German authorities dismantled what’s being called a far-right terrorist group that was behind alleged plans to overthrow the government. Police arrested 25 suspected conspirators who had set up and communicated on several channels on the platform Telegram to plan the coup that authorities believe would have likely resulted in violence.
Telegram has been a source of concern for authorities who found the app played an integral part in allowing hate speech to run rampant and promote QAnon conspiracy theories. The so-called ‘believers’ have also been linked to the Jan. 6 attacks at the U.S. Capitol.
“The suspects are united in a deep rejection of the Federal Republic of Germany, which has in the course of time developed in a decision to initiate a violent coup for which they had made specific preparations,” the prosecutor told The Wall Street Journal.
Mere minutes before police conducted Wednesday’s raids, one of the suspects posted a message on Telegram, writing, “Everything will be turned upside down: the current public prosecutors and judges, as well as the heads of the health departments and their superiors will find themselves in the dock at Nuremberg 2.0,” as reported in various outlets including Die Zeit and The Guardian.
Members of the group reportedly follow the Reichsbürger movement which doesn’t recognize the post-World War I government and seeks to dismantle it and take over. German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser told The Wall Street Journal, “The terror organization that was unearthed today was driven by violent takeover fantasies and conspiracy ideologies, according to the current state of the investigation.”
Authorities say the group’s QAnon-inspired conspiracy theories inspired a belief that Germany is governed by a “deep state” and would be freed by an “alliance” consisting of officials and military offices from outside Germany.
According to officials, among those arrested was a sergeant serving with the Special Forces Command of the German Army, the special military command of Germany, a former lawmaker, and several former servicemen, including two colonels, officials said.
The suspects are already scheduled to appear in court this week.