Strawmanning & refusing Istanbul Convention

The Senate of the Czech Republic voted narrowly not to ratify the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. Only 34 of the 71 senators present voted in favour of ratification, which was not enough to achieve the required majority of 36 votes.

The failure to ratify the Convention is disappointing for victims of domestic violence in the Czech Republic, who will thus lose the tools for their protection that the international document provides. The majority of European countries have already ratified the Istanbul Convention, and the Czech Republic finds itself in a minority of countries that reject it.

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Nightmare instead of therapy – sexual predatory psychiatrist

A case of sexual abuse by one of the biggest personas of the Czech psychiatric community is now seeing its day in court. Dr. Jan Cimický, once a prominent psychiatrist who helped establish the field in the country (and also novelist, poet, translator, playwright and screenwriter), is currently on trial facing charges relating to 39 accounts of sexual assault and misconduct spanning decades.

At the beginning of the trial, the prosecutor read the text of the indictment for one whole hour.

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The (potentially) dangerous Society for the Defence of Freedom of Expression

Three years ago a new organization calling itself the Society for the Defence of Freedom of Expression (Společnost pro obranu svobody projevu) has emerged in the Czech Republic that is claiming to defend free speech, but a closer examination raise red flags about several aspects of this group that it may be more focused on spreading disinformation under the guise of free expression. While protecting civil liberties is certainly laudable, here are some of the problems that skeptics see.

Problematic members
The founding members and advisors of the group have extensive ties to figures known for promoting pro-Russian propaganda and conspiracy theories. The society was founded in 2021 by figures like game developer Daniel Vávra and businessman Vlastimil Veselý. From the start, questions were raised about their true intentions. Vávra has a history of sharing discredited conspiracies and has shared misinformation from pro-Kremlin politician Václav Klaus Jr. in the past, while Veselý’s social media is rife with pro-Kremlin propaganda, COVID denialism, and attacks on democratic leaders and institutions. Advisory board members like Petr Drulák and Jana Zwyrtek Hamplová are well-known for parroting Russian talking points, such as denying war crimes in Bucha. Other advisors like Ivo Budil and Zbyněk Passer have spread conspiracies and supported pro-Russian candidates. Given these backgrounds, it is reasonable to question whether the group’s true aim is defending free speech or more about providing a platform for certain types of disinformation.

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Statement ot the Atropos Skeptics Society on the activities of Dominik Duka

note: Originally this statement was intended only for the Czech audience, but we believe that Mr Duka is such a public figure that we should publish this statement here as well.

We are deeply concerned about the unceasing efforts of former Archbishop of Prague Dominik Duka to influence public and political discourse in our country.

Mr. Duka has long been guilty of numerous excesses in his public appearances and actions, and his statements and attitudes promote intolerance, divide society, and constitute interference by the Church in the affairs of a democratic state.

Mr Duka has repeatedly shown that he clings to dogmas and hierarchies of power instead of the true Christian values of love, compassion and forgiveness. His rigid positions on abortion or homosexuality go against the tide of real moral progress for humanity.

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Cardinal Duka strikes again!

Dominik Duka, the former Archbishop of Prague, has řeč ently made more controversial statements that reveal his outdated and intolerant views.

In a Facebook post, Duka compared defenders of “traditional marriage” to victims of Nazism and Communism. He stated that people advocating exclusively heterosexual marriage face persecution akin to those oppressed by totalitarian regimes in the 20th century. This highly insensitive analogy appalled many, including the Jewish community.

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Cardinal Duka’s sharp turn of mind

Czech and long-time pro-Russian President Miloš Zeman has performed an unexpected and somewhat desperate somersault of opinion, calling his friend Putin a lunatic, hoisting the Ukrainian flag at Prague Castle, and planning to award Ukrainian President Zelensky the Czech Republic’s highest state honour, the Order of the White Lion.
A number of leading Czech officials, including the presidents of both chambers of Parliament, the president of the Constitutional Court, and at least three university rectors, have announced that they will not attend the event of the awarding of state honours because of Zeman’s past warm relations with Vladimir Putin’s Russia and his frequent attempts to discredit Czech intelligence services warning of Russia’s hostile actions in the country.

Has our “favourite” Cardinal Dominik Duka woken up together with the President?
Let us recall how, at the end of 2018, he responded to the question of whether or not he supported the arrival of fifty orphans – refugees from Syria – to the Czech Republic:
“The Archbishop of Olomouc and the Charity of the Czech Republic are dealing with these matters. (…) I am unable to intervene in this debate on the merits.”
“Yes, generally speaking, we all know that it is necessary to help those in need, but on the other hand, we also know that this is to some extent a political struggle these days. For that reason, I cannot answer.”

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Electroacupuncture hits the fan of Czech media

For the last month, the Czech media have been running sensational articles about a new polio therapy practiced by Peter Olšák, MD, at the world-famous Vesna Children’s Hospital in Janské Lázně. On February 1, Czech Radio ran the headline “Czech doctor treats paralysis with a combination of acupuncture and electrotherapy. His method is in demand abroad”. A few days later, Dr. Olšák was sitting in the Czech Television studio and talking about “his” method of electroacupuncture.

It should be noted at the outset that for some reason acupuncture has been a lege artis method in the Czech Republic since 1981 and its practitioners are associated in the Czech Medical Acupuncture Society, which operates within the Czech Medical Association of J. E. Purkyně. Acupuncture can be performed by physicians who have obtained specialisation in one of the clinical disciplines, including general medicine, and have undergone special training.
The method of electroacupuncture has been used in patients for more than five years and in children for less than three years.

Olšák called his method Active ENF, or Electroacupuncture Neuromuscular Facilitation. In it, he pricks the patient with acupuncture needles and then uses his device to deliver an electric current to the acupuncture needles. This is perceived by patients as a tingling sensation, and with greater intensity there are also visible muscle contractions.
“The current helps pathways in the body that are damaged to function better.” Did he mean meridians?

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Cardinal Duka speaks again when he should remain silent

Czech Cardinal Dominic Duka has responded to the latest developments in the case of the accusations against Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, who has been accused of neglecting to investigate four cases of sexual harassment of minors by the clergy while he was Archbishop of Munich.
Such a reaction is not surprising, since Duka himself was the subject of a criminal complaint for abetting the perpetrators of sexual violence in the Dominican Order, which Duka led at the time.
He called his defence of the Pope “Munich Betrayal for the Second Time”, which for some unfathomable reason equates the Munich Agreement with a cover-up of sexual abuse. Duka wants to call the Archbishop of Munich, his curia and the President of the German Bishops’ Conference “to account for the defamation and tarnishing of the reputation of Pope Benedict XVI”. Such a call for accountability at a time when Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, in his letter, expresses his regret for the pain of victims of sexual abuse in the Church is downright chutzpah from a man with Duke’s past.

Cardinal Duka (right), photo by Jiří Bubeníček, Wikipedia

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