Germany: Ex-intelligence chief campaigns for Christian Democrats and far-right AfD

By Ulrich Rippert
19 August 2019

On September 1, state elections take place in Saxony and Brandenburg; the election in Thuringia follows at the end of October. The former head of the secret service Hans-Georg Maassen is extremely active politically in all three state election campaigns.

Together with the right-wing conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) association WerteUnion, Maassen is organizing election meetings in which there are often more supporters of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) than CDU voters. He has given a whole series of interviews in which he calls for a right-wing conservative awakening in German politics and includes himself in the discussion as a future interior minister.

News weekly reported on one of his election assemblies in the small town of Radebeul, not far from Dresden in Saxony. “The Dresden AfD federal member of parliament Jens Maier stood next to the podium, the microphone in his hand. On the platform before him sit former secret service chief Hans-Georg Maassen and the Saxony CDU state parliament president Matthias Rösler, surveying the audience. He was very surprised as to who will be presented here as the star guest of the CDU, said Maier. And anyway, ‘with Mr. Maassen, you can see what happens in your party if you tell the truth.’ The audience applauds intensely. Maassen grins.”

The former head of the secret service then repeated his well-known demands more consistent deportations, increased border security, fewer asylum seekers, more powers for the security authorities, etc. Then Maassen received tributes and statements by his fans among the AfD/CDU members present. Many expressed their “high esteem” and “great sympathy.” One thanked him for the “clear words,” another asked could not Maassen replace Merkel as chancellor, reported Der Spiegel.

Jens Maier, who appeared at this event with Maassen, advocates extreme-right-wing, racist and fascist positions. As a judge in the Dresden district court, he had issued an injunction in favour of the neo-Nazi German National Party (NPD). He demands that the “cult of German guilt” be finally ended and warns against mixing the races and the “creation of [people of] mixed races.” He has expressed understanding for the Norwegian right-wing terrorist Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in 2011. Breivik had “become a mass murderer out of desperation.” The reason was the immigration of those from “foreign cultures,” it says in the entry about Jens Maier on Wikipedia.

Last week, Maassen gave a full-page interview to the right-wing extremist rag in which he intoned the well-known chestnut of all right-wing demagogues, because right-wing and far-right extremist positions met with opposition, democracy was under threat. Facts were being ignored, “just because they come from the right.” At meetings of concerned citizens, he continually heard the complaint, “the bounds of what it is allowed to say without being portrayed as an extremist are becoming ever narrower.” That should no longer be tolerated.

Asked how a political change could be implemented, Maassen responded that three important state elections and the review of the federal coalition agreement were imminent, and that Germany faced major “economic and fiscal challenges” and was ill prepared for this. That could very quickly lead to new elections and a change of government. Previously, in an interview with newspaper, he had answered the question of whether he aspired to high government office by referring to it as hypothetical and deliberately left it open.

Maassen’s election and media campaign make clear how correct the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party, SGP) was when it stated that its inclusion as a “left-wing extremist” organisation in the 2017 and 2018 official reports by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, as the secret service is known, was part of a right-wing conspiracy within the state apparatus aimed at building up a right-wing extremist and fascist movement.

Now it becomes clear that Maassen has been pursuing such a political agenda for quite some time. He plays a key role in the far-right networks that are rooted in the intelligence services, the police and the Bundeswehr (armed forces) and which function like a right-wing conspiracy throughout the political system.

Maassen has held right-wing, racist positions throughout his career as a top political official. Nearly 30 years ago, the then Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily (Social Democratic Party, SPD) had brought him into the interior ministry, where he quickly rose to be head of section for aliens law. At that time, he wrote his doctoral dissertation on “The Legal Status of Asylum Seekers in International Law” and in doing so outed himself as a political right-winger. His doctoral thesis warned against “uncontrolled mass immigration” and used right-wing populist concepts such as “asylum tourism.”

In 2002, as head of the section for aliens law, Maassen compiled a case study on Murat Kurnaz, who grew up in Bremen and was illegally imprisoned in the US Guantanamo detention camp. It should be clarified whether the federal government [of Germany] was obliged to bring back Kurnaz or whether it could refuse him entry, he wrote.

Maassen’s document was hard to beat for cynicism. He ruled that Kurnaz’s right of residence in Germany was extinguished because he had been out of the country for more than six months and had not registered with the competent authorities. Despite fierce criticism, Maassen adhered to his then decision. Only later did a court decide that Kurnaz had not voluntarily left the country, was being held in a torture camp, therefore could not report to the authorities and therefore his right of residence was not extinguished.

Seven years ago, in August 2012, Maassen was appointed resident of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution by the then Christian Social Union (CSU) Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich. A short time later, he attacked Edward Snowden as a “betrayer of state secrets” and demanded closer cooperation from the media to strengthen state security. In 2015, through several criminal charges, Maassen triggered the investigation of two bloggers from netzpolik.org, allegedly suspected of treason, thereby launching a massive attack on the freedom of the press.

Above all, Maassen used his position as head of the domestic intelligence service to support the establishment of the AfD. He met top politicians from the right-wing party several times for confidential political talks. He always refuted the accusation that he had advised the AfD leadership how it could escape being monitored by the intelligence services. But the facts are clear.

Maassen had always opposed the surveillance of the AfD, although the extreme right-wing, nationalist and Nazi positions of its leading member Björn Höcke have long been known and shared by other AfD leaders. Höcke’s speech against the “culture of remembrance” of the crimes of the Nazis is still applauded in the AfD. In it, he calls the Berlin Holocaust Memorial a “monument of shame” and accuses the Allies of wanting to “rob [us of] our collective identity” and “destroy us root and branch” with their bombing of German cities.

In spring 2016, Maassen was quoted in saying, “the AfD is not a right-wing extremist party.” According to the article, Maassen spoke “surprisingly clearly” against monitoring the AfD. The conditions for this were not met. He stuck to this position until his removal from office and early retirement.

This defence of the AfD is no coincidence. The party sets the tone in federal politics and serves as an instrument to drive all parties, the media and the entire political milieu to the right. The AfD is the political arm of a far-right conspiracy within the state apparatus that is building a new fascist movement against the resistance of large sections of the population.

The paramilitary arm of the new fascists is formed by a network of Nazi terrorists ranging from the NSU (National Socialist Underground) to groups such as “Combat 18”—with which the suspected murderer of CDU politician Walter Lübcke was connected—to survivalist groups in the police and Bundeswehr and is protected by the secret service and financed by the state through a network of informants and agents.

When the Socialist Equality Party opposed this right-wing conspiracy and made it clear that the creation of the AfD and the return of Nazi terror are directly related to the return of German great power politics and militarism, the right-wing cliques in the secret service decided, under the direction of Maassen, to take action against the SGP. For the first time, the party was listed in the secret service annual report as a “left-wing extremist” organisation and “object for surveillance.”

When the SGP lodged a legal complaint in the Berlin administrative court, the secret service responded with a long diatribe against Marxism and every form of socialist, left and progressive thinking.

Maassen’s present election campaign makes the direct connection between his defence of the AfD, the construction of a new fascist movement and the attack on the Socialist Equality Party unmistakable. Thus it is clear, the fight against the right-wing cabal requires the defence of the SGP against the secret service.

Contribute to the fight for socialism in 2020

2019 has been a year of mass social upheaval. We need you to help the WSWS and ICFI make 2020 the year of international socialist revival. We must expand our work and our influence in the international working class. If you agree, donate today. Thank you.