Monday, March 30, 2009

Le Pen...Again or Europe's Canned Outrage

As has been widely reported, Jean-Marie Le Pen last week repeated his famous remark about the Nazi gas chambers being a “detail of the Second World War,” leading to yet a new round of denunciations of Le Pen. On closer inspection, however, far from preserving the memory of Nazi crimes, the ritualized denunciation of Le Pen’s remark in Europe today serves in fact to diminish them. See my new article on here.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

The Demjanjuk Farce or Will Germany Get Its Show Trial?

Last week, the Munich district attorney’s office announced that it was charging the 88-year-old John Demjanjuk with some 29,000 counts of accessory to murder for his alleged activity as a guard at the Sobibor concentration camp during the Second World War. Germany is seeking the long-time Ohio resident’s extradition. The spectacular development will lead many Americans to believe that Germany is exceptionally thorough and vigilant about prosecuting Nazi war crimes. And this is indeed presumably the purpose of the Demjanjuk indictment – for the reality could hardly be more different.

See my new article on here.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Maybe Not Such a Great Idea: More on Talking with "Moderate Taliban"

In remarks reported on Tuesday, 10 March, by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung reflected on the idea of holding talks with "moderate Taliban." Jung expressed openness to the idea, but insisted on the condition that the Taliban in question must have already sworn off violence. Moreover, as the FAZ reports:
Jung also recalled "negative experiences" of the NATO-led ISAF forces in southern Afghanistan. After British forces there had come to an agreement with Taliban in Musa Qala, the latter are supposed to have murdered schoolchildren who were learning English and their teachers.

Obama's "Moderate Taliban": An Odd Idea, But not an Original One

The most surprising thing about President Obama’s suggestion that America should perhaps reach out to moderate Taliban is undoubtedly the very expression “moderate Taliban.” But the idea is not an original one. In 2007, the then Chairman of Germany's Social Democratic party, Kurt Beck, already proposed talks with "moderate Taliban." He was seconded by German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier.

For the details, see my new article on Pajamas Media here.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The ICC and Sudan: A Troubling Decision

The International Criminal Court’s arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir has predictably been welcomed by human rights organizations. It has also been welcomed by Hassan al-Turabi. This fact should give at least Americans serious pause concerning the benefits of the ICC's move. For Turabi is not only Sudan's leading Islamist. He is also the man who brought Osama bin Laden and his followers to Sudan in the 1990s.

See my new article on here.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

A Message from an Iraqi for Herta Däubler-Gmelin

Last week, a “human rights” delegation from the German Bundestag paid a visit to Erbil in the Kurdish autonomous region of northern Iraq. The delegation was headed by none other than the former German Minister of Justice, Herta Däubler-Gmelin: the same Herta Däubler-Gmelin who in September 2002 famously compared George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler on account of his plans to topple the regime of Saddam Hussein.

The Iraqi human rights activist Falah Muradkhin Shakaram, a survivor of the notorious poison gas attack on Halabja in Iraqi Kurdistan, wonders why Ms. Däubler-Gmelin is only concerned about human rights in Iraq now. See my translation of his commentary on here.

Monday, March 02, 2009

French Justice: Train with Qaeda, Get out of Jail Free

Last Tuesday, a Parisian appeals court overturned the convictions of five former Guantanamo inmates who had been found guilty on terrorist conspiracy charges in 2007. The ruling should give pause to wonder not only about the wisdom of plans to transfer Guantanamo inmates to European countries, but more fundamentally about the very idea of treating the “disposition” of Guantanamo inmates as an issue for civilian courts.

See my new article at here.