Berlin (dpa) - Right-wing extremists who hoard weapons, Islamists who are planning attacks, and violent left-wing extremists who isolate themselves in small groups, have been very busy with the protection of the Constitution this year.
The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) has not yet made a final judgment about the "lateral thinkers", as the President of the Cologne authority, Thomas Haldenwang, explained in an interview with the German Press Agency.
Right-wing extremism is currently the greatest danger.
Attacks such as those in Dresden or on the Berlin city motorway have also made Islamist terrorism visible again.
When asked about “lateral thinking”, Haldenwang says: “I hope that this movement with its conspiracy theories will fade into the background again after the end of the corona pandemic.”
Such a development occurred with the xenophobic Pegida movement.
After the decline in the number of refugees, this “gradually collapsed”.
The “lateral thinking” initiative originated in Stuttgart.
Your supporters have been taking to the streets against the government's corona measures for months.
The Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Baden-Württemberg recently announced that it would be observing “lateral thinking” in the south-west.
When asked whether this might soon be implemented nationwide, the BfV boss replied: "The individual lateral thinking initiatives are very heterogeneous."
Right-wing extremists, Reich citizens, so-called self-administrators and “other people with anti-constitutional attitudes” are also present at their events.
A federal-state working group is in the process of looking at "the relevance of conspiracy theories for the protection of the constitution and also the protest movement against the corona measures" in order to come to a classification in due course.
In right-wing extremism, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution continues to perceive small groups that collect weapons and make preparations for the so-called Day X.
"The so-called New Right is very clever," says Haldenwang.
"It operates in a division of labor, with many threads coming together at the Institute for State Policy in Schnellroda."
The founder of the new right think tank in Saxony-Anhalt is the publisher Götz Kubitschek.
The so-called wing of the AfD is also part of this spectrum, says the top constitutional protection officer.
Although this “personal network” has formally dissolved, it continues to work in the background.
The supporters of this current in the AfD are now a little more cautious in their public statements, says Haldewand.
"But we can also perceive what is being said outside of the public eye."
In March, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution declared the “wing”, founded in 2015 by the Thuringian regional chief Björn Höcke, to be a right-wing extremist observation case.
This means that the movement can be observed with the full range of intelligence tools - including observation and recruiting of informants.
Data on individual persons may be collected and saved.
What a member of parliament says in plenary or in committees, however, must not be included in the files.
At the latest federal and state interior ministers' conference, Haldenwang announced that it would deliver an assessment of the AfD as a whole party in January.
There are two schools of thought in the AfD: on the one hand, functionaries who, with linguistic moderation and distance to right-wing extremist groups, want to prevent the whole party from ending up on the radar, and AfD politicians such as Höcke and the chairman of the Bundestag faction, Alexander Gauland, who consider senseless.
When asked whether it was right to make an assessment of a party public a few months before the federal election in September, the President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution replied: «We must also be able to inform the public in the run-up to an election if we have any kind of anti-constitutional efforts perceive. "
The authority has the legal mandate to inform the population about anti-constitutional efforts.
This is "one of the lessons from the Weimar Republic, which also failed because of its parties".
The Protection of the Constitution has also registered changes in left-wing extremism.
Burning construction cranes and broken window panes from bars where right-wing extremists meet are only one facet.
The BfV boss recalls a real estate agent who was beaten up in Leipzig.
“In left-wing extremism there was violence in the past, especially during demonstrations, which often arose spontaneously and out of the situation.
But that has changed. "
Now small groups were formed, "who plan acts of violence, operate in secret and also isolate themselves from other left-wing extremists".
For example, "police officers are lured into an ambush and then pelted with stones, pyrotechnics or bottles".
During the protests against the expansion of the motorway in the Dannenröder Forest in Hesse, alleged left-wing extremists had collapsed a structure made of tree trunks.
Two federal police officers could only have got themselves to safety by "jumping in the pike".
According to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, left-wing extremists beat up an alleged right-wing extremist on the sidelines of a corona demonstration in Stuttgart.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 201221-99-769356 / 2
Constitutional Protection Report 2019