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The New Great Dictators Are Gaining Momentum In Europe

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Yves here. The author may seem unduly concerned about political talk to tamp down the fires stoked by the tasteless “Innocence of Muslims” may be part of a more general crackdown on free speech in Europe, but remember in the US how reactions to 9/11 have greatly accelerated the creation of a surveillance state. I very much welcome European reader input.

By Jan Bennink, a Dutch advertising professional and a columnist for the leading newspaper De Volkskrant. He is @superjan on twitter. This column was first published in Dutch on Volkskrant Opiniel. Translated and first published in English by Wolf Richter at Testosterone Pit

As far as I can remember I’ve never been afraid of the government. When I was a young upstart protesting military parades with safety pins through my ears, I wasn’t afraid. Even if the place was swarming with soldiers. When I was the bass player in a punk band, the P.A. Splashing Tovs, screaming at all kinds of government injustice, I did not feel unsafe. And in protest rallies against nukes. I never wore a mask or helmet. We laughed at the secret service guys with their moustaches and long coats. It was 1980, not 1984.

Also on the internet, I was never afraid. On Geenstijl.nl, a provocative Dutch opinion blog, on dejaap.nl, or writing for Volkskrant.nl, a leading Dutch newspaper, I never even thought of watching my steps. My 97,000 tweets? I posted them without giving them a second thought. Even when it came to my attention that the Netherlands has the most telephone taps in the world, I did not lose any sleep over it.

In Holland we have article 7. Freedom of the press. Freedom of speech. Censorship is forbidden. You can say and write, sing and film whatever you want. At least I cherish that illusion. You may protest and express whatever opinion you have. As long as you don’t threaten or slander anybody. And as long as you leave the queen alone.

But still my critical fingers hesitate more and more when I am writing stuff. How long will the Dutch government be in charge over its citizens? The power of the “new great dictators” in Brussels grows. And they are getting more threating towards freedom of speech all the time.

Take for example the chairman of the European Parliament Mr. Martin Schulz. Angry faced, he condemned the making of the sad little film “Innocence of Muslims,” and the spread of it, while flanked by two “gentlemen” from fine countries where adulterous princesses are still being decapitated in dusty town squares.

And when one of those “gentlemen,” Khalid bin Hilal Al Mawali from Oman, started ranting about eradication of blasphemous acts, Schulz kept very quiet—though “eradication” in that sense has overtones of a dreadful history in Europe.

But the issue is broader than the behavior of Schulz. Take for example the words of Lady Ashton, the glorious EU minister of foreign affairs: “While fully recognizing freedom of expression, we believe in the importance of respecting all prophets, regardless of which religion they belong to.” In other words Freedom of Speech is great as long as we do not insult or hurt religious people. Quite a strong opinion for someone who, up until now, did not lift one finger to help those kids in Homs, Syria.

Then there is Mario Monti. Non-elected strongman of Italy. Parachuted in by Goldman Sachs and the EU. He also did his very best to bring the uncomfortable matter of “Freedom of Speech” to the table. Together with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy he expressed his fear for Anti EU Populism.… Newspeak for “the expression of EU critical opinions”

And it gets even worse. Monti and Van Rompuy are going to throw a special conference on this matter. In Rome. Not hindered by any resistance from the European Parliament. Except of course from Nigel Farage, who this week was fined €3,000 for speaking his mind on Van Rompuy. An ominous sign indeed.

It makes me curious what those newly unelected emperors of Rome are going to discuss exactly.

How to handle Anti EU Populism will soon become a discussion on how to handle Anti EU Populists! Shouldn’t those non-believers be registered? Or made recognizable? Is a “berufsverbot” a fitting measure for those elements not bowing down? Is this not a great moment for founding a European Secret Service?

If and when the insane federal plans of European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, expressed in his State of the Union speech, are going to become reality, I am truly afraid that anti EU populists will not fit the story. And that guys like me, who make films, sing songs, and publish stuff suddenly have a lot to worry about from those grey mice in Brussels with their newspeak and absolute power. It’s this question that comes to my mind:

Is there anything more frightening than bureaucrats with a dream?

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102 comments

  1. Foppe

    I am dutch, and I cannot for the life of me imagine what it is that he is worried about. Certainly Schulz’s response to the film is idiotic, but even if Schulz wanted to ‘act’ on it, there afaik simply is no way for ‘Brussels’ to determine what is said in the public sphere.

    What seems to me most notable about the EU on FoS matters is how happy they are to remain silent on countries like Italy and Hungary heavily circumscribing FoS (either via ‘moral legislation’ built into the constitution as in Hungary or by basically dismantling public television and allowing Berlusconi to buy up all the Italian media). As for “Anti-EU populism”, it seems to me that the media and establishment parties here in NL are doing a stupendous job making sure all criticisms of existing EU institutional arrangements remain as inane as possible; only the Socialist Party is openly critical and willing to go into detail, and their criticisms are invariably not responded to, except in a “yes we must perhaps let a few experts reconsider some minor issues behind closed doors, as the public is uninterested in this stuff anyway” fashion. So besides there being no way for eurocrats to circumscribe FoS, there is also no real need for them to do so.

    As such, I would basically say this opinion article is trying to spread FUD in a way which is fairly unhelpful.

    1. Foppe

      (Because borderline conspiracy-theorizing. There is no meaningful connection between Monti, Schulz, Ashton, etc. If anything — and please note that I don’t really believe this, because the op/ed section contains tripe too frequently for me to suspect that the editors are capable of sustaining a critical thought — I’d suspect this article was published to ridicule those who are against the “European project” — that is, to suggest that everyone who criticizes the EU is a blithering idiot akin to Bennink. Because even if he’s right, this article doesn’t serve to substantiate his ‘worry’.)

  2. Working Class Nero

    Although I agree with the author’s sentiments about the EU leaderships comments; there has for a very long time been no freedom of expression in Europe, and for the most part this has been promoted by the national governments and especially Left-wing political parties.

    For example how can the author state that The Netherlands has freedom of expression and totally fail to mention the trail of Geert Wilders? How about the fact that it has long been illegal to deny the holocaust in many European countries? And in the last decade or so, “hate speech” legislation has become law in many European countries. For example in Sweden a couple of years ago a priest was convicted of a hate crime (later overturned) for saying homosexuality was a cancer on society. Michel Houellebecq was tried (and later acquitted) for stating “Islam the stupidest of all religions”. Or French journalist Eric Zemmour who was convicted for stating that most drug dealers in France are black or Arab. The city of Brussels is introducing legislation to criminalize any racist, sexist, homophobic, etc, statement.

    So in a way these Muslims who are demanding a speech Gestapo have a point. Why do some groups already have special protection? Why was former England captain John Terry in put on trial for a supposed racist taunt?

    The problem is that once a privilege is granted, to for example to criminalize anti-Semitic speech, very soon EVERYBODY is going to demand the same privilege.

    So again I agree with the author’s comments about the EU leadership’s comments but I am very surprised that he doesn’t explore the issue of the criminalization of hate speech more deeply, especially at the national level.

    1. Joe

      You can’t let religious and racist dogma out of the box. Those social forces are destructive and uncontrollable and would only speed our decent into social turmoil. In effect, dogma only magnifies the power of the elite. And anyway, there’s no truth in such beliefs.

      1. Ruben

        So you approve of limitations to free speech if it offends religious sentiments or the feelings of some peoples recognizable by their looks.

        1. Harold Quinn

          Actually, I think he was saying the opposite of that – do whatever it takes to keep religious thinking and speech on a downslope, since it is one of the main causes of bigotry and the resulting hate speech.

      2. Susan the other

        You’re right. If religions (some) were not insanely dogmatic this would not be a problem. Hate speech is a little different form of destruction. I’m against hate speech. But I think criticism of religion is healthy because religion is an institution and it needs to evolve. So where does that put me when I’ve had too much wine and I’m sitting at the Thanksgiving table and my sister-in-law says something smarmy about her faith and I say “Fuck Jesus”? I dare say that, no problem. I wouldn’t be so bold as to say that about Mohammed though.

        1. rotter

          its only “hate speech” when you feel offended..no problem (or suprises) there..However, your problem comes when its only hate speech when I feel offended, and offending me becomes illegal.

    2. Foppe

      no freedom of expression in Europe, and for the most part this has been promoted by the national governments and especially Left-wing political parties.

      Brilliant. Anti-blasphemy legislation is a “leftist” project? The past 30 years of neoliberal rule in many European countries has been “leftist”? I would seriously reconsider my sources if I were you, because you seem to be looking at the world through colored glasses.

      In that light, please tell me what “the case of Geert Wilders” tells us about dutch FoS? Because apart from there having been a trial that was ordered to proceed by a judge against the wishes of the state, and which was “lost” by the prosecution. Because I don’t really see relevance. The institution called the “free Speech zone” seems to me far more dangerous…

      As for your connecting French, Swedish, Belgian cases: there is no connection, apart from the fact that similar social issues are at play in each country.

      And as for Holocaust-denialism: Many countries have had this ‘special case’ listed for decades, without this serving as a precedent, because (and this apparently surprises you) people are able to understand the ‘category difference’ between engaging in holocaust denialism and engaging in other sorts of ‘expression’.

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Why should there be special cases?

        Real free speech is going to make people uncomfortable. Why do Muslims have to endure being uncomfortable and endure their perceived slander while Jews get to use the police state to enforce their sensitivities?

        Obviously you are using the state to say one group of people is more important and this flies in the face of the entire justification for free speech. You are using a tyranny of the majority to persecute a minority and the huge irony is you are using force to defend a lie!!!! If you think you have the truth on your side why do you have to put people in prison who disagree with you? Obviously the one side must be presumed to be lying when they use such underhanded speech.

        Also, while I agree that European government is more neoliberal than leftist, when you defend state enforced propaganda like Europe’s Holocaust denial laws you weaken your argument. If this is “leftist” than leftist is not what I thought. Because free speech to me means free speech in ALL categories. No exceptions unless there is imminent fear of death to an individual (with no special privileges for politicians).

        1. Joe

          Well, I’m always a bit surprised by people who want to stick up for holocaust denialists right to free speech. The thing is that the holocaust is an historical fact, it’s like the Civil War or something. It’s not even that it’s hurtful to the people who’s relatives and friends were killed (which it is, of course), it’s just absolute rubbish. It’s just stupidity, and we’ve all been in those kind of discussions.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Ha. You have nothing except censorship and group think! No logic. Just demeaning group think imposed by a victorious army.

            No logic or facts allowed in your world. Dishonest bullies.

            Do you acknowledge the American death camps? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eei1Fs3l6Kc Why is this “rubbish” to talk about? How can anyone interested in the truth excise the death of over a million people as you are dishonestly doing? Why is the life of a Jew so much more precious to you than an innocent German and why do you hid the truth? Whose sick agenda do you serve?

            Do you acknowledge (are you aware) that the British first developed concentration camps and that all the major powers used death camps during WWII?

            Are you aware that the British killed probably over 8 million Persians in a much bigger “Holocaust” in WWI than ever occurred to Jews?

            Have you even looked at the revisionist arguments or do you simply bully people with your illogical propaganda? Did you see David Cole’s investigation of the alleged death camp at Auschwitz? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PWCOjOj4RAU How do explain the lies? How many people do you claim died at Auschwitz? Why should we believe proven liars?

            You demonstrate the depths of dishonesty our culture has imposed on us as they blow smoke up our asses. ha. The West has “free speech.” Bullshit. We have total propaganda and you are one of the thought-killing enforcers.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            I made a mistake: all the major powers used concentration camps, not death camps.

            However, the Americans and Soviet Union seem to be the primary perpetrators of death camps, and they switched the evidence around to make it appear the Germans were the ones that did the death camps.

            In fact, as this testimony describes, the Germans treated their prisoners much better than the Americans treated their prisoners. http://rense.com/general46/germ.htm The brutal irony is it was probably better to be a Jew in Germany during WWII than a German POW in an American camp.

          3. Working Class Nero

            The reason why Holocaust denial should not be a criminal offense is that it puts the government in the position of deciding what is true or false. It is the slim edge of the wedge that always leads to further restrictions. You seem to be saying if you are not an anti-Semite you have nothing to fear from this law. This of course mirrors the non-thinking of equally mindless fools on the Right who think only terrorists have something to fear if we give the government a range of powers from tapping phones to executions-by-drone.

            Recently at a university in Belgium, a Muslim professor Souhail Chichah led a bunch hijab wearing non-student women in disrupting a discussion with radical feminist Caroline Fourest, who is known for being, shall we say, Islamo-sceptic. He had his women chant “Burqa bla bla” over and over again unitl the discussion had to be ended. He justified his actions by referring to similar Jewish-student actions against Holocaust deniers.

            The second a government grants one group a privilege, it doesn’t take long before every other group demands the exact same privilege.

            The whole point of freedom of expression is giving people who you strongly disagree with the right to express their opinions, no matter how wrong, or stupid, or false, or offensive they are. For example I’m no fan of the message of NAMBLA but they should have the right to express their opinions about man-boy love. The second you allow a government to intervene (outside of the immediate threat of violence), no matter how feel-good the reason is, you are on the same slippery slope of allowing a government unlimited powers to detain terrorist suspects.

          4. Ruben

            So it might be stupid to deny the holocaust but the problem is that it’s illegal. It shouldn’t be illegal. It’s that simple.

          5. Joe

            Walt, you need to get out more, and because you live in the US, you won’t have to travel far.

            I don’t have to watch footage of concentration camps on youtube– Dachau isn’t that far away from where I live. Makes things a lot more real. A girlfriend of mine in Sydney lost more than half her family to the NAZIs in ww2 and I think she’s fairly representational of many other people, who have their family roots in Europe.

            Nobody, by the way, is saying that the NAZIs were the only evil organisation to ever be in charge of a country, or to have perpetrated crimes. But this isn’t about relative evil. Anyway, what are you worried about, in the US you can say whatever you want about NAZI concentration camps?! Here in Germany, I’m pretty glad you can’t.

        2. Michael W

          Walter, you make a lengthy case. Unfortunately you mistake reasoning by logic (based on ‘first principles’ whatever they might be) and reasoning by rational thought (which is based on observation and established facts). Logic is the weakest form of reasoning and syllogistic logic is the most manipulable form of logic – you know, two premises and a conclusion. Logic is used by every manipulator who needs to pervert reason and arrive at a preferred conclusion while seeming to have ‘covered the bases’.
          If you use the word ‘logic’ when you mean ‘rational thought’ you terribly weaken your argument because your reasoning strategy becomes a victim of your perhaps irrational, self serving, or manipulated beliefs.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Did you watch the David Cole presentation on Auschwitz? He has a very clear way of thinking about this subject.

            He first talks about what everyone agrees on: the NAZIS had concentration camps, like all the Allied powers did. The NAZIS put Jews and other ‘enemies of the state’ in these camps and made them work.

            He then goes on to talk about where the real controversy lies. He points out the admitted fact that the Soviets fabricated the Auschwitz homicidal gas chamber and passed it off as authentic. They also presented false information at the Nuremberg trial while they hid the accurate NAZI documents for years. They have belatedly and admitted committing a number of deceptions over the years, like inflating the death numbers. Why should we trust this allied propaganda that has not only been proved false over the years but has even been walked back by the allies (like the soap claims or bayoneting babies claims)?

            When the Soviets found the alleged ‘gas chamber’ building at Auschwitz it was being used as a bomb shelter. So the Soviets renovated it to reflect its alleged past use as a homicidal gas chamber, for demonstration purposes. So the Soviets created this gas chamber and passed it off as the original even though it wasn’t. Plus, once one digs into the logistics it becomes apparent that the whole gas chamber story is filled with holes. Like there is no gas residue on the walls of the chamber like there should be. It’s also logistically impossible to incinerate that many bodies in the manner they allege.

            But David Cole points out that the burden of proof should be on those that claim there were homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz. Those that claim it used to be a gas chamber before it was a bomb shelter need to show proof–and they haven’t. That burden has clearly not been met. In fact, it’s sketchy as hell . . .

            Anyway, Cole thinks about these issues very clearly and I would like to see your response to his logic or reasoning, etc.

          2. Joe

            Oh my god?!! It was the Soviets! Those evil communists, I should have known…

            Walt, you’re just wrong. If you lived here, you’d have a very different perspective of ww2. It’s not some abstract cornucopia of television images.

            I was sitting at the hair dresser’s last time and there was a magazine from the local historical society, in which a Swiss lady, gave a first hand report of what it was like to visit here uncle in Germany at the end of the 1930s. They went to a local carneval, at the end of which everyone had to give the nazi salute, because she was a patriotic Swiss (are there any other type?), she didn’t want to join in, but her uncle and aunt made her– because they were scared about what would happen if they didn’t. When I look through family photo albums from that period, I see how overwhelming the nazi doctrine was. Overwhelming’s probably a poor word, I mean, how everyday, self-evident, natural. I’m not going to start telling you stories about what happenned to the jews that used to live around here, because I think that the other perspective is more insidious, more threatening. It’s what happens when extremism becomes normal.

            So, once again, I’m surprised– you found one guy with a calm voice and that’s peaked your curiosity? That seems like a bit of a stretch, Walt. Why do you want to believe that it’s all a conspiracy?

    3. mlopes

      I thinks there’s a difference between the manifestation of opinions against ideas (which includes opinions on religion and personal beliefs), and of opinions against groups of people, defined by their physical characteristics only (race or sexual orientation). And then there are also opinions which are factually/historically wrong, and which are, in many cases, motivated by political proposes (these include misrepresentation of scientific results). From these, only the first kind should be accepted and cherished.

    4. Ruben

      I agree with you. Many of current restrictions on speech in Europe have originated in the leftist camp, and you forgot to mention feminism as another source of restrictions on freedom (e.g. the allegations against Assange). Both right-wing and left-wing State ideologies, left to their own devices, will crush freedom as much as possible. Another example, applauded by both the Spanish Left and Right: it is in practice illegal to show images of Basque prisoners in public places. People have been condemed to prison time just for showing photos of the faces of prisoners, under the charge that showing their faces is ‘glorification of terrorism’.

      1. Harold Quinn

        See foppe above; he deconstructs this argument in regard to Europe far better than I can (but a lot of it applies to the U.S. as well).

      2. Walter Wit Man

        Great specific example. Why is is illegal to show war dead/captured of only one side? The same rule applies in America, btw, only informally.

        Obviously, this is propaganda. The state only wants you to care about one group of people. This is the most basic of propaganda. We are shown image after image and tearjerker movie after tearjerker movie of people we are supposed to care for (Jews) and never shown any images of the “other” (Germans or the wrong kind of Spaniard).

        It doesn’t get any more basic than that and of course Harold and Foppe have no logical rebuttal other than claiming the Jews are a special people that are the exception to humanity . . . which is the only logical explanation for the “exception” to free speech that is carved out only for them.

        1. Foppe

          Oh ffs, learn to read. I never said I found the fact that holocaust denialism is treated as a special case particularly useful, all I pointed out was that we europeans are perfectly capable of *not* using the existence of that exception as a precedent — thus refuting the idiotic, but always dragged out, slippery slope argument in favor of “absolute” FoS.

          1. Walter Wit Man

            Thanks for clarifying your argument.

            But the Europeans clearly have not limited their propaganda to this one exception and the exception is also very significant!

            1. The Europeans have gone well past enforcing the official story of WWII. There is an example of outlawing images of “terrorists” in Spain. Plus, the treatment of protesters in Britain and the U.S. shows these countries have gone beyond limiting WWII speech.

            For example, the U.S. assassinated al Alwaki in Yemen for speech that would be legal in the U.S. The U.S. has also similarly targeted other people based on their speech. Many mosques and Muslims have been investigated or targeted based on their speech or simply associations. Europe helps the U.S. impose these rules all the time. Europe is going along with sniper assassinating people for their words and even based on where they assemble (the U.S./NATO/Europe kill Muslim civilians in places like Afghanistan simply for associating with the wrong people). Europe helps the U.S. go after whistle blowers all the time (see the Assange case).

            2. Imposing a false history about WWII does a great deal of damage. For instance, the most evil and dangerous threat to world peace right now, Israel and a fascist-controlled U.S., thrives off of this false reality.

          2. Walter Wit Man

            Also, the U.S. and Western victors of WWII imposed their will on Europe secretly through such actions like Operation Gladio: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Gladio

            This is a significant part of history that has been excised.

            How can you claim Europeans didn’t fall down the slippery slope when they literally had secret armies operating throughout Europe after WWII? It’s farcical in the damage it does to reality. The U.S. and her allies killed, maimed, and cheated their way to control European governments and used propaganda (mostly Anti-Leftist propaganda btw) to control. They most assuredly went beyond the one “exception” to free speech–they were heavily mind-controlled–just like we were in America.

    5. Walter Wit Man

      Great points.

      There is no freedom of expression in Europe.

      For instance, people have served time in jail for researching the history of WWII in Europe! I don’t care what the subject matter is, when one ‘side’ has to impose their reality on the rest of us by jailing historians it obviously makes one suspicious of what the censors are hiding. And lo and behold, these propagandists in Europe are no different than propagandists throughout time–they are lying, thieving, oppressors. They are hiding the truth and imposing their own false reality!

      What we have in Europe is victor’s justice and a forced brainwashing of the population. Same thing in South Korea and Japan. The Japanese, German, and Koreans were not only defeated–they were crushed and broken. The U.S. and other WWII victors made seeking the truth illegal in these countries. We killed them and abused them and then created propaganda that made them into the bad guys. More Germans probably died in Eisenhower Death Camps than Jews died in German death camps. Would the victors have to lie so hard and cover up the truth if the truth were favorable to them?

      Even now in this country there is a huge amount of informal censorship regarding the Holocaust.

      We have been lied to about the Holocaust. The great Terror State’ of Israel was created on this lie and the victors are imposing their false reality on the rest of us using force and censorship.

      The truth about what happened to Jews is made illegal while slanders against Muslims are protected and promoted. Welcome to American-led fascist capitalism.

  3. Joe

    The issue is not in realtion to Freedom of Speech, it’s wealth distribution. The dictatorship already exists, and it will exist until there are elections where the citizens of countries are asked to decide on how they want to distribute the wealth of their nations.

    The response to the financial crisis is a good case in point. TARP etc. lacked popular, as in democratic, political support and yet it was implemented by the US administration. That’s dictatorship.

    1. Michael W

      The Republicans/Tea Party devotees have stalemated democratic government so the only office that can work, with tremendous limitations, is that of President. America is a republic and unless Plato was an idiot it is not possible to have a democratic republic – its either one or the other. A democracy is run by and for the majority of average people; while a republic is run by and for wealthy elites. It is impossible to have a country run by and for wealthy elites AND by and for the majority of average people at the same time!!!
      Therefore, in the almost total stalemated neutering of democratic government by republicans aided by the republican form of government masquerading as a democracy which has done nothing but facilitate the crushing of democratic outcomes while facilitating the absconders of wealth, average Americans are confused and scared for the future.
      Until Americans understand that America IS a republic with a lot of votes, NOT a democracy, and exactly what that means; there will be a continuing degradation in life and life outcomes for the vast majority of Americans. While the rich get richer, the poor will get poorer – what a surprise!

    1. sleepy

      In the late 70s I visited my Irish cousin in Dublin (I am a US citizen). My cousin was active in trade union activity and a supporter of Sinn Fein.

      I recall being amazed when he spoke of both the Irish and British government’s anti-terrorism statutes: detention without trial, no prohibition against self-incrimination, torture, little due process in general, etc.

      I had just graduated from law school and assured him that the Bill of Rights would prohibit that sort of activity in the US.

      If any law student in any of my classes back then would have proposed otherwise, he/she would have been laughed out of class–by both leftwing and rightwing students.

      Boy, was I wrong. So, yes, the US went down that rabbit hole a while ago. And Europe could as well, if good chunks of it aren’t there already.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      1. I don’t disagree but Parliamentary governments in Europe mean that changes can often move faster in those countries than in the US. So the recent history may not be a predictor.

      2. Pointing out the tampting down of freedom of speech provides a frame of reference for the US. It’s a vehicle for surfacing discussion about our issues.

    3. Jim

      How can anyone who’s aware of Draghi’s machinations in Brussels possibly say something so detached from reality?

      Draghi is crafting and imposing fiscal policy from his unelected perch in Brussels. Is that not quasi-analogous to a dictatorship?

      What institution in the US even approximates the power that Draghi has in the Eurozone.

      And what about the EXPLICIT contract the ECB made with the German people regarding non-monetization of debt?

      Frankly, far too many “progressives” are cheerleading the dictatorship of Draghi in Europe.

      Why?

      Because too many progressives are wedded to the ill-fated artificial construct known as the Eurozone. These progressives blindly want a United States of Europe, even if the suppression of democracy is the price to achieve it.

      1. Calgacus

        Jim – you do understand that Germans like “monetized debt”. That’s what the Bunds were in the good old days of the Deutschemark. The problem of the Euro is that demonetized debt which was previously monetized. The crazy idea of “mainstream” “economics” is that a sovereign country’s debt is not already monetized. When it most certainly is, merely by virtue of being sovereign debt; whether the central bank purchases it or not is a sideshow.

        Draghi’s fiscal powers are not infinite, unlike a sovereign country’s. Draghi can only buy what the states issue; the problem is that he only buys if they follow insane, suicidal, universally destructive policies.

  4. Veri

    The Race to Fascism: Who Gets There First? Europe or America?

    The consequence of letting the Far Left or Far Right run our societies is that we end up with different, but no less oppressive, forms of control.

    The author is correct that the hypocrisy illustrated is of an insidious nature. To have Eurocrats stand by and apologize for a film in which tasteless free speech resulted in the rioting in the Middle East that has claimed lives. It is true, judging by the reaction of the Middle East, that they do not share the stated values of Western Civilization. How far will the Eurocrats go in suppressing free speech in order to appease? Will it be considered a violation of someone’s rights if you curse them out for their stupidity?

    How about abortion? It violates the beliefs of quite a few people. Should it be outlawed if there were to be violent riots and murders on a mass scale? Anti-semitism. That’s free speech. Shall Eurocrats rule that everyone must love each other or face stiff fines and possible jail? Where does it end? If this appeasement never ends; tyranny. Thought police. Fascism.

    The rule is and should be, that if speech incites violence towards another, then the speaker should be punished.

    At least we in The West pay lip service to our values. If the extremist Muslims are allowed to murder in the name of a film while their societies do little or nothing about it; where approval is tacitly granted for such behaviour…

    The author has some things right. However, it is a far deeper matter than can be put into a few words. Where does the absurdity stop?

    1. Michael W

      Capitalism is where the individual takes the risk and the individual gets the reward; socialism is where the state takes the risk and the state gets the reward; fascism is where the state takes the risk and the individual gets the reward. Wall Street, which controls the federal and state governments in the USA, and the EU, are both fascist. The total defeat of democracy is just an eye blink away, however it is not to late for individuals to understand that democracy and democratic governments work to everyone’s benefit and therefore they must be effective for democracy to really exist. Fascism, the preference of the IMF, WB, BIS, BFI, Wall Street, Canary Warf etc. etc ad nauseum work only for the benefit of a small minority and must be eliminated or drastically altered and real democratic national governments must arise and grow in strength. Otherwise we are on the precipice of a huge, possibly encompassing centuries, disasterous economic and political misadventure.

  5. Hugh

    I agree with Joe. The three great issues of our times are kleptocracy, wealth inequality, and class war. The author’s feelings of fear and unease are a vague reaction to a growing realization that something is fundamentally wrong in Europe.

    I would say from this side of the Atlantic, “Welcome to the club.” We’ve been having the same kinds of feelings about our own country for a few years now.

    The key to understanding what is going on is that our problems are systemic. Maintaining that the system is sound but that there are some bad actors and/or troubling tendencies in it invariably leads to massive, unresolvable contradictions.

    I can only say that anyone who is not experiencing fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) at what is happening in the world has not been paying attention.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Hugh
      Thank you for articulating this so well, both here and on so many other instances on so many other days.

      … “There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” —Henry David Thoreau

  6. Jo

    No matter what they introduce, you will always be able to say Barosso is a thieving twat – ‘cos it’s true.

  7. JeanVal

    There has been for a long time, in a lot of European countries, limit to the liberty of speech. In France, some are due to circonstances (holocaust), some are geared toward the respect of other (basically spreading intentional falsehood about someone).

    There are two mechanisms to safeguard the liberty of speech and ensure a balance between a broad liberty and several limits to it. First at country level where constitutions all features liberty of speech, the State judicial system will protect it. Second safeguard is the European Court of Human Rights where any individual may sue any State member of the European Council. This court enforces the European Convention for Human Rights.

    So, yes, some leaders are definitively taking an unfriendly path to our liberty of speech (and a lot of people did take notice of it), but it will take however a tremendous, concerted effort to circumvent the various institutions that are in there way to succeed.

  8. Hugh

    Although are our own Constitutional protections are meaning less and less, the limits of free speech in the US were set out in Brandenburg v. Ohio (1969):

    Freedoms of speech and press do not permit a State to forbid advocacy of the use of force or of law violation except where such advocacy is directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action.

    Under this doctrine, “Innocence of Muslims” is protected speech. It did not advocate violence rather violence was the reaction to this speech by non-citizens in various parts of the world. That may be regrettable but it is irrelevant to the First Amendment, that is if our Bill of Rights still meant anything.

    1. Tiresias

      By my reading of Brandenburg v Ohio the film “The Innocence of Muslims” gains no ‘free speech’ protection as it was precisely “directed to inciting or producing imminent lawless action and is likely to incite or produce such action” – not by appealing for such action from its audience but in effect knowingly waving a red rag at a bull.

      ‘Free speech’ is a two way affair – for the right to say what I believe I must accept the right of others to say what they believe about me and my beliefs. Those responding to this film and Salman Rushdi’s book the title of which I have already forgotten &tc with violence and threats of violence reject this contractual aspect of this most fundamental aspect of Western civilisation, and if we accept they have the right to do so we must accept the right of anyone to do so.

      In which case, RIP Free Speech and welcome to the Inquisition.

      1. Joe

        Have you read the Satanic Verses, by Rushdie. It’s a good read, very, very funny and totally mainstream, in that he takes religious figures and puts them in the “real” world. I found it to be in no way disrespectful to the Muslim religion. If anything it was a comment about interculturality and probably more a eflection of Rushdie’s experiences, than a religious comment.

        In short, religion, like finance should be kept as far away from politics as possible!

      2. Ms G

        I agree with Teresias that the film is “waving a red flag at a bull” and that is, in my view, a form of incitement to imminent violence posited in Brandenburg. What Hugh refers to as a “reaction” to the film by non-citizens (not sure citizenship was a requirement for limiting dangerous speech in Brandenburg but I’m going to go look it up) is the imminentely foreseeable conduct of the bull having a red flag waved at him.

        That said, I agree entirely with Hugh that the real issues are Kleptocracy, Class Warfare and Wealth Inequality. And the conflicts and furies arising from the Islam v. [Fill in the Blank Self-Avowed Enemy Of] are symptomatic of fights being fought in the wrong dimension.

        1. Jessica

          I want to make a distinction between incitement on one’s own side and provoking opposition.
          The kind of incitement that is not covered by freedom of speech would be if for example, someone said “Hey, let’s kill Muslims” or “Hey, Muslims, let’s kill non-Muslims (or Muslims we don’t approve of)”. That would be incitement.
          If someone says, “I don’t like x” and supporters of X react violently _against_ the statement, not for it, that is not incitement.
          If we were to make it a rule that free speech does not cover speech that anyone reacts violently _against_ (not for), then pretty soon we would have other groups acting as inappropriately as the mobs in various nations did in response to the video.

          1. Ms G

            Absolutely correct. The issue is a factual one (“in all the circumstances”) — does the movie “just” say “I don’t like Muslims and Muslims are savages” or is it, in the circumstances, lighting a match to a gas-filled arena? Under our legal system, the answer to that question is whatever the District Judge (or a panel of Circuit Judges, or a Supreme Court panel) decide(s) it is. The line between speech that says “I hate X” versus speech that incites imminent violence (which could well include “I hate X” aimed at an explosive context) is not always so clear as it might seem from a purely philosophical, formal logic, or linguistics analysis perspective.

          2. Ms G

            Adding. My response was to your main point. Your last sentence, however — I have no idea what it means.

            (Reprinting here: “…then pretty soon we would have other groups acting as inappropriately as the mobs in various nations did in response to the video.”)

      3. Larry Barber

        That reading of the law would simply give the right of censorship to the most violent in our society and world. Don’t like a certain opinion? Start a riot, then future expressions of that same opinion would be considered “incitement”.

      4. Walter Wit Man

        You’re falling for the scam.

        Do you know how many movies appear just like this on Youtube?

        Youtube is filled with provocative anti-Muslim material and they never rioted and rampaged over these previous provocations.

        No, this was staged. This was a Psychological Operation. Sure, there may be some legitimate protesters now that this issue has had wall to wall coverage in the West.

        But I bet there were no organic protests and no real violence. This was staged by the West to convince Us in the West that these people are mindless savages. And it’s working. Even people on the Left have been tricked into thinking this about Muslims–that they are rampaging over a perceived slight.

        Hell, Christians could be shown to be rampaging over the ‘War on Christmas’ if one carefully crafted images to show people.

      5. Hugh

        Jessica is right. Speech though it result incidentally in violence is still protected. Speech can even advocate violence and illegality and still be protected. The key concept is imminence, the point at which speech shifts to action. There was no imminence criterion met by “Innocence of Muslims”. Many people were disgusted by the trailer, but far fewer actually viewed it. Some people in other parts of the world chose to react violently to it. That is a matter between them and their government. Our Constitution has nothing to say about that.

        But even if there had been violent reactions in this country, and so under the purview of the Constitution, the speech in question would not be “Innocence of Muslims”. The unprotected speech would be that of those who incited imminent violence in reaction to the film.

        1. Ms G

          “The unprotected speech would be that of those who incited imminent violence in reaction to the film.”

          Assuming the imminence standard were met, the film could still be unprotected speech under the (considerably narrowed) doctrine of “Fighting Words” — insulting/offensive speech that creates imminent threat of violent reaction/retaliation by the targets of the speech.

          This is why it isn’t quite accurate to say that any speech that provokes a violent reaction/retaliation is categorically protected (at least under the US Constitution as currently interpreted.)

  9. M

    Dear Yves,

    I’ve enjoyed reading Naked Capitalism for many years. Great content with great insights written by insiders who dig beneath the surface. I suppose you do your homework when you invite authors to publish on your website.

    If only you’d done your homework this time. The so-called provocative website ‘Geenstijl’ can be considered the absolute gutter of the Dutch internet, comparable to Redstate or Biggovernment in the US. It was founded by the right-wing daily The Telegraaf (the Dutch Bild Zeitung or New York Post) and can thus be considered a wingnut welfare project. The people active in their comment sections sometimes go quite literally after the people with whom they disagree issuing threats and the like. More often than not supported by the editors of Geenstijl who publish phone numbers and addresses of the people they have in their sights.

    Just ask Mr. Bennink why they have been dubbed the Internet SA. Jan Bennink is one of those fellow travelers who switched from left-wing paranoia in the 1980s to right-wing paranoia in the 21st century.

    And The Volkskrant has become what the Washington Post in the US has become: a neocon rag with an editorial board filled with crazies who would welcome the Clash of Civilizations rather sooner than later.

    This guy is as credible as Jeniffer Rubin.

    1. bmeisen

      Ergo we’re all just 3 days from barbarism. Nothing new there so the author uses an anti-EU gambit and successfully avoids mentioning Europe’s one honest dictator: Lukaschenko in White Russia. Not surprising he feigns reverence for Farage, a British populist in the tradition that produced Mosley.

      The fact is that with few exceptions Western European states offer degrees of representative democracy and deliver its benefits at levels that are substantially beyond those experienced by citizens in the USA. There are a lot of problems and they’re coming mostly from neo-liberal free-market conceits being used by the wealthy to defend their privileges. The same is happening in the USA but in Western Europe the democracies tend to function and the result is funding for education, culture, health insurance, diversified infrastructure.

      1. mary

        @bmeisen
        “The fact is that with few exceptions Western European states offer degrees of representative democracy and deliver its benefits at levels that are substantially beyond those experienced by citizens in the USA. There are a lot of problems and they’re coming mostly from neo-liberal free-market conceits being used by the wealthy to defend their privileges. The same is happening in the USA but in Western Europe the democracies tend to function and the result is funding for education, culture, health insurance, diversified infrastructure.
        Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/09/the-new-great-dictators-are-gaining-momentum-in-europe.html#yWsYmQJf2QSfOVGL.99

        As an American living in Europe
        - not GB – I agree with you 100%
        and thank you for your comment.

    2. Walter Wit Man

      Thanks for the back story. Apparently, he’s the Christopher Hitchens of the Netherlands and their press is just as controlled as our press.

      Most comment sections are fake, btw. Just like Jan. It’s intended to get us upset about how futile our fellow man is.

      Jan’s mission must be to spread lies about Syria and to create division on the left about the scary right in Europe. It’s the whole Red State vs. Blue State thing being taken to Europe with a nice flavor of NAZI to scare people.

      All of this is meant to divide and obfuscate and encourage the clash of civilizations and more war. The German media is just as controlled as the American media, apparently.

      1. Ms G

        It is also meant to obfuscate the reality that it is class warfare between .01% (the One-Party-Kleptocracy, and 99.9%, in Europe, USA, ASIA, Africa, and Australia/NZ. And it does so through the tried-true tactic of creating a Big Diversion via a Roach-Motel (in this case, “Free Speech” throught he prism of a probably manufactured conflict) for the energies and cognitive abilities of the 99.9% — especially inciting everyone’s reptilian-brain instincts so as to assure Total Anger (which is Total Blindness).

  10. Sebastian Amithere

    Please Yves, as M points out, the Volkskrant has indeed become a “neocon rag” filled with emptyheaded xenophobic and populist rants, combining a staff of rancorous babyboomers with the worst of an ill-educated younger generation. I know because I worked there.

    Nor, by the way, is Jan Bennink a “leading columnist”. He is one of a crop of maybe two or three marginal wingnuts that have been employed to – unsuccessfully – appeal to younger readers by the paper’s desparate chief editors.

    Will you really publish anything bearish on Europe just because you hate the euro and the European project in general? Maybe it’s time for full disclosure?

    1. Foppe

      1. The volkskrant is a neoliberal rag, not a neocon one. The content is vacuous, not reactionary.

      2. the article doesn’ts ay leading columnist, it says columnist at a leading newspaper. Don’t know anything about his past, but his affiliation with GeenStijl indeed suggests that we shouldn’t expect much. Yes, he’s ‘marginal’, but in the most vacuous of ways, as evidenced by the jumbled mess above.

      3. What is it with the “full disclosure” nonsense, and the black/white reasoning? Simply make the case for why this article isn’t interesting and move on, there’s enough pointless conspiracy theorizing going on already.

      1. Sebastian Amithere

        Well Foppe, thanks for educating me on the nature and nomenclature of this newspaper that I have worked for for years. I would reply that I have personally seen the paper’s liberal-left editorial staff, especially its opinion section and chief editors, being taken over by neoconservative, islamophobic babyboomers with a morbid fear of alienating a supposedly right-moving readership – which, in any case, didn’t and won’t return to this newspaper anyway.

        But I suspect you will not be swayed by empirical evidence.

        1. Foppe

          Oh, I’m sure you are right that they did move to the right on those issues (though it is only now that I understand what you were driving at, your first post was rather vague on what you meant by ‘neocon’); my point is that I’m not at all sure that it makes sense to call that a ‘neocon’ thing.

          Having said that, ‘moving with the market’ is an epically neoliberal, MBA-taught, ideology-free kind of reasoning, which suggests only that the managers (PCM right?) are only in it for the money anyway, and that they do have “editorial control”. It doesn’t really speak to the newspaper “becoming” anything, apart from more filled with drivel.

          Anyway, I love how you respond to my remark that your “full disclosure now!” demand was off base by concluding that I “will not be swayed by empirical evidence”. Classy!

  11. Antoine

    It is very sad to find this absurd diatribe published on this eminently fine blog.

    It seems to me logical, and not really new, that some get criticized for stretching the boundaries of freedom of expression to its limits. However, this does not entail that one is legally restricted in its freedom of expression. Indeed, the EU and the council of Europre have been at the forefront of an open society. The freedom of expression is enshrined in the EU’s Charter of fundamental rights. The European parliament is a place where the debate between pro and anti-European politicians is alive and well.

    This kind of orwellian prediction is just out of touch with reality. Diabolizing the critique of the critique is not really a sign of a readiness to dialogue and explain.

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Are you aware of the stay behind army in places like Greece and Spain after WWII?

      The U.S. and West infiltrated these governments and attacked, killed, imprisoned, and otherwise thwarted leftists in these countries. The U.S. officially attacked “communists” and trade unionists and put them in work camps.

      The victors also imposed their propaganda. They literally made the truth illegal. The history books were wiped clean. There were restrictions on what people could say. Germany was forced to pay for Israeli nuclear subs and its war material while it was limited in what arms it could make. Japan was limited in what its people could say and American democracy was forced upon them (in addition to things like nuclear power). It was run in secret by the Americans.

      Give me a break about this propaganda about freedom . . . the Europeans are starting to sound as delusional as the Americans.

  12. prufrock

    I am Italian grown-up during the 70s: I am very much used to distrust “government” and whatever it could resemble it as far as my personal safety is regarded not to talk about “freedom of opinion” which in Italy basically means you can speak like an idiot on tv.
    Maybe you have been lucky so far, or naive: welcome on board.

  13. Brick

    Like many I am not impressed by the articles arguments which is a shame because there are some issues surrounding democracy and rights.

    1) I perceive some political correctness bias in the face of minority very vocal complaints, but that is politicians for you.
    2) Monitoring of encouragement in violence is up, but really you should be accountable for what you say and do. US monitoring of its own and EU citizens conflicts with individual rights to a larger extent. Yes you do need to be careful and EU libel laws seemed to have converged with US laws which don’t leave a lot of room for common sense.
    3) The EU does have a parliament, but it appears that EU commissioners can run a bit rough shod over that democratic process.For instance Karel De Gucht with his ACTA proposals looks set to try and force through legislation despite it being rejected by the EU parliament.
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120625/12333619468/eu-commissioner-reveals-he-will-simply-ignore-any-rejection-acta-european-parliament-next-week.shtml
    4) Undemocratically accountable EU instituitions like the ECB are dictating fiscal policy.
    5) Un elected Technocrats being put in charge of austerity implementations.

    3,4 and 5 concern me, because I perceive them as undemocratic power grabs which could result in a disasterous (for Europe) political backlash.

  14. Ms G

    Here in New York City, today marks the first day of an ad campaign in the New York City Subway System (!) featuring posters calling Arabs “savages” and referring to an ongoing “war against jihad.” It is a disgrace, regardless of First Amendment issues (MTA tried to reject the campaign, Federal Court forced MTA to run it on 1st Amendment grounds).

    These venomous messages of hatred are brought to the hostage audience of New York City Straphanger by a Pam Geller and a “Pro Israel” Group.

    Mayor Bloomberg has been astonishingly Mum on the matter.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/25/uk-usa-muslim-ads-idUSLNE88O00C20120925

    1. Ms G

      Adding. The timing of the Youtube Film and this Pam Geller hate-campaign makes one wonder whether there isn’t some sort of co-ordinated effort going on to whip up base sentiment (double meaning intended) in tandem with all of the other activities being organized to make war in the middle east seem like a logical next step.

      1. ambrit

        Dear Ms G;
        More realistically, the expansion of the ongoing war in the Middle East. The elites have a long and storied history of propagandizing for pet military industrial projects. Considering the number of influential Jewish people and organizations centered on the NYC area, such a campaign would be a natural multipurpose project. Lots of irons in this fire.

        1. Ms G

          No doubt, Ambrit. Tragically, no doubt at all.

          Did you know that as Mayor Bloomberg enabled the shutting down of St. Vincent’s Hospital in the West Village so that one of his close friends could “buy it” and develop it as luxury condominiums, the same Mayor was donating $10 million of his own money to build a hospital in Jerusalem?

      2. Walter Wit Man

        Bingo. They are totally connected.

        Just as these are connected to the Koran burning pastor in Florida and the incident in Afghanistan where the laborers found half-burned Korans.

        This is all staged for our benefit. It is intended to make us hate Muslims and Arabs and to make us accept an illegal and unjust attack on them. WWIII is about to begin in earnest and these decades-long psy-ops are preparing the American people to kill without feeling. These are bararians. Savages.

        And liberals are eating this shit up. They are suckers for this propaganda. They are hit with a double whammy. On the one hand they are tricked into thinking Obama and the Dems are the peace-loving side trying to prevent Romney and the Neanderthal Republicans from taking over. Then, when the Muslims act all ‘savage’, these warmongering liberals throw up their hands in disgust at the Muslims for defending them when they didn’t deserve it. Screw them, the liberals say. They aren’t worth defending. Here we are trying to bring them freedom and love and peace and then they riot over something stupid. They must deserve what they get, ignorant savages.

        It’s working according to plan. The U.S. and Israel is getting ready for the Final Solution in the Middle East and the bamboozled population of these fascist death cult countries is baying for more blood. Especially Israel. Israel is obviously getting ready to let a lot more blood and its servant Obama is providing all the justification this Evil Regime needs to kill hundreds of thousands more (if not millions).

        1. Roland

          Just play the religion card, and American liberals will jump on command.

          American liberals’ hatred of their domestic rivals from the Christian right (a hatred which, to be sure, is fully reciprocated) has poisoned the entire American liberal worldview, and has made nonsense of their supposed rationalism.

          The entire world might suffer millions of unnecessary deaths simply as a consequence of the intensity of factional rivalries within the empire’s core.

    2. Susan the other

      I was going to mention that too Ms G. The RT report I saw mentioned that these posters have a time limit and will be taken down in so many weeks. Which I also thought was odd. They can just put up new ones. There is no justifiable reason for these signs to be in the NY subway, or anywhere else on the planet. These signs amount to hate speech, pure and simple. I’m horrified. The Federal Court was totally remiss.

      1. Ms G

        Susan. Regarding the Fed Court being remiss, I haven’t read the opinion but plan to. In particular, to see whether the Court ordering MTA to run the campaign considered the case under the “incitement to imminent violence” standard in Brandenburg v. Ohio (which would be the primary relevant precedent to analyze the facts at bar).

        Let’s assume the Fed Court did its job and that the order was the correct result under our First Amendment. Where the H*** are the bloody local politicians when COUNTER-SPEECH would be entirely (1) appropriate, (2) legal and (3) expected? Dead. Silence. Across the Board. To me, that silence is an inexcusable form of acquiescence in the SUBSTANCE of the Ad posters — meaning that the Company of Silent Elected Officials are not so subtly endorsing the Ads’ depiction of Muslims as “savages.” And you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to grasp the ramifications of this type of endorsement.

        1. Ms G

          Interesting. The NYPD has massed manpower at all the subway stations where the Geller Anti Muslim posters are to be published. Apparently the NYPD feels (contrary to its spokesman’s assertion) that the campaign is likely to incite violence or other conduct worthy of special police presence.

          http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/ad_insult_to_injury_H3Q9mAQDKU3wI3uk2fKj5N

          And for those who aren’t familiar with the posters. Here’s the primary and most grotesque of the slogans printed on them: “In Any War Between the Civilized Man and the Savage, Support the Civilized Man ** Support Israel — Defeat Jihad.” Asked if she would do anything differently in a do-over, Geller said she might change “Support Israel” to “Defend America.” There.

        2. Peasant Pinguin Society

          One way that New Yorkers might respond to these racist slogans would be to distribute copies of Mahmoud Darwish’s powerful 2002 poem “A State of Siege” on the subway walls.

          Written during the Israeli siege of Ramallah, after talking of the sixth sense that allows him to skillfully escape shells, Darwish takes time to address the very Israeli soldiers shelling his neighborhood:

          You, standing at the doorsteps, come in
          And drink with us our Arabic coffee
          For you may feel that you are human like us;

          To the killer: If you had left the fetus thirty days,
          Things would’ve been different:
          The occupation may end, and the toddler may not remember the time of the siege,
          and he would grow up a healthy boy,
          and study the Ancient history of Asia,
          in the same college as one of your daughters.
          And they may fall in love.
          And they may have a daughter (who would be Jewish by birth).
          What have you done now?
          Your daughter is now a widow,
          and your granddaughter is now orphaned?
          What have you done to your scattered family,
          And how could you have slain three pigeons with the one bullet?

        3. Peasant Pinguin Society

          Or to try and combat these racist incitements to murder, New Yorkers could look for excerpts from Eduardo Cadava’s “The Guano of History” (2006) which outlines the history of slavery showing that the bodies and blood of millions of slaves fertilised the soil providing an essential condition for the wealth of Europe and the United States.

          And post some of these on NYC subway walls.

          such as:

          Judeo-Christian “civilization” has entailed the oppression, disenfranchisement, and the massacre of countless persons and peoples!!

  15. ambrit

    Friends;
    Inane or not, the person lifted the edge of our collective carpet a bit and exposed something anyone with a functioning mind would be wary of; the tendency of the State to enforce conformity. ‘Modern’ times have brought ‘modern’ tools to the task. The minds ‘controlling’ these tools are still ‘plain old’ human ones. Hence, fallible, and prone to error, weakness, ego, etc. I read a few years ago that IBM, through its European subsidiaries, enabled the Reich to efficiently implement its “Final Solution” policies. Modern computing was used by standard humans to engage in genocide. Modern computing through Ultra enabled competing humans to beat the Reich. Modern computing through the Manhattan Project led us all to the brink of extinction, where we still teeter. The real value of free speech, in my jaundiced opinion, is in its ability to counteract the States tendency to hide everything it does. They’re not called ‘Sunshine Laws’ for nothing.

  16. Timothy Gawne

    ‘Islam is a religion of peace and all who say different must be killed’.

    I see no reason to insult anyone – the issue seems more one of politeness than free speech – but the modern islamofascists are apparently determined to prove their critics correct (and they have no sense of irony). Censoring anything critical of modern islamic culture (which is not the same thing as Islam) is just knuckling under to bullies.

    Methinks the imam doth protest too much. Perhaps muslim people could ask themselves why it is that the only thing that modern-day islamic societies have to offer the world is poverty and hate? There was a time when muslim societies actually offered a better standard of living than the Christian west – perhaps a little soul-searching, and less bomb-throwing, is in order.

    1. F. Beard

      There was a time when muslim societies actually offered a better standard of living than the Christian west – perhaps a little soul-searching, and less bomb-throwing, is in order. Timothy Gawne

      Yep. But it doesn’t help that the West, especially the US, tries to force progress on them. Vietnam quickly modernized AFTER the US left.

  17. jsmith

    Really, the only sentence need be read in this entire piece to gauge the author’s viewpoint is this:

    “Quite a strong opinion for someone who, up until now, did not lift one finger to help those kids in Homs, Syria.”

    Neoliberal propagandist.

    Next!

    1. Walter Wit Man

      Great point.

      Whatever merit the rest of this post has, it is diminished by the unabashed warmongering and neoliberal propaganda that one sentence represents.

      There is nothing as vile as this putrid crap Jan Bennick, the neoliberal warmonger propagandist, writes in that one sentence.

      When Jan cries crocodile tears for the kids of Homs what he is really doing is baying for their blood.

      Warmongering propagandists sums hims up. All the other crap he writes is a distraction from this propaganda.

    1. F. Beard

      Not me! Why would I want to be a Muslim? Plus I have not yet quite finished reading the Bible.

      The trouble is that ole Mo-ham plagiarized the Bible so that truth is mixed with error in the Koran. Or so I have been told.

        1. F. Beard

          Well one has to be strategic with one’s limited time and energy.

          But I do know a Christian (before he was a Christian) who has read ALL the holy books of the world to compare them with modern science. The Bible beat them ALL hands down, he says. His name is Dr. Hugh Ross (phd Astrophysics). I’ve met the man personally and I trust his honesty. His web site is http://www.reasons.org .

          And you, if you could choose to be reborn as a Muslim, Jew, or Christian, which would you choose?

          1. liberal

            LOL. That website says “We believe the Bible is 100% without error.”

            The guy doesn’t know any science, and never did know any science.

          2. ebear

            “And you, if you could choose to be reborn as a Muslim, Jew, or Christian, which would you choose?”

            People are not born into a religion, they are indoctrinated into it as children before their critical faculties are fully developed. It’s basically a form of child abuse, but with so many people claiming their path as the truth, it’s hard to get them to see it that way. Thus you have freedom OF religion, but no freedom FROM religion. That you have to work out on your own after the damage is already done.

            ebear

          3. skippy

            Trust, Honesty, Beat them ALL hands down, choose to be reborn into – one – of three Abrahamic cults (not one mention of any other foundation myth), chosen people et al, millions upon millions of humans murdered in the name of, in the glory of, just makes me want too barf…

            skippy… the visceral feelings upon engaging the reality of it all… the size of the vessel required to expunge what was and will be wrought under its guidance, 100% with out error will be our epitaph…

  18. The Dork of Cork

    People don’t get how truely different the European Market state is.
    Yves is familiar with the works of Phil Bobbitt , I remember her mentioning him once I think.

    The European market state is at the centre of this high elite project.

    I have no doubt that if their Frankestein monster is truely threatened they will react in a manner that former western Nation states will find very strange.

    But it is a very strange project people.
    Guys in Tribal Ireland and Scotland both Norman & Gaelic could not figure this out during the 1500s 1600s and 1700s.
    The second English invasion of Ireland was of a very different character from the first.(Norman).
    It was when a particular Cromwellian type of Nation (Banking) state was imposed on us all.

    Ironically this meme had its roots in Holland.
    What goes around comes around I guess.

  19. Irrational

    I confess that I have not gone through all the posts, so forgive me if some one made this point:

    “Eurocrats” as in the officials of the European Commission cannot actually just dictate European law. Each proposal has to be endorsed by the Council (which represents the domocratically elected governments of the member countries of the EU) and the European Parliament (democratically elected by EU citizens, but about as popular as US elections with US votes). Each member country and each party in the European Parliament has an agenda, of course, but they have to get a majority or better for that.

    I do think there is a trend to more surveillance, but the balance between freedom and security will hopefully be found via the national (where there are huge differences across countries) and EU democratic processes.

  20. The Dork of Cork

    The Irish state TV signal will be switched off next month……it will be a electronic European controlled digital signal.

    While the Irish State TV system is much like Pravda (in fact its even worse as you must pay a licence fee while Pravda was free)

    However if we ever get a patriotic movement going again in Ireland (unlikely really) they will not have a nationwide broadcasting forum from which to project anything of substance and more especially of focus.

    This market state propoganda is much more insidious then sometimes well meaning nation state propoganda.
    It explains why so many Irish are so deeply strange post 1987~ with no real centre to their lives.

    In the early 90s they shut down the closing TV sequence(almost pagan imagery) national anthem.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wygzJtJwPnk

    All of these recent sequences was not a coincidence and indeed was a highly structured event over many decades.

    Believe it or not Ireland is a Market state success story…..the idea of common purpose has been swept from memeory even from those who should remember.

    Its a perfect little Zombie nation now.
    Theres not even a single Jacobite twitch in its rotting flesh.
    We are all dead inside.

      1. The Dork of Cork

        We did ,to Iceland back in the dark / early medival ages.

        The poor bastards.
        These Norse guys must have been desperate.

  21. The Dork of Cork

    Memeory or memory ?
    Maybe its memeory this time around.

    Never a fan of the nation state but the market state is the 9th circle of hell for sure.

    Its a extremely weird place this thing called Hell….what does one do all day in this gaff ?

  22. goat_farmers_of_the_CIA

    Reading Walter Mit Man’s Walter Mittyan references to the “Eisenhower death camps” made me wonder where LenovaBalletRusses had gone with her talk about the Illuminati. 1.7 million Germans killed on concentration camps AFTER the war, and not a single serious work written about it, just some youtube videos and stuff copied and pasted from rense.com? David Irving probably got at least half a dozen published by some big names in the industry before he ended up in an Austrian jail. Proof that victors censor their crimes maybe easy to find, but to say that this is stretching it a bit would be to put it mildly. I don’t think this kind of high flying fantasy will help Germans in any way. They also had to endure their share of injustice (the fire bombings described by Vonegut and the mass expulsion from Eastern Europe among the best known), but history should be based on fact and serious analysis, not the spreading of outright disinformation under half truths.

    1. ambrit

      It may be spun as just retribution, but remember the Soviet Gulag? Stalin was equal opportunity. He liquidated anyone who got in his way. As for Eisenhower, well, that matter of the Jewish refugees in Vichy France and their boat to Palestine…

    2. Walter Wit Man

      I too would like to learn more about this subject. There is much about WWII history that seems to be missing. I now question all I thought I knew about this history.

      The main source for the 1.7 million number appears to be “Other Losses” by James Bacque: http://www.amazon.com/Other-Losses-James-Bacque/dp/1559581735 He alleges the Allies covered up the number of Germans they killed by destroying documents. I haven’t read the book but I’m interested to learn more as well as see the alleged debunking of this information.

      The Rense article was not “cut and pasted” but was instead linked and if you read it you will note that there is eyewitness testimony from “Martin Brech of Mahopac, New York, a semi-retired professor of philosophy at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, NY,” who served as a guard at one of these death camps. There are other soldiers that have similar stories if you look around. What motivation would these soldiers have to lie?

      Plus, note that the main facts are not in dispute. Eisenhower designated these POWs “disarmed enemy forces” in order to NOT have to feed them under the Geneva Convention. The only question is how many Germans died and if the Americans did it intentionally and if they did it as genocide.

      I don’t know. I didn’t know about about this history until recently. It’s sketchy as hell it has been hidden.

      It sure appears to me there is more to this story than we know. It would be interesting to find out more information about Patton’s involvement, for instance.

  23. Dale in Brussels

    I’m not sure why the author is afraid of his government, especially one coming from Brussels? Does the EU have secret police controlled by Van Rompuy which will monitor his 67000 tweets and silence him? The thought is absurd.

    Yves, your desire to seek truth is commendable, but giving this guy airtime is an insult to your good taste.

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