Terrorist group planned to kidnap German health minister

After a nationwide police raid conducted against members of the Telegram network of the far-right “United Patriots,” four people were arrested on Wednesday. They stand accused by the Koblenz Prosecutor General’s Office of preparing a “serious act of violence endangering the state.” As recounted on Report Mainz from broadcaster ARD, the charges involved plans for mounting attacks using explosives and the kidnapping of Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (Social Democratic Party, SPD), whose bodyguards were to be “eliminated” beforehand.

Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD) during a press conference on January 14 (AP Photo/Michael Sohn).

The group, which has been under investigation since October, allegedly planned to cause a nationwide blackout by sabotaging electricity substations and power lines, creating civil war-like conditions to “take over the government” in the ensuing chaos. In addition to Lauterbach, other kidnappings of “well-known public figures” were also planned. Although the searches took place simultaneously at 21 residential properties in nine federal states, another suspect could not be arrested. A total of 12 men and women are under investigation.

The arrests followed a weapons handover conducted between undercover investigators and members of the group—said to involve pistols, Kalashnikov machine guns and mines worth €12,000. The suspects are believed to belong to the “Reichsbürger, anti-vaxxer and prepper scene” and are said to have planned weapons purchases totalling “several tens of thousands of euros.” Lauterbach—as well as prominent virologists and epidemiologists—has been a declared bogeyman of the extreme right since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to media reports, the security agencies—the Rhineland-Palatinate state office and the federal office in Cologne—also played a role in “uncovering the group.” Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) spoke to the press of a “serious terrorist threat” emanating from preparations for a violent uprising on a “Day X.” The coup plans of “armed Reichsbürger members and radicalised coronavirus deniers,” Faeser said, had reached a “new quality.”

In fact, the case is only the latest in a whole series of raids the security authorities have utilized to take action against fascist groups in recent weeks. The events leave no doubt that right-wing extremist forces are now permanently working on plans for an armed coup and other terrorist actions under the eyes of the authorities. However, the leaders of these groups often remain at large.

On the same day as the major operation against the Telegram network, the Federal Prosecutors Office brought charges against a suspected member of the far-right “Atomwaffen Division,” which has been linked to dozens of murders and maintains contacts with the notorious Azov battalion of the Ukrainian armed forces, among others. The accused, Marvin E., is said to have planned attacks in Germany using explosive devices and firearms but was arrested before carrying out these plans. Using components obtained online, he had manufactured several “unconventional explosive devices,” including 600 “small explosive devices,” according to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office. The profile of the accused is reminiscent of the Yom Kippur murderer in Halle, who also possessed propaganda material from the group.

The charges against Marvin E. are the result of the neo-Nazi raid that had taken place a week earlier, when 800 officers from the State Criminal Office (LKA) and Federal Criminal Office (BKA) had searched 61 homes in 11 federal states, arresting four people accused of setting up a criminal organisation. According to information from the newsweekly Der Spiegel, the 50 accused right-wing extremists include a leading cadre from the neo-Nazi scene in Eisenach, but also an active noncommissioned officer in the Bundeswehr (Armed Forces) who was under “observation” by the Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD).

As reported by Der Spiegel, however, “conflicts involving the MAD” had led to a situation in which the “Atomwaffen Division” supporter, who is said to have last served in the tank unit in Munster, Lower Saxony, could neither be suspended nor disarmed. The Bundeswehr intelligence service had wanted to inform the officer cadet about the terrorism investigations against him—allegedly to “deter” him. Since then, the relationship between law enforcement and the MAD has been considered “strained,” writes Der Spiegel. As a result, apart from the 20-year-old carpenter apprentice Marvin E., no one has been charged so far.

At the end of March, about 300 police officers had already searched several properties in Bavaria in a large-scale operation. In the process, 3,000 litres of diesel were found and 75 firearms seized, including many suspected illegal handguns and rifles. Although the police believed that the suspects had planned “attacks on overhead pylons of major power lines” to “interrupt the power supply in large parts of the Federal Republic,” a spokesperson played down the group as “preppers,” saying there were no indications of a “radical network.”

The fact that law enforcement authorities have felt compelled to carry out three large-scale raids against right-wing extremist subversives within just two weeks is proof of the extent of the fascist danger in Germany. In view of the ever more aggressive herd immunity policy, allowing the virus to rip through the community, and the aggressive war course against Russia, these forces sense the tide flowing in their direction.

Before the kidnapping plans against Lauterbach became known, unknown persons had, among other things, damaged his car and broken a window of his Bundestag (parliamentary) office in Cologne. In Switzerland, the president of the vaccination commission had been kidnapped by a German citizen at the beginning of April, who subsequently died in a gun battle with the police. In Austria, the Green Minister of Health, Wolfgang Mückstein, had to resign due to death threats at the beginning of March amidst discussions about compulsory vaccination.

The Frankfurter Rundschau reported on Wednesday that German neo-Nazi parties had shipped “donations of materiel for the front” to Kiev and that members had donated four-figure sums to the Azov regiment. The federal police officially assume that dozens of German right-wing extremists are “intending to travel to Ukraine,” after denying such a threat a month ago. The Atomwaffen Division, an international right-wing extremist and neo-Nazi terrorist network, is also recruited from the same neo-Nazi milieus.

The growing fascist danger is a result of the fact that the state apparatus systematically cultivates right-wing extremist tendencies and previous governments have undisguisedly put their policies into practice. This concerns especially those politicians who, like Lauterbach and federal politicians from the Green Party, are now in the crosshairs of the fascists.

While SPD politician Lauterbach is overseeing the worst COVID-19 infection levels since the beginning of the pandemic, Green Party politicians are agitating against Russia and demanding arms deliveries to the Nazi-infested Ukrainian military. The “traffic light” coalition of the SPD, Liberal Democrats (FDP) and Greens has removed all coronavirus protections and initiated the largest German arms buildup since the fall of the Nazi dictatorship.

As far as the state apparatus and the so-called “security agencies” are concerned, they are closely networked with the fascist forces they are supposed to combat. Both in the case of the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground (NSU) complex and the so-called “ Hannibal ” network, it is now known that the central actors were undercover agents of the secret services or members of the police and the Bundeswehr. As in the times of the Weimar Republic in the 1920s and ’30s, these forces are being deliberately promoted to be used against the growing opposition to price increases, war and the policy of deliberate mass infection.

At the same time, the same state apparatus is cracking down on anyone who opposes the capitalist agenda of social inequality, pandemic and war. This is most sharply demonstrated in the persecution of the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (Socialist Equality Party, SGP), with the Federal Ministry of the Interior declaring the SGP’s advocacy of a “democratic, egalitarian and socialist society” and any “agitation against alleged ‘imperialism’ and ‘militarism’” to be unconstitutional.