Theme: German intelligence services

Intelligence services of the German Federal Republic – an introduction
by Norbert Pütter
Germany’s intelligence services that is the Federal Office and the 16 regional offices of the Länder as internal intelligence services, the foreign intelligence service Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND) and the Military Counterintelligence Agency (Militärischer Abschirmdienst) – are remnants of the Cold War. After the end of the same, they swiftly found new remits and became – more closely than ever – interlinked with the police authorities. The constitutional law of separation between the two has long since been redefined to one of cooperation. Contrary to their official pledges, intelligence services are not merely passive information collection points, but they rather carry out covert actions. Their legal bases do not really restrict them in their actions and their parliamentary control has proven to be ineffective. Even if discounting the numerous scandals surrounding the services, there are no success stories to justify their existence. Abolishing intelligence services altogether is therefore the only logical conclusion.

Intelligence service scandals – a chronology
by Otto Diederichs
The many scandals surrounding Germany’s secret intelligence services clearly came to light long after the contested events have taken place. Issues at stake range from cases of spying and counter spying to blatant human rights violations.

For the abolition of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND)
by Gaby Weber
Up until its formal institution in 1956, the German external intelligence agency BND worked under the leadership of the CIA as „Organisation Gehlen” – named after the Nazi general and leader of the corps „Fremde Heere Ost” (Foreign Armies East). The strong anti-Communist orientation remained. With the end of the Cold War and the German Democratic Republic (GDR), the BND lost the justification for its existence and had to search for new remits. The agency not only started to get involved in international criminal investigations – accompanied by new scandals – but was promoted to a (militarised) foreign policy instrument. However, the assumption that we should thank a group of spies for peace and security applies neither to the Cold War and even less so to the present

Secret services leading court cases
Interview with Undine Weyers and Rainer Elfferding
In a democratically based criminal prosecution, the accused have rights. All steps in the police investigation have to be recorded in the files and accessible to the prosecution. Intelligence services, however, invoke secrecy clauses regarding their sources and refer to the relationship of trust with those who provide them with information. Intelligence services intervention in criminal investigations invariably leads to manipulations that are kept secret from the court and the defence. The defence lawyers Elfferding and Weyers know this from personal experience – amongst others from the Schmücker trial (1974-1991) and the current proceedings against alleged members of the „militant group”.

Who becomes enemy of the state?
by Ron Steinke
In annual reports, the regional internal security offices and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution announce which movement, organisation or party they currently assess to be „enemies of the constitution” (verfassungsfeindlich). What appears to be an objective legal assessment, however, is nothing more than the political positioning of the relevant authority or interior ministry.

The „free democratic order” as weapon
by Wolf-Dieter Narr
The administrative appeals tribunal of the Münster High Court forced the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution to end the surveillance of the member of parliament Bodo Ramelow, but declared the surveillance of the party Die Linke as a whole to be legal. The higher administrative court Mannheim helped the teacher Michael Csaszkóczy to be instated in the school service, but it thought a general checking of applicants in the public services for their „loyalty to the constitution” to be normal. The construct of the „free democratic order”, which was defined in a series of court decisions on banning the fascist SRP (1952) and the Communist KPD (1956), forms the legal and ideological basis for the definition of internal enemies up until today

Non-theme contributions

Deadly police shots 2008
by Otto Diederichs
CILIP counted ten cases of police using firearms with deadly results in 2008. The official statistics of the Interior Ministers’ Conference comes to the same number – albeit in a more indirect manner.

„I see what you think”
by Ralf Kölbel and Susanne Selter
At US airports, travellers will soon have to undergo facial scans. Video cameras will thereby be linked to a series of medical and technical equipment to detect even the slightest changes in facial expression, which in turn should hint at a person’s possible terrorist intentions.

Nestlégate: private surveillance in Switzerland
by Dinu Gautier
Three female spies infiltrated left-wing and autonomous groups in West Switzerland for months. The press refers to a ‘Nestlégate’, as the infiltration took place on order of the multi-national food company Nestlé. The security firm Securitas ensured its implementation.