For the second time, New Year’s Eve events in Cologne have been used to spread deliberate lies and exaggerations about refugees, and to justify the construction of a police state.
In 2015, the extent of pickpocketing and bullying was massively exaggerated and exploited for a campaign against refugees and Muslims. To this day, no hard evidence has been produced to justify the claims of mass sexual assaults.
This year, the police conducted a large-scale operation with 1,700 state police, 300 federal police and 600 Cologne city security guards deployed to check IDs and harass foreign-looking men.
Police circulated reports about several hundred “Nafri” (North Africans) having their IDs checked at the city’s main railway station. They stopped four trains in Cologne Deutz and forced passengers to get off, even though there had been no assaults, according to Deutsche Bahn.
Later, police commissioner Jürgen Mathies apologized for the use of the racist term “Nafri.” However, he did not deny the reports that over 2,000 North Africans had “banded together” in Cologne, many of whom had been at the main rail station last year.
On the contrary, according to Spiegel Online, the police chief reported, “the men had travelled from all over Germany and arrived almost simultaneously. The police wanted to check whether there had been any collusion and to check the particulars of those present.”
From this, leading politicians then blathered about a “conscious showdown with the police”. The Saxony state interior minister, Markus Ulbig (CDU, Christian Democratic Union), demanded clarification: “I am concerned about the fact that there was a large gathering of young men from the Maghreb states of Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria in several cities.” According to Ulbig one must pose the question, “are these just spontaneous or random gatherings, or organized meetings?”
WDR radio announced, “There they were again, hordes of men intent on violence.” Christian Social Union (CSU) General Secretary Andreas Scheuer warned in the tabloid Bild, “We cannot allow starry-eyed multiculturalism to pose a security risk for our population.” And on the web site of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the blogger “Don Alphonso” posed to “Nafri” the question: “Why are you and your friends a cause for ‘aggression’?”
Calls for more police, more video surveillance and the faster deportation of rejected North African asylum seekers gained hurricane strength.
It has now emerged that such agitation was based on outright lies. On January 13, the Cologne police “corrected” their report about the men whose IDs they had checked on New Year’s Eve.
While immediately after New Year’s Eve they had spoken of 2,000 “young men of North African appearance” who had come to the main railway station in Cologne and to the station in Cologne Deutz, now they disclosed that they had only checked the IDs of 674 people. Of a total of 2,500 ID checks carried out by the police, it appears the same people were checked several times.
Of the 425 persons whose nationality the police could so far establish, just 30 came from North Africa—17 from Morocco and 13 from Algeria. Ninety-nine were Iraqis, 94 Syrians, 48 Afghans and 46 Germans. According to the evidence available to the investigators concerning those whose IDs were checked, there was not a single suspect from New Year’s Eve 2015.
So there can be no possibility of a “banding together,” a “showdown with the police” or of a conspiracy to commit crimes by several thousand men. According to one investigator, quoted by the Kölnische Rundschau, what is most likely is that many men from various refugee centres in Germany, or in the state, simply knew each other and had arranged to celebrate New Year’s Eve 2016 in the nearest big city.
The media, which had reported extensively on the police raids on New Year’s Eve, made little or no mention of the police “correction.” Although they eagerly express their ire about “fake news” on the Internet, when they themselves are caught spreading lies they bury it as quickly as possible.