Bermuda petrel chick fledges, video


This 7 June 2019 video says about itself:

Bermuda Petrel Chick “Cedar” Fledges! | Bermuda Cahow Cam – June 7, 2019

Cahow cam star “Cedar” has fledged from its nesting burrow on Nonsuch Island, Bermuda! Watch her take wing under the cover of night after practicing a few wing flaps. Following a 90-day nestling period, this young seabird has set out over the Atlantic Ocean, where it will spend the next 4–6 years before returning to Bermuda in search of a mate. Good luck out there, Cedar!

Cedar‘s fledge signals another success story for the endangered Bermuda Petrel, a species on the rebound after having been thought extinct for over 300 years. This climactic ending to the 2019 Cahow cam season is bolstered by encouraging reports from the rest of the cahow population on Bermuda. Senior Terrestrial Conservation Officer Jeremy Madeiros shares news that 2019 has the potential to be another record-breaking year for the breeding population, with 131 breeding pairs producing 73 possible fledglings.

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Red knot individual personalities, new study


This November 2016 video says about itself:

Saving the Red Knot

The Red Knot flies each fall along two crisis-ridden migratory routes. One is the East Asia-Australasia Flyway, where many stops along the way have been damaged due to reclamation and other human activities.

The other route, across the United States to a winter destination in Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America, is threatened in part by overharvesting of horseshoe crabs.

Eats: Invertebrates, especially bivalves, small snails, and crustaceans. During breeding season, also eats terrestrial invertebrates.

Behavior: Male makes an aerial singing display. Pecks at surface for prey or probes for buried prey. Swallows small mollusks whole. Despite their gregariousness during the winter, pairs maintain breeding territories and generally nest about 1 km (0.7 mi) apart from each other.

Conservation: Red Knot is a global species. The IUCN Red List lists Red Knot as a Near Threatened species. The occurrence of large concentrations of Knots at traditional staging areas during migration makes them vulnerable to pollution and loss of key resources. At its peak, the Red Knot population in Hebei’s Luannan Wetland [in China] was 60,000. However, in recent years due to the reclamation of surrounding areas and other factors, by 2015 the number had dropped to just over 20,000.

There are three subspecies in North America, and they all appear to be in decline. The populations wintering in South America dropped over 50% from the mid-1980s to 2003, and are listed as a federally threatened species in the United States. A 2012 study estimated the total number of all three North American subspecies at about 139,000 breeding birds. The North American Red Knot is on the “2014 State of the Birds Watch List”, which lists bird species that are at risk of becoming threatened or endangered without conservation action. This is in line with the situation in China, which means that the birds will become threatened or endangered if protection measures are not taken.

From the University of Alberta in Canada:

Bird personalities influenced by both age and experience, study shows

New research examines development of personality in birds

June 6, 2019

For birds, differences in personality are a function of both age and experience, according to new research by University of Alberta biologists.

The study examined the red knot, a medium-sized shorebird that breeds in the Canadian Arctic and winters in North Western Europe. The researchers studied 90 birds over a two year period, comparing behavioural and physiological traits of two age cohorts: adult and juvenile birds. Studying two age groups allowed the researchers to determine which changes were due to age versus time in captivity.

“During this time, birds had the same type of life experience, including varied diet,” explained Kim Mathot, assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Canada Research Chair in Integrative Ecology. “At the start of the experiments, individuals showed differences in their behaviour. We looked at whether these differences disappeared in the course of the study, which would suggest that there is something about individually variable experiences that helps maintain differences, because in our experiments, all these birds had the same experience.”

Exploring nature and nurture

The results? Well, it’s complicated.

The causes of variation among individual birds were different for different traits. For the birds in this study, individual differences in behaviour were maintained over the course of the study. But physiological traits, such as the size of each bird’s gizzard, became more similar.

“The world isn’t simple, so it makes sense that there isn’t a straightforward answer for how and why individuals differ,” added Mathot. “Nature is wonderfully complex. This is yet another example of that at play.”

In the next leg of the research, PhD student Eva Kok will follow a smaller subset of the study’s birds after they’ve been released back into the wild in order to examine how the traits measured in the lab translate to real life.

“We’re curious to see if physiological differences will reappear after release back into the wild,” explained Mathot. “For instance, if an individual had a relatively large gizzard when we initially captured it but that became smaller in captivity, will it grow to be relatively large again when re-released? Or did we shuffle the deck, and now birds can go onto different trajectories than what they were on before?”

US politician Biden’s flip-flop on abortion


This 6 June 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

EXCLUSIVE: AOC Blasts Biden On The Hyde Amendment

Rebel HQ’s Emma Vigeland spoke with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez about the presidential race and the candidate that she may endorse in 2020.

NEW STUDY REVEALS JUST HOW MUCH THE HYDE AMENDMENT IS HURTING WOMEN Over a quarter of low-income women in Louisiana who wanted an abortion didn’t get one because Medicaid didn’t cover the procedure. [HuffPost]

By Rebecca Morin in USA TODAY:

10:11 PM EDT Jun 6, 2019

WASHINGTON – Just a day after facing backlash from fellow Democrats, former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday reversed his reported position on the Hyde Amendment, a long-standing law that blocks federal funding for abortion in most cases. …

Biden’s reversal comes a day after the former vice president’s campaign reportedly maintained that he still supported the Hyde Amendment.

Since then, Biden’s fellow 2020 Democratic presidential contenders have called for the amendment to be repealed, and have even called out Biden by name.

This 5 June 2019 video from the USA is called Exposing the Racism Hidden in the “Pro-Life” Movement.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Biden drops support for abortion-funding restriction after political firestorm

7 June 2019

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the current leader in the polls for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, abruptly reversed himself on Thursday evening, declaring that he would no longer maintain his longstanding support for the anti-abortion Hyde Amendment. This reactionary measure, authored by Republican Congressman Henry Hyde in 1976, remains in force more than four decades later because there has been no significant Democratic Party effort against it.

The Hyde Amendment forbids the use of federal funds to pay for abortion procedures except in cases of rape, incest or serious risk to the mother’s life. In the joint federal-state Medicaid program, 15 states have chosen to cover most abortions anyway, with the state picking up the cost. In the remaining 35 states, the Hyde Amendment effectively bars poor women from receiving Medicaid-paid abortions unless they face one of the traumatic situations listed above.

For decades the Democratic Party made no effort to overturn the Hyde Amendment, bowing to a large anti-abortion wing in the party, particularly among state and federal legislators who, like Biden, are Roman Catholic. In 2007, candidate Barack Obama pledged to repeal Hyde, but two years later, as part of a deal with right-wing Democrats in the House of Representatives to ensure passage of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama issued an executive order stipulating that the Hyde Amendment would apply to women insured through Obamacare.

Only in 2016, some 40 years after the enactment of the Hyde Amendment, did the Democratic Party officially include repeal in its program, but presidential candidate Hillary Clinton never discussed the pledge as part of her campaign for the White House.

The Biden campaign declared on Wednesday that the candidate reiterated his support for the Hyde Amendment, which he voted for repeatedly during a four-decade career in the US Senate. This seemed another effort by Biden to stake out a position on the right wing of the Democratic Party, in the name of appealing to “swing voters” and “moderate” Republicans, while at the same time alienating millions, particularly young people, who firmly support abortion rights and correctly regard the Hyde Amendment as a barbaric relic of a bygone era.

The Biden campaign was clearly aware that it would come under fire from most of the other candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. This was not long in coming, with female senators like Elizabeth Warren, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris first out of the gate, followed by Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke and others. Press reports did not cite a single prominent Democrat endorsing Biden’s position.

More significant, from the standpoint of the Democratic Party, was the criticism from abortion rights and women’s groups, which expressed shock that the leading Democratic presidential candidate would stab them in the back under conditions of a ferocious attack on abortion rights from the Republican right.

This is taking place both at the federal level, with Trump’s appointment of two ultra-right justices to the Supreme Court, producing what is believed to be a 5-4 majority for drastic inroads into Roe v. Wade, if not outright reversal of the decision; and at the state level, where Republican state legislatures—with Democratic support in some states, like Louisiana—have enacted bills banning abortion after 12 weeks of pregnancy, eight weeks, even six weeks, and in the case of Alabama, in all circumstances, without even exceptions for rape or incest.

According to NARAL Pro Choice America, Biden’s position “further endangers women and families already facing enormous hurdles and creates two classes of rights for people in this country, which is inherently undemocratic.” Planned Parenthood executive director Kelley Robinson pleaded, “We strongly encourage Joe Biden to speak to the people whose lives are impacted by this discriminatory policy and reevaluate his position.”

Much of the criticism focused on the blatant class discrimination involved in the Hyde Amendment, since it restricts abortions for poor women but has no effect on those of middle or high income.

With the effective legalization of abortion in all 50 states by the Supreme Court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade, poor working-class women were able to gain access to the procedure via Medicaid, the program of government health insurance for the poor, established alongside Medicare in 1965. Medicaid paid for an estimated 300,000 abortions a year, about 15 percent of the national total, before such funding was banned by the Hyde Amendment.

After 24 hours of political battering—including an op-ed column in the Washington Post that declared him “unfit to lead”, given the widespread attacks on abortion rights by Republican state governments—Biden backed down.

The presidential candidate denounced the Hyde Amendment in a speech to a Democratic National Committee fundraising event in Georgia, one of the states where Republican state legislatures have pushed through laws restricting abortion that deliberately flout Roe v. Wade, in an effort to provide a legal vehicle for the Supreme Court to reverse the 1973 ruling.

“If I believe health care is a right, as I do, I can no longer support an amendment that makes that right dependent on someone’s ZIP code,” Biden said. He added that he made “no apologies for the past position,” but “circumstances have changed.”

“I can’t justify leaving millions of women without access to the care they need and the ability to … exercise their constitutionally protected right,” he said, although is precisely the effect that the Hyde Amendment has had throughout the time Biden supported it.

Earlier, in response to the criticism of his position, Biden’s campaign declared that the candidate “firmly believes that Roe v. Wade is the law of the land and should not be overturned.” Since similar assurances were given by Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh after Trump nominated them to the Supreme Court, this type of language reassured no one genuinely concerned about the threat to abortion rights.

On the same day that Biden declared his continued support for the Hyde Amendment, the Trump administration issued an executive order ending funding of medical research by federal scientists using fetal tissue and canceling a multi-year contract with the University of California at San Francisco to test potential HIV therapies using such tissues.

The National Institutes of Health supports most fetal tissue research conducted by about 200 corporate, hospital and university laboratories.

White House spokesman Judd Deere said the decision was made by Trump personally “to protect the dignity of human life.” Another official said that Vice President Mike Pence, a Christian fundamentalist and anti-abortion fanatic, worked with officials of the Department of Health and Human Services to draft the research ban.

This 6 June 2019 video from the USA is called Biden Casually Embraces Big Money Donors & Corruption.

This 6 June 2019 video from the USA is called Bernie [Sanders] Smacks Down Biden Over Campaign.

CLOCK TICKING ON ANTI-ABORTION DEM Dan Lipinski has been comfortably reelected to his seat in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District for 14 years, and before that, his dad represented the district for 22 years. Both are conservative Democrats. But in recent years, as his party ― and, arguably, his district ― has shifted to the left on cultural issues, Lipinski has not. [HuffPost]

This 3 June 2019 video from the USA is called This author says [Republican judge] Clarence Thomas falsely linked abortion and eugenics by citing his book.

GOP-ER: JAIL WOMEN FOR HAVING ABORTIONS In a video released by an abortion access advocacy group, Rep. Ron Wright (R-Texas), said women who induce their own abortions should “of course” be jailed, and said women who have had abortions have “committed murder.” [HuffPost]

The Trump administration on Wednesday cut off federal funding for medical research using fetal tissue. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the new policy in a six-paragraph statement, but White House spokesman Judd Deere stressed that “This was the president’s decision”: here.

Fossil oak tree relatives discovery in Argentina


This 2017 video is about Castanopsis trees.

From Penn State university in the USA:

Argentine fossils take oak and beech family history far into Southern Hemisphere

June 7, 2019

One of the world’s most important plant families has a history extending much farther south than any live or fossil specimen previously recorded, as shown by chinquapin fruit and leaf fossils unearthed in Patagonia, Argentina, according to researchers.

“The oak and beech family is recognized everywhere as one of the most important plant groups and has always been considered northern,” said Peter Wilf, professor of geosciences and associate in the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, Penn State. “We’re adding a huge spatial dimension to the history of the Fagaceae family, and that’s exciting.” The plant family also includes chestnuts and the closely related chinquapins.

Common in the Northern Hemisphere and Asian tropics, Fagaceae cross the equator only in Southeast Asia, and even there just barely. The latest study, published today (June 7) in Science, extends the family’s biogeographical history and suggests a Gondwanan supercontinent legacy in Asian rainforests larger than previously thought.

The researchers first found fossils resembling some oak leaves, with straight secondary veins and one tooth per secondary vein, at Laguna del Hunco, Chubut province. The leaves comprise about 10 percent of the thousands of 52-million-year-old leaf fossils, representing almost 200 species, found at the site over two decades in a long-term project between Penn State, Cornell University and Museo Paleontológico Egidio Feruglio (MEF), Trelew, Argentina.

For years the researchers hesitated to classify the leaves, because paleobotanist Edward Berry had assigned similar fossils to another family, and any claim of Fagaceae at so remote a location would require much more supporting evidence.

Later, the team unearthed rare fruit fossils — two fruit clusters, one with more than 110 immature fruits — at the site and compared them to living relatives. They found that these were fossils of ancient Castanopsis, an Asian chinquapin that today dominates the biodiverse, lower elevation mountain rainforests of Southeast Asia.

“One of the first clues was a little lip where the fruit is splitting open,” Wilf said. “I recognized this lip as being similar to the fruit of the Japanese chinquapin. Then I realized there’s a nut inside.”

The nuts are fully encased in a scaly outer covering, or cupule, that splits open when the fruits mature. The cupules are arranged on a spike-like fruiting axis, and the young nuts retain delicate parts from their flowering stage. Their features are just like the living Castanopsis, Wilf said, and the fruits confirm that the leaves are Fagaceae.

“This is the first confirmed evidence that Fagaceae, considered restricted to the Northern Hemisphere, was in the Southern Hemisphere,” said Maria Gandolfo, associate professor, Cornell University. “This is remarkable and allows us to rethink the origins of the fossil flora.”

The fossils date to the early Eocene 52.2 million years ago. They are the only fossilized or living Fagaceae ever found south of the Malay Archipelago, the island chain just north of Australia.

During the globally warm early Eocene there was no polar ice, and South America, Antarctica and Australia had not completely separated, comprising the final stage of the Gondwanan supercontinent. The researchers think animals had helped disperse the chinquapin’s ancestors from North to South America at an earlier time. The plants thrived in the wet Patagonian rainforest, whose closest modern analog is the mountain rainforests of New Guinea.

“Before the current semi-desert conditions, trees covered Patagonia,” said Rubén Cúneo, director of MEF. “Changes in climatic conditions turned it into a shrubland, and the trees were displaced.”

The chinquapins may have also ranged into then-adjacent Antarctica and on to Australia, said Wilf. Castanopsis may have survived in Australia until the continent collided with Southeast Asia, where today chinquapins are keystone species, providing forest structure and food and habitat for birds, insects and mammals.

“We’re finding, in the same rocks as Castanopsis, fossils of many other plants that live with it today in New Guinea and elsewhere, including ferns, conifers and flowering plants,” said Wilf. “You can trace some of the associations with Castanopsis seen in Eocene Argentina to southern China and beyond.”

Today, Castanopsis plays an important role in intercepting year-round mountain precipitation that delivers clean water for drinking, fishing and agriculture to more than half a billion people and sustains diverse freshwater and coastal ecosystems. However, humans are clearing these rainforests for timber, development and crop cultivation, and modern climate change is increasing droughts and fire frequency.

“These plants are adaptable if given time and space,” Wilf said, adding Castanopsis’ trek from Patagonia to Southeast Asia occurred over millions of years and thousands of miles. “But the pace of change today is hundreds of times faster than in geologic time. The animals that depend on these plants are adaptable only to the extent that the plants are, and we are one of the animals that depend on this system. If we lose mountain rainforests, really fast we lose reliable water flows for agriculture, clean coral reefs offshore, biodiversity and much more.”

This study has implications for extinction in the face of climate change, according to Kevin Nixon, professor and L.H. Bailey Hortorium curator, Cornell University. He said Castanopsis went extinct in Patagonia due to a major extinction caused by the slow cooling and drying of the climate that occurred with the glaciation of Antarctica and the rise of the Andes.

“Those kinds of climate changes can have massive effects on biodiversity,” Nixon said. “The relevance of understanding this is we can start to look at extinction processes. The better we can understand what causes extinction, the better we can deal with it.”

The National Science Foundation, National Geographic Society and David and Lucile Packard Foundation funded this research.

CIA killing people with drones


This 10 March 2019 video says about itself:

Civilian deaths by US drone strikes will no longer be reported

President Donald Trump has reversed a 2016 policy that requires US intelligence to report the number of civilians killed in US drone strikes.

Knack weekly in Belgium reported on 7 June 2017 on the long-distance killing of people thousands of miles away by drones piloted from the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia in the USA. The Trump administration made these drone killings even worse.

Translated from the report, interviewing an ex-CIA employee:

A colleague killed a man and spared his child. But then he saw how the child walked back, and put his father’s body parts back into the form of a human body.

Tweezer-beaked hopping rats discovery in Philippines


Celaenomys silaceus (top) and Rhynchomys soricoides, two species related to the two newly discovered species

From the University of Utah in the USA:

Two new species of ‘tweezer-beaked hopping rats‘ discovered in Philippines

Elusive rodents finally found when scientists switched out peanut butter bait for earthworms

June 6, 2019

Summary: A highly distinctive (weird-looking) group of rodents sometimes called ‘tweezer-beaked hopping rats’ love earthworms. Armed with this knowledge (and worms), the scientists discovered two new species of the tweezer-beaked hopping rats.

Just about everybody loves peanut butter. We put it on sandwiches and in candy, we use it to trick our dogs into taking their heartworm pills, and, when we have to, we bait mouse traps with it. But, as scientists learned when trapping rodents in the mountains of the Philippines, peanut butter isn’t for everyone. A highly distinctive (weird-looking) group of rodents sometimes called “tweezer-beaked hopping rats” don’t care for peanut butter, but love earthworms. Armed with this knowledge (and worms), the scientists discovered two new species of the tweezer-beaked hopping rats. The discovery was announced in the Journal of Mammalogy.

“In the late 1980s we were doing standard mammalogy surveys and using standard baits that most rodents really like: a combination of peanut butter and slices of fried coconut. It was really attractive bait, it makes your mouth water,” says lead author Eric Rickart, a curator of the Natural History Museum of Utah at the University of Utah. The researchers knew that some of these critters had been found in the area before, but the rats weren’t biting. One finally stumbled into a live trap, but it still didn’t touch the peanut butter bait. The team tried to figure out what it did eat; when they offered it an earthworm, the rat, in Rickart’s words, “slurped it up like a kid eating spaghetti.”

“Once we began baiting the traps with live, wriggling earthworms, we discovered that these little animals are common and widespread,” says Larry Heaney, a curator at the Field Museum and a co-author of the study. The field team, led by the late Danny Balete of the Field Museum, began finding more species that specialize in eating earthworms, including the two new species described in their recent paper.

The new species are named Rhynchomys labo and Rhynchomys mingan. The genus name, Rhynchomys, comes from the ancient Greek rhyncos for snout and mys for “mouse”, a reference to the tweezer-beaked hopping rats’ long pointed noses. The species names are for the mountains the rats are found on, Mount Labo and Mount Mingan.

“They’re quite bizarre”, says Rickart. “They hop around on their sturdy hind legs and large hind feet, almost like little kangaroos. They have long, delicate snouts, and almost no chewing teeth.”

“They’re very docile, very cute”, adds Heaney. “Their fur is short and very, very dense, like a plush toy. They make little runways through the forest and patrol these little trails, day and night, looking for earthworms.”

The two new rodents are examples of the generally poorly-known, incredible biodiversity of the Philippines, which boasts more unique species of mammals per square mile than anywhere else on Earth. “Up until the late ’90s, we all thought maximum mammalian diversity was in the lowland tropical rainforest” explains Heaney. But Heaney, Rickart, and their colleagues found that mountains like those on the Philippines were the perfect breeding ground for new species of mammals. The different habitats at different elevations on a mountain can lead to different adaptations by its mammal residents, and their diversity actually increases as you go up higher into the mountains. Furthermore, the mammals on one mountain are isolated from their relatives on other mountains. Generations of isolation eventually lead to new species forming on different mountains, the same way that unique species emerge on islands. “Just about every time we’ve gone to a new area of Luzon with mountains, we’ve discovered that there are unique species,” says Rickart.

But the Philippines’ biodiversity is under threat. The islands are among the most extensively deforested places on Earth, with only about 6% of the original old growth tropical forest remaining. That’s a big problem for the watershed. High mountains in the Philippines receive between 10 and 20 feet of rain every year, leaving steep slopes vulnerable to typhoons. The mulch-carpeted mossy forests in the mountains help to soak up that rain “like a giant sponge,” says Heaney. “If you don’t have an intact watershed and forest up in the mountains, you’re going to have massive floods and landslides, because the water floods off instead of getting absorbed into mossy ground cover.”

The researchers hope that the discovery of the two new species of tweezer-beaked hopping rats will serve as an argument for protecting the mountainous forests where they’re found. “Every time we find a reason to say, ‘This place is unique,’ that tells people that it’s worthy of protection,” says co-author Phillip Alviola of the University of the Philippines.

All of the work on this project was conducted with permits and strong support of the Philippine Department of Natural Resources. The study was contributed to by authors from the University of Utah/Utah Natural History Museum, the Field Museum, the University of Kansas, the University of the Philippines, and Louisiana State University.

German nazis murder politician for criticizing racism?


This 11 July 2018 video is called Germany: Neo-Nazi NSU member found guilty of ten counts of murder.

By Peter Schwarz in Germany:

Strong indications of right-wing extremist involvement in murder of German regional politician

6 June 2019

Strong indications suggest that right-wing extremists were involved in the murder of district president Walter Lübcke, a regional German politician in the city of Kassel, Hesse.

The 65-year-old Christian Democratic Union (CDU) politician was found dead on the terrace of his home in Wolfhagen-Istha shortly after midnight on June 2. According to the police, he died as a result of a gunshot to the head fired at close range from a handgun. The public prosecutor and police have excluded the possibility of suicide.

A 20-person special commission from the Hesse state criminal police (LKA) was subsequently appointed to investigate “in all directions.” The police and public prosecutor are yet to mention any information about the perpetrators, motives, or the background to the attack. However, it is known that Lübcke had long been the target of right-wing extremist and xenophobic agitation.

Lübcke, born in 1953, was appointed to the position of district president by Hesse Minister President Volker Bouffier in 2009, following a lengthy career in Hesse municipal and state politics. As a top official and head of the state’s regional authorities, Lübcke was also responsible for accommodating refugees in the administrative district of Kassel.

At the height of the refugee crisis in October 2015, this brought him into conflict with right-wing extremists. When he was confronted at a public meeting on Hesse’s reception centre in Lohfelden with angry interjections, some of which came from individuals associated with the far-right Pegida movement, he responded that living together in Germany was based on Christian values, such as helping those who are in need. “Anyone who doesn’t share these values is free to leave this country at any time if they don’t agree,” he added. “That is the freedom for every German.”

A hate campaign was then unleashed against Lübcke in right-wing extremist circles. He was at times placed under police protection after receiving death threats.

The blog PI-News (Politically Incorrect), which specialises in Islamophobic and xenophobic provocations, published a video of Lübcke’s remarks at the meeting and denounced him as a “traitor to the people” for his “outrageous statement.” In the blog’s comments section, Lübcke’s full private address was published, along with explicit threats against him. One commenter wrote, “The clown from Kassel won’t be performing much longer.”

The right-wing extremist writer Akif Pirinçci also agitated against Lübcke at a Pegida rally in Dresden. The “power” in Germany seems to have “so completely abandoned the fear and respect towards the German people that it can tell them with a shrug of the shoulders to leave the country if they aren’t up to it,” he said, before adding with disappointment, “Unfortunately, the concentration camps are currently out of order.” He was later convicted of sedition for this speech.

According to Lübcke’s deputy, Hermann-Josef Klüber, so-called “Reich citizens”, who refuse to acknowledge the authorities of the Federal Republic and instead claim that the German Reich [from Hitler’s days] remains in existence, repeatedly threatened Lübcke.

After Lübcke’s death was made public, right-wing extremists celebrated the crime online. “Franz Brandwein” wrote on YouTube, “The dirty pig was put out of his misery! RESPECT!” “Icemand DJ” added, “One despicable rat fewer. The others are still left.” And a comment posted on Facebook read, “His own fault, no sympathy, that’s what will happen to Merkel and the rest.”

An Alternative for Germany politician also made some cynical remarks. On the official Facebook page of the AfD Dithmarschen (Schleswig-Holstein), district party leader Mario Reschke published a comment over a picture of the victim that read, “Murder??? ? He didn’t want to jump with a parachute…” This was a cynical reference to the Free Democratic Party politician Jürgen Möllemann, who fell to his death with an unopened parachute in an alleged suicide exactly 16 years prior to the day of Lübcke’s death.

The indications that Lübcke was the victim of right-wing extremist violence are overwhelming, even though evidence has yet to be presented. However, it is highly questionable whether the public prosecutor and state criminal police are prepared to get to the bottom of the case. Hesse has a long record of covering up right-wing extremist crimes.

For example, the role of the Hesse state intelligence agency in the shooting death of Halit Yosgat, who was the ninth victim of the right-wing terrorist group National Socialist Underground when he was shot in Kassel, remains unclear to this day. It is known that Andreas Temme, an official and leading informant for the intelligence agency, was present in the internet cafe where the murder occurred. For some time afterwards, Temme was protected by the Interior Ministry and banned from making public statements. He continues to insist that he did not see the victim’s body when he left the cafe, even though new evidence confirms that this could not have been true.

Although Temme later lost his post with the intelligence agency, he continued to work for the state of Hesse at the office of the district of Kassel, the authority led by Lübcke since 2009.

The role of the police in the threatening messages sent to Seda Başay-Yıldız also remains unclear. The Frankfurter defence lawyer, who also represented families of NSU victims, received several letters containing death threats directed at her and her 2-year-old daughter, which were signed in the name of “NSU 2.0.” Although it was revealed that her address was obtained without authorisation from a police computer in Frankfurt, and several right-wing extremist police officers were removed from duty, the source of the letters remains unclear.