European Theater

Zundel goes home

Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel is being deported by Canada back to his German homeland, where he is expected to be arrested for inciting racial hatred. Zundel, who has been sitting in a jail cell in Canada for the last two years, is the author of "The Hitler We Loved and Why." Though the title seems to have come from a Mel Brooks movie, Zundel was ruled to be a security threat in Canada. The famed Zundelsite is a locus on the web for white supremacists, holocaust deniers and neo and not-so-neo Nazis. The cause of the irregularities surrounding his imprisonment has been taken up by Alexander Cockburn's Counterpunch. Perhaps there were irregularities in Zundel's imprisonment, but it seems Cockburn could find more noble causes to fight.

Germans protest Bush

About 12,000 protesters, many carrying banners reading "Bush go home," "No. 1 Terrorist" and "Warmonger," marched through the German city of Mainz Feb. 23, during President Bush's official visit. The rally, which was twice as big as expected, never got within earshot of Bush, but a small group of protestors rushed toward his car as he left to visit a US military base in nearby Wiesbaden. Police wrestled several demonstrators to the ground and led them away in handcuffs.

Anti-Republican raids across Ireland

Irish police say they have seized nearly $5 million in a series of raids on suspected Republican safehouses across the country, uncovering what hardline Justice Minister Michael McDowell called a "colossal crime machine, laundering huge sums of money." One suspected IRA militant was reportedly caught burning a pile of British currency in his backyard. But authorities admitted they were unable to determine if any of the money came from December's massive Belfast bank heist which British and Irish officials alike have blamed on the IRA, leading to a breakdown of peace talks. (AP, Feb. 19)

Accused Serbian war criminal hailed as hero

The NY Times notes today that when accused Serbian war criminal Vladimir Lazarevic surrendered himself to the UN tribunal at The Hague last month, he was hailed in his own country as a national hero. Serbia's Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica hailed Gen. Lazarevic's decision to turn himself in as "patriotic, highly moral and honorable." The leader of the Serbian Orthodox Church gave him an audience and praised him as a defender of the nation. When he flew to The Hague, he was accompanied by Serbia's justice minister. Rights groups were aghast at such pomp for a man accused of overseeing the killing of 700 ethnic Albanians and the forcible expulsion of 800,000 more when he was military commander in Kosovo in 1999. (NYT, Feb. 14)

Neo-Nazis "hijack" Dresden commemoration

The UK Independent reports Feb. 14 that over 5,000 neo-Nazis swarmed the official 60th anniversary commemoration of the Allied bombardment of Dresden, effectively "hijacking" the event in the east German city. Bused in from all over Germany, they overwhelmed the proceedings outside the rebuilt Semper Opera House, which had been destroyed in the bombing. They violated German law by singing the Nazi-era national anthem. It was the largest Nazi rally in Germany since the fall of the Third Reich.

ETA militants arrested after Madrid blast

The Basque separatist group ETA reportedly claimed responsibility for a car bomb that exploded outside a Madrid convention center Feb. 9, injuring at least 40. The blast went off hours before Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia were to arrive there to preside over the opening of an arts fair with Mexico's visiting President Vicente Fox. In the aftermath of the blast, police arrested 14 suspected ETA militants in coordinated raids across Spain. (Electric New Paper, Singapore, Feb. 11)

IRA quits peace talks; Ulster back to brink?

The Irish Republican Army announced Feb. 2 it is withdrawing from the Northern Ireland peace talks and rescinding its disarmament proposal, accusing both London and Dublin of bad faith by blaming the IRA for a $50 million Belfast bank heist in December. "We do not intend to remain quiescent within this unacceptable situation," said a press release signed P. O'Neill, the psuedonym siginifying official IRA positions. "It has tried our patience to the limit." Unionist leader Ian Paisely predictably responded by claiming the IRA never intended to disarm in the first place. Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams declined to comment, saying he would let the IRA speak for themselves, but Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness said the raid blame "scuttles disarmament." The US State Department called the IRA's move "un-welcome." This could be the final crisis for the 1998 Good Friday accord, which established a local legislature to share power between Catholics and Protestants. The legislature has been suspended since 2002 because of allegations of IRA activity. (NYT, Feb. 3; BBC, Feb. 3; BBC, Feb. 4; UK Guardian, Feb. 5)

Deja Vu in Spain: Basques v. Fascists

It has hardly made international headlines, but there has been a wave of bombings at Spanish resorts by ETA in recent months--not claiming any lives, but causing several injuries and wreaking some property damage. Now the Basque regional government is pushing an autonomy plan that stops just barely short of full independence in a bid to appease the separatists. Catalonia, following the Pais Vasco's lead, is also pressing for near-independence. In reaction, the Franco-nostalgists are coming out of the woodwork...

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