FECL 13 (March 1993):
The investigation, which started in January, produced chilling findings: 89 of the 200 members of the reserve checked in the first stage of the inquiry had a criminal record. And in its final conclusions, the report confirms that 807 voluntary policemen have at some time been the subject of criminal investigation. This amounts to about a third of the FPR's total number of 2400.
The investigation was triggered after the busting of a gang of arms traffickers, who had smuggled large quantities of weapons from Switzerland and Austria. Some of the firearms and 12,300 rounds were found buried in earth holes in parks and forests in Berlin. Five of 12 suspects in the case turned out to be members of the FPR. According to the investigation, most of the suspects also had a light wing extremist background.
The head of Berlin's state protection agency, Dieter Piete. admitted that "the security checks have not been led carefully enough". According to the Frankfurt daily, Frankfurter Rundschau, the officials in charge of personal recruitment for the FPR were well aware that some of the men now suspected in the arms trafficking case had participated paramilitary training programs of the neo-Nazi group "Freiheitliche Arbeiterpartei", since the mid eighties. A speaker for the neo-nazi party NPD in his turn confirmed that party members had systematically joined the FPR in order to improve their information on polcing measures.
The FPR was created in 1961 with. at that time, 6,000 members as a paramilitary force at the peak of the cold war. The force was then widely seen as a civil guard directed against the "eastern threat". But in recent years the FPR was mainly used for tasks such as traffic surveillance, object protection (power plants, banks. the residence of the German Federat President) secuhty patrols in public parks and cemeteries, and ...the protection of refugee reception centres.
An inquiry is to be opened on a number of mysterious burglaries in buildings "protected" by FPR-men.
The acting mayor of Berlin, Eberhard Diepgen, and a former Interior Senator (member of the city Jovernment), Heinrich
Lummer, both prominent politicians in chancellor Kohl's christian-democrat party CDU were among the long-time of the FPR.
Heinrich Lummer was known for his right wing positions inside the CDU and for his marked anti-foreigner policy as a minister. He later stepped down after involvment in a bribery case.
In the meantime, the acting Interior senator, Mr. Heckelmann, has come to the defence of the controversial police force by opposing its dissolution. Following the investigation, a mere 18 members of the FPR have so far been dismissed.
Sources: Frankfurter Rundschau, 15.2.93, Neue Zurcher Zeitung, 24.2.93 .
On the one hand, the politically biased total surveillance and infiltration of large groups of citizens not suspected of any crime by a rampant "anti-terrorist" security machinery out of control. The result, after years of snooping, intimidation, collective character assassination, and detention of innocent people: nothing.
On the other hand, a month-long investigation on a statesponsored paramilitary force. The result: secret weapon caches, a "civil guard" of 2400 amateur policemen, a third of whom with police or criminal records, neo-Nazi penetration.
We can only guess the percentage of right wing extremists in the FPR, as some people happen to be Nazis without having a criminal record.
And this state-sponsored pretorian guard of criminals and racist fanatics is supposed to protect sensitive sites, perhaps from "terrorist attacks"? Or to prevent the desecration of (Jewish) braves in Berlin's cemeteries? Or to beat off Nazi skinheads going berserk against refugee centres? And what was the secret weapons arsenal destined for?
A regrettable case of "infiltration", it says in official comments and press aiticles. Considering the scale of criminal penetration of the FPR, would it not be more accurate to speak of deliberate recruitment?
Should Gecman authorities who have carefully prevented any citizen suspected of left wing sympathies from becoming a postman, nurse. train driver or welfare worker, with their "Berufsverbot" [job ban] law - should these same German authorities not be capable of sorting out notorious criminals and right-wing extremists from a job as sensitive as policing?
And how about the credibility of a state which has solemnly promised in front of an increasingly concerned world opinion to confront the problem of right wing violence, but refuses to take action in the presence of the facts described above?
The real problem with Germany is not its gangs of muddleheaded neo-Nazi fanatics, but their covert protection, if not encouragement. by circles at all levels of government and justice. Eighteen of the 807 voluntary policemen with police records have been fired. 789 will continue to make the German capital a safe place.
Keep a watchful eye on Germany.