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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.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Neo-Nazis headed for losses in Calif election bids (America)

Two neo-Nazi candidates appear headed for losses in their bids for local offices in Southern California.

National Socialist Movement regional leader Jeff Hall had 28 percent of the vote in his race for the Western Municipal Water District serving District 2 in Riverside after all precinct votes were counted. Incumbent Tom Evans had 72 percent.

Former Aryan Nations member Dan Schruender had 10 percent of the vote in the six-way race for two seats on the Rialto school board. Leading candidates Joanne Gilbert and Edgar Montes had more than 20 percent each.

Counties were still counting mail-in and provisional ballots Wednesday.

The two neo-Nazis ran in the suburbs east of Los Angeles, which have seen a rise in hate groups since the region became more diverse.

Mercury News

Anti-Semitic Driver Drops "KILL JEWS" Notes Around NY (USA)

Once a Jew-hating note scribbler, always a Jew-hating note scribbler it seems: Demetrios Apolonides was arrested by police yesterday on a hate crime charge of aggravated harassment for writing threatening, anti-Jewish notes on torn up vouchers and dropping them around Long Island. This isn't the first time Apolonides has done this dance though: it took the NYPD’s Hate Crimes Task Force 16 months to catch him earlier this year for a similar crime.

Apolonides dropped more than 100 paper slips with “Kill the Jews” scrawled with a black Sharpie pen around the city at dozens of locations. Jewish Week describes how police were stumped for months trying to connect the dots, but it eventually turned out Apolonides was dropping the notes in the same communities where he dropped off fares while working for the XYZ Luxury Sedan Service out of Park Slope. He was tailed, and investigators saw him throw the messages out the window of his car several times. They were most perturbed by how normal he was otherwise: Apolonides had no criminal record, no ties to hate or terrorist organizations, and was even friends with Jews. He was fired from his job at the car service immediately after.

For his recent note-dropping, Apolonides had shortened his scribbles to the more succinct "KILL JEWS."


‘There are many parallels between the PVV and fascism’ (Netherlands)

Until recently anyone in the least critical of immigrants would be called a fascist. But political correctness isn’t what is used to be, according to philosopher Rob Riemen in an interview with the Volkskrant.

Geert Wilders must not be called a fascist under any circumstance yet his style and ideas are reminiscent of pre-war fascism. He’s exploiting people’s dissatisfaction, making scapegoats of immigrants and turning against anything that is intellectual, cosmopolitan, or otherwise not ‘of the people’, writes Riemen in his pamphlet De eeuwige terugkeer van het fascisme (The eternal comeback of fascism) which will be out on Thursday.

Rob Riemen heads the cultural think tank Nexus which hosts prestigious conferences on art, culture and philosophy. Last year he published Adel van geest (Spiritual nobility), a plea for spiritual values as a weapon against superficiality, rampant consumerism and nihilism.

Is it any use calling Wilders a fascist? The immigration debate has stalled because of associations like this.
‘That’s right. But then fascism was used as a swear word. I’m using the term in order to understand populism. What is its cultural history? I see many parallels between Wilders’ movement and the rise of fascism. I am not talking about how fascism lead to Auschwitz but about how it began, as a populist movement that came to power.’

Isn’t populism simply a reaction to the very real problems surrounding immigration and criminality?
‘Of course these are problems but they are only part of the story. Most muslims are concentrated in the big cities but Wilders did very well in Limburg as well. Its fascism’s old trick of finding a scapegoat and saying: it’s him, it’s him, it’s him!’

‘The parliamentary debate was an embarrassment. It was hijacked by the Wilders agenda and didn’t even touch on the things that really matter such as the financial crisis, the environmental crisis, the crisis that the whole of civilisation is facing.’

Fascism was a mass movement with people in uniform marching behind banners. Now populism is much more fragmented. People are sitting at their computers, sending out angry messages.
‘After World War I fascism meant uniforms and banners. Our society has changed a lot since then. Another type of herd mentality has come into being that excludes rationality and wants to become the norm. People have become spoilt, aggressive and blame others for their own failings.’

In his pamphlet, Riemen cites the work of such pre-war thinkers as José Ortega y Gasset, Thomas Mann, Paul Valéry, Menno ter Braak en Max Scheler who warned against the dangers of an egalitarian society.

The German philosopher Max Scheler remarked as early as 1912 that the word ‘elite’ was beginning to be used pejoratively. The moment the thought takes hold that some are more equal than others, people’s anger can be exploited by a demagogic leader. In the 1930, Menno ter Braak, put forward a similar analysis of national socialism as an ideology of resentment.

Such a society is no longer interested in spiritual values and striving for a higher plane, says Riemen, quite the contrary. The quality of education is going down because ‘everybody’ must be able to go to university. ‘Difficult’ art causes resentment.

Riemen believes the elite should stand up and be proud. It should defend cultural and spiritual values. ‘Striving for a higher cultural plane was always a given in the history of our civilisation but today’s elite no longer seems to be interested.’

But who’s listening to the elite these days?
‘A democratic society needs an elite to show it what to aspire to. But the business elite has been disgraced. The intellectual elite doesn’t take itself seriously and all the media elite wants to do is sell. The political elite has no ideals left and is only interested in votes.’

Wilders says it’s the radical muslims that are the fascists.
‘There is no religion without fundamentalism. There are Christian fundamentalists who blow up abortion clinics. But it would be a nonsense to say all Christians are like that.’

Dutch News

Hate Crimes against Foreigners Rise (Finland)

Hate crimes perpetrated in Finland grew by 17 percent compared to 2008, according to a study by the Police College of Finland. Most of these crimes focused on race and ethnicity.

Hate crimes most often took the form of assault and battery, with 85 percent of cases being race-related. The majority of racially motivated crimes were carried out in the Helsinki region.

Suspects tend to be Finnish-born young men between the ages of 15 and 24. Meanwhile, 60 percent of victims are native Finns, including children born to foreign parents.

Racist crimes disproportionately target Somalis living in Finland.

More than 1,000 hate crimes were filed with the police in 2009.


U.S. government heightens enforcement against hate crimes

Federal authorities are stepping up enforcement against hate crimes, filing charges in a racially motivated cross-burning and announcing the sentencing this week of a Massachusetts man for burning a predominantly African American church the morning after President Obama's election.

Benjamin Haskell, 24, was sentenced Monday to nine years in prison for his role in torching the Macedonia Church of God in Christ in Springfield, Mass. The Nov. 5, 2008, arson nearly destroyed the building, and Haskell admitted in court documents that the crime was motivated by anger over Obama's election.

In Arkansas, three men were indicted on charges of burning a cross in the yard of a black resident of a rural area, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

Although the cases are not connected, they reflect heightened federal enforcement against hate crimes and other civil rights violations, a top priority of the Obama administration, officials said Wednesday.

"It's extremely important," said Cynthia M. Deitle, unit chief for the FBI's civil rights program. "We are here to help people who have been the victim of an atrocious crime, whether it's police brutality or a church arson. If we don't do it, there's no one else who will."

The FBI was given an additional $8 million by Congress last year for civil rights enforcement, and Deitle said much of that money went to investigating hate crimes. "We've increased our presence and resources in that area," she said.

The Justice Department is holding training sessions for agents and prosecutors across the country to enforce the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. The 2009 law, for the first time, extends federal protection to victims of hate violence on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability.

It is named for Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student who was murdered in 1998, and Byrd, a black man who was dragged to death behind a pickup truck in Texas in 1998.

FBI data show that the number of hate crimes has remained relatively stable for the past decade. In 2008, the most recent year for which statistics are available, 7,783 hate-crime incidents were reported nationwide.

Michael Lieberman, Washington counsel for the Anti-Defamation League, which monitors hate crimes, said the group has seen increased bias incidents against Hispanics. In one recent case, a federal jury last month convicted two Shenandoah, Pa., men of a hate crime in the fatal beating of a Hispanic man in a park.

In the Massachusetts case, Haskell and two other men were charged in January 2009 in the burning of a church building that was under construction and 75 percent complete. Haskell pleaded guilty in June, admitting that he and co-conspirators poured gasoline inside and outside the building and ignited the fuel.

Five firefighters were injured in the blaze, which left intact only the building's metal superstructure and a small portion of the front corner. A second man has pleaded guilty, and a third is awaiting trial. An attorney for Haskell did not return phone calls.

"The freedom to practice the religion that we choose without discrimination or hateful acts is among our nation's most cherished rights," said Thomas E. Perez, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil rights division. "The department will prosecute anyone who violates that right to the fullest extent of the law."

Washington Post