American conservative journalist Jack Posobiec and other witnesses said he and his film crew were detained by armed officers of the World Economic Forum police while covering the forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland on Monday.
The apparent detainment for undisclosed reasons of a conservative journalist by well-armed officers wearing World Economic Forum Police insignia seemed almost calculated to fuel the very fears animating critics of the World Economic Forum, who argue the annual ingathering of international business and political elites is a medium to push the world closer to a global techno-surveillance state modeled loosely on China’s “social credit system” — at the expense of individual liberty and national sovereignty.
Posobiec, senior editor for the conservative website Human Events, explained in interviews after the incident that initially an officer came up to him and his team asking to see their IDs and press passes. The officer seemed content with the information, said everything was fine, and left, according to Posobiec.
About an hour later, however, two minivans full of police officers arrived as Posobiec and his team were sitting outside a Swiss restaurant taking a break. Footage shows some of the officers were brandishing guns and had patches on their arms that read “World Economic Forum Police.”
Posobiec recounted how the officers questioned him and his team individually, having them empty their pockets before frisking them. He also said police asked to see the crew’s footage in their vans.
“Never once did they actually explain to us why it was we were targeted,” he said in an interview posted to social media. “I want to be clear on something: We had already given our names, our passports, and our press pass to the police, to the officials, about an hour prior to this happening, and the same lead officer came back with this new group.”
In a separate video filmed by a witness, a woman who appeared to be with the police but wasn’t in uniform said there was a reason Posobiec was targeted but said, “I don’t have to tell you that” to the person who was filming.
Footage posted to social media also showed police telling witnesses they weren’t allowed to record what was transpiring.
The police left quickly when they realized the incident was gaining more attention, Posobiec said.
On Tuesday, Posobiec said the WEF Police seemed to be a local police force that was “re-tasked, essentially deputized” during the WEF summit to provide security to the event.
Just the News reached out to the WEF asking if there is in fact a WEF police force and for any comment on the incident with Posobiec but has yet to hear back.
However, police in the Graubunden canton, where Davos is located, told Reuters on Tuesday that the WEF police badge is an additional one redesigned every year by the region’s own emergency services and worn with a badge representing the Graubunden security service.
Posobiec was in Davos covering the WEF capturing film for Turning Point USA, a conservative group seeking to expose what it describes as a plan by global elites at the WEF to move toward global governance and erode the sovereignty of Western democracies and the rights of their citizens.
“The World Economic Forum, what they are doing is trying to take the [Chinese Communist Party] model, the China model, copy it, and apply it to the West,” Posobiec told Turning Point USA in an interview. “That is the form of authoritarianism that is coming down … And you know what, it’s not just in terms of economics. It’s also in terms of our press freedoms. It’s in terms of our freedom of speech. It’s in terms of our freedom of assembly.”
Posobiec added that this authoritarian agenda will affect “our health freedom and the idea of us having bodily autonomy.”
His comments came as WEF attendees described ongoing efforts to create a hyper-globalized world in which privacy and civil liberties could be curtailed.
Australian eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant told the WEF that “we’re going to have to think about a recalibration of a whole range of human rights that are playing out online, from freedom of speech to the freedom to be free from online violence to the right of data protection.”
Alibaba Group President J. Michael Evans boasted at the WEF about the development of an “individual carbon footprint tracker” that will be able to track where people travel, how they travel, and what they eat.
Bill Gates said on a WEF panel that in 10 years, the world will have the technology “to scale-up every country within a month to diagnose their entire population.” He made the comment while speaking about the ability to combat future pandemics.
Critics have expressed concern about such changes, designed for purportedly benign purposes, being repurposed by government authorities to surveil and control people — as China has done to create a so-called “surveillance state.”
To WEF attendees, however, their efforts will create not only a better world but also a new global order altogether.
Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, told the global elites gathered in Davos that they’re at the forefront of shaping the future of the world.
“The future is not just happening,” said Schwab. “The future is built by us, by a powerful community as you here in this room. We have the means to improve the state of the world, but two conditions are necessary.
“The first one is that we act all as stakeholders of larger communities. That we serve not only self-interest but we serve the community. That’s what we call stakeholder responsibility. And second, that we collaborate.”
In further discussions in Davos tracked by journalist Andrew Lawton, other prominent WEF attendees seemed to build on Schwab’s point, arguing that nation states should embrace rather than resist “painful” global changes that are coming.
German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, for example, suggested countries shouldn’t prioritize their own energy interests but instead “collaborate in one world” and change “the rules of the markets.”
In another panel, Kjerstin Braathen, CEO of Norway’s largest financial services group, said transitioning away from fossil fuels will create energy shortages and inflationary pressures but the “pain” is “worth it.”
President Biden similarly told reporters in Asia the same day that “we’re going through an incredible [energy] transition,” adding that it’s contributing to high gas prices but that “the world will be stronger” when it’s no longer reliant on fossil fuels.
Beyond energy, some WEF VIPS discussed the need for a new economic order. Oxfam Executive Director Gabriela Bucher, for example, called for a global 25% corporate tax rate and decried countries that lowered taxes to be economically competitive. She made her comments during a panel titled, “Reimagined Global Tax System.”
Despite these campaigns being pushed by the world’s most wealthy and powerful, Posobiec had a different message for the WEF.
“I’ve got a message for Klaus Schwab,” he said on Steve Bannon’s podcast. “You didn’t win this round. I’m not stopping. I am not going anywhere.”
The WEF didn’t respond to a request for comment to address Posobiec’s criticisms of the annual gathering.