Strange Double Life of German Extremist Who Posed as Syrian Refugee By Richard R. Moeller
His name is Franco A. and he is 28 years old. Because of German privacy laws we may not know more details for a while. Indeed, we don’t really know much about the man accused except that he was in the German Army (Bundeswehr).
Analyses of various reports add a few peculiar details. He’s ethnically German. He’s been under the radar (sort of) for years. He allegedly planned on committing a military style act of domestic terrorism. He may have accomplices, one of whom is also being detained by the German federal police by way of the German military. We don’t even know his surname. He’s simply being reported as Franco A.
What becomes stranger is that Franco A. declared himself to be a Syrian refugee despite being a German national. For all intents and purposes, this move was to craft an underhanded narrative by which blame for his actions of terrorism could be assigned to a Syrian refugee. His infiltration was to create a fear of infiltration. Yet, he was caught. Now the German people are furious with the perceived ignorance of the federal government.
In fact, Franco A. wrote his master's thesis that included extreme and xenophobic ideas. While the German military knew about it, they never fully investigated him. For Germans, this lack of due diligence is unacceptable. After all, it’s illegal to hold such positions in Germany. Individual expression in Germany is limited outright when it comes to xenophobic attitudes or Nazi veneration.
Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen sounded emphatic about Franco A.’s intentions. Leyen stated in a television interview that “there would have been an attack,” describing a possible “horror” scenario. She asserted that afterwards there would have been a weapon at the site, with fingerprints on it. “We'd have put the prints in the system and have got the match of a Syrian refugee.” It seems no religious reasons were part of the impetus of this plan other than his hatred of others. This plan was political and racist.
In that vein, political parties are now making their cases. The parties on the Left as well as the governing party have looked for links with the Right. The parties on the Right have disavowed any connection. In essence, the Left’s biggest party (Social Democrats: SPD) along with the Greens has attempted to confirm their perceptions that Nazi supporters are literally in the ranks of the German military. The governing party of Angela Merkel, the Christian Democrats (CDU), has pounced on the new Rightist party - Alternative for Germany (AfD).
Most experts, examining this deadly scheme, believe that there are many more conspirators and the CDU knows that connecting these people to the AfD would eliminate many AfD votes in September’s federal election. If the Right is associated with alleged terrorists, many potential votes would almost certainly move the CDU’s way or they would stay at home.
In fact, the new Right in Germany would become discredited only after a few years in existence. Angela Merkel’s vision of Germany and the European Union would carry on. For soldiers, who by the way, had a makeshift memorial to Nazi Germany, this apparent attack turned out to be a complete failure and may hurt their senseless cause. Germany is hunting modern-day Nazis and digging deep to find them.
Richard R. Moeller is an Associate Professor of Political Science at The Metropolitan State University of Denver.