Curveball, new film on Iraq war lies

This 26 February 2020 German video says about itself (translated):

Curveball – in the Berlinale Talk 2020 with director Johannes Naber & actor Sebastian Blomberg

Knut Elstermann welcomes director Johannes Naber and actor Sebastian Blomberg to the Berlinale Talk.

Johannes Naber observes with a great deal of ingenuity the emergence of an unlikely friendship between two men who are overwhelmed by the absurd drama that they themselves triggered. And he warns us from the start: This is a true story – unfortunately. His outrage is contagious. Even those who already know the facts will be stunned by the surreal events that led to the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

By Stefan Steinberg in Germany:

Curveball—Germany’s role in the Iraq war

Curveball by German director Johannes Naber valuably turns a knife in a wound that many in the American and German intelligence communities and governments no doubt hoped had long since healed—the way in which the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 was based on entirely fraudulent and lying justifications.

Naber has made a number of notable films, including the immigrant drama The Albanian (2009), Age of Cannibals (2013) and Heart of Stone(2019).

At the premiere of Curveball in Berlin, a festival representative introduced the film, but said he could not read out its title. The film festival lists it merely as “Untitled”. The film’s name is currently the subject of a US lawsuit. After seeing Curveball, one can see why both the American and German intelligence agencies are exerting considerable influence to prevent its distribution.

Naber’s film is a political satire rooted firmly in factual evidence carefully researched by the director and his team. It begins in Iraq where German biologist Dr. Arndt “Desert Fox” Wolf (Sebastian Blomberg), a biological warfare specialist employed by the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), fails to find any evidence of Saddam Hussein’s alleged weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

The head of the BND, Schatz (Thorsten Merten), is eager to outdo the CIA and be the first to prove that Iraq possesses dangerous nerve gas. An opportunity opens up when an Iraqi seeking asylum in Germany, Rafid Alwan (Dar Salim), claims he worked as a chemical engineer in Iraq and has inside knowledge of the country’s chemical weapons programme.

Wolf is given the job of interrogating “Curveball”, the alias given to the Iraqi engineer. In exchange for revealing what he knows (in fact, a pack of lies), Alwan requests he be released from incarceration in a German asylum centre and given citizenship.

After a series of interrogations, Alwan takes a hint from Wolf himself and reveals that the reason for the failure of all the intelligence services to find Iraqi WMD is the “ingenious” use by the Hussein regime of trucks and trains to move the huge chemical vats containing dangerous gases. Absurdly, the two men agree on a crude childish diagram drawn on a napkin purporting to show a truck mounted with the massive vats. Finally, the BND leadership have a scoop to present to their American “cousins”—and it’s champagne all round for those concerned. The German chancellor at the time, Gerhard Schröder, also sends his congratulations to the BND.

Desperately seeking evidence to justify a US intervention in Iraq, the CIA is only too willing to accept the scraps from the BNDs’s table. It organises the kidnapping of “Curveball” in Germany in order to present him as its own source. Feeling some obligation to the Iraqi fraudster, BND asset Wolf attempts to rescue him in a hilarious escape scene.

Wolf confronts the CIA agent responsible for the kidnap plan and argues in favour of reliable evidence. The CIA agent is unrepentant: “The truth doesn’t count, only justice matters.” Wolf goes on to ask what gives the CIA the right to distort the facts. “We make the facts”, the female agent responds.

Towards the end of Curveball, documentary footage is shown of US Secretary of State Colin Powell’s infamous presentation to the UN Security Council in February 2003 in which he regurgitated Curveball’s lies to justify America’s subsequent attack on Iraq. In his report, Powell stated that Iraq’s weapons programme included “biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails,” an “extensive clandestine network” to supply “its deadly biological and chemical weapons programmes” and the obtaining of “sufficient fissile material to produce a nuclear explosion.” All of this, according to the secretary of state, represented “facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.”

Powell’s presentation included a sketch of a truck loaded with chemical vats based on Curveball’s original napkin drawing. According to one senior US official, Curveball’s lies were “the main pillar” of Powell’s report to the UN. Sitting in the UN meeting is the German Green Party leader, Joschka Fischer, who listens quietly to Powell’s report. BND biologist (in the meantime made redundant) Wolf watches Fischer at home on television and asks, “Why doesn’t he say something?”

Fischer was German foreign minister in the government headed by Schröder (Social Democratic Party, SPD). Schröder’s head of chancellery with responsibility for liaison with Germany’s intelligence services was Frank-Walter Steinmeier (also SPD), currently the country’s president.

Naber’s Curveball graphically demonstrates the duplicity and criminality of Germany’s role in the Iraq war. As chancellor, Schröder publicly declared the German government opposed a new war in the Middle East. Meanwhile, Germany’s intelligence agency was providing the lies that Washington used to legitimise its assault on Iraq in the name of the “war on terror.”

Naber wants to counter what the director declares to be “a false portrayal here, an idealised idea of how we Germans operate in the world.” It is important, he argues, to tell the truth and question the role of the secret services and politicians responsible at that time, such as Fischer, Schröder and Steinmeier: “So that children at school can no longer be taught that we were the good ones when it came to the Iraq war.”

To heighten the comedic effect of his film, Naber presents the leading BND figures as provincial careerists in thrall to their American counterparts. In so doing, however, the director runs the risk of seriously underestimating the methods and character of the German ruling elite, which has been trying to achieve greater independence from the US since the reunification of Germany in 1989-1990 and is once again flexing its ruthless imperialist muscles.

In that process, the ruling class draws upon the traditions of Nazism. The BND itself emerged from the Gehlen Organisation (1946-1956), named for Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s chief intelligence officer on the Eastern Front in World War II. After the war, he was recruited by the CIA and headed German intelligence from 1956 to 1968 in close cooperation with the US intelligence agency.

The US bombardment and invasion of Iraq war began a month after Powell’s testimony. Naber’s film ends with statistics detailing the massive loss of Iraqi lives in the subsequent carnage, a mass murder for which Germany also bears direct responsibility.

The end credits also note that “The head of the state chancellery at that time is the current federal president”—i.e., the Social Democrat Steinmeier. This credit was greeted with loud applause from the Berlin audience who clearly approved of this unmasking of Germany’s leading sanctimonious war-monger.

Naber’s film is due to open in German cinemas in September of this year as “Film ohne Titel” (Film Without a Title).

German elite soldiers are neonazis

This 18 February 2020 German NDR TV video says about itself, translated:

Instead of clarifying at last whether the Hitler salute was shown at a farewell party for a lieutenant colonel, the Bundeswehr [German army] preferred to slander the only [female] witness.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV, 5 March 2020:

German commando unit hotbed of extreme right-wing ideas

Nine soldiers from the German Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK) are punished for expressing Nazi sympathies. Another ten colleagues are suspected of similar facts. …

For a long time there were suspicions against various members of the KSK. The Kommando Spezialkräfte are among the best trained elite troops in the world. They often operate under the radar in war zones such as Afghanistan. Due to the secret and closed nature of the unit, little is known about the behavior of the soldiers.

Nazi rock

That changed last year due to various reports about right-wing extremist sympathies within the unit. Eg, members are said to have listened to neo-Nazi rock music at parties and brought the Hitler salute, which is punishable in Germany.

The military intelligence service MAD investigated at least twenty KSK members. Only in one case did the suspicion prove unfounded. Nine members are punished, investigations are still being conducted against the others. The sanctions range from disciplinary measures to dismissal and possibly prosecution.

The fact that so many extreme right-wing people are in the elite corps of the German armed forces (the KSK has about a thousand members) seems to have surprised the army leadership and politicians. …

Germany has been struggling with a new increase in right-wing extremist violence for a number of years. In the past nine months, there has been a … attack on a synagogue in Halle, the murder of politician Walter Lübcke and the killing in Hanau of nine people with an immigrant background.

German media also regularly report on extreme right-wing sympathies among the armed forces and the police. There is said be a group culture in which racist or fascist expressions are looked the other way by colleagues, and in which others are not reported.

German politics are accused of having closed their eyes to scathing racism and anti-Semitism in German society for too long. There was an intense hope that such sympathies would never again arise after the horrors of the Second World War. In reality, those feelings have never completely disappeared.

That became clear in 2011, for example, through the revealing of the Nationalsozialistische Untergund (NSU): a neo-Nazi terror organization that appeared to have committed various racist murders. …

Just yesterday, police raided homes of twelve members of the Aryan Circle Germany, an extreme right-wing network, on suspicion of preparing violence against foreigners.

German neonazi xenophobic murder plot

This July 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Aryan Brotherhood‘ ties found in Texas crime ring bust

Several accused of being part of a white supremacy group will go before a Hays County judge Thursday. 18 people were indicted on a range of charges in a Central Texas crime ring bust.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

The police in Germany have raided people who are suspected of right-wing extremism in twelve towns. They are said to have had plans to carry out attacks on foreigners.

The raids were in the states of Schleswig-Holstein, Hessen and Lower Saxony. The suspects are between 19 and 57 years old. During the searches, weapons, drugs and hard disks were seized.

According to the German media, one of the suspects is Bernd T. He is known as violent and has founded an extreme right-wing group in the Kassel area in the past.

That group was banned in 2015 and T. then moved to Bad Segeberg in Schleswig-Holstein. There he founded a new extreme right-wing organization, Aryan Circle Germany, last year.

Posing with symbols

The other suspects are also said to be members of Aryan Circle Germany. There are pictures on which they pose with symbols of the group. The police are still investigating what role they play within the organization. …

Last month a right-wing extremist attacked two sisha bars in the city of Hanau. Nine people were killed in that attack.

It was the third attack in Germany in a short time with a right-wing radical background. CDU politician Walter Lübcke was shot by a right-wing extremistlast June. In October a heavily armed man with explosives tried to invade a synagogue in Halle.

U.S. Right-Wing Extremists Killed 330 People In Last Decade” [HuffPost]

USA: Five members of neo-Nazi Atomwaffen Division arrested for targeting US journalists: here.

Germany after the Hanau nazi massacre

A carnival float, depicting far-right AfD politician Bjoern Hoecke, whose arm is raised by CDU and FDP politicians at the Thuringia elections, during the traditional carnival parade in Duesseldorf, Germany, on Monday, February 24 2020

This photo shows a carnival float, depicting far-right AfD politician Bjoern Hoecke, whose arm is raised to a nazi salute by CDU and FDP politicians at the Thuringia elections, during the traditional carnival parade in Duesseldorf, Germany, on Monday, February 24 2020.

By Kevin Ovenden in Britain:

Friday, February 28, 2020

Merkel reaps the whirlwind

KEVIN OVENDEN looks at the false narratives being offered by right-wing German politicians in the wake of the murderous attacks on Hanau’s shisha bars

LARGE protests have swept Germany in the wake of the far-right terror attack at two shisha bars in Hanau on Wednesday of last week.

The mobilisations and calls for further action from anti-fascist and anti-racist organisations offer much more than a collective show of grief and solidarity with the nine dead, plus the mother of the killer. He murdered her before taking his own life and leaving a manifesto-style, racist “confession”.

The movement is pointing to the deep roots of what is the latest instance of far-right terror, and not only in Germany. It is also providing the basis for a practical response, not what are so often empty words from state officials and governments.

German chancellor Angela Merkel gave a prime example of that when she said of the Hanau atrocity: “Hate is a poison… that is responsible for far too many crimes.”

Just hate? Is this simply a product of an irrational state of mind or is there something else to why a racist would target brown-skinned people in self-evidently Middle Eastern venues?

The unfathomable act of a “lone wolf” was the line of one spokesperson for the far-right AfD, which has a large fascist wing. Jorg Meuthen said: “This is neither right-wing nor left-wing terror. It’s the crazy act of a deranged man.”

His party “Kamerad” [as nazis used to refer to one another] Rainer Rahn, who headed the AfD list in Frankfurt in 2018, claimed the party was being smeared for responsibility for the atrocity, before giving this mitigation and rationalisation for the mass murder: “Shisha bars are places that displease many people, including me. If someone is constantly disturbed by such a facility, it could somehow contribute to such an act.”

It is not only the fascists of the AfD who have demonised the German equivalents of those Arab-run pavement cafes on London’s Edgware Road. Centre-left politicians called for police raids on bars in Berlin in the false name of tackling “criminality.” No criminal activity was discovered.

There seems no accident in the choice of terror target. But the official response of bemusement and talk of de-contextualised “hate crime” (a term whose inflation is destroying all rational thought) serves to avoid investigating what is causing this.

So does detaching it from a series of neo-nazi terror attacks. In the last few months in Germany, we have had the neo-nazi murder of a liberal-minded politician of Merkel’s own party in Kassel and the attempted massacre at a synagogue in Halle.

Barely a month has gone by without fresh revelations of neo-nazi, white-survivalist terror cells being uncovered. They have disproportionately included members of special units of the German armed forces and police.

The arrests have in several cases exposed a culture of tolerance for overt extreme-right allegiance by others in those institutions but not themselves members of the terror groups, with their plans to attack mosques and left-wing targets, and stockpiling of arms caches.

Two weeks ago 12 members of a neo-nazi network were finally arrested. They included a serving police officer.

According to Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, far-right extremists committed 10,105 violent crimes in the last decade, as well as 83 murders since 1990.

It says it is aware of about 24,000 “far-right extremists”. Over half of them have expressed support for terroristic violence to achieve their aims.

Lest you think that the German equivalent of Britain’s MI5 is atop the situation, its former chief, Hans-Georg Maassen, was forced to resign in 2018. It came after pressure from the left over him expressing sympathy for the AfD and turning a blind eye to what was nothing short of an attempted pogrom by neo-nazis in the east German city of Chemnitz in August that year.

In a copycat attack on immigrants two weeks later, video emerged of neo-nazis raising the slogan “National-Socialism now!” Maassen said his agency had seen nothing other than concerned citizens taking to the streets. He then provided a confidential intelligence briefing to AfD MPs.

Defending Maassen to the last was German interior minister Horst Seehofer, who proclaims: “There is no place for Islam in Germany.”

There is an awful lot more going on than “lone wolves” in Hanau, Halle, Pittsburgh, Charleston, Christchurch, Finsbury Park, the murderer of Labour MP Jo Cox in Yorkshire.

Understanding the complete picture with all its gradations is important if the left and labour movement are to win a practical and effective response to this terror threat.

Closely associated with the “lone wolf” theory is the idea that this is a simple and direct result of reactionary ideas swirling around in society and promulgated by mainstream politicians.

There is an element of truth in that.

Mainstream racism and reaction embolden those who look to violent methods – even terrorism. If a local mayor orders police raids on Middle Eastern cafes, then why not take a more “activist” approach yourself? So combating racism at all levels is vital.

But more is happening than that. It is not just the intersection of bigoted ideas with those so dehumanised that they will act upon them in the most violent way.

That, actually, is the defence put up by major far-right/fascist organisations such as the AfD. Tory racist propaganda against asylum seekers in the early 1990s did encourage a popular racism in which attacks took place.

But the striking 300 per cent increase in racist attacks in south-east London at that time did not take place by a process of osmosis from some reactionary announcement by the Tory home secretary.

It fitted wholly with the opening of the fascist British National Party’s headquarters and its intensified activity in that area. Similarly when it made an electoral breakthrough in east London.

There was a mechanism between the spread of reactionary ideas in general and murderous, organised far-right or racist attacks. It is a fascist mechanism.

One baleful consequence of the political earthquakes that have shaken the Establishment on both sides of the Atlantic in the last four years has been to lose sight of that mechanism. All sorts of commentators have talked instead of a kind of amorphous “populism”.

For pro-capitalist politicians of the centre, and their theoreticians, populism is a danger from both right and left, against a liberal, rational centre. We are led back to the once leader of that centre, Merkel, talking piously of “hatred” in response to a far-right terrorist attack that murdered 10 people.

A left variant has been mistakenly to take at face value efforts by fascist forces to gain electoral credibility – from Le Pen’s RN in France to the AfD – as some novel “post-fascist” phenomenon.

The argument is that there is a kind convergence between fascist thugs of the 1980s looking to parliamentary methods and centre-right politicians dabbling in breaking taboos on racism and extra-parliamentary mobilisation.

It is a wholly one-sided assessment, with dangerous political consequences. The AfD’s rise has not been a process of domestication into “normal parliamentary methods”. It has both sought to carve out a national conservative space and radicalised through seeking to normalise fascist positions, and in some cases actions.

That is not without its tensions and contradictions. But we have just had, in the name of domesticating the AfD,
the conservatives and liberals in the eastern state of Thuringia cut a deal with the most fascist wing of the party to oust the left from government.

Massive reaction across Germany broke the alliance, and is probably responsible for the “liberal” FDP being punished at the polls in Hamburg last Sunday for its disgusting role in the scandal.

But the preparedness of the right of the mainstream right to make the AfD’s votes “useful” by including it in governing arrangements continues. It is contributing to a deepening crisis for the German government.

SPD politician Michael Roth rightly describes the AfD as a “political arm of right-wing terrorism.”

For the AfD is incubating such terrorism not only through its virulent racism and anti-leftism. At its base and on its fringes is a swirling cesspit that includes those in the neo-nazi subculture.

They can move back and forth, find space to discuss “tactics” (how much constitutional, how much terroristic).

The mainstream right does not want terror attacks on shisha bars. But it entertains political pacts with the AfD. And the AfD breeds those who do want terror attacks on shisha bars.

The internet enormously increases the velocity of communication and capacity for fascists or those looking to more “radical” solutions. What French anti-racists call the “fascho-sphere” allowed, for example, the Christchurch terrorist in New Zealand to forge connections globally.

That is a distinct feature – up to a point. The murderer of Jo Cox MP brewed his own murderous worldview out of fascist texts bought by mail order from the US in the 1980s.

This cannot be put down to deranged men in a grotty basement becoming “radicalised” online. There are material, social and political processes at work.

Three weeks today the left and anti-racists will take to the streets in Germany to confront those mechanisms. Stand Up to Racism and others will march in Britain on the same international day of action.

We don’t have the state resources, directed to democratic and progressive ends, directly to stop the next fascist terrorist.

But we can make a difference by intelligently focusing upon opposing racism in general, crushing the fascist mechanisms and pressuring the authorities to stop treating this as a series of “lone wolves” motivated by some vague “hate.”

German nazi terrorists planned massacre of Muslims

This 6 July 2019 video says about itself:

Right-wing terrorism in Germany explained: How big is the threat? | DW News

On June 2, 2019, German politician Walter Lübcke was shot in the head at point-blank range for his … stance on refugees. The murder suspect is a right-wing extremist. Other German politicians have also been attacked or threatened, sparking a national debate on right-wing and far-right extremism in Germany. But how big is the threat? What does far-right terrorism actually mean and what needs to be done to deal with it? Gideon Botsch is an expert on right-wing extremism. Here’s what he had to say about the problem and its possible solutions.

By Gregor Link in Germany:

Germany: Nazi terrorist group planned mass murder of Muslims

27 February 2020

Over a week ago, German police arrested 12 right-wing extremists who were actively preparing mass murder against refugees, Muslims and political opponents. The arrests took place just before the murder of nine people in Hanau by a fascist gunmen, and the mowing down on Monday of bystanders at the Volkmarsen carnival.

According to Der Spiegel, the group had amassed large quantities of arms and ammunition to launch a coordinated series of “Kommando” raids on mosques across Germany and kill the people at prayer. Their aim was to provoke a backlash and a “civil war” throughout Germany. According to the investigating federal prosecutor, they sought to use these methods of “shock and awe” to cause havoc to the state and social order of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The suspected terrorists’ plans show striking parallels with those of the Saxon neo-Nazi group “Revolution Chemnitz”, the October 9, 2019, attack on a synagogue in Halle, and last year’s mass murder in Christchurch, New Zealand. In searches of houses, investigators discovered home-made hand grenades, large quantities of other weapons, including a functional large-calibre weapon built by a member from Saxony-Anhalt. The Halle assassin, Stefan Balliet, had built a similar “slam gun” and used it to murder two people.

The arrests once again highlight the existence of extensive terror networks, actively preparing a fascist coup in Germany and discussing the murder of thousands of political opponents.

In recent months, a number of neo-Nazi groups have been uncovered in the secret service, the police and the Bundeswehr (army). An administrative officer of the North Rhine-Westphalian police—since suspended—is among those who have now been arrested.

A girl takes a picture near candles at a vigil for the victims of a far-right mass shooting in Hanau, Germany Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

According to Bild-Zeitung, a V-man (Verfassungsschutz or secret service agent) was part of the alleged terror cell, but was the only one not arrested. Although investigators described the V-man as among the closest confidantes of the conspirators, they nonetheless stated that suspicion of his involvement had “not been substantiated”. German broadcasters SWR and ARD reported that the V-man had given extensive information to the police in early October. However, during the final week before the arrests, he had broken off contact with the investigators, who then made the arrests.

Members of the alleged terrorist cell operated in a violent neo-Nazi milieu of fascistic groups, “Freikorps” and vigilantes. They pursued relations with right-wing extremists throughout Germany and other European countries, as well as with the far-right Alternative fur Deutschland (AfD). They discussed their plans for assault in chat groups with names like “The Hard Core” and during a minimum of two face-to-face meetings. According to media reports, the men agreed to raise €50,000 to procure additional weapons and to participate in future attacks.

A week ago, more than 10 people who were under police observation attended a meeting in Minden, Westphalia, where, according to Der Spiegel, Werner S., the alleged leader of the group, presented the assault plans.

For five months, the members of “Group S.”, from all over Germany, have been the target of Baden-Württemberg police surveillance. The defence lawyer of one of the detainees stated that the police “sometimes monitored every move by the suspect”. Werner S. was also named a “threat” months ago.

Investigators considered Werner S., alias “Teutonico”, the undisputed head of the group. Der Spiegel reported that Werner S. looked for men who were “intelligent, tough, brutal, and quick” in order to build an underground army “along the lines of the radical right-wing Freikorps of the Weimar Republic.” (The Freikorps were paramilitary organisations formed after Germany’s defeat in World War I and formed the basis of Hitler’s Nazi forces).

A “Volunteer Association for the Mobilisation of Forces” would be built through a process of “military training”. “Treachery” will be “severely punished!” said one of the chats. Anyone who believes in doing “more than just taking part in demonstrations and the like” should contact Werner S. In his apartment near Augsburg, investigators found a functioning nine-millimetre pistol and ammunition.

Werner S.’s Facebook friends include an AfD official from Börde in Saxony-Anhalt. Two right-wing extremists arrested as “supporters” of the group, Steffen B. and Stefan K., are also from Saxony-Anhalt. They are among the regional leaders of an extreme right-wing militia called “Vikings Security Germania”, a spin-off from the Finnish “Soldiers of Odin”, which first appeared during the 2015 “refugee crisis”.

Another member of “Group S.”, Markus K., reportedly participated in a 2009 neo-Nazi march in Dortmund, during which hundreds of right-wing extremists attacked a demonstration organised by the German Trade Union Confederation. Stephan Ernst and Markus H., the suspected murderers of CDU politician Walter Lübcke on June 2, 2019, took part in this attack.

Thomas N. from Minden apparently hosted the group’s last meeting before the arrests. According to Der Spiegel, investigators found “a crossbow as well as axes, morning star medieval weapons, and numerous knives.” Thomas N. is close to the ultra-right “Reich Citizens’ Movement”. Referring to anti-fascist youth, he posted on Facebook that “It is time to get rid of this Dirt.”

According to the newspaper taz, Lower Saxony’s neo-Nazi Tony E. was “one of the driving forces in the group.” He is in close contact with well-known neo-Nazis from Hamburg, Harburg and Lüneburg; these people visited him after the police raid and were said to have threatened residents and journalists.

Tony E. follows former Verfassungsschutz Director Hans-Georg Maassen on Facebook and identifies himself as a supporter of paramilitary organisations such as the “German Defence League”, “Brigade 8” and the Hannibal association “Uniter”. According to taz, Tony E. is also a member of the “Freikorps Heimatschutz”, which advocates that members “prepare for the day when war will come and when it will be a question of defending our families and the fatherland.”

The group’s links with the security agencies and with “Uniter” are significant. This paramilitary association, which is registered as a “non-profit”, links former elite soldiers, reservists, security forces and arms dealers with one another; it trains the forces of far-right Philippine ruler Rodrigo Duterte.

The group Uniter was founded in 2016 by an employee of the Baden-Württemberg Verfassungsschutz (secret police). It is the organisational backbone of an armed network comprising elite police officers, commando soldiers, intelligence officers, judges and lawyers, in whose ranks have been forged the concrete plans for an armed coup on a “Day X”, along with the mass murder of political opponents.

This “shadow army” is orchestrated by André S., alias Hannibal, a former instructor of the Bundeswehr elite unit Command Special Forces (KSK). Hannibal was also a member of the founding board of Uniter and, according to taz, was the contact person for the German Military Intelligence Service (Militärischer Abschirmdienst—MAD), with whom he maintained friendly relations. In 2018, he threatened to bring in the MAD against the newspaper taz in order to stop its questioning. The MAD contact person warned Hannibal of upcoming raids by the federal prosecutor’s office, so that he could hide a laptop with sensitive information.

In December 2019, ARD news magazine Monitor published a 2018 drone video that documents the military operational training and combat exercises of the group. The video shows armed private individuals in combat gear who are practicing house-to-house fighting under the guidance of “Hannibal”. Because he illegally stashed cartridges along with fog and signal grenades, Hannibal recently had to appear in court for a violation of the weapons and explosives law; he was fined just €1,800.

Werner S. is a close ally of the right-wing-extremist Bundeswehr soldier Franco A. and has met him personally several times. Franco A. is under suspicion for planning to carry out political assassinations while falsely posing as a refugee. Though Franco A. will be charged with “preparing a serious crime that is dangerous to the state”, both he and Werner S. are currently not being held in custody.

Despite overwhelming evidence, including detailed reports from Focus, taz and SWR, at the end of January, MAD President Christof Gramm publicly denied the existence of a “shadow army” in the German state. Nevertheless, his own organisation is officially investigating 20 “suspected cases” of right-wing extremism in the secret Bundeswehr unit KSK.

It is possible that the arrest of the 12 members of “Group S.” was carried out to limit the damage and cover up the truth of these accusations. However, the fact that the group appeared to be ready to act after just two face-to-face meetings raises the question of whether it received support from the authorities.

What is certain is that the group’s extensive plans for terror, and its far-reaching preparations for dozens, perhaps hundreds, of murders, took place under the noses of the security apparatus, which is riddled with right-wing extremists. That the danger of fascist violence in Germany is greater than at any time since the end of the Nazi dictatorship is a result of the shift to the right of the entire political establishment, the propaganda of the AfD, and the systematic trivialisation, promotion and adoption of radical right-wing positions by the federal Grand Coalition.

Ex-president Hindenburg no longer Berlin honorary citizen

Paul von Hindenburg and Adolf Hitler in 1933, AFP photo

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Seventy years after the end of the Second World War, the German former president Paul von Hindenburg lost his honorary citizenship of Berlin. Hindenburg became president in the Weimar Republic in 1925 (he was then 77) and would remain so until his death in 1934.

He is no longer an honorary citizen of the capital, because in January 1933 he was politically responsible for the appointment of Adolf Hitler as Chancellor. …

Hindenburg, who was of Prussian nobility and a hero of various wars, hoped, like other German conservatives, that Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor offered the possibility of using the Nazi leader for their own purposes. Hitler’s anti-Semitic and racist ideas and his expansive foreign plans were already well known when he became Chancellor.

Get rid of

But after his appointment, Hitler managed to gain all power. He put the parliament out of action and became president after the death of Hindenburg. He had political opponents, also within his own party, removed with violence.

Both Hindenburg and Hitler were named honorary citizens of Berlin on April 20, 1933 – Hitler’s birthday, but Hitler was denied that status in 1948.

The left-wing coalition that now controls Berlin removes Hindenburg from the list not only because of Hitler’s appointment, but also because he agreed to restrict various freedoms. He also encouraged Hitler’s takeover of power by giving him more and more special powers.