A thread for non-UK european Politics.
Yesterday a bombshell exploded here for my home country of austria. German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung and german magazine Der Spiegel published a video of a setup in which austrian vice-chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache of the far-right Freedom Party was discussing an actress posing as a niece of a russian Oligarch how to influence the austrian elections in 2017. The video was recorded on Ibiza prior to the elections, and in it Strache among other things is suggesting to award government contracts to certain companies under russian influence as rewards for donations channeled through third party organizations, and also is very receptive to a suggested plan of the supposed russian agent for russian infuences to buy major stakes in one of Austria’s largest tabloids, Krone Zeitung, and using it to influence the elections toward his party. In the video Strache yearns for control of the media similar to Orban’s influence in Hungary.
The 2017 elections were won primarily by the center-right People’s Party, but they needed to step into a coalition with Strache’s Freedom Party. As a result of the above video, Strache has resigned as both Vice-chancellor and leader of the Freedom Party. Chancellor Kurz (People’s Party) also promised new elections. Strache for his part, has blamed drunkenness, protested that he didn’t do anything actually illegal as a result of the conversation, and promised legal retaliation against the videos publication. He also questioned the political aspect of the publication of the video, as next weekend there are European parliament, suggesting that the timing of the release was explicitly done to harm the chances of his party and his affiliates. He characterized it (insanely I might add) as a “political assassination”.
Another high-ranking Freedom Party official named Johann Gudenus was also present in the video. He has also resigned from his duties.
Update: Basically all ministers that are members of the corrupt Freedom Party have been relieved of their duties, mostly by withdrawing due to the situation. One of them, minister of the interior Herbert Kickl, was however explicitly fired by the chancellor, due to Kickl inserting a close political ally for a post after the news broke. The president has refused to honor that nomination. Unfortunately this did not stop Kickl from pushing through a reduction of wages for asylum seekers right before leaving office. What an asshole.
Elections are forthcoming, though no date has been set yet.
I really enjoyed that video on the EU. Not specifically because it’s a high production value and well researched video-essay but because it’s bee translated into so many EU languages, including Italian
Watching them back to back is significantly less laborious than reading my Italian copy of the fifth harry potter book that I nabbed in the airport in Milan.
I’m not sure this counts as politics… or I guess it definitely does in the sense that all violence is political violence…
Look there’s an extremely far right militia in the north of Italy and they’re pretty strong and organized. Police arrested one today and took his… what I can only call arsenal. It included more guns than I’ve ever seen even in movies and a US made air to air missile.
There’s not an awful lot of english language coverage yet (at all?) but here’s a tweet.
That right there but in Italian is about the level of reporting I’m able to find. I’m seeing reports of the facists actually traveling to fight for the Russians in Ukraine. The area where this armory was found overwhelmingly voted in the nazi salvini, and from what I gather the group is actually farther right.
Update: A guy was arrested, I have his name but don’t really wanna say it. He was a member of “Forza Nuova” which roughly translates to “new strength”. According to police he was working on selling that SAM, which by the way, is what it is, disregard that air to air nonsense, to a “foreign government official” (translation mine) for 270,000 euros. (cant find the euro key on my keyboard, fuck windows I guess)
The thing that gets me, is selling a SAM, is like, odd. Normal people don’t have SAMs lying around to sell. Well organized and funded arms dealers have SAMs to sell. Given the size of the arsenal on display in that video, I presume that’s what we’re dealing with here. A well funded group.
If selling this kind of military hardware is what they do, we can extrapolate that this far right militia had money to spend on good organization, good training, recruitment, etc. This is horrifying.
Further evidence towards well trained is I’m seeing a lot of reporting saying that this group cut it’s teeth during those isolated skirmishes in a part of Ukraine called Donbass, where they had a bit of a Crimea ish thing happening in 2014. I don’t really know the details of the conflict other than that it happened, and Russia was on one side and that this group was over there fighting in it, with Russia, of course. The whole thing is terrifying.
I do wonder if Salvini is gonna comment I haven’t been able to find a quote from the national govt yet. But I’m also busy at work today and I’m just looking into this between doing actual work.
Edit2: English language journalism! Trust them over me. My sources were mostly twitter accounts. Seems I was wrong the second time it was air to air. I’m pretty satisfied with everything else though.
RE: Well funded group: The small arms say otherwise. I saw a good video of the arsenal and while certainly dangerous, none of it is that unusual or expensive by European black market standards, which just makes it all the more baffling as to how he obtained a missile.
That missile reeks of “this is badass” coupled with “I’m too dumb to understand that there is no universe where I can use this.” At best, a recruiting tool.
Like a dog chasing a car - he caught it and had no clue what to do with it.
Maybe so. I don’t know how much they may go for by European black market standards. But by US black market standards I have a pretty good idea. The cheapest automatic weapon is the one that’s standard issue in our armed forces the M16. It’s about 2k on the black market. Given that’s the cheapest one over here. I’ll assume every one I can see there is about 2.5k. I was gonna estimate there was about 100 full autos there but I went back and rewatched it and that seems way too high, I think I assumed because of how much ammo there was. Say there’s like 20. That’s 50k in guns right there.
Most of the weapons I saw were smaller arms and knives and other miscellany. Lets’s say all of that is another 10k.There was like a quarter of a shipping container of ammo which I’ll call another 10k giving us a cool 70k in dangerous stuff, plus the missile.
This isn’t a lot when you’re considering the cost of a house in the city but if you’re imagining it as the operating budget of the local chapter of say the proud boys? That’s a lot.
I’m somewhat comforted by the fact you look over this and see it as no big deal, it makes me think that maybe I’m overreacting and I’d really like that to be the case.
You’re still way overestimating. On close examination there’s about twenty functional firearms total on that table. For reference, I own more guns than all three of these guys put together. It looks like a lot but the stuff closer to the camera is all parts and from the look of it you couldn’t make one functional gun from all if it. None of it looks like it matches and there’s no receivers, just trigger groups and barrels and such. Of those twenty there’s five or six potentially full auto weapons. Oddly most of those are Austrian, the AUGs and TMPs most likely were stolen from Austrian armories because the one AUG is a submachine gun version that as far as I know is only used by Austrian military police. And again, it IS a big deal, Nazis with guns is a big deal, these dudes were dangerous but their stockpile is mostly civilian legal weapons and assorted parts, amateur hour stuff… Except the missile.
Dude probably had a friend in the armory who could feed him bits and pieces. I would like to hear the story of how he landed the missile, i wouldn’t be shocked to learn it’s decommissioned or a factory reject with no warhead.
This is actually what I’m thinking, most likely a training mockup or somesuch. And you hit exactly what most likely happened and explains why there’s no loose receivers. Its the most important part and thus the part most tightly controlled.
I enjoyed this and now I have a 50,000 foot view of Austrian politics, that’s quite nice:
seems like the conservatives got even more votes
but at least the green party is back
I should have posted about this when it first went down, but whatever. Let’s talk about the german state of Thuringia.
Thuringia is one of the “new” states of germany, i.e. it was reintegrated into german during the reunification. Last year there were state elections in Thuringia. Six parties made it into the Landtag: The far-left Die Linke (literally “The Left”, also known as “Linkspartei”). The center-left SPD, the Greens, the center-right CDU, the neoliberal FDP, and the nationalist AfD. Before this election Thuringia was ruled by a three party coalition of the Linke, SPD and Greens. However, this time around this group fell just short of a majority. The Left actually gained a seat, but the other two parties lost small amounts while the FDP made it in and the AfD gained. This results in a hung parliament.
The AfD is particularly worrisome. They are a nationalist party, and the local leader of the party in Thuringia, Björn Höcke, is a particularly horrible person. He has actually lost a court case and can be officially be called a fascist. They are also almost explicitly anti-democratic in how they behave, and to illustrate this they sabotaged the election for Minister-President, but more on that in a moment. Let’s just suffice it to say that neighter of the other right-leaning parties CDU nor FDP are willing to actually form a coalition with them. The CDU is also trying to equate the AfD and Linke and is unwilling to form a coalition with either, despite an Linke and CDU being able to form a majority.
So about the minister-presidential election: A party can but doesn’t have to put up a candidate and all other seated members of Landtag can vote on them. When the Landtag opened on February 5th, Die Linke offered up the incumbent Bodo Ramelow. The AfD put up a stooge, a no-name local mayor. The FDP put up their party leader Thomas Kemmerich as the “compromise candidate”. If people were to vote normally, Ramelow would be reelected. However, the members of AfD did not place a single vote in their own cadidate, but instead put their votes to Kemmerich, who was elected despite his party having the smallest representation with only 5 seats of 90 seats. That this is basically cooperation with a neo-fascist party that the parent national FDP itself was opposed to doesn’t help either. Kemmerich accepted the election, but immediately resigned the following day.
So this caused a lot of back and forth afterward but Linke, SPD, Greens and CDU came to an agreement. They would do a new election for minister-president this week, and plan new state elections for April 2021. Ramelow became the candidate again with Höcke being put forth fromt he AfD, leading to Ramelow’s election.
In between these elections for minister-president in Thuringia, there were also elections in the city-state of Hamburg. While big cities are of course usually more politically left than other places, the shenanigans in Thuringia may have had an effect on the views of the electorate there. For one, the FDP was kicked out by failing to break the 5%-barrier required to get a seat. They still got one seat by direct mandate though. The AfD was also at times endangered to get kicked out, but barely made it and only lost one seat. The majority was taken by SPD despite losing four seats, but the big winner was the green party who gained 18 seats to the previous election, overtaking and doubling up the CDU to become the second strongest party in the city.
Good summary! It was a busy day for my family, as my father in law is Gregor Gysi’s press secretary, who used to be the leader of The Left Party.
Not exactly on point for the Brexit thread, so sticking this here.
Oh, Jeremy Corbyn.
My understanding is that he criticized Isreal as having white supremacy (along with a bunch of other nations) and that’s where the whole mess comes from
Source CW: Contextualized antisemitic violence imagry
That’s not really true, and also just kind of pretends a bunch of stuff just never happened - like him being good mates with and previously defending Paul Eisen, one of the UK’s most prominent holocaust denialists and antisemites(And also being photographed attending meetings of Eisen’s hate group on at least one occasion, which Corbyn admitted to along with attending further gatherings), or the time he bought an openly antisemetic(I’m talking, like, actual claiming jews use blood of babies to make their bread, Protocols of the elders of zion type shit antisemetic, utterly unambiguous) notable to parliament house for tea, or the time he described a convicted terrorist guilty of personally ordering attacks on Jewish civilians his “Brother” while describing his part on a panel as “electrifying and fascinating”, to pick out just three prominent examples of many.
Of course they can trot out a Jewish chap who says he’s not antisemetic. Just like people can also trot out a number of Jewish people who do absolutely think he’s antisemetic - including the largest and oldest Jewish socialist group in the country, who concluded themselves that under Corbyn, “the Labour party is no longer a safe space for Jewish people”.
But the fact remains, no amount of testimony - friendly or otherwise - makes his actions any less questionable. And yeah, if it was once or twice, we could understand it, everyone makes mistakes, but he’s got a record of making the exact same mistakes, repeatedly, on the exact same topic, for nearly 30 years, most of which he only got away with because a)He was an irrelevant nobody, and b)The rest of the party also sucked.
Frankly, there’s three options - Corbyn is either 1)An antisemite, 2)mind-bogglingly bad at politics, optics, and has the self awareness of a small sponge, or 3)Both.
And this isn’t even covering the rest of the party - of course, he’s the most prominent target, but they also investigated a LOT of antisemitism among the party ranks, and they found it thick enough to cut and serve like cheesecake. And yes, a lot of it came from Corbyn’s faction.
Sure, we could always accuse the Equality and Human Rights Commission of being factionalist in-fighters despite not being part of any faction or being inside the party, and being an internationally respected human rights and antidiscrimination organisation. And we could say we can’t read what’s in his heart, he may be completely innocent, and just really, really unlucky, and gullible.
But it seems less useful than maybe listening to the people whose institutional remit is fighting against this sort of thing, when they investigate and find out, yeah, the party was really antisemitic under Corbyn’s watch, with direct involvement from Corbyn’s office, with Corbyn himself being a man who has stumbled face-first into a number of antisemitism scandals and keeps a rather shocking amount of antisemitic company.