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German secret service moves against AfD

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution - as the secret service is called in Germany - has classified the AfD as a so-called "suspect case".

Published: January 16, 2019, 9:24 am

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    According to the secret service, these include organisations that are not clearly extremist, but for which there is “real evidence” of anti-constitutional aspirations.

    The consequence of the new classification is that the secret service will now regularly check on whether their “suspicion” is substantiated. If this is the case, the organisation or the group of persons will be classified as a “surveillance objective”.

    The use of surveillance, such as spying or wiretapping, is not generally allowed in suspect cases.

    But spying as well as wiretapping of telecommunications under certain preconditions are permitted to a limited extent however, and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has now classified the youth movement of the AfD as well as the Thuringian AFD boss and faction leader Björn Höcke as worthy of close observation.

    Spyboss Thomas Haldenwang justified the decision on Tuesday with the fact that the evaluation of the collection of material from open sources from federal states and the Federal Office has been completed. The result of the audit showed that there were “real indications” that the policy of the AfD was directed against the free democratic basic order. Such findings are not sufficient for an intelligence observation.

    The reasons given for closer observation, are “pro-German and anti-Muslim” statements by representatives of the party. These statements are not included in the program of the AfD, but spoken party politicians. “It can not yet be sufficiently assessed whether the clues are characteristic of the party,” Haldenwang said.

    In the case of the youth wing, the Junge Alternative (JA) on the other hand, “sufficiently important clues” exist that the youth organisation has “extremist aspirations”.

    The JA represents positions that disregarded human dignity, according to Haldenwang. As an example, he cited the denigration of asylum seekers with the term “knife migration” or utterances that scorned parliamentarism.

    Similarly, there are “strong clues” that the youth movement has “extremist aspirations” because representatives repeatedly said disdainful things about migrants and political dissenters. Also, historical National Socialism is downplayed, and migrant crime is “exaggerated on purpose” with the use of “aggressive rethoric”.

    However, there is no proof yet that both the party and the JA are actually extremist. That is why they have been classified as a “suspect case” and not as a “surveillance objective”. This means that the secret service will now be collecting and storing personal data and will be systematically evaluating all members.

    It will in future examine exactly how the entire party AfD operates, as well as observe the political behavior and statements by its representatives. But this does not yet include the immediate use of advanced intelligence resources, according to Haldenwang.

    Already last year, the Thuringian secret service had declared the AfD party in the state in east-central Germany, as a “suspect case”. On Tuesday Höcke called the statements by the secret service “not surprising”.

    “I’m already sorry for the officials who have to kill their time looking for things that do not exist,” the AfD member wrote on Twitter.

    In Bremen, Lower Saxony and Baden-Wuerttemberg, moreover, the youth organisation has been under surveillance since last year anyway, apparently because there are some personnel overlaps with the Identitarian Movement, which is also monitored by the secret service.

    AfD chief Alexander Gauland called the decision “wrong” and announced that it would take legal action against the move. He said he suspected that social and political pressure had led to the assessment by the secret service, in his brief statement in the Reichstag.

    AFD Group leader Alice Weidel noted that it was now clear why the former Spy boss Hans-Georg Maassen had to resign. The fake news and false allegations about manhunts in Chemnitz by AfD supporters were only advanced to get rid of Maassen, she said.

    The secret service is being used against the AfD to get the party out of the way, said Weidel.

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