Research on “Reich Citizens”: Terror ringleaders wanted to recreate “our Reich”.

Research on “Reich Citizens”
Terror ringleaders wanted to recreate “our empire.”

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They are said to have planned the coup with the “New German Army”: In December 2022, several suspected members of a “Reichsbürger” terrorist group were arrested. According to a report, some of the accused had already considered a coup in 2020.

Three former Bundeswehr soldiers played in the alleged “Reichsbürger” terrorist group around Henry XIII. Prince Reuss plays a central role. According to information from “Stern” and RTL, as ringleaders or founders, they are said to have not only exerted greater influence on the entire group and its plans than was previously publicly known, but also significantly earlier.

Last December, the Federal Prosecutor General charged 27 members of Prince Reuss’ group with forming, membership or supporting a terrorist organization that is said to have prepared the overthrow of the federal government. However, Prince Reuss only joined the group months after it was founded; according to the indictment, he is not one of the six alleged founders.

According to research by “Stern” and RTL, central initiatives also came from three veterans: the former commander of the 251 Paratrooper Battalion, Rüdiger von Pescatore, the former Colonel Maximilian Eder and the former paratrooper of the Bundeswehr’s elite Special Forces Command (KSK), Peter Wörner. Pescatore is accused of being a ringleader. Eder and Wörner as founders are also said to have been key forces behind plans to attack the Bundestag.

Regional homeland security companies formed

In addition, Pescatore and Wörner are said to have started planning for a so-called “New German Army” much earlier and have therefore progressed further than was previously publicly known. The Federal Prosecutor General dates the founding of the alleged terrorist group to July 29, 2021. According to “Stern” and RTL, an email exchange shows that Rüdiger von Pescatore and Peter Wörner were already talking about “re-creating our empire” in October 2020, “another one “real state with a real army”.

They are said to have started building their own military by summer 2022 at the latest. Accordingly, they are said to have set up a “military command staff” for the planned “New German Army” with – according to an internal contact list – around 20 members. They are also said to have come a long way with the formation of some of the 286 planned regional homeland security companies. The Federal Prosecutor’s Office has several dozen permanent members in two associations in Baden-Württemberg and Thuringia alone.

None of the three defendants wanted to comment on the allegations made by the Federal Prosecutor General (GBA) and the research by “Stern” and RTL. Her lawyers left questions unanswered. A GBA spokeswoman also did not want to comment, citing the ongoing proceedings.

Undercover investigators deployed

According to the report, the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) deployed at least three police officers as undercover investigators in the final phase of the investigation against the “Reichsbürger” network. This is proven by documents and operational reports that “Stern” and RTL were able to see. The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) in Karlsruhe approved the operation on November 2, 2022, around a month before the nationwide raid against the group. According to the court’s decision, the BKA was allowed to employ undercover investigators on a total of nine suspects. According to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, all of them – except Prince Reuss – belong to the “military arm” of the alleged terrorist organization.

The BGH justified its decision by saying that the undercover investigators were necessary to gain insight into the group’s “opinion-forming processes” and “concrete planning.” It is also “inevitable” in order to be able to collect information about the alleged ongoing procurement of weapons and ammunition. The BKA and the investigating federal prosecutor’s office did not want to comment on the operation when asked.

After research by “Stern” and RTL, the undercover investigators approached the former paratrooper Wörner. Among other things, one of the undercover investigators went on a six-hour hike in the Fichtelgebirge with Wörner on November 23, 2022. According to “Stern” research, the encounter was documented by an audio recording. Wörner is said to have tried to recruit the police officer for the future “New German Army” and to have revealed details about military procedures in the planned coup: the future commander, weapons storage locations and Wörner’s approach to police raids.

OLG Stuttgart with additional State Security Senate

The Higher Regional Court (OLG) Stuttgart has now also been given an additional state security senate due to an increasing number of “Reichsbürger” proceedings. The court confirmed corresponding research by “Stern” and RTL. With five judge positions and a new Senate, “an additional State Security Senate could be set up, also in view of the recent increase in cases with references to the Reich citizen scene,” said a justice spokeswoman.

The OLG is one of three courts responsible for the alleged terrorist group around Prince Reuss. In addition, the OLG recently made judgments in several “Reichsbürger” cases that made headlines across the country. The new positions are part of the 2023/2024 double budget of the state of Baden-Württemberg. According to court information, the new Senate has already been formed. The Federal Prosecutor General’s indictment against the group around Prince Reuss is the first first-instance detention matter that he is dealing with.

On December 11, 2023, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office brought charges against nine people before the State Security Senate of the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court, including on suspicion of membership in a terrorist organization and, in one case, attempted murder.

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