State Terror in Germany

50 days of Muppet Show - and the phantom dissolves

On July 15, the 50th day of trial against three German activists took place. The three are accused of arson attacks against military vehicles in 2007 and they are also charged with member-ship in a criminal organisation - the Militant Group ('mg'). The original terrorism charges were dropped before the trial.

The trial, started in September 2008, has been marked by prosecution witnesses lying on the stand. There has also been a revelation that police themselves wrote a magazine article for a discussion about militancy in political activism. The authors called themselves 'Te Two from the Muppet Show' and described themselves as having followed the militancy debate both from the inside and the outside. This had led to speculation that the state might have had direct involvement in the 'mg' itself.

The Muppet Show article also contained references to material related to the 'mg' published on the web site of the Federal Criminal Ofce BKA, which—as was later revealed—at the time was subject to surveillance: the identity of every visitor to the site was recorded by tracing their IP address and retrieving the subscriber details from the internet provider. This practice, dubbed 'home page surveillance,' has since been declared unconstitutional by the courts.

What made day 50 of the trial remarkable is the fact that a few days prior, the latest issue of the underground magazine ‘radikal’ had been published, containing a lengthy interview with the 'mg'. In the article the 'mg' claimed responsibility for three arson attacks earlier this year (for which no charges have been laid against anyone) and the group announced their disbandment. Moreover, ‘mg’ denied having anything to do with the incident for which the three people are currently on trial.

This leaves the prosecution in a strange state - based on the statement of an informant who worked for the intelligence service, the prosecution had previously claimed that the three accused were key members of the 'mg' and that their arrest had smashed the group’s structure. The spy agency has refused to reveal the identity of the informant but claimed that they were 'reliable and truthful.' Te latest development casts doubt on that assurance and leaves very little of the prosecution case.

The interview also adds to the argument of the defence that the `mg´ has never been a group with a defned membership, but rather an umbrella name under which individuals carried out actions. The defence has been trying to prove this point by making several applications in court to have the various communiqués of the 'mg' analysed by experts to prove that they were written by diferent people. These applications have so far been declined, even at the latest court date, which proceeded with business as usual - the prosecution have so far refused to comment on the 'radikal' interview altogether.

We hope that the three German accused do not end up like the Guildford 4. In late 1974 two bombings occurred in Guildford, England, and four people were arrested and sentenced to life in prison. A year later an IRA active service unit was captured and confessed to the Guildford bombings, police evidence supported their claims. However the Guildford 4 still spent 15 years in prison before their convictions were overturned and they were freed.

The farce of a trial against the ‘mg’ 3 must be stopped, all the charges must be dropped now!

(The banner 'Solidarity is a weapon' was made in response to the German government's raids and arrests of the 3 members of the 'mg.' Te community has supported these arrestees and continued to encourage participation in actions against Germany's military participation in the war in Afghanistan.)

October 15th Solidarity newsletter (July/August 2009), New Zealand: