Cologne Incidents: European Media Distort Facts

Last weekend’s events in Cologne demonstrate what European conservatives are up against. A conference protesting the building of a mega mosque run by Turkish radicals was violently disrupted by thugs who gained the approval of the local German authorities and the German media. The international media, including the so-called “conservative” media, have either not written about the Cologne incidents or done so by branding the conservatives as “Neo-Nazis” and the thugs as ordinary citizens bravely fighting back “Nazism.” An example of the latter can be found in The Times of London.

A reader of the Gates of Vienna blog remarks: “I have the feeling I am living through a moment of great historical import, a pivot in time that will be looked back on by historians as a crucial seminal event at the beginning of World War 3.”

Olav Torheim, a reader from Norway, sent us the below analysis of the media situation in his country. It is indicative of the situation elsewhere in Europe.

This evening, key persons from a number of Islam critical parties and groups were gathered for a conference in Cologne in Germany organized by the local Pro Köln (Pro Cologne) group. The conference had been announced several months in advance and leftist groups all over Europe had mobilized against it. However, the group opposing Islamization managed to hold the conference as planned on a secret location. The only occasions where counterdemonstrators were able to engage them were at two announced public arrangements; a press conference on Friday evening and a public meeting on Saturday.
The only Norwegian newspaper to cover the Cologne events was Dagbladet, the third largest newspaper in Norway, which had sent Marte Michelet to Cologne to report the events. Dagbladet tries to present the Islam critical groups as right wing extremist groups, but in reality it was the leftist counterdemonstrators that were behind all the riots and confrontations this weekend. Local observator Olav Torheim can document these facts with lots of written sources and photographies. Torheim is strongly critical of Marte Michelet's coverage in Dagbladet and accuses Michelet of misleading her readers and spreading propaganda for her radical left-wing friends in Europe. Michelet is the former leader of Red Youth (Röd Ungdom, the youth organization of the former Norwegian marxist-leninist party AKP), she is former editor of the radio station of the autonomous Blitz movement of Oslo – and now she is… a journalist at Dagbladet.
The leftists were strongly determined to stop a public meeting which was to be arranged at Heumarkt in the center of Cologne, but in reality, this meeting was only one part of a larger anti-Islamization conference arranged by the local Pro Köln group. Before the meeting had started, the leftists had sabotaged the railroad and by threats, violence and sabotage they had prevented most of the attendees to come to the meeting, including several hundred conference attendees which were stuck at the airport of Cologne.
Pro Köln had scheduled a press conference and a public demonstration in the center of the town. The leftist counterdemonstrators responded by planning concerts and counterarrangements that should mobilize the local inhabitants of Cologne for counterdemonstrations.

But instead of gathering people for these non-violent activities, the counterdemonstrators resorted to rampage and violence already at Friday evening. A Jewish representative of Pro Köln was severely beaten and had to be sent to hospital and more violent actions were done to persons that were considered “Nazis” by the counterdemonstrators. They also damaged a boat full of journalists and politicians by throwing stones from a bridge, and the Police had to order the boat back to harbor.
Even inside the town it became hard for the leftist. The Police had blocked the entrance to the demonstration square, and the counterdemonstrators were standing in an outer ring outside the Police barricades, while a number of Pro Köln people were gathered inside. Some counterdemonstrators tried to gather beside the Cologne Cathedral, which in many ways represents the core of the struggle. The Muslims of Cologne want to build a giant mosque with a dome and two minarets. Most of the Cologne citizens oppose this, but the project is supported by most of the politicians and it is embraced in the name of multiculturalism. But although Dagbladet reporter Marte Michelet writes that “tens of thousands of people were gathered in a giant counterdemonstration in front of the Cologne Cathedral on Saturday,” photos show that no more than maximum 1,000 persons were gathered here. Flags and clothes of the demonstrators also clearly show that most of them are members of typical left-wing subcultures. Not even here there were many people defending Islam in Europe.
When it became hard to make a strong enough manifestation in front of the police barricades, the leftist extremists started setting fire to garbage containers and initiating other kinds of rampage. In confrontations with the Police, six policemen were wounded and 500 leftists were taken in Police custody. However, Dagbladet's Marte Michelet once again presents a distorted version of these events and claims that the garbage cans were set in fire “to keep right wing extremists outside the barricades.”
According to German news sources, the leftist counterdemonstrators had expected to mobilize a counterdemonstration with 40,000 to 60,000 activists but instead they ended with being backed up with 5,000 to 10,000 demonstrators coming from all over Europe. People from Cologne were generally not interested in taking part of the counterdemonstrations – despite free concerts with well-known bands and other cultural activities that were supposed to mobilize ordinary people out on the streets.

Yesterday, the Norwegian national news bureau, Norsk Telegrambyraa (NTB) published the following report news based on the Dagbladet coverage.
Tens of thousands of Germans against racist conference
Köln (NTB-AFP): Tens of thousands of Germans rallied Saturday in a giant demonstration against an anti-Islamic conference in Cologne where several European right wing extremists were to participate.
Students, families and businessmen went "man out of the house" (untranslatable Norwegian phrase) to protest the conference where a number of right wing extremist top leader from countries like Belgium, Austria and Italy took part.
The demonstrators carried banners with the text "We are Cologne – get rid of the nazis" and "Cologne is rebelling" when they gathered outside the famous cathedral to protest the conference of the local right wing extremist group Pro Köln.
In his speech, the city mayor Fritz Schramma called the Pro Köln a group of arsonists and racists who are hiding behind the mask of being a civil rights movement.
150 pubs stopped selling beer to the conference attendees, while some taxi and bus drivers refused to drive them and cancelled their hotel bookings.
Pro Köln initiated Friday a two days long conference where the speakers condemned muslim immigration and the construction of a mosque in the town. (©NTB)

As one can see from the NTB report, the most important part – that violent counterdemonstrators blocked, sabotaged and threatened people from coming to the meeting – and that the Police finally banned the meeting due to "security reasons" – is not mentioned at all.



See also:


Shame on Germany: Cologne Was Ready to Beat Up Jews, 22 September 2008

An International Disgrace: Cologne Kicks Out “Undesirables”, 21 September 2008

Cologne Gives In to Violence after Mayor Calls for Intolerance, 20 September 2008

Cologne: A Tale of Two Mayors, 20 September 2008


Read again

@ Maple Syrup

Please, read again, and try to place what you read in a broader context. 

Kappert is NOT "spot on".  He is not trying to say that the European media are distorting the facts (which is the subject of the article).  He agrees with the media's distortion of misrepresenting the legitimate public demonstration as the work of some kind of nazis.  In short, Kappert is all for "the kind of soft totalitarianism" that you appear to have discovered.   Kappert couldn't care less if "anarchist terror squads" are working on behalf of the established authorities to silence the real opposition to the established orthodoxy.   

Indeed, fundamentally terms like 'left' and 'right' are unimportant.   As the French say: "les extremes se touchent".  What matters is the distinction between those who tolerate political dissent, and those who don't.  Or between those who respect freedom of political speech and those who don't.  We now know, or should know, on which side most of the European media is.

Kappert is spot on

Kappert is spot on. There is less and less meaningful difference between the 'Right' and the 'Left', at least when we talk about established parties and the mainstream media. The result is a strange kind of soft totalitarianism where the only legitimate political differences are those of style and image.


In all this, the most alarming trend is the rise of 'anarchist' terror squads. Far from being anarchists, they actually function as an extralegal police force. They are suppressing political dissent -- there is no other word for it -- and they are doing it far more ruthlessly than the legal police ever could.

right-wing papers

If even the right-wing papers 'Bild' 'Express' 'Die Welt' 'Handelsblatt' 'FAZ' 'Rheinische Post' and 'Jüdische Allgemeine' call the pro-Köln gang as nazi-associated, Mr Landen has to look on the very, very right to find something else!

Absolutely spot on. I

Absolutely spot on.

I checked the dutch papers on the internet today and only 1 mentioned this whole affair.

Also spot on was the assesment that there would be no mention of leftwing extremists, allthough i must admit there was 1 reference to leftwing radical. But for the most part they were mentioned as demonstrators, anti-fascists and so on. On the other hand ofcourse, the anti-islamists are mentioned as "eurofascist", "right-extremist", and "neo-nazi's".

All in all, the covering of this story is pretty horrible.



Auster, even not having been there, gets it about The Times -- "reads like something in a Communist newspaper". It does.

I remember how Soviets were trying to suppress the first anti-soviet demos in Baltic states. At the first rally, Soviets were doing silly things -- organizing cycling festival at the place it was supposed to take place, tried to block the place using city busses. It was a handful of people, Soviets succeeded in what they did to large extent.

Here is footage from second demo that took place in Riga, Latvia -- on the aniversary of Molotow-Ribbentrop Pact. There were more people than at the first, but still only couple of thousand demonstrators amidst few thousand onlookers vs. the State. It got broken up eventually, and only a handful of protesters managed to reach the "rally-point" - lay the flowers at Freedom Monument.

The city of Cologne (or "State" - whoever was in charge) could afford what the Soviets were desperately trying to avoid at that time -- inflame tensions by setting one group of population up against another. In so doing the "State" could avoid being seen as if the obstruction of Pro-Cologne were carried out by it, or at least by it alone.

Soviets had nearly total control of media, and they were putting out stuff as triumphant as "establishment media" does in this case. Yes, it does read like something from a communist paper -- it's not exaggeration. In the end, it will not matter, I think. There are, of course, much more differences than similarities in the two situations, but just two years later Soviets had this on their hands. If genuine cause and grievance is there, if the "State" is neither able/willing to reform the policies nor ruthlessly oppress dissent, those advocating their cause using non-violent and democratic means will win out in the end.