Posted on May 15, 2024

After AfD Party Loses Major Court Case, the Party Can Now Be Legally Targeted With Mass Surveillance

John Cody, Remix, May 14, 2024

The opposition Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has lost a major court appeal against the powerful domestic intelligence agency, the Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), with a high court judge allowing the BfV to continue classifying the party as a “suspected case” of right-wing extremism.

The move paves the way for the BfV and other authorities to utilize powerful surveillance technologies against the party, including reading emails, browsing histories, and monitoring emails and chats. In effect, anyone associated with the party may now be swept up in the surveillance net that can now be legally deployed against the second most popular party in the country.

Notably, the BfV is led by Christian Democratic Union (CDU) member Thomas Haldenwang, who is rabidly outspoken against the AfD. The CDU, which is a rival party of the AfD, has just as much interest in banning the party, or at the very least stymieing its growth, as other left-wing parties in the country.

The defeat for the AfD at the Higher Administrative Court in Münster on Monday comes after previously failing in its case with the Münster Administrative Court. The judges at the higher court stated that there was “sufficient factual evidence” that “the AfD is pursuing efforts that are directed against the human dignity of certain groups of people and against the principle of democracy.”

The court further argued that “there is a well-founded suspicion that it corresponds to the political objectives of at least a significant part of the AfD to only grant German citizens with a migration background a legally devalued status. This constitutes discrimination based on descent that is inadmissible under the Basic Law and is incompatible with the guarantee of human dignity.”

Rival parties are celebrating the ruling against the AfD, including the Social Democrats (SPD) member and federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeaer, who said that the verdict was about “protecting democracy.”

“Our constitutional state has instruments that protect our democracy from threats from within. Exactly these instruments are also used — and have now been confirmed again by an independent court,” she said

She also stated that domestic intelligence agencies, such as the BfV, now have “a clear legal mandate to take action against extremism and protect our democracy. It works independently.” Faeser is technically responsible for the BfV and is also known for her blistering rhetoric against the AfD.

The AfD has vowed to appeal the court case, which may ultimately go to the country’s top court, the Constitutional Court. The party protested that the judge in the case, Gerald Buck, had rejected 470 attempts to introduce evidence into the court on the party’s behalf; he also noted the hearing they received was remarkably short. The judge claimed the evidence the AfD was attempting to introduce was irrelevant to the case or would reveal the investigation methods utilized by the Office of the Protection of the Constitution (BfV).

Notably, the BfV already confirmed that it has informants working within the party.

The BfV is already bringing the next case against the AfD, which will list it as a “certain case of right-wing extremism,” which could open the doors to a potential ban on the party.