Dhe controversial “lateral thinking” movement could, according to Thuringian constitution protection president Stephan Kramer, be declared a suspected case. Kramer told the RBB that the state offices for the protection of the constitution wanted to give a final assessment on this soon. In mid-November, the officials had agreed not to declare the movement an object of observation for the time being. According to Kramer, increasing tendencies towards radicalization can be observed among the organizers of the “lateral thinking” demonstrations, which are directed against the state protective measures against corona. He referred, among other things, to a meeting in November between the organizers of the “lateral thinking” movement and supporters of the so-called Reich citizens.
The Parliamentary Control Committee (PKG), which is set up to control the protection of the constitution, met in Stuttgart on Wednesday morning. The domestic policy spokesman for the CDU parliamentary group, Thomas Blenke, said that he was adhering to the committee’s duty of confidentiality, and that, in his personal opinion, the lateral thinker movement was dangerous, also because increasing radicalization was being observed. “I think it is important to expand state preventive measures. We have to do everything to ensure that citizens who are worried about the restrictions that are unfortunately necessary for infection protection reasons do not become radicalized. ”The state center for political education and the police are responsible for prevention work.
An early decision in the southwest?
The Greens in Baden-Württemberg expect an early decision by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the state offices. The domestic political spokesman and parliamentary manager of the green parliamentary group, Hans-Ulrich Sckerl, said: “The lateral thinkers are currently undergoing extensive radicalization, right-wing extremists of all stripes are being heard and supported there, and some right-wing extremists are even trying to lead the movement . “
Among the participants in the events of the corona deniers, there are citizens who simply want to express their anger about pandemic politics, which is of course permissible. However, among the lateral thinkers there are people who have developed “sui generis extremism” and who do not shy away from acts of violence. The decision as to whether the movement would become a test case would not be made by the state parliaments, but by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Sckerl told the FAZ
A spokesman for the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Stuttgart said the problem with the lateral thinker movement 711 was the conspiracy myths spread by its members, some of which were linked to the goal of a “political overthrow”. “These conspiracy myths are not only represented by extremists, but are also hugely popular with non-extremist demonstrators. There is therefore an increasing risk that individual participants will radicalize, ”said the spokesman.
In the Federal Ministry of the Interior, they do not want to anticipate the work of the constitutional protectors, but point out the difficulty of defining a precise grouping that could be declared a suspected case. The movement as a whole is still very heterogeneous, they do not want to put it under general suspicion. The subject is also on the agenda of the interior ministers’ conference that takes place next week. The countries do not necessarily have to agree whether to declare the movement a suspected case. It would also be conceivable that only a few state offices would order intelligence observation of certain groups.
Right-wing extremists, citizens of the Reich, conspiracy narrators: There are “sufficient clues” to monitor the Corona protest movement.
The “lateral thinking” movement could become a suspected case for the protection of the constitution. That said the head of the office for the protection of the constitution of Thuringia, Stephan Kramer, the RBB. As one reason for his assessment, he cited the growing proximity of the Corona demonstrators to the Reich citizen scene.
Kramer thinks it is fundamentally legitimate to demonstrate against corona restrictions. “However, we know that initially as free riders and in the meantime more and more directing right-wing extremists, citizens of the Reich, anti-vaccination opponents, conspiracy fanatics take over the rule here,” he told the RBB. In the case of the organizers of the “lateral thinking” demonstrations themselves, there was an increasing number of “Reichsbürger-Speech”. One must deal with the question: “Isn’t this now, with the ‘lateral thinking’ demonstrations, also about extremist efforts relevant to the protection of the constitution?”
The President of the Thuringian Office for the Protection of the Constitution said that if he looked at all the findings from Thuringia and other federal states, “then I have sufficient evidence to arrive at at least one suspected case.”
In a joint analysis of the protection of the constitution at the federal and state levels, about the Southgerman newspaper, NDR and WDR reported, it is said: Some of the demonstrators were normal citizens, some classic right-wing extremists. However, a new kind of extremism can also be assumed – groups that spread conspiracy myths and thus want to undermine trust in state and other institutions.
A classification as a suspected case would allow the intelligence agencies to use intelligence to collect and evaluate information.
Dhe sensational speech by AfD party leader Jörg Meuthen at the federal party conference in Kalkar has caused clear criticism in his party. In a highly emotional speech, the party leader blamed the radicals in the party for their lack of success. The times when electoral success followed electoral success are over; the successes of the AfD and even the party are “at risk like never before”. Meuthen had blamed the provocative demeanor and the rough choice of words of the people from the right wing.
In detail, Meuthen had distanced himself from the “lateral thinker” movement and criticized the choice of words of the “Corona dictatorship” as well as the comparison of the Infection Protection Act with the “Enabling Act” of the National Socialists. Meuthen had said that it was a “trivialization of the horrific misdeeds of those dark times”. He had demanded discipline and professionalization and railed against “pubescent schoolboys”, “Politkasperle” and those “who are only too happy to scamper and roll around”.
Alexander Gauland, parliamentary group leader in the Bundestag, was one of the first to attack Meuthen directly. The speech of the party chairman was in parts “divisive”, Gauland told the Phoenix broadcaster. Gauland himself recently spoke of a “Corona” dictatorship in the Bundestag. Now he said it was “ridiculous” if Meuthen insinuated that he was questioning the constitution because of the use of this term. Gauland also does not share Meuthen’s criticism of the lateral thinkers. They also have “a lot of middle-class people”. Meuthen makes it “too easy” for itself with insulting them. With his speech, Meuthen “offended many people in the plenary”. Meuthen’s attack on the Bundestag faction because of the disturbances in the Bundestag by guests of AfD members he “did not understand at all,” said Gauland. “We have solved this problem in the Bundestag faction and the party chairman does not have to interfere in a speech that is supposed to bring people together,” said Gauland. Censorship from Meuthen “I cannot and will not accept”.
After Meuthen’s speech, there was applause, but also boos. Many delegates refused to applaud. Meuthen lacked a sense of how far he can go, even some of his supporters of the FAZ said. Many delegates see a movement like lateral thinking as a great potential for voters for the AfD.
Meuthen’s attacks on Gauland were also criticized. Meuthen had taken Gauland’s enthusiasm for Reich Chancellor Otto von Bismarck as an opportunity to portray him as looking backwards. Some in the AfD seemed to understand by being a conservative “a back to yesterday, feel at home with Bismarck and adore this historical figure enthusiastically,” Meuthen said – referring to Gauland, who is considered a great admirer of the Iron Chancellor. That may be “romantic”, “but above all it is blind to the future”. Delegates described this attack as unnecessary and too extensive.
Gauland: “Too much bow to the protection of the Constitution”
Gauland also criticized Meuthen’s appearance as “too much bow to the protection of the constitution”. Meuthen wants to prevent the Office for the Protection of the Constitution from declaring the entire party an object of observation. He is apparently relying on the fact that an observation of the AfD will be more difficult to enforce and will stand in court if the party leadership clearly distances itself from radical statements. However, Gauland does not believe that this strategy will be successful. “We have to fight against the protection of the constitution,” he said.
Others accused Meuthen of indirectly providing food for the protection of the constitution. “Demand discipline, but use the stage of a federal party congress as a federal spokesman to fight against internal party opponents – and that during the period of the announced observation by the constitutional protection”, wrote Christoph Berndt, chairman of the AfD in the Brandenburg state parliament, on Twitter. Berndt is the successor to Andreas Kalbitz in the parliament in Potsdam, the organizer of the right-wing national “wing” in the AfD that was dissolved by the party leadership. Kalbitz himself was expelled from the AfD at Meuthen’s instigation.
The hour-long discussion about the socio-political concept of the AfD that the party congress passed was comparatively harmonious at the party congress. The party closed a programmatic gap before the federal election in 2021. The party congress passed the key motion on health policy and proposals for stabilizing the pension system. In the end, almost 89 percent of the 500 or so delegates voted for the concept. The application to test a basic income, however, failed. The delegates decided not to vote on the proposal of the social policy spokesman for the Bundestag faction, René Springer, for “citizenship money”.
A list of enemies appears in a chat group of coronaviruses. Experts warn of the movement’s anti-Semitism.
Anetta Kahane, Chairwoman of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, at the press conference in Berlin Photo: Michael Kappeler / dpa
BERLINtaz | The tone of the corona protesters is getting rougher. In one of the scene’s Telegram groups, an enemy list with around 170 names of politicians and journalists appeared, with references such as “vaccination propaganda”, “BRD GmbH” or “Bill Gates”. Those named are referred to as “suspicious people who act in the interests of billiards”.
In addition to members of the federal government, the list also includes politicians from the CDU, SPD, the Left and the Greens. Only Bundeschef Jörg Meuthen is listed of the AfD. The personal data of those affected are not recorded, and the list was initially only distributed on a smaller channel.
Some of those affected, such as the Vice President of the Bundestag Petra Pau, reported that they reported. Anetta Kahane, chairwoman of the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, also on the list, spoke of a clear threat. “It’s like target markings for rabble or worse.”
BKA has known list since October
The BKA informed the taz that the list had been known since the end of October. The state police had been informed about it. A mere mention on such lists does not necessarily mean a danger for those concerned. But if more knowledge were added, measures would be taken.
Kahane warned on Tuesday at a press conference with SPD Vice-Vice President Kevin Kühnert and the Federal Anti-Semitism Commissioner Felix Klein of the rampant anti-Semitism in the protest movement. Conspiracy ideologies with an anti-Semitic core are said to be “unbelievably booming”, and hatred of Jews is intensifying on the protests. Her foundation has been active for a good 20 years, but: “We haven’t known that before.” The fact that demonstrators appear with a “Jewish star” or compare themselves to the resistance fighter Sophie Scholl, who was killed by Nazi thugs, is “perfidious” and one “Cynical perversion,” criticized Kahane.
Klein, who is also on the list of enemies, named hatred of Jews as a connecting element of previously separate milieus, from esoteric enthusiasts, peace movements to right-wing extremists. “The conspiracy narratives of supposedly secret powers connect the social center with radicalizing fringes.” Klein called this a danger to the foundations of society. For Kühnert, too, the protests revealed how widespread anti-Semitism was – a realization that “is part of everyday business for Jewish people”.
More contradiction, more prevention programs
Klein called for more contradiction. “We, the democratic majority, have to become louder and prevent radicalization wherever we perceive it.” The anti-Semitic attack in Halle had shown how quickly words could turn into deeds. Kahane called for more programs against anti-Semitism and conspiracy ideologies as well as better protection for Jewish citizens. Kühnert pleaded “to invest massively in research and prevention”. Central to this is a law promoting democracy, which secures civil society projects in the long term. The Union has so far rejected this.
Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) and others recently also called for the protection of the Constitution to take a closer look at the protests. The Thuringian secret service chief Stephan Kramer joined this. It would be conceivable that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution would not put individual groups under observation, but rather the spectrum itself – like the citizens of the Reich recently.
A spokesman for Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) recently emphasized that it is now clear that “extremists, Reich citizens and the like also appear” in the protests. In this respect, “an observation of this movement too is obvious and it also takes place”.
After the resignation of Interior Minister Caffier, the security authorities in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are barely able to solve the problem.
Without interior minister: Schwerin Castle, seat of the state parliament of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Photo: Emmanuele Contini / imago-images
SCHWERIN / BERLINtaz | On Thursday morning, a day and a half after the resignation of the Minister, the Interior Committee meets in Schwerin. It meets in the plenary hall of the state parliament building, it is a castle on a peninsula that looks like in a fairy tale film.
The left parliamentary group has requested that the item on the agenda be discussed in public. Lorenz Caffier (CDU) had bought a pistol from a dealer who was a member of the prepper group Nordkreuz, which hoarded tons of weapons and ammunition – in preparation for a “Day X”. Caffier first declared the matter a private matter last week, then admitted it and surprisingly resigned from his office on Tuesday. Buying the gun wasn’t a mistake, he explained, but handling it was.
Caffier is not in Schwerin Castle on Thursday. First it was said that he had called in sick, then the ministry said he was not coming because he was no longer in office. Journalists * have to leave the hall again, the coalition factions SPD and CDU are voting against the public meeting.
Many are now asking themselves the question: How seriously does the Interior Ministry take a right-wing prepper network that extends into its own authorities?
In place of the interior minister, State Secretary Thomas Lenz (CDU) explains himself for almost two hours. After the committee meeting, journalists ask him questions. Lenz is the highest-ranking official in the ministry; all important processes run through his desk. In front of the journalists, he wants to eliminate the suspicion that potentially explosive findings may have been left behind in departments of the Interior Ministry. He says: Minister Caffier was informed “always promptly”. The key question is: did Caffier know before buying arms that Nordkreuz exists and that arms dealer Frank T. was a member? A strange dialogue develops:
Lenz: “There were no references to Frank T.’s right-wing extremist attention in a Nordkreuz complex.”
When we remarked that the authorities did know that Frank T. was at Nordkreuz, the State Secretary turned to leave.
We ask again whether nobody informed the minister before he bought a weapon from T. Lenz says: “It’s all nonsense” and “that’s stupid stuff”. He repeated that there was no knowledge of T’s right-wing extremist attitudes.
Then Lenz explains that he looked up T. in chat messages. He does not go into the fact that several Nordkreuz people have long been classified as right-wing extremists, not on Day X scenarios or body bags. He goes.
In the meantime, even the Interior Ministry sees evidence of right-wing extremist efforts in T. He is said to have written racist and xenophobic chat messages. The public prosecutor’s office is investigating him in several proceedings, there are probably questions about weapons law, and the responsible weapons authority is also checking his licenses. While the ministry representatives in the Ts state parliament tend to downplay a comparatively short membership in Nordkreuz, the Schwerin regional court came to a different conclusion. Everyone can read this in the judgment of December 19, 2019.
The proceedings were directed against the former SEK police officer and Nordkreuz founder Marko G., in whom investigators found tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition and weapons. The court also dealt with Nordkreuz itself and states: Frank T. wrote the text of a set of rules that went to Nordkreuz members. In it they are sworn: “The better the communication, the easier it is to organize and collect among each other on day X. But until then it is important for each of US to attract as little attention as possible.” The court also sees it as proven, that the Nordkreuz people got ammunition and weapons for day X. Also evidenced by the testimony of Frank T.
How can it be that the second most important person in the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Ministry of the Interior underestimates T’s work in the right-wing prepper group to this day?
Ex-constitution protection officer comes with personal protection
While the State Secretary of the Ministry of the Interior in Schwerin is unable to answer questions, employees from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in his country are currently obliged to do so: The committee of inquiry into the Breitscheidplatz attack meets in the Bundestag. He wants to find out: How did it come about that explosive information about the assassin Anis Amri did not reach federal authorities?
At least that’s what a former employee of the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania claims. The committee of inquiry has summoned him. He comes with personal protection.
In a closed session on Thursday, he describes what was previously reported in reports from WDR and later from time read was: A source reports of connections between Anis Amris and a family in Berlin-Neukölln, of money and a getaway car. It is a special trace because it is still unclear how Amri was able to leave Berlin. The reference from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania indicates supporters, which is one of the reasons why the protection of the constitution urged their head of department to share the knowledge with the Federal Criminal Police Office. But he weighed it down and passed on only a small part of the information.
It takes more than two years for the investigators to find out about the money and the getaway car, and only because the constitutional protection officer, who is now testifying in the Bundestag, disregarded his superiors in October 2019: He wrote to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution , to the Attorney General – and also to State Secretary Lenz of the Ministry of the Interior in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
Before the committee in Berlin, the protection of the constitution explains how he first turned to his head of department, then to the head of the protection of the constitution. How he spoke to the State Secretary, who assured him that he would call in Lorenz Caffier immediately. The committee of inquiry would now like to question all three.
The protection of the constitution has meanwhile been transferred several times, currently he is with the LKA and expresses dissatisfaction in the Bundestag. His former head of department, now retired, is also being questioned in the Bundestag. First he declares that he had no knowledge of the information, then that he did not consider the whistleblower to be reliable. He is unable to explain to the committee how he came to this conclusion.
Different presentation, similar justifications
The case shows strong parallels to another process within the protection of the constitution in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Only the presentation is different this time: right-wing extremism.
The climate movement accuses the Greens of not being radical enough. Is that justified? You can find the answer in the taz on the weekend of 21./22. November. Also: On Tuesday, Mecklenburg’s Interior Minister Lorenz Caffier had to resign after taz research. The affair surrounding the right-wing Nordkreuz network does not end there. Which questions need to be clarified now. From Saturday at the kiosk, in the eKiosk, with a practical weekend subscription and around the clock on Facebook and Twitter.
It is the case of the informant who in 2018 supplied the constitution protection with internal information about the alleged right-wing extremist association Uniter. The taz published research on this in July.
If you read the minutes of the State Interior Committee, the justifications sound very similar. Interior Minister Caffier said in August that there were doubts about the whistleblower’s reliability. On the one hand, he actually handed over interesting details from inside the network. On the other hand, the description – sometimes it is about a professional network, sometimes about paramilitary training – was “not conclusive”. So the intelligence agencies decide to leave the information behind. Even when the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) explicitly asked all state offices for information.
Only after the misjudgment of the Amri information became public in the spring do they pass on their knowledge about the Uniter association. The BfV then declared Uniter to be a suspected case.
Seven days after Caffier declared his links to a right-wing prepper group private, his security agencies are in a bad shape. The process of coming to terms with it has only just begun, it is already clear that the dangers have been structurally underestimated and that the protection of the constitution is not working properly.
When the former employee of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution begins his testimony before the committee of inquiry, only members of parliament and a few employees are allowed to attend, including a lawyer from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
What nobody knows: The lawyer appears in the accounts of the witness. He was also involved in the process of missing information about Amri. He too could be interviewed.
The witness pointed this out to the Bundestag. Then the lawyer has to leave the room. The Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Constitutional Protection, which seems to be missing out on a lot anyway, doesn’t even notice what their own people are doing in the Bundestag that evening.
In April, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Hamburg was given the opportunity to use state Trojans. Secret service employees can use it to read encrypted messages on end devices without the approval of the courts, even with professional secrets such as journalists, doctors or lawyers. Civil rights initiatives have now lodged a constitutional complaint. You rightly criticize the threat of massive and unlawful interventions in the freedom of the press, telecommunications secrecy and informal self-determination by security authorities that can hardly be controlled. The privacy of countless people would be worth even less than it is now. In addition: The grand coalition also wants to expand the use of the state trojan for secret services at the federal level, a legislative proposal recently went through the cabinet. A successful lawsuit in Karlsruhe would have a signal effect as far as Berlin.
For many people it is otherwise simply a mockery that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution should be given more powers despite numerous scandals, a complete failure as a democratic early warning system and despite open right-wing sympathies. Instead of providing the authorities with new means of surveillance, they should be completely destroyed.
While in the public parts of the session in the Bundestag, representatives from the secret service supervision in the Federal Chancellor’s Office seem strangely uninvolved when it comes to co-responsibility for the information about the later assassin Anis Amri, a new aspect of the attack developed afterwards in the non-public sessions.
In 2017, an undercover agent from the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania constitutional protection agency gave information about possible accomplices and helpers of the attack on Breitscheidplatz on December 19, 2016, in which 12 people died and at least 67 were seriously injured.
After the crime, Anis Amri, who was well-known to the authorities, fled through Germany and France to Italy, where he was shot dead by a police patrol on the evening of December 23, 2016. Even four years after the attack, investigators from the Federal Criminal Police Office were unable to trace all points of the escape route. Above all, the route that Anis Amri took out of Berlin is unclear, as it could not be found on the surveillance videos of the railway or the long-distance bus company he used several times.
The informant from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania claims to have overheard conversations with a large Arab family that he had infiltrated as part of the secret operation for the protection of the constitution, “Opalgrün”, which was directed against organized crime. The attack plans Amri were known there and support for the escape was discussed. In the Breitscheidplatz Committee, Anis Amri’s behavior on the day of the act raises questions. It was thus possible to reconstruct that Amri took the U8 in the direction of Neukölln and from there immediately back in the direction of Moabit, where he hijacked the truck a short time later on Friedrich-Krause-Ufer. There is speculation in the committee that Amri could have picked up the murder weapon in Neukölln.
The witnesses from Schwerin could not explain why the information from the informant was not taken into account and rejected. “This massively hindered the investigation and accepted that the source of danger would continue to simmer,” criticized the Greens headwoman Irene Mihalic via Twitter.
The interrogations also made it clear how far the entanglements go. The representative of the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania had to admit his bias in this case and leave the meeting.
“Whether NSU, Nordkreuz or Breitscheidplatzanschlag: in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania they prefer to cover up rather than explain,” said Martina Renner, chairwoman of the Left, the “nd”. “The Ministry of the Interior in Schwerin has a far bigger problem than the former minister.” At one of the next meetings, Renner wants to hear the Interior Minister Lorenz Caffier, who recently resigned due to the Nordkreuz affair, in Berlin.
Dhe constitutional protection authorities at the federal and state levels are taking a closer look at the events of the “lateral thinking” movement after extremists had recently appeared there several times. “We know that extremists, citizens of the Reich and the like also appear in the so-called lateral thinkers movement, or at least in the events that are organized by them,” said a spokesman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior in Berlin on Friday.
“In this respect, an observation of this movement is obvious and it is taking place,” said the spokesman. An observation of the entire movement with intelligence means – for example observation or wiretapping – is not meant, he added later criticizes the Corona measures and takes to the streets, however, is very diverse, he emphasized. “You have to look at it differently.”
Hamburg’s head of the protection of the constitution, Torsten Voss, told the “Spiegel”: “We are looking very closely to see whether an extremist movement of its own is emerging here that does not fit into the classic box. There is a lot to be said for that. ”He also observed an increasing propensity for violence in the Corona protest movement. “There have already been two attacks, on a building of the Robert Koch Institute and in front of the Leibnitz Association in Berlin,” said Voss.
Previously, Bavaria’s Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) had stated in an interview with the “Münchner Merkur” that the development made him “very worried”. He also said: “A growing conglomerate of right-wing extremists, Reich citizens, anti-Semites and absurd conspiracy theorists is developing, who even accuse politics of Satanism. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution must also take a close look at what is developing there. Because many of these groups want a different state. “
“Want to know how the mobilization went”
The deputy chairman of the Greens parliamentary group, Konstantin von Notz, requested that the security authorities report to the parliamentary control committee of the Bundestag next week on what concrete findings they have about the recent demonstration in Leipzig. “We also want to know how the mobilization went,” said the domestic politician, who is the deputy chairman of the secret committee. The question of which “amalgamations of actors and currents, for example from the right-wing extremist scene, the Reich bourgeoisie, hooligans and people who openly use anti-Semitic narratives and conspiracy ideologies” should be answered.
The Baden-Württemberg Minister of the Interior is also concerned about developments in the “lateral thinking” movement: Thomas Strobl (CDU) warns with harsh words of the increasing influence of extremists and constitutional enemies in the ranks of the “lateral thinkers”. “Here amalgamated a toxic mixture of citizens of the Reich, self-administrators, right-wing extremists and conspiracy theorists who infiltrated and instrumentalized the demonstrators,” said Strobl on Friday evening.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, attempts have been made to influence the demonstration against the corona restrictions. “The security authorities have the lateral thinkers and the associated demonstrations on the screen,” said Strobl, who says he wants to inform the interior committee about the movement.
The Stuttgart entrepreneur Michael Ballweg is behind the original and eponymous initiative “lateral thinking 0711”. In recent months, he and offshoots of the movement have taken to the streets in numerous German cities against restrictions in the Corona crisis – mostly with corresponding counter-demonstrations.
A demonstration in Berlin at the end of August and a completely out of hand protest in Leipzig last Saturday caused a stir. At least 20,000 “lateral thinkers” had gathered in the city center and after the rally broke up they had moved across the Leipziger Ring. Although elevators are currently not allowed according to the Corona Protection Ordinance, the police let the crowd go. In the end, people were dancing in the city center – nothing could be seen from the distance and masks.
After the offense, contacts of the perpetrator in Germany are known. Austria’s Interior Minister closes the mosque.
Raid following the terrorist attack in Vienna on Friday morning in Osnabrück Photo: Festim Bequiri / dpa
BERLINtaz | After the Islamist attack in Vienna, investigators are reviewing the network surrounding the assassin Kujtim F. On Friday, the federal prosecutor’s office also had the apartments of four Islamists searched in Germany, in the Pinneberg district, in Kassel and two in Osnabrück. The 19 to 25-year-olds concerned are initially only considered witnesses, not accused.
The Osnabrück and Kassel are said to have been in Vienna for a few days in mid-July and met Kujtim F. Then they were in chat contact. The meeting did not go unnoticed: According to taz information, the duo was recently targeted by German security authorities. The Austrian authorities were also aware of this contact, as Police President Gerhard Pürstl admitted on Friday. This should have had other consequences.
The second Osnabrücker is said to have only had indirect contact with Kujtim F. through acquaintances. The Pinneberger, a loud one Spiegel 22-year-old threat, on the other hand, is said to have lived in Vienna until recently and also exchanged messages with Kujtim F. Two years ago he was sentenced to a suspended sentence by the regional court because he and five fellow campaigners tried unsuccessfully to travel to the so-called Islamic State (IS).
The tricky thing is that the Pinneberger is said to have attended events by the preacher Abu Walaa in Lower Saxony years ago. The preacher, who has meanwhile been imprisoned, was considered a representative of IS in Germany and motivated several young Islamists to leave the country. The assassin from Berlin’s Breitscheidplatz, Anis Amri, also attended his seminars.
Nehammer under pressure
The Federal Ministry of the Interior recently stated that there was no support for the Vienna attack by German Islamists. For the time being, the four men will only be checked because of their contacts with Kujtim F. There were no arrests. The investigators hope to gain knowledge from the data carriers confiscated from them.
Kujtim F. shot four people and injured at least 23 in Vienna on Monday evening. He died in an exchange of fire with the police. The 20-year-old had taken an oath of allegiance to IS before the act, and the terrorist group later confessed to the act. The Austrian authorities arrested 14 people around him one day later. The Swiss police also arrested an 18-year-old and a 24-year-old Swiss in the city of Winterthur, which is known for its jihadist scene.
It is still being investigated why the Austrian authorities did not react when Kujtim F. tried to buy ammunition in Slovakia in the summer even though the Slovak authorities had passed this information on to Austria. With the information from Germany, the assessment of the danger posed by the later assassin should have been different, said Police Director Pürstl. Interior Minister Karl Nehammer (ÖVP) is therefore under pressure, the first calls for resignation from the green coalition partners have been loud.
Others draw personnel consequences: The head of the Vienna State Office for the Protection of the Constitution has been dismissed. Nehammer announced the closure of a Viennese mosque and an association that would have contributed to the radicalization of the perpetrator. The investigation into possible international networks will be pushed forward.
SAt the beginning of the year, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that he would recapture areas of the republic that had been lost to “Islamist separatism”. This announcement takes shape after the murder of Samuel Paty, a teacher who covered cartoons of Mohammed in class. In addition to a number of associations and mosques, the state is now also targeting Islamic educational institutions and home tuition, which was previously permitted. As it turned out, the latter was widely used to send children to unofficial Islamic schools.
This brings a central area of Islamist propaganda into the spotlight in Europe: the upbringing of children and young people. It has always been one of the most important concerns of political-Islamic organizations. The founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, Hasan al-Banna, already saw the Islamic guidance of the young generation as one of the most important tasks of his movement. The current chief ideologist, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, also counts one of the greatest successes of the Muslim Brotherhood “to have provided entire generations with an Islamic education”. The French interior minister named the Muslim Brotherhood explicitly as ideological opponents of the republic alongside the Salafists after the Paris attack.