German secret service operates hundreds of far-right social media profiles

Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutz) employs at least 100 agents, each with up to five or six identities, who engage in right-wing extremist hate speech on the Internet and commit “crime typical of the milieu,” such as sedition. This information came to light in an interview with an agent of the German domestic intelligence service in the daily Süddeutsche Zeitung which was published last week.

The entrance of the headquarters of the German domestic intelligence service, Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz. [AP Photo/Martin Meissner]

According to the agent, the task of the agents is not only to “swim along” but also to spread right-wing extremist positions and commit crimes. “Of course, I empower people in their world view,” she explains. “In principle, I spread an ideology that others find better.” Crimes are also committed for this purpose, she added. “The many people who are victims of far-right online hate speech would probably be amazed if they knew what is being posted and liked in the meantime on the orders of the state,” commented the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ).

Given that there are 500 right-wing extremist online identities and many more in the environs of the Reichsbürger movement and among COVID-19 deniers, which are no longer called right-wing extremists by the secret service, one must assume that a considerable part of the fascistic swamp online and the far-right terrorist milieu is state-organized.

The fact that the commission of crimes is the state’s focus, and not their uncovering, is made clear by the examples cited by the SZ as the agents’ investigation successes. When ZDF television’s magazine Frontal uncovered a right-wing terrorist group called “Dresden Offline Networking,” which was planning the assassination of Saxony’s Minister President Michael Kretschmer, the authorities only subsequently made it public that they themselves were represented in the group.

The police “did not have to first confiscate the material from ZDF,” said a high-ranking secret service agent proudly, according to SZ. They already had evidential screenshots, including time stamps. The question inevitably arises as to why investigation proceedings had not already been initiated before publication by ZDF reporters. The reason given was that the group needed to be protected.

The case is similar with the right-wing terrorist chat group “United Patriots,” which planned the kidnapping of health minister Karl Lauterbach (Social Democrats). In this case, the authorities initiated investigations before the publication, but the ARD magazine Report Mainz had been observing the group based on the work of an anti-fascist activist for a long time. The secret service could have simply dealt with the issue prior to publication.

Regardless of whether the pending investigations can demonstrate that the agents gave the impetus to the planned terrorist attacks, a picture emerges of a right-wing extremist milieu organized and controlled by the state.

Numerous studies have shown that, for example, the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) is massively over-represented in reach and dissemination on social media compared to the other parties. Although the AfD only receives about 10 percent in parliamentary elections, the party’s contributions are shared more than twice as often as those from any other party. The activities of the secret service likely play a significant role in this.

The central role of the German domestic intelligence service in the building up of the fascist swamp is well documented. Already in 2003, judges of the Federal Constitutional Court rejected a ban of the neo-Nazi NPD when it became known that at least one in seven functionaries of the fascist party was on the payroll of the secret service. The judges stated that the NPD should “be referred to as a state affair.”

The secret service also played a central role in the establishment of the largest right-wing terrorist group to date, the National Socialist Underground (NSU). In Thuringia, the right-wing extremist Helmut Roewer set up the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution in the 1990s and employed, among others, Tino Brandt, the head of the “Thuringian Homeland Security,” as a covert investigator.

Brandt received a total of €200,000 in taxpayers’ money to build his neo-fascist organization, which included the three subsequent NSU assassins. When they went into hiding to plan their assassination attempts, Brandt kept in touch with them. The secret service even supplied the NSU trio with €2,000 so that they could get new passports. An employee of the secret service, Andreas Temme, was even present at one of the murders carried out by the NSU. His influence also led to the murder of CDU politician Walter Lübcke.

The list could go on indefinitely—from the production and dispatch of inhuman, fascist CDs in Brandenburg, which was organized by the secret service, to the founding of the German branch of the Ku Klux Klan by an employee of the secret service.

This policy has been systematically pursued in recent years. After the close ties of the secret service with the NSU became known, the federal government appointed the openly right-wing extremist Hans-Georg Maassen to head the authority. Maassen not only covered up the NSU affair but also expanded support for the far right. For example, he met regularly with the AfD representatives and discussed the secret service’s Verfassungsschutz Report with them.

The budget of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution alone has almost doubled in the last five years from €253 million to €423 million. There were similar increases for the secret services of Germany’s 16 states. The federal government is deliberately expanding the secret service into a control centre for the far-right movement.

Through this fascistic agency and its far-right networks, the government is taking action against anyone who opposes its war policy, the social crisis and the fabulous enrichment of the wealthy. In 2018, the Verfassungsschutz under Maassen designated the Sozialistische Gleichheitspartei (SGP, Socialist Equality Party) for the first time as a “left-wing extremist association,” thus preparing the party’s banning. The secret service’s action was accompanied by far-right attacks on SGP events, for example, at the Humboldt University or at the University of Dresden.

After the SGP filed a lawsuit against its inclusion in the Verfassungsschutz Report, the German government backed the agency’s actions and declared that even “arguing for an egalitarian, democratic and socialist society” was unconstitutional. In particular, it accused the SGP of agitating “against imperialism and supposed nationalism.” This outrageous attack on democratic rights has since been scandalously supported by two courts.

While the secret service covers up terrorist structures and builds up the far right, it clamps down on anyone who criticizes capitalism and opposes war. This has been intensified by the US-NATO proxy war against Russia on the backs of the Ukrainian people. The largest rearmament since Hitler, unbearable inflation and mass layoffs in industry are meeting growing resistance in the working class. Under these conditions, the government is mobilizing far-right groups and the state apparatus to suppress this opposition.

At the beginning of the year, the wording used in the court decision against the SGP was utilised in part in a ruling against the left-leaning daily newspaper junge Welt, which had filed a lawsuit protesting its surveillance by the secret service. In August, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) announced that she would “fight” alleged “left-wing extremists” in the climate change movement “with all her might.”

Two weeks ago, the Hamburg secret service attacked the initiative for a referendum on the expropriation of the large housing corporations. The presence of “left-wing extremists” was deemed “a determining factor.” According to the police, they advocated a “democratic, decentralized communism” that was “incompatible with the liberal democratic order.”

The SGP has taken up the fight against the state’s attack on the left and promotion of the far right and has filed a complaint with the Federal Constitutional Court against its inclusion in the Verfassungsschutz Report, as well as the scandalous court judgments. We call on all readers to support this lawsuit. Sign our petition on Change.org, and register as an active supporter today.