Letter from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution: New evidence of the radicalization of the AfD

As of: 01/19/2022 5:18 p.m

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution wrote in a letter that NDR, WDR and SZ, evidence of a further radicalization of the AfD. These would justify classifying the party as a suspected case.

By Georg Mascolo, Sebastian Pittelkow and Katja Riedel, WDR/NDR

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) looks for information from WDR, NDR and “Süddeutsche Zeitung” (SZ) numerous evidence of a further radicalization of the AfD. In a brief to the administrative court in Cologne, the domestic secret service states that this evidence “proves the legality of a suspected case classification of the party as a whole”. This has the intelligence observation of what is considered to be a particularly radical formally resolvedFlugel” and the youth organization “Junge Alternative”.

The evaluation of public statements at the level of the entire party also supports this assessment. The AfD party as a whole is currently being treated as a so-called test case. This means that it is currently not being observed using intelligence services. In a 37-page brief dated January 3, the BfV highlights numerous statements. According to the office, they should show that the entire party is also developing in the direction of right-wing extremism.

In this and another brief dated December 21 last year, the office contradicts the arguments of the AfD, which denies this and apparently cited numerous internal efforts to combat the influence of right-wing extremists within the party to exonerate them.

No statement from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution

The BfV said on request that they did not want to comment on the AfD because of the ongoing proceedings. The AfD accuses the BfV of “serious substantive, systematic and dogmatic errors”. Especially with regard to the classification of the party as a whole, “there is a lack of any presentation by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution as to why individual statements by individual people should be relevant for the entire federal association,” said a spokesman on request. From the AfD’s point of view, many of the examples used by the BfV concern “unproblematic statements that nevertheless serve as a basis for argumentation for the politically instrumentalized Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution,” according to the party’s statement.

Both pleadings are part of a comprehensive dispute that has been going on for months between the AfD and the domestic secret service. In March 2021, the office classified the entire party as a suspected case. Concerned that this could harm the party in the federal elections, the court requested that this not be communicated publicly. When details leaked out and several media, too WDR, NDR and SZ, had reported on it, the court claimed that this indiscretion was attributable to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and not to the AfD.

Probably no decision before March

The BfV may not treat the AfD as a suspected case until a court decision has been made. Finally, the clearly annoyed court declared that it no longer wanted to make a decision before the federal election: “This requires respect for the decision of the voters.” The court will deal with it in early March.

In the papers that have now been submitted, the lawyers for the domestic secret service underline once again with numerous examples why, from their point of view, the AfD must be observed in its entirety. According to the assessment of the BfV, the representatives of the particularly radical wing in the party, which was formally dissolved in April 2020, have become more effective and have repeatedly shown strength in votes. Former functionaries of the formally dissolved wing are in several East German state associations still dominating in the AfD to this day.

Expelled members remain active for the party

The domestic secret service sees two things as particularly strong evidence of the triumphant advance of the wing representatives within the party: firstly, party exclusion procedures have had no effect. Although the former coordinator of the wing and former Brandenburg head of state, Andreas Kalbitz, is no longer allowed to be an AfD member, he is still active in the party, also as a non-party member of the state parliamentary group in Brandenburg. In the past federal election campaign, he appeared several times as a speaker on AfD podiums.

The same applies to the former member of the Bundestag Frank Pasemann, who was also expelled, but who was then nominated in Saxony-Anhalt by an AfD district association as a non-party direct candidate. On the other hand, the BfV sees Jörg Meuthen’s announcement that he no longer wants to run as party co-chairman as an admission that his mission to differentiate the AfD more clearly from right-wing extremism has failed.

Meuthen’s fight against radicalization apparently failed

Meuthen and a group of up to ten of the 13 party executives have declared war on the wing network for about two years. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution evaluates these ventures as failed and too half-hearted.

In the individual examples cited as evidence of a further radicalization of the party as a whole, the BfV takes up a particularly large number of statements made by functionaries from Saxony and Bavaria. The Bavarian examples mostly come from a chat group of members of the state parliament and federal parliament, the content of which was made public by Bayerischer Rundfunk in early December. There, the legitimacy of elections was questioned and ideas for a coup and civil war were considered.

Many examples of anti-constitutional statements

Overall, the office cites, among other things, numerous public statements by around 40 party officials that, in its view, violate the free democratic basic order – including those of the Baden-Württemberg member of the Bundestag Thomas Seitz, who devalues ​​migrants in his Facebook profile.

The deputy Seitz was noticed by asdegrading statements about migrants.

Image: dpa

There he wrote that he represented the “entire German people”. “Integrated migrants – that is, no Özils who continue to see themselves as Turks – are of course also included. Pure German passport holders are formally included too – unfortunately.” A clear sign for the BfV: According to Seitz, German citizenship is apparently not decisive for belonging to the German people.

Another example is the Thuringian state boss Björn Höcke, the integration figure of the wing. This should be in the election campaign in Merseburg with the exclamation “Everything for Germany!” ended his speech with a slogan of the SA in the Third Reich.

Corona important topic for radical forces

The statements relevant to the protection of the constitution now not only concern topics such as right-wing extremism, Islamophobia and anti-immigration, but also statements on the subject of corona. The examples are all from more recent times, from the year 2021. Hans-Thomas Tillschneider, for example, AfD member of the state parliament in Saxony-Anhalt, posted corona conspiracy theories on Facebook a few weeks after the last federal election: “By the way, I can also imagine that behind the Corona policy is an elite that wants to create a new world order!”

AfD MP Tillschneider spreads the conspiracy myth of a “new world order”.

The briefs should already be available to the AfD and are currently being evaluated there by an internal working group. Accordingly, consequences should be examined against several officials in order to prevent the party as a whole from being upgraded. The party executive is said to have discussed the matter on Monday and decided to draw up a list of those people who are repeatedly mentioned in reports by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. According to board circles, you could face measures up to and including expulsion from the party.


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