Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Is Germany Preparing To Witch-Hunt Thousands Of Brandenburg Residents Over Possible "Neo-Nazi" Letter-Number Codes On Licence Plates?
Thousands of Brandenburg residents could come under suspicion for being neo-Nazis or right-wing sympathisers because of the letter and number combinations on their licence plates. Media stories from The Local and Russia Today and Newsnet14.
The Constitutional Protection Authority in the German state of Brandenburg has warned of several licence plate letter and number combinations used by extremists to identify themselves to the public. “These also serve as identifying marks among the like-minded,” the authority reports in their brochure and internet article “False Identification—Critical Combinations on Motor Vehicle Codes.”
The authority warns of licence plate codes that indicate an “anti-democratic mindset.” Examples of telling letter combinations include “HJ” (Hitler youth),” NS” (National Socialism) and “KZ” (concentration camp).
Number combinations that have recently been identified include “18,” which represents the first and eighth letters of the alphabet, or “AH” for Adolf Hitler), “88” stands for “HH,” or “Heil Hitler,” and the number “14,” which alludes to a fourteen-word (German) slogan uttered by the late David Lane: “We must secure the future for our people and the future of our white children.”
Thousands of Brandenburg residents bearing these combinations could now be suspected of extreme right-wing affiliations, though in some cases the combinations may be accidental. But it may not just be government witch-hunting; antifa could decide to attack the vehicles of those who display these combinations. Someone destroyed a suspected "neo-Nazi" car in Königs Wusterhausen this October.
In 2000, the German Federal Ministry of Transport recommended that German states refrain from using combinations that allude to former National Socialist associations or institutions, such as “SA,” “HJ,” “SS,” “KZ,” and “NS.” The German government is now recommending auto registration offices stop assigning combinations that “refer to controversial organisations and parties” too.
The Brandenburg Intelligence Service indicated that not every driver with critical codes is necessarily a right-wing extremist or sympathiser. Some people merely want to use their initials or birthdays on their motor vehicle codes.
This happens in the United States as well. Back in July 2008, Arkansas pulled hundreds of licence plates deemed "racist", like the one displayed at left where a customer interpreted the "NGR" to be a code word for "nigger". And in October 2007, a black woman in Arizona bitched about a license plate coded SKN1488.
But it's not just "racist" license plates which are proscribed. More frequently, religious-themed license plates are targeted. Associated Baptist News reported that on December 11th, 2008, in response to complaints first launched by the American Jewish Congress, United States District Judge Cameron McGowan Currie ordered state officials to halt production, sales, advertising and distribution of the new "I Believe" license plates. The tags feature a cross superimposed on a stylized stained-glass window and the inscription “I Believe” above the tag number and the name of the state. In a five-page order, Currie said she issued the injunction because federal courts would likely find the law that created the plates a gross violation of the Constitution’s ban on government establishment of religion.