European Theater

Chubais assassination attempt: inside job?

The March 17 attempted assassination of Anatoly Chubais, head of Russia's state energy monopoly, Unified Energy Systems (EES), and architect of the highly unpopular post-Soviet crash privatization program, has rocked Russia's political elite.

Draconian UK terror law passes

Prime Minister Tony Blair has won the support of Parliament for a new anti-terrorism law, which will allow the government to move quickly against eight foreign terror suspects who have been granted bail. The House of Lords approved new powers to order house arrest, impose curfews and electronic tagging without trial, after the government made concessions to end a bitter parliamentary deadlock just three days before similar legislation was to have expired.

Kosovo prime minister to The Hague

Ramush Haradunaj, the ethnic Albanian prime minister of Kosovo (known to the Albanians as Kosova) stepped down from his post and boarded a flight for the The Netherlands March 9, turning himself over to international authorities at The Hague, where he is wanted in connection with atrocities carried out when he was a commander of the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA). He shared the flight with another ex-KLA commander, Lahi Brahimaj. The two are now being held at the same prison as former Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic. (UK Independent, March 10) Hopefully this development will put an end to the incessant whining of the Slobo-suckers that their boy is being unfairly singled out. Meanwhile, two other of their faves, Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic, remain at large—presumably in Serb-controlled Bosnia.

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.