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Update on the National Socialist Underground

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COMMENT: We’ve covered the unfolding “investigation” (read “cover-up”) of the National Socialist Union–a German neo-Nazi group that enjoyed financing and protection from Germany’s domestic intelligence service. Sadly, this is not an isolated phenomenon.

It should not surprise an objective observer that the NSU was far bigger than originally believed.

As preparations for the trial of a member of the group are readied, it is apparent that the German government is in damage control mode, denying Turkish media access to the courtroom in which the proceedings will take place.

Most of the victims of the group were of Turkish extraction. (Germany has a large Turkish population, as a result of the “gastarbeiter” (guest workers) brought into the country as laborers.

Suffice it to say that Turkish journalists and editors aren’t buying the official excuses proffered by German officials.

After the Bavarian authorities postponed the start of the trial to “reconsider” media access, the Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey scored the German government for a “predetermined”verdict, labeling the trial a sham.

“German neo-Nazi Cell Bigger than Previously Thought” [Reuters]; Yahoo News; 3/24/2013.

EXCERPT: A German neo-Nazi cell that waged a racist killing spree over a period of seven years without being detected by the authorities may have had a far bigger network of supporters than initially thought.

According to a report in the Bild newspaper on Sunday, security officials have compiled a list of 129 people who are suspected of helping the group, accused of murdering eight ethnic Turks, a Greek and a policewoman between 2000 and 2007.

The existence of the cell, which called itself the Nationalist Socialist Underground (NSU), only came to light by chance in late 2011 after two members committed suicide in the aftermath of a botched bank robbery and a female accomplice set fire to an apartment used by the gang.

Germans, burdened by their Nazi past, were horrified by the revelations and Chancellor Angela Merkel has publicly apologized to the families of the murder victims.

But until now, officials have put the blame on a very small group, based in the eastern city of Zwickau.

“The new number is shockingly high,” Sebastian Edathy, chairman of a special parliamentary committee set up to probe the NSU, told Bild, confirming the list. “Now we have to clear up whether any of these people knew about the crimes or were informants.” . . . .

“Bavarian Courts Prevent Turkish Media Reporting Nazi Case”; Germany Watch; 3/28/2013.

EXCERPT: In an apparent attempt to prevent Turkish media reporting on the full facts of the case, Munich’s Higher Regional Court released a list of media organizations that would be given reserved seats in the upcoming trial of an alleged neo-Nazi believed to have been involved in the murder of 10 people, mostly of Turkish origin. The list doesn’t include a single Turkish media outlet.

The court is claiming it provided accreditation on a first-come, first-served basis, but international outrage is growing. Turks in Germany and in Turkey are feeling left in the cold over a series of murders of which their community was the primary target.

The trial of Beate Zschäpe, a suspected member of the National Socialist Underground (NSU) neo-Nazi terror cell (with links to German Intelligence), is expected to be the biggest in the country since the Red Army Faction trial of the mid-1970s. International attention is expected to be considerable, particularly given the xenophobic nature of the crimes and the involvement of Neo-Nazis.

This week, Turkish journalists and politicians have been demanding a guaranteed presence at the trial. Many are asking why such a small courtroom has been chosen and why an overflow room with live video isn’t being set up for journalists.

One of its primary responsibilities is to ensure that the process of truth-finding takes place with the greatest possible openness and transparency. It is incomprehensible to claim that a larger court room couldn’t have been found in Munich for the trial … indeed, it’s a shamefully inadequate excuse.

It is entirely incomprehensible that it wasn’t possible to secure even just one guaranteed seat for the Turkish media in the courtroom. . . .

. . . . Celal Özcan, the Berlin-based editor in chief of the European edition of Turkish daily Hürriyet, writes; “My newspaper, Hürriyet, called the court repeatedly before the accreditation period asking to be informed of dates so that we wouldn’t miss them. We registered on the first day of accreditation, and now we are told by the press office of the Munich Higher Regional Court that others were faster? How can that be? It is absolutely unacceptable that the Turkish media has been excluded from the courtroom. Many Turks aren’t just disappointed — they are shocked, both in Turkey and in Germany.” . . . .

“Turkish Deputy PM Speaks Out About German/Nazi Suspicions”; Germany Watch; 4/18/2013.

EXCERPT: As we mentioned previously, the trial of a neo-Nazi in Germany was largely condemned before it started, as the Bavarian Courts had excluded Turkish media from being present at the trial – despite the fact that the trial concerns murders by the neo-Nazi group NSU of a number of Turkish people.

The neo-Nazi murder trial in Germany does not have any significance anymore for Turkey, since the result is pre-determined, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ has said.

“The ruling of the Munich State High Court will have no significance from now on for me,” Bozdağ told Anatolia news agency. “The court has not started the trial yet. But this is a court that ended the trial even before it started.”

Germany’s highest court postponed the start of the trial early this week after announcing an overhaul of disputed rules on media access.

Proceedings were to have begun on April 17 against a woman accused of being part of a Nazi cell blamed for 10 murders. But after Germany’s top court ordered the Munich judges last week to expand foreign media access to the trial, its starting date had to be put back, in a move victims groups called a “catastrophe.” . . .

. . . . Bozdağ stressed that there is an atmosphere that the trial is a show, for ‘completing routines.’

“The court chief has lost his neutrality. You cannot expect a justice from a trial whose head lost his neutrality. This trial is over for us, we are waiting the result as a mere formality.”

We are waiting for confirmation of the specifics Bozdağ refers to, however as we mentioned prviously, Germany uses this court when Nazis are on trial because members of this court are linked to the Nazi charity ‘Stille Hilfe’.

Expanding on other concerns linked to Germany, Bozdağ has called on German authorities to investigate claims that two recent fires may have been racially motivated. . . .

 

Discussion

One comment for “Update on the National Socialist Underground”

  1. Shocker:

    The Telegraph
    Covert neo-Nazi network uncovered in German prisons
    A neo-Nazi network which tried to organize financial help for far-right convicts and their families has been uncovered in German prisons.

    By Jeevan Vasagar in Berlin

    1:57PM BST 10 Apr 2013

    The network sent coded messages between prisons, hidden in letters and the classified ads sections of magazines, German authorities said. The covert system was discovered during searches of cells in the western German state of Hesse.

    Authorities in Hesse said the network had attempted to contact people linked to the National Socialist Underground, a neo-Nazi group accused of murdering nine men.

    At a memorial ceremony last year, Chancellor Angela Merkel apologized to victims’ families for Germany’s failings and pledged to take action against neo-Nazis.

    The network uncovered in Hesse is not the first time German prisons have been used for far right political organisation. In September 2011, the German government banned an organisation set up to support imprisoned right-wing extremists.

    The HNG, or Help Organisation for National Political Prisoners and Their Families, gave support to far-right prisoners who were “rejecting the democratic constitutional state and glorifying National Socialism”, the interior ministry said at the time.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | April 11, 2013, 12:21 pm

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