On June 27th, the German intelligence service – Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz (BfV) [Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution] released its annual report on “Protection of the Constitution.”
“The Report on the Protection of the Constitution provides information on the nature and scope of anti-constitutional developments, on organizations and groupings pursuing activities that are directed against the free democratic basic order, on espionage against Germany, and on proliferation. The individual events have been analyzed and evaluated under ideological and strategic aspects. Due to the re-orientation of the offices for the protection of the Constitution, this report focuses on violence-oriented activities. The Annual Report on the Protection of the Constitution significantly contributes to raising awareness about the level of the threat posed to state and society.”
Briefly it focuses on several things:
- Politically motivated crime – be it right- or left-wing extremism, and it appears to be on the rise;
- Then it specifically focuses on right-wing extremism, worrisome in this regard was “Anti-Semitism” which “continues to be an area of agitation and ideological identifier for right-wing extremists.” However, other hostile stereotypes are also coming into focus, instead of the Jewish in 2018. “Right-wing extremist propaganda is currently dominated by other issues and hostile stereotypes which right-wing extremists believe are more likely to be taken up in the public discourse. These hostile stereotypes include “foreigners”, in particular asylum-seekers and Muslims, but also policy-makers. Right-wing extremists focus on what they consider excessive foreign influence and an imagined threat to national identity”;
- Following is the category of “Reichsbürger” and “Selbstverwalter” (literally, “citizens of the Reich” and “self-administrators”) it is a wide-ranging group of people, all of which are deemed “hostile to the state.” They were predominantly males, between 40 and 60 years old and had “affinity for weapons,” many of which were seized in intelligence and security service operations;
- Left-wing extremism is also an issue, having even more supporters than right-wing extremism in Germany. “The reduction in left-wing extremist criminal and violent offences is primarily due to the fact that there were no major events relevant to left-wing groups in 2018 comparable to the G20 summit in Hamburg in 2017or the opening of the new headquarters of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt (Main) in 2015.” According to the BfV the left-wing extremists typically reject any form of outside control;
- In terms of Islamism and Islamist terrorism, there has been a shift towards “the violent and/or jihadist field” in recent years. A comparison is made between the report covering 2016 and 2018, and the numbers appear more or less the same;
- A significant security threat are foreign extremist efforts, excluding Islamism, many of these are left-wing. Specifically mentioned are the outlawed in Turkey – Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), as well as K), the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party – Front (DHKP-C), and the Ülkücü. “KK because of its violent actions it undertook also in Germany in the past, DHKP-C for its overt commitment to armed struggle in Turkey, which is aimed at destroying the Turkish order of the state by replacing it with a new socialist one, and finally the Ülkücü movement due to its racist ideology”;
- In the espionage and other intelligence activities things get interesting. “As Russia’s relations with many Western countries have cooled, intelligence gathering has become more important.
Russia, of course, as per the narrative is an important part of those threats:
“Russia is focused on politics, business and industry, research and technology, and the military. It is especially interested in possible negotiating positions of Germany and the West and in what kind of political or economic steps they might take in response to Russian moves. In 2018, additional specific intelligence targets were the tense relationship between the EU and Turkey and the resulting potential impact on the accession negotiations and the future of the EU – in particular after the so-called BREXIT vote – and the orientation of the Common Foreign and Security policy.”
Naturally, Russia has alleged attempts to increase its influence in Germany, according to the BfV that is primarily through RT Deutsch and Sputnik.
“The Russian government is expanding its media offerings in Germany in order to increase its influence. State enterprises are disguised as independent media to hide the fact that they belong to the Russian state and to exert subtle influence on the public. The most important of these are the Internet channel RT Deutsch and the Sputnik news agency,” the report said.
The report fails to mention that both Sputnik and RT have never hidden the fact that the Russian state funds them.
The report further alleges that Russian intelligence agencies “make extensive use of cyber-attacks to gain information and occasionally to spread disinformation and propaganda.”
“Cyber spying by Russian intelligence services … continues to be a major threat to German security and constant challenge to counter-intelligence,” it added.
There were no examples provided or anything of the sort.
China was also mentioned as a security threat, and primarily focused on “political espionage.”
“Intelligence targets continue to be business and industry, research, technology and the military. The same applies to the popular movements which the Chinese authorities call the “Five Poisons”, fearing that they threaten national unity and the Communist Party’s monopoly on power.”
Another intelligence threat are the Iranian intelligence services, which “continue to spy on and suppress opposition movements at home and abroad. In addition, the services gather political, industrial and scientific intelligence in Western countries. The main organization behind activities targeting Germany continues to be the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS). The Quds Force, a special intelligence unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, is also active in Germany.”
The Turkish domestic and foreign intelligence services are also briefly mentioned, but it’s said they only focus on organizations that Turkey deems extremist or terrorist, and aren’t really a threat per se to Germany.
The Scientology Organization has its own section as a security threat in the report.
“The SO continues to be guided by the writings of its founder, L. Ron Hubbard, which make clear that a society based on Scientology teachings would not guarantee essential fundamental and human rights.”
Several campaigns that the Church of Scientology leads are mentioned, which offer alleged social aid.
In essence, the report lists some very clear points and claims, which most of the time are substantiated by numbers and evidence. In terms of intelligence activities, the claims regarding Russia and China are mostly a result of the necessity of the Washington-led establishment to propagate the narrative, rather than an actual security risk or threat.
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