Posts Tagged ‘neo-Nazi’

Neo-Nazi found guilty of killing 10 people in Germany, receives life sentence

July 11, 2018

A Munich court has found the main defendant in a high-profile neo-Nazi trial guilty of murder over the killing of 10 people — most of them migrants — gunned down between 2000 and 2007 in a case that shocked Germany.

Judges on Wednesday sentenced Beate Zschaepe to life in prison.

The 43-year-old was arrested in 2011, shortly after her two accomplices were found dead in an apparent murder-suicide. Together with the men, Uwe Mundlos and Uwe Boehnhardt, she had formed the National Socialist Underground, which pursued an ideology of white racial supremacy by targeting migrants, mostly of Turkish origin.

Authorities for years failed to attribute the killings and two bomb attacks to a far-right group, instead investigating nonexistent gangland ties of the victims.


Sebastian Kurz to Hitler comparison sparks uproar in Austria

October 18, 2017

Sebastian Kurz is set to become Austrian chancellor aged just 31. A German satirical magazine has been heavily criticized for comparing the young politician to one of history’s most notorious figures.

Sebastian Kurz in Austria

In the run-up to Sunday’s Austrian elections, German media had accused frontrunner Sebastian Kurz of “fishing for far-right votes,” whipping up anti-Muslim sentiment and shifting his People’s Party (ÖVP) closer to the far-right Freedom Party (FPÖ).

Kurz, 31, now appears set to become Austria’s next chancellor after the ÖVP won the most votes in parliamentary elections .

Following his victory, German satirical magazine Titanic sparked an uproar in Austria after it published an image of Kurz with a target over his chest and the caption: “Finally possible: Killing baby Hitler!”

Austrian newspapers and Twitter users criticized the magazine within hours of Titanic posting the image on its official Twitter page.

The Austrian news website published an article on the incident with the headline, “Scandal: Satire magazine calls for the murder of Kurz,” while the daily tabloid newpaper Kronen Zeitung said the tweet was “unbelievable” and “tasteless.”

Read more: Europe reacts to Kurz victory

Vienna police said on Twitter they were investigating the image after a user asked them whether the magazine could be prosecuted.

“We have already forwarded this to the responsible authority,” it wrote in reply.

It was unclear at the time of writing how long the police’s investigation will take.

Adolf Hitler, who was born in Austria, ruled Nazi Germany from 1933 until his death in 1945.

Read more: Man dressed as Hitler arrested in Austria

Austria’s far right waits in the wings after Kurz victory

DW asked Christian Solmecke, an expert in media law in Cologne, Germany, about the case:

DW: Is there an incitement to murder in the magazine’s caricature?

Solmecke: If you want to determine whether an incitement to murder is liable for prosecution, you need to see the entire context. Here it’s very clear that there is no incitement to murder that should be taken seriously. In this respect, I believe no line has been crossed. The question naturally arises whether the post was libelous.

Read more: Austria to tear down Adolf Hitler’s place of birth in Braunau am Inn

DW: Is it in your opinion libelous to call the likely future Chancellor of Austria as “Baby Hitler”?

This is naturally a crass comparison. If you equate someone with Hitler, it’s usually an exaggeration. Satire is, at least in Germany, completely protected. The border [between satire and libel] is crossed in only a few exceptions. Even politicians, who also dole [insults] out, have to tolerate exaggerated insults from satire magazines. I therefore think that a court will ultimately find this post permissible.

Read more: Hitler doppelganger sighted near Nazi leader’s birthplace in Austria

Sebastian Kurz at party rallySebastian Kurz’s People’s Party won the most votes in Sunday’s parliamentary elections

DW: So the post is within the scope of what is legally allowed?

Even if you think it is outlandish and you don’t understand the joke or you think it’s a bad joke, it’s still within the scope of free expression. [The post] insinuates that Sebastian Kurz is relatively right-wing. Of course it’s an exaggerated insinuation, but that is exactly what satire is: exaggerated insinuation. Titanic’s opinion is clear: the wrong politician is about to become chancellor and that politician is too right-wing.

DW: How problematic is the suggested murder in this case?

The suggested murder is admittedly there and you can see the target placed on him. But the entire context – the post all the way to the satire magazine –  indicates that this is not a concrete incitement to murder. I therefore assume that state prosecutors will not start an investigation. And if they do, then they will close the investigation within a short space of time.

Swedish police make arrests prior to Nazi demonstration

September 30, 2017


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Riot police in Gothenburg. Photo: Thomas Johansson/TT
Three people have been arrested and several others detained by police in Gothenburg prior to a neo-Nazi demonstration in the city Saturday.

Two foreign citizens were arrested at Gothenburg’s Landvetter Airport on Friday night after knives were found in their luggage. The two were arrested on suspicion of planning assault, the Swedish police confirmed in a message posted on its website.

A further seven foreign nationals have been taken into custody and a third person was arrested at Gothenburg Central Station, also on suspicion of planning violent acts, reports news agency TT.

Police have also taken action in other parts of Sweden in connection with the demonstration due to be held by the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR) in Gothenburg on Saturday.

In Helsingborg, a foreign citizen was arrested on board a bus after hitting a policeman in the face.

Nine foreign nationals have been detained and one ejected from the country under Sweden’s Foreign Citizens Law (Utlänningslagen) provision for foreign nationals, according to the report.

Gothenburg city centre is expected to be particularly busy on Saturday due to several other events taking place, including the annual Book Fair and a football match, and its timing as the first Saturday after pay day.

The march also coincides with the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur – a day of atonement observed by fasting and praying – and the route was initially planned to pass close to a Gothenburg synagogue.

However, earlier this week a local court changed the route, cutting its total length by almost half, citing risks to public order and security. Marchers will no longer be allowed to pass by the synagogue or to gather outside the location of the Book Fair.

The route of the march (red) and the route prior to the court ruling which forced it to be shortened (dotted). Graphic: TT

Police in Gothenburg were on Saturday morning present at the designated meeting point of the NMR prior to its planned march, reports TT.

Several other locations in the city are already under police surveillance and roadblocks have been put in place, according to the report.

Some businesses on the march route have chosen to board up windows prior to the demonstration. Photo: Jonas Dagson/TT

The NMR, set up in 1997, promotes an openly racist and anti-Semitic doctrine, and its growing popularity in Sweden has caused concern in neighbouring Norway.

Earlier in the month, about 50 members of extremist group marched through the centre of Gothenburg, an event for which the group did not have a permit. According to media reports, a minor fight broke out between some of the protesters and a counter-demonstrator, but police quickly intervened and did not make any arrests.

READ ALSO: Why 2016 saw a surge of neo-Nazi activity in Sweden

Donations to Anti-Defamation League surge in US

August 22, 2017



© Getty/AFP/File | Donors have shown greater interest in supporting the Anti-Defamation League since the August 12 violence at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia
NEW YORK (AFP) – Donations to the Anti-Defamation League, one of the oldest anti-discrimination, anti-Semitic organizations in the United States, have spiked sharply since the violence in Charlottesville, the group said Monday.

ADL spokeswoman Betsaida Alcantara said donations like the one from James Murdoch — the chief executive of 21st Century Fox, who last week announced a million-dollar donation — as well as those from corporations like Apple, Uber and MGM Resorts yielded a rise of “1,000%” last week, compared to the weekly average donations since the beginning of the year.

The ADL, headquartered in New York, did not specify to which dollar amount this surge had led.

On Monday, the big bank J.P. Morgan also joined the ranks of the donors, Alcantara said.

The bank announced a million-dollar gift to be shared by the ADL and the Southern Poverty Law Center, a center for studies of extremist movements, according to US media.

Donors have shown greater interest in supporting the ADL since the August 12 violence at a neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

A woman was killed and 19 people injured during those clashes between anti-racism demonstrators and white supremacists. President Donald Trump was the target of fierce criticism for not clearly condemning the extreme right.

Another organization to combat racism and anti-Semitism, the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, has also recorded major donations since then. One came from California actor and former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

An estimated 40,000 anti-racism demonstrators flooded Boston on Saturday to counter another rally by far-right groups.

Trump’s neo-Nazi rally comments thrust GOP doubts into open — “A current feeling of deep frustration and despair.”

August 21, 2017

Donald Trump

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s racially fraught comments about a deadly neo-Nazi rally have thrust into the open some Republicans’ deeply held doubts about his competency and temperament, in an extraordinary public airing of worries and grievances about a sitting president by his own party.

Behind the high-profile denunciations voiced this week by GOP senators once considered Trump allies, scores of other, influential Republicans began to express grave concerns about the state of the Trump presidency. In interviews with Associated Press reporters across nine states, 25 Republican politicians, party officials, advisers and donors expressed worries about whether Trump has the self-discipline and capability to govern successfully.

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White nationalists, neo-Nazis and members of the “alt-right” clash with counter-protesters as they enter Lee Park during the “Unite the Right” rally, Aug. 12, 2017, in Charlottesville, Va. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Eric Cantor, the former House majority leader from Virginia, said Republicans signaled this week that Trump’s handling of the Charlottesville protests was “beyond just a distraction.”

“It was a turning point in terms of Republicans being able to say, we’re not even going to get close to that,” Cantor said.

A car slammed into a group of counterprotesters after a rally by white nationalists on Saturday in Charlottesville, Va. killing at least one and injuring at least 19. Credit Ryan M. Kelly/The Daily Progress, via Associated Press

Chip Lake, a Georgia-based GOP operative who did not vote for Trump in the general election, raised the prospect of the president leaving office before his term is up.

“It’s impossible to see a scenario under which this is sustainable under a four-year period,” Lake said.

Trump’s handling of the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, has shaken his presidency unlike any of the other self-created crises that have rattled the White House during his seven months in office. Business leaders have bolted from White House councils, wary of being associated with the president. Military leaders distanced themselves from Trump’s assertion that “both sides” — the white supremacists and the counter-protesters — were to blame for the violence that left one protester dead. And some members of Trump’s own staff were outraged by his combative assertion that there were “very fine people” among those marching with the white supremacists, neo-Nazis and KKK members.

Importantly, the Republicans interviewed did not line up behind some course of action or an organized break with the president. Some expressed hope the recent shakeup of White House advisers might help Trump get back in control of his message and the GOP agenda.

Still, the blistering and blunt statements from some Republicans have marked a new phase. Until now, the party has largely kept its most troubling doubts about Trump to whispered, private conversations, fearful of alienating the president’s loyal supporters and upending long-sought GOP policy goals.

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and a foreign policy ally of the Trump White House, delivered the sharpest criticism of Trump, declaring that the president “has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to” in dealing with crises.

Bob Corker

Corker’s comments were echoed in the interviews with two dozen Republican officials after Trump expressed his views in Tuesday’s press conference. More than half spoke on the record, while the others insisted on anonymity in order to speak candidly about the man who leads their party and remains popular with the majority of GOP voters.

A handful defended Trump without reservation. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, an early supporter of the president, said he “proudly” stands with Trump and said he was succeeding despite a “constant barrage of negative attacks from the left.”

But others said recent events had shifted the dynamic between the president and his party.

“I was never one that was convinced that the president had the character to lead this nation, but I was certainly willing to stand by the president on critical issues once he was elected,” said Clarence Mingo, a Republican state treasurer candidate in Ohio. “Now, even where good conservative policies are concerned, that progress is all negated because of his inability to say and do the right things on fundamental issues.”

In Kentucky, Republican state senator Whitney Westerfield called Trump’s comments after the Charlottesville protests “more than a gaffe.”

“I’m concerned he seems to firmly believe in what he’s saying about it,” Westerfield said.

 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (pictured) has avoided criticizing Trump publicly, but aides say the Kentucky lawmaker is privately furious with the President

 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (pictured) has avoided criticizing Trump publicly, but aides say the Kentucky lawmaker is privately furious with the President

Trump has survived criticism from establishment Republicans before, most notably when GOP lawmakers across the country distanced themselves from him in the final weeks of the campaign following the release of a video in which the former reality television star is heard making predatory sexual comments about women. Many of those same lawmakers ultimately voted for Trump and rallied around his presidency after his stunning victory.

GOP efforts to align with Trump have largely been driven by political realities. The president still commands loyalty among his core supporters, though some recent polls have suggested a slight weakening there. And while his style is often controversial, many of his statements are often in line with those voters’ beliefs, including his support after Charlottesville for protecting Confederate monuments.

Brian Westrate, a small business owner in western Wisconsin who is also chairman of the 3rd Congressional District Republican Party, said Trump supporters long ago decided to embrace the unconventional nature of his presidency.

“I don’t think that anything has fundamentally changed between now and when the election was,” he said. “The president remains an ill-artful, ill-timed speaker who uses Twitter too often. That’s not new. … The president is still the same guy and the left is still the same left.”

Some White House officials do privately worry about slippage in Trump’s support from congressional Republicans, particularly in the Senate. GOP senators couldn’t cobble together the 50 votes needed to pass a health care overhaul and that same math could continue to be a problem in the fall, as Republicans work on reforming the tax code, which is realistically the party’s last opportunity to pass major legislation in 2017.

Tom Davis, a Republican state senator representing a coastal South Carolina district, said that when Trump can move beyond the crisis of the moment, he articulates policies that could help the country’s economic situation. But Davis said Trump is also part of the reason not much progress has been made.

“To his discredit, he’s been maddeningly inconsistent in advancing those policies, which is part of the reason so little has been accomplished in our nation’s capital these past six months,” Davis said.

Mike Murphy, a veteran Republican strategist who most recently tried to help Jeb Bush win the 2016 GOP presidential primary, said the early optimism some Republicans felt about their ability to leverage Trump’s presidency has all but evaporated in the days following the Charlottesville protests.

“Most party regulars have gone from an initial feeling of guarded optimism that Trump would be able to stumble along while Mitch (McConnell) and (Paul) Ryan do the big lifting and pass our Republican agenda to a current feeling of deep frustration and despair,” Murphy said.


Barrow reported from Atlanta. AP writers Julie Bykowicz in Washington, Julie Carr Smyth in Columbus, Ohio, Meg Kinnard in Columbia, South Carolina, Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin, and Adam Beam in Frankfort, Kentucky, contributed to this report.


Follow Julie Pace at and Bill Barrow at


Charlottesville: A Made In America Crisis — “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected?”

August 19, 2017

By Michael Wilner
The Jerusalem Post
August 19, 2017

History is our guide to what Charlottesville means to racism in the US.

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Members of the Ku Klux Klan face counter-protesters as they rally in support of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virginia, U.S. July 8, 2017. REUTERS – JONATHAN ERNST

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia – Many statues dot the Jeffersonian city of Charlottesville, a quaint, red-bricked and well-manicured college town host to the University of Virginia and, this past weekend, a neofascist rally the likes of which Americans have not seen in modern times.

On the campus itself, Homer, the ancient Greek author of the Iliad, takes center stage, while Thomas Jefferson and George Washington look upon each other across the quad. Enter town and you will pass Revolutionary War hero George Clark astride a horse, and then Sacagawea, a native American woman who guided Lewis and Clarke into the West and, according to the plaque beside her rusted base, represents “a symbol of unity and peace for all people.”

Only further in town do you reach the Confederate statues – of which there are many, as well.

An unknown infantryman stands above the stars and bars of the 1860s secessionist rebellion and Civil War, exemplifying the “defenders of the rights of the states.” Nearby, a horse-mounted Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson – one of the most revered Southern generals of the war – rides above a winged man and woman, sculpted like Soviet icons of strength and camaraderie.

But it is the statue of one particular man, with a singular grip on the Southern imagination, that is causing so much controversy here in Virginia that locals threaten to pull it down – a prospect egregious enough for white power activists to gather and march in its defense.

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That man is Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate armed forces and the central icon of what is known as the “Lost Cause” of the South. It is, in short, a myth that the American Civil War was not primarily about slavery, and that Lee actually lamented the peculiar institution which brought Africans to the American colonies in chains.

As state assemblies voted to secede from the Union one by one, each explicitly wrote that their right to enslave others was their cause. Lee chose to lead this effort. But admitting this fact in light of defeat is to admit that Southern history is defined – from its origins to its crucible moment– by the inequality of its culture and people.

Thus a campaign began in the early 1900s to change this history, in the interest of moving on and in healing national wounds from a war that remains the nation’s deadliest.

Statues were erected and the Confederacy became a symbol to many – not of states’ rights to shatter the Union or proceed with the slave trade, but simply of states rights writ large. It has remained a consistent conservative principle in the South ever since, as its representatives advocate for local control and limitations on the federal government.

And so, in Emancipation Square here in Charlottesville, Lee still stands tall. A veiled woman has brought her children to play here less than a week after neo-Nazis declared this soil their own by blood. A homeless person idles. Three black residents sit under a tree, their backs toward Lee, in peace.

“Thank you, general!” two white men yell toward Lee from a passing car.

“They descended on us – it felt like bum-rush Charlottesville,” said Hope Jackson, a longtime resident of the city who works with small children. Hope chose not to attend Saturday’s events in order to avoid stress and fear. She now sits reflectively on a bench across from a painted memorial to Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old woman who was murdered by a rally participant, and a second painting of Lady Liberty stomping out a Nazi Schutzstaffel.

“We were warned ahead of time, but we didn’t know the magnitude,” Hope added. She is black. “It’s the South – it’s part of life.”

Some 100 public schools and roughly 700 statues across the nation are named after Confederate icons, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. This is a consequence of the unfinished 19th-century history that has now become a flashpoint between those who believe America needs to move on and those who have adopted the Lost Cause as fact.

Many Americans have given little thought to the details or meaning of the Civil War, and rather identify Lee, Jackson and Confederate president Jefferson Davis as the most famous and successful men ever to emerge from the South. To them it is pride of place and little more.

But these are not the individuals who marched on Charlottesville on Saturday, as President Donald Trump asserted in his extraordinary remarks from Trump Tower on Tuesday.

Those who organized the Virginia march fit by their own definition into three camps that have aligned themselves with the Lost Cause: White nationalists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis. And this is why understanding the meaning of a statue to Robert E. Lee is critical to understanding this modern surge in American antisemitism.

White nationalists believe the United States was founded by white Christians and is therefore, in every meaningful way, their birthright. They assert that– just like African- Americans, Muslims, Jews, and other minorities– they are entitled to their cultural heritage and to its preservation. They claim the Confederacy is a part of this heritage, and thus statues to the cause are a part of their history.

White supremacists take this cause one step further by stripping away any pretense of concern over discriminating on the basis of race. They believe that whites are not only entitled to the nation by birthright – “blood and soil,” they say – but that laws allowing for the diversification of America, such as the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Voting Rights Act and more recent immigration and civil rights efforts, have all been part of a concerted effort to minimize the power of the white majority.

Neo-Nazis march for Robert E. Lee because they believe this concerted effort to thwart white power has been organized by a conspiracy of Jews. Their lexicon is similar to that of white nationalists who refer to a cabal of globalists, bankers and liberal media working against them – except that these fascists are more explicit, using terms such as Jewish globalists, Jewish money, Jewish media.

Material that promoted the Charlottesville event was evocatively antisemitic: “Unite the Right to End Jewish Influence in America,” read one advertisement for the August 12 rally on The Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi website, depicting a man taking a hammer to the Star of David.

Another promotional poster featuring the names of prominent racist participants highlighted the statues under threat, complete with marching Confederate soldiers and Nazi-era Reichsadler eagles.

In his Tuesday press conference, Trump – the president of the Union and leader of the party of Abraham Lincoln – said that “very fine people” were among those marching here. This was despite the organizers of the event and the failure of any group – conservative or otherwise – to identify participants who have dissociated themselves from its stated original purpose.

Trump defended the Confederate statues that have become the frontline standards of America’s most undemocratic of movements. He compared Confederate icons to the nation’s founding fathers, Washington and Jefferson, as mere slave owners who happened to devise the Union, not secede from it.

Early in his career as a young man, Lincoln issued some of his first remarks on his fears over slavery’s effects on the American experiment.

“Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never! All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the Earth – our own excepted – in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years,” Lincoln said at Lyceum, Illinois, in 1838.

“At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected?” he continued. “If it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.”

Jesse Jackson slams US president over white supremacist rally

August 18, 2017


© GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File | US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson slammed President Donald Trump for insisting anti-racism protester shared equal blame with white supremacists for weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia

CHICAGO (AFP) – American civil rights pioneer Jesse Jackson on Friday slammed President Donald Trump for insisting anti-racism protesters were equally to blame for the violence at a white supremacist rally last weekend.Jackson also endorsed removals of Confederate statues and flags, as efforts to shed such symbols accelerated around the country. A Civil War-era monument was at the center of the Virginia rally.

“There is a sense of humiliation, insult by the president equating violent white supremacists, neo-Nazis and the KKK with civil rights demonstrators,” Jackson said at a Chicago news conference.

“One marching to tear the country up. One marching to heal.”

Trump has come under fire from Republicans and Democrats alike for his much-criticized response to the rally in the city of Charlottesville.

In the aftermath, the president lost the support of numerous CEOs and cities across the country decided to remove Confederate symbols from public spaces.

America’s most populous city, New York, announced Thursday that it would remove two busts of Confederate army commanders from the “Hall of Fame for Great Americans” landmark.

Jackson — who marched with Martin Luther King Jr in the 1960s — called such steps “long overdue.”

“The statues must go. The (Confederate) flag must go. One American flag is enough,” Jackson said.

“There are no swastikas flying in Germany today. There are no statues of Hitler in Germany today.”

Far-right extremism probe into elite German army unit opens

August 18, 2017

State prosecutors in the city of Tübingen have begun investigating whether right-wing activities took place at a farewell party for special forces in the Bundeswehr. It is the latest scandal to rock the German army.

German special forces

A prosecutor spokesperson from the state attorney’s office in the German city of Tübingen confirmed to DW on Thursday that it had begun looking into whether right-wing extremist behavior took place among Germany’s Special Force Commando (KSK), the nation’s elite military troops.

“We are examining the incident,” Nicolaus Wegele said via phone. He added that the investigation may eventually be taken over by the Stuttgart attorney since the alleged incidents took place near to that city in the town of Calw.

Stuttgart lies some 45 kilometers north of Tübingen in the federal state of Baden-Württemberg.

Read more: The Bundeswehr’s image problem – is it overrun with right-wing extremists?

The badge of the KSK Special Forces Commando of the German armyThe badge of the KSK (above), the German army’s elite special forces

Hitler salutes and pig heads

According to research undertaken by public German radio stations Radio Bremen, NDR, ZDF and ARD, KSK troops allegedly displayed extreme right-wing behavior at a goodbye party that took place on April 27, 2017 at a shooting range near Stuttgart. The troops reportedly gave the Hitler salute, listened to right-wing extremist rock music, and also organized a pig’s head toss.

Slaughtered pig heads are commonly used in right-wing extremist activities due to the animal’s association with the Kosher and Halal dietary restrictions for Jews and Muslims respectively.
Read more: German army sees spike in internal abuse complaints

Testimony from an eyewitness present at the events lead the Tübingen office to open its probe. The eyewitness said that a soldier friend of hers had invited her to the goodbye party so she could be the “main prize” for the head of the military company. She also reported having WhatsApp messages on her phone as proof.

The elite KSK troops were founded in 1996 in order to free and evacuate German hostages in war zones. Their operations are secret and have included missions in Afghanistan and the Balkans. Very little information about the KSK is made public due to the need to protect the soliders and their families.

Germany's Special Forces Commando KSK practice in Calw The KSK practice hostage rescue at their base in Calw in 2014

Read more: The German military and its troubled traditions

Bundeswehr criticizes Bundeswehr

The Bundeswehr has also opened an internal investigation into the matter, a military spokesperson confirmed to German news agency dpa, while emphasizing that none of the acts had yet been confirmed. The army reportedly knew of the incident in Calw as early as July 13.

On Thursday, military commissioner Hans-Peter Bartels on Thursday questioned why the Bundeswehr did not notify the state prosecution themselves once the incident became known rather than wait for the eyewitness to come forward independently.

“Showing the Hitler salute is not a question of taste. Playing music that disparages a democratic Germany is not a question of taste,” Bartels said. He called upon any soldiers with information to come forward. “Soldiers should defend democracy, not disparage it,” he added.

Read more: What draws right-wing extremists to the military?

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 Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen

The Bundeswehr’s latest far-right extremism scandal

The alleged far-right extremist incidents in Calw lengthens the list of scandals that the Bundeswehr has faced in recent months.

In April 2017, authorities arrested Franco A., an army lieutenant who was reportedly planning a terrorist attack and had been posing as a Syrian refugee. The odd case put the Bundeswehr on the defensive since it allegedly knew of Franco A.’s right-wing leanings as early as 2014 but did not intervene.

Just a few week’s after the arrest, investigators also uncovered Nazi memorabilia in troop barracks in Donaueschingen, including helmets from the Wehrmacht – the German military under Hitler. The Bundeswehr was founded in 1955, and many once-soldiers in the Wehrmacht began serving in the Bundeswehr.

Other scandals to rattle the Bundeswehr this year including allegations of hazing and sexual abuse. The scandals have led to tensions between Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen and top army brass.

Top US general condemns racism after Charlottesville violence

August 17, 2017


© POOL/AFP | General Joseph Dunford joined top military figures who have spoken out against the violence in Charlottesville

BEIJING (AFP) – The United States’ top general condemned “racism and bigotry” on Thursday, joining other military leaders in their denunciation of deadly violence in Charlottesville.

The military usually stays out of the political fray, but it has been keen to distance itself from the weekend’s neo-Nazi demonstrations because some demonstrators were sporting US military clothes or insignia.

“I can absolutely and unambiguously tell you that there’s no place for racism and bigotry in the US military or in the United States as a whole,” General Joe Dunford, the chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff, told reporters during a visit to Beijing.

He added that military leaders “were speaking directly to the force and to the American people… to make it clear that that kind of racism and bigotry is not going to stand inside the force… and to remind (the American people) of the values for which we stand in the US military which are reflective of what I believe to be the values of the United States.”

The statement contrasts with remarks from President Donald Trump, who said there was “blame on both sides” after a white supremacist rally ended with a suspected Nazi sympathiser ploughing his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, leaving one woman dead and 19 others injured.

“What about the alt-left that came charging… at the, as you say, the alt-right?” the president asked on Tuesday. “Do they have any semblance of guilt?”

The heads of the Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as Pentagon chief Jim Mattis, have responded to the incident in recent days.

Admiral John Richardson, who leads the Navy, called the events in Charlottesville “shameful.”

“The Navy will forever stand against intolerance and hatred,” he said in a statement Saturday.

German minister accuses Trump of glossing over right-wing violence

August 16, 2017


Image result for Heiko Maas, Photos

German Justice Minister Heiko Maas

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Justice Minister Heiko Maas on Wednesday condemned U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest comments on the violence stemming from a white supremacist rally in Virginia, saying no one should play down anti-Semitism or neo-Nazi racism.

On Tuesday Trump provoked further controversy when he said that those who had been protesting against the right-wing activists were partly responsible for the violence.

Trump’s comments came a day after he had bowed to pressure to explicitly condemn the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups.

“It is unbearable how Trump is now glossing over the violence of the right-wing hordes from Charlottesville,” Maas said in a statement, reflecting concern across the German political spectrum about the Trump presidency.

“No one should trivialise anti-Semitism and racism by neo-Nazis,” Maas said.

Maas – a Social Democrat member of conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition – is the highest-ranking German politician to address the latest switch in Trump’s rhetoric about the violence.

Germany has tough laws against hate speech and any symbols linked to Adolf Hitler and the Nazis, who ruled from 1933 until their defeat in 1945.

Merkel had told broadcaster Phoenix on Monday that clear and forceful action was required to combat right-wing extremism, noting that Germans had also seen a rise in anti-Semitism and had “quite a lot to do at home ourselves”.

Trump has come under increasing pressure over his stance on the violence, with many members of his own Republican party and U.S. business executives distancing themselves from him.

Trump on Tuesday maintained that his original reaction was based on the facts he had at the time, and insisted that both sides were to blame.

The violence erupted in Charlottesville on Saturday during a protest by white nationalists against plans to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, commander of the pro-slavery Confederate army during the American Civil War.

Protesters and counter-protesters clashed in scattered street brawls before a car plowed into the rally’s opponents, killing one woman and injuring 19 other people. A 20-year-old Ohio man, James Fields, said to have harbored Nazi sympathies, was charged with murder.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Andrew Bolton