Video Politics

A few days ago, Flemish politician Filip Dewinter of the far-right Vlaams Belang put a video (Windows Media, 17 MB) on the Internet showing some criminals breaking into a car. The video shows two young criminals - minors - who first try to break into the car, and when they succeed, they start taking things out of it. At the end of the video, they just run away.

It seems like the video is taken during the day from behind a window, and according to Filip Dewinter, it is taken by some neighbours tired of the ongoing vandalism in their street, the Somersstraat in Antwerp. The street has a history of vandalism and crime, and city alderman Dirk Grootjans recently declared the neighbourhood a priority and 'hot spot'. Filip Dewinter calls the video a proof of the failure of the current policy of the current Antwerp city council, but police said that the video dates from 24 April 2004, more than one year ago, long before Dirk Grootjans made his statement.

Sabine H. and the Legacy of Communism

Last week the world learned of the 39-year old German, Sabine H., and how over a period of nearly two decades she killed her nine newborn babies and buried them in flower pots. People in the East-German state of Brandenburg,  where these gruesome events took place, are shocked. “We are faced with a crime the scope of which, in my memory, we have never seen in the history of the federal republic. We must ask ourselves how this unbelievable crime remained hidden all these years,” Brandenburg state interior minister Joerg Schoenbohm said in a first reaction.

Crown Problems: Hair to the Throne

The heir is losing his hair
There is nothing like the long month of August to produce the daftest of stories. Only last week one Brussels based British hack from an internationally recognised title rang me to get some background. “I am sorry about this Elaib, it’s just that my editor has asked me to find out, but... well, do you know if the Belgian Prime Minister still eats  goldfish?”

Negationist Negates German Prisons

Siegfried Verbeke
His admirers call 63-year old Siegfried Verbeke the “most dynamic Revisionist in Belgium and maybe all of Europe.”  In Europe “revisionism” has come to designate the act of denying the extent of the Holocaust of the Jewish people in Nazi Germany. This is also known as negationism. Last year, Verbeke filed an official request to be exposed in the still intact Auschwitz gas chamber to 15 minutes of inhalation of Zyklon B. This is the gas the Nazis used to kill the Jews. According to Verbeke the gas is not toxic for humans.

Czech Mate

One of the more impressive characters that I have come across in the last 6 months has been Czech MEP Vladimir Zelezny. Though he has a somewhat interesting history, student leader, journalist tycoon, wine grower, he is now the most Eurosceptic politician in the country – with the possible exception of his great friend, the president Vaclav Klaus.

British Taxpayers Fund German Research

In news which will no doubt cause ruffled feathers in academe, it has been revealed that nearly 1.3 million euro (around 900,000 GBP) of UK scientific research grants have been transferred to German universities over the last few years. “One Oxford scholar was incensed by the departure of one of his key researchers to a German university ‘taking 650,000 GBP of UK taxpayers’ money with him as a generous dowry,’ he said.”

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