Kategorie-Archiv: invaders

We are not helping desperate migrants but just smugglers to bring islamofascists into our countries

What is happening in the 300-mile stretch of sea between Sicily and Libya, day in and day out — in other words, what ‘we’ are doing there — is beyond reasonable doubt insane.

A sane person would assume that the 181,436 migrants (a new record) who made it by sea to Italy last year had done so under their own steam in flimsy fishing boats and dinghies at least some of the way across the Mediterranean. This, after all, is the message aid agencies and governments put out.

In fact, every one of those 181,436 was picked up by EU and non-government aid-agency vessels off the Libyan coast just outside the 12-mile territorial limit, then ferried across to Europe. The people-smuggler boats — more often than not these days dangerously unseaworthy rubber dinghies — chug out towards the 12-mile limit, send out a distress signal, and Bob’s your uncle.

Nearly all the migrants arriving in Italy are young men from West Africa, not refugees. They have the cash for a ticket on a smuggler boat (€1,500, give or take) so are not destitute. That’s getting on for £300 million in ticket sales last year. West African migrants are big business.

The justification for the presence of the EU and aid-agency fleets in the southern Mediterranean is to save lives, and in the case of the EU’s Operation Sophia to arrest people smugglers and destroy their boats. If the fleets did not patrol, there would be far fewer deaths, because far fewer migrants would dare to put to sea. There would be far fewer people smugglers. Yet thanks to this enormous rescue fleet, the Italian interior ministry expects 250,000 more migrant boat people.

The madness does not end here. There’s reason to suspect that the people smugglers are actually in direct contact with aid agencies, which is why they are so often first on the scene to rescue migrant boats — and this is a criminal offence.

Last week, the chief prosecutor in Catania, Carmelo Zuccaro, revealed details of an investigation he has just begun amid growing suspicions of collusion between the agencies and the people smugglers. Where is the line, he asked, between aid and facilitation?

He told Italian MPs: ‘The NGOs often work near to the coast and territory of Libya. We have calculated that in the last four months of 2016, 30 per cent of the rescues which landed at Catania were carried out by these organisations. In the first months of 2017, that percentage has grown to at least 50 per cent.’

This Sicilian judge said the country with the most aid agencies operating in the central Mediterranean was Germany, with five organisations and six vessels (one costing £350,000 per month to keep at sea — over £4 million a year).

‘We must solve the problem of where the money comes from to sustain such high costs — who are the sources of this finance? We shall be doing checks on the NGOs who bring migrants into our jurisdiction. It is notable that the NGO ships are nearly always the nearest to the location of the emergency.

‘It’s not a crime to invade the waters of a foreign country to pick them up. What is punishable is bringing them to Italy without respecting the rules of engagement… vessels should take migrants to the nearest port, which is certainly not Italy.’ The nearest safe port, in fact, would be in Tunisia.

Last month the EU’s border agency, Frontex, also accused aid agencies of activities which ‘help criminals achieve their objectives at minimum cost, strengthen their business model by increasing the chances of success’.

Its annual report says the smugglers now hardly bother to telephone the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre in Rome to be picked up, preferring to call aid-agency vessels directly. The reason is obvious: these people will not arrest them or confiscate their vessels.

Since June 2016, many boats have been rescued near the Libyan coast by aid-agency vessels ‘without any prior distress call’, suggesting the rendezvous has been pre-arranged. In Italy, the lynch-mob principle of ‘he must have done it’ is enough to secure convictions, so prosecutions are a distinct possibility.

But the only way to solve the migrant crisis — as the Frontex report says — is to stop all these West Africans getting to Libya. This would ensure too that the aid-agency humanitarians are not led into further temptation.

Der Schweizer Migrationschef Mario Gattiker verhalf einer rechtskräftig ausgewiesenen eritreischen Familie zu einem Asylverfahren.

Der Schweizer Migrationschef Mario Gattiker verhalf einer rechtskräftig ausgewiesenen eritreischen Familie zu einem Asylverfahren.

Im Widerspruch. Mario Gattiker setzt die offizielle Haltung seiner Chefin Simonetta Sommaruga offenbar beliebig ausser Kraft.

Im Widerspruch. Mario Gattiker setzt die offizielle Haltung seiner Chefin Simonetta Sommaruga offenbar beliebig ausser Kraft. Bild: Keystone

Eigentlich ist die Geschichte von Saba A.* ein klarer Dublin-Fall. Zu diesem Schluss kam zumindest das Staats­sekretariat für Migration (SEM). Auf das Aslygesuch von Saba A. ging es gar nicht erst ein und wies die eritreische Mutter und ihre drei minderjährigen Kinder nach Italien aus. Inzwischen ist allerdings nichts mehr klar: Saba A. und ihre Kinder sind illegal wieder in die Schweiz gereist und das SEM hat ein Asylverfahren eröffnet. Dies offenbar auf Geheiss von SEM-Direktor Mari Gattiker.

Rückblende. Saba A. reist im Sommer 2015 mit ihren Kindern von Italien, wo die Behörden sie in einem Zentrum untergebracht hatten, in die Schweiz und reicht ein Asylgesuch ein. Dabei gibt sie an, sie wolle nicht in Italien bleiben, weil es dort für sie keine Unterstützung gebe. Sie wolle nicht, dass ihre Kinder auf der Strasse leben müssten. Zudem habe sie drei erwachsene Kinder, die bereits in der Schweiz seien. Die Behörden platzieren die Familie in der Asylunterkunft im bernischen Zollikofen, wo die beiden jüngeren Kinder die Sekundarschule besuchen. Am 23. September 2015 entscheidet das SEM, dass Italien und nicht die Schweiz für das Asylgesuch zuständig ist und verfügt die Wegweisung der Familie. Saba A. wehrt sich dagegen und reicht mit Unterstützung von Hilfsorganisationen Beschwerde gegen den Entscheid ein. Das Bundesverwaltungsgericht unter dem Vorsitz von SP-Richterin Nina Spälti weist die Beschwerde am 17. August 2016 ab.

Saba A. akzeptiert den Entscheid nicht und erhält – erneut mit Unterstützung von Hilfsorganisationen – bei der Stadtberner Kirchgemeinde «Frieden» Unterschlupf. Weil die Frau Kinder habe, die bereits ein Bleiberecht in der Schweiz hätten, habe man ihr Kirchen- asyl gewährt, sagt Kirchgemeindepräsident Robert Ruprecht. «Wir wollten der Familie eine Chance geben, damit abschliessend geklärt wird, ob sie wirklich nicht hier bleiben kann.»

Abgetaucht oder alleingelassen?

In den Morgenstunden des 29. Novembers holte die Polizei Saba A. und die Kinder aus dem Pfarrhaus ab. «Wir waren zwar enttäuscht, dass entgegen ersten Zusicherungen niemand von uns die Familie auf der Reise nach Italien begleiten durfte», sagt Kirchgemeindepräsident Ruprecht. «Wir akzeptieren aber selbstverständlich den Rechtsstaat und haben uns den Behörden nicht widersetzt.» Die Polizisten bringen Saba A. und die Kinder zum Flughafen nach Genf. Dort besteigt die Familie das Flugzeug nach Mailand. Für die Reise hat Saba A. 270 Euro Zehrgeld erhalten.

Dazu, wie es der Familie in Mailand erging, sind die Schilderungen widersprüchlich. «Die italienischen Behörden haben uns zugesichert, dass sie die Familie am Flughafen in Empfang nehmen und kindergerecht unterbringen», erinnert sich einer der Polizisten. Die Zeitung Der Bund war offenbar telefonisch im Kontakt mit dem älteren Sohn und liess ihn am 6. Dezember in einem Artikel zu Wort kommen. Der 15-Jährige schildert, wie die italienischen Behörden die Familie völlig im Stich gelassen hätten. Ein Kollege habe ihnen zwar Unterschlupf gewährt. Aus Angst vor Problemen schliesse er sie aber in der Wohnung ein, wenn er morgens zur Arbeit gehe. Das SEM hingegen erklärte, die italienischen Behörden hätten die Familie ordnungsgemäss empfangen. Diese habe jedoch den Transfer zur vorgesehenen Unterkunft nicht abgewartet, habe sich entfernt und sei für die italienischen Behörden nicht mehr auffindbar gewesen.

Illegale Rückkehr

Tatsache ist: Wenige Wochen nach der Ausschaffung kehren Saba A. und ihre Kinder in die Schweiz zurück. Illegal, denn die Schweizer Behörden hatten ein Einreiseverbot gegen die Familie ausgesprochen. Bei Dublin-Fällen ist dies üblich, um zu verhindern, dass rechtskräftig abgewiesene Asylbewerber postwendend zurückkehren und erneut ein Gesuch stellen. Wie Saba A. trotz des Einreiseverbots zurück nach Bern gelangte, ist unklar. Fachleute vermuten, dass die Familie von Helfern in die Schweiz geschleust worden ist: Bei den derzeit strengen Kontrollen an der Südgrenze sei ein Durchkommen mit dem Zug fast unmöglich.

Inzwischen lebt Saba A. wieder in der Asylunterkunft im bernischen Zollikofen, wo ihre Kinder seit dem 9. Januar wieder die Schule besuchen. Die neue Anwältin der Familie hat am 6. Januar beim SEM ein Wiedererwägungsgesuch eingereicht. Und nun kommt es zur erstaunlichen Wende: Das SEM prüft nun doch das Asylgesuch der Familie – trotz rechtskräftiger Wegweisung und trotz illegaler Rückkehr. Saba A.s Anwältin will sich weder dazu äussern noch den Kontakt zur Familie herstellen. Alle Involvierten hätten vereinbart, keine Auskunft zu geben. Sie gibt lediglich an, dass sie SEM-Direktor Mario Gattiker Saba A.s Anliegen persönlich habe unterbreiten können. Beim SEM heisst es auf Anfrage, man habe «aufgrund der aktuellen Aktenlage» entschieden, das Asylverfahren in der Schweiz durchzuführen. Konkreter dürfe man aus Gründen des Datenschutzes nicht werden.

«Rechststaatlich bedenklich»

Pikant: Damit unterläuft Gattiker zumindest die offizielle Haltung seiner Vorgesetzten, SP-Bundesrätin Simonetta Sommaruga. In einem Brief an die Kirchgemeinde «Frieden» vom 14. Dezember 2016 erklärte die Justizministerin, dass Italien für das Gesuch der eritreischen Familie zuständig sei. Das Bundesverwaltungsgericht habe sich mit der Situation von Saba A. und ihren Kindern ebenfalls einlässlich auseinandergesetzt und den Entscheid des SEM gestützt. «Aufgrund der Gewaltentrennung ist es mir nicht möglich, ein Urteil der letzten Instanz aufzuheben.» Zu einer glaubwürdigen und humanitären Asylpolitik gehöre, dass Personen, die den Schutz der Schweiz nicht benötigen, weil ein anderer Staat für die Prüfung ihrer Asylgesuche zuständig sei, die Schweiz wieder verlassen müssten.

Durch das Kirchenasyl hätten sich Saba A. und ihre Kinder den Behörden entzogen. Sommaruga: «Es wäre rechtsstaatlich bedenklich, wenn durch diese Vorgehensweise in Einzelfällen vom SEM oder dem Bundesverwaltungsgericht als zumutbar beurteilte Wegweisungen vereitelt würden.» Faktisch ist aber genau dies geschehen.

*Name der Redaktion bekannt (Basler Zeitung)

Erstellt: 25.03.2017, 10:46 Uhr

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Service

Our Readiness for a Terrorist Attack Is Dangerously Low

Updated on February 20 at 4:40 p.m. ET

President Donald Trump has made national security a centerpiece of his agenda, justifying policies ranging from a travel ban to close relations with Russia. But the United States is now more vulnerable to attack than it was before Trump took office, according to the man who served as George W. Bush’s crisis manager on 9/11.

“In terms of a major terrorist attack in the United States or on U.S. facilities, I think we’re significantly less ready than we were on January 19,” said Richard Clarke, who served on the National Security Council in the George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush administrations. “I think our readiness is extremely low and dangerously low. Certainly [government] agencies at a professional level will respond [to an attack], but having a coordinated interagency response is unlikely given the current cast of characters [in the administration] and their experience.”

Clarke’s conclusion is based in part on the upheaval on the National Security Council, an organization created in 1947 within the White House to coordinate national-security policymaking across the federal government (the council’s purpose and structure have changed over time, with the staff ballooning from dozens of people under George H.W. Bush to hundreds under Barack Obama). In recent days, that upheaval has included the resignation of National-Security Adviser Michael Flynn and the dismissal of a senior official on the council for publicly criticizing the president. With a major review of America’s strategy to fight ISIS coming due at the end of the month, the national-security adviser position lay vacant for a week, after the leading candidate to replace Flynn turned down the job. On Monday, Trump named H.R. McMaster, a prominent military strategist, as Flynn’s successor.

“I’ve never seen anything quite like it,” said Clarke, who spent 30 years in government, of the current turbulence at the National Security Council. George H.W. Bush replaced much of the staff from Ronald Reagan’s council, Clarke noted, but the new people were in place within the first few days of Bush’s administration. (Over the weekend, an anonymous Trump official told CNN that it was “dead wrong” to say the National Security Council was in chaos and ill-prepared for a crisis, noting that the council has been involved in the administration’s designation of Venezuela’s vice president as a drug kingpin and in arranging the president’s string of phone calls and meetings with world leaders.)

Clarke’s assessment is also based on the background of the council’s leaders; Flynn’s deputy, K.T. McFarland, was previously a Fox News analyst and last worked in government as a public-affairs official in the Reagan administration, over 30 years ago. Tom Bossert, Trump’s homeland-security adviser, has experience responding to natural disasters, Clarke pointed out, and the military veterans (including McMaster) in contention for Flynn’s position when we spoke on Sunday had a wealth of combat experience. But that’s different than ensuring that a hulking government bureaucracy reacts swiftly and effectively to an incident like a terrorist attack. “I don’t know that there’s a single person [on Trump’s National Security Council] who’s ever had a senior position managing a national-security crisis out of Washington,” Clarke said.

Before Vice President Dick Cheney and National-Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice asked Clarke—then the council’s national coordinator for security and counterterrorism—to act as a crisis manager on September 11, Clarke had been involved in responding to dozens of national-security crises. And he’d participated in many “tabletop exercises”—simulations of emergencies of the kind that the Obama administration staged for several top Trump officials shortly before Inauguration Day.

“You have all the senior people who would actually have a role in a crisis and you get them all together” for a few hours, Clarke said, in describing the exercises. “You have news reports, intelligence reports. … [The participants] get false reporting, because in a real crisis a lot of the reporting you get is not true. And you don’t have time to chase it down; information just bubbles up fast. The normal filters that verify things are taken off. … People are calling them from other [parts of] the world, congressmen are calling them, U.S. ambassadors are asking for guidance, U.S. commanders overseas are asking for guidance. You get intelligence reports that things are about to happen. … You try to divert their attention from the real thing they should be focusing on. You give them really hard policy choices that they probably haven’t thought of before.” The participants come away with a list of ways to improve on their performance.

As a result, on 9/11, “I knew what to do,” Clarke told me. “I quickly had the heads of all the agencies up on TV screens [in the Situation Room]. And I knew from playing games of major terrorist incidents what were some of the things we had to do and who had the power to do them. So, for example, we immediately instituted the continuity-of-government system, which turned on alternative headquarters in case headquarters in Washington were blown up or disconnected. We immediately grounded all the aircraft in the air. We immediately closed all the ports and border crossings. We called up [Federal Emergency Management Agency] units to help with disaster cleanup and recovery. We locked down all the embassies around the world. We put all U.S. military forces on high alert. There’s a whole checklist of things that we went through. And we had done those exact same things in the exercise.”

The National Security Council, Clarke explained, is like an “orchestra conductor,” harmonizing the work of agencies ranging from the FBI to FEMA to the Federal Aviation Administration. “There was a tendency in the [George W.] Bush administration to think of the [National Security Council] as a foreign-policy organization. It’s not. That’s the State Department,” Clarke said. “There appears to be a tendency in this administration to think of [the council] as an extension of the military. And it’s not. National security is a very broad spectrum of capabilities of civilian, military, and intelligence agencies.”

Is such an elaborate interagency process really necessary? I asked. After all, if it comes in the wake of a terrorist attack, the immediate damage has already been done.

“You say the terrorist attack has already happened. Maybe it hasn’t,” Clarke responded. “Maybe you are getting information that a major terrorist attack is about to occur. That’s when the decisions get really tough. Do you believe the information? How do you corroborate the information? What are you willing to do in light of that information? One of the exercises we played frequently was: credible intelligence reports that a nuclear bomb was being smuggled into an American city. Do you evacuate that city? Evacuating a major American city will create chaos and deaths. What if the reports are wrong? And if the terrorists see you evacuating the city, maybe they’ll put the bomb off early.”

“Then, when the terrorist attack does start, you never know whether it’s the only one that’s going to happen,” Clarke continued. “They tend very often to come in pairs, or groups. When we started on 9/11, the Pentagon had not been hit. [Our] meeting was going on when the Pentagon was hit. I could see people on the TV screen in the Pentagon reacting as the building was shaking. First reports are always wrong: We were told that there were four other aircraft in the air. So we expected additional attacks, and we had to scramble fighter planes and evacuate buildings. We evacuated not only the White House. We evacuated all federal buildings, not only in Washington but around the country. We evacuated all the high-rise buildings we could on a voluntary basis around the country.”

Clarke is concerned not just with the Trump administration’s preparedness for a national-security incident—be it an act of terrorism or a provocation from a country like Iran or North Korea—but also with its approach thus far to national-security threats. In the first month of a typical administration, Clarke said, the National Security Council’s Principals Committee—a kind of “board of directors”—would prioritize issues to develop policy on and then hand the list off to the council’s Deputies Committee, which would organize working groups that consult with government agencies and produce policy proposals. Eventually, the president might approve those proposals as policy. As an example of how this process works, he cited a sarin-gas attack in Japan in 1995, which prompted President Clinton to ask Clarke and his colleagues for a study on the risk of terrorists using chemical and biological weapons in the United States. Within a few weeks, National Security Council staffers concluded that the U.S. was unprepared for that form of terrorism, and suggested a plan and a budget for a training program that was ultimately rolled out in 157 U.S. cities.

“I have never seen in anything that has happened in the last month any [such] analysis,” Clarke said. (He noted that the standard National Security Council process has been bypassed before, as when Cheney and Bush’s defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, hatched plans for the Iraq War. In his memoir, Clarke strongly criticized this decision, and claimed that the Bush White House ignored his warnings about al-Qaeda prior to 9/11.) Trump officials appear to “begin with an assumption that they know what the problems are, and very often it doesn’t seem like the problems that they’re trying to address on a priority basis actually exist. They just think they do. They think there are Mexicans pouring across the border when, in fact, the traffic is in the opposite direction. They think there’s a problem with refugees from [the banned] seven countries coming into the United States and staging terrorist attacks when that’s never happened.”

“It’s important to do the analysis, not in a completely value-free way, but in an open-minded way that … gathers data and shows empirically what the problem is and then designs options to deal with real problems,” Clarke said. What he’s observed of the Trump administration over the last month is rather different than open-minded: a “blind stumbling into things” is how he described it.

Trump, die Schweden und der Hochmut

Von Ulrich Schödlbauer.

Medientheoretikern sollte die Bemerkung, die dem amerikanischen Präsidenten über das Einwanderungsland Schweden entschlüpfte, ein gefundenes Fressen sein – nicht, weil der dahinterstehende Sachverhalt ihnen zu denken gäbe, sondern weil sie so plastisch den Satz illustriert, den man in dieser Sparte so gern als theoretischen Urknall zelebriert: Das Medium ist die Botschaft.

Leicht formalisiert und wenig wahlkaumpftauglich aufbereitet, sagte der Präsident:

„Es gibt, als Folge unkontrollierter Masseneinwanderung, mehr Kriminalität auf Europas Straßen, mehr Vergewaltigungen, Diebstahl und Aufruhr, eine Häufung terroristischer Ereignisse und die gestrige Sendung über Schweden, die uns die Augen über das Musterland der nördlichen Hemisphäre öffnete, über das wir uns bisher nur hehre Vorstellungen machen durften.“

Die Crux bestand darin, dass, wer die Sendung vom Vorabend nicht gesehen hatte, denken durfte, vielleicht sogar musste, etwas Furchtbares müsse an besagtem Vorabend in Schweden geschehen sein, während es doch nur in Fox News, dem Leib- und Magensender des Präsidenten, je nach ideologischer Lesart, zu sehen gewesen oder geschehen war. „You look at what’s happening in Germany, you look at what’s happening last night in Sweden“ – die allgegenwärtige Phrase deckt das Ereignis und die Sendung gleichermaßen ab, beim Präsidenten und beim Volk, bei Medienmachern und Medienkonsumenten.

Wohl wahr: Die Sendung ist das Ereignis und je nachdem, welchen Sender und welche Sendung einer gerade gesehen hat, lebt er, der medialen Verfasstheit unserer Alltagswelt (soweit sie über den privaten Kleinkram hinausreicht) sei Dank, in einer anderen Welt.

Eine der beliebten Vorlagen: Seht den Schwätzer!

Man darf daher weder den Medien noch den Repräsentanten des schwedischen Staates sowie der schwedischen Gesellschaft die empört-belustigte Ahnungslosigkeit post dictum abkaufen, mit der sie die Aufmerksamkeit des Publikums von der in Rede stehenden Sache weg auf den präsidialen Neuling zurückspiegelten. Die Bemerkung des früheren Außenministers Carl Bildt, „Was hat er geraucht?“, bedient sich, analytisch gesprochen, derselben sprachlichen Möglichkeit, zwischen realem Sachverhalt und medialem Ereignis zu switchen, die bereits der Redner für sich in Anspruch nahm.

Ein – allerdings gravierender – Unterschied liegt im Adressatenkreis: Trump sprach vor einer Menge, die gewillt war, sich von ihm über die verheerenden Weltzustände in Erregung versetzen zu lassen, der schwedische Altstar servierte einer Twitter-Gemeinde, die sich für aufgeklärt hält und aus Grundsatz über den Kleine-Leute-Erregungen steht, eine der in diesem Medium so beliebten Vorlagen zur weltweiten Verbreitung: Seht den Schwätzer! Dass auch darin eine Umkehrung liegt, da in der Regel als Schwätzer gilt, wer nicht zur Sache redet, geht in der Pointe unter – nicht zur Sache zu reden, sondern Emotionen zu schüren, und sei es durch fake news, gilt schließlich als Markenzeichen des Laiendarstellers im Weißen Haus und soll es unter allen Umständen bleiben.

Was ist ein „gefundenes Fressen“? Ein Ausdruck der Alltagssprache, über den sich amüsieren oder erregen darf, wer will oder wer keine Ahnung hat, was er bedeutet. Immerhin ist er im deutschen Sprachschatz so fest verankert, dass, wer sich über ihn aus Weltanschauungsgründen mokiert, zu erkennen gibt, dass er entweder kein native speaker ist oder sich nicht zu benehmen weiß, da er gegen eine elementare kulturelle Regel verstößt: Mach dein Gegenüber nicht ohne Grund lächerlich.

Gegen diese Grundregel zu verstoßen gilt neuerdings als links, schick und unendlich aufgeklärt, es zerstört aber nur Gesellschaft. Die Repräsentanten der schwedischen Gesellschaft wissen sehr gut, wovon Trump vor seinen Anhängern redete. Sie ziehen es allerdings vor, die Maske der Heuchelei vorzuhalten und der Welt zu versichern, wer so über sie rede, sei seines Verstandes nicht mächtig. Ihr Problem besteht darin, dass jedem, buchstäblich jedem Bewohner dieses Planeten, der aus Fernsehsendungen Informationen bezieht, der switch des Präsidenten aus eigener Sprecherfahrung geläufig und daher nicht der Rede wert ist – eine kleine Ungenauigkeit, von denen es in jeder Politikerrede wimmelt.

Soviel Hochmut in den Worten

Jeder, der einmal den Fernsehknopf betätigte, weiß, dass sie heucheln. Jeder, der weiß, welche Probleme die Masseneinwanderung den liberalen Staaten Europas beschert, müsste den Kopf schütteln über soviel Hochmut in den Worten von Vertretern eines Staates, der es auf dem Höhepunkt der Flüchtlingskrise vorzog, das Schengen-Abkommen partiell außer Kraft zu setzen und seine Grenzen für Flüchtlinge hochzufahren – vermutlich, weil die Party gerade im Gange war und man sich nicht beim Küssen stören lassen wollte.

Die Frage ist also, warum sie heucheln. Unter den Ländern Westeuropas ist Schweden das Land der doppelten Wahrheit, wie man sie bisher vor allem aus Diktaturen, aus Staaten im Kriegszustand und Ibsen kannte: unvereinbar, unversöhnlich, unaussprechlich, jedenfalls sofern man sich nicht auf die Seite der öffentlich Geächteten begeben möchte. Das mag unter Schweden funktionieren, aber für das befreundete Ausland kann und darf es keinen Grund geben, sich mit zwei einander fundamental widersprechenden Auskünften über das geliebte Ferienziel zufrieden zu geben. Im Gegenteil, es darf leise anmahnen, mit dem Hokuspokus aufzuhören und zu einem offenen Umgang mit der Wahrheit zurückzukehren.

Sollte es nur darum gehen, dem böswilligen Gerücht und der maßlosen Übertreibung entgegenzutreten: Offenheit, liebe Schweden, ist das Rezept. Einen Filmemacher niederzumachen, weil zufällig der Präsident der Vereinigten Staaten seine Dokumentation zu Gesicht bekam und ihm eine polemische Bemerkung darüber auskam, ist eines zivilisierten Landes nicht würdig, geschweige denn eines Landes, das seine moralischen Maßstäbe gern zu den höchsten der Welt zählt.

Ulrich Schödlbauer ist Literaturwissenschaftler, Schriftsteller und Essayist. Dieser Beitrag erschien zuerst auf Globkult.

It’s not only Germany that covers up mass sex attacks by migrant men… Sweden’s record is shameful

We’re closing 2016 by republishing our ten most-read articles of the year. Here’s No. 5: Ivar Arpi’s piece, which was written following the mass sex attacks on women celebrating New Year’s Eve in Cologne. In his article, Arpi says that authorities in Sweden covered up similar incidents involving migrant men

Stockholm

It took days for police to acknowledge the extent of the mass attacks on women celebrating New Year’s Eve in Cologne. The Germans were lucky; in Sweden, similar attacks have been taking place for more than a year and the authorities are still playing catch up. Only now is the truth emerging, both about the attacks and the cover-ups. Stefan Löfven, our Prime Minister, has denounced a ‘double betrayal’ of women and has promised an investigation. But he ought to be asking this: what made the police and even journalists cover up the truth?

The answer can be discovered in the reaction to the Cologne attacks. Sweden prides itself on its sexual equality and has even pioneered a feminist foreign policy. When hundreds of women were reported to have been molested and abused in Cologne — at the hands of an organised mob — the reaction from Swedish politicians and pundits ought to have been one of outrage.

Instead, we were told that the events in Cologne were not unusual. An article in Aftonbladet, Sweden’s largest tabloid, argued that it was racist to point out that the perpetrators in Cologne had been described as North African or Arab, since German men had carried out sexual assaults during Bavaria’s Oktober-fest. Another Aftonbladet article said that reporting on the Cologne attacks was bowing to right-wing extremism. Over the last week, we have been told over and over that the real issue is men, not any particular culture — that Swedish men are no better.

Then last week Sweden’s own stories began to emerge. During the We Are Sthlm music festival, large groups of young men harassed girls sexually. It began in 2014 and it also went on during last year’s festival. According to internal police reports the groups were ‘so-called refugee youths primarily from Afghanistan’. The youngest of the victims was 12 years old.

The police claimed that there were ‘relatively few crimes and arrests considering the number of participants’. Internal reports told a different story. The police were shocked enough by the harassment to try to come up with a strategy to handle the groups of molesters at the festival — a strategy that was evidently unsuccessful. The trouble was that they were trying to deal with a problem but would not speak its name. As Peter Ågren, police chief in central Stockholm, put it: ‘Sometimes we do not dare to say how things really are because we believe it will play into the hands of the Sweden Democrats.’ As we now know, police officers in Stockholm are instructed not to reveal the ethnicity or nationality of any suspects lest they be accused of racism.

The Sweden Democrats are the anti-immigration populist force in Sweden — no longer a fringe element but the third–largest party after the election of 2014. Opinion polls suggest they are growing ever stronger. They are reviled by all other parties, who try to fight them by rejecting their every claim as baseless. As a result, immigration cannot be discussed frankly in Sweden. If you mention anything negative about refugees or immigration, you’re accused of playing into the hands of the reviled far-right. As a result, even legitimate concerns are silenced or labelled xenophobic. The recent migration crisis has changed this only slightly.

When a country cannot hold honest debates, there are consequences. Take Roger Ticoalu, director of events at Stockholm City Council. He said he had been utterly unaware of the risk of such attacks:

‘It was a modus operandi that we had never seen before: large groups of young men who surround girls and molest them.’

The German police made a similar point: they are used to handling drunks. But gangs of young men encircling and then groping women at large public gatherings: who has ever heard of such a thing?

In the Arab world, it’s something of a phenomenon. It has a name: ‘Taharrush gamea’. Sometimes the girls are teased and have their veils torn off by gangs of young men; sometimes it escalates into rape. Five years ago, this form of attack was the subject of an award-winning Egyptian film, 678. Instances of young men surrounding and attacking girls were reported throughout the Arab Spring protests in Cairo in 2011 and 2012. Lara Logan, a CNN journalist covering the fall of Hosni Mubarak, was raped in Tahrir Square. Taharrush gamea is a modern evil, and it’s being imported into Europe. Our authorities ought to be aware of it.

But they can’t be made aware, when any mention of the issue is discouraged. This leaves the police unprepared, and leaves the public feeling not just vulnerable but deceived. It doesn’t take a conspiracy theorist to wonder how many more instances there have been where Swedish police have taken political considerations into account before disclosing information.

Before Dan Eliasson became Sweden’s national police commissioner, he tweeted that he ‘vomited’ when he saw Jimmie Åkesson, party leader of the Sweden Democrats, on television. To what degree were his own personal political views imprinted on the Swedish police? Were the officers who covered up the sexual harassments responding to signals from Eliasson? Did they think that making a fuss about immigrant crime was a bad career move, and did that stop them doing their duty?

Even now, Swedes are still trying to figure out what exactly has been going on. Reports are emerging of Taharrush gamea-style harassment in Malmö on New Year’s Eve. According to police reports, hundreds of refugee youths from Afghanistan roamed around and ‘surrounded intoxicated girls/women and harassed them’. Similar incidents are being reported from towns such as Kalmar and Karlstad. The Finnish authorities are handling reports of organised sexual harassment perpetrated by Iraqi immigrants.

We Swedes pride ourselves on our unrivalled record on respecting women’s rights. But when women’s rights conflict with the goal of accommodating other cultures, it’s almost always women who are pushed to the side. This week, the chattering classes in Sweden will be worrying about how this story plays into the hands of the Sweden Democrats. But events have moved beyond that. The truth may be painful. Yet, as we have seen, concealing the truth is worse.

How Sweden became an example of how not to handle immigration

 Stockholm

For a British boy to be killed by a grenade attack anywhere is appalling, but for it to happen in a suburb of Gothenburg should shatter a few illusions about Sweden. Last week’s murder of eight-year-old Yuusuf Warsame fits a pattern that Swedes have come slowly to recognise over the years. He was from Birmingham, visiting relatives, and was caught up in what Swedish police believe is a gang war within the Somali community. Last year, a four-year-old girl was killed by a car bomb outside Gothenburg, another apparent victim of gang violence. For years, Sweden has regarded itself as a ‘humanitarian superpower’ — making its mark on the world not by fighting wars but by offering shelter to war’s victims. Refugees have arrived here in extraordinary numbers. Over the past 15 years, some 650,000 asylum-seekers made their way to Sweden. Of the 163,000 who arrived last year, 32,000 were granted asylum. Sweden accepts more refugees in proportion to size of population than any other nation in the developed world — when it comes to offering shelter, no one does it better. But when it comes to integrating those we take in (or finding the extra housing, schools and healthcare needed for them), we don’t do so well.

It may be news to the rest of the world, but gang warfare has been a feature of our country for years now. Stockholm has been witness to Dickensian scenes of young pickpockets and thieves playing games of cat-and-mouse with the police, who feel powerless. Until fairly recently, Sweden was admired for its progressive social policies. Today, one in seven voters supports the Sweden Democrats, a populist party until recently reviled in polite Swedish society.

The problems relating to immigration have been building up for years, but the country’s left and right were united in maintaining employment regulations and rent controls that kept immigrants unemployed in ghetto-like suburbs. As a result, we lost valuable time. Three years ago, there were riots in socially deprived areas of Stockholm, and it’s only got worse since then. A parallel society is emerging where the state’s monopoly on law and order is being challenged. ‘Today, the gang environment is — well, I don’t want to exactly call it the Wild West, but something in that direction,’ says Amir Rostami, an authority on Swedish organised crime who teaches at Stockholm University.

Integrating adults into Swedish society has been tricky enough, but a much more difficult problem is how to deal with all the unaccompanied children. During the Iraq war, about 400 children arrived without their parents each year — and all of them needed a place to live, social support and proper schooling. In 2014, when the number of children arriving annually hit 7,000, there were serious questions about how Sweden would cope. Last year, just over 35,000 unaccompanied children registered with the authorities.

The children are every age and arrive from all kinds of countries. Afghans and Somalis are currently the two biggest groups. Then come Syrians, Ethiopians, Iraqis, Moroccans and Eritreans. Some are fleeing war; many are fleeing poverty and misery. Strikingly, boys outnumber girls by about five to one. And it’s far from clear how many may in fact be adults — unlike other countries, Sweden doesn’t test for age. Whatever age the applicant gives is accepted, unless it’s ‘obviously’ untrue. The definition of ‘obvious’ is unclear. During one recent interview on Swedish radio, several asylum-seekers confessed to lying about their age to improve their chances of settlement. One, called Dawood, put it bluntly: ‘If I say I’m grown-up, they’ll deport me.’

The cost of accommodating our child refugees is enormous: £160 per child per day. That could be money well spent, if it worked. There are serious concerns, though, about children falling victim to predatory adults who have lied about their age. Earlier this year, a boy of 12 was raped in refugee accommodation by another refugee who claimed to be 15. A dental X-ray suggested the attacker was closer to 19. Later that month, a 22-year-old Swede (herself the daughter of immigrants) was stabbed to death by one of the refugees she was caring for — another adult claiming to be 15.

Such horrific stories raise the fear that the authorities have lost control. This is reflected in the extraordinary rise of the Sweden Democrats. There have also been a spate of attacks on refugee centres, some of which have been burnt down. For many, this seems like history repeating itself — similar attacks occurred in the 1990s, after a rapid influx of Balkan refugees. Such acts cast a dark shadow over our reputation for tolerance.

A while ago, I spoke to Lasse Siggelin, a social worker living in Gotland, who is alarmed at how many unaccompanied children are being placed in refugee care homes that seem hopelessly unfit for the task. Carers are instructed not to talk about the asylum process, or even to ask about the children’s backgrounds. ‘We can’t ask about their home, or about their parents,’ says Siggelin. ‘But such things occupy 90 per cent of their thoughts.’

Child refugees are sent to Swedish schools, but they struggle to integrate and are sometimes placed in separate groups, because of their vastly different learning needs. It’s pretty hard to bond with your classmates if you have to return every night to a care home. Even if school staff want to help, they seldom have the time or capacity to offer a shoulder to cry on. Instead, the children are directed to scheduled appointments with a child psychiatrist. As Siggelin explains, ‘If we don’t acknowledge the hurt and sadness that is there, then there are always people queuing up prepared to lead them astray.’

Those ‘queuing up’ include drug dealers, pimps, gangmasters and even jihadists. Sweden’s care homes have become a rich source of vulnerable young men who are full of frustration and hopelessness and lacking in direction. They may be open to the temptation of easy rewards, or of a path that they are promised will bring new meaning to their lives. There have been reports of Islamic State recruitment drives, not just in public places, but inside Swedish government programmes. Last year my newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet, exposed how some official schemes had been infiltrated by jihadists.

But stories of shocking abuse, the kind that would be front-page news in Britain, are relegated to the inside pages of the Swedish press. Tragically, the reason for this is that there is so much of it. In the last few weeks, we have heard about child prostitutes being pimped out in parking lots, and a Palestinian 15-year-old who, it is feared, was forced into prostitution while living in a care home in Malmo. For some time now, children in care homes have been notoriously easy prey and many of them simply vanish — over the past five years, well over a thousand have done so. These children face a sickeningly high risk of being sucked into a life of crime or even sex slavery. As their abusers well know, there is virtually no chance of anyone coming to look for the ones who go missing.

‘There is basically nothing we can do,’ says the head of Skane border police. ‘In some cases, we don’t even have descriptions of the children. So there is no means of identifying them… no information about relatives. We have nothing to work with.’ Lisa Green, who monitors human trafficking in Malmo, has reported 40 cases of suspected child trafficking to the police over the past few years but says her complaints were not even recorded. ‘Nobody is dealing with human trafficking,’ says Mattias Sigfridsson, head of the police department that deals with missing persons. ‘We have no ability to do that right now — there are no staff.’

In response to the crisis that threatens to overwhelm it, Swedish politics has become more realistic, less romantic. Passports are now being checked on the famous Oresund bridge that links Sweden with Denmark. As a result, the journey time has doubled, horrifying Malmo residents who like to regard their city as a satellite of Copenhagen, and making cross-border business more difficult. These new checks have helped fight other crimes, such as drug dealing and drink driving. (Sweden’s minister for sixth-form education failed a breathalyser test and later resigned.)

And still the authorities struggle to deal with the problem of what to do with migrants whose asylum claims are rejected. Between January and April this year, the Migration Agency handed over some 2,645 cases to the police for deportation. Just 1,255 of these are classified as complete — two thirds were deported by force, while the rest left the country voluntarily. Police estimate they will deport 4,000 people this year, up a third from last year, but not much of a dent in the 22,000 cases currently under consideration. Many, of course, will have been summoned and then suddenly disappeared into the expanding Swedish underworld.

As the refugees have arrived, ordinary Swedes have responded in an extraordinary way; individuals and families have opened up their homes, donated clothes and supplies, invested time and effort. Businesses have also found ways to help child refugees to integrate properly into Swedish society by offering opportunities for work. But with the best will in the world, it’s still a race against time.

‘If you are not prepared, you are unprepared.’ These are the words of Fredrik Reinfeldt, our former prime minister, and perfectly sum up Sweden’s migration crisis. We still hear politicians defiantly claim that our country is a humanitarian superpower — but they don’t do so as often, and they sound distinctly less smug when they do. The Swedish Way might not shine quite as brightly as a beacon to the world. But anyone who wants to find out how not to handle a migration crisis is welcome to pay us a visit.

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