Austrian government coalition blows up over illegal 'sting' video

Published by carolyn on Sat, 2019-05-18 13:20

Hans Christian Strache speaks to the press after bowing to pressure and offering his resignation as Vice-Chancellor to Chancellor Kurz. Standing nearby is Labor Minister Beate Hartinger-Klein of the FPÖ.

By Carolyn Yeager

IT'S CONFIRMED. AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR SEBASTIAN KURZ has accepted the resignation offered by his Vice-Chancellor Hans-Christian Strache, bringing to an end the historic rule of the combined right-wing parties. This has occurred just days before the Europe-wide European Parliament elections. Leftists and centrists are calling for condemnation of all “far-right” parties and the defeat of their candidates.

The cause: a secretly taped video from a hidden camera at a resort in Ibiza, Spain in 2017, before the election that brought about the current right-wing coalition government. According to Bloomberg News, the meeting was with a woman claiming to be the wealthy niece of a Russian oligarch and the footage was later obtained by German publications Der Spiegel and Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Spiegel didn’t disclose how it obtained the video and said it doesn’t know the motives of the people who made it.

It seems to me a clear example of Russian interference in our elections in the West, and the far-left Der Spiegel is fully cooperating with Russian efforts to do so. The meeting took place while Strache and his wife were on vacation, with drinking and male boastfulness on display. Strache has not denied the meeting, but says the full video will show he pointed out to the woman that Austrian laws had to be obeyed, and that he never received donations from her or gave her any business.

This is a tragedy for the FPÖ (Freedom Party) rank and file who have faithfully supported the party and voted it into a high level of influence in the country. Strache also has long and tirelessly worked to increase the party's acceptance in the eyes of the Austrian people and Europe in general. How often have such men been brought down by allowing their penis to rule their brain, always fueled by both male ego and careless drinking. Many times, unfortunately and I am right now quite disgusted with Strache for his, as he termed it, "teenager" behavior. He has admitted to wanting to impress the very attractive young "Russian" woman. It is an occupational hazard of too many men, and it's a trap as old as the hills. That is exactly why Adolf Hitler chose not to drink.

Strache also stepped down from the leadership of the Freedom Party, being replaced by the popular transport minister Norbert Hofer. Hofer ran for Austrian President several years ago and almost won. The party is seeking to downplay the bad impression made by the video, and definitely exaggerated by the other parties (including in Germany) for their own political benefit. The FPÖ are investigating how and by whom it was made, emphasizing that it broke laws by being filmed.

The damage is done but the timing is important

It's important to remember that at the time this video was recorded, Strache was NOT in the government, had no government position at all, was simply the head of the Freedom Party. It was some months before the 2017 election in Austria that would propel the FPÖ to the 3rd highest vote total, just marginally behind the SPD (Social Democratic Party) which was the party currently in power at the time. It was not like he had the power to "give" anything to anyone.

Fellow populists show integrity

Twelve nationalist and populist-right parties from across Europe took part in a rally in the northern Italian city of Milan on Saturday (today).

According to Deutsche-Welle news, The Freedom Party (FPÖ) canceled its participation at the rally. However, Alternative for Germany's (AfD) Jörg Meuthen confirmed his continuing support for the FPÖ. "The FPÖ is our close partner," Meuthen said at the rally. He added that he would not "stab the FPÖ in the back" due to what he called a "singular issue."

The 12 far-right parties hope their Europe of Nations and Freedom (ENF) group will become the third-largest in Brussels.

Opinion polls predict that the League will go from six MEPs to 26, Le Pen's RN (National Rally) from 15 to 20 and the AfD from one to 11.


Austria, News


From Austria's FPÖ Interior Minister's Facebook page:


Dear friends
Yesterday the ÖVP unilaterally cancelled the intergovernmental cooperation. New elections are therefore expected to take place in September. According to the Chancellor, this is about Austria. However, the events of the last few hours and days show that this is not the case. Chancellor Kurz and the ÖVP are only concerned with power. Apparently also at the price of the demolition of a government that has the highest recognition among the population for its work for many years.

The private conversations of HC Strache and Johann Gudenus, illegally recorded in Ibiza, are catastrophic and irresponsible. It was undoubtedly a serious mistake to hold such talks and to behave in this way. The picture is disastrous. But it is [a mistake] of the two persons involved and not one of the party.

Both took responsibility for it and resigned from all the offices they held in the Republic and the FPÖ. That was exactly what HC Strache decided in several personal talks with Chancellor Kurz in order to be able to continue the government's work. In addition, points of content should be defined for a new start. Until Saturday morning there was agreement in the coalition. The Strache-explanation was agreed for 12 o'clock, then for 13 and/or at the latest 14 o'clock such of the chancellor. The FPÖ has kept its word.

Why did it not come as agreed? The ÖVP secretly pursued another, its true goal. It wanted to force my withdrawal as Minister of the Interior. That means: to continue governing, but without the FPÖ in the interior department and thus without that strict and consistent policy in matters of security and asylum, which is very much supported by large parts of the population and was the main guarantor for high popularity.
According to the demands of the ÖVP, which was only made in the course of Saturday, I should be transferred to another department in order to free the Ministry of the Interior for an occupation by the ÖVP. The developments around this printing scenario, built up by the ÖVP in the afternoon hours, are the reason why the Chancellor did not appear in front of the media at 2 p.m., as initially planned, but only at 7.45 p.m. The FPÖ has not given in. The horse trade was rejected.

The blue Ministry of the Interior was a thorn in the ÖVP's side for a long time. The main reason for this was the clear and consistent policy on asylum and immigration in Austria and at European level. In the questions of the deportation of apprentices with a negative asylum decision, in the rejection of the UN migration pact, in the clear rejection of the forced distribution of refugees from other countries in Austria and also in the establishment of the departure centres, the FPÖ prevailed against resistance from the ÖVP, which did not want any of this. The last confrontation was the question about the reduction of the recognition money for asylum seekers to 1.50 Euro per hour. The Chancellor had initially publicly supported the FPÖ demand. Finally, he wanted to get me to distance myself from the agreed reduction. I was not prepared to do so.

Kurz did not only want to control the content of asylum and migration policy by handing over the Ministry of the Interior. He also wanted to compensate for his party-political-strategic mistake in the government negotiations to hand over the black power hub of the Ministry of the Interior with all personnel options for action. The old ÖVP has never forgiven him for losing this black power network.

What is more, in the first one and a half years of the government we worked through issues - such as the new minimum security system - that were not easy for us liberals. Now, topics would have come up which would have meant deep cuts into the old red-black systems: for example, the reform of the matted forced representations of the Chamber of Commerce and Labour or the abolition of ORF compulsory fees through a new financing model. The ÖVP has also avoided this by dismissing the government.

Especially in these last days, the FPÖ has put Austria's interests before the interest of continuing to participate in a government that Sebastian Kurz, under pressure from his own party, recently pulled further and further away from its own programme.

The ÖVP has been in the election campaign since yesterday and its colour is again the well-known black - no longer the faded turquoise.
We are prepared for this conflict. And we are maintaining the course for which we Freedom Party have already been primarily responsible.
For our homeland Austria and its citizens - even more so now!

Your Herbert Kickl

Translated with

According to Deutsche Welle News:

The tabloid KP described Strache as a "promising politician," for whom there is no evidence of any illegal transactions.

"This type of trolling will undoubtedly weaken those politicians who call for rapprochement with Russia. The constant search [by the West] for a Russian link is nothing but a joke that citizens can only laugh about."

Rossiyskaya Gazeta cited colleagues of Strache who complained that the former vice-chancellor had been "filled up" with alcohol before being asked about possible illegal activities. "Behind this provocation are secret services that have secretly recorded everything."

Leading liberal business daily Kommersant pointed out that Strache insisted he had met a Latvian, not a Russian, but German media says the opposite," adding that the timing of the release of the video was likely "deliberately planned to keep Strache out of the upcoming European Parliament elections" on May 23-26.

I just found out that the Times magazine had published a story expecting the Labor party to win in Australia. The Labor party here resembles the Democrats in the US. All labor care is to spend, spend, spend. Liberal are more conservative and when I learned they won yesterday, we sighed in relief. Tom Morrison was demonized in such a  horrible way, it made me cringe. Surprising, by God's good grace, Labor lost and now Bill Shorten is stepping down as leader of the Labor party and many seats were left empty. The only states to vote for them is NSW and Victoria, a very enriched liberal states with a very dirvese culture of Asian, muslims and anything not white.

News agencies violated privacy rights by publishing a secretly filmed recording of the now-former vice-chancellor of Austria, an official German data protection agency claimed on Sunday.

Stefan Brink, who heads the Data Protection and Freedom of Information agency in the German region of Baden-Württemberg, believes the tape of Heinz-Christian Strache has far-reaching negative repercussions. "If we cheat political opponents, violate their privacy and even commit criminal wrongdoing, we ultimately harm our political culture and us all," he said in a post on Twitter.

German publications Spiegel and Süddeutsche Zeitung were targeted by the data protection commissioner after both outlets published the recording. Brink said that the press must adhere to rights of privacy and that there was a debate to be had in this area. The fact that the video was made covertly only adds to the wrongdoing, according to Brink.

Russia has been subverting the Far Right and Left in the West for years, Yuri Bezmenov-style, for years. It follows the strategy of targeting marginal political individuals and groups (who live at the peripheries of power) in the hope of their investment paying off in the long run. Salvini has been targeted, as has Le Pen, Farage, Wilders - and the FPÖ. Everyone in the mainstream understands this, but we nationalists don't, either because we're incredibly naive or (more likely) we approve of Russia and all its works.
Here's this from the Left-of-Center Lobe Log

No one has come forward to claim authorship of the video. It was reportedly offered to several German media outlets over the last few months, but no one bought it. The set-up has all the hallmarks of Russian kompromat — the beautiful woman, the vodka, the video proof. It might make sense for the Russians to arrange and record such a meeting — in order to have something to hold over a future Austrian politician. But it makes no sense for them to turn around and release it right now.
After all, Strache has been reliably pro-Russian. Before the 2017 election, he went to Moscow to broker a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party. The Freedom Party pledged to mediate an arrangement with newly elected U.S. president Donald Trump to ease economic sanctions against Russia.
Since 2017, Russia has made considerable headway in improving ties with Austria. The most visible symbol of this new relationship was Vladimir Putin dancing with Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl at her wedding last summer. The bride bowed at the end of the dance, as if to a visiting king. Unlike many other EU countries, Austria didn’t expel any Russian diplomats after the poisoning of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in Britain in March 2018. The two countries have signed energy deals, and Kurz promised to pursue a “step by step” reduction of sanctions against Russia when Austria occupied the EU’s rotating presidency last fall.
But not everything was hunky-dory between the two countries. In November, Austria outed a retired senior military officer as a Russian spy, prompting Kniessl to cancel a planned trip to Moscow. And neither Austria nor the EU has altered its stance on sanctions. In fact, in mid-March, the EU – along with the United States and Canada – imposed yet more sanctions on Russia connected to its “continued aggression in Ukraine.”
Russian officials have denied any connection to the video, falling back on their usual excuse: it was a provocation. But if the sting operators were indeed Russians, rather than some European intelligence outfit, perhaps the Kremlin was sending a warning to its allies in Europe that friendship comes with benefits — or else.

From the VDare piece on the European Parliament elections:

  • Austria: Incredibly, the center-right People’s Party of Sebastian Kurz managed to win a clear victory despite a “Russian collusion” scandal that managed to take down his nationalist coalition partners in Heinz-Christian Strache’s Freedom Party. More importantly, the Freedom Party did not collapse. It captured 26 percent in Austria’s 2017 national election, but only 18 percent today. Nonetheless, it finished third and didn’t completely fall apart. Don’t count the Freedom Party out yet. [The Latest: Croations back conservatives and center-leftby Antonio Calanni, The Herald, May 26, 2019]

VDare knows absolutely nothing about the European parties - all it knows or cares about is Britain. It is completely Anglo-oriented.

That is proved by the use of the word "incredible" in describing the victory of Kurz's Peoples Party in the wake of the video scandal [not 'Russian collusion', either]. Shows Kirkpatrick doesn't follow Austria at all - is only reading headlines.