By Carlos Alberto Montaner
I didn’t believe it when I read it. It looked like more “fake news.”
The news story headline read: “200 German Ultras Try to Take Over the Reichstag.” It somehow remembered what had happened at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. It was almost a duplicate. But it was an episode that had occurred several weeks before, on August 29, 2020, without the analysts having detected it.
The Reichstag, as we know, is the Parliament of Germany. It was burned in February 1933, just a month after Hitler’s election as Chancellor. In Germany, the Chancellor is the Head of the Government. The Nazis rubbed their hands in glee. Hitler used the fire to invoke the “Enabling Law” and call new elections to increase his percentage of deputies.
A 24-year-old Dutch communist, Marinus van der Lubbe, a half blindbricklayer, who was arrested that night in 1933, “confessed” to his crime after a cruel torture session. Supposedly, he had done it alone, without accomplices, to “protest the situation of the German working class”. He was shot within months of being found guilty. However, in 2008 the German justice reviewed the trial and he was posthumously acquitted. The episode of the horrible torture was enough to exonerate him.
I searched in the news media of August 29, 2020 for last year's raid -- All the news media, the leftist, the centrist and the rightist, so they wouldn’t take me for a ride. Indeed, the event had been in the news, but it went completely unnoticed.
It began with a demonstration of some 30,000 people outraged against the precautionary measures dictated by the Angela Merkel government –- mandatory masks, the well-known “social distancing” and closed schools.
A witty man carried a sign that read (poorly translated): “Despite being the daughter of a pastor, Merkel is anti-Christian. She has banned the Easter parade. Only Pontius Pilate will be allowed because he washes his hands incessantly.”
Some carried Nazi symbols and flags of the former Third Reich, banned in Germany as unconstitutional. The scandalized Interior Minister told Bild’s Sunday newspaper, “The Reichstag building is the symbolic center of our democracy. It is intolerable that chaotic extremists use it for their goals.”
Fortunately for law enforcement authorities, the mutineers summoned each other on the so-called social networks to commit their misdeeds. That is suicidal in Germany. The government has several units that monitor the networks at all times. They have even developed special programs, which gave police the opportunity to be ready for the demonstration with 3,000 officers cordoning off the building. But even so, the ultras found an unprotected space to climb the staircase and pose for photos and videos.
They were unable to enter the building, but it would be very interesting to ask Jake Angeli -- the Shaman of QAnon, who was the man dressed as a Sioux warrior with buffalo horns and his face painted who walked through the U.S. Capitol on January 6 -- how much he owes to the German-Turkish Attila Hildmann, another lunatic who mixes conspiracy theories in which Bill Gates appears with the most rabid anti-Judaism. Hildmann, of course, was arrested in the Reichstag episode.
I suspect that FBI authorities tend to think that someone knew the importance of the example of the Reichstag attempted invasion a few weeks before the events of January 6, 2021. Did Donald Trump himself know? Did Ted Cruz, who at the head of or along with 11 senators thought that the hubbub by the congressional assailants would be able to paralyze the recounting of electoral votes and keep Trump in the presidency, know?
Patiently, the FBI is collecting evidence while it charges alleged culprits. They are already 300. It’s just a matter of putting two and two together. For now, the hero is Vice President Mike Pence, who strictly complied with the law, despite pressure from Trump. We’ll see how the investigations end up. @Firmas PressCarlos Alberto Montaner is a journalist and writer. Born in 1943 in Cuba and exiled, Montaner is known for his more than 25 books and thousands of articles. PODER magazine estimates that more than six million readers have access to his weekly columns throughout Latin America. He is also a political analyst for CNN en Espanol. In 2012, Foreign Policy magazine named Montaner as one of the fifty most influential intellectuals in the Ibero-American world. His latest novel is A Time for Scoundrels. His latest essay is "The President: A Handbook for Voters and the Elected." His latest book is Sin ir más lejos (Memories), published by Debate, a label of Penguin-Random House.