by Fabrice Randoux
* The European Union is the ultimate passive aggressive nanny state, and now they’ve made something a crime that they deliberately do not define in precise terms; it’s Orwell’s 1984, except Big Brother is your dull-eyed pedantic cousin: EU agrees to penalties for racism and xenophobia.
The European Union on Thursday made inciting racism and xenophobia crimes throughout its 27 member states in a landmark decision tempered by caveats to appease free speech concerns.
The new deal specifies one- to three-year prison terms be available for incitement to violence or hatred “against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin”.
That could include the sending of “tracts, pictures or other material.”
The deal, reached by EU justice ministers in Luxembourg, display’s “Europe’s “common moral values”, EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini told reporters.
* Franco Frattini has long been a sucker for Muhammedan causes and is highly suspect in selling out Europe’s interests to the Muslim invaders. Read this to understand what this man is doing to us
* Franco Frattini, the man with the Orwellian title ‘EU’s Commissioner for Justice, Freedom and Security,-‘ has already banned the use of the phrase ‘Islamic terrorism’ to describe Islamic terrorism. ‘You cannot use the term “Islamic terrorism”,’ he insisted. ‘People who commit suicide attacks or criminal activities on behalf of religion, Islamic religion or other religion, they abuse the name of this religion.’
In an article from February 13, 2006 he still denied that such laws were in the making.
It comes after almost six years of wrangling and falls short of Germany’s ambitions of specifically outlawing Holocaust denial.
The text also notes that “member states may choose to punish only conduct which is either carried out in a manner likely to disturb public order or which is threatening, abusive or insulting.”
German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries nonetheless hailed the decision as “an important political signal” following failures in 2003 and 2005 to reach such a deal.
Germany had wanted to outlaw the denial of the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis and their collaborators during World War II before its six-month term at the helm of the EU runs out at the end of June.
Holocaust denial was made a crime in Germany in 1985 and the use of Nazi insignia is forbidden.
Building on the most recent attempt, spearheaded by Luxembourg in 2005, the measure has consistently run up against the problems that it might pose for free speech.
To make the text acceptable to Britain, Ireland and the Scandinavian states — particularly concerned about curbs to their freedoms of expression — Holocaust denial will only qualify under the EU-wide rules if it is deemed likely to incite hatred.
It is covered in a clause that states that the penalties will also apply to “publicly, condoning, denying or grossly trivialising crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes,” as defined by the International Criminal Court and the post-World War II Nuremberg trials.
The wording could also apply to crimes against humanity perpetrated in Srebrenica, Rwanda and elsewhere.
The EU sentencing framework can of course be higher under national rules and Holocaust denial is already specifically targeted by laws in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Poland and Romania.
“Attempts to harmonise EU laws on hate crimes are both illiberal and nonsensical,” European Liberal Democrat Leader Graham Watson said in a statement summing up the British opposition.
“The proposed list risks opening the floodgates on a plethora of historical controversies — like the crimes of the Stalinist regime or the alleged Armenian genocide — whose inclusion could pose a grave threat to freedom of speech. The EU has no business legislating on history,” he added.
“The text is in a sense more symbolic and political than judicial,” said a French diplomat while stressing “the importance of having the EU 27 on the same platform against racism”.
Debate on the measure lasted several hours, largely due to the Baltic states wish to include Stalinist crimes in the text. That idea was rejected by the other EU members who argued that such crimes were not principally racist.
In a compromise move, the EU member states also adopted a declaration deploring all crimes committed by totalitarian regimes.
After the new rules are adopted, member states will have two years to comply with the decision.
The Baltic states — Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia — indicated that their parliament would first have to agree to the text.
* Orwell sends his regards:
In a twisted way, this ludicrous deal stems from a good impulse that itself stems from a huge, deserved sense of guilt: to combat Holocaust denial. But you can be absolutely certain that the first groups to take advantage of these new legal powers will be the highly aggressive Islamistsâ€”who are often the same people who deny the Holocaust, and at the same time wish for a new, improved one.