Thursday, September 17, 2015
How many are genuine? As Europe locks down its borders, eye witnesses claim fewer than a third of refugees who have made it to Germany are Syrian – and some are even ISIS infiltrators
Chain-smoking outside a coffee bar in Germany’s capital, young Syrian Mohammad Al-Abaan bangs his hand loudly on the table as three teenage girls walk past in Islamic robes.
‘Look at them!’ he says. ‘They pretend to be migrants from my country, but they lie. Their skin is blacker than ours. I know they are Arab-speaking Muslims from Sudan in Africa. Every day, more Africans, Afghanis, Iraqis, Iranians, Lebanese, and lots of others, slip through the door opened by Germany to us Syrians.’
These are strong words, particularly as Mohammad has only just set foot in Europe himself, arriving in Berlin a week ago by train from Hungary with his friend Ismail Gannom.
They are civil engineering graduates, both 25 and from middle-class families, who fled Syria to escape military service in President Bashar Al-Assad’s army as it wages a civil war against rebels, including Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists.
In Berlin, a government bus whisked them with 150 others to a reception centre in Neukolln, a bustling multicultural district in the south of the city. Charity workers, city officials and local well-wishers waved welcome signs and pink and blue balloons were hung on lamp-posts outside. ‘The Germans love us, and we love Germany,’ said Mohammad.
Until Sunday, migrants at 2,000 reception centres in cities from Munich to Hamburg were met with the same greetings. The scenes followed Chancellor Angela Merkel’s declaration that all arriving Syrians should be treated as war refugees, offered asylum and — turning a blind eye to EU rules — not be returned for fingerprinting and registration to the country where they first entered Europe.
Now, the Merkel dream is unravelling: the relentless flow of migrants has overwhelmed the EU mainland. On Sunday afternoon, Germany temporarily shut its borders with Austria, later introducing tougher vetting of migrants.
The dramatic U-turn reinstated border controls that had not been in place for two decades, placing Europe’s prized Schengen Agreement — allowing passport-free movement across much of the Continent — under real threat.
Yet Mrs Merkel had insisted ‘we can do it’ when she welcomed migrants to the country last week, criticising other states, including Britain, for not doing enough to help.
With a shrinking and ageing population — and a desperate need to expand its workforce — Germany’s original welcome call to Syrians is viewed by some as not purely selfless.
Whatever its true motives, Germany has left the fabric of the European project in jeopardy. Yesterday Austria, Slovakia and Holland pledged tighter border controls. Hungary completed a razor-wire fence to keep out migrants from beyond the EU, and declared a state of emergency on its southern borders with Serbia. Hungarian officials said they had denied 16 asylum claims at the frontier within hours.
Joachim Hermann, the interior minister of Germany’s Bavaria (coping with enormous arrivals from Austria), said stricter rules were needed. ‘We have established in the past few days that many en route here are not really refugees,’ he said.
‘It has got about . . . that you are successful [in claiming asylum] if you pretend to be Syrian.’
Along the well-trodden route from Turkey across the Aegean Sea to Greece, Macedonia to Serbia, into Hungary, Austria and, finally, Germany, there are rising fears that thousands of migrants are blagging their way into Europe as Syrians.
The situation is a huge embarrassment for Mrs Merkel, who wants to force migrant quotas on each EU country, including the UK.
This is rejected as ‘unacceptable’ by Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
In Britain, David Cameron has promised to take 20,000 directly from refugee camps in Syria and neighbouring countries. On Monday he visited a camp in Lebanon to highlight this strategy, intended to stop trafficking gangs from exploiting migrants.
But he was warned by a Syrian minister that two in every 100 people in the camps are ISIS jihadists trying to slip into Europe undetected.
In Berlin, Mohammad and Ismail told me less than a third of migrants in Germany, or on their way there, are from Syria. When I questioned this astonishing claim, they insisted they were right, calling over three friends who had travelled with them, who all said the same.
Concerned about a misunderstanding, although their English is good, I drew a pie chart and asked them to mark on it the percentage of migrants arriving in Germany who are genuinely Syrian.
Mohammad, watched by the others, took my pen and clearly drew a line showing they really did mean 30 per cent. If these young men are right, it makes a laughing stock of Mrs Merkel’s grandiose open-door plan.
Ismail said: ‘In our reception centre there are many, including the three Sudanese girls, who pretend to be from our country. Yet these people have different hair, different faces and speak Arabic in a different accent to us.
‘We first realised back in Turkey, when we waited to get a boat to Lesbos in Greece, migrants from other Arab-speaking countries were claiming to be Syrian,’ he adds.
‘The traffickers were selling them identity cards, either stolen from us Syrians, or faked, ready to show the Germans.’
Trade in these documents — produced by trafficking gangs in forgery factories — is booming.
In the Greek capital Athens, a dealer and people smuggler nicknamed ‘Abu Karem’ (it means generous one) sells Syrian and European passports from a cafe down an alleyway. Some, costing £150 each, are brand new, printed in Bulgaria, and are unlikely to pass muster.
Others, stolen from Syrian migrants, bear official registered numbers and sell for £2,000 or more, ready for their new owner to place a photo inside. Abu Karem’s sales pitch is that these will ‘guarantee’ entry into Austria and then Germany.
As Fabrice Leggeri, head of the European border agency Frontex, last week told French radio: ‘Trafficking in Syrian passports is an extremely lucrative trade for smugglers. People who use them mostly speak Arabic, they may come from Africa or the Middle East, but they have the profile of economic migrants, not refugees.’
He added: ‘A lot have fake Syrian papers because they know they’ll get asylum in the EU more easily.’
Just this week, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees estimated that only half of the 381,000 people who have landed this year in Italy and Greece — the two main entry points for migrants — are Syrian. Others come from all over the Middle East and Africa.
The proportion of genuine Syrians among the migrants drops further as they make their way northwards towards Europe and more pretenders join in.
By the EU border into Hungary, there are Macedonians, Albanians and Bosnians posing as Syrians, too. The bogus Syrians have even been found on the journey memorising street maps of the Syrian capital Damascus to try to fool the German authorities about their nationality when they arrive. Despite being aware of the problem, governments are struggling to combat it.
On Monday, Ivo Kotevski, of the Macedonia Interior Ministry, said: ‘There are so many people travelling through our country that we don’t have the capacity to investigate those with fake documents.
‘Of the 75,000 who have arrived so far, only 50 have asked for asylum here. They don’t want to stay, but to travel into the EU.’
In Serbia, almost 90 per cent of the 3,000 migrants entering their country from Macedonia each day claim to be Syrian, although most have no documents to prove it.
Miroslav Jovic, a Serbian border official, reports that Pakistani, Bangladeshi and Iraqis deliberately throw away their identity documents in fields or ditches so they can pretend to be Syrians.
In the Serbian capital Belgrade, a local newspaper last week interviewed a young man — Kamal Salah, from Damascus — who was among the hundreds of people waiting to get into neighbouring Hungary.
‘Everyone here says they are Syrian, even those who are obviously not,’ he said. ‘That is not good for us Syrians when we get to Germany, because there must be some limit to the number who get asylum.
‘They are getting away from poverty or want a better life. We are fleeing from war.’
In a further alarming twist, Islamic State has seized a cache of 3,800 blank Syrian passports, with registration numbers, from former Syrian government buildings in Raqqa, the city it now controls.
There are fears these may be used to get ISIS jihadists into Europe pretending to be Syrian refugees.
The other day a dangerous ISIS terrorist, posing as an ‘asylum seeker’, was discovered at a refugee centre in Stuttgart, Germany. The 21-year-old Moroccan — wanted in Spain, where he is accused of recruiting terrorists for ISIS — was using a ‘fake identity’, thought to be Syrian.
And German customs authorities have intercepted packages posted from Bulgaria containing 10,000 fake and stolen Syrian passports, destined to be sold for £1,200 each.
As a smartly dressed German woman, passing by an overwhelmed asylum processing centre in Berlin, said to me pointedly: ‘It seems that everyone wants to be Syrian now.’
Whatever the truth of this, Europe is witnessing the biggest inward migration since World War II.
In the first six months of this year, 450,000 migrants registered with the German authorities.
There were 105,000 asylum applications in August, and 37,000 in the first week of this month. Germany says it expects these to reach a total of 800,000, or even more, by the end of 2015.
And still they try to come. In the age of the internet, social media and mobile phone, Germany’s invitation to Syrians is common knowledge in tea houses across Africa and the Middle East, luring more migrants to set off. Visiting a Berlin asylum processing centre, where she was cheered by migrants, Mrs Merkel promised last week that Germany would give a ‘good future’ to everyone.
It is a far cry from five years ago, when she said a multi-cultural society in Germany had ‘utterly failed’. Now, she tells her citizens: ‘Being a country to which so many want to migrate should be a source of pride.’ The irony is that she’s unlikely to be understood by many migrants, even those who have been in Germany for some time.
Take Syrian Muslim Mohamad Dugmush, once a Damascus restaurant manager, who is struggling to speak German after arriving in February 2014.
Mr Dugmush, in his 40s, moved to Berlin when his asylum application was approved. In July this year, he brought in his wife Amani, their daughter and four young sons.
The family have been allocated a three-room apartment, near the coffee bar where I met Mohammad and his friends in Neukolln, where 40 per cent of residents are of non-German origin.
Mr Dugmush and his wife get more than £500 a month, plus free housing and extra benefits, for their five children. It is far more than he earned in Syria.
‘I live on a street with a German name, which is nicknamed locally as Arab Strasse,’ he told an American TV channel proudly last month. ‘When I go outside, and everyone speaks Arabic, I smile.
‘Near my house, I have a mosque. My wife is wearing a veil. When she goes out, nobody speaks badly to her because she is among Muslims. I feel thankful for Germany.’
As for young Syrian arrivals Mohammad and Ismail, they are already frustrated by the badly over-stretched German migration system. Two days had gone by and they had not been registered as asylum seekers, although a charity worker was — bizarrely — assigned to take them on a tour of the city.
Back at the Neukolln coffee bar, the two again complain that Germany’s generosity to Syrians is being exploited.
Ismail tells me: ‘Today the Berlin officials came to our centre and asked a Lebanese migrant, who was pretending to be Syrian from Aleppo, if he could name any street in that city. He ran off, he could not answer. He still plans to claim asylum.
‘We are now worried that these cheats will make the asylum queues longer for us. If they behave badly, it will tarnish the image of real Syrians needing help here.’
Outside their reception centre, the balloons put up by the welcoming party hang limply from the lamp-posts. Word has come that Saudi Arabia is offering to finance the building of 200 mosques in Germany to cater for the new generations of Muslims.
One can only wonder if the spirits of ordinary Berliners will deflate like those balloons when they realise what Mrs Merkel has done in their name.
Purging America's Heroes
With that kumbayah moment at the Capitol in South Carolina, when the Battle Flag of the Confederacy was lowered forever to the cheers and tears of all, a purgation of the detestable relics of evil that permeate American public life began.
City leaders in Memphis plan to dig up the body of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who is buried in a city park that once bore his name. A statue of the great cavalrymen will be removed.
"Nathan Bedford Forrest is a symbol of bigotry and racism, and those symbols have no place on public property," said council chairman Myron Lowery, "What we're doing here in Memphis is no different from what's happening across the country." Myron's got that right.
Panicky Democrats are terminating their tradition of Jefferson-Jackson Day dinners, as both presidents were slaveholders.
Other slaveholders include Presidents George Washington, James Madison, who authored the Constitution that equated slaves with 3/5ths of a person, James Monroe, of Monroe Doctrine fame, John Tyler, who annexed Texas, and James K. Polk, who tore off half of Mexico.
Jefferson, Jackson and Madison are also the names of the state capitals of Missouri, Mississippi and Wisconsin, and Washington is the capital of the United States. Is it not time to change the names of these cities to honor more women and minorities who better reflect our glorious new diversity?
Washington, Jefferson and Jackson are on the $1, $2 and $20 bills. Ought they not all be replaced?
In Baltimore and Annapolis, calls are heard for the removal of statues of Chief Justice Roger Taney of the Dred Scott decision. In Fairfax County, Virginia, J.E.B. Stuart High may be headed for a name change. Can George Washington and Washington-Lee, rivals of my old high school, be far behind?
But it is Statuary Hall, beneath the cupola of the U.S. Capitol, where each state is represented by statues of two of its greatest, that really requires a Memphis-style moral cleansing.
Mississippi is represented by Jefferson Davis and Georgia by Alexander Stephens, the president and vice president of the Confederacy; South Carolina by John C. Calhoun, who called slavery a "positive good," and Confederate Gen. Wade Hampton.
Kentucky is represented by slave owner Henry Clay; Florida by Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith; North Carolina by Confederate colonel and Civil War governor Zebulon Vance; Texas by Stephen Austin and Sam Houston who seceded from Mexico to create a slave republic that joined the United States as a slave state in 1845.
Utah is represented by Brigham Young, founder of a Mormon faith that declared black people unfit to belong; Virginia by Robert E. Lee and Washington. California is represented by a statue of Fr. Junipero Serra, who established the missions that became the cities of California and converted and disciplined pagan Indians to Christianity.
Among the men revered by the generations that grew up in mid-20th-century America, five categories seem destined for execration:
Explorers like Columbus who conquered the indigenous peoples. Slave owners from 1619 to 1865. Statesmen, military leaders, and all associated with the Confederacy. All involved in the dispossession and ethnic cleansing of Native-Americans, like Gens. William Sherman and Phil Sheridan who said, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian," and acted on that maxim.
Lastly, segregationists. There is a move afoot to take the name of Sen. Richard Russell of Georgia, an opponent of civil rights laws, off the Senate Office Building to which it has been affixed for 40 years.
As there are thousands of schools, streets, highways, buildings, towns and cities that bear the names of these old heroes and men like them, the purging is going to take decades. Yet, make no mistake, a Great Purge of American heroes of yesteryear is at hand.
What did all those named above, who would be Class-A war criminals at the Southern Poverty Law Center, have in common?
All were white males. All achieved greatly. All believed that the people whence they came were superior and possessed of a superior faith, Christianity, and hence fit to rule what Rudyard Kipling called the "lesser breeds without the Law."
Acting on a belief in their racial, religious and cultural superiority, they created the greatest nation on earth. And people who got in their way were shoved aside, subjugated, repressed and ruled.
As for the Confederates of the Lost Cause, they yielded to superior force only after four years of fighting, but their battle flag has ever after been seen as a banner of rebellion, bravery and defiance.
And those tearing down the battle flags, and dumping over the monuments and statues, and sandblasting the names off buildings and schools, what have they ever accomplished?
They inherited the America these men built, but are ashamed at how it was built. And now they watch paralyzed as the peoples of the Third World, whom their grandfathers ruled, come to dispossess them of the patrimony for which they feel so guilty.
The new barbarians will make short work of them.
Army Soldier ‘Kicked to the Curb’ From Restaurant for Having Service Dog
A soldier who served more than three decades in the U.S. Army and suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was denied service at a restaurant for having a service dog.
CBS Chicago reported that Maj. Diggs Brown, who served in Afghanistan and returned home with PTSD, attempted to eat breakfast with his service dog Arthur at Cochon Volant during a weekend in Chicago, Illinois. He was asked to leave.
“When my service dog and I walked in, the hostess took us to the table, and the young lady named Hannah, she said you can’t have a dog in the restaurant,” Brown recalled. “I kept my cool and I said you know it’s the American Disabilities Act. This is my service dog, he can go wherever I go, it’s the law. So I was seated, placed my order then Hannah came over again and said I have to leave. I said it’s my service dog and she said I don’t care, you need to leave, we don’t have dogs in the restaurant. I could go to the Department of Justice with this if we continue down this path.”
Embarrassed, Brown returned to his home in Fort Collins, Colorado, and posted to his Facebook account on Sept. 12 that he and Arthur, his service dog of two-and-a-half years, had been “kicked to the curb.”
“I posted to my Facebook page, this is what happened to me and it went viral,” Brown explained. “The manager of the restaurant then called me personally and then emailed me apologizing.”
The restaurant followed with its own post to Facebook, apologizing for the “unfortunate situation” and deeming it “not a true representation of our company policy.” The restaurant claimed to be conducting an internal review and said it would make donations to Puppies Behind Bars and Colorado Disabled Veterans.
Brown credited the restaurant for its response.
“It’s not my intent to destroy a restaurant, but it is my intent to make them aware that they have violated a law that not only affects veterans with dogs, but other people with disabilities with service laws and that they need to be aware that it’s discrimination,” the soldier explained.
“They’ve stepped up to the plate and they are going to make some changes at the restaurant so I’m happy in my mind that it is resolved,” Brown added.
As for Hannah, the restaurant worker who refused to serve him, Brown said he hopes that she would not be fired for not understanding the law.
“She just needed to be educated. That’s the restaurant’s discretion,” Brown said.
Brown said that the incident represented the first time he was denied service because of Arthur, whom he credits with saving his life.
“He does a lot of things. He wakes me up from nightmares when I have them. When I have anxiety attacks, he calms me down. He saved my life and I’m even off the drugs,” Brown said.
UK: Welfare claimants are deliberately failing interviews by wearing shellsuits and giving 'high fives' so they don't have to work, claims care home boss
Benefits claimants are deliberately behaving ridiculously in job interviews because they don't want to get off the dole, according to a small business boss.
Care home manager Shaun Drury says that many of the unemployed people he has interviewed have turned up in a shellsuit, given him high fives and spoken in one-word sentences.
The job-seekers' performance has in some cases been so weak that he has concluded they are looking for an excuse to avoid giving up their benefits.
Unemployed people must sign up for job interviews even if they don't actually want to work, because otherwise they face having their handouts withdrawn.
Job centres offer interview coaching to ensure that those looking for work know how to conduct themselves in a professional environment.
But Mr Drury - the general manager at Quality Lifestyle Ltd in Plymouth, Devon - said: 'The problem is that many of them, in my experience, don't actually want a job.
'They turn up in shellsuits, high-five you like the comedy character Ali G, or express themselves in mono-syllabic non-sequiturs so that even the most desperate employer wouldn't touch them with a barge pole. 'And that's even if they bother to turn up.
'No one seems to notice, or care, if the supposed job-seeker submits an intentionally dreadful application guaranteed to ensure he won't even be short-listed or he simply fails to turn up for interview.'
If job centres conclude that claimants are not actively seeking employment, they can have their £112-a-week Jobseeker's Allowance removed.
However, Mr Drury insisted that employees just 'tick a box' without checking whether employees turned up to interviews or how they performed. He added that he had heard them discuss going on luxury holidays and using their benefits to buy new cars.
'I've heard them boasting about their lifestyle and saying they've every right to spend their money however they like as they've saved up,' he said.
'All that lounging about is an expensive hobby, at least for the rest of us who pay for it.'
Sarah Ball, an employment engagement officer at the Plymouth JobCentre, said of the claims: 'We would take people's word for it [that they have attended interviews]. 'But it wouldn't be left that they would be continually failing at interviews.
'If an employer has a complaint we would welcome that. I cannot recollect this employer contacting us with feedback.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.