British Conservative anti-Irish racism

This video from Britain says about itself:

Elaine on First Dates Channel 4 (Feb 2017) – “No Blacks, No Dogs, No Irish

Jamaican-born Elaine recalls the shared racism that the Black and Irish communities experienced in London in the early 1960s.

By Felicity Collier in Britain:

Tory councillor suspended after bigoted Eurovision tweet

Monday 15th May 2015

A TORY councillor has been suspended for six months following racist tweets he made about Irish people during Saturday night’s Eurovision Song Contest.

Warwickshire councillor Nick Harrington, who is also a magistrate on the Coventry & Warwickshire bench, tweeted at about 11.15pm: “Thanks Ireland. You can keep your f’king gypsies! Hard border coming folks!”

His outburst was in response to Ireland choosing to not give Britain any points in the cheesy competition.

He also retweeted an offensive post featuring a photo of shadow home secretary Diane Abbott [who is of African ancestry].

Originally posted by a user called @SuperOldHolborn, it read: “One hundred and eleventy seven points to the glorious socialist utopia of Mogadishu West.”

Twitter users called for Mr Harrington to delete his account, which he did yesterday morning, while others invited him to resign.

By noon leader of Warwick District Council Andrew Mobbs announced that Mr Harrington had been suspended with immediate effect and that an investigation into his behaviour would be launched.

Mr Mobbs said: “I am appalled at the comments. There is no defending such behaviour.”

On Twitter, there was mass condemnation of his offensive posts.

Irish Communities, Culture and Equality Minister Aodhán Ó Riordáin sent a message to British Prime Minister Theresa May asking: “Can we assume he will be expelled for this outburst? “Is this why Conservatives are gobbling up Ukip votes? Disgusting racist tweet from a Tory councillor.”

Twitter user Conor O’Carroll responded to Mr Harrington: “You are a perfect Tory. A nasty bigot that drops his guard when he’s pissed and makes a fool of himself. You believe every word you said.”

The Irish Mirror reported that the incident had been referred to the police. Mr Harrington did not respond to phone calls from the Star.

A TORY councillor has been suspended over a retweet that compared shadow home secretary Diane Abbott to an ape wearing lipstick, it was revealed yesterday: here.

New museum exhibit explores science of racism. ‘Us and Them’ examines why prejudice persists, By Laura Spinney, 8:00am, May 14, 2017: here.

Jewish school bus burnt in the USA

This video from New York City in the USA says about itself:

12 May 2017

Police say a man set fire to a Jewish school bus in Williamsburg.

The incident happened last month near Division and Bedford avenues. Police say the suspect got into the parked and unoccupied bus.

through its emergency door and started a fire that caused damage to the front area of the bus. He then took off.

“Our city has zero tolerance for violent acts of anti-Semitism,” the mayor wrote. “We must stand as one against acts of intimidation.”

Police say the suspect was last seen wearing a sweatsuit and dark-colored sneakers. Surveillance video of him was released on Wednesday.

Anyone with information can call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS.

Neonazi terrorist German army scandal update

This video says about itself:

11 May 2017

German Chancellor Angela Merkel supported German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen‘s plans to reform the German Armed Forces at a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday.

Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany (German): “I think we have made the necessary decisions. And in order to continue, we should make the according reforms, which the Defence Minister [Ursula von der Leyen] has suggested. What the Armed Forces of Germany need is predictability of its development in order to help those who are serving well continue their service. I support the necessary reforms the defence minister has suggested.”

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General (English): “We are currently reviewing our training mission in Afghanistan and we will take decisions on its future scope, including on troop numbers, within weeks. …”

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General (English): “If NATO joins the coalition it will not change the role of NATO, because NATO will continue to provide support, we will continue to focus on training. … So, no one has asked for a NATO role in the combat operations, neither in Syria, nor in Iraq. But what NATO has started to do is to provide some support for the coalition with our AWACS surveillance planes, and also to do some training in Iraq.”

By Christoph Vandreier in Germany:

Defence Minister Von der Leyen downplays size of right-wing terrorist cell in German army

12 May 2017

After more information was made public Tuesday about the existence of a neo-Nazi terrorist cell in the German army (Bundeswehr), the parliamentary defence committee met Wednesday for an emergency session with Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen.

After the meeting of the committee, which conducts its business in secret, Von der Leyen announced a few cosmetic reforms aimed at downplaying the affair. She intended to ensure the political education of the soldiers, she stated, and make the chain of reporting incidents in the army quicker and more efficient. In addition, she intends to add an explicit distancing from the Wehrmacht, the German army under the Nazi regime, to the Bundeswehr’s 1982 Tradition Directive.

The Social Democrats (SPD) [junior coalition government party] also took great pains to downplay the scale of the events. SPD defence policy spokesman Rainer Arnold even attacked the Defence Minister from the right. He accused her of creating a climate of uncertainty and mistrust of the troops because she is raising the suspicion of the existence of a far-right terrorist network in the army without any concrete evidence.

Neither the SPD nor the opposition Greens or Left Party called for the resignation of the minister, who has led the defence ministry for three-and-a-half years and bears full responsibility for the army as its supreme commander.

Given the scale of the events that have taken place, Von der Leyen’s proposal to respond with an educational programme and a revision of the tradition directive is bizarre. It has now been confirmed that a right-wing terrorist cell existed in the army which was preparing attacks on high-ranking politicians and representatives of the state, Jewish and Muslim organisations, and left-wing activists.

Two officers and one student have been arrested thus far for hoarding weapons and munitions, preparing lists of potential targets and undertaking complex arrangements to blame the attacks on refugees. First Lieutenant Franco A., who was the first to be arrested, registered with a false identity as a Syrian refugee with the assistance of First Lieutenant Maximilian T., who is now also in custody.

One only needs to imagine what the response would have been if comparable plans for attacks by Islamist organisations had been discovered. The country would be placed under a state of emergency.

It remains entirely unclear how large the terrorist cell in the army is, whether Franco A. and Maximilian T. had other co-conspirators or accomplices, or even if they acted under the guidance of others. What is beyond doubt is that their neo-Nazi ideas had been known about for a long time and were systematically covered up by their superiors and the Military Surveillance Service (MAD). Investigations against them were frequently suspended or dragged out.

The latest information to come to light was that a superior of Franco A. requested a security check on him in February 2016 because he was being employed in a new “security sensitive activity.” No notice was taken of the fact that A. only provided the required declaration of understanding in November, after he had been active in his post for some time. A defence ministry spokesperson told Stern that the proceedings were “not yet fully investigated.”

In light of the frequency of cases in which suspected right-wing terrorists were concealed, it is no longer possible to speak of “mishaps,” as many media reports now do. In reality, it is becoming ever clearer that the army intelligence service, which is responsible for surveillance of soldiers, is a hotbed for right-wing extremists and neo-Nazis.

Recently a MAD officer, who is also a city councillor for the right-wing extremist Alternative for Germany (AfD) in the Cologne city council, was reported to the Cologne state prosecutor because he tweeted the banned SA (Nazi paramilitary) slogan “Germany awake!” This occurred in January, but has not resulted in any consequences until now. The Twitter account concerned has been deleted in the meantime.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the terrorist cell was able to thrive in the army on the basis of widespread right-wing extremist networks which reach into the highest levels of the army command.

WDR conducted an interview with Christian Weißgerber, who was active in the right-wing scene as part of the autonomous nationalists, and joined the army in 2008. He explained that the army was heavily populated with “national conservative, racist persons.” In his group of 12 recruits, there were at least three who identified as right-wing extremists.

Weißgerber reported in detail about right-wing extremist tendencies in the officer ranks. He discussed with an officer about the Freemasons, Illuminati and other secret groupings steeped in anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. And this was not the only incident with one of his superiors.

“I had a black, white and red towel, which was also seen,” stated Weißgerber. “But the superior simply said, ‘Hang that up again tomorrow when the colleague takes over the barrack room. He’ll be happy about that.’ I did it and he was actually happy.” Black, white and red were the colours of the Kaiser’s regime and the Nazis, and are used by right-wing extremist groups.

The internet portal bento interviewed a soldier named Dominik, who was in the army from 2004 to 2013 and studied at Helmut Schmidt University in Hamburg. In his master’s thesis, he researched the political ideas of army officers. In essence, all of the interviews he conducted as part of his work had the same outcome, “Those questioned see themselves as part of an elite, as heroes, who will go into combat and, if necessary, sacrifice their lives.”

A majority of officers had an extremely conservative outlook and could easily identify with nationalist ideas, particularly in their view of history. “The Blitzkrieg on Poland during World War II was praised by many of my colleagues as a great military achievement,” said Dominik.

According to its own statistics, the MAD is currently reviewing 275 cases under the category of right-wing extremism. These are only those cases where the authorities could not avoid launching formal investigations. Franco A.’s neo-Nazi graduation paper in 2013, which was known to his superiors and the military disciplinary official, for example, was not included in this figure.

In 2016, the research of the MAD uncovered only three instances in which it determined right-wing extremists were involved.

Questions tabled by the Left Party parliamentary group to the government in the Bundestag (parliament) during the past week revealed that several soldiers were allowed to remain in service and had access to weapons after being investigated by the MAD for shouting “Sieg heil!” or performing the Nazi salute.

The strengthening of right-wing extremist elements in the army is closely linked to the politics of militarism and rearmament, which have been pursued determinedly by the defence minister.

The army is to be massively rearmed in the coming years, according to the provisional outlines of the concept of the army’s future capability profile drawn up by her ministry. It is to be capable of operating fully on land, at sea, in the air, in space and in cyberspace.

The army’s seven brigades are to be increased to three divisions with eight to 10 brigades. Just within the past week, a contract with arms company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann was signed for the modernisation of 104 Leopard II tanks. Over the coming six years, the total number of tanks is to rise from 244 to 328.

The air force is to have the capacity to lead a multi-national force capable of conducting up to 350 reconnaissance and combat sorties per day. To this end, Tornado fighter jets and CH53 transport helicopters will be replaced with newer aircraft. In addition, drones, C130 Hercules transport aircraft, additional A400M transport planes and heavy transportation helicopters will be purchased. New ships will also be bought for the navy.

The expansion of the Bundeswehr into an army capable of fighting and killing around the world necessarily brings with it the revival of the Wehrmacht’s traditions and creates ideal conditions for neo-Nazi structures.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, which has long led the militarist propaganda, made this unmistakably clear. For the FAZ, even the measures proposed by Von der Leyen to cover up the affair go too far. In a comment on Tuesday, the paper described “the search of all service locations for symbols which allegedly violate the constitution” as an “embarrassing exorcism, which will clean up the commander-in-chief, but tarnish the soldiers.”

The army, according to the FAZ, “was constructed by Wehrmacht officers who used and further developed its weaponry and training maxims for decades.” It openly called on the generals to resist their civilian commanders: “If resistance is to be the only creator of tradition–why are the generals going along with this nonsense?”

The neo-Nazi terrorist cell in the German army (Bundeswehr) is much larger than previously thought. This conclusion is based on a detailed article in the latest edition of Der Spiegel: here.

Trump administration attacks voting rights

This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Admin Will Attack, Not Defend Voting Rights

28 November 2016

Donald Trump wants Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to head up the Dept. of Justice, which includes the Civil Rights department. This is Part 2 of our 3-part interview with Gerald Hebert, the former Department of Justice attorney whose testimony helped to sink Jeff Sessions‘ appointment to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. TYT’s Eric Byler asks Hebert if it possible Sessions has changed since making racially insensitive remarks in the 1980’s. Sessions was elected at Attorney General of Alabama in 1984, and then as one of Alabama’s U.S. Senators in 1996. Now, he is President-Elect Donald Trump‘s pick to be United States Attorney General, which is causing great concern to immigrants rights, GLBTQ rights, and voting rights advocates.

Special thanks to Corey Goldstone and Nick Cockrell for facilitating this interview.

From the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in the USA today:

The White House will investigate false claims of voter fraud

Today, the White House launched a new and baseless assault on voting rights.

With the stroke of a pen, the President created a special commission to investigate his false claims of voter fraud in the 2016 election. He claims this commission is designed to uphold the integrity of our election system, but a closer look makes it all too clear what this commission is really about.

Who is serving as the commission’s co-chair? Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a zealous proponent of the voter fraud myth who has been linked to white nationalist groups.

Who is tasked with taking action on the commission’s findings? Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has built his career on decades of hostility to voting rights laws.

The signs all point in the same direction: this commission is about lending the power and prestige of the White House to suppress the African American and Latino vote.

LDF has spoken out forcefully about this disturbing abuse of authority and is already taking action. Minutes ago, we filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act to get vital records about the formation of this commission and its legality. We will watch the commission closely, and we stand ready to go to court if it takes any steps to intimidate Black and Latino voters or to undermine existing protections of equal access to the ballot box.

But we cannot do this work alone. We need your help to stop this latest attack on the cornerstone of our democracy. Support LDF today, and help us protect the right to vote for all Americans.

With you in struggle,

Sherrilyn A. Ifill
President and Director-Counsel

President Donald Trump signed an executive order May 11 creating the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, a bipartisan commission that on the pretext of investigating voter fraud will seek to justify new attacks on the right to vote. This follows Trump’s false claims after the November 8 election that he lost the popular vote due to illegal voting by undocumented immigrants: here.

Anti-Semites attack Jewish Moroccan Dutch woman

This 8 May 2017 video is about vandalism by anti-Semites against Jewish Moroccan Dutch woman Fatiha Chass Eddine in Apeldoorn city in Gelderland province in the Netherlands.

Translated from Dutch site

May 8, 2017, last update 23:47

Victim of anti-Semitic action sent away by police

A Jewish woman threatened on Friday by anti-Semitic vandalism was sent away by police when she wanted to report. She was told at the police station in her city Apeldoorn that she had to make an appointment first and return on Monday. The woman was so shocked by the attack on her home that she did not dare to sleep at home on Friday night, she told Omroep Gelderland broadcasting organisation.

On May 5, Liberation Day [the day Hitler’s Wehrmacht occupying armed forces in the Netherlands surrendered], she found a carved star of David on the door of her basement box. Also, the word “whore” was painted on the wall. The woman told the housing association, but they did nothing until another resident complained. Jewish Fatiha Chass Eddine is of Moroccan origin. She has no idea who did this. The space in which the crime was committed is only accessible to apartment house residents.

Racist French Blairite Valls unwelcome in Macron’s party

This video says about itself:

7 October 2013

Hundreds of pupils in Paris took the day off school to protest on Thursday in retaliation for the deportation of foreign students. Showing solidarity with their peers, the pupils argue everyone has a right to education.

The protest follows the deportation of 15-year-old Roma student Leonarda Dibrani, who was expelled from France to Kosovo October 9.

The demonstration marks a backlash to Minister of the Interior Manuel Valls‘ comments in September, when he said most of the 20,000 Romas in France had no motivation for integrating into society and should be sent back to their countries of origin.

Blairite politician Manuels Valls in 2014 rose to Prime Minister; but now, he seems too fall.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Valls not welcome in Macron’s party

Today, 09:18

Manuel Valls is not welcome as a parliamentary candidate for En Marche!. The French former prime minister announced yesterday his move to the movement of the new president Macron, but the party does not want him. …

The rejection puts Valls in a difficult position. In an interview he said yesterday that his socialist party is dead. He will therefore not be able to return to that Socialist Party.

According to [NOS correspondent] Renout, you could say that Valls is now out on the street. “He closed the door to the socialist party, but Macron closed the door as well.”

This is not so surprising. When Macron started En Marche! Valls cynically predicted it would fail. Macron may still remember now, after Vallsweathervane-like flip-flopping Damascene conversion. In December 2016, Macron called Valls a ‘traitor’. See also here. And Valls’ government was very impopular, so Valls may drive voters away from Macron rather than attracting them.

Another German army officer arrested in neonazi terror scandal

This 2012 German ARD TV video is about neonazism in the Bundeswehr, the German armed forces.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

Second German soldier arrested over ‘false flag’ plot to assassinate left-wing politicians in terror attack

Prosecutors say Maximilian T covered for friend as he posed as Syrian refugee

Lizzie Dearden

Tuesday 9 May 2017 16:25 BST

A second soldier has been arrested for allegedly planning a “false flag” terror attack to be blamed on refugees in Germany amid fears of a wider neo-Nazi network within the army.

The plot was exposed with the arrest of a German lieutenant, Franco A, who was found to be posing as a Syrian refugee in order to carry out a shooting attack targeting left-wing politicians.

One of his friends at Illkirch-Graffenstaden barracks in France has now been detained for allegedly covering for the soldier’s absences as he periodically returned to Bavaria to continue the ruse.

Maximilian T, a 27-year-old German national, was also a member of Jägerbataillon 291 and was arrested on Tuesday after being questioned by military intelligence officers.

Like Franco A, Maximilian T is a first lieutenant. According to the Süddeutsche Zeitung daily, Maximilian T already had been investigated for right-wing extremism in 2015. However, that investigation had stopped without consequences.

He had joined his friend on a trip to Vienna in January – supposedly for an officers’ ball – where Franco A stashed an unregistered gun to be used in the attack at the city’s main airport.

Maximilian T was also part of an online messaging group where he, Franco A and other members exchanged far-right posts, photos and audio files, Der Spiegel reported.

He is assumed to be “number three” in the plot, following Franco A and Mathias F, a friend from his hometown who was also arrested in April.

“They were willing, or at least claimed to be, to kill for their cause,” an investigator said.

As well as the loaded 7.65mm pistol stashed in a toilet at Vienna International Airport, around 1,000 rounds of ammunition were found at Mathias F’s home in Offenbach – mostly stolen from the German army.

The federal prosecutor’s office said the three suspects were suspected of planning to attack senior politicians and public figures “who are committed to an immigration and refugee policy which has failed in the view of the defendants”.

The names of the former German President, Joachim Gauck, and left-wing justice minister Heiko Maas (SPD) were on a list of potential targets, said spokesperson Frauke Köhler.

She told a press conference Franco A planned to frame Islamist militants for the attack, which would have been linked to his fake identity as a Syrian refugee.

“The three suspects wanted to direct suspicion at asylum seekers living in Germany after the attack,” she added.

“The planned attack was intended to be interpreted by the population as a radical Islamist terrorist attack by a recognised refugee.

“Especially with regard to the ongoing public discussion over immigration and refugee policy, an alleged terrorist attack by a registered asylum seeker would have attracted particular attention and contributed to the sense of threat.”

Franco A had created a fake persona under the name David Benjamin, telling immigration officials he was a Damascus fruit seller …

No doubts appear to have been raised over the credibility of the 28-year-old’s background, despite him speaking mainly French with a smattering of Arabic from a language course.

The lieutenant registered in Giessen, Hesse, on 30 December 2015 – as Germany was overwhelmed by the arrival of almost a million asylum seekers – then submitted an asylum application at Zirndorf in Bavaria in January last year.

Despite having to return to Germany to collect monthly welfare payments, Franco A continued his army post in France until the day of his arrest because his friend covered for him, prosecutors said.

“Maximilian T is strongly suspected of planning a serious act of violence against the state out of a right-wing extremist conviction,” a spokesperson added.

“The resulting absences were at least partly covered up by Maximilian T, who had excused Franco A to his superiors.”

Officials said he obtained a Second World War era Unique Model 17 pistol for the attack, which he hid in a disabled toilet in Vienna International Airport while passing through in January.

Franco A’s double life was only discovered when he was arrested after returning to retrieve the gun in February.

A fingerprint check revealed his fake identity as a Syrian refugee, but when “David Benjamin” failed to answer a court summons in Austria, a wider investigation was triggered and the plot unravelled.

The soldier had not raised alarm over extremism in the army, despite writing a master’s thesis on ”political change and subversion strategy“ at a French university in 2014 that was found to contain far-right thinking.

An assault rifle case carved with a swastika was found in his barracks room, where the letters HH [Heil Hitler] were inscribed on the wall and a Nazi-era pamphlet depicting a Wehrmacht soldier was discovered.

The unprecedented plot has shocked Germany, prompting investigations within the army and interior ministry over how Franco A was able to lead a double life for more than a year.

The defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, has come under fire for her handling of the case after attacking “weak leadership” following the discovery of 275 suspected right-wing extremists within Germany’s military.

She has since apologised for her blanket criticism, following scandals including sexual abuse and hazing at another military base.

See also here.

This video from 2007 says about itself:

This video showing a German army instructor telling one of his soldiers to envision African-Americans in the Bronx while firing his machine gun was broadcast Saturday.

The video, coming after scandals involving photos of German soldiers posing with skulls in Afghanistan and the abuse of recruits by instructors, seemed likely to raise more questions about training practices in Germany’s conscript army.

In 2007, it was still a conscript army. Now, it is a professional army. Some German militarists want to bring conscription back.

By Peter Schwarz in Germany:

Nazi traditions of Germany’s Armed Forces come to the fore

9 May 2017

Last Thursday, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen apologized to Germany’s generals for reproaching the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) with having an “attitude problem” and a “wrongly understood esprit de corps.” Since then systematic attempts are being made to hide the full extent of the right-wing conspiracy in the military.

After the arrest of 28-year-old First Lieutenant Franco A, who is accused of preparing terrorist attacks while falsely pretending to be a refugee, it soon emerged that his neo-Nazi sympathies had long been known and tolerated by his superiors, and that such views are widespread in the Bundeswehr. Now suspicions are growing that Franco A is part of a larger network reaching into the leadership structures of the Bundeswehr.

In the Fürstenberg Barracks in Donau-Eschingen, a meeting room decorated with memorabilia from the Wehrmacht (Hitler’s army) was discovered. The hurried attempts at a cover-up and an order from General Inspector Volker Wieker, the Bundeswehr’s highest-ranking general, to search all barracks and Bundeswehr buildings for such commemorative Wehrmacht items cannot hide the fact that the preservation of Wehrmacht traditions and the toleration of neo-Nazi views in the Bundeswehr are not individual lapses, but a widespread, systemic phenomenon.

In some barracks, no search is necessary to recognize the continuity of Hitler’s Wehrmacht. A look at the name of the barracks is enough.

Two barracks are named after Hitler’s most famous military commander, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel. Three bear the names of fighter pilots awarded hero status under the Nazis—Hans-Joachim Marseille, Helmut Lent and Hermann von der Lieth-Thomsen—and two bear the names of tank commanders who were prominent in the war of extermination against the Soviet Union—Dirk Lilienthal and Adelbert Schulz. Another one is named after Paul von Hindenburg, a key figure in the First World War, who, as German president, appointed Hitler as Reich chancellor in 1933.

In the Leclerc Barracks in the French town of Illkirch, where Franco A served in an infantry battalion, the traditions of the Wehrmacht and the Nazis were obviously a matter of course. According to Spiegel Online, investigators find “more and more signs of a far-right fellowship in the barracks around Franco A.”

Although German soldiers have been stationed there only since 2010, the wall of the recreation room, the so-called “bunker,” was painted with Wehrmacht soldiers. The base commander admitted he had visited the bunker, but said the large-scale depictions of the Wehrmacht soldiers were not evident to him.

Already in 2012, there was a scandal at the Leclerc barracks when soldiers spread a four-meter-wide swastika on the ground during an international football match. This case was reported to superiors and the Ministry of Defence, in contrast to the neo-Nazi attitudes of Franco A. However, except for minor fines for three soldiers, it did not have any consequences.

Militaristic propaganda by politicians, the media and historians also plays an important role in the promotion of Wehrmacht traditions. Three years ago, leading politicians, including von der Leyen, announced that Germany must once again play a global political and military role appropriate to its economic clout. Bundeswehr soldiers have been sent to Afghanistan, Mali and other countries and are now accustomed to fighting and killing. This inevitably boosts the glorification of the Wehrmacht.

An important ideological step in the rehabilitation of the Wehrmacht was already made in 1999, when, after a fierce public debate, the travelling exhibition “The Crimes of the Wehrmacht—War of Annihilation 1941-44,” which had attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors over four years, was cancelled and its director Hannes Heer dismissed.

At the time, the WSWS commented, “All those who have an interest in preserving the myth of the Wehrmacht, from the nationalist German historians and magazine columnists to the parties in the SPD-Green government coalition and the ‘tradition-conscious’ Bundeswehr generals, to the right-wing extremist skinheads on the streets—all felt encouraged by the dismissal of Heer.” This has now been confirmed.

First Lieutenant Franco A’s Infantry Battalion 291 is directly involved in the international war efforts of the Bundeswehr. “This battalion stationed in France is no ordinary unit, but a kind of pioneer organization for special tasks,” reports the website NachDenkSeiten. “The battalion is present where it is geopolitically precarious, such as in Lithuania or Mali. It is also involved in politically explosive maneuvers like Operation ‘Sabre Strike’ 2015 in Poland, which was commanded not by NATO but by the US Army.”

According to Der Spiegel, Franco A was a member of the staff responsible for planning “international exercises and maneuvers.” His superior, the battalion commander Colonel Marc-Ulrich Cropp, has excellent international and political connections. He participated in training missions in the US several times; from 2008 to 2010 he completed elite training with the US Marine Corps. He then headed the planning department for operations of the Bundeswehr special forces in the German Ministry of Defence.

In the Ministry of Defence, Cropp worked closely with high-ranking politicians, according to NachDenkSeiten. This included the head of the planning staff, Ulrich Schlie, a member of the Atlantik-Brücke, which describes itself as “private, non-profit, nonpartisan association with the goal of building a bridge between Germany and the United States.” Membership is by invitation only. Schlie began his career working with Wolfgang Schäuble and as a foreign policy advisor to Roland Koch (both leading Christian Democratic politicians). Cropp also worked with Schlie’s successor Géza Andreas von Geyr, who also came from Schäuble’s circle and was vice president of the secret service BND from 2010 to 2014.

Franco A also seems to have maintained international contacts. In January 2017, he attended the elite “Officers’ Ball” at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. According to the organizers, the annual social event is “a meeting place not only for officers of the Austrian Armed Forces and Viennese society, but also for European politics and business.” Its sponsors included the major international armaments companies Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, BAE Systems and General Dynamics.

Franco A’s visit to the Officer’s Ball became known because afterwards he hid a gun in a toilet at Vienna airport, which was discovered by maintenance staff. At the beginning of February, Franco A fell into a trap laid by the Austrian police as he sought to pick up the gun from its hiding place.

Franco A’s neo-Nazi views, their cover-up by his superiors, the prominent status and international connections of his battalion, and many unresolved questions indicate that he was a cog in a wider conspiracy. The great effort being undertaken by the law enforcement authorities certainly suggests this. Following his arrest, which took place only three months after he went to recover the gun in Vienna, 90 police officers searched 16 buildings in Germany, Austria and France.

However, the public has been informed only about two accomplices so far. One was found to be in possession of 1,000 rounds of ammunition and other material from Bundeswehr bases. The other is said to have drawn up a list of possible targets of a terror attack, which includes left-wing activists and Bundestag (parliamentary) deputies, former President Gauck, Justice Minister Heiko Maas, and Jewish and Muslim associations.

While the media report extensively about every newly discovered piece of Wehrmacht memorabilia, the background and possible links of this sinister network are veiled in silence.