‘Bodies in the Fields’: Soldier Investigated Over Vaccine Mandate Video Threat

Specialist anti-extremism prosecutors have picked up the case of a German soldier who posted a video threatening violent reprisals if COVID restrictions weren't scrapped.

04 January 2022, 5:51pm

Anti-extremism prosecutors have taken over the investigation into an anti-vax German soldier who threatened that there would be “bodies in the fields” unless the government scrapped compulsory coronavirus vaccinations for the armed forces.

Bavaria's Central Office for Combating Extremism and Terrorism (ZET) assumed control of the investigation over a video threat, posted online by the soldier on Wednesday, as a case of potential extremism, the state attorney said this week. Nicholas Potter, an expert on right-wing extremism at the Amadeu Antonio Foundation in Berlin, said the involvement of the ZET – which investigates the plotting of serious attacks that threaten the state, or those with an extremist motive – underlined the seriousness of the case.

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The one-minute video, which was widely circulated online, features a man in German military uniform, who identified himself on camera as “Sergeant Major Oberauer,” issuing an ultimatum to the government to revoke all it’s measures against coronavirus, including a recent mandate that German soldiers and healthcare workers must be vaccinated.

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“I have clearly threatened all politicians in the entire region with their fate,” he said. “This is a warning … we will not repeat ourselves,” he continued, giving the authorities an ultimatum to “withdraw from these insane, anti-constitutional plans” by the following day.

“Since this drug offers no protection, but very often results in severe side effects, my right to physical integrity is disproportionately restricted here,” the man in military uniform said. He also called for supporters to provide armed protection to protesters opposing the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The soldier had earlier given a speech at an anti-lockdown demo in the Bavarian city of Rosenheim, warning of there being “bodies in the fields” unless the government dropped its coronavirus measures.

READ: German ex-soldiers charged with forming mercenary group

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The soldier, who according to reports is Andreas Oberauer, stationed with a Mountain Infantry Battalion in the Bavarian town of Bad Reichenhall, was arrested on Thursday night in Munich when he showed up to address a COVID restriction-related protest in the Bavarian capital, before being released after he was deemed to pose no immediate threat. He is under investigation for inciting the public to commit a crime, according to the public prosecutor.

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Potter, a far-right expert at the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, said that while the threats were “alarming, they’re not surprising,” against a backdrop of the German military’s recurrent issues with pockets of right-wing extremism within the ranks, and the volatility of Germany’s radical anti-lockdown movement, which had a pronounced far-right element.

READ: Germany’s far-right is fired up after its fantasy almost came true

“The fact that a uniformed Bundeswehr soldier has recorded video threats giving the government an ‘ultimatum’ on its vaccination policy and calling on other soldiers to protect protests against covid measures with arms is indicative of the real aims of the [conspiracy theorist] Querdenken (“Lateral thinkers”) and anti-vax movement in Germany,” he said. 

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“The pandemic is often just a pretence to challenge democracy and instigate a violent political upheaval against what conspiracy-driven protestors have deemed a ‘dictatorship’.”

According to reports, Oberauer is already under a ban from duty after sending a letter to his superior earlier last month insisting he would not obey the order to be vaccinated against coronavirus, which was introduced in late November. 

READ: COVID conspiracies are supercharging Germany’s far-right

In his video, he also referenced another German soldier, Daniel Futschik, who had also called online for a “fight against political decisions” over the vaccine mandate.

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And last year, said Potter, a Telegram group connecting veterans with conspiracy theorists and sovereign citizens in the radical anti-vax, anti-lockdown scene, with the aim of “protecting” Querdenken protests, swiftly gained more than 12,000 members.

“Many users believed they were already ‘at war’ with the state,” he said. On Monday, a small group of veterans affiliated with the movement made a demonstration of solidarity with Oberauer in Dusseldorf.

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Potter said that the involvement of anti-extremism prosecutors in the case made it “all the more baffling” that the soldier had been released while under investigation.

“For too long, the very real threat of far-right soldiers with fantasies of revolution has not been adequately combated by the Bundeswehr, the Ministry of Defence or the intelligence services,” he added.

UPDATE 07/01/2022: This story has been updated to clarify when the “bodies in the field” comment was made.

Tagged:

MILITARY, extremism, Far right, Coronavirus, anti-vaxxer, worldnews

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