The German public is in shock as details emerge of a brutal and inhuman neo-Nazi cell that has roamed the country over the past decade.
Current investigations have unveiled that a trio of neo-nazis; Beate Zschäpe, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Böhnhardt have killed ten people, robbed a string of banks and planted numerous “dirty” bombs throughout Germany. More shocking is how German taxpayers have been indirectly supporting their activities.
Many questions need to be answered to explain how the “National Socialist Underground” cell could operate under the radar of the authorities while going on scavenger hunts and killing sprees against foreigners. It seems that many in the German public have underestimated the momentum of a resurgent fascist and neo-Nazi terror movement in Germany.
Most criticism needs to be directed at the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and its use of neo-Nazi informants. It turns out, that the Federal Office has made severe and grave errors in the evaluation of it its informants. New evidence suggesting that the Office has indirectly funded the actions it set out to prevent. In the best case, numerous informants have been diverting their payments directly into neo-Nazi cells while at least providing public information.
The list of examples is long. It includes cases such as in the Free State of Saxony funding “Mirko”, the founder of “Hammerskins Saschen” who amongst others produced the CD, “Notes of hatred”, which openly called for the murder of blacks, Jews and politicians.
German taxpayers money has been used to fund the actions of numerous neo-Nazi groups such as the trio recently arrested. Informant payments have also a revenue stream for the NPD, the National Democratic Party of Germany, which acts as a political collecting pool of German nationalists and neo-Nazis.
Wolfgang Frenz, a former informant employed by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has a confession in Stern about how the German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution amongst others has “funded the growth of the NPD in North Rhine-Westphalia.”
Frenz stresses that he only provided, “publically available information” to the office. Frenz and others were able to accumulate and forward large amounts of taxpayer’s money into their organizations and cells whilst going undetected under their informant cover.
A recent publication from the London-based DEMOS think tank (The New Face of Digital Populism) hold some additional worrisome news. DEMOS conducted a survey of over 10,000 followers of 14 far-right parties in 11 European countries.
The study found that rather than economic distress, right-wing voters fear that mass immigration would distort their own culture and heritage and would at large lead to a demographic overhaul of their society.
Most concerning is that 25% agreed to using violence as a means to achieve ones goal. Violence was considered justified if it “served the purpose” as one survey participant noted.
While one should not take the study for face value (especially since it drew its data from Facebook) one should pinpoint the valid point it makes: that there are many places within Europe with a lot of potential for violent action amongst far-right voters.
As the bust of the “National socialist Underground” cell ignites a new round of debate about whether one should ban the NPD, it would be wise to concentrate efforts on the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The office clearly must halt its current practices and evaluate its practice and use of informants.
Another step in the right direction would be to once and for all to deny the NPD party status. German taxpayers money should not be invested in a party that openly defiles democracy and employs prominent neo-Nazi figures.
The ultimate the tragic irony is that the issue of informants abusing their role is not a new one, even Adolf Hitler initially served as an informant in the Bavarian Reichswehr before taking over the party he was set to infiltrate.