The political hacks with an axe to grind are less vociferous.
The mainstream media have taken their foot off the ‘pro-refugee propaganda machine’ accelerator.
It’s now time to cast our minds back to the horrific attacks on revellers in Cologne on New Year’s Eve. It’s time to collate the facts and to examine the aftermath, for Germany and for Europe as a whole.
The Cologne attacks
New Year’s Eve in Cologne was, as is normal in modern cities, in buoyant mood early on New Year’s Eve, 2015. The crowds were filling into the city, many via the main train station.
Little did the revellers know but a problem was looming, women were being assaulted en masse and incident numbers were reaching crescendo stage as time ticked ever closer to midnight.
As reports filtered out, over a period of days, the true horror became apparent. Hundreds of girls had been assaulted, robbed and many raped. The perpetrators were roaming gangs of migrants, randomly tossing fireworks into crowds of revellers and using superior numbers to corner and assault women.
This was no ‘rough night’ in a busy city. These were organised gangs. Some even carried pages with vile ‘translated’ phrases they could use during their rampage.
Many other attacks were reported in nearby cities, some being covered up alarmingly by authorities caught red-handed by the uproar caused by the Cologne story breaking.
As it turns out, the numbers were massively under-estimated and a rabid left-wing press, backed by scared government officials, clamoured to shift blame away from the ‘mass immigration’ issue.
The facts as we know them
Numbers are varied, according to the political stance of the media outlet and the date of their source. As the days tick away, details have become more readily available, though still varying in quantifying the suspects.
The latest report from the NRW state police suggests that there are now only 30 suspects, and all are of North African origin, which is not entirely true if earlier leaks are any guide. That only 2 of the suspects are actually in jail is a little alarming.
In a statement to parliament today, NRW interior minister Ralf Jäger revealed although there were 1,049 victims, the police had only identified 30 suspects. All of the suspects are “North Africans”, 15 are officially asylum seekers — meaning they have not yet had their paperwork for indefinite leave to remain stamped by the German government — and two are under the age of 18.
So far, just two suspects are behind bars, 26 and 22 year old Algerians who were arrested and found to have stolen mobile phones from their victims in their possession. They stand accused of sexual offences — grabbing a woman around the waist and buttocks.
If we assume this is, as current German custom apparently is, a deliberately vague report, then I am still more likely to believe the figures quoted by Reuters (32 suspects), mainly because they broke this down and specified another police source. The two are not mutually exclusive, merely not exactly matching in their detail.
Some reports vary, but we can ascertain the following confirmable facts, if we assume the more reputable commentators are using reliable sources:
- 1049 victims, 659 were women.
- 821 complaints in Cologne, running to almost 1000 state-wide.
- 359 sexual offences recorded.
- Only 2 suspects (Algerians) are currently in jail, being caught in possession of stolen mobile phones.
- 32 suspects have been identified in total.
- 22 are ‘current’ asylum seekers.
- 9 are Algerian.
- 8 are Moroccan.
- 5 are Iranian.
- 4 are Syrian.
- 1 is an Iraqi.
- 1 is Serbian.
- 1 (arrested alongside a 16yo Moroccan) is Tunisian.
- 1 holds an American passport, no further details given.
- 2 are described as ‘German’, no further details given.
The German Police
German police came in for a lot of criticism as details of the sheer number of incidents became clear. Immediately the media took hold of the story, many witnesses aimed criticism at the police for a poor response on the night.
An hour into the New Year, Anna (name changed) and her friend were stuck in a huge crowd blocking the entrance to Cologne’s main train station when a quarrel erupted about a stolen wallet – this was a ruse, they later believed.
The two women tried to get through the crowd, but were pushed and squeezed from all sides, and suddenly “someone had his hands between my legs, but we managed to get away before anything worse happened,” Anna told DW.
Inside the station, Anna noticed that her cellphone was gone and went to the police station to report it stolen. “There were lots of girls, all crying uncontrollably,” she remembered. The police, clearly stressed, told her to report the theft elsewhere.
“I was really angry at the unfriendly treatment, it’s their responsibility to take action and the sheer number of complaints that night should have given them an idea of what was going on,” she said.
The police were badly under-equipped to deal with anything close to the number of incidents on the night, with a mere 143 officers on duty city-wide. They were unable to deal with the gangs of migrants who “refused to heed instructions” and the sheer number of victims requiring assistance.
The fault for this lack of policing lies squarely with the state home secretary, who rejected a request for additional manpower. Ironically, it was reported that 1,700 officers were drafted in to police a subsequent protest rally by Pegida a mere week later.
Cologne Police requested reinforcements on New Year’s Eve but were denied by Politician who later criticised them for performance.
“An official police report on the event leaked to the press has now confirmed a lack of manpower meant arrests could not be made, and officers were left unable to clear the square as offenders refused to heed instructions.”
The ‘official report’ leaked to Spiegel, lists several examples of police officer experiences:
- Officers were hindered from pushing their way through to people calling for help by tight clusters of men.
- A man is quoted as saying: “I’m a Syrian! You have to treat me kindly! Ms Merkel invited me.”
- Witnesses were threatened when they provided the names of perpetrators.
- People reportedly demonstratively tore up residence permits in front of the police, grinned and said: “You can’t touch me. I’ll just go back tomorrow and get a new one.” The report did not, however, confirm the authenticity of the documents.
- Orders for people to leave the premises were ignored; taking repeat offenders into custody was not possible due to lack of resources.
- After track closures due to overcrowding, people simply forced their way over adjacent platforms and train tracks back to the closed platform.
- Physical fights broke out as trains were being boarded; it was “every man for himself.”
In the end, heads had to roll. The Police Chief resigned under a cloud of criticism. That the police officers could actually have done anything more than they did is debateable. Certainly they were left short-handed by their political masters. Certainly they were influenced to ensure nothing was likely to reflect badly in the media regarding migrants, but they also seemed unable to accept the source of the problem themselves.
Pegida organised a protest in Cologne on Saturday 9th January, with around 4000 turning out to protest against letting more migrants into the country. The protest was peaceful initially, but quickly turned to clashes as police moved in with water cannon to disperse the crowds.
Many called the police response heavy handed, given they were less eager to wade into the marauding migrant gangs a week previous. There were also reports on social media that victims of the sexual assaults on NYE were in the crowd. None of this restored any credibility in a beleaguered police force, with allegations of cover-up appearing almost daily in some sections of the media.
Pegida were labelled as ‘far right’ from the outset, across European media. Less attention was paid to the ‘far left’ rival protest. A quick glance through Pegida’s Manifesto does not read like a ‘far right’ group at all, but not ONE single reference to their actual manifesto has ever reached mainstream press publication.
Protests have been spreading throughout Europe, with the Swiss banning any such events, Antwerp springing up an unexpected protest and now a UK branch of Pegida arranging a debut protest in Birmingham on 6th February. The policy of ignoring and slamming such protests will only work in the short term. The more we close avenues of legitimate and peaceful protest, the more we leave our country open to civil disobedience.
Civil unrest is bubbling Europe-wide, it would not take a massive spark to ignite.
Where is Germany now?
According to news reports today, Germany has “lost track” of up to 600,000 of the 1.1 million ‘migrants’ that Merkel had previously welcomed with open arms. This does not gain any new support from those national leaders under pressure to curb this migrant invasion by a wary general public at home.
Schengen is seriously under pressure and beginning to look dead, regardless of the defiance voiced by EU ministers, in the face of obvious contradiction. Germany extending border controls with Austria and suggesting this may be in place for two years flies directly in the face of the freedom of movement Schengen guaranteed.
Merkel is under pressure now politically. She is not even attending this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, favouring proximity to a torrent of trouble at home. How she deals with this crisis will decide the longevity of her tenure, given German federal elections are looming in the latter part of 2017.
Germany registered a staggering 1.1 million asylum applications by the end of last year – but its system does not record much more than an applicant country of origin.
A German Interior Ministry spokesman said delays in the processing of applications would account for some of the 600,000 missing.
But he also admitted some refugees may not have stayed in Germany and could have travelled to another EU member state, according to reports.
With the conveyor of migrants showing the exact opposite to slowing down, and with forecasts suggesting as many as 3 million migrants in 2016, Merkel now has to try to convince an increasingly sceptical EU membership to share the load and accept mass migrants into their respective countries.
This will inevitably mean some sort of strong-arming of the UK (and other unwilling nation states) to accept more migrants. The EU membership negotiations and the upcoming UK Referendum will be on everyone’s minds, but not maybe as sharply as the UK would prefer, given the distraction of a snowballing migrant crisis.
Something has to give, the Syrian conflict is gathering steam and a flood of needy Syrian refugees will need assistance. The UK has been leading the way with her efforts close to the Syrian borders, directly at the source of the refugee crisis, but this will be in vain if we cannot halt the flow heading towards Europe offering a change of demographic increasingly unwelcome Europe-wide.
Regardless of Davos, regardless of the Cologne cover-ups, Merkel has a problem. She can only deal with the sheer numbers involved in this migrant crisis if she can convince her neighbours and fellow EU members to shoulder some of the weight. This is an increasingly unpopular request back home for most, but all are aware something has to give if the EU is to withstand the pressure.
One thing is certain, the inactivity and inability to formulate any coherent policy to deal with the migrant crisis will not be an option in 2016. If the numbers treble and there is an increase in incident numbers, the very existence of the EU is in jeopardy.
References and further reading
- Over 1,000 Muslim Migrants in Germany Fight, Rape And Sexually Assault On New Year’s Eve.
- REVEALED: Full List Of 1,049 Victims, Crimes Committed During Cologne New Year’s Sex Assaults. Breitbart
- Cologne Assaults: Police Report Outlines ‘Chaotic and Shameful’ New Year’s Eve. Spiegel
- Cologne Attacks: ‘Women were screaming’. BBC
- Asylum seekers arrested as 31 suspects investigated for Cologne New Year’s Eve sexual assaults. Sydney Morning Herald
- German government ordered CCTV footage of Cologne train station NYE to be deleted
- The Cologne sexual assaults at the centre of German politics, explained. Vox
- Cologne police face fresh NYE cover-up claims. The Local.de
- Cologne police chief removed after New Year Eve attacks. BBC
- Final nail in the coffin for Schengen? Germany insists it will MAINTAIN border checks. The Express
- Pool Ban For Migrants After Women Harassed. Sky News
- After Cologne: let’s ‘dare to say how things really are’. Spiked Online
- Cologne Imam: Girls were raped because they were half naked and wore perfume. Breitbart