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Posted Thursday, November 11, 2004

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David Irving comments:

SO MUCH for the great democracies. Banning a country's biggest political party. Rather reminds one of Iraq, where the "free elections" to be held next January 2005 (if all goes well) will allow all parties to stand, except of course for the previously most popular one, the Ba'athists..

November 9, 2004

Vlaams Blok Banned!

In the wake of Vlaams Blok's overwhelming popular support in elections, the Belgian government has outlawed it.

TODAY, November 9th, 2004, our party, the Vlaams Blok, has been condemned to death. This afternoon, the Belgian Supreme Court upheld the verdict, issued by the Court of Appeal in Ghent on 21 April, which declared the Vlaams Blok a criminal organisation. In order to preserve our party members from prosecution, we are now forced to disband. What happened in Brussels today is unique in the Western world: never has a so-called democratic regime outlawed the country's largest political party.

The Vlaams Blok was supported by almost 1 million voters in last June's elections. We got 24.1% of the vote in Flanders, where sixty percent of the Belgian population lives. Voting is compulsory in Belgium and no other party was supported by more people. Our party has grown continuously for two decades. Since 1987, it has won twelve consecutive elections in a row. Belgium, established in 1830 by French revolutionaries, is an artificial construct dominated by the Socialist Francophone minority in Wallonia. Our party's main objective is the secession of Flanders from Belgium. Flanders is the free-market oriented Dutch-speaking and politically minorised northern part of the country.

We are the democratic voice of an ever growing number of Flemings who, in an entirely non-violent way, want to put an end to Belgium. Our electoral strength is causing panic amongst the Belgian establishment. A recent opinion poll of the Brussels newspaper Le Soir and the Francophone state television RTBF (24 October) indicates that the Vlaams Blok currently stands at 26.9% of the Flemish vote.

Despite the fact that a political party should be fought in the voting booth, the Belgian regime has been harassing the Vlaams Blok with criminal prosecutions for over a decade. The Belgian Parliament, where Francophones are overrepresented, changed the Constitution in 1999 in order to limit freedom of expression. It also voted a series of new laws with the sole purpose of criminalising and defunding our party, including an Anti-Racism Act and an Anti-Discrimination Act which define "discrimination" so broadly that every individual can be prosecuted on the basis of them. (The text of these infamous bills can be found on our website

Moreover, according to Belgium's draconian new laws, every member and collaborator of an organisation that propagates "discrimination," can be punished with fines or imprisonment. Furthermore, the onus of proof has been reversed, so that the complainant does not need to prove that the accused "discriminates" or propagates "discrimination," but the latter has to prove that he does not.

Since 1993 the power to prosecute for discrimination and racism was transferred to a government quango, resorting directly under the Prime Minister, the so-called Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight against Racism (CEOFR). This quango has now been vindicated by the Supreme Court, an institution composed of political appointees, half of them Francophones.

Have we ever condoned discrimination on the basis of race? No, but that did not matter to the Belgian establishment and its political courts. We were condemned on the basis of a selection of excerpts from texts provided by the CEOFR. These excerpts were taken from an anthology of no more than 16 texts published by local Vlaams Blok chapters between 1996 and 2000. According to the court what we wrote was not necessarily untrue, but our "intentions" were of a criminal nature. The Ghent ruling, today reaffirmed by the Supreme Court, stated that our texts (though some were mere quotes of official statistics on crime rates and social welfare expenditure and another was an article written by a female Turkish-born Vlaams Blok member about the position of women in fundamentalist muslim societies) were published with "an intention to contribute to a campaign of hatred."

Such a procés d'intention (a conviction based on speculation about our supposed motives) is a real disgrace, and the fact that the Belgian judiciary had to resort to this proves that no other reasons for convicting us could be found. We have never propagated, advocated or practised any discrimination. Never.

The consequences of the conviction are, however, serious. According to the law, every member of our party or everyone who has ever cooperated with it, even if he has not committed any crimes himself, becomes a criminal by the mere fact of his membership of or his cooperation with our party. The Ghent verdict literally stated:

"Rendering punishable every person who belongs to or cooperates with a group or society [...] serves as an efficient means to suppress such groups or societies, as the lawmaker intended. Rendering punishable the members or collaborators of the group or society inherently jeopardizes the continued existence or functioning of the group or society [...]."

Indeed, the reaffirmation of the Ghent verdict by the Supreme Court forces us to disband our party in order not to endanger its members and collaborators. Therefore, a party congress next Sunday will convene to officially disband the party. We will, however, put to the congres the establishment of a new party to defend the political priorities that the Vlaams Blok has always fought for: an independent and democratic Republic of Flanders; the traditional moral values of Western civilisation; and the right of the Flemings to protect their national identity and their Dutch language and culture.

I thank those who founded our party in 1977 and all who have supported it in the past 27 years. They have fought the good fight. I thank our one million voters. They deserve a democracy. Belgium does not want to grant them one; we will. Today, our party has been killed, not by the electorate but by the judges. We will establish a new party. This one Belgium will not be able to bury; it will bury Belgium.

Frank Vanhecke, MEP


Anti-Immigration Party Banned In Belgium

By Paul Belien

EXACTLY one week after the political assassination of Dutch journalist Theo Van Gogh in Holland last Tuesday, the Supreme Court in neighbouring Belgium has banned the Vlaams Blok, an anti-immigration party that happens to be the largest party in the country.[Blow to Belgium's far right, BBC News]

Is there a connection between the Van Gogh assassination and the judicial execution of the Vlaams Blok?

There sure is.

In his last column, Van Gogh had praised the Flemings, the Dutch-speaking inhabitants of Flanders, the northern half of Belgium, because they had managed to get rid of the local Antwerp Muslim leader Dyab Abu Jahjah.

Van Gogh noted Jahjah's announcement in a Flemish newspaper that he is about to leave Belgium because too many Flemings vote Vlaams Blok.

"The sooner I can leave, the better," Jahjah said. "Flemings are stupid idiots. One million of them voted Vlaams Blok."

He announced that he would soon be returning to his native Lebanon. And he added a farewell message:

"Every American, British or Dutch soldier that gets killed in Iraq, is a victory to me. I hope many more will follow."

But the next victim did not fall in Iraq, but in the streets of Amsterdam, where Van Gogh was slaughtered by a Muslim fanatic on November 2.

Today, however, it is less certain that Jahjah will have to leave Belgium. Its Supreme Court, the Cour de Cassation, ruled that Jahjah's enemies in the Vlaams Blok (VB) belong to a "racist" organization. The party, consequently, has to be disbanded.

This is the first time in the history of Western Europe that a court ruling has forced a democratic party to disband.

The Belgian political establishment has been pushing for this measure for years. The VB is not only an anti-immigration party but also a secessionist party, striving for the independence of Flanders, the economic powerhouse of Belgium. During the past decade, the Belgian constitution was changed and five draconian laws were voted in order to strangle the VB. This is the latest, and most serious, attack.

Belgium is a West European kingdom that houses both the seats of the EU and NATO. It was established by an 1831 treaty that forced a Dutch-speaking majority of sixty percent Flemings to coexist with a minority of forty percent French-speakers living in the southern provinces of Wallonia.

From the start, Belgium was governed by a French-speaking establishment. After the World War II, when the Flemings claimed their political rights, both Dutch- and French-speakers were given a fifty percent say in running the country. Both groups held veto power.

This has led to a situation where the free-market oriented Flemings are being dominated by Socialist Walloons, who block all social and political reforms.

Stagnation has become the major characteristic of Belgian political life. And, in order to maintain the ethnic balance, the establishment invited foreign immigrants, mainly French-speakers from Morocco, to come to Belgium and apply for citizenship.

Thus in February 2001, Claude Eerdekens, the parliamentary leader of the Parti Socialiste declared in Parliament that 99% of the immigrants in Brussels-historically a Dutch-speaking town-filed their naturalisation papers in French. "We do more to turn Brussels into a Francophone city than the Flemings can ever do to prevent it," he boasted.

And in September 2000 Leona Detiége, the Socialist mayor of Antwerp, declared that immigrants should be given the right to vote because "the Vlaams Blok is currently overrepresented [in the city council] as the immigrants are not allowed to vote."

Flemish dissatisfaction with Belgium has gained the VB the support of one million voters in this country of only ten million inhabitants-one million of whom are foreigners. From three percent of the Flemish vote in the 1987 general elections, the VB has risen relentlessly to 24.1 percent in the regional elections last June. That won the VB 32 of the 124 seats in the Flemish regional parliament, making it the largest single party.

But, ostensibly because of its position on immigration, the VB has constantly been smeared by the establishment parties as a "racist" organisation, And it has been excluded from participation in the coalitions that typically control Belgian federal, regional and municipal legislatures by the so-called "cordon sanitaire" agreement, in which all the other parties piously vowed never to form a coalition with "racists."

The VB's anti-immigration rhetoric, however, is directed exclusively at Muslim fundamentalists to whom its message is to "assimilate or return home." In Antwerp, where the party is supported by 34.9 percent of the electorate, the VB has a large backing of orthodox Jews who feel threatened by Islamic extremists like Jahjah. Filip Dewinter, the leader of the Antwerp chapter of the VB, said last March 23rd when he introduced Israeli author Avi Lipkin, a former spokesman of the Israeli army, to a VB audience, that Israel is "the vanguard of the West in a feudal Middle East."

In fact, there are other reasons why the VB is shunned by Belgium's establishment parties.

"Its conservative family policies, its deeply felt ethical objections to abortion and euthanasia, its radical pursuing of the interests of Flanders, its republicanism, these are the issues voiced by no other party, these are in practice the indiscussable phantasms of the Vlaams Blok,"

a leading left-wing columnist wrote in the anti-VB Flemish newspaper De Standaard last January.

In October 2000, the Vlaams Blok was brought to court by the Centre for Equal Opportunities and the Fight against Racism (CEOFR), a taxpayer-funded government quango reporting directly to the Prime Minister, with representatives of all political parties-except the VB-on its board.

The CEOFR has authority to prosecute "racists" under the Belgian Anti-Racism Act. Article 1 of this bill defines "discrimination" as

"each form of distinction, exclusion, restriction or preference, which has or may have as its aim or consequence that the recognition, the enjoyment or exercise on an equal footing of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social or cultural sphere or in other areas of social life, is destroyed, affected or restricted."

This, of course, is a dangrously vague definition-note the weasel words "may have," the fact that the law covers all areas of social life, and that it's an offense if "rights" or "freedoms" are (or may be) only "affected", even unintentionally ("as a consequence").

And last year, the Belgian Parliament voted an enhanced Anti-Discrimination Act which reversed the burden of proof. The complainant no longer needs to prove that the accused does indeed "discriminate." It is up to the accused to prove that he does not.

This April, after a prolonged judicial battle of almost four years, the CEOFR complaint led to a conviction of the VB as a "racist" organisation by a Court of Appeal in Ghent.

The court cited a selection of texts provided by the CEOFR. These texts were an anthology of 16 different excerpts from publications by various local VB chapters between 1996 and 2000.

Many of the texts simply quoted official statistics on crime rates and social welfare expenditure. But they were, according to the court, published with "an intention to contribute to a campaign of hatred."

One of the texts, which dealt with the position of women in fundamentalist Muslim societies, was written by a female Turkish-born VB member who had herself been raised in such an environment and had been subjected to a forced marriage. But the court said that, although the claims that were made in the story were not necessarily untrue, the VB published it "not to inform the public about the position of women in the Islamic world, but to depict the image [of non-indigenous people] as unethical and barbarian."

The Belgian Anti-Racism Act, in its notorious Article 3, not only punishes "racists," but everyone who, in whatever way, has any dealings with them:

"Punishment with imprisonment for one month to one year and a fine of fifty francs to one thousand francs or with either of these is applied to whoever belongs to a group or society which clearly and repeatedly practices or teaches discrimination [...], as well as to whoever cooperates with such a group or society."

The Ghent ruling, which was upheld by the Belgian Supreme Court today, means that the CEOFR can prosecute every politician, every member and every "cooperator" of the party.

The verdict states explicitly:

"By 'belonging to' a group or society is meant that the culprit [...] is a part of the group or society [...]. It is not necessary for him to have conducted any activities within the group or society. Similarly, 'cooperating,' by which is meant any form of support for the functioning of the group or society, does not imply the execution of criminal acts. The punishability of 'belonging to' and 'cooperating' follows from the mere knowledge that the group or society, to which one belongs or with which one cooperates, [...] commits discrimination."

The aim of the verdict is to kill the VB. And this, too, is stated explicitly in the court's ruling:

"Rendering punishable every person who belongs to or cooperates with a group or society [...] serves as an efficient means to suppress such groups or societies, as the lawmaker intended. [It] inherently jeopardizes the continued existence or functioning of the group or society [...]."

In order to avoid criminal prosecutions against its members and collaborators, the VB will have to disband.

"Anyone who 'cooperated' with us in the past five years, can lose their political rights," says VB Party Leader Frank Vanhecke -- a member of the European Parliament.

If the elections were not by secret ballot, the Belgian authorities would even be able to prosecute each of the one million VB voters.

To protect its people against prosecution, the VB leadership has today decided to disband the party. It wants to establish a new party next Sunday, but this one, too, will probably be prosecuted.

The party leadership hopes, however, that it can postpone a new verdict against a new party for a number of years, allowing it to win future electoral victories, force its way into goverment and abolish Belgium.

"Our voters deserve a democracy. Belgium refuses to grant them one; we will," Mr. Vanhecke said today. "We will establish a new party. This one Belgium will not be able to bury; it will bury Belgium."

And, in the process, the Vlaams Blok will bury mass immigration too.

Paul Belien is a Flemish historian and journalist. His wife, Alexandra Colen, is a member of the Belgian House of Representatives for the Vlaams Blok

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