Vladimir Putin’s Fifth Column in the West

Vladimir Putin’s fifth column in the West

DOUG SAUNDERS (Globe And Mail)

When Russian President Vladimir Putin uses military force to menace Ukraine’s democracy and seize chunks of its territory, when he uses authoritarian laws to crack down on homosexuals and minorities and imprison dissidents, there are those among us, including a record number of elected politicians, who cheer.

A generation ago, Moscow’s fans and enablers would have all been on the far left. Today, with the exception of a marginal group of leftists motivated by anti-Americanism, Mr. Putin’s cheerleaders are all conservatives – some in the United States and Canada, and a record number who have just come to power in Europe.

Last week’s European Parliament elections saw a record number of Putin-admiring and Putin-emulating parties elected to Brussels. Some of these parties are anti-European Union, some are anti-immigrant, some are outright racist and anti-Semitic. They don’t tend to get along with one another, but one thing that unites them is an outspoken admiration for Mr. Putin.

Nigel Farage, the leader of the suddenly powerful United Kingdom Independence Party,used a magazine interview during the campaign to praise the Russian President, calling him the world leader he most admires. “Compared with the kids who run foreign policy in this country, I’ve more respect for him than our lot,” he said at a public event.

In words widely reported in the Russian media, he added that the EU has “blood on its hands” for supporting the democracy movement in Ukraine. Rather than posing a threat to Europe, Mr. Farage said, Russia has fallen prey to Europe’s “activist, militarist and expansionist foreign policy.”

Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s National Front (which sent the lion’s share of French representatives to Brussels) is an even greater admirer. “I think he puts the interests of Russia and the Russian people first, so in this regard, I have the same amount of respect for him as for Ms. Merkel,” Ms. Le Pen said this week, adding that “a lot of things are said about Russia because for years it has been demonized on U.S. orders.” She, like her comrades across Europe, wants to end sanctions against Russia and restore “traditional, friendly” relations.

Geert Wilders, the mop-haired head of the Freedom Party in the Netherlands, has blamed the conflict in eastern Ukraine not on Russia but on “shameless Europhiles with their dreams of empire.” Ukraine’s democracy movement and the pro-European government it elected last week, he said, are run by “National Socialists, Jew-haters and other anti-democrats.” (In fact, extreme-right and anti-Semitic parties attracted about 2 per cent of the vote in the recent Ukrainian election.)

In the minds of such politicians, Europe’s response to Moscow’s incursions hasn’t been slow and mild; it’s been excessive. “We have always been told the European Union stands for peace,” Mr. Wilders said. “Now, we know better – the EU stands for war-mongering.”

These Westerners aren’t backing Mr. Putin out of pure Russophilia. Rather, they admire his embrace of a Christian and mono-ethnic identity for greater Russia, and his aggressive action against what they see as their enemies: European diversity and open borders, and minority groups – especially homosexuals and Muslims. Like them, Mr. Putin embraces the old conspiracy holding that Muslims are secretly plotting to take over Europe, a key plank for these parties.

That’s why North American right-wing anti-immigration activists, generally affiliated with the Republican Party and the right fringe of Canada’s Conservatives, have rushed to back Mr. Putin and the European parties that admire him.

American anti-Muslim activist Robert Spencer made a point of appearing on the Russia Today network (shortly after most of its American staff had quit and denounced it as a Kremlin propaganda outlet) to attack the United States and endorse Mr. Putin’s approach toward Muslim minorities. “Barack Obama is somebody who has been embarrassed on the world stage by Vladimir Putin more than once,” Mr. Spencer said.

And Ezra Levant, the right-wing pundit with Canada’s Sun Media,cheered France’s National Front, Britain’s UKIP and the other Putin-backing parties for their European election victories, praising their embrace of Putinist ideas: “The EU’s de facto abolition of borders … has let millions of migrants move from the poorer parts of the EU to the richer ones,” he explained, warning of “mass Islamic immigration that contains large elements refusing to accept Western, liberal values.”

Their victory is, he said, “a rejection of Obamaism, and a return to common sense, national conservatism. You could say it’s a bit of Stephen Harperism.”

To be fair, Mr. Harper has never endorsed such ideas. It is actually a bit of Vladimir Putinism.

Follow  on Twitter: @dougsaunders

(via. Loonwatch)

4 MPs in Geert Wilders Party Wear Badges with Neo-Nazi Insignia

image

This is Robert Spencer‘s “defenders of freedom”: Neo-Nazis.

Row after four MPs wear badges in Dutch parliament featuring neo-Nazi insignia

(IrishTimes)

A row has broken out over four MPs of Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party who wore badges in the Dutch parliament this week featuring a well-known neo-Nazi insignia which has links to the country’s infamous national socialist party of the 1930s.

The display came on Thursday after exchanges the previous day when the leader of the centre-left D66 party, Alexander Pechtold, called on Mr Wilders to distance himself from extremists who waved the Prinsen flag and gave Nazi salutes at a Freedom Party rally in The Hague last weekend.

Against an all-time high in opinion polls, the rally was the start of what Mr Wilders has promised will be a popular backlash against EU austerity measures “imposed” by Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s trailing Liberal-Labour coalition government “at the behest of” Brussels.

Right-wing umbrella
He has also revealed plans for an alliance of right-wing parties – including the National Front in France, Alternative for Germany, and the Northern League in Italy – to fight European Parliament elections next May, a strategy supported recently by National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

Spats in parliament featuring Geert Wilders are nothing new, but his exchanges with Mr Pechtold were unusually bad-tempered and vitriolic.

When Mr Pechtold asked how he felt about Ms Le Pen’s belief that “Jewish skull caps should be banned”, Mr Wilders replied by describing Mr Pechtold as “a sad, miserable, hypocritical, little man” whose question was “too miserable to be taken seriously”.

The Freedom Party leader said he was “proud” of last weekend’s rally, and “proud of everyone who attended it”.

Not anti-Semitic

However, he did qualify that: “It goes without saying that the PVV [Freedom Party] and its thousands of supporters have nothing to do with extremism or anti-Semitism. The PVV has nothing to do with that sort of idiocy.”

The following day, however, the four MPs – including Martin Bosma, one of Mr Wilders’s closest associates – sat together in parliament wearing badges featuring the Prinsen flag, which is virtually identical to the Dutch flag except that its red horizontal bar is replaced with an orange one.

The Prinsen flag was first carried by followers of William of Orange in the 80 Years War against Spain in the 16th century, and is still used by extreme right-wing groups such as Stormfront. It was adopted by the national socialists during the 1930s because of its links with “a golden age” for the Netherlands. Because of those Nazi associations, it was replaced with the current flag in 1937 on the instructions of Queen Wilhelmina, who fled to London during the war.

Mr Wilders has refused to comment, as in 2011 when the Prinsen flag was photographed in his party’s offices.

Geert Wilders Confidante and Former Far-Right Politician Arnoud Van Doorn Converts to Islam

 

Far-right Dutch Politician Reverts to Islam

Is Van Doorn’s conversion sincere or a Far-Right political stunt? He claims it is sincere and confirmed the speculation regarding his conversion to AlJazeera.

The Dutch anti-hate site Krapuul.nl has also carried the story, (original DutchEnglish translation).

This will really rattle the “counterjihadists,” no doubt Geert Wilders is shaken, as everything he stands for has been undermined by an individual who used to be a close confidante.

Far-right Dutch Politician Finds Islam

(OnIslam)

AMSTERDAM – A leading member in far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders’ party has reverted to Islam after an extensive study about the Islamic religion and Muslims.

“I can understand people are skeptic, especially that it is unexpected for many of them,” Arnoud Van Doorn told Al-Jazeera English satellite channel.

“This is a very big decision, which I have not taken lightly.”

The news about Doorn’s reversion first came to the surface last month when he tweeted “new beginning”.

He later posted a tweet in Arab pronouncing the Shahadah (proclamation of faith).

The politician later announced that he reverted to Islam, giving no more information about the reasons behind the decision.

“In my own close circle people have known that I have been actively researching the Qur’an, Hadith, Sunnah and other writings for almost a year now,” he said.

“In addition, I have had numerous conversations with Muslims about the religion.”

Driven by his party’s anti-Islam discourse, Doorn decided to dig in for the truth about the religion himself.

“I have heard so many negative stories about Islam, but I am not a person who follows opinions of others without doing my own research,” he said.

“Therefore, I have actually started to deepen my knowledge of the Islam out of curiosity.

“My colleague Aboe Khoulani from the City Council in The Hague has brought me further into contact with the as-Soennah mosque, which has guided me even further.”

A member of the Dutch parliament and The Hague city council, Doorn’s name has long been associated with Wilders’ anti-Islam, far-right PVV party.

A member of the Dutch parliament and The Hague city council, Doorn’s name has long been associated with anti-Islam rhetoric by Wilders’ PVV party.

Wilders himself is known for his rants against Islam, Muslims and the Noble Qur’an.

New Beginning

Doorn’s decision to embrace Islam has won mixed reactions in the Netherlands.

“According to some people I am a traitor, but according to most others I have actually made a very good decision,” he told Aljazeera.

“The reactions are generally positive and I also received quite some support via twitter.

“It feels good that people who do not know me personally have understanding of my situation and support me in my choice.”

For the Dutch politician, finding Islam was finally guiding him to the true path in his life.

“I have made mistakes in life as many others. From these mistakes I have learned a lot,” Doorn said.

“And by my conversion to Islam I have the feeling that I finally found my path.

“I realize that this is a new start and that I still have much to learn as well.”

Departing from his earlier life as a PVV member, Doorn expects much resistance in his political life.

“The expectation is that I will continue to face much resistance, also from certain government institutions,” he said.

“I have all faith in Allah to support me and to guide me through these moments.”

Racist Geert Wilders Promises to “Step Up International Anti-Islam Campaign”

geert-wilders (1)

After his party, the PVV completely failed to deliver anything to the Dutch people, Wilders is resorting to the tried and true method of attacking minorities in Holland and promising more war against Islam. He also made the hilarious comment that it is “Moroccan racism that they do not rob one another.”

Keep chugging away Geert! You will really take care of Islam this time, really!

Wilders to step up international anti-Islam campaign

(Dutch.News.nl)

PVV leader Geert Wilders is to step up his campaign against Islam in 2013, the parliamentarian told Nos television in an interview.

The fight against Islam is a mission for life, Wilders told the broadcaster.

Wilders said he would step up his fight against ‘the biggest sickness’ the Netherlands has had at home and internationally, ‘from Australia to America, from Switzerland to wherever.’

Wilders also again renewed his statement that the Netherlands has a ‘Moroccan problem’. It is Moroccan racism that they rarely rob each other, Wilders said.

Alliance with Wilders Did Hurt Netherlands’ Reputation

Wilders divisiveness and hate promotion has hurt the image of the Netherlands.

Alliance with Wilders did hurt Netherlands’ reputation

The previous coalition government, which involved Geert Wilders’ anti-Islam PVV in a supporting role, did have an image problem abroad, civil service documents supplied to website nu.nl show.

Ministers repeatedly said foreign governments understood the relationship between the minority coalition and Wilders and that he was not officially part of government.

However, official papers show “time after time” that diplomats wanted proper instructions on “how to avoid reputation damage as much as possible” – for example, when Wilders published a new book. This often did not work, the documents state.

Rob de Wijk, director of research institute HCCS and an expert on international relations, told the website this should not be a surprise. “Wilders’ position was impossible to explain abroad,” he said.

The problems have not all been solved now Wilders is no longer part of the alliance. “He was a symbol of the way the Netherlands had turned in on itself.”

Dutch News, 4 November 2012

Former Councillor for Wilders’ PVV Active on Neo-Nazi Stormfront Website

Monica Nunes a former councillor with Geert Wilder PVV was an active member on the neo-Nazi Stormfront website. She claims she was on the site to try and persuade Nazis away from their racism, however she had no qualms in bashing Muslims in her comments:

Former councillor for Wilders’ PVV active on neo-nazi Stormfront website

A former councillor for the anti-immigration PVV in Noord Holland has close ties to the neo-nazi group Stormfront and submitted 2,200 items to the organisation’s website, the Noord-Hollands Dagblad reported on Friday.

Monica Nunes is one of three provincial councillors who left the PVV earlier this year to go it alone.

In her writings on the site, which ended around three years ago, Nunes says all Muslims should be sent back to their country of origin and “Jews have a good nose for money”, the paper said. Nunes used the name Doubt while active on the site. Her role was uncovered by anti-facist research group Kaftka.

In a statement Nunes said she had been a member of the Stormfront website, but with the aim of persuading other members to think differently.

“I might have been stupid to join a debate with these nazis,” she said. “But I argued against their most insane racial theories and always defended the Jewish community and existence of Israel.”

Dutch News, 5 July 2012

See also “Monica Nunes, (oude) medestander Brinkman actief op neonaziforum”, Antifascistische Onderzoeksgroep Kafka, 1 June 2012

Nunes’ comments on Stormfront included the following, which gives an indication of her motives for joining the PVV: “I wish we had a leader who would expel Muslims from the country, back to their country of origin. I don’t want to smash or kill these people. I just want them to go away …. far away.”

Support for Geert Wilders’ “Freedom Party” Drops Over Crisis

Still my favorite picture of Geert Wilders

If Geert Wilders’ consistent and prolonged anti-Islam/Muslim diatribes weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…

If Geert Wilders anti-freedom policies and attacks on civil liberties weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…

If  Geert Wilders xenophobic fearmongering about Polish and Eastern European immigrants to the Netherlands weren’t enough of a reason to quit supporting him…

There’s another reason: The defection of a senior Freedom Party (PVV) MP Hero Brinkman, an ideological counterpart who parted ways with Wilders due to his “autocratic nature” and “unqualified stance against immigration.”

At least that is what polling data seems to be showing:

Geert Wilders support drops over party crisis

The anti-immigration party would now have 21 seats in parliament, three less than the number of seats it won at the last elections, held nearly 18 months ago. MP Hero Brinkman, seen as a key ideologue, left the party earlier this week in protest at Mr Wilders’ autocratic style and unqualified anti-immigrant stance. However, if elections were held now, Mr Brinkman would lack enough support to gain an independent seat, according to the weekly survey.

The minority government of liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte depends on Mr Wilders’ Freedom Party for a majority in parliament. Now that Mr Brinkman has broken ranks with Mr Wilders, the conservative cabinet may have to rely on other parties as well, in particular on the tiny Christian fundamentalist SGP party.

The minority cabinet has already relied on Labour, the Democrats 66 and the Green Left parties for all those policies not supported by Mr Wilders, such as giving financial aid to Greece and bolstering the euro in general.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

We can’t read too much into these sorts of polls, especially when one considers the fickle nature of polling. However, it is significant, in that it exposes not only rifts and cracks in Wilders movement, but also potential fallout.

What remains to be seen is how Wilders and company will react to all this. Will they ignore this trend or just plain dismiss it? Will they become more aggressive and double down? Will they tone down their jingoistic rhetoric?

In the meantime it seems Wilders hatemongering is continuing to have repercussions:

The Polish Wilders Hates Poles

“I don’t just hate the Poles who work in the Netherlands, I hate all Poles” says Geert Wilders.

It’s not the real Wilders, it’s a satirical programme on Polish television. The Freedom Party leader himself hasn’t gone that far. However, his party does have a website where Dutch people can leave their complaints about Eastern European immigrants. It has been stirring up emotions in Poland for weeks, according to our correspondent Ekke Overbeek.

Szymon Majewski is a well-known Polish comedian with a popular show on the country’s biggest commercial station. In front of a backdrop of windmills, ‘Wilders’ begins the sketch by saying good evening in Dutch (goeie avond). The word goeie, however, means something unpleasant in Polish, so the stage is set. He then explains, in Polish, that he hates all Poles because they drink too much.

Another film, posted on YouTube, has an Asian man telling us that all foreigners, even Dutch, are welcome in Poland. Having nearly been run over by foul-mouthed Dutch people on bikes, he invites all Dutch people to come to Poland for the European football championships. “Poles are friendly and helpful. All the ugly, nasty, greedy Poles are over in the Netherlands”. He is joined by the same fake Wilders who says “Holland for the Dutch.”

Jokes about drugs, euthanasia and abortion follow. The final gag: “You may have a world famous Red Light District, but we have something better. Here you get screwed as soon as you step into a taxi at the airport.”

The Freedom Party’s complaints website has regularly made the news in Poland for over a month. The affair drags on because the Dutch government, which owes its parliamentary majority to Geert Wilders’ support, refuses to disown the website. Prime Minister Mark Rutte says it is an initiative by a political party and has nothing to do with his government. He was asked to appear before the European parliament and explain this stance but chose not to go.

The appearance of a Wilders clone on Polish TV shows that the controversy is beginning to affect the Netherlands image abroad. Until recently, most Poles thought of the Netherlands as a tolerant country, with good job prospects. The number of Polish people in the Netherlands is estimated at between 150 and 200 thousand.

(imm)

For those of you who speak Polish (there are no subtitles), here is the second clip:

Hero Brinkman: Defector From Geert Wilders anti-Islam Party Says PVV is Bankrolled by US Supporters

Geert Wilders and David Horowitz Freedom Center
Geert Wilders and David Horowitz Freedom Center

Tell us something we didn’t already know (via. Islamophobia-Watch):

Wilders’ anti-Islam party is bankrolled by US supporters, says former MP

American lobbyists make large donations to a foundation set up by the anti-immigration PVV, Hero Brinkman, the MP who left the party on Tuesday, told a television talk show on Tuesday evening.

Brinkman said he could not rule out the money being used to pay for Geert Wilders’ defence on racial hatred charges but declined to comment further on what the money had been spent on. Nor would he comment on the size of the donations.

The PVV is thought to generate significant funding from Israeli and far-right supporters in the US.

Because the PVV has no members, it does not receive government subsidies to run the campaigning side of its operations and relies instead on donations.

Dutch News, 21 March 2012

Brinkman’s allegation about the PVV’s finances confirms what had already been revealed in the Dutch press. Last year Dutch Newsreported that the two main US sources for the PVV’s funding were David Horowitz and Daniel Pipes.

See, We Told You: Geert Wilders Xenophobia is Not Limited to Muslims

Still my favorite picture of Geert Wilders

Far-right populist Geert Wilders has made a name for himself through his anti-Muslim and anti-Arab rhetoric, and for this reason he is, to quote Robert Spencer, one of the “heroes” of the anti-Muslim movement.

We have consistently pointed out however that Geert Wilders and his allies are not one stop bigots. Behind the “acceptable” attacks on Muslims is hidden a wider xenophobia against ‘the other.’ A bigotry which if not born out of any consistent ideological character is definitely a reflection of the realization that playing on the fears of the majority may lead to positive results at the ballot box.

Wilders and his party, the PVV are riding a wave of popularity through the launch of an anti-Polish/anti-Eastern European website which has been the cause of much controversy and embarrassment in the Netherlands. After launching the site it was reported that the PVV,

would gain 24 seats in parliament if elections were held today, the number of seats the party currently holds, says pollster Maurice de Hond. Geert Wilders’ populist far-right party is the third largest party in the Netherlands.

Wilders’ PVV site displays,

news clippings with bold headlines blaming foreigners for petty crime, noise nuisance – and taking jobs from the Dutch. “Are immigrants from Central and Eastern countries bothering you? We’d like to hear from you,” it says.

The Dutch government has distanced itself from the website but this hasn’t ebbed the disastrous PR that Wilders move has generated.

Besides criticism from ten European ambassadors and the European Commission, the Dutch public has also expressed concerns about possible repercussions. Poles are calling for a boycott of Dutch products.(emphasis mine)

The issue was taken to the European parliament which just yesterday announced its ‘dismay’ and formal response to Wilders most recent populist move:

EP condemns PVV website, exec puts ball in Netherlands’ court

By Gaspard Sebag in Strasbourg | Wednesday 14 March 2012 (Europolitics.info)

Representatives of the political groups in the European Parliament, on 13 March, unanimously called upon the Netherlands’ Prime Minister, Mark Rutte, to condemn a website launched by his far-right political ally, the PVV party headed by Geert Wilders. Said website, up since early February, urges Dutch citizens to report problems they experience with nationals of Central and Eastern European countries. “Unacceptable,” “a disgrace,” “scandalous” – said MEPs. The European Commission, for its part, announced it would not get involved from a legal point of view and leaves the responsibility of assessing the lawfulness of the website to the Dutch authorities. A joint parliamentary resolution will be put to the vote, on 15 March (see box).

The EPP, which counts among its ranks the junior partner in the Netherlands’ government, the centre-right CDA, was particularly vocal. “We cannot tolerate, from a party that takes part in a coalition government, a call to hatred against nationals from another member state. That is unacceptable,” said EPP leader Joseph Daul (France).

Despite the fact that Rutte is part of the Liberal political family, ALDE Chair Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium) was unequivocal about condemning the “silence” of the Dutch government and the message sent by the website. “My group has nothing but contempt for Mr Wilders’ initiative.” Recalling the need to be even-handed in criticising populist tactics, Verhofstadt lumped together French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Wilders. “I wonder who is the extreme-right wing candidate [in France], is it [Marine] Le Pen or Sarkozy?” he asked.

Reactions from other political group leaders all condemned Rutte’s passivity, whose hands are tied by his need for Wilders’ support, and who thus claims it is not a governmental issue. S&D leader Hannes Swoboda (Austria) called for the website to be closed down. Polish deputy Jacek Kurski (EFD) said Rutte’s lack of reaction is “scandalous”. “The prime minister [of the Netherlands] is not taking up his responsibility,” said Marije Cornelissen (Greens-EFA, Netherlands). “The prime minister ought to have directly condemned this website,” said Peter van Dalen (ECR, Netherlands), adding, however, that the EP holding a debate on this issue is “too much honour” for Wilders.

Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding, who had already condemned the PVV website in February, welcomed the comments made in the plenary chamber. “It is unacceptable that EU citizens become target of xenophobic attitudes because they have exercised their right to move from one state to another,” she said. Reding also called upon on the Dutch authorities to “fully investigate the lawfulness of the website under Dutch law and Union law”.

According to Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE-NGL, France), this is not enough. “You continue to refer to member states and their tribunals but I thought that the Commission was the guardian of the treaties, that freedom of circulation and non-discrimination were part of the European values,” she said. “I notice that certain values are more important than others and that in economic matters when the free circulation of goods and capital is concerned, competition barriers the Commission is prompter to condemn,” added Vergiat.