Plans for a coup by police officers and soldiers have been around for years. For a long time, German security authorities did not take this seriously.
Almost exactly four years ago, the then head of the military counter-intelligence service in the Bundestag was questioned about right-wing extremist networks in the Bundeswehr. The MAD is the secret service of the Bundeswehr and responsible for extremist activities in the troops. In a public meeting of the parliamentary control committee, MAD boss Christof Gramm said that no extremist networks had been discovered in the Bundeswehr so far: “Politically motivated willingness to use violence currently plays no role in the Bundeswehr.”
At that time, terrorist investigations had been ongoing for over a year against members of the Nordkreuz group, including a police officer, and against Bundeswehr officer Franco A. They, along with other special forces from the Bundeswehr and police, had been noticed as preppers who were preparing for a “Day X” prepared.
The head of this prepper chat group was the KSK soldier André S. alias Hannibal. The men procured weapons, hoarded ammunition, practiced shooting – and some made lists of enemies. The taz and other media had already reported on it.
The intelligence and security authorities have gradually moved away from this trivializing assessment. The Uniter association, in which civilians were trained for a paramilitary unit, is now being observed by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution as a suspected right-wing extremist, and in a situation report published in early 2022 on right-wing extremists in security authorities the Office for the Protection of the Constitution finally dedicated a whole page to the Hannibal network.
Enemies of the state in uniform had it easy
The network illustrates “the special threat potential of right-wing extremist network structures that attempt to use the special access, skills and knowledge of authorities in a coordinated manner for fantasies of self-empowerment and against the legal system,” it says.
The lieutenant of the Bundeswehr Franco A., who was traveling in this network, was sentenced to several years in prison for right-wing terror in the summer.
The Frankfurt Higher Regional Court saw it as proven that he had planned attacks on politicians, among other things. His right-wing extremist sentiments became very clear in the process, but his networking was only marginally discussed.
During research into the Hannibal network, many grievances became known that made it very easy for enemies of the state in uniform to live out their sentiments. For example, problematic reservists in the Bundeswehr, some of whom continue to have very good access to weapons and ammunition after leaving active service, were often overlooked because the Office for the Protection of the Constitution and the military counterintelligence service did not exchange information about them. After all, this has improved significantly in the meantime – as the current investigations also show.
So far, no connections from the conspiratorial group that has now been raised to the Hannibal network are known. It is also quite possible that there are several networks in security agencies that share the right-wing extremist ideology but are not necessarily organisationally connected.