August 13, 2009

Fare thee well

Posted in Uncategorized tagged at 1:48 pm by billdawson

As you’ve no doubt noticed if you’ve come by this blog any time in the last three years, my “politically-oriented” blogging has ceased. I blog about happier things now, things less likely to affect blood pressure, namely German and Austrian History. Check out German History Buzz if you are interested.

September 13, 2005

Eye-opening quote of the day

Posted in Uncategorized at 9:36 am by billdawson

[editor’s note: this post was “pasted” in — it appeared originally at the old Dawson’s Danube site, which is archived here.]


Poland, Holland, and the Ukraine each contributed more soldiers to the Iraq War coalition than the French did to the Korean War.

From Karl Zinsmeister, “Europe Learns the Wrong Lessons”, American Enterprise Online.

[hat tip Power Line]

July 25, 2005

I’m traveling…

Posted in Uncategorized at 12:46 am by billdawson

[editor’s note: this post was “pasted” in — it appeared originally at the old Dawson’s Danube site, which is archived here.]

I’ll be away from the blog until the middle of the week.  I’m going to London on business — my chance to say hello to a great city and a great country.  I haven’t been there in years.  I will kiss my hand and then touch the wall when I get inside Heathrow (I don’t want to be too dramatic and kiss the ground like the Pope.)

Speaking of the UK, how do you like this book cover?  Can’t wait to read it.

If you’re new here, have a look around.  I just started with a new blog host this month, so everything beginning in July has “categories” — you can use the category links on the right.  For everything before that, have a look at the older archive pages.

Some of my own favorite topics here include:

Wolfgang Welsch: here, here, here, and here.

EU constitution: here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Sophie Scholl: here, here, and here.

See you when I get back.

July 24, 2005

Great, great idea: Contra Café

Posted in Contra Cafe, Uncategorized at 4:46 pm by billdawson

[editor’s note: this post was “pasted” in — it appeared originally at the old Dawson’s Danube site, which is archived here.]
I love this idea on many levels, including political.

At the height of the Cold War, the Nicaraguan Contras successfully fought to secure their freedom and block the spread of Communism. Today these freedom fighters need our help. Many former Contras are small-scale coffee farmers who produce high quality beans but struggle to break even because of low coffee prices. Your purchase of Contra Café allows these farmers to earn the livelihood they deserve.

Started by two Dartmouth MBA students, Contra Café promises great coffee, and I want to order it.  Will they ship it to Austria?  I’ve already asked and I’m hopeful for a quick and positive answer.

July 6, 2005

More on the Iran / Austria diplomatic strain

Posted in Uncategorized at 8:32 pm by billdawson

[editor’s note: this post was “pasted” in — it appeared originally at the old Dawson’s Danube site, which is archived here.]

Der Standard (Austria) reports more today on the odd Austria-Iran conflict. I should say it’s the odd Peter Pilz – Iran conflict, because as far as I can tell from the press, Pilz is the only elected or appointed member of any branch of the Austrian government that has asserted that there is an investigation into the Iranian president-elect. Believe me, I’m not saying I doubt him. Who could possibly be surprised if all this were true?

Let’s backtrack. What’s this all about?

In 1989 three Kurds were murdered in Vienna. Not just any Kurds: one of them was Abdul-Rahman Ghassemlou, the secretary general of the PDKI (Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan). During its investigation of the incident, Austrian authorities issued arrest warrants for members of the Iranian government. I believe that the Austrians concluded that the murderers traveled as diplomats.

Fast forward to the present: Peter Pilz is a Green Party member of the Austrian Parliament and is the party’s official spokesperson on security issues. He is also the author of “Mit Gott gegen alle: Amerikas Kampf um die Weltherrschaft” (“With God Against Everyone: Americas Struggle for World Domination”) . In my very first attempt at blogging, back in ’03, I mentioned this book. Pilz is a radical of sorts. It’s nice to see that his hatred of the United States does not cause him to turn a blind eye to acts committed by Muslims. Because let’s face it, many, many lefty america-hating folks do exactly that. Pilz may be particularly interested in this case because the PDKI is a socialist organization. (Anything I say about Pilz’s motives is pure speculation on my part.) Or perhaps he knew one or more of the victims. I don’t know — what I’m trying to say is that it’s not entirely clear to me why Peter Pilz is the one who is at the center of this, why he was the one who received important information about this case, etc.

On with the story… At his blog, Pilz says he turned over information from “Zeuge D.” (Witness D.) to the Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz und Terrorismusbekämpfung (BVT, the federal office for protection of the constitution and the fight against terrorism). “Zeuge D.” is an Iranian exile living in Paris. His information alleges that the president-elect of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was a major player in the 1989 assassinations. If you read German, you can read quite an interesting account of the crime at Pilz’s site because he publishes what I guess is part of the official Austrian investigative reports.

Pilz’s main point is this: “Zeuge D.’s” statements show that he is very familiar with details of the crime that were not made public. Not only that, but he clears up precisely some of those questions which Austrian investigators left open for lack of information. He has filled-in the blanks, so to speak. One example: a witness (or witnesses) on the street that day said that a motorcycle somehow played a role in all this, although it seems clear that none of those who actually did the shooting was also the motorcyclist. In other words, the motorcyclist was perhaps some kind of back-up or stand-by.

The report at Der Standard’s website includes the following:

Auch der iranische Botschafter in Österreich, Seyed Mohsen Nabavi, meldete sich zu Wort. Er bezeichnete die Vorwürfe als “Propaganda” aus “terroristischen und zionistischen Kreisen”. Im Justizministerium, wo die Causa als oberste Chefsache behandelt wird, hieß es, die Erhebungen der Staatsanwaltschaft beschränkten sich vorerst darauf, ob der vom Grünen-Sicherheitssprecher Peter Pilz zitierte Belastungszeuge überhaupt existiere. Von Ermittlungen gegen Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad im Zusammenhang mit den Kurdenmorden könne keine Rede sein.


Zeitungen und Fernsehen im Iran berichten weiter nicht über die neuen Anschuldigungen gegen Ahmadi-Nejad. Lediglich die konservative, dem Präsidenten nahe stehende Tageszeitung Keyhan schrieb über ungenannte österreichische Firmen, die gewarnt hätten, man dürfe die Beziehungen mit dem Iran nun nicht aufs Spiel setzen.

The Iranian ambassador to Austria, Seyed Mohsen Nabavi, has also commented on this. He described the allegations as “propaganda” from “terrorist and <b>zionist</b> circles.” In the Austrian Justice Ministry, where the issue is being handled at the very highest levels, it is said that the state attorney’s inquiry is strictly limited to determining if the witness cited by Green Party security spokesperson Peter Pilz even exists: there is no investigation of Mahmud Ahmadi-Nejad to speak of in connection with the murder of the Kurds.


Newspapers and television in Iran still have not reported the new allegations against Ahmadi-Nejad. Only the conservative newspaper Keyhan, which is supportive of the president, wrote that un-named Austrian companies had been warned of the consequences of putting relations with Iran at risk.

This, then, is certainly a great test of western resolve. Hopefully Austria would not simply try to sweep this under the rug, as Pilz himself fears. Now even a newspaper close to the Iranian president-elect is basically threatening Austria. Will Austria cower? That would be supremely humiliating.


July 3, 2005

Honor killing in Germany?

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:50 pm by billdawson

[editor’s note: this post was “pasted” in — it appeared originally at the old Dawson’s Danube site, which is archived here.]
Did Germany experience another “honor killing” in June? The only source for this that I can find is the sensationalistic Bild Zeitung, which reports that a 24 year-old Turkish man (in Germany) shot his 20 year-old sister six times in a garden house where she lived with her German boyfriend. The Bild report states definitively that the motive for the murder was her love for a German. This may well be true, but I would feel more comfortable seeing from sources other than the Bild. Here is part of their report:

Vor sieben Monaten hatte sich Gönül K. (20) in Michael S. (28) verliebt. Ihre Eltern und die Brüder billigten die Beziehung. Das Paar verlobte sich, wollte heiraten. Vor wenigen Wochen änderte sich alles: Die Eltern waren plötzlich gegen die Verbindung. Die junge Frau wurde verstoßen, mußte ausziehen. Bisher hatte sie mit den Eltern, ihrer Schwester und mehreren Brüdern gelebt. Die Mutter des deutschen Freundes hatte einen Kleingarten. Gönül zog mit dem Verlobten in die Laube. Jetzt, nach nur zehn Tagen, das Drama. Bruder Ali K. (24) besuchte die kleine Schwester, lockte den Freund unter einem Vorwand aus dem Gartenhaus. Dann zog er eine Pistole (9 Millimeter), feuerte sechs Mal auf seine Schwester. Der Killer flüchtete. Der Freund hörte die Schüsse. Er lief zurück ins Gartenhäuschen, fand seine Verlobte, blutüberströmt. Der Bruder hatte ihr in Kopf und Brust geschossen. Die junge Frau starb. […] Der Staatsanwalt: “Er hat gestanden. Es gab keinen religiösen Hintergrund. Das Motiv ist in der Beziehung zu dem Deutschen zu suchen.” Ein Ehrenmord? 20 year-old Gönül K fell in love with 28 year-old Michael S seven months ago. Her parents and brothers approved the relationship. The couple became engaged and wanted to marry. A few weeks ago everything changed: the parents were suddenly against the relationship. The young lady was disowned and forced to move out. Until then she had lived with her parents, her sister and several brothers. The German boyfriend’s mother had a small garten. Gönül and her fiance moved into the garten house. Then, after ten days, the drama. Brother Ali K (24) visited his young sister and lured the boyfriend out of the garten house on some pretext. Then he pulled out a pistol (9 mm) and fired six times at his sister. He then fled. The boyfriend heard the shots and ran back into the garden house, where he found his fiance covered with blood. The brother had shot her in the head and chest. The young lady died. […] The district attorney: “He has confessed. There was no religous reason. The motive is to be found in the relationship with the German. An honor killing?

Maybe. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time.