Many people have noticed that the accusations hurled at Vlaams Belang over the last few weeks have been based almost entirely on sources from the left (and often the far left) side of the political spectrum. The European sources cited for much of the information are not impartial, to put it mildly.
It’s as if the prosecution’s case were argued, but none for the defense, while the prosecutor did double duty by sitting on the judge’s bench.
All of this comes as no surprise, since the success of Vlaams Belang and the prospect of an independent Flanders threatens the entire mission of the Left, not just in Belgium but across all of Europe.
As Richard Miniter noted a few weeks ago:
The Vlaams Belang is a mixed bag, like all genuine grassroots parties. I have met the party leaders. While they are not as free-market or as tolerant as [Paul] Belien, they are not racists. Their closest American equivalent is Rep. Tom Tancredo, who while given to a single-issue mono-mania is also not a racist.
I suspect that Charles Johnson has not met any of the Vlaams Belang leadership or even interviewed them. He is simply following a left-wing link. He does not offer evidence, based not on his own experience, reporting or careful deliberation, but simply links to web sites of virulent critics — virtually all of whom have not interviewed party leaders or spent any time understanding the nuances of Belgian politics. The blind leading the blind.
These sites simply repeat a left-wing prejudice against the Vlaams Belang, which no matter how imperfect is not a bunch of neo-nazis. The European left wants large numbers of Muslim immigrants — they need the votes to make up for the loss of working class and union votes that have been slowly migrating away from them parties for the past two decades. And the Muslim migrants vote overwhelming for the left in every western European country.
Of course, any party that threatens the left’s hold on power (by calling for restrictions on immigration, measures to protect the rights of women and Jews and so on) is immediately branded racist or worst.
Why take the word of political rivals’ at face value — without contacting the accused yourself? Do you we turn to right-wing ideologues for objective coverage of Hillary Clinton? Or do we weigh their statements against evidence?
Gates of Vienna is fortunate to have ProFlandria as a Flemish correspondent. He can break through the linguistic barriers and help make sense of the intricate wiring diagrams of Belgian political connections.
This morning he sent us an email with more background information on the Flemish situation, and has given his permission to add footnotes to it and turn it into a post:
LGF has apparently decided to consider only arguments that reinforce their original position. Unfortunately, those arguments come from the left side of the spectrum of Belgian politics.
This also happens to be the driving force behind such enormities as extending voting rights to immigrants, etc. The Left are losing their traditional blue collar constituency to Vlaams Belang and N-VA (Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie), and they desperately need a new electorate to stay in power.
Leftist politics is an exercise in promising your electorate the rewards of other people’s industrious efforts, which is why the Socialist and Green parties (both Flemish and Walloon) so strenuously defend the Belgian state construct. Without the massive transfer of wealth from Flanders the leftist shell game simply collapses.
Political parties that endorse the notion of any kind of meaningful autonomy for Flanders (from federalism to independence) must therefore be fought by any means possible. This even extends to the Judiciary, which saw fit to condemn Vlaams Blok (Vlaams Belang’s predecessor) for “racism” on the strength of a folder claiming that proportionally, most crime in Belgium was committed by immigrants.
Upon being advised that the claim clearly referenced official statistics, one of the presiding judge’s response1 was that “the truth is no defense”. Vlaams Belang was convicted under a law that was enacted retroactively; the only possible explanation is that the intent was to capture Vlaams Blok’s earlier, more extremist period.
The forces arrayed against Vlaams Belang — the only party lobbying for a sane immigration policy in Belgium — are all the entities whose power derives from the Belgian state construct: the monarchy, the media, the “traditional” Flemish parties, the unions, and all Walloon parties (including VB’s counterparts). The way the Belgian state is constructed, all party financing comes from the government.
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The government also transfers unemployment funds to the unions together with a handsome fee for every member on their rolls. The unions are organized according to their party affiliation, and only in second place according to the trades represented. It is not surprising, therefore that the unions sometimes appear to be extensions of the parties they represent. This is not a secret, and it doesn’t have to be — this arrangement is part of official policy. The media is also expected to parrot the government’s positions because the previous Prime Minister (Verhofstadt) demonstrated repeatedly that he cold force editors to “amend” reporting. On more than one occasion he even had editors and reporters fired.
I think that part of our disagreement with LGF — apart from their demonstrable lack of interest in an exchange of ideas — is that they genuinely can’t see that they may be victims of exactly the treatment they suspect we are receiving from the Flemish “vast right wing conspiracy”. If our suspicions are correct, it is quite possible that they are being fed information from professional activists tied to the Belgian political entities I described. It doesn’t help that LGF self-selects their sources to support their original theory.
Now, for anyone who wants to extend me a membership in the Tinfoil Hat Brigade, I know it’s a stretch and Occam’s Razor always applies. So, let me go even one step further and then I will try to show how the unlikely can become plausible.
One other entity in Belgian politics is freemasonry. The main lodge in Belgium is “Loge van het Grootoosten” (Lodge of the Greater East), which, incidentally, is not recognized by most of international freemasonry because of its anti-religious and specifically anti-Semitic stance.
The Grand Master of the lodge is Jacky Goris. Goris was interviewed2 in a national newspaper (last year I believe) after it became known that he had sent a communiqué to the Brothers instructing them to “fight Vlaams Belang in all aspects of their lives”, which we can by implication assume to include their professional lives. A majority of judges are Brothers, including those on the panels that have been convened in attempts to prosecute the party. The first step of VB’s defense, therefore, always starts with a request for all judges who hold “Grootoosten” membership to recuse themselves — a tactic that has enjoyed limited success.
I know this all sounds very conspiratorial, but the astonishing fact is that this collusion across the anti-VB coalition is open and above-board. Two “rival” unions can exchange correspondence coordinating the expulsion of members known to belong to Vlaams Belang, thus depriving them of unemployment benefits. The Socialist newspaper De Morgen can have an amicable interview that allows Goris to champion his political activism through freemasonry. The Court can prosecute a political party after losing the complete indictment, and it can convict without proving the original accusation — even after investigating twenty years’ worth of VB publications. Some media outlets made a timid pro-forma protest, but that was it.
LGF has no insight into any of this, nor will they if our theory is correct. Indeed, what is a stark reality in Belgium sounds like political fiction to any well-adjusted adult in the US. Even if Charles Johnson could find a translator he considers trustworthy, I don’t think he could believe the translator’s work if it focused on documenting the interdependencies within the Belgian construct, and the built-in bias that perpetuates Flanders’ second-class status. No self-described democracy could possibly function this way, and stay a democracy.
The Belgian conundrum really deserves its own English-language blog. Flemish Republic has done stellar work, and Paul Belien’s Brussels Journal is indispensable. However, as both have ties to Vlaams Belang, I fear they will always be tarred as propaganda outlets.
|1.||The original conviction is not available except upon written request to the Court of Appeals in Ghent. However, the Clerk did release a summary in pdf format for public consumption.|
|2.||The interview with Goris was on 22 or 23 January 2005; De Morgen does not allow for easy archive searching. VB’s website has summaries, but we can’t really use those because they are, of course, “suspect”… The same goes for the union collusion to expel VB members. More information is available at Flemish Republic (in pdf format).|