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FTR #984 Fascism: 2017 European Tour

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This broadcast was recorded in one, 60-minute segment.

Ivo Antonov, Bulgarian Ministry of Defense official

Introduction: We begin our tour by examining overtly fascist elements in the governing Bulgarian coalition of Boyko Borisov, evocative of Bulgaria’s past as an ally of Nazi Germany in World War II. ” . . . May 17, Pavel Tenev, Minister of Regional Development, at the time, was forced to resign, after publication of a photo, showing him with his right arm extended in a Nazi salute, standing in front of a wax figure of a Nazi officer in Paris’ Musée Grévin. May 19, another photo was published on the internet, showing the freshly appointed department director in the Ministry of Defense, Ivo Antonov, also giving the Nazi salute in front of a Second World War tank of the Wehrmacht. . . .”

Other coalition partners have made disparaging remarks about Roma (“gypsies”) and Jews. Worth noting that Borisov’s selection of coalition partners: ” . . . . Following the recent March 26, parliamentary elections, Borisov, the winner of the elections (his GERB with 32.7 percent), did not begin negotiations for a government coalition with the Bulgarian Socialist Party (27.2 percent) or with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (9 percent) representing the Turkish-speaking minority, but rather with the United Patriots (9.1 percent). The United Patriots is an alliance of three extreme right-wing parties. . . .”

In recent weeks, the struggle over the potential secession of Catalonia from Spain has garnered considerable attention

That struggle is framed against a larger political dynamic embracing advocacy of the elimination of formal national borders in Europe in favor of “regionalist plans.” Just such regionalist advocacy was the focal point of a prominent article (with accompanying maps of the projected realignment) in Die Zeit, a major German weekly.

Regionalist advocacy has a significant past, with the early postwar CIA and Allen Dulles having embraced such a dynamic. ” . . . . the federalists had initially been supported and controlled by the CIA predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and [one of its top spies] Alan Dulles, residing in Bern, and later by the CIA itself. . . .”

In addition, the regionalist dyanamic enjoyed the support of long-time German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble, whose advocacy and implementation of brutal fiscal austerity helped beggar much of the EU, including Spain, following the financial crisis of 2008. ” . . . . Wolfgang Schäuble, as President of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) in the early 1980’s, was also promoting regionalist plans. Inspired by former Nazi functionaries, the AEBR criticized the ‘nation-state’s barrier effect’ of borders in the interests of large corporations. . . . Former Nazi functionaries were actively participating both on the AEBR’s committees and in the immediate entourage of its planning of the ‘regionalization’ of the border regions, including Gerd Jans, the former member of the Waffen SS in the Netherlands, Konrad Meyer, responsible for the Nazi’s ‘Generalplan Ost,’ Hermann Josef Abs, of the Deutsche Bank, as well as Alfred Toepfer, described by the publicist Hans-Rüdiger Minow as ‘infamous for his border subversion of France’s Alsace.’ In an extensive study, Minow describes the continuities of the Nazi’s concepts. . . .”

Despite an initial impression of “regionalism” that many might see as alien, The Schauble/AEBR/regionalism dyanmic ideology may be seen as something of a subsidiary element of globalization. ” . . . .  .In 1979, Schäuble became president of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR), an organization with the objective of downgrading the significance of borders in Europe. Business interests played an important role, which is why the AEBR could find reliable supporters in industry. A ‘European Charter on Border and Cross-Border Regions,’ passed by the AEBR in 1981, stipulated that the ‘elimination of economic and infrastructural barriers’ must urgently be pursued. . . .”

The implementation of regionalization would facilitate German domination of Europe, which has met resistance from poorer EU and EMU countries over the austerity doctrine favored by Wolfgang Schauble. ” . . . . Economic maps by the EU’s Eurostat statistics administration show the regions where Europe’s wealth and, therefore, Europe’s economic power is concentrated, a block with its centers in southern and central Germany, to the west, in Flanders and spreading to segments of the Netherlands, and to the South to parts of Austria and Northern Italy and in various separate regions of Western and Northern Europe. A number of these regions maintain close relations to Germany, or to the German regions. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[11]) This clearly German-dominated block would hardly have any difficulty controlling a ‘Europe of the Regions.’ . . . .”

Also worth noting is the fact that the Catalonian independence movement embraces a Catalonian identity that involves people from France, as well as Spain: ” . . . . The Catalan movement currently pushing for secession is in fact largely defining itself ethnically. The autonomous movement has been closely cooperating with French citizens, who live outside the Spanish region of Catalonia, but also consider themselves ‘ethnic Catalans.’ At their rallies one can hear ‘Neither France nor Spain! Only one country, Catalonia!’ . . . .”

The two Twitter accounts that appear to account for nearly a third of all Twitter traffic with the #Catalonia hashtag, in reference to the Catalonian secession movement belong to Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

 Of more  than passing interest, under the circumstances, is the Twitter effort by both Julian Assange and Edward Snowden on behalf of Catalonian independence.

 As seen in many past programs and posts, Snowden and Assange are as far to the right as it is possible to be.

 Their cyberlibertarian activism and their support for Catalonian independence is rooted in anarcho-libertarian economic theory. Seeing the dissolution of national governments as desirable, their support for the principle of secession is rooted in what Mussolini termed “corporatism.”

 Snowden and Assange’s ostensibly “liberating” doctrines, if put into effect, would leave citizenry  at the mercy of unfettered economic will, exercised by corporations and their associated elites.

Snowden specifically appears to be advocating that no secession movement anywhere ever can be rejected by the government under the premise that self-determination is a human right, viewing this as a “natural law” issue.

In that context, the right to secede is championed by the Libertarian far-right, all the way down to the right to individuals to secede from all government. As this piece from Libertarian David S. D’Amato demonstrates, extending the right to secede down to the individual facilitates the implementation of an anarcho-capitalist society with no government at all, as seen by figures like Murray Rothbard. This is envisioned as an excellent wayof achieving an anarcho-capitalist utopia.

The Snowden/Assange pro-secessionist movement should also be seen against the background of the Neo-Confederate movement, championed by Ron Paul and the Ludwig Von Mises Institute.

 Following capture of 13 percent of the vote in Germany’s federal elections on Sunday by the Alternative For Germany (AfD), Alexander Gauland, the AfD leader, provoked outrage after suggesting that Germans should no longer be reproached with the Nazi past.

This type of behavior apparently motivated AfD leader Frauke Petry to leave the party, just hours after the election over its extremism.

Program Highlights Include:

  • Review of Dorothy Thompson’s 1941 article about what a Nazi victory in Europe would look like–a scenario that bears considerable resemblance to the regionalization plan discussed above.
  • Discussion of the potential fortunes of Austria’s Freedom Party, formed in 1956 as a vehicle for the re-introduction of Austrian Third Reich alumni into that nation’s political process.

1. We begin our tour by examining overtly fascist elements in the governing Bulgarian coalition of Boyko Borisov, evocative of Bulgaria’s past as an ally of Nazi Germany in World War II. ” . . . May 17, Pavel Tenev, Minister of Regional Development, at the time, was forced to resign, after publication of a photo, showing him with his right arm extended in a Nazi salute, standing in front of a wax figure of a Nazi officer in Paris’ Musée Grévin. May 19, another photo was published on the internet, showing the freshly appointed department director in the Ministry of Defense, Ivo Antonov, also giving the Nazi salute in front of a Second World War tank of the Wehrmacht. . . .” Other coalition partners have made disparaging remarks about Roma (“gypsies”) and Jews.

Ivo Antonov, Bulgarian Ministry of Defense official

“Bulgaria’s European Course;” German Foreign Policy; 10/09/2017.

The CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) is counseling Bulgaria’s coalition government of conservative and several extreme right wing parties preparing their country’s EU Council Presidency. Sofia’s coalition government, headed by a partner party of the KAS, includes a party, whose chairperson once wrote that “a gang of Jews had ruined orthodoxy.” The chair of another party in the Bulgarian government coalition called Roma “human-like creatures that have become beasts.” He is the current deputy prime minister. The Bulgarian defense minister would like to dispatch “highly specialized combat troops” to the Bulgarian-Turkish border and “defend” the EU’s external borders against refugees “with armed force.” January 1, 2018, the Bulgarian government will assume the EU Council Presidency. Hardly prepared for this task, the KAS is counseling the government. Hans-Gert Pöttering, former President of the European Parliament, praised Bulgaria’s contribution to the “fight against illegal migration.”

“Without a Clear Line, Corrupt”

The CDU-affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) began its efforts to help prepare Bulgaria for the EU Council Presidency already shortly after the official formation of Sofia’s government, May 4. This must not only be seen in the context of Berlin’s usual efforts to influence EU policy, but also because the Bulgarian government’s preparation for the presidency is in a deplorable condition. Last week, the FDP-affiliated Friedrich Naumann Foundation’s project manager for Southeast Europe noted that, regarding the issues Sofia would like to focus on during its presidency, everything is still very “vague;” “various priorities without a clear thread” are mentioned. They cannot even formulate their “own … projects.” In relationship to the “renovation of the central meeting place, … serious accusations have been raised concerning embezzlement of the means for this prestigious project and corruption in contract allocations.” For example, the plaza in front of Sofia’s National Palace of Culture is to be renovated for five million leva (nearly 2.5 million euros), in spite of the fact that it was just renovated last year for several million leva. The website for the ministry, established for the EU Council Presidency, could “symbolize the state of preparation.” “It is exclusively in the Bulgarian language and only partially functional.”[1]

Intensive Counseling

The KAS is therefore intensifying its efforts. The party of the Bulgarian Prime Minster Boyko Borisov, GERB (“Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria”), is a member of the conservative European People’s Party (EPP) in which the German conservative parties CDU/CSU hold a strong position. This explains the KAS’s involvement. KAS is also providing direct support to GERB’s women and youth organizations. Leading KAS representatives have already met twice – May 31 and July 18, – with Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva to discuss Sofia’s EU Council Presidency. Prime Minister Borisov visited the Foundation’s Deputy Secretary General, Gerhard Wahlers on June 7 for the same purpose. September 11, Parliamentary State Secretary at Germany’s Ministry of the Interior, Ole Schröder (CDU), visited Sofia to participate in a conference of lectures and discussions aimed at celebrating Bulgaria’s ten-year EU membership. He lectured on the “special challenges facing the EU Council Presidency 2018.” To help prepare for the Council Presidency, Prime Minister Borisov also convened a six-member advisory board, including former Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev (2012 to 2017), former Prime Minister Simeon Sakskoburggotski (2001 to 2005) and particularly the KAS Chairman Hans-Gert Pöttering.[2] Pöttering was President of the European Parliament from 2007 to 2009.

“Bulgaria Above Everything Else!”

Berlin and Brussels are also worried that, with Bulgaria’s government, extreme right wing politicians may also preside in the EU Council Presidency. Following the recent March 26, parliamentary elections, Borisov, the winner of the elections (his GERB with 32.7 percent), did not begin negotiations for a government coalition with the Bulgarian Socialist Party (27.2 percent) or with the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (9 percent) representing the Turkish-speaking minority, but rather with the United Patriots (9.1 percent). The United Patriots is an alliance of three extreme right-wing parties.[3] The coalition negotiations were carried out under the motto “Bulgaria above everything else!” and was ultimately crowned with success. Volen Siderov, the head of one of the three parties (“Ataka”), forming the United Patriots, once called on the Roma minority (Gypsies) to “behave themselves,” if they did not want to be deported to India. In a book, he wrote that “a gang of Jews” have “ruined the orthodoxy.”[4] Valeri Simeonov, Chair of a second party in the United Patriots, the “National Front for the Salvation of Bulgaria” (NFSB), referred to Roma as “human-like creatures, who have become beasts,” and said that their children were playing “in the streets with pigs.”[5] Since May 4, Simeonov has been in office as the Vice Prime Minister, in charge of the economy and demography, as well as being Bulgaria’s Commissioner for Integration.

With a Nazi Salute

Twice, photographs have already emerged showing high-ranking officials of Bulgaria’s government, elected to office in May, in poses honoring the Nazis. May 17, Pavel Tenev, Minister of Regional Development, at the time, was forced to resign, after publication of a photo, showing him with his right arm extended in a Nazi salute, standing in front of a wax figure of a Nazi officer in Paris’ Musée Grévin. May 19, another photo was published on the internet, showing the freshly appointed department director in the Ministry of Defense, Ivo Antonov, also giving the Nazi salute in front of a Second World War tank of the Wehrmacht. (On the right, german-foreign-policy.com documents a segment of this photo.) His most senior employer, Defense Minister, Krasimir Karakachanov, Chair of the IMRO-Bulgarian National Movement, refused to fire him.[6]

Weapons against Refugees

One of the Bulgarian government’s few recognizable political priorities is warding off refugees. Prime Minister Borisov expressed his gratitude to the militia-like citizens’ defense units, who, already since 2014, have been patrolling – some under heavy arms – the Turkish-Bulgarian border to keep undesirable migrants at bay. In April 2016, one of these citizens’ defense units, the “Organization for the Protection of the Bulgarian Border,” received an official award from the Bulgarian Border Police. In August, Defense Minister Karakachanov declared, he would “reinforce the military presence” along the Bulgarian-Turkish borders. “Highly specialized combat units will be among them.”[7] “Night-vision video cameras and drones” will be used, “to better be able to monitor the migrants’ movements and intervene in time.” The minister also wants to have “NATO and EU troops intervene” in Greece and Italy. “The external borders of the European Union must be defended, if necessary, with armed force,” he demands.

Sofia’s EU Contribution

Bulgaria “is already contributing a great deal to the European Union, for example, by fighting illegal migration,” declared Hans-Gert Pöttering, KAS Chair, which is advising the Bulgarian government in its preparations to assume the EU Council Presidency. Commenting on his appointment to the advisory board, that met last Friday in Sofia, Pöttering said it was “also a sign of recognition for the work of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, which has been active in Bulgaria since 1994, always advocating that the country take the European course.”[8]

[1] Daniel Kaddik: Mangelnde Vorbereitung, fehlende Visionen. www.freiheit.org 02.10.2017.
[2] Dem Beratergremium gehören außerdem der ehemalige Landeshauptmann von Oberösterreich, Erwin Pröll (1992 bis 2017), der ehemalige Präsident des Europäischen Rates, Herman Van Rompuy (2009 bis 2014) sowie der französische Diplomat Jean-David Levitte an.
[3] Den Vereinigten Patrioten gehören Ataka (Angriff), WMRO-BNB (Innere Mazedonische Revolutionäre Organisation – Bulgarische Nationale Bewegung) – und NFSB (Nationale Front für die Rettung Bulgariens) an.
[4] Thorsten Geissler: Bulgarien: Deutlicher Sieg für GERB – aber schwierige Regierungsbildung. Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung: Länderbericht Bulgarien. 29.03.2017.
[5], [6] Jörg Kronauer: “Bulgarien über alles!” Die extreme Rechte in Bulgarien. LOTTA 67/2017.
[7] Christoph B. Schiltz: “Wir müssen die EU-Grenzen notfalls mit Waffen schützen”. www.welt.de 17.08.2017.
[8] Dr. Hans-Gert Pöttering berät bulgarische Regierung bei EU-Ratspräsidentschaft. www.kas.de 06.10.2017.

2a. The political struggle around the attempted secession of Catalonia from Spain is framed against a larger political dynamic embracing advocacy of the elimination of formal national borders in Europe in favor of “regionalist plans.” Just such regionalist advocacy was the focal point of a prominent article (with accompanying maps of the projected realignment) in Die Zeit, a major German weekly.

Regionalist advocacy has a significant past, with the early postwar CIA and Allen Dulles having embraced such a dynamic. ” . . . . the federalists had initially been supported and controlled by the CIA predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and [one of its top spies] Alan Dulles, residing in Bern, and later by the CIA itself. . . .”

In addition, the regionalist dyanamic enjoyed the support of long-time German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble, whose advocacy and implementation of brutal fiscal austerity helped beggar much of the EU, including Spain, following the financial crisis of 2008. ” . . . . Wolfgang Schäuble, as President of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) in the early 1980’s, was also promoting regionalist plans. Inspired by former Nazi functionaries, the AEBR criticized the ‘nation-state’s barrier effect’ of borders in the interests of large corporations. . . . Former Nazi functionaries were actively participating both on the AEBR’s committees and in the immediate entourage of its planning of the ‘regionalization’ of the border regions, including Gerd Jans, the former member of the Waffen SS in the Netherlands, Konrad Meyer, responsible for the Nazi’s ‘Generalplan Ost,’ Hermann Josef Abs, of the Deutsche Bank, as well as Alfred Toepfer, described by the publicist Hans-Rüdiger Minow as ‘infamous for his border subversion of France’s Alsace.’ In an extensive study, Minow describes the continuities of the Nazi’s concepts. . . .”

Despite an initial impression of “regionalism” that many might see as alien, The Schauble/AEBR/regionalism dyanmic ideology may be seen as something of a subsidiary element of globalization. ” . . . .  .In 1979, Schäuble became president of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR), an organization with the objective of downgrading the significance of borders in Europe. Business interests played an important role, which is why the AEBR could find reliable supporters in industry. A ‘European Charter on Border and Cross-Border Regions,’ passed by the AEBR in 1981, stipulated that the ‘elimination of economic and infrastructural barriers’ must urgently be pursued. . . .”

The implementation of regionalization would facilitate German domination of Europe, which has met resistance from poorer EU and EMU countries over the austerity doctrine favored by Wolfgang Schauble. ” . . . . Economic maps by the EU’s Eurostat statistics administration show the regions where Europe’s wealth and, therefore, Europe’s economic power is concentrated, a block with its centers in southern and central Germany, to the west, in Flanders and spreading to segments of the Netherlands, and to the South to parts of Austria and Northern Italy and in various separate regions of Western and Northern Europe. A number of these regions maintain close relations to Germany, or to the German regions. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[11]) This clearly German-dominated block would hardly have any difficulty controlling a ‘Europe of the Regions.’ . . . .”

Also worth noting is the fact that the Catalonian independence movement embraces a Catalonian identity that involves people from France, as well as Spain: ” . . . . The Catalan movement currently pushing for secession is in fact largely defining itself ethnically. The autonomous movement has been closely cooperating with French citizens, who live outside the Spanish region of Catalonia, but also consider themselves ‘ethnic Catalans.’ At their rallies one can hear ‘Neither France nor Spain! Only one country, Catalonia!’ . . . .”

“The Power in the Center;” German Foreign Policy; 10/11/2017.

Using the secessionist conflict in Catalonia as a backdrop, the website of the German weekly Die Zeit published a fiery appeal for dismembering Europe’s nation-states. For quite some time, the author, Ulrike Guérot, has been promoting the “disappearance of the nation-state” in Europe. The nation-state should be replaced by regions with their “own respective identities” that could be “ethnically” defined. As examples, Guérot lists regions with strong separatist tendencies such as Flanders and Tyrol. The author sees herself upholding the tradition of the “European Federalists” of the early post-war period, who – under the guidance of western intelligence services – drew up plans for establishing of a European economic space with free circulation of commodities as a bulwark against the East European socialist countries. Wolfgang Schäuble, as President of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR) in the early 1980’s, was also promoting regionalist plans. Inspired by former Nazi functionaries, the AEBR criticized the “nation-state’s barrier effect” of borders in the interests of large corporations. Current economic maps indicate which areas in the EU would form the continent’s most powerful block if regionalization should take effect: south and central Germany as well as its bordering regions from Flanders to Northern Italy.

From the CDU to the Greens

Yesterday, the website of the German weekly, Die Zeit, published a fiery appeal to dismember Europe’s nation-states, authored by the political scientist Ulrike Guérot. Guérot had been employed by CDU parliamentarian Karl Lamers in the first half of the 1990s and participated in formulating the Schäuble/Lamers paper, propagating the establishment of a core Europe. She subsequently became collaborator for the EU Commission President at the time, Jacques Delors, and an expert of several think tanks (German Council on Foreign Relations, German Marshall Fund, and the European Council on Foreign Relations). In 2014, she founded a European Democracy Lab at the European School of Governance. Once member of the CDU; today, she is politically close to the Greens.[1]

“Ethnic Region”

Since some time, Guérot has been peddling an allegedly new political concept to the German public, based on the dismemberment of Europe’s nation-states. According to her, “the nation-state will disappear” [2] and will be replaced by “50 to 60” regions in Europe, with “their own respective identity.”[3] She is referring to the concept of “ethnic regions,”[4] i.e. an ethnically defined community of shared origins. As Guérot writes “ethnic region and statehood are not congruent” for example in Ireland or Cyprus; Flanders, Venetia and Tyrol are further examples. In Flanders and Venetia, respectively more prosperous regions, defining themselves linguistic-ethnic (“Netherlander” or “Venetian”) are dissociating themselves from poorer regions of the country, whereas the German speaking construct “Tyrole” encompasses areas of Austria and Northern Italy. According to Guérot, Catalonia is also one of the regions to be liberated from its constraints under the nation-state. The Catalan movement currently pushing for secession is in fact largely defining itself ethnically. The autonomous movement has been closely cooperating with French citizens, who live outside the Spanish region of Catalonia, but also consider themselves “ethnic Catalans.” At their rallies one can hear “Neither France nor Spain! Only one country, Catalonia!”[5] Last weekend the spokesperson of the left CUP party in Spanish Catalonia complained that Spaniards from outside Catalonia had come to Barcelona to participate in a demonstration. To demonstrate in Catalonia as a “Spaniard” corresponds to a “colonial logic.”[6]

Europe of the Regions

According to Guérot, only a “European Republic,” wherein “the regions assume the role of the central constitutional actors,” can save an EU shaken by national conflicts.[7] For example, the regions should constitute “a second chamber” in the European Parliament – “a European Senate.” Guérot has repeatedly said that political competence must be redistributed between the EU and its regions. According to this concept, a center of power will be set up in Brussels, in control of foreign and military policy, while the regions – for example, in charge of commercial taxes – would financially maintain independent latitude. Of course, the latter would depend on the economic power of the respective region. Besides its ethnic constitution, a “Europe of the Regions” would lead to a complete disenfranchisement of its smallest units. Guérot criticizes the fact that “the EU is full of large regions (such as North Rhine-Westphalia) which are not permitted to participate in EU decision making, while on the other hand, small countries (such as Luxembourg or Malta) are.” That must change. For example, rather than having one vote out of 28 in the European Council, Malta would only have one out of “50 or 60” votes in the “European Senate.” It would not be able to counter any measures proposed by the EU’s economically predominating centers.

United States of Europe

Guérot’s concept has precursors, which had been promoted, on the one hand, by intelligence agency circles of the post-war period and by interested business circles, on the other, serving however, entirely different interests under cover of promoting an alleged regional democracy. Guérot says herself that her model is based on the “European Federalists,” particularly the Swiss Denis de Rougement. Since the mid-1940s, the “European federalists” sought to found a “United States of Europe,” as a unified economic realm – serving as a bulwark against the socialist countries, in the process of forming. It was also seen as a defense against the idea of abandoning the previous economic approach, which, at the time, was also rather popular in Western Europe. This is why the federalists had initially been supported and controlled by the CIA predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and [one of its top spies] Alan Dulles, residing in Bern, and later by the CIA itself.[8] Rougement, an OSS-affiliate and professed federalist, complained in a 1948 “Message to the Europeans,” that “Europe” was “barricaded behind borders impeding the circulation of its commodities,” and because of this, is threatened with economic ruin. On the other hand, “united,” it could, already “tomorrow, build the greatest political entity and the largest economic unit of our times.” From 1952 – 1966, Rougemont continued his activities also as president of the CIA-financed “Congress for Cultural Freedom.”

“Loss of Identity”

Wolfgang Schäuble has also promoted regionalist concepts. Guérot had been in contact with him in 1994 during work on the Schäuble-Lamers paper. In 1979, Schäuble became president of the Association of European Border Regions (AEBR), an organization with the objective of downgrading the significance of borders in Europe. Business interests played an important role, which is why the AEBR could find reliable supporters in industry. A “European Charter on Border and Cross-Border Regions,” passed by the AEBR in 1981, stipulated that the “elimination of economic and infrastructural barriers” must urgently be pursued. For example, the “expansion and construction of coordinated, combined cross-border freight transport terminals” is necessary to “close current gaps in cross-border traffic.” In addition, the expansion of cross-border energy networks must be promoted. This is being overblown with allegations of Europe having emerged from a “patchwork of historical landscapes,” with borders creating “scars” on Europe’s regions, and leading to the population’s “loss of identity.” The current “nation-state’s barrier effect” must be reduced – if not abolished, according to the paper drawn up under Schäuble’s AEBR presidency.[9]

German Continuities

Former Nazi functionaries were actively participating both on the AEBR’s committees and in the immediate entourage of its planning of the “regionalization” of the border regions, including Gerd Jans, the former member of the Waffen SS in the Netherlands, Konrad Meyer, responsible for the Nazi’s “Generalplan Ost,” Hermann Josef Abs, of the Deutsche Bank, as well as Alfred Toepfer, described by the publicist Hans-Rüdiger Minow as “infamous for his border subversion of France’s Alsace.” In an extensive study, Minow describes the continuities of the Nazi’s concepts.[10]

Germany’s Supremacy

Guérot ultimately argues in favor of her regionalization concepts, using the allegation that through the removal of nation-states, “Germany’s supremacy … can be overcome.” The opposite is the case. Economic maps by the EU’s Eurostat statistics administration show the regions where Europe’s wealth and, therefore, Europe’s economic power is concentrated, a block with its centers in southern and central Germany, to the west, in Flanders and spreading to segments of the Netherlands, and to the South to parts of Austria and Northern Italy and in various separate regions of Western and Northern Europe. A number of these regions maintain close relations to Germany, or to the German regions. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[11]) This clearly German-dominated block would hardly have any difficulty controlling a “Europe of the Regions.”

(Here, german-foreign-policy.com documents two Eurostat economic maps. The upper map shows the brut GDP per capita, according to the Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), while the lower map depicts the primary household incomes. The colors for Germany’s south indicate the highest values, while the colors for the furthest southwestern and eastern EU indicate the lowest. Source: Eurostat.) For more information on this subject see: The Economy of Secession (II).

[1] Ulrike Guérot: Adorno liest man nicht am Schwimmingpool. blogs.faz.net 17.03.2015.
[2] Steffen Dobbert, Benjamin Breitegger: “Der Nationalstaat wird verschwinden”. www.zeit.de 03.01.2017.
[3] Ulrike Guérot: Europa einfach machen – einfach Europa machen. agora42.de 25.09.2017.
[4] Ulrike Guérot: In Spaniens Krise offenbart sich eine neue EU. www.zeit.de 10.10.2017.
[5] Morten Freidel: Die Brüder im Süden haben es besser. www.faz.net 08.10.2017.
[6] Hunderttausende kontern Unabhängigkeitspläne in Katalonien. www.zeit.de 08.10.2017.
[7] Ulrike Guérot: In Spaniens Krise offenbart sich eine neue EU. www.zeit.de 10.10.2017.
[8], [9], [10] Hans-Rüdiger Minow: Zwei Wege – Eine Katastrophe. Flugschrift No. 1. Aachen 2016.
[11] See The Economy of Secession (II).

2c. Dorothy Thompson’s analy­sis of Germany’s plans for world dom­i­nance by a cen­tral­ized Euro­pean eco­nomic union bears scrutiny against the background of the “regionalization doctrine,” highlighted above. Ms. Thomp­son was writ­ing in The New York Her­ald Tri­bune on May 31, 1940!

Germany Plots with the Kremlin; T.H. Tetens; Henry Schuman [HC]; 1953; p. 92.

. . . . The Ger­mans have a clear plan of what they intend to do in case of vic­tory. I believe that I know the essen­tial details of that plan. I have heard it from a suf­fi­cient num­ber of impor­tant Ger­mans to credit its authen­tic­ity . . . Germany’s plan is to make a cus­toms union of Europe, with com­plete finan­cial and eco­nomic con­trol cen­tered in Berlin. This will cre­ate at once the largest free trade area and the largest planned econ­omy in the world. In West­ern Europe alone . . . there will be an eco­nomic unity of 400 mil­lion per­sons . . . To these will be added the resources of the British, French, Dutch and Bel­gian empires. These will be pooled in the name of Europa Germanica . . .

“The Ger­mans count upon polit­i­cal power fol­low­ing eco­nomic power, and not vice versa. Ter­ri­to­r­ial changes do not con­cern them, because there will be no ‘France’ or ‘Eng­land,’ except as lan­guage groups. Lit­tle imme­di­ate con­cern is felt regard­ing polit­i­cal orga­ni­za­tions . . . . No nation will have the con­trol of its own finan­cial or eco­nomic sys­tem or of its cus­toms. [Italics are mine–D.E.] The Naz­i­fi­ca­tion of all coun­tries will be accom­plished by eco­nomic pres­sure. In all coun­tries, con­tacts have been estab­lished long ago with sym­pa­thetic busi­ness­men and indus­tri­al­ists . . . . As far as the United States is con­cerned, the plan­ners of the World Ger­man­ica laugh off the idea of any armed inva­sion. They say that it will be com­pletely unnec­es­sary to take mil­i­tary action against the United States to force it to play ball with this sys­tem. . . . Here, as in every other coun­try, they have estab­lished rela­tions with numer­ous indus­tries and com­mer­cial orga­ni­za­tions, to whom they will offer advan­tages in co-operation with Germany. . . .

2d.  The two Twitter accounts that appear to account for nearly a third of all Twitter traffic with the #Catalonia hashtag, in reference to the Catalonian secession movement belong to Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

 Of more  than passing interest, under the circumstances, is the Twitter effort by both Julian Assange and Edward Snowden on behalf of Catalonian independence.

 As seen in many past programs and posts, Snowden and Assange are as far to the right as it is possible to be.

 Their cyberlibertarian activism and their support for Catalonian independence is rooted in anarcho-libertarian economic theory. Seeing the dissolution of national governments as desirable, their support for the principle of secession is rooted in what Mussolini termed “corporatism.”

 Snowden and Assange’s ostensibly “liberating” doctrines, if put into effect, would leave citizenry  at the mercy of unfettered economic will, exercised by corporations and their associated elites.

Snowden specifically appears to be advocating that no secession movement anywhere ever can be rejected by the government under the premise that self-determination is a human right, viewing this as a “natural law” issue.

In that context, the right to secede is championed by the Libertarian far-right, all the way down to the right to individuals to secede from all government. As this piece from Libertarian David S. D’Amato demonstrates, extending the right to secede down to the individual facilitates the implementation of an anarcho-capitalist society with no government at all, as seen by figures like Murray Rothbard. This is envisioned as an excellent wayof achieving an anarcho-capitalist utopia.

The Snowden/Assange pro-secessionist movement should also be seen against the background of the Neo-Confederate movement, championed by Ron Paul and the Ludwig Von Mises Institute.

“On Catalan independence, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden emerge as surprise backers” by Chris Zappone; Sydney Morning Herald; 09/26/2017

Two Moscow-linked figures have emerged as the loudest voices on Twitter amplifying news and commentary about Catalonia’s secession referendum.

Research independently confirmed by Fairfax Media shows Twitter accounts of WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange as well as former National Security Administrator contractor Edward Snowden now account for nearly a third of all Twitter traffic under the hashtag #Catalonia.

Assange has peppered his followers with more than 80 original tweets supporting the Catalan independence referendum, suggesting “the future of Western civilisation is being revealed” by the renewed push by regional secessionists.

Those tweets have been generously shared.

Of the 150,279 tweets and retweets using the #Catalonia hashtag in the 10 days until Sunday, more than 40,368 came from the Julian Assange account, according to one measure by social media analysis account Conspirator Norteno. A further 8198 came from the Edward Snowden Twitter account.

Others included the WikiLeaks account, with 2120 #Catalonia tweets and retweets, while Russia-owned network RT generated 598 tweets and retweets.

The surge in pro-secession messages comes as authorities in Madrid contend with a new move for independence in the autonomous region of Catalonia. Spanish authorities have moved to quash a October 1 referendum by dissolving the region’s election commission, arresting local officials and seizing campaign materials.

Neither WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange nor Edward Snowden, have a deep history of involvement with Spanish politics.

Hashtag analysis service Hashtagify, accessed on Tuesday, identified the Snowden account as the biggest “influencer” for the hashtag, followed by Julian Assange.

The Twitter accounts of both Snowden and Assange have published statements that distort or exaggerate what is happening in Spain.

Recent polls show 49 per cent of Catalans oppose independence. That segment is less likely to participate in the referendum. However, the 41 per cent who support becoming an autonomous nation, are likely to participate..

A “discredited” vote is expected to go ahead in Catalonia. Whether Assange and Snowden tweeting about Catalonia in English would make much difference on the ground, is not clear.

However, casting doubt about the legitimacy of the Spanish government over Catalonia may have a longer-term effect.

“The right of self-determination – for people to freely decide their own system of government – cannot simply be outlawed. It is a human right,” Snowden’s account tweeted on September 21.

Fairfax Media has sought comment from Assange’s and Snowden’s Twitter accounts.

3. Following capture of 13 percent of the vote in Germany’s federal elections on Sunday by the Alternative For Germany (AfD), Alexander Gauland, the AfD leader, provoked outrage after suggesting that Germans should no longer be reproached with the Nazi past.

This type of behavior apparently motivated AfD leader Frauke Petry to leave the party, just hours after the election over its extremism.

“The leader of Germany’s far-right party quit hours after its election success—because it’s too radical” by Jill Petzinger;
Quartz; 09/25/2017.

Just hours after the hard-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) won its first-ever round of seatsin the German parliament, its co-leader Frauke Petrytold a press conference in Berlin—with her newly-elected colleagues next to her—that she had decided not to go into parliament with the party. Then she got up and stormed out of the press conference.

“I think we should be open today that there is a disagreement over content in the AfD and I think we shouldn’t hush this up,” said Petry.

She said she wanted to position herself as an independent politician and have a “conservative new start” but didn’t say whether she was founding a new party. Later, on her Facebook, she slammed the party for the “shrill and far-out statements of single members” which dominate the view the public has of them.

This doesn’t mean Petry is a moderate, she’s far from it. A member of the AfD since 2013, it was she who put the former eurosceptic party on its new anti-immigration platform during the height of the refugee crisis in 2015. She’s made numerous controversial statements about refugees too, including that “Islam does not belong in Germany,” and saying that German border police should be allowed to fire on migrants along the Austria-German border.

Petry, who for some has been acceptable face of xenophobia, has been critical of radical statements made by others in the party as she believed it made it less attractive to moderate voters as well as for potential coalition partners when it would enter the Bundestag for the first time.

In a party riddled with infighting, she was slammed by some members for not supporting comments made by an AfD leader in Thuringia state, who said Berlin’s holocaust memorial made the country “laughable.” She also publicly criticized Gauland for saying Germany should be proud of what German soldiers had achieved in two world wars.

What now AfD?

It is unlikely that Petry’s sudden departure will mean much for the party, which many expect will struggle not only as a pariah in parliament, but also because it really only has one core policy issue—being against immigration.

“It is part of a power struggle, in which she may hope that her steps will create more friction in the party,” Josef Janning of the European Council of Foreign Relations told Quartz. “She may also hope to split the faction and pull over some other deputies.”

While the now-93 new AfD members of parliament can raise a stink in opposition, some political experts believe they won’t really make much difference in German politics. “No one will form a coalition with them. They’ll be excluded. Their motions will be shot down,” said Oskar Niedermayer, a politics professor at the Free University of Berlin. “If they put forward reasonable motions that other parties might agree with, they will be voted down, and the other parties will put forward slightly modified motions.”

No change in tone

Alexander Gauland stuck to his inflammatory rhetoric at the party’s first post-election press conference on Monday morning. “One million people, foreigners, being brought into this country are taking away a piece of this country and we as AfD don’t want that,” Gauland said. “We don’t want to lose Germany to an invasion of foreigners from a different culture.”

It intends, Gauland said last night, to “hunt” Merkel, and “take back our country and our people.”

That xenophobic message resonated with 13% of those who voted yesterday: An ARD/ Infratest Dimap poll on why Germans voted for the AfD found that nearly 70% of them were concerned about the fight against terrorism, and 60% were worried about both crime and the influx of refugees.

The AfD’s nationalistic message propelled it to big wins in some former Eastern German states—it was the biggest party in Saxony. In former GDR states, the AfD is in second place overall, behind Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

4. Founded in 1956 as a vehicle for re-introducing Austrian Nazi veterans of the Third Reich into the country’s political life, the party effected the cosmetic suspension of a party official for giving a Nazi salute.

“Austria’s Freedom Party Suspendes Member over Nazi Allegations” [Reuters]; Reuters.com; 10/10/2017.

Austria’s far right Freedom Party, days before parliamentary elections which are expected to catapult it into government, has suspended a low-level party official over allegations he used a Nazi salute.

The party is poised to become part of a coalition after the Oct. 15 vote with the conservatives expected to gain around a third of the vote. Both parties campaign with tough rhetoric on fighting immigration and closed Islamic communities.
Austrian newspaper Der Standard reported, without citing names, that an independent local councillor in the province of Styria complained to her mayor about having seen her Freedom Party colleague raising his right arm in Nazi-fashion and saying the Nazi salute “Heil Hitler”.

Owning objects or making statements that glorify Nazism is illegal in Austria, where Hitler was born and which was annexed into his Third Reich.

Josef Riemer, the Freedom Party parliamentarian for the constituency, said in an emailed statement the party was taking the accusations very seriously and had suspended the official’s membership until the case was resolved. He added the official rejects the allegations and had already hired a lawyer.

The mayor’s lawyer Dieter Neger, who declined to identify the town or anyone involved, said he would officially hand the case, which he said included two witness statements, to prosecutors in the city of Graz later on Tuesday.
The Freedom Party, which was founded by former Nazis but says it has left its past behind, has repeatedly thrown out officials in recent years over Nazi allegations. . . .

Discussion

2 comments for “FTR #984 Fascism: 2017 European Tour”

  1. These concepts were first introduced by Von List where Germany would dominate a trade block. Then, Fredrick Neumann wrote Mittleeuropa during WW1. Naumann’s book won recognition from many German and Austrian liberals. Some, notably Hermann Oncken (1869-1945), added historical arguments, while others, such as the Polish political activist Wilhelm Feldman (1868-1919), supported it with local expertise. In contrast to the response of liberals of various nationalities, Mitteleuropa was sharply criticized by German nationalists attached to the annexation and resettlement projects. Perhaps more importantly, even Naumann’s liberalism and openness could not obscure the fact that any German-led Central Europe would expect non-German nationalists, of whom Poles and Czechs were the most numerous and politically active, to disavow projects of political independence. Consequently, there was very little support for Mitteleuropa among its future citizens. Notwithstanding these difficulties, in early 1918, when the Central Powers signed a treaty with Ukraine, Naumann had hopes of his plan becoming reality. This was, however, the last victory of German liberal imperialism.

    In the last months of the World War I and in the interwar period the concept of Mitteleuropa moved decisively to the right. Paired first with the political agenda of Paul von Hindenburg (1847-1934) and Erich Ludendorff (1865-1937) and then with German geopolitics, it became part of the revisionist agenda and, finally, of the Nazi ideology. In an article in the “Historische Zeitschrift” in 1942, Helmut Rumpf (1915-1986) characterized it as a “political and judicial precondition to the Reich”.[4] Ironically, though Naumann’s idea was very different from this reasoning, Mitteleuropa came to connote German expansionism and Lebensraum fantasies, and kept this association until the renaissance of the cultural concept of Central Europe in the 1980s.

    Posted by Anonymous | December 20, 2017, 9:33 am
  2. Here’s a look at the evolving tactics of the German far right to get around government restrictions on being an open Nazi.

    First, check out the latest loophole neo-Nazis in the state of Thuringia have discovered: if they call their neo-Nazi rock concerts “political protests”, it’s totally legal and will get free police protection too, was was the case with the “Rock against Being Swamped by Foreigners” concert last July:

    Deutsch Welle

    Neo-Nazi concert raises free speech concern

    The leader of Thuringia in eastern Germany says people’s right to assembly should be redefined to combat right-wing extremist music events. This comes after some 6,000 neo-Nazis attended a concert in the town of Themar.

    Author Jefferson Chase
    Date 17.07.2017

    “Sad” and “helpless” – that was how Thuringia State Premier Bodo Ramelow of the Left Party described his emotions after right-wing radicals chanted “Sieg heil” at the “Rock against Being Swamped by Foreigners” event on Saturday. In an interview with the eastern German regional state television broadcaster MDR, Ramelow said that measures needed to be taken to prevent such concerts from enjoying the same protections and advantages as political protests.

    “I find it intolerable that they staged a giant right-wing extremist rock festival under the guise of a demonstration and earned money for their political network while all the costs were passed on to taxpayers,” Ramelow said.

    The German constitution guarantees the right of people to assemble, and the state bears the costs of police presences to maintain order at political demonstrations. Ramelow suggests rewriting those rules to exclude concerts like the one in Themar, which he cast as a commercial event that had attracted 6,000 violent right-wing extremists from all over Europe.

    “I think we have to define the right to assembly precisely enough that in future local authorities, licensing offices and courts don’t see things like this in terms of freedom of speech and treat a gigantic concert as a nice neighborhood demonstration,” Ramelow said. “We calculate that it took in between 300,000 and 400,000 euros ($344,000-$458,000).”

    Thuringia has the option of modifying Germany’s federal Law of Assembly as states such as Berlin and Bavaria have done. And while it is unclear whether Ramelow’s statements were an off-the-cuff response or a serious call to action, it is certain that Thuringia is the center of the right-wing extremist music scene in Germany.

    Right-wing hot spot

    It is no coincidence that Saturday’s concert was staged in this part of the country. People in the formerly communist eastern part of Germany are generally more receptive to right-wing extremism than elsewhere. Henning Flad, project director of the Federal Working Group for the Church and Right-Wing Radicalism, says Thuringia has been a perennial “hot spot” for right-wing extremist music.

    “It always had particularly active, ambitious structures of people who organized concerts like this,” Flad told DW. “It has always been an infrastructural point of connection.”

    The organizer of Saturday’s concert, Tommy Frenck, who owns an online clothing shop featuring neo-Nazi items and has the word “Aryan” tattooed around his neck, comes from Thuringia. The owner of the property where the festival was held, Bodo Dressel, the mayor of a neighboring town, was until recently a member of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD), who was criticized from within his own party for being too extreme.

    Flad says that there has been a small comeback in right-wing extremist music in the past two years, “which thanks to this well-attended concert has become more visible.” Jan Raabe, perhaps Germany’s leading expert on the radical right and music, says there are some 200 extreme right-wing bands and singer-songwriters active in the country. He puts the number of people in the scene, narrowly defined, at around 15,000.

    “What we, of course, don’t know is how many young people have this sort of music on MP3 players and other devices,” Raabe told DW.

    A ‘peaceful counteroffensive’

    Local authorities initially refused to grant permits for Saturday’s event in Themar, but that refusal was overturned by a higher Thuringia authority. Organizers are planning another far-right event for July 29 with the title “Rock for Identity.”

    The mayor of Themar, Hubert Böse, organized a protest action with other local leaders against last Saturday’s concert and says he’ll do the same if the upcoming festival is allowed to go ahead.

    Böse said he couldn’t say whether he supported Ramelow’s ideas without knowing the details. But he added that his town, which has just over 3,000 residents, was too small to cope easily with large-scale right-wing extremist music festivals.

    “In general, we should ask whether events of this size, which significantly exceed the number of inhabitants, should be considered examples of people assembling,” Böse said. “We had 1,000 police officers here. In the end it all costs a lot of money.”

    To change the law – or better enforce it?

    Video footage from the festival, which was shared on social media, shows a crowd shouting “Sieg Heil.

    Critics have questioned why police officers didn’t intervene and shut down the concert since expressions of support for National Socialism are forbidden in Germany.

    The Central Council of Jews in Germany praised the community of Themar for “bravely” opposing the concert and said it agreed with Ramelow that a “radical right-wing music concert should not be classed as a political demonstration covered by the freedom to assemble.”

    But Ramelow’s suggestion also attracted considerable criticism from detractors who argued that it would do nothing to combat the problem. Raabe, for instance, said he didn’t see any “direct advantages” of changing laws on assembly for combating right-wing extremism and the associated music scene. Existing laws, he proposed, should be better enforced.

    “What does it mean to say that political events enjoy special protection?” Raabe asked. “I would like to assume that the law is also enforced at political events. Moreover, football matches aren’t political events, and yet football clubs aren’t required to pay for police security. That isn’t the real problem.”

    The residents of Themar now must wait to find out whether another event will be held in their town in two weeks time.

    ———-

    “Neo-Nazi concert raises free speech concern” by Jefferson Chase; Deutsch Welle; 07/17/2017

    “The German constitution guarantees the right of people to assemble, and the state bears the costs of police presences to maintain order at political demonstrations. Ramelow suggests rewriting those rules to exclude concerts like the one in Themar, which he cast as a commercial event that had attracted 6,000 violent right-wing extremists from all over Europe.”

    Yep, the current interpretation of the German constitutional guarantees to the right of people to assemble appears to leave a rather massive loophole for the neo-Nazis. And a lucrative loophole at that, with this “Rock against Being Swamped by Foreigners” concert alone taking in 300-400k euros:


    “I think we have to define the right to assembly precisely enough that in future local authorities, licensing offices and courts don’t see things like this in terms of freedom of speech and treat a gigantic concert as a nice neighborhood demonstration,” Ramelow said. “We calculate that it took in between 300,000 and 400,000 euros ($344,000-$458,000).”

    But Thuringia isn’t out of options. It just has chosen not to use them. Like the option Berlin and Bavaria of taken to modify the Germany’s federal Law of Assembly:


    Thuringia has the option of modifying Germany’s federal Law of Assembly as states such as Berlin and Bavaria have done. And while it is unclear whether Ramelow’s statements were an off-the-cuff response or a serious call to action, it is certain that Thuringia is the center of the right-wing extremist music scene in Germany.

    So will Thuringia eventually choose that option? We’ll see, but as these concerts continue we should probably expect popular resistance to grow too, if only because if the cost: there were 1,000 police officer at that one event. And they were getting paid to protect it while the ‘festival’ crowd shouted “Seig Heil”. That’s probably not going to go down well with local tax payers given how such displays are normally illegal:


    “In general, we should ask whether events of this size, which significantly exceed the number of inhabitants, should be considered examples of people assembling,” Böse said. “We had 1,000 police officers here. In the end it all costs a lot of money.”

    To change the law – or better enforce it?

    Video footage from the festival, which was shared on social media, shows a crowd shouting “Sieg Heil.

    Critics have questioned why police officers didn’t intervene and shut down the concert since expressions of support for National Socialism are forbidden in Germany.

    But as some noted, changes to the laws might not be necessary because existing laws should actually ban neo-Nazi displays even at political events:


    But Ramelow’s suggestion also attracted considerable criticism from detractors who argued that it would do nothing to combat the problem. Raabe, for instance, said he didn’t see any “direct advantages” of changing laws on assembly for combating right-wing extremism and the associated music scene. Existing laws, he proposed, should be better enforced.

    “What does it mean to say that political events enjoy special protection?” Raabe asked. “I would like to assume that the law is also enforced at political events. Moreover, football matches aren’t political events, and yet football clubs aren’t required to pay for police security. That isn’t the real problem.”

    So it sounds like this legal loophole enjoyed by the neo-Nazis is created in part from some ambiguity over how to interpret Germany’s constitution.

    Finally, note who the owner of the property was: Bodo Dressel, the mayor of a neighboring town. This this mayor was until recently a member of the Alternative for Germany (AfD). And was apparently too extreme even for them (or, really, too out in the open):


    The organizer of Saturday’s concert, Tommy Frenck, who owns an online clothing shop featuring neo-Nazi items and has the word “Aryan” tattooed around his neck, comes from Thuringia. The owner of the property where the festival was held, Bodo Dressel, the mayor of a neighboring town, was until recently a member of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD), who was criticized from within his own party for being too extreme.

    And that was just one of the events of this nature in Thuringia. Followed by a somewhat smaller one a couple weeks later:

    Deutsche Welle

    Hundreds of neo-Nazis band together for concert in Germany

    Some 1,000 neo-Nazi supporters turned up for the second far-right concert in a month in the eastern town of Themar. Experts say the state of Thuringia is a “hot spot” for music tied to the far-right scene.

    Date 30.07.2017

    Police said on Sunday that hundreds of neo-Nazi sympathizers had gathered in the German town of Themar the previous evening for a right-wing concert for the second time in two weeks.

    The concert on Saturday drew significantly fewer far-right supporters than the one that took place earlier this month under the banner “rock against foreign domination,” according to figures provided by police.

    Roughly 1,000 people attended the event compared to 6,000 earlier this month.

    Authorities said 36 criminal offenses were reported during the event, including 21 concerning the display of “unconstitutional” symbols. In the wake of World War II, Germany banned the display of Nazi symbols such as the swastika.

    ———-

    “Hundreds of neo-Nazis band together for concert in Germany”; Deutsche Welle; 07/30/2017

    “Roughly 1,000 people attended the event compared to 6,000 earlier this month.”

    Only 1,000 neo-Nazis attended the concert at the end of July instead of 6,000 earlier in the month. Which is still 1,000 neo-Nazis too many.

    And as before, there were plenty of open displays of swastikas and other “unconstitutional” symbols:


    Authorities said 36 criminal offenses were reported during the event, including 21 concerning the display of “unconstitutional” symbols. In the wake of World War II, Germany banned the display of Nazi symbols such as the swastika.

    So this is a thing now in Germany’s neo-Nazi rock scene: open gatherings under the banner of political protest.

    But that’s not the only kind of neo-Nazi gathering observed in Thuringia of late. Although this next category is apparently actually illegal: A month before these concerts there was a report of a police raid of right-wing extremist “camps.” Authorities announced that they searched 14 properties in Erfurt and Göttingen and the suspects are accused of organizing a paramilitary camp called “Waldbiwaks” or “forest bivouacs”:

    Deutsche Welle

    Police raid right-wing extremist camp in Thuringia

    German police have raided a gathering of right-wing extremists and searched properties in southern Thuringia. One of 13 people under suspicion of organizing paramilitary camps has been arrested.

    Date 23.06.2017

    Authorities in Thuringia have confirmed Friday that police raided a camp of right-wing extremists.

    “The State Office of Criminal Investigation (LKA) of Thuringia, as part of an investigation of the district attorney’s office in Gera, searched different areas of Thuringia and Lower Saxony this morning at 4:00 a.m. (0200 UTC) on the suspicion of the formation of a criminal organization,” a statement read.

    The statement added that authorities searched 14 properties in Erfurt and Göttingen. The preliminary investigation is focused on 13 suspects, one of whom has been arrested. The suspects are accused of organizing a paramilitary camp called “Waldbiwaks” or “forest bivouacs.”

    “At least some of the accused are supposedly members of an internationally active right-wing movement whose aim is to abolish the state and social order of the Federal Republic of Germany and other European states,” the statement said.

    The LKA did not reveal the names of the groups due to privacy protection and did not want to reveal any further details of the investigation.

    ———–

    “Police raid right-wing extremist camp in Thuringia”; Deutsche Welle; 06/23/2017

    “The statement added that authorities searched 14 properties in Erfurt and Göttingen. The preliminary investigation is focused on 13 suspects, one of whom has been arrested. The suspects are accused of organizing a paramilitary camp called “Waldbiwaks” or “forest bivouacs.””

    Neo-Nazi “forest bivouacs.” That’s also a thing now. But at least it’s still an illegal thing for Germany. Especially since it sounds like these camps included people from international right-wing movements with the goal of overthrowing the government:


    “At least some of the accused are supposedly members of an internationally active right-wing movement whose aim is to abolish the state and social order of the Federal Republic of Germany and other European states,” the statement said.

    So how many camps of neo-Nazis plotting the overthrow of society aren’t getting cracked down on? It’s an unpleasant question that’s tragically topical.

    And as the following article points out, it’s not just “forest bivouacs” that Germans (and the rest of us) need to worry about as secret gathering places for neo-Nazis plotting overthrow: due to the laws banning public expression of Nazism (unless its a concert, apparently), there’s big demand among Germany’s neo-Nazi movements for private property, where such gatherings can happen without scrutiny. And for the first time ever, the Interior Ministry released an official list of at least 136 holdings of private properties that give right-wing extremists “unrestricted access” to buildings, homes, restaurants and other venues.

    But this Interior Ministry report leaves a number of Germans unsatisfied. Why? Because it’s extremely vague and doesn’t actually list the properties. It just lists how many properties were identified in different regions and a more detailed list won’t be provided when requested local authorities who want to deal with these properties:

    Deutsche Welle

    German government reveals scope of real estate linked to neo-Nazis

    The Interior Ministry says buildings, homes and venues across the country are being used by neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists. The Left party has warned that some of these places amount to a neo-Nazi “theme park.”

    Author Kathleen Schuster
    Date 26.01.2018

    It’s illegal to display Nazi symbols or spread Nazi propaganda in Germany, at least in public. But what is done on private property is harder for authorities to crack down on — making real estate the ideal thing for neo-Nazis to buy.

    At least 136 holdings across Germany are linked to or owned by far-right extremists, according to the German Interior Ministry. The list was published on Friday in response to a parliamentary inquiry submitted by the Left Party.

    According to the ministry, the states of Saxony and Bavaria had the highest numbers.

    This marks the first time that an official list has detailed areas where right-wing extremists have “unrestricted access” to buildings, homes, restaurants and other venues. The criteria include ownership, leasing, renting or regular contact with the owner.

    Another decisive factor for the Interior Ministry was whether the property was being used for political activity. Few details about the locations were released out of precaution for undercover agents and other domestic security operations, according to Günter Krings, who serves as the parliamentary state secretary for the Interior Ministry.

    Neo-Nazi ‘theme parks’

    The Left party’s Martina Renner, who submitted the inquiry, likened the properties to “theme parks” for extremists, pointing out that the remote locations allowed them to promote their ideology away from the authorities.

    An example published by German media group Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland, which was given a copy of the list, detailed how a pub in Thuringia served up a “Führerschnitzel” on April 20, Hitler’s birthday. The price of one birthday special was €8.88, a reference to the code 88. “H” is the eighth letter of the alphabet, thus 88 stands for “HH,” or “Heil Hitler.”

    Even more problematic was the ministry’s refusal to release more information — or list even well-known sites run by extremists, Renner told DW.

    Given previous reports of higher numbers by journalists, Renner wonders about the Ministry’s number: “How can this be? What were the basis and criteria that the government used in the first place?”

    The Left isn’t the only party that’s worried, she said, considering “that we’ve seen again and again that right-wing and racist acts of violence have an immediate correlation to these houses.”

    ‘Slap in the face’ for local communities

    Indeed one infamous example occurred in the town of Ballstädt, just 30 kilometers (18 miles) outside of Erfurt in 2014. A group of Neo-Nazis wearing masks, hoodies and motorcycle gloves ambushed members of a local club during a weeknight meeting. Several were severely injured and photos of spilled blood circulated through the press. The attackers had their own meeting house nearby, known as the “the yellow house.”

    One of the defendants later said he had assaulted the club members believing they had information about who had broken a window at his home.

    Unless municipalities can buy up property before extremists get to it, there’s not much that can be done if the group is not considered a terrorist organization, Thuringia state parliamentarian Katharina König-Preuss (Left Party) told DW.

    The Interior Ministry’s decision to withhold more information from communities was a “slap in the face,” Renner told German media on Friday, and König-Preuss agrees.

    ———–

    “German government reveals scope of real estate linked to neo-Nazis” by Kathleen Schuster; Deutsche Welle; 01/26/2018

    “It’s illegal to display Nazi symbols or spread Nazi propaganda in Germany, at least in public. But what is done on private property is harder for authorities to crack down on — making real estate the ideal thing for neo-Nazis to buy.”

    A neo-Nazi real estate boom. Yikes. But it’s actually unclear if there’s been a big growth in neo-Nazi real estate or if these properties have been neo-Nazi friendly for a long time because this is the first report of this nature by the Interior Ministry:


    At least 136 holdings across Germany are linked to or owned by far-right extremists, according to the German Interior Ministry. The list was published on Friday in response to a parliamentary inquiry submitted by the Left Party.

    According to the ministry, the states of Saxony and Bavaria had the highest numbers.

    This marks the first time that an official list has detailed areas where right-wing extremists have “unrestricted access” to buildings, homes, restaurants and other venues. The criteria include ownership, leasing, renting or regular contact with the owner.

    And note how “another decisive factor for the Interior Ministry was whether the property was being used for political activity.” Given what we just saw about political protest being used as cover for neo-Nazi concerts, it raises the question of what kind of decision the Interior Ministry would make if it determined a property was being used for neo-Nazi political activity. Was it left off the list in that case? We don’t know because so little actual information was listed in the report. In part due to concerns over undercover agents and other domestic security operations, according to the Interior Ministry:


    Another decisive factor for the Interior Ministry was whether the property was being used for political activity. Few details about the locations were released out of precaution for undercover agents and other domestic security operations, according to Günter Krings, who serves as the parliamentary state secretary for the Interior Ministry.

    “Few details about the locations were released out of precaution for undercover agents and other domestic security operations, according to Günter Krings, who serves as the parliamentary state secretary for the Interior Ministry.”

    It would be really interesting to know how political activity was treated because it’s pretty clear that any neo-Nazi gathering intended to indoctrinate people could be framed as a form of political activity. Because Nazism is all about politics. The politics of violent xenophobic subjugation. And these private “Neo-Nazi ‘theme parks'” are the perfect place to promote that kind of politics:


    Neo-Nazi ‘theme parks’

    The Left party’s Martina Renner, who submitted the inquiry, likened the properties to “theme parks” for extremists, pointing out that the remote locations allowed them to promote their ideology away from the authorities.

    An example published by German media group Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland, which was given a copy of the list, detailed how a pub in Thuringia served up a “Führerschnitzel” on April 20, Hitler’s birthday. The price of one birthday special was €8.88, a reference to the code 88. “H” is the eighth letter of the alphabet, thus 88 stands for “HH,” or “Heil Hitler.”

    And while it’s nice to see that a report of this nature was issued for the first time ever by the Interior Ministry, it’s still pretty disturbing that it won’t actually release the locations of those properties. Even more disturbing is that the numbers of properties listed in the report are less than numbers previously reported by journalists investigating properties of this nature. Which, again, raises the question of whether or not political activities actually got the properties removed from the list and the question of what the criteria was in general:


    Even more problematic was the ministry’s refusal to release more information — or list even well-known sites run by extremists, Renner told DW.

    Given previous reports of higher numbers by journalists, Renner wonders about the Ministry’s number: “How can this be? What were the basis and criteria that the government used in the first place?”

    The Left isn’t the only party that’s worried, she said, considering “that we’ve seen again and again that right-wing and racist acts of violence have an immediate correlation to these houses.”

    And in addition to not giving the criteria used, the Interior Ministry isn’t giving more information to the local communities impacted by such properties, which is being seen as a ‘slap in the face’:


    ‘Slap in the face’ for local communities

    Indeed one infamous example occurred in the town of Ballstädt, just 30 kilometers (18 miles) outside of Erfurt in 2014. A group of Neo-Nazis wearing masks, hoodies and motorcycle gloves ambushed members of a local club during a weeknight meeting. Several were severely injured and photos of spilled blood circulated through the press. The attackers had their own meeting house nearby, known as the “the yellow house.”

    One of the defendants later said he had assaulted the club members believing they had information about who had broken a window at his home.

    Unless municipalities can buy up property before extremists get to it, there’s not much that can be done if the group is not considered a terrorist organization, Thuringia state parliamentarian Katharina König-Preuss (Left Party) told DW.

    The Interior Ministry’s decision to withhold more information from communities was a “slap in the face,” Renner told German media on Friday, and König-Preuss agrees.

    So was it purely just concerns over undercover operations that prevented the release of more information on these neo-Nazi properties?

    Well, unfortunately, as the following article alludes to, going forward there might be another very notable reason by the Interior Ministry wouldn’t want to release more information on neo-Nazis: the new Interior Ministor, Horst Seehofer, is from the far right CSU party – the CDU’s extra-right-wing sister party in Bavaria. He just become Interior Minister this month. And Seehofer has a problem. An AfD problem.

    Specifically, the AfD is expected to enter the parliament in his home state of Bavaria during special elections this October, and Seehofer wants to project as far right and image as possible in response. Hence his recent assertions that Islam ‘doesn’t belong’ to Germany. So when the Interior Minister is trying to out-AfD the AfD, there’s probably not going to be too much information listed about these neo-Nazi properties:

    Reuters

    Facing far-right challenge, minister says Islam ‘doesn’t belong’ to Germany

    Michelle Martin
    March 16, 2018 / 4:35 AM / Updated

    BERLIN (Reuters) – New Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Islam does not belong to Germany, and set out hardline immigration policies in his first major interview since being sworn in this week, as he sought to see off rising far-right challengers.

    His comments put him on a collision course with Chancellor Angela Merkel, who on Friday reiterated her long-held view that Islam was a part of Germany, even if the country was traditionally characterized by Christianity and Judaism.

    “Islam does not belong to Germany,” Seehofer, a member of Merkel’s CSU Bavarian allies who are further to the right than her own Christian Democrats (CDU), told Bild newspaper in an interview published on Friday.

    Seehofer said he would push through a “master plan for quicker deportations” and classify more states as ‘safe’ countries of origin, which would make it easier to deport failed asylum seekers.

    Seehofer is particularly keen to show his party is tackling immigration ahead of Bavaria’s October regional election, when the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is expected to enter that state assembly.

    Both Merkel’s conservatives and their centre-left coalition partners – the Social Democrats – lost ground to the anti-immigrant AfD in September’s national election following the arrival in Germany of more than a million migrants and refugees.

    Merkel, who has faced strong criticism from some Germans as well as elsewhere in Europe for agreeing to take in so many migrants, most of them Muslims, reaffirmed on Friday her vision of an inclusive, multi-ethnic Germany.

    “There are now four million Muslims living in Germany and they practice their religion here and these Muslims belong to Germany, as does their religion – Islam,” she said.

    “LIVE WITH US”

    Many of the Muslims living in Germany are of Turkish origin. But a majority of those who have arrived in the past three years are from Syria, Iraq and other conflict zones in the Middle East and beyond.

    Seehofer’s comments come at a sensitive time for Germany’s Muslim community. Several organisations representing them complained on Thursday that politicians were not showing enough solidarity after a spate of attacks on mosques.

    “Of course the Muslims living here do belong to Germany,” Seehofer told Bild, but added that Germany should not give up its own traditions or customs, which have Christianity at their heart.

    “My message is: Muslims need to live with us, not next to us or against us,” he said.

    Andre Poggenburg, head of the AfD in the eastern state of Saxony, said Seehofer was copying his party with a view to Bavaria’s October regional election: “Horst Seehofer has taken this message from our manifesto word for word.”

    The far-left Linke and Greens condemned Seehofer’s message, and the Social Democrats’ Natascha Kohnen told broadcaster n-tv: “Saying that incites people against each other at a time when we really don’t need that. What we really need is politicians who bring people together.”

    In their coalition agreement, Merkel’s CDU/CSU conservative bloc and the Social Democrats agreed they would manage and limit migration to Germany and Europe to avoid a re-run of the 2015 refugee crisis.

    ———-

    “Facing far-right challenge, minister says Islam ‘doesn’t belong’ to Germany” by Michelle Martin; Reuters; 03/16/2018

    “New Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said Islam does not belong to Germany, and set out hardline immigration policies in his first major interview since being sworn in this week, as he sought to see off rising far-right challengers.”

    As we can see, a significant context in the Interior Ministry’s refusal to release more information neo-Nazis now that Horst Seehofer is the Interior Minister is that Seehofer is basically trying to preempt a very real far right challenge. :


    “Islam does not belong to Germany,” Seehofer, a member of Merkel’s CSU Bavarian allies who are further to the right than her own Christian Democrats (CDU), told Bild newspaper in an interview published on Friday.

    Seehofer said he would push through a “master plan for quicker deportations” and classify more states as ‘safe’ countries of origin, which would make it easier to deport failed asylum seekers.

    Seehofer is particularly keen to show his party is tackling immigration ahead of Bavaria’s October regional election, when the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is expected to enter that state assembly.

    And the AfD has noticed:


    Andre Poggenburg, head of the AfD in the eastern state of Saxony, said Seehofer was copying his party with a view to Bavaria’s October regional election: “Horst Seehofer has taken this message from our manifesto word for word.”

    So, given that the CSU is running even further to the right (it was already extremely right wing) in response to the AfD, does this mean the AfD itself is going to go even further to the right to distinguish itself? We’ll see, but that’s part of the dynamic taking place in Germany today. A dynamic that should ensure smooth operations for a whole lot of neo-Nazi properties and concerts. Because don’t forget that the core message for the AfD that has propelled it to unprecedented levels of popular support isn’t simply “Islam does not belong to Germany”. It’s the message “Islam does not belong to Germany, because Germany belongs to Nazism.” That’s the real message of the AfD and the new Interior Minister is trying to co-opt that. It doesn’t bode well for Germany but it does bode quite well for all those neo-Nazi ‘theme parks’ and other properties.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | March 17, 2018, 2:02 pm

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