Professor investigated after calling for a border wall
Martin Wagener, a professor of political science, teaches international politics, with a focus on security policy, at the Federal University of Applied Administrative Sciences – HS Bund – based in Brühl, North Rhine-Westphalia.
Wagener trains BND staff and is shortly to be assigned to the university’s programmes for staff members of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (Bundesamt für Verfassungsschutz), which is Germany’s domestic intelligence service, as well.
Wagener’s new book, Deutschlands unsichere Grenze – Plädoyer für einen neuen Schutzwall, is based on his assessment that Germany has lost control of its borders. “Criminal gangs, terrorists and other perpetrators of violence are using the territory of the Federal Republic for their activities,” he claims, adding that this has made the country more insecure and done considerable damage to the economy.
Wagener doubts whether establishing a multicultural society can create security. “Representatives of the elite in politics and the media are unable to solve the problems,” he maintains. “They are still banking on instruments that have failed: protecting the European external border and integrating new arrivals. And they hope that Germans will get used to what has been on the increase since the borders opened: terrorist attacks, burglaries, rape and other crimes.”
He says Germany ought to “take its fate into its own hands” and establish a “post-modern frontier system” that reliably keeps undesirable persons from its territory. Wagener suggests building a protective wall topped with barbed wire and thermal cameras along which 90,000 border guards would be deployed. He estimates that the wall’s construction would cost around €20 billion (US$23 billion), with maintenance requiring an annual €9 million.
Wagener is expecting accusations of being disloyal to the Constitution, although he does not rule out a need for amendments to Germany’s Basic Law.
But the BND is taking a close look at his book following allegations that it contains radical right-wing ideas, and a foreign intelligence official has stressed that his publication “exclusively reflects his own opinion”.
Martina Renner of the left-wing Die Linke party, and a member of the German federal parliament’s Committee on Internal Affairs, refers to Wagener as a “propagandist of the New Right”, and says that “having someone like him train BND staff is putting the fox in charge of the henhouse”.
But Alice Weidel, leader of the far right-wing Alternative für Deutschland parliamentary party, maintains that uncontrolled migration is several times more expensive than Wagener’s proposals, and holds that they could act as a “blueprint” for an efficient control of Germany’s borders.
“The federal government ought to invite Wagener as an expert and give him the opportunity to explain his ideas,” Weidel says.
Denial of media claims
Wagener emphatically rejects claims by a number of broadsheets and leading television news programmes that his book recommends internment camps for asylum-seekers and stresses that the term is not used even once. He also denies being a right-wing extremist, who, in his opinion, would have to be an anti-Semite.
“I have stated for years that Judaism, together with Christianity, is part of Germany’s dominant culture,” Wagener notes. “To me, the Holocaust is the biggest stain on the country’s history.”
Moreover, he points out that he expresses his understanding for the Israeli government’s use of separation barriers in his new book.
HS Bund was founded in 1979 and runs bachelor and masters degree programmes in public administration, largely as further education measures for senior administration and government officials. In 2016, HS Bund entered a cooperation agreement with the German University of Administrative Sciences, Speyer, in Rhineland-Palatinate, enabling it to award doctoral degrees.
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