The Military Counter-Intelligence Service (MAD) investigated significantly more new cases of suspected right-wing extremism in the ranks of the armed forces in the past year.

The number has risen from 363 in 2019 to 477 cases, according to the MAD Report 2020, which was presented to the Bundestag on Tuesday.

The most frequent triggers for investigations are "statements that are hostile to foreigners or xenophobia" in social media.

The number of new suspected cases rose from 16 to 31 in the area of ​​“Reich citizens” / “self-administrators”.

It has been shown that the "threat to fundamental values ​​of our open society from extremism has unfortunately perpetuated at a comparatively high level," writes MAD President Martina Rosenberg in the report.

It is available to the German Press Agency.

Rosenberg: Vigilance is required

“Open societies are vulnerable in many places.

Whether political or religious extremism, terrorism, cyber attacks or hybrid actions - the spectrum of threats has become diverse.

Therefore, vigilance is required, ”says Rosenberg.

She took over the office last year as part of a realignment. The declared aim was to strengthen the defense against extremism, especially against right-wing extremism. There were also more posts for military intelligence. According to the report, the MAD has had 1632 posts since January 1, 2021 (2019: 1551 posts). Rosenberg was previously a Bundeswehr disciplinary attorney.

In the report she refers to the special duty of loyalty of soldiers, civil servants and civil servants to the constitution.

“In order to meet this obligation, it is by no means sufficient to merely accept the constitution and not to question it.

Rather, the loyalty relationship is characterized by acknowledging our common values ​​and actively advocating them at any time and without reservation, ”she demands.

For people with extremist views or who have been found to be unfaithful to the constitution, there should be no understanding or even safe haven in the Bundeswehr.

Lots of information from the troops themselves

According to the report, evidence of new suspected cases came in 60 percent of the cases from the troops themselves and 17 percent from the MAD's own findings - as well as from citizens (8 percent), the police (7 percent), from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (3 percent) , from others (3 percent) and the state offices for the protection of the constitution (2 percent).

According to the report, the number of extremists identified by the MAD (red category) and those with findings about a lack of loyalty to the constitution (orange category) remained at an overall similar level within a year.

In the past year, the MAD treated 15 people as extremists (2019: 14 people).

For those with findings about a lack of constitutionality, the number fell to 29 (2019: 38).

In recent years, the Bundeswehr's Special Forces Command (KSK) has repeatedly made headlines because of right-wing extremist incidents. “The picture that emerges after the end of 2020 is not complete, despite the many new pieces of the puzzle,” writes the MAD on the situation in the special forces. So far, the existence of an "underground army" is not evident. "The collection of new puzzle pieces to prepare an overall picture will be one of the main tasks of the MAD in 2021", it continues. It can be stated that since the time the 2nd Company of the KSK was dissolved last summer, no current issues with a right-wing extremist background had arisen.

Overall, according to the MAD, it remains to be seen in 2021 whether the trend in suspected cases in the armed forces will continue and how the introduction of a new phenomenon, “Democracy-hostile and / or security-endangering delegitimization of the state” will affect the MAD's processing figures.

The authorities for the protection of the constitution have introduced this new area in their cooperation.

Pandemic was used by foreign secret services

Dealing with the “new right”, which is characterized by the relativization of right-wing extremism and a reference to similarities with the right-wing democratic fringes, continues to prove difficult. It shows numerous and comprehensive approaches to bourgeois-conservative, patriotic and national ideological foundations. “In the area of ​​the 'new right', extremists are therefore more difficult to identify than in the area of ​​neo-Nazis or 'old rights', who obviously adopt fascist and anti-Semitic argumentation patterns,” the report says.

One factor last year was the corona pandemic, which had an impact on the extremism situation, but was also used by foreign secret services.

"The corona pandemic has shown that intelligence services of foreign states also use this topic to influence public opinion in the Federal Republic, but also the formation of opinions within the Bundeswehr to deal with the pandemic," the report says.

Representatives of the People's Republic of China tried to “win multipliers for Chinese narratives” with targeted letters to the Ministry of Defense.