A few days ago Geert Wilders, the leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV) in the Netherlands, won his appeal for the replacement (“substitution”) of the judges in the hate speech case against him. Our Dutch correspondent H. Numan sends this analysis of Mr. Wilders’ historic victory, and provides the relevant Dutch political context for the decision.
Wilders did it again!
By H. Numan
The continued farce of the Wilder’s trial is going to get a brand new clown car. Wilders was able to substitute all his judges last Friday. That’s a pretty big turn of events. As you can expect in North Korea on the North Sea, this news is already fading away fast. The media report only extensively, not to say ad nauseam, if something bad can be reported about Wilders. When he scores, not so much. Geert Wilders is still on trial over that ‘fewer, fewer, fewer’ remark. He was convicted for that without penalty. Both he and the prosecutor appealed.
For new readers, a bit of history first.
Right after the municipal elections elections in 2014 Wilders asked his supporters if they wanted more or fewer Moroccans in the country. The crowd shouted ‘fewer, fewer, fewer!’ Okay, said Wilders. We’re going to arrange that. Progressive Netherlands was up in arms. They finally found the stick with which they could beat the blond horse to pulp!
A show trial that would make Stalin proud was set up. People could go to any police station and fill in pre-composed complaint forms. Set up like a multiple choice quiz. Just check off what you find the most offensive, and sign on the dotted line. Oh, you can’t read and write? No worries. Mark an offense, any offense, and put your thumbprint instead of a signature. Mosques supplied translators and assistance free of charge. Many thousands of progressive agitators and muslims used this brilliant free-of-charge opportunity to hang Wilders.
Another perversion of justice: during the trial the prosecutor quickly redefined the word ‘race’, so he could file racial discrimination charges. Under his new definition Moroccans are now a race. If that’s a bit puzzling, you Americans are now under Dutch law also a race. Why? Because group insult carries much less punishment. Again, Stalin would glow with pride.
On 9 December 2016 the kangaroo court grabbed the verdict out of their pouch: guilty without punishment. That was as far as the court dared to go. The prosecutor had asked for a penalty of €5000 for insulting Moroccans as a group. Both Wilders and the prosecutor appealed against the verdict. The prosecutor because he wanted more. A fine might have consequences for Wilder’s political career. No fine, and Wilders could go on as usual. Wilders appealed because he defends his own and our freedom.
That appeal took no less than two years. Last Friday the kangaroo court went into session and … all three kangaroos had to hop. The attorney for Wilders was Mr. Geert-Jan Knoops (Mr. is not “mister”, but stands for meester, the title of a person who holds a legal degree in The Netherlands and Belgium), who asked for substitution of the court, as the court was biased against the defendant.
What had happened in the interim? Minister for Foreign Affairs Halbe Zijlstra claimed he was present in a dacha with Putin in Moscow. This was a blatant lie, and proved as such just days later. Zijlstra had to resign immediately. He was the first piece of ballast to be dropped by premier Rutte in his third cabinet. I reported about his demise.
A few days later Alexander Pechtold, the leader of D66 and a mortal enemy of Wilders, said in public: “I have yet to meet the first Russian who admits his mistakes.’ Which is exactly the same as Wilders ‘fewer, fewer, fewer’ remark. Complaints were filed, and rejected. “This is completely normal in the debate” was the argument. The court saw no reason to put Pechtold next to Wilders in the dock.
That was the reason that Mr. Knoops asked for substitution, and this time his request was granted. His previous requests were denied. For example, he asked to call all the people who filed the above-mentioned complaints (many thousands) as witnesses. This was denied. A sample of witness chooses at random was also denied. Which makes it kind of hard to prove to the court that the accusations were rigged. Some of those complainants had no idea what they had signed. They were illiterate, and were told this was ‘good’ or ‘gave them special benefits’ by volunteers from mosques. One of the advantages of having a multicultural society, I guess. Illiteracy is back with a vengeance.
The court obstructed the defense wherever possible. Before and during the trial Mr. Elianne van Rens spoke out against Wilders publicly in interviews. She also said publicly on TV that Wilders should have been convicted in his first trial. A request to substitute her was rejected. Her interviews were not biased. Do tell me, what on earth is ‘biased’? The only thing she didn’t do was sit at the bench tying nooses.
This time however, the substitution chamber granted the request. All judges must resign from the trial and be replaced by others. That will take at least six months. The new judges must familiarize themselves before they can begin.
This news is fading away already. You have to search for it, as it has been replaced with other ‘important’ news. Since we’re talking about Wilders, any news will do nicely. As long as it diverts attention.
Is this important? Absolutely. It doesn’t happen very often that judges get substituted in The Netherlands. Three at the same time is unheard of. Certainly in a trial of this magnitude. Being substituted is a big black spot on a judge’s legal resume. The next batch of judges has to be much more careful to get the show trial back on track. Make no mistake about it, this really is a North Korean show trial. The new judges can’t do a Freisler as their colleagues did.
During the trial the judges showed their disdain for Wilders and his party as much as possible, especially Mr. van Rens. Witnesses were constantly interrupted by judges who said their statements were biased, irrelevant, etc. Prof. Paul Cliteur in particular had to run the gauntlet. The court clearly showed they saw him as a traitor. He’s supposed to be ‘one of them’. Instead, he choose to be a witness for the defense.
I’m certain the powers that be know they went too far. This truly is a kangaroo trial with a verdict ready before it even began. Wilders must be stopped, no matter what. The problem is that the trial is now backfiring. It’s impossible to stop the farce right now. That would be the preferred solution. Quietly stop or drop the trial. The public will forget about it within a week.
Only they can’t. They wanted a trial, and now they have one. Until the bitter end. There are plenty of people who will ask unpleasant questions if the trial is postponed yet again. Or when replacement judges can’t be found. That’s a real risk now: they have to find new judges. Those judges must be willing to risk their careers for ‘the cause’. Not too many judges want to do that.
Another problem that is very clear now is the bias of our court system. For starters, a disproportionately large number of judges are members of or vote for D66. Far more than 50%. Of the remainder, the most admit to be member of or vote for progressive parties (mainly PvdA). A fairly small number of judges say they are members of the VVD or CDA or would vote for them. No judge admitted voting for the PVV party, or being a member of it.
D66 is a very progressive split of the conservative VVD party in 1966. Hence the name: Democraten ’66. They wanted and fought for more democracy. For example, they always wanted a legislative referendum and elected mayors. The system in 1966 wasn’t too happy with those progressive newcomers. In the ’80s and ’90s they became accepted as a mainstream party. Over the years, this party became more and more progressive and Eurocentric.
The party has no real agenda. Basically they skim the papers and look for what’s popular at the moment. That will be what they want. It is also a roller coaster party. Sometimes they hit the jackpot and get 15-20 seats. Sometimes they don’t. Twice they did so badly in general elections they serious considered closing the party down altogether due to lack of voters. At that time the roller coaster crested at 15, went down to 9, and bottomed out at 2 or 3 seats.
The totally opportunistic character of D66 now shows clearly. Once we got a advisory referendum that didn’t go the way they wanted, it was D66 that went into overdrive to repeal the referendum law. Elected mayors? That went out the window when the first mayoral seat was offered to them.
D66 also stands firmly for anticorruption and transparency. Especially when it can be used against Wilders. Donate a postage stamp to Wilders, and he has to register it. Woe betide Wilders lest he forgets it! But internally, not so much. Alexander Pechtold was bribed with an expensive condominium (+€ 250,000) in the beach resort of Scheveningen for voting for the TTIP treaty. That wasn’t a bribe but a private gift, so he claimed. His private life has nothing to do with his political life. Therefor he didn’t register that gift and kept it. Parliament accepted that explanation. That means, folks, if you want to accept bribes in Holland, that is now officially okay. As long as you do that as private person.
D66 is quite popular amongst the better middle-class younger voters. It is the proverbial ‘yuppie’ party. More egoistic than D66 is not possible. They are the most Eurocentric party in the country, and a great promoter of community cohesion. Of course community cohesion means calls for the Azaan with loudspeakers in poor areas, but not in middle class or better areas.
To finish it off, Wilders struck again. His defense is brilliant. The Halbe Zijlstra I casually mentioned in this article was groomed to be successor of Rutte. Right now, nobody is lining up to be the heir to the throne. Alexander Pechtold shoots broadside after broadside into Wilders, with mixed results. He’s quite old, and this term is very likely his last in parliament. No heir apparent in the wings there as well.
— H. Numan