Monday, January 25, 2010

Re-criminalizing political activism in The Netherlands

The effect on political activism of the Wilders' trial

In response to an article by Lawrence Auster about Geert Wilders' trial on VFR commenter Lydia Mc Grew wrote:
I assume he's being tried by a jury, so would it be jury nullification? Or would it actually be a statement that he hadn't violated the law? Generally an acquittal means that you didn't break the law in question, however awful the law might be. So if there were a law against going to church, being acquitted on the charge would mean you were "not guilty" of going to church. On the other hand, sometimes juries acquit someone as a kind of statement of protest against the law itself. It would be much better if the entire "incitement to hatred" law in Holland were overturned by whatever mechanism exists in Dutch law for that purpose. As it is, Wilders' aquittal would leave the law in place to be used to intimidate others. A jury nullification of a bad law means that the defendent was lucky to get away with it this time. That's an unsatisfactory outcome in the long run.
First this: Dutch Courts have no juries. AFAIK none of the continental European countries have juries.

Non-liberal political activism before Fortuyn

In the Wilders trial there is a Court of three judges. If they acquit Wilders this will have the effect to somewhat lessen the threat against those who want to criticize religion. As far as I know there is no defined threshold which must be crossed before a judge can penalize a politician or a political group who criticizes an ethnic or religious minority. In 1996 a political party was penalized even though the judge noted that it had not used discriminatory or racist language, but promised to "abolish the multicultural society". Around the same time the NVU, a "volk nationalist" party was banned from demonstrating in support of the expulsion of Mr. Gümüs, a Turkish illegal immigrant. So even expressing support for the state could be punished.

The watershed of 2002

After the meteoric rise of Mr. Pim Fortuyn the judiciary was much less ready to penalize critics of multiculturalism and multicultural society. In fact there is a tyrannical aspect to the employment of article 137. It depends on what the political echelon and the judiciary feel they can get away with and how much they need to get society in line. In the 80ies and 90ies the judiciary prosecuted and penalized multicultural critics out of a sense of moral rectitude and because they could. There were no drawbacks. Today the judiciary is in a state of confusion and the political elite is devided. The reason this trial is underway seems to be that diehards are trying to turn back the clock and to force the bad spirits of religion criticism and national self-assertion back in Pandora's box.

A new phase of of Dutch glasnost or its end?

If Mr. Wilders is convicted to a jail term of more than a few days this will dampen the debate on the dark side of multicultural society. If he is acquitted The Netherlands will have formalized its current pragmatic glasnost policy. This will cause the currently prevailing ideology of multi-culturalism to fail more quickly. Because multi-culturalism is based on the false premise that all races, cultures and religions are equally good in the long run multi-culturalism will fail anyway. The question is how much damage it will do before it is discredited and our elites will abandon it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Is Truth a defense?

Wilders strategy so far

As I wrote before the crux of the indictment against Wilders' is his comparing the Quran with Mein Kampf. Wilders insisted that the entire indictment was read out. The judges of the trial did not grant this, and allowed the public prosecutor to read a summary, leaving out parts that were doubly quoted in the indictment. Wilders intention must have been to get as much of his quotes verbatim publicized. The advantages he sought are:
1. Islam is shown in its full glory as the Wilders quotes are Quran quotes, red in tooth and claw. This turns Islam into the defendant.
2. The entire indictment speech becomes quotable even after a possible conviction of Wilders for hate speech. The indictment will prove a treasure trove for those who wish to continue to expose the truth about Islam. Wilders is aiming for a tactical advantage here.

The instruction of the Court of Amsterdam provides the indictment

The indictment has been written up by the Public Prosecutor acting on an instruction of the Amsterdam Court. A laywer, Mr. Hiddinga, pointed out on TV yesterday that the instruction by the Court of Amsterdam was written as a indictment. This shows the intent of the Amsterdam Court. For this reason Wilders tries to get the Amsterdam Court declare itself not the designated court for a trial against him on the ground that Dutch procedural law designates the trial to take place at the court in the place where the defendant resides. The public prosecutor argued that Wilders made his attacks on Islam on the national media and therefore the trial can take place anywhere in The Netherlands. It remains to be seen whether the Amsterdam court will indulge Wilders on procedural grounds.

Wilders' defense wants witnesses

Wilders has requested the judges to grant his requests for witnesses for the defense such as Arabists Hans Jansen and Simon Admiraal, in addition to the assassin of Theo van Gogh, Mohammed Bouyeri. He needs these witnesses in order to make his defense that he spoke the truth about Islam and it is absurd to be convicted for speaking a truth.

Truth was no defense in Belgium

In my opinion this will not work. In Belgium the nationalist party Vlaams Belang of Filip Dewinter was convicted for hate speech when they quoted government statistics on immigrant crime. "Truth was no defense" declared the Belgian court. Dutch judges are notoriously procedural. The law says that there are protected classes, classes which are protected due to their ethnicity, gender or religion. The adherents of Islam are one of these protected classes. This follows from the modified article 1 of the Constitution and article 137 of the Penal Code. In 2006 I have pointed out that these articles are similar in they way they work to articles in the Constitution of the Soviet Union. And this trial against Wilders is similar to the Stalin's trials against his enemies of the 1930ies. This trial against Wilders is a political trial. It is a show trial. The intent is to intimidate the Dutch population into acceptance of the Multicultural society and to stop critizising protected classes.

My take on the outcome of the trial

Truth will be no defense. Wilders WILL be convicted if the trial in Amsterdam goes on. The question is whether the judges will impose a heavy punishment on Wilder, such as two years in prison or a symbolic punishment say a 5.000 Euro fine.

The crux of Wilders' indictment

A legal expert speaks

Mr. Hiddema, a Dutch laywer interviewed (Dutch) on Dutch news and commentary TV show Netwerk yesterday explained what the long indictment against Wilders is about (HT Geenstijl). The centerpiece is Wilders' comparison of the Quran with Hitler's Mein Kampf.

Wilders at fault or the Quran?

According to Mr. Hiddema the trial against Mr. Wilders must prominently feature a comparison of Hitler's call for the use of violence against Jews and other minorities and Mohammed's prophesies of war against the unbelievers. Particularly the Jewish unbelievers.

Wilders says he speaks nothing but the truth

This is also the reason why Wilders insisted on having the indictment read out in full by the public prosecutor. The indictment consist of many Wilders quotes which in there turn are Quran quotes. With these quotes it is Islam that is the defendant. During his speech to the judges yesterday Wilders insisted that he had no objection to Muslims in The Netherlands personally. But that his objection was to Islam and the increase of Islamic power in The Netherlands. Wilders says that what he says about Islam is true, that his quotes truly represent what Islam is about.

The postion of the media

After the Netwerk news show ended it showed a kind of ad. The ad featured Ghislaine Plag, the presenter of the Netwerk show praising the virtues of the Multicultural society including footage of a happy headscarved Muslim women.

This makes it again clear that most of the media, who are subsidized and therefore owned by the state are in cahoots with the rest of the elite, the politicians and the judiciary. They are not independent, they want Wilders' viewpoint banished from the political discourse.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What does Wilders want?

I watched the first session of the political trial of the Dutch state against Wilders. Wilders was insisting trough his laywer Moscowicz to have the whole indictment against him read by the Public prosecutor, rather than having the prosecutor summarizing the charges. Wilders' priority seems to be to make Islam the defendant in this trial.

Geert Wilders on trial for criticizing Islam

This morning the first session of the political trial against Mr. Wilders started at the Court in Amsterdam. The session started at 11:00 hours. In front of the Court demonstrators gathered to show their support for Mr. Wilders' opinion and the Freedom of Speech.