The first thing should really be a focus on intelligence and security responses. There are still so many questions and we don’t really know what really led to this horrifying attack. There could be some background story to it – in previous, similar attacks there's often been a connection to small time criminality. People were close to IS but they were also low-level criminals first. In some cases they've been close to refugees and refugee camps.
So what we need to do in Germany is work out if there's a way to get more information about these kind of people. There’s a need to do more to basically monitor, or follow up minor criminals in order to prevent something bigger happening. The authorities need to examine if there’s been any conflict with the law before: Is it a small criminal with a personal grudge? And most importantly, have these petty criminals been exposed to any kind of influence from the so-called Islamic State? The German authorities need to develop a greater understanding on a local level.
I’m also afraid to say that there will be a need to have more of the kind of security measures that are already being put up in open spaces that are accessible to trucks. They’re all measures that are similar to what happened in the aftermath of Nice.
These are the practical measures. But I would be far more cautious when it comes to dealing with Germany’s refugee policy. Certainly one could argue that there should be better control of people who come into Germany. That would also affect numbers because it would slow down the amount of people who could cross over the border. But would it lessen any threat?
“There’s an online movement where people post cat videos and cat pictures next to every comment speculating about refugees and a possible link to terrorism.”
In the hours following the attack we've had a reaction from the far right – from the AFD [Die Alternative für Deutschland] They've said that these are “Merkel's Deaths”. They say Merkel is responsible because she let in so many refugees and that an attack like the one in Berlin was bound to happen.
But there’s also been an opposite reaction on the Internet. There’s an online movement where people post cat videos and cat pictures next to every comment speculating about refugees and a possible link to terrorism. This is a conscious move to encourage Germany and Germans to keep a cool head.