Europe's establishment powers just can't catch a break: following an unprecedented attempt to reduce the average age of its aging workforce (in a ploy that appears to have had the explicit backing and funding of none other than George Soros) and boost the flailing economy by accepting over a million, mostly young, Syrian refugees in 2015, the plan backfired spectacularly when "irreconcilable cultural differences" emerged leading to mass rapes, assaults, a failure to assimilate and increasingly more frequent terrorist attacks conducted by the new migrants.
And, when it comes to Austria, the latest such attack could not have come at a worse time for the status quo. According to The Telegraph, nine Iraqi refugees have been arrested in Austria on charges of gang-raping a 28-year-old German woman in a case that could ignite debate of immigration and crime ahead of this Autumn’s presidential election re-run.
Far-right Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer is leading in Austria's
presidential election polls
The arrest of the nine Iraqis, all either asylum seekers or recently granted asylum, comes as Austria is preparing for a rerun of its May 22 presidential election, which the anti-immigrant Freedom Part lost by a margin of just 31,000 votes, despite leading handily in the polls, as a result of mailed in ballots, which in turn prompted accusations of voter tampering and manipulation. As a result, an Austrian Court ordered a re-vote to take place on October 2; and with just over one month left until the election, Hofer suddenly finds himself enjoying a substantial boost to his popularity as a result of events such as this one, sending shivers down the spine of Europe's status quo politicians.
The arrests were made this past weekend after DNA evidence and CCTV camera footage was used to build a case against the nine asylum seekers.
Inexplicably, it took nearly 8 months for the charges to be made: the woman filed the complaint on January 1 but it took nearly eight months of what Austrian police called a “protracted and difficult” investigation before the nine were finally arrested.
The alleged attack took place on New Year’s Eve at an apartment in Vienna where the woman, who was visiting from the German state of Lower Saxony, was visiting to celebrate the New Year with a friend. The suspects range in age from 21 to 47, said Vienna police spokesman Paul Eidenberger. “There is no doubt about the gang rape according to the biological traces,” the police spokesman told Der Spiegel.
While the investigation was long, it was at least exhaustive so as to leave no trace of error: “The investigations were difficult and protracted. On the trail of the suspects, investigators came by DNA material, interviews with witnesses and images from surveillance cameras.” They are alleged to have taken the woman from Vienna's central Schwedenplatz and then assaulted her in an apartment where two of the suspects lived, between the hours of 2am and 6am.
The men - five of whom were arrested in Vienna, three in Styria and one in Lower Austria - have all denied the accusations and police added they were unable to say how many of the men had participated in the alleged attack, and how many were possible accessories in the case.
The woman, who had been drinking and suspects she was drugged, had no recollection of being taken to the apartment, the police added. “The presumed perpetrators are likely to have taken advantage of the female victim's high level of inebriation,” they said in a statement. On news websites in Austria some readers demanded the men be “immediately deported” if they are convicted of the rape.
That said, if it weren't for the nationality of the attackers, it would have been a rather straightforward case of criminal, mass rape. However, the issue is precisely the origin of the sexual fanatics - they are part of the refugee wave that was unleashed in Europe thanks to Merkel, and which the anti-immigrant Freedom Party is seeking to block in its tracks... very much like Trump is hoping to do in the US.
The news of the attack comes as Austria prepares for a re-run of its presidential election which last June saw the far-Right Freedom Party losing out to a Green Party candidate by less than one per cent of the vote.
Although Austria did not experience scenes like those in the German city of Cologne on New Year's Eve, when hundreds of women told police they had been groped, attacked and robbed by mobs of men, immigration and crime has become a super-sensitive political issue.
Although Austria’s government initially supported Angela Merkel’s open immigration policies, it has since adopted a tougher line, organizing a conference in February to close the so-called "Western Balkan route" by which refugees were streaming in to Europe.
Immigrants have been accused of isolated sexual and other attacks committed in Austria, and the far-right Freedom Party, which is running first in opinion polls, has seized on cases in which immigrants have been accused of crimes to press for stricter immigration policies. Norbert Hofer, the Freedom Party candidate, has further stoked anti-immigrant sentiment, promising to ban burqas and take his country out of the European Union if Turkey is ever allowed to join. Not unexpectedly, his popularity has been surging.
On news websites in Austria some readers demanded the men be “immediately deported” if they are convicted of the rape.
Meanwhile, Austria already made waves two weeks ago when its Chancellor Christian Kern urged Europe to stop all Turkish accession talks and to block the refugee deal struck with Erdogan in March, in what was the starkest assessment of the post-coup European-Turkish relations. The Turkish Foreign Minster Mevlut Cavusoglu promtply responded by calling Austria the "capital of radical racism."
In light of sex attacks such as the one above, perhaps Austria will have no problem with that designation if it means a return to calmer times.