door Arthur Legger

For the Dutch TV coverage of the hatespeech trial against Lars Hedegaard I asked the opinion of Anita Bay Bundegaard of “Politiken”: “The trial is necessary and we see too few of them. His statements stigmatize. They form dangerous opinions. Countering his arguments like in the American model won’t do: we don’t have that self-censorship. It has to be enforced”. But reporting from the Amsterdam courtroom on the process against Geert Wilders (leader of the Party For Freedom, key holder of the Dutch right wing minority Cabinet, and living in constant hiding), who stands trial for his critique on Islam, Koran, Muslims and multi-culturalism in his movie “Fitna” and newspapers, I see how the sinews of society shatter now political opinion is taken to court. Moreover, what began a year ago as a jolly Wilders bashing, has mutated into a Machiavellian rot that gnaws at the trust of the Dutch in their judicature. Of course, we Dutch merely present to you Danes a distorted mirror image. Your system works, doesn’t it. Hedegaard got his “genuine” acquittal. So, what’s to worry?

Suddenly paused on October 22nd 2010, Wilders’ case re-started on February 7th to end in July. Shown live on TV it’s clear that Wilders is not to blame for the legal system’s crashing. He holds eerily still except for a few angry interviews about his “show trial”, and this week’s courtroom mantra on how Europe’s culture-relativists aide Islam to alter the free West into an enslaved Eurabia. We will wither in the doom of dhimmitude if we don’t take a stand. Without freedom there’s no creativity: where’re the Muslim Mozart or the Koran Kafka, there’re none. And so on. Wilders’ groomed lawyer Bram Moszkowicz merely pleas against the trial’s legality; a non-suit is what he aims for.

Dutch Law hinges on the thought that its legal system is guileless, its judiciary is above all parties, and that truth decides. Every now and then there’s a fuck up, but that goes with any trade. So when Paul Velleman, the Public Prosecutor, opened his requisitory with “it’s irrelevant whether Wilders speaks the truth or not, what matters is whether his critique is illegal”, he baffled the many uninformed Dutch. He unveiled the potentially censoring bias of articles 266 and 137e/d on (group) insult, hate speech, and inciting hateful discrimination. Articles such as these stem from the 1930ies to protect the public freedom of Jews against the Nazis. European Court jurisprudence modernized them to include new-age notions like “the right not to be offended in your religion”. Like the Danish article 266b that facilitated the trials against Jesper Langballe and Lars Hedegaard, these articles aren’t geared towards ascertaining the truth, but to weigh sensitivities. Langballe, Hedegaard, and Wilders have not been charged with slander, but with being brutally offensive. And whether that equals illegal discriminatory hate speech is, when all boils down, merely a matter of taste.

“Wilders’ critique is distasteful, but functional; it is not illegal”, Public Prosecution concluded in Spring 2008 after investigating the filed charges. His “shocking and disturbing” rhetoric belongs to a European whistleblowing debate on Islam and multi-culturalism. They concluded so even after having been pressurized by the very top of their own Justice Department, to prosecute Wilders “no matter what”. This was amidst the Fitna crisis when the previous Cabinet tried to censor Wilders’ movie before its first showing. Still, in 2009 the leading lawyer Gerard Spong used a moot law by which the Amsterdam Court could decree Public Prosecution to prosecute Wilders. The Court jumped to the occasion. The police was asked to hand out to complainants ready-made forms on which they could mark the correct accusation. And to cow Public Prosecution further the Court listed a 24 pages indictment that stipulated the desired result: “The Court (…) expects that prosecution will lead to a conviction”. However, in October 2010 the Public Prosecutor chided the Court’s indictment to be “wrong, concocted and flawed”. Velleman then defied the Court entirely by concluding that “Wilders’ criticizing of Islam and Muslims does not cause Intrinsic Conflicting Dichotomy and does not incite hate. We ask for a complete acquittal”. Never before had the Dutch witnessed an ugly civil war in their judicature.

But ugly got dirty.

On October 22nd, at the last opportunity and seconds after the judges sat down, Moszkowicz jumped up, waving with newspaper “De Pers”. With his high-brow Yiddish accent he spat out the scandal. Three days before the testimony of Wilders’ expert-witness, renown Arabist Hans Jansen, judge Tom Schalken from the Amsterdam Court had joined a secretive dinner at which he knew Jansen would be present. Jansen wasn’t informed about Schalken’s coming. During dinner Schalken pressed Jansen to agree that Wilders’ prosecution was good. Confronted by “De Pers” Schalken stated: “Nothing happened that’s against the rules, but what’s against the rule is that someone breaches the confidentiality of such a dinner”. Everybody in the courtroom realized the ramifications: Schalken had decreed Wilders’ prosecution, and he was co-author of the sentencing indictment. Yet the judges’ unlawful decision that followed was as shocking. They refused Moszkowicz’ to hear Jansen on their direct colleague Schalken, even though Jansen sat two seats away. Within the hour Moszkowicz forced the Court to remove the judges because of bias, which put the trial on pause. Two days later and on prime time TV Geert Corstens, president of the Supreme Court and installed by the Crown for life, blamed Wilders for the situation: “Wilders’ criticisms on Justice destabilize our state of law. He abuses the gut feeling of his audience and, hence, threatens our legal system”.

New in February (different judges, same court) is Moszkowicz’ plea to publicly question Schalken as a witness: his information might hand Wilders his non-suit. Public Prosecution claims this is nonsense: even if Schalken did cheat, the trial itself is fair; the removal of the judges is proof in itself. Moreover, Velleman asked for a complete acquittal; why press for a mistrial?

Part of the answer is the total independence of Dutch judges to reach their verdict. But free of bias is another matter and the Amsterdam Court shows Wilders a saddening record. The rest of the answer is the potential partiality of the judges at Appeal and Supreme Court and their skill to steer jurisprudence. Gerard Spong, initiator of Wilders’ prosecution, proudly told me last month of his find. Only days after his TV interview Corstens presided a body of Supreme Court judges to review a very minor article 137e case of inciting hate. In June 2010 the Appeal had acquitted a youngster who got convicted in 2008 for selling T-shirts with texts “Combat 18” and “Whatever it takes”, by arguing that the wording in itself did not incite hate. On November 23rd Corstens’ Supreme Court ruled: “these expressions are not to be judged in itself, but in context and by taking in account the associations they cause (…) The acquittal is annulled (…) The Court of The Hague has to re-process”. With this new jurisprudence Corstens thwarts Public Prosecution’s acquitting requisitory on Wilders, hands the Amsterdam judges a legal tool for conviction, and directs Appeal and Supreme Court in their future weighing of Wilders’ case. Like Spong, Moszkowicz knows this. A non-suit is Wilders’ only option.

‘Truth is irrelevant’ and ‘censorship is good’ pervert even the best of people and legal systems –they ought to be banned from our Criminal Codes and newspaper rooms for being the most dangerous opinions of all.

9 opmerkingen:

  1. Waar censuur ten grondslag ligt:

    even iets om over na te denken:

    o.a. ( op deze website staat veel meer!!!
    Al 35 jaar censuur!!!!!!!!

  2. Goed verhaal, maar waarom moet het verpest worden door een kwalificatie als "With his high-brow Yiddish accent"? Moszkovicz komt uit Maastricht en dat is nog steeds te horen. Wilders zelf is van huis uit Limburger, Camiel Eurlings, Gerd Leers, Jan Marijnissen klinkt Brabants. High-brow Yids, anybody?

  3. “it’s irrelevant whether Wilders speaks the truth or not, what matters is whether his critique is illegal”

    Direct flitste het nummer "this is the end" van de Doors door m'n hoofd.

  4. WACHEN SIE AUF: Muslime mit einem 'Trick' zu erhalten, erreichen eine 'demografischen Vorteil': Die Unterdrückung der Rechte der Frauen!

    Aufruf verbreitet in der INTERNET:
    Sexuelle Erziehung ohne Tabus oder Neo-Tabus: die Analyse des Sex-Tabus (in traditionell monogamen Gesellschaften) sehen wir, dass der eigentliche Zweck des Sex-Tabus die soziale Integration sexuell schwacher Männchen war.
    {Siehe Der Ursprung der Sex Tabu blog}

    Heutzutage, gehen einerseits viele Frauen auf Suche nach Männern mit einer grösseren sexuellen Kompetenz, besonders Männer aus traditionell polygamen Gesellschaften: in diesen Gesellschaften haben nur die stärkeren Männer Kinder, sie suchen sie aus und verfeinern die Qualität der Männer.
    Andererseits suchen heutzutage viele Männer traditionell monogamener Gesellschaften Weibchen aus anderen Gesellschaften, die wirtschaftlich geschwächt sind [sanft]...

    In traditionell polygamen Gesellschaften ist es natürlich, dass nur die stärksten Männer Kinder haben, TROTZDEM müssen die traditionell monogamenen Gesellschaften ihre Geschichte akzeptieren! Das heisst, diese Gesellschaften dürfen nicht die sexuell schwächeren Männchen wie die Mülleimer der Gesellschaft behandeln!... Das heisst, Männer (mit guter Gesundheit) von den Weibchen zurückgewiesen sollten das legitime Recht auf eine KÜNSTLICHE GEBÄRMUTTER haben [wissenschaftliche Forschung Priorität]...

  5. De taak van het gerechtshof is niet datgene wat met waarheid te maken zou kunnen hebben.
    Dat tast namelijk de soevereiniteit van het nederlandse volk aan. Stel nu dat NL-wetten in strijd is met met wetenschappelijke constateringen, zou de Nederlander onderworpen moeten worden aan iets wat hem/haar mogelijk vreemd is.

    Het gerechtshof heeft enkel de taak om het gedrag(!) van Wilders te toetsen aan iets raars wat de Nederlandese cultuur heet.
    zeg maar opvattingen en gewoontes van de doorsnee Nederlander.
    Niets meer;niets minder.

    Uiteindelijk moet het Amsterdamse gerechtshof, altijd het hoofd buigen voor een hogere Rechter, of dat nu leuk is of niet.
    De hoogste rechter in NL is datzelfde Nederlandse volk... te minste zolang zij instaat is om haar eigen wetten uit te vaardigen en te handhaven.

    De enige die voor haar bestaan vrezen moet is een van de realiteit losgezongen rechterlijke macht.

    Al is de leugen nog zo snel......

  6. De waarheid is in zoverre irrelevant omdat enerzijds de onwaarheid van een mening op zichzelf onvoldoende reden is om die niet te mogen uiten (dan zouden er immers nog maar weinig meningen vrij geuit mogen worden) en anderzijds de waarheid van een mening nog niet de vrijheid met zich meebrengt deze op iedere mogelijke manier en in alle denkbare omstandigheden te uiten. Daarenboven is de waarheid of onwaarheid van een mening vaak niet tot ieders tevredenheid vast te stellen. Niet zelden gaat het om een partiële waarheid, een halfwaarheid, of een waarheid waartegenover andere relevante waarheden staan. Een feitenrelaas, waar de genoemde feiten zorgvuldig zijn geselecteerd en andere belangrijke feiten zijn weggelaten, kan uit stuk voor stuk controleerbaar ware beweringen bestaan en intussen toch van een effectieve hetze deel uit maken, terwijl op voorhand voor iedereen ongeloofwaardige beweringen geen schade aanrichten.
    Wat mij betreft mag Wilders zeggen wat hij zegt, en is wat hij zegt zeker voor een belangrijk deel waar, maar ik bestrijd het principe dat als iets waar is het dan ook gezegd moet mogen worden, zodat de toelaatbaarheid van Wilders' uitspraken automatisch voortvloeit uit het waarheidsgehalte ervan.

  7. There is a left-wing and Islamic plot underway against Geert Wilders. They poison our jurisdiction where I already had no high opinion of because of the left-wing influences. We sit there with our nose on top. The Court takes revenge by having aggravated charges the case in Amsterdam to continue now Geert de Court view has taken with the Declaration and persecution of a judge due to influence of a Wilders-witness. Than the unrest in the Arab countries. In the Cabinet need clear spirits again soldiers to an Islamic (Libya) fire sent to Al-Qaida to help them to expel Gaddafi. No Islamic country, it is worth sacrificing our lives. No Muslim is our life worth it. I think that is a pure waste of life.

  8. Er is een links en islamitisch complot aan de gang tegen Geert Wilders. Zij vergiftigen onze rechtspraak waar ik toch al geen hoge dunk van had vanwege de linkse invloeden hierin. We zitten er met onze neus bovenop. De rechtbank neemt wraak door met verzwaarde aanklachten de zaak in Amsterdam door te zetten nu Geert de rechtbank te kijk heeft gezet met de aangifte en vervolging van een rechter wegens beinvloeding van een Wilders-getuige. Dan de onrust in de Arabische landen. In het kabinet hebben heldere geesten opnieuw militairen naar een islamitische (Libie) brandhaard gestuurd naar Al-Qaida om hen te helpen Khadaffi te verdrijven. Geen enkel islamitisch land is het opofferen van onze levens waard. Geen enkele moslim is ons leven waard. Dat vind ik pure verspilling van het leven.