Wilders antics disrupt trial

Searchlight - June 2011

The repeated attempts by right-wing populist Geert Wilders´ defence lawyer, Bram Moszkowicz, to manipulate his trial for inciting hatred are rapidly turning the case into a farce and bringing slow-burning Dutch justice into disrepute to such an extent that the real nature of the case is becoming almost invisible. In fact, Wilders and his lawyer have managed to set up so many smoke screens it now looks like the judges are on trial instead of their client in a media show designed make media headlines for him long as possible. Wilders dismisses his judges as "all liberal democrats", compared the court with one that could just as well be in Kenya and stated that if convicted he would not blame people for distrusting the legal system. The latest issue to come up before a new set of judges at the trial in Amsterdam, is a dinner at which a witness for Wilders, Professor Hans Jansen, an expert in Arab Studies, sat together with one of the (part time)-judges, Tom Schalken of the high court, who had ordered the public prosecutor to prosecute Wilders for discrimination and inciting hatred.'
The question raised by Wilders´ defence was whether Schalken attempted to influence Jansen during the dinner. Last year, the court case was closed because the court did not want to hear this witness as quickly as Moszkowicz had wanted. The host of the dinner, journalist Bertus Hendriks, had lied about his intentions in inviting Jansen, according to Wilders. The new court was adjourned while another court was called in to adjudge and subsequently dismiss this latest defence ploy. When the trial resumes in May, the three participants at the dinner could be called by Wilders to testify again and further disrupt proceedings. In the meantime, attacks by Wilders and his Freedom Party (PVV) on Dutch society and democratic rights continue apace. After his loud demands for the abolition on equal rights, for a ban on the Koran, for a tax on headscarves, for the deportation of jobless non-Dutch people and for compulsory registration of the ethnicity of all Dutch citizens, the PVV has now laid into freedom of speech, the same freedom of speech of which they consider their leader to be king. At the end of April, the distinguished cultural historian, Thomas von der Dunk, was scheduled to deliver the so-called Arondéus Lecture, named after Willem Arondéus, an openly gay artist and Dutch resistance fighter during the Second World War, at the provincial government building in North Holland, a region ruled by a coalition of the Christian Democrats (CDA) and the right-wing right liberal People´s Party for Freedom (VVD) and where the PVV, headed by one of Wilders´ top henchmen, Hero Brinkman, is the biggest opposition party. When he was contacted by the CDA and VVD about the content of the lecture, which was titled "The New Taboo about the [Second World] War" and told it would be sharply critical of the PVV," Brinkman exploded and libelously raved "If you give this antisemite a platform, I will not only saw him off at the ankles in a debate but perhaps it will also be the last Arondéus lecture." As a result of Brinkman´s bluster, the lecture was cancelled but, fortunately, anti-racists quickly organised an open-air lecture that was attended by more than 800 people instead of the 160-odd that would have filled the indoor venue. Once again, Brinkman had made it amply clear where the Freedom Party stands and shown off its favoured tactics of smearing its opponents, intimidation, using threats and abusing its power.

Jeroen Bosch for Alert! and Antifa-Net in Amsterdam