Germany Cracks Down On Anti-Immigration Speech

Freedom_of_Speech220px-Angela_Merkel_(2008)“I am Syrian. You have to treat me kindly. Mrs Merkel invited me.”  The result has been a rising tide of criticism of Merkel for her open-door policy. Yet, that criticism may now be muted by a move by the government to crackdown on anti-immigration comments as a form of “hate speech.”  As we discussed today with the effort to ban Donald Trump, free speech is being rolled back in Europe under hate crime and anti-discrimination laws as an alarming rate. It is particularly worrisome when the government is under attack on an issue like immigration and responds by prosecuting people for such criticism. News reports indicate that 18 of the 31 known suspects from Cologne were asylum seekers, including “nine Algerians, eight Moroccans, five Iranians, four Syrians, an Iraqi, a Serbian, an American and two German nationals.

We have previously discussed the alarming rollback on free speech rights in the West, particularly in France (here and here and here and here and here and here) and England ( here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here). Much of this trend is tied to the expansion of hate speech and non-discrimination laws. We have seen comedians targeted with such court orders under this expanding and worrisome trend. (here and here).

Prosecutors are charging people who are “inciting hatred” in Germany by speaking out against immigrants and their impact on German society. Prosecutors and judges are determining what criticism will be allowed and what will be treated as criminal. In the meantime, the government has reached a deal with Facebook, Google and Twitter to crackdown on Internet speech. It is an effort to create the artificial appearance of agreement and tolerance by denying free speech to critics.

While it is still not clear how many of the Cologne attackers were immigrants (as many as 22 have been identified as refugees), the incident has been a flashpoint as numerous stories of women and girls being harassed about their clothing or assaulted by immigrants. For example, a 26-year-old Berlin man’s home was raided by police, who confiscated his computer and phones after he had posted the image of a dead 3-year-old Syrian boy on a Turkish beach and wrote “We are not mourning, we are celebrating!” A disgusting comment and one that is worthy public condemnation. However, it is also an act of free speech.

Nevertheless, many citizens are celebrating the denial of their own free speech rights. So long as they disagree with the speakers, there appears little concern over the rising tide of censorship and criminalization of speech. People are now unsure what they can say about immigration, which is precisely the chilling effect that governments seek in such measure. The result is a forced silence . . . which is golden for governments like Merkel’s that do not like what they are hearing.

415 thoughts on “Germany Cracks Down On Anti-Immigration Speech

  1. Paul C. Schulte.
    1, January 19, 2016 at 11:14 am
    Tom Nash – I have always held that no one would write that much crap unless they were paid by the word.
    Explains much, Paul.
    You refuse to write more than 2 sentences at once unless you get paid for your crap?
    Some of us are able to gather enough words together, and string them adequately and effectively enough to make meaningful arguments out of them. And it is easy , and fun, for us.
    I understand it isn’t given to everyone, a gift indeed.
    And we are no teachers even.
    Wonder if the firing was less sloppy fact checking and more inability to write beyond 2nd grade word count.

    • po – now I am being fired from my fact-checking job? No way, they loved me. Job ended when they moved the division to Texas. Fact-checkers write things like “This is wrong,” etc. Very short phrases. Rarely a full sentence.

    • Po…..if you ever loose your job here, the Kingdom of Id can always use stable hands.
      Piecework for you in that field should be immensely profitable for you, given your outstanding ability to shovel it out nonstop.

      • I’ll take your words for it, Tom, you seem to know your business.
        The keyword is shovel ( it out), somebody must here, lest we are swamped under the huge amounts you and your friends keep dropping🙂
        Better be the shoveler than the dropper, my dad once told me.

  2. Bob Dole and Bush 41 were reputed to have two of the best senses of humor in politics. That characterististic was well known in DC, not that well known by the public.
    Dole and Newt Gingrich did not get along very well, and Newt was not very well liked by his GOP colleagues. He did accomplish a lot, but he seemed to have difficulties in the “likeability” area and as a “retail politician”.
    He actually asked Dole why people seemed to take an instant dislike to him, and Dole quipped “They do it to save time, Newt”.
    Another ” Doleism”, not necessarily original to him, was the caution about mudwrestling with a pig.
    “The pig loves it, and you both get dirty”.

  3. @Paul C. Schulte.
    1, January 19, 2016 at 1:21 pm
    “po – factoids are trivial facts.”

    Thinking people who try to be logically and linguistically consistent call trivial facts “factlets,” and pseudo-facts, “factoids.”

    Thus, an islet is a very small island, and an android is superficially similar to, but emphatically is not, a human being.

    • Ken Rogers – thinking people usually take the first definition from the dictionary for a word. In this case, the first definition of factiod is a trivial fact. Linguistic idiots allows try to change the definition.

  4. Paul- Thinking people would also refrain from correcting another person until they are certain they are right, or that the other is wrong.
    Your tendency is to correct a factual claim with a factoidal one.
    Then to double down on it.

    • po – sometimes things need to be corrected. If my factoid is correct and your factual claim is incorrect then it seems I am doing you a service.

    • po – you used the phrase “factual claim” which is something that claims to be a fact. It cannot be more factual than a factoid.

      • Paul, even in your dictionary, factual claim is a claim that is factual in nature.
        A factoid is a claim that is NOT factual in nature….
        Then again, English is only my 4th language🙂

        • po – I realize you are making a claim to authority here, however you are wrong. A factual claim only claims that something is factual. A factoid is either a fact or a claim made up to be a fact.

  5. @Paul C. Schulte.
    1, January 19, 2016 at 7:52 pm

    “Ken Rogers – thinking people usually take the first definition from the dictionary for a word. In this case, the first definition of factiod (sic) is a trivial fact. Linguistic idiots allows (sic) try to change the definition.”
    “The” dictionary? “The first definition”? The lexicographical ignorance reflected in your comment is pretty amazing and more than a little amusing.

    Norman Mailer is generally credited with creating the neologism, “factoid,” which he defined as ‘facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper.’

    As someone who supports changing Mailer’s original definition, am I to gather that you’re one of the “linguistic idiots” you reference in your comment?🙂

    “A Guardian book review described how Lurpak butter was named after the lur, a curved brass horn popular in the first and second millennia BC in and around Denmark, referring to this as a ‘fascinating factoid.’ It may have been fascinating, but a factoid is not a small fact. It’s a mistaken assumption repeated so often that it is believed to be true.

    “At least, that was the meaning ascribed to the word by Norman Mailer, who is widely credited with coining it, in his 1973 biography of Marilyn Monroe. Mailer said factoids were “facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper.” (My emphasis)
    “You can also use factoid as an adjective, to mean ‘quasi-factual’, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, which adds that it is used to designate ‘writing (esp. journalism) which contains a mixture of fact and supposition or invention presented as accepted fact.’ I like that ‘(esp. journalism).’

    “A true factoid should sound credible, and be assumed to be true by a significant number of people (if you are the only person who believes it, it may simply be a delusion). The Washington Times defined a factoid as ‘something that looks like a fact, could be a fact, but in fact is not a fact.’ An example is the belief that the Great Wall of China is visible from the moon, which according to Wikipedia would be possible only if your eyesight were 17,000 times better than 20/20.”

    Also consider the following:

    “There’s No Such Thing as ‘The’ Dictionary

    “I’m sorry to drop that one on you. I know you wish it were true. There are, in fact, 10 major publishers of dictionaries. These works themselves are further sorted into three categories: full-size, collegiate, and learner’s.

    “Full-sized dictionaries are the ones that you probably had in your school library — they’re gigantic books that attempt to chronicle all the words of English, ever. Depending on the edition you’ve got, that means somewhere between 70,000 and 355,000 entries, give or take. If you want the most words possible in one book, choose the Second Edition of the Oxford English Dictionary — it goes all the way back to the 7th century.

    “Collegiate dictionaries contain fewer entries, but each entry has more to offer, like biographical or geopolitical background that would be useful for college students. They’re updated more often than full-sized dictionaries, but still contain a good bit of stuff no one ever uses. They’re still great for general use and the dictionaries that many professional writers use as reference because we had to pay an effing fortune for them in college.”

    “Learner’s dictionaries are designed for people who are actively learning the language (God save them), and contain only core vocabulary that is widely used among native speakers. They’ll contain more extensive notes on usage, as well as example sentences and phrases to promote learning. These little guys are lifesavers if you’re an ESL that’s trying to sort out things like idioms.

    It Gets Worse…

    “Brace yourself for the worst news. These three different types of dictionaries from 10 different publishers may well disagree from time to time. That’s when English gets tricky… and knowing who to trust is even worse — because you can’t! They’re all right, at least by their own reckoning.

    “Yes, you self-proclaimed English Nazis (you do know what a Nazi is, don’t you? Choose some kind of title with a little more tact, would you, you uninventive clowns?) might well be wrong when you think you’re right. Oh, I can see you with your smarmy little squashed noses proclaiming that I’m the devil, but there’s no way around it — dictionaries are going to disagree. It’s no reason to end a friendship, fight with a fellow online, or generally be a twat.

    “If you MUST be a jerk, if your inner jerkiness cannot be contained, at least reference the dictionary you’re using to try to make someone else look like an illiterate. You’ve got plenty to choose from, so pick your poison. As a point of note, though, the pros (at least in my experience) don’t discriminate and will use whatever dictionary happens to be handy. Same for the thesaurus, in case you were wondering.”

    See also:
    “An Introduction to Lexicography

    “Criteria for classification:
    The Oxford English Dictionary defines a dictionary as a “book dealing with the individual words of a language (or certain specified class of them) so as to set forth their orthography, pronunciation, signification and use, their synonyms, derivation and history, or al least some of these facts, for convenience of reference the words are arranged in some stated order, now in most languages, alphabetical, and in larger dictionaries the information given in illustrated by quotations from literature”.
    One of the components of the above definition “arranged in some stated order….. alphabetical”1 has been extended to cover other reference books giving information of different types in alphabetical order and the term dictionary can “apply quite loosely to any reference work arranged by words or names”. (Malkiel 1967. 23). Thus we have dictionaries of national biography, dictionary of folklore, caritra kosa, abhidhaanakosa, dictionary of place names, etc.

    “The classification of dictionaries is a very important aspect of lexicography “bearing a direct practical significance” (Shcherba in Srivastaba 1968, 119) to the preparation of dictionaries. The entire work of dictionary making from the planning stage to the preparation of press copy, at its different stages, viz. collection of materials, selection and setting of entries and arrangement of entries and their meanings is largely governed on the basis of which the dictionary is classified.

    “Dictionaries can be classified into different types on the basis of several criteria, varying from the nature of the lexical entry to the prospective user of the dictionary. Below are presented some main criteria for the classification of dictionaries.2

    (1) Density of entries: whether the word list is general or restricted and special? Does it also cover regional and social dialects, jargons and slangs and archaisms?
    (2) The number of languages involved: monolingual, bilingual, multilingual etc.
    (3) The nature of entries: whether lexical only or also encyclopaedic, the degree of concentration on strictly lexical data.
    (4) Axis of time: whether diachronic (dynamic) or synchronic (static).
    (5) Arrangement of entries: alphabetical or semantic or causal.
    (6) Purpose: whether normative or referential.
    (7) The prospective user: whether meant for the general reader to find out general linguistic information or for special users to know some special aspects of the lexical unit say etymology etc.? Is it meant for the general language or only for the language of literature, there too, the language of some author, here again the language of some of his works?

    “All these criteria can be applied, sometimes alone and sometimes with others, for the classification of dictionaries. For example when we talk of the Sanskrit Dictionary (Poona) we find that although its aim is to present history of the words, it treats two languages and is arranged in alphabetical order. An etymological dictionary presents the development of forms of the word, it has a very highly specialized audience.

    “The Malayalam Lexicon and Tamil Lexicon combine in them several classificatory criteria.
    Although a typological classification is essential and has been attempted by many writers, it is impossible to delimit the types into a strict water-tight frame work. When we analyse any entry from any dictionary we usually find that many characteristics of different types of dictionaries have been included in it. As we shall see later, there is a large amount of overlapping in different types of dictionaries.

    “But although there is no clear cut division between the scope and the coverage of the dictionaries, there are dictionaries with definite focus on some major aspect of the language. ”

    (Because WordPress permits only two links per post, the link to the article above will follow in a separate post).

    • Ken Roger – hate to sink your bathtub boat, however I know all about and have used all types of dictionaries. Norman Mailer was never sober enough to create a word, he had a tough time with the ones he already knew.

      To quote the Bard, your comment was “Much Ado About Nothing.”

  6. Randy, if you are still interested, some public school children in S. Africa are being taught mandarin…I wonder why unless it is because China is rapidly becoming Africa’s biggest trade and development partner.

    In my area of the US, many children are also taking mandarin…which is not a very great sounding language I must say…. for the parents feel it gives the children an advantage in the upcoming word where China owns everything.

  7. @Paul C. Schulte.
    1, January 20, 2016 at 7:51 am

    “Ken Roger (sic – misspelling) – hate (missing subject) to sink your bathtub boat, (sic – comma splice) however (sic – missing comma) I know all about and have used all types of dictionaries.”

    Sure thing, Paul. That’s why you appealed to “the first definition” in “the dictionary.”🙂

    “Norman Mailer was never sober enough to create a word, (sic – comma splice) he had a tough time with the ones he already knew.”

    This laughable observation about one of America’s leading novelists and journalists not only flies in the face of the documented evidence to the contrary, but is an egregious example of the logical fallacy of the argument against the man.

    It’s evident that your agnosticism encompasses much more than theological questions.

    “To quote the Bard, your comment was ‘Much Ado About Nothing.’ ”

    I can certainly understand why someone manifesting the lexicographical and etymological ignorance, literal-mindedness, sketchy grasp of Standard English, illogicality, and consistent resistance to admitting error that you do would find my comment to be superfluous.

    As a matter of fact,your consistent conduct on this blog puts me in mind of “Snug” in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” but without his humility:

    “Have you the lion’s part written? Pray you, if it be, give it me, for I am slow of study.“ 🙂

    It’s never too late to acquire some seemly humility, Paul, and few others besides yourself in my life-experience have so dramatically demonstrated a need of it.

    • Ken Rogers – sorry about misspelling your name. It was a typo, but my error. Ken, I have great deal of humility, something you do not as evidenced by your writings.

      As Oscar Wilde wrote: “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

    • I will concede that my source had “a bunch of words put together”. Those are known as sentences, and paragraphs.
      Every column written here, and virtually all of the comments, have those same characteristists.

  8. When one has been paying attention to things for a while, and as a student of history, one can tell when something seems too fishy to be as claimed. The mass rape in cologne by refugees just did not make any sense at all, refugees just do not go on raping sprees, especially after having gone through the hell they did to get to Germany…
    It was evident someone was directing the outrage, and as I said before, we can expect more of these evil refugees stories to pop up.
    By Andrey Fomin
    January 20, 2016 “Information Clearing House” – “Oriental Review ” – Last September we published an outline of the analysis produced by the Russian investigator Vladimir Shalak on the hidden aspects of the Twitter-based campaign to lure the Middle Eastern refugees into Germany. Having studied 19000 refugee-related original tweets Shalak claimed that the great exodus to continental Europe was artificially arranged by non-European actors. The latest wave of migrant-caused violence in the number of European cities on New Year’s Eve sparked another intense anti-Merkel campaign in German and European social media, and yielded additional data for Shalak’s in-depth research.

    Below we will share its preliminary results. But before we do let’s have a glance at two pictures demonstrating drastic change in public narrative in Germany regarding the refugees in just 4 months:

    Was it a tragic but spontaneous development or a deliberate psy operation by an external agent? To come closer to an informed conclusion we have to look briefly at the current US-German relations.

    Since March 2014′ Crimea reunification with Russia the German Chancellor Angela Merkel found herself between the hammer and the anvil. Under heavy pressure from Washington she had to lead the European family to tighten the escalating sanctions against Russia while big business and her political opponents were increasingly reluctant to sustain them in face of the dire consequences for the German economy. Balancing two contradicting approaches, she opted for accomplishing the 2011 commercial contract to built the second phase of the Nord Stream pipeline that would deliver more natural gas from Russia to Germany via the Baltic Sea despite a growing roar from the overseas.

    Another dimension of transatlantic tensions is connected with the TTIP agreement talks held since 2013 behind the closed doors. A solid propaganda fog around these talks can hardly conceal the fact that the main issue where the swords are crossed is the status of American private arbitration courts within the European legal system. The global TNCs push for allowing these companies to sue states in private arbitration courts for any action that negatively influences their profits. In practical terms that means a total loss of the sovereignty of the European states as the private arbitration courts will then be able to dictate to the nation states customs duties (directly influencing profits of course), sanitary and phytosanitary norms (EU will have to lift its strict barriers to GMO- and beef hormone products), financial and investment rules for the European banks and even subsidies. No wonder that a ruling coalition party in Germany categorically protests against the TTIP talks. Mass public anti-TTIP rally struck Berlin in October 2015. As a result, now Frau Merkel is emphatically careful in her assessment of the TTIP project.

    Now, the picture is more or less clear: Bundeskanzlerin plays a smart game trying to maintain European sovereignty while formally complying with the US demands on secondary tracks. No doubt that this game is decoded already by Washington and the only factor that impedes her immediate ousting from the office is the absence of prepared and manageable successor. Nevertheless, a media campaign against Frau Merkel, on the pretext of rapefugees scandal, is in full swing.

    Early January the notorious speculator and confessed sponsor of the refugee traffic to Europe George Soros gave an explicit interview to Wirtschafts Woche where he bitterly critisized Merkel’s stricter European and refugee policy suggesting that it would “cost her chancellorship”. Simultaneously the hashtag #ArrestMerkel and “Merkel Has To Go” motto appeared in Twitter and gained an impressive circulation. Conducted analysis showed that #ArrestMerkel hashtag was originally transmitted by two major Twitter accounts, @Trainspotter001 and @AmyMek. It was taken up and spread by a number of other powerful accounts.

    As you see, in both cases the minimum activity is observed between 7AM and 3PM GMT , which most likely corresponds to the US Pacific or Mountain Time. These Twitter activists are therefore active during daytime on the US West coast.

    Now, the @Trainspotter001 account has made almost 27K tweets since March 2015, or around 88 tweets per day which too much for a human operator (for example, the whole CNN Twitter team is making around 23 tweets/day). We conclude that @Trainspotter001 is a programmed bot, while @Amy Mek (27K tweets since 2012) is likely too.

    Going further to major retweeters we see that @Genophilia is the leading bot here (107K tweets since September 2012, or approximately 87 tweets/day). Its region is not indicated but average hourly activity research shows that it is operated from the US Pacific coast as well. Two other notable accounts are @jjauthor, a Nevada-based bot making 300 posts per day since 2010 (!) and @LadyAodh, another artificial blonde profile, created in the Unites States and fighting “white genocide” since March 2015. As you saw at the first graph, all these bot accounts are closely interlaced and thus multiplicate each other’s effect coving multimillion audiences.

    The presented evidence clearly demonstrates that the whole Refugee Combination was arranged by the US-based agents to frame up Chancellor Merkel and warn her against the defiance and independent stand for the European sovereignty. Quite noteworthy is that the seemingly polar opposite platforms (ultra liberal of George Soros and far right of vague US-located twitter bots) are eventually pursuing the same political goal – to oust German leader from her office and impose the TTIP on Europe.

    Andrey Fomin is founding editor of the online political analysis journal Oriental Review. He holds a Masters in Russian History (Lomonosov Moscow State University).

    © 2010-2015 Oriental Review

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