At least 200 soldiers in German Army neo-Nazi terror network
Christopher Lehmann and Johannes Stern
15 November 2018
The neo-Nazi terrorist cell in the German Army associated with Lieutenant Franco A. is much larger than previously revealed. This revelation was included in an article in the current edition of the news magazine Focus titled “The Conspiracy.”
Based on investigations by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA), the magazine reported on a network of at least 200 active duty and retired soldiers, including members of the special forces command (KSK) and Military Intelligence Service (MAD).
The following was already publicly known about the case of Franco A:
The lieutenant was arrested on February 3, 2017, at Vienna’s airport while trying to retrieve a weapon he had previously concealed there. Subsequent investigations revealed that he had collaborated with two other accomplices, Maximilian T. and Matthias F., to carry out attacks on high-ranking politicians, among them former president Joachim Gauck, Justice Minister Heiko Maas and Left Party Minister President of Thuringia Bodo Ramelow. They were also planning to attack institutions such as the Central Council of Jews and the Central Council of Muslims.
Despite this, Franco A. has been a free man since the end of last year. In November 2017, Germany’s Federal Court cancelled his arrest warrant. According to the official explanation, there was insufficient evidence at that point in the investigation to indicate the immediate threat of a criminal act in connection with a serious act of violence.
The Frankfurt am Main Court of Appeals argued along similar lines this year. In a decision on June 7, it confirmed that Franco A. would not be charged for the preparation of a serious act of violence.
In light of the latest revelations, the decisions by the two courts raise serious questions. In their article, authors Josef Hufelschulte and Alexander Rakkow paint a picture of a close-knit terrorist network, which, like the Black Wehrmacht during the Weimar Republic, is preparing the murder of politicians and the violent suppression of revolutionary struggles. Even though the charges against Franco A. were thrown out, the BKA investigation already provided evidence of the existence of a shadow army.
The Focus article begins with the summation of the BKA interrogation of former Air Force officer and major in the reserves Horst S. on July 13, 2017, as part of the BKA’s investigation into the Franco A. case. According to the statements of Horst S., a group chiefly composed of elite soldiers was “preparing at the general staff level for an ominous ‘Day X.’ ” Asked by the investigator what was meant by this, the 48-year-old soldier answered that ‘Day X’ would come during an extreme crisis caused by “attacks on women and children by refugees, rapes, terrorist attacks or slum German cities.”
In a transcript of the witness’s testimony printed in Focus, the statement continues: “Associated with this is I believe also the fear that the state will lose its monopoly on violence and cannot fulfill its tasks as a result.” This has “led to consideration being given to what can be done if such a case occurs.”
The result of these considerations was that “we would have to take precautions in different aspects of life for such a case. That means we would need to procure, for example, diesel to power emergency generators, radios and long-lasting foodstuffs. Munitions should also be stored so we could fight.”
The plans for attacks were apparently far advanced. In concrete terms, Horst S. “named individual participants, who, in their deeply rooted ‘hatred of the left’ and refugees, had organised ‘a folder with addresses and pictures’ of targeted persons, who had to ‘go.’ ”
Two acquaintances of Horst S. saw the lists and “also have a well-stocked weapons cabinet.” According to the transcript, discussions took place in a small circle about bringing the targeted people to one location “where they would be killed.”
The “allegedly conspiratorial squadron” included members of the elite KSK force, according to Focus. For this reason, the authorities kept “secret the initial evidence of a potential underground network ready to commit violence.”
There were also connections to the Uniter organisation, which is mainly made up of KSK combatants, but also included paratroopers, reconnaissance troops, members of special forces police units, lawyers and doctors. An employee of the Bavarian state intelligence agency is also a Uniter member.
Focus wrote that within the association, “according to witness testimony, a conspiratorial network of around 200 active duty and former soldiers has formed.” Testimonies “in the file numbered GBA 2 Bjs 205/17-5a” painted a picture “of conspiratorial soldiers, who apparently were even willing to consider targeted killings of political opponents.”
According to information obtained by investigators, the soldiers “had secret locations for weapons, munitions, fuel, and food,” and established so-called “safe houses” on the borders with Austria and Switzerland. These arrangements were made in chat groups.
Uniter published a statement on its website distancing itself from the allegations and accusing Focus of “disinformation.” In a threatening tone, it said that since the article was published, it had “made direct contact with all named representatives of the authorities, including the police and military, as well as the responsible state prosecutor.”
It declared that it can be “established that the information in the article is drawn from several proceedings, creating an overall picture that would not stand up to any research.” The chat groups mentioned in the Focus article were “certainly not authorised or operated by Uniter,” the statement asserted.
The World Socialist Web Site does not possess any independent information in this case, but it is obvious that widespread right-wing extremist terrorist networks are operating in Germany and are being concealed by sections of the military, the police and the intelligence apparatus. The domestic secret service, in particular, has deep roots in the neo-Nazi scene and has been implicated in a series of right-wing extremist violent acts.
Several dozen informants from the secret service and police operated around the right-wing terrorist group NSU, which was responsible for the murders of nine immigrants and a police officer. The latest revelations surrounding the sacking of the long-standing president of the domestic intelligence agency, Hans-Georg Maassen, have confirmed that the intelligence service was led by a self-acknowledged right-wing extremist.
A lieutenant from the Military Intelligence Service (MAD) is currently appearing at the Cologne District Court on a charge of betraying secrets in the Franco A. case. The officer is accused of having warned suspects associated with him about imminent investigations by the state prosecutor, according to a court spokesperson. The man was a contact point for the BKA and the state prosecutor at the military intelligence service, added the court spokesperson, thereby indirectly confirming Focus ’s information.
According to the news magazine, the MAD lieutenant is 42-year-old Peter W., who last autumn “warned a KSK member about raids on Uniter members.” Prior to his work with the intelligence services, W. was a member of the KSK.
“According to the investigators’ findings,” the main beneficiary of the tip-off was staff sergeant Andre S., “a strict KSK trainer who is responsible for the unit’s military security.” According to testimonies, S., who now heads Uniter, was an “informant” to Uniter about MAD and had presented “the only credible information about the KSK’s internal processes.”
A report in the TAZ daily newspaper also suggests that S. had contact with Franco A. Under the pseudonym Hannibal, S. was the administrator of chat groups in which Franco A. was “allegedly also a member.” The newspaper reported that “the authorities responsible” did not want to “share” whether Franco A. and S. “knew each other personally or only virtually.” The Cologne District Court suggested that they might have moved in each other’s “orbit.”
The explosive character of these disturbing revelations stands in stark contrast to the response in the political establishment and the media. The major daily newspapers have barely reported on the terrorist network, and spokesmen for the government and military have remained silent.
At the federal government’s press conference on November 9, Defence Ministry spokesman Jens Flossdorf confirmed that proceedings “against a member of the MAD” were underway, but added that he could “provide no further information.” A “report by the MAD” would be provided only to “the appropriate intelligence committees in Germany’s parliament.” He would not, was not permitted, and could not “provide any more specifics on this.”