Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Disgraceful Exploitation and Lies

PZ Myers thinks people are out to get him again.

In a post titled "Disgraceful exploitation", PZ Myers writes:
A woman says she was raped by Neil deGrasse Tyson in grad school. She contacted me and asked me to share her story. But here’s the disgraceful exploitation that’s going on.
She did not know who I am, at all. She came to me because she was advised to…by slymepitters. The same people who have been indignant for years that women might speak out against harassers. They are trying to deploy this woman as a weapon.
Now, unfortunately, I looked at her story. I can’t say she’s wrong, and she’s definitely sincere, and I can’t rule out the possibility, but her supporting evidence is terribly weak: it’s her personal testimony, which I do not reject, with no other evidence. Her web page does not help her case at all, either — it’s a lot of astrology, and a scattering of youtube videos that are completely irrelevant to her claim. That’s it.
I told her that I won’t go on the record supporting her accusation, because there is no corroborating evidence at all to support it. I took her story seriously, read the case she made, and found no independent evidence to back up the claim that she even knew Tyson.
You can guess where this story is going next.
Now those same assholes are howling that I accepted the accusation against Shermer with no evidence, and that I’m not accepting this one because the victim is a black woman. They must believe their own lies.
I treated this case in exactly the same way as the one against Shermer. What these people have forgotten (or are intentionally lying about) is that before I posted that story, (Post Titled: "What do you do when someone pulls the pin and hands you a grenade?") I got independent evidence that the woman was at the conference, that she was interacting with Shermer, that she was in his hotel room — there was opportunity. I further got accounts of the distress the woman experienced afterwards. Without all that, I might have been willing to believe her, but I would not have been able to step forward and present her account as true, believable, and supported by witnesses.
It’s the same story here. I am willing to believe Tchiya Amet (although I’d rather not believe such a thing of Tyson), but there is no corroboration of any kind, and I cannot go before the public and state that a good case has been made that this crime occurred. It hasn’t.
But I can say that the exploitation of this woman’s pain by a group of people who have been consistent in denying the difficulties women face is one of the more cynically despicable acts I’ve seen them commit.

A comment on the post adds:

27 January 2016 at 10:30 am
Also PZ, the fact that this story is linked to the Slymepit is a huge flashing sign that it’s completely fabricated bullshit. That alone is enough to dismiss it out of hand.

PZ Myers wishes everyone to believe that this woman approaching him with her story is a frame-job setup by his enemies to demonstrate his hypocrisy. And it may be just that, but that wouldn't be a problem if PZ Myers took the opportunity to explain his approach to accusations of rape and sexual assault. This is what Myers attempted to do, but only managed to further confuse the matter.

PZ Myers would have you believe that his critics are "weaponizing" a possibly mentally ill woman to make a shallow point in a sordid drama.

The facts:

  1. PZ Myers literally profits off of every view of his blog post - his blog is unreadable without an ad blocker. If anybody has incentive to keep the disgusting drama going, it is PZ.
  2. PZ Myers had every opportunity to take the discussion with the accuser to a private forum. Instead, he chose a half dozen tweets and a blog post chastising his enemies. (Proving point #1)
  3. The accusation that critics are "weaponizing" rape victims is absurd and ironic as PZ Myers himself called the accusations he published against Shermer "a grenade". 
  4. Rape survivors relying on their story going out as a part of PZ Myers' pioneering reporting are about as successful as those that chose Sabrina Erdely (another known career-building weaponizer).
  5. PZ Myers actually dismisses the accuser's allegations in light of her supernatural views ("Her web page does not help her case at all, either — it’s a lot of astrology")
  6. There was again no mention of the allegations of sexual assault made against PZ Myers that he managed to quickly dismantle in a calculated way. 
  7. PZ Myers regularly references massacres of women only to use the memory of the victims to smear his opponents as violent and misogynistic. 
  8. The "Slymepit", labelled as creating "fabricated bullshit", was the forum of mischief that outed FreeThoughtBlogs' Avicenna - one of their most prolific writers - as a serial plagiarist. If anyone is truly in the bullshit fabrication business, it is FreeThoughtBlogs.

As much as we can dissect, we can rely on simple truths to describe PZ Myers' actions. PZ Myers won't throw his name behind this victim for the same reason that he's not supporting Elyse - the accuser has no one connected to Myers' inner cabal of "feminist" friends to vouch for her, so she may as well not exist.

Furthermore, there is the obvious matter that the accused - Neil deGrasse Tyson - is a diverse darling within the "community" that PZ Myers cannot afford to be seen to treat unfairly. There is no upside opportunity for Myers to sap NdGT's limelight, and a lot of downside if Myers' "progressive" compatriots happen to finally notice that Myers is a bearded white man with a superiority complex that makes side money by co-opting the lived experiences of marginalized women.

With over 200 comments in a matter of hours, Myers' post about this accusation may be the most visited article he's written in several months. 

What a selfless ally of women everywhere.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Rebecca's Richard Rage

A wonderfully funny thing has happened in the world of secular/skeptic drama - Richard Dawkins' foundation has been merged into the Center for Inquiry.

This event gave Rebecca Watson a reason to point out that Dawkins does not like her.

Quoting a recent post:
This is very exciting news for me, because it means I no longer need to wonder whether I’ll ever be invited back to a CFI event again. No! The answer is no.
Speaking of Richard Dawkins refusing to allow me to be invited to events where he is speaking, for the many years I performed at the Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism (NECSS), which began as a live show on my former podcast, The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, the organizers could never quite convince Dawkins to attend. Well, I quit SGU and now NECSS has announced that the first conference they’ve planned since my exit will feature Richard Dawkins as the keynote.
In conclusion, the skeptic/atheist sphere is an embarrassing shitshow and the organizations will continue polishing Richard Dawkins’ knob until he dies, at which point he will be sainted and his image will be put on candles and prayed to in times when logic is needed.

This is rather humorous as Watson is again restating her arguments made several years ago (it is highly recommended to read this recap of events) that didn't make a lot of sense then and have not gained any more seriousness. For as Watson wishes one to believe what the CFI will do next is basically synonymous with a boycott. When in fact Watson is presumably allowed to attend CFI events like any other person. The shame comes about as Watson believes herself entitled to be a celebrity of equal measure as any other speaker that would receive a paid invitation.

The simple reality is that Watson and Dawkins have a mutual dislike and do not enjoy each other's company. Dawkins is not being invited to Watson's "Quiz-o-tron", which must be an abuse of equal measure as Watson's shows must be as good as any other speaker session. It's important to maintain a sense of equality in these affairs.

It is not that Watson desires a panel seat beside Dawkins, it is that she desires the opportunity to decline one in protest. Turning down an invite would be a nice followup to Watson's boyfriend dumping the CFI in "it's not me, it's you" way not too long ago. Now the CFI can presumably be thought of as an organization that Dawkins has committed an even greater amount of his resources to. For as much good as inviting this drama will do, Watson may as well criticize universities that name buildings after big donors.

This is of course in Watson's eyes choosing to "continue polishing Richard Dawkins’ knob", which is imagery that is not surprising coming from a group that has a habit of miming blowjobs at their own parties when they are not ridiculing the sexual prowess of critics. Snarky social media feminists find nothing as alluring as a dongle joke that "punches up".

The confusing thing about Watson's position is that she is no stranger to mutual dislike within the secularist community. In fact, she's had more toxic quarrels with former female colleagues. That Richard Dawkins is blameworthy in this dispute is to not grasp just how rare it is for these obtuse opinionated oafs to get along.

Richard Dawkins, while being oftentimes correct, can definitely be a honey-loving diva. Yet one can still hope that these two sides of the many-sided "schism in skepticism" can make amends.

It would be entertaining to get the divas back together again.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Three Horsebros: A Defense of Bill Maher, Richard Dawkins, and Sam Harris

One of the upsides of arguing with strangers on Twitter is one is occasionally invited to challenge articles.

In a post titled "Bill Maher and Richard Dawkins just don’t get it: The real reason(s) progressives can’t stand them", Adam Johnson states the case against Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Bill Maher.

Some snippets:
Firstly, no one thinks “Islam is a protected species” as Maher put it. This is a typical strawman New Athiest employ. Dawkins doesn’t go after “all religions” equally. Quite the opposite, he has said that Islam is uniquely sinister, referring to it as “unmitigated evil“, on numerous occasions. Accusations of bigotry against Dawkins, therefore, are not selective in favor of Islam, they are areaction to his selective, repeated highlighting of it – fair or not. Secondly, this position is dripping with libertarian false equivalency. The “I criticize all religions equally” is the close cousin to “I criticize all races equally” — a principle that sounds cute in theory but willfully ignores the burden of history and imperialism.
After some discussion of American wars, Johnson continues:
Never mind this. To them, religion is seen in a historical and political vacuum in the same way crime and economic hardship is to libertarians.
[... some discussion of US support of Salafist entities]

What say they of this? Almost nothing. Maher and his loyal band of Twitter partisans have little to say about colonialism, and when it’s brought up, as Glenn Greenwald did to him in 2013, it’s dismissed as irrelevant. It’s excuse-making, end of story.
The ignoring of these power dynamics is dripping with the same type of reductionist handwringing one sees among the right’s obsession with “black on black” crime. It’s an appeal to objective standards that willfully ignores that history did not begin in 1970 and Islam’s relationship with the United States isn’t limited to light panel chats with Aspen Institute-vetted token Muslims.

In general, the claim is that Dawkins, Harris & Maher are ignoring the greater context that Islamist violence happens in, and therefore unfairly judge Islam or use judgment of Islam as a quasi-racist project. What these three are supposed to do is explain shared American (and presumably Zionist) culpability in the growth of Islamist movements before placing any blame on old time religion.

What the three horsebros are to do is to order villains by privilege - start with two helpings of criticism of American support the Saudi Arabian regime, continue with an appetizer of discussion relating to open questions in Israel or AfPak, and then finish with a garnish of talk about the absurdity of religion. This template apparently applies no matter what crime Islamism commits in any particular place - despite Islam predating the creation of the United States by about a millennium, its impact in the real world apparently marginal.

What is undoubtedly true is the Harris, Maher & Dawkins claim to criticize "all religions equally" is absolutely laughable. The three do indeed disbelieve to the same degree in Christianity and Judaism, but are never actually in a position to provide criticism to an equal degree. Yet this is not the fault of strident secular curmudgeons - it is the fault of an Islam that finds itself in the headlines for very unique reasons.

There is no need for "equal time" in criticism of religion as patently ridiculous to think that all religions are the same. Religions have not been equal throughout history, and they are not equal now.

While on the subject, much is said of Dawkins' response to the "clock incident". Many "progressives" on Twitter claimed Dawkins bullied a young creator. While Dawkins did indeed invite many distasteful comparisons & arguably used the wrong tone, it's difficult to disagree with Dawkins' conclusions as the device hardly qualified as a science project and the school was not wrong in its confusion in the matter.

The strange thing about the hatred of the three horsebros is that ultimately few care to disagree on facts pertaining to any specific situations the argumentative atheists happen to bring up. It's a matter of these three men not having sufficiently comfortable footnotes to assuage the feelings of those deeply marinated in a culture of unrelenting self-reflection with an icing of undeserved respect and deference.

Perhaps most confusing is the suggestion that these men do not quite understand why a legion of secular liberals dislike them. What is true may be the opposite - it is that perhaps the horsebros know why they're disliked more than the haters care to understand why they hate.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

The Belgian Apartheid

A BBC article has asked, "Has Belgium created 'a system of apartheid'?:

They discussed why so many Belgian youngsters go to fight in Syria - a higher proportion, relative to the population, than from any other country in Europe. And a heated argument broke out when Suhaila, the only non-white recruit - from a Moroccan background, like many Belgian Muslims - said she could understand why young Muslims might become jihadis.
"The whole class was reacting - over-reacting," Jacobs says. "It was the first time they had talked with someone of a Moroccan background."
For a visitor to Brussels, where more than a quarter of the population is Muslim, that's a surprising thought. But Paul Jacobs is not surprised.
"I am a little bit scared to use this term," he says. "But I think we live in a system of apartheid. You really have ghettos. And what is more important, and more dangerous, is not that people aren't living together - it's the mental ghetto."
"People in Brussels live side-by-side, but don't often meet one another," she says. She thinks divisions have been reinforced because many young Belgians of Moroccan and Turkish descent have reacted against anti-Muslim feeling since 9/11 by defiantly adopting a more religious identity.
"Young people want a Muslim identity," she says, "but they haven't read the Koran, so it's become a matter of slogans - that girls should wear hijab and boys should grow beards."

A group of concerned Muslim women - some with sons already in Syria - asked Belgium's Interior Minister, Jan Jambon, to join them shortly after the Paris attacks at a meeting in Molenbeek to discuss ways of preventing radicalisation.

The article mirrors opinions shared by the author of an article titled "Molenbeek broke my heart":

The debate is paralyzed by a paternalistic discourse in which radical Muslim youths are seen, above all, as victims of social and economic exclusion. They in turn internalize this frame of reference, of course, because it arouses sympathy and frees them from taking responsibility for their actions. The former Socialist mayor Philippe Moureax, who governed Molenbeek from 1992 to 2012 as his private fiefdom, perfected this culture of denial and is to a large extent responsible for the current state of affairs in the neighborhood.
Two journalists had already reported on the presence of radical Islamists in Molenbeek and the danger they posed — and both became victims of character assassination. In 2006, Hind Fraihi, a young Flemish woman of Morrocan descent published “Undercover in Little Morocco: Behind the Closed Doors of Radical Islam.” Her community called her a traitor; progressive media called her a “spy” and a “girl with personal problems.”

I always thought as myself as a defender of human rights and human dignity, beyond left- or right-wing categories. Now suddenly I was painted as a right-wing firebrand. For some people I became an “untouchable” and I even lost a few friends, who refused to talk to me.

While on the topic of immigration, the discussion has much in common with articles that state that immigrants are generally less criminal than native-born residents. Studies have been done showing that this is true whether or not the immigrants are in the country legally or not.

However it is interesting that the pro-immigration studies are actually quite thorough in their categorization of subjects - as can be expected in science, and as such many of them are comparing migrant populations to native populations of a similar demographic. That is, a population of poor immigrants with marginal levels of education are by some basic metric "better" than a native-born population in a similar predicament. Finding this fascinating is the definition of being easily impressed.

Immigration is fortunately in most instances a self-selective process. Immigration also is not a matter of equivalent demographics - the makeup of an immigrant population will rarely neatly line up with the pre-existing social fabric. These two factors make an critical analysis of what immigration means in the context of a forced migration due to conflict or economic desperation incredibly difficult.

If there was an endless supply of highly skilled south and east asian immigrants to hand out work visas to, immigration would be an undeniable and everlasting good. Inclusion in the labour market would not be a question, especially when participating in sectors of the economy without a strictly limited demand for employment. Questions related to "culture fit" would not need to be asked, as the employers oftentimes begging for their admission have already asked that question and determined that the would-be migrant is sufficiently ready to worship the almighty dollar at the nearest water cooler.

While it's simple to see the upside of immigration, it's also not difficult to see that immigration has some meaningful limits. Especially in light of what appears to be happening when children from Belgium decide to shoot up Paris or travel to Syria to join the caliphate.

The timeline is as follows:

  1. Western nations pursue capitalist growth and progressive multiculturalism with laissez-faire approach to immigration
  2. Motivated first generation immigrants perform really well in a number of measures
  3. Despite well-meaning efforts, the children of first generation migrants join the Tumblr version of Islam while all facets of western society (both friend and foe) tell them they're different
  4. Tumblr Islam decides to take over a country
  5. Children of western nations travel to fight against western ideals
  6. Innocent citizens of that country, having a much more positive view of burger joints in a secular suburbia, flee to the west
It's a vicious cycle. In every step, western nations face "progressive" criticism even as society at large becomes more adaptive to a more conservative mindset. Progressive pundits that deride polarization and inequality fuel it with a half-baked moralistic defense of immigration while pitching non-intervention in conflicts fought by westerners and propagandized on Twitter.

Accepting starving refugees is a requirement for those that wish to have a clear conscience. But in this iteration, situation is itself in part created by a cultural acceptance of all kinds of totalitarian patriarchal religious superstition and political mythology - as long as it is imported.

For if there is indeed a Belgian apartheid, it has been created by a failure to challenge the assumptions and traditions of newcomers. Nobody is given the tools to flourish in western society, as what good would they be if immigration is to fundamentally change the western world for the better? Immigration is not viewed as an opportunity for the immigrants to learn. Instead it is an opportunity for the native-born population to become more interesting and have more depth - like having a world map tacked to the wall in one's foyer.

The west's progressive white knights think immigration is a virtuous force for good, when the reality is migrants are treated like exotic fish. They are put in a shallow tank in the far side of the room, and assumed to be good as if it were living in a miniature aquatic carbonite. Nothing happens until visitors arrive, at which time the fancy lights shine on the little happy Betta and an illuminating conversation of its diet arises. Its temperament is briefly discussed in a comfortable, non-judgmental way.

One day, things will be better. There will be a bigger, saltwater tank. The fish will have so much more room to swim. 

One day, they'll respect their benevolent progressive landlords more.

The Title IX toolkit for high school

For those worried that Title IX might be too effective at colleges, Title IX advocates have now published a helpful guide for high school students:

The toolkit has lots of useful information. Plus some interesting details about about avoiding the police : (emphasis original)

Regardless of your choice, this is an administrative process that takes place entirely within your school; it does not involve the criminal legal system. However, if you are under 18, and experienced certain kinds of violence (e.g., rape, sexual assault, or physical abuse), school officials may be required to disclose your case to the police, which could trigger a criminal (outside of the school) investigation. More information on this concern is available in the FAQ resource.

The FAQ explains:

Teachers or counselors may be good people to talk to about violence or harassment you’ve experienced or are experiencing. If you are under age 18, though, some of these people may be required by mandatory reporting laws to disclose certain kinds of abuse to a government agency, such as law enforcement, child protective services, or a child abuse reporting hotline.


Typically, mandatory reporters must make a report when they, in their official capacitysuspect or have reason to believe that a child has been abused or neglected. In making their report, they are typically asked to provide the name, address, gender, and age of the victim; the name and address of the victim’s parents/guardians; the nature of the abuse; and the name of the perpetrator. (For an example of requirements, see these mandatory reporting requirements in Connecticut). Child protective services or law enforcement may then open an investigation. Mandatory reporters are typically not required by law to alert your parents/guardians to the abuse, although they are generally not prohibited from doing so.
While the goal of mandatory reporting is to keep you safe, the decision to tell someone what happened (or what’s happening) can be difficult; you should always do what feels safest for you. If you would like to seek help without triggering a report, try speaking in hypotheticals to counselors, doctors, or other adults with whom you feel comfortable. Try “What if I had a friend whose classmate touched her in a way she wasn’t okay with?” or “What should my friend do next?”You can also call a hotline and decline to tell them your age. A list of hotlines is available here. 

Apparently Title IX advocates are capable of describing well-meaning laws that have counter-intuitive negative impacts without any sense of irony.

After explaining how to avoid the police, the FAQ continues:

What if my assailant doesn’t go to my school?
Title IX can still protect you but, as OCR explains in its FAQ Guide, “the appropriate response for your school to take will differ depending on the level of control your school has over the alleged perpetrator.” For example, if you were sexually assaulted by an athlete or band member from a visiting school, your school may not be able to discipline the perpetrator. However, your school should investigate what happened, report the incident to the visiting school, and encourage the visiting school to take further preventative action. Your school should also notify you of any right to file a complaint with the visiting school or local law enforcement, and may decide not to invite the visiting school back to campus.
As OCR explains, even though a school’s ability to take direct action against a particular perpetrator may be limited, your school must still take steps to provide you appropriate accommodations and, where appropriate, to the broader school population. This may include providing support services to you, and clarifying its response to sexual violence to the school community. To learn more, check out p.9 of this resource by the Department of Education.
What if I was assaulted by a non-student, such as a family member?
Even if the sexual harassment does not occur in the context of an education program,  Title IX recognizes that students often experience the continuing effects of off-campus sexual violence while at school. Therefore, your school should consider the impacts of off-campus violence on your education. Accommodations your school might provide you may include counseling, tutoring, or arranging time-off. To read more, check out p. 29 of this resource by OCR.

Apparently the "protection" offered by the glorious Title IX is some "accommodations" at schools (the site says: "like free counseling services or class changes") regardless of if an investigation happened. While schools undoubtedly should do whatever they reasonably can to make students comfortable and respect their needs, where this is leading has little to do with finding justice for sexual assault.

The conclusion one must arrive at after reading all of these resources is that if a victim cannot state a concrete accommodation that they desire then they should not bother telling anyone at all. Reporting what happened with clarity is basically thought of as a trap that may lead to undesired consequences.

In light of this, it's a mystery as to what specifically schools are to do beyond what they could reasonably be asked to do for any student - victim or not. Ideally a student could get course changes and free counseling services without having to revisit harrowing memories of sexual assault.

Title IX advocacy may or may not provide prevention of sexual assault insofar as its legalese manages to nudge the culture at schools. This is debatable. However it ultimately does not provide much at all to victims. To victims it's little more than an open mic night that promises a lot but does not pay.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Cuddles after Curfew

Meghan Murphy has been a subject of this blog for quite some time. Murphy is a committed radical feminist -- whether or not Murphy uses the term or not (it may be problematic this week) it does adequately describe her views enough to have a discussion about them.

Murphy is often right about many things, especially when writing about the dark side of "Twitter feminist" drama. However Murphy's endorsement of the Nordic model is laughably bad math, and her support of all things related to criminalization is very tired.

As Murphy would seem overdue to share some incredible absurdity, Murphy thought it time to chime in on the Cologne attacks.

In an article titled "It’s time to consider a curfew for men", Murphy writes:

You’ve had your chance, bepenised ones. And you’ve blown it. What you’ve proven, time and time again, is that you cannot be trusted to behave yourselves after dark. In Germany, about1000 men are reported to have arrived to the Cologne Cathedral area on New Years Eve, intending to sexually assault and mug as many women as possible. The CBC reports, “Some 121 women are reported to have been robbed, threatened, or sexually molested there by gangs of mostly drunk men between 18 and 35 years old while out celebrating.” Similar attacks took place in Hamburg and Stuttgart as well.
“What real impact would a curfew have?” you might ask. Certainly it would send the message that we are taking men’s behaviour seriously and that it is no longer acceptable. Certainly it would allow women to move about more safely at night — on campus, in their homes, at bars, at the bus stop. Certainly it would name the problem. It would say, unequivocally, “The problem is you, men. You are the problem, and therefore, it is you who must be stopped.”
While, in some ways, my argument here began facetiously, the more I consider the idea of a curfew for men, the more it makes sense.

Murphy dismisses any reports of the nationality and immigration status of the men, as apparently the arrival of an extra one million people in a single year is not an event that changes society in meaningful ways. To Murphy, men are men - and men behave badly. While this is oftentimes true, there are several obvious problems with the curfew idea. While Murphy is obviously trolling, ("let's spell out a few issues for fun.

  • Of all days, curfew advocacy based on New Year's Eve events is a completely ridiculous concept 
  • Every country is approximately 50% men, yet many manage to not have marauding gangs of men that sexually assault women 
  • Deportation is simply an all-day curfew, right? 
  • Curfew gives male acquaintances (i.e. those more likely to commit rape) another reason to spend the night 
  • If it's true that immigrants were a sizable portion of assailants, it's a problem for many of Murphy's theories 

To focus on the last point - if it's true that the assailants were immigrants from conservative, majority muslim countries, Murphy's rhetoric quickly implodes. For these would not be men that are steeped in the culture that Murphy is often found criticizing - the culture of omnipresent porn, violent videogames and glorified sex work.

Immigrants from muslim countries are often familiar with a culture that Murphy's co-conspirators want to build - one that sees strippers as prisoners to the male gaze if not outright gender traitors that bring dishonor to their families. The only difference between a patriarchal disaster and a radfem utopia is that the patriarchal disaster harbours the idea that men can be found not culpable for their behavior after being "provoked" into a sexual frenzy. Thus we have a problem in particular with the transition from this patriarchal culture to another.

The call for curfew is simply another ultraconservative sentiment that masquerades as being pro-women and "feminist". The reality is that it models women as children and ends up creating policy that ultimately undermines the stated goals of the movement.

One really must go.

But baby, it's curfew outside.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Exploiting Sexual Assault

On New Years Eve a number of women in Cologne reported being sexually assaulted. A number of reports claimed that many of the assailants were immigrants or not German nationals, a claim that at this point seems to be confirmed by police:

The 31 people linked to the violence in a police report include nine Algerians, eight Moroccans, five Iranians and four Syrians, said an Interior Ministry spokesman, Tobias Plate. Two Germans, an Iraqi, a Serb and a United States citizen were also among those linked to crimes that night, Mr. Plate said.
He said that a vast majority of the 32 criminal acts documented by the federal police on the night had been linked to theft and bodily injury. Three were related to sexual assaults, but the police had no names of suspects tied to those acts, Mr. Plate said.

The crimes documented are a small subset of the crimes reported:

About 170 people have now filed criminal complaints, about 120 of them relating to sexual assault, linked to the New Year’s Eve episode in Cologne, according to a police spokesman in the city. A federal police report leaked to the German news media and confirmed as genuine by the Interior Ministry indicated that at least some young men, including asylum applicants, had planned in advance to meet around the Cologne railway station, where much of the violence is said to have occurred, on Dec. 31.

The reaction all political stances has been very predictable. However the rather amusing part (if anything can be amusing) is the sheer number of "progressives" that suddenly need every report of sexual assault to be backed up by solid evidence - throwing out the narratives surrounding "believing survivors" that has been built over the past several years.

An author of a piece in Al-Jazeera called the reaction exploitation of sexual assault to fuel an Islamophobic agenda:

Laurie Penny claimed that people are only pretending to care about women's rights just to give them cover to "bash Muslims":

The claim that sexual assault in Cologne is being exploited to support Islamophobia is very strange, as to date there are many different ways people already "exploit" sexual assault.

People currently exploit sexual assault in order to:

  • Gain more readers for Rolling Stone 
  • Call for an end to the entire Greek life system 
  • Collect course credit
  • Bash political opponents such as Tories/Republicans/libertarians/critics that are dismissed as "hyperskeptical" misogynists
  • Smear people and steal the limelight by publishing anonymous allegations on one's blog

If this exploitation of sexual assault wasn't bad enough, consider the other dramas that the "progressive" "feminist" hivemind wastes its time on. When it isn't busy criticizing inappropriate shirts and dongle jokes shared in private, it is concerned with the gender balance of editors at a videogame magazine:

(This particular escapade managed to annoy the women working at IGN)

"Social justice" activists literally believe that a bad joke should render one unemployable and an unproven allegation of assault should exile one from higher education forever. A publisher's worth can be directly measured by how many female editors it has on staff.

At the same time, no tragedy can happen that would budge their belief in the most laissez-faire immigration policy. Open doors for all, as the dogma is that no problem exists that cannot be solved by moving poor people into wealthy countries. People will magically become happy, self-sufficient and unfailingly tolerant by simply being adjacent to a model of success that would be dismissed as colonialist and western to a fault on any other day of the "social justice" week.

Apparently "safe spaces" applies to campuses and not countries. National borders are to be some sort of bubble of privilege that must be popped, while the Play-Doh room at one's university is a sacred ground that must not be invaded by provocative punchlines.

But be sure to not fingerpaint the prophet, kids!