Spitfire List Web site and blog of anti-fascist researcher and radio personality Dave Emory.

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FTR #814 The National Socialist Underground File

Dave Emory’s entire life­time of work is avail­able on a flash dri­ve that can be obtained here. The new dri­ve is a 32-giga­byte dri­ve that is cur­rent as of the pro­grams and arti­cles post­ed by 10/02/2014. The new dri­ve (avail­able for a tax-deduct­ble con­tri­bu­tion of $65.00 or more) con­tains FTR #812. The last pro­gram record­ed before Mr. Emory’s ill­ness was FTR #748.

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Intro­duc­tion: We’ve cov­ered the neo-Nazi group The Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground and its links to Ger­man intel­li­gence for the bet­ter part of two years.

In addi­tion to shred­ding files on the NSU, which was financed in con­sid­er­able mea­sure by Ger­many’s domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vice and ele­ments of its mil­i­tary intel­li­gence ser­vice, files on oth­er Ger­man neo-Nazi groups have been destroyed before being prop­er­ly vet­ted by Ger­man jour­nal­is­tic and legal author­i­ties.

One of the most sig­nif­i­cant aspects of the case is the fact that pow­er­ful ele­ments with­in the Ger­man gov­ern­ment are going to extra­or­di­nary lengths to eclipse the insti­tu­tion­al con­nec­tions of the group. Turk­ish media were exclud­ed from being seat­ed at the tri­al of the group, many of whose vic­tims were Turks. In addi­tion, lead­ing Ger­man media were left out of a “raf­fle” to award seat­ing at the tri­al.

In addi­tion, Ger­many Watch has sug­gest­ed that the appar­ent Ger­man intel­li­gence stew­ard­ship of the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground may have been a vehi­cle to elim­i­nate peopel with infor­ma­tion about the 9/11 attacks.

We now learn that the fam­i­lies of their vic­tims and their attor­neys have despaired, sus­pect­ing that the pros­e­cu­tors have no inter­est in pur­su­ing jus­tice in the case, not­ing their dis­missal of vic­tims fam­i­lies coun­sel attempts at intro­duc­ing evi­dence.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Ger­man intel­li­gence offi­cers’ found­ing of a Ku Klux Klan chap­ter in Ger­many; con­tacts between asso­ciates of a Ger­man police­woman mur­dered by NSU and ele­ments of the Ger­man KKK (sug­gest­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty that she may have been mur­dered because of those links); the fact that the NSU was much larg­er than pre­vi­ous­ly believed; con­tacts between a Ger­man intel­li­gence offi­cial who resigned because of the file shred­ding and mem­bers of a Ger­man Nazi band called “Landser;” dis­cus­sion of the Nazi and SS roots of the mod­ern Ger­man police estab­lish­ment; indi­ca­tions that the scale of Ger­man intel’s financ­ing of the neo-Nazis is on a scale that indi­cates insti­tu­tion­al sup­port for the Nazi agen­da; the claim by Ger­man mil­i­tary intel­li­gence ele­ments that helped finance NSU that they kept no files on the group; the shred­ding of NSU files the day before they were to be turned over to Ger­man pros­e­cu­tors; the claim by Ger­man intel that the shred­ding of the files was the work of a “sin­gle indi­vid­ual.”

1a. We’ve cov­ered the neo-Nazi group The Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground and its links to Ger­man intel­li­gence for months.

One of the most sig­nif­i­cant aspects of the case is the fact that pow­er­ful ele­ments with­in the Ger­man gov­ern­ment are going to extra­or­di­nary lengths to eclipse the insti­tu­tion­al con­nec­tions of the group.

Turk­ish media were exclud­ed from being seat­ed at the tri­al of the group, many of whose vic­tims were Turks. In addi­tion, lead­ing Ger­man media were left out of a “raf­fle” to award seat­ing at the tri­al.

Ger­many Watch has sug­gest­ed that the appar­ent Ger­man intel­li­gence stew­ard­ship of the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground may have been a vehi­cle to elim­i­nate peo­ple with infor­ma­tion about the 9/11 attacks.

We now learn that the fam­i­lies of their vic­tims and their attor­neys have despaired, sus­pect­ing that the pros­e­cu­tors have no inter­est in pur­su­ing jus­tice in the case, not­ing their dis­missal of vic­tims fam­i­lies coun­sel attempts at intro­duc­ing evi­dence.

“Sus­pect­ed Nazi Killer Still Silent in NSU Tri­al”; Deutsche Welle; 1/4/2014.

. . . . Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s promise that the mur­ders would be thor­ough­ly inves­ti­gat­ed once gave them com­fort, hope, and courage. But after 11 months of tri­al most of the plain­tiffs have lost faith in a fair tri­al or a just sen­tence.Zschäpe’s self-con­fi­dent, occa­sion­al­ly even cheer­ful demeanor, has played a major role in that. She has remained unmoved through­out, even when her moth­er and cousin tes­ti­fied on her behalf.

She behaves very dif­fer­ent­ly towards her three defense attor­neys, who always stand pro­tec­tive­ly in front of her — to make things dif­fi­cult for the curi­ous pho­tog­ra­phers — when she enters court room A 101. Zschäpe often smiles as she con­fers with the trio of defend­ers, as the vis­i­tors can clear­ly see from their gallery three meters above her head.

. . . . But fam­i­lies are also often non­plussed by the con­duct of the state pros­e­cu­tors when they dis­miss as irrel­e­vant their lawyers’ requests to present evi­dence. Sebas­t­ian Scharmer, the attor­ney rep­re­sent­ing the inter­ests of the fam­i­ly of Mehmet Kubasik, who was mur­dered in Dort­mund in 2006, has open­ly accused the pros­e­cu­tors of lack­ing inter­est in inves­ti­gat­ing the mur­ders. . . .

1b. It comes as no sur­prise to learn that Ger­many’s domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vice (Ver­fas­sungss­chutz) has been fund­ing neo-Nazis. (Observers had con­clud­ed as much in the wake of the Thuringian neo-Nazi scan­dal.)

The cozy rela­tion­ship between Ger­man intel­li­gence and Nazi and fas­cist ele­ments looms large in the reopen­ing of the Munich Okto­ber­fest bomb­ing of 1980.

“Gov­ern­ment Devel­op­ment Aid for neo-Nazis;” German-Foreign-Policy.com; 11/16/2011.

New rev­e­la­tions on the neo-Nazi ser­i­al mur­ders of nine men of non-Ger­man ori­gin and a female police offi­cer are incrim­i­nat­ing a Ger­man domes­tic intel­li­gence agency. Accord­ing to media reports, a mem­ber of a recent­ly dis­cov­ered neo-Nazi ter­ror group pre­sum­ably had con­tact to the Thuringia Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion — even after he went under­ground. The affair could become an “intel­li­gence agency prob­lem,” pre­dicts the domes­tic pol­i­cy spokesman of the CDU/CSU par­lia­men­tary group, Hans-Peter Uhl. In the 1990s, under the pre­text that they are very impor­tant infor­mants, the Thuringia Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion had, in fact, paid amounts of DMs in the six-dig­its to influ­en­tial right-wing extrem­ist mil­i­tants. The mil­i­tants used this mon­ey to set up neo-Nazi struc­tures in Thuringia, includ­ing the “Thüringer Heimatschutz” (Thuringia Home­land Pro­tec­tion), an orga­ni­za­tion of vio­lent neo-Nazis. The mem­bers of the ter­ror group, respon­si­ble for the mur­ders, are not the only ones who have their ori­gins in this orga­ni­za­tion. Lead­ing func­tionar­ies of today’s extreme right are also com­ing from that orga­ni­za­tion, which has been offi­cial­ly dis­band­ed, but is still at work in oth­er struc­tures. Today some of its mil­i­tants, for exam­ple, are orga­niz­ing neo-Nazi fes­ti­vals with inter­na­tion­al par­tic­i­pa­tion aimed at net­work­ing the extreme right through­out Europe.

Cov­ered by the Intel­li­gence Agency

The aid fur­nished by the Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion (Ver­fas­sungss­chutz — VS) to the neo-Nazi scene, to set up their struc­tures in the fed­er­al state of Thuringia, is exem­plary for the aid pro­vid­ed through­out the 1990s. As far as has become known, this aid crys­tal­lized around two promi­nent mil­i­tants, Thomas Dienel and Tino Brandt. Both had been infor­mants for Thuringia’s VS. Accord­ing to a study on Thuringia’s extreme right, Dienel had been con­sid­ered one of the most active neo-Nazis in Thuringia, until the mid-1990s. “Explic­it threats to use vio­lence against for­eign­ers and peo­ple with diverg­ing opin­ions” were part “of his reper­toire.” How­ev­er, his con­tri­bu­tion was par­tic­u­lar­ly vital in the field of set­ting things up and orga­niz­ing. He estab­lished links to influ­en­tial neo-Nazis in West Ger­many, orga­nized many “demon­stra­tions and actions,” with the found­ing of a par­ty [1] on April 20, 1992, he cre­at­ed the “first struc­tured gath­er­ing place for young neo-Nazis” and he rad­i­cal­ized mem­bers of the NPD. “There­fore, he has left a trail behind that can be fol­lowed to cur­rent struc­tures” in the neo-Nazi scene, writes the author of the study, pub­lished in 2001.[2] The media report­ed that in the 1990s the VS paid Dienel 25,000 DM — offi­cial­ly for his ser­vice as an infor­mant. Dienel acknowl­edged pub­licly that he had some­times coor­di­nat­ed his actions with the VS, for which he also had received mon­ey. The VS had also helped him in court: “They cov­ered me.”[3] . . . Read more »

2. The scale of the fund­ing for the group was unprece­dent­ed for pay­ments to “inform­ers.”

“Ger­man Intel­li­gence Agents Paid $240,000 to Neo-Nazi Informer Linked to Mur­der Sus­pects” [AP]; Fox News; 2/25/2013.

Germany’s domes­tic intel­li­gence agency has come under fire for pay­ing almost a quar­ter of a mil­lion dol­lars to a neo-Nazi informer linked to a far-right ter­ror group.

Oppo­si­tion law­mak­ers and anti-Nazi cam­paign­ers crit­i­cized the pay­ments made over 18 years after they were first report­ed Sun­day by con­ser­v­a­tive week­ly Bild am Son­ntag.

Offi­cials at the intel­li­gence agency declined to com­ment on the report. But the head of a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee tasked with inves­ti­gat­ing a string of mur­ders alleged­ly car­ried out by the group says the infor­ma­tion appears accu­rate.

Law­maker Sebas­t­ian Edathy told The Asso­ci­ated Press on Mon­day that the newspaper’s report matched infor­ma­tion sub­mit­ted to his com­mit­tee.

Edathy said the pay­ments total­ing €180,000 ($240,000) to a man iden­ti­fied by the news­pa­per as Thomas R. were “off the scale” for an infor­mant.

3. Ger­man intel­li­gence destroyed their files on the group the day before they were to be hand­ed over to a pros­e­cu­tor.

“Ger­man Secret Ser­vice Destroys Files on neo-Nazi Ter­ror­ist Gang the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground: Vital Infor­ma­tion Was Shred­ded on the Day It Was Due to Be Hand­ed to Fed­eral Pros­e­cu­tors” by Tony Pat­ter­son; The Inde­pen­dent [UK]; 6/29/2012.

Germany’s equiv­a­lent of MI5 has found itself at the cen­tre of a deep­en­ing intel­li­gence ser­vice scan­dal after it was con­firmed yes­ter­day that its agents had destroyed files con­tain­ing vital infor­ma­tion about a neo-Nazi ter­ror­ist gang hours before the mate­r­ial was due to be hand­ed to fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors.

The case con­cerns the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground, a neo-Nazi group respon­si­ble for Germany’s worst acts of far-right vio­lence since the Sec­ond World War. Its mem­bers mur­dered a police­woman, shot dead nine immi­grants, mount­ed two bomb attacks and robbed 14 banks to finance their oper­a­tions.

Police dis­cov­ered the bod­ies of the gang’s two ring­lead­ers, Uwe Mund­los and Uwe Böhn­hardt, in a burned-out car­a­van in east­ern Ger­many last Novem­ber. Inves­ti­ga­tors estab­lished that they had com­mit­ted sui­cide after rob­bing a bank. A third mem­ber of the gang, Beate Zschäpe, was caught and arrest­ed. She is still being ques­tioned.

Details of the scan­dal were leaked to the Ger­man news agency DPA yes­ter­day, prompt­ing Ger­man Inte­rior Min­istry offi­cials to admit that domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vice agents, who had been keep­ing the gang under sur­veil­lance for more than a decade, had destroyed files con­tain­ing infor­ma­tion about the group.

They revealed to a par­lia­men­tary inquiry that the agents had shred­ded the doc­u­ments on Novem­ber 11 – the day they were due to be hand­ed to Germany’s Fed­eral Pros­e­cu­tor, who had tak­en over the inves­ti­ga­tion.

Jörg Zier­cke, the Pres­i­dent of Germany’s Fed­eral Crim­i­nal Bureau, also admit­ted to the inquiry that his office “had failed” over the neo-Nazi inves­ti­ga­tion.

The rev­e­la­tions increased sus­pi­cions that neo-Nazi cell mem­bers were in the pay of Ger­man intel­li­gence. In the past, the organ­i­sa­tion has made no secret of the fact that it uses secret ser­vice “moles” to infil­trate the country’s far-right groups. How­ever, keep­ing neo-Nazis on the secret ser­vice pay­roll would amount to active col­lab­o­ra­tion and imply that mem­bers of the intel­li­gence ser­vice sup­ported their crim­i­nal acts. The intel­li­gence ser­vices have admit­ted to a par­lia­men­tary inquiry that both domes­tic intel­li­gence and Ger­man mil­i­tary intel­li­gence used so-called “moles” to infil­trate the neo-Nazi organ­i­sa­tions fre­quented by NSU ring­lead­ers Mund­los and Böhn­hardt. . . .

4a. A minor cor­rec­tion (sort of): accord­ing to this arti­cle, the agency didn’t destroy the files one day before they were to be hand­ed over...instead, they are claim­ing that the files were on Novem­ber 12, 2011, one day after the infor­mant-sta­tus of the neo-nazi pair became pub­lic OR they were destroyed in Jan­u­ary, 2011. It was all due to inno­cent con­fu­sion by a “mis­guided indi­vid­ual” that heads the agency depart­ment for procur­ing intel­li­gence sources:

“Neo-Nazi Cell Scan­dal Intel­li­gence Agency under Fire for Shred­ding Files” by Der Spiegel staff; Der Spiegel; 6/29/2012.

The offi­cial inves­ti­ga­tion into the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground (NSU), the neo-Nazi cell which is believed to have killed at least 10 peo­ple over a peri­od of years, has been marked by a series of embar­rass­ing fail­ures and slip-ups by the author­i­ties. But new rev­e­la­tions about the case threat­en to trig­ger a major scan­dal with pos­si­ble polit­i­cal con­se­quences.

...

Mem­bers of the par­lia­men­tary inves­tiga­tive com­mit­tee react­ed to the news with shock and out­rage. “Such inci­dents make it dif­fi­cult to con­vinc­ingly refute the con­spir­acy the­o­ries,” said com­mit­tee chair­man Sebas­t­ian Edathy, a mem­ber of the cen­ter-left oppo­si­tion Social Democ­rats. There has been per­sis­tent spec­u­la­tion that the domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vice may have used mem­bers of the NSU as infor­mants.

Oth­er mem­bers of the com­mit­tee were equal­ly scathing. Hart­frid Wolff of the busi­ness-friend­ly Free Demo­c­ra­tic Par­ty described the inci­dent as “unbe­liev­able,” while Clemens Bin­ninger of the cen­ter-right Chris­t­ian Demo­c­ra­tic Union said it cre­ated scope “for all kinds of the­o­ries.” “Clear­ly the Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion has a lot to hide,” said Petra Pau of the far-left Left Par­ty, which has been par­tic­u­larly crit­i­cal of the author­i­ties’ han­dling of the case.

Indi­vid­ual ‘Act­ed Alone’

On Thurs­day, offi­cials at the Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion told SPIEGEL ONLINE that the shred­ding of the doc­u­ments was unprece­dented. They insist­ed it was due to the mis­guided actions of an indi­vid­ual and not the result of an order to destroy the files.

Sources in the intel­li­gence com­mu­nity said that a legal inves­ti­ga­tion had been opened against an employ­ee of the Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion. The offi­cer is appar­ently head of a so-called “pro­cure­ment” depart­ment, which is respon­si­ble for run­ning sources and obtain­ing infor­ma­tion from them. The agency’s man­age­ment is “appalled” and “absolute­ly furi­ous” about the inci­dent, sources said, adding that offi­cials were try­ing to recon­struct the files as best they could. Appar­ently sev­en files were destroyed.

The agency has recon­structed the time­line of the doc­u­ments’ destruc­tion. The depart­ment head sup­pos­edly received orders on Nov. 10, 2011 to search his files for the names of the three NSU mem­bers — Uwe Böhn­hardt, Uwe Mund­los and Beate Zschäpe — and look for pos­si­ble con­nec­tions to the far-right scene. Among oth­er files, the offi­cer looked at doc­u­ments relat­ing to Oper­a­tion Rennsteig.

The oper­a­tion, whose name refers to a famous hik­ing trail in the state of Thuringia, was intend­ed to recruit inform­ers from a far-right group called the Thüringer Heimatschutz (“Thuringian Home­land Pro­tec­tion”) dur­ing the peri­od from 1996 to 2003. Böhn­hardt, Mund­los and Zschäpe, who all used to live in the Thuringian city of Jena, were also active in the group for a time. Both the Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion and Germany’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence agency, the Mil­i­tary Coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence Ser­vice (MAD), were involved in the oper­a­tion.

The depart­ment head alleged­ly did not find any­thing of inter­est in his files. One day lat­er, on Nov. 11, he informed his supe­ri­ors that he had not found the names of the three sus­pected ter­ror­ists or oth­er evi­dence in his records. At the same time, he not­ed that sev­en so-called pro­cure­ment files had been archived for too long. This type of file includes all the details about the recruit­ment of a source, includ­ing their code­name and obser­va­tions about their char­ac­ter. The agency is gen­er­ally oblig­ed to destroy such files after a max­i­mum peri­od of 10 years. The depart­ment head gave orders for the files to be destroyed imme­di­ately. A day lat­er, on Nov. 12, anoth­er employ­ee car­ried out the shred­ding as per instruc­tions.

Embar­rass­ing Rev­e­la­tions

The behav­ior of the depart­ment head appears odd, how­ever. He told his supe­rior offi­cer in Jan­u­ary 2012 that the sev­en files from Oper­a­tion Rennsteig had already been destroyed in or around Jan­u­ary 2011 because of the time lim­it on files. Only when Fromm, the agency head, asked fol­low-up ques­tions did the offi­cer admit that the files had actu­ally been destroyed on Nov. 12, 2011 — in oth­er words, just as the cell’s con­nec­tion to the mur­der series was uncov­ered. At that time, the Fed­eral Prosecutor’s Office had tak­en over the inves­ti­ga­tion and request­ed to see all the rel­e­vant doc­u­ments.

Accord­ing to sources in the intel­li­gence com­mu­nity, Oper­a­tion Rennsteig was a large-scale attempt to infil­trate the far-right scene around Thüringer Heimatschutz. Intel­li­gent agents ini­tially select­ed 35 “prospec­tive can­di­dates” as poten­tial sources. Eight of those peo­ple were lat­er recruit­ed as inform­ers, with six of them being run by the fed­eral intel­li­gence agency and the oth­ers by the state-lev­el intel­li­gence agency in Thuringia. In addi­tion, the Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion drew up a list of 73 men of “mil­i­tary ser­vice age” for the Mil­i­tary Coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence Ser­vice. It is unclear what the mil­i­tary intel­li­gence agency want­ed to do with the list. But it is per­haps sig­nif­i­cant that the names of Mund­los and Bön­hardt appeared on that list.

....

4b. It also sounds like the remain­ing files that are to be turned over are expect­ed to demon­strate that the gang mem­bers were, indeed, work­ing as infor­mants, rais­ing ques­tions of just how damn­ing was the evi­dence on the destroyed files. Also note that the mil­i­tary intel­li­gence unit, MAD, which was also work­ing on “Oper­a­tion Rennsteig”, is coop­er­at­ing...they just hap­pened to not keep any files at all on the mat­ter:

“Ger­man Intel­li­gence Grants Access to Files in Neo-Nazi Probe”; Deutsche Welle; 3/7/2012.

Germany’s domes­tic intel­li­gence agency has offered the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee access to 25 files relat­ing to “Oper­a­tion Rennsteig,” which was aimed at recruit­ing infor­mants in right-wing cir­cles in the east­ern state of Thuringia between 1997 and 2003.

The oper­a­tion involved the fed­eral domes­tic intel­li­gence agency, the region­al agency in Thuringia and, accord­ing to the com­mit­tee, the mil­i­tary intel­li­gence ser­vice MAD.

The files are expect­ed to reveal that the author­i­ties were work­ing with infor­mants from the so-called Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground (NSU), an extrem­ist group that is believed to have killed 10 peo­ple with non-Ger­man back­grounds over more than a decade before their cov­er was blown ear­lier this year.

Last week, it became appar­ent that some of the files relat­ing to the oper­a­tion were shred­ded by the fed­eral intel­li­gence agency last year. On Mon­day, the head of the agency, Heinz Fromm, resigned his post.

Anoth­er head rolls

On Tues­day, Fromm’s coun­ter­part at Thuringia’s intel­li­gence agency, Thomas Sip­pel, also stepped down in con­nec­tion with the rev­e­la­tions. He will go into ear­ly retire­ment.

The chair­man of the par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee, Sebas­t­ian Edathy, also urged the MAD to release their files, while the MAD insists it is coop­er­at­ing. It also said on Tues­day that it does not have “Oper­a­tion Rennsteig” files.

5. Anoth­er inci­dence of shred­ding of files on neo-Nazis has emerged, lead­ing to the res­ig­na­tion of Clau­dia Schmid, the agen­cy’s top Berlin offi­cial.

After the shred­ding of files on the Nation­al Social­ist Union (which may well have been in cahoots with Ger­many’s domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vice), it emerges that files on Blood and Hon­or, anoth­er neo-Nazi orga­ni­za­tion, were shred­ded by an offi­cial of the Ver­fas­sungschutz.

Of pos­si­ble sig­nif­i­cance is the fact that one of Schmid’s col­leagues was friend­ly with “Landser” a Ger­man Nazi band.

“Fifth Head Rolls in NSU Inves­ti­ga­tion Affair”; The Local; 11/14/2012.

. . . . None of the files appeared to be relat­ed to the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground, which is sus­pect­ed of killing 10 peo­ple between 2000 and 2007. Four oth­er top Ger­many secu­ri­ty offi­cials have resigned this year due to blun­ders in the NSU inves­ti­ga­tion.

Clau­dia Schmid, head of the Berlin Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion, request­ed a trans­fer to anoth­er job the day after she announced that her office had ille­gal­ly destroyed files on the far-right “Blood & Hon­our” organ­i­sa­tion rather than pre­sent­ing them to the Berlin state archive. She described the action as a “regret­table mis­take.”

The head of the author­i­ty’s depart­ment on extrem­ism, respon­si­ble for the most recent case of ille­gal file shred­ding, has also stepped down from his post. Fur­ther employ­ees are sub­jects of an inter­nal inves­ti­ga­tion for their role in destroy­ing the files.

It is still unclear whether the destroyed files were con­nect­ed to the case of the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground ter­ror­ist organ­i­sa­tion, which went unde­tect­ed for over a decade. How­ev­er, the files did con­tain infor­ma­tion on “Landser,” a neo-Nazi band with whom an author­i­ty employ­ee was once friend­ly.

6. In what has become rou­tine, it has been revealed that a Ger­man intel­li­gence offi­cer set up a branch of the Ku Klux Klan in Ger­many. This is but the lat­est dis­clo­sure in a series of rev­e­la­tions about the pro­found rela­tion­ship between Ger­man intel­li­gence and neo-fas­cists of var­i­ous kinds in Ger­many.

Far from being “infil­tra­tors” into these groups, the oper­a­tives appear much more like “han­dlers.”  Ger­man leg­is­la­tors have raised the very impor­tant ques­tion of the extent to which these neo-fas­cist groups have actu­al­ly been spawned by the intel­li­gence oper­a­tives in their ranks. We note that the Ger­man police offi­cer mur­dered by the NSU was part of a milieu that includ­ed agents in the KKK of Ger­many.

“Ger­man Intel­li­gence Set Up KKK Branch”; Ger­many Watch; 11/01/2012.

The Ger­man branch of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), was set up and led by an under­cov­er agent of the state of Baden-Württemberg’s secret ser­vice.

Accord­ing to a report in the Tagesspiegel dai­ly news­pa­per, an organ­i­sa­tion called the “Euro­pean White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan–Realm of Ger­many” was estab­lished by a white suprema­cist gov­ern­ment spy in Octo­ber 2000. A short time lat­er, the man was appoint­ed by a KKK group in the US to the posi­tion of nation­al leader, a “Grand Drag­on”. The Ger­man branch exist­ed until ear­ly 2003.

But that was not all. The agent was not only work­ing for the secret ser­vice of a Ger­man state; it appears he was also oper­at­ing with the offi­cial pro­tec­tion of one of his col­leagues. An employ­ee of the intel­li­gence agency is sus­pect­ed of hav­ing passed on to him “anony­mous con­fi­den­tial infor­ma­tion” in 2002. In par­tic­u­lar, this per­son alleged­ly warned him that his phone was being tapped.

The Ku Klux Klan is one of a long line of sus­pi­cious organ­i­sa­tions set up by Ger­man secret ser­vice agents with the help of state funds.

Inves­ti­ga­tions into the Nation­al Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (NDP) asso­ci­a­tions in the states of Thuringia and North Rhine-West­phalia had already revealed they could not have devel­oped as they did with­out fund­ing pro­vid­ed by the secret ser­vice. Sev­er­al neo-Nazis open­ly boast­ed they had drawn funds from the intel­li­gence ser­vice for a num­ber of years. 

As is now cus­tom­ary in such episodes, author­i­ties assert­ed that the case was an “iso­lat­ed” one. Accord­ing to Die Welt, the dai­ly news­pa­per, there is “no rea­son to doubt that agency employ­ees ful­fil their statu­to­ry duties cor­rect­ly and irre­proach­ably, and there is no rea­son to believe that they lack aware­ness of demo­c­ra­t­ic pro­ce­dures”.

The close links between the state and the Ku Klux Klan rais­es new ques­tions about pos­si­ble links between gov­ern­ment agen­cies and ter­ror­ists of the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground (NSU). Plen­ty of over­lap has been dis­cov­ered between the KKK and the NSU. 

Two of the three mem­bers of the NSU, Uwe Böhn­hardt and Beate Zschäpe, were spot­ted near Jena at a cross burn­ing attend­ed by 20 neo-Nazis in the mid-1990s. Tschäpe even had pho­tos of the scene and per­son­al­ly informed the pub­lic pros­e­cu­tor about their atten­dance. That was before Tschäpe, Böhn­hardt and Uwe Mund­los went into hid­ing and began their killing spree.

The iden­ti­ty of anoth­er under­cov­er agent, oper­at­ing in the KKK’s ranks under the code name “Corel­li”, was dis­cov­ered by police in 1998 on an address list Mund­los had hid­den in a garage. But the main cause of sus­pi­cion is the fact that two mem­bers of the rel­a­tive­ly small KKK group in Baden-Würt­tem­berg were close col­leagues of the NSU’s last mur­der vic­tim, police­woman Michèle Kiesewet­ter. Kiesewet­ter was shot in April 2007 and the series of NSU killings then abrupt­ly ceased.

The mur­der of a Ger­man police­woman is not com­men­su­rate with the crim­i­nal oper­a­tions of the NSU. All the oth­er mur­ders had immi­grants as their vic­tims and were obvi­ous­ly racial­ly moti­vat­ed. To date, there is no plau­si­ble expla­na­tion why Kiesewet­ter became a tar­get of the NSU. The ques­tion aris­es as to whether the for­mer KKK mem­ber­ships of her squad leader and anoth­er police col­league played a role. 

A par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee of inquiry into the NSU is now deal­ing with the case. But no clar­i­fi­ca­tion can be expect­ed from that quar­ter because the inves­ti­ga­tion is sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly blocked by the author­i­ties and the com­mit­tee itself has lit­tle inter­est in bring­ing the facts to light.

Only occa­sion­al­ly, when it is all too obvi­ous they are being led around by the nose, do the com­mit­tee mem­bers allow some mea­sure of the truth to sur­face. Respond­ing to the new rev­e­la­tions about the KKK, Free Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty deputy Hart­frid Wolff groaned: “Were there then any mem­bers [of the KKK] who were not in the police or secret ser­vice?” A legit­i­mate ques­tion!

The author­i­ties are con­tin­u­ing their attempt to pre­vent any fur­ther unrav­el­ling of the events. They have stopped refer­ring to unde­ni­able rev­e­la­tions as “mishaps”, “slips” and “iso­lat­ed cas­es”; they append the offi­cial des­ig­na­tion of “secret” to files that could lead to fur­ther clar­i­fi­ca­tion, or they destroy huge num­bers of them. It is now known that far more records relat­ing to the NSU affair have been destroyed than was ini­tial­ly announced. . . .

7. 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.

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.” . . . .

8. 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.

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

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.” . . . .

9. 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.

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

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. . . .

10. The ven­er­a­ble Der Spiegel informs us that a “raf­fle” award­ing press seat­ing to the upcom­ing tri­al of one of its mem­bers has man­aged to exclude many of the Fed­er­al Repub­lic’s cred­i­ble and best known pub­li­ca­tions.

Com­ing fresh on the heels of the (appar­ent­ly delib­er­ate and sys­tem­at­ic) exclu­sion of Turk­ish media from the tri­al, this maneu­ver can only height­en sus­pi­cion that the pow­ers that be in the Fed­er­al Repub­lic do NOT want the truth to emerge.

This gam­bit is also note­wor­thy in that it strong­ly sug­gests that the Ger­man pub­lic opin­ion is wor­ri­some to that coun­try’s pow­er bro­kers.

It appears that the truth about the Third Reich, its influ­ence on the Fed­er­al Repub­lic, and the links between the Under­ground Reich and that coun­try’s secu­ri­ty ser­vices remains eclipsed for most Ger­man cit­i­zens.

“Top Papers Left Out: Court Faces Fresh Trou­ble Over Press Seats”; Der Spiegel; 4/30/2013.

The Munich court where the NSU neo-Nazi ter­ror tri­al is due to start on May 6 faces fresh con­tro­ver­sy over media accred­i­ta­tion after sev­er­al major Ger­man news­pa­pers failed to obtain seats in a lot­tery of press pass­es. It was the sec­ond attempt to allo­cate seats after Turk­ish media had been left out in the first round.

The Munich court over­see­ing the biggest neo-Nazi tri­al in Ger­man his­to­ry on Mon­day faced new com­plaints over its media accred­i­ta­tion process when lead­ing Ger­man news­pa­pers failed to obtain pass­es for the 50-seat press gallery.

The court post­poned the start of the tri­al from its orig­i­nal date on April 17 to sort the prob­lem out after the Fed­er­al Con­sti­tu­tion­al Court, respond­ing to a com­plaint from a Turk­ish news­pa­per, ordered it to allo­cate seats to for­eign jour­nal­ists.

In an attempt to be com­plete­ly fair, it decid­ed to raf­fle the press pass­es. The ven­er­a­ble Frank­furter All­ge­meine Zeitung, and anoth­er nation­al broad­sheet, Die Welt, failed to get press accred­i­ta­tion in the lot­tery con­duct­ed on Mon­day. Die Tageszeitung, anoth­er well-known Ger­man news­pa­per, also failed to get a seat.

All three said on Mon­day they were con­sid­er­ing legal action against the allo­ca­tion. Pub­li­ca­tions that obtained seats in the raf­fle includ­ed less­er known news­pa­pers such as local paper Hal­lo Munich and wom­en’s mag­a­zine Brigitte. . . .

11. One of the most sig­nif­i­cant aspects of the case is the fact that pow­er­ful ele­ments with­in the Ger­man gov­ern­ment are going to extra­or­di­nary lengths to eclipse the insti­tu­tion­al con­nec­tions of the group.

Turk­ish media were exclud­ed from being seat­ed at the tri­al of the group, many of whose vic­tims were Turks. In addi­tion, lead­ing Ger­man media were left out of a “raf­fle” to award seat­ing at the tri­al.

For more than a decade, we’ve exam­ined the 9/11 attacks, the Nazi and fas­cist con­nec­tions to that attack, in par­tic­u­lar.

In our vis­its with Daniel Hop­sick­er, we have not­ed that Mohamed Atta was frat­er­niz­ing with Ger­mans and Aus­tri­ans in South Flori­da, hav­ing been brought into the Unit­ed States (from Ger­many) by the Carl Duis­berg Soci­ety.

Now, Ger­many Watch has pub­lished an intrigu­ing hypoth­e­sis con­cern­ing the mur­ders com­mit­ted by the group and the 9/11 attacks.

Against the back­ground of Ger­man intel­li­gence con­nec­tions to the 9/11 attacks, the sto­ry below notes that mur­ders 2, 3 and 4 occurred in the imme­di­ate run-up to 9/11, the fourth less than two weeks before.

The Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground then dis­ap­peared from pub­lic view for two years.

The pres­ence of a Ger­man intel­li­gence offi­cer at the scene of one of the mur­ders (who pos­sessed Third Reich doc­u­ments as well as oth­er Nazi para­pher­na­lia) also is worth not­ing, as is the use­ful “amne­sia” (mind con­trol?) of one of the Ger­man police offi­cers shot by the group.

Of course there are oth­er pos­si­bil­i­ties for the duplic­i­ty on the part of the author­i­ties, how­ev­er the work­ing hypoth­e­sis pre­sent­ed by the Ger­many Watch folks is more than a lit­tle intrigu­ing.

“The Neo-Nazi Show Tri­al And The Tim­ing Of The Mur­ders”; Ger­many Watch; 5/5/2013.

The Ger­man show tri­al for the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground begins this week, after sev­er­al false starts due to the Bavar­i­an Court not want­i­ng inter­est­ed press at the hear­ings (see here).

There is a strange coin­ci­dence to the dates and places;

Mur­ders num­ber 2, 3, 4, and 5;

Mur­der of Abdur­rahim Özü­doğru
On 13 June 2001, Abdur­rahim Özü­doğru was killed by two shots in the head with the same silenced CZ 83 already used in the mur­der of Enver Şimşek. Özü­doğru, who worked as a machin­ist for a big com­pa­ny in Nurem­berg (which com­pa­ny?) had been help­ing out in a tai­lor’s shop; the mur­der was dis­cov­ered by a pass­er-by who looked through the shop win­dow and saw the body sit­ting in the back of the shop, cov­ered in blood.

Mur­der of Süley­man Taşköprü
On 27 June 2001 between 10:45 and 11:15 a.m, Süley­man Taşköprü, aged 31, died in his green­gro­cer’s shop in Ham­burg-Bahren­feld after being shot in the head three times. This was two weeks after the sec­ond mur­der, and the same guns as in the first case were used, a CZ 83 and a 6.35 mm gun.

Mur­der of Habil Kılıç
On 29 August 2001 Habil Kılıç became the fourth vic­tim. Kılıç, aged 38, who was mar­ried and had a daugh­ter, was shot at point-blank range in his green­gro­cer’s shop in Munich-Ramers­dorf. This was the first of two mur­ders in Munich.

The The­o­ry

Are these linked to the 9/11 Ham­burg cell? They all worked shop fronts, which are per­fect for low lev­el intel­li­gence mes­sen­gers, they may have been sup­ply­ing some­thing along the lines of fake ID/paperwork or weapons, or per­haps they were just messengers/couriers for Ger­man intelligence/ the Ham­burg Cell Jihadis. The Ham­burg Cell also fre­quent­ed an extrem­ist mosque in Munich.

Once the 9/11 oper­a­tion was under­way, Ger­man intel­li­gence cleaned house. The “NSU” van­ished for 2 years just a lit­tle over a week before 9/11, with no more linked mur­ders in that 2 year peri­od. Repeat — the last mur­der was just over a week before 9/11, whilst one mur­der was Ham­burg and one was Munich. If the NSU mur­ders were nor­mal far right extrem­ists send­ing a mes­sage to asy­lum seek­ers, where’s the mes­sage? There was none.

So, then two and a half years lat­er in Ros­tock-Toiten­winkel, 25 Feb­ru­ary 2004, between 10:10 and 10:20, Mehmet Turgut was shot three times in the head and neck with a silenced CZ 83 and died instan­ta­neous­ly. Turgut, who had been liv­ing ille­gal­ly in Ham­burg, was in Ros­tock on a vis­it and had been asked by an acquain­tance to open up a don­er kebab shop that day. He was clear­ly tar­get­ed and enticed to be there that day and time. That is NOT a ran­dom far right killing.

Because of Turgut’s link to Ham­burg, Ros­tock police made the con­nec­tion to the third vic­tim, Süley­man Taşköprü, thus estab­lish­ing the term don­er mur­ders.

On 6 April 2006, just two days after the mur­der of Mehmet Kubaşık, Halit Yoz­gat became the last vic­tim of the mur­der series. Yoz­gat, who ran an inter­net café in Kas­sel, Hesse, was also shot in the head with a silenced gun. On the occa­sion of this mur­der an agent of the Hes­s­ian Office for the BfV Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion was present. The agent claimed first to have left the premis­es short­ly before the mur­der, but lat­er changed his state­ment when pre­sent­ed with evi­dence of wit­ness­es who had seen him present when the mur­der hap­pened. His involve­ment with the case gave rise to sus­pi­cions that a Ger­man agency might be linked to the mur­ders.

When this BfV offi­cer was inves­ti­gat­ed, var­i­ous Nazi para­pher­na­lia was present in his apart­ment, includ­ing some doc­u­ments from the Third Reich, though it is not pub­licly known what these docs referred to. Is he real­ly a Nazi, or is that being used to make out he is an extrem­ist infil­tra­tor of Ger­man intel­li­gence — that he was linked to the mur­der through his Nazi affil­i­ates, rather than being present at the mur­der BECAUSE he was work­ing for Ger­man intel­li­gence?? . . .

12. A recent book by a for­mer offi­cial of the BKA, the Ger­man fed­er­al police (equiv­a­lent of the FBI) focus­es on the Nazi and SS ori­gins of that agency. (33 of 48 top BKA offi­cials at the agen­cy’s incep­tion had back­grounds as SS lead­ers.)

Sup­ple­ment­ed by an inter­nal col­lo­qui­um, the inquiry notes the post­war Nazi net­work­ing with­in the BKA and the effect this appears to have had on post­war Ger­man law enforce­ment, par­tic­u­lar­ly with regard to pol­i­cy toward right-wing extrem­ists, anti-immi­grant xeno­pho­bia and anti-Semi­tism.

Worth remem­ber­ing in this regard is the con­cept of bureau­crat­ic iner­tia. Gov­ern­ment bureau­cra­cies man­i­fest that iner­tia, and the con­tem­po­rary Ger­man col­lu­sion with Nazi ele­ments must be viewed against the back­ground of the Nazi/SS gen­e­sis of the BKA.

We should not fail to note that the SS/Nazi offi­cials head­ing the BKA would undoubt­ed­ly have answered to for­mer Gestapo chief Hein­rich Mueller, secu­ri­ty direc­tor for the Bor­mann Cap­i­tal Net­work and the Under­ground Reich.

Ger­man Police Begins Ban­ish­ing Long Shad­ow of Nazi Past; Deutsche Welle; 2012.

A Fed­er­al Crime Office inves­ti­ga­tion into how for­mer SS offi­cers remained at its helm well into the 1960s is well under­way, pro­vid­ing new insights into how Nazis were rein­te­grat­ed into main­stream soci­ety.

The ties between some BKA founders and Nazis are no longer dis­put­ed. . . .

. . . A total of three col­lo­quia focus­ing on the role of ex-Nazi police offi­cers who found­ed the BKA in 1951 and made up the core of its lead­er­ship into the 1970s, was launched by the BKA in the sum­mer. The agency has opened its archives to an inter-dis­ci­pli­nary team of renowned researchers.

The found­ing core of the BKA includ­ed some 48 mem­bers of the Nazi secu­ri­ty forces known as the Reich­skrim­i­nalpolizei, or Kripo. They became part of a new Crim­i­nal Police Force in the post­war British Occu­pied Zone, which lat­er evolved into the BKA. Accord­ing to Zier­cke, of the 48, 33 had been SS lead­ers. . . .

. . . .At the end of the 1950s, near­ly all of the BKA lead­er­ship posi­tions were still filled with ex-Nazis or SS lead­ers. Accord­ing to Zier­cke, the police orga­ni­za­tion was rife with cliques and inter­nal con­nec­tions lead­ing back to the Nazi era that helped with re-com­mis­sion­ing.

The BKA’s inves­ti­ga­tion aims to exam­ine the ques­tion of whether the Nazis’ notions on crime fight­ing were car­ried on after the war. . . .

. . . . But then came the pub­li­ca­tion of a book by a for­mer BKA employ­ee Dieter Schenk. Titled “The Brown Roots of the BKA,” the book argues that the orga­ni­za­tion had been found­ed by active Nazis.

Whether the BKA founders were Nazis or mere­ly careerists is some­thing dis­cussed in the Schenk book as well as the cur­rent col­lo­quia. More impor­tant, accord­ing to Schenk, is his belief that the polit­i­cal lean­ings of the BKA founders can still be felt in its pol­i­cy, “in the half-heart­ed­ness with which it has fought against the rad­i­cal right, anti-Semi­tism and anti-immi­grant” ele­ments in the coun­try. . . .

 

Discussion

12 comments for “FTR #814 The National Socialist Underground File”

  1. http://www.jpost.com/landedpages/printarticle.aspx?id=380148
    Octo­ber 29, 2014 Wednes­day 5 Hes­h­van 5775 23:04 IST print gohome
    The Jerusalem Post — Israel News

    Ger­man ‘Nazi’ class­room under inves­ti­ga­tion
    By JPOST.COM STAFF
    10/29/2014

    Accord­ing to media reports, the ninth-graders have tak­en to pop­u­lar mes­sag­ing app What­sApp to pro­mote Nazi slo­gans.

    A school dis­trict in Ger­many has caused quite the media stir this week after images of stu­dents salut­ing with Hitler-like mus­tach­es sur­faced in an influ­en­tial pub­li­ca­tion.

    Ger­man news­pa­per Bild broke the sto­ry on Tues­day, reveal­ing that mem­bers of a high school class were com­mu­ni­cat­ing using the noto­ri­ous Nazi salute and oth­er 1930s-Ger­many rhetoric.

    Accord­ing to local media reports, the ninth-graders have tak­en to pop­u­lar mes­sag­ing app What­sApp to pro­mote Nazi slo­gans, anti-Semit­ic jokes and oth­er offen­sive con­tent. Twen­ty-nine stu­dents are part of the group.

    The school kids report­ed­ly greet one anoth­er with the ‘Hiel Hitler’ sign, a sym­bol that has come to define the Third Reich’s reign over 70 years ago.

    The case has grabbed the atten­tion of the cops, who have launched an inves­ti­ga­tion into the school. A police spokesper­son said they were mulling legal action against the teens.

    As for the school dis­tric­t’s knowl­edge of the con­tro­ver­sial activ­i­ty — a spokesper­son from the Edu­ca­tion Min­istry stat­ed that if the report turned out to be true, they would show no tol­er­ance.

    Posted by Vanfield | October 29, 2014, 10:11 pm
  2. http://www.thelocal.de/20141113/neo-nazi-to-face-child-sex-abuse-charges-tino-brandt-nsu-thuringia

    Neo-Nazi to face child sex abuse charges

    Far-right extrem­ist and for­mer infor­mant for the secu­ri­ty ser­vices Tino Brandt will face charges of seri­ous sex­u­al abuse of chil­dren.

    State pros­e­cu­tors in Gera, Thuringia, said that Brandt, 39, would answer 157 charges for acts that took place between 2011 and 2014.

    “This means that he him­self had sex­u­al con­tact with chil­dren and young peo­ple,” a spokesman for the pros­e­cu­tor’s office said.

    Brandt is accused of hav­ing sup­plied minors to adults for sex in exchange for mon­ey in 45 cas­es.

    As leader of the “Thuringia Home­land Defence” group, Brandt had con­tact with the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground mem­bers Uwe Mund­los, Uwe Böhn­hardt and Beate Zschäpe before they began their ser­i­al mur­ders.

    News of the charges against Brandt came just one day after his han­dler from the Office for Con­sti­tu­tion­al Pro­tec­tion (Ver­fas­sungss­chutz) had giv­en evi­dence at Zschäpe’s tri­al.

    Pros­e­cu­tors said that there was no con­nec­tion to his polit­i­cal opin­ions in the present charges.

    They added that Brandt, who has been in cus­tody since June dur­ing the inves­ti­ga­tion, had co-oper­at­ed with the inves­ti­ga­tion and admit­ted to some of the alle­ga­tions.

    Posted by Tiffany Sunderson | November 17, 2014, 4:49 pm
  3. Oh great. The CDU is at risk of get­ting out-Nazi-ed by the AfD in the realm of cud­dling up to grow­ing anti-Mus­lim far right move­ments. And the temp­ta­tions for the CDU to catch up with the AfD in this area are clear­ly only going to grow:

    Merkel in dilem­ma as Ger­man anti-Islam march­es gain sup­port

    By Stephen Brown

    BERLIN Sun Dec 14, 2014 12:55pm EST

    (Reuters) — Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel faces chal­lenges from allies and rivals to con­front a ris­ing tide of anti-immi­grant sen­ti­ment dri­ving increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar anti-Islam march­es in the city of Dres­den every Mon­day.

    With thou­sands expect­ed at the next march, Merkel is in a dilem­ma. Her secu­ri­ty offi­cials are warn­ing of an increase in hate crimes, while opin­ion polls show sup­port for the marchers’ calls for a tougher Ger­man immi­gra­tion pol­i­cy.

    “There is a vis­i­ble rise in xeno­pho­bic crime coun­try­wide,” police chief Hol­ger Muench told Welt am Son­ntag, which like most Ger­man Sun­day news­pa­pers focused on Mon­day’s march by a group call­ing itself PEGIDA — an acronym for “Patri­ot­ic Euro­peans against the Islamiza­tion of the West”.

    There has been a spike in both anti-Mus­lim and anti-Semit­ic sen­ti­ment this year, with right-wingers join­ing foot­ball hooli­gans to fight Salafist Mus­lims and a spate of attacks on Jews. At the same time, with record lev­els of immi­gra­tion, Ger­many has become Europe’s biggest recip­i­ent of asy­lum-seek­ers.

    Merkel said on Fri­day there was “no place in Ger­many” for hatred of Mus­lims or any oth­er minor­i­ty.

    But her Social Demo­c­rat (SPD) coali­tion allies, the oppo­si­tion Greens and the fast-grow­ing Euroscep­tic par­ty Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) all seem to have spot­ted a chance to under­mine the pop­u­lar chan­cel­lor, whose approval rat­ing was 76 per­cent in a poll in the Bild am Son­ntag news­pa­per.

    ...

    But her Chris­t­ian Democ­rats’ (CDU) mixed response to PEGIDA — some CDU offi­cials urged under­stand­ing for the moti­va­tion of the marchers, while the SPD sim­ply blast­ed the orga­niz­ers as “Nazis in pin­stripes” — means she risks being out­ma­neu­vered.

    The march­es have already spawned copy­cat protests in cities to the west like Dues­sel­dorf, which have larg­er immi­grant pop­u­la­tions than Dres­den, home to very few of Ger­many’s 4 mil­lion Mus­lims.

    Hajo Funke, a Berlin pro­fes­sor, said many of the esti­mat­ed 10,000 peo­ple who marched last week voiced vague “dis­con­tent with soci­ety and their own lives”, while the orga­niz­ers played on fears of armed insur­gents like Islam­ic State and al Qae­da.

    Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Thomas de Maiziere said there was no risk Ger­many would be “Islamized” but saw an “over­lap” between PEGIDA and the AfD, which is try­ing to estab­lish itself as a law-and-order par­ty. The AfD has spot­ted this too and one of its lead­ers, Alexan­der Gauland, plans to be in Dres­den on Mon­day.

    “We are the nat­ur­al allies of this move­ment,” said Gauland.

    This could trig­ger fresh debate about how to deal with the AfD, which the CDU has so far dis­missed as a fringe group which qui­et­ly recruits right-wing extrem­ists.

    “We are the nat­ur­al allies of this move­ment,” said AfD deputy leader (and for­mer CDU offi­cial) Alexan­der Gauland. Well, you can’t argue with that!

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | December 16, 2014, 12:12 pm
  4. Here’s some­thing to keep in mind involv­ing any future ter­ror attacks per­pe­trat­ed by Syr­i­an refugees who are only iden­ti­fied by their fin­ger­prints after the fact and can’t actu­al­ly be found or even ver­i­fied as hav­ing ever exist­ed: it’s prob­a­bly a good time to sus­pect neo-Nazis:

    The Inde­pen­dent

    Ger­man lieu­tenant who posed as refugee in ‘false flag’ ter­ror plot could be part of neo-Nazi army net­work

    Swasti­ka carved into gun found in sus­pec­t’s room, along with Nazi-era mem­o­ra­bil­ia

    Lizzie Dear­den
    Wednes­day May 3, 2017 10:11 BST

    A cell of sus­pect­ed right-wing extrem­ists oper­at­ing with­in the Ger­man army are being inves­ti­gat­ed as the probe into an alleged ter­ror plot widens.

    Pros­e­cu­tors are inves­ti­gat­ing a group of up to five peo­ple sur­round­ing a sol­dier accused of pos­ing as a Syr­i­an refugee to car­ry out a “false flag” attack.

    The sus­pect, named only as Fran­co A, was arrest­ed after police traced a loaded gun he stashed at Vien­na Inter­na­tion­al Air­port but inves­ti­ga­tions at his bar­racks have revealed signs of a wider net­work.

    An assault rifle case carved with a swasti­ka was found in his room, where the let­ters HH [Heil Hitler] were inscribed on the wall and a Nazi-era pam­phlet depict­ing a Wehrma­cht sol­dier was dis­cov­ered.

    Germany’s RND media group pub­lished pho­tos of the evi­dence, which forms part of a report drawn up by the min­istry of defence.

    Gerd Hoofe, the defence sec­re­tary, said there were also “indi­ca­tions of pos­si­ble ammu­ni­tion loss or theft” at Fran­co A’s bar­racks in Illkirch-Graf­fen­staden, France.

    He did not raise any alarm over extrem­ism in the army, despite writ­ing a master’s the­sis on “polit­i­cal change and sub­ver­sion strat­e­gy” at a French uni­ver­si­ty in 2014 that was found to con­tain far-right think­ing.

    Fran­co A appeared at his bar­racks on time and com­plet­ed all cours­es, even while dash­ing back to Bavaria to col­lect wel­fare pay­ments as part of his dou­ble life as a refugee.

    The lieu­tenant reg­is­tered in Giessen, Hesse, on 30 Decem­ber 2015 – as Ger­many was over­whelmed by the arrival of almost a mil­lion asy­lum seek­ers — then sub­mit­ted an asy­lum appli­ca­tion at Zirn­dorf in Bavaria in Jan­u­ary last year.

    He cre­at­ed a fake per­sona under the name David Ben­jamin, telling immi­gra­tion offi­cials he was a Dam­as­cus fruit sell­er from a Chris­t­ian fam­i­ly with French roots, Ger­man media report­ed.

    No doubts appear to have been raised over the cred­i­bil­i­ty of the 28-year-old’s back­ground, despite him speak­ing main­ly French with a smat­ter­ing of Ara­bic from a lan­guage course.

    The ruse was only dis­cov­ered when Fran­co A was arrest­ed in Aus­tria after return­ing to retrieve an unreg­is­tered 7.65mm pis­tol from a toi­let at Vien­na Inter­na­tion­al Air­port in Feb­ru­ary.

    A fin­ger­print check revealed his fake iden­ti­ty as a Syr­i­an refugee, but when “David Ben­jamin” failed to answer a court sum­mons in Aus­tria, a wider inves­ti­ga­tion was trig­gered.

    He had a list of five poten­tial tar­gets for the attack, the Tagesspiegel news­pa­per report­ed, includ­ing for­mer Pres­i­dent Joachim Gauck, jus­tice min­is­ter Heiko Maas, a promi­nent left-wing politi­cian and the Berlin Cen­ter for Polit­i­cal Beau­ty.

    If the plan had suc­ceed­ed, his fin­ger­prints would have reg­is­tered on the refugee records sys­tem and led inves­ti­ga­tors to his false iden­ti­ty as a Syr­i­an asy­lum seek­er, turn­ing fresh scruti­ny on migrants in Ger­many.

    “These find­ings, as well as oth­er evi­dence, point towards a xeno­pho­bic motive for the soldier’s sus­pect­ed plan to com­mit an attack using a weapon deposit­ed at Vien­na air­port,” pros­e­cu­tors said.

    A 24-year-old stu­dent sus­pect­ed of being an accom­plice in the plot, Math­ias F, has also being arrest­ed, with explo­sives found at his home.

    Germany’s fed­er­al prosecutor’s office has tak­en over the ter­ror inves­ti­ga­tion, which has sparked probes in the office for migra­tion, inte­ri­or min­istry and mil­i­tary.

    Ursu­la von der Leyen, the defence min­is­ter, can­celled a sched­uled vis­it to the US on Tues­day and sum­moned mil­i­tary com­man­ders to dis­cuss the plot and oth­er recent scan­dals includ­ing sex­u­al abuse and haz­ing at anoth­er mil­i­tary base.

    After attack­ing “weak lead­er­ship” she ordered the most senior 100 gen­er­als and admi­rals to attend a meet­ing in Berlin on Thurs­day.

    “We have to ask sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly how some­one with such clear right-wing extrem­ist views, who writes a mas­ter’s paper with clear­ly nation­al­is­tic ideas ... could con­tin­ue to pur­sue a career in the Bun­deswehr,” Ms von der Leyen told reporters.

    She plans to trav­el to Illkirch for an update on the inves­ti­ga­tion as some politi­cians pushed back against her crit­i­cism of the mil­i­tary.

    Hen­ning Otte, a fel­low mem­ber of Angela Merkel’s con­ser­v­a­tive CDU/CSU law­mak­er and head of the par­lia­men­tary defence com­mit­tee, told Reuters the mil­i­tary had “no fun­da­men­tal prob­lem with rad­i­cal­ism or abus­es”.

    But Ger­many’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence agency has record­ed 275 sus­pect­ed case of right-wing extrem­ists in the mil­i­tary’s ranks, includ­ing some dat­ing back to 2011 and 53 cas­es first iden­ti­fied this year.

    ...

    “If the plan had suc­ceed­ed, his fin­ger­prints would have reg­is­tered on the refugee records sys­tem and led inves­ti­ga­tors to his false iden­ti­ty as a Syr­i­an asy­lum seek­er, turn­ing fresh scruti­ny on migrants in Ger­many.”

    That was the plan: frame a Chris­t­ian Syr­i­an refugee for the killing a vari­ety of left-wing politi­cians:

    ...
    He had a list of five poten­tial tar­gets for the attack, the Tagesspiegel news­pa­per report­ed, includ­ing for­mer Pres­i­dent Joachim Gauck, jus­tice min­is­ter Heiko Maas, a promi­nent left-wing politi­cian and the Berlin Cen­ter for Polit­i­cal Beau­ty.
    ...

    That was the plan...the incred­i­bly brazen plan that did­n’t raise an alarms despite the fact that the guy wrote a mas­ters the­sis about “polit­i­cal change and sub­ver­sion strat­e­gy” that con­tained far-right ideas and the guy did­n’t even speak Ara­bic:

    ...
    He did not raise any alarm over extrem­ism in the army, despite writ­ing a master’s the­sis on “polit­i­cal change and sub­ver­sion strat­e­gy” at a French uni­ver­si­ty in 2014 that was found to con­tain far-right think­ing.

    ...

    He cre­at­ed a fake per­sona under the name David Ben­jamin, telling immi­gra­tion offi­cials he was a Dam­as­cus fruit sell­er from a Chris­t­ian fam­i­ly with French roots, Ger­man media report­ed.

    No doubts appear to have been raised over the cred­i­bil­i­ty of the 28-year-old’s back­ground, despite him speak­ing main­ly French with a smat­ter­ing of Ara­bic from a lan­guage course.

    The ruse was only dis­cov­ered when Fran­co A was arrest­ed in Aus­tria after return­ing to retrieve an unreg­is­tered 7.65mm pis­tol from a toi­let at Vien­na Inter­na­tion­al Air­port in Feb­ru­ary.
    ...

    And that incred­i­bly brazen plan appar­ent­ly almost worked and involved an entire cell of far-right extrem­ist:

    ...
    Pros­e­cu­tors are inves­ti­gat­ing a group of up to five peo­ple sur­round­ing a sol­dier accused of pos­ing as a Syr­i­an refugee to car­ry out a “false flag” attack.

    The sus­pect, named only as Fran­co A, was arrest­ed after police traced a loaded gun he stashed at Vien­na Inter­na­tion­al Air­port but inves­ti­ga­tions at his bar­racks have revealed signs of a wider net­work.

    An assault rifle case carved with a swasti­ka was found in his room, where the let­ters HH [Heil Hitler] were inscribed on the wall and a Nazi-era pam­phlet depict­ing a Wehrma­cht sol­dier was dis­cov­ered.
    ...

    So what’s next for Ger­many’s inves­ti­ga­tors now that there’s signs of a wider net­work of far-right extrem­ists who are active­ly plan­ning false-flag ter­ror plots? Well, the plan appears to be to search all bar­racks and hope that the neo-Nazis don’t hide their neo-Nazi-ness after Nazi mem­o­ra­bil­ia was just found at a sec­ond mil­i­tary bar­racks, this time in south­west Ger­many:

    Newsweek

    Nazi Mem­o­ra­bil­ia Dis­cov­ery at Ger­man Bar­racks Prompts Nation­wide Search

    By Isabelle Ger­ret­sen On 5/8/17 at 6:49 AM

    Ger­many has ordered a nation­wide search of every army bar­racks after inspec­tors found Nazi mem­o­ra­bil­ia at a gar­ri­son.

    Volk­er Wiek­er, inspec­tor gen­er­al of the Bun­deswehr, the asso­ci­a­tion rep­re­sent­ing Ger­man sol­diers’ inter­ests, ordered the inquiry after pic­tures of sol­diers from the Wehrma­cht, the army which served Adolf Hitler, and sev­er­al Nazi-era hel­mets were found at a bar­racks in Donaueschin­gen in south­west Ger­many.

    A spokesper­son for the Ger­man defense min­istry said Wiek­er had “instruct­ed that all prop­er­ties be inspect­ed to see whether rules on deal­ing with her­itage with regard to the Wehrma­cht and Nation­al Social­ism are being observed,” Ger­man news­pa­per Bild report­ed.

    The dis­cov­ery comes amid grow­ing con­cerns that far-right extrem­ism has infil­trat­ed the Ger­man forces.

    Last week, Defense Min­is­ter Ursu­la von der Leyen sum­moned an emer­gency meet­ing of Germany’s top mil­i­tary offi­cials to dis­cuss “where lead­er­ship and account­abil­i­ty have failed” after an army lieu­tenant with far-right views was arrest­ed on sus­pi­cion of plot­ting a racist attack.

    The 28-year-old Ger­man sol­dier, who was based at a gar­ri­son in Illkirch in north­east­ern France, man­aged to suc­cess­ful­ly reg­is­ter for refugee sta­tus in Syr­ia in 2015, despite the fact that he couldn’t speak Ara­bic and was not of Syr­i­an ori­gin. Police said he was moti­vat­ed by a “xeno­pho­bic back­ground” to car­ry out a “seri­ous crime endan­ger­ing state secu­ri­ty.”

    Von der Leyen struck a harsh tone fol­low­ing the arrest, crit­i­ciz­ing the Ger­man army of suf­fer­ing from an “atti­tude prob­lem,” a “mis­un­der­stood esprit de corps” and “weak lead­er­ship at dif­fer­ent lev­els” on Ger­man news chan­nel ZDF, Deutsche Welle report­ed.

    Her com­ments angered mil­i­tary offi­cials and sev­er­al politi­cians who accused her of using the scan­dal to smear the entire Ger­man army. The chair of the Bun­deswehr, Andre Wüst­ner, told the Pas­sauer Neue Presse. news­pa­per that the crit­i­cism left the mil­i­tary feel­ing “out­raged and bewil­dered” and that von der Leyen was “mas­sive­ly dam­ag­ing the Bun­deswehr.”

    The min­is­ter apol­o­gized for her com­ments fol­low­ing the back­lash but warned that the gov­ern­ment should be pre­pared for sim­i­lar inci­dents com­ing to light. While vis­it­ing the lieutenant’s bar­racks on Wednes­day, she stressed that Ger­many would not tol­er­ate any ven­er­a­tion of the tra­di­tions and cus­toms of the Wehrma­cht.

    ...

    “Volk­er Wiek­er, inspec­tor gen­er­al of the Bun­deswehr, the asso­ci­a­tion rep­re­sent­ing Ger­man sol­diers’ inter­ests, ordered the inquiry after pic­tures of sol­diers from the Wehrma­cht, the army which served Adolf Hitler, and sev­er­al Nazi-era hel­mets were found at a bar­racks in Donaueschin­gen in south­west Ger­many.

    Well, at least Ger­many’s mil­i­tary is con­duct­ing some sort of review. But isn’t there a more proac­tive approach the Ger­many mil­i­tary could take? After all, the exposed ter­ror plot was only dis­cov­ered after police traced a loaded gun “Fran­co A” stashed at Vien­na Inter­na­tion­al Air­port back to the fake Syr­i­an refugee per­sona. And if any mil­i­tary on the plan­et needs to wor­ry about neo-Nazis infil­trat­ing their ranks and acquir­ing valu­able skills, it’s the Ger­man mil­i­tary.

    And yes, there is a more proac­tive approach that could be tak­en. But isn’t tak­en for some rea­son and has­n’t been tak­en for a long time

    Deutsche Welle

    The Bun­deswehr’s image prob­lem — is it over­run with right-wing extrem­ists?

    The case of a Ger­man lieu­tenant sus­pect­ed of plan­ning a right-wing ter­ror attack has unset­tled both polit­i­cal and army lead­ers. The ques­tion of whether the Bun­deswehr is a right-wing haven is as old as the army itself.

    Volk­er Wagen­er
    03.05.2017

    André E. had only spent a few days with the Ger­man army in the Thuringian city of Gotha when he told his super­vis­ing offi­cer straight up: “I iden­ti­fy as a Nation­al Social­ist.” Based on his appear­ance, it was­n’t exact­ly a secret. He sport­ed a tat­too with the mot­to of the Hitler Youth, “Blut und Ehre” (blood and hon­or), because, as he said, he has so much admi­ra­tion for the SS.

    André E. was in train­ing for 10 more months, learn­ing how to shoot an assault rifle and throw hand grenades. This all hap­pened 17 years ago, but André E. is not just any neo-Nazi. He is one of the accused in the Munich tri­al against the right-wing extrem­ist group, the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground, or NSU. The ter­ror­ist group stands accused of bomb­ing attacks and 10 mur­ders. Why did the Bun­deswehr not stop him?

    Fail­ure of mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence?

    The case of Michael L. also con­tin­ues to plague the Bun­deswehr and the Defense Min­istry, espe­cial­ly in light of the lat­est scan­dal around an extreme right-wing offi­cer who was alleged­ly plan­ning a ter­ror attack. In 2012, reservist Michael L., then 35, was serv­ing as an offi­cer in Kun­duz, Afghanistan. In 2008, he had enquired about becom­ing a mem­ber of the far-right par­ty, the NPD, in the city of Kas­sel. He was also a mem­ber of a nation­al­ist group known as the “Freier Wider­stand Kas­sel” (Free Resis­tance Kas­sel). The state of Hesse had classed the orga­ni­za­tion as a neo-Nazi group. Despite his his­to­ry, Michael L. made it to Afghanistan, some­thing that Ger­many’s mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence ser­vice, MAD, should have pre­vent­ed. MAD is sup­posed to vet all sol­diers before they serve in for­eign mis­sions. So why did Michael L. slip through?

    A long his­to­ry of image prob­lems

    Ever since it was found­ed in 1955, the Ger­man army has strug­gled with the image of being a haven for right-wing extrem­ists. And it’s no won­der. At the end of the 1950s, the army hired 300 offi­cers from the Waf­fen-SS, Hitler’s elite fight­ing force. More than 12,000 Wehrma­cht offi­cers were serv­ing in the Bun­deswehr — as well as over 40 Nazi gen­er­als. The Bun­deswehr was taint­ed with this “brown lega­cy” from its incep­tion, and its rela­tion­ship to the new con­cept of the “cit­i­zen in uni­form” was cor­re­spond­ing­ly ambiva­lent. Under Defense Min­is­ter Franz-Josef Strauß (CSU, 1956 — 62), army bar­racks were named after Nazi gen­er­als; those involved in the resis­tance attempt to assas­si­nate Hitler on July 20, 1944, were labeled “trai­tors”; and ques­tions about war crimes were most­ly taboo.

    In the 1960s, the “con­sci­en­tious ful­fill­ment of duty” was still regard­ed as the high­est of all virtues for a sol­dier. But Gen­er­al Heinz Karst, who was in charge of army train­ing at the time, nev­er­the­less declared that free­dom and democ­ra­cy were “not the last val­ues.”

    At the same time, there was grow­ing crit­i­cism about “exces­sive par­lia­men­tary con­trol” over the young army. In the 1970s, Bun­deswehr acad­e­mies were sup­posed to help stamp out the last of the old men­tal­i­ty.

    But the first gen­er­a­tion of young offi­cers reject­ed reforms and were opposed to Willy Brandt’s pol­i­cy of detente. At the start of the 1980s, Defense Min­is­ter Hans Apel (SPD) was met with protests when he said that which could not be denied: “The armed forces were in part enmeshed with Nation­al Social­ism and its guilt...a regime of injus­tice like the Third Reich can­not form the basis of tra­di­tion.”

    Too lax on extrem­ism?

    And yet, the Bun­deswehr remains attrac­tive for right-wing extrem­ists even today. Most of the cas­es that come to light have to do with what are called pro­pa­gan­da crimes: calls of “Sieg Heil” or swasti­ka graf­fi­ti. Accord­ing to MAD, neo-Nazi sen­ti­ment is most preva­lent among 18- to 25-year-olds, drawn by the lure of weapon­ry and the hier­ar­chies with­in the army. But once iden­ti­fied, neo-Nazis can­not sim­ply be thrown out of the army; courts have to con­firm the pres­ence of right-wing extrem­ism.

    It’s not that there are a lack of clues, rather that they are often dis­cov­ered when it’s too late, or by coin­ci­dence. The fail­ure of MAD in con­nec­tion with the NSU mur­ders sus­pect rais­es the prospect that extrem­ist ten­den­cies were noticed, but that oth­er sol­diers and super­vi­sors either did­n’t react, or react­ed too mild­ly.

    Neo-Nazi net­work?

    As a result of all these “dis­cov­er­ies”, Defense Min­is­ter Ursu­la von der Leyen has can­celed her planned trip to the Unit­ed States. It’s an unusu­al reac­tion, and indica­tive of how seri­ous­ly she is tak­ing the sit­u­a­tion. Observers are not rul­ing out the pos­si­bil­i­ty that there is a neo-Nazi net­work with­in the armed forces. Some say that scrap­ping con­scrip­tion is to blame. The Bun­deswehr is lack­ing in “nor­mal peo­ple,” said Michael Wolff­sohn, a for­mer his­to­ri­an at the Bun­deswehr Acad­e­my in Munich. With­out con­scrip­tion, the army has become over­run with extrem­ists, eager to learn how to use weapons, he said.

    ...

    “It’s not that there are a lack of clues, rather that they are often dis­cov­ered when it’s too late, or by coin­ci­dence. The fail­ure of MAD in con­nec­tion with the NSU mur­ders sus­pect rais­es the prospect that extrem­ist ten­den­cies were noticed, but that oth­er sol­diers and super­vi­sors either did­n’t react, or react­ed too mild­ly.”

    Yep, the NSU mur­der sus­pect, André E., basi­cal­ly trained as an open neo-Nazi. And nobody cared:

    André E. had only spent a few days with the Ger­man army in the Thuringian city of Gotha when he told his super­vis­ing offi­cer straight up: “I iden­ti­fy as a Nation­al Social­ist.” Based on his appear­ance, it was­n’t exact­ly a secret. He sport­ed a tat­too with the mot­to of the Hitler Youth, “Blut und Ehre” (blood and hon­or), because, as he said, he has so much admi­ra­tion for the SS.

    André E. was in train­ing for 10 more months, learn­ing how to shoot an assault rifle and throw hand grenades. This all hap­pened 17 years ago, but André E. is not just any neo-Nazi. He is one of the accused in the Munich tri­al against the right-wing extrem­ist group, the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground, or NSU. The ter­ror­ist group stands accused of bomb­ing attacks and 10 mur­ders. Why did the Bun­deswehr not stop him?
    ...

    And sure, that was 17 years ago, but it’s not like there haven’t been plen­ty of inci­dents since, includ­ing the new­ly exposed ter­ror plot. And while it’s sug­gest­ed that drop­ping the con­scrip­tion pol­i­cy has led to a con­cen­tra­tion of far-right extrem­ists pop­u­lat­ing the mil­i­tary’s ranks, note that there was indeed con­scrip­tion 17 years ago (it was end­ed in 2011) and André E. was still allowed to train as an open neo-Nazi, so it’s not like this is pure­ly an issue with drop­ping the con­scrip­tion pol­i­cy. At the same, if drop­ping con­scrip­tion did indeed make the prob­lem worse, well, we prob­a­bly should­n’t be sur­prised if there are a lot more “André E.“s hid­ing in plain sight.

    So we’ll see what, if any­thing, is dis­cov­ered by Ger­many’s full-scale bar­racks search. At least now that this plot has been exposed it should at least give pause to any groups plan­ning sim­i­lar false-flag ter­ror attacks in the works. In the mean time, lazy neo-Nazi net­works in the Ger­man mil­i­tary that don’t both­er to hide the Nazi mem­o­ra­bil­ia in their bar­racks in time had bet­ter watch out! Maybe. Or, as the whole NSU scan­dal has taught us about these, maybe they have noth­ing to wor­ry about, which is par­ty of why this whole sit­u­a­tion is so wor­ry­ing.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | May 8, 2017, 5:49 pm
  5. This is get­ting inter­est­ing: The head of Ger­many’s intel­li­gence, Hans-Georg Maaße (Maassen), is about to be fired fol­low­ing alle­ga­tions of ties to the AfD. Maaße faced scruti­ny over pos­si­ble far right sym­pa­thies after he assert­ed that there was “no evi­dence” of a “man­hunt” against for­eign­ers after dis­missed days of neo-Nazi riots in the city of Chem­nitz. He also ques­tions the authen­tic­i­ty of video footage show­ing the anti-immi­grant riots, sug­gest­ing they could be faked. He was also charged with shar­ing con­fi­den­tial gov­ern­ment reports with the AfD and advis­ing the par­ty on how to avoid sur­veil­lance:

    Politico.eu

    Merkel to fire Germany’s intel­li­gence chief: report

    Hans-Georg Maaßen is fac­ing grow­ing pres­sure over his com­ments on far-right vio­lence in Chem­nitz.

    By Judith Mis­chke

    9/17/18, 12:54 PM CET

    Updat­ed 9/17/18, 3:47 PM CET

    Ger­man Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel will oust the country’s head of intel­li­gence, after an ongo­ing scan­dal over his response to the Chem­nitz riots and his alleged ties to the far-right par­ty Alter­na­tive for Ger­many have prompt­ed calls for his dis­missal, accord­ing to reports.

    Merkel made the deci­sion to get rid of Hans-Georg Maaßen at an extra­or­di­nary meet­ing last Thurs­day along­side Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Horst See­hofer and Social Demo­c­rat leader Andrea Nahles, Die Welt report­ed Mon­day, cit­ing gov­ern­ment sources.

    ...

    Maaßen has come under fire in recent weeks for alleged­ly shar­ing con­fi­den­tial gov­ern­ment reports with the AfD and advis­ing the anti-immi­gra­tion par­ty on how to avoid being put under sur­veil­lance by his agency. He also faced heavy blow­back for ques­tion­ing the authen­tic­i­ty of video footage from the anti-immi­grant riots in Chem­nitz, and claim­ing there was “no evi­dence” of a “man­hunt” against for­eign­ers.

    Maaßen has admit­ted meet­ing with mem­bers of the par­ty, but denies he pro­vid­ed advice.

    The fate of the intel­li­gence chief has divid­ed polit­i­cal opin­ion. While See­hofer, who leads Bavaria’s Chris­t­ian Social Union — which is gear­ing up for an elec­tion next month — pre­vi­ous­ly voiced con­fi­dence in Maaßen’s lead­er­ship and claimed he does not “see any rea­son for staff changes,” the Social Democ­rats and the Greens have been vocal in call­ing for his dis­missal.

    ———-

    “Merkel to fire Germany’s intel­li­gence chief: report” by Judith Mis­chke; Politico.eu, 09/17/2018

    “Maaßen has come under fire in recent weeks for alleged­ly shar­ing con­fi­den­tial gov­ern­ment reports with the AfD and advis­ing the anti-immi­gra­tion par­ty on how to avoid being put under sur­veil­lance by his agency. He also faced heavy blow­back for ques­tion­ing the authen­tic­i­ty of video footage from the anti-immi­grant riots in Chem­nitz, and claim­ing there was “no evi­dence” of a “man­hunt” against for­eign­ers.”

    Yep, the head of Ger­many’s intel­li­gence appears to have ties to neo-Nazis. That’s not wild­ly alarm­ing or any­thing.

    And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, this was­n’t the first time Maassen’s ties to the far right have been ques­tioned. A for­mer leader of the AfD’s youth wing wrote a book this year — “Inside AFD: The report of a drop-out” — that claimed that Maassen had advised ex-AfD leader Frauke Petry on how the par­ty could avoid being put under sur­veil­lance by his office:

    Reuters

    Hans-Georg Maassen: the spy who went out into the heat

    Paul Car­rel
    Sep­tem­ber 9, 2018 / 11:08 AM

    BERLIN (Reuters) — Spies usu­al­ly oper­ate in the shad­ows. Hans-Georg Maassen, chief of Germany’s domes­tic spy agency, has done just the oppo­site and tak­en cen­ter-stage in a heat­ed debate about the far-right that is shak­ing Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s gov­ern­ment to its core.

    In com­ments to Friday’s edi­tion of mass-sell­ing dai­ly Bild, Maassen said he was skep­ti­cal about reports that migrants had been hound­ed in the city of Chem­nitz after the fatal stab­bing of a Ger­man man there, for which two asy­lum seek­ers were arrest­ed.

    The vio­lence in the east­ern city has shak­en Ger­many deeply. But Maassen said his BfV domes­tic intel­li­gence agency had “no reli­able infor­ma­tion about such hunts tak­ing place”, and that a video cir­cu­lat­ing show­ing that hap­pen­ing could have been faked.

    Those com­ments put him at odds with Merkel, who said images from Chem­nitz “very clear­ly” showed hate. She has also accused the far-right Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) par­ty of using vio­lent protests over the stab­bing to stir up eth­nic ten­sion.

    The upshot is that senior politi­cians are call­ing for 55-year-old Maassen to go. He will like­ly have to explain him­self to a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee this week. His own stance toward the far-right is also being ques­tioned.

    ...

    Ques­tions have been raised before about how aggres­sive­ly Maassen has tak­en on the far-right, includ­ing the AfD, which he has resist­ed putting under sur­veil­lance.

    A for­mer leader of the AfD’s youth wing, Franziska Schreiber, wrote in her book pub­lished this year — “Inside AFD: The report of a drop-out” — that Maassen had advised ex-AfD leader Frauke Petry on how the par­ty could avoid being put under sur­veil­lance by his office. He has denied giv­ing such coun­sel.

    POLITICAL FALLOUT

    A trained lawyer who forged his career in the Inte­ri­or Min­istry, Maassen has gen­er­al­ly stayed out of the spot­light dur­ing his six years in charge of the BfV, though he has clashed with oth­er more cir­cum­spect gov­ern­ment offi­cials for call­ing out Rus­sia as the like­ly cul­prit behind cyber attacks on Ger­many.

    In a 2016 inter­view with Reuters, Maassen said far-right extrem­ists in Ger­many were increas­ing­ly ready to com­mit vio­lent acts — a risk he has since flagged again.

    On Fri­day, Maassen’s BfV intel­li­gence agency said it would make fur­ther checks on infor­ma­tion avail­able about the Chem­nitz protests as “there are always fake news and attempts at dis­in­for­ma­tion” on social media.

    “Checks, in par­tic­u­lar with regard to pos­si­ble ‘hound­ing’ of migrants by right-wing extrem­ists, will con­tin­ue,” it added.

    Maassen’s Chem­nitz com­ments have aggra­vat­ed ten­sions about whether politi­cians and the author­i­ties are being too com­pla­cent in the face of ris­ing xeno­pho­bia in Ger­many, where many thought the lessons of its Nazi his­to­ry had long been learned.

    The remarks have also split Berlin’s polit­i­cal class and re-opened fis­sures over immi­gra­tion in Merkel’s ‘grand coali­tion’, only two months after she closed a painful row with her Bavar­i­an sis­ter par­ty on the same issue.

    Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Horst See­hofer, of the Bavar­i­an Chris­t­ian Social Union (CSU), has backed Maassen. Alexan­der Gauland, co-leader of the anti-immi­grant AfD, told the Bild am Son­ntag: “All accu­sa­tions against him are polit­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed.”

    But Malu Drey­er, a senior fig­ure in the Social Democ­rats, junior part­ner in Merkel’s coali­tion, said he had cre­at­ed uncer­tain­ty and “destroyed” trust in the state. “So I do not think he is still the right man for this posi­tion,” she added.

    ———-

    “Hans-Georg Maassen: the spy who went out into the heat” by Paul Car­rel; Reuters; 09/09/2018

    “The vio­lence in the east­ern city has shak­en Ger­many deeply. But Maassen said his BfV domes­tic intel­li­gence agency had “no reli­able infor­ma­tion about such hunts tak­ing place”, and that a video cir­cu­lat­ing show­ing that hap­pen­ing could have been faked.”

    There was “no reli­able infor­ma­tion about such hunts tak­ing place”...except for the videos of peo­ple being hunt­ed down, which could have been faked. Yep, it sure sounds like Ger­many has a Nazi-sym­pa­thiz­er problem...in the top office of the BfV. But we already knew that. Or at least should have sus­pect­ed it fol­low­ing the pub­li­ca­tion of book that made exact­ly these claims:

    ...
    Those com­ments put him at odds with Merkel, who said images from Chem­nitz “very clear­ly” showed hate. She has also accused the far-right Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) par­ty of using vio­lent protests over the stab­bing to stir up eth­nic ten­sion.

    The upshot is that senior politi­cians are call­ing for 55-year-old Maassen to go. He will like­ly have to explain him­self to a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee this week. His own stance toward the far-right is also being ques­tioned.

    ...

    Ques­tions have been raised before about how aggres­sive­ly Maassen has tak­en on the far-right, includ­ing the AfD, which he has resist­ed putting under sur­veil­lance.

    A for­mer leader of the AfD’s youth wing, Franziska Schreiber, wrote in her book pub­lished this year — “Inside AFD: The report of a drop-out” — that Maassen had advised ex-AfD leader Frauke Petry on how the par­ty could avoid being put under sur­veil­lance by his office. He has denied giv­ing such coun­sel.
    ...

    And that book is part of what makes Massen’s recent com­ments so amaz­ing: he was already under scruti­ny for alleged far right ties before he made these recent com­ments about the Chem­nitz riots.

    It’s also inter­est­ing to note that Maassen appar­ent­ly clashed with gov­ern­ment offi­cials over the deci­sion of the BfV to blame Rus­sia for the Bun­destag hacks of 2015:

    ...
    POLITICAL FALLOUT

    A trained lawyer who forged his career in the Inte­ri­or Min­istry, Maassen has gen­er­al­ly stayed out of the spot­light dur­ing his six years in charge of the BfV, though he has clashed with oth­er more cir­cum­spect gov­ern­ment offi­cials for call­ing out Rus­sia as the like­ly cul­prit behind cyber attacks on Ger­many.

    In a 2016 inter­view with Reuters, Maassen said far-right extrem­ists in Ger­many were increas­ing­ly ready to com­mit vio­lent acts — a risk he has since flagged again.

    On Fri­day, Maassen’s BfV intel­li­gence agency said it would make fur­ther checks on infor­ma­tion avail­able about the Chem­nitz protests as “there are always fake news and attempts at dis­in­for­ma­tion” on social media.

    “Checks, in par­tic­u­lar with regard to pos­si­ble ‘hound­ing’ of migrants by right-wing extrem­ists, will con­tin­ue,” it added.
    ...

    Recall that it was the BfV’s ini­tial pub­lic attri­bu­tion of the Bun­destag hack to the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment in Jan­u­ary of 2016 that rep­re­sent­ed the first instance of “Fan­cy Bear” being declared a Russ­ian gov­ern­ment hack­ing enti­ty, as opposed to just being a sophis­ti­cat­ed enti­ty pre­sumed to be oper­at­ing out of Rus­sia. This was fol­lowed by anoth­er BfV report in May of 2016 offi­cial­ly blam­ing the Russ­ian mil­i­tary intel­li­gence for the hacks. Also recall that it was that 2015 Bun­destag hack where the X‑Agent mal­ware was used with a hard-cod­ed 176.31.112.10 com­mand and con­trol serv­er IP address that traced back to a serv­er that was vul­ner­a­ble to the Heart­bleed attack. This was same IP address was hard-cod­ed into the X‑Agent mal­ware found in the DNC’s servers, which always seemed like a remark­ably sus­pi­cious ‘clue’ because the DNC serv­er hacks were sup­posed to have tak­en place until March/April of 2016, after the BfV blamed the Russ­ian gov­ern­ment for the Bun­destag hacks. So it’s worth not­ing that Maasen was the head of the BfV dur­ing this peri­od when the agency made the for­mal attri­bu­tion of Fan­cy Bear to the Russ­ian mil­i­tary intel­li­gence which was impor­tant for estab­lish­ing the ini­tial accu­sa­tion of Russ­ian gov­ern­ment hack­ers tar­get­ing the DNC lat­er in 2016.

    So how many times has Maassen met with the AfD? Accord­ing to the fol­low­ing arti­cle, Maassen him­self admits to 5 per­son­al meet­ings with AfD mem­bers, which he tries to frame as not being very many giv­en that he’s had 237 per­son­al con­ver­sa­tions with politi­cians since he took over the post in 2012. But as the arti­cle notes, the AfD did­n’t actu­al­ly enter Ger­many’s par­lia­ment until Sep­tem­ber of 2017, so 5 per­son­al meet­ings with AfD since then is about one every cou­ple of months or so on aver­age. Is that a lot? It seems like a lot of neo-Nazi meet­ings. And while some of the infor­ma­tion he passed along to AfD mem­bers dur­ing these meet­ings alleged­ly includ­ed num­bers of the num­ber of Islamist extrem­ists in the coun­try, it also sounds like Maassen shared with the AfD num­bers of the BfV’s bud­get, which is report­ed­ly secret and can only be dis­cussed among very few Bun­destag mem­bers in the par­lia­men­t’s con­fi­den­tial com­mit­tee:

    Deutsche Welle

    Ger­man spy chief passed info to AfD: report

    Hans-Georg Maassen, pres­i­dent of Ger­many’s domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vice, alleged­ly passed on sen­si­tive data from a report to the far-right Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD). The spy chief has already faced calls to resign.

    Date 13.09.2018
    Author Ben Knight

    The rela­tion­ship between Ger­many’s domes­tic spy chief, Hans-Georg Maassen, and the Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) came under renewed scruti­ny on Thurs­day, when it was revealed that the head of the domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vice, the Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion (BfV), had passed on infor­ma­tion from his year­ly report to the far-right pop­ulist par­ty ahead of its pub­li­ca­tion.

    AfD Bun­destag mem­ber Stephan Brand­ner con­firmed to pub­lic broad­cast­er ARD that Maassen had giv­en him “num­bers from the report” at a per­son­al meet­ing on June 13, five weeks before it was released.

    “We talked about dif­fer­ent fig­ures that are in there,” Brand­ner told ARD, includ­ing the num­ber of Islamist extrem­ists in the coun­try. The BfV is tasked with track­ing extrem­ist groups inside Ger­many and deter­min­ing whether they rep­re­sent a dan­ger, and brings out a report on its find­ings every sum­mer.

    Maassen has already faced intense pres­sure after an inter­view in which he ques­tioned whether videos show­ing far-right vio­lence in Chem­nitz were authen­tic, direct­ly con­tra­dict­ing Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s state­ments.

    Even before Thurs­day’s rev­e­la­tion, oppo­si­tion par­ties had called on Maassen to resign over sus­pi­cions that he har­bors right-wing sym­pa­thies and has a too-close rela­tion­ship with the AfD. But until now he has been backed by his boss, con­ser­v­a­tive Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Horst See­hofer.

    In a speech to the Bun­destag on Thurs­day morn­ing, See­hofer reit­er­at­ed his sup­port for the BfV pres­i­dent, and it now appears that Maassen’s future could become a new cri­sis point for Merkel’s gov­ern­ment: Merkel, See­hofer, and Social Demo­c­rat leader Andrea Nahles held a spe­cial cri­sis meet­ing to dis­cuss the issue. The group said that any deci­sion on Maassen’s future would not be made before next Tues­day.

    Rou­tine infor­ma­tion

    Maassen quick­ly reject­ed any wrong­do­ing. In a state­ment to DW, the BfV press office said he had received “express instruc­tions” from the Inte­ri­or Min­istry, which is respon­si­ble for the BfV, to speak to par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from all polit­i­cal par­ties, and to inform them reg­u­lar­ly about poten­tial nation­al secu­ri­ty threats.

    “The [ARD report] gives the impres­sion that infor­ma­tion or doc­u­ments were passed on with­out a legal foun­da­tion,” the state­ment said. “This is of course not the case.” The BfV press office would not com­ment on the exact con­tent of the con­ver­sa­tion with Brand­ner, on the grounds that these con­ver­sa­tions are con­fi­den­tial.

    The DPA news agency report­ed on Thurs­day that Maassen had had all of 237 per­son­al con­ver­sa­tions with politi­cians since he took over the post in 2012, only five of which had been with mem­bers of the AfD. The par­ty, how­ev­er, was only formed in 2013 and only entered the Bun­destag after the last elec­tion in 2017.

    ...

    Time to go?

    Even voic­es from the gov­ern­ing par­ties have joined in calls for Maassen’s dis­missal. Lars Kling­beil, gen­er­al sec­re­tary of the Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (SPD), junior part­ner in Angela Merkel’s gov­ern­ing coali­tion, tweet­ed on Thurs­day after­noon that, “for the SPD lead­er­ship it is com­plete­ly clear that Maassen must go. Merkel must act now.”

    ...

    Kon­stan­tin von Notz, inte­ri­or pol­i­cy spokesman for the oppo­si­tion Green par­ty, took a more nuanced view. While acknowl­edg­ing that the meet­ing between Brand­ner and Maassen was unusu­al, the rev­e­la­tion that he may have passed on fig­ures about Islamists was less inter­est­ing than the fact that the pair had appar­ent­ly dis­cussed the BfV’s bud­get.

    “This is secret, and can only be dis­cussed among very few Bun­destag mem­bers in the par­lia­men­t’s con­fi­den­tial com­mit­tee,” he told DW.

    The pro-busi­ness Free Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (FDP) has also made its mind up about Maassen. The par­ty’s inte­ri­or pol­i­cy spokesman, Kon­stan­tin Kuh­le, told DPA on Thurs­day that the BfV head was “not neu­tral” about the AfD, and thus had to go, because of the “gen­er­al impres­sion after the events of the last few weeks and months.”

    ———-

    “Ger­man spy chief passed info to AfD: report” by Ben Knight; Deutsche Welle; 09/13/2018

    “The rela­tion­ship between Ger­many’s domes­tic spy chief, Hans-Georg Maassen, and the Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) came under renewed scruti­ny on Thurs­day, when it was revealed that the head of the domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vice, the Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion (BfV), had passed on infor­ma­tion from his year­ly report to the far-right pop­ulist par­ty ahead of its pub­li­ca­tion.

    The AfD got infor­ma­tion from Maasen from the BfV’s annu­al report ahead of its pub­li­ca­tion. That sure was con­sid­er­ate of him. And this was con­firmed by AfD Bun­destag mem­ber Stephan Brand­ner:

    ...
    AfD Bun­destag mem­ber Stephan Brand­ner con­firmed to pub­lic broad­cast­er ARD that Maassen had giv­en him “num­bers from the report” at a per­son­al meet­ing on June 13, five weeks before it was released.

    “We talked about dif­fer­ent fig­ures that are in there,” Brand­ner told ARD, includ­ing the num­ber of Islamist extrem­ists in the coun­try. The BfV is tasked with track­ing extrem­ist groups inside Ger­many and deter­min­ing whether they rep­re­sent a dan­ger, and brings out a report on its find­ings every sum­mer.

    Maassen has already faced intense pres­sure after an inter­view in which he ques­tioned whether videos show­ing far-right vio­lence in Chem­nitz were authen­tic, direct­ly con­tra­dict­ing Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s state­ments.

    Even before Thurs­day’s rev­e­la­tion, oppo­si­tion par­ties had called on Maassen to resign over sus­pi­cions that he har­bors right-wing sym­pa­thies and has a too-close rela­tion­ship with the AfD. But until now he has been backed by his boss, con­ser­v­a­tive Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Horst See­hofer.

    In a speech to the Bun­destag on Thurs­day morn­ing, See­hofer reit­er­at­ed his sup­port for the BfV pres­i­dent, and it now appears that Maassen’s future could become a new cri­sis point for Merkel’s gov­ern­ment: Merkel, See­hofer, and Social Demo­c­rat leader Andrea Nahles held a spe­cial cri­sis meet­ing to dis­cuss the issue. The group said that any deci­sion on Maassen’s future would not be made before next Tues­day.
    ...

    Maassen tried to defend him­self by out out that he’s sup­posed to speak to mem­bers of all polit­i­cal par­ties and keep them informed. He also tried to char­ac­ter­ize his 5 per­son­al meet­ings with AfD mem­bers out of a total of 237 meet­ings he’s had since 2012 as indi­cat­ing no par­tic­u­lar spe­cial inter­est in the AfD. But as the arti­cle points out, the AfD has only been in par­lia­ment since 2017 (Sep­tem­ber of 2017, to be pre­cise):

    ...
    Rou­tine infor­ma­tion

    Maassen quick­ly reject­ed any wrong­do­ing. In a state­ment to DW, the BfV press office said he had received “express instruc­tions” from the Inte­ri­or Min­istry, which is respon­si­ble for the BfV, to speak to par­lia­men­tar­i­ans from all polit­i­cal par­ties, and to inform them reg­u­lar­ly about poten­tial nation­al secu­ri­ty threats.

    “The [ARD report] gives the impres­sion that infor­ma­tion or doc­u­ments were passed on with­out a legal foun­da­tion,” the state­ment said. “This is of course not the case.” The BfV press office would not com­ment on the exact con­tent of the con­ver­sa­tion with Brand­ner, on the grounds that these con­ver­sa­tions are con­fi­den­tial.

    The DPA news agency report­ed on Thurs­day that Maassen had had all of 237 per­son­al con­ver­sa­tions with politi­cians since he took over the post in 2012, only five of which had been with mem­bers of the AfD. The par­ty, how­ev­er, was only formed in 2013 and only entered the Bun­destag after the last elec­tion in 2017.
    ...

    But per­haps that most scan­dalous part of Maassen pass­ing along infor­ma­tion to the AfD is the the alle­ga­tions that he passed top secret BfV bud­get infor­ma­tion, which is some­thing very few Bun­destag mem­bers in the par­lia­men­t’s con­fi­den­tial com­mit­tee:

    ...
    Time to go?

    Even voic­es from the gov­ern­ing par­ties have joined in calls for Maassen’s dis­missal. Lars Kling­beil, gen­er­al sec­re­tary of the Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (SPD), junior part­ner in Angela Merkel’s gov­ern­ing coali­tion, tweet­ed on Thurs­day after­noon that, “for the SPD lead­er­ship it is com­plete­ly clear that Maassen must go. Merkel must act now.”

    ...

    Kon­stan­tin von Notz, inte­ri­or pol­i­cy spokesman for the oppo­si­tion Green par­ty, took a more nuanced view. While acknowl­edg­ing that the meet­ing between Brand­ner and Maassen was unusu­al, the rev­e­la­tion that he may have passed on fig­ures about Islamists was less inter­est­ing than the fact that the pair had appar­ent­ly dis­cussed the BfV’s bud­get.

    “This is secret, and can only be dis­cussed among very few Bun­destag mem­bers in the par­lia­men­t’s con­fi­den­tial com­mit­tee,” he told DW.

    The pro-busi­ness Free Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty (FDP) has also made its mind up about Maassen. The par­ty’s inte­ri­or pol­i­cy spokesman, Kon­stan­tin Kuh­le, told DPA on Thurs­day that the BfV head was “not neu­tral” about the AfD, and thus had to go, because of the “gen­er­al impres­sion after the events of the last few weeks and months.”
    ...

    Also keep in mind that this bud­get infor­ma­tion pre­sum­ably was­n’t just like the BfV’s total bud­get. It was prob­a­bly like the bud­get for dif­fer­ent areas of the BfV. So did he pass along bud­get infor­ma­tion on things like the bud­get for mon­i­tor­ing far right groups like the AfD or Pegi­da? That’s unclear, but based on every­thing we’ve seen it would almost be sur­pris­ing at this point if he did­n’t.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 17, 2018, 11:21 am
  6. Here’s an update on the scan­dal in Ger­many over the appar­ent secret sup­port of the far right by Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of the BfV which is part of the Inte­ri­or Min­istry: So Maassen was indeed fired from the job. But it’s a fir­ing that comes in the form of a pro­mo­tion to a bet­ter-paid posi­tion of state sec­re­tary in the Inte­ri­or Min­istry. It turns out the head of the Inte­ri­or Min­istry, Horst See­hofer, balked at com­plete­ly let­ting Maassen go, so pro­mot­ing him out of the BfV was seen as the only viable com­pro­mise posi­tion.

    See­hofer also hap­pens to be the leader of the Bavar­i­an Chris­t­ian Social Union (CSU), the right-wing sis­ter par­ty to Merkel’s CDU. And as the fol­low­ing arti­cle notes, the CSU is as risk of los­ing its long-stand­ing major­i­ty in Bavaria large­ly due to the rise of the AfD in the upcom­ing state elec­tions on Octo­ber 14. And Maassen is, of course, now a hero of the AfD and far right in gen­er­al.

    So it’s look­ing like the rul­ing Ger­man coali­tion is giv­ing Maassen extra lenient treat­ment as a means of pla­cat­ing the CSU’s con­cerns over piss­ing off right-wing vot­ers. But the rul­ing coali­tion isn’t just the CDU and CSU. The cen­ter-left SPD is also part of this coali­tion and the deci­sion to pro­mote Maassen is not sur­pris­ing­ly anger­ing SPD vot­ers and poten­tial­ly dri­ving them toward oth­er par­ties like the Greens.

    Despite these intra-coali­tion ten­sions there’s still no desire on the part of either the CDU or SPD lead­er­ship to break the coali­tion and call snap elec­tions because polls cur­rent­ly show that both par­ties would lose vot­ers to the AfD and Greens. And that ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ sit­u­a­tion is why the row over what to do about Maassen is putting the rul­ing coali­tion into what is being described as a per­ma­nent cri­sis mode:

    Reuters

    Merkel coali­tion slides into ‘per­ma­nent cri­sis mode’ with spy row

    Paul Car­rel
    Sep­tem­ber 19, 2018 / 8:17 AM / Updat­ed

    BERLIN (Reuters) — A clum­sy com­pro­mise to end a row over the fate of Germany’s spy chief has exposed a cru­el fact: the par­ties in Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel’s right-left coali­tion are love­less part­ners in a dys­func­tion­al rela­tion­ship that none of them can afford to quit.

    The coali­tion lead­ers sought on Tues­day to end a scan­dal that had rum­bled on for 11 days by agree­ing to replace the head of the BfV domes­tic intel­li­gence agency, who has faced accu­sa­tions of har­bor­ing far-right sym­pa­thies.

    Their solu­tion — pro­mot­ing spy­mas­ter Hans-Georg Maassen to a bet­ter paid posi­tion at the Inte­ri­or Min­istry — has only inflamed ten­sions among the rank-and-file of the rul­ing par­ties, whose lead­ers are unit­ed by fear more than col­lec­tive pur­pose.

    The scan­dal, the lat­est in a series of set­backs to shake the six-month-old coali­tion, threat­ens to erode fur­ther the Ger­man rul­ing elite’s author­i­ty and may point to years of pol­i­cy drift just as Ger­many and Europe are cry­ing out for firm lead­er­ship.

    Merkel is yet to address the crit­i­cism that the coali­tion lacks direc­tion.

    Polls show both Merkel’s con­ser­v­a­tive bloc and its junior coali­tion part­ner, the cen­ter-left Social Democ­rats (SPD), would bleed votes to the far-right Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) and the ecol­o­gist Greens in any new elec­tions.

    That leaves their lead­ers hang­ing on to the awk­ward right-left ‘grand coali­tion’ as Merkel, serv­ing her fourth and like­ly final term as chan­cel­lor, tries to secure her lega­cy as a stateswoman and the SPD strug­gles to remain rel­e­vant to vot­ers.

    “The grand coali­tion is like a dead mar­riage where the spous­es have too many inter­twined assets to be able to sep­a­rate with­out heavy loss­es,” said Josef Joffe, pub­lish­er-edi­tor of week­ly Die Zeit.

    “They would be trounced in snap elec­tions. Nor can they recruit more docile part­ners among the four oppo­si­tion par­ties.”

    The Maassen scan­dal comes only two months after Merkel closed a painful row with her Bavar­i­an CSU allies on immi­gra­tion — an issue that goes back to her 2015 deci­sion to leave open Germany’s bor­ders to refugees flee­ing war in the Mid­dle East.

    The SPD had want­ed Maassen removed after he ques­tioned the authen­tic­i­ty of video footage show­ing far-right rad­i­cals hound­ing migrants in the east­ern Ger­man city of Chem­nitz.

    But Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Horst See­hofer, leader of the Bavar­i­an Chris­t­ian Social Union (CSU), sis­ter par­ty of Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Democ­rats (CDU), stood behind Maassen.

    By pro­mot­ing the spy­mas­ter to the post of state sec­re­tary in his Inte­ri­or Min­istry, See­hofer found a solu­tion that sat­is­fied the SPD’s demand for Maassen’s removal from the BfV but left the coali­tion look­ing lame.

    “The only thing that is still grand in this coali­tion is the absolute deter­mi­na­tion to car­ry on mud­dling through,” mass-sell­ing dai­ly Bild wrote in an edi­to­r­i­al.

    “PERMANENT CRISIS MODE”

    Speak­ing at the side­lines of a Euro­pean Union meet­ing in Salzburg, Merkel defend­ed the Maassen deal as a “right and impor­tant” deci­sion.

    Merkel stressed that Maassen would not be in charge of domes­tic secu­ri­ty issues in his new posi­tion.

    The SPD had accused the for­mer spy­mas­ter of hav­ing too close ties to the anti-immi­gra­tion AfD par­ty.

    The grand coali­tion only took office in March, near­ly six months after last year’s elec­tion, as there was effec­tive­ly no oth­er viable gov­ern­ing option fol­low­ing the col­lapse of talks between Merkel’s con­ser­v­a­tives and two small­er par­ties.

    After the Maassen deal, pres­sure is grow­ing in the SPD for its lead­ers to recon­sid­er the coali­tion or else deliv­er results that will win back work­ing class vot­ers who are turn­ing to the far right or left, and mid­dle class vot­ers mov­ing to the Greens.

    “Patience in the SPD with this grand coali­tion is extreme­ly thin,” said Ralf Steg­n­er, a senior SPD offi­cial.

    Even SPD Sec­re­tary Gen­er­al Lars Kling­beil ques­tioned Maassen’s pro­mo­tion, adding: “We must final­ly get out of this per­ma­nent cri­sis mode.”

    SPD leader Andrea Nahles said the par­ty should remain in the coali­tion but added that Seehofer’s deci­sion to trans­fer Maassen to his min­istry was a “fur­ther bur­den” for coop­er­a­tion.

    In a let­ter to par­ty mem­bers, she added: “The SPD shouldn’t sac­ri­fice this gov­ern­ment because Horst See­hofer employs a civ­il ser­vant whom we con­sid­er to be unsuit­able.”

    Merkel’s 2015 deci­sion on refugees has proved to be the defin­ing moment of her lead­er­ship and one that still haunts her as the CSU, fear­ful of los­ing votes to the AfD in Bavaria’s state elec­tion on Oct. 14, tries to sound tough on immi­gra­tion.

    The CSU is like­ly to lose its absolute major­i­ty in Bavaria, which could make it an even more dif­fi­cult part­ner for Merkel.

    Nation­al­ly, the con­ser­v­a­tive bloc is polling around 30 per­cent, down from 33 per­cent in last September’s elec­tion. The SPD is on about 18 per­cent, down from 20.5 per­cent. The AfD is polling around 15 per­cent, with the Greens close behind.

    ...

    ———-

    “Merkel coali­tion slides into ‘per­ma­nent cri­sis mode’ with spy row” by Paul Car­rel; Reuters; 09/19/2018

    “Their solu­tion — pro­mot­ing spy­mas­ter Hans-Georg Maassen to a bet­ter paid posi­tion at the Inte­ri­or Min­istry — has only inflamed ten­sions among the rank-and-file of the rul­ing par­ties, whose lead­ers are unit­ed by fear more than col­lec­tive pur­pose.”

    Bet­ter pay at the same agency. It’s quite a ‘fir­ing’, thanks to the inter­ven­tion of Inte­ri­or Min­istry chief Horst See­hofer of the CSU:

    ...
    The Maassen scan­dal comes only two months after Merkel closed a painful row with her Bavar­i­an CSU allies on immi­gra­tion — an issue that goes back to her 2015 deci­sion to leave open Germany’s bor­ders to refugees flee­ing war in the Mid­dle East.

    The SPD had want­ed Maassen removed after he ques­tioned the authen­tic­i­ty of video footage show­ing far-right rad­i­cals hound­ing migrants in the east­ern Ger­man city of Chem­nitz.

    But Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Horst See­hofer, leader of the Bavar­i­an Chris­t­ian Social Union (CSU), sis­ter par­ty of Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Democ­rats (CDU), stood behind Maassen.

    By pro­mot­ing the spy­mas­ter to the post of state sec­re­tary in his Inte­ri­or Min­istry, See­hofer found a solu­tion that sat­is­fied the SPD’s demand for Maassen’s removal from the BfV but left the coali­tion look­ing lame.

    “The only thing that is still grand in this coali­tion is the absolute deter­mi­na­tion to car­ry on mud­dling through,” mass-sell­ing dai­ly Bild wrote in an edi­to­r­i­al.
    ...

    This, in turns, has raised pres­sure with­in the SPD to either recon­sid­er their cur­rent coali­tion — trig­ger­ing elec­tions — or else some­how deliv­er on poli­cies that will stop the bleed­ing of vot­ers:

    ...
    “PERMANENT CRISIS MODE”

    Speak­ing at the side­lines of a Euro­pean Union meet­ing in Salzburg, Merkel defend­ed the Maassen deal as a “right and impor­tant” deci­sion.

    Merkel stressed that Maassen would not be in charge of domes­tic secu­ri­ty issues in his new posi­tion.

    The SPD had accused the for­mer spy­mas­ter of hav­ing too close ties to the anti-immi­gra­tion AfD par­ty.

    The grand coali­tion only took office in March, near­ly six months after last year’s elec­tion, as there was effec­tive­ly no oth­er viable gov­ern­ing option fol­low­ing the col­lapse of talks between Merkel’s con­ser­v­a­tives and two small­er par­ties.

    After the Maassen deal, pres­sure is grow­ing in the SPD for its lead­ers to recon­sid­er the coali­tion or else deliv­er results that will win back work­ing class vot­ers who are turn­ing to the far right or left, and mid­dle class vot­ers mov­ing to the Greens.
    ...

    But based on cur­rent polls that show both the CDU and SPD would lose vot­ers to the AfD and Greens in any future elec­tions, the SPD can’t sim­ply pull out of the coali­tion at this point with­out expect­ing loss­es. So they’re basi­cal­ly stuck:

    ...
    Polls show both Merkel’s con­ser­v­a­tive bloc and its junior coali­tion part­ner, the cen­ter-left Social Democ­rats (SPD), would bleed votes to the far-right Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) and the ecol­o­gist Greens in any new elec­tions.

    That leaves their lead­ers hang­ing on to the awk­ward right-left ‘grand coali­tion’ as Merkel, serv­ing her fourth and like­ly final term as chan­cel­lor, tries to secure her lega­cy as a stateswoman and the SPD strug­gles to remain rel­e­vant to vot­ers.

    “The grand coali­tion is like a dead mar­riage where the spous­es have too many inter­twined assets to be able to sep­a­rate with­out heavy loss­es,” said Josef Joffe, pub­lish­er-edi­tor of week­ly Die Zeit.

    “They would be trounced in snap elec­tions. Nor can they recruit more docile part­ners among the four oppo­si­tion par­ties.”
    ...

    And at the same time the SPD views the demor­al­iz­ing nature of the pro­mo­tion of Maassen as a threat to its elec­toral chances, the See­hofer and the CSU can point to the state elec­tions next month and the ris­ing appeal of the AfD, and the risk that their appeal would only grow if Maassen was forced out entire­ly, as a polit­i­cal jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for the deci­sion to basi­cal­ly give Maassen a pro­mo­tion:

    ...
    Merkel’s 2015 deci­sion on refugees has proved to be the defin­ing moment of her lead­er­ship and one that still haunts her as the CSU, fear­ful of los­ing votes to the AfD in Bavaria’s state elec­tion on Oct. 14, tries to sound tough on immi­gra­tion.

    The CSU is like­ly to lose its absolute major­i­ty in Bavaria, which could make it an even more dif­fi­cult part­ner for Merkel.

    Nation­al­ly, the con­ser­v­a­tive bloc is polling around 30 per­cent, down from 33 per­cent in last September’s elec­tion. The SPD is on about 18 per­cent, down from 20.5 per­cent. The AfD is polling around 15 per­cent, with the Greens close behind.
    ...

    And that elec­toral urgency to pla­cate the far right, at the cost of alien­at­ing the left, high­lights the grow­ing polar­iza­tion of Ger­many’s polit­i­cal land­scape.

    So just how big are the elec­toral risks fac­ing the CSU in the upcom­ing state elec­tions? As the fol­low­ing arti­cle describes, there’s no risk that the AfD will over­take the CSU in Bavaria. Sup­port for the CSU stood at 35 per­cent in recent polls, com­pared to the 47.7 per­cent it won in 2013 dur­ing the last region­al elec­tion. And the AfD is cur­rent­ly polling at 11 per­cent, giv­ing it enough sup­port to enter the Bavar­i­an state par­lia­ment for the first time. So there’s been a dou­ble-dig­it drop in sup­port for the CSU and almost all of that drop appears to be explained by a rise in sup­port for the AfD:

    The Inde­pen­dent

    Merkel allies face loss­es as vot­ers flee to far-right AfD ahead of Ger­man local elec­tions

    Pop­ulist Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD) par­ty cam­paigns against refugees

    Samuel Osborne
    Sep­tem­ber 17, 2018, 16:55

    Angela Merkel’s con­ser­v­a­tive allies in the Ger­man state of Bavaria are fac­ing loss­es in region­al elec­tions as their sup­port is erod­ed by far-right pop­ulists.

    The Chris­t­ian Social Union (CSU), which has enjoyed six decades of dom­i­nance in the state, is pre­dict­ed to suf­fer heavy loss­es in the vote on 14 Octo­ber.

    A recent opin­ion poll pre­dict­ed the CSU could lose near­ly 13 per cen­t­age points as vot­ers flock to the anti-immi­grant Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD).

    CSU lead­ers have lurched to the right in response to the AfD’s gains – near­ly col­laps­ing the coali­tion gov­ern­ment – before chang­ing course in an attempt to reclaim the cen­tre ground.

    The par­ty is part of Germany’s grand coali­tion with its sis­ter par­ty, Ms Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Democ­rats (CD) and the cen­tre-left Social Democ­rats (SDP).

    Sup­port for the CSU stood at 35 per cent in the infrat­est-dimap poll, com­pared to the 47.7 per cent it won in the last region­al elec­tion in 2013.

    The poll showed the AfD on 11 per cent, which would be enough to enter the Bavar­i­an state par­lia­ment for the first time.

    “The polls this week weren’t pret­ty,” Bavaria’s gov­er­nor, Markus Soed­er, said at the start of a day-long par­ty con­gress aimed at ral­ly­ing con­ser­v­a­tives a month before the elec­tion. “But they are a chance for a wake-up call.”

    Among the rea­sons cit­ed for the elec­toral decline of the CSU are the rise of the AfD, which has cam­paigned staunch­ly against the influx of refugees and migrants in recent years, and a series of gaffes by Horst See­hofer, the head of the par­ty.

    Both Mr Soed­er and Mr See­hofer, who is Germany’s inte­ri­or min­is­ter, made impas­sioned speech­es to their sup­port­ers call­ing for mea­sures to pre­vent a repeat of the one-mil­lion-strong wave of migrants who entered Ger­many in 2015.

    “Those who are not enti­tled to pro­tec­tion have to return to their coun­tries of ori­gin, because ... no coun­try on this plan­et can take in unlim­it­ed num­bers of refugees and migrants,” Mr See­hofer told hun­dreds of del­e­gates at the con­gress.

    How­ev­er, both men also reit­er­at­ed their oppo­si­tion to extrem­ism amid calls for bet­ter scruti­ny of the AfD after some of its lead­ers joined far-right activists in the east­ern city of Chem­nitz in protests sparked by the arrest of two migrant sus­pects in a fatal stab­bing.

    Mr See­hofer, who has been at odds with Ms Merkel since her deci­sion to open Germany’s bor­ders to over a mil­lion refugees and migrants, insist­ed his par­ty stands for lib­er­al val­ues and would not tol­er­ate anti­semitism, xeno­pho­bia or right-wing extrem­ism.

    ...

    ———-

    “Merkel allies face loss­es as vot­ers flee to far-right AfD ahead of Ger­man local elec­tions” by Samuel Osborne; The Inde­pen­dent; 09/17/2018

    “The Chris­t­ian Social Union (CSU), which has enjoyed six decades of dom­i­nance in the state, is pre­dict­ed to suf­fer heavy loss­es in the vote on 14 Octo­ber.”

    So some degree of heavy loss­es for the CSU in the state elec­tions in a few weeks is already a giv­en. It’s just a ques­tion of how heavy those loss­es will be and how much of that trans­lates into sup­port for the AfD. And thus far, it’s look­ing like the CSU’s loss­es are the AfD’s gains:

    ...
    A recent opin­ion poll pre­dict­ed the CSU could lose near­ly 13 per cen­t­age points as vot­ers flock to the anti-immi­grant Alter­na­tive for Ger­many (AfD).

    CSU lead­ers have lurched to the right in response to the AfD’s gains – near­ly col­laps­ing the coali­tion gov­ern­ment – before chang­ing course in an attempt to reclaim the cen­tre ground.

    The par­ty is part of Germany’s grand coali­tion with its sis­ter par­ty, Ms Merkel’s Chris­t­ian Democ­rats (CD) and the cen­tre-left Social Democ­rats (SDP).

    Sup­port for the CSU stood at 35 per cent in the infrat­est-dimap poll, com­pared to the 47.7 per cent it won in the last region­al elec­tion in 2013.

    The poll showed the AfD on 11 per cent, which would be enough to enter the Bavar­i­an state par­lia­ment for the first time.
    ...

    And note how the CSU’s elec­toral suc­cess, or lack there­of, appears to be a kind of test on whether or not Ger­many’s con­ser­v­a­tives can suc­cess­ful­ly artic­u­late a pol­i­cy regard­ing refugees and immi­grants that is simul­ta­ne­ous­ly pro- and anti-refugee, essen­tial­ly mak­ing the argu­ment that Ger­many needs to tem­porar­i­ly accept refugees while for human­i­tar­i­an pur­pos­es while gen­er­al­ly voic­ing oppo­si­tion to the refugee pol­i­cy and gen­er­al and demand­ing that it not be repeat­ed:

    ...
    Both Mr Soed­er and Mr See­hofer, who is Germany’s inte­ri­or min­is­ter, made impas­sioned speech­es to their sup­port­ers call­ing for mea­sures to pre­vent a repeat of the one-mil­lion-strong wave of migrants who entered Ger­many in 2015.

    “Those who are not enti­tled to pro­tec­tion have to return to their coun­tries of ori­gin, because ... no coun­try on this plan­et can take in unlim­it­ed num­bers of refugees and migrants,” Mr See­hofer told hun­dreds of del­e­gates at the con­gress.

    How­ev­er, both men also reit­er­at­ed their oppo­si­tion to extrem­ism amid calls for bet­ter scruti­ny of the AfD after some of its lead­ers joined far-right activists in the east­ern city of Chem­nitz in protests sparked by the arrest of two migrant sus­pects in a fatal stab­bing.

    Mr See­hofer, who has been at odds with Ms Merkel since her deci­sion to open Germany’s bor­ders to over a mil­lion refugees and migrants, insist­ed his par­ty stands for lib­er­al val­ues and would not tol­er­ate anti­semitism, xeno­pho­bia or right-wing extrem­ism.
    ...

    Will such an approach work for Bavari­a’s vot­ers? We’ll see, but if not and if the AfD sur­pris­es to the upside, we should prob­a­bly expect par­ties like the CDU and CSU to start sound a lot more like the AfD going for­ward. Might there be anoth­er pro­mo­tion for Hans-Georg Maassen too?

    It’s also worth recall­ing that a mem­ber of the CSU is poised to become the new pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion in 2019 at the end of Jean-Claude Junck­er’s term. Man­fred Weber, the CSU politi­cian who is also the head of the right-wing fac­tion of the EU par­lia­ment, is seen as the like­ly per­son Ger­many is going to try get in that posi­tion and, accord­ing to EU cus­tom, it’s seen as Ger­many’s ‘turn’ to put some­one in a top-lev­el EU posi­tion so if Ger­many wants to give Weber that posi­tion it will like­ly hap­pen. And if the CSU ends up veer­ing much fur­ther to the right that’s inevitably going to impact Weber’s deci­sions at the EU-wide lev­el. It’s a reminder that the way the EU works, Ger­many’s prob­lems are Europe’s prob­lems, and right now Ger­many has a prob­lem with a far right sym­pa­thiz­er at the head of the domes­tic intel­li­gence office and it respond­ed by giv­ing the guy a pro­mo­tion due to polit­i­cal con­cerns would only make the far right even stronger.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | September 20, 2018, 12:23 pm
  7. @Pterrafractyl–

    It will be inter­est­ing to see how Ger­many’s for­mal diplo­mat­ic recog­ni­tion of the Knights of Mal­ta plays out in this polit­i­cal land­scape, bear­ing in mind that Bavaria–home turf of the CSU–is heav­i­ly Catholic.

    https://www.german-foreign-policy.com/en/news/detail/7730/

    Back­ground on the Knights of Mal­ta here: https://spitfirelist.com/for-the-record/ftr-610-the-knights-of-malta-revisited/

    Best,

    Dave

    Posted by Dave Emory | September 20, 2018, 2:50 pm
  8. Here’s a sto­ry to keep in mind in the con­text of the rise of the far right across Europe and the poten­tial takeover of law enforce­ment agen­cies and the numer­ous scan­dals involve Ger­man author­i­ties cov­er­ing up for extrem­ist groups: Ger­man author­i­ties have been inves­ti­gat­ing a 30-odd mem­ber far right ‘prep­per’ group called Nord­kruez (North­ern Cross) on sus­pi­cions that the group was prepar­ing a ter­ror­ist attack. What they found was that the group not only had close links to the police and mil­i­tary but had also man­aged to access police com­put­ers and col­lect almost 25,000 names and address­es of local politi­cians who were sup­port­ive of the refugees dur­ing the refugee cri­sis in 2015. One of the mem­bers of Kord­kruez was still employed in the spe­cial com­man­do unit of the state office of crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions. Nord­kruez then com­bined a “death list” of tar­gets that includ­ed mem­bers from SPD, the Greens, Die Linke, and even the CDU. The group also ordered 200 body bags and quick­lime, which can be used to speed up the decay of a corpse and cov­er up its smell, and stock­piled weapons and ammu­ni­tion. As we’re going to see, the group was not just prepar­ing a domes­tic ter­ror cam­paign but was also prepar­ing for a Nazi coup known as “Day‑X” in neo-Nazi cir­cles.

    So this group of Ger­man ‘prep­pers’ was­n’t just plan­ning for the col­lapsed of soci­ety. They were also plan­ning on induc­ing that col­lapse through a polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tion that would result in a neo-Nazi coup:

    The Guardian

    Ger­man far-right group ‘used police data to com­pile death list’

    Activists linked to mil­i­tary and police sus­pect­ed of prepar­ing ter­ror attack, reports say

    Philip Olter­mann in Berlin
    Fri 28 Jun 2019 10.45 EDT

    A group of Ger­man rightwing extrem­ists com­piled a “death list” of left­wing and pro-refugee tar­gets by access­ing police records, then stock­piled weapons and ordered body bags and quick­lime to kill and dis­pose of their vic­tims, Ger­man media have report­ed, cit­ing intel­li­gence sources.

    Germany’s gen­er­al pros­e­cu­tor had been inves­ti­gat­ing Nord­kreuz (North­ern Cross) since August 2017 on the sus­pi­cion the group was prepar­ing a ter­ror­ist attack.

    The 30-odd mem­bers of the group report­ed­ly had close links to the police and mil­i­tary, and at least one mem­ber was still employed in the spe­cial com­man­do unit of the state office of crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions.

    In the past, Nord­kreuz was report­ed as being part of the “prep­per” sur­vival­ist move­ment, whose fol­low­ers pre­pare for dooms­day sce­nar­ios such as the col­lapse of the pre­vail­ing social order.

    How­ev­er, a report by Redak­tion­sNet­zw­erk Deutsch­land, a Hanover-based research agency with links to small­er region­al news­pa­pers, sug­gest­ed the group was active­ly prepar­ing the ground for a mass attack on polit­i­cal ene­mies.

    Mem­bers com­mu­ni­cat­ed via the encrypt­ed mes­sen­ger ser­vice Telegram, and accessed police com­put­ers to col­lect almost 25,000 names and address­es of local politi­cians who had played an active part in civic efforts dur­ing the refugee cri­sis in 2015, the report said.

    Par­ty mem­bers from the SPD, the Greens, Die Linke and Angela Merkel’s CDU were report­ed­ly on the list, which focused on local pol­i­tics in the east­ern states of Meck­len­burg-Vor­pom­mern and Bran­den­burg.

    The group had also alleged­ly ordered 200 body bags and quick­lime, which can be used to speed up the decay of a corpse and cov­er up its smell.

    Three mem­bers of Nord­kreuz were being sep­a­rate­ly inves­ti­gat­ed by a pros­e­cu­tor in Schw­erin for ille­gal pos­ses­sion of more than 10,000 bul­lets as well as long- and short-range weapons.

    The group is said to deny hav­ing planned the mur­der of the peo­ple on the lists.

    The report came a few weeks after the mur­der of a pro-refugee politi­cian by a rightwing extrem­ist, and amid a grow­ing debate about whether Germany’s domes­tic intel­li­gence agency, the BfV, has under­es­ti­mat­ed the threat posed by the mil­i­tant far right.

    Thursday’s annu­al BfV report not­ed a slight fall in the num­ber of offences by extreme right groups reg­is­tered in 2018, but also a rise in the num­ber of vio­lent crimes com­mit­ted by these groups.

    Over­all num­bers of sym­pa­this­ers for extrem­ist posi­tions on the far right, the far left and in Islamism had all slight­ly increased over the last year, the report not­ed.

    It made no men­tion of Nord­kreuz, fuelling crit­i­cism that the agency had been turn­ing a blind eye to the threat of neo-Nazi ter­ror­ism.

    Ear­li­er this week, the detained far-right extrem­ist Stephan Ernst con­fessed to mur­der­ing the CDU politi­cian Wal­ter Lübcke. The head of the Kas­sel region­al gov­ern­ment was found dead out­side his house on 2 June.

    ...

    Ernst report­ed­ly admit­ted being incensed by Lübcke’s com­ments at a town hall meet­ing he had attend­ed in Octo­ber 2015. At the meet­ing, held to dis­cuss a new asy­lum seek­er shel­ter, Lübcke said: “One has to stand up for val­ues here. And those who don’t do so can leave this coun­try any time if they don’t like it. That’s the free­dom of every Ger­man.”

    ———-

    “Ger­man far-right group ‘used police data to com­pile death list’ ” by Philip Olter­mann; The Guardian; 06/28/2019

    “The 30-odd mem­bers of the group report­ed­ly had close links to the police and mil­i­tary, and at least one mem­ber was still employed in the spe­cial com­man­do unit of the state office of crim­i­nal inves­ti­ga­tions.”

    A domes­tic ter­ror group with close links to the police and mil­i­tary. And using those links they amassed a list of 25,000 tar­gets from police data­bas­es. And just in case it was­n’t clear what they planned to do to the peo­ple on this list, they also ordered 200 body bags and quick­lime. It’s a civic night­mare sce­nario:

    ...
    Mem­bers com­mu­ni­cat­ed via the encrypt­ed mes­sen­ger ser­vice Telegram, and accessed police com­put­ers to col­lect almost 25,000 names and address­es of local politi­cians who had played an active part in civic efforts dur­ing the refugee cri­sis in 2015, the report said.

    Par­ty mem­bers from the SPD, the Greens, Die Linke and Angela Merkel’s CDU were report­ed­ly on the list, which focused on local pol­i­tics in the east­ern states of Meck­len­burg-Vor­pom­mern and Bran­den­burg.

    The group had also alleged­ly ordered 200 body bags and quick­lime, which can be used to speed up the decay of a corpse and cov­er up its smell.

    Three mem­bers of Nord­kreuz were being sep­a­rate­ly inves­ti­gat­ed by a pros­e­cu­tor in Schw­erin for ille­gal pos­ses­sion of more than 10,000 bul­lets as well as long- and short-range weapons.

    The group is said to deny hav­ing planned the mur­der of the peo­ple on the lists.
    ...

    Keep in mind that if they were plan­ning on using quick­lime to dis­pose of bod­ies and speed up the decay of a corpse, that implies they weren’t nec­es­sar­i­ly just plan­ning on open assas­si­na­tion and instead were plan­ning on abduct­ing tar­gets and leav­ing their where­abouts unknown. So if any Ger­many politi­cians sud­den­ly go miss­ing we now have a bet­ter idea of what may have hap­pened.

    And yet note how Ger­many’s domes­tic intel­li­gence agen­cies, the BfV, made no men­tion of Nord­kreuz in its annu­al report that was released last week:

    ...
    The report came a few weeks after the mur­der of a pro-refugee politi­cian by a rightwing extrem­ist, and amid a grow­ing debate about whether Germany’s domes­tic intel­li­gence agency, the BfV, has under­es­ti­mat­ed the threat posed by the mil­i­tant far right.

    Thursday’s annu­al BfV report not­ed a slight fall in the num­ber of offences by extreme right groups reg­is­tered in 2018, but also a rise in the num­ber of vio­lent crimes com­mit­ted by these groups.

    Over­all num­bers of sym­pa­this­ers for extrem­ist posi­tions on the far right, the far left and in Islamism had all slight­ly increased over the last year, the report not­ed.

    It made no men­tion of Nord­kreuz, fuelling crit­i­cism that the agency had been turn­ing a blind eye to the threat of neo-Nazi ter­ror­ism.
    ...

    So Ger­many’s domes­tic intel­li­gence agency appears to be turn­ing a blind eye to a domes­tic ter­ror group with close ties to the police and mil­i­tary. Sur­prise!

    And just to make it clear that Nord­kreuz has a neo-Nazi over­throw of the gov­ern­ment on its mind, here’s an arti­cle that points out that group was­n’t just plan­ning on assas­si­nat­ing polit­i­cal ene­mies. They were also prepar­ing for “Day X”. And as the arti­cle notes, Nord­kreuz isn’t the only far right group found to have infil­trat­ed Ger­man insti­tu­tions while mak­ing “Day X” prepa­ra­tions. In 2017, Ger­man mil­i­tary intel­li­gence cracked down on a group call­ing itself “Hannibal’s Shad­ow Army” that as oper­at­ing with­in the Ger­man armed forces and had the same vision of a com­ing ‘Day X’ through nation­al­ist mil­i­tary coup. So there are at least two Ger­man neo-Nazi groups with mem­bers from the police and mil­i­tary that have been plan­ning on bring­ing about a far right mil­i­tary coup in recent years. And these are just the groups we know about:

    Prospect

    What Germany’s “neo-Nazi” Dooms­day group tells us about the Europe’s ris­ing far-right

    Ger­many’s domes­tic intel­li­gence agency report­ed that the Nord­kreuz group had obtained bul­lets and body­bags to pre­pare for an imag­ined “Day X.” Now, the coun­try must deal with some­thing more pow­er­ful than the old fringe neo-Nazi and skin­head move­ment

    by Dominic Hinde
    July 1, 2019

    In Meck­len­burg Vor­pom­mern, the Ger­man state on the Baltic sea that Angela Merkel calls home, a far-right ter­ror plot and a spec­tac­u­lar tale of extrem­ist infil­tra­tion of the police force has raised ques­tions about both how wide­spread neo-fas­cist ter­ror cells are in Germany—and how seri­ous­ly the gov­ern­ment is tak­ing the prob­lem.

    Last week it was revealed that “Nord­kreuz,” an under­ground right wing ter­ror group, had sought to obtain hun­dreds of body bags and quick­lime for kid­nap­pings, killings and assas­si­na­tions as part of a planned upris­ing.

    It was also recent­ly revealed by the region­al Ger­man news­pa­per net­work Redak­tions-Net­zw­erk Deutsch­land that the group had drawn up polit­i­cal death lists using the police data­base accessed by some of its mem­bers, retriev­ing 25,000 names.

    The group appar­ent­ly drew its mem­ber­ship from amongst serv­ing police offi­cers, mil­i­tary reservists, and in one case the region­al Spezialein­satzkom­man­do, a high­ly trained elite police unit deployed in anti-ter­ror­ist activ­i­ty.

    Pros­e­cu­tion of mem­bers of the net­work have been ongo­ing since 2017, but only now is the extent of the organ­i­sa­tion and the scale of their plans com­ing to light.

    Nord­kreuz were not just a neo-Nazi ter­ror group. Cen­tral to their ide­ol­o­gy was the prep­per mind­set more asso­ci­at­ed with reli­gious extrem­ists or dooms­day cults. Mem­bers of the group were said to be prepar­ing not just for vio­lence against their polit­i­cal ene­mies but for a so-called “Day X.”

    One mem­ber had report­ed­ly obtained 10,000 bul­lets from police stores for the antic­i­pat­ed upris­ing. He was also found hoard­ing vac­u­um-packed cig­a­rettes and alco­hol to barter with in the event of eco­nom­ic col­lapse.

    Not alone

    The Nord­kreuz rev­e­la­tions have shocked peo­ple due to the appar­ent ease with which mem­bers could take advan­tage of their police con­nec­tions to obtain mate­ri­als and infor­ma­tion, but also for the group’s cult-like belief in a com­ing upris­ing against Islam and the lib­er­al polit­i­cal sys­tem.

    The revenge killings envi­sioned by Nord­kreuz are more than the fan­ta­sy of inter­net chat rooms. Last month Wal­ter Lübcke, a vet­er­an CDU politi­cian and May­or with an explic­it­ly pro-immi­gra­tion stance, was assas­si­nat­ed in his own home by the far-right activist Stephan Ernst.

    Sim­i­lar­ly, Heinz Mey­er, the leader of the anti-Islam­ic group Pegi­da in Munich, stands accused of form­ing a cell to car­ry out polit­i­cal assas­si­na­tions and try­ing to acquire firearms through his hunt­ing club.

    In a case close­ly mir­ror­ing the police infil­tra­tion achieved by Nord­kreuz, in 2017 Ger­man mil­i­tary intel­li­gence moved against mem­bers of a group call­ing itself “Hannibal’s Shad­ow Army.” A fas­cist net­work oper­at­ing with­in the Ger­man armed forces, it had access to weapons and the same vision of a com­ing ‘Day‑X’ and a nation­al­ist mil­i­tary coup.

    In 2018 a group styling itself “Rev­o­lu­tion Chem­nitz” attacked peo­ple with non-white back­grounds in the for­mer East Ger­man city, a right-wing strong­hold where mem­bers of anti-Islam­ic group Pegi­da had marched side by side with politi­cians from the Alter­na­tive für Deutsch­land (AfD) par­ty, which has made huge inroads in the region.

    The Chem­nitz group were plan­ning armed attacks on what they called “the media dic­ta­tor­ship and their slaves” accord­ing to inter­views obtained by the Munich-based Sued­deutsche Zeitung. Like Nord­kreuz, they saw them­selves as light­ing the touch paper on a nation­al­ist upris­ing in which the police and patri­ot­ic cit­i­zens would flock to their side in an esca­lat­ing cul­ture war.

    A war for Germany’s future

    This idea of a war to pro­tect Europe is a sta­ple trope of the new Ger­man right. Pegi­da, which has spawned imi­ta­tors in the UK, Swe­den and else­where, stands for Patri­ot­ic Euro­peans against the Islam­i­fi­ca­tion of the Ossident—a com­mon syn­onym for the West in Ger­man.

    Andreas Kalb­itz, a senior AfD politi­cian in Bran­den­burg with a past in neo-Nazi groups, told fel­low par­ty mem­bers in Feb­ru­ary “we didn’t beat the Turks in Vien­na just to hand them Berlin,” a ref­er­ence to the siege of Vien­na and the even­tu­al vic­to­ry of the Holy Roman empire over the Islam­ic Ottomans in the 17th cen­tu­ry. It is a pow­er­ful and sim­ple sto­ry which, like the AfD, is also con­ve­nient­ly free of the bag­gage of Nazism.

    Ger­many now has to deal with the fact right wing extrem­ism is mor­ph­ing into some­thing more pow­er­ful than the old fringe neo-Nazi and skin­head move­ment. Feed­ing off the broad­er pop­ulist dis­course in Europe, the ease with which groups like Nord­kreuz could recruit from and use the resources of the police—and whether they were giv­en pas­sive help in doing so—also pos­es tough ques­tions about Germany’s abil­i­ty to fight domes­tic extrem­ism when its own secu­ri­ty ser­vices are com­pro­mised.
    ...

    ———-

    “What Germany’s “neo-Nazi” Dooms­day group tells us about the Europe’s ris­ing far-right” by Dominic Hinde; Prospect; 07/01/2019

    “Ger­many now has to deal with the fact right wing extrem­ism is mor­ph­ing into some­thing more pow­er­ful than the old fringe neo-Nazi and skin­head move­ment. Feed­ing off the broad­er pop­ulist dis­course in Europe, the ease with which groups like Nord­kreuz could recruit from and use the resources of the police—and whether they were giv­en pas­sive help in doing so—also pos­es tough ques­tions about Germany’s abil­i­ty to fight domes­tic extrem­ism when its own secu­ri­ty ser­vices are com­pro­mised.”

    There’s no short­age of tough ques­tions for Ger­many raised by the news of these groups’ plans. Deal­ing with far right ter­ror­ism is noth­ing new for Ger­many, but when these groups recruit from mem­bers of the police and mil­i­tary and uti­lize police resources, the ques­tion of whether or not Ger­many’s own secu­ri­ty ser­vices have already been infil­trat­ed turns into the ques­tion of just how exten­sive­ly they’ve been infil­trat­ed. They’ve clear­ly already been infil­trat­ed. And these dif­fer­ent groups appear to have the same under­ly­ing goal, “Day X”, which also rais­es the ques­tion of whether or not they’re work­ing togeth­er or if these were inde­pen­dent “Day X” efforts:

    ...
    Nord­kreuz were not just a neo-Nazi ter­ror group. Cen­tral to their ide­ol­o­gy was the prep­per mind­set more asso­ci­at­ed with reli­gious extrem­ists or dooms­day cults. Mem­bers of the group were said to be prepar­ing not just for vio­lence against their polit­i­cal ene­mies but for a so-called “Day X.”

    ...

    In a case close­ly mir­ror­ing the police infil­tra­tion achieved by Nord­kreuz, in 2017 Ger­man mil­i­tary intel­li­gence moved against mem­bers of a group call­ing itself “Hannibal’s Shad­ow Army.” A fas­cist net­work oper­at­ing with­in the Ger­man armed forces, it had access to weapons and the same vision of a com­ing ‘Day‑X’ and a nation­al­ist mil­i­tary coup.
    ...

    It’s all a grim reminder that, while Ger­many’s far right may be mak­ing gains in the polit­i­cal realm with par­ties like the AfD, win­ning elec­tions isn’t the only avenue for gain­ing pow­er that the far right has in mind. They’ve have a long time to ‘prep’ for ‘Day X’ and appar­ent­ly a lot of inside help.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 2, 2019, 3:22 pm
  9. This next arti­cle talks about how the Ger­man police tar­get­ed 12 loca­tions across six states on Valen­tines Day, tar­get­ing a far-right ter­ror group who was plan­ning to cause ‘civ­il war’ with attacks on politi­cians and Mus­lims. They were suc­cess­ful in arrest­ing twelve out of 13 sus­pects, includ­ing an police admin­is­tra­tor who was an infil­tra­tion and was work­ing for those extrem­ists. They planned to cre­ate ‘a civ­il-war-like sit­u­a­tion via as yet unde­fined attacks on politi­cians, asy­lum seek­ers and peo­ple of Mus­lim faith,’ police said. The group’s ulti­mate aim was ‘to shake the state and social order in Ger­many and in the end to over­turn it,’. Recent­ly, the Ger­man fed­er­al police said they had iden­ti­fied 48 peo­ple on the extreme right as ‘dan­ger­ous’ indi­vid­u­als who could car­ry out an attack.

    Although not dis­cussed in the arti­cle, there are sim­i­lar groups with the same nefar­i­ous goals in the Unit­ed States, such as mil­i­tant – neo-Nazi groups such aa “Atom Waf­fen” and the “Base”, and TBD. More recent­ly there was a let­ter signed by 40 mem­bers of Con­gress­The Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty recent­ly said in a new strat­e­gy report unveiled last month that, “White suprema­cist vio­lent extrem­ism, one type of racial­ly- and eth­ni­cal­ly-moti­vat­ed vio­lent extrem­ism, is one of the most potent forces dri­ving domes­tic ter­ror­ism.”

    Congressman’s Max Rose’s (NY 11th Dis­trict) wrote a let­ter to Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo:https://maxrose.house.gov/uploadedfiles/2019.10.16_rose_fto_letter_to_state.pdf It names Azov Bat­tal­ion, Nordic Resis­tance Move­ment, and Nation­al Action as three exam­ples of for­eign groups that have been con­nect­ed to recent ter­ror­ist attacks around the world as well as recruit­ing and influ­enc­ing Amer­i­can cit­i­zens. Here his the press release for that: https://maxrose.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=2370

    The Soufan Cen­ter released a new report titled “White Suprema­cy Extrem­ism: The Transna­tion­al Rise of The Vio­lent White Suprema­cist Move­ment These net­works share approach­es to recruit­ment, financ­ing, and pro­pa­gan­da, with Ukraine emerg­ing as a hub in the broad­er net­work of transna­tion­al white suprema­cy extrem­ism, attract­ing for­eign recruits from all over the world. white suprema­cy extrem­ists have found it eas­i­er and eas­i­er to recruit, fundraise, and spread vio­lent pro­pa­gan­da. More­over, white suprema­cist extrem­ists are imi­tat­ing Salafi-Jihadist groups like Al-Qae­da and the Islam­ic State, and many are tak­ing advan­tage of inter­na­tion­al con­flicts – such as the con­flict in Ukraine — to expand the glob­al white suprema­cy move­ment
    https://thesoufancenter.org/research/white-supremacy-extremism-the-transnational-rise-of-the-violent-white-supremacist-movement/

    Police raid far-right group plan­ning attacks on ‘politi­cians, asy­lum seek­ers and Mus­lims’ to bring about ‘a civ­il war-like sit­u­a­tion’ in Ger­many
    • Police car­ried out raids on 13 loca­tions across six states in Ger­many on Fri­day 
    • Heav­i­ly-armed offi­cers tar­get­ed far-right ter­ror group aim­ing to cause ‘civ­il war’ 
    • Group planned attacks on politi­cians, asy­lum seek­ers and Mus­lims, offi­cers said 
    • 12 out of 13 sus­pects, includ­ing a police work­er, were arrest­ed dur­ing the raids 

    By AFP
    PUBLISHED: 06:52 EST, 14 Feb­ru­ary 2020 | UPDATED: 08:32 EST, 14 Feb­ru­ary 2020

    Police in Ger­many have car­ried out raids against a far-right ter­ror group that planned to cre­ate a ‘civ­il war’ with attacks on politi­cians, asy­lum seek­ers and Mus­lims.  

    Offi­cers, includ­ing heav­i­ly armed spe­cial­ist units, hit 13 loca­tions across six states on Fri­day tar­get­ing the group’s five found­ing mem­bers and eight sup­port­ers.

    Twelve of the thir­teen sus­pects, includ­ing a police admin­is­tra­tion work­er, were arrest­ed dur­ing the raids. Police said the men are aged between 20 and 50. 

    Pros­e­cu­tors said the police work­er was imme­di­ate­ly sus­pend­ed and barred from enter­ing police precincts while the inves­ti­ga­tion is ongo­ing. 

    Inves­ti­ga­tors say the group, which they did not name, was found­ed in Sep­tem­ber 2019 by the five main sus­pects after they met online.

    They planned to cre­ate ‘a civ­il-war-like sit­u­a­tion via as yet unde­fined attacks on politi­cians, asy­lum seek­ers and peo­ple of Mus­lim faith,’ police said.

    The group’s ulti­mate aim was ‘to shake the state and social order in Ger­many and in the end to over­turn it,’ inves­ti­ga­tors say.

    Along­side the five prime sus­pects, the eight sup­port­ers ‘are believed to have agreed to pro­vide finan­cial sup­port, pro­cure weapons or take part in future attacks,’ pros­e­cu­tors said.
    The men had estab­lished an online chat-room where they dis­cussed their plans and swapped images of weapons they claimed to have man­u­fac­tured at home.

    Police say they launched their raids in order to con­firm whether the weapons were real, or images that had been faked.

    Police did not imme­di­ate­ly say whether any weapons were recov­ered.  

    The raids took place in the states of Baden-Würt­tem­berg, Bavaria, Low­er Sax­ony, North Rhine-West­phalia, Rhineland-Palati­nate and Sax­ony-Anhalt.

    The home of a non-sus­pect was also searched in Bavaria. 

    Ger­man author­i­ties have turned increased atten­tion to the coun­try’s under­ground extreme right scene since the mur­der of con­ser­v­a­tive local politi­cian Wal­ter Lue­bcke last June and an Octo­ber attack on a syn­a­gogue in east­ern city Halle.

    Sus­pects arrest­ed in both cas­es have ties to the extreme right.

    Inte­ri­or min­is­ter Horst See­hofer announced in Decem­ber 600 new posts across the fed­er­al police and domes­tic secu­ri­ty ser­vices to track far-right extrem­ist threats, cit­ing a grow­ing dan­ger.

    At the time, fed­er­al police said they had iden­ti­fied 48 peo­ple on the extreme right as ‘dan­ger­ous’ indi­vid­u­als who could car­ry out an attack.

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8004015/Police-raid-far-right-group-planning-cause-civil-war-Germany.html

    Posted by Mary Benton | February 16, 2020, 8:57 am
  10. Is Ger­many’s mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment heav­i­ly infil­trat­ed by an inter­na­tion­al neo-Nazi net­work plot­ting for the day Ger­man democ­ra­cy dies? If the recent dis­band­ing of an elite Ger­many com­man­do unit is any indi­ca­tion then, yes, Ger­many’s mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment agen­cies are thor­ough­ly infil­trat­ed by a neo-Nazi net­work plot­ting for “Day X”, the far right dream day when Ger­many democ­ra­cy col­laps­es. Because as we’ll see, the sto­ry of the dis­band­ing of KSK, Ger­many’s equiv­a­lent of the Navy Seals, by Ger­many’s defense min­istry announced a cou­ple weeks ago fol­low­ing an inves­ti­ga­tion into charges that elite com­bat unit’s lead­er­ship was open­ly tol­er­at­ing and pro­mot­ing far right extrem­ism is is real­ly the sto­ry of Ger­many offi­cials belat­ed dis­cov­er­ing a much larg­er far right net­work that appears to have been grow­ing in strength for years across all branch­es of the mil­i­tary and law enforce­ment, includ­ing the mil­i­tary counter-intel­li­gence agen­cies tasked with rout­ing out these net­works.

    The inves­ti­ga­tion that result­ed in the dis­band­ing of the KSK was start­ed fol­low­ing reports of a par­ty held at a farm where a large num­ber of KSK sol­diers attend­ed and engaged in open Nazi-like activ­i­ty. It turned out the par­ty was a going away par­ty for one of the lead­ers of the KSK unit. This leader was report­ed­ly quite enthu­si­as­tic in his Nazi chant­i­ng. As we’ll also see, part of the rea­son the dis­band­ing of the elite KSK unit is so dis­turb­ing is that the inves­ti­ga­tion did­n’t just dis­cov­er that a large frac­tion of the unit was involv­ing with this far right net­work. It also dis­cov­ered that large amounts of weapons and ammu­ni­tion and explo­sives are miss­ing from the unit. Like the kinds of explo­sives used to explode build­ing facades on spe­cial mis­sions abroad. So the Ger­many gov­ern­ment dis­cov­ered a net­work of not just high­ly trained extrem­ists but per­haps the most high­ly trained extrem­ists pos­si­ble and they’ve stolen tak­en large amounts of explo­sives:

    The New York Times

    Ger­many Dis­bands Spe­cial Forces Group Taint­ed by Far-Right Extrem­ists

    For years, far-right extrem­ists were tol­er­at­ed inside Germany’s most elite mil­i­tary unit. An under­ground bunker of explo­sives has wok­en the author­i­ties to an alarm­ing prob­lem.

    By Katrin Bennhold
    July 1, 2020

    BERLIN — Germany’s defense min­is­ter announced Wednes­day that she would par­tial­ly dis­band the most elite and high­ly trained spe­cial forces in the coun­try, say­ing it had been infil­trat­ed by far-right extrem­ism.

    The defense min­is­ter, Annegret Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer, said one of four fight­ing com­pa­nies inside the spe­cial forces had become so infest­ed with far-right extrem­ism that it would be dis­solved. The rest of the spe­cial forces unit, known by its Ger­man acronym, KSK, has until the end of Octo­ber to over­haul its recruit­ment, train­ing and lead­er­ship prac­tices before being allowed to rejoin any inter­na­tion­al mil­i­tary exer­cis­es or mis­sions.

    “The KSK can­not con­tin­ue in its cur­rent form,” Ms. Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer told a news con­fer­ence, describ­ing “an unhealthy elit­ism” and “tox­ic lead­er­ship” inside the unit, which, she added, had “devel­oped and pro­mot­ed extrem­ist ten­den­cies.”

    The announce­ment came six weeks after inves­ti­ga­tors dis­cov­ered a trove of Nazi mem­o­ra­bil­ia and an exten­sive arse­nal of stolen ammu­ni­tion and explo­sives on the prop­er­ty of a sergeant major who had served in the KSK since 2001.

    His com­pa­ny is at the cen­ter of a long-run­ning con­tro­ver­sy over a noto­ri­ous par­ty three years ago, where sol­diers were report­ed to have flashed Hitler salutes and lis­tened to neo-Nazi rock music.

    The raid high­light­ed “a new qual­i­ty” of far-right extrem­ism among those trained and armed to pro­tect Germany’s democ­ra­cy, Ms. Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer said. Since then, mil­i­tary lead­ers and politi­cians have rolled out a flur­ry of ini­tia­tives, which crit­ics said were long over­due.

    A com­mit­tee was formed to report back on far-right extrem­ism in the spe­cial forces and to pro­pose mea­sures to com­bat it. New leg­is­la­tion was passed to make it eas­i­er to fire far-right sol­diers. And, cru­cial­ly, the KSK and the rest of the mil­i­tary has been ordered to account for miss­ing weapons and ammu­ni­tion.

    Some 48,000 rounds of ammu­ni­tion and 62 kilo­grams worth of explo­sives have gone miss­ing from the spe­cial forces, said Gen. Eber­hard Zorn, inspec­tor gen­er­al of the armed forces and co-author of the report on the spe­cial forces that was pre­sent­ed on Wednes­day. The miss­ing weapons and ammu­ni­tion have added to con­cerns that the recent raid was only the tip of the ice­berg.

    The explo­sives in ques­tion were used by the KSK to explode build­ing facades on spe­cial mis­sions abroad, Gen­er­al Zorn said. “This is no small thing,” he added. “It wor­ries me very much.”

    It wor­ries oth­ers, too.

    “Do we have ter­ror­ist cells inside our mil­i­tary? I nev­er thought I would ask that ques­tion, but we have to,” said Patrick Sens­burg, a con­ser­v­a­tive law­mak­er on the intel­li­gence over­sight com­mit­tee and pres­i­dent of the reservist asso­ci­a­tion.

    The com­man­der of the KSK, Gen. Markus Kre­it­mayr, wrote a three-page let­ter to his troops after the recent raid, in which he addressed far-right sol­diers direct­ly: “You don’t deserve our cama­raderie!” he wrote, urg­ing them to leave the unit on their own. “If you don’t, you will real­ize that we will find you and get rid of you!”

    Ms. Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer said efforts would now be inten­si­fied to deter­mine whether recent and old­er cas­es of extrem­ism were part of a net­work.

    “The prob­a­bil­i­ty that it’s not just iso­lat­ed cas­es but that there are con­nec­tions is obvi­ous and has to be ful­ly inves­ti­gat­ed,” Ms. Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer said.

    Ms. Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer added that she now wants to bet­ter inte­grate the KSK into the wider mil­i­tary to increase over­sight of the unit. Train­ing that had been con­duct­ed sep­a­rate­ly from oth­er units would be opened up, secu­ri­ty checks of new recruits would be inten­si­fied and the num­ber of years sol­diers could serve in the same com­pa­ny would be capped.

    The report pre­sent­ed to the min­is­ter by Gen­er­al Zorn con­clud­ed that parts of the KSK exist­ed out­side the mil­i­tary chain of com­mand. “The KSK, at least in some areas, has become inde­pen­dent in recent years, under the influ­ence of an unhealthy under­stand­ing of elit­ism by indi­vid­ual lead­ers.”

    But the fail­ings were not just inside the KSK, the min­is­ter said. Across the mil­i­tary, ammu­ni­tion and explo­sives have been allowed to go miss­ing.

    Christoph Gramm, the pres­i­dent of mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence, said his agency was cur­rent­ly inves­ti­gat­ing 600 sol­diers, 20 of them in the KSK alone, which has about 1,400 mem­bers.

    ...

    Ms. Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer, the defense min­is­ter, said the mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence ser­vice, known as the MAD, had failed in its mis­sion to mon­i­tor and detect extrem­ism in recent years.

    “The work of the MAD was not sat­is­fac­to­ry,” she said, adding, “and it’s still not enough.”

    The KSK turns 25 next year. Many hope that it will have root­ed out its far-right extrem­ists by then. “The KSK needs to be our elite for free­dom and democ­ra­cy,” said Eva Högl, the par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sion­er for the armed forces.

    But for that to hap­pen, Ms. Högl said, the author­i­ties have to live up to their recent vows to shine a light in all cor­ners of Germany’s insti­tu­tions.

    Such vows have been made before.

    In the ear­ly 2000s, mem­bers of the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground, a neo-Nazi ter­ror­ist group, killed nine immi­grants and a police offi­cer over sev­en years. One of the killers was a for­mer sol­dier. Paid infor­mants in the domes­tic intel­li­gence agency helped to hide the group’s lead­ers and to build its net­work. When the case final­ly came to tri­al, it emerged that key files had been shred­ded by the agency.

    Ms. Högl was a mem­ber of the par­lia­men­tary inquiry into what became known as the N.S.U. scan­dal. “Two decades lat­er we still don’t know what the author­i­ties knew,” she said. “This time has got to be dif­fer­ent.”

    ———–

    “Ger­many Dis­bands Spe­cial Forces Group Taint­ed by Far-Right Extrem­ists” by Katrin Bennhold; The New York Times; 07/01/2020

    The raid high­light­ed “a new qual­i­ty” of far-right extrem­ism among those trained and armed to pro­tect Germany’s democ­ra­cy, Ms. Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer said. Since then, mil­i­tary lead­ers and politi­cians have rolled out a flur­ry of ini­tia­tives, which crit­ics said were long over­due.”

    A “new qual­i­ty” of far right extrem­ism. That’s how the report on the inves­ti­ga­tion of the KSK unit described what it found. Although, in a sense, elite mil­i­tary trained Nazis is kind of an “old qual­i­ty” of far right extrem­ism. There were a lot of mil­i­tary-trained Nazis dur­ing WWII, after all. And this “new qual­i­ty” of far right extrem­ism already has high-grade mil­i­tary explo­sives and the skills to use it. And now how the KSK report­ed­ly oper­at­ed par­tial­ly out­side the Ger­many mil­i­tary chain of com­mand. So the lead­er­ship of this unit was pro­mot­ing far right extrem­ism and oper­at­ing out­side of the mil­i­tary chain of com­mand:

    ...
    A com­mit­tee was formed to report back on far-right extrem­ism in the spe­cial forces and to pro­pose mea­sures to com­bat it. New leg­is­la­tion was passed to make it eas­i­er to fire far-right sol­diers. And, cru­cial­ly, the KSK and the rest of the mil­i­tary has been ordered to account for miss­ing weapons and ammu­ni­tion.

    Some 48,000 rounds of ammu­ni­tion and 62 kilo­grams worth of explo­sives have gone miss­ing from the spe­cial forces, said Gen. Eber­hard Zorn, inspec­tor gen­er­al of the armed forces and co-author of the report on the spe­cial forces that was pre­sent­ed on Wednes­day. The miss­ing weapons and ammu­ni­tion have added to con­cerns that the recent raid was only the tip of the ice­berg.

    The explo­sives in ques­tion were used by the KSK to explode build­ing facades on spe­cial mis­sions abroad, Gen­er­al Zorn said. “This is no small thing,” he added. “It wor­ries me very much.”<

    It wor­ries oth­ers, too.

    “Do we have ter­ror­ist cells inside our mil­i­tary? I nev­er thought I would ask that ques­tion, but we have to,” said Patrick Sens­burg, a con­ser­v­a­tive law­mak­er on the intel­li­gence over­sight com­mit­tee and pres­i­dent of the reservist asso­ci­a­tion.

    ...

    The report pre­sent­ed to the min­is­ter by Gen­er­al Zorn con­clud­ed that parts of the KSK exist­ed out­side the mil­i­tary chain of com­mand. “The KSK, at least in some areas, has become inde­pen­dent in recent years, under the influ­ence of an unhealthy under­stand­ing of elit­ism by indi­vid­ual lead­ers.”

    But the fail­ings were not just inside the KSK, the min­is­ter said. Across the mil­i­tary, ammu­ni­tion and explo­sives have been allowed to go miss­ing.
    ...

    And now here’s a more detailed look at what the inves­ti­ga­tion into the KSK dis­cov­ered and the ini­tial 2017 neo-Nazi par­ty at a farm that involved a large num­ber of KSK sol­diers cel­e­brat­ed the retire­ment of one of the KSK lead­ers who was report­ed­ly the most enthu­si­as­tic Nazi. The arti­cle also describes the net­work of safe­hous­es and weapons caches already cre­at­ed by the net­work, along with in-per­son meet­ings where they train and pre­pare for “Day X” when the net­work plans to exec­u­tive its grand plan:

    The New York Times

    As Neo-Nazis Seed Mil­i­tary Ranks, Ger­many Con­fronts ‘an Ene­my With­in’

    After plas­tic explo­sives and Nazi mem­o­ra­bil­ia were found at an elite sol­dier’s home, Ger­many wor­ries about a prob­lem of far-right infil­tra­tion at the heart of its democ­ra­cy

    By Katrin Bennhold

    Pub­lished July 3, 2020
    Updat­ed July 10, 2020

    CALW, Ger­many — As Ger­many emerged from its coro­n­avirus lock­down in May, police com­man­dos pulled up out­side a rur­al prop­er­ty owned by a sergeant major in the spe­cial forces, the country’s most high­ly trained and secre­tive mil­i­tary unit.

    They brought a dig­ger.

    The sergeant major’s nick­name was Lit­tle Sheep. He was sus­pect­ed of being a neo-Nazi. Buried in the gar­den, the police found two kilo­grams of PETN plas­tic explo­sives, a det­o­na­tor, a fuse, an AK-47, a silencer, two knives, a cross­bow and thou­sands of rounds of ammu­ni­tion, much of it believed to have been stolen from the Ger­man mil­i­tary..

    They also found an SS song­book, 14 edi­tions of a mag­a­zine for for­mer mem­bers of the Waf­fen SS and a host of oth­er Nazi mem­o­ra­bil­ia.

    “He had a plan,” said Eva Högl, Germany’s par­lia­men­tary com­mis­sion­er for the armed forces. “And he is not the only one.”

    Ger­many has a prob­lem. For years, politi­cians and secu­ri­ty chiefs reject­ed the notion of any far-right infil­tra­tion of the secu­ri­ty ser­vices, speak­ing only of “indi­vid­ual cas­es.” The idea of net­works was dis­missed. The supe­ri­ors of those exposed as extrem­ists were pro­tect­ed. Guns and ammu­ni­tion dis­ap­peared from mil­i­tary stock­piles with no real inves­ti­ga­tion.

    The gov­ern­ment is now wak­ing up. Cas­es of far-right extrem­ists in the mil­i­tary and the police, some hoard­ing weapons and explo­sives, have mul­ti­plied alarm­ing­ly. The nation’s top intel­li­gence offi­cials and senior mil­i­tary com­man­ders are mov­ing to con­front an issue that has become too dan­ger­ous to ignore.

    The prob­lem has deep­ened with the emer­gence of the Alter­na­tive for Ger­many par­ty, or AfD, which legit­imized a far-right ide­ol­o­gy that used the arrival of more than a mil­lion migrants in 2015 — and more recent­ly the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic — to engen­der a sense of impend­ing cri­sis.

    Most con­cern­ing to the author­i­ties is that the extrem­ists appear to be con­cen­trat­ed in the mil­i­tary unit that is sup­posed to be the most elite and ded­i­cat­ed to the Ger­man state, the spe­cial forces, known by their Ger­man acronym, the KSK.

    This week, Germany’s defense min­is­ter, Annegret Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer, took the dras­tic step of dis­band­ing a fight­ing com­pa­ny in the KSK con­sid­ered infest­ed with extrem­ists. Lit­tle Sheep, the sergeant major whose weapons stash was uncov­ered in May, was a mem­ber.

    Some 48,000 rounds of ammu­ni­tion and 62 kilo­grams, or about 137 pounds, of explo­sives have dis­ap­peared from the KSK alto­geth­er, she said.

    Germany’s mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence agency is now inves­ti­gat­ing more than 600 sol­diers for far-right extrem­ism, out of 184,000 in the mil­i­tary. Some 20 of them are in the KSK, a pro­por­tion that is five times high­er than in oth­er units.

    But the Ger­man author­i­ties are con­cerned that the prob­lem may be far larg­er and that oth­er secu­ri­ty insti­tu­tions have been infil­trat­ed as well. Over the past 13 months, far-right ter­ror­ists have assas­si­nat­ed a politi­cian, attacked a syn­a­gogue and shot dead nine immi­grants and Ger­man descen­dants of immi­grants.

    Thomas Halden­wang, pres­i­dent of Germany’s domes­tic intel­li­gence agency, has iden­ti­fied far-right extrem­ism and ter­ror­ism as the “biggest dan­ger to Ger­man democ­ra­cy today.”

    In inter­views I con­duct­ed over the course of the year with mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence offi­cials, and avowed far-right mem­bers them­selves, they described nation­wide net­works of cur­rent and for­mer sol­diers and police offi­cers with ties to the far right.

    In many cas­es, sol­diers have used the net­works to pre­pare for when they pre­dict Germany’s demo­c­ra­t­ic order will col­lapse. They call it Day X. Offi­cials wor­ry it is real­ly a pre­text for incit­ing ter­ror­ist acts, or worse, a putsch.

    “For far-right extrem­ists, the prepa­ra­tion of Day X and its pre­cip­i­ta­tion blend into one anoth­er,” Mar­ti­na Ren­ner, a law­mak­er on the home­land secu­ri­ty com­mit­tee of the Ger­man Par­lia­ment, told me.

    The ties, offi­cials say, some­times reach deep into old neo-Nazi net­works and the more pol­ished intel­lec­tu­al scene of the so-called New Right. Extrem­ists are hoard­ing weapons, main­tain­ing safe hous­es, and in some cas­es keep­ing lists of polit­i­cal ene­mies.

    This week yet anoth­er case emerged, of a reservist, now sus­pend­ed, who kept a list with cell­phone num­bers and address­es of 17 promi­nent politi­cians, who have been alert­ed. The case led to at least nine oth­er raids across the coun­try on Fri­day.

    Some Ger­man news media have referred to a “shad­ow army,” draw­ing par­al­lels to the 1920s, when nation­al­ist cells with­in the mil­i­tary hoard­ed arms, plot­ted coups and con­spired to over­throw democ­ra­cy.

    Most offi­cials still reject this anal­o­gy. But the strik­ing lack of under­stand­ing of the num­bers involved, even at the high­est lev­els of the gov­ern­ment, has con­tributed to a deep unease.

    “Once they real­ly start­ed look­ing, they found a lot of cas­es,” said Kon­stan­tin von Notz, deputy pres­i­dent of the intel­li­gence over­sight com­mit­tee in the Ger­man Par­lia­ment. “When you have hun­dreds of indi­vid­ual cas­es it begins to look like we have a struc­tur­al prob­lem. It is extreme­ly wor­ry­ing.”

    Mr. von Notz point­ed out that Bren­dan Tar­rant, who mas­sa­cred 51 Mus­lim wor­shipers last year at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, had trav­eled Europe a year ear­li­er and includ­ed an omi­nous line in his man­i­festo.

    “I would esti­mate the num­ber of sol­diers in Euro­pean armed forces that also belong to nation­al­ist groups to num­ber in the hun­dreds of thou­sands, with just as many employed in law enforce­ment posi­tions,” Mr. Tar­rant had writ­ten.

    Inves­ti­ga­tors, Mr. von Notz said, “should take these words seri­ous­ly.”

    But inves­ti­gat­ing the prob­lem is itself fraught: Even the mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence agency, charged with mon­i­tor­ing extrem­ism inside the armed forces, may be infil­trat­ed.

    A high-rank­ing inves­ti­ga­tor in the extrem­ism unit was sus­pend­ed in June after shar­ing con­fi­den­tial mate­r­i­al from the May raid with a con­tact in the KSK, who in turn passed it on to at least eight oth­er sol­diers, tip­ping them off that the agency might turn its atten­tion to them next.

    “If the very peo­ple who are meant to pro­tect our democ­ra­cy are plot­ting against it, we have a big prob­lem,” said Stephan Kramer, pres­i­dent of the domes­tic intel­li­gence agency in the state of Thuringia. “How do you find them?”

    “These are bat­tle-hard­ened men who know how to evade sur­veil­lance because they are trained in con­duct­ing sur­veil­lance them­selves,” he added.

    “What we are deal­ing with is an ene­my with­in.”

    Inside the ‘Shoot House’

    The air inside the “shoot house” smelled acrid, so many live rounds had been fired.

    I was stand­ing in the shoot­ing range on the out­skirts of the sleepy Ger­man town of Calw, in the Black For­est region, hav­ing been invit­ed ear­ly this year for a rare vis­it inside the KSK’s base, the most heav­i­ly guard­ed in the coun­try.

    A cam­ou­flaged sol­dier with a G36 assault rifle crouched along a bro­ken door frame. Two shad­ows popped up. The sol­dier fired four times — head, tor­so, head, tor­so — then went on to sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly elim­i­nate two dozen oth­er “ene­mies.” He did not miss once.

    The KSK are Germany’s answer to the Navy Seals. But these days their com­man­der, Gen. Markus Kre­it­mayr, an affa­ble Bavar­i­an who has done tours in Bosnia, Koso­vo and Afghanistan, is a man divid­ed between his loy­al­ty to them and rec­og­niz­ing that he has a seri­ous prob­lem on his hands.

    The gen­er­al was late for our inter­view. He had just spent four hours ques­tion­ing a mem­ber of his unit about a par­ty where half a dozen KSK sol­diers were report­ed to have flashed Hitler salutes.

    “I can’t explain why there are alleged­ly so many cas­es of ‘far-right extrem­ism’ in the mil­i­tary,” he said. The KSK is “clear­ly more affect­ed than oth­ers, that appears to be a fact.”

    It was nev­er easy to be a sol­dier in post­war Ger­many. Giv­en its Nazi his­to­ry and the destruc­tion it foist­ed on Europe in World War II, the coun­try main­tains a con­flict­ed rela­tion­ship to its mil­i­tary.

    For decades, Ger­many tried to forge a force that rep­re­sent­ed a demo­c­ra­t­ic soci­ety and its val­ues. But in 2011 it abol­ished con­scrip­tion and moved to a vol­un­teer force. As a result, the mil­i­tary increas­ing­ly reflects not the broad soci­ety, but a nar­row­er slice of it.

    Gen­er­al Kre­it­mayr said that “a big per­cent­age” of his sol­diers are east­ern Ger­mans, a region where the AfD does dis­pro­por­tion­ate­ly well. Rough­ly half the men on the list of KSK mem­bers sus­pect­ed of being far-right extrem­ists are also from the east, he added.

    The gen­er­al has called the cur­rent cri­sis in the unit “the most dif­fi­cult phase in its his­to­ry.”

    In our inter­view, he said that he could not rule out a sig­nif­i­cant degree of infil­tra­tion from the far right. “I don’t know if there is a shad­ow army in Ger­many,” he told me.

    “But I am wor­ried,” he said, “and not just as the com­man­der of the KSK, but as a cit­i­zen — that in the end some­thing like that does exist and that maybe our peo­ple are part of it.”

    Offi­cials talk of a per­cep­ti­ble shift “in val­ues” among new recruits. In con­ver­sa­tions, the sol­diers them­selves, who could not be iden­ti­fied under the unit’s guide­lines, said that if there was a tip­ping point in the unit, it came with the migrant cri­sis of 2015.

    As hun­dreds of thou­sands of asy­lum seek­ers from Syr­ia and Afghanistan were mak­ing their way to Ger­many, the mood on the base was anx­ious, they recalled.

    “We are sol­diers who are charged with defend­ing this coun­try and then they just opened the bor­ders, no con­trol,” one offi­cer recalled. “We were at the lim­it.”

    It was in this atmos­phere that a 30-year-old KSK sol­dier from Halle, in east­ern Ger­many, set up a Telegram chat net­work for sol­diers, police offi­cers and oth­ers unit­ed in their belief that the migrants would destroy the coun­try.

    His name was André Schmitt. But he goes by the nick­name Han­ni­bal.

    Hannibal’s Net­work

    In a house in rur­al west­ern Ger­many, behind a cur­tain of iron chains and past the cross­bow in the hall, a dun­geon­like room bathed in pur­ple light opens into a bar area. An over­sized image of a naked woman dom­i­nates the back wall.

    It was there that I met Mr. Schmitt ear­ly this year. He gave per­mis­sion for his name to be used, but did not want the loca­tion dis­closed or any pho­tographs.

    He left active ser­vice last Sep­tem­ber after stolen train­ing grenades were found at a build­ing belong­ing to his par­ents. But, he says, he still has his net­work: “Spe­cial forces, intel­li­gence, busi­ness exec­u­tives, Freema­sons,” he said. They meet here reg­u­lar­ly. The house, he says, is owned by a wealthy sup­port­er.

    “The forces are like a big fam­i­ly,” Mr. Schmitt told me, “every­one knows each oth­er.”

    When he set up his Telegram chats in 2015, he did so geo­graph­i­cal­ly — north, south, east, west — just like the Ger­man mil­i­tary. In par­al­lel, he ran a group called Uniter, an orga­ni­za­tion for secu­ri­ty-relat­ed pro­fes­sion­als that pro­vides social ben­e­fits but also para­mil­i­tary train­ing.

    Sev­er­al for­mer mem­bers of his chats are now under inves­ti­ga­tion by pros­e­cu­tors for plot­ting ter­ror­ism. Some were order­ing body bags. One faces tri­al.

    Mr. Schmitt’s sit­u­a­tion is more com­plex. He acknowl­edged serv­ing as an informer on the KSK for the mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence agency in mid-2017, when he met reg­u­lar­ly with a liai­son offi­cer. Today the mil­i­tary is pay­ing for him to get a busi­ness degree.

    He him­self was nev­er named a sus­pect. Ger­man offi­cials denied that they pro­tect­ed him. But this week the domes­tic intel­li­gence agency announced that it was plac­ing his cur­rent net­work, Uniter, under sur­veil­lance.

    The author­i­ties first stum­bled onto his chats in 2017 while inves­ti­gat­ing a sol­dier in the net­work who was sus­pect­ed of orga­niz­ing a ter­ror plot.

    Inves­ti­ga­tors are now look­ing into whether the chats and Uniter were the ear­ly skele­ton of a nation­wide far-right net­work that has infil­trat­ed state insti­tu­tions. As yet, they can­not say. The New York Times obtained police state­ments by Mr. Schmitt and oth­ers in his net­work relat­ed to the 2017 case.

    Ini­tial­ly, Mr. Schmitt and oth­er mem­bers say, the chats were about shar­ing infor­ma­tion, much of it about the sup­posed threats posed by migrants, which Mr. Schmitt admit­ted to the police he had inflat­ed to “moti­vate” peo­ple.

    “It was about inter­nal unrest because of sleep­er cells and world­wide extrem­ist groups, gang for­ma­tions, ter­ror­ist threats,” Mr. Schmitt told the police.

    The chats were pop­u­lar among KSK sol­diers. Mr. Schmitt said he count­ed 69 of his com­rades in the net­work in 2015.

    A fel­low KSK sol­dier, iden­ti­fied by inves­ti­ga­tors as Robert P., but known as Petrus, who ran two of the chats, told the police two years lat­er that it might have been more than twice that: “I have to say, pre­sum­ably half the unit was in there.”

    Soon the chats mor­phed from a plat­form for shar­ing infor­ma­tion to one ded­i­cat­ed to prepar­ing for Day X. Sip­ping min­er­al water, Mr. Schmitt described this as “war gam­ing.” He por­trayed a Europe under threat from gangs, Islamists and Antifa. He called them “ene­my troops on our ground.”

    His net­work helped mem­bers get ready to respond to what he por­trayed as an inevitable con­flict, some­times act­ing on their own.

    “Day X is per­son­al,” he said. “For one guy it’s this day, for anoth­er guy it’s anoth­er day.”

    ‘‘It’s the day you acti­vate your plans,” he said.

    Chat mem­bers met in per­son, worked out what pro­vi­sions and weapons to stock­pile, and where to keep safe hous­es. Dozens were iden­ti­fied. One was the mil­i­tary base in Calw itself. They prac­ticed how to rec­og­nize each oth­er, using mil­i­tary code, at “pick­up points” where mem­bers could gath­er on Day X. One was the mil­i­tary base in Calw itself. They prac­ticed how to rec­og­nize each oth­er, using mil­i­tary code, at “pick­up points” where mem­bers could gath­er on Day X.

    The sense of urgency grew.

    On March 21, 2016, a chat mem­ber, iden­ti­fied only as Matze, wrote about a pick­up point near Nurem­berg. There were, he wrote, “suf­fi­cient weapons and ammo present to bat­tle one’s way on.”

    Lat­er that year, Mr. Schmitt sent a mes­sage to oth­ers in the chat net­work. In the pre­vi­ous 18 months, he wrote, they had gath­ered “2,000 like-mind­ed peo­ple” in Ger­many and abroad.

    When I met him, Mr. Schmitt called it “a glob­al like-mind­ed broth­er­hood.”

    He denies ever plan­ning to bring about Day X, but he is still con­vinced that it will come, maybe soon­er rather than lat­er with the pan­dem­ic.

    “We know thanks to our sources in the banks and in the intel­li­gence ser­vices that at the lat­est by the end of Sep­tem­ber the big eco­nom­ic crash will come,” he said in a fol­low-up phone call this week.

    “There will be insol­ven­cies and mass unem­ploy­ment,” he proph­e­sied. “Peo­ple will take to the street.”

    Pig Heads and Hitler Salutes

    One night in 2017, Lit­tle Sheep, the sergeant major whose weapons stash was uncov­ered in May, was among about 70 KSK sol­diers of Sec­ond Com­pa­ny who had gath­ered at a mil­i­tary shoot­ing range.

    Inves­ti­ga­tors have iden­ti­fied him only as Philipp Sch. He and the oth­ers had orga­nized a spe­cial leav­ing par­ty for a lieu­tenant colonel, a man cel­e­brat­ed as a war hero for shoot­ing his way out of an ambush in Afghanistan while car­ry­ing one of his men.

    The colonel, an impos­ing man cov­ered in Cyril­lic tat­toos who enjoys cage-fight­ing in his spare time, had to com­plete an obsta­cle course. It involved hack­ing apart tree trunks and throw­ing sev­ered pig heads.

    As a prize, his men had flown in a woman. But the colonel end­ed up dead drunk. The woman, rather than being his tro­phy, went to the police.

    Stand­ing by the fire with a hand­ful of sol­diers, she had wit­nessed them singing neo-Nazi lyrics and rais­ing their right arm. One man stood out for his enthu­si­asm, she recalled in a tele­vised report by the pub­lic broad­cast­er ARD. She called him the “Nazi grand­pa.”

    Though just 45, “the Nazi grand­pa” was Lit­tle Sheep, who had joined the KSK in 2001.

    In the three years since the par­ty, the mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence ser­vice kept an eye on the sergeant major. But that did not stop the KSK from pro­mot­ing him to the high­est pos­si­ble non­com­mis­sioned offi­cer rank.

    The han­dling of the case fit a pat­tern, sol­diers and offi­cials say.

    In June, a KSK sol­dier addressed a 12-page let­ter to the defense min­is­ter, plead­ing for an inves­ti­ga­tion into what he described as a “tox­ic cul­ture of accep­tance” and “cul­ture of fear” inside the unit. Tips about extrem­ist com­rades were “col­lec­tive­ly ignored or even tol­er­at­ed.” One of his instruc­tors had likened the KSK to the Waf­fen SS, the sol­dier wrote.

    The instruc­tor, a lieu­tenant colonel, was him­self on the radar for far-right lean­ings since 2007, when he wrote a threat­en­ing email to anoth­er sol­dier. “You are being watched, no, not by impo­tent instru­men­tal­ized agen­cies, but by offi­cers of a new gen­er­a­tion, who will act when the times demand it,” it read. “Long live the holy Ger­many.”

    The KSK com­man­der at the time did not sus­pend the lieu­tenant. He mere­ly dis­ci­plined him. I asked Gen­er­al Kre­it­mayr, who took over com­mand in 2018, about the case.

    “Look, today in the year 2020, with all the knowl­edge that we have, we look at the email from 2007 and say, ‘It’s obvi­ous,’” he told me.

    “But at that time we only thought: Man, what’s wrong with him? He should pull him­self togeth­er.”

    The Hall­way of His­to­ry

    The back door of the main build­ing on the base in Calw leads into a long cor­ri­dor known as the “hall­way of his­to­ry,” a col­lec­tion of mem­o­ra­bil­ia gath­ered over the KSK’s near­ly 25 years that includes a stuffed Ger­man shep­herd, Kato, who para­chut­ed from 30,000 feet with a com­man­do team.

    Con­spic­u­ous­ly miss­ing is any men­tion of a dis­graced for­mer KSK com­man­der, Gen. Rein­hard Günzel, who was dis­missed after he wrote a 2003 let­ter in sup­port of an anti-Semit­ic speech by a con­ser­v­a­tive law­mak­er.

    Gen­er­al Günzel sub­se­quent­ly pub­lished a book called “Secret War­riors.” In it, he placed the KSK in the tra­di­tion of a noto­ri­ous spe­cial forces unit under the Nazis that com­mit­ted numer­ous war crimes, includ­ing mas­sacres of Jews. He has been a pop­u­lar speak­er at far-right events.

    “What you basi­cal­ly have is one of the found­ing com­man­ders of the KSK becom­ing a promi­nent ide­o­logue of the New Right,” said Chris­t­ian Weiss­ger­ber, a for­mer sol­dier who has writ­ten a book about his own expe­ri­ence of being a neo-Nazi in the mil­i­tary.

    The New Right, which encom­pass­es youth activists, intel­lec­tu­als and the AfD, wor­ries Gen­er­al Kre­it­mayr. The law­mak­er whose anti-Semit­ic com­ments led to Gen­er­al Günzel’s fir­ing all those years ago now sits in the Ger­man Par­lia­ment for the AfD.

    ...

    ————-

    “As Neo-Nazis Seed Mil­i­tary Ranks, Ger­many Con­fronts ‘an Ene­my With­in’ ” by Katrin Bennhold; The New York Times; 07/03/2020

    “The sergeant major’s nick­name was Lit­tle Sheep. He was sus­pect­ed of being a neo-Nazi. Buried in the gar­den, the police found two kilo­grams of PETN plas­tic explo­sives, a det­o­na­tor, a fuse, an AK-47, a silencer, two knives, a cross­bow and thou­sands of rounds of ammu­ni­tion, much of it believed to have been stolen from the Ger­man mil­i­tary..”

    They did­n’t dis­cov­er a neo-Nazi mil­i­tary net­work. They dis­cov­ered a neo-Nazi mil­i­tary net­work that had been steal­ing and hid­ing mil­i­tary weapons and ammu­ni­tion for years. And while the Ger­man gov­ern­ment has dis­cov­ered the exis­tence of these stores of stolen weapons and explo­sives, they haven’t actu­al­ly dis­cov­ered where these stores are all locat­ed. The weapons are still sit­ting there, wait­ing for “Day X”. And that’s why Thomas Halden­wang, pres­i­dent of Germany’s domes­tic intel­li­gence agency, iden­ti­fied far right extrem­ism and ter­ror­ism as the “biggest dan­ger to Ger­man democ­ra­cy today”:

    ...
    Some 48,000 rounds of ammu­ni­tion and 62 kilo­grams, or about 137 pounds, of explo­sives have dis­ap­peared from the KSK alto­geth­er, she said.

    Germany’s mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence agency is now inves­ti­gat­ing more than 600 sol­diers for far-right extrem­ism, out of 184,000 in the mil­i­tary. Some 20 of them are in the KSK, a pro­por­tion that is five times high­er than in oth­er units.

    But the Ger­man author­i­ties are con­cerned that the prob­lem may be far larg­er and that oth­er secu­ri­ty insti­tu­tions have been infil­trat­ed as well. Over the past 13 months, far-right ter­ror­ists have assas­si­nat­ed a politi­cian, attacked a syn­a­gogue and shot dead nine immi­grants and Ger­man descen­dants of immi­grants.

    Thomas Halden­wang, pres­i­dent of Germany’s domes­tic intel­li­gence agency, has iden­ti­fied far-right extrem­ism and ter­ror­ism as the “biggest dan­ger to Ger­man democ­ra­cy today.”

    In inter­views I con­duct­ed over the course of the year with mil­i­tary and intel­li­gence offi­cials, and avowed far-right mem­bers them­selves, they described nation­wide net­works of cur­rent and for­mer sol­diers and police offi­cers with ties to the far right.

    In many cas­es, sol­diers have used the net­works to pre­pare for when they pre­dict Germany’s demo­c­ra­t­ic order will col­lapse. They call it Day X. Offi­cials wor­ry it is real­ly a pre­text for incit­ing ter­ror­ist acts, or worse, a putsch.

    “For far-right extrem­ists, the prepa­ra­tion of Day X and its pre­cip­i­ta­tion blend into one anoth­er,” Mar­ti­na Ren­ner, a law­mak­er on the home­land secu­ri­ty com­mit­tee of the Ger­man Par­lia­ment, told me.

    The ties, offi­cials say, some­times reach deep into old neo-Nazi net­works and the more pol­ished intel­lec­tu­al scene of the so-called New Right. Extrem­ists are hoard­ing weapons, main­tain­ing safe hous­es, and in some cas­es keep­ing lists of polit­i­cal ene­mies.
    ...

    And note how one of the found­ing offi­cers of the KSK went on to become an open Nazi and wrote a book that placed the KSK in the tra­di­tion of the SS. So KSK has been pro­mot­ed as a unit for Nazi sym­pa­thiz­ers for years from one of its found­ing mem­bers:

    ...
    The Hall­way of His­to­ry

    The back door of the main build­ing on the base in Calw leads into a long cor­ri­dor known as the “hall­way of his­to­ry,” a col­lec­tion of mem­o­ra­bil­ia gath­ered over the KSK’s near­ly 25 years that includes a stuffed Ger­man shep­herd, Kato, who para­chut­ed from 30,000 feet with a com­man­do team.

    Con­spic­u­ous­ly miss­ing is any men­tion of a dis­graced for­mer KSK com­man­der, Gen. Rein­hard Günzel, who was dis­missed after he wrote a 2003 let­ter in sup­port of an anti-Semit­ic speech by a con­ser­v­a­tive law­mak­er.

    Gen­er­al Günzel sub­se­quent­ly pub­lished a book called “Secret War­riors.” In it, he placed the KSK in the tra­di­tion of a noto­ri­ous spe­cial forces unit under the Nazis that com­mit­ted numer­ous war crimes, includ­ing mas­sacres of Jews. He has been a pop­u­lar speak­er at far-right events.

    “What you basi­cal­ly have is one of the found­ing com­man­ders of the KSK becom­ing a promi­nent ide­o­logue of the New Right,” said Chris­t­ian Weiss­ger­ber, a for­mer sol­dier who has writ­ten a book about his own expe­ri­ence of being a neo-Nazi in the mil­i­tary.

    The New Right, which encom­pass­es youth activists, intel­lec­tu­als and the AfD, wor­ries Gen­er­al Kre­it­mayr. The law­mak­er whose anti-Semit­ic com­ments led to Gen­er­al Günzel’s fir­ing all those years ago now sits in the Ger­man Par­lia­ment for the AfD.
    ...

    But it’s not just the lead­er­ship of the KSK that’s been infil­trat­ed. The entire Ger­man armed forces appear to be infil­trat­ed, includ­ing the mil­i­tary counter-intel­li­gence unit that’s in charge with inves­ti­gat­ing dan­gers and was instead appar­ent­ly tip­ping off KSK about upcom­ing raids:

    ...
    But inves­ti­gat­ing the prob­lem is itself fraught: Even the mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence agency, charged with mon­i­tor­ing extrem­ism inside the armed forces, may be infil­trat­ed.

    A high-rank­ing inves­ti­ga­tor in the extrem­ism unit was sus­pend­ed in June after shar­ing con­fi­den­tial mate­r­i­al from the May raid with a con­tact in the KSK, who in turn passed it on to at least eight oth­er sol­diers, tip­ping them off that the agency might turn its atten­tion to them next.

    “If the very peo­ple who are meant to pro­tect our democ­ra­cy are plot­ting against it, we have a big prob­lem,” said Stephan Kramer, pres­i­dent of the domes­tic intel­li­gence agency in the state of Thuringia. “How do you find them?”

    “These are bat­tle-hard­ened men who know how to evade sur­veil­lance because they are trained in con­duct­ing sur­veil­lance them­selves,” he added.

    “What we are deal­ing with is an ene­my with­in.”
    ...

    Also note chan­nels how were set up by mem­bers of KSK on the encrypt­ed mes­sage plat­form, Telegram, for coor­di­nat­ing with fel­low Nazis in oth­er branch­es of ser­vice and civil­ian agen­cies. It makes it sound like KSK is play­ing a lead­ing role in this broad­er net­work. One of the mem­bers of the group esti­mat­ed that around half of his KSK unit was a mem­ber of the chat. Keep in mind we’re talk­ing about a unit of 1,400 sol­diers. So 700 or so of them were mem­bers of that Telegram cha­t­room and yet we’re told only 20 mem­bers of KSK are being inves­ti­gat­ed for far right extrem­ism. It’s a reminder that the defense min­istry is essen­tial­ly dis­solv­ing and reform­ing the KSK unit because extrem­ism was so wild­ly wide­spread there were too many peo­ple to indi­vid­u­al­ly inves­ti­gate. But it also rais­es the ques­tion of whether or not the rem­formed KSK is going to mean­ing­ful­ly purged of extrem­ists:

    ...
    Offi­cials talk of a per­cep­ti­ble shift “in val­ues” among new recruits. In con­ver­sa­tions, the sol­diers them­selves, who could not be iden­ti­fied under the unit’s guide­lines, said that if there was a tip­ping point in the unit, it came with the migrant cri­sis of 2015.

    As hun­dreds of thou­sands of asy­lum seek­ers from Syr­ia and Afghanistan were mak­ing their way to Ger­many, the mood on the base was anx­ious, they recalled.

    “We are sol­diers who are charged with defend­ing this coun­try and then they just opened the bor­ders, no con­trol,” one offi­cer recalled. “We were at the lim­it.”

    It was in this atmos­phere that a 30-year-old KSK sol­dier from Halle, in east­ern Ger­many, set up a Telegram chat net­work for sol­diers, police offi­cers and oth­ers unit­ed in their belief that the migrants would destroy the coun­try.

    His name was André Schmitt. But he goes by the nick­name Han­ni­bal.

    Hannibal’s Net­work

    In a house in rur­al west­ern Ger­many, behind a cur­tain of iron chains and past the cross­bow in the hall, a dun­geon­like room bathed in pur­ple light opens into a bar area. An over­sized image of a naked woman dom­i­nates the back wall.

    It was there that I met Mr. Schmitt ear­ly this year. He gave per­mis­sion for his name to be used, but did not want the loca­tion dis­closed or any pho­tographs.

    He left active ser­vice last Sep­tem­ber after stolen train­ing grenades were found at a build­ing belong­ing to his par­ents. But, he says, he still has his net­work: “Spe­cial forces, intel­li­gence, busi­ness exec­u­tives, Freema­sons,” he said. They meet here reg­u­lar­ly. The house, he says, is owned by a wealthy sup­port­er.

    “The forces are like a big fam­i­ly,” Mr. Schmitt told me, “every­one knows each oth­er.”

    When he set up his Telegram chats in 2015, he did so geo­graph­i­cal­ly — north, south, east, west — just like the Ger­man mil­i­tary. In par­al­lel, he ran a group called Uniter, an orga­ni­za­tion for secu­ri­ty-relat­ed pro­fes­sion­als that pro­vides social ben­e­fits but also para­mil­i­tary train­ing.

    ...

    Inves­ti­ga­tors are now look­ing into whether the chats and Uniter were the ear­ly skele­ton of a nation­wide far-right net­work that has infil­trat­ed state insti­tu­tions. As yet, they can­not say. The New York Times obtained police state­ments by Mr. Schmitt and oth­ers in his net­work relat­ed to the 2017 case.

    ...

    The chats were pop­u­lar among KSK sol­diers. Mr. Schmitt said he count­ed 69 of his com­rades in the net­work in 2015.

    A fel­low KSK sol­dier, iden­ti­fied by inves­ti­ga­tors as Robert P., but known as Petrus, who ran two of the chats, told the police two years lat­er that it might have been more than twice that: “I have to say, pre­sum­ably half the unit was in there.”

    ...

    Chat mem­bers met in per­son, worked out what pro­vi­sions and weapons to stock­pile, and where to keep safe hous­es. Dozens were iden­ti­fied. One was the mil­i­tary base in Calw itself. They prac­ticed how to rec­og­nize each oth­er, using mil­i­tary code, at “pick­up points” where mem­bers could gath­er on Day X. One was the mil­i­tary base in Calw itself. They prac­ticed how to rec­og­nize each oth­er, using mil­i­tary code, at “pick­up points” where mem­bers could gath­er on Day X.
    ...

    Final­ly, note the exist­ing warm­ing from one of the lead­ers of the Telegram chat rooms: Thanks to the pan­dem­ic “Day X” is com­ing soon­er rather than lat­er, and he bases this on source in in the banks and in the intel­li­gence ser­vices. Now, it’s entire­ly he’s hyp­ing the extent of this net­work. But based on what we’ve seen so far it’s hard to see why we should­n’t assume that this net­work real­ly does have sources in the banks and intel­li­gence ser­vices:

    ...
    When I met him, Mr. Schmitt called it “a glob­al like-mind­ed broth­er­hood.”

    He denies ever plan­ning to bring about Day X, but he is still con­vinced that it will come, maybe soon­er rather than lat­er with the pan­dem­ic.

    “We know thanks to our sources in the banks and in the intel­li­gence ser­vices that at the lat­est by the end of Sep­tem­ber the big eco­nom­ic crash will come,” he said in a fol­low-up phone call this week.

    “There will be insol­ven­cies and mass unem­ploy­ment,” he proph­e­sied. “Peo­ple will take to the street.”

    ...

    So we’re going to see what hap­pens with Ger­many’s seem­ing­ly sud­den dis­cov­ery of a vast and well-armed neo-Nazi ter­ror­ist net­work oper­at­ing across its mil­i­tary and gov­ern­ment bureau­cra­cies. Will there be exten­sive fol­lowup inves­ti­gat­ing and fur­ther rev­e­la­tions? Or will this all just kind of fall down the mem­o­ry hole again? We’ll pre­sum­ably get an idea when the KSK is even­tu­al­ly reformed...or dur­ing “Day X” when all the undis­man­tled neo-Nazi net­works pop up and start mass ter­ror­iz­ing every­one.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | July 14, 2020, 2:24 pm
  11. Giv­en all of the under­stand­able con­cern that the US is on the verge of hav­ing Pres­i­dent Trump unleash some sort of far right insur­rec­tion to stay in pow­er — con­cerns that have only grown fol­low­ing the thwart­ing of a mili­tia plot to kid­nap the gov­er­nor of Michi­gan and start a civ­il war — here’s a pair of arti­cle that remind us that Ger­many is con­tin­u­ing to expe­ri­ence its own grow­ing threat of a far right insur­rec­tion with exten­sive help from high up in the gov­ern­ment.

    First, here’s an arti­cle about from late Sep­tem­ber about the dis­missal of Christof Gramm, the head of Ger­many’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence ser­vices (MAD), fol­low­ing the rev­e­la­tion this sum­mer that large stores of weapons and explo­sives were miss­ing from mil­i­tary stores due to years of pil­fer­ing by an exten­sive neo-Nazi net­work that infil­trat­ed of Ger­many’s mil­i­tary, includ­ing its elite spe­cial forces. And the infil­tra­tion of those elite units includ­ed the top lead­er­ship of these units and the mil­i­tary intel­li­gence units tasked k with watch­ing out for extrem­ist infil­tra­tion was itself infil­trat­ed. So Gram­m’s dis­missal was kind of a giv­en at that point and it final­ly hap­pened. The real ques­tion is what comes next and whether or not there’s going to be an mean­ing­ful attempt to purge Ger­many’s mil­i­tary after we learned that the extrem­ist infil­tra­tion is at a far greater lev­el than offi­cials ever imag­ined (at least pub­licly imag­ined) and at this point we’re just get­ting gener­ic pledges to improve the sit­u­a­tion with acknowl­edge­ments that not enough has been done:

    The New York Times

    Ger­many Dis­miss­es Mil­i­tary Intel­li­gence Offi­cial After Neo-Nazi Scan­dals

    After years of play­ing down the risk of far-right infil­tra­tion in the mil­i­tary, polit­i­cal lead­ers are con­fronting an issue that has become too dan­ger­ous to ignore.

    By Katrin Bennhold
    Pub­lished Sept. 24, 2020
    Updat­ed Oct. 2, 2020

    BERLIN — After a series of scan­dals involv­ing far-right extrem­ists in the Ger­man mil­i­tary, the gov­ern­ment on Thurs­day dis­missed the head of its mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence ser­vice, the body tasked with mon­i­tor­ing extrem­ism inside the armed forces.

    Christof Gramm, who has led the agency since 2015, will take ear­ly retire­ment next month, accord­ing to a state­ment by the defense min­istry. A suc­ces­sor has yet to be named.

    It is the lat­est sign that after years of neglect, polit­i­cal lead­ers are mov­ing to con­front an issue that has become too dan­ger­ous to ignore.

    Dur­ing Mr. Gramm’s five years at the helm of the ser­vice, the num­ber of cas­es of far-right extrem­ists inside the mil­i­tary, some hoard­ing weapons and explo­sives, has mul­ti­plied alarm­ing­ly.

    Thursday’s announce­ment came three months after Defense Min­is­ter Annegret Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer dis­band­ed one of four fight­ing com­pa­nies in Germany’s elite spe­cial forces, the KSK, because it was con­sid­ered to be rid­dled with extrem­ists.

    Inves­ti­ga­tors had dis­cov­ered a trove of Nazi mem­o­ra­bil­ia and an exten­sive arse­nal of stolen ammu­ni­tion and explo­sives on the prop­er­ty of a sergeant major who had served in the KSK since 2001. Sev­er­al sol­diers in his com­pa­ny had flashed Hitler salutes and sang Nazi rock at a par­ty, accord­ing to a wit­ness state­ment.

    Over all, the mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence ser­vice, known wide­ly by the acronym MAD, is inves­ti­gat­ing more than 600 sol­diers for far-right extrem­ism. Some 48,000 rounds of ammu­ni­tion and 62 kilo­grams, or about 137 pounds, of explo­sives have dis­ap­peared from the KSK.

    Offi­cials famil­iar with his depar­ture said that Mr. Gramm’s per­son­al integri­ty was not in doubt. But on his watch — and despite a series of inter­nal reforms — the mil­i­tary coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence ser­vice failed in its mis­sion to mon­i­tor and detect extrem­ism.

    Con­cerns about far-right infil­tra­tion even turned to the agency itself: A high-rank­ing inves­ti­ga­tor in its extrem­ism unit was sus­pend­ed in June after shar­ing con­fi­den­tial mate­r­i­al from an inves­ti­ga­tion about a KSK sol­dier with a con­tact inside the KSK.

    “The work of the MAD was not sat­is­fac­to­ry,” Ms. Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer said in July after the lat­est KSK scan­dal. “It’s still not enough.”

    Thursday’s state­ment acknowl­edged that Mr. Gramm had ini­ti­at­ed some changes that led to “a tan­gi­ble improve­ment” in how the ser­vice oper­at­ed. But there was a need for “addi­tion­al efforts and dynamism” that should be reflect­ed by a change in per­son­nel, the defense min­istry state­ment read.

    The aim now is to tie the agency’s work more close­ly to the far big­ger domes­tic intel­li­gence agency, whose leader has iden­ti­fied far-right extrem­ism and ter­ror­ism as the “biggest dan­ger to Ger­man democ­ra­cy today.”

    ...

    ————

    “Ger­many Dis­miss­es Mil­i­tary Intel­li­gence Offi­cial After Neo-Nazi Scan­dals” by Katrin Bennhold; The New York Times; 09/24/2020

    “Thursday’s announce­ment came three months after Defense Min­is­ter Annegret Kramp-Kar­ren­bauer dis­band­ed one of four fight­ing com­pa­nies in Germany’s elite spe­cial forces, the KSK, because it was con­sid­ered to be rid­dled with extrem­ists.”

    Three months after an elite com­man­do unit gets entire­ly dis­band­ed fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery that it was basi­cal­ly an elite neo-Nazi com­man­do unit we final­ly have the head of the agency tasked with pre­vent­ing exact­ly this sit­u­a­tion step­ping down. So what reforms are under­way? Well, there’s a call from the defense min­istry for “addi­tion­al efforts and dynamism” that should be reflect­ed by a change in per­son­nel, which sounds like a n acknowl­edge­ment that more neo-Nazis and sym­pa­thiz­ers in the mil­i­tary need to be iden­ti­fied and fired. But it also said the aim is for MAD to work more close­ly with Ger­many domes­tic intel­li­gence agency — the Bun­de­samt für Ver­fas­sungss­chutz (BfV) — which is the kind of reform that sug­gests that MAD is so thor­ough­ly infil­trat­ed and cor­rupt that its job needs to be out­sourced. Also recall that it was employ­ees of the BvF who were tip­ping Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground! So hav­ing the MAD work more close­ly with the BfV should­n’t exact­ly be a source of com­fort:

    ...
    Thursday’s state­ment acknowl­edged that Mr. Gramm had ini­ti­at­ed some changes that led to “a tan­gi­ble improve­ment” in how the ser­vice oper­at­ed. But there was a need for “addi­tion­al efforts and dynamism” that should be reflect­ed by a change in per­son­nel, the defense min­istry state­ment read.

    The aim now is to tie the agency’s work more close­ly to the far big­ger domes­tic intel­li­gence agency, whose leader has iden­ti­fied far-right extrem­ism and ter­ror­ism as the “biggest dan­ger to Ger­man democ­ra­cy today.”
    ...

    Next, here’s an arti­cle from last week that pro­vides some impor­tant his­tor­i­cal con­text for the rise of the far right in Ger­many and the recent dis­cov­ery of the weapons and explo­sive stock­piles: It’s been clear from the very begin­ning of Ger­many’s reuni­fi­ca­tion that the for­mer­ly com­mu­nist East Ger­many rep­re­sent­ed an incred­i­ble recruit­ing oppor­tu­ni­ty for the neo-Nazis of West Ger­many and pre­sent­ing all sorts of oppor­tu­ni­ties for secret neo-Nazi train­ing camps and weapons stock­piles, but the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a far right par­ty like AfD return­ing to the par­lia­ment or the exis­tence of domes­tic ter­ror­ist net­works was long-ignored by Ger­many’s lead­er­ship. And here we are:

    The New York Times

    Germany’s Far Right Reuni­fied, Too, Mak­ing It Much Stronger

    Thir­ty years after Ger­many came back togeth­er, the for­mer East has become the strong­hold of a once-mar­gin­al­ized move­ment that now sits in Par­lia­ment.

    By Katrin Bennhold
    Oct. 3, 2020

    BERLIN — They called him the “Führer of Berlin.”

    Ingo Has­sel­bach had been a clan­des­tine neo-Nazi in com­mu­nist East Berlin, but the fall of the Berlin Wall brought him out of the shad­ows. He con­nect­ed with west­ern extrem­ists in the uni­fied city, orga­nized far-right work­shops, fought street bat­tles with left­ists and cel­e­brat­ed Hitler’s birth­day. He dreamed of a far-right par­ty in the par­lia­ment of a reuni­fied Ger­many.

    Today, the far-right par­ty Alter­na­tive for Ger­many, known by its Ger­man ini­tials, AfD, is the main oppo­si­tion in Par­lia­ment. Its lead­ers march side by side with far-right extrem­ists in street protests. And its pow­er base is the for­mer com­mu­nist East.

    “Reuni­fi­ca­tion was a huge boost for the far right,” said Mr. Has­sel­bach, who left the neo-Nazi scene years ago and now helps oth­ers to do the same. “The neo-Nazis were the first ones to be reuni­fied. We laid the foun­da­tion for a par­ty like the AfD. There are things we used to say that have become main­stream today.”

    As it marks the 30th anniver­sary of reuni­fi­ca­tion on Sat­ur­day, Ger­many can right­ly cel­e­brate being an eco­nom­ic pow­er­house and thriv­ing lib­er­al democ­ra­cy. But reuni­fi­ca­tion has anoth­er, rarely men­tioned lega­cy — of uni­fy­ing, empow­er­ing and bring­ing into the open a far-right move­ment that has evolved into a dis­rup­tive polit­i­cal force and a ter­ror­ist threat, not least inside key state insti­tu­tions like the mil­i­tary and police.

    “Today’s far-right extrem­ism in Ger­many can­not be under­stood with­out reuni­fi­ca­tion,” said Matthias Quent, a far-right extrem­ism expert and direc­tor of an insti­tute that stud­ies democ­ra­cy and civ­il soci­ety in the east­ern state of Thuringia. “It lib­er­at­ed the neo-Nazis in the East from their under­ground exis­tence, and it gave the far-right in the West access to a pool of new recruits and whole swathes of ter­ri­to­ry in which to move with­out too much over­sight.”

    For years, Ger­man offi­cials trust­ed that a far-right par­ty could nev­er again be elect­ed into Par­lia­ment and dis­missed the idea of far-right ter­ror­ist net­works. But some now wor­ry that the far-right struc­tures estab­lished in the years after reuni­fi­ca­tion laid the ground­work for a resur­gence that has burst into view over the past 15 months.

    Far-right ter­ror­ists killed a region­al politi­cian on his front porch near the cen­tral city of Kas­sel, attacked a syn­a­gogue in the east­ern city of Halle and shot dead nine peo­ple of immi­grant descent in the west­ern city of Hanau.

    This sum­mer, the gov­ern­ment took the dras­tic step of dis­band­ing an entire mil­i­tary com­pa­ny in the spe­cial forces after explo­sives, a machine gun and SS para­pher­na­lia were found on the prop­er­ty of a sergeant major in the east­ern state of Sax­ony. A dis­pro­por­tion­ate num­ber — about half — of those sus­pect­ed of far-right extrem­ism inside that unit, the KSK, were from the for­mer East, its com­man­der said.

    Nation­al­ism and xeno­pho­bia are more ingrained in the for­mer East, where the mur­der­ous his­to­ry of World War II was nev­er con­front­ed as deeply on a soci­etal lev­el as it was in the for­mer West. The AfD’s vote share is twice as high in the east­ern states, where the num­ber of far-right hate crimes is high­er than in west­ern ones.

    Offi­cial­ly, there were no Nazis in old East Ger­many. The regime defined itself in the tra­di­tion of com­mu­nists who had resist­ed fas­cism, giv­ing rise to a state doc­trine of remem­brance that effec­tive­ly excul­pat­ed it from wartime atroc­i­ties. Far-right mobs who beat up for­eign work­ers from fel­low social­ist states like Cuba or Ango­la were clas­si­fied as “row­dies” led astray by west­ern pro­pa­gan­da.

    But a potent neo-Nazi move­ment was grow­ing under­ground. In 1987, Bernd Wag­n­er, a young police offi­cer in East Berlin, esti­mat­ed that there were 15,000 “home­grown” vio­lent neo-Nazis, of whom 1,000 were repeat offend­ers. His report was swift­ly locked away.

    Two years lat­er, as tens of thou­sands took to the streets in anti-com­mu­nist protests that even­tu­al­ly brought down the regime, the pro-democ­ra­cy activists were not the only marchers.

    “The skin­heads were march­ing, too,” Mr. Wag­n­er recalled.

    The bat­tle cry of those anti-com­mu­nist protests — “We are the peo­ple” — lat­er became the bat­tle cry for the far right at anti-Mus­lim Pegi­da march­es dur­ing the 2015 refugee cri­sis, far-right riots in Chem­nitz in 2018, and again at the cur­rent anti-coro­n­avirus protests.

    Before reuni­fi­ca­tion, the far-right scene in West Ger­many was small and aging, but now west­ern neo-Nazis flocked east to offer “recon­struc­tion aid” and unex­pect­ed­ly found a refuge. Behind the wall, the East had been frozen in time, a large­ly homo­ge­neous white coun­try where nation­al­ism was allowed to live on.

    “The lead­ers of the west­ern scene thought they were in par­adise,” Mr. Has­sel­bach recalled.

    Since then the East has become the home of choice for sev­er­al promi­nent west­ern extrem­ists. Götz Kubitschek, a lead­ing far-right intel­lec­tu­al from Swabia who wants to pre­serve the “eth­no-cul­tur­al iden­ti­ty” of Ger­many, bought a rur­al manor house in the East, which serves as the head­quar­ters for his far-right pub­lish­ing house and research insti­tute. So did Björn Höcke and Andreas Kalb­itz, two west­ern­ers who became lead­ers of the most rad­i­cal fac­tions of the AfD in the for­mer East.

    “The East has become a sort of retreat for the far right,” Mr. Quent said, “a place where Ger­many is still Ger­many and where men are still men.”

    But the infat­u­a­tion with the East is also strate­gic, he said. “There is a sense among far-right extrem­ists: ‘We can’t win in the West, but we can win in the East and then, from a posi­tion of strength, we will take on the West.’”

    Reuni­fi­ca­tion also pro­vid­ed a phys­i­cal space in which far-right mem­bers could move and train. Secret neo-Nazi train­ing camps were held at aban­doned Sovi­et mil­i­tary bases. At one of them, on the island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea, Mr. Has­sel­bach took part in work­shops on forg­ing iden­ti­ty papers, bomb mak­ing, guer­ril­la war­fare and “silent killing.”

    The ini­tial years after reuni­fi­ca­tion were so tumul­tuous that secu­ri­ty ser­vices were inca­pable of con­trol­ling this coa­lesc­ing extrem­ist move­ment.

    “In the east­ern states there was no mature struc­ture for a domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vice,” Thomas Halden­wang, the pres­i­dent of the domes­tic intel­li­gence office, said in an inter­view. “The agen­cies in the new states had to be built from noth­ing.”

    Dur­ing the ear­ly 1990s, a wave of racist vio­lence swept through Ger­many, much of it in the East. For­eign­ers were chased, beat­en up and some­times killed. Asy­lum homes were fire­bombed. Bus­es of immi­grants were attacked. Some­times east­ern onlook­ers would watch, clap or join in.

    “You could see that some­thing was shift­ing and not just on the fringes,” said Volkhard Knigge, a his­to­ri­an. “Oth­er­wise the AfD would not be so strong today.

    In the ear­ly 1990s, Mr. Knigge moved east to run the memo­r­i­al at the for­mer con­cen­tra­tion camp in Buchen­wald. He was star­tled by the abun­dance of Nazi mem­o­ra­bil­ia like Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” for sale at flea mar­kets and by the mob of angry young neo-Nazis who would gath­er on the his­toric the­ater square, shout­ing xeno­pho­bic slo­gans.

    “We thought democ­ra­cy had won,” Mr. Knigge said. “The West thought this was the end of his­to­ry. But for nation­al­ists, this was a revi­sion of his­to­ry.”

    Reuni­fi­ca­tion brought two strains of nation­al­ism togeth­er, said Anet­ta Kahane, a Jew­ish anti-racism activist — west­ern-style nation­al­ist con­ser­vatism and a more rad­i­cal east­ern social-rev­o­lu­tion­ary vari­ety. On their own, nei­ther had been pow­er­ful enough to stir a polit­i­cal move­ment.

    “It was the mar­riage of the two that made the AfD pos­si­ble,” said Ms. Kahane, who runs the Amadeu-Anto­nio Foun­da­tion, named after a Black Angolan who was beat­en to death with a base­ball bat by neo-Nazis less than two months after reuni­fi­ca­tion.

    For most Ger­mans, the new cen­tu­ry was defined by progress. Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel, an east­ern­er, has per­son­i­fied west­ern lib­er­al val­ues. When the coun­try was host to the soc­cer World Cup in 2006, a con­fi­dent­ly mul­ti­cul­tur­al Ger­many was on dis­play, in what many at the time called “a sum­mer fairy-tale.”

    “I want­ed to believe that that’s who we are as a coun­try — and I did believe it,” said Tan­jev Schultz, an author and jour­nal­ism pro­fes­sor. “But it wasn’t true.”

    That sum­mer, the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground, a far-right ter­ror­ist group that had come out of the extrem­ist net­works formed in East Ger­many, was engaged in an immi­grant killing spree that the police would not dis­cov­er until 2011.

    From 2000 to 2007, the group killed nine immi­grants and a police offi­cer, even as paid inform­ers of the intel­li­gence agency helped hide its lead­ers and build up its net­work.

    Mr. Has­sel­bach said he was not sur­prised to see the recent rev­e­la­tions of far-right infil­tra­tion of secu­ri­ty ser­vices. When he was still a neo-Nazi, he said, friend­ly police offi­cers would warn them before raids or hand them files of left­ist ene­mies.

    It was the dead­ly vio­lence in the ear­ly 1990s that made Mr. Has­sel­bach leave the neo-Nazi scene in 1992. An arson attack on the home of a Turk­ish fam­i­ly killed two girls and their grand­moth­er. He spent years under­ground to escape threats from his for­mer far-right com­pa­tri­ots. Then, with Mr. Wag­n­er, the for­mer east­ern police offi­cer, he co-found­ed Exit Ger­many, an orga­ni­za­tion that helps extrem­ists leave their net­works.

    The for­tunes of the AfD have ebbed and flowed in recent years. Polls show that vot­er sup­port has dipped to around 10 per­cent dur­ing the pan­dem­ic. But the fringes are rad­i­cal­iz­ing, intel­li­gence offi­cers say.

    It wor­ries Mr. Has­sel­bach and Mr. Wag­n­er.

    “The readi­ness to com­mit vio­lence today is greater than it’s ever been,” Mr. Has­sel­bach said.

    ...

    ———–

    “Germany’s Far Right Reuni­fied, Too, Mak­ing It Much Stronger” by Katrin Bennhold; The New York Times; 10/03/2020

    For years, Ger­man offi­cials trust­ed that a far-right par­ty could nev­er again be elect­ed into Par­lia­ment and dis­missed the idea of far-right ter­ror­ist net­works. But some now wor­ry that the far-right struc­tures estab­lished in the years after reuni­fi­ca­tion laid the ground­work for a resur­gence that has burst into view over the past 15 months.”

    Who could ever imag­ine the rise of a Ger­man far right move­ment or the cre­ation of Nazi domes­tic ter­ror net­works? Not Ger­many’s lead­er­ship, appar­ent­ly. It’s an unbe­liev­able lev­el of naivete that gets paired with the repeat­ed rev­e­la­tions of high-lev­el pro­tec­tion of these neo-Nazi net­works. Net­works that have seen an explo­sive growth over since reuni­fi­ca­tion that’s includ­ed using loca­tions like aban­doned Sovi­et mil­i­tary bases to run work­shops on forg­ing iden­ti­ty papers, bomb mak­ing, guer­ril­la war­fare and “silent killing.” It’s a reminder that the net­work of weapons and explo­sive caches that was recent­ly dis­cov­ered to be scat­tered around the coun­try have prob­a­bly been pro­lif­er­at­ing for close to the last three decades:

    ...
    Offi­cial­ly, there were no Nazis in old East Ger­many. The regime defined itself in the tra­di­tion of com­mu­nists who had resist­ed fas­cism, giv­ing rise to a state doc­trine of remem­brance that effec­tive­ly excul­pat­ed it from wartime atroc­i­ties. Far-right mobs who beat up for­eign work­ers from fel­low social­ist states like Cuba or Ango­la were clas­si­fied as “row­dies” led astray by west­ern pro­pa­gan­da.

    But a potent neo-Nazi move­ment was grow­ing under­ground. In 1987, Bernd Wag­n­er, a young police offi­cer in East Berlin, esti­mat­ed that there were 15,000 “home­grown” vio­lent neo-Nazis, of whom 1,000 were repeat offend­ers. His report was swift­ly locked away.

    Two years lat­er, as tens of thou­sands took to the streets in anti-com­mu­nist protests that even­tu­al­ly brought down the regime, the pro-democ­ra­cy activists were not the only marchers.

    “The skin­heads were march­ing, too,” Mr. Wag­n­er recalled.

    The bat­tle cry of those anti-com­mu­nist protests — “We are the peo­ple” — lat­er became the bat­tle cry for the far right at anti-Mus­lim Pegi­da march­es dur­ing the 2015 refugee cri­sis, far-right riots in Chem­nitz in 2018, and again at the cur­rent anti-coro­n­avirus protests.

    ...

    Reuni­fi­ca­tion also pro­vid­ed a phys­i­cal space in which far-right mem­bers could move and train. Secret neo-Nazi train­ing camps were held at aban­doned Sovi­et mil­i­tary bases. At one of them, on the island of Rügen in the Baltic Sea, Mr. Has­sel­bach took part in work­shops on forg­ing iden­ti­ty papers, bomb mak­ing, guer­ril­la war­fare and “silent killing.”

    The ini­tial years after reuni­fi­ca­tion were so tumul­tuous that secu­ri­ty ser­vices were inca­pable of con­trol­ling this coa­lesc­ing extrem­ist move­ment.

    “In the east­ern states there was no mature struc­ture for a domes­tic intel­li­gence ser­vice,” Thomas Halden­wang, the pres­i­dent of the domes­tic intel­li­gence office, said in an inter­view. “The agen­cies in the new states had to be built from noth­ing.”

    Dur­ing the ear­ly 1990s, a wave of racist vio­lence swept through Ger­many, much of it in the East. For­eign­ers were chased, beat­en up and some­times killed. Asy­lum homes were fire­bombed. Bus­es of immi­grants were attacked. Some­times east­ern onlook­ers would watch, clap or join in.

    “You could see that some­thing was shift­ing and not just on the fringes,” said Volkhard Knigge, a his­to­ri­an. “Oth­er­wise the AfD would not be so strong today.

    ...

    The for­tunes of the AfD have ebbed and flowed in recent years. Polls show that vot­er sup­port has dipped to around 10 per­cent dur­ing the pan­dem­ic. But the fringes are rad­i­cal­iz­ing, intel­li­gence offi­cers say.

    It wor­ries Mr. Has­sel­bach and Mr. Wag­n­er.

    “The readi­ness to com­mit vio­lence today is greater than it’s ever been,” Mr. Has­sel­bach said.
    ...

    And then there’s the pre­vi­ous cas­es of high-lev­el pro­tec­tion of these domes­tic ter­ror net­works like the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground that rais­es the obvi­ous ques­tion of just how clue­less Ger­many’s intel­li­gence ser­vices real­ly were about this threat:

    ...
    For most Ger­mans, the new cen­tu­ry was defined by progress. Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel, an east­ern­er, has per­son­i­fied west­ern lib­er­al val­ues. When the coun­try was host to the soc­cer World Cup in 2006, a con­fi­dent­ly mul­ti­cul­tur­al Ger­many was on dis­play, in what many at the time called “a sum­mer fairy-tale.”

    “I want­ed to believe that that’s who we are as a coun­try — and I did believe it,” said Tan­jev Schultz, an author and jour­nal­ism pro­fes­sor. “But it wasn’t true.”

    That sum­mer, the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground, a far-right ter­ror­ist group that had come out of the extrem­ist net­works formed in East Ger­many, was engaged in an immi­grant killing spree that the police would not dis­cov­er until 2011.

    From 2000 to 2007, the group killed nine immi­grants and a police offi­cer, even as paid inform­ers of the intel­li­gence agency helped hide its lead­ers and build up its net­work.

    Mr. Has­sel­bach said he was not sur­prised to see the recent rev­e­la­tions of far-right infil­tra­tion of secu­ri­ty ser­vices. When he was still a neo-Nazi, he said, friend­ly police offi­cers would warn them before raids or hand them files of left­ist ene­mies.
    ...

    It’s a chap­ter of Ger­many’s his­to­ry that under­scores the fact that if we are to believe that Ger­many’s gov­ern­ment has­n’t been aware of the grow­ing far right threat in its mil­i­tary we have to assume it has­n’t been aware of this threat for at least the last thir­ty years. Which, of course, is an absurd assump­tion, espe­cial­ly fol­low­ing the dis­cov­ery of the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground. Which is a reminder that the many dis­turb­ing ques­tions raised by the recent dis­cov­ery of neo-Nazis in Ger­many’s mil­i­tary about the extent of far right infil­tra­tion in Ger­many’s mil­i­tary lead­er­ship should real­ly be extend­ed to the rest of Ger­many’s gov­ern­ment and polit­i­cal estab­lish­ment for the last gen­er­a­tion.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 10, 2020, 4:28 pm
  12. Fol­low­ing the dis­missal two weeks ago of Ger­many’s head of mil­i­tary intel­li­gence, Christof Gramm, over the dis­cov­ery of exten­sive far right infil­tra­tion of the Ger­man mil­i­tary that appears to have been cov­ered up for years and result­ed in the dis­band­ing of out of Ger­many’s elite spe­cial forces units, one of the obvi­ous ques­tions raised by the entire affair is whether or not there’s going to be any sort of mean­ing­ful inves­ti­ga­tion of the full extent of this far right infil­tra­tion now that the pub­lic has learned that its been going on for years with­out any offi­cial action.

    Last week, we got an answer to that ques­tion. Sort of. The answer came in the form of a report filed by the Fed­er­al Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion (BfV). The report focused on far right infil­tra­tion of Ger­many’s police forces and mil­i­tary. Recall part of the plan for deal­ing with the far right’s infil­tra­tion of the mil­i­tary — infil­tra­tion that includ­ed infil­trat­ing the agen­cies tasked with watch­ing out for such infil­tra­tion — was to have the mil­i­tary work more close­ly with the BfV on these mat­ters. Also recall that BfV offi­cers were found to have assist­ed and worked with the Nation­al Social­ist Under­ground (NSU) neo-Nazi ter­ror group. So unless there’s already qui­et­ly been some sort of major purge of far right infil­tra­tors in the BfV as a con­se­quence of those past rev­e­la­tions, it’s hard to imag­ine the agency isn’t still suf­fer­ing for that same infil­tra­tion.

    So what was the gist of the BvF report? Exact­ly what we should have cyn­i­cal­ly expect­ed: There’s noth­ing to wor­ry about. Sure, there are a few Nazis in the police force and mil­i­tary, but Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Horst See­hofer assured the Ger­many pub­lic and that he refus­es to put “the oth­er 99 per­cent” of the mem­bers of these insti­tu­tions under sus­pi­cion.

    See­hofer on Tues­day reject­ed accu­sa­tions that there was a “struc­tur­al racism” prob­lem in the police when he pre­sent­ed the report. As the arti­cle notes, See­hofer halt­ed a study announced by the jus­tice and inte­ri­or min­istries to inves­ti­gate the use of racial pro­fil­ing by Ger­man police back in July, cit­ing the fact that such pro­fil­ing is legal­ly for­bid­den. Even the head of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Ger­man Crim­i­nal Police Offi­cers said the study would help estab­lish trust in the police. But See­hofer blocked it. He blocked an inves­ti­ga­tion into legal­ly for­bid­den racial pro­fil­ing prac­tices by the police that even the head of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Ger­man Crim­i­nal Police Offi­cers and jus­ti­fied block­ing it by point­ing out that such pro­fil­ing by police would be ille­gal. That actu­al­ly hap­pened. That’s all part of the con­text of the BfV’s new report.

    So the inves­ti­ga­tion prompt­ed by the dis­cov­ery of these neo-Nazi net­works did­n’t find any addi­tion­al neo-Nazi net­works and now we’re told by See­hofer that there basi­cal­ly aren’t any oth­ers and its insult­ing to the 99% of non-far right mem­bers of the police and mil­i­tary to even sus­pect there might be oth­ers. It’s a move that is con­sis­tent with what Rafael Behr, a crim­i­nol­o­gist and soci­ol­o­gist at the Ham­burg Police Acad­e­my, describes as a “struc­tur­al block­ing of an inves­ti­ga­tion into racism.”

    The arti­cle also notes the refusal to even pon­der the pos­si­bil­i­ty that there’s a struc­tur­al prob­lem with Ger­many’s mil­i­tary and police forces isn’t lim­it­ed to See­hofer. When Sask­ia Esken, a leader of the SPD, sug­gest­ed in June that there might be “latent racism” in the police force, not only did See­hofer described the prospect as “incom­pre­hen­si­ble,” but Esken faced fierce back­lash even from mem­bers of her own par­ty.

    Was there any val­ue in the report? Well, Joachim Ker­sten, senior research pro­fes­sor in the Crim­i­nol­o­gy Depart­ment of the Ger­man Police Uni­ver­si­ty, described the report as a step in the right direc­tion but that it was essen­tial­ly a roundup of known cas­es. There is a much larg­er “dark scene” with­in the police than the report illu­mi­nates, accord­ing to Ker­sten. As Ker­sten put, “They have to face the music, and unfor­tu­nate­ly the music is a Nazi melody,” and that’s obvi­ous­ly not hap­pen­ing. So if there’s any val­ue to the report it’s that it’s such a bla­tant cov­er-up that it war­rants not just an inves­ti­ga­tion into far right infil­tra­tion of Ger­many’s insti­tu­tions but an inves­ti­ga­tion into these pri­or inves­ti­ga­tions:

    The Wash­ing­ton Post

    Ger­man study finds sus­pect­ed cas­es of far-right extrem­ism in police forces

    By Love­day Mor­ris and Luisa Beck
    Oct. 6, 2020 at 11:12 a.m. CDT

    BERLIN — There are more than 370 sus­pect­ed cas­es of right-wing extrem­ism in Ger­many’s police and secu­ri­ty agen­cies, accord­ing to a gov­ern­ment study released Tues­day. But experts said it papers over the true depth of the prob­lem.

    The report from the Fed­er­al Office for the Pro­tec­tion of the Con­sti­tu­tion, or BfV, Germany’s domes­tic secu­ri­ty agency, sur­veyed police forces in the country’s 16 fed­er­al states for cas­es in which offi­cers have been sus­pect­ed of hav­ing far-right links over the past three years. State secu­ri­ty agen­cies report­ed 319 sus­pect­ed cas­es, and fed­er­al agen­cies report­ed 58.

    The dis­clo­sure fol­lows a string of far-right scan­dals that have embroiled Germany’s secu­ri­ty forces, from right-wing chat groups shar­ing neo-Nazi con­tent to a group of extrem­ist dooms­day prep­pers who hoard­ed ammu­ni­tion ahead of “Day X.” Bare­ly a week has passed with­out new rev­e­la­tions.

    Last week, Berlin police said they were inves­ti­gat­ing 25 offi­cers for being part of a chat group that shared racist jokes and far-right dis­cus­sion, while the BfV said three of its employ­ees respon­si­ble for mon­i­tor­ing far-right chat groups were being inves­ti­gat­ed for par­tic­i­pat­ing in them.

    That fol­lowed the sus­pen­sion of 29 offi­cers in the west­ern state of North Rhine-West­phalia last month for shar­ing extrem­ist images, includ­ing pic­tures of Adolf Hitler. Two weeks ago, the head of Germany’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence was forced to resign after an entire unit of the country’s spe­cial forces was dis­solved because of far-right links.

    The slew of inci­dents has made it dif­fi­cult for Ger­man author­i­ties to con­tin­ue dis­miss­ing the prob­lem as “indi­vid­ual cas­es,” and pres­sure has mount­ed on the Inte­ri­or Min­istry to address the issue.

    But in pre­sent­ing the report Tues­day, Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Horst See­hofer said that while the cas­es already under inves­ti­ga­tion need clos­er exam­i­na­tion, he would not put the oth­er “99 per­cent” of employ­ees of the country’s secu­ri­ty agen­cies under sus­pi­cion. He has resist­ed calls for an inde­pen­dent study to exam­ine police racism — calls that have grown along­side the pro­lif­er­at­ing scan­dals and the glob­al Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment.

    Joachim Ker­sten, senior research pro­fes­sor in the Crim­i­nol­o­gy Depart­ment of the Ger­man Police Uni­ver­si­ty, said that the report marks a step in the right direc­tion but that more needs to be done, with Tuesday’s study essen­tial­ly a roundup of known cas­es.

    “They have to face the music, and unfor­tu­nate­ly the music is a Nazi melody,” he said. Ger­many has not addressed the issue because of a “kind of patho­log­i­cal shame,” he added. “If shame just leads to cov­er­ing up things and deny­ing and look­ing the oth­er way, it cre­ates this kind of prob­lem.”

    He said that while there had been a mid­dle-man­age­ment and lead­er­ship prob­lem with Nazism in the police in Ger­many in the 1960s and ’70s, now it is a prob­lem in the rank and file.

    See­hofer on Tues­day reject­ed accu­sa­tions that there was a “struc­tur­al racism” prob­lem in the police. He said the focus should not be on the police alone but on all pub­lic offices. He said he would present a pro­pos­al to the cab­i­net for a more gen­er­al study of racism in soci­ety.

    When Sask­ia Esken, a leader of the cen­ter-left Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, sug­gest­ed in June that there might be “latent racism” in the police force, she faced fierce back­lash, even among mem­bers of her own par­ty. See­hofer described the prospect as “incom­pre­hen­si­ble.”

    The fol­low­ing month, he halt­ed a study announced by the jus­tice and inte­ri­or min­istries to inves­ti­gate the use of racial pro­fil­ing by Ger­man police, cit­ing the fact that such pro­fil­ing is legal­ly for­bid­den.

    Germany’s jus­tice min­is­ter crit­i­cized his deci­sion, say­ing that data and facts are need­ed to deter­mine whether racial pro­fil­ing is a prob­lem. The head of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Ger­man Crim­i­nal Police Offi­cers has also said the study would help estab­lish trust in the police.

    While there may not be a struc­tur­al prob­lem with racism and extrem­ism in the police, there is a “struc­tur­al block­ing of an inves­ti­ga­tion into racism,” said Rafael Behr, a crim­i­nol­o­gist and soci­ol­o­gist at the Ham­burg Police Acad­e­my.

    The data com­piled from the state and fed­er­al author­i­ties is “not a bad start,” Behr said, “but it would be dis­as­trous if we stopped there.”

    The cen­tral state of Hesse report­ed the most sus­pect­ed cas­es with 59, fol­lowed by Berlin with 53 and North Rhine-West­phalia with 45. Most cas­es were linked to extrem­ist chat groups, with a minor­i­ty of offi­cers sus­pect­ed of hav­ing direct links to far-right orga­ni­za­tions.

    While the report focused on the police, it said that there were also 1,064 sus­pect­ed cas­es in the Ger­man mil­i­tary in the three years until April 2020. Inves­ti­ga­tions in 550 cas­es are ongo­ing, while around 400 cas­es have been dropped.

    ...

    Ker­sten said that there is a much larg­er “dark scene” with­in the police than the report illu­mi­nates, but also that it should not be for­got­ten that there are 250,000 oth­er offi­cers doing their jobs and pro­tect­ing the com­mu­ni­ty.

    He said it was a pos­i­tive sig­nal that infor­ma­tion from oth­er police offi­cers had unearthed the far-right chat group in Berlin. Pre­vi­ous chat groups had been stum­bled upon when offi­cers’ phones were con­fis­cat­ed dur­ing inves­ti­ga­tions of oth­er inci­dents.

    But that also prob­a­bly means that there are more cas­es to fol­low, he said: “It’s just the begin­ning.”

    ————

    “Ger­man study finds sus­pect­ed cas­es of far-right extrem­ism in police forces” by Love­day Mor­ris and Luisa Beck; The Wash­ing­ton Post; 10/06/2020

    But in pre­sent­ing the report Tues­day, Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter Horst See­hofer said that while the cas­es already under inves­ti­ga­tion need clos­er exam­i­na­tion, he would not put the oth­er “99 per­cent” of employ­ees of the country’s secu­ri­ty agen­cies under sus­pi­cion. He has resist­ed calls for an inde­pen­dent study to exam­ine police racism — calls that have grown along­side the pro­lif­er­at­ing scan­dals and the glob­al Black Lives Mat­ter move­ment.”

    It’s just a few bad apples and any­one sug­gest­ing any­thing more than that is unjust­ly sub­ject­ing the oth­er 99 per­cent of Ger­many’s police and mil­i­tary to inap­pro­pri­ate sus­pi­cions. That’s was the fun­da­men­tal mes­sage from Ger­many’s Inte­ri­or Min­is­ter, a week after the head of Ger­many’s mil­i­tary intel­li­gence agency was fired for allow­ing an elite spe­cial forces unit to oper­ate as a Nazi cell with­in the mil­i­tary for years. And it was a mes­sage shared by far more peo­ple in Ger­many’s gov­ern­ment than just See­hofer:

    ...
    See­hofer on Tues­day reject­ed accu­sa­tions that there was a “struc­tur­al racism” prob­lem in the police. He said the focus should not be on the police alone but on all pub­lic offices. He said he would present a pro­pos­al to the cab­i­net for a more gen­er­al study of racism in soci­ety.

    When Sask­ia Esken, a leader of the cen­ter-left Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, sug­gest­ed in June that there might be “latent racism” in the police force, she faced fierce back­lash, even among mem­bers of her own par­ty. See­hofer described the prospect as “incom­pre­hen­si­ble.”

    The fol­low­ing month, he halt­ed a study announced by the jus­tice and inte­ri­or min­istries to inves­ti­gate the use of racial pro­fil­ing by Ger­man police, cit­ing the fact that such pro­fil­ing is legal­ly for­bid­den.

    Germany’s jus­tice min­is­ter crit­i­cized his deci­sion, say­ing that data and facts are need­ed to deter­mine whether racial pro­fil­ing is a prob­lem. The head of the Asso­ci­a­tion of Ger­man Crim­i­nal Police Offi­cers has also said the study would help estab­lish trust in the police.

    While there may not be a struc­tur­al prob­lem with racism and extrem­ism in the police, there is a “struc­tur­al block­ing of an inves­ti­ga­tion into racism,” said Rafael Behr, a crim­i­nol­o­gist and soci­ol­o­gist at the Ham­burg Police Acad­e­my.

    The data com­piled from the state and fed­er­al author­i­ties is “not a bad start,” Behr said, “but it would be dis­as­trous if we stopped there.”
    ...

    As Joachim Ker­sten, senior research pro­fes­sor in the Crim­i­nol­o­gy Depart­ment of the Ger­man Police Uni­ver­si­ty, described it, while we should indeed not for­get that there are 250,000 offi­cers the vast major­i­ty of which aren’t extrem­ists and are doing their jobs, there’s is also a much larg­er “dark scene” with­in the police than the report illu­mi­nates. In oth­er words, the report real­ly was a cov­er-up. A cov­er-up of that much larg­er “dark scene”:

    ...
    Joachim Ker­sten, senior research pro­fes­sor in the Crim­i­nol­o­gy Depart­ment of the Ger­man Police Uni­ver­si­ty, said that the report marks a step in the right direc­tion but that more needs to be done, with Tuesday’s study essen­tial­ly a roundup of known cas­es.

    “They have to face the music, and unfor­tu­nate­ly the music is a Nazi melody,” he said. Ger­many has not addressed the issue because of a “kind of patho­log­i­cal shame,” he added. “If shame just leads to cov­er­ing up things and deny­ing and look­ing the oth­er way, it cre­ates this kind of prob­lem.”

    He said that while there had been a mid­dle-man­age­ment and lead­er­ship prob­lem with Nazism in the police in Ger­many in the 1960s and ’70s, now it is a prob­lem in the rank and file.

    ...

    Ker­sten said that there is a much larg­er “dark scene” with­in the police than the report illu­mi­nates, but also that it should not be for­got­ten that there are 250,000 oth­er offi­cers doing their jobs and pro­tect­ing the com­mu­ni­ty.
    ...

    And that’s all why when See­hofer tries to deflect atten­tion away from this issue by rec­om­mend­ing instead a more gen­er­al study of racism in soci­ety and that all pub­lic offices, and not just police agen­cies, should be under scruti­ny, he is cor­rect. There is obvi­ous­ly a much larg­er prob­lem with far right infil­tra­tion in Ger­many’s insti­tu­tions, as this pub­lic cov­er-up of a report iron­i­cal­ly makes clear.

    Posted by Pterrafractyl | October 12, 2020, 4:34 pm

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