Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Terrorism in Istanbul’s Historic District

 

This morning, a suicide-bomber murdered 10 people — and wounded another 15 as of this writing — in Istanbul’s Sultanmahet district. The dead apparently include Turks, Asians, Germans, and Norwegians. While there is nothing definitive yet, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the attack had “Syrian roots” and the Deputy Prime Minister said, according to one source, that the “suicide bomber is a 28-year-old of Syrian origin.” Though this neighborhood has been targeted by Kurdish and far-left terrorists before, the targeting of tourists, size of the explosion, and the government’s reaction all point to ISIS as being the more likely culprit. That said, all the usual caveats about early reporting apply.

The explosion happened next to the Obelisk of Theodosius, a 3,400-years-old, granite Egyptian obelisk brought to the city in the 4th century. It’s roughly 60 ft (18.5 m) tall and — despite three dozen centuries of exposure to the elements — its hieroglyphs look like they were carved yesterday. The obelisk sits on a Byzantine base of different material with relief carvings that adds another 20 ft (6m) to its height.

IMG_1133
The Obelisk of Theodosius. Photograph by Tom Meyer, March 2015.

The obelisk is located right in the heart of Istanbul’s historic Sultanahmet district, which was the public government center for both the Byzantines and the Ottomans. Indeed, it sits in a large square that once was the site of Constantinople’s Hippodrome (horse track). Today, the obelisk is located immediately west of the Blue Mosque and less than two minutes walk from the Hagia Sofia. For an American analogy, this location is the equivalent of the Washington Mall … if DC had a population significantly larger than that of metropolitan Los Angeles.

IMG_1137
From the obelisk, looking back to the Blue Mosque. The explosion happened within a few feet of where this was taken. Photograph by Tom Meyer, March 2015.
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The Hagia Sofia from (roughly) the same location on a different day. Photograph by Tom Meyer, March 2015.
Screen Shot 2016-01-12 at 8.01.46 AM
The Blue Mosque is the large, multi-domed building with six minarets on the bottom left; the obelisk is immediately above it in the grey area. Hagia Sofia is in the upper right. For scale the area shown in the image is about ⅓ of a mile (~600 meters) across. North is to the upper right. Image Credit: Google Earth.

The Reaction

A number of reporters in Istanbul have reported a broadcast ban on local media about the subject, though what precisely this means is a little unclear; as of this writing, one local station was airing reports about a fish market and the box-office success of Star Wars, though CNN Turk is covering it. However, Erdoğan spoke on the subject and — true to form — tried to reframe the matter:

“Unfortunately, we have casualties in the terror attack who are native and foreign. It will be announced within an hour. May God rest the souls of those who lost their lives and I wish a speedy recovery to the injured. This incident has showed once again that we have to stand in full unity against terror. Turkey’s resolute and principled position will continue. It makes no difference to us what their names and abbreviations are. The first target of all terrorist organizations in this region is Turkey because Turkey is struggling against all of those with the same resolution,” Erdoğan said at the eighth Ambassadors’ Conference in Ankara.

From there, it was a quick leap to talking about his favorite enemies: Kurdish separatists/terrorists and anyone who is critical of his government’s action against them:

https://twitter.com/Irmak_Ye/status/686883597106679809

There are 30 comments.

  1. Tom Meyer, Common Citizen Contributor

    As you all might imagine, this piece would not have happened without Claire’s assistance.

    • #1
    • January 12, 2016, at 6:03 AM PST
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  2. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    I’m in Paris, so I’m not reporting live.

    But you probably now know more than anyone in Turkey who isn’t on Twitter and doesn’t speak English. If you want to know what people who get their news from broadcast TV in Turkey know about this, try watching a major Turkish broadcast channel, like this one.

    That’s what life without press freedom is like.

    • #2
    • January 12, 2016, at 6:13 AM PST
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  3. Seawriter Member

    The Hippodrome was the site where the Nika Riots of 532 was crushed. Robert Graves used it in his novel Count Belisarius. Jerry Pournelle (in Mercenary) and David Drake (in Counting the Cost) retell the story in an SF context.

    Seawriter

    • #3
    • January 12, 2016, at 6:48 AM PST
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  4. aardo vozz Member

    So, two questions for Claire: How much faith will people in Turkey have in their news reports? Also,having read some of your previous reports about Turkey and Istanbul,what kind of conspiracy theories/rumors about this attack would you think might be floating around Istanbul?

    • #4
    • January 12, 2016, at 6:52 AM PST
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  5. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    aardo vozz:So, two questions for Claire: How much faith will people in Turkey have in their news reports?

    None if they live in the West or the Southeast.

    Also,having read some of your previous reports about Turkey and Istanbul,what kind of conspiracy theories/rumors about this attack would you think might be floating around Istanbul?

    No way to know what’s a true and what’s a conspiracy theory at this point, but it will be attributed to the PKK, ISIS, or the state itself. Sadly, it could be any one of them — and there are quite a few more groups that it’s plausible to imagine. TAK is the PKK’s urban wing; DHKP-C is possible; it’s not unimaginable that Syria or Russia could be involved. But Istanbul’s a big enough city that most people won’t even be talking about it — I think it’s getting so much news coverage in the West because it’s a place tourists go. 

    • #5
    • January 12, 2016, at 7:04 AM PST
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  6. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    Broadcast ban on the attack has been extended to “any news, interview or opinion,” including social media. People of course keep Tweeting about it — in English. But they really will arrest people who Tweet about it in Turkish, in my experience.

    • #6
    • January 12, 2016, at 7:10 AM PST
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  7. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Is the broadcast ban imposed for this event because Erdogan doesn’t want people in and outside Turkey to realize that they are vulnerable?

    • #7
    • January 12, 2016, at 7:13 AM PST
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  8. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    Susan the Buju:Is the broadcast ban imposed for this event because Erdogan doesn’t want people in and outside Turkey to realize that they are vulnerable?

    Everyone around the world has heard about it — but Turks. It’s to keep Turks from knowing about it, or to ensure that what they learn about it is controlled.

    • #8
    • January 12, 2016, at 7:15 AM PST
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  9. Susan Quinn Contributor

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Everyone around the world has heard about it — but Turks. It’s to keep Turks from knowing about it, or to ensure that what they learn about it is controlled.

    Of course. It’s difficult, as you mentioned earlier, to wrap my mind around this kind of ban.

    • #9
    • January 12, 2016, at 7:23 AM PST
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  10. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Claire,

    I think the German government will be expecting to verify the deaths of German citizens who were tourists at the site at that moment. German news sources will probably have the confirmation of the event. I assume that the Turks will read this via the net.

    Given the immense tourist trade that Turkey has built up, I doubt there would be any incentive for the Turkish government to manufacture this event. Sometimes it walks like a Jihadist, it talks like a Jihadist, it destroys like a Jihadist and it kills like a Jihadist. It is not jumping to a conclusion that it was a Syrian Jihadist.

    I think we may be seeing a change in Merkel. The German government couldn’t suppress the events on New Years Eve and the repercussions are just beginning on that one. If Merkel wants to survive politically she must address this. If that means giving up the happy multiculti open door policy for a time then she should do it. If not I think Merkel will be gone herself.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #10
    • January 12, 2016, at 7:47 AM PST
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  11. Susan Quinn Contributor

    James Gawron: If that means giving up the happy multiculti open door policy for a time then she should do it. If not I think Merkle will be gone herself.

    Jim, I think I remember Merkel criticizing multiculturalism last year. So her approving the migration is out of the goodness of her heart, I think.

    • #11
    • January 12, 2016, at 7:50 AM PST
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  12. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Susan the Buju:

    James Gawron: If that means giving up the happy multiculti open door policy for a time then she should do it. If not I think Merkle will be gone herself.

    Jim, I think I remember Merkel criticizing multiculturalism last year. So her approving the migration is out of the goodness of her heart, I think.

    Susan,

    This one really is not about heart but about head. There are close to 4 million Syrian refugees in Turkey now. 1.5 million in Lebanon and another million or so in Jordan. We can’t vet them and we can’t take enough to make it worthwhile anyway.

    We can expand aid to Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan specifically to help in supporting the refugees. We have always had a surplus of food supply. We can once again send huge amounts of humanitarian aid. This would be working with our head. Instead, we try a ridiculous gesture that will only backfire when the inevitable terror and rape occur.

    I have been a long time supporter of Merkel. I think she has done well under the burden of the incredibly stupid macroeconomic policies of the EU not to mention the EU hyper-regulation.

    Unfortunately, this is reaching a point of real danger. If she wants to go down with the multiculti ship because she criticizes but won’t act that’s her choice.

    Europe has shown plenty of heart. Time for some action that originates from the neck up.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #12
    • January 12, 2016, at 8:12 AM PST
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  13. Susan Quinn Contributor

    James Gawron: Europe has shown plenty of heart. Time for some action that originates from the neck up.

    Sorry, Jim. I was being sarcastic. I completely agree with your analysis and Europe has to step up and be aggressive in dealing with the problem, not just wringing their hands. Good comment.

    • #13
    • January 12, 2016, at 8:19 AM PST
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  14. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    Susan the Buju:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Everyone around the world has heard about it — but Turks. It’s to keep Turks from knowing about it, or to ensure that what they learn about it is controlled.

    Of course. It’s difficult, as you mentioned earlier, to wrap my mind around this kind of ban.

    Is it? We’re old enough to remember a time before this. US-style freedom of expression is not only very rare, it’s very recent. And I can easily see it eroded, and within a few generations, gone.

    A truly free press is so rare and so recent a historical phenomenon. Ordinary people in Turkey thought I was out of my mind or naive when I told them we could say anything in the US without fearing arrest. Sometimes I’d show them examples of people insulting the president, saying terrible things about other religions, criticizing our foreign policy — they still didn’t believe it, figured it was some kind of hoax.

    We already have influential legal scholars like Posner saying that we have no choice but to have laws that would, I assume, be pretty similar to the laws that allow Turkey to do this. (According to Wikipedia, Posner’s the 4th-most cited legal scholar in the US.)It’s way too easy to get people to think laws like that are a good idea if there’s a terrorist threat. (We meekly accepted the TSA and all the provisions of the Patriot Act, after all.) And sometimes I wish our media would shut up and stop reporting terrorism when it happens in the US, because I’m afraid we’ll wind up with a population so terrified — that’s the point of terrorism — that we’ll agree to erode even more of our freedoms.

    • #14
    • January 12, 2016, at 8:23 AM PST
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  15. Seawriter Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Ordinary people in Turkey thought I was out of my mind or naive when I told them we could say anything in the US without fearing arrest.

    There was an old Cold War-era joke about that type of thing.

    An American was arguing with a Russian from the Soviet Union over which country was better.

    The American told the Russian, “In my country I can go up to President Eisenhower and tell him to his face, ‘You are a stupid fool, whose policies are crippling the United States,’ and they cannot arrest me or do anything to me.”

    “Big deal,” replied the Russian. “In my country I can go up to Comrade Stalin and tell him to his face, ‘President Eisenhower is a stupid fool, whose policies are crippling the United States,” and not only would I not get arrested, I would get a medal.”

    Seawriter

    • #15
    • January 12, 2016, at 8:33 AM PST
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  16. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    James Gawron: Given the immense tourist trade that Turkey has built up, I doubt there would be any incentive for the Turkish government to manufacture this event. Sometimes it walks like a Jihadist, it talks like a Jihadist, it destroys like a Jihadist and it kills like a Jihadist. It is not jumping to a conclusion that it was a Syrian Jihadist.

    Jim —

    The PKK bombed that neighborhood twice while I was living in Turkey, and Turkey is at war in the southeast, so it’s really not clear who it was yet. As for the state not having an interest in killing its own citizens — this is Turkey. It’s like Russia: remember the apartment bombings? It’s hard to imagine a state doing that, but yes, they can and they do. I would put my money on ISIS, but during the time I lived there, well before anyone had heard of ISIS, there were PKK bombings, TAK bombings, IBDA-C, DHKP-C, and bombings that never got solved, and for which the state never provided a plausible answer. There were generals arrested on trumped-up charges that they planned to bomb places and use it as a pretext to stage a coup. They charges were clearly phony — you could see that if you looked closely at the indictments — but the reason everyone believed them is because they’d lived through coups before and knew how these things happened.

    And if Merkel wanted to address what’s happening in Turkey — as opposed to just stanching the refugee flow — she wouldn’t have cut a cynical deal with Erdogan promising to hold up any embarrassing human rights investigations and pretend not to know what’s going on in the southeast in exchange for his promise to shove desperate refugees back across the border into Syria. As short-sighted a policy as ever anyone imagined, because if Turkey falls apart the way Syria has, well, that alligator will eat Europe next.

    • #16
    • January 12, 2016, at 8:34 AM PST
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  17. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    James Gawron: I assume that the Turks will read this via the net.

    Most Turks only read Turkish. Many only get their news from television, and while many will hear about it, Turkey regularly blocks sites on the Internet with content for which they don’t care.

    • #17
    • January 12, 2016, at 8:39 AM PST
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  18. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    James Gawron: Given the immense tourist trade that Turkey has built up, I doubt there would be any incentive for the Turkish government to manufacture this event. Sometimes it walks like a Jihadist, it talks like a Jihadist, it destroys like a Jihadist and it kills like a Jihadist. It is not jumping to a conclusion that it was a Syrian Jihadist.

    Jim —

    The PKK bombed that neighborhood twice while I was living in Turkey, and Turkey is at war in the southeast, so it’s really not clear who it was yet. As for the state not having an interest in killing its own citizens — this is Turkey. It’s like Russia: remember the apartment bombings? It’s hard to imagine a state doing that, but yes, they can and they do. I would put my money on ISIS, but during the time I lived there, well before anyone had heard of ISIS, there were PKK bombings, TAK bombings, IBDA-C, DHKP-C, and bombings that never got solved, and for which the state never provided a plausible answer. There were generals arrested on trumped-up charges that they planned to bomb places and use it as a pretext to stage a coup. They charges were clearly phony — you could see that if you looked closely at the indictments — but the reason everyone believed them is because they’d lived through coups before and knew how these things happened.

    And if Merkel wanted to address what’s happening in Turkey — as opposed to just stanching the refugee flow — she wouldn’t have cut a cynical deal with Erdogan promising to hold up any embarrassing human rights investigations and pretend not to know what’s going on in the southeast in exchange for his promise to shove desperate refugees back across the border into Syria. As short-sighted a policy as ever anyone imagined, because if Turkey falls apart the way Syria has, well, that alligator will eat Europe next.

    Claire,

    OK, like my father used to say we’ll make a gentleman’s bet. In this case, it will be a gentlewomen’s bet. I don’t think Turkey would do this to its own tourist trade and if the facts say suicide then it fits the Jihadist MO not the Kurds.

    I’ll wager 1 Lithuanian Auksinas.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #18
    • January 12, 2016, at 8:51 AM PST
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  19. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    Turkey’s strongly supporting anti-IS anti-Assad groups, including using artillery to strike ISIS positions. The government claims it was an ISIS bomber — although the speed with which they determined this is very bizarre, very atypical, and suggests at the least a hell of an intel failure, because if they know that already, they presumably had him under surveillance.

    There’s already a lot of speculation this was a deliberate attack against Germans, given that German tourists are always found there. The only reason to think that is that it would fit the known ISIS strategy of trying to prompt an anti-Muslim backlash in Europe — which isn’t hard to do, in case you missed the stories of neo-Nazis going “human hunting” in Cologne. I’m not convinced — the location is a popular tourist spot, could just be bad luck.

    Turkish TV is showing things like an upbeat talk show with a segment on road construction.

    • #19
    • January 12, 2016, at 8:55 AM PST
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  20. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    James Gawron: suicide then it fits the Jihadist MO not the Kurds.

    The PKK pioneered the technique of suicide bombing. Before anyone had heard of jihadis using it. It is their MO.

    • #20
    • January 12, 2016, at 8:57 AM PST
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  21. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: The only reason to think that is that it would fit the known ISIS strategy of trying to prompt an anti-Muslim backlash in Europe — which isn’t hard to do, in case you missed the stories of neo-Nazis going “human hunting” in Cologne.

    Claire,

    I would think the neo-Nazis would have to get in line to go human hunting in Cologne. When the government tries to suppress evidence of a mass gang rape you should expect vigilante activity with a swastika or without.

    I’m a bit tired of the anti-Muslim backlash fantasy personally. Couldn’t the Obamites come up with something new just for the sake of variety.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #21
    • January 12, 2016, at 9:04 AM PST
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  22. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    James Gawron: you should expect vigilante activity with a swastika

    Really?

    Has anything ever made you feel like you want to put on a swastika and try to randomly beat people with dark skin to death?

    So we’ve got the left too politically correct to say the obvious about rape and the right too politically correct to say the obvious about Nazi lynchings. In Germany.

    Any sane people left?

    • #22
    • January 12, 2016, at 9:18 AM PST
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  23. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    James Gawron: you should expect vigilante activity with a swastika

    Really?

    Has anything ever made you feel like you want to put on a swastika and try to randomly beat people with dark skin to death?

    So we’ve got the left too politically correct to say the obvious about rape and the right too politically correct to say the obvious about Nazi lynchings. In Germany.

    Any sane people left?

    Claire,

    I don’t appreciate you cutting my sentence off just so you could manipulate its meaning. I doubt that you can expect anyone to stand still while mass rape is going on. Apparently the obsession with not offending Muslims extends to suppressing the evidence of the most grotesque violent crime. That is a sure way to get the very reaction you claim to be concerned about.

    You brought up neo-Nazi first. That’s the red herring here. Violently attack people and they tend to push back. The German government can’t vet the Syrians for Jihadism. Once they are in Germany the government has no intention of stopping them from committing gang rape and, undoubtedly, a host of other crimes.

    Somehow I don’t think swastikas are relevant to the situation. Either the German government protects its citizens against chaos or there will be chaos. I don’t expect a new Hitler but I would expect Merkel to lose an election because of it. I also think that ordinary Germans have a right to defend themselves. If you suppress that then you will drive them to look for protection where they shouldn’t.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #23
    • January 12, 2016, at 9:35 AM PST
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  24. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    James Gawron: Somehow I don’t think swastikas are relevant to the situation.

    You’d be naive. This was covered up by the German police, too. And when the truth finally came out, not one single immigrant randomly attacked a white person because “That’s just normal and what you expect if the police don’t do their jobs.”

    These neo-Nazi groups are real. They’re not outraged feminists: Feminists demonstrated peacefully in Cologne without beating up a single Pakistani immigrant at random. And the neo-Nazis were doing stuff like that well before the refugees started flooding over the border and well before New Year’s eve.

    I’ve been writing about the threat they pose for as long as I’ve been writing about the threat of unassimilated Muslims in Europe. Anyone think I’m hysterical about that threat now?

    These are not American Nazis. Look face it: We only let them march in Skokie because deep down we thought the idea of an “American Nazi” was a joke. It’s not a joke in Germany. If you think these groups are just reacting normally to immigrants who commit crime, I wonder how you explain the existence of their ideology — in exactly the places it’s now most prevalent — before anyone had ever heard of an asylum-seeker?

    • #24
    • January 12, 2016, at 10:32 AM PST
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  25. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    Seawriter: “Big deal,” replied the Russian. “In my country I can go up to Comrade Stalin and tell him to his face, ‘President Eisenhower is a stupid fool, whose policies are crippling the United States,” and not only would I not get arrested, I would get a medal.”

    Man, when you describe that as an old joke I realize how quickly time passes. We now talk about the Cold War the way my grandparents spoke about the Second World War. We’re oral history projects now.

    Any of the younger members of Ricochet want to interview the survivors of the Cold War before it’s too late, a lot of us are here and can tell you what it was like. You can figure out who we are because we’re the ones who got a real pang of nostalgia thinking about Bowie.

    • #25
    • January 12, 2016, at 10:44 AM PST
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  26. Seawriter Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Man, when you describe that as an old joke I realize how quickly time passes. We now talk about the Cold War the way my grandparents spoke about the Second World War. We’re oral history projects now.

    That one is before my time. Stalin was dead before I was born. But I remember the Cuban Missile Crisis as a grade-school kid. I remember a formation of F-84s streaking over my house at an altitude which would get the pilots grounded today. I thought they were from the 94th Fighter Squadron (Rickenbacker’s “Hat in the Ring” in WWI) because that squadron was then stationed at Selfridge AFB, relatively close to my Ann Arbor home.

    Seawriter

    • #26
    • January 12, 2016, at 11:02 AM PST
    • Like
  27. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    James Gawron: Somehow I don’t think swastikas are relevant to the situation.

    You’d be naive. This was covered up by the German police, too. And when the truth finally came out, not one single immigrant randomly attacked a white person because “That’s just normal and what you expect if the police don’t do their jobs.”

    These neo-Nazi groups are real. They’re not outraged feminists: Feminists demonstrated peacefully in Cologne without beating up a single Pakistani immigrant at random. And the neo-Nazis were doing stuff like that well before the refugees started flooding over the border and well before New Year’s eve.

    I’ve been writing about the threat they pose for as long as I’ve been writing about the threat of unassimilated Muslims in Europe. Anyone think I’m hysterical about that threat now?

    These are not American Nazis. Look face it: We only let them march in Skokie because deep down we thought the idea of an “American Nazi” was a joke. It’s not a joke in Germany. If you think these groups are just reacting normally to immigrants who commit crime, I wonder how you explain the existence of their ideology — in exactly the places it’s now most prevalent — before anyone had ever heard of an asylum-seeker?

    Claire,

    I really don’t see how bringing up 10 year old and now 40 year old incidents are relevant to this at all. Two weeks ago on New Years Eve in Cologne about 1000 Muslim men assaulted possibly 100 German women.

    Muslims Rape Women In Germany On New Year’s. German Minister Says Something INSANE About It.

    I really don’t see how any responsible person can play this any other way. These Muslim men are culturally predisposed to this behavior. This is unacceptable in Western society. Politically correct suppression of the event or worse actually blaming the German women as was done will not hack it this time.

    I guarantee you.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #27
    • January 12, 2016, at 11:25 AM PST
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  28. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor

    James Gawron: Two weeks ago on New Years Eve in Cologne about 1000 Muslim men assaulted possibly 100 German women.

    Yes, and in case you didn’t hear it, neo-Nazi gangs have since been marauding, attacking, and beating immigrants:

    Syrians, Pakistanis and African men were among the victims of Sunday’s mob violence in the western city on Sunday, the scene of a series of New Year’s Eve sexual assaults on women that have been blamed on migrants.

    There were four separate attacks which police were referring to as “anti-foreigner crimes,” crime division chief Norbert Wagner said.

    Since Thursday, several people known for involvement in hooliganism had issued calls on social media for people to join several “non-violent strolls” in central Cologne, he said.

    Such a term is a common euphemism for a march among far-right groups.

    “In these four assault cases, we have to presume they were connected with these so-called strolls,” said Wagner, adding that far-right activists were among the marchers.

    Express newspaper reports that a group of hooligans and bikers had arranged on Facebook to go on a “manhunt” in the Cologne city centre and “clear the place out”

    So far, none of the perpetrators have been caught although police questioned 153 people on Sunday night, 13 of whom were known for previous far-right offences.

    Another 18 had ties to the city’s biker gangs or were employed as club doormen, police said.

    In the first attack, which took place in the early evening, some 25 men chased a man of African appearance who ran to seek protection from a group of six Pakistanis.

    “The pursuers then beat and kicked these young Pakistani men,” Wagner said.

    In another attack, eight people beat a 39-year-old Syrian at the central railway station. Two other assaults targeted three men from Guinea, and another Syrian man.

    This is not a normal reaction. It follows upon thousands of violent crimes against asylum seekers, including one arson attack after another, and attacks on immigrants, journalists, and public officials almost daily. I find apologists for Muslim men who terrify, rape, and grope women intolerable. And I find apologists for Nazis who torch refugee shelters intolerable.

    I promise you, if you take one look at the stuff they’re posting on social media, you will understand that to worry that immigrants will infect Germany with anti-Semitism is rich. Believe me, it’s not just Muslims whom these people regard as cockroaches in need of extermination and for whom they want to “bring back the ovens.” Go look for yourself. Take a guide.

    • #28
    • January 12, 2016, at 12:06 PM PST
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  29. Christian Speicher Inactive

    I live in Munich where there was a terror alert on New Years Eve and the Nazi movement had one of it’s strongholds 80 years ago (if you’re into that kind of thing). There has been zero public outrage because of this although two train stations have been shut down by the police for several hours. The only reasons people in West Germany and Berlin can be mobilized to get out on the streets to protest is to denounce PEGIDA (an east German movement against the Islamization of Europe) or AfD (a new ‘Right Wing’ anti EU party maybe at its brighter days comparable to UKIP, on most other days the party is in disarray and mostly concerned with power struggles and infantile infighting) as “rassists” which is not plausible to me (I cannot look into all of their hearts) and this being Germany of course as “Nazis” which they both are clearly not. In the years following 9/11 Germans also protested against war, climate change, free trade, Globalization, George Bush (“Hitler”), the US and Israel (“Nazis”). They also are big in being “Charlie” or “Paris” or whatever candlelight solidarity is the hip for a few days globally. But “manhunting” or even vigilance is a thing of the past here. I am sorry to disappoint you but there will be no German backlash against Islamists or anything like that. People will try to adjust maybe emigrate themselves maybe convert to Islam or chose to stay forever see no evil (but the above) leftists. Think “Soumission” without the halfhearted resistance of a few “Young Turks”. It is utterly inconceivable for me that Germany will leave the world stage with anything else but a whimper. Which may be exactly what it historically deserves, but unfortunately I live here and “eternal justice” comes a little late for the original Nazis who all hopefully burn in hell for many years now. So please please spare me with the ‘gathering storm’ of Neo-Nazi sentiment in Germany, there just is nothing there of it anymore. All the German and international Anti-fascists are ruefully late to fight against the evil Nazi warriors, Germans today are the sorriest patsies the world has ever seen.

    • #29
    • January 12, 2016, at 12:28 PM PST
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  30. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: And I find apologists for Nazis who torch refugee shelters intolerable.

    Who set the fire isn’t known. You have jumped to an immediate conclusion. Meanwhile, we know that the mayor of Cologne was lied to about the events of New Years Eve. The perpetrators were known and the police chose not to report to the mayor.

    Reker said that the police had concealed “politically sensitive” information from her and from the public and that trust in the force had been “seriously shaken”.

    I think this is much more serious as the integrity of the police have been corrupted. One million migrants have been stuffed into Germany in 2015. There are about 1,600 crimes recorded against migrants in that time. It is difficult to discover from the sources you have provided how many crimes by immigrants were committed against Germans during that time. From the sound of the Cologne situation, it might be that crimes by immigrants are not being recorded at all. Political correctness to orchestrate government policy can backfire in very serious ways.

    This doesn’t sound like a problem with German xenophobia this sounds like a problem with an infantile policy of open borders immigration. The left is helping migrants like the left is helping Blacks in the United States. With friends like these you don’t need enemies.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #30
    • January 12, 2016, at 12:55 PM PST
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