Archive for the ‘Free Speech’ Category

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Lord Pearson: Free Speech| Geert Wilders

February 23, 2010
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Mark Steyn: The Absurd Trial of Geert Wilders

February 19, 2010
Canada’s only national weekly current affairs magazine.

The absurd trial of Geert Wilders

Feb 18, 2010 by Mark Steyn

The absurd trial of Geert Wilders

At a certain level, the trial of Geert Wilders for the crime of “group insult” of Islam is déjà vu all over again. For as the spokesperson for the Openbaar Ministerie put it, “It is irrelevant whether Wilders’s witnesses might prove Wilders’s observations to be correct. What’s relevant is that his observations are illegal.”

Ah, yes, in the Netherlands, as in Canada, the truth is no defence. My Dutch is a little rusty but I believe the “Openbaar Ministerie” translates in English to the Ministry for Openly Barring People. Whoops, my mistake. It’s the prosecution service of the Dutch Ministry of Justice. But it shares with Canada’s “human rights” commissions an institutional contempt for the truth.

As for “Wilders’s witnesses,” he submitted a list of 18, and the Amsterdam court rejected no fewer than 15 of them. As with Commissar MacNaughton and her troika of pseudo-judges presiding over the Maclean’s trial in British Columbia, it’s easier to make the rules up as you go along.

And in Amsterdam the eventual verdict doesn’t really matter any more than it did here. As Khurrum Awan, head sock puppet for Mohamed Elmasry, crowed to the Canadian Arab News, even though the Canadian Islamic Congress struck out in three different jurisdictions in their attempt to criminalize my writing, the suits cost this magazine (he says) two million bucks, and thereby “attained our strategic objective—to increase the cost of publishing anti-Islamic material.” Likewise, whether Mijnheer Wilders is convicted or acquitted, a lot of politicians, publishers, writers and filmmakers will get the message: steer clear of the subject of Islam unless you want your life consumed.

But at that point comparisons end. Had the CIC triumphed at our trial in Vancouver, the statutory penalty under the B.C. “Human Rights” Code would have prevented Maclean’s ever publishing anything on Islam, Europe, demography, terrorism and related issues by me or anybody of a similar disposition ever again. I personally would have been rendered legally unpublishable in Canada in perpetuity. But so what? I’m an obscure writer, and my fate is peripheral to that of the Dominion itself.

Geert Wilders, by contrast, is one of the most popular politicians in the Netherlands, and his fate is central to the future of his kingdom and his continent. He is an elected member of parliament—and, although he’s invariably labelled “far right” in news reports, how far he is depends on where you’re standing: his party came second in last year’s elections for the European Parliament, and a poll of the Dutch electorate in December found it tied for first place. Furthermore, if you read the indictment against him, you’ll see that among other things Wilders is being prosecuted for is proposing an end to “non-Western immigration” to the Netherlands: the offending remarks were made in response to a direct question as to what his party would do in its first days in office. So the Dutch state is explicitly prosecuting the political platform of the most popular opposition party in the country, and attempting to schedule the trial for its own electoral advantage. That’s the sort of thing free societies used to leave to Mobutu, Ferdinand Marcos and this week’s Generalissimo-for-Life.

To put it in Canadian terms, it’s like the Crown hauling Michael Ignatieff into court. Well, except for the bit about being the most popular politician in the country and ahead in the polls and whatnot. But imagine if Iggy was less tin-eared and inept and his numbers were terrific—and then the Ministry of Justice announced it had decided to prosecute him for his policy platform. That’s what’s happening in the Netherlands.

It gets better. The judge in his wisdom has decided to deny the defendant the level of courtroom security they afforded to Mohammed Bouyeri, the murderer of Theo van Gogh. Wilders lives under armed guard because of explicit death threats against him by Mr. Bouyeri and other Muslims. But he’s the one put on trial for incitement. His movie about Islam, Fitna, is deemed to be “inflammatory,” whereas a new film by Willem Stegeman, De moord op Geert Wilders (The Assassination of Geert Wilders), is so non-inflammatory and entirely acceptable that it’s been produced and promoted by a government-funded radio station. You’d almost get the impression that, as the website Gates of Vienna suggested, the Dutch state is channelling Henry II: “Who will rid me of this turbulent blond?”

There’s no shortage of volunteers. In the Low Countries, whenever anyone seeks to discuss Islam outside the very narrow bounds of multicultural political discourse, they wind up either banned (Belgium’s Vlaams Blok), forced into exile (Ayaan Hirsi Ali) or killed (Pim Fortuyn).

It’s remarkable how speedily “the most tolerant country in Europe,” in a peculiarly repellent strain of coercive appeasement, has adopted “shoot the messenger” as an all-purpose cure-all for “Islamophobia.” To some of us, the Netherlands means tulips, clogs, windmills, fingers in the dike. To others, it means marijuana cafés, long-haired soldiers, legalized hookers, fingers in the dike. But the contemporary reality is an increasingly incoherent polity where gays are bashed, uncovered women get jeered at, and you can’t do The Diary of Anne Frank as your school play lest the Gestapo walk-ons are greeted by audience cries of “She’s in the attic!” Speaking as a bona fide far-right nutcase, I rather resent the label’s export to Holland: Pim Fortuyn wasn’t “right-wing,” he was a gay hedonist; Theo van Gogh was an anti-monarchist coke-snorting nihilist; Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a secular liberal feminist; Geert Wilders says he’s opposed to Islam because of its hostility to gay equality, whereas the usual rap against us far-right extremists is that we want the godless sodomites to roast in hell.

It’s not “ironic” that the most liberal country in western Europe should be the most advanced in its descent into a profoundly illiberal hell. It was entirely foreseeable. Geert Wilders is stating the obvious: a society that becomes more Muslim will have fewer gays. Last year, the Rainbow Palace, formerly Amsterdam’s most popular homo-hotel (relax, that’s the Dutch word for it), announced it was renaming itself the Sharm and reorienting itself to Islamic tourism. Or as the website allah.eu put it: “Gay Hotel Turns Muslim.” As a headline in the impeccably non-far-right Spiegel wondered: “How much Allah can the Old Continent bear?” It’s an interesting question, albeit if an increasingly verboten one. The Wilders show trial is important because it will determine whether the subject can be discussed openly by mainstream politicians and public figures, or whether it will be forced underground and manifest itself in more violent ways.

Yet, despite its significance, the trial has received relatively little coverage in the Western media, in part because, for those of a multiculti bent, there’s no easy way to blur the reality—that this is a political prosecution by a thought police so stupid they don’t realize they’re delegitimizing the very institutions of the state. Still, the BBC gave it their best shot, concluding their report thus: “Correspondents say his Freedom Party (PVV), which has nine MPs in the lower house of parliament, has built its popularity largely by tapping into the fear and resentment of Muslim immigrants.”

Gotcha. This democracy business is all very well, but let’s face it, the people are saps, gullible boobs, racist morons, knuckle-dragging f–kwits. One-man-one-vote is fine in theory, but next thing you know some slicker’s “tapping into” the morons’ “fears and resentments” and cleaning up at the polls.

Strange how it always comes back to a contempt for the people. Whenever the electorate departs from the elite’s pieties, whether in the Netherlands or in Massachusetts last month, it’s because some wily demagogue like, er, Scott Brown has been playing on the impressionable hicks’ “fears and resentments.” To the statist bullies at Canada’s “Human Rights” Commissions, their powers to regulate speech are necessary to prevent hate-mongers like me tapping into the fears and resentments of the Dominion’s millions of birdbrained boobs. Yes, that would be you, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Schmoe of 22 Dufferin Gardens. Sure, you’ve voted for the Liberals every year since Expo, but c’mon, in your heart you know even you might be…susceptible…impressionable.

In the old days—divine right of kings, rule by patrician nobility—it was easier. But today’s establishment is obliged to pay at least lip service to popular sovereignty. So it has to behave more artfully. You’ll still have your vote; it’s just that the guy you wanted to give it to is on trial, and his platform’s been criminalized.

To return to where we came in, what does it mean when the Ministry of Justice proudly declares that the truth is no defence? When the law stands in explicit opposition to the truth, freeborn peoples should stand in opposition to the law. Because, as the British commentator Pat Condell says, “When the truth is no defence, there is no defence”—and what we are witnessing is a heresy trial. The good news is that the Openbaar Ministerie is doing such a grand job with its pilot program of apostasy prosecutions you’ll barely notice when sharia is formally adopted.

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http://www2.macleans.ca/2010/02/18/the-absurd-trial-of-geert-wilders/ printed on Feb 19, 2010

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Mosque University | Geert Wilders

February 3, 2010

Mosque University
Mike Adams
Monday, February 01, 2010

Dutch politician Geert Wilders is being tried in Amsterdam over some controversial remarks he made about terrorism and Islam. I’m glad I live in the United States of America, where such a trial would be prohibited by the First Amendment. I’m also glad I don’t teach at Temple University in Philadelphia, where students now have to pay an unconstitutional after-the-fact security fee levied by the university. This fee was for hosting none other than Geert Wilders.

The notion that it is permissible to charge a student group extra fees for security simply because a speaker’s views are controversial (read: not approved of by university administrators) might be acceptable at the University of Havana or the University of Beijing. But it should never happen in America.

Geert Wilders came to Temple University on October 20, 2009. Wilders was invited in the wake of a controversy surrounding his film “Fitna” which was released in 2008. The film was controversial because it features passages of the Koran interspersed with scenes of violence on the part of Muslims. The movie was shown during the presentation at Temple. Extra security was provided and there was no disturbance.

On December 3, Temple University Purpose (TUP) – the group that hosted Wilders -was surprised with a bill from Temple for $800 for a “Security Officer.” This came with the explanation that the charge was for the costs “to secure the room and building.”

TUP Interim President Brittany Walsh pointed out that Temple had said – prior to the event – the university would pay any extra security costs. But, after repeated emails, she has received no substantive reply. This is odd because, as one can see from their mission statement, TUP is not a conservative group – the type most likely to be singled out for such treatment:

“The mission of Temple University Purpose is to advocate for justice and equality of oppressed and underrepresented populations. The Temple University Purpose welcomes the whole of the student body of Temple University’s Main campus schools. Demonstrated through advocacy, on behalf of vulnerable populations, towards the eradication of oppression, and guided by the NASW Code of Ethics, the Temple University Purpose honors diversity and is dedicated to social change, social justice, and social unity. The Temple University Purpose provides an open forum in which conventional and unconventional views are exchanged and challenged to enhance understanding of and appreciation for others’ strife, values, devotions, and passions. The voice of every member is most valued, shall always be heard, and genuinely considered, as it is the foundation of the Temple University Purpose. Through active participation in the community, it is possible to contribute to the development of not only one as an empathic human being but, also, to the growth of our immediate and surrounding society. The Temple University Purpose firmly believes in embracing and challenging scholarly discussion of most-critical issues and debates on present developments concerning the open field of social work and society in all parts of our country and world.”

Obviously, this group is being punished financially because it hosted a speaker likely to offend a particularly volatile segment of the population. As a consequence, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has written to the president of Temple. In that letter, FIRE cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Forsyth County v. Nationalist Movement (1992), which says, “Speech cannot be financially burdened, any more than it can be punished or banned, simply because it might offend a hostile mob.”

Temple is a public university and is bound by the Supreme Court’s decisions. If they are smart, they will go the way of four other public universities—the University of Colorado at Boulder; University of Massachusetts Amherst; University of California, Berkeley; and University of Arizona—and abandon such security fees before they get sued.

Two years ago, Temple’s speech code was struck down by the Third Circuit. That lawsuit was handled by my friends at the Alliance Defense Fund. If the university does not begin to respect the First Amendment, additional humiliation and litigation are certain to follow.

My message to Temple University President Ann Weaver Hart is simple: You have been warned. Reverse your course of action or face the consequences. If you do not think I am serious, just ask former Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough.

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Video: Muslims Threat to Geert Wilders

February 3, 2010
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Video: Refresh: Geert Wilders’ Warning to America

February 3, 2010
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Geert Wilders Dutch Trial Update (21 Jan. 10)

January 21, 2010

Source: atlasshrugs.com

UPDATE: Here is a translation of Wilders’ compelling remarks. Contribute to Wilders’ legal fund. He fights for all of us.

Geert Wilders’ personal speech at pre-trial hearing

Mister Speaker, judges of the court,

I would like to make use of my right to speak for a few minutes.

Freedom is the most precious of all our attainments and the most vulnerable. People have devoted their lives to it and given their lives for it. Our freedom in this country is the outcome of centuries. It is the consequence of a history that knows no equal and has brought us to where we are now.

I believe with all my heart and soul that the freedom in the Netherlands is threatened. That what our heritage is, what generations could only dream about, that this freedom is no longer a given, no longer self-evident.

I devote my life to the defence of our freedom. I know what the risks are and I pay a price for it every day. I do not complain about it; it is my own decision. I see that as my duty and it is why I am standing here.
I know that the words I use are sometimes harsh, but they are never rash. It is not my intention to spare the ideology of conquest and destruction, but I am not any more out to offend people. I have nothing against Muslims. I have a problem with Islam and the Islamization of our country because Islam is at odds with freedom.

Future generations will wonder to themselves how we in 2010, in this place, in this room, earned our most precious attainment. Whether there is freedom in this debate for both parties and thus also for the critics of Islam, or that only one side of the discussion may be heard in the Netherlands? Whether freedom of speech in the Netherlands applies to everyone or only to a few? The answer to this is at once the answer to the question whether freedom still has a home in this country.

Freedom was never the property of a small group, but was always the heritage of us all. We are all blessed by it.

Lady Justice wears a blindfold, but she has splendid hearing. I hope that she hears the following sentences, loud and clear:

It is not only a right, but also the duty of free people to speak against every ideology that threatens freedom. Thomas Jefferson, the third President of the United States was right: The price of freedom is eternal vigilance.

I hope that the freedom of speech shall triumph in this trial.

In conclusion, Mister Speaker, judges of the court.

This trial is obviously about the freedom of speech. But this trial is also about the process of establishing the truth. Are the statements that I have made and the comparisons that I have taken, as cited in the summons, true? If something is true then can it still be punishable? This is why I urge you to not only submit to my request to hear witnesses and experts on the subject of freedom of speech. But I ask you explicitly to honour my request to hear witnesses and experts on the subject of Islam. I refer not only to Mister Jansen and Mister Admiraal, but also to the witness/experts from Israel, the United States, and the United Kingdom. Without these witnesses, I cannot defend myself properly and, in my opinion, this would not be an fair trial.

Here’s what happened today in the kangaroo court…………report from Evelyn Markus from Holland:

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Geert Wilders wants to bring in 17 witnesses, from Holland, UK, Israel, and US, among them Wafa Sultan, Robert Spencer, Andrew Bostom, Afshin Ellian, Arabist Hans Jansen, Sheikh Al-Qaradawi (who put a fatwa on Wafa), Mohammed Bouyeri (who killed Theo van Gogh) and imam Fawaz from Holland, who put a fatwa on Ayaan. The public prosecutors asked the judges to downsize the list and to skip Andrew Bostom, Mohammed Bouyeri and some others.The public prosecutors only want to bring in Geert Wilders as their witness, to which Wilder’s lawyer objected. Geert wants to make a statement in court, but doesn’t want to be interviewed by the public prosecutors. He has the right to keep silent when they interview him.

The session has just ended. At the end of the session the judges gave Geert the opportunity for closing remarks. Geert spoke from the bottom of his heart and passionately askedthe court to defend freedom in the Netherlands . He also stated: if expressions reflect the truth, how could they be criminal? So I ask this court to allow me to bring all my witnesses, so I will have the chance to prove I speak the truth in my expressions [about Islam].

The judges will get back with their decision on the number of witnesses, the timetable and the exact location of the trial in a public session on February 3.

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Geert Wilders Dutch Trial

January 20, 2010

Why I Stand with Geert Wilders | January 19, 2010
He represents all Westerners who cherish their civilization.

By Daniel Pipes

Who is the most important European alive today? I nominate the Dutch politician Geert Wilders. I do so because he is best placed to deal with the Islamic challenge facing the continent. He has the potential to emerge as a world-historical figure.

That Islamic challenge consists of two components: on the one hand, an indigenous population’s withering Christian faith, inadequate birthrate, and cultural diffidence, and on the other an influx of devout, prolific, and culturally assertive Muslim immigrants. This fast-moving situation raises profound questions about Europe: Will it retain its historic civilization or become a majority-Muslim continent living under Islamic law (the Shari’a)?

Wilders, 46, founder and head of the Party for Freedom (PVV), is the unrivaled leader of those Europeans who wish to retain their historic identity. That’s because he and the PVV differ from most of Europe’s other nationalist, anti-immigrant parties.

The PVV is libertarian and mainstream conservative, without roots in neo-Fascism, nativism, conspiricism, antisemitism,
or other forms of extremism. (Wilders publicly emulates Ronald Reagan.) Indicative of this moderation is Wilders’s long-standing affection for Israel that includes two years’ residence in the Jewish state, dozens of visits, and his advocating the transfer of the Dutch embassy to Jerusalem.

In addition, Wilders is a charismatic, savvy, principled, and outspoken leader who has rapidly become the most dynamic political force in the Netherlands. While he opines on the full range of topics, Islam and Muslims constitute his signature issue. Overcoming the tendency of Dutch politicians to play it safe, he calls Muhammad a devil and demands that Muslims “tear out half of the Koran if they wish to stay in the Netherlands.” More broadly, he sees Islam itself as the problem, not just a virulent version of it called Islamism.

Finally, the PVV benefits from the fact that, uniquely in Europe, the Dutch are receptive to a non-nativist rejection of Shari’a. This first became apparent a decade ago, when Pim Fortuyn, a left-leaning former-Communist homosexual professor began arguing that his values and lifestyle were irrevocably threatened by the Shari’a. Fortuyn anticipated Wilders in founding his own political party and calling for a halt to Muslim immigration to the Netherlands. Following Fortuyn’s 2002 assassination by a leftist, Wilders effectively inherited his mantle and his constituency.

The PVV has done well electorally, winning 6 percent of the seats in the November 2006 national parliamentary elections and 16 percent of Dutch seats in the June 2009 European Union elections. Polls now generally show the PVV winning a plurality of votes and becoming the country’s largest party. Were Wilders to become prime minister, he could take on a leadership role for all Europe.

But he faces daunting challenges.

The Netherlands’ fractured political scene means the PVV must either find willing partners to form a governing coalition (a difficult task, given how leftists and Muslims have demonized Wilders as a “right-wing extremist”) or win a majority of the seats in parliament (a distant prospect).

Wilders must also overcome his opponents’ dirty tactics. Most notably, they have finally, after two and a half years of preliminary skirmishes, succeeded in dragging him to court on charges of hate speech and incitement to hatred. The public prosecutor’s case against Wilders opens in Amsterdam on January 20; if convicted, Wilders faces a fine of up to $14,000 or as many as 16 months in jail.

Remember, he is his country’s leading politician. Plus, due to threats against his life, he always travels with bodyguards and incessantly changes safe houses. Who exactly, one wonders, is the victim of incitement?

Although I disagree with Wilders about Islam (I respect the religion but fight Islamists with all I have), we stand shoulder-to-shoulder against the lawsuit. I reject the criminalization of political differences, particularly attempts to thwart a grassroots political movement via the courts. Accordingly, the Middle East Forum’s Legal Project has worked on Wilders’s behalf, raising substantial funds for his defense and helping in other ways. We do so convinced of the paramount importance of talking freely in public during time of war about the nature of the enemy.

Ironically, were Wilders fined or jailed, it would probably improve his chances to become prime minister. But principle outweighs political tactics here. He represents all Westerners who cherish their civilization. The outcome of his trial and his freedom to speak have implications for us all.

— Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University. © 2010 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved. (nationalreview.com)

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This is my contribution to the International Free Press Society symposium on Geert Wilders. Read the full symposium here:   http://www.internationalfreepresssociety.org/2010/01/the-trial-of-geert-wilders-a-symposium/

Give me liberty or …

Paris January 18 2010

Nidra Poller

“…the statements of Wilders are un-Dutch, they don’t belong to our Christian-Judaic culture…. He discriminates Moroccans because of their race and causes hate against them…. His desire to ban the Koran brings fear and terror into peoples homes… The laws against hate crimes were made in 1934, to protect the Jews in a reaction to what was happening in Germany. That is telling. Prudently, parallels can be made –these laws had a clear cut political context.” Fokko Oldenhuis, Groningen University professor of Religion and Law (Elsevier December 17, 2009)

Dutch prosecutors are going after Geert Wilders with an axe, madly determined to hack him up–mind, heart and body politic—and bury the parts under the ashes of six million exterminated European Jews. Look how far we have come since a confused UK hid Salman Rushdie under its skirts, acting on remnants of principles and hardly aware of what was at stake. Today, the courts of a European nation proudly assume the role of hatchet man for conquering Islam.

There is no justification for the persecution of Geert Wilders. He is a legitimate political figure who speaks for a growing sector of the Dutch population and represents a hope for citizens of other European countries struggling to defend civilized values on the battlefields of a frankly declared war–the jihad– which their leaders and opinion-makers are determined to hide from view. European citizens are asking their governments to set limits on Islamic encroachment–the minaret construction freeze voted in a Swiss referendum—and the will of the people sometimes reaches the ears of their elected representatives– forthcoming law against full facial veiling in France, cancellation of permit for a mega-mosque at London’s 2012 Olympic site.

Geert Wilders has played an essential role in this transmission. Precisely because the “far right extremist populist” label written up for him by jihad sources and repeated by mindless journalists does not apply. When men and women of integrity stand up to confront the Islamic assault on our civilized values, they attract broad public support. The danger in Europe today does not come from the last dredges of retrograde extreme right forces, it comes from the jihad friendly Left. Communists, socialists, and ecologists in France shamelessly court the Muslim vote and accuse the Sarkozy government of pétainisme for daring to deport illegal immigrants.

Is this the lesson Europe has drawn from the Shoah? What could be more obscene than enrolling 6 million exterminated Jews in a battle to deprive one honest upstanding legitimate popular Dutch MP of the freedom to oppose the spread of an ideology that blatantly plans the extermination of the remaining Jewish population of the world? And actively promotes the plan here and now in Europe?

If every last Muslim immigrant were deported from every European country… if Muslims to the second and third generation were stripped of their citizenship and deported… many decent people would be unfairly deprived of their acquired rights, but… the wave of violent Jew hatred that is plaguing Europe would come to a sudden halt.

Many analysts who recognize these truths regret “extreme” positions taken by Geert Wilders. They believe he would better serve the cause, and avoid prosecution, if he would tone down his rhetoric. I disagree. Pulling punches, rounding out the angles, applauding the “majority of Muslims who are moderates” though they never appear in public, making false distinctions between Islam and Islamism is getting us nowhere. The fact that the prosecution has stooped to barring the press from a landmark trial that will determine the limits of free expression is an indication of their fear of the eloquence and clarity of Geert Wilders.

We do not want to be faced in this day and age with the choice of liberty or death. But moderation is not the answer. Give me liberty or send me to bed without supper is not a rallying cry for the defenders of freedom.

Nidra Poller
nidrapol@gmail.com .AOLWebSuite .AOLPicturesFullSizeLink { height: 1px; width: 1px; overflow: hidden; } .AOLWebSuite a {color:blue; text-decoration: underline; cursor: pointer} .AOLWebSuite a.hsSig {cursor: default}
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http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/01/20/netherlands.geert.wilders/
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