State Intelligence Agencies and the Far Right: A Review of Developments in Germany, Hungary and Austria

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This report was issued two weeks before the largest trial on far-right extremism in German history opened in Munich. Beate Zschäpe, the sole surviving member of the National Socialist Underground and four co-defendants faced charges relating to ten murders that took place between 2000 and 2007. Also detailed is the then-ongoing trial of four Hungarian neo-Nazis in Budapest, facing charges related to the killing of six Roma. Austria’s neo-Nazi issue is also covered, with seizures Nazi propaganda, sawn-off shotguns, machine guns and explosives during a raid on the headquarters of the neo-Nazi criminal fraternity, Objekt 21 in January 2013. The bulk of this analysis shows the link between covert policing and the running of agents with the establishment of a culture of state collusion in human rights abuses and crime, which, in turn, leads to a climate of impunity in which agents carry out operations in the belief that they will neither be detected nor held to account for such crimes.

This article will be of interest to researchers exploring the obstacles faced by institutional intelligence agencies in their efforts to prevent extremist acts, especially with regards to Germany, Austria and Hungary.

Institute of Race Relations

April 2013