First insights from more than a decade of BKA proceedings

On 27.02.2020, two friends are intercepted by the BKA (“Bundeskriminalamt”, Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany), one at the airport and the other at work, in order to take their DNA on the spot. They are accused by court order of arson against cars belonging to Deutsche Bahn some ten years ago. Thereafter, the two people are sent tens of thousands of pages of files. These include criminal investigations from more than 15 years, some of which have been discontinued. The contents described here are based exclusively on the files available to us. The accused and their circle have been under investigation for years. They are turned into suspects, accused persons and „intellectual arsonists“ in ever new frameworks of reference.
BKA tried to open §129 proceedings („membership in a criminal organisation“), which was rejected by the public prosecutor’s office following the inspection of files in April 2020. Despite tens of thousands of pages, there are large gaps.

§129 – We have seen this before

At the moment, various structural investigation procedures are underway throughout the country. The state is using §129, among other things, to intimidate and monitor networks, circles of friends and private lives. These prosecutions in Frankfurt, Leipzig, Hamburg, Berlin and the convictions against „Die 3 von der Parkbank“ are just one part of the repression that is meant to stifle structures of resistance. Cops, courts and politicians are pushing these proceedings. We don’t believe in the justice system and reject the state as well as the concept of punishment. State and punishment are part of domination and thus of many social problems, such as poverty. It stands in the way of a free and joyful life. We are not fighting against their accusations, but against repression. At many times, we were delighted by the files because they documented acts of resistance showing actions against the dominant conditions.
We as Solidarity Group want to accompany the proceedings against the two people concerned.
Beware, speculations and gossip only help the repressive authorities! No cooperation with the authorities! No statements! No gossip!

The Hair in the Bag

On February 2, 2010, the SWP (German Institute for International and Security Affairs – „Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik“) in Berlin was attacked by means of a „detonation“ as part of actions against the Police Congress. A statement about this action can be found in Interim 705, under the title „Neuro-Enhancers for the SWP’s Desk-Perpetrators – Sabotaging Social Control and Attacking the Police Congress“ it reads: against „their bloody and warlike research under the (thought)disguise of civil-military cooperation and peace-bringing bombing policy (linksunten.indymedia.org). In the same year, a house search took place in Berlin – the charge: „causing an explosion“ at the SWP „and other criminal offenses“, a 129 case was also ongoing against the accused at the same time.

Besides other things, a bag was confiscated during the raid, which allegedly contained various items such as gloves, cash register receipts, animal hair, a statement on arson attacks on DB cars, animal brochures and human hair. DNA analysis of the hair revealed a female DNA that was not matched to the person whose apartment had been searched. The cops tried to identify other individuals and continued searching for the carrier of the female DNA.

Burning DB (Deutsche Bahn) Cars

On April 23 and 24, 2010, arson attacks against Deutsche Bahn (DB) cars were carried out in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg and Kreuzberg. According to cops, a letter claiming responsibility was left behind and published on Indymedia: „Our militant intervention supports the demand for compensation for victims of the Nazi regime and their relatives.“ These two actions were merged in a preliminary investigation (DB-Verfahren).

BKA Investigates

As part of the DB proceedings, the BKA continued to investigate the surroundings of the accused, whose apartment had been searched. With so-called „criminal procedural measures“ and investigations, 140 „contacts“ were identified. According to the files, these measures included monitoring of the suspect’s landline telephone and cell phone (TKÜ- telecommunications monitoring), analysis of the connection data of telephone connections and e-mail accounts, police findings such as shared arrests, alleged crimes, civil registration data, travel movements, personnel and border controls, analysis of the calendar, observations, analysis of bank account records, visits to prison (the suspect had been in prison in the past).

Out of 140 supposed „contacts,“ 18 females were identified as alleged „close contacts“ based on frequency and intensity of contact. Among them were the two female friends. This did not give the cops any insight into the origin of the hair. Two years later, something changed…

War starts here – let’s stop it here!

„Join us for the international anti-militarist camp against the German Armed Forces Combat Training Center (GÜZ)! GÜZ is a key location of the Bundeswehr, NATO and the EU. The war, which is being waged worldwide, starts here. We want this camp to be a central place for the concentration of anti-militarist struggles. […] War starts here, we want to mark it, block it, and sabotage it here!“ Call for the WarStartsHere-Camp 2012 (autonomesblaettchen.noblogs.org).

In 2012, bags containing paint-filled fire extinguishers were found at the Altmark Combat Training Center (GÜZ). The LKA Sachsen-Anhalt (Saxony-Anhalt Regional Criminal Police Office) began an investigation into trespassing and attempted sabotage of military equipment. The items found were examined for DNA. Allegedly there was a trace-trace hit (3) with the unknown DNA from the hair in the bag (house search 2010 in Berlin).

After this DNA hit report, the LKA Sachsen Anhalt took a closer look at the „18 close female contacts“ identified by the BKA, including the two female friends. Because of their commitment against the GÜZ and the alleged contact to an accused in the proceedings of „attempted sabotage“ (GÜZ), both came under increased scrutiny. The public prosecutor’s office in Stendal included the two friends as suspects in the proceedings (attempted sabotage GÜZ). In addition, DNA samples and house searches were requested. The Stendal District Court rejected both of these in 2014.

Oury Jalloh, it was murder!

On the ten-year memorial of the death of Oury Jalloh, who was murdered in a police station in Dessau in 2005, a rally was held in Neukölln, Berlin, involving the breaking of glass and damage to property. Indymedia reports: „For yesterday, 10.01., we had called for a demonstration in Neukölln to publicly scandalize Oury’s murder ten years after the crime and to name his murderers and the racist conditions. […] „

The LKA Berlin initiated criminal proceedings for “ very serious disturbance of public peace and dangerous interference with traffic „. Nearby, things like cobble stones or bags of paint were collected and examined for DNA traces.

A female DNA found and analyzed was entered into the DNA database: There are said to have been two trace-trace hits: with the DNA of the hair in the bag (during the house search in 2010) and with the DNA found on the GÜZ in 2012 (attempted sabotage GÜZ).

What happened in Switzerland?

In July 2015, the person who had the 2010 house raid in Berlin was arrested in Switzerland and sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for several actions. According to files and media reports, the person cooperated, and confessed to these acts. Although she appeared not to name names, it became clear from her statements that other people were involved.

From the hit reports…

Following the DNA trace hit reports (hair in the bag, GÜZ, Oury-Jalloh demo), the public prosecutor’s office in Berlin reopened the DB proceedings in July 2016 based on BKA’s suggestion. The prosecution was transferred to the BKA. In search of alleged accomplices of the accused person, investigations were again conducted against, among others, the 18 „close female contacts“. BKA asked LKA’s and Federal Offices for the Protection of the Constitution (Verfassungsschutzämter) for general police intelligence, those with a temporal and local connection to the attempted sabotage of military equipment (GÜZ) and the Oury-Jalloh demonstration in Neukölln. Addresses and criminal records were obtained. For some of those affected, additional requests for information were made to numerous authorities, such as the unemployment centers and social security, as well as to employers, in order to obtain personal information (telephone numbers, e-mail addresses).

Bank accounts of individuals were also evaluated and requests for information were made to Internet forums, Deutsche Bahn, etc., in order to find out further details about individuals, such as phone numbers and accounts used, other account connections, card contracts, payment methods….

Up to the year 2019, these inquiries about the „18 close female contacts“ and people from around the accused can be found in the files.

During the course of the investigation, the friends were entered as additional suspects in the DB proceedings in July 2017.

… to DNA collection

In April 2019, the BKA encouraged examining whether the charge of a criminal organization according to §129 could be expanded and the DB proceedings could be connected with the GÜZ and Oury-Jalloh proceedings.

In addition, they wanted to obtain a DNA sample and identification services, house searches and surveillance measures against the two friends.

These measures ( surveillance of their cell phone numbers, IMEI (1), e-mail addresses, extended observation, use of IMSI catchers (2) and silent SMS) were supposed to last officially for three months and were expected to yield usable information on their whereabouts and residences. The house searches were to specifically look for objects or documents/data storage media that would reveal information about other persons.

The Berlin public prosecutor’s office refused all but the DNA samples. Those were decided by the Berlin District Court in November 2019 and carried out in February 2020. Input into the DAD (4) is said to have yielded hits with the DNA from the GÜZ, from the Oury Jalloh trial and the hair trace in the bag from the house search in 2010.

Evaluation of the scope of the investigation

The assessment is based on the BKA’s justification for DNA collection and analysis, which is available in the files.

Key to the justification is the acquaintance with the first defendant in the DB proceedings. After the DNA hits on the GÜZ, the anti-militaristic commitment of the two friends is investigated. A huge construct is built up from acquaintances (e.g. on the basis of shared police controls) and to other defendants in other proceedings concerning anti-militarism. Later on, allegations and discontinued or never initiated proceedings turn into facts. This is to justify the assumption that there is a „risk of repetition“ and the committing of „crimes of considerable importance“, both of which are required for DNA storage under Section §81g of the German Code of Criminal Procedure (StPO). The files provided us with information about further preliminary proceedings in which the two were and are listed as suspects. These are investigations into anti-military actions, one of them with the accusation of arson on a considerable scale. Reference to militant actions at a public event makes the two of them „intellectual arsonists“ and suspects in the eyes of the cops.

The scope of the investigation goes far beyond what is described here! Countless people and procedures appear in the files. In the last ten years, BKA and LKAs tried to find out and construct who did what with whom, who was arrested or controlled together, who crossed borders together, was at camps or demos at home and abroad. Who talked to whom on the phone, took a train or a long-distance bus, when or where?

We assume that structural investigations will be carried out to investigate contacts and networks. We also assume that the police observation of the two friends continues.

We are not aware of any further investigative steps since the DNA was entered into the database, neither in the DB nor in other proceedings.

We use the word “ friends “ because the BKA repeatedly lists it as an indication of „criminal activities“ when we cultivate friendships with each other. So with „Einige sind betroffen, gemeint sind wir alle“ we hereby call for more dangerous friendships and solidarity!

(1) Mobile Equipment Identity explained on Wikipedia

(2) IMSI catcher explained on Wikipedia

(3) Trace-trace match: match of traces/features at two different crime scenes.

(4) DNA analysis file: is a database for Germany established in 1998 to store DNA profiles. It is operated centrally by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) and is also used by other police forces.