The rulers of Europe and their supporting media are beginning to feel seriously embattled. They are aware and frightened of a spreading discontent, a darkening mood of defiance and even rebellion among the peoples they lead.
Their instinct – the instinct of tyrants – is to protect themselves by using government to silence criticism.
Of all the members of the European Union, Germany, it seems, is where the ruling class feels most insecure and is responding with most high-handed imperiousness. This is not hard to account for. Germany is anxious to live down its appalling modern history; dissolve its guilt in the wider sea of a European state; dilute its very nationhood in a flood of immigrants bringing different laws, culture, and religion.
But rising populist movements are demanding the dissolution of the European Union and a stop to Muslim immigration.
From Gatestone by Stefan Frank:
The elites and intellectuals are apparently now counted among the German minorities in need of protection.
Toward the end of last year, Germany experienced a previously unheard-of boycott campaign – funded by the German government, no less – against several websites, such as the popular Axis of Good (Achse des Guten). The website, critical of the government, was suddenly accused of “right-wing populism”.
The German government’s efforts at thought control seem to have begun with the victory of Donald J. Trump in the US presidential election – that seems to set the “establishment” off. Germany’s foreign minister and the probable future federal president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier – one of the first to travel to Iran after the removal of sanctions there to kowtow to the Ayatollahs – called America’s future president a “hate preacher”.
Herr Steinmeier, uniquely among European leaders, has come to his senses since then, recognized that there has been a world-transforming political upheaval in America, and plans to talk to President Trump in an effort to understand what the popular revolution is all about.
Germany’s newspapers were suddenly littered with apocalyptic predictions and anti-American fulminations.
For hard-core Trump-haters, however, a witch hunt by itself is insufficient; they want activism! Since November, Germany’s left-wing parties have had a strong increase in membership, as reported by Der Spiegel. At the same time, the federal government evidently decided, at least regarding the federal elections taking place in 2017, that it would no longer count on journalists’ self-censorship.
The German government, instead of merely hoping that newspapers would voluntarily – or under pressure from the Press Council – refrain from criticising the government’s immigration policies, decided that it, itself, would inaugurate censorship.
To this effect, as reported by Der Spiegel, the Federal Interior Ministry, intends to set up a “Defense Center against Disinformation (“Abwehrzentrum gegen Desinformation“) in the fight against “fake news on social networks”. “Abwehr” – the name of Nazi Germany’s military intelligence agency – is apparently meant to demonstrate the government’s seriousness regarding the matter.
“It sounds like the Ministry of Truth, ‘Minitrue,’ from George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984,” wrote even the left-leaning daily, Frankfurter Rundschau.
Frank Überall, national head of the German Association of Journalists (DJV), bluntly stated: “This smells like censorship.”
It seems that all ideas suspected of being “populist” – or simply those ideas without the blessing of the elites – will now be banned in Germany. This restriction applies to criticism of the government (especially regarding immigration and energy policies), of the EU, of Islam, of government officials and of the media.
The Federal Agency for Political Education – the information agency of the Interior Ministry – is quite open about it: “Anti-elitism”, “anti-intellectualism”, “anti-politics” and “hostility toward institutions” are “the key characteristics of populism”.
Toward the end of 2016, one of the biggest German media scandals in recent memory erupted when Gerald Hensel, undoubtedly a member of Germany’s elite, tried to introduce a new form of internet censorship with the help of a team of media agencies and political players. Until recently, Hensel was “Director of Strategy” at Scholz & Friends, one of Germany’s two big advertising agencies. The firm counts among its clients multinational corporations such as General Motors, the German federal government and the European Commission; so one might say the company is close to the state.
Apparently in anger over Trump’s election victory, Hensel demanded: “Let us freeze the cash flow of the right-wing extremist media!” He had previously written a strategy brief declaring debate to be useless; instead, the political enemy — the “populists” – needed to be fought, even with questionable methods:
The liberal center must, especially in these new digital and information-based wars, take off the kid gloves. We have to turn the tables and learn about populism, particularly on the Internet … Thus, we have to respond in a more wide-spread digital manner and with explicitly less sympathy to those people who want to force their own future on us – and do this long before the next federal election … Political storytelling, targeting the political enemy, influencers, forums, rumors…”
“Measures,” he added, have to be taken against the “new right” – measures that:
… [A]re “Below the Line” and also digital. We need “good” troll factories in our fight against [European “populist” leaders] Frauke Petry, Beatrix von Storch, Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen and the fat stupid white men behind them. Ideally, as quickly as possible. Starting in 2017, they will continue to dismantle the EU and thus our future and that of our children.
Toward the end of November, Hensel appealed to his colleagues in various advertising agencies, under the banner of “no money for the right”, to boycott all those who fit the description of his bogeyman – because they were “hostile towards the EU”, or because they might even harbor sympathies for Donald Trump. He was jumping on a bandwagon. A witch hunt was already under way against the American website Breitbart, due to the closeness of its former executive chair, Steve Bannon, to Donald Trump.
Without providing any kind of proof, countless German newspapers and broadcasters claimed that Breitbart was “racist”, “sexist”, “xenophobic”, “anti-Semitic” and “Islamophobic”, and a “hate site”. The state-owned German television station ARD described Breitbart as an “ultra right-wing” platform for “white supremacy”. Other journalists followed suit.
Hensel went one step farther. In the style of a prosecutor during the Inquisition, he called to break the “dominance of right-wing micro media”. He seems to consider particularly dangerous and subversive, anyone who reads articles that do not originate from one of Germany’s media empires:
“While I may satisfy my thirst for information with my subscriptions to ZEIT or Le Mode Diplomatique, the brave new-right freedom-fighter likes to stay informed via online media such as the Axis of Good or Breitbart News.”
This alone raises several suspicions. Hensel, whose website (which since December can only be accessed with a password) is graced by the display of a Soviet red star, likes to eliminate his opponents swiftly. Breitbart, for example, is deemed fascist (“salon-fascists”). Why? Because the blog — and here he, supposedly for simplicity’s sake, quotes an article from the Süddeutsche Zeitung — “covers all the topics of German right-wing populism”; Breitbart reports about “the migrant and refugee policies of the German federal government, as well as of supposed criminal acts conducted by migrants and Islamic activities”.
There is freedom of speech in my stupid little world. Undoubtedly, websites such as Breitbart News and the Axis of Good … are legal media. Nevertheless, one could ask brand names whether they … are aware that their banner ads appear on these particular websites and represent their brand there.
This type of “asking”, of course, roughly corresponds to the mafia “asking” the pizzeria owner if he has fire insurance.
Hensel also considerately provided detailed instructions for his readers. Those employed by an enterprise should check whether the websites that he deemed “right-wing” are registered on a blacklist. Employees of advertising agencies should form a team, with Hensel and other authoritarians, for internet censorship:
If your career in a media agency has propelled you a little higher up the hierarchy, you might be able to bring up the topic at the next media get-together with colleagues. 2017 is an election year. You, dearest colleagues, clearly have a part in determining who receives our advertising dollars.
Hensel also suggests that consumers put direct pressure on companies or approach them via social media, to dissuade them from advertising on “hate publishers” and “destroyers of the future”.
This manifesto was only published on a private blog — one that barely anyone had ever heard of before. But the power of which Hensel boasted – the networks in the advertising agencies and editorial offices – is real. On Hensel’s command, big newspapers and websites reported on the operation with much sympathy, along with the hashtag #NoMoneyForTheRight.
Large companies such as Deutsche Telekom (T-Mobile), BMW, Mercedes-Benz and the supermarket chain REWE obeyed straightaway, and promised to place “Breitbart” on the blacklist immediately and never to advertise there again. Der Spiegel cited Hensel’s “resistance” (!) and pilloried one business that did not follow suit: A plucky little pizza delivery service that responded to the blacklisting demand by declaring that it was “not the morality police”. The company was denounced by Der Spiegel as “inept”, and after “protests from customers”, it ended up capitulating, as the newspaper reported with much satisfaction.
Breitbart will cope with missing out on a few hundred dollars of advertising revenue from Germany. Hensel, however, was successful in his attempt to motivate his ad agency colleagues against German websites such as the Axis of Good. Within a few days, none of them advertised there anymore. Advertising revenue, equally important for websites as it is for newspapers, came to a halt. Hensel had achieved his goal.
For this campaign, Hensel also received support from the group Network Against Nazis (Netz gegen Nazis), which receives financing from by Germany’s federal government, the German Football Association and the newspaper Die Zeit, and which, until recently, also counted Scholz & Friends among its supporters. In the tried and true Orwellian fashion of calling things their opposite, the definition of “Nazi”, for Network Against Nazis, encompasses anyone who is “Islamophobic” or “hostile toward the media”.
Shortly after Hensel’s call for boycotts, the Axis of Good was placed on a list of “popular right-wing blogs” by Network Against Nazis – together with the liberal publisher Roland Tichy and the evangelical civil rights activist Vera Lengsfeld (who is a thorn in the side of communists, because she fought against the East Germany’s dictatorship in the 1980s). The Amadeu-Antonio Foundation, which runs the Network Against Nazis website, receives almost a million euros per year from the federal government. Not surprisingly, it demonstrates its gratitude with character assassinations of critics of the government.
Within a short time, Hensel had put together a kind of mafia, bent on economically ruining whoever rejected his ideological commands, by using libel and slander to scare away their customers.
As the Frankfurter Allgemeine daily newspaper commented:
It is very fashionable right now to stigmatize people and denounce them as “right-wing” if they do not share your views. Companies want nothing to do with that label, and, as you can see on Twitter, they quickly change direction if they are aggressively made aware that they support the wrong side with their ads (which are often automatically activated and run on the internet).”
The Left’s lie that Nazism (National Socialism) was “right-wing” rather than one of its own branches – which it was – has stuck, giving the Left one of its few lasting victories.
In response to the boycott campaign against it, the Axis of Good showed how a business can defend itself: the editors raised a public alarm about Hensel’s campaign in a series of reports and commentaries. Thousands of readers complained on the Facebook page of Hensel’s employer, Scholz & Friends, which, after its initial support, began to distance itself from its employee’s campaign and finally severed ties with him.
According to Hensel’s version, his campaign was “so successful” that he wanted to take his employer “out of the line of fire”.
My former employer and I became the victims of a massive hate storm consisting of countless tweets, emails and comments on social media … This is a systematic campaign.
As if that was a wicked thing, and as if his campaign had not been “systematic”.
Of course, it was Hensel himself who initiated a systematic campaign, including dirty tricks, which were waged with an eye to the government’s apparent plans to consolidate the population ideologically.
That is the chilling plan, precisely worded. And that is true Nazism, true Stalinism.
As research by the Axis of Good has revealed, Hensel’s boycott operation was closely tied to the plans by the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs to conduct an advertising campaign in support of an open-door immigration policy in 2017. For this, an advertising agency was necessary, as reported in September by an industry journal:
As revealed by a Europe-wide announcement, the Federal Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth is looking for an agency to advertise the brand “Living democracy! Actively against right-wing extremism, violence and inhumanity”.
Ad agencies were invited to submit their suggestions by the middle of December. The Axis of Good concluded:
There is a suspicion that this [boycott] operation was a hurried pilot project for the bid for the million-euro project by [Federal Minister] Schwesig’s Family Ministry. A free trial run for the so-called “advertising pitch”.
Regarding the question of how much economic damage was caused to the Axis of Good by the boycott campaign, Henryk M. Broder, the website’s publisher, told Gatestone:
It is significant, but how big it really was, we will only know in a few months. After all, it is not the companies themselves that stopped advertising, but the agencies. The damage for Scholz & Friends could be even bigger, but they do not talk about it.”
The Hamburger Abendblatt daily referred to Hensel’s campaign as an “attack on the freedom of the press,” adding: “It seems as if the shot from the activists backfired.”
As in communist dictatorships, the more obvious the failings of the government, the more aggressively the establishment attacks those who speak out about them.
End of the Marxist Left. 100 years. 1917-2017.
We date the century of Marxism from the Russian Revolution in 1917 to the success of the American counter-revolution in 2017, because we see Donald Trump’s election to the presidency of the United States – the most powerful position in the world – as the coup de grâce for the atrocious era.
The idea that people should be organized by governments and that the collective is more important than the individual has proved in practice to be a bad one. The experiment took the lives of hundreds of millions of individuals.
The Marxist Left has failed. The ideology that energized it is discredited. There will be no new Communist states.
Those who still believe that their lives should be ordered and sustained by government – regardless of the high price that must be paid by the loss of their freedom – are sure to find the change hard to accept.
However, Donald Trump’s movement is spreading. It has inspired and encouraged new political parties in Europe, and they are gaining strength. They want a “Europe of nations and liberty”.
A meeting of the leaders of populist European parties
The parties still in power see that a change is happening, fear it, but do not understand it. They had a vision of a united states of Europe – which they tried to implement through the creation of the disastrous European Union – and ultimately a united states of the world. They wanted to abolish nations. They wanted a mingling of peoples. They invited the Third World, in particular Muslims, to come to Europe.
And all round them rebellious voices, growing ever louder, are demanding a return to nationhood, to secure borders, to self-determination, to individual freedom – to resisting the encroachment of Islam.
It seems that just one European politician in power “gets it”:
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier says U.S. President Donald Trump’s election marks the end of an era, and Berlin will move quickly to secure “close and trusting trans-Atlantic cooperation based on common values” with the new administration. Steinmeier wrote in Bild newspaper on Sunday that “with the election of Donald Trump, the old world of the 20th century is finally over” and “how the world of tomorrow will look is not settled.” He says with any power change there are “uncertainties, doubts and question marks”, but a lot more is at stake “in these times of a new global disorder”. Steinmeier says he will promote free trade and joint efforts against extremism with Washington. He added he’s certain Germany will “find interlocutors in Washington who know big countries also need partners”.
He will go to President Trump. He will speak of partnership and trade. But what he will really be seeking is enlightenment. And unless he is truly willing to yield power to the people, he will hear nothing for his comfort.
The “Women’s March”, organized to protest against Donald Trump’s rise to power, is glaring proof that the Left no longer knows what it is for.
Most of the marchers could only name what they were against: “Trump”.
Only one of the organizers of the American march knew exactly what she wanted.
The Gatestone Institute says of her:
Linda Sarsour [is] a self-described ‘Brooklyn-born Palestinian-American-Muslim racial justice and civil rights activist’, who serves as “the Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York, co-founder of Muslims for Ferguson, and a member of Justice League NYC”, her march bio relates.
She is working for the establishment of Sharia law in America. She tweeted:
Her following carried this banner:
And wore hijabs made out of the American flag:
But as yet Islam is not a serious threat to America itself. The Islamic State needs to be destroyed, and President Trump has declared his intention to crush it.
In Europe, the rulers of the old order will be overthrown and replaced. Europe will return to being a continent of nation states. Then the new leaders must deal with Islam, the enemy the Left let in.
As the Marxist Left was the terror of the last century, Islam will be the terror of the 21st. century. It is a barbarism that must be opposed and defeated by Western civilization – now recovering its strength and self-confidence.
That is a statement of fact. Russia IS preparing for war with the United States.
If Putin wants war – and it seems that he does – this is the time for him to start it.
Europe without its own defense, a demoralized NATO, a feckless president of the US to be possibly followed by an incompetent woman, and an American public distracted by the invention of new pronouns – what has he to fear?
A new order from Russian leader Vladimir Putin has stirred fears across the globe that Russia is preparing for a massive conflict.
Russia has ordered all government officials to fly home any relatives living abroad, including college students regardless of any impact this has on their studies. “This is all part of the package of measures to prepare elites to some ‘big war’, ” said Russian political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky.
“It’s a fallacy to think that this is like the Cold War. The current times are different and more dangerous,” German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said of the rising tensions between Russia and the West.
According to the Russian-language site Znak.com, administration staff, regional administrators, lawmakers of all levels and employees of public corporations are covered by the order. They are warned that their chances for promotion depend upon their compliance.
The action comes in the context of many troubling developments. Putin recently cancelled a planned Oct. 19 visit to France, which has denounced Russia’s role in the Syrian civil war. Further, the U.S. recently broke off talks with Russia regarding finding a diplomatic solution to the Syrian crisis. Cancelling a visit so close to its date is a “serious step… reminiscent of the Cold War,” said Russian foreign policy analyst Fyodor Lukyanov. “This is part of the broader escalation in the tensions between Russia and the West, and Russia and NATO,” he said.
Recent Russian saber-rattling has included Russia’s action on Saturday to put nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad, a Russian enclave on the Baltic Sea between Poland and Lithuania. …
Russia recently … held civil defense drills that included 40 million citizens. … [And] bunkers capable of holding all of Moscow’s 12 million residents have been constructed to protect citizens in the event of a nuclear attack.
The Free Thought Project reports:
Amid collapsed diplomatic efforts over Syria and increasing tensions with the United States, the Russian government is beginning emergency response exercises [this week] that will include the participation of thousands of government officials and many millions of citizens who will respond to a mock nuclear attack or other large-scale catastrophe.
The four-day drill will reportedly include 200,000 rescue professionals, tens of thousands of emergency vehicles, and an estimated 40 million civilians from around the country.
“Our priority during the drill is to train evacuation of the civilian population from potentially-risky areas,” Emergencies Minister Vladimir Puchkov, who oversees all civil defense in Russia, told the Interfax news agency. “The main goal of the drill is to practice organization of management during civil defense events and emergency and fire management, to check preparedness of management bodies and forces of civil defense on all levels to respond to natural and man-made disasters and to take civil defense measures.”
The exercise, versions of which have been held in the country since 2012, take place following an announcement by Russia that it will pull out of a long-term plutonium disposal agreement if the U.S. and its NATO allies do not reverse a recent military build-up in eastern Europe and the Baltic countries.
The emergency drills also comes on the heels of the announcement by the U.S. State Department on Monday it was severing diplomatic communications with Russia over the deteriorating situation in Syria following the collapse of a cease-fire agreement and an intensifying assault by Syrian and Russian armed forces against the rebel-held city of Aleppo.
“The United States is suspending its participation in bilateral channels with Russia that were established to sustain the cessation of hostilities,” announced State Department spokesperson John Kirby on Monday. Kirby said it was “not a decision that was taken lightly” as he blamed Russia for failing to “live up to its own commitments” on the joint effort.
As the U.S. and Russian officials traded blame, outside critics of the White House called the suspension of diplomatic channels by the U.S. troubling.
James Carden, writing for The Nation, said the “collapse of talks takes the United States one step closer to an unnecessarily deadly ‘military solution’ to the Syria crisis” as he called it the “most dangerous development in a New Cold War”. Such a development deserves fierce rebuke, Carden indicated, especially when it comes amid growing calls among influential members of the national security apparatus to impose a “no-fly zone” in Syria as a way to counter Russian and Syrian targeting of jihadist rebel forces aligned against the government of President Bashar al-Assad.
“A military solution, and facile promises of easy answers like the imposition of no-fly and/or safe zones (which are neither easy nor answers) is not the way forward,” warned Carden. “Obama and his advisers have made a potentially grave error in cutting off talks with the Russians, and even a cursory glance back through the history of recent American military interventions should steer them back to, not away from, the negotiating table.”
In an analysis published Monday under the title, Do We Really Want Nuclear War with Russia?, veteran journalist Robert Parry openly condemned the Obama administration’s foreign policy position vis-a-vis Russia and Syria.
According to Parry, a “propaganda war against Russia” in the U.S. and western mainstream press “is spinning out of control, rolling ever faster downhill with a dangerous momentum that threatens to drive the world into a nuclear showdown.” Though he acknowledges the Syria-Russia situation is deeply complex, Parry argues that a misinformation campaign is putting the United States on a worrisome, yet familiar, path:
This propaganda apparatus now has so many specialized features that you get supposedly “progressive” and “anti-war” organizations promoting a major U.S. invasion of Syria under the guise of sweet-sounding policies like “no-fly zones” and “safe zones,” the same euphemisms that were used as the gateway to bloody “regime change” wars in Iraq and Libya.
There exists what intelligence veterans call a Mighty Wurlitzer, an organ with so many keys and pedals that it’s hard to know where all the sounds come from that make up the powerful harmony, all building to the same crescendo. But that crescendo may now be war with nuclear-armed Russia, which finds in all this demonizing the prelude to either a destabilization campaign aimed at “regime change” in Moscow or outright war.
Yet, the West can’t seem to muster the sanity or the honesty to begin toning down or even showing skepticism toward the escalating charges aimed at Russia. We saw similar patterns in the run-up to war in Iraq in 2002-2003 and in justifying the ouster, torture and murder of Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.
Western propaganda also has enveloped the conflict in Syria to such an extent that the American people don’t understand that the U.S. government and its regional “allies” have been supporting and arming jihadist groups fighting under the command of Al Qaeda and even the Islamic State. The propaganda has focused on demonizing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while downplaying or ignoring the real nature of the “moderate” opposition.
Carden also summoned Iraq and Libya as cautionary tales for the Obama administration, but said the stakes are perhaps even more elevated given the numerous military interests now operating inside Syria. Unlike Iraq and Libya, he explained, “both the Russians and Iranians have personnel on the ground in Syria, while the Russian and the Syrian Arab Air Forces are executing an air campaign over rebel-held (or more accurately, jihadi-held) east Aleppo. The mainstream media continue to gloss over the rather salient fact that civilians who are trying to flee the Russian-Syrian bombardment are often blocked from doing so by US and Gulf State funded ‘rebels’.”
Also raising concerns, a group of veteran officials from the U.S. intelligence community on Monday issued an open memo to President Obama warning him against the continued erosion of U.S.-Russian relations. As opposed to cutting ties, the former intelligence officers called on Obama to increase cooperation by holding direct one-on-one talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin as a way to avert deeper divisions and a more protracted war inside Syria.
“We strongly recommend that you invite President Putin to meet with you in a mutually convenient place,” the memo asserts, “in order to try to sort things out and prevent still worse for the people of Syria.”
It remains unclear as of this writing whether or not Obama received, or has read, the memo’s warning.
It remains unclear whether Obama has any understanding at all of what is happening in the Middle East, or cares.
He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize soon after he became (absurdly!) president of the United States – for no achievement whatsoever. Perhaps he is earning it now by not paying any attention to the loud sound of Russia’s saber-rattling.
Is Putin to be taken seriously?
If so, where is the Western leader who knows it and will act?