German state-sanctioned black ops and the neo-Nazis

Fist-smashing-Nazi graphicThe NSU scandal has already exposed numerous examples of how German state institutions have supported the creation of violence-prone, neo-Nazi structures through passive benevolent treatment and even active promotion – and how paid undercover agents have infiltrated these structures, german-foreign-policy.com reports

COLOGNE/KASSEL (June 16) – New revelations in the inquiry on assassination attempts by the neo-Nazi “National Socialist Underground” (NSU) have incriminated an operative and an informer of two of Germany’s intelligence services. According to recent reports, a long-time leading activist of the neo-Nazi scene in Cologne is strongly suspected of having planted a bomb in a local supermarket in December 2000. The bombing is considered one of a series of NSU crimes. The neo-Nazi activist was being managed as an “undercover agent” by North Rhine-Westphalia’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution and had possibly still been in contact with the leading NSU trio in 2009. New suspicions have emerged pertaining to Andreas Temme, an operative of Hesse’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Traces of gunpowder found on his gloves have been attributed to a rarely used type of ammunition, which had been used in the NSU murders.

Temme had previously raised suspicion of having been involved in an NSU murder in Kassel. He had left the scene of the crime exactly at the time it was committed. However, he claims that he had not seen the victim, Halit Yozgat, neither alive nor dead, which seems impossible due to the circumstances of the crime. The Minster of Interior, at the time, currently Hesse’s Prime Minister, Volker Bouffier , had systematically blocked investigations of Temme’s possible involvement.

Affinity for weapons

According to recent reports, an “undercover agent” of the North Rhine-Westphalia’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution had placed the bomb in downtown Cologne in the winter of 2000/01. The attack is considered to be one of a whole series of crimes attributed to the neo-Nazi NSU.

On December 21 or 22, the perpetrator had planted a bomb in a supermarket belonging to Djavad M. in Cologne. The bomb exploded on January 19, 2001 seriously injuring Djavad’s 19-year-old daughter Mashia M. The crime has never been solved. Investigations had been focused on the organized crime milieu, until a video emerged on which the NSU claimed responsibility, thereby pointing to the neo-Nazi scene. It has now been reported that concrete suspicions had been raised against a neo-Nazi in Cologne, however, no prosecution has ever been initiated.

When the Federal Office of Criminal Investigation (BKA) transmitted an identikit image of the perpetrator to North Rhine-Westphalia’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution for examination, in February 2012, the BKA received the response that the sketch shows recognizable “similarities” to Johann Helfer, a neo-Nazi from Cologne. In a letter to the BKA, stamped “classified,” Mathilde Koller, head of North Rhine-Westphalia’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution, at the time, confirmed that Johann Helfer had been managed as an “undercover agent” since 1989 and that he also shows “a certain affinity for weapons and paramilitary drills.”[1] There were, however, no indications that he had been involved in the crime. The administration took no further steps.

Paramilitary drills and explosives

Observers of the North Rhine-Westphalian neo-Nazi scene have known Johann Helfer for a long time. Obviously at the instigation of North Rhine-Westphalia’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution, he has been active in the entourage of the young neo-Nazi leader, Axel Reitz, (nicknamed “Hitler from Cologne”), in the “Kampfbund Deutscher Sozialisten” (KDS) – disbanded in 2008 – and the neo-Nazi “Kameradschaft Walter Spangenberg.”[2]

Helfer had occasionally filmed neo-Nazi “marches and counter-demonstrations with his video camera,” according to the research portal “Lotta” – an activity, which deserves special attention because of Helfer’s work for the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.[3] It is not known, whether he also documented the “Kameradschaft Walter Spangenberg’s” annual meeting in November 2009 in Erfstadt in the vicinity of Cologne. At that meeting, Reitz personally accompanied the well-known NSU trio (Uwe Böhnhardt, Uwe Mundlos, and Beate Zschäpe) when they entered the assembly room, a participant reported in late 2011.[4] According to reports, Helfer participated in that meeting.

In spite of his extremist right-wing past, the Bundeswehr trained him to become a sniper, and – as was reported – had been “specifically sent by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution to spy on the snipers’ reservists association.”[5] He said that he had belonged to a paramilitary group,[6] and had been convicted in 1985, of violating the Explosives Act.

Undercover agent

Already last year, the suspicion was publicly expressed that Johann Helfer may have been responsible for the bombing attack in Cologne. In June 2014, two lawyers of the accompanying civil suit in the NSU trial pointed to his similarity to the identikit image of the culprit. They criticized the fact that for identification, the investigating officials had only shown Djavad M. and his second daughter Mahshid M. blurred, useless photos to identify. Therefore, identification was impossible.[7]

It seems that the neo-Nazi from Cologne has still not been interrogated, even though Djavad and Mahshid M. believe, in the meantime, they have positively identified him from an internet photo.[8] If this suspicion proves to be true, it would mean that government authorities have knowingly allowed a neo-Nazi terrorist, serving as “undercover agent” of a German secret service, to be running loose, for years, even though serious accusations against him have been known – even publically – for a year.

It would also be clear that the NSU was larger than only the famous trio – and that Uwe Böhnhardt and Uwe Mundlos had not committed all of the crimes attributed to them. The question of who else was involved has become more urgent than ever.

Knowledge of the crime

A recent report on the circumstances surrounding the NSU’s murder of Halit Yozgat, in Kassel on April 6, 2006, has provided new insights.  These insights refer to Andreas Temme, an operative of Hesse’s Office of the Protection of the Constitution, who is well known for his right-wing extremist ideology.[9]

On April 6, 2006, just after 5 p.m. – at exactly the moment of the crime – Temme had been in the internet cafe in Kassel, where Yozgat was gunned down. He claims not to have seen Yozgat, when he was leaving the internet cafe, even though Yozgat would have been either sitting at the counter or dying, on the floor right beside it. The experienced sniper claims not to have heard the muffled shot, other witnesses had heard and retrospectively identified as a gunshot. Recently it became known that, in a conversation with a colleague a few days after the murder, Temme mentioned that the murder had been committed with the same weapon as in a series of nationwide murders.

As is known today, these murders can be attributed to NSU terror. Because neither the public nor the administration knew what weapon had been used in committing the Kassel murder, experts believe that Temme has knowledge of the crime. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[10]).

Traces of gunpowder

A few days ago, the Chemnitz daily, “Freie Presse,” reported on even graver suspicions. The report focused on traces of gunpowder on Temme’s gloves, Hesse’s police had found during a search of his parent’s house. Initially, Hesse’s police had considered Temme to be the main suspect. The BKA did not consider these traces of gunpowder to be of evidentiary relevance, because Temme is a marksman.

Even though the analysis of the gunpowder traces showed an “unusual chemical composition,” the authorities did not follow up on the results of the investigation, as the “Freie Presse” reported. The journal explained further that the traces were typical of ammunition produced by the Czech company, “Sellier and Bellot.” Temme’s Hegelsberg-Vellmar gun club does not use this kind of ammunition. “I do not know this manufacturer,” the club’s president told the “Freie Presse.”[11] However, “Sellier and Bellot” ammunition had been used in the NSU murders.

Parallels

As the “Freie Presse” further explains, new importance has been given to the testimony of a witness, who, at the time of the crime, was in a backroom of the internet cafe. The witness has consistently insisted, he heard the shot that killed Yozgat, as Temme had just finished surfing and had left the backroom – passing Halit Yozgat’s counter in the front room. Temme was carrying a plastic bag with what seemed to be “something heavy” inside – the bag was sagging downward. Temme had declared that he was carrying a plastic bag.

The “Freie Presse” concluded, the question is relevant, because the NSU murders were all “carried out with a pistol equipped with a silencer, which, in addition, had been inside a plastic bag.” “Probably the killer had used this method to avoid leaving spent cartridges at the scene of the crime.”[12]

Blurred boundaries

The NSU scandal has already exposed numerous examples of how state institutions have supported the creation of violence-prone neo-Nazi structures through passive benevolent treatment and even active promotion – and how paid undercover agents have infiltrated these structures. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[13]) The recent information on the cases of Temme and Helfer are renewed confirmation of how the boundaries between the activities of state authorities and neo-Nazi terror have become blurred – with mortal consequences.

See also Government Development Aid for Neo-Nazis. http://german-foreign-policy.com/en/fulltext/57975

Endnotes

[1]            Stefan Aust, Dirk Laabs: Die dubiosen Ermittlungen zum Kölner Neonazi “Helle”. http://www.welt.de 14.06.2015.

[2]            Walter Spangenberg war ein Kölner SA-Mann.

[3]            K: Hatte der NSU Helfer beim Anschlag in der Kölner Probsteigasse? http://www.lotta-magazin.de 27.06.2014.

[4]            WDR Westpol, 20.11.2011.

[5]            Stefan Aust, Dirk Laabs: Die dubiosen Ermittlungen zum Kölner Neonazi “Helle”. http://www.welt.de 14.06.2015.

[6]            K: Hatte der NSU Helfer beim Anschlag in der Kölner Probsteigasse? http://www.lotta-magazin.de 27.06.2014.

[7]            Tom Sundermann: Wer brachte die Bombe in den Lebensmittelladen? blog.zeit.de 26.06.2014.

[8]            Stefan Aust, Dirk Laabs: Die dubiosen Ermittlungen zum Kölner Neonazi “Helle”. http://www.welt.de 14.06.2015.

[9]            SeeKleiner Adolf.

[10]            SeeEin fatales Näheverhältnis (I).

[11], [12]            Jens Eumann: NSU: Neue Spuren belasten V-Mann-Führer. http://www.freiepresse.de 06.06.2015.

[13]            See Government Development Aid for Neo-Nazis, V-Männer, Von Spitzeln umstellt and Ein fatales Näheverhältnis (I).

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