Right-wing German hate groups plan attacks with American counterparts emboldened by Trump
Throughout his campaign, Donald Trump exploited existing racist and xenophobic sentiments across his base. Since he launched his election bid 18 months ago, a number of hate crimes have carried out by whites who openly admitted being inspired by Trump’s rhetoric. Since the election, racial and religious minorities have reported being targets in an unprecedented number of attacks.
Now the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency has warned that right-wing terrorists in his country are likely networking internationally—including with hate group members in the United States—to carry out more race and religion-based attacks. Hans-Georg Maassen, who leads the Verfassungsschutz, talked to Reuters about concerns that groups sharing extremist views—in the U.S., this likely includes those emboldened by Trump’s run—may link, creating “right-wing terrorist cells.”
“This is not just purely a German phenomenon,” Maassen told Reuters. “The right-extremist scene is networking on a European level, and in some cases, with connections in the United States.”
This past June, the Verfassungsschutz released findings indicating far-right incidents of violence in Germany increased an astounding 42 percent in 2015. In the U.S., according to an FBI report released days ago, hate crimes increased 6 percent in 2015, with 57 percent of those against African Americans, while attacks on Muslims increased 67 percent over the year prior. A Southern Poverty Law Center investigation found the number of U.S.-based hate groups rose 14 percent in the single year between 2014 and 2015.
“We have seen in a series of cases that there are numerous people in the far-right extremist scene who are ready to do anything and who have joined forces to create right-wing terrorist cells,” Maassen said. “We are trying to investigate these cells, if they exist, and to prevent any attacks.”
In an interview with “60 Minutes” on Sunday, Trump did the absolute minimum to urge his supporters to end their attacks on racial and religious minorities, telling them to “stop it.” The same day, the president-elect announced his campaign head, Steve Bannon—who is closely aligned with the white supremacist and nationalist movement rebranded as the alt-right—will be assuming the position of chief strategist in the White House. For four years, Bannon led Breitbart; this August, he bragged that the website is “the platform of the alt-right.” Bannon has publicly complained about the number of Asians in tech CEO positions, published many stories bemoaning ethnic diversity in the U.S. and labeled feminists “a bunch of dykes.” He brings those attitudes to his position guiding policy decisions with the most underprepared president in history.
The Daily Beast notes that under Bannon, Breitbart carried favorable coverage of a number of international far-right parties, including “the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), Alternative for Germany (AfD), and the Party for Freedom Party (PVV) in the Netherlands.” Trump’s win has also gotten high praise from leaders of those political groups.