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Terror Shaken Germans Look For Leadership and Get a”Nafri” Debate

January 3, 2017

Anis Amri was A North African

Twelve families have been holding funerals and burying their dead from the Christmas Market truck attack just a few streets away from me in Berlin. Among them this young and vibrant woman from Italy. When I look at Fabrizia’s face, there is something so familiar. So alive. So aware. She reminds us, smiling somewhat shyly, we could have been among the dead. Or that she could have been our daughter, our sister, our wife, our friend. The victims are all too often forgotten. We need to stop doing that. We need to look at their faces. Again and again and again.

The man who killed her was, according to police, a North African. German media are still ablaze with questions about how they failed to arrest him before he killed and maimed so many innocents. Anis Amri was a rejected asylum seeker from Tunisia and had migrated to Italy and then to Germany. He was even under police surveillance, as are dozens of other North African men, as a terrorist threat.

Forgetting the Victims of New Year’s 2016

Instead of clear answers and a rigorous policy debate about the heightened threat we are all facing from radicalized Islamists like Amri, Germans are being treated to a fake news debate about police in Cologne using inappropriate language.

They have referred to young men from North Africa like Anis Amri as „Nafris.“ The Greens are up in arms.

The debate began in Cologne, where North African gangs ran rampant one year ago. It was sparked by an offended Green politician, upset that police used the designation „Nafri.“

It’s short for „North African.“ German officialdom is prey to neologisms, and this one refers to culprits, mainly from that region, who individually and en masse assaulted, robbed, groped, and even raped, hundreds of women last year in Cologne on New Year’s Eve.

Cologne was not alone

A similar catastrophe befell female partygoers in other Geman cities, including Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Berlin and Munich, as well. No other metropolis though saw the sheer level of depredation that Cologne did. We still have no comprehensive number, nor do we have a nationwide assessment of what happened that night one year later. That, not an inappropriate use of language, is the true national scandal. That is the true outrage. And that is the background to both the neologism and its use by police.

Who’s being insensitive here?

If this neologism is insensitive, so too is the failure by politicians and the media to acknowledge the role North African men had in the assaults of New Year Even 2016.

It is insensitive to the women of Cologne who were injured, robbed, assaulted and raped.

It is insensitive to their families and friends who have suffered with them, and continue to do so.

It is insensitive to the officers that night, who lacking support from their superiors, risked their own safety to help the victims and were injured in the process.

It is insensitive to the emergency teams, overwhelmed by the level of violence and the number of victims.

It is an insensitivity that, at this hour, is misplaced and mocks the suffering of so many not only in Cologne.

Here in Berlin, our thoughts are still very much with the victims of the murderous attack carried out by a North African.

The North African Jihadist Network?

A possible network of jihadist supporters is being investigated right now. Could it extend all the way to the large North African community in Cologne? Is there a connection between the criminality we saw in Cologne and the radicalization of North Africans? It appears there is. Amri spent four years in prison on charges like assault and arson before he murdered a dozen people in Berlin.

„Nafri“ – The Smokescreen

The debate about „sensitive language“ is a smoke screen to protect grave Green policy mistakes and is little more than pandering to the base. It needs to be called out as such. But far worse, it keeps us from rigorously discussing the Islamist and criminal threat we are facing from North African men who are here with no chance of asylum and who have yet to leave voluntarily or be deported. These individuals are a drain on our public coffers, and the worst of them are a threat to public safety and even our lives.

These are unpleasant facts. The debate will be difficult. It is overdue.

The Chancellor indicated she understood this in her New Year’s address, but there is still a widespread lack of determination to confront political Islam and the criminal world that harbors and feeds it.

Denying the facts and posing on some imagined moral high ground with issues of linguistic nuance amounts to cowardice in the face of the enemy. If you doubt we are facing a committed and implacable enemy, come with me to the sidewalk in Berlin where they still haven’t managed to scrub away the blood.

The Wrong Message

This contrived debate belongs to another era. It reeks of the 80’s. The Greens will discover that at the ballot box soon enough. The Free Democrats had a similar disconnect with the public five years ago and are hoping to return from their wanderings in the wilderness. They’ve learned their lesson – security is their new holy grail. The Greens will look back at this moment in befuddlement and wonder why voters worried about their physical safety abandoned them en masse them for the CSU, FDP and the AFD.

Cologne’s police chief has performed the expected ritual abasement and apologized for the term. He shouldn’t have. It sends the wrong message and removes the focus from the true victims. And it undermines the work being done by the police in Cologne.

And what about the North African jihadists and common criminals the police are trying to protect us from? They will see this disingenuous debate as yet another sign of our lack of unity in confronting them. It will serve to embolden them.

We must start the debate now as to how to return all North Africans with no legal right to be here to their home communities as humanely and as quickly as possible. The debate may have already started. Anything less is too grave a risk to all of us, including those who come here as our guests – like Fabrizia.

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Sunday’s Vote in Austria and Italy : The Next Banking Crisis and What the EU must do Monday Morning

December 3, 2016

It’s about to get lonely on the EU Bridge for Angela Merkel 

The „No“ camp will succeed in the Italian referendum on Sunday, which will mean the end or near end of Matteo Renzi and new political pressures from his leftist nemesis Beppe Grillo to restructure Rome’s debt deal. Grillo’s looking long-term. If you go to his blog, he’s has an entry on the need to prepare now for civilization’s collapse. I wouldn’t go quite that far. Not quite yet anyway.

As many as eight Italian banks will though be teetering Monday morning and thousands of worried citizens could start pulling out their cash and wondering if their private pensions and savings accounts are safe as well. What kind of banks are we talking about ?

The world’s oldest bank, Monte dei Paschi di Siena, along with Popolare di Vicenza, Veneto Banca, Carige, Banca Etruria, CariChieti, Banca delle Marche, and CariFerrara could all end up without enough capital funding if customers and shareholders sense weakness.

Italy’s banks could require an infusion of € 40 Billion after the „No“ Vote. That’s not exactly a new boost of confidence in the Euro zone for German tax payers. Formerly  unassailable Deutsche Bank  will be hit by the referendum. It has a web of Italian exposure and has already lost half its value this year.  The threat of contagion to German banks will further undermine faith in the Euro zone and further European integration among German voters. And that means more pressure for the beleaguered Ms.Merkel. Her ally Francois Hollande is on the way out, the nationalist Francois Villon could be on his way in.

Enter Norbert Höfer and “Austria First”

Across the border in Austria, voters are also going to the polls and my political instincts tell me there will be a victory for the far-right’s FPÖ under  Norbert Höfer by a small margin. Any larger margin will mean the forces of deglobalisation are gathering strength  much faster than thought. He’s been described in the British press as a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” and his election would be the first time a far-right  politician has risen to power in Austria  – since – well ahem – you know when. Höfer bristles at being called an “extremist” with his views on de-Islamization,  deportations, border walls, and “Austria First”. Ironically, it’s Austria’s Serbian minority that looks set to tip the  vote’s balance in Höfer’s favour. Another “global aspect of deglobalisation.”

A “No” to  Renzi, a “Yes” to Höfer and a Yawn in Berlin 

Ms.Merkel will understandably play down the results. She’ll give  Höfer the Trump Reception and call him at the netherworld ends of diplomatic acceptability. She just lost the loathed  Monsieur Holland in Paris,  she’s not communicating well  with Theresa May, ex-pal Vladimir’s not feeling the love and Donald is cutting bait in a new way.

The  Charles  De Gaulle  sails into the Sunset 

It was just August when the New Big Three announced a New Europe. On a sunny day in the Mediterranean , Matteo and Hollande who stood shoulder to should with Angela Merkel on  France’s only air craft carrier the Charles De Gaulle, pledging to be the New Trio that would lead Europe into a brighter post-Brexit  future. They laid a wreath at the tomb of  Altiero Spinelli, communist who was an early backer of the European Project.  It wasn’t a reassuring spectacle at the time for the small and medium business owners in the three countries. They will be among those thrilled that Hollande is gone, and  the Renzit  will be a reality or close to it.  Where does that leave Germany?  The Charles De Gaulle has just sailed away.

Battleship Austria has sailed in to take its place.

Even if Höfer fails to win (which I doubt) the Right is ascendant across Europe. And it wants to gut the EU.  The Post-Maastricht EU is in real danger of falling apart not only from the Brexit and votes like the one today, but there is massive pressure for a Nexit and a Frexit as well. This will be accelerated by the next banking crisis which is waiting in the wings. To “reduce the shrinkage” –  Brussels and Berlin must act now, and decisively to shore up the gains of the last fifty years.

The EU’S  Reform Summit : Now Before it’s too Late

Angela Merkel should announce a major EU Reform Summit while she still has the currency to do so. To restore public trust and gain good will, she should announce this is being done in  response to shifting public attitudes towards deeper integration, which has  already called into question by the German President. The summit can take place in the Spring and have two goals  1.) a return to pre-Maastricht Europe 2.) securing external borders and restoring Schengen.   Europe has overreached.  She does not have the resources, will nor cohesion to successfully manage the challenges we’re confronting from the rise of Russia and China to collapsing economies in the MENA region and the threat of radical Islam. We can find new strength in decentralisation and secure borders. This is not a step back. It is a way to protect past gains and future





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