Sunday, March 24, 2013

The German Government and the Handling of a Different Crisis

At the moment, we are all waiting how the Cyprus crisis will be solved evolve. Since I do not expect a "solution" before later today or even early in the morning tomorrow. I think one should - in the meantime - look at the handling of a different crisis by various German governments. The  Bosphorus serial murders or so called "Dönermorde", and - in my opinion very much connected - the attempts to ban the NPD.

Based on Krugman's headline about Cyprus, I'll ask:

Germany: the Sum of all FUBAR?

In the beginning of the last decade, the then SPD led government tried to ban the NSDAP fanboy party NPD, because of its Nazi traits. So they requested the "Bundesverfassungsgericht" (BVerfG - constitutional court) to assess if the party were following unconstitutional goals. It never came that far. As it turned out, informants ("V-Leute") were working in the leadership of the party. Specifically it was stated that (my translation):
The surveillance of a political Party by informants of state authorities, who work in the federal or state party excecutive, immediately before and while a trial before the BVerfG - to determine the uncostitutionality of said party - is taking place, is generally not consistent with the requirements of a constitutional trial [..].
So the BVerfG did not even look if the party was constitutional or not, since it just could not be determined if the decision-making process was directly influenced by the German authorities.

At the same time, beginning in 2000, the Bosphorus murders, targeting primarily Turkish immigrants, were taking place. As we now know the NSU, a right wing terror organization, was committing these murders. At the time it was assumed, that this must be a Turkish mafia, targeting small business owners. Mistakes happen and since there was no claim of responsibility, terror was ruled out. The problem is not that one error occured it is the sum, that makes the solving of the murder series an utter disgrace. Additionally to murdering small business owners from 2000-2006, the NSU probably murdered the German police officer Michele Kiesewetter in 2007, since her's and her partner's duty pistol were found in the caravan, of the two dead terrorists.

Let's step back a bit. From 1993 onwards another crime series was "taking place". The DNA of a unknown female suspect was found at various (40 instances) crime scenes, ranging from burglary over armed robbery to murder. It was also found in the murder and attempted murder case of the two officers above, leading to the state offering €300,000 for leads on this female person. The traces were even discovered in two instances where two men were arguing. Eventhough, the woman "was" a heroin addict, who, did not just commit random unconnected murders, she also broke into cars and houses, the unknown woman must have been some Prof. Moriarty type criminal mastermind, since she was never caught, only leaving behind her DNA. But there were some questions: puzzling was primarily that these crimes took place for the most part in the Saarland, Baden-Württemberg in Germany, and Austria, but not in Bavaria - the  state, directly between latter the two.  In 2009, the existance of the "Heilbronner phantom" was put to a serious test, after the DNA of this woman was found, while attempting to check the DNA of a burned male corpse. As it turned out, a female worker contaminated the cotton swabs, not used by Bavarian authorities, in the factory.

Enough FUBAR? Nahh. Let's continue: involved in the search for the terrorists was for example the "Thüringer Landesamt für Verfassungsschutz"(TLfV). Why you might ask were they searching for them in the first place? Well in 1998 a bomb workshop was discovered in a garage, belonging to the "NSU trio". Before they could be arrested, they went into hiding. Who was responsible for search at the Landesamt? A person named Roewer, president of the TLfV until 2000. In the parliament inquiry into the NSU it was claimed, that not only did he run around barefooted in the office, he also rode a bicycle there, to test the "observation bicycle for observation forces", and asked for secret information while several unknown women were in his office drinking whine. Roewer described himself as the only person who had the necessary training in the TLfV. One of the informants was told to look into the persons in hiding but not too hard, to not draw any attention. How did such a person become president of a intellegience service, searching for persons,  who still had up to 36 kg (79 lbs) of explosives? Let's let himself answer (THE FOLLOWING IS A DIRECT QUOTE AT AN OFFICIAL HEARING - it can be found at the very end of the last link -my translation.):

How I became president of the Intelligence service? It was some day, in the night at 11 p.m., a person, that I did not know, brought me the certificate of appointment in a yellow envelope. It was dark, I could not recognize [the person]. Also, I was drunk. The next morning I found the envelope in my jacket.

Wie ich Verfassungsschutz-Präsident wurde? Es war an einem Tag nachts um 23 Uhr, da brachte eine mir unbekannte Person eine Ernennungs-Urkunde vorbei, in einem gelben Umschlag. Es war dunkel, ich konnte sie nicht erkennen. Ich war außerdem betrunken. Am Morgen fand ich den Umschlag jedenfalls noch in meiner Jacke.

Of course, there were other intelligence agencies involved (there are 8 more state LfVs and a federal one plus 8 more agencies for the other states). Their performance is in parts not known (well, except for the fact that no one found them). Why? A picture says more than a thousand words. Here is how many results the search for "nsu murders document destruction" yields:

Had enough? There is more: there is a claim that one of the terrorists - Uwe Mundlos - had a official passport under a false name. An intellingence officer, he was later cleared of any involvement, was at the scene of a murder and was kept under police surveillance because the Hessonian Verfassungsschutz did not help the other authorities. So, one agency was spying on the other. Today it was found out that 129 persons at least had some knowledge of the NSU, the most pressing question is: where there "V-Leute" who knew?

To bring us back to the beginning: in the wake of the NSU murders, it was decided to again try to ban the NPD. The Merkel government and both chambers of parliament decided to make another attempt. First to go was in December the Bundesrat (the legislative body representing the 16 states). In February the NPD got a hold of the secret document, describing the activities of the party, and  published it on their homepage. This week the Merkel government decided, that a own attempt was not necessary.

Missing a connection to the current crisis? Guess who was minister of the interior from 2005 until 2009, ant therefore - accoring to wikipedia - "responsible for internal security and the protection of the constitutional order, for civil protection against disasters and terrorism, for displaced persons, administrative questions, and sports"?

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