German neo-Nazi group arrested after far-right riot in Chemnitz

By Johannes Stern
2 October 2018

State prosecutors in the German states of Saxony and Bavaria ordered the arrest of seven people on Monday on suspicion of forming a right-wing terrorist organisation. Police investigations revealed that the men, aged between 20 and 30, allegedly founded a group named “Revolution Chemnitz” with Christian K, who was arrested in Chemnitz on September 14. Besides attacks on foreigners and political opponents, they were planning to launch an armed action for German Unity Day, October 3, and a far-right uprising.

A spokeswoman for the state prosecutor, Frauke Köhler, declared that the right-wing extremists’ communications confirmed “that they united in order not only to conduct violent assaults and armed attacks on foreigners, but also against political opponents in particular.” Their communications also proved “that the accused were already working intensively to obtain firearms [and] proceeded according to a worked-out plan.”

It is therefore known that “the attack on the Schlossteichinsel [in Chemnitz] on 14 September was a test run for an action planned for October 3.” The prosecutor’s office is reportedly not yet aware of precisely what the right-wing extremists had planned for October 3, but investigations are still ongoing. The accused “were part of the football hooligans scene, the neo-Nazi milieu, and the skinhead milieu in Saxony” and considered themselves “to be leading figures in the far-right milieu in Saxony.”

After a rally of the right-wing extremist Pro Chemnitz movement on September 14, a self-appointed citizens’ militia attacked immigrants and left-wing individuals with glass bottles, weighted-knuckle gloves and an electric shock device, causing a head injury to a 26-year-old Iranian.

Intercepted telephone calls and chat timelines indicate what the group was planning for October 3.

According to Der Spiegel magazine, the right-wing extremists exchanged views in a Telegram group called “planning for a revolution,” where they boasted about a violent “system transformation.” To achieve this goal, “only people ready to commit violence” should be recruited. They also apparently sought to obtain semi-automatic weapons. According to Der Spiegel, the neo-Nazis said in the chat that the October 3 action would represent a “turning point” in German history.

The fact that the terrorist group was planning a major operation is shown, according to the Süddeutsche Zeitung, by their “desire to accomplish more than the National Socialist Underground (NSU), the most dangerous terrorist group in the history of the Federal Republic.” Members of “Revolution Chemnitz” reportedly “spoke to each other not just about spreading fear and terror like the NSU criminals Uwe Mundlos, Uwe Böhnhardt, and Beate Tzschäpe, but transforming society as a whole. They said the NSU was only a bunch of amateurs, bloodstained beginners.”

Representatives of the federal and Saxony state governments hypocritically expressed horror and even tried to portray themselves as leaders of a struggle against the far-right. “Right-wing terrorism poses a real and major threat. Hooligans, neo-Nazis, and skinheads are uniting in dangerous groups to spread fear and hatred with acts of violence,” said SPD (Social Democratic Party) Justice Minister Katarina Barley.

SPD leader in Saxony and Deputy Minister President Martin Dulig said, “The state must act swiftly and decisively in the face of terrorist threats.” The rapid response in Chemnitz showed that the rule of law in Saxony and at the federal level is working, added Dulig.

Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (Christian Social Union, CSU) boasted, “This is the realisation of our zero-tolerance principle towards right-wing radicals and extremists. And that’s why it’s correct that the judiciary and police intervene decisively in this case.”

Who does Seehofer think he is kidding? The CSU leader, more than anyone else, embodies the federal government’s right-wing and anti-refugee policies that have encouraged the far-right and effectively incited them to plan terrorist acts. Following the far-right rampage in Chemnitz a month ago, which saw neo-Nazi thugs witch-hunt foreigners and attack a Jewish restaurant, Seehofer declared that “the issue of immigration” was “the mother of all problems in this country.”

Seehofer gave his full backing to the fascistic mob, stating, “If I were a citizen and not a government minister, I would have been on the streets as well.”

In reality, the latest events yet again expose the close ties between the government, state apparatus, and militant right-wing extremists. German domestic intelligence in particular has deep roots in the neo-Nazi scene and has been implicated in a series of right-wing extremist violent acts. Dozens of secret service and police informants operated in the periphery of the NSU terrorist group, which murdered nine immigrants and a police officer. An employee of the Hesse state intelligence agency was even at the scene when one of the murders took place. The Thuringia Home Guard, from which the NSU emerged, was established with financial support from the secret service.

The emergence of the group “Revolution Chemnitz” raises new questions about the role of the secret service. Following the protests in Chemnitz, Hans-Georg Maassen, who remains president of the domestic intelligence service, denied that any attacks on journalists, immigrants, and left-wing supporters took place. He provocatively described videos documenting the witch-hunts in Chemnitz as “fake news.” The WSWS described Maassen’s statements in an article as “a deliberate political provocation aimed at strengthening the most far-right forces in the government and state apparatus.” The question as to whether Maassen wanted to divert attention away from ties between the secret service and right-wing terrorists in Chemnitz is now directly posed.

Maassen himself has extensive ties to far-right circles. He is a supporter of the Alternative for Germany (AfD), whose neo-fascist wing marched alongside the neo-Nazis in Chemnitz. Maassen repeatedly met with leading AfD politicians to ensure that the far-right party and many of its right-wing extremist supporters were not placed under surveillance. Those seeking to fight the rise of the far-right, on the other hand, were criminalised in the latest secret service report as “left-wing extremists.”

Little is yet known about the members of “Revolution Chemnitz.” However, according to media reports, at least one of its members, a certain Tom W., appeared in court a decade ago as a leading member of the far-right fraternity “Sturm 34.” As the German regional news agency SWR reported in 2009, Matthias Rott, one of the co-founders of “Sturm 34,” was a secret service agent based in Chemnitz.

The close ties between the state apparatus and right-wing extremist forces were also on display during the state visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last weekend. Police officers from a special forces unit from Saxony provocatively used the name Uwe Böhnhardt, one of the NSU members, as an alias during the police deployment organized to provide security to the Erdogan meeting.

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