Islamist attacks: “Anytime danger” in Germany

AIn view of the terrorist attacks in Dresden, Paris, Nice and Vienna, in which nine people have been killed in the past few weeks, the Bundestag dealt with the fight against Islamist terror in Europe in a current hour on Thursday. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer warned right at the beginning of the debate that attacks must be expected at any time. He joined the President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang, who warned on Wednesday evening that the security authorities in Germany must be “very vigilant” at the moment. Now it is important to “take a very sharp look at the threats known to us”. There are certainly one or the other who think about acts of imitation.

According to Seehofer, the security authorities are currently aware of 615 Islamist threats in Germany. 217 of them are Germans, 119 have German and another citizenship, 273 are foreigners, according to Seehofer. So it was not enough to think that the extremists can be dealt with with deportations alone. Konstantin von Notz (The Greens) also criticized that the blanket demand for the deportation of endangered parties, as heard from the AfD, was a misleading solution. The assassin from Vienna was an Austrian citizen. A deportation could not have done anything against him. In this respect, populism is a “terribly bad security policy”.

Not against Islam

Right at the beginning of the debate, Seehofer emphasized that the fight against terrorism was not directed against Islam, but against fanatical and violent Islamism. The left-wing parliamentary group leader Amira Mohamed Ali said that as a Muslim, with every Islamist attack she always grabs the concern “what does that do to the image of Islam”. Many Muslims are afraid that reservations about religion will continue to grow. There should be no doubt that all people who lived peacefully in Germany are an equal part of society.

There was disagreement between the parties, among other things, on the subject of a ban on deportation for those at risk in war zones. For example, the CDU politician Alexander Throm called on the Interior Ministers’ Conference (IMK), which was to be held next week, to suspend the ban on deportation, at least for those at risk from Syria. Those who declare themselves to be the enemy of Germany and want to kill people in this country do not deserve any protection, said Throm. Meanwhile, Seehofer warned against actionism after the terrorist attacks. First of all, applicable law should be applied consistently.

In particular, the Interior Minister advocated better international cooperation in the pursuit and surveillance of terrorists. This cooperation will also play a major role at the Interior Ministers’ Conference on November 13th, said Seehofer. He also emphasized the importance of a good staffing of the security authorities in Germany, since the monitoring of threats is extremely personnel-intensive.

Weaknesses in counter-terrorism

The President of the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), Holger Münch, pointed this out again on Thursday. As a witness in a public hearing before the committee of inquiry into the terrorist attack on Breitscheidplatz, Münch said that the attack on the Christmas market in Berlin at the end of 2016 revealed “weak points” in the counter-terrorism. A weak point was that at that time the focus was more on the probability of certain terrorist scenarios and less on the dangers of the individual, said Münch. He also referred to the sharp rise in the number of investigations into radical Islamists between 2014 and 2016. “The resources available to the security forces did not keep pace with the dynamics of developments,” said Münch.

In addition to better staffing, the security authorities should also be given the authority of the Quellen-TKÜ in the future. After a long struggle, the SPD and the Union had agreed on this. The chairman of the IMK, Thuringia’s Interior Minister Georg Maier (SPD), expressly welcomed this before the Bundestag. The prevention of criminal offenses should not fail because terrorists nowadays no longer communicate by phone, but via chat.


According to the protection of the constitution, radicals are gaining influence in the AfD

AfD country and parliamentary group leader Björn Höcke
Image: dpa

The right-wing extremist “wing” of the AfD has officially disbanded. But supporters of the group around Thuringia’s AfD boss Höcke are increasingly in key positions of the party, according to the protection of the constitution.

TDespite the formal dissolution of the right wing “wing” of the AfD, the protection of the Constitution sees an increasing influence of its previous supporters. “The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution perceives that many supporters of the right-wing extremist wing” are fighting for more influence in the party, although the ‘wing’ has allegedly dissolved itself, “said the President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang, the” Tagesspiegel ” from Sunday.

In internal party elections, supporters of the “wing” would hold key positions. “The influence of the ‘wing’ is growing, even if the AfD tries to remove clearly recognizable right-wing extremists such as the former ‘wing’ spokesman Andreas Kalbitz from the party.” There is still a great deal of solidarity within the former “wing” and an exchange. “The defining personality” is the Thuringian AfD country chief Björn Höcke.

The right-wing national “wing” around Thuringia’s AfD state and parliamentary group leader Höcke broke up at the end of April after pressure from the top of the federal government. The spokesman for the current was the former AfD state chairman Andreas Kalbitz from Brandenburg. In May, the AfD federal executive had revoked his party membership and justified this with previous contacts in the right-wing extremist milieu.


Extremists in security authorities: Seehofer’s “low” number of cases

A situation report counts 380 right-wing extremist incidents in the security authorities, 1,064 in the Bundeswehr. A structural problem? No, says Seehofer.

See few problems: Thomas Haldenwang and Horst Seehofer at the press conference on October 6th Photo: Wolfgang Kumm / dpa

BERLIN taz | Horst Seehofer sounds almost relieved. “We have no structural problem in the security authorities,” said the Federal Interior Minister on Tuesday in Berlin. 99 percent of civil servants, and thus the “very, very vast majority”, are “firmly on the ground of the Basic Law”. The authorities had his “absolute confidence”, they were doing “an excellent job”.

What Seehofer presented on that day is not a figurehead for the officers, on the contrary. The minister presented the situation report “Right-wing extremists in the security authorities”, written by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, almost 100 pages thick and a premiere. The result: 319 suspected cases in the police forces and offices for the protection of the constitution in the federal states, plus 58 cases in the federal authorities, such as the federal police or the BKA. And 1,064 suspected cases in the Bundeswehr.

In fact, reports on right-wing extremist incidents in the security authorities have not been torn off recently. Corresponding chat groups were opened with the police in Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Berlin, KSK soldiers were suspended because of Hitler salutes, and right-wing constitutional protection officials who were supposed to be observing neo-Nazis were reported. Seehofer clearly criticizes these cases, referring to the role model function of the officers: “Every proven case is a shame.” You clarify these “without ifs or buts” and pursue them “rigorously”. Overall, however, Seehofer calls the number of cases “low”, measured against the approximately 300,000 security guards in this country.

Constitutional Protection President Thomas Haldenwang formulated more cautiously, speaking of “incidents that go beyond individual cases”. Each case is one too many. Because they are likely to shake confidence in the state. The defense of these activities is therefore “an existential protective measure” for the state.

Long lead time for the management report

Seehofer and Haldenwang also refer to the consequences that have already been drawn. The federal authorities had 23 dismissals due to right-wing extremist incidents, and 48 cases in the federal states. 70 soldiers were released from the Bundeswehr. Overall, most of the events involved right-wing extremist statements or chat messages. Only one case was uncovered in the countries in which a person also took part in right-wing extremist events. At least ten people had contact with well-known right-wing extremists or initiatives, two were even members.

The creation of Haldenwang’s situation report was tough. A year ago, after terror allegations against a prepper group, in which soldiers and police officers also participated, and after the assassination attempt on Walter Lübcke, the constitution protection set up a central office for extremists in the security authorities. This should create the report. The authorities previously did not keep any statistics in this field because the incidents were assessed as individual cases.

But the survey was bumpy, and the report had to be postponed several times: Should only completed disciplinary proceedings count – or already suspected cases? The federal states initially opted for the former and delivered so few cases that Haldenwang also demanded that open proceedings be named. The figures are now available.

Incidents from January 2017 to the end of March this year were recorded, and those that led to action, most of them disciplinary proceedings. In the case of the Federal Police, this affects 44 cases, the BKA six, the Customs four, the BND two, in Haldenwang’s own authority there is one case. The scope of the Bundeswehr is far greater: of the total of 1,064 suspected cases, 363 new cases were added last year alone. It is precisely these cases that are worrying because they affect people who handle weapons.

How big is the dark field?

In the federal states, Hessen reported the most cases with 59, followed by Berlin with 53, NRW with 45, Bavaria with 31, and Saxony 28. On the other hand, Bremen only reported one case and Saarland none at all. The numbers should therefore be treated with caution – because behind them there is probably a larger dark field slumbering. And some of them are also outdated: the 31 police officers recently suspended in North Rhine-Westphalia who were active in right-wing extremist chat groups are no longer included in the statistics.

A dark field is also given in the management report. “Its continuous and consistent illumination is a prominent task for the security authorities,” it says there. Seehofer and Haldenwang emphasize that the statistics should be updated and extended to the public service. Haldenwang is also calling for better cooperation between the authorities in the future after the bumpy initial survey.

The question of how big the dark field is now remains open. Researchers point to a corps spirit in the authorities in which colleagues often cover up or look the other way during incidents. The recently known chat groups in North Rhine-Westphalia were only discovered by chance, although some of them had existed since 2015: through investigations against an official who was accused of piercing internal matters of a journalist. None of the police officers in the chat groups, including a service group leader, had reported that pictures of Hitler or swastikas had been shared there.

Seehofer therefore turns to the officials with an appeal: “Take a look, defend our constitution, take action. Passive followers are also not allowed. ”However, the heads of the authorities collectively reject a structural problem, above all Federal Police Chief Dieter Romann. Of the 51,000 federal police officers, the allegations only concern 0.09 percent, he emphasizes. He could not recognize right-wing extremist networks, and an allegation of racism was also wrong. “The police have earned our trust.”

Further dispute over study to the police

Experts like the Green interior expert and police officer Irene Mihalic, on the other hand, consider the report to be just a beginning. The report only documents the surface, says Mihalic. You and others are therefore repeating the call for independent police officers and a scientific investigation into right-wing extremist attitudes in the police – which Seehofer again refused on Tuesday.

The minister says the topic is more universal. That is why he advocates “an in-depth investigation for society as a whole”. In addition, Seehofer calls for a whole bunch of further studies that are only marginally related to the situation report: on violence against police officers, on their everyday work or on their motives for starting a career.

But even the Bund Deutscher Kriminalbeamter stated on Tuesday that the situation report had not refuted a structural problem in the authorities. The association also requested a separate study. Some countries are already making progress here. Hamburg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony will soon begin an anonymous survey of 3,000 police officers on risk factors that promote prejudice and extreme attitudes in their ranks.


Protection of the Constitution: Right-wing extremists hijack Corona demos | WEB.DE

Updated on September 1st, 2020, 3:50 pm

The pictures of demonstrators, some with Reich flags, on the stairs of the German parliament went around the world. In the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, fears that the protests will be instrumentalized by extremists are confirmed. The police are also watching the demonstrations being taken over by right-wing extremists.

You can find more current news here

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution sees the protests against the Corona policy in Berlin at the weekend as “a strong right-wing extremist component that was aggressive and violent due to disruptive actions”.

The agency’s fears have been confirmed, said Constitutional Protection President Thomas Haldenwang on Tuesday the German Press Agency. “Right-wing extremists and Reich citizens have succeeded in occupying a resonance space, creating powerful images and thus instrumentalizing the heterogeneous protest events.”

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution had repeatedly warned that right-wing extremists could abuse the corona pandemic for their own purposes and try to put themselves at the forefront of the “very diverse demonstration,” said Haldenwang.

Before the demonstrations, his authority had determined “an increased mobilization by right-wing extremists”.

Head of the police union: Corona protests have “finally lost their innocence”

During the mobilization as well as the demonstrations themselves, the constitution protection had seen representatives of various areas of right-wing extremism, Haldenwang said: “from right-wing extremist parties and organizations, the New Right, the AfD sub-organizations Junge Alternative und Flügel and the Reich Citizens’ Scene”.

The “wing” of the AfD has now officially dissolved. “In particular, a relatively large number of supporters of the Reich Citizenship ideology took part in the spontaneous actions,” said Haldenwang.

“We are closely monitoring whether the risk of right-wing extremist appropriation assumes an even greater dimension and whether these actors are able to establish a connection.”

The police are also concerned about right-wing extremist participants in the demos. “Since the first hygiene demonstrations, the influence of right-wing extremist groups on the Corona protest movement has been solidifying,” said the chairman of the police union (GdP) Jörg Radek to the newspapers of the Funke media group (Tuesday).

“The right wing is about to completely hijack the movement.” Since last weekend, the Corona protest movement has finally lost its innocence, said Radek.

“Now nobody can say they are just a follower. Anyone who stays with it now has to ask himself whether he wants to get in common with the right-wing extremists and his personal worries in the Corona crisis with the anti-democratic goals of the Wants to connect extremists. “

Steinmeier warns demonstrators against instrumentalisation from the right

The President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, was also alarmed. He told the “Bild” newspaper: “For months, conspiracy myths with an anti-Semitic basic tendency have been deliberately stoked in the Corona debate.”

Among other things, Schuster blamed “very right-wing and right-wing extremist groups” who had mixed with the demonstrators. Certainly “not everyone who demonstrated in Berlin on Saturday was racist or anti-Semite,” said Schuster. However, he added, “But they mean something to these.”

Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had already warned critics and opponents of the state Corona measures on Monday against “letting themselves be harnessed to the carts of democracy enemies and political agitators” during demonstrations.

On Saturday, according to the police, around 300 to 400 demonstrators overran barriers on the Reichstag building and loudly set up in front of the glazed visitor entrance.

Among other things, black-white-red imperial flags were waved in front of the seat of the Bundestag. The police pushed the people back. According to police estimates, almost 40,000 people had previously demonstrated largely peacefully against the Corona policy on Straße des 17. Juni.

Overall, according to the police, there were significantly more demonstrators at other events in the city center at the weekend. (dpa / thp)

A thousand police officers defended justice and law on Saturday at high personal risk, said Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.


Beware of China apps Alipay and Wechat

DThe Federal Ministry of the Interior warned against Chinese payment apps in the Constitution Protection Report for 2019 with regard to political espionage. These are applications for mobile phones, with which users can pay for their online purchases as well as purchases in brick-and-mortar retail stores or local services.

Mark Fehr

The report by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which is responsible, among other things, as a domestic secret service for the defense against foreign espionage, was presented last week by Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer and President of the Protection of the Constitution Thomas Haldenwang. Accordingly, Chinese, but also German citizens in Germany can use payment systems from Chinese companies such as Tencent (Wechat Pay) and Alibaba (Alipay). “Their data servers are located in China, which can be accessed by Chinese government agencies,” writes the constitutional protection. This is also the case for other applications, such as apps from rental bike providers.

According to the intelligence agency, China could misuse the collected user data, for example, for the Chinese social credit system, which is used to monitor and discipline not only the Chinese, but also foreign citizens and companies. The data generated by payment apps is particularly sensitive because it enables deep insights not only into the financial situation, but also into the professional and private life of users. In the case of the apps from Wechat and Alipay, this applies all the more as these applications with numerous additional functions can cover almost all of your everyday life in addition to paying. For example, Wechat can be used to order taxis or meal deliveries or for private appointments, professional meetings and job interviews.

“Massive threats to privacy”

The data protection officers of the federal states of Baden-Württemberg and Hamburg have also followed the warning of the constitutional protection against payment apps from China. Internationally operating Chinese providers are exposed to access by national secret services and security agencies. “This creates massive threats to privacy,” said Johannes Caspar, Hamburg’s data protection officer, to the “Handelsblatt”. Foreign contractors like Alibaba would not disclose to their customers the possibilities of authorities to access their data, the Baden-Württemberg data protection officer Stefan Brink is quoted by the business and financial newspaper.

In Germany, many shops accept payment services from Chinese providers in order to make shopping easier for Chinese tourists who like to buy. The number had increased significantly until the outbreak of the Corona crisis. The acceptance among local retailers should have favored the spread of corresponding apps on smartphones by German users. In addition, numerous German tourists and business travelers brought the apps with them from their stays in China.

In the stores of Germany’s largest drugstore chain dm, for example, customers have been able to pay with Alipay since July 2019. Competitors Müller and Rossmann also offer this service. Galeria Kaufhof also implemented Alipay.

Throw away cell phone after China trip

Hardware Made in China is also spreading among German users, for example in the form of high-performance smartphones from the controversial manufacturer Huawei or the provider Xiaomi. It cannot be ruled out that monitoring authorities can access the processed data via interfaces on such end devices.

The current Office for the Protection of the Constitution does not deal with the topics of Huawei and hardware, but last year the secret service recommended German travelers to China to use only separate travel laptops and disposable cell phones for security reasons. Upon return, the devices carried should be subjected to a thorough check for spy software or even disposed of.


Corona demos – Right-wing extremists hijack Corona protests: “See a trend”

This weekend, too, numerous people took to the streets to demonstrate against the corona policy. There legitimate demands meet right-wing extremist ideas. Many politicians are concerned.

According to the German security authorities, right-wing extremists are trying to make use of the protests against corona requirements. “We see a trend that extremists, especially right-wing extremists, are exploiting the demonstration,” said Thomas Haldenwang, President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, “Welt am Sonntag”.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Criminal Police Office also stressed in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung” (FAS) that the right-wing camp was increasingly attracted to the demonstrations.

The protesters protest against the protective measures

On Saturday, thousands of people took to the streets in numerous German cities against restrictions in the Corona crisis. There were also counter demonstrations. You can see impressions of the demos in Berlin in the video above or here.

Haldenwang said right-wing extremists sought connection to bourgeois spectra and called on supporters to actively participate in the protests. “There is a risk that right-wing extremists will use their enemy images and state-destroying goals to lead the Corona demonstrations, which are currently being carried out by constitutionally loyal citizens.” The heterogeneous protest audience does not stand shoulder to shoulder. “However, we are concerned that extremists are using the current situation as well as in the so-called refugee crisis.”

The NPD and other far-right parties support the protests

According to the BKA spokeswoman, the Federal Criminal Police Office also has no information about “coordinated infiltration by right-wing extremists”. But it should be recognized that they tried to “exploit the current situation for their propaganda purposes”. According to research by the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung”, right-wing extremist parties such as The Third Way, The Right or the NPD are calling on their supporters to join the protests.

Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) told the FAS that many people were concerned about their existence. Therefore, quick action is necessary. “We are also preventing right-wing radicals and conspiracy theorists from setting the tone,” emphasized the Interior Minister. CDU General Secretary Paul Ziemiak warned that if demonstrations “are infiltrated and misused by extremists, this will endanger our society.”

Because: “The facts are so clear on the table”

Lower Saxony’s Prime Minister Stephan Weil (SPD) showed little understanding for the protests. “The facts are so clear on the table that you cannot seriously discuss whether Corona is a conspiracy,” he told “Bild am Sonntag”. “I take every political expression seriously, but in this case it is difficult for me to deal with it,” said the SPD politician.

The North Rhine-Westphalian Interior Minister Herbert Reul told the “Welt am Sonntag”: “There are a lot of wolves in sheep’s clothing trying to sneak into the middle of society with their anti-democratic slogans.”

SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich called on citizens to distance themselves from extremists and conspiracy theorists in such demonstrations. “There should be learning processes with whom you make friends and who you don’t,” Mützenich told the newspapers of the Funke media group.

Legitimate demands and conspiracy theories collide

The chairman of the conference of interior ministers, Thuringia’s head of department Georg Maier, said: “We find that there is a certain extremist mobilization potential and the attempt to undermine the corona protests.” But there are also legitimate protests. “It is difficult to condemn all protests in bulk,” the SPD politician told the editorial network in Germany.

Several thousand people gathered again in numerous German cities on Saturday to demonstrate against the coronavirus restrictions. This time only 5,000 participants were allowed at the Cannstatter Wasen in Stuttgart. As more demonstrators came, numerous people also came together outside the designated area.

In Munich, the approved number of participants for the demonstration on the Oktoberfest site was 1,000. They protested peacefully on the cordoned-off site. A good 2,500 people had gathered next to the site. According to the police, regulations about the minimum distance were violated.

People also took to the streets in Berlin

In Berlin, the police were deployed with around 1,000 people for several demonstrations. The well-known chef Attila Hildmann held a rally at the Reichstag building, several hundred people followed his call, but only 50 participants were allowed. Hildmann was most recently noticed with the spread of conspiracy theories.

Attila Hildmann at the protest in front of the Reichstag: The vegan chef has been spreading conspiracy theories on his social media channels lately. (Source: Carsten Thesing / imago images)

Alexanderplatz and the Volksbühne, where thousands have gathered in the past few weeks, were largely closed off. There were several counter protests, but there were no major incidents. In Frankfurt am Main, the police counted around 1,500 people in demonstrations by both sides.

There were protests in numerous major cities

Demonstrations with some hundreds of participants and sometimes accompanied by counter-protests also took place in Hamburg, Cologne, Dortmund, Essen, Leipzig and Dresden.

In the Saxon capital, Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer stood up to the demonstrators for an hour and a half. He had to face numerous critical questions, some participants abused him, others paid respect to the CDU politician.