Germany's top domestic spy advised far right xenophobic political party on how to avoid being billed as "extremists"

The Alternative For Germany (AfD) is a xenophobic far-right party whose ranks include neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers; in a new tell-all book by "AfD dropout" Franziska Schreiber (once the head of the AfD's youth wing), we learn that party leader Frauke Petry worked closely with Hans-Georg Maaßen, the president of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (a domestic surveillance agency with 3,100 employees and an annual budget of €350m).

According to Schreiber, Maaßen is sympathetic to the AfD's cause, and he extensively advised the party bosses on how to skirt the line that would brand them as domestic extremists, which meant that they avoided surveillance and sanction.

At the same time, Maaßen's agency branded any left-wing party that opposed the rise of the far right as extremists and subjected them to public smears and unknown quantities of secret surveillance.

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution was formed after WWII and incorporated many of the Reich's most aggressive strategists and foot-soldiers, including members of the Nazi party and the Organization Consul.

Maaßen, who claims to be unaffiliated with any party, has been a top official in the state intelligence apparatus for almost 30 years. In 1991, Otto Schily (SPD), then federal minister of the interior, brought Maaßen into his ministry, where he quickly became the head of the department on immigration law. In this capacity, he prevented the Guantanamo prisoner Murat Kurnaz, who grew up in Bremen, from returning to Germany in 2002.

In August 2012, Maaßen was appointed president of the BfV by then-Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich (CSU). A short time later, he attacked whistleblower Edward Snowden as a “traitor” and called for the media to collaborate more closely in the strengthening of state security. In 2015, Maaßen brought forward several criminal charges to initiate an investigation against two bloggers from “netzpolitik.org” on suspicions of treason. With this action, Maaßen unleashed a major attack on freedom of the press.

Head of German secret service advised far-right Alternative for Germany [Ulrich Rippert/WSWS]

(via Naked Capitalism)