Is that one of the main problems in the fight against right-wing extremism?

The BfV therefore declares both "Suspected cases". From now on, the BfV may collect and save personal data from members of these groups, including by means of intelligence services – for example through V-persons. 

The party program is clean

This means that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution has many options. The wing has no official members, only a founding document (the Erfurt resolution) and the Kyffhauser meeting, a kind of wing party congress. Höcke is the founder of the wing, board member Andreas Kalbitz signed the declaration, board members from several regional associations belong to it. Höcke and Kalbitz are the top candidates in the state elections in Thuringia and Brandenburg in autumn. The two party leaders Alexander Gauland and Jörg Meuthen were several guests at the Kyffhäusertreffen. According to the wing, Gauland is also said to have signed the Erfurt resolution.

The BfV can therefore take a look at the most important figures in the party without immediately placing the entire party under suspicion of extremism. 

Because he didn’t. Rather, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution says: The AfD as a whole is not. It has around 30,000 members, holds many positions, and its official program papers are clean. Officials may say unconstitutional things, but the party as a whole does not clearly take such positions. 

Now edited, and here is a political trick, the office of the AfD as: "Test case". This is not a formal classification, the office is still only allowed to view publicly accessible sources and is not allowed to create any personal files. It only systematizes its previous observations. Because it has now been announced at a press conference, it looks like an official status change.

Clear messages

That sends the message outside that the protection of the Constitution is not protecting the AfD – this suspicion was sometimes expressed by critics of the party and the services. Especially according to the statements of the former President Maaßen. But it also sends the message to the AfD that all paths are still open to it. The party has already announced a lawsuit. But from the office it is said that the matter will be talked about anyway. You are even doing the AfD a favor with the public announcement, because it has now certified that it is not extremist. One must add: not yet.  

Haldenwang would of course not say that openly. But he said about the AfD: "She stands at a crossroads." He said this or something similar several times, especially when asked about the next steps. You couldn’t check forever, he said, but there was no end date either. Everything now depends on how the party develops. Everyone now knows how the office thinks about Höcke.essay on community service How will the party react to this?   

Test case AfD: This is how the constitution protection justifies its decision

 Haldenwang also said it was not his job to give the AfD advice – this suspicion had been raised against Maaßen. Haldenwang proved that you don’t have to give advice to give advice. And no deadline to set a deadline: time is running out for the AfD.

Because human dignity is inviolable and it is the duty of all state authorities to respect and protect it, including the protection of the constitution.

Sources used: Own research, press conference and press release by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution

Thomas Haldenwang has so far been Vice President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Federal Interior Minister Seehofer now wants to propose him as the successor to Hans-Georg Maaßen.

The previous Vice President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), Thomas Haldenwang, is to head the authority in the future. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) said on Monday that he wanted to propose the appointment of Haldenwang to the federal cabinet.

Haldenwang would succeed Hans-Georg Maaßen, whom Seehofer put into temporary retirement last week. "It was important to me to make this decision amicably with all partners in the coalition", announced Seehofer on the appointment of Haldenwang. Only in this way can we succeed "that the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution can concentrate on its core tasks again and play its important role comprehensively". Haldenwang is a proven expert.

Haldenwang has been with the Office for the Protection of the Constitution since 2009

The dispute over Maassen’s recall after controversial statements on right-wing extremist incidents in Chemnitz had caused massive tension in the grand coalition. Seehofer initially did not follow the SPD’s demands for a dismissal, but wanted to transfer Maassen to the Ministry of the Interior. After Maaßen in a speech "radical left forces" in the SPD had accused of wanting to overthrow him, but at the beginning of November Seehofer decided to retire the President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

Secret service expert criticizes Haldenwang: "That wouldn’t be a restart"Speech of the head of the protection of the constitution: Maaßen gives Seehofer a farewell ex-chief of the protection of the constitution: Seehofer is examining disciplinary proceedings against Maaßen

Haldenwang has been Vice President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution since August 2013. The 58-year-old lawyer also worked for the Federal Ministry of the Interior from 1991 to 2000 and from 2006 to 2009. In between he worked in the Federal Office of Administration, where he was responsible for various federal ministries. The native of Wuppertal has been working for the protection of the constitution since 2009.

Sources used: Reuters, AFP

The security authorities want to take action against right-wing extremism. Are the plans sufficient to prevent right-wing terror like in Halle? Expert Hajo Funke assesses the plans.

Right-wing extremism is now the cause of half of all politically motivated bodily harm in Germany. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, Constitutional Protection chief Thomas Haldenwang and BKA chief Holger Münch want to change that. At a press conference they presented a reform of the authorities. More staff, but also more attention to the links between violent criminals and the New Right scene.

How dangerous is right-wing extremism really? Are the efforts of the authorities sufficient? Right-wing extremism expert Hajo Funke classifies this in an interview with t-online.de.

Prof. Dr. Hajo Funke (75) is a political scientist and worked at the Free University of Berlin until his retirement in 2010. He is a leading expert on right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism. In November he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit for his services to science and society.

Prof. Funke, how dangerous is right-wing extremism?

The danger of right-wing extremism has increased immensely. This can be seen in the criminal offenses, in the acts of violence and in the particularly drastic crimes such as the right-wing terror in Halle and the assassination attempt on CDU politician Walter Lübcke.

Since when have you seen a new quality?

Since the Chemnitz fanal, the situation has worsened dramatically. That was the first time since 1949 that a party represented in the Bundestag had openly and strategically made common cause with violent hooligans and right-wing extremists.

You mean the AfD. Who was this signal, this sign, aimed at?

It was a beacon that aimed in two directions: It promoted the further right-wing extremization of a large part of the AfD, the so-called "wing" with Björn Höcke and Andreas Kalbitz. And it was a beacon to the violent right-wing extremists who felt open support.

Is that one of the main problems in the fight against right-wing extremism? That with the AfD there is now a party in which there are connections to the scene and which at the same time creates a social mood in which violence can also flourish?

Yes. The AfD and its rapid right-wing radicalization under Alexander Gauland is a major problem. Of course, there are still the long-established scenes and networks, especially at hotspots such as Kassel, Dortmund and Chemnitz. But the problem is the unleashing of resentment by Pegida and AfD. This causes a resonance space to vibrate, which was there before, but which has so far been exhausted in kitchen conversations and which now represents a dangerous force as movement.

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution spoke today of 12,700 right-wing extremists willing to use violence. At the same time, only 48 right-wing extremists are listed as "Dangerous" classified who are at any time believed to be responsible for a criminal offense of considerable importance. That should now be checked.

That number is absurd. This is apparently also a consensus between Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, Constitutional Protection President Thomas Haldenwang and BKA boss Holger Münch. I can’t say exactly how many it should be. But there is sure to be a middle three-digit number "Endangering".

The BKA is now to get 300 new jobs and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution also 300. Is that enough?

It’s not so much about the numbers. The decisive factor is how qualified the staff is and, above all, how they are aligned and deployed by management. If the authorities block each other at the various levels, as is often the case with the NSU, then even 5,000 new jobs will not help. The will to clarify, to carry out systematic investigations and to hand them over to the law enforcement authorities is crucial.

This will to enlightenment always has something to do with political will …

…very much!

Alarming figures: only half of all right-wing extremist perpetrators were known to the police, BKA President Münch: ” The danger emanating from hate messages is very high ”

Is the Interior Minister doing enough in the fight against right-wing extremism?

Horst Seehofer’s role has changed a lot. He described the attack on the Olympia shopping center in Munich with nine deaths a year or two ago and again today as a rampage. Large parts of the security authorities are only now classifying the attack as a right-wing extremist act. Seehofer wavered again and again in his posture. But Halle shocked him. In the synagogue he was called out during his visit: "You don’t protect us!" That showed him: I have to get there. It’s very late, but still.

So you have hope that something will change?

It is very clear to me that Seehofer, Haldenwang and Münch mean business anyway. We do not know whether this will result in improved security. To do this, transparency must also improve, there must be a different culture of error and a different culture of self-criticism. Independent control of the work is needed, by Parliament. And work efficiency must increase, as has now been promised. Only when all of this comes together will something change sustainably. Then it would be a new quality of security policy.

Sources used: Conversation with Prof. Hajo Funke on the phone

The President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution spoke about a change in right-wing extremism in Germany. Haldenwang warns of extremism and calls for action. 

President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang, attested right-wing extremism in Germany a new dynamic. Many of these developments could be observed in Chemnitz, he said on the ARD"Morning magazine" on Monday. "I am thinking primarily of very intensive networking, I am thinking of fake news and false propaganda. I am thinking of massive violence on the streets."

Thomas Haldenwang: The President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution has noticed a new dynamic among right-wing extremists. (Source: Markus Heine / imago images)

This could also develop in such a way that small terrorist groups emerged from violent groups. "The example of Chemnitz has shown all of this." In the Saxon city there had been riots for weeks last late summer after a 35-year-old was killed there after a city festival and asylum seekers are suspected.

Extremism on the net

He also said in the interview that right-wing extremists still appear differently. "Just recently, we have also been able to experience again that people are already marching through the streets in an SA-style – uniformed with flags, drums and torches", he added, obviously with a view to a demonstration on May 1st in Plauen, Saxony. But there is also an intellectual right-wing extremism that is more subtle.

In order to be able to observe the scene better, Haldenwang reiterated his demand for more opportunities to be able to be active on the Internet. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution needs insights into non-public areas of the Internet, otherwise it is blind. "The legislature must counteract this", he said.

Hump "wing": Auditors target further donations at the AfD March in Saxony: Neo-Nazis in Plauen – only the attention is new Radicalization on the Internet: 12,700 neo-Nazis are violence-oriented

 The head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution is discussing the consequences of extremism on the Internet and what can be done about it this Monday with experts and journalists in Berlin. There is also a Facebook manager. Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) canceled his participation at short notice. He is represented by his State Secretary Günter Krings.

Sources used: dpa news agency

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