taz research on threatening letters: Call from “NSU 2.0”

The “NSU 2.0” was more intensive and active earlier than previously known. The main suspect police officer has called for the election of the AfD.

Poster at a protest in Wiesbaden in July Photo: Arne Dedert / dpa picture alliance

FRANKFURT A.M./KIRTORF/BERLIN taz | The perpetrator or perpetrators who have sent the more than 80 “NSU 2.0” threats to date have spied out target persons more intensively than previously known. As taz research has shown, a man tried by phone in August 2018 to get private data from taz author * in Hengameh Yaghoobifarah. At the time, he phoned the taz editorial office, pretended to be a police officer and made a threat. In two later “NSU 2.0” letters, precise reference is made to this call.

At the time of the call, no threats from “NSU 2.0” were publicly known. The messages in which the phone call is mentioned were sent in October 2019 and June 2020 from the address that the investigators assign to the “NSU 2.0”. “SS-Obersturmbannführer” is given as the sender. It is a mail account with the provider Yandex, whose username is a racist swear word.

The “leader” of the “NSU 2.0”, as the sender calls himself, expresses several times in emails that Yaghoobifarah is receiving “special treatment”, that it is “our primary goal”. Yaghoobifarah has been receiving massive threats for a long time, which increased again after a column critical of the police in June 2020.

In the “NSU 2.0” mails that the taz has received, several private data of people who are not publicly known who have received threatening letters from the “NSU 2.0” are mentioned. Including an old and the current address of the Frankfurt lawyer Seda Başay-Yıldız, as the taz had reported. Başay-Yıldız received the first known threat from “NSU 2.0” by fax in August 2018. Shortly before, private data had been accessed from her on a duty computer in a Frankfurt police station.

A suspected policeman

The investigators still suspect a Frankfurt police officer to have requested the data and sent the “NSU 2.0” faxes. The suspicion that he is behind the threatening emails has not been confirmed, according to the Frankfurt prosecutor. A year ago, the public prosecutor made a request for legal assistance to Russia in order to get the traffic data of the Yandex address. According to taz information, this has not yet been answered, although the German side has followed up several times.

According to taz research, the accused policeman is policeman Johannes S. The current 31-year-old belonged to a chat group in which police officers from the 1st precinct exchanged right-wing extremist content. According to the public prosecutor’s office, intensive investigations were conducted against him from May 2019 to the end of 2019. In June 2019, the investigators searched his apartment in Frankfurt and his house in Kirtorf in Central Hesse for the second time. His communications were also monitored.

Johannes S. expressed himself politically in social networks. On Facebook, for example, shortly before the 2013 federal election, he wrote: “On the 22nd it’s a cross for the AfD …. and no, this vote is NOT given away!” When the G20 summit took place in Hamburg, he posted a “Fck Antifa “lettering, plus hashtags like #scheisslinke, #terrorvonlinks and #ingedankenbeidenkollegen. The posts are available to the taz. Johannes S. did not want to speak to the taz and did not answer any written questions.

It is unclear how the “NSU 2.0” sender obtained the current address of Başay-Yıldız. The Hessian Interior Minister Peter Beuth (CDU) said on Thursday in the plenum of the state parliament in Wiesbaden that there had been no further illegal inquiries in the police system in Hesse.

You can read the entire research on the threatening letters from the “NSU 2.0” and the suspicious police officer in the taz on the weekend of May 5th / 6th. September 2020.

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taz research on “NSU 2.0”: Are you asked for police data again?

The lawyer Seda Başay-Yıldız has been threatened by the “NSU 2.0” for two years. A new threatening mail even gives their current address.

Lawyer Seda Başay-Yıldız has been receiving threatening letters from “NSU 2.0” for more than two years Photo: Janine Schmitz / photothek / imago

FRANKFURT A. M./BERLIN taz | The perpetrator or perpetrators behind the “NSU 2.0” threats have again obtained private data from the threatened lawyer Seda Başay-Yıldız. In an email signed with “NSU 2.0 Der Führer” from the end of June, according to taz research, your current, publicly unknown address in Frankfurt is given. So there is a suspicion that personal data has been requested again in a police system.

“SS-Obersturmbannführer” is given as the sender name of the mail, it is not addressed directly to the lawyer and is available to the taz. The message was sent from the email address of the Russian provider Yandex, which, according to investigators, is used by the perpetrator (s). According to this, more than 80 threatening letters have been sent by “NSU 2.0” so far, most of them from this email address, which has a racist swear word as its user name.

Başay-Yıldız has been receiving threatening letters from “NSU 2.0” for more than two years. In the first fax to her on August 2, 2018, insults were given, her home address and the name of her daughter, who was threatened with death. The data had been called up shortly beforehand by a service computer in a Frankfurt police station. It is still being determined whether a Frankfurt police officer has requested the data and is involved in the threats.

In another fax at the end of December 2018, private data on Başay-Yıldız’s family members were again given. The investigators then assumed that these came from the same query. This cannot be the case with the current address mentioned now. It must come from a new query or from another source.

“Interior Minister Beuth is part of the problem”

Neither the Hessian State Criminal Police Office (LKA) nor the Ministry of the Interior in Wiesbaden answered the taz’s question as to whether the use of police databases was checked in this current case. The Frankfurt public prosecutor did not want to comment “for tactical reasons of investigation”. The investigators have had the mail since mid-July. The LKA and the Ministry of the Interior did not answer the question of whether Başay-Yıldız was informed that the “NSU 2.0” knew her current private address. Corresponding inquiries were made on Friday last week or on Tuesday. Başay-Yıldız himself did not want to comment when asked by the taz.

In a current email from Thursday night, the “NSU 2.0” explicitly points out the lawyer’s address change without being asked. In the response mail to a taz press request, it says that she has meanwhile moved to Frankfurt. “But it doesn’t help.” This mail was also sent to various LKA addresses in Hesse and Berlin.

For Günter Rudolph, the parliamentary managing director of the SPD parliamentary group in the Hessian state parliament, it is a “clear alarm signal” if the personal data of those concerned was recently accessed again improperly. Compared to the taz, he criticized the Hessian Interior Minister Peter Beuth (CDU): Anyone who let such crimes run for two years and only now announces further security measures has simply not recognized the problem. “Interior Minister Beuth is part of the problem, not the solution,” said Rudolph.

The domestic political spokesman for the left in the state parliament, Hermann Schaus, finds it “very frightening when a blocked address ends up at NSU 2.0”. He emphasizes: “This laissez-faire style that the investigators are displaying must be changed at full speed.”

Inquiries to police computers in connection with “NSU 2.0” letters were also given at two different police stations in Wiesbaden at the beginning of 2019 and 2020, respectively. There, the data of the cabaret artist Idil Baydar and the Hessian left-wing parliamentary group chairman Janine Wissler, who received both “NSU 2.0” threatening letters a little later, by SMS and email.

The two officers, who were logged into the service computer at the time in question, claimed that they had not requested the data. Baydar’s data was also queried from the police in Berlin in March 2019. In Hamburg, police computers were used to request data from taz columnist Hengameh Yaghoobifarah in the summer; in this case, too, according to the police, no official connection can be identified. Previously, on June 15, a police-critical column by Yaghoobifarah appeared in the taz, which sparked a heated debate.

According to taz information, several “NSU 2.0” threats have been sent from the Yandex address in the past few days; they went to Wissler, Baydar, the left-wing member of the Bundestag Martina Renner and other recipients in the police, judiciary and media .

You can read all of the research about the threatening letters from the “NSU 2.0” and the connections to the police in the taz on the weekend of 5./6. September 2020.

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Police violence in Germany: good cop, bad cop?

Videos of police acts showed cases of police violence in the past few days. Those in charge often weigh it down.

Location of the brutal police operation in Düsseldorf Photo: Martin Gerten / dpa

In Frankfurt, three police officers are suspended after two videos became known of an incident on August 15 in the Sachsenhausen district. The footage shows how several police officers hit the young arrested man. He crouched down and tried to protect his head with his arms. An officer kicks the man who is bound.

In Düsseldorf it is filmed how an officer pressed the head of a 15-year-old with his knee on the ground last Saturday. Thereupon various reports are received by the public prosecutor. On Thursday, the responsible state office declared that the deployment corresponds to “the permissible techniques taught in the training”.

A police operation against a 15-year-old was also filmed in Hamburg in the past few days. He is said to have driven an e-scooter on the sidewalk. The video shows seven or eight officers bringing him down. It happens in front of a wall with the graffiti writing “I can’t breathe” (I can’t breathe) – based on police violence in the USA. When the police hold him on the ground, he apparently yells: “I can’t breathe, I can’t breathe.”

And in Ingelheim, demonstrators are huddled in a tunnel with batons and pepper spray in such a way that panic breaks out.

These are scenes that have all happened in the past few days, documented on private videos, shared a lot on social media. And that re-ignite a debate: is there a problem with police violence in Germany too?

There have been debates

The debate was already held a few weeks ago. In June, after violent police operations in the USA, SPD leader Saskia Esken stated that there was also “latent racism” among German officials – and thus attracted widespread criticism.

This text comes from the taz on the weekend. Always from Saturday at the kiosk, in the eKiosk or with a weekend subscription. And on Facebook and Twitter.

After a taz column about police violence, Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer even threatened with a complaint. After that everyone had holed up in their camps: the police and interior ministers closed their ranks, as did the police critics.

This time too, the reactions are similar. While the police are heavily criticized on the Internet, the right-wing German police union called for the police to “have their backs”. Even at the more liberal police union (GdP), their vice-president, Jörg Radek, explains that the officers need “no digital thrashing, but real support”. Criticism of the police is allowed, but too often in social media this becomes “hysteria” and the context of the operations is not taken into account.

This time, however, there are other tones as well. North Rhine-Westphalia Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) initially commented on the police incident in Düsseldorf as “shocked”. Hesse’s interior minister Peter Beuth (CDU) called the attack in Frankfurt “completely unacceptable” and “urgent misconduct”. In this case, police officers took action against their colleagues on site. Six officials are also being investigated in Ingelheim. So this time there are indeed consequences.

It is uncertain whether these will last. The number of police officers convicted of acts of violence remains negligible. According to police crime statistics, there were 1,500 physical injuries in office in 2019 – roughly as many as in previous years. But: Only around two percent of them recently led to charges – and less than one percent to convictions.

The Bochum criminologist Tobias Singelnstein recently presented one of the so far rare studies on police violence. He interviewed 3,350 victims of violence directly. The result: The suspected cases are five times larger than the official figures. Many of those affected refrained from reporting because they considered it unsuccessful – or feared contraindications. Singelnstein demands recognizable service numbers for all civil servants and independent complaints offices.

Armin Schuster, CDU politician and police officer

“What is currently going on here is a completely exaggerated campaign against the police”

Martin Herrnkind was a police officer for 38 years and a member of the Amnesty International Police Research Group. Today he teaches in the Police Department at the University of Applied Sciences for Administration and Services in Schleswig-Holstein. He doesn’t believe the videos show any increased police violence. Rather, he sees in it the increased sensitivity to violence. “In the past, children were beaten more often, there was a brawl at every folk festival. That’s why no one reported to the police. ”Today violence tends to be outlawed. “You don’t put up with so much from the police anymore, you classify things as attacks and then report them,” says Herrnkind.

Empiricism beats feeling

Conversely, the same applies to the police themselves: “30 years ago none of my colleagues would have had the idea of ​​founding a self-help group.” The interior ministers kept lamenting that society was brutalized and that police officers were objectively exposed to ever stronger attacks the empiricism covered.

Germany is a special case among Western countries when it comes to the perception of violence, says Herrnkind. “If there are riots in France and 60 cars go up in flames, the interior minister says the next morning that the situation has been brought under control.” In Germany that is unthinkable. “As a German society, we perceive violence much more quickly than threatening, and that is perhaps a good thing.”

Herrnkind believes that two other factors play a role in the perception of violence. One is related to the growing inequality in society. If the gap between rich and poor keeps widening, there will also be more social conflicts that the police should pacify.

The other factor is technology: “It started with the attack on the black Rodney King in Los Angeles in 1991. It was filmed by chance and after that there was the biggest riot of all time. “Films have a completely different effect” than if someone just talks about them who is not believed – and who also tends not to be believed by the public prosecutor. “

An empty street with houses on one side

Location of the brutal police operation in Frankfurt-Sachsenhausen Photo: rheinmainfoto / imago-images

Ultimately, he believes, development offers the opportunity for further civilization. Fired by the George Floyd case, minority groups have come together and thus gained more influence in the fight against police violence.

There is also discussion in the Bundestag. It is good if people look more closely, says Irene Mihalic, Green Party politician and police officer. “Because unfortunately the interior ministers and, above all, the conservative political spectrum have so far rejected all criticism of police action according to the motto: The police are always right.” But that is just as absurd as a general condemnation of the officials. She advocates independent police officers in the federal and state levels, to whom citizens and officials could turn.

On the other side is Armin Schuster, CDU internal politician, also a police officer. Schuster is currently in a rage. “What is going on right now is a completely exaggerated campaign against the police, which can end badly,” he says.

For Schuster it is clear: even the police made mistakes. “But that is processed systematically and transparently, corresponding sanctions are standard.” However, it is “quite adventurous” when “laymen” fundamentally criticize police work based on video snippets. A blanket mistrust against the police is being fueled, and “that will take their lifeblood”: the work ethic of the police could suffer.

One of them is silent: Horst Seehofer. Most recently, the Minister of the Interior presented himself unreservedly to the police and rejected a study on racial profiling as superfluous. Instead, the CSU man pleaded for a study on violence against police officers. And one about police violence? That is “not an issue,” says a spokesman. The cases now being discussed are being investigated and there can be no question of a widespread phenomenon of illegal police violence.

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