The Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) is the name of Germany's internal intelligence service. Its task is to protect democracy, among other things, through the monitoring of violent and anti-democratic forces. Contrary to the Ministry of State Security in the former GDR, however - regardless of party color and political power - it has never been BfV's defined task to act as "Shield and Sword" for certain political parties in the Federal Republic.
Now, however, strong forces in both politics and mainstream media seem set to turn the intelligence service into a political instrument against democratic parties and popular movements that challenge old positions of power - and parties.
Thus, BfV's new leader Thomas Haldenwang recently announced that the intelligence service would, in future, monitor a wing of the Democratic party AfD around politician Björn Höcke, who according to Haldenwang is a "right-wing extremist". This allegedly because he supports the Islamic-critical citizen movement Pegida in Dresden. Also, government-critical and alternative media such as Compact Magazine, was put on Haldenwang's black list - thereby indirectly linking it to anti-democratic tendencies. This, although nothing in the media Compact Magazine has ever been anti-democratic: https://www.compact-online.de/
However, following the Chancellor's intervention in the democratic process in the state of Thuringia, BfV's intervention against the AfD is quite striking.
For Thomas Haldenwang's criminalization of AfD and Höcke comes from the central power in Berlin. Höcke is the same AfD politician, who Chancellor Merkel, with a problematic intervention at the beginning of February 2020, had just prevented democratic entry into power after the state elections in Thuringia. Here the largest party was Die Linke, which is partly an heir to the communist SED, which ruled the East German dictatorship, while the AfD came in second largest with Björn Höcke as Chairman. Höcke sought the role of support party for a conservative state government in Thuringia with FDP Liberal Democrat Thomas Kemmerich as leader, and with votes from the CDU this bourgeois coalition really did seem to gather a majority. But then Chancellor Merkel intervened in the democratic process in Thuringia and declared that the state elections and the new formation of government were "unforgivable and therefore the election result must be reversed":
Kemmerich from the FDP withdrew, the CDU voted blank, and therefore Thuringia got another state leader from the party Die Linke. Merkel's intervention in Thuringia was democratically problematic, and could be compared to the Prime Minister of Denmark interfering and intervening directly in the formation of the government after a city council election. Chancellor Merkel's reasoning is reminiscent of Nyrup Rasmussen's "beyond the pale/unfit for public consumption" rhetoric against the DF in the 1990s, but may appear paradoxical, partly because it now provides a left-wing government power in Thuringia, but also because the AfD is not a perpetrator, but rather a victim of anti-democratic and politically motivated violence from the radical left in Germany.
To a great extent, Democratic politicians from the AfD are exposed to anti-democratic violence and vandalism waged by Antifa and similar left-wing fascists. In 2019, AfD MP Frank Magnitz was subjected to a life-threatening assault in Bremen, which was never resolved. Several AfD politicians have experienced political vandalism against their homes or have their cars burned. This applies, for example to Nicholaus Fest, Beatrix von Storch and Guido Reil just to name a few - and it has happened several times that AfD party offices have been bombed or exposed to vandalism in Germany. Leftist politicians are much less exposed to these violent assaults. Their cars are not burned, and their private homes are not painted/vandalized with slogans. However, no AfD politician has ever, to my knowledge been known to defend anti-democratic violence as a legitimate political method.
However, politicians on the German left have:
"In the fight against the right, the SPD also needs Antifa" - wrote 07.09.2018 top Socialist politician Angela Marquardt in the party organization "Vorwärts": https://www.vorwaerts.de/artikel/kampf-gegen-rechts-brauch-spd- antifa
- thus solidifying the SPD with a violent, leftist fascist organization whose systematic use of violence, vandalism and terrorism is in many ways reminiscent of Nazi and Communist anti-democratic methods in the 1930s. According to Marquardt the "damned job of German Social Democracy" was to stand with - Antifa.
Presumably it was, among other things, based on this that the fired former head of the German intelligence service, Hans Georg Massen, in a speech in October 2018 warned against "left-wing forces in the SPD": https://www.wz.de/politik/inland/linksrad radical- kraefte-in-the-SPD-die-Maassen-rede_aid-34287703
Massen, however, was fired as head of the Verfassungsschutz when he opposed the political instrumentalization of the German intelligence service in 2018, and pointed out the fact that a video of the unrest in Chemnitz last year could not be used as evidence of the xenophobic pogroms that Chancellor Merkel at that time talked about.
But with his speech, Massen highlighted that anti-democratic extremism can also be found on the left in Germany, whose political history is not only characterized by right-wing extremism in the 1930s, but also by left-wing violence and terror in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
After the terrorist attack in Hanau, in which a deranged right-wing extremist killed nine people and his own mother, it has been the norm rather than the exception that leading MSM and politicians from the SPD, Die Linke and the Greens have sought to make the AfD party indirectly responsible for this terrorist instrument. Thus, the pressure has grown on BfV to criminalize the AfD.
However, the AfD had nothing to do with the Hanau terrorist. Tobias R. was not a member of the AfD and did not use the AfD's material to justify his actions.
According to the Federal Criminal Office, the Hanau terrorist committed an unequivocally racist act, but he was more influenced by paranoid delusions than by any consistent political worldview: https://www.tagesschau.de/investigativ/ndr-wdr/hanau-taeter-bka-101. html
Nevertheless, in March 2020, Renate Künast from the Greens gave a speech at the Bundestag, where, after the Hanau terrorist attack, she demanded state support for the violent and leftist organization Antifa: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TSWcRtHC10 - this allegedly as a proposal for "a democratic support law" as if the terrorist attack in Hanau could justify state aid for left-wing violence and terror?
The democratic debate culture in the German MSM is also strangely distorted. Where dominant mainstream media in Germany is more than willing to put the AfD in a political booth with anti-democratic fascism - the same media shows a remarkable understanding of anti-democratic rhetoric coming from the left: "We must storm the parliaments where there are new fascists" – was preached in a rabid TV comment on the ARD nationwide channel in March by leftist priest and media darling, Annete Behnken. However, all MSM in Germany defends Pastor Behnken's left-wing fascist rhetoric: https://www.welt.de/politik/deutschland/article206468945/Wort-zum-Sonntag-Parlamente-stuermen-Theologin-loest-mit-ARD-Commentary-Debatte-aus .html
Here one must imagine the MSM reaction if an AfD politician had talked about "storming the parliaments" and therefore it is interesting now to observe how BfV intervenes in the democratic process - not against radical forces in the old parties and on the left, which openly supports violent and leftist organizations, but which now is to be used against Germany's largest opposition party AfD. The party that, especially in foreigners and security policy, challenges the old parties in Germany's "big coalition" and to whom, for now several years, the CDU and SPD have lost their votes.
Of course, the intelligence service must defend democracy against violent and anti-democratic forces. But in a democracy, the secret police must also resist the political pressure that will often be present in order to exploit the intelligence service as an instrument against troublesome but democratic political opponents.
The question arises as to whether Haldenwang's errand is precisely the political ordering work that the fired predecessor would not participate in?
Who is guarding the guardians - of the deep state?
P.S. The defense of freedom of expression must also, during a Corona crisis, involve the rejection of state and power authoritarian intervention against a more or less subjectively defined "misinformation".
At the time of writing, several political actors led by the intelligence service and under the cover of the Corona crisis are indirectly contributing to government intervention against so-called "misinformation" from alleged right-wing radicals, who, according to BfV's Thomas Haldenwang, abuses the Corona crisis to "undermine" the government and criticize open borders.
By extension, the Liberal FDP member of the Federal government, Benjamin Strasser, calls for a kind of Ministry of Truth against misinformation ("a central Abwehrzentrum gegen Disinformation"): "In crisis situations, the rule of law must coordinate the fight against false information and populist style persecution" - stated Strasser.
The EU Foreign Service (EEAS) also warns against EU criticism and so-called "misinformation" during the Corona crisis, which even has the cheek to "... often directly question the credibility of the European Union" - https://www.dw.co