After the resignation of Interior Minister Caffier, the security authorities in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania are hardly able to solve the problem.
SCHWERIN / BERLIN taz | On Thursday morning, a day and a half after the resignation of the Minister, the Interior Committee meets in Schwerin. It meets in the plenary hall of the state parliament building, it is a castle on a peninsula that looks like in a fairy tale film.
The left parliamentary group has requested that the item on the agenda be discussed in public. Lorenz Caffier (CDU) had bought a pistol from a dealer who was a member of the prepper group Nordkreuz, which hoarded tons of weapons and ammunition – in preparation for a “Day X”. Caffier first declared the matter a private matter last week, then admitted it and surprisingly resigned from his position on Tuesday. Buying the gun wasn’t a mistake, he explained, but handling it was.
Caffier is not in Schwerin Castle on Thursday. First it was said that he had called in sick, then the ministry said he was not coming because he was no longer in office. Journalists * have to leave the hall again, the coalition factions SPD and CDU are voting against the public meeting.
Many people are now asking themselves: How seriously does the Ministry of the Interior take a right-wing prepper network that extends into its own authorities?
Instead of the Minister of the Interior, State Secretary Thomas Lenz (CDU) explains himself for almost two hours. After the committee meeting, journalists ask him questions. Lenz is the highest-ranking official in the ministry; all important processes run through his desk. In front of the journalists, he wants to eliminate the suspicion that potentially explosive findings may have been left behind in departments of the Interior Ministry. He says: Minister Caffier was informed “always promptly”. The crucial question is: did Caffier know before buying arms that Nordkreuz existed and that arms dealer Frank T. was a member? A strange dialogue develops:
Lenz: “There were no references to Frank T.’s right-wing extremism in a Nordkreuz complex.”
When we remarked that the authorities did know that Frank T. was at Nordkreuz, the State Secretary turned to leave.
We ask again whether nobody informed the minister before he bought a weapon from T. Lenz says: “It’s all nonsense” and “that’s stupid stuff”. He repeats that there was no evidence of T’s right-wing extremist attitudes.
Then Lenz explains that he looked up T. in chat messages. He does not go into the fact that several Nordkreuz people have long been classified as right-wing extremists, not on Day X scenarios or body bags. He goes.
In the meantime, even the Interior Ministry sees evidence of right-wing extremist efforts in T. He is said to have written racist and xenophobic chat messages. The public prosecutor’s office is investigating him in several proceedings, which are probably about weapons law issues, and the responsible weapons authority is also checking his licenses. While the ministry representatives in the Ts state parliament tend to downplay a comparatively short membership in Nordkreuz, the Schwerin district court came to a different conclusion. Everyone can read this in the judgment of December 19, 2019.
The proceedings were directed against the former SEK police officer and Nordkreuz founder Marko G., in whom investigators found tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition and weapons. The court also dealt with Nordkreuz itself and states: Frank T. wrote the text of a set of rules that went to Nordkreuz members. They are sworn in: “The better the communication, the easier the organization and collecting among each other on day X. But until then it is important for each of US to attract as little attention as possible.” The court also sees it as proven, that the Nordkreuz people got ammunition and weapons for day X. Also evidenced by the statement by Frank T.
How can it be that the second most important person in the Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Ministry of the Interior underestimates T’s work in the right-wing prepper group to this day?
Ex-constitution protection officer comes with personal protection
While the State Secretary of the Interior Ministry in Schwerin is unable to answer questions, employees from the protection of the Constitution in his country are currently obliged to do so: The committee of inquiry into the Breitscheidplatz attack meets in the Bundestag. He wants to find out: How did it come about that explosive information about the assassin Anis Amri did not reach federal authorities?
At least that’s what a former employee of the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania claims. The committee of inquiry has summoned him. He comes with personal protection.
In a closed session on Thursday, he describes what was previously reported in reports from WDR and later from time read was: A source reports of connections Anis Amris to a family in Berlin-Neukölln, of money and a getaway car. It is a special trace because it is still unclear how Amri was able to leave Berlin. The reference from Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania indicates supporters, which is also why the protection of the constitution urged their head of department to share the knowledge with the Federal Criminal Police Office. But he weighed it down and passed on only a small part of the information.
It takes more than two years for the investigators to find out about the money and the getaway car, and only because the constitutional protection officer, who is now testifying in the Bundestag, disregarded his superiors in October 2019: He wrote to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution , to the Federal Prosecutor General – and also to State Secretary Lenz of the Interior Ministry in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
Before the committee in Berlin, the protection of the constitution explains how he first turned to his head of department, then to the head of the protection of the constitution. How he spoke to the State Secretary, who assured him that he would call Lorenz Caffier on immediately. The committee of inquiry would now like to question all three.
The protection of the constitution has meanwhile been transferred several times, currently he is with the LKA and expresses dissatisfaction in the Bundestag. His former head of department, now retired, is also being questioned in the Bundestag. First he declares that he had no knowledge of the information, then that he did not consider the whistleblower to be reliable. He is unable to explain to the committee how he came to this conclusion.
Different presentation, similar justifications
The case shows strong parallels to another process within the protection of the constitution in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Only the presentation is different this time: right-wing extremism.
The climate movement accuses the Greens of not being radical enough. Is that justified? You will find the answer in the taz on the weekend of 21./22. November. Also: On Tuesday, Mecklenburg’s Interior Minister Lorenz Caffier had to resign after taz research. The affair surrounding the right-wing Nordkreuz network does not end there. Which questions need to be clarified now. From Saturday at the kiosk in eKiosk, in a practical weekend subscription and around the clock Facebook and Twitter.
It is the case of the informant who in 2018 supplied the constitution protection with internal information about the alleged right-wing extremist association Uniter. The taz published research on this in July.
If you read the minutes of the state interior committee, the justifications sound very similar. Interior Minister Caffier said in August that there were doubts about the whistleblower’s reliability. On the one hand, he actually handed over interesting details from inside the network. On the other hand, the description – sometimes it is about a professional network, sometimes it was about paramilitary training – “was not conclusive”. So the intelligence agencies decide to leave the information behind. Even when the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) explicitly asked all state offices for information.
Only after the misjudgment of the Amri information became public in the spring do they pass on their knowledge about the Uniter association. The BfV then declared Uniter to be a suspected case.
Seven days after Caffier declared his links to a right-wing prepper group private, his security agencies are in a bad shape. The process of coming to terms with it has only just begun, and it is already clear that the dangers have been structurally underestimated and that the protection of the constitution is not working properly.
When the former employee of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution begins his testimony in front of the investigative committee, only members of parliament and a few employees are allowed to be present, including a lawyer from the Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
What nobody knows: The lawyer appears in the accounts of the witness. He, too, was involved in the process of missing information about Amri. He too could be interviewed.
The witness pointed this out to the Bundestag. Then the lawyer has to leave the room. The Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Constitutional Protection, which seems to be missing out on a lot anyway, doesn’t even notice what their own people are doing in the Bundestag that evening.