A Perversion of Justice
So, I translated this piece about my case (and about another piece about my case) by Boris Reitschuster, a German journalist, one of the few with the guts to cover it. I’m not going to make a habit of doing this, i.e., translating German press about my case, but I found his critique of both the German authorities and the editorial practices of Neue Zürcher Zeitung (which published the other piece about my case) impressive, and deserving of something a little better than a machine translation.
Also, Reitschuster explains how this absurd prosecution started with a report to the Berlin State Prosecutor by something called the “Hesse Cyber Competence Center,” which is connected to the Hessian Ministry of the Interior, so yet another example of the Censorship Industrial Complex at work.
Oh, and he (or his layout people) found a particularly “seething-with-anger”-looking photo of me to use for his piece, which I thought was pretty funny.
My comments are in brackets and italicized.
The Justice System Instrumentalizes the Fight Against Nazis to Persecute Government Critics
by Boris Reitschuster
October 2, 2023
In my opinion, comparisons with National Socialism are poisonous in our social debate. What is particularly poisonous is that one political camp — Red-Green [i.e., the SPD and the Green Party in Germany] — uses them as a matter of course. Hardly anyone is outraged when Red-Green politicians and journalists defame those who disagree with them as “Nazis”. However, if someone criticizes the Red-Green coalition by even remotely drawing parallels to National Socialism, mass hysteria ensues. And, in the worst case, criminal proceedings.
This is what the author Christopher “CJ” Hopkins is experiencing now. An American in Berlin who has also been published on my site, Hopkins was and is a vocal critic of the Corona policies.
According to the Berlin State Prosecutor's office, he is also a Nazi propagandist.
Because he ironically claimed that there were certain parallels between the Corona policies and the policies of the National Socialists, the Tiergarten District Court has sentenced him to a fine of 3,600 Euros or 60 days in prison.
The 62-year-old does not accept the Penalty Order and intends to challenge it in court with his lawyer. “And if we lose, we will appeal, if necessary to the European Court of Human Rights ... I’m not going to prison, because I haven’t done anything wrong, and I’m too old to be in Moabit [Berlin’s main jail],” the author told the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ). Unfortunately, the article is behind a paywall. And the NZZ manipulatively uses the term "Querdenker" to “classify” Hopkins, and certifies that his thinking is “close” to that of “Querdenkers” and “conspiracy theorists.” Unfortunately, this is typical of the NZZ – it wants to be a bit critical. But not too much.
That is, at least, significantly more than the major German media have dared to do. According to Google News Search, they have been dead silent about the case.
There are probably good reasons for this.
The whole thing feels like real-life satire.
Hopkins' "crime", as summarized by the NZZ, is that "as a satirist and author, he has a penchant for exaggerated Nazi comparisons."
Specifically: “The trigger for the Penalty Order against Hopkins was two Tweets in August 2022. ‘The masks are symbols of conformity to ideology,’ said one; the other quoted a statement by German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach in the Welt: ‘The mask always sends out a signal’. The problem was not the text, but the fact that Hopkins accompanied it with an image of a medical mask with a swastika visible behind it.
You may think this is right or wrong.
To portray this as the deliberate dissemination of “symbols of a banned National Socialist organization” for propaganda purposes, as the Penalty Order does, is in my opinion not just absurd and extremely malicious.
In my opinion (as a non-lawyer) this justifies reasonable suspicion of a perversion of justice.
Because it is more than obvious that Hopkins is not disseminating National Socialist ideas. And you don't have to know that he is married to a Jewish woman to see that.
“When it comes to issues such as mask requirements and Corona, Hopkins speaks of 'authoritarian and totalitarian ideologies' that 'strive for control and suppress, censor and silence dissent and critical voices', writes the NZZ, and then describes this as a "conspiracy theory worldview". But at least the Swiss journalists have to confess: “Ironically, the Berlin State Prosecutor’s office appears to confirm this conspiracy theory world view with its Punishment Order.”
Hopkins himself told the newspaper: “The prosecution is retribution for my dissent and is intended to make an example of me.”
In fact, the dissemination of Nazi symbols is permitted in Germany if it serves “civic education,” “warning about unconstitutional efforts,” or if one of several exceptions in the areas of art, science or “reporting on current events” applies.
The NZZ writes: “It is entirely conceivable that, as he emphasizes, he wanted to warn against unconstitutional efforts.”
It isn't conceivable — it is obvious.
And, to be honest, my Swiss colleagues at NZZ almost seem furious about their own fear of courage (which is probably because, as is the case with Welt, many journalists with basic Red-Green beliefs ended up working at a bourgeois paper by accident).
At least the NZZ dares to quote a comparison from Hopkins: “It doesn't make sense to him that Rammstein's 'Deutschland' video — which shows, among other things, SS uniforms — is legal, while his Tweets are not." The author regards his own Tweets as satirical works of art or as contemporary historical contributions. [The NZZ neglected to mention that Rammstein's 'Deutschland' also features members of the band dressed up as both concentration camp prisoners, wearing yellow stars, and Nazi SS guards.]
The NZZ's conclusion is ludicrous: "In Germany there are different sensibilities [i.e., different to the USA with its 1st Amendment protections], but here too it is questionable whether an author can be condemned as a Nazi propagandist because of two Tweets with images of a swastika."
Dear colleagues, why do you not call things what they are? Why do you not state that this is an instrumentalization of National Socialism, or the fight against it, intended to oppose those who express dissent?
This tactic is unfortunately now part of the standard repertoire of the political-media complex and the judiciary, and is entirely in the tradition of the GDR (the fact that one can still say this is probably only due to the fact that the left-wing extremist German dictatorship is viewed more through rose-tinted glasses in the relevant circles).
What is also explosive about the Hopkins case is how the judiciary became aware of him, i.e., through the denunciation industry created with government money. The files show that the report to the Berlin State Prosecutor's office originated in the Hesse Cyber Competence Center, which is connected to the Hessian Ministry of the Interior. In response to a request from the NZZ, the agency explained that it had taken action following a report from the state contact point, “HessenGegenHetze” ["Hessen Against Hate"], which deals with reports from “victims and witnesses of hate speech”. If such reports are deemed “potentially dangerous, criminally relevant or classified as extremist”, they are forwarded to the authorities, according to the NZZ.
Your tax money is being used against dissidents, and to incite denunciation.
Hopkins has drawn his own conclusions: he now plans to leave Germany. "If I stayed here, I wouldn’t be able to look myself in the mirror anymore,” he says.
Boris Reitschuster is a German journalist, author, Eastern Europe expert, and the former head of the Moscow bureau of the German weekly magazine FOCUS. He writes for various German publications and on his own blog, reitschuster.de.
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