The Sea-Watch 3: Pro and Con

As everybody knows by now, the migrant-ferry vessel Sea-Watch 3 recently attempted to run the blockade at the port of Lampedusa. Its trustafarian captain, Carola Rackete (whom some wag has dubbed “The Sea Witch”), and her crew were detained by Italian authorities. Ms. Rackete is now under house arrest in Sicily.

Below are three German videos about the events in Lampedusa. Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translations, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling.

The first video is essentially state-sponsored propaganda, as retailed by German TV. Carola Rackete is a heroine. The Italians are backwards and reactionary. And the president of the German Federal Republic reminds the Italians that they are subordinate to the Berlin-Paris Axis, and must do as they are told.

Gottfried Curio of the AfD (Alternative für Deutschland, Alternative for Germany) does merit a brief sound bite in this clip. However, the government’s official line on the situation dominates the Narrative:

In the second video, a vlogger named Henryk Stöckl analyzes the events in the harbor at Lampedusa and draws conclusions that run contrary to the official line. I don’t know why Mr. Stöckl hasn’t received a minatory visit from the Stasi Bundespolizei, but for some reason he remains at large:

The third video features Beatrix von Storch, the deputy leader of the AfD. Ms. Von Storch is marginally less likely than Mr. Stöckl to be arrested for her opinions — only marginally — because she is a sitting member of the Bundestag:

Video transcript #1:

00:00   This woman from northern Germany has moved many, and is moving many things in Europe
00:05   at the moment. Carola Rackete is called a heroine by some and a criminal by others.
00:10   Her case rekindles the discussion about migration and helping those who flee other countries.
00:15   Carola Rackete was placed under house arrest because she, as captain of the Sea-Watch
00:20   with 40 migrants on board, sailed to the port of Lampedusa despite existing bans.
00:25   In Italy, this is one of the reasons why she was threatened with several years in prison.
00:29   Many condemn her. Many others support her by collecting donations.
00:34   Federal Foreign Minister [Heiko] Maas wants her to be freed. This is about more than
00:39   the personal fate of an activist — it’s about more than Sea-Watch and the Italian minister
00:45   of the interior. This is about how the EU is shaping its migration policy. Ariane Reimers reports.
00:52   No release yet for Carola Rackete. Instead the Italian Guardia di Finanza brings the German captain
00:59   to Sicily. The decision over a possible arrest warrant is postponed until tomorrow. The German
01:06   foreign minister has a clear stance: “Sea rescue is not a punishable offence, it is a humanitarian act,
01:15   and therefore anything that doesn’t lead to a release, I believe, will cause
01:24   considerable irritation in the end.” “Whoever saves human lives cannot be a criminal,”
01:30   an initiative phrase quoted by Federal president [Frank-Walter] Steinmeier yesterday in the ZDF,
01:34   but he trusts in the rule of law. —Italy is in the middle of the European Union and is a founding nation of
01:43   the European Union. That’s why we can expect a country like Italy to deal with such a case differently.
01:51   The Italian minister of the interior, [Matteo] Salvini, answered him promptly on Twitter: “Steinmeier should
01:55   concern himself with what is happening in Germany and tell his citizens they should abide by Italian laws.
02:01   The AfD sees it similarly. “The federal president is now interfering with the jurisdiction of a
02:08   sovereign state with moral arguments, and pursuing de facto a parallel foreign policy which leads to
02:17   disgruntlement and doesn’t unite Europe. For [Gottfried] Curio, the Sea-Watch 3 operation is smuggling of
02:23   illegal migration and the maritime emergency is artificially created. On the internet many comments
02:27   have similar assessments. “Free Carola,” on the other hand, is the slogan of the Green Party youth at their
02:34   Mini-demonstration in front of the Italian embassy. Solidarity appears to be great overall. Supporters of
02:39   the arrested captain have already donated more than one million euros. The basic problem that
02:45   remains is that legal immigration to Europe is difficult and often impossible. So people risk their lives
02:51   again and again in search of a better future. The European union hasn’t had an answer for years.
02:57   Enough of these endless stories of ships between the harbours being pushed around with people
03:03   onboard who are hungry and thirsty, basically in life-threatening situations. We have to finally come to
03:11   a proper solution for those stranded on the high seas as refugees on their way to Europe.
03:16   The sociologist Gerald Knaus, the mastermind of the refugee agreement between the EU and Turkey,
03:21   currently doesn’t believe in a consensual solution. The positions are too different. —There are politicians
03:27   in some countries who simply rely on deterrence because they think it is popular and works.
03:32   If the German people don’t want that — and fortunately there are still majorities for a humane policy,
03:40   but they can’t claim to want a humane ethical policy, based on the others being humane as well.
03:48   So Germany should clearly say that sea rescue is the right thing to do, but
03:52   at the same time negotiate with the countries of origin about repatriation agreements and possibilities
03:57   for legal migration. That would be a clear and humane signal.

Video transcript #2:

00:00   Greeted by dozens of cheering Italians, the captain Carola Rackete of
00:05   the maritime distress ship Sea-Watch 3, is seen here being arrested by Italian police.
00:10   Reason: Aiding and abetting human trafficking. Prior to that she collected 53
00:16   Africans, almost exclusively young men, off the coast of Libya. Instead of bringing them
00:22   to the next available safe harbour, as per Maritime Distress regulations, she hauled
00:28   those men hundreds of kilometres into European territory, to the island of
00:32   Lampedusa. This isn’t a case of sea rescue operations, but, according to current
00:39   European law, smuggling people into the country or human trafficking is considered
00:44   a criminal offence. But there’s more! On the 29th of June Captain Rackete,
00:50   while docking with force, rammed an Italian patrol boat and nearly destroyed it.
00:56   She willfully placed the lives of several of Italian policemen in jeopardy, who for their own
01:03   safety had to jump ship. For German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier this
01:07   doesn’t appear to be a problem. —Anyone saving lives can’t be a criminal.
01:11   We would expect a country like Italy to handle such situations differently. —In less
01:18   than an hour, the Italian interior minister [Matteo] Salvini responded to the German President’s
01:23   meddling in Italian affairs of state. On Twitter Salvini puts Steinmeier in his place:
01:29   “We would encourage the German President to concern himself with what is
01:34   happening in his country. Perhaps Steinmeier should tell Germans not to
01:37   violate Italian laws, by which means members of the law enforcement authority might have
01:42   been killed. The comedian Jan Böhmermann, on the other hand, not only
01:47   thinks this criminal behaviour is a good thing, but also calls for financial support for
01:52   this trafficking. —We would also like to ask you to donate. Let’s give what we have
01:57   most of in Germany. Money, we have money! We have endless sums of money.
02:01   People are still dying every day, innocent people drowning just like that!
02:06   Just like that?! People drown in the Mediterranean Sea because they go out
02:10   onto the open sea in rubber dinghies. Why do they do that? They hope to be picked up
02:16   by rescue ships and brought to Europe. If these smuggler ships didn’t exist,
02:23   if people like you didn’t finance it, these people wouldn’t have to drown in the
02:28   Mediterranean Sea. If anyone still believes the captain of the Sea-Watch 3 is acting
02:34   out of brotherly love for humanity, take a look at what her father earns his money
02:37   with. He’s a senior consultant in the military weapons industry. Considering
02:43   that he apparently earns well, one might imagine that a millionaire father finances the
02:48   sea rescues of his daughter. The latest “sea rescue” is nothing more than a perfidious
02:55   inhuman smuggler mafia indulging itself at the expense of human lives.

Video transcript #3:

00:00   Carola Rackete should be brought to justice for promoting
00:03   illegal immigration, smuggling, and trespassing.
00:06   She should be convicted and locked up. She is not a heroine, but a criminal.
00:12   If anyone can be called a hero, then it would be [Matteo] Salvini,
00:16   simply for enforcing the current laws of Italy and the EU.
00:20   In June 2018, the EU declared that at Europe’s outer borders
00:24   migrants should be sent back. According to this
00:28   declaration, in order to destroy the smuggling network
00:32   and avoid tragic deaths, there should be no incentive
00:36   to embark on such a dangerous journey. That’s exactly what
00:39   Interior Minister Salvini is enforcing.
00:42   His actions are not only in Italy’s interest, but
00:46   that of Germany and the rest of Europe. The total amount
00:49   of donations collected by Jan Böhmermann and his cronies
00:53   should be given to the Italian coast guard.
00:55   That way they can protect the coasts even better.
00:59   If there ever were a time to show solidarity for Europe,
01:01   then it is now. Let’s declare our solidarity with Italy and
01:05   Interior Minister Salvini against the manipulation of
01:08   the smugglers and their helpers, and stand for the native countries of Europe.

3 thoughts on “The Sea-Watch 3: Pro and Con

  1. I am impelled to see the conflict in terms of confederated limited independent governments as opposed to the massive, all-powerful, centrally-ruled superstate. It’s significant that the father of Sea-Witch (sic) captain Carola Rackete is a senior consultant for the massive military contracting industry. I don’t believe he or Carola directly make money from the people smuggling. Instead, the arms industry is dependent on the totalitarian superstate for its vast flows of money An endless flow of ill-prepared migrants will dissolve all social cohesion and any independence of action left to the native population. The weaker the nations, the stronger the unaccountable bureaucracy.

    Note the difference in perspectives. The German President wants to override national laws in favor of a global, fuzzy, and infinitely flexible appeal to save lives. This appeal always seems to veer in the direction more centralized control and weakened autonomy, rather than the other way around.

    The Italian Salvini and the German AfD parliamentarian Ms. Von Storch emphasize that the Italian laws were broken and Italy (and by extension, every other state) has the right to create an enforce its own laws. A widespread application of this principle would put Carola Rackete’s father out of work for sure, and he’d have to find employment where the employers actually pay him with their own money.

  2. After the incident in Lampedusa harbour, Carola Rackete was freed by order of Italian Judge Alessandra Vella because “she was performing her duty to save lives”. Once again an unelected communist judge sabotaged the best efforts of an elected Govt. minister. The same thing happens in the USA. These judges have to be dealt with. They make a mockery of democracy. They legislate from the bench without considering or being accountable for the knock-on effects of their rulings. In this case the lives of illegal immigrants from Africa are given priority over the lives of native Italians, some of whom will be raped and/or murdered by Rackete’s toxic cargo. Then there is the matter of the welfare bill; the judge will no doubt say “not my problem”.

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