December 24th, 2016

The Christmas market terrorist and Europe’s border policy

Europe has a dream—the dream of Schengen. Schengen represents a borderless unity, with European states united to the economic and social benefit of all of them, in peace and harmony:

What makes the allegiance to Schengen so strong among Europeans? We found that in 13 countries, protecting the principle of free movement is the most important issue regarding how member states feel about the future of Schengen…

..[T]he idea that terrorism is a European threat which is best tackled together…underlines the sense that although border controls have been reinstalled over the past few months, there is a fundamental belief that these are temporary, not permanent changes, even if the route back to the old Schengen is difficult to see at the moment.

Those quotes were taken from an article last May; they refer to a tightening of border control that had been implemented after the Paris terror attacks. However, it seems that those border control changes were indeed temporary, as the border-crossing movements of Amri the Christmas market terrorist have made clear. This was a man whose identity and appearance was known, and yet no attempt seems to have been made to make border control more strict again even in the wake of the Christmas attack in Berlin.

There have been differing reports on whether the two Italian policemen who stopped Amri and asked to check his ID suspected that he was the killer. Apparently, however, they did not; it was a routine stop of some sort to check the documents of a man who was roaming around at around 3 AM:

The truck killer is reported to have told them: ‘I don’t have documents, I am Calabrian.’

But after being challenged, he pulled out a gun and shot at the two officers.

Milan police chief Antonio de Iesu said: ‘They had no perception that it could be him, otherwise they’d have been more careful.’

And yet in Europe they can’t check people for ID at the border. Crazy.

Tory MEP David Campbell-Bannerman said: ‘Schengen is a terrorist’s dream as we saw with the Paris, Brussels and now Berlin attacks.”…

French far-Right leader Marine Le Pen said the hunt for Amri was ‘symptomatic of the total security disaster represented by the Schengen area’.

By the time the European arrest warrant for him was issued on Wednesday, Amri, who had used at least six different aliases with three nationalities, had vanished.

Despite being Europe’s most wanted man, he was able to cross the German border into France and make his way to Chambéry, before crossing another national border by travelling on a high speed train to Turin in northern Italy.

From there, he apparently caught a regional train to Milan, arriving at 1am yesterday, before then taking another service to Sesto San Giovanni station in the suburbs…

Under the Schengen rules he had no need to show travel documents at national frontiers, which have been had checkpoints removed.

Milan police said Amri was carrying a few personal belongings and several hundred euros – but no mobile phone and no travel documents.

‘He was a ghost, he didn’t leave a trace,’ said Milan police chief Antonio De Lesu.

The mastermind of the Paris terror massacres had bragged of travelling across Europe at will.

Is it not time to suspend Schengen indefinitely, in addition to stopping the influx of “migrants” from troubled Muslim countries?

Schengen isn’t the only terrorist-facilitating situation Europe faces. Getting weapons is apparently no problem whatsoever for the terrorists of Europe. It’s far more of a problem for law-abiding people, of course:

Anis Amri murdered a Polish truck driver and shot an Italian policeman with a handgun freely available on the black market in Europe for just 150 euros.

The ISIS terrorist’s 22 caliber pistol was photographed next to his body where he was shot dead after a shoot out in Milan at 3am today.

It raises questions about how Amri was able to secure the weapon despite being under surveillance by the German authorities and being arrested by police at least three times this year.

Terrorists are finding it easier than ever to get guns because of the flow of illegal weapons flowing from the Balkans into the heart of western Europe.

Experts from the Switzerland-based Small Arms Survey estimate there are between 3million and 6million guns left over from wars during the 1990s. Up to 1.5million of them are said to be in Serbia – a legacy of the break-up of Yugoslavia.

A simple hand gun is no more than 150 euros and more expensive weapons like AK-47s will cost as little as 700 euros and are delivered to you by criminal gangs.

Speaking in 2015, an arms dealer known as ‘the German’ described how guns are being sold to terrorists all the time…

And yet, a certain German judicial official was apparently ultra-cautious in protecting the privacy of a man wanted for the Christmas market attack, and that official is now being asked to resign:

It has been alleged that Steffen, who is head of the judicial authority in Hamburg, prevented the pictures [of Amri] being circulated because he feared sharing images of Islamist terror suspects will incite racial hatred.

Newspaper Bild reported that police were able to give a description of the killer, but not show the public what he looked like because of privacy concerns.

Insiders claim he was worried the pictures of terror suspects incite racial hatred…

It quotes Hamburg CDU politician Richard Seelmaecker, who said: ‘Anis Amri has allegedly murdered twelve people, but instead of using all means to search for him, Hamburg’s green lawmaker is more concerned about comments on Facebook.’

As I’ve said before, articles in the European (particularly British) papers often have a wealth of information about what’s going on in Europe in terms of terror attacks and the efforts of European countries to thwart them. So far they seem to demonstrate that, although in this country we have our own arguments about what we need to do and how far we need to go to combat terrorism, in Europe they seem to be even further behind.

2 Responses to “The Christmas market terrorist and Europe’s border policy”

  1. Dirtyjobsguy Says:

    The problem is not so much free movement in Schengend countries but the sheer number of potential terrorists. The variable and uncontrolled asylum entrants in Europe is very high. The USA and Canada had virtually open borders until 9/11 when we got concerned about Canada’s lax asylum policies. It isn’t some much of a ban but putting enough resources into expediting asylum hearings and recognizing only true targeted refugees

  2. M J R Says:

    The situation strikes me as (yet) another variant on the theme of a blissful utopia, in which men and women dwell together in perfect harmony (“I’d like to teach the world to sing”), and in which considerations of culture and ethnicity and tribe are just so many outdated relics of the neanderthal, benighted past.

    To me, one hard lesson is that it’s folly to insist on ramming through any utopian vision in utter disregard for those mere outdated relics. People are people (God bless ’em), and they resist being molded into anyone’s supposedly superior vision of What Ought To Be — not normally as a conscious, strenuous resistance, but because people are people (God bless ’em).

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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