We are all 129a!
Four German activists have been arrested on suspicion of being members or supporters of an alleged 'terrorist organisation'. The German federal police suspect that Militante Gruppe (MG or Militant Group) was behind several arson attacks against police and army vehicles since the group surfaced in 2001. The direct actions are said to have included an attack on German federal police vehicles to protest against their involvement in immigration deportations and another in response to the G8 raids earlier this year. If found guilty, the four could face up to 10 years in prison. Another three men have been accused but not arrested.
Since May 2007, there have been several raids as a result of four preliminary investigations in Berlin, Hamburg, Strausberg and Bad Oldesloe, using Section 129a of the German Criminal Code, which prohibits "the founding of, membership in or support of a terrorist organisation". Section 129a investigations are typically used by the federal police to gather information about activists and protesters, as well as to intimidate them. Only 2% of all Section 129a investigations have ever resulted in convictions. A number of solidarity actions have already taken place, including a demo in Berlin last Wednesday (August 1st) and another at the prison where the four are held on Sunday (August 5th). A Germany-wide protest against police repression is planned for September 15th, while many solidarity protests and actions are expected throughout the world. For more information, check this new solidarity blog and Indymedia Germany. Terrorists! Following a year-long Section 129a investigation, three activists were arrested on 30-31 July, 2007, while allegedly attempting to set fire to four army trucks on a MAN AG site in Brandenburg. The three, identified as Florian L. and Oliver R., both 35, and 46-year-old Axel H., are now charged with "belonging to a terrorist organisation", Militante Gruppe, as well as an attempted arson attack. On July 31st, police searched the homes of four other suspects living in Berlin and one of them, Andrej H., 36, was arrested on suspicion of "supporting MG". The lawyers acting on behalf of the seven said in a statement, "The charges of terrorism against the 7 people accused in this new 129a case are speculative and not tenable. The arrests of the four are a scandal." "The current proceedings, especially the motivation of the warrants, show once again how the law enforcement agencies in Germany use anti-terror laws against certain suspicious people, in total disproportion and without any constitutional scruple." In normal constitutional court proceedings, the three Brandenburg suspects would have been charged with attempted arson under Section 306 of the Criminal Code and not remanded in custody. Declaring attempted arson of three vehicles without endangering anyone as terrorism obviously has political motivations. Even the broadly defined Section 129a (membership of a terrorist organisation) requires that the acts are meant to "damage a state or international body considerably through their nature or their effects." Prior to the G8 summit in Heiligendamm in June 2007, the Federal Prosecutor had investigated several MG members and searched their houses, using Section 129a, but found no evidence to use against them. The raids then sparked a wave or protests worldwide and were even condemned by many mainstream human and civil rights organisations. Section 129a was originally added to the Criminal Code in response to the actions of the Red Army Faction (RAF, also known as the Baader-Meinhof Group) in the 1970s. Its main purpose is to "protect public safety and the order of the state" by declaring the planning stage as part of the "illegal activity". Pens and guns According to the Federal Prosecution itself, police have no sufficient knowledge about the three Brandensurg arrestees. This, however, "does not go against the assumption of a possible suspicion of membership in a terrorist organisation." >From the writings of the MG, they concluded, "it can be concluded that this fits the expectations from their members." The arbitrariness of the arrests can be seen more clearly in the case of the fourth arrestee, Andrej H. Police have assumed a link based merely on observations that there has been a contact between him and one of the Brandenburg suspects. Further, the only two meetings between them are supposed to have taken place "conspiratorially". Police do not know anything about what the meetings in February and April 2007 were about. Yet, they have concluded that the "conspiratorial behaviour between H and L can only be explained that L is also part of the terrorist organisation MG" and that "the conspiratorially agreed-upon meetings are related to this" (the organisation). One of the 'conspiratorial things' apparently was that Andrej had forgotten his mobile phone at home. Andrej H., a sociologist whose work focused on gentrification, tenants' rights and social cuts, is also supposed to have published an academic article in 1998, in which he used phrases and words that can be found in MG texts. "The frequency of the correspondence is conspicuous and cannot be explained by thematic correspondences," they concluded. "As a political scientist," they added, he is "intellectually capable of writing the technically difficult texts that MG uses". What's more, he "has access to libraries which he can use inconspicuously to make the needed investigations for the MG." Andrej is also known as a political activist who has participated in many local and international events, including recently the G8 Independent Media Centre in Rostock. In his arrest warrant, it was mentioned that he was involved in "staging the left-wing protests against the G8" (in Germany, June 2007). We are all 129a!
At a solidarity demo in the city of Fulda on August 4th, the 400 or so participants, mostly from the Attac Summer Academy, were chanting throughout such slogans as "We are all 129a" and "we are all terrorists". Around 40 of them then 'reported themselves' to the police officer in charge since they carried the same reasons for suspicion that were brought up against Andrej. In a "self-incrimination under 129a", they declared that