Germany identifies far-right extremists working in security services

BERLIN — Germany has identified 327 cases of far-right extremists working in the police, military and intelligence services over a three...

BERLIN — Germany has identified 327 cases of far-right extremists working in the police, military and intelligence services over a three-year period, according to a report released Friday by the country’s interior minister. , highlighting the persistent nature of the threat and the efforts of the authorities to address it.

Germany, under the previous government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, was forced to open an official investigation into the issue after several scandals involving right-wing extremists among the country’s police and armed forces, including chat groups, stolen ammunition and possession of illegal weapons.

“We will not allow our democratic constitutional state to be sabotaged from within by right-wing extremists,” Minister Nancy Faeser said when presenting the report, the most comprehensive public examination to date of the issue, covering employees at both state and federal levels.

Ms. Faeser, who has been in office for less than six months, brings credibility to the fight against far-right extremism through her years in state politics. She presented a 10-point plan to tackle right-wing extremism in Germany earlier this year and said on Friday she would introduce a new law in parliament to make it easier to fire extremists working in law enforcement and law enforcement. security services.

Ms. Faeser and Thomas Haldenwang, the chairman of the domestic intelligence agency that authored the document, “want to know, want to clarify, want to grapple with the issue of right-wing extremism,” said Hajo Funke, an expert. on the subject. He has for years criticized the federal government’s efforts to fight it, but praised the government for its new approach.

According to Professor Funke, attempts to unmask right-wing extremism have suffered because state-level authorities, who must play a vital role in countering the threat, are generally less responsive to it.

The new report covers the three-year period between July 2018 and July 2021. It expanded the definition of who should be called a right-wing extremist to include members of the so-called Reichsbürger movement, who reject the modern German state and believe that the German Reich will return to power.

Rather than simply providing a number of people suspected of holding extremist views, authorities were able to identify specific individuals for whom they had evidence of right-wing ideology, although the ability to punish them was limited in some areas. case.

According to the 156-page report, 138 of the confirmed cases were found in federal institutions, such as the armed forces, federal police and major intelligence agencies, which together employ more than 355,000 people. The other 189 were found among state agencies, such as police forces and state intelligence services, which together employ nearly 288,000 people.

Among those cited in the report is the well-known case of a former police sniper who was convicted of possession of illegal weapons in 2019. The man, Marko Gross, who has not been identified by name in the report, had organized a discussion group for other extremists who were preparing for the day society would collapse – Day X – with plans to form a small armed group. According to the report, the group included a number of state security service employees, some of whom had military training.

It is also mentioned in the report a former army lieutenant identified as Franco A., who is currently on trial in a court in Frankfurt, where prosecutors have charged him with plotting a political murder.

Authorities said Franco A., who in 2017 was caught retrieving a loaded gun he had stashed in an airport toilet and had a false identity as a Syrian refugee, was being driven by a “hardened far-right extremist mindset,” and aimed to bring down the country’s democratic system.

But many other cases are more commonplace. Some of the employees were part of right-wing discussion groups. Others were reported due to extremist speech or performing Nazi salutes with outstretched arms, which in Germany is constitutionally prohibited.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Germany identifies far-right extremists working in security services
Germany identifies far-right extremists working in security services
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