SPIEGEL reports that information on AfD was already collected in the intelligence agency’s state bureaus. Thirteen states have sent reports to the Berlin headquarters. The Vice President of the federal agency, Thomas Haldenwang, told the parliamentary committee Innenausschuss that a final decision about a surveillance is expected before the end of this year.
Innenausschuss is the committee responsible for interior security, i.e. police and intelligence agencies. Its meetings are usually not public. A hearing of a vice president of a secret service is most certainly confidential. This means that a mole leaked this timeline to SPIEGEL illegally.
“The AfD is moving in the direction of right-wing extremism,” says Interior Minister of the State Baden-Württemberg Thomas Strobl of Merkel’s party The Union. He urges to act quickly. SPIEGEL quotes law professor Christoph Möllers as saying, “When a leader of a state chapter spreads a völkisch worldview, a surveillance is justified.”
The professor is irrelevant. SPIEGEL uses him to change the focus to Björn Höcke. Before I talk about him, I have to explain “völkisch”. I am not aware that Mr Höcke used the term. It has no actual meaning. The direct translation would be “people-ish” or “folksy”. The reason why it is actually no longer used is that it was very often used by the Nazis. So this quote from an unknown law professor serves the purpose of painting Mr Höcke in a certain way without saying something of actual substance.
Mr Höcke is the chair of AfD’s chapter of the state of Thuringen. He makes everybody cringe for two reasons:
1) His uncough delivery style at his speeches makes people think of the 30s when the audio technology was still very poor. It is the style, not the content, that is icky.
2) He believes that words and expressions that are now associated with the Nazis should be used in their original meaning. As a history teacher, although banned from working, he knows better than your average German what the original meaning of words like “nationalism” (a democratic movement in the 19th century) or “patriotism” once was.
Mr Höcke is not important enough to look into his actual positions in detail. They might be stupid. The problem is that the elites use him as a bogeyman to roll out anti-democratic policies. The AfD youth organisations (“Junge Alterantive”) of the states Lower Saxony and Bremen are already observed by the respective state offices of Verfassungsschutz.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer will announce a new leader of the federal level office of Verfassungsschutz at the end of October or early November.