Ganging up on the AfD

The following video shows a brief (and antagonistic) interview by Die Welt with Jörg Meuthen, the spokesman for AfD (Alternative für Deutschland, Alternative for Germany). The topic is the recent ouster of Hans-Georg Maaßen from his position as the president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, and then from his new job, all because he had the audacity to deny the reality of the purported “man-hunts” of migrants during demonstrations in Chemnitz. It is rumored that Mr. Maaßen may now join the AfD.

Many thanks to MissPiggy for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

00:00   With me in studio is the co-chairman of the AfD party, Jörg Meuthen. It is nice that you are
00:05   taking time to visit us today on this important day. I would like to continue discussing the
00:09   Maaßen situation. Horst Seehofer was just asked if he could imagine Mr. Maaßen joining
00:15   the CSU party, but he didn’t want to respond. Do you have the AfD membership book ready?
00:20   Would you take him? —We have an excellent impression from Mr. Maaßen, who has always
00:26   been an exemplary public official for us. For speaking the truth, he had to endure humiliating
00:32   abuse. Which was unjust in our opinion. We are a democratic constitutional party and
00:37   in a democratic constitutional party is Mr. Maaßen more than welcome.
00:41   But did he always really tell the truth? Isn’t that the reason the entire situation
00:44   ignited the way it did? He was personally criticised. It was about the video
00:48   in which an alleged “Man-hunt” was filmed. He called it into question, but besides the video
00:54   there were witness testimonies, journalists that said they were attacked. In several places
00:59   in the city (of Chemnitz) there was rioting. Plus the Jewish restaurant that was attacked
01:04   by violent mobs. Gunshots were even heard. Journalists were thrown down stairs.
01:10   All of this occurred during this atmosphere. So, it is not acceptable that the
01:14   National Intelligence/Constitutional Protection Officer says, “I’m not interested in all that,
01:18   there was no man-hunt” —So, I wasn’t aware of the cases you just mentioned. Mr. Maaßen
01:23   was referring to the images being shown on national television. It was the short 13 second
01:27   video that was shown non-stop and he was completely accurate in saying that it did not show
01:34   a “man-hunt” happening, nor did it show riotous hoards. What he did was to take recourse
01:40   in a certain area, for something that is quite obvious, by delivering four sparse sentences
01:44   that are beyond doubt in my opinion.
01:48   He could have made his statement more specific afterwards, but that he didn’t do either.
01:52   Let us come back to party affiliation. Mr. Maaßen said he would like to go into politics.
01:59   Do you have any reliable information that Mr. Maaßen wants to join the AfD? —No. I don’t have
02:05   any information regarding that at all. That’s Mr. Maaßen’s business and I’m sure he will
02:10   think it through very well. As I understood it, he said he could see himself being active in
02:15   economics OR in politics. Mr. Maaßen hasn’t reached the age where one would consider
02:20   retiring and if he was interested in being politically active by joining us he is certainly welcome.
02:29   He probably wouldn’t be just a normal party member, but might have a special position in
02:34   your party based on his background knowledge. —First of all, every person that joins our party is
02:40   treated as an equal member with the same rights as every other member. That’s just a speculative
02:46   point. Mr. Maaßen must decide for himself if he is interested. All I can say is, if he is interested, then
02:52   he will receive a warm welcome from us. —And your party is currently in a quote unquote “crisis”
03:00   with the announcement of an investigation by the National Intelligence/Constitutional Protection
03:04   Agency. For the moment there are discussions, to formulate it cautiously. The AfD has even
03:09   commission an expert report itself, which can be interpreted in such a way that
03:14   an investigation is made imminent as a result of this commissioned report. Or at least
03:20   now it is considered advisable. Don’t you regret having commissioned this report now?
03:26   No, that is an incorrect interpretation. Commissioning a expert to make an assessment
03:30   was the right thing to do. It basically just show that we are taking the situation very seriously
03:34   and getting ourselves prepared. We are firmly convinced that an investigation is completely
03:40   unjustifiable and purely politically motivated. There is no legal basis for such an investigation.
03:47   So as far as the commissioned report prepared by Professor Dr. Dietrich Murswiek is concerned,
03:53   in his released statement he make it very clear. No where in his report does he imply that an
04:01   investigation is imminent. Unfortunately it will probably be portrayed that way in the media.
04:05   There are other constitutional lawyers, for example Joachim Wieland that says the complete
04:10   opposite. Of course it depends, because we are talking about individuals that have expressed
04:15   themselves in ways that are questionable constitutionally or at least said things that are
04:20   not compatible with the constitution. Since they are leading party officials, then it must be
04:24   ascribe to the entire party. There are several comments, from Mr. Höcke for example. Or
04:31   Mr. Gauland, who has been heavily criticised in the past. Shouldn’t you react when this sort of
04:37   thing happens? Shouldn’t your party say that it is unacceptable? —When it comes to political
04:45   hygiene we are fairly clear, in our own interest. However, we all agree that freedom of speech
04:52   is a supreme value. Article 5 of the Constitution. We insist deliberately that there should be
04:57   freedom of expression and to a very large degree. This mean in our party anything
05:02   can be said as long as it does not contradict the terms of a democratic fundamental order.
05:08   I attach great importance to that. Those kind of comments are not tolerated and in that sense
05:13   we always operate with within the legal boundaries of the constitution. By the way,
05:17   not all the other parties are able to say that. —So then, there is the quote about the Nazi Era
05:21   being “a bird poop in Germany’s 1000 year history”. Or the “memorial of shame
05:25   in the middle of Berlin”. Those are statements from your party. Do you still believe
05:29   saying such things is protected by the constitution? —Absolutely and without restrictions.
05:33   That’s doesn’t mean I think they are pleasant, but these statement are not something
05:37   beyond the limits of our constitution. —Couldn’t these statements encourage
05:41   the radical right or at least make them feel stronger because they have a party in parliament
05:47   that now represents their views. Monument to shame, come on, we are talking about
05:52   the Holocaust victims. Calling it shameful is harsh. —I don’t lay claim to these opinions
05:56   and by the way, there are differing interpretation. One can also see it as
06:01   a shameful period in German history and these 12 years certainly were disastrous.
06:09   Whether this sentence should have been formulated in a contradictory manner is
06:13   debatable. However, I want to draw attention to the fact that my party is very strictly constitutional.
06:19   We fully respect the capacity of state to exert control, but that’s not the case with the SPD or
06:25   the Green party. —Where? —Why doesn’t the SPD or the Green Party distance themselves
06:30   from the Interventionist Leftist or from Antifa? These are violent organisations, they terrorise…
06:36   But they are not directly connected to the SPD or The Green Party. —But of course,
06:40   they work together and I can prove it. What about Bundnis Aufstehen Gegen Rassismus
06:45   (Stand Up Against Racism Association)? Have a look who the members are. Ms. Barley is a
06:49   member. Ms. Schwesig is a member. Mr. Stegner is a member. Mr. Özdemir is a member.
06:53   Mr. Hofreiter is a member and Ms. Göring-Eckardt along with the interventionist
06:57   leftists, the ones that nearly destroyed half of Hamburg during the G20 summit. Why aren’t we
07:01   having a look there? Why are they being investigated? —That is a subject we will have to
07:05   discuss at another time. Just briefly, in the Union, the CDU, there is battle for the leadership. There
07:11   will be a new party Chairman or Chairwoman elected. Are you concerned if, for example,
07:16   a purely hypothetical question, if Mr. Merz were to win, that you would lose voters? —Absolutely not.
07:24   I hear that all the time, everyone believes we’re profoundly concerned. No, the CDU
07:28   has changed so drastically under the 13 years of Merkel’s chancellorship and her 18 year
07:32   CDU Chairmanship, that they have completely lost their conservative profile. Just changing
07:37   the chairman seat isn’t going to bring back what is lost. If you are looking for a proper conservative
07:43   party in Germany in 2018, you only find the Alternative for Germany. There is no other one.
07:50   The CDU has become a social democratic party, neither Mr. Merz or Frau Kramp-Karrenbauer
07:55   nor Mr. Spahn can do anything to change that in a short period of time. —We will see what
07:59   happens on the 8th of December. —We’ll see. —Mr. Meuthen, thank you very much
08:03   for the discussion. —You’re welcome.

2 thoughts on “Ganging up on the AfD

  1. The reference to “Herr Spahn” at the end gave me a start (not even Herr Spahn can save the CDU anymore), but most of this interview was ununderstandable to me, because I lack the background knowledge about German politics and about the “man-hunts” (Hetzjagd) referred to.

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