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We will also post relevant news worthy items and information on Human rights issues, racism, extremist individuals and groups and far right political parties from around the world although predominantly Britain.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

German prosecutors charge alleged Nazi death camp guard with murder

Samuel Kunz lay low for 65 years after World War II. Now the 90-year-old former death camp guard is on trial for participating in the murder 430,000 Jews in Poland. Nazi-hunters say it's about time.
German prosecutors announced Wednesday that they had begun proceedings against 90-year-old former Nazi guard Samuel Kunz.

Kunz, who admitted to working as a guard at the Belzec extermination camp in Nazi-occupied Poland from 1942 to 1943, stands accused of participation in the murder of 430,000 Jews. He is also charged with the shooting of 10 Jews in two separate incidents, prosecutor Christoph Goeke told the Associated Press news agency.
Kunz, who worked as a craftsman after World War II in the western German city of Bonn, was third on the Simon Wiesenthal Center's top-ten list of most-wanted Nazi suspects published in April. The Wiesenthal Center's Ephraim Zuroff said Wednesday that the Kunz case proves it is not too late to bring Nazi criminals to justice.

According to Zuroff, Kunz was uncovered by the US Justice Department through testimony given at the trial of Ukrainian-born John Demjanjuk in Munich. Demjanjuk was first brought to court last November for his alleged involvement in the murder of 27,900 people at the Sobibor death camp in Poland.

Policy change from Berlin
Following World War II, several top Nazi criminals were tried and hanged in Nuremberg. Although German authorities have since examined over 25,000 cases, very few of these cases were ever brought to court.

Nazi-hunters have welcomed a recent flurry of Nazi murder trials - including the Kunz and Demjanjuk cases - as a sign of changing times in the German legal system.

"It reflects recent changes in the German prosecution policy, which have significantly enlarged the number of suspects who will be brought to justice," said Zuroff.


Police defend £400,000 operation at a Dudley protest by the EDL

Police have defended their £400,000 operation to keep law and order in Dudley during the latest protest by the English Defence League (EDL).
Around 900 officers from the West Midlands force were posted to the town while just over a third of the expected 1,500 EDL supporters turned up.

Dudley Council spent around £200,000 on security measures for the day, that also saw a rival protest by anti-far right group Unite Against Fascism (UAF). There were 21 arrests after EDL protesters tried to break through Stafford Street. They have since been bailed.

Chief Superintendent Keith Baldwin, commander of Dudley Local Policing Unit, said: “Any demonstration of the size and nature requires significant resources.

“Some of those involved were intent on disorder and people living or working nearby were subjected to scenes of violence, and others suffered damage to their property.

“A great deal of time, effort and cost went into policing this demonstration, and when added to the costs of the previous EDL protests across Dudley and the wider area, this amounts to a significant figure.”

The force had already spent £300,000 policing the groups’ rallies in the town over the Easter Bank Holiday, when the council again forked out around £200,000. On both demo days the market stayed closed along with many shops over fears of violent clashes between rival protestors.

“Regardless of what we as an organisation, the local authority or local residents want, we have no power to ban such protests,” added Chief Supt Baldwin.

The EDL claims to be opposed to “Islamic extremism,” and said it was protesting against a new mosque in Dudley. However, the council said plans for the mosque, in Hall Street, have been jettisoned in favour of renovations at an existing mosque in Castle Hill.

Birmingham Mail

France to shut illegal Roma camps and deport migrants

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has ordered 300 illegal camps of travellers and Roma to be dismantled.

People in the camps found to be living illegally in France would be expelled, he said.

The order is a response to riots last week in which travellers attacked police in a Loire Valley town after a youth was shot dead.
The government said the camps are sources of crime but critics say an ethnic minority is being singled out.

"Within the next three months, half of the illegal camps will be dismantled - camps and squats - that is to say some 300," said Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux after a special government meeting.

A statement issued by the president's office after the meeting described the illegal camps as "sources of illegal trafficking, of profoundly shocking living standards, of exploitation of children for begging, of prostitution and crime".

'Severely punished'
The meeting was called to discuss the riot in the small Loire Valley town of Saint Aignan, where dozens of travellers armed with hatchets and iron bars attacked the police station, hacked down trees and burned cars.

The riot erupted after a gendarme shot and killed a traveller who had driven through a checkpoint, officials said.

Mr Sarkozy has promised that those responsible for the violence would be "severely punished".

His office also announced that new legislation would be drafted before the end of the year that would make it easier to expel illegal Roma travellers "for reasons of public order".

There are hundreds of thousands of Roma or travelling people living in France who are part of long-established communities.

The other main Roma population is recent immigrants, many from Romania and Bulgaria, who have the right to enter France without a visa but must have work or residency permits to settle in the long-term.

Mr Hortefeux said the new measures "are not meant to stigmatise any community, regardless of who they are, but to punish illegal behaviour".

BBC News

US court blocks Arizona migrant law

Key parts of a controversial new immigration law in the US state of Arizona have been blocked by the federal court.

The law will still take effect as scheduled on Thursday, but parts of the legislation have been suspended, including a provision that requires police officers to determine the immigration status of people they detain.

US district judge Susan Bolton also blocked a provision that requires immigrants to carry identification papers at all times.

"There is a substantial likelihood that officers will wrongfully arrest legal resident aliens under the new [law]," Bolton ruled on Wednesday.

"By enforcing this statute, Arizona would impose a 'distinct, unusual and extraordinary' burden on legal resident aliens."

Federal responsibility
The decision was a ruling on a lawsuit filed earlier this month by the US justice department. Bolton has said that the law was "awkward" in its wording, and that she doubted it could be properly enforced.

Her ruling held that only the federal government, not state governments, can set US immigration policy.

Jan Brewer, the Arizona governor, said that this was "a temporary bump in the road" and an appeal against the judge's decision would be filed.

"The bottom line is that we've known all along that it is the responsibility of the feds, and they haven't done their job, so we were going to help them do that."

"We will take a close look at every single element Judge (Susan) Bolton removed from the law, and we will soon file an expedited appeal at the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit," Brewer said.

The Mexican government praised the judge's decision and said it would carefully follow the process to suspend the law.

"It's a first step in the right direction," Patricia Espinosa, Mexico's foreign minister said.

She said Mexico was still concerned about the rights of its citizens in Arizona and was stepping up consular protections in the border state.

Arizona is believed to be home to up to half a million illegal immigrants, many of whom are from Mexico.

The Obama administration has pushed the US congress to pursue an immigration reform bill, but that legislation has stalled, largely because of Republican opposition.

"We would love for the congressional delegation from Arizona, and the senators there, to support comprehensive immigration reform," Jennifer Kottler, a policy director at Sojourners, a Christian advocacy group, said.

"That would address so many of the issues there."

Popular support
The law was passed in April by Arizona's Republican-controlled legislature, which called it a necessary step to stop illegal immigration.

Opinion polls have showed that nearly 60 per cent of the US population supports the law.

It has been criticised by human rights groups, the Catholic Church and the Mexican government, and by Barack Obama, the US president, who called it "misguided".

Thousands of activists have planned a demonstration against the law in Arizona on Thursday. That rally is still expected to take place, despite the court's verdict.

"Even if it issues a temporary injunction ... we're still going ahead with our protests, because 21 other states want to follow Arizona's footsteps with racist laws" of their own, Paulina Gonzalez, a spokeswoman for the group organising the protest, said.

One group, the National Day Laborer Organising Network, plans to fill nearly a dozen buses with activists in Los Angeles. The buses will drive from there to Phoenix, the capital of Arizona.

Organisers say none of the people on the buses will carry identification papers.

"Thursday will be our national civil disobedience day, when we'll stand up to a racist, discriminatory and hypocritical measure," Pablo Alvarado, the director of the network, said.

Another group plans to block access to federal government offices in Phoenix.

One-third of the roughly 6.6 million people living in Arizona are foreign-born, and more than five per cent of the population is estimated to be illegal immigrants.


Hackers replace Buchenwald Book of the Dead with neo-Nazi slogans

Hackers replaced a Book of the Dead with neo-Nazi slogans and symbols on the website for second world war concentration camp Buchenwald today .

One slogan read: "Brown is beautiful", referring to the colour of the shirts worn by Hitler's SA stormtroopers. Another threatened in German: "We'll be back."

The hackers also completely erased the Mittelbau-Dora camp's website. Volkhard Knigge, head of Buchenwald, said: "By damaging the documentation we offer, such as the Book of the Dead, the perpetrators were trying to efface the memory of victims of the Nazis' crimes."

The Guardian

White S.Africans face fine for racist abuse video

Four white South Africans Wednesday faced a fine in court after pleading guilty to humiliating five black housekeepers in a video depicting racial abuse at their former university.

They made the video in 2007 as students at the University of Free State in protest at plans to integrate student housing.
One clip showed a young man apparently urinating into a bowl of stew and then serving it to the housekeepers. It ended with the words: "That, at the end of the day, is what we think of integration."

The video sparked an international scandal when it landed on the Internet in February 2008.

In a sentencing hearing Wednesday, both the defence and the prosecution said the four should face only a fine as punishment, after they pleaded guilty to the charge of crimen injuria, or seriously impairing the dignity of the five housekeepers.

Defence lawyer Kemp J Kemp requested a 5,000-rand (680-dollar, 525-euro fine) fine, while prosecutor Johan Kruger sought three times that amount.

"They deliberately manipulated the five cleaners because they are illiterate," Kruger told the court.

Magistrate Mziwonke Hinxa said he would decide on the sentence on Friday.

In the statement the boys denied urinating on the food, saying: "It was an act meant to look like urine."

Mediation efforts had failed to resolve the case, with the housekeepers saying they wanted to pursue a trial against the students. The guilty plea avoided what could have been an emotive trial.

Kemp told the court that the students had not intended to humiliate the housekeepers, but later realised they had done just that.

"The accused did not realise the effect of the video and what it would have on the university and the plaintiffs. They now, in retrospect, accept that the use of the workers for the video was insensitive, ill considered and wrong," he said.

The video was shot at a time when the University of Free State was introducing racial integration at student hostels, following decades of race-based hostel allocation.

Throughout the video, the workers were voluntary contributors, who could have withdrawn at any time and understood they were acting, Kemp said.

Kemp said the students had good relations with the workers until the video hit the Internet.

None of the young men -- Johnny Roberts, Schalk van der Merwe, RC Malherbe and Danie Grobler -- are still studying at the university.

The whites-only male hostel where the video was shot was later shut down and eventually re-opened as a diversity centre to address issues of racism, sexism, xenophobia and reconciliation.

In October last year, university rector Jonathan Jansen came under fire when he announced the school was withdrawing disciplinary charges against the students, in an attempt to promote reconciliation.

Jansen was heavily criticised for choosing reconciliation over retribution, igniting further debate about the limits of forgiveness in a nation that has already forgiven much of its racist past.

He invited the students to return to campus to finish their studies -- an offer none accepted.

The five workers have also launched a civil case at the Bloemfontein Equality Court, where each of the students face are being sued for one million rand (136,00 dollars, 105,000 euros).

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