Frankfurt shooting spree suspect uploaded video manifesto to YouTube

A German man suspected of carrying out a late-night shooting spree in Frankfurt on Wednesday uploaded three documents to a personal website and published several videos, including one in English, on YouTube before the attack.

The gunman, who identified himself in online postings as 43-year-old Tobias Rathjen, described himself as a banker in Frankfurt who specialized in business administration.

Rathjen is suspected of carrying out an attack in the suburb Hanau that killed nine people and left four others injured. He and his mother were found deceased in a nearby home several hours later.

Police said the attacks may have been politically motivated, noting many of the victims in Wednesday’s attack had immigrant backgrounds.

German shooting spree suspect Tobias Rathjen. (Still frame: YouTube/Graphic: The Desk)

Days before the attack, Rathjen launched a personal website under his full name, according to records reviewed by The Desk. The website contained a number of links, including one to a three-part manifesto purportedly uploaded by the suspected gunman.

The manifesto, first discovered by the Bild newspaper, complains about several “ethnic groups” living in Germany and calls for individuals belonging to those groups to be “exterminated” if they can’t be “expelled” from the country. The writer, believed to be Rathjen, specifically targeted individual groups from a number of Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries, including Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.

In the manifesto, the writer also complains about the German government carrying out “secret surveillance” against him and thousands of other citizens. The writer said they learned about this information from various “freely accessible” websites and relied on disclosures made by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden to draw inferences about how the supposed surveillance works.

In a supplemental video uploaded to YouTube targeted at Americans, Rathjen says the country is “under the control of an invisible secret society” that operates “deep underground military bases” where children are tortured. He said mainstream media outlets haven’t reported on the so-called secret society because “they don’t have a clue.”

“Locate these spaces, gather masses of people together, and storm them,” Rathjen says in broken English. “It’s your duty as an American citizen to end this nightmare. Fight now.”

Both the website and YouTube videos were removed early Thursday morning, but copies of both the manifesto and videos have been copied and uploaded to a number of other websites, including those with members who identify as right-wing conspiracy theorists.

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