The German parliament’s investigative committee published its concluding report on the neo-Nazi terror organisation National Socialist Underground (NSU) on Wednesday. It was signed by representatives of all parliamentary fractions and was aimed at drawing a line under the NSU affair, while covering up the gang’s close links to the intelligence services.
In the autumn of 2011, it was revealed that the NSU was responsible for at least ten murders between 2000 and 2007. Since then, an increasing number of links between the ultra right terrorist organisation and the German intelligence services have come to light, including direct links to the three main suspects, Uwe Mundlos, Uwe Böhnhardt and Beate Zschäpe.
The investigative committee was established by all parliamentary fractions on January 26, 2012. From the beginning, its aim was not to investigate the illegal intrigues of the secret services but to cover them up. During the period in which the NSU carried out their attacks all of the participating parties, from the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) to the Left Party, were involved in state and federal governments and were responsible for the oversight of the relevant intelligence services.
As a result they were all united in presenting the systematic collaboration between the right-wing extremists and the secret services as a “breakdown” or “mistake.” “It is our task to uncover the lapses and oversights of the security forces and then make suggestions as to what we can do better,” the Social Democratic Party (SPD) representative Eva Högl told Deutschlandfunk.
In fact, the committee has utilised the NSU affair to repeatedly advise the intelligence services to work more “effectively.” In September 2012, the right-wing extremism database came online featuring details of prominent individuals active in the far right scene. All of the intelligence services and police authorities have access to this databank. The post war separation between the intelligence services and the police has thereby been weakened even further.
Under these conditions the more than 70 committee hearings, during which over 100 witnesses were questioned, were largely a farce. Those on the committee invariably declared themselves to be satisfied with every lie, evasion and cover-up from the agents of the security services.
Permission was refused for the committee to access files, or the files were simply not turned over. Important witnesses stated they were unwell or were given no authority by their superiors to make statements. The systematic destruction of evidence by the domestic intelligence service (BFW) was never examined, let alone pursued in the courts. Sebastian Edathy (SPD), the committee’s chairman, described the shredding of the relevant files only three days after the uncovering of the NSU simply as “downright stupidity,” and “irresponsible idiocy.”
Despite the attempt by the investigative committee to trivialise and cover up what took place, a number of facts came to light indicating the close collaboration between the domestic intelligence services and the NSU.
The intelligence service for the state of Thüringen (LFV) was already deeply involved in intrigues with the far right scene when the NSU emerged in the 1990s out of a group called Thüringen Homeland Protection (THS). The THS had itself been built up by an intelligence operative, Tino Brandt, who financed it with large contributions from the LFV.
The NSU’s network of supporters, which according to current estimates included 129 people, contained at least two dozen on the payroll of the police or intelligence services as undercover investigators or intelligence agents. Among them was LFV agent Juliana W who even had the keys to the secret home of the NSU trio for a time.
In addition, there are indications that the police had been informed of the existence of the NSU at least since 2007. In some of the investigations into the series of terrorist attacks, such as the explosion of a nail bomb in Cologne in 2004, witness statements that suggested the involvement of state forces or pointed to the existence of the NSU were deliberately suppressed.
The extreme frequency of such cases and the repeated destruction of important evidence leads to only one conclusion: the ultra right-wing gang and German intelligence agencies worked together closely from the outset. This would be fully in keeping with the nature of these reactionary organisations. Built up by former Nazis, the intelligence agencies after the war were directed from the start against left-wing forces and representatives of the working class.
It is a clear warning to workers in Germany and across Europe that all political parties have come together to cover up the criminal operations of the intelligence agencies. They are preparing for further massive attacks on social gains after the federal election and plan to brutally suppress any opposition. The NSA affair has already shown that Germany’s foreign intelligence service (BND) and the BFW are carrying out mass surveillance of the population, and that the framework of a police state already exists.
The Left Party is playing a particularly repugnant role in this respect. Having emerged out of the Stalinist state party in the former East Germany it has a long tradition of suppressing the working class. Their representative on the investigative committee, Petra Pau, described the cooperation of all of the parliamentary fractions as “exemplary.”
“This committee has been able to put the wrangling over short-term political advantage and one’s own profile to one side and concern itself with the real work,” said Pau. “Whenever there were conflicts, which of course there were, then they were resolved out of the public eye with a great willingness to compromise on all sides.”
Pau also supports the fairy tale of the supposed “failures” of the intelligence services. According to Pau, there were only differences over how the intelligence agencies should be restructured. Each party published their own report on this issue.
Finally, Pau spoke out against the continuation of the committee’s investigations. Although she acknowledged that many questions remain unanswered and some files had only been made accessible at the last minute, Pau saw no need to continue the investigation. The Left Party obviously intends to use the concluding report to bury the NSU affair.
The defence of the intelligence services by the Left Party is nothing new. When Edward Snowden exposed the close collaboration between the German intelligence agencies and the American NSA to conduct surveillance of the whole population, the Left Party’s representative on the parliamentary committees tasked with overseeing the intelligence agencies rushed to their defence.