“See something, say nothing” seems to be the message of the German government, and they do have ways of making you not talk. This is apparent after the Berlin Police conducted large-scale raids on Wednesday — on Internet users. The “crime”?
Posting anti-migrant messages on social media.
The actions did yield the discovery of illegal drugs and commonplace weapons in certain cases, but in some of the homes, authorities admitted they found nothing. Nonetheless, police spokesman Stefan Redlich “justified the raids saying they were maybe ‘people who just once expressed their hate-opinion,’” reports Breitbart.
Germany has been the focal point of the last two years’ Muslim-wave migration into Europe, with Chancellor Angela Merkel championing the influx and with the nation’s generous welfare state making it a prime destination for opportunistic migrants. In fact, in 2015 alone, the Montana-sized country took in a number of Muslim migrants equal to the whole population of Montana.
And with many of the Muslim newcomers committing crimes — and with the New Year’s Eve sex assaults in Cologne, Germany, making international headlines — many German citizens are voicing opposition to Merkel’s culture-rending policies. Yet this can create conflict with the nation’s tongue-tying “hate speech” laws.
Such laws are prevalent in the Western world and are always applied selectively; in particular, they’ve been used to silence critics of homosexual behavior and Islam. And Germany has just ratcheted up the pressure. Merkel said in a New Year's message, reported Gateway Pundit, “We must accept [that] migrants are more criminal”; and Cologne mayor Henriette Reker suggested that women must follow a “code of conduct” to avoid being attacked by Muslim men. Yet German officials don’t show nearly the same tolerance of hate-speech law violation. In fact, authorities have a task force — headed by an ex-Stasi (the feared secret police in formerly Marxist East Germany) agent named Anetta Kahani — that scours social media such as YouTube, Twitter, WhatsApp, and Facebook looking for violators. And as Breitbart wrote:
Police announced that the raids show Germans that they are not as safe online as they might think. They say that anyone who says something xenophobic, spreads hate toward migrants, or shares what they consider to be xenophobic music, may be next on the list of apartments to be raided in the future.
… Spokesman Redlich also mentioned that they had found several unconstitutional symbols [in the raided homes] but did not divulge specifics. Banned symbols in Germany include Nazi era symbols like the swastika and various Nordic runes used by the Nazis during the era.
But Germans also aren’t as safe offline as they might like, as a recent sexual attack on a 14-year-old boy by two Afghan men at a public pool near Bonn evidences. And with such incidents sparking ever more opposition to Muslim migration into Europe, German authorities are becoming ever more vigilant about suppressing the truth.
Of course, there’s no doubt that some of the comments in question may be hateful (but does this make them Big Brother’s business?). Yet others reflect the type of loose talk or tongue-in-cheek sentiments millions of Americans post to social media every week. For example, one remark concerned an Afghan migrant accidentally shot by Bulgarian officials and stated that, as Breitbart relates it, “it was unfortunate too few migrants met with a similar fate, as it might scare the rest of them from coming.”
And even heartfelt and well-meaning opinion can run afoul of Germany’s thought police; 16-year-old German girl Bibi Wilhailm learned this after she created a video (shown below), which went viral, complaining about how she and her friends feel threatened by the Muslim migrants. While there’s no indication that criminal charges have been brought against Wilhailm, Facebook did pull a Stalin and try to airbrush her out of history, deleting her account in deference to the Merkel government. Facebook and Google (and perhaps other social media) have been helping the German state suppress speech critical of migrants and Merkel’s policies.
Yet the next Wilhailm may not be so lucky. Breitbart also tells us that “Berlin has seen a rapid increase in prosecutions for speech on the internet. In 2014 there were 196 investigations into anti-migrant and xenophobic posts, while 2015 saw 289 cases. In the last six months there have been three raids prior to this one, but so far this has been the largest in scale.”
And Germany isn’t alone in punishing Internet speech; in fact, it’s quickly becoming the norm. For example, as I related in a 2014 story about Sweden, “Fria Tider (Free Times) reported … in a piece entitled ‘New Law Makes it Easier to Prosecute Those Who Offend Immigrants or Those in Power,’ ‘The crime of ‘insult’ will be prosecuted — but only for giving offense to immigrants, LGBTQ persons or authorities ... [under a ] common insult to the public prosecution.’” And, in fact, anti-migration Internet commenters have been tracked down and persecuted in Sweden, with at least one losing his job.
Then, Breitbart informs us of the following chilling warning issued by Great Britain’s Greater Glasgow Police: “Think before you post or you may receive a visit from us this weekend. Use the internet safely. #thinkbeforeyoupost”. Of course with a U.K. political leader being arrested in 2014 and charged with a “Racially Aggravated Crime” merely for quoting Winston Churchill, a better hashtag for Westerners to popularize may be #thinkbeforeyouvote.