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Our intention is to inform people of racist, homophobic, religious extreme hate speech perpetrators across social networking internet sites. And we also aim to be a focal point for people to access information and resources to report such perpetrators to appropriate web sites, governmental departments and law enforcement agencies around the world.

We will also post relevant news worthy items and information on Human rights issues, racism, extremist individuals and groups and far right political parties from around the world although predominantly Britain.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Italy's politics are broken

While political debate in Britain is dominated by assessments of the regressive Coalition budget and the Labour leadership election, it's easy to forget what's going on in our European neighbour countries. Of most interest to the British left should be the political turmoil in Italy that could end the career of scandal-ridden, and erstwhile pal of Tony Blair, Silvio Berlusconi. Unfortunately, my fear is that his possible replacement as Prime Minister would be even worse.

In the rollercoaster that has been Berlusconi's career, the events on August 4th when he avoided a humiliating vote of confidence defeat (the 630 member Chamber of Deputies voted by 299 in favour with 229 against) only because of the abstention of 75 of his own deputies, may amount to only a small footnote. But he now lacks a parliamentary majority and may well be forced to call a snap election this autumn because, in Gianfranco Fini, he has a new and powerful rival - one who also has the 'Teflon touch' that allows him to keep power despite controversies that would end most political careers.

Berlusconi is justifiably loathed by the centre-left in Italy and regarded as a bit of a laughing-stock across Europe , but he is a great political survivor. A series of corruption and sex scandals, massive infighting within his political parties combined with two general election defeats would have finished the careers of most. But sixteen years after his Forza Italia party swept to power in 1994, he remains Prime Minister, as he has been for 9 out of the last 16 years.

The makeup of the current Berlusconi government is frightening. It is a mixture of the corrupt right and the extreme right. And in the battle for the soul of the Italian right, Berlusconi is, incredibly, the lesser of two evils.

The man who would be king is Gianfranco Fini - a man who has either had a 'Road to Damascus ' style conversion, or remains a fascist. Fini's political career started in the Movimento Sociale Italiano (MSI) a far-right party inextricably linked with murderous bombing campaigns and civic violence, particularly in the 1970s.

Having been elected as an MSI MP in 1983, Fini became the party's national secretary in 1988. Back then, Fini was either an unabashed fascist or, at the very least, a staunch admirer of Mussolini. In a series of statements in the early 1990s, he stated that "after almost half a century, fascism is alive", "Mussolini was the greatest Italian statesman of the twentieth century" and "fascism has a tradition of honesty, correctness and good government".

In the early 1990s, the MSI (which consistently polled 5-10% from the 1950s to the 1980s) morphed into the Alleanza Nationale (National Alliance) in a bid to become more credible. It described itself as 'post-fascist' - a name that Nick Griffin would probably use to describe the BNP. It also developed links with the extreme-right of the Conservative party, particularly the now disbanded 'Monday Club', and had particularly close links with Tory MPs Andrew Rosindell and Bill Cash.

But Fini is an ambitious man who wanted to cement himself firmly in the mainstream right of Italian politics. The next logical step, which he took in 2008, was to unite his party with Berlusconi's to form the People of Freedom party - a pretty unlikely name given Fini's history.

Fini is unquestionably the most dangerous man in Italian politics. Despite his fascist past, between 2001 and 2006 he was Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister. Since 2008, he has been President of the Chamber of Deputies. Now that he sees that Berlusconi is weak, following a sex and corruption scandals and an unpopular austerity budget, he and his supporters are angling for the main prize.

Meanwhile, we shouldn't ignore Berlusconi's other coalition partners, the Northern League, a party that was originally designed to campaign for autonomy for the region of Padania, but in reality is an anti-immigrant and overtly racist party. Indeed, in the European Parliament, the 9 Northern League MEPs sit with UKIP.

We might think it astonishing that a man like Berlusconi is not in prison, let alone Prime Minister of one of Europe 's largest countries, and that the likes of Fini and the Northern League deputies are elected to parliament, never mind government ministers. But it's also astonishing that the Italian centre-left is not in position to convincingly take power. The centre-left Democratic Party is, despite facing a scandal-ridden and unpopular government which is split down the middle, still below Berlusconi's party, on 28% according to latest opinion polls.

My guess is that Berlusconi will, as he always has done, survive once again. If he is forced into calling a snap election this autumn, the chances are that he would just cling to power and should just be able to hold off Fini. The desperately sad thing is that, if the Democratic party and its allies cannot get their act together, and fast, then Berlusconi is probably the lesser of two evils.
New Statesman


Human Rights First calls on all governments to implement the following Ten-Point Plan for combating violent hate crimes:

1. Acknowledge and condemn violent hate crimes whenever they occur. Senior government leaders should send immediate, strong, public, and consistent messages that violent crimes which appear to be motivated by prejudice and intolerance will be investigated thoroughly and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

2. Enact laws that expressly address hate crimes. Recognizing the particular harm caused by violent hate crimes, governments should enact laws that establish specific offenses or provide enhanced penalties for violent crimes committed because of the victim's race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, mental and physical disabilities, or other similar status.

3. Strengthen enforcement and prosecute offenders. Governments should ensure that those responsible for hate crimes are held accountable under the law, that the enforcement of hate crime laws is a priority for the criminal justice system, and that the record of their enforcement is well documented and publicized.

4. Provide adequate instructions and resources to law enforcement bodies. Governments should ensure that police and investigators-as the first responders in cases of violent crime-are specifically instructed and have the necessary procedures, resources and training to identify, investigate and register bias motives before the courts, and that prosecutors have been trained to bring evidence of bias motivations and apply the legal measures required to prosecute hate crimes.

5. Undertake parliamentary, inter-agency or other special inquiries into the problem of hate crimes. Such public, official inquiries should encourage public debate, investigate ways to better respond to hate crimes, and seek creative ways to address the roots of intolerance and discrimination through education and other means.

6. Monitor and report on hate crimes. Governments should maintain official systems of monitoring and public reporting to provide accurate data for informed policy decisions to combat violent hate crimes. Such systems should include anonymous and disaggregated information on bias motivations and/or victim groups, and should monitor incidents and offenses, as well as prosecutions. Governments should consider establishing third party complaint procedures to encourage greater reporting of hate crimes and conducting periodic hate crime victimization surveys to monitor underreporting by victims and underrecording by police.

7. Create and strengthen antidiscrimination bodies. Official antidiscrimination and human rights bodies should have the authority to address hate crimes through monitoring, reporting, and assistance to victims.

8. Reach out to community groups. Governments should conduct outreach and education efforts to communities and civil society groups to reduce fear and assist victims, advance police-community relations, encourage improved reporting of hate crimes to the police and improve the quality of data collection by law enforcement bodies.

9. Speak out against official intolerance and bigotry. Freedom of speech allows considerable latitude for offensive and hateful speech, but public figures should be held to a higher standard. Members of parliament and local government leaders should be held politically accountable for bigoted words that encourage discrimination and violence and create a climate of fear for minorities.

10. Encourage international cooperation on hate crimes. Governments should support and strengthen the mandates of intergovernmental organizations that are addressing discrimination-like the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, and the Fundamental Rights Agency-including by encouraging such organizations to raise the capacity of and train police, prosecutors, and judges, as well as other official bodies and civil society groups to combat violent hate crimes. Governments should also provide a detailed accounting on the incidence and nature of hate crimes to these bodies in accordance with relevant commitments.

Human Rights First


The far-right Sweden Democrats have submitted their own election film for review by one of the country's top legal officials after TV4 refused to broadcast the advert on grounds that it promoted religious hatred.

The party, which could win its first ever parliamentary seats in next month's general election, disputes TV4's interpretation of the advert and wants the Chancellor of Justice to rule on whether the film represents a form of hate speech. The half-minute advert shows a race in which an elderly woman with a walker is chased by a group of burqa-clad women pushing prams with a slogan promising to safeguard pension funding at the expense of immigration. The party wanted to pay the channel 1.5 million kronor ($201,240) to run the ad. As an alarm-like sound plays in the background, a voiceover says, "All politics are about priorities - now you have a choice." The clip promotes the Sweden Democrats' demand that, like other parties, pensioners' taxes be cut to the same levels of wage earners. However, they claim their plans would be funded by reducing immigration.

On its website, the party claimed that the film would be shown on TV4, TV4 Fakta and TV4 Sport from September 6th to 17th, but the network changed its mind after viewing the advert. "We decided not to broadcast it," Gunnar Gidefeldt, communications director for TV4, told AFP. Swedish law on freedom of expression prohibits messages that contain hate grounded on race and religion, said Gidefeldt. "In this case, it is against religion," he said. According to party press secretary Erik Almqvist, the ad does not violate Swedish law. The party has screened the clip for lawyers, who said that it does not break the law against inciting racial hatred. "The conflict we see as a result of mass immigration is not related to the person's origin, but rather a conflict of values, as far as we can see," said Almqvist in reference to the burqa-clad women in the video. TV4 CEO Jan Scherman disagreed.

"The film is contrary to the democracy clause in the Radio and Television Act and also against democracy clauses which the Sweden Democrats, among others, have adopted for the equality of all people, regardless of whether it is the European Convention or the UN Charter," he said. "The film is also against the constitution act on freedom of speech that prohibits hate speech," Scherman added. Per Hultmangård, a lawyer at the Swedish Media Publishers' Association (Tidningsutvgivarna), came to a different conclusion. He does not see how the video would violate the law. "I cannot see how this would be hate speech," he told news agency TT. "This is an election ad. The scope is wide for what one can say. They simply play on people's fears. Legally, it is within the allowable framework." However, Scherman stood by his position and referred to an EU directive that is the basis for the wording of the Broadcasting and Television Act. "The directive prohibits incitement of hatred according to race, sex or religion, which supports my decision," he said.

"It is quite clear to me as the editor responsible that those who watch the clip, together with the text, images and sound, very clearly see a group portrayed as intimidating and aggressive. The group is very easily identifiable, belonging to a religion, dressed in a certain way and attacking another group," he added. According to Scherman, that group is the Muslims. "There are probably lawyers and press experts who disagree on this," he said. "It is for TV4 and I to make an independent decision based on our knowledge, experience and perception of the law. It is not possible, even if one gets advice and opinions, to refer to them when making a editorial decision. It must be based on the conclusion that we and I have come to."

The Sweden Democrats could play kingmaker in the election on September 19th, which is up for grabs between the two coalitions. According to a survey from last Friday, just a month ahead of voting, the party was polling at 3.6 percent of the vote, just shy of the minimum of 4 percent that is required to enter Sweden's parliament, the Riksdag. If they can reach this threshold for the first time, political analysts believe the party could be in a powerful position with the two main blocs on course to split the vote.

The Local Sweden


A leader of Germany's Turkish community has urged Chancellor Angela Merkel to fire the Bundesbank's controversial board member Thilo Sarrazin over comments that Muslims are undermining German society.

Chairman of Germany's Turkish Federation, Kenan Kolat, called for central bank board member Thilo Sarrazin to be removed from his post after fresh comments criticizing Muslims in Germany. "I am calling upon the government to begin a procedure to remove Thilo Sarrazin from the board of the central bank," Kolat told the German daily newspaper Frankfurter Rundschau on Saturday, August 28. In his book "Deutschland schafft sich ab" ("Germany does away with itself"), Sarrazin claims that members of Germany's Muslim community pose a danger to German society. Sarrazin, a member of the Social Democrats (SPD) and Berlin's former finance chief, was reported in June as saying that members of the Turkish and Arab community were making Germany "more stupid." With his book, Kolat said, Sarrazin had overstepped a boundary. "It is the climax of a new intellectual racism and it damages Germany's reputation abroad," Kolat said.

High birth-rates
In a serialization of the forthcoming book in the German popular daily newspaper Bild, Sarrazin said that Germany's Muslim community had profited from social welfare payments far more than they contributed, and that higher birth-rates among immigrants could lead to the Muslim population overtaking the "indigenous" one in terms of numbers. Merkel's chief spokesman Steffen Seibert said on Wednesday that many people would find the remarks "offensive" and "defamatory," adding that the chancellor was concerned. Members of the SPD have distanced themselves from Sarrazin's comments, while Germany's Green and Left parties have called for his removal from the central bank's board. A Bundesbank spokesman said that Sarrazin's latest remarks were personal opinions, unconnected with his role on the board.

Blanket generalizations
Lower Saxony's minister of social affairs, Ayguel Oezkan, Germany's first-ever female Muslim minister, accused Sarrazin of doing damage to the Muslim community with blanket generalizations. "There are a vast number of hard-working immigrants," she told the weekly German newspaper Bild am Sonntag ahead of its publication on Sunday. "They deserve respect, not malice." "All of those who are involved in society, those who encourage their children, who learn German, who work and pay taxes and those who, as entrepreneurs, provide jobs – all of them deserve respect." In June, 65-year-old Sarrazin was reported as saying that Germany was "becoming on average more stupid" because immigrants were poorly educated.

'Distorted image, half-truths'
Maria Boehmer, the government's commissioner for integration, accused Sarrazin of giving "a distorted image of integration in Germany" that did not bear up to academic scrutiny. "In his comments, he states only half truths," she told Bild am Sonntag. "It is indisputable that, in education, there are currently a lot of immigrants with a lot of catching up to do. It does not take Sarrazin's comments to establish that." In a lengthy interview with weekly newspaper Die Zeit, Sarrazin defended himself against the charge he was encouraging racism. "I am not a racist," he told the newspaper. "The book addresses cultural divisions, not ethnic ones." Last year, Sarrazin caused a storm by claiming that most of Berlin's Arab and Turkish immigrants had no useful function "apart from fruit and vegetable trading." As a result, the central bank stripped Sarrazin of some of his duties.


The English Defence League in Bradford, a video report

Uploaded to You Tube by the user CY2290

13 men held after EDL demonstration (UK)

Admin: Here’s another account of the Bradford EDL conflict with an updated number of arrests.

More than a dozen men are in custody after a controversial city centre demonstration by far-right group the English Defence League.

The 13 were arrested by police for offences of public order and violence during Saturday's protest in Bradford, West Yorkshire, which was attended by fewer than 1,000 EDL supporters.

Some threw bottles, cans, stones and three smoke bombs at opponents gathered nearby. Nearly 100 supporters of the far-right group climbed over a temporary 8ft barricade - aimed at keeping them inside the city's Urban Gardens - to get on to neighbouring waste ground from where they threw missiles at police.

As the skirmishes were breaking out, nearly 300 people gathered for an alternative event hosted by Unite Against Fascism/We Are Bradford about half a mile away at the Crown Court Plaza.

A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said of the 13 arrests, eight were from Bradford and the others from Wakefield, Leeds, Wolverhampton, Walsall and Birmingham.

In the days before the rally, Bradford community leaders called for calm fearing demonstrations could provoke a violent reaction to rival the 2001 Bradford riots, where 191 people were given sentences totalling more than 510 years.

Initially the EDL intended to march in Bradford with a planned protest by Unite Against Fascism on the same day. A high-profile campaign was started to stop the EDL march and a 10,000-signature petition opposing it was handed to the Home Office. Home Secretary Theresa May was asked to authorise the ban by Bradford Council.

It came after West Yorkshire Police's Chief Constable, Sir Norman Bettison, wrote to the council requesting an order to prohibit any public processions over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

In a joint statement police and the Bradford Council praised local people for remaining calm during a difficult day when tensions could have risen.

Ch Supt Alison Rose, Bradford South divisional commander, and council leader Ian Greenwood said: "Although there has been some disruption to the city centre, we are returning to normality and people of Bradford are now able to continue their lives. The police has worked effectively to handle the situation and to respond quickly to the events as they unfolded. The mood of the city in general has been one of calm and local people have co-operated and supported the police by behaving sensibly or staying away. We have done a lot of work with the local community in the build-up to these events and we would like to thank those who helped to plan for and managed the protests. The numbers of English Defence League supporters in Bradford were less than they claimed. Unite Against Fascism has also had a similar presence in the city."

The Press Association

English Defence League supporters attack police at Bradford rally (UK)

Hundreds of far-right activists, including BNP members and football thugs, throw bricks, bottles  and smoke bombs in battle with more than 1,600 officers

Far-right activists threw smoke bombs and missiles and fought with the police as trouble flared during a protest organised by the English Defence League.

Bricks, bottles and smoke bombs were thrown at anti-racism supporters and police as around 700 EDL activists – including known football hooligans and BNP members – held a "static protest" in Bradford city centre. Mounted officers and others in riot gear were attacked as they pushed the EDL into a penned area. Skirmishes continued as EDL speakers addressed the crowd and there was more violence as its supporters were put back on coaches.

More than 1,600 officers from 13 forces were involved in the police operation amid fears that the demonstration would descend into violence. Police said there had been five arrests.

The EDL, which has held demonstrations in towns and cities across the country over the past 12 months, had predicted that thousands of its supporters would turn out in Bradford for what was dubbed "the big one", but police said there were around 700 people.

Earlier in the afternoon coachloads of EDL activists had chanted "Allah, Allah, who the fuck is Allah?" and "Muslim bombers off our streets".

The EDL claims to be a peaceful, non-racist organisation opposed only to "militant Islam".

One of the coach drivers said: "I didn't expect a job like this when I came to work this morning. We're a five-star firm. We don't usually take scumbags like these."

Thousands of anti-racists and local residents joined counter-protests and events organised around the city. Mohammed Khan, 29, said: "We want to show the people of the UK that Bradford is a united and peaceful place, where Asians, white people – everyone – gets along. Nobody here wants these people. They are just trying to divide this city and provoke trouble."

Several hundred people, including David Ward, the local Liberal Democrat MP, gathered at a community celebration at Infirmary Fields near Manningham, where running battles between youths and police took place in 2001. "Everyone wanted to join in to tell people how good this city is," said Surhra Bibi from Bradford's Fairbank Road.

The Guardian