In Germany, swastika-lickers face a new legal hurdle, as the ‘Constitutional Court has determined that when it comes to glorifying Hitler’s regime, the right to assembly does not apply. According to the court, “Given the injustice and terror the Nazi dictatorship caused, this exception is inherent to the rules limiting propaganda approving the historic Nazi dictatorship”‘ (Germany censors its neo-Nazis, Rachel Mendleson, Macleans, December 3, 2009). Presumably, the ruling may be challenged; further, who determines what public assemblies ‘glorify’ the Nazi dictatorship, and how, is another question. Legal restrictions on neo-Nazi activity, while hampering it in some of its manifestations, has obviously not stopped it, and the movement has adapted its practices in response. The ruling should also be considered alongside of an earlier (August) one that ruled that “if Nazi slogans are presented in a language other than German, they are not illegal. The ruling overturned a decision by a lower court that convicted and fined a German neo-Nazi the equivalent of $6,000 for distributing clothing and merchandise bearing the slogan “Blood & Honour” in English” (Germans OK Nazi Signs, in Other Languages, Intelligence Report, Winter 2009).
In the US, poor old/rich young Bill White — former Führer of the short-lived Hollywood Nazi groupuscule the ‘American National Socialist Workers Party’ — and Internet hero (and FBI informant) Hal Turner are having their own legal difficulties.
Federal court allows white supremacist’s trial to proceed
December 3, 2009
ROANOKE, Va. — An avowed white supremacist accused of threatening people is scheduled to go on trial next week after a federal judge refused to dismiss the charges.
William A. White is head of a Roanoke-based neo-Nazi group. He is charged with threatening a newspaper columnist, a mayor and several others over the Internet and by telephone.
His attorneys argued that White’s e-mails and online postings were protected by the First Amendment, but U.S. District Judge James Turk denied a motion to dismiss the charges.
White’s trial is scheduled to begin Dec. 9.
As for Hal, his trial for advocating on his blog the death of a Federal judge (or two) has been adjourned. Gawker writes: Hal Turner: America’s Most Pitiful Man | Witness Testimony Details Hal Turner’s FBI Role, dokumentationsarchiv, December 3, 2009: “Motivated partly by money, Turner provided intelligence on leaders of prominent white supremacist groups, including the National Alliance and Aryan Nations, according to Special Agent Amy Pickett, who supervised the FBI agent handling Turner during Turner’s first two years as an informant.”
In the UK, anti-Semitic bizarros Simon Sheppard and Stephen Whittle — the ‘Heretical Two’ — “have started appeals against the UK’s first convictions for inciting racial hatred via a foreign website” (Web racists challenge convictions, BBC, November 20, 2009). The case is important for a number of reasons, not least because of the ramifications it has for online publishing.
In Australia, a precedent was set several years ago by Joseph Gutnick, the Melbourne-based multi-millionaire and — worse yet — Melbourne supporter when he sued US-based publisher Dow Jones for defamation in 2002, and won. Anna Beyer (Defamation on the Internet: Joseph Gutnick v Dow Jones, eLaw Journal: Murdoch University Electronic Journal of Law, Volume 11, Number 3 (September 2004)) writes:
It remains to be seen what long-lasting repercussions, if any, Gutnick will have on online publishing. So far, Gutnick has been cited – internationally – as a precedent on at least two occasions. On 27 January 2004, a Canadian Superior Court judge, Pitt J, referred to Gutnick while giving reasons for ruling “in favour of the plaintiff’s choice of forum” in the Bangoura v The Washington Post case.
Ten days later, in the King v Lewis and Ors case, invoking (among others) Gutnick, a British High Court judge, Eady J, observed that “the common law currently regards the publication of an Internet posting as taking place when it is down-loaded”. He also took the view that an English court was the most convenient forum to deal with any English publications – however limited and technical – that relate to an English corporation.
This does not, of course, spell the death of the Internet as we know it, but suggests that Gutnick’s battle against Dow may influence the way online publishing is perceived and understood by the judiciary. Hopefully, the debate surrounding the case will contribute to a greater understanding of defamation laws in different countries among online publishers.
See also : Dow Jones and Company Inc v Gutnick  HCA 56; 210 CLR 575; 194 ALR 433; 77 ALJR 255 (10 December 2002) (Full Judgement) (Press release: [PDF]); Dow Jones settles Gutnick action, ABC, November 12, 2004.
BONUS BIG WEEKEND IN GREECE!
On the first anniversary of the police murder of Alexis/Andreas (Alexandros) Grigoropoulos on December 6, things are hotting up in Greece. Oh and the trial of Epaminondas Korkoneas (a former[?] member of the fascist Golden Dawn) and Vassilis Saraliotis — the policemen accused of shooting Andreas — has been delayed until January, 2010.
taxipali @ libcom has, as always, done a great job of documenting ‘Tension in Greece before critical weekend’ (December 2, 2009), and the always outrageous After the Greek Riots blog provides further valuable infos (and links).
Note that little fascist shits in Greece have been doing their pea-brained best — by way of attacking migrant workers, social centres, independent media and so on — to help quash movements of resistance in the birthplace of democracy but “Our response cannot be other than the one given by society itself during last year’s revolt: The state and its dogs won’t scare us.”
In any event, let’s hope that the comrades remember US philosopher Jerry Springer’s words: “Until the fire next time, take care of yourself, and each other.”