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Thread: Neonazi Terrorism in Germany

  1. #136
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    Germany Has a Neo-Nazi Terrorism Epidemic
    How many political murders do far-right extremists have to commit before the German government does something about it?
    By Peter Kuras | July 2, 2019, 5:32 PM

    When the German politician Walter Lübcke was found shot in the head outside of his home near Kassel on June 2, commentators were quick to assert that a right-wing extremist was the most likely culprit. Even the police seemed half-hearted in their calls for restraint in judging the motive of the crime, and the brief suspicion that the culprit had been someone close to the victim was quickly laid to rest. The unanimity of the official response, in one sense, was admirably forthright. But it was also its own national admission of negligence.

    Lübcke, a member of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, served as Kassel district president from 2009 until his death and had long been a figure of regional importance. Tributes from local papers emphasize that he was widely liked and had good relationships with his constituents. In 2015, however, he became a favorite target of right-wingers throughout Germany when, in the midst of the refugee crisis, he told an assembly gathered in the West German city of Lohfelden about the planned construction of a refugee camp, and he brushed away dissent by saying that Germany is a country based on Christian values, including charity, and “anyone who doesn’t share these values, anyone who doesn’t agree, is welcome to leave the country at any time. Every German has that freedom.”

    Lübcke received more than 350 emails immediately following the event, including numerous death threats. He was placed under police protection, but right-wing extremists ensured that outrage about Lübcke’s statement remained fresh. A few days after the event, the German Turkish author Akif Pirincci, speaking at a far-right rally, said that Lübcke had only suggested that ethnic Germans leave the country because the concentration camps had long been closed, implying that Lübcke’s preferred solution would have been the mass execution of his political opponents. Pirincci’s speech ensured Lübcke’s infamy in far-right circles. Erika Steinbach, a politician formerly with the right wing of the CDU, shared the video of Lübcke’s statement at the assembly to her 120,000 followers on social media three times, most recently in February of this year, while right-wing websites such as PI-News ran pieces about Lübcke on a regular basis.

    So it surprised no one when news broke that Stephan Ernst, the suspect in Lübcke’s murder, had a history of racist violence and ties to far-right groups. The killing has provoked widespread condemnations of the ascendancy of right-wing terrorism in Germany; even traditionally conservative leaders such as Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer are now saying that they need to play catch-up in the fight against the far-right and have promised to devote increased resources to policing right-wing terrorists. But critics say that the German state has a long history of ignoring reactionary terrorism.

    Tanjev Schultz, a professor of journalism at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz and the author of a prizewinning book about right-wing terrorism in Germany, says that in Germany’s public imagination terrorism tends to be associated with the left. Memories of the Red Army Faction and the series of political assassinations it undertook are still in the foreground of many Germans’ minds. Meanwhile, neofascistic terrorist attacks like the bombing of a Munich beer garden in 1980 have been largely forgotten.

    This blindness to right-wing terrorism is one of the reasons, Schultz told me, that it took authorities so long to recognize that the 10 murders carried out by the National Socialist Underground (NSU) beginning in 2000 were the work of a terrorist organization. Indeed, as Jacob Kushner has documented in Foreign Policy, authorities largely tried to restrict the investigation into the group’s three core members, Uwe Mundlos, Uwe Böhnhardt, and Beate Zschäpe, despite the fact that there was strong evidence that they had substantial support from other right-wing extremists, as well as some indication that some of that support may have come from within the government.

    Seehofer’s promise to devote increased resources to combating right-wing terrorism has thus encountered widespread skepticism that the commitment will be upheld. That impression has been reinforced by separate investigations that have recently revealed right-wing networks within German police forces: In December 2018, an investigation into Frankfurt’s police force revealed a group chat that regularly employed Nazi iconography. On June 26, police searched the apartment of a member of the group chat, who has been accused of sending racist faxes to one of the lawyers who represented a victim of the NSU—one of them threatened to butcher the lawyer’s young daughter. They were signed “NSU 2.0.”

    Then, on June 28, news broke that an organization called Nordkreuz had used police records to compile a “death list” of almost 25,000 liberal and left-leaning politicians—it had also stockpiled weapons, body bags, and quicklime. Hope that federal authorities would intervene where local authorities had failed to act are also dim given that the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s answer to the NSA, has often been accused of complicity in right-wing activity. This is seen most drastically, as Kushner documents in his Foreign Policy story, in the office’s failure to make proper use of informants during the investigation in the NSU. More recently, the former head of the organization, Hans-Georg Maaßen, drew criticism for his baseless claims that videos of right-wing violence during an August 2018 riot in Chemnitz were doctored.

    Though Lübcke’s death is a milestone, similar attacks have proliferated in recent years. In 2015 and 2017, respectively, the mayor of Cologne, Henriette Reker, and Andreas Hollstein, the mayor of the West German town of Altena, suffered politically oriented knife attacks. Reker was severely wounded, as were several of her companions. Hollstein escaped with minor injuries after employees of the Turkish restaurant where he was eating disarmed the perpetrator. Leipzig Mayor Burkhard Jung recently told the DPA press agency that there were about three politically motivated crimes against politicians in Germany on a daily basis, with local politicians being especially vulnerable.

    It’s hard to escape the conclusion that the German state has long had difficulties preventing right-wing violence and apprehending its perpetrators because there’s substantial sympathy for neofascistic causes within the German government. But the situation is also more complicated—the diffuse structures of right-wing organizations make it legitimately difficult to differentiate between lone wolves and members of criminal conspiracies, and the ubiquity of online expression of rage makes it hard to differentiate serious threats from idle fantasies. Though some activists are calling for a widespread crackdown on all forms of right-wing activity, others fear that broad approaches could serve to further radicalize right-wingers. When we spoke, Schultz, the journalism professor, suggested that a series of reeducation programs might be a positive step but feared that they would end up reaching the wrong people.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government will have to do something more radical than a simple increase in police resources if it wishes to effectively combat the rise of the far-right—not least because the issue threatens to tear her political party, the CDU, apart. The right wing of the CDU had already been frustrated by its leader’s tolerant stance during the refugee crisis, and now more liberal members of the party are busy accusing their more conservative counterparts of complicity in Lübcke’s death. Germany’s other major centrist party, the Social Democratic Party, has already been decimated by increasing frustration with its willingness to concede to the demands of the CDU within Germany’s governing coalition. If the CDU wishes to escape its fate, it will have to do more than simply root out extremist networks—it will need to find a way of redirecting the forces of right-wing anger.

  2. #137
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    Quote Originally Posted by kato View Post
    • police has uncovered some of these weapons in a buried cache at his employer
    One of the weapons in the cache, a Rossi .38 Special revolver, has been proven to have been the weapon with which Lübcke was killed (as in: not the .22LR).

  3. #138
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    05 Sep 06
    The guy who supposedly shot Lübcke is currently under suspicion for a separate case of attempted murder - an attempt to kill an Iraqi refugee in front of his housing in 2016. The suspect lived less than 2 miles from the site back then and has admitted to "a verbal altercation with a man at that place".

  4. #139
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    Active right-wing shooter situation in Halle, East Germany right now.

    This guy:

    Name:  88dedea9-d345-46f5-82ef-a135f7253f9c.jpeg
Views: 100
Size:  57.0 KB

    - Apparently two killed so far - one at the local synagogue and one at the Turkish restaurant in this picture 600m away.
    - Perpetrators tried to enter the synagogue but could not get through locked door; they then fired through door and windows.
    - Perpetrators are armed with automatic weapons and explosive devices.
    - Hand grenades supposedly also thrown at the restaurant and a jewish cemetary.
    - Car hijacked with shots fired 8 miles from the site of those attacks, two injured.
    - One person arrested.
    - Federal prosecutor has assumed command over investigations, meaning suspected terrorist motive.
    Last edited by kato; 11 Oct 19, at 12:52.

  5. #140
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    05 Sep 06
    • Police have suspect in custody, currently assume he acted alone
    • Suspect is a 27yo German national from Saxony-Anhalt with a rather distinct lack of hair on his head.
    • Perpetrator was streaming the act live online (on Twitch, deleted by now - police has it) similar to the Christchurch attack
    • Police assumes a right-wing extremist political motive based on antisemitic and xenophobic statements (in English and German) in that video.
    • Perpetrator was apparently using an assault-rifle-styled semiautomatic shotgun, pipe bombs and molotov cocktails; he was wearing a helmet and body armor. Witnesses report he switched to an automatic weapon from the shotgun inbetween.
    • There are varying reports that the perpetrator was shot in Halle itself by police shortly after the attack on the restaurant (disputed).
    • He then fled with his car, which he switched by hijacking a taxi from a car workshop in a suburb (two injured). Police arrested him in that car on a highway, with varying reports stating an earlier intercept with shots fired (disputed) and subsequent highway chase and the car crashing 15 minutes later when a truck rammed it.

  6. #141
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    • Suspect has confessed in police custody, including the right-wing extremist political motive.
    • Guns were PA-Luty-style DIY weapons with 3D printed parts, he was additionally carrying 4 kg of homemade explosives in hand-grenade-sized packages.
    • Shootout with patrol car crew and perp being shot in the neck in front of the restaurant is confirmed.

  7. #142
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    Bit too Turkish-German focused, but who cares:
    How Many Mass Shootings Will It Take for Germany to Confront Its Far-Right Problem?

    By Can Dündar
    12:55 PM EST
    Can Dündar is a Turkish journalist and former editor-in-chief of the newspaper Cumhuriyet, now living in exile in Germany

    What happened last week at the Midnight hookah bar – a modest lounge in the German town of Hanau, where a largely Turkish clientele often goes to relax in the evenings – should really be enough to change the debate in Germany. The debate about racism and intolerance, about violence, hate and terrorism, and about the ways that all these things have been fuelled by the nation’s political climate.

    It should have been enough for Germany’s leading politicians to consider the life and death of Gökhan Gültekin, the 37-year-old who worked at that bar in the Heumarkt, a neighborhood dotted with Turkish businesses. He had been busy this winter with preparations for his engagement party. Twice a week, he had taken his father for chemotherapy in the nearby city of Frankfurt. The media reported these facts about him because, on Wednesday night, a German man named Tobias Rathjen, 43, entered the Midnight bar and fired his SIG Sauer at the Turkish diners at a table, killing six. Gökhan was among the first victims.

    Three more died minutes later at the nearby Arena Bar, where Rathjen continued his rampage before going home to kill his elderly mother and, finally, himself. His massacre, and the raving and paranoid “manifesto” he left behind, has emblazoned in bullets one of Germany’s deepest problems, and one that has long been debated: What is behind the rise in racist terrorism here in the heart of Europe?

    The phenomenon itself is undeniable. In the 24-page screed that Rathjen left behind, he called for the extermination of the peoples of Turkey, Iraq, Egypt, Israel, Syria, and the complete Arabian Peninsula. A video shot in his room addressed Americans: “Your country is under control of invisible secret societies… Wake up!” In his lonely life, he appears to have been part of a virtual community of hate, one linked to a series of recent attacks and arrests in European cities.

    The Federal Criminal Police Office, Germany’s equivalent of the FBI, has reported a five-fold increase in the number of ‘dangerous’ far-right extremists in the country since 2012. One such murder (which many Germans called a wake-up call) took place last summer, when Walter Lübcke, President of the Kassel District, was shot in the head at home by a right-wing extremist. Investigators later said he was targeted because of his support for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open-door policy toward migrants and refugees.

    Then came another supposed wake-up call – an anti-Semitic attack on a synagogue and the adjacent Jewish cemetery in the town of Halle, resulting in the deaths of two people on 10 October 2019. A week before the latest killing spree in Hanau, German police rounded up 12 far-right extremists in a dragnet that swept across six states. The suspects were allegedly preparing an attack on a mosque.

    But even after the Hanau massacre, it’s hard to see much evidence of Germany waking up to the deeper threat of white supremacism and racist violence. The nation has, of course, mourned the victims of the latest attack. The Berlinale Film Festival opened with a moment of silence last week. Over ten thousand people took part in a march against terror and Islamophobia in Hanau. Representatives of the town’s Islamic community marched alongside clergy from the churches and synagogues. At least on one level, the Hanau massacre helped bring about what the perpetrator’s bloody act was trying to prevent: Many Germans and Turks did get together against racism.

    But this unity will not be easy to sustain once all the funerals are over. Many of Germany’s two million migrants from Turkey live on tenterhooks. They feel intimidated by the attacks of the far-right, who use the Nazi salute, who carry forbidden swastikas and even sing the Horst Wessel Song, an anthem of the Third Reich.

    This is nothing new for the Turkish community, which arrived by the millions in Germany in the 1960s and 70s, mostly under a government program that allowed them to come as “guest workers.”

    But as famous writer Max Frisch stated: “They called for workers, and humans came.”

    The natives, and their government, were slow to accept the fact that many Turks were not to be treated as temporary guests. Their reaction has taken different forms over the decades since. Back in the 1990s, xenophobes in Germany would taunt Turkish immigrants at sports stadiums by waving plastic bags in the air, the flimsy type from inexpensive malls where immigrant families did their shopping. Many still remember those small humiliations, which were followed by growing acts of vandalism against migrants’ homes, shops, mosques.

    After the fall of the Berlin wall, racism unexpectedly thrived in the vacuum left by the collapse of the regime in East Germany. Millions of Germans experienced that transition to capitalism through the loss of their jobs, homes and social security. It’s not surprising that some turned their frustrations against foreigners, especially those who prospered in the newly unified Germany or relied on the support of its welfare system in hard times.

    These frustrations never really went away. Even in Berlin, arguably the country’s most liberal city, applications for housing or a job are routinely turned down when made in a foreign name – and accepted if signed by a German one. And despite the openness toward refugees that Merkel’s government has shown, racism is still growing on the street, and in the political arena.

    During regional elections held last year, the far-right party known as the Alternative for Germany (AfD) won nearly a quarter of the seats in the regional parliament of three German regions, becoming the second biggest party across most of the formerly communist East.

    Björn Höcke, the party boss in the region of Thuringia, declared that the AfD would continue on its march toward power in Germany. Those who doubted him were taught a lesson in February, when the AfD played a decisive role in choosing the regional leader in Thuringia.

    Germans were horrified to realize that racist politics, which had devastated Europe under the Nazis, and which they believed to have been buried too deep to ever rise again, were, in fact, beginning to stir.

    The generation of people who remember the woes of World War II are, for the most part, no longer around to tell their stories. The country that was once seen as a ‘land of migrants’ faces the risk of turning into an anti-migrant land. So far, any political strategy to prevent this growing threat seems well beyond the horizon.

    The generation of people who remember the woes of World War II are, for the most part, no longer around to tell their stories. The country that was once seen as a ‘land of migrants’ faces the risk of turning into an anti-migrant land.

    Germans who have foreign roots make up more than a quarter of the country’s population, yet all too often they do not feel truly at home in Germany. The fact that some of the victims’ coffins (including that of Gökhan Gültekin) were taken to Turkey for burial might well be a symptom of that alienation. During the funeral, the Turkish Ambassador to Germany said, ‘Racist Nazis! No matter what you do, the Turkish community in Germany is here to stay.’

    But under what conditions?

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