New terrorist threats against politicians, artists and journalists

Neo-Nazi network in police covered up at highest levels of German state and politics

By Christoph Vandreier
18 July 2020

New reports about right-wing extremist terrorist threats in Germany against representatives of the Left Party, artists and journalists are revealing the extensive fascist networks inside the state apparatus, which are being covered up by the highest authorities in state and politics. The threats are intended to intimidate the widespread opposition to the right-wing policies of the grand coalition of the Christian Democratic Union/Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) and Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Two years ago Frankfurt lawyer Seda Basay-Yildiz received threatening letters from right-wing terrorists that were as brutal as they were serious. Now many more such cases have come to public attention in recent weeks.

Like Basay-Yildiz, the leader of the Left Party parliamentary group in the Hesse state parliament, Janine Wissler, received death threats which were signed “NSU 2.0” and contained non-public information about her. “NSU 2.0” refers to the terrorist organisation “National Socialist Underground,” which murdered at least 10 people between 2000 and 2007.

In both cases, the information in the threatening letters had previously been retrieved from police computers in Hesse. The same applies to the information in threatening letters against the anti-racist Berlin cabaret artist İdil Baydar. She received a total of eight death threats from March 2019 onwards and had brought them to the attention of the police. But it was not until Monday that it became known that her personal data had also been retrieved from police computers.

İdil Baydar at a performance in 2016 [Credit: Plumpaquatsch]

Besides Wissler, other representatives of the Left Party have also been threatened. In April, Martina Renner, a member of the Bundestag (federal parliament), received death threats signed NSU 2.0, containing non-public information. Renner is a joint plaintiff in the trial against the neo-Nazi André M., which was just beginning at that time. M. is accused of having sent over 100 threatening letters and 87 bomb threats.

The Berlin state faction leader of the Left Party, Anne Helm, also received terror threats from NSU 2.0 containing non-public data at the beginning of July. It is currently unclear whether these also originate from police computers in Hesse. Helm herself suspects a link to Berlin. The threatening letters “contained, among other things, information that was probably obtained by spying on my home environment,” she told the Frankfurter Rundschau. “This method has been used for a very long time by the neo-Nazi network, to which the series of attacks here in Neukölln is attributed.” It is therefore logical to assume that these circles are networked.

A Berlin police officer faces disciplinary proceedings for betrayal of secrets because he shared information about investigations in a chat group, in which at least one of the Neukölln main suspects was also active.

It turns out that it is not individual officers, but a widely spread network. The data from Basay-Yildiz, Baydar and Wissler were each accessed by different police stations in Frankfurt and Wiesbaden. Basay-Yildiz received threatening letters even after six suspects had already been suspended from police duty. “You [vulgar insult] are obviously not aware of what you have done to our police colleagues,” it said.

Nor are the threats against individual members of parliament. The aim is obviously to intimidate anyone who opposes the right-wing policies of the federal government and the extreme right-wing danger. On July 14, several parliamentary groups in the Hesse state parliament and the editors of the talk show Merit Liner received a letter wishing the death of Wissler, Renner, Helm, Baydar and the taz journalist Hengameh Yaghoobifarah. The perpetrators wanted to reach as large a public as possible.

The members of the right-wing terrorist network are becoming more and more aggressive because they can rely on being covered up by the authorities. In the case of Basay-Yildiz, the investigation has been going on for almost two years without any charges being brought. Immediately after the first letters were written, the policewoman from whose account the data on the lawyer had been retrieved was found.

A house search revealed that she was a member of a WhatsApp group, in which five other right-wing extremist police officers glorified the Holocaust, exchanged Hitler pictures and sent Nazi symbols that are illegal in Germany. One of them was earmarked for promotion. So far, none of the police officers have been charged and only one has been released from his employment at his own request. The rest are merely suspended from duty.

Baydar filed charges eight times because of the terror threats, and eight times the proceedings were dropped. The data query from the police computer had already taken place in March 2019. However, she was not informed about this, but had only just found out through a reporter, she explained. So far, no investigator has contacted her. “I am afraid of the police,” she told Die Zeit.

Helin Ervin Sommer, a member of the Bundestag for the Left Party, also received a threatening email from NSU 2.0, warning she would suffer the same fate as Kassel’s District President Walter Lübcke (CDU), who was shot at close range by a neo-Nazi a year ago. Although Sommer had been attacked earlier, she was informed by the police only last week that her name was already on a neo-Nazi’s death list in 2010.

According to Left Party chairman Bernd Hiesinger, none of the threatened Left Party members of parliament were offered police protection.

In Wissler’s case, the police claim they have not yet been able to determine who accessed the data. The police officer whose login credentials were used to retrieve the data has long since been identified. However, because the police officer stated that he did not know Janine Wissler, he is not listed as a suspect but as a witness(!) There have also been no house searches. Even if someone else had logged on with the data, it should not be difficult to identify them, since the time of the logon is also stored. The fact that there is still no suspect can only be explained by the fact that no serious investigation is underway.

In general, attempts have long been made to cover up the fact that the data were obtained from police computers. Hesse’s Minister of the Interior Peter Beth (CDU) accused the State Criminal Investigation Office (LKA) of having informed him of this only last week. The LKA, however, had already identified the data retrieval on February 25. State Police Commissioner Udo Munch resigned as a result.

But as the Frankfurter Rundschau reported on Sunday, the state police headquarters, which is affiliated with the Ministry of the Interior, had already been informed by the LKA on March 5 about the data retrieval. At least that is what the newspaper cites from internal memos. An investigating officer, “showed that a Wiesbaden police station had interrogated Ms. Janine Wissler of the Left Party,” it says.

According to this, the Ministry of the Interior would have been informed about the data retrieval at an early stage and would have deliberately kept it secret, thus keeping its protective hand over the right-wing extremist terror networks in the police.

Such a procedure is completely in line with the political leadership of the Hesse state Interior Ministry. When Halit Yozgat was murdered by the NSU in Kassel in 2006, Volker Bouffier, then Interior Minister and now state premier, kept silent for as long as possible about the presence at the scene of the crime of an officer from the Hesse state secret service responsible for managing Confidential Informants inside far-right groups, Andreas Temme. When the matter could no longer be concealed, he granted Temme only a limited permission to testify. The corresponding files are still under lock and key today and are to remain so for another 30 years.

Temme was responsible for an extensive network of informers with which the police and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (as the secret service is called) had infiltrated and financed the neo-Nazi scene. At least two dozen Confidential Informants were active in the NSU environment alone, some of whom were in personal contact with the terrorists in hiding.

All these structures remained intact after the NSU was uncovered and were protected by the security authorities. Temme, for example, was transferred to Lübcke’s regional council, where he was still working when the CDU politician was murdered by neo-Nazis. The presumed murderer, Stephan Ernst, in turn, comes from Kassel neo-Nazi circles in which Temme was responsible for running informants.

Since the murder of Lübcke, these networks have increasingly been mobilized against political figures associated with criticism of right-wing extremism. Workers and young people must take this as a serious warning. The mass terror threats are part of a comprehensive offensive by the security authorities to act against anyone who criticises the policy of militarism and blatant social inequality and takes a stand against capitalism.

 

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