twin massacres. Kari Helene Partapuoli, head of NGO the Norwegian Centre against Racism, told The Foreigner recently that, "People who used to be active are now inspired. The organisations are hell-bent on surviving. Some people say ‘we hate what he [Breivik]did, but he’s not going to ruin it for us’, using arguments about freedom of speech.” The mass murderer sent his manifesto just before his attacks to several people, including 250 British contacts. Amongst these were members of the English Defence League (EDL) and the British National Party (BNP), whose Facebook supporters freely express their attitudes on their profiles. The EDL subsequently denied any contact with the mass murderer, but Norwegian police questioned the movement's blogger Paul Ray on several occasions to establish any possible connections. Moreover, in what was believed to be an unconnected raid, officers from Nordre Buskerud Police District arrested a neo-Nazi just over one month later following a tip-off. Explosives, a police uniform, and illegal weapons were found.
Outside Norway, a new study by British think tank Demos, called “The New Face of Digital Populism”, concludes that Right-Wing extremism is also increasing. Jamie Bartlett, one of the report's authors and Head of the Violence and Extremism Programme at Demos, comments, "Populist parties and movements are now a force to be reckoned with in many Western European countries. These groups are known for their opposition to immigration, their ‘anti-establishment’ views and their concern for protecting national culture. Their rise in popularity has gone hand-in-hand with the advent of social media, and they are adept at using new technology to amplify their message, recruit and organise." The Guardian interviewed Dutch MEP Emine Bozkurt who leads the European Parliament’s anti-racism lobby. She warns that, “We're at a crossroads in European history." “In five years' time we will either see an increase in the forces of hatred and division in society, including ultra-nationalism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, or we will be able to fight this horrific tendency."
martes, 8 de noviembre de 2011
The Assault: On 1.11.2011 /Tuesday/, around 8 o’clock in the evening the 27-years-old Angel Nikolov, a student at the High Evangelical Institute of Theology, was going home after service at a church in the Hristo Botev neighborhood. He was riding the 79 bus together with Donka, around 40 years old. The two were headed toward the Filipovtsi neighborhood. One stop before the “Georgi Asparuhov Stadium, known location of past assaults, a dozen young men in skinhead “uniform” for on the bus: black jackets, army boots, shaved heads. At this point Donka and Angel were sitting three seats behind the driver, Donka occupying the window seat. They are the only Roma on the bus, carrying other passengers as well. Upon entering, the neo-Nazis notice Donka and Angel, and after a “Let’s get the ball rolling!” they jump on the two passengers, hitting them with fists and kicking them with their boots while hanging off the top handlebars of the bus. Angel tries to protect Donka with his body, receiving multiple trauma and injuries in result.
The Witnesses: The bus driver makes no effort to contact the police patrol on duty in the area. On the contrary, he opens the bus doors at the traffic light before the next stop, thus allowing the Nazis to leave undisturbed. Not a single person on the bus intervenes to prevent the assault or express resentment.
The Consequences: Currently Angel is in intensive care suffering concussion of the brain, hematomas of the head, and obstructed breathing due to serious contusion of the chest. His condition is highly critical because Angel has epilepsy.
The Questions: This crime is an alarming piece if news for many reasons. Daily, people from the Romani community in Bulgaria become victims of scum bands of neo-Nazis, while the media habitually ignores the assaults.
The Call: We address the media in the hope to voice the problem with yet another instance of racist assault. Besides using violence, the neo-Nazis get away with it, benefiting from the apparent social indifference to their crimes. Presently, the assailants are free. Possibly, the very moment you are reading this they are looking for their next victim. In this and preceding such instances it’s the Roma but victims of neo-Nazi hate are also Muslims, people from other religious and sexual minorities, or Bulgarians with the “wrong” hairdo. Do we know whom they will aim for tomorrow? We cannot keep living with a false sense of security - tomorrow, the victim of assault will be our sister, mother, brother, or friend!
Civil initiative “People against Racism” calls on the authorities to take measures for the arrest and charge of the assailants. Let us not be silent. We call on the media to spread the news. We call on citizens to open their eyes. Let’s say NO to racist terror and violence!