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German Military Counterintelligence Plagued By Right-Wing Radicals?


German Military Counterintelligence Plagued By Right-Wing Radicals?

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The German Military Counterintelligence Service (Militärischer Abschirmdienst; MAD) is infiltrated by radicals, French Publication Intelligence Online reported.

The article is called “Germany: Military security opens doors to civilians,” and in it the publication claimed that MAD has been under pressure form the newly-appointed Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

She wants to reform the service, which since 2015 has been led by special services veteran Cristo Gram. Her first decision was the appointment in early September of Burchard Even as Gram’s deputy.

This is the first time in the history of MAD when a civilian has taken such a high post in the counterintelligence agency. Burchard Even had long been responsible for managing the counterintelligence in Germany’s foreign intelligence service the BfV.

The move should allegedly improve coordination between MAD and BfV.

In addition, MAD is currently under investigation by the Bundestag special investigator Arne Schlatmann, who deals with the issue of penetration of the ultra-right into the intelligence service.

Currently, MAD has approximately 1,200 personnel, but before the end of 2019 another 200 will join it, most of which civilian personnel.

Essentially, right-wing extremism is on the rise, specifically in Germany. But jihadist extremism is the most significant threat.

And MAD needs to be pay a closer attention to the German Armed Forces – the Bundeswehr. This would also be assisted by the BKA (the Federal Criminal Police Office).

The BKA, which soon will have upwards of 7,000 employees, wants to set up a “central office for the fight against hate crime” with the new investigators.

It should capture punishable comments on Facebook or Twitter and forward them to the prosecutors. In addition, the new investigators are to assess the danger of neo-Nazis and create a sort of radar, that is similar to what the BKA currently operates for when it comes to jihadists.

The BfV wants to look into right-wing extremism as well. BfV President Thomas Haldenwang wants to increase the number of about 210 employees of his right-wing extremism and terrorism department to more than 300 by the end of the year.

In the future, BfV agents should focus more on right-wing extremist offenders, not just organizations, clubs or parties, according to a concept for the new right-wing strategy for domestic intelligence services.

It needs to closely cooperate with MAD for that purpose, as well. That is where the issue comes from, however, in MAD, the personnel is mostly made up of German army officers who look after their own colleagues from when they were in the army.

Too often their assessments of extremist activities would be lenient or lax, Arne Schlatmann, after a months-long review of MAD files in the parliamentary control panel criticized.

What happened is that, due to the general focus on assessing various jihadist extremism and supporters, those who investigate it, over time, get rather right-wing views during their operations. Which, in turn, leads to them turning a blind eye to right-wing extremist behavior.

A recent example of this is Stephan Balliet, who killed two while trying to break into a synagogue and carry out a mass shooting on October 9th.

He was part of the Bundeswehr and learned how to shoot at the training grounds in Hagenow. He served his six-month military service between 2010-2011 at Panzergrenadierbetaillon 401 in Hagenow, der Spiegel reported.

During his three-month basic training he had been trained on the G36 assault rifle and the P8 pistol, according to the outlet, based on information received from MAD.

The MAD had never been aware of a possible right-wing attitude of the soldier during the service. He reportedly behaved normally during his service and was not ambitious.

He also didn’t apply for special forces training.

“In retrospect, we can be glad that he did not learn much from the German Armed Forces, otherwise he could have killed considerably more people in Halle,” the Spiegel quoted an anonymous army general.

This just shows the issue that is currently brewing, of right-wing behavior being largely unseen because of the increasing social tensions an growing threat of terrorism in the region.




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