News that the German intelligence services now have the legal green light to monitor phones of the populist Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) party members and to spy on their activities has failed to derail the party’s political ambitions for this year’s elections. …
It was just a year ago that [Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz] BfV chief Thomas Haldenwang revealed the intelligence services would be monitoring the party’s radical Der Flugel (The Wing) faction in a state crackdown on extremists.
“Rightwing extremism and rightwing terrorism,”Haldenwang declared at the time, “are currently the biggest danger for democracy in Germany.”
This opened the door for the BfV to now legally use phone taps, police informants and spies to monitor the activities of not just the radical element but all members of the country’s largest opposition party, which currently holds democratically elected seats in each of Germany’s 16 regional parliaments. …
For privacy-loving Germans, even those with no declared political affiliation, the BfV’s move has had a chilling effect on personal liberties.
“This is a massive onslaught on freedom of expression,” said [senior AfD member and Euro MEP Gunnar Beck]. … “It’s become a Horseman of the Apocalypse.”
With German federal elections scheduled for autumn this year, the political timing of the BfV decision and the blanket labelling of all AfD members as a cause for concerns over extremism could be seen as a cynical establishment attempt to smear the populists.
Beck shrugs off the “extreme rightwing” label, pointing out, “If you read our party policy programme then it’s pretty much in line with mainstream opinion from just 20 years ago.
“You have to remember that Germany was a small ‘c’ conservative society in many respects until Mrs Merkel came in and she’s transformed it into this cultural Marxist nightmare.”
Is this the progressive future throughout the West? Non-left parties spied upon by the state, for being “domestic terrorists”?
hat-tip Stephen Neil