China’s Gulags, Tories Fiddle The Law And LibDem Porridge

Years back, as older readers will testify, one of the major criticisms of the Soviet Union was its arbitrary use of the gulag.

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Most of us have thought they were a relic of the past where Kings and despotic rulers locked up dissidents and their opponents, but they are very much alive in the 21st century, as the BBC reports:

“The Zhuzhou Baimalong Labour Camp is an imposing sight, built like a prison.

At the front there’s a giant, curved facade, lined with classical columns, where the main gate stands. Behind it is a sprawling collection of white buildings, some six or seven storeys high, with workshops, vegetable gardens and a parade ground, all surrounded by a high wall and watchtowers.

The camp is just one component in China’s sprawling gulag system, known as “laojiao”. These camps are a throwback to the years just after China’s Communist revolution, and many outside China don’t even know they still exist.

There’s a constant flow of police vehicles and buses in and out of the camp. It’s big enough to hold hundreds of inmates, all sent here to undergo “re-education through labour”. You see them every now and again, in lines, walking from one building to another, performing exercises.

Drifting on the wind you can hear the chants of inmates, undergoing their forced re-education. Just an order from a policeman is enough to have you locked up here for as long as four years.

Tang Hui, a former inmate, guides us closer to the huge camp gate. Her incarceration here last year caused outrage in China.

“It was living nightmare. A real nightmare would have been better. I could have woken up from that,” she says, dissolving into tears.”

The Tories were caught breaking the law, by those dastardly radical High Court judges, but with boundless gall they are now changing that law, to prove they are innocent:

“The Department for Work and Pensions has introduced emergency legislation to reverse the outcome of a court of appeal decision and “protect the national economy” from a £130m payout to jobseekers deemed to have been unlawfully punished.

The retroactive legislation, published on Thursday evening and expected to be rushed through parliament on Tuesday, will effectively strike down a decision by three senior judges and deny benefit claimants an average payout of between £530 and £570 each.

Last month the court of appeal ruled that science graduate Cait Reilly and fellow complainant and unemployed lorry driver Jamieson Wilson had been unlawfully made to work unpaid for organisations including Poundland because the DWP had not given jobseekers enough legal information about what they were being made to do.

The ruling meant that hundreds of thousands of jobseekers who had been financially penalised for falling foul of half a dozen employment schemes, including the government’s flagship Work Programme, would have been entitled to a full rebate if a final government appeal was rejected by the supreme court.”

Golden Dawn’s growth has galvanised its supporters as Giorgos Katidis showed, openly giving a Nazi salute. I can’t help feeling that the lessons on the grotesque and propulsive nature of fascism never really sunk in, and that we have only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to its resurgence.

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Finally, it might sound cruel but I feel more politicians should spend time in prison, to better understand the realities of life and meet some of their future constituents. No doubt it would be hard on them, but they would probably write a book and make a small fortune from their, temporary, incarceration.

Still, I wasn’t at all surprised that Chris Hulne and Vicky Pryce were given cushy billets within Her Majesty’s Prison Service.

It is their release that worries me.

They will probably put themselves forward as both experts and victims of the penal system, as Jonathan Aitken did.

Golden Dawn’s True Face

History has shown that we ignore the growth of neofacism at our peril. Golden Dawn is but one example of that.

Konstantinos Georgousis’s film on Channel 4 is a a reminder to never underestimate the boldness, stupidity or vileness of neofacists:

Update 1: The JC has a worrying development:

“Leaders of the Greek neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party have announced plans to open nursery schools.

The decision comes after the organisation ran a pilot class at the party’s offices in Artemida last month.

More than 20 children, aged six to 10, were taught “Greek ideals” and mythology in accordance with the ideological values of the third most popular party in Greece.

A spokesperson described the class as a “national awakening” on the party’s official website. Educators across the globe have drawn comparisons to indoctrination methods used by the Nazis. “

The BNP Congratulates Neo-Nazis in Greece

Anyone pretending that the British National Party were merely a bunch of concerned citizens, rather than hardcore neofascists, will have to do a lot of explaining.

The BNP’s web site can be seen applauding a Golden Dawn rally and droning on about Social Nationalists (which is presumably the new name for neo-Nazis):

“The preparations for the rally and the march begun from early this morning, preparations suiting the greatest Nationalist march of the last decade.

The streets around the monument are filled with Greek flags and the banners of the Party, while our slogans rocked the surroundings. Those attending saluted the newcomers with cheers.

The Parliamentary Team of the Golden Dawn, the General Secretary and representatives of Regional Organizations all over Greece.

At the peak of the gathering, 50.000 Nationalists honoured the memory of those that fell in Imia, in 1996.

Speeches were given by many comrades, including the Greek Popular Front of occupied Cyprus.

Once the memorial ended, the Greek National Anthem and the Hymn of the Golden Dawn were sung.

The post on the BNP web site provides direct links to Golden Dawn’s YouTube page, where bucket loads of neofacist propaganda can be found.

This is a reminder about the awful, neo-Nazi, Golden Dawn:

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[Pictured above are Golden Dawn supporters giving the Nazi salute, with Nikolaos Michaloliakos, their leader walking by.]

Michaloliakos called Hitler “a great personality of history”.

The Guardian provided an in-depth look at them, Fear and loathing in Athens: the rise of Golden Dawn and the far right.

At Searchlight, 30,000 Golden Dawn Supporters March in Athens Under Neo-Nazi Banners.

The Observer’s 2009, Exposed: ugly face of BNP’s leaders.

Haaretz on Greek mythology.

Finally, Golden Dawn’s leader makes excuses for the Nazis’s crime. That is what the BNP admire.

Update 1: Spiegel Online is reporting that Golden Dawn are linking up with German neo-Nazis:

“The Greek right-wing extremist party Golden Dawn has established contacts with German neo-Nazis in Bavaria. The group, which is represented in Greek parliament, is also attempting to set up a cell in the southern German state.

The Greek right-wing extremist party Golden Dawn is establishing close contacts with Bavarian neo-Nazis and began setting up a cell in Nuremberg last year. The party, known in Greek as Chrysi Avgi, even held a conference in the southern German city recently.

Bavaria’s state intelligence agency is particularly interested in meetings that have been taking place between right-wing extremists from Greece and those in Bavaria.

An Orwell, The Middle East And Boycotts Round Up

There is never enough time to read, reflect and blog, so whilst I think over other posts here is a quick round up of stories that caught my eye.

I was surprised to find that George Orwell had a piece on antisemitism. In many respects, it is as if it were written yesterday:

“I could fill pages with similar remarks, but these will do to go on with. Two facts emerge from them. One — which is very important and which I must return to in a moment — is that above a certain intellectual level people are ashamed of being anti-Semitic and are careful to draw a distinction between “anti-Semitism” and “disliking Jews”. The other is that anti-Semitism is an irrational thing. The Jews are accused of specific offences (for instance, bad behaviour in food queues) which the person speaking feels strongly about, but it is obvious that these accusations merely rationalise some deep-rooted prejudice. To attempt to counter them with facts and statistics is useless, and may sometimes be worse than useless. As the last of the above-quoted remarks shows, people can remain anti-Semitic, or at least anti-Jewish, while being fully aware that their outlook is indefensible. If you dislike somebody, you dislike him and there is an end of it: your feelings are not made any better by a recital of his virtues. “

At Liberal Conspiracy, Sunny Hundel is direct in his criticism, Publicity-hungry extremists to protest at US Embassy London.
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Greece’s Far Right Attacks On Immigrants

This NY Times’ piece shows the consequences of a resurgent Far Right, attacks on immigrants:

““We have hundreds of reports from people who are beaten while policemen were standing there doing nothing,” said Thanassis Kourkoulas, the spokesman for Expel Racism, an immigrant support group. He said officers had been accused of assaulting immigrants in police stations and of giving the telephone number of Golden Dawn to citizens who called with complaints about crime and immigrants.

Even a former police union chief, Dimitris Kyriazidis, recently accused police officials of turning “a blind eye to extreme-right groups that are affiliated to Golden Dawn and which are running amok across the country.” A Greek police spokesman, Christos Manouras, strongly denied any official tolerance of attacks on immigrants or any links to or collaboration with Golden Dawn. “It is not even up for discussion,” he said. “Police officers are always on the citizens’ side and make anguished efforts every day to tackle whatever problems may arise and to boost security.”

Still, Golden Dawn’s allure is seeping more into the mainstream amid reports of rising crime in areas where poor illegal migrants are concentrated. In Parliament recently, Golden Dawn’s nominee for a deputy speaker position was backed by 41 lawmakers, an indication of either support or tolerance from major political parties.

Armed with promises to restore jobs and order, the group is increasing its presence even in some middle-class areas. Burly black-clad men who hew to nationalistic and xenophobic slogans offer protection to older people, the poor and Greek business owners. “

The Anti-gay Pastor, Partisans And Brands

I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised when another religious leader comes out with hate speech against Gays, but it is really part of an old 17th century mentality.

I wonder if Pastor Charles L. Worley dreams of burning witches too? The  Long Island Press has more:

“A North Carolina pastor outraged by President Obama’s recent support for same-sex marriage stirred up controversy with an sermon on May 13 in which he suggested gays and lesbians be penned in and made to die off.

“The bible’s against it, God’s against it, I’m against it, and if you’ve got any sense you’re against it,” the pastor, who is identified in the video caption as Pastor Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church, told his congregation.

He then enlightened his listeners on how he would opt to get rid of gays and lesbians.

“Build a great, big, large fence,  150 or 100 mile long, put all the lesbians in there,” he said. “Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out and you know what, in a few years, they’ll die.”

“They can’t reproduce,” he said. Of course, straight couples have gay and lesbian children all the time, so the pastor’s idea wouldn’t really kill off all the gays and lesbians, if he somehow managed to build such a concentration camp.

The pastor added that he won’t be voting for Obama, and described him as “a baby killer and a homosexual lover.” “

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Greece, Holocaust Denial & Nikolaos Mihaloliakos

The leader of the Greek neo-Nazis has come out as a Holocaust denier.

Yahoo News reports on Nikolaos Mihaloliakos’s malevolent views:

“ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece’s government and Jewish community on Monday condemned the leader of a far-right party for saying there were no gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps.

Nikolaos Mihaloliakos, whose Golden Dawn party became potential kingmakers after an inconclusive election on May 6, also challenged the view that six million Jews were killed in World War Two.

“There were no ovens, this is a lie … there were no gas chambers either,” Mihaloliakos said on Sunday in an interview on the private Mega television station.

Golden Dawn, whose members give Nazi-style salutes, took nearly 7 percent of the vote in a surge for fringe parties opposed to austerity policies under Greece’s international bailout deal.

Mihaloliakos said the number of six million Jewish victims was an “exaggeration” and that “many people from different nations” died in German concentration camps, just like many Japanese died in U.S. camps.”

I suppose if we were being cynical we shouldn’t be surprised that a neo-Nazi denies the Holocaust? Or that he uses an interview to air his foul opinions.

That’s what they do.

However, this instance confirms one of the many reasons why Holocaust denial must be fought.

Not only does it defame the memory of those killed by the Nazis, but it also seeks to diminish the Nazi’s crimes and in doing so rehabilitate National Socialism as an ideology.

That is why we must all be vigilant, to stop such views entering the mainstream,

Any concession to Holocaust denial, Holocaust deniers or Holocaust revisionists is toxic.

Any organisation or individual that tolerates, excuses or obfuscates on these issues is really a friend of Nikolaos Mihaloliakos.

Remember that next time you see him or his supporters giving a Nazi salute.

Real Election News: Neo-Nazis Win In Greece

There is no shortage of elections across Europe, from parts of Britain all away to Greece, stopping off at France in between.

Each election appears, to its participants, to be the most important.

In Britain, the Tories were given a drubbing and only had the consolation of the London Mayoral win to save them from complete embarrassment.

In France, Nicolas Sarkozy’s hapless Presidency has come to an end. The none too radical François Hollande has succeeded him.

In Greece, the traditional parties have been decimated, but more critically one of the beneficiaries has been Greek neo-Nazis.

Nowadays, the term neo-Nazi is occasionally used loosely to suggest, someone nasty, someone horrible, but in this case it is very clear that the epithet is not wasted.

Chrysi Avyi (Golden Dawn) is the real thing. There is no pretence with them. There is none of the camouflage used by their British and French fellow travellers.

Golden Dawn are the genuine article, Hitler loving, flag-waving neo-Nazis.

At last projections they could have 22 seats in the Greek parliament, yes, twenty-two.

That is the real news from the elections, the scary news as any thinking person will realise.