Can European security services and law enforcement agencies be entrusted with policing the far Right?
Far-right and neo-Nazi violence – on the increase across Europe – is the subject of ongoing research by the Institute of Race Relations which releases today an interim report on the security services’ approach to the far Right in Austria, Hungary and Germany.
This timely report, State intelligence agencies and the far Right: A review of developments in Germany, Hungary and Austria, is issued just two weeks before the largest trial on far-right extremism in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany opens in Munich. Beate Zschäpe, the sole surviving member of the National Socialist Underground and four co-defendants face charges relating to ten murders that took place between 2000 and 2007. Of the victims, shot in the head at close range, eight were Turkish or of Turkish origin, one was a Greek citizen, one a female German police officer. While the Munich trial is guaranteed international attention, the most significant trial on far-right extremism in eastern Europe in recent years has been ongoing since March 2011 at the Pest County High Court in Hungary, with barely any coverage. Four neo-Nazis face charges relating to the serial killing of six Roma and many other violent crimes. Austria faces its own neo-Nazi scandal too, since Nazi propaganda, sawn-off shotguns, machine guns and explosives were seized during a raid on the headquarters of the neo-Nazi criminal fraternity, Objekt 21 in January 2013.
The IRR’s research into intelligence services’ methods suggests that far from clamping down on growing fascism, some of the tactics of security services are enhancing conditions for its growth. The report also reveals evidence of:
- a generalised failure to recognise the danger posed by the far Right;
- institutional racism and institutional negligence;
- a failure to interact with police murder investigations;
- a will to protect neo-Nazi informers at the expense of law enforcement.
‘There has systematic betrayal of minority communities’, concludes Liz Fekete, author of the report and Director of IRR. ‘The sad truth is that the families of the Roma in Hungary and those men of Turkish origin killed by the NSU in Germany carry permanent scars, the result of botched investigations that in some cases treated them not as grieving relatives but potential suspects. Given the harmonisation of so much of European police and security policies, I am seriously concerned that what has happened in Austria, Germany and Hungary could represent the European norm. On the evidence I have seen, BME communities cannot trust security services to protect them from the murderous violence of the far Right. A thorough audit of all European intelligence services’ programmes to counter far-Right violence is overdue.’
Download a copy of the report here (pdf file, 544kb)