18 May 2013
German parliamentary committee has accused the country’s intelligence and police of “totally underestimating” the far-right threat as the trial of the neo-Nazi Nationalist Socialist Underground (NSU) cell resumes in Munich.
The parliamentary committee which had been working on the inquiry since 2012, revealed how authorities failed in their investigation of the neo-Nazi killing spree, Deutsche Welle reported.
“Authorities have for years underestimated right-wing terrorism,” the final verdict said, calling it a “total failure” of state authorities. The terror group is believed to be responsible for the murders of 10 people, eight of whom were ethnic Turks, and several bomb attacks and bank robberies. German intelligence and police found out about the NSU by chance in 2011.
Britta Schellenberg of the Munich Center for Applied Policy Research (CAP) said that what was missing from the fight against right-wing extremism was a “coherent over-arching concept” from the authorities. There were individual measures, but money was mostly granted only once something had happened. Schellenberg told the committee that initiatives against neo-Nazis should be funded continuously. Although there were certain hotspots, “right-wing violence can be everywhere,” she stressed.
An interim inquiry report May 13 described the NSU investigation a “peerless failure.” The report criticized the intelligence agencies for underestimating the threat of right-wing extremism and for failing to convey its findings more publicly.
After asking witnesses about the shredding of potentially pertinent files in Cologne in November 2011 the head of the German parliamentary committee admitted he had hit a dead end. It was not possible to ascertain whether the papers were trashed out of “pure stupidity” or out of a desire to conceal their contents, Sebastian Edathy said, adding, “That will have to remain open.”
In the coming months, the parliamentary committee will compile a comprehensive report about its findings. In early September, just weeks before national elections, the German parliament is then slated to debate the report. There is one point, however, that parliamentarians already agree on: Germany’s security apparatus needs to be reformed. The committee has already prepared a paper with draft proposals. At the trial, the court board decided May 16 to judge the Keupstrasse bombing separately from the ongoing trial. The next hearing of the trial is set to take place on June 4.
Lawyers’ office attacked
Meanwhile, the office of the lawyers who defended the Turkish victims at the NSU trial, was targeted by far-right groups, according to the German daily Süddeutsche Zeitung.
Feces and urine were spread on the office door, which was on the second floor of a building, on May 13 in the Westend district of Munich, the daily said.
German police said they thought that far-right groups were behind the act, adding that no one had been taken into custody yet.
The daily also reported that neo-Nazi attacks are on the rise in Munich since the beginning of NSU trial. During this time, Bayern Immigration center has been attacked seven times with paint bags, and some neo-Nazi slogans were written on its walls.