– fordi tiden kræver et MODSPIL

23. Nov 2008

Et antiterrorsystem går amok

Den tyske aktivist Annalist alias Anne Roth skriver:
On July 31 of last year, at 7 in the morning armed police stormed into the apartment where my partner Andrej Holm, I and our two children live. We learned that day that he was a terrorism suspect and that an investigation had been going on for almost a year. Andrej was arrested and flown to Germany's Court of Justice the next day. The search of our home lasted 15 hours. I was forced to wake my children, dress them and make them have breakfast with an armed policeman watching us. That day my new life started, a life as the partner of one of Germany's top terrorists.

Andrej spent three weeks in investigative detention. The arrest warrant was signed on grounds that caused a public outcry, not only in Germany but also in many other countries. Open letters were sent to the court that were signed by several thousand people protesting against the arrests. Among the signatures were those of David Harvey, Mike Davis, Saskia Sassen, Richard Sennett and Peter Marcuse.

The initial suspicion based on an internet research for similarities in writing and vocabulary led to different measures of surveillance: phone tapping, video cameras pointed at living spaces, emails and internet traffic being monitored, bugging devices in cars, bugging operations on people's conversations etc. None of these produced valid evidence, so every two or three months surveillance measures were extended. Anti-terror-investigations according to §129a of the penal code are known and infamous for the fact that they are carried out secretly and only less than 5% ever produce enough evidence to lead to actual court cases. The vast majority entail lengthy investigations, during which huge amounts of data (mostly on activists) are collected and after years the case is dropped without anyone ever knowing about it.

Not the 'terrorist' deeds themselves are being prosecuted, but rather membership or support of the said terrorist organization. Therefore investigations focus on 'who knows who and why'. For the time being we know of four such cases carried out against 40 activists in Germany last year. Participation in protests against the G8 played a prominent, but not the only role. In all four cases the names of more than 2000 people were found in the files that were handed over to the defendants: a good indication of what these investigations are really good for...
Som man vil forstå, blev Andrej Holm reelt arresteret og anklaget som terrorist, fordi han var intelligent, kendte folk fra mange forskellige samfundslag, brugte bibliotekerne, offfentliggjorde tekster, krypterede sin email og ikke altid havde sin mobiltelefon på sig.

The Guardian skrev om sagen:

'Terrorism" has two faces. There are real threats and real terrorists, and then again there is a realm of nameless fears, vague forebodings and irrational responses. The German federal police seem to have succumbed to the latter: on July 31 they raided the flats and workplaces of Dr Andrej Holm and Dr Matthias B, as well as of two other people, all of them engaged in that most suspicious pursuit - committing sociology.

Dr Holm was arrested and flown to the German federal court in Karlsruhe; he has since been put in (pre-trial) solitary confinement in a Berlin jail. Of course the police may have solid, rational knowledge they are withholding, but their public statements belong to the realm of farce. Dr B is alleged to have used, in his academic publications, "phrases and key words" also used by a militant group, among them "inequality" and "gentrification". The police found it suspicious that meetings occurred with German activists in which the sociologists did not bring their mobile phones; the police deemed this a sign of "conspiratorial behaviour".

Consider the hapless Dr B a little further. He's not actually accused of writing anything inflammatory, but seen rather to be intellectually capable of "authoring the sophisticated texts" a militant group might require; further, our scholar, "as employee in a research institute has access to libraries which he can use inconspicuously in order to do the research necessary to the drafting of texts" of militant groups, though he hasn't writtten any. The one solid fact the cops have on Dr Holm is that he was at the scene of the "resistance mounted by the extreme leftwing scene against the World Economic Summit of 2007 in Heiligendamm", perhaps mistakenly believing he is studying this scene rather than stage-managing it.

Holm blev løsladt efter to måneder, men sagen pågår stadig - nu efter straffe- og ikke terrorloven.

Sigtelserne er tilsyneladende stadig latterlige og grebet ud af luften. En uhyggelig påmindelse om konsekvenserne af det overvågnings- og frygtsamfund, vi også er ved at indføre herhjemme.

Link: Blogging against surveillance