On August 2, 2018, the Frankfurt-based lawyer, Seda Basay-Yildiz, received a letter evidently from far-right radicals. Using the vile language of the Nazis, the letter denounced Basay-Yildiz as a “lousy Turkish pig” and even threatened to “slaughter” her two-year-old daughter. The lawyer’s private address, which had never been published, was also included in the anonymous fax, which was signed “NSU 2.0.”
Ms. Basay is a prominent lawyer in Germany. She represented the Simsek family in the trial of the NSU fascist terror gang which murdered 10 people, most of whom were migrant workers. Basay is also the lawyer for Sami A, who has been declared a “threat” to the German state. When the state administration in North Rhine Westphalia illegally deported Sami A to Tunisia, Ms. Basay filed an appeal against the deportation, resulting in a fine of €10,000 for the responsible authority.
The anonymous hate letter, dated 2 August 2018, referred to this latter case. “In retaliation for the 10,000 euro penalty we will slaughter your daughter,” it read. One day later, on 3 August, Basay lodged a complaint with the police. However, it was only at the start of December, four months later, that Ms Basay learned more—and then via the press, not from the police.
The complaint made by the lawyer was apparently a crucial clue in exposing a far-right network within the Frankfurt police. Attempts to ascertain how Ms Basay’s home address became public led directly to the service computer of the First Police Station in Frankfurt. According to official records, a policewoman had requested this information, without giving any reason, shortly before the threatening letter was sent.
Following a search of the mobile phone and other hard drives of the policewoman, it emerged that she had conducted a xenophobic and right-wing exchange with four other police officers over a considerable period. Through WhatsApp, the five officers had exchanged neo-Nazi messages, pictures of Hitler and swastikas, as well as messages denouncing immigrants and disabled people.
These findings were apparently kept secret by the authorities for months. Based on information from the Hessian State criminal office, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) reported on the existence of a right-wing police network in Frankfurt only in early December, although an internal inquiry against the suspects had already commenced.
The lawyer was not informed of any of these developments and only read about them in the FAZ, which reported her saying: “I would have preferred it if the police had informed me beforehand.” The lawyer, concerned for the safety of her daughter, had repeatedly asked the police for information, without ever receiving a proper answer.
Officially, it is now being said that the police and prosecutors are extremely cautious, fearing that the case may assume “even larger dimensions”, i.e., far more suspects than the five policemen could be involved.
Leading politicians are now making every effort to play down the case. CDU member of parliament Armin Schuster stated: “We must be very careful to ensure that there is no social unrest!” Schuster is chairman of the interior committee in the German Bundestag and a leading advocate of a pan-European police network.
The comment by a member of the Bundestag for the Greens in Hesse, Omid Nouripour, is also significant. Asked by the Neue Presse in Frankfurt whether he believes “that the police are more predestined for extremism than other social groups,” Nouripour emphasized: “No way.” He then demanded an “early warning system” for the police, claiming that this could prevent similar cases in future.
Using such arguments, politicians are seeking to distract attention from their own role. The Greens share power in the state of Hesse with the CDU, and both parties are responsible for the systematic rearming of the security forces. They have deported refugees more systematically and brutally than many other states, thereby creating conditions in which the far right could thrive.
It is not just a few “rotten apples” in an otherwise “healthy” system. This case again shows that the fascist threat stems not from the working population, but rather from the state apparatus. The far right cell within the Frankfurt police is actually the tip of a massive iceberg.
Right-wing extremist structures exist in all parts of the state apparatus. Recently, the head of the German domestic intelligence service (BfV), Hans-Georg Maaßen, was relieved of his post after denying that neo-Nazis had run riot in the city of Chemnitz.
In its most recent report, the BfV does not mention the Alternative for Germany (AfD), although this party regularly incites against immigrants, stirs up racism and downplays the crimes of the Wehrmacht and the Nazi state. The Socialist Equality Party (SGP), on the other hand, is referred to in the BfV report as “left-wing extremist” on the grounds that it is opposed to “alleged nationalism, imperialism and militarism” and criticizes capitalism.
A neo-Nazi network was also uncovered last year in the Bundeswehr, when the terror plans of Franco A. emerged by accident. The Bundeswehr officer had registered as a Syrian refugee, procured firearms and planned attacks on high-ranking politicians, seeking to blame them on refugees. Nevertheless the Higher Regional Court in Frankfurt Main saw no reason to bring charges against him.
More recently, when the Focus magazine published new details in November about a neo-Nazi terrorist cell in the German Army involving about 200 former and active Bundeswehr soldiers, other media outlets did not react and the matter was quickly hushed up and dropped.
The judiciary in Germany often looks the other way when it comes to the criminal activities of fascists. It accepts the close connection of the prosecution and the police. No satisfactory explanation has ever been offered in the cases of Oury Jalloh and Amad Ahmad, who both burned to death in police custody in separate incidents. In both cases, the prosecution accepted the unconvincing arguments given by police.
Another example is the NSU trial, which ended in July 2018 after five years, and 438 days of hearings. The only defendant to be sentenced was Beate Zschäpe, the only survivor of the NSU murder trio. The trial simply ignored the role played by the dozens of undercover agents and police officers, who actively supported or were active in the milieu surrounding the trio. Prominent supporters of the NSU such as Ralf Wohlleben and André Eminger, who assisted in the murder of nine immigrants and a policewoman, received only brief prison sentences. They are already both at large.
Attorney Seda Basay-Yildiz took part in the NSU trial as a co-prosecuting attorney for the Simsek family. In an informative review of the NSU trial by the radio station Bayern 2 (“What’s left of the NSU trial?”), she notes that she lost many illusions and became “more political” in the course of the trial. She stated: “In the case of every family of the victims, the family itself was always the first to be suspected—all families with an immigrant background. According to the constitution we should all be the same but this is simply not the case.”