NATIONAL AFFAIRS by Patrick J. ByrneNews Weekly
What's behind the Australian Liberty Alliance?
, February 14, 2015
With Dutch politician Geert Wilders planning to help launch the Australian Liberty Alliance, where will this new party sit in the Australian political scene?
In March 2014, Geert Wilders, member of the Dutch parliament and leader of the country’s Party for Freedom (PVV), delivered a message from the Netherlands (via YouTube) to a Stop Islamisation of Nations (SION) conference held in Melbourne, pledging that he would return to Australia in early 2015 to help launch the Australian Liberty Alliance.
The 2014 conference was organised by the Q Society of Australia, which is also behind the formation of this new political party.
The Q Society itself was founded in 2010. It has hosted tours around Australia of a number of overseas anti-Islamic activists and organised campaigns to stop the building of new mosques.
While the Australian Liberty Alliance is yet to be launched and fly its political colours, the Q Society has been closely linked to anti-Muslim activists in the United States and Europe.
The resources page on its website illustrates the ideological roots of the Q Society of Australia.
First, the Q Society recommends Serbian-American author Serge (or Srjda) Trifkovic’s book, The Sword of the Prophet: Islam — History, Theology, Impact on the World (2002), describing it as “the Swiss Army knife of books on Islam”.
Trifkovic was a high-level spokesman for the Serbian nationalist forces during the Serbian ethnic-cleansing of both Muslim and Catholic Croatians in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia in the Balkans from 1992 to 1995. About 100,000 died in the conflict.
Former Harvard professor Samantha Power — currently U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations — chronicled in her 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning book, A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide, how during the war Serbian forces systematically destroyed villages and towns, and herded local populations into concentration camps not seen since the Nazi camps of World War II.
Former Bosnian Serb leader
Enraged Jewish-Americans, at demonstrations in the early 1990s calling for U.S. intervention to stop the killings, shouted, “Never again!”, the cry of Jewish survivors of the Holocaust.
On August 5, 1992, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Congress placed an advertisement in the New York Times headlined, “Stop the Death Camps: an open letter to world leaders”, in which they declared: “To the blood-chilling names of Auschwitz, Treblinka and other Nazi death camps there seem now to have been added the names of Omarska and Brcko.…
“Is it possible that, fifty years after the Holocaust, the nations of the world, including our own, will stand by and do nothing, pretending we are helpless?… We must make it clear that we take every necessary step, including the use of force, to put a stop to this madness and bloodshed.”
Some Serbian concentration camps were designated rape camps, where Yugoslav troops brutalised and impregnated Bosnian Muslim women, as well as girls as young as 12, in a bid to destroy their dignity, while in the Bosnian town of Brcko (pronounced Bairch-ko) they brutally slaughtered and disposed of the remains of an estimated 3,000 people.
Finally, in 1995, an international outcry over the week-long massacre of around 8,000 civilians in Srebrenica, allegedly on the orders of Serbian general Ratko Mladic, saw NATO forces launch an intensive bombing campaign against Serbian forces and strategic facilities that eventually ended the war.
Gravestones at the Potocari genocide
memorial near Srebrenica
Serge Trifkovic has described himself as an “unofficial spokesman” in Europe for Bosnian Serbian leader Radovan Karadzic, president from 1992 to 1995 of the autonomous Republika Srpska (a self-proclaimed Serb republic within Bosnia), and as an adviser to his successor, Biljana Plavsic, known as “the Iron Lady”, who served as president from 1996 to 1998.
In 2001, Plavsic was indicted by the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) — otherwise known as the War Crimes Tribunal at The Hague — for crimes against humanity and in 2003 was sentenced to prison.
Radovan Karadzic is currently awaiting the judges’ verdict on charges of crimes against humanity before the same court, alongside General Ratko Mladic.
When Mladic was arrested in 2011, Trifkovic defended him and dismissed accounts of the Srebrenica massacre, saying, “The heart of the indictment against him [Mladic], ‘Srebrenica’, is a myth — a genocide-that-never was, a postmodernist exercise in pseudoreality.”
After the Balkans war, Trifkovic migrated to the United States, and transformed himself into an “expert” on Islam, working since 1998 as the foreign editor of the conservative Rockford Institute’s Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.
Secondly, the Q Society of Australia has Robert Spencer as its international patron and board member. The Society highly recommends his books and blog page, Jihad Watch. Spencer is regarded as the global leader of the anti-Islamic blogger network and is co-founder of the Stop Islamisation of Nations (SION), a global alliance of anti-Islamic organisations.
Spencer has paid lavish tributes to Serge Trifkovic and published Trifkovic on Jihad Watch. Trifkovic, for his part, has responded with glowing endorsements for two of Spencer’s books.
Despite his tributes, Spencer has also declared that Trifkovic is anti-Semitic.
Spencer is on the advisory board of the American Council for Kosovo, which is closely linked to an organisation run by Serge Trifkovic, the Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies. The American Council for Kosovo heavily promotes Trifkovic. The director of the Council, James Jatras, is also on the board of Spencer’s principal organisation, Jihad Watch.
Kejda Gjermani is a Jewish commentator who has worked for the leading U.S. Jewish magazine, Commentary, and written extensive exposés of Spencer and Trifkovic. She accuses Spencer of openly associating “with violent genocide proponents/deniers …” through his position on the advisory board of the American Council for Kosovo and his endorsement of Serge Trifkovic.
Articles on Spencer’s Jihad Watch blog page dispute the massacre of 8,000 at Srebrenica by Serbian forces in 1995. One of the headlines suggests that the UN and Muslims were somehow responsible for perpetrating the massacre, saying, “UN officials and the Muslim regime in Sarajevo orchestrated the Srebrenica massacre.”
Spencer disputes the idea that there are moderate forms of Islam or moderate Muslims. For example, his Jihad Watch blog’s news editor, Marisol Seibold — presumably reflecting the blog’s official editorial line — declares: “‘Moderate’ is a uselessly relative term, ultimately only defining someone who is somehow less ‘extreme’ than the next guy.”
Spencer is an adherent of the Byzantine-Rite Melkite Greek Catholic Church, making his association with Trifkovic and the Council of Kosovo somewhat curious. During the Balkans war, Serbians not only ethnically-cleansed Muslims, but also Catholic Croatians.
One of the first recorded ethnic-cleansing attacks by Serbian forces was in December 1991 just as U.S. Congressman, Frank McCloskey, was travelling through the Balkans to the Croatian town of Vocin, 70 miles south west of Zagreb. He arrived immediately after the murder of about 40 Catholic Croatians, most of them over the age of 60. Many had been tortured and their bodies horrifically mutilated.
Thirdly, the Q Society of Australia also promotes the anti-Islamic conspiracy theorist, Bat Ye’or (Hebrew for “daughter of the Nile”), the pen-name for Gisèle Littman (née Orebi), an Egyptian-born British writer and political commentator, who currently lives in Switzerland.
Five of the six members of Stop Islamisation of Nations (SION)’s ‘president’s council’ at SION’s launch at a conference in Stockholm, August 4, 2012. L to R: Anders Gravers, Pamela Geller, ‘Tommy Robinson’, Robert Spencer and Kevin Carroll (Debbie Robinson is not pictured)
British-Canadian author and journalist Doug Saunders, in his book The Myth of the Muslim Tide: Do Immigrants Threaten the West? (Toronto: Knopf Canada, 2012), has exposed the conspiracy theories that Bat Ye’or expressed in her 2005 book, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis.
Bat Ye’or claimed that the purpose of the early 1970s Euro-Arab Dialogue was to enable the Muslim takeover of Europe, creating a situation whereby Christians and Jews would be reduced to the protected but subordinate minority communities of classical Islam. They would be made second-class citizens forced to “walk in the gutter”.
In an American radio interview on his book, Saunders said the Euro-Arab Dialogue was nothing more than “a talking shop, a committee or a subcommittee created by the precursors to the European Union … to deal with some of the political and economic tensions around the OPEC oil crisis. And it met a handful of times in the ’70s, … failed and died out by the end of the ’70s.
“It was eclipsed in the ’80s and ’90s and 2000s by other bodies that united Israel and the Arab states and the European Union and so on. It was a bureaucratic nonentity that somehow got inflated in this literature into being this grand conspiracy.…”
Matt Carr, a journalist and author of Unknown Soldiers: How Terrorism Transformed the Modern World (2006), has criticised Eurabia, saying: “In order to accept Ye’or’s ridiculous thesis, it is necessary to believe not only in the existence of a concerted Islamic plot to subjugate Europe, all Arab governments, whether ‘Islamic’ or not, but also to credit a secret and unelected parliamentary body [the Euro-Arab Dialogue] with the astounding ability to transform all Europe’s major political, economic and cultural institutions into subservient instruments of ‘jihad’ without any of the continent’s press or elected institutions being aware of it.…”
Adam Keller, an Israeli peace activist, wrote an open letter to the publishers of the Hebrew translation of Eurabia, comparing it “to Édouard Drumont’s La France Juive (1886), the anti-Semitic tract that provided the ideological underpinnings for the deportation of France’s Jews under the [WWII] Vichy government half a century later”.
Keller says that the informed reading public needs to read “the classical work of a master racist demagogue [Édouard Drumont]” in order to understand “his loyal present-day disciple and successor [Bat Ye’or]”.
Simon Kuper, a Paris-based correspondent for the UK Financial Times, says that Bat Ye’or’s book Eurabia “has been described as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in reverse”.
‘Tommy Robinson’ (real name
Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) in a
scuffle with British police
On August 31, 1995, Bat Ye’or delivered a lecture, entitled “Myths and politics: origin of the myth of a tolerant pluralistic Islamic society”, to a Chicago symposium on the Balkans war. The symposium was organised by Serge Trifkovic’s Lord Byron Foundation for Balkan Studies and the Washington-based think tank, the International Strategic Studies Association (ISSA).
Bat Ye’or has been criticised over the fact that her lecture didn’t even mention the Srebrenica massacre of 8,000 Muslim civilians by Serb forces the previous month.
Bat Ye’or is regarded as one of the leading ideologues of the anti-Islamic movement. Robert Spencer describes her as “a hero of our age”.
Particularly for those global anti-Islamic agitators who have chosen to involve themselves in Serbian-Muslim affairs, such as Serge Trifkovic and Robert Spencer, it is a moral contradiction to oppose jihadist terrorism but to remain silent on, or be apologists for, or be deniers of, Serbian terrorism against civilian Muslims and Catholics in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia.
Ethnic-cleansing is one form of terrorism. For Trifkovic, it becomes easy to deny Serbian terrorism when he denies that ethnic-cleansing ever happened, labelling such claims merely as an “exercise in pseudoreality”.
Terrorism is terrorism. It should be loudly condemned and strongly resisted, regardless of whether it is perpetrated by the Islamic State on Shia Muslims, Christians and other minorities, or by Serbian nationalists on civilians.
The duplicitous stand by these writers on terrorism helps radical jihadists discredit the genuine opponents of all radical ideologies and terrorism.
Fourthly, the Q Society of Australia is one of the founding bodies of Stop Islamisation of Nations (SION) — that is, Robert Spencer’s international anti-Islamic umbrella organisation, which was formed at a conference held in Stockholm, August 4, 2012. Spencer listed the names of the six inaugural members of the SION “president’s council” on his Jihad Watch blog.
News Weekly reproduces below the names of these individuals, together with their backgrounds:
1) Robert Spencer, president of Stop Islamisation of Nations (SION);
2) Pamela Geller, president of Stop Islamisation of America (SIOA), and founder, editor and publisher of the blog, Atlas Shrugs (named in honour of the Russian-American right-wing atheist philosopher and amphetamine addict, Ayn Rand);
3) Debbie Robinson, 2013/2014 president of the Q Society of Australia, Inc.;
4) Anders Gravers, Danish anti-Islam activist and leader of Stop Islamisation of Europe (SIOE);
5) “Tommy Robinson” (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon), co-founder and former spokesman and leader of the extreme right-wing English Defence League (EDL); and
6) Kevin Carroll, co-founder and former deputy leader of the EDL (and a cousin of Yaxley-Lennon).
Both former EDL leaders have had court convictions, Yaxley-Lennon for violent assault, and Carroll for hurling abuse at Muslims.
On April 18, 2005, “Tommy Robinson” (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) was sentenced to 12 months’ prison for kicking in the head of an off-duty police officer who had intervened to stop a domestic incident between Yaxley-Lennon and his partner, Jenna Vowles.
On November 3, 2011, Yaxley-Lennon was given a suspended prison sentence for headbutting one of his own supporters at an EDL rally in Blackburn.
The EDL has been notorious for its violent demonstrations and has encompassed a number of organisations, including some whose members have been photographed at EDL rallies giving the Nazi raised-arm salute.
In October 2013, Yaxley-Lennon and his cousin Kevin Carroll — only a year after joining SION at its 2012 conference in Stockholm — both quit the EDL. Then, last year, Yaxley-Lennon landed in prison for fraud.
The Q Society of Australia, by aligning itself with SION, has identified itself with the controversial views of Spencer, Trifkovic and Bat Ye’or, among others.
Spencer, SION and the global anti-Islamic network have a propensity to reduce all the diverse streams of Islam into one monolithic hostile political force. They demonise all the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims as being part of an ideology committed to the subjugation of non-Muslims. At worst, many anti-Islamic agitators treat all Muslims as apologists for, or supporters of, violent jihadists.
Just as early 20th-century anti-Semitic ideologues portrayed Judaism as a “cosmic evil”, many anti-Islamists portray the whole of 21st-century Islam as a “cosmic evil”, an inveterately hostile political ideology, the “new communism”.
On the contrary, Paul Gray, former editor of News Weekly, explained in his book, Nightmare of the Prophet: Why the Next Century Could Be Our Most Violent Yet (2004) that such aportrayal of the whole Islamic world is as false as claiming that the Klu Klux Klan is representative of the whole Christian world.
The U.S. Jewish human rights group, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), has warned about the views of Spencer in language similar to that of the critics of Bat Ye’or.
Writing in The Washington Post (July 29, 2011), the then ADL national director, Abraham H. Foxman, condemned the vitriolic Robert Spencer and other anti-Islamic agitators over their “intellectual influences” on the Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, who massacred 77 people in 2011.
Foxman warned that the writings of these authors “promote a conspiratorial anti-Muslim agenda under the pretext of fighting radical Islam. Because of the reach of the Internet, these ideas float freely across borders and are reinforced by like-minded bigots”.
He continued: “This belief system goes far beyond anti-Islamic prejudice based on simple religious or racial grounds. In a sense, it parallels the creation of an ideological — and far more deadly — form of anti-Semitism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries on the backs of the previously dominant cultural and religious forms of anti-Semitism.…
“In America, the polarisation, vitriol and fear engendered by anti-Islamic activists must be replaced by reasoned and civil debate. We must rally the voices of reason to overcome the voices of intolerance before it is too late.”
The Anti-Defamation League and other critics of extremist anti-Islamic agitators offer a timely warning for Australia.
It is necessary to expose extremist forces threatening politically-vulnerable emerging states in the Arc of Instability stretching from China, across Asia to Africa. In this unstable region, many countries are going through the tumultuous process of overthrowing their anciens régimes on the long and often dangerous road toward democracy, human rights and free enterprise economies.
However, the demonisation of all Muslims in language that Jewish writers liken to vitriolic, early 20th-century anti-Semitism is divisive, dangerous and counter-productive.
For example, it is sensible to call for radical clerics who incite terrorism to be expelled from Australia; but it’s dangerous and counter-productive to prevent moderate Muslims from building mosques. First, it is a violation of a person’s right to freedom of association and freedom of worship. Secondly, selective denial of religious freedom is the guaranteed way of driving some young Muslims into the arms of extremists.
If the aim of such a policy is to stop the radicalisation of young Muslims, it’s a mistaken policy.
David Irvine, director-general of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) from March 2009 to September 2014, told an audience in Perth (March 4, 2014) that most of those being radicalised are being radicalised not in mosques, but via the internet and on social media.
Demonising the whole of Islam as an inveterately hostile political ideology is de facto a declaration that all Muslim countries are hostile states. Pursuing a foreign policy based on such a premise would have far-reaching consequences.
Indonesia is the world’s largest Islamic nation, and Australia’s near neighbour. Imagine if the Commonwealth government were to treat Indonesia as a hostile state. It would put Australia on a collision course with its largest neighbour, damage bilateral trade and risk the denial of access to Australia’s most important trade routes through the Indonesian archipelago.
Jewish commentator Kejda Gjermani concludes her 2009 detailed critique of Trifkovic and Spencer, “Robert Spencer’s connections: The Serge Trifkovic file (Srjda Trifkovic)”, warning that such anti-Islamic agitators make it easy for radical Islamists and their apologists to discredit and attack genuine critics of militant Islam.
The Q Society of Australia endorses and promotes extremist anti-Islamic agitators with “compromised backgrounds”. The Q Society is behind the formation of a new political party, the Australian Liberty Alliance, with consequences yet to be worked out in Australian politics.
Australians should consider the people and causes involved with the Q Society of Australia and its political progeny before lending them support.
Patrick J. Byrne is national vice-president of the National Civic Council.
 1st International Symposium on Liberty and Islam in Australia, Melbourne, March 7-10, 2014, Q Society of Australia Inc in association with SION and SkipnGirl Productions P/L.
 Serge Trifkovic, The Sword of the Prophet: Islam — History, Theology, Impact on the World (Boston: Regina Orthodox Press, 2002).
 Samantha Power, A Problem From Hell: America and the Age of Genocide (New York: Basic Books, 2002), Chapter 9.
 Kejda Gjermani, “Robert Spencer’s connections: The Serge Trifkovic file (Srjda Trifkovic)”, Kejda Gjermani: Her Miscellaneous Musings (New York), February 23, 2009.
See also: Trifkovic’s testimony before the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICCY), in Part 1, Breivik, Trifkovic and Radical Serb Ideology, a 12-page monograph published on July 25, 2011, by Michael A. Sells, the John Henry Barrows Professor of Islamic History and Literature at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago.
See also the exchange between Serge Trifkovic and Stephen Schwartz, “Apology and correction”, FrontPage Magazine, January 15, 2003.
 For example, James Jatras and Serge Trifkovic, “U.S. Kosovo policy is bad for Israel”, November 7, 2007.
James Jatras (Trifkovic’s co-author) is director of the American Council for Kosovo.
 Kejda Gjermani, “Robert Spencer’s connections: The Serge Trifkovic file (Srjda Trifkovic)”, Kejda Gjermani: Her Miscellaneous Musings, February 23, 2009.
Kejda Gjemani: “Robert Spencer’s connections: The James Jatras files”, Kejda Gjermani: Her Miscellaneous Musings, August 8, 2008.
Kejda Gjemani: “JihadwatchWatch: Robert Spencer’s amorous flit with European Fascism”, Kejda Gjermani: Her Miscellaneous Musings, November 7, 2008.
See also: Michael Sells, Part 1, Breivik, Trifkovic and Radical Serb Ideology, a 12-page monograph published on July 25, 2011.
 Samantha Power, op. cit., p.254.
 Bat Ye’or, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis (Madison, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2005).
 Matt Carr, Unknown Soldiers: How Terrorism Transformed the Modern world (London: Profile, 2006)
 Adam Keller and Gush Shalom, “Drumont’s Jewish disciple”: an open letter to the Shocken Publishing House (Jerusalem), published in Kibush: Occupation Magazine (Israel), June 2, 2008.
 Jennifer Burns, Goddess of the Market: Ayn Rand and the American Right (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009), pp. 144, 274.
 Paul Gray, Nightmare of the Prophet: Why the Next Century Could Be Our Most Violent Yet (Melbourne: Freedom Publishing Company, 2004), pg. 169.
 Personal report from John Barich of Western Australia, who attended David Irvine’s talk.