Germany arrests dozens suspected of plotting far-right extremist coup

Started by drunkenshoe, December 07, 2022, 05:37:25 AM

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QuoteMore than 3,000 police officers, including special forces, made 130 early morning searches across 11 of Germany's 16 federal states in one of the biggest counterterrorism operations in the country's history.

Suspects from the so-far unnamed group include a nobleman with a historic royal title and various armed forces veterans. It is centered on the so-called Reichsbürger, or Reich Citizens, movement which is motivated by conspiracy theories about the role and legitimacy of the modern German state.

Those arrested will appear in court Wednesday and Thursday. The homes of a further 27 people suspected of being members or supporters of the group have been searched.

"Democracy is resilient: A major anti-terror operation has been taking place since this morning," German justice minister Marco Buschmann wrote on Twitter early Wednesday.

"The Federal Public Prosecutor is investigating a suspected terrorist network from the Reich citizen milieu. There is a suspicion that an armed attack on constitutional bodies was planned."

The German prosecutor's office said the suspects belong to a terrorist group founded in November 2021 at the latest, which aims to overthrow the government in Berlin and install its own leaders through the "forcible elimination of the democratic constitutional state."

"The members of the association are aware that this project can only be realized through the use of military means and violence against state representatives," the prosecutor's office said in a statement early Wednesday.

The statement added that the group was motivated by a rejection of the "free democratic basic order of the Federal Republic of Germany."

Some member's the group's "military arm" are former members of the German army, the Bundeswehr, prosecutors said. The German armed forces have been beset by a series of scandals involving personnel belonging to far-right groups.

A spokesman for the German Military Security Service confirmed to NBC News that "an active member of the military's special forces (KSK) group" was also under investigation. But the spokesman stressed that he is not part of the special forces itself and would not confirm whether the suspect was arrested.

The group is heavily influenced by right-wing conspiracy theories, authorities say, including a belief in a secretive, malign "deep state" running the country as seen in the QAnon movement. It believes that the Federal Republic of Germany is not a sovereign state and its members espouse antisemitic conspiracy theories, Germany's Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution said.

Reichsbürger activists and members of other closely-related groups commonly take part in protests against Covid-19 restrictions. The pandemic was a rallying cause for far-right actors across Europe, adding to baseless accusations of a wider government plot to control citizens.

Prosecutors also said the group believes that "the Alliance," a group of national governments and intelligence services, including those of the United States and Russia, is active in Germany and about to launch an attack on the "deep state."

Germany's domestic intelligence service, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), has been officially observing the "Reichsbürger" scene since 2016. The agency counts around 21,000 followers, according to its website, with a little more than a thousand of them also considered right-wing extremists.

Authorities said among those arrested was "Heinrich XIII P. R," named in German media as Prince Heinrich XIII of the House of Reuss, which ruled parts of Germany until 1918. NBC News has not verified his identity.

He is considered to be a future head of state after an insurrection and he heads the group's ruling council which has met to discuss the planned takeover, prosecutors said.

Prince Heinrich, who still uses his title despite its constitutional irrelevance, is accused of contacting representatives of the Russian Federation both in Russia and Germany in the hope of winning support for the overthrow of the Berlin government.

One suspect was also arrested was in Perugia, Italy, while another was in Kitzbühel, Austria. A Russian national named as Vitalia B. is accused of helping the organization attempt to contact Russian officials.

German prosecutors note, however, that there is no evidence Russian officials reacted positively to the request. Russia has yet to respond to the story.

Andy Eckardt reported from Mainz, Germany, and Patrick Smith reported from London.

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"science is not about building a body of known 'facts'. ıt is a method for asking awkward questions and subjecting them to a reality-check, thus avoiding the human tendency to believe whatever makes us feel good." - tp


I have no idea. It's scary from here. I really don't wonder what will this winter bring. It's gonna be bad.
"science is not about building a body of known 'facts'. ıt is a method for asking awkward questions and subjecting them to a reality-check, thus avoiding the human tendency to believe whatever makes us feel good." - tp


All the evils that men cause to each other because of certain desires, or opinions or religious principles, are rooted in ignorance. [All hatred would come to an end] when the earth was flooded with the knowledge of God. - Moses Ben Maimon