Friday, July 8, 2016

Austria Throws Out Its Presidential Election and May Throw Out Jihadists, Too - Michele Antaki

by Michele Antaki

Mr. Hofner’s election would carry huge symbolism and could create a domino effect for other anti-establishment movements currently surging across Europe.

Europeans are revolting against their transnational elites, with Austria now throwing out its presidential election that cheated the nationalist candidate of victory.  Friday last week took Austria through a roller-coaster of emotional news -- alarming, then exhilarating or depressing, depending on one’s perspective.

It was first announced that Akhmed Chatayev, the Chechen Istanbul airport terror suspect, had been given asylum in Austria since 2003, then an Austrian passport that allowed him free travel within Europe and beyond. Yet, at the same time, he was on Russia's wanted list.  In multiple incidents that took place in various countries between 2003 and 2015, Chatayev was caught with explosives and ammunitions, or photos of victims killed in a blast. Astonishingly, he would either be acquitted, or released on ‘humanitarian’ grounds. Just once, he served a brief one-year jail sentence in a Swedish prison.

Russia repeatedly demanded his extradition, to no avail. The European Court of Human Rights and Amnesty International advocated twice on his behalf, fearing he would face torture. It is only when Chatayev entered Syria to join the Islamic State in 2015, that he was finally placed on the terror list of both the US and UN.

Chatayev’s case was by no means an isolated one. Austria had for years been a hub for global jihad -- a “de facto base for Islamist extremists from southeastern Europe, a place to radicalize, recruit, raise and hide funds, thanks to Austria’s permissive laws and weak enforcement mechanisms.”

But a corner was turned with the 2014 serial arrests of nine Chechens who were legally present in the country as refugees and asylum seekers, planning to wage jihad with ISIS in Syria.

One also remembers the media sensation stirred in the same year by the “Jihad poster girls,” two blue-eyed Austrian teenagers of Bosnian heritage who had run off to Syria to marry jihadists, after undergoing sudden radicalization.

Austria could no longer look the other way, with terror getting so close to home. Its domestic intelligence agency BVT pointed a direct finger at the Western Balkans in its annual report for 2013 issued in 2014: “The Western Balkans have special relevance for Austria’s security, due to the growth of Islamism in the former Yugoslavian Republics, especially in Bosnia-Hercegovina”.

In this context, John R. Schindler’s remarkable book “Unholy Terror: Bosnia, Al-Qa'ida, and the Rise of Global Jihad” offers fascinating insights into the Bosnia war, and the Vienna connection -- the important role it played on the jihad trail.

The disastrous international handling of the Balkans problem in the 1990s contributed to the creation of a jihad hotbed in the heart of Europe. The author, a former NSA agent and top Balkan expert, details the manipulation used to “sell” the Bosnian story to gullible Americans and Western Europeans. The civil war was presented
“not as a struggle between three warring factions, all of which were fighting for their ethnic and religious interests and frequently used unpleasant methods to do so, but rather as the stand of a democratic and multicultural Bosnian state against barbarian hordes of murderous Christians. Few bothered to ask the crucial question if Sarajevo’s claims were actually true.” (p.89)
The wishful thinking of Western liberals fueled heated rhetoric, lacking in any historical perspective. This, argues the author, happened amidst a complete media blackout, if not downright obfuscation.  Schindler points out the responsibility of a Clinton administration’s favorite, academician John Esposito of Georgetown University (p.93-4). “The chattering class managed to overlook facts so obvious that, to paraphrase Orwell, you had to be an intellectual not to notice them.” (p.19)

This collective blindness allowed Bin Laden’s mujahidin to flock to Bosnia, where they were funded by corrupt financiers. “The supposedly secular and democratic forces fighting on behalf of Bosnia’s Muslims came to include large numbers of imported Islamists.” (p.147). According to Schindler, the Clinton administration, in covert alliances with radical regimes, supplied Bosnia’s and al-Qaida’s mujahidin with millions of dollars in weapons.

Funds going to Sarajevo were funneled through the Vienna circuit. Dr. Fatih al-Hasanayn, a Sudanese doctor with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood who had spent most of his life in Belgrade, Sarajevo and Vienna, was the biggest financier of the Bosnian jihad through his Vienna-based Third World Relief Agency. The TWRA channeled the funds, guns and men sent by various Islamist players who were lining up to fill the void that the impending demise of Communism would leave in the region. Every week, this medical doctor drove from Vienna to Zagreb with suitcases of $3 to 5 millions of cash, stowed in the trunk of his car bearing Sudanese diplomatic tags, to hand them over to Sarajevo’s representatives.  His diplomatic credentials were courtesy of his close friend, leader of the Khartoum regime, and he also had a Bosnian diplomatic passport given by another friend, Alija Izetbegović, the Bosnian President. At the end of the war, it was discovered that $2,5 billion in Islamic aid had been laundered by TWRA. (from p.147)

On the same Friday that the news broke about Chatayev, Austria's Constitutional Court overturned the results of last May's Presidential election and ordered a complete re-run for next September. This unprecedented move, motivated by massive irregularities, may well secure the populist candidate the margin he lost to his Leftist adversary after the counting of some 700,000 postal ballots.

Mr Van der Bellen, a former Communist turned Green, then Independent, is strongly pro-EU and has spoken of his dream of a border-free "United States of Europe." This term was first coined in the 1920s by another Austrian, Count Coudenhove-Kalergi, a globalist and miscegenation ideologue whose Pan-Europeans were expected, in time, to "in-breed" with African and Asian immigrants, and produce a "hybrid race."  He later got his plan adopted by the CIA, which saw potential in European integration to counter Soviet expansion during the Cold War.

But could this kind of European utopia, already questionable when it was first devised, and which does not appear to have had European nations’ best interests in mind, serve them better now in this era of global jihad?

Mr Hofer, on the other hand, had campaigned on an unabashedly “Austria first” platform, calling for stronger border defense and tough controls on immigration and asylum seekers. Only 20% of applicants were real refugees, he said -- others mere economic migrants lured by Austria’s generous welfare laws or jihadists posing as refugees. While his party did not necessarily want Austria to follow Britain out of the EU, Mr. Hofer said in an interview with the Oesterreich newspaper that “Austria should hold its own Auxit if the bloc failed within a year to refocus on its original role as an economic and trade alliance” and took further steps towards “a centralized union.”

Mr. Hofner’s election would carry huge symbolism and could create a domino effect for other anti-establishment movements currently surging across Europe.  As for Austria, she would come full circle, back from the debilitating Pan-European scenario conceived by one of her sons, to simply putting herself first.

Michele Antaki


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