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Neonazi Terrorism in Germany

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  • NYT article:

    Far Right Germans Try to Storm Reichstag as Virus Protests Escalate

    Germany has handled the pandemic well and its government enjoys high public trust. But the minority opposing coronavirus rules includes a far-right faction that worries officials.

    By Katrin Bennhold

    Aug. 31, 2020

    BERLIN — It was shortly after 7 p.m. when a self-described healer got on stage outside the German Parliament and urged the jeering crowd of protesters to storm the building: “There is no more police!” she shouted. “We have won!”

    What followed was a scene many Germans thought had been confined to their history books: Hundreds of far-right activists waving the black, white and red flag of the pre-1918 German Empire that once inspired the Nazis broke through a police barrier and tried to force their way into the building.

    It took only a few tense minutes before the police, though vastly outnumbered, managed to push them back. But Saturday’s events marked an alarming escalation of the protests against Germany’s response to the pandemic that have grown steadily bigger and — on the fringes at least — angrier.

    Strikingly, that outpouring of anger comes at a time when Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government is enjoying high levels of trust and popularity, and the great majority of Germans approve of its virus control measures. Germany has managed the pandemic well, keeping the number of deaths low, reopening schools and pumping billions of euros into welfare programs that so far have kept unemployment at bay.

    Small as they are in numbers, though, the group who tried to take over the historic Parliament building, the Reichstag, prompted shocked responses and grim comparisons to Germany’s past.

    “The fact that Nazis with imperial war flags try to storm the Bundestag recalls the darkest period in German history,” Robert Habeck, the co-leader of Germany’s Green party, told the Funke media group.

    “It is intolerable that the Reich flag should fly again at the German Parliament,” said Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the head of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right party.

    Germany’s president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, called it “an unbearable attack on the heart of our democracy.”

    Some 38,000 protesters from all over the country flocked to the German capital last weekend, the biggest number since the marches started in April. It was an eclectic crowd. There were anti-vaxxers like Robert F. Kennedy Jr., anticapitalists, esoterics, ordinary citizens angry at having to wear face masks — but also about 3,000 members of the far-right scene.

    “We have everything from Hare Krishna fans to Adolf Hitler fans on the streets,” said Matthias Quent, an expert on far-right extremism and the director of an institute that studies democracy and civil society. “It’s a very disparate crowd but what unites people is an angry discontent with the establishment. It’s a mix of populist and egoist outrage.”

    The far-right Alternative for Germany party, or AfD, has tried to exploit the pandemic in the same way it used the refugee crisis in 2015, when the government accepted more than one million migrants into the country, to feed a narrative of impending crisis and government failure.

    The migrant wave helped propel the AfD into Parliament in the last election, but the issue has lost much of its political potency, as the resettlement has been broadly deemed a success. And with its own lawmakers and voters deeply split over the country’s coronavirus measures, the party has seen its share of the vote dip below 10 percent in recent polls.

    In all, only 9 percent of Germans support the protests, polls suggest. And only one in 10 Germans say they disagree with virus-prevention measures like the requirement to wear masks on public transport, in stores and in public buildings including schools and libraries.

    Almost eight in ten Germans said they would like to see greater compliance with pandemic controls, and some 28 percent said the measures were not strict enough.

    “They shout ‘We are the people,’ but they’re not,” Mr. Quent said of the protesters who swarmed the Reichstag.

    “In Germany, like many other European countries, we see that far-right parties are losing ground, that there is growing trust in incumbent governments,” Mr. Quent said. “In the short term the pandemic can’t be exploited by far-right parties.”

    If the economy deteriorates further and unemployment rises, that equation may change, he said. Already, the AfD and more extreme far-right groups are trying to capitalize on the discontent as they begin positioning themselves for what may be a much uglier political scene some months from now.

    What worries officials and extremism experts more immediately is that even if the far right is a minority at the protests, it is radicalizing. Among those calling on supporters to join the protest on Saturday were Björn Höcke, an AfD firebrand, and Martin Sellner, star of the extremist Generation Identity movement, both of whom have been classified as far-right extremists by the domestic intelligence service.

    Message boards are flush with far-right conspiracy theories and prepper groups, which have long fantasized about a crisis so deep that it would lead to the collapse of Germany’s liberal order. Ahead of Saturday’s protest, which the city government had tried to block before being overruled by a court, several public groups on the messaging app Telegram had called for a “storm on Berlin.”

    Some had posted photos of themselves and their weapons. “That is very unusual for Germany,” Mr. Quent said.

    The authorities are on high alert. Over the past 14 months, far-right terrorists have assassinated a regional politician on his front porch near the central city of Kassel, attacked a synagogue in Halle, in the east, and in February, killed 10 people in the west, in Hanau. Even before the pandemic hit Germany, far-right extremism and far-right terrorism had been officially identified as the biggest danger to the country’s democracy.

    At a same time, senior intelligence officials have expressed concern about far-right extremists infiltrating Germany’s security services. Cases of far-right extremists in the military and the police, some hoarding weapons and explosives, have multiplied alarmingly in recent years. In July, the government disbanded an entire company of the KSK, the country’s special forces, because it was infested with far-right extremists.

    At the coronavirus protests on Saturday, far-right activists actively courted police officers deployed to secure the march, urging them to switch sides.

    There have been several cases of police officers joining such protests, according to Robert Andreasch, a journalist who has been documenting their appearances. Two active police officers, a retired officer and one who was recently suspended were speakers at the rally on Saturday, one of them referring to a “so-called pandemic” and urging protesters to seek information outside the “mainstream media.” Another spoke of “mask slavery.”

    Meanwhile, it was three police officers who stood their ground on Saturday at the entrance to the Reichstag, the historic Parliament building, and held off the angry mob. A video of the three men pushing back against the demonstrators for several minutes before reinforcements arrived has gone viral in Germany.

    It also ignited an uneasy debate about how to better protect the Reichstag. It is a point of pride that the building dedicated to “The German People,” as the inscription above its portico reads, remains open to those very people.

    The best-selling tabloid Bild has called the police officers who protected it “heroes” and on Monday, President Steinmeier received them at his residence to officially thank them.

    “Far-right extremism has deep roots in our society,” Mr. Steinmeier said. “It is a serious danger.”
    Last edited by kato; 01 Sep 20,, 20:59.



      Body Bags and Enemy Lists: How Far-Right Police Officers and Ex-Soldiers Planned for ‘Day X’

      Germany has woken up to a problem of far-right extremism in its elite special forces. But the threat of neo-Nazi infiltration of state institutions is much broader.

      By Katrin Bennhold

      Published Aug. 1, 2020
      Updated Aug. 4, 2020

      GÜSTROW, Germany — The plan sounded frighteningly concrete. The group would round up political enemies and those defending migrants and refugees, put them on trucks and drive them to a secret location.

      Then they would kill them.

      One member had already bought 30 body bags. More body bags were on an order list, investigators say, along with quicklime, which can be used to mask the stench of buried corpses.

      On the surface, those discussing the plan seemed reputable. One was a lawyer and local politician, but with a special hatred of immigrants. Two were active army reservists. Two others were police officers, including Marko Gross, a police sniper and former parachutist who acted as their unofficial leader.

      The group grew out of a nationwide chat network for soldiers and others with far-right sympathies set up by a member of Germany’s elite special forces, the KSK. Over time, under Mr. Gross’s supervision, they formed a parallel group of their own. Members included a doctor, an engineer, a decorator, a gym owner, even a local fisherman.

      They called themselves Nordkreuz, or Northern Cross.

      “Between us, we were a whole village,” recalled Mr. Gross, one of several Nordkreuz members who described to me in various interviews this year how the group came together and began making plans.

      They denied they had plotted to kill anyone. But investigators and prosecutors, as well an account one member gave to the police — transcripts of which were seen by The New York Times — indicate their planning took a more sinister turn.

      Germany has belatedly begun dealing with far-right networks that officials now say are far more extensive than they ever understood. The reach of far-right extremists into its armed forces is particularly alarming in a country that has worked to cleanse itself of its Nazi past and the horrors of the Holocaust. In July the government disbanded an entire company infiltrated by extremists in the nation’s special forces.

      But the Nordkreuz case, which only recently came to trial after being uncovered more than three years ago, shows that the problem of far-right infiltration is neither new nor confined to the KSK, or even the military.

      Far-right extremism penetrated multiple layers of German society in the years when the authorities underestimated the threat or were reluctant to countenance it fully, officials and lawmakers acknowledge. Now they are struggling to uproot it.

      One central motivation of the extremists has seemed so far-fetched and fantastical that for a long time the authorities and investigators did not take it seriously, even as it gained broader currency in far-right circles.

      Neo-Nazi groups and other extremists call it Day X — a mythical moment when Germany’s social order collapses, requiring committed far-right extremists, in their telling, to save themselves and rescue the nation.

      Today Day X preppers are drawing serious people with serious skills and ambition. Increasingly, the German authorities consider the scenario a pretext for domestic terrorism by far-right plotters or even for a takeover of the government.

      “I fear we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg,” said Dirk Friedriszik, a lawmaker in the northeastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, where Nordkreuz was founded. “It isn’t just the KSK. The real worry is: These cells are everywhere. In the army, in the police, in reservist units.”

      Nordkreuz was one of those groups elaborately preparing for Day X. The domestic intelligence service got a tip in late 2016, and prosecutors started investigating in the summer of 2017. But it took years before the network, or a small sliver of it, came before a court.

      Even now, only one member of the group, Mr. Gross, has faced charges — for illegal weapons possession, not for any larger conspiracy.

      Late last year, Mr. Gross was handed a 21-month suspended sentence. The verdict was so mild that this year state prosecutors appealed it, kicking the case into another protracted round of deliberations.

      Of some 30 Nordkreuz members, only two others, a lawyer and another police officer, are currently under investigation by the federal prosecutor on suspicion of plotting terrorism.

      The outcome is typical of the authorities’ handling of far-right cases, extremism experts say. The charges brought are often woefully narrow for the elaborate plots they are meant to deter and punish. Almost always they focus on individuals, not the networks themselves.

      But the obstacles to prosecuting such cases more aggressively point to another problem making the German authorities increasingly anxious: Infiltration of the very institutions, like the police, that are supposed to be doing the investigating.

      In July the police chief of the western state of Hesse resigned after police computers had been repeatedly accessed for confidential information that was then used by neo-Nazis in death threats. It was in Hesse that a well-known neo-Nazi assassinated a regional politician last summer in a case that woke many Germans to the threat of far-right terrorism.

      Some Nordkreuz members were serious enough that they had compiled a list of political enemies. Heiko Böhringer, a local politician in the area where the group was based, had received death threats.

      “I used to think these preppers, they’re harmless crazies who’ve watched too many horror movies,” Mr. Böhringer said. “I changed my mind.”

      Mr. Friedriszik, the state lawmaker, tried for years to focus public attention on the building danger of the far right, but found himself a voice in the wilderness.

      “This movement has its fingertips in lots of places,” he said. “All this talk of Day X can seem like pure fantasy. But if you look closer, you can see how quickly it turns into serious planning — and plotting.”

      Northern Cross

      The shooting range in Güstrow, a rural town in a northeast corner of Germany, sits at the end of a long dirt path secured by a heavy gate. Barbed wire surrounds the area. A German flag flutters in the wind.

      “This is where it all started,” Axel Moll, a local decorator and Nordkreuz member with a hunting license and gun cabinet at home, told me when I was touring the area earlier this year.

      Mr. Gross, the police officer, was a regular at the range. He had been a parachutist and long-distance reconnaissance officer in the German army before his battalion was absorbed by Germany’s elite special forces, the KSK. He never joined the KSK but knows several men who did.

      Another regular was Frank Thiel, a champion in handgun competitions and sought-after tactical shooting instructor for police and military units across Germany.

      In the fall of 2015, as hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers from wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan arrived in Germany, the men were appalled. In their eyes, Germany faced a potential invasion from terrorists, a possible breakdown of its welfare system, maybe even unrest.

      And their own government was welcoming the migrants.

      “We were worried,” Mr. Gross, 49, recalled in one of several conversations with me this year.

      In late 2015, while conducting a shooting workshop for the KSK in southern Germany, Mr. Thiel learned about an encrypted, countrywide chat network to share privileged information about the security situation in Germany, and how to prepare for a crisis.

      It was run by a soldier named André Schmitt. But everyone knew him as Hannibal.

      Who wanted in?

      Soon some 30 people, many of them regulars at the shooting range in Güstrow, joined the northern chapter of Mr. Schmitt’s network, avidly following his updates. It was not long before Mr. Gross decided to create a parallel group so they could communicate and meet up locally. Members lived in towns and villages in the region, shared far-right sympathies and considered themselves concerned citizens.

      By January 2016, this network had become Nordkreuz.

      There were two criteria for joining, Mr. Moll recalled: “The right skills and the right attitude.”

      Mr. Gross and another police officer in the group were members of what was then an emerging far-right party, the Alternative for Germany, now the third largest force in the national Parliament. At least two others in the group had visited the Thule Seminar, an organization whose leaders had a portrait of Hitler on their wall and preach white supremacy.

      Nordkreuz held meetings every few weeks, on the floor above a gym owned by one member or in Mr. Moll’s showroom, where the two of us also talked. Sometimes they had a barbecue. Other times, they invited guest speakers.

      Once a retired military officer came and talked about crisis management, Mr. Moll recalled. Another time they invited a “Reichsbürger,” or citizen of the Reich, a movement that does not recognize the postwar German state.

      Over time, Nordkreuz members recalled, their group morphed into a close-knit brotherhood with a shared ambition that would come to dominate their lives: preparing for Day X.

      They began hoarding enough supplies to survive for 100 days, including food, gasoline, toiletries, walkie-talkies, medicine and ammunition. Mr. Gross collected 600 euros from each member of the group to pay for it. In all, he amassed more than 55,000 rounds of ammunition.

      The group identified a “safe house,” where members would decamp with their families on Day X: a former Communist vacation village deep in the woods.

      The place was “ideal,” Mr. Moll said. There was a stream providing fresh water, a small lake to wash themselves and clothes, a forest with wood to build and deer to hunt, even an old septic tank.

      Didn’t all this seem a little far-fetched to them? I asked.

      Mr. Moll smiled at my “Western naïveté.”

      The region where they live is nestled between the former Iron Curtain and the Polish border. Members had grown up in the former East Germany.

      “Under Communism, everything was scarce,’’ Mr. Moll explained. ‘‘You had to get creative getting things through certain channels. You could not rely on things being in the supermarket. You could say we’re used to prepping.’’

      And, he said, they had already seen one system collapse. “You learn how to read between the lines. It’s an advantage.”

      Through 2016, as hundreds of thousands more migrants arrived in Germany and a number of Islamist terrorist attacks took place in Europe, the planning got more serious.

      Mr. Gross and other Nordkreuz members traveled in the fall to an arms fair in Nuremberg and met Mr. Schmitt, the special forces soldier running the nationwide chat network, in person.

      Members of the group learned how to rappel down the tower of a disused fire station. Two pickup points were designated as Day X meeting spots. Two fully functioning operating theaters were built as makeshift field hospitals, in a basement and a mobile home.

      “The scenario was that something bad would happen,” Mr. Gross told me. “We asked ourselves, what did we want to prepare for? And we decided that if we were going to do this, we would go all the way.”

      Body Bags and Quicklime

      The question investigators are now scrutinizing is what did it mean to “go all the way.”

      Mr. Gross insisted to me that the group was only prepping for what they saw as the day that the social order would collapse, for Day X. He said they never planned any murders, or intended to cause any harm.

      But at least one member of the group portrays a more ominous story.

      “People were to be gathered and murdered,” Horst Schelski told investigators in 2017, according to transcripts of his statement shared with The New York Times.

      Mr. Schelski is a former air force officer whose account is disputed by the others. It pivots on a meeting he said took place at the end of 2016 at a highway truck stop in Sternberg, a small town about 40 minutes west of the shooting range the men frequented.

      There, at a coffee stand that today resembles little more than a shed facing a bleak parking lot, Mr. Gross met with a handful of other men, in what had become a concentrated cell within Nordkreuz.

      Among the others present were two men now under investigation on suspicion of plotting terrorism. Under German law, they cannot be fully named. One was Haik J., who like Mr. Gross was a police officer. Another was a lawyer and local politician, Jan Henrik H. Both declined to speak with me.

      Jan Henrik H. was described by other members as particularly fervent and hateful. On his birthdays, he held a shooting contest on a field behind his house in Rostock, a nearby city on Germany’s northern coast, Nordkreuz members recalled.

      The winner got a trophy named for Mehmet Turgut, a Turkish street vendor killed in Rostock in 2004 by the National Socialist Underground, a far-right terrorist group.

      Mr. Gross was the most recent winner.

      Mr. Schelski told the police that Jan Henrik H. kept a thick binder in his garage with the names, addresses and photos of local politicians and activists whom he considered to be political enemies. Some had sought to help refugees by seeking real estate to turn into shelters.

      Much in the file came from publicly available sources. But there were also handwritten notes with information obtained from a police computer.

      As they drank coffee at the truck stop, Jan Henrik H. turned the conversation to “the people in the file,” whom he said were “harmful” to the state and needed to be “done away with,” Mr. Schelski later told the police.

      Jan Henrik H. wanted advice on how best to transport their captives once they had been rounded up. He asked Mr. Schelski, a major in the state reservist unit, how they could get them past any checkpoints that might be created in a time of unrest. Would uniforms help? Army trucks?

      After that meeting, Mr. Schelski told the police, he distanced himself from the group.

      By then, the intelligence service was already watching. Some eight months after the truck stop meeting, the authorities conducted the first in a series of raids on the homes of several Nordkreuz members.

      Over two years, the raids and intelligence work uncovered weapons, ammunition, enemy lists, and a handwritten order list for Day X that included the body bags and quick lime.

      I asked Mr. Gross about the body bags. He told me they were “multipurpose vessels,” usable as cheap waterproof sleeping bag covers or for transporting large items.

      The disclosure that the group had identified political enemies has rattled Mr. Böhringer, the local politician. In 2015, two police officers came to sketch his house after he started receiving death threats.

      “We want to know where you can get in, where you sleep, so that we can protect you,” they told him.

      He said he wasn’t too concerned. But in June 2018, Mr. Böhringer was called to the police station. The homes of two Nordkreuz members had recently been raided, one of them a policeman based in his hometown: Haik J., who had been at the truck stop meeting.

      “They showed me a handmade sketch of my home,” Mr. Böhringer said. “‘Do you recognize this?’ they had asked.”

      “It was the exact same sketch that those officers had made in my home,” he said.

      “I had to swallow pretty hard,” he recalled. “The very people who said they wanted to protect me then passed this on to people who wanted to harm me.”

      “They didn’t just want to survive Day X, they wanted to kill their enemies,” he said. “It was concrete, what they were planning.”

      Meeting with Marko

      The first time I knocked on Mr. Gross’s door, in the village of Banzkow, about an hour’s drive from the shooting range, we ended up talking outside for two hours.

      The second time, it started raining and he invited me into his red brick farmhouse on “Liberation Street,” named for Germany’s liberation from the Nazis at the end of World War II.

      In the hallway his old military badge and uniform were on display. A large map of Germany in 1937 dominated the wall. Images of guns were ubiquitous. On refrigerator magnets. On mugs. On a calendar.

      It was the same home that the police had raided years earlier, in August 2017, and found more than two dozen weapons and 23,800 rounds of ammunition, some of it stolen from police and military stockpiles.

      Another police raid in June 2019 uncovered another 31,500 rounds of ammunition and an Uzi submachine gun. This time they arrested him.

      In court, it took prosecutors almost 45 minutes to read the list of cartridges, guns, explosives and knives they had found. He was only charged with illegal weapons possession. In the ongoing terrorism investigation he is a witness, not a suspect.

      “It’s pretty astounding,” said Lorenz Caffier, the state’s interior minister, who used to shake Mr. Gross’s hand at the annual special forces workshop in Güstrow. “Someone who hoards that much ammunition at home, is close to far-right tendencies and also makes extremist comments in chats is no harmless prepper.”

      “Marko G. has a key role,” he said.

      Prosecutors have traced the illegal ammunition in Mr. Gross’s home to a dozen police and military depots across the country, indicating possible collaborators. Several of the units shot in Güstrow.

      “We don’t know how it got from there to him,” said Claudia Lange, a prosecutor.

      Three other police officers are being investigated on suspicion of helping Mr. Gross. Asked during the trial, Mr. Gross said he did not remember how he got the ammunition. When I met him, he stuck to that line.

      But otherwise he was not shy about sharing his views.

      Chancellor Angela Merkel belongs “in the dock,” he said. The multicultural cities in western Germany are “the caliphate.” The best way to escape creeping migration was to move to the East German countryside, “where people are still called Schmidt, Schneider and Müller.”

      A copy of Compact, a prominent far-right magazine, with President Trump’s face on the cover, lay on a shelf. A selection of the president’s speeches had been translated into German in the issue. “I like Trump,” Mr. Gross said.

      As far back as 2009, some fellow police officers had voiced concerns about Mr. Gross’s far-right views, noting that he had brought books about the Nazis to work. But no one intervened, and he was even groomed for promotion.

      “There is no danger from the far right,” he insisted. “I don’t know a single neo-Nazi.”

      Soldiers and police officers are “frustrated,” he told me the third time we met, ticking off complaints about migrants, crime and the mainstream media. He likens the coverage of coronavirus to the censored state broadcaster during Communism. Instead, he says, he has a YouTube subscription to RT, the Russian state-controlled channel and other alternative media.

      In that parallel universe of disinformation, he learns that the government is secretly flying in refugees after midnight. That coronavirus is a ploy to deprive citizens of their rights. That Ms. Merkel works for what he calls the “deep state.”

      “The deep state is global,” Mr. Gross said. “It’s big capital, the big banks, Bill Gates.”

      He still expects Day X, sooner or later. Riots linked to an economic meltdown. Or a blackout, because the German government is shuttering coal plants.

      Nordkreuz members never told me, nor the authorities, the location of the disused vacation village that was their safe house for Day X.

      The safe house is still active, said Mr. Gross, who at the height of Nordkreuz’s planning had boasted to a fellow member that his network contained 2,000 like-minded people in Germany and beyond.

      “The network is still there,” he said.


      • 400 police officers plus SWAT teams from multiple states today searched 18 estates in 11 different counties of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, after being tipped off on a group of 19 people having met in a building in Baden-Württemberg while wearing Wehrmacht uniforms and carrying weapons.

        Two of the 19 accused - men and women between age 27 and 77 - have previously been under observation by domestic intelligence. Police is still investigating whether the group was possibly a militia or a reenactment group.
        Media has been pretty quick to jump to a comparison to "Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann", a neonazi militia engaged in similar activities that was outlawed in 1980 and members of which committed the terrorist attack on Oktoberfest that year (with 13 dead and 211 injured).

        Items seized in the raid included computers, vehicles, uniforms, weapons, ammunition and grenades as well as drugs. The amount of weapons recovered in three counties in Baden-Württemberg was sufficient to fill multiple trucks. An EOD team had to perform controlled explosions of two explosive devices.


        • German regional minister resigns over far-right links to gun purchase

          A German regional minister has resigned following criticism over a gun he purchased from someone with suspected links to a far-right group.

          Lorenz Caffier admitted to the purchase last week, but faced backlash after saying it was a "private matter". On Tuesday, Mr Caffier said he no longer had the "necessary authority" to continue as interior minister for the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. It comes as Germany's government ramps up its efforts to combat the far right. In a statement, Mr Caffier criticised the media's "uninhibited reporting", insisting he was stepping down to "protect" his family, employees and others around him. He also said suggestions that he was linked to far-right groups himself hurt him "deeply".

          Mr Caffier has admitted to buying a pistol for hunting purposes in 2018 from a man dubbed Frank T, who operated a shooting range. The facility was used to train police special forces, but was also frequented by suspected members of far-right group Nordkreuz. Nordkreuz (German: Northern Cross) is a so-called "prepper" organisation whose followers train for doomsday scenarios like the collapse of national order. Several members have had links to the police and military, and the group has been accused of preparing to carry out political assassinations. As interior minister, Mr Caffier was responsible for overseeing all police and intelligence operations against groups like Nordkreuz. He said that, at the time, authorities were unaware of Frank T's alleged links to the group. Frank T has also denied the allegations, and investigations by public prosecutors are ongoing.

          In July 2017, a whistleblower spoke to German authorities about the activities of Nordkreuz and mentioned Frank T's involvement, according to local news outlet Tagesschau. However the testimony presented "no actual evidence of right-wing extremist activities" by Frank T. Mr Caffier admitted that, "from today's perspective," he should not have bought the gun from him, but stressed that "it wasn't the acquisition that was a mistake, but my handling of it". During recent years, the government has sought to clamp down on the emergence of far-right groups around the country, particularly in the police and military. In June 2017, inspections were ordered on all military barracks when Nazi-era memorabilia was found at two of them. Earlier this year, Germany's defence minister also ordered the partial dissolution of the elite KSK commando force due to right-wing extremists in its ranks.

          Last week Caffier presented the annual Domestic Intelligence Report for the state for 2019, which is the first one to name Nordkreuz, its terrorist plans and its connections to police officers. Caffier admitted to the press this week that Frank T., who he bought the gun from, was a member of Nordkreuz that was at the time known to the Interior Ministry.

          Caffier stepping down as Interior Minister came after the Minister-President of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania as his boss ordered him to issue a statement of explanation about the gun deal in parliament, which he "saw himself unable to do".

          The step to remove himself from the cabinet may also have had to do with additional allegations of tax fraud and some illegal real estate deals and connected changes to land development plans back when he was mayor of Usedom 10 years ago.


          • Police in Austria (and Germany) has arrested a group that was building up a weapons cache intended for building up a Neonazi militia in Germany. One of the arrested was previously in jail for several years for neonazi activity, and was previously a suspect in a series of bombings in the 90s. The group financed its activity through drug trade with a biker gang in Germany - which is also how police uncovered it.
            Weapons uncovered include 76 assault rifles and sub-machine guns, 14 pistols, 6 hand grenades, various explosives and 100,000 rounds of ammunition.


            Austria also today opened a court case against the "European Action" group, a neonazi network consisting of Austrians, Swiss and Germans (incl. well-known and multiply-convicted Holocaust deniers) that planned to basically reerect "Grand Germany" in the 1938 sense and ethnically cleanse Europe of all migrants. "European Action" was building up a militia for that purpose including paramilitary training in Hungary. The case has been going on for several years (the group dissolved in 2017), and involved various terrorist acts - shooting people - in Austria and Hungary, as well as police officers killed in shootouts with them in various countries. The group is also connected to and was supported by Hungarian rightwing-extremist party Jobbik and Austrian rightwing-extremist party FPÖ. For other neonazi terrorist groups it was connected to Hungarian neonazi group MNA and the Hannibal Network in Germany.
            Last edited by kato; 12 Dec 20,, 18:05.


            • Originally posted by kato View Post
              Active right-wing shooter situation in Halle, East Germany right now.

              This guy:


              - 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.
              Convicted to life in prison with "grave guilt" and following preventive custody on monday, i.e. the same sentence that Beate Zschäpe of NSU got, and the maximum possible for any crime in Germany. For 2 murders and 52 counts of attempted murder here. The guy claims to have been radicalized through the internet and was idolizing the Christchurch attacker. Given he's only 28 he'll be spending quite a while in there to think about it before he dies.
              Last edited by kato; 22 Dec 20,, 18:58.


              • Originally posted by kato View Post
                They've arrested a 45-year-old man in connection with the murder of Lübcke based on DNA evidence at the crime site.

                Guy was active with the local chapter of neonazi party NPD. Was previously sentenced for attacking a union rally with 400 Autonomous Nationalists ten years ago - to 7 months on probation for breach of public peace - and apparently was part of a bomb attack on a refugee home in 1993 for which he was sentenced to 6 years prison in 1995. He's got a couple instances of illegal firearms possession, battery, theft and stuff like arson in his backlog as well. Some claim he's connected to Combat 18, i.e. the terrorist sub-branch of Blood and Honour.

                Investigations focus on "a possible right-wing motive". Federal Attorney has drawn the case to himself (i.e. regards it as terrorism).
                Trial is currently beginning for the Lübcke murder, expected to end in late January. District attorney is also asking for a sentence of life plus follow-on preventive custody in his case.

                Charge is one count of murder (for Lübcke - which the accused admits) and one attempted murder (on an Iraqi refugee - which he denies). The accused claims his motivation were the sexual attacks in Cologne by refugees (that did not happen) and for which he blamed Lübcke based on a pro-refugee stance.

                A second accused in the case is being charged with politically influencing the main suspect, being considered accessory to murder. In combination with a weapons charge (for a submachine gun) the district attorney is asking for about 10 years for this guy.


                • The New York Times has published a very extensive article on Franco A., the German officer who posed as a refugee:


                  Well worth a read. It's mostly based around interviews with him.


                  • Originally posted by kato View Post
                    The New York Times has published a very extensive article on Franco A., the German officer who posed as a refugee:


                    Well worth a read. It's mostly based around interviews with him.
                    He muses on ways to change the course of German history. Didn't another German military fellow muse about the same thing? He sure did change German history and not for the better as it is never for the better.

                    You have a problem in your armed forces and it is probably more than one or two or three. I'm sure we have some in ours but yours sounds more troubling.

                    His Day X reminds me of Manson and his Helter Skelter.


                    • Originally posted by tbm3fan View Post
                      He muses on ways to change the course of German history. Didn't another German military fellow muse about the same thing? He sure did change German history and not for the better as it is never for the better.
                      German soldiers and reservists discussing the article point out that picture of his bookshelf in the article.

                      The lower shelf with the Arc de Triomphe includes half a dozen books that virtually every officer in the Bundeswehr has (including two standard issue copies of the German constitution, two books handed to fresh officers, two standard law books on military disciplinary law - the rest seems to be mostly from various exchange academies, both Saint Cyr and from the UK). The top shelf, entirely religious-focused books, may show some obsession by including no less than six bibles.

                      However there's one book in there innocously set among the military books - "Wozu noch tapfer sein" / "Why still be brave" by former Bundeswehr Maj.Gen. Schultze-Rhonhof - that they also instantly recognize due to its... notoriousness. The book, written in the 90s, is pretty much a standard of ultra-rightwing extremism in the military.

                      The author of that book is part of a circle of about a dozen former generals (incl. the first commander of KSK) many of whom - including him - were "retired early" in the sense of dismissal over their right-wing views. This book by him in particular mostly posits that the German state and its people is undeserving of the loyalty of its soldiers and has absolved them of their loyalty vow, adressing then-current supreme court decisions the author opposes. It then proceeds to drag up about every revisionist theory of the last century, from the "backstabbing" of Versailles to ... well, various stuff around WW2, mostly in the sense of shifting guilt for the war towards Poland, some hidden Holocaust denial, considering any military opposition to Hitler traitors and stuff like that.

                      From me, on placement in that particular picture:

                      The "why still be brave" book in that shelf is set next to "de officio", which is a book on ethical challenges faced by officers provided by military priests of the protestant church. There's some dissonance in placing these next to each other, given the author Schultze-Rhonhof left the protestant church a couple years later in "protest" over them supporting the dismissal of a local politician from the CDU party over antisemitic speeches.

                      There's a third copy of the Basic Law in the shelf to the left among what looks like reference books, in that part for political science. The two copies in the main shelf are the standard issue provided to soldiers - which i doubt anyone outside the Bundeswehr has ever seen - and (in center) the general free public issue by the Federal Government though.
                      Last edited by kato; 03 Jan 21,, 08:47.


                      • Originally posted by kato View Post
                        Trial is currently beginning for the Lübcke murder, expected to end in late January. District attorney is also asking for a sentence of life plus follow-on preventive custody in his case.
                        The accused was convicted for the Lübcke murder and sentenced to life in prison with "gravity of guilt" (no parole). Preventive custody will be decided later. He was acquitted of the second attempted murder charge.

                        Last edited by kato; 29 Jan 21,, 11:23.


                        • The AfD party is now formally under observation for extremism:



                          • Here's an odd one seen coincidentally...
                            Court refuses to back German soldier fired for hoisting his country’s flag in Crete

                            The Giessen Administrative Court dismissed an action brought by a former Bundeswehr (German military) soldier who was fired for hoisting a German flag in Crete, RND reported.

                            The court found on Wednesday that this “serious affront” had seriously injured the Bundeswehr’s reputation.

                            The decision is not yet final.

                            According to Bundeswehr investigations, the man and another soldier caused a scandal during an operation in Crete in 2019.

                            In their free time, they exchanged the Greek flag for one of their own country on a flagpole on a rocky plateau.

                            During the Second World War, the German Wehrmacht occupied the Greek island in the Mediterranean, and thousands of civilians were brutally murdered as a result.

                            Greek authorities arrested and sentenced the soldiers after the incident.

                            In the same year, the Bundeswehr fired the men because they were said to have seriously violated their “duty to serve faithfully and behave well”.

                            The court said it did not matter whether the plaintiff or, as he said, the other soldier hoisted the flag.

                            His behaviour cannot be excused by the fact that he said he was not aware of the history of the Second World War.

                            The hoisting of a German flag on a flagpole on foreign national territory also differs significantly from “setting a flag after hiking a mountain peak or building a sand castle while on vacation at the beach.”

                            The two navy officers were on a week-long training at NATO air base Souda in Crete. They were sentenced to 10 months on suspended probation in Greece (for insulting the Greek flag by discarding it on the ground under a large rock), the Bundeswehr immediately hauled them back to Germany and started a disciplinary trial. Both were dismissed from service, but contested this in court.

                            According to Greek media supposedly five German soldiers were involved, but three "disappeared" before locals could apprehend them. By "apprehend" i mean beat them up before handing them over to police, because that's what they did with these two.
                            Last edited by kato; 13 May 21,, 11:10.


                            • Well, at the very least they were damn stupid. 1) Taking down a host nations flag is problematic at best. 2) Replacing it with your nation's flag is inexcusable...especially when desecrating the host nation flag as is reported.

                              And having known some Bundeswehr Army & Air Force officers...I am not buying he was unaware of the history. They were officers...that is a higher standard for me.
                              “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
                              Mark Twain


                              • In case anyone remembers the guy in Germany where they dragged a Panther tank out of his garden with military assistance back in 2015, that case is now (six years later) in court.

                                The court is mostly contesting his 88m FlaK gun as a non-demilitarized weapon of war. The defense retort on it is that there's no 88mm ammunition available anyway - to the point of having an expertise drawn up stating it would cost at least 200,000 Euro and take five months to make a small batch of ammo for it professionally.

                                The legal situation of the tank itself is somewhat complicated. He bought it as scrap in the 1970s in the UK and restored it - including at one point with the German Army performing maintenance on its engine based on it being demilitarized in their opinion (they charged him 28,000 Euro for the maintenance). However the Federal Agency for Export Control in an expertise has come to the conclusion that it is not properly demilitarized and documentation is missing too. Some of his restoration efforts make it questionable too, including procuring a new (original) barrel. The tank was revocered by a platoon of Bundeswehr soldiers using two armoured recovery vehicles in 2015 and has been stored at the Putlos training grounds since then.

                                His other heavy weapons seem to no longer be of interest - even if some documentation seems to be missing for the torpedo he had, both it and his mortar seem to have been properly deactivated. haven't heard anything about the several dozen machine guns and assault rifles recovered in this regard, or the ammunition or explosives. They're part of the case though, the district attorney needed 15 minutes just to read out the list of weapons they're charging him about.

                                As for why this is in this thread, it's because the "collector" had this tank draped up in a multi-level underground building filled with Nazi devotionalia, including rooms built to resemble Hitler's chancellery (complete with Hitler bust and portraits) and with some 100 mannequins used to portray original Nazi uniforms - and a 40-ton semi-replica "with some original parts" of a statue that had been standing in the chancellery's courtyard in Berlin that he had put up in his own garden was what got the police involved in the first place.