What began as a series of reports from women in Cologne who said they were sexually assaulted by men of “Arab and North African origin” on New Year’s Eve has mushroomed into a full blown crisis that threatens to further undermine support for Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy on the way to fomenting social upheaval in Germany.
Anger over the attacks combined with allegations that police mishandled the situation led to a series of protests last week culminating in a 1,700-strong PEGIDA rally in Cologne that ultimately devolved into violent clashes between riot police and furious right-wing demonstrators.
Then, on Sunday, gangs of “bikers, hooligans, and bouncers” attacked a group of Pakistanis in Cologne’s city center after organizing what some are calling “migrant manhunts” on Facebook. The victims of the attacks were hospitalized.
As it turns out, the Cologne attacks were not an isolated incident. Once the story started making international headlines, reports began to trickle in from Austria, Finland, and Switzerland where women reported similar attacks perpetrated by apparent refugees.
But none of this would surprise police in Stockholm.
According to Swedish media, “hordes” of young men harassed and groped young women at a youth festival and concert in central Stockholm’s Kungsträdgården last August.
Those attacks were reported to police who, according to Nyheter Idag, were willing to talk to prominent daily Dagens Nyheter. Unfortunately for the victims, the paper deliberately covered up the story in an effort to avoid triggering an anti-migrant backlash - or at least that’s what Nyheter Idag alleges. Here are some excerpts from the piece entitled “Exposing Major PC Cover-up in Sweden – Leading Daily Dagens Nyheter Refused to Write About Cologne-like Sex Crimes in Central Stockholm”:
Nyheter Idag is now able to disclose in detail how major Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter deliberately covered up stories about widespread sexual abuse in central Stockholm in connection with a concert in the Kungsträdgården public square this August.
On Saturday August 15th, the nationally acclaimed and outspoken feminist artist Zara Larsson headlined the youth festival ‘We Are Sthlm” with a crowded concert in Kungsträdgården in central Stockholm. Thousands of young people were in attendance to take part in the event during the last summer nights of the year.
But for an unknown number of young girls the festival soon became a nightmare. Hordes of young men pressed against young girls, fondled and tried to cop a feel over and under skirts, pants and shirts. There were severe sexual assaults happening right in front of the stage, where artists such as Larsson and rapper OIAM performed.
During a single night police and security guards had to intervene against around 90 younger males, but even adult men took part in the abuse, says an eye witness to Nyheter Idag. The eye witness has professional experience from working at the Stockholm Police Department as a psychologist.
The psychologist who knew of what had happened in Kungsträdgården contacted journalist Hanne Kjöller at Dagens Nyheter, by, among other things, e-mail on August 17. The psychologist says he specifically turned to Kjöller because he knew that she had previously written about controversial topics.
“She was very interested and listened until I told her that all the boys and men that were apprehended were young asylants (unaccompanied is the terminology used by Swedish authorities) from Afghanistan and Syria. I sensed that she changed the tone (of her voice). But she also said that she would contact the police”, he tells Nyheter Idag.
Kjöller got the phone number to one of the police officers who were on duty during the event in Kungsträdgården and could provide a recollection of the events. Nyheter Idag has talked with the police officer who Kjöller talked to in August, and he was eager to tell Dagens Nyheter about the massive cases of sexual assault against young girls in central Stockholm.
“She sent a text message to me once, early on, where she wrote that she was looking for me, she wanted to talk. After that, I tried to get in touch with her, but that was when things started to get awry. She answered sometimes, said she would get back to me. But it never amounted to anything. She was interested in it for half day or a day, then she wasn’t anymore”.
The journalist Hanne Kjöller tries to establish contact with the psychologist on January 7th about the events in Kungsträdgården nearly five months earlier. She writes an e-mail to the psychologist. “Would like to get in touch with you again after what happened in Cologne during the New Year holidays,” she writes. In the e-mail conversation it is apparent that she learned of the sexual assaults in Kungsträdgården already on August 17th, but is only now ready to give attention to what happened.
She also calls the psychologist and records a message on his voicemail.
“We had contact in August. Now, after what happened in Cologne, I would like to talk to you again. It got stuck on certain things when we were doing this in August”, says Kjöller in the voicemail.
“Hanne Kjöller contacted me again yesterday because of the events in Germany, she said it gave her a bad feeling. She was fidgeting when I asked her why she never contacted the police and never wrote an article”, says the psychologist.
He says that Kjöller claims she never got hold of the police, and that is why no article was ever published in Dagens Nyheter about the incident in Kungsträdgården. But the psychologist also says that he’s been given a different explanation. That Kjöller over the phone told him that “the editor for the Stockholm section of Dagens Nyheter had taken charge of the case herself, and (the editor) considered the story to be “SD fabrications” (SD, or Sweden Democrats, are a populist anti-migration party that for a long time has been at odds with Swedish mainstream media).
“She (Kjöller) said that her editor had used the term ‘SD fabrications’ or ‘SD falsifications’, something like that. I remember that detail specifically”, says the psychologist.
When Nyheter Idag calls Hanne Kjöller to ask why there wasn’t any article published about the massive cases of systematic sexual assaults in Kungsträdgården she first gets quiet. She then explains that this is an issue that she doesn’t care to discuss.
“I can’t talk to you about what my sources have said to me. I can’t confirm or deny anything”.
Nyheter Idag explains to Kjöller that we are privy to e-mail conversations and text messages between her and the psychologist. Nyheter Idag also explains that the psychologist have told how he feels that she and Dagens Nyheter have obfuscated, covered up, the events that took place in Kungsträdgården. And so Nyheter Idag asks Kjöller to yet again explain how it happened that a story about such serious abuse was never published.
“I’m not going to answer that. No, no, no. I don’t want to talk to you”, Kjöller says and hangs up.
Full story here
We encourage you to read the full story from Nyheter Idag, but the long and the short of it seems to be that a major Swedish daily was engaged in a coverup right up until the attacks in Cologne thrust the issue into the spotlight. As we put it last week when Cologne Mayor Henriette Reker was busy explaining that it is German women's responsibility to keep would-be attackers at "arm's length": "...you'd be forgiven for suggesting that perhaps some people are going out of their way to avoid applying negative stereotypes to migrants."
And while Nyeter Idag blames Dagens Nyheter for not listening to authorities, Dagens Nyheter is attempting to turn the tables by blaming the police. Here are some excerpts from a rather awkward translation of a piece the daily conveniently ran just a day before the Nyheter Idag piece broke:
Similarly, it was in August last year. As was held Europe's largest youth festival "We are Sthlm" in the Royal Garden. In the audience in front of the stage, where stars like Zara Larsson appeared, took big boy bunch night after night to press against young girls and tuck their hands inside the shirts and pants.
Police officers and stewards strategy was that as quickly as possible to remove the perpetrators under the Police Act thirteenth article, which focuses on the disturbances, and only during the single night removed some 90 young men. To set up notifications and initiate criminal investigations had come second. According to DN experience has not even yet been sentenced.
One of the police officers who participated in the operation, and had to spend a lot of time on supporting the affected girls, said that the matter was regarded as sensitive. The guys that were sent were assessed namely be largely unaccompanied arrivals.
Why the extensive sextrakasserierna in central Stockholm, with some small exceptions, ended up in the media shadow for me is unclear. But the mere suspicion that the abuse been considered as difficult to describe involves a betrayal of the victims.
So it's "unclear" to Dagens Nyheter why these attacks remained "in the shadows", even though it may well have been Dagens Nyheter that was responsible for the media coverup. "Swedish police have come under criticism for keeping quiet about alleged sexual assault incidents by young immigrant men over the past couple of years at a music festival in Stockholm," Bloomberg writes, adding that "the allegations came to light in a report over the weekend by newspaper Dagens Nyheter, citing internal police memos."
Here are reactions from various politicians in Sweden to the allegations (via Svenska Dagbladet):
- Prime Minister Stefan Löfven: "I feel a very strong anger that young women should not be able to go to the music festival without being offended, sexually harassed and attacked.This is a very big problem for those affected and for the whole of our country. We will not budge an inch, and we should not look away, says Löfven. The police will prosecute crimes and prosecute the guilty people. But one should not by any reason whatsoever to try to hide anything, we have a problem with it and it should be up to date, says Stefan Löfven."
- Moderate leader Anna Kinberg Batra: "It is totally unacceptable if the police are not doing everything it can to both prevent, but also to act against sex crimes. Now it is important that it reaches what the police have done and what has actually happened and that the police take action so that something like that can not possibly happen again."
- Milljöpartiets spokesperson Gustav Fridolin: "It is unacceptable if the police do not inform the public about the crimes committed."
- National Police Commissioner Dan Eliasson: “If what’s alleged is true, it’s serious from several vantage points. We could perhaps have prevented that girls had been molested if we had talked clearly about this. Secondly, it’s obviously not our role to take various political aspects into account.”
Who's at fault here? The media, the police, or the politicians? Or is it everyone to blame?
If Nyeter Idag's allegations are true, it certainly seems possible that Dagens Nyheter was under political pressure to avoid the story if possible. Meanwhile, if Dagens Nyheter's account is accurate, it appears the police could have been under similar pressure. After all, it's the politicians that set the agenda, the media simply perpetuate it and the police simply enforce it, so it's difficult to believe that the media and the police conspired alone to cover up the attacks.
In any event, we now await the inevitable public backlash and attendant protests in Stockholm which will become the latest example of a "civilized" Western city torn apart by the bloc's worsening migrant crisis.