German military have kicked out more far-right soldiers than previously disclosed, report reveals
Military intelligence agency official warns figures fail to show full scale of extremism
The agency responsible for investigating extremism in the Bundeswehr armed forces admitted it had underreported the figure to the German parliament by only revealing the number of “clearly recognised right-wing extremists”, according to Der Spiegel.
The figure is believed to be significantly higher with the inclusion of suspected cases.
The Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) previously reported that just four soldiers in 2018 and six in 2017 were removed from the military for right-wing extremism.
However, a MAD official said those figures “came up short” against the full number of far-right soldiers who were removed.
The official told Der Spiegel the agency had uncovered 10 more “suspected extremists” each year.
MAD is currently investigating around 450 suspected cases of right-wing extremism in the military, according to news agency DPA, including 64 cases related to the white nationalist identitarian movement and 64 cases for possible far-right Reichsbürger members.
The Reichsbürger movement rejects the modern German state and claims that the German Reich still exists in its pre-Second World War borders.
Opposition lawmakers criticised the German government, following the report, for failing to disclose the full information.
“It is high time the federal government stopped trivialising right-wing extremism in the Bundeswehr,” democratic socialist Die Linke politician Christine Buchholz said.
“It is not just about individual cases. We have a structural problem with extreme right wing in the Bundeswehr.”
Agnieszka Brugger, an MP for Bündnis 90/Die Grünen (the Greens) who sits on the defence committee, urged the government to submit a regular report with complete figures.
“Right-wing extremism has no place in the Bundeswehr, and those who reluctantly provide information do not take the real danger seriously enough,” she said.
The German Federal Ministry of Defence has not yet commented.