SWC Urges EU Fundamental Rights Agency to Investigate Libertas Pan-European Bloc's Alleged Promotion of Racist Candidates
Paris, 1 June 2009
Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr Shimon Samuels, urged the European Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) "to launch an investigation into the financing and promotion campaigns of MEPs who will be elected this week to the new European Parliament and who espouse antisemitic, anti-Muslim, anti-Roma, homophobic or other discriminatory platforms. Such enquiry should also focus on the Libertas pan-European bloc's reported affiliation with those MEPs.
The letter to FRA Chairperson, Anastasia Crickley, noted that, "Last month, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre launched a campaign to educate its constituency across Europe in regard to the positions of the candidates and parties, calling for a high voter turnout in order to contain those promoting hate and discrimination."
Samuels added that "the Centre's Notice No. 3, its last before the vote, points to extremist parties and individuals reportedly affiliated to the Libertas bloc, founded in 2006 by the Irish-based magnate, Declan Ganley, in order to combat the Lisbon Treaty on European integration."
The Centre continued, "Libertas is running some 600 candidates in over 20 of the elections in the 27 member-states. Some of those standing are known antisemites, homophobes and anti-migrant racists. These include:
- Ryszard Bender and Anna Sobecka of the Polish League of Families. Both are supporters of the widely criticized antisemitic Radio Maryja, where Bender was recorded as stating that Auschwitz was 'not a death camp but a labour camp where Jews and Gypsies were killed by hard labour – not so hard, not always killed.'
- Georgios Georgiou, of the Greek LAOS party which was described by the United States State Department as antisemitic, racist and xenophobic. Uschi Winkelsett, head of the German extreme right Republikaner party, claimed to have received congratulations from Libertas upon her election. There are also press reports of Libertas' outreach to the Austrian BZO party of the late Hitler admirer, Jörg Haider."
"Libertas is running candidates either under its own name, or as affiliated parties or individuals, according to press reports, in: the Czech Republic (29 candidates), Estonia (6), France (147), Germany (11), Greece (22), Ireland (Ganley himself leads the list), Latvia (8), Malta (1), Netherlands (24), Poland (128), Portugal (22), Slovakia (13), Spain (50), United Kingdom (56)."
The letter acknowledged that "funding for Libertas' campaign against the Lisbon Treaty referendum in Ireland is currently under investigation by the Irish Standards in Public Office commission (SIPO), for 'compliance with the laws on elections and referenda'."
Samuels emphasized concern at "the possible cartelization of the European elections with massive public relations resources, coopting or endorsing groups or individuals known to incite to hatred."
The Centre recalled that, "in 1933, a potent mix of economic crisis, racism and a leadership vacuum brought Europe - and subsequently the world – to the abyss."
"Europeans have painfully learned that democracy cannot be defined only by the holding of popular elections, if those elected are bent upon the violation of fundamental rights."
"Our Centre is advising our members to use their vote wisely within this context," concluded Samuels.
For earlier SWC Notices regarding the elections to the European Parliament, please consult www.wiesenthal.com:
- 6 May 2009, "Wiesenthal Centre To European Parliament President: 'Condemn French Anti-Zionist Party... Its Very Candidacy Offends the European Parliament Itself"
- 22 May 2009, "Wiesenthal Centre Concerned Low Voter Turnout in EU Elections Will Empower Anti-Semitic Parties"
For further information, please contact Shimon Samuels at +33.609.77.01.58.
A couple of links to information about Teodoro Buontempo, President of La Destra, part of the L'Autonomia group of Italian political parties, which Libertas formed an electoral alliance with:
|Two weeks earlier, a gang of 200 Nazi-skins marched through the northern Italian city of Vicenza shouting racist slogans and waving banners with swastika-like emblems. Mainstream political leaders expressed outrage, but not Teodoro Buontempo, 48, a self-proclaimed fascist elected to Parliament in March on the ticket of the National Alliance, the successor to the party founded by followers of Benito Mussolini. In an interview with the Turin daily La Stampa, Buontempo said, "I would send them into the midst of society" to proclaim their values.|
|There was a glaring absence outside the Mussolini family tomb in Predappio, 50 miles west of Rimini, last October, when the neo-fascists gathered for the annual commemoration of Il Duce's March on Rome and accession to power in 1922: Gianfranco Fini, the party's leader, stayed away. The black-shirted "Naziskins" were out in force with their tattoos and black banners and Roman salutes. Present was one of their heroes, Teodoro Buontempo, MP for Ostia, near Rome, and one of the most flamboyant figures on Italy's extreme right. Also there were aged veterans of Mussolini's Republic of Sal and others from the shadowy margins of Italian society who look back on the Fascist decades with keen nostalgia.|
Buontempo's long day, fuelled by coffee, nicotine and grappa, is not over yet. We get back into the black Mercedes and his driver, a man with a shaven head and massive chest, a former Italian champion of tae kwon do, bullies the car through another 25 miles to the town of Frascati, in the hills south of Rome. For an hour in a local television studio, Buontempo fields calls in a phone-in programme. When it's over he declares that he wants to show us his house in the mountains, high above Rome.
It's a long grind uphill through hairpin bends in the fog. The house is zany, built on a steep slope, and full of ornate brick and tile work executed by Buontempo himself. It's also full of memorabilia: the collected works of Mussolini - some two dozen volumes; a painting of the great man, superimposed on a storm-tossed sea, by his grandson Romano; a bottle of wine, "Vino Nero", the black label emblazoned with a bundle of fasces and the letter M - a nd bottled in Predappio, where the great man was born. There's a huge volume of Mussolini's writings, the cover a bas-relief in pewter of Mussolini's head. Buontempo's house is a shrine to Il Duce.
| Rome, April 30th. Libertas:eu, the pan European people’s movement, is in discussions with L’Autonomia - a coalition of La Destra, MPA, Partito Pensionati and Alleanza di Centro - for the European election campaign in Italy. |
Declan Ganley, Libertas.eu Chairman, says “Libertas.eu and L’Autonomia would offer an alternative for the people of Italy in the European Parliament elections in June. It is a unique alternative which will ensure that Italians get a better deal from Europe. The parties of l’Autonomia are true democrats who want to bring about positive change for their constituents.”
List of candidates running for L'Autonomia in the Italia Centrale constituency (circosrizione):
MONICA STEFANIA BALDI
FRANCESCA MARIA CANTALAMESSA
Teodoro Buontempo speaking about the alliance with Libertas:
and another official Libertas offering
Some information about Ataka, the Bulgarian far-right party whose representative, Hristov Kuminev, allegedly signed a document supporting the Libertas application to become a recognised pan-EU party.
Photo of the document, headed with the words 'Libertas Membership Form' with his signature:
Some information about Ataka:
http://www.freemedia.at/index.php?id=226&tx_ttnews%5Bpointer%5D=1&tx_ttnew s%5Btt_news%5D=3177&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=332&cHa sh=61e4f1bcc3