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Swastika Legitimacy

In response to something I read on my FL (about a Canadian mother who put a swastika on her child's arm and lost custody of her children), I googled "neonazi", and then "swastika". I discovered the story "Swastika tops Google searches" from Sunday, July 13, 2008. When swastika searches are a "Hot Trend", you have to wonder what is going on. The google-watchers say that there was not a single big swastika-related news story or blog post that morning.

One blogger thought the searches might be the Chinese searching, saying "The swastika is a traditional Chinese good-luck character, the Olympics are coming up and good luck is on the Chinese mind." Someone else suggested that the sudden rash of searches was due to a scandal in China in which a building had a mural painted on it that included a swastika. But the "hot trends" measured by Google counts only US searches, so the swastika frenzy was HERE.

Another notable thing about the search frenzy was that the searches ended more suddenly than usual, instead of tapering. Google was cagey about it and suggested it might have been because of a certain internet message board. What google wasn't admitting is that possibly someone HACKED into their Hot Trends system and PUT swastika in there. Another term that also topped the Hot Trends list was "?l?oo? no? ??n?" ....Have you heard of that? Scooped from the Secure Computing Magazine for IT Security Professionals and the LA times.

Regardless of what happened with Google, there is definitely a revival of skinhead/neonazi belief these days, especially in Europe but all of the world really. The skinhead movement began in England in the 1970's. These days people are painting swastikas on the doors of Jews around the world, and generally harassing them with this symbol.

Only in America: 7/16/08 We're revoking the citizenship of a man who lives in WA and served under the Nazis. I find this especially heartbreaking because this man is 86 years old and moved to the states in 1960. He was young in 1941 and probably had no choice but to serve. I know another German who served in the war under Hitler, and I would not blame anyone who declined to admit such service when applying for US citizenship. This does not mean that they are bad men!!! The US is the land of the hypocrite, we just keep letting it happen.

Also interesting: this author in the Jewish Press contends that Islamic Anti-semitism is as old as Islam.....and it occurs to me that Islam may be gaining strength worldwide....because it has a common enemy, the Great Satan to press against and to hate.....and the Great Satan supports Israel.......

A quote from the Jewish Press interview with Doctor Andrew Bostom:
The Jewish Press: Your book contains many interesting but little known facts. For instance, although most Jews know that Christians have historically accused them of killing Jesus, very few know that according to the canonical hadith collections (words and deeds of Muhammad as compiled by his companions), a Jewess killed Muhammad. And despite the ever-present Israeli-Arab conflict, very few Jews seem to know that the hadiths also quote Muhammad as saying on his deathbed, “There must not be two religions in Arabia.”

One more interesting tidbit from Dr Bostom:
"I found out that Hitler met with a major Indian jihadist as early as 1926 and I’ve been able to confirm this from four independent sources. He appears to have been influenced by this man and vice versa."

In Winnipeg, Canada, they have a Jewish mayor, and a lot of ruckus seems to be happening there.

There's trouble in Russia and in Czechoslavakia... too. And randomly, here's an anti-neo-nazi site.

Here's the text of the Czech story:

White power
Neo-Nazis fight for more legitimacy
May 14th, 2008 issue
By Eva Munková

The Nazis came to power in 1933 with a platform opposing Germany’s supposed moral and racial decay. A year later, Adolf Hitler suspended the constitution, abolished the presidency and declared himself Führer.

Their ideology run amok brought forth a monstrous administrative machine that murdered 6 million Jews, Roma, homosexuals, disabled people and anyone else they deemed “impure.”
And now, they are back.

The new, East European neo-Nazi is young, single and vicious. Along with the predictable bashing of minorities and anarchists, the neo-Nazi of today has a perhaps surprising penchant for the Internet, brand-name clothing, and white power music.

Neo-Nazis are organized into secret, semi-autonomous “cells,” which work along the principles of “leaderless resistance.” Each cell supports its own common ideology. Their exact numbers are hard to estimate, but experts know the cells can organize quite quickly, be it for a march or a power grab.

Today, every European country has a neo-Nazi movement. This is ironic, considering that less than 20 years ago, thanks to anti-Nazi laws, it looked as if Europe’s stick-in-the-mud neo-Nazi parties would soon die an anemic death.
But help came from another quarter.

Skinheads

It’s hard to say just when the cult of hefty, bald young men in baggy trousers, bomber jackets and combat boots ended up in the neo-Nazi camp, but today, the merger is homogeneous. In 1987, Ian Stuart Donaldson put the phenomenon to music.

As lead singer of the band Skrewdriver, he founded a white power music brokerage called Blood and Honor (B&H), after the motto of the Hitler Youth. Its militant arm, Combat 18, was responsible for many violent attacks on immigrants, minorities and its left-wing opponents.
White power concerts with the B&H logo have spread like a rash in Central Europe, disseminating neo-Nazi ideology and giving its adherents a place to “network,” along with the opportunity to raise money. These concerts bring in the bulk of funding from the neo-Nazi movement, with enough left over to line the organizers’ pockets.

In addition, cheap, universal, and instantaneous interaction through the Internet has allowed Nazi ideology to span the globe. And it is virtually untraceable.
By processing their communications through servers registered in the United States, North Korea or any other state not bound to divulge information about Internet users, neo-Nazis distance their propaganda from police monitoring (including Czech groups).
Leaderless resistance

The Czech Republic has about 1,500 “core” neo-Nazis and another 4,000 adherents to the cause, according to the Interior Ministry.

A report from the Czech counter-intelligence service (BIS) says one of the basic principles of those people is leaderless resistance, meaning that neo-Nazi organizations don’t use a hierarchical structure or traditional leadership. Individuals and small groups acting on their own initiative are typical, and autonomous groups communicate through their leaders and local activists.

Leading Czech neo-Nazi group Národni odpor (National Resistance) is a prime example. Groups generally carry out activities on a local level and only attend national events a few times per year.

According to the country’s foremost expert on right-wing extremism, Miroslav Mareš, the Czechs adopted their organization from the “Kameradschaften” model — a network of loosely joined cells.

Mareš notes that such a network is able to mobilize quite quickly — for example to attend a demonstration or concert — or to launch itself into politics. According to Interior Ministry’s statistics, the number of such public events increased in 2007, as did the number of hostile verbal attacks against minorities.

Political success

Neo-Nazis are led by a sophisticated, soft-spoken and “reasonable” elite that has learned to dance nimbly through the minefields of the respective countries, which is not always easy, considering Europe’s strict anti-Nazi laws.

Václav Bureš, a known organizer of neo-Nazi demonstrations, managed to join a Plzeň branch of the ODS (Civic Democrats, the ruling political party). Only when the media exposed his affiliations was he expelled from the party.

Registered parties like the Worker’s Party and Právo a Spravedlnost (Law and Justice) have people from the neo-Nazi milieu on their tickets, says Major David Janda, head of Prague’s Anti Extremist Unit (OOZOK). The probability is high that party leaders know of their members’ affiliations.

According to Mareš, the recent flurry of neo-Nazi marches is another sign that they are ready to start addressing voters. Nonetheless, Mareš says, the leaders of the Czech movement know they wouldn’t stand a chance right now in party politics.

Instead, neo-Nazis are also starting to hitch their wagon to Nationalist movements through a new group calling itself Národní Konzervatismus (National Conservatism) (NK), which is based on the Italian concept of fascism from the 1930s.

Though NK publicly eschews the neo-Nazis, the report notes that there are many personal links between the two, and that NK has profiled itself as a de facto bridge between the movements.

Neo-Nazi elites are also trying to change their image, distancing themselves from skinhead excesses, and are urging members to behave with decorum in public. There have been fewer concerts and more peaceful marches.

This does not mean that the neo-Nazis are getting nicer — a look at their Web sites proves their doctrines have not changed. They’re just getting smarter. Legal and peaceful marches, held under the baleful gaze of the police, who often have to protect them from irate left-wing extremists, feed the image of neo-Nazis as harmless victims — not perpetrators of violence.
Meanwhile, a bigger fight is going on at a higher level.

Law of assembly

With the help of astute lawyers, neo-Nazis are learning to use the law to their advantage — and the courts are supporting them. An overly lax law on public assembly appears to be their biggest target.

Czech Law 84/1990 on the right to assembly was written March 27, 1990, in the afterglow of fallen communism, and no one has dared to touch it since.
Officials have just three calendar days to stop a march after it is announced, according to the law, and officials say they don’t have a fighting chance to defend themselves from neo-Nazi marches.

All over the country, cities have been trying to oppose the regulation.
The first of many showdowns came in May 2007, in Brno, when police dispersed a neo-Nazi parade organized by Národní Odpor on the grounds that certain individuals had shouted racist slogans. Courts upheld the decision on grounds that an event can be stopped if illegal activities take place.

On Nov. 10, 2007, the 69th anniversary of Kristallnacht, neo-Nazis were kept from marching through Prague’s Jewish Quarter after the Prague City court upheld the magistrate’s decision to stop the event on a technicality.

When demonstrators came to Old Town anyway, their route was blocked by thousands of angry citizens, police and left-wing radicals. Clashes went on well into the night, and the police were praised.

The biggest showdown to date happened Jan. 17 of this year, when the mayor of Plzeň, Pavel Rödl, unilaterally banned a march that had been approved by a lower authority a month earlier — and got his fingers smacked. The Plzeň District Court ruled that Rödl had violated the three-day limit and ordered him to allow Bureš to stage a “makeup” march. The Supreme Administrative Court upheld the verdict. Rödl, who could face criminal charges, has appealed the decision to the Constitutional Court, asking for a repeal of the three-calendar-day rule.

A solution

An obvious solution, say many, is to modify the national law of assembly to give municipal authorities at least a fighting chance to stop marches.

Communities also need to learn to protect themselves by using existing laws, says Karel Sedláček, of ICEJ, an international Christian organization, which promotes active resistance against anti-Semitism. To this end, his group is putting together a “cookbook” for city officials to use to take action the moment a march is announced. On the whole, however, he feels the recent marches and the public outrage that they have caused are a step in the right direction.

But others, like Mareš, say it’s the courts and not the law that needs to change. He also points out that even the law on assembly gives authorities the right to stop the event the moment something illegal happens, as they did in Brno in May 2007.

As the situation now stands, it is up to the Constitutional Court to decide whether to strike the three-day rule from the law of assembly altogether, or at least to provide a clearer explanation of how the law is to be interpreted. If the Constitutional Court will not change the law, Rödl says he will appeal to the Parliament.

Changing a single clause in a single law may complicate things for the neo-Nazis for awhile – but can it help us get rid of them?

“The laws against anti-Semitism and racism are very strict here — more so than elsewhere in Europe, but there isn’t a will to define them,” Mareš says. “Nonetheless, people can’t give up because something didn’t turn out the way they had hoped. They need to keep getting involved. Civic resistance is a very strong weapon.”

— The author is a freelance journalist and editor-in-chief of The New Presence magazine. To read the complete version, visit www.new-presence.cz.

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