A claim by prosecutors that those arrested on suspicion of “membership in a terrorist organisation” believed in various conspiracy theories may have provided extra material for those seeking to make people laugh. They were apparently even signed up to the ramblings of QAnon, a bizarre and disturbing American cult that hero-worships Donald Trump, who once called them “people who love our country”.
However, the distinctly unfunny news that a barracks used by Germany's KSK special forces unit was among the 130 sites searched by thousands of police officers is just one of several reasons to sit up and take this much more seriously.
The far-right is on the march across the world, including the UK. Just last month, Ken McCallum, director-general of MI5, said the Security Service had disrupted 37 “late stage” attack plots since 2017. Most were related to Islamic extremism, but about a quarter were inspired by far-right views. And these people have powerful friends, like Russia’s warmongering despot Vladimir Putin, who would be delighted to see democracy fall in the West.
The storming of the US Capitol on January 6 last year, Trump’s baseless accusations of voter fraud, and his attempts to persuade at least one Republican lawmaker to “find” him some more votes show how alarmingly close America, aka the “land of the free”, came to this genuinely terrifying prospect.
The global rise of neofascism is no joke and it’s time for supporters of democracy to stand up.