How politicians, police and justice system promote fascist terrorism in Germany
[Translation of an article in barricada – Newspaper for autonomous politics and culture]
“Relentless and all-inclusive clarification” of the scandals around the murders by the National Socialist Underground (NSU) is being demanded by politicians across the spectrum from Left Party to Greens to Christian Social Union. “Relentless and all-inclusive clarification” is being promised by the responsible persons in the ministries, the secret services and the police.
Shocked and bewildered, the bourgeois political establishment is having to look at something that the favourite enemies of families minister, Kristina Schröder, namely active anti-fascists, have long known about and stated: that fascists have terrorism networks in Germany. The terrorism of the effectively networked Neonazis comprises not just the everyday, often lethal terrorism that those in government didn’t care a fig about for decades. Nazis definitely plan and perpetrate murders.
All of them could have known, but their job was to conceal and trivialise the rightwing terrorism and also in part to fight those who offered serious information about Nazi structures, brown [the Nazi colour] terrorism and the scale of rightwing violence. It can almost certainly be assumed that nothing will come of the all-inclusive clarification. Already unpleasant facts are again being concealed. Nazis suspected of having actively cooperated with the “terrorist trio” (!) are accused of supporting a terrorist organisation not of being members of it. A National Socialist who appears to have produced the “we claim responsibility” video of the terrorism network was at first allowed to roam free for days, giving him plenty of time to secrete away evidence materials. The everyday fascist terrorism continues unhindered though seen by the police and secret service. Nazi terrorist Martin Wiese, released from jail, happily breaches his probation restrictions by contacting his accomplices without the police or justice system showing the slightest interest. They’re busy with other things, anyway, these days: intimidating and persecuting anti-fascists.
Not only protest and resistance against Nazi machinations, but public education about rightwing contexts is up to leftwing or bourgeois initiatives in this country. To obstruct and hound these initiatives is up to the state.
This ministry of Christian Democrat [conservative] politician Schröder, who since her youth has been on a fanatical crusade against everything left, pays promotion funding to a number of anti-fascist projects and groupings. When Schröder took over the ministry, she planned to substantially shift the weighting of the funding in favour of programmes against Islamism and “leftwing extremists”. Early in 2011 she introduced a so-called extremism clause, used to ensure that groups which oppose Nazis can access state funding only if they assure in writing never to cooperate (for example in coalitions) with groups rated as “extremist” by the Office for Protection of the Constitution [domestic intelligence]. The colleagues of little Adolf (the nickname of the intelligence officer present at an NSU murder in an Internet cafe in Kassel) ultimately decide by their assessment of anti-fascist initiatives which projects are going to have support funding from tax revenue scratched. No wonder that the Bavarian intelligence agency tries to categorise the venerable Antifascist Information, Documentation- and Archive Munich as “extreme leftwing”.
The notion that those who want to force the world into control by a “master race” and to exterminate millions of people could in some way be the same as those trying to establish a free society without exploitation and oppression is simply insane. Even the bourgeois [weekly newspaper] “Die Zeit” has twigged to that by now. It wrote in a notably sensible commentary, titled “Scrap the word extremism!”: “The government can’t bring itself to drop the dogma that leftwing and rightwing extremists are the same problem in different versions. That is dangerous.”
Police and judiciary are keen helpers in discrediting and criminalising anti-fascist engagement. A case typical of the underlying pattern is the persecution of the Bürgerforum Gräfenberg (Gräfenberg Civic Forum). In 2008, after a court allowed Neonazis to disrupt and taunt a festivity of the middle-class anti-fascist initiative in Gräfenberg with a march, dozens of people spontaneously sat down on the route the National Socialists were going to march along. The police recorded that this delayed the start of the Nazi march “by 1:23 minutes”, which also had to be rerouted, as was later stated in the order of summary punishment against the allegedly responsible spokesman of the civic forum. To identify the citizens who had sat in the way of the self-titled heirs of the Third Reich the police mounted quite an effort. Police officers with photos of the blockaders went around canvassing houses and demanded that people denounce their neighbours.
The NSU was able to murder unobstructed for years, while Nuremberg officers of the “Bosphorus” special task force harassed and insulted the relatives of the victims. Victims of fascist everyday terrorism are often advised against filing complaints, as happened recently with a Nazi attack on a centre in Weissenburg. In Fürth a small group of Neonazis of the “Anti-Antifa” of the former Frankish Action Front has for years mounted attacks without the police clearing up even a single case.
But the will to pursue and clear up and the allocation of personnel are huge when genuine or alleged breaches of order or criminal acts of anti-fascists are involved. Youths who write something against Nazis on a wall with chalk have good chances in Fürth, for example, of police clearing up this “case” and a strange youth judge, Gerd Engelhardt, prepares to drive their anti-fascism out of them. The mind-blowing outcomes criminalisation of anti-fascists can have is demonstrated by the unforgettable initiative of the Stuttgart District Court to make use of the anti-fascist logo of a crossed-through swastika a criminal offence.
By contrast, as a rule courts deal extremely mildly with Nazis, insofar as they have to front up in court at all. Police often see their task in not only asserting Nazi marches against popular resistance, but also in enabling the Nazis to directly commit criminal acts and to shield them against prosecution. Another example from Nuremberg: In 2008 police not only locked down an entire city quarter to gift the Nazis an undisturbed march, and bashed anti-fascist protesters bloody, but also gifted the fascists the possibility to shout “Down with the Jewish pestilence!” and to call for murder as they marched through the railway station. Any attempt by the anti-fascists to arrest the Nazis or prevent their actions would have been sure to be prevented by the police present with brutal violence.
Nazi networks: Funded, informed and highly armed by the state
Naturally, immediately after the revelation of the NSU murders bourgeois media and politicians started to warm up the debate about banning the NPD [the main Nazi party]. Sceptics of the ban strangely argued that one couldn’t forbid thoughts, anyway. In fact, the state has for decades funded a Nazi party, the NPD, whose members and their closest associates have committed countless terrorist attacks and several murders. In 2008 the NPD received nearly 1.5 million euros from the state, which amounted to half its revenues. Through personal overlaps the party moneys naturally also go into funding the activities of terrorist “Kameradschaften” (comradeships). A larger source is likely to be what the state generously makes available to the Nazi movement though its payments to undercover agents. Some Nazi activists have never made a secret of the fact that they regard payments by the intelligence services and police as donations to the movement and use the funds accordingly. This is how the “Thüringer Heimatschutz” (THS, Thuringian Homeland Protection), which spawned the NSU, also profited from hundreds of thousands of euros the domestic intelligence agency gifted to NPD member and THS leader, Tino Brandt, and other undercover agents. Another channel through which the fascists receive tax moneys is the promotion of projects. For example, Karl-Heinz Hoffmann, former head of the infamous Wehrsportgruppe Hoffmann (Hoffman Military Sports Group), still bustling in the Nazi scene, was paid 130.000 euros by the state of Saxony for maintaining a palace. For generous payment from these tax revenues members of militant comradeships helped him to spruce up the property into a meeting place for Nazis. But the now ‘ever so stunned’ politicians aren’t responsible alone for the funding of the Nazi terrorism. State agencies also play an indirect part in Nazi terrorism. For example, Didier Magnien, confidant of the Bavarian terrorist, Martin Wiese, played a big role in building up the “Anti-Antifa”. Through Magnien the Bavarian interior ministry supplied money, equipment and information on anti-fascists, i.e. potential targets of attack, to the Nazis of the “Anti-Antifa”. Informal fusions with police and other officials have to be another major source for the Nazi terrorists.
Judge Richard Caspar: Not without my Nazis!
In the spring of 2011 Neonazi Peter Rausch was on trial in the Nuremberg District Court for nearly bashing to death a young anti-fascist the previous year. The reactions of the police, state prosecutor and local politicians fitted into the usual pattern. At first it was attempted to hush up the political context of the attack. Only after a few days, when the political pressure had grown too great, the police came out with some of the truth. First the prosecution tried to ascribe some of the blame to the victim. To that end, police and prosecution badgered the anti-fascist’s family when he still lay in a coma. On the first day of the trial about twenty national socialists, including close associates of terrorist Martin Wiese and members of the banned Frankish Action Front, tried to badger relatives and supporters of the victim in the courtroom. A female trade unionist was attacked and injured. Shortly thereafter the Nazis were removed from the court room by court security. Judge Richard Caspar didn’t like that at all. It was obvious that he wanted the members of the ‘free comradeships’ in historical room 600. So he had court security bash people out of two spectator benches to make room for the national socialists. Some of those bashed out of the room later found themselves under investigation and on trial. Caspar’s Nazi cultivation also illustrates the feel-good climate the state gifts to the national socialists. While the responsible CSUCDUSPDFDPGreens [acronyms of parties in parliament] politicians present themselves as anti-fascist while quietly planning more repression of the left, or like Kristina Schröder at least some of the time are keeping their traps shut, quite a number of accomplices of the NSU (e.g. in Nuremberg, Fürth and Munich) don’t even get their homes searched. Even after more than 180 deaths just since 1990, the members of rightwing terrorism cells can be assured of friendly cooperation by state agencies – despite the chatter and participation in human light chains of those in political office.