German domestic intelligence services disclose their extensive surveillance of former CDU politician Hans-Georg Maaßen for his criticism of globalism, the Green Party, mass migration and state media
Who will defend us from the defenders of the constitution?
I know I have written a lot about German politics recently. I promise to return very soon to other themes, but what is happening in the Federal Republic right now is very important and it deserves attention. While I have a small readership, I must do what I can to help the rest of the world understand the state of politics in my country. We have, quite simply, descended into a DDR-lite regime in the space of less than ten years, without anybody noticing and with the full collusion of the media and the government. I am starting to get a little bit worried.
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At the start of January, I wrote about the WerteUnion (“Values Union”), a small faction within the CDU, and the plans of its co-founder Hans-Georg Maaßen to break this faction off into its own party. With this announcement, Maaßen has called the entire fury of the media-political-industrial-complex down upon himself, because he has pledged that the WerteUnion will cooperate with Alternative für Deutschland. Maaßen is not just anybody; he’s a prominent CDU politician who presided over the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) under Angela Merkel from 2012 to 2018. Yesterday, the media reported that the BfV have classified Maaßen, their former president, as a “right-wing extremist.”
This is a direct response to Maaßen’s latest political project. As a party the WerteUnion does not even exist yet, they have no members in the parliament, and it is highly uncertain whether they’ll succeed in any elections. Nevertheless, the current president of the BfV, Thomas Haldenwang (CDU), has taken enforcement measures against Maaßen for the sin of even daring to found a party that threatens to peel votes from the Union ahead of the elections in Saxony, Thüringen and Brandenburg. This is another step to criminalise the German political opposition, and that is bad enough, but it is only the beginning.
First, some boring background: For a while now, scurrilous media reports have been circulating about Maaßen’s alleged ties to the “Reichsbürger” scene. This is a diffuse right-leaning movement that is roughly analogous to the “sovereign citizens” of the Anglophone world, and probably even more harmless. Their central contention is that the founding of the Federal Republic was in some way invalid, and that the old German Reich continues to exist on some theoretical legal plane. In 2022, there was a brief media hyperventilation when federal police announced that Reichsbürger in the circles of Heinrich XIII Prinz Reuß had been planning a coup d’état. The police had apparently had Reuß and his associates under surveillance for a long time, and finally arrested 25 of them, including Reuß himself. Nothing is more laughable than the proposition that any of these naive and eccentric people posed any danger to the German state at all. Nevertheless, there is a great hunger for right-wing enemies of the state, and the Reichsbürger alas are willing to play this role even at great personal cost to themselves.1
Last year, Maaßen requested through his attorney that the BfV reveal what materials they had collected tying him to the Reichsbürger scene. They have now responded with a twenty-page letter, revealing the unbelievably extensive surveillance they have been conducting on Maaßen’s social media accounts and press statements. Maaßen has posted this remarkable document online. All the material they have collected is publicly available, but that’s not the point. These are associations, statements and activities that the BfV regard as potentially indicative of unconstitutional and thus illegal political views.
Below I provide extensive translated excerpts from the letter, because the evidence it provides for what is considered out-of-bounds in German politics today is just unbelievable. Criticising the government makes you a right-wing extremist. Criticising the Greens in particular makes you a right-wing extremist. Opposing mass migration makes you a right-wing extremist. Linking to the wrong websites makes you a right-wing extremist. Doing any of these things can attract the attention of the political police.
We start with some of the evidence BfV has collected tying Maaßen to the Reichsbürger:
In fulfilment of your client’s request for information … we … inform you that the BfV has stored the following data on your client in connection with the matter you have indicated – namely, a possible connection of your client to the “Reichsbürger” scene:
– The right-wing extremist Bernhard Schaub mentioned your client in a letter dated 24 February 2020 to Heinrich XIII Prince Reuss on the subject of the “continued existence of the German Reich” and “German sovereignty.” In this letter, Mr Schaub expressed the opinion that Dr Maaßen “appears to be a staunch republican.”
– According to media reports … a person associated with the group around Heinrich XIII Prince Reuß is said to have shared “videos of Hans-Georg Maaßen” on his Facebook page.
– Your client commented on the group surrounding Heinrich XIII Prince Reuß … [H]e argued, among other things, that the enforcement measures against suspected members of Heinrich XIII Prince Reuß’s association were disproportionate.
– In an article written by your client … he stated that there was some evidence suggesting that these [Reichsbürger] … had been “used for a PR coup.”
– In a tweet from your client dated 2 January 2023, he expressed the following opinion: “After all, the federal government was able to arrest 25 Reichsbürger with over 3,000 police officers and dozens of journalists. The greatest threat to internal security is neither Reichsbürger nor violent migrants, but the incompetent and unwilling politicians who govern us.”
To summarise: Maaßen is under suspicion of having ties to the Reichsbürger because some of the people around Preuß shared videos of his speeches and spoke well of him, and also because Maaßen does not think the Reichsbürger are nearly as important as the security services are making them out to be. The Stasi also used vague associations like these to detect political criminals. In fact, the BfV surveillance appears to be even more extreme:
The historian and former director of the Hohenschönhausen Stasi prison memorial, Hubertus Knabe … has expressed his shock at the surveillance of … Hans-Georg Maassen…
“I am very disturbed to see how extensively the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has investigated a CDU politician … I have never seen such a complete overview of political activities and statements in the Stasi files of prominent DDR dissidents.”
The Reichsbürger stuff is merely the tip of the iceberg, because the BfV have disclosed that they are interested in a wide variety of Maaßen’s statements addressing many other topics:
Your client commented on various current political issues in columns and articles:
For example, in the essay written with his co-author Johannes Eisleben entitled “The Rise and Fall of Post-Nationalism” … your client warned of “undemocratic, totalitarian supranational systems” and “a new totalitarianism,” which has the goal of allying “socialist and globalist forces.” This essay is judged by academics to use anti-Semitic codes and ciphers …
This is particularly outrageous. The allegedly antisemitic article was originally published in English; you can read it for yourself here. Its primary sin is that it speaks of “globalists” and “elites,” which our betters allege to be code-words for Jews. The controversy surrounding this article flared up after the Fridays for Future activist Luisa Neubauer accused Maaßen of antimesitism and journalists began sifting through his recent work to find proof. To be a right-wing extremist surveilled by the BfV, you just need a Green activist to speak ill of you.
In fact, to be a right-wing extremist, all you have to do is criticise the Greens:
In a column on www.weltwoche.ch on 12 September 2022, your client made the following comments on the Bündnis 90/Die Grünen Party, among others:
“How will the Green fanatics deal with people who – like me – don’t agree to a future where they’re only allowed to cycle and use the kilowatt hours allocated them, but who want to decide for themselves how they live? Will they be sent to de-radicalisation camps for re-education, or will mere exclusion suffice as it has until now? The fanaticism and ruthlessness of the Greens scares me and reminds me of the fanaticism of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and the Khmer Rouge.”
Actually, just accusing the socialists in government of being socialists seems to be enough to make you a right-wing extremist:
In addition, various articles by your client have appeared in the magazine “Die Weltwoche,” … [including an] online article entitled “Chemotherapy for Germany” … of 10 November 2023. In this piece, your client made the following comments:
“This is how one must interpret their [Olaf Scholz’s and Nancy Faeser’s] behaviour [with regard to refugee and migration policy] – they want the collapse of German society in order to build a neo-socialist social system on its ruins.”
Opposing transgender insanity is enough to make you a right-wing extremist:
Furthermore, it is recorded here that your client … at an event … on 1 May 2023 in St. Gangloff … made the following comments about people in Africa:
“You know, if you go to some backward village in Africa, you might still be able to sell the people glass beads for lots and lots of gold, which they will give you. But to convince people that there are three genders or ten or a hundred genders, I don't think even backward, culturally backward people are that naive and infantile.”
Making incisive remarks about the exclusive and corrupt party cartel system that currently has Germany in a vice-grip is enough to make you a right-wing extremist:
At the general meeting of the WerteUnion on 10 June 2023 in Erfurt, your client said the following about democratic parties and the party landscape in general, among other things:
“And then we are dealing with a party landscape where you can say it’s a cartel, or are, as they used to say in the East, bloc parties. Because if you vote Green, you get Green, if you vote [SPD or Left], you get Green, and if you vote [FDP or liberal], you get Green, and as I now understand Mr Merz in his latest statements, he also wants to submit to the Greens and form a coalition with the Greens. In my view, this party cartel must be broken up.”
Opposing mass migration makes you a right-wing extremist:
Furthermore, your client … held discussions with or was interviewed by the publicist Alexander Wallasch… On 20 February 2023, your client asked his interview partner Mr Wallasch the following questions on the topic of “Flight and migration”:
“Why has this mass migration to Germany been taking place for years, which does not serve to protect refugees and is not in the interests of the German people? Why are the SPD, Greens, FDP and CDU/CSU allowing hundreds of thousands and millions of foreigners into the country when a blind person with a walking stick can recognise that these people will never, ever integrate into our society?”
In a conversation/interview with Mr Wallasch on 5 July 2023, your client commented on the German government's migration policy as follows
“The fact that there are these riots and uprisings by migrants in Germany and in France is not fate, but is the result of a targeted ideological migration policy of the political left. They want a social transformation. They reject the nation state and want to cement the political balance of power by choosing the people of the state themselves.”
Observing the profound cultural incompatibilities of many migrants makes you a right-wing extremist:
In the interview programme entitled "Strategie Für Deutschland - Migrationspolitik", which was published on 27 April 2023 … your client made the following comments:
“What we are now experiencing here in Germany and in Europe with the high number of migrants, is that we are bringing in people from other cultures who have been socialised very differently, who have learned how to resolve conflicts very differently. We sit down at the table, we talk, we talk and we talk, and we come to a conclusion, and afterwards we shake hands and then part company. We try to find a solution. It’s different in other cultures. In Japanese culture it is similar to ours. In Arab cultures, there is also a completely different system due to, let’s say, the understanding of the roles of men and women and also the understanding of the roles of those at the top and those at the bottom of society. And now I come to the [knife attacks]. Because violence is also seen as an effective means of conflict resolution. If people come to us with this kind of socialisation, have never been socialised here, don’t know our rules, on the contrary, despise the rules they see here because they think the rules from home are more correct, because that’s how they were socialised, then we have a clash of cultures. A clash of cultures, which I have to say we experience here every day. The young people who come to us don’t know our norms, are socialised very differently, bring their understanding of values, their conflict resolution mechanisms to Germany, and we see the consequences every day in stabbings.”
Criticising German state media, as I do constantly here and as millions of Germans do every day, is enough to make you a right-wing extremist:
In an interview … published on the “Hallo Meinung” YouTube channel … on 24 February 2023, your client said:
“I am a big critic of the state media. I don’t call them public media anymore, because they are state media. Public media only describes, I would say, the legal status. … State media are not organised under civil law, but under public law. And yet they are state media. The state media have now become government media and mainstream media. They are not directed against governments and those in power as objects of criticism and critical scrutiny; rather, they criticise the critics of government. They turn against the opposition, that is the enemy they fight. I now see the state media as a threat to our free and democratic order.”
Calling migrants who are demanding “death to the Jews” antisemitic is apparently also right-wing extremism, although this is confusing, given that the BfV appear to believe Maaßen is himself an antisemite:
On 9 April 2023, your client posted the following comment in a tweet on a video showing a rally with an unmanageably large crowd:
“Foreigners shouting anti-Semitic slogans ‘Death to the Jews, death to Israel!’ in Berlin, and the political-media establishment simply looks the other way and does nothing. This is no longer the Germany I worked for and want to keep safe.”
Attacking the slimy sea-rescue NGOs that ferry migrants to Germany is of course also right-wing extremism:
Reports referring to statements made by your client in January 2023 regarding a post by sea rescue activist Axel Steier: Your client had described Steier’s statements as “racial doctrines in the opposite direction” as well as a “human farming programme” …and wrote the following tweet on 13 January 2023 … : “We can be thankful for Mr Steier. He feels safe enough to say what the driving forces in the political media are pushing for. Eliminatory #racism against whites and the burning desire for #Germany to die.”
Here at least we have something that might count as minimally right-leaning, namely an indirect allusion to the Great Replacement.
Of course, if other alleged “right-wing extremists” like your work or retweet it, that makes you a right-wing extremist:
In addition, we have gathered various posts and tweets from persons or groups known to be right-wing extremists, which disseminated posts and tweets from your client or made positive comments about your client:
A video by Martin Sellner with the title “Maaßen’s message: ‘Say what you think!’ - Patriotic Resistance in the CDU?”, published on 17 February 2019 … At the time, Mr Sellner was the leading figure and main mouthpiece of the demonstrated right-wing extremist movement “Identitarian Movement Germany” (IBD).
Positive statements about your client made by the influencer Oliver Janich on Telegram on 6 February, 2 March and 7 April 2023, by the activist Nikolai Nerling on Telegram on 23 January, 8 February and 7 March 2023, by the neo-Nazi Tommy Frenck on 11, 13, 14 and 16 September 2021 … and an article on the right-wing extremist website www.pi-news.net, where an interview with your client on 12 June 2023 was positively received.
In addition, other generally approving or positive statements by right-wing extremists are known from media reports, e.g. by Björn Höcke … who is quoted as saying that there are “many interfaces” between your client’s political programme and the AfD...
I’ve tried to be representative with these excerpts. I have not picked out the most ridiculous material to make the BfV look silly; I have also not excluded troubling stuff that would make Maaßen look bad. This really is what they’re concerned about – a boomer-generation conservative with views typical of millions of Germans. It is absolutely insane to me that this is enough to attract the attention of the political police.
The BfV were founded to defend our constitution against anti-democratic political forces. They have now gone completely rogue, actively subverting what remains of our democratic system in a campaign to criminalise opinions even slightly misaligned with establishment orthodoxies. It is a blessing that they have but a small fraction of the staff and resources available to their Stasi predecessors. For now anyway, their surveillance is almost surely confined to prominent politicians and media figures, though I guess there is an outside chance that eugyppius also has a file at the BfV. That is quite clearly the kind of thing they want you to be worried about. Maaßen’s attorney, remember, only asked for material relating the Reichsbürger. The BfV released vastly more items, very likely in the knowledge that Maaßen would make this material public. This is political intimidation directed by domestic intelligence services at Maaßen specifically, and at dissatisfied Germans more generally.
I can’t escape the feeling that we crossed a threshold in 2021 with the mass vaccination campaign. I have never been so terrified of my government as I was then, and they have never fully abandoned that first manifestation of aggression and steely authoritarianism. In the coming months and years, we will see whether the establishment can succeed in pulling up the drawbridge to exclude the rabble from any say whatsoever in how they are governed.
eugyppius: a plague chronicle is a reader-supported publication. maybe you subscribe?
It is also important to note that the Reichsbürger are extensively infiltrated by the BfV; we don’t know, and may never know, to what degree their allegedly seditious discussions were steered or even provoked by agents provocateurs of the state.