Germany Alert

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First they've come for the Muslims

Here is how they are coming for the Muslims in the US. 

You will recognize this story, because it is almost exactly how Germany started taking the Jews away. 

Ashcroft issued an order last month, decreeing that all male foreigners over the age of sixteen from twelve Muslim or Arab countries were being required to register immediately with the government. They were to be fingerprinted, photographed and interviewed. Failure to comply would subject them to arrest and summary deportation.

Fearful of running afoul of Ashcroft's edict, they have been coming and they have been registering.  It is during this process that they are taken away.  Hundreds of them so far.  Arrested, shackled and hauled off to prisons where they are held without charge, without legal representation, without recourse. Some are deported, again without cause.

Several organizations are trying to stop the government. The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, the Alliance of Iranian Americans, the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the National Council of Pakistani Americans filed a class action suit against the government. They point out that it is illegal to arrest, imprison and deport individuals who are eligible for legal US residence.

Lawyers say the government may not even allow the suit to go forward.

For foreigners from certain Muslim countries, the deadline for registration has passed.  Before the end of 2004, all foreign nationals living in the US who do not have permanent residence will be forced to register.

First they've come for the Muslims. There is no outcry in the media. There are no statements of indignation from the general population or the opinion makers.

- 25 December 2002

First They Came

First they came for the Jews. But I did not speak out because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for the Communists. But I did not speak out because I was not a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists.  But I did not speak out because I was not a trade unionist.

And then they came for me.  But there was no one left to speak out for me.

- Pastor Martin Niemoeller, victim of the German Nazis.

Neo-Nazis Protest Israel

In Berlin, German neo-Nazis and their sympathizers took an insidious but cunning new course today, demonstrating against Israeli president Moshe Katsav at a time that German public opinion is going sour on Israel because of the Sharon government's ongoing killing of Palestinians.

Some 100 members of the extremist NPD took to the streets, some carrying banners reading 'Hands Off Palestine / No German Weapons For Israel."  Their message could find resonance as ordinary Germans demand an end to the delivery of weapons to Israel that may be used to kill more Palestinians.

- 9 December 2002

Whores at the Abyss

We know well that events are edging closer to the abyss, yet still there are shocks, small ones, medium ones and cataclysmic shocks.

Small shock: Bob Woodward has become Bush's own Leni Riefensthal with a whore of a book that makes even Reagan look like a sissy. Woodward has glorified Bush like Riefenstahl exalted blond Aryan males.

Medium: Kissinger, whose name is synonymous with deceit, has been chosen by Bush-Cheney to whitewash whatever really led to the September 11 horrors, thus lending spiraling credence to previously unthinkable theories of conspiracy. Note: there is still time to see The Trials of Henry Kissinger, a film that asks whether Kissinger is a war criminal.  

Medium large: Australian prime minister John Howard is in the running for the Benito Mussolini Memorial award with his pledge to launch pre-emptive strikes on Asian countries where he believes terror to be lurking. Howard's action would of course violate scads of international laws and has thus incited outrage among Asian governments, but that doesn't stop Bush, nor will it keep Howard from his madness.

Small but significant: Scandinavian airline SAS was annoyed when the US government demanded access to its reservations systems, implying that if SAS declined, they would be denied US landing rights.  After all, SAS reasoned, the airline was already providing America with its passenger lists in advance. But then the airline looked around and discovered that Lufthansa and Air France had already been mugged by the reservations computer access demand, and they chose for appeasement. Guess what SAS will do?

Large, though it may seem small: Antwerp is now at the epicenter of a lurid clash of cultures, pitting the city's Moslems, thirty thousand of them, against Antwerp's twenty thousand orthodox Jews and their bigwig backers in the Flemish establishment.  Last week, Antwerp's police jailed the city's charismatic Muslim leader, a 31 year old who speaks four languages fluently and rejects fundamentalism. He was charged with "premeditated unrest" after leading protests against the murder of a young Muslim immigrant  by a white Belgian man. Almost inevitably, a firebomb was thrown at an Antwerp synagogue a few days later, though no damage was caused and there are no suspects. Still, this cultural clash, egged on by the extremist rightwing Flemish Block, fits neatly into palpable hate that Bush is spreading like lightning around the world.

The latest cataclysmic shock has come with word that Bush will order that both US citizens and foreigners may be investigated, jailed, interrogated, tried and punished without any legal protections. So, out goes the Bill of Rights, a library full of laws, a slew of international treaties and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The decision on who to arrest will be decreed by the Bush junta. Investigations will be carried out by the government. Interrogations without legal aid will be undertaken by federal agents. The secret trials, if they bother to hold them, will be judged by Bush appointees and the punishment will be meted out without time limit. The conservative Washington Post report on this obscenity is here.

- 2 December 2002

Schroeder Gets Threats

German chancellor Schroeder and his family are being targeted by a large number of threats, he disclosed on ARD television. Most of the threats are linked to Schroeder's plan for new, higher taxes in Germany, a political position that runs contrary to the chancellor's announced intentions during the country's general election campaign.  It is a highly dangerous sign when citizens resort to threats of violence in order to express anger at political decisions, as the Dutch discovered when threats led to the assassination earlier this year of populist politician Pim Fortuyn. 

- 30 November 2002

Mixed Race: No; Riefenstahl Yes

Mixed race children in Germany are being ill-treated by the government, a coalition of social democrats and Greens who know should know better but apparently don't give a damn. This news comes as this same government finances an exhibition honoring the cinematic career of Leni Riefenstahl, who was Hitler's favorite filmmaking propagandist during the Third Reich. Confluence of the two events is cause for concern.

Mixed race children whose father is German and whose mother is an immigrant are being classified as "asylum seekers." They are being denied every imaginable kind of government assistance even though they bear German names and their fathers' German nationality is not in doubt.  This perversity forces us to recall that the children of mixed race couples during the Nazi years were forcibly sterilized.  Pure race policies should have been abolished forever when Hitler lost power, but clearly that is not the case.

While the government refuses to assist mixed race kids, it is enthusiastic and generous when it comes to Riefenstahl, whose life work will be represented in an exhibition at the House of History of the Federal Republic of Germany, a national museum that relies on hefty federal subsidies.

Riefenstahl did numerous film projects for Hitler and his propaganda minister Goebbels, among them Sieg des Glaubens in 1933, Triumph des Willens (pictured left) in 1934 and Tag der Freiheit - Unsere Wehrmacht in 1935.  It was Riefenstahl who popularized the idealized Aryan super-mensch in her films, to the tremendous aid of the Nazis.  For her film Tiefland, Riefenstahl knowingly used forced labour by Roma and Sinti gypsies, many of whom were gassed after they were no longer needed for the film project.  Despite her long association with success-by-horror, Riefenstahl has received widespread attention in recent years, first in a series of books, many of which feature her idealized Aryan heroes, and now in the official government sponsored exhibition.

Mixed Race Children: No; Riefenstahl: Yes is a pathetic message to come out of Germany today.                   

- 30 November 2002.

Vaterland Sicherheit

It will be fascinating to learn who gave the actual order to open those old files, dust off the original scripts, do all the  updating and then roll. Was it Cheney? Did it come directly from Bush Senior?  Could it be that Rumsfeld took the initiative?

Their risk assessment sessions must have been astounding. This wasn't, after all, some musty Munich beer hall crowd anymore. The plotters now wore expensive suits and ties. They had already forged alliances with the kingpins of oil and gas and weaponry and pharmaceuticals, on one side, and with the extremist fringe screamers on the other. Sure, it was straight out of the original script, but at least this time the key players appeared respectable. When they decided to come out, was it that they were certain no one would notice, or simply that no one would dare believe that it is what it is?

Imagine all those  markups, revising and updating the old scripts. Did they do it by committee or were the tools of our age deployed? Did they, for example, simply use Find and Replace commands on their desktop PC's to change Jews to Muslims? How did they know that the public wouldn't rise up and revolt when they disregarded the election results and had the Supreme Court declare them the winners? What made them so certain that the people would not question their updated version of The Reichstag is burning! The Reichstag is burning!

Oh yes, they were brazen.  Installing Ashcroft, who had just lost his senate seat to a dead man, as lead unraveler of the constitution, was a gutsy thing to pull off.  And putting Poindexter, a convicted felon, in charge of the new secret police was likely preceded by quite a discussion.

Their abiding faith that they owned the news media was surely a great assist.  In fact, pulling off the takeover of media had required years of preparation, yet they accomplished it with aplomb by sticking to their claim that the Free Market allowed a weapons manufacturer and a foreign ideologue to own such enormous slices of the propaganda  machine.

Yet their creation of an all-encompassing ministry of domestic mayhem and calling it Homeland Security will likely go down in history as the brashest move of all — so far. The word homeland, after all, never enjoyed much usage in the English language, except when South Africa's apartheid tyrants created Bantustans and called them homelands in an attempt to move blacks out of the cities.  Otherwise, the word is nothing more than a rough Americanization of Vaterland, a term that worked so well in the original script.  They couldn't very well have called this massive new ministry State Security (SS) because that would have been going too far, even for this lot. Homeland Security is more than apt. It's their version of Vaterland Sicherheit and yes, we get the message.

- 27 November 2002