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Lawfare: The Crucifixion of Geert Wilders

Geert Wilders has, once again, been accused, of violating hate laws in The Netherlands over a  remark he made during a March 19, 2014  Freedom Party (PVV) campaign rally for the European Parliament elections that occurred in May of last year: “fewer and fewer Moroccans”.  Complaints were filed by alleged aggrieved Dutch Moroccans on the grounds that his remarks were racist and violated hate laws in The Netherlands.  These remarks in the U.S. would be protected under our First Amendment to the Constitution. No such protections currently exist under the laws in The Netherlands, let alone the EU. We noted this in a December 2014 Iconoclast post about a statement Wilders made before his interrogation by Dutch police in The Hague:

The words Orwellian, Kafkaesque appear inadequate to describe the trammeling of the Hon. Geert Wilders’  free speech by Dutch prosecutors at the Hague in The Netherlands.   We write this with the imagery of the fictional victim of Kafka’s posthumously published novel, The Trial. Joseph K was  arrested by police inspectors for unknown reasons and every word of his scrutinized before  his climactic death.

What Wilders is going through is not fiction, but a living nightmare.  All because he spoke his mind during a local elections Freedom Party (PVV) campaign rally last spring about “fewer Moroccans”. That was a reference to his platform of controlling mass immigration of Muslims who have exhibited substantial criminal behavior incited by Islamic doctrine and preaching by Imams in Dutch Mosques.

We thought his exoneration in the May 2011 Amsterdam District Court  trial on alleged hate speech  law violations would end his nightmare of prosecution for what we in the US take for granted as protected speech under the First Amendment of our Constitution.

Public Prosecutors in The Hague are preparing for a trial on these trumped up charges in 2016. Wilders was exonerated from similar charges in a well publicized 2011 trial in the Amsterdam district court. Wilders’ has retained one of the best known defense attorneys Geert-Jan Knoops. However, the trial judge remarks and denial of what we in US trial procedure would consider customary discovery requests would lead one to believe that The Hague  court proceedings on these charges are politicized and biased this bolstering of both Knoops and his client Wilders that a fair trial would not be possible. Those are the contention of this front page interview with Wilders and his defense counsel, Knoops in this De Telegraaf article by Messrs. Wouter de Winther and Rudd Mikkers. Wilders says, if that is the case then why show up at the trial, as the decision has already been made and the prosecution would be a proverbial media circus.

What follows is an English translation of the De Telegraaf  interview article,”Wilders awaits unfair trial”.

Der Telegraf Wilders article 10-29-15(1)Wilders awaits unfair trial
by Wouter de Winther and Ruud Mikkers
The Hague

PVV leader Geert Wilders awaits an unfair trial if he stands trial next year for stating that he wants “fewer Moroccans”. That is what his lawyer Geert-Jan Knoops says.

The lawyer is upset about the fact that the judge has allocated only 1 percent of the investigation requests of Wilders’ defense. “These include doing further research by experts. The defense has serious concerns about whether Mr. Wilders in his criminal case can adequately defend himself,” Knoops says in a statement. “When all reasonable requests are rejected, they apparently want to convict me at all costs,” the PVV leader concludes. Wilders is expected to appear in court sometime in 2016. “A correct picture of the context of the alleged statements of Mr. Wilders is essential,” says Knoops. “In order to present this picture to the judge, Wilders should get the chance that he gets the investigation he has asked for.” The lawyer says that Wilders is seriously harmed in his defense. “This way, Mr. Wilders does not get a fair trial.”

PVV leader Wilders feels provoked. He says he will not get a fair chance to defend himself in the trial in which he is being sued for group insult and incitement to hatred and discrimination. Almost all his requests to hear experts or to examine whether there has been tampered with declarations against him have been dismissed. He has appealed, because this way the chance of a fair trial would be reduced to nil.

What are the indications that suggest that you will not get a fair chance at a defense? “I notice that the judicial authorities get more intransigent as we rise in the polls. At the first meetings, the magistrate still said to me, ‘You are entitled to a fair chance; the law will be interpreted broadly. But the opposite has happened. The magistrate uncritically follows the prosecutor. If all reasonable requests are rejected, then they apparently want to convict me at all costs.”

Why would Lady Justice suddenly take off her blindfold for Geert Wilders? “For months, we have been working on the defense and therefore you suggest that further investigations be conducted. For example, what about government ministers who already declared me guilty before the trial had begun, such as [Justice Minister] Opstelten? And we also want to know what has happened with all the pre-printed complaint forms. We have discovered that various forms have same signatures on them! We also want to hear experts, for example about the accusations of racism. A nationality is not a race, so how can I be guilty of racism? I am convinced that if today I ask “Do you want more or fewer Syrians,” no one would take offense at that, let alone that there would be complaints would be filled.”

But then we are dealing with refugees without a residence permit. Not Dutch citizens who have already been here for thirty or forty years. “Yes, but I’m talking about the concept of nationality versus race. That is what everyone objected to, while I think that would now no longer be the case. If I would ask, ‘Do you want more or fewer Belgians; I do not believe that many people would feel offended. I want to hear the opinion of experts about this. I want to defend myself, but I must also be able to defend myself. The frustrating thing is that we have made 39 requests and zero have been granted. One of them has been kept in deliberation.”

During your previous trial, you had you done serious and less serious requests, you asked to hear Gaddafi or invite the Iranian president as a witness. What requests did you do this time? “I have noticed that the director of a mosque filed several complaints with different handwritings but the same signature. Hundreds of complaints were done on forms delivered in that mosque. About such matters I would want to hear the opinion of experts, because this cannot be allowed. I cannot give you all the names, because that information is not public.  For example, Tom Zwart, professor at the University of Amsterdam, and Professor Paul Cliteur were willing to testify. But they have been rejected. “

What is behind all this? I do not know. However, I have seen on television there are people in the judiciary who say that PVV members cannot become judges. In the newspaper I read that the Public Prosecutor had already appointed two media judges even before the decision to prosecute had been taken. And as we rise in the polls, the rejections from the judicial authorities become more blunt and unfriendly. If this continues, then it seems as if the verdict has already been written. Then I will have to consider whether I need to attend. Perhaps they should just rule in absentia. For me, it makes little sense to come. If this persists, it will be a political trial and a PVV-hate trial.”

Are you saying that the judiciary in the Netherlands is not independent? “I want to talk about my case. If this persists, it will not be a fair trial. Obviously, I am also referring to the statement by the judge who said that PVV members should not be allowed to become judges. That is the atmosphere in which this is all happening.”

You are again seeking the role of the underdog, you and the PVV fighting the established order on your own. Is that not becoming a bit déjà-vu? “I would rather not have been prosecuted, because I think I’ve done nothing wrong. I do not seek the role of the victim here because I would rather have preferred that I could defend myself. But if all requests are rejected, then it is no use. Let them then quickly sentence me in absentia. I hope it does not come to that. Because it will be a circus.”

What consequences will a conviction have for you? “I will always continue to say what I have to say. However, with the difference that I would only be able to express certain messages in the microphone of parliament. Because there I have immunity. If freedom of expression is curtailed, I can no longer express certain opinions anywhere.”

Virtually nowhere you get what you want. But when you do think your trial will actually be fair? “That depends on which requests are granted and in what way. Knoops also needs to have the impression that he can truly defend me. If such a person, the best criminal lawyer in the Netherlands says it is not fair … that’s quite something. Knoops is not someone whom you can abuse politically.”

Given all the hassle afterwards, don’t you regret having made the statements about “fewer Moroccans”? “I think an excuse to make it harder for the PVV will always be found. We are under more scrutiny than politicians of D66 or the Green Left because we are very outspoken. I understand that. We also oppose the establishment and do not mince our words. If you do that you do not make it easy for yourself.”

Ultimately, this trial is about the freedom of expression. You always draw the line very clearly at calling to violence, but should everything else be said? “I think you should be able to say if you want fewer Mexicans or Syrians. That is not discriminatory and certainly no call to violence. I will always continue. Nothing will stop me to express my opinion. Not a hundred judges, not a thousand verdicts or fatwas will be able to change that.”

Can you imagine that Moroccan Dutch people feel excluded by such a fewer Moroccans statement? “I do not really care what they feel or don’t feel. The point is whether it is illegal or not and I do not think that I have done anything wrong. If people feel hurt they should address a psychologist or someone similar.”

Today or tomorrow you would as easily say “fewer, fewer, fewer Syrians”? “I’m not saying I will do that, but if I would, it would in my opinion no longer cause a lot of commotion.”

Yet you do not say it so explicitly today. Has this reluctance to do with the
upcoming trial? “We are calling for fewer Syrians that is absolutely true. But today or tomorrow, I will not be holding such a speech as last year. But if I would, and if I would say it… then I think that nothing would happen. In America, any politician can advocate fewer Mexicans. No-one would object.”

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Austria Launches ‘Hate Speech’ Investigation of Dutch MP Geert Wilders

Public Prosecutors in Austria launched a criminal investigation of Geert Wilders, leader of the Dutch Freedom Party PVV), based on his remarks in March 27, 2015 before the Austrian Freedom Party (FPO) at the Hofburg in Vienna. He had journeyed there to meet with Heinz-Christian Strache, his counterpart in the Austrian Freedom Party (Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs, FPÖ) and deliver a speech on “The Threat to Europe”.

Austria has a hate speech law under which Elisabeth Sabaditsch Wolff  a leader of the Bürgerbewegung Pax Europa (Citizen movement Pax Europa) and the International Civil Liberties Alliance (ICLA}has been similarly prosecuted and convicted for remarks offensive to the country’s Muslim community regarding Islamic doctrine and criticism of their Prophet Mohammed.  Wilders had compared the Koran to Hitler’s Mein Kampf in his FPO speech and suggested that it be banned.   Both Sabaditsch-Wolff’s and Wilders’ remarks would be considered protected speech under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Wilders has suggested that the European Parliament adopt an equivalent form of free speech protection. Wilders is still under investigation by public prosecutors in the Hague for his remarks about “fewer Moroccans” during a campaign rally on March 19, 2014 prior to the European Parliamentary elections.

Watch Wilders’ March 27, 2015 Speech before the Austrian Freedom Party (FPO) on this Vlad Tepes YouTube Video:

NL Times reported:

The Austrian Public Prosecutor has started an investigation against PVV leader Geert Wilders on charges of sedition. Aggrieved Muslims pressed charges against Wilders because of his statements comparing the Koran with Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf and demands that the Islamic holy book be banned during a meeting of the right wing populist FPO in Vienna in March, NU reports.

Interest group Initiative of Muslim Austrians finds that Wilders has made himself guilty of sedition, denigrating religious teachings and breach of the prohibition of reviving Nazi ideology. The theme of his speech in Hofburg, Vienna was “The threat to Europe”.

Wilders reacted on Twitter with the tweet. “It cannot get a lot crazier.”

Here is an English translation excerpt from the Austrian newspaper Kurrier –Medienhaus  on these charges against Wilders:

Press Officer Nina Bussek of the Vienna prosecutor’s office cannot say how long the investigation will take, and whether Wilders will also be questioned by a prosecutor. “I can confirm that we are investigating following complaints against declarations he made during the event.” The [Austrian] law prohibits hurting religious feelings or inciting to violence against a religion.

On 27 March, Wilders held a long speech in the Hofburg in Vienna at the invitation of the rightwing nationalist party FPÖ. He spoke strong language about the necessity to reduce Islam.

Wilders visit was special, because Vienna is the city where, in 1683, the rise of the Ottoman Empire was halted. “Also today, we have a clear message for Islam: you will not conquer Vienna,” Wilders said.

In his speech, Wilders said that Austria had to change the present reality, “that Islamic brutality has gained a foothold in our countries. We are confronted with halal meals, with headscarves, burqas, honor killings, female genital mutilation, polygamy, mega mosques.”

“Since the darkest days of paganism many centuries ago, we have not experienced these atrocities anymore. Now they are back. Islam has brought them back,” Wilders continued. “I say: let us regain our freedoms.”

To this end, the PVV leader called for a ban on the Koran. He also said “No more mosques. Close all Islamic schools. Today! No to mullahs and imams.”

In a reaction, Wilders expressed his disappointment in Austria. “It is particularly ironic that the authorities capitulate there where a few centuries ago the West was protected against Islam. But I will continue to honor the gates of Vienna and stand upright. Speaking the truth about Islam and immigration are thus rewarded with a place on death lists and prosecution or investigation for prosecution by the Public Prosecutor in several countries. Earlier in the Netherlands and Jordan, now in the Netherlands again and in Austria. This is a major attack on freedom of speech, but no one will be able to silence me.”

PVV leading party in Holland

Wilders’ Freedom Party (PVV) leads in poll of parties in the Hague Parliament.

This latest investigation by Austrian public prosecutors comes on the day when a Dutch poll shows the PVV as the leading party, if an election were held  forThe Hague Parliament.  Obviously many Dutch citizens agree with Wilders’ stands opposing mass Muslim immigration and admittance of illegal Migrants to The Netherlands under EU and UN High Commissioner for Refugees quota system.  Wilders has also suggest The Netherlands take back its  national border and immigration control from the Shengen system of 26 European countries that has enabled  free transit for European recruits  to join the Islamic State. He has also suggested that any returning Dutch veterans of the ISIS be barred from entry and deprived of Dutch citizenship.

As a Member of an EU parliament, we hope that Wilders has immunity against extradition to Austria to face possible prosecution for alleged hate speech brought by a Muslim advocacy group.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.

Geert Wilders’ Anti-Islamization Immigration Stand Resonates Across Europe

Geert Wilders, leader of the Freedom Party (PVV) in the Netherlands is being investigated for the second time in five years by Dutch prosecutors for  alleged hate speech during  his March 2014 local election campaign rally statement of “fewer Moroccans”.  This comes while his ratings in Dutch polls has rocketed him to the top with fully 30 seats in the Hague parliament, if snap elections were held.  That is more than the combined seats currently held by the ruling Rutte coalition of the PvdA and VVD parties.  Note  this remark: “The short message of PVV-leader Geert Wilders to the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte: ‘The revolution in The Netherlands has started now, Mark.”

Poll 21-12-2014

Dutch polls 12-21-14. For a larger view click on the image.

Wilders drew attention to that irony in a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) op-ed, “Talking About the Moroccan Issue is not A Crime”.  Wilders is exercising free speech, something that Americans take for granted as a right guaranteed under the First Amendment of the US Constitution.  Wilders’ message about “fewer Moroccans” reflects the social consequences of permissive mass Muslim immigration undermining the social fabric of foundational  Western values of, liberty, freedom and tolerance. In Holland’s case it is exemplified by the rejection of those values by the Dutch Moroccan émigré community that even Dutch liberal parties have begrudgingly come to recognize.

What Wilders’ PVV and other parties in EU countries deemed ‘far right” have drawn attention to is the seeds of destruction of national values from compliance with UN humanitarian refugee programs straining resources and social welfare budgets caused by Jihadist warfare in the Middle East.  That is reflected in the rallies in Dresden and throughout major cities in Germany this Christmas season by the Pegida movement (Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamization of the West).

As Al Jazeera reported Pegida rallies for “the right to preserve and protect our Christian-Jewish dominated West culture”, and against parallelgesellschaft – a German term used to describe immigrant communities that maintain their cultural norms and don’t integrate in local society.”  The third mass Pegida rally of more than 17,500 occurred Monday night before the Semper Opera House in Dresden where the Pegida movement arose in October. The trigger for Pegida was the more than 200,000 Syrian refugees granted asylum by Germany. Recently, the short lived Swedish Social Democrat liberal government fell on a no confidence vote allegedly provoked by the anti-immigration Swedish Democrat party. It had forged an alliance with center right parties in Sweden’s parliament over the issue of a ballooning social welfare budget to accommodate 80,000 Syrian war asylumees.

Participants hold German national flags during a demonstration organised by anti-immigration group PEGIDA in Dresden

Pegida Rally  Semper Opera House Dresden, Germany 12-22-14. Source: Reuters.

Wilders’ WSJ op-ed reflects the Dutch unease with the policies of the ruling coalition government in the Hague  Parliament. Those concerns have  that has now cross the EU and even here in America to comply with UN humanitarian refugee standards.  The subsequent generations of Muslim émigrés in host EU countries have led to spikes in Antisemitism, Synagogue fire bombings, allegations of sexual assault and grooming of non-Muslim women, tolerance of Shariah law in so-called Muslim dominated “no go areas”, murders perpetrated in the name of Jihad against Jews and others.  The specter stalking across the EU landscape of 28 members is the threat of homegrown Jihadists as returning veterans from the barbaric Salafist Islamic State.  That threat was crystallized by the murders of Israeli tourists and workers at the Brussels Municipal Jewish Museum by returning Syrian war French jihadist Mehdi Nemmouchet.

The large Muslim émigré communities in the EU were the results of granting host country citizenship coupled with the deficit in manpower to rebuild Europe following World War II. It was also a reflection  of the Eurabia paradigm articulated by the scholar Bat Ye’or  driven by OPEC control  over the  World’s and EU’s energy needs that arose during the October War of 1973. That led to the EC and the EU ‘accommodation’ of  Organization of Islamic Cooperation demands for tolerance of Sharia Blasphemy codes  demanded  by burgeoning Muslim émigré communities under the guise of host country hate laws.

That is the wind behind Wilders’ WSJ op–ed and the sudden emergence of groups like Pegida in Germany, and anti-Mass immigration parties in Denmark, Austria and Sweden.

Geert Wilders

Hon. Geert Wilders, PVV.

Note these excerpts from Wilders’ WSJ op-ed:

In the Netherlands, as in many other Western European countries right now, problems arise when Muslim immigrants refuse to assimilate and integrate into the wider community. In our case I referred specifically to the Moroccans not because I have anything against them generally but because they are one of the largest immigrant groups here and are over represented in our crime and welfare statistics.

Moroccans are suspects in violent robberies 22 times as often as indigenous Dutch. Between 1996 and 2010, more than 60% of the Moroccan male youths born in 1984 had at least once been suspected of a crime, a rate three times as high as their indigenous counterparts. … According to Dick Schoof, the Dutch national coordinator for counterterrorism and security, Moroccans also account for three-quarters of all Dutch Muslims who leave for Syria to wage jihad.

[…]

For almost a decade, my party has proposed three measures to address this issue. First, we want an end to immigration from Muslim countries. Second, we want to expel all criminals of foreign nationality and, for those offenders who have dual nationality, deprive them of their Dutch citizenship, sending them back to the country of their other nationality. Third, we want to encourage the voluntary repatriation of non-Western immigrants.

The prosecutor’s decision can’t be seen as being anything but politically motivated, especially when he has refused to prosecute two leading politicians of the governing Labor Party, Diederik Samsom and Hans Spekman, for similar statements on Moroccans. Mr. Samsom said that Moroccans have an “ethnic monopoly” on street crime, while Mr. Spekman said that Moroccans who don’t abide by the law have to be “humiliated in front of their own people.”

Polls have indicated that more than 43% of Netherlanders agree with me…. I was thus expressing the feelings of millions in my country. In a democracy, a public debate about important political issues, such as “the Moroccan issue,” shouldn’t be restricted by criminalizing the expression of certain problems and policy proposals.

 […]

Prosecuting me as an elected politician for expressing the opinions of my constituents is absurd. Excluding certain problems from the political debate by making it a crime to discuss them won’t lead to the disappearance of these concerns, let alone contribute to a solution. This prosecution, moreover, is also dangerous. People will begin to lose their trust in the democratic process. Festering political problems do not go away simply because they are kept in a dark corner. I wish the Dutch public prosecutor had been wise enough to see that.

EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review. The featured image is of a protest sign which reads “No Hatred, No Violence, No Koran” at the Pegida rally in Germany. Source: Al Jazeera Yermi Brenner